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PatrickforO

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Not disclosed
Home country: USA
Current location: Not disclosed
Member since: Mon Apr 28, 2014, 06:28 PM
Number of posts: 9,490

About Me

Counselor, economist and public servant.

Journal Archives

Falling oil prices and fracking

Paul Krugman has written an editorial posted on Truthout. Basically, he says that falling oil prices might render some fracking operations less-than-feasible economically. The 'drill baby, drill' mentality that has seemed to rule our domestic oil production was made possible by horizontal drilling combined with fracking; when oil prices are high, it is economically (though not environmentally) feasible to frack in order to extract oil from shale beds. The so called 'patriots' told us that it would be good for the United States to have all this fracking because they reasoned that if lots more oil is produced here, we won't have to import as much. However, we all know the oil companies sell this oil to the highest bidder, so the only real bottom line impact is to increase profits for oil companies. Same for the fracking process; these same 'patriots' tell us fracking is good for us, but if you think it through, it is only good for increasing profits for oil companies. At BEST, it is neutral for us, unless, of course the fracking fluid is spilled or leaks into the water table. Then it's not so good for anyone.

But now, oil prices have gone down. Krugman is saying that as this happens, more and more fracking operations will be too costly to break even for the oil companies, so they will stop in these cases until the price per barrel rises again. He says it may contract the economy when these operations are put on hold. He doesn't say the word 'recession,' but in my state of Colorado, our economy could slow down because of it.

Since we now have higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere than we have ever had, and we're getting alarming climate reports from all over the world, now would be the time to be way more aggressive in trying to convert us to much higher percentages of energy coming from renewables. In spite of what Alison Lundergen Grimes said while pandering to the coal industry in KY, coal is certainly NOT the way to go. There is no 'clean' coal.

So do you guys think we'll actually have the wisdom and fortitude to lead the world in converting to renewable power sources? The political will?

LOL. Nah. But here's Krugman's article, which is his first take on the oil price plunge.

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/28028-oil-prices-the-impact-of-the-plunge

Community, censorship and free speech

I came to the Democratic Underground from Huffington Post, where I had made thousands of posts, but I left them because I got so SICK of their overzealous moderation. I would read an article and want to weigh in, or want to reply to someone's post. Then I'd carefully put down my thoughts and post them, only to have my post held up for hours by the word recognition software they used for moderation. Some posts would show up after ten minutes; others several hours; and still others never. This excessive moderation sucks the fun right out of posting your thoughts because you lose all immediacy.

I like DU a lot because that doesn't happen. I've been selected to be on a jury to decide whether to cut someone's post that has been deemed a bit 'over the edge,' but I'll tell you that my default is always against censorship unless the post is egregiously offensive. This 'jury' system seems an excellent way to keep immediacy and freedom of speech alive on this site.

The other thing that is very cool about DU is that it really is a community. Sometimes people will post when they have a loss in their family and people always respond lovingly. You know, that caring we have for each other is really awesome. My ancestors are Irish, and back in 'the auld days' lived in community, farmed common lands, fished common waters, got together and built homes for newly married couples and generally took care of all in the group. They cared more about making sure everyone had enough than about individuals enriching themselves.

Without being maudlin, there's much to be said for this approach, so I am praising the DU community for being a community, and the moderators for practicing moderate moderation. I am happy I became a part of this group.

And, just a last word: VOTE in this upcoming election. Demographics are on our side. And don't JUST vote. When your Rep or Senator goes to DC, HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE for what they are doing. READ the legislation they sponsor and then call them up and ask how such legislation actually helps their constituents. If each Representative and Senator had around 1,500 or 2,000 constituents that did this, it would effectively pull the teeth of the lobbyists. And, lastly, if your Rep or Senator acts as a statesman or stateswoman by thinking of future generations rather than merely of the next election, and makes a decision, statement or vote that is ripped by the corporate-owned media, HAVE THEIR BACK. Go out and work, and make sure they win the next election in spite of negative coverage or manufactured controversy.

Stepping up the 'war' with ISIS really bothers me...

I can remember when millions of us wrote our Senators and US Representatives to keep us from getting involved in another war in Syria, so the other day I wrote this to my US Senators and Representative:

Dear ....
Iíd like to take this moment to implore you NOT to embroil us in another unnecessary conflict in the Middle East.

Sure, I know youíre getting lots of pressure from the right wing and the media, but remember that the right wing is in the pocket of companies that will make money by keeping us on a war footing and the media thrives on generating controversy because itís good for ratings.

Now, hereís why ISIS should NOT be your priority:
1. Right now, there are at least 30 Fortune 500 companies that are NOT paying any US income tax because of loopholes in the tax code you havenít had the courage to close. This is a FAR greater threat to the American people than ISIS.
2. Because of policies put in place as a result of corporate lobbying, dozens of low quality Ďcollegesí are charging our children an arm and a leg for tuition, and aggregate student debt has exceeded $1.2 trillion. This is a FAR greater threat to the American people than ISIS.
3. Corporate-backed right wing politicians keep talking about cutting Social Security. You have been spending illegally out of the Social Security Trust Fund for decades now, and keeping this nation on a war footing, complete with massive, unnecessary, obscene levels of war spending will do nothing but HURT the American people. This is a FAR greater threat to Americans than ISIS.
4. Because this nation has been on a war footing from 2001 until now, we have plenty of capacity to spy on the American people illegally and overturn what is left of the Bill of Rights, but you have allowed the nationís infrastructure to deteriorate. It MUST be upgraded to keep us competitive in a global economy, and the degraded infrastructure is a FAR greater threat to the American people than ISIS.

PLEASE, I implore you Ė think about future generations of Americans. Fix the tax code. Make college affordable to even the poorest among us. Donít make any more cuts to programs that help Americans. Donít touch Social Security. And upgrade our infrastructure. DONíT get us involved in another meaningless war in the Middle East.

Donít. Please.

Sincerely,
...

Have you ever wondered...

Why have we liberals been assigned the label 'left' when we're actually right?

I'm an economist in Colorado and post here and on other sites because I'm appalled at how small, mean spirited and twisted our patriotism has become. Perhaps I am naÔve, but I still believe this nation could be a light on the hilltop; an inspiration to the world. Maybe it is because I look beyond how things are, and see how they should be, and I believe every post that advances truth instead of lies helps.

"A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman (woman) of the next generation. A politician looks for the success of his (her) party; a statesman (woman) for that of his (her) country. The statesman (woman) wishes to steer, while the politician is satisfied to drift."

-- James Freeman Clarke

It is too bad our nation is filled with so many mediocre politicians and far too few statesmen (and stateswomen!). We've been drifting far too long.

The dialog's beginning to change, though. Look at Senator Elizabeth Warren. THERE is a stateswoman!

You've sure got this right

The idiots on welfare are:
1. CEO's and Boards of Directors who continue to 'vote' each other exorbitant salaries while driving their labor further into poverty

2. The corporate managers who consistently put policies in place to maximize profits at the expense of their workers and their customers

3. Those same corporations who are only hiring part time people and not offering any benefits

4. The corporations who steal pensions from workers and fight tooth and nail to break unions

5. The Congress which created tax loopholes that allow over 30 Fortune 500 companies to not pay any income tax

6. The neoconservatives who blindly believe that keeping this nation on a constant war footing is a good idea because then retiring generals can have cushy jobs while our weapons kill innocent people worldwide

7. The neoliberals who blindly believe that we should deregulate, privatize and cut out social spending so we can have a much less restrained version of capitalism

As my parents used to say, these people are burning both ends against the middle, and pretty soon there won't be any middle left. Then, when people rise up in massive social unrest that turns into a horrible, bloody anarchy, what they think they have built will disappear. Hopefully, this monstrous and brutal way of life can be replaced by a world of social and economic justice.

Think we're capable as a species of making this world what it should be?

Nah. We are the only species of which it can be said that if we went extinct, all other life on the planet would actually be better off.

A thoughtful post

My own belief is that Obama is very much a populist - personally. He clearly has the intellect to understand the corporate cancer that has all but made our society into an oligarchy.

But, as the first black president, he has been very careful to be middle of the road, and I believe he understands quite well the unspoken rule the oligarchs have imposed on American presidents. Get too far left, advocate the people a bit too much, attempt to put policies in place that help the people at the expense of corporate profits, start taking away tax loopholes - well all that isn't tolerated. Not at all. Consider Jack, Martin and Bobby. It just isn't tolerated.

He did give us a clue, though, when he told us that we are the change we've been looking for. It is only through social unrest that the pendulum can be swung back toward economic and social justice, and then resistance from the oligarchs is strong and unrelenting.

Obama has sadly towed the corporate line with his drone attack policies, and in allowing the NSA to become the bloated overreaching monster it is. However, because of this, and because the profits from keeping the nation on a war footing have kept flowing, Obama is allowed to 'thunder' about the middle class, student debt and raising the minimum wage from the bully pulpit. Will those things do some good? Sure. But GE, Wells Fargo, Paccar, Mattel and dozens of other major corporations still aren't paying any US income tax and the loophole encouraging stratospheric executive 'performance' bonuses is still in place.

There's still plenty of our tax money for war and 'national security' but very little for our benefit. Free college? Universal healthcare? A guaranteed living wage instead of a minimum wage? Those won't happen without lots of suffering on the part of people who have the courage to demand them. No one politician has the power to put them in place.

Hannity certainly 'jumped the shark' but to continue with metaphor...

There are bigger fish to fry in this whole thing. The biggest issue in this whole Cliven Bundy thing is the 'militia' that came to his rescue to face off the 'guv'mint revenoo-ers.'

While I can understand why the government chose to back off at that point because they didn't want another Ruby Ridge, this is a very alarming precedent.

I cannot believe our government will let this lie, and they should not. This government is supposed to be one 'of, by and for' the people, and it is our government. If we allow people who have misidentified the 'enemy' as the government to flagrantly disobey its laws and policies, then we encourage anarchy.

Yes, I know our government is imperfect and seems to serve the rich few rather than the general population, but only someone very foolish would want to replace the order and predictability the government provides with anarchy.

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