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Aug 30 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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New York Times Editorial: The Vacuum Behind the Slogans

The party that claims to have all the answers on Medicare seemed to have no interest in sharing them with the American people at its convention on Wednesday. The session, devoted to the theme of “We Can Change It,” never went any deeper than that slogan or a few others: Reform Medicare. Strengthen Medicare. Protect Medicare.

All without the slightest hint of how that supposed reform or strengthening would take place, regarding that program and many others. “We will not duck the tough issues; we will lead,” said Representative Paul Ryan, in his speech accepting the vice-presidential nomination. “We will not spend four years blaming others; we will take responsibility.”

Sounds great, except that the speech ducked the tough issues and blamed others for the problems.

Mo Rocca: ‘The Right to Vote’

Pop quiz. Which of the following countries does not guarantee its citizens the right to vote? Is it:

(A) Iran

(B) Libya

(C) The United States

(D) All of the above.

If you guessed “all of the above,” you’re right. Yes, the United States is one of only a handful of nations whose constitution does not explicitly provide the right to vote. (Singapore is another, but it doesn’t even allow you to chew gum on the street.)

I imagine you’re surprised. I know I was. Think of all that hard work our founding fathers put in – the revolutionizing, the three-fifths compromising, having to write the entire Constitution with a quill – and yet they neglected to include the right to vote. (I know, it was a long, hot summer. Hard to stay focused.) It got me thinking: What else don’t I know about voting in our country? How does voting really work – or sometimes not work – in America?

Bernie Sanders: Deficit Hawk Hypocrites

Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the Republican Party are now mounting a massive attack against Social Security and other programs. Using “deficit reduction” as their rationale, they are attempting to dismantle every major piece of legislation passed since the 1930s that provides support and security to working families.

They are being aided by at least 23 billionaire families, led by the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in this campaign as a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Despite paying the lowest effective tax rate in decades, the billionaires want more tax breaks for the very rich. Despite the fact that the elimination of strong regulations caused the Wall Street meltdown and a terrible recession, the billionaires want more deregulation. Despite outsourcing of millions of good-paying American jobs to China and other low-wage countries, the billionaires want more unfettered free trade.

At this pivotal moment in American history, it’s important to note how we got into this deficit crisis, who was responsible and what is the fairest way to address it.

Robert Reich; How Romney Keeps Lying Through His Big White Teeth

“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” says Neil Newhouse, a Romney pollster.

A half dozen fact-checking organizations and websites have refuted Romney’s claims that Obama removed the work requirement from the welfare law and will cut Medicare benefits by $216 billion.  

Last Sunday’s New York Times even reported on its front page that Romney has been “falsely charging” President Obama with removing the work requirement. Those are strong words from the venerable Times. Yet Romney is still making the false charge. Ads containing it continue to be aired.

Presumably the Romney campaign continues its false claims because they’re effective. But this raises a more basic question: How can they remain effective when they’ve been so overwhelmingly discredited by the media?

Mark Morford: How to Spot Completely Miserable GOP Women

You can see it in the eyes. Vacant, sort of glassy, dark and distant as if staring into a cave full of nails from a thousand miles – and a million joyful lifetimes – away.

It moves on to the skin, pale and ill-fitting like a mannequin in a human costume, like it’s not the slightest bit comfortable in there, closing around a sallow tightness of the mouth and lips, maybe a severity of haircut, the sweater buttoned a bit too tight and the collar cutting circulation to the vital organs, but most especially and obviously, to the heart.

Do you see it? Do you see it, most frequently and with a tragic sigh, in the women of the GOP, from the senseless female candidates themselves (Hi, Ms. Bachmann!) to the sallow wives and disoriented daughters of the ultraconservative males who fear and detest everything real women represent?

You know the look. You’ve seen it a million times, this “Oh my God how did I get here,” this “How can this really be my life,” this look of deep and long-muted pain and/or dull resignation (Hi, Mrs. Vitter!), the long rusted-over knowledge that choices have been made and there was no other way, even though there was, even though there still is.

Gail Collins: Renovating Mitt Romney

So, about Mitt Romney.

The Republicans have been holding a convention to nominate him for president! I am telling you this on the off chance that you haven’t been paying attention. Perhaps you feel as if you’ve already met Mitt Romney and don’t require another introduction. Perhaps you feel as if you’ve met him a lot. But this is entirely different because the party’s mission this week is to construct an entirely new, improved, warmer, more lovable version.

They built this Romney!

“We built it” is one of the themes here, at the government-underwritten convention in a government-subsidized convention center in a city that rose on the sturdy foundation of government-subsidized flood insurance. But no taxpayer dollars were expended in the attempt to put together a New Mitt.

None. Really, it was just private corporations and rich people.