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

Tag Archives: Technology

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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New York Times Shrinks Print Staff; 100 Taking Severance Offers

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 21, 2017:

English: The New York Times building in New Yo...

On Thursday more than 100 staffers at the New York Times, including copy editors and reporters, took their only option: severance packages offered as the paper continues to shrink its print staff.

Though they were warned well in advance, many of those whose jobs were in jeopardy decided to wait until the bitter end, hoping to snag one of the few new job openings at the Times’ digital operations. For many, those final job interviews turned out instead to be offers to take the severance package, as their job skills no longer fit the new paradigm at The Gray Lady.

Red ink has been flowing for years as the Times struggled with a shrinking print audience and a technology that wasn’t keeping up with audiences switching to online media for their information. In January the Times published an internal report, “Journalism That Stands Apart,” crafted by seven of the newspaper’s journalists. It was blunt in its assessment:

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3,500 Colorado Voters Cancel Their Registrations in Protest

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

Von Spakovsky

Hans von Spakovsky

When Colorado voters learned that their state is responding to President Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s request for voter information, nearly 3,500 of them deregistered. The Hill made it political, claiming that they “have withdrawn their registrations … citing distrust of the [commission].” The news outlet also allowed that many didn’t know just how much of their personal information was already open to the public and, for whatever reason, decided to exercise their right to privacy.

The request from the commission stated simply that each state, and the District of Columbia,

provide all publicly-available voter roll data including, if publicly available under the laws of your state, the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of Social Security number if available, [and] voter history from 2006 onward.

This was enough to trigger pushback and in some cases outrage at the obviously political overtones and implications of the request, in light of President Trump’s claim of voter fraud in the last election, and his selection of Hans von Spakovsky (shown) to the commission. Spakovsky’s initial appointment to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by President George W. Bush back in 2005 was contested by Democrats and his nomination was withdrawn.

Some Democrats are claiming a witch hunt is taking place, and an effort to keep illegals from voting. As Alex Padilla, the Democrat activist who is California’s secretary of state, noted:

They’re clearly reached their conclusions already and have set up a commission to try to justify voter suppression measures being made nationally. It’s pretty shocking, the data request of a lot of personal information. I can’t even begin to entertain responding to this commission….

If you want to do [Russian President] Vladimir Putin a favor, put all of this personal voter information in one place, online, on the Internet.

Another Democrat who is also upset is Kentucky’s Secretary of State Alison Grimes, also echoed the “voter suppression” scheme of Padilla:

We don’t want to be a part of an attempt to nationalize voter suppression efforts across the state. Americans didn’t want, unanimously, a national gun registry, and they don’t want a national voter registry.

She added that the commission was “formulated on a sham premise” and violates states’ rights to run their own elections.

To hear von Spakovsky tell it, it’s all about the 2012 study done by the Pew Center on the States: “The whole point of this commission is to research and look at all of these issues, the issues the Pew study raised.” That study claimed that America’s voter registration system is “inaccurate, costly, and inefficient.” It also said the system “reflects its 19th century origins [which] has not kept pace with advancing technology and a mobile society.”

Its conclusions included these:

Approximately 24 million — one of every eight — voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate;

More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters; and

Approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.

Although the author of the study said it didn’t indicate voter fraud, “these findings underscore the need for states to improve accuracy, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency.”

The study, however, provided too great a temptation for the federal government to get involved — innocently involved, of course. Marc Lotter, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, claimed that the request was innocuous, and von Spakovsky claimed that opposition to the commission’s request was “bizarre” because the request only asks for information that is already publicly available. But Lotter let slip that the information would be “housed through a federally secure system”, adding that “this is nothing unusual.” (Emphasis added.)

This is a variation on the theme: “Trust us; we know what we’re doing. Go back to sleep.”

Instead of having the executive branch of the government get involved with vote-fraud investigating, which is unconstitutional, David Becker, a Pew director, has already organized a joint pilot project involving eight states to try to make their voter lists more accurate. Said Becker: “What this system will do is it will take in data from the states who choose to participate … and it will be matched … [with] national change of address data from the Postal Service.”

Note the words “who choose to participate” as opposed to the innocuous “request” from Trump’s commission that comes with the unspoken threat of force. According to von Spakovsky, federal statutes already give the public the right to inspect publicly available voter registration records, adding that the attorney general can demand copies of records related to federal elections, if it comes to that.

How much better to keep the federales out of the matter altogether, and let Becker’s pilot program accomplish the same thing.

Perhaps Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann from Mississippi has the right idea. In response to the commission’s “request”, he replied:

They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.

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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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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Robots and Kiosks (and Amazon) are Making Jobs Reports Irrelevant

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 7, 2017:

MarketWatch

MarketWatch

Malcolm Frank is one of those rarest of futurists: He sees what’s coming and writes clearly about what to do about it. In his What to do When Machines do Everything: How to get Ahead in a World of AI, Algorithms, Bots and Big Data, Frank discusses the massive upheavals businesses are going through as they try to keep up and stay profitable.

One issue he doesn’t discuss is how to measure the new economy’s output.

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Jobs Market Getting Tighter, Says ADP

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 6, 2017:

At first blush the jobs report from ADP, the data-processing firm that works with Moody’s Analytics in developing its monthly review, looked disappointing. Economists had expected 185,000 new jobs created in June but instead they got just 158,000. Further, both estimates and ADP were well below the 230,000 new jobs number reported for May.

A closer look behind the headlines reveals a startling fact:

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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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No Need for Federal “Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force” if Police Allowed to Do Their Jobs

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 30, 2017:

Chicago police car

In an early-morning tweet, President Donald Trump decried the violence in Chicago and announced that he was sending in “federal help.” But the rationale for this “help” would not exist if Chicago police were not hamstrung by the war on cops and the “Ferguson Effect.”

President Donald Trump’s early morning Tweet on Friday decried the continuing violence in Chicago and announced that he was sending in “federal help.” Tweeted the president: “Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help. 1714 shootings in Chicago this year!”

As of Sunday June 25 there were 308 murders in Chicago as compared to 311 at the same time last year. President Trump disparaged the continuing violence in Chicago during his campaign and then following his inauguration, calling it “horrible carnage” and “out of control” and threatening to “send in the feds” without defining exactly that he meant.

With the creation of the “Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force” (unfortunately linking crime with guns in the public’s perception) observers are learning more about what he meant:

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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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May’s Jobs Report Stronger Than It Appears

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 2, 2017:

The headline number from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) May jobs report, released on Friday, appeared weak: Just 138,000 new jobs were created last month compared to expectations of 185,000 by forecasters. But as usual, a peek beneath the headlines shows an economy growing steadily, providing it with more than enough workers to absorb those leaving or retiring.

After revisions were made to March and April numbers, May’s job creation was more than the last three months’ average of 121,000. Taking into account robust numbers reported from ADP, a national human resources and benefits firm, on Wednesday — it reported that 253,000 new jobs were created in May — Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics remarked,

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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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China’s Surveillance State Now Monitors Foreign Companies, as Well as Citizens

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 26, 2017:

A Cropped version of President George W. Bush ...

Xi Jinping, no friend of freedom

The Wall Street Journal’s claim that China’s surveillance state, which now records the behaviors of foreign companies operating there, is only intended to “monitor and rate” them falls far short of the communist government’s real intentions. Using sophisticated tracking technology — meters in chimneys monitoring air pollution, recording of excessive energy usage by a company’s meters, and so on — it intends to change the behavior of those companies to keep them in line with state policy and objectives.

China’s State Council — the government’s all-seeing eye — already monitors every citizen’s behavior.

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OPEC to Extend Oil Production Cuts Another Nine Months

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 24, 2017: 

Now that “everyone is on board” with a nine-month extension of last November’s agreement to cut production by OPEC, tomorrow’s meeting of the cartel in Vienna is expected to rubber-stamp that extension. Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Khalid al-Falih, upon returning from Iraq on Monday, said, “We think we have everybody on board. Everybody I’ve talked to indicated that nine months [is] a wise decision.”

Iraq was the most egregious cheater under the November agreement, first complaining that the production numbers upon which its “participation” was based were too high, and then being very slow in implementing those cuts. The slack was picked up by Saudi Arabia, which cut more than it agreed to.

The overall goal of the cuts is to

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Ford CEO Suddenly Retires: Early Casualty of AV Revolution

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 22, 2017:

During a conference call that followed the official announcement on Monday that Ford’s CEO Mark Fields was going to retire — his position to be taken by the head of Ford’s autonomous vehicle division — the company’s executive chairman, Bill Ford, said, “This is a time of unprecedented change. And time of great change, in my mind, requires a transformational leader. And thankfully we have that in Jim.”

That would be James “Jim” Hackett, who

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North Dakota Oil Production Jumps as Access Pipeline Nears Completion

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 15, 2017:

The latest report from North Dakota’s state oil and gas division showed that crude oil production for March is back up over a million barrels a day, an increase of nearly nine percent since December and almost double what the state produced five years ago.

The boom is back.

In Bismarck there are hundreds more jobs being offered than takers, according to the Associated Press (AP), with “for hire” signs appearing once again in stores, shops, and restaurants downtown. In Williston there are 500 more job listings today than there were a year ago. Williston Republican state senator Brad Bekkedahl, whose district sits on top of the massive Bakken oil shale deposits, told the AP, “There is a long-term optimism that was not here a year ago.”

In the oil business, “long-term” is measured in months, not years or decades. In March 2012 there were 6,954 oil wells producing 580,000 barrels of crude every day. In March this year 13,632 wells produced 1.025 million barrels daily.

And it’s not all due to the Dakota Access pipeline,

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Russia, Saudi Arabia Release Trial Balloon: Extend Production Cut by a Year

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 15, 2017: 

In a joint statement released on Monday, oil ministers from Russia and Saudi Arabia said the present crude oil production reduction agreement reached last November should be extended for another year. The original target was a reduction of world crude inventories down to its five-year average. Since the present agreement didn’t come close, it should be extended, said Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih:

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Bakken is OPEC’s Elephant in Its Living Room

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 15, 2017:

Setting the stage for the OPEC meeting on May 25, Saudi Arabias Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih, promised on Friday that OPEC will do whatever it takes to rebalance the global oil market. Whatever that means, and whatever comes out of that meeting, it wont be enough torebalance the oil market (rebalance: raise the price of oil sufficiently to reduce significantly the deficits the cartels members are currently running).

If the cartel repeats and extends the present agreement by six months, its likely to have the same impact: immeasurably small. The last agreement promised to cut 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from its overall production. It managed to cut production by less than half that, 800,000 bpd. In the grand scheme of things (world production of oil is just over 80 million bpd), this represents a one percent reduction in global production of crude. Wahoo.

What will be discussed in Vienna will no doubt include who is going to be doing the heavy lifting, and how much. Will there be exceptions to the extension as there is in the present one? Will there be failures to comply, as there were under the present one? Will there be sanctions applied to those who cheat? What about non-members? Will they somehow be persuaded to engage in the farcical extension? From here the meeting has all the makings of Shakespeares comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.”

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Uber Facing “Existential Threat” From AVs?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 8, 2017:

When ride-sharing company Uber bought Otto, the company developing autonomous car driving software, last August, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said the purchase was “existential” to the company: “The world is going to go self-driving and autonomous … a million fewer people are going to die a year [worldwide]. Traffic in all cities will be gone. [There will be] significantly reduced pollution and trillions of hours will be given back to people — quality of life goes way up. Once you go, “All right, there’s a lot of upsides there” … If we weren’t part of the autonomy thing? Then the future passes us by.”

No less an authority than the Wall Street Journal agrees.

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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.