The Tonka Report

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Archive for November 24th, 2010

Obama Administration Surrenders E-mails About Gulf Oil Disaster

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November 24, 2010: Ted Bridis / Associated Press (AP) via Yahoo News – November 24, 2010

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration Wednesday defended the integrity of its estimates — which turned out to be inaccurate — during the summer of how much oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico, turning over thousands of pages of internal e-mails written by government scientists who worked on the project.

The e-mails hint at uncertainties in the estimates. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, for example, was “concerned about the level of certainty implied in the pie and cylinder charts.” Another e-mail noticed that a pie chart in a draft of the government’s report wasn’t actually round: “A pie chart pretty much has to round to 100,” wrote NOAA spokeswoman Jennifer Austin.

In other messages, U.S. Geological Survey scientists acknowledged they relied on BP to report how much oil it collected and said estimates of amounts skimmed from the ocean’s surface were a “rough calculation” based on reports of oily water.

The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Jane Lubchenco, cautioned a colleague about how to present the government’s findings: “I believe we owe it to everyone to provide the best estimates we can where direct measurements are not possible,” she wrote. “We also need to be forthright about how certain we are about each number, which we’ve done.”

The e-mails were obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act. U.S. officials clearly understood the possible economic consequences of their findings. Anticipating a question in August at an upcoming news conference, a NOAA spokeswoman asked scientists, “What impact, if any, will this report have in determining BP’s financial liability for this spill?” The answer: The U.S. can fine BP up to $4,300 per barrel of oil that leaked, whether that oil was cleaned up or ultimately evaporated.

The document release Wednesday by the Commerce Department, NOAA’s parent agency, was significant because it revealed for the first time that e-mails circulated among scientists working behind the scenes on the forecasts of oil in the Gulf. The government released 5,817 pages of files late in the afternoon on the eve of Thanksgiving, traditionally a period when few people are paying attention to news reports because of holiday travel.

Measuring the spill accurately was important to decide how to respond appropriately and to the administration’s credibility. But the government didn’t arrive at a reliable estimate until June 15, nearly two months after the disaster began with the explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. “The public has a right to know right now what is going on in the Gulf of Mexico, and your report should be analyzed by others right now so that we are sure we got it right,” Markey told Bill Lehr, a senior NOAA scientist who defended the government’s estimates during congressional testimony.

The presidential commission investigating the oil spill concluded last month in an interim report that government mistakes on its estimates led to perceptions that it was incompetent or not candid about the oil spill. It said federal officials underestimated the amount of oil flowing from the runaway well, then also underestimated the amount of oil that had spilled in the Gulf. Early calculations by private researchers, whom BP PLC, the oil company that held the leaking well, and the government tried to discredit, proved to be more accurate.

The panel also previously criticized statements by President Barack Obama’s energy adviser, Carol Browner, who mischaracterized on national TV the government’s analysis about where the oil went, saying it showed most of the oil was “gone.” In a new study published Tuesday, the government itself acknowledged that its oil calculations were never intended to “provide information about the impact of the oil, nor indicate where the oil is now.”

The newly disclosed documents also described leaks and accidental disclosures. Administration officials were plagued at times by leaks and inadvertent Internet postings. Dan Leistikow at the Energy Department urgently sought access in June to high-resolution video of the runaway well that had already aired on CNN, which he said was “probably leaked from someone.”

In another e-mail, Lehr threatened to resign from the government’s team after the inadvertent disclosure of names of nongovernment scientists who were helping in the crisis. “We as government officials have betrayed the trust these gentlemen placed in us,” Lehr wrote to the head of the Geological Survey, Marcia McNutt.

Revelation 8: Gulf Oil Catastrophe

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: I will never relent on my coverage of this crime against the Gulf! – SJH

BP Gulf Oil Disaster Recovery Executive Dead In Plane Crash

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Fail And Grow Rich On Wall Street: Welcome To Bailout Capitalism

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November 24, 2010: Robert Scheer / TruthDig – November 24, 2010

Welcome to the brave new world of post-bailout capitalism. The Commerce Department announced Tuesday that corporate profits are at their highest level in U.S. history, and the Fed released minutes of an early November meeting in which officials predicted a stagnant economy and continued high unemployment.

The lead on the New York Times story read like a line from a Dickens novel: “The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever.” What the Times story neglected to mention is that the bulk of the increase in corporate profits was nabbed by the financial industry rather than manufacturing and other productive sectors. A whopping $33.3 billion out of the total corporate profits increase of $44.4 billion went to the banks and investment houses that those same workers had bailed out with their tax dollars.

Much of the rest of the corporate profit, in the non-financial sector, was also taken out of the hides of workers through increased “productivity” growth—meaning they had produced more for less personal income. Case in point: the plant that GM is reopening in Orion Township, Mich., where, under a deal negotiated with the beleaguered UAW union, 40 percent of the workers crawling through cars on the assembly line will be paid 15 bucks an hour. That’s about half the traditional UAW wage.

The Obama administration now feels totally vindicated for bailing out GM. Such a deal. Let’s offer up half a clap for the news that GM came back from bankruptcy to mount a successful IPO and pay something back to the taxpayers, which is better than nothing. Some jobs were saved, and that prospect was why folks like me supported this bailout in the first place.

Don’t call it a success story: The government unloaded some of its GM stock holdings at a $10.67 loss over the average per-share price it paid for its $49.5 billion investment. As the Bloomberg news service noted, “The Treasury, which is taking a loss on its portion of the sale, will break even only if the shares climb more than 60%,” referring to the GM shares the Treasury still holds.

CNN: How The Bailout Saved GM

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Nothing was “saved!” Generations of Americans were ripped off! And the only way GM rises 60% is if they start cranking out tanks and other military vehicles… Get the picture?! – SJH  

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Gulf Oil Disaster: Gulf Region Residents Are Toxic, Sick And Dying

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November 24, 2010: Jeff Rense and Dr. Rodney Soto / JRense (YouTube) – November 24, 2010

Rense & Dr. Soto – Gulf Region Residents Ill And Dying

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: For more on the BP Gulf Oil disaster click on the link below– SJH

TTR Gulf Of Mexico Archive

Link to original video below… 

Pentagon To Send US Aircraft Carrier Strike Group Into Yellow Sea!

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November 24, 2010: Kurt Nimmo / – November 24, 2010

Following its deadly attack on Yeonpyeong island on Tuesday, North Korea said it was responding to a provocation by South Korea.

Pyongyang characterized South Korea’s nationwide military drill called Safeguarding the Nation as “simulating an invasion of the North” and “a means to provoke a war.”

The official North Korean news agency said on Tuesday night that the South “recklessly fired into our sea area,” according to the New York Times. Lee Yong-geul, South Korea’s deputy minister of defense, admitted that artillery units had been firing from a battery on the South Korean island of Baeknyeongdo, close to the North Korean coast.

The Pentagon will further exacerbate the situation by sending in an aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS George Washington [image above] into the Yellow Sea. The U.S. had postponed the deployment during earlier anti-submarine warfare exercises amid complaints from Chinese military officials that a carrier in the sea threatened China because U.S. warplanes from the ship could reach targets in China, according to the Washington Times.

The Pentagon rejected China’s assertion and said it will transit the Yellow Sea because it is international waters. “That is international waters. We’re going to operate in the Yellow Sea. We and others,” said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last month.

ABC News reports that the White House will “spend a great deal of effort” to get China involved in a “robust” stand against North Korea. “We need to send a strong signal to the Chinese that they need to stand up to North Korea,” a White House official said. The official added that Russia’s statement condemning the Yeonpyeong island attack was much stronger than after the North Koreans sank the ROKS Cheonan (PCC-772) in March of this year.

ABC News does not mention that a Russian investigation team concluded that the sinking of the South Korean ship resulted from an “indirect outside underwater explosion,” likely from a mine rather than a torpedo fired by North Korea.

In May, investigative reporter Wayne Madsen’s intelligence sources in Asia said the attack was a false flag incident designed to finger North Korea.

“An investigation of the suspect torpedo’s metallic and chemical fingerprints show it to be of German manufacture. There are suspicions that the US Navy SEALS maintains a sampling of European torpedoes for sake of plausible deniability for false flag attacks,” Madsen wrote.

South Korea Reports Civilian Deaths From Island Clash

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: And so let the games begin as we all spiral towards WWIII– SJH

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China And Russia Abandon US Dollar While Forging Economic Ties

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November 24, 2010: Su Qiang and Li Xiaokun / China Daily – November 24, 2010

St. Petersburg, Russia – China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday.

Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies.

“About trade settlement, we have decided to use our own currencies,” Putin said at a joint news conference with Wen in St. Petersburg.

The two countries were accustomed to using other currencies, especially the dollar, for bilateral trade. Since the financial crisis, however, high-ranking officials on both sides began to explore other possibilities.

The yuan has now started trading against the Russian rouble in the Chinese interbank market, while the renminbi will soon be allowed to trade against the rouble in Russia, Putin said.

“That has forged an important step in bilateral trade and it is a result of the consolidated financial systems of world countries,” he said. Putin made his remarks after a meeting with Wen. They also officiated at a signing ceremony for 12 documents, including energy cooperation.

The documents covered cooperation on aviation, railroad construction, customs, protecting intellectual property, culture and a joint communiqu. Details of the documents have yet to be released.

Putin said one of the pacts between the two countries is about the purchase of two nuclear reactors from Russia by China’s Tianwan nuclear power plant, the most advanced nuclear power complex in China.

Putin has called for boosting sales of natural resources – Russia’s main export – to China, but price has proven to be a sticking point. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who holds sway over Russia’s energy sector, said following a meeting with Chinese representatives that Moscow and Beijing are unlikely to agree on the price of Russian gas supplies to China before the middle of next year.

Russia is looking for China to pay prices similar to those Russian gas giant Gazprom charges its European customers, but Beijing wants a discount. The two sides were about $100 per 1,000 cubic meters apart, according to Chinese officials last week.

Wen’s trip follows Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s three-day visit to China in September, during which he and President Hu Jintao launched a cross-border pipeline linking the world’s biggest energy producer with the largest energy consumer.

Wen said at the press conference that the partnership between Beijing and Moscow has “reached an unprecedented level” and pledged the two countries will “never become each other’s enemy”.

Over the past year, “our strategic cooperative partnership endured strenuous tests and reached an unprecedented level,” Wen said, adding the two nations are now more confident and determined to defend their mutual interests.

“China will firmly follow the path of peaceful development and support the renaissance of Russia as a great power,” he said. “The modernization of China will not affect other countries’ interests, while a solid and strong Sino-Russian relationship is in line with the fundamental interests of both countries.”

Wen said Beijing is willing to boost cooperation with Moscow in Northeast Asia, Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in major international organizations and on mechanisms in pursuit of a “fair and reasonable new order” in international politics and the economy.

Sun Zhuangzhi, a senior researcher in Central Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the new mode of trade settlement between China and Russia follows a global trend after the financial crisis exposed the faults of a dollar-dominated world financial system.

Pang Zhongying, who specializes in international politics at Renmin University of China, said the proposal is not challenging the dollar, but aimed at avoiding the risks the dollar represents.

Wen arrived in the northern Russian city on Monday evening for a regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government. He left St. Petersburg for Moscow late on Tuesday and is set to meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday.

China And Russia Quit Using Dollar As Trading Currency

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: The provocation by South Korea under US military supervision against China’s client state North Korea yesterday suddenly makes alot more sense. This is the tipping point down the rabbit hole to WWIII– SJH 

Pentagon To Send Aircraft Carrier Strike Group Into Yellow Sea

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