American Elephants

Do You Care About the Price of Oil? Here’s Why You Should! by The Elephant's Child

When most of us think about the price of oil, it comes to mind only when we have to fill up at the gas station. If you have a vehicle with a large gas tank, you pay quite a bit of attention. But when the price of oil drops significantly, it’s like getting a major tax cut.  Not just what you pay at the pump, but our entire economy runs on energy. When oil prices are high it means that everything you buy will cost more. Businesses and factories run on energy, everything must  be transported. And there are our energy bills. Keeping warm as the climate gets colder matters.

OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies) decided on Friday to maintain their crude oil output despite a glut, largely due to Americas energy bounty from shale oil and fracking. That decision in turn knocked down U.S. benchmark oil prices by 10% to $66.15 a barrel. That’s the lowest level since September 2009. Scared investors dumped energy stocks. That, in turn, affects national currencies.

Brent crude price for January deliveries was $70.15 a barrel on Friday. BP plans projects assuming a price of around $80 a barrel. Russia planned it’s 2015 budget assuming an average oil price of $100 a barrel. President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow will stop pursing a gas pipeline to Europe amid opposition from the European Union and instead build a new line to Turkey.

Some say that OPEC’s decision to keep pumping in the face of  increased American exports is intended to drive marginal producers out of business. Some think it may have something to do with Iran and ISIS’s dependence on oil sales. Most of the world’s worst dictators depend on a high price for oil. Mr. Putin’s ability to buy domestic political support will decline with declining oil prices.

Economist Larry Kudlow is exulting in the lower prices.  “Seldom has so much good news  been portrayed so negatively. Oil prices continue to fall in the U.S . and around the world, but nearly everybody in the media is grumpy about it.”

“The International Energy Association (IEA) reports that most production in the Bakken formation, one of the main drivers of shale-oil output, remains profitable at or below $42 a barrel.”

So there you go. More on the oil industry that you ever wanted to know. If America’s oil producers will continue to prosper and the lower cost of oil will give a boost to your budget and the economy, the EPA has other ideas. Their Clean Power Plan could double the amount of coal-fired capacity  being retired by 2020. Energy Ventures Analysis has found the EPA  underestimates how much it’s power plant regulatory regime  will raise electricity and natural gas prices — a 37% increase by 2020. They don’t believe the EPA estimates, and claim the cost would be the equivalent of the energy used by 29 million homes.

There ‘s always somebody to rain on your parade. Why am I not surprised it’s the EPA?

It’s Not About Justice, Not About the Law, But About Their Feelings by The Elephant's Child

ferguson-riots-burning-carIn the latest group of radicals arrested over the weekend for disturbing the peace in Ferguson, Missouri — 15 of the 16 busted did not  live in Ferguson. The fifteen were from places like New York and Chicago. Police said that in the riots of August 19 and 20, 51 protesters were arrested — 50 of them were from New York, Chicago and Des Moines. You may have noticed the pre-printed signs from groups like the ANSWER Coalition, New Black Panthers, the Revolutionary Communist Party, the Organization for Black Struggle and the Soros-linked U.S. Human Rights Network. Not exactly a spontaneous local uprising or a grass-roots response. Imported mayhem.

“Spontaneous” protests in many cities had the same pre-printed signs, and the usual suspects who always seem to turn out for the latest opportunity to shout and break windows or hopefully even burn something. They claimed to want justice, but in this country we have one kind of justice which is enumerated by our laws and Constitution and enforced by the judiciary. But they did not want that kind of justice.

They were notably uninterested in the results of the Grand Jury investigation. Three medical forensic experts, one who represented Michael Brown’s parents, examined the physical facts, which clearly refuted the whole “Hands Up−Don’t Shoot” meme. What of the perfectly innocent small businesses owners whose businesses were destroyed for no reason, no reason at all.

What is so profoundly sad is that people drawn to the excitement of a riot, may well have destroyed a community for no reason at all. In South St. Louis, on November  30, four black teens began banging on the car of 32 year-old Zemir Begic. When he got out of his car, they attacked him with hammers and beat him  till he was unconscious and left him for dead. He died shortly. A completely senseless and unbelievably brutal attack. The local Bosnian community has protested, but a search of the New York Times found no mention of his name at all.

The media seems to operate on the idea that blacks are entitled to riot, which makes for more exciting television. In 2012, blacks committed 49 percent of all murders, and 55 percent of all robberies though they are less than 13 percent of the population.

Eric Holder, in the wake of the clear evidence from the Grand Jury, has apparently realized that any attempt to charge Darrell Wilson with a civil rights violation or other charge is not going to work. The President went out of his way to affirm and emphasize “a simmering distrust that exists between too many police departments and too many communities of color.”

Let me just close by saying this:  It was a cautionary note I think from everybody here that there have been commissions before, there have been task forces, there have been conversations, and nothing happens.  What I try to describe to people is why this time will be different.  And part of the reason this time will be different is because the President of the United States is deeply invested in making sure this time is different.  When I hear the young people around this table talk about their experiences, it violates my belief in what America can be to hear young people feeling marginalized and distrustful, even after they’ve done everything right.  That’s not who we are. And I don’t think that’s who the overwhelming majority of Americans want us to be.

All about feelings.



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