For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Financial Times Tuesday,
Citizen cane
Short and stern-faced, Lobo, then 62, was the most important force in the world sugar market. Known as an authoritarian empire builder, he handled about half of the six million tonnes that Cuba, then the world's largest sugar exporter, produced each year. A financier of genius, his personal fortune was estimated at more than $200m ($5bn today).

Financial Times Tuesday,
The shale gas fairytale continues
And when gas promoters say “per mcf”, those mcf’s are projected over 30 or 40 years, or even longer...but accountants exist to make generous assumptions. In fact, 10 years is a reasonable assumption. That is close to what Arthur Berman, a sceptical Houston geologist, thinks is reasonable. As Mr Berman says: “Unconventional gas has at least twice as fast a decline rate as conventional resources. About 85 per cent of the value of shale wells in the Barnett will be produced in the first 10 years.”

Financial Times Tuesday,
Why US savers remain the ‘silent majority’
Nearly $8,000bn in savings is held in short-term interest-bearing instruments; yet less than half of American families had any sort of formal retirement savings and, for those who did, the median value of those savings was just $45,000. Interest and dividends made up less than 1 per cent of a median family’s income.

Financial Times Tuesday,
Coal-fired power plants to be snuffed out faster than expected
The assumption has been that the US has an unlimited supply of shale gas at the present price of about $4-$5 per million British thermal units. But it does not. The gas people I know argue that without an increase to $8 or $9 per mBtu, the real costs of shale gas cannot be covered.

Financial Times Tuesday,
Carmakers pin their hopes for electric car sales on fleet buyers
GM claims that it will cost just 60p-70p for the electric charge needed to run the Ampera 40 miles

Global Research Tuesday,
Did 9/11 Justify the War in Afghanistan?
US political leaders have claimed, to be sure, that the UN did authorize the US attack on Afghanistan. This claim, originally made by the Bush-Cheney administration, was repeated by President Obama in his West Point speech of December 1, 2009, in which he said: “The United Nations Security Council endorsed the use of all necessary steps to respond to the 9/11 attacks,” so US troops went to Afghanistan “[u]nder the banner of . . . international legitimacy.” However, the language of “all necessary steps” is from UN Security Council Resolution 1368, in which the Council, taking note of its own “responsibilities under the Charter," expressed its own readiness “to take all necessary steps to respond to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.” Of course, the UN Security Council might have determined that one of these necessary steps was to authorize an attack on Afghanistan by the United States. But it did not. Resolution 1373, the only other Security Council resolution about this issue, laid out various responses, but these included matters such as freezing assets, criminalizing the support of terrorists, exchanging police information 
about terrorists, and prosecuting terrorists. The use of military force was not mentioned. The US war in Afghanistan was not authorized by the UN Security Council in 2001 or at anytime since, so this war began as an illegal war and remains an illegal war today. Our government’s claim to the contrary is false.

Global Research Tuesday,
The Permanent Dehumanizing of Humanity?
It details the machinations of Sigmund Freud’s American nephew, Edward Bernays, who showed client U.S. corporations for the first time how they could make people want things they didn’t need by making mass-produced goods for their unconscious desires. Out of this would come a new political idea of how to control the masses.

Asia Times Tuesday,
Back to the Kaiser's world
International institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and even the United Nations spread a center-left, mildly statist big-government version of the US worldview, the "Washington Consensus" among the nations of the new emerging markets.

Global Research Tuesday,
Plunged into Chaos: Europe on the Eve of the Bilderberg Conference
Experts from Lombard Odier, a Swiss bank, estimate the bulk of Greek bad debt at 875% of its GDP, which means that to meet its obligations the country would have to invest – without any foreseeable returns – an amount exceeding its GDP by a factor of 8.75. The situations in Poland and Slovenia are even more alarming – in their cases the debt to GDP ratio is 15 and 11 respectively. The corresponding average over the Eurozone is 4.34, and in the US – 5.

Asia Times Tuesday,
Cheonan sinking ... and Korea rising By Peter Lee
More arithmetic for you: The Rand Corporation estimates the cost of Korean reunification at $50 billion, Credit Suisse insists $1.5 trillion is the expense, and Stanford fellow Peter M. Beck posits an alarmist $2-$5 trillion. Question: Who's got that kind of cash? Answer: North Korean mines. 360 minerals are sequestered in the Hermit Kingdom's caves, many trapped by flooding and NK's [North Korea's] appalling infrastructure. Billions of tons of coal, iron, zinc, magnesite, nickel, uranium, tungsten, phosphate, graphite, gold, silver, mercury, sulfur, limestone, copper, manganese, molybdenum... worth an estimated $2-$6 trillion (Goldman Sach's figure is $2.5 trillion). Reunification could be entirely paid for by these mines, perhaps with change left over.