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Belmont Club

Monthly Archives: July 2010

As Time Goes By

July 18th, 2010 - 6:54 am

Janet Daley of the UK Telegraph and Angelo de Codavilla of Boston University, in what will be a landmark essay, argue that overt class struggle has come to America. Not the classic Marxist class struggle in which the wretched of the earth arise to break their chains. Rather the reverse, one in which the Masters of the Universe impose their unutterable vision upon the benighted masses. Daley tells the short form of the story, one in which a newly arisen self-appointed enlightened elite use bread and circuses to rent the mass necessary to crush the middle classes, all distinctly un-American.

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Pawn to King Four, Pawn to King Four

July 16th, 2010 - 6:09 am

If Barack Obama has only finished the first part of a plan to re-architecture US society, as Charles Krauthammer warns, as a prelude to an even more ambitious second act involving the “massive regulation of the energy economy, federalizing higher education and ‘comprehensive’ immigration reform”, the question is whether the political opposition to Obama’s policies ought to take the same long range strategic view.  If Krauthammer is right, and the President plans nothing less than capturing the ideological opposition’s political capital to destroy it forever, then the logical response of any opponent would be symmetrical. A liberalism intentionally out to flatten its opponents risks being paid back in its own coin. After all, who marches on Moscow stakes the life of Berlin. Yet isn’t all this apocalyptic talk jumping the gun? How can anyone be sure the President has the long term aims that Krauthammer suggests?

No one can yet. Until a political conflict is perceived in these zero-sum terms no opposing group going all out in the other direction can be expected to emerge. You have to first convince enough people an existential threat impends for them to take that step. Whether Krauthammer is right or wrong, the President has to be allowed the first-move advantage. Consequently there will be no single opposition to a grand plan that has yet to unfold unless it unfolds alongside it. That has happened in the past in the form of coalitions.

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Of Aliens, Monte Cristo and Lame Lines

July 14th, 2010 - 4:54 pm

Megan McArdle has a long and busy thread about lonely hearts: Reader Thoughts: Why Pickup Artists Are Lame. As you might expect it has attracted far more reader interest than discussions on serious subjects like the economy, immigration or national security. One day the editors of the Atlantic will tumble on to the reason why the National Enquirer has a larger circulation than itself. But one commenter in particular stands out: a guy called Downfall.
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Mene, Mene, Tekel u-Pharsin

July 13th, 2010 - 7:09 pm

In old Soviet Union things got better each year until the whole edifice suddenly collapsed. The characteristic of managed news is that events never approach with the slowness of a ship making its appearance in the offing. Rather they materialize with the suddeness of a vessel that has risen from the depths and is firing broadside after broadside at you like the Flying Dutchman in Pirates of the Caribbean. This must have been the impression conveyed by Robert Gibbs when he predicted that Democrats might lose the House in November.

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Proximity Alert

July 13th, 2010 - 6:45 am

AOL News says that a Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that “6 in 10 Americans Lack Faith in Obama”.  The survey numbers themselves suggest that the longer the public watches President Obama in action, the less they like it. For example, total approval for Health Care has fallen from 57% in April 2009 to 45% in July 2010. The approval numbers on the economy have gone from 60% in Feb 2009 to 43% in June 2010.  Numbers on his handling of the deficit has fallen from 52% to 40% between March 2009 and July 2010. Even his campaign to cast the onus on Wall Street has hit the rocks.  His numbers on handling the financial industry have fallen from 48% to 44% in 3 months since April 2010. Confidence in his capability as Command-in-Chief has dropped.  The President’s approval numbers have declined continuously and almost inexorably in every single one of the key policy measures the survey measured. (more…)

Shimmer

July 12th, 2010 - 3:21 pm

Lee Smith describes how hard it is to maintains street cred — especially when the street is run by Hezbollah.  “CNN has fired senior editor Octavia Nasr for tweeting that she was “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah … One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” Fadlallah was one of the spiritual leaders of Hezbollah, and regarded by the U.S. government as a terrorist,” according to Stephen Walt in Foreign Policy. And well it should. The NYT says “western intelligence services, … held the ayatollah responsible for attacks against Western targets, including the 1983 bombings of two barracks in Beirut in which 241 United States Marines and 58 French paratroopers were killed.” But Lee Smith argues that Nasr is hardly unique. “If every U.S. journalist who quoted Hezbollah mouthpiece Amal Saad Ghorayeb as a respected “scholar” was fired, the bars of East Beirut would lose 25 percent of their business.”

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The Men Who Found Their Country

July 11th, 2010 - 6:50 am

The 20th century celebrates the International Brigades that fought in Spain even though the cause they fought for betrayed them.  But the lives of the Marquis de Lafayette, Casimir Pulaski,  Friedrich von Steuben, Tadeusz Kościuszko and John Paul Jones are a reminder of an far more successful group of expatriates who were drawn across the Atlantic to the greatest political event of their day. John Adams described the goals of 1776  as “objects of the most stupendous magnitude … in which the lives and liberties of millions yet unborn are intimately interested….” Unlike the doomed men of the 1930s, the internationals of the American revolution have given that enterprise, whose goals are far more universal than the ambitions of Stalin or Hitler, an impetus that persists to this day.

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Tomorrow Belongs To Me

July 9th, 2010 - 7:46 pm

“Tomorrow belongs to me”. So argues Kevin Drum. Writing in Mother Jones he argues that despite the electoral apocalypse facing the liberals in November, minorities and the Millenial Vote are going to give the Democrats — in the long run — the permanent majority.

Even if the Republican Party eventually softens its views on social issues, it won’t make much difference once the Millennials have reached age 30 and their party identification has hardened. If Teixeira is right, by the time this process is over an entire cohort of voters will be heavily pro-Democratic for the rest of their lives.

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The Care of Time

July 8th, 2010 - 4:53 am

Michael Barone writes that the bloom is off the rose. Based on the bellweather of his experience at the Aspen Ideas Festival, he notes “that enthusiasm for Barack Obama and his administration seems to be conspicuously missing.”  Here are some particulars:

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Kobayashi Maru

July 6th, 2010 - 11:46 pm

San Francisco has banned the sale of calorically sweetened beverages, including sports drinks and artificially sweetened water on city property. “Juices must be 100 percent fruits or vegetables with no added sweeteners.”  Other local governments are considering similar measures. Michigan, for example, is considering a tax on soda pop. Although “using food as a weapon” has long been denounced by the Left, they are not above using food as a political issue.  For example, the Daily Kos inveighs against the danger of high fructose corn syrup.

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