DrumBeat: September 2, 2007

Big gamble can yield bigger payoff

Exploratory wells take several months to drill, and 65 percent or more fail. Koen projects a 1-in-12 chance of success in the Bob North field probe.

Chevron spends $500,000 to $850,000 a day to lease the Discoverer Deep Seas. The daily cost depends on how much hardware, what type of work, and how many people are needed on a given day.

The well will cost about $100 million, regardless of whether it produces oil.

Bangladesh: No Gas for Eight Proposed Large & Medium Power Plants

The Power Division of Bangladesh is set to face a major setback in implementing at least eight large and medium power plant projects to generate a total of 1,700MW electricity as Petrobangla has informed the Power Development Board that it will not be possible to supply gas to the plants.

Yemeni price protests turn violent

Government officials say the rise is due to a sharp increase in the prices of commodities such as wheat in global markets.

...Four out of 10 Yemenis live on less than $2 a day, according to Britain's department for international development, which says Yemen's oil, its main earnings source, is expected to dry up by 2015.

Iran’s President Says 3,000 Centrifuges Are Running

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday Iran had met a planned target of installing and running 3,000 atomic centrifuges used in enriching uranium, Iranian news agencies reported.

A symbiotic energy relationship

The tiny country of Denmark is emerging as a model for Texas in the booming field of wind energy, just as Texas has been for Denmark in the traditional energy businesses of oil and gas.

West Bank Boys Dig a Living in Settler Trash

As the truck unloads, the children pounce on the garbage like flies. Some swing aloft on the hydraulic pistons that open the back, then drop onto the mound of trash to grab a piece of metal, a crushed can, a soda bottle or a stinking T-shirt.

One boy slips and disappears for a moment beneath the garbage as the truck lumbers forward to dump more of its load. He scrambles up again, losing his footing on a pile of animal intestines, grabbing onto a thicket of shrubbery cut from someone’s garden.

Another boy finds a small nylon Israeli flag and tries to tear it with his teeth; yet another unearths a small lilac umbrella, which he holds over his head and shows off to his friends. Most dig diligently for metal, which they dump into the ripped nylon sacks they carry.

Petrocaribe treaty sees closer energy embrace with Caracas

The PetroCaribe treaty which Guyana has not yet signed would draw it into a closer energy embrace with Venezuela and this along with the absence of any mention of bio-fuels which Georgetown is keen to develop may cause it to think carefully before adding its signature.

Hurricane Felix Gathers Strength, Passes Near Bonaire

Felix was about 60 miles northeast of Aruba, moving west-northwest at 18 mile per hour, the Center said. It may brush past Honduras before making landfall in Belize on Sept. 5, according to the Center's five-day forecast. If Felix remains south of the path of Hurricane Dean, the first Atlantic hurricane of the season, oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico probably won't be affected.

In Cuba, a Politically Incorrect Love of the Frigidaire

The island’s economic isolation, compounded by a United States embargo in place since the early 1960s, has made a necessity of preserving technology from before the revolution.

No guarantees about heating costs

Experts are hesitant to speculate what heating oil and other fuel prices will be this winter, citing the vagaries of world markets and unpredictability of weather.

"The trouble is, there is no way of knowing," said Joseph Broyles, energy program manager for New Hampshire's Office of Energy and Planning.

Pope Leads ‘Eco-Friendly’ Youth Rally

Pope Benedict, leading the Catholic Church's first 'eco-friendly' youth rally, on Sunday told up to half a million people that world leaders must make courageous decisions to save the planet "before it is too late."

Home grown apples can save the planet...

A few weeks ago, the climate activist and inventor Dave Wilks told me he’d hit on a new way to describe the warming of our atmosphere: it’s equivalent to nearly five Hiroshima bombs exploding per second, he said, and the rate is rising exponentially. I’ve also spoken to experts who believe there’s another threat facing us, no less significant than global warming: the end of oil. Our lives depend on ever-increasing amounts of cheap energy, and synthetic petroleum byproducts, and when oil production peaks we’re in trouble. Some believe that will happen as early as 2010.

And it will all, of course, be exacerbated by population growth. Last week researchers at a United Nations forum in Iceland said to keep pace with an increasing population more food will have to be produced world-wide in the next 50 years than during the past 10,000 years combined. We can look forward to economic collapse and literally billions of people starving to death.

No holiday for nation's 24/7 'energy slaves'

From oil alone, 150 energy slaves serve the average person in the United States. The electrical line worker drives a truck everywhere; the backhoe makes digging a foundation in flinty soil seem effortless compared to digging by hand in sand; and the nurse uses bandages and medicines made with and from oil, in a hospital heated with oil.

But now the slaves are starting to slip away.

Expect no relief from holiday hot spell

Day Five of the year's longest heat wave sent people fleeing to the beaches this holiday weekend as thousands were left without power in their homes and the promise of relief was still days away.

Late Saturday, power was restored to about 1,600 Eagle Rock households that had been without power since Friday night and to 2,500 in the Los Feliz area that lost power earlier Saturday. Citywide, roughly 5,700 customers lost power Saturday, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials said. Roughly 4,500 of Southern California Edison's 4.8 million customers were without power Friday.

Japan's oil products demand may have yet to recover

Japan posted an increase in oil products output in July for the first time in 14 months, but it may be premature to interpret this as a sign of demand recovery from Asia's second-largest consumer.

Even though the uptick came alongside a jump in crude oil imports and a fall in products inventories, the country's refiners may simply be preparing to rebuild their stockpiles after the plant maintenance season; more data will be needed in the coming months for demand growth indications.

Biofuels Don't Have The Juice To Go The Distance

Gasoline's EROEI ranges between 6-to-1 and 10-to-1, says Cutler Cleveland, director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies at Boston University. In other words, we get anywhere from six to 10 gallons of gasoline for every gallon we use to find oil, pump it out of the ground and refine it. But the EROEI of corn-based ethanol, the most common U.S. biofuel, is a mere 1.34-to-1, the Agriculture Department says. So even though an acre of corn can make 360 gallons of ethanol, only 90 gallons of that is "new" fuel.

Bush's ethanol dreams make corn a hot commodity

When Americans fire up their grills for late summer barbecues over the next few weeks, a cloud will be hanging over them in the form of higher prices for steak, chicken and ribs.

Beyond Wind and Solar, a New Generation of Clean Energy

Oregon Iron Works has the feel of a World War II-era shipyard, with sparks flying from welders' torches and massive hydraulic presses flattening large sheets of metal. But this factory floor represents the cutting edge of American renewable-energy technology.

The plant is assembling a test buoy for Finavera Renewables, a Canadian company that hopes to harness ocean waves off the coast of Oregon to produce electricity for U.S. consumers. And Finavera is not Iron Works' only alternative-energy client: So many companies have approached it with ideas that it has created a "renewable-energy projects manager" to oversee them.

Power crazy

Across Canada, provincial governments are aggressively following the call of green power and energy conservation. No watt of electricity is exempt, from mandated fluorescent light bulbs to subsidies for windmill farms to the campaign to rehabilitate the granddaddy of power boondoggles, nuclear energy, out of long-term care.

Planet of the apes needs to get real

One of the conflicts between the Earth-centred universe and the Copernican model was the doctrine of heavenly, or "super-lunary", perfection. The church argued that while Earth was subject to human imperfection, up in heaven the trains all run on time. When astronomers observed the inconvenient truth that the moon is riddled with bumps, the geocentrists invented an invisible material that smoothed the bumps and made the "real" surface as perfect as God intended.

This is unprovable nonsense, like the idea that Generation IV nuclear reactors are guaranteed "fail-safe", and thus the cure-all for global warming.

Anthropogenic Climate Change (podcast)

The main knock against anthropogenic climate change — more or less unchanged since the 1980s — is that a cabal of cunning computer modelers have managed to dupe, co-opt, bamboozle, or intimidate climate scientists into believing fantastic, yet unsubstantiated, allegations. Recently put forward by the redoubtable Freeman Dyson, this critique also, unfortunately, picks up a certain amount of support in the progressive community. To help dispel these arguments and the confusion they still cause I turned to Dr. Chris Rapley, who knows as much as anybody about actually measuring climate change. It was a great pleasure to hear the facts from a primary source, and I'm very grateful to Dr. Rapley for talking with me on this and a range of other important topics. Please listen carefully and redistribute widely. Total runtime an hour and fourteen minutes.

Climate change and N. America farms to be studied

Iowa State University researchers will join a study of climate change to produce mid-century projections by late next year of the likely regional effects on North American farms from global warming.

"There is no question now that the climate is changing on a global scale," said Gene Takle, an Iowa State University professor of geological and atmospheric sciences who will lead a study to project North American climate from 2040 to 2070.

Greek forest fires could be CO2 threat

Greece's huge forest fires have been blamed by some on global warming, but satellite images of smoke plumes drifting as far as Africa prompt the question: are forests a major source of greenhouse gas?

The green faith effect

Solar panels are becoming a common connection for Christian churches, Hindu temples, Calgary synagogues and Toronto mosques as faith groups across Canada act on the so-called Green Rule: "Do unto the Earth as you would have it do unto you."

Climate change ticks ever closer

On the Leslie St. spit, signs of global warming are being picked right from the feathers of migratory birds. And the ticks now spreading north carry with them the spectre of Lyme disease.

No APEC deal on climate change targets: Howard

Asia-Pacific countries will not agree on binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at a major summit this week, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Sunday.

Iraq Needs $20 to $30 Billion invested in oil industry

Now, with the U.S.-led reconstruction phase nearing its close, Iraq will need to spend $27 billion more for its electrical system and $20 billion to $30 billion for oil infrastructure.


No Hope,


And the President said to Kit Carson:
"Take my best four horsemen please
And ride out to the four directions,
Make my great lands barren for me"

Kit Carson said to the President
"You've made your offer sweet
I'll accept this task you've set for me
My fall's not yet complete"

Kit Carson knew he had a job to do
Like other jobs he had before
He'd made the grade
He learned to trade in famine, pestilence, and war

Kit Carson was a hero to some
With his poison and his flame
But somewhere there's a restless ghost
That used to bear his name

Song lyrics from Bruce Cockburn's song "Kit Carson" from "nothing but a burning light," 1991

More like Custer. "Where did all ............ come from?

I have read blood and thunder. A book about the taming of the west. Much revolved around Kit Carson. A must read imho to get the full scope of small scale regional war, forced starvation, etc.
A very very good read.

Washington DC Metro Blasted for not supporting TOD

Metro's 86 rail stations sit on some of the Washington region's most valuable real estate. But the transit agency has failed to encourage developers to build homes, offices and stores at the trains' doorsteps, projects that might coax more commuters from their cars and provide the system with needed cash

One excuse:

Land use remains a local political decision." He said, for example, that development at Fairfax stations took off slowly because the county was overly focused on providing parking for commuters


Despite lack of support, DC Metro has significant Transit Oriented Development. The recently built New York Avenue Station on the Red Line immediately caused a half dozen office buildings to spring up. Ridership on existing lines increases every year.

Best Hopes for TOD (both of them),


The transit authorities in Mexico City built shopping centers at all of its subway locations and partially finaned the service with rents from the shp and restaurant owners. Its a great deal for everyone, the shops have millions delivered to their doorsteps daily, the commuters have convenience and partial subsidy of their rides. Because the shop owners help provide security, the subway has to hire fewer transit guards and the shop owners help with the cleaning so that they have a neat business. The only real problem ?-getting on and off the subway. Its so crowded that I think its the Mexican national body contact sport.

Mexico, DF is the most crowded city in North America. It has incredible pollution problems, but its also both the financial center and Capital, about 1 in 4 Mexicans either lives there or in the cities near the capital and it has every problem possible together with some magnificent public places. Without the public transit it would be totally unliveable, just as our cities will be without good transit after the peak Bob Ebersole

Bummer--I thought it was being blasted for not supporting The Oil Drum.

Felix CAT 3 strength already - probably updated at 11.

NOAA jet reporting back 129 MPH winds(131 is CAT4), eye wall closed and eye visible.

98L still tracking west with good circulation but constrained by dry air and shear. That will diminish in the next 48-72 when it will likely form into a TD.

Far too early to be sure of either tracks so won't speculate.

Felix is pretty much guaranteed to become a major, 98L has potential.

Back to your regular scheduled programming. :-P


Models can be wrong but you always have to cringe when one does this...

The models of 98L are not very nice either :/

Felix...now forecasted to be CAT5..definite....given the time before land fall.

Looks like Felix will be more destructive than DEAN...

For those that think this is a poor hurricane season:

6 named storms
2 hurricanes

Still 9 weeks of peak destruction on the way. Not so poor a season. Maybe for the USA so far, but that can change (not that I wish it).

98L still looks good for the 7th named storm and another major, IMO. Models show a more northern course for 98L.

Sept 10th, is approx the mid of the season...so 7 named, 3 hurricanes(iff 98L develops). They predicted 13-16 named, 6 hurricanes, and ONLY 2 majors.

They look right on target.

BTW, For those watching Felix the tropical discussion has it turning north after crossing the Yucatan...but still days out.

The Peak of Hurricane Activity is this week. Good luck with seeing another 8-9 storms...

So we are halfway through hurricane season and halfway to the predicted number of storms.

Do you ever have anything useful to post or do you just like bloviating?

So PartyGuy, are you more of a global warming denier or a peak oil denier? With Category Fives becoming routine occurrences for the first time in history (two in the Gulf, one on Taiwan), both these activities must take more and more of your precious time away from explaining that Iraq is completely different than Vietnam - whoops, I mean that Iraq teaches us the lesson of why we should have kept the Vietnam War going forever.

But keep doing what you can to buy another Friedman unit for a system and ideology that has turned like AIDS against the very liberties that it claims to defend. I say, the sooner we collapse, the sooner we start learning how to govern ourselves (in multiple senses of the word) again.

I agree that the flow of category 5 storms in the Atlantic basin is a new and disturbing trend, but I would caution you against drawing in any information about Pacific storms for these discussions. There is certainly warming there, but it'll be much harder to tease out signal from noise, as the Pacific is bigger, warmer, and has fewer barriers, both in terms of land mass and upper level air flow, unlike the Atlantic/Caribbean complex of seas.

I'm neither. I'm only urging you to show a bit of caution, instead of going all out on the doomer predictions that make us look silly and drive people away. PO is becoming more and more mainstream, but its not because of people like you who automatically call anyone who isnt in lock-step agreement with you a denier and a moron...

Not ANYONE. He called YOU a denier and a moron. Start referencing links. Show documentation. Prove him wrong. (If you need someone to show you how to copy and paste, I'm sure someone on this site would be willing to help you.)

He more than likely read what I wrote below calling him ignorant. But ignorance is vastly different so I linked information to him to explain how serious the canes are.

Not to mention his comments made me quite angry given the death toll we are looking at here.

I agree with you. As best I can see he is just a Troll. He never supports anything he says with links, references or documentation. Most every position I have ever seen him take is contrary to referenced documentation provided by the position he is opposing, never countering it with anything other than his rants.

That is my experience also.

Hurricane Felix put on an incredibly ferocious burst of intensification last night, winding up into a small but potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane. Felix now holds the record for shortest time for an Atlantic storm to intensify to Category 5 strength. Felix required just 51 hours to reach Category 5 strength after it started as a tropical depression. That is a truly remarkable intensification rate, considering most tropical cyclones take 3-5 days to organize into a Category 1 hurricane. The tracking coordinates for Felix show that it has spent more of its life at Category 5 strength than any other classification.


IS the 2007 the year that G*D has chosen to batter CANATRELL?

It looks (Models show) another major hurricane heading straight across the Yucatan at CANATRELL.

WTH? What are the odds...really?

This one may be more direct a hit and a stronger storm...as the long range models have it still a strong CAT1/2 coming across.

Anywho...really...what are the odds?

FELIX...another soon to be retired name.

And we all know how the predictions of Dean being a strong Cat 3 when it hit Cantrell turned out!

Hey...who cares. I am not making the predictions...just echoing the forecasters here for those that care.

Dude seriously do you not study history? Or are you just ignorant... There is several factors that come into play that the models cannot adjust for. As of right now it seems a large majority of the models I have looked at say felix is a cat3 and the models said cat 2 hitting not 5.. People are wrong models are wrong...

Main message here is PREPARE FOR THE WORST!!! hope for the best or you are going to be up the creek without a paddle. I have seen myself personally what these storms can do during my childhood growing up in Florida and experienced a cat5 landfall of Andrew destruction.

If you had common decency you would be praying for whatever folks are in the crosshairs as their day is about to go bad.. If it hits where predicted slows down as the NHC says right now we could be looking at 8000+ people dead. Lighten up man sarcasm gets you nowhere.


Yeah its that bad.. Mudslides and what not do it in good just like Haiti.. Look at the power of Fifi too.. cat2.. Although you do not need high winds for incredible destruction Allison shall point that out too go look it up.

It looks (Models show) another major hurricane heading straight across the Yucatan at CANATRELL.

WTH? What are the odds...really?

Higher than you might expect. For reasons they are only just beginning to understand, it's not unusual for hurricanes to follow similar paths, during a season and even across seasons. For example, a few years ago, the hurricanes were all going up the eastern seaboard. They've slowly been shifting west. Remember that year when a bunch of them hit Florida? Then we had the Gulf in the crosshairs a couple of years ago. Now they've shifted even further west.









MILES...185 KM.

DATA IS 934 MB...27.58 INCHES.






From: CalculatedRisk
9/2/2007 8:06:33 PM
RECON Aborted. Too much turbulence. Wow.

You know we sit here and discuss these monsters...category 5 hurricanes and just discuss the predicted paths and impacts on oil infrastructure, but these beasts really just hypnotize me...they are fearsome, but somewhat beautiful in their symmetry. They are easy to grasp from a satellite photo, but to make the leap down to the level of reality, I'm not sure I can fathom the experience.

You will have to excuse my tangent...I grew up in the Midwest where tornadoes were a constant fascination...if you've ever seen one...they will freeze you in your steps for a minute or so...then you snap out of it and run.

A tragic-comedy video about peak oil by investigative reporter John Hockenberry. Highly Recommended. I couldn't stop laughing as the intrepid reporter visits the High Sierras of California to find out if anyone knows what "peak oil" is.

A Fit of Peak

This is why that I continue to write about the subject although many here will assume that the peak has already been passed.

I'm still waiting for NPR to "get religion" about peak oil and stop interviewing Daniel Yergin, just as they have with climate change this year.

When NPR gets religion on PO we will already have attacked Iran and the Straits will be closed.

Please expound upon the Straight of Hormuz closure dynamics. I read up on the Russian built SS-N-22 Sunburn the Iranians have.



The sledge hammer in the hands of the U.S. Navy would seem calculated to eliminate this threat.


OK, this is a little OT for the one line response as poster claims no expertise, but I hope someone who has "seen the elephant" can talk about how something like this might progress. I believe that while the concept of Sunburn v. ship is similar to RPG v. helicopter the less mobile, less concealable nature and support required make these devices more like a vulnerable fighter, at least until the moment they're in the air.

Will President Bush bomb Iran?

The story mentions a US military war game

In the meantime, administration officials are studying the lessons of the recent war game, which was set up to devise a way of weathering an economic storm created by war with Iran. Computer modelling found that if Iran closed the Straits of Hormuz, it would nearly double the world price of oil, knock $161 billion off American GDP in a single quarter, cost one million jobs and slash disposable income by $260 billion a quarter.

The war gamers advocated deploying American oil reserves - good for 60 days - using military force to break the blockade (two US aircraft carrier groups and half of America's 277 warships are already stationed close to Iran), opening up oil development in Alaska, and ending import tariffs on ethanol fuel. If the government also subsidised fuel for poorer Americans, the war-gamers concluded, it would mitigate the financial consequences of a conflict.

The Heritage report concludes: "The results were impressive. The policy recommendations eliminated virtually all of the negative outcomes from the blockade."

ending import tariffs on ethanol fuel

Read "destabilizing Brazil due to food price increases as we've done with Mexico"

subsidised fuel for poorer Americans

Read "engaged in some politically acceptable welfare for the oil companies, pushing demand destruction off their backs and onto the taxpayers"

Not directly spoken ... how much of global gasoline refining is in Iran? How much is needed there? We would certainly tear up their refining facilities ... but that is the equivalent to torching the neighbor's place ... when you live in a row house.

Peak Stupidity is the legacy of the Bush administration ... when a dumbass farm boy blogger from Iowa can punch holes in their position with three minutes of thought they're achieved something notable in that regard.

ending import tariffs on ethanol fuel

Read "destabilizing Brazil due to food price increases as we've done with Mexico"

Not quite so. We'll pay more for the ethanol, but can't really transform our ethanol production into food or the other way around in a short timescale. Well, unless you consider sugar to be an important kind of food... But we export most of our sugar anyway.

Planting canae is a slow process that takes the biggest part of a year, and one colects small rewards on the subsequent years until it grows to cover all the area. Not considering the natural aptitude of the land (that may be for something else) and all the preparation that will be simply trashed if you were planning on growing near anything else on it.

Planting anything on where there was canae is also difficult. You'll have a multi-year fight against the previous culture that will try to grow again everytime some rain drops on your land. Pasture is a nice thing to plant after canae, since catle tend to eat it first, but you also can't convert pasture that fast into food (it takes at least 2 years).


Thanks for the info on sugar cane. Do you have any links on farming it? How much water does it require, yeild per acre, that sort of thing. The coastal plain around southeast Texas used to produce a lot of sugar cane, but I know nothing about it.
Bob Ebersole

Sugar cane. Consider the parallels to the slave trade in the 1700s and 1800s. It was rum then, and guns. Now it will be ethanol and guns. If I recall, Brazil is having to break up what it refers to as slavery on the sugar plantations.

cfm in Gray, ME

Dryki sees where I was going with it - drop the trade barrier with Brazil and suddenly we're sucking sunshine out of a large swath of South America. Less rain forest, less food for Brazilians, and the troubles start. We have to be having an effect there already with the corn to ethanol push here - our vehicles take one giant sized bite out of the community pot of cereals and ... magically ... there is less to eat in that pot.

Well, unless you consider sugar to be an important kind of food"

--Ha! try to deprive the masses of their sugar. It's right up there w/ gasoline.


Thank you for that great link! Its an amazing piece of work by the Heritage Foundation, and I assume is for consumption by Fox News to refute the anticipated domestic arguments when the neocons attempt to conquer Iran. Its very recent, released August 1,2007.TheHeritage Foundation may be talking heads, but there's obviously no brain behind the skull moving those lips.

The other possibility is that the report really does represent the best thinking of the Neocons, who expected us to be greeted with flowers and cheering in Iraq.

The report assumes that an embargo from the area would only last one month, would double the price of West Texas Intermediate fom $65/bbl to $130/bbl and that only one ship would be sunk, a tanker.The result would be a recession causing the loss of 1 million jobs and a decrease in the GDP lasting about two years. One of the more hilarious assumptions is that the big oil companies would be allowed to drill the "reserves on the west coast of Florida" and that would reassure the markets so that oil prices went back down to $65.00/bbl. It also assumes that the administration would take no action other than letting the "free market work".

Bob Ebersole

This is from the same geniuses who thought one brigade of Rangers could "liberate" Iraq with the largest hazard being trooper allergic reactions to all of the flowers with which they'd be pelted?

Convenient how our SPR is just large enough to cover the sixty days it'll take to pacify a country with three times the population experiencing double the GDP of Iraq. Oh, no real ethnic or sectarian divisions? And a close working relationship with the Chinese, who happen to hold a whole schwack of U.S. debt?

It'd be just tragicomic if it were the antics of some west African kleptocracy endangering a tenth of a percent of humanity, but these particular kleptocrats endanger pretty much all of us.

The proposed attack on Iran is beyond brilliant!!

The US proposed to undertake an attack that has the result of doubling world oil prices at exactly that moment when the US economy quivers on the brink of recession.

The forcast doubling of oil prices will have negative impact on the world economy and foreign investors, the same foreign investors who are needed to purchase US scrip to keep the American economy afloat so that Der BushFurher can continue with his manic program of "Democracy Through Destruction and Death."

Bush is insane.

Not insane at all. Such an attack will drive the US into an authoritarian frenzy. Everyone will be hurting; the only recourse will be soldiers and guns in every neighborhood to enforce the authority of the state. Sort of like 9/11 on steroids.

cfm in Gray, ME

Yes...and the last thing on people's minds will be Peak Oil. It is a desparate diversion of a cornered animal.

All of that Homeland Security stuff ... propane tank registration on chicken farms? That is half fuel concerns and half prepping for the inevitable social disorder here. The Bush administration believes an authoritarian model is the right way to go as resources are depleted ... or they believe the end of days is upon us ... both positions fit the same (crazy) set of policies.

Bush will certainly be the first U.S. president to die by hanging, but I can't puzzle out if it'll be after a war crimes tribunal, by his own hand in the Oval Office, or if Darth Cheney will arrange for it somewhere quiet as a way of tying off a lose end.

administration believes an authoritarian model is the right way to go as resources are depleted

Now, now....don't blame Bush the Lesser - governments have had this streak for years. If you have the power to grab whatever resources you want and by grabbing those resources you will lead a more comfortable life, you will.

Bush Says he is 'Jesus Christ' and will Lead God's Forces in the Battle of Armegeddon

Just kidding. Scary part is that his saying something like that seems not that far outside the realm of possibility.

Anyones guess what the intent of that report is, but it misses all sorts of geopolitical issues. Things that have been in place for a long time.

Google "sunburn missile" and see the UK article that appears in 4th rank.

Actually it is the C-802 anti-ship missiles that Iran has that is the real threat.

Due to the Yingji-82 missile's small radar reflectivity, low attack flight path (only five to seven meters above the sea surface) and strong anti-jamming capability of its guidance equipment, target ships have a very small chance of intercepting the missile. The hit probability of the Yingji-82 is estimated to be as high as 98 percent. The Yingji-82 can be launched from airplanes, surface ships, submarines and land-based vehicles, and has been considered – along with the US Harpoon missile – as among the best anti-ship missiles of its generation.[1] Its export name is the C-802.

Islamic Republic of Iran Navy: Iran reportedly possesses 60 of these missiles, stationed at Qeshm. It is also suggested that China exported 15 patrol boats equipped with these missiles to Iran.[3] Iran is suspected of having supplied the Islamic militant group Hezbollah with an unknown number of these missiles, one of which was possibly used in an attack on an Israeli ship during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.


They provoke them every time they think they've got a firing solution on most of their assets, but the Iranians are much wiser than our kleptocrats, so now we get terror kabuki on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack in the form of the White House written report "from" General Petraeus.

Oh, and they've classified the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization ... no need to seek approval from that pesky Democratic dominated Congress, now is there, even though that is the largest organization unit of a sovereign nation's military.

A farce in two terms, this Bush administration, and from their behavior I predict we'll see the first use of the term "assclown" in a high school American History text.

Even if they act like a terrorist organization?

Who, our own military? That's why the law was written specifically to exempt US actions. A racist jihad, er, crusade.

Define the term terrorist for me, PartyGuy, and provide me with six current examples of individuals or organizations that are either terrorists or support the use of terror methods.

Would terrorizing Palestinian farmers into abandoning their lands to encroaching white settlers count?

Or training Latin American army officers in Fort Benning for lucrative second jobs murdering labor activists for capitalist pigs?

Or arming both Sunni and Shia "security forces" in Iraq and turning them loose on each other every time the genuine majority of Iraqis against the Occupation seems about to unite?

Or getting caught in a civilian car full of explosives, put in a jail in Basra, and freed by a destructive assault by your British comrades? (Have we forgotten this one already?)

Or suspending habeas corpus, and putting all your attorney general's resources at work to create legal excuses for spying on and kidnapping political critics (like myself) and holding them in secret?

Or continually threatening via proxies on right-wing radio shows that critics should be imprisoned or executed?

Oh wait, I'm not PartyGuy. Never mind.

Or using Agritoxins as a bioweapon and the US military to drive peasants off the land in Paraguay so American Big Agriculture can plant monoculture soy.

When OBL's followers hit the World Trade Center that was terrorism, plain and simple. A civilian target was hit by a nonstate actor.

When an Iraqi man detonates an EFP style device in the direction of a U.S. military vehicle is a he terrorist? I would say not. He is a citizen of his country resisting an illegal occupation. The Afghans did these things to the Russians and we supported them in their efforts.

If you disagree with the statements in the above paragraph please include a logical argument that references both the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the U.S. invasion of Iraq.


Thank you. I was waiting for someone to try and connect 911
with the War of Terror for control of the World's Resources
and Protection of the PetroDollar.

How did Lynne Cheney get to the WH Bunker before Cheney?

Why have we not heard of the E-4B Flying Pentagon circling the WH minutes before the Pentagon explodes?

"If you disagree with the statements in the above paragraph please include a logical argument that references both the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the U.S. invasion of Iraq."

The US pulled Russia into Afghanistan

See first sentence for our Genocide of Iraq.

1. Is the condition of the occupation better or worse?
2. Is the condition of the government better or worse?
3. Is the condition of the resistance better or worse?

Why have we not heard of the E-4B Flying Pentagon circling the WH minutes before the Pentagon explodes?

Sources for this claim pls?

My definition of a terrorist organization would, unfortunately, probably include the US army at present.

The remedy for that is a formal declaration of war. It's in the Constitution, you know. Oh, you don't want a debate first.

My political views are closely aligned with that of Benjamin Franklin.

Any society that would willing sacrifice a little freedom for a little security will have neither nor deserve them both.

Another historic development is that for the first time we seem to be fearing weapons of indigineous Chinese design, not Soviet-era knockoffs. That means that other countries will learn how to do it. The cheap anti-ship missile has been the naval revolution kept at arm's length since the Falklands War. The loss of British destroyers in that war should have been like Billy Mitchell's sinkings of battleships, a warning of a disaster to come. Yet for twenty years after the Mitchell trials navies kept building battleships.

98% hit probability. Jeez, just imagine when they become as numerous as RPGs.

They won't get as numerous as RPGs but they are smaller, sneakier, and thusly safer than a fighter/bomber armed with a simple iron bomb. The handwriting is on the wall for unwelcomed guests of any size ... IED, RPG, and inexpensive cruise missiles.

Speaking of inexpensive cruise missiles ... this crazy Kiwi built himself one for less than $5,000.


This Book is one of many sources available for schematics of the V-1. Remote Guidance can be obtained at any hobby store. If they wanted to do it, it would not be difficult. The Germans in WWII also had a remote guided air-to-ship missile whose schematics I imagine are also not classified. It's not like this guy had secret knowledge and shutting him down would prevent it from getting into dangerous hands. 40 years ago a high schooler could probably have built one in wood shop.

The Straits are less than five miles wide in terms
of where VLCC's can go.

Two tankers, two Sunburns (or Chinese/Ukrainian equivalent)
and you've got a permanently closed Strait.

And not even talking about Ras Tanura in flames.

And Venezuela immediately cuts us off.

The US will be at 1931 with an Express ticket to 1886.

And of course our Army will be cut off and marooned in Baghdad.

Edited to replace the embed with a link. Embedded videos are really a resource drain, especially for an open thread that is refreshed often.

Sure, no problem.

That is an interesting vid. He did find one guy who knew what peak oil was. (The ice cream seller.)

Curiously, it seemed that once he explained it, almost everyone thought we were already past peak. Except that one woman who thinks the problem is "hoarders."

The link above on No holiday for nation's 2-4/7 'energy slaves' is quite interesting. It says that in the US we each have approximately 150 energy slaves. Of course that number for sub-Sahara Africa would be a great deal less, but it would not be zero by any stretch of the indignation.

And it is nice to know that at least part of the world is beginning to recognize that crude oil is how we should measure the peak in crude oil, and not to add boifuels or bottled gas. In the interest of accuracy however there is one passage that needs a little correcting:

World crude oil production peaked in May 2005 and is down 2 percent – despite record-high oil prices and economic growth that normally translates into increasing use of oil.

Well, 2 percent is just a tad high. Month on month, May 2007 oil production is down 1.63 percent from the peak month of May 2005. But monthly production jumps up and down quite radically and should not be the measure for when we determine the peak. Yearly averages would tell us a lot more than monthly peaks and valleys.

The highest yearly average for crude oil was 2005 and the world produced 73.791 million barrels per day that year. Last year the average was 73.456 million barrels per day, down .33 percent. So far this year world production has averaged 73.282 million barrels per day, down .69 percent from 2005.

Ron Patterson

Hi Darwinian, I noticed that one myself
– and what came to mind was the building of for instance the Taj Mahal which in 1632, the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned as a mausoleum for his favorite wife.

Key figures : Construction period ~ 20 years and 20 000 workers.
-some calculations here gives approximately > “144 000 000 man-days” done the old fashion way - I guess 2 plates of rice kept them going ..

Now, divided by 150 we get 960 000 “man-days” done with a little help from our cheap_and_available_machinery/fuel-SLAVES …

Q1 : Could Taj Mahal have been completed today with 2 630 workers in ONE year only ?

Q2 : …Or 263 folks in 10 years

if so , we would have saved a heck of alot of rice (!) thats for sure (!)

-just for fun -

As a point of comparison, the BAPs temple in Toronto cost $40 million, 1800 stone carvers, 18 months. Nice pretty pictures (including Stephen Harper wearing funny flowers)


Fairly large, pretty building [hey, efficient LED lighting for decorative effects--I helped on that]

100 to 1? Not quite; I don't think we're quite up to the same standard. But comparable. At least it's within an order of magnitude or two.

Re: Yemeni price protests turn violent,
and: Bush's ethanol dreams make corn a hot commodity

In Mexico the result of higher prices for corn has been dramatic: corn tortillas, a staple of the Mexican diet for 50 million low-income people, suddenly cost double. The government has been forced to intervene with price controls.

As luck would have it, I was standing in the lobby of a Wachovia Bank Friday and watched the talking head on CNBC discussing the record high in the price of wheat futures. The price per bushel for the September contract hit $7.8850, then dropped back a little at close.

As the price of food (and fuel) continues to increase, more and more "demand destruction" can be expected to result. Of course, if one is living on the bottom of the pile with less the $2/day to spend, that destruction becomes rather personal. Small wonder the protests are becoming louder and more violent.

E. Swanson

E. Swanson, you are correct, we can expect more and more "demand destruction" in both fuel and food demand. What many of those talking heads on CNBC do not realize is that much of that demand destruction will be caused by people eating a lot less. And eventually more hungry people lead to the destruction of a lot of human beings. Death from malnutrition related diseases is never sudden. It is a long horrible process.

But not to worry, as the non doomers on this list will tell you, we should look forward to the dramatic decline in fossil fuels. It will force us to use "some other kind of energy".

Yeah Right! Folks in Mexico are already being forced to use some of that "other kind of energy". I am not sure what it is but it must be there somewhere else those damn doomers out there are being proved correct.

Ron Patterson

IMO, I feel quite safe (100%? , NO) that within a “few” years time – this bio-fuel scam will be understood for what it is and abandoned. I hope some serious (UN) taskforce on EROEI will be constituted – and nail this once and for all.

A doubling of corn/staple-prices year on year is simply not possible for many years or/else… something has to give, and as we read “around” it’s already “giving light” in some places.

The relaxing thing though, is that the fuel-bound agro-harvest is easily redirected as food – it just takes some legislation …, as in “banning food for fuel” that is.

Everything is connected, Paal. The food we eat requires lots of oil. Burning food in place of oil is silly, I'll admit, but assuming that stopping that burning will fix food prices in the face of peak oil is not a correct assumption.

One can look at this or that, and find areas where a "silver BB" might make an improvement, but the substrate to all this is the number of BTUs available to us, and that number is decreasing.

SacredCowTipper - (???) Am I saying everything is disconnected , or(?)

in reading your reply, I'm having a feeling I've written the complete opposite – as to what my actual intentions were...

Our food requires a lot less oil than the vehicles we drive.  (Look at the relative consumption of motor gasoline vs. all uses of distillate.)  We do need to fix agriculture, but getting rid of guzzling personal vehicles will buy us plenty of time to do that.

Arkansawyer/Farmer here:

"We do need to fix agriculture, but getting rid of guzzling personal vehicles will buy us plenty of time to do that."

Or, once we've had the Revolution we can fix X.

X being your fave target.

Everyone will be using mules/horses except for AgBiz.

That's 1931. At best.

Or, once we've had the Revolution we can fix X.

That's your interpretation, not mine.  I figure $6/bushel corn will lead to internecine war inside the ag lobby (meat and dairy against corn), allowing public pressure to repeal ethanol mandates and the flex-fuel loophole.  In the mean time, reduced farm exports mean a weaker dollar and more expensive oil.  $4+/gallon fuel will kill the guzzler market segment.

Farmers are resourceful, too.  How long before someone dusts off a WWII or energy crisis-era design for a wood gasifier and adapts it for torrefied crop wastes?  Co-fueling a diesel with gaseous fuel is fairly well understood and does not look overly difficult to retrofit.

Farmers are resourceful, too. How long before someone dusts off a WWII or energy crisis-era design for a wood gasifier and adapts it for torrefied crop wastes?

Now, how in your calculations of 'resourceful farmers' will the have the labor to gather the crop wastes, process them, then feed them into the gasifier?

It strikes me as the tractors that thresh 240 acres a day with a 300 hp machine are not going to adapt well to your position.

But feel free to show how the one man in a GPS guided air conditioned tractor will be able to feed that tractor the gasifier fuel just like s/he can now fill that medium sized 300 HP tractor with diesel.

  1. The combine driver doesn't.  The person who drives the truck which takes the grain dumped out of the combine is the one who probably has some extra time to bring pelletized fuel to the combine and take baled stalks and straw to the processor.
  2. A 300 HP machine burning diesel at 0.35 lbm/hp-hr is going to use about 14 gallons/hr or 168 gallons in a 12-hour working day.  If off-road fuel goes to $5/gallon, that's $840/day.  If you can replace 2/3 of that with biofuel taken from the very field being worked, that's $560/day of potential savings.  That will pay for a fair amount of labor.
  3. Diesel fuel has roughly 19,000 BTU/lb; torrefied biomass is in the region of 10,000 BTU/lb, and charcoal is even higher.  The amount of bio-fuel required is not so much greater than diesel to make radical changes in the fueling schedule.


OK. We can start here:

"...the one who probably has some extra time to bring pelletized fuel to the combine and take baled stalks and straw to the processor."

Anyone w/ extra time is fired immediately.


There is no such thing as "crop waste".

Any waste removed must be replaced.


"probably has some extra time to bring pelletized fuel to the combine and take baled stalks and straw to the processor."

There is no "extra time". And what machine is
using fuel to bale the stalks and bring it?

"If you can replace 2/3 of that with biofuel taken from the very field being worked, that's $560/day of potential savings. That will pay for a fair amount of labor.

You're mining the last 6 inches of topsoil here.

Again, there is no such thing as crop waste.

"That will pay for a fair amount of labor."

So to recap. We can fuel the current harvesting techniques from the same acreage we're getting record yields
off and have enough in extra "free energy" to hire another laborer.

Have I got that right?

There is no such thing as "crop waste".
Any waste removed must be replaced.

A bit of history here WRT Engineer-Poet. He floated an idea based on 'there are alot of woody waste in the lumber industry' and decided that, if we just made it into charcoal and combined it with zinc to make batteries that's be cool. (His analysis ignored the cost of zinc with this new use, and the extra labor costs)

When asked about returning the material to the soil, things like Phosphorus, he whipped out the 'if it is important, the market will pay for that processing' argument.

So Engineer-poet has a history of 'not closing the loop' WRT energy and soil. The only way he seems to change his mind is if he thinks he came up with the idea himself, no one can point out how he is 'wrong' on any idea.

He floated an idea based on 'there are alot of woody waste in the lumber industry' and decided that, if we just made it into charcoal and combined it with zinc to make batteries that's be cool. (His analysis ignored the cost of zinc with this new use, and the extra labor costs)

You're an extremely dishonest person, "Eric".

  1. Zinc: Miracle metal? went with the original researcher's scheme of using coal.
  2. Going negative postulated the use of biomass as the carbon source as a means of remediating human CO2 emissions.
  3. I had nothing at all to do with the creation of The Billion-Ton Vision, which proposes the use of forestry cuttings, bark, etc. for fuel purposes.

When asked about returning the material to the soil, things like Phosphorus, he whipped out the 'if it is important, the market will pay for that processing' argument.

I don't suppose it ever occurred to you that mining new phosphate and potash might take less energy and have less environmental impact (or maybe you just attack wherever you can cast aspersions, regardless of the facts).  Regardless, this won't be an issue for a crop-drived fuel used at the field it came from.

So Engineer-poet has a history of 'not closing the loop' WRT energy and soil. The only way he seems to change his mind is if he thinks he came up with the idea himself, no one can point out how he is 'wrong' on any idea.

Ah, you sink to outright lies.  I cite my sources and correct myself if anyone finds an error.  You, on the other hand, appear to have not a single worthwhile thought; you just attack those who do.

Anyone w/ extra time is fired immediately.

Even if you need 60% of their time to drive vehicles and the like, and can't do without it?  Sounds counterproductive when you could use the other 40% to offset your petroleum requirements.

There is no such thing as "crop waste".

Any waste removed must be replaced.

Two issues you missed:

  1. The crop is removed.  What do you do to replace that?
  2. The stalks, straw, etc. taken to fuel the farm equipment winds up back on the field as either ash (minerals) or charcoal (permanently sequesterable carbon and sponge for nutrients).  The mineral nutrients are not lost.

Burning does not remove mineral nutrients.  The prairie grassland soils were built over centuries of regular fires, plus grazing and other removals of vegetable matter.  I understand that some crops (e.g. rice, cotton) require the stalks/straw to be burned regardless, so we might as well make it useful.

There is no "extra time". And what machine is using fuel to bale the stalks and bring it?

Single-pass corn and stover harvesters, to give one example.

You're mining the last 6 inches of topsoil here.

Tell it to the Amazon peoples who invented what we now call "terra preta".  The stuff remains fertile in rainforest conditions despite annual cropping.

We can fuel the current harvesting techniques from the same acreage we're getting record yields off and have enough in extra "free energy" to hire another laborer.

Have I got that right?

Look at the harvest numbers from The Corn Stover Collection Project and then you tell me.  You can figure about 16 million BTU/dry ton, 90% of energy preserved if torrefied for preservation.

The combine driver doesn't. The person who drives the truck which takes the grain dumped out of the combine is the one who probably has some extra time to bring pelletized fuel to the combine and take baled stalks and straw to the processor.

Interesting theories on the division of labor on the farm.

BTW, who keeps the gassifier running on the truck that gets the grain out of the field?

A 300 HP machine burning diesel at 0.35 lbm/hp-hr is going to use about 14 gallons/hr or 168 gallons in a 12-hour working day. If off-road fuel goes to $5/gallon, that's $840/day. If you can replace 2/3 of that with biofuel taken from the very field being worked, that's $560/day of potential savings. That will pay for a fair amount of labor.

Ok, so let me get this straight. Your idea adds weight to the tractor (thus increasing soil compaction. Soil compaction of any sort leads to less plant growth) it needs processed fuel in the form of bailing/pellets, and only is a partial offsetting of 'labor costs'?

Does your 'labor cost' include health insurance for a job class that is considered some of the most dangerous work a person can do? How about finding workers who are OK with employment 'around harvest time' and are otherwise not working for an income the rest of the time? Or a job that will let them have 'time off' to 'help with the harvest'?

Diesel fuel has roughly 19,000 BTU/lb; torrefied biomass is in the region of 10,000 BTU/lb, and charcoal is even higher. The amount of bio-fuel required is not so much greater than diesel to make radical changes in the fueling schedule.

In your mind:
Adding weight and a 'firebox' to a tractor (thus adding maintenance, lowering reliability, typically shortening the life of the engine, changing the blend of emissions, and I'm sure some other regulated negatives/insurance issues) having to have more man hours invested in the fuel (with all the costs for the storage including taxes and insurance) is not a 'radical change' VS the present system of oil fueling?

Not to mention how, just a few days ago you were mentioning how important it is to add bio-char to the soil - now here you are mentioning how you could instead use it as fuel? When the tax man/health care comes a calling - which way do you think the char is gonna be used - in the soil or as fuel to attempt to get money to pay the taxes/health care?

Is it called nitpicking?
You are arguing meaningless detail.

If fuel is expensive and a charcoal producer gas generator can fuel a reasonable sized tractor the whole system changes in its details as the farmer reinvest. The gas generator and fuel hopper is added to the tractor, some more frame etc and probably wider tyres to take the weight. Or the old trick of double mounting tires is used yet again.

The produced food etc gets more expensive but not as expensive as with very expensive diesel. This money flow pays for the additional tractor parts, the trivial transportation equipment, the charcoal making machine and additional labour.
Its likely that the charcoal machine is used for most of the straw and then the charcoals is sold or added to the soil if that makes sense.

The additional machinery and work will probably be comparable to the sum of machinery and work about two decades ago. Its nothing that makes farming impossible. This do of course assume that the producer gas generator works.


Is it called nitpicking?
You are arguing meaningless detail.

If fuel is expensive...and assume that the producer gas generator works.

Now these three dates:

1931, 1886, 1812.

Not really that much time between those dates, but a World
of difference.

Like Agriculture and Slavery.

And that's what's in our future as fuel gets more expensive if your attempting to get the same amount of food/fiber off the land and have it fuel
your harvester at the same time.

And tons of phosphate/manure will have to be applied as well.

You are arguing meaningless detail.

'meaningless' because the proposed plan won't happen or because you don't see labor/taxes/insurance/processing-dewatering-storage of the organic-fuel as issues?

Or 'meaningless' because you can't muster up an actual argument?

Go ahead. Show the numbers, as you are declaring 'em "meaningless".

Its likely that the charcoal machine is used for most of the straw and then the charcoals is sold or added to the soil if that makes sense.

The parent has stated that "we ought to be pushing terra preta very hard" and yet in this drumbeat the parent is saying the biochar should be burned all the way to ash.

But really, you have a weak argument with "Its likely".

This do of course assume that the producer gas generator works.

It does work, but it is not "is not so much greater than diesel to make radical changes in the fueling schedule." and a system to drive a 300HP tractor is gonna be a big change to the farmer and how much you pay for food, or if you can buy food.

IMO, I feel quite safe (100%? , NO) that within a “few” years time – this bio-fuel scam will be understood for what it is and abandoned.

Unless, of course, this is THEIR "Final Solution". Never underestimate the evil that men do. This WOULD 'depopulate' the planet's poor.(Without having to round them up and stuff them in ovens.)

Hey, TODers, it's my birthday!

At 49, my life is full of "could'a, would'a, should'a" but also it seems like I've learned along the way.

Sometimes my life's path has wound around quite a lot. Looking back is not the same as looking forward. :)

I guess that I won't be in on all of the perks of social Security, Medicaid or Medicare. My guess is that my old age will be pretty short and brutal by today's standards.

Somehow that does not bother me. I'll ride my trikes until I can't, and then I won't. (To alter a famous line from JHK.) Meanwhile, I have two kiddos to continue to raise, and a little time to garden and try to spread the Word in my tiny, fallible way.

My kids think I am pretty old. My friends in their 70's and 80's think I am pretty young.

I'm "past peak." In terms of years, that is. :)

I do wish I'd set out to build that dreamed-of sustainable primitive bunker somewhere on the west side of the Cascades when I was 20. Now I'm in a different place, and the options are all different. Family and community involvement with Peak Oil Awareness seem to take priority.

I ride my cargo trikes and pedicabs, do a little writing for a local paper, and try to engage folks in conversation about peak Oil and climate Change every day. Sometimes I think I've become an evangelist for the Good Green Gospel.

I try to go easy on folks. I try to challenge but also engage positively. If people are not open to talk about such things. I accept them and do hope that they will engage in the conversation some day.

Most people are open at some level, even if they are not ready to see just where we are in relation to earth and each other at this point.

As a species, we are wandering around quite a bit, often doing things that are self-destructive and downright stupid. Sometimes we are brilliant, though. I do hope we can find more brilliance in the next very few years.

The last truly great book I've read is "The Creation" by E.O. Wilson. I especially recommend chapter 10 "End Game" (pp. 91-99) if you want a good sample.

Check the library or a local bookstore to browse that chapter, and let me know what you think!

"End of 49-year-old's self-indulgent ruminations upon his birthday." :) :) :)

What a surprise! I'm shocked, just shocked-- who would of ever imagined?
Top Forest Service lawyer to become timber lobbyist
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration's top lawyer for the U.S. Forest Service is leaving to take a job with the nation's leading timber industry lobbying group.
Jan W. Poling, associate general counsel for natural resources at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be the new general counsel for the American Forest and Paper Association, the organization said Friday.

She is the second member of the administration to go to the industry group this year. In February, Dave Tenny, deputy undersecretary of agriculture for natural resources and environment, became vice president of forestry and wood products, a title formerly held by Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey with the group.

"Jan's experience managing complex legal issues will add great value to AF&PA and its public policy mission," the company's president, Donna Harman, said in a statement.

Previously, Poling served as an Alabama assistant attorney general, as an attorney in the U.S. Department of Interior solicitor's office, and in the department's congressional and legislative affairs office.

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?

Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.

Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

Above the fold, page A01, from today's NYTimes:

September 2, 2007
Safety Agency Faces Scrutiny Amid Changes

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 — In March 2005, the Consumer Product Safety Commission called together the nation’s top safety experts to confront an alarming statistic: 44,000 children riding all terrain vehicles were injured the previous year, nearly 150 of them fatally.

National associations of pediatricians, consumer advocates and emergency room doctors were urging the commission to ban sales of adult-size A.T.V.’s for use by children under 16 because the machines were too big and fast for young drivers to control. But when it came time to consider such a step, a staff member whose name did not appear on the meeting agenda unexpectedly weighed in.

“My own view is the situation is not necessarily deteriorating,” said John Gibson Mullan, the agency’s director of compliance and a former lawyer for the A.T.V. industry, according to a recording. The current system of warning labels and other voluntary safety standards was working, he said. “We would need to be very careful about making any changes.”

Robin L. Ingle, then the agency’s hazard statistician and A.T.V. injury expert, was dumbfounded. Her months of research did not support Mr. Mullan’s analysis. Yet she would not get to offer a rebuttal.

“He had hijacked the presentation,” Ms. Ingle said in an interview. “He was distorting the numbers in order to benefit industry and defeat the petition. It was almost like he still worked for them, not us."

Hightlighting above mine. Read more here http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/02/business/02consumer.html?ex=1346472000...

Posted by Leanan a few days ago. If you didn't get a chance to read it, you'll be fall-down laughing, bang yourself-in-the-head-with-floorboards giggling. Well, maybe not.

Ex-Exxon CEO Mum on Global Warming
Energy's Future: A onetime oilman admits we need alternatives, but says there's plenty of petroleum left.
by Fareed Zakaria

Sept. 3, 2007 issue - Lee Raymond succeeded as an oilman by staying focused on oil....

As for global warming? Raymond, who is also chair of President Bush's alternative-energy committee, says, "No comment."

He spoke to NEWSWEEK's Fareed Zakaria. Excerpts:

ZAKARIA: You've given the impression that you're somewhat skeptical about global warming. In the last year or two, have you changed your views?
RAYMOND: Frankly, if the conversation is going to be largely focused on global warming, that's not really where I'm going to go. The National Petroleum Council's study says, on the question of global warming, if policymakers conclude that actions should be taken, that would force, likely, a change in the energy mix and would force higher costs of energy.

Iraq hasn't had serious exploration in 40 years.
That is true. There is an enormous amount of oil in Iraq. We [ExxonMobil] were part of the consortium, the four companies that were there when Saddam Hussein threw us out, and we basically had the whole country. Really, to my knowledge, and I think it's pretty accurate, there has been no real exploration done since 1971.

Will there be as much as Saudi Arabia?
That's unlikely. But easily as much as Iran [the world's second largest producer].

How serious a threat do you think global warming is?
That's where we started this ... I'm not going to comment on that.

Your view on global warming as a citizen is "no comment"?
My view on global warming is the purpose of this interview is not to talk about that.

© 2007 Newsweek


Leanan, know you prefer no extensive clipping, can I have a pass here?

“The total sum for Raymond's golden years comes to at least $398 million, among the richest compensation packages ever.”

Happy Birthday Beggar!

I admire the fact that you live out your beliefs, and try to do the best you can for the world and others. You don't preach but rather live your life as a good example, and a useful person. Thank you for that, its a blessing to us all. Bob Ebersole

Thanks, Bob!

I've been entertained by my wife, two kids, and the dog but am back to check out the Drumbeat.

I guessit is good to realize that we can try to live out the implications of PO awareness and to talk with folks along the way.

Writing is new for me, and a good way of trying to stimulate wider awareness and discussion, I think.

Over the last forty eight hours I've driven almost 1,500 miles for work and I've had that conversation three times.

I spent ten minutes chatting with a railroad worker as I was fueling in Omaha. He knew bits and pieces about what was up, and nodded and tracked when I started tacking it together for him. Already a Democratic voter so we didn't get distracted with that whole Republicans as a doomsday cult meme.

The young lady behind the counter at the Indian Springs Resort listened for a few minutes, then a lively exchange began. We had my laptop out, we looked at this, we checked out that. We'll call that one a closed sale, but heart breaking. She was twenty four, absolutely gorgeous, and before too long she'll want to change her name to "mommy". I can't envision bringing a child into what is coming.

As I was fueling in Idaho Springs before I continued west for Las Vegas I saw a fellow with pack, bedroll, and all of the other hitchhiker regalia. I waved at him, pointed west, and he came at a trot - "Salt Lake City?" "How about as far as the I-70 to I-15 junction?" "Great!"

He was certainly alcoholic, two months younger than me but looking twenty years older, and we talked the whole 500 miles from Idaho Springs to that big turn in the middle of nowhere. An educated man, after his own fashion, he knew much of the story already. He hoped for construction work in Salt Lake, having just lost a gig in the Denver area. I was gentle and slow but the message was transmitted - NO MORE CONSTRUCTION WORK AT ALL, ANYWHERE.

Oh, and without stating it - the implicit assumption that the main stream media is lying and covering up was there with all of them. This institution is no longer trusted at any level ...

There will be plenty of construction work post peak oil. It would have been smarter to build prior to the peak but even with a small oil production it will make sense to invest in electricity production, distribution and use, rail, cities and so on.

After global financial collapse I doubt very much will be built. Economics is the primary means of organisation and motivation in today's world. When it lies in tatters very little will get done except at a local level and by other means.

Even today little of substance actually gets done, what we get is an illusion of activity, carefully crafted by PR and spin. It's cheaper to fool people that something is being done rather than actually do it (Hey! If it saves money it makes sense). If we cannot do it today, we've no chance of doing it after we're hit by economic, climate and energy chaos.

Whatever future we face, we're going to face it with whatever we have today.

I live in one of the most lucky countries in Europe but large parts of this continent have been rebuilt several times after far more destructive disasters then only an economical collapse.

I dont think people lie down and die when their money become worthless or the ammount of available petrol is cut in half.

But PR people that lack entertainment skills will be out of luck. ;-)

Magnus, true, I now live in one of those countries. Also, it's true that people don't lie down in the face of adversity, that's why I said things will get done, but at a local level and by other means.

What faces us is not just economic, but also climate change and depleting energy resources. These three elements together will overwhelm our ability to respond. It's like and eighty year old farmer whose bank has withdrawn credit, the weather has destroyed his crops and he's out of fuel to run his tractor. A younger man may be able to respond, but the old farmer cannot, salvaging what's left is his only choice.

Our systems in the West are old and exhausted. Our debt based money system has us all mired in debt, clogging our arteries, sapping our vitality, atrophying and corrupting everything. Once we could rebuild nations and make them prosper, now just look at the desolation of failed states we leave in our retreat. We are abandoning the peripheries, fighting a rear guard action, pulling our final reserves back towards the centre.

We are proud of what we've achieved, but do not yet realise it's history.

I dont think people lie down and die when their money become worthless or the amount of available petrol is cut in half

Male, but not female, life expectancy dropped by ten years as the Soviet Union > Russia. The gender difference strongly suggests that a lot of men did just "lie down & die".

Declining health care and general social stress lead to much higher mortality rates. New Orleans mortality climbed 47% in the six months after Katrina and suicides x6. Both still elevated with murder rates much higher (x2 ?).

I would expect a far worse reaction from the population of Phoenix than the population of New Orleans due to the social isolation and clinging to an unsustainable ideal as an organizing focus of their lives.

So yes, I do expect many people to lay down and die in a prolonged post-Peak Oil crisis (remember the lack of universal health care). 10%, 15% or even 20% of the USA population seems within reason, depending upon the details.



See New Orleans for details.


Hi Beggar,

Happy Birthday! Thanks for all the trike-riding and PO talking.

Prediction: If we don't very soon put an end to the perverse practice of money markets making huge profits off food and water ("soft commodities"), we will pay for that in blood.

[Global] food prices set to surge 50 per cent within five years

What is driving food prices higher? A bunch of factors has combined at the same time. In Australia there is drought, which reduces supply against unchanged demand. ANZ's chief economist Saul Eslake points out that the effect of the drought is only temporary: longer term falling EU subsidies will be a bigger driver of higher milk prices.

But a more important global force is climate change — or at least developments around climate change, such as the new limitations on land use and the push (especially in the US) to replace petrol with biofuel.

In the US biofuel quotas from the Bush Administration are prompting a big increase in the price of corn. In the same way our higher milk prices push up butter and cheese prices, higher US corn prices push up the price of beef.

But the biggest driver behind rising food prices is widening appetites in China and India, where more than 2 billion people who once got by on a largely vegetarian diet are aspiring to diets like you, me or Homer Simpson.

US investment guru Jim Rogers — who correctly called the "hard commodities" boom of recent years — now says "soft" commodities will shine. He says: "There are three billion people in Asia and they're not going to lose their appetite because we've got new problems in the US."

50 percent? HA! How about 50 TIMES?!

Record water prices as farmers try to save crops

THE commercial price of irrigation water has pushed through the $1000-a-megalitre barrier for the first time, compounding the woes of Murray River farmers facing the destruction of their productive capability.

The price -- 50 times levels five years ago -- has doubled in the past three weeks as farmers snapped up tradable water allocations in an effort to keep permanent plantings alive until hoped-for spring rains arrive.

At the new price, it now costs farmers $50 to buy barely enough water to fill theequivalent of a small backyard swimming pool.

The price spike came as federal Water Resources Minister Malcolm Turnbull warned yesterday that the Murray River could dry up altogether, jeopardising Adelaide's water supply.

"My big anxiety is that one year the Murray will run dry," Mr Turnbull told ABC radio in Adelaide. "You are describing a nightmare scenario that could become a reality."

Hello Ilargi,

Thxs for the links. As a fast crash realist, but constantly trying to optimize our decline: IMO, as ERoEI heads to unity for almost everything, we will then have to entirely rely on biosolar inputs that provide a modest positive return.

It would not surprise me to see almost every PV panel forcibly confiscated by the government, then setup in the Arizona desert in a highly protected area by Blackwater Mercs [I would prefer more highly incentivized Earthmarines], with the power then sent to the Saskatchewan Potash mines, the Haber-Bosch Nitrogen plants, and the Phosphate mines in the Southeastern US. Basically, ruthlessly insuring that evanescent, short-term daily sunshine is guaranteed to be used for optimal, long-term photosynthesis food rewards.

This way the NPK process can continue so that the remaining energy from nuke plants, windturbines, hydro-electric, tidal-power, and so on can be directed to potable water and agro-irrigation spiderwebs. IMO, it will be bicycles and wheelbarrows for nearly all, plus whatever RR & TOD Alan Drake can promote. Recall my post calling for 'Strategic Reserves of bicycles and wheelbarrows' to help prevent these items being the leading cause of Wild Demand/Insufficient Supply inflation like in Zimbabwe.

Recall my earlier posting whereby 1914 Potash was $10,500/ton in inflation adjusted 2007 USDollars. I think it will go much higher postPeak when people finally realize just much energy this NPK spiderweb requires [the raw rock itself is free 3300 ft underground, but one crude barrel= 25,000 man-hours!], and just how reliant we truly are on the balanced bio-vitality of topsoil, forests, and grasslands.

Local manures can only be hauled so far before you get a negative ERoEI. Alas, there seems to be no legislative desire to stockpile nitrogen fertilizers as explained in my earlier posts to optimize our permaculture transition, nor a nationwide impetus for building bird & bat guano shelters. Unfortunately, I feel Peakoil Outreach is not being disseminated to the huddled masses as quickly as I wish, but hopefully my speculation is wildly incorrect. Time will tell, but if we let our fertilizer mines be shutdown like Zimbabwe: the machete' moshpit will truly be horrific.

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

It would not surprise me to see almost every PV panel forcibly confiscated by the government, then setup in the Arizona desert in a highly protected area by Blackwater Mercs [I would prefer more highly incentivized Earthmarines], with the power then sent to the Saskatchewan Potash mines, the Haber-Bosch Nitrogen plants, and the Phosphate mines in the Southeastern US.

I would.  This would be way beyond the level of stupidity exhibited by the Bush administration, and I'm sure the public wouldn't elect somebody that much dumber than they are.  For one thing, SK has amazing wind resources (I've seen whitecaps on highway drainage ponds on the TransCan outside Regina) and wouldn't need power shipped from Arizona; for another, you'd have to be a fool to waste so much power in transmission.  Last, if you tried taking everyone's PV panels you'd have a shooting war.

Give me a break - this is the same government in US that is now banning volunteers at disasters [presumably so the 82nd can shoot anyone without witnesses]. I could easily see every passive solar home, every PV panel, every food cache, every still functioning resource confiscated - for your protection of course. They won't be put to use generating nitrogen or in any generally beneficial manner, however.

cfm in Gray, ME

I agree with Bob's scenario in terms of collapse inputs but I don't think the monolithic federal government is going to "do" anything. The federal government bureaucracy is on the wrong side of the producer/consumer dividing line. The federal government in its current form is much like a multinational corporation - totally addicted to oil.

Our standard of living will reset to about 1940 if we play our cards just right ... what was the federal government to people in that year? A distant entity charged with the defense of our borders and the delivery of mail. The world has shrunk to its smallest point as of right now, and with energy prices going asymptotically up ... so does distance. We make sensible moves and the unit of human organization will again be the village. We screw up and it gets reset down to the hunter/gatherer band level.

Actually, during the late 1990s, I heard a news report that the percentage of the federal budget devoted to discretionary spending - which apparently means everything besides Social Security, Medicare, and the war machine and its debts, had reached the lowest level since 1940. The programs I just named simply ate everything else. You can imagine the trend since 2000.

The Feds were doing something in 1940, and based on how people voted, it must have been something they then approved of.

"The Feds were doing something in 1940, and based on how people voted, it must have been something they then approved of."

FDR was doing Lend Lease, taking over the British Empire,
while the Depression was still going strong.

And the Depression did not end until December 7, 1941.

The Carrier Lexington left two weeks before under strong protest by Pearl's CO.

The price of water in Australia might provide an excellent model for oil and/or gasoline late in declining availability. How it's allocated, how it's priced... 50 times recent levels would be $2,500 a barrel oil. It sounds impossible, yet I bet $1000 a megalitre would have sounded insane 5 years ago in Australia. As soon as there is simply not enough for basic needs, it seems to go non-linear. Will energy be inherently different, stop somewhere due to demand (people) destruction?

I heard a local radio interview, about credit card debt, and a woman said that her credit card company had raised her default interest rate to about 33%.

I suspect that we may begin to see wholesale repudiations, or at least attempts to repudiate, mortgage and credit card debt, and ultimately to some degree taxes. Of course, the Bankruptcy code was conveniently toughened, but I wonder if we might see some kind of reversion to more of a cash/barter economy.

Can the Mortgage Crisis Swallow a Town?
At current rates, analysts expect foreclosure filings to hit a rate approaching heights not seen since the Great Depression.

TAMMI and Charles Eggleston never took out a risky mortgage, never borrowed more than they could afford and never missed a monthly payment on their neat, three-bedroom colonial in the Cleveland suburbs. But that hasn’t prevented them from getting caught in the undertow of the subprime mortgage mess now submerging this town.

Over the last 18 months, the Egglestons have watched one house after another on their street, Gardenview Drive, end up foreclosed and vacant. Although lawns are still tidy and empty homes are not boarded up and stripped as they are in inner-city Cleveland, the Egglestons say Maple Heights no longer feels safe after dark. Nor do they have the confidence they had when they moved in a decade ago that this is the ideal place to raise their 6-year-old twin girls, Sydney and Shelby. So, in May 2006, they put their home on the market in order to move closer to Mrs. Eggleston’s parents in another middle-class Cleveland suburb, Richmond Heights.

They have had no takers. Although they lowered the asking price to $99,000 from $109,000, no one has even come to look at it in more than six weeks. “My heart panics every time I drive down the street and I see another for-sale sign,” says Mrs. Eggleston, pointing past the placards in front of her porch to others that dot surrounding yards like lawn furniture. “Some people on the street couldn’t pay, so they just left. The competition to sell is just ridiculous.”

From The Housing Bubble Blog:

Once Starry-Eyed Speculators Renege On Loans
The Tyler Morning Telegraph from Texas. “What some real estate agents called new, innovative ways to obtain home financing a few years ago has turned around to bite the borrower. Or, perhaps the borrower should have waited to qualify for a prime quality loan, said Guillermo Covarrubias, assistant professor of economics at The University of Texas at Tyler.”

“‘These people have so little equity on their houses, that they find it really easy to just walk out,’ he said. ‘They’re not going to lose a lot of equity, so they’re tempted to say, ‘Well, I’m just going to stop paying and let them come and repossess the house.’ They already have bad credit anyway.’”

Hi WT,

I think the trick is to get your wages in cash, for when the weight of bad debt takes your bank 'Argentina style'.

Unfortunately here in the UK, wages in cash is rarer than hens teeth. I am keeping a large cash float just in case...

The ideal customer for credit card companies is someone who makes the minimum payment on their credit cards, and sometimes misses payments, thus incurring fees and default interest rates. I have heard that credit card companies refer to people who pay their balances in full every month as "deadbeats."

I suspect that the problem that the credit card companies are running into is that by relying on so many borderline borrowers for their income, they are all going to massively be impacted by a slowing economy and the mortgage meltdown. The people that are having trouble buying gasoline and food aren't going to make the credit card payments and those that can easily make credit card payments aren't going to be interested taking on new debt.

We will see a similar situation regarding auto loans. A lot of auto loans in recent months and years were made by taking the unpaid balance on older car loans and rolling that debt into new loans. I talked to an automotive journalist a few months ago who told me that many auto dealers were reporting an average "upside down" loan balance of $10,000 per customer being rolled into new loans. So, let's assume you "had" to have the new SUV, and that you paid $30,000 for it, combined with your old unpaid balance of $10,000, for a total initial debt of $40,000 on a rapidly depreciating SUV.

Debts are always paid, if not by the borrower, then by the lender. Of course, a combination of the two is hyperinflation.

But I think that we are witnessing the early death throes of the "borrow and spend" mentality in the US. Any way you slice it though, those whose jobs are dependent on discretionary spending--especially debt driven discretionary spending--are headed for trouble.

What I don't understand is this: the amount of money you can borrow is (usually) guaged on your ability to service that debt, but with this crisis unfolding there are no obvious reports from the media of mass job losses in the US which would inhibit peoples abilities to service that debt. I am not saying i don't believe that there is a crisis but what I think I am asking is why are things not adding up: where has the ability to service the debt gone then?


From the perspective of job creation, real estate was the best sector in which to have a boom, providing jobs at every rung of the ladder: real-estate agents and mortgage brokers, architects and lawyers, investment bankers and decorators, movers and painters, contractors and landscapers. Between November 2001 and April 2005, housing and housing-related industries created 788,300 jobs, or 40 percent of the total created in the United States, according to Asha Bangalore, an economist at Northern Trust in Chicago.


That is 40% of the jobs over a 4 year period, It excludes employment resulting from the boost in consumption paid for by home equity withdrawals

There is significant lag between the onset of the problem and the realization of all the associated feedbacks. We are at the leading edge of the reset period and we are already seeing effects. Over the next several months the problem will likely deepen but the issue is like PO; we will only be able to acknowledge it in the rearview window of statistics.

There have been a lot of layoffs in construction, housing and mortgage related industries. Auto manufacturers are cutting back on overtime, and I suspect that we will see more and more reports of layoffs.

However, vast numbers of "liar loans" were made based on "stated income."

Also, I heard an interesting discussion yesterday about Home Equity Lines Of Credit (HELOC) loans. In Texas, once you own your house, you can only take out new loans up to a maximum of 80% of the value of the house. A mortgage company owner yesterday was complaining about the amount of business that he had lost to a competitor (now shut down), who would appraise a home for $250,000, that was only worth $200,000, and then loan the borrower the difference between the principal mortgage, and $200,000. So, say you had a $100,000 mortgage on a house worth $200,000, and wanted to borrow another $100,000. State law only allows you to borrow another $60,000.

However, some of these mortgage brokers were providing false appraisals, and then charging huge fees and interest rates. All the borrower was focused on was getting his $100,000. With declining real estate values, the borrowers now find themselves with a total debt load, at a high interest rate, that is more than what the house is worth. So, in a lot of cases, they walk. And since their credit is ruined anyway, why make payments on credit cards. Of course, the bankruptcy laws have been toughened.

Finally, IMO, a lot of Americans have been paying rising living costs--especially food, energy and healthcare--with borrowed money, and they can no longer borrow the money in a lot of cases to keep paying all of their bills.

Read this, and it will get much clearer:

The War On Working Americans - Part II

What started as simple assembly and service work early on, then took off in the 1980s. It spread up and down the value chain and now embraces almost any type good or service not needing a home-based location such as retail clerks, plumbers, and carpenters; top-secret defense research, design and selected types of manufacturing; and certain types of specialized activities companies so far have kept at home. What's moving abroad, however, is big business getting bigger with Gartner Research estimating outsourcing generated $298.5 billion in 2003 global revenues.

The toll adds up to a global race to the bottom in a country where services now account for 84% of the economy. The once bedrock manufacturing portion is just 10% and falling as more good jobs in it are lost in an unending drain. Since the start of 2000 alone, about one in six factory jobs, over three million in total, have been affected. The sector is less than a third of its size 40 years ago and one-fourth the peak it hit during WW II.

It's been devastating for the nation's 130 million working people. No longer are unions strong and workers well-paid with assured good benefits like full health insurance coverage and pensions. Today, all types of financial services comprise the largest economic sector. Much of it is in trillions of dollars of high stakes speculation annually producing wads of cash for elite insiders (when things go as planned) and nothing for the welfare of most others and the good of the country.

Worst of all is the poor and declining quality of most service sector jobs measured by wages, benefits, job security and overall working conditions. It's because fewer good ones exist, unions are weak, and workers are at the mercy of employers indifferent to their plight. People are forced to work longer and harder for less just to stay even. Jobs in this sector are mostly concentrated in unskilled or low-skill areas of retail, health care and temporary services of all kinds. They pay lots less than full-time jobs, and have few or no benefits and little prospect for future improvement. This all happened by design to crush worker rights and commoditize them like all other production inputs.

The Department of Labor now projects job categories with the greatest future expected growth are cashiers; waiters and waitresses; other restaurant-related workers; janitors and cleaning personnel; retail clerks; and child care workers - all low-skill areas. Harvard degrees aren't required. Neither are high school ones.

By the way, 1 million jobs are projected to be lost in the construction sector alone, Construction job losses could top 1 million, on top of hundreds of thousands in housing finance, and that will collapse a great many other dominoes.

Even the US doesn't have room for an additional 1,5 million [homeless] burger flippers.

The reason all of this hasn't come down hard yet is all the surplus empty credit that has been injected so far in this bright and shiny millenium. That credit is now evaporating.

CapitalOne issued me a $2,300 limit card when I first started to recover from divorce a couple of years ago. I am a most hated deadbeat - I've had it three years, its had about 35,000 through it during that time, and I bet I carry a balance one month out of twelve. I keep asking for a limit increase and sending in credit card offers, but the responses are A.) no, you may not, as you don't "use" the card and B.) you may have a $300 limit if you pay the $60 initiation fee. OK, but those are really $600 limits with $30 initiation fee if you remain on the phone and slowly repeat "I'm not paying any fees at all."

The car thing is a little funnier - my inherited Grand Cherokee was sent packing about six months ago - I knew something was coming even before I found this site. The Nissan Versa that replaced it doesn't have the best mileage in its price class, but when the Nissan dealership has spent a third of a million with your company in the last five years it suddenly looks like a very attractive ride. Oh, great rate on the loan ... 14% or so. I didn't even look at what I was signing.

They gave me six weeks before the first payment was due. I called, got the address, and sent a payment the next day. Then another one the next time I got paid. Now whenever a customer pays I assume its time for a car payment and I send the minimum - $100 over what they say I should send. I'm just not willing to pay forty eight months times $470/month for a $18,000 car. As I look at that I'm not even sure its a forty eight month loan ... I didn't read it that carefully, as I knew I was going to cause the loan maker some pain :-)

I hope we stay as busy as we are now for the next few months, because then I'll be able to beat the life out of my four or five year car loan in just twelve short months :-)

Do you think holding euros would be a good plan?
Would switching the UK to the euro give us more financial stability or would it push it right off the cliff?
Can we convince middle england to support a republic just to keep Camilla off the throne?

LOL Camilla will be the least of your problems. Really. And when the dollar goes, the euro and the pound will go as well. There's no escape, really. So buckle your seatbelt Dorothy; Kansas is going bye-bye!

Can we convince middle england to support a republic just to keep Camilla off the throne?

You would conspire against the Crown? Don't they take you to the Tower and chop off your head for that? Apparently they haven't been doing enough of that lately.

"a woman said that her credit card company had raised her default interest rate". I had a loan with a well-known UK company which was at a very low rate, so I kept it going just making the minimum payment for something over a year. Earlier this year, they abruptly increased the interest rate to almost double the previous level, presumably because they thought I was struggling to make the payments, regarded me now as a high-risk and wanted to "encourage" me to pay it off. That's exactly what I did. I don't know how common this tactic is, but it could become much more widespread as more people struggle with mortgage payments and put everyday bills onto credit cards. Of course, unless they can economise or otherwise cut expenditure, more interest means they end up with ever more debt and are eventually more likely to end up in default.

Although they lowered the asking price to $99,000 from $109,000, no one has even come to look at it in more than six weeks.

If they haven't even had interest, they should petition the tax assessor for a re-appraisal to lower their property taxes.  In the mean time, they may be able to preserve their ability to get some of that tax money back by paying it under protest (though I understand that this can attract reprisals).

You know how these far-right bastards always float their monstrous trial balloons in books and magazines and then put their propaganda machine to work cross-referencing these sources until the public is convinced that the idea is widely respected and normal? Well, back in the '90s I saw a book, I think by neocon Grace (?) Himmelfarb, that recommended debtors' prisons.

So one way or the other, we're gonna be using what Halliburton is building for Homeland Security.

New tactic for the UK, if you can't afford your house they will buy it off you (for say 60% of market value) then rent it back to you at market rates. The money you where paying on your loan now becomes your rent but you dont own anything!

Glenn Beck Interviews Sir Richard Branson on lots of stuff-- including Global Warming, problems with our oil supply and his plans for carbon-neutral alternative fuels.

Honest Questions with Sir Richard Branson

BRANSON: We said that we would be able to fly a jet engine plane by the end of next year, working with GM and Boeing, without emitting carbon.

BECK: Why in the hell haven`t we done that before? I mean, no offense here, but I mean, why haven`t we been hearing about this?

BRANSON: We`ve been working on it for the last three or four years, and other people are also now trying to develop clean fuels for planes, for cars, for lorries, for buses. And, obviously, if we`re successful in flying a plane on clean fuel, either ourselves, our Virgin Fuel company, we`ll be able to then sell it to other airlines or whoever`s fuel it is that we`ll use. We`ll have a major competitor to the Middle East and...

BECK: It`s not oil-based?

BRANSON: It`s not oil-based. And, basically, there are a lot of different potential fuels. Most sugar-based fuels are much more efficient than, say, corn-based fuels. And cellulosic fuel, which is making fuels from waste product or from the stalks or from prairie grass or from willow trees, you know, there`s enough waste product in the world like that to replace all the dirty fuels. And that`s an area where a lot of research is going, and I think it`s got the most hope.

Yet another entry in the "how did that guy ever become rich" contest.

Branson does seem unconventional, but in a good way, I think. I was pretty darn impressed with how sharp he comes across. Not just anyone can start from a modest background and become a self-made billionaire. And not many billionaires are putting their $ and business savy behind finding practical answers to GW (and energy independence).

Talk is cheap-- making positive things happen, that's an incredible gift. Just think how cool it will be if he can actually deliver!

Very cool indeed, if only.

If only I'd never seen a commercial and never done any theater or the like, I'd be naive about the customary parlor tricks. Then I might be impressed by "sharpness" - simulated, staged, or otherwise.

You're right, talk is cheap. I'm sure one can gin up a jet or three to fly on some sort of biodiesel custom-brewed for a staged occasion. I'm sure a famous guy can hold a big press conference. And I'm sure breathless reporters of the type who are journalists only because it was an easy read in college would trumpet the remarkable achievement to the sky and proclaim the dawning of a new Age of Aviation Aquarius.

But to get where Branson claims he's going, he'll need an outright violation of conservation of energy, and/or continents sheathed in hyper-photosynthetic crops of some unprecedented sort. Shades of Vinod Khosla. Sigh. We talked scalability Friday, but, alas, that cuts no ice with the fast talkers. Their parlor trick is to glibly change the subject whenever an inconvenient question arises.

And oh, those hyperplanes, how lovely, as the flight from Chicago to Tokyo, or even to Minneapolis, is far too long, given the execrable treatment of air passengers. "Low cost" shills like Branson, Ryanair's O'Leary, and others, have, after all, been driving aviation backwards at breakneck speed, making it an utter misery. Not only is mere supersonic flight a thing of the past, but more importantly, treatment of passengers as human beings is a thing of the past.

So maybe Branson will be right someday, but I'll leave him to punt on it, because, well, fuhgeddaboudit until I see it.

The one nagging little trouble is that the doomed attempt may starve us all.

The one nagging little trouble is that the doomed attempt may starve us all.

I don't see that as the only possible outcome of the Ethanol pathway (I assume that's what Branson has in mind when he talks about sugar based fuels). And I do take heart that Branson is looking at sugar, not corn as the input energy source.

(Don't you wish that Washington was at least that wise, though they're spending our money & Branson is spending his own. That does tends to make one a little wiser.)

We have a murky middle ground before us, possibly decades long, when oil becomes more and more scarce & everyone gravitates towards quick and dirty intermediate solutions (nuclear, coal, shale, oil sands). But in the long(er) run, unless there's huge breakthroughs in things like fusion, etc., we'll be forced to move to renewable energy sources. Things like conservation and solar/wind/geothermal to heat/electricity and transportation based mostly on electricity.

Yet even then, passenger jets will need high energy density fuels and ethanol (or whatever Branson has in mind) could prove a realistic renewable (carbon neutral) fuel source.

So perhaps Branson's vision of our energy future is not short sighted, but actually more far sighted than some give him credit for.

(By the way, Glenn Beck has made short little sidebar comments about peak oil in past interviews-- I think he gets it. When he said:

What does the future look like for airlines with just the problems that we have with oil?

I took part of what he meant by problems to mean oil supply. And I took part of Branson's answer to address that as well (he talks about alternative fuels, for one thing). He's sinking big money into his airlines; he doesn't want that business to fail just because he's suddenly caught in the middle of an oil crisis. Virgin Fuels might be an answer to that problem.)

At the least, he's using his own money (not ours) and he's taking proactive steps to increase our set of possible energy solutions (rather than pandering for votes or outright denying there's a problem in the first place, as Washington seems to be doing).

*** One other sidebar--

For a while now I've begun to buy into the theory (sort of a "The Peak Oil Emperor has no clothes" theory) that it's problematic for our leaders (including businessmen like Branson) to publically acknowledge Peak Oil (assuming, that is, that they understand the problem in the first place). There's very little upside to doing that, but huge potential downsides-- e.g., exporter-country-side panic causing exports to drop even faster (thus accelerating the problem dramatically), plus the tendency to shoot the messenger first and then seek out a more Pollyanna-ish messenger later.

How else, when you see how clear and obvious the data truly is, can one explain the complete lack of discussion about Peak Oil by the media/congress/senate/policy bodies/etc.

*** You can don your conspiracy theory, tinfoil hat now--

And so, the theory goes, some leaders-- nod, nod, wink, wink-- when they talk about and support GW, are actually talking about Oil Security and Peak Oil.

But hey, that's just a theory... Don't shoot this messenger!

Wait, wait! I didn't really say any of that. Some darn monkey ran in here and got hold of my keyboard. (Nod, nod, wink, wink!)

*** Ok, doff that tinfoil hat now... It looked really silly on you anyway.


All in good fun...


/if/ that was the case it would make since to ally yourself with the one who has the most ability to take by force or control access to oil.

... or to rid yourself of your oil addiction (foreign oil first, then domestic) and get yourself out of the oil importing business altogether. Of course that is an task we should have started 20 years ago (according to the Hirsch report and my personal guess as to when PO begins).

Which leads to my favorite Starwars quote:
"And now you will pay the price for your lack of vision."


Let's hope not.

Well, for airplanes, I can't see other way out than bio-fuels. Really, it's the best solution. Cars, otoh, will need other solutions. But regarding planes, Branson is right.

It's my understanding - from reading, I'm no expert - that unlike kerosene, biofuels become very gluggy at the low temperatures found at the altitude jets fly. Richard Branson might be able to solve this with all his R&D millions, but it is my impression it is fairly fundamental to the chemistry of the fuel.

"Iran's president says 3000 centrifuges are running".

I commented a few days ago that UK newspapers had speculated that Gordon Brown was about to call an election some two and a half years early. Today the Labour party's election officer denied that an election would be called this coming week, but did not rule out one being called later this year. Presumably he means that one might be called the week after!

I had speculated that perhaps Brown knows something we don't. It might be simply he fears the start of an economic slowdown as Britain's oil and gas output continues to suffer double-digit declines. Or he might fear being put in the impossible position of having to decide whether or not to support a US attack on Iran - and is presumably aware there's a good chance of this happening in the next six months.

If the UK is in Iraq when the Iran bombing starts then they're probably stuck. So get out while the getting's good.

Given Pakistan's instability, and Muslim population, and nuclear weapons, and sale of nuclear technology on the black market ...

What are the odds the Iran already has two nuclear tipped cruise missiles for each carrier we've got in the area?

I have no backing for this assertion other than finding the Iranian's very aggressive stance ... very aggressive. So ... is it real, or are they simply fronting?

What are the odds the Iran already has two nuclear tipped cruise missiles

That is my concern as well. In addition to the possiblity of having been supplied by a sympathetic muslim state there have been multiple reports of former USSR weapons (or weapon material) being sold on the black market. There have also been a few documented seizures of such material at border crossings. Given the porous nature of borders one has to ask what is the ratio between seized shipments and undiscovered shipments?

Even without a nuclear capability, Iran has the potential to sink a carrier. How do you think Der BushFurher will respond to that? By de-escalation?

Even without a nuclear capability, Iran has the potential to sink a carrier. How do you think Der BushFurher will respond to that? By de-escalation?

Imagine this version:

An attack happens. The leadership of Iran responds 'we no longer have as much oil to pump so no more exports and we can't afford gasoline imports'. Within Iran a movement to replace the government happens - and the replacement has promised 'eye for eye' retribution. The leadership could even go so far as to have an election - claim 'because of the attack, we in leadership feel that you, the citizens, should choose the next step' (Meanwhile many Iranians will of their own free will cross the border to personally try to kill an American soldier - with many an Iranian official turning a blind eye, and a network of Iraqis helping feed fodder into the meat grinder.)

The 'dream' of a change in leadership happens again in Iran - but not quite the way the dreamers wanted.

If Iran, as a state, can look to be the victim....what would be the outcome? From a US side - the worst that could happen is a 'out of sympathy for Iran', the US dollar is considered not able to used for trade. Well, short of global thermonuclear war, or the release of an effective bio-weapon.

I agree that a US attack on Iran will be seen by Iran as their own version of Dec 7th '41, or 9/11. The Iranian response will be similar to US reaction to the 7/41, 9/11 events, with increased support for the current government.

I cannot think of a single instance in history where an unprovoked attack resulted in sympathy for the attacker. I would expect the US to undergo some form of legitimization crisis and I doubt either the US military or the Heritage Foundation will have gamed this aspect of the conflict as these considerations sit outside their conceptual envelope.

If you agree with this then the basic outcome is a strengthening of Iranian resolve and increased US domestic conflict. But the real issue is the response of the rest of the world.

I suspect the recent increase in Russian military activity is a defensive move in response to what may be proposed for Iran. The US sale of $30 billion in arms to KSA and other client states is also likely part of the "package" ( "Look at the hornets nest we're about to stir up. You are going to need these weapons to defend yourself against the angry Shia").

If we look at the historic outcomes of the application of airpower, we find they have rarely, if ever, achieved the outcomes claimed by the air generals. Airpower did not have the desired effect in Germany 1939-45, did not have the desired effect in Vietnam, did not have the desired effect in Lebanon in 2006, did not have the desired effect in Iraq during the period of sanctions. The US has made free use of airpower in both Iraq and Afghanistan and both those conflicts have continued for a period of years. Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan had the air defense capability attributed to Iran. If US airpower did not lead to a satisfactory resolution when the target state lacked any means of defense how will it perform when the target state is capable of air defense?

The US army will remain bogged down in Iraq, growing weaker the longer it stays. The airforce and navy will become bogged down in Iran and will become weaker the longer they remain engaged. The US will have both arms and both feet firmly stuck to the middle east tar baby. The US will be unable to leave and "staying the course" will have all of the characteristics of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow.

The US is in the process of displaying to the world that it is a weak and ineffective state. Weak as its overhyped military is useless and ineffective. Weak in that the only US solution to problems that the US helped originate is to attack and destroy, and to strong-arm everyone else into silence, or complicity. The peoples of the world will come to realize that US proposals are not solutions but the doorways to much greater problems which are of benefit to no one, and destructive to all. Dimitry Orlov had it right. I think we can look forward to the collapse of the US empire in a mirror image of the collapse of the USSR.

But the real issue is the response of the rest of the world.

Yup. Can't imagine how this will turn out well for the average US citizen.

I think we can look forward to the collapse of the US empire in a mirror image of the collapse of the USSR.

I'd say worse.

You left out the angst that will ensue as soon as the first US airman is inevitably shot down and made a POW. The whole deal with the British seamen is a mere preview for the circus we can look forward to.

I have no backing for this assertion other than finding the Iranian's very aggressive stance ... very aggressive.

And that "very agressive" stance is your own opinion or the media's opinion? Where do you get your feelings from? U sure you're not (once again) being duped to think that Iran is the raelly really bad guy?

I don't even need to check the answer to that question. It's all spinning plates.

I don't think the Pakis would relinquish any of their warheads. They don't really have that many and probably feel they need every one for potential use against India. Furthermore, they probably are aware that each national nuclear progam produces nuclear devices that leave their own unique radiochemical "signature". Any nukes they had over to the Iranians thus has a return address -- an address that we could and would use in our own targeting.

A more likely scenario is a "dirty bomb" warhead lobbed into the middle of each of our major Iraqi bases. This is quite within the capability of Iranian technology. Such could be lobbed into Tel Aviv as well.

Hello TODers,

After reading this entire Drumbeat, I still feel that the President needs to declare a National Biosolar Emergency and all it entails [as explained in prior postings]. Once the energy slaves start abandoning us at ever-increasing rates, I still think this photo best expresses our hopeful postPeak future:


I still feel that 60-75% of us will be working daily in the fields and gardens soon to support ELP. IMO, this is much, much better than machete' moshpits. Have you thought of a good name to paint on the sides of your wheelbarrow yet?

Some suggestions:

Asimov's Ass-Kicker...One Wheel Persevere...Humus Humper... NPK the Hard Way...One Step Ahead of The Grim Reaper... Blood, Sweat, & Tears...Hubbert's Downslope Roller-Coaster..
Rolling & Holding on for Dear Life...Better than Pushing my Child's Coffin....Jesus, Lighten my Load...If a Woodchuck would chuck Wood: place inside here...Hernias for Heaven..
Fed Up Haulin' FED Ben's Worthless Currency...Love Rolling Crap Downhill...Better Humanure Than Sewer...God Bless My Biosolar Bearings, but Lube my Axle Zircs...Severely Chafing for Change...Miss my Ponys, thus Busting my Cojones.

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

Some more suggestions off the top of my head:

Moving Tarmac while Bitching: Where's Carnac the Magician?

Hey Ass-Fault, I'm moving my Asphalt, are you!?!

Re-inforce your Concrete Desires to move Re-inforced Concrete!

Hollywood Lied: I am shoveling shit in Louisiana! [recall Movie: General George S. Patton]

Recycling Rebar so I can recycle some Beer at the Bar!

Peakoil Glass half-empty, but I sure am pushing a Damn Full Load!

Callouses on both Hands are better than a single kilowatt going to Bush. [paraphrased from one bird in hand vs two in the bush]

I just hope I sweating less than the amount of water I'm moving!

Do Yeast Work as Hard as I Do???

The Reindeer on St. Matthew Island were Lucky Bastards!

More suggestions welcome as I think it may cheer us up and encourage literacy in the postPeak future. Of course I respectfully request to paint my tagline on my wheelbarrow:

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

Some more:

No, I am NOT CADDYING for Tiger Woods anymore: He is pushing his own wheelbarrow now!

New Par for Agusta National = 72 wheelbarrow loads!

PGA now stands for Professional Growers' Association!

Sex? Are you Crazy? You push my wheelbarrow all day, then come tell me if it makes you horny!

Uphill--I'm Dying, Downhill--I'm flying!

Lucky Dinosaurs got the Motherload--Me? Just haulin' Another Load!

A huge Asteroid would remove the agonizing pain of our Hemorrhoids!

Preparation Hirsch is better than Preparation H {Trademark}

Well, maybe, but there are a few horseflies in this ointment.

In colonial times, the field-and-garden proportion was somewhere in the half to two-thirds range. There were a rather surprising number of personal servants and the like, and many ancillary occupations supported agriculture and society. If we are naive, I suppose we can use this as a model.

But that model is guaranteed to crash nowadays. Population density is far higher, and the soil is generally in demonstrably worse shape.

Oh, and life expectancy was very short back then. I would suggest that two-thirds of us are not going to work (much) in the fields, simply because probably only one-third of us, tops, would be up to it. Hard labor is primarily a young man's game. Other folks will not be physically able, due to age, or to inherited syndromes that are no longer weeded out. Except as aristocrats or in less physical occupations (teachers, lawyers) such folks would not have lasted long in colonial times - as a simple walk through any of the old East Coast or California cemeteries will strongly suggest.

The only way to get from where we are to a colonial-times model is to have a massive die-off/kill-off on the model apparently being pioneered by Zimbabwe. Now, that may yet happen on a large scale, but if so, we shall indeed have a "machete mosh pit" of angry people, not a peaceful march to the grave by happy souls singing kumbayah. Heck, even in this forum, much less out in American society, the far more benign measure of compulsory birth control is highly taboo.

Yet another problem with a colonial-times hard-labor model is that people will want to have as many children as possible, to have some survivors to look after them in old age, just in case they attain it. And exponential population growth is every bit as exponential as exponential economic growth. It will swamp any such system in short order.

In order to have an even somewhat peaceful outcome in the absence of a technological miracle, we shall probably need compulsory birth control, plus a better energy option than mere feeble musclepower. To put it plainly, we must head to a future, not to the past. See this analysis by Lou Grinzo for one take on this matter.

I have a problem w/ some who think the lifestyle we will head to is nothing but savage,hard,dirty, work.I disagree.The knowledge that is in the horticulture community is far superior to 18th cen."plant in the dark of the moon"We KNOW how to grow food crops...and trust me,when a formerly middle class lawyer,or accountant now finds a direct line between his garden,and his life,He will learn quick.

I have spent the last ten years developing a "edible landscape"around my home.The older I get,the less work I am inclined to want to perform for my dinner.

There exists many low energy input=high yield style/cultures,techniques, {many not well known} that will make our transition to a more hands-on food supply type society possible...like tissue-culture propagation...true it takes a small lab,but incredible output for a tiny expenditure of energy.Here in the northwest,this style of plant propagation is being taught....at the LOCAL highschool..{Canby high,Canby Ore.}

Instead of growing from seed,or cuttings...10,000 apple trees can have their start in a room the size of a 3-car garage.I could show you 25 nurseries within a 15 mile circle who use this technique

When the writing is on the wall,I really feel that Those who are unaware,now,will spend a hellava lot of energy re-structuring our whole society.I am not saying it will be hunky-dory for those whose made some poor choices,}and the main chore I worked on today was the 6-foot,topped with barb-wire perimeter fence},but the alternative is total destruction....rape,murder and privation.This is a very strong motivational force.

This why I still talk to some about peak.Now.While effective prep can be made...

After reading this post I have only one thing to say: "Screw Chevron-Texaco, screw Exxon-Mobil. May they rot in hell with festering boils. If there is anything to instant karma those mealy maggots who have destroyed my country for the sake of greed will suffer greatly in this life and the next.

Not mad enough yet?


Go ready that then.

If people aren't paranoid, pissed-off, or depressed, then they definitely aren't paying attention.

Why aren't people paying attention?
* too busy/distracted
* issues are obscured by an SEP field
* belief that technology can solve the problems
* fear that the problems can't be solved
* incompetence, obfuscation, and cover-up by traditional media

Addressing the lack of attention requires a multi-pronged approach.

how 'bout: hypnotized by advertising: buy......consume......marry and reproduce.........do not question authority..........move to a vinyl sided three car garage house in the 'burbs..........drive an suv.........buy consume.......c o n s u m e .....c...o...n...s..u...m...e..........C....O....N....S....U....M....E...... c.....o.....n.....s.....u.....m.....e

Are you such a dreamer
To put the world to rights?
I'll stay home forever
Where two and two always makes a five

I'll lay down the tracks
Sandbag and hide
January has April's showers
And two and two always makes a five

It's the devil's way now
There is no way out
You can SCREAM and you can shout
It is too late now

You have not been!

Payin' attention
Payin' attention
Payin' attention
Payin' attention
You have not been paying attention

Payin' attention
Payin' attention
Payin' attention
You have not been paying attention

Payin' attention
Payin' attention
Payin' attention
You have not been paying attention

Payin' attention
Payin' attention
Payin' attention oohh

I try to sing along
But I get it all wrong
'Cause I’m not
'Cause I’m not

I swat 'em like flies but like flies the buggers keep coming back NOT
But I’m not

All hail to the thief
All hail to the thief

But I'm not
But I'm not
But I'm not
But I'm not

Don't question my authority or put me in the box
'Cause I'm not
'Cause I'm not

Oh go and tell the king that the sky is falling in

When it's not
But it's not
But it's not
Maybe not
Maybe not

I think SEP rules here. Ah, the hours spent in reading THGTTG! What a kick-ass right-on-the-money comedy!

IMO the percentage of people in the US that could survive even a single day under investigation by a forensic accountant team applying current law is less then 25%. Maybe much less.

the US that could survive even a single day under investigation by a forensic accountant team applying current law is less then 25%. Maybe much less.

That's right - the US government could not survive if the laws passed and as they are implemented enforced.

Just think if you ran your finances the same way the government runs theirs.

Interesting sentiment, but far too simplistic and perhaps not overly useful. Consider that you can't kill them off quickly without also killing off your loved ones and yourself. Consider also that, given pre-industrial population sizes and living conditions, the chances are 95% or better that without them, you simply would not be here to lambaste them.

We didn't get to where we are simply because some greedy aristocrat sat down and said, "he - he - he, I'm going to cook the world just for spite." The process was a whole lot more organic and diverse than that. It involved ever-growing swarms of people who happily bought the product, and who became very angry indeed at shortages or at what they saw as high prices. And it involved the simple biological fact that all life alters its surroundings in a manner hostile to itself - entropy and all that.

So the future is going to come to you and me and everyone else as it comes, and an idealized pristine world that never quite existed in the first place will play no role in it. Like it or not. Deal with it.

That is the biggest bunch of crap I ever heard in my life. Holy shit, I never imagined such utter nonsense could be, well, uttered. Two words for you my misinformed friend: "wanton waste". I did not come into this world because of a '69 Chevy, but I may well be killed in a war to protect the corporate fascist lifestyle. I know this an industry rag, but don't piss in my boot and tell me it's raining.

hehe, I was thinking just that when I was reading the above post. Thanks man, you've saved me from writing the deserved rant.

And it involved the simple biological fact that all life alters its surroundings in a manner hostile to itself

I would disagree with this. We make adjustments to the world to better suit our needs just as most other species do. The trouble is we're just a little too clever for our own good, and we figured out a way to tie population growth to something other than the solar energy captured by our biosphere on an annual basis.

I always feel like we're a fairly miraculous organism that's been hijacked to disburse massive amounts of fossil energy by the use of technology and a very unnatural population boom.

Of course this is just a temporary situation ...

Would it be more accurate to say that every life-form produces waste that is toxic to itself? Yeast and alcohol, mammals and feces.

Certainly at least the first part is true, all life alters its surroundings.

Drinking from a pond, you deplete the water in the pond by a few pints, killing several thousand microbes in your gut, and you also fertilize an area of land later on. And unless you intend to eat the fish in the pond, they are largely indifferent to and unaffected by your drinking.

Not everything a living thing does is "toxic" to its all of its surroundings, and it depends on perspective.

We are running out of perspectives, however, where current human activity is not toxic to the planet.

and the clueless consumers had nothing to do with it ?

Yes, they have their load to bear. Of course the more intelligent consumers have had their options severely curtailed. The really concerned citizens are trailblazers.

All the most fuel efficient cars made by Ford and GM are not available in the US. The electric car battery was bought and quashed by GM and then Chevron-Texaco. People are bombarded by messages such as you describe above.

I could go on and on. But in answer to your question, the "consumer" should be demanding better products, the same way the "voter" should be screaming for more responsive government. I have venomous spew for the consumer too, believe me. At the moment I am slashing at the heads of the serpent, the corporations.