Chronicle of the Conspiracy
Friday, October 01, 2004MY TAKE ON THE DEBATE From MSN Money.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:35 AM | link
HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN! The Austrian school of economics has many great virtues, especially its emphasis on the importance of free markets. But I've always thought the Austrians lost their way when it came to their theory of money and the role of the central bank. Here's a particularly sad example from the Von Mises Institute promulgating the dangerous myth of "financial inflation," and stooping to cite Paul Krugman -- an economist utterly opposed to Austrian principles -- to back them up.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:58 AM | link
BELATEDLY FACT-CHECKING KRUGMAN'S AUDITORY KERRY FANTASIES The very first sentence of Paul Krugman's August 10, 2004 New York Times column was:
Having been a trader in those pits for many years, I knew as soon as I read that sentence that it was a lie. When major market-moving news breaks, all that traders are doing is shouting bids and offers. But I had no way to prove it. But then I discovered that Paul Krugman had revealed his source for his statement, in a September 1, 2004 speech at New York University:
I ordered a videotape of CNBC's morning show "Squawk Box" for Friday, August 6, 2004, from Burrelle's. After the job report was released at 8:30, the show went live to reports from the trading floors of both the Chicago Board of Trade (where bond futures are traded) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (where stock index and Eurodollar futures are traded). In neither instance were the traders chanting "Kerry, Kerry" -- there was nothing but the usual background roar one always hears from trading floors. None of the CNBC commentators mentioned anything about anyone chanting "Kerry, Kerry" -- although they certainly discussed the political implications of the bad jobs report.
In other words, Krugman simply made this up out of thin air.
Update... Reader Noel Sheppard adds:
Once again, Mr. Krugman has demonstrated that he quite emulates the old George Carlin character, Biff Barf. If you recall, his tag line was, "I call 'em the way I see 'em, and, if I don't see 'em, I make it up!"
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:43 AM | link
KERRY: PRESENT AT THE TRANSFORMATION Not to be outdone by Bush's several references to Russian Prime Minister Putin as "Vladimir," John Kerry offered this self-important memoir in last night's debate:
"Well, let me just say quickly that I had an extraordinary experience of watching up close and personal that transition in Russia, because I was there right after the transformation, and I was probably one of the first senators, along with Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire -- former Senator -- to go down into the KGB, underneath Treblinka Square, and see reams of files with names in them, and so it brought home the transition to democracy that Russia was trying to make."He's a smooth talker, but bullshit artists always make mistakes that give away the game. Treblinka was a Nazi death camp. The headquarters of the KGB was in Moscow's Lubyanka Square.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:45 AM | link
Thursday, September 30, 2004ANY PORT IN A SHITSTORM The New York Times hires -- yes -- Kenneth Starr to defend it in an investigation into alleged leaks that compromised investigations into financing of terrorism. The end justifies the means -- especially when the Times' end is hanging out over the fire.
Thanks to reader Jill Olson for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 5:41 PM | link
THEY'RE NOTHING IF NOT CONSISTENT (That means they are nothing, I guess.) From today's New York Times: "From White House to Wallet" by Jeff Madrick:
From the New York Times last July 11: "Beyond a President's Control" by Louis Uchitelle:
Well, at least now we know where that fantasy comes from. Thanks to reader PJ Broderick for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 3:01 PM | link
TIMES INFLUENCER DENIES TIMES INFLUENCE From an interview with American Journalism Review:
"I don't think anybody who has a job like mine," says Gail Collins, editorial page editor of the New York Times, "is deluded that many people change their opinion about who they're going to vote for for president when they see the Times editorial."How delightfully modest. Fig leaf firmly in place, as always. And then there's this:
...Collins of the New York Times, when asked to describe the politics of her editorial section, says first, "I will leave that to others to characterize,"...Will do! Thanks to reader Caroline Baum for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 7:06 AM | link
ADJUSTING THE FIG LEAF Today the New York Times announced a new taxonomy for sorting their evasive and self-serving "corrections," and furthering their function as enablers of the illusion of accountability for an unaccountable and arrogant institution.
EDITORS' NOTEJust last Sunday "public editor" Dan Okrent's column recommended such a taxonomy for corrections. He concluded his discussion with this chirpy offer to his "public":
I haven't any idea what to call this new format I'm recommending, so let's kick off Public Editor Readership Contest No. 1.Well, that was fast! So much for the "contest." Any members of Okrent's "public" who bothered to participate in his little charade, or who were beguiled by the prosect that (golly!) their contest entry might actually have the honor of touching the molecules on the door of a great Timesman like standards editor Al Siegal (talk about inside baseball -- this is even worse: inside fantasy baseball), are no doubt wondering why they bothered. That particular sense of wonderment is one that has become all too typical of our interactions with Okrent. I guess he didn't like my contest entry:
"Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Death Star."
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 6:37 AM | link
KRUGMAN'S DEBATE ADVICE Paul Krugman -- America's most dangerous liberal pundit -- has two pieces of advice for John Kerry on tonight's debate with President Bush. First, lie. Second, when you lose the debate, blame the media.
In a New York Times column earlier this week, Krugman suggested that Kerry should take President Bush to task for supposedly having no strategy for handling North Korea's nuclear menace. Here's the lie Krugman recommends that Kerry use:
That reporter Krugman is talking about is actually two reporters, David E. Sanger and Elisabeth Bumiller, and they both work for Krugman's own New York Times. In their August 27 interview with President Bush, they indeed wrote that Bush "opened his palms and shrugged when an interviewer noted that new intelligence reports indicate that the North may now have the fuel to produce six or eight nuclear weapons." But then they devoted three further paragraphs to describing Bush's statements about his Korea strategy, with a heavy emphasis on diplomacy and multilateral cooperation (the same kind of approach, actually, that liberals usually endorse).
So did Bush "simply shrug"? Yeah, right. And O. J. Simpson simply rang Nicole's doorbell.
Incidentally, I pointed out Krugman's distortion of his own newspaper's reporting, and his shameless misrepresentation of Bush's position on Korea, to Times "public editor" Daniel Okrent. As I have come to expect after long and bitter experience, once again Fig-Leaf Dan covered up for Times op-ed page. As I reported on my blog, Okrent replied to me, "I think this is what columnists do, and I'm not going to hold Krugman to a standard any different from the one I hold the other columnists to."
Which is to say: no standard at all. Apparently it's okay for New York Times columnists to lie. So of course it's okay for them to advise a candidate for the presidency to lie, as well.
Here's another whopper, straight from Krugman's word-processor to Kerry's debating podium: U.S. forces in Iraq are "obviously under instructions to hold down casualties at least until November."
That'll go over big. Now just how should Senator Kerry frame that? How about, "Mr. President, we just aren't killing enough soldiers in Iraq! Let's get with the program!"
No go? How about this, then: "Mr. President, the war is obviously a failure. So now you are trying to trick the American people by winning!"
Of course these lies of Krugman's aren't going to help Kerry survive tonight's debate. No matter what Krugman lies Kerry tells, he's bound to look like a fool when he inevitably contradicts some other lie he made up all by himself in the past. So Krugman's got Kerry's excuse all limbered up for when he loses -- it's the media's fault for emphasizing style over substance. As Krugman puts it, "Mr. Bush does a pretty good Clint Eastwood imitation."
According to Krugman, Al Gore actually won the 2000 presidential debates. Remember, though, according to Krugman Al Gore actually won the election that year, too. And just as the Supreme Court supposedly stole the election from Gore, the media stole the debates from Bush. Here's Krugman's revisionist history:
So some unspecified focus groups prove to Krugman that Gore really won -- probably the same focus groups that told the Coca-Cola Company that "New Coke" would be a marketing sensation. But that darned old conservatively biased media (you know the ones -- CBS, the New York Times, and so on) threw it to Bush by focusing on "Mr. Gore's sighs."
What Krugman cavalierly calls "Mr. Bush's lies" are in fact just policies with which Krugman disagrees -- it's no wonder they didn't get any particular press attention. And what Krugman dismisses as mere "body language" -- Bush's straight-shooting Clint Eastwood style versus Gore's haughty sighing and eye-rolling -- are, in fact, matters of urgent substance, not mere style, to voters. They are the subtle keys to the character of the men who would lead the world's most powerful nation.
In 2000, American voters made a perfectly rational choice about character. Before the debates, Gore led Bush in the polls by about the same amount that Bush now leads Kerry. But then voters got a good look at Al Gore -- a man of such weak character that had to resort in the debates to over-the-top theatrical gestures, desperately following paid advice from feminist Naomi Wolf on how to be an "alpha male". They quickly decided they'd prefer the plain-spoken Texan -- a man requiring nobody's hokey advice on how to be more manly.
A new Krugman Truth Squad member -- psychologist and philosopher Keith Burgess-Jackson -- notes on his blog that the same thing is likely to happen tonight:
Perhaps Krugman's insistence that personal style must be ignored is because, as anyone who has seen him on TV knows, Krugman's own personal style is that of Woody Allen on a bad hair day. I guarantee you that the "body language" of this nervous, stammering homunculus is, indeed, the key to his character.
But what is even more significant is Krugman's insistence that Kerry try to win the debate by lying. For all Krugman's Bush-hating passion, it must be the case the he can't think of any true statements with which to attack Bush.
Well, perhaps there’s one. Krugman says that Kerry should attack the president because he has failed to capture Osama bin Laden. But maybe before Kerry takes Krugman up on this particular piece of advice, he ought to check with the little woman as to whether it's true or not. Teresa Heinz Kerry has been out on the campaign trail spreading the innuendo that bin Laden has already been captured, and is being saved for an "October surprise" to boost the Bush campaign. Last week she told an audience in Colorado,
"Osama bin Laden is now Osama bin lost," Heinz Kerry said. "He may now become Osama bin found in short order. Who knows?"
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:10 AM | link
Wednesday, September 29, 2004I'VE HEARD OF ROCK THE VOTE, BUT... ...what do you call this?
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:59 PM | link
GDP -- BACK ON TRACK Today 2nd quarter GDP was revised upward to 3.3% -- a full half percentage point higher than when it was last estimated in August, and three tenths of a percent higher than when it was first announced in July. Good question from reader Mike Tocci:
Now that Q2 GDP has been revised back up, will Krugman recant his "Bye-Bye Bush Boom" column -- which was silly to begin with -- and declare the recovery back "on"?That's actually an easy one, Mike. No.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:50 PM | link
CBS DOES IT (TO ITSELF) AGAIN As reader Noel Sheppard puts it, "This is just too delicious." Looks like CBS has been caught red-handed again, using more false documents to go after the president. That's two feet now -- what will they shoot themselves in next?
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:44 PM | link
SUBSTANTIATED BIAS Our earstwhile friend Clay Waters at TimesWatch has a great bit of research:
Fun fact: The Times has used "unsubstantiated" to refer to the Swift Boat Veterans over 20 times, but never used the phrase to refer to the "Bush-was-AWOL" charges.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:40 PM | link
STEYN STRIKES AGAIN AND AGAIN Mark Steyn has emerged as one of the most prolific and devastatingly witty columnists on the right. I just love this paragraph:
Why did John Kerry cross the road? "I crossed the road to volunteer for Vietnam. Some of us know something about what it means to cross the road." Who was that lady I saw you with last night? "That was no lady, that was my meal ticket." How many John Kerrys does it take to change a lightbulb? At least four. One to approve the removal of the old lightbulb. One to declare his courageous commitment to replacing the old bulb. One to vote against funding the new lightbulb. And one to denounce George W Bush and America's Benedict Arnold CEOs for leaving everyone in the dark.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:17 PM | link
SOME ADVICE WE HOPE KERRY TAKES Yep -- it's a New York Times op ed advising Kerry on how to win the debates with Bush, by none other than Al Gore. What's next: how to position yourself as strong on defense, by Michael Dukakis? Or how about for the Times' science supplement, "How to Collect Moon Rocks" by the astronauts of Apollo 13? The only slight admission of Gore's massive disqualification to write this op-ed is its last line, a humorous throwaway that some tiny remaining shred of human dignity in his burned-out shell of a soul demanded that he include:
"Comparing these [Bush's] grandiose promises to his failed record, it's enough to make anyone want to, well, sigh."Thanks to reader Jill Olson for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 6:15 AM | link
Tuesday, September 28, 2004THE SUBSTANCE OF STYLE Wise words from Keith Burgess-Jackson on style versus substance in the presidential debates.
I agree with Krugman that substance counts, but disagree about what counts as substance. Krugman thinks substance means facts. He says journalists should correct President Bush's expected factual errors. No. Substance means character, vision, and values. These will be on display during Thursday night's debate. Those who tune in will see which candidate is brave, determined, strong, and capable, and which grasps the nature of the threat we face in this frightening new world. I predict that John Kerry, who lacks character and vision and has the wrong values for this time and place, will fare poorly in comparison to President Bush, who will rise in the polls. Mark my words.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:18 PM | link
FRANCE BLAMES THE WORLD FOR ITS PROBLEMS No, it's not about terrorism. Thanks for reader Mark Boland for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 3:22 PM | link
LEDE OF THE DAY Easy winner. From the New York Press, describing John Kerry:
In Your Guts, You Know He's a Putz
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 3:17 PM | link
OKRENT SIMPLY SHRUGS, TOO The New York Times' "public editor" Daniel Okrent blows off yet another Krugman correction -- this one (as described earlier) from today's column, in which Krugman lies that Bush "simply shrugged" when asked about North Korea. Here's Okrent's email to me:
Thanks. I'm not with you at all on this one. It's incomplete, it's tilted, it's possibly unfair. But I don't think this is a correctable error. I think this is what columnists do, and I'm not going to hold Krugman to a standard any different from the one I hold the other columnists to. Sorry.This is classic Okrent. No real explanation of why not, plus a gratuitous misdirection about "other columnists" when relative standards between columnists was never an issue here.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 6:11 AM | link
MEMO TO GOOGLE Dear Google technical support,
The dictionary in the spell-checker that comes with the "Blogger" blogging softwares doesn't recognize the word "blog." What should I do?
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:53 AM | link
NOW BUSH "SIMPLY" SHRUGS The election is getting nearer, and looking worse and worse for Kerry -- and a desperate Paul Krugman is getting a bit bolder. Now in today's Times column Krugman writes:
"Recently, when a reporter asked Mr. Bush about reports that North Korea has half a dozen bombs, he simply shrugged."Compare this to what Krugman wrote in his 9/14/04 column:
"When a Times reporter asked Mr. Bush about North Korea's ongoing nuclear program, 'he opened his palms and shrugged.'"The line from two weeks ago was sleazy but technically true. As I wrote then in Bush's August 27 Times interview, the reporter indeed wrote that "he opened his palms and shrugged." What Krugman leaves out is that Bush went on to talk to the reporter about his strategy for Korea. But Krugman only suggested that Bush did nothing but shrug –- he never actually came out and said that's all Bush did.
In today's column, though, it's different. This time Krugman states "he simply shrugged." He is no longer quoting a Times reporter -– he is himself reporting the event. By inserting the word "simply," he is affirmatively asserting that Bush did nothing but shrug. This is not true. According to the Times interview, after shrugging,
"He said he would continue diplomatic pressure -- using China to pressure the North and Europe to pressure Iran -- and gave no hint that his patience was limited or that at some point he might consider pre-emptive military action. "'I'm confident that over time this will work -- I certainly hope it does,' he said of the diplomatic approach."It is an "error" (polite word for "lie") that Bush "simply shrugged." Such an error should be corrected. It is especially egregious because it misrepresents news covered in the Times itself. Will it be corrected? Are you kidding me? Not while Gail Collins is in control of the editorial page and Dan Okrent is asleep on the job.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:33 AM | link
Monday, September 27, 2004KERRY HIDES THAT MISERABLE INDEX Walt Anthony on the Truth, Lies and Common Sense blog notes that an embarrassing chart has been removed from John Kerry's website. It's the one showing the history of his "Middle-Class Misery Index" -- the one that I pointed out months ago that makes it look like the Carter administration was the best of times. It's about time the cat kicked some litter over this one!
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:47 PM | link
APPARENTLY A BIASED EDITOR Dig this headline on CNN's website:
Bush apparently leads Kerry in pre-debate pollSo what does "apparently" mean here? The story states "The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that among likely voters, Bush was the choice of 52 percent, while Kerry was the choice of 44 percent..."
Thanks to reader Paul Anderson for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:41 PM | link
SPRINGSTEEN FEEDS ON LIBERAL MEAT What keeps The Boss going during these dark days?
...he reveals that as "a dedicated" New York Times reader he has gained "enormous sustenance" from columnists Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman.Thanks to reader Jill Olson for the link. She adds, understandably: "I will never be able to listen to his music again without throwing up."
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:37 PM | link
KLAM JUSTIFIES HIS EXISTENCE Blogger Michael Pollard of the Scrutineer has exchanged emails with Matthew Klam, the author of the Sunday New York Times Magazine piece on blogging (which made virtually no mention of conservative bloggers, and portrayed as heroes some of the vilest scum on the left):
To my surprise, he sent this response (which I quote with his permission):Hey Michael, Just like bloggers, I have a bias. Of the stories many failures, none is more obvious than my total inability to do justice to the blogging on the right. I also felt an inability to do any justice to the blogging done by many of the bloggers people have been mentioning in their emails criticizing the stories shortcomings. I'm not a political writer, so I had to sort of start with what I knew and work from there. Sorry to disappoint, and thanks for writing...I don't know how Klam could have been more disarmingly candid in acknowledging his limitations. It's makes you wonder, though, why the NY Times Magazine would assign him a story on "bloggers covering the presidential race". I guess they don't consider a "total inability to do justice to the blogging on the right" to be a disqualifying handicap.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 3:21 PM | link
KERRY MILKS IT IN WISCONSIN Kerry has a secret plan to end the war in Iraq (something involving the French, one guesses). And now he claims Bush has a secret plan to hurt dairy farmers. Here's Kerry on the campaign trail in Wisconsin:
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry ... told voters in America's Dairyland on Monday that President Bush ... had a secret plan that would hurt milk producers after the election.Thanks to reader Paul Anderson for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:39 PM | link
CARTER ON FLORIDA Here's Jimmy Carter pontificating from the pages of the Washington Post on how unfair he just knows the presidential election in Florida is going to be:
The disturbing fact is that a repetition of the problems of 2000 now seems likely, even as many other nations are conducting elections that are internationally certified to be transparent, honest and fair.How can it be a "fact" that something "seems likely"? Isn't that like saying, "it's a fact that this is my forecast"? Why not just say "This is my forecast"? Simple -- because for Carter, his own opinions deserve the word "fact."
And how about the last election that Carter monitored -- the Chavez recall vote in Venezuela? Loads of factual evidence that the Venezuelan election was rigged -- but Carter and the liberal media are silent on that one, because Chavez survived the recall, and the Chavez regime is an enemy of the Bush administration. Say no more. All Carter has to say on that subject is:
"Why don't you observe the election in Florida?" ... we can monitor only about five elections each year, and meeting crucial needs in other nations is our top priority. (Our most recent ones were in Venezuela and Indonesia, and the next will be in Mozambique.)Yes, so many elections, so little time. And so little funding. What's next? "I need broader powers!" But the "fact" is that Carter and his ilk are better off not monitoring the Florida election. By not exposing themselves to the reality of what really happens on the ground in Florida, they'll be free to make whatever wild claims they wish when Bush wins.
Thanks to reader Jill Olson for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:18 PM | link
HEINZ ENCOUNTER OF THE WORST KIND From reader Don Mackison:
I was walking through the Student Center at the University of Colorado a few days ago, and ran into a large crowd (a couple of hundred, perhaps) listening to someone with a mike, who told the crowd they that they must get rid of Bush.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:13 PM | link
REALITY, AS SEEN BY THE "RICH" A reader responds on the notion of the "shrinking middle class" -- and the fact that it is the wealthiest Americans who were hit the hardest in the recent recession.
I am one of those who moved down. From over $200K in 1998 to about $60K in 2003 and 2004.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:11 AM | link
THE PLOT THICKENS CBS and Dan Rather may think their apology about the fake Bush memos makes the matter go away. But there are deeper issues, and people who insist on digging into them:
The Center for Individual Freedom, a Virginia-based, constitutional advocacy group filed a complaint last week with the Federal Election Commission charging that CBS and Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc. illegally coordinated election communications. The complaint charges that CBS and the Kerry campaign violated federal campaign finance laws when they colluded to attack President George W. Bush based on claims and documents now believed to be fake.Thanks to reader Noel Sheppard for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:06 AM | link
THE ULTIMATE JOHN KERRY AD That's what this web site calls it -- and that's what it is. Thanks to Jameson Campaigne for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 7:53 AM | link
Sunday, September 26, 2004BLOGS ACCORDING TO THE TIMES Several readers have written in to note an article about blogging in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. I really learned something from reading this article. I never knew before that blogging is entirely a left-wing phenomenon. Until now, I never realized that I don't exist.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:57 AM | link