«

»

May 17 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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Simpson-Bowles Austerity Gang: Go Home

Simpson and Bowles, those two hired pitchmen for budget-cutting hysteria, are still hawking an economy-killing product called “austerity economics,” a product that’s designed to benefit their wealthy patrons at everybody else’s expense.  This philosophy provides some (very thin) intellectual cover for the Republicans’ lunatic bloodbath of spending cuts.

Of course, Simpson and Bowles and austerity’s other sales people aren’t really economic thinkers. They’re paid to pitch a product. They didn’t invent austerity any more than Alex Rodriguez invented Pepsi.

But what they’re peddling isn’t a soft drink. It’s a lot worse for you than that.

Ralph Nader: Patriotic Yardsticks for Unpatriotic Giant Corporations

Why are big, global U.S. corporations so unpatriotic? After all, they were created in the U.S.A., rose to immense profit because of the toil of American workers, are bailed out by American taxpayers whenever they’re in trouble, and are safeguarded abroad by the U.S. military.

Yet these corporate Goliaths work their tax lawyers overtime to escape U.S. taxes. Many pay less than you do in federal income taxes. Imagine corporations, like General Electric, have not paid federal income taxes on U.S. profits for years.

Mega corporations have abandoned U.S. workers by entrenching “pull-down” trade agreements that make it easier than ever to ship jobs and whole industries to fascist and communist regimes abroad which keep their workers near serfdom. Remember, the U.S. has run large trade deficits for the past 30 years as a result of anti-American trade deals pushed by these global companies. These Goliaths are pressing for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that will further pull down our economy.

Jonathan Franklin; Is Obama the New Nixon?

Obsession with leaks, secret wars, enemies list. At least Nixon had no drones to take out the enemies

Without going over the edge to Rush Limbaugh territory, the internal spying on reporters and politicization of the IRS do raise the question. Could Obama be trumping “Tricky Dick” on the latter’s home turf? Few politicians can match Richard Milhous Nixon for obsession with leaks, propagation of secret wars and creation of a list of enemies.

Let’s consider the evidence thus far and remember first that an indignant bi-partisan Congressional investigation, a ferocious press well beyond Woodward and Bernstein and a public that was riveted to the hour-by-hour testimony exposed Nixon’s dirty tricks.

David Bromwich: Secrecy, Surveillance, and Public Safety

Three scandals have converged in the past week to preoccupy Congress and the press. Benghazi was the first to come, and it has surprised by its staying power. The larger issue in the background — the wisdom of the NATO destruction of the government of Libya which left an open field for anti-American militias — will probably never be discussed; and within the bounds of the intervention policy, it is unlikely that a satisfying American culprit will emerge. The abuse of power by the IRS may be, in the long run, the most damaging of these cases for the Obama presidency, but its outlines are only beginning to emerge. It is possible that IRS functionaries acted as they did without any systematic guidance from the top of the service; and possible, too, that over the many months of the harassment of anti-Obama groups, the executive branch never caught wind of the trouble and is as stunned as the rest of us. But the ugliest of the scandals has come from the revelation of the justice department’s seizure of two months of phone calls by 100 AP reporters. This was done to investigate the leak of a thwarted terrorist plot which the government itself had already decided to disclose in public.

Different as they are, the scandals all point to a single disorder that afflicts the Obama White House and the Holder justice department. The name of the disorder is paternalism, and its leading symptoms are suppression and secrecy. Paternalism is the ideology proper to a government that treats the governed as children.

E. J. Dionne, Jr.: The False God of ‘Narrative’

It’s a funny thing about media leaks: They are either courageous or outrageous, depending on whether they help or hurt your political party.

Forgive me for feeling cynical and depressed about our nation’s political conversation. Scandalmania is distorting our discussion of three different issues, sweeping them into one big narrative-everything is a “narrative” these days-about the beleaguered second-term presidency of Barack Obama. [..]

I know, I know: This “confluence” of “scandals” spells “trouble” for the Obama administration. Well, sure, this has been hell week for the president. But what spells trouble for our country is our apparent eagerness to avoid debate about discrete problems by sacrificing the particulars and the facts to the idol of political narrative. It’s a false god.

Robert Reich: The Problem With Obama’s Second Term

Less than six months into a second term and the Obama White House is on the defensive and floundering: Benghazi, the IRS’s investigations of right-wing groups, the Justice Department’s snooping into journalists’ phone records, Obamacare behind schedule, the Administration’s push for gun control ending in failure.

Should the blame fall mainly on congressional Republicans and their allies in the right-wing media, whose vitriolic attacks on Obama are unceasing? [..]

But surely some of the seeming disarray is due to the President, whose insularity and aloofness make him an easy target, and whose eagerness to compromise and lack of focus continuously blurs his core message.