FM newswire for 2 March, articles for your morning reading

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis, collected from around the Internet.  If you find this useful, pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. How Reagan ruined conservatism“, Gideon Rachman (journalist), op-ed in the Financial Times, 1 March 2010 — “Therefore, goes the theory, ignorance and stupidity are good signs.”
  2. Many of us, including big guns like Krugman and Delong, said last Spring the stimulus was too small:  “On the ease of overstating the fiscal stimulus in the US, 2008-9“, Joshua Aizenman and Gurnain Kaur Pasricha, National Bureau of Economic Research, February 2010 — “This note shows that the aggregate fiscal expenditure stimulus in the United States, properly adjusted for the declining fiscal expenditure of the fifty states, was close to zero in 2009.”
  3. Sounds fierce, but probably bogus.  In modern times the people of the Middle East have seldom acted together.  “That was a war council in Damascus“, The National (newspaper of the Abu Dhabi Media Co), 1 March 2010 — “The three-party meeting that took place in Damascus on Friday gathering the Syrian president Bashar al Assad, the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Hizbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah was a war council to devise counterattack plans and assign tasks in the event of an Israeli offensive on one or all parties…”
  4. The key to the government in a box winning hearts and minds in occupied Marjah:  First we’ll tax you, then we’ll do other stuff.  “Death and Taxes in Marjah“, Joshua Foust (bio), World Politics Review, 1 March 2010 — Compared to the cost of taking Marjah, the tax revenue yielded is smaller than tiny.  This should be step 5, or 10.
  5. Interesting insights:  “At the Tea Party“, Jonathan Raban (bio), New York Review of Books, 25 March 2010 — “devout, abstemious Christians were breaking bread with followers of Ayn Rand’s gospel of unbridled and atheistic self-interest. The convention, designed to unite the Tea Party movement, was helping to expose fundamental differences of belief and mindset between people who, before Nashville, had appeared as interchangeable members of a single angry crowd.”

Question for the day

“MEGAN MCARDLE: What to do about long-term unemployment? Cut taxes and deregulate, for a start. . . . .
— Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, 1 March 2009 (link)

At what level of taxation — and what stratospheric level of borrowing — will conservatives no longer advocate “lower taxes” as the all purpose remedy?

Quote of the day:  “peons are easily ruled by fear” chapter

Seven GOP 5th District hopefuls faced a nearly full auditorium at Brookville High School on Saturday night, with all saying they’d try to rein in the federal government’s power. The debate, sponsored by the Lynchburg Tea Party, featured questions about topics including illegal immigration, their eagerness to stick to their principles and what the U.S. should do about nuclear capability in Iran.

… in response to a question about the No. 1 threat to national security, {Jim} McKelvey got a round of cheers by saying, “The present administration is the biggest threat.” {Laurence} Verga said the biggest threat is the Americans who voted the Obama administration into office. “That was political correctness gone awry,” Verga said. “There is a global jihad against the United States,” Verga said, “and we need to stand up to Iran with our allies and stop what they are doing.”

— From the Charlottesville VA Daily Progress, 27 February 2010 (link)

Update to a hot rumor, 5 months later

There was no factual basis for this rumor when Fish first published it, but nonetheless it was widely repeated — and believed.  Like many such rumors, the source (Fisk) never disowned it — and many still believe it.

  • The demise of the dollar“, Robert Fisk, The Independent, 6 October 2009 — “In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading.”
  • A financial revolution with profound political implications“,  Robert Fisk, op-ed in The Independent, 7 October 2009 — “Such large financial movements will have major political effects in the Middle East”

For many true believers of both left and right, their maxim is “ignorance is strength.”  This was discussed on the FM site in Today’s hot rumor: Fisk’s story about a conspiracy to wreck the US dollar, 6 October 2009.

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