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Showing posts from July 2, 2006

the politics of liberal trivilization -- LI gets the inside stories on the celebrities YOU want to know about!

Steven Pearlstein is the smart WAPO economics columnist (Robert Samuelson is the dumb one. Fair and balanced reporting means hearing from both sides). Pearlstein is a defender of the traditional Keynesian line, for which LI has enormous sympathy. In that vision, two coordinate policy goals are set. On the one hand, free trade, that mainstay of economic orthodoxy since Adam Smith, retains its sacred place. The Keynesians call for its furthest extension, including overthrowing national barriers in the labor market as well as in commodities. On the other hand, Pearlstein supports heavy public investment in things like transportation, education, health and environmental protection. He believes that the latter is the necessary political concomitant to the former, since the market can be assumed to disadvantage, at any one time, some sector of the national economy – this is the iron logic of comparative advantage, which is never stable. Like a good Keynesian, he bemoans the blindness of the

mexico's election - and fairy tales from Jorge Castañeda

Jorge Castañeda has turned into the teller of the Mexican establishment’s favorite fairy tale, which begins like this (I take this from his current essay in Foreign Affairs, Latin America’s Left Turn): “JUST OVER a decade ago, Latin America seemed poised to begin a virtuous cycle of economic progress and improved democratic governance, overseen by a growing number of centrist technocratic governments. In Mexico, President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, buttressed by the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, was ready for his handpicked successor to win the next presidential election. Former Finance Minister Fernando Henrique Cardoso was about to beat out the radical labor leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for the presidency of Brazil. Argentine President Carlos Menem had pegged the peso to the dollar and put his populist Peronist legacy behind him. And at the invitation of President Bill Clinton, Latin American leaders were preparing to gather in Miami for the Summit of the Am

x ray of a news story - the mexican election

The Mexican election is proving to be an x ray of the news business. The so called “preliminary result” showed that PAN’s candidate, and the candidate of emerging market investors, Felipe Calderon, had pulled ahead by 400,000 some votes. The number remaining to count was 800.000 votes. Hence, it looked like Calderon had an insurmountable lead. This, at least, is what the NYT reported. And it was reported internationally. Here, for example, is the Globe and Mail (a Canadian paper for which LI has written), today: “The party of leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador challenged preliminary results of Sunday's presidential election, accusing Mexican election authorities of failing to count more than three million votes. Mr. Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor, has claimed victory in the divisive election even though he trailed his conservative rival, Felipe Calderon of the National Action Party, by slightly more than 400,000 votes, or one percentage point

happy 4th!

Happy fourth, sons and daughters of liberty! Resolutions are made on New Year's day, so why not on the 4th? Patriotic resolutions. LI's are: a. to keep shooting peas at the imperial nightmare we now struggle under; b. to choke the army, overthrow illegal executive power, and end the occupation of Iraq; c. to advance the cause of transforming the treadmill of production into an earth friendly system, so help me God; d. to thread the narrow passages, make the crossings over the howling deserts, and water the horses of the grand old American language, my lovely tongue. And here's some Blake from America: a prophecy: The bones of death, the cov'ring clay, the sinews shrunk & dry'd. Reviving shake, inspiring move, breathing! awakening! Spring like redeemed captives when their bonds & bars are burst; Let the slave grinding at the mill, run out into the field: Let him look up into the heavens & laugh in the bright air; Let t

Cobblestone, the magazine of pre-teen warmongering

Here’s a story that made LI’s blood pressure shoot up. “Parents and teachers are complaining that the latest issue of a popular magazine for preteens amounts to little more than an early recruitment pitch for the Army. Cobblestone magazine, which is put out by Carus Publishing in Peterborough, is aimed at children ages 9-14 and is distributed nationwide to schools and libraries. Its latest issue features a cover photo of a soldier in Iraq clutching a machine gun and articles on what it's like to go through boot camp, a rundown of the Army's ''awesome arsenal'' and a detailed description of Army career opportunities.” Stories like this show pretty much what the struggle in this country is all about. On one side is a war culture proposing to grind our children into Gainsbugers. On the other side is pure goodness. Hey, it is an easy choice! “Most controversial has been a set of classroom guides that accompany the magazine, which suggest teachers invite a soldier,

the curious case of the terrorist who barked in the night

One of the truly astonishing things about the past five years, all things considered, is the de-emphasis on crimes that make the Bush administration feel threatened. So, once it was apparent that the FBI was too disorganized to solve the anthrax case, the case disappeared from the news, generating less stories in all, than, say, the prosecution of Michael Jackson. And once it became apparent that the Bush administration strategy in Afghanistan was not aimed at destroying Al Qaeda, but preserving a remnant of it (terrorism-on-tap, a cynical and criminal tactic), the press fell into line, invariably describing Osama bin Laden as ‘on the run,’ and pretending that his whereabouts are a deep dark mystery. It is less deep and dark a mystery than what VP Cheney was doing at that ranch in Texas last autumn. And Osama bin Laden seems far less on the run than your average Hollywood starlet, always having to jet off to some new location. Al Qaeda’s structures are alive and vigorous in Pakistan,