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Feb 28 2013

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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Glen Ford: Remember: Sequestration was Obama’s Idea

Obama's Satan Sandwich Sequester photo satan_sandwich_chef_barack_zps3232b1e9.jpg President Obama is a full partner with the Republicans in the latest episode of the manufactured disaster saga: sequestration. “The idea was to make every popular constituency in the country scream – and accept the inevitability of massive entitlement cuts.” It’s a goal shared by corporatists in both parties. [..]

Disaster capitalism is manifesting itself as disaster governance, and President Obama is fully complicit in the corporate-imposed charade. Indeed, Obama is most culpable for infecting the nation with austerity fever.

Robert Kuttner: The Sequestering of Barack Obama

President Obama has miscalculated both the tactical politics of the sequester and the depressive economic impact of budget cuts on the rest of his presidency. The sequester will cut economic growth in half this year. But it’s now clear, one way or another, that we will get cuts in the $85 billion range that the sequester mandates this fiscal year. All that remains are the details. [..]

Obama needs to do something that doesn’t come easily to him. He needs to demolish the previous terms of debate, some of them partly of his own making. He has warned Republicans that if they allow the sequester to destroy a fragile recovery, the burden will be on them. More broadly, he needs to disavow earlier mistaken policies that he embraced, such as the belief that targeting a lower debt ratio as an end in itself will produce a recovery. If he could embolden his thinking on such issues as same-sex marriage and gun control, he owes us no less on the economy. Otherwise, Obama will preside over the worst eight-year economic record of any Democratic president, and the steepest rate of decline in social spending. He will leave an economy even more unequal than the one that he inherited. He needs to find within himself the audacity to restore hope.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Lords of Disorder: Billions For Wall Street, Sacrifice For Everyone Else

The President’s “sequester” offer slashes non-defense spending by $830 billion over the next ten years. That happens to be the precise amount we’re implicitly giving Wall Street’s biggest banks over the same time period.

We’re collecting nothing from the big banks in return for our generosity. Instead we’re demanding sacrifice from the elderly, the disabled, the poor, the young, the middle class – pretty much everybody, in fact, who isn’t “too big to fail.”

That’s injustice on a medieval scale, served up with a medieval caste-privilege flavor. The only difference is that nowadays injustices are presented with spreadsheets and PowerPoints, rather than with scrolls and trumpets and kingly proclamations.

And remember: The White House represents the liberal side of these negotiations.

Norman Solomon: Three-Quarters of Progressive Caucus Not Taking a Stand Against Cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

For the social compact of the United States, most of the Congressional Progressive Caucus has gone missing.

While still on the caucus roster, three-quarters of the 70-member caucus seem lost in political smog. Those 54 members of the Progressive Caucus haven’t signed the current letter that makes a vital commitment: “we will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits — including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.”

Jill Richardson: We’re All Guinea Pigs

I don’t want to expose the most precious people in my life to an endocrine disruptor.

A few years ago, my world changed when I began dating a single dad whose youngest child was a toddler. Bonding with and loving his two kids has been the single most enriching and rewarding – and sometimes frustrating and exhausting – experience of my life. [..]

Around the same time, I began reporting on some very scary chemical news. One by one, I’d discover the dangers of this toxic chemical or that one. I carefully eliminated these chemicals from my own life, replacing them with affordable and effective alternatives. [..]

One offending ingredient in the soaps and toothpaste marketed for tots is triclosan. It’s common in anti-bacterial soaps aimed at the grownup market too – as well as facial cleanser, shave gel, lip gloss, deodorant, and even dog shampoo. [..]

Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor, which means it can confuse the signals your body receives from hormones. It’s found in three-fourths of the liquid soap Americans use. (Another endocrine disrupting chemical, triclocarban, lurks in deodorant bar soaps.)

Chase Madar: The School Security America Doesn’t Need

Outrage over the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre may or may not spur any meaningful gun control laws, but you can bet your Crayolas that it will lead to more seven-year-olds getting handcuffed and hauled away to local police precincts.

You read that right.  Americans may disagree deeply about how easy it should be for a mentally ill convicted felon to purchase an AR-15, but when it comes to putting more law enforcement officers inside our schools, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and liberal Democrats like Senator Barbara Boxer are as one.  And when police (or “school resource officers” as these sheriff’s deputies are often known) spend time in a school, they often deal with disorder like proper cops-by slapping cuffs on the little perps and dragging them to the precinct.