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Friday, July 8, 2011

Escape From the Oil Patch

Thirty years ago, I spent a few summers working for my uncle in the Wyoming oil patch. It is hard, nasty, dirty work. During one summer, I worked near Gillette, Wyoming. I used to count the number of trailer houses in caravans as they went down the interstate. Trucks everywhere. Dirt everywhere. My feelings about Gillette have never changed much. Until this week.

I was born a few miles from Williston, North Dakota just over the Montana line. I come back here primarily to hunt pheasants in the fall. This year, death and illness have prompted my return.

They are calling the Bakken formation the biggest oil discovery in modern history. It is relatively common for Bakken oil wells to produce 2500 to 5000 barrels per day. This is enormous. Williston is ground zero in the oil patch. It makes Gillette look like a ghost town.

I have never seen so many trucks concentrated anywhere. They are destroying the streets and roads. Oilfield workers are living in RV's and paying 2500 a month to live in trailer houses. They have "man camps" which are fully transportable blocks of housing that are springing up everywhere in the patch, some new camps near Trenton. These things are barely a couple of hundred square feet per worker. Drilling rigs are drilling and moving, leaving pumps and storage tanks behind. They burn the natural gas off. There are dots of flame visible everywhere at night. It kind of makes me gasp. It is choreographed chaos and is certainly not the Williston of my youth. 

The local Walmart is a disaster zone. There were 21 carts of merchandise strewn about today behind the check stands. I have tried 3 times to change the oil in our car- today's wait was 4 hours. Back in the store, entire sections and aisles are decimated and empty. McDonalds in the morning is simply a non starter. The entire oil patch eats there. Two lines of cars, two lines of people all the way out the entrance.

I've been here nearly 10 days. It is dirty, the bugs are ferocious, and there is flooding and standing water everywhere. The smell of stagnant water. 

But there are jobs. Hundreds of them everywhere. Twenty bucks an hour and up. The drilling rigs are power assisted now- so you are not lifting 100 lb tongs or slips. Drilling in sub zero temperatures day after day with 30 mile an hour winds is no bargain. Summer's tolerable, winter will just flat kick your ass. They drug test too. Wow. That would have left all the workers in Gillette unemployed.

The other day, I parked along side a rig and just watched. I saw a gal scraping a site in an excavator across the road. And for just a minute, I thought it might be fun to do that work again. Make that a second. I came to my senses quickly. The oil patch is for young-uns, old oil men and geologists making bank, corporate America and all of the suppliers. It is no place for old men with torn ligaments.

I have my escape plan laid out. My car is covered in dirt and mud. I'll wash it off when I quit seeing trucks. Maybe in Miles City.

Who's Head Are We Going To Chop Off First?

My former boss always used to say..."Every once in awhile you gotta  chop somebody's head off in the square. This will keep the bastards in line and let them know we aren't afraid to kill a few of them."

For some odd reason, that came to mind when I read this:

The American Disconnect

In America, we now have two tiers for everything. In the upper tier are the rich and elite. Corporations, lawyers, billionaire CEO's, and investors. Old money. The upper 10% literally own the U.S. They grease politicians, they pay no taxes. They are immune from prosecution. The worst thing they are ever subjected to is a little public embarrassment and some civil penalties that still leave them with 100's of millions. Think Angelo Mozilo and his crooked "Friends of Angelo" mortgage fund. Big tough guy, D. Issa subpoenaed the names of people Mozilo made those loans to. Guess what?? That information was due on Mar. 7. Four months later and we still don't know who was on that list. It is undisclosed.

Like I said. A two tier system.

The rest of us get our asses kicked for the simplest infractions. We are not powerful nor rich. The government doesn't bail us out or beg us for political contributions. They simply steal our work product in the form of taxes. If we can't pay- we get fined to death with outrageous interest, additional penalties, or get locked up. That's how it is in the new U.S.

We have no leadership anywhere. No role models. We have Presidents of dubious ancestry who spent their formative years in Indonesia. The product of an atheist mother and an alcoholic father. And we wonder why he can't lead. Shit. It's a wonder he managed to do as well as he has.

Personally, I think the two tier system became firmly entrenched with two criminals. Ted Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Manslaughter and Conspiracy to Commit Burglary. Both men should have been locked up and put in prison. In America, we should have set the example that no body is above the law. But we blew it. And when we did- it made it ok to look the other way when a few hundred thousand bankers all committed mortgage fraud.

That is the two tier system as it applies to our broken criminal justice system. The same two tier system applies to Wall St. and Main St. The haves, or the criminally elite, have managed to steal the wealth of this country. They have ignored Main St. They try very hard to put the best possible spin on this disaster they have caused. The jobs suck on Main St. They pay nothing. They have no benefits and it's not getting any better. In fact today's non farm payroll numbers prove how bad it's getting.

That's the American disconnect. Watch CNBC (they cater to the elite) and you'd think our country was absolutely healthy. Down here on Main St., the 90% are broke and begging. But then, the elite don't spend much time down on Main St. We simply can't ignore or escape the fact...the conclusion...that class warfare is now over. The 90% lost and the 10% ain't giving the wealth back.

Our country is so structurally broken, and our leaders so inept and fractured, that there is virtually no hope of any kind of sweeping reform or positive change. Two parties running around and blaming each other. It would be hilarious if it weren't so fucking painful to watch innocent and poor people losing jobs and houses. We had a system that worked fine 50 years ago. It was abandoned for greed.

We deserve this. In fact, we deserve worse and I think we are going to get it. A beautiful piece.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Warren's Camp Out

Each year, Warren Buffett and all of his friends go camping in Moonbat Valley. Allen and company. They all fly their jets to Sun Valley, rent the most expensive cars, and splash a little money around. The locals like it. It is kind of like "burning man" for the rich and elite except and most fortunately- they keep their clothes on.

This morning, I had the opportunity to watch these people wax poetic on the economy with the Elkhorn Golf Course as a back drop. CNBC sent Becky Quick to interview Muhtar Kent among others- CEO of Coca Cola. CNBC treats them all like economists. The elite are extended credibility as though having a lot of dough makes you an expert on everything. Their elite egos are quick to pounce on that emotional praise. It's like patting boys on the head. Good job, son. Warren is now talking about his criminally low tax rate. Warren said that he paid 16.6% in taxes last year and yet people still wonder why our government is bankrupt. I paid 20%. Fuck you Warren.

Warren certainly loves to talk about himself. It must be hard being so smart.

The problem with 10% of the U.S. population (elite) owning essentially everything, is that there is not much left over for the rich to feed on and exploit in the U.S. That's why corporate America left our shores. They abandoned the U.S. for ridiculously low tax rates and dollar an hour- slave labor. Greed is nothing new.

And the United States still can't figure how to deal with that. So Bush Obama, the big hope and change guy, extended decade long tax cuts along with those crony capitalists in Congress.

I don't care how you feel about taxes. We spent the money and the bill is due. Somebody is going to have to pay. All debts are paid- either by the borrower or the lender.

Dow Futures are up 80 points as I write this. The economy lost 418,000 jobs and that wasn't nearly as bad as people were thinking- so today's rally is on. That is the alternate reality I live in. Where bad news is good news. Where the DOW and other averages are making two month highs amidst some of the shittiest economic numbers of the past three years.

Years ago I was forced to put up with the snobs at the camp out. I remember standing at the front desk in Sun Valley asking directions to a room where we would be discussing security for the camp out- when one of the privileged class interrupted me. The desk clerk immediately answered her questions while I stood there. Etiquette it seems, is a subjective thing. 

I have some news for Warren and his elite friends. They have run out of people to exploit in the U.S. They will have to focus on exploiting someone else. In a healthy economy, an economy where Main Street participates, there is an opportunity for the rich to capitalize on the large and cash flush middle class. In a world where our government kleptocracy exploits the middle class first, there's just not enough money left over for the elite to nab. That is the dilemma Warren and his friends must discuss at the big slumber party in Moonbat Valley. I was able to escape from Moonbat Valley a few years ago and I am very grateful for that. I found Allen and Company to be nothing but a big pain in the ass.

Moonbat Valley is a very appropriate place for that sort of thing.



Winner Takes All- A Poker Story

Imagine ten people sitting down at a table and agreeing to play poker. One winner is going to get all of the money. One winner and nine losers. The function of ego is amazing. Overwhelming odds indicate that all of the people but one will lose- but yet they play. They play because it is a fair and level playing field, it is fun, and they can play in another game somewhere else if they lose.

Tonight I came across a statement that made my brain hurt. Let's see if it does the same to you.

Professor G. William Domhoff demonstrated that the richest 10% own 98.5% of all financial securities, and that:
The top 10% have 80% to 90% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and over 75% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.

So, whether you like class warfare or not...there it is. The elite have all the dough.

I wouldn't mind that either- if it weren't for a couple of things. First of all, unlike poker- the game is rigged. They cheated. It's not a level playing field. The elite have enriched the elite at the expense of the rest of us. Think tax code and a crooked government that has enabled swindlers (bankers) to steal this nation's wealth and get away with it.  Congressman taking campaign donation bribes. Returning favors. Cushy jobs and speaking engagements.

Like Carlin used to say...Why does the working class of this country vote for these rich cocksuckers? Apparently we enjoy enriching these bastards and living in poverty.

It can't be fun being poor. Not being able to pay the medical insurance. Divorce. And the worst part about this? You can't find another game anywhere. Maybe China or India if you wanna make 2 bucks an hr.

The problem with rampant and uncontrollable greed is that the game has to end. There is a finite amount of chips. There is a finite amount of loans to be made. There is nobody left to plunder. Ninety percent of us are broke. This is how the poker game ends. It breaks up. The winners and losers have been identified. Now it's just a matter of how long it is going to take the government to figure this out. They are still trying to keep the game going by giving free chips to the guy that already has them all. Fascinating. How long can this charade continue? Well, it's been over three years so far...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Really, Pat?

This is what Patrick Henry said about the Constitution. How could our younger residents know this when most of the country can't pass a history test or wasn't born here? That certainly includes the enlightened left. Ah yes, the moonbat party. They want laws for everything. Free money. Free health care. Helmets. Gun laws. Recycling.

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests”.
- Patrick Henry -

Frankenstein Government for Treasury Secretary

My pharmacist spent something like 6 years and 250k going to USC to learn how to count pills. She quickly points out that she must know the dangers of medications and how they interact with each other. I then counter that software can do that. Humans just interpret.

So who exactly counts out the pills and fills the bottles? Who answers the phone and does the work? The 10.00 dollar an hour pharmacy techs, that's who. The pharmacist, I suppose because she passed calculus and organic chemistry classes, makes 6 times what the real workers get. That's how it is in America.

I have often wondered how difficult being a pharmacist or let's say-a Treasury Secretary truly is. Each and every time I see Timothy Geithner this is what I see. Geithner spews a bunch of bullshit and makes ugly faces. A lot of scowling. He warns against the dangers of failing to raise the debt ceiling.  These are things that I can do. Hank Paulson did those things too, but he had to trick Congress and the American people by lying to them and stealing 700 billion from the treasury to bail out his Wall St. friends. I'm no good at that shit. Alan Greenspan, when he was the FED boss, could talk for 30 minutes and not say one fucking relevant thing. Now that he has left that job and our country is in a shambles- he has suddenly learned how to speak directly. I'm not sure whether spewing lies and rhetoric are necessary for both jobs but clearly Greenspan and Bernanke, Paulson and now Geithner- all think so.

So having observed these guys President Obama, I'd like to nominate myself for Treasury Secretary primarily because I think I can do a better job.

Here's a brief abstract of my resume.'

I don't have any friends to bail out. They are mostly cops and government workers. I'm not too bad at math. I know that you must have more money coming in than you are spending- I learned this painful lesson when those crooked bankers would charge me 30 bucks a check for "bounced" checks and overdraft fees when I failed to keep an accurate accounting of my spending. I can scowl on queue or spew circumlocuos bullshit for long periods of time. I am very photogenic. I can look important and wear suits and ties. I am not afraid of public speaking. I have paid all of my taxes. I can pass a polygraph test or a drug screen. I can kiss ass before the 2012 election. I can throw a baseball like a man and I play golf. When we play golf, I will let you win Mr. Obama. I am currently unemployed like half of the country so I will not have to give two weeks notice.

There, I think that just about does it. What's not to like? Please feel free to contact me here- maybe leave me that secret White House phone number in the comment box and I will call you right back.


Frankenstein Government

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Most Patriotic Citizen I Ever Met....

began life here as an illegal alien. He had something the vast majority of U.S. citizens do not possess. He had the gift of perspective and gratitude. I have written of him before.

I met him in Shakopee, Mn. It was July of 2007. We crossed paths because we had a little time and we loved motorcycles. These are the sorts of things that can happen spontaneously- when you are not too busy rushing about your life because you think you have to.

I saw him oogling my motorcycle and all of my luggage at a gas station. We struck up a conversation about traveling on bikes and he explained that he would love to travel the U.S. like I was but that he had responsibilities and there was simply no way he could take a few months off and ride. I understood.

He was born in Mexico around 1960. Somewhere south of Brownsville, Tx. He was born into pure poverty. His family owned no property, they lived in a corrugated shack in the dirt. Often they would steal things they needed. Food and clothing. He was not proud of this nor did he glorify or rationalize whether it was right or wrong. That was how he lived his first 12 years.The family snuck into Brownsville sometime around 1972. They rented a house with indoor plumbing.

I think his name was Jose but I cannot remember now. What I do remember was his patriotism and his gratefulness. In Mexico he explained, there was no opportunity. In America, you had the opportunity to work hard and prosper. In Mexico as a child, there was no opportunity. Time and time again, he talked about the American dream. He had worked hard, he now owned a house and a Harley. He had a nice family and he was a co-owner in a small trucking outfit. He was incredibly grateful for those things and he repeated that often in the hour I spent talking with him. Mexico and that corrugated shack had given him the gift of perspective.

He was grateful for what he had...not resentful for what he thought he had been denied.

I have thought about that conversation many times. How random it was. How badly I needed to hear those things that day. There are millions of Americans that need to hear that message as well. We have opportunity and freedom here. But it is waning and the windows are getting smaller. Opportunity is not some gift bestowed upon a few of us- by an oppressive government that picks the winners from it's nanny supporters and statist followers. That's not how it was intended to work.

In one hours' time, this man convinced me he was a true patriot. Not a nationalist. He was living the dream and just as scared as I was that our very own government would screw it all up. 

America was supposed to be the place where dreams came true. Where opportunity existed for all people- not just Harvard grads, greedy Wall St. bankers, or the government and it's lawyers who cover up their crimes. Something has gone horribly wrong when those types of people become our role models- sanctimonious, greedy, entitled. Truly sad. I'll take Jose's brand of Americana any day. Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Yellowstone Oil Spill

I tried to link this story from the NY Post. That didn't work so I am just going to cut and paste this. Why?

Get a load of this. A spokeswoman for the oil company says the pipeline ruptured and only spilled oil into the river for "1/2 hr." What annoys me most is that whoever initially reported on the story did virtually no investigative reporting. Investigative reporting occurs when reporters ask operative questions like how does Exxon actually monitor pipelines? How would they know when the pipeline ruptured? And just how in the hell did this spokeswoman determine that the spill only lasted 1/2 hr.? What about the repairs? Having answered some salient questions about the spill rather than simply providing a conduit for a corporate press release would enable people to evaluate some facts.

How convenient. Like asking BP to police itself in the gulf. We are supposed to accept the words of a company spokeswoman who is paid to minimize losses and liability for the company? She wouldn't possibly minimize or lie about the spill, would she?

In America now days, we let our corporate masters set our policy. We blindly believe their bullshit even though we all know they lie and minimize. I guess we just accept it. I am on the Yellowstone River right now. It is muddy, flooding, and nasty. Time to send an oil slick down the Missouri with one stop for a nuclear power plant near Omaha. Here's the snip:

LAUREL, Mont. — An ExxonMobil pipeline that runs under the Yellowstone River near Billings in south-central Montana ruptured and dumped an unknown amount of oil into the waterway, prompting temporary evacuations along the river Saturday morning.
Company spokeswoman Pam Malek, who was at the scene, said the pipe leaked for about a half-hour, though it's not clear how much oil leaked.
The cause of the rupture wasn't known.
Brent Peters, the fire chief for the city of Laurel about 12 miles east of Billings, said the break in the 12-inch diameter pipe occurred late Friday about a mile south of Laurel.
He said about 140 people were evacuated starting about 12:15 a.m. Saturday due to concerns about possible explosions, and the overpowering fumes. He said they were allowed to return at about 4 a.m. after instruments showed fumes had decreased. He said more evacuations occurred farther downstream outside his district but those numbers weren't immediately clear.
ExxonMobil was sending a response team to the area and cleanup work had begun with crews deploying booms and absorbent towels about a mile east of Laurel along the bank of the river, where a thick band of oil could be seen coating vegetation.
There appeared to be no attempts at capturing oil farther out in the river, and Peters said there is likely more oil washed up downstream.
"Nobody's been able to lay their eyes on the pipe," Peters said. "Right now the Yellowstone River is at flood stage. The bank isn't stable enough for anybody to get close."
The cause of the break is not known, but Peters and Malek said speculation involves high water flowing through the river that might have gouged out the river bed and exposed the pipe, which was possibly hit by debris.
"I haven't seen it this high for at least 15 years," Peters said.
The state has received record rainfall in the last month and also has a huge snowpack in the mountains that is melting, which has resulted in widespread flooding in recent weeks.
Three oil refineries are in the Billings area, and Peters said he asked all three to turn off the flow of oil in their pipelines under the river once the leak was reported. He said ExxonMobil and Cenex Harvest Refinery did so, and that Conoco Phillips said its pipe was already shutdown.
He said the river where the leak occurred is about 250 yards wide, and that early Saturday morning an oil slick appeared to be about 20 feet wide.
"That was the farthest my flashlight would reach," he said.
Laurel, which has a population of about 6,500, is known for a huge Fourth of July fireworks display put on by the fire department, which has its own pyrotechnics crew. Peters said the town can swell to as many as 50,000 people for the event.
He said the fire department plans to hold the event on Monday.

Winning The Future-Obama's Executive Order #13575

I said I wasn't going to post anything this weekend. Then I read an article about the Great Marxist signing executive order 13575. 

I have truly grown to dislike Obama's cheer leading and rhetoric. How exactly- does one "win" the future? Obama's rhetoric about winning kind of reminds me of Charlie Sheen running around the country and acting like the drug crazed moron that he is. Charlie says he is winning also.

Then as I watched You Tube vids of Obama it hit me. He talks just like an evangelist. Really. Posturing, voice inflection, emphasis on certain words. He has all of the substance of an evangelist without the core material. 

I am using something similar to a Commodore 64 computer and I can barely type on it as it stands. You are going to have to look up Executive Order 13575- the formation of the White House "Rural Council." It is here that Komrade Obama has now begun the takeover of rural America- that part of America that can't stand him.

Obama doesn't have any problem identifying his adversaries. He is very good at pretending to embrace them once he does. Like Hillary. That truly sets Obama apart from most people. It makes him look forgiving while he carves a notch in your spine. Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.  Keep that in mind as you read this new EO 13575.

He signed the order on Jun 9. Losing. That's the feeling I get when Obama says he wins.