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: Here’s how much aid the U.S. gives to Israel — and why it may get billions of dollars more

Congress is debating more aid to Israel. Here's how much the U.S. ally receives now, and why it may get more......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchNov 20th, 2023

The Marshall Islands brought a $35 billion plan to the table at COP28 in Dubai — without it, the country risks a climate catastrophe

Most of the Marshall Islands are only 6 feet, or a couple of meters, above sea level. By 2070, sea levels are projected to rise nearly 2 feet. Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner, the Marshall Islands' climate envoy.Catherine Boudreau/Business InsiderThe Marshall Islands crafted a $35 billion adaptation plan, unveiled Wednesday at COP28.The plan could save people's lives and an Indigenous culture.But it can only be carried out with the help of wealthy economies like the US and the EU.This article is part of Insider's weekly newsletter on sustainability. Sign up here.To understand the injustices of the climate crisis, take a look at the Marshall Islands.The country is responsible for less than 0.01% of greenhouse-gas emissions that are warming the planet, yet it's among the most vulnerable to its effects. As glaciers and ice sheets melt at an alarming pace, sea levels are encroaching on the dozens of coral atolls and five islands that make up the nation in the Pacific Ocean.Most of the Marshall Islands are only 6 feet — or a couple of meters — above sea level. By 2070, sea levels are projected to rise nearly 2 feet."That doesn't sound like a lot, but that would actually inundate most of the main urban centers every 10 years and damage a lot of our islands, making it unlivable," Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner, the Marshall Islands' climate envoy, told Business Insider.High tide and swell waves would put the nearly 42,000 residents of the Marshall Islands at risk of regular flooding and food insecurity.To stave off that kind of devastation, the Marshall Islands crafted a $35 billion adaptation plan, unveiled Wednesday at the UN climate summit in Dubai, known as COP28. The plan could save people's lives and an Indigenous culture deeply intertwined with the environment, Jetn̄il-Kijiner said. She explained that her necklace was made by local artisans who pound, strip, and dry leaves into a thread that is then woven with shells. Traditions like that could disappear along with the coastlines where native plants and marine life flourish.Local Marshall Island artisans pound, strip, and dry leaves into a thread that is then woven with shells.Catherine Boudreau/Business InsiderThe adaptation plan calls for fortifying low-lying islands, building seawalls, elevating homes, and constructing desalination plants. But it can only be carried out with the help of wealthy economies like the US and the European Union.The wealthy nations that are most responsible for the climate crisis are under pressure at COP28 to boost financial aid for developing countries so they can become more resilient to natural disasters and be compensated for climate losses.Vice President Kamala Harris announced on Saturday that the US would pledge $3 billion to a Green Climate Fund devoted to developing countries. Former President Barack Obama made a similar promise in 2014, only $2 billion of which has been delivered so far. The US also committed $17.5 million to a new "loss and damage" fund that countries agreed to set up at the outset of COP28.The world's wealthiest nations were supposed to provide $100 billion a year in climate funding by 2020 but hit the target two years later. That isn't enough to cover the amount developing nations would need to adapt to the changing climate — the UN recently said they'd require hundreds of billions of dollars more.The Marshall Islands has long been a leader in advocating for aggressive climate action during UN summits. At COP28, the country hopes a deal emerges to double the finance target."It's completely inequitable to expect us to pay for this ourselves," Jetn̄il-Kijiner said.She added that countries also need to agree to phase out fossil fuels."Adaptation can only protect us for now," she said. "But the costs are going to be exponentially worse if we don't address the root cause of the crisis, which is fossil fuels."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt16 hr. 39 min. ago

20 Most Valuable Car Companies by Market Cap Heading into 2024

In this article, we will be taking a look at the 20 most valuable car companies by market cap heading into 2024. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see the 5 most valuable car companies by market cap heading into 2024. The car industry is one of the most valuable industries […] In this article, we will be taking a look at the 20 most valuable car companies by market cap heading into 2024. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see the 5 most valuable car companies by market cap heading into 2024. The car industry is one of the most valuable industries in the world, and is worth more than $2.7 trillion currently, expected to land at $3.6 trillion by 2031. Despite being one of the most important industries in the world, the automotive sector had a year to forget in 2022, mainly because of supply chain disruptions. Already reeling from the impact of the pandemic, higher interest rates and fears of a recession led to the industry slowing down as consumer spending fell, and the most valuable car companies by market cap heading into 2024 were significantly impacted too. “There is active demand destruction in the industry, given inflation, interest rates, and energy costs − but so far, this has mostly impacted the backlog,” Bernstein analyst Daniel Roeska wrote in an investor note. An aerial view of a busy highway, cars and trucks passing underneath. According to Kroll, auto sales are expected to grow in 2023 as compared to 2022, even though the overall car industry is still well below pre-pandemic levels. Due to supply chain issues, car prices increased significantly over the past couple of years, both in the new car department as well as used car sales, with used car prices being 30% above pre-pandemic levels. Currently improving supply chain levels are expected to drive down prices as U.S. sales, which is home to many of the most valuable car companies in the world heading into 2024, reached over 1.3 million units in August, an increase of more than 15% compared to the previous year.  Consumers are expected to spend around $48 billion in the same month, a record for August. This is in line with global expectations too, as around 86.8 million units are expected to be sold, exceeding the previous estimates of 86.4 million units. Of course, the U.S. has been dealing with strikes and many of the the most profitable car companies in the world are losing tens of millions of dollars as workers strike for better pay, with the number of people striking continuing to increase by the thousands. While the U.S. is home to many of the richest car companies in the world, which we’ll discuss later in our list, the car companies expected to dominate the future of the industry are those which are able to successfully pivot to electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing. Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA), one of the most valuable car companies in the world heading into 2024, is credited with ushering in the EV revolution and EV sales are continuing to increase as a percentage of total car sales, and 2023 is looking to be the most spectacular year in this respect. Currently, China is the largest manufacturer of EVs in the world by a country mile and is continuing to gain more dominance. More than half of the EVs produced in the world are produced by China, which is home to some of the biggest car manufacturers by revenue in 2023, and in 2022, around 14% of all cars sold globally were EVs. This percentage is expected to increase even more in 2023, as evidenced by Q1 sales, where 2.3 million EVs were sold, an increase of 25% compared to the previous year. In total, around 14 million EVs are expected to be sold in 2023, which will contribute to more than 16% of total cars sold. Another exciting development in the automotive industry pertains to advances made in the self-driving industry. Many companies, including some of the most valuable car companies by market cap heading into 2024, have started to make headway in self-driving cars, and the industry, if all goes to plan, could be worth $400 billion by 2035. The Chief Executive Officer of the electric vehicle company Li Auto Inc. (NASDAQ:LI), Xiang Li, said in the company’s Q2 2023 earnings call: “We made rapid progress in autonomous driving this year. In June 2023, we started test drives for China’s first NOA and commute NOA, which do not rely on high-definition maps in [Wangjing] (ph), known as one of the most complicated traffic zones in Beijing. We also rolled out our city NOA to early bird users in Beijing and Shanghai. On the perception front, we use BEV models enhanced by innovative NPN features and TIN network to perceive complex road structures in real time and comprehend traffic rules. While utilizing occupancy network to identify common obstacles, we also utilized imitation learning and control algorithms to make judgments more akin to human drivers. Test drivers and media have spoken highly of driving safety, efficiency and comfort demonstrated by Li Auto AD Max.” Methodology To determine the most valuable car companies in the world heading into 2024, we checked the market cap of the top automotive stocks through Yahoo Finance and ranked them each based on their market cap. Where the market cap of a company is in a foreign currency, it has been converted to USD based on the latest exchange rates. We also determined the valuation of some private companies, and just one private company made our list. 20. Kia Corporation Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 23.08 One of the biggest car companies in Korea, and the world, Kia has seen its share price climb by 27% YTD 2023, and in Q3 2023, saw its revenue exceed the previous year by 3.5%. Additionally, Kia also agreed, along with Hyundai, a partnership with Infineon for the supply of semiconductors. 19. SAIC Motor Corporation Limited Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 23.63 One of the biggest car companies in China, SAIC Motor Corporation saw its brand, MG Motors, earn more than £1 billion in the UK alone in 2022. 18. Tata Motors Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 27.61 India’s most valuable car company, Tata Motors has had a stellar year which has helped it become one of the most valuable car companies in the world by market cap heading into 2024, with its share price increasing by nearly 60% YTD 2023. 17. Great Wall Motor Company Limited Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 30.38 China’s Great Wall Motor Company Limited rose by more than 16% in just the past one month after surpassing profit expectations and reporting profit growth of 42%. The company also has plans on expanding to Europe, and called for fair trade between Europe and China. 16. Hyundai Motor Company Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 30.76 Hyundai is the largest car company in Korea is looking to build a $7.6 billion EV assembly plan in America to boost its transition and enable it to remain among the most valuable car companies in the world in 2023. 15. Li Auto Inc. (NASDAQ:LI) Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 35.96 We’ve already discussed the recent achievements and expectations of Li Auto Inc. (NASDAQ:LI), one of the most valuable car companies by market cap heading into 2024. These advancements made by Li Auto Inc. (NASDAQ:LI), have seen its share price rise by over 63% YTD, with a 10% in just the last 5 days. 14. General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 36.7 General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), in its Q3 2023 earnings report, landed at a Non-GAAP EPS of $2.28, beating expectations by $0.44. Patient Capital Management mentioned General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) in its second quarter 2023 investor letter: “We like other names mostly ignored by the market for similar reasons. Names like Expedia (EXPE), General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), and Delta Air Lines. These companies have strong returns on capital (14%+), good competitive positions, cheap valuations (all double-digit free cash flow yields), and are returning capital to shareholders. We trust the managements to take advantage of their depressed stock prices and create long-term shareholder value.” 13. Maruti Suzuki India Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 37.7 The chairman of Maruti Suzuki India recently stated that small car sales will likely take around 2 – 3 years to rebound, based on expectations regarding increase in consumer spending. 12. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 39.7 Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is one of the pioneers of car manufacturing. Recently, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) became one of several car companies which have postponed investment in EV, after delaying a $12 billion investment because of buyers became more conscious with respect to spending. 11. Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (NYSE:HMC) Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 49.9 The second biggest car company in Japan, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (NYSE:HMC), along with General Motors decided to scrap a $5 billion plan to work together to develop cheaper EVs. YTD 2023, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (NYSE:HMC) has seen its share price rise by 31%. 10. Ferrari N.V. (NYSE:RACE) Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 54.6 Ferrari N.V. (NYSE:RACE) is one of the most well-known luxury car brands in history, and its stock price has jumped nearly 40% YTD 2023, being counted among one of the best performers in the automotive industry in 2023. Ferrari N.V. (NYSE:RACE) was mentioned in Ensemble Capital Management’s first quarter 2023 investor letter. Here is what it said: “Ferrari N.V. (NYSE:RACE) (+26.48%): The luxury automaker’s long awaited Purosangue, their first four door, four seater vehicle, has proven so popular that the company announced that they have ceased accepting new orders as they are sold out through all of this year and into 2024. The Purosangue is designed not as copycat sports utility vehicle that many other luxury automakers sell, but as a true Ferrari car that their devoted fan base can use for more practical transportation needs. Since the average Ferrari is only driven a few thousand miles a year or less, they are best understood as mechanical works of art rather than a means of transportation. But with the introduction of the Purosangue, Ferrari enthusiasts will have a vehicle that meets transportation needs, while still delivering the extremely high end experience that you would expect from a car that costs about $500,000.” 9. Volkswagen AG Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 55.2 Volkswagen is the largest car manufacturer in the world by number of vehicles produced, but recently decided to cut 2,000 jobs at Cariad after facing issues regarding future EVs. 8. Stellantis N.V. (NYSE:STLA) Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 55.8 Stellantis N.V. (NYSE:STLA) became the second U.S. car giant, and one of the most valuable companies in the world by market cap heading into 2024, which finally agreed a deal with the United Auto Workers Association to increase the pay of workers and bring an end to a major strike which has had a major impact on the U.S. automotive industry. Miller Value Partners Income Strategy made the following comment about Stellantis N.V. (NYSE:STLA) in its second quarter 2023 investor letter: “We initiated a starter position in Stellantis N.V. (NYSE:STLA), which makes Jeep, Dodge and Fiat cars. The company has a nearly 8% dividend yield with enough net cash (cash minus debt) on the balance sheet to cover the dividend for almost five years. The company trades at 1.7x operating profits, which means the market is already expecting a likely drop in cash flow. Still, the shares appear to be worth meaningfully more than where they trade, and management is heavily aligned with stockholders with a 14% stake. They share our view that the valuation is compelling, as the company plans on repurchasing ~3% of shares outstanding this year.” 7. BMW Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 61.8 BMW has seen its share price rise only by 2% YTD 2023, with its numbers in 2023 being impacted by a decline in sales in China in Q3 2023, as Chinese companies have made significant gains. 6. Mercedes-Benz Group Total market cap as at 30th October 2023 (in $ billions): 63.26 The most valuable car company in Germany, Mercedes-Benz Group is well-known for its luxury vehicles. Recently, the company mentioned that a “brutal” EV market is continuing to put pressure on operating margins as its operating profits declined by 6.8% to 4.8 billion euros in Q3 2023. Heavy price cuts in the EV market and supply chain issues will impact its full year targets too. Click to continue reading and see the 5 Most Valuable Car Companies by Market Cap. Suggested Articles: 13 Best ESG Stocks To Buy Now 15 Most Powerful Militaries in Asia 12 Most Advanced Countries in Latin America Disclosure: None. 20 most valuable car companies by market cap heading into 2024 is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkey18 hr. 11 min. ago

The 10 Biggest Arms Importers in the World

War is big business. And just like any business, making war requires supplies, in this case: weapons and ammo and vehicles. Producing these supplies requires a massive amount of manpower, infrastructure, and raw materials so most countries aren’t able to mass-produce the weapons they need themselves. But even developed nations have reason to purchase large […] The post The 10 Biggest Arms Importers in the World appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. War is big business. And just like any business, making war requires supplies, in this case: weapons and ammo and vehicles. Producing these supplies requires a massive amount of manpower, infrastructure, and raw materials so most countries aren’t able to mass-produce the weapons they need themselves. But even developed nations have reason to purchase large amounts of military equipment, quickly becoming the biggest arms importers in the world. That’s where the arms exporters come in. The United States is, by far, the largest arms manufacturer in the world, and arguably the largest cheerleader when it comes to armed conflict and arms buildup. Wars use a lot of guns and ammo, and the United States has a lot of it to sell. Times of peace tend to reduce the economic and political influence of the United States, which is why it has instigated conflict and stocked the fires of war for decades. But where are all these guns going? Which country is buying the most guns? Here are the ten biggest arms importers in the world. Stats for these rankings are taken from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) for the period between 2018 and 2022. #10 United Arab Emirates Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The military force of the UAE was only organized in 1971. Since then, it has grown quickly and significantly to be a major power in the Middle East despite the country’s small size and population. Most of its weapons and vehicles are imported from the United States and many of its officers are educated at American military schools. The UAE has used its considerable military might in only a few regional conflicts. It has helped with ground offensives in Afghanistan and Yemen, and with fighting against ISIL in Syria. All military campaigns have been to support U.S. action in the area. The UAE has begun investing in its own arms manufacturing in order to reduce its reliance on Western powers for its military supplies. Today, the largest military and defense exhibition in the Middle East happens in Abu Dhabi. #9 Japan U.S. forces inspect a Japanese submarine. According to the Global Peace Index, Japan ranks second just behind Singapore among countries in Asia and only spends 1% of its total annual GDP on its military. Even so, it has the tenth-largest military in the world. A lot of this has to do with the fact that Japan is limited by Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. This is a law that was imposed on the country after its surrender during World War II that took away its ability to declare war or use its military for anything other than self-defense. All of its militaries are called self-defense forces to comply with this law. International political tension in the region, however, has motivated the Japanese government to consider changing this law. Most of its weapons and vehicle imports come from the United States. #8 Pakistan Guard of Honor Battalion of the Pakistan Army. Pakistan has the sixth-largest military in the world in terms of people in full-time service. Most of their weapons imports come from China and the United States. Since the creation of its military in 1947, Pakistan has been involved in four conventional wars with India, and tensions remain high between the two nations over the Kashmir region. This contributes to the continued growth and strength of the Pakistani military. Pakistan has been very active with its military in the Middle East, primarily supporting Saudi Arabian and United States interests and operations in the region. #7 South Korea South Korean military helicopter near the DMZ. With a neighbor like North Korea, it is understandable that South Korea would want to prepare itself as much as possible for what seems like an inevitable conflict. It spends 2.6% of its GDP and 15% of its entire government budget on its military and has instituted compulsory military service for all men, resulting in one of the strongest armed forces in the world. Most of these forces are concentrated around the southern border of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Again, most of the weapons and equipment South Korea imports come from the United States, and they have been extremely active and supportive in all the U.S. military operations around the world. South Korea also spends millions of dollars to have U.S. forces along the DMZ along with their own. Interestingly, all military forces in South Korea, including U.S. forces, are actually part of an operational United Nations command. If war were to break out between the North and the South, the United States would assume command of all South Korean forces for the duration of the war. #6 Egypt Egyptian and U.S. joint training exercises. Most of the weapons and equipment Egypt imports come from Russia. However, the United States spends billions every year on military assistance for Egypt. In 2015 alone, the U.S. sent $1.3 billion in military assistance. The U.S. considers Egypt a major ally in the region, even while they improve relations and purchase significant amounts of military hardware from Russia and China. With its significant military might, Egypt has been successful in brokering peace and resolving conflicts in the Middle East. It regularly plays the role of mediator between warring states in the region.   #5 Australia Australian Submarine Corporation Collins Class submarine under construction. Australia spends 2% of its GDP on its armed forces, resulting in the 12th-largest defense budget in the entire world. How the country spends this money, however, has been the cause of much controversy and scandal within Australia. Even though Australia has the means and money to produce all its own equipment, it continues to purchase significant amounts of military hardware from the United States, including nuclear submarines and tanks. Much of Australia’s foreign policy is dictated by the policies and objectives of the United States, and since Australia conducts a significant amount of business and investment with the U.S., they are eager to maintain positive relations. This even extends to covering up war crimes conducted by both U.S. and Australian forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to prevent upsetting their political and economic ties. #4 China The Chinese army is known as the People’s Liberation Army. China boasts the largest military force in the world, with over 2.2 million personnel on active duty. It is widely considered to be one of the world’s strongest militaries. China also has the third-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, the second-largest navy, and the second-largest military budget of $230 billion. China has been rapidly modernizing its army in order to further influence nations within its sphere of control, and maintain its power against the other two nuclear powers nearby: India and Pakistan. With so many nuclear weapons so close to international conflicts, any military engagement in the region receives significant international attention. Most of the equipment and hardware China imports comes from Russia. Even though China has become the second-largest exporter of military equipment, it continues to purchase large amounts of weapons for itself. Over 61% of all arms imports come from Russia, with significant amounts coming from France and Ukraine. #3 Qatar The Qatar military during training. Compared to the other countries on this list, Qatar’s military is tiny, with just over 11,000 active personnel. That small army, however, is considered to be exceptionally well-trained and equipped by Western military schools and equipment. Most of its military imports come from the United States and have included combat helicopters, early-warning aircraft, and more. #2 Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia serviceman during training exercises. Saudi Arabia has one of the biggest military budgets in the world, spending 8% of its GDP on its military, and making it the third-largest military spender in the world. Most of the equipment it imports comes from the United States. In fact, more than half of all the guns, equipment, and hardware the U.S. sells to Middle East nations goes to Saudi Arabia. After Israel, Saudi Arabia is the best-equipped military in the Middle East. The United States, and other Western nations, continue to support and supply Israel and Saudi Arabia (among other countries in the area) even while they denounce and threaten each other. #1 India Indian military regiment marching during the National Day celebration. India has the second-largest military behind China, with over 1.45 million active-duty personnel. Most of the weapons and equipment it imports is to prepare for any additional wars with Pakistan and to contend with Chinese aggression in the Indian Ocean where China has been aggressive in claiming territory and intimidating its rivals. India’s largest arms importer is Russia. It is a significant military power in the region and has strong ties with many Western countries which it seeks to improve in order to combat Chinese power. One might question the logic of selling weapons, equipment, hardware, and military training to countries that also buy the same supplies from other nations against whom the U.S. is actively preparing to fight in the near future. Additionally, there are numerous examples of nations fighting each other with weapons, bullets, and vehicles built and sold by the United States to soldiers trained on American soil. One might logically conclude that the conflict might not have happened, or at least been mitigated if American weapons were not being exported to frivolously. More so, one might wonder why the United States continues to sell weapons and equipment to nations that use that equipment to oppress its population and commit war crimes and human rights abuses. When there are billions to be made, however, logic tends to take a back seat to greed. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Israel and Gaza where American bombs and bullets are flying both directions in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. No wonder calls for peace and change from U.S. lawmakers fall on deaf ears around the world. Sponsored: Want to Retire Early? Here’s a Great First Step Want retirement to come a few years earlier than you’d planned? Or are you ready to retire now, but want an extra set of eyes on your finances? Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help you build your plan to retire early. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free. Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions. The post The 10 Biggest Arms Importers in the World appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallst18 hr. 27 min. ago

"Energy Transition" - Reality Versus Rhetoric

"Energy Transition" - Reality Versus Rhetoric Authored by Mark Mills via RealClear Wire, This essay is based on testimony delivered November 29, 2023, before the Congressional Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing and Critical Materials, House Committee on Energy and Commerce. It is often useful to contrast rhetoric with reality. The phrase, an “energy transition,” the goal to replace hydrocarbons, has origins that trace back to a 1977 speech by President Jimmy Carter. It was an “address to the nation” that commandeered national media, as is the convention on occasions when presidents seek to deliver momentous news. That address became known, infamously, as the “MEOW” speech because of President Carter framing the “energy challenge” as the “moral equivalent of war.” We find a lot of familiar rhetorical turns of phrase in that speech, not least the urgent need for a putative “energy transition” as being “the greatest challenge that our country will face during our lifetime,” and the need to “act quickly” in order to “have a decent world for our children and our grandchildren.” Back then, the urgency was motivated by the belief the world was running out of oil and natural gas. Of course, in our time the “energy transition” rhetoric is directed at replacing a now over-abundant supply of those hydrocarbons, specifically in service of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The latter is the latest “greatest challenge” facing humanity. Meanwhile, after a near half-century of transition policies and massive government spending since the MEOW speech, the reality today is that oil, gas, and coal today supply 82% of global energy. To put that reality into a more recent context, since Y2k we’ve seen over $5 trillion of global spending on wind and solar and similar efforts to avoid hydrocarbons. That did reduce hydrocarbons’ share of world energy, but by just two percentage points. And the quantity, not share, of hydrocarbons consumed globally has increased by an amount equal, in energy-equivalent terms, to adding six Saudi Arabia’s worth of oil output. Those two decades of spending has led to solar and wind combined supplying just under 4% of world energy. For context: burning wood still supplies 10%. But energy transitionists now claim this time is different. There are differences. The global population is far bigger wherein billions more people now aspire to the lifestyles of even the least fortunate in the wealthy West. Fortunately, because costs of wind, solar, and battery technologies are far lower than two decades back, those sources can now more significantly complement hydrocarbons. However, a pivotal reality is found in the nature and location of critical upstream industries that make the complementary energy sources possible. Because of unavoidable, underlying physics, fabricating wind, solar and battery hardware entails a radical increase in the use of a range of minerals from copper and nickel to aluminum and graphite, and rare earths such as neodymium. The increases range from 700% to 4,000% more minerals per unit of energy production. While this reality still surprises many, for the cognoscenti, it is no longer news that the spending and mandates directed at wind, solar and EVs will require an astonishing, unprecedented increase in output from the old-school industries of mining and mineral refining. But that reality is also greeted by hollow rhetoric. Transitionists claim that subsidies and mandates will stimulate the market to meet the unprecedented volume and velocity of those demand increases. As the IEA has pointed out, the transition will require hundreds of billions of dollars invested in hundreds of massive new mines, somewhere. Yet, every sober analysis of mining realities points to two facts. First, both existing and planned world mining capacity won’t come close, by factors for two- to ten-fold, to meeting the scale of minerals demands that will arise if the “transition” is in fact pursued. Second, in the meantime, China is the world’s biggest producer of most of the relevant energy minerals and has a global market share at least triple the U.S. share of hydrocarbons. (The U.S. is the world’s biggest hydrocarbon producer.) China produces over 60% of the world’s aluminum, refines over half of the world’s copper (the keystone metal of electrification), 90% of rare earths, 60% of refined lithium, 80% of graphite (used in all lithium batteries), and 50% to 90% of the specialty chemicals and polymer parts used to build lithium batteries, and over 80% of silicon solar modules. That dominance will not be easily or quickly altered. The legislative rhetoric “requiring” domestic sourcing of energy minerals also rings hollow, as does political bragging about the repurposing of the Defense Production Act to dribble ‘mere’ millions of dollars at potential U.S. mines. Those eagerly publicized actions stand in contrast to the Administration’s canceling of domestic mining permits and launching multi-front regulatory rule changes that will make U.S. mining more difficult and more expensive, while simultaneously bending the elastic language in the domestic-sourcing legislation to qualify foreign, including Chinese suppliers of energy minerals and thus recipients of U.S. taxpayer subsidies. There’s one more reality in service of x-raying the rhetoric. All of the transition efforts are, again, directed at cutting CO2 global emissions. Since minerals industries are energy intensive (global mining accounts for about 40% of all industrial energy use), China has a profound advantage in producing them because of its low-cost electric grid. That advantage comes from burning cheap coal that fuels two-thirds of power production there. It’s an advantage that won’t erode any time soon: China is building far more coal plants yet, at the rate of roughly one a week and will for close to a decade. The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act will spend some $2 trillion to try and reduce CO2 emissions by about 1 gigaton a year (assuming fully deployed, and various elastic assumptions are true). A lot of that spending will end up directly and indirectly purchasing China’s products. Meanwhile, just the additional coal plants being built in China will lead to an additional 2 gigatons of CO2 emitted per year. Seems like a bad trade. And, while energy transitionists vilify natural gas and vigorously oppose expansion of U.S. exports of LNG (liquified natural gas), the U.S. already saw a 1 gigaton per year reduction in emissions over the past decade, without massive subsidies or imports. That happened because of the domestic shale revolution that collapsed the cost of natural gas making it cheaper than coal. If policymakers are determined to further reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, there are some more sensible options than a rhetorical genuflection to an energy transition. Rather than subsidize U.S. assembly of batteries using imported materials, instead encourage—subsidize if political compromise demands as much—domestic production of pipelines and ports to export more LNG. That would yield far greater emissions reductions per dollar spent since it would facilitate other nations now planning to burn more coal to instead import LNG. It would also benefit domestic industries, and the balance of trade, as well as yield non-trivial geopolitical benefits.  A start down that path would be to legislate a change in the mission of the Department of Energy office that now regulates permissions to export LNG. It should be repurposed as an office of export assistance, just as there is such an office and mission in the Department of Agriculture for grain exports. There are other options that would be more consonant with reality rather than rhetoric, and that would be far more cost effective than those driven by IRA subsidies. These would include a more sensible and expansive posture towards nuclear energy, the pursuit of improved combustion efficiency in all uses of hydrocarbons, and engaging serious efforts to resolve the barriers to expanding domestic mining and refining. Thus far, however, rhetoric is still trumping reality. Mark P. Mills is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a faculty fellow at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is also a strategic partner with Montrose Lane (an energy-tech venture fund). Previously, Mills cofounded Digital Power Capital, a boutique venture fund, and was chairman and CTO of ICx Technologies, helping take it public in 2007. Mills is author of the book The Cloud Revolution: How the Convergence of New Technologies Will Unleash the Next Economic Boom and a Roaring 2020s (Encounter Books, 2021), and host of the new podcast The Last Optimist. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/07/2023 - 05:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 7th, 2023

Bloodbaths Change The World - 9/11

Bloodbaths Change The World - 9/11 Authored by Peter Hanseler via VoiceFromRussia.ch, Before writing about Israel, an analysis of facts about 9/11 – a web of lies changed the world, enabled by abuse of emotions... Introduction Israel dominates the global media to an almost unseen extent. Only almost, because one event 22 years ago surpassed everything else in terms of media hype: 9/11. What both events have in common is that politicians and the media ruthlessly exploit people’s shock to achieve their goals or to generate clicks and thus rake in money. Most articles have one thing in common: they are based on emotions. We write about geopolitics. Geopolitical analyses must be based on facts. If the basis is emotionally charged, the analysis is worthless, regularly leads to false results and gives culprits and masterminds tools to work with, which they should not have under any circumstances. In this second part of our series, we discuss this and more based on the most publicized terrorist attack of the 21st century. In Part 1, we established that President Truman lied through the teeth not only to his own people but to the entire world by dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki not as claimed to save hundreds of thousands of American soldiers’ lives, but to show the world and Stalin who would be the master of the house after World War 2.  For this marketing stunt, Truman cold-bloodedly sacrificed 200,000 Japanese, most of them civilians. His own people were emotionally well prepared for this atrocity. Since the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the American government and the media poisoned the soul of the Americans with the most vicious racist propaganda. This hate speech against everything Japanese allowed the American state, among other things, to put hundreds of thousands of American citizens with Japanese roots into concentration camps: American citizens, mind you. Everyone should therefore be aware, even today, that the so-called “fundamental constitutional rights”, which seem beyond reproach, rights that a constitution grants to its citizens, have no more value than a membership in a tennis club: they can be taken away at any time. This happened and still happens after 1945. In 1945, the majority of us were not yet born. However, our generation was swept away by an event in September 2001 that changed the world forever. We will highlight four aspects in this article: First, what life was like before 9/11, using my own personal memories and perceptions as an example. Second, we highlight social changes that 9/11 brought us. Third, we discuss the geopolitical consequences. Finally, in the third part, which will be published shortly, we will highlight a few facts that make you doubt that the attack happened as claimed. Life before 9/11 I was born in Zurich in 1964 and was in kindergarten when the moon landing happened. The Americans were the absolute heroes in my youth. They won the Second World War, every technical innovation came from America, the coolest TV series were American, the big movies like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T. came from the USA and we hillbillies had to wait for months until we could enjoy these adventures in Europe. The bad guys were the Russians, the weak lived in Africa. China and India had many inhabitants, who all lived in the dirt and could hardly feed themselves. If the Americans waged war somewhere, the opponents of the war were some left-wing nutcases: “ Moscow, no return!”. – If they didn’t like it, they should simply emigrate to Russia. When I did my military service after school, the enemy always came from the East and wore the color red. A simple, comfortable view of the world in which you knew exactly whose side you were on. After my law studies in Zurich, it was almost obligatory to complete a master’s degree in the USA if you wanted to work for a top law firm. I did so and studied American law in Washington, D.C. and then worked in New York before returning to Zurich. I visited my dream destination more than 50 times between 1982 and 2006, on vacation and business. I worked so much that I limited myself to reading a few “excellent” newspapers, such as the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) and the Financial Times (FT). I felt informed and trusted the media, as many did. Were there people who were questioning a lot of things? – Yes, but I was not one of them at that time. The day of the event There are few events in the life of an adult that were as formative: Everyone still today – after more than 22 years – can remember exactly where he was when this news reached him. I remember it clearly. Only the assassination of President Kennedy is said to have evoked similar emotions; however, that event took place a little less than a year before I was born. How 9/11 changed society The culprit is found the same day How the world changed after 9/11 was breathtaking. The consequences of 9/11 were more than dramatic. Nothing else mattered anymore. The entire world looked to New York and thirsted for explanations and thus also for the names of the culprits. These were presented within hours. People breathed a sigh of relief that the culprits could be identified so quickly. A human, purely emotional reaction that was not questioned. If you know the culprits, you know what to do. Solutions to the problem were presented in such a short period of time that one should have asked oneself how this was possible. This was not done. Within days the USA becomes a surveillance state A glaring example of how “solutions” were quickly found is the so-called Patriot Act. The USA Patriot Act of 2001 allowed unprecedented surveillance of American citizens and individuals around the world without having to respect traditional guarantees of civil liberties. This massive 342-page piece of legislation was submitted to the U.S. Congress within a week of the attack. Cynically, the title of the Patriot Act reads “Preserving Life & Liberty“; exactly the opposite was the case. Again, basic rights were taken away within days for a “higher purpose” with the stroke of a pen. Anyone who has even an inkling of law-making is aware that this law lay fully drafted in a drawer even before the attack. A clear indication that there were people who were a little too well “prepared”. Hate propaganda against all things “Arabic” Anyone who wore a dark beard, looked “Arab” or had a Muslim first name was declared a suspect, not only in the U.S. but throughout the West – including Switzerland. A good friend of mine with Moroccan roots – beardless – told me that he had been treated like a criminal for years, especially when traveling, and also had the greatest problems finding housing and work in Zurich. He is Swiss and speaks Swiss German like me. People in the West could not escape this racist propaganda. In every TV series or movie the bad guys looked the same and were extremists. The “Arabic” or the “Muslim” was demonized. For a few years now, this tendency has subsided: Nowadays, Russians are the bad guys. Beards can be worn again. Geopolitical consequences – warmongering Epic speech by President Bush On September 20, 2001, President Bush gave an incendiary speech in preparation for the coming wars. This speech was not addressed to the American people, but to the whole world. Bush demanded that every country support the fight against terrorists and that every suspect be handed over to the USA, that all means be used to destroy terrorists – worldwide. He was referring not only to the suspected Al Qaeda, which, by the way, never claimed responsibility for the attack, but to all terrorist organizations in the world in every country. I recommend everyone to watch this speech again. At minute 18:44 Bush makes the following statement: «Either you’re with us – or you are with the terrorists.» PRESIDENT BUSH – SEPTEMBER 20, 2001 With this, he said nothing else than that every country, which would not support the total war of the USA against everyone, whom the USA considered as terrorists, would become terrorists themselves and thus a target of the USA. With this speech the Bush administration got the “carte blanche” to cover the world with wars. Congress applauded frenetically. Bush’s speech was constantly interrupted by standing ovations. One has to browse back to Adolf Hitler’s speeches to observe such an undignified spectacle. Undignified because, on the one hand, thousands of people had perished two weeks earlier and, on the other, nothing less than a bloodbath was announced around the world. Terror as a pretext for expansion Crumbling power of the USA as early as 2001 In a world where most people are in a state of shock, few question the rationale if they are presented with a solution that promises to relieve the state of shock and show a route back to normalcy. In 2001, the West considered the US to be all-powerful and strong. The truth was different. The hegemon’s power base was already crumbling badly and crying out for a liberation blow. The Pillars of American Power The most important pillar for the status as hegemon of the USA is the Petrodollar. We have already discussed its functioning and importance in detail several times, most recently in our article “BRICS will change the world – slowly“. The Middle East is the cradle of the Petrodollar. Without power in the Middle East, the Petrodollar does not work, and without the Petrodollar, the U.S. cannot maintain its status as a Hegemon. President Bush was given carte blanche by most of the Western population to do as he saw fit because he succeeded in fooling the world’s population into believing that the war on terror was vital to the world’s survival. The facts paint a different picture. Roadmap for the reconstruction of power was created in 2000 In September 2000, exactly one year before 9/11, the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century wrote a detailed guide on how the U.S. could reassert its power around the world and in the Middle East. The authors were Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush and Lewis Libby, all neoconservative hawks who would hold leadership positions in 2001. The title of the paper was Rebuilding America’s Defense: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century. The Roadmap to a Global Bloodbath – Rebuilding America’s Defense: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century The document is eye-opening and worth reading. In one sentence, however, the authors make a peculiar statement when it comes to the search for the originators of the attacks. “[…] even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES: STRATEGY, FORCES AND RESOURCES FOR A NEW CENTURY, PAGE 51 This Pearl Harbor moment came in the form of 9/11 like a godsend to the authors of the study. The authors, by the way, operated many levers of power at the moment of the attack. Dick Cheney was merely vice president of the United States. Yet he completely dominated, controlled and manipulated George Bush, the President. Paul Wolfowitz was Deputy to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Lewis Libby was Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. All were at the center of power, ready to put the roadmap into action. The real plan of the USA was revealed in 2006 General Wesley Clark is a highly decorated U.S. general, Vietnam veteran with personal frontline experience, and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe. In 2006, after his retirement from the Army, he gave an interview that revealed the entire, real intentions and plans of the US after 9/11. The entire interview in English can be found here. I don’t know why General Clark made statements that so clearly and transparently show the intentions of the USA after 9/11. He is probably – besides Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg – the most important whistleblower who showed the USA from its most unsavory side. He was not prosecuted and most people do not know this interview. I could not find any circumstantial evidence that would make Clark’s statements unreliable. His source comes from the top of the Pentagon and the fact that these statements did not lead to any discussions in the West makes them all the more credible. Finally, he described exactly what Dick Cheney and his colleagues wrote down already in 2000. Reality, plans and failure in pictures Introduction The following maps show the United States’ (red) power influence in the Middle East and parts of Africa at various points in time. Influence defined as direct or indirect control. The intent is to provide only a graphic impression, and the degree of influence may vary. 1979 Until the overthrow of the Shah of Persia in 1979, the United States dominated the Middle East directly or indirectly through various means. In 1953, for example, the CIA overthrew the democratically elected President Mossadegh together with the British MI6 (Operation AJAX) in order to place the Shah on the throne. We wrote about this in our article “War without Peace“. Furthermore, the USA supported and courted Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in order to consolidate its influence.  US influence in the Middle East until the overthrow of the Shah of Persia – Source: VoicefromRussia.com 2001 Between 1979 and 2001, the U.S. lost much influence over the Middle East. With the aim of overthrowing the government of Iran, the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein with weapons and money to induce Iraq to attack Iran. This succeeded. The Iran-Iraq War (First Gulf War), which lasted between 1980 and 1988, cost the lives of close to one million people. Iran remained victorious. The Americans did not give up, but changed their target: Iraq went from being an ally to an enemy. The invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein, of which the USA knew, was apparently approved by the USA eight days before the invasion by the American ambassador April Glaspie, in order to then attack Iraq in 1991 as a liberator (Second Gulf War). Today, the U.S. vehemently denies having known about Saddam Hussein’s plan and having condoned it. However, the invasion was called off when the U.S. had conquered about half of Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of victims had to be mourned. Situation am 11. September 2001 – Quelle: VoicefromRussia.com The Pentagon’s plan revealed by General Clark This map shows the influence of the USA on September 11, 2001 (red) as well as the planned and partly realized war plans of the USA (yellow). Had this plan been successfully implemented, the U.S. would today exercise unprecedented influence over the Middle East. However, things turned out differently. The media reports exclusively about the disgraceful withdrawal of the Americans from Afghanistan, but the entire plan from 2001 failed miserably. All war campaigns led to disaster for the USA. Nevertheless, the Americans either completely or significantly destroyed the following countries: Afghanistan (U.S. withdrawal), Iraq (U.S. withdrawal), Libya (no [official] ground forces), Syria (lost, but still some ground forces in the oil-rich part to this day), Sudan (no control), Somalia (no control). Millions of people lost their lives in the last 22 years for armed conflicts that led nowhere. The financial resources that the USA spent in these military failures are about 8’000 billion US dollars. Influence of the United States in September 2001: (red) – the plan: (yellow) – Source: VoicefromRussia.com Situation today It did not stay with the military defeats. The influence of the U.S. in the Middle East has shrunk to a level even smaller than it was in 2001. Thus, the campaigns have not only failed to increase influence, but have effectively forced the U.S. out of the Middle East. Influence of the US in 2023: (red) – Source: VoicefromRussia.com Two major diplomatic events this year are responsible for this. The first major event was the peace agreements between Saudi Arabia and Iran on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and Syria on the other, as well as Syria’s readmission to the Arab League, all of which happened this year. We reported in detail about the Arab Spring without blood in the article “Peace breaks out – Arab Spring without blood” in May this year. The second major event was the BRICS summit in South Africa in August. Of the countries colored green on the map below, the following three Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates, will join the BRICS organization on Jan. 1, 2024. Egypt and Ethiopia will join from Africa. On the map section we have shown alone, the following additional countries have formally or informally applied to join BRICS: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Gabon, Pakistan, Tunisia, and Turkey. For detailed facts and figures on BRICS and other organizations of the Global South, please refer to our article “BRICS – Series – Part 1“. This summer we devoted a series of four articles to the development of BRICS: Part 1 (Facts and Figures), Part 2 (Today’s Financial System and Reasons that Led to BRICS), Part 3 (Our Predictions for the August BRICS Summit), and as Part 4, a comprehensive summary with outlook. Part 4 of the article series was also published on the paywalled Gloom Boom & Doom Report by financial expert Dr. Marc Faber, in Weltwoche and on ZeroHedge. Although we described these major events as tectonic shifts in geopolitics, they passed completely unnoticed by most of the Western media or were only mentioned in passing and discussed dismissively. Conclusion First, we described how the majority in the West – myself included – perceived America before 9/11 and how the events of 9/11 led to a collective shock in the West. We then showed how this shock was first abused by the U.S. against its own people. It began by once again stripping American citizens of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, without voices being raised to be heard. Then we showed that already one year before the attack war plans were worked out by a group of neoconservative hawks and in the study in question it was written that an early implementation of these plans would only be possible if a “Pearl Harbor Moment” would occur. That moment occurred just one year after the study was published in the form of 9/11 – a godsend for the hawks. Further, based on the very credible statements of General Clark, we proved that the U.S., under the guise of the ” War on Terror,” was attempting to conquer seven other countries in the Middle East and parts of Africa, in addition to Afghanistan, in order to regain and secure its supremacy in the Middle East. Further, we showed with some maps and facts how the USA once again chose a bloody strategy to achieve its goals and how these campaigns ended in an unprecedented geopolitical disaster for USA. All military operations and wars failed, millions of people lost their lives and thousands of billions were wasted. All for nothing. Finally, we showed that the U.S. has virtually no influence left in the Middle East. The Middle East is now dominated by the Middle Eastern countries themselves, joining a multipolar organization called BRICS. This result was achieved with diplomacy and peace deals – without bloodshed. This blog has warned several times that the U.S. will not simply accept emancipation from the U.S. dollar and exclusion from the Middle East: In July, we wrote: “This will seal the downfall of the American empire. One would be naive to think that the Americans are not willing to set the world on fire to prevent their own demise..” BRICS – THE WEST IS SILENT AND AFRAID – AND RIGHTLY SO If we look at the mendacity that the USA has displayed since 2001 by exploiting people’s paralysis and the brutality with which it has killed millions of people over more than two decades in order to achieve its geopolitical goals, we think it is justified to question everything. Thus, the authorship of the September 11, 2001 attacks is also up for debate. We will discuss a few facts about this in the third and final part of this series. After reading this article, we would like to advise our readers regarding the recent ” Powder Keg Middle East” already now not to believe any statements of politicians and media. Follow our motto: “Question everything!” Tyler Durden Wed, 12/06/2023 - 00:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 6th, 2023

After Indonesian Curbs on TikTok Shop, ByteDance Pursues E-Commerce Ambitions With New Local Partnership

A tieup with a savvy local operator could provide a model for TikTok as it pursues expansion in other markets. ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok has struck an agreement to invest in a unit of Indonesia’s GoTo Group and cooperate on an online shopping service, pioneering a template for e-commerce beyond Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. The Chinese-owned video service has agreed broadly to work with GoTo’s Tokopedia across several areas rather than compete directly with the Indonesian platform, people familiar with the pact said. The pair aim to announce details of that tie-up as soon as next week, the people said, asking not to be identified disclosing a deal before it’s formalized.  [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] GoTo’s shares erased morning declines to climb as high as 5% in Jakarta. While the two companies have reached an informal agreement, the final details of that alliance are getting hammered out and could change before announcement, the people said. The pact is also subject to regulatory approval and could still fall through, they added. Read More: Nepal Bans TikTok and Tightens Control Over All Social Media Platforms An investment in Tokopedia will be a first of its kind for TikTok Shop, the rapidly growing arm of ByteDance’s video service that’s making inroads into online shopping from the U.S. to Europe. Its progress in Indonesia against Sea Ltd. and Tokopedia, however, came to a halt when Jakarta — responding to complaints from local merchants — forced TikTok to split payments from shopping in the country. More From TIME [video id=IU5sLxe2 autostart="viewable"] Now, a tieup with a savvy local operator could provide a model for TikTok as it pursues expansion in other markets such as Malaysia, where the government has signaled a willingness to review the influence of overseas players like TikTok. Bloomberg News reported last month that TikTok and GoTo were discussing a potential investment but another option was a joint venture. That could entail building a new e-commerce platform. Representatives for TikTok and GoTo declined to comment. ByteDance’s ultimate goal is to revive its online-shopping service in Southeast Asia’s largest retail arena. TikTok, the only platform immediately affected by Jakarta’s new rules, has halted online shopping to comply with the curbs. Read More: How ByteDance Is Expanding Its Reach Beyond TikTok With CapCut—One of the Most Popular Apps in America Indonesia is the first and largest market for TikTok Shop. It started the service in Indonesia in 2021 and its instant success with younger, video-first shoppers encouraged it to expand into other markets including the US. For GoTo, Indonesia’s largest internet company, a deal with TikTok could be risky as it would help a major online-retail rival to operate in the country. But it would also give GoTo a strong global social-media partner in an arrangement that could boost shopping, logistics and payments volumes for both companies. Chief Executive Officer Patrick Walujo, who took over in June, is trying to bring GoTo to profitability on an adjusted basis by the end of the year to show the ride-hailing and e-commerce company has long-term potential. The managing partner of shareholder Northstar Group is continuing his predecessors’ campaign to reduce losses by slashing jobs, cutting promotions and tightening expense controls. TikTok has been attempting to engage government officials and other social media companies to figure out a way to restart its e-commerce operations in the country. Indonesian minister Teten Masduki said TikTok has spoken with five companies including Tokopedia, PT Bukalapak.com and Blibli about possible partnerships. Read More: What to Know About the TikTok Security Concerns Indonesia is among the first countries in Southeast Asia to push back against TikTok. Navigating the conflict will be pivotal for the company as governments across the world assess how Southeast Asia’s largest nation moves to curb the social media giant’s burgeoning e-commerce presence. TikTok said just months earlier it will invest billions of dollars into the region. Following the Indonesian restrictions, nearby Malaysia said it is studying the possibility of regulating TikTok and its e-commerce operations. The social media leader is already facing possible bans and scrutiny in the likes of the U.S., Europe and India on national security concerns......»»

Category: topSource: timeDec 5th, 2023

Grimes says Elon Musk doesn"t even spend that much time in Texas

Grimes accused Elon Musk of spending 2-3 days a week in California as the former couple battles over jurisdiction in their child custody dispute. Grimes (left) claims Elon Musk (right) and their three children have strong ties to California and the billionaire's Texas lawsuit should be thrown out.ROBYN BECKGrimes alleged Elon Musk spent less than half his time in 2023 in Texas, in recent legal filings.The former couple is fighting over whether Texas or California should have jurisdiction in their custody dispute. Musk still spends two to three days a week in California, Grimes alleged. Elon Musk — who moved Tesla's headquarters from California to Texas in 2021— has been spending less than half his time in the Lone Star State, Grimes alleged in recent legal documents.The tech billionaire's movements are more relevant than ever as he and former flame Grimes duke it out in Texas and California courts over which state should have jurisdiction over their custody battle.Grimes, whose legal name is Claire Boucher, is suing Musk in California for physical custody of their three shared children, 3-year-old Æ A-12 — also known as baby X — and one-year-olds Exa (or Y) and Tau.Musk quietly sued Grimes in Texas court in September to establish a "parent-child" relationship with the kids. He has accused Grimes of moving to California earlier this year in an attempt to "circumvent the jurisdiction" of Texas courts, which cap monthly child-support payments at just $2,760 per month for three children.But in a November filing recently obtained by Business Insider, Grimes rejected Musk's assertions that Texas should have jurisdiction over the case, arguing that she and two of their children had been living in California when Musk filed his petition.California has no limit on child support payments, meaning a person such as Musk — the richest man in the world — could easily be on the hook for hefty monthly payments.Attorneys for Musk and Grimes did not respond to BI's request for comment.Residence disputeIn residential custody disputes, courts typically grant jurisdiction to the state in which the children have been living for the previous six months in an effort to disrupt the kids' lives as little as possible, family law attorneys previously told BI.In his September suit, Musk said the kids' primary residence was in Austin, Texas, where they had lived "for at least six consecutive months," including in a shared home with both him and Grimes from May to July of 2023.Grimes, however, alleged in her November response that she and the two youngest children have been living in California since approximately December 31, 2022. Attorneys for the musician noted that while X was not present with his mother in California, the child remained with Musk in Texas only over Grimes' "objections."Judges primarily focus on where the children — not the parents — have been living when making jurisdiction decisions, Christopher Melcher, a California family law attorney and partner at Walzer Melcher, told BI.But that didn't stop Grimes from making claims about Musk's residential habits in her recent response. At the time of filing, she alleged Musk spent only 126 of the previous 274 days in Austin, or approximately 45% of his time, citing his travel schedule.The billionaire frequently travels between his companies in Texas and California. Musk's private jets often fly between the two states multiple times per week. Over the past seven days alone, Musk's jets have flown six times between airports in Hawthorne, California and Brownsville, Texas, according to a log of his planes on the jet-tracking site JetSpy.The Tesla CEO confirmed in December 2020 that he had moved from California to Texas after local COVID restrictions forced the company to temporarily close its only US car factory in the Bay Area.Texas' lack of state income tax, however, may have been the ultimate motivating factor in Musk's move, saving him estimated billions of dollars come tax season.In the years since his move, Musk has styled himself a bonafide Texas resident, launching initiatives to build more homes in the Lone Star State and building up his network of companies in Texas. In 2021, Musk said he was creating a town called Starbase near SpaceX's launch site in Boca Chica, Texas. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that Musk was constructing a company town called Snailbrook near Boring Company's facilities in Bastrop, Texas. Plans for Snailbrook include a Montessori school and a private compound for Musk, according to the report.Musk, who slammed California for its divorce laws in a 2010 op-ed for BI, has also ramped up his criticism of the state of California since the move, calling it "the land of taxes, overregulation and litigation" in 2022.But Grimes alleges Musk hasn't fully given up the Golden State lifestyle, alleging in her filing that he typically spends two-to-three days a week in the state.When Musk first bought Twitter (now called X) late last year, he was known to sleep at the company's headquarters in San Francisco. Despite calls for him to move the social media company's headquarters elsewhere, Musk has said he does not plan to move X from California. Musk's other companies also have strong footholds in the state. SpaceX is headquartered in Hawthorne, California, and Musk announced in February that Tesla was expanding its engineering headquarters in Palo Alto.Musk's travel details alone are unlikely to convince a judge to grant California jurisdiction in the custody case, two family law attorneys told BI.However, if Grimes' claims that the two youngest kids have been with her in California since December are proven true, that would be a "slam dunk" in arguing that the case for those kids should be in California, according to Peter Walzer, a family law expert and partner at Walzer Melcher.Jurisdiction when it comes to 3-year-old X, who is often photographed at global events with his famous father, may be more complicated, the lawyers said. While Grimes has said the child was with Musk in Texas over her objection, the details around the arrangement, and how she responded, are unclear.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 5th, 2023

The controversial Sackler family is the focus of Netflix"s opioid-crisis drama "Painkiller." Here"s where the family is now.

Many believe that the Sackler-owned company Purdue Pharma is responsible for igniting the opioid epidemic through its drug OxyContin. Sam Anderson as Raymond Sackler on Netflix's "Painkiller," left; right, Raymond Sackler in real life in an undated photo.Keri Anderson/Netflix; Business Wire/AP Images Netflix's "Painkiller" follows the controversial Sackler family as they develop the drug OxyContin. On the six-episode drama, none of the Sackler family members face legal repercussions directly.  Here's what happened to the Sackler family in real life.  Netflix's fictionalized drama "Painkiller" focuses on the Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma as it develops and aggressively markets the drug OxyContin.But the show, which is based on Patrick Radden Keefe's New Yorker article and former New York Times reporter Barry Meier's book on the Sacklers and the opioid crisis, also explores the wide-ranging effects of OxyContin's ubiquity, including how numerous users later became addicted to the drug. And although Purdue Pharma has been the focus of numerous lawsuits since OxyContin was first released in the mid-90's, the series ends without any of the family members portrayed on the show facing legal consequences. Here's what really happened to the ultrawealthy Sackler family — and the consequences they faced in real life.Arthur, Mortimer, and Raymond Sackler started the family empireThe Sackler brothers were born in Brooklyn to Jewish immigrant parents, and all three later became physicians. Arthur, the oldest, eventually pursued a lucrative career in pharmaceutical marketing.Arthur had four children: Elizabeth, Carol, Arthur Felix, and Denise. Mortimer had eight children throughout his three marriages: daughters Samantha Sophia, Kathe, Ilene, Marissa, and Sophie, and sons Michael, Mortimer D.A., and Robert Mortimer, who died at age 24 in 1975. Raymond, the youngest Sackler brother, had only two children: Jonathan and Richard. Prominent members of the third generation of Sacklers include Richard's son David, and Jonathan's daughter Madeleine. Richard (played by Matthew Broderick on the Netflix series) was the president of Purdue Pharma from 1999 to 2003. Before that, Richard was directly involved in the marketing of OxyContin, which Purdue started selling in 1996.Arthur, Mortimer, Raymond, and Richard are the only Sackler family members featured extensively as main characters on "Painkiller." (The sprawling family unit as a whole is portrayed in a few scenes.) Matthew Broderick (center) as Richard Sackler on Netflix's "Painkiller."Keri Anderson/NetflixArthur died before OxyContin was invented, while Mortimer and Raymond died in 2010 and 2017, respectivelyArthur Sackler (played by Clark Gregg) died in 1987 of a heart attack, but appears on "Painkiller" as a figment of his nephew Richard's imagination, offering him advice and admonishments in equal measure. Arthur's children have not benefited from the sale of OxyContin, according to The Guardian. Mortimer (played by John Rothman) died in Switzerland at age 93, having renounced his US citizenship in 1974 and thereafter living almost exclusively in Europe. Raymond (played by Sam Anderson) was described as "a billionaire and a noted philanthropist, funding biomedical research, including work on the human genome and the biological roots of psychiatric illness" in an obituary written by Politico after he died in 2017 at age 97.Mortimer D.A. Sackler and Jacqueline Sackler attend the Guggenheim International Gala on November 9, 2006.Getty ImagesFormer Purdue Pharma executive Richard Sackler eventually distanced himself from the companyIn 2003, Richard stepped down as president of the notorious pharmaceutical company. However, he remained on the board, and even taught as an adjunct professor of genetics at Rockefeller University up until 2013. Around that time, Keefe reported, Richard moved to Austin, Texas, where he continued the family's tradition of philanthropy.Per Keefe, Richard continued donating to Yale, as well as the neoconservative think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. At the time of the 2017 article, Keefe said Richard lived in a "modern hilltop mansion" in the suburbs of Austin, though Richard has reportedly been looking to downsize, and currently has his $18.5 million Beverly Hills property on the market.According to The Guardian, Richard — along with his son, David, and Theresa, the third wife of his late uncle Mortimer — attended a virtual hearing at US bankruptcy court in March 2022 as part of Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy proceedings. At the hearing, the three Sacklers were made to listen to emotional statements given by about two dozen people personally affected by the opioid crisis.Second and third-generation Sacklers have faced some falloutIn addition to Richard, who's a central character on the show, other members of the second generation of Sacklers who previously served on the board of Purdue Pharma included Richard's brother Jonathan (who died of cancer in 2020) and their cousin, Mortimer D.A.Mortimer Jr. and his wife Jacqueline moved to Europe in 2020, according to the New York Post, amid the backlash against the family following a staggering number of lawsuits filed against Purdue Pharma which named several family members as defendants.Madeleine Sackler.Monica Schipper/Getty ImagesThe third generation of Sacklers, even those who aren't related to the family by blood, have also been hyper-scrutinized for the family's role in the opioid epidemic.David's wife Joss founded a now-defunct clothing brand called LBV, which courted controversy shortly after its launch for seemingly trying to minimize Joss' ties to the Sacklers, and for reportedly offering Courtney Love (who, along with her late husband Kurt Cobain, publicly battled an opioid addiction) $100,000 to appear at one of its fashion shows. Madeleine Sackler, daughter of Jonathan (and granddaughter of Raymond), recently came under fire for her latest film, entitled "O Horizon." According to ArtNet's Sarah Cascone, several crew members were uncomfortable with the subject matter (about a grieving daughter using new AI technology to eradicate her pain) because of Jonathan's death in 2020 and the Sackler family's involvement with OxyContin.According to Madeleine's website, she's an "Emmy award-winning director and producer based in New York City and Los Angeles." Her site makes no mention of her controversial family connections. As Insider's Katie Warren and Taylor Nicole Rogers previously reported, Madeleine said she had "never worked at the company or had any influence in it," in response to criticism about her ties to Purdue Pharma.And in 2019, three museums — the National Portrait Gallery, the Tate art galleries, and the Guggenheim — began to reject donations from the Sackler family amid growing outrage over the opioid crisis. According to The Washington Post, the family as a whole has had a long history of throwing monetary support behind cultural organizations and universities, and Arthur Sackler donated art valuing millions of dollars and $4 million to the Smithsonian for its Sackler Gallery before his death.Various museums — including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York — have scrubbed the Sackler name from their buildings. Most recently, Oxford University announced in May 2023 that its "university buildings, spaces, and staff positions" funded by Sackler family donations would no longer bear the family's name. The university said it had the "full support" of the Sackler family in the renaming.The past few years saw a wave of protests calling for the removal of the Sackler name from prominent cultural institutions because of their role in fueling the opioid epidemic.Stephane De Sakutin/GettyMembers of the Sackler family may be shielded from future lawsuits, in exchange for a payout that would go towards alleviating the opioid crisisCourt filings show that the Sacklers made at least $10 billion from the sale of Oxycontin, NPR reported. At the time of writing, none of the Sackler family members are facing criminal charges for their involvement with Purdue Pharma and OxyContin, though eight of them were also named defendants in a 2019 suit filed by the state of New York against Purdue Pharma. The complaint alleged that the "statewide catastrophe" of the opioid epidemic happened because Purdue Pharma, the Sacklers, and other drug manufacturers and distributors acted fraudulently and illegally "in order to profiteer from the plague they knew would be unleashed."The proposed settlement would allow Purdue Pharma to restructure as a different company, with the Sackler family relinquishing control and contributing up to $6 billion in profits towards opioid crisis relief. The agreement would also prevent the Sacklers from being held personally liable as individuals from lawsuits and possibly allow the family to keep billions in Purdue Pharma revenue distributed from 2008 to 2017.But in August 2023 at the Biden administration's request, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the agreement, arguing that the Sacklers should not be entitled to protection from opioid-related civil lawsuits. In a filing to the Supreme Court, solicitor general Elizabeth Prelogar argued that this release from liability would be "of exceptional and unprecedented breadth" and would constitute "an abuse of the bankruptcy system."Purdue Pharma said in a statement in August that it was "disappointed" over the delay in finalizing the settlement."We are confident in the legality of our nearly universally supported Plan of Reorganization, and optimistic that the Supreme Court will agree," the company said, according to the Associated Press. "Even so, we are disappointed that the US Trustee, despite having no concrete interest in the outcome of this process, has been able to single-handedly delay billions of dollars in value that should be put to use for victim compensation, opioid crisis abatement for communities across the country, and overdose rescue medicines."The bankruptcy plan was initially approved in 2021 by a federal judge, who called it a "bitter result" and said he "would have expected a higher settlement" given his belief "that at least some of the Sackler parties have liability" in the opioid-crisis claims.When reached for comment by Business Insider at the time of the settlement delay in August, a representative for Purdue Pharma shared the following statement: "We have the greatest sympathy and respect for those who have suffered as a result of the opioid crisis, and we are currently focused on concluding our bankruptcy so that urgently needed funds can flow to address the crisis. Under our settlement, Purdue Pharma would cease to exist and Knoa Pharma, a newly formed company with a public-minded mission, would emerge. The settlement would deliver over $10 billion of value for opioid crisis abatement, overdose rescue medicines, and victim compensation."The Supreme Court began hearing arguments related to the proposed bankruptcy plan in early December 2023. As Robert Barnes and David Ovalle reported for the Washington Post, justices seemed divided at first, with some seeming open to arguments that the deal has merit, while others appeared to disagree. Read the original article on Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 5th, 2023

Lucid and Rivian Stock Take a Beating From Wall Street

Rivian stock has taken a beating in the past two years and Lucid stock is down even more. Here is why they cannot compete with Tesla and major auto manufacturers. The post Lucid and Rivian Stock Take a Beating From Wall Street appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. Shares of troubled and small electric vehicle (EV) makers Lucid Group Inc. (NASDAQ: LCID) and Rivian Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: RIVN) continue to take a horrible beating. Rivian stock is off more than 80% in the past two years. Lucid stock is down slightly more. Over the same period, the S&P 500 is slightly higher. The sell-offs are because many investors think neither company can survive the tidal wave of competition from Tesla and most of the world’s largest car manufacturers, which have spent billions and will spend billions more to move into the sector. In the most recent quarter, Rivian produced 16,204 vehicles. Over the same period, Tesla produced over 400,000. Rivian lost $1.7 billion on revenue of $536 million. In its most recent quarter, Lucid delivered 1,457 vehicles. It lost $630 million on revenue of $137 million. (See the 15 worst-selling electric vehicles this year.) Skepticism About Lucid and Rivian Generally, Wall Street’s skepticism about the two EV companies is based on comparisons with Tesla and whether they can take any share from the market leader. That would be a mistake. Huge public corporations that can and have invested billions of dollars to get into what each believes is the industry’s future is a challenge neither Lucid nor Rivian can stand up to. The target for most huge international car companies is that half or more of their sales will be EVs by 2030. Some already have had vehicles on the market for over a year. This includes Ford’s F-150 Lightning, the EV version of the most popular vehicle in America for the past four decades. Ford is also using its Mustang brand for one of its EV ventures. Known as the Mustang Mach-E, it is Ford’s first move into EV crossovers. GM’s Chevy Bolt has had strong sales and is the primary placeholder until America’s number one car company can launch a larger EV fleet. Its Chevy Blazer, a part of this step into the market, was recently named the Motor Trend SUV of the Year. GM and Ford are just a fraction of the EV onslaught. Every major German, Japanese and South Korean manufacturer has started to launch EV fleets. The final challenge for Lucid and Rivian is that the market has turned to hybrids, which the EV industry did not expect. That erects one more barrier. One thing can be said for Rivian and Lucid for certain. They are too small to compete. Sponsored: Attention Savvy Investors: Speak to 3 Financial Experts – FREE Ever wanted an extra set of eyes on an investment you’re considering? Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help guide you through the financial decisions you’re making. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free. Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions. The post Lucid and Rivian Stock Take a Beating From Wall Street appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallstDec 5th, 2023

Oil and Gas Production by State: Top 15

In this article, we are going to discuss the Top 15 Oil and Gas Producing States. You can skip our detailed analysis of the global oil and gas market, the use of AI in the oil and gas industry, and oil majors going green, and go directly to Top 5 Oil and Gas Producing States.  […] In this article, we are going to discuss the Top 15 Oil and Gas Producing States. You can skip our detailed analysis of the global oil and gas market, the use of AI in the oil and gas industry, and oil majors going green, and go directly to Top 5 Oil and Gas Producing States.  America is the biggest oil producing country, accounting for 14.7% of the overall world crude production in 2022. Having the luxury of local production means that oil and gas are readily accessible and affordable for mass distribution. While this may not seem like it directly impacts the average oil and gas consumer, the truth is that it does in a massive way. Every year, the indigenous production of oil and gas helps save American consumers an estimated $203 billion, or $2,500 for each family of four. Moreover, the oil and gas industry also supports over 12 million American jobs, provides billions of dollars in tax revenue, and ensures energy security.   Global Oil and Gas Market: As we mentioned in our article – 20 Countries with the Cheapest Gas Prices – the global oil and gas market was valued at $6.99 trillion in 2022, and is expected to grow to $8.67 trillion in 2027, with a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period. The largest region in the global oil and gas market share is Asia Pacific, with North America coming in second.    The primary factors driving the growth of the industry include the rising demand for oil and gas, growing competition in the industry, financial capital, and public scrutiny. Furthermore, the rising oil and gas exploration activities and the increase in prices globally are also anticipated to drive the industry’s growth. Artificial Intelligence in the Oil and Gas Industry:  Major players in the oil and gas industry are looking into big data analytics and AI to enhance decision making abilities and thus profits. AI will allow these companies to make better drilling and operational decisions, assist them in overcoming their challenges, and position them for long-term success.  Shell plc (NYSE:SHEL) has deployed artificial intelligence across its entire oil and gas supply chain, with over 160 active AI projects. It uses reinforcement learning in its exploration and drilling programme to reduce gas extraction costs. From machine learning to computer vision, deep learning to virtual assistants and autonomous vehicles to robotics, Shell plc (NYSE:SHEL) has been focused on a range of technologies that have supported advances in AI. In fact, the oil giant also offers an AI Residency Program, which gives data scientists and AI engineers experience with several AI projects across the company.  Shell plc (NYSE:SHEL) ranks among the Top Natural Gas Producers in the US.  Oil Majors Going Green:  As climate catastrophes continue to escalate, the urgency to reach net zero emissions is becoming more critical than ever. As a result, following the roadmap of the International Energy Agency, a growing number of oil and gas companies have committed to achieving net zero by 2050.  Among these key players is also The Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) – the largest oil producer in the U.S. – which announced its goal last year to cut greenhouse gas emissions at its oil and gas operations to net zero by 2050, as it responds to investor pressure to clean up its business in the face of climate change. The oil giant said that it would eliminate the routine flaring of natural gas and methane leaks from its facilities and use renewables to power operations. Moreover, the Texas-based company is also investing $17 billion over a six-year span through 2027 in lower carbon emissions technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration, and hydrogen.  In fact, The Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) has already taken significant steps to minimize its carbon footprint over the last few years, including evaluating the potential impact of its emissions to the communities where it operates. From 2016 to 2021, the total reportable emissions of volatile organic compounds, sulfur oxides, and nitrogen oxides decreased by approximately 24% at operated assets. The company also recycled nearly 100 million barrels of water in 2021, which enabled it to offset almost half of its water needs for fracking operations. The Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) ranks among the Best November Dividend Stocks to Buy.  Similarly, in 2021, the Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) also set the ambitious target to cut operational emissions to net zero by 2050, and has already implemented various measures to reduce its carbon emissions, including investing in blue and green hydrogen, carbon capture and sequestration, offsets, geothermal and nuclear energy, and restoring coastal and marine habitats to ensure they continue to draw CO2 from the air. The company has pledged to invest $10 billion by 2028 to reduce its carbon footprint.  Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) believes that implementing a global carbon pricing system is the key incentive for driving low-carbon investments and scaling up energy transition technologies. The idea of taxing carbon emissions through a ‘cap-and-trade’ system is widely supported in some major markets like Europe and the U.K., but remains a political controversy in others, notably the United States. Chevron’s commitment to utilizing existing and emerging energy solutions and services demonstrates its dedication to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to a more sustainable future. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) sits among the Best Warren Buffett Stock Picks for Beginners.  With that said, here are the Top Oil and Gas Producing States in the U.S. An oil derrick in the North Sea, revealing the scope of the company’s drilling operations. Methodology:  To collect data for this article, we have referred to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, looking for the States that Produce the Most Oil and Gas. The following states have been ranked by the number of barrels (bbls) of crude oil they produced in 2022, and we have also mentioned the natural dry gas production figures for each state in the same year, measured in million cubic feet (mmcf).  15. Mississippi Total Crude Oil Production in 2022: 12.667 million bbls Total Natural Dry Gas Production in 2022: 28,492 mmcf The Magnolia State produces about 0.3% of the nation’s crude oil and holds about 0.3% of the total proved oil reserves in the U.S. It was announced in July this year that Denbury Inc. – the largest oil producer in Mississippi – has been acquired by ExxonMobil Corp for $4.9 billion. Denbury is a prime player in the emerging carbon capture and geologic storage industry and its acquisition is meant to accelerate the oil giant’s energy transition business with an established carbon dioxide sequestration operation, essentially seeking to make carbon capture a more profitable endeavor. Mississippi ranks among the States With the Cheapest Gas Prices in the US.  14. West Virginia Total Crude Oil Production in 2022: 15.204 million bbls Total Natural Dry Gas Production in 2022: 2,694,681 mmcf Among West Virginia’s resources are abundant natural gas and petroleum, with gas being more common than petroleum. Overall, the Mountain State is the fourth-largest energy producer in the United States.  According to the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry supported more than 73,000 jobs and contributed nearly $13 billion to West Virginia’s economy in 2021. West Virginia ranks among the Top Oil and Gas Producing States in 2023.  13. Montana Total Crude Oil Production in 2022: 20.585 million bbls Total Natural Dry Gas Production in 2022: 37,495 mmcf Most of Montana’s crude oil production comes from the Bakken Formation in the northeastern corner of the state, however, the majority of the oil produced is exported to other states. The Treasure State also has four refineries with a combined crude oil processing capacity of about 218,000 barrels per calendar day.  Due to less competition amongst the refineries and high transportation costs, Montana sits among the States With the Highest Gas Prices in the US.  12. Ohio Total Crude Oil Production in 2022: 22.280 million bbls Total Natural Dry Gas Production in 2022: 2,197,078 mmcf Ohio is counted among the major oil and gas producing states in the U.S., with the Buckeye State also having given birth to companies like Standard Oil and Marathon oil in the 19th century. Commercial quantities of oil and gas have been found in 69 of Ohio’s 88 counties, however, most of the current production is from the eastern third of the state. 11. Kansas Total Crude Oil Production in 2022: 28.161 million bbls Total Natural Dry Gas Production in 2022: 134,045 mmcf The oil and gas industry is a major contributor to the economy of Kansas and, over the past decade, has supported 118,000 jobs and $3 billion in family income, besides contributing $1.4 billion in state and local tax revenue. A network of pipelines delivers crude oil to the state’s three refineries, which combined can process about 390,000 barrels of crude oil per day. 10. Louisiana Total Crude Oil Production in 2022: 36.493 million bbls Total Natural Dry Gas Production in 2022: 4,038,226 mmcf Louisiana ranks among the Top 10 Oil and Gas Producing States in America, and the state’s 15 oil refineries account for nearly one-sixth of the nation’s total refining capacity, capable of processing about 2.9 million barrels of crude oil per day. The Pelican State accounts for about 10% of the total marketed natural gas production in the U.S. and holds about 7% of the country’s natural gas reserves. 9. Utah Total Crude Oil Production in 2022: 45.251 million bbls Total Natural Dry Gas Production in 2022: 249,719 mmcf Utah produces a significant amount of crude oil, primarily from the Uintah Basin in the eastern part of the state. The Beehive State has the fourth-highest number of oil and natural gas leases on federal lands, after Wyoming, New Mexico, and Colorado. Employment in Utah’s oil and gas industry rose 16% between 2021 and 2022, adding more than a thousand workers to bring the total to 7,449.  8. Wyoming Total Crude Oil Production in 2022: 90.906 million bbls Total Natural Dry Gas Production in 2022: 982,114 mmcf At its peak, Wyoming had 27,951 producing wells in 2022, including 10,120 producing oil wells and 17,800 producing gas wells. Oil and gas production, by itself, accounted for over 40% of the total property taxes levied in the Equality State last year, in addition to supporting 58,780 jobs and generating $5.7 billion in labor income.  7. California Total Crude Oil Production in 2022: 124.727 million bbls Total Natural Dry Gas Production in 2022: 129,305 mmcf Although California sits among the Top Oil and Gas Producing States, it is aiming to be the biggest oil producer in the world and the first state in America to plan a managed decline of the sector. Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a plan to phase out oil and gas production in the Golden State by 2045, and California even passed a new law last year banning oil and gas drilling within 3,200 feet of structures including homes, schools, and hospitals. 6. Oklahoma Total Crude Oil Production in 2022: 151.537 million bbls Total Natural Dry Gas Production in 2022: 2,507,460 mmcf Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry is by far the largest taxpayer in the state, and over the last decade, approximately $2.1 billion in funds have been apportioned for education – an average of more than 200 million annually. School districts in 24 counties, many rural, have received more than $1 million from industry severance taxes each year for the past decade. Oklahoma ranks 6th in our list of Major Oil and Gas Producing States.  Click to continue reading and see the Top 5 Oil and Gas Producing States. Suggested Articles: 25 Countries That Produce the Most Natural Gas 15 States With the Most Expensive Gas in the US 25 Countries that Import the Most Oil in 2023 Disclosure: None. Oil and Gas Production by State: Top 15 is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyDec 4th, 2023

The oxycontin-peddling Sackler family has tried to get immunity from civil lawsuits by filing for bankruptcy. That might be illegal.

The US Supreme Court will hear arguments that could have far-reaching effects on how corporations dodge more severe penalties through bankruptcy. OxyContin pills.Toby Talbot/AP fileThe US Supreme Court will decide whether Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy settlement will stand.The company, built by the billionaire Sackler family, declared bankruptcy in 2019 amid countless lawsuits.The decision could have wide-ranging effects on how companies and organizations use bankruptcy court.The US Supreme Court is set to hear a case that could have extraordinary consequences for companies that claim bankruptcy when faced with personal injury lawsuits – namely the Sackler family of billionaires who have been widely tied to America's spiraling opioid epidemic.The Sacklers' company, Purdue Pharma, manufactured and aggressively marketed the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin. After becoming one of America's richest families, the Sacklers have faced countless civil lawsuits on top of widespread contempt from families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction.The thousands of civil suits prompted Purdue Pharma to file for bankruptcy in 2019.By 2022, Purdue Pharma reached a settlement that would exempt the Sacklers from civil lawsuits while funneling up to $6 billion towards fighting the drug epidemic they are accused of instigating, Reuters reported.The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Monday to assess whether that settlement violates federal law. The case could have wide-ranging impacts on whether companies can continue to declare bankruptcy to dodge more severe financial consequences.Officially referred to as third-party nonconsensual releases, the legal maneuver allows organizations to settle personal injury claims in bankruptcy court instead of civil court. The former can protect them from future litigation, making it the more cost-effective option for a company trying to avoid paying for its accused wrongs and keep its doors open.Legal experts say companies are more often relying on bankruptcy court than civil court to settle claims, The New York Times reported. Opponents of the practice say it robs regular people of their day in civil court.The Sacklers' settlement deal did not require the Sacklers themselves to declare bankruptcy, just Purdue Pharma, according to the Times. In effect, it shields their billions of dollars accrued from OxyContin sales and grants them a unique level of immunity.Purdue Pharma told Reuters in a statement that the legal challenge to their settlement will "single-handedly delay billions of dollars in value that should be put to use for victim compensation, opioid crisis abatement for communities across the country and overdose rescue medicines.""We are confident in the legality of our nearly universally supported plan of reorganization, and optimistic that the Supreme Court will agree," Purdue's statement said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 3rd, 2023

Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Texas are major beneficiaries of US aid to Ukraine, report says

Pennsylvania topped the list, receiving $2.364 billion to manufacture arms and ammunition. Arizona has brought in $2.196 and Texas $1.45 billion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Joe Biden meet at the White House in September 2023.The Washington Post / GettyThe Biden Administration has circulated a map showing the states that have benefited from Ukraine aid.In total, US states have received $27 billion of investments and spending on manufacturing supplies.President Biden hopes to convince Congress to continue sending aid to Ukraine to help combat Russia's invasion.Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Texas are three of the US states to have benefited the most from aid sent to Ukraine, according to a map that the Biden Administration has been sending around Capitol Hill.The map is part of an effort to convince Republicans and the American public to support President Biden's proposal to spend billions of dollars on the wars in Ukraine and Israel, as well as the Indo-Pacific region and border enforcement.In October, the president asked Congress to approve $61.4 billion for Ukraine, $14.3 billion for Israel, and $9.15 billion for humanitarian aid in the two countries and the Gaza Strip.President Joe Biden delivered a rare Oval Office speech October 19, 2023 urging Americans to back military aid for Israel and Ukraine.JONATHAN ERNST / GettyTo help make his case, Biden has highlighted the benefit of aid for US manufacturing and jobs.In total, US states have received $27 billion worth of investments and spending on "munitions and tactical vehicle procurements" to support the resistance against Russia, according to the documents seen by Reuters.Pennsylvania tops the list, having received $2.364 billion to manufacture arms and ammunition. Arizona has brought in $2.196 and Texas $1.45 billion.Three out of eight Republican members of Congress from Pennsylvania, three out of six from Arizona, and 18 out of 25 from Texas have been voting against sending aid to Ukraine, Reuters reported.Speaker of the House Mike Johnson has recently become a surprise advocate for increasing aid to Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reported.Despite previously voting against sending more aid to combat Russian President Vladimir Putin's invading forces, Johnson has used his position as speaker to publicly label Ukraine aid a key priority."We can't allow Vladimir Putin to march through Europe and we understand the necessity of assisting there," Johnson said, per The Journal.But Biden is also looking to win over the American public by highlighting the domestic benefits of sending aid, particularly as both Pennsylvania and Arizona are key battleground states for the presidential election."We send Ukraine equipment sitting in our stockpiles. And when we use the money allocated by Congress, we use it to replenish our own stores, our own stockpiles, with new equipment," Biden said last month."Equipment that defends America and is made in America. Patriot missiles for air defense batteries, made in Arizona. Artillery shells manufactured in 12 states across the country, in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas," he added. "Just as in World War II, today patriotic American workers are building the arsenal of democracy and serving the cause of freedom."On Sunday, the US Department of Defense (DoD) announced a security assistance package of up to $125 million for "Ukraine's immediate battlefield needs," as well as $300 million "to strengthen Ukraine's air defenses over the long term.""The Administration continues to call on Congress to meet its commitment to the people of Ukraine by passing additional funding to ensure Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself against Russia's brutal war of choice," the DoD said in a press release announcing the package.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 3rd, 2023

Charlie Munger’s Life History & Stock Portfolio: 4 Biggest Positions

In this piece, we will take a look at Charlie Munger’s life history, his latest stock portfolio, and the biggest investment positions. If you want to skip our introduction to Mr. Munger’s journey in life and the finance industry, then you can take a look at Charlie Munger’s Life History & Stock Portfolio: 2 Biggest […] In this piece, we will take a look at Charlie Munger’s life history, his latest stock portfolio, and the biggest investment positions. If you want to skip our introduction to Mr. Munger’s journey in life and the finance industry, then you can take a look at Charlie Munger’s Life History & Stock Portfolio: 2 Biggest Positions. Charlie Munger is one of the few financial professionals who also had a close association with the journalism industry. Out of the hundreds of hedge funds and investment companies covered by Insider Monkey, none of the well known investment bosses such as Ken Fisher of Fisher Investments, Ken Griffin of Citadel Investments, Cathie Woods of Ark Investment, or others are known for their newspapers. However, Mr. Munger’s Daily Journal Corporation (NASDAQ:DJCO) is a full fledged media business with a century old history that Warren Buffett’s close associate and friend bought in 1977. As if owning a media company wasn’t enough, Mr. Munger’s relationship with Mr. Buffett also enabled him to view the investment world from the eyes of the world’s biggest investment management company, Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire is the most valuable financial firm in the world, and it owns billions of dollars of assets in the form of lucrative businesses, stocks, and other stakes that generate billions of dollars in profit each quarter without having the need to establish its own operations base. For instance, consider the fact that during the third quarter of this year, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK-A raked in $63.4 billion in revenue, and during the previous quarter, its profit sat at $35.9 billion. Now, compare this to Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA), Elon Musk’s trillion dollar electric vehicle company that is one of the hottest growth stocks in the world. Tesla’s revenue and profit during its latest fiscal year was $81.4 billion and $12.5 billion, showing that the investment behemoth that Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger built over the course of decades can earn more in three months than a company whose cars travel in nearly every major market in the developed world. In fact, Mr. Munger’s relationship with Mr. Buffett is actually quite interlinked with Berkshire. The pair met in 1959, two years after an associate told Mr. Buffett that the reason he chose to entrust him with his money was because his trustworthiness reminded him of Mr. Munger’s. By then, the now Oracle of Omaha was operating six investment partnerships and was yet to make some of his biggest and defining investment decisions. From there, the two would get to know each other for roughly the next two decades before Mr. Munger became the vice chairman of Berkshire, a position that he would continue to hold until his death today, on November 28th, 2023. Naturally, operating in the big leagues with the greatest investors of our time provides one with a unique perspective. And when it came to Mr. Munger, he didn’t hold back any punches. His publishing company provided him a platform un associated with Berkshire to share his unfiltered thoughts on current financial events and products, and two which came under his radar before resigning from the DJC’s chairmanship were bitcoin and the well known Gamestop Corporation (NYSE:GME) short squeeze. In fact, during a DJC annual meeting, Mr. Munger, who also ran his own financial corporation, Wesco Financial in the late 1900s, stated: Well, certainly the great short squeeze in GameStop was wretched excess. Certainly, the bitcoin thing is wretched excess. I would argue that venture capital is throwing too much money, too fast, and there’s a considerable wretched excess in venture capital and other forms of private equity. And so… We have a stock market which some people use like a gambling parlor. And the transactions of the people who love the gambling parlor aspect of the business and those who want to make long term investments, to take care of their old age and so forth…I mean, muddle that in one market and it goes out of control because the stock market becomes an ideal gambling parlor activity. I don’t think that ought to have been allowed, either. If I were the dictator of the world, I would have some kind of a tax on short term gains that made the stock market very much less liquid and drove out this marriage of gambling parlor and legitimate capital development of the country. It’s not a good marriage, and I think we need a divorce. Quite a sharp critique of a market in an era when trades are carried out by algorithms and satellite internet is believed by many to have the potential to unlock sizeable catalysts in the finance industry by reducing the time that it takes for market signals to travel through submarine cables. The similarities between Mr. Munger and Mr. Buffett are the sharpest when we compare Berkshire Hathaway and Munger’s financial firm, Wesco Financial Corporation. Wesco is a Berkshire subsidiary and Munger became its CEO and chairman six years after he became Berkshire’s vice chairman.  At the time, Wesco was primarily a savings and loan association that helped every day folks meet their financial needs. However, the sector started to come under increased regulatory scrutiny in an era that is quite similar to what we’ve recently experienced. Back then, the Federal Reserve was aggressively raising interest rates as well, and these upended the fundamental business model of the ‘thrifts’ since they had to borrow expensive money only to have already lent it out at cheaper rates. Mr.  Munger’s time at Wesco would see him ‘sense’ the impending doom for the savings and loans industry, and he would use Wesco’s thrift subsidiary to invest in Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), or Fannie-Mae, to ride out the storm that hit the savings sector during the nine years between 1986 and 1995. Called the savings and loan crisis, this saw more than 30% of all thrifts in the U.S. wiped out, and thanks to Mr. Munger’s business savvy, Wesco rode out the storm to exit the sector in 1992. Finally, while Mr. Munger’s association with Berkshire is often more widely covered, his business acumen also saw him rely on investing as a solid way to ‘hedge’ against downturns in the publishing industry. DJC has its own investment portfolio, and compared to most others, it invests in only a handful of stocks. Immediately after his passing, Mr. Buffett reminded everyone that Berkshire would not be where it is today without his friend, as he shared: Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation. Charlie Munger Our Methodology For our list of Charlie Munger’s stock portfolio, we listed the Daily Journal Corporation’s stock picks during Q3 2023. Charlie Munger’s Life History & Stock Portfolio: 4 Biggest Positions 4. U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) Daily Journal’s Q3 2023 Investment: $4.6 million U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) is a classic Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger stock pick. A sizeable U.S. bank, it pays dividends and is nearly a century old. Like Buffett, Mr. Munger was also an adherent of the philosophy of buying the right stocks and then holding on to them for years. Insider Monkey’s research shows that the Daily Journal owned U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB)’s shares as far back as 2016, when it held 140,000 shares that were worth $5.6 million. Since then, while the bank’s stock has fallen by quite a bit, it has still managed to pay sizeable dividends. Currently, U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) pays a 42 cent dividend which provides it with a 5.18% annual yield. It is also quite a sizeable company, with roughly 75,000 employees and business divisions that range from wealth management to corporate banking and retail operations. Insider Monkey also took a look at 910 hedge fund holdings for 2023’s September quarter and found that 29 had bought and owned U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB)’s shares. While Mr. Munger’s publication held a $4.6 million stake in the company back then, it was far from being the bank’s biggest hedge fund investor. In fact, our research shows that the largest U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) shareholder during the third quarter was Jean-Marie Eveillard’s First Eagle Investment Management as it owned 8.9 million shares that were worth $295 million. 3. Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) Daily Journal’s Q3 2023 Investment: $26 million Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) is one company where Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger thought differently. This is because Mr. Buffett has only targeted one company that operates in Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA)’s industry i.e. electronic commerce. This firm is Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Warren Buffett first bought Amazon’s shares in Q1 2019 as he stuck to his approach of going big and bought a massive $890 million stake courtesy of 9.6 million shares. Mr. Munger however entered the eCommerce industry late. He first bought Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) in Q1 2021 by acquiring a more modest $37.4 million stake. Since then, the Daily Journal has trimmed its investments, and Munger’s Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) investment also earned him his fair share of controversy after he held on to the shares for dear life despite troubles in China. To learn more about Munger’s history with the company, you can read Charlie Munger’s Thoughts on China and His 5 Favorite Stock Picks. Click here to continue reading and check out Charlie Munger’s Life History & Stock Portfolio: 2 Biggest Positions. Suggested articles: 12 Very High Yield Dividend Stocks With Upside Potential 12 Best Value Stocks To Buy According To Warren Buffett Warren Buffett Sees Big Gains in These Small-Cap Stocks Disclosure: None. Charlie Munger’s Life History & Stock Portfolio: 4 Biggest Positions is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyDec 3rd, 2023

Occidental Private Jet Visits Buffett"s Hometown Twice Amid Speculation Of Major Shale Deal

Occidental Private Jet Visits Buffett's Hometown Twice Amid Speculation Of Major Shale Deal In a move that is raising eyebrows across the energy industry, Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s private jet made not one but two stops at a local airport in Omaha, Nebraska, in November. The plot thickens when you consider Omaha is where Warren Buffett, Occidental's top shareholder, resides. These visits come as Occidental is gearing up for a new oil patch shale deal reportedly worth billions of dollars.  Bloomberg reports Occidental's jet took off from Houston, where the company's headquarters is located and landed at Eppley Airfield in Omaha on Monday. The plane was on the ground for three hours, flew to New York, and returned to Houston by midnight. Tracking of the jet was made possible by the flight tracking website ADS-B Exchange, which monitors advanced surveillance technology embedded in planes that fly in highly regulated airspace.  News of Occidental's jet zigzagging around the county came days before Bloomberg reported Occidental was in talks to buy shale driller CrownRock LP for $10 billion. ADS-B Exchange data showed the jet visited Omaha two times last month.  The latest data from Bloomberg shows Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owns 25.90% of Occidental. The recent activity of Occidental's jet reminds us of when hedge funds were tracking the plane in 2019 when the company outbid Chevron Corp. to buy Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for $55 billion.  Tyler Durden Sun, 12/03/2023 - 08:45.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 3rd, 2023

The COP28 Outcomes Business Leaders Are Watching For

The climate negotiations can move the market over time, and it’s worth paying attention to the signal that emerges from Dubai. (To get this story in your inbox, subscribe to the TIME CO2 Leadership Report newsletter here.) The U.N. climate conference known as COP28 officially kicked off this afternoon in Dubai with more corporate executives and big players in the financial sector present than in any such meeting before. Much of their attention on the ground will focus on the private sector announcements made and deals struck, but there’s a reason for private sector folks to pay attention to the seemingly wonky official negotiations taking place between countries in Dubai’s Expo City convention center. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] For many businesses, the conversations can seem overly procedural and disconnected from the day-to-day reality of cutting a firm’s emissions. And yet these negotiations can move the market over time, and it’s worth paying attention to the signal that emerges from Dubai. To understand how such influence can spread from COP negotiation halls, look no further than the negotiations that took place in Paris in 2015. Countries agreed to come up with plans to limit average global warming to well-below 2°C over pre-industrial temperatures. The commitment was non-binding for countries and had even less of an immediate impact for companies. And yet the Paris Agreement has become a key benchmark for climate-concerned investors and companies. CEOs refer to “Paris alignment” to explain their decarbonization progress. There are now funding systems that act as investment vehicles designed specifically to support companies working towards the Paris targets. And some, if not enough, deals are reached or rejected because of these priorities. Laurence Tubiana, the head of the European Climate Foundation and a key framer of the deal, described this to me as “a transformation of the mindset.” “The Paris Agreement [became] the norm, the reference for everybody to know where to go,” she told me in 2020. What is the signal that might emerge from Dubai? As I’ve written here before, perhaps the biggest area of debate centers on the future of fossil fuels. Negotiators are trying to find common ground on how the world should view oil, gas, and coal. Getting through the negotiations remains a tall order, but any collective agreement that is serious about phasing out fossil fuels will signal to investors and companies that policymakers remain—at least in principle—committed to addressing climate change. That reality should at the very least make backers of fossil fuel expansion pause to take stock. On the flip side, failure to reach a deal on fossil fuels would signal that countries have lost their fortitude, and the speed of the energy transition may be slower than hoped. Fossil fuels are just the start. Delegates are trying to find the best ways to commit public money to advancing private clean energy projects in emerging markets. Outcomes that advance this so-called blended finance approach could create new opportunities for investors interested in funding clean energy deployment. Those two changes alone will shape the allocation of billions of dollars in capital, and spread across the economy, and they’re just the most obvious ones......»»

Category: topSource: timeDec 3rd, 2023

David Stockman: How American Neocons Wrecked The Middle East And Ukraine

David Stockman: How American Neocons Wrecked The Middle East And Ukraine Authored by David Stockman via AntiWar.com, This is part 2 of “Why There Is Still No Peace on Earth: Washington’s Folly From The Persian Gulf to Ukraine.”  Read part 1. THE FIRST GULF WAR – A CATASTROPHIC ERROR Confronted with the greatest opportunity for global peace in nearly a century, George H. W. Bush did not hesitate:  Upon the advice of his retainers, he immediately elected the path of war in the Persian Gulf. This endeavor was hatched by Henry Kissinger’s economically illiterate protégés at the National Security Council and Bush’s Texas oilman secretary of state, James Baker. They falsely claimed that the will-o’-the-wisp of “oil security” was at stake, and that 500,000 American troops needed to be planted in the sands of Arabia. That was a catastrophic error, and not only because the presence of “crusader” boots on the purportedly sacred soil of Arabia offended the CIA-recruited and trained mujahedin of Afghanistan, who had become unemployed when the Soviet Union collapsed. The CNN-glorified war games in the Gulf during early 1991 also further empowered another group of unemployed crusaders. Namely, the neocon national-security fanatics who had misled Ronald Reagan into a massive military buildup to thwart what they claimed to be an ascendant Soviet Union bent on nuclear-war-winning capabilities and global conquest. Needless to say, by the 1980s the gray men of the Kremlin were as evil as ever, but they were also quite rational and did not embrace a nuclear war winning strategy in any way, shape or form. That was just a pack of neocon lies, which, in any event, led to a massive defense build-up that had virtually nothing to do with containing the ballyhooed Soviet strategic nuclear threat. As it happened, the latter was being handled well enough by the already built, in-place and paid for strategic nuclear triad – forces which well pre-dated the Reagan build-up. So when the defense budget rose by a staggering $170 billion, from $134 billion in 1980 to $304 billion in 1989, only a tiny fraction of the increase was applied to upgrading the strategic nuclear deterrent. Instead, this unprecedented 130% peacetime rise (+50% in inflation-adjusted dollars) went overwhelmingly to the building of a globe-spanning conventional forces armada that was utterly unneeded for America’s homeland security in a world with or without the Soviet Union. Accordingly, everything on land, sea and air was upgraded and expanded. This included the 600-ship Navy and 12 carrier battle groups; massive upgrades of the fleet of M1 tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles; and endless procurement of cruise missiles, fixed-wing planes, rotary aircraft, air-and sea-lift capacity, surveillance and electronic warfare capacity and a black budget so large as to dwarf anything that had gone before. In a word, the misguided Reagan defense build-up enabled the invasions and occupations that commenced almost instantly after the Soviet demise. That is to say, the neocon defense build-up of the 1980s fathered the “Forever Wars” of the 1990s and beyond. The folly and deceit of the purportedly anti-Soviet defense build-up was evident enough at the time because by the mid-1980s the Evil Empire was already unraveling at the seams economically. The reason was simply that communism and rigidly centralized command-and-control economics don’t work—as became abundantly clear to the entire world via the spectacle of Boris Yeltsin, vodka flask in hand, facing down the Red Army in 1991. Like the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back, in the end the mighty Soviet Union was taken down by one of its own drunken apparatchiks. That is to say, the entire neocon narrative of an ascendant, bent on world conquest Soviet Union was made a mockery. That alone should have sent the neocons into the permanent disrepute and obscurity they so richly deserved. But Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and rest of the neocon gang surrounding Bush the Elder managed to deftly pull a “bait and switch” maneuver of no mean extent. Suddenly, it wasn’t about the Soviet Union at all, but the alleged lesson from Washington’s Pyrrhic victory in Kuwait that “regime change” among the assorted tyrannies of the Middle East was in America’s national interest. More fatally, the neocons now insisted that the first Gulf War proved regime change could be achieved through a sweeping interventionist menu of coalition diplomacy, security assistance, arms shipments, covert action and open military attack and occupation via the spanking new conventional forces armada that the Reagan Administration had bequeathed. What the neocon doctrine of regime-change actually did, of course, was to foster the Frankenstein that ultimately became ISIS. In fact, the only real terrorists in the world who have threatened normal civilian life in the West during the last three decades were the rogue offspring of Imperial Washington’s post-1990 machinations in the Middle East. The CIA-trained and CIA-armed mujahedin of Afghanistan mutated into al-Qaeda not because bin Laden suddenly had a religious epiphany that his Washington benefactors were actually the Great Satan owing to America’s freedom and liberty. His murderous crusade was inspired by the Wahhabi fundamentalism loose in Saudi Arabia. This benighted religious fanaticism became agitated to a fever pitch by Imperial Washington’s violent plunge into Persian Gulf political and religious quarrels, the stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia, and the decade-long barrage of sanctions, embargoes, no-fly zones, covert actions and open hostility against the Sunni regime in Baghdad after 1991. Yes, bin Laden would have amputated Saddam’s secularist head if Washington hadn’t done it first, but that’s just the point. The attempt at regime change in March 2003 was one of the most foolish acts of state in American history. Indeed, Bush the Younger’s neocon advisers had no clue about the sectarian animosities and historical grievances that Hussein had bottled up by parsing the oil loot and wielding the sword under the banner of Baathist nationalism. But “shock and awe” blew the lid and the de-Baathification campaign unleashed the furies. Indeed, no sooner had George Bush pranced around on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln declaring “mission accomplished” than Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant and small-time specialist in hostage taking and poisons, emerged as a flamboyant agitator in the now-dispossessed Sunni heartland of Iraq. The founder of ISIS succeeded in Fallujah and Anbar province just like the long list of other terrorist leaders Washington claims to have exterminated. That is, Zarqawi gained his following and notoriety among the region’s population of deprived, brutalized and humiliated young men by dint of being more brutal than their occupiers. Indeed, even as Washington was crowing about its eventual liquidation of Zarqawi, the remnants of the Baathist regime and the hundreds of thousands of demobilized republican guards were coalescing into al-Qaeda in Iraq, and their future leaders were being incubated in a monstrous nearby detention center called Camp Bucca that contained more than 26,000 prisoners. As one former U.S. Army officer, Mitchell Gray, later described it, “You never see hatred like you saw on the faces of these detainees,” Gray remembers of his 2008 tour. “When I say they hated us, I mean they looked like they would have killed us in a heartbeat if given the chance. I turned to the warrant officer I was with and I said, ‘If they could, they would rip our heads off and drink our blood. What Gray didn’t know – but might have expected – was that he was not merely looking at the United States’ former enemies, but its future ones as well. According to intelligence experts and Department of Defense records, the vast majority of the leadership of what is today known as ISIS, including its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, did time at Camp Bucca. And not only did the US feed, clothe and house these jihadists, it also played a vital, if unwitting, role in facilitating their transformation into the most formidable terrorist force in modern history. Early in Bucca’s existence, the most extreme inmates were congregated in Compound 6. There were not enough Americans guards to safely enter the compound – and, in any event, the guards didn’t speak Arabic. So the detainees were left alone to preach to one another and share deadly vocational advice . . . Bucca also housed Haji Bakr, a former colonel in Saddam Hussein’s air-defense force. Bakr was no religious zealot. He was just a guy who lost his job when the Coalition Provisional Authority disbanded the Iraqi military and instituted de-Baathification, a policy of banning Saddam’s past supporters from government work. According to documents recently obtained by German newspaper Der Spiegel, Bakr was the real mastermind behind ISIS’ organizational structure and also mapped out the strategies that fueled its early successes. Bakr, who died in fighting in 2014, was incarcerated at Bucca from 2006-’ 08, along with a dozen or more of ISIS’ top lieutenants.” The point is, regime change and nation building can never be accomplished by the lethal violence of 21st-century armed forces; and they were an especially preposterous assignment in the context of a land rent with 13 century-old religious fissures and animosities. In fact, the wobbly, synthetic state of Iraq was doomed the minute Cheney and his bloody gang decided to liberate it from the brutal but serviceable and secular tyranny of Saddam’s Baathist regime. That’s because the process of elections and majority rule necessarily imposed by Washington was guaranteed to elect a government beholden to Iraq’s Shiite majority. After decades of mistreatment and Saddam’s brutal suppression of their 1991 uprising, did the latter have revenge on their minds and in their communal DNA? Did the Kurds have dreams of an independent Kurdistan spilling into Turkey and Syria that had been denied their 30-million-strong tribe way back at Versailles and ever since? Yes, they did. So the $25 billion spent on training and equipping the putative armed forces of post-liberation Iraq was bound to end up in the hands of sectarian militias, not a national army. In fact, when the Shiite commanders fled Sunni-dominated Mosul in June 2014 they transformed the ISIS uprising against the government in Baghdad into a vicious fledgling state in one fell swoop. But it wasn’t by beheadings and fiery jihadist sermons that it quickly enslaved dozens of towns and several million people in western Iraq and the Euphrates Valley of Syria. THE ISLAMIC STATE WAS WASHINGTON’S VERY OWN FRANKENSTEIN To the contrary, its instruments of terror and occupation were the best weapons that the American taxpayers could buy. That included 2,300 Humvees and tens of thousands of automatic weapons, as well as vast stores of ammunition, trucks, rockets, artillery pieces and even tanks and helicopters. And that wasn’t the half of it. The Islamic State also filled the power vacuum in Syria created by its so-called civil war. But in truth that was another exercise in Washington-inspired and Washington-financed regime change undertaken in connivance with Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The princes of the Petro-states were surely not interested in expelling the tyranny next door. Instead, the rebellion was about removing Iran’s Alawite/Shiite ally from power in Damascus and laying the gas pipelines to Europe – which Assad had vetoed – across the upper Euphrates Valley. In any event, due to Washington’s regime change policy in Syria, ISIS soon had even more troves of American weapons. Some of them were supplied to Sunni radicals by way of Qatar and Saudi Arabia. More came up the so-called “ratline” from Qaddafi’s former arsenals in Benghazi through Turkey. And still more came through Jordan from the “moderate” opposition trained there by the CIA, which more often than not sold them or defected to the other side. That the Islamic State was Washington’s Frankenstein monster, therefore, became evident from the moment it rushed upon the scene in mid-2014. But even then, the Washington War Party could not resist adding fuel to the fire, whooping up another round of Islamophobia among the American public and forcing the Obama White House into a futile bombing campaign for the third time in a quarter century. But the short-lived Islamic State was never a real threat to America’s homeland security. The dusty, broken, impoverished towns and villages along the margins of the Euphrates River and in the bombed-out precincts of Anbar province did not attract thousands of wannabe jihadists from the failed states of the Middle East and the alienated Muslim townships of Europe because the caliphate offered prosperity, salvation or any future at all. What recruited them was outrage at the bombs and drones dropped on Sunni communities by the U.S. Air Force and by the cruise missiles launched from the bowels of the Mediterranean that ripped apart homes, shops, offices and mosques which mostly contained as many innocent civilians as ISIS terrorists. The truth is, the Islamic State was destined for a short half-life anyway. It had been contained by the Kurds in the North and East and by Turkey with NATO’s second-largest army and air force in the Northwest. And it was further surrounded by the Shiite Crescent in the populated, economically viable regions of lower Syria and Iraq. Absent Washington’s misbegotten campaign to unseat Assad in Damascus and demonize his confession-based Iranian ally, there would have been nowhere for the murderous fanatics who had pitched a makeshift capital in Raqqa to go. They would have run out of money, recruits, momentum and public acquiescence in their horrific rule in any event. But with the U.S. Air Force functioning as their recruiting arm and France’s anti-Assad foreign policy helping to foment a final spasm of anarchy in Syria, the gates of hell had been opened wide, unnecessarily. What has been puked out was not an organized war on Western civilization as former French president Hollande so hysterically proclaimed in response to one of the predictable terrorist episodes of mayhem in Paris. It was just blow-back carried out by that infinitesimally small contingent of mentally deformed young men who can be persuaded to strap on a suicide belt. In any event, bombing did not defeat ISIS; it just temporarily made more of them. Ironically, what did extinguish the Islamic State was the Assad military, the Russian air force invited into Syria by its official government and the ground forces of its Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard allies. It was they who settled an ancient quarrel Sunni/Shiite that had never been any of America’s business anyway. But Imperial Washington was so caught up in its myths, lies and hegemonic stupidity that it could not see the obvious. Accordingly, 31 years after the Cold War ended and several years after Syria and friends extinguished the Islamic State, Washington has learned no lessons. The American Imperium still stalks the planet for new monsters to destroy – presently in the precincts of Russian-speaking eastern and southern Ukraine that are utterly irrelevant to America’s peace and security. Next On Deck – The Ukraine Disaster The present disaster in Ukraine incepted with the Washington-sponsored Maidan coup of February 2014. Among other things it was a “revenge intervention” designed to punish Russia for being so bold as to thwart the neocon regime change adventure in Syria; and especially to haze Putin for persuading Assad to give up his chemical weapons, thereby removing any pretext for Washington military intervention. As it happened, the Russian-friendly president of Ukraine at the time, Vicktor Yanukovych, had at the last minute in late 2013 ditched a long-pending EU affiliation agreement and IMF stabilization plan in favor of a more attractive deal with Moscow. Under the so-called rule of law, that reversal would hardly seem outside the realm of sovereign prerogative. But not by the lights of Washington, red-hot from being check-mated in Syria. Accordingly, the neocon operatives in the Obama national security apparatus, spear-headed by the horrid Victoria Nuland, insisted that the Russian deal not be allowed to stand and that Ukraine’s accession to NATO should be fast-tracked. So doing, they demonstrated an immense ignorance about the 800-year history of the various territories which had been cobbled together in the artificial state of Ukraine, and the long-history of these pieces and parts as vassals and appendages of both Greater Russia and various eastern European kingdoms and empires that had marched back and forth across the pages of history. In a word, they dove into a rabbit hole that has made Washington’s misadventures in the middle east small potatoes by comparison. But the War Party would not be stopped, believing that its vast conventional military armada and the reach of its global economic sanctions could bring Putin to heel, as well. In this context, however, it can be truly said that occasionally a few words are worth a thousand pictures–at least when it comes to Ukraine. Here’s one of them: The Ukrainian leader said that his country hadn’t been willing to cede territory from the beginning. “Had we been willing to give up our territory, there would have been no war,” Zelensky said. He got that right! So the question recurs. Why is it worth Washington’s sweeping Sanctions War on Russia, which is destroying the dollar-based global trading and payments system and triggering a worldwide inflationary calamity, to defend every inch of a sketchy map located on Russia’s doorstep? And that’s to say nothing of risking nuclear war! Indeed, as we elaborate below, the present Ukrainian territorial map exists only due to the handiwork of Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev. Here is how and when these brutal tyrants attached each piece of today’s Ukrainian map (in purple, light blue and red, respectively) to the territories acquired or seized by the Russian Czars over 1654-1917 (yellow). Nor should any mystery linger as to where these pieces and parts came from. When the creators of the Soviet Empire carved out a convenient administrative entity during the early 1920s that they were pleased to call the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic they were shuffling around blocks of territory and peoples that had mostly been ruled by Czarist Russia during its final centuries. In fact, prior to the commie takeover of Russia, no country that even faintly resembled today’s Ukrainian borders had ever existed. To the contrary, much of the territories which comprise present day Ukraine have been been joined at the hip with mother Russia for most of the last three centuries: During Imperial times that was via old-fashioned vassal protection and sponsorship and during the brutal rule of the Soviet communists between 1922-1991 it was via totalitarian command. But remove the dastardly work of Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev during the latter interval, and nothing like today’s map would exist, nor would Washington be starting a global economic war and triggering soaring energy, food and commodity prices. That’s because the four territories recently “annexed” by Russia would already have been integral parts of Russia! For want of doubt here are sequential maps that tell the story and which make mincemeat of the Washington sanctity of borders malarkey. In fact, the approximate territory of the four annexed regions – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – plus Crimea are evident in the yellow area of this 220-years ago map (@1800). Collectively, they were known as Novorossiya or “New Russia” and had been acquired by Russian rulers, including Catherine the Great between 1734 and 1791. As is evident from the year-markings in red on the map, the Russian Empire had gradually gained control over the area, signing peace treaties with the Cossack Hetmanate (1734) and with the Ottoman Empire at the conclusion of the various Russo-Turkish Wars of the 18th century. Pursuant to this expansion drive – which included massive Russian investment and the in-migration of large Russian populations to the region – Russia established the Novorossiysk Governaorate in 1764. The latter was originally to be named after the Empress Catherine, but she decreed that it should be called “New Russia” instead. Completing the assemblage of New Russia, Catherine forcefully liquidated the Zaporizhian Sich (present day Zaporizhzhia) in 1775 and annexed its territory to Novorossiya, thus eliminating the independent rule of the Ukrainian Cossacks. Later in 1783 she also acquired Crimea from the Turks, which was also added to Novorossiya. During this formative period, the infamous shadow ruler under Catherine, Prince Grigori Potempkin, directed the sweeping colonization and Russification of the land. Effectively, the Russian Empress had granted him the powers of an absolute ruler over the area from 1774 onward. The spirit and importance of “New Russia” at this time is aptly captured by the historian Willard Sunderland, The old steppe was Asian and stateless; the current one was state-determined and claimed for European-Russian civilization. The world of comparison was now even more obviously that of the Western empires. Consequently it was all the more clear that the Russian empire merited its own New Russia to go along with everyone else’s New Spain, New France and New England. The adoption of the name of New Russia was in fact the most powerful statement imaginable of Russia’s national coming of age. Well, yes, but borders! In fact, the passage of time solidified the border of Novorossiya even more solidly. One century latter the light yellow area of this 1897 map gave an unmistakable message: To wit, in the late Russian Empire there was no doubt as to the paternity of the lands adjacent to the Azov Sea and the Black Sea—they were now part of the 125 years-old “New Russia”. After the madness of WWI and the Bolshevik Revolution, of course, the borders of much of eastern and central Europe were drastically re-arranged.  For instance, at the so-called Versailles Peace Conference in 1919 new countries were fashioned from whole cloth (Czechoslovakia) and long dead countries (Poland) were revived—both upon their own ancient lands as well as those of their former neighbors. Another of these post-WWI creations was Yugoslavia. The kingdom was formed in December 1918, with Serbia’s royal family, the Karadjordjevics, becoming the monarchs of  the new country, which was officially called the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes until 1929 – when it became Yugoslavia. By 1946 it had been incorporated into the Soviet Warsaw Pact, with the borders and constituent parts shown below. Needless to say, all of these circa 1919 creations and borders have long ceased to exist. After a decade of civil wars and civilian slaughter in the 1990s, Yugoslavia has become seven independent nations. And not only that: The apparently non-sacrosanct borders of Yugoslavia were rent asunder by NATO bombs, armaments, economic and political aid and covert operations! And then having torn up the old maps like a mere “scrap of paper”, NATO made the new national entities its very own, with the majority now actually members of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance – a vestigial organ that was designed to keep the Balkans contained and the Soviet Union throttled, neither of which condition any more even exists. By the same token, the present-day borders of Poland were moved far to the west at Stalin’s insistence at Yalta. Consequently, the revived nation of “Poland”, which had earlier been created by Woodrow Wilson at Versailles to court the growing Midwestern Polish vote, took on a wholly new map. That is to say, Poland had been dismembered and deleted from the maps by the European powers in the 1790s; had been revived by Wilson’s ignorant demands at Versailles that moved it deep into historic German territories and provided the political fuel for Hitler’s revanchism; and then drastically rearranged again at Yalta where the cynical Churchill and the malevolent Stalin outmaneuvered the senile Roosevelt. Thus, the area outlined in dark blue was Wilson’s Poland, but the huge swath in pink was gifted to Stalin by FDR and Churchill at Yalta. At the same time, the brown areas including the free city of Danzig (Gdansk) and the Danzig Corridor to its right were swiped from the remains of Hitler’s Germany and given back to what amounted to Poland 3.0 – and just within the first half of the 20th century! The same story holds for Czechoslovakia. Its three constituent nations were hammered together at Versailles from the remnants of the Austrian Empire, but eventually went their separate ways after the rule of communism ended in 1991. Today the Czech State and Slovakia exist peacefully side-by-side, and the world is no worse for the wear after their partition. As it happens, however, there is one politically engineered post-WWI map from the region that hasn’t been undone. For reasons known only by the Washington neocons and Warfare State apparatus, the modern borders of Ukraine – hammered together by the writ of Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev after 1918 – are apparently the exception to the rule. Indeed, they are deemed to be so sacrosanct as to justify monkey-hammering the global economy with a destructive Sanctions War, even to the point of risking hot military confrontation between the world’s two major nuclear powers. Of course, had the above mentioned 20th century communist trio been benefactors of mankind, perhaps their map-making handiwork might have been justified. Under this benign contrafactual, they would have presumably combined peoples of like ethnic, linguistic, religious and politico-cultural history into a cohesive natural polity and state. That is, a nation worth perpetuating, defending and perhaps even dying for. Alas, the very opposite was true. From 1922 to 1991 modern Ukraine was held together by the monopoly on violence of its brutally totalitarian rulers. And when they temporarily lost control during the military battles of World War II, the administrative entity called Ukraine came apart at the seams. That is, local Ukrainian nationalists joined Hitler’s Wehrmacht in its depredations against Jews, Poles, Roma and Russians when it first swept through the country from the west on its way to Stalingrad; and then, in turn, the Russian populations from the Donbas and south campaigned with the Red Army during its vengeance-wreaking return from the east after winning the bloody battle that turned the course of WWII. Not surprisingly, therefore, virtually from the minute it came out from under the communist yoke when the Soviet Union was swept into the dustbin of history in 1991, Ukraine has been engulfed in political and actual civil war. The elections which did occur were essentially 50/50 at the national level but reflected votes of 80/20 within the regions. That is, the Ukrainian nationalist candidates tended to get vote margins of 80% + in the West/Central areas, while Russian-sympathizing candidates got like pluralities in the East/South. This pattern transpired because once the iron-hand of totalitarian rule ended in 1991, the deep and historically rooted conflict between Ukrainian nationalism, language and politics of the central and western regions of the country and the Russian language and historical religious and political affinities of the Donbas and south came rushing to the surface. So-called democracy barely survived these contests until February 2014 when one of Washington’s “color revolutions” finally “succeeded”. That is to say, the aforementioned Washington fomented and financed nationalist-led coupe d état ended the tenuous post-communist equilibrium. As to the adverse shock effect of the Maidan coup on Ukrainian governance and external policy with respect to Russia, the maps below tell you all you need to know. The first map is from the 2004 presidential election, which was won by the Ukrainian nationalist candidate, Yushchenko, who predominated in the yellow areas of the map, over the pro-Russian Yanukovych, who swept the blue regions in the east and south. The second map is from the 2010 election, showing the same stark regional split, but this time the pro-Russian candidate, Yanukovych, won. In the map below, the dark blue parts to the far east (Donbas) indicate an 80% or better vote for Viktor Yanukovych in the 2010 election. By contrast, the dark red areas in the west voted 80% or more for the Ukrainian nationalist, Yulie Tymoshenko. That is to say, the skew in the Ukrainian electorate was so extreme as to make America’s current red state/blue state divide seem hardly noteworthy by comparison. As it happened, the sum of the pro-Yanukovych skews from the east and south (Donbas and Crimea) added up to 12.48 million votes and 48.95% of the total, while the sum of the extreme red skews in the center and west (the lands of old eastern Galicia and Poland) amounted to 11.59 million votes and 45.47% of the total. Stated differently, it is hard to imagine an electorate more sharply divided on a regional/ethnic/language basis. Yet it was one which still produced a sufficiently clear victory margin (3.6 percentage points) for Yanukovych – so as to be reluctantly accepted by all parties. That became especially clear when Tymoshenko, who was the incumbent prime minister, withdrew her election challenge a few weeks after the run-off in February 2010. At that point, of course, Russia had no beef with the Kiev government at all because essentially Yanukovych’s “Regions Party” was based on the pro-Russian parts (blue areas) of the Ukrainian electorate. During the next several years the economic basket case which was Ukraine attempted to improve its circumstances by running a bake-off of sorts between the European Union and Russia with respect to aid and trade deals. And well its leaders might have: After the fall of communism, Ukraine had become a cesspool of financial corruption in which a handful of oligarchs had robbed the country blind. By 2014 its real GDP had consequently fallen to $568 billion (2017$), which amounted to a 37% shrinkage from even the threadbare communist economics of 1990. Accordingly, the supposedly pro-Russian Yanukovych administration initiated in March 2012 the above-mentioned Association Agreement with the European Union that was to provide trade advantages and an IMF aid package. However, the EU leaders insisted that no agreement could be ratified unless Ukraine addressed concerns over a “stark deterioration of democracy and the rule of law”, including the imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko in 2011. In order to address these concerns, in fact, President Yanukovych urged the parliament to adopt laws so that Ukraine would meet the EU’s criteria. Crash of Ukraine’s Real GDP, 1990-2014 But it was the parallel $4 billion IMF loan that turned out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. According to then Prime Minister Mykola Azarov “the extremely harsh conditions” of the IMF loan (presented by the IMF in November 2013) included big budget cuts and a 40% increase in natural gas bills. Those proved to be hills too high to climb for most of the factions within the fractionated Ukraine polity. Accordingly, the IMF demands became the clinching argument behind the Ukrainian government’s abrupt decision to suspend preparations for signing the Association Agreement with the EU. Instead, Kiev quickly pivoted to a deal with Russia in the fall of 2013, which was willing to offer $15 billion in loans without the harsh IMF pre-conditions. Also, Moscow offered Ukraine a discount on Ukraine’s large gas purchases from Russia. The rest is history, as it were. As mentioned above, the Washington neocons were not about to accept Kiev’s pivot to Russia come hell or high water. So they swung into action bringing all the instruments of the Empire – the CIA, the State Department, NED, the NGOs and favored Ukrainian oligarchs – to bear on scuttling the Russian deal and removing Yanukovych from office. In a later interview with a US journalist, in fact, Ukrainian billionaire oligarch and opposition leader, Petro Poroshenko (who later became president), said quite clearly that the plan was to subvert the nation’s constitution and install an unelected, anti-Russian government that would deep-six the deal with Moscow: “From the beginning, I was one of the organizers of the Maidan. My television channel – Channel 5 – played a tremendously important role. … On the 11th of December, when we had U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and E.U. diplomat Catherine Ashton in Kyiv, during the night they started to storm the Maidan.” It should never be forgotten, therefore, that the coup which overthrew the constitutionally elected government in Kiev was a $5 billion all-hands Washington undertaking. It would never have come to fruition as a successful regime change putsch without the heavy hands of the US State Department along with the other above-mentioned arms of the empire. Needless to say, nullification of a country’s election – backed by the stick of NATO’s military might and the carrot of billions from a Washington/EU/IMF consortium – is big league meddling. Well, except by the clueless hypocrisy of the Washington foreign policy blob. Indeed, as former president Obama told CNN at the time, Washington was just going about its “indispensable nation” business. It had helpfully encouraged another “flowering of democracy” and to that end it had, “……brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine.” Brokered a deal my eye! This was a blatant and inexcusable breach of so-called “international law” because it served the will-to-power objectives of the Washington neocons and kept the now largely obsolete US foreign policy apparatus in the hegemony game – to say nothing of recruiting a new customer for arms sales. Never mind that Washington’s massive political and financial support for the Maidan uprising on the streets of Kiev, and then nearly instantaneous recognition of the resulting putsch as the official government of the Ukraine, was a frontal assault on the nation’s sovereignty. The late and detestable Senator John McCain even went to Kiev to show solidarity with the Euromaidan activists. McCain dined with opposition leaders, including members of the ultra-right‐​wing Svoboda Party and later appeared on stage in Maidan Square during a mass rally. There he stood shoulder to shoulder with Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok, who made no secret of his pro-Nazi convictions. But McCain’s actions were a model of diplomatic restraint compared to the conduct of Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, who, by your way, was soon back in the same position in the Biden Administration, conducting the same pro-war neocon policies. As Ukraine’s political crisis deepened, Nuland and her subordinates became more brazen in favoring the anti‐​Yanukovych demonstrators. Nuland noted in a speech to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation in December 2013, that she had traveled to Ukraine three times in the weeks following the start of the demonstrations. Visiting the Maidan on December 5, she famously handed out cookies to demonstrators and expressed support for their cause. Washington’s conduct not only constituted meddling, but it also bordered on puppeteering. At one point, US Ambassador Pyatt mentioned the complex dynamic among the three principal ultra-nationalist opposition leaders, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Oleh Tyahnybok, and Vitali Klitschko Both Pyatt and Nuland wanted to keep Tyahnybok and Klitschko out of an interim government. In the former case, they worried about his extremist neo-Nazi ties; in the latter, they appeared to want him to wait and make a bid for office on a longer‐​term basis (This former boxing champion became the current pugnacious mayor of Kiev). Nuland thus famously stated that, “I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary.” She added that what Yatseniuk needed “is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside.” The two diplomats were also prepared to escalate the already extensive U.S. involvement in Ukraine’s political turbulence by bringing in the Big Guy. Pyatt stated bluntly that, “…..we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing [the political transition].” Nuland clearly had Vice President Joe Biden in mind for that role. Noting that the vice president’s national security adviser was in direct contact with her, Nuland related that she told him, “…probably tomorrow for an atta‐​boy and to get the details to stick. So Biden’s willing.” That is to say, Victoria Nuland didn’t merely tell some undercover operatives to buy ads on Ukrainian social media, as Russia was accused of doing during the 2016 US election. To the contrary, she actually picked Yanukovych’s successor and the entire cabinet! And we know this from a hacked phone call between Nuland and the US ambassador in Kiev. In discussing who should lead the Washington-installed government, Nuland made clear who the next prime minister would be and who he should be talking to for advice. Nuland: I think Yats (Arseniy Yatseniuk) is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience.  … what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. As it turned out, the putsch leaders followed Nuland’s advice to the letter, installing “Yats” as the new prime minister. But it also filled four cabinet posts out of eleven with rabid anti-Russian neo-Nazis. Indeed, at the heart of the putsch were Ukrainian organizations called Svoboda (national socialist party of Ukraine) and Right Sector. Their national hero was one Stepan Bandera – a collaborator with Hitler who led the liquidation of thousands of Poles, Jews and other minorities as the Nazi Wehrmacht, as previously mentioned, made it way through Ukraine toward Stalingrad in the early 1940s. In fact, another founder and leader of Svoboda, Andriy Parubiy, was given a portfolio which included the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces, Law Enforcement, National Security and Intelligence. That the Kremlin was alarmed by these developments and that the Russian-speaking populations of Crimea and the Donbas (the blue areas on the electoral map above) feared an ethnic cleansing led by the new Ukrainian nationalist government in Kiev is hardly surprising. Indeed, the first legislative act of the new government was the abolition, on February 23, 2014, of the Kivalov-Kolesnichenko law of 2012 which made Russian an official language. As one commentator noted, it was a bit as if putschists decided that French and Italian would no longer be official languages ​​in Switzerland. The Russian language ban caused a storm in the Russian-speaking population. This resulted in fierce repression against the Russian-speaking regions (Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk) which began in February 2014 and led to a militarization of the situation and some notorious massacres (those in Odessa and Mariupol were the most odious). By the end of summer 2014, Crimea had return to Mother Russia after an overwhelming plebiscite and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk became the object of a vicious civil war conducted by Kiev. As we have amplified elsewhere, Sevastopol in Crimea has been the homeport of the Russian Naval Fleet under czars and commissars alike. After 171 years as an integral part of the Russian Motherland, it only technically became part of Ukraine during a Khrushchev inspired shuffle in 1954. The fact is, only 10% of the Crimean population is Ukrainian speaking, and it was the coup on the streets of Kiev by extremist anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalists and proto-fascists that caused the Russian speakers in Crimea to panic and Moscow to become alarmed about the status of its historic naval base, for which it still had a lease running to the 2040s. Thus, during a referendum in March 2014 83% of eligible Crimeans turned out to vote and 97% of those approved cancelling the 1954 edict of the Soviet Presidium that gifted Russian-Crimea to Ukraine. There is absolutely no evidence that the 80% of Crimeans who thus voted to sever their historically short-lived affiliation with Ukraine were threatened or coerced by Moscow. Indeed, what they actually feared were the edicts against Russian language and culture coming out of Kiev. And exactly the same thing was true of the overwhelmingly Russian-speaking populations of the Donbas. So in the context of a relentless and pointless NATO expansion to the very borders of the shrunken Russian state, Washington did not merely sponsor and fund the overthrow of Ukraine’s constitutionally elected government in February 2014. But once it had unleashed a devastating civil war, it also relentlessly blocked for eight years running the obvious alternative to the bloodshed that had claimed 14,000 civilian and military casualties, even before the current hot war commenced. To wit, Ukraine could have been partitioned with autonomy for the Russian-speaking Donbas provinces – or even accession to the Russian state from which these communities had essentially originated. So the appalling truth of the matter is this: Adding insult to injury after its blatantly foolish and reckless coup in February 2014, Washington now insists that the grandsons and granddaughters of Stalin’s industrial army in the Donbas are to be ruled by the grandsons and granddaughters of Hitler’s collaborators in Kiev, whether they like it or not. Yet that historic chasm is exactly where the present civil war originated. And its also why partition of an artificial polity forced together by 20th century communist dictators is the only way out. THE NATO FACTOR The current CIA director, William J Burns, actually recognized the eventual crack-up of Ukraine back in 2008, when he served as U.S. ambassador to Russia. After Ukraine’s NATO aspirations were announced at that year’s Bucharest Security Conference, Burns wrote a secret cable (subsequently published by Wikileaks) entitled, “Nyet Means Nyet: Russia’s NATO Enlargement Redlines”. The missive to Washington contained a stern warning of trouble to come: Ukraine and Georgia’s NATO aspirations not only touch a raw nerve in Russia, they engender serious concerns about the consequences for stability in the region. Not only does Russia perceive encirclement, and efforts to undermine Russia’s influence in the region, but it also fears unpredictable and uncontrolled consequences which would seriously affect Russian security interests. Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face. He got that right! For more than two decades, Washington’s NATO expansion policy has been a dagger aimed at the heart of an inherently divided Ukrainian polity—a division that had been suppressed by 69 years of brutal communist rule, but which broke into the open after the Soviet Union fell in 1991. So, as Burns predicted, in response to the 2014 putsch, Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the eastern Donbas region rose up against the coup government in Kiev, which they denounced as an illegitimate Western puppet regime, riddled with anti-Russian Neo-Nazis. Independence activists declared the creation of two new autonomous states, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. In turn, the new anti-Russian Ukrainian government in Kiev, with abundant Western military support and weapons, launched a brutal war against these breakaway republics–an assault that went on until the Russian invasion of February 24, 2022. As Kiev’s assault in the Donbas unfolded, upwards of 14,000 Ukrainians were killed, and hundreds of thousands more were displaced – all before the Russian invasion commenced. Moreover, the manner in which the two new breakaway republics armed themselves for combat against Kiev’s forces tells you all you need to know about the deep divisions in the Ukrainian polity. These were fissures which were instantly brought to the surface by the Maidan coup. According to Jacques Baud, a NATO adviser to Ukraine during that period, the breakaway Republic fighters got their arms mainly from defecting Ukrainian units, not Russia! Folks, when entire military units defect with their arms and fighting wherewithal, you are not dealing with minor differences of opinion among a nation’s population; it’s a sign of deep and likely irreconcilable strife. As Baud has further noted, In 2014, I (was) at NATO, responsible for the fight against the proliferation of small arms, and we (were) trying to detect Russian arms deliveries to the rebels in order to see if Moscow (was) involved. The rebels are armed thanks to the defections of Russian-speaking Ukrainian units which cross over to the rebel side. As the Ukrainian failures progressed, the entire tank, artillery or anti-aircraft battalions swelled the ranks of the autonomists. This is what (drove) the Ukrainians to commit to the Minsk Accords. Just after signing the Minsk 1 Accords in September 2014, however, then Ukrainian President and corrupt oligarch, Petro Poroshenko, launched a vast anti-terrorist operation against the Donbas. But poorly advised by NATO officers, the Ukrainians suffered a crushing defeat at Debaltsevo, which forced them to commit to the Minsk 2 Agreements in February 2015. As it happened, these Agreements provided for neither the separation nor the independence of the Republics, but their autonomy within the framework of Ukraine. That is, the ultimate status of the republics was to be negotiated between Kiev and the representatives of the republics, for an internal solution to the crisis of Ukraine’s split polity. But owing to Washington’s writs this was not to be. Instead, the post-coup Kiev government waged a brutal civil war against the Donbas for eight years. This attack was resisted by Russian-speaking Ukrainians who were deathly afraid of being ruled by the neo-Nazi elements which permeated the Kiev government, military and security forces (SBU). Indeed, even though he had run as the peace candidate, Zelensky put the kibosh on Minsk 2 soon after he was installed in office in 2019. The Minsk agreements, of course, had detailed how Kiev could reintegrate its breakaway regions by offering them a general amnesty, greater autonomy, and representation in the government.  But after having his very life threatened by the Azov militias embedded in Ukraine’s military, Zelensky and other senior officials declared that the Minsk agreements could not be implemented. Instead, they claimed that they could only proceed with their obligations under the agreements after retaking control of the rebel-held areas. Needless to say, as far as the breakaway republics were concerned, disarmament first and negotiations later was an absurd non-starter. In fact, after the fall of 2019, the Zelensky government made a bee line toward severe intensification of the raging civil war, To that end, it caused ascension to NATO to be added to its constitution, even as Zelensky issued at executive order vowing to recover Crimea. Yet as we have frequently explained that territory and the site of Russia’s most strategic naval base had never been part of Ukraine until 1954 when Khrushchev gifted it to the brutal communist rulers in Kiev for their help in securing the succession after Stalin’s death. Moreover, once Zelensky intensified the civil war the idea that Ukraine had anything to do with a functioning democracy lost all meaning. Zelensky’s government soon arrested the leading opposition politicians, shut-down all opposition media by combing multiple TV outlets into a single government propaganda network and, as we saw earlier, initially even outlawed the use of the Russian language. So long before Russia invaded on February 24, 2022, a bloody civil war raged in the unnatural polity called Ukraine. The latter was inherently not built to last given its deep ethnic divisions and especially the legacy of the aforementioned bloody history during WWII, when the country was bitterly divided between populations loyal to Hitler’s Wehrmacht versus those aligned with Stalin’s Red Army. Like after the American civil war, the animosity lasted for decades. So again, as Jacques Baud noted, this was a civil war: There were never major Russian troops in the Donbass before February 24, 2022. Even the US intelligence map published by the Washington Post on December 3, 2021 does not show Russian troops in the Donbass. Indeed, as far back as October 2015, Vasyl Hrytsak, director of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), confessed that only 56 Russian fighters had been observed in the Donbass. It was hardly even comparable to that of the Swiss going to fight in Bosnia during the weekends, in the 1990s, or the French mercenaries who are going to fight in Ukraine today. The Ukrainian army was then in a deplorable state. In October 2018, after four years of war, Ukraine’s chief military prosecutor, Antoly Matios, said that Ukraine had lost 2,700 men in the Donbass but not from the much larger combat losses. Instead, he referenced losses including 891 from disease, 318 from traffic accidents, 177 from other accidents, 175 from poisoning (alcohol, drugs), 172 from careless handling of weapons, 101 from breaches of safety rules, 228 from murder and 615 from suicide! In fact, like everything else in Ukraine, the Army has been severely undermined by the corruption of its cadres. According to a UK Home Office report, when reservists were called up in March-April 2014, 70% did not show up for the first session, 80% for the second, 90% for the third and 95% for the fourth. Thus, to compensate for the lack of soldiers, the Ukrainian government resorted to paramilitary militias. They were essentially made up of foreign mercenaries. As of 2020, they constituted around 40% of Ukraine’s forces and numbered around 102,000 men according to a in-depth Reuters investigation. That is to say, much of what constituted the Ukrainian military force on the eve of the Russian invasions was armed, financed and trained by the United States, Great Britain, Canada and France. These militias, stemming from the far-right groups that led the Euromaidan revolution in 2014, are made up of fanatical and brutal individuals. The best known of these is the Azov regiment, whose emblem is reminiscent of that of the 2nd SS Das Reich Panzer Division. The latter is the object of nationalist veneration in Ukraine for having liberated Kharkov from the Soviets in 1943. None of this is a secret, even if it has been banned from the 24/7 news narrative. So the West supports and continues to arm militias that have been guilty of widespread crimes against the civilian populations of the Donbas since 2014, including rape, torture and massacres. Moreover, the integration of these paramilitary forces into the National Guard was not at all accompanied by a “denazification”, as is frequently claimed. Among the many examples, that of the insignia of the Azov Regiment is edifying: Finally, on the eve of the invasion the Kiev government moved to drastically intensify the civil war and its brutal campaign against the breakaway republics. Beginning on February 16th – a week before the invasion – Ukrainian artillery shelling of the civilian populations of the Donbass increased dramatically, as shown by the daily reports of OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) observers. Naturally, neither the media, nor the European Union, nor NATO, nor any Western government reacted or intervened even verbally. At the same time, there were also reports of acts of sabotage in the Donbass. On January 18, Donbass fighters intercept saboteurs equipped with Western equipment and speaking Polish seeking to create chemical incidents in Gorlivka. The Ukrainian artillery bombardments on the populations of Donbass continued to intensify as shown below – so on February 23, the two Republics requested military aid from Russia. And on the 24th, Vladimir Putin invoked Article 51 of the United Nations Charter which provides for mutual military assistance within the framework of a defensive alliance. At that point, the Ukrainian civil war became international, and the artificial nation that was not “Built to Last” was ushered into its death throes. Indeed, the real truth of the matter is that Imperial Washington is now reaping the whirlwind it sowed over decades by massive interference in the internal politics and governance process of countries all over the world – of which the vignette above about the Ukrainian coup and its bloody aftermath is only the latest flock of chickens to come home to roost. Contrary to the bombast, jingoism, and shrill moralizing flowing from Washington and the mainstream media, America had absolutely no national security interest – even to this day – in the spat between Putin and the coup that unconstitutionally took over Kiev in February 2014. That changed everything and knocked the props out from under Washington’s current sanctimonious attacks on Putin for finally resorting to its own game. As we said, Ukraine was “Not Built to Last”. Yet notwithstanding all of these damning realities, Zelensky continues to peevishly and arrogantly demand that Washington and the west stand-up an on-ramp to WWIII (e.g. a No-Fly Zone) in order to defend every inch of this artifact of recent history called Ukraine. After all, if according to the horse’s mouth itself there would have been no war had Ukraine been willing to give up the historic Russian territories of Crimea and the Donbas in the first place, then why isn’t Washington making a bee line toward the negotiating table to offer just that? If the truth be told, of course, it is not interested in ending the Ukraine War or saving a nation which cannot and should not be saved. To the contrary, Washington and its fawning media acolytes have become so crazed with anti-Putin hysteria that they will not be satiated until Russia itself is brought down – even if that threatens to bring down the entire dollar-based global trade and payments system on which America’s tenuous prosperity depends. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/02/2023 - 08:10.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 2nd, 2023

Drugmaker AbbVie to spend over $10 billion on ImmunoGen to juice its cancer-fighting treatment portfolio

The deal delivers Elahere, an ImmunoGen ovarian cancer treatment that North Chicago-based AbbVie says could eventually reap billions of dollars in annual sales and drive long-term revenue growth.The deal delivers Elahere, an ImmunoGen ovarian cancer treatment that North Chicago-based AbbVie says could eventually reap billions of dollars in annual sales and drive long-term revenue growth......»»

Category: topSource: chicagotribuneNov 30th, 2023

Pharmaceutical company AbbVie buying ImmunoGen in $10.1 billion deal

The deal delivers Elahere, an ImmunoGen ovarian cancer treatment that North Chicago-based AbbVie says could eventually reap billions of dollars in annual sales and drive long-term revenue growth.The deal delivers Elahere, an ImmunoGen ovarian cancer treatment that North Chicago-based AbbVie says could eventually reap billions of dollars in annual sales and drive long-term revenue growth......»»

Category: topSource: chicagotribuneNov 30th, 2023

Sam Altman suddenly looks less powerful. The panic caused by OpenAI"s near-death experience is to blame.

Silicon Valley just realized that the fate of OpenAI rested in the hands of only one person. It panicked and will no longer accept this situation. OpenAI CEO Sam AltmanJustin Sullivan/GettyFor a moment, OpenAI looked like it might collapse as staff threatened to follow Altman out the door. Silicon Valley no longer wants the fate of OpenAI resting in the hands of one person."The company will be totally fine without me," Altman said on Wednesday.It's rare to witness raw, naked panic in Silicon Valley. It's happened twice this year, though. These moments strip away the carefully crafted thought-leadership blogs and backslapping social media posts that are the usual fare in tech circles. Then we get to see something closer to the truth. The first of these revelatory moments came in early spring when venture capitalists panic-tweeted their favorite bank, SVB, into an unprecedented failure. The second happened this month when OpenAI had a near-death experience that almost wiped out billions of dollars in investment from top VCs and Microsoft. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was fired by the board. He then threatened to join Microsoft and OpenAI employees were ready to follow him, which would probably have rendered the startup almost worthless and its products relatively useless.A few days before this chaos, OpenAI was about to be valued at $86 billion in a special new investment round. So the panic erupted swiftly. VCs threatened to sue OpenAI's board, and some jockeyed to get in on whatever new situation might replace the fizzled startup.Both calamities this year were avoided. All SVB depositors, including many VCs and their startups, were backed by the FDIC. And in OpenAI's case, Altman was brought back as CEO and all the employees stayed. The OpenAI chaos finally subsided on Wednesday evening when new board members were announced and official — much calmer — statements were issued. Until this moment, the consensus was that Altman came through this crisis looking even more powerful and crucial to OpenAI's future. A close reading of Wednesday's statements paints a different picture, though. 'The company will be totally fine without me'Silicon Valley just realized that the fate of the world's most important AI company rested in the hands of just one person. It panicked and will no longer accept this situation. Altman granted an interview to The Verge to go along with Wednesday's official announcements, but he forgot a key talking point. So he called the publication back to reiterate what is probably the central message that OpenAI – and especially its financial backers Microsoft and those VC firms – want to project:"I learned that the company can truly function without me," Altman told The Verge. "The company will be totally fine without me."Altman drove this home in his official statement, too, saying OpenAI's leadership team "is clearly ready to run the company without me.""It's clear to me that the company is in great hands, and I hope this is abundantly clear to everyone," he added. Looking for a Plan BThis makes sense. The startup's near-death experience unsettled the companies and developers that have come to rely on OpenAI's artificial intelligence platform. Some of these partners started looking around for other providers. "A lot of friends of mine who were founders doing AI, basically look at this and go, we need a plan B, we can't depend on our entire stack on OpenAI models, because it could disappear tomorrow, just like it almost did," said Wesley Chan, cofounder of FPV Ventures. Several startup founders told Business Insider that they were considering switching to an open source model like Meta's Llama 2, or Anthropic's Claude. And some said they were looking to switch cloud providers to Google or Amazon Web Services from Microsoft Azure.The 'platform risk' of OpenAI"This kind of drama just made some people think about their backup plan more," said Guillermo Rauch, CEO of Vercel, a startup that helps developers build websites that integrate with many of the biggest AI models.The chaos made open-source AI models look more attractive because they rely on broad communities of contributors, rather than one startup that might suddenly lose all its employees. "What's the better wave to ride long term?" Rauch wrote in a message to BI. "Open source (e.g.: Llama / Mistral), whose reasoning power is less than OpenAI, but has the entire weight of a huge ecosystem behind it, or the proprietary LLMs."At the height of the crisis, one of Vercel's AI engineering leads pinged Rauch to say "let's remove platform risk of OpenAI" and get a backup running, the CEO recalled. "This is a trend that has been cooking, and nothing was going to stop it," Rauch said. "But the feedback I'm getting from developers is that events like these make them re-prioritize and accelerate some of those explorations."Expunging doubtsIf OpenAI wants to become the next massive tech platform, it needs to expunge doubts like this as quickly as possible. And the best way to do that is to promise that the company will always be around — no matter who is CEO."We will enhance the governance structure of OpenAI so that all stakeholders – users, customers, employees, partners, and community members – can trust that OpenAI will continue to thrive," Bret Taylor, the startup's new board chair, said on Wednesday. Madeline Renbarger contributed to this article.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 30th, 2023

20 States With the Cheapest Gas Prices in the US

In this article, we are going to discuss the 20 states with the cheapest gas prices in the US. You can skip our detailed analysis of the global oil and gas market, the reason why gas is so cheap in the U.S., the total refining capacity of the United States, and the transition to biorefineries, […] In this article, we are going to discuss the 20 states with the cheapest gas prices in the US. You can skip our detailed analysis of the global oil and gas market, the reason why gas is so cheap in the U.S., the total refining capacity of the United States, and the transition to biorefineries, and go directly to 5 States With the Cheapest Gas Prices in the US.  America is the Largest Oil Producer in the World, accounting for 14.7% of the overall world crude production in 2022. Having the luxury of local production means that oil and gas are readily accessible and affordable for mass distribution. While this may not seem like it directly impacts the average oil and gas consumer, the truth is that it does in a massive way. Every year, the indigenous production of oil and gas helps save American consumers an estimated $203 billion, or $2,500 for each family of four. Moreover, the oil and gas industry also supports over 12 million American jobs, provides billions of dollars in tax revenue, and ensures energy security.  Global Oil and Gas Market: As we mentioned in our article – 20 States With the Highest Gas Prices in the US – the global oil and gas market was valued at $6.99 trillion in 2022, and is expected to grow to $8.67 trillion by 2027, with a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period. The largest region in the global oil and gas market share is Asia Pacific, with North America coming in second.    The primary factors driving the growth of the industry include the rising demand for oil and gas, growing competition in the industry, financial capital, and public scrutiny. Furthermore, the rising oil and gas exploration activities and the increase in prices globally are also anticipated to drive the industry’s growth. Why Gas is so Cheap in the U.S.:  As a general rule, richer countries have higher gas prices, while the prices in poorer countries or countries that produce and export oil are significantly lower. However, the U.S. is an exception to this rule and has surprisingly low gas prices, despite being among the Richest Countries in the World. The principal reason behind this, other than the massive indigenous oil production in the country, is that gas taxes have always been exceptionally low in America. The federal gas tax was first charged in 1932 at 1 cent per gallon and is now at 18.4 cents a gallon, but this tax has remained unchanged since 1993.  1 liter of gas in USA had an average price of $0.93 (or $3.535 a gallon) on the 27th of November 2023.   Total Refining Capacity of the United States: With a total oil refining capacity of 18.3 million barrels per day (bpd), the United States is the Country with the Largest Refining Capacity in the World. As of January 2023, there were 129 operable refineries in the country, down from 130 at the beginning of the last year. This reduction is due to the closure of a small plant in Santa Maria, CA, which had a crude oil distillation capacity of 9,500 bpd. However, despite this closure, the total U.S. capacity witnessed a YoY increase because PBF Energy reactivated a previously retired crude oil distillation unit at its refinery in Paulsboro, NJ.  But the major reason why the total U.S. refining capacity has gone up this year is the successful startup of the Beaumont Refinery Project by The Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), which has added 250,000 bpd of capacity to one of the largest refining and petrochemical complexes along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Completed in March, the $2 billion project is the largest refinery expansion in the country since 2012 and will help meet the growing demand for affordable, reliable energy. The added volume in Beaumont increased its total processing capacity to more than 630,000 bpd, making it one of the largest refineries in the United States.  The Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)’s integrated operations in Beaumont also include chemicals, lubricants, and polyethylene plants. The oil major has approximately 2,100 employees in the area, with its operations accounting for approximately 1 in every 7 jobs in the region. The Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) ranks among the 15 Best Income Stocks to Invest In.  Transition to Biorefineries:  Biorefineries are processing facilities that convert biomass into energy and value-added products, like biofuels, biochemicals etc. The increasing pressure to decarbonize has incentivized several oil refineries to repurpose their refiners to ‘stand-alone biorefineries’, that produce lower carbon intensive biofuels.  A great example of this is Shell plc (NYSE:SHEL)’s plan to transform its former Convent refinery in Louisiana into a renewable fuels and lower carbon products complex. The oil giant announced last year that it would build a $1.48 billion low-carbon fuels facility at the site after it shut down the refinery in 2021, as part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions. It is estimated that construction would start in February 2025 and finish by March 2028. The plan to repurpose Convent is the first in a series of projects Shell plc (NYSE:SHEL) is considering at its facilities along the Gulf Coast to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels. The regional spending plan, which is still in flux, could cost as much as $10 billion.  Shell plc (NYSE:SHEL) is counted among the Most Valuable Gas Companies in the World.  With that said, here are the States with the Cheapest Gas in America.  Maridav/Shutterstock.com Methodology: To collect data for this article, we have referred to AAA, looking for the states with the lowest gas prices. We have also referred to the Energy Information Administration to collect information about the crude oil and gas reserves in several states. The following states have been ranked by their gas prices as of November 29th 2023.  If you also want to check out which countries have the least expensive gas, here are the 20 Countries with the Cheapest Gas Prices.  20. Indiana Price of Gas per Gallon: $3.074 Gas prices have recently fallen on the momentum created by the seasonal downturn in fuel demand, coupled with stronger gasoline supplies and the switch to cheaper winter-blend gasoline. Indiana’s Whiting refinery can process about 435,000 barrels of crude oil per calendar day and is the largest inland oil refinery in the nation. 19. Minnesota Price of Gas per Gallon: $3.062 Minnesota does not produce any crude oil of its own and around 80% of the state’s oil comes from the Canadian tar sands. Crude from Canada flows through pipelines, stopping at two refineries in the state. The Pine Bend Refinery in St. Paul Park produces 70% of Minnesota’s gasoline. Last year, several gas stations in Hastings, MN, were selling their gas for nearly $1 cheaper than the national average of about $4.50, thanks to an apparent price war between gas stations in the city. 18. Nebraska Price of Gas per Gallon: $3.049 Although Nebraska is better known for its crops and livestock, the state is also home to modest petroleum reserves equal to less than 0.1% of the nation’s total. The Cornhusker State does not have any refineries of its own, but there are  pipelines that cross Nebraska and deliver crude oil to facilities in its neighboring states.  17. Colorado Price of Gas per Gallon: $3.048 Colorado was the fifth-largest crude oil producing state in America in 2022 and accounted for almost 4% of the total U.S. crude oil output. It was announced earlier this year that the Denver-based PDC Energy has been acquired by the Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), creating the largest oil and gas company in the Centennial State. The new company will now hold 600,000 acres statewide and produce 400,000 barrels of oil per day on average, making it one of Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)’s top five production units in the world. The California-based oil giant is also looking to expand its renewable fuel business in Colorado to include hydrogen, geothermal, and carbon sequestration. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) is one of the Best Stocks to Buy for Good Returns.  16. North Carolina Price of Gas per Gallon: $3.04 North Carolina does not produce any crude oil of its own and gets most of its gas through the Colonial Pipeline, which starts in Houston, TX, and carries gasoline to the New York Harbor. There was a severe gas shortage in the Tar Heel State in 2021 after the Colonial Pipeline was temporarily shut down due to a ransomware attack, thus exposing a critical vulnerability in how both crude oil and refined petroleum makes its way across the country and to gas stations. North Carolina ranks among the States with the Least Expensive Gas.  15. Ohio Price of Gas per Gallon: $2.97 Ohio is counted among the major oil producing states in the U.S., with the Buckeye State also having given birth to companies like Standard Oil and Marathon oil in the 19th century. Although conventional motor gasoline can be sold throughout Ohio, most retail gas stations in the state sell gasoline blended with at least 10% ethanol. 14. Kentucky Price of Gas per Gallon: $2.964 Kentucky accounts for less than 0.1% of the total proved crude oil reserves and production in America, and the Bluegrass State produced nearly 2.3 million barrels in 2022. Kentucky is also home to the Catlettsburg refinery in the northeast, which has a total crude oil refining capacity of 291,000 bpd.  13. Wisconsin Price of Gas per Gallon: $2.945 Wisconsin does not have any oil production of its own and gets most of its refined petroleum products from refineries in the Chicago and Minneapolis metropolitan areas. The Badger State also has a small oil refinery which was shut down for five years following a massive explosion in 2018 that injured dozens of workers and forced people to evacuate. However, the Superior Refinery resumed operations again this year after a $1.2 billion effort to rebuild the facility.  Wisconsin is placed among the States with the Cheapest Gas in America.  12. Tennessee Price of Gas per Gallon: $2.923 Although the Volunteer State has an oil refinery in Memphis, capable of processing 180,000 barrels of crude per day, the traditional Nashville supply comes from Gulf Coast refiners via the Colonial Pipeline. Tennessee also unveiled a new $60 million fuel terminal last year, with the capacity for roughly 100 truckloads per day of diesel and gasoline of all grades. The South, in general, tends to have cheaper gas because its states are closer to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, and taxes are also typically lower. 11. South Carolina Price of Gas per Gallon: $2.922 Since there is no oil production or petroleum refineries in South Carolina, all petroleum products arrive from out of state via pipelines from the Gulf and through the Port of Charleston. In 2017, the South Carolina General Assembly passed legislation to increase the state gas tax by 12 cents, phasing in an increase of 2 cents per year for six years. These funds are deposited into a trust fund called the Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund.  10. Iowa Price of Gas per Gallon: $2.914 Gas prices in Iowa are usually lower than the national average due to the strong retail competition that reduces profit margins. Moreover, eight gas stations in mostly rural communities of the Hawkeye State have also begun selling E15 gasoline — which has a 15% ethanol blend — and is offered at 5 to 15 cents per gallon less than other types of gasoline. Iowa sits among the Top 10 States with the Lowest Gas Prices.  9. Kansas Price of Gas per Gallon: $2.913 The petroleum industry is a major contributor to the economy of Kansas and the Sunflower State produced nearly 28 million barrels of oil in 2021. A network of pipelines delivers crude oil to the state’s three refineries, which combined can process about 390,000 barrels of crude oil per day. 8. Alabama Price of Gas per Gallon: $2.877 A major reason why gas prices are lower in Alabama is its close proximity to the large refineries in the Gulf Coast, so the transportation costs of bringing gasoline to the retailers is lower. Many of the Yellowhammer State’s southwestern counties also have a great deal of oil production, and Alabama’s three petroleum refineries have a combined capacity to process about 141,000 barrels of crude per day. Alabama is counted among the States with the Cheapest Gas in 2023.  7. Arkansas Price of Gas per Gallon: $2.836 Arkansas produces about 0.1% of the nation’s total crude oil output and the state’s two oil refineries have a combined processing capacity of almost 91,000 barrels of crude per day. Arkansas collected more than $572 million in gas tax during fiscal year 2021, which was used to support the Arkansas Department of Transportation, road construction, and repair. 6. Missouri Price of Gas per Gallon: $2.824 At 17.5 cents per gallon, Missouri has the second-lowest state gas tax in America. The state has very small crude oil production of its own and no oil refineries, but because of its proximity to Texas, Oklahoma, and the Gulf Coast states, Missouri is crisscrossed by some of the nation’s largest pipelines. Some petroleum products also arrive at the state’s inland ports by barge on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Missouri ranks 6th in our list of States with the Cheapest Gas. Click to continue reading and see the 5 States With the Cheapest Gas Prices in the US. Suggested Articles: 15 States With the Most Expensive Gas in the US 30 Countries with the Highest Gas Prices 25 Countries that Import the Most Oil in 2023 Disclosure: None. 20 States With the Cheapest Gas Prices in the US is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyNov 29th, 2023