Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens Dead at 62; Prolific Columnist and Author Succumbs ...

My deepest sympathies to his family, friends and colleague journalists.  He was rather an incredible personality.  The world will be less colorful and insightful.

Before the House and Senate gets too bent out of shape regarding the Oil Sands of Canada as there are facts few know.

The Keystone Pipeline is the work of corrupt lobbyists.  That is already known, but, the really incredible aspect to this monstrosity is the fact there will few American jobs that will out live the actual building of the pipeline.  I am not even sure if Canadians will be building it actually.  I don't believe there is any guarantees to the expertise needed.

Once the pipeline crosses the USA with all the unnecessary risks that comes with it, including imperiling the world's most productive farmland when (not if) a spill and/or explosion will occur, the oil in it is being shipped abroad.  Not a drop in the refineries in Texas will benefit the USA.  The USA is simply a "Right of Way" for Canada.  The refined oil will be shipped to Central America and Europe.  So, thanks to Republicans all the risk lies with the USA with none of the benefits.

The jobs with longevity if the pipeline is built will be in Canada and Texas at the refinerie.  There won't be any sustainable employment until there is a rupture or explosion of some kind.  Then the USA will have to send out crews to rescue the area, including potential human deaths if there is a significant enough explosion.

In the application by TransCanada it states:

Existing markets for Canadian heavy crude,(click here) principally PADD II, are currently oversupplied, resulting in price discounting for Canadian heavy crude oil.  

Access to the USGC via the Keystone XL Pipeline is expected to strengthen Canadian crude oil pricing in PADD II by removing this oversupply. This is expected to increase  the price of heavy crude to the equivalent cost of imported crude. Similarly, if a surplus of light synthetic crude develops in PADD II, the Keystone XL Pipeline would provide an alternate market and therefore help to mitigate a price discount. 

The resultant increase in the price of heavy crude is estimated to provide an increase in  annual revenue to the Canadian producing industry in 2013 of US $2 billion to US $3.9 billion. 

The pipeline has absolutely NOTHING to do with the USA's energy costs.  Nothing.  This is a Canadian company seeking to make a ton of money via Texas.

Not only that, but, the drought ridden Texas is now coveting water from all the other fifty states, when they need to be building desalination plants.

...The proposed pipeline (click here) could also be used to pump water from the Ogallala aquifer in the U.S. Midwest, one of the world's largest, to the badly parched states in the arid southwest such as Texas, currently suffering its worst drought in history. 

Pipeline industry officials often say pipelines like Keystone can be easily used to transport water, said Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians, a large environmental NGO....

The Texans are willing to dry up the nation because they don't care about environmental controls and carbon dioxide emissions.  At one point, Bush, when it was in office was looking to pump water out of the Great Lakes, so this is no surprise.

...Therefore, "Keystone XL poses a double threat to the Ogallala through contamination from a pipeline leak or by pumping water that is already being overdrawn," Barlow said in an interview with Tierramérica. 

Spills from pipelines are not rare. Another Canadian pipeline company spilled 3.2 million litres of thick tar sands crude into a river in Michigan only a year ago, she noted. 

Despite massive clean-up efforts, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials say it may be years before the work in the Kalamazoo River watershed is completed, largely because the heavy tar sands crude, called bitumen, is heavier than water and contains more heavy metals.... 

The demands by Republicans to include this pipeline in a Tax Cut Bill is about corruption and cronies.  There is no reason for this to occur.  Whatever happened to State's Rights where the people don't want this pipeline for all the reasons here and more?  It doesn't matter if states don't want the pipeline, it only matters that Wall Street is served.

Secretary Jackson at the USA EPA is a wonderful administrator of the laws of the USA and the right of the Executive Branch to protect the states, the food supply of the world when the world is not able to feed itself and the air and water we breath and drink.  The Republicans are trying to prove to their FINANCIER from Wall Street they are more powerful than any state in the union and citizen alive.  It is just that simple.  It is corruption beyond any imagination.

Ask yourself if you feel you've been deceived and lied to by Wall Street and the Republicans YET AGAIN !

Oddly, Europe has doesn't even want the lousy stuff.  I hadn't seen this before.  The truth is TransCanada's market for its tar sands oil is diminishing by the day.

Nobody Even Wants Keystone's Tar Sands Oil

Wednesday, October 05, 2011
In a victory for Connie Hedegaard,(click title to entry - thank you) the EU's climate change commissioner, the commission has decided to back a new directive on fuel quality. This will set minimum environmental standards for a range of fuels, including tar sands, coal converted to liquid and oil from shale rock. Hedegaard said: "With this measure, we are sending a clear signal to fossil fuels suppliers. As fossil fuels will be a reality in the foreseeable future, it's important to give them the right value.'' ...The proposals have now been sent to EU member states who will meet in four to six weeks to vote on the proposal. It will then go to the European parliament for final approval. ...The commission has proposed that tar sands be ascribed a greenhouse gas value of 107 grams per megajoule of fuel – this compares with 87.5 grams per megajoule for ordinary crude oil, on average. Producers will also have to cut the carbon footprint of their fuels by 6% in the next decade....

While Bush and Cheney were in office, they worked closely with the UK and Canada to push through technologies that produce huge amounts of carbon dioxide through 'conversion' processes.  Tar sands and 'liquid from coal' are the two technologies.  The sad truth is that these technologies produce high amounts of carbon dioxide in the process of conversion fuels.  The final product has carbon dioxide emissions no different than gasoline.  I don't even know if the final product can actually be added to gasoline enhancements to increase cleaner fuels and/or mileage.  By cleaner I mean sulfur, lead, ozone, nitrogen and the list goes on.  If one burns gasoline without additives, it is fairly nasty stuff and causes acid rain.

But, these technologies when they were introduced were controversial in all circles of environment, conservation and human health.  These aren't just tree huggers.  They are highly qualified people able to level opposition.  

What TransCanada wanted to do with the Keystone XL pipeline was to increase demand for the oil extracted from the tar sands.  I hadn't seen this information before, evidently the UK has decided the country is not going to create incentives for the use of the technology and demand for the product.  With this decision from the UK it may very well be that TransCanada will loose its shirt while demand will not increase by diminish while costs escalate.  There are no guarantees this Tar Sand oil, which is a very poor quality oil, will have a market even after it reaches Texas.  The Latin America countries receive their oil frrm their own oil wells within their borders, Venezuela and Mexico.  I doubt if they are going to take an interest in this mess even after it reaches the Gulf Coast.  

Bold Nebraska (click here)

...Jane Kleeb, director of the anti-pipeline group Bold Nebraska, said research hasn't shown the effects of the tar sands oil on land, water or human health if a pipeline were to leak. Kleeb noted that the state hasn't enacted laws to shield landowners from oil-spill liability or dealt with the prospect of eminent domain if they oppose a company's offer to buy land for a project.
"Our concerns have not been addressed, and the opposition is not going away," Kleeb said. "We do not know the proposed route. We have no idea if the pipeline will cross the heart of the Ogallala aquifer, or areas where the pipe sits in the water table."...

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution :

The Keystone pipeline will NOT create 20,000 new jobs (click here)

And that, of course, is false, and Lugar and McConnell have good reason to know it is false. The Keystone XL Pipeline, the centerpiece of the latest standoff in Washington, will not produce 20,000 shovel-ready jobs. Even TransCanada, the company pushing the pipeline’s construction, now acknowledges that it is false.
The number that the company likes to throw around is now 13,000 direct construction jobs, but that too is misleading. When challenged, the company acknowledges that it is counting what you might call “job years.” In other words, TransCanada believes the project will produce 6,500 jobs that last for two years.
Six thousand five hundred jobs is a far cry from 20,000. And even the 6,500-job estimate is much too high. According to an independent assessment by Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the project would produce between 2,500 and 4,650 construction jobs, and could even end up costing the country jobs, for reasons that we’ll get to below....

Wall Street.  Blackrock is a Wall Street equity firm.  They are going to try to turn oil sands in to their own form of liquidity.  This is a CASH COW for Blackrock, IF, anyone purchases the product.

Transcanada Corp. (NYSE:TRP): On 06/30/2011, BlackRock, Inc.(click here) reported holding 13,548,085 shares with a market value of $593,948,048. This comprised 1.17% of the total portfolio. On 09/30/2011, BlackRock, Inc. reported holding 15,061,561 shares with a market value of $609,842,630. This comprised 1.38% of the total portfolio. The net change in shares for this position over the two quarters is 1,513,476....

TransCanada is a failing company.  The pipeline mentioned in this article is a gas pipeline that is losing money.

Pipeline caught in ‘death spiral’ of rising costs (click here)

Published On Fri Dec 16 2011
John SpearsBusiness Reporter

TransCanada Corp.’s main gas pipeline is caught in a “death spiral” of a dwindling customer base and negative market forces, according to some of its customers.
And those customers – who include some of Ontario’s new natural gas-fired generating stations – say they’re being whacked with soaring tolls in the pipeline’s struggle for survival.
Those costs are passed on to consumers....

And commodity prices are dropping for the products TransCanada produces.  Oh, well.

Canadian Gas Declines on Higher-Than-Normal U.S. Stockpiles (click here)
By Gene Laverty
Dec 15, 2011 4:54 PM ET

...Gas traded on the exchange is shipped to users in Canada and the U.S. and priced on TransCanada Corp.’s Alberta system. NGX Alberta gas has slipped 21 percent this year....

Where does it look as though TransCanada will make money?  Ready?  ALTERNATIVES.  Particularly Wind Energy.

TransCanada Corporation: Cartier Wind Energy Delivering Additional Power to Quebec (click here)

Nov. 29, 2011, 10:04 a.m. EST

CALGARY, ALBERTA, Nov 29, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- TransCanada Corporation  (TransCanada) today announced the completion of the Montagne Seche project and phase one of the Gros-Morne wind farm. Combined, the two projects are capable of producing 159 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, enough to meet the needs of over 17,000 homes.
"We're pleased to add these two additional projects to our diverse energy portfolio as it demonstrates our commitment to increasing the supply and availability of clean, renewable energy," said Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer. "With the successful start-up of these projects, we have taken another step towards realizing our vision of becoming the leading energy infrastructure company in North America. Looking forward, we are positioned to complete another $12 billion of new projects that are expected to come into service by 2014."...
Another Wall Street Company.

Transcanada Corp: Genworth Financial’s Biggest Utilities Stock Position in Q3 (click here)

Wall St Watchdog reveals information regarding Genworth Financial’s top holdings in the Utilities sector for the quarter ending September 30th, 2011. The firm held 19 stocks in the Utilities sector at the end of the quarter with an aggregate market value of $40.734 million.

I don't need anymore to know this company is best off staying in Canada to supply the energy sector there.  They have no solid basis for expansion, the CEO is finding monies in equity firms and portraying a HOPEFUL outlook.  I would no more purchase this stock than shoot myself in the foot.  I don't own a gun.

Corruption, incompetency, but, the attack on the institutions created to assist homebuyers is unwarranted. This is proof.

...“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives told the world that their subprime exposure was substantially smaller than it really was,” Robert Khuzami, the head of enforcement for the S.E.C., said in a statement. “These material misstatements occurred during a time of acute investor interest in financial institutions’ exposure to subprime loans, and misled the market about the amount of risk on the company’s books. All individuals, regardless of their rank or position, will be held accountable for perpetuating half-truths or misrepresentations about matters materially important to the interest of our country’s investors.”...

This does not diminish the fact the American Dream was treated as a commodity that could be traded in bundles for profit, leaving homeowners floundering to whom owned their mortgages.  It also does not absolve the fact the five banks drove their companies over a cliff in anticipation of being covered by insurance at AIG.

There was gross mismangement and corruption everywhere.  No one is a scapegoat for the others.  Wall Street investment banks are suppose to come to understandings of risk based on their ability to assess companies and markets.  That wasn't happening at all.  They were playing with risky tools of investment and on margins.  

...The complaint alleges, for instance, that Fannie Mae executives described subprime loans as those made to individuals “with weaker credit histories” while only reporting one-tenth of the loans that met that criteria in 2007. The S.E.C. complaint contends that Freddie Mac executives falsely proclaimed that certain businesses had virtually no exposure to ultra-risky loans....

The facts were simple, the housing market was saturated with artificial price inflation and no one was minding the store.  The fact the equity market of home loans was out of control was ASSESSABLE other than the descriptions of Fannie and Freddie, but, everyone was enjoying the fun and games more than they did their jobs across the board, be it investment banks or qualifying agencies.  There is nothing wrong with the programs that aren't right with the programs, it was gross negligence of the responsibility of investment banks to accurately track the data regardless of the jazz coming out of the agencies.  It was far to easy to throw down the gauntlet and bank on AIG carrying the load.

Fannie Mae (click here) 

Freddie Mac (click here)

The only Republican running for President that is not a 'shape shifter' is Michele Bachmann.

She is the only Republican among the entire field that has held her values from the beginning.  She has not changed her position on any topic even once.

But, she is criticized for her values.  The criticism I am hearing is that the Republicans have to set the social conservative aside in order to win the elections of 2012.  Some in the country would say that is a wise decision, but, with the field very fluid as to their beliefs, policies and positions, who can believe them?

I can't believe how much the Republican candidates want to appear to be John McCain.  Romney dissed President Obama and I was waiting for him to launch into their favorite song; "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."