Monday, December 15, 2014

WTF's Happening to the Erl?

The gas-pump price is currently visiting levels last seen 5 years ago, when there was still lots of 'accessible' world oil and the market was unaffected by 'green cars'.  Now-a-days we're told there is still lots of oil, but it's not the Jed Clampett 'bubblin' spume' variety, and it costs a lot more to get out out of the ground and purify for the use of your transportation device.

So why, after decades of steadily rising gas prices,  has 'the bottom' apparently fallen out of the market? You can bet yer gas can that oil speculators almost didn't see this one coming.

So what was 'this one', and why?

At face value we're expected to believe that the Saudis, and their oil-loving cousins in the UAE,  took it into their minds to sell-off their oil for what it's worth, rather than the price 'the market' was willing to pay. After decades, again, of inflated oil profits, OPEC has decided to 'buy the world a coke' literally, if not figuratively. From an accepted world price of around $100 bucks a barrel , the Arabs have decided to let that barrel fall to the $45 per barrel level "on which their economy is based".  Somebody mixed up  a batch of special Kool-aid and the Arabs delightedly drank it. Or so we're told.

 But why, along with the saga goes the foundation myth. apparently the middle eastern oil potentates have decided that now is the time to bring the North American frack industry - which threatens to put them right out of business - to a grinding halt. This is to be accomplished by reducing the cost of imported oil so low that the fracked stuff can't compete. The frack industry withers-up and, after all the rig and corporate structure has been bankrupted into paper losses, the price will resume it's natural ascension.

 If the same logic wasn't also being applied to America's endeavor to knock Putin's 'Russian empire' for  six, it might be almost credible. But it all flies in the face of God and human nature. Ain't nobody that good, or that stupid. And believing that a gas glut, now, will somehow stop fracking, or even boiling oil out of tar sands, is playing with less than a full deck.

There is still a finite supply of oil on earth, and burning it is screwing up the planet's  ecosystem. That's the gospel here, the rest is 'ennertainment'.

What I think is going on is that the Saudis and the Emirates, which are phenomenally indebted to the World Bank, IMF and the USA, along with sitting on the 'rest' of their oil, are being threatened with the same sort of sanctions - for 'harboring' terror - as is Russia, Syria, Iran et al -  with the essential difference being that sanctions WILL hurt Arabs, who spend a considerable amount of time and money in the west. The Arabs are just 'backing their friends in the west', again, this time with more substance than form.

The question is how long can it go on? And how much 'collateral damage' will be done to 'the innocent'? The bottom line for oil-producing nations is that the thirst for oil isn't being depleted by feeding it the cheap stuff first. Inevitably when the 'good stuff ' runs short,  the market for the second-rate product will rise to make it 'worthwhile' again. What isn't sold-off cheap, will be available to sell-off at a better price. That includes fracked fuel, the hard-to-recover  or  the 'dirty' stuff.

Or at least that's what they say about supply and demand  in "Economics for Dummies".

Fill-up cheap while you can. Don't think of the poor starving Russians, they certainly aren't thinking about you.

Happy Maidan to You

Victoria Nuland could have said it any better .... to Chevron.

This from the little lady who, almost single-handed, launched $6 billion dollars worth of the kind of 'assistance' that makes America great.

Some of America's 'investment' in EUkrainian freedom probably did do some good, somewhere, but if it's like any of the close to two trillion dollars the US has spent since 2001, nobodies know where it's all gone. The best places to look for the 'benefits' are in outback Montana and the ski zones of Utah, Cabo San Lucas, Panama, Costa Rica, Uruguay and the Dalmatian coast. America has made some wealthy people filthy rich. Including a few in Ukraine

                 Montenegro Y.C.

A year ago the three-times elected President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich 'welched' on a potential deal with the EU that would have seen an infusion of a paltry $15 billion dollars to prop-up the 'zombie' of what used to be a fairly-healthy country. Along with the 'deal' were a number of 'austerity' measures designed to make sure Ukrainians serviced their debt, before they serviced themselves. If there hadn't been a Maidan about 'joining Europe', there would have been a Maidan about losing the pensions and trimmed government salaries.

At the same time, the Russians were offering $15 billion without the strings. But that was a stop-gap and an "insult to the nation", one that 'real' Ukrainians could not stomach. It promised nothing but more of the same.  A revolution was required. This time, one with imported flowers.

So as winter morphed into deep winter, the smoke rose from an increasingly violent Maidan until gunshots resulted in about 100 dead - the "heavenly Hundred' - Yanukovich 'fled' east and the 'appointed' government of old pols and Maidan 'leaders' took over - hailed by the USA and the west, as Ukraine's new voice of freedom. Within  days the 'twins' - Prime Minister Yatsenuk and President Turchynov - who had floated to the top - started ruling by decree.

                                    "America's choice - Yats and Turchy"

One of the first decrees blamed all the trouble on 'Russians', outlawed the language and effectively introduced a second-class citizenship. Crimea, largely-populated by potential second-class citizens,  voted to leave Ukraine and asked to be received into the Russian Federation. The 'interim' government blamed this on Russian troops rather than the Russian majority and when similar separatist sentiments 'caused' increasing violence in the eastern cities, the 'interim' government declared a 'war' on (Russian) terror and ordered a mobilization.

Historically the revolution was 'in danger' and the people needed to be 'leveed en masse' to defend 'liberte, egalite and fraternite'. The tanks rolled east in May.

Since then a tentative advance, in some places stopped by local citizens reprising a Chinese road-block,  turned into a 'drive-by shooting' experience when 'nationalist', and fascist, militias 'took the lead'. Much of the east was 'liberated' before the Kyiv forces closed-in and virtually encircled Slavyansk and other towns in the east. A period of shelling resulted in the retreat of eastern forces. Battles for regional airports at Lugansk, Slavyansk and Donetsk were fierce and, in the latter case, turned into in a long destructive slog. That one is 'on-going'.

By July the rebels had started fighting back, trapping some Ukrainian units against the Russian border and embarrassing them with some notable raids and strikes. At the end of August a 'counter-offensive' trapped a number of Kyiv forces in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas. Some surrendered, some were destroyed and some broke out to flee west. A new front was opened along the Azov littoral and Kyiv forces were driven back in a number of places, including around Mariuople.

The 'ceasefire' declared at the EU meeting in Wales, provided an opportunity for the Kyiv forces to withdraw for replenishment, the creation of newly-drafted units and the replacement of destroyed materials. The army was redeployed to the east by the end of October. To-date it is reported to be 'digging-in' to await the 'Russian offensive'. Like the related 'Russian invasion' one shouldn't hold one's breath. Shelling continues from both sides and small scale raids will probably dominate the winter months.

                     Xmas 'tankov' . Slav'Eukrainie!

Who knows what Springtime will bring but it's highly unlikely the Kyiv forces will improve during a winter at the front.

'Torcher' and 'Bus-tossin 101' - the Sophomores Take America!

It's out and it's 'transparent'.  All 500 pages - or whichever ones haven't been 'redacted', or withheld, or censored -  of the 'executive brief',  of a more substantial report, on America's torturing terrorists.

The Congress wrote it, the White House read it, the forces o'justis got to delete, or black out the parts (starting on the front cover)  that would have 'sapped America's strength'. And now the mall-trotters get to watch everybody important sucking their teeth and allowing as to how torture 'isn't a national value' and maybe we shouldn't do that any more, but how things were so bad back then, that extremism in defense of liberty was no vice  - to paraphrase Barry Goldwasser. Or 'crime' for that matter, either.

Leading the counterattack is 'the best Veep money could buy' - the 'Dickmeister' Cheney - who would do it all again 'in a heartbeat' or even faster. The report according to him is "full of crap" - I''m inclined to believe him, for even if it was fiction, it doesn't describe America's better moments. More like what would happen of frat house hazers and the school bullies were given awards for what they do. Let's face it though, the 'real American' part was trying to 'reinvent' torture - which according to Hollywood, has been around for millennia - as a 'scientific' discipline, or a subject for Psych 201 term papers.

It turns out, lacking the obviously repellent detail,  that a couple of US Air Force psych Majors (literally) got a little 'out of hand' on some desensitization survival training and something like the 'experiment' from  Ghostbusters took place - i.e. people got 'shocked and awed' for little or no reason - a lot. For their services, a grateful nation was prepared to pay them - and their private consulting corporation - some 120 million smackeroos. But they were only paid $81 million before the wheels came off their cart. Enough for each of them to build the home of their dreams and retire on their 'service pensions'. The two have been 'outed', in a show of good faith. But the same mechanism that stopped them from being 'overpaid', also stops them from being prosecuted. They have  better immunity than somebody who found the hidden idol.

I post their photos as example of the kind of non-monsters who approach torture the same way most people approach a pizza.

Mitchell on the left a 'defrocked' Mormon bishop lives in Florida, Jensen on the right has a multimillionaires' mansion somewhere the cowboys live.

If there's anybody to be blamed, these two 'bozeaux' are it.  They took taxpayer money for what turned out to be 'bad intel'. But, hey, they've already been pardoned. So good luck trying to 'go after' the good guys.

The media has been having a field day over it all and public opinion is divided between 'necessary evil' and 'they deserve everything they get'. One of the feast-makers, Big John Brennan, head of the CIA and master-planner of the faery-feller's masterstroke in Kyiv,  after declaring a couple of  'eus culpas' on behalf of the CIA has stated that the time has come to 'put it all behind us' and move on with the national business of voting the necessary appropriations to keep the government  payroll keeping America safe. It's done. Over.  Nothing to see here. Move along.

 What seems apparent is that - for all the negativity, and cost and effort - the whole exercise was relatively fruitless. No demonstrable terrorism was stopped, no evil-doers caught, you can't say that vic'try was attained. And to-day someone is even saying that,  for all the torture, there isn't an iota of proof that Al Qaeda attacked the Twin Towers like we thought they did.

AQ didn't do it?