Saturday, March 31, 2012

Stellar performance by Sundre figure skaters

Photos and story by Helge Nome

Talented figure skater Hayley Lukacs introduced the "Strut your stuff" program in the Sundre Arena on Friday, March 30. Accomplished skaters and up-and-coming performers on ice enjoyed showing what they had learned over the winter in front of an appreciative audience. For lots of photos of the action, go to Alberta West Photos

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Alberta's Surface Rights Group keeps on trucking

Photos and story by Helge Nome

The Alberta Surface Rights Group held it Annual General Meeting in the Innisfail Legion Hall on March 28 with some 50 people in attendance. Outgoing President Don Bester opened the meeting welcoming those present and introducing guests and speakers.
The group advocates for the future of Alberta's land and water and challenges many current land and water use practices in the province. The latest of these on the radar is "hydraulic fracking" which is a highly controversial practice forcing oil and gas out of underground formations using liquids and chemicals under very high pressure.
An important achievement in 2011 was to have the Alberta Court of Appeal direct the ERCB (Energy Resources Conservation Board) to award land owners proper hearing and court cost compensation, keeping the playing field level.
Several speakers dealt with issues encountered and tackled during 2011.
Article with several photos continues on second page

Tough Mudders - enjoy

Upgrade grant for Crammond Hall

The Crammond Community Hall situated on Highway 22, south and east of Caroline, Alberta.

Photo and story by Helge Nome

The Clearwater County Council responded positively to a request for upgrades funding for the Crammond Community Hall at its regular meeting on March 27. The hall, which was constructed by local volunteers supported financially by area organizations, has received several upgrades in recent years, including the addition of a deck, a walk bridge across the little creek running through the property, a gazebo and an RV campground to the west of the hall.

This time the idea is to put a roof over the deck and also construct a fire pit, among other things. The amount of the grant is $6,631 as requested to support a projected budget of $12,208.

Crammond Hall is used extensively by area organizations for corporate meetings during the whole of the year and for family re-unions and other get-togethers in the warmer months. It is maintained by local volunteers. The hall is situated in the yard of the former Crammond School which is being maintained as a historic building by the Crammond Community Association which is the legal custodian of the whole property.
For more photos of the hall and old school, go here

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Canadian 9/11 truth tour coming up

Towers for the people

Corridor Communications' tower near Caroline, Alberta.

Photo and story by Helge Nome

The council of the County of Clearwater in West Central Alberta discussed the idea of erecting more communications towers at its regular meeting on March 27. County staff presented the results of a consultant study which indicates that a number of county residents, with over 500 concentrated in the southern end of the county, are not being served by existing communications towers. A grant of more than one million dollars is now potentially available from the Province of Alberta to enable the county to erect additional towers, each of which costs some $390,000. The county would then rent out space on the towers to communication service providers to pay for their upkeep.

After some discussion, council authorized the application for funds to go ahead and also resolved to form a committee to look at tower placements. The committee members are: Case Korver, John Vandermeer and Jim Duncan.
You can access the Clearwater County website here

Springtime in Alberta - Canadian province of oil and wildlife

Photo: Helge Nome

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spain to slash spending as economy slumps back into recession

Street art in Madrid, ahead of a general strike on Thursday against austerity measures Photo: Demotix

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Spain’s fragile economy has fallen back into recession and the country faces a year of grinding economic decline as premier Mariano Rajoy slashes spending yet further to meet EU demands.

The Bank of Spain said the “contractionary dynamic” in the economy continued into early 2012 for the second quarter in a row, with an “intensifying” pace of job losses. It expects GDP to fall by 1.5pc this year.

Mr Rajoy said at a meeting in Seoul that he would press ahead later this week with a “very austere budget”, ordering 15pc cuts in spending across the ministries.

The conservative leader promised a “fair and just” distribution of pain. Public sector salaries will be frozen rather than cut and there will be no rise in VAT.

It is unclear how he can slash the budget deficit from 8.5pc of GDP last year to 5.3pc to meet the compromise target agreed with Brussels after a bruising confrontation.

“It is frankly impossible, given that it would aggravate the recession and this would crush state revenues,” said Jesús Fernández-Villaverde from the University of Pennsylvania.
Read article here

Empires Then and Now

By Paul Craig Roberts

March 26, 2012

Great empires, such as the Roman and British, were extractive. The empires succeeded, because the value of the resources and wealth extracted from conquered lands exceeded the value of conquest and governance. The reason Rome did not extend its empire east into Germany was not the military prowess of Germanic tribes but Rome’s calculation that the cost of conquest exceeded the value of extractable resources.

The Roman empire failed, because Romans exhausted manpower and resources in civil wars fighting amongst themselves for power. The British empire failed, because the British exhausted themselves fighting Germany in two world wars.

In his book, The Rule of Empires (2010), Timothy H. Parsons replaces the myth of the civilizing empire with the truth of the extractive empire. He describes the successes of the Romans, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Spanish in Peru, Napoleon in Italy, and the British in India and Kenya in extracting resources. To lower the cost of governing Kenya, the British instigated tribal consciousness and invented tribal customs that worked to British advantage.
Find out what is driving the American Empire by reading on here

Cute hogs - should they be banned?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fun and games at the Sundre Arts Centre

The Peak Theatre Player presented "Looking" by Norm Foster to an enthusiastic audience in the Sundre Arts Centre on March 24. The comedy about four middle aged singles looking for love ended up in happy circumstances after many snags on the way. The audience gave the performance a standing ovation at the end of the play which will be repeated on Friday and Saturday, March 30/31.
For a photo collage of the action, go here. All photos are in the public domain and may be copied and used as needed.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Alberta election 2012 candidate town hall meeting

Wildrose Alliance candidate Joe Anglin pitched his message to an audience of some 30 people at the James River Hall on March 22.

By Helge Nome

The presentation was part of a tour across the Rocky Mountain House electorate where Anglin presented his reasons for why the present Alberta government needs to be replaced after having been in office for 40 years. Of major concern is the blatant power grab of the cabinet in the form of Bills 24, 36 and 50 which are now enacted into law and puts dictatorial powers into the cabinet room, overriding citizens' rights to a fair judicial hearing.

Anglin also spoke about the exorbitant cost of new proposed power lines linking coal fired power plants in the north of Alberta to the North American grid and a lucrative
energy market for producers at the expense of Alberta's power consumers.

When asked about the Wildrose Alliance's Western energy strategy which includes support for a pipeline carrying crude oil from Alberta's tar sands to the BC coast,
Anglin agreed that bitumen should be upgraded to synthetic oil before being exported from Alberta. That reflected the opinion of members of the audience as well.

Strange cloud appears on Mars

Check out why astronomers are excited about a cloud suddenly appearing in Mars' southern hemisphere here

Friday, March 23, 2012

Alberta election coming up

Iran war will be worst mistake in US history: Fidel Castro

Cuba’s revolution leader Fidel Castro has warned Washington against a military attack on Iran, describing such a move as the worst mistake in US history.

In an article titled "The Roads Leading to Disaster," published in the official daily Granma on Thursday, Castro said there is no doubt that the US would be making the greatest mistake in its history if it decides to attack Iran in coordination with Israel.

“The Israeli government has openly declared its intention to attack the enriched uranium production plant in Iran, and the government of the United States has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in manufacturing a bomb for that purpose,” he wrote.

“As far as I am concerned, I do not harbor the slightest doubt that the United States is about to commit, and lead the world toward, the greatest error in its history,” he added.

Castro said Washington is wrong to think that Iranians in the country’s Armed Forces, who are known for their religious principles and fighting traditions, will surrender to the US without shooting a bullet.

In his reflection, Cuba’s revolution leader also defended Tehran’s nuclear energy program and said “Iran does not possess nuclear weapons,” adding that Tehran’s possession of the technology to enrich uranium is not equivalent to the production of nuclear weapons.

Castro also criticized the West’s nuclear double standards, noting that Israel has manufactured nuclear weapons with the help and coordination of the US.

The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program, with Washington and Tel Aviv using this pretext to threaten Iran with a military option to stop its nuclear energy program.

Iran rejects allegations of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Article source here

Unexplained booms in Clintonville, Wisconsin

Thursday, March 22, 2012

ScienceCasts: The Surprising Power of a Solar Storm

Great animation. Click on full screen icon in lower right hand corner of video

Next-Generation Nuclear Power: Thomas Drolet

Editor: Like it or not, if present energy consumption trends continue the use of nuclear power is not an option, it is a given. Read this informative article where an expert with Canadian roots is interviewed. Please note that the option of using Thorium, instead of Uranium, does not come up on the radar:

Source: Brian Sylvester of The Energy Report (3/22/12)

Thomas Drolet Can the nuclear industry sustain itself with a once-every-ten-years accident frequency? Absolutely not, says Tom Drolet, principal of energy consulting firm Drolet & Associates Energy Services Inc. However, with new reactor technology underway, the industry has an opportunity to show the public it can safely generate reliable, affordable low-emissions energy. In this exclusive interview for The Energy Report, Drolet outlines his vision for U.S. energy policy and how next-generation nuclear energy figures into it.
Read text of broad ranging interview here

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Royal Purple supports tutoring program in Caroline School

By Helge Nome

Junior High students from grade 7 and up volunteer as tutors of children in grades 1-6 in Caroline School in an after-school program which has been very successful.
These students are participants in the program which received a boost this week from Caroline's Royal Purple organization in the form of a cheque for $500.
Representing the Royal Purple were Maxine Blowers and Linda Benz (presenting the cheque)
with Millie Nanninga on the far right. Next to Millie is Ms. Verquin representing Caroline School.

Caroline Seniors host drop-in supper/social

By Helge Nome

The popular pot luck supper at the Seniors' Drop In Center in Caroline on the third Monday of the month saw the venue filled to capacity with folks from the west country.
A meeting was convened following the meal where bus trips to popular events were discussed. One news item of interest here, is that Clearwater County has made $4,500 available to subsidize bus trips in the coming year. This means that seniors can get on a return trip from Caroline to Calgary, for example, for $7 each.
Marion Schafer from the Leslieville area spoke about the possibility of organizing joint trips for seniors from her area and also Rocky Mountain House.
Following the meeting, local singer Dean Pengelly provided entertainment with his guitar to an appreciative audience.
Connie Regnier was recognized for having her birthday in March.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Alberta Land Rights debate - Keith Wilson speaks

To find out more about Alberta Land Rights, go here

"Skating to the Sixties" - Caroline Skating Club Carnival 2012

By Helge Nome

Nostalgia took hold at the annual skating carnival in the Kurt Browning Complex in Caroline on Sunday, March 18 with young skaters dressed in period costumes and dancing to music from that era. Everybody got to show their skills to a very appreciative audience of family, friends and skating affectionados. A special thanks is due to Guest Skater Hayley Lukacs who showed what levels are possible to reach after only 7 years of figure skating.
For a full photo montage of all the skaters go to Alberta West Photos by clicking here. Feel free to copy any photo by simply clicking on the image.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lively session at Clearwater County Open House

By Helge Nome

Councillors and staff of the Clearwater County, situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in western Alberta, hosted an open house at the Leslieville Community Hall on Thursday, March 15. Intended as an information session for county residents, things got lively during the question and answer session following a beef-on-a-bun meal for the 50+ people in attendance.
Councillor Dick Wymenga chaired the meeting and, following answers given to written questions from the audience, was challenged verbally by several county residents who were unhappy about a recent split county council decision to approve a multi lot subdivision called Meadow Ponds, on a quarter in the Everdell area. While exchanges were, for the most part, civil, several councillors and staff members were involved in explaining the decision to approve the subdivision proposal.
Large subdivisions are always controversial as country people living in the adjacent area feel that their lives will be negatively impacted by an influx of of people that do not necessarily understand the prevailing country lifestyle. From a county planner’s perspective, the idea is to minimize the cumulative footprint of proposed subdivision lots by placing as many as possible into a limited area with communal water and sewer services being a requirement in high density proposals.
The question of creating residential acreages in rural areas is a thorny one across Canada and the long term financial viability of these subdivisions are questioned by many if supporting industries do not emerge over time. There are those who feel that these kinds of developments should happen close to existing population centers, rather than having de-facto part time villages created, scattered around in rural areas.

Councillor Dick Wymenga at the microphone and one less-than-impressed county resident

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Watch the moon evolve in 3 minutes

Media fuels conflict and pushes for intervention

KONY 2012: Merchandising and Branding Support for US Military Intervention in Central Africa

March 14, 2012

By Nile Bowie

Edward Bernays believed that society could not be trusted to make rational and informed decisions on their own, and that guiding public opinion was essential within a democratic society. Bernays founded the Council on Public Relations and his 1928 book, Propaganda cites the methodology used in the application of effective emotional communication. He discovered that such communication is capable of manipulating the unconscious in an effort to produce a desired effect – namely, a capacity to manufacture mass social adherence in support of products, political candidates and social movements. Nearly a century after his heyday, Bernays’ methodology is apparent in almost every form of civic and consumer persuasion. The platform of social media is being used in unprecedented new ways, one such example is a new online documentary about the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an extremist rebel group operating in Central Africa.
In depth article posted here

Editor: Other informative articles are posted here and here

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Turner calls for radical action on shadow banking

By Brooke Masters in London

Shadow banking poses a constantly changing threat to broader financial stability and has to be closely supervised and regulated to ensure it does not foster “unsafe” borrowing and exacerbate economic boom and bust cycles, the UK’s leading financial regulator has said.

The sprawling array of non-banks that extend credit and provide other bank-like services are “not something parallel to and separate from the core banking system, but deeply intertwined with it ... We need to ensure that our regulatory response appropriately covers shadow banking as well as banks,” Lord Turner told an audience at the Cass Business School in London.
Read article here

General of all American Intelligence: 911 was a fraud!

Major General Albert "Bert" N. Stubblebine III, head of all intelligence says:

Pentagon NOT hit by a plane
WTC 7 brought down by explosives
Media in America is controlled

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sarkozy fury over 'Gaddafi millions for 2007 campaign'

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) greets Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, 12 December 2007, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, before their meeting (AFP Photo / Stephane De Sakutin)

Nicolas Sarkozy lashed out at journalists and rejected claims he took €50 million from Muammar Gaddafi to fund his 2007 presidential campaign before backing an insurgency against him, as documents alleging a money-trail between the two emerged.
"If he had financed it [the 2007 campaign], then I haven't been very grateful," Sarkozy sneered at a TF1 presenter accusing her of sympathizing with the Gaddafis.Libya’s late-leader was brutally murdered following a NATO campaign against him led by France and the UK, both of whom had welcomed Gaddafi back into the political fold. "Gaddafi, who is known for talking nonsense, even said that there were cheques. Well, then the son should just go ahead and produce them," he added.
Article and photos here

Global liquidity peak spells trouble for late 2012

Monetarists have had a good run during the Great Recession, and were quick to spot the turn-around in the US economy in mid-2011.

The global liquidity cycle has already rolled over. Assuming that no fresh action is taken, world economic growth will peak within a couple of months and then fade in the second half of the year - with grim implications for Europe’s Latin bloc.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Data collected by Simon Ward at Henderson Global Investors shows that M1 money supply growth in the big G7 economies and leading E7 emerging powers buckled over the winter.

The gauge - known as six-month real narrow money - peaked at 5.1pc in November. It dropped to 3.6pc in January, and to 2.1pc in February.

This is comparable to falls seen in mid-2008 in the months leading up to the Great Recession, and which caught central banks so badly off guard.

“The speed of the drop-off is worrying. This acts with a six months lag time so we can expect global growth to peak in May. There may be a sharp slowdown in the second half,” said Mr Ward.

If so, this may come as a nasty surprise to equity markets betting that America has reached “escape velocity” at long last, that Europe will scrape by with nothing worse than a light recession, and that China is safely rebounding after touching bottom over of the winter.
Read article here

Sunday, March 11, 2012

No Jobs For Americans

By Paul Craig Roberts

Today (March 9, 2012) the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that 227,000 new non-farm payroll jobs were created by the economy during February. Is the government's claim true?

No. Statistician John Williams ( reports that 44,000 of these jobs or 19% consist of an add-on factor derived from the BLS's estimate that 44,000 more unreported jobs from new business start-ups were created than were lost by unreported business failures. The BLS's estimate comes from the bureau's "birth-death model," which works better during normal times, but delivers erroneous results during troubled times such as the economy has been experiencing during the past four years.
Read article here

Friday, March 9, 2012

Student debt in the US

Please click on graph for a better view

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the outstanding student loan balance now stands at about $870 billion, surpassing the total credit card balance ($693 billion) and the total auto loan balance ($730 billion).

Even more serious, the average outstanding student loan balance per borrower is now $23,300—with one-quarter of borrowers owing more than $28,000 and about 10 percent of borrowers owing more than $54,000.

And, of that total (and after adjusting for student borrowers who are in deferral or forbearance periods), about 27 percent have past-due balances and 21 percent have student loan balances that are delinquent.
Article with comments here

Who sends the US armed forces to war?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Russia accuses Libya of training Syrian rebels

The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin (file photo)

The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin has accused Libya of training and arming the Syrian rebels in their fight against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Russian envoy made the remarks during a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday.
"We have received information that in Libya, with the support of the authorities, there is a special training center” for the Syrian rebels “and people are sent to Syria to attack the legal government," Churkin said.

"This is completely unacceptable...This activity is undermining stability in the Middle East," he added.

The accusation comes after a document recently released by the whistleblower website, Wikileaks, revealed that undercover US-led NATO forces were operating inside Syria against the Syrian government.

According to the confidential document, an analyst working for the US-based intelligence firm, Stratfor, claimed that in December last year he had attended a meeting in the Pentagon where he learned that US-led NATO troops were already on the ground in Syria, training armed rebels.

President Assad said on Tuesday that foreign forces were seeking to undermine the Syrian government.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. The violence has claimed the lives of hundreds of people, including many security forces.

Damascus blames ‘outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups’ for the unrest, asserting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.

The West and the Syrian opposition, however, accuse the government of killing protesters.

The United States and a number of other Western countries, including the UK and France, as well as countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have supported measures against the Syrian government.
Article source here

Triple trouble in Europe, US and China brings out the bears

The blistering asset rally of 2012 has run ahead of economic realities in Europe, America and China. It is exhibiting symptoms of a schizophrenic market, with technical indicators flashing signs of exhaustion.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

10:00PM GMT 07 Mar 2012

Graham Secker from Morgan Stanley said it is rare for global stocks, oil prices and government bonds to rise in lockstep, and such exuberance becomes a "very reliable sell signal for stocks" once speculators join the party.

Equity long positions on NASDAQ have reached 1.5 standard deviations and long bets on oil are at an extreme of 1.9, according to data from the Commodity Futures Exchange Commission. This is occurring at a time when yields on 10-year US Treasuries are still at 1.96pc, signalling depression, deflation, or both.

The historical relationship between bonds and equities has completely broken down over the past six months. "You can't have a sustained period where equities are going up, while bond yields are flat or trending down," said Mr Secker.

One or the other must give, and bears have no doubt which it will be. Fund manager John Hussman said the market is replicating the "extreme" conditions seen at danger moments in 1972-1973, 1987 and 2007-2008. His warning indicators include a rise in the S&P 500 index by more than 8pc above its 52-week moving average, a "Shiller price/earnings ratio" above 18, and bearish sentiment below 27pc.

America's Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) said its black box shows "pronounced, persistent and pervasive" signs that the US economy is sliding back into recession.
Read article here

How Goldman wired Greece for implosion - with the help of Greek politicians

TSA forces nursing Mom to pump breast milk and fill empty bottles

Sun blasts out an X-treme flare

The active region 1429 unleashed this powerful X5.4-class solar flare at 7:28 p.m. ET March 6. X-class flares are the strongest class of flares. (Credit: NASA SDO)

By Alan Boyle

The sun unleashed one of the biggest flares ever seen during its current activity cycle late Tuesday — an X5.4-class outburst strong enough to trigger a radio blackout. This extreme-ultraviolet image of the sun's disk, captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows the flare shining like a bright flame. reports that the eruption, recorded at 7:28 p.m. ET, hurled a coronal mass ejection into space. Is the storm of electrically charged particles heading toward us? "Our best guess is 'probably yes, but not directly toward Earth,'"'s Tony Phillips writes. A glancing blow could spark heightened auroras on March 8 or 9.
Read more here

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Our Very Own Oscar Night in Rimini

February 27, 2012
By Michael Hudson

2,181 Italians pack a Sports Arena to learn Modern Monetary Theory:
The Economy doesn’t Need to suffer Neoliberal Austerity

I have just returned from Rimini, Italy, where I experienced one of the most amazing spectacles of my academic life. Four of us associated with the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) were invited to lecture for three days on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and explain why Europe is in such monetary trouble today – and to show that there is an alternative, that the enforced austerity for the 99% and vast wealth grab by the 1% is not a force of nature.

Stephanie Kelton (incoming UMKC Economics Dept. chair and editor of its economic blog, New Economic Perspectives), criminologist and law professor Bill Black, investment banker Marshall Auerback and me (along with a French economist, Alain Parquez) stepped into the basketball auditorium on Friday night. We walked down, and down, and further down the central aisle, past a packed audience reported as over 2,100. It was like entering the Oscars as People called out our first names. Some told us they had read all of our economics blogs. Stephanie joked that now she understood how the Beatles felt. There was prolonged applause – all for an intellectual rather than a physical sporting event.
Read article here

Eastern Libya declares autonomy

Special forces soldiers from the National Army of Cyrenaica (Reuters / Esam Al-Fetori)

Cyrenaica, the eastern region of Libya, has elected a regional congress and declared semi-autonomy from the capital Tripoli. The “blatant call for fragmentation” of the country was condemned by Libya's ruling NTC.

Thousands of major tribal leaders and militia commanders attended a celebratory ceremony in the region’s center Benghazi on Tuesday.

The congress stated that Cyrenaica had suffered decades of marginalization under the ouster ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Now the oil-rich region extending from the coastal city of Sirte to Egyptian border is taking its fortunes into its own hands.

The congress appointed Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed, who was a political prisoner under Gaddafi and currently is a member of NTC, as leader of its governing council. Despite being a part of the Libya’s official ruling body, Al-Zubair pledged to protect the rights of the eastern region.

Libya’s National Transitional Council, which started uprising against Gaddafi in Benghazi and moved to Tripoli after his overthrow, repeatedly voiced objection to the planned autonomy. They said Libya’s transformation into a federal state paves the way to eventual split-up of the North African country.

“This is a blatant call for fragmentation,” said Fathi Baja, the head of political committee of the NTC. “We reject it in its entirety. We are against divisions and against any move that hurts the unity of the Libyan people.”

The East, however, is pushing for a return to a system of rule that existed before the coup of 1967 which brought Gaddafi to power. At the time Libya was divided into three states – western Tripolitania, south-western Fezzan and the eastern Cyrenaica (or Barqa in Arabic).

A co-founder of the move for autonomy, Abu Bakr Baaira, pointed out that a federal system did not lead to a division of such countries as the US and Germany.

“Are the US, Switzerland and Germany divided?” Baaira said. “We hope they don't force us to a new war and new bloodshed. This is the last thing we look for.”

Barqa will follow a peaceful way of making Tripoli and the NTC recognize its autonomy. Baaira does not rule out a possibility of going to the UN for such recognition.

The Easterners have already formed their own army, the Barqa Supreme Military Council, which is independent from the NTC. The army is made up from revolutionaries who fought against Gaddafi rule last year. And now the forces are ready to fight for autonomy, Barqa commander Col. Hamid Al-Hassi says.

“Even if we had to take over the oil fields by deploying our forces there or risk another war, we will not hesitate for the sake of Barqa,” Hassi told the Associated Press.

It is unclear how many Easterners really support the idea of autonomy. Although some 5,000 people have reportedly taken part in the “Congress of the People of Cyrenaica” ceremony, several thousand were protesting against it in Benghazi on Monday.

Libya seems to be falling apart as the NTC is trying to work out a new electoral law ahead of the parliamentary elections in June. The latest draft of the law allocates only 60 seats in the country’s 200-member National Council to the East, while the West will have 102 representatives. The “Congress of the People of Cyrenaica” has rejected this latest draft, apparently due to its discriminatory nature.
Article source here

Dutch Freedom Party pushes euro exit as €2.4 trillion rescue bill looms

Geert Wilders made his decision after receiving a report by London-based Lombard Street Research concluding that the Netherlands is badly handicapped by euro membership Photo: EPA

The Dutch Freedom Party has called for a return to the Guilder, becoming the first political movement in the eurozone with a large popular base to opt for withdrawal from the single currency.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

"The euro is not in the interests of the Dutch people," said Geert Wilders, the leader of the right-wing populist party with a sixth of the seats in the Dutch parliament. "We want to be the master of our own house and our own country, so we say yes to the guilder. Bring it on."

Mr Wilders made his decision after receiving a report by London-based Lombard Street Research concluding that the Netherlands is badly handicapped by euro membership, and that it could cost EMU’s creditor core more than €2.4 trillion to hold monetary union together over the next four years. "If the politicians in The Hague disagree with our report, let them show the guts to hold a referendum. Let the Dutch people decide," he said.

Mr Wilders is not part of the coalition. However, the minority government of Mark Rutte relies on the Freedom Party to pass legislation. The two men were in talks on Monday on €16bn of fresh austerity cuts needed stop the budget deficit jumping to 4.5pc of GDP.

The study said the eurozone cannot survive in its current form. The longer Europe’s politicians dither, the more costly it will become. "The euro can only survive if it becomes a fiscal transfer union with national sovereign debt subsumed in eurozone bonds," said co-author Charles Dumas.

Greece will opt for a "negotiated exit" later this year, once the pain becomes excruciating. This will be after the French elections in May, but before the German electoral season begins in 2013.
Read article here

Monday, March 5, 2012

Go figure

Banks deposit record €821bn at ECB

By Mary Watkins in London

European lenders deposited a record €821bn over the weekend at the European Central Bank after the bank injected a second wave of cheap loans into the eurozone financial system.

The ECB announced last Wednesday that 800 banks had borrowed €529.5bn in the second phase of the programme being offered by the central bank, a move aimed at easing funding pressures on eurozone lenders. In total, lenders have borrowed more than €1tn from the ECB at a rate of 1 per cent under its three-year longer-term refinancing operations (LTRO) in February and December.
"Quantitative easing" in Europe; more debt for all. Check out article here

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bishop Williamson wins appeal against conviction in Germany

On Ash Wednesday, 22nd February 2012, the courageous British Bishop Richard Williamson won the latest round in the struggle for free source-critical opinion in Europe, when the German appeal court quashed his conviction for “holocaust denial”.

Bishop Williamson had been under tremendous pressure from within his church, including the leadership of his traditional Catholic Society of St Pius X (SSPX), to abandon his defence and meekly accept criminalisation, following a prosecution which originated in an interview he gave to a Swedish television journalist in November 2008.

Fifty-five minutes into this interview, which had focused on religious matters as the Bishop had expected, the journalist suddenly sprang the question: “Bishop Williamson, are these your words?” and quoted comments made by the Bishop several years earlier in Canada.
Article published here

Western shock: Libyans destroy NATO ally war cemetery

Gravestone is seen damaged by an Islamist group in protest at burning of Koran by US soldiers in Afghanistan in Benghazi Military Cemetery (Reuters / Esam Al-Fetori) (Video from YouTube, uploaded by user CanoPinto 29 Feb 2012 )
Article, photos here

Welcome to Italy - and Modern Money Theory

The economic theory of The Modern Money Theory, brought to Italy (in Rimini) by Paolo Barnard and five leading economists. The understanding, ideas, expectations and doubts of the ordinary people during the summit filmed by the director Thomas Wild Turolo, who follows during the event Renato Valusso, an italian blogger (Qui Libera Italia). The voices recorded on the tape are a sort of collective narration, with the special presence of Paolo Barnard. This report is the mirror of a country that maybe starts to move, to save itself, through the MMT or other ideas.

Oh brother!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Eurozone unemployment hits record high of 10.7pc

Spain’s jobless rate for people ages 16 to 24 is approaching 50pc, Greece’s is 48pc, and Portugal’s and Italy’s, 30pc. Photo: EPA

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard 7:30PM GMT 01 Mar 2012

The eurozone's unemployment rate rose to a record high of 10.7pc in January, reaching levels of extreme social distress across large parts of Southern Europe.

Data from Eurostat showed that the region lost 185,000 jobs in one month, with the vast gap between North and South growing ever wider. The figures for the previous four months were also revised upwards sharply. There are now more than 450,000 more people without jobs than assumed a month ago.

Klaus Baader from Societe Generale said the outlook was "deteriorating drastically" in the region. "Economic slowdown and fiscal austerity has hit the labour market much harder than previously thought."

Eurozone inflation nudged up to 2.7pc, while the latest PMI data for February confirmed that Euroland's manufacturing is still contracting, though the index rose slighty to 49. The "misery mix" of rising unemployment and inflation is a nasty headache for policymakers, threatening incipient stagflation.

Spain's jobless rate continued its relentless climb to 23.2pc, rising to 49.9pc for youths. Long-term unemployment has increased sixfold since the start of the crisis and now makes up half the total. "This is the terrible cancer of our society," said Rafael Zornoza, the bishop of Cadiz.

The pain is certain to mount as premier Mariano Rajoy slashes spending. The International Monetary Fund said the economy would contract by 1.7pc this year. Government advisers fear that unemployment could rise above 6m by the end of the year unless Brussels agrees to relax its deficit target of 4.4pc of GDP.
Read complete article here