Saturday, September 12, 2009

So how much money did the US Government print?

So there have been many articles about inflation. Comments that the US government has been printing money like drunken sailors, compared to Germany after world war 2 etc etc. I pose a question, do we know if they printed the money or not?

An observation from the Federal Reserve web site the following link and graph show that the fed put liquidity into the market and that most of it has now been returned. What I have not been able to determine is, whose balance sheet the shares in the banks, AIG and GM etc are represented? Wouldnt it be nice to see the USA's balance sheet and not just bits of data represented by journalists!

Choose one of 4 charts select the graph: Credit extended through Federal Reserve Liquidity Facilities

Aivars Lode

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yet another double-standard in environmentalism

From one of my mates:

Windmills Are Killing Our Birds


On Aug. 13, ExxonMobil pleaded guilty in federal court to killing 85 birds that had come into contact with crude oil or other pollutants in uncovered tanks or waste-water facilities on its properties. The birds were protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which dates back to 1918. The company agreed to pay $600,000 in fines and fees.

ExxonMobil is hardly alone in running afoul of this law. Over the past two decades, federal officials have brought hundreds of similar cases against energy companies. In July, for example, the Oregon-based electric utility PacifiCorp paid $1.4 million in fines and restitution for killing 232 eagles in Wyoming over the past two years. The birds were electrocuted by poorly-designed power lines.

Yet there is one group of energy producers that are not being prosecuted for killing birds: wind-power companies. And wind-powered turbines are killing a vast number of birds every year.

A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, Calif., estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. The study, funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency, also estimated that about 10,000 birds—nearly all protected by the migratory bird act—are being whacked every year at Altamont.

Altamont's turbines, located about 30 miles east of Oakland, Calif., kill more than 100 times as many birds as Exxon's tanks, and they do so every year. But the Altamont Pass wind farm does not face the same threat of prosecution, even though the bird kills at Altamont have been repeatedly documented by biologists since the mid-1990s.

The number of birds killed by wind turbines is highly variable. And biologists believe Altamont, which uses older turbine technology, may be the worst example. But that said, the carnage there likely represents only a fraction of the number of birds killed by windmills. Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy estimates that U.S. wind turbines kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds per year. Yet the Justice Department is not bringing cases against wind companies.

"Somebody has given the wind industry a get-out-of-jail-free card," Mr. Fry told me. "If there were even one prosecution," he added, the wind industry would be forced to take the issue seriously.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry's trade association, each megawatt of installed wind-power results in the killing of between one and six birds per year. At the end of 2008, the U.S. had about 25,000 megawatts of wind turbines.

By 2030, environmental and lobby groups are pushing for the U.S. to be producing 20% of its electricity from wind. Meeting that goal, according to the Department of Energy, will require the U.S. to have about 300,000 megawatts of wind capacity, a 12-fold increase over 2008 levels. If that target is achieved, we can expect some 300,000 birds, at the least, to be killed by wind turbines each year.

On its Web site, the Wind Energy Association says that bird kills by wind turbines are a "very small fraction of those caused by other commonly accepted human activities and structures—house cats kill an estimated one billion birds annually." That may be true, but it is not much of a defense. When cats kill birds, federal law doesn't require marching them to our courthouses to hold them responsible.

During the late 1980s and early '90s, Rob Lee was one of the Fish and Wildlife Service's lead law-enforcement investigators on the problem of bird kills in Western oil fields. Now retired and living in Lubbock, Texas, Mr. Lee tells me that solving the problem in the oil fields "was easy and cheap." The oil companies only had to put netting over their tanks and waste facilities.

Why aren't wind companies prosecuted for killing eagles and other birds? "The fix here is not easy or cheap," Mr. Lee told me. He added that he doesn't expect to see any prosecutions of the politically correct wind industry.

This is a double standard that more people—and not just bird lovers—should be paying attention to. In protecting America's wildlife, federal law-enforcement officials are turning a blind eye to the harm done by "green" energy.

—Mr. Bryce is the managing editor of Energy Tribune. His latest book is "Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of 'Energy Independence'" (PublicAffairs, 2008).Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A19

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So another story of the 90's in Aussi: Boy the same story so many different examples

How many of you old dudes remember Gomer Pyle USMC ? Let me remind you; he was a bumbling Seaman whose standard line was SURPRISE SURPRISE, when it should have been obvious to anybody and not a surprise.

Yes get to the point Aivars. In the 80's in Aussie credit was freely available the Japanese where throwing money into Aussie like you can image, we have seen how everyone put money into the States over the last 10 years.

Anyway the National Australia Bank (NAB) owned 50% of all of the Pubs (bars that aussies drink at) in Australia and when credit tightened many people could not afford the repayments (sound familiar?) the NAB ended up owning PUBS. Who benefited? Those that bought the PUBS from the banks. Who Lost? The Initial investors!

As for the Japanese a friend of mine bought a golf course just near the Great Barrier reef that the Japanese built at a cost of $250 million for $9 million. At $9 million the numbers worked.

Fascinating to watch history repeat itself read on.

Aivars Lode

Fontainebleau Miami Beach may face default declaration

The Wall Street Journal reported that the FontainebleauMiami Beach may face a default judgment because of unpaid contractor claims.


The Fontainebleau Miami Beach is vulnerable to a declaration of default by its lenders, partly because of about $60 million in unpaid contractor claims, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Citing unnamed sources, the paper reported that a 45-day agreement by lenders not to declare default on $670 million in construction debt expired Aug. 31. The Fontainebleau allegedly violated the terms of its loan, in part, because it didn't maintain appropriate reserves to cover the $60 million in construction liens on the oceanfront property, the paper said. The hotel's owners are contesting the debts in court.

In a statement to the Journal, the Fontainebleau said it has not missed a loan payment and is ``engaged in constructive negotiations with our lenders.'' Violating the terms of a loan while still making payments is considered a ``technical default,'' generally the lowest level of debt troubles.

Fontainebleau executives did not respond to interview requests Friday. But in a statement to The Miami Herald, Howard Karawan, COO of Fontainebleau Resorts said: ``Fontainebleau Miami is a world class resort and our performance is among the strongest in the area. While this tough economy has created challenges that we are actively addressing with our lenders, Fontainebleau Miami will continue to provide an outstanding experience to its guests for many years to come.''

The potential trouble with the Fontainebleau Miami Beach comes as the hotel's primary owner, Jeffrey Soffer, grapples with bankruptcy proceedings for the Fontainebleau Las Vegas.

While both are run by Soffer's Fontainebleau Resorts, the projects are separate corporate entities. The Fontainebleau Miami Beach has not filed for bankruptcy protection and has not played a role in the Las Vegas bankruptcy case.

The Las Vegas property is now an idle construction site after lenders cut off funding to finish what was intended as the sister property of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Soffer bought the Miami Beach property in 2005.

The purchase marked a milestone for Jeffrey Soffer, the son of Donald Soffer, who earned legendary status in South Florida's real estate industry in the late 1960s when he developed Aventura out of swampland north of Miami.

In recent months, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach has enjoyed a surge of cash as buyers closed on condominium units in the second of two condo-hotel towers at the resort. But the hotel has been hammered by a nationwide pullback in meetings and business conferences, particularly in resort areas like Miami Beach.

Though rates for its hotel rooms are down, Fontainebleau executives say they're beating forecasts, doing better than competitors and renting most of the resort's beds each week.

Last year, Soffer sold half of the resort and its debt for $375 million to Nakheel Hotels, the investment arm of the Dubai government.

But a source familiar with the deal told The Miami Herald that Nakheel agreed to buy a completed project; overruns and the debt tied to the extra bills were to be the responsibility of the Soffer side of the partnership. Of the $375 million that Nakheel paid, Soffer shifted $200 million to pay for cost overruns at the Vegas Fontainebleau project.

The Journal reported that lenders, led by Bank of America, are withholding a final $26 million on the $670 million construction loan until the Fontainebleau Miami Beach resolves the problems with contractors.

A Miami judge has scheduled a hearing Wednesday for the Vegas Fontainebleau project. Scott Baena, the Bilzin & Sumberg lawyer representing Fontainebleau Las Vegas, said in a motion filed Tuesday that Soffer's team and the lenders have not yet reached a deal that would allow Fontainebleau Vegas to continue spending cash during the costly Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.