October 29, 2003

Poor and Really Stupid

Self-confessed Paul Krugman cyber-stalker Donald Luskin threatens to sue himself. I have come into possession of the following letter, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the letter here:

October 29, 2003

Dear Mr Luskin:

This firm represents Donald L. Luskin, a Contributing Editor to National Review Online and author and host of Poorandstupid.com, among other activities. You, Mr. Luskin, in your post of May 7, 2003, entitled "We Stalked. He Balked" make the false assertion that Mr. Luskin has committed the crime of stalking. Such a statement constitutes libel per se, an actionable tort subjecting both the author--that's you, Donald L. Luskin--and the publisher--that's National Review, which has the extraordinarily bad judgment to publish your ravings--to liability for both actual and punitive damages. As a result of your personal control over your postings, Mr. Luskin, as well as the fact that Mr. Luskin has personally brought these libelous comments about Mr. Luskin to your personal attention, Mr. Luskin, already, you face personal liability for their distribution.

You, Mr. Donald L. Luskin, in your claim that Donald L. Luskin has committed the crime of stalking, have gone beyond mere expressions of opinion and made false and defamatory statements of alleged fact about my client Donald L. Luskin that cannot be justified.

Mr. Luskin, Mr. Luskin hereby demands that you remove the May 7th post, as well as all other of your writings that make false, defamatory, and libelous statments about Mr. Luskin, and to do so immediately. This is your opportunity to resolve this matter without legal expense and exposure to liability and damages. Otherwise, Mr. Luskin, you should expect to have to write large checks to Mr. Luskin after he wins his suit against you, for if the offending posts are not removed within 72 hours, further legal action will be taken.

I'm sure, Mr. Luskin, that you can ascertain through your own methods that Mr. Luskin is very serious indeed.

Sincerely,

/S/

Jeffrey Downtun, attorney for Donald L. Luskin

Posted by DeLong at October 29, 2003 06:14 PM | TrackBack

Comments

Brilliant, Brad!

But probably actionable.

Posted by: John Thullen on October 29, 2003 06:52 PM

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Well if Fox can threaten to sue Fox, why can't Luskin threaten to sue himself?

Posted by: Billmon on October 29, 2003 07:09 PM

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This is REALLY going to help Atrios. Lusking is really exposing himself as a fool.

Posted by: anon on October 29, 2003 07:37 PM

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In a way, I can't help but feeling sorry for Luskin. Sure, he's an everyday, stupid, lying, defaming jerk, but these theatrics with Brad and Atrios go beyond that. He stalks and defames in ways that are ordinarily loathsome, but, since he is also destroying himself in the process, also endow him with a weird sort of pathos, as he is inexorably driven to make ever more stupid and vile decisions even as they catch up to him and drive him below contempt.

Or maybe I'm just a weirdo. I thought sort of the same thing about Iraqi Info Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, an even more vile person who was driven to lie with utter futility.

Maybe I'm just a sucker for Miltonian... well, not grandeur, but Miltonian patheticness?

Posted by: Julian Elson on October 29, 2003 08:42 PM

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Nah. Don't feel sorry for Luskin. He's not destroying himself. He's doing his job: he's being very useful to National Review...

Posted by: Brad DeLong on October 29, 2003 08:57 PM

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Nah. Don't feel sorry for Luskin. He's not destroying himself. He's doing his job: he's being very useful to National Review...

Yeah the way Ann Coulter was useful to her last employer...before she had to find a job where she couldn't be fired anymore....

Posted by: Cheryl on October 29, 2003 09:56 PM

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Eh, what the hell, I propose we sue Ann Coulter for accusing us liberals of Treason.

Posted by: ItAintEazy on October 29, 2003 11:41 PM

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Nah. Don't feel sorry for Luskin. He's not destroying himself. He's doing his job: he's being very useful to National Review...

I agree. He's long since destroyed his credibility with anyone who makes the effort to check his sources. His writing seems to be designed to simply rile up the true-believers. In my spare time, I analyzed three of this critiques of Krugman and they were riddled with errors. Those analyses are at the URL attached to this message ( http://home.netcom.com/~rdavis2/luskin.html ).

Posted by: R Davis on October 30, 2003 01:21 AM

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here's what I want to know: is the "model returns" page on his company's web site actionable? 'cuz when I was doing a little part-time compliance work, a colleague's suggestion to publish a page like
http://www.trendmacro.com/modelPositions/trackrecord/nonclient.asp
would have sent me scurrying to the lawyers to find ways to convince him it's illegal as well as unethical.

and yes, Brad, I am calling Luskin's firm's "track record" (cough cough) page unethical. so watch out for his suit Real Soon Now.

Posted by: wcw on October 30, 2003 01:40 AM

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I suppose you all are right: Luskin's fine with how things are, and can't destroy his credibility except with those with whom he already lacks it. No vaguely clued in person takes him seriously (I wonder how Tom Maguire feels about being grouped with him as part of the so-called "Krugman Truth Squad."), but if your target audience isn't clued in people, then it doesn't matter.

Sooooo... you're right, no pity for Luskin. Perhaps I'm just projecting hopes onto my perception of reality? (and have you heard that no one is buying the latest books from Ann Coulter, and Michael Moore lost money on "Bowling for Columbine" and "Stupid White Men," or that Al Franken, following the abysmal failure of "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" is going back to doing apolitical humor? What really surprised me, though, is how Sean Hannity's and Dinesh D'Souza's books are going out of print because their weak sales don't justify another edition of any of them!)

Posted by: Julian Elson on October 30, 2003 03:10 AM

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Don't quit your day job, Professor. From the column you cite:

" He's even starting to get personal referring to me in his latest posting as his 'stalker-in-chief.' "

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on October 30, 2003 07:16 AM

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" Yeah the way Ann Coulter was useful to her last employer...before she had to find a job where she couldn't be fired anymore...."

Posted by: Cheryl on October 29, 2003 09:56 PM

Oh yeah, poor Ann. She was "fired" by having her column dropped (for which she wasn't even paid chump change). Landing on her feet with two best sellers which have made her a millionaire.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on October 30, 2003 07:19 AM

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Luskin is doing Krugman a great service.

There is a lot that can be criticized about Krugman's writtings -- I don't understand why everyone doesn't accept that his NYT columns are significantly inferior to much of his other work (including his recent NYT Magazine article.) He is not as good at writing a twice-weekly column as he is at writing longer expositions on economics or accademic economics. In particular, his obsession on Bush has led him to weaken otherwise strong economic arguements with non-essential, personal criticism. The recent Malaysia column is a case in point; he could have written an intersting article putting Mahathir's recent speach in a more informed context without the tenuous connection to recent US policy.

That said, Luskin has gone way off the deep end. If it is wrong to obsess about the power and significance of the President of the United States of America, what can be said about someone who obsesses about a twice-weekly columnist at the third highest circulation newspaper?

I have read Luskin's blog a few times, and more often than not have tended to agree with his arguements against Krugman. However, the tone has always been hysterical, and has gotten more so. As much as I am disappointed in Krugman, he deserves a better adversary.

Posted by: marc on October 30, 2003 08:35 AM

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patrick, as far as i am concerned, you are forever tainted. Not for your ex-officio role as krugman Truth Squad member, but because of your association with Chief Stalker Luskin.

I understand 'truth squads'. I am actually glad someone is religiously fact checking Krugman. I hope they fact check Cheney with the same energy, but I digress.

But Luskin, in my opinion, is a complete idiot. Since he is such a fan of Ayn Rand, I have the perfect Don Luskin from atlas Shrugged:

Jim Taggart. he is the mediocre executive who wants to bring down the brilliant genius. he is the one who wants to destroy for the sake of destruction, knowing full well that his 'death' would soon follow.

Posted by: suresh krishnamoorthy on October 30, 2003 08:47 AM

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"I wonder how Tom Maguire feels about being grouped with him as part of the so-called "Krugman Truth Squad?"

Since this is a full-service comments section, I may as well answer.

First, careful readers of Luskin's columns may have noted that anyone who takes a shot at Krugman is declared to be a member of the Truth Squad - the army is draftees, rather than volunteers. Since I had been taking shots at Krugman before Luskin energed, I was naturally pressed into service.

Secondly, hits for me from NRO are probably sticky, since readers there may find something worth nibbling on at my blog. What you may call intellectual prostitution, I call shameless self-promotion.

Thirdly, as Brad has noted, Luskin has generated a lot of attention for NRO, and has caught up some big media (Meet the Press, for example) in the dramatic story line of "Krugman versus the Truth". Or, "Krugman versus the Crazies", as you prefer. But either way, it seems like Krugman can't be mentioned without mentioning Luskin, so from a PT Barnum perspective, it has worked for Luskin.

And fourthly (but never forthrightly), as I said a few days ago, oh, shit.

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2003/10/lets_declare_vi.html

Posted by: Tom Maguire on October 30, 2003 09:54 AM

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> Don't quit your day job, Professor.

From someone whose 'day job' appears to be supplying Mr Luskin with tidbits, that counts as a piece of prime paddywhackery.

Posted by: ahem on October 30, 2003 10:40 AM

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Keep working, Patrick. If you just produce a big enough pile of irrelevant manure, there's GOT to be a pony in it somewhere.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on October 30, 2003 11:20 AM

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Keep working, Patrick. If you just produce a big enough pile of irrelevant manure, there's GOT to be a pony in it somewhere.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on October 30, 2003 11:22 AM

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Keep working, Patrick. If you just produce a big enough pile of irrelevant manure, there's GOT to be a pony in it somewhere.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on October 30, 2003 11:27 AM

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" patrick, as far as i am concerned, you are forever tainted. Not for your ex-officio role as krugman Truth Squad member, but because of your association with Chief Stalker Luskin."

By comment inches, I'm far more associated with Professor DeLong. But don't let the word get out, I could be ruined.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on October 30, 2003 01:50 PM

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