Oh, what a day this was in 1776 when the Continental Congress named Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston members of the Committee of Five charged with drafting a declaration of independence.

World Economics

❖”Greek Blackouts Risked As Power Companies’ Cash Runs Out: Energy”. Power company regulators and operators meet today to see about an emergency loan of $375 million. After all, “The country’s largest power producer is almost out of money, and likely to default after unpaid accounts jumped more than 50 percent in a year . . ..”

❖The quest for reasonably priced food to feed rapidly-growing populations, and the lack of water (including underground stores a mile down and already tapped, but non-replenishing) to grow food, has led many of the Middle Eastern countries to go on shopping expeditions, buying and leasing land in far-flung areas of the globe. Huge amounts of land.

International Developments

❖A team of US negotiators charged with striking an agreement with the Pakistanis for a supply route to NATO troops in Afghanistan will be bought “home for a short period of time”. Washington won’t officially apologize for deaths of Pakistani soldiers and Pakistan’s demand for $5000/truck delivering supplies hasn’t been met, either.

❖Strange stuff going on at the Vatican Bank, or the Institute for Works of Religion. Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was hired in 2009 to run the bank and was fired in May. Turns out, a police raid on Tedeschi’s house yielded “47 binders containing private communications exposing the opaque inner workings of the secretive Holy See”.

❖”The Syria regime’s troops are still able to attack insurgents almost anywhere and at any time, but they can no longer control the whole country, as the number of army defectors continues to grow. But the rebels dread the next stage of the conflict, when they expect President Assad to order his air force to attack.”

❖”Four people from an International Criminal Court (ICC) delegation to Libya have been moved to jail” for 45 days as an investigation is undertaken. One of them is supposed to have tried to pass documents to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. Both Australia and a second ICC team dispatched to Libya are trying to intervene.

❖That Flame super-virus that’s been detected in Iran, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, West Bank, Hungary, Austria, Russia, and Hong Kong, has now been discovered to have self-destruct commands. Those commands, apparently, were sent once the virus was detected. Additionally, experts are saying that those responsible for Flame and Stuxnet cooperated “at least once” in the attacks.

Money Matters USA

JPMorgan’s recent Fail Whale loss “has sliced $27 billion from [its] market value . . ..” Can you guess the reaction of the denizens who dwell in that domain? “Executives, lobbyists and analysts said in more than a dozen interviews that the public stir is an overreaction to a minor misstep.”

Politics USA

❖”Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida said his father, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan would find themselves out of step with today’s Republican Party because of its strict adherence to ideology and the intensity of modern partisan warfare.”

❖Whatta shame. Chief Plumber and burglar of CREEP fame, gun-totin’ stalker of Timothy Leary, ex-con, G. Gordon Liddy is retiring from his radio talk show.

❖Seems people are a lot savvier than some of the bozos that get elected: 63% of those responding to the Pew Research Center’s American Values Survey think “A free market economy needs government regulation in order to best serve the public interest” and 74% think “There needs to be a stricter laws and regulations to protect the environment.”

Diane Ravitch, who has been with the Brookings Institute since 1993 as a education policy expert, whose book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System” is a best-seller in its genre, and so on, was unexpectedly “terminated” on June 5. Over the past month, Ravitch has criticized Mitt Romney’s education policies on her blog–twice–and just four hours before she was “terminated” had written a third article “lacerating Mitt Romney’s education plan in the New York Review of Books”.

❖Gov Scott Walker (R-WI) is having a little disagreement with Mitt Romney, declaring that, contrary to what Romney has said neither firefighters, teachers nor police officers are part of “big government”.

❖When it rains it pours. Former Boston Red Sox pitcher, conservative cause champion and would-be entrepreneur Curt Schilling today filed for bankruptcy for his video game business, 38 Studios. Not only that, but the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are taking a very close look at 38 Studios.

❖It has now been confirmed that US Commerce Secretary John Bryson’s two car crashes last Saturday were the result of a seizure he had.

Heads Up!

❖It has come to this. UCLA’s Anderson School of Management is going private, since that “will raise the ranking of the school by enabling it to raise more money.”

The War On Women

❖”The Kansas attorney general’s office paid outside lawyers more than $644,000 to defend anti-abortion laws enacted last year.”

Mother Earth News

India’s Jindal Steel & Power was to invest $2.1 billion in iron ore mining and steelmaking in Bolivia, according to a contract signed in 2007. The company now says it intends to cancel the contract, giving Bolivia 30 days to specify how much natural gas the government would supply in support of the project. Recently, President Ivo Morales has mentioned nationalizing industries, so . . .

❖”Sen. Rand Paul joins Oregon Sen. Wyden’s push for legal hemp

Latin America

❖All three candidates for the Mexican presidency are promising “a major shift in the country’s drug war strategy, placing a higher priority on reducing the violence in Mexico than on using arrests and seizures to block the flow of drugs to the United States.”

❖Remember that helicopter raid in Honduras in May where several people were killed and the locals claimed the US Drug Enforcement Agency was involved in the shootings? The Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH) has complained of the slow government investigation, noting “an act of terror covered up in the midst of media confusion was always a strategy of psychological warfare . . .”, the lack of medical attention given to those wounded during the raid, and the criminalization of their family members.

❖”Hundreds of demonstrators in Chile have clashed with the police after the screening of a documentary praising the former military government of General Augusto Pinochet.” I’ll bet.

Mixed Bag

❖”Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have made an important discovery that partially answers the long-standing question of why a mother’s immune system does not reject a developing fetus as foreign tissue.” Fascinating stuff.

Break Time

The Invisible Hand of the Free-Market Man