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May 21 2012

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”.

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Paul Krugman: Dimon’s Déjà Vu Debacle

Sometimes it’s hard to explain why we need strong financial regulation – especially in an era saturated with pro-business, pro-market propaganda. So we should always be grateful when someone makes the case for regulation more compelling and easier to understand. And this week, that means offering a special shout-out to two men: Jamie Dimon and Mitt Romney.

I’ll come back shortly to the troubles at JPMorgan Chase, the bank Mr. Dimon runs. First, however, let me talk about Mr. Romney, whose remarks about those troubles were so off-point that they constitute a teachable moment.

Here’s what the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said about JPMorgan’s $2 billion loss (which may actually have been $3 billion, or $5 billion, or more, but who’s counting?): “This was a loss to shareholders and owners of JPMorgan and that’s the way America works. Some people experienced a loss in this case because of a bad decision. By the way, there was someone who made a gain.”

Please remember that Jamie and Barry are BFF’s. America is so effing screwed.

Bernard Harcourt: Welcome, Nato, to Chicago’s police state

The Nato summit will come and go, but Mayor Emanuel has authorised a ‘new normal’ of militarised social control in Chicago

With Nato delegates arriving Saturday night, the City of Chicago has been turned into a police state. Courtesy of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who several months ago began implementing new draconian anti-protest measures, Chicago has gone on security lockdown. Starting early Friday night, 18 May 2012, the Chicago Police Department began shutting down – prohibiting cars, bikes, and pedestrians – miles and miles of highways and roads in the heart of Chicago to create a security perimeter around downtown and McCormick Place (where the Nato summit is being held). [..]

So, welcome, Nato, to the Chicago police state 2012. It may be hard to see or experience the security measures from within the perimeter, but for Chicagoans, the new experience is chilling. As one Chicagoan reportedly told NBC Chicago, the mass of security equipment “made her feel like she was on ‘lockdown’.”

And you thought the Bush/Cheney regime was bad

Robert Kuttner: Which Way for Europe?

PARIS — The good news: Austerity is finally on the defensive. At the Camp David G-8 summit, all the other national leaders pressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to relent and to allow Europe’s ravaged economy to grow.

The bad news: The shift is mainly at the level of rhetoric and token policy changes. Nobody in the political mainstream is seriously proposing the kind of radical reform that would allow growth to occur.

Two weeks of interviews with progressive leaders in Europe — academics, the left wing of labor and social democratic parties, NGO groups — suggest a remarkable consensus on what needs to be done. You can see it in any of several manifestos from groups like Social Europe, the European Trade Union Confederation (pdf), Re-Define, Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Finance Watch, the British group Compass, among several others.

Simon Johnson: Jamie Dimon Should Resign From the Board Of The New York Fed

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, is a member of the board of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Mr. Dimon’s role there is sometimes presented as “advisory” but he sits on the Management and Budget Committee; here is the committee’s charter, which includes reviewing and endorsing “the framework for compensation of the Bank’s senior executives (Senior Vice President and above)”. His advice apparently extends to important aspects of how the New York Fed operates, including aspects of its personnel policies. [..]

To have Mr. Dimon involved in overseeing the management of the New York Fed, an organization that oversees his activities, decisions, and potential losses, is no longer acceptable. We do not accept such conflicts of interest in other parts of American society and we should not accept them in this instance.

Leonard Pitts, Jr.: Tough on Crime, Tough on Justice

So the people got sick of it, all those criminals being coddled by all those bleeding heart liberal judges with all their soft-headed concern for rights and rehabilitation. And a wave swept this country in the Reagan years, a wave ridden by pundits and politicians seeking power, a wave that said, no mercy, no more. From now on, judges would be severely limited in the sentences they could hand down for certain crimes, required to impose certain punishments whether or not they thought those punishments fit the circumstances at hand. From now on, there was a new mantra in American justice. From now on, we would be “tough on crime.”

We got tough on Jerry Dewayne Williams, a small-time criminal who stole a slice of pizza from a group of children. He got 25 years.

We got tough on Duane Silva, a guy with an IQ of 71 who stole a VCR and a coin collection. He got 30 to life.

We got tough on Dixie Shanahan, who shot and killed the husband who had beaten her for three days straight, punching her in the face, pounding her in the stomach, dragging her by the hair, because she refused to have an abortion. She got 50 years. [..]