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Posted on October 1 at 11:15 p.m.
Why couldn't you have just answered in this way in the first place? I just don't understand this virulent style that pervades the internet.
From what you say, it sounds as if the "guilty" party here is the landlord. Why did he refuse renewal? Because Chase made him, as owner of the property, a better offer? This is life. This is the property owner's right. Unless you're prepared to sell your house to the party with the second highest offer, you really can't point your finger. You and the community may want, and feel nostalgia for, a surf shop in IV, but the owner of the property has invested his time and money in it, and he has the right to do what he thinks is best for him and his family. He can, and should, take what the community tells him into consideration, but ultimately it's his decision.
Or there could be other reasons for the outcome, such as the new owner's poor credit rating, or perhaps the landlord didn't think the new owner had the skills to run a business. Maybe the landlord thought the rent was way below market, but the new owner wouldn't budge. Perhaps one or more of these factors is what led him to consider a sale in the first place. There could be a number of reasons why a landlord would not renew a lease.
Opinions and beliefs about Chase (or any other accused entity) are irrelevant: only the facts are relevant. Too many people merely believe, and too few conclude, and to act on opinions and beliefs alone is to act on prejudice. Sometimes the unpopular party is innocent. Our system of justice is designed to protect unpopular defendants too. Yet too many, especially in the case of politically unpopular defendants, are willing to make public accusations merely because "they believe."
On Welcome to the New Isla Vista
Posted on October 1 at 10:23 p.m.
Please. To claim that someone who questions your accusation is a paid Chase rep is really childish. I don't work for Chase, and I didn't even say you were wrong. You might be right. I merely pointed out that your conclusions were, and still are, not supported by any evidence. If you're going to publicly accuse someone of wrongdoing, it's good practice to have evidence. It's called civil behavior. It's the foundation of our system of justice.
Your claim that IV Surf Co was not in trouble because "there are a lot of people who surf" in IV is naive, and tells me all I need to know about your credibility. A lot of people eat in my neighborhood, yet a nearby restaurant just went under. Imagine that! Did you ever hear of the concepts of Return on Sales, or competition? And by the way, I din't claim they WERE in financial trouble: I said that could be one motivation to sell.
It's a pity more people can't discuss issues like rational adults. Why do people like yourself have to respond in such a sniping, ideological way? There's a situation here. What is it? If it can be shown that Chase abused IV Surf Co, then I can accept that. If the owners of IV Surf Co were shown to be satisfied with the outcome, would you accept that? Let's consider the facts, not political perspectives.
So. If IV Surf Co was not happy with the outcome, then why did they sell?
I've read what Taibi has written about industries I know a lot about. He puts ideology in front of facts. In my view he has very little credibility. But Taibi's ideology is irrelevant to this particular transaction. It's a small enough deal that Chase HQ probably didn't even know about it and was most likely a local or regional decision.
Posted on October 1 at 6:59 p.m.
What were the circumstances behind IV Surf Company's decision? Maybe they were in financial trouble and needed cash, or maybe they wanted to relocate, or maybe their landlord raised the rent too high, or maybe they owned the property and could make more by selling it than they could with their business, or maybe the owners decided they had had enough and wanted out of the business. It's possible that they were pressured to go against their will, but there could be other explanations.
I wouldn't just assume that Chase did something distasteful. IV Surf Company wasn't forced to sell; presumably they are happy with the price they got or they wouldn't have sold. It may in fact be the case that IV Surf Company is pleased with the outcome and would interpret the sale entirely differently than you do. It's often the case with small businesses that liquidation has more value than the ongoing concern, if the sale price is high relative to annual income, or if the business is barely breaking even or even losing money. I see no need to accuse Chase of acting unethically, unless you have some inside information.
Posted on September 16 at 10:44 p.m.
When you say, "However, they can only frac wells that they already own the rights to so how will revelations of their secreet formula make a difference," you misunderstand who's trying to protect the formulas.
Oil companies don't own the formulas, the oil field service companies do. They compete by selling these fluids to the oil companies. The service company with the most effective frac fluid will win out, and if the formula goes public, then that company loses its competitive advantage, and all of the investment it made developing the formula is effectively wasted.
"I seriously doubt with all the industrial spying that is going on that they are really capable of keeping their formulas completely secret."
Perhaps not. But if the formula goes public, companies can be certain that it won't be kept secret. And you just mentioned a case where the secret CAN be kept. So why not frac fluids?
It seems to me that governments and communities should have a right to know what's being injected into their properties. There should be some solution to this that can satisfy both parties.
On Fracking Friction
Posted on September 14 at 9:11 p.m.
"They made more profits than any business in the history of the world this year"
This gives profit rank by industry for 2010. "Major Oil and Gas Integrated" (i.e. Big Oil) ranks:#166 out of 215 in p/e ratio#112 out of 215 in profit margin (income divided by revenue)#94 out of 215 in return on equity
In terms of absolute profit, AT&T made more than all but one of the nation's 14,000 oil companies. Microsoft, Walmart, IBM, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Berkshire Hathaway, Procter & Gamble, Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, General Electric, and Intel made more than all but two oil companies. Do you hate these companies too? What industry are you in?
Your comment shows that you don't know the difference between a profit and a profit margin. A pretty impressive thinker you are, Spacey.
"and they continue to receive subsidies while the country is in a 'recession'."
Define for me 1) what a subsidy is, in your words, and 2) what amount in subsidies the energy industry receives in absolute terms, and then as a percentage of capital investment.
You have no idea. You're just throwing out a slogan here. You read it somewhere and it fits with your ideology.
"Think of all that money they could have made had they not spilled all that stuff into the gulf of mexico."
Sure. But your point? That the industry should have decided to sell the oil instead of spill it? This is the general idea, Spacey. What a silly non-sequitur of a comment.
"They figured out how to extract it from tar sands in Canada.... but they still use 1970's technology to clean up."
This is the only point you make that has some merit, although 1970's technology is a bit of a stretch. BP was guilty of complacency, I believe, but it was surely not an intentional or malicious event. Since BP was at fault, you believe all the other 13,999 oil companies in the US are also guilty. Do you make similarly sweeping hostile claims against the airline industry whenever a plane crashes?
Also, this is another mindless variation on the theme "We can put a man on the moon, so why can't we....?" As if all engineering challenges are equal. As if a few dollars can solve any problem. I wonder if you've ever considered why we have no cure for cancer or the common cold? After all, we've figured out how to produce oil from tar sands.
I would be embarrassed posting such easily refuted and unsupported nonsense as you do. Why do you bother?
On Pipe Dreams Set to Become Reality
Posted on September 14 at 9:04 p.m.
Why do I need to defend myself and post my resume? I'm not declaring anyone guilty of anything. You are. If you're bringing charges, you ought to have a case. You don't. But that doesn't stop you from airing your prejudices for the world to see. It's almost as if you're proud of your economic illiteracy.
" in fact why is it that you can walk the beach in summerland and get a headache from the smell of oil fumes? Is that natural?"
Yes. The tar was used by Chumash Indian to caulk their boats. Seeps were reported in Juan Cabrillo's logs. Seeps can be observed on the ocean floor on camera and by seismic detection equipment. Seeps can be observed coming out of rock at Carpinteria Beach. Seeps were known before there was any production in the Santa Barbara area. How do you think many of the early oil fields were found?
"If oil companies are so industrious, they should be finding ways to use this 'natural' seepage."
They are. In the 1980's Arco installed large pyramid structures capping some seeps in the Coal Oil Point area. You place natural in quotes as if you don't believe there is natural seepage. How ignorant. Why don't you check all this stuff out before making thinly veiled and snarky accusations? Go to the UCSB geology department, you know, that hotbed of conservatism, and ask them if they believe natural seeps are plentiful. Go ahead and do it.
"I mean, all that lobbying has paid off."
How do you figure? As far as I know, the Santa Barbara Channel is still closed to exploratory drilling. Do you have new information? I guess your position is that the oil industry is the most powerful force in the universe... except for the California Coastal Commission.
Top 10 industries by lobbying expenditures, 1998-2011:Pharmaceuticals/Health Products: $2,204,027,124Insurance: $1,577,725,579Electric Utilities: $1,487,339,178Business Associations: $1,232,513,899Computers/Internet: $1,206,517,827Oil & Gas: $1,150,840,111Misc Manufacturing & Distributing: $1,010,365,149Education: $1,002,954,368Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $947,933,537Civil Servants/Public Officials: $910,330,244
Let's hear your rant against insurance and internet companies too OK? And those teachers and nursing homes! They are spending well over 80% of what the oil industry is spending! I mean, I wonder how politicians give every lobbyist everything they ask for!?
Posted on September 14 at 12:56 a.m.
Are you suggesting that someone should produce that oil for you free of charge? It takes a huge amount of capital and expertise to get it from under the ocean to your car, and it's very risky. I could make all the same charges you just did for copper, coal, and a number of other extractive industries. That copper in Utah belongs to you. So why shouldn't you get it for free? This is like whining about the auto mechanic fixing your car and then charging you for the service. What a racket! It's your car!
What value does a mineral in the ground have if no one has the expertise or capital to bring it to you? It's really worthless isn't it? It has no value at all until someone can figure out how to bring it to market. So someone develops this expertise through years of training, and is able to raise the capital and assume the risk of a dry hole to bring it to you, and you criticize him for wanting to make a profit on it. Does your company make a profit? Why don't you give your expertise away for free? I suggest you go to your CEO tomorrow and tell him that he should aim for zero profit on his investment this year.
As for "obscene profits," I'd expect that any industry that was able to set its prices at will and made obscene profits should have a pretty high p/e ratio, wouldn't you? Why not go to this page, which shows a listing of over 200 industries and their 2010 profitability performance:
Tell us where "Major Integrated Oil & Gas" ranks. Then where it ranks in "Profit Margin." Then where it ranks on "Return on Equity." I don't think you know the difference between a profit and a profit margin, do you?
Then you say "In Norway, the public never loses ownership of their resources."
False. Many multinational oil companies operate in Norway. While the Norwegian government does have a relatively large stake in its oil industry through its operating arm Statoil, its industry is not nationalized. Considering all of the nations where oil is produced, very few have completely nationalized industries.
Your view of industry economics is really quite naive, as if you believe oil companies are like some evil organization out of a James Bond movie. Proceeds from produced oil does not just go straight into CEO wallets. Oil companies must buy the leases (these leases generate billions per year, typically). They pay royalties of 20% or so straight off revenue to the feds. They pay state and federal income taxes and sales taxes. They pay employees, who in turn pay taxes and then reinject their income into local economies. They buy goods and services from other companies. Exxon, for example, made a profit of $31 billion last year. You think that's obscene. But their cost of goods sold was $234 billion: how many jobs do you think that supports?
But maybe I'm wrong about you.Please list your years of industry experience here ----> _____And your relevant technical degrees here ----> ____
Posted on September 14 at 12:07 a.m.
You claimed: "Yes, the oil companies with huge profits get govt. subsidies. Renewable does not"
Do me a favor. Google "renewable energy subsidies." Tell me what you find out. Count all of the state, federal, and local subsidies you find.
Then check Wilipedia's entry. It says: "In the US, the federal government has paid US$74 billion for energy subsidies to support R&D for nuclear power ($50 billion) and fossil fuels ($24 billion) from 1973 to 2003. During this same timeframe, renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency received a total of US$26 billion."
Would you agree that your comment was false?
Extra credit if you can name for me these energy subsidies. What are they for? Can you even define what a subsidy is?
Obviously, you haven't considered a solar installation for your home, and haven't considered buying a hybrid or electric car. Had you done either of those things, you would have seen that both are subsidized: you would have qualified for cash back. What this tells me is that you aren't willing to make any personal commitment to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Posted on September 13 at 10:23 p.m.
I would agree with you. Neither side in this debate is immune to bias. An expert's claim to the truth without compelling technical evidence is no better than the claim of a naive journalist. However, there is a difference, in that at least the expert has a history and a body of knowledge to draw on. He may be drawing on a large volume of anecdotal data or even directly relevant experience. The media has really very little depth here.
And let's be fair here. If we're going to accuse one set of people (without knowing anything about them or their their business) of being willing to destroy their neighbor's environment for profit, why can't we accuse, say, a filmmaker or a newspaper of lying to their neighbors for the same reason? Doesn't controversy sell newspapers and movie tickets? I don't think Gasland would have had much business, and certainly wouldn't have been nominated for an Academy Award, if it had been a documentary about the safety of hydraulic fracturing.
Personally, I don't believe this to be the case. I'm sure Lee Heller is sincere in her opinions and is not just trying to sell papers. But why are we so eager to ascribe the naked profit motive to one group, and by default consider the other as altruistic? After all, both groups sell things for a living. You seem to be suggesting that the group that supplies the energy we need for a profit has no conscience, but that the group that supplies the news we need for its profit does.
On Ode to a Frenemy
Posted on September 13 at 12:21 a.m.
Heller claims to know "the truth." This is interesting, as it seems to me that knowing "the truth" about the risks of fracking would demand an intimate knowledge of geology, chemistry, and petroleum engineering. Her claim to the truth here reminds me of Pope Urban VIII's similar conviction when he threw Galileo into prison.
But the pope knew nothing about astronomy or mathematics, and the motion of the earth and the sun were unaffected by the pope's claim to the truth. Similarly, Heller knows nothing about geology or petroleum engineering. The paths takes by hydrocarbon molecules in the earth, and the propagation of fractures through rock, are indifferent to her political beliefs.
I suggest we let those with expertise conduct the rigorous studies needed to determine the risks, and then let an informed public weigh them against the benefits. I suggest we don't reach verdicts based on the self-righteous editorial pages (or documentaries) of technically incompetent and obviously (even proudly) biased commentators. Prejudice is an insidious thing, and it's not confined to those on the right.
For Bob Field, "the truth" means a reasonable concern for the well being of his estate.
For Lee Heller, "the truth" means, verrry loosely translated: "I don't like oil companies, so Bob Field must be right, because he's opposing the oil companies." In other words.... it means ideology.
In this column, and the posts that follow, political inclinations replace objective, impartial science. I'd say this is as good a definition of junk science as any. We know this must be the case, because no one has the required technical expertise, and, as we'll soon see, anyone proposing objectivity will be roundly criticized as consorting with the enemy.
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