The recent decision by the Federal Reserve to keep its balance sheet stuffed to bursting with whatever the Wall Street banks decide to throw onto it came as no surprise and crushed any hope that the Fed would tone down its policy of quantitative easing (QE) — or credit easing (CE), as Mr. Bernanke prefers to call it. With the US economy stalled despite the trillions of "stimulus" funds larded out to the politically connected, the people who helm the Federal Reserve likely felt they had no other choice. This was too easy to predict; for the past few decades the response of US monetary authorities to any crisis has been the same — print more money.
In one of the small benefits to be derived from the recent Israeli assault upon the Gaza relief flotilla, Israeli politicians have declared they will relax certain import restrictions enforced by their long running siege of the Gaza Strip. Life is hard and you take whatever good you can, and not only has this move alleviated the suffering of the Palestinians to a degree but also it’s given the world a shining example of what hell is wrought in any society which allows the mixing of the political with the economic.
Now you’d think any relaxation of the hands about Gaza’s throat would be a welcome change for the (...ahem) gentlemen who run Hamas, but that would be asking a bit too much. Amazing but true, it seems they are a bit taken aback by the Israeli decision to open the Gaza juice market to imports, the best minds in Israel finally declaring fruit juice to be an item not fitted for military operations. And now from the sordid coupling of politics with business has birthed an abomination - in this case Hamas re-imposing the blockade in fruit juices. Yes. The one Israel just lifted. That one.
It is not often that I disagree with what passes my eye when reading libertarian websites. At this point I’ve guzzled the Kool-Aid and bask happily in the progressive sunshine, relaxed and red-eyed. So when I recently came across a libertarian-slanted review of Elaine Scarry’s Rule of Law, Misrule of Men that seconded that book’s condemnation of W and Obama’s policy of targeting enemy leaders for assassination, I was surprised to find myself muttering to the walls as I processed it. I usually only do that when readingPaul Krugman.
Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.
Abraham J. Heschel
A recent USA Today article discussed the trend of interracial marriage in America. (Small, but growing.) Of the reasons I fell in with the libertarian crowd, their attitude towards the subject of race was one of the most prominent. My wife and I are what Americans - always leery about stepping on the racial dragon’s tail – euphemistically refer to as "a mixed race couple". Hanging with the Ron Paul crowd was a refreshing change for us because none of them came running up prattling about how nice it was to "see black people here" (Republican) or gushing how some of their "best friends are black". (Democrat) At the libertarian gatherings nobody seemed to care at all, or at least not enough to mention. To me, that’s a good sign.
I read this heartwarming story in the Wall Street Journal about a couple, richer than Croesus and more self-absorbed than a movie starlet, who have decided to sell, for a mere $68 million dollars, a 30,000 square foot, 12 bedroom complex – pardon, home – they have just completed for themselves. No kids. Just themselves. Maybe they have a lot of friends.
As if America’s military wasn’t battered enough, it seems US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is angling to involve it in yet another conflict, this one on the Korean Peninsula. Considering that the American military has already lost a war on that very same piece of ground (and the fact that her chosen adversary, North Korea, most likely is nuclear armed) you’d imagine she’d be a bit more reluctant to throw our hat (and soldiers) into the ring. That, though, would require a sense of restraint and diplomacy, something Mrs. Clinton has never been known for.
Historians have not adequately appreciated the importance of businesspeople and professionals as pioneers in early civil-rights movements.
- David and Linda Beito
Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power by David and Linda Beito (University of Illinois Press, Chicago, IL, 2009)
Fame is fleeting, and those who during their lifetime attain the debatable benefits of public acclaim will often, upon their death, have their memory entombed with them. Such is the case with T.R.M. Howard, who for a time was one of America’s most widely known, colorful, and respected civil rights pioneers. The husband and wife team of David and Linda Beito have labored nearly a decade to write a biography, Black Maverick, in hopes that they can raise the man’s memory from the grave. The book was worth the wait.
The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.
I pass every April’s rain preparing for my favorite holiday – May 5th, birth date of Karl Marx, the father of communism. I sit in my corner chair, lulled by the roar of the electric space heater and raindrops striking the windowpanes. I hear neither, as I’m re-reading my collection of the great man’s work along with what, to my mind, is the most well written rundown of his life and thought, Thomas Sowell’s Marxism.
Born 192 years ago today in Trier, Germany, Karl Marx "grew up a brilliant and spoiled child" (Sowell, 165) then spent his college years driving his father to exasperation, poisoning his mind with Hegel, and writing of the day when he would obtain enough political power to "wander godlike and victorious...I will feel equal to the creator". (Sowell, 166) So even from his youth it’s safe to say the boy had issues. A man who knew him later in life commented "a most dangerous personal ambition has eaten away all the good in him" (Sowell, 183) so the wisdom of age slipped right through him, his monomania left every potential lesson unheeded and unlearned.
I’m in the burbs, though not by choice, sitting in a backyard surrounded by grass and bugs and sunshine. My son wings by in his electronic car with the neighbor’s kid riding shotgun; they’re screaming happily and trying to run over the dog. A bee roughly the size of a small airplane buzzes close – reminding me of my plans to pave over every square inch of the yard and build a subway station under it. God, to show His mercy, has kept me within radio range of the city so at least I can listen to the Mets.
For a change, the Mets are winning. I’ve got my New York Times, leisurely smoke, and try to ignore the bees as best I can so as to read about the people of Arizona. Unlike the Mets, they are not winning and what they’ve done, if left to stand, can drag us all down with them.
In the event you haven’t heard, the Obama administration, meaning Obama, is sticking to his promised plan to withdraw troops from Iraq, in a kind of sorta’ way that makes you wonder if he’s pulling everybody’s leg, laughing inside as he waits for us to all get the joke. The New York Times reporters assigned to a recent column on the subject pitch in the question that, with the violence in Iraq ramping up with the election cycle and all, will this "delay the planned American withdrawal?"
It might, if there was a withdrawal planned.
When is a withdrawal not a withdrawal? When you will leave behind "no more than 50,000 American forces", according to someone named "Senior Obama administration officials" who, judging by the number of quotes he plants across the daily papers is a regular Gabby Gus. And, lest the eternally fearful war-hawks shit their feathers in fright at the word "withdrawal" Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. let’s out that, not to worry, regular Rambos will be left in Iraq as "we’re not leaving behind cooks and quartermasters". So Max Boot & Pals can come out from under the covers.
Her name was Karen, and I worked with her at an investment bank in the late 90s. She went on to become a nurse, I think, and before she moved on she left glued to my head her favorite saying, "You white people and your dogs!"
She didn’t so much say it as laugh it, always dragging out the dooooooggggg to emphasize just how strange she sometimes found pasty people to be. I was sitting on a Central Park bench, huddled against the cold with The New York Times in my gloved hands, warily keeping half an eye on the dog across the walkway (more dinosaur than dog) as it strained against its leash at each passerby in turn.
Clutching the non-dog end of that leash was a waif-like blonde girl, and safe to say she was far outweighed by her beast. I was mentally rebuking her for not buying a bit smaller version of animal, something of a more reasonable (to her) size (like a poodle) and with every barely restrained lunge of her uber-dog my mind sneered, "You white people and your dooooooggggggssss!!!"