DrumBeat: December 24, 2007

Kunstler: A Christmas Eve Story

The comparison with the American situation is chilling. For all its gross faults, the Russians were ironically better prepared for economic collapse and political turmoil than we will be. For one thing, all housing there was owned by the state, and allocated under bare nominal rents, so when the economy collapsed, people just stayed in their apartments. Nobody got evicted. There was scant private car ownership in pre-1990 Russia, so gasoline allocation problems did not paralyze movement. Train service was excellent and cheap, and the cities all had a rich matrix of underground metros, on-street electric trams, and trolley-buses, which continued to run even when central authority flickered out. There was no suburban sprawl to strand and isolate people (in homes owned by banks, that can be taken away after the third monthly failure to make a mortgage payment). Official Soviet agriculture was such a fiasco for half a century that the Soviet people were long-conditioned to provide for themselves. For decades, 90 percent of the food was coming from tiny household gardens, wherever it was possible to grow stuff. When America's just-in-time supermarket resupply system wobbles, and the Cheez Doodles disappear from the WalMart shelves, few Americans will have a Plan B.

Oil gains on tight U.S. stocks, Mexico port closures

Mexico's transport ministry said the ports of Dos Bocas and Cayo Arcas, both located on the Gulf of Mexico, were shut for the second straight day, while Coatzacoalcos port reopened after being closed Sunday afternoon.

Gas 'manipulation' will push up UK bills

British households should prepare for a rise in energy prices in the New Year because power companies on the Continent are hoarding gas. Consumer group Energywatch warns consumers will be hit despite there being plentiful reserves of gas that could be piped to the UK.

Non Peak Oil Update

In 2006 I wrote a little op-ed piece for Lew Rockwell about the fallacies of Peak Oil. I asserted that proven oil reserves seem to go up every year in spite of both the warnings that we are running out, and that we are consuming it at an every increasing rate. Let’s Google a little and see what the state of the reserves is at the end of 2007.

Another Energy Shortfall

As a University of Kansas recruiting piece for its petroleum engineering program points out, many currently practicing PEs are reaching retirement age, even as demand for the profession is skyrocketing. At the same time, a blue-ribbon task force said earlier this year that the energy talent pool has been hit by a two-thirds drop in geoscience enrollment during the 17 years ending in 2000.

Western's Yorktown refinery cuts rates after coker snag

Western Refining cut rates at its 62,000 barrel per day refinery in Yorktown, Virginia after a snag with the coker unit, a company spokesman said Monday.

Kazakhstan: Exxon stalling oil field deal says government

Agreement has been reached with all the consortium members except American oil major Exxon on the terms under which the Kashagan field will be developed, Kazak energy minister Sauat Mynbayev said in a statement on Monday.

Russia may tighten equity deals with large fields

Russia's Resources Ministry will propose easing access to state auctions of large oil, gas or metal deposits by foreign companies but will tighten control over large equity deals, minister Yuri Trutnev said on Monday.

Analysts said the measure if approved would bring clarity to rules by which the Kremlin will treat foreign investors who have themselves repeatedly called on Moscow to introduce a legal framework to policies often driven by resource nationalism.

CN Rail buys Alberta's Athabasca Northern Railway

Canadian National Railway Co extended its reach further into Alberta's oil sands region on Monday with a deal to buy and rebuild the struggling Athabasca Northern Railway.

Nigeria: Attack On NNPC Jetty May Lead to Products Scarcity

PETROLEUM and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), has warned that if proper measures are not taken, last week attack on Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Jetting at Okiriama Village in Rivers state, may lead products scarcity and social dislocation in this festive period.

The umbrella body for senior oil workers in country lamented that the attack by illegal bunkerers disguising as militants while discharging of products was going on has triggered off fears and apprehension amongst staff of NNPC in the area and other jetties around the zone.

Russian gas exports to Asia-Pacific region could top 50 bln cu m

Gas exports from Russia's Siberian and Far Eastern regions to Asia and Pacific countries could eventually top 50 billion cubic meters, a Gazprom official said on Monday.

"The issue is being discussed of the supply of natural gas along an eastern route to China. Gas in this direction will go from the Chayanda gas field in Yakutia. An inter-governmental agreement with South Korea has been signed and gas has been contracted for supplies to Japan from the Sakhalin-II project," Deputy Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee Alexander Ananenkov said.

Iran firm on US talks, 19 atomic plants planned

Iran said today it rejected any preconditions for talks with the United States, which suspects it wants an atomic bomb, and a member of parliament was quoted as saying Tehran planned 19 nuclear power plants.

How an oil company invests in the future of education

Claiborne Deming quietly made his hometown a promise this year. All the high school graduates who have been in the El Dorado, Arkansas school system since 9th grade can attend any college in the country on his company's dime. Up to $6-thousand bucks a year. For five years. He's challenged kids to dream big — Harvard, Yale. Public or Private Universities. Doesn't matter.

Deming persuaded his company, Murphy Oil, to invest $50-million dollars. Enough to keep his promise to 5-thousand kids for 20 years.

The third rail of world politics

This week in an astounding piece in USA Today, the newspaper told us that U. S. fertility rates had returned to the replacement value of 2.1 (that is, 2.1 births per woman on average) after being below replacement since 1971. This was deemed good because "[a] high fertility rate is important to industrialized nations. When birthrates are low, there are fewer people to fill jobs and support the elderly." Ergo, the low fertility rates of Italy, Germany, Japan, Russia, and South Korea (all mentioned in the article) must be bad. These countries were said to be "struggling with low birthrates and aging populations." In fact, some of these low fertility countries are now providing government incentives for larger families.

Within the narrow measures of economic competitiveness and public pension support for the elderly the labels of good and bad might be applicable. But what about the environmental degradation and resource depletion that are resulting from overpopulation in these very same countries? Not a single word!

China’s Growing Economic and Political Power: Effects on the Global South

The Chinese contribution to rising world demand and prices of oil and other hydrocarbons deserves special attention. Internationally, it is the second largest consumer of energy, only after the United States. This is partly because of its enormous economic activity, but also a result of the notorious lack of energy efficiency in the production processes that take place in China. Only two decades ago China was the largest oil exporter of East Asia; these days it is importing massive amounts of oil.

UK: Will the petrol pumps dry up?

Fuel price protesters have warned they will launch more disruptive action next year if the Government refuses to listen to them. Lobby group Transaction 2007 has vowed "2000 is likely to happen all over again" if the Government does not heed their warnings on the rising cost of petrol and diesel.

In 2000 lorry drivers blockaded refineries, leading to chronic nationwide fuel shortages. Many garages virtually shut their doors because they had no fuel.

Kenya: Fuel Shortage Looms in Western Region

Petroleum dealers have expressed fears of a fuel shortage ahead of Christmas and Thursday's General Election.

Yesterday, sources said the fuel pumped to western Kenya on Friday fell below order, triggering panic that it could ground transport operations.

Nepal: Petro dealers stop buying from NOC

Nepal Petroleum Dealears’ Association (NPDA), the umbrella organisation of petrol entrepreneurs, Monday stopped buying petroleum products from Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) as part of their pressure campaign to resume the smooth supply of gasoline.

Sinopec Qilu plans May, Aug crude unit repairs

Under the plans, a 70,000 barrel per day crude unit is set for 20 days' repairs around May, and another 80,000 bpd crude facility for a one-month shutdown in August, the source close to the plant's operations told Reuters.

The maintenance will cut the refinery's throughput for 2008 by about 4 percent versus this year, to around 202,000 bpd, the source said.

Nuclear power to ease electricity shortage

THE largest joint project ever undertaken between China and Russia, the Tianwan nuclear power station on the shores of the Yellow Sea in Lianyungang in East China’s Jiangsu Province, is now producing power.

Pakistan: Cold, dark, uncertain

We do not live in some outstation far from anywhere, but in the suburbs of a medium-sized city. Yet, to look at the preparations we have made in the last week you would think we are preparing for a lengthy siege. Anticipating cuts in the gas supply over coming months we have refurbished the tanoor in the garden and built an open hearth of mud and straw so that we can cook for ourselves, and a stock of firewood has been laid in to fuel the fire. The paraffin stoves have been serviced and had new wicks installed and there are two jerry cans of paraffin stashed under the stairs. Drinking water will periodically be a problem as we have no mains water and pump up groundwater to a rooftop tank — no power equals no water. Twenty bottles of drinking water are in the larder, just in case. Candles, the big fat ones that burn for hours, are stacked on the pantry shelves.

Organic dairies fuel feed frenzy

Clarkson estimated that demand for organic feed is growing 20 percent each year, while U.S. production of organic row crops, such as corn and other feed, is growing only by as much as 4 percent.

Add in the "ethanol tsunami" that is encouraging more farmers to grow corn for biofuel rather than feed, he said, and the shortage could continue for organic growers "for a long time."

History comes to light as lake falls

As a record drought continues to take its toll on the lake that supplies more than 3 million residents with water in metro Atlanta, the receding shore line is revealing more than antique beer cans and other assorted garbage.

It is also offering a glimpse of how the people who made their homes here decades ago once lived.

An abandoned stretch of Georgia Highway 53 sits along one edge of the lake, consigned to the deep by state planners when Lanier was built. Foundations of long-forgotten buildings dot shorelines. Elsewhere in the vast expanse of exposed lake bed, a still intact one-lane road with faded yellow lines peeks out from the mud.

High oil prices to stifle Gulf crude output in long term

Gulf oil heavyweights are reaping the fruits of strong oil prices in the short term but their crude production could plunge by at least 12 million barrels per day in the long term, according to an official US report.

In case oil prices remain above $90 a barrel, the crude oil output of the UAE and neighbouring Gulf producers could be as low as 27.5 million bpd in 2030 but could be as high as 40.9 million bpd in case of low oil prices of around $34 a barrel, said the report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy.

Exxon Pipeline to China Is Blocked

ExxonMobil has been denied permission to start work on a gas pipeline to China from Sakhalin-1 this year, the Industry and Energy Ministry said in a statement on its web site Friday.

The government also refused to allow Exxon to invest in drilling oil deposits discovered near the Sakhalin-1 boundaries, the ministry said.

...Gazprom has said it needs gas from Sakhalin-1 for domestic consumption.

Iraq warns South Korea against Kurdish region oil exploration

SEOUL, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- Iraq has issued a warning, saying that it may cut off oil exports to South Korea unless South Korean energy companies halt oil exploration in the Kurdish region, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday.

Africom and the new scramble for Africa

The recent unveiling of Africom by the Bush administration is the clearest indicator yet of the military establishment’s continued ascendancy over the State Department in formulation and implementation of foreign policy, a trajectory that began soon after the conclusion of World War II.

The great contradiction within this trajectory is that as modern military establishments become more technological and exert greater political influence, they become less relevant to modern warfare as can be seen in Iraq, where a $3 million tank proves to be tactically worthless against a $15 IED (improvised explosive devise).

Uncertainty keeps coal prices high

Coal prices are likely to remain strong next year, close to this year's average levels, because there are many supply uncertainties despite the emergence of the United States as a major exporter.

Coal prices surged to record highs this year after a shift from historically abundant supply to tightness due to a leap in Chinese demand, which prompted a cut in its exports.

Russia: Companies guilty of wasting gas to face fines

The government is calling on oil companies to utilise more of the gas produced as a by-product of oil extraction - usually called associated gas. It wants the industry to reduce flaring - or burning off waste gas - and to increase its use by more than 90% over the next three years.

Small oil firm gambles on Arctic

The North Slope accounts for about 14 percent of U.S. domestic output, but its production -- which stands at about 740,000 barrels per day -- is declining about 6 percent a year.

Oooguruk's projected yield of 20,000 barrels a day won't solve the North Slope's production decline, but analysts and industry executives say Pioneer's work cannot be underestimated as it's designed to produce oil for up to 25 years.

As larger basins of oil and natural gas become harder to find, oil companies are looking to places considered out of reach 10 years ago such as the Arctic Ocean and greater depths in the Gulf of Mexico.

Haiti seeking Chevron's help to import Venezuelan fuel

Haiti is seeking a contract with Chevron Corp. to ship Venezuelan oil purchased under President Hugo Chavez's discount fuel program, a government official said Sunday.

Haiti joined Chavez's Petrocaribe initiative more than a year ago, but has been unable to transport or receive any oil shipments so far, said Michael Lecorps, director of the aid management office in charge of implementing the program.

Dubai Crude to Be Traded at $77 Next Year

Dubai crude, a benchmark for Asian refiners, will likely be traded at an average price of $77.50 (roughly 72,811 won) per barrel next year, though the price could sporadically surge beyond the $100 mark, according to the country’s state-run oil firm Monday.

Loss of sea ice could harm walrus

Federal marine mammal experts in Alaska studying the effects of global warming on walrus, polar bears and ice seals warn there are limit to the protections they can provide.

They can restrict hunters, ship traffic and offshore petroleum activity, but that may not be enough if the animals' basic habitat — sea ice — disappears every summer.

`Drilling up' into space for energy

While great nations fretted over coal, oil and global warming, one of the smallest at the U.N. climate conference was looking toward the heavens for its energy.

The annual meeting's corridors can be a sounding board for unlikely "solutions" to climate change — from filling the skies with soot to block the sun, to cultivating oceans of seaweed to absorb the atmosphere's heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

Unlike other ideas, however, one this year had an influential backer, the Pentagon, which is investigating whether space-based solar power — beaming energy down from satellites — will provide "affordable, clean, safe, reliable, sustainable and expandable energy for mankind."

A Yuletide Finance Round-Up by ilargi has been posted at TOD:Canada.

With economic uncertainty steadily increasing as 2008 approaches, we would like to offer best hopes for peace and a Merry Christmas to all our readers.

Pain Street USA: '08 housing outlook
The forecast is for a longer, deeper home-price slump than previously expected, with double-digit declines in many markets.

The United States is deep in its worst housing slump since the Great Depression, and according to a new report, it's not going to get better any time soon.

In a new survey, Moody's Economy.com says many metro areas will record losses of 20 percent or more during the downturn, with the national median price for single-family homes dropping 13 percent through early 2009. Factoring in discount offers from sellers, the actual price decline would be well over 15 percent....

...."There has been a sea change in seller psychology since the subprime shock this summer," he said. "Sellers now realize they have to drop their prices to make a sale and prices are coming down very rapidly in some markets."

From a tip, and up for discussion:

"Wamu to exit wholesale JAN 1. Was told by another LO that the word was leaked from a Rep and he was fired the next day. They keep asking for new rep and WAMU keeps blowing them off."

We know that Chase is interested in a western footprint, and WaMu (the largest U.S. savings and loan) is trading at almost rock bottom. If CW announces Jan. 1 they are OUT of wholesale, coupled with the WaMu $783 million downgrades issued tonight by Fitch, doesn't it look more and more like WaMu is done?

And, as quoted by Bloombu(e)rg, "Washington Mutual also plans to close WaMu Capital Corp., its broker-dealer business, as well as its mortgage banker warehouse lending unit." Regardless, we understand that WaMu has to spread $10 billion in mortgage-related write-offs in 2008, killing profits in every quarter.


Hard to say. I just rode from N CA to Phoenix following the scenic route through the Inland Empire and it looked to me that WaMu has a lot of exposure in what may be the worst area in the country as far as RE next to FL.

On the other side the big players that clean house early may have the best chance of survival.

What's their exposure to CC defaults?
What's their exposure to CRE ?
What's their exposure to HELOC's?

That's the kind of thing that will also leave big marks.

They all are making a big mistake by not withdrawing credit lines from the riskiest customers and areas. With CRE they are stuck contractually.

Yeah, Moody's - the guys that rated everything AAA until it blew up. Not that I disagree, but after their recent prognostication performance record I'd expect them to be hiding under the couch for a while longer. And to a tenth of a percent two years on no less. Bizarre.

Merry Christmas.

The following are the average annual price increases of crude and mogas per the EIA weekly Friday closings,
Using 53 weeks or the closest 371 days

2003 Crude up $04.9 @ $31.2 Mogas up 31 cents @ $1.560
2004 Crude up $10.3 @ $41.5 Mogas up 29 cents @ $1.850
2005 Crude up $14.3 @ $56.8 Mogas up 42 cents @ $2.270
2006 Crude up $09.2 @ $66.0 Mogas up 20 cents @ $257.0
2007 Crude up $06.9 @ $72.9 Mogas up 29 cents @ $2.805
2007 is projected using 3 future data points at $91.3 & $3.00

Looking at these increases holding a $95 avg for 08 would be a $23 increase and for gas 3 cents per $ would be a 69 cent increase to $3.50. IMO not likely.

my money says this indicates the peak in 2005, people expected BAU and oil did not cheapen, afterwards growth has been slowing down and next year we may expect to see an average ranging between 75-85 with the slowing world economy growth.

Note also that Aug/Sep 05 was the start of Corporate defaults
and committees set up with names like:

Counterparty Risk Management Policy Group II
NEW YORK, July 27, 2005 - The Counterparty Risk Management Policy Group today released its report entitled: "Toward Greater Financial Stability: A Private ...
www.crmpolicygroup.org/press-release.html - 7k

next year we may expect to see an average ranging between 75-85 with the slowing world economy growth.

If we did peak in 2005 (which I agree seems likely for 'net exports' at least) then the world economy almost certainly can't grow whatever price the oil is!

...or how much paper/electronic "liquidity" is added to the system!!

Both you and xeroid are correct.

"...then the world economy almost certainly can't grow whatever price the oil is!"


"...paper/electronic "liquidity" is added to the system!!"

instead of "added", insert "monetized".

Like the declining Spanish Empire monetizing taxes out
100 years in order to secure immediate funding.

Same with oil. All value out to "x" years has
been monetized into $1000 trillion of derivatives.

All "energy" on the planet has been mortgaged.

"When the money flows into palaces or military or eating and then throwing up like in Ancient Rome, when it becomes empire building and not building a healthy social base, it 'dries up' rapidly. This is a harsh lesson. The British Empire, when it discovered the secrets of capitalism, proceeded to prevent any money flowing to the working class, they tried as hard as possible to prevent even 1% of the profits going to the workers! This nearly destroyed the British empire. The pathetic condition of the workers was so dire, they could barely fight off invaders. Germany was just as bad off until Bismark figured out that starving workers make lousy soldiers. So he created a social security system just so he could attack Britain."-ElaineSupkis

There can be no more "growth" now, because
we have no more FREE energy.

wrong, by making better use of oil gdp can rise, but only at the pace of technology improvements. (or coal/nuclear whatever power increases)

The Pentagon needs some adult supervision. First we go running off and waste 8x the dollars needed for rail electrification in Iraq and now they want another undeliverable suction pump attached to the treasury.

The unwinding of the massive mortgage scam is going to hurt, but at least we won't have to put up with such foolish distractions. That particular horizon can not recede quickly enough to suit me.

George Bush never cut taxes, he just deferred 'em a bit. May they tax the stuffing out of gasoline and diesel starting 1/20/2009 ...

Hmmm...I dunno. Bill Clinton once tried "taxing the stuffing" out of vehicle fuel. Well, no, actually he didn't, he just proposed an itsy bitsy 7-cent-a-gallon tax. And that was all it took to give a huge boost to Newt Gingrich and company, as many Congresscritters got great credit from John Q. Public for saving the world by trimming the tax from 7 cents to (IIRC) 4.3.

I wonder whether it wouldn't happen again - after all, the way to insanity would be to repeat the behavior and expect different results. Just sayin', ya know.

Let's see... what was the price of gas when Clinton proposed the tax? $1.20/gal or so?

These days, the Dems can probably get a lot of mileage out of the evil-greedy-oil-company story, whether there's any truth in it or not.

  • Bill: $1.20 gas
  • Dubya: $3.00 gas

When Exxon has made billions in profits due to the run up in oil prices and can give Lee Raymond their former CEO a $400 million retirement package, I would say that the oil companies have done quite well recently.

One of the things that really irks me about our military misadventures in Iraq and Afganistan is that one seldom hears much complaint about the cost of the war in dollars.

You hear people talk about what a shame it is that thousands of US troops have been killed and maimed; you hear complaints about the lack of progress after almost five years of occupation in Iraq; but you don't hear much about the roughly half trillion dollars that have been spent thus far and what could have been accomplished here at home with but a fraction of that amount.

I think the reason is that the war has so far not cost the average person a red cent ...... for now. Taxes have not been raised to pay for the war, and the war is essentially being financed with plastic - to be paid for at some indefinite later date (if paid for at all). As far as I can tell, few people seem to care. I may be out of touch, but to me a half trillion dollars is not chump change.

That half trillion dollars had to have gone somewhere, and it would be interesting to see a rough breakdown of the major expenditures. Most of this money has by now made its way through the US economy in one way or another, and it would be interesting to see where it has gone.

It's like defense dollars are an entirely different sort of currency than regular dollars, in that billions of dollars are thrown around like they were nickels. I personally know of an incident many years ago in which some Air Force one-star general was in charge of some large weapons program. One of his subordinates approached him with his analysis that a certain facet of the program was being overcharged by about $5million and asked what should be done about it. The general chewed out the subordinate and snarled, "Five million dollars ain't worth five minutes of my time!" That, I think, is a perfect illustration of the DOD mentality at work.

So, I don't think the US has a prayer of getting out of the energy hole it has been digging for itself until its military spending has been seriously reigned in. Right now, the US government has no qualms whatsoever about spending a billion dollars on a missile frigate but would never dream of spending the same amount on susbsidizing a large offshore wind farm. Our priorities are seriously out of whack and show little sign of being reoriented.

That half trillion dollars had to have gone somewhere, and it would be interesting to see a rough breakdown of the major expenditures. Most of this money has by now made its way through the US economy in one way or another, and it would be interesting to see where it has gone.

I also cringe at the cost of the war. Most all of the money spent on the war is paid by the government into the hands of other Americans. Troops get extra pay for combat duty, defense contractors get higher sales, etc. It's not like we stuff the money into a cannon and shoot it off into the air. Because our fuel costs are high, some of the money spent on the war pays for oil, so most of that money leaves the U.S.

It's not like we stuff the money into a cannon and shoot it off into the air.

From the stories I've read about huge bundles of money airlifted to Iraq and then gone 'unaccounted for' this is actually a pretty good description of what we are doing with probably the major percentage of money going to Iraq.

LOL ..

Helicopter Ben can 'airdrop' some bucks on me ..
Where do I send my coordinates ??

Triff ..

ET -

In some instances it is probably even worse than stuffing the money into a cannon and shooting it into the air. Very likely a good chunk of that money has gone into the pockets or various war lords, black marketeers, weapons smugglers, etc., none of which have any love for the US.

So, it appears that what we have here is the transfer of some unknown billions of dollars from American taxpayers (or perhaps more accutrately, future American taxpayers) to the international weapons black market, a major soruce of materiel for those who wish the US ill. Good job, Rummy!

Yeah, well you know you gotta go to war with the financial management capabilities you have, not the financial management capabilities you wish you had..... or some such nonsense.

You nailed it. War is a program of income redistribution. How we pay for a war and who we pay says a lot about the true intentions of the people in charge of the war.

Much of World War II was paid with war bonds, which were sold to ordinary citizens with a rather poor rate of return. The contractors and their Congressmen, not yet skilled in the art of defense pork, produced excellent bang for the buck. The best fighter plane we had, the Mustang, cost $50,000 a copy, maybe a million current $. All this meant that money at low interest rates was transferred to contractors who actually made reasonable profits and made useful weapons, then was repaid by the government, at a loss after inflation, to Americans of every class. On top of that the government exacted extremely high tax rates, up to a marginal 99%, on the rich, including many who profited from the war. Final and intended result: no polarization of wealth despite a massive economic expansion.

Compare this to how the last phase of the Cold War was financed. T-bills, at very high nominal interest rates, were sold mostly to the rich at the very moment when Volcker was collapsing inflation. Result: insanely high rates of return for a safe investment. Taxes were cut on the rich at the same time, while many of the companies they held stock in, thanks to bought-up Congressmen, made out like bandits making freak boutique weapons for "winnable nuclear war". Final and intended result: massive polarization of wealth. Just part of a larger policy agenda.

It is not surprising that the latter model was used to finance the current wars and produce the same result. This time, though, the contractors are often foreign firms that have to build weapons in the US to keep Congress happy, though they try to sneak in Chinese parts to pad profits. The rewards go to a global class of businessmen who keep their own governments supporting absurd American crusades against the will of their own taxpayers.

There's No Business Like War Business

One writer describes a ''charmed circle of American capitalism'', where Tomahawk and cruise missiles will destroy Iraq, Bechtel Corporation (which once employed U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney) will rebuild the country. And stolen Iraqi oil will pay for it.''

'They'll be paid to replace the weapons that are used or destroyed in the war. The companies will also trumpet their successes at next summer's Paris Air Show, searching for foreign buyers,' Goldring told IPS.

The really big money for U.S. defense contractors, says Mattern, is in the annual Pentagon budget, which has risen from 294 billion dollars in 2000 to about 400 billion dollars in 2003. At the current rate of growth, the budget is expected to hit 500 billion dollars by 2010.

He said the Pentagon will spend about 60 billion dollars to buy new arms this year and over 30 billion dollars in research and development of new weapons. ''The U.S. armament industry is the second most subsidized industry, after agriculture,'' he added.


Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Men.

“the continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands”. -bushonomics

Which is exactly the wrong thing to do.

And we will pay for the War of Terror the instant
we give up.

See 1973-75 for details of Coming Attractions.

The only difference: Viet Nam was tactical. Iraq is strategic.

Hi Barbara (?)

re: "The only difference: Viet Nam was tactical. Iraq is strategic."

Could you possibly explain this a little further?

Jimmie here 8D

re: "The only difference: Viet Nam was tactical. Iraq is strategic."

Could you possibly explain this a little further?

Love to:

In short, we could pull out of VN and survive the
resulting collapse of our authority,$, and colonies.

We were able to reacquire them by 85 but at cost.

Now if we pull out of Iraq, we'll lose everything to China, Russia India, Iran.

I can argue that the US itself might fracture.

The first link is a "we're noble blunderers".


"A policy that calls for a protracted American presence in Iraq, and for the expenditure of substantial American assets in the primary interest of Iraqis, might be legitimate under a monarchy, where the Government was neither the result, nor strictly limited by the confines, of a written Constitution; (though it would be no wiser, even were that Government not faced with record budget deficits). But America is not a monarchy, and the President is not our King; and there is no provision under our written Republican Constitution for such an adventure. Moreover, even if one could contrive a verbal argument that some provision might implicitly authorize such activity--and we have yet to hear anyone seriously attempt to do so--the longer term involvement, envisioned, would still not pass muster under the broad provisions which require that Federal action be directed towards the "Common Defense" and/or "General Welfare" of the people of the United States."

The second, here, is that we've run out of options
for maintaining our global hegemony.


"Still deeper in meaning is the strategic context of the two wars. Both wars were fought in the vanguard of grand U.S. strategy. In Vietnam, the strategy was “Containment,” George Kennan’s famous formula for stopping the Soviet Union from expanding its empire. Eisenhower’s overwrought and ultimately disproved version had dominoes falling from Laos and Cambodia, on to Thailand and Burma, all the way to India.

In Iraq, the grand strategy is global hegemony. It is the neo-conservatives’ vision of the once-in-a-millennium chance to dominate the world. With the Cold War ended and no plausible military challenger in sight, such a chance must not be let to pass, certainly not for want of sufficient “manhood”. Iraq is simply the first tactical step in this vision, the basis for controlling the world’s oil and, thereby, the US’s strategic competitors. This is the reason the Pentagon plans to leave 14 military bases in the country indefinitely—to project military power throughout the Persian Gulf, site of 55% of the world’s oil.

Hi, mcgowanmc, (Jimmie?),

Sorry if I got you mixed up w. someone else, and thanks for your reply.

I heard a talk back in 2001 on C. Rice's idea of "containment strategy" which seemed to be a different (I guess I'd label it "more insane") version of the idea of containing the (former) SU.

re: "Now if we pull out of Iraq, we'll lose everything to China, Russia India, Iran."

So, what's your take on the current situation?

It's a matter, then, of attempting (having attempted) hegemony and thus destroying even the survival of the US?

What's the "everything"?

All access to oil?

Access on our (quote "our") terms?

Given situations such as the following:

China being the location of most (percentage?) US-purchased goods;

international "trade" (or whatever it is);

corporate lack of localization, (or let me try again): ease of movement of corporate activity and capital around the world, seemingly w/out regard for national borders (including national policies, and/or taxes);

And so forth...

When we have what amounts to essentially "stateless" corporations, is there any sense in which hegemony is tied to *any* geographical area, let alone nation?

Is it even really, in the final analysis, tied to the control of oil?

That would be question number one. In other words, it all seems kind of crazy to start with.

Understandable, perhaps, in this sense: Argument as follows: Given "peak oil" and the not unlikely prospect of global economic collapse, the benevolent "we" had better control oil, thus to prevent/(or) minimize the suffering that might take place were someone else to control it, and possible exacerbate the collapse. (I mean, arrogant, but there's a certain kind of logic there, perhaps.)

The thing is, though, given the way the production/shipment of goods (including food) has been arranged for, say, the last two decades (AKA "globalization") - does hegemony (including event the control of oil) really have the same meaning?

Second: Do "they" (hegemonic planners) - or did they - take into account any kind of scenario of how cost enters into military action? by "cost", I mean energy and oil cost, (in this case).

Lots of ? marks there, Aniya. 8D

Instead of oil, think free energy.

Energy that has not been spoken for.

That's PO. When all energy as far as the eye can see has been monetized.

Once that happens, no more debt can be created.

But debt creation is how the US has been operating since either 1985
or more extreme interpretation 1974.

World money flow has changed since 71707.

China is now ascending, with Russia in train.

Iran is the stalking Kitty.

See Elaine Supkis, James Kunstler, TOD's Leanan/WestTexas
for details.

Watch Pakistan:

9. To: The Leadpenny (#8)

Fasten your seat belts

Several things that won't be talked about today.

Now, a new agreement, reported when it was still being negotiated last month, has been finalised. And the first US personnel could be on the ground in Pakistan by early in the new year, according to Pentagon sources. US Central Command Commander Adm William Fallon alluded to the agreement and spoke approvingly of Pakistan’s recent counter-terrorism efforts in a recent interview.

A report on the investigation into Rashid Rauf's escape last Saturday was expected to be submitted to the government Thursday. The Dawn newspaper said the report called it a case of "criminal collusion." The escape has been an embarrassment for President Pervez Musharraf's government.

In letters to the Northern Areas Council chairman and chief ministers of the four provinces, Soomro ordered illegal trade to be brought to an end. He also urged for strict action to be taken against officials and heavy penalties imposed on the individuals and timber merchants involved in the illegal cutting of trees.

Soomro, in another directive to the provincial governments, reiterated that strict action should also be taken against wheat hoarders and smugglers to ensure availability of wheat and flour to the common man at reasonable rates.

In a statement senator Javaid Laghari said that power shortage, which averaged at 2500 MW in 2007, will increase to over 3000 MW in January 2008 due to the already declined supplies of water, gas and oil, which are the main drivers of electricity in Pakistan.

As the demand for power will rise further as summer months approach, the nation should brace itself to bear further load shedding with power shortage rising to over 6000 MW causing over three hours of load shedding in the cities and over four to six in the rural areas, while some parts of the country may not see power for up to twelve hours at a stretch.

Pakistan is the nexus.


Hi Jimmie,

Thanks and it seems you're more than a little prophetic here.

What else do you know? :)

And what about the question posed elsewhere on whether "the Asian market" can supply enough consumers (enough to take the place occupied by US consumers)?

That "half a trillion" estimate is poppycock! It only counts the direct costs, and it's just the number that the MSM and their corporate overlords found politically acceptable.

According to defense expert Milton Copulos of the National Defense Council Foundation, the real costs are far larger. Here's a short excerpt from my forthcoming book on peak oil and investing in energy, Profit from the Peak:

He [Copulos] estimated that the supply disruptions of the 1970s cost the U.S. economy between $2.3 and $2.5 trillion, but the cost of such an event today could be as high as $8 trillion –63 percent of our annual GDP, or nearly $27,000 for every man, woman and child living in America.

He said that the "hidden cost" of imported oil –including oil costs and defense expenditures—for 2006 is estimated at $825.1 billion, or almost twice the President’s $419.3 billion defense budget request. That would be equivalent to $5.04 for every gallon of gasoline from all imports, or $8.35 for every Persian Gulf gallon, bringing the “true” cost of a gallon of gasoline refined from Persian Gulf oil to $11.06. [Note: these numbers have since been updated...in a vain attempt to keep up with the cost of crude.]

And those numbers don’t even include the cost of treating injured veterans, only the operational costs of "shooting people and blowing things up, not to put too fine a point on it." But he did estimate that the cost of treating combat casualties runs about $1.5 million per soldier, sailor and airman.


Adjusting the estimates to 2006 dollars and rounding, that makes a total of between $68 and $161 billion in government subsidies, between and $283 billion and $1,152 billion in health and social costs, and between $233 billion and $579 billion in related costs.

All told, these subsidies amount to $584 billion on the low side, and $1.9 trillion on the high side. [And those are just the indirect costs!]

Selected sources:
Pentagon study says oil reliance strains military

The Hidden Cost of Our Oil Dependence


our military ... hears much complaint about the cost of ... in dollars.

Plenty of places - but it is not a pleasant conversation, nor is it one where you can change anyones mind. A lot of 'preaching to the choir' really.

Go ahead, talk to a die-hard pro-war'er. You can get 'em to say 'yes it is a lot of money' - then the follow up is all about how such spending is necessary to prevent/save/whatever rational one wants to use.

Right now, the US government has no qualms whatsoever about spending a billion dollars on a missile frigate but would never dream of spending the same amount on susbsidizing a large offshore wind farm.

Well, who's pockets get lined with the present arrangement VS the alternative arragement?

eric blair -

Yeah, I'm all too familiar with that '...... no cost is too great to preserve our freedom ....' mindset, which appears totally imperivous to hard facts and the obvious conclusions that should flow from such facts.

The US military/industrial/congressional complex shows every sign that it will continue to thrive right up until the time our whole economy implodes. People could be living in cardboard boxes and we're still going to spend untold billions on increasingly exotic and increasingly useless weapon systems that won't contribute one iota to our real security.

A very informative exercise is to look at a map of DOD installations in the US. They are distributed among all 50 states in a suspiciously uniform manner, obviously to ensure the congressional votes for defense appropriations and to spread the pork.

I haven't a clue as to how this situation can realistically be turned around in time to do any good. In fact, it will probably only get worse, as we get more desperate in our attempt to militarily dominate the Middle East and other oil-producing regions and as competition with China and India for access to oil reserves gets increasingly nasty.

Eisenhower had the solution for the Congressional pork problem. He simply wrote the entire budget in-house, based on his experienced judgment, and forced Congress to vote up or down on it with no amendments.

That's why he gave his famous "military-industrial complex" farewell speech. He knew that he was the only president who could make the system work properly unless the citizens personally held their congressmen responsible for waste. Fat chance.

We don't make generals like we used to and they're now bought up by corporations on the day they retire. So no sign of relief on the electoral horizon.

There is the current Chinese model, in which each regional army is also a for-profit corporation like Norinco (the Chinese northern army). I think one of them ended up with a topless bar or a massage parlor. While these seem to impose less hardship on the taxpayers, a self-financing army is always a danger because it might start a war on its own. The Japanese army in Manchuria was also a business and look what it did.

So no sign of relief on the electoral horizon.

Watch this Meet The Press Segment. There IS someone on the Horizon.


What does he say he would do with the Military?

yes the cost is excessive, but we are not paying for it with real money, only debt. the deception is one of kkkarl rove and/or the cia's greatest successes.

if 'merkuns were paying for this search for wmds with real hard earned tax dollars, how long would the search for wmds gone on ?

What gets me is that in effect the Chinese and Japanese are paying for our war in Iraq by buying our debt. I'm sure they must realize this, but probably don't really know what to do about it.

they will collect in due time. Debt is secured by hard assets. "How much am I bid for this Grand Canyon?"

Of course, they are smart enough not to require a sheriff sale -- They discovered a long, long time ago that it is better to collect a dime at the point of a corporation then a dollar at the barrel of a gun.

You won't hear complaints because so much of our "prosperity" is based on an economy of endless war. To complain would mean questioning the endless supply of missle frigates, 50 caliber machine guns, humvees and surveillance gear.

Our priorities have been deliberately oriented toward the military/security complex over the past 50 years. Almost no one in power at any level is interested in questioning that and being branded a kook.

cfm in Gray, ME

Our priorities have been deliberately oriented toward the military/security complex over the past 50 years. Almost no one in power at any level is interested in questioning that and being branded a kook.

Actually, I saw my man Ron Paul on Meet the Press saying just that.

He drives the Neocons/Banksters crazy. If nothing else,(regardless of individual positions) THAT IS ENOUGH to make him the best choice.

Go here and watch him tell Mr. Potato Head Russert about retreiving all the military from foreign bases.
Watch the Meet The Press Videos


ANyone who is against the Industrial/Military/Fed/Banksters is MY MAN.

Not interested in getting into a debate about RP but...
RP is basically a Libertarian. IMO a Libertarian is the last thing the country needs right now. The sequence of leaders beginning with Ronald Reagan (whom RP supported) through Bush I, Clinton, Bush II followed a trajectory toward Libertarianism, that is, de-regulation and privatization of everything. The twist is, this plays right into the hands of the neocons. The end result is corporate ownership and control of every aspect of your life. This is where someone like Ron Paul would lead us, simply farther down the same path.

Hi Samsara,

As discussed elsewhere, the problem I see with a so-called "strict Libertarian", is that he/she is too late. If he would have been elected prior to the road-building, etc. that's one thing.

But now here we are, and if we want the lights on, and to be able to get from point A to point B, we need to move every spare ounce (or is that inch) of energy into the build-out of this new structure and way of doing things. (Or, do you see it differently?)

Also, this sales tax stuff is extremely regressive, is it not? It doesn't look like anything more than a big tax on the poor.

I don't see how this poses any obstacle to the industrial game.

I'd also, though, be very interested in how he plans to shut down the worldwide weapons business, of which the US is right up there, is it not? (number one, perhaps?). Funded by US taxpayers, in no small measure.

Here's a sampling:


United States Reemerges as Leading Arms Supplier to the Developing World
By Rachel Stohl, Senior Analyst
On Sept. 26, 2007, the Congressional Research Service released the most recent version of its annual arms transfer report, “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1999-2006.” For the period 2003-2006, the United States ranks as the world’s largest exporter of arms to developing nations, and regained its place atop the list of arms exporting nations (in 2005 the United States fell behind Russia and France to place third in terms of new arms export agreements concluded with developing nations).

More rosy economic news...

Credit card defaults alarmingly high

Americans are falling behind on their credit card payments at an alarming rate, sending delinquencies and defaults surging by double-digit percentages in the last year and prompting warnings of worse to come.

And more:

Holiday sales: Jitters mounting

The last weekend before Christmas is crucial, but analysts said shoppers didn't come through.

But Wall St. is happy. They got a dose of Christmas cheer:

Merrill scores $6.2 billion in deal frenzy

Embattled bank sells $4.4B stake to state-owned Singapore investment fund and $1.2B stake to U.S. firm. Announces sale of its financial arm to GE Capital.

When Morgan Stanley sells 9.9% of its shares for a $5 billion credit injection, over which it will pay 9% interest as well, a Christmas bell or two should perhaps start ringing, because these are hollow empty cheers, coming from banks so desperate for cash that for a few billion you can spend the entire holiday season under the mistletoe with the CEO's youngest daughter.

Not even everybody manages to play happy anymore:

Top Value Manager Even Gloomier on 2008

Just when you thought Bob Rodriguez couldn't get any gloomier, the highly regarded value investor has become even more downbeat.

Rodriguez, the hugely successful manager of FPA Capital, recently announced he put a halt to purchases of stocks and high-yield bonds at both portfolios on Dec. 14. His decision is a reaction to the subprime mortgage-induced credit crunch, which he expects to worsen in coming months. Rodriguez says he'll review his actions weekly, but he doesn't anticipate any change in course until February or March 2008.

Rodriguez's move is virtually unprecedented. Many investors, including Rodriguez himself, aren't shy retreating to cash when they're nervous. But few money managers have ever publicly foresworn stocks and bonds altogether.

I would like to know what "cash" is. Will the banks pay off on savings deposits and CD's? In Argentina, when the economy collapsed, the banks simply closed, and cash was nothing at all -- except, I suppose, the well-connected.

If "cash" is gold, then there isn't enough gold to monetize even a fraction of the cash outstanding -- let alone all the derivatives and creative instruments.

Duck and cover?

To me "cash" is federal reserve notes in your physical possession.

I don't know that gold would be as liquid in the US as it would be in other countries as the typical US cashier can't even calculate change for a 20 in their head.
Argentina for example always (even in the best of times) had a black market functioning openly parallel to the many exchange houses, both for foreign currency and gold. Mostly downtown in the financial district and to a much lesser extent in a few other major cities.
The only places I know in the US that are a little like that are various Chinatown's.

But what about the American narcotics rackets? Those are a black market, and they know how to get small high-value items into the US. Probably they'd convert quickly to moving gold and diamonds once affluent white drug users dried up. Well-armed, too.

Blood Bank? First Citicrip? Insert your favorite Latino gang name here?

you are just a fountainhead of holiday cheer today. happy holidays.

Scott Burns: It's the yard sale economy

Scott predicts Americans are going to have to resort to selling stuff to pay their bills.

Enter the Yard Sale Economy. That's the economy where once-new goods go back on the market to be sold as either used (clothing at a consignment store) or pre-owned (an aging Ferrari or vintage Patek).

Lots of people are going to take stuff out of their closets and garages and try to sell it.

You can understand why this will happen by considering two points.

The first is the sea change in thinking we're undergoing.

The second is what regular people can do to stay afloat once they figure out that a new supply of credit cards won't be in the morning mail.

You will be able to buy ANYTHING you want in the next few years in yard sales and flea markets.

Everything that has been sold to Americans will be for Resale on their (Once owned) front lawn.

Put on Tom Wait's Step Right Up and you will have the background music.

You got it buddy: the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Step right up, step right up, step right up,
Everyone's a winner, bargains galore
One-tenth of a dollar, one-tenth of a dollar, we got service after sales
You need perfume? we got perfume, how 'bout an engagement ring?
Something for the little lady, something for the little lady,
Something for the little lady, hmm
Three for a dollar
We got a year-end clearance, we got a white sale
And a smoke-damaged furniture, you can drive it away today
Act now, act now, and receive as our gift, our gift to you
They come in all colors, one size fits all
No muss, no fuss, no spills, you're tired of kitchen drudgery
Everything must go, going out of business, going out of business Going out of business sale
Fifty percent off original retail price, skip the middle man


Step right up, step right up, step right up
You got it buddy: the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away
C'mon step right up
(Get away from me kid, you bother me...)
C'mon and step right up

Wait a bit longer, perhaps another year, year and a half, to buy that piece of productive farm land with small fixer-upper, well or stream on property, enough cultivated ground for a large garden, enough wooded acreage for a sustainable wood lot, perhaps a couple of fixer-upper out buildings to shelter stock, a corn crib, chicken house, an old smoke house, barn for hay, couple of milking stalls, whatever...If ya got some cash it will be yours if ya want it.
Another tip that I have not seen discussed on TOD...Right now used, small, band saw mills are going cheap. One of these little rigs could be a great income or trade generator in hard times. These rigs are slow but so what? Who will be in such a hurry when the dollar economy is moving at a snails pace, if it is moving at all? The Mennonites in Southern Maryland use these little mills to turn out lumber for sale, for their own buildings, and for trade to 'outsiders.'

River, you described my strategy exactly. Now if I can just get my money to arrive intact a year and a half from now...

Errol in Miami


I do not see a fire sale on productive farm land in the near future or anytime for that matter. The valuation for farm land has risen steadily for the past 15 years and this was during a time of flat commodity prices. Institutional investors started buying land in the Midwest when they learned they could farm the government from their office in (fill in the blank). Productive land may be the only real investment in the future, the wealthy will have to go somewhere to invest and I think it will be in farms.

We sold our ranch this year and moved to a smaller plot of land that will be easier for us to use and maintain now that we've retired. Years of ranching produces a lot of broken bones, smashed fingers, pulled muscles and torn ligaments.

We have noticed the price of outlying acreage is coming down as folks are trying to move closer to town as fuel costs are a larger part of their budgets. We see things really tightening up and a lot of toys for sale everywhere we go.

If you recall, after the fall of the Soviet Union and its subsequent economic implosion, large sections of Moscow were transformed into giant outdoor flea markets, with ordinary citizens desperately trying to raise cash by selling anything that was salable.

Being that a flea market is just about the only thing left on this planet that truly fits the Economics 101 definition of a 'market' purely governed by supply and demand, it won't take long for all sorts of expensive stuff to go for pennies on the dollar.

Some people who were lucky enough to have excess cash during the Great Depression bought up large amounts of distressed assets and made out like bandits (perhaps a quite apropos expression in some cases).

Many categories of luxury goods are
already at 1 penny on the dollar.
Clothing esp. is very cheap.
Real assets will follow.


There were indeed great bargains to be had during the
depression for those with money,knowledge and foresight.
An uncle and aunt (now unfortunately deceased) of my wife,
collected a huge quantity of Royal Worcester porcelain
during the 1930's, buying mainly from street markets and
junk shops.
Their house was like an annexe of the Victoria and Albert
museum, and my wife and I were always on tenterhooks when
visiting with our small daughter as many valuable items
were displayed on shelves and tables with no protection.
When in the mid 1990's they decided to sell some of the
choicest pieces (vases/ewers painted by Baldwyn,Davis,
Johnson,various members of the Stinton family; and also
a reticulated vase hand-pierced by George Owen) by auction
at Sotheby's, individual prices of up to £14,500 were reached.
It's an ill wind that blows no good to anyone!

and they say 'merikuns arent saving enough !

The problem they might run into is that the only people with plenty of cash are those that live within or below their means.
These people not only have all they need, they would only buy "toys" at maybe 10 cents on the dollar. Most of the stuff they would sell isn't worth the future property tax. LOL.

Hi Jeffrey,

Merry Christmas, one and all.

Jeffrey, if by any chance you check back to this thread, could you possibly take another look at the questions I posted in response to your suggestion about "equity farms":


(It would be great to have the answers!)

They are still charging like crazy.

LINK (small pdf) 


For Oct07 income tax is down 15.7% but sales tax is only down .8%

And this doesn't even consider all the job losses in construction which were mostly illegal migrants off the books.


While we are talking about production,here are my thoughts on Mexican prod.Nov total liquids came in at 3.263 mm bl/da( IEA est was 3.55).Nov/06 was 3.546.Cantarell was 1.6 nov/06.It's prod stabilized around that level until early summer 2007.Cantarell's prod was 1.5 Sep/07,1.35 Oct/07 and 1.28 for Nov/07.Total liquid prod dropped 166m bl/da for Oct/06 and 103m bl/da for Nov. Cantarell, 150 and 70m bl/da.Other field are not compensating.
Pemex went to MRC horizontal wells in Cantarell in the fall of 2006.They were able to stabilize prod for a few months, but now that magic is done.I believe Cantarell will really sewer and get down to 600-700m bl/da by the end of 2008!

Low-cost business class airline Maxjet has ceased operating and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company blamed its difficulties on fuel price inflation, competitive pressures and a decline in consumer spending.


Wonder what a 2 meter sea level rise and a 20 ft storm surge from a 150 knot typhoon would do to the Tianwan Power Station? Look at the picture. Its at an equivelant lat to North Carolina, Lianyungang 34 Deg N.

Here is a satellite picture of the location of this power station


Tidal power? ... all the infrastructure is in place!

Wonder what a 2 meter sea level rise and a 20 ft storm surge.....

Yes, that scenario is scary. Many wrong decisions will come to light. Best picture can be seen here:


Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and Christmas, however you celebrate!

Even thou the news is interesting today, I think I will turn off the computer and head for some egg nog!

All the Best Everyone!

And, especially Leanan, Prof G, and Super G for keeping the lights on.

From Pup55 at PeakOil.com:

The Peak Oil Christmas Song
(to be sung to the tune of "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire")

Hydro-crackers with an open fire,
Tanks in Cushing running low…
Cantarell, with its wells getting tired,
And pipelines just about to blow

Everybody knows, Old Norway and the UK too,
Can’t ship the oil we want them to…
Those tar sands, ethanol and that shale
Are nothing more than piles of goo…

We know demand will never fall,
As long as any door is open at the mall,
And every credit card will surely fly
As long as Wallymart has lots of things to buy…

And so we’re offering this simple tune,
As long as oil is 92,
Although it’s been said many times, many ways,

Oil your bike up.. .We’re screwed.

We know Matt Simmons had his say,
He thinks Ghawar has slowly gone away,
But Guy Caru-so really thinks we’re fine..
Our friend Chavez has lots of oil to find….

And so, we’re offering this simple phrase,
Mike Lynch, Beutel and Bodman too,
Although it’s been said, many times many ways…

Oil your bike up…. We’re screwed.

very nice.

Hello TODers,

Making a meal of human rights

Almost every time Australians sit down at the dinner table, they are eating the fruits of Morocco's illegal invasion of Western Sahara.

This unlikely connection exists because of phosphate, which is imported from occupied Western Sahara by three Australian companies and added to superphosphate fertiliser.
IMO, since the planet is already postPeak in Phosphorus, as illustrated by the EB postings of Drury and Andersen, and other keyposts here on TOD: the control of these mineable reserves will get increasingly contentious. I suspect that many are only now beginning to realize how vital NPK is to survival postPeak. The rising prices will be truly shocking.

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

Merry Christmas Bob,

Well, one of my first new year's errands is to head to the farm supply for more rock phosphate along with more soluble 20-20-20 with trace elements and some prilled 15-15-15 fertilizer. It's 60 miles away so I always wait until I have other things to do there.

To me, having fertilizer is better than money in the "bank."


When European settlers (invaders) reached Australia in 1788 they found pockets of good soil and water, but almost no fertiliser - and it has been a major agricultural issue ever since, on a par with water management - superphosphate has been heavily subsidised too.

The country has 21 million people, and growth is quite strong, including through active immigration. Sensible scientists - who can be branded kooks too - argue the "carrying capacity" is somewhere in the 6-12 million range. We are eating beyond our means, in just about every way imaginable.


The Times reported on the poignant effects of the shrinking U.S. dollar, starting with an American tourist in Morocco who offered $1 to a street beggar. "I don't want this," said the beggar, thrusting it back to the giver. "This is nothing."


Here's another story, from WaPo:

Dollar's fall is felt around the globe

The sharp decline of the U.S. dollar since 2000 is affecting a broad swath of the world's population, with its drop on global markets being blamed at least in part for misfortunes as diverse as labor strikes in the Middle East, lost jobs in Europe and the end of an era of globe-trotting rich Americans.

..."The dollar was the dominant force in world economics for 100 years -- we had no competition," said C. Fred Bergsten, an American economist and director of the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics. "There was no other economy close to the size of the United States. But all that is now changing."

Yep, the long term process will result in the US going from 5% of world pop. using 25% of FFs to using 5% of FFs. FF-MPP, ya know--its a great leveler. We have been like a Cheetah going 50 mph for far too long: we are now out of breath, and the Asiatic Lion, the Russian Bear, and other countries are stepping up to claim their share of FF-MPP.

How long until a late model Ferrari is traded for a couple of tons of NPK & heirloom seeds? I bet Richard Rainwater is pretty busy these days fielding emails from worried buddies.

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

True, the US uses 25% of the world fossil fuels but it also produces about 22% of world GDP. American workers are still the most productive on earth. So while US usage is somewhat higher than it's fair share, it is only about 3%. That's why foreign companies like Toyota invest here. If US usage is to fall to a level equal to it's share of world population, it implies that either some other country would have to greatly increase worker productivity to equal American workers or American worker productivity would have to fall to way less than other countries, which is highly unlikely IMO. Those who produce the most will of course use the most energy as we know that energy is the basis of production. It's goofy to think that those who are inefficient should have a greater share of fossil fuels. That would be a recipe for disaster.

Those who produce the most will of course use the most energy as we know that energy is the basis of production. It's goofy to think that those who are inefficient should have a greater share of fossil fuels. That would be a recipe for disaster.

If we use 25% of the fossil fuel each year, yet only produce 22% of the (real) GDP, that implies that the U.S. is less efficient than the other nations. The notion that there is a direct 1:1 link between energy use and GDP has been shown to be false. Europe and Japan produce more than we do with less energy, that is, they are more energy efficient. And, our measured GDP includes services, not just industrial production. Heavy manufacturing and energy intensive industries, such as mining and primary metals, have moved overseas, where there is more energy available and labor is less costly.

The jobs in service industries are often involved with discretionary spending and luxury services, which can evaporate rather quickly and reduce GDP accordingly if TSHTF. Think of the current mess with real estate sales and mortgage companies, where lots of jobs are now gone. Higher oil prices will likely reduce recreational travel and the tourism industry (including sales of vacation homes) can be expected to contract. Restaurants are said to be suffering and holiday retail sales have been below expectation. All that and the price of gasoline in the U.S. is less than 1/2 that in Europe and Japan, thus there's more to come. Since WE ARE less efficient, I do agree that WE ARE facing a potential disaster.

E. Swanson

American workers are still the most productive on earth.

See, that sort of thing threatens to bite into the taste of my turkey. There may be people who believe it, but 99% of us think, when seeing this, of North Italian sausage.

I don't want to get into it too much right now, since I'm in the process of nogging multiple eggs simultaneously, but I found what I need to turn the matter on its head.

See the numbers from the University of Groningen (hmm, sounds familiar) below and tell me how it's possible that Norwegians are 50% more productive than Japanese. And good grief, the US isn't even number one on this one. Work harder!

A list of countries of the world sorted by their Gross Domestic Product (PPP converted) per hour worked. This is the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year, divided by the total annual hours worked. The GDP (PPP) per hour worked is a measure of the productivity of a country.

Wait, don't go yet. Notice below how, soon, the Irish will be more productive than the Americans, and Luxembourgeans will be twice as efficient as Canadians, and 60% more than the Norwegians who have the highest per hour GDP.

Do these people ever sleep? If they do, it's not in a manger.

How much of that "productivity" is in finance? Do you know? Luxembourg is big on finance. Is Norway?

cfm in Gray, ME


The point I'm trying to make, really, is that they're all silly numbers. Look at how high Belgium is on that list. Anyone know what Belgium produces?

Luxemburg, Switzerland are money. Norway is oil.

Norway's population is only 4.7 million, so oil revenues add up fast.

Ireland is #2 on the List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita. Any idea what Ireland produces?

NB: since health care is 2-3 times more expensive in the States than anywhere else, and all treatment adds to GDP, Americans should get much fatter and unhealthier still, in order to keep ranking high on the lists. Never mind lost productivity. That ain't in GDP.

Yeah, those lines alongwards.

Merry Christmas, Leanan.

I have an urge to wish peace for everyone tonight, I'm antsy about next Christmas Eve.

A fair bit of US "productivity" is finance, too.

Every dollar lent out in subprime mortgages was a dollar "added" to GDP, after all.

Hi Bob ...

Hope you've been taking your own advice on
the fertilizer stocks ..


have all been home run stocks for 2007 ..

You might end up owning your asphalt jungle

Triff ..

That story reminds me of an incident that happened last week. I was at the gas station filling up and an obviously down and out gentleman approached me. Only instead of asking for money, he wanted to bum a gallon of gas. He came with his own 1 gallon gas can, and wanted to know if I could spare some fuel, so he could "get his car running."
I thought the whole episode rather bizarre. And yes, I did give him a gallon of gas.

SubKommander Dred

8 Times I've been asked for gas money:

3 of the times while in parking lots of stores (non grocery). I point out how they might want to consider returning some of the items they just bought so they would have money for gas.

1 time I offered to drive them to where they wanted to go, and was told no.

4 times I offered to take them to the gas station and get them a fill with their gas can. 1 admitted that really, he wanted cash. 2 said they lacked a gas can and when I asked how they planned on getting gas to the car they walked away.

Only one took me up on the offer to fill his can, and got it filled.

Most of time, it is a story being told to get some cash, and I have no reason to support such.

Dred, if I believed in God I would ask him to bless you. But I don't so you I will just say you are a kind person.

I would have given him the gas also. I often give a couple of bucks to pandhandlers on street coners. I always tell myself; "There but by the grace of my genes and environment go I". ;-)

Ron Patterson

Amen, Brother Ron!

Yours is a fine thought in the spirit of Christmas : )

Errol in Miami

Hi Ron,

This is the one of my all-time favorite posts by anyone, and I mean really (no sarcanol).

Thank you.

Leanan, I did not know if this had been put up here before
Corn promotes amazon deforestation

On yesterday' D.B., SCT asked a poster:
"now that you have risen on the learning curve what are you doing for other folks for when he ball drops"? Or words to that effect.

Got me thinking about what was I doing?
Not that much. I speak to those that seem interested rather than those who are clearly turned off by it.

I post on TOD. I communicate with a few via email and offer advice on ...ham radio, land, etc...but thats very minimal.

Mostly I take care of myself and here is how I accomplish some of that.

Take a US Navy watch cap. Made of honest wool and dyed black. Extremely warm for the winter months. I now use mine as a sleeping cap since I keep the quarters very cool and more so at night. So I sleep under several quilts and on top of a foam pad. I put the watch cap on and voila my head is very warm and that seems to banish the chill. When it gets real cold? I have two down comforters,what we used to call feather beds. Very efficient.
I sleep in a pair of thermal underwear of sweat pants as well.

You find that a nice toasty 50 degrees will help keep the food you leave out from going bad so soon. It will keep the various molds and bacteria from growing. Its healthier for you. It conditions you for perhaps a future with less heat and for adapting to a possible worse environment.

Also all those garments allow one to get up and throw a chunk of wood in the woodstove. To walk outside and take a leak in the place where the leak needs to be taken,your garden.

Hand warmers to warm your hands? I use dogs. They sleep in my bed and if I leave a hand outside the covers and its chilled? I stick it under the nearest dog body.

Garbage disposal? Again dogs. Mouse or mole problems. My Jacks handle that easily.

I am going to transition from cooking on a hotplate, microwave or propane burner to strickly the top of my woodstove and a soon to be built backporch Pompeii woodfired oven made of common masonry materials.

I decided to not install a shower in my quarters. Who needs one in the winter? And in the summer a hose laid in the sun will do fine. Thats what I used last summer after I moved to my new quarters in the pole barn, where I lived long ago.
My grandparents never took showers!!!

Soon I will start to build my beehives and then capture wax to make candles. In the future barter with the honey.

Build my japanese style forge and bellows. Build a retort to make my own charcoal. Begin making knives and tools once more as I used to do.

I have many plans but at 69 years of age most will not come about perhaps. Yet it gives me something to do and lets me live easier with my fixed income, which is dwindling as the inflation is racing along.

I go to many places where goods and items are traded. They are springing up more and more. Some are based on religion and some on just 'good works'.

I have a good fiberglass large satellite dish. They are laying all over the countryside. A coating of mylar reflective tape and it can achieve 1200 degrees heating. I can focus this on a solar collector to use as a heat exchanger or drive a Stirling engine to run shop tools.

All dreams but they are cheap dreams and possibly dreams of sustainable projects and what else do I have to do with the remainder of my life since I live alone and have the time and the land and a big barn to do it in?

I gave up on the Amurkhan Dream some time ago. Back about 5 years when my wife and children after almost forcing me into bankruptcy decided they hated the farm and Kentucky and my chosen retirement style of life. Thats when I took down the DirecTV dish and gave her the large screen TV and went and brought me two Jack Russels.

I never look back, well I do look back sometimes but usually with a sense of relief.

I am a past and present amateur radio operator. I intend to power my rigs with solar panels and storage batteries , at least until they cease to function and with that I can keep an ear on the rest of the world ala 'On The Beach'.

Waltzing Matilda..that tunes comes to me at the milestones I see being passed. Greogry Peck , Fred Astaire and Ava Gardner. A good flick. The song has a certain ambience for me. I saw it way way way back. I still remember the scenes. Surreal it is to me.

airdale-'anyone out there? hello skipland,,hello...????'

Made of honest wool

VS wool that is dishonest or from them shifty sheep.

drive a Stirling engine to run shop tools.

Please show where one that has a 'solar head' can be obtained.

drive a Stirling engine to run shop tools.

Please show where one that has a 'solar head' can be obtained.

Not quite what you asked for, but here's one example.


Back some 30 years ago, I had the same idea of using parabolic concentrators made from old microwave antennas. I calculated that using 5 of the 10 foot sort would produce about 10 HP by employing a steam cycle. I didn't really care too much about the low conversion efficiency of the steam cycle, as I wanted to use the low temperature "waste" energy to heat water and keep a house warm.

The biggest problem I thought about was the fact that the steam engine would need to run 24/7, which would be hard on bearings and seals, which would thus result in high maintenance expenses. Sterling would be able to produce even more power from the same collector area, given the greater efficiency of the basic process. Another problem with concentrators is that they must be carefully aimed at the sun and they don't work well with overcast or cloudy conditions.

It occurred to me that PV would likely become the best alternative for producing electricity, as the costs were trending downwards and there moving parts with PV might only involve single axis tracking. Using a solar tracker can almost double the output of PV, compared with a fixed installation tilted toward the south (in the NH) at an appropriate angle. Tracking adds cost and results in less energy per unit surface area under the panels. However, in areas where land costs are minimal, such in deserts, I think tracking can result in a lower cost per KwH produced.

E. Swanson

Yet us 'mere mortals' can not buy them. Or, but at any kind of reasonable price. (The cheapest I saw years ago was $5000 for a 1 hp kit. *yawn* )

A big part of the reason I asked for a source was to show how Airdale's claim of 'this is what I'm gonna do' is more bull from him.

The small reason is there might be a low cost stirling like the press-released Omchron $80 pressed metal nitrogen charged 1 hp unit.

Sounds like the holiday blues is getting to you.

Your description of your lifestyle is not too different than what I've been thru, since I didn't have the sort of career that pays for a high consumption lifestyle. My move to the country began with several years living in an old camper, while building a solar house. If I could have spent the money, I would have been in the house within a year or so, but I wanted to do as much of the work myself as possible, since I had nothing else to do with my time. Well, I'm now living a rather comfortable life, that is to say, I'm not freezing my toes at night and I can take a shower that uses more than 6 gallons of hot water.

Hey, I play an occasional Blue Grass tune. Lets start a band with a Peak Oil theme. Here's some possible names:

The Peakers
The Crude Busters
Boomer Grass
The Mixed Grass Project
The Corn Riders
Know Less Grass
The Half-Empty Grass
The One Horse Power Band
The Wasting Time Band...

(c) E. Swanson, 2007

Last week I was working in Illinois on a data center that is going from just managed services to full colocation. Their first customer is from the D.C. area and they're putting in a backup site that is and I quote "outside the EMP radius of a strike on D.C.".

With $DEITY as my witness the guy in charge of the whole show was wearing this very hat ... and on the back it says "live music by people so old they're half dead" :-)


"outside the EMP radius of a strike on D.C.".

I believe that the EMP from nuclear attack is produced only with detonations very high in the atmosphere, in which case a much wider range will be affected than believed.

The "usual" ground or airburst bombardment will not cause exceptional EMP damage I believe.

A terrorist-style A-bomb won't have any appreciable EMP effects in comparison to all the other crap.

Being on a different utility grid and major network trunk would seem to be rather useful, however.

EMP is between DC and 2.0 GHz and its a long event - dozens of seconds if I recall correctly. I once talked with an old air force guy about EMP proofed facilities at a wireless ISP trade show. As I recall the copper shell, shock proof building, and some power/data line coupling were all that was required to solve for the problem.

Nuclear weapons always produce EMP. The lower frequency stuff can propagate as ground waves but the upper half of the spectrum is line of sight. High altitude air bursts are a bigger problem because there is more stuff exposed to line of site from the center of the blast. The damage is done by resonance - lots of juice at 2.0GHz? Anything that is a fraction of the wavelength involved becomes an antenna. 2.0GHz is right around 15cm ... so a wire 3.75cm long is just perfect and 10cm is a good size, too. Now look at the collection of electronics in your home ... plenty of wires and traces of computer boards are the right length, eh?

I had a membership many moons ago to NARTE.

If one wishes more info, say as a tech, in this area search NARTE (http://www.narte.org/). EMP is one of the things they 'get down' with.


re: "Their first customer is from the D.C. area and they're putting in a backup site that is and I quote "outside the EMP radius of a strike on D.C.".

This gave me a shudder in the way that few things do (any more) here at TOD.

Not that people are running around the country spending money this way.

But that someone could think like this and still live with him/her self.

It's not a video game we're talking about. Has this person ever seen an injured/dead human being? Or experienced violence firsthand?

Just that it seems to me (to explain)- if someone really believes this, - or believes it enough to want a paycheck by carrying out the instructions (to put in a backup site outside the strike distance)- he/she might do well to take some different action.

To abolish nuclear weapons, for example. That would be an action to take. Reagan started it, after all.

yes, and those 100% wool watchcaps are kinda hard to find. the one place i have found them, i bought all they had, 3 or 4. they probably wont get anymore for another year or so.
i think they make more $ on the synthetic kind or the wool blend, with some expensive logo of course. i dont buy anything that is wool or cotton blend.

My watch caps have been with me since boot camp in the USN.

As well as my solid wool peacoat and my dress and undress blues.



You always bring a smile to my face with your practical suggestions.

Here is one for you;

There is a device called the parabolic mirror [ similar to your sattelite dish ] which was invented in the dark ages. At it's focal point, it will melt iron -- NOT STEEL] . The larger the mirror, the more energy captured. I have seen these mirrors do everything from cooking [ away from the focal point ] to generate electricity via a small steam engine and inkonel rod. Considering that iron melts at about 470 degrees F , the uses all endless.
Talk about low tech. I even made one from old cracked mirror pieces which I embedded in mortar. Great for roasting.

Long live low tech


Yes parabolic array like on long range aircraft surveillance radar. The ones I worked on were almost 20 foot wide and about 4 or 5 feet high.

But there are many junked large satellite dishes laying around in farmers fields, free just to haul away.

The feedhorn mounts serve as the collector point. One also needs some steering motors and a controller.

Here is the URL for those interested:


Here you go Airdale

What to do with an old Satelite dish

Mylar Mirror Film


Considering that iron melts at about 470 degrees F , the uses all endless.

The melting point of Iron is 1535 °C = 2795 °F


Airdale - you know, with the exception of you, Ron, myself, River (is he/she old enough - you gotta be at least 69) and a few others, it seems as though younger TODers don't realize that there are other realities out there that are fascinating.

They also don't seem to realize that it is fun mucking around with stuff whether it pans out or not. It seems to me that, here we are, the doomers doomers and we have fun while a lot of people are crying in their beer. Oh, I know, many are doing something but they don't have the right attitude. You know what I mean?


And peace on all y'all old farts too.

In all respect and then some.

This place would lose lots without you being around.

The best anyone can wish for is for you guys to pass on what's in your heads.

What once went unspoken, father to son, mother to daughter, is now a broken line that will be remembered with the tears lost chances inhabit.

We are a broken people.

Todd, One of the problems faced by people that did not actually live the 1940s through mid 60s is that they dont have a sense of what urban America was like in that time period and there is no way to convey that sense.

For instance, the younger generation doesnt know that it was once easy to walk into your Federal Reprersentatives office while he was on recess from DC and in his home office for a sit down chat...And, the chat could be about anything from fishing to some farm bill that was going to effect the visitor. This loss of the district voters losing personal contact with their representatives means that the reps are out of touch with their constituents and the voters feel powerless.

Another sense missing is the normal 'tightness of credit' that prevailed. Credit cards were almost unheard of. Credit without collateral was rare and for those with a good reputation for business and an almost sure-fire business scheme. Saving was commendable...Now I see commercials on tv of people paying with cash at check out lines being portrayed as obstructions to those that go through check out faster with credit cards...To me, this is disgusting.

Missing also is the sense of relationship between the local banker and his depositers, debtors. This relationship was almost always a personal one to some degree. The bankers were willing to take limited risk on, for instance, farmers that they knew over a period of years. Sometimes these relationships extended for many generations.

Most citizens (they were citizens, not consumers) came into contact with police only on a county level...sheriffs and sheriffs deputies. Sheriffs were more likely to resemble those in Mayberry than what passes for law inforcement today. On my grandmothers farm no law inforcement, of any type, came on the property for the 60 years that she lived there...there was simply no reason for cops to call on her for there was no crime and any disputes with adjoining farmers were worked out among themselves.

What I am trying to convey is that every relationship...whether it was with your barber, your mechanic, your doctor, etc, was a long-running and personal one.

When did this all begin changing? Well, I noticed it in the 50s when Dinah Shore was pushing Chevys in her tv show...You know 'See the USA, in a Chevrolet'...Then some people began to take trips to see Yellowstone, Carlsbad Caverns, Grand Canyon, etc...by auto. Only the wealthy and biz execs flew on airplanes. The GI Bill after WW2 sent many an ex-soldier to college, provided many ex-GIs with low cost housing with low 20 yr fixed rate mortgages, and business was booming in autos, housing, and consumer goods from pent up demand caused by WW2.

As usual Hollywood had a hand in changing things by their portrayal of how 'Americans Should Be Acting'...For instance, some movies were released like 'Rebel Without A Cause', 'Blackboard Jungle', 'On The Waterfront', and many others, that sent very definite messages to teens and adults alike.

It was also possible to make war movies that actually were funny and ridiculed the military...so many Americans had recently been 'citizen soldiers' and knew first hand how screwed up the military was (and still is)...So, a string of movies like 'Pink Submarine', 'Father Goose', 'What Did You Do In The War Daddy', etc, were released and did well at box offices. How long has it been since Hollywood has released a movie that pokes fun at the military?

A lot of the changes that have taken place in urban America were caused by lobbing by big agribusiness for federal rules that put the small farmer out of biz and caused a big migration of small farmers to urban factory jobs.

I suppose change for urban America was inevitable but I remember a time, after WW2 and before Viet Nam really got to roaring, that America was a very great place to live. Had Eisenhower been able to tame the military/industrial/congressional complex, (and I am not blaming Ike because no man except FDR could have achieved this...and he was dead!) America would still be a very strong economic and military power with a middle class and national infrastructure the envy of the world. That said, lets remember that nothing is ever perfect! Meaning, urban America was not without its problems of discrimination, narrow mindedness, and a host of others.

...Now I see commercials on tv of people paying with cash at check out lines being portrayed as obstructions to those that go through check out faster with credit cards...To me, this is disgusting.


Actually, this is brain washing at its best.

Note how the person who does not conform with the "mainstream" way of life is marginalized and scoffed at. In other words, he is being ostracized from the herd. The herd mentality part of our brain subconsciously understands that exclusion from the herd means death. Therefore, despite the happy times music in the background, this commercial is exploiting fear and terror to get you to do something that is profitable for the individual credit company and yet unsustainable and destructive for our society as a whole.

Lemming Lore: We must burrow our way to prosperity

StepBack, River.

I too see this as a incredible job of propaganda. This is one of the Greatest and visible signs of the Matrix Media Hologram Illusion.

The Fed is on a giant push to have EVERYONE on ONLY electronic money in 2-3 years. Believe me. If you are NOT in the system, WHERE DID YOU GET THE MONEY? YOU by definition are a OUTLAW or TERRORIST. Just watch it unfold.

CASH = TERRORIST. Another small step to avoid bank runs.

I'll let the great writer Joe Bageant explain the hologram. (Read the whole thing).

The Great American Media Mind Warp

...All Americans, regardless of caste, live in a culture woven of self-referential illusions. Like a holographic simulation, each part refers exclusively back to the whole, and the whole refers exclusively back to the parts.

All else is excluded by this simulated reality. Consequently, social realism in this country is a television commercial for America, a simulated republic of eagles and big box stores, a good place to live so long as we never stray outside the hologram.

The corporate simulacrum of life has penetrated us so deeply it now dominates the mind's interior landscape with its celebrities and commercial images. Within the hologram sparkles the culture-generating industry, spinning out our unreality like cotton candy.


...For instance, a while back I saw a video clip of an ethanol-fueled automobile driving past waves of grain with the Rockies in the background and a rippling American flag ghosted into the sky. These four elements of the clip, food grain fields, the automotive industry, the natural beauty of the Rockies and the national emblem have not much to do with each in the natural world, but they have everything to do with one another in the context of corporate empire.

Together, they indicate the national ethos. We accept such an image as naturally as the baby accepts the tit, and the idea of burning the earth's food to create gasses that will turn the snowcapped mountains into desertified mountains is greeted happily as something newer and better than the old system of destroying the atmosphere and environment.

Mentally we can identify separate elements, isolate things into categories. But the hologram nevertheless remains seamless in its interconnection of all things that benefit the corporate state generating it. Parsed, divided and isolated, any part contains the entire logic (or governing illogic) of the whole -- consuming.


Alex Jones' cashless control grid :-)

But seriously, aren't all of those wingnuts going to be inflamed when the things they thought were put in place to deal with a muslim fifth column get aimed at them?

Avoid not only bank runs on "cash" but also tax cheats who run cash only businesses. There's no way to hide from the tax man if all your transactions are posted on a credit card company computer.

Does collecting SS count for something?

DB in southern Oregon

There were reports of some panic buying across the country but there was no fuel shortage.

That's in relation to the UK - but that's not what the tanker driver delivering to my local petrol station attached to a large supermarket (that had been out of fuel for two days) or my 'lying eyes' told me!

All these quotes seem to be coming from local newspapers who can't deny what people can see - I've seen nothing on national news ... and there are several different reasons given for the shortages ... I wonder what the truth is?

How a miscalculation could spell mayhem in Taiwan

It's a highly volatile mixture of ingredients: a fast-rising superpower, a rebellious island, an arms race, duelling missiles, claims of independence, and a spate of high-profile political events that could trigger a reckless reaction.

Taiwan, the feisty democracy that is fighting desperately for world recognition, is emerging as one of the most dangerous flashpoints for conflict in 2008. Outside of the Middle East, it remains the likeliest place where the United States could find itself embroiled in a new war.

Actually, that's a reasonably good article, JR. I lived in Taiwan for 25 years. The current president (Chen Shui-bian), may well try a significant move towards independence before his term of office ends in a few months. Quite frankly, I think he's an idiot. One of his big delusions is that he thinks the USA will come to his aid militarily if there is a war with China. I hate to break it to him, but the USA doesn't even have the capacity to fight a war with China anymore. If war occurs, the USA will huff, puff and....do nothing. If we're smart, we'll ask China to forgive our foreign debt in return for sitting on the sidelines while they destroy Taiwan.

An example of President Chen's delusions below:


Taipei, Oct. 21: Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian today said USA would be forced to recognise both Taipei and Beijing diplomatically if the island passes a referendum on changing its name in seeking accession to the United Nations.

“USA will have to review its “one China” policy and consider adopting dual recognition” towards Taipei and Beijing, said Mr Chen during a rally in Taipei.

On Dec. 11, 2007, American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt dismissed remarks by Chen that the US would realize that its "one China" policy was wrong if the DPP-sponsored referendum were passed, saying: "Obviously it is not going to happen."


I'm afraid you're right. The Taiwanese deserve better, and they can easily be defended from a traditional amphibious invasion by our navy. The problem is that the US has made such a (mostly failed) show of surrounding China and screwing it out of oil deals in Iraq and Iran, while the inexorable processes of capitalism require the US to cooperate with China. There might have been a time when we had the leverage to make it worth China's while to accept Taiwanese independence. Now China is overrunning Angola and Kazakhstan with guest workers, and one day they'll export troops to replace the Americans retreating from bases in 130 countries around the world. I hear that even Taiwanese companies, driven by that same inexorable greed, are loading up on middle managers from the mainland. One day Taiwan will fall without a shot being fired.

Something like three of every four Taiwanese believe they'll be reunited with the mainland in the fairly near future. They don't like it, but they'd rather not get forcefully invaded. I think I read that in Foreign Affairs ...

If war occurs, the USA will huff, puff and....do nothing. If we're smart, we'll ask China to forgive our foreign debt in return for sitting on the sidelines while they destroy Taiwan.

Thanks for a sharp insight. Wish we had people like you running this government.

Please recall we have some less than rational people with their fingers on various nuke triggers.And If you dont think Taiwan does NOT have a nuke surprise for the mainland....they have one of the largest stocks of plutonium in existence.5 nasty 'ol Gen.Electric BWRs that have been making power,[and plutonium}for the last 25 years,and some folks who really dont like the mainland....

OK I can get in the spirit too!!!

Ye gots yer three kinds of people.

1) The ignorant masses, commonly refered to as Sheeple. most likely have a niggling clue about the way things are but are able to keep it at bay in order to live a life of ignorant bliss.

2) Them whats knows how it is, can stomach the ramifications and still uses that information to tap into the flow of $ in all its iterations.

3) Us who understand all too well and call BULLSHIT!!!!
(not that it necessarly does any good but it is truely the only option)

As to 1 & 2 I can't decide which I abhor most.

A Sarcanog Cheer to ye all

Best business buzzwords of 2007

Grass station

This one is Webster New World Dictionary’s word of the year, defined as a future fuel depot that would dispense ethanol and other veggie-based gas substitutes. We’re presuming that the grass station mini-mart will also have a single tofu dog under the heat lamp that everyone is too scared to eat.

Used in a sentence: "I went to fuel up at the grass station, but they wouldn’t accept my medical marijuana card as ID."

Chances we’ll be using this buzzword in 2017: Not so good. We’ll be lucky if we’re mass-producing SUVs that get 30 miles to the gallon, much less ones that run on alfalfa.

Retail gas prices keep drifting lower.
Spot & futures keep drifting higher.
How long can it last.

US coal exports to China prove how unserious is either country about carbon cuts. I wonder however if it contains the seeds of its own destruction. Manufacturing has been offshored to China through a combination of low wage costs and cheap dirty energy. Take away that second factor and the advantage is less. Not only will the price of imported coal skyrocket but infrastructure may not be in place to get coal from Chinese ports to inland users.

With or without carbon caps the coal boom has to slow, perhaps within a decade.

With or without carbon caps the coal boom has to slow, perhaps within a decade.

10 years....

KERRY O'BRIEN [ABC TV]: You said just a couple of weeks ago that there should be a moratorium on building coal fired power plants until the technology to capture and sequester carbon dioxide emissions is available. But you must know that that's politically unacceptable in many countries China, America, Australia for that matter, because of coal industry jobs and impact on the economy.

[NASA climatologist] JAMES HANSEN: Well, it's going to be realised within the next 10 years or so that we have no choice. We're going to have to bulldoze the old style coal fired power plants....

Scientist predicts disastrous sea level rise

Maybe that "realisation" will come with the disappearance of the Arctic summer sea ice in the next 5-6 years:

Causes of Changes in Arctic Sea Ice; by Wieslaw Maslowski (Naval Postgraduate School)

Hansen's latest summary on tipping points:

A climate tipping point, at least as I have used the phrase, refers to a situation in which a changing climate forcing has reached a point such that little additional forcing (or global temperature change) is needed to cause large, relatively rapid, climate change. Present examples include potential loss of all Arctic sea ice and instability of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Tipping points are characterized by ready feedbacks that amplify the effect of forcings. The notion that these may be runaway feedbacks is a misconception. However, present "unrealized" global warming, due to the climate system's thermal inertia, exacerbates the difficulty of avoiding global warming tipping points. I argue that prompt efforts to slow CO2 emissions and absolutely reduce non-CO2 forcings are both essential if we are to avoid tipping points that would be disastrous for humanity and creation, the planet as civilization knows it.

From Lecture GC44A-01 at the AGU conference 11-14 Dec 2007

Coal will slow because we've dug up the easy stuff, not because of climate policy. I'm surprised Hansen really believes in CCS. The public will listen politely to scientists then look the other way when it comes to exports, jobs and higher electricity prices. See what happens in Australia in 2008...nothing most likely. The facts on the ground (not the air) will dictate a coal slowdown, not next year but maybe by Christmas 2017.

Hello TODers,

Happy Holidays, and here mud in your eye! Many long time TODers will recall the man-made mud volcano that started in May of 2006:

Java's unstoppable mudflow

Another link with more news and photos:

A seemingly unstoppable mud volcano has displaced thousands of Indonesians.

Of course, the topdog, who is also the country's welfare minister in this disaster, is laughing all the way to the bank [gee, it must be nice to have the right kind of corrupt connections in business and politics]:

JAKARTA (AFP) — Indonesia's welfare minister and his family, under fire for their company's role in an oozing mud volcano that has displaced thousands, has topped Forbes Asia's 2007 Indonesia rich list, the magazine said Thursday.

Bakrie has faced sustained criticism over the role his part-owned company Lapindo Brantas played in triggering the mud volcano in Sidoarjo, East Java, which began spurting in May 2006 during exploratory gas drilling by Lapindo.
Gee, will Americans be just as complacent if something like this happens here?

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

Happy Christmas and Thanks to Leanan and all who post on DrumBeat

A couple of questions re: Kunstler/Orlov:

1) I was thinking...is there any way the US could do something to stop what appears to be the massive downward slide into homelessness? I mean, really.

It's like...it seems to me there has to be a point at which having empty>razed>destroyed housing is...so..."not worth it". I mean, it won't keep the economy going, once it's not going.

Is there any way to keep people in their homes/housing?

"The comparison with the American situation is chilling. For all its gross faults, Soviet Russia was ironically better prepared for economic collapse and political turmoil than we will be. For one thing, all housing there was owned by the state, and allocated under bare nominal rents, so when the economy collapsed, people just stayed in their apartments. Nobody got evicted."

2) re: Also, just to be contrary to Kunstler, (who is contrary enough all by himself), well...yes and no on the cultural generalizations.

Let me take the position of US citizen-advocate (just to be contrary).

There are many immigrants (legal and otherwise) - they often have more close-knit communities and cultures - other than whatever JHK considers to be the mainstream.

Also, despite not having endured hardship (though this, too, is questionable) - we still have over one million non-profit orgs in the US. Many devote themselves to doing good - as they see it, as best they know how.

"There are an estimated 1.3 million nonprofits in the United States, 840,000 of which are registered with the IRS as 501(c)(3)s."

My guess is few of their members know anything at all about "peak" - or about how to respond and/or how to direct their energy and money.

Doesn't mean they don't - or wouldn't - want to - if they knew...and understood.