21 May 2009

Oil, Oil Everywhere

Supply isn’t the problem, power and greed are.

The Bakken Formation, mostly in North Dakota, Montana, and Saskatchewan, according to the April 2008 USGS report, contains 3.65 billion barrels (BBbls) of technically recoverable oil. A research paper by USGS geochemist Leigh Price in 1999 estimated the total amount of oil contained in the Bakken shale from 271 billion to 503 BBbls a mean of 413 billion barrels. In April 2008, a report issued by North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources estimated that the North Dakota portion of the Bakken contained 167 billion barrels. Flannery and Kraus (2006) using a more sophisticated computer program with extensive data supplied by ND Geological Survey placed the value at 300 BBbls, these estimates are with current technology. Improvements in horizontal drilling recovery rates from Bakken shale are occurring each year as field experience in the Williston Basin grows.

So how does this potential crude oil volume compare to our current US Crude Oil use? According to American Petroleum Institute April 2009, US demand was at roughly 7.3 BBbls per year, it’s lowest in 5 years. Let’s say Leigh Price’s mean is right, 413 BBbls available by current technology, divided by a number higher than current US demand, let’s use 10 BBbls annually. The Bakken Formation alone could be more than a forty year supply, if reserved for US use only.

So let’s say the Bakken reaches and sustains 200 million barrels annually from Montana and North Dakota for many years into the future. This would be about 2.7 % of our current demand, a lot from just one oil field. The field is in early development and estimated to produce 60 million barrels in 2009.

According to the Energy Information Administration, (http://www.eia.doe.gov/) April 2009, Total Petroleum Imports Report shows Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia exported 1.913, 1.219 and 1.099 million barrels per day respectfully to the US. The top five exporting countries accounted for 64 percent of United States crude oil imports in February. From all countries this total was 12.2 million barrels per day in February 2009. The US portion of the Bakken Formation is likely to produce more than 700,000 barrels per day at its peak.

This one field is significant and should generate political and broadcast news interest. Other than Senators, Representatives, and landowners from Montana and North Dakota, I’ve scarcely heard it mentioned. The traditional broadcast media have never mentioned it that I’ve ever heard or seen. The current administration certainly won’t mention it, although many of them stand to gain considerable wealth from their investments in it. Additionally, the discovery doesn’t match its view of the future world and its blind adherence to Al Gore and some others misinformed idea that human activity is causing Global Warming and quickly using up the world’s available oil. Neither is true.

The price for good quality crude is still very low adjusted for inflation. If it were becoming scare, I suspect the true price not counting speculation would be $200 to $300 per barrel, not the less than the $50 per barrel seen recently. Some countries have only recently begun searching for and using their natural resources. Some have never looked and won’t allow foreigners in to look. Some have kicked out those who know how to produce oil and seized the resources for their countrymen (sic) and themselves. Some developing countries will be using more oil and have begun serious exploration and development of their own potential fields. Some are not stable enough to produce or market crude oil predictably. A few nations restrict volume to keep their revenue high, instead of increasing their production and marketing to increase their revenue.

What’s going on here then? Mostly hysteria, political power grabs, and finance and market manipulation attempts by self deluded greedy megalomaniacs and foolish and arrogant elected officials that think their contrived schemes are elaborate enough to fool everyone.

They won’t fool everyone, but they have already fooled many. These petty, conniving, manipulative, greedy, thieves and self-serving pretend caring creeps with help from the uninformed well-meaning are just doing what they have always done, taking all they can from the ignorant and the defenseless.

16 May 2009

Politics and Religion

Gods should not be mentioned in connection with any official government activity, especially by those as unholy as government officials or politicians. Nothing irks me more than to have a godless elected official under indictment for crimes or suspected of immoral behavior cloak themselves and their activities in religion by begging God to bless them, or our nation’s government, or those attending, many of whom are unworthy of any special help, and probably not even members or proponents of that God, maybe not even of any Gods. If incompetent government officials must ask for some Gods to help them do their sworn obligations which the citizens have mistakenly selected and paid them to do, they should do it in private. Religion is and should be a private matter between followers and their Gods. To ask Gods to bless government programs or employees, or attendees, or elected or appointed officials should offend every thinking person on this planet, if for no other reason than, it omits the ignorant, the poor, the afflicted, the suffering and dying who certainly could use a Gods help, if it is available.

Of all the people unworthy to ask a Gods for anything it must be elected officials. If I made a list of people unsuitable to ask Gods for anything for themselves or me, government officials would be near the top with attorneys, murders, criminals, drug dealers, homeless people, mentally incompetent, car salesmen, and others who deliberately frighten and prey on the ignorant, incompetent and infirmed.

Many gatherings and official meetings begin with a Christian prayer; like the opening sessions of the Senate and House, sessions of the Supreme Court and many conferences and sanctioned activities that government officials and government employees are expected to attend begin with a Christian payer. I personally attended many special purpose conferences during my career. Never did one began with a Buddhist chant or a spinning prayer wheel, nor to my knowledge was a Jew, a Muslim, a Sheik, a Zoroaster, a Confucius, a Shinto, a Taoist, a Hindu or any other of dozens of major world religions even invited to pray.

Religious displays should not be tolerated on taxpayer funded property, even partially funded or subsidized, unless all religions are invited. It’s clearly stated in the 1St Amendment to our Constitution. Hundreds of organized religions own tax-exempt facilities on which such symbols can be displayed. No special days or symbols should receive privileged treatment and the appearance of sanctioning by placement on taxpayer funded property or at taxpayer subsidized events. There are pieces of religion, church, business, or individually owned real estate upon which these artifacts can be displayed. It’s not why we gave them tax-exempt status. The reason for tax exempt status was so that they would provide physical and spiritual care for those incapable of caring for themselves (widows, orphans, incomplete, infirmed, diseased, and dying).

Many have taken our money, not all remember why they have special status. Those that cannot prove they are caring for humanity by alleviating suffering; not doing business, not persecution others, not bigotry, not criminality, not sexual assault, must lose some or all of their tax exemption.

I’m also troubled by the gendering of Gods. I know it has been done from the beginning of recorded human history. The powers and accomplishments that have been ascribed to Gods leads me to believe they genderless, maybe It or They created sexes for life forms to sustain and improve themselves, and I don’t think that creation is working out as well as It or They may have intended.

Leave religious beliefs out of the affairs of governments, it’s blasphemous to try to cloak these people and their unholy activities in religious dogma.

If elected officials need God's help to do their jobs, then the job is obviously too big for them and we should replace them with someone who is competent and not ashamed of their behavior.

15 May 2009

Changing the Clocks

What’s wrong with Daylight-Saving Time (DST)?

Benjamin Franklin first suggested it and most of his ideas were really good, like volunteer fire departments, free public libraries, mutual insurance, bi-focal glasses and others that are still around to day. Daylight-Saving Time might have been a good idea more than 200 hundred years ago, although I doubt it.

It doesn't save daylight. Daylight can’t be saved or affected at all by human actions. The attempt is akin to teaching a pig to sing; the poor performance hardly amuses anyone and it needlessly irritates the pig.

So why be troubled by the minor irritation twice yearly clock adjustments? Several reasons come to my mind.

One is, the average person has many more clocks today, not just a single house clock and one pocket watch. They are everywhere today. Nearly every electronic gadget, TV's, computers, microwaves, PDA's, cars, refrigerators and washers, telephones, recorders and players of all kinds, cellphones, watches and alarm clocks. I wouldn't be surprised if the average household doesn't more than 20 clocks.

Another is it’s unnecessary. Choose a clock setting for your region and stick to it. You can’t save time or make daylight or save it. Just choose an official time for region that is roughly balanced in spring and fall with the sun casting its shortest shadow about 12:00 noon, then leave it that way.

Next, I have searched and cannot find any scientific data for energy savings. People adjust their activities for a lot of reasons, for instance, is daylight needed for this activity. Businesses, organizations, and individuals all change their behaviors, start and stop times, choices of activities based upon seasons, likely weather, religious holidays, family needs and personal recreation, only secondarily to which number the clock points. Appointments and schedules of all kinds refer to clock times and many cultures value doing things according to a schedule although not always a specific hour of the day. It would be more sensible and easier to adjust schedules an hour one way or the other in winter or summer.

What does all that mean regarding energy saving. People have things they need to do and things they wish to do. Given opportunity and resources they will do them whenever it’s valuable or timely for them. So, even if they are conservative with their time and money, they must use many kinds of energy each day. Gasoline to drive to work, electricity or natural gas to get ready for work, store and prepare food, warm or cool a house, do home maintenance and repair, and enjoy leisure time. What time the clock says doesn't effect how much energy these tasks use, for instance a working couple pretty much must wash cloths each week, get ready for work and travel there each work day.

I can find no sensible reason to have DST. It’s just become a cultural habit. Politicians recently extended the length DST using it to act like they cared about people and their energy costs. It was something they could do to make it look like they were doing something. If they would release the congressional study of energy saving analysis, everyone would know it saves nothing. They might also discover that it endangers school children who now stand by busy roads waiting for school buses in the dark.

A better solution would be to have organizations and individuals change their operating hours to maximize safety and energy saving, matching relevant activities to daylight or dark regardless where the hands on the clock point or which numbers are on the digital display.

Forget trying to save daylight or time by constantly and mindlessly adjusting clocks.

Lies and lying

An Essay on the Effects and Affects of Deceit

The object of this essay is to examine lies and lying, and the ramifications of deliberate acts to deceive. It will not examine unintentional acts, like omission, faulty recall, and mistaken identity. Admittedly some if not all of the possible effects and affects can occur unintentionally as well, but this treatise is confined to deliberate acts of deceit.

The essay will not deal with moral authority, religion, or the right or wrong of deceitful acts, but merely an examination of them without deliberate judgement. Except that reference will be made to religious admonitions, like “not bearing false witness,” but only to illustrate and include some widely known examples of deceit.

An attempt will be made to define, categorize and provide a few specific examples of each category and kinds of deceit. That background will provide the field on which effects and affects and their interrelationships to human circumstance and plight will be examined.

In the final section a rational basis for human lying behavior will be examined with explanations of benefits and costs. These will not be situational ethics explanations. They will be explanations of which kinds and types of lies work or seem to work, and in what kinds of situations, and their expected benefits and costs.

Let’s review several possible definitions and by analysis and deduction select the one that meets most of the needs for the purposes of this examination.

First, only those purposeful acts spoken, written, symbolized, demonstrated or staged intending to achieve the desired effect or affect of deception are included. Next, the purposeful act must be less than completely true and accurate. The lie objective must be to withhold or exaggerate, conceal or contrive, minimize or embellish some piece of information pertaining to the truth of a matter.

The truth would be, not to act to cause less than a complete understanding of facts. Although, certainly the receivers of well-intentioned information may draw separate and inaccurate partial truths even though the provider intended complete, true and accurate information. The provider may have chosen the words and images badly, or be honestly mistaken.

Not all senders and receivers possess the same level of competence. The sender may not have determined the receivers’ level well. The sender may mistakenly believe they know the truth. Or even when the subject truth is known, the sender intends well and is competent, and the receiver’s level of understanding were correctly assessed, and they are attentive, often the intended image is missed. Even with abundant feedback between competent and attentive senders and receivers the message is seldom right on target. Mostly because of unintended effects of circumstance, the lighting, the setting, varying personal experiences of senders and receivers, individual information processing techniques, and a host of mood, attitude and other variables affect senders and receivers.

Let’s conclude for the purposes of this discussion that the senders and the receivers are of similar knowledge, experience, language history and image processing logic and they are competent to process the images similarly.

So what is a lie? Is it the intentional representation as truth something calculated to deceive the recipient into a desired understanding, and encourage or prevent a specific action?

We will also exclude from this discussion those senders who have deceived themselves, knowingly or unknowingly, because the message they attempt to send is not competent, and not true, although not intentionally false.

So where are we? We have explored some of what is truth and some of what is a lie. In order to continue we must determine our working definition of “what is a lie.” If it is everything other than the truth, then have we determined what constitutes the truth? I think we have.

The truth is, what a competent person knows to be the truth based upon facts, and intends to portray it in word and image, and the receiver gets the intended image, and understands or can act consistent with it as the truth.

A lie is anything the provider of word or image does on purpose to affect a less than complete understanding or to cause the performance or non-performance of a selected act by the receiver.

We are close to the definition of a lie for this essay’s purpose. We need only distill it to its minimum essence.

Lies are acts or images provided to deliberately cause anything untruthful to be represented as truth.

Now let’s list several representative kinds of lies as possible and explain them and group them into categories. I begin with some of the simpler forms of lies:

Little white lies or kind expressions. Lies of convenience, these representations are intended to provide encouragement or overlook failings or imagined failings, usually of appearance or circumstance to spare someone the personal pain of inadequacy or error.

“Oh my, don’t you look nice today,” when they don’t.

What would be gained or lost by reminding them of their hideous scar or badly chosen attire?

Embellishments and altered appearances. Make up, wigs, padding, cars, clothes, displays of stature, cultivating a certain reputation, the stigma of some careers, different public behavior than private, false esteem, fostering false esteem by allowing someone to pretend knowledge of something you know to be false, but unimportant to you.

“Gee, your hair looks great.” “Have you lost weight?” “What a nice car, is it new?”
“Everyone said they admired how well you handled that job.” “What a nice person she is.”
“Did you hear Mary’s getting a raise?” “Yea, I heard she was a good person and did a great job.”

Exaggeration. Embellishments intended to bring color, excitement, interest, or promote self-esteem temporarily.

“That fish was this big.” “Boy did I get a good deal on that car.” “My bonus was $1,000 more than I expected.”

Minor Lies. Whereabouts of someone like; I haven’t seen them. He’s not here. Bob didn’t say anything about you. I have a boy friend. I’m not really married. I’m a lesbian. Lies for personal amusement like intentional mis-guidance, misdirection, or confusion.

Unofficial lies. Usually to avoid an individual or social engagement in which one wishes not to participate.

“I can’t make it, my wife’s sick.” “We’re expecting relatives this evening.” “I’m sorry we already have plans for that day.”

Rumor mongering. A made up or embellished story intended to make others think you are in the know about something private, or calculated to cause harm to others usually out of jealousy or envy, including anonymous notes, usually to cause malicious disharmony in relationships.

“Did you hear about Mary and Bob?”

More Moderate Lies.

Half-truths and misrepresentations. Leaving off elements that are pertinent or that would present the whole truth.

These pose a grouping problem because if only spoken in informal settings they are minor. If written or published and distributed without quantifiable damage they maybe moderate. If provided as sworn testimony or they produce damage, like liable or slander, they maybe serious.

Advertising. Carefully and professionally chosen exaggerations to cause expectations that something could be worth what it costs.

“New and improved.” “Absolutely free.” “Yes, that’s original miles.”

Bold face lies. Pretending to know something important. Authoritative sounding false verbal declarations.

Press releases. Used frequently by politicians, business, and the Government to distribute disinformation, to create a climate or appearance that will discredit some widely held or popular opinion. Often used to make some group or individual appear stupid, incompetent, or dangerous.

Deliberately announcing the discovery of witchcraft tokens, satanic materials, or pornography at the home of someone officials intend to arrest.

Political Speeches. Understood by nearly everyone to be exaggeration, misleading and deliberately false to encourage the uninformed to vote for them instead of someone else. Both types, those falsely acclaiming themselves, or maligning their opponent, are often believed by the easily mislead.

Serious Lies.

Lies of Record. False testimony, false alibi, forgery, scams and stings, larceny and other acts perpetrated for personal or financial gain. False proceeding or process. Institutionalized fostering of false promise, religious salvation, affiliation equates to rightness or protection, or privilege.

Libel and slander. False public declaration, writing, statement, or pictures entered in public distribution.

Employment fraud. False application elements, education, experience, criminal record.

Payroll fraud. Paid for not working. Calling in sick, but not. Paid when not present, paid at an unearned rate (overtime)

Fraud. A misstatement of facts of record for unfair or unlawful gain. Impostor, pretending to be something you are not.

Suborning perjury. Asking, paying, extorting, encouraging or cohersing someone to bear false witness to a lie in formal court proceedings under oath.

Perjury. Lying under oath, either in testimony or document, in formal court proceedings.

False Witness. Falsely accusing someone of a crime. This act widely regarded since before biblical times as unacceptable. Testifying that someone did or didn’t do something illegal or harmful, knowing they did not.

Today it is institutionalized in Equal Opportunity and Sexual Harassment proceedings on the belief had current systemic and institutional behaviors require an exception, so that the aggrieved can get their grievance heard around procedural roadblocks that require substantial evidence of a wrong. Often the evidence of such wrongs is intangible, only perceptive, or fleeting and not witnessed except by the effected party. It is also a common criminal practice used to harass the foes, mislead the police, or gain favor for them in pending legal actions.

Lies to accomplish good are acceptable. Lies to achieve unearned gain are occasionally acceptable. Lies to do harm are unacceptable. All can be beneficial, or costly, or both.

When is a lie not a lie? Never! A lie is always a lie.

09 May 2009


It seems to me to be more common now than ever. I see the unreasonable promotion of ones own beliefs at the exclusion of all others, all around me. Some of the worst offenders seem to be the recent targets of bigotry themselves.

Why are they acting as though another wrong will make it right? Why do they act to punish other innocents for the injustice visited upon them or their ancestors? I don’t know.

You can’t cause bigotry to go away by adding more. Another bigoted act won’t erase any of the indignity of the past. “See, I can do it too,” won’t erase the memory.

Unless of course, the object is to punish those who have wronged you, then it would be necessary to choose them accurately, not just punish all other groups except yours. I doubt it’s possible to know who or what wronged your ancestors or if many of them are still alive to be punished. It’s also difficult to determine which living suspects willfully acted against you or yours. And who would you punish if a system, program, process, fate or your own bigoted beliefs, not someone else, caused your loss?

Higher Cost, Less Available

Subsidies and tariffs are always a terrible, disruptive, dishonest, demeaning, artificial aberration that should be discontinued very quickly in phases for the illusion of value (subsidy) and roadblocks (tariff) to fair trade they create and because of the terrible damage this kind of falsity and deceit have on the psyche of those who realize their work is worthless and their job is artificial.

Embargoes should be included with tariffs, although embargoes don’t usually have official fees since they are officially prohibitions from trading in particular goods or services, but bribes occur amounting to tariffs as a cost of commerce (smuggling).

Government bail-outs are just another form of subsidy and should not occur. Support systems and entitlements are in place to support and retrain displaced workers. No subsidy of business is needed, only frameworks within which to conduct lawful business well or fail. They have either planned and operated their businesses well and will prevail, or they have not and will be eliminated. The investors knew the risks when they chose to participate and deserve no special support, and should not expect any.

Agriculture, finance, auto makers, unions, manufacturers, fisherman, academia, broadcasting, newspapers, lodging, tourism, state and city governments, investors and many non-profit entities, have not earned and do not deserve subsidies, product tariffs, regulatory and tax exemptions, or market protection by their governments. When these measures are undertaken, artificial manipulation occurs causing false expectations, sending signals that cause the misallocation of people and resources, delay reallocation to requested goods and services, delaying reemployment, falsely inflating prices, diminishing profit and tax revenue. These actions delay price adjustments to demand and produce false supply that is unwanted and wasteful.

The costs of unfair markets are born by consumers and fellow citizens; Taxation to provide subsidies, higher process costs caused by tariffs, waste and deceit caused by misallocation of resources to non-competitive products, or illicit costs fostered by embargoes and prohibitions.

It may seem like a deal at first. A small price to keep family and friends employed or paying less than seemed right for something you wanted, or not having to work more efficiently because your competitor is being taxed more just to get access to your marketplace. Eventually you and your taxpaying countrymen will discover they are paying more. And if they can, they will stop buying the domestic product and arrange to get it a better value for a better price from an un-manipulated supplier. It might be cigars from Cuba, milk directly from a dairyman, or cars produced by non-union workers, or air travel from an employee owned airline.

All that is needed are rapid adjustments based upon millions of customer transactions in fair market place responding to the laws of supply and demand. Not avoided or false costs and restrictions that come with subsidies, tariffs and embargoes. And not bailouts disguised as investments that would not have been made by any prudent investor.

If a business is not viable for any combination of reasons; unpopular products, poor services, foolish management, lazy or otherwise nonproductive employees, or punitive regulation, these costs should all be reflected in the price of its production. If true costs are not shown, if unwarranted investments are not reported, if competitors are restricted or taxed by tariff, then that is not a fair market and when you buy that product its true costs are not included. Yes, you’ve gotten a deal, but the products revenue will not cover its costs. Monies must come from elsewhere to pay employees salaries and the government’s taxes, licenses and fees. So, others who did not want that product and didn’t care if you did, and certainly were not going to help you obtain it, are now forced to help you buy it by paying part of the wages of people whose work did not produce a wanted product, and make up for the taxes that would have been paid by the consumer, if a desired and viable product had been produced and sold.

Subsidies or tariffs are not free, both are expenses. Some would say tariffs are revenue, they are not. Tariffs are a tax and revenue only to the entity that enforces them. They are an expense to the producers and consumers and must be added to the cost of a product or a loss occurs. Consumers pay for the tariff in the price. If a tariff is high enough the restricted product will not be available in that market; therefore, a noncompetitive domestic product of lesser value or a higher price must be purchased. An example is the $3,700 tariff on imported vehicles put in place to lessen competition for American auto workers about 40 years ago. It didn’t work. American companies and workers squandered the opportunity to improve while they were protected. Foreign companies gained market share from abroad and built plants in American employing non-union workers in areas new to vehicle manufacturing. Now a huge price will be paid by all for this cruel, expensive, demeaning, wasteful, punishment of American workers and taxpayers, and the tragic denial of customer demands for more than forty years.

And now sadly, cataclysmic economic adjustments that could have been minor labor and product changes spread over many years satisfying customers, workers, management, and government revenue needs with out major suffering and terrible losses that will now occur for all.