Thursday, October 20, 2011

Twilight of the neocons

Leslie Gelb has a silly piece up on Daily Beast, warning that the neocons are roaring back (and suggesting that Mitt Romney will carry their water). He must live inside as much of a bubble as the rest of the VSPs. Has he watched any of the Republican debates? Is he not aware that the Grand Old Basketcase has largely abandoned the expansionist neocon agenda in favor of old-style, Pat Buchananesque isolationism? Hasn't he heard these wingnuts fighting to see who can yell, "Bring the troops home!!" louder? Did he not see Herman Cain reveal he isn't even familiar with the term "neo-conservative"?

The fact is that, when it comes to electoral politics, Obama is now totally safe on foreign policy. Of course, it wouldn't have been very much of an issue anyway, given the Great Recession. But the guy who killed Osama bin Laden and Muammar al-Qaddafi is not vulnerable on this, er, front -- not to any of these folks, Romney included. If the Republicans win, it will be because of the economy. Period.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Post this on the locker room bulletin board

This is a good piece, and it could be important. I hope it gets widely circulated. Obviously, the bankers' cluelessness stands in pointed contrast to this. Money quote (pun intended): “'I have no problem with capitalism. I have no problem with a market economy. But I find the way the financial system is functioning deeply unethical,' Herbert Haberl, 51, said in Berlin."

That's the key point, the one embodied in Occupy Wall Street's brilliant name, the one that opens the door to a successful global movement, the one to keep hammering home: This is not about the failure of capitalism; it's about the need for financial capital to cede the stage in favor of production capital. Banking needs to become boring again. Innovation needs to move from financial instruments to transformative technologies. The rules of the road need to favor those who actually create something of value -- a product or a service -- rather than those who get rich from surfing the economy itself, from arbitrage.