"The New Political Correctness." Paul Krugman: "... right-wing political correctness -- unlike the liberal version -- has lots of power and money behind it. And the goal is very much the kind of thing Orwell tried to convey with his notion of Newspeak: to make it impossible to talk, and possibly even think, about ideas that challenge the established order. Thus, even talking about 'the wealthy' brings angry denunciations; we're supposed to call them 'job creators'. Even talking about inequality is 'class warfare'."
"If Obama is a socialist, he's a lousy one":
New York Times Editors: "It is absurd ... for Republicans to attack Mr. Obama for carrying out an unprecedented 'regulatory jihad' when, in fact, the administration has a mediocre record when it comes to curbing dangerous practices by industry.
Prof. Tim Jackson in the New York Times: increasing productivity is not necessarily a great idea. For instance, "there are sectors of the economy where chasing productivity growth doesn't make sense at all. Certain kinds of tasks rely inherently on the allocation of people's time and attention." Jackson specifically cites the healthcare industry. If you recall, David Brooks wrote this week that Mitt Romney would bring efficiency improvements to those sluggish doctors and nurses.
Lincoln Caplan, in a New York Times op-ed, outlines the briefs in support of the Montana Supreme Court's decision to uphold its election laws; the Supreme Court is expected to respond next month.
The Butler Did It. Adele Stan in the Washington Monthly: The Vatican confirmed that it had arrested Paolo Gabriele for leaking documents to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi. "At issue are confidential letters to and from Pope Benedict XVI regarding the Vatican’s financial dealings.... So, in arresting Gabriele, the Vatican is doing what it does best with those who would challenge its sources and methods: putting the screws to them. You'd think that the pope and his men might be so consumed with straightening out the Holy See's financial mess, and penitentially finding the institution's way back to the straight and narrow that they'd have little time to do much else. But, no, instead the pope has seen fit to focus his institution's resources on a mission designed to bring U.S. nuns into line."
Lizette Alvarez of the New York Times: 'With nothing more than ledgers of stolen identity information -- Social Security numbers and their corresponding names and birth dates -- criminals have electronically filed thousands of false tax returns with made-up incomes and withholding information and have received hundreds of millions of dollars in wrongful refunds, law enforcement officials say. The criminals, some of them former drug dealers, outwit the Internal Revenue Service by filing a return before the legitimate taxpayer files. Then the criminals receive the refund, sometimes by check but more often though a convenient but hard-to-trace prepaid debit card."
Maureen Dowd: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is on the Secret Service's case; unfortunately, Mark Sullivan -- the Secret Service director -- is not.
Nathaniel Frank in Slate: Colin Powell poses as a leader, but he's "always following others."
The Trial of Casanova. CW: I've avoided linking to reports on this story, but what the hell. Here's one iteration from Libby Copeland of Slate: John Edwards, on trial in a case related to his having an extramarital affair & fathering a child with his lover while running for POTUS, has been observed flirting with one of the alternate jurors.
Jonathan Chait: "The real news in Mitt Romney’s interview with Mark Halperin ... is that Romney openly repudiated the central argument his party has been making against President Obama for the last three years: that he spent too much money and therefore deepened the economic crisis. Indeed Romney himself had been making this very case as recently as a week ago. But in his Halperin interview, Romney frankly admits that reducing the budget deficit in the midst of an economic crisis would be a horrible idea.... We're all Keynesians during Republican administrations."
Charles Pierce: "... didn't Romney, in saying that, pretty much blow up the entire rationale for over 30 years of Republican economics right there? Cutting government spending will throw us into a recession or depression? No Christmas cards from the Ryan household this year, Willard. That this remarkable moment sailed over Halperin's head and lodged in the wall behind him goes without saying."
New York Times: "The National Labor Relations Board announced on Sunday that one of its five members, Terence F. Flynn, had resigned after the board's inspector general found that Mr. Flynn, a Republican, leaked documents to G.O.P. allies."
New York Times: "The United Nations Security Council on Sunday unanimously condemned the Syrian government for its role in the massacre of at least 108 villagers, with new details emerging from international observers that appeared to prompt rare Russian cooperation in criticizing its ally in Damascus."