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The Pentagong Show

The Pentagong Show
United State of Terror: Is Drone War Fair?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Snake Oil: The GOP War against Energy Independence.

The buck brakes here: The game is rigged, Derrick.

The tree I'd planted outside my window decades ago has all of a sudden burst into a flurry of activity, or so it seemed, but it wasn't the tree, which actually does looked possessed on our windier days, but today the unusual commotion resulted from the flock of birds that had taken refuge there from their long migratory flight. As I marveled at how close to the kitchen window they now were, such that I could almost reach out and touch them, I realized I had succeeded in my original intent, only to see that I had created a hazard that heretofore hadn't existed, in the form of a huge tree that, being on  a hill, endures a disproportionate beating when heavy winds are blowing, thus exhibiting its danger of being toppled.

Looking up at the top that now towers over the house, I remember imagining just a few years ago how sweet it would be when the top reached the height of the window, and I could watch the aerial antics of avian acrobats more avidly. Well, I certainly can now; one just flew in.

Yikes! Returning to indulging in my favorite pasttime of studying ornithological habits in arboreal habitats, I noticed how the bole of the tree was, despite its enormous girth, rather dwarfed by the profusion of its branches' outcroppings (or more accurately, trunkettes, as they grow vertically and have horizontal branches of their own) which fanned out in a dramatic reach for the sun's proferred photons, collecting solar energy necessary for the tree's health and growth. A dangerous but delightful solar energy plant doing its CCS best (that's Carbon Capture & Sequestration, of course, but you already knew that).

Perhaps you've noticed my, what some call obsession, with energy, and more specifically, oil. And if so, you won't be surprised that I likened my Cypress to an oil rig, the old kind, the Spindletops of early gusher days. The trunk was the pipeline and the Fibonacci-arrayed branches took the form of the gusher itself, one spraying, the other splaying, following the same mathematical laws. However the new fracking has the opposite configuration: the splayed branches now having to be meticulously built one-by-one UNDER the ground, with horizontal drilling needing a vast array of pipelines to then come to the core, much like the invisible root system of the tree, to feed the bole which then connect to the pre-existing pipeline facilities that deliver it to the refineries for processing.

This turns the oil and energy infrastructure on its head. Because the roots gather the nutrients to feed the photosynthetic process, the energy is delivered down into the earth via energy derived above, which is how the fracking industry is structured. As the root system becomes more an more intricate, (the EIA's current estimate of US natural gas pipelines alone exceeds 305,000 miles) it demands to be leveraged, and so necessitates the expenditure of more energy so as to squeeze the last value of investment dollars out, funded with sleight-of-hand QE dollars, severing it from the discipline of the market place that the "This-will-never-be-a-socialist-country" crowd so hypocritically claims is the mainstay of a Capitalist economy, thereby assuring our continued Nascar race to catastrophe.

This enormous expenditure of energy and investment, however, unlike the earlier era, has no need to pay for itself. The infrastructure of modern America, having been leveraged on top of an unending sea of oil, the oil no longer pays for the infrastructure, but the other way around: the established infrastructure, no longer flooded with petroleum, must squeeze out of the dwindling industrial base, the money to pay for the energy, which, despite its seeming abundance, is swallowed up as soon as it's produced, and the ability of the market to sustain the price increases necessary to pay for it, having now been relocated, bankrupt or otherwise destroyed.

We see the same dynamic in the closely related lack of the Fed's ability to raise interest rates, as the capitalist system cannot pay even the slight baby-step increases the economy demands to pay savers a even a  modicum of interest for the use of their money, but instead demanding more in fees while using other forms of legerdemain to keep the party, as the investment community calls the excavation and export of the last remaining US energy reserves, going.

Stubborn as a Mueller: Living on Burro'd Time during the Asscent of Man.

Yet, as though nothing else but spinning the already overplayed platters of palaver of  DJ's hit parade, we are subjected to the minutiae of investigations that will do absolutely no good, yet suck taxpayer dollars, and pay increasingly onerous lawyer fees to flood the airways and the coffers of the MSM with their All-Trump-All-the-Time agenda. Still calling itself a Free Press, it mimics the press of North Korea and other dictator-run news media, such that not only here in the US, but all over the world, the image of DJ is splattered like industrial paint, as the discussion about one man dominating everything everywhere, the constant distraction from issues that actually matter being his administration's sole landmark (the cost of the wall, for example, actually closing down the government, while the completely farcical Space cadet Force, an absurdity that hemorrhages money to no effect, causing but a whimper of controversy), continues its Entertainment as News suppression of Knowledge, such that the President who inaugurated his ascension to power with visions of a collapsing US infrastructure clamors over a Wall while ignoring every word he uttered during that address. But no worries. Even after the most disastrous flooding in the nation's history, this Chief executive need worry not a whit about the MSM calling him on his disastrous, Katrina-like ostrich approach to formulating and enacting Climate Change mitigating policies. Such as re-enforcing dykes and levees in places that, given the enormous output of water vapor into the surrounding environs, might be needed to mitigate or perhaps even prevent, the easily-seen hazard of inundation.

If you didn't listen closely (how could you without vomiting?) you may have missed the track the DJ played in regards to global warming in his SOTU effusion. No, he didn't mention Washington's record-breaking 74°F. He had originally planned to ask, "Where's all that global warming everyone's talking about?", when the thermometer dipped below previous records earlier in the month, but Pelosi's delay of his address botched that idea. So it wasn't the temperature that he referenced climate change for, but the geopolitical change of the US as #1 in oil and gas production that is altering the political climate, the business-as-usual climate, the economic climate, and the geological climate that I'm referring to.

While the Indian Government announces its plans to bring electricity to every rural village in the country, the USA plans to replace dwindling supplies of real oil, not the dissolute fracked product, by replacing the Venezuelan government with one more that'll be subservient to the needs of the USA population, metoo's and Neo-cons, Gang Green fantasizers and coal advocates, conservationists, and corn-from-ethanol fans all get to continue their high-energy-usage debates over the future while rewriting the past so the DJ can continue to play their favorite tune of cheap energy, now from a nearby source, as this administration continues its escalating War on Energy Independence by shipping every drop of oil, every molecule of natural gas to competing economies overseas (One of them being China, making a farce of the tariff circus conducted for the basest of reasons; one of the other destinations of US oil, India, is where Permian basin resources, most of them swallowed up by Exxon for pennies on the dollar as each of the companies that actually do the investment and drilling go bankrupt, and whose CEO became Secretary of State, which position he used to negate contracts India already had with Iran by abrogating the Treaty the US had with Iran to benefit his own already enormous hoard: major US geopolitical decisions being made in full view of the entire public, in order to reap profits for one Person: Exxon. The same entity New York City is suing, yet their eponymous newspaper offers not a hint of the Corporationing of our energy reserves to the ROW, the largest of which, is a Communist country: a gift to the Reds from the Reds).

When in 1971 we discovered the term Peak Oil and the US could no longer (without massive investments the industry was unwilling to make, so the government did so instead, Yes it's Washington, not  Exxon that should be the plaintiff in the New York lawsuit) produce excess oil for export, had instead to start importing it from Saudi Arabia, and our lives have been ruled by that fact ever since ... but, much like during SOTU, you'll hear nary a word about the ramifications of US Peak Oil 2, which is rapidly approaching, the Fracked oil Bonanza, as is the nature of any bonanza, being a short-lived phenomena.

Instead even the EIA is expounding on "Saudi America", as though that were a good thing. But what Saudi America has turned out to mean, is our transformation into an economic system that ever more relies on a single resource to drive it, and not, as it did in the past, by using that resource as a boost of its productive activities. Oh no ... that's so old school. But to sell it off at as rapid a clip as possible, well below market rates, cementing in the dominant position of the currently affluent, ie the Trumplestiltskin Class, because as the economy continues to leverage itself off fossil fuels, or exogenous energy in general, even as the cost  of that fuel rises (which cost is, in our Centrally-Planned economy, not even closely reflected by its price, giving the lie to the nature of our economic system), the profitability, and ergo sustainability, of that economy suffers.

As described in Anthony Sampson's, The Seven Sisters, at one time the US Empire dominated the oil industry. It strode the seven seas in complete control of its domain, relying on domestic production to continue growing far into the future, to lord over what Lord Overstone called a victory attained riding a wave of oil. But all waves eventually crash against something, and that one did, and this one will.

The Red Queen is Mean: (Off with your Head fake news) Capitalism has even enslaved the electron. Which has now enslaved us. No asset exists that doesn't take the time of someone somewhere to maintain. Despite magnetism, electronic assets are no different ... (well, in that respect, anyway). So the more electrons in motion, energy being what excites them, the more fuel needed to maintain that motion, so the more pedal to the metal the economy needs to keep itself running constantly while going nowhere. Far from this increase in energy use bringing us a better life, it instead has imprisoned us in a cell tower while inflicting on us a world of megaHertz, one in which drones can now be bought as toys and deployed to crash planes, carry bombs, cross borders, spy on anyone anywhere, anytime.

All for Freedom.

All for Security ... no one caring to ask just how the events of 9/11 could have possibly happened without the gift of cheap computerization and the internet that the defense department (Defense now apparently meaning, "Taxpayer-developed technology given to enemy countries and entities so that we will need even more defense dollars in order to defend ourselves from threats that would never have existed if it weren't for the Defense Department") developed and  then handed over to be used by anyone anywhere anytime. (Hint: they couldn't've).

This is the box the Pentagon painted us into that we can't break out of: in order to create the Rumsfeld-mold of using a skeletal armed force to do what needed an army of men to accomplish, he conceived the cock-eyed scheme of scaling down the Defense Department work force (not the burgeoning non-combatant one, but the actual boots on the ground that now callously calls booties on the ground, "collateral damage") in a mimic of the scaled down version of the computerized reduced civilian workforce. Yet despite year-after-year of escalation of the Pentagonian budget, to what effect neither party in this, the land of the "Free", DAREs ever inquire about, all to counter, apparently, the gravest threat to American security ever: a ragtag caravan of highly visible, unarmed refugees from the banana republics of Central America.

UBER: "Put miles on a car that isn't your own".

Heavy rain has soaked the South and Ohio Valley since late-fall, and more is on the way this week, raising flooding-from-fracking fears.

All those Texas refineries, fracked gas flaring in not only Texas, but in New Mexico, North Dakota, the four corners region of the West, and the refineries and fracking operation of Louisiana, all pour water vapor into the air, non-stop, regardless of the intensity of the downpours, regardless of the  complete lack of demand for what they produce, the world market being overburdened with petroleum from other producers, the mad scramble to unearth and sell at rock bottom prices the last dregs of the US energy supply continues not only unabated, but is never commented on. Pushed to the utmost extreme by the very same GOP that, not a decade ago, was cheering on the exploitation of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge so as to purportedly, make the US "Energy Independent."

If E=MCsquared, every object represents embedded energy, every human-made object, CO2 generation and venting into the atmosphere. That is why Capitalism is so vehemently steely-jawed dead-set against any actions being taken to ameliorate climate change: Capitalism IS climate change. As 35 million internal combustion engines continue to roll off assembly lines worldwide year after year, they are, everyone of them, not just the engines of CO2 growth in the future, they are in and of themselves embedded energy that in their robofacture, have already released more CO2 than any other object used by humans in their everyday lives. And their future usefulness is completely dependent on fossil fuel, not just to propel them, but also to provide the tires, now bigger and more energy intensive than ever, as they must be engineered to bear double the dead weight of previous generations of vehicles including the drivers', whose average weight has also doubled, and in addition to the tires, that which they ride over, the asphalt, which uses as much as 10% of the worlds petroleum to cover the landscape with what amounts to a rockhard layer of oil purposely spilled to accommodate the needs of the multi-ton behemoths deemed necessary to carry the expanding human waist.

Do you see that? In the same time period during which, for all its lack of any remedial action, the US polity has been churning about Climate Change more than at any time in its history, that same polity has been easily seduced into paying for vehicles of twice the weight, which translates into an energy expenditure that is now doubled to effect the exact same goal: get you from point A to point B. Twice the energy, even as the economy becomes less productive, and the leveraging of energy resources, instead of being used to produce necessities of life is burned up, it's resultant increase in CO2 vented to a troposphere already overburdened with it.

So you see the dilemma? If every object = CO2 then the more objects the more CO2 generated to produce, ship, store, maintain and trash, which is a shortcut verb that encompasses all the same steps as production: collection, transportation, reduction, yet with the burden falling on those least able to pay for it.

 “An energy-dominant America", which tune the DJ  has been playing over and over again is, not accidentally (just consider the source) a nonsense phrase, used to address a public so cosseted in its energy usage it acts as though ALL energy were simply there for the taking, it's exploitation a boon to the economy. But the reality that the phrase actually embraces is not of an economy that leverages that energy to produce robofactured goods for sale to our trading partners, but to instead sell off at a disastrous rate of speed, the last of our energy supply, as we become an energy-selling America, our so-called dominance sold off for trinkets, as though it were Manhattan and we, the current native Americans, just too feckless to understand the value of something/anything above and beyond its immediate monetary worth. 

Like the Bush/Reagan junta, the DJ pretends he's playing a tune no one has ever heard  before, whereas he's merely taking it from the playlist of already known knowns: the strategy will play well at first, poison everything in its path and in time ruin every life it touches, but a la Bush/Reagan, by then he and his cronies will have reaped their reward, leaving the country to reap the whirlwind: he'll be gone, but the constituents whose lives he played fast and furious with, will be left in destitution ... again.

Yet even as this exportation escalates, along with the flooding of entire swaths of the nation that is a direct result of it, the trade deficit, which the sale of our last energy reserves was to help balance, skyrockets from its already unsustainable level, which will lead to the same thing the so-called "Reagan Revolution " led to: an economy sustained on only the fumes of its past, having traded its seed corn of energy supplies for a quick buck, a burst of adrenaline that'll make the economy boom as it sets it up for a fall a la 2008, when the Greenspan/Bernanke put put us in the hopper.

Now since the number one use of oil is for the industrialized agricultural center, the same scenario that faces California during drought years is being implemented for the entire nation, only this time for oil. Whenever there's a drought in the Golden State, the debate over the allocation of scant water resources is sparked anew, with agricultural interests getting the favored status, not because they grow our food, but because they produce food to sell to the rest of the nation and the world's consumption, and the same will hold true for agricultural interests throughout the nation  as scant and expensive oil reserves are siphoned from other users to feed the largest renewable solar energy user in the World: US agriculture. 

Yes, the largest user of solar energy also happens to be, along with the Pentagon and the transportation sector, one of the largest users of fossil fuels in the world, gulping down copious quantities of oil even as it uses more solar energy than most countries. It is this most salient of facts that is completely ignored by OCA's idiotic "Green New Deal", which is a political sideshow: a total sham scam flim flam, man. The same equation that  we can see in ag applies to all energy production (agriculture is the science of solar energy utilisation, the EROI (energy returned on energy invested) that applies to oil rigs applies to agriculture (or vice-versa), the return on energy invested in sowing and plowing can only be extended if the energy return is of a sufficient quantity to not only pay for the investment, but to insure enough surplus to be able to seed the next investment of energy production: taking photons and turning them into energy-packed carbs to disseminate to the energy units called humans.

The same equation applies to the electric solar energy sector. While we reap more photons from the sun, we must first, like a transistor, bias the planet using solar panels all of which are manufactured with oil, every one of which burns oil in its delivery system, it's transmission, and it's robofacturing ...not as a one-time deal, as its advocates would have you believe, but in its continued operation and sustained business model, and in exactly the same dynamic as the agricultural industry: the more solar energy you generate, the more fossil fuels burned to take advantage of the process of solar-generated electron excitation. Nowhere in any use of solar power is it anything more than the scenario of corn-from-ethanol: the energy from fossil fuels is used FIRST, so that we are forced to pay it forward on the strength of a promises made by charlatans, but so desperate are we to believe their lies, we simply jettison everything we know about science and energy and adopt wishful thinking that binds us to policies that are designed to fail, but which will leave those that argued for their implementation in the same unaccountable sphere the leaders of the Wall St./TBTF banks made for themselves: Untouchable.  (Everyone now knows the ecological disaster corn-from-ethanol is, but because its  Socialism brings taxpayer dollars to a powerful constituency, it will never be discontinued, even as it ravages the countryside, drivers' pocketbooks and common sense, and, far from paying its  way, requires ever-growing (no pun intended, of course) subsidies from the Federal Government (Money is energy, so that trnaslates into yet another exogenous energy input).

Now such arguments are used by the Gang Green to accuse those who point them out as Luddites or fossil fools, but that 's because their motives are exactly the same as the Climate change deniers: to change NOTHING in their lives, to have to think not a whit about their own growing addiction to and reliance on moving electrons from one place to another at an ever-escalating pace. But there's no escaping the physics: the more electrons the world continues to excite, the more energy it must use to first get them excited and then keep them in that state. The fact that we use batteries to do so in all our electronic devises only hides that fact from us the more effectively (so much so that people use their PHONEs as flashlights in power outages, completely forgetting there will be no way to recharge them to use them for their designed use, and light-generation chews up battery life at a far faster pace).

It is for that reason that the State of Texas is being dug up, piped under and paved over while the Midwest and southeast are inundated by rainstorm after rainstorm after rainstorm from an atmosphere so besotted with water vapor from fracking, flaring, and refinery operations it needs but the slightest disturbance to start pouring its supersaturated abundance onto the heads of a class that has so ardently reduced itself to the level of peasantry that they will never see the connection: they haven't the requisite mental toolkit, having traded it for news reduced to entertainment and game consoles that glorify their advanced ability to shoot-to-kill anything that moves as though it's actually important.  Madness of this magnitude isn't cheap, and as we put electron slaves to work to perform our simplest, most mundane tasks, such as changing a channel or unlocking a car door, we have become the society of electric windows: it is only when we go to open that window without the assist of those electrons do we realize that in order to grant ourselves the smallest amount of ease, we have trapped ourselves in a hermetically sealed coffin, even the doors of which can't be unlocked without an electron slave to actuate its tumblers.

This sealed coffin has piped into its sealed chamber the same broken record of energy despoliation and depletion. But the current DJ can play it again, Sam, since it only falls on our deaf ears.

(1985) Scarlet O'Hara's Ballad to The MeTOO! Generation.

in Joni Mitchell's lyrics:

Out of the fire like Catholic saints
Comes Scarlett and her cheap complaints;
Mimicking tenderness she sees
In sentimental movies.

A celluloid rider comes to town
Cinematic lovers sway;
Plantations and sweeping ballroom gowns
Take her breath away.
Out in the wind in crinolines
Chasing the ghosts of Gable and Flynn;
Through stand-in boys and extra players
Magnolias hopeful in her auburn hair.

She comes from the school of southern charm
She likes to have things her way;
Any man in the world holding out his arm
Would soon be made to pay.
Friends have told her not so proud
Neighbors trying to sleep and yellin', "Not so loud!"
Lovers in anger
Block of Ice,
Harder and harder just to be nice.

Given in the night to dark dreams
From the dark things she feels,
She covers her eyes in the X-rated scenes
Running from the reels.
Beauty and madness to be praised,
'Cause it is not easy to be brave;
To walk around in so much need
To carry the weight of all that greed.

Dressed in stolen clothes she stands
Cast iron and frail,
With her impossibly gentle hands
And her blood-red fingernails.
Out of the fire and still smoldering
She says, "A woman must have everything."

Shades of Scarlett Conquering,
 She says,
"American women must have everything".
Songwriter: Joni Mitchell
Shades of Scarlett Conquering lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC