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Week in Review

As WRM and Hurricane/Frankenstorm Sandy both race across the Atlantic towards the Eastern Seaboard, Via Meadia presents this week’s Week in Review.

Our essay this week looked at a damning, must-read piece from the New York Times,  which outlines the misery and ruin that well-intentioned liberals combined with aggressive public sector labor unions inflict on the poor they ostensibly want to serve. Our take-away is that this is all fairly damning for Democrats in the near-to-medium-term:

The French say that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. But it is also true to say that behind every great failure lies a great blunder. Late 20th century American liberalism is wrong about the way the world works. It doesn’t understand cause and effect very well. It cannot feed itself. Given full power it cannot design and implement policies that advance the causes it honors. Modern American liberalism can only win Pyrrhic victories, because liberals in power take steps that advance their decline.

This is not to say that Republicans have it all figured out—they’re often not even asking the right questions. But as San Bernardino and Calpers face off in California, the Democratic governor in Illinois faces down unions over his attempts to cut costs by relocating prisons, a war over public sector unions heats up in Michigan, and Governor Jerry Brown threatens to shut down schools unless the wealthy’s taxes increase, it’s all-too-clear that something’s gone terribly awry in the heart of blue country.

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is reported to have once threatened the now-assassinated Lebanese PM Rafic Harriri by saying, “I will break Lebanon over your head.” Those chilling words resonated this week as violence spread to Beirut and Tripoli over the assassination of a Lebanese security chief. And the situation in Syria itself continues to get worse and worse. Despite an agreed-upon truce for Eid al-Adha, the fighting flared up again this weekend. The country entered yet another phase of its dissolution: religious minorities in Damascus started taking up arms in anticipation of the Sunni rebel victory, even as Syria’s Kurds started pondering the establishment of their own Kurdistan. What an unholy mess this has turned out to be!

And what a mistake focusing on Libya instead was! A new report on the mess in Mali, a nasty byproduct of Qaddafi’s fall, throws lots of this in high relief. It’s gotten so bad there that even the French are getting ready to do something about it. And the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in Benghazi continue to plague Obama’s reelection campaign, tarnishing his reputation as a steady foreign policy hand.

Other stories of note this week:

Via Meadia wishes all of our East Coast readers all the best in riding out the Frankenstorm!

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