Chronicle of the Conspiracy
Saturday, August 27, 2005PAUL KRUGMAN, ARE YOU READING THIS? Paul Krugman, July 29:
"...working fewer hours makes Europeans happier, despite the loss of potential income. ...And whatever else you may say about French economic policies, they seem extremely supportive of the family as an institution. Senator Rick Santorum, are you reading this?"Reuters, August 27:
"French morale was at a record low less than two weeks ahead of the French prime minister's deadline to restore confidence in the population in his first 100 days in office, according to a survey on Saturday.Thanks to reader Bill Schumm for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 6:33 PM | link
Friday, August 26, 2005GET RICH, BUT LOSE THE FIGHT The PayPal Wars -- a new book that documents how PayPal had to sell out its original libertarian vision. Radley Balko's review at Reason Online:
PayPalís story is a sad but instructive lesson in how this country treats its entrepreneurs. PayPal is huge and growing. With eBay branding, it now boasts 73 million users, making it by far the largest online payment service. But itís nothing like what it was intended to be: a way for people to protect the money they earn from greedy governments and protect private purchases from the prying eyes of regulators. Greedy governments and prying regulators saw to that. The company sold out to eBay not because eBay beat it in the marketplace, not because eBay offered a better product, and not to reap a financial windfall for PayPal employees. PayPal sold out because, after the beating it took from those claiming to represent the interests of consumers, selling itself was the only way to keep the company alive. Exactly how consumers benefited from that isnít clear.Thanks to Chris Masse for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:56 AM | link
KRUGMAN OFFICIALLY CORRECTS HIS FLORIDA 2000 LIES Notch another win for the blogosphere and the Krugman Truth Squad. In Paul Krugman's column today, he has been forced to issue what he would call a "humiliating correction" of the inaccuracies in his column last Friday about the 2000 Florida presidential election. In fact, it's a double-header.
Not so fast. I'll leave it to John Hinderaker at Power Line who has led the charge on the Ohio matter to judge whether that one's been dealt with here. But there's something fishy about the way Krugman has corrected his reporting of the Miami Herald results. The word "initially" suggests he was talking about his Friday column, in which he falsely claimed that "both" media consortiums had given the election to Gore in their recount studies -- yet in the correction, the embedded link takes you to Krugman's column of last Monday. There he makes the same point he makes in the correction, that "the earlier study showed him winning two out of three" recount methods. In other words, the reader is led to believe that Krugman's only error was in the Friday column, and it consisted of suggesting that the earlier study showed him winning under all methods, when according to Krugman now he really only won in two out of three.
But the truth is that the study Krugman is talking about involved four methods for statewide recounts, and Bush won in three of them. Here's the way USA Today tells it (emphasis added):
I can only imagine the bitter negotiations that must have been going on between Krugman, "public editor" Byron Calame, and editorial page editor Gail Collins. But this ain't over yet. There's a recount coming.
Update... Reader Dave Hemmer wonders,
Doesn't that second correction seem to you to be a not-so-thinly-veiled slap across the public editor's face? It's almost like writing: "Well I reported that it was 90% but it was really 89/100 and this whiny public editor wants me to issue a correction so I'm gonna do it but we all know I was basically right, wink wink."Yep.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:40 AM | link
Thursday, August 25, 2005NOW THIS IS REAL DOOM AND GLOOM Hard to believe, but that goofy catastrophist cover story about the world running out of oil in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine has been outdone.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 3:27 PM | link
I THOUGHT GROWTH WOULD RETURN IN THE SPRING "I'll give you a forecast which might very well be wrong," Paul Krugman begins, truthfully enough, speaking of the "housing bubble" at a derivatives conference in Brazil's winter resort of Campos do Jordao. "I think it will burst in the spring of next year."
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 3:24 PM | link
RECOUNTING THE RECOUNT
Here are some of the best emails I've gotten from readers in response to my NRO column "It's the Truth that Counts," concerning Paul Krugman's lies about the 2000 election.
Everybody seems to be missing the most outrageous part of the "who really won
Florida?" controversy. Gore's campaign sent lawyers to various naive county
election supervisors to argue (wrongly) that state law applied to overseas
military ballots, thus disqualifying many. It was never clear under any recount
scenario, or media recount, if those ballots were reconsidered. We need to
always remember who deprived our fighting men and women of the right to vote,
while at the same time smearing state officials and Republicans with patently
false charges of racism and civil rights violations with regard to voting. I
will neither forgive nor forget this.
It was my impression that none of the newspaper recounts took into account any change in the standards for counting military ballots. At the time that the Supreme Court halted the process, there was a lower level federal court order that the various Florida counties did have to follow the federal law, allowing more generous standards for military ballots. This would have generated about 500 more votes for Bush, in which case none of the newspaper projections would have had Gore even narrowly winning a victory under any circumstances.
Since Bush was ahead anyways, the issue became moot and I believe there was no attempt to enforce the court decision. I could be wrong, but none of the accounts I read at the time indicated that the newspapers considered or discussed the effect of a change in counting procedures for military ballots if a further recount had been allowed. At the time, I took it as a likely bias (probably unconscious) on part of the media.
James S. Miller, Ph.D
There's a factor in the Florida recount debate that everyone seems to be overlooking. A matter of hours before the Supreme Court came down with it's ruling in Bush v. Gore, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a separate case, ruled that some 1,000 military ballots that had previously be excluded would have to be counted. It can be assumed that this would have added about 500 to Bush's margin. Even if the Supreme Court had permitted the kind of recounts advocated by Gore, such recounts would have been subject to the 11th Circuit's ruling on the limted issue of military ballots. The news organizations that did the post-facto purported recounts did not factor in those military ballots, and if they had, Bush's margin would have been safe by all recount methods.
More shameful is claim that Blacks were "disenfranchised". No hard facts,
lots of talk. This lack of integrity came to mind when reading a recent
congressional report about "Election Fraud in Ohio" -- grandstanded by John
Conyers. NPR pundits actually accused media of not paying more attention to this
report because "they didn't want to lose access to Carl Rove". More likely,
considering the source, even liberal pundits didn't believe they had a reliable
The thing that still bothers me about that election is the microscope on Florida and a "full recount" ignores the fact that there were other states with highly questionable vote counts. Why should Florida alone decide such a monumental question of the presidency without a full recount of the other states where fraud and miscounts are an established fact? A recount in those states would have made Florida fade as a factor.
If Gore was so good, then he could have remade himself and trounced Bush in
the next round. Life is full of sore losers that just fade away.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 11:01 AM | link
GREATEST COURT JUDGMENT EVER In a stunning and all too rare victory by a businessman over a regulator, a court has awarded financier Charles Hurwitz $72 million dollars from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. At issue: the agency's harassment of Hurwitz in connection with a failed S&L, as a thinly veiled means of getting Hurwitz to capitulate in an entirely separate environmental regulatory matter. From the Associated Press:
Thanks to Bruce Bartlett for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:50 AM | link
GREATEST MOVIE LINE EVER How did the American Film Institute ever overlook this one when they compiled their list of the 100 greatest movie lines? Thanks to reader Martin Shimp.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:27 AM | link
Wednesday, August 24, 2005MORGENSON GETS HERS After years of writing scandal-mongering anti-business columns based on nothing but accusations by plaintiffs, let's give Gretchen Morgenson a taste of her own bitter medicine. Here we have an open letter to New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., from John M. Connolly, the CEO of Institutional Shareholder Services -- the firm that provides proxy voting information to institutional investors. Seems that Connolly wasn't happy with the bilious brew of lies, errors, misrepresentations and just plain meanness in Morgenson's column Sunday, accusing ISS of conflicts of interest. I won't even begin to summarize Connolly's letter -- read it for yourself. It's a gem.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 5:28 PM | link
APPOINTMENT WITH THE DEVIL Our antitrust guru Skip Oliva notes with regret that President Bush has appointed yet another anti-business activist to head the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. Skip tells me that Thomas O. Barnett was "the ringleader of the Oracle-PeopleSoft debacle":
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 2:07 PM | link
APPRECIATING JOHN TIERNEY Yeah, he may have dated Maureen Dowd once. But he was young, it was spring. John Tierney is still the biggest mistake the New York Times ever made (and that's a good thing). I can't top Perry Eidelbus's homage.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 7:35 AM | link
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Podhoretz was right. By the end of the day, Krugman's lie had been blasted out of the water by a flotilla of Krugman Truth Squad members in the blogosphere, including Chief Brief, Power Line, Brainster, The American Thinker, Brain Terminal, and my own blog The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor & Stupid.
Krugman's lie was especially loathsome considering that his own newspaper -- the New York Times -- was a member of one of the media consortiums to review the election results. On November 12, 2001, the Times reported:
Of course Krugman would never publish a formal retraction. As former Times "public editor" Dan Okrent said of Krugman, "I canít come up with an adverb sufficient to encompass his general attitude toward substantive criticism." And besides, that George W. Bush stole the 2000 election is the creation-myth of the Angry Left -- it is an article of religious faith not to be questioned. And so we find Krugman, in his column Monday, digging himself even deeper into a pit of deceit as he attempts to paper over his lie.
Responding to what he called the "outraged reaction" to his Friday column, Krugman starts by rephrasing his lie in less ambitious terms:
Now, Krugman acknowledges that Bush would have won if the recount that had actually been ordered by the Florida Supreme Court had been allowed to proceed. Now, Krugman makes it clear that what he was talking about on Friday was something more than that -- a "full" recount beyond the scope of the one contemplated at the time, something that was not on the table, yet he personally believes "should have been." Now, Krugman discloses that even this would have made a Gore victory only a "probable answer," and even then only "by a tiny margin."
But rephrasing a lie does not make it go away. Even taking account of the critical importance of the word "full," it remains a lie to say that "Two different news media consortiums...both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore." One of the two consortiums -- one led by the Miami Herald and including USA Today -- found no such thing.
This consortium recounted the votes under four standards, ranging from lenient to strict. According to USA Today on April 3, 2002, "By three of the standards, Bush holds the lead. The fourth standard gives Gore a razor-thin win."
What does Krugman say about that? More lies. Krugman wrote on Monday, "Two out of three hypothetical statewide counts would have given the election to Mr. Gore." Reality: there were not three counts, there were four. And three out of four went for Bush, not Gore.
Those four counts, however, were not the "full" recounts that Krugman thinks "should have been." Nevertheless, he lied about them. And even this consortium's "full" counts -- those that dealt with "overvotes" in addition to "undervotes" -- don't support Krugman's claims. According to USA Today on May 10, 2001, again there were four standards (not three). The winner was "Bush, under the 2 most widely used standards; Gore, under the 2 least used."
So "full" recount or not, it was an outright lie for Krugman to claim that "both" consortiums named Gore the winner. But what about that second consortium, the one that included the New York Times?
According to the Times itself, on November 12, 2001, the most that can be said is that "Mr. Gore might have won if the courts had ordered a full statewide recount of all the rejected ballots... The findings indicate that Mr. Gore might have eked out a victory..."
So with all that, let's see what remains of Krugman's lie. Under the recount process ordered by the Florida Supreme Court, both consortiums agree that Bush would have won. Under the "full" recount process that Krugman thinks "should have been," one consortium gives the election to Bush under the more likely standards, and the other consortium only finds that Gore "might" have "eked out" a victory.
Those are the facts. But will the Times run a correction, at least concerning Krugman's blatant factual misrepresentations about the Miami Herald/USA Today consortium's results? As of this writing, I've heard nothing in response to my query about it to "public editor" Byron Calame. I'm not holding my breath. There's no way the New York Times is going to interrupt its most effective evangelist when he's in the middle of a fire-and-brimstone sermon about the Angry Left's cherished creation-myth.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:01 PM | link
Monday, August 22, 2005CALLING THE TOP IN OIL Investor Carl Futia continues to use the New York Times as a contrary indicator. I agree with him whole-heartedly on this one.
My favorite newspaper, The New York Times, is telling its readers that the world is running out of oil! Above this post you will see the cover of yesterday's The New York Times Magazine. It depicts a fuel gauge on "empty". The cover article by Peter Maass is entitled "The Beginning of the End of Oil". Among other things the article discusses the increasingly popular theory of "peak oil" which predicts a top in world-wide oil production in 2006. This NYTM cover is solid evidence of overwhelmingly bullish sentiment in the oil market. I think it is telling us that the next big move in crude oil will be downward from here and that the bull market [in] crude that started from $11 in 1998 is over.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:58 AM | link
KRUGMAN CORRECTS HIS ERROR ON ELECTION 2000 Paul Krugman's column today is devoted to an elaborate defense against the "outraged reaction" to his claim in Friday's about Al Gore being the true winner in the 2000 presidential election. Say what you will about the actual merits of what he claims the facts are in today's column. The real issue is that he wouldn't even be writing today's defensive column if his claims about the election in Friday's column hadn't been exaggerated.
Open and shut. No gray areas, no subtlety, no room for doubt. Fact. But here's how he made the same point today:
Doesn't have the same punch when he has to describe the narrow hypothetical he's really talking about, and has to admit that it's only "probable."
As far as I'm concerned, this is another Krugman correction -- in his typical cowardly style, it's disguised as an amplification and used as another opportunity to take a swipe at George Bush.
Update... In today's column Krugman says,
So why do so many people believe the Bush win was rock solid? One answer is that many editorials and op-ed articles have claimed that no possible recount would have changed the outcome.Reader Josh Hendrickson comments,
He blames op-ed pieces for Bush's victory. Apparently he thinks that other op-eds are as unreliable as his.Update 2... Richard Baehr at The American Thinker has an excellent take on Krugman's election column today (following up on his equally excellent take on Krugman's Friday column).
Update 3... Reader Jon Chambreau chimes in:
You've missed the most delicious part of Krugman's defense, that it is based on "six hypothetical manual recounts" referencing the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center. A search of that site brings this gem, "the project does not identify 'winners'. Its goal is to assess the reliability of the voting systems themselves, using the highest standards of scientific accuracy and reliability."
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:48 AM | link
THE WAY OUT OF THE VIOXX MADNESS A masterful answer from Richard Epstein, who seems to be the only sane legal mind left in the world:
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:31 AM | link
POLICY WANTS TO BE FREE Kevin Hassett mentions us kindly in his latest Bloomberg column, but that's not why you should read it. It's a devastating critique of the vast wasteland that is the world of deliberately manufactured policy ideas designed to benefit Democrats.
With Democrats faltering in the marketplace of ideas and reeling from electoral losses, a group of financiers has initiated a visible and collective movement to recover -- a vast left-wing conspiracy, you might call it. The Washington Post reported on Aug. 7 that at least 80 liberals have pledged to contribute $1 million apiece to fund a new network of think tanks through an organization known as the Democracy Alliance. Their intent is to revive the intellectual left. Their endeavor is doomed from the outset.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:07 AM | link