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  • Archive for October, 2006

    Passing of a great man

    Posted by Helen on 19th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Some of our readers might have heard the sad news of the death of Lord Harris of High Cross. Yes, yes, I know he was in his eighties but that does not alter the fact that his passing fills one with great sorrow both on the political and, in my case, personal level.

    Ralph Harris was one of the people responsible for the intellectual underpinning of the Thatcherite revolution. His colleague, Arthur Seldon, died last year. (And, by a strange coincidence, I attended yesterday the memorial meeting for Sir Alfred Sherman, a somewhat more controversial figure but one whose achievements must not be overlooked. Lady Thatcher was present, looking fragile but well.) Sadly, that generation is going and we shall all be the poorer for it.

    I have known Ralph since my late teens (though he actually thought he had known me as a young child) as my father attended the IEA lunches in the late sixties and early seventies, when their ideas were generally considered to be a brand of harmless lunacy at best. Even in those days Ralph cultivated his persona of the Edwardian gentleman, hats, moustaches, waistcoats and walking sticks included.

    What mattered above all was not his mannerism, not even his fantastically ebullient personality – nobody could ever forget Ralph even after a brief meeting – but his hard-headed approach to Britain’s problems.

    Neither he nor Arthur Seldon would have been welcomed in the wishy-washy, condescending tory-toff Conservative Party of David Cameron. They would both have been horrified to hear that a Conservative Party leader could snootily dismiss the notion of choice in education for all. I can still remember Ralph Harris’s tones when he talked about that public school boy Anthony Crosland vowing to destroy “every f***ing grammar school”. [Apologies for the implied swearing – those are the words Crosland used.]

    Ralph Harris came from a working class family in north London, went to a grammar school and thence to the University of Cambridge. He knew the importance of good education for people who wanted to rise and achieve; he, as well as Arthur Seldon, knew that the working classes had been perfectly capable of looking after themselves and their families; they knew how destructive the welfare state, imposed largely by do-gooding middle class politicians, been to working class families and, beyond that, to the whole of British society.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Britain | 1 Comment »

    16,000 Bottle Rockets

    Posted by Lexington Green on 19th October 2006 (All posts by )

    For the first time in a long time, I found myself channelling Beavis and Butthead:

    “Whoa. That was cool!”

    “Yeah, huh, huh-huh. Bottle Rockets are cool. Huh. Fire. Fire!”

    (They start going off about half-way through.)

    (Via Pointless Waste of Time.)

    Posted in Diversions | 2 Comments »

    Crosby – The Measure of Reality – Quantification and Western Society 1250-1600

    Posted by James McCormick on 19th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Crosby, Alfred W., The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society, 1250-1600 (Cambridge Univ. Press), 1997. 245pp. (Issued in the US as The Measure of Reality: Quantification in Western Europe, 1250-1600)

    [cross-posted on Albion’s Seedlings]

    Recently, I reviewed a book (Nisbett’s Geography of Thought) that describes the social psychological research on thinking styles in East Asia and the West. Nisbett traces the origins of the Western predisposition to thinking with Platonic properties, objects and “actors” to Greek philosophy and culture. In an earlier review of a book about the Peloponnesian War by VD Hanson, certainly demonstrated the unusual economic nature of a 5th cent. BC Athenian democracy, harnessing extraordinary financial and physical resources, even in causes that were tragic, despicable, or ultimately misguided. But did the Greeks of that era, ordinary men and women, actually see the world as we modern Westerners do … in ways that Nisbett and his colleagues now claim to distinguish in the lab?

    I have my doubts.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Book Notes | 6 Comments »

    Outsourcing the Dirty Work

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 18th October 2006 (All posts by )

    According to a Reuters news article, Canada is petitioning NATO to send more military assets to Afghanistan.

    Every government in the world has their own concerns and agenda, although the interests of two countries might well align in some cases.

    NATO is subject to restrictions that member nations have on how many troops they will donate, and the governments who contribute the troops often place restrictions on how they will be used.

    That is why I find it bizarre to see any country place any sort of trust in an international coalition when it comes to defense issues. All of the elements necessary for decisive military action (flexibility, a clear goal, decisiveness) are lost.

    If Canada is frustrated, why don’t they just go ahead and take care of the problem themselves?

    Oh, yeah. I forgot.

    Posted in Military Affairs | 1 Comment »

    Public Opinion: October 2004 vs. October 2006

    Posted by Jonathan on 17th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Pace Jim Geraghty, Bush’s prospects as of three weeks before the 2004 elections were much better than are Republican House prospects now. Bush’s reelect odds back then were greater than 50% on Intrade’s futures market, whereas the Republicans are now below 35% odds to hold their House majority. This doesn’t mean the Republicans will lose (though Intrade’s markets have a good predictive record). It does suggest that today’s pre-election climate of anti-Republican media opinion is more representative of reality than was the MSM’s barrage of anti-Bush FUD in 2004.

    (via Glenn Reynolds)

    Posted in Politics | 13 Comments »

    You can’t ‘manage’ trade without huge costs

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 17th October 2006 (All posts by )

    A while back Richard North posted this at EU Referendum :

    Is there anything the EU has ever done that can be considered, unambiguously, an unalloyed success?

    Well, if you are to believe the hype, one such is the Asia-Europe Meeting, or ASEM to its friends, a “cooperation forum” for Asian and European countries. It was initiated in 1996 “to strengthen dialogue and interaction between the two regions” and to promote “concrete cooperation that aims at sustainable economic and social development”.

    Yet, via chron.com [the link doesn’t work anymore, the article can be found here, though] Associated Press writer Robert Weilaard puts a different spin on it. Normally, AP is the most Europhile of all the press agencies, but Weillaard is definitely not of the Kathy Gannon mould.

    Heading his piece, “Unhappy Birthday for EU-Asia Relations”, he tells us that at a summit in Bangkok in 1996, European and Asian leaders pledged to boost economic, trade and political relations to offset America’s disproportionate weight in global affairs. Today, he adds, both sides agree that has failed miserably.

    As so often, I disagree with Richard as to the merits or lack of same of the European Union, but I’ll leave that for another post.

    Either way, attempts to manage trade politically always fail. I replied in the comment thread to the post in the EU Referendum forum, just arguing on general priciples, without going into the details too much:

    It failed because the whole idea is wrong-headed, both in concept and in the idea “America’s disproportionate weight in global affairs” is a bad thing (I’m adding that last bit just for completeness’ sake, for it goes without saying).

    We talk about “global trade” all the time, but the importance of trading partners increases more or less exponentially the closer they are to your own country. Since Asia is so far away from Europe, other trading partners take precedence, meaning that European countries necessarily trade mostly with each other as well as the United States (oil imports from Arab countries aside).

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Economics & Finance, International Affairs | 2 Comments »

    DC Trip — Claudio Veliz Lecture, Anglosphere Institute Launch

    Posted by Lexington Green on 17th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Lex in DC

    I went out to DC from Chicago for the inaugural event for Jim Bennett�s Anglosphere Institute. (The Institute�s website is currently under construction, but has some interesting things on it.)

    The first event was the lecture I mentioned in this earlier post by Claudio Veliz, author of The New World of the Gothic Fox: Culture and Economy in English and Spanish America. The lecture was at the Hudson Institute.

    I understand that the full text of Prof. Veliz’s talk will be online at some point, both audio and text. Prof. Veliz discussed the points raised in his book, specifically that the English and Castilian (rather than British and Spanish) cultures were the greatest exporters of culture of any of the European countries. He focused on the extraordinary fact that the English have exported their culture to the ends of the Earth to a degree unmatched by any other people. The main one is of course the Industrial Revolution, which began in England, and has in one way or another spread throughout the whole world and shows no sign of stopping or slowing down. Another is democratic government, though in most cases this is merely an aspiration or a fraud. Prof. Veliz focused in some detail on the example of soccer. Of course people have been kicking balls around for millennia. But only in England did organized teams with rules and their own buildings and groups of fans identifying with the team come into being. This phenomenon is now global. Terms like �sport� and �fair play� did not exist in other languages, they came from England.

    He also answered the question �so what?� with regard to the ubiquity of English-derived, and American-derived �creatures� � i.e. cultural artifacts. He noted, following the thinking of Vico, that �what we do matters�. In other words, what we do becomes what we are, it changes us. Culture is a whole and each part carries something of the whole. The adoption of English-derived cultural forms has changed the consciousness of the world in many ways, not all of them discernible. He noted also that the spread of English-derived cultural �creatures� has occurred in large part because it was the fact that they came from a culture � the first ever � with a large, wealthy working class. It was and is the vulgarity, in the strict sense, which gives it its global appeal. I might have said demotic rather than vulgar, but Veliz was right to speak as he did. The �vulgarity� of much of our culture is the source of its appeal, but also of the hostility it provokes on the part of people who are exposed to it and don�t like it. This too is an old phenomenon. Veliz went on to say that people in other countries often want to have a sanitized version of modernization � antibiotics and indoor plumbing and computers which only contain and transmit wholesome things, without music videos or sugary soft drinks or Internet porn. But, Veliz insists, you cannot have modernization without the cultural baggage, as a practical matter, you are stuck with the whole package.

    This led to his conclusion, which he left as an open question. Will the English speaking world die out? What could cause it to fade away as the prior culture-forming civilization of Greece died out, giving rise to a Hellenistic successor civilization? He seemed to believe that there is nothing in the world that is a mortal threat from outside the Anglosphere (a word he did not use). Rather, the danger is from a lack of understanding and a lack of cultural confidence within the Anglophone world. In other words, the danger is not conquest from without but suicide from within.

    Please note the foregoing is my recollection, done without notes. I look forward to the actual transcript.

    Following the lecture there was a dinner party for supporters of the Anglosphere Institute, which was very enjoyable. I got a chance to chat with Professor Veliz. I also got to meet one of my favorite writers, Michael Barone, and got my books autographed. In addition, prior to the lecture, I got to spend some time with Jim Bennett, who has several interesting Anglosphere-related projects in the works, which he will announce in due course.

    The next day I met up with Jonathan, and we visited the Air and Space Museum, and briefly, the National Gallery. The National Gallery is clearly an extraordinary museum, and I will make a point of returning to it. An unnecessarily rude guard at the door was the only indication that it is a government-run entity.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Civil Society, History, Political Philosophy, Society | 4 Comments »

    Old, Old News

    Posted by Lexington Green on 16th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Glenn Reynolds quotes Roger Simon who notes that �People like Reid, Hastert, Pelosi are complete mediocrities� and that �something is fundamentally wrong� that such people are in the upper reaches of government. Reynolds concludes that �Politics is not attracting our best people.�

    This has been an accurate complaint since immediately after the Founding generation. But, still, the whole thing worked anyway, and always has.

    Lord Bryce, in his classic American Commonwealth (1888), had a famous chapter entitled Why the Best Men do not Go into Politics. Some of the details of his analysis are outdated, but the general reasoning is still sound. I cannot do justice to it, so go read it, but a very rough sketch goes as follows. The fact is that being in Congress is not a very good career. It was not then and it is not now. It is precarious, and Americans are rarely so wealthy that they can withstand having their career obliterated without suffering a great personal loss. Service in Congress removes the member from his own district where his future business contacts would have to be. It incapacitates the member for other work during and after his term of service. And there is the mundane and dreary nature of the day-to-day work of congresssmen. There is little opportunity for politicians to engage in very exciting activity, thankfully, very often, which would call for heroic or even truly creative effort. What we would call opportunity costs � the far superior chances for great material success, at lower risk, in the private economy lead to the same outcome in 2006 as they did in 1888.

    Bryce expressly rules out any idea that the tough treatment politicians get is any reason why American politicians are so noticeably bad:

    It may however be alleged that I have omitted one significant ground for the distaste of �the best people� for public life, viz., the bad company they would have to keep, the general vulgarity of tone in politics, the exposure to invective or ribaldry by hostile speakers and a reckless press.
    I omit this ground because it seems insignificant. In every country a politician has to associate with men whom he despises and distrusts, and those whom he most despises and distrusts are sometimes those whose so-called social rank is highest�the sons or nephews of great nobles. In every country he is exposed to misrepresentation and abuse, and the most galling misrepresentations are not the coarse and incredible ones, but those which have a semblance of probability, which delicately discolour his motives and ingeniously pervert his words. A statesman must soon learn, even in decorous England or punctilious France or polished Italy, to disregard all this, and rely upon his conscience for his peace of mind, and upon his conduct for the respect of his countrymen. If he can do so in England or France or Italy, he may do so in America also.

    It has always been an ugly game, in a country where the other games are more appealing, and the people who go into it are rarely going to be our �best� people by any reasonable criterion.

    I strongly advise you to read the whole Bryce chapter. It is not long.

    Having mediocre politicians is a consequence of our having a superb private economy. We are, actually, fortunate that we have some relatively competent and public-spirited people in public life at all.

    This is not a problem with a solution, but a permanent, structural condition.

    Nor is it one that needs to concern us much.

    We do not rely for the success of our public institutions that they be staffed by geniuses or the shining lights of the age. To the contrary, as Walter Bagehot noted, we rely on our legislatures to act in the aggregate, to be wiser and abler collectively, or at least able to discern and respond to the public mood and public interest, than the mere sum of its parts, to capture the “wisdom of crowds”. The process seems to work. Despite all its defects, our Congress, in much this form, has legislated for the country throughout its rise from a strip along the Eastern Seaboard to global power. The system works despite the apparent, even manifest, deficiencies of its components, as it it was designed to do.

    Posted in History, Political Philosophy, Politics, USA | 27 Comments »

    Class Warfare Statistics

    Posted by demimasque on 16th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Engram has compiled some data on the after-tax income levels of American taxpayers, comparing them from the last three years of the Clinton Administration and the first three years of the Bush Administration. The raw data seems to suggest that the top 20% of taxpayers kept more money after taxes under Clinton than they did under Bush. This would refute the common canard that the Bush tax cuts only benefitted that amorphous class referred to as “the rich”.

    There is more to the facts than Engram presents; but there’s always more to it than meets the eye. One salient factor lost among all the talk of class struggle is the very real question of socioeconomic mobility. The membership of the top 20% isn’t always the same; neither is the membership of the bottom 20%. As we approach the margins, of course, the membership tends to solidify; but even so, such economic classes are far less unchanging, and far more fluid, in the United States than in most other places.

    Although it’s pretty easy to pay lip service to class warfare, my gut instinct is that American voters intuitively understand this fluidity. Our general national aspiration toward “moving up and out” saves us from the worst parts of Marxist struggle.

    Be sure to read the article for the charts, and the interesting notes in the comments. By the way, Engram is a registered Democrat.

    (via Instapundit)

    Posted in Economics & Finance | 12 Comments »

    “Frivolous Politics”: A Must-Read by Thomas Sowell

    Posted by Jonathan on 16th October 2006 (All posts by )

    The most that can be said for the current Republicans is that they want to throw away less money than the Democrats. In general, Democrats are the only real reason to vote for Republicans.

    When it comes to national security and the war on terrorism, that is a big reason.

    [. . .]

    Choosing candidates to vote for at election time is not like choosing a buddy or choosing some sports or entertainment figure to idolize. Nor is it a verdict on someone’s qualities as a human being.

    [. . .]

    It is not necessary to denigrate individuals in order to criticize their policies. Unfortunately, there are too many voters — in both parties — who act as if choosing whom to vote for is like choosing sides to cheer or boo at a sports event.

    Frivolous Politics: Part I

    Frivolous Politics: Part II

    Frivolous Politics: Part III

    Frivolous Politics: Part IV

    Posted in Politics | 3 Comments »

    They Want You Dead

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 16th October 2006 (All posts by )

    All of you. Dead, dead, dead. It’s On The Beach, without the nukes.
    (Hat tips: Rob Read; Tim Blair; Glenn Reynolds; see Neolithic Boyz for lengthy commentary on this phenomenon.)

    Posted in Environment | 1 Comment »

    Getting in Radio Communication — Hello, Hello!

    Posted by Lexington Green on 15th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Posted in Humor | 8 Comments »

    Appropriation or Performance?

    Posted by Ginny on 14th October 2006 (All posts by )

    The general consensus (look to the left) is that Democrats are going to win big. Real Clear Politics has, as Powerline observes, a sea of blue. Insta lists reasons. The only “but” may be that it can’t possibly be that bad. The bloggers here seem to feel the Republicans have been sufficiently lacking in vision & seriousness to deserve to lose. Well, maybe, though some Democratic committee chairmen are not a pretty sight. Perhaps, with such weighty responsibility they will take more interest in the welfare of our country as a whole and less in petty partisanship (be less Sandy Bergers and more Joe Liebermans). Principled disagreements would sharpen all our understandings. Some candidates have noticed that Lieberman is well ahead of Lamont. They are less shrill than the national & public voices. This may not bode well for Republicans, but it could be worse.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Politics | 10 Comments »

    The Color Purple

    Posted by John Jay on 14th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Today’s installment of Scientists You Should Know is brought to you by the color purple. Mauve, in fact. This past April marked 150 years since mankind stopped relying on plants and bugs to supply the colors of its world, and mauve was the first of those artificial colors. Before you snicker, consider that mauve was once such a novelty that an entire decade was named for it.* Before the discovery of purple dyes derived from coal tar, literally thousands of shellfish had to be slaughtered to obtain a few grams of purple – making it so expensive that it became a royal color in ancient times.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Science | 15 Comments »

    Embarrassed By Bill Clinton

    Posted by Jonathan on 13th October 2006 (All posts by )

    From the AP:

    [Former President] Clinton, who recently made fundraising stops for Democrats in Minnesota and New Jersey, also said he was embarrassed by the recent immigration debate.

    He noted that Mexico had become one of the U.S.’s top 10 creditors.

    “These people are our bankers,” Clinton said. “Doesn’t it embarrass you that these poor people are trying to sneak over the Rio Grande River to find a living in this country and we want to stop that? But we’re only too happy to turn around and say, ‘Don’t spend your own money on those poor illegal immigrants to give them an education and get a job in Mexico. Loan it to us.'”

    I’m not at all embarrassed that Americans want people who come here to live and work to follow our rules. Nor am I embarrassed that Mexican investors find better opportunities for their capital in the USA than they do in Mexico. What does embarrass me is an American ex-president who takes a cheap shot at his own country in order to score points with leftist voters.

    Posted in Politics | 16 Comments »

    Republicans May Lose – But At Least They Can Go Down Laughing

    Posted by Ginny on 13th October 2006 (All posts by )

    I’ve always considered Zucker, Zucker & Abrahams as rarely gifted; from Police Squad on, the cracks came so fast laughter drowned out half the lines–the 2nd & 3rd viewing was as funny as the first. Here’s David Zucker interviewed by Roger Simon. (Of course, it is all about his ad for the Republican Natl. Committee.) (Via Instapundit & Drudge.)

    Posted in Humor | Comments Off on Republicans May Lose – But At Least They Can Go Down Laughing

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 13th October 2006 (All posts by )

    . . . I do not regard the first man in space as a sign of the weakening of the free world, but I do regard the total mobilization of man and things for the service of the Communist bloc over the last years as a source of great danger to us. And I would say we are going to have to live with that danger and hazard through much of the rest of this century.

    My feeling is that we are more durable in the long run. These dictatorships enjoy many short-range advantages, as we saw in the thirties. But in the long run I think our system suits the qualities and aspirations of people that desire to be their own masters. I think our system suits better. Our job is to maintain our strength until our great qualities can be brought more effectively to bear. But during the meantime, it is going to require a united effort.

    -John F. Kennedy (White House News Conference, April 12, 1961)

    Lex adds:

    Cool.

    Moral clarity on foreign threats from a liberal hero. Where is the equivalent voice now?

    Nowhere in the Donk Party, that’s for sure.

    Posted in Anglosphere | 3 Comments »

    Where There is Smoke…

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 13th October 2006 (All posts by )

    It is no secret that I support securing our southern border due to security concerns. The situation as it exists now, where there are thousands of places where anyone can cross with law enforcement being none the wiser, makes us far too vulnerable.

    Critics of my point of view usually point out that illegal immigrants from Mexico are hardly Islamic terrorists bent on jihad, and that my concerns are alarmist and unrealistic. They point out that fanatics bent on forging a global Caliphate will find little support in Mexico, a country with a long tradition of Catholic domination.


    For some reason, I don’t find their arguments to be very reassuring.

    The news article linked to above hardly says that there are terror cells waiting to swim across the Rio Grande with their suicide belts primed and ready to go. But Hezbollah supporters in Catholic dominated Mexico?

    We are engaged in a global struggle between mutually opposing ideologies. Our opponents are resourceful, dispersed, secretive and determined. It is worth our while to try and fix our vulnerabilities before they are exploited by the enemy, even if our efforts prove to be bothersome to those illegal immigrants who have no intention of committing terrorist acts.

    Posted in Terrorism | 21 Comments »

    Communal Grief

    Posted by Ginny on 12th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Murdering Amish schoolgirls is an almost unimaginable, a vile, indeed, an evil act. And passivity in the face of evil is seldom all that virtuous. I have great respect for Dr. Helen’s blog – she clearly sees through our culture’s current & destructive attitude toward men; she sees herself (and others) as responsible, active, even aggressive about defending rights; she is neither soft nor sentimental. That is bracing: her positive, forthright attitude is admirable & a nice antidote to modern feminist victimology.

    Nonetheless, a cookie cutter ideological approach can be more than insensitive, it can misunderstand. Her first response was “Is Passivity and Forgiveness an Aphrodisiac for Murderers?” and asks in her second

    So now that the murderer has been forgiven and the school demolished, I wonder if that will help erase the memory of the five murdered girls from their minds? If it is true that the Amish think that the girls are better off than their survivors, why knock down the school house at all–shouldn’t it stand as a symbol of these girls going to a better place?

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society | 1 Comment »

    Epstein — The Big Picture

    Posted by James McCormick on 10th October 2006 (All posts by )

    [cross-posted on Albion’s Seedlings]

    Epstein, E.J., The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood, Random House, 2005.

    If your last visit to the cinema was a disappointing mix of overpriced tickets and salt-and-sugar concession snacks, followed by a postage stamp theatre blaring rock music, 15 minutes of advertising, with sticky floors and oafs talking on their cell phones during the feature film, you’re not alone. And if you felt that the movies on offer were only suitable for teenagers, antinomians, and nihilists, you were correct. They were made that way on purpose.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Book Notes | 9 Comments »

    A Last Game of Tag

    Posted by Shannon Love on 10th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Fall is a time for endings.

    The evening is pleasant. The scorching heat of summer has passed and winter’s chill and wet has not yet arrived. The sun sets slowly across a clear sky. We’ve had a couple of weeks of such evenings.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Personal Narrative | Comments Off on A Last Game of Tag

    Posted by Jonathan on 9th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Metropolis

    Posted in Photos | 9 Comments »

    Clean Sweep Completed

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 9th October 2006 (All posts by )

    (Ref Prizes Galore.) American wins 2006 Nobel for economics. I blame George Bush.
    Edmund Phelps is a Chicago School monetarist.

    Posted in Economics & Finance | 5 Comments »

    Death of another courageous journalist

    Posted by Helen on 9th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Well, they finally got her. Anna Politkovskaya, one of the world’s most courageous journalists, who wrote openly critical pieces about President Putin and his system, who managed to get through to Chechnya and report truthfully about the war there, who was nearly murdered when she was trying to get to Beslan to find out what was really happening in that unfortunate place, has been assassinated.

    Her body was found by the lift of the apartment block she lived in, with a gun and ammunition beside it. According to Russia-IC the investigation into the murder “is being led by the General Procuracy of Russia under personal control of department’s head Yury Chayka”.

    Her husband expressed the opinion that he did not think the murderers would be found, which is quite likely, unless the General Procuracy can find some little minnow in the conspiracy who can be blamed. Mr Politkovsky has also said that his wife had been receiving threats for the last two years. It is not clear, says the news agency, whether she had reported these threats to the police. I can think of several reasons why Anna Politkovskaya might not want to deal with the Russian police in this matter.

    I have written before about this extraordinarily courageous woman before, mentioning the Leipzig Prize for the Freedom and the Future of the Media, which she shared with Hans-Martin Tillack, Britta Petersen and Seymour M. Hersh. Even Herr Tillack’s travails pale into insignificance (well, almost) compared to the life and death of Anna Politkovskaya. The other two recipients are alive and well with Mr Hersh being feted up and down the “drive-by media” of the United States.

    There are words of horror being expressed by various journalists’ organizations but, as I have had to point out before, it is not always clear that the biggest and most important of these, the International Federation of Journalists has a clear idea of what is really going on in the world. I suggest they compare the events in Anna Politkovskaya’s life to those in Seymour M. Hersh’s. It is entirely possible that they will not be able to see the difference.

    For those of us who would like to see Russia take her rightful place as one of the truly great countries in the world this assassination, coming so soon after the assassination of Andrei Kozlov, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Central Bank, who was trying to clean up the banking sector, marks another tragic and bloody step downwards for the whole country.

    Cross-posted from EUReferendum

    Posted in Russia | 3 Comments »

    Inflation and Interest Rates

    Posted by David Foster on 8th October 2006 (All posts by )

    Most investors and analysts seem to have concluded that inflation is not a serious problem, and that long-term interest rates will stay low for a considerable period of time. (The 10-year Treasury rate is now at 4.696%.) Writing in Financial Times (9/21), Joachim Fels, managing director and chief global fixed income strategist at Morgan Stanley, argues that such thinking is incorrect.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Economics & Finance | 6 Comments »