Friday, July 19, 2013

Daily Caller Intern upsets Washington, Navalny and Putin, North Korea and Cuba, Israel-Palestine, Hillary, Joe and Rubio

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last couple of days - I've been out of internet contact!

  1) Detroit's bankruptcy filing was necessary. The city has no money and the path to fiscal solvency will be a long one. Nevertheless, although this is a tough day, the filing is a step in the right direction. Let's be clear, there are a great number of reasons why Detroit has ended up in this sorry position. Major contributing factors include the Detroit auto industry's inability to effectively compete with foreign car manufacturers and a rising tide of crime and corruption that drove many to leave the city (and in so rendered vacant neighborhoods as ghostly markers for decay and decline). Yet, there's also a major governing lesson that must be taken from Detroit. When a city promises unaffordable benefits to public sector unions, the space for investment evaporates. As I've argued before, when it comes to cities like Detroit, conservatives should offer an alternative to this stunning legacy of liberal failure.

2) I applaud The Daily Caller for sending one of their interns (Gabe Finger) to attend the White House press briefing. There's an undercurrent of pretension that infects much of Washington. It's tedious to the point of being almost insufferable. In this sense, allowing an intern to ask a pertinent question of the WH Press Secretary was a clever move. For a start, the video has generated free advertising towards The Daily Caller's populist-informal style and their often cheeky approach to journalism. Secondly, it may engage younger Americans in a greater scrutiny of their government. In short, even if only for a moment, one intern stripped away the regal awnings of the White House and challenged the notion of traditional journalism. That alone is of immense value. 
          Unfortunately, in a boringly familiar example of DC elitism, a number of DC journalists weren't happy with the audacity of Intern Finger. While they're claiming that Finger's question was silly, I suspect their anger is rooted in a more numerical source: put simply, they resent The Daily Caller's growing success. With the internet sharply increasing media competition for readership, outlets have had to fight for a tangible online identity. From my perspective*, The Daily Caller's great talent is their unchallenged ability to balance hard hitting journalism with a populist and accessible product. Most importantly however, their journalists are talented professionals.

 3) The conviction of Russian political activist, Alexei Navalny, is unsurprising. Sadly, it's just another example of the authoritarian corruption that defines Putin's regime. If you're interested, I've previously written on the Navalny case here and Putin more generally here. From Syria to London, Putin is unafraid to pursue his narrow and pernicious agenda.

 4) The North Koreans have been busted in another weapons smuggling effort. Alongside possessing a childish psychology, the North Korean regime is a criminal state. While simultaneously imprisoning hundreds of thousands of their citizens in prison camps, the regime regularly engages in drug dealing, advanced counterfeiting efforts and collaborative alliances with other pleasant states like Iran. As a side note, it's interesting to see the Castro regime (supposedly a popular liberation movement) so happily co-operating with North Korea. Just another example of the false moral superiority that defines anti-American alliances.

 5) The Palestinian decision to reject a renewed peace process is deeply disappointing and highly counterproductive. The PLO is making a major error. Supported by Kerry's commitment to a peace deal and Netanyahu's new willingness to make serious compromises, forward momentum towards peace is absolutely possible. As I said, it's very disappointing news.

 6) While Biden remains interested in running for President, Rubio's Presidential ambitions are in trouble. On the first point, I think that Biden is dreaming. Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. Rubio's situation is more interesting. Having showed great political courage on necessary immigration reform, Rubio is now suffering the wrath of his party. Once hopeful signals of reform appear fleeting. It's a sad situation. As I argued yesterday in the The Week, I'm concerned about the possible repercussions of GOP internal dynamics going forwards.

* Full Disclosure - I used to write for The Daily Caller.

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