Vaclav Klaus hits the right notes before the European Parliament

What a follow up Vaclav Klaus is to Sarkozy! Read his speech before the EU parliament. He basically says (my liberal paraphrasing), wait a minute, I thought we in Eastern Europe already escaped from that lovely blend of socialism, one-party rule, and economic basket-case-ism. Now we're all marching right back to it under the banner of an EU central planning board!?

His argument that the positive meaning of the EU rests precisely in the taking down of artificial state borders to trade and migration and the facilitation of broader and more integrated free markets across borders is trenchant. The value does not lie in centralized regulation and state control of all economic activity. That is the path back to the exact antithesis of the value of the integration enterprise itself!

Of course, the media will promptly ignore most of what he says, at least relative to its fanboy coverage of Sarkozy and his beloved rock-star pop superstatism.

As it was, superstatist parliamentarians actually walked out during the speech at the moment Klaus was calling for tolerance of dissent and open discussion!

(HT to Tom DiLorenzo at LRC).

Open letter to Bloomberg reporters on "economists of all stripes" claim

Since the following letter to two Bloomberg reporters concerning a statement in their article has elicited no response for about two weeks, I will publish a slightly condensed version here as an open letter. I note that the article has gone through two updates since I wrote to these reporters, but the unsupportable claim I pointed out to them remains unaltered.

Dear Ms. Goldman and Mr. Miller,

I sometimes read Bloomberg news articles and come across statements that leave me scratching my head. A few such statements, though, strike me as sufficiently incorrect that I feel an obligation to take a moment to bring them to the attention of their authors.

In your article, "Obama Warns of Prolonged Crisis Without Stimulus Plan," you wrote, "... economists of all stripes agree that aggressive government action is needed."

This is problematic because an entire school of professional economists argue that such government actions as "stimulus" programs will clearly worsen conditions, prolong and deepen the recession, and generate further impoverishment of our society. Many of these same economists also predicted the coming of the financial collapse years in advance of its arrival, and explained why it would occur.

Thus, I suggest amending statements such as the one I quoted to, for example, "most economists, with the notable exception of those of the Austrian school, agree that aggressive government action is needed."

In addition, if you sought comments and opinions directly from economists of "stripes" who do not hold the view you suggest they do, it would offer your readers a more critical and balanced understanding of the issues. From my own studies in political economy, I could recommend many scholars, but two come to mind right now for the combination of the depth of their scholarship in economic history and theory and the incisiveness of their analyses of current issues based on this foundation. They are:

Robert Higgs, senior fellow in political economy at the Independent Institute, and author of many important academic books on economic history, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between government policy and recurring crises.

Joseph Salerno, a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, professor of economics at Pace University, and editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.

I find both of these economists clear communicators with a strong grasp of the relationship between government policy and economic cycles. Beyond them stretches a long and growing list of economists who would be very unlikely to "agree that aggressive government action is needed," certainly not the types of actions now being proposed.

Best regards,

Konrad Graf

Journalism values dead in US MSM, judging from its coverage of Gaza

I just came across a very specific, devastating analysis of US mainstream media coverage of the Gaza invasion over at AlJazeera, entitled, "In the US, Gaza is a different war."

The basic values of journalism are apparently quite dead in the US MSM, and this analysis helps explain in concrete form some of the reasons for my instinctual nausea at MSM coverage. I am finding the AlJazeera coverage, while it of course has its own biases, much more balanced and informative about what is actually happening (remember reality?) as opposed to the story we are supposed to be believe about what is happening.

One is closer to news as the product of journalism in the more traditional sense: collecting and supplying timely information that is weighted by reasonable judgments of newsworthiness. The other is "news" as propaganda, with the clear objective and effect of inculcating and maintaining a carefully packaged political stance on the part of the readership. This is done, if not through outright lying and misinformation, through the careful selection and packaging of what will be said and shown, what will not, and in what way, to create an impression that diverges, at times sharply, from what could be discovered with more investigation and thought to be considerably closer to the truth.