Tag: Punting the Pundits

Punting the Pundits:

This morning there is a lot of outrage in Editorials and Op-Eds about Sen, Jon Kyl’s statement that the Bush tax cuts haven’t diminished revenue. It starts with the Washington Post editorial that the GOP has no problem extending tax cuts for the rich

Senate Republicans, committed as they are to preventing the debt from mounting further, can’t approve an extension of unemployment benefits because it would cost $35 billion. But they are untroubled by the notion of digging the hole $678 billion deeper by extending President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) about this contradiction. Mr. Kyl’s response is worth examining because of what it says about the GOP’s refusal to practice the fiscal responsibility it preaches.


….. Mr. Kyl trotted out the tired and unsubstantiated argument that the tax cuts for the wealthy must be extended because otherwise “you’re going to clobber small business.” Mr. Wallace persisted: “But, sir, . . .how are you going to pay the $678 billion?” — at which point Mr. Kyl descended into nonsense. “You should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes,” he declared. “Surely Congress has the authority, and it would be right to, if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending, and that’s what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset [the] cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.”

Huh? No one’s talking about cutting taxes on the wealthy to stimulate the economy. The issue is whether the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be extended, adding another $678 billion to the deficit over the next decade. The tax cuts, it’s worth remembering, passed originally in 2001 with the argument that the surplus was so large that rates could be cut with budgetary room to spare. Now that the fiscal picture has deteriorated so badly, the questions remains: How are you going to pay the $678 billion? And if you don’t, how are you going to justify the added damage to an already grim fiscal outlook?  

In his blog, Conscience of a Liberal, Paul Krugman chimes in with the Republican’s Invincible Ignorance

Just in case you had some lingering notion that anyone in the Republican party was fiscally responsible, Mitch McConnell has weighed in in support of Jon Kyl:


[T]here’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.

In a way you have to wonder what point there even is in trying to argue here. But anyway, look: it’s been a long time since Morning in America. We’ve now been through two two-term administrations, one of which raised taxes, the other of which cut them. Which looks like it presided over a more vibrant economy?

Krugman up dates at the end telling his readers who complain he is “too partisan”

Update: Also, for those readers who complain that I’m too partisan, that I should admit that there are two sides to the issues, this is a prime example of my problem. How am I supposed to pretend that these are serious people? The facts really do have a well-known liberal bias.

(emphasis mine)

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Morning Quarterbacking

Meet the Press

This is “Take Two” which is only available on the web. Rachel Maddow discusses her recent trip to Afghanistan and the Republican women and what they have to offer American women. (Sorry, no transcript is available.)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Edition

It’s the Sunday morning round up of the usual and unusual. Sports seems to be the popular topic. So pour that cup of whatever you drink when you read and add your opinion to theirs.

In the realm of stranger things,  Carlos Ruiz Zafon looks at sports and a psychic octopus and how it has reshaped a country.

HIS name is Paul, he has eight legs and he flaunts a flexibility that would put to shame the ethics code of any self-respecting investment bank on Wall Street. What’s more, he’s one of the stars of the World Cup blazing on zillions of TV screens around the world. Yet Paul has never set foot on a soccer field, never kicked a ball and to this day most of his running has been devoted to chasing lobsters. Paul, you see, is an octopus.

OctoPaul is, at present, an inmate at the Oberhausen aquarium in Germany, where he has entered the V.I.P. lounge of animal oracle lore due to the uncanny precision in his predictions on the outcome of crucial sports events. He works his magic according to a strict procedure: his caretakers introduce into his tank two boxes containing the flags of the opposing teams (and a mussel in each for him to snack on, post-decision). Then, while the world news media eagerly waits, OctoPaul, cucumber-cool and donning his trademark deep-thinking face, settles on one of them.


What the future will bring, maybe only Paul the Octopus knows. And by the way, Paul predicted Spain will win the final.

Eugene Robinson wonders why everyone is upset with Lebron James

Why is everybody hating on LeBron James? I mean, is this a free country? Or did a couple of important amendments to the Constitution get repealed while nobody was looking?

I understand, of course, why the good people of Cleveland would be disappointed, distraught, even irate. King James is, at the very least, the second-best basketball player in the world. For a city that has seen so many ups and downs — and let’s be honest, the general trend for the past half-century has been down — the departure of a hometown superstar must be a cruel blow. But let’s try to keep things in perspective.

Punting the Pundits: Saturday Round Up

Round ’em up. Pour your favorite beverage and put your feet up.

Paul Krugman asks us to Pity the Poor C.E.O.’s

Job creation has been disappointing, but first-quarter corporate profits were up 44 percent from a year earlier. Consumers are nervous, but the Dow, which was below 8,000 on the day President Obama was inaugurated, is now over 10,000. In a rational universe, American business would be very happy with Mr. Obama.

Who ever said American business was rational?

David Sirota wonders if Are low taxes exacerbating the recession?

As the planet’s economy keeps stumbling, the phrase “worst recession since the Great Depression” has become the new “global war on terror” – a term whose overuse has rendered it both meaningless and acronym-worthy. And just like that previously ubiquitous phrase, references to the WRSTGD are almost always followed by flimsy and contradictory explanations.

Republicans, who ran up enormous deficits, say the recession comes from overspending. Democrats, who gutted the job market with free trade policies, nonetheless insist it’s all George W. Bush’s fault. Meanwhile, pundits who cheered both sides now offer non-sequiturs, blaming excessive partisanship for our problems.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/…

Punting the Pundits

Pour a cup of coffee or brew some tea and contemplate the day.

Glen Greenwald again starts at the top with his continued skewering of the MSM hypocrisy, asking us to consider who has been forced out of the so-called “Liberal Media”

Octavia Nasr’s firing and what The Liberal Media allows

CNN yesterday ended the 20-year career of Octavia Nasr, its Atlanta-based Senior Middle East News Editor, because of a now-deleted tweet she wrote on Sunday upon learning of the death of one of the Shiite world’s most beloved religious figures: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah  . . . . One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.”  That message spawned an intense fit of protest from Far Right outlets, Thought Crime enforcers, and other neocon precincts, and CNN quickly (and characteristically) capitulated to that pressure by firing her.  The network — which has employed a former AIPAC official, Wolf Blitzer, as its primary news anchor for the last 15 years — justified its actions by claiming that Nasr’s “credibility” had been “compromised.”  Within this episode lies several important lessons about media “objectivity” and how the scope of permissible views is enforced.

In an up date to his column, Glen addresses some  of his harshest critics on his views on Israel. Glen concludes

I view the increasingly unhinged attacks by the worst neocon elements to be a vindication of what I’m doing.  I see them as pernicious and destructive, and genuinely welcome their contempt.

That applies to just about any of the unreasonable, unhinged responses  from the “neocon elements”.

Punting the Pundits: Not Your Usual Suspects

Pour a cup of coffee or brew some tea and try not to get too depressed

Glen Greenwald continues holding journalists feet to the fire on transparency

Adventures in media transparency

Journalists like to claim that they are devoted to transparency, but it’s striking how so many of them exempt themselves and their own media outlets from those “principles.”  Here are five recent, somewhat similar episodes illustrating that syndrome:

Joe Conason tells us to listen to Niall Ferguson on the Federal deficit and then ignore his bad advice

Sure, listen to Niall Ferguson — but always ignore his bad advice

Before the inquiring minds at the Aspen Ideas Festival go totally gaga over Niall Ferguson, perhaps they ought to know a little more about the British historian’s keen desire to punish our pampered working families, and how he would prefer to see us spend our dollars.

As a celebrity intellectual, Ferguson much prefers the broad, bold stroke to the careful detail, so it is scarcely surprising that he endorsed Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s “wonderful” budget template, confident that his audience in Aspen would know almost nothing about that document. For Ferguson, the most beguiling quality of Ryan’s budget must be its bias against the working and middle classes and in favor of the wealthy. But as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities revealed in a scorching review, the plan doesn’t work even on its own terms.

Punting the Pundits: Morning Edition

Happy Birthday, Ringo.

Ringo Starr, at Age 70. The Beatles, Ageless.


Ringo Starr is turning 70 on Wednesday. It feels as though youth itself is now 70 years old.

I wasn’t yet 6 when the Beatles played their last live performance atop the Apple Corps building on Savile Row in London, January 1969. They split four years before I got my first Beatles album. Still, I can keep track of my teenage years by Beatles songs I happened to be enthralled with at the time. Forty years after they broke up, my 6-year-old son is learning to play “Eleanor Rigby” on the piano.

Ringo at 70: ‘I’m Not Hiding From It, You Know’

Ever since Ringo Starr  vowed, on a well-known cover of Buck Owens’s hit “Act Naturally,” that he’d become “the biggest fool to ever hit the big time,” the renowned rock ‘n’ roll drummer has done all right for himself. As a member of the Beatles and as a solo artist, Mr. Starr has sold more than a few records, won some Grammy Awards and even had a minor planet named for him. But on Wednesday Mr. Starr will reach a very special milestone: he turns 70 years old.

As you’d expect, he plans to mark the occasion with a little help from his friends, and anyone else he can round up. Finding himself in New York on the big day, he is celebrating with a private event in the morning at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square; Hard Rock International is honoring the day at locations around the world. (Details are at ringostarr.com.)

In the evening he will perform a concert at Radio City Music Hall with his All Starr Band, which includes Edgar Winter, Gary Wright and Rick Derringer.

Punting the Pundits: Morning Edition

Browsing the op-ed pages of the print media  and an open thread to vent. Pour a cup of coffee or brew some tea and contemplate the day.

Paul Krugman came down on Republicans who think they will get elected by punishing the unemployed by blocking Unemployment benefits.

By the heartless, I mean Republicans who have made the cynical calculation that blocking anything President Obama tries to do – including, or perhaps especially, anything that might alleviate the nation’s economic pain – improves their chances in the midterm elections. Don’t pretend to be shocked: you know they’re out there, and make up a large share of the G.O.P. caucus.

By the clueless I mean people like Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for senator from Nevada, who has repeatedly insisted that the unemployed are deliberately choosing to stay jobless, so that they can keep collecting benefits. A sample remark: “You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job but it doesn’t pay as much. We’ve put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry.”

Punting the Pundits: Up Dated with Videos

The Sunday morning taking heads are a sure way to start you day off aggravated. About the only one i am really interested in watching this afternoon when it gets in to the high 90’s here in NYC with humidity to match, is Fareed Zakaria GPS. His guest today are Niall Ferguson & Paul Krugman, economists with opposing views.

Harvard economist, Nail Ferguson:

(The) leaders of most of the world’s major economies. They are doing what Harvard historian Niall Ferguson espouses: fighting to get their debt under control and cutting spending before their countries become the next Greece.

NYT’s and Nobel economist, Paul Krugman:

(A) handful of nations who are staying the course and spending. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman says he fears we might already be in the 3rd depression — because governments haven’t been spending enough.

As dry as economics can be, these men make it not just understandable but “entertaining”.

Fareed will also be discussing this stunning statistic: the billion dollar price tag for each Al-Qaeda member.

h/t Elliot @ FDL

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