Masters Of War

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

Sunday, June 21, 2015

fast track passed the House; what's next in the Senate...

it appears that the international corporate trade deals are moving forward again, after last week's setback...initially, Boehner's planned Tuesday re-vote on the defeated trade adjustment assistance (TAA) bill was abandoned after consulting with Obama, and plans at midweek were to postpone the House vote on the issue for 6 weeks, so as to coincide with the July 30th expiration of the Highway Trust Fund authorization...that's because in helping defeat the TAA on Friday, Pelosi never said that she intended to stop TPA (trade promotion authority, aka "fast track"), but rather slow it down, and gave indications that Democrats would be willing to allow fast track on trade in exchange for a long term highway funding bill...however, on Thursday, when the national news media was preoccupied with coverage of the Charleston church shooting, the House took a vote on a stand alone version of TPA, which the House Rules Committee had attached to H.R.2146, an uncontroversial police and firemen retirement bill the night before...with 28 Democrats joining all but 50 Republicans, that fast track bill was passed by a 218 to 208 margin and sent to the Senate..

now, as you'll recall, the Senate defeated just such a stand-alone fast track bill a bit over a month ago, and then turned around and passed it when the TAA, a displaced worker assistance bill, which Republicans tended to oppose, was coupled with it...so now, for this House fast track bill to pass the Senate, at least a handful of the Senate Democrats who originally voted against a stand alone TPA will have to switch their votes to for it, and to do that they must be convinced that the TAA bill that they wanted will pass separately....there are at least two ploys being discussed to achieve that; one would be to link TAA with the bill extending the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for 10 years; the AGOA, first passed 15 years ago, allows favored African exports, such as clothing and textiles, to enter the US mostly duty-free, and it is usually renewed with broad bi-partisan support...another possibility would be to couple TAA with a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which finances and insures foreign purchases of US goods, many from Democratic states, and which the Republicans have blocked up until now...presumably, if one or both of these carrots could be dangled in front of the Democrats, enough of them would snap at that lure such that both the House passed stand alone TPA and a TAA bill combined with one of these other trade bills could pass the Senate...then, the TAA bill, with whatever it's attached to, would have to go back to the House for a vote, where it is assumed that a bill with mostly Democrat party initiatives could pass easily, assuming Boehner's co-operation...

within hours of the House passage of the TPA bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a cloture motion on it, meaning it could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday...however, it's questionable whether Democrats would switch their votes merely on an assurance from McConnell and Boehner that the bargain chip TAA would be allowed to pass; the trustworthiness is just not there...for instance, Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell voted for fast track earlier based on a promise that the Senate would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, providing financing needed for foreign Boeing jet purchases; that hasnt happened, and it could thus be a case of "once burnt, twice shy" for Senators who would otherwise allow themselves to be compromised...so we can hope that there is at least enough bad blood among our congresscritters to at least slow this thing down...nonetheless, now that Obama has opportunistically switched parties and has become a Republican, it appears that with a majority of his party in both houses he should eventually be able to push his corporatocratic agenda through...from there, we're probably less than a year away from ramping up exports of our oil and gas to the 11 other countries on the Pacific rim that will be signatories to the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), and then to the rest of the world, as soon as similar treaties can be signed with them...

meanwhile, the ongoing reduction in working drilling rigs nearly stalled this week, as the rig count as reported by Baker Hughes was only down by 2 to 857, with oil rigs down 4 to 631, gas rigs up 2 to 223, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 3...that's still an unprecedented 28 straight weeks of less drilling each week than the one before it, but we wouldn't be surprised if that reverses itself soon and drillers begin to add more rigs than they idle, especially if oil prices rise or even stay as stable as they have been...contract US oil prices were within 50 cents of $60 a barrel this week, and they've generally been within a few bucks of that price since mid-April, so the incentives to start or stop drilling haven't changed much recently, and we'd think that all of the rigs that were working plays that were unprofitable at $60 should have been shut down by now...the 857 rigs that were running this week is now down by 1001 from a year ago, and 914 of those shutdowns were in the oil patch..

on net, there was one less horizontal rig and one less vertical rig in operation in the US this week than last, leaving 662 horizontal, 100 vertical, and 95 directional rigs running at week end, down from 1250 horizontal, 380 vertical, and 228 directional rigs that were in operation a year earlier...two oil rigs working offshore in the Gulf were idled this week; that left 825 land based, 27 offshore, and 5 rigs on inland waters remaining, which was down from 1784 land based, 59 offshore rigs, and 15 rigs on inland waters a year ago...north of the border, Canadian drillers added 9 rigs, all land based, with their oil rigs up 6 to 74 and their gas rigs up 3 to 62.

five states saw rig reductions this week; Louisiana was down by 2 offshore to a total of 69, New Mexico, down was by 2 to 43, Oklahoma was down by 2 to 105, Wyoming was down 1 to 21 and Ohio was down 1 to 20...on the other hand, drillers in Utah added 2 to bring their total to 8, and 4 states added one each: Alaska, now at 10, Illinois now at 3, North Dakota now with 77, and Pennsylvania with 47...rig counts in all other states, including Texas, were unchanged, but that doesn't mean they were stagnant; based on the counts from the districts, Texas saw at a minimum 5 rigs shut down, and 5 rigs started elsewhere in the state...

there were also only modest decreases in our oil output and stocks this week as well...US field production of crude oil slipped by 21,000 barrels per day from the record output of last week to an average of 9,589,000 barrels per day during the week ending June 12th; however, that's still 13.8% above the 8,428,000 barrels per day output we saw during the second week of June a year ago...our oil stocks fell too, as they normally do at this time of year...our inventories of crude oil in storage were lower for the 7th consecutive week, falling by 2,676,000 barrels to 467,927,000 barrels; but again, that's still 21.1% higher than the 386,348,000 barrels we had stored a year ago, and the highest stocks ever for the 2nd week of June in over 80 years of EIA record keeping...meanwhile, with US refineries still running at 93.1% of their operable capacity, our crude oil imports rose by 444,000 barrels per day, or 6.7%, from an average of 6,623,000 barrels a day last week to 7,067,000 barrels per day in this report....that's still below last year's pace, though; according to the weekly Petroleum Status Report (62 pp pdf), our crude oil imports averaged 6.9 million barrels per day over the last 4 weeks, which is now per 5.3% below the same four-week period of last year....

(the above was crossposted from Focus on Fracking, where you’ll also find links to dozens of other oil patch stories)

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