FM newswire for July 7, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis.   If you find this useful, please pass it to friends or colleagues.

  1. The Making of Manhattan’s Elite Welfare Farmers“, Yasha Levine, New York Press, 15 June 2010 — “Want fiscal reform? Let’s start by targeting the fattest farm subsidy checks—which are mailed to the richest New York ZIP codes.”
  2. About the twin deficits myth:  “Marching to Austeria* and Other Neolib Fibs“, Rob Parenteau, Naked Capitalism, 28 June 2010
  3. Rust in the bread basket“, Economist, 1 July 2010 — “A crop-killing fungus is spreading out of Africa towards the world’s great wheat-growing areas.”  For more information see section two on this page.
  4. Another economist guilt of heresy, questioning free trade:  “Why is the American Jobs Machine Broken?“, Tim Duy (Asst Prof Economics, U OR), 5 July 2010 — Radical change to national policies about movements of trade and capital will define the end of the post-WWII era.  For more about this see Globalization and free trade – wonders of a past era, now enemies of America.
  5. East Afghanistan Sees Taliban as ‘Morally Superior’ to Karzai“, Spencer Ackerman, Wired, 6 July 2010
  6. The crux of our endless War on Terror“, Glenn Greenwald, Salon, 6 July 2010
  7. Petraeus’s Impossible Mission in Afghanistan: Armed Nation-Building“, Gian P. Gentile (Colonel, US Army), op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor, 6 July 2010

Today’s hot news (below the fold)

8.   How are the relief wells progressing in the Gulf?
9.   Advice from George
10.  Quote of the Day, about justice in America

(8)  How are the relief wells progressing in the Gulf

(a)  Snippets from the news given an alarmist spin:  “The Relief Wells Are Ahead of Schedule … But Will They Work?“, George Washington’s Blog, 6 July 2010

(b)  Nice description of the technical details:   “BP Relief Well Inching Closer“, Daily Hurricane, July 2010

(c)  How to Kill a Well So That It’s Really Most Sincerely Dead“, Science, 2 July 2010 — Subscription only.  Excerpt (red emphasis added):

The record bears him out. As Wells noted, John Wright of Boots & Coots International Well Control Inc., which is running the relief well operation, has overseen 40 relief wells and borehole intersection operations. All 40 successfully intersected their targets. “It’s not so much ‘if ’ but ‘when’ ” the well is intersected, said Wells.

Intersection is not a kill, however. Patzek cautions that the way this well appears to have failed— at the point where cement was supposed to have sealed the space between two steel pipes — may make stanching the flow more difficult than usual. With such potential complications in mind, Anderson puts the odds of a kill using two wells at 98%. There are no blowouts gushing endlessly, Anderson notes. “They will succeed,” he says. “The only question is how long it will take.”

(9)  Advice from the past

“I am entirely in sentiment with you of the necessity there is to adopt some measures for the support of the national peace and honor.  The present situation of our public affairs demands the exertion and influence of every good and honest Citizen in the Union, to tranquillize disturbances, retrieve our Credit and place us upon a respectable footing with other Nations.”
— George Washington in a letter to Jabez Bowen, 8 January 1787

(10)  Quote of the Day, about justice in America

Another Habeas Defeat for Holder’s Justice Department“, Scott Horton, blog of Harper’s, 6 July 2010 — Note the links to Legal Times and NY Times articles.  Excerpt:

The Bensayah case allows us to chart the twisted path of the Justice Department. Unable to cope with the truth and the failings of their own case, they spewed irresponsible propaganda through media leaks and attempted to snow the court with evidence that was not evidence. The hope was that the hysteria they whipped up, coupled with the partisan political fidelity of a handful of judges, would serve their needs and spare them the embarrassment of more defeats in court.

The mission of the Justice Department throughout this exercise is transparently political: spare the White House more embarrassment as a result of its decision to fill Guantánamo with hundreds of nobodies and then lie to the world about who they are by calling them the “worst of the worst.” The Justice Department did not behave like a law enforcement agency at any point along the way. Rather it worked overtime to subvert justice and enforcement of the law.

The case of Belkacem Bensayah is a powerful testimony to a Justice Department that has lost sight of its name. The wave of habeas corpus defeats they now suffer at the hands of some of the most conservative Republicans in the federal judiciary offers testimony to the fact that the system is still–though belatedly–holding their misconduct in check.

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