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Greta of Stockholm is on the March!

From Wiki on Greta:

"Thunberg says she first heard about climate change in 2011, when she was 8 years old, and could not understand why so little was being done about it.[11] Three years later she became depressed and lethargic, stopped talking and eating, and was eventually diagnosed with Asperger syndrome,[12] obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD),[12] and selective mutism.[12][13] While acknowledging that her diagnosis "has limited me before", she does not view her autism as an illness and has instead called it her "superpower".[13]"

Autism AND OCD!  What a combination!  She's a WINNER!


'This Is All Wrong,' Greta Thunberg Tells World Leaders At U.N. Climate Session

September 23, 201911:24 AM ET

Bill Chappell

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Greta Thunberg has a message for world leaders at the United Nations this week: "We'll be watching you." Speaking at the Climate Action Summit in New York, Thunberg added, "This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school, on the other side of the ocean."

But instead, Thunberg is trying to convince politicians to take climate change seriously, and to do something to stop a global warming trend that will affect the world's children more than it affects anyone who's currently in power.

In an impassioned speech, Thunberg told those who hold office, "you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams, and my childhood with your empty words, and yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing."
Young People Lead Millions To Protest Global Inaction On Climate Change
Young People Lead Millions To Protest Global Inaction On Climate Change
Greta Thunberg To U.S.: 'You Have A Moral Responsibility' On Climate Change
Greta Thunberg To U.S.: 'You Have A Moral Responsibility' On Climate Change

Saying that the world is now in the early stages of a mass extinction, Thunberg criticized those who still speak of the crisis in terms of money and economic growth.

"How dare you?" she asked again, growing increasingly emotional as the audience cheered.

Citing more than 30 years' worth of scientific studies and warnings that greenhouse gases and other factors were establishing a dangerous new environmental trend, Thunberg criticized politicians for not developing solutions and strategies to confront that threat.

"We'll be watching you," climate activist Greta Thunberg told world leaders Monday, speaking at the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City.
Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

"You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe."

Thunberg then drilled into one aspect of a current international plan, which includes the goal of cutting current emissions levels in half over the next 10 years.

But that plan, she said, only provides a 50% chance of keeping the warming trend below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

"Fifty percent may be acceptable to you," Thunberg said, before listing the many assumptions that underlie the estimate, and the challenges that could thwart success.

Energy / 🛢️ Oil Markets Are One Outage Away From Crisis
« on: Today at 08:46:45 AM »

Oil Markets Are One Outage Away From Crisis
By Nick Cunningham - Sep 22, 2019, 6:00 PM CDT

The supply disruptions in the oil market may not be over, despite volatility and prices easing in the days after the Abqaiq attack.

The repairs at the Abqaiq processing facility are on an extremely tight timetable. According to Bloomberg, Saudi Aramco had about 50 million barrels in storage within the country prior to the attack, plus around 80 million barrels at ports around the world (although not all of that is usable).

Aramco is determined to keep export levels from falling, choosing to draw down inventories to keep shipments unaffected. It is also opting to slash refining throughput by about 1 million barrels per day (mb/d), which will cut into product exports but will free up crude. One other strategy is to start up production at some offshore fields.

But Aramco vowed to make repairs and bring Abqaiq processing back to pre-attack levels by the end of September, which, at this point, is less than two weeks away. If repairs take longer, then there will be increased scrutiny on Saudi inventories, and any interruptions to buyers would have global impacts. “They probably have about one month of inventories,” Amrita Sen of Energy Aspects told Bloomberg.

It may take a few weeks before more is known. “A lot of October arrival barrels were already on the water so the hole is going to show up toward late October,” a European oil trader told Reuters. “There has been a mad scramble on the paper markets but the physical scramble will come later.”

There is also a growing skepticism that Saudi Arabia will be forthcoming about the true extent of the damage and its ability to turn things around. The “actual longer-term impact of the attacks on the Saudi oil infrastructure is still difficult to judge because the country is likely to play down any potential problems given the importance of its customer relations and the upcoming IPO of Saudi Aramco,” Commerzbank wrote in a note on Friday.
Related: Wealthy Saudis Are Being Bullied Into Buying Aramco

If Aramco loses its perception as a reliable supplier it would have severe implications for its valuation when the company goes public. Meanwhile, the FT reports that the Saudi government is bullying wealthy facilities into buying into the IPO to ensure its success. Riyadh is clearly concerned about the perception of Aramco in the wake of the Abqaiq attack. 

Also, news surfaced that Saudi Arabia might need to import oil to cover its obligations for customers, which raised questions about Aramco’s ability to keep exports level. Of course, there are going to be some quality issues with the type of oil sitting in storage and what was lost due to the Abqaiq outage, and it’s not uncommon for exporters to also import. But if one of the world’s largest oil producers and exporters is suddenly scrambling to import oil, that raises some red flags.

If they are indeed asking Iraq for oil, that “would suggest that the damage to the Saudi infrastructure is in fact greater and more lasting than the country is willing to admit,” Commerzbank said. For its part, Aramco denied having asked Iraq’s state-owned oil marketing company for oil.

Meanwhile, a raft of other supply outages could also disrupt the oil market, compounding the outage at Abqaiq. A little more than a week ago, Nigeria’s Bonny Light suffered yet another force majeure after disruptions at the Nembe Creek Trunk Line, which has been repeatedly targeted in the past few years.
Related: Is Libya Facing A New Oil Crisis?

Also, Reuters reports that Venezuela might see more supply disruptions as buyers steer clear of the country. With storage systems filling up, upstream output might need to be further curtailed. “Storage is almost at top capacity. We are just days ahead of being forced to shut production at some eastern oilfields,” a PDVSA executive said to Reuters. The Petropiar oil blending facility, in which Chevron is a co-operator, suspended operations. That cut production in half at an oil filed that feeds the facility, according to Reuters.

In Libya, battles over control of the National Oil Corporation are escalating. A subsidiary in the eastern part of the country is breaking away and could seek to export oil on its own. A tug-of-war over the legal authority to export oil has led to sudden disruptions in the past.

Then, of course, there is the possibility of a military strike by the U.S. or Saudi Arabia on Iran. It would likely be utterly catastrophic for all involved as it would dramatically increase the odds of an all-out war. Iranian officials have said as much. In a regional war, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which a much greater volume of oil production capacity is not knocked offline.

By Nick Cunningham of

Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel company, ceased trading on Monday morning with immediate effect and cancelled all future flights following a year of heavy financial losses.

Reports in the British media suggest that the total number of European passengers stranded is 500,000, with 350,000 Germans believed to have been affected by the travel company’s collapse.
(MORE: Oil prices jump by 20% after weekend attacks on Saudi facility)

Peter Fankhauser, Chief Executive of Thomas Cook, announced that the UK government’s official receiver had taken over the company this morning, after months of negotiations to save the 178-year-old business collapsed Monday.

“I know that this outcome will be devastating to many people and will cause a lot of anxiety, stress and disruption,” he told reporters. “First, I want to apologise to my 21,000 colleagues, who I know will be heartbroken. You all fought so hard to make Thomas Cook a success. Secondly, I would like to say sorry to all our customers, those who are on holiday with us now, and those who have booked with us in the coming months.”

 The U.K. government announced that there were over 150,000 people who were scheduled to return to Britain over the next two weeks. A joint operation between the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority and the government has been launched, codenamed Operation Matterhorn, which has seen dozens of chartered planes hired to return customers home free of charge from Monday.

The Transport Secretary, lawmaker Grant Shapps, said that Thomas Cook’s collapse was “very sad news for staff and holidaymakers.”

 “But the task is enormous, the biggest peacetime repatriation in U.K. history,” he said in a statement. “So, there are bound to be problems and delays. Please try to be understanding with the staff who are trying to assist in what is likely to be a very difficult time for them as well.”

The total cost of Operation Matterhorn is expected to reach $124 million, roughly double the cost of the last major repatriation involving a collapsing travel business, when Monarch Airlines ceased trading in 2017.

The government said that Thomas Cook’s financial problems were “substantial, long-standing and well documented,” and financial assistance would not have been enough to keep the company afloat. The BBC report that the government were asked to bail out the company with $310,000,000, which they refused.

Happy stranded touristas.  ;D

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Climate change: Did we just witness the beginning of the end of Big Oil?
Published Sun, Sep 22 2019 9:00 AM EDT
Eric Rosenbaum  @erprose

The short answer, of course,


Environment / Re: The Environment Board
« on: Today at 08:31:53 AM »

Plenty of moisture in the ground here despite lower than average rainfall. I am making preparations in case we have a hot dry summer.


Post some pics of your Doomstead!



Seven takeaways from a busy Democratic presidential campaign weekend in Iowa
By Reid Wilson - 09/22/19 07:23 PM EDT

About four and a half months before Iowans caucus together one night in February, the candidates who want their votes hosted dozens of events around the state as a new poll showed a race in flux.
Here are seven things we learned from a busy weekend in Iowa:
Warren is the front-runner
A new Des Moines Register/CNN poll conducted by Iowa polling guru Ann Selzer shows Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) leading the Democratic field, the first time one of Selzer's polls has shown anyone ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden.
But Warren is more than just the front-runner in the Iowa Democratic caucuses. She's positioned to be the front-runner in the whole race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
What made Warren the leading contender in Iowa, even before Selzer's poll, was her slow and steady rise – and the room she has left to grow. Momentum matters in politics, and Warren has spent nine uninterrupted months building hers.
Look beyond the top-line numbers, which have Warren leading Biden by a statistically insignificant 2 percentage point margin: Seventy-one percent of Iowa Democrats say Warren is either their first choice, their second choice, or that they are actively considering supporting her. That's 11 points higher than Biden, 16 points higher than South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and, crucially, 21 points higher than Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Warren's biggest rival in the progressive lane.
Selzer calls that combination – first choice, second choice plus actively considering – the "candidate footprint," a way to measure support that reflects the fluid nature of a caucus in which voters can pick different candidates in different rounds. That Warren has the largest footprint is important at this stage of the race, she said.
"The footprint signals upside potential," Selzer said in an email.
It might seem premature to call Warren the race's overall front-runner, but history is on her side. The last four winners of the Iowa Democratic caucuses won the party's presidential nomination.
Iowa is make-or-break for a growing number of candidates
Kamala Harris has joked about moving to Iowa. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) pretty much has moved there. Former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) has camped out there for more than a year.
For all the talk of a nationalized election and a long, drawn-out fight for the Democratic nomination, Iowa is becoming a make-or-break state for a significant number of candidates.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has to do something in her neighboring state. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) has already spent much of his campaign's war chest on television spots in Iowa, apparently to little effect. And Bullock is clear his chances rest on a strong Iowa showing.
Iowa can launch a president. It can also end a bunch of dreams. This year, more than any previous year, Iowans are going to severely narrow a record-size Democratic field.
Warren is still growing, others aren't
At this weekend's Polk County Democratic Party Steak Fry, a massive picnic that drew every major candidate and thousands of Democratic activists, Warren was one of the few contenders who didn't lead a massive parade onto the pitch. Instead, her team spent time organizing some of the 12,000 attendees who showed up – and, of course, she took selfies. More than a thousand, according to her campaign.
Selzer's poll showed Warren is seen favorably by 75 percent of the Democratic electorate, a larger slice than anyone else in the field. Almost 70 percent see Buttigieg in a favorable light, two-thirds see Biden favorably, and both Harris and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) crack the 60 percent mark.
But Warren was one of the few candidates who saw her favorable ratings rise, up 12 points since March.
Biden's favorable ratings have dropped 15 points since March, when he first announced his campaign. The number of Iowa Democrats who see him unfavorably has doubled to 29 percent.
Sanders has fallen too, from a 70 percent favorable rating in June to 58 percent today. His unfavorable ratings, 36 percent, are the highest numbers of any of the top-tier candidates.
Several contenders haven't seen their reputations grow over the crucial summer months. Harris, Bullock, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) all saw little movement in their favorable ratings over the summer.
Biden's biggest rival isn't Warren, it's Buttigieg
Several candidates have staked their campaigns on the hope that Biden collapses, putting a tranche of moderate Democrats suddenly up for grabs. Bullock, Klobuchar, Bennet and Delaney are circling like buzzards.
But they haven't caught on. Buttigeig has, and he's now the most pressing threat to Biden's campaign.
"Mayor Pete has become the mainstream alternative to Biden," said Jeff Link, a longtime Iowa Democratic strategist who is unaligned this year.
The young mayor is one of only two candidates, along with Warren, whose favorable ratings are higher than Biden's. More than half of Iowa Democrats, 57 percent, say they think someone who represents a new generation of leadership would make a more electable candidate than someone with a long history of serving in government.
And Buttigieg has grown as a candidate more than just about anyone else running this year. At this weekend's Steak Fry, Buttigieg drew some of the loudest and most sustained applause of any candidate, rivaled only by Warren.
Nationally, Biden has the largest share of the Democratic vote. If he falters, and his supporters look elsewhere, he need not fear Warren – he has to worry about Buttigieg, especially if Democratic voters are hungry for the generational change that the first post-Boomer president would represent.
Warning signs for anyone planning to attack Warren
One sign that Buttigieg increasingly likes his own odds is that he's slowly straying out of his lane, and engaging his more liberal rivals.
At this month's debate, he asked why candidates like Warren and Sanders, who back Medicare for All and an end to private insurance, don't trust voters to make their own decisions. He repeated that veiled jab at the Steak Fry in Des Moines.
But at a time when Democratic voters are desperate to nominate someone who can beat President Trump, they have showed little interest in rewarding candidates who attack each other. Buttigieg need look no farther than Harris and Castro, the candidates who went most aggressively on the attack on debate stages so far.
Castro launched a blistering broadside against Biden, suggesting Biden had forgotten elements of his own policy proposals in a thinly-veiled shot at the 76-year-old's age. Castro's attack was factually wrong, and politically costly.
Between Selzer's June poll and her September poll, Castro's unfavorable rating shot up from 13 percent to 36 percent. More than half of those who watched the last debate said they had an unfavorable impression of the former San Antonio mayor.
Harris was the first to attack Biden, during the first Democratic debate, about four weeks after Selzer's June poll was conducted. Since that debate, Harris's unfavorable ratings have risen 11 percentage points.
Buttigieg, Biden, or anyone lining up an attack on Warren or any other front-runner needs to be wary. No candidate has gotten away with an attack on another candidate without seeing their own numbers suffer as a result.
Democrats are fired up
In the week leading up to the Steak Fry, the most pressing concern was the weather. The forecast called for rain, and threatening clouds sat ominously over Des Moines on Saturday.
But Democrats showed up, in droves. Sean Bagniewski, the chairman of the Polk County Democrats, said the party had sold more than 12,000 tickets at $35 a piece, and they ordered more than 10,000 steaks from Hy-Vee (They also, for the first time, had alternative options on the menu for Booker and Gabbard, the two vegans in the race).
Democratic voters are motivated in the age of Trump. The party won back control of the House of Representatives on the strength of higher-than-expected enthusiasm in 2018. More than 3.3 million small-dollar donors have given a record amount of money to Democratic candidates in the first half of the year, and polls show historic levels of excitement.
The latest CNN survey, conducted by SSRS earlier this month, showed 71 percent of voters are either extremely or very enthusiastic about next year's elections. That's higher than the excitement levels the same poll found just before the 2016, and even just before the 2012 and 2008 elections.
An important caveat to those numbers: About equal numbers of Republicans (51 percent) as Democrats (47 percent) say they are extremely enthusiastic, suggesting the potential for a huge turnout in 2020.
But more immediately, Iowa Democrats are taking heed of turnout at events like the Steak Fry. The party is already planning for the largest-ever caucus turnout. They might want to plan for even more people to show up.
The unanswered questions
No wonder New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) ended his campaign on Friday. Not a single person told Selzer's pollsters they backed him as their first or second choice, and an incredible 54 percent of Iowa Democrats see him unfavorably.
Where's Cory Booker's surge? The New Jersey senator has 50 staffers on the ground in Iowa, he gets consistently strong reviews for his rousing stump speech, and his favorable rating is higher than all but four others. But he's yet to have a moment on par with Buttigieg's CNN town hall, or Harris's confrontation with Biden, or even Klobuchar's announcement-in-the-snow. And he's running out of time: Booker's campaign took the unprecedented step this weekend of suggesting he could drop out of the race if his numbers don't improve, quickly.
Speaking of Klobuchar, is she popping or not? Selzer's poll found the Minnesota senator clocking in at 3 percent of the vote, while a survey conducted for Focus on Rural America, a group Link runs, found her at 8 percent of the vote. Given another moment or two in the sun, Klobuchar has showed hints that she could become a serious thorn in Biden's side.


Climate change: Did we just witness the beginning of the end of Big Oil?
Published Sun, Sep 22 2019 9:00 AM EDT
Eric Rosenbaum  @erprose

EA: Exxon Mobil gas pumps in Florida ahead of Hurricane Dorian
Out of service fuel pumps are covered in plastic wrap and tarps at an Exxon Mobile gas station.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Key Points

    The energy sector is notorious for booms and busts, but oil and gas stocks’ weighting in the S&P 500 has not been this low since as far back as 1979.
    Investors have lost faith in oil companies, but it is not yet clear whether that is a permanent change caused by fear of increasing advances made by renewable-energy sources like wind, solar and electric batteries, or a temporary reluctance to invest caused by low oil prices.

Is the oil barrel half empty or half full? In the past week you had your pick of answers to choose from, and they were bookended nicely from the week’s beginning to its end.

The missile and drone attack on the largest Saudi Arabian oil-refining operation, which resulted in the largest single-day gain for crude oil ever on Monday, reminded a world that had gone a long time without a geopolitical shock how central the role of oil remains.

By Thursday, though, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — a man whose every latest decision is equated with doom for whoever is on the other side of the competition — announced his company would reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement goal. Bezos said 10,000 electric-delivery vehicles will be on the roads in just three years (2022) and 80% of Amazon will be operating on renewable energy by as early as 2024. By 2030 all of Amazon and 100,000 delivery trucks will be 100% powered by renewable energy. On the same day, Google announced it was investing $2 billion in new renewable-energy projects, a record corporate purchase.

One day later millions around the world took to the streets — including Amazon and Google employees — in a climate strike ahead of UN Climate Week. “The plain truth is that capitalism needs to evolve if humanity is going to survive,” Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario wrote on LinkedIn.

You could add the fact that Duke Energy — the largest utility in the U.S., which for years had resisted renewables — announced this week that it would reach an interim target of 50% carbon emission reductions by 2030, 100% by 2050. Or that Daimler, credited with inventing the modern gasoline engine, announced it will cease all research and development related to internal combustion in favor of electrification.

And that was just one week.

For more on iconic global companies and executives embracing change and transforming for the future, join us live on Sept. 24 in Chicago at CNBC Evolve, a summit for business decision makers seeking to innovate.

But none of this week’s events mean as much to the energy market as two recent milestones in the S&P 500. These stock market technicals did not make as much noise but speak volumes about crude oil.

Exxon Mobil dropped out of the S&P 500′s top 10 stocks for the first time in nine decades, and the energy sector weighting in the S&P 500 hit a low of roughly 4%. Yes, oil and gas is a boom-and-bust sector and its valuation can be volatile, but the sector has not had a weighting this low based on S&P 500 data in four decades.

That poses a question that no one can answer with conviction, but it won’t be going away: Are we beginning to see signs of the end of Big Oil as an investment stalwart, regardless of what’s still sitting in the underground reserves around the world?
Some investors are losing confidence

Sam Margolin, managing director and senior analyst at Wolfe Research covering energy sector stocks, said with some investors the oil industry has become its own hurdle, and the general fear about where the world is heading supersedes the need to be certain about a peak oil timeline.

“To the extent anyone says, ‘I can’t look at the sector because I have no long-term confidence in oil as an energy source,’ what is interesting about those comments is that the time frame is not relevant. Someone will say, ‘Oil will be used in 10 years but I don’t know about 20 or 50.’ It is just at some point in the future it will be out of the mix, and that’s a hurdle to overcome, and there are investors like that. It’s not universal, and there are just as many people on the other side who say the next shortage will come sooner than anyone expects.”

One way to discount any correlation between the sector’s S&P 500 decline and general investor souring on energy is to focus on how big the technology industry has become. As the weighting of the biggest U.S. tech companies have grown and consumed more of the total market return, other weightings decline.

Over the past five-year period, 30% of the S&P 500 return was generated by the five biggest technology stocks — Alphabet, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.

“The rest of the market has been getting bigger and leaving energy companies behind,” Margolin said. “The market cap of Exxon Mobil is not lower than it was 20 years ago. It is just that the rest of the market has tripled.”

The stock market weighting is not the only place where this shift from energy to tech is evident. In 1982, when the Forbes 400 list was first published, 89 of the 400 richest Americans had made their fortunes in oil. By 2018, 59 of the Forbes 400 had made their fortunes in technology, including six of the top 10, Bezos among them.

But oil has been down before, just never by this much in the S&P 500.

“This is not the first time oil prices have been in the $50–$60 range, and yet the energy weighting is significantly less than it had been in the past,” said Stewart Glickman, energy analyst at CFRA. When oil was trading between $50 and $60 during 2005 and 2006, the world was a different place. “Now alternative energy is a threat. It is still not a threat that renewables in a really significant way are taking over for fossil fuels,” he said, noting that the intermittent generation of solar and wind and scaling of energy-storage solutions remain challenges. “But people are worried,” Glickman said. “They’ve lost the growth investors even if they still have dividend investors.”

“I don’t dismiss it as much as other people might,” said Nick Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research who worked in energy research earlier in his career on Wall Street. “I remember the first oil shock [of the 1970s] vividly. People who were 50-plus retail investors with capital to invest would be shocked to see where oil is in the S&P as a sector now. It is just not as interesting a place to invest. ... Venture capital money isn’t going into carbon-based energy.”

“Stocks that have really worked are the ones where there is consensus,” Margolin said. “Everyone knows online transaction counts are going higher, or streaming subscribers going higher. There is no consensus on a positive direction for oil.”
Index funds play a role

More money also has been going into passive index funds. For the first time in August, U.S. index mutual fund assets matched the total assets under management in actively managed mutual funds. The adoption of environmental, social and governance screens by many passive fund managers is beginning to contribute to lower weightings for fossil-fuel companies.

“Oil and gas does not screen well, so as passive grows that is another headwind,” Margolin said. “Passive has no flexibility with respect to ESG. You could go into the office of a human portfolio manager and convince them that Exxon is working to lower their carbon footprint. You can explain that to a human, but not a robot.”

In fact, investors no longer need to accept any weighting to energy stocks. The amount of money invested in U.S.-based fossil-fuel free funds — investments constructed to hold no stocks in the fossil fuel business — has reached $100 billion, according to shareholder advocacy group As You Sow. “You’re hands are no longer tied,” said Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow.

“It’s obviously out of favor, and there is influence from ESG investors no matter what oil prices are doing,” Glickman said.

Some energy analysts say technology’s dominance will only grow as a long-term, and direct, threat.

“Investors are worried that oil demand will peak and the sector is not ready for it. Same as in European electricity, coal, autos and GE. The fear is that this is not just another cycle but a structural shift,” said Kingsmill Bond, CFA and energy strategist at Carbon Tracker, a nonprofit that researches the impact of climate change on the financial markets. “The oil sector is just another example of an incumbency disrupted by superior technology. Markets have seen this many times and it does not play out well for the incumbents.”

Colas said while he remains unconvinced, analysts calling this the “Peak Oil” moment — Carbon Tracker’s Bond is among them — have the upper hand for now. “From an investment standpoint, it seems prescient now that prices just won’t lift.”

After the attack on the Saudi oil infrastructure crude ended the week up near-6%; the energy stock sector within the S&P 500 was up 0.99%, according to CNBC data.
Natural gas under attack by wind and solar

The next market where the disruptive potential is highest may be natural-gas fired power generation. If the past decade was about natural gas displacing coal in the utility sector, the next decade will be a competition between natural gas and renewables including wind and solar, say analysts.

“We are just now shifting our focus to the competition between natural gas and renewable energy,” said Travis Miller, utilities analyst at Morningstar. “Renewables were the sideshow as natural gas competed with coal, but we see natural gas and renewables increasingly competing with each other. Increasingly, there are a number of cases where it is more advantageous for customers and utilities to invest in solar and wind versus natural gas. Rewind to a decade ago and all the utilities were talking about natural gas.”

The CEO of the Northern Indiana Public Service Company said recently, “The surprise was how dramatically the renewables and storage proposals beat natural gas. I couldn’t have predicted this five years ago.”

Exxon Mobil and its oil peers are heavily invested in natural gas projects around the world. While that means big bets on the liquified natural gas market won’t be influenced by a faster shift in U.S. power generation, the cost equation is going to change globally.

“The concern is going straight from coal to renewables,” Margolin said. “It looks unlikely because of the scale of renewable investment required, but we are going into a period of time when we know eventually the world will be off oil; we don’t know if the same can be said of natural gas.”

Royal Dutch Shell is the biggest global player in the liquified natural gas market and it expects gas demand to double by 2035 from current levels, which would imply a big supply shortfall and much more investment needed to meet that demand. “The vast majority is for power generation,” said energy research firm Wood Mackenzie analyst Luke Parker.

A recent report from the Rocky Mountain Institute argues that the investments being made today in gas-fired power plants and pipelines will quickly become a money loser. Utilities and investors have announced plans for over $70 billion in new gas-fired power plant construction through 2025, but its research suggests that 90% of the proposed capacity is more costly than equivalent clean energy portfolio options for utilities.

Battery storage costs — key to making intermittent sources of power like solar more reliable as a primary part of the grid — are also expected to fall drastically. From 2010-2018 lithium-ion battery costs declined by 85% and they are forecast to decline by another 50% by 2030, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, with major implications for the utility and electric vehicle market.

Announcements like Amazon’s purchase of 100,000 electric delivery vans are good for every player in the battery market, said former Ford CEO Mark Fields on CNBC, as the increase in battery production will drive down pricing more broadly.
Amazon to meet Paris climate goals 10 years ahead of schedule

Before Duke Energy’s commitment this week there was Xcel Energy in Minnesota, the first U.S. utility to say it was on the path to 100% renewable power generation. It had been one of the heaviest coal generators in the U.S., but also sits in a geographic footprint which maps with high wind potential, Miller said. “They have completely transitioned from coal to natural gas and now, in last two years, to an entire focus on renewables.”

A critical part of this shift for utility companies is getting all the stakeholders on board, he said, and the Xcel example shows that is happening, with regulatory support and customer support to invest substantially in renewables.

“We think solar will be the story of next decade,” Miller said. “The big winners will be investing heavily in renewables now. Companies that come to the table in a decade are going to be losers. They will be stuck with stranded assets.”

Natural gas will continue to be a huge part of the U.S. grid, up from one-third of generation not to as much as 40% in the next five years, but Miller said “it is looking more like bridge fuel rather than the primary fuel we thought it would be a decade ago. Everyone foresaw challenges coal faced. I don’t think people saw the speed at which renewables would become such a primary source of investment in the generation business.”
Big Oil’s energy transformation?

The oil and gas management teams at companies like BP and Shell are talking a lot more about energy transformation. A recent analysis of presentations and investor calls done by Wood Mackenzie’s Parker found an “exponential increase” in use of terms like “energy transition.”

“Energy transition terminology has gone from zero or near to zero five years ago to one of dominant themes of messaging to investors, and that speaks volumes about how investors have moved, and how companies are having to move themselves,” Parker said. But he added “actions speak louder than words” and the low-carbon investments relative to the traditional oil and gas investments on the balance sheet of these companies are “still a fraction.”

Shell is planning to spend $2 billion to $3 billion annually on renewable energy out of a total budget of $30 billion per year through 2025. On average, oil and gas companies are spending 1% of their budget on renewables.

There’s a simple reason why: they still make a lot more money from fossil-fuel extraction, including in the U.S. shale plays.

“There is no renewable investment that will compete with returns from the Permian Basin,” Parker said.

“With major oil and gas cos like Exxon and Chevron, the reason they keep reinvesting in oil and gas at this rate over renewables is not a philosophical thing,” said Margolin. “They invest because this is where they see the financial case and if ever there is a clear signal the return profile was better in renewables, they would go there.” He added, “The difference between them and a Kodak or a coal company is that they have much better resources, and $40 billion in cash flow annually with which they can pivot between projects. ... I see where are people tempted to make the analogy to other disrupted industries, but these others don’t have the financial might of Exxon.”

Shell’s investment will be a good test case of whether the oil and gas majors can generate comparable returns on investment from renewables. “Stable cash flows of offshore wind may be exactly what investors looking for in a super major to mitigate the type of risk we saw last weekend,” Parker said.

A record-setting auction for offshore wind power projects in the U.K. this past week priced them at lower rates than current coal and natural gas generation prices in the U.K.

“Shell has the scope to make competitive returns in this area and they would not be investing if they did not think so, but at the same time, clearly the amount they are talking about energy transition and renewables versus the actual focus of the here and now is disproportionate,” Parker said.

The $2 to $3 billion Shell plans to spend on renewable investments per year compares to $125 billion in dividends and share buybacks Shell plans to deliver to investors between 2021 and 2025.

That’s not a surprise: analysts say as the commodity case for energy stocks has failed to compel investors, the oil and gas companies need to find other ways to attract their money. On its last earnings call with analysts, Exxon Mobil conceded under questioning that it had been holding meetings with investors asking about their interest in a buyback of its shares.
Lack of discipline has damaged oil industry

With geopolitical tensions rising after the attack on Saudi oil operations and the U.S. government contemplating its next move against Iran, which the U.S. and Saudi Arabia claim was behind the attack, the 6% rise in oil in the past week could turn into an extended risk premium in oil.

Energy is cyclical, but time is not on the side of fossil fuels in the long run, and that means with each cycle during which it underperforms, the clock is ticking in a way it does not for other sectors. “It’s been a chronically bad performer for several years,” Glickman said.

The loss of confidence among many investors stems from the most recent overspending period when oil prices were higher. From 2011 to 2014, crude oil traded above $85 a barrel. By 2015, it was in the low $40s.

“Investors were burned,” Colas said. “100% of complaints go back to 2011 and 2012. They lost all credibility. The lack of faith is not quite as bad as WeWork or Uber, but it will take oil going back to $85 and the drillers not going crazy for belief to come back. Any cyclical company that went through a near-death experience has to show the market they are more disciplined.”

Glickman said the companies have “found religion” since prices bottomed in 2016 in the $30s. “They made substantial changes.”

That has translated into stronger cash flow and earnings acceleration, but it has not translated into the one market indicator of renewed investor conviction: higher stock multiples.

“The industry has a pretty checkered history when prices get better. Lack of trust,” Glickman said. “Exploration and production companies are making more money and integrated oil and gas companies are generating good cash flows, but the changes have not manifest into demand for the stocks yet. All the stocks are languishing.”

It may take a significant rise in oil prices to dispel the belief of energy experts who are inclined to judge the current period as being one more cyclical trough.

“If oil rises significantly and the stocks have not performed then clearly there is a question about long-term sustainability of the industry. But I don’t think you can ask that question today,” Margolin said. “We are dealing with a short duration of history here.”

It is also a period of time during which U.S. production growth has disrupted the global market balance. “This has been viewed as something that was possible only for the last four of five years. ... We have no track record of sustaining this level of supply growth at any price,” he said.
Peak Oil

Calling peak oil has been a fool’s errand for over a century. When the first U.S. oil bonanza began in Titusville, Pennsylvania, in the late 1850s many in the press were confident that it would be the beginning, and the end, of the U.S. oil boom.

But the conversation has changed.

“Peak oil used to be a conversation about supply running out, but now it is about demand peaking,” Parker said.

“In the future, exploration is largely redundant — at least for the purposes of adding resource — even in a modest demand growth scenario,” Wood Mackenzie analysts wrote in a recent report. “The world does not have a supply problem. The world is awash with oil and the Majors know it.”

The report went on: “The fundamental question is this: will industry forecasts for sustained oil demand growth ‘prevail’ over scientific warnings of the consequences of that growth? At this point, we simply cannot know. But one thing is for certain — neither companies nor investors can afford to bet the farm on either outcome.”

Carbon Tracker’s Bond sees in the planned Saudi Aramco IPO, whose timing has been thrown into question by last week’s attack, the ultimate tell that Peak Oil is here. “The largest oil IPO in history. At a time when there are fears of peak oil demand,” he said. “I don’t think I need to elaborate.”

Though, roughly 160 years after Titusville, if anyone can stretch out the oil era to its most-delayed possible end, it is Saudi Arabia.

“The Saudis, along with the Russian and U.S. tight oil, these are the lowest-cost barrels in the world and they will still be producing. Canadian oil sands or frontier deepwater, or U.K. North Sea where there are high operating costs, go first. That’s where barrels first stay in the ground,” Parker said.

And that already has started to happen. Exxon Mobil and other major oil companies including ConocoPhillips have had to write down existing reserves in Canadian tar sands, which the companies say is done for regulatory accounting purposes and can be reversed if prices rise, but others argue the debooking of assets should be viewed as a long-term read-through on demand.

An August report from BNP Paribas forecasts that oil will have to go as law as $10 to be competitive with renewables in the electric car era. While the U.S. oil boom in the shale is such a recent phenomenon that analysts still struggle to understand exactly how much money these companies can make in various price scenarios, and have trouble placing too much faith in cost estimates offered by management, Saudi drilling is the lowest-cost in the world.

That makes Parker certain of at least one thing when it comes to Saudi Arabia and arguments over peak oil demand. “They will be going to the end.”

Bah!  Commercial Version.  The NSA has had this technology for years already.  ::)


A deepfake pioneer says 'perfectly real' manipulated videos are just 6 months away
Mary Hanbury

Deepfake artist Hao Li created this Putin deepfake, which was shown at an MIT conference this week. AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko; MIT Technology Review

    Deepfake artist Hao Li, who created a Putin deepfake for an MIT conference this week, told CNBC on Friday that "perfectly real" manipulated videos are just six to 12 months away.
    Li had previously said that he expected "virtually undetectable" deepfakes to be "a few years" away.
    When asked for clarification on his timeline, Li told CNBC that recent developments, including the emergence of the wildly popular Chinese app Zao, had led him to "recalibrate" his timeline.
    Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A deepfake pioneer said in an interview with CNBC on Friday that "perfectly real" digitally manipulated videos are just six to 12 months away from being accessible to everyday people.

"It's still very easy you can tell from the naked eye most of the deepfakes," Hao Li, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Southern California, said on CNBC's Power Lunch. "But there also are examples that are really, really convincing."

He continued: "Soon, it's going to get to the point where there is no way that we can actually detect [deepfakes] anymore, so we have to look at other types of solutions."

Li created a deepfake of Russian president Vladimir Putin, which was showcased at an MIT tech conference this week. Li said that the video was intended to show the current state of deepfake technology, which is developing more rapidly than he expected. He told the MIT Technology Review at that time that "perfect and virtually undetectable" deepfakes were "a few years" away.

When CNBC asked for clarification on his timeline in an email after his interview this week, Li said that recent developments, including the emergence of the wildly popular Chinese app Zao, had led him to "recalibrate" his timeline.

Read more: Viral Chinese deepfake app Zao lets people superimpose their faces onto celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and it is terrifyingly convincing

"In some ways, we already know how to do it," he said in an email to CNBC. "[It's] only a matter of training with more data and implementing it."

It's all the fault of the Millenials!  ::)


Millennials Really Do Ruin Everything, And Big Oil Is Next
By Julianne Geiger - Sep 22, 2019, 4:00 PM CDT

It sounds harsh, but it’s true: millennials really do ruin everything. And the oil industry will be no exception. From talent acquisition to courting investors, to finding new end uses for petroleum, the oil industry is facing a whole new set of challenges—one that extends far beyond geopolitical risk premiums and barrel prices.

Oil companies who are quicker to adapt to this changing of the guard will have first pick of investment dollars and top talent, while those who are slow to change will get the leftovers.

You’re Dead To Me

Read some headlines (or some memes if that’s more your speed). There are hundreds of headlines and one-liners that tell of the serial killing nature of millennials. The death knell has tolled so far for straws, napkins, diamonds, home buying, cable television, stock trading, and even breakfast cereal—at least as we once knew it.

Some of those on the dead-to-me list are there simply because they have been replaced with new technology that is simply more convenient, like the shift from cable TV to Netflix. Others wound up on the list because they were shunned by the generation that likes to take the high ground.

And it is this high ground that has placed the oil industry in the millennial crosshairs. The image, quite simply, of the oil industry can be summed up with a single word: “dirty”. Oil companies wishing to woo the millennial workforce and investment dollars will have to work overtime to shed this moniker.

And Big Oil is starting to head down this road, but it isn’t quite far enough. 

Between the Moral High Ground and Convenience

Millennials are not just about taking the high ground. If you look at their buying and investment choices, it’s not just about shunning things that are bad for the environment, bad for things or people who are exploited, or detrimental to their health. Much of the time, millennials are about what’s practical or convenient. Online shopping, grocery delivery, next-day delivery, Uber Eats, Peloton, etc., are all great examples of goods and services that have met millennials where they are, instead of banging their head against the wall and trying to convince millennials they have what they want.
Related: Where Is The World's Safest Source Of Oil?

Companies who fail to live up to the generation’s lofty moral ground may still be able to meet their expectations for ease of use and convenience. For oil, this is tricky, because end use is multifaceted and intertwined in the transportation, plastics, and asphalt sectors—all of which the oil industry should be helping to prop up by meeting millennial needs within these sectors.

For talent acquisition, the climate unfriendly nature of the oil industry puts companies in this genre on the back foot, but the practical side of millennials gives the oil industry a rare opportunity, if they are willing to take advantage of it. Boldness and new-way pavers are needed who are not afraid to try and fail. And if oil can’t convince millennials that they are climate-friendly, they most assuredly have to offer something—or some things--that millennials need. This can be work/life balance, an easily climbable career ladder, work-from-home options, and premium on-the-job training. The oil industry might have a tough time convincing millennials that their jobs “mean something”, but they absolutely can tick all the other boxes.

Other industries are already doing most of those things, and the oil industry has too. But still, oil finds itself playing second fiddle to tech, because that’s just sexier. But oil and tech both have deep pockets, and the millennial generation has deep school debt. In fact, millennials have more school debt than any other generation. This is practically a marriage made in heaven. Paying off these student loans is a hot hot benefit, and has the ability to override other concerns about working in the oil industry.

Big Oil Doesn’t Instagram Well

Are you offering this generation an experience? Because other industries are. This generation is all about the experience (which can be Instagrammed or Snapchatted), and they will choose these experiences over things any day of the week. We already know that millennials love to share pics of where they are and what they’re doing, but it might be more important than many realize.
Related: Home Energy Storage Capacity Breaks Records In US

The basic rule is that if it’s not worth sharing with the world online, it’s not worth doing—period. And research shows that millennials are influenced by what others are posting in a FOMO kind of way. Cool brands that are inherently cool such like Apple, Microsoft, Google, or Tesla have so much interest when it comes to job seekers that they don’t have to try very hard at all.  Those brands are not short on investors, either. Maybe you don’t have this cool brand recognition that millennials would like to brag about online. You can still do cool things that will make millennials want to share you with the world that will, in turn, attract other millennials who don’t want to miss out.

Are your current employees and recruiters creating shareable experiences that others will want to be a part of? Shareable moments include corporate outings, cruises, swag, social events, and community engagement.

Willing to Do the Homework

For job hunting, millennials are willing to research everything, and they rely heavily on online reviews for their decision-making. We’re talking about Glassdoor, Indeed, Comparably, and Great Place to Work, among others. This has increased transparency in the job market, but more than this, it is a great tool for employers to use to see how they stack up—and if they don’t stack up, to look at the competition and see why—and then change accordingly.

Millennial Investments 101

Millennials are not investing the same way as the previous generations did. They are generally debt laden and risk averse. Their favorite long-term investment? Cash—if you want to call that an investment. Every other generation has preferred stocks.

For the ones that do invest in the stock market, their trading prowess is somewhat lacking. Unlike job hunting, where millennials are willing to do their research, millennials seem to pick brands they know—not necessarily ones that have upside potential. They are also socially conscious investors who tend to put their dollars into something they perceive is a worthy cause.

This risk aversion, brand recognition, and environmental activism puts fossil fuel investments on shaky ground.

The Influences of Today May Bring Down the House

Colleges are influencing the current generation of students, and it’s not pretty for the oil industry. There are mandatory sustainability classes for many degrees, and students often come away with just this one side of the energy puzzle. Engineering departments and business departments are not the oil industry’s friend, who pick and choose which businesses to invite in for special talks and Q&A sessions—and oil companies are like the scrawny kid in gym class that always got picked last.

But it’s far worse than not being invited to speak on campus: college campuses are even blacklisting speakers who even have ties to the oil industry. And this is what the industry must battle. Unless you are one of the biggest of the big such as BP or Shell, many college kids might not even know who you are. Think you can start even younger, to reach high school students? Wrong. Today, high school students are even getting excused absences to protest the “climate emergency”, for which the fossil fuel industry often shoulders 100% of the blame. Even elementary students are inundated with energy consciousness in their science curriculums that often spills over into clear Keep It In the Ground sentiment.

The trend is clear, the oil industry really does have a millennial problem—and it won’t be fixed overnight.

By Julianne Geiger for

The Kitchen Sink / 🚽 Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
« on: September 22, 2019, 12:49:29 PM »

September 20, 2019
Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
by Jeffrey St. Clair

Storefront mannikin, Astoria, Oregon. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

+ The Saudis want to “fight the Iranians to the last American.”

— Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, February 2010

+ Who needs John Bolton, when you’ve got Pompeo Maximus declaring the attack on the Abqaiq refineries in Saudi Arabia: “An act of war.”

+ By Pompeo’s logic, the death of every Yemeni kid from cholera was “sponsored” by the USA…

+ As we await our real commander-in-chief MBS’s decision on whether to go to war against Iran, it may be worth reminding people that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia owns the entire 45th floor of Trump World Tower…

+ Pompeo, Tuesday: “The president has made very clear he is prepared to meet with no preconditions.”

Trump, Sunday: “The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, ‘No Conditions.’ That is an incorrect statement (as usual!).”

+ Mike Pompeo: “I promise you as Secretary of State, I will do my best to be your senior diplomat and stay true to my Christian values every single day.” (How many drone strikes a day are consistent with Christian values?)

+ The rotten apple doesn’t fall far from the poisonous tree: Liz Cheney calls for “proportional military response” against Iran for the drone strike on Saudi oil facilities.

+ Seeing Liz Cheney salivating for war on Iran is not surprising. But it does show the superior parenting skills of the Nixons, Fords, Carters and Reagans, none of whose offspring have entered politics.

+ Erich Boehm in Reason: “A world in which John Bolton says mean things about the president during lunch is far safer than a world in which John Bolton speaks to the president over lunch.”

+ The NYTs Michael Crowley on the differences between Iraq and Iran: “Iraq, at least, was a country we were able to defeat and occupy fairly quickly.” (And, according to the Times’ social media editors, having penises thrust in your face at Yale parties might be considered harmless fun…)

+ It’s official. By deploying troops and weapons to Saudi Arabia, Trump’s doing more to protect Aramco’s oil fields, than children in US schools…

But as The Clash say:

    It’s up to you, not to heed the call up
    I don’t want to die
    It’s up to you, not to hear the call up
    I don’t want to kill

+ The last time the US based troops in Saudi Arabia, it became the basis for Osama Bin Laden’s 1996 fatwah,”Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places,” where he vowed to remove them with “a rain of bullets.”

+ With the human landfill of scandal known as Joe Biden, it seems implausible that Trump would need to bribe the Ukrainians to dig up dirt on Biden’s son, Hunter. But Trump plays by the Roy Cohn Rules, so the implausible is always possible, if not probable.

+ Eric Columbus: “The Ukraine bribes really knock me out, they leave the West behind.”

+ Q. Surely, this will be the scandal that breaks Trump’s back?

A. What if Trump has no back?

+ Rudy Giuliani is Trump’s go-to guy for the limited, brain-modified hang out..

+ If Sanders, Warren and/or that Andrew Yang play the Ukraine scandal right they could knock off both Biden and Trump.

+ Another “smart weapon” massacre in Afghanistan this where a US drone strike killed 30 civilians working on a pine nut farm. And you wonder why they hate us? I’ll wager Trump got more crap for inviting (and then cancelling) the Taliban to Camp David for peace talks, than the Pentagon will ever get in the US press for this war crime.

+ Trump said this week that when he first took office Gen. Mad Dog Mattis came to him and said, “Sir, we’re very low on ammunition.” Mattis advised Trump to delay military action (against a country Trump didn’t name) because of the ammunition shortage. This Trump tale is entirely plausible given the tonnage of bombs Obama dropped every day during his tenure in office. Of course, it didn’t take Trump and Mattis long to catch up and surpass Obama…

+ Trump: “Our nuclear was getting very tired when I got in. Now it’s in tippy-top shape. Tippy top.”

+ Funny, I don’t feel any safer…

+ According to a war game simulation from Princeton, if a nuclear war broke out between the US and the Russian Federation there would likely be more than 90 million casualties within the first five hours, 34 million deaths and 57.4 million injuries.

+ Bernie Sanders: “If you can’t afford to take care of your veterans, then don’t go to war.”

+ If you don’t want to create maimed veterans, widows of veterans, orphans of veterans or turn young people into war criminals, then don’t go to war.

+ In what may come as a relief to a nation held hostage, Trump named the State Department’s chief hostage negotiator, Robert O’Brien, as his National Security Advisor, replacing John Bolton. Reportedly, Trump liked that Robert O’Brien was prolix in his praise for the president. Trump said: “Robert O’Brien said, ‘Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator in history.’ He happens to be right.” He named O’Brien as his national security adviser a day later. Quid pro fellatio.

+ As Sam Husseini points out, Trump’s new National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien went to university in apartheid South Africa in 1987, as Rotary Foundation Scholar, not to protest the racist regime but to learn Afrikaans.

In doing so, O’Brien violated the international academic boycott of South Africa. The ANC called for an academic boycott of SA in 1958. Nearly 500 British academics called for a boycott in 1965. The UN passed a Resolution imposing a Cultural & Academic boycott of SA in 1980. The boycott was not lifted until 1990.

According to Patrick Bond, who teaches at the University of Durban, in 1987 the University of the Orange Free State would have been “a place that was probably whites-only for all effective purposes.”

From O’Brien’s Linked-In page…

+ Here’s some classic DC dialogue worthy of Joseph Heller’s Good as Gold…

    Corey Lewandowski: The Mueller report was very clear. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction.

    Alisyn Camerota: That’s not what the Mueller report said, Corey.

    Corey: It absolutely says that…

    Alisyn: … Did you read the Mueller report?

    Corey: No, I never did.

+ During his congressional hearing, Lewandowski got trapped in a lie by the Democrats’ staff counsel, Barry Berke (the only effective questioning of the day). His unrepentant response: “I have no obligation to be honest with the media.”

Lewandowski was, naturally, a paid commentator on … CNN.

+ The war that Trump really wants to fight is the war against the poor.

+ Sister Helen Prejean: “’Capital punishment’ means those without capital get the punishment.”

+ The largest employer in each state…

+ Trump says homeless people are living on “our best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings,” where people pay “tremendous taxes” and desire “prestige.” The president claims that he’s spoken to tenants who are so frustrated by the homeless that “want to leave the country,” adding ominously “We’ll be doing something about it.”

+ Re: Trump and the homeless crisis: how many homes did Mnuchin foreclose on, how many families did Kushner evict from his tenements?

+ About the sanctity of that employer provided health insurance, which Biden keeps claiming is superior to Medicare-for-All….”GM is cutting off striking workers’ health care coverage effective today. The UAW will now pick up the bill for their members’ continued healthcare through COBRA ”

+ According to the Federal Reserve’s latest Distributional Financial Accounts reveal the massive concentration of wealth in the US with 10% of the population holding 70% of all of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 50% of wealth owners have seen no growth in net wealth since 1989, while the top 1% saw their wealth grow by almost 300% since 1989. And they wonder why “socialism” is becoming more popular with America’s youth…

+ In the latest case study of Bankruptcy Capitalism, Purdue Pharmaceuticals is trying to shell out $34 million in bonuses to “certain employees,” as it flees wrongful death lawsuits and seeks the protection of a Chapter 11 filing in bankruptcy court.

+ Then there’s GM, which received $104 million in tax rebates in 2018. They paid their CEO $22 million, cut 15,000 jobs and made $8 billion in profits, which they paid no federal income taxes on.

+ Congress has relinquished its principle power and obligation under the Constitution: to determine how the US government spends money. Now it’s only really interested how lobbyists and PACs spends money … on them.

+ David Graeber: “The paradox of modern work: 1. Most people’s sense of dignity and self-worth is caught up in working for living; 2. Most people hate their jobs.”

+ How DiFi explains the homelessness crisis in California: “A lot of homeless people keep moving here.”

+ Kim Gordon, former NYer, former bassist for Sonic Youth, former wife of Thurston Moore, current resident of SoCal: “California is a place of death, a place people are drawn to because they don’t realize deep down they’re actually afraid of what they want.”

+ So HUD Secretary Ben Carson, a former brain surgeon, is very concerned that people can’t tell the difference between women and men any more and seems really freaked at the possibility of “big, hairy men” using the women’s bathroom. But aren’t those the same people who keep breaking down in tears at Trump rallies?

+ It seems like the Border Patrol is having a moral crisis, with more and more agents complaining that people “hate” them. It may seem like an obvious point, but apparently it can’t be repeated often enough: If you want to be liked, don’t join the SS…

+ Last year, Ivanka Trump used to her personal email to send hundreds of messages about government business.

+ Ivanka: “I got my moral compass from my father.”

+ Joe Biden, just another member in good standing of the Democratic National Klavern…

+ Biden is, of course, the living proof of his assertion that racism hasn’t been “relegated to history“…

+ The total collapse of Madame Prosecutor (she now trails Andrew Yang in her home state of California) is almost enough to restore one’s faith in the humanity of Democrats…almost.

+ Meanwhile, Bill DeBlasio is now polling at 0% in the New York Presidential primary…

2020 New York Democratic Primary:

    Biden 22%
    Warren 17%
    Sanders 15%
    Harris 4%
    Buttigieg 3%
    Klobuchar 1%
    Gabbard 1%
    Yang 1%
    Booker 0%
    O’Rourke 0%
    Castro 0%
    de Blasio 0%

@SienaResearch 9/8-12

+ Biden is the Lock ‘Em Up candidate, who urged Reagan to incarcerate more and more people (mostly young black men)…

+ Eric Draitser: “That feeling that Bernie people are expressing is not fear of losing. It’s not anxiety over a good campaign. It’s not questioning their own commitment. It’s the collective recognition that the ruling class has made its choice. And her name is Warren.”

+ Is it any surprise that the party of the ruling class would select its favorite (or second favorite) as its candidate? The only real surprise is that Bernie dragged his troops through the charade one more time expecting a different result.

+ But where do they go? Bernie could have spent the last four years building an independent party or taking over the wreckage of the Greens. Instead, he spent it recruiting young progressives into the same party that had just drawn-and-quartered him.

+ If there’s no alternative than the Democrats, then Sanders should admit it, drop all of the “socialist” pretense and stop whining about leaks and how he’s been screwed over by arbitrary rules enforced by the party elites. This is it. You’re stuck with it. The best was long ago. Sorry, kids, you’re fucked. Best of luck, Gramps.

+ This is why Ralph Nader has always been the superior political leader. Ralph was never under the illusion that the Democratic Party could be “revolutionized” from within, especially when the “revolutionary” ends up supporting the ruling class’ candidate in the end, as Bernie did

+ I learned everything I needed to know about the Democratic Party after the Jackson campaign in 1984. I guess some people have to relearn the same basic truths every four years. This willful suspension of disbelief is what keeps the party alive…to the extent it is alive.

+ Hillary, however, seems to have learned nothing.

+  Let’s reset this, Hillary. You ran a terrible campaign. You had no plans. Your party rigged your nomination. You ran against the most unpopular candidate in history and still lost. Now get lost.

+ Still, by almost every standard Joe Biden is a worse candidate than Hillary Clinton: he’s older, dumber and has a more tarnished record. His saving grace, as far as I can tell, is that Biden is so boring, so lacking in inspiration, that he can’t even inspire people to hate him as they did HRC.

+ Apparently the Working Families Party thought so highly of the Democrats’ “Super Delegate” system, they decided to use it in their own endorsement vote, which gave 50% of the vote to party leaders and 50% to the members and then, after endorsing Elizabeth Warren, refused to release a tally of the actual numbers. (In 2016, 87.5% of the WFP members voted for Bernie Sanders.)

+ According to a new report by Sludge, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin owns between $1 million and $5 million worth of non-public stock in his family coal business, Enersystems. Despite pressure from environmentalists, Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, made Manchin the ranking member of the committee, and Manchin did not divest his coal holdings.

+ But Manchin is far from alone in profiting off of fossil fuel holdings. Rep. Joe Kennedy  just announced his intention to run against Sen. Ed Markey in next year’s Democratic primary in Massachusetts. Markey, a long time environmental advocate, is one of the principal sponsors of the Green New Deal, a measure which will pose a significant threat to the stock portfolio of Kennedy, who owns nearly $1.75 million in fossil stocks, including investments in oil and gas companies.

+ In a Trumpian maneuver, billionaire candidate Tom Steyer, who has pledged to divest from fossil fuels, says that confidentiality agreements bar him from disclosing between $370 million and $742 million in assets.

+ Liberal heartthrob Justin Trudeau dressed up in blackface on at least three different occasions. MSDNC’s Andrea Mitchell, a fan of the Prime Minister of Tar Sands, delicately described Trudeau as “applying skin darkening makeup.” But are they sure he didn’t just coat himself in crude oil?

+ If Trudeau manages to lose re-election to the ultra right-winger and homophobe Andrew Scheer, he could probably salvage his political career by running for governor of Virginia or Alabama.

+ Could Justin Trudeau be “Corn Pop“?

+ Hey, Trump, it looks like we’ve finally found your witch hunt, looking no further than your own Department of Education which is targeting universities like Duke and UNC for alleged “anti-Israel” bias.

+ If Netanyahu falls, who then will the Democrats blame for the crimes of the Israeli state?

+ Colt is suspending production of the AR-15 for the civilian market. But they’d save more lives if they ended production for the cop, military and paramilitary markets…

+ According to the libertarian Cato Institute, 16 countries enjoy a higher level of overall freedom than the United States, and most of them ban or severely restrict ownership of assault weapons.

+ Brothers in Arms, MSDNC’s Chris Hayes and David Frum…

+ Speaking of revolting couplings, it’s been reported that Stephen Miller is dating Katie Waldman, a former DHS spokeswoman under Kirstjen Nielsen, who Mike Pence just hired as his communications director. Of course, even Goebbels had his Magda, who was, by most accounts, even more vicious than he was…

+ Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh agreed to talk to New York Times reporters Kate Kelly and Robin Pogrebin for their book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: an Investigation, on one condition: that they wrote that they didn’t talk with him. The authors refused and walked away from the interview.

+ While we’re on the subject of Kavanaugh: One in 16 women’s first sexual experience (avg. age 15.5) in the US is being raped/forced to have sex; the average age for female’s first voluntary sexual experience is 17.5.

+ Kavanaugh’s survived for a reason. A major new study concludes that even if Democrats win the White House and Congress, the conservative justices on the Supreme Court are very likely to strike down most climate legislation.

+ The Chenchu people of India can recognize five different types of bees that produce five different types of honey: “We leave the larvae so it will recycle again; by looking at the way a bee flies we can know where the honey is.”

+ It’s only a real strike if they forbid you to do it.

+ Trump’s repeated boast that he made the US the world’s top energy producer is false. It happened in 2012 under Obama, the Fracker-in-Chief.

+ Obama, the man who approved Deepwater Horizon, was palling around with climate heroine Greta Thuneberg this week before her testimony before the House of Representatives. Obama proclaimed the teenager “one of our planet’s greatest advocates,” saying she was “unafraid to push for real action.” Too bad Obama wasn’t, when he was in a position to do something about it.

+ Global fossil fuel consumption soared throughout the 2000s, spiking to ominous new heights during the Obama years.

+ Here’s a map of all of the oil and gas leases on public lands that have sold for less than $2 an acre.

+ The Earth’s Northern Hemisphere just experienced its hottest summer on record. The five hottest summers have all occurred in the last five years…

+ Global carbon emissions have grown 18-fold since 1900.

+ Silent spring, summer, fall and winter: “The number of birds in the United States and Canada has declined by 3 billion, or 29 percent, over the past half-century.”

+ It’s been said that the Pacific Northwest is defined by where the salmon go. How will we know where we live 20 YEARS from now when the chinook are gone?

+ A few weeks ago, the Portland Police shut down the Hawthorne Bridge to allow the neo-Nazi Proud Boys to goose-step through town unmolested. No such courtesy was extended to the kids marching in the Climate Strike today. As many as 20,000 of them passed over the bridge anyway…Go kids!

+ 34 inches of rain along the Gulf Coast of Texas in last 72 hours. Meanwhile, Trump is gleefully gutting California’s clean air and fuel efficiency standards…

+ Trump in New Mexico: “Cars have so much junk on them to save a tiny faction of gasoline. Energy-efficient cars are made out of papier mache and weigh about three pounds. That’s bad for crashes, because heavier is better. When somebody hits me, I want to be in as close to an army tank as possible.” (Over to you, Ralph Nader.)

+ Nearly 500,000 lightning strikes hit the Houston area during TS Imelda…

+ Dr. Jeff Masters, meteorologist: “This near-record global warmth in 2019 is all the more remarkable since it is occurring during the minimum of the weakest solar cycle in 100+ years, and during a year when a strong El Niño has not been present”

+ The entire geophysical nature of Greenland’s ice sheets are changing in ways that geologists have never seen before. First comes the melt off, then comes the hardening of the ice, which accelerates the flooding, which increases the melt off…

+ Alex Wild (curator of Entomology at the University of Texas, Austin): “Imagine being an art aficionado watching corrupt governments pay fascist gangs to burn museums to the ground. Day after day, city after city, accelerating until all that remains is smoldering rubble. That is what it feels like to be a biologist in the Trump era.”

+ Good news from ACLU: “A federal court just blocked South Dakota’s laws suppressing protests of the Keystone XL pipeline. Let this be a lesson to other states – if you try to criminalize protest, we will sue.”

+ Marianne Williamson: “Climate change is the product of an amoral economic system.” Let Marianne debate!

+ I wonder if the eavesdropping Alexa could have saved Elvis, who, according to the coroner’s report, died on the toilet, “straining at stool”…

+ For those of you who, like me, grew up reading and arguing with Greil Marcus’ writings on music, books and film, his Real Life Rock Top 10 column has found a new home at the LA Review of Books. This month’s installment features a mini-review of the new book on Manson and the CIA by my friend Steve Perry (and occasional CounterPunch contributor) and a fabulous review of Brian Ferry’s recent concert in Oakland.

+ Graham Nash on the writing and recording of his solo LP Songs for Beginners: “I met Rita (Coolidge) during the recording of ‘Love the One You’re With,’ Stephen’s great song. Rita and I made a date to go to a swap meet, and Stephen called her and said I was sick and couldn’t go and that she should go with him. And so she spent a couple of weeks with Stephen. But Rita and I were very attracted to each other. Being somewhat of an Englishman and a gentleman, I couldn’t even kiss Rita without letting Stephen know we wanted to be together. And so I picked up Rita one morning and drove to Stephen’s house in Laurel Canyon. I said that Rita and I wanted to spend time together and I wanted to let him know before anything sexually happened between Rita and I. He didn’t take it well. As a matter of fact, he tried to spit on me and missed.”

+ As Jesse Walker noted, this may be the headline of the year…”Navy Confirms UFO Videos Posted by Blink 182 Rocker Are Real.”

+ “When you grow up at the bottom of the ladder, you’re the first to be sent to fight a war that the people in power are waging,” John Fogarty said. “A song like ‘Fortunate Son’ ends up having a universal application because at any point in our history you could cry out, ‘I ain’t no fortunate one.’ It’s the people at the bottom who always do the fighting and dying.”

+ + Trump Koan of the Week, reflecting on how Obama compares to DeMille: “I mean, if you were — if he was Cecil B. DeMille, he would have gotten — I mean, Cecil B. DeMille should be, if he ever came back from the dead, one of the greats of all time.”

+ Nothing sums up the current state of Hollywood quite like awarding a “star” on the “walk of fame” to a brand of jeans.

As Eric Draitser noted, a star for a pair jeans is, at least, an aesthetic step up from Cecil B. DeMille and, by Trumpian extension, Barack Obama.

+ We’re beginning to see more and more Trump cinema coming out of Hollywood. The latest offering is from Sylvester Stallone. In his re-re-boot of the unlamented Rambo franchise, “Last Blood,” Stallone kills dozens of people in a variety vile ways…all of them Mexicans.

+ Who knew that Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People was a documentary?

+ I’m missing James Gandolfini on what would have been his 58th birthday…“Let me tell ya something. Nowadays, everybody’s gotta go to shrinks, and counselors, and go on Sally Jessy Raphael and talk about their problems. What happened to Gary Cooper? The strong, silent type. That was an American. He wasn’t in touch with his feelings. He just did what he had to do. See, what they didn’t know was once they got Gary Cooper in touch with his feelings that they wouldn’t be able to shut him up! And then it’s dysfunction this, and dysfunction that, and dysfunction vaffancul!”

+ RIP John Cohen, musicologist, civil rights and anti-war activist, philosopher and banjo player for the New Lost City Ramblers…

+ A critic who should know better asserted that Quadrophenia was the greatest rock album. Wrong.

The Who Sell Out is the greatest album by The Who.

There’s a Riot Goin’ On by Sly and the Family Stone is the greatest rock album.

A Love Supreme by John Coltrane is the greatest album.

+ 20: the number of Americans who earn their living primarily from writing about classical music.

+ According to Siri, Bob Dylan died 11 years ago, on April 24, 2008, at the age of 66.

    Oh, Siri, am I not a brother to you?
    We grew up together
    From the cradle to the grave
    We died and were reborn
    And then mysteriously (screen) saved

+ Sun Ra: “You must realise that you have the right to love beauty. You must prepare to live life to the fullest extent.”

Why you got to own everything that you see?

What do you notice about that beautiful bar & lounge?



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ANA have launched a new Business Class "The Room" on their B777-300/ER aircraft. Currently, the new Business Class is available between Tokyo Haneda and London Heathrow. There will be a total of 12 completely redesigned B777-300/ER's featuring this new product.

Upgraded aircraft will have four cabins, including 8 First Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, 64 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, 24 Premium Economy Class in a 2-4-2 configuration, and 116 Economy Class seats in a 3-4-3 configuration, making a total of just 212 seats.

ANA B777-300/ER seat map

I started my journey at Tokyo Haneda Airport. This trip is an invite from ANA. Opinions are my own.

Tokyo Haneda Airport

ANA Lounge Haneda Airport

There are 2 ANA Lounges at Haneda Airport. One is near gate 110 and the other one is near gate 140 with limited operating hours. I visited the one near gate 110, which is closer to the boarding gate.

ANA Lounge Haneda Airport

The ANA Lounge is well designed and organized, it has a minimalistic feel. I was visiting around 15:00 so it wasn't overly crowded as compared to morning or evening peak hours. I strongly recommend a walk inside the lounge (turn left) as it is quieter toward the back side of the lounge.

In terms of food, ANA Lounge didn't disappoint. There is a cold salad bar, sushi, rice balls and several hot items such as beef hamburg and Japanese chicken curry with rice. There is sake, beer machines and soda machines around.

There are 2 food serving areas, my advice is to use the one towards the rear of the lounge (left) as it is much quieter as most people use the one closer to the entrance.

There is also a ramen bar near the main food area. It is by order only. The lounge is very bright and I could enjoy food and watch planes go by from the window.

ANA Lounge Haneda Airport

There were a few shower suites in the ANA Lounge, of which I took advantage of to freshen up before my 12 hour flight to London. Notably, There is a Dyson hair dryer!

Boarding of my flight was given in the priority order of First Class and ANA Diamond members, then Business Class then Premium Economy and finally Economy. It was done with utmost efficient and in a very organised manner.

There was a typhoon that swept over Tokyo 2 days ago prior to my journey, so ANA flight network operation was disrupted and there was a 5 hour delay on my flight. Luckily, the flight was still operated by the new Business Class configured B777-300/ER.

The Room - New Business Class

There are 3 sections of New Business Class (total 64 seats) which span over more than half of the B777-300/ER fuselage. My seat was 17K, located in the 3rd section. It is a reverse facing seat. You can notice how wide the seat is immediately.

ANA New Business Class "The Room" ANA New Business Class "The Room" ANA New Business Class "The Room" ANA New Business Class "The Room"

If you happened to sit in the middle seat, there is a divider to protect your privacy. It can also be lowered to create a pair seat for 2.

ANA New Business Class "The Room" middle seat ANA New Business Class "The Room" middle seat

The seat felt a bit short/stubby from the first glance but I didn't have any problem sitting up right. There was good legroom in the up right position.

ANA New Business Class "The Room"

I was very impressed with all the features and its design. All very clean and neat.

Economics / Re: Da Fed: Central Banking According to RE
« on: September 22, 2019, 09:40:59 AM »
I confess, I do enjoy central banker squirming; and squirm, they will.

They are Praying to the Porcelain God as we speak.  :icon_sunny:


OK, given the choice between RP and LC, I gotta go with Randy.  ::)


Bad blood: Rand Paul moves to thwart a Liz Cheney Senate run

The Hatfields and McCoys of the GOP are at it again.

09/22/2019 06:48 AM EDT

Rand Paul began his offensive against Liz Cheney as soon as a Senate seat opened up in May, reigniting a years-long feud between their families and warring wings of the Republican Party.

The Kentucky GOP senator quickly made contact with Cynthia Lummis, a former conservative House member, to encourage her to run for the Senate seat opening up in Wyoming now that Mike Enzi was retiring.

Lummis soon jumped into the race, leaving Cheney, her successor in Congress, with a tough choice: Embark on a brutal primary against Lummis or take the safer route and seek her fortune in House leadership.

That was only the beginning of Paul’s slugfest with Cheney, one that included a fierce back and forth over Twitter on foreign policy, dueling Sunday show appearances and a highly unusual phone call from Paul into a Casper, Wyo., TV station to assert that Wyoming Republicans are “tired” of Cheney’s support for nation-building abroad.

Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican in just her second term, responded with her own show of strength. She said she was looking forward to having dinner with President Donald Trump that evening.

The assertion from Cheney that Paul has surrendered “to terrorists” and Paul’s response that Cheney is a “NeverTrump warmonger” was, in the words of Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), “weird, wild stuff.”

The bad blood between the Cheneys and Pauls goes way back. The fathers, former Rep. Ron Paul and former Vice President Dick Cheney were on opposite sides of the Iraq War. Dick Cheney backed Rand Paul’s primary opponent in 2010. Since Rand Paul was elected, he’s backed Liz Cheney’s challenger in each of her congressional races.
Liz Cheney

Rep. Liz Cheney has risen quickly in the House, and at times staked out more conservative territory than Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

“Rand likes to pick a fight, that’s his way,” said Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.), who serves in House leadership with Cheney but is neutral on the Wyoming Senate race.

But the battle is much more than personal beef. It’s a preview of a divisive Senate primary; a public display of the long-running effort to influence Trump’s loose policy views; and a test for how best to claim the Trump mantle in a party whose sharp divides have been papered over since winning the White House in 2016.

A safe red state is the perfect place for it all to play out, with Lummis as a proxy for Paul’s libertarian-inflected conservatism against Cheney’s sharp-edged ambition at home and abroad.

“Cynthia Lummis is going to be the next U.S. senator from Wyoming. If [Cheney] runs, it may be the most significant Republican primary in the country,” Paul said in an interview. “She’ll have to decide whether she wants to match conservative credentials with somebody who actually lives in Wyoming and has been there her whole life.”

Cheney’s allies scoff at Paul’s early intervention in the race and insist it won't impact her decision making. In fact, they say his aggressive maneuvering could backfire in a state where GOP voters have hugged Trump tightly. Paul, they point out, once called Trump an "orange-faced windbag" and has only voted with Trump 69 percent of the time on key votes, compared to Cheney’s 96 percent, according to the website 538.

Early polling shows Cheney leading Lummis by over 20 points in a potential match-up, according to a survey conducted by the GOP firm The Tarrance Group.

Though she's made no final decision and isn't expected to do so for a couple months, Republicans believe she's likely to run for the Senate, according to interviews with a dozen members of Congress and aides. For now, Cheney says only that she’s “going to do what’s best for Wyoming.” And even some of her closest allies don’t know where she will land.

“She and I have talked about it several times,” said Rep. Bradley Byrne, a Cheney friend who is running for Senate in Alabama. “She’d be a terrific senator, she’d be a terrific speaker. I think that is the dilemma.”

Her decision will have an outsized effect on both the Senate, where she could one day mount a presidential run, and the House, where she’s viewed as a potential future speaker. Many are already taking sides.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is eager for Cheney to run, according to three sources familiar with his preference in the race. McConnell sees Cheney as a dynamic addition to his conference and a likely ally for his agenda. Lummis was often at odds with House leadership and served in the hard-line House Freedom Caucus.

Hawkish Republicans like Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) also back Cheney.
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“I don’t know the other lady, I just know Liz,” Graham said. “She’d be an outstanding senator.”

Yet the “other lady” also has plenty of supporters in the Senate, and they are making a not-so-subtle effort to head Cheney off from running. In addition to Paul, Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) all support Lummis. Plenty of Senate Republicans are also still peeved by Cheney’s aborted primary campaign against Enzi six years ago.

“Liz very well could be the first Republican woman speaker of the House,” Cramer said, adding that the state and party will be stronger without a divisive primary. “If I was in Wyoming I’d go, ‘gosh, we have an opportunity to have a couple superstars.’ And if Liz does [run for Senate], we don’t.”

Cheney has risen quickly in the House, and at times staked out more conservative territory than Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — moves that could better position herself to run for speaker one day.

If Cheney instead decides to challenge Lummis for the Senate, the contest would elevate the larger split in the Republican Party over foreign policy and the still simmering debate over whether Trump’s worldview is closer to Paul’s and Lummis’ or Cheney’s.

Lummis told POLITICO she "received encouragement from Senator Paul and a number of other fiscally conservative senators." And despite Cheney’s leadership position, Lummis still has allies in the House, where she served for nearly a decade.

Conservative Rep. Mark Meadows, one of Trump’s closest confidants on Capitol Hill, has already contributed to Lummis’ campaign. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who leans libertarian like Paul, said it’s an “easy call” to back Lummis.

Some GOP lawmakers and aides interpreted the Cheney-Paul Twitter spat as an audition for an audience of one: Trump. If Cheney does jump into the race, there would undoubtedly be a battle for Trump’s endorsement. His supporters in Congress are unsure if Trump would weigh in.

Cheney’s allies, though, say she has a leg up, catching Trump’s eye on Fox News as a fierce champion of the military. At a White House event in July, the president heaped praise on Cheney, saying she has a “pretty unlimited future.”

Yet Lummis was also considered for Interior secretary, a sign the president has gotten over a disparaging comment she made during the 2016 campaign — that she was “holding my nose” to vote for Trump.

Regardless of who wins, the Senate will be far different with the departure of the low-key Enzi. Lummis might be a headache for GOP leaders if she resumes the same confrontational stance she had in the House and joins Paul as a thorn in McConnell’s side.

And if Cheney wins, well, those who sit between her and Paul at the weekly Republican lunches better look out.

“I don’t think anybody will stab anybody,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), not entirely convincingly.

Frostbite Falls Newz / Collapse Chronicles meets the Doomstead Diner
« on: September 22, 2019, 08:52:37 AM »

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard, microphone & camera of RE

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666

Friend us on Facebook


Published on The Doomstead Diner September 22, 2019

Discuss this article & interview at the Frostbie Falls Daily News Table inside the Diner


Sam Mitchell of Collapse Chronicles

Image result for sam mitchell collapse chronicles I know Diner Fans are Chomping at the Bit awating the vids from the SUN☼ Monument Placement Ceremony on it's Eternal Resting Place in the center of Flyover Country, Springfield, Missouri.  However, you will have to wait another week for that, at least.  As usual, other more Time-Sensitive artciles or vids have jumped the queue here, and for this line-cutter it's an interview I did with Sam Mitchell of the YouTube Channel Vlog  COLLAPSE CHRONICLES.  For a change, I am not doing the interview, I am the "Intervieweed".  In this episode, we talk about Economics, Climate Change & Extinction, all pretty popular topics amongst Kollapsniks of course. 🙂

Besides that, except for you Grizzled Veterans of the Diner who already know this stuff, included as a BONUS is the short version History of the Doomstead Diner, how it came to be and WHY it exists at all?  Although some of Sam's listenership on Collapse Chronicles are familiar with the Diner, many are relative Newbies to the Collapse Blogosphere, so this was a great opportunity to reach a new audience for the daily offerings, discussion & debate on the Doomstead Diner.  Our full History is recounted (Cliff Notes Version) during this interview, going all the way back in Mr. Peabody's WAYBAC Machine to my Doomer Beginnings living down in the (former) Tropical Paradise of Brazil in the 1960s.

Image result for greta thunberg We also cover the Collapse Vectors & Outcomes that may evolve over time, as well as whether or not EXTINCTION is the main thing you have to worry about right now?  What are the Proximal Causes?  What is the Timeline?  Will EVERYBODY die?  What does Greta Thunberg think?  Will we all be SAVED by a modern day Joan of Arc?  Or like her 16 year old historical counterpart, will she end up Burned at the Stake?

It's all speculation of course, nobody really can have the answer to these questions,  particularly since this is an Unprecedented Event.  Although there have been numerous Civilization Collapse Events throughout Human Hitory, none has ever been completely GLOBAL in its effects; none has ever had the participation of 7.6B Homo Sap Meat Packages involved simultaneously; and none has placed the Existential Peril of the possible ANNIHILIATION of ALL LIFE ON EARTH as a possible outcome.  Not just "Human Life", but ALL LIFE.  Are we singing the Swan Song for life on Planet Earth, and for all we really KNOW, all the Universe?

Neither Sam nor me (or Greta!) has the answers to these questions, but we do try to frame the questions to make them as accessible as possible to think about.  It's a lot to ponder on, probably the greatest conundrum to face Homo Sap since we dropped down from the trees to overrun & overpopulate the surface of the Earth.  In just a couple of 100 Thousand Years since becoming "Sapient" (as in relatively modern human anatomy), our own Biomass has effectively squashed out innumerable species, as we progressively moved through agriculture, metallurgy, ceramics and ultimately, Industrialization.  Will we now become responsible for our own Extinction as well?  Is there any road out left?  If there is, how many can come through to the other side of the Zero Point?  How Many can be Saved? icon_scratch




Coming Next Week for Sunday Brunch


Placing the SUN☼ Monument

He'll be taking flying from balcony lessons soon.


‘Rogue’ Oil Trader Loses $320 Million In Massive Trading Bust
By ZeroHedge - Sep 21, 2019, 2:00 PM CDT

A Singapore-based subsidiary of Japanese trading giant Mitsubishi recently booked a $320 million loss after several unauthorized derivatives trades went sour, the company revealed in a Friday press release. The bank blamed the losses on a 'rogue trader' who allegedly manipulated the subsidiary's risk-management system, allowing him to place massive derivatives bets on the price of oil and disguise them as hedges similar to what JPMorgan did with the whole London Whale debacle.

Though the bank didn't release the trader's name, according to the press release, he was fired earlier this week. The bank has since reported his actions to the local police.


The trader had been taking unauthorized derivatives positions since January, but he suffered heavy losses over the summer as oil prices fell. He reportedly occupied a relatively senior position, and was in charge of all transactions involving China for the subsidiary.

The bank launched an investigation into the traders' positions while he was out of office in the middle of August. It soon discovered the unauthorized positions, and decided to unwind them immediately (the bank probably could have minimized losses if it had waited until Monday to unwind those positions, when prices spiked nearly 20% intraday).

Because the trader had manipulated the subsidiary's risk-management system, he was able to make it look like the derivative trades were associated with customer orders.
Related: Oil Prices Up As Iran Prepares For "All Out War"

As the FT points out, Mitsubishi made a $5 billion net profit last year, so the trading loss is more of an embarrassment than a threat to the bank's survival. But according to Bloomberg, the oil market has a long history of massive trading busts.

Bad Bets

The incident is a reminder of the damage that a rogue trader can cause to a large financial institution, according to the FT. The Mitsubishi rogue trader will join a growing 'rogues gallery' that includes Société Générale's Jérôme Kerviel, JPM's "London Whale" (a.k.a. Bruno Iksil), and Barings' Nick Leeson.

* * *

Read Mitsubishi's announcement below:

Losses from Overseas Subsidiary’s Crude Oil Trading

This is to inform you that Mitsubishi Corporation (hereinafter “MC") can confirm that one of its subsidiaries based in Singapore has realized a previously unidentified loss from derivatives trading. Investigations are currently ongoing to determine all of the details, but what is known so far is outlined below.

MC recognizes the seriousness of this matter and shall be redoubling efforts throughout the entire MC Group to ensure that it does not happen again.

1. Situation at Present

Petro-Diamond Singapore (Pte) Ltd. (hereinafter “PDS"), a subsidiary of MC that engages in the trade of crude oil and petroleum products, has confirmed that it expects to book a loss of approximately 320 million USD from its trade of crude oil derivatives.

Although PDS has already closed the position in question and determined how much was lost on the underlying derivatives, we are now examining the total amount of losses.

2. Facts Determined Thus Far

An employee who was hired locally by PDS to handle its crude oil trade with China (hereinafter “the employee”) was discovered to have been repeatedly engaging in unauthorized derivatives transactions and disguising them to look like hedge transactions since January of this year. Because the employee was manipulating data in PDS’s risk-management system, the derivatives transactions appeared to be associated with actual transactions with PDS’s customers. Since July, the price of crude oil has been dropping, resulting in large losses from derivatives trading. PDS began investigating the employee’s transactions during his absence from work in the middle of August, and that is when the unauthorized transactions were discovered.

3. MC's and PDS’s Response

After recognizing that the transactions being investigated could result in a loss for PDS, MC and PDS immediately consulted with an outside lawyer and established an investigation team, including local outside experts, to gain an overall picture of the situation and identify the causes.

- PDS quickly closed the derivatives position in question and determined the losses caused by the transactions which were not associated with any crude oil transactions with PDS’s customers. PDS also has since prevented the commencement of any similar transactions.
Related: U.S. Oil Rig Count Takes Sharp Turn Downward

- MC conducted internal investigation at PDS, which included inspections of PDS’s contracts, rules, risk-management system and internal controls. Based on its findings, MC has reconfirmed that PDS has sufficient internal controls in place, including a middle office responsible for risk management. MC also confirmed PDS already tightened its governance to ensure that any similar improprieties can be detected at a much earlier stage.

- MC also performed investigations at its other MC group companies and MC’s in-house business departments engaged in derivatives trading to determine whether or not any similar improprieties have been taking place. These investigations confirmed that there are no such problems or risks at present.

- PDS terminated the employment of the employee on September 18. In order to take a strong action in response to the violation of internal rules and laws committed by the employee, which has caused PDS this significant loss, PDS lodged a police complaint against the employee on September 19.

4. Impact on MC’s FY2019 Forecast

How the losses will impact MC’s forecast for FY2019 is under investigation and shall be announced if and when a performance review is necessary.

Further details with respect to the ongoing investigations shall be made accordingly.


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