SocraticGadfly: 9/26/10 - 10/3/10

October 02, 2010

Gibbs to lead Democrats?

Boy, if White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is tapped to lead the DNC, this could be a clusterfuck. Even more Blue Dogs running against Obama in 2012, even as Gibbs tries to chase them down. The "professional left" kicked even harder, perhaps. Getcha popcorn!

Nooners isn't totally out to lunch

Peggy Noonan actually gets the "professional left" (and we amateurs as well) partially right.
This isn't the language of disagreement, the classic to-and-fro between a restive base and politicians who make compromises. This is the language of estrangement. It is the language of alienation.

There is a war beginning in the Democratic Party, and the president has lost control of his base.

That said, this guarantees no "rout" for the GOP, Ms. Nooners. Instead, per Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels saying GOP candidates shouldn't go (too) negative, many independents may wind up staying at home. For establishment Democrats like Obama, that's probably their best hope.

So, she's still not totally there.

Phil Gramm, still bullshitting on America

What else can you call it?

Gramm writes about the Depression and how it was so bad for America. Talk about the blind opining for the blind:
There are 4.6% fewer people employed in the U.S. today than at the start of the recession. Euro zone countries have lost 1.7% of their jobs. Total employment in the U.K. is down 0.6%, G-7 average employment is down 2.4%, and OECD employment has fallen 1.9%.

Gramm conveniently ignores that other G-7 all have a better social safety net than the U.S., as well as less income inequality, and have done less to export jobs out of country than us.

Beyond that, he confuses cause and effect in general. (Surprise.)

And lies about there being no recovery at all from the Depression until WWII, when, FDR's turn to fiscal conservativism stunted growth he had started.

Worst of all, as Andrew Leonard notes, is Gramm's claim that the New Deal has "no broad appeal in the 21st" century.

Rather, if Gramm told the unvarnished truth about his late-1990s economic wrecking ball, we'd see what had "no broad appeal."

And, speaking of lack of appeal, Leonard finishes by scoring Obama for not acting more like FDR.

October 01, 2010

Paging Hillary Clinton?

A Gallup poll says she would take 37 percent of the vote in a 2012 Democratic showdown against President Obama, with the big cheese taking 52 percent.

Now, the poll isn't restricted to registered Democrats. (On the other hand, since a number of states allow independent or party-unregistered voting in primaries, that's pretty much OK, though not tightly drawn.

So, that said, if that's not a wakeup call to Preznit Kumbaya, nothing is.

That that said, unless the economy really goes in the crapper, AND, she's resigned as Secretary of State no more than 9 months or so from now, she's not challenging him.

But, will somebody else?

Who's targeting Iran with a cybervirus? Israel?

The NYT basically says that if the Stuxnet virus was produced by a government's electronic espionage agency or program, it's a flop because it hit so many sites besides the computers at Iran's Natanz nuclear centrifuge site.

That's entirely backward thinking. Wouldn't a smart enough, high-tech nation consider "looking incompetent" precisely to try to cover up its tracks?

Or, there's another possibility, in a country like Israel. This wasn't a government operation. Rather, some individual(s) did it.

Plus there's new, additional, albeit indirect, information from inside the code pointing at Israel (or individual Israelis) as the creator, and Iran as the target.

And, the Christian Science Monitor further addresses the claims of why Israel or some other government couldn't have written Stuxnet because it's too clunky or whatever.

Here's why it's spread beyond Bushehr if that was its intended target:
Stuxnet might have been spread by the USB memory sticks used by a Russian contractor while building the Bushehr nuclear plant, Langner offers. The same contractor has jobs in several countries where the attackware has been uncovered.

Sounds simple enough. And, I think, probably known to the NYT writer. Or, it should have been. No, John Markoff isn't a "Friend of Likud" or something. But, he's a tech writer, not a national security writer, so, I don't think so. Rather, nobody on the national security side was giving him feedback, I guess.

David Brooks, with perfect Meg Whitman timing

David, if you're such an op-ed genius, couldn't you have pulled another column out of your ass rather than touting Meg Whitman, violator of immigration law, and big fat hypocrite on Hispanic issues in general?

September 30, 2010

Gail Collins vs. "Superman"

A good, simple, op-ed takedown of the movie is right here. The best takeaway? Finland, which kicks our butt in education success, has almost totally unionized teachers. So, Obama and other neolibs are either once again unconsciously playing into the hands of wingnuts, or else are deliberately playing footsie with them.

I'll give Preznit Kumbaya the benefit of the doubt on this one.

That said (and no, I didn't keep the link), a Department of Labor study said the average teacher works 7.3 hours a day on weekdays and 2 more total on weekends. So, it ain't that backbreaking, mentally, either.

And, that said, I'll also give Obama the kudo for pushing for a longer school year.

New planet as "goldilocks"? I doubt it

All the science stories in the last 24 hours have been touting the alleged "Planet Goldilocks" as the first outside our solar system compatible for life similar to ours.

Fact one - its revolution and rotation are synchronous, so that it eternally turns the same face to its home star. At a distance of just 19 million miles, then sunlit side is getting fried more than Mercury. And, unless it has a thick enough atmosphere, the star-based side is chilling. That said, it would also be a fine line between "just enough" atmosphere to keep the dark side warmed up a bit, and so thick an atmosphere that you get Venerean effects.

Besides, if the atmosphere is that thick enough, that close to the home star, with that short of a revolutionary period, what sort of storms might be generated?

Beyond that, we're talking massive solar wind that close to the home star, with a planet that might well not have enough magnetic field to keep the planetary surface from heavy bombardment.

So, Goldilocks it ain't.

September 29, 2010

NYT Mag sucks up to Glenn Beck

You can tell it's going to be a "great" interview from page 1:
At some point in the past few months, Beck ceased being just the guy who cries a lot on Fox News or a “rodeo clown” (as he has described himself) or simply a voice of the ultraconservative opposition to President Obama. In record time, Beck has traveled the loop of curiosity to ratings bonanza to self-parody to sage.
If Glenn Beck is a sage, I'll publicly kiss his ass next time he marches to Washington.

This tagline helps explain things:
Mark Leibovich is a reporter in the Washington bureau of The Times. He last wrote for the magazine about Mike Allen of Politico.

Ahh, so this is an inside-the-Beltway take on someone the NYT now deigns worthy of entering the inner sanctum. Good. Fucking. Doorknob.

ACORN punker O'Keefe goes after CNN

With an even more disgusting scheme; fortunately, the CNN reporter sniffed something out in advance. Some of my con friends probably will still defend Breitbart as a "newsman."

Mother Nature monkey wrenches the Lower Colorado

True, it's Lake Mead, not Lake Powell, behind Hoover Dam, not Glen Canyon Dam, that's drying up, but ... it looks like the whole lower Colorado River Basin is getting a stiff blast of morning joe from Mother Nature, as water allocations are going to have to be trimmed back.

And, if the lower Colorado puts a "call" on Lake Mead, even if the upper basin isn't using all of its water, anti-Californianism in the Interior West could get hot and heated. True, it will actually be water latecomers Arizona and Nevada trying to save their desert-scurvy necks, but California will look like the ultimate water hog to places like Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.

Even scarier, if you're Las Vegas, especially? If Lake Mead falls another 25 feet, that may make the dam's turbines inoperative. No more cheap hydroelectric power for the glitzy Strip.

What was it Abbey said?

Oh, yeah: "The desert always wins."

Tea Partiers: "They're full of shit"

That's Matt Taibbi's one-line take on the Tea Partiers. (If a Democrat had the cojones to say that, maybe there'd be more ... err, enthusiasm???):
I've concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They're full of shit. All of them. At the voter level, the Tea Party is a movement that purports to be furious about government spending — only the reality is that the vast majority of its members are former Bush supporters who yawned through two terms of record deficits and spent the past two electoral cycles frothing not about spending but about John Kerry's medals and Barack Obama's Sixties associations.

But, not only do neither Kerry nor Obama (nor Obama "surrogates") have the nads to say that, they don't fucking get it.

John Kerry, with Bill Clinton's totally lame-o "Reporting for duty" at the 2004 Democratic National Convention wasn't going to get a single vote from this crowd after being Swift Boated. Obama isn't either, even after playing Preznit Kumbaya most of his first two years in office. And, because he's black with a funny name, he's not going to tamp down either latent or outright racism out of this crowd, either.

That's because Obama doesn't get THIS, which Taibbi does:
(T)he Tea Party doesn't really care about issues — it's about something deep down and psychological, something that can't be answered by political compromise or fundamental changes in policy. At root, the Tea Party is nothing more than a them-versus-us thing. They know who they are, and they know who we are ("radical leftists" is the term they prefer), and they're coming for us on Election Day, no matter what we do.

That said, it's not just Obama who's clueless. So are the Tea Partiers.

And, Taibbi knows that, as he exposes them too.
Take a further read:
(T)here's a catch: This is America, and we have an entrenched oligarchical system in place that insulates us all from any meaningful political change. The Tea Party today is being pitched in the media as this great threat to the GOP; in reality, the Tea Party is the GOP. What few elements of the movement aren't yet under the control of the Republican Party soon will be, and even if a few genuine Tea Party candidates sneak through, it's only a matter of time before the uprising as a whole gets castrated, just like every grass-roots movement does in this country.

Man, between the Obama the Doofus interview with Jann Wenner, and this most excellent screed by Taibbi, the Oct. 15 Rolling Stone is a grand slam. And, that's all quotes from just the first page of five webpages.

Here's one last one, about how Tea Partiers are dumb enough to be suckered by people like the billionaire Koch brothers:
So how does a group of billionaire businessmen and corporations get a bunch of broke Middle American white people to lobby for lower taxes for the rich and deregulation of Wall Street? That turns out to be easy. Beneath the surface, the Tea Party is little more than a weird and disorderly mob, a federation of distinct and often competing strains of conservatism that have been unable to coalesce around a leader of their own choosing. Its rallies include not only hardcore libertarians left over from the original Ron Paul "Tea Parties," but gun-rights advocates, fundamentalist Christians, pseudomilitia types like the Oath Keepers (a group of law- enforcement and military professionals who have vowed to disobey "unconstitutional" orders) and mainstream Republicans who have simply lost faith in their party. It's a mistake to cast the Tea Party as anything like a unified, cohesive movement.

Agreed, totally.

Of course, ultimately, TPers are full of shit about themselves, Taibbi says:
After nearly a year of talking with Tea Party members from Nevada to New Jersey, I can count on one hand the key elements I expect to hear in nearly every interview. One: Every single one of them was that exceptional Republican who did protest the spending in the Bush years, and not one of them is the hypocrite who only took to the streets when a black Democratic president launched an emergency stimulus program. ... Two: Each and every one of them is the only person in America who has ever read the Constitution or watched Schoolhouse Rock. ... Three: They are all furious at the implication that race is a factor in their political views — despite the fact that they blame the financial crisis on poor black homeowners, spend months on end engrossed by reports about how the New Black Panthers want to kill "cracker babies," support politicians who think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was an overreach of government power, tried to enact South African-style immigration laws in Arizona and obsess over Charlie Rangel, ACORN and Barack Obama's birth certificate. Four: In fact, some of their best friends are black! (Reporters in Kentucky invented a game called "White Male Liberty Patriot Bingo," checking off a box every time a Tea Partier mentions a black friend.) And five: Everyone who disagrees with them is a radical leftist who hates America.

But, Taibbi actually doesn't think the typical TPer is a racist. Rather, he thinks they're narcissists.

But, Taibbi does appear to somewhat sympathize with some of their anger, that's obvious, even while seeing through both their hypocrisy and stupidity. Read the whole article.

Friedman claims to discover "real Tea Party"

And, instead, Mr. "My Head is Flat" has only discovered his flatuent, solipsistic bloviating on what he wishes could be a centrist political movement with enthusiasm.

Hey, Friedman, you want a centrist political movement? There is one. It's called the Democratic Party. As for enthusiasm? It's like Jim Hightower says, regarding most centrism and enthusiasm: "Ain't nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes adn dead armadillos."

Should Palestinians go Gandhi and King?

In a provocative column, Robert Wright says "Yes." He says Palestinians should accept a one-state solution for now, then immediately demand their right to vote.

Problem is, Israel wouldn't grant that, and savvy Israelis probably would see through the stratagem from the start.

Wright also mentions how elected Palestinian officials would lose power, for the nonce. That makes it less attractive to them.

And, as for gaining "international support"? Abbas' Palestinians already have that. Is it making a difference? Nope.

So, sorry, Mr. Wright.

It IS a nice try, though!

Cards fans may not like Ken Burns' "10th Inning"

If you're a Cardinals' fan, don't expect much about the team, whether Albert Pujols as an individual or as a team, breaking a WS streak in 2006. (Do expect to be fodder for the Bosox in 2004, of course, since Boston and the New York Steinbrenners drive much of the four hours.)

One good reason to vote Democratic in Minnesota

At least in state-level elections, that is. If the Democrats control the state legislature and the governorship and, as expected, Minnesota loses a Congressional seat, Dems can undistrict Michelle Bachmann's Congressional district.

September 28, 2010

STFU, whiny Obama; Obama also at stupidity gap

Or else, he's a huge liar!

From the new Rolling Stone interview, page 1:
When you came into office, you felt you would be able to work with the other side. When did you realize that the Republicans had abandoned any real effort to work with you and create bipartisan policy?

Well, I'll tell you that given the state of the economy during my transition, between my election and being sworn in, our working assumption was that everybody was going to want to pull together, because there was a sizable chance that we could have a financial meltdown and the entire country could plunge into a depression. So we had to work very rapidly to try to create a combination of measures that would stop the free-fall and cauterize the job loss.

The recovery package we shaped was put together on the theory that we shouldn't exclude any ideas on the basis of ideological predispositions, and so a third of the Recovery Act were tax cuts. Now, they happened to be the most progressive tax cuts in history, very much geared toward middle-class families. There was not only a fairness rationale to that, but also an economic rationale — those were the folks who were most likely to spend the money and, hence, prop up demand at a time when the economy was really freezing up.

I still remember going over to the Republican caucus to meet with them and present our ideas, and to solicit ideas from them before we presented the final package. And on the way over, the caucus essentially released a statement that said, "We're going to all vote 'No' as a caucus." And this was before we'd even had the conversation. At that point, we realized that we weren't going to get the kind of cooperation we'd anticipated.

And yet, a full year later, here Obama is, encouraging Mod Max Baucus to work with Chuck Grassley and other Republicans on the health care bill.

STFU, whiny Obama.

Obama now at hypocrisy gap, credibility gap

It looks like President Obama had to delegate Vice President Biden to "STFU whiny liberals gap because he's too busy opening up new credibility gaps and hypocrisy gaps.

Near the end of a Rolling Stone interview, Obama says:
The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible.

Everybody out there has to be thinking about what's at stake in this election. ... If we want the kind of country that respects civil rights and civil liberties, we'd better fight in this election. And right now, we are getting outspent eight to one by these 527s that the Roberts court says can spend with impunity without disclosing where their money's coming from.

Civil liberties? This from the man who wants to kill at least one American citizen without trial? From the man who wants to vastly expand internet snooping? From the man who hasn't apologized for Bush-era FBI snooping? From the man who's packing more people into Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan?

I caught that courtesy of Glenn Greenwald, who jumps all over this. More on Glenn in a minute, but let's next go to the Citizens United ruling.

Two years ago, Obama did a campaign finance head fake on John McCain, got more Wall Street money than him, and opted out of public financing. He then backed a financial "reform" bill with minimal reform so as to not antagonize the Street too much. He constructed a healthcare "reform" bill after cutting advance deals with Big Pharma, surely also in the search for campaign dinero in 2012.

As I said before, Obama isn't even as good a liar as Bill Clinton.

So, STFU yourself.

Atheists know the bible better than Christians

Nope, no joke. (And, like other atheists, no, I'm not surprised, either.)

And, some of the results are just sad, for the people involved, that is. 45 percent of American Catholics, on the Eucharist, apparently think their church is Reformed, for example.

Here's why I think this is like this. Usually a convert has fuller knowledge than a lifelong adherent. Since Christians are a much bigger pool than atheists and agnostics, and also atheists and agnostics who "convert" to that want to know what they're converting from ...

September 27, 2010

The depths of the Obama enthusiasm gap grow

It's so bad now (take note, Josh Marshall, David Kurtz and other "adult" TPM-heads), that Obama can't even say STFU himself to the whiny liberal base anymore, because it won't register. Instead, he is now delegating STFU duties to Uncle Joe Biden.

Much more at Salon, where Joan Walsh tries to defend the STFU noise.

Meanwhile, Obama himself is busy fighting the hypocrisy gap; this one is even more self-inflicted.

More at Glenn Greenwald.

And, let's not forget the Obama stupidity gap!

Is this all too much idealism? I think not.

As I told a friend, in response to my linking of this, and the new Rolling Stone story, on Facebook:
I would at least be referring to those not dumb enough to conduct compromises in public (the stimulus) before the time to actually compromise. I would be referring to those dumb enough to not STILL negotiate with the GOP a year later (health care) after having been burned on the stimulus. I would be referring to those who don't believe what even Bush didn't claim, that they have the right to execute Americans without trial (the Yemeni-American cleric). None of this is "uncompromising," Andy, and more and more people besides just me are tired of Team Obama saying "stop whining." The man sold out to Wall Street 2 years ago for campaign dinero; finally, more people are waking up.

As far as a "wash," in the late 19th century, it took 20-plus years of even more active third-party votes before progressivism became part of the political mainstream. If it takes that today, it takes it.

Sadly, the Democrats, if they lose Congress, or if Obama loses in 2012, will take away the wrong lessons from this, though.

Josh Marshall, enabler of the two-party duopoly

And, of a fair amount of neoliberalism.

Technically, he may be in New York, not DC, but with "grow up kids" pablum like this decrying progressives frustrated enough with Obamacrats to stay home from the polls this fall, the Talking Points Memo publisher richly deserves "inside the Beltway" opprobrium.

Here's what I e-mailed Josh:
Josh, I know you've got an American history Ph.D.

Therefore, you surely know the popularity of the Greenback Labor, Populist and other parties in the Plains and West in the late 19th century. They were popular enough to elect governors, members of Congress, and state legislators, and win presidential electoral votes.

In fact, it's quite arguable they **forced** the Democrats to nominate Bryan in 1896 and therefore forced progressive issues into the political mainstream.

Therefore, telling people to, in essence, get a grip, rather than accepting that, **like the spouse of an alcoholic,** they are tired of **enabling** Democrats, is historically shortsighted, as well as perhaps needing "a grip" yourself.

I tell people, instead of giving up, vote Green. Or Socialist. Make your discontent active, not passive.

And, I need to update this.

Sept. 28: Yes, as Josh himself notifies me by Twitter, he didn't write either this post, or another.
joshtpm @SocraticGadfly & you cite two posts I didn't even write. Great attention to detail!

True, Josh; David Kurtz did.

But, Josh, you're the publisher. By analogy with a newspaper, you, not just as an individual, but as an institution, don't disagree with Kurtz's take, or the tenor of it, if you don't directly say so. Yes, he wrote the equivalent of a column, not an editorial; nonetheless, as I tweeted back, you've not disavowed the sentiments, or even nuanced them. (And I don't I stand alone in that observation.

And, the historical background argument still stands.

Otherwise, I read less of TPM than I used to, since it's clear you have a certain "take" on issues, that you're in love with the Obama White House, and with things like eliminating reader blogs, that's not going to change.

The slide shows? The mainstream media pattern of anonymous quotes from inside the White House? Josh, those are all you, baby. And, again, I'm not the only person to note that.

In short, you're like a more intellectual, more inside-the-beltway version of what Daily Kos was like 4-5 years ago.

Ugh. BIG ugh.

I guess I need to read you less, and something like FDL more. And, tell others to do the same.

And, Josh, perhaps you could tell David that rather than criticize people who are expressing WHY they have an "enthusiasm gap," he needs to look in the mirror for being an enabler of that problem, too.

Also, Josh, Obama himself is fighting the enthusiasm gap. And, the hypocrisy gap.

Douthat has good analogy for tea partiers

Just like too much of the antiwar movement let itself get co-opted by President Obama, Ross Douthat says Tea Partiers could be co-opted by the House GOP's Pledge to America.

Fortunately, not all of us smoked Obama's ganja two years ago.

Win or lose, how much influence will TPers have?

That question, well-raised here, is good for not just 2010, but 2012.

Utah's Orrin Hatch might well remember in 2012 what happened to his colleague, Robert Bennett, this year.

And, could enough Maine TPers force Olympia Snowe to run as an independent then? If so, I hope that Dems don't do a Lieberman with her, but rather, set preconditions on allowing her to caucus. Much of this will depend on Lisa Murkowski's independent run in Alaska.

As noted, there's two ways for Dems with cojones to counter all this.

1. Aggressively pursue the senior citizen vote, since they have high turnout and many TPers want to cut Social Security. Unfortunately, savvy seniors probably know the details of Obama's debt commission, which undercuts this.
2. Promote the faux-populism angle, with the tie-in to Charles and David Koch, above all else, along with other billionaires.

But, I said "Dems with cojones." Don't hold your breath.

September 26, 2010

Several new Amazon reviews are up

One of the best books I've read on the folly of believing that economic "engagement" with China will make it more democratic, "The Beijing Consensus," was very good. Read what I thought about it and other books.

Ken Burns' 10th inning? Selig would call it an All-Star tie

Breaking a promise never to do a sequel on one of his documentaries, Ken Burns is doing a “10th inning” follow-up to his hugely successful “Baseball.” Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan provided an overview of the documentary’s subjects (steroids an obvious one), a day in his work and more some time back.

Burns actually is having two segments on PBS, so I assume that means four hours, not two. That would be good, if he had done more with it.

But, as Jim Caple notes, he didn't, starting with his failure to interview living players. I totally agree with Caple of the inanity of having a Doris Kearns Goodwin on instead of actual players. Hell, Bob Herbert, of recent column fame on the death of Bobby Thomson, would be better than the pompous twit George Will. And, if we're putting labels on names, how do we know Goodwin isn't plagiarizing?

And, here's some less serious, but still notable, trends that Burns overlooked.

Also, if you're a Cardinals' fan, don't expect much about the team, whether Albert Pujols as an individual or as a team, breaking a WS streak in 2006. (Do expect to be fodder for the Bosox in 2004, of course, since Boston and the New York Steinbrenners drive much of the four hours.)

Nixon-Kennedy debates: Myth vs realty

At least, from a Kennedy camp original, Ted Sorenson, with his claims on the truth. I think he's generally right, but, at the same time, he is "spinning" a bit.

Paul Babeu - The lying anti-immigrant liars

Now, let me state that I, too think we need to do more illegal immigration. And, I differ from some left-liberals in that I do NOT support things like "sanctuary cities."

That said ...

Did a deputy of pro-Jan Brewer Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu shoot himself to fake being attacked by drug smugglers?

A couple of forensic pathologists say yes. And, even if the debate over the bullet wound goes on, the whole background story looks more and more fishy.

A deputy out alone in a situation like that (hypothetically, for the sake of argument, assuming this really happened) would normally be sternly reprimanded and disciplined by his boss. In this case, I distrust Babeu even more than Brewer, enough to wonder just how much of a "mastermind" role he played in this.

I mean, the man has voluntarily appeared on white supremacist talk radio shows. And, he's so hung up on himself, he has his own website, SheriffPaul (I refuse to hyperlink) as well as the Pinal County Sheriff's Office site.

I think Arizona's state investigative bureau needs to get cracking on this, and now.

Let's stop giving China foreign aid

Yes, it gets it — a few billion a year, in fact. Some European countries, and Japan, are further down the road than the U.S. is in cutting off the gravy train to Beijing.

Here's why. It's not just that China's doing well enough not to need it, in many cases, the money it gets is less to go to Africa.
"I think the milestone that China is now the second largest economy, arguably, I would say that it's no longer a developing country with the likes of sub-Saharan Africa," Dr. Jack C. Chow said in an interview. "Having money from the Global Fund going to China really detracts and depletes that mission of helping people in the poorest of countries." ...

Chowwas the lead U.S. negotiator in talks that set up the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a major funder of health programs.

Beyond that, this is like foreign aid to Israel, which allows it to spend more money on settlements. The money is fungible.

Let's contrast Chow to the claims of "panda hugger" and former ambassador to China Robert Zoellick:
The World Bank defends its assistance to China, saying it enables the bank to work with Beijing on climate change and projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

"Sometimes there's a simplistic view that there should just be the developed countries and the very poorest countries," the bank's president, Robert Zoellick, said recently in Beijing. "But that would run exactly against ... the changes in the world economy, where the role of the emerging economies are to support demand, to take on responsibilities as stakeholders with the environment, to help support other poor countries."

It's another argument for "engagement," and it doesn't fly.