Today’s broadsheet from the FM website pressroom.
- Links to interesting news and analysis
- Quote of the Day – seeing America more clearly from a distance
- Plus, an Afterword
(I) Links to interesting news and analysis
(a) After 8 years of war, somebody asks about the bills: “High Costs Weigh on Troop Debate for Afghan War“, New York Times, 14 November 2009 — We are a superpower, and can fight so long as our creditors loan us the money.
(b) Speaking of our war’s cost, here’s the best analysis done so far: The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11″, Amy Belasco, Congressional Research Service, 28 September 2009 — Every dime borrowed from competitors and potential enemies, galloping insanity at work.
(c) “Communing with the Great Purple Father“, Fred Reed, Fred on Everything, 17 November 2009 — About America. “The train ain’t got no driver and no tracks.” From America’s sage.
(d) “Dumbest post of the day: “Babe Theory of Revolution and 2010“, Don Surber, 17 November 2009 — Self-explanatory. Hat tip to Instapundit, who may have took this seriously. Note that Surber has some good material on his site; perhaps he’s kidding here. Or trolling for traffic, and succeeding!
(e) Juan Cole updates us on David Kilcullen’s bizarre April warning that “Pakistan is in danger of collapse within months“. As actual experts said at the time, Pakistan’s army has easily routed the Taliban in every engagement. It’s vital to remember that our geopol experts predict and advise war at all times, just working their rice bowls.
(f) “Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States“, Emmanuel Saez, 5 August 2009 — First world levels of income; third world income distribution. Summary:
From 2006 to 2007, average real income per family grew by a solid 3.7% . Average real income for the top percentile grew faster (6.8%), further increasing the top percentile income share from 22.8 to 23.5%. Year 2007 is therefore the second highest year on record since 1913 almost equalling 1928, the record year when the top percentile share reached 23.9%.
Even within the top percentile, the gains from 2006 to 2007 are extremely concentrated. The top .01% (top 14,988 US families, making at least $11.5m in 2007) share increased from 5.46% in 2006 to 6.04% in 2007 leaving well behind the 1928 peak of 5.04 percent.
(II) Quote of the Day – seeing America more clearly from a distance
Excerpt from a letter to the London Review of Books from R.W. Johnson of Cape Town:
David Bromwich writes as if Obama’s main problem were a deluded search for bipartisanship in the face of intransigent Republican rascals – Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Fox TV and so forth (LRB, 22 October). It might be better to admit that the left has deluded itself into believing that Obama, a nice, eloquent young man from Harvard with no gubernatorial and little legislative experience, has some sort of magic wand, when the truth is that he’s out of his depth.
He is, unfortunately, just one more Democrat who campaigned on a promise to change everything about the way Washington works. However popular that theme may be, it is ignorant and naive. The Washington political system has proved to be extremely resilient. You can huff and puff about change and chant ‘Yes we can’ as much as you like but the system will remain resolutely intact. History shows that the politicians who get results are the ones who understand the system best and are the best at making it work for them. LBJ is the classic example.
… As it is, here we are with Guantánamo Bay still in operation, the Afghan war likely to go on and get bigger, no progress at all in the Middle East, US unemployment over 10 per cent and healthcare perhaps already doomed. The collapse in Obama’s ratings suggests he could well lose the mid-term elections.
… It’s extraordinary how the Democrats keep on doing this.
… The common factor, of course, was that both Carter and Clinton were Southern governors of smallish states in which the governor gets his budget through and then uses his patronage to do whatever he wants, utterly dominating the state legislature. Both seemed to imagine that being president wouldn’t be very different and that you could use cronies for everything. Obama’s own background as a community worker and campaigner isn’t any more appropriate, and giving foreign affairs over to Bill Clinton’s wife may not have been clever: thus far her diplomatic abilities don’t appear much greater than they were in healthcare reform. I fear a great disappointment is in the making.
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