Sep 05 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

John Nichols: Attack Syria? ‘Nobody Wants This Except the Military-Industrial Complex’

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, backs President Obama’s request for authorization to intervene militarily in Syria, as does House Democratic Minority Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, is similarly “in,” while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, in mum.

The president has done a pretty good job of selling his plan to congressional leaders.

He has not, however, sold it to the American people.

Thus, when members of Congress decide which side they’re on in the Syrian intervention votes that are expected to take place next week, they will have to consider whether they want to respond to pro-war pressure from inside-the-Beltway – as so many did when they authorized action against Iraq – or to the anti-war sentiments of their constituents.

Reflecting on the proposed intervention, Congressman Alan Grayson, D-Florida, allowed as how: “Nobody wants this except the military-industrial complex.”

The level of opposition might not be quite so overwhelming.

But it is strikingly high.

Dean Baker: Washington Post Continues the Beatification Process of Larry Summers

If one were to list the people most responsible for the country’s dismal economic state few people other than Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin would rank higher than Larry Summers. After all, Summers was a huge proponent of financial deregulation in the 1990s and the last decade. He was a cheerleader for the stock bubble and never expressed any concerns about the housing bubble. He thought the over-valued dollar was good policy (and therefore also the enormous trade deficit that inevitably follows), and he was unconcerned that an inadequate stimulus would lead to a dismal employment picture long into the future.

However President Obama apparently wants to appoint Summers as Fed chair, so the Post is rising to the occasion and busily re-writing history. Today’s effort has Summers as a far-sighted oracle whose concerns were unfortunately dismissed by those in positions of power.

Mairead Maguire: The World Should Join in Call to Stop US War in Syria

Pope Francis has set Saturday September 7, 2013 as a worldwide day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria. The Vatican has declared that it is against “armed intervention,” pointing to the havoc caused by the United States led war to topple Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003.

I would like to add my support t Pope Francis’ appeal and pledge to pray and fast for peace on September 7th. I encourage people of all faiths and none to join that global day of fasting and prayer for peace, and to act for peace and against U.S. military intervention by the United States in Syria.

One hundred years ago a small incident took place in Bosnia, and it escalated into the first world war, causing the death of millions. Every act has its consequences and every violent act, like the proposed U.S. military intervention, has its violent consequences which will cause the death of further Syrian civilians and result in many more refugees.

Jon Soltz: The Military Case Against Syria Strikes

The question of what to do, if anything, regarding Syria is a difficult one for me, especially as the Chairman of the largest progressive group of veterans in America, VoteVets.org, which represents over 360,000 supporters. This past week, we polled our supporters on whether or not they supported missile strikes against Syria. Roughly 80 percent said we should not. Though cut and dry for many, this issue is more complex for me, because of my history with some of the people now pushing for action.

The entire reason I become involved in politics and policy work is because, as a young veteran returning from my first tour in Iraq, I met then-Senator John Kerry. I felt lost — angered by a war in Iraq that I could no longer support waging, but with strong doubt over whether I could make a difference. John Kerry, one veteran to another, talked to me about the importance of becoming involved, and of the impact I could make, if I directed my energies into something constructive.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: New York City’s Populist Shift — And Why It Matters

For 12 years now they’ve been touting New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a model for the politics of the future. Beltway pundits have pushed hard for his amalgam of economically conservative policies and social-issues liberalism.

They seized on Bloomberg’s mayoralty as a vindication of their vision. They were eager to tell us that us his winning candidacy was the harbinger of a new political trend.

They have yet say the same about populist Bill de Blasio, who’s leading the polls to replace Bloomberg. And yet, it could be argued that de Blasio is already a more significant political bellwether than Bloomberg ever was.

The race isn’t over. But it’s beginning to look as if de Blasio, not Bloomberg, is the shape of things to come.

Robert Reich: Not Very Giving

AS school gets rolling across the country, many parents will be asked to make a large financial contribution to their children’s school. In Hillsborough, Calif., for example, parents receive a letter from the Hillsborough Schools Foundation in which the amount requested is $2,300 per child.

There have always been parent-teacher associations that raise modest or even not-so-modest amounts of money. But increasingly local school foundations are being created expressly for the purpose of raising private funds. [..]

According to the foundation, charitable gifts have financed class-size reductions, librarians, art and music teachers, and Smart technology in every classroom. These funds supplement the annual public spending of $13,500 per pupil. In the process, they increase property values in Hillsborough. In 2012 private contributions to the foundation amounted to $3.45 million, or $2,300 per pupil.