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Sep 13 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: Murder in Benghazi

Libya and its pro-democracy revolution had no better friend than J. Christopher Stevens, the United States ambassador who was killed along with three other Americans in Tuesday’s attack on the consulate in Benghazi. It was an outrageous act that deserved the strongest condemnation.

President Obama’s statement of outrage and his vow to bring the killers to justice received bipartisan support, including from politicians otherwise committed to partisan warfare, like the House speaker, John Boehner, and the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who rarely misses a chance to attack Mr. Obama.

But not from Mitt Romney, who wants Americans to believe he can be president but showed an extraordinary lack of presidential character by using the murders of the Americans in Libya as an excuse not just to attack Mr. Obama, but to do so in a way that suggested either a dangerous ignorance of the facts or an equally dangerous willingness to twist them to his narrow partisan aims.

Amy Goodman: Mayor Rahm-Ney’s Attack on the Chicago Teachers Union

Unions are under attack in the United States-not only from people like Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, but now, with the teachers strike in Chicago, from the very core of President Barack Obama’s inner circle, his former chief of staff and current mayor of that city, Rahm Emanuel. Twenty-five thousand teachers and support staff are on strike there, shutting down the public school system in the nation’s third-largest school district. [..]

This struggle reflects the essence of Occupy Wall Street-community members across class, race and other traditional divides uniting in disciplined opposition to corporate power. Author and journalist Chris Hedges, who has observed the Occupy movement closely, put the strike into context:

“The teachers’ strike in Chicago is arguably one of the most important labor actions in probably decades. If it does not prevail, you can be certain that the template for the attack on the union will be carried out across the country against other teachers unions and against the last redoubt of union activity, which is in the public sector, of course-firemen and police.”

For people who are wondering where Occupy is today, just look at the streets of Chicago.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: When It Comes to the DoJ and Wall Street, Don’t Call It “Justice”

If a recent report is true the Justice Department will need a new name — and some of us will have to step up and admit we were wrong.

It was clear that the foreclosure fraud settlement which the Administration and most states reached with major US banks was a great deal for the big banks — and a lousy deal for the public. But some of us found reason to hope against hope that the settlement would be accompanied by real investigation of crooked bankers, after years of flim-flammery and disgraceful inaction by the Justice Department.

Not that we were entirely naïve. The Administration’s track record was poor. and even had a slight resonance of bad faith. when it came to prosecuting Wall Street criminality. So, speaking only for myself, that cautious support came with renewed pressure on the Administration to back its words with action.

Some of us knew that, pace Pete Townshend, we very well might get fooled again.

Margaret Kimberly: Freedom Rider: Black America Stands Down for the Obamas

The Democrats definitely won the propaganda war between the two conventions but that doesn’t mean that black people won anything.” How could they, since African Americans have asked for nothing but that a Black family get to live in the White House? “For the first time in their history, black Americans have consciously and directly advocated being ignored.”

The recent Democratic National Convention was a demonstration of marketing at its worst, that is to say, at its greatest level of effectiveness. It was also an awful celebration of white washed history, dubious assertions and Orwellian levels of propaganda.

The best example of foolishness masquerading as substance was the overwrought reaction to first lady Michelle Obama’s speech. She gave what has become a traditional address asking voters to support the candidate because his wife tells funny stories about him which will make voters determined to vote for the good husband/dad/one time poor student who loves his country. The only difference between Michelle Obama and Ann Romney’s speeches was in the quality of delivery and fashion sense. Apparently there is still nothing like a beautiful woman in the right dress to make otherwise intelligent people lose their common sense.

Robert Reich: Moody’s in a Mood

The rating agencies are at it again. Moody’s Investors Services says it’s likely to downgrade U.S. government bonds if Congress and the White House don’t reach a budget deal before we go over the so-called “fiscal cliff” on January 2, when $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases automatically go into effect.

Apparently the credit rating agencies can’t decide which is more dangerous to the U.S. economy — cutting the U.S. budget deficit too quickly, or not having a plan to cut it at all. [..]

The fiscal cliff is a real worry. And it’s a worry precisely because the budget deficit isn’t — at least not now. When unemployment is high and growth is anemic, we need as much fiscal stimulus as we can manage.

As long as the rest of the world is willing to lend us their savings so cheaply, we’d be wise to use it to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and our schools and parks — and thereby put more Americans back to work — rather try to cut the deficit too much and too soon.

John Nichols: Priebus Posturing: RNC Chair Crosses the Last Line of Political Propriety

Mitt Romney’s response to the attacks on US diplomatic sites in Egypt and Libya-which left a US ambassador and other diplomats dead-was one of the more ignorant and irresponsible statements ever issued by a major party presidential nominee in such a circumstance. Early Wednesday, the Romney camp released a statement that read: “It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” [..]

Yet, even after the administration response in general and Obama’s own response had been made clear to all, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus continued to feature a Tweet on his official Twitter account that read: “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.”

Priebus made no effort to apologize, no effort to clarify, no show of even the most minimal sense of duty or responsibility. Political campaigns frequently go to extremes. People say and do things that are inappropriate. But what Priebus has done crosses whatever line of political propriety still exists. He is intentionally creating a false impression with regard to the response of the president of the United States to a violent international incident that could have long-term repercussions.

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