Friday, November 28, 2014

World Oil Production and the November OPEC meeting

While everyone in the US was eating turkey and watching some really bad football games yesterday, OPEC was meeting to decide on their production levels.  Immediately after they announced their decision to continue current production levels, the oil futures markets began to drop like a rock in water.  Following the announcement Brent crude hit its lowest point since August 2010, falling below $72 a barrel, before settling at $72.82, 5% drop on the day. As I write this BRENT is trading at $73.19 and trending down, but has been jumping up and down all morning.  The US based WTI dropped $4.64 to $69.05 a barrel, although market business slowed by midday in thinning Thanksgiving holiday business.  It is trading at just under $69.40 right now and has been remarkably stable all morning trading between $68.75 and $69.40.

What is not shown or known by the average citizen is the Kurdish Regional Government completed it's first of two new pipelines and an agreement with the Iraqi government in Baghdad has been completed allowing the KRG to independently sell more than 50% of it's current and future output on the open market. When the second pipeline is completed and begins lifting oil early next year, the daily delivery rates coming out of the KRG will be more than a 1/2 to a million barrels.  This will be a long term production increase as the known and easily extractable fields in the KRG exceed 45 BILLION barrels at lift costs as low as anywhere in the world.

When considering that the steep rise in oil prices during the summer of 2008 was due to a loss of production of approximately 2 Million barrels per day, an increase of a million from the KRG and the 1/2 to 3/4 million BPD from Libya which recently came back on line, combined with the fact that the domestic US production is at it's highest level since the mid 70's,  it is easy to see that oil prices will remain lower for the near term future.

Unfortunately, from a political standpoint, Obama will continue to Gruberize the American public taking credit for the resulting price drop on gas and heating oil in spite of the fact that he has been more of an impediment than a help.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Ferguson non finding for Indictment

Let me begin by stating that I believe that Darren Wilson, the Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) in Ferguson, Mo. should have been indicted for manslaughter in the Michael Brown incident.. I don't know if the officers actions were overly aggressive, but I know that the bar for finding probable cause  by a grand jury is much lower than an actual trail with rules of evidence and subject to testimony and cross examination. I think that in this case the bar may have been set too high and justice not served.  Were he indicted, would officer Wilson be convicted? We don't know and probably never will, but it does seem as though there was ample evidence to bind him over for trial where an examination of the evidence and cross examination of the witnesses would occur before a verdict would be reached by a jury.

This morning, in the wake of burnings throughout Ferguson, the great and compassionate Reverend Jessie Jackson was interviewed on CNN.  He made the statement that the pain felt by the oppressed population there culminated in the violence and is understandable.  He concluded with the statement, "No justice, no peace". When reminded that he marched with reverend King peacefully during the more turbulent 60's, the Reverend Jackson stated that there were riots, burnings and looting in many cities across America at this time as well, so the riots in Ferguson were to be expected. Obviously the good Reverend has selective memory as the riots didn't occur until after Dr. King was assassinated, not during the time when he was marching.  I honestly don't know how to respond to this mentality except to ask, what did the riots of the 60's and today in Ferguson accomplish? reverend Jackson, didn't you march with Dr. King to STOP the violence, not encourage it? Haven't you learned anything in the past 50 years or so?

In the same week that Michael Brown was killed, a black LEO responded to a call of suspicious kids in Utah, The officer pulled up to the scene, a 7/11 and encountered a 19 YO white kid matching the description coming out of the store. He ordered the youth to stop and kneel on the ground.  When the kid did not immediately respond, he was shot to death by the LEO. Did you hear anything about this shooting? Did you see a bunch of Utah residents rioting and looting the stores in and around the community where this kid was shot? Did you see President Obama send AG Holder to Utah to start an investigation of this shooting? Did anyone see the President go on national television and make a point of how the Utah youth was just an innocent unarmed kid? That if he had a son, this kid could have been that son? This is certainly and unequivocally wrong, But is it correct to make the claim that these are racial issues? I think not. To me, they are more indicative of overly aggressive police reacting to an aggressive society which seems to be suffering from  "diluted ethics", IMO.

During the same weekend that Michael Brown was killed, about a dozen black urban youth were killed in Chicago by other black urban youth. Did anyone see this on the national news? Did the President go on national television to condemn the actions of these "kids who could have been my son"? Did he send AG Holder to Chicago, his home town where his previous Chief of Staff is the Mayor, to start an investigation about violence and murders by blacks against blacks? The simple answer is no. The more complex answer is that the administration doesn't want to bring attention to the lawlessness which breeds outcomes like the Michael Brown incident and highlights the aggressive and lawless behaviour of black urban youth in America today?

More importantly, since 2009, when President came into office, approximately 795 Law Enforcement Officers have died in the line of duty.  This is a terrible statistic and we should certainly grieve the loss of our police officers lives and provide support to their families, Yet what very few realize is that for every LEO killed in the line of duty, according to the FBI crime statistics, more than 15 times that number of US citizens have been victims of police committed killings.  One can conclude from these statistics that LEO have become much more aggressive and are killing more of our citizens.  

The question I've been asking is: Why are the President and all the other "civil rights leaders" seemingly unconcerned about the core issue of the huge number of urban black youth killed every day in Chicago, Philly, south Central and other cities across America by other urban black youth? If there was actually some focus by the leaders on the root problem, perhaps young men like Michael Brown would learn respect for the rule of law our President is so quick to mention.  Unfortunately what they see coming out of the highest office in this country is a willingness to cast aside when it serves his purpose.  What they hear is a repeated claim that they are the aggrieved members of society and they are entitled to feel wronged.  Unfortunately this is an indication that they don't have to abide by the rule of law.  Itg this a cause of our LEO becoming more aggressive?  Possibly, but again, I think the root cause is more closely aligned with the dilution of ethics, by both the citizenry and the LEO across our country.  Perhaps it is due to outside influences such as our never ending war in the middle east, perhaps it is due to the hardships faced by the growth of our uneducated and entitled underclass who see no chance for improvement in their lives, perhaps it is due to a lack of strong leadership on the part of our elected officials. Regardless, we are facing a growing unrest across America and it is manifesting itself an increasingly violent society.