Sunday, April 2, 2023

Last Call For Oil's Not Well, Con't

The post-Trump Saudis are at this point trying to do everything they can to get Trump back, because he could (and still can) be bought.


Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ oil producers on Sunday announced further oil output cuts of around 1.16 million barrels per day, in a surprise move that analysts said would cause an immediate rise in prices and the United States called inadvisable.

The pledges bring the total volume of cuts by OPEC+, which groups the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries with Russia and other allies, to 3.66 million bpd according to Reuters calculations, equal to 3.7% of global demand.

Sunday's development comes a day before a virtual meeting of an OPEC+ ministerial panel, which includes Saudi Arabia and Russia, and which had been expected to stick to 2 million bpd of cuts already in place until the end of 2023.

Oil prices last month fell towards $70 a barrel, the lowest in 15 months, on concern that a global banking crisis would hit demand. Still, further action by OPEC+ to support the market was not expected after sources downplayed this prospect and crude recovered towards $80.

The latest reductions could lift oil prices by $10 per barrel, the head of investment firm Pickering Energy Partners said on Sunday, while oil broker PVM said it expected an immediate jump once trading starts after the weekend.

"I expect the market to open several dollars higher ... possibly as much as $3," said PVM's Tamas Varga. "The step is unreservedly bullish."

Top OPEC producer Saudi Arabia said it would cut output by 500,000 bpd. The Saudi energy ministry said the kingdom's voluntary reduction was a precautionary measure aimed at supporting the stability of the oil market.

"OPEC is taking pre-emptive steps in case of any possible demand reduction," Amrita Sen, founder and director of Energy Aspects, said.
 
Oil was under $70 this time last week, and I fully expect it to hit $100+ again, only this time at the pump you'll see prices well above $5 per gallon, and when that starts breaking the economy along with rising interest rates, the housing bubble, Big Casino banks, and global instability, it could be the move that finally cracks the road.
 
Things get very bad for the US economy after that, and sabotaging it is being done on purpose.

The Return Of A Couple Of Bad Joes

Our old friend for Connecticut is back to hand the 2024 presidential race over to Donald Trump in order to satisfy his well-heeled masters, and I can't see anything good from this effort to destroy both Joe Biden and the country in the name of corporate cash.
 
Former senator Joe Lieberman knows better than most the impact third-party bids can have on presidential elections. His 2000 Democratic campaign for vice president fell just 537 Florida votes short of victory, in a state where Ralph Nader, the liberal activist and Green Party nominee, won more than 97,000 votes.

But that didn’t stop the Connecticut Democrat turned independent from joining a meeting Thursday in support of plans by the centrist group No Labels to get presidential ballot lines in all 50 states for 2024. The group calls its effort an “insurance policy” against the major parties nominating two “unacceptable” candidates next year.

Asked if President Biden, his former Senate colleague, would be unacceptable, Lieberman said the answer was uncertain.

“No decision has been made on any of that. But we’re putting ourselves in a position,” Lieberman said. “You know, it might be that we will take our common-sense, moderate, independent platform to him and the Republican candidate and see which one of them is willing to commit to it. And that could lead to, in my opinion, a No Labels endorsement.”
Uncertainty over the $70 million No Labels ballot effort has set off major alarm bells in Democratic circles and raised concerns among Republican strategists, who have launched their own research projects to figure out the potential impacts. As Lieberman spoke, the Arizona Democratic Party filed a lawsuit to block No Labels from ballot access in that state on procedural grounds. Matt Bennett of the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way has argued that the plot is “going to reelect Trump,” and Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has accused No Labels of wanting “to play the role of spoiler.”

“The only way you can justify this is if you really believe that it doesn’t really matter if it is Joe Biden or Donald Trump,” said Stuart Stevens, a former presidential campaign strategist for George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney, who now works with the anti-Trump Lincoln Project. “So it is sort of a test. If you live in a world where it doesn’t matter, this is kind of harmless. If you live in a world where it does matter, it is dangerous.”

Splits have also emerged inside the organization. William Galston, a Brookings Institution policy scholar, said this week that he would separate himself from No Labels, which he helped found, over its 2024 planning for a third-party campaign to challenge Biden and Trump.

“I am proud of No Labels’ record of bipartisan legislation, and I know its leaders want what is best for the country. But I cannot support the organization’s preparation for a possible independent presidential candidacy,” he said in a statement. “There is no equivalence between President Biden and a former president who threatens the survival of our constitutional order. And most important, in today’s closely divided politics, any division of the anti-Trump vote would open the door to his reelection.”

No Labels chief executive Nancy Jacobson said Galston had added a lot to the No Labels cause. “We’re sad to see him go,” she said in a statement.
 
Of course, the real problem is that one country wrecking Joe knows another.

Among the group’s advisers is former North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, a Republican who just lost a Senate bid in the face of Trump opposition; former director of national intelligence Dennis Blair; and Benjamin Chavis Jr., a former executive director of the NAACP.

“I just wanted to emphasize on the spoiler question: I would not be involved if I thought in any account that we would do something to spoil the election in favor of Donald Trump,” Chavis said at the meeting, which was attended in person or via Zoom by 16 No Labels staff and supporters, including Blair and McCrory. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), who has not declared whether he will run for reelection next year, and former Maryland governor Larry Hogan (R) are also supporters of the effort, and both said they have not ruled out participating in a No Labels presidential ticket, if it happens.

“If enough Americans believe there is an option and the option is a threat to the extreme left and extreme right, it will be the greatest contribution to democracy, I believe,” Manchin said in an interview. When asked whether he would participate in a No Labels ticket, he said, “I don’t rule myself in and I don’t rule myself out
.”
 
A Manchin/Hogan ticket won't take a single Trump 2024 vote, but in a contest like 2016 or 2020 where the Electoral College race was decided by only thousands of votes in four or five states, this could absolutely hand the nation back to Trump, and everyone knows it. 

Of course we'd get two evil Joes to try to take down the decent one.

By the way, if you're still unclear about the real motive here in the effort to spoil Biden's re-election, understand that Joe Manchin is now firmly on the GOP side of attacking Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg's fraud case against Trump.
 
“It’s just a very, very sad day for America,” said Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the Democrat, referring to Mr. Trump’s indictment in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

Especially when people are maybe believing that the rule of law or justice is not working the way it’s supposed to and it’s biased — we can’t have that,” Mr. Manchin said. “But on the other hand, no one’s above the law. But no one should be targeted by the law.”
 
At this point Manchin's screaming need for revenge against Joe Biden is going to result in him announcing he will retire from the Senate in 2024 and run as a third party spoiler.

Sunday Long Read: Oh No, Canada

It's been almost two years since Canadian PM Justin Trudeau announced that the country was going to follow more than 80 recommendations from First Nation and Indigenous advocates after hundreds of graves were found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in BC, with thousands of Indigenous students over decades having been killed from abuse by the Canadian government running these schools, one of the darkest chapters in the country's history.

Sadly, as out Sunday Long Read this week finds, those efforts at reparations and restitution still have a long way to go as more graves, more stories, more horrors are being found in community after community.


JENNY ROSE SPYGLASS was three years old when the men came for her. It was September 1944 in present-day west-central Saskatchewan, where the prairie grass grows wild and the contours of the sky seem infinite. Spyglass’s family home—in Mosquito Grizzly Bear’s Head Lean Man First Nation—lay nestled in the Eagle Hills, surrounded by wheat fields, chokecherry, and willow, land roamed by elk, lynx, and coyotes. She lived in one of several Indigenous communities in the vicinity of the Thunderchild Indian Residential School, run by the Roman Catholic Church, some sixty kilometres away.

As Spyglass recalls, her family lived in poverty—her father had recently been deployed by the Canadian military, leaving her mother to care for six children. That fall day, Spyglass remembers, a black vehicle drove up the gravel road and approached her house. A few men emerged: federally appointed Indian agents—who enforced Ottawa’s policies across First Nations reserves and Indigenous communities in Canada—and two priests. The men pointed at Spyglass as her mother pled. “I hung on to my mom,” she says. The men snatched her from her mother’s grip and tossed her, along with her two elder brothers, Martin and Reggie, into the back of the vehicle. During the drive, Spyglass fell asleep and later awoke to children sobbing and gathered near another vehicle. All of them had been torn from their homes in neighbouring reserves—Moosomin, Poundmaker, Sweetgrass, and Red Pheasant, among others—after their parents were threatened with jail or fines if they resisted their child’s attendance at the Thunderchild school. The children were transported to the school, located in what is now Delmas, a remote hamlet off the Yellowhead Highway.

When Spyglass arrived at the sprawling facility, it housed up to 130 children—the girls were sequestered in the south side and the boys in the north—and they slept in dormitories on the upper level of the main building. “I had long, beautiful braids. My mum used to braid my hair. They chopped my hair and put them in a garbage,” Spyglass recalls. “They took my clothes off my mum made for me and dumped them in a garbage.” Like the other girls, Spyglass was made to wear an apron-like uniform. Children were called savages and punished for speaking their native tongues. Spyglass, who spoke Cree and some Assiniboine, did not understand English. She spent her days hungry and alone, cutting out doll pictures from shopping catalogues. She recalls older girls stealing food from the kitchen, where they worked, to feed her and the younger ones—they ate dry bannock, beans, and porridge, but the food was never enough. At the school, girls were made to do domestic chores, and the boys were forced to farm.

The school had been built on fertile land that was later surrendered to settlers. The 1876 Indian Act, a federal law that was explicitly designed to carry out Canada’s assimilation agenda, had created the reserve system—wherein a plot of land is set aside by the government for a First Nation whose members are wards of the state—and paved the way for the residential school system. Later amendments to the law made it mandatory for “every Indian child between the ages of seven and fifteen years who is physically able” to attend. In the 1940s, Canadian officials discussed elements of the Indian Act with their South African counterparts. That country’s apartheid system, some scholars allege, was later imbued with these elements. Though amended, the Indian Act is still in effect today.

Several parents across Canada physically removed their children from residential schools or refused to send them at all (often forgoing their monthly rations and risking jail), hid their children in basements and forests, and petitioned the federal government and created political organizations. In the 1890s, despite it being illegal for Indigenous peoples to hire a lawyer (and it would remain so until 1951), two sets of parents in Ontario engaged a solicitor to have their children discharged.

The Thunderchild Indian Residential School (originally called St. Henri of Thunderchild and later known as the Delmas school) was run by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, under the administration of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert. By the time Spyglass and her brothers arrived, it had been operating for some four decades. The aim of the entire residential school system, according to deputy superintendent of Indian affairs Duncan Campbell Scott, the civil servant who oversaw the expansion and brutality of the system, was to “get rid of the Indian problem.” As noted in the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC)—a six-year nationwide effort established, in part, to document the legacy of residential schools—the system was built to cause “Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious and racial entities in Canada.” Between the 1880s and late 1990s, at least 139 federally funded residential schools were run by Christian churches—a system that was at the centre of a national policy of cultural genocide. (One of the last schools to close in Canada, in 1997, was in east-central Saskatchewan.) More than 150,000 First Nations, M├ętis, and Inuit children attended as residential or day students. John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, famously said before the House of Commons in 1883: “When the school is on the reserve the child lives with his parents, who are savages; he is surrounded by savages, and though he may learn to read and write, his habits and training and mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write.”

At the Thunderchild school, the children attended mass at least every Sunday as part of their assimilation. They were also forced to seek repentance for their sins. “In confessional, the priest would ask if I had sex with anybody,” Spyglass recalls. “I didn’t know what that is. I was too small . . . And then he would take my hand and say, ‘Can you touch me in my legs?’” He would then give her a chocolate bar. One priest, she says, “always wanted to kiss the little girls, and we would take turns pushing, ‘Now you go, you go, you go, tell your sins,’” she recounts. “How can we have sins?” In 2007, the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement came into effect and included a process for claims of sexual or physical abuse that occurred at residential schools across Canada—it received nearly 40,000 claims.

One day, when she was about four years old, Spyglass learned that her brother Reggie, a year older, had become ill. She and Reggie were close—best friends. Reggie was isolated in a small room, and nobody was permitted to see him. “They just let him suffer,” Spyglass says. “He never made it home.” She didn’t know the cause of his death at the time, but her family later surmised it was tuberculosis, a disease that was then at least five times more likely to infect and kill First Nations people living on reserve and over sixty times more likely to kill children in residential schools.

The school itself was poorly maintained. In 1940, an inspector declared it a fire hazard and advised its closure. It remained open for another eight years. The school was overcrowded, and students suffered from a host of illnesses: scarlet fever, typhoid, jaundice, and pneumonia. Students were alleged to have died by suicide or under suspicious circumstances, including being beaten to death. At least one student went missing and was never seen again, likely freezing to death in the harsh and remote environment after running away. Seven percent of the hundreds of students who attended the school died. According to Jack Funk, a former Department of Indian Affairs superintendent of education in Saskatchewan, death rates were up to five times higher than those for non-native students attending provincial schools. “That’s what hurts the most, is my brother had to die,” Spyglass says.
 
It's going to take a long time to discover everything that needs to be discovered, and a long time for Canada to make good on these horrific acts, and yet as an American I have to admire the fact that Canada wants to do the right thing. Here, I've given up on the US government decades ago. If anything here, we're hurtling back towards the worst parts of that history for Indigenous, Black, Latino and Asian folks.
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