Oct 12 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”.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Will Occupy Wall Street’s Spark Reshape Our Politics?

When the organizers of Occupy Wall Street first gathered to discuss their plan of action, the strategy that resonated most came from those who had occupied squares in Madrid and Athens, Tunis and Cairo. According to David Graeber, one of Occupy Wall Street’s organizers, “they explained that the model that seemed to work was to take something that seemed to be public space, reclaim it, and build up an organization and headquarters around [it].”

Six weeks later, on September 17, the occupation in downtown New York began, with scant attention, minimal and often derisive media coverage, and little expectation that it would light a spark where others had not. Now, in its fourth week, Occupy Wall Street has the quality of an exploding star: It is gathering energy in enormous and potent quantities, and propelling it outward to all corners of the country.

Danny Schechter: As the GOP Blames Obama for Wall Street “Mobs” the Occupy Movement Spreads Nationwide and Is No Friend of the President

Who is behind the Wall Street protests?

The Republican minority leader, Eric Cantor, has searched up and down in his usual rigorous manner and found the culprit.

In his knee-jerk view, it’s President Obama. His latest crime: encouraging these “mobs.”

In one sentence, he blamed the President, who in GOP conspiracy think, is to blame for everything, including bad weather. He also not so subtly conjures up the memory of the Mafia, New York’s perennial bad guys.

In one phrase, Obama stood accused of encouraging these…. pause for righteous indignation — MOBS!

Never mind that if you spend any time at Occupy Wall Street, you will encounter as many criticisms of the President’s policies — save the questions about his birth and “real Americaness” — as you would at a conclave of the Tea Party.

Only the criticism is different. In the latter world of make-believe, he is a hard line Socialist. In the former, he is, in effect, a Republican, a backer of the Wall Street capitalists the occupiers are battling.

Ben Lillston: The 1 Percent’s Trade Deals

This week, the House of Representatives will consider three pending U.S. free trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. The push to further deregulate trade seems to be one of the few things that President Obama and Congressional Republicans can agree on. And it represents, in stark detail, why so many around the country are protesting excess corporate power in Washington.

There is no clarion call from the public for more free trade agreements. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last year found that 69 percent of Americans believe free trade deals cost Americans jobs, only 18 percent believe they create jobs (see Public Citizen’s trade polling memo for more).

Dave Zirin: Dr. John Carlos Raises His Fist With Occupy Wall Street

Last night I had the privilege of introducing 1968 Olympian Dr. John Carlos to the General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street. This morning I had the duty of introducing John Carlos to Sen. Chuck Schumer in the MSNBC green room. Both were unforgettable experiences. When Dr. Carlos and I arrived an Occupy Wall Street, it comprised all the ordered chaos you could imagine. People of all backgrounds and ages were packed shoulder to shoulder in Zucotti Park. Police stood at attention, glowering from the outside. Homemade igns ranging from, “”Undocumented immigrants are part of the 99% to “We Remember Troy Davis” to “Tax the Rich!” encircled the square. John Carlos looked at me with that twinkle in his eye and said, “It’s great to be home.”


As Dr. Carlos and I were leaving the MSNBC studio, we bumped into someone also very familiar with Wall Street, albeit the non-occupied sections, New York Senator Chuck Schumer. I made the introduction, on my best green room behavior, and bit my tongue. Chuck Schumer then looked at John’s body up and down and said, You’re in great shape! Are you still running?” John paused beautifully and said, “Running for justice.” Schumer, perhaps for the first time, was tongue-tied. I would just add that John isn’t “just running for justice,” he’s running toward justice; and he has a hell of a lot of company.

Dean Baker: David Brooks: Bard of the 1 Percent

David Brooks delved deep into his storage locker of misinformation to tell readers that the idea of blaming the richest 1 Percent for the country’s problems is just silly. He told us that the really big ideas aren’t about reversing the upward redistribution of income from the top, they are from centrists who want to do things like cut our Social Security and make us pay more for health care. Let’s have some fun with Mr. One Percent.

William Rivers Pitt: A Delicate Moment for the Occupy Wall Street Movement

Anyone who still thinks the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests are some kind of fluke, an exercise in ego inflation by spoiled college kids and aging hippies, needs to go back to bed. This thing is very much for real, is very large, and is growing exponentially. Similar protests have sprung up in dozens of cities all across the country, and with an ‘Occupy the London Stock Exchange’ action set to take place on Saturday, the movement is poised to become an international affair.

The New York police have already laid into the Wall Street protesters with unnecessary violence on more than one occasion, and the Boston police have likewise gotten into the action . . . . .

Frontal assaults have not been the only tactic deployed by those who would like to see the OWS movement dry up and blow away. Patrick Howley, an assistant editor for the right-bent publication The American Spectator, bragged on the Spectator’s website about deliberately disrupting a peaceful protest at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, for no other reason than to give the protesters a bad name. James O’Keefe, the wannabe gotcha-journalist famous for his manipulative hit pieces on ACORN and NPR, has been spotted skulking around Wall Street…which sets up an amusing potential endgame for him, as he is on probation in New Jersey and requires a judge’s permission to leave the state. As best as anyone can determine, that permission was never obtained. Hopefully Mr. O’Keefe can find refuge in an OWS protester’s tent to avoid the judge’s wrath.