December 15, 2014 archive

Wall Street Democrats

Democrats Bow Down to Wall Street

Bill Moyers & John R. MacArthur, president and publisher of Harper’s Magazine, Moyers & Company

December 12, 2014

You say if he wins the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he’ll be giving away big chunks of our remaining manufacturing base to Japan and Vietnam and other Pacific Rim countries. Why does he want to do that?

Because he’s the fundraiser in chief. And again, this goes back to Bill Clinton. Because Obama’s really just imitating Bill Clinton. Clinton made an alliance with the Daley machine in Chicago, which Obama, he’s inherited that alliance with the two Daley brothers. The people who were thriving are the people in power. Rahm Emanuel is now mayor of Chicago. Bill Daley and Rahm Emanuel were the chief lobbyists for passing NAFTA under Clinton. They’re the ones who rounded up the votes. They’re the ones who made the deals with the recalcitrant Democrats and Republicans who didn’t want to vote for it. These people are in the saddle.

Full Transcript

Keystone XL Realities

The good news is that even Politico is beginning to realize that Alberta Tar Sands are not economically sound and will cost more to extract than they are worth.

Also 2 interviews from Democracy Now at COP 20 in Lima.

Former VP Al Gore Urges Obama to Reject Keystone XL as Kerry, Top U.S. Negotiator Stay Mum

Pipe Dreams? Labor Researchers Say Keystone XL Project May Kill More Jobs Than It Creates

Will cheap oil kill Keystone?

By Elana Schor, Politico

12/15/14 5:35 AM EST

The same collapse in oil prices that is pumping dollars into motorists’ wallets also risks undermining the case for building the 1,179-mile pipeline in two crucial ways: It’s squeezing the western Canadian oil industry that has looked to Keystone as its most promising route to the Gulf Coast. And anti-pipeline activists hope that falling prices will make it politically safer for Obama to reject the project, despite the new Republican Congress’ pledges to put Keystone at the top of its 2015 energy agenda.

U.S. oil prices have plunged by nearly half since late June, tumbling to around $58 a barrel on Friday, thanks to the refusal of OPEC to cut production amid a glut of global supplies. Gasoline prices have fallen to a five-year low at the same time, reaching a national average of $2.60 a gallon Friday morning.

The oil price is crucial to the Keystone debate because the latest State Department environmental study on the project says prices in the $65-to-$75 range are a potential danger zone for oil production in western Canada – the point where transportation costs driven higher by failing to build the pipeline could “have a substantial impact on” the industry’s growth.

Cheaper oil also makes it easier to blame Keystone for the greenhouse gases that the Canadian oil fields send into the atmosphere. The State Department study said Keystone would be blameless for all that carbon because Canada is likely to keep pumping more oil even without the pipeline, sending the crude to the U.S. by truck or train if necessary. But the rail and truck options are more expensive – so if cheap oil makes them no longer cost-effective, greens argue, the pipeline would be the thing that keeps the pollution coming.

“It is now impossible to credibly argue that Keystone XL won’t enable significant expansion of the tar sands and associated climate emissions,” Natural Resources Defense Council international program attorney Anthony Swift said by email. “Plummeting global oil prices have highlighted the fact that tar sands only work in a world of expensive crude – and without cheap pipeline infrastructure, many carbon-intensive tar sands projects simply will not be built.”

Canada’s heavy-fuel producers are facing a cash crunch as cheap crude chokes profits for some of the industry’s most expensive new projects, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared last week that trying to regulate oil emissions during the current price crash would be “crazy economic policy.”

Everywhere you look in the region, companies are cutting back: The company Canadian Oil Sands sliced its 2015 budget nearly in half compared with this year’s spending. Baytex slashed its dividends to stockholders by more than half, announcing a focus on U.S. oil assets. Cenovus described its 15-percent budget cut for 2015 as “capital restraint in the year ahead in the face of weaker oil prices.”

(P)olitical jostling over the murky nuances of oil markets often glosses over some of the escape hatches in the State Department’s price scenario: For the death of the pipeline to slow Canadian oil sands growth – and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions – other major export projects for the Canadian fuel would also have to run into problems, the study said.

That “pipeline-constrained” scenario was taking shape even before this fall’s oil crash, thanks to an obstruction campaign by climate activists and indigenous peoples on both sides of the border. Three other massive pipeline projects that would funnel crude from Canada’s oil-rich Alberta province to its coastlines have met fierce resistance from greens.


The Breakfast Club (The World Has Gone Mad Today)

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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This Day in History

Former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann sentenced to death; Bandleader Glenn Miller disappears over the English Channel; The Bill of Rights takes effect; Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull killed; Walt Disney dies at age 65.

Breakfast Tunes

On This Day In History December 15

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

How ironic that on this very day, Congress and President Barack Obama are about to approve a bill that will essentially violate at least 5 of these amendments and more.

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

December 15 is the 349th day of the year (350th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 16 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day 1791, Virginia becomes the last state to ratify the Bill of Rights, making the first ten amendments to the Constitution law and completing the revolutionary reforms begun by the Declaration of Independence. Before the Massachusetts ratifying convention would accept the Constitution, which they finally did in February 1788, the document’s Federalist supporters had to promise to create a Bill of Rights to be amended to the Constitution immediately upon the creation of a new government under the document.

After the Constitution was ratified in 1789, the 1st United States Congress met in Federal Hall in New York City. Most of the delegates agreed that a “bill of rights” was needed and most of them agreed on the rights they believed should be enumerated.

Madison, at the head of the Virginia delegation of the 1st Congress, had originally opposed a Bill of Rights but hoped to pre-empt a second Constitutional Convention that might have undone the difficult compromises of 1787: a second convention would open the entire Constitution to reconsideration and could undermine the work he and so many others had done in establishing the structure of the United States Government. Writing to Jefferson, he stated, “The friends of the Constitution…wish the revisal to be carried no farther than to supply additional guards for liberty…and are fixed in opposition to the risk of another Convention….It is equally certain that there are others who urge a second Convention with the insidious hope of throwing all things into Confusion, and of subverting the fabric just established, if not the Union itself.”

Madison based much of the Bill of Rights on George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), which itself had been written with Madison’s input. He carefully considered the state amendment recommendations as well. He looked for recommendations shared by many states to avoid controversy and reduce opposition to the ratification of the future amendments. Additionally, Madison’s work on the Bill of Rights reflected centuries of English law and philosophy, further modified by the principles of the American Revolution.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

and all the Nodders hissed when he displayed

Late Night Karaoke