March 11, 2012

Posted by orrinj at 9:25 PM


Global liquidity peak spells trouble for late 2012 (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 11 Mar 2012, The Telegraph)

Data collected by Simon Ward at Henderson Global Investors shows that M1 money supply growth in the big G7 economies and leading E7 emerging powers buckled over the winter.

The gauge - known as six-month real narrow money - peaked at 5.1pc in November. It dropped to 3.6pc in January, and to 2.1pc in February.

This is comparable to falls seen in mid-2008 in the months leading up to the Great Recession, and which caught central banks so badly off guard.

Hopefully there's nothing like the level of derivative fraud that was exposed in the last slowdown caused by misguided inflation-hawkery.

Posted by orrinj at 8:43 PM


Saving the Press Clause from Ruin: The Customary Origins of a 'Free Press' as Interface to the Present and Future (Patrick J. Charles & Kevin Francis O'Neill, Utah Law Review)


If the Supreme Court were to reinterpret the Press Clause in accordance with the historical findings set forth in this article, what would be the result? As explained more fully below, current Press Clause jurisprudence would be altered in three significant respects. First, the difficulty of defining the institutional press would be alleviated -- the definition would focus on news-gathering organizations that investigate and report on the activities of government. Second, the leading Press Clause precedents outlined above (particularly Branzburg, Zurcher, and Pell) would be overruled as wrongly decided. Third, a new doctrine -- recognizing greater press access to newsworthy events and information under government control -- would have to be developed.

In First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, Chief Justice Burger cited the difficulty of defining the institutional press as a key reason for rejecting any special Press Clause protection for the news media. But the difficulty of defining "the press" is no reason for treating the Press Clause as an empty promise. Defining the institutional press becomes easier if we are guided by the historical findings sketched above, in which newspapers were valued primarily for their role as government watchdogs, gathering and disseminating information about the conduct of public officials. This theme accords with Justice Stewart‟s conception of the press as the "Fourth Estate," providing "organized, expert scrutiny" of public officials; and it is a theme that continues even now to define the role of the press. Envisioning a role for the institutional press in the 21st century, Lee C. Bollinger observes: "[A]s long as there is democracy or government based on some even minimal level of consent of the people, the press is a necessity. Someone must provide us with factual information and analysis of what is happening in the world while upholding values of -- in the language of the Pulitzer Prize -- „honesty, accuracy, and fairness.‟"459 And Bollinger adds that the institutional press must include "organizations large and powerful enough to be able effectively to monitor and check the authority of the state." When defining the institutional press, these two functions -- news-gathering and government-monitoring -- must reside at the center of our definition.

What does this mean for bloggers and other opinion writers? Don‟t they more closely resemble the printers and pamphleteers of the Revolutionary era than a modern media giant like the New York Times? In many respects yes, but news analysis and editorial opinion bear the stamp of individual expression that is more readily associated with the Speech Clause. A revitalized Press Clause would afford protections more pertinent to an investigative, fact-gathering organization -- like increased access to newsworthy events and information, and immunity from newsroom searches and grand jury subpoenas.

This brings us to our second point -- that if the Press Clause were reinterpreted in accordance with the historical findings outlined in this article, then Branzburg, Zurcher, and Pell would be overruled.
Branzburg and Zurcher are wrongly decided under the historical interpretation of the Press Clause because, as a government watchdog with a structural role to play in the separation of powers, the institutional press must be protected from government "ransack[ing]" of newsrooms (through search warrants) and government-compelled disclosure of confidential sources and information (through grand jury subpoenas).

Pell is wrongly decided for limiting press access to the same low level as public access vis-à-vis government-controlled information and events. As explained by Justice Douglas, this linkage completely misunderstands the institutional role of the press as representing the public, venturing into prisons and other government institutions on the public‟s behalf. Since the role of the press is to keep the public informed, individual members of the public will not likely undertake their own investigations of the prison system or other government institutions. So it makes no sense, under the Press Clause, to define press access in terms of public access. Though Richmond Newspapers and its progeny have afforded meaningful press access to criminal trials, they bear the same fundamental flaw as Pell, linking press access to public access. By rejecting an independent, affirmative right of press access, the Supreme Court has given the press an unseemly incentive to encourage unlawful leaks of secret information by government employees.

Finally, we come to our third point -- that a reinterpreted Press Clause would reject the linkage between press and public access, and would instead recognize greater press access to newsworthy events and information under government control. Contemplating a 21st century role for the institutional press, Lee C. Bollinger has called for such a doctrine:

When a new case comes along involving the public interest in knowing about information under the government‟s control, the [Supreme] Court should take the next step and announce a general right of access. A good example that could have been used this way was the dispute between the government and the press over access to the war zone in Afghanistan. Another example was the request by the press to visit military prisons in Iraq.

Bollinger acknowledges the likely criticism of such a doctrine -- that press demands will overwhelm the courts and overburden the government -- but "[w]e can take comfort," he says, "from the fact that we have successfully managed exactly this state of affairs under the freedom of information acts that have existed now for several decades." And he sees an existing First Amendment doctrine that can serve as a model:

The Court has often recognized a First Amendment right in situations that seem to open up endless problems of definition. The Public Forum Doctrine is a good analogy. The Public Forum Doctrine exemplifies how the Court has developed an affirmative duty under the First Amendment requiring the government to help expand the opportunities for speech. This doctrine compels the government to allow speech to take place on some public property, such as streets, parks, and sidewalks. The PublicForum Doctrine is a precedent for protections on the newsgathering side of freedom of the press.

Though Bollinger proposes this doctrine while envisioning a future role for the institutional press, its adoption will depend on the Supreme Court‟s willingness to be guided by the past -- specifically, by the unique history of the Press Clause revealed in this article.

Even after you accept that it's mostly just partisan hackery, the Right's argument that every corporate publication is a Press function for purposes of constitutional construction is risible. The fact is that only by disregarding the Founding and the Constitution can the Court temporarily extend them First Amendment "rights."

Posted by orrinj at 4:14 PM


    -WIKIPEDIA: James Q. Wilson
    -GOOGLE SCHOLAR: James Q. Wilson
    -ARCHIVES: James Q. Wilson (National Affairs)
    -ARCHIVES: James Q. Wilson (Commentary)
    -ARCHIVES: q. wilson (City Journal)
    -ARCHIVES: James Q. Wilson (NY Times)
    -ESSAY: Broken Windows: The police and neighborhood safety (GEORGE L. KELLING and JAMES Q. WILSON, March 1982, Atlantic)
    -ESSAY: Decency (GEORGE L. KELLING and JAMES Q. WILSON, November 2007, Atlantic)
    -ESSAY: Crime and the Great Recession: Jobs have fled, lawbreaking hasn't risen--and criminologists are scratching their heads. (James Q. Wilson, Summer 2011, City Journal)
    -ESSAY: The DNA of Politics: Genes shape our beliefs, our values, and even our votes. (James Q. Wilson, Winter 2009, City Journal)
    -ESSAY: Welfare Reform and Character Development (James Q. Wilson, Winter 1995, City Journal)
    -ESSAY: Why Don't Jews Like the Christians Who Like Them?: Liberalism can't abide conservative evangelicals. (James Q. Wilson, Winter 2008, City Journal)
    -ESSAY: What Makes a Terrorist? (James Q. Wilson, Winter 2004, City Journal)
    -ESSAY: Why We Don't Marry (James Q. Wilson, Winter 2002, City Journal)
    -ESSAY: Thinking About Crime: The debate over deterrence (James Q. Wilson, September 1983, Atlantic)
    -ESSAY: Against Homosexual Marriage (James Q. Wilson -- March 1996, Commentary)
    -REVIEW: of Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future, by Michael Barone (James Q. Wilson, Claremont Review of Books)
    -ARCHIVES: James Q. Wilson (Claremont Review of Books)
    -ARCHIVES: James Q. Wilson (
    -INTERVIEW: No Easy Answers: James Q. Wilson on bureaucracy, crime, and community (William D. Eggers & John O'Leary from the February 1995, Reason)
    -INTERVIEW: The Man Who Defined Deviancy Up: Policing, religion, changes in gang life? Why has crime dropped since James Q. Wilson wrote about 'broken windows' in 1982? (HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR., 3/12/11, WSJ)
    -PROFILE: A Thinker Attuned to Thinking; James Q. Wilson Has Insights, Like Those on Cutting Crime, That Tend To Prove Out (RICHARD BERNSTEIN, August 22, 1998, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW: James Q. Wilson: The power of his written word: His thoughts have left an indelible impression on Los Angeles and the nation. ( Jim Newton, June 3, 2007, LA Times)
    -INTERVIEW: James Q. Wilson Interview (The First Measured Century, PBS)
    -OBIT: James Q. Wilson, 80, co-author of 'Broken Windows' community policing strategy, died today (Bryan Marquard, 03/02/2012, Boston Globe)
    -OBIT: James Q. Wilson Dies at 80; Originated 'Broken Windows' Policing Strategy (BRUCE WEBER, March 2, 2012, NY Times)
    -OBIT: 'Broken Windows' Co-Author James Q. Wilson is Dead (DINO GRANDONI, MAR 2, 2012, Atlantic)
    -TRIBUTE: The Mind in the Oval Office: It is a shame that future presidents will not be able to benefit from James Q. Wilson's personal wisdom and guidance, as so many of them did for the past four decades. (Tevi Troy, March 2, 2012, The American)
    -TRIBUTE & LINKS: James Q. Wilson (Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism)
    -TRIBUTE: Social Science With a Soul: Life for James Q. Wilson was like a roadside curio shop, full of hidden and unrecognized intellectual treasures. (ARTHUR C. BROOKS, 3/03/12, WSJ)
    -OBIT: James Q. Wilson: An empiricist with a moral sense--and he could write too. (WSJ, 3/03/12)
    -TRIBUTE: A Truly American Scholar : James Q. Wilson was able to make students enthusiastic over prudence, while other teachers gained applause only with displays of liberalism or extremism. (HARVEY C. MANSFIELD, 3/05/12, WSJ)
    -TRIBUTE: Man of Reason: James Q. Wilson's thinking about crime and policing saved lives and transformed cities for the better. (HEATHER MAC DONALD, 4 March 2012, City Journal)
    -TRIBUTE: James Q. Wilson: A Happy American Life: A man whose long and productive career leaves us much to be grateful for. (Michael Barone, 3/05/12, National Review)
    -TRIBUTE: The Empiricist: James Q. Wilson's prodigious learning--and modest temperament--will be missed. (KAY S. HYMOWITZ, 5 March 2012, City Journal)
    -TRIBUTE: Beyond 'Broken Windows' (PETER H. SCHUCK, March 10, 2012, NY Times)
    -TRIBUTE: The Scholar and the Radical (Ross Douthat, 3/04/12, NY Times)
    -TRIBUTE: James Q. Wilson's Life-Saving Work : His writings helped reverse the anti-punishment trend. (Thomas Sowell, 3/06/12, National Review)
    -TRIBUTE: The Rediscovery of Character (David Brooks, 3/06/12, NY Times)
    -TRIBUTE: How James Q. Wilson Nearly Alienated the Conservative Movement and Wrote a Forgotten Classic Instead (HELEN RITTELMEYER, 3/05/12, Cigarette Smoking Blog)
    -TRIBUTE: James Q. Wilson's Moral Sense (Peter Wehner, March 2, 2012, The American)
    -TRIBUTE: A Gentleman and a Scholar (Christopher DeMuth, 3/19/12, Weekly Standard)
    -TRIBUTE: Missing James Q. Wilson (Patt Morrison, 3/05/12, LA Times)
    -OBIT: James Q. Wilson: James Q. Wilson, investigator of American society, died on March 2nd, aged 80 (The Economist, 3/10/12)
    -TRIBUTE: James Q. Wilson Greatest Strength, Admitting When He Was Wrong (David Frum Mar 6, 2012, Daily Beast)
    -TRIBUTE: Remembering James Q. Wilson: A wise professor and an exuberant cowboy (HEATHER HIGGINS, March 5, 2012, US News)
    -TRIBUTE: James Q. Wilson's Practical Humanity (Peter Moskos, 3/03/12, The Chronicle Review)
    -TRIBUTE: Honored Prophet (George Will, Washington Post
    -TRIBUTE: James Q. Wilson, 1931-2012 (FRANCIS FUKUYAMA, 3/04/12, American Interest)
    -OBIT: Political scientist James Q. Wilson dies (AP, 3/02/12)
    -OBIT: James Q. Wilson dies at 80; pioneer in 'broken windows' approach to improve policing (Elaine Woo, 3/03/12, Los Angeles Times)
    -TRIBUTE: Remembering James Q. Wilson (Ed Feulner, March 2, 2012, Heritage)
    -TRIBUTE: In Remembrance of James Q. Wilson (Alan Wolfe, March 3, 2012, New Republic)
    -TRIBUTE: James Q. Wilson (NY Sun)
    -TRIBUTE: James Q. Wilson, 1931-2012 (Yuval Levin, March 2, 2012, National Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Moral Sense by James Q. Wilson (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of The Moral Sense (Roger Kimball, New Criterion)
    -REVIEW: of Bureaucracy by James Q. Wilson (Beryl A. Radin, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of American Politics, Then and Now and Other Essays, by James Q. Wilson. (R. Shep Melnick, Claremont Review of Books)
Posted by orrinj at 12:05 PM


Obamalaise: Like Carter, Obama suggests that we have only ourselves to blame for being stuck in the doldrums (Kyle Smith, March 11, 2012, NY Post)

Liberals are forever fantasizing about militarizing social problems. In his first inaugural, FDR declared "war against the emergency." LBJ declared "war against poverty," and Carter said reducing energy consumption (by, for instance, turning down thermostats at night to a bone-chilling 55 degrees) was "the moral equivalent of war."

In his latest State of the Union, Obama said of our armed forces, "They're not consumed with personal ambition. They don't obsess over their differences . . . They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example."

Except if we followed their example, we'd all have to salute and say, "Yes, sir" to everything. That's not democracy. Generals who say the mission failed because the troops didn't follow orders shouldn't be surprised when the troops start to mock them. Blame deflection isn't leadership.

And that's why both Carter and Obama came to seem so tired, dull, repetitive, scolding, inept and irrelevant. Carter's poll numbers went up immediately after the malaise speech but retreated after a few days. His words gave him an anti-halo -- the shadow of a whiner.

"You can't castigate the American people," his vice president, Walter Mondale, told Carter, "or they will turn you off once and for all."

In his State of the Union, President Obama expressed wonderment that everything doesn't work like the Navy SEAL raid that got bin Laden. "No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves. . . . This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each other's backs." Obama sounded as if he was pleading with us to get his back.

"Carter, Clinton and I all have sort of the disease of being policy wonks," Obama told Ron Suskind in the book "Confidence Men." He sounded as if he was pleading that he was too smart for the American people.

...who'd actually been governors.

Posted by orrinj at 10:23 AM


A Misreading of Law and History on Preemptive Strikes (Peter Berkowitz, 3/10/12, Real Clear Politics)

[W]ithout ever quite saying so for obvious political reasons, the Obama administration has adopted -- and elaborated in major speeches by State Department Legal Counsel Harold Koh, top counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, and Attorney General Eric Holder -- the Bush opinion that in an era of transnational terrorism, rogue states, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, considerable flexibility is needed in determining when a threat is imminent, and when preemptive action is justified.

Those opposed to launching a strike against Iran should guard against the temptation to bend the precedents and provisions of international law and twist the facts of American politics to conform to their policy preferences. At the same time, a brief in behalf of the legality of a military strike against Iran must not be confused with a brief in behalf of a military strike against Iran.

Whether to launch a strike to destroy or disable Iran's nuclear program is the weightiest decision Obama and Netanyahu face. It depends on multilayered judgments about the efficacy of diplomacy and sanctions, windows of opportunity for military action, and how far the program can be set back at this late stage.

And it depends on complex calculations about the likely backlash: thousands of missiles raining down on Tel Aviv by Iran-sponsored Hamas in the south, Iran-sponsored Hezbollah in the north, and Iran to the east; intensification of the international opprobrium to which Israel is already subject; military operations against American military assets and allies in the Persian Gulf and the spread of war throughout the region; closure by Iran of the Strait of Hormuz, triggering skyrocketing oil prices and paralysis of the international economy; and a wave of terrorist attacks on Israeli and American targets around the globe.

Grave, too, would be the costs of allowing Iran to build a nuclear weapon. A rogue state ruled by theocrats and Holocaust deniers and dedicated to the expansion by force of Shia Islam, Iran would threaten Israel, the Arab world, Europe, and soon the United States with nuclear-armed missiles. It would also be likely to set off a nuclear arms race in the Gulf, resulting in not one but several regimes that contain Islamist elements sympathetic to jihadists and terrorism possessing the world's most dangerous weapons.

What can be safely said is that the effort to close off discussion about striking Iran by concocting a legal prohibition out of fragments of international law and cropped photos of the American constitutional tradition does more than betray illiberal and anti-democratic tendencies. It also would deprive the nation of the informed debate on which our security depends. 

The only real rational for a strike on Iran is that Israel will do it otherwise and we'd prefer to accept the blame ourselves rather than be forced to accept it for a client state's actions. It's basically a decision that our doing it would be less inflammatory than Israel doing it. There is no security rational on the ground in Iran.

The genuinely weighty decision the Administration currently faces is whether to intervene militarily in Syria and, significantly, the only rational there is liberal/humanitarian.  Our eventual intervention there, as in Libya, will be driven exclusively by our redefinition of sovereignty, such that we recognize no government as legitimate that is not a function of the consent of its people. 

Fretting about whether we can "legally" strike an enemy's nuclear program when the reality is that we increasingly routinely remove their governments is pretty silly.
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Posted by orrinj at 10:02 AM


How India Became America (AKASH KAPUR, 3/09/12, NY Times)

[T]his Americanization of India -- had both tangible and intangible manifestations. The tangible signs included an increase in the availability of American brands; a noticeable surge in the population of American businessmen (and their booming voices) in the corridors of five-star hotels; and, also, a striking use of American idiom and American accents. In outsourcing companies across the country, Indians were being taught to speak more slowly and stretch their O's. I found myself turning my head (and wincing a little) when I heard young Indians call their colleagues "dude."

But the intangible evidence of Americanization was even more remarkable. Something had changed in the very spirit of the country. The India in which I grew up was, in many respects, an isolated and dour place of limited opportunity. The country was straitjacketed by its moralistic rejection of capitalism, by a lethargic and often depressive fatalism.

Now it is infused with an energy, a can-do ambition and an entrepreneurial spirit that I can only describe as distinctly American. In surveys of global opinion, Indians consistently rank as among the most optimistic people in the world. Bookstores are stacked with titles like "India Arriving," "India Booms" and "The Indian Renaissance." The Pew Global Attitudes Project, which measures opinions across major countries, regularly finds that Indians admire values and attributes typically thought of as American: free-market capitalism, globalization, even multinational companies. Substantial majorities associate Americans with values like hard work and inventiveness, and even during the Iraq war, India's views of America remained decidedly positive.
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Posted by orrinj at 9:37 AM


What Holds America Together?: a review of The Roots of American Order by Russell Kirk (ROBERT SPEAIGHT, Autumn 1974, University Bookman)

Much has happened, of course, since Patrick Henry declared: "I know of no way of judging the future but by the past." The Irish, Italian, and German immigration has drastically modified the ethnic landscape of America; the Catholic ferment has challenged the native Protestant ethos, but it has not disturbed the separation of church and state--the recognition of Pope Gelasius' "two swords." The problem, as Burke saw so clearly, and as Dr. Kirk is at pains to emphasize, has been the reconciliation of liberty and order. Neither is an absolute; each is a condition of the good life. Liberty easily becomes a profligate; order quickly becomes a policeman. Yet order in the state is a sterile compulsion unless it reflects an order in the soul. As Cardinal Manning observed, "all human conflicts are basically theological," and Tocqueville asked: "What can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity?" Many of the Founding Fathers may have been Deists, and nothing much more, but Alexander Hamilton declared, with the weight of human experience behind him, that "morality must fail with religion." Dr. Kirk maintains that "Americans adhere to faith in their religion and scepticism in their politics."

They do wisely if they adhere to the latter. A cynic has reason to proclaim that "democracy" is the Golden Calf of the twentieth century--Hobbes' Leviathan now raised to the altar. Montesquieu's (and Aristotle's) mixed constitution has become perilously unbalanced. De Tocqueville saw the danger of "democratic despotism," and it was a Roman historian, Polybius, who described "government of the multitude as the greatest of all evils." Government by the people can turn into government by the mob, and government by the mob into government by the masters--and by them alone.

Few Americans today would go as far as John Randolph with his defiant declaration: "I am an aristocrat; I love liberty; I hate equality."

Few might go that far, but it was the entire basis of the Long War.

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Posted by orrinj at 9:26 AM


In India, a dynasty's tryst with decline (Reuters, March 11, 2012)

Vote tallies last week gave Congress just 28 of the 403 seats at stake for the state's legislative assembly, a miserable fourth place. 

Gandhi's performance was seen as a test of his fitness to take the reins of the party from his ailing Italian-born mother Sonia and eventually to become prime minister if Congress and its allies retain power in national elections due in 2014. 

That made the result a stinging slap for India's first family in the very state from which it rose as the beacon of freedom before independence from Britain in 1947. 

It was also another jolt to a party that has come to define itself by the Gandhi family rather than ideology or political conviction. 

The winner was the Samajwadi (Socialist) Party, a grouping founded by a former wrestler whose appeal does not extend much beyond Uttar Pradesh

Congress has been humbled before by regional parties that are often more in touch with local issues, but Gandhi's handling of the Uttar Pradesh campaign and his inability to even make a fight of it spells deep trouble for the party. 

"The Congress party is in decline," said Rashid Kidwai, who wrote a biography of Sonia Gandhi. "The problem with Congress is that they haven't looked for leaders beyond the Gandhis. There is no think tank in the party, there are no big ideas anymore." 

For all the talk of the need for change, the party's Pavlovian response has been to close ranks behind the Gandhis and insist there is nothing wrong with its strategy. 

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Posted by orrinj at 9:11 AM


Not-So-Crazy Republicans (ROSS DOUTHAT, 3/10/12, NY Times)

Let's stipulate that this has not been the most edifying of primary seasons. The policy debates have often been vacuous, the rhetoric shrill, the attack ads pervasive and wearying. Almost four years after the Bush presidency, the Republican Party is obviously still rife with dysfunction, and struggling to define itself for a new era and a changing country.

But against this backdrop, the party's voters have behaved remarkably responsibly. Confronted with a flip-flopping, gaffe-prone front-runner whom almost nobody -- conservative or liberal -- finds very appealing, they have methodically sifted through the alternatives, considering and then discarding each in turn.

From early 2011 onward, the media have overinterpreted this sifting process, treating every polling surge for a not-Romney candidate almost as seriously as an actual primary result. They might nominate Herman Cain! They might nominate Michele Bachmann! Why -- they might nominate Donald Trump!

Not so much. Instead, despite an understandable desire to vote for a candidate other than Mitt Romney, Republicans have been slowly but surely delivering him the nomination -- consistently, if reluctantly, choosing the safe option over the bomb-throwers and ideologues.

The Republican nomination is decided by Republicans, not by the Right, so it's based on thought, not emotion.