Tag Archives: economist

Economist toys with Blood Libel

The blood libels keep pouring in.  I wrote this letter to The Economist based on their recent article on the Cracking down on Settlers:



“Jew kills baby” is a tagline that should be raising red flags at any respected journal, as it provokes the medieval Blood Libel slur.  And yet, the number of times the press rallied around dead Arab children they hoped to pin on Jews in the past year is staggering.

Which is why I was quite disappointed to see you running the story “Cracking down on the settlers”.  It remains to be seen whether a Jewish settler even committed the arson – forensic evidence actually points to the contrary.  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/198961#.VckfBSZVhBd

But to take a crime still under investigation, rush to pin it on Jews, and run with it to a criticism of Israeli policies in general, well it only delegitimizes any authority you have on the issue.

Some points I’d like to make:

Settlements aren’t “illegal”.  People like to claim it is so, but the area was never a country, and continues to be under dispute.

Gaza 2014 drove the point, at least materially, that evacuating disputed terriroties to Arab rule only exacerbates this situation.  Old dogmas die hard, but the fact is the best hope for peace isn’t a Judenrein West Bank – it’s making Arabs and Jews live among each other.

Despite your massaging your wording to even out the casualties, one dead Arab baby makes world headlines, while Jews are quite unceremoniously under constant Arab attack.  And it doesn’t matter whether Jews live in disputed territories or well within the confines of Israel.  If an Arab is killed, it’s soldiers stopping them from a murderous terrorist rampage, not any sort of Jew vigilante murder.

Finally, suppose the attack were actually caused by Jews.  A more rational mindset would understand that, under such a tense situation, blowback is inevitable.  Some certainly use it to justify the World Trade Center attacks.

UKIP – from a joke to a threat

It’s a testament to just how rare sentient thought is within the human race.  The UKIP’s recent electoral successes sparked the predictable frightened reaction from dominant journals like the Economist.

And I say that by looking at the tone of the article.  Britons have genuine concerns about issues like immigration and the cost of the EU, issues the UKIP are riding high on, but this article is not concerned with that.  Rather, it attacks UKIP on the very issues that characterize a fledgling party: lack of organization, not-so-well-thought-out platform, or that they’re just riding on “charisma” (whatever that means).

Such are issues for UKIP to discuss among themselves, not for outsiders to criticize.  Success and growth bring new challenges.  The UKIP need to figure out how to handle their success and prepare for the next step of refining their message to reach a wider audience, actually handling power, and exercising it successfully.

Rather, the issue here for the rest of us is the vacuum in the discussion, or as they say, the elephant in the room.  From my desk all the way here in Los Angeles, the issue isn’t even so much immigration itself, it’s that the immigrants are not being absorbed into British society, and are instead just festering on the margins, feeding off its safety net, and threatening to reform it in their image.

Muslim immigrants, specifically.

It is an issue that The Economist has made oblique reference to in the past in this study: They Can’t Imagine Not Working.  It’s one thing to welcome immigrants, it is another to make sure society actually benefits from them, rather than them being an albatross around its neck.  And it looks like England is drifting from the American benefit version to the European albatross version.

Why not admit it?  In these days where politics has embraced social media, it is easier than ever to see what people are frustrated with.  There is no way established institutions can deny what’s happening in the British population.  On the flip side, it’s easier than ever to respond to it.

Like I said though, I’m just a guy sitting at my desk in Los Angeles, reading what the papers and select tweeters tell me.  But this is a question I’d like to see discussed.  And I’m not alone.  If the Economist, the Tories, and other parties are willing to enter this discussion, they will attract the attention and passion of mainstream voters, and relegate UKIP back to irrelevance.

But if they simply caricature UKIP as some stuffy old character from Paddington Bear, they are leaving the UKIP’s main issue, and main cause for success, unanswered.  That will give them greater and greater power until they can solve the problem themselves.  If the UKIP really are the demagogues people say they are, it’ll be a much less effective solution than what could have been done by enlightened statesmen.


Open letter to The Economist

SIR – I will spare you any vitriol about your coverage of Israel last week Losing the War – I’m sure your mailbox has been full of it already. Rather I’ll say I’m disappointed. It was so focused on Israel, and whether you find it legitimate, you blinded yourselves to the real news and opportunities coming out of the entire region. Egypt is discarding politicised Islam, what seems to be a popular move and not just dictatorial fiat. They destroyed the tunnels to Gaza and are railing against Hamas in their media. Even Saudi Arabia is jumping on board. Israel is looking at its neighbors and seeing itself NOT surrounded by sworn enemies, for the first time ever.
It’s setting the stage for an entirely new politics and economy in the Middle East. To not report on this, and discuss the opportunities involved, well that’s like refusing to cash your dividend check because it was signed by a dirty Jewish banker.
Meanwhile, your analysis of people’s perception of Israel seems to only be a census of social rot. Ironic that it follows on the heels of “Tethered by History” and a rather weak defense of why the Jews should feel safe in Europe in the face of renewed anti-Semitism. It would be more interesting to see the demographics involved in this. If I am correct, classic European neo-Nazis and Muslim immigrants are getting together to bash Jews. Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed, and it’ll be a nasty hangover when they wake up from that orgy and look across the bed at each other. It calls into question the deepening decay of Europe.
A whole new world is being born out of this conflict in Gaza. The Economist’s mission is smart capitalism which is aware of political events and the economic opportunities they bring. Failing to see and analyze this would be a catastrophic failure on your part.

The price of government

There’s this Bolshevik propaganda poster I saw many years ago that I’d give my right nut to find again.  It’s a picture of a bunch of (literally) flower sniffing aristocrats on one side, looking in horror at what’s in front of them: an assembly of state and religious officials, holding up a giant man-made flower with severed human heads as grains of pollen.  It was titled “anti-Semitism”.

The meaning of the poster is a critique of those who live quite well of the functioning of the state that supports them, with the horrific realization of what needs to happen to maintain their carefree lifestyle.

And that’s what’s happening with this “critique” of our “inefficient” government playing brinksmanship with government shutdowns and default over Obamacare.

It’s one of my pet peeves with bourgeois press magazines like the Economist, which can otherwise be quite informative and journalistic.  It’s this paternalistic tone that government never quite meets up with their expectations, as if the will of the bourgeoisie is to be followed by all of society with no mess or complications.

Sorry, but an exploitation of the population by depriving it of basic necessities does not come across simply.  It requires a lot of demagoguery, and a lot of mess, and a lot of rough running government.  And considering bourgeois institutions have been clamoring for “entitlement reform” (i.e. gutting benefits we pay into) for decades, this is a mess of their making.  Meaning, institutions like The Economist are to blame.  Not the politicians who make their careers off catering to these interests.

If you’ll notice, Wall Street didn’t sink that much.  Meaning they were aware of where the government actually stood with their interests.  They and their institutions have been clamoring to dismantle the social safety net for decades, so they see it as the standard price of doing business.

This brinkmanship isn’t just about Obamacare.  It’s about the government’s overall role in providing for human welfare.  And the repercussions about what happens with Obamacare reverberate to other programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Ted Cruz and the Tea Party likes of him (Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, etc.) may come across sounding crazy, but there’s a method behind their madness.  They know the powerful interests, the mainstream powerful interests, that give them the wink and the nudge to continue.  And since they are the most militant at pursuing these interests, it’s why they’ll continue to have a forum for their platforms.  And this will continue to be an issue.