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A Quick Whirl Around the Mining and Fracking Worlds: 25 Nov 2014

By: KateCA Tuesday November 25, 2014 2:32 pm

Celebrate the cycle of life with a Hoop Dance accompanied by Jazz music, both unique to this country.

Today’s article is a combination of news items for both Mining and Fracking, beginning with Mining.  Next week, it’s back to the usual schedule (Mining on Tuesdays, Fracking on Thursdays).  

MINING THE EARTH

*AKThe Pebble Mine is back in the news as a federal judge “temporarily blocked” the EPA’s efforts to stop the mine, following Northern Dynasty Minerals’ objections to the process.

*KY.  A judge has ruled that the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is “so understaffed they can no longer effectively enforce clean-water rules.”  He also tossed a “$310,000 proposed agreement” between the E&E Cabinet and the Frasure Creek mining company—and ruled that certain environmental organizations be included in resolutions.

*NY. Hedge funds are reportedly betting on the failure of big coal in the US.  8 major coal companies, on average,  were down 29%  on the NYSE this year.   Hedge funds bet “against the stock and debt of mining firms . .  ., then snap . . . up the bonds when their prices fall as low as 40 cents on the dollar.”  When/if things improve, the funds will sell the mines at a profit.

*TX.  Parts of TX’s clean air plan have been rejected by the US Environmental Protection Agency.  which, instead, thinks TX should “require 15 coal-burning generating units at eight Texas power plants to install or improve controls that limit emissions of sulfur dioxide.”  TX’s Commission on Environmental Quality had proposed 2155 as the date for TX to have achieved clear skies.  Seriously.

*WV.  Massey Energy ex-CEO Don Blankenship, pleaded “Not Guilty” last week to federal charges of conspiracy, lying to investigators and not complying with safety and health regulations.  He was ordered to not contact family members of coal miners killed in the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine.  Possibility of 31 years in prison, currently out on $5 million bond.  Gag order imposed on Blankenship, mine-worker family members and lawyers.

*Africa.  Groupe Forrest International of Belgium “has consistently lied about the bulldozing of hundreds of homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo . . . and has denied justice to those affected”.  Groupe Forrest operated the Luiswishi copper and cobalt mine in Kawama, Katanga until 2012.  Apparently there is involvement of the state in the destruction and cover-up.

*Australia.   Gina Rinehart, head of Hancock Prospecting, has plunked down $10 billion to develop the Roy Hill iron ore mine.  She’s complaining about the “negativity” toward mining which, she says, is “critical to Australia’s future.”  Presumably her $10 billion investment means mining is critical to her future, too.

*Australia.  Pssst, Gina RinehartBIS Shrapnel, an “economic forecaster”, says mining investment in Australia is to take the worst fall ever, and soon.

*Australia.  Another mining mogul, Clive Palmer, ran for office in 2013 and allegedly misused in the process $12 million in Chinese-government funds meant for iron mine investment.   Why’d he do that?  He’s supposedly worth $1.22 billion, and he’s amusing himself these days by building full-sized replicas of Jurassic Park and  the Titanic.   He’s even named a political party after himself.

*China.  Following quickly on the heels of the G20 climate summit, China announced “it would cap coal use by 2020 [at] 4.2 billion tonnes”.

*China.  Iron ore’s down 48%, oil down 20%, coking coal down 20%, copper down 7%.  What a few months ago looked like great profits now looks like “a billion-dollar black hole” as China’s commodity prices nose-dive.

 

A QUICK WHIRL AROUND THE FRACKING WORLD

*USA.  The US Navy has announced it can turn seawater into fuel—at $3 to $6 a gallon!

*USA.  The “state department climate change envoy, Todd Stern, said the world would have no choice but to forgo developing reserves of oil, coal and gas” if global warming is to be stopped.

*USA.  Frac sand is all the rage as oil and gas companies race to use more of earth’s resources to extract a rapidly dwindling supply of other of earth’s resources.  They’re now doing “wider, shorter fracs, which require twice as much sand”, or about 4 million pounds of it per well.  Halliburton and Baker Hughes are reportedly hoarding the stuff.

*USA.  TransCanda “is in talks to get into the crude-by-rail business and will probably do so even if its long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline gets its U.S. permits next year”.  Getting into the “crude-by-rail business” is apparently occurring simultaneously with TransCanada breaking up its “pipeline and power segments.”

*USA.  Big news, as NRG “announced it plans to slash its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050.”  Apparently, there’s an overall two-prong strategy: rooftop solar, mega solar plants, offshore wind energy and energy storage development; and continued reliance on coal but coupled with carbon capture techniques.  What brought this on?  In part,  “pressure from young Americans and investors”.  You go, guys!

*CO.  Boulder County’s gas and oil fracking moratorium has been extended for another 3-1/2 years.

*GA.  Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline proposed: beginning in AL, going 196 miles through GA and on into FL, transporting 1 billion cubic feet of fracked natural gas per day.  Many major issues raised and explored, good analysis.

*IL.  New fracking rules were challenged by landowners, saying they were “procedurally flawed”.  A judge has denied the landowners’ attempts to suspend them, however, so IL will join the fracking fraternity.

*LA.  One dead, three injured about 12 miles out in the Gulf when an oil platform exploded.  Since the platform was idle at the time, there appeared to be no oil leakage.  Fleetwood Energy operation.

*MD.  Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is giving the go-ahead to natural gas fracking in western Maryland, “but only if energy companies adhere to what is described as the most restrictive public health and environmental safeguards in the country.”  Next year’s in-coming governor, Larry Hogan (R), is very fracking friendly.

*NC.  Among other objections to fracking, North Carolinians are concerned about the big truck traffic over some 60,000 miles of roads in the countryside that were originally built for small trucks and other farm traffic.

*ND.  Great NYTimes article.  “We’re outgunned, outnumbered and out-suited,” says Brenda Jorgenson, quiet protester, who keeps in her refrigerator 3 jars of black water from her kitchen faucet.  She attributes the cause to two fracking wells at the end of her driveway.  There’s a noticeable shift now in ND as negative consequences of all the fracking, drilling and transporting of oil mount up.

*NY.  A battle  underway in the Finger Lakes to halt “two proposed gas storage projects . . . [that would] ‘turn us into an extraction colony for investor profits.’”  Local residents, including 86-year-olds,  are peacefully protesting and being arrested.  Crestwood Midstream, out of Houston, wants to expand its use of salt caverns near the lakes for propane and butane storage.

*OH.  Both the industry and state government are filing lawsuits “raising a legal question: Who gets to say where fracking can happen?”   Five OH cities now ban fracking which seems to have become a bit of a problem to some entities.

*SD.  Greg Grey Cloud on why he sang a Lakota Honor Song in the balcony of the US Senate when the Keystone XL pipeline bill failed.

*TX.  “19 U.S. shale regions are no longer profitable”.  Nevertheless, Sandridge Energy and Goodrich Petroleum will continue to “pump more oil for less money so they can withstand the rout.”  Break-even map included.

*TX.  3.3 magnitude quake struck on the Irving-Dallas border.  Fracking-related?

*UK.  Oh, dear.  Just as the government rolled-out its campaign to convince everybody that fracking is their friend, the Green Party charges that “There’s no justification for using public money to help the fracking industry pull the wool over people’s eyes.  It’s another desperate attempt to quell legitimate public concern”, and so on.

*Austria.  While we’re gobbling down turkey in the USA, on November 27th, OPEC will be meeting in Austria,  “one of the most important OPEC meeting [sic] in years” due to plummeting oil prices.   Interesting statements from oil-producing nations included.

 

Cleveland Protesters Shut Down Major Freeway For an Hour

By: Ohio Barbarian Tuesday November 25, 2014 1:59 pm

Happening now, people protesting the Ferguson, Missouri, grand jury non-indictment are shutting down a major freeway near downtown Cleveland. In spite of the best efforts on the part of the local reporter to make it a race issue, most of the protesters are clearly white. So far, Cleveland Police are standing back and just observing. There’s no violence, at least not yet, but things are getting disrupted for sure.

More later as this develops.

<Update: The protesters left the freeway after an hour, apparently on their own volition. As for the police, no riot gear was in evidence; they just stood back and waited it out. How intelligent of them. If they had forcefully intervened, as some of the reporters seemed to be hoping for, there would have been violence and a lot of it.>

The Womb Lottery

By: Alan Grayson Tuesday November 25, 2014 11:56 am

I’m happy that President Obama finally has moved forward with immigration reform. But the six-year-long White House Bad Messaging Plague (WHBMP) continues unabated. We’re in danger of losing the public on this issue even before the first work permit is issued.

President Obama’s executive order removes the loaded guns pointed at the temples of five million human beings, who also happen to be undocumented U.S. immigrants. It is a sincere act of compassion and mercy that has eluded House Speaker John Boehner for years, Boehner’s utterly hypocritical nattering about the urgent need for immigration reform notwithstanding. If Boehner had ever looked up from his shot glass, he might have seen their sad eyes, and felt some urge to confer simple dignity on them.

But that’s not how the White House staff is telling it. Last night, I received the White House staff’s talking points, embargoed until 6 pm. (I received them at 6:03 pm, but nevermind.)

● The President will “help secure the border.” (This is the first thing – the very first thing! – that they said.)

● The President will hold undocumented immigrants “accountable.” How is he holding them “accountable” for entering or remaining in America without permission? By letting them stay.

● The President will “fix our broken immigration system.” How will he fix it? By not enforcing it.

● The President will “prioritize deporting felons not families.” Just as he has deported commas from that phrase, I guess. (Good alliteration, though.)

Please understand: I’m in favor of President Obama’s action – very much so. But this framing by the White House staff just . . . stinks.

Here is a test for you: Is there anything in these talking points that could not have come out of the Bush White House? Answer: No.

I’ve seen a poll or two in my life, so I understand that the terms “secure the border,” “accountability,” “fixing the broken [fill in the blank]” and “families” poll very well. Families, yay! Felons, boo! I’m very happy, and indeed relieved, that we Democrats now have established our bona fides as the anti-felon party.

I noted that the White House’s very lengthy (i.e., numbingly repetitive) talking points never mention Boehner or the Republicans – not even once. Instead, the White House extends its devastating six-year-long attack on “Congress,” which has succeeded in: (a) driving Congress’s approval rating down to single digits; (b) delivering the House to the Republicans in 2010; and (c) delivering the Senate to the Republicans in 2014. If some Higher Being did a retroactive global search and replace on every White House statement since Jan. 20, 2009, searching for “Congress” and replacing it in each instance with “Republicans in Congress,” Democrats would have supermajorities right now in both Houses.

Here is the basic problem: Fox News has gotten into their heads. If you think that the primary purpose of immigration reform is “securing the borders,” then your name is Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity, not Robert Gibbs, Jay Carney or Josh Earnest.

With all due respect, these White House staff talking points are a pitiful effort to put a right-wing mask on a left-wing policy – and a meritorious and virtuous left-wing policy at that. But as Professor George Lakoff has demonstrated, even when you rebut the right wing’s arguments, you’re inadvertently reinforcing them. (As he puts it, “Don’t think of an elephant!” You can’t. Once the subject of elephants comes up, you’re going to think about elephants, whether you like it or not.)

Look, this is important. The basic rules of existence for five million people are in play. Please, just this once, can’t we be progressives? What is so wrong with that?

Let’s try it this way: Every one of us draws a ticket in the womb lottery. Six Waltons had winning tickets; they were born billionaires. The victims of fetal alcohol syndrome have losing tickets; they suffer from terrible physical and mental disabilities.

There are seven billion people alive today. Only a quarter of a billion of them won the womb lottery, and they were fortunate enough to be born in the United States. Almost fifty million more worked the system well enough to acquire U.S. citizenship. But there are over ten million people who love America so much – so very much – that they left behind their communities, their families, their property, their jobs, and they came here or remain here without the permission of our government. They didn’t win the womb lottery, so it’s too late for them to be born here. They feel that they were born in the wrong country. Their passports are not blue. But they want to fix that problem. They want to make it right. They can’t be American citizens by birth, but instead, they desperately want to be American citizens by choice.

Isn’t that a good thing? That people love what we have created so much that they want to be a part of it, and contribute to it. This isn’t a threat, it’s a heartfelt compliment.

My mother is an immigrant. My grandparents were immigrants. We are all the sons and daughters of immigrants, and we are all the children of God. Can we please, please respect each other, and live together in peace and dignity?

Think of it this way: For whatever reason – lax enforcement of immigration laws, oppression in other countries, the need to survive, whatever – these five million people are our new sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law. The polite thing to do is to welcome them. Repeat after me: “Welcome to the American Family, and thank you for contributing to the American Experience.”

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson

Senator Schumer’s Chamber of Commerce Toadiness…

By: jaango Tuesday November 25, 2014 11:23 am

Senator Schumer’s Chamber of Commerce Toadiness   

New York Senator Chuck Schumer is attempting to rewrite his history for being ‘captured’ by the Wall Street crowd as well as the Chamber of Commerce, with his latest pronouncement in which he disagreed with President Obama.  And such Schumer has repeatedly proven himself to be a hypocrite, as well.  a hypocrite too.

To wit, the following from Bloomberg Politics.

“Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them” in electing Obama and a Democratic Congress in 2008 amid a recession, Schumer of New York said in a speech in Washington. “We took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem — health care reform.”

Schumer said Democrats should have addressed issues aiding the middle class to build confidence among voters before turning to revamping the health-care system. He said he opposed the timing of the health-care vote and was overruled by other party members.

 

When the Democrats, back cloak room of the Senate chamber discussed Card Check and subsequently, Obama tossed Card Check into the proverbial trash can, Schumer’s allegiance to the Wall Street Crowd as well as the Chamber of Commerce, knew of no upper bounds in gentility when it came to addressing the prevalent issues facing the Middle Class and the Working Class.  However, he sure knew of the lesser bounds in gentility, and thusly, showed his true colors for his newly acquired neo-liberalism and this from a former Progressive in the House.  And obviously, he learned much at the knee and during the  reign of now stellar Senator Hillary Clinton from New York.

And for those of us and who are the “minority” know well that Schumer’s the Big Dunce in American politics. As such, he knows no Shame. And New Yorkers should be embarrassed for having an iconic two-fer, Cuomo and Schumer. And yet, he’s ascended onto the Power Curve as the “messenger” for the Democrats, and this has irritated the hell out me, given that I am a staunch Democrat.

 Jaango

 

Methinks Robert McCulloch doth protest too much

By: Masoninblue Tuesday November 25, 2014 6:00 am

Cross posted from Frederick Leatherman Law Blog

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Good morning:

Prosecutor Robert McCulloch’s angry, defensive and crazy rant last night criticizing the media and the internet for allegedly whipping up public support for charging Darren Wilson with a crime for killing an unarmed Michael Brown raising his hands in the universal sign of surrender proved beyond doubt that he is unfit to hold the office of Prosecuting Attorney for St.Louis County.

He believed all along that Wilson was justified in killing Michael Brown and should not have been charged. His obvious bias in favor of Wilson, when considered together with the unlawful release of information that was presented in secret to the grand jury, reveals that Wilson did not need a lawyer because McCulloch was his staunchest defender.

Little wonder that Wilson, the cop who refused to fill out an offense report about the shooting, decided to waive his right to remain silent and testify before the grand jury.

The outcome was rigged from Day One and has no legitimacy.

Look at these photographs of the diminutive Wilson, who is 6’4″ and 210 pounds.

Notice in particular the incredibly nasty suborbital eye socket fracture.

The secret reverse star-chamber proceeding seasoned with selective leaks cooked up by McCulloch should be universally condemned.

Over Easy: Putting it all together

By: cmaukonen Tuesday November 25, 2014 4:55 am

Transmitter 1933

Went to Westside Market today to do my shopping for the next two weeks. I knew that Wednesday it would be a zoo, with tons of people doing shopping for Thanksgiving.  West 25th street paving was done so not so big a hassle driving it today. Much warmer with the temps in the 60s but off and on rain.

One of the members of our theatre group set up a private FB group for us all to exchange photos and stories and memories of when we were together putting on shows at the university and sometimes elsewhere.  A lot of them concerning how each of us had to often improvise and even make our own props. Or get the set to fit and work in the Science Auditorium, essentially a glorified, oversized janitors closet.

Amazingly we managed to get it all put together for opining night and nearly everyone said how fortunate they felt they were to have had the opportunity to do theatre there even though the facilities were crude at best. The experience had helped and empowered them once they were out in the real world. Such as this set for Journey’s End.

Despite this or maybe because of it, it was fun.

Kind of reminds me of after my father’s death and we had moved down to Florida. I had no money and my radio and electronic stuff was up north somewhere but neither my mother or I knew where. My father gave it to someone since he did not want to move all that stuff. So I was there with essentially nothing. I scavenged from behind TV repair shops for old junked TVs and radios and such. Removed the tubes and parts and built amplifiers and shortwave things on pieces of wood and such. Not unlike this.   But it was fun and like the theatre experience, I and everyone else learned a lot doing it.

And the satisfaction you get putting it all together.

 

Immigration problem solved: Israelis got dual citizenship so why not Mexicans?

By: Jane Stillwater Monday November 24, 2014 8:55 pm
     Currently Republicans have their knickers all in a twist with regard to illegal immigration from Mexico, right?  Well, I have the answer to that one.  Let’s just grant dual citizenship to Mexicans.  Then Mexicans in this country will no longer be illegal!  Problem solved.
     “But, Jane,” you might say, “if we do that, America will become overwhelmed and we will lose control of our country.”  Yeah.  That indeed could happen.  Just look what happened when we granted dual citizenship to Israelis.  They took over America quick as a wink.  You might have a point there.
     In 1967, Israeli leaders unilaterally gave the order to attack and destroy the USS Liberty — and our American leaders went along with that http://consortiumnews.com/2014/11/12/behind-the-uss-liberty-cover-up/.  At least Mexico has never attacked a US warship.  There’s that in Mexico’s favor, right?
     Almost no member of Congress and President of the United States has ever been elected in the last several decades without the backing of the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).  Imagine if Mexicans had their own AMPAC!  Yikes.  http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/us-media-erase-israeli-state-and-settler-violence
     Israel put pressure on America to make the decision to go to war with Iraq — and we Americans are still paying for that mistake.  And let’s also take a look at the Project for a New American Century, America’s current guidebook on how to screw up the Middle East.  At least half the people who wrote that damning document possessed dual citizenship with Israel.  And who benefited from all its resulting endless and bloody wars?  It wasn’t us Americans, no no no.  http://socialistworker.org/2014/11/19/israel-tightens-the-noose
     “But Jane, undocumented Mexicans are taking our jobs!”  Yeah well.  But dual-citizen Israelis are also taking our jobs too.  And our tax money.  And our weapons industry.  And our government positions.  And our real estate agents too.  Re-Max is now advertizing the sale of condos in the Occupied West Bank.  But if we gave dual-citizenship to Mexico too, then Re-Max could be selling condos in Occupied Juarez as well!  I’d buy one.  Would you?  http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/republicans-accuse-obama-of-treating-immigrants-like-humans?intcid=mod-most-popular
     “But what about terrorists?” you might ask next.  You’re right again.  That too could be a problem.  But it is also coming to light already that dual-citizen Israelis have been supporting the ISIS terrorist organization behind our backs all along.  And they still support ISIS.  http://news.antiwar.com/2014/11/17/mossad-backed-jundallah-pledges-support-for-isil/
   So if Mexicans also had dual citizenship, then their ISIS-like drug lords might come with that package-deal too, which would not be a good thing.  But surely an occasional drug-lord beheading south of the border can’t be as bad as the daily beheadings by ISIS, which are sponsored by the dual citizens of Mossad. http://www.globalresearch.ca/israeli-military-support-to-syria-al-qaeda-terrorists-operating-out-of-the-golan-hights/5369619

And then there are all those mass graves that have been recently discovered in Mexico.  According to an article in “The Nation” with the hilarious title of “This Mass Grave isn’t the Mass Grave you have been looking for,” journalist Greg Grandin states, “There were at least 26,000 disappearances and 83,000 homicides” in Mexico.  http://www.thenation.com/blog/190721/mass-grave-isnt-mass-grave-you-have-been-looking

109,000 dead in Mexico?  That’s a mere drop in the bucket in relation to population percentages when compared to the number of Palestinians that have been butchered and/or “ethnically cleansed” by Israelis in the past 60-odd years — almost 80% of all Palestinians.  http://www.democracynow.org/2014/11/19/palestinians_always_live_in_fear_jerusalem.

Mexican drug lords are almost puny when compared with Israeli warlords — who really think big. http://www.ifamericansknew.org/history/ref-nakba.html
2,133 Palestinians were murdered in Gaza just this past summer alone.  750,000 Palestinians were either murdered or driven off their land back in 1948.  At least 33 known mass grave sites of dead Palestinians have been found and there many more mass grave sites that are as yet unknown.  Along with the American Indian holocaust, the German/Polish/French Jewish holocaust, various African holocausts over the centuries and the Holocaust in Tibet, this Palestinian holocaust is one of the largest and most tragic in history (so far).

What has happened and is still happening in Palestine is very much like that nightmarish WW II ethnic cleansing of Germany, France and Poland.   And, like that earlier tragic time also, we hardly ever hear anything about this ethnic cleansing in the media either except from a few alarmists like me.  All we ever hear about here in America is when a few Palestinians struggle to fight back to protect their families and land — and then they are instantly labeled “terrorists”.  How come Jews in the Warsaw ghetto and Tibetans in Lhasa weren’t labeled “terrorists” too.

And how come no one in America ever hears about the Israeli Caliphate or the Israeli State in the Levant (ISIL) — like we constantly do about its nightmarish ISIS blowback.

All in all, I think that giving dual citizenship to Mexicans is a great idea.  Just look how well it turned out when we gave dual citizenship to Israelis!

Chuck Hagel an American Hero- “He took the job to end the war–not start another one,”

By: jbade Monday November 24, 2014 5:21 pm

One of the few surprises about the Obama Administration was the selection of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. Hagel’s record of challenging  Bush’s warmaking was one of the few bright spots for the antiwar brothers and sisters before, during and after the Iraq debacle. Hagel, a war veteran, was one of like three Republicans against the Iraq war, at the time most Democrats were still eating freedom fries.

The likely cause was stated by one of his close associates

From RT

“He took the job to end the war–not start another one,” this associate of Hagel said.

 

If this is true he is a hero. It would be right in character with the man. He wasn’t going to go along with increased/continued blood-lusting, it is the most logical conclusion.

The bad news, get ready to escalate in/on Iran, Syria, Ukraine, Russia,Yemen,Pakistan, Somalia, Venezuela,All of Africa, the South China Sea, Afghanistan,Iraq the Philippines- thank heavens Libya is to  destroyed to escalate in/on.

Best wishes brother Chuck, thanks for your efforts directed at the cause of peace and being man enough not to be a part of something so broken.