Wolf DeVoon

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Everything posted by Wolf DeVoon

  1. Very briefly, sir, do not debate the Democrat candidate. It will be "moderated" by fake news Democrats who will attack you viciously and give your opponent every privilege and honor, a trap to goad you into justifiable anger. More importantly, you should say that Democrats are despicable, unqualified to debate. People can vote for them. Fake news can praise them and promote their fitness for office. You don't have to appear on stage as an "equal." Screw them. The only debate worth considering is a Lincoln-Douglas smackdown, no moderators. Let the Democrat candidate speak first, maybe twenty minutes or so, then ignore her. Wash, rinse, repeat for two hours in a ticketed venue with good acoustics, perhaps in Florida. Tickets by lottery. Press gallery limited to camera operators, no journalists. Only one debate event. No "apple box" for Bloomberg if he's the Democrat candidate. Midget Ross Perot was dignified enough to stand on his own two feet, a head shorter than Clinton and Bush. Unfortunately, I don't think you'll be challenged by Bloomberg. Civil strife in Milwaukee will push Michelle Obama forward in a badly disrupted Democrat nominating farce. I don't think you can beat Michelle, so it behooves you to consider the numerous blessings of expat private life. You served your country at a time of historic malaise, made it possible for men to remember the meaning of liberty and justice, sadly too little too late. Not your fault. I blame Paul Ryan, a seething Deep State, felonious Obama officials, and the fake news Establishment. Screw them. You fought like hell. Now it's time to spend more time with Barron and Melania, and enjoy every day of your honorable golden years. If you get bored, build something. .
  2. Funny things happened on the beach. There was a Guarda Rurale shack next door to the post office in the Tico village, two dopes in uniform with a motorbike that moved once a month. I got curious and followed them on one of their monthly outings. They putt putt putted at 10 miles an hour up a winding gravel road to the private swingers club at the top of a hill to pick up an envelope. Aside from collecting graft, I never saw them do anything else, except rope off the liquor shelves at restaurants and bars on election day. Real cops, Judicial Police from Nicoya, were three hours away on a single track dirt road. When they were summoned to investigate a break-in at the hardware store, they borrowed talcum powder and Scotch tape to lift fingerprints. No one was ever interrogated or arrested for stealing a couple thousand dollars of power tools and screwdrivers. So, Danny and me were the guys people called to do something about burglary, armed hold-ups, nasty characters hassling chicks on the beach, and suspicious deaths. A middle aged man was found face down in six inches of water on Guiones Beach, which seemed odd enough to warrant a glance before he was hauled into an ambulance. Sure enough, there was an ugly lump on the back of his head. Onlookers remarked that he was a heavy drinker, probably passed out and hit his head on a rock. Guiones had a couple rocks, none near the body. He was rich, gay, single, and co-owner of a little bakery near the condos, operated by a husband and wife team. Good bread, sandwiches, scrambled egg breakfasts, big smiles and prompt service. They were struggling to make money in the off season, had a happy kid about 8 years old, and the family lived at the bakery, a small building with a big kitchen and commercial baking equipment, a comfortable bedroom, pokey sitting room, and bath. I drove there to observe how they took the news that their business partner was dead. They snarled that he was a lazy asshole, and that somebody broke into the bakery and stole their corporation books in the middle of the night while they were asleep, woke up this morning sick and groggy. The intruder must have pumped knock-out gas through their open bedroom window and then entered through a window in the kitchen. The burglar drank a beer and emptied their cash box. I had a pro powder kit, didn't dust the beer bottle, knew it didn't matter. The baker showed me a ripped screen where the burglar entered the kitchen. No footprints in the flower bed under the window. No footprints or dirt on a stainless steel table inside, under the window. A tiny hole in the bedroom window screen, where preposterous knock-out gas poisoned the sleeping victims. Barefoot burglars don't steal corporation books or use hypothetical gas canisters. They don't attack an occupied residence, unless it's a single babe's mansion in a remote section of the highlands, somebody that they can frighten into opening a safe. I took a few photos, didn't ask any questions. Alibis are always incredibly dumb. I traced the dead man's movements before he ended up face down in the surf. He had dinner at a resort, as usual, laughed and had a couple drinks, wasn't falling down drunk when he left to walk home. He walked about half a mile before he allegedly stumbled and fell. Private investigators aren't cops. I thought about the 8 year old kid. His mom was a material witness. She kept silent while her husband bellowed a pack of incredibly stupid lies about a burglar equipped with knock-out gas. Corporation books are the sole legal evidence of a business partnership in Costa Rica, handwritten in ink. A cop would have tossed the joint and found them hidden under a mattress or on the top shelf of a closet, then bullied the overwrought baker for making false statements, forced an emotional crack-up and confession by telling him that there was a Tico witness who saw him on the beach at midnight. I let them sell the bakery and move to another province that had a sawmill I visited, because I had a big order for teak recliners and straight chairs that I designed and sold to resorts. I saw them on a village street and said hello. The kid was a year older, happy and intelligent, the former baker and his wife cheerful. They bought a house 50 miles from the white sand beach where an idle, laughing asshole that nobody mourned was found face down in the surf, his legs on dry sand, undoubtedly stalked, clubbed unconscious, and drowned. When Danny quit and went back to Kansas, I inherited his Sig Sauer. A lot of people left that year. Steve gave me his carbine and another .45 to add to my collection. I carried a little .22 magnum single action revolver, never had to fire it, and there was a long barrel .38 in case of emergency. Boris offered a Kalashnikov that I declined. All the firepower and handcuffs and cameras were useless, if I let people get away with murder. I decided to spend more time drinking and playing poker at the Beatle Bar, something I knew how to do, filling ashtrays with cigarette butts and bluffing four other beach bums who had more money than brains. Relevant constitutional law: Article IV. THE POLICE POWER The right to keep and bear arms and to use reasonable force in defense of one's life and innocent liberty, or the life and liberty of another, describes the police power generally. Every person signatory to this Constitution is lawfully empowered to arrest and detain a perpetrator or willing accessory apprehended during the commission of a crime... All felony prosecutions shall be conducted on behalf of a living natural person whose enjoyment of life, liberty, or settled claim to property are alleged to have been impaired... If someone had stepped forward to complain and retained Danny and me to investigate on their behalf, I would have handled it differently. But no one did. The dead man's next of kin were not unhappy he died. They emptied his brokerage account and bank account and sold his condo property. The $40,000 that he invested or loaned to the bakery (unclear which) was small potatoes, not worth the risk of litigating in Costa Rica's unpredictable Napoleanic Law courts that might expose them to a criminal probe of their Panamanian proxy tax laundry. Case closed. Wait a minute, lemme see that. Bonnie! A new deck! These are getting too easy to read. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves, you rats. Thank you. Ante up, gentlemen.
  3. An ideal afterlife, eternal youth, cooperative chicks, residential construction comedy, sunny golf courses, softball teams, hot dogs, and hundreds of celebrated historic figures. Yep, she's there, waving her cigarette holder to scold lesser souls. Adult content at Lulu. http://www.lulu.com/shop/wolf-devoon/heaven/paperback/product-24376636.html
  4. 'Chiseltown' is completed. It is an intensely personal story, although it has nothing to do with me personally, as odd as that may sound. It's about a fictional filmmaker and a movie, from the first phone call to the last. That's how movies are made. I suppose it's not so different in other walks of life. Somebody calls, you do something, there's another phone call to find out if they liked whatever it was that you did. A producer calls, a movie is made, and then there's another phone call from a preview screening to report average Jane and John Doe audience response, in Fresno traditionally. Audience cards don't matter. What matters is whether the movie made them laugh and gasp and cry real tears, because movies should do that. Along the way, 'Chiseltown' presents a detailed, accessible education in filmmaking, how a script is written and funded and translated into actors and location shoots and sound stages with forced perspective to create a convincing night exterior scene, or an apartment, or a repair shop. Bruno Heckmeier is making a low-budget movie. There are severe obstacles to overcome. He has an unusual home life. There's an enormous amount of comedy for light entertainment purposes. Some of the story is serious literature. Some is slightly adult. I found that I cared very deeply about the 7 or 8 principal players in this story. There are many more bit players, and if it seems unusual to have so many characters, please consider that the movie Bruno makes involves a production company of fifty skilled professionals, stunt men, two very capable stars, and an unusual supporting cast. It's a very short schedule, six weeks to organize it, six weeks to shoot everything, and six weeks of post production. Trust me, that's working at lightning speed. It's a personal story in two respects. I had to write the movie for Bruno to make. And I had to live in Bruno's shoes (and those of all the other characters) with honesty, humor, drama, and a deep understanding of the men and women who call themselves "show people," no matter what their specialty or contribution to a motion picture is. Camera grip, driver, bookkeeper, electrician, set decorator, or seamstress -- they are people who sacrifice much to work a few weeks on a movie, a collaborative art that cannot be created without them. I've done many "below the line" production jobs for an hourly wage, in addition to "above the line" writing, producing, and directing. You have to take my word for it. Directing is a high privilege. It's done by lots of different men and women. 'Chiseltown' is directed by a talented, goofy, warmhearted, intelligent middle aged guy who got stuck on Poverty Row doing low-budget movies, while others did studio pictures with an average budget of $75 million. Bruno has to conceive and execute a feature film on 1/5 as much money, and he wants it to succeed, not only at the box office, but critically as well. Being an "indie" confers a great deal of freedom. No studio moguls, Teamsters, or IATSE work rules. The whole of Los Angeles as a locale, in a "period" setting that's fun to shoot. I always experience emotional awe when I've finished a story. 'Chiseltown' is in a class of its own, among all the stories I've written, among all the fictional characters that I loved and still love, of course. The story of making a movie is a personal confession of my lifelong passion. 'Chiseltown' is a movie I didn't get to make, and it's deeply gratifying to have directed its fictional creation. Many of the characters are based on people who I knew and worked with and loved and respected. Please buy a copy ($5 at Lulu.com) and review it. Thanks. http://www.lulu.com/shop/wolf-devoon/chiseltown/paperback/product-24236289.html
  5. Over the course of the past four decades, I've sketched scenarios of the future many times. All of it was animated by Atlas Shrugged. I read it in 1973. The personal consequences were profound. It very nearly cost me my life, and withall set the path of my ambition. I have come to think of Atlas as polemic, rather than fine literature, a designation that I give gladly to The Fountainhead. The achievement of Atlas Shrugged was accurate prediction of America's trajectory. It is an illusion of the first order, a trick of mass hypnosis, that we claim to be a prosperous industrial society today. These words are being composed on a Chinese laptop. Our server farms are powered by an ocean of public and private debt, so deep that it cannot be measured without immediate accusation of macroeconomic ignorance. In private correspondence with Milton Friedman 33 years ago, I worried that the money supply had exceeded the ratio of World War II expenditure to real GDP. Friedman replied that the only thing that mattered was the rate of monetary growth. And so it has. The Fed blew a hot air balloon of toxic assets after GSE agency paper exempted mortgage originators from risk. Treasury debt, pensions, entitlements, bank capital, and paper equity have been racheted into the stratosphere by "financial repression." The EU central bank amped it up a notch farther, imposing negative interest rates and penalizing savers. Deutsche Bank is shedding tens of thousands of staff to delay bankruptcy. Ford and GM exited the EU car market. Uber, Tesla, Snapchat, and shale frackers have never made a dime of profit. Without USPS subsidies, Amazon would have died an ugly death long ago. Facebook and Google are 100%dependent on advertising, the first thing to cut in a sustained recession. Apple and Nike are Chinese sweatshop phenomena, high priced luxury goods sold to debt junkies employed by government agencies, government contractors, finance companies, and a growing cohort of "health care" paper pushers. Gangbangers suffer the indignity of 3G Obamaphones, stolen Nikes, and EBT chump change for cigarettes and booze. Education is brain dead, coast to coast, kindergarten to grad school. So far, Atlas has not shrugged, but he's old and tired, sidelined by outsourcing, disgusted by fake news and a million U.S. soldiers and sailors overseas, a never ending commitment to defend foreigners who hate us and crave the pallets of Benjamins and high tech armaments that we toss around like confetti to prop up phony "allies" and secret police in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Bahrain, Qatar, South Korea, and Britain, plus the IMF, World Bank, and every charity operating in Africa. War with Iran? Sure. Blockade is an act of war, no different than invading Iraq and Afghanistan (Bush) and destroying Libya, Syria, and Venezuela (Obama). The future? -- an Etch A Sketch shaken and erased by "climate change," hordes of illiterate immigrants sick with contagious diseases, tens of millions of Boomers and Gen Xers cashing out and shorting the stock market, Social Security and Medicare insolvent and unfixable. No doubt the Democratic Socialists will take over. Empty malls, martial law, and Eddie Willers attempting to restart an engine of motive power, a 737 MAX whose autostabilizer code forces it to crash and cannot be debugged, because it was co-authored by a virtual team in six time zones, most of whom scurried like rats to new virtual work groups in the Gig Economy, maybe self-driving commuter helicopters that no one can afford to purchase or insure. .
  6. http://www.lulu.com/shop/wolf-devoon/men-women/paperback/product-24172050.html
  7. Didn't understand a single word of the foregoing discussion. There is no divine right of incorporation, whether as a sovereign state or CBS, Inc.
  8. In case of national emergency, break glass and distribute. https://vimeo.com/user66655576
  9. I have begun to wonder if Obama is running the Deep State behind the scenes. He might be an Acting President, everyone in the Federal civil service working hard to oust Trump. Sort of makes sense. Obama lives in Washington. Be interesting to have NSA metadata on who he talked to last week, and whether he personally directed Lynch and Comey to bury the Hillary evidence. Anything is possible.The caravans were a stroke of genius. Motor voter registration and driver licenses for illegals. Yep. Recent history has Obama's fingerprints all over it. Rush Limbaugh speculated that NATO diplomats agitated for an FBI counterintelligence putsch to smear candidate Trump. No way. It was an Obama White House op, start to finish.
  10. (blame Brant and MSK for encouraging me to write more) For the past 13 years, I shopped for schools, K-12, worldwide. It rarely mattered where my wife and I lived and worked. It always mattered where the kid went to school, and we found a house or an apartment later, within walking distance or a short drive to the best school. First grade was in a leafy green neighborhood in Perth, Australia, after we explored north, east, south, and west. An old red brick schoolhouse, nice kid friends, a wise, warm-hearted teacher. We were walking in the park one day after school, and a black swan let my daughter approach and stroke his neck. Incredible. Swans never let anyone do that. She had imaginary horses that trotted to school with us in the morning. I still remember their names. We bought an enormous, round trampoline with safety nets that lived in the garage, next to her artist's easel, acrylics, brushes, and a tarp on the floor. Two goldfish in a bowl sat on her desk, and she had a tall, wide mirror to see herself dance with a favorite CD and a white tutu. Third grade was in a compact, historic small town west of Denver. Fourth and seventh grades were expensive, sky high apartment rents in upscale neighborhoods of Houston, near Rice University and then in Old Memorial, so she could have multicultural social experiences and academic challenges that were age appropriate. She jumped ahead a grade doing Advanced Placement, completing 7th and 8th grade in a single year. The previous year, she attended aviation ground school and got to pilot a Cessna 172, a hefty chunk of our household budget. Sometimes, the best schools were on the internet, and we paid big fees for 6th grade and university high school distance learning, textbooks, lab equipment, and proctored exams, because I couldn't find a sane, safe, academically challenging brick and mortar campus. Some of my school choices were mistakes. She got punched by a black girl in kindergarten (I pulled her out in a heartbeat), and she got shoved by a bully in 5th grade (a teacher's spoiled brat, raised holy hell with the teacher and the principal). It was a mistake to let her test into 4th grade when she should have been in 2nd at a private school in Copenhagen. Diplomatic offspring from Africa are insane and dangerous. I had to escort my daughter to and from the classroom door and finally withdrew her, hired a tutor who was totally wonderful, a lovely young Kiwi who took her to museums, libraries, parks, and ice rinks -- a happy, clever Mary Poppins who was studying international law. Worth every penny. Big smiles. I mention it to open the discussion of private choice. Whether it's education, employment, or government, smart people seek the good, price no object. I can't fault the migrants who walk through Mexico and then throw themselves at Border Patrol agents to illegally enter the U.S., dead certain that they will be rescued and fed, given free housing, medical care, and pocket money for legal representation by a benevolent government and anonymous taxpayers. I agree with Michael Savage, who argues that previous U.S. immigrants had to pass a medical exam, had to speak English, and there was no welfare state, no "safety net" for his immigrant grandfather who worked his fingers to the bone and died young, did whatever menial work he could find, in the hope that his children might survive and thrive in Queens, which they did. There is enormous peril in today's cradle to grave socialism. I shouldn't have to spell that out to an Objectivist. The evidence is everywhere -- Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Los Angeles. Savage's adopted hometown of San Francisco is filthy with human feces and flies on the streets and sidewalks. Cholera and communicable diseases stalk the 50,000 homeless in Los Angeles. Narcotics are big business from coast to coast. It's a difficult mission to find an elementary or middle school that doesn't dumb down kids with propaganda, or a high school that isn't packed with thugs, drug users, and opportunistic predators, exempt from control by incompetent, must-hire, unionized black "educators." We were investigators, visited schools and studied the data until we found one or two that we could trust. Our daughter made the final decision, this one instead of that one, if we found two schools that seemed okay. People do this all the time, in grocery aisles, car lots, internet sites, friendships, and banks. You couldn't bribe me to do business at Capital One ever again. Frost Bank was wonderful, and I never had a problem at Wells, Barclays, Westpac, or Perth Mint. I had to watch Chase like a hawk, because they liked to say one thing and do another. The business of making good consumer choices isn't a question of getting it right, but rather being ready to pull the plug. I fired Comcast and switched to AT&T. Same thing with a job. I've been hired and fired more than once -- and rehired by a boss because relationships take time to percolate. The decision to write was a major gamble, after making sure that my wife and daughter were provided for with bulletproof property, a lump sum for security, and a monthly dribble of Social Security that I earned over a lifetime of paying in. Was it a good bet, that I could succeed as a writer? Hell, no. I have to work as a handyman to keep myself in cigarettes, bread, and balogna. Decisions have consequences. We invested tens of thousands in ballet classes, gymnastics, music teachers, flying lessons, computer software and hardware, video equipment, horses, Latin, calculus, pets, and an infinity of Bakugans and Legos to grow a daughter. She became an artist who knows her way around the world, drives a pickup truck confidently. What happens next will be something she'll have to decide for herself as a young adult. The consequences for Mom and Dad are less influence, less significance in her life, sooner or later. I have taken the long way around the barn to say something else. Each of us is an individual, no two alike. Lifetimes, ambitions, challenges, and outcomes are never identical. In previous writing I said there could not be two Ayn Rands, two Humphrey Bogarts, two Winston Churchills. Retail democracy is a fluid competition and collaboration of folks who have very little in common -- observed by Voltaire at the London Stock Exchange. Anglicans, Nonconformists, Catholics, and Moslems, who despised each other's religions, put aside their personal emnity while they traded in the money market, honored each other's notes and pledges. There's no religious or racial test at a Safeway or Kroger. I have patronized businesses owned by Sikhs, blacks, Mexicans, Orthodox Jews, Arabs, Amish, and hillbillies. Hopefully, no one will be shocked if I say that I'm an anarchist, and that private life is mostly free. What we think, say, dream, connive, accept, decline, or keep secret is a personal choice uncluttered by policemen. I found myself saying to David D. Friedman that there was no cop standing over his shoulder while he wrote, and no cop watching me read it. I know that NSA seizes metadata and vast traunches of voice, text, and transactional data streams, scanning for keywords. I'll bet you $100 to a donut that they're up to their little beady eyeballs spying on the political class, especially the Trump clan, Russian diplomats, and Wikileaks. We are far too many and too ordinary to attract much attention by FBI, CIA, or the cop next door who has a wife and small children to greet with a smile, concealing from them the tedium and sorrow that he had to suffer on the shift he just ended. In my recent book, Tin Barn Philosopher, I noted that government people are anarchists, too. They mow their lawns, go to church, get sick and visit a doctor, binge on chili cheese nachos and watch TV, no different than we do. I can't remember the last time I went to church or watched a football game, but that's not an issue in America. In Britain, the License Authority skulks around listening at windows to make sure that you're not "illegally" watching TV if you haven't paid your TV license fee to support the BBC. Evangelical radio talker Eric Metaxas said that when he went to visit a cathedral in England and knelt to pray, the vicar burst into tears because no one had done that in years. So, we're different, you and me and Metaxas and everyone else. Why then are we procrusteanized by government? -- not by something as trivial as politically correct government broadcasting in England, but by an awesome leviathan with carrier battle groups and ICBMs and hundreds of thousands of pages in the Federal Register to regiment farms, factories, energy production, food and drug sales, health care, forestry -- shit, the list is endless. If memory serves, every seasonal creek is considered a "navigable water" by EPA and the Corps of Engineers. Consider what political democracy actually does. It's winner take all, a thin plurality, more often than not a mandate to expand government power, Federal, state, local, and judicial. A majority of Californians voted to approve Prop 8. The state sued to knock it down, affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, imposing gay marriage nationwide. It's a one-way street to uniform obedience, no more "federalism," in which individual states were conceived as laboratories of democracy with different rules for marriage, abortion, etc. Only one aspect of local policy remains as a market to attract or repel residents -- their tax rates. Whites are fleeing California, New York, and Illinois in increasingly greater numbers. Blacks and wetbacks aren't, because those Democrat strongholds have plush welfare amenities. In the long view of history, it doesn't matter where people relocate, to avoid urban crime or marginally higher state and local taxes. Honestly, I wanted to tear out my remaining hair at times, while searching for a relatively safe, sane school for my daughter. The charter schools had a lottery rigged to admit blacks and latinos, no different than colleges and universities that she'll need as a young adult -- a young white adult with straight A's and a high ACT score, penalized for racial and intellectual "privilege." I don't take it personally. There are millions being penalized in employment, higher ed, and civil liberty. It's worse in South Africa. White farmers are hunted and murdered. Whites were driven out of Rhodesia and Kenya, producing instant famine in formerly prosperous, well-fed biracial societies. Returning to our own predicament, the United States is sinking financially. Social Security and Medicare are insolvent. Entitlements and interest on the debt are nearing 3/4 of the Federal budget, and likewise 3/4 of state budgets, assuming that interest rates remain low. There is no reason to assume that they will. Rates are not arbitrarily set by the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee. Interest rates are determined by the financial markets. If stocks crash, bonds are bid, and in the current context it might be corporate bonds. The last time we had a crash, in 2008, I made money with Boeing puts, Oppenheimer funds, 8% Australian CDs, and bullion. U.S. commercial and residential property values collapsed, triggering a worldwide panic. I don't think Congressional and Federal Reserve bailouts will work again. The problem is fiscal, not financial leverage in "dark pools" of derivatives. Government will go bankrupt, especially if there's a military clash in the Persian Gulf, additional pressure on the Federal budget -- but bankruptcy is inevitable. We are being eaten alive by socialism, bureaucracy, and police state repression, not unlike the economic disaster of the FSU. So. There is an historic opportunity approaching, sooner or later. Very simple concept. Pay for what you want. If you want a good school for your children, pay for it. It you want war in the Middle East, pay for that. Free health care and housing for illegal immigrants? -- write a check to Catholic Charities or sanctuary San Francisco. When the government dies, each of us gets a vote in dollars (or gold or cryptocurrency) to fund whatever industry you prefer to sponsor. I plan to vote for electricity, gasoline, and a volunteer fire brigade. People will cling to government like a lifeboat, especially in D.C. and its pampered, wealthy suburban counties, comfortably populated by government workers, government retirees, and government contractors. Our global "allies" will wring their hands about Russia and Iran. Afghanistan will revert to dry, high rubble and poppy harvesters. American cities might have a decade or two, to drive out productive people and do nothing about rising crime. Flyover Country will do what needs to be done, as always, to feed and clothe their kids, operate and mend their agricultural equipment. I don't worry about rural America. Co-ops will continue to supply seed and feed, diesel and grease, electric generation and water works. Farmers and ranchers are hunters, heavily armed and competent to deal with varmints of all kinds. Houston and Silicon Valley are particularly resilient, well designed with standby power and cohesive, slightly overbuilt community resources led by a nimble, nongovernmental elect, unlike chaotic, effete Los Angeles. Oh, well. Burbank and West Hollywood will experience a richly deserved, overdue third act, and that will be the end of that. If the Aqueduct dries up, ruthless Mexicanos will claw back El Norte, fence or no fence. If you remember the Rodney King riots, LAPD and CHP can be relied upon to walk away and let it burn. "Promise Keepers," returning warriors, and tough vets are a force to be reckoned with, from sea to shining sea. Wacky ancaps (like me) have long predicted that ad hoc arrangements are perfectly capable of keeping the peace, except in hopeless inner city hellholes like Compton and Camden, South Chicago and Detroit. This is God's will, so to speak, and I don't doubt that religion will mean something again in America, as it did to our forefathers and pioneers who pushed west and fought hostile Crow, Sioux, Comanche, and roving gangs of bushwhackers. How does America regain its global footprint and belly fat? I don't think it will. You could pay for it, I suppose.
  11. Ooooo. The Witch Smeller Pursuivant spent an hour investigating the least relevant matter in a complicated presentation. The shale play overlay is mine. Great Basin art was tax-supported public domain, executed by an uncredited artist and web published for educational purposes -- and Jonathan knows that. His comment was a personal put-down, plain venom and fighting words wasted on a deplorable. You're a stalker, Witch Smeller. Had to set me straight on Goodreads? An itch ya gotta scratch, because I don't deserve oxygen or bread, huh? Attacking me doesn't change anything, nor is it a particularly unique public service. I've had other stalkers, plenty of crap from others. Be of good cheer, Smelly. I live in a tin barn, no car, no phone, no book sales. To resolve the matter, I appeal to MSK to delete the entire topic or send it to the Junk Pile. Meanwhile, I'll delete the graphics, since few readers care about Hannity and absurd White House talking points, proclaiming energy independence, or previous White House antics to stage manage oil payola in Ghana. The U.S. imports five million barrels a day, and there's not a hope in hell of prying Germany away from the Nord Stream megaproject supplied by Russia. Democrats are going to settle our hash when Trump is frogmarched out sooner or later, to be replaced by an anti-industrial mob of communists, so right reason and U.S. strategic interests in energy markets are about to expire in the New Green Deal. War with Iran will be one of the stupidest, least justifiable projects in history. At some point, we should kick Mossad out of the U.S. national security establishment. Bad enough that they tricked us into conquering and occupying Basrah, a soft target, no Russian interests involved. It will be far more perilous to ignite a powderkeg of superpower intrigue, inviting Russia and China to join in the wet work, both of them aligned with Tehran for strategic and economic reasons. Don't expect the Brits or Frogs or anyone else to join "a coalition of the willing" to blow smoke over what's at stake and who we're up against this time. It's a matter of settled history that World War II was fought over oil. Consider how stupid it is to replay a conventional or nuclear catastrophe because we undertook an impossible mission on behalf of Japan, Korea, Germany, India, and above all the Jewish State that a haberdasher from Missouri recognized to swing a few votes in 1948, over adamant protest by his Secretary of State, Gen. George Marshall. What did Gen. Dwight Eisenhower warn about? The military-industrial complex. Ancient history. $20 trillion in debt today? Tip of the iceberg if we trigger World War III to please Israel and Mohammed Bin Something, the ruling Saudi prince who likes to behead dissidents by the dozens. Oh, wait a minute, I forgot. We're supposed to fret about intellectual property belonging to an academic who got paid to explain the clastic kitchen of our long-depleted conventional oilfields in Texas and Oklahoma that made it possible for America to wipe out Germany and Japan, which we now defend with U.S. garrisons, missiles, warships, and oil tankered from a fascist kingdom that nationalized the oil we discovered and developed. Energy independent? Hah. A horizontal shale frack costs three times as much as a straight hole in Arabia, produces less oil and depletes in a matter of months, instead of years. Ready to splurge trillions of borrowed dollars (again) to fight anyone who threatens Israel? Hmph. Junk Pile, for sure. We don't need no stinking critical thought. When it's all over, we can pick up the dead and dying, and say "Shit, we're sorry, orders were orders." Your turn, Smelly. Scratch that itch. Show us how clean you are.
  12. Self-explanatory in this video. I decided to write a speech, on the off chance of being invited to speak somewhere, someday. https://www.facebook.com/100014970991201/videos/585045462004482/ full text of The Speech at my blog
  13. Among thoughtful friends, it's always good and right to listen and hear an entirely different solution. I'm sure Mr. Adams knows what he's saying. A couple years ago I looked at thorium, and I was involved obliquely in the media circus of Three Mile Island, had the pleasure of speaking to the late Petr Beckmann. In many ways, I'm humbled and happy to have lived in an era of great men and profoundly clever women like the Russian hussy honored here. In the original post, I mentioned that Americans consume 20 million barrels of oil a day, 7 or 8 billion barrels a year, depending on which war we're fighting where. That's not the problem. The problem is how to increase consumption, to encourage the liberty and prosperity of our surging population of penniless migrants and their soon-to-be ambitious descendants, who will multiply like rabbits. Whether coal-fired or nuclear (or both), we need to expand electric generation to power more homes, schools, factories, offices, hospitals, and water works. I've heard some truly psychotic counterproposals about "saving the planet" and consuming less. Solar, wind, Tesla, and Cash For Clunkers were a cheap opening gambit, billions in subsidies. High speed rail upped the price to hundreds of billions. Now they want to kill off petroleum, with TENS OF TRILLIONS of dollars of capital assets deployed, a gigantic network of reliable industrial installations and equipment used in exploration, production, pipelines, refineries, distributors, retailers, 99.9% of passenger road traffic, and a fleet of big rigs delivering food to grocery stores and restaurants, supplies to Home Depot, WalMart, and Victoria's Secret. Without liquid fuels, Amazon, FedEx, and all government operations screech to a halt. It strikes me as cruel, in a John Galt sort of way, that U.S. voters might someday elect people stupid enough to outlaw internal combustion engines and compel their constituents to drive lithium firetraps that ignite if wrecked and have to be recharged every 200 miles, assuming that charging stations are available in Frostbite Falls and Petticoat Junction. The U.S. Dept. of Fairness might have to ration amperage, alternate day even/odd plate numbers, recharging only during off-peak hours, unless you're a privileged public servant with an Exempt tag. A "quick" jolt at Charg N' Go might take an hour or two, depending on battery health. Liquid energy is compact, powerful, available everywhere, and only takes a few minutes to fill up. It liberates 35 million commercial vehicles to go anywhere and work all day -- sales people, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, welders, bulldozers, backhoes, road contractors, ready-mix trucks, front end loaders, dump trucks, tractors, harvesters, school buses, airport shuttles, taxis, limos, ambulances, armored cars, 18-wheelers, and railroad locomotives. Our military is not going to convert its MRAPs, helicopters, F-16s, or patrol boats to run on laptop batteries. Neither will scheduled airlines, fire services, power linemen, or cops. The "green" transportation pipedream is indulged by people who believe that they can wave a magic wand and create wealth. Enormous, vastly capitalized, competitive industrial titans supply refined petroleum as cheaply as possible to keep you independent, rain or shine or sleet -- a sector that employs seven million skilled American workers, not including auto mechanics and auto parts stores who enable the poor to escape mass transit and maximize their privacy and pride, to relocate for a better job in a safer community anywhere that roads exist. No car, no freedom. All my vehicles have been high mileage 4WD that were serviced cheaply in big cities and dinky villages. The heft and power of an old GMC Sierra enables my daughter to navigate gravel roads, curvy two-lane highways, and city streets, rain or shine. In a former life, I used to be somebody, ten years of experience in oil and gas exploration as the business manager of a consulting company. We worked for majors and big independents, interpreted seismic volumes measured in terabytes, picked drilling locations, and assessed projects worldwide. I read well logs, reservoir maps, sequence stratigraphy models, paleo and geochem lab reports, production history, etc, and wrote about reserves valuation. During the past few days, I composed the following to explain a few things about domestic U.S. oil and gas production. It took a while to articulate in plain language what's what and why. There are economic, political, and social ramifications to consider. We are resource impoverished, which explains why our military became an expensive, globally engaged World Cop. ... U.S. PETROLEUM GEOLOGY This is a map from 60 million years ago. There was a shallow continental waterway called The Great Basin that slowly filled with erosional sand and silt deposited in low spots. A meteor smashed into the Yucatan and changed the climate (the "K-T" Extinction). In the fullness of geologic time, tens of millions of years, tectonic pressures rearranged and lifted the Rockies higher. There was a great deal of water erosion, more sand and silt and meandering rivers. Silt settled under coarser sand, and with millions of years of burial heat and pressure the silt became shale, some of it quite thick. The Great Basin is a layer cake with alterating layers of shale and sandstone. Shales have organic molecules that transform with "anoxic" (airless) heat and pressure to become kerogens, precursors of oil and/or natural gas. Buoyant oil migrates up into porous sandstone. A higher, younger shale trapped oil in the sandstone. Hydrocarbon generation is accelerated by igneous hot spots. Recoverable oil columns are determined by thickness of the sand(s), the organic content of the source shale(s), and the subsurface water level. It's not unusual for some water to be produced in an oil reservoir. Conventional production of oil and gas consists of drilling vertically into saturated sandstone in a "fault block" or a nicely rounded "anticline" formed by elastic compression of the layer cake. Because oil and gas exist at great depth, buried under thousands of feet of rock and dirt that were deposited over millions of years, drilling into an oil reservoir the first time often results in a "gusher." In a natural gas field, there is tremendous danger of a blowout. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon semi-submersible operating offshore in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and sank when they lost control of a high pressure gas-capped oil well. Hundreds of workers have been killed or maimed in drilling mishaps, quite a few every year to the present day. It is dangerous work, handling tons of threaded steel pipe sections and correctly balancing the pressure of downhole circulating "mud" to evacuate rock cuttings. Most of the oil and gas plays shown on the Great Basin map were explored and drilled during the past 100 years. Some are kaput as a resource. Believe it or not, there was a spectacular "pinnacle reef" oil play near Detroit and abundant natural gas drilled in 10-acre spacing like a waffle, long before we had seismic surveys. The Southern California oilfield in Signal Hill was drilled so intensively that there used to be dozens of ancient pump jacks on Cherry Avenue, idle and rusting, relics of a dead play. Very large resources in California (Monterey and Santa Barbara) are off-limits by state law and Federal sequestration, never produced. HORIZONTAL FRACKING Cut to the present. The deposits of 60 million years ago haven't changed. There's a limited amount of conventional drilling that still makes sense, in Alberta, Kansas, Oklahoma, on the Continental Shelf, and emphatically in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico -- the largest conventional oil resource in play, produced by multibillion-dollar "floaters" held in a constant sea location through tides, waves, and storms by powerful GPS-controlled thrusters. Although difficult and expensive to exploit, there's considerable undrilled potential in the Deepwater Gulf, thick mature shales and thick sands flushed by the Mississippi River tens of millions of years ago. All the supermajors are involved, and there's an amazing network of pipelines on the Gulf seafloor that pump oil and gas to Houma and Houston. Depending on the economics, it's possible to deploy automated subsea iron to do long term production, so the giant floating skyscraper can be moved to another deepwater drilling project. However, on dry land throughout the onshore Great Basin, there are lots of Mom and Pop drillers and oil leaseholders who own a few old wells that produce 20 or 30 barrels a day with "nodding donkey" pump jacks that fill a tank to be emptied into a truck once a month or so. Among the shrewd, entrepreneurial Texan drillers, there was a fellow who had a clever idea. He decided to drill a well and steer it horizontally, then push a metal "pig" full of bullets into the horizontal leg to perforate the casing and drain more oil, some of it oozing from shale. Thus began the horizontal fracturing revolution. With most of the saturated sandstone already exploited, one of the independents operating in the Denver Julesberg Basin reasoned that they could horizontally fracture their oily shales and a friable chalk layer. They followed up with high pressure water and sand to force larger cracks in the shale and hold the cracks open with chunky sand "proppant." All innovations in the oil business are shared by permit filings and enthusiastic gossip. The price of oil shot to $100 a barrel, a compelling incentive for dozens of small companies to frac. In Oklahoma City another idea was concocted, fracking to produce gas in the Barnett Shale under DFW. Not much more to be said. There was a bidding war for shale acreage, despite falling prices for oil and gas. Hundreds of millions were invested, then billions raised from share offerings. Horizontal wells in the Bakken initially cost $10 million each, to produce $6 million of oil that wasn't separated effectively, diluted with volatile NGLs (natural gas liquids). North Dakota had no rail terminals, no pipelines to ship product to the Gulf Coast. Some of these economic problems were addressed by creative thinking, and money continued to flow into fracking. There was wall-to-wall hoopla in the Oil Patch press. Valuation firms made fat fees certifying billions of barrels of "proved" shale reserves, counting every acre leased as equally rich (!) Unskilled men tramped to North Dakota and were hired to drive water trucks, handle pipe, and risk their lives, paying $2000 a month to snore on a bunk in one of the "mancamps" that were put up as quickly and cheaply as possible. Prostitution and drugs became thriving enterprises. Sheriffs and Tribal cops worked overtime to fill overcrowded jails and hospitals. Sad ending for a lot of people, especially those fracking shale to produce gas in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. The price of natural gas crashed, shale drillers went broke, shareholders revolted, tens of billions were written off, and there was a high profile executive suicide. Three big shale plays became profitable -- Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale in Texas that produced oil, a stone's throw from refineries in Houston, plus the rich Marcellus Shale gas play in Pennsylvania, operated efficiently in close proximity to Washington DC, New York, and Boston, who were eager to build new "clean" gas-fired electric power plants. Horizontal drilling in the Niobrara Chalk raised expectations in Colorado and Wyoming, and the Dakota Express pipeline project will improve Bakken economics $8-$10 a barrel. I'm skeptical about triumphant huzzahs, that America is energy self-sufficient. Government people report funny statistics, counting all grades of crude and NGLs as "Total Liquids" with a misleading conversion of gas as Oil Equivalent. We're producing more than we did ten years ago, but if you unpack the numbers, we upgrade tar from Canada, and much of our domestic production comes from Deepwater GOM and dreary Kern County in California. For a time I worked at a news organization. I had to put my hand up to say stop the presses, because they were about to publish exaggerated reserves that a shale operator plumped on the road to an initial public offering. Their goal was a sky high multiple, backed by institutional investors and Wall Street underwriters, everything predicated on being acquired by a supermajor who needed to book the exaggerated reserves. Exxon's acquisition of XTO inspired a $100 billion scramble for US shale acquisitions and joint ventures by Reliance (India), CNOOC (China), Total (France), BG Group (UK), Statoil (Norway), Royal Dutch Shell (NL-UK), BP (UK), Talisman (Canada), Mitsui (Japan), BHP (Australia), and US stalwarts Chevron and ConocoPhillips. Bottom line. Forget about current Energy Dept stats, true, false or fudged. The future of shale fracking is no different than conventional production. Depletion is a one-way street. We're mining dry the high-priced onshore crumbs of a resource 60 million years in the making. Private correspondence from a sharp colleague in 2012: "The unique aspect of newly booked reserves from fractured reservoir is how quickly they disappear from the books: 60% to 90% reduction in the first 12 months. So for CHK to just maintain a zero proven reserve growth, they need to drill more wells during that period. Wall Street doesn’t tend to hype a stock that isn’t showing growth. So in addition to replacement wells, CHK has to drill even more wells to show reserve growth. But by drilling those additional wells, they then have to drill more replacement wells for those rapidly depleting wells within the following year." Check out Google Finance, set the chart to 10 years, and see what happened to CHK. If you recall, I mentioned that I wrote financial articles about oil exploration and production. For three months in 2010, my weekly column appeared opposite Paul Krugman in an Abu Dhabi business magazine, posted online in English and translated into Arabic for the print edition. They paid me 35 cents a word, which made it worthwhile to sit in a coffee shop and scribble something in longhand, then type it up and send it off. Here's an example of my penmanship that describes how oil and gas deals are often -- uh -- negotiated. Consider that our 4th, 5th, and 7th Fleets are ushering supertankers past adversaries and pirates to deliver oil to Japan, Korea, and Germany, who have none, zero, totally dependent on imports, and to North America from West Africa and Arabia. We're a net oil importer. EXXON'S $4 BILLION KOSMOS OFFER REJECTED In October of 2009, I noted ExxonMobil's offer to buy privately-held Kosmos Energy's 24% interest in Ghana's Jubilee oil field. Based on Tullow maps and well data, I deduced that Exxon was using a medium term $100 per barrel price model to determine how much to bid for the Kosmos stake. No surprise, it matched oil forecasts by T. Boone Pickens, Goldman Sachs, and former CIBC World Markets chief economist Jeff Rubin. Kosmos promptly accepted the Exxon bid, in a straightforward move to monetize their Jubilee asset. They were out of pocket less than $1 billion funded by Warburg Pincus and Blackstone Capital Partners. Exxon's $4 billion offer would give them a $3 billion profit and zero their risk of development and doing business in Ghana. Kosmos previously reduced their risk by farming out stakes to Anadarko and Tullow, who did the actual work of drilling and discovery. Clever little Dallas-based Kosmos had achieved what all E&P "minnows" hope to do -- get a license, bring in experienced operators, then flip it to a supermajor. Except the wheels fell off and Exxon's offer died. Who, why, and what killed the acquisition is a convoluted story. It starts at a racetrack in Dallas involving Texas politicians, a Federal class-action settlement, and a silly "monte carlo" statistical reserves head fake that propelled attorney James C. Musselman from obscurity to VIP status at a White House state dinner for Ghana's President John Agyekum Kufour. Musselman got his start in the oil business as an investor in Triton Energy. He became its CEO in 1998 when Tom Hicks, owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team and chairman of private equity firm Hicks Muse Tate & Furst bought a big speculative stake in troubled Triton Energy. Musselman's job was to pump up valuation and sell the company, which he succeeded in doing in 2001, after reporting an operating loss of $383 million. Hess paid a 50% premium to Triton shareholders to acquire the Ceiba field in Equatorial Guinea. Musselman and his team were deemed geniuses and briefly worked for Hess, until Hess had to declare a $530 million impairment charge and write down 70% of the Triton reserves they paid $3 billion to own. But that's not how it played in Ghana, nor in Dallas where Musselman and his ex-Triton team founded a new company, Kosmos Energy, in 2003. They were touted as West Africa experts with a new project negotiated by Craig S. Glick, who left Hunt Oil with insider knowledge of the West Cape Three Points block in Ghana. Hunt acquired 2D seismic data totalling 2,225 km and 264 square kilometres of 3D. They drilled and logged two deepwater wells. Those wells were immediately east of the future Jubilee discovery. When Hunt Oil quit Ghana in 2001, the story gets a little bizarre, clogged in multiple layers of state secrets. Before he became President of the United States, Gov. George W. Bush was co-owner of the Texas Rangers, which he sold to Hicks. After he left the White House, Bush bought a house in the exclusive Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas, down the street from Musselman's $6 million mansion. It seems likely that they knew each other in 2003, when Bush met Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufour in Dakar and urged him to do business with a US partner. Two of Kufour's trusted associates laid the groundwork for a deal with Kosmos. Dr. Kwame Barwuah Edusei, a medical doctor practicing in Washington DC, and George Owusu, a self-styled Ghanaian oil broker living in Houston, formed a company called E-O, rather hilariously registered at a chicken farm near Accra. Kosmos and E-O entered into a written agreement signed by Edusei for E-O and Glick for Kosmos, covering future exploration, production and other revenue: Kosmos 86.5%, Ghana National Petroleum Company 10%, E-O 3.5%. The agreement stated that Kosmos would carry E-O and additionally pay them $250,000 upfront. Kufour appointed Edusei ambassador to Switzerland in August 2004 (to open a numbered account?) and later appointed him Ghana’s ambassador to the White House. Owusu became Kosmos Energy's Ghana representative. Owusu's Kosmos salary, perks and other graft may have totalled $2 million before he ran afoul of anti-corruption due diligence by Anadarko. President Kufour, after serving two four-year terms, had to step down in 2009. He and his cronies did everything possible to grease the wheels for Kosmos, Anadarko, and Tullow, signing off on low royalties, 100% off-loading for export, and token involvement of GNPC. President George Bush and First Lady Laura Bush made a 3-day goodwill visit to Ghana in February 2008, meeting all 30 tribal chiefs, promising US development aid, and stumping for Kufour's New Patriotic Party, hoping to upstage and deflate perennial opposition presidential candidate John Atta Mills. In September 2008 there was a gala White House state dinner to honor President Kufour and Kosmos boss Jim Musselman. In Ghana, NPP newspapers and radio stations celebrated their fabulous new oil wealth, thanks to Kufour and Kosmos. All for naught. Social democrat and former national tax commissioner John Atta Mills was elected president of Ghana by a razor-thin majority, after an odd ballot re-run in a remote rural constituency. His first act in office was to appoint a special advisor on energy policy, Tsatsu Tsikata, long-serving patriarch of GNPC who was put in prison and tried for "causing financial loss to the state" when Kufour came to power in 2000. His trial lasted eight years and Tsikata was pronounced guilty, then pardoned when Mills won the 2009 presidential runoff. Tsikata flew to Houston and visited Anadarko to pick up their Foreign Corrupt Practices file on E-O and Kosmos Ghana. Then he flew to New York and retained Morgan Stanley as financial advisors. Next on the agenda was a $10 billion line of credit from China. George Owusu's and E-O's assets were seized and Kosmos put under investigation. In 2010, Tsikata flew to China six times, negotiating with CNOOC. When Kosmos Energy filed a request to sell its interest in Jubilee to Exxon, the new Ghana government's reaction was slow and comical. In due course, the Energy Ministry said, they would vet ExxonMobil and consider their suitability to partner a Ghanaian oil company. But we intend to produce Jubilee gas first, before oil production, because our country needs more electric generation, and we will be working with expert government engineers from Trinidad and Tobago (!) Your $4 billion Exxon deal is imaginary and illegal. The only buyer Kosmos Energy could talk to was Tsatsu Tsikata. -------------------------- One more item that I didn't write about, because it was exasperatingly tawdry. I had a big file of oil and gas frauds, involving billions bilked from investors in Canada, England, the U.S., and from China's state-owned flagships. A friend talked me out of publishing an article to shame the guilty, because I might be sued for defamation. The case of SEC v Gurgainers was typical of small scale shenanigans, and shows how common it is for pipsqueak oil and gas promoters to fail with other people's money. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, Plaintiff vs. STAR EXPLORATION, INC. JAMES T. GURGAINERS, Defendants and STAR GEORGETOWN 1 JOINT VENTURE STAR MINERAL ROYALTY 1-A, LP STAR MINERAL ROYALTY 1-B, LP STAR DISCOVERY, LP STAR HAMILTON 2 JOINT VENTURE LAGNIAPPE OIL & GAS LEASES, LLC STAR EXPLORATION LEASING, LLC DISCOVERY DRILLING, LLC DISCOVERY RIGS, LLC TERRA FERMA OPERATING, LLC STAR FINANCIAL INTERNATIONAL, LLP 1 AP.COM, INC., Relief Defendants STATUS REPORT BY THE RECEIVER $5,227 recovered from the bank accounts of the receivership entities $5,802 recovered from an insurance company as a return of unearned premium $35,000 recovered from the sale of James Gurgainers house in Alexandria, Louisiana (mortgage payments Mr. Gurgainers made on the house using investor funds) $15,000 recovered from the sale of a 2006 Chevrolet truck $10,000 recovered from the sale of two Sea Doos seized from Mr. Gurgainers house (the Sea Doos were purchased with investor funds) $12,729 recovered from the United States Treasury as a tax refund With limited resources in the receivership estate, the Receiver has made protection of the drilling rig, which is the most significant asset in the receivership estate, his top priority. As a result, to date the Receiver used $30,746 of the monies recovered to pay for insurance on the drilling rig and $5,000 of the monies recovered to pay for security of the rig. -------------------------- You know what's worse? W&T Offshore was one of the very best, most diligent, careful and successful operators using jack-up rigs in shallow water near the Gulf coast. A contractor on one of their rigs saw a little accidental spill of 10 barrels while drilling. He filed suit and threw W&T into the jaws of regulators, because "whistleblowers" get paid big money in civil suits, often millions, depending on how deep the victim's pockets are. It crippled W&T for a minor incident that a busy drilling crew failed to report instantly to the Feds. They had other things to do, with a couple thousand feet of pipe in a high pressure formation that kicked twice. Something else to think about. The world didn't begin 60 million years ago, nor was North America always where we are accustomed to locating it on a world map. It was part of an equatorial supercontinent, joined with Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa -- one giant blob called "Gondwana." When I moved to Missouri, we pushed dirt around to build a house and discovered a snow white sandstone layer -- beach sand that was 400 million years old. Sea levels have changed many times in Earth's geologic history, and shales were repeatedly buried and cooked. There's a shale in Australia that's three billion years old. I mention it to conclude that our best bet for oil in the future is ANWR and coastal California. There's not much future in fracking progressively thinner, less productive Great Basin shales. I wouldn't be shocked if the U.S. decided it would be easier to invade Venezuela than risk holy hell in groovy Monterey or happy smiley Santa Barbara. Sad situation. The U.S. was the world's #1 conventional oil producer before and after World War II, enabled us to build tens of thousands of ships and aircraft, to mobilize and transport millions of U.S. troops around the world, equipped with heavy weapons, fuel, and food. In 2003, we had to ask Germany and Japan to help pay for the Iraq War. America had joined the ranks of "oil beggars." There's an old rig offshore Huntington Beach and, believe it or not, an onshore rig covered in tin to disguise it, in Beverly Hills. Together they produce 500 barrels a day, with a 94% "water cut," producing more formation water than oil. New horizontal shale wells in Texas share the same fate -- except they cost more and decline a lot faster than conventional straight holes. Ain't nobody drilling shale to frack it anywhere on this map of known global oil. .
  14. Oh. Victor Hugo didn't have a typewriter. Ayn Rand didn't have a computer to edit on the fly. Both used pen and ink, which I think partly explains their style.
  15. Bartenders should not attempt to lecture anyone about oil. I've heard Sean Hannity shout it at least a hundred times, that America is energy independent! We have more oil and gas than any other country in the world! We can push Putin into bankruptcy by exporting U.S. oil and gas to our allies in Western Europe! Jeez. Item One. Domestic production of conventional crude has been in slow decline since 2005. Horizontal shale fracturing in North Dakota is not a profitable business at $50 a barrel. We do not have the world's largest oil reserves. Not second, third, fourth -- or even tenth largest. It would be nice to drill offshore California, but that's politically verboten. We import oil from Canada, Arabia, and (oops) Venezuela. America is not the world's largest producer. We're the largest consumer, over 20 million barrels a day, about 1/4 of all worldwide oil production. Item Two. Natural gas is not oil. Same situation. U.S. conventional production is in decline. Horizontal gas fracturing is upside down financially, roughly $100 billion in debt. Most of the sweet spots have been drilled and exhausted, with the exception of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. New York and California banned shale drilling. World class conventional gas reserves are in Siberia and offshore Persian Gulf (shared 50/50 by Qatar and Iran). Item Three. France, Germany, and Britain are not allies. They are beggars, no oil or gas in the ground. Britain drilled the North Sea to death, depends on Holland for natural gas, and was forced to import LNG from Qatar in frozen winter, when the Dutch pipeline failed. Norway is exploring their northern Arctic shelf for a reason. Europe is screwed, after exhausting all the low-hanging fruit. European oil leases in Africa have always have been difficult to produce. Corruption, crime, and tribal wars are constant threats. Drilling rigs have been attacked. Item Four. The price of oil is rising because Venezuela and Libya have been destroyed, plus U.S. sanctions against Iranian exports. When the price of oil goes up, demand goes down. We stop driving. No fancy dinners out. We make decisions like that as individual citizens in a free society. Others are less free. Japan and South Korea have no oil or gas, totally dependent on imports. 600 million people in Europe and the Far East are supplied by a fleet of supertankers from Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Our 4th, 5th, and 7th Fleets usher Middle East supertankers through the threats and guns of adversaries and pirates. The world's grisliest conflicts including both World Wars were fought over oil. Item Five. The one and only U.S. energy resource worth talking about is coal. If our future is firetrap electric cars, then coal-fired power plants are the only hope of affordable electricity generation. Wind and solar are subsidized show pieces that require costly maintenance and replacement of unreliable parts made in China. However, abundant coal power is not a full solution to our energy needs. We have a huge fleet of diesel tractors, harvesters, bulldozers, dump trucks, and big rigs that are NOT going to work with batteries. Commercial passenger aircraft need jet fuel, and our military is the largest consumer of refined products on Earth. Bunker fuel powers oceangoing container trade, tankers, tug boats and barges. Every pump, engine, elevator, and axle needs lubricants. Poor Hannity, a big oaf who can't dance and needs a radio script and staff to function at all. Sean could be right about oil -- we could ship supplies to Europe -- if we suffer severe global warming, no need for winter heat, and a ban on all air travel, mining, beef cattle, road traffic, and industrial production. That's not going to happen. Solar Cycle 24 has been quiescent and the trend is tilting toward global cooling again, just like the 1970s, when Royal Dutch Shell funded East Anglia's Climate Centre to study the dire threat of everybody freezing to death, because global oil and gas reserves were small. They still are. We've already consumed half of the world's proved oil endowment. Cars are more fuel efficient today, particularly hybrids. Governments wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on "renewables" and mass transport, especially in oil-starved Western Europe and Japan. Adequate U.S. electricity in the future can be generated by cheap, abundant coal. It's not rocket science to scrub emissions squeaky clean and make inert construction materials from ash. We'll need it to deal with mountains of nuclear and biohazard waste. Poland has big coal reserves to keep shivering Brits and Krauts warm in winter. The only thing goofier than Sean Hannity posing as an oil analyst is the BBC. Last night, they broadcast a program on "Saving The World" by refilling empty shampoo bottles, plastic water bottles, fizzy drink bottles, etc. Screwballs in England are carrying empty plastic bottles to a guru with 25-liter tubs of generic shampoo and dishwashing liquid. Evangelists are pitching UK retail chains to install nonexistent vending machines that would dispense name brand products to refill empty plastic bottles. Messy aisles in the grocery store. Consumer product companies would have to cooperate to supply uniformly shaped bulk competitive brands for a monster vending machine, to be designed, built, and serviced by somebody (?) as a public service. Shredding and recycling plastic bottles isn't good enough for BBC. Meanwhile, little Greta from Norway told cheering crowds in London that the world will end unless governments shut down oil production. She's leading a global boycott of education. I grieve for the folly of true believers in climate change. It's an article of faith at BBC that we have to abandon internal combustion engines, kill coal and liquid fuels, walk to work or use an electric scooter in winter, in a thunderstorm, or on a blazing hot summer day, no way to carry groceries and jugs of milk home to feed a family of five. Silly me. Plastic bags and jugs will be outlawed, no refrigeration at home or in the store, no air conditioning, no big rigs to stock a dimly-lit WalMart, no dairy or meat, no mechanized agriculture. Childbirth will be dangerous, medical care filthy, and surgery a rigged dice roll without one-time-use plastics. No utility pumps to push water over the mountains in the California Aqueduct. No sewage treatment or garbage trucks. No fire engines, buses, or digital server farms. That's what solar power implies. A couple of LED lamps at night while you charge your electric scooter. Mistakes of this size are not made innocently, as Miss Rand used to say. The only difference between an industrial society and savages squatting in mud huts is a portfolio of high voltage power distribution, heavy equipment, and widely available refined petroleum products. Whether it's Sean Hannity or Greta Thunberg or the IPCC climate change fakirs, none of them know what it takes to successfully explore for, discover, engineer, lift, separate, transport, refine, and deliver a gallon of diesel, gasoline, engine oil, or cubic foot of natural gas. The "Oil Patch" is a vast pyramid with academic centers of excellence like Texas A&M, Colorado School of Mines, and UT, tens of thousands of geophysicists, geologists, reservoir engineers, seismic processors, software developers, oilfield tool designers, rig manufacturers, semi-submersible deepwater platforms with GPS positioning thrusters and service boats, highly skilled "toolpushers" and drillers, welders, helicopter pilots, safety managers, executives, and lawyers to deal with an infinity of permits, state and Federal reports, and SEC filings. And worse, 80% of all proved oil and gas reserves are owned and operated by Third World "national oil companies" -- hissing snakepits of hereditary princes, bureaucrats, and thieves. They hire contractors and oil service companies to do the actual work of production, field development, reservoir management, secondary recovery (water injection) and processing. Major international oil companies like Exxon, Chevron, BP, and Shell compete against each other to exploit 20% of global reserves. Russian oil companies offered joint ventures and raped all four of the aforementioned majors. The same thing happened historically in Iran, Mexico, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia. US-UK brains discovered oil. It got expropriated. All this financial pain and toil and risk is so you can have a car, a fleet of 18-wheelers, bumper crops in farmers' fields, oceangoing trade, tens of thousands of scheduled passenger flights, and stupid shit on TV, backed by a million soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines equipped to defend you with missiles, carrier battle groups, stealth fighters, bombers, and artillery. To hell with the Green New Deal or whatever else the politicians cook up. Vote for rational self-interest and a prosperous industrial society that the men and women of "Big Oil" make possible. They are your neighbors and benefactors, many of whom work for small companies called "independents," over 18,000 of them operating in 32 U.S. states, drilling 94% of U.S. oil and gas wells, responsible for direct and indirect employment of four million workers. Another six million Americans work for international majors and the oil service companies operating offshore in deep water, in overseas deserts and jungles, U.S. ports and refineries, storage facilities, pipelines, specialist steel tube producers, and dependable distribution of diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, heating oil, natural gas and LPG delivered to every city and village, every factory, farm, shop, and construction site, every school and university from coast to coast. You open the refrigerator door, adjust your thermostat for comfort, eat well, drive to work, board an airplane, check into a hospital when necessary, confident that you, your wife and children will survive and thrive, because American oil companies fuel prosperity and highly mobile emergency first responders. Forget about Europe, Sean, unless you plan to move there, which you won't. .
  16. I think the early church was mystical, until it came to Aquinas. I read his two volume restatement of Aritotle's logic and thought about his defense of transubstantiation, that God could switch the "essence" of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, leaving the "accidents" of visible bread and visible wine unchanged, which echoed Aristotle's epistemology. I concluded that we all make tiny little mistakes. Rand fixed the problem with her Conceptual Common Denominator, etc. Always nice to chat with you, my friend. What I really think is that Miss Rand was primarily a dramatist.
  17. Oh. Theme controls what I do. Not uncomfortable with any topic. Hard to imagine Hugo (and Rand) using pen and ink.
  18. A recent passage from my blog... Baffles me how anyone can believe the absurdity of immaculate conception and virgin birth, resurrection of a dead man, and immortality bestowed by faith.
  19. I regard morality to be a personal question, inquiring What shall I do? There are numerous ethical guidelines, ancient and newly minted, but I'm a little stupid, so I'll stick to the Objectivist canon, i.e., rational self-interest. At the moment, I need to earn money for ordinary survival stuff like food, medicine, and payment of current obligations. It would be nice to hand my daughter money for college. Simple yardstick of right and good. But let's suppose I strike it rich, which is to say discretionary funds sufficient to let me choose how I might like to live out my remaining days. I had a long road trip to the Left Coast while I still had credit cards to burn, and I don't want to go back to California. I don't even want to go to Elko again, however much I like Elko. Long drive through Kansas, Colorado, and Utah. Nor am I convinced that I should tour Milwaukee, witness the wreckage and pine for the past. I don't want to reboot Central America. Don't want to fly to Australia. I lived in Europe several times, know it from end to end and top to bottom. I'd rather not rub elbows with the migrant hordes from hell. Three months in Libya was enough hell to last me two or three lifetimes. Alaska scares me (the cold goes right through me) but it's the right move to make. I'm famous in Fairbanks, and there's a Libertarian Party in Anchorage. Maybe a quick visit in summer, if Alaska has a summer. Okay, on the bucket list, toward the end, weather permitting. A stubborn mystery, something I'd like to do for my own sake. Visit Linda? - no. I'm old and ugly and embarrassed. Attend a writer's conference? - eeeuw. If I had any moral courage, I'd find Ali Massoud. Bucket list item equal to Alaska. Both are a call of duty owed to good men, not something to please myself or remove the burden of a personal ache. So. Where would I like to go? What would I like to do? I made a list of colleges to visit. Drake University, Des Moines. Newman University, Wichita. Hood College, Frederick MD. Defiance College, Ohio. PSU Allegheny Campus, McKeesport. Of all the attractions in the world, it would be thrilling to find a home in a rational world. If it's a leisurely road trip, I can take the dog with me. He likes to ride in cars, jumps right in. Of necessity, all my endeavors will be short. A seminar or two, no possibility of putting down roots. One does not launch a new career at age 70. Hard to accept the fate of health problems and failing competence. That's why I'd like to lecture while I can. I have a lot to say about the future. It's a great temptation to teach a course on filmmaking, but it seems pointless to start something destined to end quickly, a year or two at most, and to what end? The world is full of filmed entertainment, including hundreds of Golden Age movies and thousands of classic TV hours. Kojak and Columbo. The Muppet Show. Hill Street Blues. Get Smart. There's an iron ceiling I should consider. I have very few remaining years to spend. I need to lecture on liberty and justice, foundational American principles under grievous assault. It's a matter of personal honor to stand up for my body of work. Rats. I have to go to Alaska and agitate for secession. Whenever possible, I'll honor Ali in my public statements, hope that he hears it. Bad idea to risk my neck searching Detroit to thank him in person. There are others I'd like to thank and can't. We don't get everything we want in life. Top priority is to promote common law justice and common law liberty, inspire younger people to carry on when I'm gone. www.wolfdevoon.net .
  20. Nice scholarship, of course, but I question the practice of triangulating a story. Snyder always annoyed me. I'm a "discovery" author. There's an outline subject to change, which it often does, because dramatic necessity flows from moments that are impossible to script in advance and which force characters and subsequent tensions and resolutions to shift. Compare 'The Easiest Thing In The World.' If I had to name the first principle of successful writing, I'd say crank out the right stuff at the right time with a network to plug it, publish it, and sell the film rights, not unlike Ayn Rand in her day, but more importantly Rowling's captive bombardment of middle grade classrooms via Scholastic and Suzanne Collins' tween blockbuster franchise Hunger Games topping Harry Potter. I can't count the number of 'help wanted' posts on Upwork seeking ghostwriters to do LGBTQ pulp novels for hire.
  21. http://www.lulu.com/shop/wolf-devoon/cocktail/paperback/product-24014364.html
  22. coming attraction, hosted by a friend, $10 a year, www.wolfdevoon.net