FM newswire, 15 November 2009 – links to old-fashioned journalism

Today’s broadsheet from the FM website pressroom.  There are 5 sections, all with hot news.

  1. Links to interesting news and analysis
  2. Valuable Advice – more hand-to-hand combat tips
  3. Featured articles – peak oil updates
  4. The essence of the problem in a single sentence, by the Director of the CBO
  5. Quote of the Day, by General McChrystal
  6. Plus, an Afterword

(I)  Links to interesting news and analysis

(a)  Mexico Border City Groups Call For UN Peacekeepers“, AP, 12 November 2009

(c)  They forgot to ask how many saying so were hypocrites receiving Medicare:  More in U.S. Say Health Coverage Is Not Gov’t. Responsibility“, Gallup, 13 November 2009

(d)  More evidence we won nothing in Iraq (increasingly a Shiite ally of Iran):  “Rebuilding Its Economy, Iraq Shuns U.S. Businesses“, New York Times, 13 November 2009

(e)  Recognition of the blindingly obvious, at last:  “High Costs Weigh on Troop Debate for Afghan War“, New York Times, 14 November 2009

(II)  Valuable Advice – more hand-to-hand combat tips

Defend Yourself in Hand-to-Hand Combat“, Brad Miner (former literary editor of National Review), posted at Learning to Fight, 13 November 2009 — “Useful advice for those of us who are not martial arts experts.

(III)  Featured articles – Peak Oil Updates

(a)  Field-by-Field Analysis of Oil Production“, Chapter 10 of World Energy Outlook 2008, International Energy Agency, 2008 — A definitive answer to the question of oil field depletion rates, the hottest oil-related issue of the previous 5 years.

(b)  The Dilemma of Oil Depletion“, Glada Lahn, Chatham House, June 2009 — Important news for oil-producers.  An update to the following report.

(c)  Ending Dependence: Hard Choices for Oil-Exporting States, John V Mitchell and Paul Stevens, Chatham House, July 2008 — Summary:

    Since 2003, countries whose economies depend on the export of oil and gas have enjoyed a surge of revenue driven by rising oil prices and, in some countries, rising export volumes. The press has captured petroleum-fuelled prosperity in images of futuristic construction plans and the rocketing assets of sovereign wealth funds. However, this obscures important differences among oil and gas exporters in terms of reserves size and social development challenges. Based on a major study of twelve hydrocarbon-exporting countries, this report shows that the boom does not guarantee economic sustainability for these countries, most of which face hard policy choices over domestic consumption, development spending and rates of economic growth. The report estimates the timeframes these countries have in which to make the necessary changes and examine their prospects for success given the existing human, institutional and technical capacity, competitive advantages, infrastructure and access to capital.

(IV)  The essence of the problem in a single sentence, by the Director of the CBO

Add this to the list of warnings from other government officials, academics, the ratings agencies, the IMF, the World Bank, and many prominent academics and business leaders.  We do not want to hear this, and would rather our children cry when confronted with the results.

… fiscal policy is on an unsustainable path to an extent that cannot be solved by minor tinkering. The country faces a fundamental disconnect between the services the people expect the government to provide, particularly in the form of benefits for older Americans, and the tax revenues that people are willing to send to the government to finance those services. That fundamental disconnect will have to be addressed in some way if the budget is to be placed on a sustainable course.

— “Entitlement Spending and the Long-Term Budget Outlook“, Douglas W. Elmendorf (bio), Director of the Congressional Budget Office, 10 November 2009

(V)  Quote of the Day by General McChrystal

From “Among Obama Aides, Debate Intensifies on Troop Levels“, New York Times, 12 November 2009:

Last Sunday, a few days after General Eikenberry sent his cable to the State Department, top military and civilian officials gathered for a regularly scheduled meeting at the embassy, where General McChrystal pointedly addressed many of the issues in the Eikenberry memo. General McChrystal did not refer to the cable directly, but specifically challenged General Eikenberry’s conclusions, according to one official familiar with the meeting. General McChrystal, he said, said that no alternatives had been offered besides “the helicopter on the roof of the embassy,” a reference to the hasty American withdrawal from Saigon in 1975.

The uber-rebuttal to that:

“It might be helpful in this situation if General McChrystal thought back on how the US got to that inglorious point.”
— Michael Cohen, “Afghanistan Mission Creep Watch – The Chutzpah Version”, Democracy Arsenal, 12 November 2009.

It’s amazing how closely we’re following the decision-making pattern of the Vietnam escalation.  For specifics see

(VI)  Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below. Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post. Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

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7 thoughts on “FM newswire, 15 November 2009 – links to old-fashioned journalism

  1. Here is some hand to hand combat advice: SLAPPED OUT COLD!!
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    FM reply: As someone or other said, every fight is an intelligence test — won by the person that attacks first (most self-defense advice assumes no “first move” win). If one runs away, it’s a tie.

  2. Liz Cheney suggests Cheney/Palin ticket in 2012“, By David Edwards, The Raw Story, 15 November 2009. Uh oh. Where did i put that Mayan Calendar?
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    FM reply: Wonderful news for both America and Tina Fey! The crazy people choose a certain to fail ticket, isolating themselves from the main currents of American politics.

    For more about this see “The Palin Effect – How Sarah Palin Made Herself Indispensable While Destroying the Republican Party“, Max Blumenthal, TomDispatch, 15 November 2009.

  3. Thirty Years at 300 Millimeters“, By HUBERT VAN ES, New York Times, 29 April 2005 — Opening:

    Thirty years ago I was fortunate enough to take a photograph that has become perhaps the most recognizable image of the fall of Saigon – you know it, the one that is always described as showing an American helicopter evacuating people from the roof of the United States Embassy. Well, like so many things about the Vietnam War, it’s not exactly what it seems. In fact, the photo is not of the embassy at all; the helicopter was actually on the roof of an apartment building in downtown Saigon where senior Central Intelligence Agency employees were housed.

    It was Tuesday, April 29, 1975. Rumors about the final evacuation of Saigon had been rife for weeks, with thousands of people – American civilians, Vietnamese citizens and third-country nationals – being loaded on transport planes at Tan Son Nhut air base, to be flown to United States bases on Guam, Okinawa and elsewhere. Everybody knew that the city was surrounded by the North Vietnamese, and that it was only a matter of time before they would take it. Around 11 a.m. the call came from Brian Ellis, the bureau chief of CBS News, who was in charge of coordinating the evacuation of the foreign press corps. It was on! …

  4. FM Reply to #3: “Wonderful news for both America and Tina Fey! The crazy people choose a certain to fail ticket, isolating themselves from the main currents of American politics.

    Fabius, you’re right that a Cheney/Palin ticket would be doomed to fail. Palin is an opportunistic yet thin-skinned person on a perpetual ego trip. Cheney is loathed by the population and it is not even clear to me that he could legally run.

    However, I believe it is too simple to say that Palin followers are “isolating themselves from the main currents of American politics”. In reality, they are a main current of American politics. Note Bush’s approval ratings from Jan 2007 – Dec 2008 (Rasmussen Reports, “President Bush Job Approval Ratings“, Jan 5, 2009). They never actually dipped below 35% combined strong/weak approval.

    The American far right has been coalescing in reaction to the Obama election and administration. The continuing & poorly managed economic crisis will only empower them more. The various strands of radical libertarians, white nationalists, neoconservative followers, “pro-lifers”/anti-gay/the Religious Right, and desperate/unemployed people, woven together, are powerful. They have a population base, they have strong media support in FOX News, they have elite support from groups like “FreedomWorks“, which is ultimately funded by wealthy corporations, they have political representation from folks like Michelle Bachman. They display a willingness to commit violence for their beliefs (“Census Worked Hanged with ‘Fed’ on Body“, CBS News, Sept. 23, 2009). All these things, taken together, can be a powerful force, and one which is not separate from the state. It would be a poor analysis of US domestic politics which did not take their strength into account.

    Digby says this better than I can at Hullabaloo blog, “What If They Don’t?“. Excerpt:

    “There are some rather stark historical examples of people assuming that a right wing demagogic movement is so ridiculous that a majority could never back them — and that assumption being proved catastrophically wrong.”

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    FM reply: Agreed, we shouldn’t underestimate the potential of the Palin phenomenon either.

    (1) The have a large but minority of public support, as seen in this Washington Post-ABC News Poll, 15 November 2009:

    “impression of Sarah Palin”?, 15 November 2009
    Intensity Favorable….Unfavorable
    Strongly…….20%………….34%
    Somewhat….23%………….18%
    Total……….43%…………..52%
    No opinion:………….5%

    If she ran for President in 2012, would you vote for her?
    Definitely would:..09%
    Would consider:..37%
    Definitely not:…..53%
    No opinion:………01%

    (2) I doubt that the business community will support her (as your imply). In the past they have avoided rogue populists.

    (3) Saying that “they” {Palin supporters} are responsible for the murder that Census worker is IMO little more than a smear.

  5. FM reply: “As someone or other said, every fight is an intelligence test…

    The test is to recognize danger before it is too late. Especially if yo mama is really fat. LOL!

  6. From FM Reply to #5: “(2) I doubt that the business community will support her (as your imply). In the past they have avoided rogue populists.”

    Fabius, I realize that the business class usually acts as a balancer to the wild-n-woolier aspects of US conservatism within the Republican party. What I am concerned about is that either the business class will
    (1.) decide that the far-right movement (which Palin is only a part of) is something they are willing to hold their noses and ally with in some Presidential candidate, or, that the business class will
    (2.) support a far right movement (like the teabaggers) as a way of indirectly attacking Obama and progressives.
    I wonder if the business class would support a US far right movement somewhat in the way that the ISI of Pakistan has supported the Taliban against India, despite Pakistan officially condsidering the Taliban an enemy… if that example makes any sense to you. There is already significant business support of the “Tea-Baggers” for instance: “FreedomWorks” is funded by Verizon, AT&T, and the tobacco company Phillip Morris (now the Altria Group), as just one small example.
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    FM reply: The rich in America are not a unitiary entity, hence support for fringe element (e.g., Marshall Field III, who spent fortunes on socialist or communist newspapers).

    “a way of indirectly attacking Obama and progressives.”

    I think that should say “Obama or progressives.” Obama’s primary domestic policy initiative, health care reform, was crafted to enhance the profits of large drug and insurance companies. His primary foreign policy goal is to continue Bush’s policies.

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