Daily Archives: January 21, 2019

Past BBC interviewee on antisemitism gets jail term for antisemitic incitement

BBC Watch

Long-time readers may recall that five years ago both BBC Two’s ‘Newsnight’ and BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ covered a story that was portrayed by the then ‘Newsnight’ presenter Jeremy Paxman as a ‘free speech’ issue:

“Now a French comedian has managed to short-circuit his country’s professed commitment to free speech. President Francois Holland, with support from both Right and Left, today encouraged local authorities to ban performances by Dieudonné M’bala-M’bala – usually known just as “Dieudonné”. It’s being done on grounds of public order because his alleged antisemitism has tested to destruction Voltaire’s supposed belief that ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ “

That ‘Newsnight’ report included an interview with a man introduced by Paxman as “the French writer and film-maker Alain Soral” and “a close friend of Monsieur Dieudonné” who “helped him popularise the infamous quenelle gesture”. BBC audiences were told nothing of Soral’s far-Right affiliations and record…

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How and why did we start collecting economics statistics (such as inflation, GDP etc.): Case of US

Mostly Economics

A really nice paper by Prof Hugh Rockoff of Rutgers Univ.

He discusses an area which is seldom discussed in economic research which is origins of statistics/data which help us understand the trends in an economy. How and why did we start collecting data on things like inflation, employment and output? He discusses the US case:

Although attempts to measure trends in prices, output, and employment can be traced back for centuries, in the main the origins of the U.S. federal statistics are to be found in bitter debates over economic policy, ultimately debates over the distribution of income, at the end of the nineteenth century and during the world wars and Great Depression. Participants in those debates hoped that statistics that were widely accepted as nonpolitical and accurate would prove that their grievances were just and provide support for the policies they advocated.

Economists – including luminaries such as…

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‘News at Ten’ continues the BBC’s ‘blockade’ campaign

BBC Watch

On January 15th the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry published an English language Facebook post in which – apparently this time in reaction to the delay of a transfer of cash from Qatar to Hamas – it claimed that “the fuel crisis in hospitals and primary care centers continues to hit critical levels”.

On January 17th the flagship BBC programme ‘News at Ten’ – aired on BBC One and the BBC News channel – ran an item that seemed to have been inspired by that Facebook post and further milked Mishal Husain’s December 2018 trip [see ‘related articles’ below] to the Gaza Strip.

Failing to clarify to viewers that the health ministry in the Gaza Strip is run by the terror group Hamas, presenter Huw Edwards introduced the report (from 23:49 here) as follows: [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

Edwards: “Now the Palestinian…

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Review of “The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House” by John Harris

My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies

John F. Harris’s 2005 “The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House” was published four years after the end of Clinton’s presidency. Harris worked for The Washington Post for more than two decades and covered the Clinton White House from 1995 to 2001. In 2007 he co-founded Politico, a political news organization.

As suggested by its title, Harris’s biography dedicates itself to Bill Clinton’s two-term presidency. There is no effort to introduce his life or cover his post-presidency. But Harris does briefly consider Clinton’s legacy as well as the character traits which made his presidency so tumultuous.

The book’s 437 pages are consistently engaging and uncommonly readable. And Harris demonstrates impressive balance in his presidential review: readers wedded to the notion of a hollow and unproductive presidency will find their view vigorously challenged. But Clinton partisans should expect to find their famously gifted politician fully exposed for…

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The Carbon Tax Shell Game

Science Matters

James Taylor explains current efforts to distract us with a tricky proposal. A ‘Revenue Neutral’ Carbon Tax Is a Costly Myth.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other media outlets are reporting that a bipartisan group of top economic advisors has signed a statement supporting a carbon dioxide tax that returns all revenue to the American people. Prominent signatories include Alan Greenspan, Paul Volcker, and Ben Bernanke. Expect this to be a big messaging point in the weeks and months ahead for global warming activists.

More atmospheric carbon dioxide and gradually warming temperatures have brought net benefits to human health and welfare. Yet economists like Greenspan and Bernanke, who received appointments from Republican presidents, often make the argument that they are not scientists and they are merely crafting the best economic solution to a problem that most scientists say we need to…

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