Friday, September 09, 2011

Cruising the Web

Michael Barone's take on the GOP presidential debate is, as always, interesting and perceptive.

Mona Charen defends Rick Perry on Social Security.

Ah, the gentle Longshore union folk demonstrated how they're playing by the rules and are interested in benefiting everyone as Obama said on Monday.
Hundreds of International Longshore and Warehouse Union members stormed a Washington grain facility and took six security guards hostage while dumping grain and damaging railroad cars.
Ross Douhat thinks that we're going to try an experiment to see if the "Rush Limbaugh/Erick Erickson" [Red State] faction of the Republican Party is enough to win a primary campaign or a general election.

Here's a point that you don't see often: James Taranto notes that the reason why the U.S. has capital punishment and European countries don't is because our politicians listen to what the public wants. In Europe, the public supports capital punishment, but their political leaders ignore them. Rather as they've done on the European Union. He links to Josh Marshall's 2000 piece in The New Republic about public opinion on the death penalty.
It's true that all of America's G-7 partners, save Japan, have abolished capital punishment, but the reason isn't, as death-penalty opponents usually assume, that their populations eschew vengeance. In fact, opinion polls show that Europeans and Canadians crave executions almost as much as their American counterparts do. It's just that their politicians don't listen to them. In other words, if these countries' political cultures are morally superior to America's, it's because they're less democratic.
The WSJ explains what's wrong with the administration's policies towards Solyndra and the attitude that Jay Carney has enunciated that government aid to businesses shouldn't be discounted just because one company failed.
That is all true enough, but then most businesses don't stick taxpayers with hundreds of millions of dollars in potential losses when they fail. The problem with politically directed investment isn't merely that bureaucrats are betting with someone else's money on industries they may not understand. Such investment also invites political favoritism for the powerful few at the expense of millions of middle-class taxpayers. Americans need to know the full story of who made or influenced the decision to give Solyndra its loan guarantee, and if political pressure was brought to bear.
Jay Cost explains why it doesn't really matter that Rick Perry Was once a Democrat and supported Al Gore in 1988. Of course, Perry's opponents can play this attack up because many voters today are ignorant of this recent past political history.

Charles Krauthammer has a fine column fighting back against those who say we overreacted to 9/11 and that it is the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that are responsible for today's fiscal crisis.
As for the Great Recession and financial collapse, you can attribute it to misguided federal policy pushing homeownership through risky subprime lending. To Fannie and Freddie. To greedy bankers, unscrupulous lenders, naive (and greedy) home buyers. To computer-enabled derivatives so complicated and interwoven as to elude control. But to the war on terror? Nonsense.

9/11 was our Pearl Harbor. This time, however, the enemy had no home address. No Tokyo. Which is why today’s war could not be wrapped up in a mere four years. It was unconventional war by an unconventional enemy embedded within a worldwide religious community. Yet in a decade, we largely disarmed and defeated it, and developed the means to continue to pursue its remnants at rapidly decreasing cost. That is a historic achievement.

Our current difficulties and gloom are almost entirely economic in origin, the bitter fruit of misguided fiscal, regulatory and monetary policies that had nothing to do with 9/11. America’s current demoralization is not a result of the war on terror. On the contrary. The denigration of the war on terror is the result of our current demoralization, of retroactively reading today’s malaise into the real — and successful — history of our 9/11 response.