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Some little signs of the times, as they impacted me directly.  First came a belated note from the Cinematheque Portuguese, with which I was arranging some screenings.  Apologizing for being late, it was explained that the delay was induced by the sudden new financial realities imposed by the Euro-area fiscal crisis.  The Cinematheque has no money, and it appears likely the rather lavish funding of Portugal’s state-funded film agency, ICAM, is to be yanked leaving the filmmakers there high and dry.  Except for those who were smart enough to shift to DV some time ago, like Pedro Costa.  He’ll do fine.  The rest, accustomed to their European scale industrial budgets are likely to hit a brick wall.  I had thought this would come many years ago.  Little Portugal handing out $750,000 grants each to 5 or 6 filmmakers a year to make films which would show in a round of festivals, make no money, and…..

Having other reasons for going to Lisboa, I acceded to the no-pay deal, and will be there on July 7-11.  Which films, time, etc. I don’t yet know but will post here when I do.   We go on to Madrid for screenings there at the Cinemateca Espanol on July 14, 15 and 16.

The other item was a notice by email that the little local Nebraska bank, TierOne, with which I’d opened an account  when there and maintained on leaving as a convenience for sales of DVDs in dollars, has been seized and closed by the FDIC.   Though a friend in Lincoln had written me some months ago that the financial crisis and unemployment had not much impacted Nebraska owing to the conservative values around, it turned out that TierOne, not wanting to be left out, had gone hog-wild into the housing bubble loan scam, and….  And now my bank is one from South Dakota, taking care of my minimal and shrinking bag of US assets.

Visible oil in Gulf; the undersea elements are evidently larger

Meantime this little item in the NY Times confirms the nasty rumors and news that British Petroleum, with the assistance of the US Coast Guard, Homeland Security, local police, and other “public officials” are not-so-discreetly doing what they can to prevent news of what is really going on with the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.  This was evident from the outset when BP sought to very low-ball its estimate of the daily amount of oil being gushed into the Gulf, claiming initially 1000 barrels a day, which they then upped to 5,000.  Having finally attached a pipe to the well head, they now assert they are capturing almost 20,000 barrels, which seems to give the rather obvious lie to the previous lie about five thousand. [And the news today, June 11, says now scientists have doubled the estimated size of the on-going “spill” :

“This assessment, based on measurements taken before BP cut the riser pipe of the leaking well on June 3 to cap some of the flow, showed that approximately 25,000 to 30,000 barrels of oil could have been gushing into the Gulf each day. That is far above the previous estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day.”

Other more buried news indicates that vast lakes of oil/water mixtures, perhaps a product of the at-the-source use of dispersants, now drift at the sea’s bottom, toxic and poisonous to all life, except happy little bacteria which are gobbling it up, depleting the oxygen, and likely to make for a vast dead-zone in the near and far future.

What BP did not do

Further news suggests that the actual drilled well-line has ruptured, and oil is leaking out along a suture in the seas floor, which, if it turns out to be so, may mean that slowly the entire – second largest known reserve in world – oil field which had been tapped may be released into the sea.   This would be a global catastrophe, effecting not only the Gulf of Mexico, but the entire Atlantic Ocean.  Perhaps this explains the eagerness of BP and “the authorities” to keep a lid on information.   However, like the good old USS of R’s behavior with the Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion, this one is slipping out of their media control as vast soups of thick oil begin to land on the popular beaches of Alabama, and the Florida panhandle.  While it only landed in bayou swamps, somewhat difficult to get to, it seemed feasible they could keep a veil over it.  But now…

Now we may await the continuing stream of real information as to the actual scale of this “accident” and the actual scope of the damages it will incur.  At the moment I think I’d take bets that BP, 4th or 7th largest corporation in the world (depending on source) with an annual income, previously, of $14 billion or so, will not survive this – along with the billions of birds, turtles, fish, dolphins and other marine life, large and small, being destroyed by the greed and avarice of a giant corporation which nickel and dimed safety concerns and now has placed on the entire planet a debt burden which cannot be paid in god-almighty greenbacks.  And along with the livelihoods of those who lived beside the coast and for whom it was “home.”

The singular virtue of this disaster is that it may finally provide the leverage to dislodge from the American mind the false and devastatingly damaging ideology of the so-called “Free Market Economy” mantra of rampant capitalism.

Wall Street

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2 Comments

  1. Your comments on Israel at the New York Times were disgusting. How dare you call any group of people a poison! You are no different than the Nazis.


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