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What Now?

I have not written for a year, because I did not want to infect you with my depression.  The climate is warming up like never before in all human history, the polar ice is melting at the fastest rate in 120,000 years, the hurricanes, fires and droughts are ever stronger, and people went mad, most of them all at once.  At this time of epochal change, the global superorganism of which we are tiny parts, keeps on pretending that nothing will prevent its eternal growth.  People in power are borrowing ever more money and drawing the seemingly logical plans of eternal economic expansion, when only drastic contraction can save us.

America, my dream country and my state of mind, has been withering and burning through geological deposits of good will around the world.  And just two days ago, we heard a scarred-for-life, direct and gentle woman, whose credible testimony was ignored by the old cynical white men on the right hand side of the room. Then came the raison d'etre of this ceremony, a privileged white boy, who never had to account for anything in his sheltered life. The boy became a belligerent sobbing oaf when challenged by difficult questions about his youthful sins of binge drinking and attacking girls. Yet, almost half of America watched his tantrums, worthy of a scorned school boy, not a Supreme Court Justice, with admiration. As judge Kavenaugh reiterated five times, he loves beer, just like the poor uneducated white males, who are encouraged to accept that rich boy, because this Bud is also for him. And then came the worst part, after invoking God, beer, motherland, football, sex abstinence and family, the boy went on an ideological rampage worthy of another adolescent in charge of my country.  It was 1:30 am of Jeddah time, when this gut wrenching spectacle ended.

But next morning, I heard the voice of a woman confronting the visibly frightened senator Jeff Flake, who was caught trying to touch his shoes with his nose. “You are telling all women that they don’t matter, that they should just stay quiet because if they tell you what happened to them, you are going to ignore them,” she yelled. “That’s what happened to me.” “Look at me when I’m talking to you,” she commanded the senator.  A wave of warmth went through my body, because I knew instantly that this brave woman was our America.  She, just like my wife, my daughters and me has had it with the attempts to fracture our country even more.

In the end, the visibly drawn senator Flake stopped the Republican Juggernaut dead, earned eternal gratitude from millions of ordinary Americans, and probably lost his job.  My country saw another brighter day.  My little grandson may still have a place to live when he grows up, and not be called an "enemy of the people."  But that's a completely different story.

P.S. (10/05/2018) The woman's name is Maria Gallagher.

P.S.P.S. (10/13/2018)  A week after I wrote this blog, reality corrected me.  Senator Jeff Flake fell in line with the rest of his disciplined, anti-democratic Republican Party.  Being a smart politician he is, he concluded that the future lucrative lobbying contracts, probably worth millions of the shiny dollars to him, were more important than truth, democracy and preventing further bifurcation of the country whose constitution he swore to uphold.   The rest is history.  The boy is now a Supreme Court justice, and he is free to make the smallest tight lips he pleases to accentuate his dissatisfaction with whatever.

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Some observational data:

    US production of crude and condensate:

    https://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/ngm_epg0_fgw_nus_mmcfdm.htm

    We were in the 5 millions per day as recent as 2011. Last year we broke past 10 million and are probably doing over 11 now (data lags two months). In any case, doubled production in less than a decade.

    US production of wet gas (total withdrawals):

    https://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/ngm_epg0_fgw_nus_mmcfdm.htm

    We have gone from production in the 60s BCF/d last decade to just breaking through 100 BCF/d. In fact, we added over 10 BCF/d just in the last year.

    Within that, marketed dry gas has gone up from 1.5 TCF/month to 2.5 TCF/month in the last ten years. (And PRICE has gone from flirting with $10 plus, to hanging out at $3 or below. That's right...60% increase in volume while price dropped...that's not demand driving the bus...that's a supply glut). We are also now a net exporter of natural gas.

    Also within wet gas, natural gas liquids:

    https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=m_epl2_fpf_nus_mbbld&f=m

    More than doubled. From below 2 million bpd to over 4 million bpd. Not only are now a net exporter of LPG (propane and butanes), but we dominate the market now, having become the number one exporter of propane and nearly 50% of the world export/import market.

    The "App" Marcellus/Utica is producing at record levels, close to 30 BCF/d. The Bakken has resurged and is hitting new records again. Haynesville has made a very strong turnaround and will likely repeak in less than a year. And the Permian...really has become a world class production region, more than Kuwait.

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  3. Sam Mitchell sent me and although the production numbers in the above comments complement the satellite imagery in my mind of the Permian landscape, I thought I might make a more direct contribution to the content of this post. While the ruling plutocracy in this country is by no means homogeneous it does navigate by a common pole star that wealth and power to persist must be defended against all threats. An informed and motivated citizenry is the greatest perceived threat to that wealth and power. Kavenaugh and Gorsuch before him along with the Citizen's United decision before that are the expression by rich mostly white men that they are a oppressed and tiny minority that must be protected by the least democratic of our political institutions from the tyranny of the popular will. Control of the highest court in the land for a generation or more is a prize worth any price no matter how venal and corrupt and naked it reveals or government to be.

    Tom Hall

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