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Oct 25 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.

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

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Richard (RJ) ESkow: 7 facts that show the American dream is dead

A living wage, retirement security and a life free of debt are now only accessible to the country’s wealthiest

A recent poll showed that more than half of all people in this country don’t believe that the American dream is real. Fifty-nine percent of those polled in June agreed that “the American dream has become impossible for most people to achieve.” More and more Americans believe there is “not much opportunity” to get ahead.

The public has reached this conclusion for a very simple reason: It’s true. The key elements of the American dream-a living wage, retirement security, the opportunity for one’s children to get ahead in life-are now unreachable for all but the wealthiest among us. And it’s getting worse. As inequality increases, the fundamental elements of the American dream are becoming increasingly unaffordable for the majority.

Here are seven ways the American dream is dying.

Joan Walsh: America’s modern political nightmare: Two electorates, separate and unequal

The glee with which the GOP relies on Obama-hate to turn out its base shows the disturbing racial reality of 2014

When I first heard President Obama’s remarks on the 2014 midterms to Rev. Al Sharpton on Politics Nation Monday – insisting he’s fine with the red state Democrats who are distancing themselves from him because they “are all folks who vote with me” – I had two contradictory thoughts. Either Obama was being awfully gracious, or else he was mad as hell, and happy to bear-hug cowardly red state Democrats so hard it might hurt them [..]

But the reaction to Obama’s remarks, as well as to his earlier comment that “my policies are on the ballot” in November, underscored the extent to which we now have two electorates, separate and very unequal. The Republican Party is relying on Obama-hate to turn out its 96-percent-white, middle-class-to-wealthy base, while the Democrats, still trying to be a multi-racial party in a multi-racial country, are trying to court voters of every race and class. It can be a tough sell.

Amanda Marcotte: Why conservatives prefer propaganda to reality

A new Pew study on America’s media consumption offers a window into the right’s collective mindset

Pew Research set out to find what’s behind what it considers the increasing political polarization of the United States; why the country is moving away from political moderation and becoming more and more divided between liberals and conservatives. Its first report on the phenomenon, which examines where people are hearing news and opinion in both regular and social media, shows that this is happening for very different reasons among people moving to the right than for people moving to the left.

Or that’s the charitable way to put it. The less charitable way is to say Pew discovered that conservatives are consuming a right-wing media full of lies and misinformation, whereas liberals are more interested in media that puts facts before ideology. It’s very much not a “both sides do it” situation. Conservatives are becoming more conservative because of propaganda, whereas liberals are becoming more liberal while staying very much checked into reality.

David Sirota: In Legalization Battles, Alcohol Defines the Politics of Marijuana

When Colorado voters in 2012 approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana, the state did not merely break new ground in the ongoing battle over narcotics policy. It also bolstered an innovative new political message that compares cannabis to alcohol.

Two years later, that comparison is being deployed in key marijuana-related elections throughout the country, and drug reform advocates are so sure marijuana is safer than alcohol, they are now challenging police to a “drug duel” to prove their point.

The proposal for the duel from David Boyer, an official with the Maine chapter of the Marijuana Policy Project, came after South Portland Police Chief Edward Googins announced his opposition to a municipal referendum to legalize marijuana possession.

Gail Collins: Once Again, Guns

Think about this. It’s really remarkable. Two years after the Sandy Hook tragedy, the top gun-control priority in the United States is still background checks. There is nothing controversial about the idea that people who buy guns should be screened to make sure they don’t have a criminal record or serious mental illness. Americans favor it by huge majorities. Even gun owners support it. Yet we’re still struggling with it.

The problem, of course, is the National Rifle Association, which does not actually represent gun owners nearly as ferociously as it represents gun sellers. The background check bill is on the ballot under voter initiative because the Washington State Legislature was too frightened of the N.R.A. to take it up. This in a state that managed to pass a right-to-die law, approve gay marriage and legalize the sale of marijuana.