Category Archives: Economy

drilling in the gulf

. . . For a time after the BP spill, the drilling moratorium ordered by the Obama administration caused a decline in gulf production, but a reversal has occurred. Forty rigs are drilling in the gulf today compared with 25 a year ago . . .

. . . Last December, the Obama administration held its first offshore auction since the BP spill, granting leases for more than 20 million acres of federal waters — bigger than West Virginia. The leases are worth $330 million to the federal government and have the potential to produce 400 million barrels of oil . . .

“. . . The Republicans and the oil industry are maintaining the speed-over-safety mentality that led to the BP disaster in the first place,” said Mr. Markey, who has been critical of the Obama administration’s response to the spill and to what he called a dangerous overuse of chemical dispersants in the gulf. “We now understand the lessons, but Republicans have blocked all new safety laws,” he said. “Not one has been put on the books . . .”

. . . Mr. Romney, who said last week that he had named a billionaire oil industry executive, Harold Hamm of Continental Resources, to lead his team of energy advisers, has said he would relax regulations and speed the permitting process . . .

“The leases are worth $330 million to the federal government and have the potential to produce 400 million barrels of oil.” How would that factor out in a national version of Alaska’s Permanent Fund?

Read Full Article here

Related links:

Tracking the Oil Spill in the Gulf http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/01/us/20100501-oil-spill-tracker.html

About the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC) http://www.apfc.org/home/Content/aboutAPFC/aboutAPFC.cfm

Democracy, Earth Rights, and the Next Economy http://neweconomicsinstitute.org/publications/lectures/hartzok/alanna/Democracy-Earth-Rights-and-the-Next-Economy

Citizen Dividends and Oil Resource Rents http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Hartzok_citdivs_oil.html 

Alaska and the Alaska Permanent Fund http://www.wealthandwant.com/themes/Alaska.html

Advertisements

Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But Is Not

By Deena Stryker

via http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/728.1?frommailing=1#here

An Italian radio program’s story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt.  The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.

As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here’s why:

Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the country’s banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors.  But as investments grew, so did the banks’ foreign debt.  In 2003 Iceland’s debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent.  The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalized, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro.  At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy.

Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution.  But only after much pain.

Geir Haarde, the Prime Minister of a Social Democratic coalition government, negotiated a two million one hundred thousand dollar loan, to which the Nordic countries added another two and a half million. But the foreign financial community pressured Iceland to impose drastic measures.  The FMI and the European Union wanted to take over its debt, claiming this was the only way for the country to pay back Holland and Great Britain, who had promised to reimburse their citizens.

Protests and riots continued, eventually forcing the government to resign. Elections were brought forward to April 2009, resulting in a left-wing coalition which condemned the neoliberal economic system, but immediately gave in to its demands that Iceland pay off a total of three and a half million Euros.  This required each Icelandic citizen to pay 100 Euros a month (or about $130) for fifteen years, at 5.5% interest, to pay off a debt incurred by private parties vis a vis other private parties. It was the straw that broke the reindeer’s back.

What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.

Of course the international community only increased the pressure on Iceland. Great Britain and Holland threatened dire reprisals that would isolate the country.  As Icelanders went to vote, foreign bankers threatened to block any aid from the IMF.  The British government threatened to freeze Icelander savings and checking accounts. As Grimsson said: “We were told that if we refused the international community’s conditions, we would become the Cuba of the North.  But if we had accepted, we would have become the Haiti of the North.” (How many times have I written that when Cubans see the dire state of their neighbor, Haiti, they count themselves lucky.)

In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt.  The IMF immediately froze its loan.  But the revolution (though not televised in the United States), would not be intimidated. With the support of a furious citizenry, the government launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis.  Interpol put out an international arrest warrant for the ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, as the other bankers implicated in the crash fled the country.

But Icelanders didn’t stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money.  (The one in use had been written when Iceland gained its independence from Denmark, in 1918, the only difference with the Danish constitution being that the word ‘president’ replaced the word ‘king’.)

To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet. The constituent’s meetings are streamed on-line, and citizens can send their comments and suggestions, witnessing the document as it takes shape. The constitution that eventually emerges from this participatory democratic process will be submitted to parliament for approval after the next elections.

Some readers will remember that Iceland’s ninth century agrarian collapse was featured in Jared Diamond’s book by the same name. Today, that country is recovering from its financial collapse in ways just the opposite of those generally considered unavoidable, as confirmed yesterday by the new head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde to Fareed Zakaria. The people of Greece have been told that the privatization of their public sector is the only solution.  And those of Italy, Spain and Portugal are facing the same threat.

They should look to Iceland. Refusing to bow to foreign interests, that small country stated loud and clear that the people are sovereign.

That’s why it is not in the news anymore.

Stryker is an American writer that has lived in six different countries, is fluent in four languages and a published writer in three. She looks at the big picture from a systems and spiritual point of view.

 

Possibility Alliance

This extraordinary community has been on the map since 2007, and we had the pleasure of staying here for just a few days, and a return trip is definitely in order, probably for their free permaculture training. During our first visit we experienced a guided tour of the entire farm, we slept in the barn loft with other volunteers (during huge thunderstorms!), helped out with various permaculture projects and interviewed most of the community members about their experiences living electricity-free in rural America Other similar projects are starting up in Kansas City MO, England and beyond.

WRITE-UP

COMMUNITY COHESIVENESS:  This Gandhian-based community consists of six adults and three children, as well as two three-time apprentices during the growing season and many more regular volunteers, visitors and potential members. The community practices Quaker-style consensus decision making and mindfulness meditation as well as yoga and other “inner” work. This makes for a very tight-knit community with many radical ideas that are successfully being practiced. They have check-in meetings every morning over breakfast which are a lot of fun and provide intimate connection.  There are five main pillars of the community:

  1. BulletRadical Simplicity
  2. BulletService
  3. BulletPolitical/Social Activism
  4. BulletInner Work
  5. BulletGratitude & Celebration

Each of these are carried out in a wide variety of ways as there is not a dogma or “one way”.

SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS:  Electricity-free, car-free and mostly petroleum-free (other than a few bike light batteries and the occasional ride from a friend). They generally feel as though most, if not all, “green” technologies are not actually green and when looked closely at are really taking a toll on the earth. For example they shared with us that solar panels are made of silicon that is scraped off the bottom of the ocean and causing damage to the ocean ecosystems. They live right in the middle of Amish country, and have chosen to adopt some similar practices, such as the use of simple technologies and an emphasis on community interdependence, as well as homesteading techniques, including horse-powered farm equipment, honey bees, chickens for eggs, a pond, a barn with hayloft and goats and more.  In addition to the ecological sustainability practiced here, they are definitely practicing many economic, spiritual and social sustainability methods as well.

Read more

 

 

tiny rainbows on the shore: or an example of industry/market regulating itself

via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rocky-kistner/oil-spill-reported-near-d_b_838019.html

The Coast Guard is investigating reports of a potentially large oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico not far from the Deepwater Horizon site. According to a knowledgeable source, the slick was sighted by a helicopter pilot on Friday and is about 100 miles long. A fishing boat captain said he went through the slick yesterday and it was strong enough to make his eyes burn.

According to the Times Picayune, the Coast Guard has confirmed they are investigating a potentially large 100 mile slick about 30 miles offshore. They are going to a site near the Matterhorn well site about 20 miles north of the BP Deepwater Horizon site, according to the paper. The Matterhorn field includes includes a deepwater drilling platform owned by W&T Technology. It was acquired last year from TotalFinaElf E&P.

Independent pilots are attempting to reach the slick today. Bonnie Schumaker with Wings of Care reported she saw a slick two days ago and is attempting to reach the site.

Also, another Louisiana fisherman reports that fresh oil is coming ashore near South Pass, LA, and that cleanup crews are laying new boom near the beach. He also reports that cleanup crews in four-wheeled vehicles were patrolling the beaches near the marsh filled coast spraying a substance on the beach.

Cleanup crews are still operating along the marshes and beach areas of Louisiana and other gulf states. The Bay Jimmy of Louisiana’s Barataria Bay remains heavily oiled.

Oil is also being discovered in more populated areas too. With spring break coming, students and tourists are already heading to the Gulf to escape the winter up north. Recently a group of Missouri college kids came across oil off the beaches of Pensicola. “We were fishing with nets for shells, we call it shelling, and it was just brown, I thought it was shark poop at first,” one incredulous student told local Pensacola station WEAR-TV.

“It kind of did surprise me with all the efforts I thought BP was making to clean up but obviously as you can see, there’s still so much to do,” said another.

Check out the entire TV report here.

More spring breakers will likely come in contact with oil as they migrate in greater numbers to the Gulf. Residents across the coast complain they continue to see oily sheen and a white dispersant like mix washing in, leaving unusual blobs of brown foam that sometimes shine like tiny rainbows on the shore.

 

General Strike!

“used by protesters all over the U.S.

(and perhaps the world?)”

High Resolution Poster

Article/Writeup

The Tyranny of Entitlement

We read earlier about socialism for the rich, now lets read a bit on the idea of entitlement. One can often hear objections to socialism, re-appropriation of wealth, and entitlement when it comes to the poor and exploited, but what about when it comes to the rich?

. . . A perpetual-growth economy is not only insane (and impossible), it is also by its very essence abusive, by which I mean that it’s based on the same conceit as more personal forms of abuse. It is, in fact, the macroeconomic enshrinement of abusive behavior. The guiding principle of abusive behavior is that the abuser refuses to respect or abide by limits or boundaries put up by the victim. As Lundy Bancroft, former codirector of Emerge, the nation’s first therapeutic program for abusive men, writes, “Entitlement is the abuser’s belief that he has a special status and that it provides him with exclusive rights and privileges that do not apply to his partner. The attitudes that drive abuse can largely be summarized by this one word.”

The relevance of this word applies on the larger social scale. Of course humans are a special species to whom a wise and omnipotent God has granted the exclusive rights and privileges of dominion over this planet that is here for us to use. And of course even if you subscribe to the religion of Science instead of Christianity, humans possess special intelligence and abilities that grant us exclusive rights and privileges to work our will on the world that is still here for us to use. Growth economies are essentially unchecked and will push past any boundaries set up by anyone other than the perpetrators: certainly the fact that indigenous cultures already are living on this or that piece of ground has never stopped those in power from expanding their economy; nor is the death of the oceans stopping their exploitation; nor is the heating of the planet stopping the exploitation; nor is the grinding poverty of the dispossessed.

And the truth is, you cannot talk abusers out of their behavior. Perpetrators of domestic violence are among the most intractable of all who commit violence, so intractable, in fact, that in 2000 the United Kingdom removed funding for therapy sessions designed to treat men guilty of domestic violence (putting the money instead into shelters and other means of keeping women safe from their attackers). Lundy Bancroft also says this: “An abuser doesn’t change because he feels guilty or gets sober or finds God. He doesn’t change after seeing the fear in his children’s eyes or feeling them drift away from him. It doesn’t suddenly dawn on him that his partner deserves better treatment. Because of his self-focus, combined with the many rewards he gets from controlling you, an abuser changes only when he feels he has to, so the most important element in creating a context for change in an abuser is placing him in a situation where he has no other choice.”

How do we stop the abusers who perpetrate a perpetual-growth economy? Seeing oiled pelicans and burned sea turtles won’t move them to stop. Nor will hundred-degree days in Moscow. We can’t stop them by making them feel guilty. We can’t stop them by appealing to them to do the right thing. The only way to stop them is to make it so they have no other choice.

Read more . . .

And remember, “The only way to stop them is to make it so they have no other choice.”

the love police

Bellow is an excerpt from the love police website. I pulled the information from the About page, and posted one of their videos so you can get an idea of what they are about and what you may find there. Please do visit http://www.cveitch.org/wordpress/

About

Hello everyone.

This is a bio written by me so I will be honest and open. I am no different to all the other apes with over-clocked brains running around on the surface of this beautiful planet we call Earth. I have been very lucky in that I have had the opportunity to live in various cultures around the world, most notaby Brazil, Guinea (West Africa), Qatar,  Saudi Arabia, the Caribbean and of course the United Kingdom.

Growing up I had a very pleasant family life, with parents who nurtured me and provided me with unconditional love. Being someone who always had to change schools (Whenever my Dad got another job in the oil industry), I found myself having to think very quickly in terms of how to make new friends, seeing as I was always “the new kid” at school. This raised fantastic opportunities to make new friends and learn a lot about myself.

Anyway, enough about my distant past. Around the age of 17 I got very interested in the nature of things and of reality, and so I did a degree at Edinburgh University in Scotland with Philosophy as my major for the four years of attendance, with other subjects such as Anthropology, Criminology, Forensic Medicine (The autopsy was intense. I had to leave the room feeling unwell) and Sociology. Still something was always missing. There was some truth which I felt none of the lecturers or tutors were able to give me.

Upon graduation, I promised myself I would never wear a suit, nor would I work in an office. Fate threw me suited up into an office for seven years, and seven years exactly. This was my tour of duty in the illusory world of hierarchical control, greed, fear and systemic hypnosis. It’s fair to say I tried to push aside my yearning for more esoteric explanations of the reality I found myself in and distracted myself with womanising and drug taking at weekends, not to mention exotic holidays and fun hobbies. I was living a half-life, and no-one was more aware of this fact than I was. There were, of course, moments of stunning humanity in my time in “the office” working as a financial adviser and all round salesman for the corporate control grid. I met people who inspired me, people who helped propel me out of the locked way of thinking that a big corporation (in my case HBOS PLC) demands of the minds in attendance. But still I remained a slave, wearing my tie as I woke up before dawn to go and sell investments to unsuspecting people.

But fate had different ideas in store for little Charlie. The economic controlled demolition of the world monetary system had me out on the street by the 1st May 2009, jobless. Suddenly I was able to do what I wanted to do, and the destiny I was too scared to enact for myself was thrust upon me, a truly humbling experience – because without losing my job would I be where I am today, megaphone and camera in hand shining a light up the asshole of evil, seeing what it is made of? Who knows…

I bought a camera because I’d had a few experiences where I was spiritually inspired by people in the real world and I thought “If I can do the same for my fellow people, then I want to share with them the best way I know…”, and the spiritual videos were born. We can call them spiritual, we can call them humanistic, we can call them political, some may even call them comedy, though they are not always funny. What I have managed to always be in my work is honest, as dictated by my own beliefs that nothing should be hidden. If I make mistakes, I know that the people will forgive me, as I have to forgive myself. But I hope I can bring my own special method of waking people up to those who need it the most – those, who like I used to be, are trapped in the corporate matrix AND think it is real; those who believe working greedily in an office whilst children die like dogs in Africa is the pinnacle of human evolution. No, none of us think the world is the pinnacle of the way things could be, but we are too scared to change ourselves and the world. The many temptations of money, respect and authority are always with us…until now. You can almost taste the electricity in the air with people waking up and simply not being a part of the consumerist-mediocrity that we hold up. We can now speak to people about conspiracy theories, about spiritual matters, about the esoteric…and we are understood.

Even my father, a conservative-hawk who watches Sky News and has old fashioned views supporting the Empire, now sees that September 11th was not as explained. I wasn’t there, and most probably you, the reader, were not there in Manhattan that day, but like the Swine Flu scare, we have no reason to trust the lies of the governments when we can see with our own eyes a building demolished and blown to pyroclastic smithereens…

I search for the truth. It exists inside me somewhere, and the more work I do for the greater spiritual awakening of all, the more the universe/the source/the absolute cares for me and gently nudges me towards my true path. Again, I  feel small than when I contemplate the Absolute Consciousness, but though I feel small, I never feel alone, I never feel unloved, I never feel misunderstood. This is what I want to share with you; the power of working towards losing ego and trusting that Everything is OK…if only we could make it so.

The work that myself and my friends do is purely to inspire you to look within yourself and realise that there is nothing to be scared of. Do not follow us, do not think of us as leaders, do not emulate us, for we are imperfect fools searching as much as you are. The work we do out on the streets is to bring the message of peace and unity to the people who need to hear it most. By holding our ground against the uniformed/costumed Police officers and security that try and tell us how to act, we show a microcosm of the big issues we all face. Think of your fears in a bullet-proof, flourescent jacket, holding a pair of handcuffs. Learn how to stand up for the inviolability of your own soul.  I promise you brothers and sisters that there is nothing they can do to you once you realise you are a spirit having a temporary human experience; that you hold all of the secrets of the universe inside your heart, and that you will never die. YOU WILL NEVER DIE. You will live on forever and you are infinitely loved. I cannot tell you this, but you will feel this for yourself soon. This I promise. We all used to think like this, but many of us have forgotten. The glory of remembering is for us all to take.

In the meantime, I hope you to make you smile and help you in the same way my friends have helped me.

With so much love and affection which words cannot do justice to,

Charlie