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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 14, 2022 by Tony Wikrent The Inflation Reduction Act is Not Designed to Reduce Inflation Benjamin Studebaker [via Naked Capitalism 8-8-2022, also Water Cooler 8-8-2022] “If you actually look at this thing, this legislation only raises $739 billion over the next decade. This means that on average, each year, it only […]
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Time is on whose side in Egypt?

Pro-Mubarek protestors and secret security forces are attacking anti-government protestors in Egypt.  Al Jazeera is reporting that Mubarek’s speech yesterday took some of the fire out of the public who were demanding his ouster.

The Art of War probably has a whole subsection on time.  I can almost hear Sun Tsu telling his students that making your enemies hesitate is crucial to undermining their momentum.  It sounds like Mubarek appealed to the public’s sense of fairness to him, a national hero whose patriotism is unquestioned.  He promised to not run again, isn’t that enough?  It sounds so reasonable.  The public is probably wondering why to bother protesting anymore.  It’s too much chaos, too dangerous.  Too messy.

Yes, democracy is messy.  And there will always be speechwriters who know how to appeal to our weakest instincts, who will sneak into our subconscious and whisper to us of our powerlessness and will play up fear.  Sort of like what David Brooks does weekly in the New York Times.

If the Egyptians can resist the messaging and stick it out and redouble their numbers, who knows what they can accomplish?

Of course, it’s easy for us to say, sitting in our warm houses, minding our own business, not making trouble.  This year, economic conditions and corruption are enflaming the middle east.  In twenty years from now?  Who knows?  It may be us.

Is time on our side?

Lambert is live blogging the situation in Egypt on Corrente.  Check it out.

Wednesday: The Northeast cries “Uncle!”

See that area of pink between the white and green? That's us.

It is snowing. Or raining?  Snain? Again.

Yesterday, we had freezing rain.  Delightful.  Last night when I left work, my car was like the top of a creme brulee.  I LOVE chipping off the icy crust only to realize as I got to the security gate that my window was frozen shut and I had to engage  in a tricky maneuver of applying the emergency brake, opening my door, swiping my ID, and quickly getting the car moving before the gate came down.

Schools are closed.  There have been so many snow days and delayed openings that these kids will be going to school in July.  Today, Brooke is competing in a national linguistics competition at Princeton.  Well, that should be fun, getting into Princeton.  And there’s no place to park in Princeton.  The only way the competition will be postponed is if there is four feet of snow on the ground.  But do they mean cumulative?  Does last week’s foot and a half that is still on the ground count towards that total?  And what if the snow plow doesn’t dig us out in time to make it down to Princeton??

Seriously, we give up.  We’re waving the white flag.  We completely identify with the bleak prospect of Ethan Frome’s winter scape, that endless expanse of dirty white coldness, leaden skies and bitter cold, the way the salt spreading trucks hurl pellets of salt and gravel at my car like a shotgun as I pass them.  Lovely.  Sometimes, I feel like I will never be warm again.

I’d love to take a flight to someplace warmer but in all likelihood, the airports are delaying flights and there’s a backlog.

Get us out of here.

The NYTimes gives a confusing version of who was proactively encouraging Mubarek to move on. Funny, my recollection was that Hillary Clinton was hot out of the box with a statement last week asking the Egyptian government to respond to its people.  Joe Biden is reported to have said “No” when asked if Mubarek should go as late as last Sunday.  But no, it was Obama who the NYTimes credits with sending a diplomatic envoy to Egypt on Sunday, even though it was Hillary Clinton who chose the guy and recommended the strategy last Saturday.  But you don’t know that until paragraph 14:

At a two-hour meeting at the White House last Saturday, Thomas E. Donilon, the national security adviser; William M. Daley, the White House chief of staff, Secretary of StateHillary Rodham Clinton; the director of the Central Intelligence AgencyLeon E. Panetta; and other officials coalesced around a strategy to start trying to ease Mr. Mubarak out, an official said.

Mrs. Clinton, officials said, suggested that the administration send Mr. Wisner, a former ambassador to Egypt who knows Mr. Mubarak well, to deliver a message directly from Mr. Obama to the Egyptian leader. Officials said Mr. Wisner urged Mr. Mubarak to declare publicly that he would not run for re-election. But Mr. Wisner has extended his stay in Cairo, officials said, and may have a follow-up meeting with Mr. Mubarak if events seem to demand a quicker exit.

Oh, sure, Obama is the guy who is her boss and he has to be the one to approve the strategy, yadayadayada.  {{rolling eyes in exasperation}}.  But come on, Obama and Biden have definitely been behind the curve here.  Getting Mubarek out and someone the Egyptians want in as soon as possible is the best way to control the crazy turmoil that is rocking that nation.  After a couple of days of dizzy triumph and champagne, wait, Muslims don’t drink, ok, days of lines of guys dancing around, people would start getting back to work and the wheels could start turning again.  The army is on the side of the protestors.  It’s time for Mubarek to give it up.  When it comes to self-determination, it became clear last weekend that the Egyptians had self-determined.  It’s just a waiting game now.

But Obama gets the credit.  {{yawn}}  Look, NYTimes, we all know of instances when the supervisor takes credit for his underling’s work, makes the presentation to a high stakes audience, forces their way onto a patent without lifting a finger… where was I?  Oh yes, we all know people like that.  No one wants to work for them.  It might be common practice but it’s not moral or ethical to take credit for someone elses work.

So, Hillary read the tea leaves correctly and had to drag Barry kicking and screaming, once again, to do the right thing. Whatever.  We know what we saw.  Barry dithering again.

The DNC has chosen Charlotte, NC for their mock convention in 2012.  We should have known in 2008 that Denver meant a caucus strategy focussing on the west and mountain states.  So, what does Charlotte say?  Well, to me , North Carolina conjures up Roanoke, the Lost Colony, those intrepid colonists of fortune hunters.  Carolina means tobacco plantations.  It means furniture manufacturing.  It means very little union strength.  It means the Research Triangle.  It means a very large Cherokee reservation.  It means the largest private house in the United States.  It means “First in Flight”, Kitty Hawk, the horses of Chincoteague and a large African American population.  It means Jesse Helms and his infamous commercial.

It means bible belt.  It means Southern Appalachia.  It means generational poverty.  It is more rural than the most Democratic states in the nation.  Put it all together and what do we get?

No doubt, North Carolina is an up and coming place. I’ve heard very good things about how their educational system is improving.  But culturally?  It’s still the south.  Let’s ponder this one for awhile.  The religious aspect is really bugging me here.    It also shows that the party is leaving the rust belt and the northeast to fend for itself.  Good bye labor.  Hello Cavalier Culture, that remnant of English royalists who settled Virginia and the Carolinas, entrenching a social hierarchy and vast disperities of wealth.  Yeah, North Carolinians might be pulling themselves up by their bootstraps but look at how many centuries it took for them to actually get boots.

It also spurns California and the tech heavy states like Washington and Massachusetts.  It looks like Obama is going to reach out to the south.  And that can only mean that he intends to court them.

Go away all you silly middle class Americans!  He farts in your general direction.