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A short piece from Greg Palast in 2007 re Confessions of an Economic Hitman

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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 12:11 AM
Original message
A short piece from Greg Palast in 2007 re Confessions of an Economic Hitman

John Perkins: Jerk, Con Man, Shill

Thursday, July 5, 2007

by Greg Palast
5 July 2007

I remember John Perkins. He was a real jerk. A gold-plated, super-slick lying little butthole shill for corporate gangsters; a snake-oil salesman with a movie-star grin, shiny loafers, a crooked calculator and a tooled leather briefcase full ofSeabrook Protestors high-blown bullshit.

This was two decades ago. The early 1980s. I wore sandals, uncombed hair down to my cheap collar and carried a busted ring-binder filled with honest calculations and sincere analysis. It was Economic Hit Man Perkins vs. Economic Long-Hair Palast. I didn't stand a chance. The EHM was about to put a political bullet hole through me wider than a silver dollar.

Hit Men have "clients." Perkins' was a giant power company, Public Service of New Hampshire. PSNH was trying to sell New England lobstermen and potato farmers on the idea that they desperately needed a multi-billion dollar nuclear plant. The fact that this bloated atomic water kettle, called "Seabrook," would produce enough electricity for everyone in the Granite State to smelt iron didn't matter. That the beast could add a surcharge to electric bills equal to home mortgages was simply smiled over by Perkins and his team of economic con artists.

To steal millions, you need a top team of armed robbers. But to steal billions, you need PhD's with color charts and economic projections made of fairy dust and eye of newt. Perkins had it all - including a magical thing called a computer-generated spreadsheet (this was well before Excel).

I was an expert witness for some consumer groups,...

http://www.gregpalast.com/john-perkins-jerk-con-man-shill/

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JonLP24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 12:14 AM
Response to Original message
1. K&R
Palast is a favorite of mine. I've read his books and seen his movie.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 12:16 AM
Response to Original message
2. Greg sure can tell a story!
K&R
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 12:30 AM
Response to Original message
3. As in every moral tale,
Perkins, the modern Dr. Faust, found redemption in confession.

And we're lucky he did. Because, in Perkins' confessionals, "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man," and his latest, the just-released "Secret History of the American Empire," we find out what makes these guys tick. By "these guys" I mean the vultures who suck up development aide, the sharks who use the World Bank as their enforcers, the corporate marauders, power pirates and hedge fund hogs with their snouts in the economic trough.

In "Secret History," Perkins, from the inside, gives the details of the weird moral emptiness and pitilessness of men who waylay the riches of the planet from the people to whom it rightly belongs.
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 01:31 AM
Response to Original message
4. Visicalc. Lotus 1-2-3... n/t
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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 05:08 AM
Response to Original message
5. K&R!
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
6. It should be called "self confessions of a dangerous fossil fuel apologist."
Edited on Sat Apr-10-10 11:22 AM by NNadir
I am referring to the twit Palast.

The idiotic anti-science dumb journalist crap that prevented the completion of Seabrooke 2 was a great tragedy for the human race, and resulted in the dumping of many millions of tons of dangerous fossil fuel waste into the atmosphere, where it has done tremendous damage.

I have always regarded Palast as a hyperbolic twit, much as I regard all similar anti-nuke twits.

I have been to Seabrook, NH many times to see the second reactor's dome, and have been struck by the tragedy of it all, the ignorance of it all and the nature of the dangerous natural gas hell hole that most of New England has become.

Seabrook-1, of course, operates fine, with little effect on the surrounding lagoon, where every damn year it produces more energy than all the stupid junkyard destined wind turbines in Denmark.

Unlike the Danish offshore wind turbines and Danish offshore oil and gas rigs (for which the wind turbines are lipstick on the pig) Seabrook 1 does very little damage to the environment at all.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. If you didn't get all your information from that circle jerk of bloggers
You might feel differently. You echo the idiocy of that ass-hat Barton and his little dickhead sidekick Sorensen like they actually have a clue, yet when confronted with someone who actually understands the economics involved and actually is interested in people instead of the nuclear industry, you go all weird in the brain.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. Yeah? What do you think would have built in place of this reactor had it not gone live?
Guess. Take a big fucking guess kristopher.

Hint. It ain't wind.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
7. Good thing he failed. Seabrook Station 1 has operated for 20 years.
Compared to a coal plant of similar size, the operation of Seabrook Station avoids the release of over 7 million tons of waste gases into the atmosphere each year. These gases include carbon and sulfur dioxides (contributors to global warming and acid rain respectively). Also avoided are over 150-200,000 million tons of solid wastes such as fly ash. According to Scientific American, the average coal power plant emits more than 100 times as much radiation per year than a comparatively sized nuclear power plant does, in the form of toxic coal waste known as fly ash.<6>

Not only that but Seabrook has a long life ahead of it.
Original license expires in 2026 however if the plant is safe that can be extended another 20-40 years by NRC (after retrofit and inspection).

7 million tons of CO2 prevented * 20 years = 140 million tons of CO2.

If plant operated until end of license that would be 7*36 = 252 million tons of CO2 prevented.
If plant receives a 20 year extension that would be 7*56 = 392 million tons of CO2 prevented.

The plant would have started 4 years prior (and prevented 28 million tons of CO2) if dumbfuck Dukakis hadn't prevented the reactor (which was fully complete and passed all safety inspections) form getting a commercial power license for 4 years.

Yet another example of why NRC has moved to the COL (Combined Construction & Operating License).
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Confronted with direct evidence of malfeasance by the nuclear industry, you divert?
"Hit Men have "clients." Perkins' was a giant power company, Public Service of New Hampshire. PSNH was trying to sell New England lobstermen and potato farmers on the idea that they desperately needed a multi-billion dollar nuclear plant. The fact that this bloated atomic water kettle, called "Seabrook," would produce enough electricity for everyone in the Granite State to smelt iron didn't matter. That the beast could add a surcharge to electric bills equal to home mortgages was simply smiled over by Perkins and his team of economic con artists.

To steal millions, you need a top team of armed robbers. But to steal billions, you need PhD's with color charts and economic projections made of fairy dust and eye of newt. Perkins had it all - including a magical thing called a computer-generated spreadsheet (this was well before Excel)."


Nuclear power is a HUGE taxpayer rip off.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Seabrook 1 has produced more power than any wind or solar plant ever has.
This single reactor has done more to slow climate change than any so called "alternative energy" system.

I guess you considering millions of tons of avoid CO2 a "taxpayer rip off". Kinda shows where your priorities lie.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Now it is clear why you try to discredit independent analysis of new nuclear costs.
It doesn't matter to you what they cost because you don't care about either the people who have to pay the bills nor what more effective measures for carbon reduction the money could be put to.

Kinda shows where YOUR priorities lie - nuclear power and the consequences be damned.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. *You* clearly don't care about the social, externalized costs of greenhouse warming emissions.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. The social costs of greenhouse gasses are completely irrelevant to you.
You couldn't care less. Statistical points out a very relelvant piece of information on the Environment and Energy forum, and you completely dismiss it.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #7
18. How much did the plant cost? Divide by CO2 saved and you can compare to a fee and dividend approach.
Now if only the AGW releasers had to pay for it.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
12. A little stroll down memory lane with 1984 Time article
Edited on Sat Apr-10-10 10:02 PM by kristopher
Take a moment to scan the article while bearing in mind the revelations from Perkins and Palast.
Manipulating public money for private gain didn't start with the bankers, nor will it end with them if we listen to these crooks yet again.

Pulling the Nuclear Plug
o is the Palo Verde complex, three 1,270-MW units 50 miles west of Phoenix. It is looked upon as a success by current nuclear industry standards because the expected final cost of some $6 billion is only about double the original estimate of $2.8 billion. A study released in January by the Energy Information Administration, a division of the Department of Energy, showed that 36 of the 47 nuclear plants surveyed cost at least twice as much as initially projected, while 13 of them were four times higher. Among the most expensive of these nuclear white elephants:

SHOREHAM. Overlooking the sound on the North Shore of New York's Long Island, this 1,100-MW plant was supposed to cost $241 million when it was started in 1965 and was expected to go on line in 1975. Now nearly a decade behind schedule, the plant will cost at least $4 billion, or 15 times the original estimate, and could run the Long Island Lighting Co. (Lilco) even more before it produces any electricity. The utility last year had a continuing battle with Suffolk County officials over the approval of evacuation plans in case of an accident. The emergency procedures were finally approved, but now the plant's diesel generators have been found to be defective and may have to be replaced. The utility's chairman, Charles Pierce, resigned suddenly last week. He gave no reason, but the company's board was reported to be unhappy with his handling of the problems at Shoreham.

SEABROOK. Besieged by members of the Clamshell Alliance and other environmentalists, the two-reactor Seabrook plant was begun by Public Service Co. of New Hampshire in 1976 and was slated to cost $973 million. Unit 1, which stands near the coast, may be ready in July 1985, but the company is making no predictions as to whenor whetherUnit 2 will be completed. The utility is currently revising both its construction schedule and the cost projections for the whole project. The most recent estimate: $5.8 billion.

MIDLAND. Conceived as a cooperative venture that would supply Michigan's Consumers Power Co. with electricity and a neighboring Dow Chemical plant with steam, the two-unit, 1,300-MW project on Michigan's Tittabawassee River was launched in 1969. It then carried a $267 million price tag. The problem-plagued development is currently nine years behind schedule and egregiously over budget. Company officials say that construction, now 85% complete, has al ready cost $3.4 billion. ...
http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,926461,00.html

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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. Actually seabrook ended up costing $7 billion. Of course "Crooks" had nothing to do with that.
$7 billion was total cost including capitalized interest.

Construction was delayed by a decade due to vandalism, activists chaining themselves to the plant, and legal challenges. Tick-tock the interest clock keeps ticking the whole time.

Dumbass Dukakis delayed starting the plant for 4 years. This is after the plant was completely done. He personally added about 28 million tons of CO2 to the planet because a 100% functional and tested reactor was prohibited from connecting to the grid. It wasn't until he was replaced as governor the plant connected to grid and began selling power.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. 1 tonne of carbon dioxide will lead to only 0.0000000000015 degrees of global temperature change.
Edited on Sun Apr-11-10 07:02 PM by joshcryer
That only led to 0.000042 degrees of global temperature change. It's completely acceptable.

see here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=115x208065
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. That is a lot for a single person. Imagine if every person on the planet contributed that much.
Edited on Sun Apr-11-10 08:29 PM by Statistical
By delaying the start of the reactor 4 years it was worse than putting a hundred thousand Hummers on the road and then fueling them by using oil from tarsands.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. I forgot the sarcasm tag.
;)
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
13. Kick
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
17. Even if a nuclear plant costed $100 per ton of CO2 it'd be worth it.
Edited on Sun Apr-11-10 02:34 PM by joshcryer
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Well if that if your metric than it is definitely worth it.
The plant costs $7 billion to build (mainly due to decade long delay from activists and stupid Dukakis which delayed completed reactor from selling power for 4 years). All that time the interest clock was ticking.

Still $7 billion cost.

A ballpark figure of cost per ton of CO2.

$7 billion construction cost. Say it was financed over 30 years @ 8%. Total construction & interest costs come out to $19.4 billion.

National average for O&M (operating & maintenance) and fuel is about 1.8 cents per kWh.
This reactor averaged 9814 GWh annually over last 4 years. That puts annual operating costs at around $176 million.

That fact there kinda shows the economics of nuclear power. $19 billion for construction and interest but operating costs are (in comparison) negligible.

Reactor is licenses till 2028. If it gets no extension.
36 operating years producing 9814 * 36 / 1000 = 353 TWh.
Total lifetime cost is $19 billion + $176 million * 36 = $25.7 billion

CO2 savings 2.045 per kWh x 353 TWh = lifetime savings 361 million tons. Cost per ton of CO2 avoided = $71.29

Say reactor gets 20 year extension instead.
56 operating years producing 9814 * 56 / 1000 = 550 TWh.

Total lifetime cost is $19 billion + $176 million * 56 = $25.7 billion = $29.3 billion
(Side note notice the economics of nuclear power 50% longer lifespan only $3 billion more lifetime cost).

O2 savings 2.045 per kWh x 550 TWh = lifetime savings 562 million tons. Cost per ton of CO2 avoided = $52.08

Since it is hard to estimate I didn't factor in retrofit cost for 20 year extension. Some plants don't need anything. Some need couple billion in retrofits/upgrades. Each $1 billion in retrofit costs add $1.77 to CO2 avoided cost.

Numbers shouldn't be taken as anything other than a ballpark estimate but it is clear CO2 avoided by nuclear energy is <$100 per ton

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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. Yeah, that was my guess. As progressives we *must* include externalized costs.
So nuclear costs, I'm finding, are not bad at all when looked at from an externalized point of view.

Just for kicks, with fee and dividend, poor families would get a $6000 refund every year at a $100 / ton tax. And by refund I mean a check for $6000 no strings attached (well, staying poor / not using a lot of energy anyway).

Unfortunately here on this forum we have people citing the Cato Institute which doesn't believe that oil and natural gas and coal even get subsidies (despite that there are externalized costs for those energy sources).
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