Sunday, August 29, 2010

Canard Season: On the Economic Impact of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Via QandO, comes this devastating deconstruction at The American Thinker of the oft-repeated meme that the Iraq War was responsible for the ballooning deficits under which our economy now labors. The general idea has been that Teh Eeevil Booosh had squandered our Nation's wealth on his Massive Boondoggle (for the enrichment of the Oil Companies, the Military-Industrial Complex, or any other of a host of popular bogeymen). And so, the 'reasoning' goes, it is hypocritical in the extreme for Conservatives to now decry the deficits which we now endure under our Democratic Administration and (for now!) Congress.

Bunk. Pure, unadulterated bunk. Have a peek at the chart, below.

Notice anything about the years? Specifically, recall which party was in charge of Congress from 2003 through 2007. Notice anything about the deficit trend lines during those years? How about right after?

The less I say here, the higher the probability that you will read the whole thing. And you should read the whole thing. The author cites the Government's own numbers (i.e., this isn't something cooked up at the Heritage Foundation  or somesuch). It is a bit of much-needed perspective, particularly as we approach the time when we get to decide who writes the next set of budgets.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dog Bites Man: Media Moguls' Dollars Skew Hard to Port

From the files of the Utterly Unsurprising comes this report of the political contribution tendencies among the denizens of the MSM. Given the spectacle of leg-tingling hagiography to which The One was treated during the 2008 election cycle, this kind of falls in the "water is wet" category of reportage. If you'll pardon the expression, here's the money quote:
Senior executives, on-air personalities, producers, reporters, editors, writers and other self-identifying employees of ABC, CBS and NBC contributed more than $1 million to Democratic candidates and campaign committees in 2008, according to an analysis by The Examiner of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Democratic total of $1,020,816 was given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks, with an average contribution of $880.
By contrast, only 193 of the employees contributed to Republican candidates and campaign committees, for a total of $142,863. The average Republican contribution was $744.
And, lest one malign the source (the Washington Examiner is hardly Liberal-friendly), these stats were drawn from the Center For Responsive Politics, whose invaluable site, is widely considered  unimpeachable in its non-partisan objectivity.

Just a little food for thought, for the next time Fox News is raked over the coals for Rupert Murdoch's political contributions. That is, if one were inclined to be --dare I say-- Fair and Balanced.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Maliki Handed his Hat?

From the WaPo comes this bit of bad news for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Back in March, you'll recall, Maliki's State of Law coalition fell just short of former PM Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya bloc in the national elections, and long weeks have dragged into months while the various groups have wrangled to work out who would get to form the new government. Now Maliki's State Of  Law party appears to have lost the support of the Iraqi National Alliance, an (Iran-endorsed...) coalition of religious Shiite parties which had backed Maliki's claim to power.

Without INA backing, Maliki just doesn't have a chance, and he should recognize this. Allawi appears to have pretty much shed his previous stigma of "American Puppet" among Iraqis, and holds great promise in bringing Sunnis more actively and productively to the table. Necessary as they were overall (if at times heavy-handed in the execution), Maliki's aggressive de-Baathification steps have never been forgiven amid a large swathe of the Sunni population. Allawi's broadly secular, trans-sectarian appeal is as much the thing for today's Iraq as Maliki's nails in the Baath Party coffin were for the Iraq of four years ago. Allawi is also a very vocal and credible opponent of Iranian influence in Iraqi affairs (and, despite some recent brave noises along these lines, Maliki just hasn't been able to close that sale with the Iraqi people for whom Tehran is not popular). Kurdish former President Talabani is one of Allawi's closest friends, which appears likely to be reflected in relations between Arab and Kurdish blocs in an increasingly coalitionist government..

Maliki is being obdurate, and Iraq is suffering as a result. This is not to say that he does not have a legitimate case. He just might. That’s not the point. A true statesman would see that this protracted stalemate is the ultimate “broken window” in the neighborhood, and it’s signaling to the agents of chaos that they have their own window of opportunity.

After initially low expectations, Maliki has impressed me on more than one occasion with his tenacity and mettle. It is a shame to see him appearing to regress in what most observers agree is a strenuous and increasingly ignoble-seeming effort to cling to power, at the expense of the stability of his nation.

He should let Allawi have another turn at the tiller, soak up the goodwill from taking that high road, and use it to try again the next time around.

That’s what people do in a republic.