Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: Ms. Amanpour will be hosting a special town hall debate: Holy War: Should Americans Fear Islam?

The plans to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero has unleashed an international debate – raising questions about America’s uneasy relationship with Islam.

Nine years after 9/11, is rising Islamophobia a threat to religious freedom and to Muslims in America. Does Islam foster extremist ideology, even violence? Where are the moderate voices?

Join the discussion. Share with us your questions or e-mail us directly at [email protected]. A producer may also contact you to send a video message or question.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Sen. Bernie Sanders will be a guest Sunday morning. Bernie will join a panel discussion with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

The Chris Matthews Show: Joining M. Matthews will be Dan Rather, HDNet Global Correspondent, Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent, Gloria Borger, CNN Senior Political Analyst and John Harris, Politico Editor-in-Chief. They will be discussing these questions:

How New Media Have Radically Changed Politics?

The Effects of Cell Phone Cameras and YouTube?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: No “Lurch” this Sunday. Meet the Press will not air this Sunday, Oct. 3, due to NBC’s coverage of the Ryder Cup

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: With the Senate adjourned and less than one month left until midterm elections, we talk to the two men in charge of getting their fellow senators re-elected, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey).

Then, a conversation about the politics of the week, including Rahm Emanuel‘s departure from the White House, with two political veterans: former Gore presidential campaign manager Donna Brazile, and former aide to President George W. Bush, Ed Gillespie.

And we talk to the Pakistan ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, about the stability of the country and its role as a partner in fighting terrorism.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: This week on GPS: a rare and exclusive interview with Wen Jiabao, the Premier of China. The last time Premier Wen spoke to Fareed Zakaria was in 2008. He hasn’t spoken to a Western reporter since. Until now that is.

The Chinese Premier speaks to Fareed about censorship in China; the ongoing controversy over China’s currency; his views on the U.S. economy — has he lost faith in American finance? Is the U.S. ripe for a double-dip recession?; the state of US-China relations; whether real political reform can come to China; and what he sees as the future of China as he prepares to leave office in 2 years.

Also, a war is ending after nearly a century. You’ll be surprised which one it is.

And finally a look at a political laugh track.

David Sirota: The Real Democratic Whiners

The way Democratic leaders tell it, their party’s current “enthusiasm gap” comes from rank-and-file voters who are irrational and pessimistic complainers. . . .

No doubt, Democratic politicians would have us believe that Republican obstructionism makes a vote pointless and that those saying otherwise are back to “glass half empty” whining. This, of course, has been the same excuse on nearly every issue.

But who are the self-defeating whiners here-politicians who don’t even attempt to fulfill their own promises, or voters who expect those politicians to at least make a minimal effort? The honest answer to that question shows who is really responsible for the enthusiasm gap.

Eugene Robinson: Who Really Thinks We’ll Win in Afghanistan?

Could somebody please remind me just what it is that we’re achieving in Afghanistan? Don’t all speak at once. No, I mean what good things we’re accomplishing. Anybody? Hello?

The more we learn about the war-both from the battlefield and from the White House-the more depressing it all becomes. The portrait that emerges is of a failing military campaign whose course is being determined by momentum, not by logic. Everyone seems to appreciate this fact, but no one is willing to stop the madness. So on we go.

For me, the most striking revelation from über-journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, “Obama’s Wars,” is the extent to which the officials who are planning and prosecuting this war recognize how unlikely it is to end well.

Michael Moore: Five Ways the Democrats Can Avoid a Catastrophe and Pull Off the Mother of All Upsets

The election is one month from tomorrow and, yes, it looks hopeless. November 2nd — the day the Dems are expected to crash and burn.

Sadly, it’s a situation the Democrats have brought upon themselves — even though the majority of them didn’t create the mess we’re in. But they’ve had over a year and a half to start getting the job done to fix it. Instead, they’ve run scared ever since they took power. To many, the shellacking they’re about to receive is one they deserve.

But if you’re of a mindset that believes a return to 2001-2008 would be sheer insanity, then you probably agree we’ve got no choice but to save the Democrats from themselves.

Steven Thrasher: White America Has Lost Its Mind

The white brain, beset with worries, finally goes haywire in spectacular fashion

About 12:01 on the afternoon of January 20, 2009, the white American mind began to unravel.

It had been a pretty good run up to that point. The brains of white folks had been humming along cogently for near on 400 years on this continent, with little sign that any serious trouble was brewing. White people, after all, had managed to invent a spiffy new form of self-government so that all white men (and, eventually, women) could have a say in how white people were taxed and governed. White minds had also nearly universally occupied just about every branch of that government and, for more than two centuries, had kept sole possession of the leadership of its executive branch (whose parsonage, after all, is called the White House).

But when that streak was broken-and, for the first time, a non-white president accepted the oath of office-white America rapidly began to lose its grip.

Paul Krugman: Japan’s Horror Story Not So Scary After All

The tale of Japan’s economic woes is a nuanced one, despite its unearned reputation as a horror story.

It is fairly amazing how much of the nation’s slide since the early 1990s can be explained not by economics, but by demography.

I’m not the first person to make this point, but it comes to mind because I recently took a look at the Total Economy Database from The Groningen Growth and Development Center in the Netherlands. I found that from 1992 to 2007 (the eve of the global economic crisis), Japanese gross domestic product per capita – or the approximate value of goods produced in a country, divided by its total population – fell from 88 percent to 76 percent, as compared to the United States’s G.D.P. per capita.

Robert Reich: Why It’s Foolish to Weaken the Dollar to Create Jobs

keep hearing the only way we’re going to get jobs back any time soon is with a weak dollar.


Here’s the theory. As the dollar falls relative to foreign currencies, everything we export becomes less expensive to foreign consumers. So they buy more of our stuff, creating more jobs in the U.S. At the same time, everything they make costs us more. So we buy less from them and more from each other. Again, more jobs here at home.

Washington is actively pursuing a weak dollar as a jobs policy. (The dollar just plunged to a six-month low against the euro.)

How? The Fed is keeping long-term interest rates so low global investors are heading elsewhere for high returns, which bids the dollar down. Every time another Fed official hints the Fed will start printing even more money (“quantitative easing” in Fed speak) the dollar takes another dive.

Bob Herbert: The Campaign Disconnect

One in five American kids was living in poverty in 2009. Across the country, once solidly middle-class families are lining up at food pantries and soup kitchens for groceries or a hot meal. In New York City, a startling indicator of the continuing economic stress is the rise in the number of homes that don’t have kitchens.  

Election Day is approaching, but neither party cares to focus on the nightmare facing millions of Americans who have been laid low by unemployment, home foreclosures, personal bankruptcies, and jobs that offer only part-time work, lousy pay and absolutely no benefits.

In an era of extreme economic inequality (which is another way of saying economic unfairness), Wall Street can be on a roll and corporate profits can streak toward the moon at the same time that ordinary American families are stuck in depressionlike conditions with precious little hope of relief.

Les Leopold: Wall Street Brings Class War to America?

As thousands of demonstrators marched in European capitals on Wednesday to protest recent austerity measures, officials in Brussels proposed stiffening sanctions for governments that fail to cut their budget deficits and debt swiftly enough. (“Workers In Europe Protest Austerity Measures”, New York Times, 9/30/2010)

Oh, do the super-rich hate the sound of “class struggle.” Dare to utter the words and they’ll reach for their red-baiting paint guns and spray you silly with invective. It’s un-American. It’s socialistic. It’s an insult to democracy and freedom.

But try as they might, they can’t paint over the reality, which the new Fortune 400 listings make so clear: Wall Street billionaires have more money than they’ll ever be able to use–at a time when more than 29 million of us don’t have that most basic necessity, a full-time job. A hidden class war got us to this point. It’s not hidden anymore.


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