Alex Klein

For six weeks, I was a sightseer in a foreign city in downtown Manhattan, a land with its own laws and institutions, bankers and janitors, leaders and followers, heroes and fools. When Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked why he chose to invade Zuccotti Park in the dead of night and sweep it all away, his answer was a familiar one: “Health and safety.” Occupy Wall Street had turned chaotic, he argued. It had to be excised from lower Manhattan like a malignant tumor, with the area sanitized of all press and onlookers.

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[Guest post by Alex Klein] Yesterday, Jeb Bush and Kevin Warsh chose to lead their Wall Street Journal column with a college shout-out: "As the economy continues to struggle, we are reminded of a course offered at Yale University titled "Grand Strategy." Drawing on a weighty curriculum of history and philosophy, the course seeks to train future policy makers to tackle the complex challenges of statecraft in a comprehensive, systematic way. Clearly, U.S.

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Day 1 The giant, disembodied heads of Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley glared down at me; they knew I was up to no good. It was the opening banquet of the National Conservative Student Conference, and I couldn’t even find a seat. I wandered through the crowd at the Hyatt Regency: flags, blue mood lighting, white tablecloths, white people, and bowties.

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[Guest post by Alex Klein.] In the past week, the media and government have justifiably exhausted all possible ways of beating up on S&P. Although juicy, as I’ve argued before, these criticisms are coming a year too late.

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On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the Wall Street Journal is sending surveys to its subscribers, asking them if a little scandal on the other side of the pond has affected their regard for the Journal. Have readers, for example, “heard or seen anything in the news or elsewhere over the past few weeks about News Corp. or News of the World, a U.K.-based tabloid?” Just wondering. And do readers know, the Journal asks, that Rupert Murdoch chairs the company that is the publisher of the Journal?

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On Wednesday morning the managing directors of Wall Street’s biggest bond rating agencies lined up in front of the House Financial oversight committee. To the administration and the Treasury, these men currently represent their worst nightmare. In the last two weeks, Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, and Fitch have all threatened to downgrade America’s triple-A debt rating, a move that would cost the government billions in raised interest rates and spark disastrous macroeconomic consequences for the country.

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Pro-Rupert Murdoch editorials have a lot in common. For starters, they’re all published in newspapers owned by or associated with Murdoch. Then, there’s everything else about them: their argumentation, their structure, their themes, their key phrases. It’s almost as if the papers are cribbing off each other, or some kind of master Murdoch defense document. To be sure, not all of the News Corp titles have editorialized in defense of their owner. For example, the New York Post is going for a “hear no evil” approach, burying News of the World scandal stories on page 35.

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A camera-mobbed Rupert Murdoch walked into yesterday morning’s hearing a Bond villain, an evil overlord, an all-seeing eye. He walked out of it a pied, deflated, piteous figurehead, with the committee apologizing to him, comforting him, and praising his “guts and leadership.” The Murdochs’ theme wasn’t denial, nor was it really apology. It was innocence through ignorance, victory through stupidity. While Rupert languished, his son James dodged.

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[Guest post by Alex Klein] Senator Tom Coburn just kicked down the door into the debt ceiling debate packing serious heat: a $9 trillion caliber plan to cut the deficit by attacking every special interest group in the United States. Farmers, old folks, teachers, unions, students, corporations, and even veterans: nobody is safe from the Coburn cuts. By fusing almost every unpopular proposal in the debate thus far—from raising the Medicare age to flaunting Grover Norquist and his tax apostles—the senator is probably trying some kind of sum-of-all-fears strategy.

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