Tuesday, April 1, 2014

For What Its Worth

I am going to wander off of the subject of energy and muse a bit about health.

I LOVE my Life. This one. Not some wished for existence of perfection. I love the Life I have. Grey hair, flat feet, crooked teeth, only one chromosome or 2 away from Neanderthal... and I am good with all of it.

Life is not perfect and not all of us are going to get old, grey, and wrinkly. Those are the rules, but there is absolutely no sense in killing yourself slowly or permanently damaging your health and the quality of Life for the finite time we have for questionable objectives. 

Read this incredible article "We are giving ourselves Cancer". Its not directed at smokers or the obese. It is directed at the healthcare industry. The truth of it all can be found out there in articles like this.  And this.

For better or worse, and like it or not, there has been an ongoing "natural experiment" in "cancer" outcomes. While there are several forms of "cancer" with high cure rates - testicular cancer, anal cancer, leukemia, and Hodgkins lymphoma - there is precious little data to support any assertion that all of the other treatments for the 200 some odd other cancers extend the life of a cancer victim by a single freaking day. This does not mean that some people might not experience a "cure". Surgery in certain cases can be effective in removing localized malignancies. Chemotherapy? Not so much. The math simply says that some cancers are highly aggressive and they kill us no matter what treatment plan we take and others are not aggressive and won't kill you no matter how hard the healthcare industry tries to kill you. And it is impossible to tell which from which.

If it was about "money", "status", or "access to health care" Steve Jobs, Jackie Kennedy, and Hugo Chavez would still be here.  That means means that there is no point in "fighting" cancer. The point is to fight to not get cancer if at all possible.

Well, there is another point. NO ONE is getting out of here alive. You can go to Lourdes, douse yourself in holy water, doven at the Wailing Wall... and the outcome will not change. There will, however, be all sorts of folks willing to lighten your estate for a chance at a "cure". Worse, they may well be shortening your life unnecessarily. The brutal reality is that at any time on the north side of 40 you may get some very disconcerting news from a gent or lady in a white coat. If you are over 50 its no longer even a tragedy. If you are over 60 its to be expected. The only solution, or perhaps I should say the only rational response is to have fun. Right now. (Well, that's my response... I never concerned myself with "being happy". I figured if I was having fun the rest would take care of itself.)

There are a great many people that will do their damnedest to get you killed - even if they seem like they are "on your team". An old college team mate of mine has been stricken with cancer. I have not talked to him since our college days, but I mailed out a note to him this morning. He was always a nice fellow and a genuinely good egg. I could not help thinking about the fact that the Buffalo Bills owner just passed away at 95 while the players on the field are absolutely destroying their health, with literally dozens of CT scans and hundreds of X-Rays for those with long careers. 

The "Healthcare Industry" will happily irradiate you to death, pass you hospital-acquired infections, perform unnecessary surgeries, and "treat you" without benefit - and we are worried about who will pay for that? Seems something is amiss in that line of reasoning.

The ancient Spartans aspired to a "good death" (of course, their idea of a "good death" seemed to hold a great deal of bloodshed.) For some odd reason, a good death is no longer in our lexicon. We are no longer Spartan warriors. Now we are cancer "fighters". 

"Your arms are too short to box with G-d."

The system has worked hard to scare the living sh#! out of people regarding illness and old age - and in doing so has ruined the many moments of our lives when we are healthy and young. 

To LIFE!!










Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Malaysian Flight 370 Scenarios

While there is still little public hard evidence, that has never stopped us here at the AEC from going over possible scenarios...

I don't think that the pilots intended to crash that aircraft into the Ocean. The information released is that that Flight 370 climbed to in excess of 45,000 feet shortly after shutting off their inflight transponders. I think this was to render the passengers and crew helpless (dead) as part of the plan to steal the aircraft for use in a future terrorist operation (in 10 - 20 seconds at the altitude human beings are rendered unconscious... and very dead in the space of 3 minutes).

That does not mean that the plane landed intact someplace. Much could have gone wrong leaving the whoever was piloting the aircraft no other option with fuel running out but to accept the end, but I think the authorities are absolutely freaking out about the potential of having a Boeing 777 sitting around waiting for the next act in this tragedy. I would have little interest in spending time in some high value target in certain regions of Asia until it has been determined with certainty what happened to that aircraft.

--------------------------------------

The American administration and its European counterparts are wondering what the heck to do about Russia annexing a semi-autonimous region that overwhelmingly voted for annexation?

Perhaps they should "do no harm".




Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ukraine (Crimea) was about Oil, and its ALWAYS About Oil

To put the U.S. Oil circumstance into its proper perspective please take a gander at the following graphs:    

    24 months of data starting January 2012 and ending December 2013



Data from the U.S. Department of Energy's EIA website pages Here and here.

I make no representation here as to whether these trends will hold, but as they say on Wall Street: "the trend is your friend". My money says they hold even if my mouth won't commit.

Total U.S. domestic production and imports remains at or under 14mm bpd for the past 2 years, and had been as high as 18mm bpd in 2005. The downtrend of the last 4 months in net petroleum imports has overwhelmed the increase in domestic production that had kept this metric static for the past 2 years. A peak to trough decline of 1.7 million bpd.

As I have asked before: Where is the Oil that did not show up in the U.S.? Did the exporters cut exports? Or did the other importers import more than they had been? Every data point I read tells me, in so many words, that the other importers did not increase their imports (though everything cite's another source that cite's another source, etc... which leaves me cold. Of course, the EIA leaves me cold, too, but that and the IEA are the only sources we have).

So what's this have to do with Russia/Ukraine/Crimea?

Putin made a remark in the press that he could ruin the financial system of the West with a wave of his hand (pen). At first, I thought he was talking about the US$ and Russia's customers in Asia. Maybe. Or maybe Russia agreed to cut exports to keep the price high enough so that the fracking boom does not fall on its face. The U.S. actually finds itself in the position of desiring high oil prices! If Oil is $70, still very expensive historically, the fracking fields in North Dakota and Texas go bust and billions of $$ in capital equipment rusts in the rain. Was Putin reminding the U.S. of some such deal? Such a deal would be in both parties' interests... but far more so for the U.S. in the short term.

I cannot see how it is to Putin/Russia's advantage to undue the U.S.$ trade settlement for Oil at this moment or in this fashion. I can see how increasing domestic Oil production could collapse West Texas Intermediate prices in Cushing, OK, due to their unique pipeline and storage issues if helped along by international prices. I could see that outcome very easily. That would not be in the U.S. OR Russia's interests - but it is Russia that holds, and deals, the cards in that game.

The U.S. economy has proven that it can handle $100 Oil, even if 40% of the population cannot. (Not a single f**k is given in the U.S. about those people, and some of that attitude is rightly so: that population is busy consuming heroin, meth, and tattoos; does it really matter if they don't have enough fuel to get back and forth to the tattoo parlor? Lest you think I am being elitist... I am a product of the lower portion of the working class. The way up and out of that is not drugs and tattoos - but that is another issue for another time.) What the U.S. economy cannot handle is a collapse in domestic production caused by low Oil prices.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Suicide and Commercial Aviation

The possibility that one of the pilots of the missing Malaysian jet committed mass murder/pilot suicide is an ugly prospect - and evidence increasingly points in that direction - though clearly no one knows what happened at this time.

If this is indeed the case it would be, at least, the 5th mass murder/pilot suicide on a commercial airliner  (the SilkAir crash was not a slam dunk, but certainly highly suspicious) in the last 15 or 20 years (including 9/11). Wrap your mind around that for a minute.

Not "pilot error". "Pilot Suicide", but instead of hanging himself in the garage he decides to go out with a bang - and take hundreds of other innocent people along with him.

Spy satellites show no mid air explosion, but they do show a sudden turn in the aircraft. Could some mechanical failure have occurred? Sure, and if that was the case the crew would have had plenty of time to communicate a problem... but there was no such communication and no distress signal.

That's disconcerting.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Oil Export Cat is out of the Bag

Regardless of whether or not Putin pushes the Oil export/US$ issue at this time is not the issue. To me, the issue is now reasonably clear.

I pointed out in 2 earlier posts, here and here,  that something very big has happened in "Export Land". During the past 5 months, Oil imports into the U.S. have fallen steeply. Its a zero sum game. Either the exporters are exporting less or the other importers are importing more; given the $10 to $15 rise in Oil prices during the period, I am going with less Oil exported. I could be wrong, but if Oil was backing up from non U.S; deliveries I would expect Oil to have fallen by $10+, not gained $10+.

We are talking 1 million bpd from Q3 to Q4. Where would that kind of drop come from? Saudi Arabia or Russia.

Is this part of Putin's set up? If I were working for CIA/ONI/NSA I would know. They have the tanker data (there are 4000+ Oil tankers plying the world trade. Data collected via satellite makes clear, down to the gallon, how much Oil is going to who) so I don't think there is any question about this among the top brass in D.C.

Putin launches an ICBM test? And tells the West (thru an underling, but believe me, there are no undisciplined leaks when you work for the former head of the KGB) that he has them by the Gishga's (that's a yiddish technical term for important parts of the male human anatomy) and that he can demolish the Fractional Reserve Banking system with a wave of his pen?

At this level, I do not believe in coincidences. I believe that Putin wants the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Congress, the intelligence agencies, and the Pentagon to know where he stands because he does not want the Administration to make a serious mistake and force his hand. Putin thinks like a chess player/Judo competitor. He is not a Low T, botoxed, metrosexual American. He is a genuine tough guy.  The real deal. You don't rise through the ranks of the KGB without tolerating quite well the smell and screams generated when blow torches are applied to human flesh .

I am not trying to paint a boogey man here. Bobby Fisher, chess master and world champion famously quiped that you play the man, not the board. This is my understanding of the man and I would play chess with him accordingly.

I don't think Putin wants to end US$ hegemony this way, but I do think he wants to end it because it is in his best interests to do so. What is the point of US$ hegemony in a world without Oil exports and the massive social programs' impacts on a currency created via lending? There is none! Putin has the Oil. Japan and China want Putin's Oil. Why would these parties wish to involve the U.S.'s paper currency in these transactions if they can come up with a new arrangement?

The U.S. continues to build a massive military. Those weapons are pointed at who?

China and Russia.

Why would those nations be interested in continuing to fund a weapons system that has them in the cross hairs? These 2 political cultures are dominated by chess players, mathematicians, scientists, and intelligence officers. They think differently than our political culture, dominated as it is by word smiths and people concerned with flag burning and gay marriage.

I don't know when Putin will end the US$ settlement of Oil in the world markets. I am absolutely convinced that he will end it, because it is in his best interests to end it, and because he holds all of the cards.

When this happens the fireworks will be of the shock and awe variety, though I do not know if it will be deflationary or inflationary. I can make an argument for it both ways.





Tuesday, March 4, 2014

U.S. is in the Hands of Putin

The U.S., like it or not, irrespective of whether one is rich or poor, dumb as a bag of hammers or razor sharp, is in the hands of the Oil exporters. Particularly Saudi Arabia and Russia. Especially Russia.

I have my doubts about what is being reported is what is really going on inside of Ukraine. Dmitri Orlov's analysis has merit, but ultimately, and at this moment (and I reserve the right to change me mind on a dime), I think Dmitri is incorrect; or perhaps I should say that I think my scenario is just slightly more probable.

Of course, I lack Dmitri's native Russian experience... in this he has it all over me... but I think Putin just put (most of) his cards on the table, and I think that this has been in the contingency plan playbook for some time now. Please keep in mind that I do not think Putin is a boogey man like much of the U.S. establishment does. In fact, I think he is a first rate SOB with a serious talent for chess. I grew up in a "chess home". Chess players are simply better at combinational game theory than Lawyers. President Obama is a nice guy. His staff is bright. They probably see what has happened here, maybe even saw it coming... and realize that they can't do a damn thing about it.

The Russian political establishment are ALL chess players; the U.S political establishment are ALL lawyers. Please don't take this as a shot at lawyers. It is not. Lawyers make fine wordsmiths, and sometimes that's what you need. An experienced trial lawyer would be the next best thing to an accomplished chess player - those guys can think many steps ahead - but that's not what the U.S. has running the train set. In the final analysis, Russia and the East just won't be doing as much business with the U.S. and will be much more keen on doing business between themselves in the future and will be more interested in cutting the U.S. out of the transaction than supporting U.S.$ hegemony.

Russia, unlike Saudi Arabia has the means at its disposal to defend its Oil, Nat Gas, and Coal resources. But we are really talking about Oil.

Russia is the second largest Oil exporter in the World - over 7,000,000 bpd, or about 20% of the world export market. Putin knows, with absolute certainty, that the end is coming for Oil exports, Russian or otherwise. He knows, with certainty, that the end is much less than 20 years away. Not the potential end - the real end. As a chess player, he must know that it is better to make your move when the board is not forcing your hand. Russia has been waiting for the West to move king's knight to Ukraine, and we just did. That knight has been beheaded. Will Russia now go directly for the Queen (Checkmate is not as valuable in this case and at this moment)? We shall see.

Russia does NOT have to remove all of its exported Oil from the market. 3mm bpd would be enough, me thinks, and allow them many more years of net exports and acceptable internal conditions. But just for sh**'s and grins, Putin could, to make his point, hold up all 7 million bpd for just a week, smash asset prices the world over, and restart negotiations with a much weaker adversary. Or something like that.

(For those that think that with U.S. imports declining that this is no big deal: The removal of several million bpd of Oil exports might well firm oil prices as it weakens Russia's political adversaries. If they cut their exports by half, and the price of Oil rises 50%, Russia is still getting 75% of what it was getting on a current basis, but will dramatically increase the total take over the life of the exportable resource.)

Russia (Putin) is going to do what is in their best interests. Nothing more, nothing less. Ergo, the big question is:

Is it in Russia's best interest's to do this now? If so, they will do it, and they will do it now, and everything else is just freebee negotiating. They can make all kinds of demands, all of which the West will acquiesce to, and then will do whatever is in its best interests anyway. Its just cold, calculating chess. If it is not in their best interests to do this now, then they won't. I don't know exactly what is in their best interests at the moment... I am going to noodle it, but that doesn't mean much. We will find out soon enough. If they pull the Oil from the market it will be far more interesting than 1973's oil embargo.

And all of that nonsense, shouting and screaming, huffing and puffing, sucking and blowing you hear from the U.S. political class? They have no power to do anything about this and are merely posturing for the next political election cycle here. They will blame Obama, G.W. Bush, the Right, the Left, the Middle, the Up, the Down... but its just chess.




Monday, March 3, 2014

Sick of "The Economy"



Personally, I am absolutely sick of hearing about "The Economy".  I cannot conceive of a sillier meme than this thing that gets tossed around as if it was actually of some real importance and that mankind must serve this monster always; like its your patriotic duty to "help" the economy. WTF??!!

Granted, I am over 50, very comfortable financially, so one might think I am just "Old & in the Way". Perhaps. But stay with me for a minute while I lay this f&^%$# mutt bare.

Our system has convinced people that there is no other way; they must delay maturation/adulthood until age 18 + 4, 6, 8, even 12 years of "education" (snicker) During which time the system neuters, indoctrinates, and finally "approves" you for "elite employment" ("EE"). And, as a newly minted member drone worker of the Corporate/Government plantation system of EE, with your approval sticker stuck to your forehead, you can now look forward to 10 to 20 years of student loan payments (unless your parents had money; more on that later); 60,000 hours of cubicle/office time under florescent lights while sitting all day in the absence of sunlight; 20,000 hours commuting (which in less than 10 years will turn your sleek and youthful body into something that looks like a bald-yet-hairy, triple chined, bag-for-a-belly cross between Humpty-Dumpty and Cecil the Dinosaur), and;  3,000 (I am being generous here) boring sexual experiences - that is, before you kill yourself with a stout rope in the garage while the car is running and you hold a gun in your hand as a backup because you just can't take it anymore, while the spouse you are not sleeping with watches under the influence of Big Pharma's cocktail of anti-depressants and anti-psychotics... but only if you don't get prostate cancer first. Or, fat f*** that you (now) are, die of sleep apnea.

Did I mention that you will be so exhausted from the above that you will take the majority of the 6 waking hours you have left each day (55,000 hours or so during your working career) and plant yourself in front of a TV for your daily dose of political/social/economic propaganda? Yep. That, too.

And please... I am not a cynic (though I am a Cynic/Hedonist/Stoic). I skipped all this crazy sh#!. Did I miss anything? Oh, yea. And we can't seem to raise a kid into a functioning adult contemporaneously with shaving.

The system has convinced people not to have children (look, the Corporate Drone, EE, types are either 0 or 1 child producers) with the Drones now believing that on their death bed they will feel good about a life of Corporate EE Drone work and the occasional industrial vacation... and while dying on that death bed the Drone can keep a copy of his/her business card with his "title" on it and his net worth statement handy to comfort him...  along with a box of airline receipts proving that he/she had been to Club Med 10x and Europe twice. Such a Cosmopolite!!  And since he has no heirs, the healthcare system will be happy to take care of his net worth....

I know a bunch of folks enamored with the "Paleo Diet" lifestyle... well, sort of. Have you heard of the Paleo Diet? It is supposed to recreate the diet of man during our period as hunter-gatherers...

See, the real Paleo man hiked mountains, swam rivers, ran deer into the ground, speared fish... and then stopped by his lover's hut with a chunk of meat, food for sex style, contributed to the gene pool and kept his prostate healthy and his lover happy (anti-depressants were not available) - multi tasker that he was - before heading home to the family cave (just after his genetic competition finished the process of food-for-sexing his own gene pool contribution). Is that what your day looked like? I didn't think so. No, modern man might have walked from the kitchen table to his garage, and then from his parking spot to his cubicle for a day of sitting and porn surfing (and I got nothing against porn. I am just a real thing kinda guy).... and when his day is finished modern man is off for hearth and home to deal with the propaganda affected modern woman... well, either that or he's a dead beat dad. What a choice.

Modern man has been reduced to a fury, fat, childless cubicle dweller that gets none and after a while is too unhealthy to want any... scheming all day to make more money while his arteries harden and his wedding tackle softens - but at least his religious belief system, the Right, the Feminists, and the Corporatocracy, and several other special interest groups approve of his swollen prostate & pasty skinned life style! Hey! Its good for the economy!! Its for the kids! For the children! Every time I hear that I reach one hand to hold onto my wallet and with the other hand I hold onto my junk.

Sometimes I think I am the only normal person left.

I cringe when I see force or control being applied to the kinds of relationships and social contracts that cannot flourish - nay even exist - in that environment, yet our entire system is built upon this notion. Oprah tells her flock how to be a wife and mother (she has never been either). Celibate clergy exert control over men in their relationships. The family "role models" in our Movie and TV media are created by people that have no experience as a role model or operating within a family. Corporations themselves end our family lines with their demands.

And a never ending drumbeat of media propaganda in lives made fake by convenience. Our lives would have made entertaining science fiction just 2 generations ago.

To be continued...