The conventional wisdom finally turns against Obama on the Middle East

November 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


It’s good to statements like the following from Ben Smith in Politico about President Obama’s Middle East adventures becoming the conventional wisdom:

Instead of becoming a heady triumph of his diplomatic skill and special insight, Obama’s peace process is viewed almost universally in Israel as a mistake-riddled fantasy. And far from becoming the transcendent figure in a centuries-old drama, Obama has become just another frustrated player on a hardened Mideast landscape.

The current state of play sums up the problem. Obama’s demand that the Israelis stop building settlements on the West Bank was met, at long last, by a temporary and partial freeze, but its brief renewal is now the subject of intensive negotiations.

Meanwhile, Palestinian leaders have refused American demands to hold peace talks with the Israelis before the freeze is extended. Talks with Arab states over gestures intended to build Israeli confidence — a key part of Obama’s early plan — have long since been scrapped.

The political peace process to which Obama committed so much energy is considered a failure so far. And in the world’s most pro-American state, the public and its leaders have lost any faith in Obama and — increasingly — even in the notion of a politically negotiated peace.

Even those who still believe in the process that Obama has championed view his conduct as a deeply unfunny comedy of errors.

Smith shows that Obama has managed to lose not just the confidence of the Israeli government but also that of the dovish Kadima opposition party led by Tzipi Livni:

Livni scrupulously avoids criticizing Obama’s conduct of the peace talks, but those around her are blunter. “If Obama wanted to be a transformational figure, he would never have led with the settlements,” said Eyal Arad, the architect of Livni’s campaign for prime minister. He argues — like most Israelis — that Obama inadvertently got talks hung up on a matter of irrelevant principle, rather than engaging the reality that some settlements can stay while others must go.

“The settlements were pushed by a bunch of left-wingers who were out of sync with the realities and were out of government too long,” he said. “The irony is that Obama went directly back to the place where George Bush the father left off.”

Nor, according to Smith, do the Palestinians have much respect for Obama at this point. This isn’t surprising. Obama raised their hopes by taking an aggressive anti-settlement posture. In the process, he lost the trust of the Israelis, which ensures his inability to deliver anything much to the Palestinians.

Obama’s two defining characteristics — inexperience and adherence to leftwing dogma — are a dangerous combination in almost any context. They certainly have no useful place in the Middle East, where they have combined to make Obama an object of ridicule on both sides of the Israeli political divide and among Israel’s adversaries.

Power Line

Currency wars and conventional wisdom

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Yesterday I received one of those "Q and A" e-mails that think tanks
use to promote their views from the Carnegie Endowment yesterday. The first
question was: "What is the danger that a currency war could break out?"

Obviously the premise of this question is that there
is no such war at present. But wait a minute. The IMF says that China is
manipulating its currency. That means that China is constantly buying dollars in the global currency markets in
order to keep the dollar’s value artificially high versus the Chinese yuan. It
further means that China is doing this in order to indirectly subsidize its
exports and to accumulate large dollar reserves. Nor is China the only player
of this game. South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and even, upon occasion, Japan also
intervene in currency markets to be sure that their export industries remain

The intervention is always aimed at keeping the
value of those currencies versus the dollar somewhat lower than market forces
would dictate. In other words, these countries are all subsidizing their
exports into the U.S. market and into the markets of other countries like
Canada or Australia or Norway, for example, that have freely floating
currencies. This subsidization is a beggar-thy-neighbor  policy that aims to create jobs at home by expropriating
those of the importing countries. It is a strike at the competing industries in
floating currency markets that would be competitive in the absence of the
currency manipulation.

Now what would you call this — a currency war
maybe?  Well, according to Carnegie Encowment economist Uri Dadush, you’d be wrong if you did. Dadush says that while there is a
significant risk of a currency war breaking out, we’re not there yet.
Apparently that can only happen if the U.S. decides to play tit for tat.

An even better example was the story that I’m sure
many of you saw on the front page of yesterdays New York Times business section
titled, Few Jobs Seen in a Weaker Dollar. I was particularly
interested in this story because it had run originally in the International
Herald Tribune
and had contained a quote from, well, me. Naturally when I saw
it again in the Times, I turned eagerly to the inside jump page to see my name
in print once again.  So you also know
how disappointed I was to see that my name and quote had disappeared from the
Times edit of the story.

According to the Times version all economists share
the view that a weaker dollar — meaning no currency manipulation by China or
others — would have little if any affect
on either the U.S. trade deficit or U.S. job creation. So, whereas the Dadush was saying that we’re not yet in a currency war, the Times was saying
that maybe there is a war, but even if the currency manipulators stopped their
attack, the effect on the U.S. economy would be negligible. So, maybe we’re not
at war, but if we are, don’t worry about it. This is the conventional U.S.
economic wisdom as handed down by two pillars of the establishment.

The Times essentially said that exchange rates no
longer have much effect on trade flows because global companies produce in most
of the major markets into which they sell and do not change production
locations in response to currency shifts.

In the original Herald Tribune article, I noted that exchange rates are
prices and that to argue that prices don’t matter is to argue that capitalism
doesn’t matter. Obviously, the apostles of the conventional wisdom at the Times
thought my comment undercut the preferred story line too much and removed it.
Or maybe they just had to cut the length of the article and my comments just
inadvertently wound up on the cutting room floor. Who knows?  But it doesn’t really matter, because the
story was so obviously incomplete to anyone at all familiar with global
production and marketing as to make one wonder if there are any editors left at
the Times.

Look, of course, global companies produce in a lot
of different markets. Toyota produces in Japan and in the U.S. for example. But
Toyota sells more cars in the U.S. than it produces in the U.S. and so do
Nissan, Mercedes Benz, and BMW. Apple produces some things in the U.S., but the
bulk of the products Apple sells in the U.S. are made in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and
China. If this were not the case, how would the United States have chronic
trade deficits of over $ 600 billion? Does the Times think that Toyota would not
move more of its production to the U.S. if the yen doubled in value versus the
dollar? If Toyota did move more production here, would that no create U.S.
jobs? What am I missing here?

FP Passport

Conventional Wisdom Carries the Day

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

If you want to know why Republicans trounced the Democrats on Tuesday, read this piece by Glenn Greenwald. Skip the part about the on-air fight between Glenn and Lawrence O’Donnell over what O’Donnell said or didn’t say on Scarborough’s show. It’s both amusing and appalling, but the truly important stuff comes when Glenn takes on O’Donnell’s specific argument about why the Democrats lost so massively. O’Donnell perfectly articulates the conventional wisdom among inside-the-Beltway types; namely, that voters rejected Democrats because the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress were too liberal; too far to the left — that Tuesday’s election was a resounding rejection of progressive ideology; that the Democrats misread what the public wanted in 2008; that they tried to do too much; that Americans want less government, not more; that they want the government to get out of their faces and stop telling them how to live their lives and just let them make their own decisions.

Cow patties:

O’Donnell — in standard cable TV form — basically had one simplistic point he repeated over and over:  exit polls show that only a small minority of voters (a) self-identify as “liberal” and (b) agree that government should do more.  There are so many obvious flaws in that “analysis.”  To begin with, exit polls survey only those who vote; it excludes those who chose not to vote, including the massive number of Democrats and liberals who voted in 2006 and 2008 but stayed at home this time.  The failure to inspire those citizens to vote is, beyond doubt, a major cause of the Democrats’ loss (see the first reason listed by CBS News for why the Democrats lost:  ”The Democratic Base Stayed Home“).  …  O’Donnell’s fixation on those who voted, while ignoring those who chose not to vote, necessarily excludes a major factor in the Democrats’ loss.

But more important, voters don’t think the way that cable TV personalities think.  Voters don’t run around basing their vote on this type of vapid sloganeering:  who is a liberal?  who is a conservative?  who wants big government and who wants small government? It’s true that the word ”liberal” has been poisoned and it’s thus hardly surprising that few people embrace it as their political identity.  But, as I documented during the segment and O’Donnell steadfastly ignored, large majorities support positions routinely identified as “liberal,” including the public option, greater restraints on Wall Street, preservation of Social Security and Medicare, etc.  They can say they are not “liberal” but their specific views on substance prove otherwise.

But far more important still, what voters care about are not cable-news labels, but results. Democrats didn’t lose because voters think they’re too “liberal.” If that were true, how would one explain massive Democratic wins in 2006 and 2008, including by liberals in conservative districts (such as Alan Grayson); were American voters liberal in 2006 and 2008 only to manically switch to being conservative this year?  Was Wisconsin super-liberal for the last 18 years when it thrice elected Russ Feingold to the Senate, and then suddenly turned hostile to liberals this year?  Such an explanation is absurd.

The answer is that voters make choices based on their assessment of the outcomes from the political class.  They revolted against the Republican Party in the prior two elections because they hated the Iraq War and GOP corruption (not because they thought the GOP was “too conservative”), and they revolted against Democrats this year because they have no jobs, are having their homes foreclosed by the millions, are suffering severe economic anxiety, and see no plan or promise for that to change (not because they think Democrats are “too liberal”).

People like Lawrence O’Donnell predictably don’t understand this because none of that is happening to them.  In their world, what matters are facile, superficial political labels and trite, McGovern-era Beltway wisdom:  Dems have to Move To the Center.  But voters are rejecting Democrats because of their perceived policy failures, not because of cable news bumper stickers. …

People aren’t running around thinking:  who is a liberal and who is a conservative?  They’re running around thinking:  we have no jobs and no economic security, and thus will punish those in power. …

People are suffering economically and Democrats have done little about that.  Beyond that, they failed to inspire their own voters to go to the polls.  Therefore, they lost.  By basing their power in Congress on Blue Dog dependence — rather than advocating for the views of their own supporters and implementing those policies — they failed, and failed resoundingly.  Building their party around a large number of muddled, GOP-replicating corporatists not only creates a tepid and failed political image, but far worse, it prevents actual policies from being implemented that benefit large number of ordinary Americans.  Democrats repeatedly refrained from advocating for such policies in deference to their Blue Dogs, failed to do much to alleviate the economic suffering of ordinary Americans, and thus got crushed.   Anyone who thinks that Democrats lost because they were “too liberal” — rather than because Americans are suffering so much economically — is wildly out of touch, i.e., is a multi-millionaire cable TV personality who has spent decades wallowing in trite D.C. chatter.

All emphasis is Glenn’s.

I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that conventional wisdom tends to carry the day, even in quarters where you do often thoughtful commentary:

In the end, I think O’Donnell clearly had the better side of the argument here. Greenwald couldn’t seem to accept the fact that without the Blue Dog Democrats, there would not have been any Democratic majority in Congress and thus no health care reform, no stimulus, no financial industry reform. Greenwald strikes me as the liberal version of something that you see on the right as well. It’s the same mentality that led people to support Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, for example, even though it was clear that there was no possibility that she could win the election. Letting the perfect be the enemy of the good is, it seems, a common mistake in politics regardless of one’s political beliefs.

This makes no sense at all. If the Blue Dogs were so essential to Democratic success, why did so many of them lose their jobs on Tuesday? Americans voted their empty pockets, drained bank accounts, and foreclosed homes on Tuesday. Did the Blue Dogs’ emasculation of health care reform, financial industry reform, and stimulus legislation persuade voters that the Democrats were creating jobs for unemployed American, or holding Wall Street accountable for wrecking the economy or helping them stay in their homes? Perhaps Democrats would have been better served NOT to have defined “the good” as “whatever those Blue Dogs want.” Honestly, I don’t get what Mataconis is on about here.

The Moderate Voice

E.J. Dionne, the Apostle of Liberal Conventional Wisdom, Continues to Dwell in a Fantasy Land

September 29, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne has just given us a new line of attack on the Tea Party: now the movement is just a giant scam out to hoodwink the American public.

Is the tea party one of the most successful scams in American political history?… the tea party constitutes a sliver of opinion on the extreme end of politics receiving attention out of all proportion with its numbers. …The tea party may be pulling a fast one on the country and the media.


The only one trying to pull a fast one here is Dionne—who’s playing fast and loose with the facts. More about that shortly.  But first, a question: “What makes a liberal deny reality?” There can be only two answers.

Either the liberal is so blinded by ideology that he simply cannot see the truth, or the liberal’s unwillingness to recognize painful reality compels him to try to minimize it. Paul Krugman falls into the first category.  A Keynesian crackhead from his salad days, Krugman believes the first stimulus was too small.

Dionne falls into the second. He can’t accept the inescapable truth that the Tea Party is here to stay. And so, Dionne does what most ideologically strait-jacketed liberals do: he minimizes. By the way, throughout his article, note how Dionne intentionally spells the movement in lower case (“tea party”), literally diminishing the group by not granting it upper case status. In comparison,“Republican” and “Democrat” get full capital letter respect in Dionne’s piece. Anyway, here’s E.J.’s  “proof” that the Tea Party is fringe.

Last April, a New York Times/CBS News poll found that 18 percent of Americans identified themselves as supporters of the tea party movement, but slightly less than a fifth of these sympathizers said they had actually attended a tea party rally or meeting. That means just over 3 percent of Americans can be characterized as tea party activists. A more recent poll by Democracy Corps, just before Labor Day, found that 6 percent of voters said they had attended a tea party rally or meeting.


Dionne makes much of the fact that only 3% of the American public had attended a Tea Party rally or donated to a Tea Party organization. He conveniently fails to point out that the now stale NYT/CBS poll, published April 14, was taken well before the first wave of Tea Party rallies, which occurred in hundreds of cities all around the country on April 15th and were attended in toto by hundreds of thousands of supporters.

Second, while Democracy Corps, the source of Dionne’s second poll, claims to be an “independent organization, dedicated to making the government of the United States more responsive to the American people,” it was founded and is run by James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, the latter an advisor to, among others, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Walter Mondale, and Joe Lieberman. Pair Greenberg  up with the Ragin Cajun and you get, naturally, no partiality in their poll.

Oddly, Dionne makes no mention of this Sept. 24 Pajamasmedia poll, which shows that 35% of black voters support the Tea Party. As the poll’s director, J. Vik Rubenfeld says:

Our survey found that more than one-in-three African Americans support the movement. Moreover, the data revealed that 32 percent are also likely to vote for a congressional candidate whom the Tea Party supports.”

The point is, polls are malleable and clearly for every poll Dionne can put forth to support his view, an equally opposing one can be cited to refute it. But what can’t be refuted is what Dionne’s WaPo colleague Charles Krauthammer only today termed “the big political story of the year”, i.e.,

…that a spontaneous and quite anarchic movement with no recognized leadership or discernible organization has been merged with such relative ease into the Republican Party.

Dionne attempts to paint the Tea Party as a tiny, over-exposed lunatic wing of the Republican Party. But it is really a para-Party fighting alongside the Republican Party much like a mercenary soldier fights for the side with which his financial and political interest is aligned.

Tax Day Protests

If, as Dionne asserts, the Tea Party is just “a sliver of opinion” and not an enormous spontaneous force, how does he explain not only its decisive propulsion of Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, and a slew of other heretofore unheard-of candidates, to primary victories and probable November triumphs, but the existence—according to the website—of the thousands of Tea Party groups that have formed over the last year and a half? My home state of Illinois, for example, has 91 such groups.

That’s a pretty big sliver.

Big Journalism

Rick Sanchez Book ‘Conventional Idiocy’ Is Tanking

September 18, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Steve Krakauer at Mediaite reported CNN anchor Rick Sanchez has been on the air promoting his new book (badly titled Conventional Idiocy) – 36 times in the last three weeks. "So how did the book sell? According to numbers Mediaite obtained from Bookscan, Sanchez’ book sold 802 copies in its first week."

As of Saturday, it ranked #5,920 on Amazon and #13,287 on Barnes & Noble. Perhaps Sanchez and his publishers at Penguin didn’t realize that the title doesn’t sound like a critique of someone else. It sounds like "Come buy 272 pages of idiocy." That might work for a comedian, but not for an anchorman. The shot at left is actually meant a publicity shot to promote the book, not Sanchez’s lack of savvy around electric cords.

The Smoking Gun relayed that photo and their take on Sanchez’s titanic ego:

Sanchez — who can’t stop reminding viewers that he is somehow “pioneering” a new way of reporting the news by reading aloud hours-old Twitter posts — was once the subject of a marvelous June 1991 Miami Herald profile back when he was a controversial local news anchor. Since the nearly 8000-word story by Juan Carlos Coto is, sadly, not online, we’re going to reprint some random moments of Chez.

We’ll start with Sanchez addressing his ability to extricate himself from sticky situations, which makes powerful guys swoon….

“Everybody admires it. Other men, and especially men who seem to be powerful men, I notice — I’m talking like a dime or nickel psychologist here, if you’ll permit me — will always come up to me and that’s always the thing they say. They admire in me the fact that I’ve been in some battles and I’ve won them.

The admiration isn’t translating into book sales. Krakauer added:

Sanchez has talked about his book dozens of times during his three hours each day on CNN, but he has also shown up on American Morning to talk about it and The Situation Room. Every day last week, Ali Velshi had Sanchez on to talk about the book as well (and there was the Larry King exchange last month).

Sanchez can console himself that it could be worse (or it soon might be) MSNBC host Ed Schultz’s book is now at #40,134 on Amazon. - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

New START Treaty Hurts U.S. Conventional Strike Capability

September 13, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
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In href="">The Wall Street Journal, John Bolton, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, raises significant concerns that the New START treaty will place numerical limits on conventional and non-conventional weapons launchers, delivery vehicles, and accountable warheads.

These limitations will in turn weaken U.S. capabilities—not Russia’s. Bolton emphasized that a return to these Cold War limits would cripple our long-range conventional warhead delivery capability and severely constrain our nuclear flexibility and resiliency. And while limiting the quantity of weapons launchers is only one of many restrictions this treaty imposes on the United States, it is the one that will have the most harmful impact. id="more-42801">

First, the treaty subjects “Prompt Global Strike” (PGS) strategic missiles armed with a conventional warhead—missiles that could be launched in as little as 60 minutes for use against targets such as a terrorist stronghold when U.S. general purpose forces are not immediately available—to its numerical limits. New START is supposed to be about limiting strategic nuclear arms. There is no justifiable reason for counting conventional weapons against the numerical limits in the treaty.

Second, a more complex world exists today with multiple nuclear powers and aspiring nuclear states rather than the Cold War standoff between two superpowers. Iran and North Korea continue on the nuclear march and China is expanding its nuclear-warhead and delivery capabilities, unconstrained by treaty limits. Foremost, in the current security environment the United States plays a far different role with greater responsibilities than Russia, for example, providing nuclear security guarantees to over 30 states. As such, New START discounts or ignores these realities.

Third, by limiting our weapons launchers, we are severely constraining our conventional capabilities essential for future conflicts. Since launchers are counted for both conventional and nuclear purposes, adding one conventional launcher would thus entail losing one nuclear launcher. Thus, the New START treaty forces a damaging trade-off for the United States.

While the counting rules subjecting PGS under New START href="">are not the most striking flaw of the treaty, they are the most problematic. The whole treaty is designed around limitations on launchers and delivery vehicles, including procedures for inspections and many definitions whose numerical limits capture PGS. New START has numerous, substantive, and serious flaws. The U.S. Senate will find that the flaws encompassing PGS are not easily fixed.

Co-authored by Matthew Foulger. Foulger is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: href="">

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

The Liberal Elite, their Conventional Wisdom, and the coming November Punishment

August 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Liberal Elite know something that us common folk cannot possibly know.  It isn’t because they have tomorrow’s newspaper today or have exclusive access to White House briefings.  They have both of those, of course, but that is not germane.  What they know is that the November elections will be a stunning victory for democrats.  They know this because they are the keepers of “Conventional Wisdom.”

The “CW,” as us Conservatives refer to it because it more accurately reflects a television channel full of pratfall sitcoms, is to most people a set of conclusions based upon an amorphous cloud of data and observations made by “people close to the action.”  Those learned minds absorb all news and opinion, and all events and (this is important to liberals) those things that should have happened but did not and ergo may still.   These folks, so the unspoken belief goes, are apolitical, nonpartisan, and always take a half slice of apple and cherry pie so as not to choose a favorite.  As they speak to one another, they dangle participles and split infinitives with impunity; they even let their voice trail off immediately following a transitive verb, all in the name of knowing the unknowable:  The Conventional Wisdom.

But such considered thought is not Liberal-Elite fare.  The truth, sadly yet predictably, is that they are more of the pond-scum variety than the depth of the waters beneath.  We can quantify their approach to discerning the CW as follows:

Variable “A” (weighted at 0.25) is the coming realization by the electorate that Obama is good coupled in sync (and negatively sloped if charted separately) with a realization that Conservatives are dangerous extremists;

Variable “B” (weighted at 0.65) is the assertion that nothing more can possibly go wrong in light of the abysmal string of bad news on virtually every topic since approximately the time Congress passed ObamaCare - and (this is the academician contribution) since nothing more can go wrong, therefore, to wit, and henceforth things can only go right good not wrong; and

Variable “C” (weighted at 0.10) is the Liberal Uncertainty Factor, streamed into every equation by libs because no matter what the outcome - right or wrong wrong or not wrong - they will have the structural ability to declare themselves right correct.  Stated another way, they are fools wandering an unknown forest on a dark night who, when one falls into a hole, yells up “I’m OK. I meant to do that. Wanted to see how deep it was.  You guys better walk around it.  Did someone bring a rope?”

Let’s review their present “Conventional Wisdom.”

Variable “A.” Of course Obama is good.  Just look at the 5th Anniversary of Katrina coverage.  He’s there.  Twenty minutes and a po boy, but he was there.  And he told everyone that he wasn’t going to abandon them.  Set aside that he failed to mention the “federal government,” speaking instead of “my administration.”  He ignored (his latest penchant) President Bush’s contributions and the recent poll of Louisianians that concluded W’s Katrina efforts were more favored than Zero’s Spill efforts.  But none of that matters:  He was there.

He feels the pain of the millions of unemployed, although in deference to the last real president, he can’t use that phrase.  So Zero tells us in the middle of climate-change-induced July heat that the Recovery Summer is underway.  He reassured all that the hundreds of billions of dollars of deficit spending was worth it for some of the 7% of American workers that are non-government union members to get jobs.  Sure the marketing campaign died quickly.  Had to.  Lots of people are without work - can’t go rubbing it in.  And somehow millions of jobs are awaiting us in the Green Future.  He reassured us.

Sharron Angle and Rand Paul are obvious nutcases; no more need be said.  Did you see the “tens of thousands” (as reported by AP) that attended Glenn Beck’s sacrilegious rally?  All white.  And Beck invoked the Christian Bible like it was some kind of NYT Bestseller.  The only surprise was that they didn’t reenact the Battle of Gettysburg across the Capitol Reflecting Pool because we know a substantial number of them were sporting holsters with sidearms.  Praise God Allah Ra Obama no one was hurt.  MLK’s niece who spoke there, btw, was never liked by the family.  And the facts that MLK himself was a Republican and pro-life just proves the tragedy of life cut short: He was so focused on reversing two centuries of white Republican hate that he never had the opportunity to reflect (we know that Republicans were only around for 80 years at that time, but they existed in the hearts and minds of such people before that).  Speaking of White Hate, the late Sen. Robert Byrd was just trying to advance his career when he joined the mostly social club Ku Klux Klan.

Conclusion:  Obama is playing it smart - low key appearances imbued with supportive words and reminders of his patriarchal leadership.  As for the nutjob Conservatives - when your opponent is heading for a cliff, get out of his way; they are digging their own electoral grave.

Variable “B.” The drained swamp has netted three democrats, with Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX30) just added.  Setting aside the obvious that no Republicans were ensnared, it just proves that the democrats will do what Republicans never had the honesty to do: Enforce ethical standards regardless of party registration.

Unemployment will either stay at 9.5% or rise as we approach the election.  Business investment is down 8% in 2010Q2, which tells us that GDP is - at best - stalled, and may contract.  Large institutional investors are betting (and investing) on a significant stock-market correction in the near term.  Housing inventory is more than twice a healthy economy.  Fifty-eight percent of likely voters want ObamaCare repealed, including 46% that “strongly favor” repeal.  All recent news on Wind Farms report complaints about noise and ground vibrations that make living close to them impossible.  Twenty-five percent (roughly 50 million gallons) of Spill oil is missing, and most likely to be found in its wake: A sprawling dead zone originating in and escaping from the Gulf.  Putin looks like a man; Obama looks like a metrosexual that let’s his linebacker wife deal with the gays that come sniffing around.  Iran is arming up; Russia and China are supporting them.  Abbas is talking trash about the Israelis.  Lebanon is being swallowed whole by Hezbollah.  Europe is not-so-quietly leaning towards replacing the US Dollar in international trades.  Obama’s trillion-dollar deficits dwarf anything ascribed to W.

OK, OK, we get it!  The world is falling apart.  But do you see how each and every one of these conditions are influenced by outside factors?  And whenever “outside” is considered, vis-a-vis President Obama, one must evaluate the role of Republicans.  They are a part of each and every situation cited above.  Now, to what extent, that is, what weight can be assessed to the individual variables is unknowable to any degree of certainty, of course.  So let’s move on the conclusion.

Conclusion:  For the last several weeks, every news cycle has been bad news for Obama and good news for Republicans.  This will change because it change always occurs.  It’s an ipso-facto thing (Republicans - look that up.  Hint: Latin).  For the next several weeks, therefore, the news for Obama will be good and for Republicans will be bad.

Variable “C.” See the fine print on the website that we can’t disclose yet because Republicans will just DNS the server.  Trust us:  10% of all reality is not.  Say it out loud.  Repeat it every time you Stumble Upon a Conservative website.

Conclusion:  If we are proven wrong, it will because real Americans failed to recognize the 10% Principle.  As an aside, this is all the more reason why we need high-speed Internet access throughout America.

And now for something completely different …

The Liberal Elites are correct in seeing a string of bad news that is so deep and wide that Americans are ready for anyone but a “D” to be in office.  We’ve made up our minds.  They know that the only hope of staving off utter ruin is to preach loudly to the choir in hopes of churning voter participation.  They also know that they can buy six weeks or more with pumped-up economic data before the downward revisions come - this means that August will be the last bad month.  They can overstate September and October with impunity.

The House is lost this cycle.  That’s a short-term thing only in that it is open for reevaluation in just two years.  The Senate is within three seats of flipping - Republicans need three of the following four: Wisconsin, Washington, California, and Nevada.  The Senate gains are not so short-term because the democrats protect 2:1 in seats - again - in the 2012 cycle.  Governorships are where the most damage will be done.  Republicans will be 30+ while democrats will be high teens (at best).  These seats will sign off on 2010 Redistricting, which will change the electoral shape of the nation for another ten years.

Obama in particular and the democrats generally are going to punished in November.  As a result, Hillary - after cramming through something anything in the Israel/Palestinian talks - will announce that she “has accomplished all she wished to, all she could” and will bolt in 2011 to prep for 2012.  Obama will be isolated and surrounded; Chicago thuggery politics will be neutralized.  Even Rahm will be gone.

And this is what the Liberal Elites do not get:  Everyone left listening to Obama is in the choir, roughly one in four voters.

It’s over.  That “10%” assigned to Variable “C” is low, boys and girls.

Liberty Pundits Blog

Confused Administration Keeps Pushing Conventional Arms Treaties

August 23, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
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The State Department has href="">posted a speech by Ann K. Ganzer, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Threat Reduction, Export Controls, and Negotiations. Delivered on August 4 at the South American Conference on Interdiction and Regional Security of Small Arms & Light Weapons, Ganzer’s speech sheds valuable light on the Administration’s intentions on several treaties, including the U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty, and reveals serious contradictions and flaws in the Administration’s position.

What is striking about Ganzer’s speech is the contrast between the U.S. policies that she describes. Ganzer praised the U.S.’s Export and Control and Border Security program (EXBS), through which the U.S. works with countries around the world to improve their export control systems, with a particular focus on WMD proliferation. id="more-41620">

EXBS has provided legal assistance, equipment, and training to countries as diverse as Malta, Pakistan, and Mexico. Its funds are appropriated by Congress, and it operates bilaterally: the U.S. is not obligated to cooperate with anyone it does not believe is acting in good faith. That is the kind of cooperation that makes sense.

The rest of Ganzer’s speech, however, backed exactly the opposite kind of measure: large, multilateral treaties which were  made between some countries that are of good faith and many others that are not; which cover a vast range of items and activities; and which as a result are likely to be both ineffective and dangerous. Ganzer offered praise for the Organization of American States’ CIFTA Convention; the “Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and other Related Materials”; and reiterated President Obama’s commitment to seek its “prompt ratification.”

She also claimed that the U.S. is already “in compliance with the Convention implementing many of its commitments.” This claim is an exaggeration, but it’s also contradictory: if the href="">U.S. is already largely in compliance with CIFTA, there would seem to be no urgency for the Senate to ratify it. The magical thinking behind the Administration’s support for CIFTA is the belief that other countries, which have signed the treaty but are not living up to their obligations, will suddenly start behaving if only the Senate acts. Ganzer’s statement also confirms a broader concern: the Senate has not ratified CIFTA, but successive Administrations have nonetheless used President Clinton’s signature of it to move the U.S. into a measure of compliance with the Convention. This is a flaw in the U.S. treaty-ratification mechanism that the Senate should address.

On the href="">Arms Trade Treaty, Ganzer announced that the Administration supports a very broad treaty: “the ATT must cover all conventional weapons, from military small arms and light weapons up to nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.”  Ganzer did not state whether the Administration believes that ammunition or dual-use items and industrial processes should be covered by the treaty, but ammunition—at least—is likely to be included. Yet the Administration itself does not actually want a treaty that covers “all” conventional weapons: in July, href="../2010/07/23/as-arms-trade-treaty-meeting-concludes-u-s-frustrations-grow/">it argued forcefully for the exclusion of hunting weapons.

The contradictions in Ganzer’s remarks reveal a U.S. policy process that is divided and confused, with too many advocates of large, ineffective, symbolic treaties. Nowhere was that clearer than in Ganzer’s remarks on that process. Ganzer, using the royal “we,” praised Secretary of State Clinton for taking “an important first step towards a significant and meaningful international [arms trade] treaty.” But Secretary Clinton is Ganzer’s boss. The Secretary’s statement was not a “first step”: it was a statement—albeit a misguided one —of U.S. policy, not a casual comment that her subordinates should publicly imply is only the start of the process.  No wonder U.S. policy toward these treaties is muddled.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

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