BP Gulf Oil Spill….it isn’t what they say

It’s very sad that the topic of switching to alternative energy was discussed back in the 70’s and here we are in 2010 allowing oil companies to have a chance to do this to our environment.  This live feed is from the AP and was released this week.

Industry Execs Suggested Military Invasion BEFORE Iraq War

Yes, it really was about the oil. “Two years before the invasion of Iraq, oil executives and foreign policy advisers told the Bush administration that the United States would remain “a prisoner of its energy dilemma” as long as Saddam Hussein was in power.”….

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Protests at McCain appearance in Santa Barbara

Click here to see the protest on land.

Click here to see the protest at sea.

Probably was a bad idea to speak about off-shore drilling in the Santa Barbara area.

Algae powered car works

One teacher and a bunch of high school students did it, aren’t there a few green-minded business folks interested in running with this?  Read the article and click through to see the pictures:

David Levine, a second-year teacher placed in Chicago through the Teach For America program, faced a common problem: how to get students to take the same interest in their studies as in Grand Theft Auto IV. His school, the Al Raby School for Community and Environment, serves populations from the predominately African American neighborhoods on Chicago’s West Side, a place where the median income is more than 40% lower than the city as a whole. How could he motivate his students to invest their time and interest in the scientific process?

Levine settled on one of the biggest issues facing this generation of students: the impact, both environmental and political, of our dependence on foreign sources of fuel. According to the UN Human Development Reports, the US emits 21% of the world’s carbon dioxide despite having only 4.6% of the world’s population. We’re currently engaged in our second war in the oil-rich Middle East. Using these issues as a starting point, Levine sought a project that would address the problems while at the same time providing an educational and compelling experience for his students. Thus the Algae Biodiesel Van was born. more

Great job Mr. Levine!

Obama vows to crack down on oil speculation

By Caren Bohan CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama offered new steps on Sunday to crack down on speculation in oil markets, saying his plan would help rein in runaway fuel costs. A jump in gasoline prices above…

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Senators Biden and Graham discuss energy and off-shore drilling

Senators Graham and Biden discuss off-shore drilling and energy crisis on Meet the Press:

SEN. BIDEN: No short-term consequence of additional leases, period, 10 years minimum. Two, better to invest in windmills offshore, alternative energy offshore, give those people a break. And three, the change is called an election.

Saudi Arabia to increase oil supply, Saudi opinion, and the Iraq Security Agreement

Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, June 23, 2008

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia, June 22 — Saudi Arabia on Sunday promised to increase oil production as needed while Western countries agreed to improve the transparency and regulation of financial markets, signaling a readiness from oil-producing and oil-consuming nations to make concessions and work together to tackle runaway prices.

“I would like to state that for the remainder of this year Saudi Arabia is prepared and willing to produce additional barrels above and beyond the 9.7 million barrels per day which we plan to produce during the month of July, if demand for such quantities materializes and our customers tell us they are needed,” Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said at the meeting, attended by officials from more than 30 countries and 25 oil companies.

It was not immediately clear what effect Sunday’s emergency meeting, called by the kingdom after oil reached nearly $140 a barrel this month, would have on prices. But analysts said the meeting succeeded in spreading responsibility among consumers and producers for bringing down oil prices, which had sparked riots in Europe and Asia and raised fears of a global recession.

“One result of the meeting is that both sides put all the reasons they believe for the price increases on the table and decided to discuss them, instead of trading accusations and blame,” said Abdel Aziz Abu Hamad Aluwaisheg, a Saudi analyst.

Participants also agreed on the need to improve the transparency and regulation of financial markets. Saudi Arabia and other producer nations had blamed the billions of dollars of investments in oil as a hedge against the weakening dollar as a major reason for recent price spikes.

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, representing the world’s top oil consumer, called again Sunday on Saudi Arabia to increase production, saying it has not kept pace with demand.

Bodman said that world growth of oil consumption has averaged about 1.8 percent annually since 2003 but that for the past three years global production has remained constant at roughly 85 million barrels a day.

Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, rejected that argument and said at the conference Sunday he was convinced that oil markets were well supplied and that production levels were not the primary reason for the dramatic price increases. Global demand over the past year rose by about 1 million barrels a day, he said, while global supplies rose by around 1.5 million barrels.

Analysts said Saudi Arabia was trying to bring prices down because despite the cash windfall, the kingdom, which sits atop the world’s largest oil reserves, wants to maintain demand over the long run. “The price volatility hurts everyone because it discourages long-term investment in oil exploration and encourages development of viable alternatives and conservation measures,” Aluwaisheg said.

Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing Persian Gulf countries have cited a host of reasons for the price volatility, including pressures affecting major oil-producing countries such as Iran, Iraq and Nigeria. On Sunday, Saudi officials asked that everyone reduce rhetoric to calm prices, a reference to tensions between the United States and Iran. High oil taxes, insufficient refining capacity and the weakening dollar, in which oil is priced, have also been blamed in part for the price hikes.

In a sign of commitment to ease prices, Saudi Aramco on Sunday signed a deal with French energy giant Total to build a refinery in the eastern Saudi city of Jubail with the capacity of refining 400,000 barrels of oil a day.

full article here

On a related note, Nick Mottern, director of Consumers for Peace, expresses this:

“Americans remain optimistic that a last minute deal can be reached,” reported The Wall Street Journal in its June 14-15, 2008 edition, describing an impasse over an extraordinary long-term “security” deal between the United States and Iraqi governments that would keep U.S. troops in Iraq for many, many years.

Gina Chon, reporting from Baghdad, was not referring to the American public. She was referring only to a statement by the State Department’s Iraq coordinator, David Satterfield, who, she said in breezy style, “is in town for the negotiations” on the deal, which is opposed by an increasing number of Iraqis because it would make Iraq a captive state of the United States.

Oil was not mentioned in connection with Satterfield’s negotiations. Nor was oil mentioned in the negotiation reports in The New York Times or Financial Times. In fact, it has been the practice of the major media to avoid mentioning oil in connection with military activity in Iraq; something also common in the Congress, all following the lead of the Bush administration.

But it is no coincidence that news of negotiations over the “security” agreement comes with news on June 19 that the occupied Iraqi government is getting ready to sign contracts with ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron and Total to assist in developing Iraq’s vast oil fields, holding the world’s third-largest reserves. Although the contracts are simply for services, not long-term production agreements, the contracts give the major oil companies a foot in the door.

That they are no-bid contracts given to these Western firms over Russian, Chinese and Indian competitors is exceptional and clearly a matter of an occupied government responding to pressure from the occupier.

What the Bush administration and the major oil companies are striving for is a “security” agreement that will be locked into place before the November election, enabling U.S. troops to protect U.S. oil interests in Iraq and to control the Iraqi government for years to come.

The U.S. military-Iraqi oil connection was made surprisingly clear in March 2008 when Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said at a news conference in Iraq, as reported by United Press International, that he had made calls to major “energy” companies, urging them to invest in Iraq. Since it has been obvious the “majors” want back into Iraq, and have been pushing for an Iraq oil law that would result in huge profits for them, his calls could only have been to assure the oil officials their investments will be safe.

The United States is, according to a report by Patrick Cockburn in the newsletter Counterpunch, pushing the Iraqi government to allow the U.S. military total freedom in Iraq to do virtually anything it wants, supposedly to fight terrorists. The real day-to-day reality is that the agreement would provide a “legal” basis for allowing the U.S. military to do whatever it takes to protect the investments of major oil companies in Iraq after the U.N. mandate covering the occupation expires at the end of the year.

The United States will be protecting the oil operations not from invaders of Iraq but from Iraqis who are opposed to the long-term oil deals now being pushed by the United States and resisted by many inside and outside the government. Perhaps the most notable opponents of the long-term deals are members of the Iraqi oil workers union, who also oppose the occupation.

The terms of the proposed agreement have been kept secret by the Bush administration, even from the Congress. The Cockburn report says the terms, some acknowledged by Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, include:

— Permanent military bases in Iraq; 50 is reportedly the minimum number.

— Complete control of Iraqi air space below 29,000 feet.

— Complete freedom to conduct military operations as the United States sees fit.

— Immunity from prosecution for U.S. troops and U.S. mercenaries, also known as private contractors.

— Freedom to jail and interrogate Iraqis at will.

It is possible that provisions yet to be made public may also include commercial privileges, such as freedom for the United States from import and export duties, which would likely mean profit-making possibilities for big oil. This is suggested by a draft of the agreement, created by the United States as early as 2003, made available through the work of the National Security Archive and reported by The Public Record on June 14.

The astounding military/detention provisions of the agreement would effectively put all Iraqis under the control of the United States, with perhaps less sovereignty than any supposed nation in the world. The possibility that the United States may back down from some of these terms does not change the fact that these extraordinary demands have been made at all. The only reason anyone is even talking about them is the deadly force being thrown around in Iraq by the United States.

An example of why the Bush administration wants a blank check for the U.S. military in Iraq is the operation under way this week in and around the city of Amarah in southern Iraq, not far from the Halfaya super-giant oil field, which is estimated at 3.8 billion barrels. This field likely holds the equivalent of about 25 percent of the total reserves under control of ExxonMobil worldwide.

The official reason for the offensive, according to the occupied government of Iraq, is to root out “outlaws” and “criminals,” according to Reuters. The area is reportedly under the control of Moqtada Sadr, a Shiite cleric opposed to the occupation.

If the offensive in Amarah, with a population of 250,000, goes like a similar attack in the oil center of Basra in March, following the Petraeus news conference, Iraqi troops will be supported by U.S. helicopter gunships that fire Hellfire missiles. This U.S. air weapon has been responsible for countless horrific civilian deaths as it often has been used in crowded urban neighborhoods.

There is no question that Americans are incensed about high gasoline prices. But it is doubtful that the vast majority of Americans want to be using gasoline in their cars that is being secured at gunpoint.

Certainly one can see the Iraqis getting fed up with US intervention in their nation.  Just as a reminder, the word most mentioned in Congress before the Saudi decision was OIL.  Only foolish US leaders will continue to pursue oil through strong arm tactics to serve US oil corporations.  We have been taken advantage of by big oil corporations since the 70’s and its long since time to develop alternative energy sources.

Big Oil Companies Gain No Bid Contracts in Iraq

Oil Companies Negotiating with Iraq with no-bid contracts

From the New York Times:

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.

The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.

The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production.

There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract. The Bush administration has said that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq’s Oil Ministry.

Sensitive to the appearance that they were profiting from the war and already under pressure because of record high oil prices, senior officials of two of the companies, speaking only on the condition that they not be identified, said they were helping Iraq rebuild its decrepit oil industry. read more

Oil Executives Get Raises While Consumers Struggle to Survive

From Business Week:

Oil executives’ pay is rising at the same time consumers are spending more on everything from gasoline to food, and movie tickets to airline fares. A new study has found that median compensation for the 12 CEOs at the largest U.S.-based oil companies, increased by more than four times the rate of that of executives in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index as a whole. Crude oil prices reached an all-time trading high of $139.89 in June, while gasoline prices set another all-time record of $4.08 per gallon. read more

Oil – Haven’t we been here before?

Didn’t we do this in the 70’s?

Again with high gas prices and proposed little supply. The oil companies again playing games and the Corporate-backing Congressmembers speaking for them. So they want to open all sources of off-shore drilling:

WASHINGTON — With gasoline prices soaring past the $4-a-gallon mark, Congress is again wrestling with proposals to open the eastern Gulf of Mexico’s outer continental shelf to oil and gas drilling.

The latest skirmish occurred today when a House subcommittee rejected a proposal to lift the drilling moratorium off the Florida Gulf Coast on a straight party line vote.

The proposal by Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., would have lifted the current ban on oil and gas exploration in the Eastern Gulf beyond 50 miles from the Florida coastline.

“By opening up the OCS, we will reduce our growing dependence on oil imports and send OPEC and the world energy markets a message that vast amounts of our own oil and natural gas are now in play,” Peterson told the House Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior.

The great outcome that has occurred is that, where possible, folks are using mass transit more. Of course in California, where oil and tire companies participated in the funding of the freeway system, we’re in a pickle with no mass transit to speak of.

Since we’ve been here before and had time to do something, why don’t we just do something now and stop these knee-jerk corporate-backed behaviors of old. Let’s build up a Green mass transit system, and demand immediate action for car manufacturers to move to all hybrid cars as a start. They basically had over thirty years to do that. Why give them another 15 years to increase fuel economy? Why even worry about fuel economy anymore. We need to move onto another source and stop flapping our lips about it.

Get out to protest John McCain

This has been posted on AfterDowningStreet.org

Click on the link to find where John McCain will be appearing and go hold out some signs telling him we won’t take the Bush Administration’s or his nonsense any longer.  No more war, occupation, torture, not another dime… none of it.