“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”.
Glenn Greenwald: What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010
Throughout this year I’ve devoted substantial attention to WikiLeaks, particularly in the last four weeks as calls for its destruction intensified. To understand why I’ve done so, and to see what motivates the increasing devotion of the U.S. Government and those influened by it to destroying that organization, it’s well worth reviewing exactly what WikiLeaks exposed to the world just in the last year: the breadth of the corruption, deceit, brutality and criminality on the part of the world’s most powerful factions.
As revealing as the disclosures themselves are, the reactions to them have been equally revealing. The vast bulk of the outrage has been devoted not to the crimes that have been exposed but rather to those who exposed them: WikiLeaks and (allegedly) Bradley Manning. A consensus quickly emerged in the political and media class that they are Evil Villains who must be severely punished, while those responsible for the acts they revealed are guilty of nothing. That reaction has not been weakened at all even by the Pentagon’s own admission that, in stark contrast to its own actions, there is no evidence — zero — that any of WikiLeaks’ actions has caused even a single death. Meanwhile, the American establishment media — even in the face of all these revelations — continues to insist on the contradictory, Orwellian platitudes that (a) there is Nothing NewTM in anything disclosed by WikiLeaks and (b) WikiLeaks has done Grave Harm to American National SecurityTM through its disclosures.
Gail Collins: The Tannenbaum Chronicles
This year, my favorite Christmas story involves Rachel Maddow’s mother. “A friend gave her a remote control for the Christmas tree,” said Maddow. It was the best present ever, liberation from a lifetime of crawling under the tree every morning and night to put in or pull out the plug.
And it turned Maddow’s mom into a combination Magi and missionary. She bought a slew of remotes and distributed them throughout the neighborhood like special-recipe cookies, along with instructions on exactly how to make them work.
The friend came to New York for the holidays with the Maddow family. For presents, she is giving everybody a Christmas tree in a box.
Another step forward for Christmas tree culture.
Charles M. Blow: Suffer the Little Children
As we celebrate this Christmas with the sound of tiny feet rushing toward a tree to rip open presents, let’s take a moment to consider the children less fortunate – the growing number who live in poverty in this country.
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 42 percent of American children live in low-income homes and about a fifth live in poverty. It gets worse. The number of children living in poverty has risen 33 percent since 2000. For perspective, the child population of the country over all increased by only about 3 percent over that time. And, according to a 2007 Unicef report on child poverty, the U.S. ranked last among 24 wealthy countries.
This is a national disgrace.
Yet the reaction to this issue in some quarters is still tangled in class and race: no more welfare to black and brown people who’ve made poor choices and haven’t got the gumption to work their way out of them. The truth is, neither the problem nor the solutions are that simple.
Yes, the percentage of blacks, Hispanics and American Indians living in low-income homes is about twice that of whites and Asians. This raises unpleasant cultural questions that must be addressed. But that’s not the whole story. Despite the imbalance, white children are still the largest group of low-income children.
Johann Hari: The under-appreciated heroes of 2010
Who did we under-appreciate in 2010? In the endless whirr of 24/7 corporate news, the people who actually make a difference are often trampled in the stampede to the next forgettable news-nugget like Lady Gaga’s meat-dress. So in the final moments of this year, let’s look at a few people who deserved more of our attention.