Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Geohazard: Giant Sinkholes Near West Texas Oil Patch Towns Are Growing — As New Ones Lurk

Satellite radar images reveal ground movement of infamous sinkholes near Wink, Texas; suggest the two existing holes are expanding, and new ones are forming as nearby subsidence occurs at an alarming rate.

Residents of Wink and neighboring Kermit have grown accustomed to the two giant sinkholes that sit between their small West Texas towns.

But now radar images taken of the sinkholes by an orbiting space satellite reveal big changes may be on the horizon.

A new study by geophysicists at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, finds the massive sinkholes are unstable, with the ground around them subsiding, suggesting the holes could pose a bigger hazard sometime in the future.  MORE

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Week in the Life of the American Police State

By John W. Whitehead
“Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse.”—Adlai Stevenson, 23rd Vice President of the United States
June 24, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - If you’ve been caught up in the circus that is the presidential election, you’ve likely missed the latest news about all the ways in which the government continues to erode our freedoms, undermine our sovereignty, abuse our trust, invade our homes, invade our privacy, destroy our property, hijack our bank accounts, and generally render itself above the law.

Then again, this is all par for the course from a militaristic government that is armed to the teeth, wages war against its own people, imprisons its citizens for profit, marches in lockstep with the corporate elite, and treats human beings as little more than cattle to be branded, bought, sold and butchered.

The following incidents constitute a typical week in the life of the American police state.  MORE

Get weekly news updates Follow @desmogblog News Canada’s Fish Stocks in Danger of Collapse Without Federal Action: Report A grim story of serial depletion of fish stocks, lack of accurate information about fisheries, overfishing and poor management is documented in a new study on the state of Canada’s fisheries.... 92 Shares Read more Andrea Leadsom infront of an oil well Brexit: The Rise of Andrea Leadsom and What This Might Mean for Climate Change With Andrea Leadsom, the UK’s Energy and Climate Minister and prominent Vote Leave campaigner, poised for promotion, how could leaving the EU... 6 Shares Read more most popular items Exclusive: Climate Hustle’s Marc Morano Turns Down $20k Global Warming Bets From Bill Nye The Science Guy California Regulators Are Approving Fracking Wastewater Disposal Permits Near Fault Lines Hillary Clinton Suddenly Backs Off Her Strongest Environmental Proposal “There is no doubt”: Exxon Knew CO2 Pollution Was A Global Threat By Late 1970s Duke Study Finds A "Legacy of Radioactivity," Contamination from Thousands of Fracking Wastewater Spills “There is no doubt”: Exxon Knew CO2 Pollution Was A Global Threat By Late 1970s

From:  DeSmogBlog 

By Brendan DeMelle and Kevin Grandia • Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 09:19 

Throughout Exxon’s global operations, the company knew that CO2 was a harmful pollutant in the atmosphere years earlier than previously reported.

DeSmog has uncovered Exxon corporate documents from the late 1970s stating unequivocally “there is no doubt” that CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels was a growing “problem” well understood within the company.
It is assumed that the major contributors of CO2 are the burning of fossil fuels… There is no doubt that increases in fossil fuel usage and decreases of forest cover are aggravating the potential problem of increased CO2 in the atmosphere. Technology exists to remove CO2 from stack gases but removal of only 50% of the CO2 would double the cost of power generation.” [emphasis added]
Those lines appeared in a 1980 report, “Review of Environmental Protection Activities for 1978-1979,” produced by Imperial Oil, Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary.  MORE

Report to Supporters: The British Woke UP — Can The Americans?

 From:  PCR

Paul Craig Roberts

Many thanks for the support that you give to the website and for the words of encouragement and appreciation that you send to me. The website resulted from you calling me out of retirement. It is widely read and translated into foreign languages.
I try to read every email, but it is not possible for me to read and comment on the many articles and books that you send or to respond to your questions over a wide range of issues, not all of which I know anything about.
This website is a great deal of work. In our time to be truthful is to be provocative. To write provocatively leaves little room for error or mistatement as today’s euphemism terms it. I could shill for the establishment and be wrong 98% of the time and nothing ever would be said about it. But there is no forgiveness for a provocative truth-teller.
You have open inquiring minds and you want to know. Your motives are not to protect your illusions and delusions or to reinforce your emotional needs. This is why I write for you.
If no one knows or respects truth, the world is lost. But it only takes a few to change the world. The cultural anthopologist Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Change can be for better or worse. President Reagan and a committed few overcame the resistance of the CIA and military-security complex and reduced tensions among nuclear powers by negotiating the end of the Cold War with Soviet leader Gorbachev. During the reign of the last three US presidents, a few neoconservatives resurrected the nuclear tensions and took them to a higher level than at the peak of the Cold War.
There are hopeful signs that the neoconservative drive to World War III can be derailed. It seems that finally the Russians have caught on that America is not the Holy Grail but a government reminiscent in its aggression of Nazi Germany. Hopefully, Russian countermeasures will make even the crazed neocons think twice.
The British people, or rather a majority of those who voted, surprised the Establishment, which was confident of the success of its propaganda, by voting to save their ancient and distinguished country, the font of liberty, from disappearing into the EU, a dictatorship ruled by unaccountable appointees. The British had enough of that with kings and decided that the future did not lie in going backward. The British vote to exit the EU could bring the unintended consequence of unravelling the EU and NATO, thus reducing Washington’s ability to foment war.
Americans need to decide that they, like the British, do not appreciate being led backward to worse times.
The Clintons and the Republican Senator from Texas, Phil Gramm, led America back to Robber Baron days by deregulating the financial system.,28804,1877351_1877350_1877330,00.html
The senator was rewarded with a multi-million dollar banking job for overturning Great Depression era legislation that made financial capitalism workable. Americans need to understand that capitalists do not care if capitalism works for you as long as it works for them.
The collapse of the Soviet Union, due to the arrest of Gorbachev by hardline elements in the Communist Party, gave rise to the American Neoconservatives, a double handful of people closely tied to the Israeli government. These few people have involved America, for Israel’s benefit, in 15 years of warfare that has destroyed seven counries, with the cost to Americans of approximately $7 trillion dollars, according to Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes.
The obviously false excuse for this destruction of peoples and resources is the myth of “terrorism.” Most “terrorist events” in the US have been sting operations organized by the FBI in order to collect the multi-billion dollar bounty that Congress gives for preventing terrorist events. How best to keep this bounty flowing than to organize a terrorist event and prevent it? It is debatable whether such events as 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, Sandy Hook, San Bernandino, and Orlando are false flag events or drills staged by crisis actors and presented to the public as real.
The debt associated with 15 years of Washington’s wars is now being used to attack Social Security and Medicare. The One Percent and their “free market” apologists are determined that the elderly will pay for the wars that enabled Israel to reduce Palestine to a ghetto and for the wars that enriched the profits and power of the military-secutity complex, while inflicting a massive refugee problem on Europe.
If the British, or enough of them, woke up, perhaps something similar can happen in America.
From many of you I hear your frustrations with family, friends, and associates who are content with what they hear from the BBC, Fox “News,” CNN, and the New York Times. Obviously, if everyone was intelligent and could think for themselves or even had time to consider what they are told, we would not be in the state that we are in.
Our job is to get enough people into the habit of thinking for themselves that we have the few required to change the world. (“Few” is relative. In a country of 300 million people, “few” is probably several million.)
Arguing with friends doesn’t work. Arguments generate hostility and competitiveness. Avoid arguing. Your friends and family do not know anything. They sit in front of Fox “News” and CNN. They are brainwashed.
Perhaps one way to approach friends and family is to ask questions. For example, how can there be 103 casualties in Orlando and no visible evidence of the massive number of ambulances and EMT personnel necessary to deal with such a massive number of casualties? I asked my readers to help me prove the official story line, and no one could come up with convincing visible evidence. How can there be such a massive event without abundant evidence?
How can powerfully constructed skyscrapers, built to withstand airplane collisions, suddenly explode allegedly as a result of minor asymmetrical damage and scattered low temperature office fires? How can the entire contents of the towers be pulverized when there is insufficient gravational energy to accomplish such pulverization?
How is it possible that WTC 7 came down in free fall acceleration in the absence of controlled demolition? Why doubt that there was controlled demolition when the owner of the WTC said on TV (still available online) that “the decision was made to pull the building?”
In case you have forgotten, you “pull” a building with controlled demolition. It takes a long time to wire a building for demolition. Obviously, Building 7 was not wired on September 11, 2001.
We are constantly informed by the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, numerous senators and representatives, by NATO commanders, by EU politicians, by presstitutes, and others, that “Russia has invaded Ukraine.”
Take a minute and think about this extraordinary lie. Clearly, evidence is no longer a factor in determining what is occuring. Assertion only rules. Take a second to look outside The Matrix. Is it really possible that Ukraine would still exist if Russia invaded? I would bet my life that within 60 hours of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine would again be part of Russia.
Remember August 2008 when the US and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian army invaded the peacekeeping realm of South Ossetia, killing Russian peace-keeping troops and Ossetian civilians. Putin was at the Beijing Olympics, but Russian armed forces quickly smashed the American/Israeli trained and equipped Georgian army. Putin held Geogia in his palm.
What did Putin do after delivering this lesson in the superiority of Russian arms? He released Georgia and returned home.
So how is it that Putin, according to the entirely of the Western political establishment and media whores, is determined to rebuild the Soviet Empire? Putin held Georgia. No power on earth could have forced him to release Georgia. But Putin withdrew Russia’s forces and released the country. The former Georgian president is now an American operative in Ukraine.
If you consider the number of outsiders, including US citizens and the former president of Georgia, who serve in the Ukrainian government, it raises questions about the so-called “Maidan Revolution” in February 2014. If this really was a popular uprising, and not a Washington orchestrated coup, why is there such a shortage of Ukrainians to form the new government that foreign citizens have to be brought in to rule the country?
Do not believe any official explanation of anything. Things are not true just because the government and presstitutes say so. Keep in mind that official explanations can be cover for hidden agendas. If Washington and the media have their way, we will live in a world constructed out of lies designed to hide from us the real interests being served.
That is not the kind of world that any of us want to live in.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Three Strikes. Time for real changes, government and their sheltered corporations.

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Southern California is in no wise prepared for a major earthquake. We should be, however. Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, said at the National Earthquake Conference in Long Beach, California, that the San Andreas fault is “locked, loaded, and ready to roll.” He added, “a massive earthquake could strike anytime.” Thomas's comments were quoted in the Inquisitor. Strike One.

Southern Californa is also unprepared for the perfect storm of brush fires which the long drought, die off of trees and vegetation, and high temperatures have delivered. Notice the news today. If you live in several parts of the southland just open your window and sniff the air. Strike Two.

These are problems caused by nature. We should have been prepared for these – but we weren't. Since we pay a lot for governmental agencies at the local, county, and state levels who claim they are in charge of ensuring we are safe it is fair to say they 'did not do their job.'

It is also fair to say they should held accountable for their failure to do so. If we survive we should ask this question loudly and accept no excuses. Strike Three.

The third danger hanging over our heads makes these first two impinging hazards far more serious. This involves a significant lack of oversight by those same agencies and the corporations they were supposed to be watching. The corporations, the utilities and oil companies who expect prompt payment from us, had all the control necessary to prevent the present situation. 
Quoted in the Times they said, ““Southern California’s smaller cities and large businesses must take the threat of a crippling earthquake far more seriously than they have been, a committee of business, public policy and utility leaders said Thursday, saying action is needed to “prevent the inevitable disaster from becoming a catastrophe.””

We thought the enormously expensive infrastructure of government and the utility companies were handling our safety and their own business. We were wrong. 
The most revolting and telling sign is the number of utilities and government agencies lining up, joined by Disney, to recommend (Your not going to believe this) another organization be formed to look at the problem. This is like starting a committee while the ocean is coming over the deck of the Titanic. Notice the attempt to slide out of the line of fire from the public outrage which should engulf them. 
Among these pampered individuals are, according to the Times article cited above, “executives for Southern California Edison, the Southern  California Gas Co., the Walt Disney Company, and Wells Fargo, along with the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, USC, the Port of Los Angeles and the Southern California Assn. of Governments.”
Mickey Mouse can be overlooked. The rest cannot. They had well paid and qualified experts on tap but nothing happened – unless you look at their end of the year bonuses and raises.
These folks want to, “create a Southern California Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative, intended to highlight the unresolved earthquake risks and convince decision makers to fix them. The group issued a report with recommendations on Thursday.”

“Convince decision makers?” How stupid are these people? Send them to Kern County to fight the fires there, then they will not need to be convinced. 
This is a CYA moment if I have ever seen one. You have the same players who have never maintained their infrastructure lining up to justify, in advance, what is now poised to happen to people and property for which they are, by government, not held responsible when they cause a disaster. As you may know, their 'natural monopolies' are treated as an extension of government which also holds itself as not responsible for what happens to us, the people who are being squeezed to pay the bills, which includes their salaries and bonuses. 
These hazards include the potential for disaster in the Cajon Pass. This is where the San Andreas fault cuts through California, and where the full force of an earthquake is most likely to be felt. 
Consider for a moment this looming threat on the edge of Southern California’s sprawling metropolis. The Cajon Pass is a narrow mountain pass where the San Andreas fault, which travels down the length of California and then, “intersects with combustible natural gas and petroleum pipelines, electrical transmission lines, train tracks and Interstate 15 north of San Bernardino. Did it, along with the petroleum infrastructure suddenly appear, perhaps caused by Harry Potter? No, it did not. 
A huge earthquake on the San Andreas could move one side of the fault as much as 30 feet from the other. Such an earthquake would rupture flammable pipelines and lead to a catastrophic explosion so powerful it leaves behind a crater.” Read that again. 
This is a time to remember Porter Ranch clearly and distinctly. 
Governor Brown just declared Kern County a Disaster, which is certainly true as the wild fire there is continuing its merry course and has already burned more than 46 square miles, destroyed over 100 buildings and killed at least two people, maybe more. Do you want to bet more is not coming? 
Edison and other utilities have, historically, resisted vigorously any attempt to enforce readiness for disaster and with maintaining their facilities. But now they are faced with the meltdown of the petroleum industry and realize their very existence is now in question. Therefore, instead of admitting their culpability, they are attempting to create a false record showing concern for the dangers they knew all along existed for us for which they could not be held accountable. They sat there, like steaming dog turds until the fires had started and the media was trumpeting the imminent threat of a major quake. 
It is also likely these unnatural monopolies will be seeking subsidies to upgrade. They must realize the public remembers all too well the wrongs done by the petroleum industry within the last 18 months. 
This comes at a time when ExxonMobil is still facing the possibility of impacting more than a quarter million people living within three miles of the Torrance Refinery. Pause to consider the impact of an earthquake, and fire on that facility.
The problems Edison now admits must be handled, itemized in the Times article, include:
  1. Reduce the risk of catastrophe at the Cajon Pass would be to put shutoff valves on both sides of the San Andreas fault on petroleum and natural gas pipelines. If the pipelines are automatically turned off during the earthquake, it could prevent huge amounts of fuel from being ignited if the pipelines break.”
    What an interesting idea. Now ask yourself why they did not take these steps 20 years ago.
  2. In cities, water pipes and natural gas lines will burst during shaking.
    The reality is disturbing — burst water pipes could leave parts of Southern California without running water for six months. Natural gas pipelines can fuel dangerous city fires.”
 3. “Large businesses and local politicians may be underestimating the worst-case scenario.

This 'advice' from the petroleum industry is truly ironic as it is their irresponsibility and the lack of awareness of existing building technologies which would have largely reduced these hazards, along with the failure of government to carry out the duties they are paid to perform. 
4.Many Southern Californians don’t know their neighbors, and that’s going to hurt neighborhoods’ ability to recover.”

And whatever happens it is someone else's fault, not theirs because you don't have time to socialize when you and your wife are each working three jobs to make ends meet. 
5. “Many cities do not require collapse-prone buildings to be retrofitted.”

And yet fees are extracted from those building structures using the justification this money is paid to ensure the structures are safe. But most are not safe, and the affordable sustainable technologies are very slow to be approved by these same agencies. 
Cities and towns refuse to allow the use of proven technologies exist which can provide safety from earthquakes, fires and flooding. While others around the world are already using these in America they remain largely unknown because of the collusion between government and existing construction interests. 
The first reconstruction which Californians should demand is of government and the corporations who run government. Visit Agents Green to contact us and get information on sustainable materials what else should be done.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Lack of preparation for massive earthquake could bring catastrophe, report says

From:  LA Times 

NOTE:  It has been 110 years since the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.  Southern California is poised for both a major corrective quake and massive brush fires.  And these turkeys had no idea, no idea, how serious this could be.  Don't you think we should take their stupidity and incompetence seriously now?  


Sylmar resident Brian Demetz runs from his burning home in Sylmar on Jan. 17, 1994, after the Northridge earthquake. (Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times)

Southern California’s smaller cities and large businesses must take the threat of a crippling earthquake far more seriously than they have been, a committee of business, public policy and utility leaders said Thursday, saying action is needed to “prevent the inevitable disaster from becoming a catastrophe.”

Despite strides made by the city of Los Angeles to focus on earthquake safety, Southern California still faces significant threats that haven’t been resolved.

One of the most ominous is the looming threat on the edge of Southern California’s sprawling metropolis — the Cajon Pass. It’s a narrow mountain pass where the San Andreas fault — California’s longest and one of its most dangerous — intersects with combustible natural gas and petroleum pipelines, electrical transmission lines, train tracks and Interstate 15 north of San Bernardino.  MORE

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Does Government Protect Your Feelings?

From:  Jerry Day

Jerry always nails it!

Explosive Profits

 Lives at risk in Torrance.CA Refinery and the surrounding area: 255,524 people. 
                                                                                              Radius of exposure 3.2 miles. 

Today1 killed, 3 hurt in oil well explosion in North Dakota (XTO Energy is a subsidiary of ExxonMobil)

Now that you know what is happening with ExxonMobil, here is the PBF Energy's history.

The Story of Tom O'Malley
by  Dave Lincoln & Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

O'Malley - On first for profits
       Tom O'Malley is making his exit from a stage where he has occupied the central role in an ongoing scheme to convert aging refineries into explosive sources of profits for himself and his team. This month, the last of the corporate shells he used to move the action along, PBF Energy, is about to acquire Exxon's Torrance Refinery, located near enough to downtown Los Angeles to allow the potential explosion from the refinery to light up the sky at the Los Angeles Court House.
        In June 2016, PBF will, presumably, add to its stable of four aging refineries with the acquisition of the EXXON Torrance Refinery for a half Billion dollars. This 85-yr-old, trouble-plagued refinery is one of the most dangerous industrial facilities in any major metropolitan area in the United States. For the reasons documented for the first time in this report, we must stop this sale and shut down this plant to prevent a catastrophe in the Los Angeles area.

       The untold story of dangerous and neglected refineries could impact the health and safety of 15 million Americans. This twisted and bizarre saga is centered around PBF Energy and the self-proclaimed king of refineries with the Midas touch, Thomas D. O’Malley.
     It all started with TOSCO, a company started by an eccentric multi-millionaire,
Huntington Hartford, more connected to Hollywood than the oil fields. Our story opens with the purchase of a useless piece of land in Colorado by The Oil Shale COmpany (TOSCO), in 1955. This start-up, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants company, intended to focus on extracting oil from oil shale and developing alternative energy sources. Huntington, Amoco and SHELL and later EXXON spent a fortune trying to process oil out of shale just like the Nazis did in World War II; but they failed spectacularly.
       In 1965, TOSCO sold part of its Oil Shale project to AMOCO for more than $20 million and began its foray into the refinery industry to build out a ready source of income. First TOSCO bought the Bakersfield Refinery from Signal Oil. In 1970, it bought the Avon Refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area from Phillips. Then, in 1980, TOSCO bought the Oklahoma Refinery from Sunoco for $140 million.
       That same year, Arco sold its interest in the oil shale project to EXXON for $360 million and TOSCO sold its 40% interest in the oil shale to EXXON for $300 million. Now, Exxon owned nearly the whole operation and after spending a Billion dollars, EXXON decided they wanted to terminate the effort.
      Probably to their chagrin, EXXON discovered the contract required them to purchase TOSCO's interest in the oil shale because TOSCO did not have the money to pursue development on their own. There it was, in the contract in black and white. It was like playing musical chairs with a hot potato where the last person standing got stuck with the burning potato and had to pay off all the other players. Exxon was left with the steaming potato.
      It was the perfect outcome for TOSCO since the project was never going to be economic under any reasonable scenario and they were in desperate need of cash. At that time, it was estimated that the project would need a minimum of $5 Billion just to become operational.
     So, on May 2, 1982, EXXON terminated the jobs of more than 2000 employees in the area which locals still call “Black Sunday”. During it’s nearly 20-year history the entire project had produced about a quarter million barrels of shale oil worth less than $500,000 dollars. It was a total economic disaster.
     The following year, TOSCO bought Arizona Land Resources (AZL Res) for $85 million, a company involved with oil and resort developments in Arizona and Colorado. The CEO of AZL Resources at the time was the enigmatic oilman and UN Diplomat, Maurice Strong. Strong eventually paid over $4 million for fraudulently hyping the stock value of AZL, but he ended up owning the 150,000 acre Baca Ranch in Colorado and TOSCO was left with little of their investment.
      TOSCO closed their Oklahoma Refinery just 3 years after purchase. The Oklahoma Dept. of Environmental Quality declared the Oklahoma Refinery contaminated and named TOSCO as a principal responsible party. TOSCO defaulted on some of their loans and continued to sell-off assets. At this point they 'understood' that contaminating people, air, land and water was unacceptable. By 1986, they sold their Bakersfield refinery to Texaco for $22 million.

      This was the same, fateful year Thomas D. O’Malley entered the picture. He formed Argus Resources, an oil and gas production company. This ultimately became a family-owned empire made up of Argus Energy LLC, Argus Investments Inc., Argus Development LLC and many other companies based in Connecticut.
       Until now, we have followed one company. Now, we will watch, as if by magic, this one company sheds identities while keeping its essential persona and new business plan intact. The skin means nothing, it is the persons inside who making the decisions.  You will need the O’Malley CEO timeline to follow the metamorphosis and understand what is happening as Tom O'Malley provides essential services to the oil industry and becomes wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. 


The Buying Spree

      In 1987, Thomas O’Malley and Argus Energy bought 26% of TOSCO and COMFED BANKCORP in Massachusetts. This mortgage lending company was a dubious investment. Along with indictments for fraud on January 15 1988, a COMFED VP, Elizabeth Bourne-Johnson, was found fatally shot in the head in the trunk of her car in South Boston Mass, not a fate generally associated with the banking industry. The same year, O’Malley purchased 40% of TOSCO and became Chairman of the COMFED S&L from 1988 to 1989; at which time he became Chairman and President of TOSCO and moved the headquarters to Connecticut.
       Another brutal murder had occurred in Boston about then. Bookie, John McDermott was fatally shot in the head in front of his son who was seriously injured. The son testified that the killer was William “Billy” Barnoski, the enforcer for James “Whitey” Bulger. Bulger was the mob boss, FBI informant and for 15 years their most wanted fugitive who was linked to at least 19 murders and was known to have operated in South Boston during the time the VP was murdered.
        It has been speculated that someone in COMFED management who knew Whitey Bulger had Elizabeth Bourne-Johnson silenced because she knew too much about their policies or finances. No suspect was ever named.
       By 1990, COMFED Savings Bank had its assets seized in Wakefield. The largest mortgage lender in New England was declared insolvent on Dec. 17th due to massive fraud. More than 30 managers and employees were arrested and charged with fraud and perjury including the bank’s lawyer.
       The Hartford Courant reported that three banks in Connecticut acquired over $500 million in insured deposits for a discounted price of $1.5 million. Elizabeth Bourne-Johnson's murderer was never identified.
        Now firmly under the control of Tom O'Malley, Tosco begins a new lease on corporate life. It goes without saying that O'Malley must have had a reason for buying an interest in these companies. We can bet he made a profit on Comfed Bancorp before it was declared insolvent – but the only assets associated with Tosco at the time was two problematic refineries.
        Since O'Malley is a clever, guy he had to have his reasons for wanting the moribund and dangerous refineries which you will see illustrated below. He could have found a way to profit from insurance claims and tax deductions. But the accumulation of wealth for reasons not in evidence was obvious.
      The company was about to experience an explosion in profits as the refineries themselves blew up.

The Shuffling Begins:
1986 – O'Malley incorporates ARGUS Investments - is CEO.
1987 - ARGUS Energy buys 26% of Tosco and Comfed Bancorp for – how much?
1988 – December 1 - O'Malley becomes CEO of Comfed Bankcorp
1988 - ARGUS Energy buys 40% of Tosco.
1989 – O'Malley becomes CEO of Tosco
1992 - TOSCO acquires EXXON Bayway Refinery, Linden, NJ for $175 million.
1993 - TOSCO acquires Ferndale Refinery- Washington State from BP.
1996 - TOSCO buys UNOCAL’s western operations for $1.3 Billion. Transfers of control will take place over several years.
This included: over 2500 Union 76 gas stations and Circle K stores and 7 Refineries.

The Magnificent Seven
The Los Angeles Refinery ("LAR") System, consisting of two linked refineries located in: Carson (built in 1923)
1996 – TOSCO acquires Wilmington Refinery, CA (built in 1919) from Unocal.
1996 – TOSCO acquires Trainer Refinery - is shutdown - restarted May 1997.
1996 – TOSCO acquires Rodeo Refinery (built in 1896) San Francisco Bay area, and
1997 -  TOSCO acquires Avon Refinery, (built in 1915), Martinez, CA.
1997 -  TOSCO acquired Santa Maria Refinery (built in 1955).

      At the time of this purchase Avon, Rodeo and Wilmington Refineries had each experienced at least three fire and/or explosion incidents.
At this point, you might well ask “How did TOSCO, a struggling production company, get a bank to loan them more than $1 Billion to buy refineries more than 75 years old?” This is the essence of O’Malley’s strategy.
       The inflated value of the assets was used as collateral on the loans. He convinced the banks, some of which he controlled, that the refineries were worth their replacement value rather than their actual depreciated value. To maintain this deception, all he had to do was to demonstrate how many barrels per day of products these old facilities could produce and that they could still operate at a profit. This dictated that every refinery purchased would be pushed to its maximum capacity and operating costs would be kept to the minimum. Thus by delaying maintenance and cutting personnel to the bone, TOSCO could maximize profit and use the new assessed value to justify larger loans and purchase more distressed refineries.
     The fallacy of these arguments was tragically revealed on January 22, 1997, when TOSCO’s Avon Refinery caught fire and a pipe blew up killing one worker and injuring 46. TOSCO waited more than a week to report the actual number of injured meanwhile continuing to operate the units not directly impacted by the blast. TOSCO responded by buying the nearly 100-yr old Marcus Hook, PA Refinery from BP for $235 million dollars that same year. Why would a company expend money on further purchases when the refineries they owned needed repair and maintenance?
     Then on February 23, 1999 the TOSCO Avon Refinery blew up again; killing 4 and seriously injuring one worker. This time, Thomas O’Malley, CEO of TOSCO apologized in person. The subsequent Chemical Safety Board (CSB) investigation found that the company attempted to replace a pipe in a 150 ft. tall fractionating tower while the unit was still operating. One surviving employee stated that plant managers had refused a request from oil workers to shut down the high temperature unit during repairs which ultimately spilled hot Naphtha on to the employees burning them to death. The CSB concluded the incident "could have been prevented by better management supervision of safety". The same year, TOSCO reported a fire at its Wilmington Refinery.
       On February 29, 2000, TOSCO acquired and began operating an additional system of 1,740 gasoline and convenience outlets from EXXON. As a result of this purchase, TOSCO became one of the nation's largest operators of company-controlled convenience stores. Also, during that year, two more fires occurred at the TOSCO Avon Refinery; each time injuring another two workers. In addition, TOSCO reported a fire at its Rodeo Refinery.
       In 2001, on the strength of TOSCO stock and its refining and marketing assets, Phillips paid $7.3 Billion in stock for TOSCO while assuming over $2 Billion in debt. O’Malley becomes Vice Chair and largest stockholder of Phillips.
     In 2002, CONOCO merges with Phillips. O'Malley is not included in this corporate makeover. Instead, O’Malley becomes CEO of PREMCOR; a company that changed their name from Clark Refining Group after it was taken over by Blackstone Investments. The company’s main asset was the Clark Oil Refinery (built in 1943) on Blue Island near Chicago, Illinois. This refinery had already been plagued with problems including a fire in 1994 which resulted in an infamous toxic dust release. The dust forced the evacuation of a nearby high school, the hospitalization of 48 students for respiratory distress and an eventual PREMCOR $120 million settlement which involved 4000 residents. 
       This was followed a year later by a fire at the same refinery which killed two workers and injured 3 others and resulted in an out-of-court settlement of $12 million to the victims and their families.
      Also in 2002, PREMCORP closed the Clark Refinery and paid the EPA $6.2 million in fines for environmental violations.
      PREMCORP, now with O’Malley at the helm, responds by purchasing the 60-year-old Williams Refinery (built in 1941) in Memphis, Tenn. for $455 million. O’Malley characteristically moves PREMCORP headquarters from St. Louis, MO to Greenwich, CT. It then acquired two other small refineries, located in Lima, Ohio and Hartford, Illinois. Three more purchases of refineries.
      By 2004, PREMCOR bought Saudi Shell Motiva Refinery in Delaware City, NJ for $900 million. The following year VALERO, one of the nation’s largest petroleum retailers, paid $7.4 Billion for PREMCORP.
     In May 2006, O’Malley joined PETROPLUS as CEO. At the time, the company was an international refiner based in Amsterdam with three relatively small refineries. They owned one each in 3 countries; Belgium, Switzerland and the UK. Over the next 2 years, O’Malley led PETROPLUS through the purchase of five more large European refineries at a total cost of more than $3 Billion becoming Europe’s largest independent refiner.
     In 2008, Thomas O'Malley formed and became Chairman of PBF with financing from PETROPLUS, Blackstone Investments and First Reserve Bank.
     In 2009, the PETROPLUS Ingolstadt Refinery in Germany catches fire. Also, VALERO closes the Delaware City NJ refinery permanently as a cost cutting measure. VALERO acquired it from PREMCORP in the takeover and was forced to take a write-down. In the previous 5 years, the Delaware City refinery had experienced 2 major fires resulting in a total of 2 deaths and 10 injuries.
     In 2010, PBF bought the shuttered Delaware City Refinery from VALERO Energy for $ 220 million and the Paulsboro Refinery for $360 million. PBF also bought the Toledo Ohio from Sunoco for $400 million. PETROPLUS sells its interests in PBF for $ 90 million and reports annual revenues of $20 Billion that year. O'Malley is taking his purchases with him as he changes skins.
    At the end of 2011, the bank lenders froze the PETROPLUS $1 Billion credit line. Amazingly, PETROPLUS lost 9 Billion between 2007 and 2011 when O’Malley resigned as Chairman. On January 12. 2012, the company became insolvent when it defaulted on nearly $ 2 Billion on bonds and notes. O’Malley responded by taking PBF public with a $500 million IPO.
     Also in 2012 the Memphis Refinery which VALERO acquired in the PREMCORP takeover caught fire and exploded. One employee was killed and two others were injured.
    The year 2015 was an exciting one for O’Malley and PBF. In February, the Paulsboro Refinery (which the company acquired from Tesoro just four years before) exploded killing one worker. This was followed by two separate fires at the Delaware City Refinery, the same facility that PBF had taken out of mothballs after VALERO closed it 5 years earlier. PBF responded with the purchase of the 100-yr-old Chalmette, LA Refinery (built in 1915) from EXXON and the Venezuelan National Oil Company (PDVSA) for $322 million.
     O’Malley was reportedly rewarded with a $8.3 million annual salary. Why would exploding refineries be viewed as assets?
      The Tenneco Chalmette Refinery was notorious for years (as the author can personally attest while an employee of Tenneco) after a horrific explosion occurred in 1976 in which 12 people were tragically killed. The men were welding inside of a 30-story tower when apparently a gas leak blew the top off the tower and all of the metal above collapsed on the workers. One doctor reportedly said “their clothes were blown off and many are barely recognizable as human”. The explosion was felt as far as two miles away.
      Under Tenneco, there was also a Chalmette Refinery fire in 1983 which resulted in the death of two workers with 28 workers and firefighters injured. In 2010, when EXXON was the operator, another fire broke out which led to one worker’s death.

And Back to Torrance

      In 2016, PBF intends to purchase the “troubled” EXXON Torrance, CA (built in 1929) for $537.5 million. Let's think about this for a moment.
    EXXON had recently been fined over $ 500,000 for workplace health and safety violations pertaining to a major explosion and fire in February 2015 which dispersed catalytic dust up to a mile from the refinery. The CSB investigation revealed multiple process safety management deficiencies and inadequate hazard analysis which contributed to the incident. 
     The event was described as a “near miss” when a 15-ton piece of debris was thrown 100 feet and just avoided a tank containing thousands of pounds of modified hydrofluoric acid. A release of acid vapor could pose a threat of serious injury or death to the population exceeding 300,000 people within a 3-mile radius. In addition, there has been concern about the ability of these hydrofluoric acid tanks to withstand a major earthquake without rupturing. EXXON denied that there was any significant threat consistent with their previous claims.
       Wouldn't these facts make most people more cautious?
Following a 1989 hydrofluoric acid spill, the city of Torrance sued EXXON to convert the HF process to a safer alternative. EXXONMobil in Torrance and Valero in Wilmington are the only 2 refineries in CA that use toxic and volatile hydrofluoric acid (HF). EXXON argued that they could not make the change because it was too expensive. Instead they proposed their own proprietary formula for a 30% additive which was tested to reduce vapor formation.
      Subsequently, to cut costs they reduced the additive to 10% without independent testing. Thus we do not know if the current formula for Modified HF (MHF) actually works.
    Of all the refineries mentioned in this article, the Torrance Refinery is the epitome of a “fire trap”. Since 1979, the Torrance Refinery has reported no fewer than 18 significant incidents of leaks, fires and/or explosions which have resulted in a total of 8 deaths and 74 injuries. This total does not include the 2500 citizens who sued EXXON for damages after a mist of greasy oil fell on their property following a pipeline explosion in 1984. Also the refinery has been emitting over 100,000 pounds of Ammonia per year since 1999 averaging over a million pounds of Ammonia per year between 1996 and 2007. Alarmingly, it has emitted nearly 100,000 pounds per year of toxic hydrogen cyanide from 2011 until 2014, the last year for which data is available.
     For these reasons, PBF has stipulated that EXXON must operate the Torrance Refinery without problems continuously for 15 days before the company will complete the sale. Although the plant was finally restarted on May 10, 2016. Some modifications have been made and the clock has not yet been restarted for the sale to continue.
     On May, 27,2016, Thomas D. O’Malley announced his retirement from PBF effective at the end of June 2016. Coincidentally his son Todd O’Malley resigned as President of PBF Logistics earlier to assume the role of President of Gulf Oil in Framingham, MA. This struck us as a curious coincidence since we had published our first article about PBF not long before the announcement was issued.
    And on June 20th, a 300-ton Crane collapsed, narrowly missing the cracking unit, which was operating at the time. This was another near-miss – but the refinery continues to operate while the clean-up goes on. This, historically, is the time when most explosions or other 'incidents' take place. 

Our advice is – Close Exxon-PBF Torrance Refinery down now before, not after, the next 'accident.'

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Omar Mateen & the US State Dept: Two peas in a pod?


    Here we go again.  The American military-industrial complex is once again dropping really broad hints that stepping up its illegal "war" on Syria would be really really nice.  They are hoping that it might be a lot nicer than their recent illegal "wars" on Libya, Iraq, Ukraine and Afghanistan -- but don't hold your breath.

     In a charmingly blood-thirsty article in the New York Times entitled, "51 U.S. Diplomats Urge Strikes Against Assad in Syria," we are told that almost the entire U.S. State Department is rooting and hoping and praying for a chance to bomb the Hell out of Damascus.

     That idea sounds just about as stupid as the one that Omar Mateen recently had.  Apparently someone at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando truly pissed Mateen off.  Mateen went out and bought a bunch of guns.  Mateen blasted the Hell out of that nightclub in Orlando.  Mateen killed a whole bunch of innocent people.  Problem solved.

      And apparently someone in downtown Damascus has truly pissed off 51 State Department "diplomats" too.  51 State Department "diplomats" are now planning to go out and buy a bunch of guns.  51 State Department "diplomats" plan to blast the Hell out of President Assad's government.  51 State Department "diplomats" plan to kill a whole bunch of innocent people.  Problem solved.

    But guess what?  Killing innocent people never solves anything.  Duh.  Plus what if they come back as zombies?  Or even brain-dead "diplomats".

Monday, June 13, 2016

Why There Could Be More Blasts Like 2015 ExxonMobil Torrance Oil Refinery Explosion, Putting Millions At Risk

From:  DeSmogBlog

On the morning of February 18, 2015, the ExxonMobil oil refinery in Torrance, California exploded, causing chemical ash to rain on the surrounding community for hours. Eight workers had to be decontaminated and four were sent to hospitals with minor injuries.

California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) ordered ExxonMobil to shut down the unit until it could demonstrate safe operation.

In August, Cal/OSHA issued 19 citations for workplace safety and health violations at the Torrance refinery. The company was fined $566,600 in penalties in connection with the blast.  MORE

Whack-a-Mole: Old school politicians vs. the new voter revolt

First we Americans got stuck with McCarthyism, wherein out-of-line voters had their lives completely destroyed if they even thought about speaking up.  American voters were shamelessly intimidated.  The RepubliDems were large and in charge. 

     Then came Chicago back in 1968 -- when rioting police basically beat all out-of-line voters to a pulp.

     However, the RepubliDem old-school political machine did learn to become a bit more subtle after that -- but not by much.  Ronald Reagan, their next fair-haired boy, was called the "Teflon" president because no matter what kind of crap he pulled, he always got away with it.  Why?  Because Wall Street and War Street and the mainstream media always had his back.  And their propaganda machine, instead of the cops, now beat out-of-line voters to a pulp.  And that seemed to work even better.

     Reagan would do stuff that looked and smelled like dog dookie, but a fawning press would rush to assure us voters that the crap we were being forced to swallow was actually candy and cake.  And even to this day, Americans are convinced that Reagan is a god -- not the devil incarnate that he actually was. 

     And most Americans wanted Gore or even Nader for president in 2000.  But we got Bush-Cheney shoved down our throats instead.  Of course there were a few whimpers here and there back then (I myself whimpered a lot) but the Republican high command told us that this new line of bull-crap was all for our own good.  And the Democratic high command bobbled their heads in agreement.

     And then the MSM told us that 9-11 and the "war" on Afghanistan and the "war" on Iraq weren't Bush's fault.  And of course, most Americans still believed the MSM.

     Then along came Obama, ready to play ball.  "No more war," he told us, fingers crossed behind his back.  And we believed him too -- because, in America, words speak louder than deeds.
     But what about the 2016 election?  American voters are finally starting to wise up.  "All that glitters is not gold," they are finally noticing at last.  The next generation of American voters is no longer drinking the Kool-Aid.  And so the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee are now being forced to join hands and start playing "Whack-a-Mole" -- attempting to suppress voter revolts as they spring up, again and again, first in one place and then in another.  

     Trump wins the nomination on an anti-war platform that includes making peace with Russia and letting Syria work its own problems out?  "How can we take it away from him?" screams the RNC.  "What war-mongering party hack can we put in his place?"

     Sanders, that peace-loving man of the people, is about to win the nomination?  "How can we stop him from that?" squawks the DNC.  No problem.  Just ask the voters in Arizona, California and New York how the DNC did it.  They just cheated, lied, committed election fraud and cut Bernie entirely out of media access.  Voila!

     And now Whack-a-Mole has been activated yet again and Clinton is shoved down our throats too.  But here is the real  question -- just exactly how much longer can the RNC and the DNC keep playing Whack-a-Mole before American voters really really revolt?

PS:  Here's a comment from my son, posted on social media the night that the MSM, Wall Street and War Street whacked us California voter-moles over the head in order to give Clinton her big win: 

     "If Hillary is going to get even a fraction towards what this world needs in a leader, she's going to have to pull out some sh*t that she really hasn't shown yet, because all I've seen so far is glad-handing, false face, pandering (oh damn girl, what's that in your bag, is that f*cking HOT SAUCE? OMG, sold!), selling out, unyielding war-mongering, reinforcing a RACIST SYSTEM and BUILDING ON IT.  She has shown me nothing that makes me feel like politics are mine.  Or my generation's.  Or my children's generation.  It's f*cking bad-ass that she's a woman.  But she is the wrong woman."

     I'm with him!

PPS:  Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president,  just schooled us Americans with this obvious home-truth:  "The two major parties want to offer voters a choice of the two most disliked politicians in America.  Lesser evil gets worse every election."

    If we want a woman in the White House, then why not one who will actually be a good role model for our daughters -- such as Dr. Stein or Elizabeth Warren? Instead of one who gloats about killing Libya and keeps illegal e-mails in her basement so she can avoid getting caught?  And we all know that Bill will run the White House anyway.

      I'd rather have Sanders -- or even Trump -- in the White House than that.

PPPS:  Electing RepubliDems again and again is the very definition of insanity:  Doing the same thing over and over, always getting the same crappy results -- and yet still expecting good results.