Jul 31 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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Ana Marie Cox: Obama pitches ‘grand bargain’ to a middle class that no longer exists

Americans like to think of themselves as middle class, but the reality is 79% will have to rely on aid at some point

On Monday, the Associated Press cited a survey showing that 79% of Americans will experience “economic insecurity” by the time they turn 60. At some point, pandering to the middle class will begin to feel like pandering to those who already have it easy. If Obama wants to truly energize voters, and to use their energy to sway recalcitrant Republicans, he needs to do more than make promises to those in the middle class, he needs to make them understand that the middle class as a category is threatened.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: The GOP Misunderstands the ‘War on Women’

You can’t say Republicans lack for chutzpah. The cynical right-wing message-men have come up with a new insult to our intelligence-and to millions of US women. As Buzzfeed reported Friday, Republicans are now spinning a series of scandals to try to prove the Democrats are the party with the real “War on Women.” That’s just silly, and they know it.

Needless to say, some current and former Democratic pols haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory recently. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s refusal to resign, despite an apparent pattern of repeated abuse, is particularly outrageous. But sexual indiscretion and sexual harassment (two types of scandal that shouldn’t be conflated) know no partisan affiliation. Remember Herman Cain, onetime GOP presidential frontrunner and accused serial sexual harasser? National Journal reported at the time that “scores of interviews with Iowa Republicans over the weekend turned up scant outrage” over the allegations. Some high-profile Republicans even questioned the concept of sexual harassment itself, with Representative Steve King calling it “a terrible concept,” and Senator Rand Paul warning that some now “hesitate to tell a joke to a woman in the workplace…” The horrors!

Rachel Alexander: The future of the GOP: Rand Paul or Chris Christie?

Christie can criticize Paul all he wants, but Republicans would much rather see a true conservative like Paul in the White House

New Jersey Republican Mayor Chris Christie took a harsh swipe at Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky last week, declaring Paul’s criticism of the National Security Administration as “dangerous”. [..]

Attacking the libertarians in the GOP as Christie has done will not help the Republican party or Christie’s election chances. The Reagan revolution came about because Reagan was able, with the help of the late William F Buckley Jr and his National Review magazine, to bring together a coalition of libertarians, religious conservatives and fiscal conservatives. Paul, who is outspoken about his Christian faith, is one of a few Republicans who could rebuild that coalition.

Jessica Valenti: The GOP’s Twenty-Week Mistake

According to The New York Times, GOP leaders-all men-are strategizing on how to push through a Senate bill that would ban abortions after twenty weeks. Senator Marco Rubio is quoted as saying, “Irrespective of how people may feel about the issue, we’re talking about five months into a pregnancy. People certainly feel there should be significant restrictions on that.” [..]

The Republican leadership may see polls on what Americans think of later abortion and think they have a winning issue here. But they’d be wrong. The GOP is so out-of-touch with what pregnancy actually looks like-how complex and nuanced women’s lives really are-that they don’t see the stories behind the numbers. They’re going to make the same miscalculation they did last year by underestimating women and the way their experiences shape their vote. Our reproductive stories are not black and white, and they’re certainly not something that can be mandated or restricted by policy. Not at two weeks, not at twenty weeks, not ever.

Salamishah Tillet : Sexual Harassment Is Not a Disease, But It Surely Is an Epidemic

The storyline has become all too familiar: a well-known politician is accused of sexual harassment by several women; he first plays defense (a public denial), then goes on the offensive (a public apology), and finally, admits to past behavior and pledges to get “help.” [..]

It would be nice to believe that Filner, after his two weeks of therapy, would come back to work and lead the charge to end sexual harassment-in the schools, the streets and the City Hall of San Diego. But he probably won’t. And this is not just because 60 percent of San Diegans surveyed over the weekend believe he should be recalled if he does not resign. He seems to be unaware that to sexually harass women is far more dangerous than a pathology or breach of public trust. It is part of the larger epidemic of violence against women that preserves our system and social practice of male dominance and gender inequity.

And let’s be clear, that’s something that can be controlled and cured.

Michelle Chen: ‘Bargain’ on Immigration Would Feed Prison Profits

The private prison industry stands to gain millions from the Senate’s reform plan.

The supposed grand bargain of the immigration reform bill is shaping up to be a lucrative deal for prisons. As a compromise between “border security” and “amnesty,” the comprehensive reform plan emerging in Congress ties the “legalization” of millions of migrants to the prospective criminalization of millions more.

The Senate’s reform bill, now being debated in the House, would boost immigration enforcement by beefing up border patrols, militarized barriers, border surveillance, immigration prosecutions and privately run detention facilities. According to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections, the original bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee “would increase the prison population by about 14,000 inmates annually by 2018.” (The number of “immigration offenders” in federal prison has risen over the past decade to about 22,100 in 2011.) Just before passage, the bill was saddled with the draconian “Hoeven-Corker border security amendment,” which contains harsher, more costly enforcement provisions, including a doubling of border agents to roughly 40,000.