Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some Questions that Require Research (groan)

I. Norman Finkelstein in Counterpunch

"And the second main reason for the attack is because Hamas was signaling that it wanted a diplomatic settlement of the conflict along the June 1967 border. That is to say, Hamas was signaling they had joined the international consensus, they had joined most of the international community, overwhelmingly the international community, in seeking a diplomatic settlement. And at that point, Israel was faced with what Israelis call a Palestinian peace offensive. And in order to defeat the peace offensive, they sought to dismantle Hamas.

As was documented in the April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair by the writer David Rose, basing himself on internal US documents, it was the United States in cahoots with the Palestinian Authority and Israel which were attempting a putsch on Hamas, and Hamas preempted the putsch. That, too, is no longer debatable or no longer a controversial claim."

What does he mean by "signaling"

II. Mike Whitney in Counterpunch

a. While a fairly good exposition of the economic problems facing Obama, there appears to be no discussion here about the Defence budget, it's effect on the deficit or its inflationary effects. Is any and all spending good for the economy?

b. "Still, many people think that stimulus is a waste of money that will send deficits into the stratosphere. Libertarians, for example, argue that the cure for a credit bubble shouldn't be more credit. They want to see debts written down and balance sheets back in the black. Their prescription is similar to Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon's in the 1930s who said : “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers – purge the rottenness from the system.” Mellon's rant may sound consistent with free market dogma, but following his advice would lead straight to catastrophe. The markets would crash and there would be riots in the streets. It's better to err on the side of caution and give the economy a badly needed boost of stimulus.

Forbes recently ran an article which disputes the effectiveness of stimulus. According to the article, the European Central Bank (ECB) produced a working paper, entitled 'The Macroeconomic Effects of Fiscal Policy' which states:

"The empirical evidence suggests that government spending shocks have, in general, a small effect on GDP,' and 'can have a 'have a negative effect on private investment...Hiking government spending does little for economies, has a minimal impact on consumer spending, hits stock prices and can put off private investment." (Forbes)"

He does assert that the libertarian position "would lead straight to catastrophe", but doesn't explain why or how. Incidentally, Keyseians never seem to mention the Keynes recommended fiscal stimulus in downturns but also backing off when the economy is doing well; using the brakes as well as the throttle, which we haven't done since Clinton and arguably, since Nixon.

III. (need source) Supposedly, Gov. whatsisname was investigating sub-prime lending in 2003 before he was thrown out for diddling Ashley DuPre (funny I can't remember his name but I do hers ) but the investigation was shut down by the Feds. Seems pretty explosive if true. Anything to this?

Anybody? Bueller?

1 comment:

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