«

»

Jun 01 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

Jonathan Turley: Fire Eric Holder

Recently, Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions about the administration’s sweeping surveillance of journalists with the Associated Press. In the greatest attack on the free press in decades, the Justice Department seized phone records for reporters and editors in at least three AP offices as well as its office in the House of Representatives. Holder, however, proceeded to claim absolute and blissful ignorance of the investigation, even failing to recall when or how he recused himself.

Yet, this was only the latest attack on the news media under Holder’s leadership. Despite his record, he expressed surprise at the hearing that the head of the Republican National Committee had called for his resignation. After all, Holder pointed out, he did nothing. That is, of course, precisely the point. Unlike the head of the RNC, I am neither a Republican nor conservative, and I believe Holder should be fired.

Glenn Greenwald; Obama’s New FBI Chief Approved Bush’s NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Scheme

James Comey becomes just the latest symbol of the Obama legacy: normalizing what was very recently viewed as radical

What was once deemed radical is now normal. Bush officials who formally authorized programs once depicted by progressives as radical and criminal are now heralded by those same progressives as Champions of the Constitution. The politician elected on a pledge of Change and Restoration of Our Values now routinely empowers exactly those Washington officials who championed the policies against which he railed. It’s one thing to watch Obama shield and protect all Bush officials who enabled this illegal warrantless domestic surveillance scheme. It’s quite another to watch him put in charge of the FBI the very official whose signature deemed it to be legal.

James Comey is far from the worst choice to lead the FBI. I doubt it will change much of anything one way or the other, and there are undoubtedly worse people within the senior ranks of the Democratic Party who would be the likely alternatives. But it’s still a potent symbol of how little has changed in the right direction and how much it has changed in the wrong direction. If you had told progressives in 2008 that the Bush lawyer who approved the NSA program would be named by Obama as the FBI Director, they would scoff in disbelief. Now they’ll cheer. That is what has changed.

Glen Ford: Perpetual War – and Obama’s Perpetual Con Game

Barack Obama is a master trickster, a shape-shifter, and a methodical liar. The man who has arrogated to himself the right to kill at will, anywhere on the globe, accountable only to himself, based on secret information and classified legal rationales, now says he is determined that Washington’s “perpetual war” must one day end – sometime in the misty future after he is long gone from office. He informed his global audience of potential victims that he had signed a secret agreement (with himself?) that would limit drone strikes to targets that pose “a continuing, imminent threat to Americans” and cannot be captured – a policy that his White House has always claimed (falsely) to be operative. He promises to be more merciful than before, “haunted” as he is by all the nameless deaths, although he admits to having done no wrong. [..]

Such conflicts, we must understand, are necessitated by the “imminence” of threats posed to U.S. security, as weighed and measured by secret means. His Eminence is the sole judge of imminence. He is also the arbiter of who is to be detained in perpetuity, without trial or (public) charge, for “association” with “terrorists” as defined by himself. He has no apologies for that.

Marcy Wheeler: American Drone War: Murder and Democracy

In his post on the drone killing of Waliur Rehman Mehsud earlier this week, Jim noted that CIA has sworn revenge for the 2009 Pakistani Taliban supported suicide attack on CIA’s base in Khost.

Sure enough, one of the things Press Secretary Jay Carney mentioned when asked about the strike yesterday was Rehman’s role in the “murder” of 7 CIA officers in Khost in 2009. [..]

Now, I’m sorry that 7 CIA officers died, but let’s consider what it means that the US continues to call the attack murder. [..]

And it’s not just with this drone killing.

Both in Pakistan and Yemen (not coincidentally, the places where we use what we call signature strikes but might just be side payment strikes), we have taken out more than a few people who – like Rehman – were either amenable to negotiations or had served as mediators between the government and extremist forces in the past.

John Stolz: McCain Poses With Alleged Terrorists — Proof That Involvement in Syria Is a Bad Idea

The photo of John McCain posing with terrorists and kidnappers in Syria encapsulates, perfectly, everything wrong with the position of McCain and others that the U.S. ought to insert itself into Syria’s civil war. [..]

It was revealed this morning that McCain, during his personal mission to Syria to meet with rebels, appeared in photos with Mohammed Nour and Abu Ibrahim, two members of the Sunni “Northern Storm” brigade, which kidnapped 11 Lebanese Shia pilgrims, who were on their way back to Lebanon, from Iran. The group is still holding nine of the hostages.

This should give everyone pause when it comes to ramping up support for the rebels by arming them.

Robert Reich: Economic Storm Clouds Ahead

Economic forecasters exist to make astrologers look good. But the recent jubilance is enough to make even weather forecasters blush. “Just look at the bull market! Look at home prices! Look at consumer confidence!”

Please.

I can understand the jubilation in the narrow sense that we’ve been down so long everything looks up. Plus, professional economists tend to cheerlead because they believe that if consumers and businesses think the future will be great, they’ll buy and invest more — leading to a self-fulfilling prophesy.

But prophesies can’t be self-fulfilling if they’re based on wishful thinking.

The reality is we’re still in the doldrums, and the most recent data gives cause for serious worry