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Belmont Club

Monthly Archives: October 2010

Aftermath

October 31st, 2010 - 2:07 pm

Whether it is journalists caught on tape “discussing ways in which they could potentially embarass the Senate campaign of Republican Joe Miller” or Rep. Keith Ellison challenging an anti-voter fraud organization and getting counter-challenged himself, the political gloves on every side are coming off.  People are acting like they don’t care if they make enemies, as if the last lap or the last round of the bout has come. Maybe it has. The Guardian described the stakes, describing Obama at a poorly attended rally warning the “gains” of the last two years were in jeopardy.

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Restore Vanity

October 30th, 2010 - 12:56 pm

Mickey Kaus claims Democratic strategists may have known that firing up the leftist base would also fire up their opponents, but failed to realize that it would also alienate the Democratic middle. “It’s not just that rousing the Dem base also rouses the GOP base (which can hardly be roused more than it already is anyway). It’s that rousing the Dem base alienates the middle.” It made the publicists resort to brutal, unvarnished, socialist appeals that were unmistakable even to those wished to avert their gaze.

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Revolt on the Left

October 28th, 2010 - 1:42 pm

The Belmont Club post Tipping Points argued the storm petrels would really arrive when Democrats “realize that [the party] can no longer deliver the goods it falsely promised them. A revolt within the Leftist constituency led by the constituency itself, rather than their traditional patrons will sound the true death knell for the old system. The Tea Parties can only heighten the issue. But a revolt by the Democatic minority and blue collar constituents will be the coup de grace.”

That moment of rebellion, as manifested by an “enthusiasm” deficit among Democrat voters, may have been been coming for some time. But is it here? Byron York wonders whether Bill Clinton, ever the opportunist, is already looking to lead the discontented. Clinton recently gave such an ambiguous speech to a dispirited, half-empty auditorium that York remarked “does he really want Obama and Dems to win?”

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A Martingale Sang in Maiden Lane

October 27th, 2010 - 3:13 pm

As the President’s party heads for apparent catastrophe, Kevin Drum enumerates 5 myths that President Obama should never believe.

  • Obama has squandered the popularity he built up during the 2008 campaign
  • Democrats are in for a November pummeling because they overreached
  • Obama should have focused like a laser on jobs instead of fiddling around with health care reform
  • The public is terrified of budget deficits and has turned against vast government spending programs
  • A big loss in November means Obama is a one-term president for sure

Here’s another myth that maybe he shouldn’t believe: that Napoleon once said: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

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Fearful Symmetry

October 26th, 2010 - 3:15 pm
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The video above shows a “protester” throwing his shoes at John Howard. He laughs it off.  Michael Korzoi at the Sydney Morning Herald is afraid the incident will be used to demonize the Left.  “The concern now is that the shoe thrower will come to represent the left more broadly.”

It wouldn’t be a sensible act of stereotyping but it will happen: those already sceptical of left-wing politics will watch the footage of this silliness and it will reinforce preconceptions about people on the left, what they look like and how they behave. It is the sort of irresponsible behaviour which provides a justification for dismissing intelligent progressive ideas as the musings of delusional hippies.

In contrast, the video that follows after the Read More, however, is disrespectfulness by someone, the question being whom.

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Hedge

October 25th, 2010 - 7:33 pm

Bloomberg reports that “the Treasury sold $10 billion of five-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities at a negative yield”. Yes, you heard that right. The New York Times writes:

Bizarre as it sounds, that is correct. In an auction of a special kind of five-year Treasury bond, investors paid $105.50 for every $100 of bonds the government sold — agreeing to pay the government for the privilege of lending it money.

But these aren’t just any bond, they’re bonds insured against inflation. The securities, called TIPS or Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, “are indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from the negative effects” The NYT explains:

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Look Back in Wonder

October 25th, 2010 - 5:07 pm

Thomas Sowell thinks back on the recent past.

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Half Empty or Half Full?

October 25th, 2010 - 12:53 am

A video from 60 Minutes opens with a fiber optic engineering manager happy to get a $9.25 an hour part-time retail job at Target.   The situation is tough all over the world and to solace the restless natives governments are looking to change the international currency regime to generate domestic jobs. The trouble is that what benefits one country creates problems for another country.  Beggaring your neighbor works only when there’s a neighbor who allows himself to be pauperized. This kind of zero-sum competition has been called the “currency wars”.

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All Your Base Are Belong To Us

October 22nd, 2010 - 11:06 pm

Ben Smith of Politico calls the ad below “an attack ad”. James Fallows of the Atlantic calls it “phenomenal” even though he adds that “if you know anything about the Chinese economy, the actual analytical content here is hilariously wrong.”

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Odds Against Tomorrow

October 22nd, 2010 - 4:44 pm

If misery loves company then Stefan Auer’s new article on European finances puts the American economic crisis in perspective. The Old is as broke as the New. And worse, it is really old. Quoting a recent study by the Max Planck Institute he says, “Europe, too, is basically broke.”

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