“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”.
Robert Kuttner: American Policy Made in China
Last week, President Obama forcefully declared that the United States would not withdraw from the Asia-Pacific, telling the Australian Parliament that he was dispatching 2,500 Marines as well as ships and aircraft to serve at a base in the Australian port of Darwin. The message, in case anybody missed it, was unmistakably directed at China.
But while Obama was making symbolic military gestures, his administration was doing nothing serious to contest China’s growing threat to America’s economic base. That threat is spelled out in an official government document that should be mandatory reading for all of us — the annual report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (pdf), released last Thursday.
What’s noteworthy is that this is a bipartisan commission created by Congress, and that all of its 12 commissioners, six Republicans and six Democrats, signed off on the report.
Greg Sargent: No, `both sides’ aren’t equally to blame for supercommittee failure
Here’s why the supercommittee is failing, in one sentence: Democrats wanted the rich to pay more in taxes towards deficit reduction, and Republicans wanted the rich to pay less in taxes towards deficit reduction. [..]
This is the primary difference in a nutshell: The Dem offer involved both sides making roughly equivalent concessions; the GOP offer didn’t. The main GOP concession – the additional revenues – would have come in exchange for Dems giving ground on two major fronts: On cuts to entitlements, and on making the Bush tax cuts permanent.
Putting aside whether the supercommittee failure matters at all, it’s plainly true that one side was willing to concede far more than the other to make a deal possible. And anyone who pretends otherwise is just part of the problem.
E. J. Dionne, Jr.
: It’s Time to Occupy the Majority
BOSTON-Everyone on the left side of American politics, from the near end to the far end, has advice for Occupy Wall Street. I’m no exception. But it’s useful to acknowledge first that this movement has accomplished things that the more established left didn’t.
The problems of growing economic inequality and abuses by the masters of the financial world have been in the background for years. Many progressives longed to make them central political questions.
Occupy realized that the old approaches hadn’t worked. So it provided the media with a committed group of activists to cover, a good story line, and excellent pictures. Paradoxically, its unconventional approach fit nicely with current media conventions. And its indifference to immediate political concerns gave the movement a freedom of action that others on the left did not have.
Henry Porter: Odd as It May Seem, 2011 is Proving to be a Year of Rebirth
When New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, sent stormtrooper cops – equipped with batons, pepper spray and ear-splitting pain compliance devices – to sweep the Occupy protesters from Wall Street, he was attacked by the American TV commentator Keith Olbermann as “a smaller, more embarrassing version of the tinpot tyrants who have fallen around the globe this year”.
That will have pricked Bloomberg’s technocratic vanity, yet there he is, three months away from his 70th birthday and worth approximately $19.5 billion, ordering his police chief, Ray Kelly, who has already hit 70 but is still, incidentally, a familiar figure on the Manhattan party circuit, to unleash a shocking level of force against young people who were simply agitating for a better economic system, more equity and transparency.
It is not a good look in a country where, as Joseph Stiglitz revealed in Vanity Fair, 1% of the population now takes nearly 25% of the nation’s income. Justly or not, Bloomberg will be lumped with that international class of rich, often kleptomaniac, elderly men who have been brought down or who are looking shaky as demands for reform circle the world in what I believe to be a surge of optimism and, crucially, reason.
Eugene Robinson: Still Occupied
NEW YORK-Occupy Wall Street may not occupy Zuccotti Park anymore, but it refuses to surrender its place in the national discourse. Up close, you get the sense that the movement may have only just begun.
Demonstrators staged a “day of action” Thursday, following the eviction of their two-month-old encampment earlier this week. The idea was, well, to occupy Wall Street in a literal sense-to shut down the financial district, at least during the morning rush hour. [..]
There was some pushing and shoving, resulting in a few dozen arrests. Coordinated “day of action” protests were also held in other cities. They did not change the world.
A big failure? No, quite the opposite.
David Sirota: Anger Sowing Seeds of a New Consumer Movement
As we all know, America is angry. Really angry. To put it in pop culture terms, we’ve moved from the vaguely inspiring agita of Peter Finch in “Network” to the wild-eyed, primal-scream rage of Sam Kinison in “Back to School.”
When we pay attention to politics, we get peeved at Congress and the presidential candidates. When we tune into sports, we’re annoyed with squabbling players and owners. When we turn on the news, we fume at the smug pundits. And when it comes to the economy, we’re in a tizzy at big corporations.
Most of this indignation is nothing new; it is atavistic fury expressed in the modern vernacular. Yet, one strand of our anger-the kind directed at big business-may be truly novel, as our chagrin is no longer just that ancient animosity toward excessive corporate power. Instead, it has also become a personal disdain toward firms we deal with on a daily basis.