“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: Making Things in America
Some years ago, one of my neighbors, an émigré Russian engineer, offered an observation about his adopted country. “America seems very rich,” he said, “but I never see anyone actually making anything.”
That was a bit unfair, but not completely – and as time went by it became increasingly accurate. By the middle years of the last decade, I used to joke that Americans made a living by selling each other houses, which they paid for with money borrowed from China. Manufacturing, once America’s greatest strength, seemed to be in terminal decline.
But that may be changing. Manufacturing is one of the bright spots of a generally disappointing recovery, and there are signs – preliminary, but hopeful, nonetheless – that a sustained comeback may be under way.
Dahlia Lithwick: Extraordinary Hypocrisy
How Republican senators justified their decision to kill the nomination of Goodwin Liu.
It was a hall of mirrors of hypocrisy at Thursday’s Senate vote on the nomination of Goodwin Liu to be a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. At least 60 senators had to agree to allow the Senate to give Liu a straight up-or-down vote. Didn’t happen. Liu, a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley, is the first judicial nominee to be filibustered since 2005.
First, there are the most obvious failures of intellectual consistency: Republicans who once claimed that filibustering judicial nominees is “offensive to our nation’s constitutional design” (Sen. John Cornyn, 2004) and flat-out “unconstitutional” (Sen. Lindsey Graham, 2005) voted against Liu. Even the Republican who said he “will vote to support a vote, up or down, on every nominee-understanding that, were I in the minority party and the issues reversed, I would take exactly the same position because this document, our Constitution, does not equivocate”-even that guy (Sen. Johnny Isakson, 2005) voted against Liu.
Richard (RJ) Eskow
: Republicans Declare War On Bank Customers As Warren Nomination Heats Up
A group of Democratic representatives has joined consumer groups in calling on the President to make a “recess appointment” of Elizabeth Warren, so she can get to work running the new bureau charged with protecting bank customers from deceptive, dishonest, and unfair bank practices.
That should be a no-brainer: A Warren appointment would be a policy win and a political win. Republicans have purchased first-class tickets on the Crazy Train by vowing to block any appointment to that position, even one that shares their radical anti-regulation ideology. The President can show he means business by acting decisively to fill this important and urgently-needed position.
Eugene Robinson: Newt Gingrich’s meltdown on the launch pad
“I want to make sure every House Republican is protected from some kind of dishonest Democratic ad. So let me say on the record, any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood, because I have publicly said those words were inaccurate and unfortunate.”
A grateful nation thanks you, Newt Gingrich. The presidential campaign is just starting, and already you’ve given us a passage that will live in infamy – forever – in the annals of American political speech. Your delightful quotation shall be filed under “fiascos” and flagged with a cross-reference to “utter nonsense.” I can’t remember when we’ve heard a politician plead so desperately to take back something he said. Then again, naked desperation is clearly in order. The favorite parlor game in Washington this week has been trying to remember a more disastrous campaign launch than the one Gingrich is having. Many candidates have stumbled coming out of the gate, but few have taken off like a shot in the wrong direction.
Dennis Kucinich: US Actions, Not Obama’s Words Tell Story of US Middle East Policy
We all want to be supportive of our President as he attempts to broaden America’s positive role in the Middle East and North Africa. But it is important to critically analyze what the President does, not what he says, when it comes to U.S. policy abroad. When the President says ‘[i]t will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy,’ we must look more carefully at how this policy has been implemented as well as the implications of the actions that have already been taken.
President Obama violated the Constitution by pursuing war against Libya without a Constitutionally-required authorization for the use of military force or declaration of war from Congress. His actions, and now his policy recitations, set the stage for more interventions, presumably in Syria and Iran. His recounting of the reasons for U.S. intervention in Libya is at odds with the facts. There was no clear evidence of an impending massacre in Libya. There was menacing rhetoric and a violent government put-down of an armed insurrection which may have been joined by some with legitimate non-violent aspirations. No one can justify the actions of any parties to this conflict. In any case, discretion requires leaders to move with the utmost care in developing military responses to rhetoric and similar care to intervention in a civil war.
Dean Baker: Can the Greek People Teach the ECB Economics?
If the European Central Bank does not ease up on its austerity policies, it may push the heavily indebted countries into a downward economic spiral.
There is an old maxim that in any bureaucracy people will always rise to the level of their incompetence. This certainly seems to be the case with the European Central Bank (ECB). After totally ignoring the build-up of dangerous housing bubbles in most euro zone countries, as well as the imbalances that supported these bubbles, the ECB now seems intent on punishing the people in many of these countries for its mistakes.
This is the likely result of the policies that it is now pursuing, whether or not this is the intention. The insistence that the heavily indebted countries in the euro zone – Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain – pay off their debt in full will inevitably lead to years of high unemployment in these countries and trillions of dollars of lost output throughout the euro zone as a whole. The budget cuts demanded of these countries will force large reductions in pensions and other social supports at a time when macroeconomic policies ensure that few jobs are available.
Joe Conason: The Gingrich Style
It is hard to see why anyone was surprised by Newt Gingrich’s self-ignited implosion in the earliest hours of his presidential candidacy. The career of the former House speaker and Georgia congressman is practically bursting with proof that he suffers from chronic paranoid hysteria-a condition that has done more to advance than diminish his status among conservatives.
They loved him until he aimed his vitriol against one of their own, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, deriding the Wisconsin Republican’s plan to gut Medicare as “right-wing social engineering.”
Inundated by denunciations from every quarter of his party and movement, Gingrich swiftly backtracked and apologized and tried to blame the media. But his former fans are perhaps beginning to realize what most Americans understood about him years ago-that he is wholly untrustworthy and unfit for leadership.