The Kensington Review

Week of 20 April 2009


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This Week's Commentary: Volume VIII, Number 14
Summit of Americas Offers Hopeful Future -- The relations among the US and its Latin American neighbors have been rocky at best in the last several years. This builds upon many decades of misunderstandings, deliberate exploitation and demagoguery that make the family of the New World resemble the Borgias rather than the Bradys. Over the week-end, the leaders of every American nation save Cuba (which is always banned at the insistence of the USA) got together in an effort to improve things. Nothing concrete got settled, but at least, the tone of the discussion seemed, well, diplomatic. [April 20]

Feds Running 20 TARP Fraud Investigations -- Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP], just released a 247-page report that says his office is looking into wrong-doing by those whose firms have received some of the $750 billion bail-out money. Mr. Barofsky is pursuing 20 different criminal cases involving securities fraud, tax violations, and insider trading. He explained the TARP is “inherently vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse, including significant issues relating to conflicts of interest facing fund managers, collusion between participants, and vulnerabilities to money laundering.” The same with the war in Iraq-Nam, so where are the criminal investigations there? [April 21]

Earth Day is about Self-Preservation -- One of the better socio-political movements to come out of the turbulent 1960s was the environmental movement. There had been efforts to protect the ecosystems of the world before that, notably Theodore Roosevelt's establishment of Yellowstone National Park. It was in the 1960s, though, that being ecologically aware became mainstream. Today is the 29th Earth Day, to be observed with various clean-up efforts, seminars, the release of a Disney nature film, and more. The slogan is “Save the Earth.” That is, of course, scientific balderdash. Environmentalism isn't about saving the Earth but rather, it is about saving humanity. [April 22]

Grameen Microlending Succeeding in Queens, New York -- Muhammad Yunus, known as the "banker to the poor" and Nobel Prize Winner, brought his Grameen Bank to Queens, New York, about a year ago. In that time, some 600 borrowers (mostly women) have benefited from micro-loans (a few hundred to a few thousand dollars) that have allowed them to start or expand their small businesses. Thus far and despite the bad economy, the repayment rate on these loans is roughly 99%. If the small business owner is the backbone of the American economy, these micro-loans seem to stiffen that spine. [April 23]

© Copyright 2009 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Fedora Linux.

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