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Before we get to other subjects, one more item on Israel and Hamas. This from David Harsanyi asking what in the world John Kerry is doing?
… It seems like a rather big deal that Egypt, Israel, Fatah, Jordan, Saudi Arabia—ostensibly, all allies of ours—agree on anything. This development, one imagines, might be something the United States would be interested in fostering rather than destroying. Certainly, the idea that Hamas’ power should be neutralized and the influence of the “moderate” Palestinian authority expanded, sounds like a plan worth pursuing.
Rather than empowering Fatah, it recognizes Hamas as the legitimate authority in the Gaza Strip, although it’s considered a terrorist organization by the Justice Department and an entity that’s founding principle and driving purpose is to eliminate Israel and replace it with an Islamic state.
Rather than choking off this organization’s lifeline, the agreement would have allowed them to collect billions in ‘charity’ that would be been able to use to rearm, retrench, and re-engage in hostilities.
And all the while, it would have made no demands on Hamas to purge itself of rockets, or tunnels, or other weaponry that destabilizes the area—while at the same, the ceasefire would have limited Israel’s ability to take them out. (Update: This final point is disputed by U.S. officials.)
Hamas would have conceded nothing. No nation would have accepted such terms, not after what’s transpired, and naturally it was rejected unanimously by an Israeli cabinet that includes the ideological left, center, and right. Not only did the proposal irritate Israel—a nation often accused of warmongering for kicks—but it also upset Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. …
Kevin Williamson points out what a disaster liberal government is for the middle class.
… there exists a spectrum of possible configurations of government, and the fundamental political debate of our time is whether we’re on the right side of that spectrum or the wrong side. Conservatives want to prune back the vines, and progressives want them to grow thicker.
How’s that working out in the laboratories of the Left?
Progressives argue that we need deeper government involvement in the economy in order to assuage the ill effects of economic inequality. But, as Joel Kotkin points out, inequality is the most pronounced in places where progressives dominate: New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago. The more egalitarian cities are embedded in considerably more conservative metropolitan areas in conservative states. “Part of the difference,” Mr. Kotkin writes, “is the strong growth of higher-paid, blue-collar jobs in places like Houston, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake, and Dallas compared to rapidly de-industrializing locales such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Even Richard Florida, the guru of the ‘creative class,’ has admitted that the strongest growth in mid-income jobs has been concentrated in red-state metros such as Salt Lake City, Houston, Dallas, Austin, and Nashville. Some of this reflects a history of later industrialization but other policies — often mandated by the state — encourage mid-income growth, for example, by not imposing high energy prices with subsidies for renewables, or restricting housing growth in the periphery. Cities like Houston may seem blue in many ways but follow local policies largely indistinguishable from mainstream Republicans elsewhere.” In Detroit, Chicago, and Philadelphia, African Americans earn barely half of what whites earn — and in San Francisco, African Americans earn less than half of what whites earn. Hispanics in Boston earn 50 percent of what whites make; but it is 84 percent in Riverside County, Calif., a traditional Republican stronghold (it holds the distinction of being one of only two West Coast counties to have gone for Hoover over FDR and is Duncan Hunter’s turf), and the figures are comparable in places such as Phoenix and Miami.
Progressivism is a luxury good for college-educated white people. It is the Hermes sneaker of political tendencies. California is not an especially wealthy state — its median income is right between Wyoming’s and Nebraska’s — but it is a state in which one needs to be pretty well off to live decently. …
… Public-school teachers are insistent on maintaining their monopoly status, but in big cities such as Chicago they are unusually likely to send their own children to private schools. Similarly, Barack Obama thinks that school choice is great — for his daughters, but not for yours. They can make a mess of your schools, your neighborhoods, your community — they don’t live there.
That, too, is why conservatives favor government on the modest, manageable, local level. And that is why progressives want to centralize political power in Washington, and why they have more success in big cities such as Los Angeles and New York: If you were screwing the poor and the struggling while alleging to act on their behalf, would you be able to look them in the eye? Would you want to?
A WSJ OpEd with good examples of how the 1% gains and the great middle suffers this time at the hands of the Fed.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has said the central bank’s goal is “to help Main Street not Wall Street,” and many liberal commentators seem convinced that she is advancing that goal. But talk to anyone on Wall Street. If they are being frank, they’ll admit that the Fed’s loose monetary policy has been one of the biggest contributors to their returns over the past five years. Unwittingly, it seems, liberals who support the Fed are defending policies that boost the wealth of the wealthy but do nothing to reduce inequality. …
… Over the past decade, easy-money policies also have fueled the rise of an industry that transforms raw commodities—from soybeans to steel and oil—into financial products, such as exchange-traded funds, that can be traded like stocks. Hundreds of billions of dollars have poured into these products. In many cases, large investors hold the commodities in storage, driving up demand and the price.
On average, prices for commodities from oil to coffee to eggs are up 40% since 2009, double the typical commodity-price rebound in postwar recoveries. Though rising prices for staples such as these are inconsequential expenses to the rich, they are burdens for the poor, who spend about 10% of their income on energy and a third of it on food. Meanwhile, since bottoming in 2011, median house prices have risen four times faster than incomes, putting homes out of reach for many first-time buyers.
Leading Wall Street figures such as Stanley Druckenmiller and Seth Klarman are warning that the Fed is blowing dangerous asset-price bubbles. These warnings—given political suspicion of the financial community—seem only to confirm liberal faith in the Fed. Economists including Joseph Stiglitz and Brad DeLong cling to the hope that at least some of the easy money helps to create growth and jobs. Yet the abnormally low cost of capital is giving companies another incentive to invest in technologies that replace workers, rather than hiring more workers. …
Laura Ingraham is profiled in The Times, UK by Toby Harnden.
SHE has adopted a daughter from Guatemala and was a speechwriter under President Reagan, who introduced an “amnesty” for three million illegal immigrants in the 1980s.
With her striking good looks and her status as the most listened-to woman on American radio talk programmes, she might have seemed the ideal person to deliver a softer Republican message, as the party hopes to appeal to Hispanic voters.
Laura Ingraham is having none of it, however. Instead, she is fast becoming the most powerful conservative voice denouncing any compromise on immigration and calling for the deportation of the Latin American children who are amassing on the southern border of the United States.
At a raucous campaign event in Nashville last week, Ingraham accused President Barack Obama of “fomenting a crisis at our border that seeks to undermine the very fabric of American rule of law, our sovereignty, our national identity”.
Her most withering contempt was aimed at her own party’s establishment — the “good old boys” and “go along to get along Republican politicians doing backroom backslapping” with Democrats, being as effective as “beige wallpaper”.
Ingraham has already claimed the scalp of Representative Eric Cantor, the third most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives, by headlining a massive rally that helped to propel his obscure opponent to a shock victory in a party primary last month.
Her appearance in Nashville was on behalf of Joe Carr, a rough-edged candidate from Tennessee who has support from the grassroots Tea Party movement. He is standing on a “no amnesty” platform to oust Senator Lamar Alexander, a genteel deal-maker on Capitol Hill, in an August 7th primary. …
Turning our attention to another race in the South, an article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports on the most recent stumble of the Michelle Nunn campaign.
A hallmark of the primary season on the Democratic side was Senate candidate Michelle Nunn’s studied determination not to define herself. As of today, that’s no longer possible for her — and it’s her own campaign’s fault.
A series of internal campaign memos, totaling 144 pages and covering everything from fund-raising goals and targets to staffing needs, was leaked to National Review, which published it today. The campaign itself reportedly uploaded the plan to the Internet back in December, before quickly taking it back down. But someone found it during that brief period and — this is the impressive part — had the patience to sit on it until after the GOP run-off was over.
While much of the plan details the mundane minutia of planning a year-long, statewide campaign, other parts of it are damaging to the Nunn campaign. National Review’s Eliana Johnson, who wrote the publication’s story about the memo, puts some of those problems right at the top: …
Here is the aforementioned Eliana Johnson piece.
Michelle Nunn can come across as a “lightweight,” “too liberal,” not a “real Georgian.” While she served as CEO for the Points of Light Foundation, the organization gave grants to “inmates” and “terrorists.” And her Senate campaign must feature images of her and her family “in rural settings with rural-oriented imagery” because the Atlanta-based candidate will struggle to connect with rural voters
These may sound like attacks from the Senate candidate’s Republican rival, but in fact, those are a few of the concerns expressed in her own campaign plan, which sources say was posted online briefly in December and appears to have been drafted earlier that month. Drawing on the insights of Democratic pollsters, strategists, fundraisers, and consultants, the document contains a series of memos addressed to Nunn and her senior advisers.
From all appearances, the document was intended to remain confidential. It outlines the challenges inherent in getting Nunn, who grew up mostly in Bethesda, Md., elected to the Senate in a state with a large rural population. Her father, Sam Nunn, was elected to the Senate when she was six, and Michelle Nunn attended Washington’s prestigious National Cathedral School and then the University of Virginia and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government before returning to Georgia to do nonprofit work and, now, to seek higher office. …
Power Line has more on Nunn and we end where we started today; with Hamas.
… The Nunn campaign is concerned, as it should be, about the political implications of Points of Light’s financial contribution to Islamic Relief, USA. Eliana reports that an internal campaign strategy memo that was posted online (inadvertently, I assume) cites the contribution as a vulnerability.
One would hope so. Apart from being Sam Nunn’s daughter, Michelle Nunn’s tenure as CEO of Points of Light is just about her only credential for political office.
Nor has candidate Nunn been willing to take a stand on certain key issues, including Obamacare. For this, she has been criticized by the likes of Mika Brzezinski, Chuck Todd, and Stuart Rothenberg.
The fact that Points of Light, Nunn’s only substantive calling card, has funneled money to an organization with ties to Hamas should certainly tarnish her reputation and harm her campaign, which probably has little margin for error.
Late Night Humor from Andy Malcolm.
Meyers: A Japanese artist is launching a bonsai tree into space. Now if only he could think of something to yell during the launch.
Conan: New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been accused of ethics violations. If the charges prove true, the Governor of New York would be forced to step down and become the Governor of New Jersey.
Fallon: So, Montana Sen John Walsh – who’s up for re-election – plagiarized his thesis. Even worse, it’s mostly TRIPLE-spaced and he REALLY went in on the margins.