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Dec 15 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: Death in Connecticut

Each slaughter of innocents seems to get more appalling. A high school. A college campus. A movie theater. People meeting their congresswoman. A shopping mall in Oregon, just this Tuesday. On Friday, an elementary school classroom.  [..]

Mr. Obama said Friday that “we have been through this too many times” and that “we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

When will that day come? It did not come after the 1999 Columbine shooting, or the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, or the murders in Aurora last summer.

The more that we hear about gun control and nothing happens, the less we can believe it will ever come. Certainly, it will not unless Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders show the courage to make it happen.

Joshua Holland: Yes, We Can Have Sane Gun Control Without Trampling Gun Owners’ Rights

The NRA is a problem for sane gun enthusiasts.

The United States is not the only country to experience the horrors of mass shootings. We are, however, the only society in which a serious discussion of tighter gun controls doesn’t follow incidents like the massacres we’ve seen at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday. In fact, in most countries these kinds of tragedies result in some kind of concrete legislative action.

The reason we can’t have a sane, adult discussion of how to cut down on random gun violence is simple: the NRA has hoodwinked a lot of reasonable gun owners into believing that there’s a debate in this country over banning firearms altogether. We’ll never be able to have a serious discussion about how to cut down on gun violence until that group accepts the actual terms of the debate. And the NRA has a vested interest in making sure they remain obscure because the organization represents gun manufacturers and a small, highly ideological minority of gun-nuts, rather than (typically responsible) gun  owners.

Sarah Anderson: EU’s Landslide Vote for ‘Robin Hood Tax’

Eleven countries in Europe hope to raise billions of Euros through a tiny tax on financial speculation. This week, a major vote in the European parliament brings that plan one step closer to becoming reality.

Under pressure to address a massive deficit, legislators voted overwhelmingly this week in favor of a tax on financial speculation. This really happened, I swear.

OK, it was in Europe, not the United States. But it could happen here-and it should.

The vote in the European Parliament on December 10 was the latest in a series of victories by international campaigners for a tax on trades of stocks, bonds, and derivatives. Often called a “Robin Hood Tax,” the goal is to raise massive revenues for urgent needs, such as combating unemployment, global poverty, and climate change.

Robert Sheer: The Corporate Media’s Shameful Exploitation of Bradley Manning

Keep an American soldier locked up naked in a cage and driven half mad while deprived of all basic rights, and you will be instantly condemned as a barbaric terrorist. Unless the jailer is an authorized agent of the U.S. government, in which case even treatment approaching torture will go largely unnoticed. Certainly if a likable constitutional law professor happens to be president, all such assaults on human dignity will easily pass muster.

After being interned like some wild animal in that cage in Kuwait, Pfc. Bradley Manning was transferred to the Quantico, Va., Marine base and further subjected to conditions that his lawyer termed “criminal.” Not all that far from the White House, and yet our ever-enlightened president seems not to have noticed that this soldier, whose alleged criminal offense is that he attempted to inform the public of crimes committed in its name, has been held in an environment clearly designed to destroy his very sense of self.

Imara Jones: How Bernie Sanders’ Tax Plan Can Close the Huge Racial Wealth Gap

America needs a new tax policy that would get our financial house in order while fostering racial and economic fairness.

Last week I argued that the debate over taxes-a tussle at the heart of the current “fiscal cliff” discussions-is actually one about racial justice. Since questions of right and wrong must ultimately become about action, what America needs is a new tax policy that would get our financial house in order while fostering racial and economic fairness. The deficit reduction plan of independent United States Sen. Bernie Sanders would do just that.

The core inequity Sander’s plan tackles is that the United States taxes capital gains-income earned from wealth-less than income earned from work. This differential has had broad racial implications.

Sarah Sentilles: Why Are Conservatives Obsessed With Making Women Breed?

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat is just a high-profile example of the people — including liberals — who judge women harshly for refusing to give birth.

Ross Douthat wants you to have more babies. And he wants you to be married when you have those babies. And not just any babies. He wants you to have American babies — though, if you’re an immigrant, he’ll take your babies, too, because that’s really the only reason to allow immigrants (who he thinks have been slacking off in the bedroom recently) to be here.

And he wants you to hurry up and have those American babies, because if you don’t, we’ll run out of workers, and if we run out of workers the United States will get “knocked off its global perch.” Because that’s what’s at stake, ladies and gentlemen — American domination.

Douthat seems nostalgic, sentimental over a time when fewer women earned college degrees, when husbands and wives believed children were the key to successful marriages, when gay marriage (which he condemns for “formally sever[ing] wedlock from sex differences and procreation”) was not a “no brainer,” and when women did the only thing they were good for — making more American babies.

Never mind the melting ice caps. Never mind mass extinction on a scale never seen before. Never mind the environment or pollution or climate change. Make more people! And if you don’t, shame on you. You’re selfish. You’re “decadent.”