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Aug 20 2014

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.

Wednesday is Ladies’ Day

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Heather Digby Parton: Ferguson brings the libertarians: Why a new coalition has everyone confused

After Mike Brown’s shooting, an alliance of left and right emerged to demilitarize police. But here’s what it’s not

One of the most misunderstood elements of American politics has to be the fact that legislative coalitions are very different from voting coalitions. The most obvious case in point is the erroneous assumption that the coalition that often forms around civil liberties, featuring elements of the most ideologically committed members of the left and the right, means that these groups are in agreement as to the goals they wish to obtain. It’s not essential that everyone who signs on to a bill is doing so for the same reason, but it’s vitally important that people not misinterpret the joint action as a sign that we are entering a moment of bipartisan kumbaya that will heal the nation’s wounds and bring us together once and for all. [..]

The fact is that defending civil liberties almost always requires strange bedfellows for the simple reason that it rests on the principle that they must protect everyone, even people who say and do things you do not like. Especially people who say and do things you do not like. It does not mean there is a meaningful alliance on goals or a meeting of the minds beyond the basic rules of the road, which require us to respect each other’s freedom. There is no hope for an ideological alignment that “breaks the two party system ” and liberals will not be singing the same tune as Larry Pratt and his gun-toting extremists any time soon.

When it comes to civil liberties it’s often the case that civil libertarians of the left will find themselves holding hands with the far right (as well as their noses) to ensure that the Bill of Rights is kept safe for both of them. And then they’ll go back to fighting each other with everything they have. It’s not a perfect system but it’s all we’ve got.

Joan Walsh: Down goes Perry! The GOP’s “deep bench” just completely fell apart

Pity the billionaire Republican donors, trying to choose among Christie, Walker and now-indicted Rick Perry for ’16

There was a time, long ago, when the Beltway media had a comforting narrative for Republicans, as they faced the loss of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in 2012. And it was: Unlike the Democrats, who were relying on flawed hero Hillary Clinton, the GOP had a “deep bench” of candidates for 2016, one that was especially thick with pragmatic governors.

But that bench has been splintering for a while, and now it’s a small pile of wood shavings that might be used as tinder for a fire that could ignite in 2020 or later – or not. Actually, it’s probably not even that useful. [..]

Imagine being a billionaire Republican donor: What would you do, surveying the GOP field, if you wanted to avoid the extremism of Sen. Ted Cruz and the eccentric, occasionally libertarian stylings of Sen. Rand Paul, two relative electoral neophytes. You’d likely be crossing Rick Perry off your list tonight, even if you sympathize with his political troubles. “Indicted, but not convicted” isn’t the best slogan for a presidential candidate. There are better slogans for Republicans; Dave Weigel jokingly suggests “Romney 2016: Still not indicted.” I’m not sure that’s the winner, either, but Romney is more likely to be nominated than Rick Perry right now.

 

Zoë Carpenter: Why Protesters in Ferguson Can’t Stay Home at Night

In the ten days since Brown was killed, law enforcement have tried to quell protests with rubber bullets and tear gas, with at least four different police forces, with a charismatic captain, with a curfew, by forcing protesters to walk, not stand, and finally with the National Guard. On Tuesday, Johnson said police would again try a “different operational plan,” which seemed to amount to “hoping that protesters will stay home” at night.

There’s been a lot of talk about trust, and its absence, in Ferguson and elsewhere. “In too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement,” President Obama said Monday. The mistrust in Ferguson is rooted in history, but it’s also being deepened in real time. History tells us that justice is unlikely to be served in this case; the conduct of the local officials charged with investigating Brown’s death only signals to the community that this time will not be different. In that context, not staying home at night seems like the only way to ensure that it will be.

Michelle Goldberg: Tear Gas Is an Abortifacient. Why Won’t the Anti-Abortion Movement Oppose It?

A couple of years ago, when I was newly pregnant and reporting in the West Bank, some of my local colleagues insisted that I skip covering a protest at an Israeli checkpoint. At first, I was resistant to letting pregnancy stand in the way of my work, but they knew from experience that there might be tear gas, and tear gas, they said, causes miscarriages. [..]

This means it’s likely that police in Ferguson, Missouri, have been spraying abortion-causing chemicals on crowds of civilians. Recently at TheNation.com, Dani McClain wrote about the killing of black youth as a reproductive justice issue, one that goes to the heart of the rights of parents to raise their children in peace, safety and dignity. She’s correct, of course, but if the anti-abortion movement were actually concerned about the well-being of the unborn, then the violence in Ferguson would be a pro-life issue as well.

Arwa Mahdawi: Satire is dying because the internet is killing it

Facebook’s [satire] tag may prevent people believing Kim Jong-un was voted the sexiest man alive, but the damage is done

Forget self-driving cars or virtual reality nano-technology algorithms, the newest innovation to emerge from Silicon Valley is square brackets. Facebook is testing a “satire tag” that will clearly label fake news stories from well-known satire sites like the Onion as satire]. No longer will you need to rely on outdated technology such as common sense to realise that content like [Area Facebook User Incredibly Stupid is [satire], the square brackets will do it for you.

It should perhaps be noted that Facebook isn’t introducing the satire tag because it thinks we’re all morons, but rather because it knows we’re all morons. In a statement, the social network explained that it had “received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others”.