(Just for fun, from out of my NCOBrief archives, an essay from July, 2010.)
You know, out of all of the things that I was afraid might happen, after the presidential coronation of Obama, the Fresh Prince of Chicago . . . I never considered that race relations might be one of those things which would worsen. Hey – lots of fairly thoughtful and well-intentioned people of pallor voted for him, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, or at least in some expectation of him being a fairly well adjusted and centrist politician, or at least a fast learner. Wasn’t that what all the top pundits, and the mainstream media were insisting, all during the 2008 campaign . . . well, once they got up from their knees and wiped the drool off their chins.
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Archive for the 'Predictions' Category
(Just for fun, from out of my NCOBrief archives, an essay from July, 2010.)
Posted by Charles Cameron on 4th June 2013 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ cross-posted from Zenpundit -- a very preliminary salute to James Bennett and Michael Lotus' new book, with blues harp to match ]
Okay, I’m a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles, a jackdaw, not the most consistent of readers — but I did stumble upon something…
I’ll admit, I cannot even see how “the actual time and materials cost of the hammer might be $60 a hammer” when its “functional equivalent might cost $20 in a hardware store” — but let’s overlook that 200% markup for a moment, and chew on the rest of this dazzling paragraph from James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century — Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come, pp. 266-67:
The Department of Defense requires that the labor time and materials used in building defense items on a “time and materials” basis, which is the great majority of all such items, be documented in excruciating detail. The costs of doing this are themselves allowed as expenses, so that the government ultimately pays for the costs of this proof. Therefore, when lurid accounts of $600 hammers procured by the Pentagon surface in the press, what is actually happening is a hammer whose functional equivalent might cost $20 in a hardware store is purchased in the Pentagon system, the actual time and materials cost of the hammer might be $60, with an additional $540 in documentation costs to ensure that the government is not being over¬charged for the item.
I admit, I am not Kafka.
But if that isn’t a snake biting its own tail arrangement, I don’t know what is.
What can I say?
Interesting, btw — I’ll bet there’s a story behind the decision to switch book covers from the one proposed earlier (at the top of the post, left) to the one the book now carries (right)!
There are opportunities, but they require a deep understanding of risk and security. A livelihood with day-to-day low-level insecurity and volatility is actually far more stable and secure than the cartel-state one that claims to be guaranteed.
The burdens of Fed manipulation and the cartel-state rentier arrangements will come home to roost between 2015-2017. Those who are willing to seek livelihoods in the non-cartel economy will likely have more security and satisfaction than those who believed that joining a rentier arrangement was a secure career.
There is a price to joining a parasitic rentier arrangement, a loss of integrity, agency and independence. Complicity in an unsustainable neofeudal society has a cost.
Read the whole thing.
(Via Lex and ZeroHedge.)
Posted by Lexington Green on 7th May 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
This will be cover on America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century-Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come, which will be published on May 28, 2013.
Jim Bennett and I went back and forth with our publisher, Encounter, on this cover. We are grateful for their diligent work, and we are very pleased with the final version. Encounter had the original idea of three bands depicting America 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. The original picture for 1.0 was different, but this one works nicely. It shows a farmer plowing with animal muscle power. That is precisely the image that captures the A1.0 era. It was a time of family-scale farms, and it was before the introduction of mechanical power. The second image is of an industrial era auto assembly line. This is the epitome of A2.0. It is mass production, motor power, wage work not independent business ownership, big business, big labor and in the background, big government. It was a great world in many ways, but it is a past that will never come back. Of course, it is impossible to photograph the future, and unless we had the budget to make a “science fiction” picture, the top band, A3.0 could only be a rough approximation. Still, this pictures captures much of the story. It shows an exurban landscape, with a highway but lots of green. We anticipate that there will be much more dispersion of the American people across the landscape, for reasons we describe in the book, especially in Chapter 1: America in 2040. Also, the color scheme shows increasing brightness, indicative of the hopeful future we foresee for America.
Negative items (weaknesses and threats) first.
Overconcentration of political belief systems by geography and especially by vocation, notably in journalism; the corresponding threat is misdiagnosis of motivation and identity of perpetrators.
This was on full display over the past week, and although the most prominent examples were instances of the amazingly robust narrative about a supposed right-wing fundamentalist Christian underground, the persistence of which reveals a great deal about the mindset of the “liberal” bien-pensant, they’re not the only ones who have this problem. Claiming that people in Boston are cowering under their beds and wishing they had AR-15s, or casually accusing various (and singularly unimpressive) American politicians of being Communists, isn’t much better than fantasizing about entirely nonexistent WASP terrorists. And there has already been at least one wild-goose chase in recent years, the nationwide Federal investigation to find the co-conspirators of Scott Roeder in the assassination of George Tiller. He didn’t have any, and was known very early on to have acted alone. Your tax dollars nonetheless went to work; see also “memetic parasitism,” below.
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Posted in Anti-Americanism, Civil Society, Current Events, Human Behavior, International Affairs, Iran, Israel, Media, Middle East, National Security, Organizational Analysis, Politics, Predictions, Society, Terrorism, Tradeoffs, USA, War and Peace | 11 Comments »
Well, this stinks.
Intrade was the Breitbart of political prediction makers. Many bookies take political bets but Intrade, the offshoot of a sports betting shop, was the only one to specialize in politics and the only site to quote political odds in financial-market terms that speculators are comfortable with. There are alternatives to Intrade but none of them is quite as good.
Intrade’s closing doesn’t come as a complete surprise. It was long under pressure from a tacit coalition of domestic financial exchanges and gambling interests, operating indirectly through US regulatory agencies, the Justice Dept. and Congress. The untimely death a couple of years ago of Intrade’s founder and CEO may have left Intrade fatally vulnerable to political attack.
Maybe someone will eventually set up another site like Intrade in a country remote from US jurisdiction, but that is a tall order. Intrade’s closing is a big loss.
UPDATE: Possible financial irregularities. I have no idea if the insinuations of corruption at Intrade have any merit. Perhaps we will find out. Clearly, Intrade had few US friends other than its customers and quite a few other people who relied on Intrade for information unavailable elsewhere. In any event Intrade performed a valuable service and will not easily be replaced.
It may be 1977 all over again.
Check out the Form 1 Kickstarter page
I recently reviewed Chris Anderson’s book Makers. What 3 D printing needs is the affordable, user-friendly, versatile device to move 3 D printing from the arcane realm of techno-hobbyist geeks to the general population’s “early adapters”, which will put the next “consumer model” generation on everyone’s office desk; eventually as ubiquitous as cell phones or microwaves.
Hat tip to Feral Jundi
Cross-posted from zenpundit.com
Posted by Lexington Green on 23rd February 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
3D printers, driverless cars, nanotech: the 21st century looks to be even more different from the 20th century than the 20th was from the 19th. American politics and institutions are going to change much more rapidly than most pundits and politicos can yet understand.
This quote is uncannily congruent the argument of the forthcoming book, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century – Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come by Jim Bennett and me.
Walter Russell Mead’s wicked good blog Via Meadia has many posts which track closely with the arguments Jim and I are making. I am sure all this great material will end up in a forthcoming book by him about the demise of the Blue Model (a term he invented) and what is coming next.
I am going to shamelessly recycle this: “the 21st century looks to be even more different from the 20th century than the 20th was from the 19th.” This is a very pithy observation which captures our vision of America 3.0, which of course we cannot really predict with a lot of detail. As Bruce Sterling wisely said:
Nothing obsolesces like “the future.” Nothing burns out quite so quickly as a high tech avant-garde. Technology doesn’t glide into the streamlined world of tomorrow. It jolts and limps, all crutches and stilts, just like its ancient patron, the god Hephaestos.
Still, we have to imagine the future, not so we will be correct then, but so we can plan, think, and act now. We also have to imagine the future so we don’t think today’s setbacks, as serious as they may be, are the apocalypse. Everyone reading this will be dead in 100 years, but our descendants will be alive, and they will have in part what we passed on to them. They will see us as living in a patch of history with a label and summed up in a few paragraphs. This is a phase, as is every other period in history.
I will confidently predict, as Mead does, that the pace of change will be faster than ever before. Moore’s Law will be in force for a long time to come, I hope.
What is particularly cool about the Mead quote, almost suggesting some kind of brain-meld via the astral plane between Mead and Bennett-Lotus, is the reference to “3D printers, driverless cars, nanotech” — each of these figure prominently in our first Chapter, America in 2040. One muse, three authors?
If you have not read Mead’s two excellent books Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World and God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World you must do so. Get them soon, so you are done before our book comes out May 28, 2013.
I was a teenager when the Manson murders went down, in the autumn of 1969 – of course, the cruel and inexplicable murder of a movie star and several of her friends made all the headlines, and had lots of law-abiding citizens looking over their shoulders and being very careful about locking the doors and windows of their homes at night. It wasn’t until some time later that the associated murders of an elderly retired couple also hit the headlines of the LA Times, and other national newspapers. A blood-drenched, hippy cult with a weirdly charismatic leader had committed those murders in order – so they claimed – to trigger a devastating racial war, which they termed ‘helter-skelter’ from a Beatles song moderately popular at the time. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 8th February 2013 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
UPDATE: An an article at Belmont Club describes interest in alternative money creation as a way of anticipating inflation. It also goes further into a discussion of general competence.
The idea that Virginia should consider issuing its own money was dismissed as just another quixotic quest by one of the most conservative members of the state legislature when Marshall introduced it three years ago. But it has since gained traction not only in Virginia, but also in states across the country as Americans have grown increasingly suspicious of the institutions entrusted with safeguarding the economy.
What has changed is faith in the federal government, not just in Virginia but in a growing number of places. The lack of faith in the competence of government — and the soundness of the dollar — has been growing leading some states to create contingency plans in case the currency goes bust.
Once again, I apologize for my pessimism but this is what I see. First, there is this article, which quotes a well known financier.
There may be a natural evolution to our fractionally reserved credit system that characterizes modern global finance. Much like the universe, which began with a big bang nearly 14 billion years ago, but is expanding so rapidly that scientists predict it will all end in a “big freeze” trillions of years from now, our current monetary system seems to require perpetual expansion to maintain its existence. And too, the advancing entropy in the physical universe may in fact portend a similar decline of “energy” and “heat” within the credit markets. If so, then the legitimate response of creditors, debtors and investors inextricably intertwined within it, should logically be to ask about the economic and investment implications of its ongoing transition.
Certainly “growth” seems to be fundamental to our economic health. That, of course, presumes a growing population but it also would be affected by a stagnant population with a growing age disparity. The obvious example of the latter is Japan.
The creation of credit in our modern day fractional reserve banking system began with a deposit and the profitable expansion of that deposit via leverage. Banks and other lenders don’t always keep 100% of their deposits in the “vault” at any one time – in fact they keep very little – thus the term “fractional reserves.” That first deposit then, and the explosion outward of 10x and more of levered lending, is modern day finance’s equivalent of the big bang. When it began is actually harder to determine than the birth of the physical universe but it certainly accelerated with the invention of central banking – the U.S. in 1913 – and with it the increased confidence that these newly licensed lenders of last resort would provide support to financial and real economies. Banking and central banks were and remain essential elements of a productive global economy.
The effect of asset bubbles on such a system is worrisome as the history of Japan and the recent history of the US have shown. The Panic of 1907 was largely responsible for the creation of the Federal Reserve. That financial crisis is thought, by the authors of a recent book, to have been a consequence of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, which destroyed a large amount of real assets and the insurance costs that were associated. The immediate cause was financial speculation but the real losses had added to the fragility of the system.
I don’t think George Will meant to be cruel when he wrote his recent article “The Time Bomb in Obamacare?” but he was and it is a recurring conservative mistake. Will focused on the law and the constitution. He found a bomb and he imagines he is a good bomb squad officer by analyzing the bomb and figuring out how it is going to blow up. What he missed, and it is crucial, is the vital step of clearing away the civilians. That is a cruel oversight and hurts the conservative cause. You have to make sure that people understand that there is a bomb and which direction to run so they do not get blown up.
The immediate threat for ordinary people is not Obamacare’s constitutional status, but what it will do to ordinary american’s access to care. Institutions that are caught in the payment squeeze will triage because otherwise they go broke and close, which would maximize suffering. Triage means that the lack of funds will cause them to try to maximize who they can save and cut off who they can’t afford to save. If you are going to be triaged, you need to know and you need to make alternate arrangements to pay cash, figure out how to live without needed care, or get your affairs in order. The later people figure this out, the more pain, suffering, and death Obamacare is going to cause.
Nothing George Will said about the law is wrong. By focusing on the Constitution and the law to the exclusion of the upcoming suffering of the people he ended up reinforcing a pernicious stereotype, one conservatives would do well to lose. Ultimately, the conservative focus on the law and the Constitution has the effect of reducing suffering and increasing the happiness of the people. This approach would be greatly increased in effectiveness if conservatives would directly say so instead of assuming people already knew. A great many people do not know and the conservative brand is suffering for it.
Posted by Lexington Green on 8th January 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
In our upcoming book, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century – Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come (available for pre-order here), Jim Bennett and Mike Lotus paint a word-picture of America in 2040, which is less a prediction and more an exercise in hopeful and forward-looking thinking for conservatives and libertarians. We include predictions regarding the impact of distributed manufacturing.
The recent article in Wired by Kevin Kelly entitled Better Than Human: Why Robots Will — And Must — Take Our Jobs makes similar points. Here are two good quotes from Kelly:
Right now we think of manufacturing as happening in China. But as manufacturing costs sink because of robots, the costs of transportation become a far greater factor than the cost of production. Nearby will be cheap. So we’ll get this network of locally franchised factories, where most things will be made within 5 miles of where they are needed.
It is a safe bet that the highest-earning professions in the year 2050 will depend on automations and machines that have not been invented yet. That is, we can’t see these jobs from here, because we can’t yet see the machines and technologies that will make them possible. Robots create jobs that we did not even know we wanted done.
It is important to remember that technological change destroys categories of jobs, and creates new ones that literally cannot be imagined yet.
We are going to be facing a tidal wave of creative destruction in the years immediately ahead.
Our book offers some ideas about why we are well suited to benefit from these changes, and how to navigate the rapids to get from here to there.
Stand by for very interesting times.
Posted by Lexington Green on 2nd January 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
The book is currently in the hands of our publisher, Encounter Books and editing is underway.
All such early orders would be very greatly appreciated.
The book is coming out in May. Promotional plans are chugging away. Any ideas anyone may have would be very much appreciated, and can be left in the comments on this post or future posts related to the book.
A friend asked for a three sentence summary. This is what I came up with:
America’s greatest days are yet to come. Just as the world of family farms and small businesses, America 1.0, gave way to the industrialized world of big cities, big business, big labor unions and big government, America 2.0, we are now moving into a new world of immense productivity, rapid technological progress, greater scope for individual and family-scale autonomy, and a leaner and strictly limited government. The cultural roots of the American people go back at least fifteen centuries, and make us individualistic, enterprising, and liberty-loving, equipping us to prosper in the upcoming America 3.0.
We will be posting frequently in the months ahead (both here and on the book’s own blog) about the America 3.0 and its arguments, and how the themes in the book relate to current events, to efforts to devise a long term strategy for the political Right in America, or to other writers or books which interest us or influenced us.
We anticipate setting up a Facebook and Twitter account for the book as well.
1) Refuse to negotiate with the Republicans on taxes and spending. If the economy recovers he will take credit for blocking the Republican attempt to destroy the middle class and benefit the rich. If the economy tanks he will blame the Republicans.
2) Use the Connecticut murders to rationalize more govt spending on Democratic constituencies in govt social service bureaucracies.
3) Use the Connecticut murders to bully Republicans, whom he humiliated in the budget negotiations and who therefore will go out of their way to cut bad deals to make themselves seem relevant, into going along with some kind of anti-gun legislation (perhaps a national licensing scheme or sales ban on semiautomatic rifles).
Obama may not succeed in these efforts, but it seems to me that they form his short-term political road map. Never let a crisis go to waste and all that, and so much the better if you can work another crisis into the mix.
What do you think it looks like Obama will do? Feel free to contribute your ideas in the comments.
(Note: Comments mentioning Benghazi, Syria, Fast & Furious or the word “debt” may be subjected to extreme mockery.)
Posted by Lexington Green on 1st December 2012 (All posts by Lexington Green)
We are proud to announce that James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus have completed their book America 3.0 and submitted the manuscript to their publisher, Encounter Books on Friday, November 30, 2012.
Please stand by for further announcements in this regard.
(Cross-Posted at America 3.0)
(This line comes from the commenter “desiderius” at Hooking Up Smart, though a Google search reveals, with a bit of irony, earlier use at democraticunderground.com in connection with some George W. Bush controversy or other.)
Not even the cleverest among us knows the future. Perhaps we should temper our unhappiness over the election results by recalling the past. Who accurately foresaw 2012 from 2005 or even 2010? Who foresaw 1940 from 1928, or the moon landings from 1940, or the twenty-year Reagan boom from 1979? America’s future looks a bit bleak at the moment, but it is human nature to extrapolate too much from the present and to prefer confident predictions, even of bad outcomes, over the reality of constant uncertainty. Things are rarely as good or bad as they seem, and the only safe bet is on more surprises. Not all of these surprises will be bad. The election was a kick in the gut and it may take us a few days to get our bearings, but, going forward, we should resist the urge to indulge our negative feelings or to accept the comfortably gloomy scenarios as inevitable.
The country appears to be in the midst of a major transition, possibly moving from the top-down social, business and political framework whose effectiveness peaked after the Second World War, and which has been declining ever since, to a more decentralized America that is more consistent with the Founders’ vision. This is one of the main themes of the book that Lex and Jim Bennett are working on. I think that their America 3.0 is an attainable goal so long as there are enough citizens who see the possibilities and do not give up.
The short run seems likely to be difficult, but there is much to look forward to if we maintain our focus and constructive attitude.
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 6th November 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
My typing may be a bit off today as my dog bit me last night. It was partially my fault because he snapped at me as I was taking off his leash and I smacked him in the nose. He was faster than I was and bit my hand. Bassett hounds are supposed to be mellow but I got the one exception.
I voted a week ago by absentee so that is done. California has a bunch of state propositions and I voted no on all of them except 32, which would constrain union fund raising, but it will probably lose. I was disappointed to see NRO come out against it because of some footling concern about something. I have been disappointed by NRO several times this year, first when they fired John Derbyshire. His writing is funny and wise at the same time. You probably all know the story of the dispute, in which I believe that Derb was completely correct.
We also have this small matter of a presidential election today.
So a few days to go until Election Day; I guess we can call this the final heat. Texas is pretty much a red state stronghold, although there are pockets of blue adherents throughout. Yes, even in my neighborhood, there are a handful of defiant Obama-Biden yard signs visible, although outnumbered at least three to one by Romney-Ryan signs. It amounts to about three or four dozen, all told; I think that most of my neighbors prefer keeping their political preferences this time around strictly to themselves.
Read the rest of this entry »
After watching the 2012 Presidential Debates, I’ve come to the conclusion we are now seeing a new branch of “President Debate Forensics” being established that is utterly different in objective than traditional one concerned with scorning points. Instead, it is concerned with communicating the candidate’s PRESIDENTIAL demeanor through visual media.
That it has been successful in communicating that demeanor can be seen in this Michael Barone piece. Barone says the public’s break towards Romney is happening with affluent suburban voters and particularly college educated women.
It looks like my thought of Romney’s last debate performance being a “intimate performance for women” was spot-on, and his intended audience is responding –
That tends to validate my alternative scenario that Mitt Romney would fare much better in affluent suburbs than Republican nominees since 1992, running more like George Bush did in 1988. The only way Pennsylvania and Michigan can be close is if Obama’s support in affluent Philadelphia and Detroit suburbs has melted away.
This also helps explain why Romney still narrowly trails in Ohio polls. Affluent suburban counties cast about one-quarter of the votes in Pennsylvania and Michigan but only one-eighth in Ohio.
A pro-Romney affluent swing is confirmed by the internals of some national polls. The 2008 exit poll showed Obama narrowly carrying voters with incomes over $75,000. Post-debate Pew Research and Battleground polls have shown affluent suburbanite Romney carrying them by statistically significant margins.
In particular, college-educated women seem to have swung toward Romney since Oct. 3. He surely had them in mind in the foreign policy debate when he kept emphasizing his hopes for peace and pledged no more wars like Iraq and Afghanistan.
At this point, my gut says that the Romney campaign bet it all on the debates to get past the Pro-Obama media filters to voters and prepared accordingly.
Romney’s debate performances moved the focus groups so consistently. I have to think that his debate preparation firm was coaching him through his debate preparation with multiple primary and general election focus groups. Focus groups that were providing video performance feed back to Romney through out both the Republican Primary and General Election campaigns.
Romney just set a new and very high bar in American Presidential campaigning by founding a new “Presidential forensics” branch of debate. One that isn’t intended to “win” debates in the traditional debate forensics sense of “scoring points.”
“Presidential forensics” Romney-style is intended to showcase the candidate’s ability to project a PRESIDENTIAL demeanor to a visual media audience past media gatekeepers, whatever the debate format or moderator bias.
It worked. It will be copied.
Presidential debates are public demonstrations of leadership ability, not policy, and are THE place where the arguable majority of voters who rely on “non-verbal intelligence” decide who to vote for. The more PRESIDENTIAL a candidate looks, the better he does. As I did with the 2nd Debate, I watched this one with the sound off and a text crawl line to try and understand what the debate was communicating to those “non-verbal intelligence” voters.
General impression — This was Obama’s best debate. The CBS moderator Bob Schieffer played it straight. Romney looked Presidential, which was both his goal and his outstanding success.
These are my notes in rough time order.
1. The visuals with Obama and Romney have been more of the same from the previous debates. Romney is more polished and Obama lectures and glares. Romney smiles and engages. Obama seems angry, but has less head up, nostrils showing, arrogance in his visuals. Rinse and repeat.
2. The visuals on Romney as he speaks of serious issues is a engaged, serious face. He is talking to the moderator and through him to the American people. Obama’s posture is more hunched over than Romney. Obama points _at_ the moderator where as Romney points in another direction. It is a subtle thing, but is makes the point for Romney without the…threat?…Obama seems to have with his pointing gestures.
3. Ohhh… There is Romney’s constipated smile. That has to be the worse TV angle he has had. This seated format limits his playing the camera angles like the first two debates. If this seated format had been the first one, Romney would not have scored as big a win.
4. Romney seems to have a conscious effort going to keep his chin tucked when speaking to avoid even a hint of the head up head pose Obama had in the previous two debates. The seated format gives Obama and the camera men more lee way to video Obama in a less visually arrogant pose while seated or speaking.
5. There are the Obama death glares and the Romney constipated smiles going back and forth.
6. Now Romney talking to the moderator. Chin tucked. Romney’s gestures seem smaller and less expressive than the last two debates while his facial expressions have grown more intimate. This will play VERY STRONGLY with women voters. Obama just lost the election by 7% or more. I can see a practiced before the television screen expression for “Q” rating effect and Romney is doing it well, over and over again!!!
7. Both candidates are wearing American flag pins. The red-blue visuals of the ties from the first two debates between the two men have changed. Romney went for a Red tie with Blue stripes…again subtle, but powerful imagery. Romney is also using expressive hand gestures, those in the intimate close up are not seen, but the pull back they provide exclamation points.
Read the rest of this entry »
Presidential debates are public demonstrations of leadership ability, not policy, and are THE place where the arguable majority of voters who rely on “non-verbal intelligence” decide who to vote for. The more PRESIDENTIAL a candidate looks, the better he does. If you want to understand what “non-verbal intelligence” voters responds to in a debate, watch it with the sound off and take notes.
The following are my impressions from doing just that.
1. Obama did better, Romney scored points, Crowley cut off both Romney’s Fast and Furious and Benghazi responses. Crowley gave the impression she was a debate participant supporting Obama, rather than a moderator. This diminished Obama, in terms of the non-verbals, by making him seem less PRESIDENTIAL.
2. There were several Bush-Gore 2000 like moments of confrontation between Romney and Obama.
3. Romney’s non-verbals were more polished, non-threatening, and he had a consistent standing physical stance the pick up artist community calls “measured vulnerability” used by those affecting relaxed Alpha male dominance with women. (The stance is when your body is at a slight angle to those you are speaking too, your legs are apart and feet at an angle.)
4. Obama had a stance that was more squared up with those he was speaking with. Obama also used a lot of pointing gestures early, like a professor trying to affect physical dominance with a student. He then changed his non microphone hand to a loose fist, and using a full chopping motion rather than pointing later.
5. Romney kept his non-microphone hand flat, moved it side to side or above his head and down when the ABC text crawl line mentioned “deficit” or “taxes”. Romney seldom used pointing. When he did it was at the ground or himself.
6. The “split-cam” was not good for Obama (on ABC) due to a head up, nostrils visible, sitting stance. It was sometimes bad for Romney, who occasionally had a constipated look watching Obama. There were other camera angle shots that were more flattering to Obama, but a couple of times that ABC flashed them, Romney was in the foreground fouling the shot of Obama. The number of times ABC went to the bad camera angle on Obama had me thinking Romney was playing to camera angles by positioning himself where that was the only “good” shot of Obama. Later in the debate ABC went to downward camera angles on both Obama and Romney.
I see no real change in the pre-second debate momentum of the race. Democrats will claim Obama won and people who don’t like Obama will still dislike him.
The fact that Romney spoke forcefully about jobs, energy prices and the economy are much less important that the fact he looked PRESIDENTIAL.
Looking PRESIDENTIAL means Romney gives people who don’t like the economy permission to vote Obama out. The preference cascade that Romney kicked off with the first debate — by establishing that he is a man who can take command — will accelerate.
We have a Romney electoral college rout of Obama in the making.
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 7th October 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
Today, the Sunday morning TV shows on politics demonstrated the response of the Obama campaign to Romney’s debate win last week. Paul Krugman, who looks more and more like a political cheerleader and less like an economist, led the charge. The topic was the “five trillion dollar tax cut.”
The Obama campaign is already backing away from this claim, but let’s consider it.
This “five trillion dollar tax cut” figure is arrived at by taking his statement that he will cut rates by 20% and limit deductions. Multiple the total tax revenue per year by 20% and you get five trillion. This same reform was done in 1986 and the result was a 15 year economic boom. The results are discussed here.
Twenty years ago today (2006), President Ronald Reagan signed into law the broadest revision of the federal income tax in history. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 — the biggest and most controversial legislative story of its time — had lawmakers, lobbyists and journalists in Washington in an uproar for two years. Despite nearly dying several times, the measure eventually passed, producing a simpler code with fewer tax breaks and significantly lower rates. The changes affected every family and business in the nation.
Of course the Congress undid it over the ensuing years. We all expected that. What about Romney’s plan ?
Read the rest of this entry »
I want Rahe to be right but the bookmakers’ odds give me pause.
It’s possible that these market odds are overly influenced by inaccurate polls. The odds certainly respond to polling data. However, the bookies have a very good record of predicting election results.
On Intrade, before November 2004, Bush’s odds only went as low as 50% a couple of times and always bounced from there. Obama’s odds are behaving like that now. If Obama’s numbers sink below 50% and stay there I’ll feel a lot better. As of now there is much reason to worry.
If the USA today were the USA of 1980 I would agree with Rahe. I remember the run up to the 1980 election and the conventional wisdom that Carter would win. At the time I was afraid that he would. I asked a wise older friend of mine, an immigrant from Eastern Europe, what he thought would happen. “Reagan will win in a landslide”, he said. My friend was reasoning as Rahe is. And of course Reagan did win. But much has changed since then. A larger proportion of the US voting population is poorly educated and a larger proportion is dependent on government. Rush Limbaugh has been arguing that increasing dependence on government insulates an ever larger fraction of the electorate from the consequences of Obama’s poor economic policies. Consequently, the argument goes, Romney cannot afford to run on Obama’s economic failures alone and may have difficulty winning in any case. This seems plausible.
“Don’t get cocky” is good advice. So is, “Be very afraid”. Let’s hope the market odds shift to support Rahe’s prediction.
Each of the countries in the “Arab Spring” fell differently. Tunisia fell quite quickly, as the army stayed neutral and the government fled. Egypt held out longer, with the government deploying security forces, but the army stayed mostly neutral and in the end the government collapsed and Mubarek is on trial.
Libya was quite different – Gaddafi, the madman, employed every trick of his arsenal (including anti-aircraft weapons on unarmed demonstrators) before NATO intervened, allowing the rebels to fight back and eventually take back all the territory, including his home city of Sirte, which was pretty much leveled. While some parts of the country (Misrata and near the border with Algeria) suffered terribly, most of Tripoli in the west and Benghazi in the east were relatively unscathed. We all know Gaddafi’s fate, to die with a knife in his rear end.
Russia and China learned from Libya, and have blocked all UN attempts to seriously end the strife. Those that pine for the “non-aligned” world and a “post-America” world order have it right on display – since the Russians and China have to be able to use disproportionate and overwhelming force on their own people should they demand real democracy, the new world order is “you can commit any atrocity as long as it stays within your own country”.
Assad is a REAL madman, up there with the likes of the dictators of yore. He employs the most brutal of tactics, which consist of destroying entire areas with massive artillery and helicopter gunships if they are held by the FSA, regardless of civilian deaths. He has a brutal militia of the scum of the earth called Shabbiha that come in afterwards, raping and killing all (men, women, and children) in the bombarded areas ensuring that they are a desolate shell and the local population is either dead or fled. While we watch the Olympics an INSANE orgy of violence is occurring in Aleppo.
Amid intensifying shelling and heavy weapon fire in Syria’s most populated city, a U.N. official — citing the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent — said that about 200,000 people have fled Aleppo over the past two days.
Assad is basically willing to BURN HIS OWN COUNTRY TO THE GROUND in order to save himself. He is also likely carving out a “pure” ethnic enclave along the western coast where his Alawite people can make a final stand, or carve out a “rump state” where they can survive.
Remember that before the Arab Spring started, “official” observers felt that there were no pending revolutions coming in the middle east, especially since Iran was able to put down their protestors successfully. Instead, much of the region rose in revolt.
These same observers also don’t think that the next step is likely to occur – the disintegration of countries. Syria is unlikely to remain one country, in my opinion, when this is done, unless everyone bands to push the Alawites into the sea (possible). There is no “glue” that holds together a people after this savagery, unless they have the willingness to work together. In Libya it appears that through elections the country will hold together (for the optimistic) even though their frontiers are pretty much wide open – but Syria and then likely soon Lebanon and possibly Iraq will fall apart at the seams. Don’t forget that much of Saudi Arabia’s oil is held in a region of their religious minorities, and Turkey is not far away from a possible spark with the Kurds in their long-running war. Also the Palestinian question is likely to erupt in Jordan and elsewhere – while they were the darlings of the “statist” world because Israel made a convenient scapegoat, today they are likely to be an annoying burden to countries trying to fix their own issues.
As we have all heard numerous times, in the rants of the left, that the borders left by the “colonialists” were arbitrary. I believe now these sorts of brutal civil wars like the ones in Syria are going to finish off those borders for once and for all. This won’t be a simple, fair or bloodless process, as Syria is showing us, but it is likely to be final, as final as the eviction of the Westerners in Egypt was in the 1950s. Resources (oil, water) will be paramount, and it will be a brutal struggle, determined primarily by violence and forces on the ground, with resettlement or death a frequent occurrence.
Posted by David McFadden on 26th June 2012 (All posts by David McFadden)
Liberals who are pessimistic about the prospects in the Supreme Court this week for the Affordable (or is it Abominable?) Care Act, known as “ACA,” have been preparing the ground by publicizing surveys measuring the unpopularity of the Court. Liberals who are optimistic, such as former speaker Nancy Pelosi, predict that ACA will be upheld 6-3.
The 6-3 breakdown comes from the result in Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005), in which the Supreme Court held that prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana for personal medicinal use was within Congress’s powers under the Interstate Commerce Clause. To the dismay of many conservatives, Justice Antonin Scalia concurred with the majority. His concurring opinion shows how to apply the Commerce Clause to something as far from interstate commerce as ACA’s individual mandate.
And the individual mandate is very far from interstate commerce. An individual is not engaging in interstate commerce merely by refraining from buying health insurance. He is not engaging in commerce. He is not engaging in anything. That puts the individual mandate beyond Congress’s commerce power but not necessarily beyond Congress’s powers.
The Supreme Court has said that Congress has the power to regulate the channels and instrumentalities of interstate commerce as well as activities that substantially affect interstate commerce. Justice Scalia said in his concurring opinion in Raich that the power to regulate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce does not come from the Commerce Clause alone but from the Commerce Clause plus the Necessary and Proper Clause. The Necessary and Proper Clause has extended the Commerce Clause pretty far. Scalia wrote that “Congress may regulate even noneconomic local activity if that regulation is a necessary part of a more general regulation of interstate commerce.”
As disturbingly vast as that power might be, the Supreme Court would have to extend it even further to reach non-economic local inactivity. That extension may or may not be “necessary” to make ACA effective, but is it “proper”? At oral argument Justice Scalia posed that question to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli:
Necessary does not mean essential, just reasonably adapted. But in addition to being necessary, it has to be proper. And we’ve held in two cases that something that was reasonably adapted was not proper, because it violated the sovereignty of the states, which was implicit in the constitutional structure. The argument here is that this also is — may be necessary, but it’s not proper, because it violates an equally evident principle in the Constitution, which is that the federal government is not supposed to be a government that has all powers; that it’s supposed to be a government of limited powers. And that’s what all this questioning has been about. What — what is left? If the government can do this, what — what else can it not do?
The solicitor general (who didn’t do such a bad job overall) replied that the individual mandate does not invade the sphere of state government but, despite several follow-up questions, did not answer the question of whether the individual mandate improperly invades the sphere of individuals. Justice Kennedy pressed further, saying that “to tell the individual citizen that it must act . . . changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in a very fundamental way.” General Verilli replied that the individual mandate is predicated on the individual’s unavoidable participation in the health care market.
That appeared to be enough for Justice Breyer, who in the course of rambling questions in search of a defense of the act, asked whether one enters the health care market simply by being born. Four justices seemed to find such a limitless premise for federal regulatory power troubling. They, along with Justice Thomas, may also find it improper.
Should that happen, leftists, with their newfound conviction that judicial review is anti-majoritarian, will switch into their outraged and indignant mode. How dare the Court strike down an act because it isn’t proper after Obama and the Congress decided that it was?
The answer will be that the Court is merely giving meaning to the outermost boundary of congressional power. What hangs in the balance this week is whether the powers of Congress are in theory limited but in practice infinite.