Saturday, September 21, 2002
Michael Steinhardt's revelation - via dipshit Dan Dorfman on the pages of Steinhardt's print warblog - that he's betting big
on U.S. equities comes as little surprise. It reminds us of George Soros's infamous letter to the Financial Times
casting doubts on the viability of the Russian ruble. Soros, a firm believer in "reflexivity
" would later express amazement at the turmoil in Russian markets occasioned by his letter. Soros claimed not to have been short rubles, but Steinhardt's admission seems an obvious - and sad - attempt to exert influence on the markets, a practice he has a history
of. The Soros-Steinhardt parallel here is obvious. Are there others?
Soros was famously interviewed by Anthony Giddens
, the sociologist who Tony Blair cites as a massive personal influence. Steinhardt was interviewed - in an appearance that left many viewers scratching their heads and saying "Who the hell is that guy and why is he shaped like an egg?" - by Charlie Rose, a professional friend to fortunes.
Soros has spent considerably setting up a network of non-profits and charities advancing causes that don't obviously, or at all
, bolster his personal bottom line. Steinhardt funds the Manhattan Institute. He is also of the curious belief that American Jews are likely to suffer an imminent collective disappearance. As a result, he pushes for insular parochialism
A Google search for "George Soros" demonstrates the man's renown by finding 63,800 results. Steinhardt all but anonymous at 3,560.
Soros is reported to be a modest man, shunning ostentation. Steinhardt has a private zoo. Actually, he has two
Friday, September 20, 2002
Dan Dorfman appears again today, his third column this week. While of course we are happy that the septuagenarian is making the most of his exploitation by the New York Sun, there is a very troubling element at play here. A review of this week’s papers reveals that Alicia Colon did not grace the Sun’s pages once this week. Has the Sun, which purports to cover New York like a blanket, ditched the Staten Island Sweetheart for other columnists, like reprints of Michael Kinsley and Chris Suellentrop pieces from Slate.com? (Oh, so very New York, those two.) Has Alicia been rubbed out, gone the way of Sun perennials like Rachel P. Kovner, or moved on to better things
, like Seth P. Mnookin? We will of course monitor the situation, lighting votives for Alicia in front of our prized letter
from Cardinal O’Connor.
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Today finds Amity Shlaes in the finest of fettles, contributing yet another of her hopelessly arrogant - and simultaneously dim-witted - losers to her hubby's newspaper. As per her usual, having to emit more than 500 words of establishmentarian bilge proves an overextension; her column is again just a reprint of Financial Times
crapola available free of charge.
Shlaes offers several prescriptions for the image of the ugly American, exposing herself as one of the most hideous specimens of the breed in the process. As her piece is another ho-hum exercise in self-righteousness of the Limbaugh variety, we'll confine ourselves here to some of the more glaring mischaracterizations.
Shlaes writes: "To judge by US policy in Afghanistan the answer may be: establish a seemingly friendly leader, put in a few peacekeepers, sketch out a framework for governance, involve the UN and reward key countries in the region. Then retreat and let the credits roll." The "sketch" we've left the Afghans is as rudimentary and wrong-headed as the sketch Arthur Laffer left for Jude Wanniski and the wider world, and when Shlaes says we've retreated (a very apt word) to "watch the credits roll," she presumably meant "heads" instead of "credits." As is now obvious, with attempts on the life of that "seemingly friendly leader" and the essential instability of Afghanistan
beyond Kabul's city limits, Afghanistan should only serve as a template for those wishing to bring about further disaster.
Shlaes acknowledges as much, saying that a "dramatic punishment," such as the one our unelected president is threatening Iraq with (scaring the rest of the world
far more than Saddam) "that is not followed by dramatic reward" is likely to engender resentment. Really?! Even more startling is the cherry-topped ice cream sundae Shlaes doles out as a reward: "nation-building."
Nation-building, she says, was not discredited in Vietnam, as many believe. We never said so, though Vietnam seemed more to us as an instance of America attempting to secure power in the area through the deliberate bombing of civilian areas. As proof of nation-building's efficacy, Shlaes invokes Yugoslavia, which, if you think about it as Shlaes clearly hasn't, was really the dismantling of a once successful multi-ethnic state, a beast for which The New York Sun
has shown no tolerance.
"After recapturing Kuwait, the US halted," Shlaes reports, "confident that it did not need to unseat Mr Hussein to force regime change in Iraq." We seem to recall the reasons for that halt having more to do with an American desire to see Iraqi territorial contiguity and power preserved as a counterweight to Iran - and as a means of preserving the status-quo in the region.
column wouldn't be a Sun
column absent the guest appearance of a reactionary "expert" of one stripe or another. The invitations are ordinarily delivered to the Manhattan Institute, though Shlaes taps lunatic warmonger Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, who "calls for active engagement, as well as potential nation-building, in Iran and Syria." Prior to the commencement of hostilities in Afghanistan, Ledeen wrote the following
Freedom is our most lethal weapon, and the oppressed peoples of the fanatic regimes are our greatest assets. They need to hear and see that we are with them, and that the Western mission is to set them free, under leaders who will respect them and preserve their freedom.
Gauging the depth of Ledeen's commitment to nation-building, we note his stock of ennobling words reached exhaustion about the time the first daisy cutters fell on Kandahar. He has since spent man-hours furiously urging war on the Islamic world. As has the Sun
Thus, "for better or for worse," Shlaes says, "the US is at last trading away its old, cold war view of itself as the 'ugly American' for a more positive image." Shlaes arrives at her "trade" via one of the most egregious non sequiturs we've ever seen - and we've been reading the logically crippled Sun
since its very first edition - but we're sure Shlaes believes it's facilitated with ordnance. What a way to make friends.
Sorry for the lack of posts lately, the family
and I took a brief vacation
before the school year starts.
In today’s New York Sun, columnist/doddering-stroke-victim-Seth-is-expoliting-for-his-name-recognition Dan Dorfman lands the big scoop: Michael Steinhardt is making a $55 million investment in the stock market! And he’s betting that interest rates will “remain stagnant or . . . rise perhaps a wee bit.”! Wow! What is the former head of hedge fund doing, making a hedge-type investment like that? More importantly, what makes it worthy of note at all? Perhaps Daddy Steinhardt wanted to see his name in his paper, or perhaps Seth and Ira wanted to throw the Big Man some props. To Dorfman’s credit, he does identify Steinhardt as a Sun investor, and thus appears to be the first Sun writer to actually employ any sort of disclosure; certainly we cannot recall Amity Shlaes’ ever being identified as Mrs. Seth Lipsky, nor has Barbara Amiel been referred to as the consort of Lord Black of Carbuncle (or whatever), nor was the late lamented Rachel P. Kovner called out as Cousin Brucie’s daughter.
Speaking of disclosure, or more appropriately conflicts of interest, in his New York Sun column of Monday, September 16, Dorfman suggested to his investment advice-starved readers that they might want to invest in wines, what with a big Morrell & Co. wine auction coming up this weekend. (Apparently, Morrell is some bigshot wine merchant – I wouldn’t know, I’m not a snob/member of the conservative elite.) Maybe if, like Big Daddy Steinhardt or Just Plain Daddy Kovner, you have a few million bucks hanging around you can invest in a nice jeroboam of Chateaux Latour, expected to go for between $6500 and $8000. But how could this be any sort of a conflict, you ask? Well, I ain’t saying it is, exactly. I’ll just point out that the Sun’s few regular advertisers seem to include wineries, wine distributors, and the like (in today’s paper alone there are ads for both Archery Summit winery (or vineyard or whatever) and Crossroads Wines and Liquors. Does the content bring in the ads, or do the ads drive the content?
Meanwhile, in last Friday's New York Daily News, columnist Paul Colford wrote
that the New York Sun "says circulation has grown to around 20,000." That’s a staggering success; it’s almost as many as half
the readers of Women’s Wear Daily (circ. 41705)! Only two-thirds less than the Staten Island Advance (circ. 67881)! Who’s kicking the ass of the Tuesday edition (circ. 9974) of the Racing Form? That’s right bitches! Look out Hoy! (circ. 75,113), here comes the Sun!