Saturday, January 24, 2015

North Dakota losing 20,000 oil field jobs: What it means

The reason we have cheap oil is because the Middle East, notably Saudi Arabia, continues pumping it. The estimated extraction price of Saudi oil is $1-$2, with a break even price around $4 a barrel.

NO U.S. producer can compete with that. No other world producers can compete with that. Even the other adjoining countries like the United Emirates have a break even price of around $15.

It's stupid to keep pumping oil, it is stupid to keep using petroleum energy (or even coal energy) with those basic economic facts. There is no effective competition possible.

Instead we should be using the period of low energy costs to make a more rapid transition to cheap renewables, like solar and wind. This notion of 'all of the above' energy sources makes no sense whatsoever. While we make such a change, we should be upgrading our energy grid, which is of poor quality and vulnerable, not to mention that we lose a tremendous amount of energy loss in distribution as pure waste, averaging 6% of generated electricity, for example.

Citypages ran a recent article on the expected loss of 20,000 jobs, by June, in the North Dakota oil fields, aka the Bakken oil fields. It's really more like two relatively adjacent fields, the Parshal field and the Bakken field, which are part of the Bakken formation. Then there is the layer of oil below that, the Three Forks formation. There are other layers above and below the US layers, which overlap into Montana and into Saskatchewan, Canada.


For purposes of this post, we're talking about the top layer, the Bakken layer, which is regular surface drilling, where other layers like the Three Forks are shale fields of oil. This matters because of the difference in the cost of extraction. The top layer, the Bakken, is the easiest to extract and therefore the cheapest. That production is still profitable to the Saudis, while it hurts other producers, notably here in the U.S., but also in their enemy rivals like Iran (that pesky Sunni-Shia conflict).


The break even cost of Bakken field oil is around $40 a barrel, give or take per this from Reuters, with overall U.S. break even costs running closer to $60. That's on par with deep oil extraction off the coast of Africa. The UK remaining North Sea oil is also relatively difficult to extract, running around $50 a barrel.


Shale oil costs more than extracting oil closer to the surface; tar sands costs more than that -- and has higher transportation and refining costs as well.


The North Sea oil producers are cutting an expected 300 jobs, largely due to low oil prices. And that's for more desirable, more easily refined oil, not tar sands garbage oil.


We're not going to see a rise in prices this year, and we're unlikely to see prices anywhere near what it takes to make tar sands oil -- with a break even price in the $70 - $80 range or higher -- any time soon, if EVER. That is in part the intention of the Saudi oil producers, along with a little targeted economic war on oil speculators.


The Keystone XL is a pipeline that will do one thing, and one thing only, privatize profits (if any) and shift to the public, aka socialize liabilities, costs and losses. Only the seriously ill-informed, the chronic teabagging ignorati, and those easily deceived and exploited support this activity. This is a great opportunity as well to break the choke hold of this special interest on our politics, and get this corruption OUT NOW.


It's not going to produce jobs; not so long as Saudi oil is coming out of the ground at $1 a barrel. Rather it is only going to perpetuate us being over that Saudi barrel if we continue this fossil fuel insanity and stupidity.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Constitutionalists and the rule of law.

Most people who describe themselves as "Constitutionalists" need to understand EXACTLY what it is they claim to support: especially if they believe that have any form of "right" to insurrection.  Article III, Section iii makes it clear that position is bullshit (as does various other passages in the Constitution):
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment also makes it clear that:
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

For a subset of this group of Constitutionalists which calls itself the "oathkeepers"  needs to be reminded that they are also subject to UCMJ if they are in the military.  The UCMJ  has sections which strictly prohibit many things done by the right. One is showing contempt toward the President (and other government officials):
10 U.S. Code § 888 - Art. 88. Contempt toward officials
 Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
There is also 10 U.S. Code § 894 - Art. 94. Mutiny or sedition
(a) Any person subject to this chapter who—
(1) with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuses, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny;
(2) with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of lawful civil authority, creates, in concert with any other person, revolt, violence, or other disturbance against that authority is guilty of sedition;
(3) fails to do his utmost to prevent and suppress a mutiny or sedition being committed in his presence, or fails to take all reasonable means to inform his superior commissioned officer or commanding officer of a mutiny or sedition which he knows or has reason to believe is taking place, is guilty of a failure to suppress or report a mutiny or sedition.
(b) A person who is found guilty of attempted mutiny, mutiny, sedition, or failure to suppress or report a mutiny or sedition shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.
18 U.S. Code Chapter 115 addresses treason, sedition, and other subversive activities with 18 U.S. Code §2385 specifically prohibiting advocating the overthrow of the US Government.  These specific laws would be in line with Article III, Section iii of the Constitution.

And I have yet to see a "Constitutionalist" show me where exactly the Second Amendment happens to explicitly repeal Article III, Section iii.  We can also add that the Constitution was partially a reaction to Shays Rebellion.

The really big point that "constitutionalists" fail to understand is that they are bound by the laws which have been made in accordance to the Constitution. If they believe the laws were not lawfully enacted, then they are to use the proper constitutional framework, which is not rebellion, but the courts and legislature.

That what is meant by the rule of law:  The US is a nation of laws, not people. Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution states:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

The problem is that we have seen people who claim to believe in the US Constitution who fail to understand basic concepts such as the Feds can regulate Interstate Trade (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3), yet we have seen silly and futile attempts to thwart this by the right.

In short, people who call themselves "Constitutionalists" need to bone up on what exactly they claim to believe in.

See also:

Jobs? WHAT jobs - India steel workers jobs? Lower oil prices? WHAT lower oil prices -- for China?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Republicans/Convervatives AGREE, Man Contributes to Climate Change.. well, sort of..

Today, the US Senate took several "historic" votes.   The first, comical one, was taken to agree it's actually happening, that the fact that the Earth is warming and that the warming is "Not a Hoax."  Wow.. talk about taking a real risk AND an important vote... I mean, there is no evidence at all that the Earth is NOT warming, and mountains that it is.  No respected scientist claims or has proof it isn't warming, 100,000 DO have facts to show that it is, because we have records from sources which are unquestionably reliable from all over the world from the past 150 years, that in fact the Earth is substantially warmer than it was when we started keeping records of these temperatures on a global basis, and further we know it has been warming for decades.  Unless you think people taking measurements in the 1850's were "in on the conspiracy" to claim the Earth was warming 150 years later, a conspiracy which has been claimed to exist btw, or you think that mercury thermometers somehow worked differently in 1910 than they did in 2010, there IS NO CONTROVERSY in the scientific world, even the world paid for by the Oil and Coal industry "think tanks", about whether the Earth is warming.  Zero, zip, zilch.

Maybe tomorrow they can vote on whether gravity will cause you to fall downward.  I have friends who would dispute that point, if told to by their political "thinkers."

So that 98-1 vote is admitting to nothing.   It's hilarious that it was even taken, of course except that SO VERY MANY conservatives DO think the Earth isn't warming.  They commonly and snarkily remark, "Must be Global Warming" whenever the thermometer dips below zero, indicating both a deep-seated and factually empty skepticism that it's even happening at all AND a lack of grasp of the difference between weather (the immediate meteorological conditions in the area) and climate (the general, seasonal and annual prevailing meteorological conditions over time).  So, it was a meaningless and embarrassing vote for the United States Senate, in that our nation is a laughingstock that 30% (or so) of it's people are so ignorant that they think Climate Change isn't happening at all.  So, apparently, we need our Senate to vote to say it is happening to show that, at least for US Senators there is no question that it is and they have to be more honest than their ultra-conservative friends, because Senators represent entire states rather than highly partisan districts of ignorant fools, and by doing so, maybe, just maybe, the rank and file will stop and say,"Oh, I guess it's happening." Yeah, that's gonna' happen.  As a side note, I have to wonder who the hell voted to say it WAS a hoax. I'm sure I can find out, and then laugh like hell at the state which voted in that toolbag.

(Update, it was Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, a state which has been last in education since I was born, and so, many also still believe the Earth is flat).

But, more importantly, the Senate ALSO took votes today, votes which failed on 59-40 line votes, that MAN is causing, or SIGNIFICANTLY causing Climate Change.  Do you hear that Paleoliths?  MAN is causing it, even SIGNIFICANTLY, so says 15 members of your own party's Senators.  Now, don't get me wrong 15 out of 55 being able to agree that when 99% of science says something, it's pretty likely to be true, isn't something to pin a medal on anyone over, but it's still a pretty big moment, an historic one to a degree, because it can be used to beat neo-cons over the head with, even though the vote was symbolic nonsense. You have, now, finally, members of the Party ("cult") of Stupid Climate Change Denial (SCCD), who have agreed it is in fact significantly caused by man.

Well.. except, not so much.  You see, the reason they did so, was that if the bill had passed, it would have funded the KeyStone XL (needless) pipeline.  It would have funded a pipeline to increase the use of the same fossil energy sources as the bill decries must be stopped being used.  So, they voted to fund the EXACT thing they were, in that vote, saying MUST BE STOPPED.  So, this was absurd, hypocritical, special interest backing political theatre.  I neither think my "friends" like Mitch Berg nor David Strom are going to start saying that Global Climate Change is occurring, nor, as clearly evidenced by the vote, do I think Republicans have ANY intent to do anything about it.  So these votes, these "important" votes, schedule by the Republican Majority Leader (Mitch McConnell) were nothing other than a waste of money and time.  Rather than doing something important, once again Republicans are showing their stripes by showing they intend to do little and less to address the fundamental problems facing this country.  As an aside, they cancelled a vote in the US House this morning, one which would have easily passed, to ban all  abortion after 20 weeks.  You women out there who think Republicans are not misogynist, think again. No votes on infrastructure, no votes on higher education funding, no votes to move our country forward on a real energy policy. Nope, just subterfuge intended to make it seem like they are moderate (when they aren't), to mask their actions to fund a pipeline which has no real positive economic impact except to the ultra-wealthy.  Nothing new, they are a party whose leadership and policies are set by the Rich, of the Rich, and for the Rich.  Those of you out there who vote for them who have a net worth less than $50m are easily deluded pawns, and when your kids ask you why you did nothing to try to address the destruction of the American farm belt as it slides inexorably into being an arid plain incapable of supporting cash crops, you can at least say, "Hey, Donald Trump is a winner, and whiners like you are just bitter.  Eat your dust and shut up.  NO, there's no (safe) water to drink, but at least we've got oil."

Republicans came a bad second in the SOTU -- their choice

Good point!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Joni Ernst, following in Michele Bachmann's fact free cray cray footsteps

Of course, because she's a woman, they also had a lot of conservative men give rebuttals, because you know -- conservatives don't put much stock in what women have to say, or women generally.