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Who Is To Be Believed: The Anti-Bushite Blogosphere or the World's Financial Markets?

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I spend a lot of time not only contributing my writings to the anti-Bushite Blogosphere but also reading what other people in that realm have to say. Lately, the more I read the more foreboding I feel about what many are saying is an imminent military attack by this terrible Bushite regime on the nation of Iran.

Indeed, there seem to be pieces of evidence accumulating that point in that direction. And with this gang, why would one doubt that they could do it?

But I also pay attention to what goes on in the world's financial markets. And while those markets do not write commentaries and news reports, they do reflect the views of a whole lot of people who put their money where their mouths are, and who therefore have every motivation to look at least a little ways ahead for anything that might impact the value of their assets.

And everybody agrees that a war between the United States and Iran would have a huge impact on the values of a great variety of assets-- an impact enormous in magnitude and global in scope.

We're talking here about major disruption of the life-blood of the world economy: oil. We saw back in the 1970s how disruptions in the supply of oil would jolt the world's economies. And we saw how a sharp rise in the price of oil helped trigger years of inflation.

And if the United States attacks Iran, it is predictable that the Iranians would strike back in other, less predictable and quite possible violent and destructive ways. And the world's markets do not like unpredictable and destructive events.

In other words, if the people trading on the world's markets shared the forebodings of an outbreak of war between the United States and Iran that are now appearing all over the anti-Bushite Blogosphere, the prices on those markets would reflect those fears. The price of oil would go up. The stock markets would go down.

But that's not what's happening. The price of oil has risen some lately from its recent sharp slide, but it is still well beneath the levels of last summer, for example. It got up to the mid 70s (dollars per barrel) some months back and now it is below 60.

And as for the stock markets of the world, more of them are climbing up to new highs rather than showing signs of great anxiety. The stock market in Japan --always vulnerable to disruption in the shipments of oil-- is higher than it has been in years. Australia recently hit record highs. Likewise the Dow Jones Industrials here in the U.S. And the European markets are, for the most part, continuing to do very well.

So who should we believe: the stories about the great danger that the Bushites are readying the attack, or the markets who see nothing all that troubling in the foreseeable future?

If the markets are wrong, why is that? If the Bushites are serious in their saber-rattling, why aren't the people trading in the markets taking it seriously?

If the Blogosphere is wrong, why is that? If these signs of war are just a bluff, why do people in the Blogosphere take them seriously when other people can see through them?

Are the financial markets full of ostriches with their heads in the sand, or is the Blogosphere full of Chicken Littles who think the sky is falling?

I don't know the answer, but I thought the question deserved to be raised.
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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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