PCI (via EB): The Rise of the Axis of Oil (Two Hours of Video That Are Worth Your Time)

Big hat tip to the Energy Bulletin (original link) for this story:

Richard Bell, Communications Director for Post Carbon Institute, reports on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources' hearing into “The Geopolitics of Oil.” (here's a link to a video recording of the committee hearing itself...the hearing begins at about 17:30 minutes into the recording--before that, it's just dead time). Just how bad are the geopolitics of energy, from the perspective of the United States? This morning the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources launched its New Year with an unusual hearing into “The Geopolitics of Oil.”
The consensus conclusion of the witnesses: the United States is in deep, deep trouble, facing the emergence of an “axis of oil” that threatens to recreate the bi-polar world of the Cold War, complete with Russia as a principal actor.

Normally the Committee deals with less weighty matters, like fuel efficiency standards for cars. But the incoming chairman, Senator Jeff Bingaman, decided to go for the big picture, and the big picture is not pretty. There was an almost palpable sense of graveness and alarm that lent a chill to the room.

For the rest of the report, go to original article [link] on Global Public Media (free access). Energy is beginning to get serious consideration, as Dick Bell reports. Also, note that two major studies of the prospects for world energy supplies are currently underway in Washington.

The consensus conclusion of the witnesses: the United States is in deep, deep trouble, facing the emergence of an “axis of oil” that threatens to recreate the bi-polar world of the Cold War, complete with Russia as a principal actor.
Whenever relevant — as now — I have been fond of saying that regarding the "Cold War", let's see who actually won it when all the historical data have been accounted for.  

It's obvious that the West won the Cold War and that the chief beneficiaries are the previously oppressed population of the hard-line Communist States. One can easily draw an analogy with WWII after which Germany and Japan reigned supreme among their former enemies, following a painful recovery period. I applaud Russia's attempt to govern the exploitation of their petroleum resources and hope that they are still pumping well after the peak. We need a bumpy plateau, not a cliff.

Re: It's obvious that the West won the Cold War...

Right, my friend, you keep on thinking that...

Since I am interested in history, I like to take the longer view of these political events...

I just watched the 2 hours and it was enthralling. Also the first time in my life any politicians have managed to hold my interest for that long. I felt some Senators tried to hijack the debate a few times but never managed it. They did of course use up precious time.
The other reviews here cover the debate well, however regarding the Cold War, this "we won" thinking by the Americans is the problem, they are not playing from a position of strength, but of weakness. The expert witnesses acknowledged the need for dialogue & diplomacy and the Senators wanted to bomb something. It was as if they were having two different conversations.
Maybe if they let Russia join the WTO it would alleviate some of the tensions. The alternative is probably a re-united USSR.

This guy Putin looks like a bad ass poker player.

Gentlemen! The game is Texas Hold Em..Ante up.

I think he looks like the villian in a Bond movie.

With apologies to "Fiddler on the Roof": I went to my rabbi and asked if there is a blessing for Vladimir Putin.

"A blessing for Putin? Of Course. May God bless and keep Vladimir Putin--far away from us!"

Have you seen either "Children of Men" or

"The Good Shepherd" ?

I'd be interested in your thoughts on those movies. I'd be interested in your thoughts on a lot of movies. But you are a wanted man and I just thought I'd submit those two for your consideration.

The Good Shepherd.

My take. The agent's son blew away the Bay of Pigs invasion.
Who paid for this? His soon to be wife. Thrown out of an aircraft.

I think Ed Wilson(wasn't that the agent's name) should have paid for being such a schmuck regarding his son. He gets a free ride while Cuba becomes a communist state. The son appears to be a mental retard.
If I was JFK I would have had Ed Wilsons head on a plate.

'Skull and Bones' takes on some clout I suspect is mostly BS.
A bunch of sophomoric asses pretending to be earth shakers.

Other than these two bits of stupidity the movie was worth watching.

Someone needs to do a movie on Operation Mockingbird.
Free press? Free to lie. Free to distort.

Nice one. DeNiro and me gotta talk about, right Hothgor? It's a tough one, airdale. It's always like this. The director wants me to fuck all these girls, but I can't do that for various reasons. So we gotta subcontract out to SAT. But SAT likes to chill in his hottub with knitting and the rhyhmes. Whatever.

I'm watching a lot of old movies now. Highly recommended:
1. "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
2. "Young Frankenstein"
3. "You Can't Take it with You"

Hunter Thompson 1958. When he still had hair. Pre-Hell's Angels. Nice Photo, Dave. It's almost as good as the one I took of Beckham's wife with no shirt on at St. Tropeis. Sean Connery playing me right now. (of course)

Illya Kuryakin.

I always thought he looked like Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) Man from Uncle.

Hmmm...I do not want a dictatorship in the US. I fear that the namby pamby way we elect or leaders is the biggest problem. We need campaign contribution limits yesterday. This would reduce the ammount of "favors owed" to campaign supporters. Likely hood of passing = 0. A test for voting rights would never fly...Hollywood would have a hissy fit because some actors couldn't vote...

I respect Putin for what he is doing. He is under absolutely no obligation to sell oil at below world market rates to anyone and he shouldn't. This gives a 'tax like' credit to be wasteful. He has the power and is using it(like anyone else wouldn't).

I think we are screwed in the long haul. We don't have the will power...and our leaders have thier balls in hock to someone else.

we are one party away from being a dictatorship. our choices may appear to be many, but the fact remains we are either democrat or republican. the third party libetarian is a long long way off.
sounds scary doesn't it? but think about it for a moment. just one party away from a dictatorship. right now it's King George, but soon it'll likely be Queen Hillary! and what about if slick willie secures the position of Secretary General at the United Nations?

And i use to worry about Peak Oil!

As the Germans say: Scheitze!

Separated at birth?

Did you want Coffee or milk with your Pulonium 210?

The U.S. will not even admit they have a problem until it is too late. Putin is smart, losing the cold war was the best thing to happen to them. They reduced consumption, cut military spending, and now they still have some energy reserves to help them through the next twenty years. The U.S. is stupid, needless travel, cities lit up like xmas trees, yachts, jet skis, motor racing, you name it. I hate to say it but the U.S. needs a cold slap in the face, not more war.

"I hate to say it but the U.S. needs a cold slap in the face..."
I agree...
but...but...how are Brad and Jen doing? Are they back together? Did you watch survivor last night? Just pick up a tabloid at the check out stand and you too can have these vital quetions answered. Have your dog trixy's picture taken with Santa Claus at Petco. Cash out the equity from your house for a trip to Disneyland. Have a chocolate coffee latte...and a plastic blow up snow man(this is our economy)

Good luck...

A quarter of a billion doallrs for a washed up soccer player (David Beckham) kind of says it all for me.

After watching the 2 hour video - some key points

Axis of Oil - China, Russia and Iran is a concern as Russia & Iran own half the world's gas reserves

National Oil Companies now own 3/4 of reserves - a chart was presented to show this - almost no discussion about production - maybe the senators just assume that reserves can be easily converted to production to meet demand

Transparency is needed for reserve data

Iran has significant reserves but can't be converted to production due to investment constraints

Switchgrass & cellulostic ethanol might help offset oil dependency

Nuclear energy could be used to provide electricity to charge car batteries

US military spends $US50-60billion/year on protecting oil installations and transport channels which makes the real cost of gasoline about $US7/gallon.

I think I heard the IEA economist mention declining world reserves but maybe I was mistaken.

IEA economist said that only Saudi, Iran and Iraq are able to meet any demand supply shortfalls

China and India oil companies should be encouraged to become more market oriented

I believe that the USA will radically change energy policy, but only in a reactive and not a proactive manner, when the gasoline price doubles, natural gas outages occur, Saudi Arabia admits that Ghawar is in serious decline, CERA confirms that peak oil has passed or some other supply/demand shock occurs. The optimistic long term reserve based production forecasts by CERA, ExxonMobil, IEA and EIA do not create a sense of urgency to cause radical energy policy change.

The first step in solving a problem is realising that a problem exists - this committee hearing could be a first step to the awareness of a serious energy problem.

That's a very good summary, ace. I just watched in myself, and was fearing that I would have to write one up!

This could be a harbinger, there have been many. Either way, the feeling in that chamber was palpably fear-laden...

Cheer up!
They can only charge you as much as they possibly can up to the point where you start to walk. Once everyone starts walking the "infastructure to burn oil" will disappear and then won't they be sorry they ever messed with us!

Re the switchgrass/cellulosic thing, weren't they way too positive on this becoming a solution? Is there a consensus around TOD that the best practices in this area don't show big payoffs?

I think it's complicated. As I remember the discussions, many people With Reason To Know believe that fermentation is probably going to be extremely difficult and impractical.

But plain old drying, gasification and burning works---as stationary power generation.

Then you're talking about "recently grown coal" versus "fossilized coal" with the difference being climate change.

Of course the biofuel will be more expensive than coal, and as a result I think much less used without subsidies or CO2 controls, which I hence favor.

In the end, the US (and politically compatible Australia & Canada) have lots of coal and uranium and we'll have to exploit that instead of Vladimir and Osama's oil. (I expect Saudi Arabia to fall to a fundamentalist revolution sometime in the next 50 years).

For the sake of climate, I hope that we use much more of the second than the first.

Wow. This is probably the biggest statement I've seen/heard within the US government and world energy agencies in a long time. If you get the chance, watch the whole video, as it is ever so enlightening on a number of levels. I think the two most important are (1) The Chief of the Economic Analysis Division of the IEA, Dr. Fatih Biral, states that Peak Oil will hit within 10 years. This is not completely out of character for the IEA, but the message was directed at the US Senate Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources. Whether they got the message is another story altogether. (2) The opening comments from outgoing chair, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) (starts at 20:08 in the video feed):

"It is important that we put into perspective who owns the oils of the world today, and who owns access to the oil of the world today. It is rather frightening when you get just that picture before you and nothing more, to know how things have changed dramatically, and how little of the oil of the world is owned by the American companies that we are constantly arguing with, and how little these oil companies of America have access and/or control over these oils."

"There is no question that private investors are already at a disadvantage with the rise of national oil companies and decreased access to reserves through the use of strategic energy agreements between governments. US companies are being squeezed out. Examples are the Chinese national oil company development of energy production agreements in Sudan and Iran. Russia's reclaiming of oil producing assets from Yukos to form a new state oil company. Just yesterday, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez called for the end of foreign ownership of crude oil refineries within the Orinoco region. This activity further limits investment opportunities for investor owned companies."

This statement is--pretty obviously--a thinly veiled reference to the persistently declining reserves of the Anglo-American supermajors. Whether Domenici realizes what the impacts of of this truly are to the stability of the US economy (specifically the valuation of publicly traded US companies) I do not know (but severely doubt--and I've followed his legislative activity and speeches on energy issues for a couple years now). I'm sure most readers of TOD are aware of these issues and their pressing relevancy, but I'm going to include a link to a powerpoint presentation I use on undergrads every term to raise awareness of the geopolitical nature of oil/energy.


Whether Domenici realizes what the impacts of of this truly are to the stability of the US economy

But you a dollar that El Busho understands this. Hence the occupation of Iraq, the US involvement in Somalia, and the US provocation of Iran. Occupy two out of three and the historians, the warm, cafe-late sipping, SUV driving historians, will sing your praises. This is all I can think of to justify the cognitive dissonant El Busho worldview.

I read your presentation. There are a number of oversimplifications, but I think one will suffice: growing inequality and loss of middle class.

That is already happening, but not, as you suggest, because of oil scarcity or because the U.S. does not have access to oil.

I would argue that tax, labor, and environmental arbitrage--i.e., globalization itself--is far more directly responsible. Over sixty percent of China's exports are from foreign nationals within China. Over 80% of IT exports from China are from foreign nationals within China. And we are talking just of China here, forget about the other developing countries.

As a passing example, take a look at Verizon--or IBM--, everything possible is being offshored because of cheap labor and tax breaks. (China, for example, taxes foreign nationals at half the rate--15%--that it does its own companies. And sometimes foreign companies in China are given a free ride for ten years.)

The latest development is to move not only R&D offshore and middle management, but the upper management as well. (Check out IBM, for example. Upper management is being requested to move to China.)

America is being gutted, not by Russia, Iran, or KSA or Venezuela--but by its own companies that have made a fortune. Check out the stock market and profits being made.

If you focus exclusively on energy as your cause for all things, you will miss very important factors.

Now, it is absolutely true that most oil producers are national, not private companies.

And, as far as your plea for education, education...a "no-go." Globalization has taken care of that one, unless you want to be a banker and financier. Engineers, programmers--everything but economists--are being offshored, outsourced to cheaper labor areas. Globalization and the natural tendency for capital to maximize profits is gutting the middle class. Companies have no national loyalties. Walmart, which once used the slogan, "Made in America," now has communist party outlets in its Chinese factories. In fact, most of Walmart's stuff should say, "Made in China."

Ah, well....such is the glories of capitalism. Communism provides the sweat and the sweat shop labor; we get the goods.

As a brief addendum, the following came across my desk after I wrote the above.


In short, it is about "Made in China"--Intel, Nike...all the "boys." There is a fly in the ointment, as this article points out: Growing disparity of wealth in China. In fact,globalization, as it has been practiced, is the one of the primary culprits for disparity of wealth everywhere.

To tell your students that education is the answer may be a non-starter. Education is far cheaper in the East...and starting salaries are far lower.

Amen to cheap import causing the decline. I think most people need an enemy, but never the man in the mirror, who was soo excited about the "good deal" he got at the big box store. Some poor schmuck lost his job BFD look what I bought cheap.
I predict there will be lots of jobs in the future - all minimum wage. And the dollar won't buy much either.

I offered the presentation in case it was helpful to others, as it has been to many in the past--not for critique. Please do not try to analyze the content without having the benefit of the accompanying lecture--or the preceding ten weeks of lectures, for that matter, which deal specifically with the growth of inequality in the US and world.

I think that U.S. needs its own axis....Grow-PEC. The GRaing OWning axis of food!

And for those without ready access to some data...

Percentages of World Production

Country Corn Soybeans
U.S. 43% 37%
Brazil 6% 28%
Sum 49% 65%

Also, EU+US+Canada+Australia producton of Wheat is 39.1% of world total.
(source 2005 CRB Commodity Yearbook)

With respect to demand...

Man on left has mucho oil & gas
Man on right has diddley-squat

Geopolitics Is Simple!

Shouldn't it be "Geopolitics Is Simple, Pootie-Poot!"?

or "The geo-politics of dancing...the geo-politics of oooh, feelin' good...the geo-politics of movin'...is this message understood?"

loud and clear. I have a screenplay centering on americans leaving for iraq. wanna read it?

The man on the right has a big army. The man on the left knows this. See his patience. The man on the left has to wait until the man on the right hangs himself economically, politically(world), or just gives up because there are too many problems at home. The man on the left will leverage his oil power until it too runs out.

I bet Putin has a smart good looking wife.

One Senator described the testimony as “frightening.” And the outgoing Republican chair, Senator Domenici (R-NM), said that “what you told us today is absolutely startling with reference to the future.” There appeared to be a genuine sense that some members really were surprised at how bad things look for the U.S. The shock was so great that after declaring himself a “free-market conservative,” Republican Jeff Sessions (R-AL) concluded the session by admitting that if you looked at energy as a national security issue rather than as a market commodity, Congress might be justified in spending more money on energy R&D and tax credits.

It would appear the senators mentioned above fear their career politican status!

Dragonfly -

What should we do in Iraq?

I had to write that. I wrote this whole thing that was supposed to go under Dave's Putin post but then it ended up somewhere else. Sorry.

I'm not sure this is an improvement. I'm a bit dismayed at the ads I've been seeing to the left. "to the left." Hah that's funny. Odo should like that.

I'm serious Dragon. What should we do in Iraq?

Your first mission is to find OIL CEO. He is responsible for this mess. Bring him back alive.

What? He's responsiple for WHAT mess? He'll clean up any mess he made. That bastard. He'll clean it with his tongue. I like you, Francois. Be careful.

Can't you find a better new alias, like "The Good Shepherd"? The Bond dude is way too violent and I think that affects your moods. Are you sober tonight? best regards -Ulyses

The answer is yes.

The answer is yes. Yeah I gotta problem. I started hours ago to write a response to Eric Blair. It's actually pretty much done. I was just trying to elaborate on Hubbert's Curve and Linnearization. I've almost completed my refutation of Westexas and Deffeyes.

I dunno if my problem is...


whatever, you guys all know what it is...

Step back, you totally confuse me, I think that might be what I need. New Alias? I want my old name back. If you guys give me back my old name , I'll try not to be such a douchebag sometimes.

Mr. CEO Bond,
One thing I don't want you to do,
is to join the Marines,

... to be "ALL" that you could be.

When you're sober, you are pretty witty whether you wish to confess to it or not.

However, when you are fueling yourself with ethanol, the Dr. Jeckyl part of you comes out (or was it Mr. Hyde?) and that is not a pretty picture. Give yourself a break by giving us a break and staying off the fossilizing fuels. I'd like to see you come back as an Ex-ethanol CEO. That would be the best of all worlds. :-)

What about cocaine? This new format sucks. With no numbers on responses. Who the hell thought this shit up? Probably Super G. I got a lotta respect for Super G. He just never spends any time hanging out here. He don't know.


First, allow me to say that I have not seen the video presentation referred to, and unless it is downloaded to a CD that can be mailed, probably never will.
Due to the lack of high speed internet access at any affordable price in central Kentucky, it would take me days to download such a presentation. This by the way, is simply one more example of how America has become the CAN'T DO nation. A quarter of a century after the beginning of the "tech revolution" huge sections of America are still without good I-net service, and cut off from much of the "computer revolution". We were able to build the interstate highway system, and before that, the TVA and before that the railroad system of America in less time than we have been UNABLE to build an adequate I-net system. It should be the cause of screams of protest against the tech industry and the government regulators. Instead, we bow our heads and keep our mouth shut. Such is the SPINE of a generation.

So, I am using the description given of the presentation by others, and by some of the sources mentioned in relation to the hearings, and by the endless stream of handwringing and tooth gnashing, here not to give my opinion of the hearings, but to ask a few questions that pop into my mind:

1. Russia as a major threat to American power due to thier natural gas. Now, almost all the true peakers I have seen claim that Russia is barely gong to have enough gas to supply themselves soon, given thier own climbing consumption, and the lack of real and intelligent investment in the gas sector, as it is corrupt and being bled to death by the oligarchy. Do we now change course and say that Russia has so much exportable gas that it will reliably export, (big, BIG question of reliability with Russia, is there not? Would you enter into a 20 year contract with them given thier recent behavior, and hope for it to be honestly fulfilled?) and that somehow Russia has America over a barrel (or a pipeline, or an LNG tanker) in relation to gas?
Let me ask this? How much negotiation would it take for Russia to turn away from it's Asian and European customers, who can be supplied by pipeline, to get the chance to sell to America which can only be supplied in small doses by expensive LNG tankers? Even if the Russians could deliver the oil to port, and agreed to sell a big share of it to us, can we really build the LNG tankers, ports, expensive ships, and get them operating and keep them operating virtually around the clock? Is that really a sane scenario? Or is it the Europeans who are in dire shape due to Russian gas mechinations? Is it the Europeans who should be going into fits of panic?

2. Likewise Iran. Why would we presume that we should suddenly be terrified of Iranian oil and natural gas power plays, when the U.S. has not bought Iranian oil or natural gas since the 1970's? (Do any of the Senators at the table KNOW THAT?)

3. China. Why would we assume that oil suppliers will be any happier under Chinese hegemony than under American hegemony? The Chinese, like us, are a net consumer, not producer of oil and gas, with the only big field they have depleting fast (ask Westexas). China is a net importer of raw materials and a net exporter of consumer goods. How will crisis in the oil and gas sector benefit them? Unlike North America, China has ALMOST NO HOME RESOURCE OF NATURAL GAS. And yet many assume that a natural gas crisis will benefit them, at our expense? How? And when rhetoric ends and real pushing and shoving begins, how will it affect Chinese growth to have to spend a large percentage of it's national income on re-arming a large military? How will it's newly spoiled middle class take to that?

4. Having not seen the video presentation, as I said above, perhaps these issues are covered in depth, but if so, I would have thought one of the TOD posters overviews would have mentioned it. Now I have one more: Did anyone, ANYONE, ask why the United States government is providing information which is given, and taken, as authoritive, which completely undercuts any sense of concern, and destroys the ability of the alternative energy and conservation industries to raise capital and support, and ask if there should not be a SERIOUS investigation into the practices of, and the very structure of America's governmental energy agencies and information providing system. Let me show you what I mean:

I beg that you click on the link below and look at a chart. This chart is NOT created by CERA, by ExxonMobil, or by some amatuer statisticians. No this chart is on the imposing website of the Energy Information Agency of the Department of Energy of the United States of America. Tell those wise policy makers at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources' hearing into “The Geopolitics of Oil.” to LOOK AT IT. This is the United States Department of Energy chart, graph, whatever, of just how concerned we should be about the future, not of energy supply, which seem to be assumed as a non issue, but about energy prices, long term, that most important issue to the pocket books of American business and consumers.
Think, THINK about what your about to see:

Astounding is it not? THIS is how concerned we should be about energy, if you go by the Department of Energy, United States of America. What this chart says, friends, is that THERE IS NO EMERGENCY. If, IF I assume the above chart to be correct, what the helll am I concerned about? Energy will be cheaper than the price of a new Cadillac, inflation adjusted, and my house will be cheaper to heat and cool! If the chart above is correct, our children will grow up in prosperous suburbs and and complete college in one of the greatest economic times in American history. It will rival the 1980's abd 90's. And us boomers will live in luxury safely to our dotage, never knowing a real downturn since the 1970's. So in closing, I ask, which is it? The major emergency predicted by Kunstler, Deffeyes, Simmons, and Campbell that the U.S. government buys into, or the great price stability period as predicted by the government's own Department of Energy? If they do NOT believe the type of scenarios that the DOE are publishing, do the Senators realize the death blow that these projections are to many if not most of the alternative energy/conservation industry? Should they not launch a serious undertaking to revamp the Department of Energy's information gathering and distributing system, before they do even more damage to any hope of changing our dire circumstances, IF the Sanators actually believe we face dire circumstances?

Or were these hearings, demonizing others, simply the foundation for a new round of hostile exercises around the world, and hearings of NO INFORMATIONAL VALUE WHATSOEVER as it relates to energy?

WHEN WILL OUR SPINELESS GOVERNMENT COMMIT TO ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER IN THIS DEBATE, instead of sowing confusion, distrust, and spitefull rhetoric, and get out of the way of REAL CONSTRUCTIVE ACTION?

Roger Conner known to you as ThatsItImout

Respectfully, to answer...

When will the PEOPLE wake up? How can anyone possibly fight an Oil War on a credit card financed by China and Japan? How can there be no call for sacrifice back home? How can the president say "go shopping" to the public and then send 21.500 more kids to war - and still be president?

It's not really the Government's fault. It is just serving the PEOPLE what they want to hear, that's all.

It's like those monkey statuettes: see no evil, hear no evil... and don't complain at all because you will miss your cheap gas.

Sorry for the tirade, but I still believe in personal responsibility.


Respectfully to answer Hellasious,

No one forced China or Japan to invest in U.S. dollars, and my bet is they did NOT do it as a charity....the funny thing is, foreigners always see the potential here better than the can't do Americans do...In Kentucky, Toyota built one of the largest auto plants in the world at the same time that Ford and Americans firms were divesting of American plants, SLANDERING the American workforce by saying they couldn't build quality cars.....the SAME workforce Toyota has used to build THE BEST SELLING CAR IN THE WORLD. We owe American firms NOTHING for thier disrespect for Americans. As for China and Japan, if the discussion is energy, which it sometimes is here at TOD, HOW, I ASK AGAIN, are we at a disadvantage on energy to countries with VIRTUALLY NO HOME RESOURCES? It is the TOD posters who always remind about the difference between REAL wealth (energy and resources) and fiat wealth (paper money, and energy based lifestyle). If that is the case, who has more REAL WEALTH? Japan imports almost every drop of energy it uses and China is a consumer and industrial goods exporter. I say give them paper for goods, how is that a bad trade?

As for the government, If they do not want to serve thier function, thier REASON TO EXIST and defend and promote the general welfare of the United States of America, then at least get the fvck out of the way and stop spreading inconsistent and contradictory lies and damaging information that only serves to be taken seriously enough to be destructive. Why can't the governement at least do that, if it refuses to serve the obligation it was created for? I do not for one second see it as a lack of "personal responsibility" to say to the government, "either lead, follow, or get the helll out of the way, but don't spread lies and deceit." The "government has been to this point essentially useless, and in most cased a roadblock on energy. It is the privateers like Felix Kramers Calcars and thier plug hybrid idea, that have made the breakthroughs, not the big government funded programs like nuclear fusion and other boondoggles.

RC known to you as ThatsItImout

Dear Roger,

I am not for a moment questioning the superiority of the people over the government, quite the opposite. What I am saying is that people should take responsibility FOR their government.

When all is said and done, the government is but a mirror of the people - or of what the people allow its government to become. A public that still finances a NIMBY Army on a credit card and views $2 gas and cheap goods at Mart as birthrights, is worthy of its present government. Indifferent at best, incompetent and dangerous at worst.



Outstanding response, thanks. And who other than Jon Stewart said the very same thing a couple of nights ago? "We are the government."

What I am saying is that people should take responsibility FOR their government.

And that is what is truly fearful about America, at least from a foreign perspective. The American people appear to have abdicated all sense of ownership of government and the outcomes. Government acts like an irrational God, or chaotic weather, and the people just put up with it, the way they put up with snow or rain.

I was stunned by a news clip of the new Defense Secretary stating that the current situation in Iraq was extremely critical to America's future, the sense being that America was on the precipice of incalculable failure.

But if I found that I had been brought to the brink of absolute failure I think I would ask how I got there, and who was responsible for leading me to this point. I fail to understand why the American people continue to place confidence in the same small group of people whose lies and bad decisions create a threat not just for America but for all of the world. You may have the most capable military but as a people you are weak, flaccid, and childlike. I think it says a lot to make the claim that the Daily Show is the home of the most perceptive comment on contemporary America.

Slippery Slope

"chief beneficiaries are the previously oppressed population of the hard-line Communist States."

I would hold out on this seeping generalization. From my observation of how the transformation has occurred here in Poland I would say that the primary beneficiary have been multinational companies which came here and bought dirt cheap key businesses. The primary benefit that Poles have derived is that their borders are open, however on the mico level I tend to see the average Kowalski here doing as well as he did in the Commie days or worst. A few are doing much better but this number is a small proportion of the population.

Yes many have left to work in England, Ireland, etc. and are able to make better wages, but lets not forget at what cost. Need to go far away from their families, at one time Poland was also taxing those working in UK ( after many years they changed this now ), chance for pension is gone, treated as temporary labor force, etc.

Hmmm. Take a look at this chart demonstrating that former Warsaw Pact nations have better economic growth over the past 10 years than their counterparts in the EU.


I claim that Red China also lost the Cold War in that they no longer actively seek world-wide Communism via funding and arming left wing revolutionaries. Likewise China has conceded the ideological side of the Cold War by adopting a free-trade market economy. Economic growth in China is among the fastest in the world. Again I draw the analogy to the losers of WWII, Japan and Germany, reigning supreme economically after a painful recovery period.


(Consider this a follow on to my prior post, THE SPINE AND SPINELESSNESS OF A NATION)

In my prior post, I attempted to make this case:
1. America is becoming a CAN'T DO nation, unable to create and implement technology on even a modest scale compared to it's once great history as technical and logistical power.
2. Russian natural gas and oil issues are of greater threat to Europe and Asia than to America, and point to the weakness not of America, but of Europe and China.
3. There was little or no chance of America ever benefitting from Russian or Iranian natural gas, and China will be more wounded by possible lack of stability in the global energy system than the United States.
4. The United States government is either willfully or accidently spreading conflicting information that is so logically inconsistant that it is doing grave damage to our nations ability to decide and change, if our government really feels that change is needed, and our energy situation is a national security concern.
5. I closed with the possibility that the recent Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources' hearing into “The Geopolitics of Oil.” could have been nothing more than foundational propaganda being laid by some in our government to begin a new round of hostility by the U.S. around the world.

With that last point in mind, let's get hostile. Let us say that our goal should be to to break the spine of OPEC, the world energy "axis" of Russia, Iran, and others, and to change the fundamentals of the energy game in our favor.
Let us assume that we want to break thier spine, at whatever cost. Consider some options:

1. A string of nuclear reactors, some 24 to 48 of them, to insure the continuation of baseline power and the grid system, built by contractors but under the operation of a TVA like authority. These plants would not be expected to make a profit but only to break even, and waste disposal to be handled by dilution and burial in low density in the uranium mines from which the uranium originally came.
2. Massive funding of a real carbon sequestering program for America's remaining coal fired generators. NO NEW COAL PLANTS, as these are to be made redundent by the U.S. governments nuclear plants.
3. Orders to all American utilities to expedite the allowance of distributed generation using thin film solar PV, thermal solar electric farms, wind, and small methane recapturing generators. Methane recapture on a national scale from agriculture waste, sewers, landfills.
4. Immediate tax benefits to new autos based on fuel consumption. Set standard testing program, and higher mileage cars and trucks would be rebated yearly tax paid on property tax on vehicle, and registration fee.
5. Tax benefit, and a BIG ONE on plug hybrid type autos that shift the local baseline burden of driving to the electric grid.
6. Tax allowance and rebates on low consumption earth bermed passive buildings, including office building, malls, houses, and any building built that used less than a set amount of BTU in fossil fuel per square foot.
7. Incentive and assistance on solar hot water on all new housing, and technical assist and incentive on retrofit solar hot water to replace fossil fuel heaters as they wear out and need replacement.
8. Realign tax structure to incentivise rail transport of all non perishable goods, reducing tractor trailer traffic on highways by one third.
9. Assist and work with programs, such as the WalMart program, to reduce fuel consumption by one half per vehicle mile traveled/ton hauled, and electrify truck stops to end Diesel idling for onboard appliances and loads.
10. Massive expansion of storage infrastructure, in particular for natural gas and propane. Strategic stocks of propane and natural gas to go along with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
11. MASSIVE funding drive, using the same type of promotional propaganda effort that was used in WWII for "Independence" Bonds, or "Energy Destiny" bonds, or "Anti Terrorist" bonds, whatever you want to call them. These would be competitive with current Treasury Inflation Protected Bonds, and American patriots and business people would be rewarded with promotional advantages if they purchased in volume. MASSIVE PROMOTIONAL effort around these, to put America's money where America's mouth is.
12. Optioning of U.S. and Canadian oil and gas, with long term contracts, locked in prices, and development agreements. STABILIZE the North American market. Storage arbitrage agreements on nat gas and propane, so that storage can be built.
13. Opening of OCS (Outer Continental Shelf) drilling to survey for gas and oil and at least find out as much as we can about what is there.
14. Educational efforts and funding at ALL U.S. Universities and Colleges, as well as state vocational and tech schools, explaining the theory of "case hardening" the U.S. energy system. By case hardening, we mean that it would be made "hard" or "armored" against the threat of disruption, it would be made redundent, with reduction of risks of technical failure, and it would be streamlined, to reduce waste, with major reduction of waste as a central goal.
"Case hardening" would mean conservation, efficiency, diversity, distributed production as well as distributed consumption, and "reserve power" oriented instead of "just in time" oriented. This will be where the jobs, the opportunities will be in the future energy industry, and the youth of America can share in creating this new industry.
15. An "asphalt" and construction reserve, to assure the material supply needed to maintain America's roads at least to a level so as to sustain commerce. Tar Sand and heavy low grade oil to be held in needed volume or by needed contract in long term reserve for this purpose.
16. Complete re-examination of bio fuel industry, using waste product, examination of smaller distributed plants using solar as a distilling heat source, and wind as augmentation to production, and confluence of this industry with waste methane recapture, and possibly other variety of fuels (such as bio-butanol or compressed methane/hydrogen) to used in small volume as the fossil fuel in plug hybrid electric vehicles. Birth of a design industry around these principles, again, taught at Universities, Colleges, an tech schools.

CONCLUSION: The goal: The gradual turning tight the screws on the fossil fuel supply industry, so that it must compete for every drop of sales against alternatives, and the gradual starving out of monopolies, including OPEC, Gasprom, and the "national" state owned oil companies of the world, Aramco as a major target. In other words, even if it is never said out loud, the goal would be to BREAK THIER SPINE, to reduce them to the level of power they had in the late 1980's, that is to say, marginal.

Notice that none of the ideas mentioned above require breakthrough or radical technology. There is no nuclear fusion, no "zero point" or "fusion in a jar." All the methods discussed above are viable today, the components and technology are there. Would we still burn and use oil and natural gas? OF COURSE. We will burn and use oil and natural gas for the rest of this century, and probably well past when all of us on Earth now are dead and gone. But we can streamline, mix and match, and lean out our consumption to the point that we are able to choose among options, and regain market leverage. Despite the pathetic whinings of the Kunstler's of the world, MUCH CAN BE DONE, IF, IF the will is there. BUT THE WILL WILL HAVE TO BE STRONG, AND THE GOAL CLEAR.
We cannot concern ourselves with whether those who produce oil and gas will be made uncomfortable. We have to admit (at least to each other) that our goal is clear: We are out to break the spine of the fossil fuel producers, to break thier will, to retake power from them. There is no other way for any real alternative to succeed. Do we have to do it? Probably, but maybe not...we can accept slavery, to live at the option of the fossil fuel providers, obeying them out of fear of being "cut off. Or we can begin, in a thousand small ways, to pursue DESTINY, the destiny of our age, the DESTINY our children deserve....and that is not as serfs to the energy providers, and it is certainly not as yeomen serfs behind the ass of an ox or mule back on the farm. We, and our young must state clearly, THAT IS NOT A CHOICE, NOT A ROMANTIC OPTION OF "POWERDOWN". That is surrender. Many would choose a fight to the death before willingly accepting such a degradation of a once great culture. Death will come anyway, but DESTINY does not. It must be chosen. For many, if, as our Senators at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources' hearing into “The Geopolitics of Oil.” seem to be saying, the battle is to break them or be broken, it must be said, we have the methods, the science, the technical skills, the shops, the ingenuity and a still huge reserve of home materials: If we assume the adversary's goal is to break us, WE CAN BREAK THIER SPINE before they have the chance to break ours IF WE CHOOSE.

Roger Conner Jr. known to you as ThatsItImout

Very nice rant. Are we talking flat out war here? Breaking spines?

I don't think we got all you say we got. You just said in your previous rant that its all gone. Did you not? All the technical, science,industry(the shops) etc? And that huge reserve of materials? That which we buy from the Chinese? All that cheesy plastic trash?
With this we can break spines? We can't leave Oprah and Dr. Phil except to get another chocolate waterfall or 20 oz flavored Starbucks.
Can you say Decadence? Fools? Casino addicted gambling pinheads? Ill taught, ill trained, tv bred and raised ,twitchgame playing,Ipod enthralled, rockfaced, metallaced,tattooed spoiled brat children/young people whose clothing drags the ground behind them as they endless stroll the malls in search of who knows what? Whose music breaks eardrums and the lyrics can't be far beyond basic monkey grunts.

We are led by fools. Fools us fools elected.We watched as oral sex acts were carried out in our White House. What did we expect then?
We were entertained by trying to figure out what IS IS. It kept us busy for days and days. We watched enthralled as a throat slasher laughed in our faces in the court rooms and then wanted to make it a best seller as he chortled in our faces over getting by with it.
We watched as a nation stuck cheesy little flags everywhere and then turned their eyes as the flags fell off into the mud and fell tattered to the ground. Those ubiquitous phony yellow ribbons? Thats some real serious depth of feeling there boys. Support our troops? They eat MREs that are way past the expiration date and beg for a care package of ANYTHING since they don't have anything(told this the other day by a grunt who was burned beyond recognition and yet lived..down in Ft. Campbell near to here where he's trying to put his life back together)

I think Putin has us by the gonads. He is getting ready to apply pressure. I see nothing but massive whining ahead and hand wringing as well.

I think , if I am lucky, I will be smelling those mule farts once more behind a walking plow. If unlucky the coyotes gnaw my bones out on the patio.

We have a national spine? Show me. Everything this member of Class of '57 sees it spinelessness fer as the eyeball can see.

I am on dialup as well. Sometimes I get up to 32kbps. I love a good rant.

Thanks for the rant. I liked it very much.

Two words: Pride. Toil.

Replaced by: Shop. Borrow.


What you appear to be calling for is an end to laissez faire government, which is fine and probably just what is needed, but it spells the end of the period of Globalisation. Again, probably just what is needed, but it is a radical departure from modern US government and big C capitalism.

Come the "shock," those things you are calling for may just happen on a grand scale, but the US will not be the only nation that is shocked, and the kind of shock and subsequent government intervention you are calling for will be felt by other countries along with its accompanied financial shock.

There is a country to the north of you that is one of those energy exporting nations, and already has a pretty good energy storage system (and abundant asphalt supplies), mother nature itself.

You are calling for government to get involved and pay attention to long term national interest, at home instead of abroad. Before Canada lets the US build giant bunkers to store Canadian petroleum resources, it may also decide to review trade agreements and what is in its long term national interest. A shock is a shock.

Disneyworld's Splash Mountain may be the perfect metaphore for America (including Canada) and Globalisation. All calm, serene, and music filled until just before the end, with a steep, scary descent and a wet ending.

All calm, serene, and music filled until just before the end, with a steep, scary descent and a wet ending.

calm & serene? i think not. there's plenty of loud warning signs all around - it is just that the signs are ignored & obfuscated. perhaps the politicians are ready to remove the earmuffs and start dealing with the reality of global warming & oil depletion, to name two

"Of course, I maintain that there is a broad range of actions we could take in the US that would constitute an intelligent response to this Long Emergency of climate change and oil depletion. The most important thing we could do at the moment is to stop debating about all the different "innovative" ways to run our cars, and come to grips with the fact that we have to leave the happy motoring era behind us, period."
Kunstler, Clusterfuck Nation, Jan 8, 2007.

I think you and JHK have a bit more in common than you seem to realize; you both recognize that there's quite a bit to be done to mitigate these events, but you are seeming to say what JHK spends quite a bit of time on: the American public is not going to do these things, for whatever reason (Kunstler says it's because we're wicked and decadent, and you say it's the misleading evil government or whatever). So, the "pathetic whining" thing might be a little misplaced, IMO.

> string of nuclear reactors, some 24 to 48 of them, to insure the continuation of baseline power and the grid system, built by contractors but under the operation of a TVA like authority.

A small start. But is more complex that you might have considered. For one sites for new plants need to be carefully decided. Ideal sites are near by large demand loads to limit load on long distance power lines and loss of energy due to resistance. The area also need access to water for cooling and the ground should have bedrock and avoid being placed on falt lines. I suspect that it make take a decade to locate and construct new plants. NIMBY is going to be a huge factors since most greenies are also anti-nuclear. We also need to consider there are many existing nuke plants that are near the end of thier operating lifes and will need to be replaced. I suspect that the first 20+ new reactors would just offset aging reactors than need to be decommissioned soon.

>waste disposal to be handled by dilution and burial in low density in the uranium mines from which the uranium originally came.

This is a bad idea. The issue is that the mine tailings are water permable which will result in ground water containimation. Before it was mined the metals were locked in low permable rock.

A better idea would be to reprocess spent fuel rods and lock waste material using molten glass. Currently the waste to be stored in Yucca is not encapsulated in glass for true perminate storage because many feel that we will need to recover and recycle the spent fuel as the availablity of Uranium ore declines.

>. Massive funding of a real carbon sequestering program for America's remaining coal fired generators.

You can't sequerster CO2 from the majority of existing coal plants. To sequester carbon from coal, you would need to build new (and expensive) plants that burn coal indirectly to produce syngas (water gas) which permits the containment and capture of CO2. By a large majority, existing Coal plants are water tubed pulverized coal plants, which CO2 cannot be captured from.

We would also need to construct a large number of syngas plants to replace natural gas as it becomes depleted for business and residental use. Solar can't heat a high rise apt. or office building using its own land/space foot print.

>Orders to all American utilities to expedite the allowance of distributed generation using thin film solar PV, thermal solar electric farms, wind, and small methane recapturing generators. Methane recapture on a national scale from agriculture waste, sewers, landfills.

Thin Film solar PV is a bad idea. For one it has the lowest energy return on all of the renewable energy sources. Plus production of semiconductors creates a lot of pollution (especially water pollution) and also requires lots of energy. Direct solar energy (PV, thermal) is a bad idea for electrical generation since in the US there is only about of 5.5 hours a day of good sunlight to generate energy, where as wind, geothermal and hydro can easly produce beyond 10 hours a day. Using Solar for domestic hot water and active solar heating for homes and business is a good use of direct solar energy use.

Methane capture is already being done where its economical, althought it usually justs offsets the costs of operating sewage treatment systems (there usually is no true net energy gain, but avoids it from becoming an energy sink)

>. Immediate tax benefits to new autos based on fuel consumption. Set standard testing program, and higher mileage cars and trucks would be rebated yearly tax paid on property tax on vehicle, and registration fee.

Wrong direction in my opinion. It would be better to work towards eliminating personal transportation, and investing in heavy rail to eliminate the need for long haul trucking. Trucking should be reduced to providing local delivery.

>Tax benefit, and a BIG ONE on plug hybrid type autos that shift the local baseline burden of driving to the electric grid.

Hybrids aren't the solution either. For one, no one discussed the potential issues with recycling batteries, not to mention the limited supply of raw materials for Lithium batteries. Cars equipped with low HP engines that use Direct Gasoline Injection and operate at higher temperature would be far more efficient than hybrids. Remember that hybrids carry heavy batteries and electric motors and have energy conversions losses (ie mechanical to electric to mechanical).

Also the electric grid could never support tens of millions of hybrids (for overnight charging). Yes currently there is surplus electricity at night, just like there is a small surplus of cooking oil for biodiesel. It is by no means capable of meeting the energy demands on a national scale. Today we probably consume 50 times the amount of energy burning chemical fuels in transportation as we do generating electricity. A 100 Hp car produces about 750 KW of energy. The average home uses less than 5KW in electricity. Charging just a dozen or two plugin cars on a street would probably be enough exceed the current capacity of the street's distribution wires and transformers.

>Optioning of U.S. and Canadian oil and gas, with long term contracts, locked in prices, and development agreements. STABILIZE the North American market. Storage arbitrage agreements on nat gas and propane, so that storage can be built.

This is kind of pointless since Canada probably has less then a decade of reserves remaining. Consumption and wasteful use of oil and gas needs to be eliminated first.

>By case hardening, we mean that it would be made "hard" or "armored" against the threat of disruption, it would be made redundent, with reduction of risks of technical failure

This is a pipe dream. Its impossible because an two bit kid can bring down the national grid in less than half a day. I am not going to describe how to do it, on the grounds I like having electricity delivered to me every day and I don't want to give any wackos any ideas.

The number one issue you failed to mention with trumps over all these ideas is to secure the food supply. All the rest is worthless unless this can be gaurenteed.

1. Construct an alternative supply of fresh water to replaced the mid-west aquifiers which are rapidly being depleted. No water no crops! This should be priority number one and we should have started on this years ago!

2. Stop urbanal sprawl on prime fertial farm land. As the supplies of gas and oil deplent we will need to dramatically increase the amount of land to grow crops since crop yields will fall without significant use of fertializers and pesticides.

3. Subsidized plants that can produce fertializers and pesticides in the US. Virtually all of our fertializer is now imported because all of the plants in the US shutdown because of the high cost of natural gas. These plants and the workers that know how to run them are of national security.

4. R&D research on crops that can self-fertialized (ie Legumes) and that are disease resistant, and hardened against droughts and abnormal temperatures.

Today we probably consume 50 times the amount of energy burning chemical fuels in transportation as we do generating electricity.

The way I read:


electricity and tranportation are roughly equal.

"Thin Film solar PV is a bad idea. For one it has the lowest energy return on all of the renewable energy sources. Plus production of semiconductors..."

I thought that one big benefit of "thin film" was eliminating (crystalline) semiconductors?

Thin Film solar PV is a bad idea.

Do you have linmks to back up this claim?

For one it has the lowest energy return on all of the renewable energy sources.

Sources please.

Plus production of semiconductors creates a lot of pollution (especially water pollution) and also requires lots of energy.

VS what other energy 'sources'?

Oil extraction uses water. Growing corn can use alot of water. Dams hold back alot of water. Getting coal out of the ground takes 'lots of energy' and setting up Fission can get your nation bombed...not exactly 'light on the energy use.'

To say 'water is used' and 'takes energy' is not a useful statement unless you hage some comparisons. So show us some.

Direct solar energy (PV, thermal) is a bad idea for electrical generation since in the US there is only about of 5.5 hours a day of good sunlight to generate energy,

Oh gosh. Now you don't like photons because they are only about for '5.5 hours'. What do you suggest? Invading other lands to get the photons not falling on America? (Thus the sun would never set on American Empire!)

It is almost like you have a belief that electrical power should be 24X7X365 and can't imagine a world living within an energy budget. Where photons might just be a big part of that budget.

To bring it back to 'oil'
Is it OK to rely on 60% (or more) imported oil?

3. Subsidized plants that can produce fertializers and pesticides in the US. Virtually all of our fertializer is now imported because all of the plants in the US shutdown because of the high cost of natural gas. These plants and the workers that know how to run them are of national security.

VS using organic weed control and compost.

Now where in this plan of yours is the fuel to run the machinery to spread the chemicals going to come from? And what happens to this grand plan when the natural gas runs out?

I hope that the senators catch on to the central issue responsible for the present mess. It is the Private investors. Demanding or suggesting that national companies need to allow them in on energy deals in the energy industry is completely missing the point. It is precisely the skewed investment into production that is the problem.

Production has been such a easy game to play for such a long time
that it has left the US and others far away from investing in alternate energy technologies. The trend started in the
80's and has STILL not been reversed.

I would suggest that the senators should concentrate how to break this grip in investing mainly in highways, expanded air travel, greater reliance on the motor vehicle and start to look into how to ween the consumer from oil and gas as much as POSSIBLE. The consumer is not going to take the lead since the the energy costs
have for such a long time been extremely low and in no way reflected the nonrenewable nature of HC.

What Putin, Chavez, Morales, Chines are doing is obvious. They are looking after their own interests. Why should it be otherwise? To bind ourselves to these players is sheer stupidity. What is needed is another Manhattan Project to "kick the habit"

STORMY I think that you have hit a home run there with your comments. Globalisation is the ill in the US, not lack of cheap oil. Bravo to you.

Wow ThatsItImout . That EIA chart is REALLY scary.

If someone believes that and spreads that to body politics of the US than "Houston we have a problem". That is not good.

No wonder people are confused. OR perhaps that is the desired effect :-(

Word DOC files (including charts) of the contributors are available at:




This a great site and a solid article. Glad I found you on the web. There's little coverage in the mainstream media about the stirrings of the long-hibernating Russian Bear.

FYI - Tuesday was the 106th anniversary of the discovery of oil at Spindletop, an event that marked the birth of Big Oil in America. I've written a short piece about this event, and invite comments from folks here at The Oil Drum.



Steve Melito

Yesterday Westexas said, "Connect the dots." There are a few dots that are concerning me.

Did the President Declare "Secret War" Against Syria and Iran?

Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.

The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country.

Pentagon abandons active-duty time limit

As part of Bush's plan for boosting U.S. troop strength in Iraq, a brigade of National Guard soldiers from Minnesota will have its yearlong tour in Iraq extended by 125 days, to the end of July, and a Patriot missile battalion will be sent to the Persian Gulf next month, the Army said Thursday. (emphasis added)

Maj. Randy Taylor, a spokesman for the 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, at Fort Bliss, Texas, said the Patriot unit was aware of the announced deployment. He said no formal order had been received Thursday.

The dispatching of a Patriot missile battery, capable of defending against shorter-range ballistic missile attacks, appeared linked to Bush's announcement Wednesday that he ordered an aircraft carrier strike group to the Middle East, which would be in easy reach of Iran, whose nuclear program is a U.S. concern.

The former is a rumour, the latter a fact that helps fuel the rumour. I don't like the rumour or the facts one little bit. I'm not a doomer, honestly, but I don't like all the provocation and adventurism either. I understand I'm supported in this view by the majority of Americans these days. After the last election, news like this (just the latter factual article) must be extremely demoralizing.

Take a look at these two about the "Secret" message in Bush's speech.

The "Surge" Is A Red Herring

Why is Bush telling these lies? Here is the answer: Bush says, "We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria . And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq ."

In those words, Bush states perfectly clearly that victory in Iraq requires US forces to attack Iran and Syria . Moreover, Bush says, "We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East . I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region."



Still One More Card to Play

Now, any networks providing "advanced weaponry and training" to jihadists and insurgents are outside Iraq . Otherwise, they would have been neutralized by air strikes already.

So, where are they? Answer: inside Syria and Iran . And Bush says we are going to "seek out and destroy" these networks.

Which suggests to this writer that, while the "surge" is modest, Bush has in mind a different kind of escalation -- widening the war by attacking the source of instability in the region: Tehran .

"I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region," said Bush. "We will deploy ... Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies."

But there is no need for more carrier-based fighter-bombers in Iraq . And the insurgents have no missiles against which anyone would need Patriot missiles to defend. You only need Patriots if your target country has missiles with which to retaliate against you.



Re: Connect the Dots

As I noted yesterday, I estimate that net oil exports by the top three net oil exporters may be down in 2/07 by as much as 2.5 mbpd, from the 2005 level.

One thing that I found interesting is that US oil imports in the fourth quarter were falling while Chinese oil imports were going up.

And as we have all noted, we are seeing a substantial deployment of increased US air, land and sea forces to the Middle East as part of what looks like a general mobilization of all available forces.

Nope. Nothing to be concerned about here. Continue with your business.

Oh Boy! Custers last stand?

I think that this session/video is VERY significant.

If anyone out there remembers the Firesign Theater's comedy sketch of "Beat the Reaper", we are at the point when the people in the TV studio were starting to whisper "Plague, the Plague" a little louder and louder.

It has not hit OUTSIDE the TV studio yet(following the comparision), BUT the people INSIDE, have got the message(finally), and in a little while more people on the street will be shouting it too.

VERY important session I think.

Goldman Sachs was there, the CFR was there, the Movers and Shakers were there and got the message.

"The Plague, The Plague"

(How do I get out of Turkey now that I have learned my first three words in Turkish?).

Sorry for the Firesign Theater reference but it seemed right to me.


... this session/video is VERY significant.

Confession: I did not have the patience to watch through the full 2 Hours.

Stepping back, this is what I see.

Not a mahagony-paneled "Hearing" room filled with noble US Senators,

but rather a cage,
in an echo room,
filled with frantic monkeys,
playing a game of catch
with each other.
Tossing a new form of ...
monkey poo at each other,
a form they call:
"evil axis of producers".

Some of the other fun balls of poo they toss at each other go by the names of "national security" and "geopolitics" and "stuff". I liked the guy with the red tie and blue shirt who threw "stuff" around. He was very impressive.

As you hear the plopping sounds from this new "AXIS of evil" stuff, you should step yourself back and remember that once the USA was an evil producer/exporter of oil. Once we were THE AXIS. But that was long ago in a pre-9/11 Universe.

Now we are past peak domestically in the USA and past-peak miltarily throughout the world.

So now we can label the others as being part of the AXIS of EVIL.

And even though we (Americans) are "capitalists" and believe fervently that each owner of "stuff" can do with his stuff as he pleases, spend his political or hydrocarbonecious "capital" as he pleases; suddenly we are not happy that the Soviet's and the Iranians and others are doing with their "stuff" as they please. Suddenly we are no longer "free willy" captalists. It's time to change the rules of the game is what these Senators are saying; now that the old game is not going our way.

The names of the poo plops that change the game are "national security" and "post-9/11". Can't you hear it?

Monkeys in a cage.

Throwing new poo around to see how it feels.

Feels kind of like 1984 all over again. Don't it?

Does anyone have a link to an ipod version? I've not seen this pop up on veideo.google.com yet