“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”
Wednesday is Ladies” Day. Scroll down for the Gentlemen.
Katrina vanden Heuvel Keep Your Hands Off My Medicare!
It’s been a common refrain of politicians in Washington for as long as the capitol has been unpopular: “It’s good to get outside the Beltway, good to go get back to the real America.” But in recent days that cliché might feel a bit stale for Republican House members, who voted last month for Representative Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. Inside the Beltway, Ryan is called “courageous,” a “visionary,” a “serious man,” for having the bravery to put forth a budget that pays for tax cuts for the wealthy by ending Medicare as we know it. Back home in his district, he’s becoming known as the leader of the most serious assault on seniors since President Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security.
In April, Ryan was greeted, not with the outsized praise of New York Times columnist David Brooks at his town hall in Milton, Wisconsin, but instead, with sustained boos. On Friday, according to Politico, he asked police to remove a man from his town hall because the man refused to stop yelling about the impact the Ryan budget would have on Medicare.
Steph Sterling: They’re Forcing “Forcible Rape” On Us Again
In February, a firestorm erupted over efforts by anti-choice Members of Congress to narrow the long-standing “rape” exception to the ban on the use of federal funds for abortion. Hailed by Speaker John Boehner as one of the top priorities for the new Congress, H.R. 3 allowed federal funding for abortion only in circumstances where the woman could prove she was the victim of “forcible” rape, taking us back to a time when just saying ‘no’ wasn’t enough.
The public was rightly outraged, and House Republicans were forced to delete the offending language from the bill. The public assumed that the issue had been put to rest.
Not so: operating under the radar and far from public view, these anti-choice Members found another, more devious way to narrow the rape exception and exclude some of the most vulnerable rape victims from receiving the care they need.
: Is BP Too Big To Fail?
Now to the opposite of cuts. Over a year after the biggest oil spill in US history and even as criminal investigations continue, BP is still receiving millions of dollars in government contracts.
That’s according to a new story by Jason Leopold at Truthout, who notes that only last week Air BP, a division of the oil company responsible for the oil spill causing problems in the Gulf of Mexico, was awarded a $42 million contract to supply fuel to Dover Air Force Base.
While Leopold was unable to confirm that that fuel was going to supply planes headed to Libya, what he did find was that the contract was given under “unusual and compelling urgency,” which means that the government found the need so important that they limited the bids.
Amy Goodman: Accomplish the Mission: Bring the Troops Home
On May 1, the U.S. president addressed the nation, announcing a military victory. May 1, 2003, that is, when President George W. Bush, in his form-fitting flight suit, strode onto the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln. Under the banner announcing “Mission Accomplished,” he declared that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended.”
That was eight years to the day before President Barack Obama, without flight suit or swagger, made the surprise announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. military operation (in a wealthy suburb of Pakistan, notably, not Afghanistan).
The U.S. war in Afghanistan has become the longest war in U.S. history. News outlets now summarily report that “The Taliban have begun their annual spring offensive,” as if it were the release of a spring line of clothes. The fact is, this season has all the markings of the most violent of the war, or as the brave reporter Anand Gopal told me Tuesday from Kabul: “Every year has been more violent than the year before that, so it’s just continuing that trend. And I suspect the same to be said for the summer. It will likely be the most violent summer since 2001.”
Allison Kilkenny: Eighty-Nine Arrested Protesting Paul Ryan’s Medicaid Cuts
Capitol Police arrested eighty-nine disability rights activists on Monday following the group’s occupation of the Cannon House Office Building rotunda.
The disability rights group ADAPT staged the event to protest Representative Paul Ryan’s Medicaid cuts, which would force people with disabilities to live in nursing homes rather than in their own houses.
Additionally, the House-passed budget resolution would turn Medicaid into block grants and reduce the program’s spending by more than $700 billion over ten years.
New York Times Editorial: Party Like It’s 2013
Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee are having a campaign fund-raiser this week.
Starting on Wednesday, the committee’s majority is expected to pass bills to cripple the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one of the most important innovations in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
The bureau has one purpose: to shield consumers from unfair, misleading and deceptive lending. The purpose of the Republican bills is twofold. One is to deprive the agency of the power to fulfill its mission. Another is to attract campaign money. As long as the Senate and White House are controlled by Democrats, the bills are unlikely to become law. But by advancing them in the House, Republicans can demonstrate how thoroughly they would dismantle reform if they controlled Washington and, in the process, rake in Wall Street donations.
Peter Rothberg: World Press Freedom Day
Nearly two decades ago, the UN General Assembly proclaimed May 3 as World Press Freedom Day as a reminder that free, independent press is essential to democracy and is a fundamental human right.
In honor of that occasion, the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has organized a conference today at the Newseum in Washington, DC, with a focus on how Internet and digital platforms are contributing to freedom of expression, democratic governance and sustainable development across the globe.