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    Daily Digest 3/19 – Courage Of The Fukishima 50, The “Permanent Bull Market”, New Ways To Store Nuclear Waste

    by DailyDigest

    Saturday, March 19, 2011, 2:46 PM

  • Courage of the Fukushima Fifty: This Is Suicide, Admit Workers Trying To Avert A Catastrophe
  • TEPCO Director Weeps After Disclosing Truth About Fukushima Disaster
  • Japan Quake Shakes U.S. Treasury Bond Market Get Ready for Financial Meltdown
  • Volatility and the “Permanent Bull Market”
  • Quake Response Puts Yen on the Line
  • Yentervention – G7 Style 
  • Nothing Left To Steal
  • The F-35: A Weapon That Costs More Than Australia
  • Japan’s Fearless Women Speculators
  • New Process Cleanly Extracts Oil From Tar Sands And Fouled Beaches
  • Nuclear Waste: From Bombs to $800 Handbags

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Economy

Courage of the Fukushima Fifty: This Is Suicide, Admit Workers Trying To Avert A Catastrophe (jdargis)

One of the ‘Fukushima Fifty’ said they were stoically accepting their fate ‘like a death sentence’.

Another, having absorbed a near-lethal dose of radiation, told his wife: ‘Please continue to live well, I cannot be home for a while.’

TEPCO Director Weeps After Disclosing Truth About Fukushima Disaster (pinecarr)

Unfortunately, judging by how horrendously the government and the utility have handled the crisis so far, we are extremely skeptical any further attempts to improve the situation with fail spectacularly. In the meantime, the Japanese economy is slowing grinding to a halt as more people leave Tokyo, as factories lie dormant, and as high tech supply chains are suddenly halted. Out estimate, unlike that of an increasingly less than credible Bloomberg, is that the adverse impact to 2011 world GDP will be well at least 2% when all is said and done just factoring the events to date. Should the situation continue to stagnate it will get far worse.

Japan Quake Shakes U.S. Treasury Bond Market Get Ready for Financial Meltdown (pinecarr)

With Japan and the Gulf States alone accounting for 25% of the total 4.4 trillion USD of US federal debt (December 2010), LEAP/E2020 believes that this new situation which is asserting itself during the first quarter of 2011, against a background of China’s increasing reluctance (holding 20% of US Treasury Bonds) to continue to invest in US government debt (4), carries the seeds for the collapse of the US Treasury Bond market in the second half of 2011, a market that now has only a single buyer: the US Federal Reserve (5).

Volatility and the “Permanent Bull Market” (pinecarr)

But something is going wrong with the interventionists’ delight: each new run of the “permenent Bull market” is shorter than the last one. Consider this chart of the S&P 500…

Quake Response Puts Yen on the Line (pinecarr)

This new round of inflation will overwhelm the ability of the Japanese economy to offset upward pressure on consumer prices. Combine that with the lost output associated with the quake and the expense of reconstruction, and it becomes evident that inflation will soon become a major threat to Japan. As this realization forces interest rates higher, the cost to Japan of servicing its massive government debt will be crushing.

    Crash Course DVDShare the Crash Course with your friends and family – buy the DVD today (NTSC or PAL)

Yentervention – G7 Style (Ilene)

Much of the “wealth” in this country (not just this one, of course) is based on Ponzi or Pyramid schemes. As Pentax pointed out in Member Chat yesterday, the operation of a nuclear plant is a Ponzi scheme because the plant operators are using dangerous, deadly materials that are capable of unleashing hundreds of Billions of Dollars worth of environmental damage (not to mention the cost in human life and long-term health consequences) for their fuel source – ignoring the true cost of the operation based on the very flawed assumption that the worst case won’t happen.

Nothing Left To Steal (Vedha)

I wouldn’t necessarily say “steal” … I just don’t feel that “stealing” is necessarily the right verb for this. It’s something else. Stealing [implies] that there is some kind of physical commodity that’s being stolen… that the currency is being debased implies that if we didn’t do this the currency would be solvent, and the whole problem here is that the currency itself is disconnected from any kind of physical value. It exists as a debt against future production rather than a store of value. And all of this comes down to the immaterial basis that we are now living in.

The F-35: A Weapon That Costs More Than Australia (David B.)

The F-35 is the most expensive defense program in history, and reveals massive cost overruns, a lack of clear strategic thought, and a culture in Washington that encourages incredible waste.

Japan’s Fearless Women Speculators (NolaM, article from 2009)

It wasn’t long before the markets began to notice something was stirring. In the first half of 2003, individual Japanese investors bought Y2,700bn of foreign bonds, easily a record. Brokers were delighted, partly because they made a killing on fees. (Soon, however, many Mrs Watanabes got wise to the benefits of low-commission online broking.) But there was nervous chatter, too: if Japanese housewives opened the floodgates and sluiced money abroad, there could be a collapse in Japan’s enormous government bond market. Hitherto, the large sums of money trapped inside the country in savings had allowed the government to negotiate remarkably low rates of interest on the country’s massive foreign debt.

Energy

New Process Cleanly Extracts Oil From Tar Sands And Fouled Beaches (Joe M.)

Tar sands, also known as bituminous sands or oil sands, represent approximately two-thirds of the world’s estimated oil reserves. Canada is the world’s major producer of unconventional petroleum from sands, and the U.S. imports more than 1 million barrels of oil per day from Canada, about twice as much as from Saudi Arabia. Much of this oil is produced from the Alberta tar sands.

Environment

Nuclear Waste: From Bombs to $800 Handbags (jdargis)

At the Hanford site, which sprawls across a sagebrush plain in the south-east of the state, none of the 53m gallons (200m litres) of highly toxic waste stored in 177 ageing and leaky underground tanks has been mopped up, even though the last reactor was shut down in 1987. That must wait until 2019, when a unique waste-treatment plant—described as the largest and most expensive nuclear clean-up project ever undertaken—will begin transforming radioactive leftovers that could poison the nearby Columbia river into still-radioactive glass logs more suitable for long-term storage. If all goes well, gunk-to-glass processing (“vitrification”) will continue until at least 2047 and cost about $74 billion, more than the annual budget of America’s Department of Education.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the “3 Es.”

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