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My Note –

Why is it that Monday of this week there was a fire in the building where the European Commission is headquartered and the US news doesn’t deem that to be newsworthy? And, what were they were reporting – whether we have “green shoots” or don’t have “green shoots”.

The first quarter of this year and most of the second half of last year was the parade of experts on the news to tell us that we had already seen the bottom, whether we had seen the bottom, whether we would see the bottom and what kind of bottom we would see.

It is utterly ridiculous that now the words of the day are “The green shoots” when any actual news around the world and across the US takes a back seat to the conjecture about whether we are seeing “green shoots” or not. And, that airtime is being given to another group of experts explaining to us that the green shoots are there even though the data, the numbers, the facts and the reality people are living may not indicate it.

For some reason, the news and business leaders and traders on Wall Street still superstitiously believe that the reality is created by what they say or do or how they say it or how the frame the facts for the public, as if the fact that some news reporter admitted there is a recession actually created it. Just because everybody refuses to use the word, “Blizzard” – does not change the fact that there is a blizzard if that is reality. Refusing to use the “B” word, will not have any bearing on the fact that it is cold outside, there is wind and snow is falling in handfuls from the big sky overhead. And anyone who ignores that fact will come to harm by choosing to not believe the reality and the facts about it.

Financial blizzards are not made by use of a word. That isn’t what caused it and it isn’t going to fix it. Nor is it going to be fixed by pretending or saying everything is alright when clearly it isn’t. That isn’t hope – its malarkey, (or in today’s terms, bullshit.)

The amount of airtime spent explaining how things are sure looking up now, then another chunk of airtime is spent with another expert explaining how these are certainly the “green shoots” of the economy stabilizing and starting to grow again, and another who says, “it will all be okay now, it will be fine soon, all the deals are good and everybody that needs money in the financial sector has enough to meet their debts. – there isn’t really a problem – its all fine now,” but the real evidence says something else.

That’s not news coverage – its rumor mongering and promoting a desirable outcome despite evidence that things might be very difficult for quite awhile for most people across the US and across the World.

The public are not the ones that are buying, trading or dumping millions upon millions of shares of company stocks in huge lots. And, the people who are managing and moving those huge blocks of stocks aren’t listening to the news for their decision-making perspectives. That’s for damn sure.

The public who is receiving this airtime of story after story about the opinion on the green shoots or whether things are on the upswing or not – are not receiving airtime to much of the news that could make a difference and that are actually based in facts.

And cheating people of that information hasn’t produced a better economic reality nor a better foundation for our economy to recover – it didn’t foresee the bottom by spending 40 minutes of every hour parading experts across the airwaves to expound on it nor did it assure us that we’ve already seen that bottom.

There are things that still aren’t being counted in real money where it comes to commercial real estate, credit default swaps and other leveraged products and liabilities of corporations, banks, credit based funds and other financial derivatives and hedge funds.

Sooner or later, that pretend world where stealing the monopoly money while being the banker and leveraging against it after sneaking it from the tray – will show up in real terms where it is accountable to the reality of what it means in tangible dollars and assets. It is just a matter of time.


Berlaymont fire hits Commission business
By Simon Taylor
20.05.2009 / 05:20 CET
The Commission in bid to have the Berlaymont partly up and running after the weekend.

Technicians will be working over the Ascension holiday weekend to repair the European Commission’s headquarters building, the Berlaymont, which was damaged by a fire on Monday (18 May). The building was still without lighting and ventilation yesterday (19 May) because of damage to electrical equipment.

The 55-metre high, 14-floor Berlaymont, which contains the offices of the 27 European commissioners, the Commission secretary-general and around 2,000 staff, was evacuated on Monday lunchtime because of the fire, whose cause is still unknown.

[ . . . ]

The fire broke out around 12.30pm on Monday and 20 minutes later triggered an alarm on the 13th floor where Commission President José Manuel Barroso has his office and where the commissioners meet. Following a check by security staff, a general alarm was sounded at 13.05pm. Barroso left using an emergency staircase as the lifts were out of action.

In addition to the commissioners and their staff, the Berlaymont also houses the secretariat-general, the legal service, the press service and the administration department, but the building was less crowded than usual, with many staff having taken the week off because the Commission is closed tomorrow, Ascension Day, and Friday (21-22 May).

[ . . . ]

The Brussels fire brigade sent 40 firefighters and 12 firefighting vehicles to the Berlaymont and streets around the building were cordoned off. The fire brigade declared the fire put out shortly before five o’clock. Investigators were still examining the building on Tuesday to establish how it had started and to assess the extent of the damage.

Initial reports suggested that the fire began in the printworks or archive on a floor below ground level and spread up a cabling shaft, setting fire to roofing materials on the 14th floor, which produced smoke that emerged from the top of the building. But other reports suggested the fire started on the upper floors and the smoke spread downwards.
Full inquiry

Stephen Hutchins, the Commission’s director of security, said there would be a full inquiry, which would also examine whether fire safety procedures had worked properly.

[ Etc.]