Wednesday, June 30, 2010


News Links, July 1, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
Global banks face US$5 trillion rollover
Sri Lanka sets out budget aimed at cutting deficit
Derivatives laws could cost companies $1 trillion: ISDA
We Are Now Experiencing Global Credit Crisis #2
CBO's math on budget deficit presents daunting choices for US
Russia Buys 22 Tons Of Gold In May
Moody's Puts Spanish Debt on Review for Downgrade
Governments Moving to Cut Spending, in Echo of 1930s
Central Banks Trim Euro, Dollar Holdings

-- Fault lines --
Russia plays down US spy arrests
Europe must impose tough oil sanctions on Iran: US
Turkey Asks Iran to Return to Negotiating Table
Iran sees no risk to gasoline imports, official says
Beyond Gasoline: Congress Targets Iran's Access to Critical Energy Know-How
Taliban attack Nato base in Afghanistan
Dangerous Afghan highway threatens NATO supply flow
Saudi Arabia wants US to pressure Israel on peace in the Middle East
Cyber Terrorism Is Now Seen as a Real Threat (WSJ)
Gaza flotilla: Israeli minister 'meets Turkish foreign minister to improve relations'
Spain grinds to halt on third day of strike
Riots Break out in Iraq Over Energy Shortages
Spain, Britain Fight Over Airspace Near Gibraltar
China To Stage Live-Fire Military Exercises

-- Energy/resources --
China To Move Tens Of Thousands For Huge Water Scheme
*This grand plan, known as Nanshui Beidiao ("supplying the south's water to the north"), hails back to the time of Mao Zedong.
The End of Oil, and Government
Government institutions in Pakistan owe $2bn to cash-strapped national power company
The road to peak coal: Coal Calamities Rack Prices (WSJ)
"A string of deadly coal mining accidents around the world that have forced production cutbacks and prompted crackdowns on safety standards will constrain supplies and could lead to sharply higher prices for some types of coal."
Blimps could replace aircraft in freight transport, say scientists
Scientist: World must expect more spills because days of "easy oil" are over
Michael Klare: Grappling With The Age Of 'Tough Oil'

-- Oil gusher --
BP Spill, Day 72: Could the Deepwater Horizon Disaster Destroy the Gulf?
Alex Blows Into Hurricane Strength In Western Gulf
As CEO Hayward Remade BP, Safety, Cost Drives Clashed
Biologists find 'dead zones' around BP oil spill in Gulf
Deepwater Oil Risks Greater Than Industry Admitted

Japan Airlines May Ask Creditors for Additional Debt Waiver, Kyodo Reports
JAL's net negative worth hits ¥1 trillion

UK: One in nine churches in 'poor condition'
Second Bank Bailout Could Break Britain

US: Airline Food Health Threat: Roaches, Rat Feces, Horrors, Says FDA
Grass along state roads and highways across New Jersey has grown out of control
California Cities Shutting Police Forces to Close Budget Gaps
More California school districts edging closer to insolvency, state says
With federal stimulus funds running out, economic worries grow
Munis Underperform Treasuries With Default Concern Raising Risk Premium
Iran nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri 'flees US captors'
Americans are still getting fatter
Foreclosures: President says some families will lose homes
The biggest ponzi scheme market ever created (synthetic derivatives)
Crunchtime for mutual funds has arrived
Stealth Austerity Already Hitting the U.S.
America, A Faltering Empire
California Economy Is a Sign of What's Coming: Fiorina
Law enforcement agencies in Northern Virginia say you have no right to know what they're doing
White House To Streamline Arms Export License Process
Senate Panel Approves Controversial Cybersecurity Bill

And finally... Italian Job: nearly half of European bank robberies take place in Italy

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


News Links, June 30, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
Repent at leisure (Economist report on debt)
Derivative Monster: Alive and Kicking Despite Reforms (Scary!)
Ireland struggles with high cost of austerity
China stocks plunge to 14-month low
Greece's Best Option Is To Come Clean And Go Bust
Europe Double-Dip May Bring Correction: Roubini
Global markets on 'cliff edge' amid fears over European banks
Spanish Banks Rage at End of ECB Offer
IMF Chief Says Would Consider Yuan for SDR Basket
IMF's Strauss-Kahn: Developing New Credit Line For Regions
Stress Tests May Expose German Landesbanken's `Black Hole'
Majority of Germans want Deutschmark back
Europe Banks Make Me Nervous: Niall Ferguson
Bank For International Settlements: Deficits Are Crippling
UAE banks face Dubai World losses of 10-20% - Moody's

-- Fault lines --
Iran sets conditions for nuclear talks, says Israel's arsenal must be addressed
Cuba's Castro meets with Syrian President Assad
Russia FM: Moscow awaits US explanation on spies
US State Department Downplays Damage of Russian Spy Case
White House Downplays Russian Spy Plot, Says Obama Knew Before Medvedev Visit
Greek strike leaves tourists stranded
Greek riot police clash with protesters in Athens
Chaos erupts in Greece over austerity measures
China's factories hit by wave of strikes
Rodolfo Torre Cantu assassination: Why are drug cartels killing Mexican candidates?
Maoists rebels kill 26 policemen in central India
Pakistan gets U.S. F-16s
China denies military exercise aimed at U.S.
Abu Dhabi: 100,000 workers moved to 'labour cities'
Egypt tightens security around pipeline for Israel-bound gas

-- Afghanistan --
General Petraeus: US troops to remain in Afghanistan for years
Corruption Suspected in Airlift of Billions in Cash From Kabul
US lawmaker: Not 'one more dime' for Afghanistan until corruption cleaned up

-- Energy/resources --
Despite Gulf disaster deepwater oil is all we have left
Green setback for UK as British power supplied by renewable sources falls
Mexico's Astonishing Oil Production Decline
GCC solar energy round-up - so far, so slow
Interview with Jeff Rubin, Part 2

-- Oil gusher --
Bill Clinton: 'We may have to blow up the well'
BP, Transocean Told to Alert U.S. to Acts That Deplete Assets
Oil Platforms Evacuated as Texas, Mexico Brace for Alex Strike

Honduran ex-president: US was behind my overthrow
Banks Financing Mexico Drug Gangs Admitted in Wells Fargo Deal

US: 'Dozens' of US citizens on assassination list, White House adviser hints
U.S. intelligence community debates China's bond holdings
Strong chemicals used in Pa. drilling, list to be posted online
524 Guard soldiers headed to Arizona-Mexico border
86 Banks Fail in First Half of 2010
American Cities Teeter on Brink of Bankruptcy
Velocity of Money Still Crashing
Fannie-Freddie Bailout Could Cost Taxpayers $1 Trillion
High Unemployment, Lower Stocks and Growing Worries. Is This 1930 All Over Again?
Unemployed dumping car leases
House Rejects Extension Of Unemployment Benefits
Top Republican: Raise Social Security's retirement age to 70

Monday, June 28, 2010


News Links, June 29, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
Bahrain's SWF Full-Year Loss for 2009 More Than Doubled
Ag Bank of China to set IPO record
G20 nations commit to halving budget deficits by 2013
Central Banks Warn of New Crisis If Exit Left too Late
Debt-shackled US consumers can't buy world's prosperity: Obama
The Third Depression (Paul Krugman)
"We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression."
US Needs to Stop Spending: Former IMF Economist
G20: Paving the way for a new Great Depression?
RBS tells clients to prepare for 'monster' money-printing by the Federal Reserve
ECB liquidity cliff risk, updated
Inside the US: How bad is it?
Spanish Banks In Panic Mode Over Maturity Of ECB's €442 Billion Long-Term Refinancing Operation
Tighter budgets, bank reform needed now: BIS

-- War drums --
Italian PM: Israel 'will probably react preemptively' on Iran
Panetta: Iran Has Enough Uranium to Make Two Bombs

-- Fault lines -
AFRICOM using private contractors to gain foothold in Africa
West worries China may undermine Iran sanctions efforts
France's Total halts Iran gasoline sales: report
Israeli plane barred from Turkey after Gaza raid
North Korea threatens 'new' nuclear deterrent
Chavez denounces Israel as a 'genocidal' government
Mexican candidate shot dead on campaign trail
Pirates seize Singapore cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden
North Korea sinking of South Korean warship not terrorism, US says
Burqa bans grow fashionable in Europe

-- Food --
Venezuela's private retailers targeted as Hugo Chávez declares 'economic war'
US States ease food safety rules for homemade goods
Russian wheat price pressures others

-- Energy/resources --
New oil field 'one of region's largest finds' (UK)
*Do the math! 300 million barrels = less than four days world supply.

Japan's Jobless Rate Unexpectedly Rises to 5.2%, Households Cut Spending

-- Oil gusher --
Thick Oil Soils Mississippi Shore As Storm Looms
BP oil spill: Bill hits $100m a day
BP 'staked future on expanding offshore drilling'
BP oil spill costs reach $2.65bn
BP oil spill: New York Fed checking on Wall Street firms' exposure to oil company
Scientists predict above-average Gulf 'dead zone'
Boycott of BP is a tall order
BP Sued Over Losses in Employee Pension Plan

UK: Officers claim they don't need law to stop photographer taking pictures
Big cut in number of police on the streets due to smaller budget

US: State Budget Crises Threaten Social Fabric
Building boom, retail crash leave strip malls scrambling to fill space
Gun lobby victory as every American's right to bear arms upheld by ruling
10 alleged Russian secret agents arrested
State budgets: Classrooms or Prison Cells?
Cash-strapped states cut everything, except the grass
California's state parks need maintenance, and it shows
With the clock ticking, Sacramento set to blow another budget deadline
Illinois Borrowing $900 Million as Credit-Default Insurance Cost Doubles
Huge tent city takes root (Hawaii)
White House Talks Up Online ID Plan

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Collapse — The Movie

I was finally able to view a DVD of Collapse, an unusual documentary that is mostly a monologue by Michael C. Ruppert. After watching the film, viewers can probably be roughly divided into two groups: Those who will dismiss Ruppert as a crackpot, and those who will feel as if they’ve been guided into a whole new — and very scary — world. But if you listen objectively to what Ruppert has to say, you’ll likely avoid falling into the first group.

Let me be honest and say right from the outset that I have been a fan of Mike Ruppert and his work since the days when he was publishing From the Wilderness. I spent many hours slogging through his monumental tome Crossing the Rubicon. And now I’m on his lifeboat-building island CollapseNet. So it could be said that I am partial. Yet, anyone who has examined Ruppert’s writing cannot help but marvel at his thorough work, the logic of his dot-connecting, and his uncanny ability to peel away layers of obfuscation, spin, disinformation, and BS to ferret out the truth — a talent I call his “detective’s eye.” And his journalistic record speaks for itself. One wonders why all journalism cannot be like that at FTW. But of course we know the reason.

Collapse presents what many would call an apocalyptic vision — nothing less than the collapse of industrial civilization — in a surprisingly toned-down, low-key format. Despite presenting us with a quite horrifying scenario, we see Ruppert relaxing calmly in a chair, clad in a dress shirt and slacks, quietly and methodically laying out his case. The eerie bunker-like location contrasts with this, and serves to set off the message.

Naturally, many viewers will not or cannot believe that industrial civilization is on the road to ruin, or that mass starvation awaits the world’s oil-fattened population. In this respect, the kicker is the must-see update included on the DVD, in which Ruppert points out matter-of-factly that half the things he predicted in the film have already come to pass in such a short time. As such, that strongly suggests that he is right about the rest.

I for one wasn’t really surprised by what I saw because I’m so familiar with Ruppert’s work and thought. But to people for whom this film is their first encounter with ideas such as peak oil, the pyramid-scheme economy, and the decline of industrial civilization, the experience could leave them with serious doubts at the least, but more likely with brutally shattered perceptions, and even some sleepless nights. After all, people around the world are led to believe in infinite growth, ever-increasing prosperity, easy golden years on fat pensions, and a glorious technological future in which robots perform all menial work. But Ruppert is showing us that our comfortable world is based on lies and is already coming apart at the seams.

We also learn about Mike Ruppert the man, about what makes him tick. While the film and the deleted scenes offer a number of windows into his complex character, the one thing that stands out is his dogged pursuit of the truth. Ruppert has lived a somewhat dangerous life. For example, he’s been shot at, his office was once targeted with microwaves, and he once entered his office one morning to find all his computers smashed (if that isn’t a message, I don’t know what is). So it was no surprise that he “retired” for a while. Most people would have gotten out of the truth-seeking business long before that. But here’s a man who can’t stay away from his calling, so he’s now lecturing, doing interviews, and presiding over CollapseNet.

A criticism of the film is that it doesn’t offer much in the way of an Rx. Happily, this has been more than remedied by CollapseNet, a community where people can share information, skills, and wisdom, and help each other build lifeboats. Whereas Collapse is arguably dark, CollapseNet shines a ray of light and offers hope.

Certainly Collapse isn’t for everyone. If you want to believe that our feckless world leaders are going to pull the fat out of the fire and the good times are going to roll again, and you’re not ready to hear otherwise, then perhaps this movie isn’t for you. But if you’re ready to have your worldview severely challenged, I recommend it highly.


News Links, June 28, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
Deficit hawks score points at G-20
Half of Dubai offices will be empty next year
Debt-laden Dubai opens second airport
Kuwait parliament votes down consumer bill

-- War drums --
Israel setting up Saudi base for Iran raid?
Report: US warships stationed off Iranian coast
CIA Chief: Two Years 'Til Iran's Bomb, Sanctions Won't Work

--Energy/resources --
Oil Swings to Worsen as Spare Capacity Shrinks: Energy Markets
Dark days for Iraq as power crisis bites
Afghans draft in PwC to open up $3trn mineral reserves
Now China sources newly mined gold from the USA
Japanese PM Offers Cooperation In Vietnam's Nuclear Power Plans
$100bn Saudi oil expansion plan complete
Iraq seeks $20 bln for four new oil refineries
Iran's strategic gasoline reserves up 15%

-- Fault lines --
Japan extends ADIZ into Taiwan space
US-Israeli relations suffer 'tectonic rift'
Bangladesh hit by general strike
Mexico drug wars: Gunmen kill nine in clinic
Gunmen open fire at political rally in Mexico, killing 2
China 'must ease migrant worker pressures'
China's young college grads toil in 'ant tribes'
Report: Karzai holds secret talks with top militant
Report: Toronto police rough up journalists, arrest peaceful protesters at G20

-- Oil gusher --
BP's Blowout Preventer is Leaning and Might Fall Over
Booms Delay The Inevitable; Cleanup Efforts Struggle
Little spent on oil spill cleanup technology
BP Bankruptcy Is Worst Nightmare for Obama: Commentary by Caroline Baum

UK: Over 50s say compulsory retirement age 'unnecessary'
NHS suffering devastating cuts to jobs and services, warns BMA

US: Mutual fund returns turn negative in 2nd quarter
The Chilling Truth About Foreclosures In The US
As 1.3 Million Americans Are About To Lose Their Jobless Benefits This Week, The Unemployment Rate Will Surge To 10.5%
U.S. Supreme Court: Humanitarian groups assessing impact of terror decision
Failing U.S. Education Will Dumb Down Economic Growth

Saturday, June 26, 2010


News Links, June 27, 2010

The truth shall be known by the vehemence of the denials!

-- Global economic meltdown --
Spain's Debt Maturity Wave Hits Next Month And It's Already Obvious They Don't Have Enough Cash
'UAE economy fine, worst is over'
Dubai will go ahead with all projects -ruler
Nakheel makes more job cuts
"Nakheel is restructuring about $10.5bn in debt and has offered a deal to trade creditors that could mean a five-year wait for payment."
Ben Bernanke needs fresh monetary blitz as US recovery falters
"Key members of the five-man Board are quietly mulling a fresh burst of asset purchases, if necessary by pushing the Fed's balance sheet from $2.4 trillion to uncharted levels of $5 trillion."
Vancouver's Real Estate Bubble Trouble
Austerity Day
"Britain has joined the austerity club. It already has many members across Europe and more are joining by the day."
China: The next superconsumer?
Presenting The Key H2 Milestones To Observe As The Economy Begins Its Next Pre-Stimulus Contraction Cycle
A Pendulum Swing Toward Austerity

-- Energy/resources --
AREVA covers up extent of massive nuclear reactor cost overrun
BP spill an argument against nuclear power
Gulf power grid to meet demand for extra 55,000MW
Japan: 40-year-old reactor to operate for 10 more years
China May Have Ethylene Shortfall as Demand Outpaces Supply, Sinopec Says

-- Solutions --
Creating a Post-Peak Future You will Want to Live Into
Baltimore Zoning Promotes Urban Farming
Urban livestock

-- Fault lines --
Toronto Summit Meeting Brings Curbs on Canadian Rights
Expat growth to outpace Saudis in 5 years: Survey
G8 condemns North Korea over Cheonan sinking at summit
No talks on Falklands, David Cameron tells Argentina

Iraq war superbug in Abu Dhabi hospitals

-- Oil gusher --
BP must not be destroyed, says Cameron as shares hit 14-year low
Gulf tar balls, dispersants a worry
As Drilling Increases, Cleanup Technology Lags

China: Fewer children to care for the aged
China bans 2.3m PLA soldiers from blogging

UK: Racial violence moves to towns and villages
Farmer kills self with pesticide fumes after going bankrupt
Britain To Introduce First-Ever Immigration Cap

US: Big Banks May Have to Pay if Fannie and Freddie Go Bust
The Scariest U.S. Financial Chart (real estate)
Three U.S. Banks Collapse as Bond Street Holdings Acquires Another Lender
U.S. government panel now pushing "vaccinations for all!" No exceptions…
Is the U.S. a Fascist Police-State?

And finally... Austerity chic: Dior's men dazzle with elegant austerity

Friday, June 25, 2010


News Links, June 26, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
The Next Icelandic Banking Crisis
Spain: The Next EU Sovereign Debt Crisis, Coming Soon
Top Official: Europe Has Run out of Deficit Spending
Greece Swaps Surge to Record, Signaling 68.5% Chance of Default
Hundreds of Romanians try to storm palace in austerity protest
Romania forced to find alternatives to austerity plans
Romania's Vladescu 'Optimistic' on Receiving Next IMF Bailout Payment
China's Historic De-Pegging Is Much Ado About Nothing
Italy's Largest Union Strikes to Protest Berlusconi Government Budget Cuts
France Targets $49 Billion in 2011 Deficit Cuts, Fillon Says
G20 summit: Rifts in Toronto as US warns EU of double-dip recession risk
Japan's Excess Debt Up Y34.7tln In FY08

-- War drums --
Fidel Castro warns of possible clash between Israel, Iran
How A Regime Change In Iran Would Transform The World (Forbes)

-- Fault Lines --
Iraq reverting to its former freedom-less ways
"Under American stewardship, Iraq has grown to be one of the half-dozen most corrupt nations on earth."
Iraq shuts down Saudi-funded TV offices
Pakistan to monitor Google, Yahoo
Russia plans second military base in Kyrgyzstan
Russia set for $12B arms spree
Envoy: U.S. To Build Training Center In Tajikistan
Gulf states seek to cash in on arms buys
Drug War Besieges Mexico's Northern Metropolis
Global systemic crisis / Second half of 2010: The global system's four single points of failure
Beating death in Egypt ignites protests over police brutality
Yemen forces clash with al-Qaeda
Kazakhstan Setting the Pace in Caspian Naval Race
India Moves Toward Faster Defense Acquisitions
Toronto gets 'secret' arrest powers ahead of G20 protests

-- Energy/resources --
China discovers 180 oil and gas fields in South China Sea, expert
EU Mulls 12 Years More State Aid For Coal: Draft
Iraqis' power cut protests powered by grass-roots anger
Africa's Water Most Precarious, Iceland Best: Study
Water shortage becoming critical in Islamabad
India to scrap petrol subsidies in bid to cut budget deficit
12% rise in Riyadh electricity demand - report

-- Food --
Biologist: Ocean pollution 'threatening the human food supply'

-- Oil gusher --
BP share slide as oil spill bill climbs to $2.35bn
Deepwater Horizon: The Best-Case and Most-Likely Scenarios
Storm may slam Gulf, BP cleanup sites
The Gulf food chain's broken links

UK: Government axing websites to save millions
Revealed: How 'zero-grazing' is set to bring US-style factory farming to Britain
Student numbers to drop by 100,000 in five years
Despite FSA protections we face a wave of homelessness
Accept cuts or we'll target pensions, David Cameron warns unions
State pension Ponzi scheme unravels with retirement at 70

US: 7 Reasons Why Housing Is Going to Get Even Worse
The US housing horror story is about to get even worse
States of Crisis for 46 Governments Facing Greek-Style Deficits
Gov. Kulongoski orders 9% budget cuts across Oregon
Focusing On Crumbling State And Local Budgets
Corporate Bond Sales in U.S. Slump 19% as Economic Recovery Shows Strain
Double Dips Coming Everywhere
Pension Fund Bailouts, Unfunded Liabilities and Tax Revolts -- Oh My!
Chicago prepares for losing its handgun ban
Using foods to prevent cancer a trend
Whooping Cough Epidemic Rages in California: 5 Babies Dead, 910 Infected
Congress Approves New Penalties Against Iran
"Gasland" - The Industry Strikes Back
New congressional caucus focuses on plight of honeybees
48% See Government Today As A Threat to Individual Rights
Comprehensive Cyber Legislation Approved

And finally... South Africa: Thieves strip police station, take even kitchen sink

Thursday, June 24, 2010


News Links, June 25, 2010

-- War drums --
Reports: IAF Landed at Saudi Base, US Troops near Iran Border
Focus U.S.A. / 'The U.S. will have to confront Iran or give up the Middle East' (Ha'aretz)
Does Israel suffer from 'Iranophobia'?

-- Global economic meltdown --
Deutsche Bank: U.S. Financial Conditions Just Collapsed Back To Crisis Levels
Greece Credit-Default Swaps Surge to Record on Economic Concern
Stocks Rattled by Renewed Fear of Financial Contagion
Greece puts its islands up for sale to save economy
French strike over austerity plans
Central Banks Join the Ranks Of Investors Who Like Gold

-- Fault lines --
Five US men convicted of Pakistan 'terror plot'
Aide dead in bomb blast at Greek public order ministry
How Obama bought Russia's (expensive) friendship (Newsweek)
Russia considers stronger powers for KGB's successor
Arizona Cops Threatened by Mexican Drug Cartel

-- Energy/resources --
Czechs Say Russian Spies Targeting Energy Sector
Russia reopens Belarus gas tap but dispute goes on
Caracas to take over US-owned rigs
The Nuclear Power Resurgence: How Safe Are the New Reactors?
How Important Is The Gulf Of Mexico For American Oil Production? VERY
Investing For A Peak-Oil Future (Forbes)
Emerging Markets will Drive Demand for Oil and Gas in Medium Term, IEA Says
Did the Nuclear Industry and Politicians Learn Anything from the BP Oil Spill?
Saudi Arabia rated worst in GCC for water security

-- Oil gusher --
BP Restores Cap on Leaking Undersea Well
Health Risks from Oil Spill: "Some of the Most Toxic Chemicals that We Know" , "Every Place Can be Ground Zero", CDC Advises "Everyone" to Avoid Oil
In Gulf oil spill 'war,' cleanup foot soldiers threaten mutiny
TILT: The illness afflicting workers exposed to BP's oil disaster?

Japan: Core CPI Falls 1.2% In May, for 15th straight month of decline

UK: 'Work for free first' plan for police recruits
Population continues to age, fuelling concerns over the retirement funding 'time bomb'

US: Now Scientists Read Your Mind Better Than You Can
"Brain scans ... might offer a powerful tool for advertisers or health officials seeking to motivate consumers."
FEMA wants you to play 'Disaster Hero' in upcoming emergency response game
Despite Spill, Louisiana Remains Wedded To Oil
E-Mail That Self Destructs
California town to lay off all city employees, disband police
Investors Fly Into Municipal Bonds Like Moths to a Flame
Federal Reserve Statement with English Translation
Mortgage rates at lowest point since mid-1950s
Bond Defaults Stalk Wealthiest Michigan Communities as Development Crashes
"As soon as they would fill one development they'd start another, and then one day it just stopped. Now the ground is not worth what it cost to put the infrastructure in."
Kansas: Oil drilling turns 150
Oil Drillers Won't Rush to Deep Water After Ruling

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


News Links, June 24, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
Geithner and Summers lay out their G-20 agenda (WSJ)
Asia tops Europe in wealth survey
Ranks Of Japan's Rich Grew 21% In '09: Report
Disbanding The Euro--A Worst-Case Scenario
Soros Says Germany Could Cause Euro Collapse
Soros: Europe's Banks Haven't Been `Cleansed'
Baltic Dry Index Down 17 Days in a Row
T-Minus 7 Days To A LIBOR-Induced Liquidity Crunch?
Sovereign debt, account imbalances threatening Canada's financial stability
Gulf monetary union faces hurdles

-- Fault lines --
Japan considers refueling of warships off Somalia
Russia cuts gas supplies to Belarus by 60%
Belarus 'pays Russian gas debt'
Strikers disrupt ferries in main Greek port
What's on Pakistan TV talk shows? Extremists.
Iran ups uranium enrichment
George Soros fears Europe unrest, nationalism and xenophobia

-- Energy --
Thousands protest power shortages across Iraq
Surge in small-scale hydropower schemes since 2000 (UK)
Tenaga CEO: Malaysia May Face Power Shortage In 2015 If No New Plants
Power and water cut off to overcrowded villas (Dubai)
Chinese natural gas shortage to exceed 10 billion cubic meters
Asia's thermal-coal imports seen hitting record in 2011
Peak Oil Review interviews Jeff Rubin
Vietnam Plans to Build 13 Nuclear Reactors by 2030
Dubai seeks renewable, nuclear energy mix
U.S. Gas Producer Taps Sovereign Funds Amid Offshore Oil Anxiety
Oil demand to be boosted by China, India, says IEA

-- Oil gusher --
Methane In Gulf "Astonishingly High": U.S. Scientist
Not just oil: Methane gas may cause 'dead zones' in Gulf
BP Oil Spill: Gas Lines, Higher Food Prices and a Broken Economy
Oil gushes unchecked after BP submarine accident
When you think BP, think asbestos
"The oil company's situation resembles that of the asbestos companies that were flooded with claims and forced into bankruptcy."

-- Food --
D-Town: African American Farmers, Food Security and Detroit

UK: Budget: David Cameron warns over public sector pensions
UK's "Unavoidable" Austerity Budget Takes on Public Sector Unions
Pensions shake-up could see most people working into their seventies

US: California faces $19 billion budget deficit despite massive cuts
Notorious Private Military Company Blackwater up for Sale
Small Business Lending: Still Dry Three Years Later
New home sales plunge to record low
Lumber Just Keeps Getting Crushed, Now Officially A "Reverse V"
Interior secretary to issue new drilling ban
Fascism Enters Through "Terror" Door
Homeland Security to deploy more drones on Mexico border
U.S. Health Care Ranks Low Among Developed Nations: Report
Netflix Backs U.S. Postal Service Saturday Delivery Cut
Inside the Dire Financial State of the States (Time)
Congress To Debate Cellphone Tracking
NY law would be 1st to take DNA from all criminals

And finally... Eliot Spitzer will co-host CNN program

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


News Links, June 23, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
World stocks down as Europe debt fears creep back
Niall Ferguson: US Fiscal Crisis Will Likely Occur Within 2 Years
UK to Cut Spending, Raise Tax in Austerity Budget
Debt-laden U.K. to cut budget drastically, even the Queen is not spared
Budget 2010: Britain will not join the Eurozone for at least five years
Britain announces asset fire sale
World's rich got richer in 2009
A Bankrupt BP - Worse For The Financial World Than Lehman Brothers?
"People are seriously underestimating how much liquidity in the global financial world is dependent on a solvent BP."
Kuwait's City of Silk 1km tower still on - architect

-- War drums --
There Will Be War (Forbes)
Report: Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran to discuss 'possible Israeli attack'
NYC car bomb suspect pleads guilty, calls it 'war'

-- Fault lines --
US Unveils Yet More Iran Sanctions
US wants Pakistan to forgo pipeline deal
Pakistani PM ignores US warning on Iran gas deal
U.S. Said to Fund Afghan Warlords to Protect Convoys
Kurdish rebels suspected of Istanbul bus bombing
Kyrgyzstan to supply fuel to US base directly
Russia pushing for control of fuel supplies to crucial US airbase
Gazprom: Belarus threatens to siphon gas as Russia cuts supply
Belarus turns off flow of Russian gas to Europe
Norway FM says G-20 is "one of the greatest setbacks since World War II"
Netherlands submarine to join Somalia anti-pirate force
Mexican cartel deals drugs, violence with religious fervor
Protests Shutter Bangladesh Garment Factories
WikiLeaks founder drops 'mass spying' hint

-- Food --
Oz: Foreign rush for farms

-- Energy/resources --
Record high temperature cause Saudi power outages
Booz and Company report shows increasing gas shortage in GCC
Kuwait cuts working hours to save power
As Tiny UAE's Water Tab Grows, Resources Run Dry
Could water undermine the American game plan for Iraq?
Iraq faces 'more power shortages'
Increase in Water Theft in Jordan Has Broad Implications for Middle East
*Water and energy shortages are going to cripple the Middle East.
Nepal: Load shedding reduced to 35 hours a week
India: Punjab steel industry to face 1-day power cut every week
UP faces worst ever power crisis; peak time shortage rising
Citi Takes Chainsaw To Oil Services And Equipment Sector
Natural Gas Indigestion

-- Oil gusher --
Deepwater Horizon: The Worst-Case Scenario
BP's photo blackout
An Oilicane?
"If a hurricane's violent winds track over the spill, we could witness a natural and economic calamity that history has never recorded anywhere or anytime."

China: Toyota Idles Another Plant As Strike Hits Guangzhou
Strike shuts down production at Denso plant in s. China

Japan: Fired Mazda worker kills with car
Japan sets targets to rein in national debt
JAL to encourage early retirement of 3,300 more employees
Top department store group to start trading in secondhand brand goods

Bee decline could be down to chemical cocktail interfering with brains
40,000 deaths a year due to junk food, says health watchdog Nice

US: Gulf Paymaster: People Are in 'Desperate' Shape
Nebraska Town Votes to Banish Illegal Immigrants
Sexual predator treatment squeezes state budgets
Meredith Whitney: Housing Double Dip Is Certain
Obama Seeks More Than $100 Million for Laid-Off Oil Rig Workers
BP Oil Disaster Costs U.S. State Pensions $1.4 Billion in Value
A "Rational Decision": Judge Blocks Obama's Ban on Offshore Drilling
California Isn't The State Most Likely To Default Anymore
Las Vegas: Fate of Fountainbleau unclear
States face fiscal peril
Pressure rising on healthcare long before overhaul takes effect

Monday, June 21, 2010


Pyramid-Scheme Economy

I’m of course not the first to say that the “growth economy” is very much like a giant pyramid scheme (so are pension programs, but that’s another story). And I’m also not an economics expert, but I can see three main engines that have so far kept the scheme going.

Just as you need to keep bringing in more people/money to maintain a pyramid scheme (which of course will inevitably crash), constantly increasing inputs are needed to maintain the infinite-growth economy — which of course will inevitably crash for the same simple reason: infinite growth is impossible.

First, you have to keep more people and their money coming into the system. These people become the “consumers” and “taxpayers” who keep buying stuff and paying taxes. Their consuming and taxpaying pump up the financial and commercial systems, and keep tax revenues flowing. Taxes allow governments, both local and national, to keep growing in size and complexity, providing more “services,” and building more infrastructure. Cities keep ballooning, suburbs are created and grow, more malls and factories are built, and more farms and forests are razed to make room for all of this. Such activities are now slowing, and you can see the devastating effects.

I remember when I was a kid, people were saying how much money could be made if we could just sell an aspirin to each Chinese. Visions of bringing more new consumers into the scheme are nothing new. Now of course everyone is excited to the point of orgasm because all those Chinese and Indians are eager to join the scheme and get their payoffs, too.

Second, the system needs to be fueled with cheap and plentiful energy. Oil has been the Great Provider in this area, with coal and natural gas also playing big roles. Now that oil is lagging in this respect, there are great hopes that coal, natural gas, and renewables will take up the slack. But if oil gets more expensive, everything gets more expensive. The days of cheap and plentiful energy are coming to a close.

Third, the system requires debt. Lots of it. Especially because the energy engine has begun to sputter, we’ve been trying to pick up the slack with debt. And we’re all up to our eyeballs in it — individuals, businesses, governments. Debt’s running out our ears. The cool thing about debt — in terms of the pyramid-scheme infinite-growth economy — is that it allows us to vastly accelerate the consumption of resources and energy. For example, many of us Little People would ordinarily not be able to buy big-ticket items like houses and new cars. And many of us even borrow to buy cheaper consumer goods. Using debt allows us to access resources and energy that would ordinarily be used by future generations, little by little. Of course it’s not just individuals, because businesses and governments also make heavy use of debt for their day-to-day operations. After all, stocks and bonds are ways of borrowing money, and borrowed money is debt. Using credit cards (which should actually be called “debt cards”) creates debt. So you can easily imagine that the world would be a much different place without debt. It certainly would crimp the infinite-growth economy.

That should make it pretty clear why the economy, shall we say, lacks vitality. There are still lots of people who want to join the scheme, but the other two factors — energy and debt — are dragging on the system because the world has entered energy decline, and because the system is saturated with debt. If there were still lots of cheap energy, it might be possible to goose the system and keep it going for a while longer, but it appears to be too late for that.

Finally, anyone interested in reading more about the energy-debt problem is encouraged to head on over to The Oil Drum and read some of the posts by Gail the Actuary, who’s done some excellent work in this area.


News Links, June 22, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
Saudis Hoard Twice as Much Gold as Thought
US: Private Sector Debt: The Next Catastrophic Bubble to Pop
More Downside to Come Before 'Great Unraveling' Is Over
Dubai Companies May Face More Debt Restructuring, Moody's Says
Another 'Flash Crash' Coming? Some Market Pros Think So
Japan Tax Increase Could Take Years
Austerity was a hard sell in the 40s. Today it's harder still
4 Urgent Warnings From The Most Unlikely Source

-- Fault lines --
Catholic Church warns of cartel control in Mexico
Russia cuts Belarus gas supplies over debt
Belarus 'to pay for Russian gas debt' within two weeks
Why Russia is cutting off gas supplies to Belarus
Russia reassures Lithuania on gas supply
Iran bans UN nuclear inspectors
Abnormal radiation detected at Korean border
India and China Battle over Sri Lanka
Somalia: Unpaid soldiers storm presidential palace
Fourteen die as gangs target buses in El Salvador
Bombings, deadly protests point to long, hard summer in Iraq
Counterterrorism help from Pakistan is insufficient, report finds
Iran out, but Russia eyes Turkey for S-300
Former Israeli intelligence chief calls for preemptive strike on Iran
Gates Nixes Idea Of 'Containing' Nuke-Armed Iran

-- Energy/resources --
Vietnam: Unrest over rolling blackouts in countryside
Gulf oil spill worsens -- but what about the safety of gas fracking?
Acergy to buy Subsea 7 in oil and gas engineering deal
Australia, China Sign Deals Worth Over $8.8 Billion
Iraq electricity minister resigns after deadly protests over power shortages
After BP oil spill, 'peak' oil seems nearer than ever
"By prompting President Obama to suspend deep-water drilling in US offshore waters, the Gulf oil spill is pushing up the date at which the world's conventional oil production peaks."
Here Are 20 Signs That China Is Cornering The Global Oil Market
Major labour shortage predicted for oilpatch by 2014
Iran importing 18 mln litres of gasoline/day, faces no limitations so far: report
China's Restrictions on Rare Earths Said to Be Targeted by U.S.

-- Food --
Starvation threat prompts West Africa appeals
Severe drought threatens Thailand's rice harvest

-- Oil gusher --
Deepwater Horizon worker claims oil rig leaking weeks before explosion
BP Says Oil Spill Costs Reach $2 Billion
Browner Says BP Claims Probably Will Surpass $20 Billion
US Gulf oil drilling ban is destroying 'eco-system of businesses'

US: San Francisco school budget: Cut, cut, cut
Raising a child costs 22% more now than in 1960, report says
Taxes coming for $1 trillion in commercial real estate
In Budget Crisis, States Take Aim at Pension Costs
Fed Emerging Intact From Challenge to Its Power
"Gasland": Will Natural Gas Save America ... or Destroy It?
Keynesianism For Kretins (sic): The New York Fed Launches Propaganda Comic Book
More borrowers in trouble despite federal help -- Result could be a new wave of foreclosures as thousands exit program
U.S. Creates New Agency To Oversee Drilling
State of emergency declared in PA town
The U.S. War Addiction: Funding Enemies to Maintain Trillion Dollar Racket
Texas Can't Afford To Buy New Far-Right Textbooks
Maine to Face Shortage of Skilled Workers, Study Indicates

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