November 28, 2014 archive

The Oil Price War

In case you hadn’t noticed, oil prices are way, way down and after yesterday’s OPEC meeting they’re unlikely to rise any time soon.

Why is this and what does it mean?

Like most things economic it’s largely demand driven.  Japan is in recession (again), Europe teetering on the edge of deflation, China no longer on an expansionist binge, and as for US?  Well, the U.S. has the same crappy .01% economy we’ve had for the last 7 years.

At the same time recoverable reserves have expanded through fracking and other techniques to the point where the U.S. is once again the #1 Oil exporter in the world.

Can I get a chorus of Proud to Be or at least a U.S.A., U.S.A. chant for that?

Pfft.  It won’t last.  Either demand will rise or we’ll spiral into an economic black hole.  And should demand and consumption rise we’ll be killing off 50% of the population through climate change and demand will go down anyway.  This is why Tar Sand development is as dead as the Dodo, they had a window to make obscene amounts of money that is now permanently closed.

But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task, if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us, that when the storm is long past, the ocean is flat again.

John Maynard Keynes- A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923)

So, let’s take a look at the the short term, Qui Bono?

It’s clearly the House of Saud who are driving these developments and their extraction costs are around $5 – $15 a barrel.  This is why they are price makers, they can produce enough to fill most of the demand and as long as they are getting more in return they are making a ton of money they don’t have to share too widely.

Other traditional producers, like Venezuela and especially Iran, have larger and more restive populations and thus benefit from a price point that maximizes their income, something the Saudis aren’t concerned about.  It’s not far fetched to speculate that the current oil glut has been orchestrated specifically to disadvantage Shia Muslims (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon) in what can easily be argued is open Jihad by militant Wahabi Sunnis that the ignorant West (that would be the Empire of the United States and our coalition of the coerced and cowardly) is only too happy to support in return for a little liquid black gold to keep our inebriated Military Industrial Complex well lubricated.

Not that they like us, they hate us almost as much as the Shia… almost.  And low oil prices also mitigate against costly extraction technologies (North Sea and Arctic Drilling, Deep Sea Drilling, Fracking, Tar Sands) by making them unprofitable.  Likewise the longer term threat of cheap renewable power via Solar, Wind, Tidal, and Hydro-electric.

So we’re not only whores, we’re cheap whores, practically sluts giving it away for nothing (regular readers will know that I have no objection to a healthy and active sexual life, sex work, or promiscuity).

The benefit of fossil fuel is that its reliability and low volume to energy ratio make it uniquely suited to military applications.  Is it any wonder then that access to it is the number one priority of Empire?

It also illustrates the power of monopoly pricing, not just in extracting the maximum revenue, but in destroying the economic viability of competitive rivals.

“Democratic” Science Denialist

I’m among those who have fond memories of Mario and thought at the time he should be President, or at least a Supreme Court Justice.  His son has led me to question my judgement.

Andrew Cuomo has, almost single handedly, kept the New York State Republican Party alive because he doesn’t believe in liberal ideas and finds it easier to have a convenient excuse to disguise his naked conservatism.  He has, without fail, sabotaged the campaigns of State legislators of his own nominal party in order to promote the “deal makers” and “compromisers” to stifle any truly populist initiatives, especially any that might offend the delicate sensibilities of the Bankster “Master of the Universe” Thieves and Con Men.

Content to coast on the store of goodwill built up by his father, he basks in the the rumors that he’s on the short list of Presidendial prospectives.  If he ever got close to the nomination it would be a shame and a travesty.

First of all he’s an incompetent finger pointing weasel-

Gov. Andrew Cuomo shamefully blames lack of preparation for Buffalo snow on the National Weather Service

Joanna Rothkopf, Salon

Monday, Nov 24, 2014 09:20 AM EST

On Saturday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo felt he had to comment on the massive lake effect snowstorm that buried Western New York and Buffalo under up to 7 feet of snow last week. People were surely wondering: Why had there been so many deaths? Why was the region seemingly unprepared to deal with such extreme conditions?

Cuomo, in an attempt to appease the state’s residents, blamed it on the National Weather Service. “No one had an idea that it was gonna be that much snow that fast,” he said in a press conference on Saturday. “Snow coming down at the rate of about five inches an hour. No one had an idea. The weather service was off. By the way, I said this in my State of the State last year, we’re putting in our own weather detection system.”

In fact, the National Weather Service had warned of the possibility of an extreme storm.

One of the most dangerous impulses of politicians is their willingness to dive head-first into scientific issues, professing authority in areas where they quite simply have none. For the most part, politicians and pundits look to science only when it is a suitable scapegoat on which to place blame for failed policy, rather than as the most accurate barometer we have of what is to come.

Don Paul, chief meteorologist at the CBS affiliate in Buffalo-

Governor Cuomo’s attempt to scapegoat the National Weather Service for an inaccurate forecast in advance is not only completely in error–the NWS did an outstanding job–but is a disservice to the public and to the hard-working staff of this federal agency. No forecast of such an historical disaster is going to be absolutely perfect, but no one who lives here can say this event was not well forecast in advance, or that the warning headlines of its impact to come were not well explained in advance…his statement is disinformation, purposeful or ill-informed.

Secondly, he revels in his science denialism as thoroughly as any card carrying tea-bagger-

New York Governor Cuomo: ‘I Don’t Want To Get Into A Political Debate’ About Climate Change

by Emily Atkin, Think Progress

Posted on November 25, 2014 at 9:34 am

According to a Capital New York report, the politically savvy governor has historically refused to talk about the scientific link between extreme weather events and climate change, citing a desire to avoid contentious debate. He most recently did this on Sunday, when asked about the climate connection to Buffalo’s massive lake-effect snowstorm, and the worry of flooding because of rising temperatures.

“I don’t want to get into a political debate at this time about climate change causes, et cetera,” Cuomo reportedly said. “Forget the causes. Is it global warming? Is it reliance on fossil fuels? Forget the causes. What is inarguable is the result.”

The issue with these comments – and arguably all modern political rhetoric about climate change – is that the debate over extreme weather and global warming is not inherently political. It is scientific. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international body that provides comprehensive updates on climate science, says that man-made warming increases the severity of heat waves, wildfires, and heavy precipitation events. Some scientists have even tied Buffalo’s massive snowstorm to climate change, citing the increased moisture held in the atmosphere as a result of warming temperatures.

Instead of acknowledging this, however, Cuomo’s position is that it doesn’t matter whether climate change is causing extreme events. And it’s not the first time he’s made the claim. In a 2012 op-ed for the Daily News, where he pledged increase storm preparation measures in the face of Superstorm Sandy.

“Debating why does not lead to solutions – it leads to gridlock,” Cuomo said at the time. “The denial and deliberation from extremists on both sides about the causes of climate change are distracting us from addressing its inarguable effects.”

The issue with that stance, however, is that it focuses solely on adaptation to extreme weather events, and does not acknowledge the need to reduce carbon emissions to reduce the likelihood of those extreme events happening in the first place. That’s bad, considering the latest IPCC report says the effects of climate change – including extreme weather – could be irreversible if decisive actions aren’t taken to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. And those impacts will only get worse as future carbon emissions rise.

Evil or an Idiot?

I must say I’m coming more and more to the conclusion that when a politician or a media personality acts in ways that are contrary to the expressed wishes of their constituents or audience, they’re not idiots.


The Breakfast Club (We’re More Than Alive)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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I hope everyone had a happy, healthy and peaceful Thanksgiving

As God Is My Witness. I Thought Turkeys Could Fly”

This Day in History

Ferdinand Magellan reaches the Pacific Ocean; British prime minister Margaret Thatcher resigns; Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is beaten to death; The Grand Ole Opry makes its radio debut; Comedian Jon Stewart born.

Breakfast Tunes

On This Day In History November 28

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 28 is the 332nd day of the year (333rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 33 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1970, George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” is released.

Justice for Turkeys

Even though “Last Week Tonight” is on hiatus, John Oliver, like your psychotic ex, keeps sending us these videos to remind us what we’re missing.