Hell in Syria. “[T]orture is what the Syrian butcher-ophthalmologist Bashar al-Assad has his compliant human instruments use against the rounded-up opposition.” Read the whole thing, and think about the administration’s insistence that he was a “reformer.”
Error in math? “Treasury officials noticed a $2 trillion error in S&P’s math that delayed an announcement for several hours. . . . ‘A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself,” a Treasury representative said.’” Recall what a bang-up job the ratings agencies did in fueling the housing bubble.
Hope in conservative circles. “Americans deserve to have 2012 feature Paul Ryan versus Barack Obama, locked in a battle for the future — and the soul — of the country.”
Turmoil in European markets. “The UK’s FTSE 100 ended down 9.8%, its worst week since Nov. 21, 2008. It’s at its lowest level since Aug. 31, 2010. The German DAX lost 12.9% this week, its worst week since Oct. 10, 2008. It’s at its lowest level since Oct. 5, 2010. The French CAC 40 fell 10.7%, its worst week since May 7, 2010, to its lowest level since July 20, 2009. The Italian FTSE fell 13.1% this week, which seems to be its lowest level since April 2009. Stoxx Europe 50 fell 9.2% this week, its worst since Nov. 21, 2008, to its lowest level since July 29, 2009.”
Class warfare in the Democratic Party. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.): “‘Never was there ever an underlying economic argument’ from Democrats. ‘It was all about social justice. Honestly, one of them said to me, ‘Some people just make too much money.’ ”
Calm in the Republican National Committee. “After two tumultuous years of Michael Steele’s leadership, the return to normalcy under Reince Priebus, his low-key successor, is a welcome change. Priebus said he spends 80 percent of his time raising money. He also insists the party apparatus is on track for the Republican National Convention that will be held here a year from now.”
Pessimism in assessing the unemployment numbers: “Friday’s report that 117,000 new jobs had been created in July, that the unemployment rate ticked down from 9.2 percent to 9.1 percent, and that May and June figures have been revised upwards a bit, is in the dodged-the-bullet category — a report that could have been worse is not a good report. Fewer than 60 percent of adults are in work, the lowest figure for almost three decades, and 44.4 percent of the unemployed, over 6 million people, have been unemployed for six months or longer. Some 25 million workers are looking for a job, too discouraged to do so or involuntarily working short hours. And here’s really bad news: Economists at the Lindsey Group, who know their way around these data, say ‘the labor market is probably far worse than this morning’s headlines indicate.’ ”
Sniping in the GOP presidential primary. Jon Huntsman accuses Mitt Romney of having ties to China. “Romney’s defense on these charges is clear, simply that he left Bain Capital in 1999 and was not involved in these deals [with China].” But get this: Huntsman’s chief national security adviser is the former chief of staff to Richard Armitage, the villain in the Scooter Libby persecution. Oops!
Crack-up in the progressive movement: “The use of crude and violent language to condemn conservatives as enemies of the state, the gross manipulation of law to make the Constitution say whatever is politically expedient, and indifference to the actual arguments made by their political opponents — these are all-too-familiar progressive vices . . . . The progressive mind is on a collision course with itself. The clash between its democratic pretensions and its authoritarian predilections has generated within its ranks seething resentment for, and rage at, conservatives. Unless progressives cultivate the enlightened virtues they publicly profess and free themselves from the dogmatic beliefs that undergird their political ambitions, we can expect even more harrowing outbursts to come.”