Saturday, May 1, 2010

Obama still supports offshore drilling


Obama repeated his support for offshore drilling as the crisis in the Gulf Coast continues after a British Petroleum oil rig exploded and oil has spread throughout the Gulf and reached landfall.

And you thought you voted against "Drill, baby, drill"


BBC - The US Coast Guard says five times as much oil as previously thought could be leaking from a well beneath where a rig sank in the Gulf of Mexico last week.

Rear Admiral Mary Landry said 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) a day were now thought to be gushing into the sea 50 miles (80km) off Louisiana's coast.

A third leak had also been discovered at the site, Adm Landry said.

One fire-fighting expert told the BBC the disaster might become the "biggest oil spill in the world".

"Probably the only thing comparable to this is the Kuwait fires [following the Gulf War in 1991]," Mike Miller, head of Canadian oil well fire-fighting company Safety Boss, told BBC World Service.

"The Exxon Valdez [tanker disaster off Alaska in 1989] is going to pale [into insignificance] in comparison to this as it goes on."

If US Coast Guard estimates are correct, the slick could match the 11m gallons spilt from the Exxon Valdez within less than two months.

It now seems inevitable that Louisiana's coastline will be hit and at least another two states could be affected.

Drill, baby drill. No matter what, we can't let anything get in the way of oil company profits. Who cares if we just lost the Louisiana wetlands for a generation. Drill, baby, drill.

But hey, you can't say Obama isn't doing anything.

It was to be a celebration, but a federal agency in charge of offshore drilling has postponed next week's annual luncheon in Houston, which was to extol the safety record of offshore oil drilling.
Last year, BP America, operator of the deep-water rig that exploded and sank last week, was among the luncheon's winners, cited for "outstanding dedication and leadership in promoting improved medical care and evacuation capabilities for offshore facilities."

Drill, baby, drill. Obama still supports off-shore drilling.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Not News in America

And nowhere on that CNN page will you find this story .....

Oaxaca: Paramilitaries Ambush International Aid Caravan, Two Dead from Global Indymedia.

San Juan Copala, Oaxaca - On April 27th at about 2:50pm, people believed to be paramilitaries affiliated with the ruling party of Oaxaca ambushed an international aid caravan en route to San Juan Copala. At least two people are reported dead.

The caravan was carrying food, water, and other basic necessities to San Juan Copala, which has been subject to a paramilitary blockade that has prevented anyone from entering or leaving the community since January. In addition to carrying much-needed supplies, the caravan was meant to accompany teachers who were returning to classes after paramilitaries denied them access to the community nearly five months ago. The caravan included representatives from the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), Section 22 of the teachers union, the Center for Community Support Working Together (CACTUS), Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL), two reporters from the Mexican magazine Contralinea, and international observers from Belgium, Finland, Italy, and Germany.

San Juan Copala has been under constant siege from pro-government paramilitaries since it declared itself autonomous following the 2006 peaceful uprising that shook the state and nearly drove the governor out of office. One such paramilitary organization, the Union for the Well-being of the Triqui Region (UBISORT), warned that the caravan could be in danger if it attempted to enter San Juan Copala. UBISORT leader Rufino Ju├írez Hern├índez told press that shoot-outs were a constant occurrence in the region, and that his organization would not be held responsible for “what could happen” to the caravan.

Demonstrations of solidarity in Mexico and internationally have begun to show their rejection of this paramilitary attack. People are encouraged to spread information and hold demonstrations at Mexican embassies and consulates.

Terrorists attack a group of peaceful people who are bringing food, water and medicine to people under siege. Terrorist attack and kill two. And if you watch CNN, you'll never know it happened.

News in America

The Interrogation of Lloyd Blankfein By Mike Whitney via

Mr. Whitney gives an excellent account of how Sen. Levin interrogated Goldman Sachs Executives. A very good read.
Through persistent questioning, which bordered on hectoring, Levin was able to prove his central thesis:

1. That Goldman puts its own interests before those of its clients.

2. That Goldman knowingly misled it clients and sold them "crap" that it was betting against.

3. That Goldman made billions trading securities that pumped up the housing bubble.

4. That Goldman made money trading securities that triggered a market crash and led to the deepest recession in 80 years.

The hearings lasted for 8 hours and included interviews with seven Goldman executives.

Obviously an important story. We are in the midst of the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Now finally there's an important hearing revealing at least a bit of the fraud that led to the downturn.

Now, lets see what importance CNN puts on this story.  Here's a composite for their website the day after this hearing.  I've circled this story in red.

Does CNN want to know its viewers thoughts on this?  No.  The poll question on the day after this hearing is whether we should be afraid of space aliens?

The real question is whether we should be afraid of CNN?

I wish I could tell you whether CNN showed these important hearings live.  But I can't.  I've used the parental blocking controls on my TV system to block CNN, FauxNews, MSNBC and the whole lot from my home.  A vast improvement to my TV system that I would recommend to everyone.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What Really Triggered the Financial Crisis?

What Really Triggered the Financial Crisis? by Mike Whitney via

What triggered the financial crisis? Theft. Pure plain and simple theft. Whenever you take great masses of money away from people in the economy, the economy suffers. It doesn't matter if its taxes that do this or theft and fraud.

Fraud helped to deliberately build a housing bubble that sucked away the money Americans had stored in their one major family investment. Housing prices were boosted by allowing people with liar loans to increase demand. This was of course obviously going to be only temporary, as eventually the liar loan homes were bound for foreclosure. Speculators made money on the rising market, and further boosted prices. Meanwhile, wall street took those liar loans and magically converted them to AAA rated securities that they sold to suckers from around the world. Those too were always destined for collapse as the the liar loans were certain to default.

People made billions from this. Then they made more money when they took your tax dollars to cover the losses. Sure, they are paying it back, largely from ever higher fees charged to you which of course are not constrained under any 'finance reform' bill. But, at best, that bailout money was gone from the American people for the last year, and thus we've lost the opportunity cost of how much better off we might all be today if we'd spent those trillions of dollars in economy stimulus and job creation and stabilizing the housing market by subsidizing homeowners instead of banks.

A trillions got sucked out of the asset sheets of American families and ended up as Wall Street profits and bonus checks. Steal that much at once, and the economy stutters and sputters like a choking lawn mower engine. That's what happens when that much wealth is stolen.

Well, that's my take. Sparked by Mr. Whitney saying in the first line that most people don't know what caused the crisis. His article is excellent as usual, and includes this bit ....

So how do the shadow banks make so much money by increasing leverage?

Here's how it works: There are three houses on the block; all of them are identical and all of them are the same price, $100,000 each.

Harry buys the first house and pays cash, $100,000 on the barrelhead.

Joe buys the second house and puts 10 per cent down, in other words, he pays $10,000.

Frank, who works for a big chiseling hedge fund on Wall Street, buys the third home and puts 0.0 per cent down; so he has zero equity.

12 months later the value of all three homes has gone up 10 per cent; so now they are all worth $110,000. That means:

Harry has made a measly 10 per cent on his investment.

Joe has made 100 per cent on his investment.

And chiseling Frank has made $10,000 pure profit.

This simple breakdown is intended to help people grasp the real purpose behind securitization and derivatives trading, which is not to make markets operate more efficiently or to "disaggregate" (spread) risk (as the proponents of "innovation" say). It is simply to peddle garbage assets which are balanced on minuscule slices of capital. It's a shyster's dream-come-true; capitalism without capital.

All Wall Street's profit's derive from some variation of this low-capital, high-risk schema.