Best of the New York Times
too bad, not good enough

by G.S.   <george.salzman@umb.edu>    26 October 2007

this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2007-10-26.htm

      You ought not be surprised to discover that Howard Zinn is not a regular columnist for the New York Times. Of course not, he’s opposed to silencing voices critical of actions of the state of Israel. If you have not already written to the University of Michigan Press opposing censorship, as he requested, I suggest it as a worthwhile effort.[1]

      Surprisingly, I found myself reading two items in the New York Times today, a Maureen Dowd column [2] with a catchy introductory observation, Now comes “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” recommended to me by Eldad Benary <eldadben@gmail.com>, and the other, from this past Sunday, that I learned about this morning from Liz Burbank’s valuable digest.[3]

      Burbank introduces the article by Daniel Gross, titled “Money in New York: The Capital of Capital No More?”, with the comment:
 
It's U.S. finance capitalism at stake, not merely its city HQs, driving the desperate U.S. juggernaut to militarily expand and secure U.S. global domination against capitalist rivals China and Russia as reports below reveal: The only means of achieving this fascist fantasy is by imperialist war for control of the world’s oil/energy resources mainly belonging to Arab nations . . .
Mr. Gross, an informed specialist on money matters, is apparently oblivious to the obscenities displayed by the facts he reports in his article on New York. The dispersal of financial operations from New York City’s Wall Street to other locales — Dubai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Kansas City, Shanghai among others — might not displace New Yorks’s premier position if it becomes, he writes,
 
more of a diversified economy focused on the needs of the global wealthy . . . services that cater to wealthy institutions, corporations and individuals, like investment banking, hedge funds, private-equity firms and private bankers. High-end money management and advice, in other words, could become one of many goods and services — auction houses and hotels, personal trainers and personal shoppers, helicopter services and estate lawyers — that will attract the world’s wealthy to New York . . . drawn there for its character, for the new posh condos and for the many opportunities it affords residents to spend money . . . This summer a condo . . . near the stock exchange sold for the equivalent of $2,836 a square foot, the highest per-square-foot price yet paid for a residence in the financial district. The buyer, according to The New York Times, was “a wealthy financier from Madrid.” And so New York’s luxury economy scores another gain. More business for the broker who arranged the sale and for the decorators and workmen who will transform the space into a home befitting a wealthy financier from Madrid. Another resident in a neighborhood formerly dominated by office workers.

      The notion that this obscene concentration of the world’s wealth produced by the system of global capitalism has the remotest relationship to the abject misery of the majority of the world’s peoples doesn’t even flicker across Mr. Gross’s consciousness, at least as expressed in his fascinating article. Is it 60,000 children a day who die from preventable diseases (like starvation), or are children only a large fraction of that number? — I don’t remember the more or less exact numbers UNICEF gives. But it doesn’t matter to Mr. Gross’s editor at the New York Times Magazine section. Such irrelevant considerations are outside his field of specialization — money!

      On the other hand, Liz Burbank, like Howard Zinn, is a mere humanist who fails to appreciate the power and elegance of the scientific methodology of reductionism. People like that, and I’m one of them, don’t quiver with awe at the great achievement of skilled money managers who, relying on specialized advice based on sophisticated mathematical game theory, guide the already obscenely rich to ever greater fortunes. Our hearts and understanding are obviously elsewhere. We just don’t get it.

      Maureen Dowd’s column exposes some of the dirtiest work of the vicious anti-Arab/Muslim agitation carried out by some extreme right-wing Jewish-American organizations. My incomplete essay, although in draft form, is far enough along that it could benefit from criticisms. Like the ‘Giuliano’ title on Maureen Dowd’s article, my essay is also provocatively titled. It begins as follows:

The need for anti-Semitism

12 September 2007, by G.S.  <george.salzman@umb.edu>

this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2007-09-12.htm

      Hold on! Don't jump to conclusions. I'm not a Jew-hater — either of other Jews or of myself. But also don't kid yourself. The crude stereotype of Jews . . .


NOTES
[1] To see Professor Howard Zinn’s letter asking people to write to the University of Michigan Press, go to the website of the Committee for the Open Discussion of Zionism, at http://www.codz.org/send-letter.html .

[2] Maureen Dowd’s column, headlined “Rudy Roughs Up Arabs”, is at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/17/opinion/17dowd.html?hp .

[3] Liz Burbank <lizburbank@speakeasy.net> is passionately committed to social struggle. An indefatiguable person, her mammoth e-mails and her blog are rich with useful, and to me sometimes surprising information. The article on Money in New York that I found so interesting is at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/14/magazine/14wallstreet-t.html?th&emc=th . To get on her mailing list to receive her digest you can write her an e-mail. The digest is at http://www.burbankdigest.com/ .


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