Appealing Destination

September 29th, 2008

Micklethwait must go!

September 24th, 2008

I've read the Economist for years, even before I went to business school. It offers a good coverage of international news, hard to come by in America, and is weekly which means that I needn't read it every day to keep up yet it remains relatively current. It's also British, meaning that it has a sane view of political issues in general.

Or at least, it used to, before John Micklethwait became the Editor-in-Chief. Micklethwait, you see, worships at the altar of American Conservatism. I say 'worship' because as with most American Conservatives there's no rationality to his love for the hodgepodge of corruption and social intolerance that A.C. encapsulates, there's just blind devotion. His major work before becoming the Economist's editor was The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America; why they gave the helm of a respectable news magazine to such a blinded ideologue is beyond me.

Anyhow, since then the magazine has bent over backwards to serve American Conservative interests; it's visible in every article they publish on America. It's infuriating, really infuriating, like watching a dear relative succumb to Alzheimer's and start ranting about jews.

In the most recent issue, for example, in addition to the usual constant insertions of defenses of conservative positions and mentions without context of anti-Democratic party slanders, they actually reviewed an Obama hit-piece book. Published, naturally, by Regnery publishing.

It's the gilt on the Mighty Wurlitzer, you see. The Economist has a reputation to preserve, so they can't simply come out and state their masters' position. What they do is give the gloss of respectability to a purely propaganda hit piece, a work with no purpose other than character assassination and no place in any honorable discussion of politics. And now, the hit piece in question can point to its review in The Economist and say "look, I'm legitimate".

Micklethwait should be fired immediately and replaced with someone whose major goal in life is to run a respectable newspaper, and not to advance the interests of his ideologue masters.

In Soviet America, the Government runs the Market...

September 19th, 2008

I came of age in the Reagan/Clinton era, when markets had defeated Communism. Markets worked. Oh sure, they were ultimately self-destructive and had to be nudged in the right direction by Government, but Government led them by a feather; a feather in the form of the Federal Reserve's discount rate.

In the Nixon years, though, in reaction to economic turmoil and uncertainty, drastic measures were taken: broad price controls, freezing wages and prices, closing the gold window (aka leaving the gold standard), and general economic controls of a pervasiveness not seen since.

Well, the SEC just announced a ban on short selling. That's right, an outright ban. It has a time horizon of two weeks, and is only for the hundred-plus stocks that comprise the financial sector, but still... Coming on the heels of not just one but multiple government bailouts, bailouts that run into the hundreds of billions of dollars, one has to wonder if the era of self-regulating markets is once more over.

The Dwindling Party

September 17th, 2008

At the start of 2008 - that's nine months ago - the five largest U.S. investment banks were:

  • Morgan Stanley (founded 1935)
  • Goldman Sachs (founded 1869)
  • Merrill Lynch (founded 1914)
  • Lehman Brothers (founded 1850)
  • Bear Stearns (founded 1923)

Three of those are now gone.


The Obedient Media, Part Zillion

September 12th, 2008

You'd think a scandal involving billions of dollars, rampant marijuana and cocaine use, sex for favors, and some really jaw-dropping corruption might be something the news would be interested in.

But you'd be wrong!

The investigation also concluded that several of the officials “frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.”

Two other reports focus on “a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” in the service’s royalty-in-kind program. That part of the agency collects about $4 billion a year in oil and gas rather than cash royalties.

The New York Times carried the story - not on the front page mind you - but teevee didn't see fit to bother, being much more interested in how 'lipstick on a pig' was a sexist comment, as their masters at the McCain campaign instructed them.

But report on the corruption and moral failure of yet another Bush administration agency? Not in the cards.

Is there a purer example of how the media is utterly controlled by conservative interests?