The fracking boom is over

November 28, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Good afternoon:

I write today to advise everyone that the oil shale extraction business (i.e., fracking) is in deep trouble. The Saudis and OPEC have voted to maintain current production levels despite a glut. The price of Brent crude, which is the highest grade of oil, has dropped below $80 per barrel to $78.33 per barrel. OPEC’s decision to maintain production levels despite the glut assures that the price will continue dropping.

I mentioned the $80 per barrel price because fracking is expensive and the companies that frack cannot make a profit unless they can sell their oil for more than $80 per barrel. That is no longer possible.

Saudi Arabia and OPEC have started a price war to drive the frackers out of business by shutting down the oil shale market.

This means that the price of gas at the pump will continue to drop and it provides an opportunity for solar and wind to take hold.

Meanwhile, the outrage against Robert McCulloch’s blatant abuse of the grand jury continues to grow as prosecutors and defense counsel have joined to condemn the process. Even Nancy Grace jumped on the bandwagon.

I am pleased to see the pushback. For awhile seemed like I was the only one.

Hope y’all had a good Thanksgiving.


Santa Cruz County bans fracking

May 21, 2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Good afternoon:

Good news for the drought ridden environment in California today.

The Monterey Shale is a vast geological formation that runs through most of central California and parts of the coast. The Government and the oil companies say it contains 2/3 of the nation’s supply of oil, or about 13.7 billion barrels of oil. They want it and they intend to get it by fracking, an extraction process that involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and rock-dissolving chemicals under high pressure into seams in a rock formation in order to force the oil and natural gas out of the formation where they can be collected and processed.

Because enormous quantities of clean water are required to produce relatively small quantities of oil and natural gas, fracking in a drought stricken area is insane.

It’s a terrible idea anyway because it poisons the ground water, destabilizes geological formations resulting in earthquakes, and it causes environmental damage. The oil and natural gas contribute to global warming and climate change.

U.S. officials announced today that the Monterrey Shale can only supply about 600 million barrels (4% of the projected amount) by fracking because most of the formation has been deformed and broken by geological activity. Therefore, the oil companies are not going to be competing for much of the scarce water in California and that is good news for farmers and consumers.

The second item of good news is the Board of Supervisors for Santa Cruz County voted 5-0 last night to ban the use of fracking. Santa Cruz County is the first county in California to ban fracking.

Butte, Mendocino, Monterey, Santa Barbara, San Benito and Orange counties are also considering their own fracking and oil bans.

The third item of good news is the Beverly Hills City Council vote unanimously to ban fracking on May 6th. Beverly Hills is the first city in California to ban fracking.

The City of Los Angeles also may ban fracking.

Still no donations to report. The total for the month is $45. Last donation was over a week ago.


Monday evening open thread

May 19, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Good evening:

Welcome to the second week of our experiment with an evening open thread with four suggested topics in the news. This is your place to comment, a place where off topic is on topic.

Please let us know if you like the idea. We’ll incorporate it as a regular feature, if you do.

Or suggest something else.

(1) In the Republican looney-tune department, we have Gary Kiehne, an Arizona rancher running for Congress with hopes of defeating Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ). Think Progress reports what he said at a Republican primary debate on Saturday regarding mass shootings and gun rights.

“If you look at all the fiascos that have occurred, 99 percent of them have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people,” Kiehne said. “So I don’t think you have a problem with the Republicans.”
Kiehne also boasted that he had “more guns and ammo than any one of my competitors.”

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Of course, one has to have a mind in order to waste it and I’m not certain Kiehne has evolved that far.

(2) In the yet-another-corrupt-bozo-Republican department, we have 3 GOP bozos who introduced a bill in the North Carolina legislature that would make it a felony to reveal any of the chemicals used in fracking. Mother Jones reports,

On Thursday, three Republican state senators introduced a bill that would slap a felony charge on individuals who disclosed confidential information about fracking chemicals. The bill, whose sponsors include a member of Republican party leadership, establishes procedures for fire chiefs and health care providers to obtain chemical information during emergencies. But as the trade publication Energywire noted Friday, individuals who leak information outside of emergency settings could be penalized with fines and several months in prison.

“The felony provision is far stricter than most states’ provisions in terms of the penalty for violating trade secrets,” says Hannah Wiseman, a Florida State University assistant law professor who studies fracking regulations.

The bill also allows companies that own the chemical information to require emergency responders to sign a confidentiality agreement. And it’s not clear what the penalty would be for a health care worker or fire chief who spoke about their experiences with chemical accidents to colleagues.

“I think the only penalties to fire chiefs and doctors, if they talked about it at their annual conference, would be the penalties contained in the confidentiality agreement,” says Wiseman. “But [the bill] is so poorly worded, I cannot confirm that if an emergency responder or fire chief discloses that confidential information, they too would not be subject to a felony.” In some sections, she says, “That appears to be the case.”

These three creeps belong in prison.

(3) In the who-has-the-right-stuff department, we have Matt Taibbi and his relentless reporting about the criminal banksters on Wall Street. Salon interviews him about his new book.

His relentless coverage of Wall Street malfeasance turned him into one of the most influential journalists of his generation, but in his new book, “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap,” Matt Taibbi takes a close and dispiriting look at how inequality and government dysfunction have created a two-tiered justice system in which most Americans are guilty until proven innocent, while a select few operate with no accountability whatsoever.

Salon sat down last week with Taibbi for a wide-ranging chat that touched on his new book, the lingering effects of the financial crisis, how American elites operate with impunity and why, contrary to what many may think, he’s actually making a conservative argument for reform. The interview can be found below, and has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

(4) In the this-is-bullshit department, we have Cecily McMillan, 25, who was sentenced today in NYC to serve 90 days in jail, to be followed by 5 years probation. Her “crime:” She elbowed a cop in the face after her breast was grabbed from behind during an Occupy protest. She was then thrown to the ground and handcuffed. She suffered a seizure and has since been treated for post-traumatic stress. The poor widdle cop suffered a black eye and spent two weeks off work with headaches and sensitivity to light. Imagine his terrible suffering!

The Guardian reports what she said to the judge before he pronounced the sentence.

Wearing a fuschia dress, the New School graduate student was on Monday led, handcuffed, into a courtroom lined by about 50 police officers. Reading a prepared speech, she told the judge that she lived by the “law of love”. She said: “Violence is not permitted. This being the law that I live by, I can say with certainty that I am innocent of the crime I have been convicted of”. She apologised for what she called “this accident”.

She will actually serve 60 days, minus the 14 days that she has already served awaiting sentencing.

Meanwhile, armed right-wing-domestic-terrorists like Cliven Bundy and his supporters break the law with impunity.

Not to mention the parasitic criminal banksters who just keep getting richer at our expense.

Sickening.

There will be an accounting one day and when it comes it will be bloody.

The hat is on the sidewalk. Please make a donation if you like what we do.

Fred


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