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Sep 03 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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Robert Reich: Labor Day and the Election of 2012: It’s Inequality, Stupid

The most troubling economic trend facing America this Labor Day weekend is the increasing concentration of income, wealth, and political power at the very top – among a handful of extraordinarily wealthy people – and the steady decline of the great American middle class.

Inequality in America is at record levels. The 400 richest Americans now have more wealth than the bottom 150 million of us put together.

Republicans claim the rich are job creators. Nothing could be further from the truth. In order to create jobs, businesses need customers. But the rich spend only a small fraction of what they earn. They park most of it wherever around the world they can get the highest return.

The real job creators are the vast middle class, whose spending drives the economy and creates jobs.

Paul Krugman: Rosie Ruiz Republicans

Remember Rosie Ruiz? In 1980 she was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon – except it turned out that she hadn’t actually run most of the race, that she sneaked onto the course around a mile from the end. Ever since, she has symbolized a particular kind of fraud, in which people claim credit for achieving things they have not, in fact, achieved.

And these days Paul Ryan is the Rosie Ruiz of American politics.

This would have been an apt comparison even before the curious story of Mr. Ryan’s own marathon came to light. Still, that’s quite a story, so let’s talk about it first. [..]

So what is this election about? To be sure, it’s about different visions of society – about Medicare versus Vouchercare, about preserving the safety net versus destroying it. But it’s also a test of how far politicians can bend the truth. This is surely the first time one of our major parties has run a campaign so completely fraudulent, making claims so at odds with the reality of its policy proposals. But if the Romney/Ryan ticket wins, it won’t be the last.

New York Times Editorial: Still No Justice for Mortgage Abuses

It has been six months since the big banks settled with state and federal officials over evidence of widespread foreclosure fraud, promising to provide $25 billion in mortgage relief in exchange for not being sued over past foreclosure abuses.

At the time, it looked like a sweet deal for the banks. The fines were paltry compared with the damage done to homeowners and the economy. And much of the relief the banks were obliged to provide could be met by continuing more or less with business as usual.

It still looks like a sweet deal. [..]

The economy will not recover and justice will not be done unless and until the mortgage mess is resolved.

Richard Reeves: Romney’s Lies and Liars

I once wrote, about Gerald Ford, that an honest politician is one who lies only when he has to. Ford, a pretty straight shooter, is gone now. He has been replaced by Mitt Romney the ignorant and Paul Ryan the liar.

Last week’s Republican National Convention may be the last in the line going back to 1832, when President Andrew Jackson called a convention in Baltimore because he needed a plausible arena to bump his vice president, John C. Calhoun, in favor of a more compatible Martin Van Buren. It worked.

It doesn’t anymore. This Republican spectacle crumpled on its last night when Clint Eastwood incoherently debated a chair. The chair won.

Owen Jones: Getting Rid of George W. Bush Wasn’t Enough. The US Remains a Bully

The issue isn’t Obama, any more than it was Bush before him. The issue is US power

How easy it was to scrutinise US power when George W. Bush was in office. After all, it was difficult to defend an administration packed with such repulsive characters, like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, whose attitude towards the rest of the world amounted to thuggish contempt [..]

It was a bad dream that went on for eight years, and no wonder much of the world is still breathing a sigh of relief. But US foreign policy these days escapes scrutiny. In part, that is down a well-grounded terror of the only viable alternative to Barack Obama: the increasingly deranged US right. A deliberate shift to a softer, more diplomatic tone has helped, too. But it is also the consequence of a strategic failure on the part of many critics of US foreign policy in the Bush era. As protesters marched in European cities with placards of Bush underneath “World’s No 1 Terrorist”, the anti-war crusade became personalised. Bush seemed to be the problem, and an understanding of US power – the nature of which remains remarkably consistent from president to president – was lost.

Jonathan D. Moreno: What the Chair Could Have Told Clint

MANY found Clint Eastwood’s speech at the Republican National Convention odd, but I found it oddly familiar. When Mr. Eastwood set up a chair next to the podium and used it in an imaginary dialogue with the president, I recognized it as a technique from psychodrama – the psychotherapy my father, the psychiatrist J. L. Moreno, started developing nearly 100 years ago.

Therapists often use the “empty chair” as a way of orienting a patient to a particular relationship. “Here’s your mom,” they might say. “What would you say to her if she were here, right now?” The empty chair can be a very powerful warm-up to a problematic situation, a way of concretizing dormant, suppressed or abstract emotions in an important or troubling relationship. Used properly, it can lead to insight.