Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Monday, March 30, 2015

SDR FUNDAMENTALS & FUTURE ANNOUNCEMENTS



READ MORE

Xi eyes China-Australia FTA this year

READ MORE

There's a Reason the Big Banks Aren't Mad with Hillary And Why Those Emails Matter by John Atcheson


Right now in Hillary’s camp, they’re going through tortuous spin doctoring – with advisors like Larry “repeal Glass-Steagall” Summers exerting huge influence.  How and why this guy or anyone like him has any clout is a mystery – unless, of course, your real intentions are to continue to treat Wall Street as your patron.  And Hillary is doing everything she can to avoid answering that question. She consistently tries to keep us from knowing who she is and what she stands for.  She campaigns by “listening” and speaks only after developing a spinned up version of her “positions” designed primarily to give her flexibility to do whatever the hell she wants to do.

READ MORE

TPP: Wyden Shows Connection Between Rigged Trade and Rigged Government

READ MORE

fracking and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, et al

last week, in reporting on the push in the Senate to overturn the 40 year ban on crude oil exports, we stated that if there's one policy change that will bring fracking back with a vengeance, it would be to allow domestic drillers to sell their crude overseas, and then cited the two trade deals currently being negotiated in secret by the Administration as the greatest threat that that might come about, because not only will these agreements allow for oil and gas exports, they effectively mandate those exports, giving the signatories equal claim to our oil and gas resources as our own citizens, and superseding domestic energy policy and protections currently in place...it was pure coincidence that a draft chapter of one of those secret agreements, the Trans Pacific Partnership (usually just "the TPP"), being negotiated with Japan and 12 other countries was released by Wikileaks this past week, with the NY Times acting as their media agent in the US...

the Wikileaks page to access the document is here, and the purpose of the chapter they released is to establish the means by which a multinational corporation can get compensation from a signatory government if one of that government's laws interferes with the corporation's profits...it sets up a supra-national court under the World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body, whereby foreign firms can sue governments and obtain taxpayer compensation for whatever "expected future profits" that the government's law encumbered...the adjudication of these disputes would not be by elected officials of any of the signatory governments, but by a tribunal of international trade attorneys representing the multinational corporations....in effect, this trade agreement, and the similar trade agreement that we are negotiating with Europe, gives these world trade tribunals trump power over federal, state or local financial and environmental regulations, patent law, labor laws and worker safety rules, public health, anti-smoking legislation and drug laws, or any law that could be construed as interfering with corporate profits...

now, none of this is really new...even though congress has been kept out of the loop, this secret agreement has been in the works for 5 years, and rumors of the associated investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms have been kicked around the blogosphere for at least a couple of those years...as early as June 2012, these provisions led this agreement to be referred to by Lori Wallach at the Nation as 'NAFTA on steroids', a characterization that has stuck with many of the others who've written about it since...in fact, i thought these provisions were so well known that when i first saw the initial article about this in the New York Times this week, i wrote my favorite trade correspondent asking "did the NY Times just find this out?", not realizing that Wikileaks had actually released a new chapter about the creation of this mechanism and these tribunals...FYI, an earlier TPP chapter on the environment released by Wikileaks is here...

it's worth noting that similar investment protection mechanisms have also been applied under other trade agreements as well...under a trade agreement between Hong Kong and Australia, Philip Morris Asia successfully sued the Australian government over a law mandating plain cigarette packaging; under a Netherlands / Czech trade agreement, the Czech Republic was sued for refusing to bail out an insolvent bank that a Dutch investor had an interest in, and in an example the most relevant to our situation, Lone Pine Resources, a mostly Canadian fracker incorporated in Delaware, sued the government of Quebec under NAFTA for potential profits lost when they banned fracking under the St Lawrence River...under the provisions of this chapter of the TPP, the state of New York could be sued by the natural gas leaseholders in the Southern tier of the state who've been economically encumbered by the state fracking ban, Pennsylvania frackwater disposal operations could sue Ohio after being shut down for causing earthquakes in Trumbull county, and California oil companies could sue the counties who passed fracking bans last November...

even Frack Free Geauga discussed this agreement as early as April and May of 2013, when the Sierra Club released a statement on Japan's participation, warning that this trade pact would result in automatic exports of natural gas to countries in the trade bloc, when Asian prices at the time were five times US prices, hence raising domestic prices and resulting in an explosion of fracking for gas for gas in our area...despite lower prices overall, not much about that has changed since; as of this week, Japanese LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) import prices were at $13.77 mmBTU, and European Union natural gas import prices were at $8.27 mmBTU, while benchmark US natural gas prices at Henry Hub in Louisiana were $2.64 per mmBTU, and well head prices in some parts of Pennsylvania were below $1.50 ...you don't need to be a Harvard MBA to understand that US companies that are now shutting down rigs at those low domestic prices would ramp up drilling for the chance at unrestricted exports to those countries at their prices, and that when they're able to command more than 5 times as much overseas as here, domestic shortages will develop until such time as US gas prices rise to meet the international market...so not only will this agreement negate our environmental regulations, it will also be the impetus for higher domestic prices for oil and gas and increased fracking in even the thinnest bands of shale that have been ignored up till now...

as it stands now, the TPP is still being negotiated by the 605 corporate advisers to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and their counterparts from the other 12 nations, and as of Thursday Froman was quoted as saying "we can close this out in a very small number of months."...one stumbling block with Japan, New Zealand and possibly other countries is the possibility that any signed agreement might be altered once congress gets a look at it....to avoid that possibility, Obama has asked congress for "trade promotion authority" aka TPA or "fast track", wherein congress would allow the trade agreement to be completed and signed without any knowledge of what's in it...although Democrats in congress held this up last year, fast track has been used in the past to pass other agreements, such as NAFTA, so it's not out of the question...right now, the Republican leadership is lining up behind giving Obama the go-ahead, while some fringe tea party Republicans and progressives in Congress such as Sherrod Brown have voiced opposition...so fast track appears to be the line in the sand...if Obama gets that, a majority vote to approve the agreement without debate will likely be relatively easy...if he doesn't get fast track, then what's in the trade agreements will be exposed for public debate, and once it becomes known what's in it, it will be nearly impossible to pass with the 2/3rds vote needed for a trade treaty...so this is the time to call or write your senators and congressmen, if you're into that sort of thing, and demand they have a full hearing on these trade agreements, so we can find out what's hidden in the other 24 secret chapters written by the multinationals that have not yet been seen by congress or the public....because we strongly suspect that if these agreements pass, we'll be transitioning into a new era where governments are completely subservient to the global corporate oligarchy in a way that will make what we've seen with Citizen's United seem like child' s play in comparison...

NB: since there's more to this trade agreement than i could cover in my brief comments here,  i will include a few selected links to more below..

..........................................

a few quick notes on the other news of the week....as far as we know, there were just two derailments involving fossil fuels this week, and neither of them resulted in an explosion or loss of human life...in the first derailment incident, a train hauling methanol derailed outside of Valley Mills in central Texas, and a dozen cars, including 5 of the methanol tank cars, left the tracks, and two of those started leaking....ten nearby homes were evacuated, and Hazmat teams were called in to handle the cleanup...we have been unable to determine if the cars that leaked were the old DOT-111s or the newer, “safer” CPC-1232s...later, 27 cars of a coal hauling train derailed next to I-76 near Hudson Colorado and dumped tons of coal, making a terrible mess...cleanup crews were still working on the BNSF tracks a day and a half later when three cars of a 23 car Union Pacific train carrying fertilizer jumped the track nearby and damaged another 200 feet of Weld county track...

also as far as we know, there was only one fracking related oil spill this week, and once again it was in North Dakota, where a failed valve resulted in the release of 630 gallons of oil & 29,500 gallons of brine on to the site of an injection disposal well..both were said to be contained on the site, and all but five barrels (200 gallons) of the oil was recovered...

we had previously discussed West Virginia's plan to lease their land under the Ohio River for fracking, and hat deal has apparently been completed, as the Norwegian oil giant Statoil has agreed to pay an average price of $8,732 per acre to drill and frack under 474 acres of state-owned land under the river in Marshall and Wetzel counties; as you'll recall, the state boundary is on the Ohio side of the river...on the plus side for Ohio, Chesapeake Energy, who drills more wells in Ohio than the next 5 Utica shale operators combined, is cutting their 2015 capital spending budget by $500 million due to low prices for natural gas and liquids; that means they'll operate 25 to 35 rigs in 2015, down from the 64 rigs they ran in 2014..

it was only two months after gasoline prices fell following the Thanksgiving day OPEC meeting that American car drivers managed to return to their old gas guzzling driving habits...the latest report from the Department of Transportation found that vehicle miles driven increased by 4.9% to 237.4 billion vehicle miles in January over January from a year ago...this means that the 85 month American hiatus brought on by high oil prices in 2008 has ended and we have now set a new record for driving, covering 3.050 trillion miles on U.S. highways in the 12 months ending in January...in a similar vein, 40% of the increase in American's consumption of durable goods in the 4th quarter was for recreational vehicles and equipment..

US oil production saw the smallest increase in oil production in two months this week, as our oil production for the 3rd week in March averaged 9,422,000 barrels per day, up from the 9,419,000 barrels a day rate of the prior week, and 15% higher  than the 8,190,000 barrels per day that we produced in the 3rd week of March last year...nonetheless, our inventories of crude oil in storage reached yet another record, increasing by 8.2 million barrels from the previous week to 466.7 million barrels, 22% more than the 382,471 barrels of oil stored commercially in the US in the 3rd week of March a year ago, and more than 25% over our 5 year average...the weekly Petroleum Status Report (62 pp pdf) also showed that US crude oil imports averaged 7.4 million barrels per day last week, down by 104,000 barrels a day from our imports in the 2nd week of March, and that in the four weeks ending March 13th, US crude oil imports averaged over 7.3 million barrels per day, 1.0% lower than the same 4 week period last year...

in the week just ended, the count of rigs drilling for oil in the US fell by 12 to 813, while the number of active gas rigs fell by 9 to 233...with two miscellaneous rigs still active, that left the rig count as reported by Baker Hughes at 1046, down 21 from the week of March 20th and representing the least number of rigs shut down in any week since the week of December 5th...of those that were idled this week, 17 were engaged in horizontal drilling and 4 were vertical drilling rigs; over the past year, American drillers have stacked 761 rigs, and they're now operating 829 horizontal rigs, 399 less than a year ago, 148 vertical rigs, 240 less than a year ago, and 92 directional rigs, 122 less than the same week last year ...this week's shutdowns were widespread; of the major basins, only the Niobrara Chalk, which stretches over 5 states under the Rockies front range, saw as many as 3 rigs idled, while of the states, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alaska each saw 3 rigs idled, while Pennsylvania and Kansas both added a rig...north of the border, Canadian drillers shut down another 20 rigs, leaving them with just 120 rigs active..that's down from the 300 rigs they were running just 3 weeks ago...this week they idled another 12 oil rigs, leaving them with just 18, while they shut down 8 of the 110 gas rigs they ran last week, leaving 102...

additional references:

Wikileaks releases Trans-Pacific Partnership investment chapter

Thoughts About the Trans-Pacific Partnership - Joe Firestone

Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S.

Corporate Sovereignty Provisions Of TPP Agreement Leaked Via Wikileaks: Would Massively Undermine Government Sovereignty -

TPP vs. Democracy: Leaked Draft of Secretive Trade Deal Spells Out Plan for Corporate Power Grab

The secretive TPP scam -

TPP Corporate Insiders - (a list of 605 corporate advisers who have been allowed access to the TPP text, while the public and members of congress have been kept in the dark)

Thoughts About the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- Yves Smith

The New York Times Covers the TPP: A Commentary -- Joe Firestone

 

(the above was from my newsletter to our local fracking group emailed Sunday morning and was first posted at Focus on Fracking)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Juche in the United States: The Black Panther Party’s Relations with North Korea, 1969-1971 by Benjamin R. Young


Abstract
In 1969, the Black Panther Party (BPP) established a relationship with the North Korean leadership that was based upon the principle of self-reliance (under the rubric of the Juche ideology), the transnational goal of Third World revolution, and a mutual antagonism toward American intervention around the world. Although the U.S. government forbade its citizens from travelling to North Korea, BPP leader Eldridge Cleaver along with other Panthers bypassed travel restrictions and visited North Korea to join anti-imperialist journalist conferences in 1969 and 1970. In North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Panthers found a new ideology and a government that was critical of the U.S. government. The Panthers established an alliance with North Korean leaders who they recognized as an independent force within the world communist movement. They believed that the “Black colony” inside the United States could learn from the DPRK’s self-reliant stance in political, economic, and cultural matters. This study adds to recent scholarship on the global influence of the BPP and opens a new field of inquiry, as the BPP-North Korean relationship has not been analyzed in-depth.
Introduction

President Xi meets with Bill Gates


READ MORE

Saturday, March 28, 2015

China welcomes Netherlands, Brazil, Georgia to AIIB

READ MORE

Australia Has Decided to Join AIIB: PM

READ MORE

Clinton tells House panel she wiped her email server clean


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advised a House Select Committee on Friday that she permanently deleted all emails from the private server she used to conduct official business, apparently after she was first asked by the State Department to turn them over, the panel’s chairman said Friday.
In response to a congressional subpoena, Clinton also said she would not allow an independent third party to analyze the server.


READ MORE

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/03/27/261302/clinton-tells-house-panel-she.html#storylink=cpy