The conventional wisdom in California is that Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is a shoo-in for re-election, and maybe so. The state's economy has improved since he was elected in 2010, and the GOP's bench of potential candidates consists of unknown third-stringers.
To believe in the current Iranian, post-Syrian peace initiative, we would have to believe that the Iranian theocracy concedes, in a stunning Qaddafi-like turn-around, that its decade-long effort to obtain nuclear weapons was a terrible strategic mistake that earned it only ostracism and crippling sanctions that have no chance of being ended by a resolute West. We would have to assume that they recognize, again suddenly, that the downside simply proved, in their view, to outweigh the upside of joining the nuclear club. Or, they are eager to show us that a weapon was never their aim and can demonstrably show this. Most, however, simply will not believe that at this particular post-Syrian moment, Iran suddenly is willing either to admit to the world that it lied for years on end, or that its multi-billion-dollar investments will be shown always to have been peacefully-intended — a mere back-up energy source, in anticipation of replacing some of its finite supplies of gas and oil. As we begin negotiations, we are asked to accept either one or the other of those premises: an innocent, but mischaracterized and defamed Iran, or a suddenly contrite and apologetic Iran.
The Federal Reserve's Sept. 18 decision to stay the course on its asset purchases surprised and confused many market participants, who felt the central bank had sent contradictory signals about its intentions.