Category Archives: Pundits (print)

Arizona’s New Immigration Law is an Act of Vengeance by Eugene Robinson

Posted by: BuellBoy

Op-Ed by Eugene Robinson

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Eugene Robinson

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Eugene Robinson

Washington Post/Eugene Robinson—Arizona’s draconian new immigration law is an abomination — racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust. About the only hopeful thing that can be said is that the legislation, which Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed Friday, goes so outrageously far that it may well be unconstitutional.

Brewer, who caved to xenophobic pressures that previous governors had the backbone to resist, should be ashamed of herself. The law requires police to question anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being an undocumented immigrant — a mandate for racial profiling on a massive scale. Legal immigrants will be required to carry papers proving that they have a right to be in the United States. Those without documentation can be charged with the crime of trespassing and jailed for up to six months.

Activists for Latino and immigrant rights — and supporters of sane governance — held weekend rallies denouncing the new law and vowing to do everything they can to overturn it. But where was the Tea Party crowd? Isn’t the whole premise of the Tea Party movement that overreaching government poses a grave threat to individual freedom? It seems to me that a law allowing individuals to be detained and interrogated on a whim — and requiring legal residents to carry identification documents, as in a police state — would send the Tea Partyers into apoplexy. Or is there some kind of exception if the people whose freedoms are being taken away happen to have brown skin and might speak Spanish?

And what is the deal with Sen. John McCain? The self-proclaimed practitioner of “straight talk” was once a passionate advocate of sensible, moderate immigration reform. Now, facing a primary challenge from the right, he has praised the new law, which is as far from sensible and moderate as it could possibly be. Are six more years in the Senate really worth abandoning what seemed like bedrock principles? Or were those principles always situational?

Let me interrupt this tirade to point out that while Arizona has unquestionably done the wrong thing, it is understandable that exasperated officials believed they had to do something. Immigration policy and border security are federal responsibilities, and Washington has failed miserably to address what Arizonans legitimately see as a crisis.

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Republicans Delivered the Worst Decade in Modern U.S. History

posted by: LibbyShaw

Republicans ruled for 80% of the last decade, 60% of which Republicans were in total control

At least when W. ran his companies into the ground Daddy’s friends would step up and bail junior out. But Daddy’s buddies are nowhere to be found now that W. and his GOP drove the country straight to hell. Tragically for the American taxpayers, we, our children, our grandchildren and great grandchildren will have to clean up the squalor. It will take generations to undo the GOP’s financial carnage.

A recent article published in the Washington Post reveals that the American worker lost big time during the past decade.

This news should come as no surprise to any hard working middle class American. We have been living the pain for 10 long years.

The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation’s growth.

It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. The decade began in a moment of triumphalism — there was a current of thought among economists in 1999 that recessions were a thing of the past. By the end, there were two, bookends to a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable.

The Washington Post also reveals that there has been zero net job creation since December 1999. Conditions have not been this grim for decades. Essentially, the American worker has not had a raise in a very long time.

Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 — and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.

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As we well know, our home values have declined as have our retirement and savings accounts.

What happened?

Economists attribute the decline to economic stagnation, an out of control housing bubble, too much risk and too much debt. Money was invested in mini mansions instead of business investments that would have created jobs and economic growth.

The housing bubble both caused, and was enabled by, a boom in indebtedness. Total household debt rose 117 percent from 1999 to its peak in early 2008, according to Federal Reserve data, as Americans borrowed to buy ever more expensive homes and to support consumption more generally.

An experiment called an unbridled free market economy ended very badly for we the people.

The first decade of the new century was an experiment in what happens when an economy comes to rely heavily on borrowed money.

A big part of what happened this decade was that people engaged in excessively risky behavior without realizing the risks associated,” said Karen Dynan, co-director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “It’s true not just among consumers but among regulators, financial institutions, lenders, everyone.”

The experiment has ended badly. While the stock market bubble that popped in 2000 caused only a mild recession, the housing and credit bubble has had a much greater punch — driving the unemployment rate to a high, so far, of 10.2 percent, compared with a peak of 6.3 percent following the last such downturn.

In short, the big banks, enabled by Republican free market ideology, gambled with our money and they lost it. And they lost it big time. As we know we the taxpayer had to step up and bail out the banks so there would not be a complete and thoroughly devastating global economic melt down.

The G.W. Bush era was one in which the GOP rewarded every one of its fat cat sugar daddies, including Halliburton with its no bid contracts for a ginned up war called Iraq.

We the people are dearly paying the price for the Bush era’s unforgivable mistakes.

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I am with Dylan Ratigan on this one. The banks should pay the taxpayers back with interest. Why on earth did Hank Paulson give away our money with no strings attached? What was he thinking?

So next time we hear about the virtues of an unbridled free market economy we need to say no way in hell. Any politician who embraces this voodoo notion of economic devastation should be run out of office on a rail for they are unfit to serve the people.

Speaking of unfitness to serve, why is that Republicans have to blame their short comings on others? Why can’t Republicans ever step up and take responsibility for their mistakes?

Republicans are obviously inept at running the economy and they are also incompetent at keeping our nation safe whether from terrorist attacks or national disasters like Hurricane Katrina. It seems that the only thing Republicans are good at is playing the blame game.

A coordinated, successful attack, with sufficient warning, carried out by 19 terrorists, killing 2,973 people, on the 234th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the previous President… who happened to be a Democrat.

HOWEVER, an unsuccessful attack, attempted by 1 terrorist, killing absolutely no one on the 339th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the current President… who happens to be a Democrat.

SIMILARLY, a complete and total meltdown of the financial system, including a stock market collapse and levels of bankruptcy/foreclosure not seen since the Great Depression on, or around, the 2415th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the previous President (and Congress)… who created Acorn, and just happened to be Democrats.

BUT, 10% unemployment and lackluster job growth on the 215th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the current President (and Congress)… who want to institute socialism (in the form of Acorn) and happen to be Democrats.

NOW, making a statement from your “brush farm” 144 hours after a dude with bad facial hair is prevented from blowing up an airplane… that’s fighting some serious war on the baddies.

AND YET, making a statement from the beach 72 hours after a dude with bad genital burns is prevented from blowing up an airplane… that’s “pretending the war on terror doesn’t exist“.

If folks really have a desire to destroy what is left of their financial security, go ahead and continue to vote for Republicans. Hopefully most of us won’t have this death wish in November.

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Ed Schultz v. Jonathan Alter: Schultz Ends Up in His Own Segment of Psycho Talk

Posted by Audiegrl

Jonathan Alter of Newsweek

Jonathan Alter of Newsweek

Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter stepped forward to educate MSNBC’s Ed Shultz on the normal legislative process involving the health care bill. Alter accused Schultz of misrepresenting the totality of the billl, telling Schultz that, “You have to deal with the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.”

Schultz’s take on the process was what our friend Ogenec would call ‘neo-progressive‘, and lacked understanding of what Alter called ‘the sausage making‘ involved in getting a bill through Congress. It was easy to see the direction the show was heading, when Schultz opened with a phone poll asking “Are you disappointed in the way President Obama is handling health care reform?Hit 1 for yes, and 2 for no. BTW, I took Ed’s poll, and after selecting 2 for no, they wanted to transfer me to a operator to discuss a time-share property. 😉

Neo-progressive opinions are nothing new, but are often exasperated by the 24/7 news cycle. The pundits and reporters don’t take time to understand the developments and the facts. Instead, must make a quick assessment of the facts, and make up the rest with speculation or half-baked ideas and opinions. This is not doing their viewers any favors and often unnecessarily leads to voters getting riled up, before they even know the facts.

So for me, I’m with Alter on this one. Even though he tried to explain (from experience) the long legislative process to Schultz, and all of the benefits that were in the new bill… but it was no use… To Shultz, everything hinged on the bill passing with Public Option, and anything other than that, was just a pile of junk.

Sorry Ed, but when you talk like this, you belong in your own segment of Psycho Talk.

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Tiger’s Validation Complex by Eugene Robinson

Op-Ed by Eugene Robinson

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Eugene Robinson

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Eugene Robinson

Washington Post/Eugene Robinson—Leave Tiger alone. Enough with the puns — we get that he’s really just a “cheetah” in disguise. Enough with the Barbie-of-the-Day revelations — we get that he’s attracted to a certain type. Enough with the whole thing — we have far more important things to worry about.

Yeah, right. Sit down with a friend over lunch and try to have a conversation about health care, climate change, financial regulation or Afghanistan without straying at least once onto the oh-so-unimportant subject of Tiger Woods’s philandering. I’ve given up trying to deny that the unfolding saga is compelling, even if paying attention leaves me feeling a bit disappointed in myself. Prurient interest is rarely something to be proud of.

I’m beginning to fear, actually, that the unfolding may never end. If you’re the richest, most famous athlete on the planet, and you have an eye for cocktail waitresses and nightclub hostesses, the opportunities to cheat are probably limited only by the number of hours in the day. It’s becoming clear why Woods’s initial mea culpa was worded vaguely to cover any and all “transgressions.” Wouldn’t want to leave anybody out.

I’m not going to pronounce judgment on Woods’s moral fiber, except to state that adultery is bad. I’m also not going to judge the women who have reportedly had affairs with him, except to point out how quick they’ve been, as soon as their names have surfaced, to retain high-priced legal counsel. I will suggest that Woods consider this possibility: Random women he meets in restaurants or bars may not be reduced to putty by his good looks or sparkling wit, but may in fact be aware of how wealthy he is.

I was going to critique Woods’s technique of adultery, or at least his apparent selection of playmates, as measured against a theory about philandering developed by my colleague Roxanne Roberts, who has spent years covering the capital’s libidinous social scene for The Post. Roberts postulates that famous, powerful men who stray would be smart to choose women who have just as much to lose if the liaison were exposed. Some ultra-rich tycoon’s young trophy wife, say, would fit that criterion. Cocktail waitresses and nightclub hostesses, not so much.

In fact, Woods seems to have hooked up with the kind of women who save old voice mails and text messages — giving their high-priced legal counsel something to work with.

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The Pit Bull in the China Shop by Frank Rich

Op-ed by Frank Rich

Frank Rich

Frank Rich/The New York Times

New York Times/Frank Rich—At last the American right and left have one issue they unequivocally agree on: You don’t actually have to read Sarah Palin’s book to have an opinion about it. Last Sunday Liz Cheney praisedGoing Rogue” as “well-written” on Fox News even though, by her own account, she had sampled only “parts” of it. On Tuesday, Ana Marie Cox, a correspondent for Air America, belittled the book in The Washington Post while confessing that she couldn’t claim to have “completely” read it.

Going Rogue” will hardly be the first best seller embraced by millions for talismanic rather than literary ends. And I am not recommending that others follow my example and slog through its 400-plus pages, especially since its supposed revelations have been picked through 24/7 for a week. But sometimes I wonder if anyone has read all of what Palin would call the “dang” thing. Some of the book’s most illuminating tics have been mentioned barely — if at all — by either its fans or foes. Palin is far and away the most important brand in American politics after Barack Obama, and attention must be paid. Those who wishfully think her 15 minutes are up are deluding themselves.

The book’s biggest surprise is Palin’s wide-eyed infatuation with show-business celebrities. You get nearly as much face time with Tina Fey and the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in “Going Rogue” as you do with John McCain. We learn how happy Palin was to receive calls from Bono and Warren Beatty “to share ideas and insights.” We wade through star-struck lists of campaign cameos by Robert Duvall, Jon Voight (who “blew us away”), Naomi Judd, Gary Sinise and Kelsey Grammer, among many others. Then there are the acknowledgments at the book’s end, where Palin reveals that her intimacy with media stars is such that she can air-kiss them on a first-name basis, from Greta to Laura to Rush.

Equally revealing is the one boldfaced name conspicuously left unmentioned in the book: Levi Johnston, the father of Palin’s grandchild. Though Palin and McCain milked him for photo ops at the Republican convention, he is persona non grata now that he’s taking off his campaign wardrobe. Is Johnston’s fledgling porn career the problem, or is it his public threats to strip bare Palin family secrets as well? “She knows what I got on her” is how he put it. In Palin’s interview with Oprah last week, it was questioning about Johnston, not Katie Couric, that made her nervous.

The book’s most frequently dropped names, predictably enough, are the Lord and Ronald Reagan (though not necessarily in that order). Easily the most startling passage in “Going Rogue,” running more than two pages, collates extended excerpts from a prayerful letter Palin wrote to mark the birth of Trig, her child with Down syndrome. This missive’s understandable goal was to reassert Palin’s faith and trust in God. But Palin did not write her letter to God; she wrote the letter from God, assuming His role and voice herself and signing it “Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.” If I may say so — Oy!

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Florida – The Next GOP Bloodbath? aka “2012 the prequel”

posted by GeoT

“The candidate who purports to speak for populist rage in fact turns out to be the candidate of a national political leadership.”

frum1by David Frum (CNN) — The Republican fratricide in the Nov. 3 special election in upstate New York may prove just an opening round of an even more spectacular bloodbath in Florida in 2010.

In New York, Republican feuding lost the party a seat in the House of Representatives. At stake in Florida is not only a senatorship — but very possibly Republican hopes for 2012 as well.
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The battle in Florida pits Gov. Charlie Crist against former Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio. Both men claim to be conservative, pro-life, tax cutters. On the issues, they would seem to agree far more than they disagree.

But on one issue they have disagreed passionately: President Obama’s fiscal stimulus. Squeezed by his state’s desperate fiscal condition, Crist endorsed and campaigned for the Obama stimulus. Inspired by his conservative ideology, Rubio opposed stimulus.

Now Rubio is the darling of conservatives nationwide. Just this week it was announced that he would keynote next year’s annual CPAC conference in Washington. He has been profiled on the cover of National Review, endorsed by the Club for Growth, and feted by radio talk show hosts.

Marco Rubio has fiercely denounced Crist’s support for the Obama stimulus. His campaign ads show images of Crist and Obama side by side and damn the stimulus as “trillions in reckless spending” and a “terrible threat to a fragile economy.”

Rubio’s message of uncompromising, unremitting opposition to President Obama has won him an enthusiastic following among conservatives nationwide.

But here’s the most important unasked question raised by the enthusiasm for Rubio among Washington conservatives: What alternative policy should have been adopted back in the spring, when interest rates had been cut to almost zero and the economy was still collapsing? Are vague bromides about big government anything like an adequate response to the worst economic crisis experienced by any American under age 80?

If all we conservatives have to offer is oppositionism, then opposition is the job we’ll be assigned to fill.

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Note: David Frum, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was a special assistant to President George W. Bush in 2001-2002. He is the author of six books, including “Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again,” and the editor of FrumForum.com

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The Missing Link From Killeen to Kabul by Frank Rich

Op-ed by Frank Rich

Frank Rich

Frank Rich/The New York Times

New York Times/Frank Rich—The dead at Fort Hood had not even been laid to rest when their massacre became yet another political battle cry for the self-proclaimed patriots of the American right.

Their verdict was unambiguous: Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an American-born psychiatrist of Palestinian parentage who sent e-mail to a radical imam, was a terrorist. And he did not act alone. His co-conspirators included our military brass, the Defense Department, the F.B.I., the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and, of course, the liberal media and the Obama administration. All these institutions had failed to heed the warning signs raised by Hasan’s behavior and activities because they are blinded by political correctness toward Muslims, too eager to portray criminals as sympathetic victims of social injustice, and too cowardly to call out evil when it strikes 42 innocents in cold blood.

The invective aimed at these heinous P.C. pantywaists nearly matched that aimed at Hasan. Joe Lieberman announced hearings to investigate the Army for its dereliction of duty on homeland security. Peter Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, vowed to unmask cover-ups in the White House and at the C.I.A. The Weekly Standard blog published a broadside damning the F.B.I. for neglecting the “broader terrorist plot” of which Hasan was only one of the connected dots. Jerome Corsi, the major-domo of the successful Swift-boating of John Kerry, unearthed what he said was proof that Hasan had advised President Obama during the transition.

William Bennett excoriated soft military leaders like Gen. George Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, who had stood up for diversity and fretted openly about a backlash against Muslim soldiers in his ranks. “Blind diversity” that embraces Islam “equals death,” wrote Michelle Malkin. “There is a powerful case to be made that Islamic extremism is not some fringe phenomenon but part of the mainstream of Islamic life around the world,” wrote the columnist Jonah Goldberg. Islam is “not a religion,” declared the irrepressible Pat Robertson, but “a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world.”

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