Wall Street Backs Off Oil, Prices Plunge. What Does This Tell Us?

Over the past 6 weeks crude oil prices have steeply declined, resulting in a drastic lowering effect on the price of gasoline at the pump. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped from more than $105 on the first of last month to less than $96 today. In the same period wholesale gas dropped from $3.07 to $2.67, saving consumers $.40 per gallon when they fill up their tanks (See graphs below). That equates to $7 & change per tank of gas for the average consumer, or a minimum of about $400 per year. When extrapolated out to businesses who service the public with the likes of food, travel, lodging, etc., the average consumer would save thousands of dollars per year. So what’s behind this sudden windfall for consumers?

Here’s a headline from CNBC yesterday: Some investors think oil’s run is done. Think about how powerful that headline is. Better yet, think about what that means. Those remarks are from Stephen Schork, one of the level-headed Wall Streeter’s who doesn’t attempt to hide what’s going on. That headline becomes even more powerful when you consider this one: Oil prices defy global turmoil. In spite of what’s happening in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and other oil-rich Middle Eastern and Far East countries, oil prices are not going up — a pretty significant point when you consider that in the past oil prices would spike by as much as two or three dollars when someone in those country’s sneezed.

But there’s one other thing that’s happening which is affecting oil prices: Still to come? Pain from Fed’s ‘taper’ dismount. What does that mean, you ask? In a nutshell, it means that Wall Street is scared that their bestest BFF – the Federal Reserve – is about to stop investing America’s money in them.

This all adds up to what I have been saying for years, as well as others: The greedy bastards on Wall Street are responsible for a huge chunk of the price of a gallon of gasoline, throwing ordinary commoner’s into financial stress while they add billions more to their already billionaire status.

So if Wall Street is giving up on oil, where will they now invest all those billions? Get ready — it’s your drinking water.

Oil Price 7-1 thru 8-14-14

Gas Price 7-1 thru 8-14-14


America’s Law Enforcement Departments’ Are Rapidly Becoming America’s No. 1 Terrorist

The tragic & useless killing of Michael Brown by a policeman in Ferguson, Mo. has brought attention to the entire world. If descriptions of what happened by multiple independent eye witnesses are true, then Brown’s death can only be described as first degree murder or, maybe more accurate yet, an assassination. To make matters worse, the actions of the Ferguson police department in the days following the killing are absolutely appalling to say the least. But can we really say we are surprised at this?

Law enforcement departments all over the country have been using excessive force for years. And each time we hear of one of these travesties, it is more aggressive than the last. When law abiding citizens are standing on their own property, behind a picket fence, and the police literally attack them as out-of-control demonstrators or journalist who are sitting in a public food service establishment charging their camera batteries are arrested or journalist filming the actions of police are tear gassed & shot at by police – as has happened in Ferguson – then there is something very, very wrong and must be categorized as terrorist attacks.

Like it or not, law enforcement seems to mostly select people of color for their aggression. Now we all know why that is: racism. When something like this happens in a foreign country where people are attack because of their differences, we Americans are quick to call it terrorism. It’s no difference here.

So what leads to these sorts of actions by law enforcement?

To be honest with ourselves, let’s admit that to be a law officer one has to have a bit of masochism. We already know they don’t get paid all that much, so why else would they put their life on the line. (Granted some are there simply to preserve law and order, but it’s not them that we have to worry about.) And it’s that masochism, along with a touch of bully instinct that eventually leads them to a Michael Brown killing. Let me give you an example.

Last year my wife was traveling on I-10 across Louisiana. A trucker slammed into her rear, totaling the car. A state trooper investigated the accident. Without going into details, the state cop treated and talked to my wife as if she was some sort of criminal, and at fault of the accident even though the trucker admitted he fell asleep at the wheel. He literally did not care that she had just survived a totaled out accident and that she was obviously shook up. And his verbal attacks on her didn’t stop until he drove away. He got even madder when she asked him to stay until the friends she had called could come and pick her up (I was 5 states away at the time – thank God). He knew her only other option was to stand beside the road all alone — in the middle of the night.

The next day my wife wrote down everything that had taken place along with what the officer did and said, expressing his demeanor and tone as best as she could. From that she constructed a letter to the troop commander, and in it said she wasn’t looking for an apology but if something wasn’t done about the trooper’s attitude something bad was eventually going to happen — like him killing someone or someone killing him. And yes, he was that bad.

Unless they’re reeled in when symptoms first appear, troopers like the Louisiana State trooper will eventually be involved in a Ferguson, Mo. If left to their own vices, we can expect nothing less.

police officer vs terrorist attack


Are Republicans And Religious-Right Turning People Away From Christianity?

Religiosity in America is in a free-fall. Although there was a slight decline before, between 1975 and 2000 it remained relatively steady. Then a rapid decline ensued over the next 13 years, with the worst in the last nine. 2013 set a new low (See graph below). So what is going on? Are Americans losing their faith in God? Yeah, a few I’m sure. And there are maybe some other reasons, but one stands out above all others.

Since 911 back in 2001, talk about Christianity has escalated exponentially, with intensifying anger being directed toward Muslims. That’s understandable to a certain degree given those who attacked us 13 years ago next month were radical Muslims. Unfortunately for moderate Muslims (the majority), and particularly Christianity, politicians – mostly conservatives – discovered they could make a lot of points with their base by politicizing religion. So much so, that Republicans and the religious-right have now started attacking everyone who is not a conservative. Today it has become so bad that they themselves have become the evil that Jesus taught against.

Last December Sally Steenland wrote about how the religious right has played a huge role in the decline of Christianity. She said “In the process, the Religious Right has grabbed the media microphone and claimed Christianity all for itself. As a result, many people, especially those who are younger, now equate Christianity with intolerance, bigotry, anti-intellectualism, exclusion, rigidity, stinginess, lack of compassion — you get the picture.” [Bold added]

Having had some up close & personal experience with people who fit Steenland’s description, I can tell you she hit the nail square on the head. People who may have never attended church or became a “born-again Christian” look at today’s conservatives and think ‘if that’s what God and Jesus is all about, I want no part of it’. Based on today’s religious-right, who could blame them? Who, in their right mind, would want to be associated with such a crowd?

Steenland may have excluded the most important word in describing today’s religious conservatives: Hatred! A great deal of these people has a deep-seeded hatred for anyone who doesn’t look like them, sound like them, act like them, and/or claim any religious faith other than Christianity. When I say hatred, I’m speaking of a mentality of wanting them all ‘dead & buried’. In fact, radical Muslims could easily join today’s religious-right and feel right at home with their hatred.

All this is so ironic – and sickening – when you consider who Jesus was and what He stood for, almost none of which the religious-right really believes in — except for themselves.

One must remember that people become what they are taught. And if you are taught that Christianity stands for what the religious-right is practicing, then most people will choose to not become a Christian. In fact, many will grow the ranks of Atheists when they’re pushed away from Christianity by these hate-filled “Christians”, believing if God was real He would not allowed such a travesty. The numbers support it.

Non-hating conservative Christians who still subscribe to the actual teachings of Jesus for all are noticeably quit. But if they want to preserve Christianity, they must begin speaking out against these Christian radicals. If not, they too will become irrelevant.

Hopefully change is on the way. When religious conservatives above age 66 are gone, the majority will be replaced by religious progressives who hold an entirely different view of who “owns” Christianity. Only 17 percent of those ages 18 through 33 are religious conservatives while religious progressives stand at 23 percent, and growing. Steenland on religious progressives: “… a Christianity that goes back to Jesus and threads its way through history. This prophetic, justice-minded Christianity has a proud tradition of standing up for abolition, civil rights, the poor and vulnerable, peace, and equality. It is invitational rather than exclusive, communal rather than individualistic, and compassionate rather than harsh.”