Libya, Kaddafi, and the Marketing of Dictators

By Numerian

Nobody knows, which is precisely why leadership everywhere is addled and uncertain how to respond. What they should most fear, however, is someone who connects together the riots in Greece several years ago, the demonstrations in Iceland, and the events throughout the Middle East, with the protests in Wisconsin, and who then draws a picture which makes sense and which everyone can understand.

Driving in from the airport to the center of Tripoli, as you pass Pepsi-Cola Road and approach the old city, you see one billboard after another featuring Mohammar Qaddafi. He has different guises, depending on whether he wishes to be Col. Qaddafi in military uniform, or tribal Qaddafi in flowing robes, or religious Qaddafi in the turban and cloak of an imam. Overlooking the central square is Qaddafi the modernizer of Libya, sporting brownish-yellow sunglasses that might have been stylish in 1969 when Qaddafi first came to power in a military coup, but today give him the appearance of trying too hard to be young.

Gaddafi Regime Collapses - People Hold Line Despite Brutal Attacks

By Michael Collins
The outlook for Libya’s economy remains favorable.
International Monetary Fund, February 15, 2011

Libya is a nepotistic cult focused on Muammar al-Gaddafi, his family, and friends. The erratic and eccentric leader, known as the Guide of the Revolution, has ruled since he helped lead a military coup against King Idris in 1969. He developed his own style of Arab revolution outlined in The Green Book. Of interest, the title of the first section is, The Solution of the Problem of Democracy: 'The Authority of the People'. (Click here for updates on Google Maps)

Gaddafi has felt the heat of that authority since February 17 when large protests began all over Libya.. Despite a ruthless security apparatus, Libyans had simply had enough. Reports now have the anti regime forces in control of the nation's second largest city, Benghazi.

Update 2/23, 2:35 pm EDT - IMF Changes Stand on Dictators

World Bank Warns It Could Happen Again

Just when you are lulled into sleep, thinking the financial crisis is over, here comes the World Bank with different ideas. While they start with how the world has economically recovered and all is well, later in the report are some not so swell numbers for the U.S. as well as warnings that the Globe could return to the financial crisis of 2008. Below is the World Bank's latest GDP growth projections for 2011 and 2012.

Here Comes Oil

Oil hit $94 a barrel, just in time for the Holidays, and is staying there. Now the blame is coming on speculation, inflation, QE2, the falling dollar and good old fashioned supply and demand. Despite even bills in Congress designed to curb commodities derivatives, the CFTC delayed rules introduced to curb oil speculation. Bottom line, it's back, we had a pause, due to the global economic slowdown, but we appear to be witnessing the return of $100 dollar oil.

Paul Krugman is saying the reason for increasing oil prices is emerging economies and limited resources:

What the commodity markets are telling us is that we’re living in a finite world, in which the rapid growth of emerging economies is placing pressure on limited supplies of raw materials, pushing up their prices. And America is, for the most part, just a bystander in this story.

Suffering Ado About Oil

Earlier today the containment cap was off the riser. Oil and gas was spewing into the gulf for a good 8 hours. One of the vents was damaged and the cap had to be removed. There were also two deaths in the oil spill recovery team. It is now back on and they are collecting and burning about 27,000 barrels of oil per day. Spill estimates currently range between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels per day.

Gas entered one of the lines which actually cools the containment cap. A robot arm from one of the ROVs accidentally bumped a vent, at which point gas went up the line. That line is used to heat the containment gap so the gas doesn't form hydrates (freeze).

Even more despairing, a boat captain working on the clean up, shot himself. From MSNBC:

The deaths reported Wednesday were not tied to the containment operation. The Coast Guard said the workers had been involved in cleanup operations did that their deaths did not appear to be work related.

One death was a boat captain who died of a gunshot wound, a Coast Guard spokesman said. Further details were not immediately available.

To watch all of the spillcams at once, click here or click here and finally here.

Here is the official coast guard website on the spill.

Enduring Ado About Oil

With the new estimates on oil gushing into the gulf, currently at 4300 to 24,300 barrels a day, more economic impact studies are being released on the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. Spillonomics estimates currently range from $29 billion to over $70 billion in direct costs for the spill and clean up. A study on the spill's economic impact on Florida estimates losses at $11 billion and 195,000 lost jobs. There are 2.8 million jobs associated with tourism alone in the gulf region. The fishing industry in Louisiana is estimated at $2.4 billion.

Earth Economics estimates the Mississippi Delta to be worth $330 billion and $1.3 trillion and provides an economic annual benefit of $12-$47 billion per year.

There is now a residential real estate estimate of a 10% decrease in gulf coast property values as a result of the spill. These losses alone are estimated at $4.3 billion dollars.