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FM newswire for May 19, interesting articles about geopolitics

19 May 2010

A long newswire, loaded with interesting material. If you find this useful, please pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. About the Naxalites (another in the century long series of love notes to violent insurgents):  “Gandhi, but with guns“, Arundhati Roy, The Guardian, 27 March 2010 — “The Booker prize-winning author and activist gains rare access to the tribal people and Maoist guerrillas who – from their camps deep in the Dandakaranya forest – have taken up arms against the Indian state”
  2. Eye-opening data!  “Canada’s Oil Sands: Shrinking Window of Opportunity“, by RiskMetrics Group for Ceres, May 2010
  3. Excellent data: “Global livestock trends – the past may not always predict the future“, John McDermott, International Livestock Research Institute, 12 May 2010
  4. Guerrillas in Paraguay:  “The ‘people’s army’ under siege – The leftist president battles an insurgency“, The Economist, 13 May 2010
  5. Another step to privatizing world peace:  “U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts“, New York Times, 15 May 2010
  6. Great summary of the climate science debate:  Keynote Speece by Dr. Richard Lindzen, Fourth International Conference on Climate Change 17 May 2010 — He is a Prof Meteorology at MIT; see his Wikipedia entry for more information.
  7. Creating New Soldiers in Mexico’s Drug War“, Marcelo Bergman, Foreign Policy, 17 May 2010 — “How U.S. drug policy is making Mexican cartels more deadly”
  8. Executive Summary of the Report on the Attempted Terrorist Attack on NW Airlines Flight 253, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 18 May 2010
  9. Leaked Doc Proves Spain’s ‘Green’ Policies — the Basis for Obama’s — an Economic Disaster“, Pajamas Media, 18 May 2010 — A surprise only to folks not paying attention.
  10. Special Report: How the White House learned to love the drone“, Reuters, 18 May 2010
  11. Reliance on Oil Sands Grows Despite Risks“, New York Times, 18 May 2010
  12. Inside the World’s Worst Hellhole: Somalia, the Perfect Failed State“, Der Spiegel, 18 May 2010
  13. “Q&A: Iraq had elections, so why isn’t there a new government?“, McClatchy Newspapers, 18 May 2010

Excerpt from today’s feature articles

  1. A great quote from Newt Gingrich, conservative icon!
  2. Obama Adviser John Holdren on Why We Don’t Know the Size of the Oil Gusher“, Science Insider, 17 May 2010 — Subscription only
  3. More evidence that the folks are nuts who say Obama is an extreme leftist:  “Holder Gambles With Terrorism Suspects’ Miranda Rights“, Aziz Huq, The Nation, 18 May 2010
  4. Balancing the budget:  “I Cut Spending 10%“, Chris Edwards, Cato Institute, 17 May 2010

(1)  A great quote from Newt Gingrich on Fox News Sunday, 17 May 2010 — The rest is also interesting, with some amazing flip-flops.

CHRIS WALLACE: You also write this, and let’s put it up on the screen. “The secular-socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.” Mr. Speaker, respectfully, isn’t that wildly over the top?

GINGRICH: No, not if by America you mean the historic contract we’ve had which says your rights come from your creator, they’re unalienable, you’re allowed to pursue happiness. Just listen to President Obama’s language. He gets to decide who earns how much. He gets to decide what is too much. …

WALLACE: But you compare that to the Nazis and the Communists?

GINGRICH: I compare that as a threat, not in terms of the moral — look, there is no comparison to Nazi Germany as a moral — or, by the way, to Mao’s China or the Soviet Union, all three of which were evil.

(2)  Obama Adviser John Holdren on Why We Don’t Know the Size of the Oil Gusher“, Science Insider, 17 May 2010 — Subscription only.  From a written statement to Science Insider:

A reason that there has not been more effort to get better flow estimates at the source(s) up until now, beyond the inherent difficulties, is that higher priority has been given to actions that could stop the flow rather than to actions that could measure it.  There have been 7 or 8 Remotely Operated Vehicles down there fully occupied with missions related to stopping it, and the congestion involved with this many ROVs, their control vessels above, and the cables in between has led to the judgment that trying to add any more would be counterproductive. But scientists involved in these efforts ARE working on ways to get better flow measurements out of the existing ROV complement.

(3)  More evidence that the folks are nuts who say Obama is an extreme leftist:  “Holder Gambles With Terrorism Suspects’ Miranda Rights“, Aziz Huq, The Nation, 18 May 2010 — Deserves to be read in full.  Excerpt:

Whatever its animating spirit, the Holder proposal entrenches a deeply harmful political dynamic. It shows that this administration has accepted the terms of public debate on terrorism and national security framed by Dick Cheney et al. It shows a Democratic administration again shirking its responsibility to define the debate, and triangulating instead. (Remember how well that went during the Clinton years.) It shows we have failed to throw off the straitjacket of fear that has pushed us time and again into knee-jerk and foolish responses to terrorism, from trying to gut habeas corpus to invading Iraq. If this is all the Obama administration has to offer by way of a new politics of national security, we are in deep trouble.

(4)  I Cut Spending 10%“, Chris Edwards, Cato Institute, 17 May 2010 — Excerpt:

10. Food Subsidies (Food Stamps and School Lunch). Low-income families often suffer from poor food choices and obesity, not a shortage of calories. Food aid for the needy should be left to private charities. Save $90 billion.

Two comments at ThinkProgress provide a full spectrum reply to Mr. Edwards.

(a)  fostert says:  “I think we should take Chris’s advice and apply it to Defense spending. Cut the Defense budget in half and let them rely on charity for any additional funding. If charity works so well, this will have no impact on the security of our country. Surely Mr. Edwards would agree.”

(b)  Jeffrey Davis points us to this passage from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol:

“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.
“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

“They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “ I wish I could say they were not.”

“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

“Both very busy, sir.”

“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”

“Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”

“Nothing!” Scrooge replied.

“You wish to be anonymous?”

“I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.”

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides — excuse me — I don’t know that.”

“But you might know it,” observed the gentleman.

“It’s not my business,” Scrooge returned. “It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!”

Afterword

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