Twitter Has Crap Aggregation Tools: June 13, 2018
The Last Financial Crisis of the Nineteenth Century: Hoisted from the Grasping Reality Archives from Ten Years Ago

Ten Years Ago on Grasping Reality: June 10-14, 2008

Topkapi Palace

Neither Louis Uchitelle or Tom Hamburger would ever tell me whose bidding they were doing in writing hit pieces on Jason Furman, or why they thought this was the way they should be doing their jobs:

  • Louis Uchitelle on Jason Furman: The odd thing is that Jason Furman has a very strong and very wide reputation as an honest broker and as a consensus builder, which is exactly the kind of thing that you want in the job--as long as you think that truth is on your side, and thus that you are more likely than not to win honest, substantive, evidence-based debates. It's not right to say that Jason Furman was closely associated with Robert Rubin without also saying that he was closely associated with Joe Stiglitz...

  • Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Tom Hamburger of the Los Angeles Times Edition): "On June 11, 2008, you wrote: "Obama's selection of Jason Furman as economic advisor is criticized: [Jason Furman] was also quoted in a transcript from a CNBC interview in 2006 as suggesting openness to changes in Social Security that might include private accounts and benefit cuts. The approach he described sounded similar in some ways to that proposed at the time by President Bush."... Jason Furman was not a friend, advocate, or supporter of President Bush's Social Security privatization plan back in 2005, but instead one of its most strident and effective opponents...

  • We Get an Email from Tom Hamburger...: Apropos of the astonishing and false claim in this morning's LA Times that Jason Furman is some sort of a crypto-Bushie with views on Social Security matters "similar" to those Bush proposed in 2005, I write to the reporter involved, Tom Hamburger... He writes back. Mr. Hamburger's bottom line appears to be that his leaving a lot of readers with a false view of Jason Furman's position on Social Security is OK because that was "not the point of this story..."

  • Greg Anrig on Tom Hamburger on Jason Furman: Apropos of LA Times reporter Tom Hamburger's gross mispresentation of Jason Furman, Greg Anrig comments: "It wasn't a matter of 'space'—Hamburger simply got the facts totally wrong. If he had left out his errors about Social Security, he would have had more space. Jason may have been the single most effective wonk in the victory against SS privatization..."

Other things:

  • McCain Debates McCain: "Would a John McCain presidency be a Bush third term? Senator McCain says yes, while Senator McCain says no..."

  • Three questions about life on the internet in 2008: Ask the Mineshaft

  • The Washington Post is no better than it was in 2008. But it is also no worse. A trained incapacity among its reporters—if they know something about the issue, they would not be able to be such complaisant channels for the sources they wish to please: Paul Krugman Ruins My Peaceful Saturday Afternoon: Regulation via tax expenditures and a bureaucracy to define and monitor them is regulation—a point that eludes Perry Bacon Jr.... Nor does Bacon appear to realize that a government that spends through tax expenditure creates as many potential distortions as a government that spends through, well, spending—that is why they are called "tax expenditures", after all. We find this so often: reporters who have made no effort to get up to speed on issues so that they can have a chance of covering them in a way that informs their audience.... Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? Dean Baker has already done the heavy lifting on this...

  • The only "conservative" political "philosophy" that is ever defensible is: "whig measures and tory men": "Conservatism": John Holbo.... I think John is a little too easy on Ross Douthat, largely because I do not believe that conservatism is a political philosophy. Conservatism is the practical principle that the pieces of furniture you have that suit and are comfortable should not be thrown away. And conservatism is a rhetorical mode of justification--effective on those who respect authority. But it isn't a philosophy.... I have written about this before: Edmund Burke does not believe that Tradition is to be Respected. He believes that good traditions are to be respected. When Edmund Burke in his Reflections on the Revolution in France makes the argument that Britons should respect the organic political tradition of English liberty that has been inherited from the past, he whispers under his breath that the only reason we should respect the Wisdom of the Ancestors is that in this particular case Burke thinks that the Ancestors—not his personal ancestors, note—were wise. Whenever Burke thought that the inherited political traditions were not wise, the fact that they were the inherited Wisdom of the Ancestors cut no ice with him at all...

  • The last time the Washington Post's Robert Samuelson wrote something worthwhile was... when?... 1985?: Washington Post Death Spiral Watch: Robert Samuelson... knows that these are extremely weak examples of "blatant contradiction" and "high partisanship." But you try to delude your readers with the ammunition you have, not the ammunition you wish you had. Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?...

  • Is This a Compliment?: From HTML Mencken: "Sadly, No! » Oh, Please: (Indeed, the first person I think of as a “latte-sipping elitist” is Brad DeLong—a WASP..."

  • In Which We Rue the Confirmation of Roberts and Alito...: Hilzoy: "If we accept the government's argument, we would concede that it can legally do what it has tried to do in fact: to create a legal black hole in which it can act outside the law and the Constitution.... This decision was 5-4, with Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito in dissent.... Publius' headline is accurate: 'with this decision, Court Reaffirms Existence Of Constitution'. But had one vote changed, they would have given the Executive the power to avoid it at will..."

  • Felix Salmon on Jeff Bercovici on Citizen Journalism: Felix Salmon: "I'm puzzled by my colleague Jeff Bercovici.... Today he clarifies his position: by 'credibility' he means 'access': 'Much as the site claims to disdain the access-based Beltway news paradigm, it does seek access, whether in the form of an exclusive statement from Barack Obama, an interview with Dan Rather or invitations to cover events.... As it increasingly adopts the trappings of a conventional news organization, then, Huffpo becomes subject to the same kind of reprisals as a conventional news organization...' This is nothing to do with ethics any more, it's simple expediency. If Huffpo wants its precious access, then it had better learn to play by the rules, or else face 'reprisals'..."

  • The point was that we were then experiencing something that seemed a strange intrusion into the 21st century from the pre-Great Depression era: [The Last Financial Crisis of the Nineteenth Century]