Saturday, March 09, 2002
Friday, March 08, 2002
One would hope that a loyal opposition would take advantage of Presidential missteps to come up with coherent and plausible policy alternatives that could move the country forward. Instead the Daschle strategy seems to be to just lay low and try and kill the Pickering nomination while Bush takes some bad press from his own team. A democracy's great strength should be its ability for critical self-examination, but I don't think we're getting it from the Congress or the administration.
Thursday, March 07, 2002
Upon further analysis, however, I proved to be the number four result for "steel tarrifs." Disappointing. I'll just hope there's a lot of bad spellers out there. Anyways, if the the Ottawa Business Journal did it, it can't be that bad.
For example, let's take a guy, we'll call him something neutral like "Michael Milken". And he violates all the securities laws and lies and acts like he's the embodiment of the invisible hand, and, I dunno, holds up a bank or something. So he gets caught, and is punished. But all he gets is 18 months in a minimum-security federal prison and a fine that comes to ten percent of his net worth. I mean, that's not a walk in the park, but "Michael" still winds up filthy rich and can buy or sell several congressional candidates from his pocket change.
If you read his work consistently, you'll see that he's basically a pompous ass who takes contrarian views just to be contrarian and happened to be right about the absurdness of Noam Chomsky.
I hate DOMA, but this steel thing is worse. At least with DOMA Clinton was legitimately bowing to the (bizarre) policy-preferences of the (sadly homophobic) American majority. Part of what made DOMA so disgusting, of course, was that it was so unnecessary -- no state was anywhere near legalizing gay marriages and still no state is. On the other hand, that means that DOMA, cruel slap in the face though it was, hasn't had any actual effect.
These steel tarrifs, on the other hand, work against the interests of virtually every single person in the world. I'm talking 99.999% of the global population. The only people helped are a handfull of steel company executives, steel company employees, al Qaeda operatives, and Japanese auto workers. If you don't fall into one of those categories -- congratulations! You've just been screwed.
A lot of conservatives have been congratulating each other for having the guts to denounce this crap, but where were they during the whole past week when this issue was under consideration? Who was mobilizing people against this? Where were the rent-a-riots? Nowhere.
The media's aversion to the cultural right is more pronounced than its aversion to the economic left, and, since reporters tend to label politicians according to their social views, they're more apt to consider Democrats moderate. This is the kernel of truth underlying Goldberg's hyperbolic screed.The media's conventions in labeling people is really something that could use some more scrutiny. It's not that it's biased toward the left per se, it's just totally nonsensical. I'm not really enthusiastic about the efforts of Virginia Postrel to reformulate things in terms of a dynamist/stasisist spectrum either.
Of course, it's probably not pundits who'll wind up losing their jobs over this. On the other hand, many, many, many auto workers probably will. Does this mean Dubya's writing off Michigan? Why would he do that?
He's not even halfway through his first (and, God willing, only) term as President, and he's already plunged us headlong into deficit spending, proposed a Reaganesque defense budget, and imposed tariffs to protect decaying American industries. We also have an Attorney General more comfortable with the moral climate of the Victorian period, and Cold War dinosaurs running the Defense Department. Honestly, things are much worse than I had feared when Bush was "elected."
I understand, of course, why a practical politician would deviate from his principles for the sake of political advantage, but what puzzles me is the way that seemingly-sincere pro-market commentators persist in viewing the Republicans and better than the Democrats on these issues when I think the reverse is clearly the case.
Isn't distorting the market to try and protect the poor and the defenseless a lot more admirable than distorting the market to reward major campaign contributors?
Wednesday, March 06, 2002
Consider for a moment that though you probably don't buy much steel, you do buy a lot of things that contain steel. How are you going to like it when you need to pay 10% more for your next car, refrigerator, dishwasher, or house? Or even better, when you lose your job in manufacturing or construction because of price hikes? Or when the laid-off construction workers don't shop in your store anymore?
As if the massive economic devastation wrought isn't bad enough, consider how this is going to fuck up our foreign policy. Wouldn't you be pissed if someone decided to wreck a major American export industry in a ham-fisted attempt to gain domestic political advantage? Now think about how the Russians are going to look at this.
More interesting than the orgy of self-destruction, however, is this sentence from the Times
Mr. Russo said that Mr. Simon also benefited from former Mayor Rudolf W. Giuliani's visit here last week to stump with Mr. Simon.Why was Giuliani backing Simon? Riordan was a socially-moderate former big city mayor (LA instead of NYC) backed by the national party leadership as a "new Republican" who could give the party what it needs to break out of its hillbilly and mountain man base.
It would seem to me like a lot of Giuliani's future prospects for success within the GOP were hanging on the proposition that Riordan could make this work -- why would Rudy be spending time sending the message that what the Republican Party needs is a hard-right conservative?
Tuesday, March 05, 2002
In the blogs the pundits squawk and squall
Bleating at Chomsky and Ted Rall
Gray Davis is gloating about hijacking the Republican Party and it's just like Mussolini bragging about killing a lot of his enemiesGOP moderate and author of said absurd accusation Richard Riordan is obviously getting desperate in a sign that bodes not well for California Republicans.
Monday, March 04, 2002
The Samizdata crew had a number of complaints, but their biggest beef was Marshall's reference to "some quite ugly consequences" of the Croatian recapture of the Krajina.
Also -- if you'd like to help me out, you should encourage Josh to reward me for defending him by linking to my site. Yeah.
How would you like to pay more for everything you own that's made of metal and everything that's made by machines that are made of metal.
I realize that this is largely not a partisan issue, but it's a Republican who needs to do the right-but-unpopular thing now and I would point out that Bill Clinton "didn't do enough" for the US steel lobby.
Sunday, March 03, 2002
What I don't understand is Reynolds' simultaneous insistence that (a) the Democrats, especially Hollings, are acting against the public interest because of campaign contributions from the entertainment industry, and (b) this isn't evidence that we need campaign finance reform. Why not?I think that what we're seeing here is the perils of the hypocrisy game. Reynolds thinks he's pointing out the hypocrisy of the Dems about campaign finance reform, and Barlow thinks he's pointing out Reynolds' hypocrisy on the same issue.
My take. Holligns is advocating bad policy. Most likely because of contributions from the entertainment industry. This is an example of why it would be good if our campaign finance system wasn't as given to promoting the interests of contributors. McCain-Feingold, nevertheless, would not address the problem adequately. Restricting campaign contributions, moreover, raising troubling but unrelated issues.
One week after the Croatian Army launched its offensive against secessionist Serbs, its enemy has been vanquished and the region depopulated, and the army has found new ways to occupy itself -- looting and burning.Look, I'm very glad Natalija got to go home but her treatment of Marshall on this issue is totally unfair. Frankly, I'm surprised that everyone out there in blog-land is letting her get away with this viciousness. If Robert Fisk was saying something like this, the web would be filled with denunciations.
Many are among the 200,000 or so Serbs who were driven from their homes in swift Croatian offensives in the spring and summer that returned the Serbian enclaves in Krajina and Western Slavonia to Croatian rule.I would say that that qualifies as unpleasant. This is not to say that Natalija isn't right to call the arms embargo "criminal" or that the Croats weren't, all things considered, the better horse in this fight (they were), but just that Marshall's not wrong to question their conduct of the war at times.
In the last few weeks, the Croats have burned numerous Serbian villages in these enclaves and shot dozens of Serbs, many of them elderly, who had remained behind, according to the United Nations.