It’s a matter of principle

Writing for CounterPunch, John V. Walsh takes to task Professor Juan Cole and the radio program Democracy Now for advocating humanitarian war-making (Cole) and for being too soft on this kind of war-making and for permitting a war-advocate like Cole to claim without opposition and on the air that he is a member of the left (Democracy Now). Walsh even points out that Juan Cole has been a CIA expert-consultant, a strange occupation for a self-avowed leftist. Strange because supporting American imperial statecraft has always disqualified the supporter from left membership, their claims notwithstanding and to the contrary. Walsh concludes by making clear that:

If one reads CounterPunch.org, Antiwar.com or The American Conservative, one knows that one is reading those who are anti-interventionist on the basis of principle. With Democracy Now and kindred progressive outlets, it’s all too clear where a big chunk of the so-called “left” stands, especially since the advent of Obama. In his superb little book Humanitarian Imperialism Jean Bricmont criticizes much of the left for falling prey to advocacy of wars, supposedly based on good intentions. And Alexander Cockburn has often pointed out that many progressives are actually quite fond of “humanitarian” interventionism. Both here and in Europe this fondness seems to be especially true of Obama’s latest war, the war on Libya . It is little wonder that the “progressives” are losing their antiwar following to Ron Paul and the Libertarians who are consistent and principled on the issue of anti-interventionism.

Democracy Now, quo vadis? Wherever you are heading, you would do well to travel without Juan Cole and his friends.

Irene in New York City

Having lived in NYC for many years, I find rubbernecking too difficult to resist.

The Manhattan skyline

Battary Park City

 

West side of Manhattan

Waterfall in Central Park

 

Quote of the day

The quote below was taken from the abstract to a worthy article (h/t Yves Smith) written by Robert J. Gordon, an economist located at Northwestern University:

The US is missing millions of jobs. This column argues that the total is 10.4 million. It claims that 3 million of these can be traced to the weakened bargaining position of labour and the growing assertiveness of management in slashing costs to maintain share prices. Moreover, this employment gap is not shrinking because of the ‘double hangover’ effect — an excess housing supply and besieged consumers unwilling to spend.

Quote of the day

Le Soir quotes Jacques Delors as saying (see also this):

“Open your eyes: the euro and Europe are on the brink. And not to fall, the choice seems simple: either member states accept the closer economic cooperation that I have always claimed, or they transfer more powers to the Union.”

On the brink of what? Mike Whitney will tell us:

It means the [European financial] system is under great stress and beginning to slow down. It means investors have lost faith in the ability of policymakers to fix the system. It means there’s a panic underway and people are moving into cash. It means the eurozone is headed for a crackup. It means we are on the brink of another financial crisis.

Words of wisdom from Riotstan

The Guardian today reports that the aristocrat George Osborne, currently Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, feels optimistic about the future and Britain:

The chancellor used his emergency statement to parliament to say that recent events in the global economy had “vindicated” the government’s deficit reduction programme, putting in a bullish performance after the Bank of England downgraded its UK growth forecasts for the fifth time this year.

George Osborne made the second of two emergency government statements, speaking after nine days of economic upheaval and one day after Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King warned of more economic “turbulence” ahead, saying “headwinds were becoming stronger by the day”.

In his statement, Osborne acknowledged this squall of bad economic news, saying the FTSE had fared badly in the past month. “The huge overhang of debt means the recovery will be longer and harder than we had hoped,” he said.

“This is the most dangerous time for the global economy since 2008, and we should be clear about that.”

But he sought to turn events to his advantage, telling parliament the UK had become a “safe haven” for stock markets in recent days, with the unpredictability of stocks making an investment in UK bonds more attractive. Referring to recent market turbulence, he said: “The market for our government bonds has benefited.”

Tory Realism

The high job-seekers to jobs-available ratio

The ratio remains above 4:1, as the Economic Policy Institute reports. So, job seekers need to gird themselves to wait the long wait.

JOLTS for August, 2011

What does this fact mean? First, it means that Congress must extend unemployment compensation eligibility beyond the 99 week term currently in place. Second, it means that Congress and the Executive must quickly produce a jobs program that reduces this ratio. Third, it means securing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid against the work of the political and economic reactionaries. Fourth, it means the United States would be better served if it returned to something better than “welfare as we knew it.” Fifth, it means a return to stimulus politics. And sixth, it means making a national commitment to a green-friendly reindustrialization program.

Finding good sense in the Wall Street Journal

Economist Ha-Joon Chang rightly informs his readers that the first phase of the post-2008 recovery had a distinct Keynesian flavor, and included activist government and stimulus spending. Most governments eventually abandoned the Keynesian approach, replacing it with one that reflected neoliberal verities. Ha-Joon Chang believes the neoliberal approach will end in failure. His reasons focus on the false premises embedded in that approach. These premises are:

  1. Governments must reduce their deficits before a recovery can begin.
  2. Governments must reduce welfare spending
  3. Governments must reduce welfare spending in order to secure long-term growth
  4. It is a mistake for governments to tax the rich
  5. Governments must reduce or eliminate regulation in order to secure long-term growth

Succinctly put, Chang’s analysis reflects an approach to modern economies which treats them as demand-constrained, not supply-constrained. I can’t argue with that.

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