“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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Corporate Christmas is not a time of humble reflection, charity and modesty. It is a market opportunity to be exploited
War is hell.
And let’s face it, the battle for peace on earth and goodwill towards men isn’t for the faint of heart. Or, apparently, for the faint of light. That’s the premise of ABC’s new, three-part special – “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. After all, how better to commemorate the birth of the Prince of Peace than with a fight? And with Christmas lights, no less! [..]
Yes, Virginia, there is a war on Christmas. But it isn’t the misdirected and misanthropic battle ginned-up by self-interested media blatherati and crypto-crusaders. [..]
There is a war, but these Christmas soldiers are massed on the wrong front. The real attack is not being waged by offended non-believers or the incessant meddling of politically-correct busybodies. The real war on the spirit and meaning of Christmas is being waged by corporate profiteers through a grinding campaign of multimedia marketing.
Bernanke tried to boost demand, but he leaves behind high unemployment and stronger-than-ever Wall Street behemoths
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke gave his last press conference as chair and already the retrospectives have begun. One item that should be corrected off the top, Bernanke did not just inherit an economic disaster from Alan Greenspan.
Bernanke did not go directly from being a Princeton economics professor to being Fed chair. He got there by being a member of the Board of Governors of the Fed from 2002 to 2005, and then was chair of President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers from the spring of 2005 until he took over as Fed chair in January of 2006. In other words, Bernanke held top policy posts during the period when the housing bubble was growing to ever more dangerous levels, driven by a flood of junk mortgages. [..]
In this role his performance was at best mixed. The pundits routinely give Bernanke credit for heading off a second Great Depression, but this is mostly because they heard someone else say it, not because they have any idea what it actually means.
There are really just two possible choices for person of the year. I want to say Pope Francis, but I’ve got to go with Edward Snowden.
The spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and a whistleblowing fugitive from American justice have just one thing in common: impact. Francis, by shifting his church’s focus to social justice, may change the world. But Snowden, by revealing the vast extent of government surveillance, already has.
Someday, perhaps, this ranking will be reversed. I hope it is, because the change that Francis advocates is more sweeping-and long overdue. The Catholic Church, despite its many problems, remains a powerful force around the globe. If its energies are directed away from the culture wars-and toward fighting poverty, inequality and injustice-the church can play a hugely influential role in shaping the new century.
Jonathan Turley: The ‘Sister Wives’ lawsuit and the end of morality laws
The decision this month by a federal court striking down the criminalization of polygamy in Utah was met with a mix of rejoicing and rage. What was an emancipating decision for thousands of plural families was denounced as the final descent into a moral abyss by others. [..]
It’s true that the Utah ruling is one of the latest examples of a national trend away from laws that impose a moral code. There is a difference, however, between the demise of morality laws and the demise of morality. This distinction appears to escape social conservatives nostalgic for a time when the government dictated whom you could live with or sleep with. But the rejection of moral codes is no more a rejection of morality than the rejection of speech codes is a rejection of free speech. Our morality laws are falling, and we are a better nation for it.
Dave Johnson: Who Will Fight to Help the Unemployed?
At the beginning of November, the poor went over the “hunger cliff” as Food Stamps were cut. Now long-term unemployment assistance will run out at the end of December. Regular people think the government has given up on them. They have been hit by one blow after another, with little or no help in sight. They see shutdowns and budget cuts at the very time the government needs to spend more to help Americans.
This is part of the Republican effort to turn Americans against government, because the public will blame Democrats. Democrats have to stop letting Republicans get away with it, and return to being seen as trying to help the unemployed and poor. [..]
And unfortunately we need to make more Democrats understand that helping the unemployed and poor is worth going to the mat over. It is job 1 — it has to be. It is the right thing to do for the American people and for our economy. It is the thing that is needed.
If the American public sees Democrats going to the mat for them, and see Republicans continuing to obstruct efforts to help the poor and unemployed, Democracy will take care of the rest.
Three days after Christmas, unemployment benefits end for 1.3 million people who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits, but still can’t find a job.
To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you have to be actively looking for a job. Virtually all of these people would rather work, but can’t find a job in today’s economy where there are three applicants for every job available.
But when the budget deal was negotiated in Congress over the last several weeks, Republican negotiators refused to agree to continue those unemployment benefits. And at the same time, they demanded the continuation of tax breaks for big oil companies and loopholes for Wall Street billionaires who get their income from hedge funds.
Merry Christmas from the GOP.