Three day weekends in the industrial world were always fertile ground for mischief… I mean, when the managers are far away recreating or whatever and a skeleton crew is there to secure the factory or whatever, who can resist! Thus I’ve spent 3 day holiday weekends exploring steel mills, paper mills, bakeries, post offices and warehouses, some of which I actually was employed by at the time. And while my explorations were innocent, there was considerable opportunity to shut stuff down or turn stuff on at the wrong time that I never availed myself of.

So it was this Labor Day weekend. Started off with giant container freighter line Hanjin shutting down late friday, leaving dozens of ships and hundreds of workers stranded all over the wet part of the world. By tuesday morning it looked like they’d get around to filing a formal bankruptcy that would at least organize the chaos, with possibly Hyundai taking over. In a world where population growth is finally stalling out and markets no longer grow a couple percent a year with the population, buying a fleet of New Panamax size container ships may not have been the brightest idea.

Then early saturday morning notorious pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners, builder of the notorious Dakota Access Pipeline, decides to forget the construction moratorium they’d agreed to while awaiting a court decision and bulldozes what appears to be a Native American cemetery. Looks like the tribal archeologist was invited to check the route of the pipeline by a farmer owner. Said archeologist did just that on friday, and found historic artifacts there. When that happens, by law construction stops while the archeologists are brought in and the artifacts are recovered and the site documented. But looks like the pipeline company, probably in something of a panic since there isn’t much Bakken oil flowing to keep a pipeline full these days, marched their bulldozers 20 miles overnight and proceeded to tear up the area where the artifacts were found less than a day before. Not satisfied to break just one federal law, the pipeline company turned loose some low rent ex-con rentacops on the unarmed Native Americans and friends who walked over to have a look at their ancestors graves being trashed. Said low rent rentacops then tried to sic some not so well trained “guard dogs” on the Native Americans. The guard dogs took off on anything available, human or animal, and probably got as many bites out of the renta cops and pipeline workers as they did their targets.That gave the tribe fodder to file for a temporary restraining order to again halt pipeline construction, and this morning the feds and more specifically the Corps of Engineers backed the tribes request for a TRO. With the bad name Energy Transfer Partners is giving pipelines, we may not see another new  oil pipeline in decades.

The Germans having done their labor day celebration back around the first of may, they were hard at work on monday. First we had rumors and then confirmation that VW Group will be fostering Navistar trucks and such with a purchase of 16% of NAV shares, and an eventual adoption is likely. This gives VW Group a continued North American market for their MAN engines and a potential source of a conventional cab truck they don’t have as well as a North American dealer network.

They didn’t knock off early in Deutchland either, with overnight rumors that Mercedes is pulling it’s diesel cars and vans from the North American market. Heard from a customer whose had a diesel Mercedes Sprinter on order for months and sounds like they’ll only build him a gasser, and not a diesel to be found of Mercedes’ car website. Mercedes is being sued for emissions cheating a la VW, is Dieselgate spreading?

Nice to return to the calm of the work week…

 

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