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Oct 30 2011

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

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”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: Guests are Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachman (R-MI) and Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates.

The roundtable will be occupied by ABC’s George Will and Cokie Roberts, National Journal Editorial Director Ron Brownstein, former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

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Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Bob Schieffer sits down for a one-on-one interview with Republican presidential contender Herman Cain.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Bob Woodward, The Washington Post Associate Editor, Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent and John Heilemann, New York Magazine National Political Correspondent.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: The main guest is president’s 2008 campaign manager, now White House Senior Adviser, David Plouffe.

Joining the roundtable are author of new biography on the late Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson, author of the new book “The Time of Our Lives,” NBC News Special Correspondent, Tom Brokaw, former Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, and Republican strategist, Mike Murphy.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Senior Obama Campaign Strategist David Axelrod is an exclusive guest and another with Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Roundtable guests are veteran reporters Florida’s Adam Smith, Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson and South Carolina’s Gina Smith.

In a special segment Ellen Davis from the National Retail Federation will discuss the inpact of Halloween on the economy.

You can go back to bed now

Allison Kilkenny: Police Disguise Protest Sabotage As Public Safety

The Occupy movements, in addition to being some of the most important activist movements to come along in the United States in several decades, have helped underscore several societal crises. For example, the failure of the establishment media and the rise of the beltway pundit class, the disappearance of public space, and also vanishing civil liberties, to name only a few.

Occupy has also served as a reminder of the ever-present police state, which rather than acting to “serve and protect,” oftentimes crushes and suppresses freedom of expression.  We’ve witnessed this in obvious, overt, batshit crazy behavior like police using horses to stampede into a Times Square crowd, and when Oakland police turned their city into a war zone. But there are subtler, far sneakier ways so-called public servants such as firefighters and the police, and by extension city officials, use the law as a weapon, or a convenient scapegoat, to control a rebellious faction of the population.

Michael Weisbrot: Obama Administration Escalates Confrontation With Iran: Why?

The Obama administration announced two weeks ago that a bumbling Iranian-American used car salesman had conspired with a U.S. government agent posing as a representative of Mexican drug cartels, to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington. This brought highly skeptical reactions from experts here across the political spectrum.  

But even if some of this tale turns out to be true, the handling of such accusations is inherently political. For example, the U.S.  government’s 9/11 commission investigated the links between the attackers and the Saudi ruling family, but refused to make public the results of that investigation. The reason is obvious: there is dirt there and Washington doesn’t want to create friction with a key ally. And keep in mind that this is about complicity with an attack on American soil that killed 3000 people.

Robert Fisk: What the Killing of Gaddafi Means to Syria

Two days before Gaddafi was murdered, I was reading the morning newspapers in Beirut and discovered a remarkable story on most front pages.

At the time, the mad ex-emperor of Libya was still hiding in Sirte, but there was this quotation by the US Secretary of State, La Clinton, speaking in Tripoli itself. “We hope he can be captured or killed soon,” she said, “so that you don’t have to fear him any longer.” This was so extraordinary that I underlined La Clinton’s words and clipped the article from one of the front pages. (My archives are on paper.) “We hope he can be captured or killed soon.” Then bingo. Nato bombs his runaway convoy and the old boy is hauled wounded from a sewage pipe and done away with.

Now in an age when America routinely assassinates its enemies, La Clinton’s words were remarkable because they at last acknowledged the truth. Normally, the State Department or the White House churned out the usual nonsense about how Gaddafi or Bin Laden or whoever must be “brought to justice” – and we all know what that means. But this week, the whole business turned much darker. Asked about his personal reaction, Obama the Good said that no one wanted to meet such an end, but that Gaddafi’s death should be a lesson “to all dictators around the world”. And we all knew what that meant. Principally, the message was to Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Maybe, ran the subtext, they would meet the same sticky end.

Amy Dean: Occupy Wall Street and America’s Democratic Tradition

I was recently talking with some friends who work at the Chicago Board of Trade. Hearing the opinions voiced by Occupy Wall Street protesters, the traders agreed that they’d seen disturbing changes within their industry. While they might have written off criticisms 15 years ago, they’ve since watched the financial sector become more and more based on speculative gambling-with people trying to make profits by moving money around rather than by supporting real economic activity. To a surprising degree, my friends were willing to consent that the system has grown bankrupt. Yet, while they share some of the activists’ criticisms, they don’t like the street protests and are doubtful that the occupations will help our democracy.

I have been sympathetic to their concerns, but I ultimately disagree with their assessment of the protests’ importance. Occupy Wall Street is rooted in a deep tension in American life. In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville illuminated how the conflict between equality and liberty is at the center of the American political drama. That we are now having an open and spirited debate about the optimal balance between these two values is a crucial, and welcome, development.

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