“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: Pain Without Gain
Last week the European Commission confirmed what everyone suspected: the economies it surveys are shrinking, not growing. It’s not an official recession yet, but the only real question is how deep the downturn will be.
And this downturn is hitting nations that have never recovered from the last recession. For all America’s troubles, its gross domestic product has finally surpassed its pre-crisis peak; Europe’s has not. And some nations are suffering Great Depression-level pain: Greece and Ireland have had double-digit declines in output, Spain has 23 percent unemployment, Britain’s slump has now gone on longer than its slump in the 1930s.
Worse yet, European leaders – and quite a few influential players here – are still wedded to the economic doctrine responsible for this disaster.
E. J. Dionne, Jr.: Ideological Hypocrites
When we talk about hypocrisy in politics, we usually highlight personal behavior. The multiply married politician who proclaims “family values” while also having affairs is now a rather dreary stock figure in our campaign narratives.
But the hypocrisy that matters far more is the gap between ideology and practice that has reached a crisis point in American conservatism. This Republican presidential campaign is demonstrating conclusively that there is an unbridgeable divide between the philosophical commitments conservative candidates make before they are elected and what they will have to do when faced with the day-to-day demands of practical governance. Conservatives in power have never been-and can never be-as anti-government as they are in a campaign.
Suddenly, manufacturing is back – at least on the election trail. But don’t be fooled. The real issue isn’t how to get manufacturing back. It’s how to get good jobs and good wages back. They aren’t at all the same thing.
Republicans have become born-again champions of American manufacturing. This may have something to do with crucial primaries occurring next week in Michigan and the following week in Ohio, both of them former arsenals of American manufacturing. [..]
The fundamental problem isn’t the decline of American manufacturing, and reviving manufacturing won’t solve it. The problem is the declining power of American workers to share in the gains of the American economy.
George Zornick: Obama’s Plan to Save the Military From Cuts-at the Expense of Domestic Programs
As budget wonks comb over President Obama’s outline for fiscal year 2013, a startling White House plan has become clear: the administration is seeking to undo some mandatory cuts to the Pentagon at the expense of critical domestic programs. It does so by basically undoing the defense sequester that kicked in as a result of the Congressional supercommittee on debt. This wasn’t a featured part of the White House budget rollout, and for good reason-it undercuts the administration’s carefully crafted message of benevolent government action and economic fairness.
The process for this shift is complicated, and has been flagged by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Essentially, Obama wants to eliminate individual spending caps for both military and non-military spending, and institute one single discretionary spending cap instead. Here’s the basic rundown.
Tom Engelhardt: A Real-Life War Novel With No Plot and No End
If all goes as planned, it will be the happiest of wartimes in the U.S.A. Only the best of news, the killing of the baddest of the evildoers, will ever filter back to our world.
After all, American war is heading for the “shadows” in a big way. As news articles have recently made clear, the tip of the Obama administration’s global spear will increasingly be shaped from the ever-growing ranks of U.S. special operations forces. They are so secretive that they don’t like their operatives to be named, so covert that they instruct their members, as Spencer Ackerman of Wired‘s Danger Room blog notes, “not to write down important information, lest it be vulnerable to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.” By now, they are also a force that, in any meaningful sense, is unaccountable for its actions.
Although the special ops crew (66,000 people in all) exist on our tax dollars, we’re really not supposed to know anything about what they’re doing — unless, of course, they choose the publicity venue themselves, whether in Pakistan knocking off Osama bin Laden or parachuting onto Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard to promote Act of Valor. In case you somehow missed the ads, that’s the new film about “real terrorist threats based on true stories starring actual Navy SEALs.” (No names in the credits please!)
John Atcheson: US Running on Myths, Lies, Deceptions and Distractions
Republican Hypocrisy; Democratic Complicity; The Press’s Malfeasance; and Why You Don’t Have a Job and if You Do, Why it Doesn’t Pay Squat
The United States is headed for a plutocratic dystopia where a few gated communities sit like islands amidst a sea of bitterness, misery, and want.
Because the country is running on lies, myths, deceptions and distractions. Not surprisingly, they aren’t working very well for us.
Let’s run through a few of the most destructive lies and myths.