Nov 24 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: Their Problem With Elizabeth Warren

When Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren gave her victory speech on election night at a party where loudspeakers blared “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now,” she pledged to “hold the big guys accountable.” Now, some bankers, their lobbyists and their Republican allies on the Senate banking committee reportedly would like nothing better than to keep Ms. Warren off the powerful bank panel – where she could do the most harm to the status quo, and the most good for the country.

Republicans have opposed Ms. Warren before, notably in their successful fight in 2011 to prevent her from becoming the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency that was her brainchild and that is arguably the most important part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, who assigns freshman senators to the committees, should not let them get their way again.

Glenn Greenwald: Prosecution of Anonymous activists highlights war for Internet control

The US and allied governments exploit both law and cyber-attacks as a weapon to punish groups that challenge it

Whatever one thinks of WikiLeaks, it is an indisputable fact that the group has never been charged by any government with any crime, let alone convicted of one. Despite that crucial fact, WikiLeaks has been crippled by a staggering array of extra-judicial punishment imposed either directly by the US and allied governments or with their clear acquiescence. [..]

That the US government largely succeeded in using extra-legal and extra-judicial means to cripple an adverse journalistic outlet is a truly consequential episode: nobody, regardless of one’s views on WikiLeaks, should want any government to have that power. But the manifestly overzealous prosecutions of Anonymous activists, in stark contrast to the (at best) indifference to the attacks on WikiLeaks, makes all of that even worse. In line with its unprecedented persecution of whistleblowers generally, this is yet another case of the US government exploiting the force of law to entrench its own power and shield its actions from scrutiny.

Charles M. Blow: Lincoln, Liberty and Two Americas

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

Those are the opening words of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and they seem eerily prescient today because once again this country finds itself increasingly divided and pondering the future of this great union and the very ideas of liberty and equality for all.

The gap is growing between liberals and conservatives, the rich and the not rich, intergenerational privilege and new-immigrant power, patriarchy and gender equality, the expanders of liberty and the withholders of it. And that gap, which has geographic contours – the densely populated coastal states versus the less densely populated states of the Rocky Mountains, Mississippi Delta and Great Plains – threatens the very concept of a United States and is pushing conservatives, left quaking after this month’s election, to extremes.

Stephen Rohde: Will President Obama Restore the Rule of Law During His Second Term?

Progressives, civil libertarians, faith leaders and Democrats by and large held their noses during the 2012 presidential campaign regarding the president’s abject failure to restore the Rule of Law and worse yet his dangerous expansion of unilateral executive power, fearing far worse if the right-wing of the Republican Party took over the White House and, in addition to implementing other catastrophic policies, secured the power to solidify a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for generations to come.

But that disaster has been avoided. And now everyone who cares about the future of the Constitution must organize, advocate and demand that President Obama spend a considerable share of his political capital to fulfill his constitutional obligation to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

For if he is excused by the rest of us from his solemn duty, we should tremble over the prospect that the unrestrained executive powers, born in the Bush administration, to subject citizens and non-citizens alike to ever widening abuses, including unwarranted surveillance, indefinite detention, torture and targeted killings, which have since gone unchecked and indeed have taken root and been cultivated during the Obama administration, will spread and grow even stronger in future administrations, blossoming with poisonous thorns and unbreakable branches, choking off constitutional rights, suffocating dissent and strangling democracy.


Ana Marie Cox: Republicans’ choice: fantasy follies or reality-based relevance

The GOP’s electoral future hangs on whether it prefers the ‘conservative entertainment complex’ to America as it finds it

Republicans’ belief in the feel-good Fox News fantasies of what “real America” wanted and believed helped them lose the election. Would Romney have lost if his base didn’t stubbornly insist that polls were rigged, that almost half the country was looking for a handout (and the other half was angry about it), and that government exists only to coddle or sabotage (not so much the “Nanny state” as Mommie Dearest)? The “conservative entertainment complex”, as columnist David Frum put it, promulgated a view of the American electorate that wasn’t just objectively false, in terms of polled support, but to which they objected. That is, they didn’t just get wrong how much support Romney had; they told a story about American voters that Americans themselves didn’t believe.

You can’t win an election by appealing solely to a class you’ve arbitrarily designated as the “makers” – there are too many of us who don’t believe getting back from your government is “taking”. And when it comes to civil rights, you can’t woo voters with a description of a future they’re not part of. Ultimately, we didn’t want to be the kind of country Mitt Romney and the Republican party told us we were.

Jan Lee: Black Friday: Deciphering the Importance of Buy Nothing Day

For many Americans, Black Friday is a special but important part of the holiday season. A time in which the warm, appreciative glow of a family Thanksgiving is replaced by insatiable deals at midnight store openings; when hot turkey sandwiches, hot coffee and cold pie are savored all the more for the comfort they provide during long shopping lines, brutal crowds and desperate searches for those key items on the Christmas list. It’s a time that comes but once a year for both the consumer and the store owner, who each know that a profitable Black Friday may determine the financial outcome of the rest of the holiday season.

But for a small but growing sector of the population, Black Friday represents a different vision of holiday symbolism: a time to buy nothing.

It’s a time for visiting friends, renewing ties and regaining one’s perspective. It’s a time symbolized by pot-luck dinners, reflective discussions about sustainable living and the beneficial prospects of investing in a sharing economy.

1 comment

  1. DungenessLobster

    pass some kind of psuedo Lilly-AHIP thing which works for those families raking in over $150k a year because:

    1. with that kind of money, you can afford to fix your problems.

    2. with that kind of money, insurance companies and lilly don’t really matter!

    oh yeah, and string us along long enough to get to LOTE LOTE LOTE 2014.


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