“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.
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Katrina vanden Heuvel: On abortion, Republicans treat women like children
Last week, the House passed the most restrictive abortion bill to come to a vote in Congress in the past decade.
Despite the efforts of Democrats and a few moderate Republicans who spoke out against the unconstitutional bill, which bans almost all abortions after 20 weeks, it passed 228 to 196. This is only the latest blow in the GOP’s all-out assault on women’s reproductive rights.
Republican leadership considered the bill, called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, an “appropriate” response to the outrageous crimes of Kermit Gosnell, whose horrific abortion clinicinflicted numerous injuries and deaths. But the GOP learned the wrong lessons from the Gosnell case, which illustrates the dangers of illegal abortion and the damage that ensues when disadvantaged women without access to safe clinics are forced to put their lives in the hands of a murderer.
Susan Sarandon: Colorado’s Amendment 64 Was Just the Beginning
In 2012 I supported Amendment 64 in Colorado — the “regulate marijuana like alcohol act.” Amendment 64 is a common sense step toward ending the archaic prohibition mindset that has resulted in the U.S. leading the world in the incarceration of our people — a prison system packed with non-violent drug offenders.
Adding insult to injury, the system as it stands today is racist and classist — police arrest low level dealers and users, who then face obscenely long mandatory minimum sentences — unless they know higher level drug dealers to turn in and trade for lower sentences.
The fact that black voters beat back modern suppression efforts in 2012 must mean they don’t need protection!
No good deed goes unpunished, I like to say. In striking down a key enforcement provision of the Voting Rights Act, Chief Justice John Roberts noted that African-American voter turnout in 2012 either exceeded or essentially matched white turnout in five of six Southern states governed by the act’s tough and controversial Section 5.
Ironically, as anyone paying attention knows, that turnout surge was driven by anger over a wave of GOP efforts to suppress black votes in those and other states – and it was helped along by Section 5, which requires states with a history of voting rights suppression to pre-clear any voting changes with the Justice Department (Justice struck down 21 such proposals since 2006). Still, despite new voter identification laws, restrictions on early voting and Sunday voting and other barriers, African-Americans voted at unprecedented rates in 2012 – and that helped give Roberts an excuse to strike down a section key to enforcing the law.
In a 5 to 4 decision today, the Supreme Court ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) does not block termination of a Native father’s parental rights. The court appears to have ruled as if it was deciding the issue based on race-when a better lens to understand the case, called Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, is through tribal sovereignty.
Extensive interviews with families of drone victims and human rights organizations in Yemen indicate that the governments of the United States and Yemen are choosing to kill rather than attempting to capture suspected al Qaeda members in Yemen. Civilians who have no connection with Al Qaeda are killed when the U.S. uses drones to target Al Qaeda members who travel freely throughout the country. High unemployment and feelings of injustice for the killing of people in their area by drones and Yemeni air strikes provide a fertile recruiting ground for al Qaeda in Yemen. Yemen prisons in which young people have been detained and imprisoned for months and years without trial by the Government of Yemen is a key place where radicalization for armed groups, including al Qaeda, occurs.
I have been in Yemen for the past week with a CODEPINK: Women for Peace delegation that included Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, co-founders of CODEPINK, Terry Rockefeller, whose sister was killed in 9/11 attacks and represents 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Robert Naiman, policy director of Just Foreign Policy, Pam Bailey, writer and human rights activist and Tighe Barry, CODEPINK art director. We have spoken with families of drone victims in Yemen, local and international human rights organizations based in Yemen, as well as families of prisoners in Guantanamo.
Rebecca Solnit: Welcome to the (Don’t Be) Evil Empire
Google Eats the World
Finally, journalists have started criticizing in earnest the leviathans of Silicon Valley, notably Google, now the world’s third-largest company in market value. The new round of discussion began even before the revelations that the tech giants were routinely sharing our data with the National Security Agency, or maybe merging with it. Simultaneously another set of journalists, apparently unaware that the weather has changed, is still sneering at San Francisco, my hometown, for not lying down and loving Silicon Valley’s looming presence.
The criticism of Silicon Valley is long overdue and some of the critiques are both thoughtful and scathing. The New Yorker, for example, has explored how start-ups are undermining the purpose of education at Stanford University, addressed the Valley’s messianic delusions and political meddling, and considered Apple’s massive tax avoidance.