Sunday, March 29, 2009

Free Markets vs Responsible Markets

There's a good article in the Christian Science Monitor that lists a few words we commonly use in reference towards Muslims, and the different meanings of the words in the context how they hear them. For example: "Jihadi." The jihad is an internal struggle first, a process of improving one's spiritual self-discipline and getting closer to God. 

The lesser jihad is external, validating "just war" when necessary. By calling the groups we are fighting "jihadis," we confirm their own – and the worldwide Muslim public's – perception that they are religious. They are not. They are terrorists, hirabists, who consistently violate the most fundamental teachings of the Holy Koran and mainstream Islamic scholars and imams."

We pick up a word and use it without considering the cultural contexts in how its used, nor do we bother to ask. Phrases ricochet from the media faster than we can digest. Sometimes we ignore what we don't want to hear.

Another example is the phrase "free market." According to devotees of Arthur Laffer, a free market is one that is deregulated and free to act as if it were an animal in Nature. My own view is one where I can freely invest my money and trust that the market will behave as it should. This means that there is regulation to keep that market in its defined place, and oversight and enforcement to keep it real and honest. Of course I like my definition better, I feel that it's more responsible, and I also feel that the right wing interpretation leads to greed, corruption, and market manipulation...

While I surely hope that Geithner's ideas will fix things, it seems more like putting on band aids instead of restructuring a broken system. It may be a long time before we can fully trust the financial industry again. With the out of control nature of Wall Street, that may never happen because another major scandal will be waiting down the road...

Politico reports that Paul Krugman will be on the cover of next week's Newsweek magazine, along with a story on his views that Barack Obama is actually doing too little to help stabilize the economy: “There is little doubt that Krugman—Nobel laureate and Princeton professor—has be come the voice of the loyal opposition. What is striking about this development is that Obama’s most thoughtful critic is taking on the president from the left at a time when, as Jonathan Alter notes, so many others are reflexively arguing that the administration is trying too much too soon.

"A devoted liberal, Krugman hungers for what he calls ‘a new New Deal,’ and he prides himself on his status as an outsider. (He is as much of an outsider as a Nobel laureate from Princeton with a column in the Times can be.) Is Krugman right? Is the Obama administration too beholden to Wall Street and to the status quo, trying to save a system that is beyond salvation? Does Obama have—despite the brayings of the right—too much faith in the markets at a time when prudence suggests that they cannot rescue themselves? We do not know yet, and will not for a while to come. But as Evan—hardly a rabble-rousing lefty—writes, a lot of people have a ‘creeping feeling’ that the Cassandra from Princeton may just be right. After all, the original Cassandra was.”
I hope there will be copies left when I get paid on the 1st...

Dick Cheney Quotes:

10) "Except for the occasional heart attack, I never felt better." –June 4, 2003

9) "I had other priorities in the sixties than military service." –on his five draft deferments, April 5, 1989

8) "There are a lot of lessons we want to learn out of this process in terms of what works. I think we are in fact on our way to getting on top of the whole Katrina exercise." --Sept. 10, 2005

7) "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy." –April 30, 2001

6) "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." --March 16, 2003

5) "We know he's been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." --March 16, 2003

4) "In Iraq, a ruthless dictator cultivated weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. He gave support to terrorists, had an established relationship with al Qaeda, and his regime is no more." –Nov. 7, 2003

3) "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." -- on the Iraq insurgency, June 20, 2005

2) "Oh, yeah. He is. Big time.'' --agreeing with then-candidate George W. Bush, who was overheard at a campaign rally saying, "There's Adam Clymer, major league a**hole from The New York Times," Sept. 4, 2000

1) "Go f*ck yourself." --to Sen. Patrick Leahy, during an angry exchange on the Senate floor about profiteering by Halliburton, June 25, 2004

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