Apr 06 2011

Punting the Pundits

“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”

Dana Milbank: Paul Ryan’s dogmatic budget

“This is not a budget,” Paul Ryan said as he introduced the Republicans’ 10-year budget plan. “This is a cause.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

The document released by the chairman of the House Budget Committee isn’t a serious budget proposal because it fails at the central mission of ending the deficit and taming the debt.

Without question, Ryan makes some severe cuts: Taking hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid, ending the Medicare entitlement, and slashing planned spending on transportation, energy, education, veterans benefits, agriculture payments, counterterrorism and more.

Robert Reich: Paul Ryan’s Plan, the Coming Shutdown, and What’s Really at Stake

I was in Washington in 1995 when the government closed because of a budget stalemate. I had to tell most of the Labor Department’s 15,600 employees to go home and not return the next day. I also had to tell them I didn’t know when they’d next get a paycheck.

There were two shutdowns, actually, rolling across the government in close succession, like thunder storms.

It’s not the way to do the public’s business.

Dean Baker: The Real Story Behind Job Creation

When the labour department announced that the US economy had created 216,000 jobs in March, it set off a round of celebrations throughout Washington policy circles. The word in the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major news outlets was that the economy was back on course; we were on the right path.

Those who know arithmetic were a bit more sceptical. If the economy sustained March’s rate of job growth, it will be more than seven years before we get back to normal rates of unemployment. Furthermore, some of this growth likely reflected a bounceback from weaker growth the prior two months. The average rate of job growth over the last three months has been just 160,000. At that pace, we won’t get back to normal rates of unemployment until after 2022.

Amy Goodman: One Guantanamo Trial That Will Be Held in New York

On the same day President Barack Obama formally launched his re-election campaign, his attorney general, Eric Holder, announced that key suspects in the 9/11 attacks would be tried not in federal court, but through controversial military commissions at Guantanamo. Holder blamed members of Congress, who he said “have intervened and imposed restrictions blocking the administration from bringing any Guantanamo detainees to trial in the United States.” Nevertheless, one Guantanamo case will be tried in New York. No, not the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any of his alleged co-conspirators. This week, the New York state Supreme Court will hear the case against John Leso, a psychologist who is accused of participating in torture at the Gitmo prison camp that Obama pledged, and failed, to close.

E. J. Dionne, Jr.: Should Obama have engaged earlier on the shutdown?

A Washington Post poll published today contains, at best, marginally good news for President Obama and the Democrats. At worse, it suggests that the president may have engaged too late on the budget fight.

Democrats had hoped that if the government shut down, Republicans would bear the blame. And considering how much ground Democrats have already given, Republicans should get the blame if they don’t take the deal that Obama has put forward through the Senate Budget Committee in ongoing negotiations. (Whatever Speaker John Boehner may say, those negotiations have been active and ongoing.)

Laura Flanders: Bonuses for Bosses at Killer Corporations?

Eleven workers dead, untold volumes of sea-life poisoned and more than 200 million gallons of oil spilled into the sea.  If that’s what an historically good year for safety looks like at TransOcean, I’d hate to see a bad year.

Most people know the name TransOcean only because  of the explosion on the company’s Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico and the spill that followed — the largest offshore oil spill in US history.  A  presidential commission investigating that disaster declared that lax standards caused the deadly mess. Despite that, TransOcean executives are receiving safety bonuses.

In a filing Friday, Transocean said, “Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record.” In fact, the company says it was the best year in safety performance in the company’s history -which has to make you wonder about other years.

Kristen Breitweiser: The Sad Defeat of Our Constitution

Today I was given two hours of “advance notice” regarding DOJ’s decision to not prosecute the remaining alleged 9/11 conspirators in an open court of law. According to DOJ’s statement, the remaining individuals will be sent to military tribunals.

I recognize that there are many, many other things for Americans to be upset with today, but I hope everyone can take a second to contemplate this decision and recognize what it says about President Obama, the Department of Justice, and the United States.

As for the Department of Justice, it shows their inability to prosecute individuals who are responsible for the death of 3,000 people on the morning of 9/11. Apparently our Constitution and judicial system — two of the very cornerstones that make America so great and used to set such a shining example to the rest of the world — are not adequately set up to respond to or deal with the aftermath of terrorism. To me, this is a startling and dismal acknowledgment that perhaps Osama Bin Laden did, in fact, win on the morning of 9/11. And chillingly, I wonder whether it wasn’t just the steel towers that were brought down and incinerated on 9/11, but the yellowed pages of our U.S. Constitution, as well.

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