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Paul Krugman at The New York Times writes—Paranoia of the Plutocrats:

Extreme inequality, it turns out, creates a class of people who are alarmingly detached from reality—and simultaneously gives these people great power.

The example many are buzzing about right now is the billionaire investor Tom Perkins, a founding member of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Perkins lamented public criticism of the “one percent”—and compared such criticism to Nazi attacks on the Jews, suggesting that we are on the road to another Kristallnacht.

You may say that this is just one crazy guy and wonder why The Journal would publish such a thing. But Mr. Perkins isn’t that much of an outlier. He isn’t even the first finance titan to compare advocates of progressive taxation to Nazis. Back in 2010 Stephen Schwarzman, the chairman and chief executive of the Blackstone Group, declared that proposals to eliminate tax loopholes for hedge fund and private-equity managers were “like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”

Steve Almond at The New York Times Magazine wonders Is It Immoral to Watch the Super Bowl?
Recently, though, medical research has confirmed that football can cause catastrophic brain injury — not as a rare and unintended consequence, but as a routine byproduct of how the game is played. That puts us fans in a morally queasy position. We not only tolerate this brutality. We sponsor it, just by watching at home. We’re the reason the N.F.L. will earn $5 billion in television revenue alone next year, three times as much as its runner-up, Major League Baseball.
Jessica Luther at The Guardian writes—Painting Wendy Davis as a bad mother is political sexism at its worst:
According to Name It. Change It (NICI), a non-partisan project that is trying to eradicate sexism in political campaigns, sexism is subtly coded so that it may appear innocuous but, in fact, is damaging to the female candidate. NICI has "Pyramid of Egregiousness" and under the section titled "Really Damn Sexist", they list "bad mother" and "gold-digger" as two common characterizations of female candidates that are often used to undermine them. Slater's article deploys both against Davis.

So it is no surprise that there has a been a lot of uproar about the not-so-subtle sexism in Slater's piece (some examples are here, here, and here). A fellow female colleague from Davis' days serving on the Fort Worth City Council, Becky Haskins, a Republican, has even publicly stated that the description of Davis as a mother is unfair:

If this involved a man running for office, none of this would ever come up.
Excerpts from other pundits can be found below the fold.

Doyle McManus at the Los Angeles Times writes—Harry Reid earns an assist on Iran:

The most important person in the U.S.-Iran nuclear negotiations right now may be Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader from Searchlight, Nev.

Two weeks ago, President Obama's nuclear diplomacy was in trouble, but not because of anything Iran was doing. The problems were domestic. [...]

But then Reid planted his feet. He controls the Senate calendar, and he let senators know that he saw no need to act on the sanctions bill soon. "At this stage, I think we're where we should be," Reid blandly told reporters.

That strategic inaction gave Obama and White House aides more time for some furious personal lobbying against the bill. And it gave a coalition of liberal groups time to organize a grass-roots lobbying effort aimed at countering AIPAC's appeals to Democratic senators who hadn't yet decided.

By last week, it was clear that Reid had prevailed; the Senate isn't likely to vote on new sanctions any time soon.

Sady Doyle at In These Times writes—The ‘Feminized Society’ Myth:
How do you give men the impression of a female majority? Show them a female minority, and let that minority do some talking. This is how 15 minutes of Fey and Poehler becomes three hours of non-stop “estrogen,” how a Congress that's less than 19 percent female becomes a “feminized” and male-intolerant political environment, and how one viable female Presidential candidate becomes an unstoppable, man-squashing Godzilla. Men tend to perceive equality when women are vastly outnumbered and underrepresented; it follows that, as we approach actual parity, men (and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, for some reason) will increasingly believe that we are entering an era of female domination.

Everything depends on the perception gap: On that ancient, long-enculturated sexist logic, which dictates that, when it comes to women and power, some is enough and enough is too much. The logic which tells us that the only environment not at risk of being “feminized” is an environment with no women in it.

And if that's our option, well: I say, all hail the matriarchy. Sure, it will mean suffering through a few more years of sexist men having embarrassing, public meltdowns about how women are running everything and ruining their lives.

Leonard Pitts Jr. at the Miami Herald writes in Silence about what matters is not golden that conservatives don't know what Martin Luther King Jr. said about unions or injustice or poverty:
But they always quote the “content of character” passage from King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. They see it as supportive of their ideal of a so-called “colorblind” society wherein race—and racial problems—are acknowledged never. [...]

You have to wonder, as conservatives make their belated embrace of Martin Luther King, if they realize they are what he struggled against all his life. They’ve never been on the right side of history where black people are concerned. So where do they get the idea that they have moral authority on the subject of black struggle? Where do they get the temerity to shush those who have labored in — and lived — that struggle for years, generations and lifetimes?

The silence they preach is not golden. It is poison. It is moral cowardice.

But it is not new. The race card? Though that term did not exist in his lifetime, King was familiar with the argument. His focus on racial injustice, said critics, fanned flames of racial tension.

To which King said this: “We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with.”

Jim Hightower at The Progressive writes—Moral Mondays Rekindle the Civil Rights Movement:
Half a century later, a new movement for justice is following in the footsteps and in the spirit of those earlier civil rights activists. Steadily building broad grassroots coalitions of civil rights groups, labor, church leaders, students, teachers, environmentalists, retirees, and others, this movement is literally moving through southern states. It is gaining popular support by directly confronting the immorality of extremist governors, legislators, and corporate lobbyists who're denying health care to poor families, preventing both the elderly and students from voting, gutting state funding for public education, and generally legislating a permanent state of inequality and injustice for millions of people.

This promising progressive uprising began last year in North Carolina as the "Moral Monday" movement, named for its weekly peaceful protests at the state capitol. It has now spread to "Moral Monday Georgia" and "Truthful Tuesday" in South Carolina.

John Nichols at The Nation writes—Who Backs the TPP and a ‘NAFTA on Steroids’? ALEC:
If the president does go all in for the TPP, he will find himself in strange company—with groups that promote policies that critics argue are responsible for the growing gap between a wealthy few and an increasingly impoverished many.

There is, for instance, one group that maintains an extensive network of political connections in states across the country and is enthusiastically on board for “the expedited conclusions and approval of the TPP.”

That group is the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post lectures President Obama about what he should say in A State of the Union about the state of poverty and then declares what Republicans ought to be doing, a declaration in which there is not one new idea whatsoever:
They can also pledge to protect Americans from Obama policies that harm the most vulnerable. Repeal Obamacare and put in place a reformed Medicaid program and a patient-centered health-care reform. Stop harassing localities with effective school choice programs. Reform drug laws to stress rehabilitation but don’t legalize drugs that entice the most vulnerable. Republicans can also vow to put forward pro-growth immigration reform that brings in (or keeps after graduation) the highly skilled people who are likely to start jobs and infuse the economy with innovation.
Jeet Heer at The New Republic writes—Herblock Was a Fine Political Cartoonist. Liberals Don't Need to Deify Him:
Is there a more perversely inappropriate fate for a satirist than posthumous sanctification? Herbert Block, the editorial cartoonist who drew under the name Herblock, spent his long life practicing the vicious art of visual mockery, exaggerating the physiognomic peculiarity of politicians in order to call attention to their moral defects. Our mental images of Joseph McCarthy as a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal and Nixon as shifty, beady-eyed used car salesman owe infinitely more to Herblock’s pencil-and-ink polemics than to the photographic and filmic record. Many who met McCarthy thought he was ruggedly handsome: It took Herblock’s art to transform the anti-communist demagogue into a perpetually sweaty ape-man (and words, too: he's widely credited with coining the term McCarthyism). As with all good satirists, Herblock used cruel tactics for benevolent ends, but maliciousness was the very heart and soul of his creativity. How could he be a saint?

Herblock, who died in 2001, was a giant of both liberal journalism and political cartooning, yet the new documentary Herblock: The Black and the White, which premieres Monday night on HBO, makes the mistake of turning him into a holy man.

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