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Dec 22 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: The N.R.A. Crawls From Its Hidey Hole

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, would have been better advised to remain wherever he had been hiding after the Newtown, Conn., massacre, rather than appear at a news conference on Friday. No one seriously believed the N.R.A. when it said it would contribute something “meaningful” to the discussion about gun violence. The organization’s very existence is predicated on the nation being torn in half over guns. Still, we were stunned by Mr. LaPierre’s mendacious, delusional, almost deranged rant. [..]

The N.R.A., which devotes itself to destroying compromise on guns, is blameless. So are unscrupulous and unlicensed dealers who sell guns to criminals, and gun makers who bankroll Mr. LaPierre so he can help them peddle ever-more-lethal, ever-more-efficient products, and politicians who kill even modest controls over guns.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Ask a Democrat: On Social Security, Which Side Are You On?

This is a moment of moral clarity. Right now there are only two sides in the Social Security debate: the side that says it’s acceptable to cut benefits — in a way that raises taxes for all income except the highest — and the side that says it isn’t.

It’s time to ask our leaders — and ourselves — a simple question: Which side are you on?

Nancy Pelosi says she can convince most Congressional Democrats to “stick with the President” as he pursues his gratuitous and callous plan to cut Social Security benefits as part of a deficit deal — even though Social Security does not contribute to the deficit.

Excuse me: Stick with the President? What about sticking with our seniors and our veterans? What about sticking with our disabled fellow Americans? What What about sticking with the more than 4,000 children on Social Security who lost a parent in the Iraq War?

Cenk Uygur: Obama Will Ride to the Rescue… for Republicans

The Republicans have put themselves in a holy mess with this Plan B debacle. They now have less than zero leverage. They are a national laughingstock. A majority of the country now thinks they are “too extreme.” They just got walloped in the election. And with the tax cuts set to expire the laws are rigged against them as well.

There is only one person who can rescue the Republican Party now — Barack Obama. And he will. I have been saying for over two years now that President Obama is dying to do the Grand Bargain. He will do it at any cost. In fact, he actively wants to cut Social Security and Medicare. He can’t wait for that pat on the back from the establishment when they finally call him post-partisan, above party politics, and a statesman for screwing over his own voters. This is by far his greatest wish.

I couldn’t believe that people couldn’t believe that President Obama offered to cut Social Security again in this round of negotiations. What are you still surprised at? The man has offered to cut these so-called entitlements every time. When are you going to get it through your head — he wants to cut them!

Gail Collins: Wish You a Gun-Free Christmas

Well, the Mayans were sort of right.

The world didn’t implode when their calendar stopped on Dec. 21. But the National Rifle Association did call for putting guns in every American school in a press conference that had a sort of civilization-hits-a-dead-end feel to it.

And we learned that negotiations on averting a major economic crisis had come to a screeching halt because Speaker John Boehner lost the support of the far-right contingent of his already-pretty-damned-conservative caucus. We have seen the future, and everything involves negotiating with loony people.

Robert Reich: Boehner’s Failure and the GOP’s Disgrace

Remarkably, John Boehner couldn’t get enough House Republicans to vote in favor of his proposal to keep the Bush tax cuts in place on the first million dollars of everyone’s income and apply the old Clinton rates only to dollars over and above a million.

What? Even Grover Norquist blessed Boehner’s proposal, saying it wasn’t really a tax increase. Even Paul Ryan supported it.

What does Boehner’s failure tell us about the modern Republican party?

That it has become a party of hypocrisy masquerading as principled ideology. The GOP talks endlessly about the importance of reducing the budget deficit. But it isn’t even willing to raise revenues from the richest three-tenths of one percent of Americans to help with the task. We’re talking about 400,000 people, for crying out loud.

Rep. Brad Miller: Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Honest Bankers

There was a hit song in the forties (made popular more recently by the Muppets) called “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens.” [..]

People who have been involved in pervasive felonious conduct cannot be trusted to report themselves voluntarily, and even when asked directly they have a motive to lie. And regulators should not rely on the institutions to act against their own interests, even when there is less at stake than a possible prison sentence. Regulators rely on financial institutions to grade their own “stress tests,” to propose their own “living wills,” and to conduct “independent foreclosure reviews” with consultants and law firms of their own choosing. A dose of skepticism by regulators is in order where financial institutions have an interest in what they report.

Get it?