Closing Thought–21Apr20

I remember the oil hysteria from the 1970s and 80s…..I can recall when I was young gas was 35 cents a gallon (I know…I am old)……and I have watched it go to $5 a gallon and more…..but I never thought that the oil markets would ever do what they did yesterday….

It’s been a historic day in the financial markets: Oil futures plunged below zero Monday for the first time as demand for energy collapsed amid the coronavirus pandemic. The plunge led to a drop in stocks, too: The Dow fell 592 points, or 2.4%, to 23,650; the S&P 500 fell 51 points, 1.7%, to 2,823; and the Nasdaq fell 89 points, 1%, to 8,560. But the market’s most dramatic action was by far in oil, where benchmark US crude for May delivery plummeted to negative $35.20 per barrel at 2:30pm Eastern, per the AP. It was nearly $60 at the start of the year. Much of the drop into negative territory was chalked up to technical reasons—the May delivery contract is close to expiring so it was seeing less trading volume, which can exacerbate swings. But prices for deliveries even further into the future, which were seeing larger trading volumes, also plunged.

Demand for oil has collapsed so much that facilities for storing crude are nearly full. Tanks could hit their limits within three weeks, according to Chris Midgley, head of analytics at S&P Global Platts. Benchmark US crude oil for June delivery, which shows a more ”normal” price, fell 14.8% to $21.32 per barrel, as factories and automobiles around the world remain idled. Big oil producers have announced cutbacks in production in hopes of better balancing supplies with demand, but many analysts say it’s not enough. “Basically, bears are out for blood,” analyst Naeem Aslam of Avatrade said in a report. “The steep fall in the price is because of the lack of sufficient demand and lack of storage place given the fact that the production cut has failed to address the supply glut.”

As an international relations geek it will be interesting to see how this effects geopolitics….especially nations that have nothing but oil to offer the world…like Saudi Arabia.

But not to worry we will NEVER return to the days when a dollar would fill the tank….sorry about that crappy news.

Further Reading:

Some further views on this oil thingy……

Oil prices remained in turmoil in the US and the world on Tuesday, reports the Wall Street Journal. On Monday, the US benchmark dipped into negative territory for the first time, settling at -$37.63 per barrel. On Tuesday, the price improved, but remained in the red at -$6.30 per barrel. Meanwhile, the international benchmark (Brent crude futures) dropped 15% to $20.67 on Tuesday, the lowest figure in nearly 20 years. Coverage:

  • AOC’s revised tweet: When news of the historic slide into negative territory broke Monday, progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that “you absolutely love to see it,” but then deleted the tweet for what Business Insider calls a more “tempered” response. After calling this a “turning point in the climate movement,” the proponent of a Green New Deal wrote: “Fossil fuels are in long-term structural decline. This along w/ low interest rates means it‘s the right time to create millions of jobs transitioning to renewable and clean energy. A key opportunity.”
  • Not the ‘true’ price: In some ways, the negative price is an anomaly because of some financial “nuance”—it involves futures contracts, not the price of physical oil, writes Pippa Stevens at CNBC. How the AP explains it: “Trading of contracts for US oil to be delivered in May ends on Tuesday, meaning that the extreme drop does not accurately reflect the long-term view of the value of crude but rather investors’ ability to take delivery of it now. The next futures contract, for delivery in June, is considered to now be closer to the ‘true’ price of crude.” But that price is not so great, either: The June price was down to just $16.58 a barrel Tuesday morning.
  • Stop the spigots: The chief economist at commodities trader Trafigura puts it this way to the Journal: “This is the market signaling to producers that you need to cut off more production faster because we’re drowning in oil at this point.”
  • Gas pumps: Sorry, this does not mean you’ll be getting free gasoline, notes the Washington Post. The dip into red ink is “fleeting, and symbolic, more than anything, and it won’t have much effect on the price of gasoline at the pump,” writes Will Englund. “But it showed just how much the coronavirus pandemic has crushed the world’s energy markets—and how the global effort to stabilize them was failing.”
  • Quite a deal: At the New York Times, Neil Irwin writes about the “mind-bending” development. “If you happened to be in a position to take delivery of 1,000 barrels of oil in Cushing, Okla., in the month of May—the quantity quoted in the relevant futures contract—you could have been paid a cool $37,630 to do so.” And, yes, there’s a “technical” market explanation, “but the broader takeaway is that the COVID-19 crisis is an extraordinary deflationary shock to the economy, causing the idling of a vast share of the world’s productive resources.” And “the consequences will almost surely persist beyond the period of widespread lockdowns.”

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Covid-19 And Lawsuits

Remember when those idiots on the Right Jordan and Crenshaw introduced a bill that would allow Americans sue China for this virus….I said then that these two were idiots and would open a whole new can of worms…..And those worms have come home to roost…..

Repubes trying to be cute in the face of danger have opened up the lawsuit lotto…..

The largest union of nurses in the US will gather outside the White House on Tuesday to read aloud the names of colleagues who have died during the COVID-19 outbreak and to demand more money for better protective gear. National Nurses United wants Congress and President Trump to invoke emergency measures to provide money for N95 masks and other types of protection. Coverage, including the first major lawsuits filed collectively by nurses:

  • The anger: “We’re tired of being treated as if we are expendable,” NNU President Deborah Burger tells the Washington Post. “If we are killed in this pandemic, there won’t be anybody to take care of the rest of the sick people that are going to come.” Later, she added, “We’re beyond angered at this.” She estimates that more than 100 names will be read aloud at Tuesday’s White House protest.
  • Three lawsuits: The New York State Nurses Association has sued the state health department and two hospital systems there (Montefiore and Westchester), citing inadequate protection. It’s one of the first collective legal actions by health care workers amid the outbreak, per CNBC.
  • Personal stories: The lawsuits include first-person accounts from the nurses, who describe “war zone” conditions. Read them here. “I began experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, including cough and fever,” says Montefiore nurse Pamela Brown-Richardson in her affidavit. “I reported my symptoms to Montefiore and asked for testing. I was informed that Montefiore would not test me… I obtained testing on my own… [and] found out that I tested positive for COVID-19.”
  • Specific demand: Among other things, the New York nurses want enforcement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s directive that each direct-care nurse receive a new N95 mask daily, reports CNN. “New York’s hospitals have turned into petri dishes where the virus is allowed to spread, unchecked by basic protective equipment and measures,” say attorneys for the union in a memorandum of law.
  • Taking a stand: During protests against the state lockdown in Colorado, nurses in scrubs stood in counter-protest among the protesters, reports NBC News. One in Denver, who gave her name only as Alexis, said the protests felt like “a slap in the face to medical workers.” Nobody wants to be stuck at home, she said, but “that’s not the point.”

Morons to the Left……Idiots to the Right…..and I’ll take vanilla.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Could There Be Anything Positive About Covid-19?

We all know the downside of this virus….the unemployment, the food shortages, the confusion and the hysteria…..but could there be anything positive about this disease?

As an aging radical from the 60s and 70s I look for possibilities for organizing for a better country….at least in my thinking.

First as an IWW delegate in the past I look for ways to organize labor into better unions for the workers……this pandemic could very well be one of those times…..

September 1945, a little-remembered frenzy erupted in the United States. Japan had surrendered, ending World War II, but American meat packers, steelworkers, telephone installers, telegraph operators, and auto assemblers had something different from partying in mind. In rolling actions, they went on strike. After years of patriotic silence on the home front, these workers, along with unhappy roughnecks, lumberjacks, railroad engineers, and elevator operators — some 6 million workers in all — shut down their industries and some entire cities. Mainly they were seeking higher pay — and they got it, averaging 18% increases.

The era of raucous labor is long past, and worker chutzpah along with it. That is, it was — until now. Desperately needed to staff the basic economy while the rest of us remain secluded from Covid-19, ordinarily little-noticed workers are wielding unusual leverage. Across the country, cashiers, truckers, nurses, burger flippers, stock replenishers, meat plant workers, and warehouse hands are suddenly seen as heroic, and they are successfully protesting. For the previous generation of labor, the goal post was the 40-hour week. New labor’s immediate aims are much more prosaic: a sensible face mask, a bottle of sanitizer, and some sick days.

IWW?  What the Hell?

The IWW is a member-run union for all workers, a union dedicated to organizing on the job, in our industries and in our communities. IWW members are organizing to win better conditions today and build a world with economic democracy tomorrow. We want our workplaces run for the benefit of workers and communities rather than for a handful of bosses and executives.

We are the Industrial Workers of the World because we organize industrially.

This means we organize all workers producing the same goods or providing the same services into one union, rather than dividing workers by skill or trade, so we can pool our strength to win our demands together. Since the IWW was founded in 1905, we have made significant contributions to the labor struggles around the world and have a proud tradition of organizing across gender, ethnic and racial lines – a tradition begun long before such organizing was popular.

We invite you to become a member whether or not the IWW happens to have representation rights in your workplace. We organize the worker, not the job, and recognize that unions are not about government certification or employer recognition but about workers coming together to address common concerns.

Sometimes this means refusing to work with dangerous equipment and chemicals.

Sometimes it means striking or signing a contract. Other times it mean agitating around particular issues or grievances in a workplace or industry.

The IWW is a democratic, member-run union. That means members decide what issues to address, and which tactics to use and we directly vote on office holders, from stewards to national offices. Why wait? Join the IWW and organize for a better future.

Now that part of your education is done…..

What about politics?

And yes I was a political activist as well back in the Dark Ages (60s and 70s)……

This pandemic could change the political scene in the US…..for the better…..only if we are paying attention and not looking for easy answers….there are NONE!

There is a future that makes itself, and a future that we make. The real future is composed of both. The future that makes itself, including a pandemic, we can never modify. The future we make is within our grasp to change, but to do so favorably demands that we look at the world with clear eyes. Government officials across the political spectrum have not always done so during the pandemic. I sometimes sense a kind of attentive passivity in them, of the kind I demonstrated in my own case. They are aware of what is happening, but somehow their thoughts seem tied to other forces that come along. Their minds are on the alert, but still vulnerable, a kind of target; they are sensitive, receptive to everything, and therein lies the problem: Their thinking risks succumbing to human nature and ideology.

Diagnosing America’s Pandemic Response

We can get this thing right this time…..but only if we stop looking for the easy answers and falling for promises that cannot be delivered….or looking for partisan answers….it will take the whole country to fight this thing since we have a president that will not step to do the hard work.

If you work then time for some unity and some demands to be met.

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Those “Anti-Stay” Protesters

First let me say I think these idiots need to get a grip and pay attention…..beyond that what are these d/bags really all about?

Donald the Orange and his “brain trust” think they can reshape human opinion by this stupidity.

Anti-social distancing and anti-stay-at-home order rallies are cropping up across the country, reminiscent of the early days of the Tea Party, when well-funded right-leaning groups lit a fire under an already outraged Republican base and helped ignite a political movement.

In fact, Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks, a right-leaning advocacy group that helped support the Tea Party movement back in 2009, said in an interview that “this has the same DNA [as] the Tea Party movement.”

The events — some, like in Michigan, featuring thousands of attendees — are organized largely by conservative groups calling state-based measures too draconian. Some of the groups have posted links and images on Facebook that downplay the seriousness of the virus. And other leaders have advocated against following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, like a ban on big gatherings and the recommendation to wearing face masks in certain public settings (because wearing them would be “counterproductive”). Some of the protests have taken on the feel of 2016 Trump campaign rallies, with participants wearing Make America Great Again hats and waving flags emblazoned with the president’s face.

Then there are those small dick macho a/holes that think they can intimidate people by wearing there penis extensions called guns.  All standing around looking like they just had what few brains they possessed dragged out through their ears…..with their “tac glasses and web gear” to make them look like they might have some honor when they have NOTHING….but their role playing stupidity.  (sorry for the vulgarity but these types of “people” make me so pissed)

This has NOTHING to do with the virus and more to do with trying to raise his, Trump’s,  popularity numbers before the campaign starts in earnest.

Then there is his blame game….which is so pathetic that it is almost laughable…..and yet scary that he could be so callous as to not face the music and protect the people he took an oath to do so.

Talk about a pack of sheep….the more he lies the more they blindly follow…..that makes them IDIOTS!

Then the two dogs have said it all…..

Dogs are so perceptive.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Pandemic Health Care

Since this pandemic has started effecting the country there has been a debate about health care….people are losing their coverage and Dems have stepped up to help…….

Did they come up with a plan to get all Americans coverage?

NO they did not!

Their solution is to help insurers make even more profit off this disease.

Say What!

The Dems want to pay private insurers during the pandemic……

An unprecedented number of people are losing their jobs in the United States right now. Because of the employer-dependent health care labyrinth we have set up, that means an unprecedented number are also losing their health insurance. The new group of uninsured only adds to the huge chunk of the country—nearly 30 million people—that were already uninsured before the coronavirus hit.

Private health insurers’ primary motive isn’t keeping people healthy, but to cut costs, maximize profits, and deny coverage to boost their bottom line. Yet Democrats’ big idea to help insure people is to effectively subsidize that largely reviled industry. Vox reported on Tuesday that House Democrats are going to push for a bill to fully cover premiums for COBRA, a health insurance program that allows workers to keep buying into their employer-sponsored plans after they are laid off.

This should be a wake up call to all Americans that the Dems will protect the insurance and Big Pharma over the people.

Never fall for the BS that they, the Dems, are working on getting all Americans health care…..and yet the American voter falls for their lies hook, line and sinker…..every time!

Be Smart!

Learn stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”