Thursday 30 June 2011

Los Alamos nuclear waste almost on fire

This is the latest of the fires in the United States - from Russia Today

The New Mexico wildfire that has turned America’s heads towards the Los Alamos nuke plant is inching closer and closer to the laboratory, where the Associate Press says it is now a few miles from a dumpsite.

If the fire extends another 3.5 miles, it could overtake an area where 30,000 55-gallon drums of plutonium-contaminated waste are being stored above ground.

A spokesperson for Los Alamos previously denied that the drums existed, but the plant is now backtracking and admitting that the complex’s “Area G” is home to thousands of gallons of dangerous waste.

Lisa Rosendorf of the Los Alamos plant told the press that the drums contain cleanup from Cold War-era waste, but the Los Alamos Study Group is making claims that the waste is much newer than that. The plant, which is believed to have tested more nuclear weapons than any other facility in the world, is thought to be cranking out more nukes than ever, reports Washington’s Blog.

Though the lab says that the drums are on a paved area spare in greenery and certainly safe, a special team has been called in to test plutonium and uranium levels in the air as a precaution.

Watchdog group Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety said earlier this week that the drums were awaiting transport to a low-level radiation dump site elsewhere in the state, but Los Alamos County Fire Chief Douglas Tucker told Reuters on Tuesday that none of the drums would be moved.
“It is safer where it is,” he said.

By Tuesday the fire had already engulfed 61,000 acres of the Santa Fe National Forest, which surrounds the Los Alamos lab almost entirely. A day earlier the blaze began to encroach on the lab’s property, burning around an acre before fire crews extinguished the blaze in two hours’ time.

Offsite, radioactive material from nuclear tests are buried underneath canyons in rural New Mexico. Authorities say there is a chance that fire could end up engulfing that area, and New Mexico Environment Department’s Rita Bates tells the Wall Street Journal that the smoke released could potentially affect the health of the people in the region.

...and an article that has just come out questioning the safety of nuclear facilities across the United States

Los Alamos Fire Threat Put Safety of Nuclear Labs across US into Question

The wildfire in New Mexico has become the highest priority fire in the U.S. now, as the flames drawing closer to Los Alamos national nuclear lab have engulfed to at least 61,000 acresof the Santa Fe National Forest, with a massive expansion of smokes witnessed.

The main blaze sparked a smaller fire on the lab site itself, but it was quickly extinguished, according to fire crews.

Fire crews have begun burning a 4-mile-long barrier in attempt to prevent the blaze from reaching the heart of the lab.

The wildfire was first sparked on June 26 near Jemez Ranger District in the Santa Fe National Forest. 

If the wildfire expands another 3.5 miles, it could overtake an area where 30,000 55-gallon drums of plutonium-contaminated waste are being stored above ground.

The plant is now backtracking and admitting the existence of the gallons of dangerous waste, which was previously denied.

The drums contain cleanup from Cold War-era waste according to Lisa Rosendorf of the Los Alamos, while the Los Alamos Study Group has claimed that the waste is much newer than that, reports RT. The plant, which is believed to have tested more nuclear weapons than any other facility in the world, is thought to be cranking out more nukes than ever.

Las Alamos Lab in New Mexico is one of the largest employers in northern New Mexico with about 9,000 employees. The lab was founded during World War II to develop the first nuclear weapons.

Officials at the premier US nuclear-weapons lab tried to assure the public saying that dangerous materials were safely stored and capable of withstanding flames.

The laboratory released a statement midday Wednesday stating, "despite no wildfire currently on Los Alamos Laboratory property, the Laboratory has established a network of seven high-volume air samplers along the southern, northern and eastern boundaries of Laboratory property to verify that hazardous materials are not leaving the Laboratory in smoke from the fire."

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico will remain closed through Thursday, June 30, as the Las Conchas Fire is threatening the nuclear lab.

Meanwhile, some U.S. nuclear officials have been downplaying concerns about two nuclear power plants in  Nebraska that are being threatened by flooding.

Water from the Missouri River has surrounded the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station, while floodwaters have been creeping closer to the Cooper Nuclear Power Station, reported VOA News. The floodwaters were concerned for potentially knocking out the plants' electric power supply, allowing the nuclear materials to overheat, and subsequently causing a meltdown.
The officials that oversee both power plants have asserted that a meltdown will not occur at either facility. There are sufficient back-up systems to make sure that the tragedy at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant will not be repeated.

The threats of nuclear power plants meltdown arose amidst the growing concerns over the Fukushima nuclear power meltdown. The world was just about to turn to the U.S., revealing the nation's unpreparedness for such hazards.

United States nuclear officials say that exhaustive review of safety standards and procedures have been conducted across American nuclear power plants and rectors since the March earthquake and tsunami that caused 1, 2 and three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant to go into meltdown.

There are 104 nuclear reactors that operate in the United States which supply 20% of the nation's electricity.

Los Alamos has now inevitably intensified the attention on nuclear safety in the United States which was refocused by the case in Fukushima.

Lessons need to be learned from the nuclear meltdown that will devastate the Japanese economy for decades to come. The US is said to have been in serious trouble before Fukushima and have done very little to alleviate fears after. The raging fires in Los Alamos may prove whether the nuke labs in this nation are truly fireproof. Fukushima has been the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind, and this time, we hope that Los Alamos will not renew the record

Greece: Papandreou has votes to pass austerity bill: 155 voted to extend banker oligarchy status quo

These few word from Zero Hedge sum the situation up quite well

"Fascism wins again, this time by a 4 vote margin. The world is saved... for a few hours."

China told to reduce food production or face 'dire' water levels

Food must be imported and water used tightly regulated to protect dwindling supply, a leading groundwater expert has warned

We are told that China will 'save us'. 

But China has it's own huge problems: climate change has led to massive shortages of electricity; China has it own internal debt, its own housing bubble - and water shortages

This article from the Guardian sets out the problem as related to water and food.

Eh bien Madame Lagarde, About Those Local Debts, They Too Are in Crisis

Haydn Shaughnessy
Forbes magazine

This is a major article posing the question of local indebtedness, from Germany to the US, to France.

"Germany’s 11,000-odd municipalities had a deficit of €7.7 billion last year, the second-highest ever…. in NRW( North Rhein Westphalia) local social spending rose by 274% between 1980 and 2006, whereas revenue went up only by 104%."

The mayor of Alto, Texas has warned people to 'bolt your doors' after laying off the entire police force due to lack of funds.

Austerity in Greece is to break the workers' resistance

This video is from the Real News presented by Leo Panitch in Canada.  It does represent a left-wing perspective of what is happening in Greece. 

One of the main points that is being made is that no-one wants to say it but default is inevitable and that the whole 'hard ball' negotiation with the Greeks is over the terms of the default - whether the investors take a'haircut' or not; the real intent is to use Greece as an example (to other nations that might follow- Spain, Portugal, Italy) and to break the back of the unions and of worker resistance.  In addition there is an agenda to privatise Green assets, notably the port of Athens (and Greece has one of the largest shipping industries in the world).

Economist Demetrius Kofinas has this to say.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Hotspots with Max Keiser - Ireland

This film (in two parts) gives background to the crisis in Ireland - in turn shedding light on what is happening in Greece.

More from Greece

Greek leader 'dead man walking', Greek bailout 'collective punishment

'Athens police worse than anything we've seen before'

Japanese nuclear official: 'No Japan without nuclear energy'

From Russia Today.

Despite concerns over Japan's government hushing up the dangers, the second highest-ranking nuclear official in the country thinks the issue is simply too complicated for the general public to come to terms with. ?RT takes a closer look at the nuclear crisis in Japan in an interview with Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the Nuclear Industry and Safety Agency. "The Japanese government tried to distribute or make available all the information we got from TEPCO [Tokyo Electric Power Company] and from our monitoring assistants..., [but ] we have to explain [the situation] in the manner which people can easily understand," he told RT. The Japanese official noted that, despite all the figures on the situation around the country's nuclear crisis being distributed to the public, it is not always easy for ordinary people to understand what these figures actually mean -- how dangerous or safe a particular situation is. "We think that, except for places very close to the nuclear power plant, Fukushima Daiichi, there is no big risk for ordinary people. So we should make them understand that point," he said.

Kids genetically poisoned in India

A very disturbing report from RT

Cheap, effective and highly toxic Endosulfan pesticide is banned in most countries, but still widely embraced by farmers in India. While the government claims there is no affordable alternative to the chemical, families are paying a high price.

What if Greece says "no"?

What will happen if Greece fails to vote for austerity measures.  This from Zero Hedge.

With Greece set to dominate the news flow once again in the upcoming week, the question on everyone's mind is what would happen "if Greece says no", preferrably with some more nuance than just "the end of the world." So for everyone inquiring, here is SocGen's Michala Marcusen with a full timeline of the "what if" scenario.

From Societe Generale
The Greek Parliament is due to vote on the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy (MTFS) on June 28 and the associated implementation law on June 30. If all goes well, the Eurogroup will then meet on July 3 to finalise a new 3-year program for Greece. If the Greek Parliament votes No (a scenario to which we attach a 30% probability), the much need next €12bn tranche of the EU/IMF would be blocked and Greece would be left grappling for funding in a political vacuum pending a likely general election. In such a scenario, the EU would have to take aggressive action to stem contagion; and this could include reactivating  the ECB’s SMP. Even in a best case solution, the euro area debt crisis seems likely to run from one issue to the next with the over-arching solution of a new credible fiscal policy infrastructure coming into place only very slowly.
If all goes well …
A yes vote in the Greek Parliament to the MTFS will no doubt bring a sign of relief, and the immediate focus will shift to the Eurogroup meeting on July 3.
What shape will the new program take? We expect the Eurogroup to define a 3-year package effectively removing the need for Greece to access bond markets before 2015. While there is no final number as of yet, a package of €85-120bn seems likely split between new EU/IMF loans worth €40-70bn, Greek privatisation receipts of around €25bn and private creditor participation of €20-30bn.
How will private creditors participate? At last week’s Eurogroup meeting a subtle change to ESM seniority, making loans to Greece, Portugal and Ireland exempt from the rule (pending approval by national parliaments) brought a small first concession to private creditors. However, press reports suggest that private creditors (and this mainly concerns banks, who hold the bulk of the shorter dated Greek paper) want more enhancements before agreeing to some form of maturity extension. An additional concern is not to trigger a credit event in the process, which the ECB rightly fears could have unintended consequences. Press reports last week (Bloomberg) suggested a solution under which banks roll over 70% of the expiring amount, placing 50% in Greek 30- year paper and 20% in very high quality securities that would then back the Greek bond.
One idea that has popped back up in the debate, but only to quickly disappear again is lending to Greece to buy back its bonds cheaply in the markets. The idea hold substantial appeal from an economics points of view in that it would partially help solvency as opposed to just funding. Politically, however, the idea has been met with substantial resistance, and notably in Germany. This could nonetheless be one of the last minute jokers in finalising a deal for Greece.
Also, keep in mind that the voluntary private creditor solution put in place for Greece could well serve as a blueprint for Portugal (the EU/IMF agreement on Portugal, explicitly notes that Portugal should negotiate with private creditors to maintain their exposure to Portugal).
Will Greece fail at the first hurdle? Any new package for Greece comes with strict conditionality and with a review by the “troika” of the IMF, EU Commission and ECB every three months. Even with the best of will, Greece will find it very difficult to meet the targets and much relies on the ability of Greece to effectively collect taxes and privatise. Unions are already planning strikes for next week with the threat of disruptive power cuts. There is thus every risk that Greece will at some point fail to meet the targets set out. The question then becomes just how much tolerance the EU/IMF will adopt towards Greece. Even with a package in place, repairing the situation in Greece will be a long and painful process, and one fraught with risks.
Can Greece ultimately avoid default? The sustainability of Greek public finances depends critically on the snowball effect, i.e. the difference between nominal GDP growth and the funding rate and the level of the primary surplus. Greece’s public debt today stands at almost 160% of GDP, with a primary balance forecast at -2.8% in 2011 and nominal GDP forecast at -3.1%. Even with the attractive funding rates provided by the EU and IMF (just under 4% at present), the situation is clearly not sustainable. 
Making a back of the envelope calculation, we find that if Greece can sustain a primary budget balance and enjoy nominal GDP growth that exceeds the implicit interest rate on its debt by 1pp, it would take Greece 100 years to reach a debt-to-GDP ratio of 100%. If Greece in addition could sustain a primary budget surplus of 1% of GDP every year, it would take 50 years.
Theoretically, Greece can avoid default, but it depends critically on the ability to achieve growth, run a primary surplus and achieve a cheap rate of funding. If the rest of Europe wants to avoid Greek default, it seems it may be funding the country for many years to come.
Can the euro area avoid contagion? The risk of contagion from Greece is substantial. In building a new fiscal framework for Europe, the hope is one day to allow for an “orderly default” within the region. Last week’s EU Summit brought good progress on the ESM and EFSF, and the Six Pact (the new stronger version of the Stability of Growth Pact) is near completion. In our opinion, however, there is still considerable more work to complete and we maintain our view that ultimately a single euro bond and a single bank resolution mechanism (similar to the US FDIC) is required. Such mechanisms are still far out (years) on the political horizon leaving the euro area open to new bouts of tension.
…if Greece says No
A No vote to the MTFS by the Greek Parliament will cast Greece into turmoil and threaten wildfire contagion throughout the euro area.
What happens in Greece if Parliament says No? The country would be thrown in a political vacuum with an election then most likely being called. The centre-right opposition, New Democracy led by Antonis Samaras, is well positioned to win in the event of an early election. We note that Samaras is not opposed to austerity per se but wants a “different economic policy” not based on excessive taxation and with a strong focus on growth. Once in place, a new government would then have to renegotiate a new deal with the EU/IMF. The most likely outcome – similar to what we have seen in Ireland and Portugal – is that the new Greek government would in the end sign up for austerity.
Will Greece automatically default? A No would block the much needed next tranche of the EU/IMF loan of €12bn, leaving big question marks as to how Greece would fund coupon payments and bond redemptions in July and August.
Over the weekend, German MoF Schaeuble was very clear that a No vote from Greece could mean no funding for Greece from the EU. For funding, Greece would then have to rely on short-term paper until a new government could be formed and a new MTFS negotiated. The EU may in such an event ultimately agree to some form of bridge loan (similar to Portugal). The IMF could also agree to credit line. Any help from the EU/IMF would come reluctantly, and there is a nonnegligible risk that a No vote could put Greece in default.
Can contagion be stemmed? Contagion would run through government bond markets and via interbank funding markets. In both cases, the ECB is best placed to respond reactivating its Securities Market Program of government bond purchases and offering adequate liquidity to banks.
These measures will be primarily effective in tackling shortterm market tensions, but the euro area are still potentially at danger from seeing more countries (and notably Spain, and potentially even Italy) making recourse to the EFSF. Such a negative scenario would threaten not only the financial stability of the euro area, but the global financial system with severe consequences for the global economy. This also explains why, even in the event of a Greek No, euro area leaders would be keen to avoid experimenting a Greek default.
Conflicting time horizons
The main issue for the euro area remains one of conflicting time horizon. Fixing solvency for countries with weak public finances and shaping a new credibility fiscal policy framework for Europe will take time. Markets have little patience, and policymakers have every interest to accelerate wherever possible.

Max Keiser: IMF uses Greece's assets as collater


At the time of writing there is a key vote in the Greek parliament on austerity measures while the French have agreed to roll over Greek debt presumably (according to the Guardian) making default less likely.

Whatever happens this week (and we have got used to manipulations at the last minute to keep the evil moment at bay), the moment of truth will come and this whole European (and global) sovereign debt crisis will come to a head - the Lehman Bros. moment that people have been talking about (and fearing) so much.

This week there was a key interview on Mike Ruppert’s Lifeboat Hour  with Max Keiser of RT’s Keiser Report.  These two between them brought a lot of clarity to the situation especially as it relates to the origin and the nature of the Greek crisis and how this relates to Peak Oil. 

 Unfortunately the interview was done on Skype and so the sound is quite unclear. I have tried to recap the ideas that came across from the Max Keiser interview.

Rebellion in Greece

At the moment the Greek government is trying to pass through the parliament austerity measures that are a precondition of a bailout from the EU and the IMF. The problem with Greece is that since 1939 they have it written into the constitution that no financial arrangements can be made with foreigners if this is going to harm the interests of Greek citizens.  This means that the Papandreou PASOK government, if they are to pass the austerities have to annul the constitution provisions.

Meanwhile, while one part of the Greek population is trying to go about its ordinary business a growing section of the population is furious and rebelling against the austerities.

There is now a camp set up on Constitution Square opposite the parliament and the demonstrations have been violent partially because police have dressed up as provocateurs and beat up Greek citizens.  This has been caught on camera.

This has been presented in the world media as a self-centred Greek population who are  unwilling to let go of their perks and pensions etc.  However when we look a little deeper there is a whole other story.

Background to the Greek debt crisis

In 2001 Greece entered the Euro zone.  This was done fraudulently with the help of Goldman Sachs by cooking the books and hiding debt so that Greece would qualify to enter the euro zone (itself a brainchild of the unaccountable and secret Bilderberg group).

1,000 million Euros entered the balance sheets from outside banks and like everywhere else during this era of easy credits money was borrowed;  Greece hosted the Olympic Games (and I remember at the time there were questions about the pressure this would put on the Greek economy.

All was fine until 2007/8 when global credit dried up (again due to criminal and fraudulent activities of US and other banks).  Greeks were now asked to pay up on debts that were not incurred by the people.

Greece and the Greek parliament are being held to ransom by the EU and the IMF in the same way that the US congress was held ransom by Hank Paulsen in 2008 - basically “agree to this or you’ll be responsible for the collapse of the entire financial system!”  

Also, as elsewhere Papandreou and his government are basically “in bed” with the banking industry in the same way that the Greek media is in the pocket of the banks - which means there is no real discussion going on (except for one alternative Contra  TV channel which is becoming increasingly popular).

The debt crisis and Peak Oil

After Nixon removed the USA off the gold standard and after the oil shocks of the 1970’s we saw the emergence of the petrodollar and a new round of global growth driven by super-cheap oil.  This coincided with exponential growth in credit on which the oil industry was heavily dependant.

In 2007/8 Peak Oil (which meant the end of cheap oil) came at the same time as Peak Credit, so that the reason for economic and financial collapse is that these two events happened at the same time.  The banks were not lending because there’s no loans to be made, no GDP growth, no underlying oil-centered economy to drive both the credit and oil industries.

Countries like Greece, Ireland and Portugal are in a predicament basically because there is not scenario you could construct that would allow them to repay their debts associated with growth because ultimately that growth is associated with oil.  Keiser says that there is insufficient oil to allow the growth necessary to fund the economic activity needed to pay off all the debt. 

Put another way there is not enough oil to pay for the 60 trillion dollar economy plus the 600 trillion in derivatives.

IMF uses Greece’s assets as collateral

The IMF, Keiser contends, is practically bankrupt. It has no money, so what they are basically doing is doing a hostile takeover -  which is what happened in the 80’s and 90’s - leveraged buyouts using the assets of the company as collateral to take over the company being targeted.

In this case the IMF is using Greece’s assets as collateral to arrange for more debt so it can take over Greece and sell the assets and hope that there is enough left over to take themselves a hefty fee.  Greece is left with its sovereignty in shatters and maybe even absorbed into another entity.
China sacrifices the dollar
With the recession we are getting demand destruction as the price of oil goes higher. With a reduction in supply prices are reaching higher, permanent plateaus.  Countries like China and India are able to leverage their local currency to buy energy and to sacrifice the dollar. In China’s case they have removed the peg to the dollar and the increased purchasing power of the renminbi means they can pay a higher price for energy without sacrificing the consumer.  The United States is more vulnerable because they are forced to pay for oil with dollars. 

Demand destruction in the US is not going to offset the increased price of oil.

Little political consciousness while credit expands

In relation to a question as to why with all the numerous scandals that have occurred - JFK, Watergate, Iran Contra, loans scandal, even 9/11 there has been no real change in political consciousness, Max Keiser answered by saying that while credit was expanding and it took $1 of debt to produce  $1 of GDP people could remain asleep.  Once the amount of debt increased to $7 or $8 to $1 of GDP in 2007-8 and the system started to break down people are starting to wake up.

Throughout the period of 40 years the banks were able to leverage up. In the early years of the century legislation was passed under Alan Greenspan that basically deregulated the finance sector and allowed the banks to increase their leverage from 12:1 to 30: 1 and the hedge funds like Goldman Sachs or Deutsche Bank were able to leverage up to 60:1 or even 70:1.

During this period the problems could always be papered over. There was always a bull market in bonds. 

That ended abruptly in 2007 with Peak Credit. Now, with every day, more people are realising that this is not just one episode in the history of credit but represents the end of credit.

Who will lose if Greece defaults?
In Keiser’s opinion bondholders in Europe that hold Greek debt will lose a lot of money but it is the Wall St banks that have sold a lot of credit default swaps that stand to lose the most.

Greek default, he says will lead to one of two things: a mad rush into the US dollar, or a mad rush into gold. 

From his knowledge of Wall Street people will choose the certainty of gold over the uncertainty of the dollar to invest the last 10% that constitutes their remaining wealth.

It will also lead to a multi-decade economic holocaust.

and from al-Jazeera

More coverage of public demonstrations from today's Guardian - Greece crisis: Athens erupts as government flogs assets in London

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Corbett Report: Debt Contagion and the Global Economic Collapse

Here is a pretty good summation of what is happening globally with the sovereign debt contagion - from James Corbett.

Thousands flee as fire nears town, Los Alamos nuke lab

More environmental bad news from the United States, again involving a nuclear facility.  Meanwhile wilfdires are spreading right across the south of the country.

Mandatory evacuations ordered; first atomic bomb was built at complex

Thousands of residents calmly fled Monday from the mesa-top town that's home to the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory, ahead of an approaching wildfire that sent up towering plumes of smoke, rained down ash and sparked a spot fire on lab property where scientists 50 years ago conducted underground tests of radioactive explosives.

Monday 27 June 2011

Flood Wall Fails at Fort Calhoun Reactor

News came through that the berm that is supposed to be protecting the nuclear plant at Fort Calhoun, Nebraska has collapsed.

When I checked into CollapseNet this morning there was this message -

"As of 2:00 PM PST on June 26, 2011, we are being locked out of all access to our website, all internal e-mails, and our Facebook and Twitter accounts. I believe that this is because of our aggressive coverage of the Ft. Calhoun nuclear incident. I do not know when we will be back online." - Mike Ruppert

As of now the website is up, but I am not sure how this is affecting their operations

Seemingly, for the first time, ABC news is starting to cover the situation at this plant.  You'll see why if you watch the video here.  The report gave a few lines to the Fort Calhoun, Nebraska story:

A berm at a nuclear power plant in Fort Calhoun, Neb., collapsed early this morning, allowing Missouri River flood waters to reach containment buildings and transformers and forcing the shutdown of electrical power.
Tonight, backup generators are cooling the nuclear material at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station.
The plant has not operated since April, and officials say there is no danger to the public.
A spokesman for the Omaha Public Power District, Jeff Hanson, told The Associated Press that the breached berm wasn't critical to protecting the plant, though a crew will look at whether it can be patched.
"That was an additional layer of protection we put in," Hanson said.
Nevertheless, federal inspectors are on the scene, and the federal government is so concerned the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is headed to the plant.

Sunday 26 June 2011

Arrival of the post-petroleum human

An interview with Michael Ruppert at the time of the Green Life Eco Fest.

Love in a little town

This is a gem of a movie made by James Muir of the community of Lyttleton after the February earthquake in Christchurch.
Here is his commentary:

A little film about a little town at the epicentre of a big earthquake. When everything is stripped back by disaster it reveals what is at the heart of a resilient neighbourhood... Its the love, time and energy of its people. 

Lyttelton is the port for Christchurch City, New Zealand, that was devastated by an earthquake in february this year. In this time of great loss, Lyttelton and its community stood out as being resilient, organised and sustainable. It already had the community connections, timebanking, resource sharing and a cooperative arts community. 

This film tells a little of the healing power of arts and the connected nature of the community in Lyttelton. If this film wins any money in the Possible Futures Film Competition Im giving half of it to the people of Lyttelton to help them rebuild their beautiful town with more love and sustainability. Because even the act of making a film is part of the process of healing and rebuilding.

Music and inspiration from The Eastern

Shot on Canon 550D with Nikon Prime lenses

Love in a Little Town from James Muir on Vimeo.

Oil-for gold dinar plans behind attacks on Libya?

This RT report suggests that Gadaffi was introducing a gold dinar and this was to become the method of paying for Libyan oil - and this was the reason the West made the decision to depose him - shades of Saddam's Hussein's plans to ditch the petro-dollar for the euro.

A light-hearted look at how the financial system works

Here's more from John Clarke (aka Fred Dagg) on how the economy works!

More from Max Keiser

This latest edition of the Keiser Report concentrates on Greece but also contains one of the clearest explanations of what happened to the US economy (from 10' 00).

Also features a very clear interview with Prof Steve Keen, author of Debunking Economics. Trust an Aussie to bring a little bit of clarity into the argument!

In the past I would have accepted his sensible version of things but with the whole infinite growth paradigm rapidly headed for collapse I'm not sure that there is room for his solutions to be implemented.

Tomorrow Mike Ruppert is interviewing Max Keiser on the Lifeboat Hour

On the Edge with Gerald Celente

In the latest On the Edge Max Keiser interviews Gerald Celente who gives his impressions of the IMF.

Saturday 25 June 2011

More from Fort Calhoun

"The media blackout on Nebraska nuke plants has been dangerous, criminal, oppressive,... and blatant." MC Ruppert

Max Mogren from CollapseNet is doing excellent work in following the events on the Missouri River and the lies of newspapers like the New York Times.

He has provided amongst other things an excellent high-resolution photograph showing the flooding which clearly demonstrates that the 8-foot high boom built on the site could not possibly provide protection for another 7 feet of water (as claimed by the NYT)

To get a sense of scale click on photo and then zoom in on man on the bridge in the left side of the picture.

For more detail click on photo

June 15 aqua dam

June 17 aqua dam

Also a clip from a gut from Minnesota who confronts the editor of his local paper as to why they haven't given any coverage to the Missouri River and Fort Calhoun stories - further evidence that this story is being censored.

Interesting visuals but the soundtrack is very revealing - worth persevering!

Thanks, Max!

Friday 24 June 2011

Papandreou Allowed to Continue from Frying Pan to Fire

The following article is from der Spiegel

By David Böcking and Ferry Batzoglou in Athens

Greek Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou survived a confidence vote on Tuesday night. But the battle against national bankruptcy will get no easier in the coming weeks. Protests indicate that opposition to his austerity path is growing and he faces a crucial vote next week.
When the vote was over, everything veered to the left. The laser pointers which had been criss-crossing the yellow façade of the Greek parliament were now directed at police in riot gear. The officers stood in the approach to the building, where Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou had just withstood a vote of confidence. Now, he had to be protected from the anger of his people as he departed.

Papandreou, parliamentarians decided just past midnight on Tuesday night, can continue, despite a brief opposition walkout just prior to the vote and the resistance of a united opposition. But Papandreou's most important opponents, the scene out in front of the building made clear, were not seated on the opposition benches in parliament. They were out front, and there were thousands of them. They are furious with both Greece and the European Union as Athens struggles to survive the common currency crisis brought on by staggering public debt in Greece and elsewhere.

Thodoris, a 42-year-old actor from Athens who declined to provide his last name, was among them. Whistle in mouth, he said "I am here to protest against everything that is happening in my country." He was referring to the new austerity package which Papandreou, now that he has been confirmed in office, seeks to push through parliament next week. The belt-tightening measures, Thodoris said, are destroying the future of Greece, before he began blowing once again on his whistle.
Inside, parliamentarians could hear nothing of the tumult outside when the vote on Papandreou's future began at 12:24 a.m. local time. The president of the parliament called out the names of the representatives one at a time -- all 300 of them. Each responded with a "yes" or a "no".

A Growing Abyss

The process was an orderly one, but came on the heels of a minor scandal -- one which only served to deepen the growing abyss between Papandreou's Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and the opposition conservatives. In remarks before the vote, Vice President Theodoros Pangalos said that democracy in modern Greece did not begin in 1974, when the Greek military dictatorship came to an end. Rather, it began in 1981, when PASOK took over for the first time.
It was likely an attempt to unite PASOK -- which saw the beginnings of an internal party rebellion last week before it was forestalled by a cabinet reshuffle -- behind the prime minister. But opposition leader Antonis Samaras saw it as an attack and delegates from his conservative Nea Dimokratia (ND) party left the plenary hall for half an hour. The move came just days after negotiations aimed at forming a national unity government pairing PASOK with ND dissolved. And shortly after returning, Samaras said the comments by Pangalos buried the prospects of a partnership once and for all.
For now, Papandreou need not worry about the opposition, as long as his 155 delegates remain loyal. But the popular protests outside have become increasingly dangerous for the prime minister, and for all those who would support him.
The voice votes in parliament were announced one-by-one to the protesters outside. Each "yes" vote was greeted with thousands of boos. Dozens of laser pointers were aimed at the windows of the parliamentary building. In addition, the word "kleftes" -- thieves -- was projected onto the outside wall.

'I Think Society Will Explode'

Dimitris, who likewise refused to give his last name, was one of those wielding a pointer. "It is completely unfair that the money of the poor is used to save the banks," Dimitris, a 26-year-old engineering student, said. In the event the new austerity package is passed next week, he added, anything could happen. "I think that society will explode," he said.
The demonstrations ultimately remained largely peaceful, though police fired tear gas and stun grenades when a group of some 200 protesters began throwing bottles. There were other signs of anger as well. One poster read "Nazi - Nazi - Merkel - Sarkozy" with the stars of the European Union arranged to form a swastika. Another poster suggested throwing Germany out of the euro zone. A handful of demonstrators paraded a gallows in front of the police blockade.
Yet despite the risks of public fury, Papandreou has little choice. His country badly needs a €12 billion ($17.26 billion) tranche from the €110 billion bailout package assembled for Greece by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last spring. The European Union, however, has made the passage of additional austerity measures a condition for the payout of that tranche. The prime minister's hands are tied.
Many in Greece have begun criticizing Papandreou as being merely a lackey of foreign leaders. Furthermore, as the son of an American mother, he has been accused of being too close to the United States and the IMF. One poster on Tuesday evening included a photo of Papandreou beneath the IMF logo and the sentence: "Employee of the Year." Another read "Jefry Go Home! -- a reference to the fact that he was called Jeffrey as a child in the US.
The fact that acting-IMF head John Lipsky, of the US, and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner both upped the pressure on Greece in recent days hasn't helped.

Still, Tuesday saw Europe move to defuse the growing crisis. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso pledged to accelerate the payout of billions of euros in European Union development funds once the austerity package is passed -- a proposal that has been under discussion for some time. The advantage is that the funds have already been budgeted. Payouts to Greece have been delayed, however, because Athens has been unable to come up with the requisite matching funds.

Furthermore, some are proposing that Greece move towards the creation of an economic stimulus package to boost the fading economy. Opposition leader Samaras has presented a plan and has the backing of several economists who have long warned that deep spending cuts threaten to delay economic recovery in the country. In an interview with the influential weekly Die Zeit, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble even proposed establishing Greece as a supplier of solar energy to Germany and the rest of Europe given that the sun shines there far longer each year than in the north.

Such proposals, though, won't be realized for some time -- time that Papandreou simply doesn't have. At 1:04 a.m., the results of the vote were announced, and the prime minister had survived. Just 10 minutes later, most parliamentarians were gone, having left out the side entrance yet still unable to avoid the laser pointer.
For Papandreou, the respite will be brief. The austerity package vote is scheduled for June 28.

Evolving Coverage of Missouri River Flooding, Fort Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Power Plant Situations

CollapseNet is doing an excellent job at bringing up-to-date coverage of the flooding of the Missouri river.
I will post today's coverage, but will not post any more on this unless there is a major development.

For ongoing coverage go to:
The Collapsenet staff is monitoring the Midwest storms, Missouri River flooding and Ft. Calhoun & Cooper Nuclear Power Plant situations very closely. Please check back regularly for updates:

Though more mainstream sources are mentioning the situation, none are on site or provide new information. This obvious obstruction of the truth leaves 300 million Americans who could be affected by this situation in the dark.
In short, we know what we have known all along:
1. The rising Missouri River is dangerously close to flooding the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant

2. Government agencies and large corporations are highly prone to lying and obscuring the truth when it suits their purposes

The following information for today includes a local news story featuring the Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Plant Chief, reports from the National Weather Service and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as in-depth analysis from the Collapsenet staff using the information we currently have on hand.

Flooded Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station Chief Officer Says Flood Danger Rumors Untrue

RT: The Big Media Blackout on Nuclear Safety and Fort Calhoun Flooding

This is really good!  The Alyona Show on RT challenges the corporate media on their lack of coverage of corruption in the nuclear industry and suppression of of what is happening at Fort Calhoun.