Double Trouble, Energy’s Poison, Black’s Prison Plea, Not Just Tariffs, Youthful Scars, Justin’s Gaff, Home for Sale
Japan’s $2 trillion in overseas assets and the long standing authoritarian governments in the Middle East which guarantee security of oil supply priced in US dollars to the high income countries are both in the crosshairs of the earthquake-tsunami-meltdown and Islamic civil war.
Articles on the twin threats to the global economy and liberty in the Middle East, as well as the reality of the importance of energy, Conrad Black’s critique of ‘throw away the key’ prison policy, an interesting take on the importance of tariffs and the Great Depression, the tragedy of youth unemployment, Justin Trudeau’s badly timed foot in mouth, and the skinny on selling your home.
Telegraph – Twin Threats of Japan and Gulf Stalk Global Recovery
We are discovering once again that the country is the world's top creditor by far with nearly £2 trillion of net assets overseas.
The risk is doubly dangerous when combined with the fast-escalating conflict in the Persian Gulf, where Saudi Arabia's use of troops to suppress Shi'ite dissent in Bahrain risks a showdown with Iran.
No where to hide.
Time Colonist – Japan Scrambles to Pull Nuclear Plant Back from the Brink
Japan's nuclear crisis appeared to be spinning out of control on Wednesday after workers withdrew briefly from a stricken power plant because of surging radiation levels, but desperate efforts to avert a catastrophic meltdown quickly resumed.
Saudi Arabia matters a lot. Five thoughtful articles on the prospects for change.
NYT – How Stable is Saudi Arabia?
The quick and relatively peaceful ouster of the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt in the recent Arab uprisings has given the general and false impression that regimes in the Middle East are frail and easy to topple. The war in Libya is proving otherwise, as do the limited demonstrations in Saudi Arabia on March 11.
Quote worth quoting. (ed’s note – how did we ever get in this jam?)
“Saudi Arabia has 25 percent of the world’s proven petroleum reserves and produces around 9 million barrels of oil a day, and potentially 12.5 million barrels if all its claimed spare capacity is indeed produced. Because of this accident of geology and this production capacity, Saudi Arabia cannot become unstable without the world coming literally to a standstill. The kingdom is in a category by itself with respect to energy markets and its role in the global economy.”
Independent – Washington Knows It Can Do Very Little to Rein In Saudi Repression
If Washington is uneasy about a Saudi-led foreign force of 1,000 soldiers crossing the causeway from Saudi Arabia into Bahrain, it is nonetheless keeping its criticism muted for two reasons.
WSJ – Arabs Love Pax Americana
The Arab League's call this weekend for a no-fly zone over Libya is startling news and has sent diplomats scattering. We'll now see if the "international community" (to use the Obama Administration's favorite phrase) decides anything before Moammar Gadhafi's forces overrun the rebel stronghold in Benghazi. The odds favor Gadhafi.
NYT – Forces Rout Protesters From Bahrain Square
Hundreds of riot police and military troops moved early Wednesday into Pearl Square, the stronghold of the antigovernment protest movement here, using tanks, helicopters and jeeps with machine guns mounted on their roofs to expel demonstrators clamoring for reform.
Related. This video of a man being beaten, detained, and driven away is from a site we trust. It is supposed to have happened recently in Bahrain.
All energy sources have risks. Pick your poison.
Real Clear Science – Risk Free Energy, You Must Be Joking
It was only a matter of time before environmentalists would point toward Japan, say, "We told you so," and then declare a moral victory for anti-nuclear activism. Merely for the sake of argument, let's pretend they are right.
Asia Sentinel – India’s Catastrophic Nuclear Plans
Japan's unfolding nuclear disaster must surely lead to a complete re-think of India's $175bn plans to build a new generation of nuclear power plants with technology from France, Russia and the US.
Conrad Black on liberty and jail. Thanks to David of London for sending this in.
National Post – Prisons Should Be Repair Shops Not Garbage Dumps
A friendly acquaintance recently was moved to publish a reply to a National Post column I wrote about crime and punishment several weeks ago.
Quote worth quoting.
“In the case of all but the most dangerous, repulsive and sociopathic criminal acts, places of detention should aspire, if they are not just transitory holding tanks, to be repair shops and not garbage dumps. Accused people must genuinely be presumed to be innocent, and convicted people who have served their sentences must genuinely be presumed to have paid for their misconduct.”
New book challenges the view that tariff increases were an important catalyst for the Great Depression. (ed’s note – like today reckless financial speculation at the heart of the banking system put in the place the conditions for economic catastrophe)
WSJ – Heavy Duty
The tariff used to be what all the shouting was about. Over the great question of what levies to lay, industrialists dueled with farmers, Northerners with Southerners, protectionists with free traders.
David Branchflower warns on the long-term impact of youth unemployment in the United Kingdom.
New Statesman – Don’t Ignore the Lost Generation
The coalition should stop playing with stats and do something about youth unemployment. Fast.
In the ‘youth and inexperience’ (ed’s note – actually inexperience) category Justin Trudeau no doubt comfortable in the world of political correctness where he spends his time rightly got slammed for criticizing the word ‘barbaric’ to describe charming medieval customs like honour killings and female genital mutilation. This hopefully will help disqualify him for running for leader of the Federal Liberal Party.
The really depressing thing is that he even has a national platform to express his views.
How do you say ‘shut up’ in both official languages?
Calgary Hearld – Kenney Dismisses Trudeau Apology on ‘Barbaric’ Honour Killings
Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney is dismissing Liberal MP Justin Trudeau's apology for slamming the federal government's usage of the word "barbaric" to describe honour killings.
Good article on how to sell your home.
Globe and Mail – How Real Estate Agents Sell Their Homes For More
With house prices dropping and the real estate market in disarray, real estate agents aren't the most popular professionals these days.
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