DrumBeat: August 11, 2007

Peak Oil Hits the Third World

I've been watching and waiting for these signs for about five years now: Not just high prices and declining exports, but the slowing of commerce, interstate trucking and air travel, food shortages and similar indications.

But the actual feeling of peak oil didn't really hit me until this week, as I perused a page on Jim Kingsdale's excellent Energy Investment Strategies site, listing countries that are currently experiencing serious fuel shortages and grid blackouts.

Here in the first world, we still have the luxury of armchair theorizing about peak oil, and paying a bit more for gasoline, but the third world is actually feeling the pain of peak oil today. Rising oil prices are acting as a regressive worldwide tax, pricing poorer countries right out of the market.

Is Capitalism Sustainable?

Capitalism is a very efficient system of energy extraction, but it provides no incentive to reconcentrate and restore energy to offset entropy. Capitalists have no economic incentive to invest in energy renewal for the benefit of those of future generations. Capitalists reduce waste and pollution or reuse resources only when it is profitable to do so, meaning only when it is in their individual self-interest to do so. Capitalists have incentives to use renewable energy to support current consumption, but not to re-storing energy for future generations. Capitalism inevitably tends toward physical entropy.

Argentina Cuts Natural-Gas Shipments to Chile, Utilities Say

Argentina cut shipments of natural gas to Chile, worsening an energy shortage, according to two Chilean utilities.

Argentina suspended exports by three suppliers of the fuel, Chilean utilities Electroandina SA and Empresa Electrica del Norte Grande SA said in statements posted last night on the Chilean securities regulator's Web site.

The utilities supply power to cities and copper mines in northern Chile. The nation is the world's largest supplier of copper.

Cold snap prompts Chile to seek gas deal with old foe Bolivia

A South American cold snap is causing Chileans to pay up to four times more for heat and electricity, and could spur the government to speed reconciliation with its bitter – but gas-rich – foe, Bolivia, observers say.

Get ready for food-price spike

Donald Coxe has a useful tip for investors. The global portfolio strategist for BMO Financial Group calls it the "Rule of Page Sixteen": Never invest on the basis of a story on Page One of the newspaper, but the one on Page 16 that is destined for page one.

The Page One story of this week was turbulence in the stock markets over concerns about exposure of banks to subprime mortgages and the global credit crunch that led central banks to flood markets with money.

The Page 16 story? Turn to last Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, page C6 actually. Buried inside an earnings round-up is one sentence about Dean Foods Co., the largest milk processor in the United States. Second-quarter profit fell 1.6% due to higher raw milk prices, the story said. What it failed to add was that CEO Greg Engles said Dean is "being challenged by the most stubbornly inflationary dairy markets in history," a global phenomenon that "feels like a perfect storm, and it isn't over."

Oberstar's gas tax may hit some political potholes

Republican Sen. Norm Coleman suggested that addressing the nation's infrastructure is not a question of money, but of making it a priority. "I'm not yet prepared to accept a gas tax increase as the solution," he said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, suggested other remedies first. "We should look at closing lucrative loopholes for the big oil companies and rolling back the Bush tax cuts for people making over $336,000 per year before adding another burden on the middle class," she said.

Bart Anderson on The Reality Report (podcast)

Bart Anderson of Energy Bulletin recaps recent news related to resource depletion, climate change and more.

A flurry of good intentions: Congress tries to green America's power supply

WHEN in doubt about energy policy, build more windmills. That, in short, was the thrust of the energy bill approved by the House of Representatives on August 4th. The legislators disagreed about a proposal to reduce the fuel-thirst of American cars. Surprisingly, they also passed up the opportunity to lavish more subsidies on ethanol. They did not even bother to consider a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gases. But they did give the nod to an amendment that would require utilities to generate 15% of their power from clean sources, such as windmills and solar panels, by 2020.

Africa keeps going despite high oil prices

Record high global oil prices have so far had a muted effect on sub-Saharan Africa, with exporters reaping rewards and importers less badly hit than many had feared.

SUV plant doesn't offer the job security it once did

Michigan Truck is down to one shift and has about 1,400 hourly employees, producing about half of the 1,000 SUVs it made daily back in the good times. Ford has fared about the same, borrowing billions to restructure as gas prices rose and consumers shifted from its SUVs and trucks to more fuel efficient models.

The cost of imported goods rose in July more than expected

Higher crude oil prices were to blame for the rise in the price of goods imported into the United States in July, which suggests inflation may not be in check. July's increase marked the largest gain in the cost of imported goods since March, rising 1.5 percent in July compared to the 0.9 percent increase the prior month.

Nuclear renaissance will deliver challenges

If the "nuclear renaissance" emerges as many energy experts predict, finding the raw materials, components and skills necessary to meet Ontario's nuclear needs could prove tricky, and more expensive than authorities are banking on.

On top of cost, completing such projects on schedule is shaping up to be a logistical nightmare. All Ontario coal plants are scheduled for shutdown by 2014. A number of existing nuclear reactors must be refurbished or replaced over the coming 15 years. Bringing one power plant or reactor online while another goes offline will be a delicate balancing act, made more complicated by the international rush for scarce and increasingly costly resources.

Oil search plans fuel tensions on Cyprus

Tensions on the ethnically partitioned island of Cyprus could come to a head next week with Nicosia's plans to proceed with oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. The internationally-recognized Greek Cypriot government plans to accept applications from interested parties for oil exploration permits for a 70,000-square-kilometre sea area south and south-west of the island until August 16.

Sinopec seeking to build $5bn refinery

Sinopec is in negotiations with Royal Dutch Shell, Kuwait Petroleum and Dow Chemical to build a refinery and petrochemical plant in south China worth at least $5 billion.

Time to move forward to meet India’s energy crunch?

It might appear to be rather too simple a solution to the energy crisis. Could a mere tweak of the hands of the clock, setting it forward by half an hour, significantly lower evening peak electricity demand to save India Rs. 1,000 crore annually?

By setting Indian Standard Time forward six hours ahead of Universal Coordinated Time (now it is five and a half), as much as 16 per cent of the evening peak energy demand would be saved, concludes a research paper published in Current Science.

Dropped out, tuned in and still switched on

A one-time professional hippy now has his own green energy company, an OBE, ambitious plans - and some critics unimpressed by his claims.

McHenry thinks bikes, unlike sexual harassment, voter fraud, and war with Iran, are worth condemning

The energy bill just passed by the House contains a provision that would offer a $20 monthly tax rebate to bicycle commuters. When Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) found out, he took to the floor of the House to deliver this speech...

Fuel inequity: Is your tank taking you for a ride?

Floridians get shorted: Our warm gas packs less punch -- but costs no less than in colder states.

Utility costs hit university

In January, for example, UW received 95 truckloads, each carrying 40 tons of Montana coal. Thus, UW has been susceptible to the price increases for diesel fuel used to transport that coal.

Infinite Energy

Renewable energy to an Icelander is what sleek automotive luxury is to a German: a given. Electricity and water bills are embarrassingly minimal (though it seems only fair that some necessities are cheap when food prices are so high) and that is all thanks to the immense geothermal power plants dotted along the country side.

IEA: Tighter Global Oil Market Awaits if OPEC Sits Tight

The International Energy Agency on Friday kept up its drumbeat for OPEC to lift oil output next month when it meets, warning that world oil demand is likely to outpace supply this winter and that this gap will only widen if the producer group decides not to raise crude production.

The warning by the IEA, in its monthly oil market report, implies that consumers could see higher energy prices if global economic growth continues apace and the U.S., Europe and Asia see normal winter weather,as expected.

The Paris-based IEA,which monitors energy markets on behalf of the world's 26 most industrialized nations, said inadequate oil supplies amid steady oil demand posed unwanted risks to the world economy at a time of volatile swings in global equity and bond markets caused by investor concerns over the fallout of the U.S. credit downturn.

"The last thing the global economy needs is higher oil prices. Undersupplying the market in this context could bear considerable risks," the IEA said.

Iran, Iraq sign oil pipeline deal

Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to build pipelines for the transfer of Iraqi crude oil and oil products, the state-run Iran news network Saturday quoted the oil ministry as announcing.

The 32-inch (81-centimetre) pipeline will bring crude from the southern Iraqi port of Basra to the southwestern Iranian port of Abadan. There will be a separately 16-inch one for oil products.

Nigerian President Removes Head of State Oil Co.

Nigerian president Umaru Yar'Adua has dismissed the managing director of state-owned oil company the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. Nigerian national newspaper The Daily Sun reports Friday.

Funso Kupolokun's responsibilities will be taken on by the next most senior executive in the organization, Abubakar Yar'Adua, no relation to the president, the paper writes.

The Daily Sun learned that Kupolokun had been under fire over a scam involving 71 recent contracts said to have been executed at the twilight of the Obasanjo regime.

Jeremy Leggett: Weapon of choice

We are mobilising for war against global warming and peak oil and we need to arm ourselves with photovoltaic technology.

Arctic sea ice 'lowest in recorded history': scientist

Sea ice in the northern hemisphere has plunged to the lowest levels ever measured, a US Arctic specialist said Friday, adding that it was likely part of the long-term trend of polar ice melt driven by global warming.

What is Fraud?

Ok, it's time for a little truth telling. We all know what the scam was. Interest rates were at their lowest ever. There was no place else for interest rates to go but up. Thus, the creation of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. How much you pay goes up with interest rates. Sold to consumers as good deals as, if interest rates go down, so does the amount you pay. No where down for interest rates to go, only up. Misrepresentation? You Bet'cha. Now lets spend billions on television advertising to not only sell loans to people looking to buy a house(a very small percentage), but lets talk everyone into refinancing, taking out second mortgages, move that fixed mortgage into an adjustable rate one, money to spend on anything. Let's even make it sound Hip and call it ReFi. Oh, let's not forget the credit cards, they can get in on the adjustable rate thing too. How many billions of 'preapproved' credit card applications were mailed out? Low starting rate, no interest for six months, ADJUSTABLE. Whenever, Wherever. Just read the fine print. Questionable business practice? You Bet'cha. You've noticed I've not said the word FRAUD yet. Oh, but this is only the beginning. Can't hold on to these loans, as soon as interest rates go up, they won't be able to pay. So, repackage them as financial instruments and sell them to pensions and hedge funds. Make a tidy profit and push these bad loans into someone else's lap. HIGH YIELD! Those Pension Funds were hurt bad last time around, barely standing on one leg. They need to recoup those losses. Suck(er) them in with promises of high return. Now add in synergy. If now everyone can afford to buy a house, real estate values go through the roof. People are paying prices far far higher than before all this started. Inflated valuations means booked assets are inflated, meaning more money can be borrowed against those assets. And the Bubble grows.


Intentional misrepresentation or concealment of information in order to deceive or mislead. It is illegal.

fraud (frôd)
A deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain.


Intentionally deceiving another person and causing her to suffer a loss. Fraud includes lies and half-truths, such as selling a lemon and claiming "she runs like a dream."


Fed Coughs Up Twice(actually 3 times) on Friday, IMF Shows Concern


FTSE 100 loses 75bn Pounds in 2 days - New Diet Craze

"Tom Hougaard, chief market strategist at City Index, said: "This is absolutely unprecedented. In the last 15 minutes of trading we dropped 50 points. That's serious 'Get me out, I don't want to be in this any more, I'm scared'."


"The fundamentals supporting strong global growth remain in place," says IMF in your BBC reference.

What "fundamentals" are they talking about? Ability of central banks to print money, the endless supply of natural resources worldwide, or billions of people willing to work for starvation wages?

Do we have convincing arguments linking the financial crisis to resource exhaustion (eg oil)? That would be Tainter's argument wouldn't it? Though it wouldn't apply only to sub-prime housing, but to infrastructure, military, education, industry, food and all other aspects of society.

cfm in Gray, ME

What "fundamentals" are they talking about? Ability of central banks to print money,....

Small caveat here. Banks, central or otherwise, do not print money. Banks do create money by loaning out money they have on deposit, which is deposited back into the banks and more money is created by loaning out that money and so on.

However banks lose this ability to create money as loans are recalled or defaulted on. These are the fundamentals! The money supply moves up and down, driven by the credit market and other things.

I know you may have meant banks create money when you said they print money. But this phrase has been repeated so many times that a lot of people actually believe that banks have a printing press in the back room where they print money. This is a dangerous myth that does not need to be perpetuated.

The vast majority of money in circulation does not exist in any form of print. It is only a ledger entry, or computer entry, on the banks books. And that is just another great misuse the word "print".

Only the US Treasurer can print money and they do it only when old worn out bills are burned or new money is ordered, and paid for, by the banks.

A little story. I have read that the poor of South Africa and other African countries, mostly blacks, believe that white people, when they run out of money, can simply go to the bank and get some more. The bank, to them, is just a magical place where white people can go to get money on demand. The belief that banks can simply print money, when they need some more, is very similar to this belief.

Ron Patterson

Ron —

Please contact me at dave . aspo @ gmail . com

You've been tracking EIA projections, I think, and I'd like to see whatever data you have. Dick Lawrence recommended that I contact you.

Thanks, Dave

True that the central banks generally don't "print" money to increase money supply, but they buy treasury and mortgage securities from other banks using electronic money created out of thin air in a process known as monetization of debt.

Yes, that was my point all along. Banks create money from debt, they do not print money. And money created by monetization is a little like the "will of the wisp". Just as it was created out of thin air it can disappear the same way. Printed money does not disappear. It may inflate but it never just goes away.

Since October 1, 1877, all U.S. currency has been printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which started out as a six person operation using steam powered presses in the basement of the Department of Treasury. Now, 2,300 Bureau employees occupy twenty-five acres of floor space in two Washington, D.C. buildings. The Treasury also operates a satellite printing plant in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Ron Patterson

"monetization of debt"

During times like this when the Fed is temporarily (again, temporarily) exchanging cash for debt, it is highly unlikely that the cash will be re-leveraged by the bank that receives it -- see "repurchase agreement" on wikipedia. Secondly, the debt in question still requires interest payments to be made.


What struck me when I read this was the expectation the average American has that "government daddy" should protect us and hold us from harm caused by our own stupidity, and if we do get harmed, he should make it right and punish the evil perpetrator".

What happened to the idea that in a free country you are free to make your choices, and if you choose badly, then you are free to suffer the consequences?

You can not have it both ways.


Fraud is illegal no matter how stupid your mark is.

Commerce comprises the trading of something of ECONOMIC VALUE such as goods, services, information or money between two or more entities.

For commerce to exist, a reasonable expectation of recieving fair value in the trade is a requisite. Laws against Fraud exist to protect commerce.

Sorry, Cid, but these people took a gamble on greed and lost. That's not fraud. What if interest rates had stayed low? They did in Japan for just about long enough to pay a 20 year mortgage.

Move on, nothing to see, no fraud here. It says 'Adjustable Rate Mortgage' and even has an acronym, ARM, to make it official. You weren't forced to buy dotcom stocks either, any more than the crap for only $19.95 on late night TV. These mortgage 'instruments' were not misrepresented, and anyone not capable or willing to read the fine print should take said fine print to someone who can.

As for institutions, they should know better.

It doesn't matter how 'greedy' you mark is either.

Predatory practices in the marketplace, with the intention of not delivering fair value, but rather to 'fleece' the other party in the transaction, IS fraud and damaging to the marketplace. As I said, Commerce is DEPENDENT on the reasonable expectation of recieving fair value in a transaction. Without Trade, there is only TAKING, by deception or force.

But herein lies another issue. Perhaps those that gambled on greed lost get what they deserve, but here I am, one with good credit and sound finances living in a community where X # of people are now defaulting on loans of various kinds.

My neighborhood will suffer (houses remain empty - property values decline, attract crime; less property taxes are paid - schools and cities become cash-strapped; desperate people start committing random acts of thievery from families that have their houses).

So to say that this will only hurt those that deserve it is naive.

It is a whole societal spirit, the idea of growing value in the free market (how exactly that works people don’t question), poor mathematical education (ARMS should scare low income ppl to death), and a kind of peculiar subservience to ‘experts’ - experts know a ‘good deal’ when they see it and are honest (err..the good deal is for them..), etc. Still, if that is the way the world works, you have to go with the flow...if many are doing the same thing...etc. That is also tied to a feeling of entitlement or immunity, not personal I guess (“The Gvmt. will bail me out”, obviously in the US it will not, see Katrina, or its perception in the public) but to belief that the society works, is fundamentally sane and fair, built on proper principles, laws, regulations, interactions. Its Amerika (or another country, or my powerful bank...), it can’t be bad, or: its OK with me. Say.

It is fraud in a way. Not actionable: contracts signed. After, many others are hit.

The US, contrary to some other countries, does not enact laws or follow principles that might protect the poor or lower middle from screwing themselves over. That is part of its attraction.

In my mind, it is not fraud that can be tried in court. It is piss-poor governance that can be tried at the hands of the populace.

except that the populace was complicit every step of the way. In my mind, the huge decade long run-up in real-estate values corrupted further an industry already accustomed to the nudge and the wink. "We need to have this appraisal come in around..." "what we'd like to see in this home-inspection is..." "what the mortgage company is looking for on your statement of net worth is..." ALL Americans who have gone through process of buying real estate know that process is abetted by an army of smarmy, oily, materialistic operators for whom every regulation has a 'work-around'. 'Creative financing' was just the logical next step for a public intent on keeping the carousel spinning around. A majority of us have benefited from it, willingly or not.

sldulin, I agree that much of the real estate biz is based on getting away with something. I personally know people here in Miami who "bought" several properties no money down and interest only because they never intended to keep the property; they fully intended to turn around and sell it to "the greater fool". They would yack at me about "leverage" and how they could make a ton of money for a few hours work and derided me for saying the situation scared me. Now that they turned out to be the greater fool they are crying "foul"! These "flippers" knew what they were getting into but they let emotion (greed) cloud their reason. They sure as hell had no intention of sharing their easy profit with me, so I sure as hell have no intention of subsidising their loss.

The last time I bought a house, the lender was obligated to provide me with a one page disclosure in plain English, I seem to recall it was called "the HUD disclosure" although my lender was a regular bank. My point is there is already dislosure; people need to read it and heed it.

Who said the famous saw: "You can't cheat an honest man"?

Cid, regarding fraud in a capitalist marketplace: the whole economic system is a con. Selling a plasma TV to anyone on credit this deep into peak oil is a fraud. Selling treasury bonds to pension funds is a fraud. "Hedonic adjustments" and excluding food and energy from the CPI to hold down Soc Sec cost-of-living increases is fraud. Welcome to Earth.

Errol in Miami


You focus on the important point. Those that wish to take on a lot of risk in investing should be able to in a free market. Those of us who are uncomfortable with investments in essentially pyramid schemes should have the assurance that if risky investments are proven wrong those people lose their assets. This is a true free market - rewards for risk but also rewards for conservative behavior.

The problem I see now is that those that pushed the envelope on risk want to be protected from the fallout. They want to change the rules in the middle of the game - now that the game is punishing their behavior. They want a safety net to protect their risky behavior. If the market was truly a free market than it would be self correcting - early on- for extreme risk. Only a very few would "beat the odds" in risky investments. The rest would lose money and it would be a warning to others to be very careful in investing.

My gripe is those of us who have been financial prudent - one might say conservative (laughable for someone often labeled a liberal) - will end up paying those who should learn a lesson about over extending ones self. A FREE market should come with consequences proportional to risk exposure.

The large money players socialize the risk associated with their "investments" and privatize the gain. This is the result of money being more important to an officials election than the overall well being of most voters.
The risk is socialized because when loss is incurred the government steps in to help the market with tax dollars. The gain is not shared during times of plenty.
Hedge fund managers have paid a lower percentage of their income in taxes than their secretarys do and when the investment blows up the government uses the secretaries taxes to cover the bet.

All actions that are immoral are not fraud in the eyes of the court. Sometimes actions that are immoral make people more angry than actions that are against the law. I believe that the only time that Jesus lost his temper was when he started throwing the tables of the 'money changers' on the floor of the temple. Just goes to show how little things have changed.

Noizzette -- good points.

Ithink that we live in an economy, not in a society. Someone posted on this recently.

So people make money. We do not sell each other what we need so that we can be happy. We seduce each other into buying things that will make us more money in terms of a system that only measures success in terms of maximized immediate profits.

The whole system is a scam set up to benefit those at the top at the expense of thoise at the bottom.

Why are so many people unhappy in a world where so much money is sloshing around?

Why do we need so many antidepressants and sleeping pills and booze and cocaine and the like?

Why do we "need" so much stuff?

Cid brought up a superb question, and the answers are complex.

The whole economi/political system has become fraudulent in my opinion. It will be very tough to see any kind of integrity restored.

It is hard to give up addictions. But it can be done. No one needs all that stuff, but the market economy needs people to think they need it, and most people have a low threshold for addiction -- so obviously if you want to make the market economy work you addict people. To oil, to war, to horror of body odor, to grease, to sugar, to salt, to (the idea of) sex, etc.

One by one people can give it up if they want to. At critical mass, when there are more straights than addicts, the world will change. No one will have done it.


"You cannot have it both ways."

You've set up a false dichotomy. "Free country" does not mean that there is no such thing as fraud.

Perhaps you intend to imply that too many people are not responsible or well-educated enough to make economic choices regarding their own lives.

I agree with that, but also believe that this is exactly the way that we've set things up to work. Our country seems to me to be not so free, and inducements are in place to fatten common folk like sheep for the slaughter.

That is my impression: wage-slavery and debt-slavery is the lot in life for the masses, as long as they are useful in keeping the Military-Industrial Complex going for a bit longer.

My kids in school can stumble around with a variety of topics, but I would think that personal finance and business math courses would be available in high school.

I know high school students who are interested in such topics, but they cannot get such curriculum at all.

One also has to work hard to find curriculum related to energy topics.

Sure, there are some corporatized options out there for science teachers that basically teach students to trust the megacorporations to deal with problems of pollution and resource depletion, but what I've seen is pretty thin and shallow.

Much of the public school curriculum is designed to churn out compliant consumers, not well-informed, critiallly-thinking citizens.

I do know teachers who inject their classes with good stuff. Our high school's chemistry teacher made the students write papers on energy and peak oil just to get them thinking about the real world. The geography teacher also assigned reports on mapping where energy comes from and that sort of thing. But these were individual initiatives from teachers who care enough to go far above and beyond the usual curriculum.

Back to "economic fraud" -- many of the kids graduating from high school or college believe it when the guy in the corporate suit tells them that they can handle the credit card debt or the wretched ARM Mortgage terms: "just refinance it with a different debt instrument later if it seems to get out of hand. Get a new credit card, a different mortgage, and rest assured that you will get a better job in no time at all."

Sheep being fattened for the slaughter -- see what I mean?

I have said for a long time that when we became 'consumers' and stopped being 'citizens' in the eyes of 'our government' that we were in real trouble...and, here we are. When I was in Jr.HS we had a course titled 'civics' that covered some common economic situations that normal people would face in life as well as government structure, voting, enacting and repealing laws, etc. I know that my daughters were not taught 'civics' in HS. One can only guess why our government wants an ill informed citizenry...lol.

You said it better than I did. Totally agree.

Cid, all the people involved were simply maximising profit, how could that be wrong? It's not only legitimate, it is also the defining principle which makes America the envy of the world. It's unfortunate, very unfortunate, but you must understand that all involved in selflessly working for the better good and happiness of society cannot be responsible for the self inflicted problems of those sub-prime people. They had free will in a free society in a free market, for heavens sake, they must have done it to themselves.

Look, all this conspiracy stuff about financiers scamming the public has to stop, it will undermine confidence in the Country's institutions. You wouldn't want to be seen as unpatriotic now would you.

Mistakes were made, no one disagrees. But, to say that they were deliberate, rather than due to a misguided, albeit, morally defensible policy to have everyone live the American dream cannot be right. Look the Fed have now awoken to the problem, have trust in them, they will sort everything out, so no need to worry. Go shopping, be happy.

Where have those sarcasm tags gone?

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Well said!

So when the Fed prints and pumps 15-30 BILLION dollars into the markets, WHO OWES and has to pay back the 15-30 billion? That's right US us.

30 Billion? that's about 10-12 days borrowing from Foreigners to get it?
(Since we borrow about 2.5 billion per day)

the money injected is temporary.

we (taxpayers) will probably only lose 500-1000 basis points or so for transaction costs i guess.

the fed is artificially propping up the market liquidity, when the markets become liquid again (whenever that may be) they end up rebuying the debt

The FED did not "print" the $30bln., it just loaned it as an emergency liquidity assistance. These loans have to be paid back. Read the explanation downthread.

Of course there is the option for them to create the money out of thin air and just give it to whomever needs to... if this happens we are going to pay the end bill through inflation.

"The FED did not "print" the $30bln., it just loaned..."

I know that LevinK. It was a figure of speech. It was "loaned" into existence. Like nearly ALL our money, little of which is "Printed" into existence. Fractional Reserves, etc.

That wasn't the point of the post. It was even the "Loaned into existence" has to be paid back.

It turns into DEBT.


"Money" ($$$) is something we humans create out of thin air.

No wonder we believe we can pay our way out of any crisis.

There is already a solution to the peak oil problem and it is being implemented right before our eyes. The demand for oil will drop drastically as we enter this economic depression. Peak oil will be not be factor for along time till the world economy recovers.

That's some "solution" alright! Kind of like how the remedy for back pain is to shoot the person. Hey, whaddayaknow, no more pain!

A depression is exactly what I (we?) wanted to avoid. With 20 years lead-time of peak oil preparation, we wouldn't need to suffer the depression that we know have coming. And if we start right now, we don't have to suffer the nearly catastrophic civilizational collapse that we have coming if we keep our heads up our asses for another 5 years.

This financial instability is not a "good" sign that things are "working themselves out." Well, things are working themselves out, alright. They were bound to do so eventually IN SOME WAY. It's just that this way that we are going to experience isn't going to be very comfortable for most people...and the truly tragic part is that ALL OF THIS WAS EASILY PREVENTABLE. A shame....

There seems to be this need in America to try to obtain a mortgage way beyond one's ability to pay it back. It is based on the belief that perpetually rising house prices will always allow one to flip the property if things go bad. In Colorado, we even had a guy in prison with no resources who managed to buy 3 houses with one of these no questions asked mortgaged. He was able to flip those houses from prison.

The music is stopped and now people want to be bailed out -- not just the mortgagees but those who either offered these loans or those who sliced and diced these into securities.

If there is a bailout, it will happen because now some of the big boys are beginning to suffer. This whole outrage is wrecking the stock market and threatens to wreck the economy. Even those of us on the sidelines who exercised prudence all these years when buying our houses will suffer because of the apparent God given right to credit without income.

What a country.

Cottage Idea Nights

Cottage Idea Nights offers cooling refreshments and insights into the creation of the Cottage Living Idea Home. Tickets to the weekly Wednesday series are $15/person and cover talks, refreshments and tours of the Idea Home.

[Idea Home is modular home adapted to New Orleans by Cottage Living magazine, my guess in 900 sq ft range]

Talks start at 5 p.m.

Meet at 4505 Camp St. [New Orleans, about 2 miles from my home].

August 15: R. Stephanie Bruno (PRC Modular LLC). The Idea House project manager talks about shotgun floor plans and how they can be adapted to contemporary lifestyles.

August 22: Brian Sublette (Daly-Sublette Landscape Architects). The co-founder of the Metairie landscape planning group, Sublette explains how he devised the rear and front landscape plans for the Camp Street house.

August 29: Interior design team including Jane Leyens (Holden & Dupuy Interior Design), Matthew Thompson (Silvarum), and Bryan Batt (Hazelnut).

Leyens describes selecting the furnishings and design scheme for the Idea Home’s interior. Thompson talks about design and fabrication of built in book cases and pantry. And Batt explains the story behind the New Orleans Toile featured in the upstairs study.

Home open for tours July 12 – September 3

11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday & Saturday

1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sundays ; admission $10

Call 581-7032 for more information.

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Hopefully it is also on wheels. Next Cat 5 hurricane I'm sure it will qualify for the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes on the highway outta town.

Seriously though, I think of the folks on the Outer Banks (North Carolina). There are the expensive houses, and then other rabble houses. I have no problem with someone putting up a cottage that is disposable but gives years of pleasurable service at the beach and can be replaced.

"The International Energy Agency on Friday kept up its drumbeat for OPEC"

I like Leanan's Drumbeat much better.

Thank you.


I was completely blown away yesterday when I cracked open one of my new textbooks - Quantitative Chemical Analysis by Daniel C. Harris and read in the very beginning of the introduction: "One of the most pressing problems is the need for sources of energy to replace oil. The chart at the right shows that world production of oil per capita has probably already peaked. Oil will play a decreasing rile as an energy source and should be more valuable as a raw material than as a fuel. ..."

I certainly hadn't expected to see peak oil mentioned randomly for at least a few more years. Perhaps this assumption was unwarranted, but when I considered how many people either didn't want to hear about peak oil or would listen and then act like they understood, but seemed to feel that peak oil wouldn't affect them for some reason, that is the conclusion to which I came.

What do you think? I've posed this question before, but it has been a while so I'll pose it again. What is your expected time-line for regular people to comprehend peak oil? Also, I remember hearing, especially from Westexas, that the events of this summer would reveal whether Saudi Arabia had really reached the peak of its production. Is the jury still out, or did I miss them returning a verdict?

Thanks for being here TOD.

A lot of people in the US will learn about Peak Oil at their local gas station. When it's out of gas.

They will assume their powerful government will bring in the quantities of oil that are needed, but the Export Land Model shows this will not be the case.

The government won't come clean about the problems until the situation is at an emergency level. Politicians don't like bad news (otherwise Social Security would have been addressed already).

I'm seeing three factors that could lead to Peak Oil: geologic issues, geopolitical issues, and economic issues.

Economic becomes important given the price of oil production is increasing as we seek out fringe sources such as tar sands.

And the global economy is showing cracks in the foundation (secondary loan market is tightening).

Now then, if I'm the government I will want to keep things moving in the economy. Central banks have two tools, the most common is the central rate. The other is cash injections, which haven't been used much in recent years (9/11 was the last time large injections occurred).

This Wall Street Journal article goes covers global central bank injections in the past TWO days (all values in USD):
- They total over $291 BILLION in TWO days
- $62 billion injected by the US
- $213 billion injected by the European Central Bank
- $1.5 billion by Canada
- $8.39 billion by Japan
- $1.68 billion by the Swiss
- $4.1 billion by Australia
- $0.986 billion by Singapore

From the article regarding other countries: Others said they were prepared to do so if necessary.

Here's the article:

Almost a third of a TRILLION in cash injections in two days. The banks are trying to control lending rates, which are rising higher than the central banks "recommended" rates.

Sounds like an inflation solution to me (lowering central bank rates would also lead to this).

A lot of people in the US will learn about Peak Oil at their local gas station. When it's out of gas.

I'm not so sure about that.

I think a lot of people won't understand peak oil, or won't believe it. They'll blame environmentalists, or Big Oil conspiracies, or evil Arabs, or greedy Chinese, or government incompetence. They won't admit that the party can't go on forever. And they certainly won't blame their own profligate ways.

Understanding the effects is separate from the perceived causes. As you point out, the blame game will be in high gear.

The effects will be most clear at the local filling station, either in the prices or availability.

"Is Capitalism sustainable?"

Yes, if it is severely pruned periodically. Exponential growth in a finite world doesn't work, but you can cut butterfly bushes-- which tend to multiply wildly-- down to the roots every year and keep coming back with a beautiful bush in the same place next spring.

Likewise, the roots of capitalism survive the prunings -- or have since the 15th century or so. Of course, in the 15th century you could just go West if you ran out of resources. I am now living as West as you can go, and there isn't much oil or timber out in the Pacific Ocean. The credit crunch is part of the pruning brought on by loss of cheap oil. The tricky thing for the individual is to try to be a pruner rather than a prunee.

In the end, the main things we are going to lose with the loss of cheap oil is a lot of individual lives in the short run, and in the long run, the future ability to make war on a worldwide scale. Could be better, could be worse. I hope for better.

Absolutely right about how "exponential growth" creates cycles of overshoot and dieoff that "work."

Every yeast cell alive today can trace ancestry back billions of years, so they have been just as "smart" as people at surviving, no? A fish lays 10,000 eggs because 9,999 won't survive. And yet fish survive.

But in your bush analogy there are not "pruner" and "prunee" bushes - there's roots which survive, and the rest which gets pruned.

The tricky thing for the individual is to live in the roots.

"America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting." William S. Burroughs

It looks like people brought greed. I'm not really sure what else "evil" is--

And it looks like the pre-Europeans managed to suppress greed fairly well; after 30,000 years of them there were still trees in the forests and fish in the river when the Europeans arrived. Their decendents (including me) have managed to dispatch all that in less than 500 years.

So Burroughs might be right in a sense -- the POTENTIAL for greed was there from the beginning, but it took a certain group of people to bring it to fruition.

I believe we can learn to do better.

It's hard to prove, but evidence suggests that aboriginal people hunted Australia's megafauna to extinction. So it's not like Europeans are especially bad, as people go.

"America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting." William S. Burroughs

The Maori also started to conquer the neighbouring tribes after the English supplied them with potatoes and guns. They wanted to before, but couldn't.

Goes to show us, I guess. Maybe people are just evil and there is nothing to be done.

Maybe Jesus will come soon.

He don't exist and the predisposition to genocide is within all peoples. Most animals engage in genocide to allow themselves to grow their territory.
Typically none of those animals has had modern medicine. In the rain forest if one ant/insect species becomes a dominant life form there are phage's (or bacterium, can't remember which) which decimate the insect when the density reaches a specific level. This disease is always present in the rain forest soil as a spore, and keeps each insect population down at a competitive level (There is 1 specific phage/bacterium for EACH insect population, really cool when you think about how well that is balanced).

Humans get to put off that disease problem normally, but they are not immune to competition from other humans (warfare).

In the rain forest if one ant/insect species becomes a dominant life form there are phage's (or bacterium, can't remember which) which decimate the insect when the density reaches a specific level. This disease is always present in the rain forest soil as a spore, and keeps each insect population down at a competitive level (There is 1 specific phage/bacterium for EACH insect population, really cool when you think about how well that is balanced).

Fascinating stuff, I hadn't heard of this before. Do you have a reference or article with more details? How do the spores get triggered at a certain population density?

Jesus was tortured to death on demand of his own father. If he hasn't moved out, I'd rather take my chances with another ruling family. Or better, doing something positive myself.

The maori did the conquest to please their families with the loot, after all. Or to show off to the girls, but that leads ultimately to the same goal.

So what do you think? Will "John of Cincinnati" turn out to be an alien robot sent here to explore or a religious reincarnation?

Well, that's not mutually exclusive.. so I take the third option.


When one pruned a peach tree he let light into the middle of the tree and made sure all the producing branches were in the light. The sucker branches growing on the lower trunks and from the roots were pruned out as they got sap but were shaded as not to produce as much fuel/sugar for the tree. If two branches grew into the same space crossing each other, the pruner looked to keep the healthier branch and prune out the scrawny branch. Sometimes the offending branch had sub-branches encroaching on themselves as to not share the sunlight efficiently. By pruning the peach tree the migrant worker was able to contribute towards producing a better peach crop instead of spending more resources to support unhealthy, low producing branches shaded out by dense growth. Pruning was done in the late winter before blossoming when there were idle farm laborers available.

During the harvest time there were incidents when crops ripened everywhere, but there were not enough people to pick them. Large peaches rotted on the ground. The work did not pay much and the entire county needed peaches picked within a two month window of time. The harvest was plentiful but there were not enough workers to do the work. There were people showing up at their jobs for the pay, but not needing to do work.

Living on borrowed money was easy, until payback time.

People will become vaguely aware that there is a problem when it costs them $5/gallon to refuel.

People will become acutely aware that there is a problem when it costs them $10/gallon to refuel.

People will start to understand that ethanol is not the solution at $15/gallon to refuel.

People will start to understand that no longer having a car to refuel IS going to be the solution at $20/gallon.

I suspect that biofuels of one sort or another will be, and remain, considerably cheaper than $10/gallon equivalent.  What we will see is batteries+electricity being a clear winner at $4/gallon or less (dropping as battery technology improves), and liquid fuels only being used for long-range purposes.  (At some point, a battery trailer full of fast-charge cells becomes cheaper than liquid fuel.  This tends to limit the price of liquid fuel until it, like spermaceti for lighting, becomes irrelevant to the market.)

Re: Inflation

Read Mish's take on this.

This question about deflation came up on my blog.

Q: "Ok, I have a question. The hedgies use leverage, make a wrong bet, and owe people money they do not have. The ECB loans out 130 billion spanking brand new dollars (Euros) to pay these people. How exactly is this brand new money deflationary?"

A: For starters there was no brand new money created by these central bank actions. There were, however, huge emergency repos but those are temporary loans. What happened is that banks fearing a need for capital would not lend money to each other like they normally would. This caused overnight rates to shoot sky high.

In the US, the Fed foolishly defends an interest rate target as does the ECB. To defend that interest rate target, repos or reverse repos (draining money) are used to keep the rates where the Fed / ECB wants them. Of course neither the Fed or the ECB has any real idea where interest rates should be and that is one of the reasons we are in the mess we are in.

I've thought about the temporary nature of the repos. What if the central banks have to continue the injections because the "market" side continues to tighten?

The market is setting the funds rate and will continue to do so if things continue to deteriorate. The "fix" on Thursday was good for that day, additional funds were needed the next day to re-stabilize things.

Countrywide and WaMu hit the news on Friday, the crunch is making to the top of the mortgage lender heap. Who is going to purchase all of the debt floating around?

Would a federal funds rate drop even help if the market is setting a higher rate?

The idea is for the Fed to wait until "forced selling" subsides -- which it will do at some point. Then a market price for debt can be established. At that point, if necessary, Fed funds rate drop(s) would mathematically make short term debt securities worth more.

One sign that this will happen soon is that "more senior" debt is trading *below* less senior debt in some cases, so some heretofore conservative investors are going to profit from this wierdness pretty soon.

An indication that a market price is being established is that Bill Gross, manager of the largest bond fund in the world, appeared on CNBC last week and said that he (Pimco) started "wading into" the debt markets last week. I expect Warren Buffet, who laments all the cash that he is sitting on, is a likely buyer fairly soon too.



Here in Oklahoma, 50% of the "regular people" over 18 have not yet learned to flush a toilet. So, I think that they will never "get" peak oil. When it runs out, it will be a Bush/Cheney (or whoever is the current target)and Big Oil conspiracy.

That's why I left. Here in Colorado, the percentage seems a bit higher.

The people of the mid east will get blamed. Iraq is just part of the set-up for placing the blame for depleted oil squarly on the backs of those Arabs and Persians that are hording 'our' oil and 'using up' our oil by purchasing more vehicles every year. No Merkin president or Merkin oil company need have to take blame when there is such a handy villan waiting in the wings.

Mate, you should come to Australia, we haven't got enough water to flush any more. "if it's yellow let it mellow".
So now we have to teach 'im all to stop flushing again. whew!

Funny, but shortly after (re)discovering PO, I recalled that some guy talked to me about oil problems getting serious in the beginning of 21st century. This was ~15 years ago and I am 30. I had also read about it in a couple of publicly available science books.

I think that outside of the US PO will become common knowledge in the next couple of years. Here it will take a little longer, and most likely will not happen before chronic shortages appear. Too much is invested in keeping the various bubbles to go on inflating.

I don't think PO will ever be common knowledge. American PO is a fact 35 years old. British Peak Coal is a fact 95 years old. European Peak Wood is a fact 100s of years old. Many ancient civilizations collapsed from exhausting their resource base. And yet none of these things is common knowledge anywhere today.

Even among anthropologists they were not openly discussed until a few decades ago.

I don't think this sort of thing can ever be common knowledge, because it hurts a society's ability to survive in competition with other societies.

If one tribe irrationally believes in an afterlife, and another doesn't, members of the irrational tribe are better motivated to fight other tribes to death, which helps the tribe's survival.

Similarly, if one tribe irrationally believes in infinite consumption, and another doesn't, members of the irrational tribe are better motivated (and equipped!) to fight other tribes to death, which helps the tribe's survival.

This explains how Europe destroyed most of the world's indigenous peoples, how smelting culture destroyed the great forests of the Mediterranean, and how man destroyed most of the world's large animals.

Ultimately, everyone suffers more than if everyone had been rational, because most men are dead and most resources are depleted. But whoever's left standing lives on to tell their side of the story.

"America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting." William S. Burroughs

Or maybe what you describe is the difference between societies that chose a more peaceful and sustainable path over others which chose uncontrolled expansion but ultimately failed under their own weight.

I hate to use Europe as an example (we have our bads, too many of them) but the rich history of our countries has taught us to approach things with more humility. In many issues like the war with Iraq this has proved to be the correct thing to do in the long term.

Of course there exists the possibility that the expansionist civilisation destroys or subdues the what is percieved "weaker" civilisation completely. But this is very rarely the case (e.g. native indians) and in most cases the "weaker" recovers in the longer term. Maybe in the end, the biggest unfortune of the US empire will turn out to be that native indians were too weak for rivals...

European heads of state were glad to be rid of all the trouble makers and religious radicals that came to America. Some trouble makers were sent to penal colonies, like Australia. The Spaniards that destroyed the indiginous people of S. America, Central America and Mexico were more akin to devils than to Christians. So how would one expect the progeny of riff raff and non-conformists to act? Those people that landed upon Merkin shores were mostly serfs and for many centuries had been starved for land. They fell upon the indigenous people with a vengence and took the land and resources that they coveted. This experiment is only a few hundred years old and is continuing to run...we have yet to see the outcome.


what you describe brings to mind a term i regularly hear.

among the southern chinese the term 'gwai lo' (ghost/devil person) and 'hong mo gwai' (red haired ghost/devil) are colloquial terms generally referring to people of european descent. these terms have been used, i guess at least, since the late 19th century and are still use today particularly among the older generation.

the traditional interpretation has always been that europeans were of fairer complexion and therefore look like 'ghost'.

but knowing about the annexation of china and the colonisation of asia i'd not be surprised that the original meaning of the words were also influenced by the actions of the colonisers.

interestingly this term does not apply solely to the white people. similarly, the japanese are referred to as 'gwai' as well because of their atrocities in asia during ww2.

Raja Udang, I was watching a 'Booknotes' presentation last evening on CSPAN. The author, Peter Navarro, was giving a talk and then open question period about his new book 'The China Wars.' Mr. Navarro was introduced as a professor of economics at UC (Fresno?) or one of the UC satellite colleges. Mr. Navarro said that he had a group of grad students compile a list of 'problems' that China presented for the US. Near the top of the list was the reluctance of China to decouple the Yuan from the dollar. He did not mention what happened to the Japanese economy when the Yen was decoupled from the dollar. Mr. Navarro went on to list the other 'problems' presented to the US by Chinas trade practices and cheap labor. Not once did Mr. Navarro mention that most of the 'problems' presented by China now could be traced back to prior actions by US and other world governments, nor did the author admit that the US has used similar practices with regard to labor and minipulation of other countries economies with similar trade practices...Nor did the author mention the opium wars that were used to pry open access to Chinese markets. Mr. Navarro seemed to present the case for 'American Exceptionalisim,' or 'do as we say, not as we do.' I was generally unimpressed with the author. He seemed to be not totally familiar with his own book which led me to wonder if he wrote it or the grad students wrote it. Mr. Navarro did not answer pointed questions from the listeners present and was not an accomplished speaker. I can only add that I am glad that I dont have to sit through an 'economics' class taught by the good professor and hold out little hope for an educated American population if a professor of economics teaching graduate students economics has so little understanding of the subject.

I remember reading some crap by Orson Scott Card about 'edge' nations and such, anyone? anyone?

The basic premise was that edge nations survive, while center nations are busy conquering each other. Rome, the USA, the old Caliphate, the mongols, Alexander the great, England are all examples of old/current center nations. Conquer your enemies fast, bring their riches to the capital, and then the bureaucrats will steal it all and squander it away.

edge nations exist in harsher lands, and while they may be conquered, their spirit is never broken. The invaders influence will eventually leave and they will be independent again. Furthermore being an edge nation gives them considerable freedom to begin with, because they are not all that useful to the center.

currently USA is a center, with china jockeying for new center status(ask yourself who ELSE could replace china), as we know russia lost already. It will likely be China center Russia edge, and the USA in the middle of the attack (economic in all likelyhood). Europe(+the euro nations) can be though of as edges to the USA, same with Mexico. Not sure about india or brazil.

A fellow named Harold Innis also had this idea:


when the military/industrial culture runs out of cheap energy, it will no longer have a selective advantage; people will die back and the forests will regrow.

I believe that human warfare is one of the planet's ways of recycling carbon. That carbon has been locked underground for eons, and now the plants want it back. I have a theory that all the plant alkaloids that we humans find so attractive (opium, cocaine,etc.) are tools the plant kingdom uses to induce us to dig up their precious carbon so the kingdom can again prosper in a worldwide forest.

You are aware of the 50 million or so year war between grasses & trees ? Agriculture was the greatest boon to grasses and tipped the war dramatically in their favor.


I should have said the AGRICULTURE/Military/Industrial complex. Corn is clearly the front runner, but will suffer like its slave (people) when the oil party is over.

No, No. The war is between the trees

There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.


And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw.

I have an alternative theory:

It is all dinosaurs fault. They intentionally sh*t in the bushes, so that oil is formed, so that humans can dig out FFs back into the atmosphere and bring back the Jurassic climate. After humans die out dinosaurs will be able to come back and reign the Earth again essentially forever.

Good theory, but probably incomplete. Coal preceded oil, however, and the dinosaurs didn't prove clever enough to get it all out before they got trashed by the asteroid.

The plants have a very long term perspective, though, and if people self-destruct, they will bring something else along. From their perspective the carbon belongs in the air, not in the ground.

As a slight aside about dinosaurs and extinction. I remember reading a theory that at some point during an extinction phase, an intelligent predator usually appears. The appearance of the intelligent predator has the effect of accelerating the extinction into its final blow-off.

I often wondered weather that's nature's intended purpose for us, as a kind of catalyst to finish off the cycle. If so, we seem to be doing a great job :(

I suppose one could argue that the oil was left there as a systemic element for this very purpose. At some point its power would be unleashed by something and kick start a cyclical process of change. Intelligence, in this case, being the spark that reduces everything to ashes.

I don't know about a theory, but it would make a good book :)

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

I guess it's more surprising to me that it showed up in an analytical chemistry text. How much did you pay for that tome?

About the author:

Daniel C. Harris is a senior scientist in the Chemistry and Materials Division at the Naval Air Warfare Center at China Lake, Calif., where his specialty is infrared window and dome materials. He holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from MIT and a Ph.D. in chemistry from California Institute of Technology. He is the author of the widely used undergraduate analytical chemistry text, "Quantitative Chemical Analysis" (5th edition, 1998).

He also manages to address global warming early on:


I don't think "regular people" can even really comprehend oil. High gas prices will always be a blame game, and some politician will offer a fix. As far as the Saudi peak, there still exists plausible deniability (or implausible, depending on your tastes).

It was $110 for a used copy in quite good condition. This is the 7th edition, c 2007.
I was also surprised to see an entire page devoted to pictures of the author's grandchildren. And the sentence after the one I quoted was about CO2.

Peak Oil was the reason that I switched to Biochemistry from Transportation Engineering, so I was especially surprised that Peak Oil was mentioned in this text when the closest that the Transportation texts came to peak oil was addressing the gas taxes.

Why don't you contact Alan Drake, our resident transportation engineer/accountant? He's a great guy, and I'm sure he'd love to talk to a student. His email is in the oil drum stuff, or if you will contact me at my email which is Bob Ebersole two thousand and four(numeric) at yahoo.com, all run together and lower case, i'll be happy to get you in touch with him.

Alan is the guy with the electrification of rail program, which is the only mitigation strategy that I think has a chance of quick mitigation success. Electric rail gores nobody's ox except long haul truckers.

Where are you a student? How much time left in school? Are there many other students that are peak oil aware? How did you learn about the concept?

These aren't idle questions. I think that outreach is the most important thing we can do about peak oil, except personal conservation and political advocacy.

Bob , Concerning our discussion on when we will leave Iraq, an interesting article in the New York Times, concerning the front runners in the democratic presidential race all explaining why they just might have to stay in Iraq longer.

Which simply proves the point of those of us labeled "doomers" - that the US corporate/government system, regardless of who is elected, has zero intention of leaving Iraq.

We are in Iraq until the US government as we know it ceases to exist. Those who are determined to vote Democrat will change nothing with their vote except some piddling details. Voting Democrat is as bad as voting Republican. These are two sides of the same corporate coin, bought and paid for with your own tax dollars.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

Oh yes they do -- and they even know the day.

It's the day after oil runs out.

Bob - is it against the rules to type "bobebersole2004@yahoo.com"?

post deleted for redundancy...

I'll reply, just for fun. I am a college student, currently split between environmental science and history/international relations. So far I have met exactly ONE person who was peak-oil aware (and who wasn't one of my friends or family members with whom I had discussed the topic at length many times). And that person wasn't a student at my college, but was instead someone I met at a radical activist community center. No, where I go to school, Iraq is a well-meaning failure, Halliburton is a cherished endowment investment, and the sky is the limit as far as our society's power and wealth are concerned, especially when it comes to our society's elites. Take a wild guess...*sigh*...I've really been disappointed by the degree to which establishment propaganda has a stranglehold over the minds of the young academics here....oh, and I first learned about peak oil in 8th grade while doing research for a paper on the history of energy in the U.S. (a self-selected topic--because I always had a feeling that energy was important to our society--my 8th-grade science fair project involved building my own mini hydroelectric generator, powered by paddles about 6 inches long, and investigating how much energy could be feasibly harvested from household roof runoff and waste water (not very much). One of the articles that I found on Ebscohost made a reference to Kenneth Deffeyes' book "Hubbert's Peak and the Impending World Oil Shortage" and briefly discussed peak oil theory. I was intrigued, but it took me a few years to come back to the topic--eventually, stumbling upon Lifeaftertheoilcrash.com did the trick as far as holding my attention and convincing me of the severity of the problem to enough so that I was eager to read up much more on it.

Jbunt -

Bob didn't write out his email the way you did because, presumably, he doesn't want spam robots to harvest it and deluge him with spam. I didn't reply to yours since then I think you wouldn't be able to hit 'edit' and nuke it, which you probably should do.


Automated bots crawl the web looking for eMail addresses for sale to spammers !

What you just did may spawn thosuands of spam eMails to Bob !


Bob - For what it's worth (and I believe that's something), since coming upon TOD I have introduced Hubbert's peak to my intro international relations classes, and last term hosted a screening of the End of Suburbia. I'm also planning a course on the international politics of biofuels. A colleague in Planning also uses it in class regarding suburbs and transport. The University is certainly a venue for the outreach, and at least a few of us are making an effort to teach the coming decision makers. At least when the crash is upon us they can explain it to their parents...

BTW, I have adopted the following as a signature on my emails to students:

“My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet-plane. His son will ride a camel.”
—Saudi saying

Thanks to PG, and all the drummers. Keep it up.

Regular people will never acknowledge peak oil as long as there is someone to provide a readily digestible lie, whether it is the oil companies fault, OPEC’s hoarding of its’ oil, terrorism, the illuminati - name the scapegoat - and the marching morons will eat it up out of the necessity to believe that humans are something extraordinary in nature and its’ rules do not apply to them. The liars will not be in short supply and will promise everything and provide little if anything other than more excuses. Look at the present evidence for global warming, and the persistent denial that still exists. TOD still has posts, as evidenced yesterday, questioning its’ existence. Among the normal Joes I work with, I work as a carpenter supervisor, few believe that global warming exists, and if it did exist we are not the cause. Will peak oil be any different? I doubt it, because in peak oil’s case there are above ground factors, that is human actions, that can be easily blamed for oil shortages. Russia (insert bad guy here) has plenty of oil, they are just keeping it away from us out of their hate for our freedoms! Or something like that. I must confess to being a doomer as to human behavior - I knew we were screwed back when Ronald Reagan was elected president. I could be wrong, the next president could turn out to be an FDR or a Lincoln, but I don’t have my hopes up.

I could be wrong, the next president could turn out to be an FDR or a Lincoln, but I don’t have my hopes up.

neither were as ground breaking as history claims they were. fdr only provided the bare minimum needed to prevent a popular revolt against the system, most of his new deal stuff helped corporations more then people and he also helped crush labor unions at the time. though he sugar coated it as a needed measure to keep the economy afloat.

Lincoln latched onto slavery as a issue when his side of the war was loosing the political debate of the war(federal power trumps state power). So he tried and succeeded in framing the issues that started the war in a moral light. to put it bluntly slavery was already doomed by that point, cheap fossil fueled machines would soon displace them if he had not half heartedly latched onto the issue.

also to put it bluntly your going to be waiting in vain for a person to meet up with the biased historical views of said people. change at this point in time can't come from within, those who are in have already put in place long ago as measures to stop this. they used them at the time to cement their power. the kind of person your waiting for would either never make it into the system proper(past city level) or if they do they will be shot and thrown off the boat(by finding millions upon millions of dollars being funneled into their opponent's campaign come next election cycle).

he also helped crush labor unions at the time

Oh really? What was the Wagner Act which set up the NLRB, the right to organize and picket about then? Being an attorney who specialized in labor law I find that statement really astounding.

to put it bluntly slavery was already doomed by that point, cheap fossil fueled machines would soon displace them if he had not half heartedly latched onto the issue

Historians beg to differ on this point that slavery could actually have expanded. I’m presently reading a book that references this very point. After Dred Scott all of the territories were fair game for establishing slavery, and probably the Northern states as well. Did Lincoln talk out of both sides of his mouth - sure did! Would he have gotten elected if he didn’t - no! Would you have rather had Stephen Douglass, one of the most corrupt politicians ever to walk the planet in charge? By the way cotton picking machines were not invented until 1920, and not really used until widely until 1950. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_picker And fossil fuel machines sure did replace manual labor in the fields, I guess those Mexicans picking crops must be drinking gasoline.

Who said a leader had to be perfect? I'm looking for competence and the ability to react to crisis. Opinions like yours are the flip side of the idiot who is swayed by demagogues - the person who wants a perfect godlike philosopher king in charge. It’s people like these who vote for third party candidates or stay home on election day and get George W. Bush. No leader is perfect, but some are perfect for their times.

look at the NIRA (national industrial recovery act) and why it failed.
The mexican labor your mentioning is only used for picking the crops.

Your point on the NIRA being? Any chance you remember how many Clinton nominees had to drop out because of having a Mexican maid/nanny? Or have you ever taken the bus very late at night in a very large city and see it crowded with immigrant labor for cleaning the offices and hotels? Or read about the sweatshops filled with Asians? Don’t kid yourself that unless slavery is stopped forcefully that it would not survive or even thrive.

thats wage-slavery. it's a cousin of the slavery that Lincoln is falsely credited to have stopped. It's not slavery because the person is still free, and is not owned like property to the person he owns the debt too. he has freedom in the sense that he can do what he wants as long as he repays his debts. he is only owned in the sense that the system around him is set up that the most obvious way to repay that debt is to go and work for someone for a hourly wage. I know it looks similar but it's not.

The NIRA act was purposed to stabilize prices by setting up codes by the industry and then the government would enforce these codes like they were laws(in return for the federal enforcement they would drop all anti-trust regulation). the NIRA recognized the right of labor to organize and strike, this part was very much ignored when the government enforced the NIRA. Even though the act was repealed two years later and deemed unconstitutional, it had already served it's purpose and further cemented the power of large industry at the expense of everyone else. The Wagner act is not much better. even though it's still on the books, then just as now one has to fight viciously to express the rights it is supposed to guarantee. More often then not labor strikes have been broken up by the government against the people citing excuses of 'allowing it to continue will harm the national economy' etc.

And I thought I was cynical. I don’t know how you determined that the NIRA, a short lived program that the Supreme Court struck down, caused so much malevolent damage to the country. That’s a little like saying Nixon’s wage and price freezes had a permanent effect. Hell, the damage was done way before that. Right now I’m halfway through “age of Betrayal” by Jack Beatty about the gilded age. Of course looking at prior posts you also blame Lincoln for installing corporations as persons (wrong). Still on the books? Dude, that is a term used for a law that has never been used for ages, the Alien Enemies Act of 1789 would be a good example. I may not think the NLRB that is stacked with Bush appointees is very fair, but it is an active body . By the way did you know the NLRB is not bound by precedent, and could reverse decisions at will? Ever walk a picket line? I have, and watched as my fellow brothers in my union resign their membership and cross the picket line to work as scabs. Later on the NLRB filled with Reagan appointees ruled that we had to take them back into the union if they so desired, completely overruling previous rulings.. This is why it is so important to get labor friendly administrations Moreover, although the NLRB is far from perfect, it was a start. What did you expect a full blown socialistic bill that would put members of unions on every corporate board (yes, this is a requirement in Germany) and permit general strikes? If anything you can blame administrations afterwards that never built upon the Wagner Act. Jeeesh!

1. if you read what i typed the main damage of it was to stop the anti-trust legislation that was in the works at the time against some major industry's. ones that might of contributed to the stock market crash.

2. Lincoln did pave the groundwork for corporate person hood. one of the cases he worked during his stint as a corporate lawyer established the practice of a corporation(as a whole person like entity) suing a actual person. from my understanding this case was then cited as a reason for their decision in the court ruling years later basically giving corporations person hood.

3. I do blame later admins too, BUT if the one that enacted the legislation FULLY enforced it from the start the benefits would of caused the population to react negatively at any attempt to remove them. enough to prevent later admins from doing anything other then continue, like what will happen in France if any politician even hints at removing any of the social benefits they enjoy.

In your first point you are really reading way too much into events and your interpretation is tenuous at best. As far as Lincoln, the Supreme Court in Santa Clara (I studied this infamous case in law school) does not cite any case law from Illinois neither in the text nor footnotes (I have the case right in front of me). Its kind of amusing that chapter six in the book I’m presently reading mentioned in the reply above has a whole chapter on the background of the case. You’re third point……What???

Nice work, Bruce. Few here if any could have said it better.

Lincoln latched onto slavery as a issue when his side of the war was loosing the political debate of the war(federal power trumps state power). So he tried and succeeded in framing the issues that started the war in a moral light. to put it bluntly slavery was already doomed by that point, cheap fossil fueled machines would soon displace them if he had not half heartedly latched onto the issue.

Issues, schmissues. The North could hardly have lost the war as it had most of the steel mills, coal mines, shipping, and population. By a factor of maybe ten-to-one. The South had cotton. Agreed, however, slavery was kind of a side-issue. It was about economic and political dominance.

As hard as they tried, Lincoln's generals could not manage to lose the war.

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

This is another myth of the time period, the north was not guaranteed victory just because of that.
The south was doing pretty well for it's self during the first half of the war.

what is the publication date?

MY quant book from 1961 says no such thing!


...when I considered how many people either didn't want to hear about peak oil or would listen and then act like they understood, but seemed to feel that peak oil wouldn't affect them for some reason...

I've only been aware of PO for about 3 years and when I encounter people who nod as though they understand and then act as though PO won't affect them, I often become so enraged I don't know what to do with myself. I've gone from confusion to frustration to pain to bitterness to despair to cynicism and back to confusion again, many times. I get so angry because it seems as though people are living in a "virtual world;" living "as-if" their misconceptions are real--and in the process they are making things worse.

But what is my "virtual world?" Physically, I've prepared as much as I can for a post-peak--and it seems to me my "virtual worlds" are my naive expectations that "if we all work together, we can make it better....", and that "I can prepare...." This makes me wonder, what is the reality we face? What is reality devoid of "virtual worlds?"

In all honesty, it now seems to me that "virtual worlds" keep us sane before a reality beyond our reach.

If this were 1928 and you told people about The Great Depression, you'd get the same reaction. If it were 1937 and you told people about World War II, you'd get the same reaction.

If there's profit to be had from your knowledge of PO, go ahead and profit from it. But don't expect that other people are mentally or financially prepared to deal with it right now.

"America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting." William S. Burroughs

I know what you mean. It has made me feel very distant with the people around me. What do people think is going to happen when they get an 'options' ARM? Do they think that they can just magically not pay as much for their mortgage and everything will be alright? That there will be no consequences?
A man told me on Friday that he thought that global warming was something that Al Gore 'made up' after I joked with him that global warming must be helping his window tinting business.
Perhaps high intelligence is really a curse...

This was the "lead" on msnbc.com in the wee hours of the morning. It's still on the front page, although it's been displaced from front and center.

'Crowd Farms' could offer alternative energy

That's right, "Crowd Farms." What a hoot. It seems to be about as close as we're ever going to get to "harnessing the collective power of the smoke we blow up our own asses", as Jim Kunstler puts it.

ranks right up there with putting the same stuff on highway off ramps and placing wind turbines on the side of the road..

Hello Bench,

Yep, pointless as an energy source, but it could be priceless for fostering Peakoil Outreach among the younger generation.

Several years ago: I have written postings and emailed Bono of U2, and other bands asking them to make their concerts people-powered to foster awareness--no reply.

I suggested that the fans have to push their cars in & out of the parking lots, chop wood and pluck & gut chickens if they want to eat, and only corncobs or old Nat. Geographics for use in the J-Johns. The bands' sound volume and light output would be entirely dependent on the exuburant level of the fans' pedaling level or other human-energetic methods.

'Heavy Pedal for Heavy Metal' would be the basic theme.

Sadly, the rockstars are more concerned about personal profit levels to sustain their private jet-travel than helping their fans understand the need for a radical Paradigm Shift. Such is life.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Seems we had a serious discussion in this forum about a year or so ago, about putting generators in the exercise machines at the gym.

But the consensus was that it probably wouldn't produce enough juice to power the gym's pool filter, let alone put energy onto the grid.

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

There are several Gym machines that power up the LCD and computers with the pedal power of the people using them. You have to Pedal or walk, or Tread a bit before the onboard computer comes on for you to program it.

I know what was talked about. Getting the Bike to runt he lights or coffee makers or what not.

My grandfather built a house boat on Lake TableRock in the Ozarks ages ago, that was powered by a bicycle that moved the paddlewheel.

But getting this sort of stuff out in the common practice is going to be done by the mom and pop folks, and won't be mainstream. Just like Earth Shelters being one of the best ways to build a home that is low energy.

In the news today:

Energias - a consortium of private firms led by Spain's Tecnicas Reunidas will present a 20 year plan worth US$40 bln to transform Panama into a refinery and petrochemical hub for Latin America. The consortium comprises of private investors from USA to Asia. The project anticipates to benefit from the projected shortfall in U.S. refining capacity and high oil prices to turn Panama into a major center for energy distribution.

Plans include building of refineries, petrochemical plants and a 56 mile (90 km) long oil pipeline that would follow the route of Panama's inter-oceanic canal. The project, which would spread over a 3,700 acre site on Panama's Atlantic coast, would have an oil refining capacity of 2 million bpd, and a 3 mln tpa of petrochemicals, including polymers and fertilizers. The pipeline will be supported by a new set of docks that would handle 2,400 vessels annually, and help the products reach markets in Asia, West Coast of USA and the Caribbean.

The plan is subject to government approval and will have to overcome fierce environmental resistance.


They'll also need to find some oil. This would be Panama's second coast to coast pipeline. There is also a major refinery being planned on the Pacific Coast near the Costa Rica border, but it seems to be running into financial difficulties.

Unleaded gas down here these days about $3.40, diesel about $2.70, and I would guess it's subsidized. Costa Rica fuel costs are about a dollar more per gallon.

As far as capitalism is concerned, this is why laissez faire capitalism does not work and never has. Capitalism's natural incentives are for the capitalists to focus on short term gains. Why focus on building a company over a hundred years if you'll only be at the helm for 10?

Government regulation is vitally necessary to set incentives and penalties for companies to insure that their actions are in-line with the long term good. Pollution, wasting of resources, wasting of energy, etc, are all long term negatives for companies and governments alike, but governments must take the steps to make that pain felt in the short term so that it isn't ignored in favor of short term returns on investment.

I agree with the above, but when the government takes away the regulations or waters them down the long term goals evaporate.

...so what economic/political model (in an ideal world) could handle what is coming at us (the world) in the very near future?

Will it be a global model or a decentralized one down to the local/geographic level?

I think we will have a short window to come up with a structured global solution before we will have to revert to the local plan out of necessity.

Hello Sterno,

Your Quote: "Why focus on building a company over a hundred years if you'll only be at the helm for 10?"

If Peakoil Outreach was universally understood: I think lots of investors would gladly invest massive funds into a nationwide program for millions of bat & bird shelters for the endlessly renewable guano harvesting. Please read my prior posts on pre-FF guano and nitrate wars, and ongoing, high input-energy depletion of depleting mined agri-minerals.

Google 'War of the Pacific'. IMO, it is only a matter of postPeak time until the 'War of the Saskatchewan' and/or the Russian/Chinese version, 'War of the Uralkali'.

Think energy mining – potash production is at the cutting edge

Once you think past the conventions, it is the simplicity of the potash play that is alluring. In concentration of mineable mineral, just three countries - Canada, Russia, and Belarus - hold 85% of the known world reserves. That is a much higher degree of market concentration than oil and gas, uranium, or coal. Just two international syndicates fix the trade price of most of the product - Canpotex for the North American producers, Potash Corporation, Agrium and Mosaic (merged from Cargill and IMC Global in 2004); and Belarus Potash Company (BPC) for Uralkali of Russia and Belaruskali of Belarus (‘kali' is Russian for potash). Three importers dominate global demand, and none of them can produce its own supply -- Chinese consumption is at 11.5 million tonnes p.a., and growing at 12%; India is at 4.5 million tonnes, growing annually at 9%, and Brazil, with 5.8 million tonnes, growing at 11%. Counting these three, plus Russia, and you have almost half the world's potash consumption market.

The potash equilibrium - How China buys and Russia sells

The global trade in potash is even more concentrated, with just two syndicates dominant - Canpotex managing sales of the three North American majors - Potash Corporation, Mosaic, and Agrium - and Belarus Potash Company (BPC), a joint venture combining Uralkali and Belaruskali.

As population growth drives demand for foodstuffs, and the arable land available to supply food shrinks, it is the mineral fertilizers which farmers use to cover the gap between consumer demand for calories, and the productivity of farm land to supply it. Thus, the biggest consumers of potash are the hungriest -- China and India, followed by Brazil; nature has not endowed them with the sub-soil resources of potash to meet their own requirements. But with just two syndicates in control of trade, and just three major importers, last year's tussle over price between Russia and China was fierce.

Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan should form union state, says leader of Russian Communist Party
Believe me, once the criticality of depleting agri-minerals is understood: Putin, or whoever is the Russian topdog, will go to war, if required, to control the market and distribution for this precious resource.

IMO, the best way to minimize this violence is a global program of guano shelters. Recall my earlier posts on how stockpiling natgas-derived fertilizers can send a price signal to the huddled masses that a paradigm shift needs to get underway, and this stockpile can help bridge the transition until relocalized permaculture areal extent and proficiency rises. Time will tell.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Bob, your post is a clear indication that humans are not smarter than bat guano!

Hello River,

Thxs for responding. Yep, if I was Richard Rainwater: not only would I be stockpiling FF-fertilizers--> I would be shoveling huge funds into building guano shelters and hiring the best bat & bird biologists in the science world to supervise the expansion, animal health, and reproduction rates.

The Rainwater Prophecy
Richard Rainwater made billions by knowing how to PROFIT FROM A CRISIS. Now he foresees the biggest one yet.

If he saturates South Carolina with guano shelters [where his survival farm is located], the rural farm people will be so postPeak grateful that they will become instant Earthmarines; they will gladly fight to the death to keep their farms and guano shelters from being overun by cityfolk. If Richard Rainwater also hires 200 top notch Carlos Hathcock-quality snipers [and moves in their families] to augment the locals: they would form a formidable defensive community.

Don't forget: 50,000 bullets per confirmed kill for the average GI in Vietnam vs 1.3 bullets per confirmed kill for snipers--> now that is exosomatic efficiency!

There is a plaque on the wall of the Marine Sniper school at Camp Pendleton that has a translation of a Chinese proverb that reads, "Kill one man, terrorize a thousand."

There is another sign at the USMC sniper school that reads "The average rounds expended per kill with the M16 in Vietnam was 50,000. Snipers averaged 1.3 rounds. The cost difference was $2300 vs. 27 cents."

The U.S. Army determined that the average soldier will only hit a man size target 10% of the time at 300 meters with the M16A2 rifle. The U.S. Army standard for snipers is to hit 90% first round hits at 600 meters with the M24 SWS. That is at least an 1800% improvement over the average soldier.
Sniper tech and training has greatly improved since Vietnam; a precision rifle, scope, and bullet is a fiercesome way to long distance reach out and touch someone.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Thanks for enlightening me on another great reason to protect the 16 species of bats we have in Tennessee. As anyone who has tried camping in Tennessee soon discovers, we have a healthy population of biting insects such as mosquitoes, knats, and no-see-ums. Bats are a majot factor in controlling these. They, along with the caves they inhabit, are protected in Tennessee. See Tennessee Bats Probably would be a violation of TN law to collect guano, so I guess I need to build some bat houses.

Bob, a fancy rifle is not needed to be a good shooter. A quality bolt action chambered for 30-06, .270, .308 or several other high velocity calibers will do. Glass bed the action, lighten the trigger pull as much as you dare, add a 4 or 6 power Leupold scope on good mounts, run a thousand or so hand loaded practice rounds through the rifle and decent profeciency can be acheived. 300 yards with a .270 is point blank because the zero is three inches high at 100 yards, on bull at 200 yards and 4 inches low at 300 yards. On a good day with little wind or light refraction a good rifleman should be able to put 5 rounds in a one inch diameter target at one hundred yards from a solid bench rest. One minute of angle = one inch at a hundred yards and that is about as good as the human eye can resolve. Three hundred yard man size targets are no challenge but beyond that requires skill in knowing your rifle, and being a very good judge of distance and having experience at doping the wind. Being a sniper is a different matter and concerns pulling the trigger on another human being. That is a totally different ball game than punching holes in paper targets from a bench rest. Do you find snipers to be heroic figures to be held in high regard?

Hello River,

I know the least knowledge of all when it comes to weapons. I expect, as explained in numerous earlier posts, to be an early victim. Guns scare me, and I have poor vision. I have stepped on my glasses trying to find them when they have fallen off my nightstand.

From memory of earlier posts: Carlos Hathcock [now deceased], confirmed kill at 1.43 miles. Recently, a Canadian NATO sniper in Afghanistan, confirmed kill at over 1.5 miles. A city mob would have to be pretty good, and have plenty of ammo, to even get close enough to hope to start picking off 200 top notch snipers on the high ground. My guess is the ratio would have to be 100,000 city bullets/1.3 sniper bullets for them to even have a chance, but you may have more qualified info.

Your Quote: "Do you find snipers to be heroic figures to be held in high regard?"

No, I prefer Maximal Peakoil Outreach and a peaceful Paradigm Shift, but if you have been following my Asimov's Foundation and Earthmarine vs. Merc Dynamics: If snipers are the humanimal topdog keystone predators to optimize our Bottleneck Traverse and reduce extinctions, then they will arise naturally on their own.

Nature has many 'sniper species', for example Australia’s Net-casting spiders (Dinopidae)

From Reg Morrison's awesome webpage:


See articles tab, then click on FREE WILL? … IT'S UNAVOIDABLE! (1.1 MB) Right-click to download PDF
Tyrants, beware.
Nevertheless, the most remarkable moment of the whole tool-making process occurs when the construction phase is complete. During construction the small rectangular hunting net is secured in a vertical plane and under slight tension from a minimal array of support lines. When the knitting is finished and the net is complete however, the spider bites through the two vertical suspension lines only, thereby collapsing the net into a collection of loose horizontal folds. This crucial act of deconstruction effectively ‘arms’ the weapon, making it semimobile.

It took humans more than two million years to approach this level of technological competence. These spiders do it without ‘thinking’, several times a night. 1
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Bob, I totally agree that humans have used the example of nature many times when 'inventing' machines, tools and even the clothes that we wear. Look at a penguin and tell me that the critter doesnt look similar to a man dressed in a tuxedo.

I went through a period in my youth where I was interested in making the smallest groups possible with a rifle on a paper target at various distances and after much experience I began shooting in competitions. While making a rifle as accurate as possible there is also the need for making the shooter as consistent as possible. This is not easy because the recoil of larger high velocity calibers will make most shooters flinch after a protracted session of practice. Also, as more rounds are fired a rifle heats up and expansion of metal against a wood or compostition stock will likely cause a change in point that a bullet strikes the target. My interest was to find the best powder/bullet/brass/primer combination for making a particular rifle as accurate as possible and at the same time making myself good at trigger control and breath control to become as consistent as possible. BTW, the same techniques are used in hand gun competition.

I cannot imagine a large group of snipers in defensive positions. Snipers usually operate in one or two man teams (the second man with a spotting scope and short range weapon to protect the sniper). The first shot a sniper fires is his best opportunity for a hit. After the first shot the element of surprise is gone and subsequent shots are not likely to be as effective. Once a snipers presence is known the enemy will bring many resources to bear against him, including air burst artillery, the biggest killer in conventional warfare. A group of '200 snipers' might be effective against a poorly armed and trained mob but they would not fare well against artillery, air support or even suppressing heavy calibre machine gun fire. This is why snipers dont hang around after getting off the first shot or two.

Hello River,

I make no claim to military tactical expertise, John Robb at globalguerrillas and others could flesh this topic out much better than I. I am assuming alot in this mini-thread, such as no nukes or bioweapons, and also assuming that the govt has already exhausted its use of heavy firepower against those cityfolk refusing entrance to the Halliburton workcamps. This is now at the later localized survival level whereby warlords are vying for watershed supremacy and the most powerful tools available are rifles; the breakdown in complex logistics to supply artillery, heli-gunships, tanks, etc have already long silenced these weapons.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Bob regarding your thought:
"If snipers are the humanimal topdog keystone predators to optimize our Bottleneck Traverse and reduce extinctions"

You couldn't have just said "If snipers are very useful people to have around during tough times"?

Classical free market economics works fine, elegantly even, but only IF;

1) The market is characterized by a large number of buyers and sellers on a relatively level playing field (no monopolies or monopsonies);

2) The market is confined to the production and consumption of pure private goods (not public goods, toll goods or common pool goods); and

3) There are no unregulated externalities or other market failures.

The above in no way describes what presently passes for "capitalism", especially in the USA. (And yes, said "capitalism" most certainly is NOT sustainable.)

By the way, did anybody bother to check out the article linked, Jeremy Leggett's comments on PV solar?

Jeremy mentions the working life of PV as some 25 years to 45 years, and that should get better, but I would like to throw up an extreme caution:

More and more of the PV cells and panels we are now getting are coming from China.

Given recent serious issues regarding quality control in Chinese manufacturing, we need to know that that the solar chips and panels China is shipping us are of high quality.

A hard look at who is in control of quality assurance at this end is imperative.
What we cannot afford is have chips that are fully installed turn out to be of inferior quality, and begin to degrade rapidly in 5 or so years.

It is an area not often (if ever) talked about, but one that needs our attention.

Roger Conner Jr.
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

"The Ghost of Vice President Wallace warns: It Can Happen Here" -- by Thom Hartmann


Hey, all. Recent postings about economic fraud and the antiscience propaganda related to global warming have inspired me to re-read the above excellent essay about FDR's middle VP.

VP Henry Wallace was a bit too socialist for the tatse of some folks, but he wrote an essay at the request of the NYT on American fascism to answer the questions:

"What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?"

VP Wallace was very concerned that fascism was alive and well in the USA and that it would in fact rear its ugly head here in the future.

A key point is that Wallace thought that American fascists would work to "poison the channels of public information" as the key strategy to control the USA.

Another key point is that fascists would play upon patriotic and religious fanaticism as well as ancient fears and prejudices in order to manipulate the american public.

I commend the article to you, and ask if you see the fascism described by the old VP as having developed and matured in our country?


VP Wallace was very concerned that fascism was alive and well in the USA and that it would in fact rear its ugly head here in the future.

A key point is that Wallace thought that American fascists would work to "poison the channels of public information" as the key strategy to control the USA.

Little history for many who never heard it.


Imagine John Kerry and his wife meets George and Laura Bush and Kerry's wife says to George,

"You know George, You and I have a few things in common, Like the time Your GrandFather and My Grandfather planned a coup on the US Goverment"

And then says, "And come to find out, WE did it from the inside"

Where is that hidden microphone when you need it.

So When Kerry lost to Bush (two Skull and Bones guys) I think Kerry's job was to come JUST CLOSE ENOUGH but lose.

That way the american people would all settle down and THINK they had a fair election. (Why don't you think Kerry wanted any of the voting in Ohio investigated? )


The Threat of U.S. Fascism: An Historical Precedent

In 1934 a special Congressional committee was appointed to conduct an investigation of a possible planned coup intended to topple the administration of president Franklin D. Roosevelt and replace it with a government modelled on the policies of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The shocking results of the investigation were promptly scotched and stashed in the National Archives. While the coup attempt was reported at the time in a few newspapers, including The New York Times, the story disappeared from public memory shortly after the Congressional findings were made available to president Roosevelt. It was the recent release from the Archives of the Congressional report that prompted the BBC and Horton commentaries.

The Congressional committee had discovered that some of the foremost members of the economic elite, many of them household names at the time, had indeed hatched a meticulously detailed and massively funded plot to effect a fascist coup in America. The owners of Bird’s Eye, Maxwell House and Heinz, among others, totaling about twenty four major businessmen and Wall Street financiers, planned to assemble a private army of half a million men, composed largely of unemployed veterans. These troops would both constitute the armed force behind the coup and defeat any resistance this in-house revolution might generate. The economic elite would provide the material resources required to sustain the new government.



This is what wiki has to say for instance, It seems to be a fairly well known event.

See below for New York Times coverage snippet from the above link.

Mangling the News

The New York Times of Nov. 22 pulled the story off its front page, placing it on page 5, in one column, under the headline ``Inquiry Pressed in `Fascist Plot.'|'' It led with MacGuire's denials of all charges. Committee cochair McCormack stressed that all testimony would be withheld. Backtracking, McCormack now said that the committee was undecided as to calling any other witnesses, or if there would be a public hearing. If there were to be one, it would Dec. 17. It was only many paragraphs into the article that the Times reported that committee co-chair Dickstein had said that MacGuire had hung himself and that he had indeed gone to Europe for purposes related to establishing a fascist organization in the United States. The article then quoted MacGuire's attorney as categorically denying this and other charges about his client. It ended with denials from Legion officials of any involvement in the plot.

Harry Truman said something to the effect;

There are no mysteries except the parts of history you don't know"

Samsara -- thanks for the links and info.

When I see how media has treated Global Warming, Peak Oil, and the obvious brutal resource war we are carrying out, I am persuaded that the fascists (corporatists) have pretty much dominated public discussion for at least 30 years.

This takes various forms -- developing religious narratives as well as secular cultural and political narratives as well.

Control of money, media, religion, and government seems to be managed by a relatively small elite. Anyone who wants to "get ahead" had better simply internalize the values of the masters early on and never question them.

There are people who oppose American fascism, but it has infused American institutions to the point that it is difficult to identify as a seperate thing.

The military-industrial-governmental-academic complex includes the media and religion as critical elements of the grip on power.

The complexity and pervasivieness of fascism actually allow many corporatists to be unaware that they are in fact fascists. "Little Eichmanns" abound.

This seems to me to be leading toward more overt centralisation of power in the USA, and to a very real end to the pretense that democracy is possible or even desirable.

Peak Oil and the complications of Global Warming seem to be arriving just as fascism solidifies and makes clear that it is the one and only new paradigm. Thatcher: "TINA" -- There Is No Alternative. Bush: you are either with me or against me.

No democratic powerdown protocol seems in the works. More like a command economy of corrupt crony capitalism extended through use of brute force.

The Democrats do seem to be as complicit in this as Republicans, indeed.

Are there other studies of American fascism that come to mind? I have Bertam Gross's "Friendly Fascism" but not much more recent than that.

Interesting that discussion of american fascism is pretty much taboo in the media.

Beautifully expressed. Welcome To the Twilight Zone.
I believe those of us who attended college in the late 50's have seen this coming for a long time. During that period there was lots of talk about the FBI infiltrating various groups and much more. We weren't called the silent generation for nothing.

I really would suggest reading Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here. It may be fiction but it provides sort of a package of how things can happen.


"Are there other studies of American fascism that come to mind?"

The Ominous Parallels - Leonard Peikoff

"In brilliantly reasoned prose, Peikoff argues that the deepest roots of German Nazism lie not in existential crises, but in ideas — not in Germany's military defeat in World War I or the economic disasters of the Weimar Republic that followed, but in the philosophy that dominated pre-Nazi Germany. Although it was mediated by crises, Peikoff demonstrates that German Nazism was the inevitable climax of a centuries-long philosophic development, preaching three fundamental ideas: the worship of unreason, the demand for self-sacrifice and the elevation of society or the state above the individual.

"These ideas," Peikoff says, "are the essence of Nazism and they are exactly what our leading universities are now spreading throughout this country. This is the basic cause of all the other parallels."


Looks like the laws in Florida are easing the way for the survivalists

Shoot first!

Florida's crazy 'stand your ground' gun law is symptomatic of a White House obsessed with pre-emptive action against any perceived enemy.
Crossing the state line into Florida on I-75, one is greeted by a billboard reading, "Visitor Warning. Florida residents can use deadly force. Please be careful." Erected by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the sign is a reference to the fact that, for the last year and a half, Floridians have been allowed by law to shoot anyone they want.


Yes, that is correct. Floridians can choose to shoot instead of fleaing a confrontation. There is an interesting case now in the courts regarding this law. A man walking down a street 'said' that he was nearly run down by a passing Jeep vehicle containing 4 (maybe 5) occupants. He pulled a fire arm and shot at the Jeep. When the vehicle stopped the man 'said' that he walked up to the Jeep and emptied his weapon into the Jeep. If there are no living witnesses who can contradict the story? This story broke a month or so ago and I have seen nothing about it since...It seems that it is being kept out of the press. Why am I not surprised? What the bill board at the state line should also tell visitors is that cursing another person in Florida is considered assult. So, it is possible that one could get shot for cursing a Floridian. Think about it. Dade County, Florida has overtaken all metropolitan areas in road rage incidents. When the shtf Florida is going to make the OK Corral look like a picnic.

Everyone, please read Chris Nelder's
Peak Oil Hits the Third World,
Leanan's top post for the day.

It's an excellent overview of peak oil all over the globe. Kudo's, Chris.

Which brings me to a question: there was a poster here recently who did a similar overview of countries hit by the peak. Anyone know what happened to it? Leanan?

Thanks, ilargi!

I found the same list in two places, not sure which came first. I just followed the links, supplemented it with a bit of my own research, and built a story around it. It's quite a startling look at the world isn't it?

The TOD thread was posted by Solaris on July 6, 2007:
Canaries in the Coal Mine

I found an enhanced version of that list on Jim Kingsdale's Energy Investment Strategies site.

Energy consultant, writer, blogger www.getreallist.com

I think it was Ace who did it. Nelder's link covers most of it (except for Albania and Liberia).

Here's a quick map.

I just lost grid power. Anyone hear anything about a power outage in northern Alabama (Huntsville)?

It is about 104 degrees out, so this could get unpleasant.

I only have limited battery back up so I will have to sign off and check back later. May be time to break out the solar panels.

Sorry to hear that Bitteroldcoot...I couldn't help but think "Welcome to the reality of the third world!"

Hello TODers,

It will be interesting to see how quickly Brazil's sugarcane to ethanol program shrinks once they cannot afford the long distance import of mined and high energy processed agri-minerals.

Or will they burn the entire Amazon for the potash as the early Americans burned their forests?

Potassium: a critical role in sugarcane production, particularly in drought conditions.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

What proportion of the total manufacturing cost does importing these minerals involve? I understand that for most agriculture, this is a relatively small cost, so even if prices tripled for whatever reason, it wouldn't impact the price of the finished product enough to reduce profits significantly.


The sugarcane is pressed, the bagass or woody material is burned to distill the ethanol/make electricity and the ash goes back to the field. Combine this with municipal waste and the field makes the soil better. So the ethanol industry in BR is sustainable. I have a neighbor that is a plant engineer in Sao Paulo, I toured two plants with him.

Returning the ash puts back any potassium you removed in the harvest.


Hello Wizofaus and Oilrig Medic,

Thxs for responding. I claim no expertise on this subject, that is why I am hoping a TopTODer emerges to really do a good statistical and ERoEI thrashing of this topic. I welcome any elaboration or refutation of my feeble postings and newslinks.

Regarding Brazil: if sugar cane to ethanol is truly local-closed loop sustainable, then why is Brazil rapidly ramping up the importation of agri-minerals? Some Brazil info found in this link [use control-f to quickly search for Brazil info]:

PotashCorp Reports All-Time Record Quarter

Potash: Brazil took 490,000 tonnes in the second quarter compared to 210,000 tonnes in the same quarter last year.

Another interesting paragraph from the link is this one reproduced below that outlines the critical need of potash mining to support the making of PV panels:

Our phosphate portfolio now includes silicon tetrafluoride (STF), a product used in manufacturing silicon wafers for the growing solar energy market. This stable, high-return industrial product is made from hydrofluorosilicic acid (HFSA) recovered from the evaporators when P2O5 is
produced. We completed construction and commissioned a 7,500-short-ton-per-year plant at Aurora during the first half of 2007 and signed a contract in the second quarter for construction of three additional STF plants of that
size. The total cost for all four plants is approximately $130 million.
EDIT: does that mean when we are out of potash-->we are out of solar panels? Yikes!!!

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Potash = Potassium K is the chemical symbol.

P = Phosphorus.

I don't think Potash is related to silicon production but it may be used in doping semiconductors.

Even if some of these chemicals become more difficult to get, they are still very common. If you are willing to spend the energy to distill/refine etc. you can get almost anything from seawater and or low grade ores.

Thxs for the correction, guess I am getting tired. One last post on the UK topsoil depletion levels before I hit the hay:

“It can take years of careful fertilizer application to build phosphate and potash levels to the desired fertility. Many farmers now have a real problem they are quite unaware of;

67% of soils are at or below the maintenance level for potash and 82% of soils for phosphate. Such a deficiency can lead to a huge drop off in yield and quality.”

Monitored by The British Survey of Fertilizer Practise, falls in phosphate use over the last six years meant that 2006’s application rate of 35 kg/ha was the lowest on record since 1969, with only 57% of tillage crops receiving phosphate. Similarly, the average rate of potash use is now just 49 kg/ha.
Will Westexas's Exportland Model also apply to fertilizers? Could the UK be headed into a double whammy of declining FFs plus declining topsoil and harvest yields?

Just imagine if a 'SuperNafta' Canada/US/Mex declared that there would be no more potash and phosphate exports anymore, and 'SuperVodka' Russia/Belarus/Ukraine/Kazakstan declared the same thing to conserve their depleting resources.

Things would get ugly very fast for those countries denied those NPK imports. As mentioned before: humans can live without fossil fuels, but vastly reduced ability to grow food makes for a very tough existence.

I think all global leaders need to declare a biosolar emergency to build bat & bird guano shelters. Feel free to elaborate or refute.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

If I was trying to respond to such a scenario, I would try to foster salmon runs and the like.  Yes, salmon runs.

Salmon hatch in streams, grow up in the oceans, then swim back to their birth streams to breed (and die).  They bring back large amounts of phosphorus in their bones and tissues, as well as calories.  If I was trying to build a system which could sustain itself indefinitely, a continuous replenishment of phosphorus drawn from the oceans would be just the ticket.  And best of all, the salmon do it for free.

The only thing you might have to do is make sure the dead salmon are harvested and their minerals given to the land, rather than washing directly downstream again.

Hey hey Bob,

I don't know about potash and PV, but one can make electricity from sunlight by converting thermal energy into mechanical energy into electricity. See Stirling engine or solar trough.

Incidentally, the capital costs and efficiencies are in the same ball park as PV. The system can be maintained, where as PV degrades over times until it must be replaced. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly for all those doomers out there, the Stirling engine was invented in 1816. It is low tech.


Leanan, thanks once again for hosting Drum Beat, you do a great job. The link below parallels your link to milk production above, but is about rice...


'Rice expert warns about dwindling yield gains

Saturday, Aug 11, 2007, Page 11
The world's leading rice expert warned yesterday of "worrisome signs," with high prices for rice and fertilizer and rice stocks at their lowest levels in about 30 years.

Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), said new farm technologies were needed to replicate the gains made from the "Green Revolution," which had lifted hundreds of millions of rural Asians out of poverty.

"There are a number of worrisome signs suggesting that new challenges lie ahead," he told an international rural poverty conference in Manila.

"There has been a slowdown in growth in rice production as the yield gains from the adoption of the modern varieties in the irrigated areas have become almost fully exploited and the rice area is declining," Zeigler said.

"Over the past five years, [the] international rice price has doubled and price for urea [fertilizer] tripled, the latter spurred on by the rise in oil prices."

Zeigler said "rice stocks are their lowest level since the 1970s."

Rice is the staple for half the world's people, providing about 20 percent of direct human calorie intake worldwide, says IRRI.'...snip...

Once we understand that these politicians are bought and paid for by big business, then we can understand that we the people are fighting two sides, politicians and big business! We can vote politicians in and out, but we can't vote for CEO's at big business. It would appear that the constitution was recently written as " For the corporation, of the corporation, by the corporation" rather than "of the people, by the people, for the people" .

We can vote politicians in and out every year, but not CEO's, thus we are fighting a one sided battle. Big Business runs the politicians, which seems to run this country! Ever notice the presidential candidates are not mentioning anything about immigration? None of them!

Just my views!


here is an excerpt of the site!

It is time for the American people to exercise their individual voting power to bring about the changes necessary for an efficient, effective and affordable government. Many Senators and Representatives prefer to spend their time with lobbyists of the powerful and rich instead of with pesky constituents who just do not seem to know their place. American citizens must acknowledge certain facts:

1. Our Country is moving in the wrong direction and is, infested with fraud and corruption.

2. The way to get rid of this fraud and corruption is to destroy the infrastructure that supports fraud and corruption.

3. The infrastructure includes the President, certain members of Congress and lobbyists who use illegal means to make money for themselves and their clients.

4. Citizens must have a devotion to the principles of Democracy and non-violence.

5. Citizens must use their vote to remove every corrupt incumbent Senator and Representative from office.

Imagine in the year 2008, we can elect an independent President, House and one-third of the Senate. This will throw the corrupt political infrastructure into chaos.

It is time for citizens to rise up against the corrupt individuals who use our blood and treasure to make money for themselves and their friends. Citizens must start looking for people to protect their interest and not the interest of the power elite. The New American Revolution is committed to informing Americans citizens of their rights and duties as voters, and to motivate them to take back their country

Geewiz, Where are you going to find the super-incorruptable politicians to replace the corrupted politicians now in power? Most people, including politicians, can be had for a surprisingly low price.

well I don't know, just replacing all of congress and senate would be a start. But then thats just half of the equation, the other half is big business. perhaps limiting campaign contributions, and allowing complete disclosure of who has contributed and by how much would probably help in a large way.
but you are right, most everyone has a price!

We are lucky in New Orleans to have at least on; Arnie Fielkow .

He was General Manager of the New Orleans Saints when Katrina and the Federal flood hit. He was fired for trying to keep strong ties to New Orleans and Louisiana (the owner wanted to move to San Antonio according to reports and observed actions), in large part because he loved the city.

As one of the most successful GMs in the NFL (making good money in a poor city w/o major corporations and a losing team) he could have gotten $1.5 million or so in Seattle or Miami or another functional, pleasant NFL city.

Instead he chose to stay with us and the endless hassles of living here and ran for an at-Large City Council seat. Pay $44,000/year.

OTOH, our other City Council Member-at-Large will be indicted Monday :-(

Best Hopes for Good Politicians and a True Love of New Orleans,,


Stacy Head is another similar, although less dramatic, story. I would be very pleased to see Arnie replace Nagin at the end of his term.

This reminds me of the Votergate movie a few years back, which attempted to show several serious problems with the US voting system itself, but then just came up with some content-free, feel good catch phrases and urged the viewer to get out and vote, but offered no suggestions about what to do to ensure accurate accounting, fraud reduction and reporting, etc.

If the infrastructure is infested with fraud and corruption, how can we use the infrastructure to fight said infested fraud and corruption? What judges, lawyers, officials, governors, senators, representatives, police, voting machines, vote counters, media outlets, etc., can be trusted?

Who doesn't have something to lose that can't be covertly coerced?

And where are all the capable, educated, mature, trustworthy people of conscience to take office?

Hey hey Geewiz,

We can vote politicians in and out every year, but not CEO's, thus we are fighting a one sided battle. Big Business runs the politicians, which seems to run this country!

I think you are exactly right here, but you conclude from this that we should replace the politicians, I think we need to look at it the other way around. I think that the political scene will stay until we replace Big Business. What we need to do is replace the current business model of the corporation with something inherently more responsible.

See an earlier post here.

Basically, my opinion of the whole situation is that Global Warming, Peak Oil, Financial Collapse, Corporate Corruption and government ineptitude are not the problem. They are the result of the problem that we have, which is a collective action problem and an inability to make good long term plans. This is the problem we really need to solve. We either do it now before the fall (unlikely) or we do it after.

Personally, I vote we get started as soon as possible. No matter how you think this will all shake out the problems we have had, the problems we face now and the problems we are going to face again and again and again all stem from the same thing. The way we as societies, economies, nations, peoples and industries make our plans.

This is the ultimate problem humanity faces, has faced and will face again.

Democracy was a good step. I think the next good step is commonwealth economics (it doesn't have a wikipedia entry yet, it's not yet a recognized field) Commonwealth Economics is the socializing of ownership in a free market system. I.E. worker owned businesses, public trusts, cooperatives. The following are good resources or examples.

Stake holders instead of stock holders
See America Beyond Capitalism

Worker owned businesses
See Mondragon Corporation

The big question is what kind of world do we want to live in and how are we going to get there.


The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
- Alan Kay

My conclusion is that by replacing the current career politicians is only half the problem/battle. We seem to be fighting a battle we will likely never win since politicians and big business are in bed together! Big business runs the politicians, yet we the people need to survive, (thinking we have some sort of control, we vote politicians in and out) yet we buy from big business such as walmart and microsoft etc. After all we need stuff, and it mostly likely comes from China. Yet we think it's all the politicians fault! (so we vote, thinking it will make a change in the way things are done) The all mighty dollar rules! I don't really think we (the TOD'ers) can change the world, after all, people chase the dollar. The problem is bigger than we are, does that make sense? I don't have any answers, and I probably look through rose colred glasses sometimes! It's just I have come to the conclusion politics and big business run this country, recall Bill Gates a few months ago wanting illegal immigration? I am just putting 2 and 2 together! don't know why it took me so long to figure this all out. Perhaps thats why I have decided to weigh each political candiate on thier merits rather than party affilliation. I guess I am independent! as I was previously republican. I am tired of career politicians, and Kinky Friedman (running for TX Governor in 06) was a breath of fresh air to Texas politics. I don't mean to stray from oil and gas issues, I just get frustrated with the current political scene, thus I don't watch TV, and I am already "burned out" (for a lack of a better term, and showing my age) with career politicians. Geez, is this all the presidential candidates in this country? I am not impressed with any of them! And I don't recall being burned out before with prez candidates, were the rules changed recently or what? We have a prez election for over a year now, and we only have a few bozo's running? I have nothing nice to say about any of them, so I will stop with that!


Man: Are you a man or a mouse?
Groucho: Put a piece of cheese on the floor and you'll find out.
Groucho in A Day at the Races (movie)

"We seem to be fighting a battle we will likely never win since politicians and big business are in bed together! Big business runs the politicians, yet we the people need to survive, (thinking we have some sort of control, we vote politicians in and out) yet we buy from big business such as walmart and microsoft etc."

Right, again my point is that we need to replace the businesses. Our current crop of politicians is NOT the problem, it is the result of the problem, which is our total system. The back bone of the system IMO is industry, not just heavy industry, but all industry. we need to reshape the whole system, and we have to do it from the ground up, since the politicians who are ostensible in charge of shaping things are subservient to the existing system. So, we need to fundamentally change the nature of industry. I think the best way to do that is by replacing corporations with worker owned businesses and the commonwealth economy. I do appreciate your frustration though. We are in an intractable mess