I don't mean to go off on a rant...so...

I'll just point you to a couple of high quality and lengthy rants tonight...and then we'll leave the comment thread open to discuss them if you wish.

Here's one at Peak Energy US
(pretty much a general purposeful rant on a variety of topics), and here's the other over at Baloghblog (a digestion of Kunstler's TLE).

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It might have been more appropriate to provide Limbaugh's rant at Bill Moyers since it's the spin machine epitomized by Limbaugh that is a large part of the problem. For one interpretation of the rant see http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0524-25.htm (Isn't there a really smelly cheese named Limbaugh that only rich people ever develop a taste for?) Or if a rant is what's needed, perhaps one can be developed after reading this item, http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0524-09.htm

Besides, isn't ranting bad for the heart? I was taught that a good healthy Yop! (brief fully energized [nuclear] scream lasting 5-10 seconds in an enclosed [cubicles don't count] space) or perhaps two was far more productive/satisfying (I attest it is).

Personally, I think the anonymous online rant, while momentarily soothing, accomplishes zilch. Far better to get in the face of the person deserving your rath; that way you know it was properly delivered. Although if you're clever with English, it's possible to flame someone without their knowing. Then again, every so often you encounter a person who sheds ranting like a well waxed car sheds rain. I liken it to brushing off dandruff flakes, which gives you an idea of what I think about detractors.

I listened to Limbaugh several times in the early years. What always put me off was his refusal to entertain guests, and later, to even entertain other viewpoints. He is truly gutless.

I agree with karlof (waay too much lately... :)) that a good screaching into the ether every now and then is the best way to deal with frustration. Remaining clearly rational in the face of the ongoing disaster that is our government is very trying.

But, I have also found that going to the range and having a little target practice can be immensely satisfying, when coupled with a good imagination...

On the county level from

"A Conversation with Denial

After almost a year of research and six months of badgering, the quest to open up the discussion of energy in planning beyond my very small circle of colleagues smacked headfirst into what appears to be an immobile object today. That object, also known as the planning director, flatly rejected all ideas of energy scarcity or even limits. Moreover any discussion of the issue by me or anyone else is from here on out not deemed to be relevant to any county planning matters.

In his opinion, there never was or will be an energy crisis."


Henry C K Liu in his lengthy Asia Times article, "The Problem with $50 Oil," lays out ten "facts" He also comapres asset appreciation and inflation in a way I'd never considered. http://atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/GE26Dj02.html

Since the discovery of petroleum, its economics has never been about cutting a square deal for the consumer, corporate or individual, let alone the little guys or the working poor. It has to do with squeezing the most financial value out of this black gold.

John D Rockefeller consolidated the US oil industry into a monopoly by eliminating chaotic competition to keep the price high, not to push prices down. Neo-classical economics views higher prices of consumables as inflation, but asset appreciation is viewed as growth, not inflation. Since oil is both an asset and a consumable commodity, neo-classical economics presents a dilemma for oil economics. The size of oil reserves is exponentially greater than the annual flow of oil to the market. What is even more fundamental is that as the flow of oil to the market is reduced, the price of oil goes up, enlarging proven reserves by definition. Thus while a rise in the market price of oil adds to inflation, the corresponding rise of the asset value and size of oil reserves create a wealth effect that more than neutralizes the inflationary impact of market oil prices. The world should not care about an added percentage point in inflation if the world's assets would appreciate 17% as a result, except that when oil is not owned equally among the world's population, a conflict emerges between consumers and producers.

Mr Liu also does not appear to give Peak Oil much credibility.

Current oil-price levels are a reflection of a fleeting inventory problem rather than a long-term pricing issue. There is of course no, and has never has been, a problem with the natural supply of oil. The world will still be awash with oil even after petroleum is rendered obsolete by new energy technology. When US president Bill Clinton threatened to release US strategic reserves in the 1990s, OPEC signaled its decision to increase production immediately more than once, not because of market fundamentals, but as political gestures. Many economists think that $35 oil in the long run is good for the global economy. At any rate, oil is no longer a critical factor for the US economy, which is increasingly less dependent on oil for growth. GE announced in February 2000 a new turbine that would be 60% more efficient than current models in generating electricity for the same energy input. The news did not help GE stock prices.

I'm wondering, Profgoose, what you think of his "facts" and analysis?


J i O -

Fact 1: Extra payments for energy do not disappear - they do go into oil producres pockets, BUT they INFLATE the prices of the ancillary products and services. This reduces available funds from consumers pockets. If these increased petrodollars are then re-invested in T-bonds by the energy exporting companies to maintain dollar hegemony (note that only 60% is reinvested - the remaining is actually domestic profit) and to subsidize our excessive debt, then two things still happen: we have less available cash due to the inflated costs of everything, and this excess cash now supports the continued indebtedness of the government. And all this assumes that the dollar hegemony remains intact. In point of fact, the last few months of bond sales have been disastrous.

Fact 2: Liu states, "...high cost of living, which can also result in a higher standard of living if income can keep up." The key phrase here is the last five words, "...if income can keep up." The average income of the American household has been dropping consistently over the last few years. Wages are DOWN, not up. Unadjusted unemployment is also up. Liu states that we will likely be forced to work longer hours, put spouses to work or take second jobs to keep income high. It is obvious he is from somewhere chauvinistic - American women are almost all working today! I assume his next salient point will be to put our minor children to work.

He further gushes, "With higher prices, companies witll hire more workers...stagnant wages...declining company benefits...increasing cash flows. Not once does he reflect on the increased ancillary expenses due to higher energy prices reducing corporate cash flow, which is inevitable. The airlines are NOT hiring. Trucking companies are NOT hiring. And later still he points to the government bailout of the PBGC as being a GOOD THING....

I guess the final wrinkle for this section is that he uses only government adjusted employment figures (which have become so chronically modified as to make them meaningless), and does not figure in that when we take the "moonlighting" jobs he recommends, this is NOT new employment, but rather additional "required" employment. It knocks new job seekers out of a job. And nowhere does he even go into detail about outsourcing, illegal immigrants or the underemployed.

Fact 3: This is complete fallacy. Cash flow will increase for the same amount of material, but it does so by raising the price of the material. This is not additional profit, but additional COST. And when prices rise, consumers and corporations find ways to reduce or mediate the increase. One way is to reduce volume or change to new material. Another is to reduce overhead and operating expense, i.e., jobs.

Then this guy points to the real estate bubble as a concrete addition to our GDP? I want some of what he is smoking...

I refuse to go on, simply because this guy believes in ever-expanding economies, even when they begin to cannibalize their own members. Any human who points to the need for soldiers in a war as a valid reduction in unemployment numbers is just operating in some other universe.

And as an oil guy, simply saying that increased prices will increase reserves appreciably proves he knows little about oil or geology. Let's increase the price of gold and watch more gold appear, ok? And gold is recoverable - oil isn't - there is a huge difference.

Just my primitive opinion....as a lowly wage earner.

wow. let me digest this...that's one strange piece...

actually, I just started another thread for this piece. It's pretty interesting, but there's a lot to digest and talk about...