… and It Ain’t Good
” But these beautiful sentiments have less and less to do with the actual policies they pursue. Readers of Via Meadia can see a
pattern here. We have “peace movements” incapable of advancing the cause of peace;
environmentalists whose political ineptitude damages the causes they most hope to serve; and we have a form of blue state liberalism that blights the lives of exactly the people it wants to help most.
American liberalism today is in an advanced stage of intellectual decline. Cynical and short sighted interests wrap themselves in the increasingly tattered mantles of sacred ideas. Liberals are right to feel that social justice matters, that the poor should have greater opportunity and that government in
a democratic society cannot remain
indifferent to the existence of great social evils.
But where liberals in America have the freest hand—in states like New York, California and Illinois—we see incontrovertible evidence that the policies they choose don’t have the consequences they predict. California by now should surely be an educational, environmental
and social utopia. New York should be a wonder of glorious liberal governance. Illinois should be known far and wide as the
state that works.
What’s interesting about the governance failures of these states is how comprehensive they are. Other than politicians, union officials and Wall Street investment banks, nobody really benefits
from the choices Illinois has made. As the Volker-Ravitch report tells us, even the ppublic sector unions, the architects of many of the state’s most destructive policies, are
going to get shafted as a result of the bad policies they’ve supported. They’ve created a state that simply won’t be able to honor its promises to the workers the unions represent. “
“Making batteries for electric cars is a dirty process, and if the electric cars are run off a grid which is primarily powered by coal, as it is in China, the environmental benefits completely disappear.
Of course, this is not the only example of green policy being counterproductive. Ethanol is another case of expensive green reform that actually makes things worse. This movement just isn’t ready for primetime.”
“Could Azerbaijan be the key to Israel’s strategy for successfully attacking Iran’s nuclear program? A report from Reuters suggests that talks are afoot between the two unlikely allies:
[Azerbaijan's support] is a far cry from the massive firepower and diplomatic cover that Netanyahu wants from Washington. But, by addressing key weaknesses in any Israeli war plan—notably on refueling, reconnaissance and rescuing crews—such an alliance might tilt Israeli thinking on the feasibility of acting without U.S. help.”
“The office of the Director of National Intelligence is both confirming that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was deliberately planned in advance and excusing the White House for getting the story wrong. Officials are trying to determine if a mysterious, little known organization called “Al-Qaeda” had something to do with the attack. This doesn’t seem likely, as Al-Qaeda was reported dead or at least in what former Vice President Cheney would have called its “death throes” in Pakistan last spring, but you never know.”
“California, America’s answer to Greece, is continuing to unravel. Via Meadia readers are already familiar with the state’s unaffordably lavish pensions and collapsing housing bubble, as well as the bankruptcies in Stockton, San Bernadino and Mammoth Lakes, but now even more cities are on the verge of bankruptcy.”
“The Chicago teachers’ strike and the coming pension crisis has even progressives worried that public-sector employee costs are bankrupting the city: Matt Yglesias is arguing that the teachers’ union’s proposal to raise taxes to pay for their pension programs may divert funds from more important programs:”
“Quick: what important world event happened one year ago yesterday? Give up? Don’t worry. We didn’t get it either.”
“U.S. officials are calling it a “minesweeping exercise” and saying it’s “not in response to any particular threat or any specific situation,” but some in Tehran might think otherwise. AFP reports:
Naval forces from more than 30 countries were on Monday engaged in a massive minesweeping exercise in the Gulf, US officials said, amid Iranian threats to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz…”
“Here’s some more bad news for the economy: analysts are predicting that corporate profits may fall this quarter for the first time in three years. This comes as a bit of a surprise. Business hasn’t quite been booming, but most of the economic news over the past few weeks has been good—or has at least shown some movement in a positive direction. But as the New York Times reports, the slowdown in Asia combined with the return to recession in Europe has cut demand for new goods, and fewer businesses are expecting things to get better: “
“For the world as a whole, it appears Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations thesis is being borne out by events. And not in the vulgar sense that some read the man’s work—that Islam and Christianity cannot coexist peacefully. But rather that civilizational fault lines are real, and are a source of instability that radicals are now doing their utmost to exploit:”
” Reuters reports that the death toll in a new Congo ebola outbreak is up to 31. New cases are still turning up and there’s real possibility this could spread.
99 times out of 100, it won’t. Ebola kills very quickly; people sick with it don’t usually travel much and these outbreaks tend to burn themselves out very quickly. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know how seriously to take these warnings. Fortunately for the rest of us, the outbreaks so far have generally taken place in the boondocks among people who don’t ride airplanes or drive taxis”
“At Via Meadia, we’ve been closely following the burgeoning energy revolution in shale gas and oil. Owing to the fact of ongoing research in extraction methods finally coming to fruition, the U.S. was already headed toward full energy independence, with profound implications for both its foreignand domestic policies.
It turns out that this was only the tip of the iceberg. Huge methane deposits not only in the Arctic but all along U.S. coastlines portend centuries of abundant energy.”
Via Meadia on the help that Obama’s “Builders” provide the average American businessman .
” In terms of inefficiency, the U.S. tax code stands as one of humanity’s most monumental accomplishments. It’s no secret that the tax code’s byzantine complexity harms small and medium-sized businesses more than large corporations. After all, bigger companies can afford the scores of lawyers and accountants needed to navigate the system — and for that matter, many of the arcane little exceptions and exemptions were written exactly to order thanks to the lobbyists they are able to deploy on Capitol Hill.
But the extent of the differential is truly dramatic. Consider this story in the WSJ that reports how a large number of companies actually forgo tax breaks because the cost of obtaining tax benefits is more expensive than the benefits themselves. According to the article, individuals and businesses are spending at least 1 percent of GDP just to make sure they’re doing everything by the book. As anxiety intensifies over tepid GDP growth and decreasing competitiveness, a percentage point counts for a lot.”
As those who do not rely on the dinosaur media are aware , there is an energy explosion taking place around the world . Apparently those doom and gloom forecasts of “Peak Oil ” and a looming energy shortage were premature .
Of course you would never know that if you depended on the old media and their green agenda driven coverage of the industry . Thankfully we have people like Walter Russell Mead to keep us abreast .
” Via Meadia has been commenting on the energy revolution taking place all around us these days (Energy Revolution: Part One, Part Two). Thankfully, we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed.
[T]hanks to new discoveries and new technologies, the end of fossil fuels is not looking quite so imminent. From the oil sands of northern Alberta, to America’s massive pockets of shale gas (American gas reserves would last at least 75 years at current consumption rates), to the vast offshore oil reserves that Brazil hopes will make it the world’s fourth-largest producer by 2020, fossil-fuel sources we didn’t know about or couldn’t use are suddenly available. Crucially, many of these supplies are found in thriving democracies—a dramatic shift from the past, when oil and autocracy seemed to go together. “
Read the whole thing .
As Walter Russell Meade points out , it’s looking awfully grim in Greece . Will the feeling spread ? If so , how far ?
“As Via Meadia has reported in the past, the smart money has been quietly edging out of Greek banks for a long time. As concern spread,
the bank walk turned into a bank jog. This weeks, there are signs the jog is breaking into a bank run :
Greek depositors withdrew €700 million ($898 million) from local banks Monday, the country’s president said, as he warned that
the situation facing Greece’s lenders was very difficult.”