“Punting the Pundits“ is 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.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.
Paul Krugman: Axis of Depression
What do the government of China, the government of Germany and the Republican Party have in common? They’re all trying to bully the Federal Reserve into calling off its efforts to create jobs. And the motives of all three are highly suspect. . . .
It’s no mystery why China and Germany are on the warpath against the Fed. Both nations are accustomed to running huge trade surpluses. But for some countries to run trade surpluses, others must run trade deficits – and, for years, that has meant us. The Fed’s expansionary policies, however, have the side effect of somewhat weakening the dollar, making U.S. goods more competitive, and paving the way for a smaller U.S. deficit. And the Chinese and Germans don’t want to see that happen. . . . .
But why are Republicans joining in this attack?
Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues seem stunned to find themselves in the cross hairs. They thought they were acting in the spirit of none other than Milton Friedman, who blamed the Fed for not acting more forcefully during the Great Depression – and who, in 1998, called on the Bank of Japan to “buy government bonds on the open market,” exactly what the Fed is now doing.
Republicans, however, will have none of it, raising objections that range from the odd to the incoherent.
Morris Davis: A Terrorist Gets What He Deserves
(Critics) of President Obama’s decision to prosecute Guantánamo Bay detainees in federal courts have seized on the verdict in the Ahmed Ghailani case as proof that federal trials are a disastrous failure. After the jury on Wednesday found Mr. Ghailani guilty of only one charge in the 1998 African embassy bombings, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, called on the administration to “admit it was wrong and assure us just as confidently that terrorists will be tried from now on in the military commission system.” . . . .
President Obama is in a no-win situation when it comes to trying detainees – any forum he chooses will set off critics on one side of the debate or the other. I hope he pauses to reflect on what he said at the National Archives in May 2009: “Some have derided our federal courts as incapable of handling the trials of terrorists. They are wrong. Our courts and our juries, our citizens, are tough enough to convict terrorists.”
The Ghailani trial delivered justice. It did so safely and securely, while upholding the values that have defined America. Now Mr. Obama should stand up to the fear-mongers who want to take us back to the wrong side of history.
Morris Davis, a former Air Force colonel, was the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from 2005 to 2007. He is the director of the Crimes of War Project.
Eugene Robinson: Obama’s opportunity to be the decider
For what it’s worth, my advice for Obama is to forget the Republicans. Not literally, of course – the new House leadership is going to make itself hard to ignore. But ultimately, it’s the president who sets the agenda and who ultimately is held accountable for America’s successes and failures. Obama’s focus should be on using all the tools at his disposal to move the country in the direction he believes it must go.
A new report by the Center for American Progress – a think tank headed by John Podesta, former chief of staff to Bill Clinton – seeks to remind Obama that shepherding legislation through Congress is only one of the ways a president can get things done. . . .
Progressives are right when they complain that the White House must do a much better job of making the case for its policies. But the challenge goes well beyond communications. Judging by the way they snubbed Obama’s invitation to break bread together, Republicans seem eager for gridlock – and the chance to blame the president for not getting anything done.
That may be the GOP’s preferred story line, but Obama can write a narrative of his own. He’s the Decider now.