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May 25 2011

Punting the Pundits

Punting the Punditsis 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: Why Obama should appoint Elizabeth Warren

When the Senate goes on recess at the end of this week, President Obama should appoint Elizabeth Warren to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). By making a recess appointment, the president can name the best qualified leader to head the new agency, while demonstrating he’s willing to stand up to Republican obstruction and Wall Street pressure. He’ll earn plaudits not only from the base of the Democratic Party that adores Warren but also from independent voters, who will be thankful for an advocate for consumers willing to stand up to the Wall Street lobby.

Given the mandate of the CFPB – to police “unfair, deceptive or abusive practices” of the financial world – anyone with a whit of sense knows that Elizabeth Warren is the best person to head the new agency.

Warren earned just renown for her path-breaking work on the financial pressures on middle-class families, while helping to develop consumer finance law as a professor at Harvard Law School. As head of the oversight panel that Congress established to provide independent review of the bank bailout, she challenged the secretive practices of the Treasury Department and helped provide Congress and citizens with a better sense of the extraordinary measures being taken to bail out the big banks. This pleased neither Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner nor Wall Street.

Amy Goodman: Vermont, the Land of Healthy Firsts

Vermont is a land of proud firsts. This small New England state was the first to join the 13 Colonies. Its constitution was the first to ban slavery. It was the first to establish the right to free education for all-public education.

This week, Vermont will boast another first: the first state in the nation to offer single-payer health care, which eliminates the costly insurance companies that many believe are the root cause of our spiraling health care costs. In a single-payer system, both private and public health care providers are allowed to operate, as they always have. But instead of the patient or the patient’s private health insurance company paying the bill, the state does. It’s basically Medicare for all-just lower the age of eligibility to the day you’re born. The state, buying these health care services for the entire population, can negotiate favorable rates, and can eliminate the massive overhead that the for-profit insurers impose.

Jennifer Abel: A Patriotic Duty: Repeal the Patriot Act

This draconian law was never about public safety. Americans’ constitutional liberties have been trashed for the war on drugs

The first thing you need to understand about the Patriot Act is this: Osama Bin Laden’s destruction of the World Trade Centre wasn’t the reason the act was passed; it was merely the excuse. The real reason dates back to the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan demonstrated his principled commitment to personal liberty and small government by turning the “war on drugs” up to 11.Of course, the constitution as it’s written makes drug laws difficult to enforce. Police learn about most crimes – real crimes – when the victims report them to the police. But there’s no victim to complain when a willing buyer purchases a product from a willing seller, so drug cops looking to make arrests and justify their existence had to resort to privacy violations and fishing expeditions instead.

Ruth Marcus: Politics and the gossip machine

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ decision not to run for president offers the perfect opportunity to lament the increasingly intrusive nature of modern politics and to praise politicians who place family considerations over personal ambition.

I think I’ll pass.

It’s true that there is a vanishingly small zone of privacy in political life, especially at its highest echelons. The unseemly scramble for celebrity news to feed what The New York Times describes as the “Gossip Machine” has had a spillover effect on politics.

This no doubt has the effect of dissuading some good men and women from entering public life. But the phenomenon is neither entirely new nor especially regrettable.

Sahar Aziz: It’s Time to Take Back Our Civil Liberties

It took the United States government nearly 10 years to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden in retribution for the September 11, 2001, attacks. Over that same period, Muslims struggled to overcome guilt by association for the criminal acts of bin Laden. Meanwhile, all Americans were forced to give up civil liberties in a purported exchange for more security.

As part of its concerted war on terror, the US government under both presidents Bush and Obama directed most national security resources toward terrorism committed by Muslims, while the likes of Jared Lee Loughner and Joseph Stack attacked undetected. Frightening images of Muslim terrorists persuaded the American public that spending billions of dollars on occupying Iraq and Afghanistan was necessary despite burgeoning economic ills at home.

John Nichols: No Wonder New York Republicans Are Scared Of The Special Election Results

New York Republicans moved even before the polls had closed to prevent certification of the winner of the hotly-contested New York special congressional election for a traditionally “safe” Republican seat.

Officially, Republican nominee Jane Corwin’s campaign has indicated that it obtained an order from the New York Supreme Court preventing a certification of a winner in the special election in New York’s 26th District in order to prepare for a recount. But the order was obtained before anyone knew whether the result would be close enough to justify a recount.

So what’s the real reason? GOP strategists hope to stir up uncertainty and confusion.

Anything to muddy the waters.

Why? Because no matter what the eventual winner is, the results will show that they have lost the Medicare debate.

Ari Berman: House GOP Escalates Attack on Elizabeth Warren, Consumer Bureau

Congressional Republicans have frequently attacked Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) she’s setting up, which officially launches on July 21. The House GOP escalated its anti-Warren, anti-CFPB campaign at a hearing of the House Oversight Committee today, chaired by Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC).

McHenry was once known as Tom DeLay’s “attack-dog-in-training,” a title he more than earned today. Before the hearing had even begun, McHenry went on CNBC and brazenly accused Warren of lying to Congress. He claimed that Warren had misrepresented her role in advising state attorneys general who are seeking a multibillion-dollar settlement with the country’s largest mortgage service providers, who stand accused of massive and widespread foreclosure fraud. As evidence, McHenry pointed to a leaked internal document prepared by the CFPB that laid out different settlement options for the state AGs. McHenry claimed this went beyond the scope of the “advice,” that Warren had already admitted to providing, at the behest of the Treasury Department, in earlier testimony to Congress in March. “We’ve given advice when asked for advice,” she reiterated this afternoon.

Bill McKibben: A Link Between Climate Change and Joplin Tornadoes? Never!

Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week’s shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that (which, together, comprised the most active April for tornadoes in U.S. history). No, that doesn’t mean a thing.

It is far better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, discrete events. It is not advisable to try to connect them in your mind with, say, the fires burning across Texas – fires that have burned more of America at this point this year than any wildfires have in previous years. Texas, and adjoining parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico, are drier than they’ve ever been – the drought is worse than that of the Dust Bowl. But do not wonder if they’re somehow connected.

1 comment

  1. TMC

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