Daily Archives: May 10, 2011
May 10, 2011 – 12:23 am EST
“Lula” and Barack Obama
Brazil’s immediate past president Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, a former labor boss, built his Workers Party, an alliance of communists, Trotskyites, “liberation theologists”, black radicals, environmentalists and labor militants, into the most powerful political force in Latin America.
Working with Cuba, “Lula” as he is commonly known, has had an huge influence in the revolutionary wave that has swept Latin America since the early 90s.
Incidentally, this is around the same time that Barack Obama began his thirty year association with the organization.
Obama became involved with D.S.A. when he attended their Socialist Scholars Conferences in New York in the early 1980s. the connection may have gone back even into the late 1970s when he associated with members of Occidental College’s Democratic Socialist Alliance.
The Obama/D.S.A. relationship blossomed in Chicago and has never wavered since.
D.S.A. member Stanley Gacek is a labor attorney and A.F.L.-C.I.O. and was a long time International Affairs Assistant Director, responsible for the Federation’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. He has spoken and written extensively on Brazilian labor and politics and has been a friend and adviser to President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva and the Workers Party since the early 1980s.
Since 1981, Gacek served as a special adviser on North American affairs to Lula’s Workers Party.
On April 17, 1993 D.S.A. hosted a reception in New York, for an “extremely distinguished delegation of “democratic socialist” leaders from Latin America”. The guests, all of whom would be running for president of their respective countries within the next year, included Ruben Zamora of El Salvador, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas of Mexico, Antonio Navarro Wolff of Colombia, and Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva of Brazil.
Sheinkman, Eisner and Lula
In 2008 Jose LaLuz was the chairman of Latinos for Obama , registering, educating and mobilizing Latino voters for D.S.A.’s presidential choice..
The International Award, was presented by Jan Schakowsky, a United States Representative (D-Illinois), one time D.S.A. member and key Obama supporter.
Barack and Jan
A Special Recognition Award went to Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil-in absentia
It was presented by John Sweeney, President, A.F.L.-C.I.O. and a long time D.S.A. member.
Barack Obama, John Sweeney
In November 2010 Obama awarded John Sweeney the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Socialist revolution is international in scope.
The same people who helped deliver Brazil to the socialists and communists, are working to do the same to the U.S.
This may help explain why Barack Obama lets Brazil drill for Gulf oil, but denies American companies the same right.
He is simply looking after his real friends.
By News Desk on May 9, 2011 8:51 AM
For more than 50 years, Cuba and the US have been at loggerheads over just about everything. But now, as Platts’ Leslie Moore Mirra spells out in this week’s Platts Oilgram News column “New Frontiers,” it is the threat of an oil spill from drilling in Cuban waters that may lead the two sides to begin talking about at least one area of common interest.
Could the prospect of a foul oil spill between the US and Cuba bring the two together?
The US Treasury Department in late April granted a special license to the International Association of Drilling Contractors that would permit Cubans to attend a conference hosted by a US-based organization in Trinidad–a request that was months in the making and on which the IADC spent about $50,000 worth of “time and talent” trying to make happen, the group’s director Lee Hunt said last week in an interview.
As Cuba nudges closer to deepwater oil exploration in its Gulf of Mexico waters some 50 miles from Florida shores, concerns are growing as to whether the island nation would be prepared to handle an oil spill.
As soon as the Saipem-manufactured Scarabeo rig arrives for Repsol’s deepwater exploration venture in Cuba waters, a number of political reactions will be generated, said Cuba energy consultant Jorge Pinon.
But others are skeptical that there will be much change at all. “We need to engage the Cubans but we can’t,” said Brian Petty, a senior vice president for government affairs at IADC.
Cuba is seen as holding rigorous oil spill standards modeled after the UK and Norway, but observers are also making noises that Cuba ought to be a party to the broad “MexUS” agreement.
The agreement followed the 1979 Ixtoc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the result of which tarred both the Texas and Mexican coastlines. In the months-long oil spill, hundreds of aerial missions dropped a chemical dispersant over the Gulf of Mexico.
MexUS establishes standard operational procedures “to coordinate bilateral responses to pollution incidents that occur in, or threaten, coastal waters or areas of the border zones between Mexico and the US and that could affect or threaten the marine environment of both parties,” according to a copy of the MexUS agreement posted on the US Environmental Protection Agency‘s website.
While heavy on organizational flow charts, MexUS does articulate a joint response plan in the case of a Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
For example, “response operations will be coordinated when both countries agree. Response objectives are to prevent, control, mitigate or eliminate the threat of an incident, to minimize adverse effects to the marine environment and to protect public health and welfare,” the plan says.
In case of a spill, the two countries would form a joint task force responsible for decisions.
Despite the document’s formality and flow charts, some wonder if it would actually impose the structure or put up the money necessary for a cleanup.
“On paper, it looks to be an effective regime but to be honest in practice I can’t tell if there are serious problems with it,” said Richard McLaughin, who oversees marine policy and law at the Harte Research Institute’s Gulf of Mexico studies. Is MexUS “effective or window-dressing, no one knows,” McLaughlin said. “You have to see how it’s implemented on the ground,” he said.
Another line of inquiry that McLaughlin wants to probe is whether it might not be time to update the agreement and incorporate private entities such as the Marine Well Containment Company and the Helix Energy Solutions Group, both of which aim to provide quick emergency access to containment equipment used in the Macondo oil spill. But Charlie Engelmann, a spokesman for ExxonMobil, said that for now MWCC “is designed to respond to an incident in the US Gulf of Mexico.”
The US Coast Guard’s Corpus Christi, Texas, unit, which would respond to a Gulf oil spill, was not available for comment.
Further complicating the Gulf of Mexico picture could be the Bahamas, now emerging as a potential oil explorer, Petty said. As they gear up and offer offshore resources near Florida waters “it’s going to set Ileana Ros’ hair on fire,” Petty said of Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
She has introduced legislation aimed at halting Cuba oil exploration near Florida waters.
Given righteous Cuban-Americans firmly opposed to the end of the US embargo on Cuba, some doubt that even the administration of President Barack Obama will move to embrace Cuba into a MexUS protocol. “You have some strong headwinds against doing anything,” Petty said. “It’s tough…it’s the power of a political community that’s wealthy and influential and votes,” Petty said.
For now, however, the IADC seems pleased with a small opening provided by the administration’s allowing a Cuba environmental official to attend the IADC’s environmental meeting later this week in Trinidad. “We’re hoping others will come,” Petty said, adding that the US license granted would allow other Cubans to attend, too.–Leslie Moore Mira in New York
Posted 05/09/2011 06:55 PM ET IBD Editorials
Regulation: The Energy Department wants to find ways to make hydraulic fracturing, a fast-growing method of extracting natural gas, safer and cleaner. Say, isn’t that how the administration justified its offshore drilling ban?
We’re from the government, and we’re here to help you drill safely. That was the canard thrown out by President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar when they announced the ban on offshore drilling following the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and spill.
Since then the drilling industry in the Gulf of Mexico has collapsed and output has dropped. Although the ban was ostensibly lifted, it has been replaced by a new permit system that is so slow that rigs have left the Gulf for foreign shores. At least one drilling company has filed for bankruptcy.
The safety mantra was raised once again last Thursday when Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the appointment of a seven-member panel to study hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking,” and come up with new safety standards that address concerns raised by environmentalists.
The process involves the injection under high pressure of fluids, mainly water with a few chemicals added, to fracture the porous shale rock found in huge formations in the northeast and Rocky Mountain West and get at the oil and gas trapped inside the porous rock.
Environmentalists contend these chemical additives contaminate ground water supplies.
“America’s vast natural gas resources can generate many new jobs and provide significant environmental benefits,” Chu said. “But we need to ensure we harness these resources safely.” It was a similar “but” that led the Obama administration to impose a seven-year ban on offshore drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, off both coasts and in the energy-rich Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska.
The new panel includes such friends of domestic energy as Kathleen McGinty, former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and an aide to Al Gore when he was a senator, and Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund.
It was a similar panel created by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar after the Deepwater Horizon blowout that led to the current moratoria on off shore drilling.
But so committed is this administration in its opposition to fossil fuel extraction, except in Brazil, that it had to doctor that panel’s evaluations to make it seem they endorsed the drilling ban when they did not.
The administration was even found in contempt of court for trying to reinstate its moratorium after a judge issued an injunction on the grounds that the moratorium was too broad in its scope and totally unjustified based on the available evidence.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman argued Salazar’s original Gulf drilling moratorium was based on flawed reasoning.
“If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are?” Feldman asked. “That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing.”
We think so too.
We believe the safety issue is a cover for the Obama administration’s ideologically driven animus toward fossil fuels and its deliberate campaign to raise energy prices — and thereby to make its favored “green” alternatives look more competitive and attractive.
Posted on May 10, 2011 by Steve Maley
Your President has been telling you things that simply aren’t true. Things like “We can’t drill our way out of our energy problems.” Or “Oil and gas are the fuels of the past.” Or “The U.S. consumes 25% of the world’s oil, but controls only 2% of the world’s reserves.”
Well, that last one may be technically true, but it is used to convey a falsehood. In a post called The Big Energy Lie (Dec. ’09), I attempted to explain the deception. In this post, I’ll attempt to show you graphically in terms that the lay person should understand.
KEY CONCEPT #1: “Reserves” are not “Inventory”
This graph depicts the history of U.S. oil reserves and production over the last 25 years. In 1986, reserves were estimated to be nearly 27 billion barrels. In 1986, we produced 8.7 million barrels a day, or an annual total of 3.2 million barrels. The ratio of reserves to production is 8.5 years — often incorrectly reported in the press with alarm: “We have only 8.5 years of reserves left! We’re running out of oil!”
If this were true, we’d have run slap out of oil in 1995. The dashed line on the graph shows the cumulative amount of oil produced since 1986. Sure enough, by 1995 we had produced over 27 billion barrels, and we still had reserves in the ground of over 22 billion barrels.
Fast forward to 2010: we’re still producing 2 billion barrels a year, and we still have over 20 billion barrels in the ground. In fact, we’ve produced 58 billion barrels since 1986, over twice the 1986 reserve total.
Well, not really.
Imagine if you managed a shoe store. On January 1, inventory shows you have 10,000 pairs of shoes on hand, and you sell 500 pairs per day. Would you forecast that you would be completely out of shoes in 20 days?
Only if you can’t replenish supply. (Or if you’re a
former community organizer really crappy manager.)
In oil and gas, reserves are replenished by drilling new wells. (Reserves can be added other ways, too, but the ultimate key is drilling.) By drilling, “resources” are upgraded to the much more restrictive and valuable category “reserves”. And the U.S. has plenty of resources to draw from. We should be encouraged by the fact that, even with a period of persistently low product prices and relatively low drilling activity from 1986 to 2004, the reserve base has only declined by a little over 20% in 25 years.
KEY CONCEPT #2: “Reserves” are only estimates.
Oil and gas reserves often cannot be estimated with a great deal of precision. Even if the recoverable quantity were known accurately, by definition reserves must be economic to produce. That means that changing economic conditions (especially changes in oil and gas prices) will effect the estimated reserve quantity. When prices are higher, wells can be produced that would otherwise be plugged.
Bottom line, reserve estimates change all the time.
The dark green bars show the rate of oil production over the 25 years. The gold bars show the year to year change in reserves. Production causes reserves to decrease, but new additions from drilling can offset production. Reserves can also be revised — up or down — due to geologic and engineering studies, or changes in economics as described above.
One more graph — the “Reserve Life Index”, or Reserves to Production Ratio. We saw that it is often misinterpreted to represent how many years of production remain. Our national R/P ratio has grown over the last 25 years, perhaps a reflection of better technology or higher prices.
There you have it. Our relatively low reserve number is not an indication that “we’re running out of oil!”, it’s merely a wake-up call that we need to get busy and shore up our domestic supplies. The only thing we are running low on is the political will to do it.
By Kevin Bogardus – 05/09/11 02:55 PM ET
The Monitor Group filed documents with the Justice Department on Friday that provided concrete details about the public-relations campaign that was conducted for Gadhafi’s government.
The Justice records show that Monitor helped set up visits to Libya for “a meticulously selected group of independent and objective experts” in an attempt to win over public opinion in the United States.
According to the documents, visitors to Libya included Richard Perle, the foreign-policy expert who advocated for the invasion of Iraq. Lord Anthony Giddens, a prominent figure in the United Kingdom’s Labour Party, and Philip Bobbitt, a U.S. author and academic who served in Democratic and Republican administrations, both agreed to visit Libya, although Bobbitt’s trip never took place.
In addition, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist George Soros and the author Francis Fukuyama “expressed a willingness to visit Tripoli,” according to records filed with the Justice Department.
Other high-profile names included on a list of potential visitors to Libya were James Woolsey, the former CIA director; George Tenet, another ex-CIA chief; Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist; William Kristol, the Weekly Standard editor; and former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), according to Justice records.
The Monitor Group has come under heavy criticism in the media for its consulting work with Libya in the wake of the violent crackdown on rebel forces in the country.
The group signed an agreement with the Libyan government in February of 2006, back when Libya was trying to reconcile with the West and shed its status as a pariah state. The agreement included $250,000 in monthly fees and expenses for a contract not to exceed $2.5 million in total payments.
In a letter sent July 3, 2006, to Abd Allah al-Sanusi, the Libyan intelligence chief, Mark Fuller, then the Monitor Group’s CEO, and Rajeev Singh-Molares, then a Monitor executive, said Libya “has suffered from a deficit of positive public relations and adequate contact with a wide range of opinion leaders and contemporary thinkers.”
The Monitor executives said in the letter that they could help Libya with the deficit of good will.
“Our ability to introduce important, influential visitors to Libya’s advantage depends on our experience, prestige, networks and reputation for independence. We are deeply committed to helping you with this program,” the executives said in the letter.
Nevertheless, the letter stated, “Monitor is not a lobbying organization.”
Singh-Molares was designated to lead the day-to-day management of the Monitor team working on behalf of Libya and was to report personally to Fuller, according to the letter. The program was an ambitious one that included operations in the United States and the United Kingdom as well as outreach to well-known names in defense, foreign-policy and media circles.
Despite proclaiming that Monitor would not lobby, Justice records have firm executives saying that they would “coordinate with [Libya’s] existing lobbyists to ensure an integrated program” and that they would “compile and contact lobbying organizations that can help with [Libya’s] objectives.”
As part of its PR campaign, Monitor also worked to “provide operational support for publication of positive articles on Libya” in several media outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Monitor worked for Libya from 2006 to 2008. At that time, Gadhafi and the West were in the midst of a rocky reconciliation after the dictator had abandoned his weapons of mass destruction program in 2003.
After questions were raised for its work on behalf of Gadhafi’s regime earlier this year, the firm hired law firm Covington & Burling to conduct an investigation into whether it should have registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The law firm found that it should have, and Monitor subsequently filed the necessary forms with Justice for Libya and another foreign government client, Jordan.
In October, Monitor began work for Jordan on an eight-week, $620,000 contract. The agreement was for Monitor to provide “management consulting services” to Jordan’s Washington embassy, according to records filed with Justice.
In a statement issued on Friday, Stephen Jennings, Monitor’s managing partner, said the firm had made “some mistakes” during its work for foreign governments.
“Monitor supported, during a period of genuine promise, the processes of reform and modernization in Libya. We made some mistakes along the way. While we stand by the majority of our work in and for that country, we have been resolute in our determination to find the facts, remedy errors and ensure that we learn from them,” Jennings said. “Monitor is committed to ensuring that we consistently live and manifest the values, ethics and standards that have characterized our firm for more than 25 years.”
Firms that attempt to influence U.S. government policy or U.S. public opinion on behalf of a foreign government, politician or political party are required to register under FARA. Not registering could lead to fines up to $10,000 or five years in prison.
Fuller, also a co-founder of Monitor, announced his resignation as CEO last week. Singh-Molares left the firm in December 2008 to join Alcatel-Lucent.
Gadhafi is now in the battle of his life as he faces a rebellion that has had air support from NATO. Several Western leaders, including President Obama, have said he must give up power.