Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Free Market

Carbondale, Illinois Seizes Eclipse Opportunity to Boost Its Economy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 21, 2017:

Two years ago Carbondale, Illinois’ mayor Mike Henry learned of the epic cosmic event headed his way and decided not to say, “Oh, no!” but instead said, “Oh, yes!”:

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Another Nail in OPEC’s Coffin: Fracking Old Wells Dropping U.S. Breakeven Points Further

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 21, 2017:

Ed Morse, Citigroup’s head of commodity research, told a Bloomberg television audience last week that OPEC’s position “is not sustainable over a long period. In the end, the markets are going to win, and [the winner] is going to be shale. If we’re in a $40 to $45 world, we’ll have enough drilling to add to the [world’s] surplus.”

Morse is reiterating the mantra sung for years: OPEC has long since run out of options and has all but lost its monopoly influence over world crude oil prices. If it reduces supply, prices go up, making U.S. frackers more profitable and inviting more capital in to expand production. If it increases supply, the lower prices cut further into each member’s cash flow, forcing them to continue to deficit spend without gaining any advantage over the Americans.

The breakeven point for U.S. frackers has been estimated to be between $40 and $50 a barrel. On Friday U.S. crude oil closed at $49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX – see floor photo above).

Now OPEC is faced with another challenge from the American oil industry:

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Morgan Stanley: Tesla Not as Green as You Think

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 18, 2017:

English: Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5, the fourth-...

Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5, the fourth-generation Roadster from electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc.

Morgan Stanley, the international banking behemoth, released the results of its study on the best “green” companies in which to invest. This is based, said the bank, on the assumptions that some, perhaps many, investors who have drunk the “green Kool-Aid” want to invest in ways to “save” the environment and fight against “climate change.” Missing from the top of their list is perhaps the most visible “green” automobile company: Tesla, Inc., formerly known as Tesla Motors.

After comparing the savings in carbon dioxide (CO2) achieved by Tesla’s high-mileage electric vehicles to all the “secondary and tertiary” factors involved in their manufacture, Morgan Stanley said,

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Trump Takes Credit for Banner Jobs Report

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 4, 2017:  

Within 15 minutes of Friday morning’s release of the July jobs numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), President Trump tweeted: “Excellent Jobs Numbers just released — and I have just begun. Many job stifling regulations continue to fall. Movement back to USA!”

He has good reason to cheer:

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Warehouse Automation Causes Employment to Increase?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, August 4, 2017:

Image of Autonomous Robot From Second Grand Ch...

Image of Autonomous Robot From Second Grand Challenge Advancing to Urban Challenge.

The crux of the anti-capitalist cabal’s complaint about the robotic revolution taking place all across the country is this: since robots can do anything that a human can do, everyone’s job is on the chopping block. So how do they explain the simple bald fact that warehousing jobs – where much of the robotic revolution is taking place – have increased? A year ago there were 867,300 people employed in warehousing. Today that number is approaching 950,000. And Apple is looking to add thousands more. How is that possible?

Part of the answer of course is

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Robots Making Humans More Efficient, Opening Up New Jobs

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, August 3, 2017:

Factory Automation with industrial robots for ...

Factory Automation with industrial robots for palletizing food products like bread and toast at a bakery in Germany,

SAM, the Semi-Automated Mason, can be seen on YouTube laying bricks alongside human masons. While SAM can, according to contractors, lay around 2,000 bricks a day compared to an average of 600 to 700 for a human mason, the video illustrates a key point missed by many: It shows human workers programmming SAM and providing it the bricks and mud and following behind cleaning up after it. In other words, SAM, produced by Construction Robotics, isn’t replacing masons, it is making them more efficient and saving their backs.

A year ago, Rick Cohen, the founder of Symbotic LLC, which develops autonomous robots for warehouses, said,

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Fracking’s Vicious Cycle Making Bondholders Nervous

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 20, 2017:

King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz in 2002

King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz

Investors in high-yield bonds issued by small fracking companies are getting nervous. Last year those bonds, according to Bloomberg, gained some 38 percent as they rebounded from lows set earlier. In June they slipped two percent. In the bond business, that’s enough to make bond fund managers and individual investors nervous. It’s bad enough that the S&P 500 Energy Sector Index of energy stocks has lost 16 percent so far this year. What’s worse is the vicious cycle that frackers find themselves in.

For instance,

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From Hero to Zero: $2-Billion Private Equity Fund Goes Broke in Oil

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 17, 2017:  

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo

EnerVest Ltd., a Houston-based private equity firm run by John Walker, is being taken over by Wells Fargo, one of its largest lenders, to satisfy its unpaid debts. The firm raised capital from large investors, foundations, and pension plans and bought existing oil wells, improved them, and sent the dividends back to the investors.

In 2011, it had come off a very successful year. It owned 19,000 onshore oil wells on four million acres of land in 12 states. Its previous investments delivered a compounded annual return of 36 percent, a track record that made it relatively easy for Walker to raise additional capital. In a classic understatement, Walker said, “We had an outstanding year.” He explained just how he and his company did it; he bought cheap and sold dear, without using borrowed funds:

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Robots May Take 2/3 of Las Vegas Service Jobs

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 10, 2017:

Two college professors from the University of Redlands, California, looked at the occupations at the highest risk of being automated or replaced by robots, analyzed 100 American cities with working populations over 250,000, and listed those cities most at risk. They included Bakersfield and Riverside, California; El Paso, Texas; and at the top of the list, Las Vegas. The professors predict that over the next two decades, at the present rate that robots are replacing workers, 65 percent of the jobs in Las Vegas will be done by robots.

They will include robots

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Crude Oil to Climb to $60 a Barrel, Claim Aramco’s CEO, Citi, and Goldman

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 10, 2017:  

English: Flag of the Organization of Petroleum...

Claiming that the worldwide demand for crude oil will jump by 20 million barrels of oil per day over the next five years, Amin Nasser, the CEO of Saudi Aramco, said, “Investments in smaller increments such as [U.S.] shale oil will just not cut it.” Speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul last week, Nasser said:

If we look at the long-term situation of oil supplies, for example, the picture is becoming increasingly worrying.

 

Financial investors are shying away from making much-needed large investments in oil exploration, long-term development and the related infrastructure….

 

New discoveries are also on a downtrend. The volume of conventional [non-shale] oil discovered around the world over the past four years has more than halved compared with the previous four.

Speaking to his own interest, Nasser is trying to talk up the value of his company, which remains on schedule to sell five percent of itself in what some are calling “the world’s largest IPO [initial public offering].” To stress the point, Nasser said

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When Will the Luddites Ever Learn?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 10, 2017: 

Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine

Two Oxford University professors, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, wrote back in 2013 that the robotic revolution would overtake and virtually displace human workers in broad expanses of U.S. industry. Those occupations most at risk include loan officers (98 percent chance of being replaced by a robot), receptionists and information clerks (96 percent), paralegals and legal assistants (94 percent), retail sales people (92 percent), taxi drivers and chauffeurs (89 percent), and fast food cooks (81 percent).

At the bottom of the list are elementary school teachers and physicians and surgeons (0.4 percent chance), lawyers (4 percent), musicians and singers (7 percent), and reporters and correspondents (11 percent).

They found that almost half of those currently employed in the United States were in their “high risk” category, defined as jobs that could be automated “relatively soon, perhaps over the next decade or two.”

Two other college professors, this time from the University of Redlands, California, decided to take the Oxford study and apply it to American cities with more than 250,000 workers. They concluded that

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Crude Oil’s Bear Market Is Crushing OPEC

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 3, 2017: 

Map of the territory and area covered by prese...

Map of the territory and area covered by present-day Saudi Arabia.

The world’s price of crude oil fell farther in the first six months of 2017 than in any six-month period in the last 19 years. From its peak in January it dropped by more than 21 percent by the middle of June, qualifying it in Wall Street jargon as a “bear market.”

This isn’t part of OPEC’s plan. The once-influential cartel was sure that by taking 1.8 million barrels a day of crude oil production off the world markets, the world price of oil would shortly hit its target of $60. And it almost made it, rising to $57 a barrel before beginning its long and crushing decline.

OPEC was sabotaged not only by noncompliance among its members and production from those to which it gave a pass (Libya and Nigeria), who produced more than was expected, but also by

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OPEC Continues its Descent into History as an Unlamented Footnote

Embed from Getty Images

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 3, 2017: 

Two weeks ago, the world price of crude oil officially entered a bear market, down more than 21 percent from its high early in the year. OPEC’s plan appeared to be on track, taking enough production off the market to drive the price to $60 a barrel. That decline has enormous implications for the cartel’s members, as nearly all of them need the revenues to keep their welfare and warfare states fully funded. The decline must be especially painful for Saudi Arabia, the leader of the pack, which announced plans last year to sell part (estimated to be between five and ten percent) of its precious Saudi Aramco oil company. The company, thanks to deliberately opaque disclosures, was estimated to be worth, depending on the price of oil, between $2 trillion and $10 trillion.

That’s the operative word: “depending.” OPEC had big plans for the funds it hoped to raise, encapsulated as its “Vision 2030.” As Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the nation’s Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, wrote:

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Enjoying Record Low Gas Prices? Thank a Fracker!

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, June 27, 2017:  

On November 17, gas prices had dropped to $1.9...

Of the estimated 44 million Americans who will travel over the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend (a record, by the way), 37.5 million of them will drive to their destinations. Along the way they will not only spend nearly a dollar a gallon less for gas than they have over the last 10 years on average, they will spend less on gas than any Independence Day since AAA has been keeping records. In addition, this will be the first time in nearly two decades that they will be spending less for gas in July than they did in January. On average over the last decade gas prices have been 47 cents a gallon higher on the Fourth of July than on New Year’s Day.

Consumers are always the ultimate beneficiaries of improved technologies, as producers are

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Starving Venezuelans Risk 60 Miles of Open Ocean to Barter for Food

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 26, 2o17:

A stylized representation of a red flag, usefu...

The red flag of socialism is red for a very good reason.

The end stages of socialism in Venezuela are forcing citizens to do anything they can to obtain food for themselves and their families, including risking their lives. Mariana Revilla, a medical doctor reduced to making midnight excursions over 60 miles of open ocean to feed her family, was making her fifth trip to Trinidad when her boat capsized, costing her her life and the lives of two others assisting her.

Her boat contained seven tons of flour, sugar, and cooking oil that she had obtained through barter at one of the west coast towns of Trinidad, exchanging them for the tons of fresh shrimp she had brought with her. Others making the midnight trips would take with them anything of value to exchange for food and basic necessities, making the boats look like a floating garage sale: plastic chairs, house doors, ceramic cooking pots, and even exotic animals such as iguanas and macaws to trade for food.

Socialists promise that such things could never happen in the “paradise” they are determined to build. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) compared the promises to the reality which Venezuelans are now facing daily:

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Blockbuster Study: Seattle’s Minimum-wage Increases Cost Low-wage Workers $125 a Month

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 26, 2017:  

A study commissioned by Seattle’s city council just came back with results they didn’t want to hear: Their efforts to raise wages of the city’s lowest-paid workers are instead costing them about $125 a month. This is thanks to their employers cutting their hours in response to the law raising the minimum wage from $10.50 an hour to $13 an hour in 2016.

Mark Long, one of the authors of the University of Washington (UW) study, said:

If you’re a low-skilled worker with one of these jobs, $125 a month is a sizeable amount of money. It can be the difference between being able to pay your rent and not being able to pay your rent.

In addition, the UW study concluded that, thanks to the minimum-wage increase, some 5,000 low wage jobs in Seattle were never created.

All of which makes perfect economic sense:

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Oil Expert Yardeni: OPEC Should Break Agreement, Produce All It Can

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, June 21, 2017: 

In Dr. Ed’s Blog, Ed Yardeni, for 25 years one of the industry’s leading energy strategists, proposed on Wednesday that OPEC should consider going back to Plan A to fund members’ treasuries as Plan B clearly isn’t working:

Rather than [attempting to prop] up the price [of crude oil], maybe OPEC should sell as much of their oil as they can at lower prices to slow down the pace of technological innovation that may eventually put them out of business.

Plan A, it will be remembered,

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More OPEC Bad News: Increases in World Oil Supplies Overwhelming Its Cuts

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, June 14, 2017:  

English: Map of OPEC countries. Dark green = m...

English: Map of OPEC countries. Dark green = member states, Light green = former member states. Light Grey = Prospective members.

In its regular monthly oil market report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that the world’s supply of crude oil increased in April by 18 million barrels just when it was expected to decline. To add to OPEC’s woes —OPEC is unsuccessfully trying to reduce the world’s oil supplies by cutting production so as to raise oil prices enough to fund the countries’ welfare states —  the agency also said it expected U.S. producers to increase their production by 430,000 barrels a day this year over last year, and by 780,000 barrels a day in 2018. The agency added that even this might be too pessimistic: “Such is the dynamism of this extraordinary, very diverse industry it is possible that growth [in crude oil inventories] will be faster [than we estimate].”

Its report makes for sobering reading for OPEC’s 13 members and the other 10 nonmembers who extended a production cut agreement to March 2018:

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What if the Energy Department is Right?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, May 2, 2017:

English: A picture of the National Petroleum R...

A picture of the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska,

Tom Lombardo appears to be a self-effacing journalist, professor, and armchair philosopher with a certification as a Professional Energy Manager. He calls himself either “an idealistic pragmatist” or a “pragmatic idealist,” but with no discernible ties either to the energy industry or the green movement. That’s what makes his assessment of the Obama Energy Department’s study published last summer on renewable energy remarkable. If he’s correct, then Big Oil is shortly going to have a day of reckoning in Alaska.

Writing at Engineering.com, Lombardo reviewed a report emanating from the Energy Department in August last year titled, “Estimating Renewable Energy Economic Potential in the United States: Methodology and Initial Results.” After looking at various energy scenarios (the Energy Department did no forecasting in its report), Lombardo summed up the study:

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Alaska’s North Slope Oil Reserves Are “Open for Business”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 1, 2017:  

Map of northern Alaska showing location of , A...

Map of northern Alaska showing location of , ANWR-1002 area, and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA).

Following a six-day trip to northern Alaska, Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order on Wednesday in Anchorage that reverses a 2013 Obama administration executive order. That 2013 order removed half of the immense National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA) on Alaska’s North Slope from consideration for energy development. Said Zinke:

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.