By M. Ulric Killion

7-8-2012 1-34-41 PM

Photo Source: Richard Posner of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. John Gress/Reuters /Landov.

In a recent interview with NPR, the renowned conservative legal thinker Federal Judge Richard Posner, who is a 1981 President Ronald Reagan appointee to the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals, spoke candidly about the crisis of the new Republican Party and conservative thinking in America.

Judge Posner spoke of the modern Republican Party as a crisis arising from a “real deterioration in conservative thinking” that has moved him away from a Republican Party base, which he described as a “crowd of lunatics.”

For instance, when addressing the right-winger attacks against Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion upholding the Affordable Care Act, he said,

Because if you put [yourself] in his position … what’s he supposed to think? That he finds his allies to be a bunch of crackpots? Does that help the conservative movement? I mean, what would you do if you were Roberts? All the sudden you find out that the people you thought were your friends have turned against you, they despise you, they mistreat you, they leak to the press. What do you do? Do you become more conservative? Or do you say, ‘What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics?’ Right? Maybe you have to re-examine your position.

According to a recent Slate article, Judge Posner also called out conservative Justice Antonin Scalia  for his combative dissent in the recent Arizona immigration case, in which he specifically attacked President Barack Obama’s immigration policies. Posner wrote that it “wouldn’t surprise [him] if Justice Scalia’s opinion were quoted in campaign ads.”

7-8-2012 2-24-17 PM

All of this, according to  his NPR interview,  led Judge Posner to express exasperation with the modern Republican Party, while also confessing that he has become “less conservative” as a result.

For those unaware, Judge Posner is also a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, and has authored dozens of books on law and economics. In 2000, the Journal of Legal Studies identified him as the most-cited legal scholar of the 20th century.

Sources:

Nina Totenberg, Federal Judge Richard Posner: The GOP Has Made Me Less Conservative, NPR, July 8, 2012.

Ashley Portero, Reagan-Appointed Judge Richard Posner Calls ‘Goofy’ Republicans A ‘Crowd of Lunatics’, International Business Times, July 6, 2012.

Richard A. Posner, Supreme Court Year in Review, Slate, June 27, 2012.

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See also The Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Posted by: mulrickillion | June 22, 2012

Bo Xilai’s wife, Gu Kailai, confesses to Neil Heywood killing

By M. Ulric Killion

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Photo Source: (FILES) In a file photo taken on on March 9, 2012, Bo Xilai, Communist Party secretary of Chongqing attends the third plenary session of of the National People’s Congress’s (NPC) annual session at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images) via Gu Kailai, Bo Xilai’s Wife, Has Confessed To Neil Heywood Killing: Japanese Newspaper, Huffington Post, June 22, 2012.

In the continuing drama of the mystery surrounding the murder of Neil Heywood, a Japanese Newspaper, the The Asahi Shimbun, reported that Gu Kailai, the wife of Bo Xilai, confessed to the Neil Heywood killing.

According to The Asahi Shimbun,

Gu Kailai told Chinese investigators she killed Neil Heywood, who was found dead at a hotel in Chongqing, China, in November 2011. Communist party sources told the Ashi that Gu killed Heywood over her corrupt business practices–she worried that he would “reveal illegal remittances of billions of dollars abroad that he allegedly helped organize for her.”

In April 2012, it was earlier reported that Heywood was poisoned after threatening to expose Gu’s money moves–a parallel finding to the Japanese newspaper’s Friday report.

Source: Gu Kailai, Bo Xilai’s Wife, Has Confessed To Neil Heywood Killing: Japanese Newspaper, Huffington Post, June 22, 2012.

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See also

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

By M. Ulric Killion

6-19-2012 10-42-52 AM

Photo Source: African expatriates protesting the deaf of a fellow expatriate in the Yuexiu district of Guangzhou, PRC; 广州一外籍男子与人打斗后死亡 外国人围聚派出所堵路, Ifeng.com News, June 19, 2012.

Today, in Guangzhou, China, there was a clash between African expatriates and Chinese police officers in the Yuexiu district.

After reading the article, I was reminded of both an ongoing immigration crisis in China, especially concerning expats from some African countries in Guangzhou, and occasional reports of abuse of some prisoners in police custody in different parts of China.

The standoff involved a dispute about a fare for a taxi (by motorcycle) between a Chinese citizen and an African expat.

The police officer(s) took both to the local Yuexiu police station, and reportedly the African expat collapsed and ultimately died.

Yuexiu police officers did dispatch for medical assistance to help this man.

6-19-2012 10-43-48 AM

Photo Source: African expatriates protesting the deaf of a fellow expatriate in the Yuexiu district of Guangzhou, PRC, as one protester is shown holding up a sign that reads, “Give us the body”; 广州一外籍男子与人打斗后死亡 外国人围聚派出所堵路, Ifeng.com News, June 19, 2012.

While an investigation will take place, the expats in the photos must suspect some sort of foul play, because, in one of the photos, an expat is holding a sign that says, “Give Us The Dead Body.” 

Otherwise, the lack of information about what exactly occurred inside the Yuexiu police station notwithstanding, it is difficult to imagine that some sort of police abuse arose simply out of a dispute about the fare for a taxi.

Finally, one reasonably suspects that the investigation of this incident will more fully explain the cause of death.

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See Ifeng.com News report:

广州一外籍男子与人打斗后死亡 外国人围聚派出所堵路

2012年06月19日 19:28
来源:
人民网

人民网北京6月19日电(记者耿聪)记者今日从广州公安官网微博获悉,19日下午,一些外籍人员在广园西路聚集并堵塞道路交通,越秀警方及时采取果断措施,依法妥善处置了该起事件。

广州越秀警方今天(6月19日)向媒体通报:19日下午,一些外籍人员在广园西路聚集并堵塞道路交通,越秀警方及时采取果断措施,依法妥善处置了该起事件。

6月18日13时许,一名外籍男士在广园西路搭乘电动自行车,与车主因车费纠纷引发打斗,双方随后被警方带回矿泉派出所作进一步调查。17时许,该外籍男士突然昏迷,警方即通知“120”派医务人员到场抢救,最终经抢救无效死亡,警方正依法立案开展侦查. . . .

Source: http://news.ifeng.com/mainland/detail_2012_06/19/15418726_0.shtml

All Rights Reserved M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

By M. Ulric Killion

5-7-2012 3-21-28 AM

Photo Source: “Trade and aid are expected to top discussions during the China-Africa Summit…”; “Export-Import Bank of China extended $12.5 billion more in loans to sub-Saharan Africa in the past decade than the World Bank, Fitch Ratings said. State-owned EXIM lent about $67.2 billion to the world’s poorest region between 2001 and 2010 compared with the World Bank’s $54.7 billion…,” Mike Cohen, China’s EXIM Lends More to Sub-Sahara Africa Than World Bank, Bloomberg, December 28, 2011; cnsphoto/defensepak.forum.

The U.S. Congress is presently struggling with the issue of whether to renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). Since its inception in 1934, the issue of renewing the charter of the Ex-Im Bank has hardly been a controversial one, as the U.S. Congress routinely and without controversy would renew its charter. This year, however, the renewal issue is causing a controversy, though surprisingly not along partisan lines. Rather, the center of the controversy is a division within the Republican Party.

According to the Associated Press, “In the House, Republicans are torn between their business allies who are strong Ex-Im backers and conservative groups which say the agency should be eliminated.” This controversy and division within the Republican Party also parallels diverging positions in the aircraft industry or trade in large civil aircraft, as seen in the difference between The Boeing Company (Boeing), which is a beneficiary of Ex-Im Bank financing, and Delta Air Lines that maintains Ex-Im Bank financing adversely affects its bottom line.

For those unaware, the Ex-Im Bank generally serves the critical role of helping to finance American companies’ overseas sales such as trade in large civil aircraft. In terms of global trade, the complaints of Delta Air Lines notwithstanding, for the U.S. economy, the renewal of the bank’s charter presents an economic imperative that will ultimately foster economic growth, productivity in manufacturing, jobs, and other positive amenities.

The role of the Ex-Im Bank and its potential to aid in the financing of overseas sales is important, as especially seen in the case of the European Union (EU) and its aircraft industry (i.e., trade in large civil aircraft). As Boeing earlier warned, as reported by the Financial Times, “Airlines will have to make greater use of the bond markets to pay for aircraft because European banks are pulling back from commercial aircraft financing.”

The reality of the present crisis of the large civil aircraft industry, as noted by Boeing Capital Corporation, which is the U.S. aircraft manufacture’s financial arm, airlines are now more likely to lease, rather than buy, new large civil aircraft, which is a direct consequence owing to a reduction in the availability of bank lending. According to Boeing Capital Corporation,

BCC expects that 10 per cent – or $10bn – of the financing for the 2012 deliveries will come from airlines and lessors tapping capital markets, mainly though bond rather than equity issuance. BCC estimates only 5 per cent of financing will have come from capital markets in 2011.

Meanwhile, BCC expects commercial bank lending for aircraft purchases to shrink as a proportion of aircraft financing, from 25 per cent in 2011 to 21 per cent in 2012. The absolute amount is due to increase slightly, from $19bn in 2011 to $20bn in 2012.

The benefits of an export-import bank, however, are subject to the world trading system and its rules, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement). It is notably that both Boeing and the EU’s Airbus have been subject to charges of violating the WTO’s SCM agreement, by receiving unfair subsidies.

For example, in March 2012, the WTO upheld a ruling that Boeing received “at least” $5.3 billion of unfair subsidies between 1989 and 2006, while also agreeing with Airbus that the effect of these subsidies or financial support was greater than their face value, as measurable in light of their “particularly pervasive” nature. There is also the pending WTO case against Airbus and its unfair subsidies. In April 2012, a WTO dispute panel agreed to further examine the EU’s compliance in the Airbus case, including an issue of new unfair subsidies.

While aircraft industry trending leans toward leasing rather than buying large civil aircraft, there are, however, exceptions to the rule such as the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ or Kabushiki-gaisha Nippon-seisaku-toshi-ginko), which is not pulling back from aircraft financing as seen with some European banks, and a growing participation in the market by some insurance companies.

Then there is the often overlooked potential role of the Ex-Im Bank in both international financing and international diplomacy. An exemplary example of such a role is the case of China and its export-import bank, which is the Export Import Bank of China (China Eximbank or Zhongguo Jinchukou Yinhang).

For instance, and quoting from an earlier article, China’s Eximbank earlier granted Belgrade a billion euro ($1.3 billon) loan to upgrade two power plants and, in the spring of 2010, commence the construction of a bride over the Danube River. Dusan Reljib, from the EU External Relations division of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, described the Chinese presence as “gathering momentum right across the region. ‘The Chinese are in Slovenia, in Macedonia, they’re exporting buses to Skopje, they’re talking to Croatia about transport facilities, harbors, airports, railway connections,’ he said ‘and they’ve been talking to the Greeks about leasing possibilities in Athens harbor.’”

As Reljib also observed,

“With very little direct foreign investment coming into the region, tight government budgets and unemployment rates on the rise again, he says Balkan states need and welcome China’s money, which comes with grace periods, generously low interest rates and very few strings attached. ‘The Chinese do not attach economic or political conditions to their loans,’ Reljic said. ‘In a way, cheap Chinese money is an alternative to commercially expensive Western money or politically expensive money from the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.’”

China’s creative international financing employs in many parts of the world, such as the regions of the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa.

In this respect, and demonstrating a broader importance of export-import banks, it may simply be an issue of a Beijing-form of creative international financing rather than a familiar Washington-form of capitalism.

In the end, a crisis looms because the charter of the Ex-Im Bank is set to expire at the end of this month, and there is also the issue of the Ex-Im Bank’s statutory lending cap of $100 billion. One reasonably suspects that the U.S. Congress will renew the Ex-Im Bank’s charter, and attempt to adjust its lending cap. This is because the role of the Ex-Im Bank rightly enjoys bi-partisan support, as it also actually aids in the promotion of competitiveness in manufacturing, economic growth, and world trade.

Sources:

Jim Abrams, Ex-Im’s Future Caught Up in Congressional Fight, Associated Press, May 7, 2012.

Andrew Parker, Banks withdraw from aircraft financing, Financial Times, December 6, 2011.

Cathy Buyck, WTO upholds Boeing subsidies ruling: Airbus & Boeing both claim victory, Air Transport World, March 13, 2012.

World Trade Organization, Dispute Settlement – Dispute panel to examine EU compliance in Airbus case, WTO News, April 13, 2012.

World Trade Organization, SUBSIDIES AND COUNTERVAILING MEASURES: OVERVIEW – Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (“SCM Agreement”); May 7, 2012.

M. Ulric Killion, Post-global Financial crisis: The measure of the “Beijing consensus” as a variety of capitalisms, MPRA Paper 26382, University Library of Munich, Germany, 2010.

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See also Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Posted by: mulrickillion | May 6, 2012

Will Taiwan Be Secure in the Emerging Asian Order?

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Will Taiwan Be Secure in the Emerging Asian Order?

Wednesday, May 9
12:00 – 1:30 PM

During Ma Ying-jeou’s presidency, the Republic of China on Taiwan has experienced an unprecedented expansion of its commercial and other ties with the Chinese mainland. After a hard-fought election campaign to win a second term in office, President Ma has vowed to continue improving relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the interests of greater cross-Straits trade, stability, and normalization.

Yet at home and internationally, President Ma’s administration has faced sharp and mounting criticism that his policies and overtures to the PRC have damaged Taiwan’s sovereignty and security—as well as jeopardized the present U.S.-backed security arrangements across East Asia. This criticism is coming at a time of increasing uncertainty about the stability and predictability of the one-party regime on the Chinese mainland, and also at a time of growing tension across the region caused by Beijing’s maritime claims against the Phillipines and Japan.

What role will Taiwan play in these disputes, and what can we expect from President Ma’s second term? Will Taiwan become a liability for U.S. security strategy in the region, or will it become a strategic asset in U.S. efforts to promote peace and prosperity in East Asia?

To discuss President Ma’s security strategy and the international debate surrounding it, Hudson Institute will host Dr. Kwei-Bo Huang. Currently a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Dr. Huang is an Associate Professor of Diplomacy and Director of the Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the College of International Affairs, National Chengchi University. He previously served, from 2009-2011, as Chairman of the Research and Planning Committee in Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dr. Huang will be joined by Charles Horner, a Senior Sellow at Hudson Institute, and by Dr. John Lee, a Visiting Fellow at Hudson Institute and Associate Professor at Sydney University.

Click here to register for this event.

Lunch will be provided.

This event will be streamed live on Hudson’s website: www.hudson.org/WatchLive.

Questions can be submitted via Twitter: @HudsonInstitute.

Betsy and Walter Stern Conference Center
Hudson Institute
1015 15th St, NW
6th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
[Map]

www.hudson.org

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See also

women_obamacare_onpage

Photo Source: A woman holds up a sign in support of Obamacare in front of the Supreme Court in Washington as the Court debates the constitutionality of the health law on March 27, 2012. Health reform is critical for women; AP/Charles Dharapak.

By Jessica Arons*, Center for American Progress, May 2, 2012 —

>>Download this report (pdf)
>>
Download the executive summary (pdf)
>>
Read the report in your web browser (Scribd)

The Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration’s signature piece of legislation that reforms our nation’s costly and unfair health insurance market, is the greatest legislative advancement for women’s health in a generation. “Obamacare,” as the new law is more commonly known, holds the promise of ensuring coverage of preventive and essential services for women, eliminating gender discrimination by health insurance companies, and making health insurance more available and affordable for women and their families.

Yet all the recent talk about the constitutionality of the new law, culminating in oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in March, makes it easy to forget the many lives at stake if the Affordable Care Act gets struck down—especially women’s lives.

What would it mean for millions of women and their families if the Supreme Court struck down Obamacare? It would mean losing health insurance coverage guarantees that have already been put into place. And it would mean causing women to miss out on the protections that are slated to be implemented in less than two years. This would translate into poorer health for tens of millions of women, alongside more costly care for them and their families, affecting the lives of untold Americans.

Thanks to Obamacare, more than 45 million women have already taken advantage of recommended preventive services, including mammograms, pap smears, prenatal care, well-baby care, and well-child care with no cost sharing such as co-pays and deductibles. Starting this August, millions more will be able to obtain contraception, annual well-woman care (a visit with a gynecologist), screening for gestational diabetes, breastfeeding counseling and supplies, and screening for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and the Human papillomavirus—again at no extra cost.

5-5-2012 9-09-56 AM

In addition, women will no longer encounter discrimination in the health insurance market in the form of lost maternity coverage, higher premiums due to their gender, and denials of coverage for gender-related pre-existing conditions. Indeed, close to 9 million women will gain coverage for maternity care in the individual market starting in 2014. And provisions in the new health law that protect everyone will especially benefit women, who utilize the health care system the most.

In short, Obamacare will increase health insurance coverage for women, lower their health care costs, and end the worst insurance industry abuses against them.

Despite the clear benefits for women, opponents of health reform have taken their cause to the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments debating the constitutionality of the law in March. The nine Supreme Court justices will rule on the matter in June. Although the case should be open and shut (see box on page 4), the result is unfortunately far from guaranteed.

Opponents of Obamacare also threaten to repeal the law if they can gain full control of Congress and the White House in the upcoming election in November. But for the time being, all eyes are on an extremely divided and increasingly conservative Supreme Court, which sadly has in recent years demonstrated little regard for precedent.

For women and their families, the Affordable Care Act is not a theoretical concept— it is a lifeline. Attacks on Obamacare are attacks on women’s health and well-being. If the Supreme Court decides to strike down any or all of this law, then it is women who will suffer the most. Women cannot afford to lose this highstakes lawsuit because they cannot afford to lose the benefits of this landmark health reform law. This paper demonstrates just how important Obamacare is for women in our nation today and into the future. (see box)

5-5-2012 9-08-11 AM

*Jessica Arons is Director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress.

“This material [Women and Obamacare – What’s at Stake for Women if the Supreme Court Strikes Down the Affordable Care Act] was published by the Center for American Progress” (online).

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See also Republican Conundrum

Posted by: mulrickillion | May 5, 2012

EIA – Peru Country Analysis – April 2012

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U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) –

Peru Country Analysis – April 2012

Last Updated: May 1, 2012 — Download Full Country Analysis Brief

Peru is currently a net oil importer and a natural gas exporter, but rising exploration and development may lead to increased production and exports of both oil and gas in the next few years. Despite a decline in crude oil production, Peru’s total oil liquids output has increased in recent years as a result of the rising production of natural gas liquids. Peru is self-sufficient in natural gas and began exporting LNG in 2010.

For more information on Peru’s energy sector, visit http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=PE

Background

Peru is currently a net oil importer and a natural gas exporter, but rising exploration and development may lead to increased production and exports of both oil and gas in the next few years.

Map of Peru

Increases in the production of natural gas and the opening of South America’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant have enabled Peru to become a natural gas exporter despite rising domestic consumption. Peru has the potential to be a significant producer of both natural gas and petroleum due to its untapped reserves and rising investments by international companies. New government policies aimed at attracting foreign investment may result in increased production for both export and domestic use. In addition, other policies to increase energy security by promoting energy efficiency and by using natural gas and hydropower resources for electricity generation have been implemented.

Oil

Despite a decline in crude oil production, Peru’s total oil liquids output has increased in recent years as a result of the rising production of natural gas liquids.

According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Peru had 582 million barrels of proven oil reserves in January 2012, up from 533 million barrels in January 2011. Peru has added approximately 50 million barrels of reserves in each of the past two years.

Much of Peru’s proven oil reserves are onshore, and the majority of these onshore reserves are in the Amazon region. Eleven important new hydrocarbon discoveries have occurred in just the past few years. In 2005, Peru’s first offshore oil discovery occurred in the San Pedro well in Block Z-2B, where light oil was found. The largest recent discoveries have been in the offshore Talara and onshore Maranon basins, where 1.4 billion and 970 million barrels, respectively, of recoverable oil have been discovered.

Oil companies have leased at least 41 percent of the Peruvian Amazon for oil and gas drilling and could soon hold 70 percent, including areas that are officially protected for the indigenous people, as more contracts are signed with foreign investors. The current exploration boom is the second to hit this region, following an initial surge of exploration in the 1970s and 1980s.

Sector Organization

Oil production in Peru is run by foreign consortia, with the National Agency of Hydrocarbons (Perupetro) overseeing all exploration and production activities. The Ministry of Energy and Mines also participates in developing planning and policies for the sector. According to Perupetro, 75 percent of Peru’s crude oil output in 2011 was produced by three companies: Argentina’s Pluspetrol, Brazil’s Petrobras, and Peru’s Savia (formerly Petrotech). Due to an intense promotional campaign carried out by Perupetro in recent years, there are more than 50foreign oil companies currently engaged in oil exploration.As of August 2011, Perupetro had 82 hydrocarbons contracts in force; of these 20 pertain to production and 62 to exploration projects.

Not to be confused with Perupetro, Petroperu is a state-owned company founded in 1969, which is engaged in the production, transport, refining, and distribution of petroleum. Petroperu owns Peru’s pipelines and other transportation systems, four of its refineries, and fuel stations.

The bidding round held by Perupetro in late 2011 resulted in 11 new exploration and production contracts. Peru will offer as many as 30 exploration contracts for bidding in the second half of 2012, covering both offshore and Amazon areas.

Exploration and Production

According to EIA estimates, Peru produced 153,800 barrels per day (bbl/d) of total oil in 2011, down slightly from the 158,300 bbl/d produced in 2010, and an increase of 60 percent from the 99,600 bbl/d produced in 2000. According to Perupetro, of the 153,000 bbl/d produced in 2011, 46 percent was crude oil and 54 percent was natural gas liquids (NGL). Peru is a net oil importer of both crude and products as domestic petroleum consumption is increasing and reached 189,000 bbl/d in 2010. Much of Peru’s crude oil imports come from Ecuador.

While many of Peru’s existing oilfields are in decline, unexplored reserves of crude oil and natural gas liquids hold the potential for increased production. According to Perupetro, only 24 percent of Peru’s crude oil currently comes from onshore fields, while almost all NGL production comes from onshore fields. Business Monitor International’s January 2012 forecast projects that Peru’s oil production will more than double over the next five years, from 153,000 bbl/d in 2011 to 350,000 bbl/d in 2016. Perupetro expects oil production to exceed 500,000 bbl/d by 2021, driven by production from new discoveries.

Pipelines

Peru has only one crude oil pipeline, the 621-mile Norperuano, which includes two branches that run from the Ucayali and Maranon basins in the northeastern jungle to the export terminal at Bayovar on the Pacific coast. The pipeline is owned by state-run Petroperu, which is installing additional loops in order to allow transport of extra heavy crude from more distant exploration blocks in the Amazon region. The pipeline has a maximum capacity of 250,000 bbl/d.

Downstream Activities

According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Peru has six oil refineries with a combined crude distillation capacity of 198,950 bbl/d. Spain’s Repsol YPF operates the largest refinery in the country, La Pampilla, located in the capital of Lima. La Pampilla has capacity of 108,000 bbl/d, maintains thermal and catalytic operations, and also has asphalt production capacity. Talara, Peru’s second-largest refinery at 62,000 bbl/d, is owned by Petroperu. It has recently been upgraded with a $1 billion investment, and now has catalytic cracking capacity. Three of the country’s four other refineries are also owned by Petroperu. In Pucallpa, a 3,250-bbl/d refinery is owned by Maple Gas Corp. All four of these smaller refineries have only distillation capacity.

Natural Gas

Peru is self-sufficient in natural gas and began exporting LNG in 2010.

According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Peru had proven natural gas reserves of 12.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2012, the fifth largest reserves in South America. Peru’s main natural gas reserve is the large Camisea project in southeast Peru. Since production began in 2004, Camisea output has grown by an average of 37 percent per year, and it is expected that when site exploration is complete, Peru’s proven reserves will be up by another 318 billion cubic feet (Bcf).

Other new major gas fields include lot 76 in Madre de Dios and Block 58 in the Ucayali basin, both onshore. Lot 76, located in southern Peru, is being explored by Hunt Oil and some estimates suggest this field could be as large as Camisea. Block 58, located in central Peru, was discovered by Petrobras in 2010 and is believed to contain some 1.7 Tcf of natural gas.

Sector Organization

Petroperu negotiates, signs, and supervises license agreements for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in Peru, in accordance with the objectives, policies, and strategies of the Ministry of Energy and Mines. The major gas companies operating in Peru include Argentina’s Pluspetrol, the U.S.’s Hunt Oil, Spain’s Repsol, South Korea’s SK Corp, Italy’s Tecpetrol, and Algeria’s Sonatrach. Pluspetrol operates the natural gas wells at Camisea, making it the largest hydrocarbons producer in the country.

The distribution of natural gas through pipelines within Peru is controlled by the private consortium Transportadora de Gas Peruano (TGP), made up of Tecgas, Pluspetrol, Hunt Oil, SK Corp, Sonatrach, and Grana y Montero.

Exploration and Production

Peru produced 393 Bcf of gross natural gas in 2010, of which 106 Bcf was reinjected for enhanced oil production and 8 Bcf was vented and flared. Dry natural gas production totaled 255 Bcf in 2010, and 75 percent of the dry gas was domestically consumed.

Peru’s natural gas production has been rising rapidly since 2004, when the Camisea field went onstream. Peru’s domestic demand for natural gas has also risen sharply in recent years, from 30 Bcf in 2004 to 191 Bcf in 2010, driven by government incentives, economic growth, and the growing number of gas-fired electricity plants, which accounted for two-thirds of domestic natural gas consumption in Peru.

However, the rate of natural gas production began exceeding domestic consumption in 2010. By December 2010, Peru’s natural gas production was in excess of 1 Bcf per day, mostly from the Camisea reserve. Business Monitor International projected in its January 2012 report that Peru’s dry natural gas production will almost double from an estimated 265 Bcf in 2011 to 459 Bcf in 2016.

In 2009, unconventional gas was found in the Devonian shale beneath the Santa Rosa 1X well, which was drilled by Maple Energy in its Block 31E. Shale gas has not been previously developed in Peru and Maple Energy is continuing to evaluate the commercial opportunity at Santa Rosa.

Peru's Dry Natural Gas Production and Consumption, 2001-2010

Pipelines

There are two pipelines carrying natural gas from the Camisea gas fields. The 336-mile Camisea pipeline terminates at the Pisco port terminal, from which liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) are exported. As the pipeline passes through the Malvinas plant in the Andes Mountains, natural gas liquids (propane and heavier liquids) are separated from the natural gas. The pipeline has a capacity of 450 million cubic feet per day. A second 444-mile pipeline runs from Malvinas along the coast to Lima and Callao for distribution to residential and industrial consumers in the capital city. The pipelines are owned by TGP. Construction of an additional 620-mile Southern Andean natural gas pipeline from Camisea to supply Cuzco, Puno, and Arequipa in the Andes, as well as Moquetada and Tacua on the coast, is expected to begin construction in 2012.

Downstream Activities

The pipeline consortium TGP pays royalties to the national government for the distribution rights of natural gas in Peru. Pluspetrol runs a gas fractionation plant at Pisco which produces propane, butane, diesel, and naphtha from the gas fields of Camisea, with half of these liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) being consumed domestically. The major expansion of Peru’s natural gas production in 2010 has been followed by more infrastructure investment. In October 2010, the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the regional government of Cusco signed an agreement for the construction of a new LPG fractionation plant in Peru’s southeastern region. In March 2012, the Peruvian government announced that the construction of this new LPG plant in the Cuzco area would be completed within two years, with its output to be dedicated to meeting local demand.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

Peru began exporting LNG from its Melchorita plant, South America’s first natural gas liquefaction plant, in June 2010. In February 2012, Peru exported 15 Bcf (307,580 metric tons) of LNG according to LNG World News. Melchorita is owned by the PeruLNG consortium, made up of Hunt Oil at 50 percent, SK Energy at 20 percent, Repsol at 20 percent, and Marubeni at 10 percent. The plant currently has capacity of 215 Bcf per year, and a second and possibly a third train are planned to be added within the next four to five years. According to Cedigaz, in 2010, Peru shipped LNG cargoes to Spain, the United States, Mexico, China, and South Korea. However, the majority of its exports are contracted to go to the LNG terminal in Manzanillo, Mexico. Although the Manzanillo terminal and 186-mile pipeline were completed in September 2011, the need to dredge the harbor for shipping delayed the project until March 2012. The first cargo of LNG was shipped to Manzanillo on March 10, 2012.

Peru – Analysis – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Posted by: mulrickillion | May 3, 2012

Mitt Romney wimps out on Grenell

 By Ruth Marcus, Washington Post, May 3, 2012 —

Bill Clinton created his Sister Souljah moment. Mitt Romney keeps ducking his. This says something disturbing about the current political environment. It says something even more disturbing about the soon-to-be Republican nominee.

My point here is not Clinton-good/Romney-bad. Both men were acting in what they perceived to be their political self-interest — a tendency, it turns out, common among politicians.

For Clinton, rebuking the rap singer for comments suggesting that blacks should “kill white people” was less courageous than calculated.

It was June 1992, with the general election looming and polls showing the Democrat running third against George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot. Clinton chose the moment — Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Rainbow Coalition conference, to which Souljah had been invited — to stage his declaration of independence.

As my late colleague David Broder observed at the time, “The gamble Clinton is taking is that more white Americans will be impressed by his ‘standing up’ to Jackson than black Americans are repelled by his ‘disrespect’ to the Rainbow Coalition leader.”

Romney’s calculus has been consistently the opposite: that the risk of alienating powerful party figures or constituencies exceeds the benefit of repositioning himself, if not in the reasonable center, then closer to it. His Souljah deficit underscores both the extreme nature of the current Republican Party and Romney’s continuing tenuous position within it.

The first ducked moment came in March, after conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

Romney’s response was decidedly, disappointingly mild. “It’s not the language I would have used,” he said, leaving open the question of what words, exactly, the candidate considered appropriate. Loose woman? Harlot?

With the light at the end of the primary tunnel, Romney could have used the opportunity to try to reassure female voters and narrow the gender gap with President Obama.

Instead, he flinched from calling out a powerful conservative. Limbaugh was too scary to take on.

As, it would seem, are the party’s homophobic social conservatives, which brings us to the messy episode of the hiring and hasty departure of foreign policy spokesman Richard Grenell.

As bizarre as it feels to be saying this in 2012, Romney deserves credit for hiring someone who is openly gay. This ought to be a no-brainer, except that we are talking about the Republican Party, which is more comfortable with gay supporters in the closet than out.

According to the New York Times, when Grenell, at the end of the interviewing process, volunteered to Romney aides that he is gay, senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom waved him off. “It’s not an issue for us,” Fehrnstrom said.

Except that it clearly is an issue for others in the party. “Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman,” tweeted Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. “If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead.” Conservative activist Gary Bauer termed the hiring an “unforced error” because Grenell “has been an outspoken advocate of redefining normal marriage.”

Which raises the question: Given the predictable, disgusting backlash to Grenell’s hiring, how could the campaign have no plan to deal with it other than shove Grenell into the background — the closet? — until the furor died down?

Indeed, for all of his posturing about managerial expertise, Romney flubbed his due diligence on Grenell, who had to insta-scrub his Twitter account of offensive comments about women’s appearance. Mr. Real Economy, does your team vet new hires?

A more confident candidate, secure in his place within the party, would have had the guts — not to mention the decency — to tell the social conservatives to cut it out. He could have repeated what Fehrnstrom told Grenell — that sexual orientation was a non-issue — and that even Republicans could disagree about same-sex marriage.

Instead, Romney said . . . nothing. His campaign issued a bland statement of support that did not mention the gay elephant in the room. And then it told Grenell to keep quiet.

When he decided to resign instead, at least six top aides called Grenell to persuade him to stay on, the Times reported. But not, apparently, the candidate himself.

Which left Fischer crowing, “It’s a huge win for us in regard to Mitt Romney. Because Mitt Romney has been forced to say, ‘Look, I overstepped my bounds here.’”

Somewhere, Sister Souljah is smiling. Because Romney is doubly hobbled, by the extremeness of his party and the timidity of his own character.

Mitt Romney wimps out on Grenell – The Washington Post

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See also Republican Conundrum

Dear Readers:

We are pleased to announce that the new issue of the German Law Journal, Review of Developments in German, European & International Jurisprudence is now available at www.germanlawjournal.com.

It is a richly packed issue, indeed. Its Articles section offers contributions on global rulemaking and multinational corporations, Canada’s military engagement in Afghanistan and reflections on the US presidency.

In addition, we are happy to publish a thoughtful symposium on international legal theory, which includes contributions to the 4th Conference of the European Society of International Law (ESIL) in Cambridge in 2011. The symposium, held under the auspices of the International Legal Theory Group within ESIL, brought together scholars who draw on legal theory, political philosophy and international law to map the current state of international legal theorizing.

We are grateful to our authors and to you, our readers, who have been supporting the work of the Journal with so much dedication, interest and inspiration. And, we are, certainly, very grateful to the wonderful group of students at Osgoode Hall and at Washington & Lee without whose help it would not be possible to get the Journal out, month after month, year after year.

Happy Reading!

Russell Miller

Peer Zumbansen

Editors in Chief

The Editors

German Law Journal

www.germanlawjournal.com

Peer Zumbansen

Professor of Law / Canada Research Chair

Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto

Acting Director, Graduate Program (LL.M. & PhD)

Co-Director, European Union Centre of Excellence

Email: PZumbansen@osgoode.yorku.ca

http://ssrn.com/author=109516

By M. Ulric Killion

5-1-2012 6-22-51 AM

Photo Source: “A federal court in Texas ruled to stop a new law on Monday that excluded Planned Parenthood from the Texas Women’s Health Program, which serves about 130,000 low-income women in the state. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the law was unconstitutional. . . After HHS cut off Texas’ Medicaid money, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) promised to make up for the $30 million funding gap and pay for the Women’s Health Program with the state’s own money. But conservative Texas officials have suggested that they would rather end the entire program than allow Planned Parenthood to participate in it,” Laura Bassett, Texas Planned Parenthood Defunding Halted By Federal Judge, Huffington Post, April 30, 2012. Getty file.

______________________________

The Republican Conundrum — “The United States cannot move out of history and be at the same time its most authentic contemporary expression.”

—  Mohamed Sid Ahmed, The Kagan Thesis (3) – Beyond Fukuyama and Huntington?, Al-Ahram Weekly On-Line No. 602, September 11, 2002.

______________________________

Today, I was reading a blog at blogs.worldbank.org, which is written by Donna Barne, and titled, At Spring Meetings, Support for Safety Nets and a More Modern Bank. It is notable, as Barne explained, that the Washington D.C.-based World Bank recently “got the green light to ramp up work on social safety nets in a riskier world at the best-attended World Bank-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in the last decade.”

A primary goal of their spring meeting was two-fold: Closing the gap on social safety nets, and financial inclusion.

5-1-2012 5-57-34 AM

Photo Source: “The Spring Meetings and related events April 16 to 22 highlighted safety nets as a way to protect people from crises and to help “close the gap” in nutrition, gender equity, income and access to jobs”. . . Close the Gap: Safety Nets Work on April 18 brought together high-ranking officials from the Philippines and Brazil, development experts, and basketball stars to discuss, in a live webcast, how safety nets have changed lives in middle and low income countries, and why it’s important for governments to expand their investments in these programs,” Donna Barne, At Spring Meetings, Support for Safety Nets and a More Modern Bank, Blogs.worldbank.org, April 23, 2012.

I found the article interesting, especially in the context of the American Republican Party and its explicit goal of ridding the country of entitlement programs and/or social safety nets and various rights of citizens, such as, for example, Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, social security, and gender equality. This is the new Republican Party, which is described by Robert Caro (author of "Master of the Senate," the Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of his Lyndon Johnson biography), in the article entitled, Robert Caro: Republicans Have Made Lawmaking ‘Near Impossible’, asintractable and it has the votes to stop legislation.” 

Barnes writes,

The Spring Meetings and related events April 16 to 22 highlighted safety nets as a way to protect people from crises and to help “close the gapin nutrition, gender equity, income and access to jobs. The Development Committee also called on the Bank to continue to look for solutions to the problems of fragile and conflict-affected states, food insecurity and malnutrition. High and volatile food prices are preventing millions of people from escaping poverty and hunger, according to the Bank’s latest Global Monitoring Report, released at the meetings.

Close the Gap: Safety Nets Work on April 18 brought together high-ranking officials from the Philippines and Brazil, development experts, and basketball stars to discuss, in a live webcast, how safety nets have changed lives in middle and low income countries, and why it’s important for governments to expand their investments in these programs. Some 80% of developing countries plan to create or improve safety nets, and this form of social protection is a critical component of the Bank’s new, 10-year Social Protection and Labor Strategy, released April 18.

In terms of the Republican Party, one reasonably suspects that it  supports the goals of the World Bank, and impliedly would support the goal of protecting “people from crises and to help “close the gap” in nutrition, gender equity, income and access to jobs; to name only a few of the issues and programs that they would generally characterize as entitlement programs or safety nets.

In other words, one suspects that the Republican Party probably supports this worthy effort to provide social safety nets for those living in foreign countries.

This is because the Republican Party has long taken pride in economic liberalization or globalization, which (commencing in the 1970s) the antagonists to globalization began to associate with the name of neo-liberalism.

Quoting from an earlier writing (Killion, Modern Chinese Rules of Order, 2007),

In the 1970s and 1980’s, the concept of neo-liberalism (or economic liberalism) begins to emerge with the debt crises in developing countries. In the 1970s, and pursuant to growing interests in international economics, the antagonists of economic liberalism and globalization commence usage of the nomenclature of neo-liberal, while those supporters subscribing to its tenants would rather prefer to themselves as simply libertarians, free marketers or conservatives. Neo-liberalism is also the name often given to the political-economic restructuring or reform programs proposed for developing countries by developed country economists, the IMF and World Bank, and some refer to the structural adjustment programs of the BWIs as simply neo-liberal reforms.

There are few who would doubt Republican Party support for the BWIs (i.e., Bretton Woods Institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank). Additionally, and quoting the earlier mentioned writing (Killion, 2007),

A criticism of neo-liberalism is that it arguably extends the same individual rights to transnational corporations and banks, and moves the rights of property from the status of a social right to that of a fundamental right. The complaint being that Western neo-liberalism treats transnational banks and corporate entities as equal, for instance, to a small farmer in China. The antagonists complain that while neo-liberalism grants significantly more freedom to corporate entities, a problem of neo-liberalism is that, historically, it does not extend the same freedoms to indigents and working people.

What should also be understood is that neo-liberalism necessitates neo-liberal policies and neo-liberal reform, because neo-liberal reforms, generally, encompass privatization, free markets, de-regulation, austerity and comparative advantage.

The problem of this earlier version of neo-liberalism, and its attendant neo-liberal policies, is that harsh criticism alongside debt crises in the 1980s actually necessitated a shift to more people-friendly policies; thereby, the birth of the idea of a more “pragmatic” neo-liberalism.

5-1-2012 7-15-43 AM

Photo Source; “These are only a few of the examples of education marginalization that occurs in every country in the world. These types of marginalization could only be addressed with policies that tackle underlying issues such as social inequity, gender disparity, and ethnic/linguistic disadvantages,” Global Education and Economic Downturn, Globalization 101, The Levin Institute – The State University of New York, March 14, 2011; Uganda – © UNESCO/Marc Hofer.

In other words, the previously mentioned tenants of neo-liberalism, who would rather prefer to themselves as libertarians, free marketers or conservatives, arguably have few qualms about protecting the social safety nets of other countries.

A problem is that in the context of the American people caught in the claws and fangs of globalization and its failings (i.e., the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis or global financial crisis), the Republican Party is showing little, if any, compassion for their fellow Americans, such as middle-class Americans and “very poor” Americans.

While the Republican Party, libertarians, free marketers or conservatives are clearly advocates of the earlier mentioned neo-liberal reforms, they admittedly might find the policies of protecting entitlements or social safety nets of other countries as objectionable. This may also be one of the objections of the Republican Party to President Obama’s recent appointment of Jim Yong Kim, Dartmouth president, to head the World Bank.

The seeming target of the new Republican Party and its extremisms on many social issues are vested rights, entitlements and/or social safety nets; such as women’s rights, the right to equal pay for women, fair employment rights, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Affordable Care Act, abortion rights, contraception, the Blunt Amendment, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Planned Parenthood, birth control, and other issues that affect the lives of women, self-deportation of immigrants, education, feeding and housing the “very poor”, and a host of other social concerns.

It is admittedly also possible that the Republican Party may try to move against these new goals of the World Bank by following suit of Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), which means an attempt to terminate these social safety nets by defunding the World Bank, or simply, cutting off U.S. funds for the World Bank.

This, however, is mere speculation, because one also suspects that they will not object to the World Bank bolstering these social safety nets. Granted, they would not be doing so out of altruism or sympathy for poor people, because there is an economic benefit that arises from doing so. This is because developing countries ultimately offer the prize of comparative advantage (i.e., land and/or labor endowments, or simply, cheap land and low wages or cheap non-union labor).

In the end, the new Republican Party and its extremisms will eventually find itself far afield of both mainstream America and the world at large. In a post-Lehman world, for the majority of Americans, they are determined to demonstrate their lack of compassion for those now struggling for survival.

5-1-2012 6-42-55 AM

Photo Source: Paul Ryan gave speech on federal budget at Georgetown University; Power Panel: Child Labor and Catholics v. Paul Ryan. Young Turks, April 30, 2012.

This lack of compassion presents a deep-rooted problem for the new Republican Party. As Dave Johnson wrote, “Some say that maybe it is a bad idea to base a political party’s ideology on a belief that altruism, democracy and Christianity are "evil." Others say that maybe it is a bad idea to base a country’s policies on fictional novels rather than science and history.”

Johnson is referring to a Republican ideology born out of the writings of the novelist Ayn Rand, which he characterizes as the “Republican Party’s embrace of Ayn Rand and her cruel philosophy.”  What should concern an unsuspecting public, according to Johnson, “Disciples of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness now dominate the thinking of the leadership of the conservative movement and the Republican Party.” Demonstrating the seriousness and breath of the problem, he writes,

There is no way around it. Republican budget leader Rep. Paul Ryan says Rand is his guide. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) says Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is his "foundation book." Senator Rand Paul is named after her (or not). Clarence Thomas requires his law clerks to watch The Fountainhead. Fox News promotes Rand. Conservative blogs promote Rand. Glenn Beck has been promoting Rand for years. So has Rush. This isn’t recent, Alan Greenspan lived with the Rand cult and promoted and implemented her ideas.”

Paul Ryan earlier explicitly stated that Rand is his guide, though now in political posturing he is exhibiting trepidation in the face of criticism from the Catholic Church concerning his so-called “faith-based budget” and the treatment of poor and vulnerable persons. Dana Milbank writes,

A week after Ryan’s boast, the bishops sent letters to Congress saying that the Ryan budget, passed by the House, “fails to meet” the moral criteria of the Church, namely its view that any budget should help “the least of these” as the Christian Bible requires: the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the jobless. “A just spending bill cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor and vulnerable persons,” the bishops wrote.

In response to the criticism of Ryan’s so-called “faith-based budget, the good Catholic Republicans just blew off the Catholic Church. On April 26, 2012, at Georgetown University, Ryan actually, though poorly, attempted to defend his budget as the fruit of Catholic teaching. Before inviting him to defend his budget, “A group of 88 Georgetown University faculty and staff members sent a letter to Ryan April 24 outlining their concerns over his ‘misuse of Catholic teaching’ to defend his budget plan.” Jesuit Father Thomas Reese said, “I don’t think he can get away with Catholic social teachings as a cover for his budget cutting.”

5-1-2012 6-45-32 AM

Photo and Video Source: “The Truth About GOP Hero Ayn Rand,” Dave Johnson, Concern Over Republican Embrace of the Ayn Rand Poison, Huffington Post, June 10, 2011; See the Video here.

When referring to Ayn Rand’s philosophy, as Johnson observed, “maybe it is a bad idea to base a political party’s ideology on a belief that altruism, democracy and Christianity are ‘evil’.”

Moreover, one would even venture to say that at some point the Republican Party’s extremisms (i.e., the war against women, the war on the poor, the war on immigrants, the war on health care, etc) will dissipate, because the citizenry that now supports its extremisms will eventually withhold their acclamation.

This is because, and showing the folly of their extremisms, as one recent study demonstrates, many Republicans, who are railing against entitlements and/or social safety nets and various rights, are actually in dire needs of the same entitlements and/or social safety nets and rights (i.e., equal pay for women, health care, etc). For instance, in reference to what the study shows, William A. Galston (Brookings Institution) when describing a group of Republicans that he characterizes as “the Disaffected”, wrote,

According to Pew, they are both anti-government and anti-big business. They are social conservatives with a deep antipathy to illegal immigration. But they are also the most financially insecure of all the groups—among Democrats and Independents as well as Republicans—and perhaps for that reason, less averse to a government that extends a helping hand to the downtrodden. For the most part, they are whites with no more than a high school education. Many report personal or family struggles with unemployment.

In other words, it’s not difficult to imagine “the Disaffecteds” also needing a safety net, as they are also “less averse to a government that extends a helping hand to the downtrodden.”

A better example of this tragedy or maybe even an oxymoron in the new Republican ideology might well be the real life example and experiences of Ayn Rand. This is because Paul Ryan’s mentor or guide spent most of her adult life railing against the evils of federal insurance.  In reality, however, and later in life and during a difficult period of money problems and health issues, both Rand and her husband reportedly did receive social security payments and Medicare payments.

In other words, the social safety net was there for both Ayn Rand and her husband in their time of need, as it has always been for many years now to help others – the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the jobless.

For now, however, and as a courtesy of the Republican Party and its ideology and extremisms, America’s social safety net teeters on cliff edge. With that being sad, I will leave the readers of this article to answer for themselves the question of whether altruism, democracy and Christianity are evil?

_______________

See also Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Colbert Obama

April 27, 2012

You know that the 2012 presidential race is heating up when Stephen Colbert is willing to defend his former best friend Jimmy Fallon for hosting President Obama on his show.

>>See Colbert Takes on Fox News Video here.

On Thursday night, Colbert had some fun with Fox News’ reaction to President Obama appearing on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” to do some slow jammin’ of the news. And by “had some fun,” Colbert essentially let the stable of usual suspects — Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, Bill O’Reilly — speak for themselves, and rolled footage of the Fox News pundits bloviating about how dare the President go on a comedy show during an election year. Even though Romney appeared on Letterman, and George W. Bush had no hesitation in making fun of himself for going to war while in office.

4-28-2012 4-36-38 AM

Photo and Video: President Obama’s “Slow Jam The News” on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”; >>See the (Jimmy Fallon)Video here.

But no, Obama is truly the culprit for appearing exceptionally charming on a show viewed by millions of young people. As Colbert noted, youth voters will be forced to face the question: “Who do I like: The guy I like, or the guy I don’t like?”. . . .

Source: Huffington Post

_______________

See also Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Posted by: mulrickillion | April 26, 2012

Hail the Conquering Romney, The “Champion of the Proletariat”

By M. Ulric Killion

143375353CS018_MITT_ROMNEY_

Photo Source: “It was also shamelessly maudlin, mendacious in the extreme, and otherwise completely of a piece with the entire campaign that has been waged by the man who delivered it in triumph last night”, Charles P. Pierce, Game Over: Mitt Romney’s Big Night, Esquire magazine, April 25, 2012.

On April 24, 2012, Willard Mitt Romney (“Rmoney”) gave a sort of pre-ordination speech that addressed his ascendancy to the GOP’s 2012 candidate for the office of U.S. president. Never mind Newt Gingrich, though now re-assessing his campaign, and Ron Paul, who is still challenging his ascendancy, Rmoney took the crown and set it upon his head, as in the coronation of a king.

For this reason, and countless others, the 2012 GOP primary race will go down in history as the worst kind of political circus, the worst variety of forked tongues, the most bloodletting of political campaigns, and a distinguishable extremism that will haunt the GOP for years to come. In other words, when it comes time to vote in November, one would certainly have to share some of their extremisms or extreme positions in order to the punch the GOP ticket for POTUS.

When reading several articles covering Romney’s speech, one article stood out from many critiques of his performance. This is the article written by Charles P. Pierce (Esquire magazine), which, as usual, is very revealing about Rmoney. This is because Pierce’s article essentially reveals what the average American dislikes, dreads, and fears about his candidacy for president. For example, Pierce writes,

The naked lack of shame about the whole speech was the only real story of the night. The notion of Willard Romney, Champion Of The Proletariat is so utterly preposterous that it fairly cried out for coverage. But the speech was well-crafted and delivered with something approaching actual gusto, so that, apparently, was enough for now, 

He’s getting better at being shameless. Believe that. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe anyone ever took seriously the notion that Romney was not inevitable.

This is also one of the reasons that Rmoney will always be the flip-flop guy, the etch-a-sketch meme, and simply unlikable. Pierce clearly reveals this reality about Rmoney in his characterization of the “Champion of the Proletariat.”

As Pierce also observed,

This is now a sleek, edgeless machine and, at its heart, is a sleek, edgeless, but altogether genuine, carnivore. At odd moments, Romney sounds very much like Richard Nixon without the latter’s merry carnival of lifetime neuroses. (Romney, in fact, unlike his father, is very much the kind of Republican Nixon once wanted to be — vicious and wealthy.) For example, at one point in last night’s speech, after he’d assured all those moms and pops on food stamps that he was on their side, he told them of their dark future if the president is re-elected:

With Obamacare fully installed, government will come to control half the economy, and we will have effectively ceased to be a free-enterprise society. This president is putting us on a path where our lives will be ruled by bureaucrats and boards, commissions and czars. He’s asking us to accept that Washington knows best — and can provide all.

We will have effectively ceased to be a free-enterprise society.

That passage is pure Nixon, when it is not pure Glenn Beck. (We’re back to “czars” again?) Massachusetts did not “cease to be a free-enterprise society” when he passed his health-care plan there. (He can look at my insurance bill if he’s still unclear about that.) But because he has rolled so powerfully to the nomination, he can say pretty much anything at this point because the power of his campaign now far outweighs the truth of his words. There once again is a rising sense of inevitability about him, and he is most comfortable with that. There is nothing light or casual about what he’s doing. He sees a property worth buying, and he’s in it for the kill.

Quoting Paul Krugman (New York Times), “Just how stupid does Mitt Romney think we are?”

In the interim, the GOP right wing nuts leave an American populace with the choice of their extremism versus non-extreme ideas and policies.

For instance, the right wing nuts, in perpetuating a falsehood,  deny that President Obama is a Christian, which is a convenient falsehood they intend to use as a false rationalization for voting against Obama.

In the same breath, they also do not consider Romney to be a Christian, because he is a Mormon. However, in the case of Rmoney, they conveniently rationalize his non-Christianity as being a non-issue for them.

It is also notable that the right wing nuts as a whole share a strange sort of twisted logic that they intend to vote against the POTUS, but not for Rmoney. They same goes for their illogical rationalizations, which allows them to conveniently pretend that Obama is a communist or socialist, and that he is not even a U.S. citizen.

Their outrageous extremisms and falsehoods, while outrageously shocking are admittedly also outrageously funny at times too.

One would have thought that the right wing nuts would have found a candidate that they actually wanted as their choice for the U.S. presidency, rather than their wing nut logic of now employing a strategy of simply voting against President Obama. But, then again, the right wing nuts often belie common sense.

It perhaps for these reasons, and many other reasons, with each passing day the now emboldened right wing nuts, while in denial of non-extreme ideas and policies, seem to become even more extreme and nuttier.

In the end, as for Willard Mitt Romney, the jury is still out on who he is, and what he stands for, although it a certainty that he is the champion for neither a struggling American middle class, nor the less fortunate.

This is because everything that we have come to know about the real Romney, with leaks of information here and there, leads us to believe that he will be the champion of Wall Street and corporations, rather than the average American or real Americans.

For now and perhaps forever, for the average America or real Americans, Willard Mitt Romney remains simply out of touch with the lives of average Americans.

_______________

See also Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Posted by: mulrickillion | April 26, 2012

EIA – Cushing crude oil inventories rising in 2012

Today in Energy – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) —

April 4, 2012

graph of Weekly commercial crude oil inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, as described in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Petroleum Status Report, Total Stocks.



Crude oil inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub, the delivery point for the NYMEX light-sweet crude oil futures contract, are up by 12.0 million barrels (43%) between January 13, 2012 and March 30, 2012. This was the largest increase in inventories over an 11-week period since 2009. The inventory builds can be partly attributed to the emptying of the Seaway Pipeline, which ran from the Houston area to Cushing, in advance of its reversal. While Cushing inventories are now approaching the record levels of 2011, the amount of available storage capacity at Cushing is much greater now than it was a year ago, relieving some of the pressure on demand for incremental storage capacity.

Historically, the Seaway Pipeline delivered crude oil from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Cushing, where it then moved to the refineries connected by pipeline to the storage hub. In November 2011, Enbridge Inc. acquired a 50% share in the pipeline from ConocoPhillips; at this time, Enbridge and joint owner Enterprise Product Partners announced they would reverse the direction of the pipeline to flow from Cushing to the Gulf Coast. Currently, the pipeline is expected to deliver 150,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) from Cushing to the Gulf Coast beginning in June 2012. The companies plan to expand Seaway’s capacity to 400,000 bbl/d in 2013 and to 850,000 bbl/d in 2014.

In early March, approximately 2.2 million barrels from the Seaway pipeline was emptied into Cushing storage in order to prepare for the pipeline’s reversal. This accounts for about 20% of the build in inventories during this period. However, even without the emptying of Seaway, inventory builds over the past months have been particularly steep compared to the five-year average. As of January 13, Cushing inventories stood at 28.3 million barrels, slightly below their seasonal five-year average. After the 12.0-million-barrel increase, inventories were almost 11 million barrels above their average level, the largest such variation to average since June 2011. This is largely due to flows into Cushing as a result of increasing production in the mid-continent region.

Cushing crude oil inventories rising in 2012 – Today in Energy – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

By M. Ulric Killion

Hunstman 2012

Photo Source: “Jon Huntsman is critical of his party and Republican candidates’ foreign policy stances”, Jon Huntsman Criticizes Republican Party, Compares Actions To Communist China, Huffington Post, April 22, 2012.

Recently, former Republican Party (GOP) candidate Jon Huntsman (former U.S. Ambassador to China under President Barack Obama) made an interesting comparison between the American Republican Party and China’s political system.

In criticism of the Republican Party and its GOP candidates, as the Huffington Post reported, Huntsman was “comparing the Republican Party to communist China and questioning the strength of this year’s presidential field.”

He strongly criticized the GOP for some of its flaws. According to the Huffington Post, when doing so Huntsman cites the following recent example,

During an event at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, Huntsman spoke candidly about his party’s flaws, lamenting the Republican National Committee’s decision to rescind an invitation to a major fundraising event after Huntsman called for a third-party candidate to enter the race.

“This is what they do in China on party matters if you talk off script,” Huntsman said.

The analogy with China presents a strong critique of what is wrong with the present state of the Republic Party.

As many are aware, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) governs China or the People’s Republic of China. Granted, there are about eight other independent political parties in China. The other so-called independent political parties, however, must tow the line or, borrowing from Huntsman’s characterization, they cannot “talk off script.”

This is because the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China (i.e., China’s Constitution or Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Xianfa) actually vested the CCP with the power to govern. For instance, an excerpt from the Preamble of China’s Constitution reads,

This Constitution, in legal form . . . it is the fundamental law of the state and has supreme authority. The people of all nationalities, all state organs, the armed forces, all political and public organizations and all enterprises and institutions in the country must take the Constitution as the basic stand of conduct, and they have the duty to uphold the dignity of the Constitution and ensure its implementation.

Then there is Article 5 of China’s Constitution, which reads, “the People’s Republic of China governs the country according to law and makes it a socialist country ruled by law.”

A direct consequence in theory, practice, and ideology is that the CCP selects members of China’s national legislature, rather than by process of a national election.

There are admittedly local elections for local officials or office holders. However, this is not the same as a democratically-elected legislature.

As mentioned in an earlier writing,

A distinguishing and much-criticized characteristic of China’s one-party model of democracy, socialist democracy or “proletariat democracy” is that neither national leaders (i.e., president, vice-president, etc), nor members of the National People’s Congress (“NPC”) are subject to election to office by an electorate (i.e., the casting of votes by ordinary citizens).

In China, it presents an issue of whether there is, in fact, suffrage or universal suffrage.

It is sad and presents a crisis in American politics, especially for the American Republican Party and that those hailing themselves as Republicans and/or Republican Party candidates for political office.

This is largely due to the reality that Republican Party candidates that continue to talk “on script” arguably challenge the Western democratic ideal (i.e., from Athenian democracy, to modern democracy or democratic forms of government).

Huntsman offered a clear example of this danger, as reported by the Huffington Post, in his call “for a third-party candidate to enter the race.”

As Huntsman rightly observed,

Huntsman also spoke on Sunday about his presidential candidacy, revealing that he was less than impressed by his fellow candidates when he attended his first debate in August.

“Is this the best we could do?” Huntsman said he asked himself.

….

“Gone are the days when the Republican Party used to put forward big, bold, visionary stuff,” Huntsman said during the February interview with MSNBC that got him disinvited from the RNC fundraiser. “I think we’re going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third-party movement or some alternative voice out there that can put forward new ideas.”

This is a prefect example of how to construct an institution that will deny and defy all new ideas, innovations or solutions to problems.

4-24-2012 2-14-53 AM

Photo Source: Amanda Terkel, Sarah Steelman, Missouri GOP Senate Candidate, ‘Not Sure’ What Violence Against Women Act Is, Huffington Post, April 23, 2012.

Then there is, though indirectly, the more recent example of not being able to “talk off script” by the Missouri GOP U.S. Senate candidate, Sarah Steelman. On the issue of the “war on women,” Steelman was questioned about the pending women’s violence act that Republicans are challenging. First, and extremely difficult to believe, she answered – “I’m not sure what that is…”

Caitlin Legacki, spokesperson for the Missouri Democratic Party, took issue with her answer, especially how it “underscores how ill-equipped [Steelman] is to serve in public office.” Subsequently, Steelman, in response, issued a statement clarifying that “the candidate is open to the Republican version of the law’s reauthorization.”

First, Steelman, her support for a Republication version that Republicans are supposedly working on notwithstanding, issued a statement that first addressed the issue of the “war on women,”

“Everyday, President Obama and Senator McCaskill are making it harder for working mothers and women of all ages to find a good paying job. They continue to dictate to our families how they should live, stripping them of opportunities and freedom,” said Steelman.

Then Steelman added that “the Senate Democrats are making the current re-authorization of Violence Against Women bill into a political football.” It is notable that she now knows the full name of the law and the Republican Party script or  Republican-message of economic doom for women.

If ever there was an exemplary instance of avoidance behavior, Steelman’s response is clearly such an example. This is because, as a woman, she is either clueless or in denial of the real issues characterizing the Republican Party’s assault on the rights of women or their “war on women.”

It is appalling that Steelman is either clueless or in denial of the real issues, which are women’s rights, the right to equal pay for women, fair employment rights, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Affordable Care Act, abortion rights, contraception, the Blunt Amendment, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Planned Parenthood, birth control, and other issues that affect the lives of women.

But then again, maybe she simply does not know the names of these acts, especially the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

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Photo Source: Willard Mitt Romney and Paul Krugman, Huffington Post, April 24, 2012; See also Paul Krugman, The Amnesia Candidate, The Opinion Pages – New York Times, April 22, 2012.

Then in a broader context of “talking on script,” there is the Republican Party and its GOP sure to be nominee, Willard Mitt Romney, and his handlers. Willard is leading the charge with his economic doom message. When the economy was earlier struggling more so than now, according to Willard, President Obama is doing nothing to aid economic growth, but when the economy was clearly showing upward momentum, he said President Obama is not doing enough.

In answer to our problems, the fact that running a government is not the same as running a business notwithstanding, Romney wants to present the image of the savvy businessman that knows how to create jobs. His  answers, however, are vague generalities about what he going to do.

As Paul Krugman recently writes, “Just how stupid does Mitt Romney think we are? If you’ve been following his campaign from the beginning, that’s a question you have probably asked many times.”

There are exceptions, of course, because it is clear that Willard intends to cut taxes for the wealthy; keep the credits (or subsidies) for “Big Oil”; increase spending for the Pentagon; rid the nation of entitlement programs such as the Department of Education, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare; and get rid of those pesky federal regulations governing Wall Street, “Big Oil”, and environmental concerns; and get rid of Planned Parenthood.

None of which will promote economic growth.

One reasonably suspects that Romney’s economic plan, especially given the lack of details forthcoming from him, will be a standardized-version of the Republican Party economics that got us into the current economic crisis we have been facing. In other words, Willard will stay on script.

It is noteworthy that Steelman also stayed “on script.” It was obvious because when asked about an important issue concerning women’s rights (i.e., domestic violence), after regrouping she gave the stand pat Republician Party economic doom message or script. Steelman talked about women getting a job, but not about equal pay for women (i.e., the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act).

In truth, and contrary to the economic doom message of Republicans and Romney, the American economy is showing upward movement. As Fareed Zakaria recently wrote,

A new poll in the United States shows that Americans are still deeply frustrated at the slow pace of the economic recovery.  That’s understandable. Unemployment stays stubbornly high.  But I was just in Europe, and they think America is booming.

Consider this: the U.S. economy is on track to grow between 2 and 3 percent this year.  In Europe, by contrast, half the eurozone economies are going to actually shrink this year and not one major European country will grow over 1 percent….

And, most importantly, for now, it needs to stop imposing austerity in a depressed economy and learn from something from the example across the Atlantic.  Two or 2.5 percent growth might not look so great in America, but it a lot better than negative 0.3 percent, which is the current estimate for the eurozone’s economic growth.

Additionally, the Obama administration inherited the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis or 2008 global financial crisis from the Bush administration. Moreover, despite the Republican Party economic doom message or Republican Party script of economic doom, as seen from those abroad, the U.S. economy is now making a come back. As Zakaria writes, from a European perspective, “American is booming.”

In this respect, the Republican Party script promotes false perceptions about the possibility of a quick recovery. While many economists are still debating whether the 2008 global financial crisis is structural in nature and thereby predicting long term recovery, the Republican Party script stays steadfast to a false economic doom message.

The Republican Party and Rmoney (Romney) will admit neither that the onset of the financial is in 2008, nor that the financial crisis occurs during the presidency of George W. Bush. For Republican Party and Republican Party candidates, it is also noticeable that keeping on script entails never mentioning the name of their former president, George W. Bush.

By staying on script, despite the hazards that Republicans are encountering, as boldly asserted by Huntsman, “Gone are the days when the Republican Party used to put forward big, bold, visionary stuff.” In other words, the Republican Party script, as earlier mentioned, denies and defies new ideas, innovations or solutions to problems.

What the Republic Party script offers an unsuspecting American populace is a big spoon full of the same economic policies that were the cause of the 2008 global financial crisis.

When playing the devil’s advocate, if there is anything conceivably new in the Republican Party script, it can only be attributable to the saying that – the old is new again.

In the end, the Republican script is about old Republican Party economics, and an earlier failed trickle down economics, which is hardly a real solution to real problems.

>>See also the recent article by Paul Krugman, which follows.

____________________

“The Amnesia Candidate”

By Paul Krugman*

The Opinion Pages – New York Times, April 22, 2012

Just how stupid does Mitt Romney think we are? If you’ve been following his campaign from the beginning, that’s a question you have probably asked many times.

But the question was raised with particular force last week, when Mr. Romney tried to make a closed drywall factory in Ohio a symbol of the Obama administration’s economic failure. It was a symbol, all right — but not in the way he intended.

First of all, many reporters quickly noted a point that Mr. Romney somehow failed to mention: George W. Bush, not Barack Obama, was president when the factory in question was closed. Does the Romney campaign expect Americans to blame President Obama for his predecessor’s policy failure?

Yes, it does. Mr. Romney constantly talks about job losses under Mr. Obama. Yet all of the net job loss took place in the first few months of 2009, that is, before any of the new administration’s policies had time to take effect. So the Ohio speech was a perfect illustration of the way the Romney campaign is banking on amnesia, on the hope that voters don’t remember that Mr. Obama inherited an economy that was already in free fall.

How does the campaign deal with people who point out the awkward reality that all of the “Obama” job losses took place before any Obama policies had taken effect? The fallback argument — which was rolled out when reporters asked about the factory closure — is that even though Mr. Obama inherited a deeply troubled economy, he should have fixed it by now. That factory is still closed, said a Romney adviser, because of the failure of Obama policies “to really get this economy going again.”

Actually, that factory would probably still be closed even if the economy had done better — drywall is mainly used in new houses, and while the economy may be coming back, the Bush-era housing bubble isn’t.

But Mr. Romney’s poor choice of a factory for his photo-op aside, I guess accusing Mr. Obama of not doing enough to promote recovery is a better argument than blaming him for the effects of Bush policies. However, it’s not much better, since Mr. Romney is essentially advocating a return to those very same Bush policies. And he’s hoping that you don’t remember how badly those policies worked.

For the Bush era didn’t just end in catastrophe; it started off badly, too. Yes, Mr. Obama’s jobs record has been disappointing — but it has been unambiguously better than Mr. Bush’s over the comparable period of his administration.

This is especially true if you focus on private-sector jobs. Overall employment in the Obama years has been held back by mass layoffs of schoolteachers and other state and local government employees. But private-sector employment has recovered almost all the ground lost in the administration’s early months. That compares favorably with the Bush era: as of March 2004, private employment was still 2.4 million below its level when Mr. Bush took office.

Oh, and where have those mass layoffs of schoolteachers been taking place? Largely in states controlled by the G.O.P.: 70 percent of public job losses have been either in Texas or in states where Republicans recently took control.

Which brings me to another aspect of the amnesia campaign: Mr. Romney wants you to attribute all of the shortfalls in economic policy since 2009 (and some that happened in 2008) to the man in the White House, and forget both the role of Republican-controlled state governments and the fact that Mr. Obama has faced scorched-earth political opposition since his first day in office. Basically, the G.O.P. has blocked the administration’s efforts to the maximum extent possible, then turned around and blamed the administration for not doing enough.

So am I saying that Mr. Obama did everything he could, and that everything would have been fine if he hadn’t faced political opposition? By no means. Even given the political constraints, the administration did less than it could and should have in 2009, especially on housing. Furthermore, Mr. Obama was an active participant in Washington’s destructive “pivot” away from jobs to a focus on deficit reduction.

And the administration has suffered repeatedly from complacency — taking a few months of good news as an excuse to rest on its laurels rather than hammering home the need for more action. It did that in 2010, it did it in 2011, and to a certain extent it has been doing the same thing this year too. So there is a valid critique one can make of the administration’s handling of the economy.

But that’s not the critique Mr. Romney is making. Instead, he’s basically attacking Mr. Obama for not acting as if George Bush had been given a third term. Are the American people — and perhaps more to the point, the news media — forgetful enough for that attack to work? I guess we’ll find out.

*Paul Krugman joined The New York Times in 1999 as a columnist on the Op-Ed Page and continues as professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University. . . .

The Amnesia Candidate – NY Times

_______________

See also Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Today in Energy – U.S. Energy Administration, April 13, 2012 —

graph of Crude oil-to-natural gas spot price ratio, January 3, 2000 - April 11, 2012, as described in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Bloomberg.
Notes: $/bbl is dollars per barrel. $/MMBtu is dollars per million British thermal units. The crude oil-to-natural gas spot price ratio is calculated by dividing the spot price of Brent crude oil by the spot price of natural gas at the Henry Hub. In the past, the crude oil price most used for this calculation was West Texas Intermediate (WTI). Due to the current discount of WTI relative to Brent and other crude benchmarks, the Brent price is used here.



The ratio between the spot prices of crude oil and natural gas has been generally increasing since January 2009, but it has climbed rapidly in recent months (see chart). Analysts calculate the ratio in different ways to assess the value of crude oil relative to natural gas; two methods are shown in the chart above. The ratio increased because of both increasing crude oil prices and decreasing natural gas prices. The crude oil-to-natural gas spot price ratio has implications for production and consumption.

The spot price for Brent crude oil has increased 19% in the last six months, from $103.90 per barrel on October 3, 2011 to $123.81 per barrel on March 30, 2012. Several factors underpin the increase in global crude oil benchmarks since the start of the year. Over the same period, the spot price for natural gas at the Henry Hub has decreased 45%, dropping from $3.57 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) to $1.98/MMBtu. Natural gas spot prices have been near 10-year lows as a result of warmer-than-normal temperatures, ample natural gas in storage, and growing production.

In terms of production implications, a higher crude oil-to-natural gas ratio encourages drilling for oil in preference to natural gas and makes natural gas liquids developments relatively more attractive than the development of dry natural gas resources. On the consumption side, the higher ratio also encourages end users to choose natural gas over products derived from crude oil, such as distillate and residual fuel oil, wherever substitution is feasible.

Price ratio of crude oil to natural gas continues to increase – Today in Energy – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

A Dialogue with Sir Evelyn and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild on Family Business Succession and Wealth Management

罗斯柴尔德家族—— 财富传承,基业长青之道

清华经管学院邀请您零距离接触欧洲最有影响力的罗斯柴尔德家族,与该家族掌门人伊夫林•罗斯柴尔德爵士和琳•罗斯柴尔德夫人面对面。

【主讲】  琳·罗斯柴尔德夫人,伊夫林·罗斯柴尔德爵士

【主题】  罗斯柴尔德家族—— 财富传承,基业长青之道

【时间】  2012 年4月24日19:00—21:00

【地点】  清华经管学院 国际报告厅 (伟伦楼121)

【语言】  英文

【主办】  清华大学经济管理学院
清华大学中国金融研究中心

【简介】

Lynn Forester de Rothschild

Lynn Forester de Rothschild
Founder and Chief Executive
E.L. Rothschild LLC

Since June 2002, Lady de Rothschild has been the Chief Executive of E.L. Rothschild LLC, a private investment company, with investments in media, information technology, agriculture, real estate and luxury goods. Lady de Rothschild has been a director of The Estee Lauder Companies since December 2000, The Economist Newspaper Limited (member of the Audit Committee) since October 2002 and Weather Central LLP since January 2011. From 2004-2007, she was also Co-Chair of FieldFresh Pvt. Ltd, a 50-50 joint venture with Bharti Enterprises, established to develop the Indian agricultural sector in India. From 1989 to 2002, she was President and Chief Executive Officer of FirstMark Holdings, Inc., which owned and managed various telecommunications companies worldwide. She was Executive Vice President for Development at Metromedia Telecommunications, Inc. from 1984 to 1989. She began her career in 1980 as an associate at the law firm of Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett LLP in New York City, where she practiced corporate law. She is also a trustee of the American Fund for the Tate, FAI (Fondo per L’Ambiente Italiano), the Outward Bound Trust, the ERANDA Foundation (de Rothschild family foundation), the Alfred Herrhausen Society of International Dialogue of Deutsche Bank, an Advisor to the Deutsche Bank Microfinance Consortium ad the International Advisory Board of Columbia University School of Law. Lady de Rothschild is a member of the United Nations Advisory Committee on Inclusive Financial Services, the Council on Foreign Relations (USA), Chatham House (UK), the International Advisory Council of Asia House (UK), the International Institute of Strategic Studies (UK), and the Foreign Policy Association (USA). She served as a member of the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Committee and the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board under President Clinton. She graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, California (1976) and received her Juris Doctor in law from Columbia University in New York City (1980).

Sir Evelyn de Rothschild

Sir Evelyn de Rothschild

Sir Evelyn is currently Chairman of E.L. Rothschild Ltd, a private investment company with interests worldwide. Sir Evelyn is also a Director of IMG Worldwide Inc. He is Chairman of the ERANDA Foundation, a family foundation he founded in 1967 to support charities working in the fields of medical research, health and welfare, education and the arts.

In addition, Sir Evelyn currently serves as a Governor of the London School of Economics and Political Science, a Member of the Council of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Chairman of Cambridge Business School Appeal, and Honorary Life President of Norwood and Ravenswood Children’s Charity. He was Chairman and CEO of NM Rothschild and Sons Ltd, the international investment bank, from 1976 until 2003. From 1972 until 1989, Sir Evelyn also served as Chairman of The Economist Group, was formerly Chairman of St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, Member of the Council of the Shakespeare Globe Trust and President of the Evelina Children’s Hospital Appeal.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1989 for services to banking and finance. He is married to Lynn Forester and has three children and two step-children.

请携带名片或学生证在18:20 -18:50签到从报告厅入场。

清华金融高端讲坛是由清华大学经济管理学院举办的活动。讲坛邀请杰出的金融领域的学者、政府官员、业界人士为主讲嘉宾,同清华师生分享研究成果、政策趋势、实务操作经验,引领探究金融领域的前沿课题。讲堂旨在搭建一个高端的金融领域交流平台,帮助清华师生获取最新、最权威的金融信息,理解、借鉴科学的思维及方法,推动中国的金融研究和金融业的改革与发展。

最新活动动态敬请关注清华大学经济管理学院网站的"通知公告"栏。

清华金融高端讲坛:琳•罗斯柴尔德夫人、伊夫林•罗斯柴尔德爵士:罗斯柴尔德家族——财富传承,基业长青之道

By M. Ulric Killion

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Photo Source: Sam Stein, Romney Won’t Say Whether He Would Have Signed Lilly Ledbetter Act, Huffington Post, April 16, 2012; AP.

The saga of Willard Mitt Romney and his tax returns and financial disclosures continues. In the meanwhile, Willard is not helping to boost his image public image or public perceptions, as he continues to avoid, delay or possibly deny full routine disclosures that the public expects in presidential elections.

Earlier there was the controversy concerning Romney’s financial disclosure reports. As Stephanie Condon (CBS news) reported, he used an obscure legal loophole to provide a limited picture of his assets, which leaves it unclear whether his wealth is invested in controversial companies. While doing so, he also “declined to identify the underlying assets in 48 accounts with Bain Capital because they are covered by a confidentiality agreement with the company.”

For many, Romney’s disclosure reports present serious questions about the nature of his investments. In a larger context, for many his actions foster issues of ethics, law, and the level of transparency that should be required of politicians.

There is also the issue of Romney’s tax returns. Here again, Willard earlier offered a very limited amount of information regarding his holdings, which were only his 2010 tax return and tax estimates for 2011. Recently, he filed for an extension of time to file his 2011 tax returns, which lets us know that he may not be disclosing his tax returns in the very near future.

Marc Thiessen, a former White House speechwriter for President George W. Bush, (Washington Post), writes,

On taxes, it is simply inexplicable why the Romney campaign still cannot get a handle on an issue they should have seen coming years ago. Did they learn nothing from the tax-return debacle he went through during the South Carolina primary? Romney had a double-digit lead until he fumbled the tax issue in not one, but two, Republican debates. His evasive answers, and refusal to commit to releasing his returns, drew boos from the GOP crowd and helped Newt Gingrich win an upset victory.

Even Republicans are starting to ask: What could possibly be in his old tax returns that is worse than creating the impression he has something to hide?

In his article titled, How to Predict When Mitt Romney Will Release His Tax Returns, Chris Kelly makes, though seemingly obvious to many people, an interesting point about Willard and his money. Kelly writes, “To get on board with Mitt Romney, you have to hold two ideas in your head. 1) You should vote for him, because he’s made a lot of money and 2) You must never, ever ask about his money.”

The problem is that Willard is making a poor case against himself in the domain of public opinion, because by now one would think that he would want to disclose his tax returns, and by that there is an implicit understanding of a sufficient number of years of his tax returns.

Nonetheless, and as Kelly also observed, “For reasons unknowable, for months now, Mitt Romney has been fighting against releasing his past tax returns. So it’s not really surprising — just pretty ballsy — that he’s filled for an extension on his 2011 taxes, and we may not see them before mid-October.”

Then more recently, there is the criticism of Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who “ripped Mitt Romney for benefiting from the same tax loopholes as foreign despots.” By tax loopholes, Clyburn is also focusing on the issues of Romney’s Swiss bank accounts and offshore accounts.

Additionally, for those who are unaware, colloquially speaking, the term, despot, “has been applied pejoratively to a person, particularly a head of state or government, who abuses his power and authority to oppress his people, subjects or subordinates.”

In the analogy that Clyburn presents for our consideration, there are real life examples of depots. For instance, according to George B. N. Ayittey (Foreign Policy), Robert Mugabe of Zimbawe funneled off portions of public funds by using currency manipulation and offshore accounts. Ayittey also mentioned the example of Meles Zenawai of Ethiopia, who “stashed millions in foreign banks and acquired mansions in Maryland and London in his wife’s name.”

The point that Clyburn is making, as mentioned in an earlier article,  is that there is an inherent danger to his concealing, hiding, and using offshore bank accounts rather than, as Warren Buffet  suggested,  “good banks in the United States.”

As earlier mentioned, the problem for Romney is that he is not helping his public image by appearing to avoid routine disclosures that we have come to expect of politicians. Moreover, and contrary to what Willard Mitt Romney may be thinking, I suspect that many potential voters will find his practices and secrecies concerning his money as unforgiving. Here again, Romney leaves himself struggling with issues of likability, trust, and genuineness.

_______________

See also Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Posted by: mulrickillion | April 15, 2012

Geithner: Romney Misleading, Ridiculous

By M. Ulric Killion

4-15-2012 9-24-08 PM

Photo Source: The cover from the Politics section of the Huffington Post, April 15, 2012; Elise Foley, Timothy Geithner Calls Mitt Romney Claims ‘Misleading, ‘Ridiculous’, Huffington Post, April, 15, 2012.

As reported by Elise Foley (Huffington Post), on April 15, 2012, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner verbally thrashed Willard Mitt Romney and his handlers for what he rightly characterizes as their “misleading and ridiculous” claims.

In this particular instance, though the misleading and ridiculous claims by Romney’s campaign only seem to be growing in numbers, Geithner is speaking to their recent claim regarding what the Washington Post labeled as Willard’s “amazing statistic.”

According to this “amazing statistic,” during President Barack Obama’s time in office, Romney attempted to claim, though an “amazing statistic” now discredited by many experts, that 92.3 percent of the jobs lost during this period were held by women, which he said was “the real war on women.”

As in earlier periods, the problem of his claim being “misleading and ridiculous” notwithstanding, it is simply another instance of Romney’s campaign at political gaming via playing with statistics or numbers.

Foley, like others, reported that, “The statement was promptly debunked by experts who pointed out that more men have lost jobs since the beginning of the recession, and that statistics can be easy to manipulate.”

s-TIM-GEITHNER-MITT-ROMNEY-large

Photo Source: U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Elise Foley, Timothy Geithner Calls Mitt Romney Claims ‘Misleading, ‘Ridiculous’, Huffington Post, April, 15, 2012; AP.

In this respect, Geithner rightly characterized the Romney campaign as making “misleading and ridiculous” claims. Geithner also rightly maintains that by employing “misleading and ridiculous” claims, especially by political gaming with statistics, Romney and his campaign team effectually reduces the quality of debate over economic policy.

In other words, as a consequence of Romney’s political gaming, and sadly for an American populace in search of real answers to real problems, the quality of debate he now offers concerning economic policy, and quoting Geitner, is “really terrible.”

This is a situation only exacerbated by the fact that Willard Mitt Romney is doing so for the purpose of closing a polling gap with potential women voters. One could even, though sad for American politics, characterize Romney’s efforts as a sort of failed attempt to flip-flap or present a new “etch-a-sketch” political moment in his campaign.

As we hear more and more from Romney’s campaign, American voters learn less from Romney’s campaign efforts, while also sadly learning that he simply doesn’t get it. This is because, for many of us, on the real issue of women’s rights he remains clueless. Romney’s campaign presents the unfolding of a truism that he neither understands, nor wishes to embrace the real issues and real problems of women’s rights.

Never mind what genuinely appears to be an assault by the GOP on women’s rights, for Romney women appear to be no more than a commodity that he would regale to the domestic.

_______________

See also Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Posted by: mulrickillion | April 15, 2012

EIA – OPEC Revenues Fact Sheet – April 2012

eia_email_header

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Last Updated: Apr. 13, 2012 — Download Full Country Analysis Brief

OPEC Oil Export Revenues

Based on projections from the EIA April 2012 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could earn an estimated $1,171 billion of net oil export revenues in 2012 and $1,133 billion in 2013. Last year, OPEC earned $1,026 billion in net oil export revenues, a 33 percent increase from 2010. Saudi Arabia earned the largest share of these earnings, $312 billion, representing 30 percent of total OPEC revenues. On a per-capita basis, OPEC net oil export earnings reached $2,684 in 2011.

Methodology

This report includes estimates of OPEC net oil export revenues. For each country, estimates of oil production and consumption from the latest version of the STEO are used to derive net oil exports. EIA assumes that these exports are sold at prevailing spot prices. For countries that export several different crude varieties, EIA assumes that the proportion of total net oil exports represented by each variety is equal to the proportion of the total domestic production represented by that variety; in other words, since it is assumed that Arab Medium represents 20 percent of total oil production in Saudi Arabia, then it is assumed that Arab Medium represents 20 percent of total net oil exports from Saudi Arabia.

>>View entire series (1975-2013)

>>View entire series (1975-2013)

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

By M. Ulric Killion

Hilary-Rosen-Ann-Romney-620x334

Photo Source: Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen has apologized Ann Romney after saying the wife of GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney "never worked a day in her life." Image source: Reuters, AP; The Blaze, Hilary Rosen Apologizes to Ann Romney: ‘Let’s put the Faux ‘War Against Stay-at-Home Mom’s’ to Rest, April 13, 2012.

During the past week, the news media, for at least a day, directed a great deal of attention toward the controversy between Hilary Rosen and Ann Romney, the wife of Willard Mitt Romney. For many it seemed that the controversy provided some excitement from the routine of politics, for some it may have been entertaining, and for others it may well have been a call to arms. The source of last week’s excitement was, of course, Rosen’s assertion that Ann Romney “has never worked a day in her life.”

When first hearing about Rosen’s comment, I did not think much, if anything, about what she said. This is mostly due to the fact that Rosen is neither a candidate for political office, nor speaks on behalf of President Obama as a member of his campaign team. From my perspective, the growing interest in this incident and the extent of the media coverage was surprising, because during this period the relevancy, if any, of this controversy did not dawn on me.

Today, however, I read Linda Hirshman’s article about Rosen’s comment. Her article is well-written and, at least for me, takes this seemingly trivial moment in politics and actually gives it both meaning and relevancy. When speaking about relevancy, I mean what, if anything, can we come away with from this controversy, which is both informative and revealing about real political issues and political positions of the candidates.

With that being said, and quoting an excerpt from her article,  Hirshman writes,

Unemployment is not the only issue on which women in the formal workplace split from their informally occupied sisters. Equal pay is another. And that is more complicated for Mitt Romney, given his support of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who led the charge to repeal his state’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which protected women against pay discrimination. Recently, a Romney aide was unable to say whether the candidate supported the latest addition to federal equal-pay law, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which guarantees equal pay for equal work.

Women whose work consists of caring for their households and children don’t need to worry about being paid less than their male counterparts. First, they aren’t paid at all, in any formal sense, and second, unless their husbands take a male spouse alongside them — an unlikely social development — they won’t confront sex discrimination at their workplace. Actually, Romney himself, a proud member of the capitalist economy and of a religious minority with a history of discrimination, has more in common with female workers than his wife does in discouraging arbitrary workplace discrimination. Ann Romney huffily reminded her husband’s detractors that some of his best employees have been women. But they were his employees; why is he using his wife to get that message out?. . . . 

All women, for example, have an interest in controlling their reproduction. They may choose to put the issue in the hands of some god, or they may choose to control it themselves, but it is an issue on which women as a group differ from men as a group. What might Ann Romney say about the interest of women in birth control?

Or in breast cancer detection and research, an area where women have an interest different from all but a tiny handful of men? When the Susan G. Komen foundation announced cuts to breast-cancer-related funding for Planned Parenthood, Mitt Romney might have had his wife address that issue, in which, as a breast cancer survivor, she happens to have a real personal stake. . . .

Maybe Ann Romney would like to address the relentless Republican opposition to the Family and Medical Leave Act.

For those interested in understanding the real import of this controversy, I highly recommend that you read Hirshman’s article in its entirety. This is because, as earlier mentioned, she gives real meaning and relevancy to what many would perceive as a seemingly trivial moment in politics.

As Hirshman observed, “In the furor, everyone seemed to forget that unpaid mothers and household work are not what the discussion is about. Republicans are not talking about how jobs for stay-at-home moms have decreased under Obama.”

Moreover, this is not to say that I lack respect for women who stay at home and take care of their child or children, it is just that, as Hirshman’s reveals for us, the plight of the stay at home moms was never the real issue.

In the end, the real issues are women’s rights, the right to equal pay for women, fair employment rights, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Affordable Care Act, abortion rights, contraception, the Blunt Amendment, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Planned Parenthood, birth control, and other issues that affect the lives of women.

>>The article by Linda Hirshman follows.

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“Hilary Rosen was right: Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life”

By Linda Hirshman*, Huffington Post, April 13, 2012 —

Beltway pundit Hilary Rosen committed a mortal sin of American politics: She spoke the truth with a microphone on.

“What you have,” she told Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night, “is Mitt Romney running around the country saying: ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’

“Guess what?” Rosen observed. “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.”

With that, the storm erupted.

Of course stay-at-home moms “work,” women from Barbara Bush to Michelle Obama quickly asserted. All that housekeeping and child care is a lot of work. President Obama, apparently needing more distance from Rosen’s comments, suggested Thursday that candidates’ spouses should be “off limits” altogether.

And surely, taking care of a family is hard work. In Ann Romney’s case, managing the very elaborate Romney establishment — five children, three or four houses and two Cadillacs — probably takes as much labor as most jobs in the market economy. Within 24 hours, Rosen was apologizing to all those women laboring in their homes for implying that they don’t work.

In the furor, everyone seemed to forget that unpaid mothers and household work are not what the discussion is about. Republicans are not talking about how jobs for stay-at-home moms have decreased under Obama.

They are talking about how paid work for women has suffered. Mitt Romney said this past week that 92 percent of the jobs lost under Obama were lost by women. Erick Erickson, a Republican commentator who joined Rosen on Cooper’s CNN show, argued that the president is responsible for the decline of women’s jobs in the paid workplace.

And work as she may, that’s one place Ann Romney has never been. She has spent her life in the private precincts of the marital workplace, where emotional ties replace the financial norms of the factory or office.

Now, she has emerged to campaign for her husband and to explain to him what women want. “I’ve had the fun of being out with my wife the last several days on the campaign trail,” Mitt Romney told Fox News this month. “And she points out that as she talks to women, they tell her that their number one concern is the economy.”

At a recent campaign event, Romney said he wished his wife were there to help answer a question about female voters. “She says that she’s going across the country and talking with women, and what they’re talking about is the debt that we’re leaving the next generation and the failure of this economy to put people back to work.”

When Ann Romney’s husband, who faces a gender gap in some polls, uses her experience and insight as a megaphone for women’s concern over fewer paid jobs, he mistakenly assumes that all women are fungible. Which was, I take it, Rosen’s original point.

Although Ann Romney may be a fine spokesperson on some issues, the dirty little secret of angling for female votes is that while all women’s work, inside or outside the home, has the same worth, as Michelle Obama and Barbara Bush sweetly expressed, all women do not have the same interests. Women who work in the home do not have the same interest in the recovery of the formal job market as women who have to work for pay. Indeed, wage-earning women probably have more in common with their paycheck-dependent male co-workers on the subject of economic recovery than with household laborers such as Ann Romney.

Unemployment is not the only issue on which women in the formal workplace split from their informally occupied sisters. Equal pay is another. And that is more complicated for Mitt Romney, given his support of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who led the charge to repeal his state’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which protected women against pay discrimination. Recently, a Romney aide was unable to say whether the candidate supported the latest addition to federal equal-pay law, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which guarantees equal pay for equal work.

Women whose work consists of caring for their households and children don’t need to worry about being paid less than their male counterparts. First, they aren’t paid at all, in any formal sense, and second, unless their husbands take a male spouse alongside them — an unlikely social development — they won’t confront sex discrimination at their workplace. Actually, Romney himself, a proud member of the capitalist economy and of a religious minority with a history of discrimination, has more in common with female workers than his wife does in discouraging arbitrary workplace discrimination. Ann Romney huffily reminded her husband’s detractors that some of his best employees have been women. But they were his employees; why is he using his wife to get that message out?

Ann Romney could of course speak for some interests common to all women (and not common to men). All women, for example, have an interest in controlling their reproduction. They may choose to put the issue in the hands of some god, or they may choose to control it themselves, but it is an issue on which women as a group differ from men as a group. What might Ann Romney say about the interest of women in birth control?

Or in breast cancer detection and research, an area where women have an interest different from all but a tiny handful of men? When the Susan G. Komen foundation announced cuts to breast-cancer-related funding for Planned Parenthood, Mitt Romney might have had his wife address that issue, in which, as a breast cancer survivor, she happens to have a real personal stake.

Many women in the market economy share with women at home a desire for a more forgiving workplace, one where they could both work for pay and have better family lives. Maybe Ann Romney would like to address the relentless Republican opposition to the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Although Democrats, who are especially dependent on female voters in swing states, probably don’t think so, Rosen’s gaffe may be a blessing. It’s time to stop treating women as if we were one monolithic interest group. In the highly contested demographic of white female voters, married women such as Ann Romney who derive their livelihoods from the success of their husbands vote overwhelmingly for the GOP. And Republicans such as Wisconsin’s Walker tend to look after the interests of men, in, say, being paid more than women with the same job. Maybe Democrats ought to concentrate on those voters — single women, wage-earning women — who do have an interest in equal pay.

After a whirlwind few days, Rosen on Friday canceled a scheduled appearance on “Meet the Press.” In a statement, she explained that she had said everything she wanted to on the matter. “I apologized to Mrs. Romney and work-in-home moms for mistakenly giving the impression that I do not think their work is valuable. Of course it is. I will instead spend the weekend trying to explain to my kids the value of admitting a mistake and moving on.”

But what if Rosen could teach her kids something more valuable: what it means to say something true and difficult, and stand by it. Her comments were uncharacteristically tone-deaf. But her call to focus on those women who are really hurt by job losses was pitch-perfect.

*Linda Hirshman is the author of Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World and the forthcoming Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution.” Follow her on Twitter @LindaHirshman1.

Hilary Rosen was right: Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life

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See also Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

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