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.

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The New York Times Editorial Board: The March to Anarchy

Until now, the only House Republicans pushing for a government shutdown and debt crisis were a few dozen on the radical right, the ones Senator, Harry Reid, the majority leader, referred to as “the anarchists.” On Wednesday, however, the full Republican caucus, leadership and all, joined the anarchy movement, announcing plans to demand the defunding of health care reform as the price for keeping the government open past Sept. 30. [..]

Mr. Boehner is playing the dangerous game of trying to placate the extremists for a few days. But, in the end, the burden will be squarely on his shoulders. If he allows the entire House, including Democrats, to vote on straightforward measures to pay for the government and raise the debt limit, the double crisis will instantly end. If he does not, he will give free rein to his party’s worst impulses.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Your Household Lost Seven Thousand Dollars Last Year. Where Did It Go?

If you’ve read the new Census Bureau on income, poverty, and health insurance you may be asking yourself: Where did our seven thousand dollars go?

We’re inundated with economic numbers every day, so let’s just consider that one figure for a moment: Seven thousand dollars. Actually, the statistics tell us that the figure for your household is probably even larger than that. The average under-65 household in the United States has lost $7,490 in annual income since the year 2000, according to 2012 census data. [..]

That’s a lot of money for most people. And it raises the question: If the average household — if your household — didn’t get that money, who did?

Bruce Fein: American Exceptionalism Challenged

Russian President Vladimir Putin provoked widespread scorn among America’s chattering class for employing The New York Times’ editorial pages as a megaphone to scold the United States for hubris, i.e., a belief in its saintliness and destiny to lead the planet, a.k.a. American Exceptionalism. The pretentious pundits rebuked the messenger as ill-suited to deliver the message. True enough. President Putin’s Russia exhibits more warts than the United States.

But Putin’s detractors have been unable to answer his message. It echoed the admonition against British messianism voiced more than two centuries ago by Edmund Burke, British statesman and champion of the American Revolution in a futile attempt to forestall the self- ruination of the British Empire:

I dread our own power and our own ambition. I dread our being too much dreaded. It is ridiculous to say we are not men, and that, as men, we shall never wish to aggrandize ourselves.

Amy Goodman: Americans Say No to Another Middle East War

The likelihood of peace in Syria remains distant, as the civil war there rages on. But the grim prospect of a U.S. strike has been forestalled, if only temporarily, preventing a catastrophic deepening of the crisis there. The American people stood up for peace, and for once, the politicians listened. Across the political spectrum, citizens in the U.S. weighed in against the planned military strike. Members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, were inundated with calls and emails demanding they vote “no” on any military authorization.

The media credits Russian President Vladimir Putin with extending a lifeline to President Barack Obama, allowing him a diplomatic way to delay his planned attack. But without the mass domestic public outcry against a military strike, Obama would not have needed, nor would he likely have heeded, an alternative to war.

Robert Creamer; Want to Cut Food Stamp Costs? Raise the Minimum Wage

This week the Tea Party House Republicans plan to bring a bill to the floor that would slash funding for food assistance to poor families. The program used to be known as “food stamps.” Now it is called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). [..]

But the real dirty secret of food stamps is that the primary beneficiaries are often giant corporations who pay their employees poverty wages, counting on food stamps, Medicaid and other forms of government assistance as indirect subsidies to their wealthy stock holders.

In fact, the quickest way to cut food assistance spending would be to raise the minimum wage to assure that no one who worked full-time would live in poverty.

Ana Marie Cox: What not to say after a mass shooting

To talk gun control just after a trauma like the navy yard shooting would be ‘politicising’. No, we need to debate it every day

Mass shootings are still, statistically, quite rare in the United States (though not as rare as they are in rest of the world). Still, there are enough of them that our reactions, especially on social media, are ritualized: an outpouring of shock and panic is followed by a flurry of misinformation; Monday’s navy yard shooting saw two news outlets confidently reporting the name of the shooter only to retract it within minutes. [..]

Understandably, only the optimists get a pass from the hyper-vigilant emotional etiquette police of Twitter. In fact, the call to “not politicize” the event is as much a part of the formal exercise as wreath-layings and lapel ribbons.

Recently, though, more commenters have come to recognize that refusing to contextualize a tragedy is also a political act – a tacit form of approving the status quo.