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Japanese Market Advances

In the oil space, Inpex is gaining more than 6 percent and JX Holdings is … Crude oil futures rose sharply Friday, ending a topsy-turvy week on the …The post Japanese Market Advances appeared first on crude-oil.news.


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Judge Forces Town To Return $3 Million To Residents Fined By “Unconstitutional” Traffic Cameras

A Butler County judge has ordered the village of New Miami to refund $3 million in fines to over 45,000 motorists ticketed for speeding by traffic light cameras, ruled unconstitutional in 2014.

As the local ABC affiliate reports, a judge says the placement of stationary traffic cameras wasn’t fair to drivers and now a local community has to pay back $3 million in fines.

It’s a controversial battle over unmanned cameras.

 

The cameras were ruled unconstitutional in 2014 by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Sage, who approved class action status.

 

 

Controversy still surrounds the use.

 

The village of New Miami has to pay back drivers for fines collected for nearly two years while the cameras were in place.

 

In a ruling handed down on Wednesday, Judge Michael Oester said the money paid to the village gave it an unfair advantage at the expense of speeders.

 

 

So now the village has to return the money paid by drivers involved in a class action lawsuit.

 

That’s a total of about $3 million.

 

Nearly 45,000 people were cited in 15 months.

As TheAntiMedia’s Josie Wales notes, of the $3 million collected in fines, 60% of the revenue went to the village while 40% went to the traffic light company running the program. The village’s attorney plans to take the case to the Supreme Court, claiming the village should not be responsible for funds it did not receive, seemingly ignoring the fact that it was responsible for implementing the unconstitutional program and collecting the fines in the first place.

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Inside The Black Bloc: “We’re Gonna Shut It Down… Whatever It Takes”

Out of the sea of largely peaceful antiwar demonstrators marching in San Francisco’s Financial District in 2003, a more militant subgroup emerged. Its members wore black masks, black jackets, black hoods and helmets. They smashed windows and looted military recruitment offices.

Since then, as The Los Angeles Times’ Paige St. John reports, the so-called black bloc protesters have become a force in the Bay Area and beyond. They have been blamed for violence during protests in Oakland over corporate power and police abuse, notably the case of Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man who was killed by BART police in 2009.

Scorned by critics on both the left and right and hunted by police, the black bloc is bringing its radical tactics to the massive protest movement sparked by the presidency of Donald Trump.

The masked militants went fist to fist with neo-Nazis at the state Capitol in June, where five of their allies were stabbed. Black bloc tactics also dogged Trump’s inaugural ceremonies in Washington, leaving broken windows, vandalized banks and a torched limo.

And early this month on the UC Berkeley campus, black bloc militants tore down police barricades, broke windows, started a fire and assaulted Trump supporters.

Although as St. John reports, they represented a small percentage of the 1,000 mostly nonviolent demonstrators who went to Berkeley to protest a speech by controversial Breitbart columnist and conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos, but they dominated the outcome.

The protests earned rebukes from students, university administrators and Trump.

 

The angry vice chancellor called the melee an “unprecedented invasion” of an otherwise peaceful protest.

 

But some leaders of the campus protest called it a smashing success.

 

“It wasn’t just people dressed in black who were acting militantly and everyone else is peace-loving Berkeley hippies,” said Yvette Felarca, a political organizer of By Any Means Necessary, an immigration and affirmative action coalition that seeks to build a mass militant movement.

 

“Everyone cheered when those barricades were dismantled. … Everyone was there with us in political agreement of the necessity of shutting it down, whatever it was going to take. It shows we have the power,” Felarca said. “I thought it was quite stunning.”

The term “black bloc” was used to describe the tight wedges of black-clad protesters in helmets and masks who appeared in street demonstrations in Germany in the 1970s, confounding efforts to single out, identify and prosecute individuals. Its aim was, and still is, direct action.

Practitioners care little for speech or to shape public opinion, and the media are held in disdain, as are liberals who espouse nonviolence.

 

Members operate in small squads that organize themselves around flags during the havoc of a protest.

 

Many are anarchists, and anarchist websites such as It’s Going Down provide a public platform for reports from the underground.

 

They say they battle police brutality, corporate greed, immigration bans and erosion of civil liberties.

 

The Bay Area has provided a fertile base for the group, especially Oakland, birthplace to the armed militias of the Black Panther movement.

“I subscribe to self-defense in the very same sense that the Black Panther Party does and that Malcolm X does,” said a veteran Bay Area black bloc militant who spoke on the condition that he not be named because much of the group’s actions are illegal.

He described himself as an employed college graduate, the product of youth incarceration and a household where street respect — not pacifism — was preached.

 

“Which means for me to recognize one type of violence, which is people being beat up for having certain types of political views and being brazen about them, compared  to the everyday violence … like I go through the Bay Area and there are people sleeping in the doorways of million-dollar condos that are empty. … Is that not violent?” he said. “That is the most cruel and violent thing I think I have ever seen.”

There is a strategy behind much of the smashing, according to interviews and published manifestos.

The bloc pushes back against police lines, opening and holding space for mass demonstrations as police seek to corral and disperse the crowd. They draw pepper spray, rubber bullets and other uses of force. They say they focus destruction on standard-bearers of capitalism: Bank machines and a campus Starbucks were hit after Berkeley called off the Yiannopoulos speech.

 

“Starbucks is a symbol of global capitalization,” the black bloc member said.

 

 

Those activists interviewed expressed no remorse for the property damage. They said it should pressure the university to think twice about allowing such events in the future. They hold the same regard for violence against people.

And they recruit… An anarchist group is hosting a two-day conference in Oakland and San Francisco next month to draw newcomers. The black bloc member said he hopes it will help more people find the movement.

“The people I see coming in are curious about what this direct politics looks like. They have come up in the post-Oscar Grant, post-Occupy sort of political environment,” the member said.

 

“In the next few years, they’re going to get their wings and they’ll start flying.”

Good luck America.

Read more here…

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100,000 People Are Evacuating Over “Imminent Failure” Of California’s Oroville Dam – Live Feeds

Live Feeds:

 

* * *

Update: NBC reports that the spillway has now failed: “The Oroville Dam’s auxiliary spillway has failed, forcing the evacuations of several counties in California, with between 60,000 and 100,000 people forced to evacuate from Butte, County, Calif., alone.”

DWR plans to use helicopters to drop rocks to fill in the gouge in the Oroville Auxilliary Spillway to stabilize.

— CA – DWR (@CA_DWR) February 13, 2017

Counties/cities near Lake Oroville area issue evacuation orders.

— CA – DWR (@CA_DWR) February 13, 2017

 

Authorities are holding a press conference over the Oroville dam spillway failure:

Oroville Press Conference https://t.co/qcbgLP8uzG

— CA – DWR (@CA_DWR) February 13, 2017

* * *

Large-scale evacuations are taking place among residents of the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream after torrential rains led to the overflow of Lake Oroville in Northern California for first time in 48-year history, leading to what is said to be an imminent failure of the dam’s spillway, which according to officials could “lead to a failure of the structure.”

EVACUATION ORDER. Use of the auxiliary spillway has lead to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the structure. @CALFIRE_ButteCo

— CA – DWR (@CA_DWR) February 13, 2017

Oroville Dam is an earthfill embankment dam on the Feather River east of the city of Oroville, California in the United States. At 770 feet (230 m) high, it is the tallest dam in the U.S. and serves mainly for water supply, hydroelectricity generation and flood control.

Officials said a hazardous situation is developing with the Oroville Dam auxiliary spillway. The operation of the auxiliary spillway has led to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the auxiliary spillway.

According to Fox 40, officials are anticipating an imminent failure of the auxiliary spillway at Oroville Dam. “Officials are anticipating a failure of the Auxiliary Spillway at Oroville Dam within the next 60 minutes (5:45 p.m.),” the California Department of Water Resources said on Facebook.

On Twitter the agency added that the “Auxiliary spillway at Oroville Dam predicted to fail within the next hour. Oroville residents evacuate northward.”

EMERGENCY EVACUATION: Auxiliary spillway at Oroville Dam predicted to fail within the next hour. Oroville residents evacuate northward.

— CA – DWR (@CA_DWR) February 13, 2017

According to a posting by the CDWR, residents should evacuate in a northward direction, toward Chico. The flash flood warning is in effect until 4:15 p.m. Monday.

According to Fox 40, failure would result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville. The DWR is increasing water released to 100,000 cubic feet per second. Furthermore, use of the auxiliary spillway has lead to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the structure, causing unprecedented flooding and damage.


Water flows over the emergency spillway at Lake Oroville

Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream have been ordered.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for possible dam failure.

?? Move to higher ground! Flash Flood Warning including Oroville CA and Thermalito CA until 4:15 PM PST pic.twitter.com/9jj56udkGv

— @NWSFlashFlood (@NWSFlashFlood) February 13, 2017

Areas affected include Oroville, Palermo, Gridley, Thermalito, South Oroville, Oroville Dam, Oroville East and Wyandotte. An evacuation center for residents has been set up at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds at 2357 Fair Street in Chico.

Evacuation shelter for residents evacuated from #Oroville located at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico. 2357 Fair St, Chico #spillway

— Butte County, CA (@CountyofButte) February 13, 2017

As the following choppercam photo shows, thousands of people are scrambling to evacuate the downstream areas.

The full press release is below:

Press Release: Oroville, Calif. – The relatively light flow of water that began washing into Lake Oroville’s auxiliary spillway Saturday morning is expected to continue flowing for the next few days. Total releases from the reservoir do not threaten the dam or downstream communities and fall well within the capacity of the Feather River and other downstream channels.

 

Hampered by serious erosion that opened starting Tuesday on the lower portion of the dam’s main spillway, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) prepared for Lake Oroville to rise to its highest level ever.

 

The lake exceeded the elevation of 901 feet above sea level shortly after 8 a.m. today, at which point water slowly began to flow over the concrete weir of the auxiliary spillway, down a hillside, and into the Feather River. The auxiliary spillway is operating as intended.

 

“The flows we’re seeing are extremely low compared to the design of the structure,” said DWR Acting Director William Croyle. “Based on our current situation, there is no threat.” Flows of between 6,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) and 12,000 cfs are expected to flow into the auxiliary spillway for 32 to 58 hours, based on the latest modeling of weather, reservoir inflow and other factors. Those flows will stop once discharge from the lake exceeds inflow.

 

Flows into the auxiliary spillway are far less than the volume of water washing into the lake from the Feather River watershed. That’s because the 16,000-acre surface of the lake acts as a buffer, spreading and attenuating inflow. In order to help manage reservoir levels, DWR operators also are discharging 55,000 cfs from the damaged concrete spillway and expect to continue to do so. Upward erosion on this closely monitored, gated spillway has slowed considerably.

 

DWR focused Saturday on ways to get the Hyatt Power Plant at Oroville Dam back in operation, because 14,000 cfs can be discharged from the plant when it is operating, which would help with reservoir management. Power generation was halted when the water levels in the channel that leads from the power plant became high enough to compromise operation.

 

Water levels rose when debris from the eroded concrete spillway piled up in the channel below. The same erosion also threatens the towers that hold the power lines that take electricity from the power plant to the electrical grid; such a connection is needed for the power plant to operate. DWR, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, and other partners are working to safeguard the hydroelectric facility and power lines.

According to some, it is criminal that California agencies have waited so long before ordering the evacuation. Much more information is available in the following video:

Readers can keep track of live updates at the following link.

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THE BLOOD BATH CONTINUES IN THE U.S. MAJOR OIL INDUSTRY

SRSrocco

By the SRSrocco Report,

The carnage continues in the U.S. major oil industry as they sink further and further in the RED.  The top three U.S. oil companies, whose profits were once the envy of the energy sector, are now forced to borrow money to pay dividends or capital expenditures.  The financial situation at ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips has become so dreadful, their total long-term debt surged 25% in just the past year.

Unfortunately, the majority of financial analysts at CNBC, Bloomberg or Fox Business have no clue just how bad the situation will become for the United States as its energy sector continues to disintegrate.  While the Federal Government could step in and bail out BIG OIL with printed money, they cannot print barrels of oil.

Watch closely as the Thermodynamic Oil Collapse will start to pick up speed over the next five years.

According to the most recently released financial reports, the top three U.S. oil companies combined net income was the worst ever.  The results can be seen in the chart below:

Top 3 U.S. Oil Companies Net Income

In 2011, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Conocophillips enjoyed a combined $80.4 billion in net income profits.  ExxonMobil recorded the highest net income of the group by posting a $41.1 billion gain, followed by Chevron at $26.9 billion, while ConocoPhillips came in third at $12.4 billion.

However, the rapidly falling oil price, since the latter part of 2014, totally gutted the profits at these top oil producers.  In just five short years, ExxonMobil’s net income declined to $7.8 billion, Chevron reported its first $460 million loss while ConocoPhillips shaved another $3.6 billion off its bottom line in 2016.  Thus, the combined net income of these three oil companies in 2016 totaled $3.7 billion versus $80.4 billion in 2011.

Even though these three oil companies posted a combined net income profit of $3.7 billion last year, their financial situation is much worse when we dig a little deeper.  We must remember, net income does not include capital expenditures (CAPEX) or dividend payouts.  If we look at these oil companies Free Cash Flow, they have been losing money for the past two years:

Top 3 U.S. Oil Companies Free Cash Flow

Their combined free cash flow fell from a healthy $46.3 billion in 2011 to a negative $8.7 billion in 2015 and a negative $7.3 billion in 2016.  Now, their free cash flow would have been much worse in 2016 if theses companies didn’t reduce their CAPEX spending by nearly a whopping $20 billion.  I don’t have a chart to show their capital expenditures, but here are some of the annual figures:

Top 3 U.S. Oil Companies Total CAPEX Spending:

2013 = $87.2 billion

2014 = $85.4 billion

2015 = $66.0 billion

2016 = $46.6 billion

The combined CAPEX spending from these three oil companies fell 29% in 2016 versus 2015 and 46% since 2013.   Which means, ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips have cut their combined CAPEX spending in half in the past three years.  This is bad news for either building or at least maintaining oil production in the future.

NOTE:  Free Cash Flow is calculated by subtracting CAPEX spending from the company’s operating cash or profits.

Even though these companies slashed nearly $20 billion in CAPEX spending in 2016, they still suffered a negative free cash flow of $7.3 billion.  However, this does not include dividend payouts to their shareholders.  Not only did these companies pay a total of $46.6 billion in CAPEX in 2016, they also forked out an additional $21.4 billion in shareholder dividends.  Dividend payouts do not come out of thin air.. they must come from cash from operations.

If we include dividend payouts, this would be the net result on these companies Free Cash Flow:

Top 3 U.S. Oil Companies Free Cash Flow Minus dividens

Here we can see that the large dividend payouts by these three oil companies impacted their bottom line much worse than the figures shown in the Free Cash Flow chart above.  Thus, the free cash flow minus dividend payouts provides us evidence that these oil companies have been seriously in the RED since 2013, not just the past two years displayed in the Free Cash Flow chart.

As we can see, the group’s free cash flow minus dividends was a negative $32.8 billion in 2015 and a negative $29 billion last year.  Of course, these three companies may have sold some financial investments or assets to reduce these negative values, but a company can’t stay in business for long by selling assets that it would need to use to produce oil in the future.

So, what has falling free cash flow and dividends done to ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips long-term debt?  You guessed it… it skyrocketed:

Top 3 U.S. Oil Companies Long Term Debt

When these three companies still enjoyed positive free cash flow in 2011 and 2012, after paying CAPEX and dividends, their long-term debt did not increase.  However, as their operating profits really started to decline, the debt on their balance sheets increased significantly.  Thus, the combined long-term debt in these three companies balance sheets ballooned from $40.8 billion in 2012 to $95.7 billion in 2016.

Basically, these three companies combined long-term debt has doubled in just the past three years.  This is bad news as the situation in the energy markets continues to disintegrate.  Zerohedge published this article, Goldman Stunned By Collapse In Gasoline Demand: “This Would Require A US Recession” which stated the following:

So yes, both gasoline stocks and supply remains at extremely high levels, but what set off alarm bells is not supply, but demand: the EIA last week reported that the 4-week average of gasoline supplied – or implied gasoline demand – in the United States was 8.2 million barrels per day, the lowest since February 2012. And, as Reuters adds, U.S. refiners are now facing the prospects of weakening gasoline demand for the first time in five years.

Unfortunately, the massive amount of debt overhanging the U.S. economy has put a lot of leverage on the public’s ability to continue purchasing consumer goods and services.  While the market has become clever at selling cars for example, by first offering lower interest rates and extended loan payouts, it is now resorting to leasing vehicles at ultra low monthly payment plans… just to get rid of them.  Leasing automobiles at monthly rates that are uneconomic for the auto industry in the long run, only allows the GREATEST FINANCIAL PONZI SCHEME to continue a little longer.

When we start to add up all the data, the U.S. economy is getting ready to hit a BRICK WALL.  Furthermore, the situation at the top three U.S. oil companies will only get worse going forward.  As ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips continue to bleed to death, watch for U.S. oil production to fall precipitously in the future.

Yes, it is true that U.S. oil production has increased over the past several months due to the DRILLING RIG HAMSTERS doing their thing by taking good investment money and producing more crappy low quality oil.  However, this isn’t something to cheer about.  Rather, I call this…. turning GOLD into LEAD.

Some readers send me information of the growing drilling rig count and oil production in the Permian field in Texas.  Yes, that is where the activity has moved to.  Why?  Well, it is one of the last fields that can produce oil similar to the Bakken and Eagle Ford.

That being said, I would refrain from believing that this bump up in U.S. oil production will SAVE THE DAY.  Why?  Because it is being done on the back of a massively indebted energy sector which has been able to continue drilling by using rigs that have seen their rental rates cut in half, or more, due to the implosion of the drilling rig industry in 2015 and 2016.

The evidence provided in this article showing the continued financial disintegration at these top three oil companies suggests that the U.S. energy sector is in serious trouble.  We must remember, the top oil companies are supposed to be the most profitable.  However, if we take a look at what is taking place in the top shale oil and gas producers, the situation is even more dire.  I have republished this chart from a previous article showing that the shale oil and gas industry hasn’t really made a profit since 2009:

Shale Energy Industry Free Cash Flow

While some of the companies made free cash flow profits in various years, as an industry, these oil and gas producers have been in the RED since the U.S. Shale Energy Industry really took off in 2009.  So, the notion that rising oil production from increased drilling rig activity is going to change the SEA OF RED taking place in the entire U.S. energy sector, suggests individuals or the market has gone completely insane.

As I have stated before, Americans continue to suffer from an increasing amount of BRAIN DAMAGE.  Now, I am not just talking about the typical JOE BAG of DONUTS, as they at least have an excuse due to the propaganda put out by the Mainstream media.  However, I am really surprised that “supposedly” intelligent individuals continue to either believe in U.S. energy independence or the more silly “Abiotic oil” theory that the Earth has a CREAMY NOUGAT CENTER of oil… that will refill all the oil fields in the world.  (James Howard Kunstler gets the credit for that wonderful term).

While I realize the “Abiotic Oil Theory” is complete HOGWASH, many individuals still believe it is true.  This theory has been propagated by a few Russian scientists and engineers, but I can assure you the bulk of the Russian oil industry is not drilling down to ultra deep depths to get their oil.  I will be publishing an article shortly as a rebuttal to a recent newsletter post titled, How I came to Realize I was Wrong About Peak Oil – F. William Engdahl.  Unfortunately, Mr. Engdahl has failed to look at the real evidence, instead has fallen HOOK, LINE and SINKER by faulty information and lousy conspiracy theories.

The number of individuals who fail to believe in PEAK OIL will diminish greatly as the Thermodynamic Oil Collapse picks up speed over the next five years.  During this time, it would be prudent to own physical precious metals rather than highly inflated debt-based paper assets or real estate.

Lastly, if you haven’t checked out our new PRECIOUS METALS INVESTING section or our new LOWEST COST PRECIOUS METALS STORAGE page, I highly recommend you do.

Check back for new articles and updates at the SRSrocco Report.

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