FM newswire for June 9, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis, much of which is catch-up from the past week. If you find this useful, please pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. Strong recommendation:  “Commentator’s Disease – Letting Them Eat Cake“, Fred Reed (one of America’s few gurus)
  2. Graphical display of  personal bankruptcy dynamics in America, BillShrink, 27 May 2010
  3. Broad public support for taxing the rich, not the middle class:  Quinnipiac University Poll, report released 29 March 2010
  4. This explains most of right-wing talk radio and perhaps all of modern COIN theory: “The Trouble with Intuition“, Daniel J. Simons and Christopher F. Chabris, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 30 May 2010 — “Jurors (and everyone else) tend to intuitively trust that when people are certain, they are likely to be right.”  See here for a more serious example of change blindness.
  5. Recommended:  “Is Afghanistan ‘Medieval’?“, Thomas Barfield, blog of Foreign Policy, 2 June 2010 — “Afghans shouldn’t be insulted when Westerners say the country reminds them of the Middle Ages. The religious and political struggles of that era can offer some useful lessons.”
  6. Recommended, about politics by other means:  “Banking on Connections“, by Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics, 3 June 2010 – The financial services sector has dispatched nearly 1,500 ‘revolving door” lobbyists since 2009 {to Washington}”.
  7. The long-term solution to America’s race problem:  “Marrying Out“, Jeffrey S. Passel et al, Pew Research Center, 4 June 2010 — “One-in-Seven New U.S. Marriages is Interracial or Interethnic”
  8. Madmen in Authority“, Paul Krugman, blog of the New York Times, 7 June 2010
  9. Good summary of relations between Turkey and the US:  “Turkey Basting“, Scott Horton, blog of Harper’s, 8 June 2010
  10. Civilian Toll of Iranian Raids in Northern Iraq Enrages Kurds“, McClatchy Newspapers, 7 June 2010
  11. Dispersant Disaster: A Closer Look at BP’s Toxic Solution“, Mike Ludwig, truthout, 8 June 2010 — For more about dispersants see here.
  12. Pentagon Tightens Grip on the Obama Administration and the Intelligence Community“, Melvin A. Goodman, truthout, 8 June 2010
  13. Fear must not blind us to deflation’s dangers“, Martin Wolf, op-ed in the Financial Times, 8 June 2010
  14. Playing judge is more fun than governing; they’ll never work unless we demand that they take their responsibilities seriously.  “BP Becomes Lawmakers’ Pinata With Oil-Spill Hearings“. Bloomberg, 8 June 2010 — “Thirty congressional hearings have been held or scheduled so far.”
  15. Dispersant chemicals at work:  “Scientist Awed by Size, Density of Undersea Oil Plume in Gulf“, New York Times, 8 June 2010
  16. A shopping spree by our Generals, who say “Charge it!”:  “Pentagon Looks to Plant New Facilities in Central Asia“, EurAsiaNet, 8 June 2010 — “recently posted sources-sought survey indicates the US military wants to be involved in strategic construction projects in all five Central Asian states”
  17. Building power, the 21st century way:  “Greece is tapping China’s deep pockets to help rebuild its economy“, Washington Post, 9 June 2010 — We did this once, before we went broke.  Now we rely on guns.

Today’s Feature Article

America takes another step towards plutocracy — “Money Wins Big in California Primary Vote“, Charles Feldman, Huffington Post, 9 June 2010 — Inexperienced but rich people take the controls.  Opening:

Money won big last night in California. It greatly helped Meg Whitman win the GOP nomination for governor and gave Carly Fiorina the Republican nod to run against Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer in the November general elections.  Whitman admits to, and is proud of, the fact that she has spent more than $70 million of her own fortune to secure the nomination and is, she says, prepared to spend up to $125 million to get the actual job.  Fiorina, too, spent tons of money, and it certainly paid off for her.

During her acceptance speech, Whitman, as is often the case with super rich candidates, said that she owed no one anything… no special interest money poured into her campaign. But the logical extension of her argument is that, therefore, only the very rich ought to run for public office in the first place.

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