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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Sunday that he favored former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) as a 2016 presidential candidate, but no Republican could win unless comprehensive immigration reform was passed because the party was in a "demographic death spiral."
"I think we're going to have a political breakthrough, the Congress is going to pass immigration reform," Graham told NBC host David Gregory. "I think we're going to get plus 70 [votes in the Senate], I've never been more optimistic about it."
Gregory wondered if Graham thought that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) meeting last week with former President Bill Clinton (D) would boost his prospects for a 2016 presidential run.
"Bill Clinton doesn't have a whole lot of sway, but he's a popular figure," Graham laughed. "The faith based groups were courted by leading candidates... I would suggest a guy like Jeb Bush would have a really good chance in 2016, a former governor or a governor. But you've got Marco [Rubio], you've got Paul Ryan. The good news is we've got a deep bench, and after eight years of President Obama's economic policies and, quite frankly, foreign policy, people are going to be looking around."
The South Carolina Republican added: "But if we don't pass immigration reform, if we don't get it off the table and in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn't matter who you run in 2016. We're in a demographic death spiral as a party. And the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community, in my view, is pass comprehensive immigration reform. If you don't do that, it really doesn't matter who we run in my view."
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Republican strategist Karl Rove is encouraging Americans to support massive National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs because fictional police officers monitor phone calls on television dramas.
"If you don't like this program, which we now know was accessed 300 times last year, then you've got to be against local law enforcement being able to access routinely business records of the telephone company in their local investigations as well," Rove told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday.
"You cannot turn on a cop drama on television where there is not somebody who's pinging somebody's cell phone or taking a look at the phone calls made from some landline or telephone booth to help solve some crime on television," he added. "And it is routinely done in a large scale at the local law enforcement level."
Rove argued that the NSA program "requires a warrant to be able to search the record of any American."
"That's not what happens with local law enforcement, which can simply get a phone company to run a trace on a phone or give you the connection of a phone number," he insisted. "How many times have we sent the police to that hotel on Route 1 because we searched that phone record? You gotta be consistent."
Bill Clinton told Sen. John McCain he agrees that President Barack Obama should act more forcefully to support anti-Assad rebels in Syria, saying the American public elects presidents and members of Congress “to see down the road” and “to win.”
At another point during a closed-press event Tuesday, Clinton implied that Obama or any president risks looking like “a total fool” if they listen too closely to opinion polls and act too cautiously. [...] Clinton repeatedly said it would be “lame” to blame a lack of intervention on opposition in polls or among members of Congress.
[...] "[Y]ou’d look like a total wuss,” he continued. “And you would be. I don’t mean that a leader should go out of his way or her way to do the unpopular thing, I simply mean when people are telling you ‘no’ in these situations, very often what they’re doing is flashing a giant yellow light and saying, ‘For God’s sakes, be careful, tell us what you’re doing, think this through, be careful.”WTF? Is Clinton REALLY arguing that the problem we have seen from our presidents is their hesitancy in involving the nation in military conflicts? Is he really arguing that? Wow, that is really stupid. And in an appearance with John "I never met an opportunity to start a war I didn't like" McCain no less. But it gets better. Clinton said:
“My view is that we shouldn’t over-learn the lessons of the past,” Clinton said. “I don’t think Syria is necessarily Iraq or Afghanistan — no one has asked us to send any soldiers in there. I think it’s more like Afghanistan was in the ’80s when they were fighting the Soviet Union … when President Reagan was in office [and] got an enormous amount of influence and gratitude by helping to topple the Soviet-backed regime and then made the error of not hanging around in Afghanistan” to try to cash in on the gains. [Emphasis supplied.] This is strikingly stupid in two respects: (1) The US involvement in Afghanistan in the 80s included supporting the precursors to Al Qaida, including Osama bin Laden; and (2) we've hung around in Iraq for a decade, anyone expecting any "gratitude" for that?
More on the absurdity on the flip.
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H/t Heather for the video.
Right-wing mole Jonathan Karl did his best to encourage Sen. Marco Rubio to froth at the mouth over immigration reform by pointing to criticism from such noted intellects as Ann Coulter, Erick Erickson, and ... Glenn Beck. J'accuse! No, really, I'm not making this up.
Also, Rubio still refuses to say whether he supports his own bill:
KARL: OK, you've taken some real heat, especially from the right, on this. I want to go through just this past week, some right wing commentators. You had Ann Coulter say Chuck Schumer is playing Marco Rubio. Erick Erickson said Marco Rubio is either being played the fool or we are being played the fool by Senator Rubio. Glenn Beck called you a pretty nasty name and said he's not on our side. So what do you -- what do you -- what do you say to this and what has happened? I mean, you used to be the guy hailed as a -- as a conservative hero to some of these guys.
RUBIO: Well, I think it is important to remember that on virtually every other issue, I agree with many of the folks that right now are just not supportive of the immigration reform bill. I understand why they are opposed to it. I really do. I mean, we have the most generous country in the history of the world, whose immigration laws have been taken advantage of. You have an administration claiming that there is no problem, that the borders are already secure, when everyone knows they're not, and people are frustrated by this. And to top it all off, when you mention any of these things, you are accused of being anti-immigrant or anti-Hispanic.
Now, I recognize there is a division among conservatives about it. I respect other people's views on it. I understand why they are frustrated by it. I just hope people understand that the reason why I've undertaken this is because this is a major problem that's hurting our country. And -- and the only way I know how to fix problems is to get involved and try to fix it. So, well -- but we'll...
KARL: But directly answer that question. Are you being played by the Democrats? Is Chuck Schumer playing you, is essentially the charge?
RUBIO: I don't -- I quite frankly, I don't even know what that means. Because the fact of the matter is...
KARL: Is he using you? Is he using you to try to accomplish something that the Democrats want and is not -- not a conservative bill?
RUBIO: Immigration reform is something that all Americans recognize has to be done. I mean, I don't focus a lot on public polling, but if you look at these public polls, it's clear the vast majority of Americans understand that what we have in place in this country is de facto amnesty, a broken legal immigration system that needs to be reformed.
KARL: The president came out this week and he gave one of his first speeches on immigration in a -- in quite some time. I'm wondering, do you consider that helpful? Is it helpful when the president comes out as he did and, is harshly critical of the critics of this bill?
RUBIO: Well listen, I think the president has his hands full these days. I didn't quite frankly even hear the speech. We were very busy this week. I -- I think I read some headlines here or there, but obviously the president -- we're -- our job as legislators, you know, as members of Congress, is to pass legislation. And that's what I hope we'll do out of the Senate, and then the House will have its work, and we'll work together to try to solve this problem. And then the president will have a decision to make about whether he wants to sign the bill or not.
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Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday asserted that President Barack Obama has "no credibility" on the so-called war on terror.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace pointed out to the former vice president in a recently-recorded interview that Obama had said that his administration had "scrubbed" National Security Agency (NSA) spying programs and added oversight after Cheney left office.
Cheney insisted that the people operating the NSA programs collecting Internet and phone data authorized by President George W. Bush "are as fine as fine officers as you're going to find anyplace in the United States military."
"I trust these guys implicitly with my life. And what I make of what they're saying is they are to be believed," he said. "They're good, honest Americans. They're patriotic. But they also care very much about their responsibility to safeguard civil liberties."
"I don't pay a lot of attention, frankly, to what Barack Obama said," Cheney continued. "Because I find a lot of it -- in other areas, for example, IRS, Benghazi -- not credible. I'm obviously not a fan of the incumbent president. I don't know what he did to the program."
Wallace pointed out that the president had indicated that the war on terror was coming to an end, and wondered if that made it harder to justify the vast NSA surveillance.
"First of all, he's wrong," Cheney declared. "It's not winding down... The threat's bigger than ever."
"So, he's just dead wrong on the status of the threat," he added. "In terms of credibility, I don't think he has credibility. And one of the biggest problems we have is we've got an important point where the president of the United States ought to be able to stand up and say, 'This is a righteous program, it's a good program, it saved American lives, and I support it.'"
"The problem is the guy has failed to be forthright and honest and credible on things like Benghazi and the IRS. So, he's got no credibility."
We are so used to the idea of "terrorist threats" that could affect us from outside our borders that often we fail to examine and label as terrorism those that are like an asp at our breast. I happened to read a piece in Wonkette about a declaration of holy war made by Rand Paul's new religious outreach coordinator, David Lane, and at first I though it was a satire from The Onion. I followed the links in the story and found it was all too true.
Of the likely candidates for the next Republican presidential nomination, I would not have put Rand Paul at the top of my right-wing tea-ublican watchlist as a potential POTUS candidate who would embrace wingnut religious extremism. I was wrong. I know he's embraced racism, i.e. the right for private business to discriminate, and is no friend of civil rights activists, but the courting of reactionary Christians is apparently the key to the kingdom of Republican nominee-hood and all contenders must pass a religious extremist litmus test. Rand Paul is no exception. David Lane has worked for Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and Michele Bachman, among others. He has been referred to as a "kingmaker" and "powerbroker" and "the mastermind" in this piece from Business Insider on Rick Perry's prayer breakfasts. For more background on Lane, see Right Wing Watch, "Influential Religious Right Organizer David Lane Admits 'I'm Actually a Political Operative":
Rand Paul's new outreach coordinator David Lane has declared a “holy war” on "us." That's a broad "us," by the way. Though most of the stories associated with this have focused on frothing homophobia against marriage equality and LBGT rights, a closer look at this homegrown call for jihad speaks to a war against a rainbow of people and issues far broader than our LBGT population, allies and marriage equality initiatives.
Lane's piece was posted to wingnut World Net Daily, and interestingly, it was removed after it was posted. Hmmmm. Thanks to quick captures by those who pay attention, we have some of the content. (see cached link to the full piece)
The above is a quote from Peter J. Leithart’s “Between Babel and the Beast.” This portion is not:
Where are the champions of Christ to save the nation from the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage, homosexual scouts, 60 million babies done to death by abortion and red ink as far as the eye can see on America? Who will wage war for the Soul of America and trust the living God to deliver the pagan gods into our hands and restore America to her Judeo-Christian heritage and re-establish a Christian culture?Calling for Christian martyrs and blood. The rebranding of those in opposition as "pagans" (btw I'm a Pagan, but a majority of my fellow Democrats and activists are not). Not that the idea of spilling blood in the name of hate hasn't become a reality. The murders and terrorism committed by forces on the right, who fight against reproductive justice, who murder LBGTs, who commit racial and religiously motivated hate crimes, are well documented by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The problem for me has always been that far too often this is not called "terrorism."
More from Lane:As to the future of America – and the collapse of this once-Christian nation – Christians must not only be allowed to have opinions, but politically, Christians must be retrained to war for the Soul of America and quit believing the fabricated whopper of the “Separation of Church and State,” the lie repeated ad nauseum by the left and liberals to keep Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media. Bill Bennett’s insight, “… the two essential questions Plato posed as: Who teaches the children, and what do we teach them?” requires deep thought, soul-searching and a response from Christian America to the secular, politically correct and multicultural false gods imposing their religion on America’s children. Multicultural false gods? Fabrications about separation of church and state?
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Remember that old joke about "the cat's on the roof", and how I last used it about Fukushima to illustrate how they would release misleading info in increments before they'd finally tell us the truth?
Well, last week, we were "only" collecting metadata on phone calls. Now we find out that in a classified briefing, members of Congress were told NSA analysts can listen to domestic phone calls without a warrant. Yep, I'd say the cat's up on the NSA roof:
The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed "simply based on an analyst deciding that."
If the NSA wants "to listen to the phone," an analyst's decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. "I was rather startled," said Nadler, an attorney who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
Nadler's disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.
Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA's formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.
Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, Nadler's disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.
The disclosure appears to confirm some of the allegations made by Edward Snowden, a former NSA infrastructure analyst who leaked classified documents to the Guardian. Snowden said in a video interview that, while not all NSA analysts had this ability, he could from Hawaii "wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president."
There are serious "constitutional problems" with this approach, says Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who has litigated warrantless wiretapping cases. "It epitomizes the problem of secret laws."
The NSA yesterday declined to comment to CNET. A representative said Nadler was not immediately available. (This is unrelated to last week's disclosure that the NSA is currently collecting records of the metadata of all domestic Verizon calls, but not the actual contents of the conversations.)
There's an awful lot of pushback floating around the intertubes, trying to discredit this story. A C-SPAN video has gone viral in which Nadler asks FBI Director Robert Mueller during last week's public hearing whether the actual content of a phone call can be accessed without a warrant; Mueller says no. Nadler says that isn't what he was told in the classified briefing.
Well, this CNET story is about what Nadler, who's also an attorney, was told in a separate briefing; I'm going to assume he knows the difference. YMMV.
Turkish police used tear gas and water cannons to clear protestors from Istanbul's Taksim Square and Gezi Park on Saturday. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had issued a warning to the group earlier in the day to leave or face expulsion, saying "If it is not emptied, from now on, this country's security forces will know how to empty that place." The protesters ignored the threat, countering that none of their demands had been fulfilled. The PM has pledged to hold a vote on whether to redevelop the park where the protests started, instead of making an executive decision, but apparently it was too little, too late. Since the unrest started, there have been four deaths and around 5,000 people injured.
"Thousands of peaceful protesters, choking on the fumes and stumbling among the tents, put up little physical resistance, even as plain-clothes police manhandled many to drive them from the park. Just moments before, the park had been full of protesters young and old, as well as families with children.
Many ran into nearby hotels for shelter. A stand-off developed at one hotel on the edge of the park, where police opened up with water cannon against protesters and journalists outside before throwing tear gas at the entrance, filing the lobby with white smoke. At other hotels, plain-clothes policemen turned up outside, demanding the protesters come out.
Some protesters ran off into nearby streets, setting up makeshift barricades and running from water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets into the early hours of Sunday. Plumes of white tear gas rose from the streets.
As news of the raid broke, thousands of people from other parts of Istanbul gathered and were attempting to reach Taksim. Television showed footage of riot police firing tear gas on a highway and bridge across the Bosphorus to prevent protesters from heading to the area."
Tayfun Kahraman, a member of Taksim Solidarity, an umbrella group of protest movements, told The Associated Press by phone, "Let them keep the park, we don't care anymore. Let it all be theirs. This crackdown has to stop. The people are in a terrible state."
On the six month anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I can't help but note the incredible generosity of spirit seen across the country as well as right here in Newtown. In the midst of tragedy, so many stepped up to the plate to help. In that sense, 12-14 was not just a day of incredible loss, it was also a day to renew the human spirit, a day where first responders, strangers and neighbors all reached out to help.
One small example of that were the pediatricians in town, who have been working to heal our families since that day in as many ways as they/we can (see Sandy Hook pediatricians share grief, advice, hope 6 months after tragedy, just published in AAP News, made available to the public). Working with our local multidisciplinary group, the United Physicians of Newtown, and our professional organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, we pediatricians have sought to emphasize the public health aspects of gun safety.
In remembrance of the Newtown six month anniversary, I had the opportunity to interview the President of the AAP, Thomas K. McInerny on this topic.
Daily Kos: As a Newtown resident, my own local physician group that formed in response, United Physicians of Newtown, made public health research the focus of our commitment to decreasing gun violence. Our state AAP chapter has endorsed the same principle as has the American Society of Pediatric Surgeons, the American College of Emergency Physicians and others. The idea was that with more data, arguments and controversies can be more easily settled. The Institute of Medicine has recently laid out a research pathway for the next few years. Can you comment on AAP efforts in this regard, especially as it pertains to federal level measures?
Dr. McInerny: One of the first things AAP did in response to Newtown was to encourage the White House to lift the ban on federally funded gun violence prevention research. Dating back to 1996, Congressional restrictions on research and funding cuts have had a chilling effect that curtailed critical research and drastically limited the workforce in this field. It is estimated that fewer than 20 academics in the United States currently focus on gun violence research, and most of them are economists, criminologists or sociologists. It is no coincidence that while motor vehicle fatality rates are at an all-time low, gun-related deaths remain high and are on pace to outnumber traffic deaths in 2015.
The IOM’s new report outlines a strong agenda, but without federal funding it will be unable to come to fruition. The AAP is advocating that federal policy address gun violence with the same attention given to other successful public health initiatives over the past 25 years, such as motor vehicle safety, immunizations and public sanitation.
Last week, the AAP sponsored a pediatric community letter on gun violence research to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees that fund health, education and labor programs. The letter makes the case for strong investments in public health research on gun violence at the CDC and NIH to cultivate the knowledge needed to craft effective public health policy.
ImmigrationProfBlog: Yet another analysis shows that immigration reform would produce a windfall for the Social Security system.
Brad Delong: Tom Friedman and David Brooks provide a New York Times guide to value-subtracted content.
Satirical Political Report: IRS caught with its pants down on Tea Party 501 groups.
The Mahablog: Here’s why Republicans never follow up on the second half of their “repeal and replace Obamacare” slogan.
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire: Sarah Palin offers faith-based policy for Syria, declares “let Allah sort it out!”
Speaking of which, your quote of the day: “Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God.” (Sarah Palin, on American troops in Iraq, June 2007)
Guest blogging Mike's Blog Round Up for the last time this week is Jon Perr from Perrspectives. Send your tips, recommendations, comments and angst to mbru AT crooksandliars DOT com.
Happy Father's Day!
While it's a good bet that they will continue talking about the NSA story, it's an even better bet that the Very Serious People will prefer to talk about their favorite topic: Why we should get involved in a war. Again.
And even though McClatchy, just like the last time, questions the intelligence on which this decision is being made, it will be ignored -- just like the last time. Oh well! It's much more important that Beltway "journalists" pay the mortgage than it is to save the country from bad decisions.
ABC'S "This Week": Sen. Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush. Foreign policy roundtable: ABC News’ George Will, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz, former Defense Department and CIA chief of staff Jeremy Bash, and Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg. Political roundtable: Will, Democratic strategist and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.
CBS' "Face the Nation" - Denis McDonough, the White House Chief of Staff. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). Panel: David Corn, Barton Gellman, Peggy Noonan, and Rick Stengel.
NBC's "Meet the Press" - Two members of the Senate Intelligence committee: Vice-Chair Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Mark Udall (D-CO). Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Roundtable: Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), former Director of the NSA and CIA – now a principal of The Chertoff Group -- Gen. Michael Hayden, Washington Post Columnist David Ignatius, New York Times national security reporter James Risen, and NBC’s foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell.
NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show" - Panel: Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent; Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent; Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent; David Ignatius, The Washington Post.
MSNBC's "UP with Steve Kornacki" - Michelle Bernard, The Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy; Rick Perlstein, TheNation.com; Roberto Lovato, writer/commentator, New America Media, co-founder, Presente; Tom Schaller, professor, University of Maryland Baltimore County, author “Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South”; Abby Rapoport, staff writer, The American Prospect.
MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry" - Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU School of Law; Lani Guinier, Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Nick Dranias, Director of Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute; Jelani Cobb, Associate Professor at UCONN; Danny Greenberg, Attorney at Schulte, Roth and Zabel / Former President and Attorney-in-Chief for the Legal Aid Society in New York City; Jody Owens, Attorney and Director of the Mississippi Office at the Southern Poverty Law Center; Norman Williams, Criminal Defense Attorney / Former Legal Aid Attorney; Pardiss Kebriaei, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights; Kathryn Edin and Timmy Nelson, Co-Authors of “Doing the Best I Can”.
MSNBC's "Disrupt with Karen Finney" - Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post; Heather Hulburt, Exec. Director, National Security Network; Christina Bellantoni, PBS Newshour; Jim Michaels, Author, “A Chance in Hell: The Men who Triumphed over Iraq’s Deadliest City and Turned the Tide of War”; Fmr. Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT); Vivian Greentree, Blue Star Families; Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).
MSNBC's "The Ed Show" - Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA); Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ); Thom Hartmann, Radio talk show host; Zerlina Maxwell, TheGrio.com; Joan Walsh, MSNBC Political Analyst; Adam Green, BoldProgressives.org.
CNN's "State of the Union" - House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Political panel: Peter Baker of “The New York Times,” Nia-Malika Henderson of “The Washington Post,” Ray Suarez of PBS’ “The NewsHour” and A.B. Stoddard from “The Hill”.
CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" - Former CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden. The New Yorker’s John Cassidy and Jeffrey Toobin. Columnist Mona Eltahawy and Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations. Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the author of a new book, To Move the World: JFK's Quest for Peace, about the lessons of John F. Kennedy’s presidency.
CNN's "Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz" - The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, Paul Farhi of the Washington Post and Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, anchor of CNN’s new morning show, New Day, Chris Cuomo, TIME’s James Poniewozik.
"Fox News Sunday" - Former Vice President Dick Cheney. Panelists: Brit Hume, Fox News Senior Political Analyst; Jane Harman, President of Woodrow Wilson Center & Fmr Congresswoman (D-CA); Karl Rove, Former Bush White House Senior Adviser / Fox News Contributor; Juan Williams Fox News Political Analyst.
What's catching your eye?
From the June 16 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Sunday:
The EIA has noted in This Week in Petroleum that, for the first time, the sum of non-OECD country demand contributed more than half to the total of liquid fuels consumed in the world.
Figure 1. Changes in the relative shares of liquid fuel consumption between the countries in and out of the OECD. (EIA)
It does, however, point out that the projections of the Short Term Energy Outlook are for the two curves to re-intersect at the end of 2014.
Figure 2. Projected changes in liquid fuels consumption, through 2014 (EIA)
The reality of that second assumption is, I rather suspect, more based on hope than reality. Once you start providing power and all its benefits to the general population, you are on a slippery slope that it is almost impossible to back away from. Consider as a small example, the problems that Egypt is currently having with the supply of subsidized bread to the general populace. Once you start supplying a commodity at a subsidized price it becomes very hard to change the equation, and too much of the non-OECD world is now living in an economy where energy use is subsidized. The problem that the above graph fails to recognize is that you cannot wean a culture from subsidies in the immediate short term and still expect their government to survive in its present condition.
Thus, when the EIA project that global demand will grow to over 92 mbd in the next year, they are likely only being realistic. Their assumption that it may then decline is perhaps more in the nature of wishful thinking.
Figure 3. EIA anticipated growth in demand and supply over the near term (EIA)
There are, however, a couple of caveats to that last statement, the first of which is that the decline in demand may be more reflective of a lack of supply capacity (our raison d'être) and alternatively it may reflect, as a result of the first, that prices will rise to influence demand. Nevertheless we remain in a condition where the harsh realities that lie just over the horizon remain obfuscated by other events.
As with many other international agencies, the EIA continue to anticipate continued growth in the North American supply of liquid fuels. Outside of that growth the increased demand for more than an additional mbd of liquid fuels seems more likely to be desperately hunting for an invisible savior.
Figure 4. Anticipated growth in liquid fuels supply over the next two years (EIA)
The decline in supply from OPEC in the two years ahead should be noted. It should also be remembered that this is likely to be as much a voluntary control, to ensure price stability in the face of increased North American production, rather than as a result of a short-term supply shortage. However the reality of continued domestic growth in demand in the Middle East, as Westexas has reminded us, is something that cannot be neglected. It has been noted that Saudi Arabia, although having less than a third of Germany’s population, recently surpassed it in terms of oil consumption. It will add several new oil-fired power stations including those at Yanbu and Jeddah. This will feed into an anticipated continued growth in Saudi domestic demand of 5.1% pa.
And this brings us to the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) for June. OPEC continues to anticipate a global demand growth of 0.8 mbd this year, though they note that there will likely be a growth of 1.2 mbd in the non-OECD nations, requiring a reduction in OECD demand to match the overall forecast. Major growth in demand will continue to be in China (at 0.4 mbd and the Middle East at 0.3 mbd). On the other hand OPEC anticipate cutting their supply (to match anticipated need) by 0.4 mbd over the course of this year. OPEC, therefore, has slightly dropped their projection for year end; however, it will still crest above 90 mbd.
Figure 5. Estimates of global oil demand (OPEC June 2013 MOMR)
A large part of demand projection is tied to growth in the global and individual nation economies, and that is a murky crystal ball to view. But OPEC anticipates that these economies will continue to grow at an increasing rate, while recognizing that this projection is in an area with a high level of risk in the estimate.
The continue, and perhaps growing unrest in the Middle East continues to cast a further shadow over predictions over both supply and the reality of future demand in those countries. And, as one of the less frequently discussed topics, future output from Russia is not as assured as the average analyst appears to assume.
OPEC is anticipating a relatively strong growth in demand in the second half of the year to almost reach 91 mbd by the end of the year. Overall the growth in supply to meet this demand continues to come from North America.
Figure 6. Anticipated oil supply for 2013. (OPEC June 2013 MOMR)
OPEC itself is reporting a slight increase in overall production (by about 128 kbd) although, as always, there are differences in the numbers between those supplied by the countries themselves, and those reported from other sources.
Figure 7. OPEC crude oil production as reported directly (OPEC June 2013 MOMR)
There continues to be a significant disparity between the numbers reported from Iran and Venezuela, for example, when other sources are reported to the tune of around 1.5 mbd roughly. In the short term, Iraqi production appears stable.
Figure 8. OPEC crude oil production as reported by others (OPEC June 2013 MOMR)
With the continued global reliance on increased production from North America, and in turn, that reliance on improved production from tight formations, I would be a little more confident of the future were it not for plots such as this, which I recently found.
Figure 9. Chesapeake typical well decline curve (Eagle Ford Forum)
It is a curve that I rather suspect continues to be optimistic.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, with the help of guest Dick Cheney, peddled a number of long-debunked myths about the September 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, including the false claims that President Obama and the Pentagon decided to abandon Americans during the attacks, that troops could have reached Libya in time, and that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice purposely deceived the American public about the attack.
During a June 16 Fox News Sunday interview with former Vice President Cheney, Wallace claimed that the president and the Pentagon decided not to send any assistance to the U.S. forces and citizens under attack in Benghazi:
Wallace's suggestion that the president and the Pentagon coordinated such a decision ignores known facts about the circumstances and deployment of forces that night.
During a February 7 Senate hearing, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified that President Obama had "directed both myself and General Dempsey to do everything we needed to do to try to protect lives there." During the same hearing, Panetta later said, "[Obama] basically said, 'do whatever you need to do to be able to protect our people" in Benghazi the night of the attacks. Following that conversation with the president, Panetta ordered two anti-terrorism security teams stationed in Spain to Libya and deployed another special operations team to the region. These forces arrived after the attacks were over.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has also confirmed that military forces would not have arrived at the attack in time to prevent the casualties. During a May 12 appearance on Face The Nation, Gates said the idea that military forces could have responded in time required a "cartoonish impression of military capabilities."
Later in the segment, when the discussion turned to Susan Rice, President Obama's recently announced pick to become national security adviser, Cheney referenced several debunked claims about Rice's involvement in and the motivation behind the crafting of the Benghazi talking points, suggesting that she "peddled the party line" by knowingly deceiving the American public about the attack in order to help Obama win re-election. Cheney concluded:
I just question whether or not somebody whose judgment was so flawed that they took what was apparently very bad information and peddled it as aggressively as she did.
Cheney's statements ignore the role of the intelligence community in crafting the talking points as well as the hundreds of pages of emails revealing that information was removed from the talking points to protect multiple agencies' investigations, including the FBI and the CIA. Responding to initial emails among CIA officials on September 14, 2012, CIA General Counsel Stephen W. Preston urged caution to ensure that no investigation would be compromised:
Folks, I know there is a hurry to get this out, but we need to hold it long enough to ascertain whether providing it conflicts with express instructions from NSS/DOJ/FBI that, in light of the criminal investigation, we are not to generate statements with assessments as to who did this, etc. -- even internally, not to mention for public release. I am copying [CIA FO] who may be more familiar with those instructibns [sic] and the tasking arising from the HPSCI coffee.
Furthermore, then-Director of the CIA General David Petraeus has also testified before Congress that the talking points in question were changed in order to avoid tipping off those responsible for the attacks.
Ramzy Mardini is not on the McCain Train (and now, Obama train) of supporting the Syrian rebels.The recent recapture of the strategic town of Qusair by forces loyal to the government of Bashar al-Assad and the White House’s public acknowledgment that chemical weapons have been employed by the Syrian regime — thereby crossing a “red line” — persuaded Mr. Obama to adopt the doctrine of intervention and provide arms to the rebels. He shouldn’t have.
Lacking a grand strategy, Mr. Obama has become a victim of rhetorical entrapment over the course of the Arab Spring — from calling on foreign leaders to leave (with no plan to forcibly remove them) to publicly drawing red lines on the use of chemical weapons, and then being obliged to fulfill the threat.But... but... the optics, man, the optics! What's involving the country in another war vs. looking like a wimp?
Eh, come on in. Let's see what else is worth talking about.
As the level of hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells in the United States has intensified in recent years, much of the mounting public concern has centered on fears that underground water supplies could be contaminated with the toxic chemicals used in the well-stimulation technique that cracks rock formations and releases trapped oil and gas. But in some parts of the country, worries are also growing about fracking’s effect on water supply, as the water-intensive process stirs competition for the resources already stretched thin by drought or other factors.
Every fracking job requires 2 million to 4 million gallons of water, according to the Groundwater Protection Council. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has estimated that the 35,000 oil and gas wells used for fracking consume between 70 billion and 140 billion gallons of water each year. That’s about equal, EPA says, to the water use in 40 to 80 cities with populations of 50,000 people, or one to two cities with a population of 2.5 million each.
Some of the most intensive oil and gas development in the nation is occurring in regions where water is already at a premium. A paper published last month by Ceres, a nonprofit that works on sustainability issues, looked at 25,000 shale oil and shale gas wells in operation and monitored by an industry-tied reporting website called FracFocus.
Ceres found that 47 percent of these wells were in areas “with high or extremely high water stress” because of large withdrawals for use by industry, agriculture, and municipalities. In Colorado, for example, 92 percent of the wells were in extremely high water-stress areas, and in Texas more than half were in high or extremely high water-stress areas.
“Given projected sharp increases in production in the coming years and the potentially intense nature of local water demands, competition and conflicts over water should be a growing concern for companies, policymakers and investors,” the Ceres report concluded. It goes on to say that:Prolonged drought conditions in many parts of Texas and Colorado last summer created increased competition and conflict between farmers, communities and energy developers, which is only likely to continue. … Even in wetter regions of the northeast United States, dozens of water permits granted to operators had to be withdrawn last summer due to low levels in environmentally vulnerable headwater streams.
Another recent study by the University of Texas looked at past and projected water use for fracking in the Barnett, Eagle Ford, and Haynesville shale plays in Texas, and found that fracking in 2011 was using more than twice as much water in the state as it was three years earlier. In Dimmit County, home to the Eagle Ford shale development in South Texas, fracking accounted for nearly a quarter of overall water consumption in 2011 and is expected to grow to a third in a few years, according to the study.
Moreover, an April report by the Western Organization of Resource Councils found that fracking is using 7 billion gallons of water a year in four western states: Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and North Dakota. “Fracking’s growing demand for water can threaten availability of water for agriculture and western rural communities,” said Bob Leresche, a Wyoming resident and board member of the group.
The national oil and gas trade association, American Petroleum Institute, correctly notes that the “industry’s water use is small when compared to other industrial and recreational activities.” But even though hydraulic fracturing usually accounts for just 1 percent or 2 percent of states’ overall water use, the Ceres study notes that “it can be much higher at the local level, increasing competition for scarce supplies.”New ways to frack
Not surprisingly, the oil and gas industry, along with companies drawn by the opportunity to profit from a better way to frack, are all seeking ways to reduce and even eliminate fracking’s thirst.
A new company in Texas, Alpha Reclaim Technology, sees using treated wastewater from municipal sewage-treatment plants as part of the answer. Founded in 2011, the company has signed up cities to provide about 21 million gallons of treated wastewater a day and is negotiating with oil and gas exploration and production companies to make the switch in the Eagle Ford shale play.
With regard to water use and fracking, Jeremy Osborne, the company’s vice president and general counsel, says, “We are really in a collision course here in Texas”—a course he says is accelerated by drought and population growth.
But Jillian Ryan, Alpha Reclaim Technology’s vice president for government affairs, said changing longstanding practices in the oil and gas industry can be a challenge. While the industry talks a good game about conserving water, Ryan says, “We can have a hard time getting oil and gas companies to live up to what they are talking about. Nobody wants to change. It’s easier to drill a water well where they are drilling [for oil and gas].”
Another player in this oil and gas niche is GASFRAC Energy Services, a Canadian company that says it has successfully fracked about 2,000 wells using liquid propane gas in place of water. Most of these wells are in Canada, but about 100 of them are in Texas.
Environmentalists and fracking critics, however, are alarmed at the thought of fracking with propane. Prompted by the possibility that GASFRAC would be employed in New York state and could evade a state moratorium on fracking by using propane instead of water, environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, protested to the commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. Similar to water-based fracking, the groups said, fracking with propane also requires “the addition of toxic chemicals.” Because GASFRAC’s method is proprietary, the groups said in their letter that “there is little publicly-available information on the process” and the exact chemicals it uses.
Cornell University engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea is among those who are very skeptical of fracking in shale formations with propane and other alternatives to water. Ingraffea has been studying fracturing since doing research for his doctorate in the 1970s. He finds that even modern fracking practices, using millions of gallons of water per well to yield what he says is just 10 percent to 15 percent of oil and gas out, are “very inefficient and inelegant.”
Using propane or a propane-butane combination, Ingraffea says, has a positive side in that it eliminates a key problem with water-based fracking: the disposal of vast quantities of flowback water that returns to the surface after fracking is completed and is often contaminated with things such as salts and radioactivity.
But, he added, no one has yet clearly demonstrated that fracking with propane or some of the other alternatives—such as using a nitrogen or carbon dioxide gel—can compete on economics with water. Propane, he said, “is expensive and nobody really knows how much it takes to develop a typical shale gas well with a lateral that is a mile or two long.”
Oil and gas service companies such as Halliburton and Schlumberger have thrown a lot of money and bright minds at seeking efficiencies over many years, said Ingraffea, and if there was a “silver bullet you would think those companies would have hit it very hard.”
As the Ceres report concludes:
Shale energy development highlights the fact that our water resources were already vulnerable before additional demands were introduced. Regulators, water managers and ultimately all significant economic players who rely on abundant supplies of water must double-down their efforts to better manage this limited and most precious resource.Related Stories
Happy Saturday night, folks! It's Blue Gal from The Professional Left Podcast, bringing you this week's podcast round up. Be aware that these podcasts are also available on i-Tunes, and may not be safe for work.
Tim Corrimal - It's a Tea Party
Bob and Chez - We have questions
News Dissector - Beyond The Spying and Surveillance Story (interview with Fred Branfman)
And then there's this...
All Songs Considered - The Year in Music (so far)
Open Thread below...
Via Bilerico. This is what I mean when I say our politics are now profoundly undemocratic:
The U.S has become a less equal society over the past 30 years, but it didn’t just happen. Inequality in the U.S. happened by design, not by chance. It is the direct result of government policy. David Cay Johnston writes that the top 1 percent had just 10 percent of all reported national income. By 1999 the top 1 percent claimed 20 percent of national income. Since 2000, they have claimed about 1 fifth of national income. During the recovery, from 2009 to 2011, 121 percent of gains in income went to the top 1 percent.
Tax cuts for the wealthy are have driven the wrist in inequality in two ways. The report cited by Johnston and Callahan says that “tax cuts may have led managerial energies to be diverted to increasing their remuneration at the expense of enterprise growth and employment.” That means CEOs are padding their portfolios at the expense of the companies they run. Tax policy not only made the “vulture capitalism” practiced and practically invented by Bain Capital possible, it incentivized and rewarded it.
What we know about tax cuts now is pretty straightforward. Tax cuts of the wealthy won’t stimulate the economy, won’t create jobs, and won’t spread prosperity, because the wealthy don’t spend their tax cuts. Instead, the wealthy save their tax windfalls, to invest when the stock market is booming.
Thus the money represented by tax cuts for the wealthy doesn’t get invested in jobs (outside of Wall Street hedge funds, that is). Much of it gets invested in creating more wealth, detached from actual work.
Besides investing their money in creating more wealth (known as “letting your money make money for you), the wealthy also invest their money in public policies that safeguard and/or further increase their wealth. Callahan writes, “The United States has chosen to become a less equal society over the past generation, and that choice has been made by an electoral and policy system dominated by private money and wealthy interests.”
Go read the rest.