The Lyin King

Poetic Jusstice
by Jim Goad
February 18, 2019

Thursday, Feb 21st,  2018

Jussie Smollett arrested and charged after allegedly filing false police report Actor Jussie Smollett is in custody after being charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report about an assault he said took place in Chicago in January, Chicago Police announced Thursday. Police say Smollett turned himself in. Smollett had been under investigation for filing a false police report, which is a felony, and detectives presented evidence before a Cook County grand jury on Wednesday, leading to the charges. The Empire star said that on Jan. 29, he was attacked by two men who put a rope around his neck, yelled racist and homophobic slurs, and dumped bleach on him. Two Nigerian brothers reportedly told police Smollett paid them to attack him. Smollett will appear in court Thursday afternoon. Source: The Washington Post, Chicago Police

A fossil from a new species of tyrannosaur named Moros intrepidus is discovered in Utah. Scientists are using the find to better understand how Tyrannosaurus rex evolved during the Cretaceous period. (National Geographic)

One surviving female specimen of the Fernandina Galápagos tortoise species, which was thought to be extinct for more than 100 years, is found. (USA Today)

Russian president Vladimir Putin issues a threat to the United States saying his country is “ready for a Cuban Missile-style crisis” if the United States is “foolish enough” to want one. This is in relation to missile deployment in Europe. (Reuters)

Mueller will finish Russia investigation ‘as early as next week’ Attorney General William Barr will announce “as early as next week” that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has completed his probe into any possible involvement between President Trump’s campaign and Russia’s election interference in 2016, sources tell CNN. At some point after that, he’ll reportedly give Congress a summary of the confidential report, rather than releasing details publicly. After two years of investigations, CNN says this is the “clearest indication” of Mueller wrapping up. “The precise timing of the announcement is subject to change,” CNN says. It’s unclear what Barr will include in the summary to Congress, or how long it will take for him to prepare that summary after announcing the probe has wrapped. Source: CNN

United States allies France and the United Kingdom say they won’t fill the void with their own troops when the United States pulls out of Syria. (Washington Post)

Democrats ready resolution to terminate Trump’s emergency declaration On Wednesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told congressional Democrats and Republicans that the House will “move swiftly” to pass a resolution to terminate President Trump’s emergency declaration, and she urged all members of Congress to cosponsor it. “The president’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated,” Pelosi wrote. Democrats are expected to file the resolution on Friday, setting up a vote in mid-March and a Senate vote 18 days later. The resolution will pass the House and may pass in the Senate, but there are probably too few Republican votes to override Trump’s expected veto. Source: The Associated Press, Politico



 Wednesday,  Feb 20th,  2019

The Venezuelan Navy closes its maritime borders with the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire ahead of the planned entry of international humanitarian aid into Venezuela on February 23, which Nicolás Maduro considers a precursor to invasion. (CNN)

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous 9–0 decision, rules the 8th Amendment’s prohibition on excessive fines applies to state and local governments, as well as the federal government. (The Washington Post)

The United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee permits those North Koreans on its global travel ban list to travel to Hanoi, Vietnam, for the second summit meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. (Reuters)


Three Conservative Party MPs, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen defect to The Independent Group, citing Brexit and the party adopting UKIPpolicies. This brings the total number of The Independent Group MPs to eleven following recent defections from Labour. (The Guardian)

US President Donald Trump plans to nominate Jeffrey A. Rosen to replace Rod Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General. (CBS News)

Kentucky student sues The Washington Post for $250 million The family of Nicholas Sandmann on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against The Washington Post, saying the newspaper “wrongfully targeted and bullied” the Covington, Kentucky, high school student, and depicted him as racist in several articles about a January confrontation between Sandmann and his classmates with a Native American activist at the Lincoln Memorial. The suit accuses the newspaper of painting Sandmann, who was wearing a Make America Great Again hat, as the instigator to support its alleged bias against President Trump. The lawsuit seeks $250 million in damages. That’s how much Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos paid for the Post in 2013. Trump celebrated the lawsuit on Wednesday, tweeting, “Go get them Nick.”Source: Reuters

Trump nominates Jeffrey Rosen as deputy attorney general President Trump is nominating Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general, the White House announced Tuesday night. Rosen is the deputy transportation secretary, and served in the George W. Bush administration. Last week, William Barr was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as attorney general, and people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News Barr picked Rosen; both worked at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Rosenstein is reportedly expected to leave the Department of Justice in mid-March. After Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017. Source: Bloomberg News

Thousands of patients were improperly prescribed fentanyl Thousands of patients were improperly prescribed a highly potent and restricted class of fentanyl, an opioid 100 times more powerful than morphine, between 2012 and 2017, research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found. Anywhere from 34.6 to 55.4 percent of patients, or about 12,900 people who received prescriptions for the drug were “opioid-nontolerant” or were not suffering the “breakthrough pain” that the drug is mean to treat. The FDA created a program to monitor prescription of the drug in 2011, but drug companies, doctors, pharmacists, and other professionals failed to minimize the use of the drug, the study found. Fentanyl was involved in about 28 percent of drug overdose deaths in 2016, more than any other drug. Source: CNN


Tuesday,  Feb 19th, 2019

In a speech, U.S. President Donald Trump urges the Venezuelan military to abandon Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro or “lose everything”. (Reuters)

Ford Motor Company will stop selling commercial trucks in South America. (CNBC)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet with Vietnamese General Secretary and President Nguyễn Phú Trọng in Hanoi ahead of talks with U.S. PresidentDonald Trump. (Fox News)

American retailer Payless ShoeSource files Chapter 11 bankruptcy with plans to close all of their U.S. stores. (USA Today)

Honda confirms that it will be closing its car plant in Swindon, South West England, because of decreased demand for diesel cars and tougher emissions regulations. The closure in 2021 will result in the loss of about 3,500 jobs. (BBC)

Teva Pharmaceutical settles outstanding cases with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission involving payments from brand-name drugmakers to delay releasing a cheaper version of its product, so-called “pay-for-delay” agreements. (Reuters)

Vermont Senator and 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, announces on Vermont Public Radio that he is running for President of the United States as a Democrat in 2020. (NPR)

Seven Labour Party MPs (Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Ann Coffey and Mike Gapes) resign from the party, forming a new independent group, in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and “institutional anti-Semitism” within the party. (BBC)

The End

Gold Mines

The “Jamal Khashoggi affair” has been totally and completely forgotten. Outstanding. I love it. I love the human race.

Saudi Arabia signs $20 billion dollars in deals with Pakistan. (BBC News)

Florida rapper YNW Melly is arrested for allegedly murdering two friends. (CTV News)

A mass shooting inside a nightclub in Cancún, Mexico, leaves five dead and five wounded. (Fox News)

Scott Pelley Commits Career Suicide
Clusterfuck Nation
by James Howard Kunstler

The 15 best movies of all time that weren’t nominated for a best-picture Oscar


Monday,  Feb 18th, 2019

Twin explosions in Idlib, Syria, kills over 25 and injures more than 20. (Daily Sabah)

A summit between Israel and the Visegrád Group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) is cancelled following Poland’s reaction and withdrawal in re Israeli officials statements on The Holocaust. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will hold bilateral talks with the three prime ministers attending. (BBC)

Seven Labour Party MPs (Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Ann Coffey and Mike Gapes) resign from the party, forming a new independent group, in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and “institutional anti-Semitism” within the party. (BBC)

The United States is discussing exchanging liaison officers with North Korea. (CNN)


Sunday, Feb 17th, 2019

At least nine people die after a fire sweeps through more than 200 slum dwellings in Chittagong, Bangladesh. (BBC)

Four children die after a landslide in Mauá, São Paulo, Brazil. (G1)

Eight people are rescued from a gold mine that is flooded in Battlefields, Zimbabwe. (Al Jazeera)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appoints intelligence minister Israel Katz to take over the foreign minister portfolio. Netanyahu retains his defence minister and health minister roles. Israel’s parliamentary elections are scheduled for 9 April 2019. (Reuters)

Denny Hamlin wins the 2019 Daytona 500. It is his second win in the event, the first coming in 2016. (Fox News)


Saturday,  Feb 16th, 2018

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have taken control of Al-Baghuz Fawqani, following the surrender of the last remaining ISIL militants in the town. (Reuters)

Militants attacked an army checkpoint in Sinai Peninsula killing and injuring 15. It is believed that 11 were killed but that has not been confirmed. Seven militants also died in the attack. (The National)

32 Afghan border security troops are killed by a Taliban attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan. (The New York Times)

Voting is delayed in Nigeria for a week, hours before polling was due to start because of violent incidents in the lead up to the election. (BBC)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is to arrive in Vietnam on February 25 ahead of the second summit meeting between the two leaders on February 27-28 in Hanoi. (Reuters)

United States Air Force C-17s land at Cucuta near the Colombia–Venezuela border, the aircraft are loaded with humanitarian aid intended for Venezuela. (ABC News)

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert withdraws from consideration for the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations nomination. Jonathan Cohen has been serving in that position since January 1, 2019, following Nikki Haley’s resignation. (NPR)


Friday,  Feb 15th, 2018

66 people were killed by gunmen in Nigeria’s Kaduna State including 34 victims being either women or children. The attack happened one day before the scheduled election before it was delayed another week.  (BBC)

Payless ShoeSource is closing all its 2,100 stores in America, starting liquidation sales on Sunday. (USA Today)

The government of Japan approves a bill which officially acknowledges the Ainu as an indigenous people, following a non-binding resolution that was passed in 2008. (The Japan Times)

U.S. President Donald Trump declares a National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States. (Fox News)

North Korean officials arrive in Beijing ahead of the second Trump–Kim summit. (ChannelNewsAsia)

Zara advert gets China asking: Are freckles beautiful?

A senior United States administration official says the U.S. is willing to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to negotiate an exit to the crisis, as the U.S. military helps deliver aid to Venezuela. (CNN)

Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators close in towards a broad agreement, with top officials from both sides to hold further talks next week in Washington. (The Wall Street Journal)

Eight Vale employees from Minas Gerais are arrested over alleged involvement in a dam collapse that killed at least 166 people. (Financial Times) (The Wall Street Journal)

Trump declares national emergency, will redirect federal funds to border wall President Trump, in a speech in the White House Rose Garden on Friday, announced that he would declare a national emergency, and is expected to sign a funding bill Congress passed Thursday to avert a partial government shutdown. He aims to obtain an additional $6.5 billion to build a border wall, and will redirect money from a Treasury Department drug forfeiture fund and a Defense Department drug interdiction program, in addition to using military construction funds. The military construction funds are only available with Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, White House officials say, though the declaration will likely face a legal challenge. Lawmakers on both side of the aisle criticized Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would support the move. The bill passed by Congress includes $1.75 billion for border fencing. Source: The Washington Post, The Guardian

1st Democratic presidential primary debate scheduled for June The first 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate will air simultaneously on NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo in June, the Democratic National Committee announced Thursday. The exact date and location have yet to be determined. The DNC wants to be able to include up to 20 candidates, and depending on the number of candidates eligible to appear onstage, the debate could be held over two nights. CNN will host the second debate in July. Source: NBC News

Thursday, Feb 14th,  2018

Thousands of ISIL fighters and their families flee or surrender to the Syrian Democratic Forces, pushing back ISIL control to a square mile in the last ISIL stronghold of Baghuz. It is expected that ISIL still holds several hostages, including British Journalist John Cantlie. (US News) (The Guardian)

Amazon cancels its New York City headquarters plans, citing opposition from local politicians. (CNN)

The death toll rises to 9 as protesters ask for Jovenel Moïse to step down as president of Haiti. The protest started Feburary 7. (BBC) (TIME)

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence accuses European Union members of trying to break U.S. sanctions against Iran, and calls on the EU to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. (Reuters)

The U.S. Senate votes to confirm Trump nominee William Barr as United States Attorney General with a vote of 54–45. (NBC News)

The End

Hawaii Blizzard

Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit
by David Graeber


Mars One, a private Dutch organization that had claimed it would send humans on a one-way trip to Mars starting in 2024, releases a statement saying it has been declared bankrupt. (CBC)   Oh. Wow. This comes as a surprise. That looked like such a great idea.

A winter storm hits Hawaii, depositing snow at record-low elevations at Polipoli State Park, along with massive waves, coastal flooding, and strong winds, resulting in at least one death.  (The Washington Post)

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Protecting the Oil of the Industrial Nations

The American Way of Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy and the American Way of Life (2006)
by Michael Lind

Protecting the Oil of the Industrial Nations (p.142-144)

The Iraq War that began in 2003 did achieve one goal. It put the U.S military in charge of the country with the fourth-largest proven oil reserves in the world.

Of the three major oil-producing nations in the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia remains a U.S. protectorate, Iraq at the time of this writing [2006] is occupied by the United States, and Iran is bordered by three U.S. client states that contain significant numbers of U.S. military forces—Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. “Regime change” in Iran that brought a pro-American regime to power would complete the conversion of several major oil-producing countries into U.S. protectorates. The most populous Arab country, Egypt, has been a subsidized U.S. client state since the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel brokered by the United States in 1978.

Many frustrated Americans hoped that U.S. involvement in the Middle East could be reduced if only the United States could liberate itself from dependence on Persian Gulf oil. They did not understand, and America’s bipartisan foreign policy elite was careful not to explain, that the United States was In the Middle East to protect not only its own oil but also that of other great powers, in order to discourage those great powers from building and projecting military power of their own.

By the first decade of the twenty-first century, the United States derived only about one-fifth of its oil from the Middle East. Sixty percent of Middle Eastern oil went to Asia. Half of China’s oil came from the Persian Gulf region. The CIA estimated that by 2015 three-quarters of all Middle Eastern oil will go to Asia, with only one-tenth going to Western nations including the United States.”

The fact that Japan heavily subsidized the liberation of Kuwait from Iraq by the United States in 1991 was a clue to the bargain between the United States and its major protectorates in the post-Cold War period. Thomas P. M. Barnett, an influential American strategic thinker who taught at the Naval War College, noted that “the West … has come to rely less and less on Persian Gulf oil … The United States, for example, imports more energy supplies from Canada than from any other nation, and gets the bulk of its imported oil from North and South America. According to Barnett: “In effect, U.S. Naval presence in Asia is becoming far less an expression of our nation’s forward presence than our exporting of security to the global marketplace.” Barnett argued that “in the end, this is a pretty good deal. We trade little pieces of paper (our currency, in the form of a trade deficit) for Asia’s amazing array of products and services. We are smart enough to know this is a patently unfair deal—unless we offer something of great value along with those little pieces of paper. That product is a strong U.S. Pacific Fleet, which squares the transaction quite nicely.”

The power to protect by its nature is also the power to threaten. American policymakers did not make this explicit. But “Asia 2025,” the alarmist report about China published by the Pentagon in 2000, noted a potential weakness of China, Japan, and the two Koreas, observing that by 2020 Asia might consume three times as much energy as Europe. In a book published by the National Defense University, defense analyst Douglas E. Streusand wrote of “the American geopolitical imperative to retain control—the ability to use and to deny use—of the sea lines of communications between the Middle East and East Asia.” According to Streusand: “Asia, including China, depends on the United States, not merely on the actual sellers of the petroleum and natural gas, for its energy and thus for its economic prosperity and growth. The leverage of energy access control can counterbalance the leverage of China’s size and proximity on the Pacific Rim. It also offers significant leverage over China itself. From this perspective, the U.S. commitments in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean protect not only our own energy supplies but also our status as a global power. Since we are currently engaged in a war against Osama bin Laden, who claims the American presence in Saudi Arabia as the principal justification for his hostility, there is no doubt that the U.S. presence in the Gulf brings painfully expensive baggage. But it is an essential component of the maintenance of global order.”

The ability of the United States to cut off oil supplies to Asia did not go unnoticed in Asia. A zoos report commissioned by the U.S. Defense Department entitled “Energy Futures in Asia” cited the belief of Chinese officials that the United States had the military ability to cut off Chinese oil imports. To reduce its vulnerability to the United States, China sought to provide for its future energy needs by deals with oil-producing countries hostile to the United States, including Iran, Sudan, and Venezuela. In 2005 a bid, later withdrawn, by China’s state-owned oil company, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), to take over the U.S. oil company Unocal, which had large holdings in oil fields and pipelines in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, created alarm in the United States. China went on to buy Canada’s Petro-Kazakhstan.

In addition, according to a 2005 Pentagon report, “China is building strategic relationships along the sea lanes from the Middle East to the South China Sea in ways that suggest defensive and offensive positioning to protect China’s energy interests, but also to serve broad security objectives.” According to the report, China was pursuing a “string of pearls” strategy by building or upgrading naval bases in Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, and the South China Sea to deter the potential disruption of its energy supplies from potential threats, including the U.S. Navy, especially in the event of a conflict with Taiwan” in which the United States might impose a blockade preventing oil imports to China. With good reason the political scientist Robert A. Pape observed that “U.S. monopolization of Persian Gulf oil would be the single most significant act that the United States could take to increase its relative power, save for taking control of European or Asian resources.”



Tuesday,  Feb 5th, 2019

Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders to rebut State of the Union Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will respond to President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. Harris will air a “pre-buttal” on Facebook Live ahead of Trump’s speech on the House floor, while Sanders will respond after the address concludes. Both senators are tacking on to the official Democratic response, which will come from former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Harris, who recently announced a presidential bid, said on Twitter that “It’s critical we speak truth to the American people during this inflection moment in our country’s history.” Abrams said she plans “to deliver a vision for prosperity and equality, where everyone in our nation has a voice and where each of those voices is heard.” Source: Bloomberg

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Friday,  Feb 1st, 2018

American singer Mariah Carey is expected to perform her concert in Saudi Arabia, despite Saudi women’s rights activists calling for her to cancel it. (ABC News)

U.S. to withdraw from milestone nuclear disarmament treaty Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to announce Friday that the Trump administration is suspending the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a pact with Russia that has been a centerpiece of European security since the Cold War. In remarks scheduled for Friday morning, Pompeo reportedly plans to accuse Russia of violating the Reagan-era treaty with a missile it has deployed near European borders. The two sides failed to resolve their differences on the issue in recent discussions. Pompeo and his deputies have called on Moscow to destroy the missile; Russia has said it’s the U.S. that has violated the treaty with antiballistic missile systems deployed in Europe. Source: The New York Times, CNN

Trump and Pelosi dig in on wall as border security talks begin President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hardened their positions on Trump’s demand for a border wall on Thursday, with just two weeks to go before a deadline that could result in another partial government shutdown. “There’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation,” Pelosi said as congressional Democrats presented their opening offer toward a border security deal. As negotiations between Republicans and Democrats on a special committee got underway on Capitol Hill, Trump said at the White House that he didn’t expect much from the committee. “If they don’t give us a wall, it doesn’t work,” Trump said. Pelosi said Democrats could accept some metal “Normandy fencing” that was previously approved to stop vehicles but not people. “He can call that a wall,” Pelosi said. Source: CNBC

January job gains smash expectations The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 304,000 jobs in January, smashing expectations despite a feared drag from the 35-day partial government shutdown. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast, on average, a gain of 172,000 jobs in what have been a widely anticipated pullback following December’s surprisingly strong gain of 312,000 non-farm jobs. The Labor Department said the government shutdown had no “discernible” impact on hiring overall, although it helped nudge the unemployment rate higher. The unemployment rate edged up to 4 percent from 3.9 percent the month before. The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of people seeking unemployment benefits increased by 53,000 to a seasonally adjusted 253,000 for the last week of January, the biggest jump since September 2017. Source: CNBC

Cory Booker announces 2020 presidential campaign Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) officially announced Friday he is running for president in 2020. In a video posted to a newly-launched campaign website, Booker said, “I believe we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind,” also saying that “we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose.” Booker is the latest Democrat to jump into the 2020 race alongside Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and others. Following his announcement, he has several radio interviews lined up and is expected to appear Friday on The View. He will subsequently head to Iowa and South Carolina for events next week. Source: Cory Booker, The New York Times

After a fire at a Consumers Energy natural gas compressor station, Michiganders are asked to turn down their heat to conserve natural gas. (25nbc)

Several major cities in the Midwestern United States and Eastern Canada reach record low temperatures for the third consecutive day as a polar vortex continues to affect the region. (The New York Times)

The End

specially trained ants

Thursday, Jan 31st,  2018

Italy’s economy falls into recession for the third time in a decade after declining GDP growth in late 2018. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte blames the recession on external factors, including trade tensions between the United States and China. (The Guardian)

Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn announces that the company is reconsidering their plan to manufacture LCD panels in a promised Wisconsin plant because of a changed global marketplace, and the high cost of United States labor. Foxconn said, earlier in January, that it still planned to create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin. The State of Wisconsin pledged subsidies worth more than $3bn. (BBC) (Reuters)

Unemployment claims near highest in more than one year The number of applicants seeking unemployment benefits is near a one-and-a-half year high, the Labor Department reported Thursday. An increase of 53,000 to a seasonally adjusted 253,000 claims for the last week of January is the largest surge since September 2017, and the total number of claims is the highest since the same time. The jump could signal a slowing labor market, and is also likely affected by claims from government workers who were unemployed during the partial government shutdown. The spike in jobless claims will likely recede in coming weeks, writes MarketWatch, settling closer to the 49-year low that was reported earlier this month. Source: CNBC

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Shale Oil


The EIA’s US Oil Production Spreadsheet for Annual numbers gives production in 2005 at 5.2 mbpd, reached a low at 5.0 mbpd in 2008 and is up to 9.4 mbpd in 2017. Averaging the monthly spreadsheet numbers from Jan-Oct 2018 we get US production at 10.8 mbpd in 2018.

The numbers for North Dakota and Texas combined were as follows: 1.2 mbpd in 2005, 4.6 mbpd in 2017, and 5.6 mbpd in 2018.

This gives us production in the rest of the United States as follows: 4.0 mbpd in 2005, 4.8 mbpd in 2017, 5.2 mbpd in 2018

If we take 2009 as the year before shale-oil production started in Texas and North Dakota and subtract the production rate that year in each state from the totals in those two states for all subsequent years we can calculate how many total barrels of shale-oil have been produced.

Ramping up to 560,000 bpd in 2011, 2.9 mbpd in 2014, and 4.2 mbpd in 2018 – the total shale oil production since 2009 in these two states has been approximately 7.6 billion barrels.

It is impossible to calculate the money spent and made from all these operations, but if we arbitrarily say that it cost $50 per barrel to produce the oil that would be $378 Billion. How much above $50 each barrel was sold for on average would be the profit.

It is hard to see where what Dmitry Orlov calls the “$300 billion loss through fracking” comes from. It would require that a lot of that oil was simply given away.

Why must Venezuela be destroyed?
by Dmitry Orlov
Jan. 29th, 2019

If the Army Stands With Maduro, What Is Plan B?

by Patrick J. Buchanan
January 29, 2019



“You want it to be one way. But it’s the other way.”


The Dark Places of the Future
by John Michael Greer
December 26, 2018


Wednesday,  Jan 30th, 2019

Six Tanzanian children are killed for their eyes, ears and other body parts. A Njombe district official, who found many were taken when they were home alone whilst their parents were working, believes that superstitious beliefs and witchcraft are involved. Four other missing children have been found alive. (BBC)

Roger Stone pleads not guilty to charges in Russia probe Roger Stone, President Trump’s longtime adviser, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges including obstruction of an official proceeding, witness tampering, and making false statements. Stone was indicted last week in relation to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential involvement with Russian election interference. After his indictment, Stone publicly declared his innocence and pledged never to testify against Trump. Stone has been under scrutiny for his communications with Russian hackers during the 2016 election and alleged contacts with WikiLeaks. Several former Trump campaign advisers and Stone associates have reportedly told Mueller’s investigators that the self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” was a conduit for inside information from WikiLeaks, which released hacked emails damaging to Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton. Source: The Washington Post


Tuesday,  Jan 29th, 2019

 Following a request by Venezuelan Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice enjoins the National Assembly-backed President Juan Guaidó from leaving the country and freezes his bank accounts and assets. (The Washington Post)

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah, along with his unity government, resign from President Mahmoud Abbas’s government. (Reuters)

Pacific Gas and Electric Company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for its recent roles in the California wildfires. (Reuters)

Major midwestern cities, including Minneapolis, Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee, are under severe wind chill advisories with wind chills approaching −55 °F (−48 °C) at night. Chicago area schools, universities, public transportation, and cultural attractions announce closures or reduced schedules during the weather emergency. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers declare states of emergency due to the record low windchill temperatures. (Chicago Tribune)

Two lions, two hyenas, a rhino and a giraffe are killed at Kruger National Park, South Africa, after storms topple a power cable. (BBC)

About 130 French citizens who joined the Islamic State are expected to be returned to France by their Kurdish captors to face trial. (Bloomberg)

Bruce McArthur, a Toronto landscaper charged on January 18 in this decade-long investigation, pleads guilty in Ontario Superior Court to murdering eight men. (BBC)

Police arrest five men, three from the mining company Vale and two engineers from a subsidiary company, in connection with the mine collapse. (BBC)

A bug in Apple Inc’s FaceTime software is reported to have allowed users to spy on other devices. (CNN)


Poll: 56 percent of Americans would ‘definitely’ not vote for Trump in 2020 In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 56 percent of respondents said they definitely will not vote to re-elect President Trump in 2020, while 28 percent said they definitely will vote for him and 14 percent said they would consider voting for him. This comes after a previous poll from NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist similarly found that 57 percent of voters said they definitely would vote against Trump when he is up for re-election next year, while 30 percent said they’ll definitely vote for him, and 13 percent said they were unsure. The survey released Tuesday was conducted from Jan. 21 to Jan. 24, before the end of the partial government shutdown that, according a poll released last week, 53 percent of Americans blamed on Trump and congressional Republicans. Source: The Washington Post

U.S. drops out of Top 20 least-corrupt-nation ranking in annual survey Transparency International released its 2018 Corruption Perception Index Tuesday, and the U.S. is not among the Top 20 “cleanest” countries for the first time since 2011. The U.S. dropped four points from 2017, to 71 on a 100-point scale, a fall the group called “a red flag” that could “indicate a serious corruption problem in a country that has taken a lead on the issue globally.” The average score for full democracies was 75. Flawed democracies averaged 49 and autocratic regimes scored an average of 30. Denmark was the cleanest country, scoring 88, while Somalia was judged the most corrupt, at 10 points. “Our research makes a clear link between having a healthy democracy and successfully fighting public sector corruption,” said Transparently International’s Delia Ferreira Rubio. Source: The Associated Press, Transparency International


Monday,  Jan 28th, 2019

The United States Department of the Treasury imposes sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA which accounts for much of Venezuela’s income and foreign currency. (United States Department of the Treasury)

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov denies the presence of Russian mercenaries in Venezuela, despite earlier reports that up to 100 may have been deployed to protect President Nicolás Maduro. (South China Morning Post)

The United States Justice Department files criminal charges against Chinese telecom giant Huawei and its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, which include bank and wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and theft of technology. (BBC)

The End



But that’s France.


Why must Venezuela be destroyed?
by Orlov
Jan. 29th, 2019

“The explanation is a simple one: it has to do with oil. “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” said John Bolton on Fox News. You see, Venezuelan oil cannot be produced profitably without high oil prices—so high that many oil consumers would go bankrupt—but it can certainly be produced in much higher quantities at a huge financial loss.

Huge financial losses certainly wouldn’t stop American oil companies who have so far generated a $300 billion loss through fracking—financed by looting retirement savings, saddling future generations with onerous debt and other nefarious schemes. Also keep in mind that the single largest oil consumer in the world is the US Dept. of Defense, and if it has to pay a little more for oil in order to go on blowing up countries—so it will. Or, rather, you will. It’s all the same to them. The US is already well beyond broke, but its leaders will do anything to keep the party going for just a while longer.

Here’s the real problem: the fracking bonanza is ending. Most of the sweet spots have already been tapped; newer wells are depleting faster and producing less while costing more; the next waves of fracking, were they to happen, would squander $500 billion, then $1 trillion, then $2 trillion… The drilling rate is already slowing, and started slowing even while oil prices were still high. Meanwhile, peak conventional (non-fracked) oil happened back in 2005-6, only a few countries haven’t peaked yet, Russia has announced that it will start reducing production in just a couple years and Saudi Arabia doesn’t have any spare capacity left.

A rather large oil shortage is coming, and it will rather specifically affect the US, which burns 20% of the world’s oil (with just 5% of the world’s population). Once fracking crashes, the US will go from having to import 2.5 million barrels per day to importing at least 10—and that oil won’t exist. Previously, the US was able to solve this problem by blowing up countries and stealing their oil: the destruction of Iraq and Libya made American oil companies whole for a while and kept the financial house of cards from collapsing.”


Fracking in 2018: Another Year of Pretending to Make Money




 Monday,  Jan 28th, 2019

Reuters reports that Russian private military contractors belonging to the Wagner Group have flown into Venezuela to help guard President Nicolás Maduro, and that Russia supports Maduro’s disputed government. (Reuters)

In an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting called by the United States, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells the representatives of each government in attendance to make it known whether their country will support the disputed presidency of Maduro or his contested political rival Juan Guaidóas the leader of Venezuela. (The Washington Post)

The Bank of England blocks Maduro’s officials from withdrawing $1.2 billion worth of gold. (Bloomberg)

European countries, led by France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain, notify Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro that he must call elections or they will officially recognize the claim of leadership made by Guaidó. (BBC)

Hey, now! I don’t know what they are saying, but it doesn’t matter.


The United States, Canada and several Latin American nations recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as President of Venezuela. (Chicago Tribune)

President Nicolás Maduro says his government is breaking off diplomatic relations with the United States, giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country. Juan Guaidó, in turn, asks diplomats of countries that have recognized him as president to remain in Venezuela. (AP)

U.S. and Taliban have reached preliminary peace deal framework On Monday, the chief U.S. negotiator in peace talks with the Afghan Taliban said the two sides have agreed in principal to the framework of a peace deal that includes American troops leaving Afghanistan in return for a Taliban guarantee that its territory won’t be used to harbor terrorist groups. “We have a draft of the framework that has to be fleshed out before it becomes an agreement,” U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad told The New York Times. The Afghan government was not party to the talks, and one of the sticking points is U.S. insistence that the Taliban enter direct talks with the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The U.S. is also demanding a long-term ceasefire. Source: The New York Times

Black Panther, Glenn Close, Rami Malek win SAG Awards At the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night, Black Panther won the award for best film ensemble cast, with This Is Us taking home the award for TV drama ensemble and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for TV comedy ensemble. It was a big night for the show; Rachel Brosnahan won outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series and Tony Shalhoub was awarded outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy. On the movie side, Bohemian Rhapsody‘s Rami Malek won outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role, while The Wife‘s Glenn Close won outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role. Source: Variety

 List of mass shootings in the United States in 2019



And that’s Morocco. Or “Africa” as Business Insider calls it. Go figure.


I rode Africa’s first superfast bullet train and I understand why it’s controversial

Huh? I don’t think anybody cares.


More Below The Fold

Continue reading “Venezuela”

Pemex Tula-Tuxpan Pipeline

An illicitly tapped fuel pipeline explodes in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo, Mexico, killing at least 79 people and wounding 74 others. It is believed the explosion occurred after the line was ruptured by suspected fuel thieves. (BBC)



Tuesday,  Jan 22nd, 2019

The Israeli military says it had attacked Iranian military targets in Damascus including the city’s international airport in response to a missile attack. (CNN)

Israel’s military remains on elevated alert in the north and the ski area in the Golan Heights has been closed, but there are no other restrictions on civilian movement.

Two men are killed in separate avalanches at ski resorts, one near Aspen, Colorado and another in Kachina Peak at Taos Ski Valley approximately 125 miles (201 km) northeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico. (NBC News)

Two people died and 25 more were injured, four seriously, in a fire at the ski resort of Courchevel in the French Alps. (RTE)


‘World will end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,’ Ocasio-Cortez says

Senate GOP releases Trump’s shutdown bill, with big asylum changes Senate Republicans on Monday night, released a 1,300-page version of the plan President Trump outlined Saturday to reopen the federal government. It includes $5.7 billion for Trump’s border wall, a three-year extension of DACA, and measures to fund the parts of the government closed for 31 days and counting, plus $12.7 billion in assorted disaster and agricultural relief. Immigration experts also found several big, unheralded changes that would sharply curtail asylum requests. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to bring the bill up for a vote this week, even though Democrats have already rejected it. House Democrats, meanwhile, will likely pass another bill to reopen the government, this one with $1 billion for border security but no wall. Source: The Associated Press

Supreme Court allows restrictions on transgender military members The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled to allow the Trump administration to enforce restrictions on transgender personnel in the military. President Trump’s ban was blocked by several courts last year, but the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to lift the injunctions that had rejected the restrictions. The controversial policy first banned transgender people from serving in the U.S. military “in any capacity,” then was later amended to ban transgender people who “may require substantial medical treatment.” The ruling means that the restrictions can be enforced while a case proceeds to determine the policy’s long-term fate. Source: Reuters

Roma and The Favourite lead the 2019 Oscar nominations The 2019 Academy Award nominations have been announced. In the top category of Best Picture, the nominees are BlacKkKlansman, Black PantherBohemian RhapsodyThe FavouriteGreen BookRomaA Star Is Born, and Vice. The most nominated films overall are The Favourite and Roma, each of which received 10 nominations. Awards season favorites Christian Bale (Vice), Glenn Close (The Wife), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), and Mahershala Ali (Green Book) all received acting nominations, while Roma‘s Marina De Tavira and Yalitza Aparicio earned surprise nods for Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress, respectively. A Star Is Born‘s Bradley Cooper, meanwhile, was left out of Best Director field. Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Report: There are as many as 20 secret missile sites in North Korea Researchers have found an undisclosed ballistic missile base in North Korea, and say there could be as many as 20 secret bases across the country. Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the defense think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, released a report on Monday that revealed the existence of the Sino-ri Missile Operating Base, 130 miles north of the DMZ. Satellite photos of the base taken in late December show an entrance to an underground bunker, hardened shelters, and the headquarters of the Korean People’s Army Strategic Rocket Forces missile brigade, NBC News reports. Beyond Parallel says the base has been crucial in the development of ballistic missiles able to reach Japan, South Korea, and Guam. In February, the U.S. and North Korea will meet for a second nuclear summit. Source: NBC News

Monday,  Jan 21th, 2019

China confirms the 2018 birth of the world’s first genetically edited babies, Lulu and Nana, saying He Jiankui forged ethical review papers and organised a project team with foreign staff, which intentionally avoided surveillance, and that He and his staff will be punished according to laws and regulations. The Guangdong government will keep the twins under medical observation with the support of the national departments. (South China Morning Post)

A suicide car bomb attack kills five members of the Syrian Democratic Forces while they were out on a patrol with U.S. troops in northeastern Syria. (Telegraph)

A Taliban attack on a National Directorate of Security compound in the central Maidan Wardak Province, kills 126 security personnel, according to local officials. (The Guardian)

Germany revokes the license of Iranian airline Mahan Air, citing the airline’s involvement in Syria and other security concerns. (Reuters)

Israel Airports Authority formally opens Ramon Airport in the Timna Valley near Eilat. The new international airport replaces Eilat Airport, which will cease operations on January 22. (Channel NewsAsia)

A mutiny by members of the Venezuelan National Guard who oppose the government is quashed. The Venezuelan Military in a statement says they were involved in “treasonous” acts motivated by “obscure interests tied to the far right.” (Time)

At least 11 crew members are killed after two ships caught fire, as one vessel was transferring fuel to the other, in the Kerch Strait near Crimea. (BNO) (BBC)

Egyptian TV presenter Mohamed al-Ghiety is sentenced to one year of hard labor and fined 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($167; £130) for “promoting homosexuality” by interviewing a gay man on the privately-owned LTC Egypt TV channel last year. (BBC)

Democratic U.S. Senator Kamala Harris from California announces she will run for President in 2020. (NPR)

Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks, is reported to be exploring an independent candidacy for President of the United States in 2020. (CNN)

More Below The Fold

Continue reading “Pemex Tula-Tuxpan Pipeline”

what’s happening to our planet

Friday,  Jan 18th, 2018

Tesla sinks after Elon Musk announces layoffs

Elon Musk is pulling out the oldest trick in the executive playbook

By the end of 2019, Waymo, Uber, and GM all plan to have fleets of autonomous cars providing on-demand rides

5 leaders in the self-driving-car race

Report: Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress about Moscow project President Trump directed Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project, two federal law enforcement officials with knowledge of the matter told BuzzFeed News. Cohen was in charge of the project, and falsely said that negotiations ended in January 2016, when they really continued for several more months. While campaigning, Trump said he had no business dealing with Russia, but in reality, he had at least 10 in-person meetings with Cohen about the deal, BuzzFeed News reports, and Cohen also regularly updated Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump about the development. In November, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying about the deal in testimony to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Source: BuzzFeed News

what’s happening to our planet

The Anak Krakatau volcano

Trump cancels Pelosi’s foreign trip after she requests State of the Union delay President Trump told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a letter Thursday afternoon that her planned trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan had been canceled. “In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” Trump wrote. This came one day after Pelosi sent a letter to Trump requesting they delay the State of the Union until after the government re-opens, citing security concerns. While Trump denied Pelosi the use of military aircraft for her trip, which had not previously been disclosed publicly, he wrote, “Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.” Source: Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet enthralled by nature, dies at 83 Mary Oliver, the beloved and prolific poet whose work reflected her reverence of nature, died Thursday at her home in Florida. She was 83, and the cause of death was lymphoma, according to her literary executor, Bill Reichblum. Oliver made her literary debut in 1963, at age 28, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for her collection “American Primitive,” then the National Book Award for poetry in 1992 for “New and Selected Poems.” Born and raised in the Cleveland suburb of Maple Heights, Oliver escaped what she called an abusive and “dysfunctional” home life by exploring the nearby woods and writing poetry. She met her partner, Molly Malone Cook, at the New York home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. Cook died in 2005. Source: The Washington Post

Malaysia and Goldman Sachs


Thursday, Jan 17th,  2018

A suicide car-bomb attack at the General Santander National Police Academy in Bogotá, Colombia, kills at least 20 people and injures more than 50 others. (Guardian)

Gunmen on motorbikes shoot Ghanaian investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale to death in Accra. Ahmed was a member of the Tiger Eye Private Investigations team that exposed high-level corruption in the Ghana Football Association. (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump postpones House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s upcoming diplomatic trip to Europe, Afghanistan and Egypt after she urged the President to postpone his upcoming State of the Union Address over the ongoing government shutdown. (BBC)

Facebook removes alleged Russia-based accounts and pages as a part of a crackdown on misuse of its service. (The Wall Street Journal)

Zimbabwe reportedly turned off the entire country’s internet

The End

Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War by Pete Early