Some interesting links on the Web.
Bailouts for Bunglers
Paul Krugman asks: What happens if you lose vast amounts of other people’s money? Answer: you get a big gift from the federal government — but the president says some very harsh things about you before forking over the cash. I’m talking…about the administration’s plans for a banking system rescue — plans that are shaping up as a classic exercise in “lemon socialism:” taxpayers bear the cost if things go wrong, but stockholders and executives get the benefits if things go right. More here.
Wall Street Voodoo
Old-fashioned voodoo economics — the belief in tax-cut magic — has been banished from civilized discourse. The supply-side cult has shrunk to the point that it contains only cranks, charlatans, and Republicans. But recent news reports suggest that many influential people, including Federal Reserve officials, bank regulators, and, possibly, members of the Obama administration, have become devotees of a new kind of voodoo: the belief that by performing elaborate financial rituals we can keep dead banks walking. More here.
Is Obama heading towards a trade confrontation with China?
U.S.’s Economic Nationalism Could Lead to Confrontation with China
Barack Obama is on a risky path toward further confrontation with the Chinese. As his massive economic stimulus package makes its way through Congress, Uncle Sam’s biggest trading partners are warning that we face a spiral of protectionist policies. The House-approved version includes a “Buy American” provision that generally prohibits the purchase of foreign iron and steel for any infrastructure projects in the bill. While it may not hit the Chinese economy directly, the provision has the potential to stir up a nationalistic backlash among government officials in Beijing. More here.
A troubling insight on new US Attorney General Eric Holder…
Justice Department Extortion Racket-5
“Chiquita was facing the prospect of federal charges for paying protection money to Colombian terrorists to safeguard its banana crops, and the company needed help. It turned to Eric Holder, an elite Washington lawyer well versed in the ways of the Justice Department. More here.
Why Obama’s televised outreach to Muslims will go nowhere…
Who are the ‘extraordinary’ Muslims?
Most Muslims want to better their lives, as United States President Barack Obama told an Arabic television channel last week, but their lives are getting worse rather than better, and nothing they know can make things better. In theory, there might be a future in which the Islamic world could live in peace and prosperity, but today’s Muslims cannot get there from here. Read the full analysis here.
Iran doesn’t want nukes, says a pro-Tehran analyst…
Iran’s nuclear terrorism fears
“The commission believes that unless the world community acts decisively and with greater urgency, it is more likely than not a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013.” This statement was made recently by Graham Allison, one of the authors of “World at Risk”, a report by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, during his testimony before the US Congress. The trouble with this analysis, however, is that its assumption of an Iranian march toward nuclear weapons simply lacks empirical substantiation. More here.
Of Two Minds lists some things that won’t change under Obama…
What Won’t Be Changing
Government policy adjustments are feedback loops which will affect small systems, but they are incapable of changing the major trends. Amidst the debate about whether the “stimulus” and “bad bank” plans will magically restore the U.S. and thus the global economy to what once passed for “health,” it’s good to recall what can’t and won’t be changed by any government policy adjustments. Full analysis here.
Musings from a titan of the dead tree media…
Beware the Tide of Groupthink
BusinessWeek’s editor-in-chief questions the conclusions of this year’s World Economic Forum. “Be skeptical of tidy explanations for complex past events,” he warns. Davos can deliver insights it doesn’t necessarily intend. More here.
Who are the Great Powers today?
Top 12 countries by GDP:
The world’s love/hate relation with the United States was perceptible at Davos…
In time of crisis, looking to U.S. with wariness and hope
This was supposed to be the year the United States came in from the cold at the annual gathering of world leaders at Davos. But instead of receiving a warm embrace, American policies were rebuked again and again in rhetoric that recalled the anger of the Bush years – except the ire this time was mostly directed at Washington’s economic failings, rather than its diplomatic ones. Full story here.
Workers of the world are increasingly very pissed off!
Global financial crisis sparks unrest
Reuters gives some details of global protests and developments as a result of the global financial crisis. More here.
A must-read report…
Chatham House Report: The Feeding of the Nine Billion: Global Food Security for the 21st Century. Go here.
The untold story of why the U.S. is bound to fail in Afghanistan…
The Afghan Scam
The first of 20,000 to 30,000 additional U.S. troops are scheduled to arrive in Afghanistan next month to re-win the war George W. Bush neglected to finish in his eagerness to start another one. However, “winning” the military campaign against the Taliban is the lesser half of the story. More here.