Oct 02 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; Spanish Protests, German Prescriptions

Demonstrators have been filling the streets of southern Europe’s capitals in numbers too large for politicians to safely ignore, protesting the latest economic austerity measures. Hundreds of thousands have turned out in Lisbon, Madrid and Athens, and more such protests are likely in coming days.

The public’s patience is running out on austerity policies demanded by the German government and European Union leaders, which have conspicuously failed in their stated goal of reducing debt burdens and paving the way for economic revival. Instead, it’s clear that these measures will accelerate depression-levels of unemployment and damage social safety net programs when they are most needed.

Paul Krugman: After Making a Mess of Iraq, Bush Advisers Join Team Romney

I have to admit that I haven’t been paying much attention to Mitt Romney’s foreign policy; the domestic side already offers a target-rich environment. But my eyebrows shot up when Dan Senor popped up speaking for Mr. Romney in the aftermath of the protests in Libya and Egypt. Dan Senor? [..]

I understand, in a way, why these people are still at it; research shows that the truly incompetent often have high self-confidence, because they’re too incompetent to realize that they’re incompetent. But what does it say about Mr. Romney that he’s relying on this crew?

William K. Black: Let’s Test Romney’s Claims About the 47% by Offering the Unemployed Jobs

I have explained how Governor Romney and Representative Ryan have self-destructed because they have followed Charles Murray’s demands that the wealthy denounce working class Americans’ supposed refusal to take personal responsibility for their lives by refusing to work. Murray is the far right’s leading intellectual. Murray’s Myth is that the wealthy are rich because they are morally superior to the lazy poor and that the poor are not employed because they are lazy. Murray’s explanation for his support for Governor Romney says it all: “Who better to be president of the greatest of all capitalist nations than a man who got rich by being a brilliant capitalist?” [..]

I predict that the Republicans will fight ferociously to prevent us from testing the truth of their abuse of the poor. They cannot allow a test because they know they are slandering many millions of Americans. Their first nightmare is a job guarantee program that leads to television images of millions of Americans eagerly signing up to jobs. Murray’s Myth would be destroyed in full public view. Their second nightmare is that the job guarantee would speed the recovery and provide useful projects and services that Americans would love. The slander is despicable, but the fact that they will do anything to prevent a test of Murray’s Myth compounds the slander with a toxic mix of cowardice and hypocrisy.

Robert Reich: Why the Election Will Turn Less on Wednesday’s Presidential Debate Than on Friday’s Jobs Report

The biggest election news this week won’t be who wins the presidential debate Wednesday night. It will be how many new jobs were created in September, announced Friday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Rarely in the history has the monthly employment carried so much political significance. If the payroll survey is significantly more than 96,000 — the number of new jobs created in August — President Obama can credibly claim the job situation is improving. If significantly fewer than 96,000, Mitt Romney has the more credible claim that the economy isn’t improving.

Roger Cohen: The Foreign Policy Divide

LONDON – China is a status quo power. It preaches dialogue, noninterference and the sanctity of national sovereignty because it does not want major global disruptions to its pursuit of the economic growth essential to political stability and full development by midcentury.

Russia is also a status quo power – the status quo of 30 years ago, that is. Under President Vladimir Putin, it wants to turn back the clock and restore the world to a place dominated by two superpowers going mano a mano. It has been prepared to watch thousands of Syrians die in order to demonstrate it still wields a big stick.

Melvin A. Goodman: [Time for Major Cuts in Defense Spending truth-out.org/opinion/item/11870-time-for-major-cuts-in-defense-spending]

Over the past decade, the United States has engaged in the most significant increase in defense spending since the Korean War. Trillions of dollars have been allocated for the Pentagon, with little congressional monitoring or internal oversight. The defense budget for 2012 exceeds $600 billion, nearly equaling the combined defense spending of the rest of world. Every U.S. taxpayer spends twice as much for the cost of national defense as each British citizen; five times as much as each German; and six times as much as each Japanese. Recent U.S. military expenditures include more than $2.5 trillion to wage unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have failed to enhance American security.

The current economic crisis and tepid economic recovery during President Barack Obama’s first term have created the imperative to reduce defense spending and the size of the U.S. military. More than 46 million Americans live in poverty; unemployment rates have remained at unacceptably high levels; and the economic concerns of the middle class have not abated. The income gap between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of the country continues to grow sharply. Millions of American have learned that their primary assets – their homes – have become a liability.

Andrew Simms: 50 Months to Avoid Climate Disaster – and a Change Is in the Air

“One or other of us will have to go,” Oscar Wilde is supposed to have said on his deathbed to the hated wallpaper in his room. The perilous acceleration of Arctic ice loss, and the imminent threat of irreversible climate change poses a similar ultimatum to the economic system that is pushing us over the brink. For society’s sake I hope this time we redecorate.

Fortunately, many people are queuing up to propose better designs, rather than just cursing the interiors, as you can read about here.

Monday 1 October marks the halfway point in a 100-month countdown to a game of climate roulette.