Thursday, March 27, 2008

Krugman proves himself right

Paul Krugman, professional economic gloomsayer and New York Times columnist has something truly flabbergasting to say about the role of the clueless prognosticator in modern society.
Reading some of today's news, it suddenly struck me: we're living in the age of the anti-Cassandra. Cassandra had the gift of prophecy - she saw, correctly, what was coming - but was under a curse: nobody would believe her.

Today, our public discourse is dominated by people who have been wrong about everything - but are still, mysteriously, treated as men of wisdom, whose judgments should be believed. Those who were actually right about the major issues of the day can't get a word in edgewise.

Krugman, of course, by virtue of his Times pulpit, is able to get plenty of words in edgewise, which (in an irony certain to be lost on the author) validates his own thesis.

Case in point, Krugman has predicted economic recession in each of the last six years. That's 24 consecutive fiscal quarters (we're actually up to 25 now, and 26 if we keep our heads above water for the next 6 days) without a single reading of negative growth, despite Krugman's perennial prophecies of wreck and ruin around every corner.

Getting back to the central point of the professor's article though, what's most astounding about Krugman's body of work is that it illustrates - perhaps better than any other's - that a career in economic pontification can not only survive, but thrive in the modern media spotlight, despite (or perhaps thanks to) consistent and egregious errors, so long as that systematic variance tends in a media-friendly direction.

It's not a new phenomenon that credit for accurate predictions greatly outweighs discredit for inaccurate ones (people continue to pick through Nostradamus' zillions of predictions so they can breathlessly present a few that vaguely resemble modern events). But it's genuinely astounding that the media's undisputed heavyweight champion of the asymmetry of prediction consequences should recognize this phenomenon without the faintest hint of self-awareness.


The comments above from "Suitably Flip" are just. But I think Krugman has hit on a truth. Paul Ehrlich comes to mind as a complete false prophet who is nonetheless still honoured by the Green/Left


Democrat dishonesty in the race against McCain

John McCain is scheduled to deliver a major foreign policy speech Wednesday in Los Angeles, one with a heavy Iraq focus, but chances are Democrats won't be listening. They've already distilled his views into an easy to remember formulation: 100 years of war. It is a reference to an offhand remark made by McCain in January about the possible duration of the U.S. presence in Iraq, a comment that Democrats now portray as the equivalent of the McCain Doctrine.... On a recent conference call with reporters, Howard Wolfson, Clinton's bulldog operative, mentioned four times in two minutes that John McCain "wants to be in Iraq for 100 years." ....

McCain never actually went so far as to call for a century-long occupation. Rather, in response to a New Hampshire town hall questioner who asked about President Bush's statement that U.S. troops could be in Iraq for 50 years, McCain interrupted and said, "Make it 100." "We've been in South Korea . . . we've been in Japan for 60 years," he continued. "We've been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me. As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed, that's fine with me. I hope that would be fine with you, if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where al-Qaeda is training, recruiting and equipping and motivating people every single day."

More here



For those who are interested, Obama has been having a lovely vacation in the Virgin Islands, in his usual (crackpot) sort of company. More here

Shocker: NYT Uses Dreaded L-Word To Describe Obama: "At the core of Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign is a promise that he can transcend the starkly red-and-blue politics of the last 15 years, end the partisan and ideological wars and build a new governing majority. To achieve the change the country wants, he says, "we need a leader who can finally move beyond the divisive politics of Washington and bring Democrats, independents and Republicans together to get things done." But this promise leads, inevitably, to a question: Can such a majority be built and led by Mr. Obama, whose voting record was, by one ranking, the most liberal in the Senate last year?

Hmmmm... I've got to give the NYT some praise for reprinting in full a recent speech by McCain. Other outlets just picked out the bits they felt able to criticize. I am on the mailing list for the McCain campaign so I was able to check that the NYT DID reprint the speech in full. It is a most interesting speech for the way it seriously attempts to explain what is going on -- instead of the series of cheap shots and vague generalizations that the Democrats usually put out. It once again makes clear that an interest in the facts is one of the major things that marks out conservatives as different from the Left. McCain is treating the voters as intelligent. Let's hope that works.

Nancy Reagan is endorsing McCain

The Wall St problems: "The problems are due to basic mistakes that even the most unsophisticated among us can grasp. Lenders loaned too much money on too easy terms to borrowers who did not have the capacity to make their payments. No alchemy by even the brightest minds on Wall Street could turn bad loans into good assets. Sound simple? It really is."


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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