A Few Thoughts from Abroad About Gaza and Economics

Frank DeMartini

Well, I am now settled in Bangkok which will be my home for the next two months. I’m here prepping a film for the ABC Family Channel, entitled, “The Prince and Me 4.” It’s a cute little romantic comedy about the King and Queen of Denmark attending a royal wedding in the fictional Asian country of Sangyoon.

But, promoting my film career is not why I write these columns. I write them to discuss politics. And, I must state that being outside of the United States tends to cause one to hear things differently. People here and in other parts of the world, have vastly different opinions and viewpoints.

To begin with, Israel’s move into Gaza has very little support outside of the western world. The majority of the news I read and hear is anti-Israeli. This is a fact that I simply cannot understand. Hamas are terrorists. If San Diego was being constantly subjected to rocket attacks from Tijuana, would anybody complain, except some people whose thoughts are far to the left, if the United States invaded Tijuana to stop the attacks? Of course not.

So, then why must Israel be criticized for doing the same thing? The rocket attacks from Hamas into Israeli territory were almost constant and had gone on for months. It doesn’t matter if the rockets are crude or weak. They are still being launched into Israeli territory and may injure or kill Israeli civilians.

Now, Israel is facing the possibility of sanctions from the inept United Nations for defending itself. Doesn’t Article 50 of the UN Charter give a country the absolute right to defend its borders from enemy attack? Why must Israel be condemned for this defense strategy?

The critics are saying that Israel is killing civilians. I am sure these civilians are not the targets in this battle. There is no excuse for killing civilians, but during times of military conflict, the bombs do not always drop where they are supposed to drop. Hamas does not care where the rockets they launch land whether it be in an old folk’s home or an elementary school. Israel is not intentionally harming civilians and I am sure the Israeli armed forces feel pain every time it happens. Does Hamas hurt when they kill innocent bystanders? No! In fact, they are terrorists and thrive on harming bystanders. Al Qaeda and Hamas have much in common.

I applaud President Bush for standing up for Israel in these difficult times. He has proven his backing for Israel is absolute. I can only hope that the incoming president will also be true to our strongest ally in the Middle East. Although, I am not too sure since Obama continually hides behind, “There can only be one president at a time,” whenever questioned about anything. At some point, Obama will have to take a stand. I hope it starts on January 20.

Hopefully, the situation in Gaza will resolve itself in the next few days and all of this anti-Israeli propaganda will end. At the same time, I am sure that Israel will not back down until it has achieved its objectives. It does not cave into pressure from within or without. Israel stands it course. This is something we should learn.

On the domestic front in the United States, I am disturbed that the remaining 350 billion dollars in TARP money is going to be released. I guess I was hoping beyond reason that this bailout fever had finally come to an end. However, I am more disturbed when I see that Obama wants to give the money to aid in stalling foreclosures. Again, why are we bailing out people who bought houses they couldn’t afford? Where are the accolades to people who are actually making their mortgage payments? They are getting nothing for living up to their contractual obligations. Meanwhile, people who are not are getting gifts from the government. This is blatantly unfair.

Obama’s new stimulus package is expected to cost at least 850 billion dollars. Where is this money coming from? And, most importantly, who is going to pay for it? Are we going to burden our children with piles and piles of debt? Last week, the incoming president stated that we should expect one trillion dollar deficits for years to come. Is this “change we can believe in?” No, it’s more of the same old failed democratic policies that have gone on since the days of FDR. Do the words tax and spend come to mind?

Many economists feel that FDR’s New Deal did not end the depression, but instead extended and deepened it. Keynesian economics has not been proven to work at any time. It is a theory. You cannot just continue to throw good money after bad. The recession must run its course. Things will turn around, but we cannot continue to feed the bad news. The monetarists will probably succeed if they are only given the time.

One thing that was good about the incoming president was that he brought hope to the people. Now, he is dampening that hope by telling people that the recession is going to last long and that we are going to have large deficits for years to come. Maybe what he’s really doing is dampening expectations. I’m sure this makes the 7.2% of the American population that is unemployed quite happy. By the way, when was the last time that the unemployment rated jumped four tenths of a percentage point in one month? I can’t remember, can you?

This recession will end when the cycle has ended. Housing prices will stabilize when the bubble has fully burst. Unemployment will go down when confidence in the economy returns. Whether this happens next year or five years from now is anybodies guess. However, one thing is for sure, throwing another one trillion dollars into the toilet is not the answer. In fact, it could make this recession last much longer and actually turn into a depression. If it isn’t already that is.

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4 Responses to A Few Thoughts from Abroad About Gaza and Economics

  1. Anonymous on January 12, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Frank, I too find it surprising that Isreal is portrayed as seeking to injur civilians. I read that Hamas hides in schools and hospitals.

    Thanks for you comments.

  2. Anonymous on January 13, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Your support for Israel… does it have anything to do with the fact that you work in Hollywood?

    I do agree that the people who should be rewarded are those who qualified and have lived up to their contractual obligations. I find myself unable to take advantage of the new interest rates because the surrounding home value in my neighborhood has decreased substantially – due in part to several foreclosures! Freeing up $500 – $600 a month off my current mortgage would definitely be my contribution to jumpstarting the economy – so I am with you that bailing out those who suck is a BS policy. Smells like socialism big time. I’m definitely pissed about this and wonder how many more people find themselves in a similar situation like mine, where a few hundred dollars a month can make things a tad easier.

    Debt is our economic system and has been for quite some time. So why does $1Trillion of more debt seem so unfamiliar or daunting? C’mon sir, the government continues to print money. Let’s get back to the gold standard. That’s some change I can beleive in.

    And save the Jews!

  3. Billy Dean Bennett on January 13, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Frank, you are right on the money, as usual. We just can’t seem to get over this sympathy for terrorists. These people what to kill anyone that doesn’t think the way they do. We all have to admit that stopping terrorists has to be done, by someone. Israel has been doing it longer than anyone else. As you said we seem to be their only supporters.

    As for this government money bringing us out of this recession, it will only make things worse. That’s what FDR did and it was all WRONG!!!

    Keep up the good work with your blog

    Good luck with your movie

  4. Michael K. on January 15, 2009 at 10:09 am

    The problems that plague us regarding our policies in so many different sectors all stem from the same place. The world, with the aid of the all-encompassing technologies that leave not one iota of anything to the imagination, has been forced into the position of making sure that any crisis/threat/war/attack is examined under an electron microscope.

    Nothing is black and white anymore. For every argument that defends one position, there are countless arguments to the contrary, and teams of attorneys lurking in the shadows (no offense, Frank).

    Is Israel killing civilians? Yes. That is a horrible prospect for them to be faced with. But it’s Hamas who have put these innocents in the path of destruction, deliberately and without regret.
    I agree with Frank that Israel will not back down until their objectives have been reached. Nor should they.

    As for the anonymous poster who suggested that Frank supports Israel because he works in the film industry…he gets the ‘Perpetuating the Stereotype’ Award. I guess everyone who defends Israel’s position MUST have something to personally benefit from it…Oy.

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