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Trump wins. Thank the Democrats.

Donald Trump has won the 2016 election and the Republicans retain control of both the House and the Senate.  

There is no-one to blame but the Democratic party politicians, the DNC, and their big donors. They had a candidate (actually more than one) who could have beat Trump in a landslide, yet they decided they had to do everything in their power, including rigging the primaries and colluding with the media, to give the nomination to a person so universally despised and so obviously corrupt that she couldn’t beat the carnival barker.  Irony of ironies; as the Clinton and DNC emails prove, the Clinton people were pushing for the nomination of Trump as an opponent because they thought he would be easier for her to beat than any other Republican. The fatal flaw of this plan was that the Democratic machine had been rigging everything in favor of the one person who couldn’t beat anyone with enough of a margin to overcome the insurmountable and peculiar electoral college system we use.  [Although they claim she beat Bernie Sanders, running as a fellow Democrat, in the primaries, the evidence of the DNC rigging the primaries is, well, irrefutable at this point and her nomination was cinched by Sanders’ own and finally obvious collusion in merely playing the sheepdog to deliver his innocent flock over to her.]  

Not only that, but the DNC spent all their money – against the party regulations, by the way – on the Hillary Victory Fund instead of spreading it out to the down-ticket Democrats; as a result, they still have a minority in both the House and the Senate. Not to mention that the only down-ticket Democrats that they supported verbally, if not financially, were nothing but ‘Blue Dog’ sell-outs instead of progressives or liberals. Despite losing the hold they had in both houses of Congress and losing state houses all across the country during the 2014 mid-terms, they didn’t bother with getting out the vote, or bother to deal with gerry-mandering issues, or pay any attention whatsoever to what people were telling them – that the economy sucks, people need jobs, Obamacare is really really bad, wealth disparity is dividing the country, Obama didn’t keep any of his promises and people were pissed about it, and everyone is sick of the “bipartisan compromises” that keep making things worse on the ground.  47 million Americans don’t have enough food to eat.  Fully one-third of eligible working-age Americans do not have jobs.  Social Security benefits continue to get cut or remain stagnant despite the fact that people can see with their own two eyes that food, housing and every other expense they routinely have to pay each month continues to increase in price.  Health insurance costs are so high that a family plan now costs more than the average person earns in 6 months.  Wages are effectively lower than they were 20 years ago.  Although the “family income” level was purred over repeatedly by Obama and Clinton on the campaign trail and touted as a sign of how things have improved under Obama, the fact is that according to the reports themselves, family income has not even risen above the level it was in 1999 – 17 years ago.  This is obfuscated by politicians and media pundits who don’t reveal the actual charts, try to equate “household income” with “personal income”, and who never point out the obvious; family income includes the combined incomes of all members of a family living in one household, and we now have the highest number of adult children living with their parents than at any time in our history.  Even if all they have is some measly part-time job at McDonald’s, these young adults contribute to that “household income” number.  Which, despite 1/3 of Americans under the age of 30 having to live with Mommy and Daddy, is still lower than than it was 17 fucking years ago.

I’m just amazed that the political grifters weren’t able to pull off the final fake-out and simply make up the election results like they do the unemployment numbers, economic measurements, or poll numbers and just claim Clinton won; on the other hand, it should occur to everyone that perhaps Trump is just as acceptable to the plutocracy as she is.  Maybe it’s that easy to figure out why they didn’t bother to rig the election – either candidate suffices to get the powers-that-be where they want to be; in total control of all the commons and all the wealth, and so they let the general election play out without interference.   Hell, maybe they did rig it, but didn’t go far enough, underestimating the numbers they needed.  Or – here’s a conspiracy theory for you – maybe Clinton’s health really is so bad that they realized, too late, that they couldn’t let her take office.  It strikes me as odd that she conceded before Trump had officially hit the magic 270 number in the electoral count and well before all the popular votes were in, especially given her determined, bullish, self-righteous pursuit of the office for so many long years.  Or perhaps the investigations into the Clinton Foundation are showing indications that criminal charges are forthcoming; the FBI has not ended those investigations, after all.  However, that will be taken care of by Obama preemptively pardoning Clinton before he leaves the White House so that no charges can ever be filed and the Clinton Foundation’s felonious enterprise will never be publicly exposed.  Perhaps the electoral college will not vote the way it is pledged to, in the end, and Clinton has been told to expect this.  She actually has won the popular vote, after all.  The electoral college does not cast its official vote until Dec. 19.  Supposedly, the electors have to vote the way they are pledged, but they may be convinced to test the system this time on behalf of “DNC primary super-delegate winner” Clinton.  Maybe this election has yet other surprises in store.

The country could have gone either way – more liberal or more conservative – in its presidential decision.  As the results of various ballot measures across the country prove, our societal tendency as a whole is clearly toward the liberal side.  The voters approved measures for legalized marijuana and increased minimum wages in state after state, for example.  It’s the politicians who are trending ever further right.  The Democratic party refused to encourage this social trending and instead offered the most right-wing Democrats they could find.  The voters repudiated that; unfortunately, having been abandoned by the Democrats, voting for Republicans was the only way to voice their discontent.  It wasn’t so much a choice for the conservatives as an un-choosing of the status quo.  In fact, the Republican party can only claim somewhere between 25 and 30% of the voting public as its base.  Clinton, Obama, and her other spokesmen were out there on the campaign trail, however, praising Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, and Madeleine Albright, for God’s sake.  The Republican big-wigs supported Clinton, as did all the neocons and neoliberals.  She talked about the need for more wars (with Iran, China, and Russia, God help us all) and more Pentagon spending, and the only mention made of liberal ideas were to dismiss them as things that might  be “worked out eventually in a bipartisan fashion”.  It all made anything she said about “supporting progressive promises” and “Democratic ideals” look so phony that, in the end, nobody could believe a damn word of it.  I guarantee you, if the Democrats had run seriously progressive candidates and responded to, heeded the message of, the massive support Sanders got and what it implied, this election would have ended differently. It’s too bad, because Trump’s trickle-down economic ideas won’t do a damned thing for any but the wealthiest Americans and corporate cartels, but the people responded at a gut level. They found him to be authentic in his strange, but ultimately Ayn Randian way, and intuitively knew Clinton was a liar, a warmonger and a Wall Street stooge.  Going with their gut feelings was all they had; the billionaires, corporate elites, whorish media, and political parties have finally managed to so dumb down and confuse the population that all the people had left was unfiltered, inchoate anger and primal survival instinct.  They tossed a Hail Mary pass for the one they felt was at least a political outsider, driven by the devil’s bargain that had been foisted on them by party elites.

I think we are going to lose our Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and food stamps benefits no matter who had won, as both parties have been colluding to that end since Bill Clinton was in office.  Obama formed his “catfood commission” as one of the first things he did during his first term, if you’ll recall.  When Obama took office in 2008, he had a Democratic majority in both houses.  And yet he utterly failed to implement any of the progressive platforms he had run on, instead squandering the opportunity (with no objection from the Democrats in either house, mind you) to end torture, take action against the Bush regime, close Guantanamo Bay, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, punish the Wall Street bankers who crashed the economy, or push for universal health-care.  He brought in Timmeh Geithner and other Goldman Sachs men to run the Treasury and immediately assigned Monsanto people to run the FDA and the USDA, granted permits for even more deep-water drilling, and named a charter-schools promoter to run the Dept. of Education.  Within a few years, he had signed the NDAA giving him the ability to assassinate anyone he chose anywhere on the planet (Trump may love that presidential perq), and expanded our illegal “war zone” to seven countries.  Like the Syriza Party in Greece, Obama and the Democrats took office with false promises and immediately handed the country over to everything the people thought they were voting against.  We were given the discipline of austerity measures, a health “reform” that gave exponentially more profits to the private insurers and pharmaceutical companies, and exposed to the quackery of the Federal Reserve programs.  It is guaranteed that now, at this late date and with the Republicans in charge of both houses and the presidency, there will be no re-regulation of Wall Street, all our tax monies will continue to feed the Pentagon, big corporations will still get governmental subsidies while raking in record profits, there will not be an end to the toxic shit dumped into the water and food, every state will be fracked, and every politician in Washington will continue to ignore the wishes of the people who voted them into office.  Here’s the thing: we weren’t going to get anything good out of this election anyway.  You might not have noticed, but neither party talked about actual policies they might implement.  The media never asked questions along those lines, either.  Climate change was never mentioned in the debates, nor the militarization of the police, nor the legality of the US bombing  multiple countries, none of with whom we are legally at war .  Likewise ignored was civil asset forfeiture, NSA spying, and all the other losses of our civil liberties over the years.  Despite Trump’s promises, the House and Senate won’t spend a dime on infrastructure, jobs, or education, and for sure, climate change or environmental issues are completely dead in the water now (those being not even mentioned by Trump), but at least there isn’t going to be any pretense about who both parties of Congress serve any more. And it isn’t the people of the United States; it’s the plutocracy.  Desperate Trump supporters and the die-hard Clinton supporters may not have figured that out yet, and may never; for we are a supremely fact-free and stupid society now.  

[As an aside, I have to mention that Clinton didn’t even bother to address her faithful in person last night.  She phoned in her concession to Trump, had someone announce to the media that she’d speak publicly in the morning, and just left all those Clinton people deserted in the hall where they’d gathered in the assumption that win or lose, she’d at least grace them with her presence.  She didn’t spare a minute for them, however.  All those sad Clinton supporters, mourning the fact that their very own Caligula had lost the election, were left to catch some rest as best they could in their folding chairs until around noon today, when she gave her official concession speech.  I watched that event live when it occurred.  She had the unmitigated nerve to blather on about how the US “treats everyone equally under the law” and about how “the Constitution” and “rule of law” guides us all and makes us such a great country.  Much to my surprise, a bolt of lightening did not come down from the heavens and strike her dead.]

But whatever happens from here on out, put the blame where it belongs: on the Democrats, who insisted that it was the criminal War-pig’s “turn”, no matter what the voters were saying they wanted.  As it turns out, the fact that she pees sitting down wasn’t a big selling point, and that was the only card they had to play.  What’s the old saying?  Democrats stab you in the back, Republicans stab you in the front.  The Democrats sold us out gradually over the years; from Bill Clinton’s time in office onwards, they turned ever more rightward, leaving behind and deserting the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the unions, and the idea that our society and commons should be the primary recipients of taxpayer monies.  We were at a turning point with this election.  We could have gone more toward the right or toward the left in this choice, as I said.  We had candidates who were clearly more to the left of Clinton, candidates who were kept as hidden as possible by the collaboration of the media and the political parties until it was too late, and the left was deserted.  The Democratic power machine deliberately chose to take the rightward lean, they deliberately chose to ignore what their voter base wanted, and in so doing, deliberately threw away a chance to nudge our society ever closer toward true equality and social uplift.  We will pay the price for a long time and the price will be heavy.  

 

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Yes, it is about energy supplies.

I am going to post an article (below) from Glen Ford, whom I greatly admire, which was published at both GlobalResearch and his own website, Black Agenda Report.  First, however, I would like to mention a couple of things.  Did anyone else notice that just as in Greece, Libya, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, the new (acting) head of the Ukraine government, Yatsenyuk, is a banker?  Why is this, do you suppose?

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/13/world/europe/ukraine-acting-prime-minister-arseniy-yatsenyuk.html?_r=0

Also see my own article from 2011 for a quick recap of Libya, Italy and Greece, which had bankers installed as the heads of their governments in a rapid cascade:

http://teri.nicedriving.org/2011/11/replacements/

Obama issued some more new sanctions this morning on several more Russian individuals and a Russian bank.  It is interesting that he can, without Congress, order the seizure of foreigners’ assets and money, but I guess since he could, in theory at least, demand that they be drone-bombed to death; i.e., summarily executed, the seizure of assets is considered rather mild punishment.

As I pointed out in my last post, there have been sudden developments in our “drill, baby, drill” theme park (a.k.a., the United States) in the past week or two.  Obama and Congress refer to turning our country into a dead zone as “all of the above” policy; unfortunately, aside from a few shaggy protesters, most Americans seem oblivious to the country-wide destruction going on right under their noses.  Or they praise it as “gaining energy independence”.  It comes at a cost: toxic waste, loss and/or poisoning of our fresh water supplies, devastation of the land, and utter ruination of the ecosystem.   We seem to have the mistaken notion that this “energy independence” is a wealth creator for the average person living here; a stupendously ignorant misconception, given that we do not have nationalized resources.  (Nationalized?  Like, y’know, socialism?  We don’t want no stinkin’ socialism.)  The energy companies lease land for a few bucks a year on hundred-year leases and they get to keep the profits on anything they pull out from under the ground.  You get to try and live next door to a fracking operation and hope that your water is safe to drink, or eat seafood which is genetically deformed and full of oil and Corexit, or hope that your house isn’t destroyed by sudden earthquakes.  Your children will wonder what the fuck we were thinking as they look out over barren landscapes and oceans bereft of life.  That’s assuming some deep water drilling site or fracking operation doesn’t hit the Big Kahuna and set off an earthquake that entirely changes the shape of the country.  You aren’t going to profit from this exercise.  The oil companies are.  That’s the system we have here.  And, by the way, your tax money is going to pay subsidies to the oil companies so they can have even more money.  And maybe your son or daughter will get to sign up to fight for the glorious cause of stealing another country’s oil (to give to the US oil companies), something we seem to find patriotic and praise-worthy.  It’s all rather baffling.

Glen Ford (bolding mine):

U.S. Prepares to Gas Russia Into Submission

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“Washington’s strategy is to permanently ratchet up tensions to ‘new cold war’ levels to justify sanctions against Russian energy exports.”

The massive – and desperate – American offensive against world order is entering a new phase, as the U.S. prepares to resume its historical status as global energy superpower. The Obama administration’s brazen implantation of a rabidly anti-Russian, fascist-led regime in Ukraine places U.S. proxies astride pipelines that carry much of Siberia’s gas to Europe and beyond. Seventy-six percent of Russia’s natural gas exports are bound for Europe, the bulk of it to Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom. Russia’s weight in the world is largely derived, not from its economically burdensome nuclear arsenal, but as an energy giant. The U.S.-engineered coup in Kiev sets the stage for a protracted assault on Russia’s energy trade, which accounts for more than half of Moscow’s federal expenditures. Without its huge oil and gas exports, Russia deflates like a leaky dirigible.

Even the Americans were not so stupid as to believe that their neo-Nazi friends in Kiev could somehow pry Russia from its naval base in Crimea. Such was never the plan. Rather, Moscow’s response to the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government was predictable, as was that of the Russian-speaking Crimean majority. Washington’s strategy is to permanently ratchet up tensions to “new cold war” levels to justify sanctions against Russian energy exports while exploiting America’s own natural gas “surplus” as an enhanced weapon of global hegemony.

“The U.S.-engineered coup in Kiev sets the stage for a protracted assault on Russia’s energy trade.”

Thanks to shale fracking, the United States recently surpassed Russia as the world’s number one exporter of natural gas, and will next year become the top oil producer [14]. As the New York Times [15] reported on March 5, “The administration’s strategy is to move aggressively to deploy the advantages of its new resources to undercut Russian natural gas sales to Ukraine and Europe.” That’s not the half of it. When Moscow stood up to U.S.-backed jihadists in Syria, the Obama administration understood that the U.S.-Russia button could not be “reset” to Washington’s satisfaction under current conditions. An assertive Russia, increasingly coordinated with China, must be taken out of international contention. Washington will move to crush, or at least seriously disrupt, Russia under its “sanctions as war by other means” machine, by targeting its energy exports, while simultaneously boosting the foreign markets for U.S. natural gas.

The U.S. government tells its people that it spends more on weaponry than the rest of the world’s nations, combined, in order to, among other things, maintain the free flow of energy throughout the planet. But, that didn’t stop Washington from attempting to cripple Venezuela’s [16] oil production in 2003, or from preventing Iran, once the world’s fourth largest exporter, from marketing more than a fraction [17] of her production under the current U.S. sanctions regime. U.S. rulers have never been guardians of free oil flow. Rather, American policy is designed to ensure that U.S.-based corporations and financiers dominate the global energy trade, and that the dollar remains central to energy transactions, regardless of where the oil and gas comes from.

Russia also plays a key role as the energy giant among the BRIC bloc, which is the most likely venue for hatching alternatives to dollar hegemony. Venezuela, which barters oil with some of its Latin American partners and uses the proceeds of its dollar-denominated exports to build structures of resistance to U.S. imperialism, must also be forced back into line, or taken out of the game.

“U.S. rulers have never been guardians of free oil flow.”

Ever since the Arab oil embargo of 1973, U.S. presidents have trumpeted the quest for “energy self-sufficiency” as a national security imperative, requiring subsidies for domestic energy production. Richard Nixon proclaimed: “In the last third of this century, our independence will depend on maintaining and achieving self-sufficiency in energy.” In truth, oil producers enjoyed bounteous subsidies when the U.S. was indisputably the oil production king of the world, from 1925, when U.S. oil fields accounted form more than 70 percent [18] of total global production, to the early 70s. Citizens assumed self-sufficiency meant drilling for domestic development. “Self-sufficiency” – and jobs – is what makes fracking “worth it” in the eyes of many Americans. Now that the aquifers of much of the country have been fouled by shale-frackers intent on cornering gas markets around the globe, the script must be flipped, so that the surplus can be exported. As George Washington University law professor Richard Pierce told Al Jazeera [19], last year, “The US is now 100 percent independent in natural gas and within the next half a dozen years [North America] will be independent in oil. It will become a global supplier, rather than a demander, in a hurry.”

Room must be made for this global supplier in an energy-glutted world. Russia’s gas sales to Europe need to be “undercut,” as the Times puts it. Sanctions can reshape the global markets to the advantage of the new energy superpower – war by other means. Corporate media mask the historical moment with juvenile jibes at Putin, as Washington prepares to subdue the planet with gushing oil and burning water. 

http://blackagendareport.com/content/us-prepares-gas-russia-submission

 

Today is referendum day in Crimea.

UPDATE below

UPDATE 2 below

Today is the referendum vote for the citizens of Crimea, where they will chose whether or not to join Russia.  Obama has said the US and the international community will not recognize the results of this vote, whatever these results may be.  I suspect that if the Crimeans reject Russia, however, we will hear how the “people” “voted democratically” and the results will be acceptable enough, all right.  The coup in Ukraine, engineered by the US government, the CIA, and various NGOs, all supporting what have turned out to be neo-Nazi groups, and which has resulted in an unelected government replacing a democratically elected one, is a sign of “democracy at work”, while the people of an autonomous region holding an actual vote on whether or not to secede from this new government is not democratic.  I also find it interesting that Obama mentions that the vote in Crimea is not in accord with the Ukrainian Constitution.  Does that constitution even exist any more?

Following a White House meeting with interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk designed to underscore US support for the newly installed government and ratchet up pressure on Russia, President Barack Obama issued new threats against Moscow.

Obama declared that Washington and the “international community” would “completely reject” the referendum to be held Sunday in Crimea on secession from Ukraine and affiliation with the Russian Federation. He reiterated the US demand that Russia withdraw its forces from Crimea and recognize the new right-wing, anti-Russian regime in Kiev, which was installed last month in a US- and European Union-backed coup led by armed fascist militias.[…]

Obama also declared that Ukraine “cannot have an outside country dictate to them how to manage their affairs,” and added that the “interests of the US are solely to ensure that the people of Ukraine are able to determine their own destiny.” This is presumably why the US poured billions of dollars into assembling proxy forces in the country and hand-picked “Yats”—in the memorable words of US State Department official Victoria Nuland—to succeed Yanukovych.[…]

On the ground, the US is all but running Ukraine through its representatives in Kiev. Announcing Yatsenyuk’s visit on Sunday, Tony Blinken, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that teams from the Treasury and Justice departments and the FBI were in Kiev working to unravel the “kleptocracy” of Yanukovych’s deposed government.[…] [Teri’s note: Having fairly recently watched in silence as the global economy was looted by a couple of big banks and ensuring that none of the criminals would face charges, I imagine that the US Treasury and Justice departments, along with the FBI – an agency I thought only handled internal US crimes – are certainly the best equipped to recognize kleptocracy when they see it.  Perhaps the Ukrainians will receive greater benefit from their investigations than we did.]

As well as funding the government and running its campaign against its political opponents, the US is expected to whip Ukraine’s army into shape.

On Tuesday Ukraine’s president, Oleksandr Turchynov, declared, “The parliament’s primary task is to ask countries that are guarantors of our security to fulfil their commitments” so that Ukraine could re-forge its armed forces. Turchynov stated that there were presently only 6,000 combat-ready infantry in the army out of a nominal force of 90,000.

The US has already effectively taken operational control of the military activities of Ukraine’s neighbours, launching joint exercises with Poland, Romania, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and dispatching Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) jets from airbases in Geilenkirchen, Germany and Waddington in Britain. The AWACS flights were recommended by NATO’s top military commander, US Air Force General Philip Breedlove.

On Monday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told PBS that Russia’s interference in Ukraine “exposes Eastern Europe to some significant risk.” He did not rule out US military intervention…

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/03/13/ukra-m13.html

In a funny little “as an aside”, Paul Craig Roberts notes the following:

[…] Having falsely accused Russia of invading Crimea, the Obama regime now demands that Russia interfere in Crimea and prevent the referendum set for next Sunday. Unless Russia uses force to prevent the people of Crimea from exercising their right of self-determination, John Kerry declared that the Obama regime will not discuss the Ukrainian situation with Russia.

So, Kerry has given Russia the green light to send in troops to prevent Crimean self-determination.

The presstitute Western media has not noticed that out of one corner of his mouth Kerry denounces Russia for intervening and out of the other corner of his mouth Kerry demands that Russia intervene in behalf of Washington’s interest and suppress Crimean self-determination. […]

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/03/12/obama-regimes-hypocrisy-sets-new-world-record-paul-craig-roberts/

Oh, and it turns out we have money to burn.  Not for anyone in the actual United States of America, you understand; we are undergoing austerity due to budget constraints.  No, Congress is working on an aid package (this is beyond the $5 bb we already spent over the past several years in Ukraine doing some “nation building”):

[…] Aid package clears early hurdle

Eight U.S. senators, led by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, are scheduled to travel to Ukraine in coming days. [Teri’s note: Ever notice how any time we wreck a country, John McCain is the first one in afterwards to pass out cookies on behalf of American business interests?]

Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a package of loans and aid for Ukraine on Wednesday, along with sanctions against Russia for its military intervention. The measure, which now heads to the full Senate, also includes the approval of long-delayed reforms at the International Monetary Fund.

The aid package includes $1 billion in loan guarantees from the United States as well as $50 million to boost democracy-building in Ukraine and $100 million for enhanced security cooperation for Ukraine and some of its neighbors. [Teri’s note: Wait, didn’t the $5 bb we already spent go for “democracy-building”?  Didn’t that go far enough?  And “enhanced security cooperation” – would that be more money for NATO forces and nuclear armament in the area?  If so, just say it out loud.]

The full Senate will vote on the package after the chamber returns from a recess.

“It always takes time to make good things,” Yatsenyuk said Wednesday night, adding that his country praised the United States for its support. [Teri’s note: You betcha, Yats.  No problem.  Although to be honest, most of the US population is completely unaware that we were being so helpful and supportive.] […]

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/12/world/europe/ukraine-crisis/

There is a story going around that Ukraine’s gold has been confiscated and flown out of the country.  This is, as I recall, what we did to Libya: we declared that Ghaddafi had illegally hoarded his country’s money, so we seized Libya’s Central Bank funds (worth $30 bb) and there is evidence that we also stole her gold reserves.  I have not heard anything about the cash or the gold being returned to the Libyan people.  Where did the money go?  No doubt John McCain and Bill Clinton know.  But they aren’t telling. The $30 billion belonging to the Libyan Central Bank was earmarked as the Libyan contribution to three key projects: the African Investment Bank in Sirte, Libya (Sirte was bombed to hell and back during the US’ “humanitarian intervention” in Libya), the establishment in 2011 of the African Monetary Fund to be based in Cameroon, and the African Central Bank to be based in Nigeria.

A few weeks ago, evidence was discovered that Saudi Arabia’s gold holdings in London were being stolen by central banks in the West and re-hypothicated without the Arab kingdom’s permission.  However,this confiscation doesn’t appear to be only theft in play as just weeks after the Western led coup helped overthrow the rightfully elected Ukrainian leader, rumors are coming out of Kiev on March 10 that show planes being loaded with what is believed to be Ukrainian gold, and flown back to either the U.S. or London for an unknown purpose. […]

Both the U.S. and London are incredibly short of physical gold, as seen last December when the U.S. was unable to deliver the 42 tons it promised Germany in 2013 to satisfy their seven-year plan of gold reclamation back to its original owner. Additionally, one well documented scandal concerning J.P. Morgan Chase and a potential default stemming from the $100 Billion London Whale bet, led the bank to have to sell their Wall Street headquarters to a Chinese conglomerate because the loss was collateralized by gold they didn’t own.

Motives behind the central bank’s gold confiscation programs in the West, which are in essence the stealing of gold holdings from other sovereign nations, may be due to a another scandal being uncovered by the German agency known as Bafin, which came out in January to declare that gold price manipulation is greater than even the mutli-trillion dollar LIBOR scandal.

“Later, in received call back, one of the senior officials of the former Ministry of Income and Fees, which reported that, according to him, tonight, on the orders of one of the ‘new leaders’ of Ukraine in the United States has been taken all the gold reserves in Ukraine …”  – Zerohedge 

There is a growing trend for the U.S., and it involves covert and overt operations leading to coups and overthrows of sovereign nations with the purpose of stealing that nation’s gold supply. When you add in the validated evidence of Iraqi, Libyan, Saudi Arabian gold being stolen or confiscated after the leaders were overthrown of killed, then today’s rumor that a U.S. transport flew in under the radar and stole the gold holdings of the Ukrainian people is not a conspiracy theory, but a carefully executed chain of events that have been done by America several times in recent years.

http://www.examiner.com/article/rumors-abound-of-gold-theft-by-u-s-from-ukrainian-vaults

I have no idea how reliable the above report is.  But this is about oil and energy supplies, ultimately.  You might have noticed, in my last post, that Chevron was immediately after the coup given a 50-year contract to develop shale oil in Ukraine.

There is much concern over the possibility that Russia will cut off her vital energy supplies to the EU over the Ukraine/Crimea events.  To that end, we see the US and the EU rapidly going all-out to make sure that Russia’s natural gas supplies are replaced.  Some of this involves nonsensical moves, of course, as it would take several years to put any other systems in place and all of it involves instituting major fracking plays and the concomitant destruction of water supplies in the US and Europe in order to achieve the desired ends.   In any case, there are some rapid developments in the past couple of days which indicate that our leaders, here and in the EU, are more than willing to allow toxic chemicals in the water supply and use up our fresh water in an effort to thwart Russia.  We would like to preemptively undermine any moves by the BRIC countries to get off the petro-dollar and stop the emerging Shanghai Co-op, as well.  Fracking may eventually cause so many earthquakes that we will have destroyed our land mass altogether, but since there is no longer any concern over how many people die as a result of the toxins being dumped in our water, etc., we may not need so much land.  In the long run, I mean.  Look, shit happens and then you die.

EU politicians on Wednesday voted for tougher rules on exposing the environmental impact of oil and conventional gas exploration, while excluding shale gas.

Member states such as Britain and Poland are pushing hard for the development of shale gas, seen as one way to lessen dependence on Russian gas, as well as to lower energy costs as it has in the United States.

The plenary vote of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France follows a compromise deal on the draft law in December, which was struck only after negotiators agreed to leave out references to shale gas. […]

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/12/eu-parliament-shale-gas-environmental-code

 

US gas production is projected to rise 44% by 2040, according to the US Energy Information Administration, and producers have been pressing the Obama administration to expand exports of natural gas. […]

“A senior US official said the State Department was supportive of introducing substantial gas exports abroad as a move to counteract Russia’s influence. Carlos Pascual, a former American ambassador to Ukraine, who leads the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, told the New York Times that opening global markets to US exports ‘sends a clear signal that the global gas market is changing, that there is the prospect of much greater supply coming from other parts of the world’.”

The EIA is an organization of overpaid cheerleaders that haven’t had one prediction right in forever and a day. It’s perhaps because they have no track record to defend that they issue such double or nothing claims; it’s hardly interesting anymore. That claim that US gas production will be 44% more in 26 years than it is today is simply bonkers, and not supported by anything other than industry interests, loud as they may be. […]

[T]he early big American shale gas plays (Barnett in Texas, Haynesville in Louisiana, Fayettville in Arkansas) are already winding down after just ten years of production[…]

“Even the idea that we will have enough natural gas for our own needs in the USA beyond the short term ought to be viewed with skepticism. What happens, for instance, when we finally realize that it costs more to frack it out of the ground than people can pay for it? I’ll tell you exactly what will happen: the gas will remain underground bound up in its “tight rock,” possibly forever, and a lot of Americans will freeze to death. […]

http://www.theautomaticearth.com/debt-rattle-mar-9-2014-big-oil-and-gas-wars/

 

BP won the right to again compete for U.S. contracts and new leases in the Gulf of Mexico, where its massive 2010 oil spill prompted regulators to bar it from new government business.

The agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency will allow BP, which had been the Pentagon’s biggest fuel supplier, to seek lucrative federal contracts again and bid for oil exploration leases. Next week, a U.S. auction is set for the right to drill in the Gulf, where the London-based company is the second-largest producer.

The end of the suspension is a milestone in BP’s recovery from the worst U.S. offshore oil spill, which forced it to sell about $38 billion in assets to meet the costs of cleaning up pollution and compensating victims. A judge in New Orleans is considering BP’s degree of responsibility for the disaster and the scale of fines to impose under the Clean Water Act.[…]

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, part of the Interior Department, on March 19 plans to auction leases covering more than 40 million acres on the Gulf for oil and gas exploration.[…]

The company’s 45-page administrative agreement with the EPA announced yesterday will last five years. […]

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-13/u-s-lifts-bp-s-ban-on-contracting-imposed-after-spill.html

On BP, also see: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/03/15  One might speculate that BP so suddenly winning its rights to bid for further ruination of the Gulf of Mexico has something to do with the US trying to persuade the UK to support sanctions on Russia.  The following approval also happened within the past week:

WASHINGTON—The Interior Department endorsed seismic testing in Atlantic waters on Thursday, a first step toward allowing oil and gas drilling from Delaware Bay to Florida’s Cape Canaveral.

In its long-awaited environmental impact statement on what’s known as seismic air gun testing, Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it would demand that the oil and gas companies exploring in the Outer Continental Shelf meet tough environmental standards to protect marine life from the underwater seismic blasts.

Environmental groups oppose the use of the controversial geological survey technology, contending that the seismic blasts pose a significant risk to whales, dolphins, fish and sea turtles. Seismic surveys are used to locate oil and gas deposits below the ocean floor. The guns, towed by ships, shoot compacted air to the bottom of the ocean, creating sound waves that reflect geological formations. […]

The Natural Resources Defense Council called the environmental report “a capitulation to the forces of drill-baby-drill.” […]

Oil and gas industry contractors have already submitted nine applications to do seismic surveys covering hundreds of thousands of miles, according to the Interior Department. […]

The area, particularly off the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas, are estimated to hold some 3.3 million barrels of oil and 3.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, though the calculations were based on outdated technology, an Interior official said.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304071004579409621926543690

See also this on the Cove Point [Baltimore] terminal:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/02/21-3

While we race around the world, sacking countries and violating international law over energy supplies (and seeking hegemony over the entire globe, PNAC-style), I have to wonder who is running this show.  The CIA?  The Council on Foreign Relations?  The oligarchs in the US?  (Yes, we have them, too.  Frankly, they own the place.)  The Pentagon?  They have the money, that’s for sure.  An article by Winslow Wheeler points this out: “Pentagon costs, taken together with other known national security expenses for 2015, will exceed $1 Trillion.  How can that be?  The trade press is full of statements about the Pentagon’s $495.6 billion budget and how low that is.”  He offers a great chart to explain his numbers; see:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/14/americas-1-trillion-national-security-budget/

What are we becoming?  A nation of looters and thugs?  We have a President who claims the right to kill us if some secret panel decides we are “terrorists”.  He claims the right to kill any person in the world.  The CIA angrily avers that it doesn’t have to answer to Congress and the president backs the CIA.  We spy on everyone and seek to control every living thing on the planet.  Who the fuck are we?  Maybe the answer is that we are simply a dying empire, angrily lashing out in our death throes.  See: Roman Empire; decline of.

Many articles I have read in the past couple of weeks have offered excuse after excuse for poor Obama in regards to Ukraine.  It’s the neocons he allowed into high places, his cabinet of “adversaries”; they have him in a rope-a-dope; he wants to do the right thing and work with Putin and only needs to come out and tell the public that.  Or it’s the fault of the weak liberals he listens to; he needs to toughen up.  Blah, blah, blah.  But the truth is that we, as a nation, seem to have accepted the reemergence of the neocon point of view with some equanimity.  We are not, on the whole, a nation that espouses especially “liberal” viewpoints any more.  We are already turning on our weakest numbers with extreme prejudice.  Hillary Clinton is considered the “natural” Democratic contender to follow Obama in 2016, as though there would be anything natural in establishing a de facto monarchy in the US.  As though either Hillary or Barack represented traditional Democratic values in the first place.  This would be Hillary we-came-we-saw-he-died, Hillary who giggles at the thought of invading Iran, Hillary who is a neocon through and through.  We seem to be moving willingly, spinelessly, in the direction that the Bush and Obama administrations and the military industrial complex, along with the media, have pushed us.  Sadly, the feeling I get is not that the public is weary of war so much as tired of losing the ones we start.

I think that this is how we are seen by more and more of the world: we are the neighbors who demand what we want, never replace what we destroy, and then threaten everyone who objects to the arrangement.  Sadly, we deserve this assessment.

UPDATE:

“About 93 percent of voters in the Crimean referendum have answered ‘yes’ to the autonomous republic joining Russia and only 7 percent of the vote participants want the region to remain part of Ukraine, according to first exit polls. […]”

http://rt.com/news/crimea-vote-join-russia-210/

UPDATE 2:

The exit polls were very accurate.  Crimea overwhelmingly voted to rejoin Russia, with 80% of the population voting.

Immediately upon hearing the results this morning, Obama issued a new executive order sanctioning specific individuals in the Russian government, along with several people in Ukraine; most notably the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.  The EU followed suit right away.  I am not sure what anyone gains by these maneuvers, which merely serve to escalate the situation.  The Crimean voters went to their polling places and voted to secede from Ukraine.  There were some international observers to witness the vote (despite what you may read in the American MSM), and there did not seem to be any problems or signs of intimidation.  They decided to take their chances with the oligarchic system in Russia rather than facing the IMF austerity measures being demanded of Ukraine under the new neo-Nazi regime imposed there.  Ironically, the White House said it is targeting “those responsible for the deteriorating situation in Ukraine” in these new sanctions, although it was distinctly the US that created the situation in the first place.  In another strange piece of rhetoric, the EU and US are calling on Russia to de-escalate the situation.

It remains to be seen what Putin’s response will be, although I would think that imposing more and more sanctions against Russia, given the oil and trading she supplies to the EU and the fact that Russia may well take economic measures of its own in retaliation, would make the EU and US think twice about using such threatening postures.   Let’s not forget that it would be easy enough for some of the Asian countries to join Russia in going off the dollar, and that Russia (despite its bad economy) holds a big stack of US Treasuries.  I will mention in passing, as well, that Russia has nukes.  Let’s hope Putin is willing to be a tad more diplomatic than the US is.

In any case, below is an article summarizing the sanctions.  You may want to read the executive order and the press office fact sheet for yourself, as well as the letter Obama sent to Congress explaining them.

Executive Order — Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/17/executive-order-blocking-property-additional-persons-contributing-situat

WH Press Office fact sheet on EO:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/17/fact-sheet-ukraine-related-sanctions

 Letter to Congress:

WASHINGTON –  The White House has announced new sanctions against seven Russian officials in retaliation for Ukraine’s Crimea region voting to join Russia, as the European Union announced similar penalties. 

While stopping short of singling out Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, President Obama sanctioned several members of Putin’s inner circle. The White House also announced sanctions against separatist leaders in Crimea and former president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. 

“We have fashioned these sanctions to impose costs on named individuals who wield influence in the Russian government and those responsible for the deteriorating situation in Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement. “We stand ready to use these authorities in a direct and targeted fashion as events warrant.” 

The expanded U.S. sanctions, announced in an executive order, would target the assets of the listed Russian officials and bar them from entering the U.S. These include Putin aides Vladislav Surkov and Sergey Glazyev.

It’s unclear what other steps the U.S. might take in the coming days, as western leaders try to prevent Moscow from attempting to formally annex Crimea. Obama told Putin on Sunday that the vote “would never be recognized” by the United States, as he and other top U.S. officials warned Moscow against making further military moves toward southern and eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, European Union foreign ministers slapped travel bans and asset freezes Monday on 21 people from Russia and Crimea who they linked to the push for the secession of Ukraine’s strategic Black Sea peninsula. 

The sanctions came hours after Crimea’s parliament declared the region an independent state, following its residents’ overwhelming vote Sunday to break away from Ukraine and seek to join Russia.

The ministers meeting in Brussels did not immediately release the names of those targeted by the sanctions. [Teri’s note: Obama’s new EO does name names.]

Two diplomats said the sanctions targeted 13 Russians and eight people from Crimea. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because the breakdown of the nationalities had not been officially announced.

The 28-nation EU and the United States say Sunday’s Crimean referendum was illegitimate and unconstitutional. 

The EU is walking a tightrope between punishing Moscow and keeping open lines of communication with Russia for a diplomatic resolution of one of the worst geopolitical crises in years on its eastern doorstep.

Before Monday’s meeting in Brussels, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said sanctions must leave “ways and possibilities open to prevent a further escalation that could lead to the division of Europe.”

The EU has already suspended talks with Russia on a wide-ranging economic pact and a visa agreement. The bloc’s leaders are meeting Thursday and Friday and could start slapping economic sanctions on Russia this weekend if Moscow does not back down. 

Western allies are calling on Putin to “de-escalate” the crisis, support Ukrainian plans for political reform, return Russian troops in Crimea to their barracks and halt advances into Ukraine and military buildups along its borders.

Ukraine’s new government in Kiev called Sunday’s referendum a “circus” directed at gunpoint by Moscow. Putin, however, insisted it was conducted in “full accordance with international law and the U.N. charter” and cited Kosovo’s independence from Serbia as its precedent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/17/visa-bans-asset-freezes-among-possible-sanctions-against-russia/

 

 

Exit from Eden.

The books of the Bible are generally divided into two types; books of revelation, which reveal the history of God’s people, and books of prophecy, which predict events that had not yet happened at the time of the writing of those particular books.  Thus, the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse) is actually a book of prophecy, not revelation.

I have long thought that the first chapters of the book of Genesis, understood to be a book of revelation (i.e., history), is actually a book of prophecy.  The first humans were given the earth as a Garden of Eden and told to care for it.  But having eaten from the tree of Knowledge of good and evil, God expelled them from the Garden. I see this as an on-going event.  The more we use our knowledge as a tool to destroy the earth and kill our fellow humans, the further we are removed from the Eden-like qualities of the earth. Eventually, perhaps in the not-too-distant future, we will have made the earth a place which cannot support human life and we will bring ourselves to an extinction event – or close enough to it that it may not matter if we are technically extinct or not; there may be so few of us left that we are never again the dominant species on earth.

Oh, sorry, you are probably not comfortable with references to the Bible and God, particularly if you are “on the left” of the political spectrum.  It’s a common and hypocritical stance for those on the left to vociferously defend the right of the Muslim to follow his faith, to express earnest admiration for the Buddhist and to loudly proclaim that the atheist has it right, while denigrating and mocking anyone, particularly any American, who professes any sort of Christian belief.  I weary of it, quite frankly, and get annoyed at the childish references to “Dog” or “The Flying Spaghetti Monster” used in place of the word “God” that litters the comment sections of progressive websites.  While I agree that most Christians in America are practicing a faith that doesn’t resemble in the least the teachings of Jesus, and is in fact antithetical to those teachings and in some instances actually dangerous to society as a whole, and while I don’t belong to any church myself, I think to cut off all discussion of faith or religion guarantees that we will not ever reach a meaningful dialogue with those who practice the more inhumane versions of Christianity (without going into details, which I feel no need for in this post, these forms of Christianity are what I refer to as Sharia Christianity, and its adherents are the sort of people who would inflict their strict interpretations of the Bible on the United States collectively).  We certainly aren’t going to convince them to come anywhere near our viewpoint by mocking them before a conversation even begins.  Just my opinion, for what it’s worth.

So let’s put this in more scientific terms.

We have a planet which has allowed us to evolve into the species we are today: homo sapiens sapiens, or “wise, wise man”.  (Yeah, we thought we were so smart that we felt compelled to put the ‘wise’ in there twice. Although who we thought we were impressing with this name – gorilla gorilla, perhaps? – is beyond me.)  We did not get very far into our evolution before we started finding ways to bump off rival human tribes and the other species with whom we share the planet.  We have reached the point where we are destroying the very things we need in order to survive on the earth.  We are the only species which has guaranteed its own extinction and which has turned against its own herd in such vicious, unrelenting fashion.

Nature is subtle and nuanced; yet we treat it as though it were all a crude game that we can manipulate and rig.  By all evidence, we will continue to do this until we die out.  We choose to pollute our water, the air we breathe, and the food we eat.  Perhaps you and I do not personally dump toxic waste into the rivers, but we have allowed ourselves to become so stressed by the elites and big companies that run this country that we don’t protest much when they do it.  We are too busy trying to hang onto the poorly paying jobs we have (90% of the new jobs created this year are part-time.  And they are all poorly paid), or trying to figure out how to stay in our homes, or pay for the kids’ educations and the like that we can’t pay too much attention to the myriad other ways we are being beaten down, abused, and poisoned.

We are also dealing with a Triple-Crown of phenomena on these issues. First, we have been stupid enough (and it is stupidity and ignorance and lack of enough curiosity to check into these matters ourselves) to let politicians, the wealthy, and big corporations dupe us into blaming each other for every ill in our society.  A huge number of Americans blame their poor neighbors for the “budget deficit” rather than the big banks and the war/weapons/spying programs spending.  Secondly, we have almost complete media black-out on the issues.  The media is owned by only a handful of companies, which are almost entirely comprised of the biggest arms manufacturers in the world.  The reporters and television personalities toe the line and only report what they are told to; there is no longer an adversarial press in this country.  The third phenomenon is that of the complicity and mendacity of our elected government officials.  With only one or two exceptions, our state and federal representatives have taken the bribes offered by big corporations and the MIC.  They not interested in the well-being of the American populace.  They want to be re-elected until they can finally retire to collect the reward of sitting on a board of directors or as an executive in a big company – a reward offered by the very companies that write the Congressional bills our elected officials vote into law.

You may not want to think that your local politicians don’t care about you, but if you live in Wisconsin, Ohio, or certain other states, surely you can’t be deluded about it any longer.  Even in my state, Maryland, the governor has recently become enamored of some of the very things he ran against in his recent and successful bid for a second term, such as fracking.  And you may not want to believe that our Congress in Washington, DC has completely sold us out, but it is a simple fact.  They are throwing their lot in with the wealthy and the big companies and the rest of us do not matter.  Don’t believe it?  Ask yourself why Congress wrote and voted for, and Obama signed into law, the NDAA, and did so two years running, about which Chris Hedges writes:

The three branches of government may want to retain the ability to use the military to maintain control if widespread civil unrest should occur in the United States. I suspect the corporate state knows that amid the mounting effects of climate change and economic decline the military may be all that is left between the elite and an enraged population. And I suspect the corporate masters do not trust the police to protect them[…]

If Section 1021 stands it will mean that more than 150 years of case law in which the Supreme Court repeatedly held the military has no jurisdiction over civilians will be abolished. It will mean citizens who are charged by the government with “substantially supporting” al-Qaeda, the Taliban or the nebulous category of “associated forces” will be lawfully subject to extraordinary rendition. It will mean citizens seized by the military will languish in military jails indefinitely, or in the language of Section 1021 until “the end of hostilities”—in an age of permanent war, for the rest of their lives. It will mean, in short, obliteration of our last remaining legal protections, especially now that we have lost the right to privacy, and the ascent of a crude, militarized state that serves the leviathan of corporate totalitarianism. It will mean, as Forrest pointed out in her 112-page opinion, that whole categories of Americans—and here you can assume dissidents and activists—will be subject to seizure by the military and indefinite and secret detention[…]

“There’s nothing that’s built into this NDAA [the National Defense Authorization Act] that even gives a detained person the right to get to an attorney,” Afran said. “In fact, the whole notion is that it’s secret. It’s outside of any judicial process. You’re not even subject to a military trial. You can be moved to other jurisdictions under the law. It’s the antithesis of due process.”[…]

http://www.nationofchange.org/last-chance-stop-ndaa-1378214357

Congress allows the wholesale spying on every American through the phone and email systems in the US.  They have never charged the big banks with fraud or any of the crimes of which they are guilty – and now the statute of limitations is up for most of the criminal activities with which they brought down the global economy in ’08.  Congress defunds the EPA, the FDA, and all the regulatory agencies rather than making sure these agencies do their jobs.  Why are they giving subsidies to the oil industries that poison our water and destroy our land instead of pursuing any sort of green technologies?  Why are they giving them subsidies at all?  The big oil companies are making more profit than any other companies in history.  Why are we invading and destroying country after country around the globe – and bankrupting our nation in the process – in an effort to steal their resources rather than just engaging in honest trade with them?  Congress is letting Monsanto, Sygenta and Bayer fuck around with the DNA of the very food we eat, letting Halliburton, Exxon, et al dump toxic chemicals in our water, and ensuring we have no access to the courts for redress when it turns out these companies are killing us.  Congress is still talking about the chained CPI as a way to cut back on the Social Security we paid for and is starving the aid programs for people who are hungry and have been forced from jobs and homes instead of any having any discussion about cutting war-spending or shutting down any of the 850 military bases we run around the globe.  Congress, the Supreme Court, and the current administration – they may not be actively trying to kill you, but they sure don’t give a shit if you die.

The numbers coming out of Congress and printed in the papers regarding job creation and the financial state of the country are complete and utter fabrications.  One might notice that each month’s jobs reports are “corrected” later or that every article contains gross inconsistencies within its paragraphs.  One might notice that the jargon is becoming harder to decipher as the “financial writers” struggle to maintain the illusion that all is well when, in fact, the wizards of Wall Street are playing their games of worldwide grand theft with sheer bravado and a vengeance not seen even during the Great Depression.

The US Treasury is operated in complete accordance with the policies and wishes of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, with absolutely zero measure of counter-balancing dissent, and thus the US Treasury acts solely and entirely on behalf of the private Federal Reserve and its (the Fed’s) Owner/Member Banks over, above, and at the direct expense of any needs or protections for the US citizenry at large; thus the citizens have found themselves lacking any governmental ally whatsoever in the war for survival against the financial oligarchy.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was pleased to announce in May that, though the US has again, for the second time this year, hit its Congressionally mandated “debt ceiling”, the Treasury is able to have that not be a problem because of certain unelaborated, mysterious, some might even say miraculous, reasons, as follows: “The U.S. bumped up against its borrowing limit Sunday, forcing the Treasury Department to employ ‘extraordinary measures’  to make sure the government keeps paying its bills. Congress agreed to suspend the nation’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit the last time they approached it, in January.  In a letter to congressional leaders, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the extraordinary actions should allow the government to meet all its obligations at least through the Sept. 2 Labor Day holiday.”  – Chicago Tribune, The Hill

None of the publications, not even any of those that bothered to comment on the fact of the US hitting its debt ceiling in the first place, even bothered to ask exactly how the Treasury Secretary mysteriously manages, once again, to have that debt (or its ceiling) simply disappear, i.e., what, dear sir, are those extraordinary measures of which ye speak – be they magical incantations of the sort we might rely on for the long haul, or be they mere flimflammery?  They are most happy to wield these mystical powers, inexplicable though they may be, particularly as that old black magic is so obviously and unambiguously good for the global financial cartel of US megabanks, who are now receiving a bare minimum of acknowledged, direct, and on-balance-sheet (US-national-debt-increasing) transfers a total annual sum approximately equal in size to the entire stated Pentagon/DOD budget (each being greater than or equal to $1.2 Trillion per year).  And even that accounts for only the acknowledged and on-balance-sheet transfers, a tiny subset of the full amount of financial assistance and largesse actually being extended exclusively to those same megabanks by their (privately held) Federal Reserve.  Hitting the debt ceiling yet again, were it noticed by anyone, might help create some public interest in questioning why, exactly, we might be giving a handful of megabanks at least as much money as we give the Pentagon, which itself is utterly ridiculous, and/or might bring some in the financial sector or the public sphere to actually question the long-term sustainability of the economy and the US itself under such management.  And the Treasury Secretary can’t have that happening, obviously, so it remains in the articles as the never explained ‘extraordinary measures’.

The pain the banks are inflicting across the world are also affecting us here at home – these are equal opportunity takings, after all, and we Yanks are not immune: there are now over 100 million people in the US living under the poverty level while the Fed continues to print an astonishing amount of cash each month which it simply gives to a handful of banks.

Changing subjects, let’s now look for a moment at the poisons our Congress has decided are acceptable for us to ingest.  This would be the same Congress that purportedly looks out for our welfare and puts the interests of the public as its top priority.

The gas and oil extraction practice called ‘fracking’ is known to poison waterways and underground aquifers, cause earthquakes, and ruin the land leased to the fracking companies.

The Wilderness Society Feb. 2011 report [http://beyondoil.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/drilling-in-america-february-2011.pdf ] states that by the end of 2009 there were already 2.6mm oil and natural gas wells, of which 1mm were active, and 2,000 active drilling rigs, plus 4,000 Gulf of Mexico platforms adding over 40,000 new oil and gas wells each year.  The US has more drilling rigs and wells than any other country on earth, and is the top natural gas producer in the world and the number three oil producer, despite having less than 2% of world’s oil supply and less than 4% of world natural gas.  The US accounts for 23% of world oil usage and 21% of world natural gas usage; so no amount of drilling will ever close that gap.  Ecowatch, Feb., 2013 [ http://ecowatch.com/2013/land-leased-oil-and-gas-industry/] reports that at the end of 2011, the top 70 oil/gas companies held extraction leases on 141mm acres in the US, more land than California and Florida combined.  90% of all US oil and gas production is via fracking. Environmental and other restrictions and regulations governing fracking on the Bureau of Land Management Federal leased land (federal public lands account for 1/3 of above total) have simultaneously been loosened.  NRDC, from a 2011 report, states that as of 2009, the US already housed 2/3 of all the oil and gas wells ever drilled in the entire world. [http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dlovaas/drilling_us_has_been_there_don.html]

Post-production out-of-service wells are almost as problematical from an environmental toxins standpoint as the ones in active production and are often used as a permanent underground storehouse of the toxic wastes from the production phase.  Yet the BLM allows them to then be simply and completely abandoned with no more liability to the extraction company, end of story.  And federal oil and natgas regulations on drilling, chemicals, disclosures, study periods, environmental impact, etc., have continued to be weakened each year to today.

Then there is the problem of methane leakage from the natural gas fracking operations:

 

Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have reconfirmed earlier findings of high rates of methane leakage from natural gas fields. If these findings are replicated elsewhere, they would utterly vitiate the climate benefit of natural gas, even when used to switch off coal.Indeed, if the previous findings — of 4% methane leakage over a Colorado gas field — were a bombshell, then the new measurements reported by the journal Nature are thermonuclear:
… the research team reported new Colorado data that support the earlier work, as well as preliminary results from a field study in the Uinta Basin of Utah suggesting even higher rates of methane leakage — an eye-popping 9% of the total production. That figure is nearly double the cumulative loss rates estimated from industry data — which are already higher in Utah than in Colorado.

How much methane leaks during the entire lifecycle of unconventional gas has emerged as a key question in the fracking debate. Natural gas is mostly methane (CH4).  And methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than (CO2), which is released when any hydrocarbon, like natural gas, is burned — 25 times more potent over a century and 72 to 100 times more potent over a 20-year period.[…]

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/01/02/1388021/bridge-to-nowhere-noaa-confirms-high-methane-leakage-rate-up-to-9-from-gas-fields-gutting-climate-benefit/?mobile=nc

As a further threat, we have the GMO (genetically modified organisms) industry giants such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, and Bayer playing God with the DNA of the foods we eat, and by extension, with our DNA.  We have little understanding of how this interference will affect us in the long run, despite industry claims that no harm will come from eating GMO crops (a claim disputed by the scientific communities here and abroad, at least by the scientists not paid by Monsanto to obfuscate the facts).  Our bodies have evolved to handle certain foods, and this evolutionary process takes millenia.  I suppose we could eventually adapt to eating, say, arsenic without being poisoned to death by it, but we could not force this adaptation in one generation.  What Monsanto is doing is forcing us to handle altered DNA into our bodies as “nourishment”.  The DNA of these crops is altered, for the most part, to allow the plants to accept Round-up (a powerful weed-killer descended from Agent Orange) without the death of the plant itself.  Thus, the fields are drenched in Round-up to kill the weeds and pesticides to kill the bugs (unfortunately killing the bees and other pollinators along the way – too bad, sorry about that), while the corn, soy, beets, or whatever the crop is, will grow, produce fruit and be taken to the market.  You are not only getting a product that has altered DNA, you are getting a product that has been inundated with weed-killer and pesticides.

The GMO product itself is engineered to be resistant to these poisons so you can spray the shit out of your field (after fertilizing it with super toxic ammonium hydrate and phosphorous, of course) and not worry about weeds or bugs.  They’re all dead.  And the land takes decades to recover, so it’s now dead.  And the crops they produce uptake the poisons (and has poisons coded into its altered DNA) so we sure as hell shouldn’t be eating the shit or continuing to allow these soulless corporate gollems to directly poison us and our land, sea, and air.  The media largely covers the topic of GMO’s to paint any protests against them as some sort of hysterical reaction from nuts and conspiracy theorists.

Congress is heavily lobbied by the companies and has written (and passed for the second time) what is called the Monsanto Protection Act.

Congress extends Monsanto Protection Act

…Called “The Monsanto Protection Act” by opponents, the budget rider shields biotech behemoths like Monsanto, Cargill and others from the threat of lawsuits and bars federal courts from intervening to force an end to the sale of a GMO (genetically-modified organism) even if the genetically-engineered product causes damaging health effects….

http://rt.com/usa/monsanto-protection-extended-house-741/

It was one of my own Md. Senators, Barbara Mikulski, a “progressive” [sic] “Democrat” [sic] who made sure that the original Monsanto Protection Act was inserted into another bill and passed into law.

None of anything I wrote above matters much if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (the TPP) trade agreement goes into effect.  (I have written about the TPP several times.  See under ‘trade agreements’ on the menu bar to the right.)  Obama can’t wait to approve this monster and is seeking fast-track status for it from Congress.  The TPP will end the sovereignty of any nation that signs it.  We will be under the rule of corporate lawyers, who would be able to override the laws of every signatory country to the benefit of big business and big banks.  At that point, there is no longer a need for Congress or a Constitution.

I wanted to end this post on a positive note, since it’s all been such a downer. However, I find there is nothing more to say – certainly nothing cheerful.  The odds are overwhelmingly against us and the forces aligned against the common man are powerful and ineffably evil.  I can only hope you have someone to share your campfire with as we enter a strange sort of feudalistic new Dark Ages, for unless the entire world is able to somehow unite and fend off those who are engineering our demise for the sake of monetary profit, our fate is fairly well sealed.

 

Further reading:

Obama, Congress advance plans for deeper social spending cuts 
[…]  Meanwhile, Treasury Department figures released Thursday show that the federal deficit, supposedly the reason for austerity measures, has plunged to the lowest level since Obama took office, less than $700 billion in fiscal 2013:
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/09/16/budg-s16.html

The EPA’s controversial new Protective Action Guides (PAGs) allows exposure to very high doses from radiation releases before the government would take action to protect the publichttp://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2013/09/16-3

Congressional approval for new gas and oil drillinghttp://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/07/house_approves_bill_to_greatly.html

Speculation on the food markets leading to hunger around the globehttp://www.nationofchange.org/six-shameful-facts-about-hunger-1372075687

Speculation on the ethanol market – This topic brings a lot of things together, farm subsidies, gmo corn, fossil fuels, predatory bank speculation, cornered commodities, and a fucked-over public.
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/business/wall-st-exploits-ethanol-credits-and-prices-spike.html

Increasing militarization and surveillance state in the US:
http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/bill-and-melinda-gates-foundation-kindly-fund-research-student-worn-bracelets

http://rt.com/usa/army-raytheon-jlens-blimps-594/

http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/12516

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/06/29/immi-j29.html

FBI biometric data program:
http://rt.com/usa/disclose-facial-program-recognition-387/

http://epic.org/foia/fbi/ngi/

https://www.eff.org/press/releases/eff-sues-fbi-access-facial-recognition-records

Environment:
– “Extinction Crisis”: 21,000 of World’s Species at Risk of Disappearing
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/07/02-9-

‘Canary in the Ocean’
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/16-2

– Roughly 80 percent of all the packaged foods sold within the United States contain chemicals outlawed in other parts of the world.   http://rt.com/usa/banned-additives-food-outlawed-089/

– Unlimited Arsenic and Other Poisons Dumped Daily Into US Waters
http://www.nationofchange.org/unlimited-arsenic-and-other-poisons-dumped-daily-us-waters-1374673846

– Effects of frackinghttp://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/06/25-4

http://www.nationofchange.org/duke-study-links-fracking-water-contamination-epa-drops-study-fracking-water-contamination-137225702

http://www.alternet.org/fracking/fracking-already-straining-us-water-supplies

 

Fukushima:

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/06/radiation-levels-skyrocket-at-fukushima.html

http://www.nationofchange.org/radiation-levels-hit-new-high-fukushima-1378647935

http://enenews.com/japan-times-discharges-of-nuclear-material-into-the-pacific-from-fukushima-have-effectively-contaminated-the-sea-melted-reactor-cores-will-burn-again-if-water-not-perpetually-poured-in-t

The fact that the Fukushima reactors have been leaking huge amounts of radioactive water ever since the 2011 earthquake is certainly newsworthy.But the real problem is that the idiots who caused this mess are probably about to cause a much bigger problem.  Specifically, the greatest short-term threat to humanity is from the fuel pools at Fukushima.
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/09/the-real-fukushima-danger.html

Gulf of Mexicohttp://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/06/130621-dead-zone-biggest-gulf-of-mexico-science-environment/

– GMOs:

Genetic Roulette  http://geneticroulettemovie.com/

http://www.nationofchange.org/first-long-term-study-released-pigs-cattle-who-eat-gmo-soy-and-corn-offers-frightening-results-13723

TPP:
http://www.nationofchange.org/tpp-trans-pacific-pact-1-solution-democracy-government-corporate-dictates-1372167065

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/1005-trade/307503-president-ready-to-engage-with-congress-on-fast-track

http://www.nationofchange.org/tpp-another-job-killing-trade-deal-so-why-are-both-parties-supporting-it-1377784863

 

 

Environmental news.

[..] 17 months before BP’s DeepwaterHorizon blew out and exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP rig suffered an identical blow-out in the Caspian Sea.

Crucially, both the Gulf and Caspian Sea blow-outs had the same identical cause: the failure of the cement “plug”. […]

So, when its Caspian Sea rig blew out in 2008, rather than change its ways, BP simply covered it up. Our investigators discovered that the company hid the information from its own shareholders, from British regulators and from the US Securities Exchange Commission. The Vice-President of BP USA, David Rainey, withheld the information from the US Senate in a testimony he gave six months before the Gulf deaths. (Rainey was later charged with obstruction of justice on a spill-related matter.) […]

Only after I dove into deep water in Baku did I discover, trolling through the so-called “WikiLeaks” documents, secret State Department cables released by Manning. The information was stunning: the US State Department knew about the BP blow-out in the Caspian and joined in the cover-up. Apparently BP refused to tell its own partners, Chevron and Exxon, why the lucrative Caspian oil flow had stopped. Chevron bitched to the office of the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. […]

The US Ambassador in Baku got Chevron the answer: a blow-out of the nitrogen-laced cement cap on a giant Caspian Sea platform. The information was marked “SECRET”. Apparently loose lips about sinking ships would help neither Chevron nor the Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, the beneficiary of millions of dollars in payments of oil company baksheesh.

So what about Bradley Manning? […]  Had Manning’s memos come out just a few months earlier, the truth about BP’s deadly drilling methods would have been revealed, and there’s little doubt BP would have had to change its ways. Those eleven men could well have been alive today. […]

http://www.gregpalast.com/bradley-manning-the-deepwater-horizon/#more-7998

 

While the US media tries to drive us to war with North Korea and Iran, they pass over news about the environment.  We sure have enough money to bomb and/or invade other countries and “secure” the Homeland.  Unfortunately, the Homeland is looking more like a wasteland every day, and we don’t have enough money to take care of that.  It’s a strange phenomenon, this dearth of environmental news, given that the environment is (literally) all around us and that too many disruptions and hazards will end up killing us humans.  We are not going to kill the earth, just certain life-forms that dwell on it.  We are one of those life-forms.  The earth makes no distinction and has no preferences for one species over another.  No, I am not going to go off on a rant about climate change.  That’s a futile exercise – people who don’t “believe” cannot be convinced.  The fact that the Pentagon believes – and likes the opportunities it presents – ought to be of some interest to deniers; those guys are some hard-nosed sumbitches with access to all the reports and science available.  We know next to nothing about the geoengineering going on all around us in attempts to alleviate climate change; but the military and some rich companies and individuals are messing around with far-fetched ideas all the time.  (A gratuitous “fuck Bill Gates” here.)  Unfortunately, these half-assed schemes are making things worse and the public has next to no input on the experiments.  The closest we come to hearing “discussions” is when some Congressional committee kicks around the idea of carbon credits, a plan that always ends up pretty much looking like the fossil fuel companies being able to pass some more costs onto customers, which is why the public always hates the idea.

Nah, I’m talking about pollution, toxins, the die-off of other species, all of which will affect homo sapiens negatively.  We think that we can evolve quickly (hey, look at how many varieties of i-shits we have!), but we cannot evolve fast enough to adapt to a world without fresh potable water.  Some of us will survive if we kill off all marine life, but not many of us.  Some of us can survive if the pollinators are allowed to continue dying off – we’ll eat foodstuffs that don’t need bees – but not many of us will continue living at that point.  We ignore the problems unless they are a local issue.  I guarantee you the people in Arkansas are aware of the details of the most recent oil spill, for example.

Congress does not care about any of this, at least not in the same way we, the fracked, do.  They care about what Monsanto and Exxon tell them to care about, which doesn’t happen to go beyond securing more profits for these corporations.  They’ve been bought off.

There are no real science committees in Congress.  They do not want to know facts about GMO food or allow any long-term tests on the effects genetic modification will have.  They want us to eat the shit and shut up so they can collect their payola.  They have convinced a large portion of the population that regulations of any sort are bad, even regulations that keep our food and water safe to ingest.  After Fukushima, Hillary Clinton assured the agricultural attache in Japan that the US would continue importing food from Japan without testing it for radiation and the US nuclear agency loosened regulations on nuclear power plants operating here.  The Macondo site continues to leak into the Gulf of Mexico; after the BP explosion, Obama fast-tracked deepwater drilling permits.

At this point, I say that our rulers, i.e., Congress and the administration, should be tried for treason. They no longer serve the good of the American people. They have chosen, deliberately and with malice aforethought, to serve a different clientele, one which is bent on taking all the assets, land, and resources from the US public no matter the cost to that public.

I have collected a set of news items related to the environment.  Very few of them made national news by themselves, but the overall picture they present is grim.  Almost all of these are very recent – within the past month.  I have included a few older ones, as they show a progression from “then” to “now” or an earlier event may have resulted in what is happening now.  And I am aware that Fukushima is in Japan.  There is news about Fukushima included because that affects us here in the States whether or not we want to face it.

The United States on Monday criticized “unnecessary” European Union rules against genetically modified US crop imports as it prepares to enter free-trade talks with the EU.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/01/u-s-criticizes-unnecessary-eu-rules-on-genetically-modified-crops/

For the price of the Iraq War, the U.S. could have gotten halfway to a renewable power system.
http://grist.org/climate-energy/for-the-price-of-the-iraq-war-the-u-s-could-have-gotten-halfway-to-a-renewable-power-system/

“[…] Fifty-five percent of U.S. river and stream lengths were found to be in poor condition for aquatic life due to fertilizers and other runoff.  The EPA has found harmful levels of phosphorus and nitrogen as well as runoff from urban areas that have continued to degrade our 1.2 million miles of streams and rivers. […]”
http://jonathanturley.org/2013/03/27/report-fifty-five-percent-of-u-s-river-unfit-for-aquatic-life/#more-62243

US loosens safety rules at nuclear sites after Fukushima:
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/43455859/ns/us_news-environment/#.UWQskldGQe0

Fukushima: “Yet another radioactive water leak has been detected at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, officials announced Tuesday, as the nuclear catastrophe continues to unfold more than two years after a massive earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns at the plant.
“The new leak marks the third of seven underground radioactive water pools that are leaking since Saturday, and follows two failures of the plant’s cooling system in a month.[…]”
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/09-5

Fukushima: underground storage tanks for wastewater built like waterlily ponds.
“[…] TEPCO is moving tons of highly radioactive water from the temporary tanks to two similar ones nearby to minimize the leak. They are among seven underground tanks of different sizes which employ the same design.
“TEPCO admitted Sunday it had dismissed earlier signs of water loss as within a margin of error and waited until a spike in radiation levels around the tanks was detected. Critics suspect cash-strapped TEPCO built poorly designed underground pits instead of safer and more manageable steel tanks to save money. TEPCO has also been criticized for delaying replacement of makeshift equipment, raising questions about whether the plant is really under control.
“The underground tanks, several times the size of an Olympic swimming pool and similar to an industrial waste dump, are dug directly into the ground and protected by double-layer polyethylene linings inside an outermost clay-based lining, with a felt padding between each layer. Officials suspect there were ruptures in the linings due to the weight of the water.[…]”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/accident-investigators-say-japan-nuclear-safety-plans-too-lax-for-crowded-quake-prone-nation/2013/04/08/3c2ae7ee-a04d-11e2-bd52-614156372695_story.html

And:  http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/04/is-fukushima-leaking-or-is-the-the-reactor-wholly-uncontained.html

From an Aug, 2011 article on Clinton’s secret pact with Japan:
http://www.examiner.com/article/radiating-americans-fukushima-rain-clinton-s-secret-food-pact

No-one knows what to do with nuclear waste.  Fukushima cooling water – highly contaminated – simply stored in more and more tanks with plans to eventually “clean” it and dump it back into the ocean:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2013/04/20134681324337410.html

Thyroid illnesses showing up in US after Fukushima:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/02-1

And:  http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/04/study-almost-one-third-of-babies-born-after-fukushima-in-alaska-california-hawaii-oregon-and-washington-have-thyroid-problems.html

One dead, three injured in Arkansas nuclear plant accident.
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/31/17540838-one-dead-three-injured-in-arkansas-nuclear-plant-accident#.UVwtFQjQY74.email

Hanford Nuclear Waste Site at Risk of Hydrogen Explosion, Report Warns.
Following report of leaks, nuclear safety board finds dangerous hydrogen build up in waste holding tanks:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/03-1

“[…] But there’s growing evidence that these two impulses, toward energy and food independence, may be at odds with each other.
Tonight’s guests have heard about residential drinking wells tainted by fracking fluids in Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Colorado. They’ve read about lingering rashes, nosebleeds and respiratory trauma in oil-patch communities, which are mostly rural, undeveloped, and lacking in political influence and economic prospects. The trout nibblers in the winery sympathize with the suffering of those communities. But their main concern tonight is a more insidious matter: the potential for drilling and fracking operations to contaminate our food. The early evidence from heavily fracked regions, especially from ranchers, is not reassuring.  […]” – from Nov, 2012 article
http://www.thenation.com/print/article/171504/fracking-our-food-supply

Fracking and toxins in the aquifers as a result:
http://www.nationofchange.org/poisoning-well-how-feds-let-industry-pollute-nation-s-underground-water-supply-1355676143

” ‘There has always been a scientific link between fracking and earthquakes,’ U.S. Geological Survey spokesperson Clarice Ransom told AlterNet.” – http://www.alternet.org/water/153717

Natural gas (obtained through fracking) insiders admit there may not be all that much gas anyway – well productivity is vastly overestimated:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/us/26gas.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

Yes, fracking causes earthquakes. (Duh.)
“[…] Researchers from Oklahoma and Columbia universities found that over time, depositing used-up drilling fluid into the ground may have snapped geological tension that had built up near rural Prague, Oklahoma, causing a 5.7 quake that destroyed 14 homes and injured two.
The authors also write that the number of large earthquakes in and around the center of the country has skyrocketed in recent years. […]”
http://www.businessinsider.com/fracking-wastewater-oklahoma-earthquake-2013-3

Natural gas extraction causing frequent quakes, property damage in northern Netherlands.
“Farmers living atop Europe’s largest gas field in the isolated northern Netherlands are angry at increasingly frequent earthquakes caused by extraction. Freezing winds and a glimmer of cold light pass through the three-foot by two-inch (one metre by five centimetre) crack in Martha and Jan Bos’s stable in Middelstum, a few miles (kilometres) from the Netherlands’ most northern.[…]”
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/31/natural-gas-extraction-causing-frequent-quakes-property-damage-in-northern-netherlands/

The Obama administration has broken the law, issuing oil leases across California without examining the risks of fracking. A federal judge ruled that the administration has “completely ignored” environmental concerns upon issuing the leases.:
http://rt.com/usa/fracking-judge-california-obama-583/

Judge in Wyoming says fracking chemicals must remain secret from the public.
http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2013/03/25/judge-sides-with-wyoming-in-fracking-chemical-suit

Arkansas oil spill: martial law, how is it that the public didn’t know the oil pipeline ran beneath their neighborhood (for God’s sake, 9/11?  Really?  That’s the excuse?).
http://www.alternet.org/14-things-you-need-know-about-horrifying-arkansas-oil-spill?paging=off

No-fly zone imposed over Arkansas spill (sound familiar?) and oil diverted to wetlands:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/07/activists-claim-arkansas-oil-spill-diverted-into-wetland/

Oil spill in Texas, third in a week:
http://rt.com/usa/shell-pipeline-oil-texas-409/

Minnesota Oil Spill: Canadian Train Derails, Spilling 30,000 Gallons Of Crude In U.S.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/28/minnesota-oil-spill_n_2967118.html

“Chevron’s third pipeline spill in Utah in as many years on March 25 released hundreds of barrels of oil, polluting a river and leading to the closure of a state park and the evacuation of campers. Dozens of cleanup workers are now mopping up the fuel along the north-eastern edge of the Great Salt Lake in an attempt to avert a wildlife disaster. […]”
http://www.hazardexonthenet.net/article/57174/Chevron-pipeline-oil-spill-is-third-major-leak-in-Utah-in-three-years.aspx?AreaID=2

Overfished and under-protected: Oceans on the brink of catastrophic collapse.
“The Census of Marine Life, a decade-long international survey of ocean life completed in 2010, estimated that 90% of the big fish had disappeared from the world’s oceans, victims primarily of overfishing. […] At the same time fisheries and vital marine ecosystems like coral are being decimated, the oceans continue to provide vital services, absorbing up to one third of human carbon dioxide emissions while producing 50% of all the oxygen we breathe.
“But absorbing increasing quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) has come at a cost, increasing the acidity of the water. […] ‘I could sum it up as: we need to fish less and in less destructive measures, waste less, pollute less and protect more,’ says Roberts.
‘This change of course will see us rebuild the abundance, variety and vitality of life in the sea which will give the oceans the resilience they need to weather the difficult times ahead. Without such action, our future is bleak.’ ”
http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/22/world/oceans-overfishing-climate-change/index.html

The garbage patches in the oceans (there is more than one): “So on the way back to our home port in Long Beach, California, we decided to take a shortcut through the gyre, which few seafarers ever cross. Fishermen shun it because its waters lack the nutrients to support an abundant catch. Sailors dodge it because it lacks the wind to propel their sailboats.

“Yet as I gazed from the deck at the surface of what ought to have been a pristine ocean, I was confronted, as far as the eye could see, with the sight of plastic.

“It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments. Months later, after I discussed what I had seen with the oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, perhaps the world’s leading expert on flotsam, he began referring to the area as the ‘eastern garbage patch.'”

Capt. Charles Moore, discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, in an article for Natural History magazine in 1993.
http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/?ar_a=1

CBS Los Angeles: “Dead sea lions everywhere” — Rescuer: I’ve never seen anything like this… we never would have imagined the numbers — Expert: No oceanographic explanation for what we’re seeing.
http://enenews.com/cbs-los-angeles-dead-sea-lions-everywhere-rescuer-ive-never-anything-like-never-imagined-numbers-expert-oceanographic-explanation-video

This may have something to do with the above.  As the radiation-filled seaweed works its way up the food chain, larger animals die. From March 2012: Southern California had 2,500 Bq/kg of iodine-131 in seaweed — Over 500% higher than other tests in U.S., Canada
http://enenews.com/california-2500-bqkg-iodine-131-seaweed-500-higher-other-tests-canada

Dead dolphin spike in Louisiana, Mississippi — “We have been advised not to discuss our findings” — Mostly babies washing up…This is from March of this year.
http://enenews.com/tv-spike-in-dolphins-washing-up-in-gulf-of-mexico-mostly-dead-babies-we-have-been-advised-not-to-discuss-our-findings-video

“Manatees Dying in Droves on Both Coasts of Florida” — Deaths of pelicans, turtles, dolphins also increasing — “Scientists fear this is the beginning of a devastating ecosystem collapse.”  This is also from March of this year.
http://enenews.com/manatees-dying-record-numbers-florida-deaths-pelicans-turtles-dolphins-spiking-scientists-fear-beginning-devastating-ecosystem-collapse-videos

UPDATE, Thurs. 11 April

Lead in rice: “Commercially available rice imported into the U.S. contains levels of lead far higher than what’s considered safe, according to a study by the American Chemical Society and reported by Jason Palmer of the BBC. […] The U.S. imports 7 percent of its rice. The team sampled packages from Bhutan, Italy, China, Taiwan, India, Israel, the Czech Republic, and Thailand — accounting for 65 percent of U.S. imports — and calculated lead intake on the basis of daily consumption.
“Rice from China and Taiwan had the highest lead levels.[…]
“Rice products also contain ‘moderate to moderately high levels of arsenic’ (which is also highly toxic), according to a study by Consumer Reports. Palmer notes that Dr. Tongesayi has also worked on quantifying arsenic contamination, and plans on testing the prevalence of other heavy metals.[…]
http://www.businessinsider.com/lead-found-in-us-rice-2013-4

This comes on the heels of last fall’s report that rice grown in the US contains arsenic. The FDA said it would have a report out by Dec. ’12, but nothing has been released from them yet.  (Funny how the reports about lead in imported rice made the mainstream immediately, while the arsenic reports never made it much beyond Consumer Reports. Also note that the article – about lead – above does not mention that the arsenic is in US-grown rice.)  About the arsenic in rice:
http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/10/arsenic-in-us-grown-rice/

Bonus video.  Tina Turner sings “We Don’t Need Another Hero”  from “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”.

Lyrics:

Out of the ruins, out from the wreckage
Can’t make the same mistake this time
We are the children, the last generation
We are the ones they left behind
And I wonder when we are ever gonna change it
Living under the fear till nothing else remains
We don’t need another hero
We don’t need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond the thunderdome
Looking for something we can rely on
There’s got to be something better out there
Love and compassion, their day is coming
All else are castles built in the air
And I wonder when we are ever gonna change it
Living under the fear till nothing else remains
All the children say, “We don’t need another hero
We don’t need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond the thunderdome”

(Fan made music video to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and The Road Warrior movies. All images, video, and sound recordings belong to their respective artists Warner Bros and Music Entities.)

 

Gas prices do the darnedest things.

Look at those gas prices go!  Depending on where you get your news, gas prices are leaping, inching, crawling, surging, climbing, or soaring.  It’s as though gas prices are some new autonomous genera of animal acting of their own volition.  Genus Oleum pretium (gas prices); sub-species: normalis (regular), medius (mid-grade), superfluo (super), and diesel (maxius taxius? Sorry, no Latin for diesel).  Gas prices seem to have raised themselves 50 cents per gallon since the first of Jan.   No-one else is taking the blame, so they must have done it alone.  Nasty creatures, oleum pretium.

Gas prices at the pumps are obviously related to oil prices.  On the Brent market, oil, which was $80/barrel just 4 months ago, is now hitting over $120/barrel.  The Brent is important because that is the market which sets prices for gasoline in the US and most of the Eurozone.  It is rather funny how, just when the price per barrel was heading downwards because of weakening demand, a reason to inflate prices suddenly appeared.  It’s almost mysterious.

Perhaps the oil companies were losing money and had to increase prices.  (Snort.)  The five largest oil companies made 137 billion in profit last year (that’s profit after expenses); in the past decade, they have made 1 trillion in profits.  There is no doubt that in April, when the first quarter’s reports come out, we will hear that Exxon made record profits – again.  Every quarter is a record quarter for Exxon.

Maybe it is high demand causing the rise in prices.  I have seen that postulated in a variety of places.  Yet demand is actually down, both in the US and globally.  China’s demand was blamed for the ’08 increase, but now their economy is beginning to get a little shaky and their oil demand growth is slowing.  Can’t blame it all on China this time.

Is it a supply problem?  No.  US supply levels remain fairly constant.  As a matter of fact, we have enough of a supply that we are now a net exporter.  We produce roughly 8 million barrels of oil a day as it is, and Obama opens new areas for exploration and drilling every day.  No tree-hugger, that guy.  It should be patently obvious that if we are a net exporter, there is no need to allow speculative drilling companies to tear up our country, use up our fresh water, and destroy our oceans.  At some point, we need to realize that having clean water, arable clean land, and edible fish is a bit more important than destroying everything based on somebody’s guess about where oil is.

Right now, it is estimated that we might have enough oil in the ground to continue producing for about ten years if we keep on at the same rate.  The only result of digging it up and using it up faster – which demand levels indicate is unnecessary – will be to run out that much sooner.  And as I pointed out in my post of 15 Jan, “Bakkan, Keystone XL, and Fracking”, the amount of oil and natural gas thought to be under US ground is based on pure speculative guesses from the oil companies looking for new drilling leases.  Take the time to read the linked article in the following if you haven’t done so already:

In a sadly overlooked article in the NYT (June, ’11) by Ian Urbina, industry insiders admit they have no idea how much oil and gas are in the shale formations and doubt that extracting the fuels will end up being cost efficient.  If you take the time to read the entire article (please do – it is amazing what the industry insiders acknowledge to each other), you will view fracking in a whole new light.  You might even want to look into green energy, mass transit, and other such assorted non-fossil-fuel alternatives. – Teri

Quoted article:  Natural gas companies have been placing enormous bets on the wells they are drilling, saying they will deliver big profits and provide a vast new source of energy for the United States.

But the gas may not be as easy and cheap to extract from shale formations deep underground as the companies are saying, according to hundreds of industry e-mails and internal documents and an analysis of data from thousands of wells.

In the e-mails, energy executives, industry lawyers, state geologists and market analysts voice skepticism about lofty forecasts and question whether companies are intentionally, and even illegally, overstating the productivity of their wells and the size of their reserves. Many of these e-mails also suggest a view that is in stark contrast to more bullish public comments made by the industry, in much the same way that insiders have raised doubts about previous financial bubbles.

“Money is pouring in” from investors even though shale gas is “inherently unprofitable,” an analyst from PNC Wealth Management, an investment company,  wrote to a contractor in a February e-mail. “Reminds you of dot-coms.”

“The word in the world of independents is that the shale plays are just giant Ponzi schemes and the economics just do not work,” an analyst from IHS Drilling Data, an energy research company,  wrote in an e-mail on Aug. 28, 2009.

Company data for more than 10,000 wells in three major shale gas formations raise further questions about the industry’s prospects….

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/us/26gas.html?emc=eta1

As I thought we would, we are again hearing about how we must fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline.  The southern leg of this boondoggle is a go (which Obama “welcomes”).  Ah, the Keystone.  Such a deal.  Dirty tar sands oil from Canada, dug up by a Canadian company, running through a pipeline built by Canadian employees, going to refineries in Texas where the diesel will be sold on the open market.

Al­ready, U.S. re­finer­ies are ex­port­ing records amounts of the gaso­line they make. For the first time in 62 years, Amer­ica is now a net pe­tro­leum ex­porter. Valero En­ergy Corp., the largest U.S. ex­porter of re­fined pe­tro­leum prod­ucts, is a major lob­by­ist for Key­stone XL. Along with Mo­tiva (an oil re­finer jointly owned by Shell and Saudi Aramco) and Total (a French re­fin­ery), Valero has signed se­cret, long-term con­tracts with Key­stone’s owner (Tran­sCanada Corp.) and sev­eral tar sands oil pro­duc­ers to bring this crude to Port Arthur, Texas. All three have up­graded their re­finer­ies there to process diesel for ex­port.

Adding to Big Oil’s en­joy­ment is the fact that the Port Arthur re­finer­ies of Valero, Mo­tiva and Total are within a For­eign Trade Zone, giv­ing them spe­cial tax breaks for ship­ping gaso­line and diesel out of our coun­try. And adding to the dis­may of some U.S. con­sumers, Tran­sCanada has qui­etly boasted that Key­stone XL would cut gaso­line sup­plies in our Mid­west­ern states, thus rais­ing prices at the pump and si­phon­ing more bil­lions of dol­lars a year from con­sumers’ pock­ets into the vaults of multi­na­tional oil in­ter­ests.

http://www.nationofchange.org/keystone-xl-flim-flam-1330611946

In a pinch, Saudi Arabia will always rescue us, right?  They’ll shore up our supplies; they are our friends.  Except that Saudi Arabia’s reserves are falling 3% a year and they really want oil prices to keep going up.

So why are the gas prices leaping about?  Three reasons: speculators, the tension with Iran (which is part of what is driving the speculation), and because the oil companies want more money.  One minor thing was that the oil companies just lost their ethanol subsidy, and this immediately raised prices at the pumps on 1 Jan.  Hey, why should they endure any loss of profit at all?  Even if it does mean that the consumer will get hit with higher food and energy prices as well, which are affected by gasoline and diesel costs.  (Even without the subsidy, these guys make out okay on the ethanol switcharoo – adding ethanol reduces your gas mileage by about three miles per gallon so that you have to go fill up more often than you would if the gas were ethanol-free.  Great stuff.)  Truth is, they simply want money.  A lot of it.  They will raise prices whenever they want.  As one of my Southern cousins would say to emphasize a point or mark agreement, “Tell you what!”

Speculation in the markets is the same sort of crap that got us in trouble with the housing market, but this time they are wreaking havoc with the commodities markets.  It’s the same players though – Goldman, Sachs et al.  They managed to get a few loopholes quietly opened for speculation in the commodities markets – loopholes that exist for only a few very specific companies – and were allowed to create a new form of investment called index speculation.  They are screwing with the markets in brand new complicated ways and have completely thrown out the traditional role that speculators used to play, which was to provide a place for the producers and buyers of actual physical products to buy or sell their goods.

Equally important is the role of Wall Street financial speculators. According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates energy trading, the proportion of oil trades made by pure speculators—those who never take actual possession of the oil, but are simply betting on the price—has shifted in the last five years from 30 percent to nearly 70 percent of the total.

CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton told ABC News that the “speculative premium” on oil was about $23 a barrel, or 56 cents for a gallon of gas. This vast sum goes straight into the pockets of the same Wall Street firms that crashed the world economy in 2008 through speculation in real estate mortgages and were bailed out by the Bush and Obama administrations.

http://wsws.org/articles/2012/mar2012/gaso-m03.shtml

 

“Speculation is now part of the DNA of oil prices. You cannot separate the two anymore. There is no demarcation,” Oppenheimer & Co analyst Fadel Gheit tells McClatchy News. “I still remain convinced oil prices are inflated.”

Carl Larry of Oil Outlooks and Opinions adds in a recent report that if Iran stops exporting altogether, crude market prices are estimated to hit around $130 a barrel in the immediate aftermath. Although the response would be the result of fear-induced speculation, the consequences could be catastrophic as the western world continues to teeter towards default.

“It is important to emphasize that a spike in oil prices would most likely inflict damage on the economic recovery,” Goldman Sachs say in their own just-published report. They expect crude to rise to $123.50 a barrel within 2012. [My note: As is usual with Goldman, Sachs “prophecies”, which somehow are unerringly accurate when it comes to predicting which funds are going to pay off, we see that they called this correctly. Brent crude is 123/barrel today.  How do they do that?]

http://rt.com/usa/news/prices-oil-us-iran-987/

 

Speculators are working off the rising tensions with Iran.  Tension, it must be noted, that we and Israel craftily created ourselves.  Iran hasn’t actually done anything that was not a response to something we did first.  We – or at least our media outlets, and at some point you better start trying to figure out who they really work for – claim that they are trying to create a nuclear bomb, yet this is not what the IAEA has found and not what our own generals think.  Iran is enriching uranium to 3.5%; a nuclear bomb needs 95%.  We began sanctions on Iran to get them to stop doing something they are not doing.  We then got the Eurozone to sanction Iranian oil (although those sanctions don’t begin in earnest until 1 July); just the threat of all these sanctions and embargoes has ramped up speculation in the markets.  My goodness, it was just in January that a US Treasury official (named “Anonymous”, the most frequently heard family name in American politics) claimed that the sanctions would not disrupt the global markets in any way.  Iran then said it will cut off oil deliveries to Europe peremptorily themselves, which seems a fairly reasonable response to the economic war we have already begun against them.  Most countries around the globe don’t care if Iran has a nuclear weapon, by the way, and find that the US and Israel are the greatest threats to world peace today.  Hell, until a year or two ago, most Americans didn’t care if Iran had a nuke.

So here we are, sanctioning and embargoing a country, deliberately trying to drive its people into poverty (still talking about Iran here, though you might sensibly begin to wonder about the true target), which another member of the Anonymous family admitted the other day – and the results are: some European countries may lose a significant source of oil, gas prices in Europe and the US are sky-rocketing, and a whole bunch of other countries (there are other countries out there – you know that, right?) are going off the petrodollar.  The big oil companies and too-big-to-fail banks are making out like bandits, as usual.  The American “recovery” may well be smothered in its infancy, as gas prices are followed inevitably by upticks in food and energy costs.  High oil and gas prices have preceded every recession since the 70’s.  Well, this will sure teach those Iranians a thing or two….oh, wait.  Who is being taught a lesson here?  I mean, think about it.  When you take a look at who is being affected by the Hate On Iran campaign, check out your last grocery bill or your last gas station receipt.  And your new little part-time job is not going to cover the bills as they continue to rise.  Actually, you may not have that job too much longer.  Any company that dared to start hiring recently may quickly find that they need to lay off workers again very soon, as their costs increase.  Just wait until March 20, when the Tehran bourse starts trading in other currencies besides the dollar, if you think gas prices are high now.  And, by the way, has it occurred to anyone that Iran is ironically helped by rising oil prices?  The funds they lose by the sanctions are partially replaced by the fact that the oil they do sell is bringing in higher prices.  And quite a few countries have declined to mess up their own economies or trading relationships by going along with the insane US/Israel “plan”; Iran will continue to sell its oil.

And our leaders are doing this knowingly.  They absolutely understand what is happening to commodity prices.  Why are they doing this?  Just to show support for Israel in its weird obsession with Iran, an obsession they have managed to entangle us in?  Iran has not threatened the US.  The US is daily threatening Iran.  Factually, Iran has not even threatened Israel.  Look, Israel is not part of the US.  If they want to go after Iran for some strange reason, have at it.  Knock your freaking socks off.  There is no sensible reason for us to allow ourselves to be duped into fighting a proxy war for them, a war that would be another trillion-dollar hole in our bucket, a war that would be yet another illegal, baseless war of aggression on a country which has caused us no harm and threatened us in no way.  In fact, the whole thing makes so little sense that one might wonder if there is more to all this than the Israel-first lobby testing exactly how far out on that limb they can shove us.

As our media obediently whips up the hate for, and fear of, Iran, they also prepare us for further gas price shocks.  “$5 a gallon gas by summer?” the headlines ask.  You read the articles and are given no good insights into the why of it all, just some nonsense about “summer prices arriving early”.  Oleum pretium did not see his shadow this year and has crept out early.  But the point of these articles is not to teach you about index speculation or the profits of commodities traders or even to point out that someone is making some kinda serious dough off all the cavorting around that gas prices are doing.  The media is doing its job and doing it well.  They are softening up the mark.  It all becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we are being prepared to accept our fate.  We are the mark.  We ought to make some effort to find out who the grifters are.

 
 

And for big oil, business is a-boomin’.

From Obama’s SOTU address Tuesday night:

“…Nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my Administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources….”

Well, he sure wasn’t just whistling Dixie.  Today, we see that the Obama administration is going to sell off remaining oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.  What could possibly go wrong?  The Macondo well site is still leaking oil in the Gulf.  No, they don’t show you the plumes of oil on the nightly news because they have a few buffoons running for President that they want you to look at instead.  Oil is still washing ashore along the Gulf coast.  But BP sponsored a new series of ads recently with very nice average-looking people saying things like, “We’d love for y’all to come on down to our Alabama/Louisiana/Mississippi/Florida coasts!  Our beaches are clean, the water sparkling, and we love our guests!  We are open for business.”  Only they pronounce it ‘Bama or Lewsanna or Miss Sippi or Florda for the sake of authenticity.  You are meant to mistake the ads for reality.  Not a particularly difficult con job, these days.

Many of the fisherman are still out of business, as quite a portion of them find that despite being allowed to return to their fishing areas, the catch is showing signs of toxic exposure: lesions, bloody gills and fin rot.  They chuck the fish back into the sea and come home empty-handed.  The catch that is brought in – well, what are they doing with that?  Last I heard, the plan was to sell it to prisons, public schools and military PX’s; sort of your three captive markets right there.  Dead silence about that lately.

Perhaps they have simply quit testing the fish for toxins and sell it to restaurants anyway.  It is how we do things these days.  After radioactivity levels climbed in the Pacific northwest after Fukushima, the EPA did three things: they raised the level of “acceptable” radiation, they took their readings off-line (once the public protested, they put the readings back on-line, but in charts so difficult to decipher that one could spend hours on their website and still have no idea of radiation levels in the area) and they quit testing altogether in some areas.  This is the sort of teen-age answer for everything we get now.  (Once, while driving a friend’s teen-age daughter somewhere, I heard a peculiar noise from the car’s engine.  “Hmmm,” I said aloud, worriedly, “I wonder what that is.”  She said, “Oh, I know how to fix that.”  “Really?” I asked in disbelief.  She shrugged, nodded, and reached over to turn the radio volume up so high that we could no longer hear the noise.  “And there ya go,” she said.)  The Republican plan to correct problems like oil spills and nuclear accidents is to abolish the EPA altogether.  And there ya go.

The oil company errors which led to the BP spill have not been adequately addressed; we see, however, that the Obama administration has pretty much the same teen-age fix that the Republicans do.  Without even knowing exactly what went wrong with the drilling site, or addressing cronyism in the regulatory agency involved (the Minerals Management Service), Obama fast-tracked new leases in the Gulf within months of the spill.  The warnings from independent scientists and geologists regarding possible cracks and seeps sustained in the Gulf sea floor by the sheer number of wells drilled have gone ignored.  Likewise, no-one has addressed the issue of potential and deadly methane seeps.  (It was a methane explosion which caused the drilling platform to explode in the first place.  Methane is extant in every oil reservoir.  Usually the oil and gas companies burn it off as it escapes.  There is probably methane being released along with the oil still bubbling up from the Macondo site, but it is not measured or monitored in any way.)

 

(CNN) — The federal government Thursday announced plans to sell off oil and gas leases on 38 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico seafloor in a new domestic energy push by the Obama administration.

The leases could yield as much as 1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Interior Department estimates. The scheduled sale in June will be the second since the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010 when nearly 5 million barrels of crude spewed into the Gulf…

The leases up for sale in June include the remaining, unclaimed areas off Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, ranging from as close as three miles from the coast to up to 230 miles offshore. The minimum bid for deepwater leases will be $100 per acre, according to the Interior Department.

The agency is working on plans for a dozen more lease sales through 2017, which it estimates will open up three-quarters of the recoverable oil and gas below the outer Continental Shelf — reserves Obama pledged to open up in his Tuesday night speech.

Supporters say more energy exploration will bring more jobs for Americans still reeling from the steepest economic downturn in decades. But others remain wary of the risks illuminated when the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon blew up and sank in April 2010, killing 11 men aboard and uncorking an undersea gusher that took three months to cap.

“We’ve got oil continuing to wash up. We’ve got ongoing restoration needs down there that haven’t been addressed yet,” said Aaron Viles, a spokesman for the New Orleans-based Gulf Restoration Network.

Viles said that the depths at which drilling is planned are worrisome and that residents of coastal communities should have more input into the decisions.

The BP-owned well that blew up in 2010 was nearly a mile below the surface, at depths that made efforts to cap it extremely difficult. Future drillers have to have arrangements in place to deal with a deep-sea spill, but the new requirements may be a case of “fighting the last war,” Viles said.

“These are complicated systems. They’re going to fail in complicated ways,” Viles told CNN…

http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/26/us/us-gulf-oil/index.html

From a 2008 Scientific American article:

  …In fact, oil companies have yet to take advantage of the nearly 86 billion barrels of offshore oil in areas already available for leasing and development. So why are they chomping at the drill bit to open up the moratorium waters and survey them anew?

Oil company stocks are valued in large part based on how much proved reserves they have,” says Robert Kaufman, an expert on world oil markets and director of Boston University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies. Translation: just having more promising leases in hand would be worth billions of dollars….

…Kaufman dismisses as “nonsense” any promises that offshore drilling could make the U.S. “oil independent.” Even if it could somehow insulate itself from the ups and downs of the global oil market, he notes, the U.S. would have to make a huge leap in domestic oil production to replace what it buys from overseas.

“At its peak in production, which occurred in 1970s, the U.S. produced about 10 million [barrels of oil] a day,” Kaufman says. “Now, after 30 years of fairly steady decline, we produce about five million barrels a day,” whereas we consume 20 million barrels daily. “Whoever talks about oil independence has to tell a story about how we close a 15-million-barrel gap.”

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=can-offshore-drilling-make-us-independent&page=3

Ah, now we get to the bare essentials of the thing.  Oil company stocks go up when they have new leases in hand.  That is the bottom line.  That is the entire point in opening new leases.  It is just another way for oil companies, speculators, and hedge funds to make money on the market.  Hate to break it to you, but the DOW is not the economy.  (Looking at you, Timmeh.)  Speculation in the oil market, based on new leases and such, is what makes gas prices at the pump go up.  And here is a news flash – no-one really knows how much oil is any given reserve.  It’s all guesswork.  Furthermore, it takes at least 5 years to get from the point of leasing to the point of production.  And in case it escaped everyone’s notice (it has), no-one knows how to fix the cracks in the sea floor caused by events like the BP Macondo spill, nor does anyone know just how much tolerance the sea floor has for more drilling sites without splitting wide open.  Fracking causes earthquakes and deep-sea drilling causes….?  Turn up the volume there, will ya?

“So long, and thanks for all the fish,”  –  big oil companies to the world.