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Archive for June, 2010

From the Telegraph:

“The 20th Century was a horrible litany of absurd experiments and atrocities committed by intellectuals, or by elite groupings that claimed a higher knowledge. Simple folk usually have enough common sense to avoid the worst errors. Sometimes they need to take very stern action to stop intellectuals leading us to ruin.

The root error of the modern academy is to pretend (and perhaps believe, which is even less forgiveable), that economics is a science and answers to Newtonian laws.

In any case, Newton was wrong. He neglected the fourth dimension of time, as Einstein called it, and that is exactly what the new classical school of economics has done by failing to take into account the intertemporal effects of debt – now 360pc of GDP across the OECD bloc, if properly counted.

There has been a cosy self-delusion that rising debt is largely benign because it is merely money that society owes to itself. This is a bad error of judgement, one that the intuitive man in the street can see through immediately.”

FULL ARTICLE:

Time to shut down the US Federal Reserve?.

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BP in the Gulf — The Persian Gulf
How an Oil Company Helped Destroy Democracy in Iran

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Oh you heard me: Lion burgers!!

Restaurant owner Cameron Selogie said: “We thought that since the World Cup was in Africa … that the lion burger might be interesting for some of our more adventurous customers.”

Full article here

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By: Paul Wyndale

MORAL HAZARD

We all want to win
Cause nobody likes losers
We’ll do anything to win
Anything
Not to be losers

But what about the children?

When you look deep into their eyes
How will you explain all your prevarication and lethal lies?
The way you clamoured for the top
Your shit smeared shoes bending the nose
Of the poor sod beneath you
Your quest for Gold
Desperate to stay ahead of the pace
By any means
To win
Because nobody likes losers
Anything
Not to be a loser

Cause in the end we’re better than that
Better than lazy welfare bums
The petty criminals
The stoopid and the fat
Let them watch television
Surf Facebook and Twitter
There’ll be so much noise
The small people won’t even fight back
As self righteous arbiters
Of moral and financial right
Fleece the nation’s wealth
Hoard it,
Love it,
Drink it,
Smoke it,
Fuck it,

To a billionaire
Cash is not King.

Cash is Crack.

Why keep avarice in check
When consequences become
Inconsequential?
When governments have your back
Ready to print whatever money is necessary
At the expense of the non-voting taxpayers
Underwritten by threats of military attack

Cause we all have to win
Losing is for loser
Better to kill everyone and everything
Than loosen our grip on power
And give the leaches that lick our boots
Even a modicum of dignity
For they are human waste
Good for nothing but to ingest
The lies that we feed them

Fucking losers.

Laugh as they come to realize just how much we don’t care about their puny lives.

We all want to win
We all want to win
We all wnt to win
WE MUST WIN

Winning IS EVERYTHING.

It is the meaning of LIFE.

Until there is nothing left to DESTROY.

Then fulfilled we will DIE

Earth will be cured of its flesh eating disease.
Cosmic heartbeat
Earth swallowed by the Sun.
Then the Sun will EXPLODE

Seeding the stars with the dust of our imagination.

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I was discussing the sorry state of the world economy with my neighbour last night and of course we couldn’t do so without addressing the ludicrous fact that in the West debt has effectively become money… He moved to Canada from India and is a University teacher.. He said something that was so obvious and yet I had never really thought about it much. “When I moved here I was shocked by how you needed a credit history to do pretty much anything of importance. Without a credit history in North America you might as well not exist”. And there you have it folks. The Powers That Be are petrified of deleveraging and even more so of having to come up with a different economic paradigm since our economies ARE debt. Our biggest failure is that our politicans, bankers and intellectuals have lost the ability to face up to reality and to do what is RIGHT as opposed to what is EXPEDIENT. I am disgusted, utterly disgusted, with where things have ended up and all I feel I can do about it is to take a deep breath, live my life as best as possible under the circumstances and hope to be spared the worst of the coming unpleasantness, whatever that may be. I am very skeptical that there is anything but a tragic ending to this story. As Simon points out the opportunity to pass strong financial legislation that could have limited the size of banks and regulated their behaviour to something resembling a public utility has most likely been lost. There is nothing left to do except wait and pray.

My neighbour also asked me if I had ever travelled to India to which I said no. He said that it is worth going but one has to go with an open mind and not judge by western standards for the squalor that the poor live in, often but a few yards from some of the wealthiest, is a brutal culture shock for many who make the trip. I told him not to worry. That I was fairly convinced that that income disparity was invarriably going to make its way to North America. China and India are definitely the future…they will continue to get richer while we continue to get poorer eventually leading to a global economy where the rich and poor are spread out evenly across the globe… The Global Wealthy Elite will live in enclaves while everyone else struggles to make ends meet or simply to survive another day. Travelling between enclaves of wealth will be increasingly dangerous.. From what we see going on in the U.S. it is clear that the process is well underway and is likely irreversible pending the series of natural disasters and conflagarations necessary to force our hand to change or deliver us to our fate.

Things will have to get MUCH worse before there is even a glimmer of hope that they get any better. Anyone who’s ever been over their heads in personal debt knows how depressed and powerless it makes you feel. Western economies are up against the wall. Politicians are scrambling to keep up appearances but the facts on the ground are incontrovertible: When the population at large becomes depressed (and I’m not talking lack of confidence here, I mean all out depression..as in..the future looks BAD no matter how you look at it) the economy follows.. There is much discussion about kicking our oil habit and “replacing” it with renewable energy.. But our habit has gotten so out of hand that we must start preparing ourselves for painful remedial action. Replacing the heroin of oil-driven growth with the methadone of renewable energy is only a first step. If we leave it at that we are still addicted to the idea that growth is essential to our wellbeing and our economic health problems will persist. We need to come up with a new paradigm… a new religion if you will. The Bible has outlived its usefulness, mostly because it’s most important message – DEBT IS EVIL – has been ignored one times too many. In that sense the West has forfeited it’s moral leadership of the global economy and we’ll have no choice but to wait and see what the new leaders, China and India, have to offer.

In the meantime the coming hurricane season should scare the hell out of everyone. There is a tangible risk that it will amplify the crisis in the U.S. and bring the cauldron to the full boil of ecological, economic and political cataclysm.

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Words of wisdom from John Micheal Greer, Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA)… Didn’t know there was such an organization.. but I’m glad there is… every thing M. Greer says rings true to me… STRONGLY RECOMMENDED:

The World After Abundance

Excerpt:

“Most ordinary people in the industrial world, for their part, are sleepwalking through one of history’s major transitions. The issues that concern them are still defined entirely by the calculus of abundance. Most Americans these days, for example, worry about managing a comfortable retirement, paying for increasingly expensive medical care, providing their children with a college education and whatever amenities they consider important. It has not yet entered their darkest dreams that they need to worry about access to such basic necessities as food, clothing and shelter, the fate of local economies and communities shredded by decades of malign neglect, and the rise of serious threats to the survival of constitutional government and the rule of law.

Even among those who warn that today’s Great Recession could bottom out at a level equal to that reached in the Great Depression, very few have grappled with the consequences of a near-term future in which millions of Americans are living in shantytowns and struggling to find enough to eat every single day. To paraphrase Sinclair Lewis, that did happen here, and it did so at a time when the United States was a net exporter of everything you can think of, and the world’s largest producer and exporter of petroleum to boot. The same scale of economic collapse in a nation that exports very little besides unpayable IOUs, and is the world’s largest consumer and importer of petroleum, could all too easily have results much closer to those of the early 20th century in Central Europe, for example: that is, near-universal impoverishment, food shortages, epidemics, civil wars, and outbreaks of vicious ethnic cleansing, bracketed by two massive wars that both had body counts in the tens of millions.”

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Have any of these people seen The China Syndrome for Christ’s sake?? So many movies made to warn people like this going to waste dammit!

From Washington’s Blog

The Deepwater Horizon blew up on April 20th, and sank a couple of days later. BP has been criticized for failing to report on the seriousness of the blow out for several weeks.

However, as a whistleblower previously told 60 Minutes, there was an accident at the rig a month or more prior to the April 20th explosion:

[Mike Williams, the chief electronics technician on the Deepwater Horizon, and one of the last workers to leave the doomed rig] said they were told it would take 21 days; according to him, it actually took six weeks.

With the schedule slipping, Williams says a BP manager ordered a faster pace.

“And he requested to the driller, ‘Hey, let’s bump it up. Let’s bump it up.’ And what he was talking about there is he’s bumping up the rate of penetration. How fast the drill bit is going down,” Williams said.

Williams says going faster caused the bottom of the well to split open, swallowing tools and that drilling fluid called “mud.”

“We actually got stuck. And we got stuck so bad we had to send tools down into the drill pipe and sever the pipe,” Williams explained.

That well was abandoned and Deepwater Horizon had to drill a new route to the oil. It cost BP more than two weeks and millions of dollars.

“We were informed of this during one of the safety meetings, that somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 million was lost in bottom hole assembly and ‘mud.’ And you always kind of knew that in the back of your mind when they start throwing these big numbers around that there was gonna be a push coming, you know? A push to pick up production and pick up the pace,” Williams said.

Asked if there was pressure on the crew after this happened, Williams told Pelley, “There’s always pressure, but yes, the pressure was increased.”

But the trouble was just beginning: when drilling resumed, Williams says there was an accident on the rig that has not been reported before. He says, four weeks before the explosion, the rig’s most vital piece of safety equipment was damaged.

As Bloomberg reports today, problems at the well actually started in February:

BP Plc was struggling to seal cracks in its Macondo well as far back as February, more than two months before an explosion killed 11 and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

It took 10 days to plug the first cracks, according to reports BP filed with the Minerals Management Service that were later delivered to congressional investigators. Cracks in the surrounding rock continued to complicate the drilling operation during the ensuing weeks. Left unsealed, they can allow explosive natural gas to rush up the shaft.

“Once they realized they had oil down there, all the decisions they made were designed to get that oil at the lowest cost,” said Peter Galvin of the Center for Biological Diversity, which has been working with congressional investigators probing the disaster. “It’s been a doomed voyage from the beginning.”

***

On Feb. 13, BP told the minerals service it was trying to seal cracks in the well about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, drilling documents obtained by Bloomberg show. Investigators are still trying to determine whether the fissures played a role in the disaster.

***

The company attempted a “cement squeeze,” which involves pumping cement to seal the fissures, according to a well activity report. Over the following week the company made repeated attempts to plug cracks that were draining expensive drilling fluid, known as “mud,” into the surrounding rocks.

BP used three different substances to plug the holes before succeeding, the documents show.

“Most of the time you do a squeeze and then let it dry and you’re done,” said John Wang, an assistant professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering at Penn State in University Park, Pennsylvania. “It dries within a few hours.”

Repeated squeeze attempts are unusual and may indicate rig workers are using the wrong kind of cement, Wang said.

In other words, the well may have blown out in February, and never been properly repaired. If cracks in the well were never fully sealed, then the well may have been unstable starting in February and continuing until the April 20 explosion. (There is substantial evidence that there are cracks in the well now.)

Bloomberg continues:

In early March, BP told the minerals agency the company was having trouble maintaining control of surging natural gas, according to e-mails released May 30 by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the spill.

***

While gas surges are common in oil drilling, companies have abandoned wells if they determine the risk is too high.

***

On March 10, BP executive Scherie Douglas e-mailed Frank Patton, the mineral service’s drilling engineer for the New Orleans district, telling him: “We’re in the midst of a well control situation.”

The incident was a “showstopper,” said Robert Bea, an engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has consulted with the Interior Department on offshore drilling safety. “They damn near blew up the rig.”

In other words, not only is it possible that the well casing has been unstable since February, but BP apparently ignored standard drilling practices by failing to abandon the well when the natural gas began surging too violently.

Sure, the rig didn’t actually catch fire and sink until April, but cracks in the well and dangerous natural gas surges may mean that the well actually started blowing out much earlier.

These new facts also add to the massive evidence that BP has been criminally negligent.

They also add to questions about potential insider trading.

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