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United States & Canada - Feb 19

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Greenspan backs bank nationalisation

Krishna Guha and Edward Luce, Financial Times
The US government may have to nationalise some banks on a temporary basis to fix the financial system and restore the flow of credit, Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, has told the Financial Times.

In an interview, Mr Greenspan, who for decades was regarded as the high priest of laisser-faire capitalism, said nationalisation could be the least bad option left for policymakers.

”It may be necessary to temporarily nationalise some banks in order to facilitate a swift and orderly restructuring,” he said. “I understand that once in a hundred years this is what you do.
(18 February 2009)


Obama unlikely to wade into oil sands debate

Mitch Potter, Toronto Star
The issue of Canada's carbon-heavy oil sands may be stickier than ever as Barack Obama readies for his lightning visit to Ottawa tomorrow.

But as environmental pressure mounts on the U.S. president to adopt a hard line against Alberta's "dirty oil," sources in Washington expect Obama to sidestep the question so as not to sully a journey intended to send a positive message of renewed Canada-U.S. engagement.

"Nobody is preparing an agenda that would sour the atmosphere. This is going to be all about renewing and refreshing," said Gordon Giffin, a former U.S. ambassador to Canada.

Giffin, who was involved in sweeping aside "potential aggravations" in the run-up to previous presidential visits to Ottawa during the Clinton era, said he expects the oil sands issue to be addressed in broader strokes, as the leaders discuss the prospects for a "continental approach" to energy and the environment.
(18 February 2009)


Canadian protesters urge Obama to shun oil sands

David Ljunggren, Reuters
Greenpeace activists scaled a bridge in the Canadian capital on Wednesday and unfurled two large banners urging U.S. President Barack Obama to take a tough stand on Canada's huge oil sands when he visits on Thursday.

"Climate Leaders Don't Buy Tar Sands" read one of the banners, which faced toward Parliament. The oil sands represent the largest reserves outside the Middle East, but extracting the heavy crude from the sands releases enormous amounts of greenhouse gases, blamed for global warming.
(18 February 2009)


Watching Republicans grieve

Mark Schone, Salon
Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi journeyed into the heart of the GOP for her new HBO documentary. She discusses what she found there: Denial, depression and a whole lot of anger.
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When Alexandra Pelosi made the Emmy-winning documentary "Journeys With George" in 2000, about her 18 months on the campaign trail with soon-to-be-President George W. Bush, her mother, Nancy, was not yet speaker of the House, and the name "Pelosi" was not yet an epithet on the lips of Republicans.

Eight years later, Pelosi went back out on the GOP campaign trail and into the lion's den, in the waning days of John McCain's failed bid for the White House. In her latest film, "Right America: Feeling Wronged," which debuts on HBO Monday night, Pelosi attends McCain and Sarah Palin rallies in 28 states and puts her microphone in the faces of some very passionate conservatives. As defeat looms, she watches the Republican base go through a very public grieving process, with most of the stages that psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross described -- denial, depression and a whole lot of anger -- but not very much acceptance.

... Pelosi: ... They had huge crowds, and I felt they were really underrepresented in the media. I didn’t feel like I saw these people on TV. And when I went out to talk to people, the first thing they would say to me was, "I can't believe you're talking to me." They were so flattered that I wanted to hear what they had to say because they'd say, "The media doesn't listen to us. You turn on the TV and all you see is Obama nation and you don't see us." They had some points. My liberal friends, I have to remind them that they have some really good points. No. 1, the media did not fairly represent them in this election. Obama was on the cover of every magazine all summer long. I understand Obama sold magazines. It's a business. But when you've got a presidential election and you have half of the country feeling really underrepresented, I think that's a real problem. And I think that's a bigger problem than Obama versus McCain.

There was this guy in Fort Wayne, Ind., Fred Boise, who says, "The media paints us to be fanatics. They treat us like hicks and we just go to Wal-Mart and we're rednecks. And they don't come to get to know us, and they go on stereotypes." I think all of that is true.

... I think that the blogs have poisoned the political atmosphere in such a way that I never saw this kind of anger and hatred in 2000. In 2008, I was impressed by how angry it got. But you know elections have gotten nasty. I do think that blogs have really given people a place to, I don't know, maybe it's therapeutic for them. But it’s really gotten them fired up in a way. They talk to each other online and then they get worked up and then they go meet each other at rallies. And I just feel like the Internet has really changed the climate at the political rallies. Because I remember the Bush rallies as being fun. But you know, a lot's happened. 9/11 and all that poisoning the well. The whole partisan Bush years and the war poisoned the well. A lot of other things contributed. You can't just blame the blogs.

I was hoping my film was going to be an artifact of a moment in time. There is a lot of talk about change. Even John McCain was talking about change. But change is always going to be harder for some than for others. And there's always going to be those who are not ready. And you see people in my film saying, "I'm not ready. Hey, I'm a redneck, I'm proud of it, I'm more backwards than the rest of you, and I'm just not ready. Not ready for a black president, not ready for change, I'm just not ready."
(16 February 2009)
To see how this is related to the response to peak oil, see Kathy McMahon's I just dropped in to see what condition my Transition was in. -BA


EnCana to sell Deep Panuke natural gas production from NS to Repsol

The Canadian Press
EnCana (TSX:ECA) has agreed to sell the natural gas it will produce at its Deep Panuke wells off Nova Scotia to Repsol YPF SA - a Spanish oil-and-gas firm that aims to become a major supplier to the northeastern United States.

EnCana spokeswoman Lori MacLean says that the Calgary-based company's contract with Repsol takes effect immediately and will apply for the life of the offshore project, which is slated to begin in late 2010.

The project is proposing to produce 200 million cubic feet of gas per day at startup and will ramp up to 300 million cubic feet daily, roughly enough gas to heat 1,500 homes for one year.
(17 February 2009)
EB contributor Larry Hughes writes:
Anyone who thought that Nova Scotia would benefit from Deep Panuke had better think again. The sale to Repsol means that the DP natgas will be sold in the US market -- just like Repsol's LNG that is about to start arriving in Saint John, New Brunswick.

We could always have an Orange Revolution, like Ukraine did, and "steal" natgas from the pipeline. The irony is, we'd be trying to steal our own natgas.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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