Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The oil, the heat, the lack of electricity

ShareCast reports that, "Petrofac, the international oil & gas service provider, has agreed to provide offshore operations and maintenance services for the Iraq Crude Oil Expansion Project for the country's South Oil Company (SOC) over a 12-month period."  It's not a desirable contract by industry standards so it will likely do little to help improve Petrofac's fortunes.  Yesterday, Barry James (The Motley Fool) was noting that the company "saw its share price dip by 5.69%" and explained, "The disappointing market reaction could be due to the fact that year-on-year growth in net profits in the second half of 2012 will be lower than in the first half of the year." Cathy Adams (Equities.com) adds, "The oil giant said contracts would be delayed in its onshore engineering and construction projects in the Middle East, due in part to the unrest in several nations. The delayed work is focused predominantly in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait."

From yesterday's snapshot:

On the topic of oil, AFP reported yesterday, "French energy giant Total must end its dealings with the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq or sell its stake in a major southern oilfield." Hurriyet saysPress TV got it right, for all the warnings and talk, Iraq "did not provide the time period by which Total is required to make a decision." Total received "an ultimatum."  I think
In other words, Total's 'warning' is a bit like all those letters Iraq's been sending to ExxonMobil since November.  They keep sending them.  They get no reply.  But they keep sending them.  Alsumaria notes that Hussain al-Shahristani, the Energy Deputy Prime Minister, is insisting that ExxonMobil's contract is frozen. 
If Total doesn't chose a contract, what happens?
Most likely nothing.  If Nouri wants to start breaking contracts, he better do so legally.  If he doesn't -- and Iraq better pay attention to this -- then he's going to run off business.  If contracts only exist if they meet Nouri's whims then they aren't contracts.  And if you can't offer legal contracts, business will go elsewhere.  Iraq needs major investment right now.  Iraqis shouldn't stand for Nouri acting crazy on the world stage and risking Iraq's financial success.  If he screws this up -- and it's very likely he will unless he just drops it -- then the impact from his latest tantrum will be felt for many years. 

Steel Guru picks up on an AKnews article where the CEO of Turkey's Genel Energy, Mehmet Sepil, notes ExxonMobil, Chevron, Gazprom and Total have all signed deals with Erbil.  He goes on to state, "Baghdad says it will put those who operate in northern Iraq on a blacklist but the largest companies in the world are working there. This issue is over. In addition, Baghdad operates too slowly, so the oil companies are escaping from there and moving to the north. The energy fight is over today. The important question is when Baghdad will admit this."  A visitor noted Steel Guru and three other articles in an e-mail to the public account  in which he stated he was surprised by their views and surprised that they were similar to mine.  I did not invent the wheel or even reinvent it.  There's no need to be impressed by anything in yesterday's statement.  Business and the law both operate under similar standards.  There are upsets and times when those standards and guidelines are ignored but, over time, they operate under basic standards.  And I bring that up because a community member heard some nonsense about Julian Assange on the radio.  I heard it too, it was nonsense.  And I'm not a psychic for knowing how the court would rule in the Assange case or how the appeal would go.  Anyone who bothered to read the court filings should have seen what was coming.

Advocates for Julian have done him no favors by repeatedly lying.  I've heard the decison on appeal mischaracterized repeatedly.  This week, a Julian advocate (a paid advocate) was insisting that it made no sense why Sweden wouldn't just question Julian in England.

It makes complete sense and you need to STOP LYING.

At this late date is lying.

Julian Assange -- this was in the filings, this was in the original judge's verdict -- left Sweden when he was supposed to be questioned.  We've allowed here -- because we've stuck to what was in the court's record -- that Assange didn't know that he was supposed to be questioned.  We've pinned it on that lousy attorney Julian used to have as lead counsel.  But the Swedish government was very clear to the lead counsel that they needed to question Julian.  This was not conveyed to Julian.  This attorney was called out in the judge's ruling.  How can you not know this?

If you're a lawyer and paid to represent Julian, you do know this and you're just choosing to be dishonest.  But the judge was very clear that the lead counsel was lying.  And, in fact, that attorney had to admit in court that he'd lied.  He's a liar.  He'd told the world that Julian left Sweden and it wasn't until after that they wanted to question him.

That is a lie.

The attorney was told to inform Julian to come in for questioning while Julian was still in Sweden.  Again, based on the public record, Julian didn't know that.  It makes no difference to the government of Sweden -- especially when Julian and his groupies have refused to tell the truth about that in public.  How stupid are you  that you don't grasp that Julian would look a lot better to the Swedish government if he had apologized for leaving the country when they wanted to question him?  If he'd done that months ago, explained his attorney did not tell him, stated he only learned about it when it came out during the London trial, that would be one thing.

Instead he and his groupies have lied repeatedly.  And why would the Swedish government feel the need to meet Julian half-way on this?

With no expresed public remorse and lies that Sweden didn't even want to question him until after he left the country, why the hell do you expect the Swedish government to say, "Oh, fine let's question you in London"?

If I go to Ireland, a disputed incident takes place, the Belfast authorities want to question me and I leave Ireland without submitting to questions, there's not going to be any effort made to extend me any special courtesies.  That's especially true if I go around lying that the Belfast government made no effort to question me while I was in Ireland.

It is in the court record now that Julian's attorney was informed, prior to Julian leaving Sweden, that he was wanted for questioning and that a time or the questioning was set with the attorney. (The attorney attempted to lie in court about this.  He was confronted with his own text messages and had to admit that, oops, it did happen.)  A smart defense would have immediately issued a statement on behalf of Julian expressing surprise over this development and stating that it was not his intent to leave Sweden to avoid questioning and that he regretted the entire matter including what he and his advocates had mischaracterized to the press.

Julian's advocates -- especially his paid ones -- have been very stupid and have ignored the likelihood of legal outcomes and the need for their client to appear above board and contrite when he was revealed to be in the wrong.  That has not happened and it's why a large number of the public no longer cares about the case.

Equally stupid has been the efforts of the US supporters to make Bradley Manning take a second seat to Julian Assange.

If, as some Julian supporters believe, the US government is attempting to 'crack' Bradley in order to get damning evidence against Julian, that's all the more reason for you to spotlight Bradley and be demaning a speedy trial for Bradley.  If Julian's supporters had done that from day one, Bradley would be tried by now and they'd know what Bradley did or didn't tell authorities and it how it will or will not impact Julian's case (they fear that if Julian goes to Sweden, the US will move to extradite him). 

But these Julian supporters in the US can't even call out Barack for delaying (again) Bradley's court-martial.  Now Barack's delaying it until January at the earliest.  Why?  Because a conviction of Bradley will not play well with a lot of left voters.  Right now is the only time you will ever have Barack on the ropes.  He could lose to Mitt Romney in November.  This is the time to call him out and press your demands.

But they're too stupid to do that.  And on that subject, would WSWS please explain to me all their headlines calling out Hillary?

She's Secretary of State.  I have no problem with her being called out.  But for a publication that wants to talk about how chicken others are (the ISO, Socialist Worker US, etc), I seem to see Hillary's name in headlines at least once a week, calling her out at WSWS.  I don't see the same for Barack.  It's always "the administration" or something else.  It seems a lot of people have trouble calling out Barack.  I'm sure, from hell or whatever sewer he ended up in, Richard Nixon watches with envy at this sudden worship of the presidential office that wasn't around when he held it.

But the point is that the law and business can both have hiccups.  Surprise verdicts and mergers will spring up, for example.  But there are basic guidelines for both and if you're going to speculate, you'd do well to base it on what's taken place before and not some cracked up fantasy with no connection to reality. 

All Iraq News reports that, although it's expected to be cloudy the next four days, the temperature is expected to hover around 44 degrees Celsius (111.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

This as Alsumaria reports Iraqis are complaining about the fact that most of their money is being spent on generators and fuel to provide electricity to their homes. And despite the government having agreed to funding assistance, less than 45% of the allocated assistance has been distributed.  Part of the reason or the failure to distribute funds is that a number of officials argue the money is being wasted and that the government should not be providing assistance.  Some don't believe in assistance (unless it's getting the US government to foot the bill for your overthrow of Saddam Hussein) while others who see it as a waste insist that the money should instead be going to the construction of a power plant instead.  An economist tells Alsumaria that Iraqis are spending billions each year on electricity and that part of the reason for that huge expense is that the government refuses to regulate and control the prices of generators and gas.  The generators are necessary because the government is unable to supply electricity for 70% of each day.

The following community sites -- plus Antiwar.com, Pacifica Evening News, Chocolate City, Adam Kokesh, The Diane Rehm Show. The New Statesman, Black Agenda Report and Jody Watley  -- updated last night and this morning:

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and today there will be a meeting of the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership that she will attend.  Her office notes:
(Washington, D.C.) – Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 14th, 2012, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and a senior member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, will attend a meeting of the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership (SSMCP) in Lakewood to discuss the importance of military communities working together with the common purpose of improving the availability of critical resources to local servicemembers and veterans. SSMCP has gained Joint Base Lewis-McChord leadership's respect in finding constructive paths forward to solving community problems that involve their soldiers, airmen, employees and families. Senator Murray will discuss her work to support the military community, including her work on veterans employment, ending veteran homelessness, and servicemember and veterans' behavioral health care.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Andrew Neiditz, City Manager, City of Lakewood
Anthony Chen, Director, Pierce County Health Department
BG Bret Daugherty, The Adjunct General, Camp Murray (State)
COL Edward Peterson, Deputy Chief of Staff, JBLM Garrison
Dawn Masko, City Administrator, City of DuPont
Debbie LeBeau, Superintendent, Clover Park School District
Don Krupp, Manager, Thurston County
Gary Brackett, Manager, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce
Kevin Dayton, Regional Administrator, WSDOT
Kevin Phelps, Deputy County Executive, Pierce County
Lon Wyrick, Director, Thurston Regional Planning Council
Rick Allen, Executive Director, United Way of Pierce County
Scott Spence, City Manager, City of Lacey
T.C. Broadnax, City Manager, City of Tacoma
Tom Knight, Chief of Staff, JBLM Garrison
Cathy Wolfe, Commissioner, Thurston County
Doug Richardson, Mayor - City of Lakewood
Pat McCarthy, Executive, Pierce County
Robert Thoms, SSMCP Coordinator
WHAT: Senator Murray will attend a meeting of the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership
WHEN: TOMORROW: Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
10:15 AM PT
WHERE: Lakewood City Hall
3rd Floor Conference Room
6000 Main Street SW
Lakewood, WA 98499
Kathryn Robertson
Specialty Media Coordinator
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

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