Best of Blogs: January 31, 2006
EDITED BY PIERRE TRISTAM/Candide's Notebooks
We're liberal to the core, but that means keeping an open mind as much as seducing closed ones. And so from the left, the right, the in-between, we include in this daily blog review the political, the social, the cultural and the undefinable. We browse all over the globe. And we're suckers for good writing regardless of ideology.Clicking the link will take you to the original blog post.
Featured Blog I: Hamas 101
ADAM FELBER /January 29, 2006
HAMAS HEADQUARTERS, GAZA CITY - THREE WEEKS FROM NOW
[Hamas’ top official in Gaza, MAHMOUD AL-ZAHAR, sits at his desk, surrounded by his newly-minted officials. A secretary enters and deposits stacks of documents into a box marked “IN.”]
ZAHAR: Thank you, Eth-el. Now, my friends, to business. Who wants to start? Ahmed?
AHMED: We have a bit of a crisis developing at the Rafah post office…
ZAHAR: Well, we’ve dealt with this before! Get a few lions of Islam in there to shield the people, and we will fire righteous missiles at the Israeli devils who seek to encroa-
AHMED: -No, it’s not the Israelis.
AHMED: No, it’s… we need more postmen. Plus, the new stamps have been delayed, and people are angry. Particularly Mrs. Ramla al-Fetayah. She says we promised to release the new-
[ZAHAR pounds the table forcefully.]
ZAHAR: Look, we are the liberators of Palestine! You’ll have to tell this Mrs. Fetacheese -
ZAHAR: Whatever... [Read the rest at Fanatical Apathy....]
Featured Blogger II: Bubble Mania
Off You Go, Alan Greenspan, Not a Moment Too Soon
TONI STRAKA /October 28, 2005
[Much of the corporate-industrial complex is mourning the retirement of Alan Greenspan today while canonizing his 19 year-tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve. He's not been that saintly. The Prudent Investor explains.]
VIENNA—The nomination of Ben Bernanke, head of US President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), as successor to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has sparked a hot international discussion about the future course of US monetary policy. The academic world fiercely debates whether Bernanke will be a "hawk" who is not afraid to fight inflationary pressures with higher interest rates or a "dove" who prefers to let the stuttering economy rumble ahead on a cushion of cheap credit. But gyrating capital markets obviously fear the latter. Ben "Printing Press" Bernanke's reputation is engraved in stone with weary asset managers since he said in a speech in November 2002,"the US government has a technology, called a printing press - or, today, its electronic equivalent - that allows it to produce as many US dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost." Such a stance certainly pleases Bush who has been running up more debts than any other president in US history and is for this reason actually the biggest enemy to a sound monetary policy in times of rising inflation. Public debt jumped from US$5.8 trillion to more than $8 trillion (that is $8,000,000,000,000) since he took office in 2001, and he is the first president who has never vetoed any costly bill Congress has presented to him. Be it $80 billion per year for the war in Iraq on top of the $430 billion the Pentagon needs to keep its war machine running on idle, $225 billion for a renovation of the US highway system (including a $220 million bridge to an uninhabited island in Alaska) or some $200 billion for rebuilding efforts after the hurricanes in the southern US, Bush has always been a happy spender. At the same time he has aggravated the fiscal situation by numerous tax cuts benefiting the upper crust of America's society. By the time Bush goes home, the US debt will scratch the $10 trillion level. Read the rest of the obituary at the Prudent Investor...