DrumBeat: December 27, 2007

$30 billion - Price in '07 for natural disasters

Losses to insurers from natural disasters nearly doubled this year to just below $30 billion globally after an unusually quiet 2006, a leading reinsurer said Thursday.

Munich Re warned that climate change could mean a growing number of weather-related catastrophes in coming years.

"The trend in respect of weather extremes shows that climate change is already taking effect and that more such extremes are to be expected in the future," board member Torsten Jeworrek said in a statement. "We should not be misled by the absence of megacatastrophes in 2007."

Commodities boom

It is odd when emergency measures to unblock financial markets provide a reason to pile into commodities. When oil bulls are not showing touching faith in the Federal Reserve's powers of intervention, they are instead warning of impending "peak oil" production. Peak oil theories, however, tend to negate the impact of technology and pricing on output and consumption. And while the industrialised world's oil inventories have fallen this year, to just under 53 days, demand cover remains higher than in late 2005, when hurricanes really disrupted supply.

BP to review plans for Alaska after big tax increase

"This massive tax increase will weaken investment in Alaska's oil fields at the very time that more investment is needed," Doug Suttles, the president of BP Exploration Alaska, said in e-mailed comments. "We will now review all our planned activities."

Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Steve Alten

GW: My father-in-law says that people predicted Peak Oil decades ago, and were proven wrong. Does the discovery of the massive new oil reserve in Brazil change your conviction that Peak Oil is upon us?

SA: Unless it is as big as Ghawar ... no. Oil IS running out. If not, do you seriously believe we'd have invaded Iraq?

Experts Urge Policy-Makers, Industry to Develop New Energy Sources, Technology

At a unique panel discussion bringing together an oil and science policy expert, AAAS Board Chair John Holdren and ExxonMobil executive Lori Ryerkerk broadly urged policy makers and industry to increase research into breakthrough technologies to meet the global demand for affordable and reliable energy while reducing environmental impacts.

Though they came from vastly different perspectives, the speakers agreed that there must be significant investment into new energy-supply technologies and improved energy efficiency in transport, buildings, and industry in order for countries to meet their growing needs for energy services while limiting the impact of energy use on the environment.

How Does One Invest for Inflation and Deflation?

Regardless of what happens to base metals or treasuries, peak oil just might keep energy prices high. Thus there are additional reasons to be bullish on energy regardless of the inflation/deflation debate.

Reality is So Difficult

It takes some 40,000 lbs. of minerals/per person in the United States to maintain our standard of living each year, according to the Mineral Information Institute. This would include everything from stone, sand & gravel, zinc, natural gas, etc., etc.

The long and short of it is that it's simply unsustainable. These are finite resources. No, we're not going to be mining asteroids any time soon, nor will the trashing of an ice-free Arctic be our consumption salvation. We've heard of "peak oil" these past several years, but there is also peak "minerals."

PetroChina unit to get $2.2 bln for gas pipeline

PetroChina said on Thursday that the group's oil and gas exploration arm would receive a 16 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) injection to help it build a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China.

Limited oil leakage at Burgan oil field under control -- KOC

Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) said on Thursday it controlled a limited oil leakage that occurred in the gathering center No. 2 in the Burgan oil field east of Kuwait and dealt with it without any losses.

Gazprom says agrees 2008 gas price with Uzbekistan

Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom has agreed on 2008 gas import prices with Uzbekistan, the firm said on Thursday, effectively removing the last obstacle for smooth supplies from Central Asia next year.

Dust to dust? More ask for eco-friendly funerals

Cynthia Beal wants to be an Oregon cherry tree after she dies. She has everything to make it happen — a body, a burial site and a biodegradable coffin.

“It is composting at its best,” said Beal, owner of The Natural Burial Company, which will sell a variety of eco-friendly burial products when it opens in January, including the Ecopod, a kayak-shaped coffin made out of recycled newspapers.

BP chief economist expects oil companies' profits to decline in 2008 on costs

BP's chief economist Christof Ruehl said he expects oil companies' profits to decline next year from this year as costs balloon, according to Financial Times Deutschland.

Some 90 pct of crude oil and gas resources are currently in the hands of state-owned companies such as Saudi Aramco, it said.

'When oil prices are high, it is relatively easy for state-owned companies to work profitably,' Ruehl told the newspaper in an interview, adding these companies then have no interest in sharing the burden of oil production with the private sector.

In Russian energy plan, coal is a question mark

So even if Gazprom embarked on a major investment program instead of investing in newspapers, ski resorts and other unrelated expensive energy projects, there would still be a time lag before the natural gas reaches the transmission pipelines. That may explain why, in his quest for more energy resources, Putin is now seriously considering raising coal production. The plan, still under intense discussion, entails using coal increasingly for domestic consumption as well as exports so as to relieve the pressure on the demand for natural gas both inside Russia and outside it.

World oil prices to remain high in 2008 - analysts

Oil prices of near $100 per barrel caused alarm in consuming countries in 2007 and analysts see another tense crude market next year with triple-figure records a real prospect.

Despite a murky outlook for the world economy, crude prices are seen settling at elevated levels, spelling more pain for consumers and a steady flow of petrodollars for the world's oil exporters.

Bahrain edgy after clashes

An uneasy calm returned to the oil-rich Persian Gulf island nation of Bahrain on Wednesday after a week of clashes between Shiite Muslim opposition groups and forces of the Sunni-dominated government.

The street fighting, sparked by the death of an activist, was some of the worst since a 1990s Shiite uprising and led to an undetermined number of injured and the arrest of dozens.

Cuba: 2007, a good year for oil

For the third time, Cuba’s oil production will reach 4 million tons this year, which it has not done since 2003, and which is particularly important now given the fact that the price of crude on the international market is more than $90 per barrel.

FAL Oil buys Venezuela cargo in rare Mideast move

"This is the first time we have seen these Venezuelan cargoes going elsewhere besides China, and we're still wondering what the logic would be for them to take such a large cargo into Fujairah," a Singapore-based fuel oil trader said.

Venezuelan grade fuel oil, typically 380-cst grade and with a high metals content, is normally funnelled into China's bunker fuel market, as well as blended with off-specification diesel to make utility grade cargoes.

Australia: How fuel companies raked in an extra $3.5 million

Petrol users were pumped for more money at the bowser this week when the big fuel suppliers abandoned their expected weekly price drops, but for those filling up with diesel it’s the same old story.

Russia to press ahead with Siberian oil pipe construction

Russia has no plans to drop construction of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline, a deputy foreign minister said on Thursday.

The ambitious East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels per day of crude from Siberia to Russia's Far East and then onto China and the Asia-Pacific region. The project's first leg, estimated at $11 billion, is expected to be commissioned in December 2008.

However, unofficial reports said the commissioning could be delayed for six months.

UK: Petrol pumps run dry

THREE Carlisle filling stations were closed this morning after running out of fuel.

But one of them – Shell at Hardwicke Circus – was back in business by 11am after receiving a delivery and the others, Esso outlets at London and Currock Roads, were also expected to be operating normally later today.

The News & Star understands that the shortages have been due to increased demand from customers over the Christmas period.

IRAQ: Saddam Provided More Food Than the U.S.

The Iraqi government announcement that monthly food rations will be cut by half has left many Iraqis asking how they can survive.

The government also wants to reduce the number of people depending on the rationing system by five million by June 2008.

Michigan: Out of the city ground and into the tank

With the holidays upon us, most people will be filling up their vehicles at the gas pumps before traveling to family gatherings.

Although many would be quick to assume their fuel is coming from the Middle East, some could be coming from much closer to home.

North Dakota: State refinery isn't realistic

The argument that building a state-run refinery is analogous to the state's ownership of the mill and elevator in Grand Forks is interesting but ultimately weak. Producing and marketing flour is, in terms of complexity and risk, a light year away from refining petroleum and plunging into the volatile fuel marketing business.

EU's Green Energy Plans Take Shape

New EU legislation aimed at having green energy account for 20 percent of the union's overall energy consumption by 2020 is taking concrete shape, with draft proposals indicating that each EU state should contribute at least 5.75 percent to an overall target. Rich member states will carry a heavier burden, however.

Facing the Facts about Climate Change: Either we bury capitalism or capitalism will bury us

Within Europe, it has become too easy to blame the U.S. and others for failing to address the realities of climate change. In fact, European countries appear to take on a hypocritical and condescending role when it comes to environmental issues. Germany is a prime example. On the one hand, its environmental record is impressive: it is home to the first Green Party to ever govern in a national coalition of a G8 nation and it has also reduced its greenhouse gas emissions significantly in recent years. Germany also heavily sponsors renewable energy production and has invested in the refurbishment of ageing factories.

Yet even for Germany there are limits. For instance, recent measures proposed by the European Commission to reduce the C02 output of vehicles have come under criticism by the powerful German automobile lobby. As with the U.S. and other western countries, there are fears that the German economy could fail under stiff targets.

A clear picture of China's energy problem

In releasing their first position paper on energy, mainland leaders have been brutally honest. They acknowledge the economy will need ever-increasing quantities of oil, gas and coal so that growth can continue and that huge problems lie ahead in trying to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Emirates' growth could make it world's largest airline

At a time when many airlines around the world are feeling the pinch of high fuel prices and a declining dollar, Emirates expects to top $1 billion in profits in the fiscal year ending March 31 on revenues of $8.1 billion. That would represent an 18.5% increase over the first year's figure of US$844 million.

This is partly due to the currency peg between the UAE's dirham and the U.S. dollar. Emirates reports in dirhams but a large proportion of its earnings is in euros and pounds sterling, and the dollar's slide "actually makes us look good," Clark noted.

Virgin Blue ups fuel surcharge by $10 a return trip

FLYING with Virgin Blue will cost more in the New Year with the cut-price airline announcing a jump in its fuel surcharge.

Flat-screen TVs devour electricity, jack up energy bills

Consider that a 42-inch plasma set can consume more electricity than a full-sized refrigerator - even when that TV is used only a few hours a day. Powering a fancy TV and full-on entertainment system - with set-top boxes, game consoles, speakers, DVDs and digital video recorders - can add nearly $200 to a family's annual energy bill.

Oil watchdog reworks reserves forecasts

Alongside a plan to build a new set of data for the decline in production rates in the world’s top 250 oilfields, the IEA is also ready to reassess its own forecasts for projected oil discoveries, which it based on estimates by the US Geological Survey.

Any downward revisions in oil discoveries or upward revisions to decline rates will in theory increase the probability that global oil reserves will be smaller than expected and that global oil supply will peak much sooner than expected.

Of GCC state oil companies and geopolitics

GEOPOLITICS has shaped the creation, operations and worldview of Middle East owned oil companies ever since the earliest regional oil strikes in Dammam, Persia’s Masjid Suleiman and Kirkuk in the 1930s. Saudi Aramco, Kuwait Petroleum, National Iran Oil Company (NIOC), Algeria’s Sonatrach and Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC own 600 billion barrels of crude oil, half the world’s proven reserves.

Qatargas operates the world’s largest LNG export terminal and owns the world’s third largest offshore oil reserves after Russia and Iran. Middle East oil colossi will determine both the future of the oil and gas markets but also profoundly shape the region’s international relations.

The Meek Need Mineral Rights

Many economists have written about the critical role that private-property rights play in building wealth in developing countries. But few have bothered to underscore the importance of private ownership of mineral rights.

With oil prices now hovering near $100 per barrel, it’s long past time for economists to recognize that state control of mineral rights breeds corruption, enriches the kleptocratic regimes that rule most petrostates, and prevents enormous quantities of oil and natural gas from ever reaching the market.

Asia Fuel Oil - Up; but in deep discount on low demand

Asian fuel oil prices rose on Thursday, prompted by aggressive buying seen in futures trade, but the physical cash markets continued to reflect the overall lacklustre demand.

The energy crisis

THE WORLD is in an energy crisis. Over the past two years that crisis has spilled over into a global food crisis.

Indonesia - Alternative energy: Now or never!

the world is racing to develop alternative energy, whether derived from hydrocarbon resources or renewable resources, in the hope of overcoming the energy crisis and environmental challenges, and also to help ease demand for oil and eventually lower the price of oil.

And Indonesia does not want to be left behind in this global movement.

Pakistan authorities to enforce 4-hr power cut countrywide

Pakistani authorities have decided to enforce a daily four-hour power cut across the country with the peak hour shortage of electricity rising to over 2,000 MW, which is 20 per cent of the total demand of 10,000 MW.

The Pakistan Electric Power Company has blamed the shortage, unprecedented for winter, on the low release of water from dams and suspension of gas supplies to power units. Officials said they feared the situation would persist over the next few weeks and might deteriorate further.

Will Fuel Hit £2 In 2008?

Paying £1 for a litre - unthinkable not so long ago - is now the reality.

So what does 2008 hold? Could we see prices continue to accelerate up to £2 a litre?

Nepal increases gasoline price by 10 percent

Nepal's government raised the price of gasoline by 10 percent on Thursday just two months after it increased kerosene, cooking oil and diesel fuel prices.

Russia: Prices to Be Beyond Control Next Year

The prices will climb more than 10 percent in 2008, analysts of Interfax.ru forecast, explaining that the time-delay bomb has been put this year and the surge in fuel prices and freezing prices for certain food products are the explosives. Wholesalers changed the price tags in November, signaling the price increase will reach stores early in the year.

Digital Trends: Predictions for 2008

Green technology will gather in significance: Crude oil topped $99 in 2007. A looming energy crisis may prove to be the defining event of the next few generations (of people, not just products). If the top brands like Sony and Panasonic want to continue the growth in big-screen television, they’ll have to make sets far more energy-efficient. I continue to believe in the future of chip-based amplifiers, and in 2007, I actually bought the Sonic Impact Super T for my kitchen system. Someday it may be the only amp I use. 2008-09 will signal the high water mark of mega trade shows like CES and CEDIA — in the future, the cost of shipping all those people and products around the country may become prohibitive. Gizmo manufacturing, like food production, may have to become less global and more local.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Storm of the Century

Commentary on what is about to befall us is becoming scarier with each passing day. Learned professors are writing in the New York Times that our financial system is in danger of coming unglued. The general thesis is that America’s financial institutions are only capitalized at $1.1 trillion yet they are supporting $11 trillion worth of mortgages. Home prices are going to have to fall by 30-50 percent before most people can afford to buy homes again. When this drop in housing value is over, some 20 million homes will be mortgaged for far more than they are worth and a fair portion is likely to be abandoned. Some think the banking system is in for some very hard times. Others have dubbed the burgeoning financial crisis “peak money.”

But there is more: global warming seems to be causing unprecedented droughts and glacial melting which in turn are leading to lower food production and empty reservoirs and a substantial drop in hydro-electric production around the world.

Welcome to “peak climate,” “peak food,” “peak water,” “peak electricity,” or as some people are putting it, “peak everything.”

Pakistan's Bhutto assassinated

Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, a party aide and a military official said.

"At 6:16 p.m. she expired," said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto's party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital where she was taken after the attack.

Gazprom Takes On Exxon

If the foreign operators of Russia's Sakhalin-1 natural gas field weren’t concerned enough after BP was ousted from a major venture over the summer, then Thursday's comments by a senior Gazprom executive should certainly have them reaching for the vodka.

Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Ananenkov lambasted the operators of Sakhalin-1, arguing that a handover of control to them had led to an "infringement of Russia's national interests," and had turned Russian consumers into "poor relations who see their gas siphoned off."

Food, Forests and Fuel

A casino economy has allowed corporations and their owners to multiply their wealth without limit, and without any relationship to the real world. Yet this hungry money then seeks to own the real resources of people – the land and the forests, the farms and the food, and turn them into cash. Unless we return to the real world, we will not find the solutions that will help mitigate climate change.

Nippon Oil sells emergency oil reserves option to NZ

Japan's top oil refiner Nippon Oil Corp has become the first Japanese company to sign a contract with New Zealand, which would give the country the option to purchase petroleum in the event of an emergency, the company said on Thursday.

Nigeria: Country Produced 65 Million Barrel of Crude Oil in Oct

Nigeria's crude oil production, including condensates and natural gas liquids, was estimated at 2.12 million barrels per day (mbd) or 65.72 million barrels in October, compared with 2.10 mbd in September.

This was contained in the Central Bank of Nigeria economic report for the month of October.

Thailand wants to buy gas from Indonesia

Thailand wanted to buy gas from oil-and-gas field Natuna in Indonesia, Indonesian Minister of Mines and Energy Purnomo Yusgfiantoro said Thursday.

China promises fair play in its energy policy

China pledged Wednesday that its worldwide search for oil and gas to power a booming economy will be carried out in a spirit of fair play and international cooperation so as not to disrupt sensitive international markets.

The promise came in a government white paper, one of a series Beijing has issued in recent years to present its case to the world.

Plans for at least 8 clean coal plants hit snags

At least eight clean coal plants, more than a third of those on the drawing board, have been canceled, delayed or rejected by regulators this year. Developers cite soaring construction costs, technology hurdles and uncertainty about regulation of greenhouse gases.

Tech could reduce coal facilities' emissions

Unlike conventional coal-fired power plants, often called "pulverized" coal plants because they crush coal to a powder before burning it to make electricity, the Edwardsport plant would turn coal into a gas before burning it. "Gasification" makes removing pollutants easier.

From another post, another site:

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.


So, a near miss on Rashid Rauf will put US troops in Pakistan. Wonder how much Benazir Bhutto's death will add to the tally.

Looks like "above ground" factors will be the driver for 2008.


Above ground factors are always the drivers. Geology is the tires.

More at the link.


US beefs up Pakistan force

Bruce Loudon, South Asia correspondent | December 28, 2007

US Special Forces are to increase their presence in Pakistan amid assessments that the country is to become the central battlefield for al-Qa'ida as it is driven from Iraq.

"Pakistan should be carefully watched because it could prove to be a significant flashpoint in the coming year," US think tank Strategic Forecasting said in an evaluation of al-Qa'ida's tactics as the Islamist group comes under mounting pressure in Iraq.

With the "rapid spread of Talibanisation" in Pakistan's insurgent northwest, the country would become "especially important if the trend in Iraq continues to go against the jihadis and they are driven from Iraq", the assessment says.

Driven from Iraq? For God's sake, the US-backed "Anbar Salvation Council" consists of insurgents whose ideology is virtually indistinguishable from Saudi Arabia's, probably under orders from Saudi agents. They don't think they've switched sides, they think they've forced us to accept them as the rulers of western Iraq. They tell reporters,
"Bagdad is next."

Islamic fundamentalists have mastered the old American trick of presenting people with only two alternatives, the extreme right and the very extreme right, and calling it a victory when they choose the extreme right.

On to Pakistan, indeed.

How many wars does Cheney want?

All of them.

Just one - Armageddon.

All wars make money for those who arm both sides

The Hegelian situation in the Middle East is an outgrowth of our current policy of oil hegemony in the region. In turn, our policy is a direct result of our dependence on oil. As one has fed the other, terrorism, instability, and extremism provided a reason for the US to place forces and exert military influence on a vital energy supply.

This year, geopolitics will face severe political strain that will result in an increased likelihood of broadening conflict. These strains include:

1. An increasingly apparent worldwide energy crisis resulting from the inability of world supplies to meet demand.

2. A growing and increasingly critical world food crisis.

- Increased energy costs are resulting in increased food costs and reduced availability.
- Climate change is beginning to severely impact food production in North America, Australia, Africa, India, Pakistan and China (among others).
- Climate change is resulting in severe water shortages worldwide which also places a constraint on food production.

3. A substantial transference of wealth to extreme and unstable regimes worldwide due to the high cost of oil. This transference of wealth and power enables various extreme elements worldwide to develop militaries and meddle in the economic and political affairs of countries worldwide.

4. China entering a state of emergency with regards to food and fuel. Though subsidies will continue to protect the rapidly growing economy, cracks will begin to appear in the subsidies regime. As limits to growth become apparent, China will be increasingly pressed to secure food and fuel through means outside of the usual economic and diplomatic channels. Furthermore, increased competition between the US and China over less available fuel reserves will result in a second world 'powder keg' of, perhaps, equal importance to the Middle East. If the current combination of fuel, food and climate trouble continue, in 5-15 years, famine becomes a very real possibility in China. Will China accept this fate quietly?

5. U.S. military presence in the Middle East is seen, increasingly, throughout the world as an occupying force whose primary purpose is to control its vast fuel reserves.

6. On the flip side, tightening supplies of oil and the threat of shortages in the US will place pressure on all policy makers in Washington -- both Democrat and Republican -- to flex the US's military muscle in the region and across shipping lanes to further control world oil supply. If tensions erupt in the region or other powers (eg China) make a military play the result will be another increase in US military action in the region. If the past is any oracle, this kind of destabilization will result in reduced supply of oil worldwide.

7. At home, the US presidential race will become increasingly contentious as candidates find a wide variety of firebrand issues to debate. The result is a public increasingly informed of the evolving crises. In this case, information could well result in hoarding and place further strain on food and fuel. As leadership figures clearly realize this, they will walk a tight line between providing information to galvanize public opinion and feeding fear.

8. In the US, overextended financial systems will face reduced flexibility due to the economic constraints of high energy costs. Without a lowering global cost of energy, primarily oil, financial systems will struggle to recover. Any permanent recovery must come with the support of increased supply and/or efficiency.

9. No one clearly knows what's in store with regards to climate change. It seems likely melting in the Arctic and Greenland will continue to some degree. But at what level remains unclear. 2007 exceeded all prior estimates by a terrifying degree. If 2008 was anything like 2007 the results would be very grim indeed. The most likely scenario is a slower increase in melting or even a small build back of arctic sea ice from last year. Greenland glacial melt would likely continue at 2007 rates. Any further substantial reductions in summer sea ice and increases in Greenland glacial melt would be an indication that some tipping point has been crossed and that world climate change is accelerating far more rapidly than previously expected.


If GREEN = smooth sailing
and YELLOW = increased danger of world conflict and energy crisis with some visible and obvious strains resulting in higher prices and visible economic impact.
and RED = substantial visible world crisis in energy with a high economic impact resulting in a worldwide economic slowdown and potential recession among major economies. In this scenario significant geopolitical conflict is a high likelihood.
and BLACK = critical world energy crisis with severe economic impacts and geopolitical conflict over energy in full swing

Then next year looks to be a RED one. Four inter-related crises -- energy, food, climate, and finance -- are all substantial dangers to world economies and political systems. Though these crises have not yet reached a critical stage, there is considerable danger they will in the future as, without a major change in the world's energy infrastructure, all are likely to stick around or even worsen. The result is an increase in the likelihood of new moderate to severe conflicts worldwide.

It is important to note that, even in GREEN years (2001) the geopolitical tension surrounding oil was enough to result in conflict. By comparison, the past RED and YELLOW years of the 1970's and early 1980's resulted in the Carter Doctrine which has necessitated US forces in the Middle East over the past three decades. During the oil crisis of the Nixon Administration, the primary hold to US use of military force to secure oil was the threat of Soviet nuclear retaliation. In the current age, there is no such constraint.

All years after 9/11 were YELLOW. 2008 is the first RED year this decade.

More boots on the ground doesn't mean a lot of U.S. boots on the ground. Musharraf definitely wouldn't accept a huge U.S. build up. The popular response, say, in the vital North West Frontier would be horrendous. It would be playing right into the hands of the already-powerful militants there. In any case, he has tons of troops; he just needs to shift them from East to West.

Steve LeVine, author
The Oil and the Glory

"More Boots on the Ground" in this case, means imbedded special forces. Not really a surprise to me at all.

How I would love to find something orderly and Hegelian
in this mash. I see a Shakespearean situation. Rational
pursuit of state interests is no longer in the saddle.
We are become prisoner to drive, dream and delusion.

Richard Bruce Cheney in the character of Richard III.
Blood on the stage.

Unfortunately, I think it is calculated. In my opinion, for all the wrong and cynical reasons.

You could be right.
I like your posts.
OTOH fomenting a civil war in Pakistan does not
serve any interests I can imagine.
The cynical calculating ones seem to all have
sticky slide rules.

"The cynical calculating ones seem to all have
sticky slide rules."

I like this one! Do I have your permission to use it if I attribute you?

Public domain. Anything you like.

depends on your point of view...

If you are in charge in the US, watching as the sub-prime / credit crunch takes hold and there is a Presidential race about to start, then anything that diverts attention away from the US itself (the further the better), serves your interests.

Those who see events unfolding as "they're people", rather than "they're numbers" won't see any interests that they would support benefitting.


'OTOH fomenting a civil war in Pakistan does not serve any interests I can imagine'...Old Hippie...There are any number of possibilities but here is just one to sleep on...

The US is pressuring India to get on board with new nuke power facilities provided by the US. India is resisting because they would have to submit to all sorts of new inspection regimes if they take the deal the US is offering, right now they have to submit to nothing. India wants the pipeline through Pakistan to Iran completed ASAP. The US does not want that pipeline built. The gas flowing from Iran via the pipeline would provide India with enough power generating capicity to enable them to delay a decision on nuke plants provided by the US, with attendent inspection regimes. The US is trying to bind India closer and India is taking a wait and see attitude, probably because the SCO is gaining some traction and the US economy is wobbly and the US military is currently underwhelming. If Pakistan is embroiled in a conflict there is scant chance of a transit pipeline being built...Which could force India into the nuke deal sooner.

This is just one of many possibilities in a very complex situation. Its getting late and I need to get some Zs. We will probably have more semi-intelligent :) thoughts to express on the Pakistan situation tomorrow, after sleeping on it.

1) Where are the nukes?
Who controls nukes?
Who knows where they are?
2) Musharraf has no constituency except USA
and those nukes. Taliban is done with him.
3) USA India Russia China KSA Israel are making
new plans tonite on info very little better
than you and I have.

I don't think special forces are there to foment a civil war, just to ensure:

1. Regular troops are trained to hunt down Al Quaeda.
2. The nukes remain secure.

'Where are the nukes? Who controls the nukes?'

A common failing among Americans is to overestimate the number of radical muslims in Pakistan. Extremists in Pakistan garner only 3% of the vote in national elections. Confusion of the American public is understandable because the US press spends a lot of time reporting on and stressing the madrassas, taliban, militants, etc. Here are some recent numbers from Juan Coles blog re the political disposition of Pakistan...

...snip...'I am appalled by the rightwing US pundits who are taking advantage of Bhutto's assassination to blame "the people of Pakistan" for "extremism." Benazir's party would have won at least a plurality in parliament. The PPP is a moderate, middle class party, and it has done well in unrigged elections during the past 20 years. She was killed by an extremist of some sort. The Muslim fundamentalist parties usually only get 3 percent of the vote in national elections, and they got 11.3 percent of the popular vote in 2002 only because Musharraf interfered with the PPP and Muslim League campaigns'...snip...

'Who controls the Pakistani nukes?' Could we not as well ask 'Who controls the US nukes' after the recent incident of a B-52 flying unauthorized, cross country in the US with nukes, unsupervised and presenting, for all the world to see, a total breach of nuke security? But, since you obviously dont do google searces to answer your own questions here is a NYT link re Pakistani nukes...


...snip...'“It’s a very professional military,” said a senior American official who is trying to manage the crisis and insisted on anonymity because the White House has said this problem will not be discussed in public. “But the truth is, we don’t know how many of the safeguards are institutionalized, and how many are dependent on Musharraf’s guys'...snip...

'Musharraf has no constituency except the USA and nukes, taliban is done with him.'

Would you care to back up some of your outrageous exaggerations with some proof? As pointed out above by Juan Cole ALL radical Islamic movements in Pakistan garner only 3% of the vote in national elections. The Pakistani people are justifiably ticked at Musharraf right now because of his suspension of the supreme court. Too bad Americans didnt become so vocal when shrub suspended Habeus Corpus...And, why do you have the impression that Musharraf ever sought support of the Taliban? It is the Taliban that was created by the CIA and ISI and have been dependent on support from 'friendly outsiders'...hint, the Taliban are Sunni.

'USA INDIA RUSSIA CHINA KSA ISRAEL are making new plans tonite on info very little better than you and I have.'

Of course they are but the only one that scares me is the US. It has become well known worldwide that the US is a piss poor planner and gatherer of intelligence, spending more money on intelligence than most continents and getting crap for results. Perhaps we should send the CIA an email telling them that Pakistan has WMD?...They might be the last to find out. :)

Your post sounds a bit hysterical. Since we are simply observers why should we panic?

Percentage voting does not necessarilly equal percentage of population. The hypothesis that many Paki extremists might not recognize the legitimacy of the political process and thus abstain from voting cannot be ruled out at this point.

The one inference that I believe can clearly be ruled out is the notion that this was the work of "a lone gunman" or a "deranged individual". Conspiracy is written all over this one.

The exaggerations or assertions I'm making are
not the ones you're reading. And I am less than
satisfied with answers from NYT stenography.
Which I read hardcopy daily to know what the
party line is.

Short queries are not hysteria.

Dick C as Dick 3 ?


Dick 3 was a very decent man, whatever the Tydder Hack says.

Google 'The Richard the Third Society.'

I think Dick is a strong and eloquent public speaker and that he believes what he is doing is right. But he's an oil guy and he's vested in it. I can't believe he's in this game to lose.

I dont believe anybody ever plays to loose, but Pakistan - Afghanistan , now here is a graveyard of empires.

After the 1st Afghan War, we , as Empire Policy, determined never to go north of the Khyber Pass. But of course we did in the 2nd Afghan War, and then the 3rd in 1919-1921 , and again currently. This is our 4th Afghan War.

They say that runs on the bank only occur after the last man who can remember the last run has retired. Same seems likely about wars as well.

I have been interested and followed the fortunes of Pakistan and Afghanistan for a while. Partly because we have a large Pakistani community settled in Britain and this community does seem to produce most of our disenfranchised , disconnected militant Islamists that want to leave bombs on London buses.

But also, while researching our family tree,I found our collective clan left a boy in Afghanistan in 1920. A 2nd Lieutenant. One thing leads to another and you end up researching the 'great game', in more than normal detail.

The murder of Bhutto is seriously bad. Yes , they were a dodgy dynasty. But, and this is a big but. Bhutto was reasonable and wanted to try and dig her country out of the dark ages that the Islamo-Patriaches wanted to drag it back to. Of all the things she represented , to me it was the potential stability of democracy and the education and voting emancipation of women.

IMO, This could really blow up. It could lead to civil war in what is (in effect) a made up country of competing tribal, ethnic and linguistic groups.

There are now a huge number of very pissed off people with different loyalties and religious sects, in a failing state that is failing to feed and energise (blackouts are now common). And they got Nukes and they got nutters who would happily sell said nukes to other nutters.

I would be very surprised indeed if India has not gone to a first strike state of readiness tonight.


Almost all the fuel,lubricants, heavy munitions,heavy weapons, food and light arms goes north to Afghanistan through Pakistan.

NATO relies on Pakistan being stable and pro-West. The North West Frontier (a headache for BritEmp for 150 years) is no more stable now than it ever was. If the NWF becomes increasingly Talibanised, or Pakistan turns in on itself, then supplying NATO forces will become impossible.

Getting NATO Forces safely out down that road will be a nightmare. Read my link to the 1st Afghan war. The safe border would be even further away than for Elphinstones Army.

Today is not a good day. The best the West can hope for is that Musharraf puts his uniform back on, and cracks down.

Pakistan is running out of road

thanks mudlogger for the info/background. i felt heavy all day after hearing of Bhutto's being killed. she did seem reasonable & i to have wondered if this will be the beginning of a serious unraveling in the ME.

I agree that there are serious concerns RE Pakistan and the nukes only make it worse. That said, as of now, the nukes are secure and there is transparency.

The history of Pakistan and Afghanistan is also a serious concern. And I agree it could be a very bad situation. IMO the current US regime is committed to action and engagement. I think there's a hope among those involved that the precident set by Bhutto would result in a swing toward democracy and away from extremism.

I don't know if things will work out well. For my part, I think it's a very dangerous situation. But I don't think any in the West will stand by and let nukes fall into the hands of Al-Quaeda.

One final note -- the assassination of Bhutto may well blow up in the face of Al-Quaeda and galvanize public opinion against extremist elements. Not something to count on, but a possibility nonetheless.

The nightmare scenario: Imagine a Somalia with an inventory of nukes.

i think it's more like richard cranium

"Alongside a plan to build a new set of data for the decline in production rates in the world’s top 250 oilfields, the IEA is also ready to reassess its own forecasts for projected oil discoveries, which it based on estimates by the US Geological Survey."

If it´s true. Pretty big news from IEA...

Are they inching towards reality? Or, is reality inching towards them...

Yes, this could be interesting. Birol hinted earlier that they were questioning the USGS numbers.

Yes, David Strahan reported on this a few months back.


Peak Oil, Climate Change and Business
Free, Bi-Weekly Executive Briefing

"Peter Jackson, analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, says his company’s study of 800 fields shows an average decline rate of only 4.5 per cent, about half of what is quoted by many of those who argue that oil production will soon peak. By his estimates, oil will not peak, but plateau for “a number of decades” after 2030 before declining slowly."

Peter talks like a 4.5 percent depletion rate is a good thing. I can't see how this is the case when even Matt Simmons is talking about a 5 percent depletion rate.

84 x.045 = 3.78 mbpd depletion. As we're not adding that kind of capacity from new wells every year, I don't see how he can support a 2030 peak oil date?

In any case, my opinion is that people like Mr Jackson who talk about a 'plateau' are really talking about the peak in doublespeak. They're afraid to even mention the word.

Yes, I was struck dumb by that paragraph also. If his estimate is that it will "plateau" after 2030, then that implies that it will increase until 2030....so why then are 800 fields showing an average decline rate now?

Maybe he has dyscalculia, and meant 2003 instead.

Who would hear a statement like that and think that the CERA reports are worth paying for?

Bhutto assassinated ... echos of Archduke Ferdinand with this one. Its been said before here on Drum Beat that the situation over there is like the Balkans a century ago - very tense and the powers that be pouring more energy into the region, not knowing just how far the outcome would spread.

Pakistan can not fall into disarray. However nothing can stop Pakistan from falling to disarray now. The British have been absolutely crazed, in their stiff upper lip sort of fashion, about the pending failure in Afghanistan and now this ...

Living in interesting times are we - Master Yoda.

"US Special Forces are to increase their presence in Pakistan amid assessments that the country is to become the central battlefield for al-Qa'ida as it is driven from Iraq."

This is just an out and out lie.

Al Qaida is the Database.

Al Qaeda commander Rashid Rauf escapes Pakistani custody - The ...
One day after the Taliban consolidated its command into the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan under the command of Baitullah Mehsud, al Qaeda commander Rashid Rauf ...
www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/12/al_qaeda_commander_r.php - 42k -

Policemen colluded in Rauf’s escape

Nirupama Subramanian

ISLAMABAD: An official probe into the escape of a suspect in the 2006 plot to bomb transatlantic planes has concluded that the two policemen who were on duty to escort him back to Rawalpindi’s Adiala prison from a court appearance in the capital actively colluded in his getaway.

The report described the escape of Rashid Rauf as “not a case of negligence but a case of criminal collusion with the accused, and facilitating him to escape,” according to Dawn newspaper.


"October 18. The suicide attack or attacks were clearly aimed to kill her on arrival in Karachi to a triumphant welcome by her supporters, but she managed to escape.

Reliable sources say one or two suicide bombers were involved. The bullet-proof vehicle by which she was being taken by her supporters was protected by two cordons of security guards. The inner cordon consisted of security guards engaged by her Pakistan People's Party parliamentarians to protect her. Many of them were former policemen and ex-servicemen enjoying her and her party's confidence. The outer cordon consisted of officers of the Sindh police and plainclothes security officers of Pakistan's Intelligence Bureau, which is now headed by Brig Ejaz Shah, a former officer of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, who is a close personal friend of Gen Pervez Musharraf [Images] and Gen (retd) Mohammad Aziz, a Kashmiri officer belonging to the Sudan tribe who orchestrated the overthrow of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister in October 1999.

Shah is also a close personal friend of many Punjabi leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid e Azam), which is opposed to Benazir's return.

According to these sources, the suicide bomber or bombers managed to penetrate the security cordon of the police and IB officers without being frisked, but could not penetrate the inner cordon of security guards of the PPP. When stopped, they blew themselves up at a distance from her vehicle."

Our worn out army is going to come home to economic chaos. I predict ... sadly ... that we're going to see suicide bombings here within the next four years. Some of those broken, broke IED victims are going to go out with a bang once they realize what happened here while they were on duty.

Every day I get up and look around a bit - nothing invalidates my decision to move to the middle of nowhere.

You are correct as usual SCT. Remember Timothy McVeigh came out of the first gulf war, and home to a much healthier country than we are today. He could still not find employment easily, and ended up drifting into the insurgent community.

This religion we have in the US of things getting better and better all the time is very cruel. Especially to people who've been away a few years so the changes are more sudden - they leave and their Mom is working at a chicken processing plant for $11 an hour, they come back and she's working a night shift doing dishes at $7 an hour with no benefits. Their dad who had a suspicious cough when they left, when they come back will have diagnosed emphysema and no medical care because his job fired him for being sick. And so on.

Getting out of the big cities and avoiding the machinery of government and the oligarchs, from shopping malls to gov't buildings, will become an increasingly good idea.

I came to Omaha today to pick up my kids, having gotten paid and catching up my car payment. Instead of picking up children my lovely ex arranged for the repo man to get the vehicle. The proof of payment was on the front seat but that matters not procedurally. I suppose I'll get it sorted out tomorrow or the next day but in the meantime its an intriguing meditative exercise, figuring out how a guy with two bags and a case of the flu on the mend makes his way in a frigid two hundred square mile urban sprawl.

No worries, mind you - thirteen years here have left me with friends who will appear at the drop of a hat, so this is not so serious. I feel like I'm getting handed this stuff to show me what everyone else will be going through so I don't get cocky about having adapted after the crash ... assuming, of course, that my adaptation strategies are actually functional. I guess we shall see ...

SCT a friend of mine in California, Redwood City to be precise, who's known neighbors around there for years, had to WALK to the hospital to get his heart surgery.

He's made arrangements with several of them, to get a ride there when the time comes, and when the time came, they all "had to walk their dog" or something.

I ran into this same effect out there when my small biz failed. Suddenly I was a non-person.

You are lucky indeed if even one friend shows up to give you a ride home.

I got a pickup within about twenty minutes after making the call - a retired air force guy who used to work for me and is now a stay at home grandpa. We went over to fix a PC for another retired air force guy I've known for a long time - lived with him for two years when I got divorced, was there to summon the ambulance when he had a stroke in 2005, and minded the house for the six months he was in a nursing home.

Both of them offered up a couch but I chose to do a little experiment - picked out a hotel with weekly rates and I'm seeing what its like to be on foot in a midwestern city during the depths of winter. I selected a place far enough west to be safe 24/7, saw grandpa off, and then I went about my business.

Initial impressions? Not Very Awesome. Inventory: a change of clothing, my laptop, my TracFone, enough room on a card for two nights of hotel, $50 in cash, and 4oz of mixed 90% silver coins I acquired this morning before I knew this would be my project for the next few days.

It was 19F earlier - about -7C for those of a metric persuasion. I decided to hoof it half a mile to where there is a Target and Sears to pick up some long johns.

West Dodge Road is six lanes wide, very fast, lights far apart, and the sidewalk clearing is sketchy, so there is a lot of ice. I made it in fifteen minutes or so, waiting for massive streams of cars and jay walking when the opportunity presented itself. As everyone drives here and few people work outside neither Sears nor Target feel the need to carry long johns :-(

I crossed to the other side of the street and hit the Borders. You have to ask? A copy of Allen Ginsburg's Howl and Other Poems. Tasty SCT trivia tidbit #327? Allen Ginsberg's spiritual guide in later years was Gehlek Rinpoche ... and when I converted myself a few years back I received a blessing or permission to practice from him myself. Jewel Heart has a large group in Lincoln and there are frequent events here in Omaha, too.

I prefer Hy-Vee to the low bottom Bag & Save two blocks from here, but I looked north up six blocks of busy road with a stiff breeze blowing down it and settled for what was within reach. Produce, orange juice, a little salami, and sunflower seeds. There is a microwave and fridge here but I am quite allergic to wheat so I'm pretty much cut off from most things one could prepare in that fashion.

I filled my afternoon up with documentation for an existing customer, engaging in random chatter on Second Life, and listening to SmoothLounge.com. I do believe I am in the upper 1% of indigents in terms of lifestyle :-)

The doc prep is almost done and then I get more money. This evening I do believe I'm going to alternate reading Ginsberg's poems aloud and working on the StrandedWind web site.

Wow. Sounds like an adventure, so far ....

Sounds like what I'd have been doing if I'd stayed in the bay area..... I had enough $$ to rent a motel room, and who knows, maybe I'd have made enough at the farmer's markets drawing folks and busking here and there to live rather well.

My plan here has been to hide out from the debtor's prison goons (I am beginning to be convinced the US doesn't have debtor's prison though) and to kick back for a while and work on developing skills..... both street playing (guitar for now although I like violin, you get a lot of music out of that little box) and drawing faces. When that is developed, and I can bring in decent $ here, I may decide to go back out to the Bay Area and "live interstitially" as I'd put it, since the Statute Of Limitations laws for debt are better out there, and if I can make it here, I can really make it out there.

Sleep one place, keep possessions another place, work in yet another, and never tell 'em your real name....

I guess you have to wait a few days to get the car thing streightened out?

Some years ago I funded a wireless ISP and lost control of it in the first round of private placement. The guy who ended up in control was a real nutjob - a sort of child molester type personality, but instead of kiddy fiddlin' he liked suing people. He managed to waste a good 25% of the first $245k raised chasing me around, then they finally filed suit. That was a Thursday, we responded Friday, and the next Monday they came whimpering up asking if they could just pay up and go away. Oh, I was a real posterior orifice - lawsuit response and made sure every member of the LLC got a copy :-)

Of course people like that never lose, at least in their own minds, so he'd periodically notice things I was doing and come across with some lame attempt to interfere. That might have had something to do with my starting another wireless venture and kicking their butts right out of the metro area, but that is a story for another day :-)

I preferred to spend money on new access points, routers, and such, so I finally pulled a disappearing act when a post office box place I was using went belly up. You start pulling my tail now and it all dead ends back at that place or an apartment I vacated a long time ago.

I must say that I just flat hate going about the world this way. These last four years the pattern has been a month of $10k - $20k in consulting revenues depending on how many guys we were keeping busy, then we'd have two or three flat months with just enough to keep the lights on. If I could arrange three or four of those good months back to back I'd retire all of my debt including the car payment and probably have a house down payment in junk silver to boot.

The only kind of debt that can get you locked up in this country is child support as far as I know ...

If I lived in town, I could just walk everywhere, and play geetar on the street good or not and see how it goes. Or sketch people and see which thing I like better, or maybe do both, each one at different times.

But I'm 30 miles out of town, it warms up to maybe 30, and I'm just pinned down for this winter anyway.

Toooooo colllllllld for commuting on the mo'cycle and not much of a street crowd anyway. If I lived in town it'd not matter, so what if I spent all afternoon strumming in the coffee shop and made $10? It'd be $10 more than I have now, and another $10 would get me a big bottle of cheap whiskey, yum!

The thing is, I guess, I have to wait for the weather to warm up, then I can go into town regularly, every day if I like. Banjo-boy supposedly makes a couple hundred in a day and maybe he does - he's not bad. A good sketcher can make out really well too, I think. I could do odd jobs here 'n' there, wash windows or even letter them too.

But while I'm out of town this far, the winter's kind of weird. This is a problem I'll have to solve, maybe winter will be spent making something that I sell the rest of the year, like guitar picks or little scenes on old piano keys or something. And summer's the time to make money "in person". You're trapped the same way, at least it may be a nice little advanture for you....

I am the luckiest guy alive, despite how the day is going. I have a skill set that gets me paid quite well when I find a place to apply it, other talents are opening doors for me in the renewable energy field, and I have more than one associate here who would come across with a ride, a place to stay, or a little cash should the need arise.

I've been pondering the whole car thing for the last several months. Am I fighting to hang on to something that is going to be just a big paperweight due to peak oil? How will I live in rural Iowa without a four wheeled vehicle? A scooter would be nice for maybe half of the year but downright dangerous for the other half. Perhaps we end up with one car per every household like the 1950s, but then there is a periodic need for a farm truck, and there is a massive psychological adjustment for those of us who do drive when we're suddenly stranded. Is what I do important enough to garner access to fuel should it be rationed? I'd like to think so ... but so does everyone else.

I also think a bit about the whole credit rating business - tell me again why I am frantically doing things so that a system that is going to implode will assign a higher metric to me? If I didn't have that skilled trade I'd have given up and done a chapter 7 months and months ago not long after I got hurt.

No Ginsberg readings yet ... still makin' the bits fly in three different time zones.

I harbor more than a little resentment against doing art because I was pushed at it as a kid and because I've done a lot of naval-gazing and have a real problem with the utility of art ...... I consider "modern" art to be useless. I consider classical art before the bourgeous landscape-in-the-living-room phase to be useful because it was essentially used in worship, in religious and secular education, and in community solidarity.

I have NO USE for my own interpretation, rendered in oils, of a seashell, to be bought by some hausfrau.

I do have a use for the flame a hotrodder may want me to paint on the side of his 'rod, because he and his buddies will get a lot of enjoyment out of them.

I have no use for abstract things based on the tension between complimentary colors, with a receding central line .... bleh. I actually painted something like that in my teens, sold it in a flash for a good price too.


I DO have a use for fairground caricatures, because to the people who buy 'em, they are a reminder of good times in a place, a time in a person's life (Hey, that's when he had the mullet!) and will probably be treasured as long as a working-class person gets to keep anything. About 3.5 evictions or 2.1 divorces, whichever comes first!

I DO have a use for a sign that says "PLEASE KEEP THE RESTROOM CLEAN" with a humorous cartoon of a beagle dog holding a feather duster.

I have EVEN MORE use for a sign like that that says, "IF YOU SPRINKLE, WHEN YOU TINKLE, BE A SWEETIE, AND WIPE THE SEATIE" lol! With said cartoon beagle dog holding a rag. Crude and uncouth and will make many people laugh, and even remind 'em to be more considerate.

I have a use for "how to do stuff" type illustration, anyone remember the VW book "for the compleat idiot"? All hand drawn. I LOVE that stuff.

This may not mean much to you'all but I've really wrestled with this .... expected to become an artist and it's taken me forever to track down the smell, the stink, the emanates from the oil-age mainstream art movement.

It reminds me of the penchant for adorning one's yard with an old tractor that is the rage around here, just a useless bourgeous affectation, by people who've never done much of anything real.

Music is different, when the lights go out, if they stay out long enough, people get out instruments and they start to sing ...... people did that every night before there were TVs and radios. People have done that for milennia....

So, to me, I have a source of income should I choose to use it .... drawin' folks. But will it just be a job or something I want to do? I want to give music a try, and there may be about equal, if small, amounts of money in either pursuit. And music to me is pure, it was forbidden when I was a kid, rather than my being pushed at it.

But I may suck at music after all, and just go with art, the more lowbrow the better as far as I am concerned. I could do a hell of a lot of "how to" shit for us future Amish, and even run my own printing operation here. Goodness knows they need one.

I just want to know for sure I'm taking the right path for me.... so I'm drifting and pretty much penniless like most here are, a few will even admit it lol.

You remind me a great deal of Daniel Klennert, who will stay up all night building something out of junk he collected somewhere, but who can't finish a commission to save his life:


I wait with great anticipation the flood of fleam howto drawings for the post peak oil world ... and the attendant book, which you might want to collaborate upon with Mr. Totoneila Sir.

But the problem is I like to get stuff done QUICK. This is probably why I'm interested in caricature drawing, you're there with the subject, crackin jokes with the other people and with them, and dashing off that drawing, the faster I do stuff the better it is. I've spent hours on a bird drawing, but my best was a roadrunner head I did in a mad dash, it was better than any of the slow'n'steady stuff. And I grew up secretly adoring cartoonists from Crumb to Nast, and always thought they did their stuff really fast - turns out the better ones actually do, even if they're painstaking they'll still do that work faster than the average Joe. Most of the good cartoon guys like Kelley or any of 'em, could do a page a day. This does not sound hard to me, but apparently a lot of the rank-and-file working for the comic books aren't working nearly that fast.

I like to get something DONE then get on to the next thing.

To me, it's flow - music and doing a good cartoony pen line are probably using the same circuits in the brain. I'm the opposite of the futz-with-it-forever types, sad to say.

Good though, if I'm doing caricatures at a rodeo or in a bar or on the street, you gotta get it done and entertain people too.

Music's the same way, you're moving right along, playing something. Even if it's something slow, you're moving through it....

Woodie Guthrie tried doing art too, and I understand he was no slouch, he was really pretty good. But as he put it, "Once you get done singing a song you've got a job all over again singing it again" lol. Without getting out there and doing it, it's hard to say which is better.


Good Stuff.

Once you get done singing a song you've got a job all over again singing it again"

Ironically Joni Mitchell in concert after someone called out the name of song of her's and she said, "That's what's so cool about performing arts, You get to do it all over again, No one asked Van Gogh "Paint Starry Night again man".

Music appreciation, like life, is the enjoyment of the duration, not a goal to reach at the end.

You said.
And I grew up secretly adoring cartoonists from Crumb

I have Zap #0 and had Zap #0-#5 at one time. I have the hardback (Old) "Head Comix"

Memories. Reading Crumb and listening to Firesign Theater.

By sketching quickly, your mind and muscles are able to flow with the muse.


Sometime when you have highspeed access go to
youtube and type Ron Cooper into the search box.
Documentary and nightclub concert numbers. A
true artist who touched many lives. Homeless,
alcoholic, dead at 62 - 3 months and just one
more real show past the one you see memorialized.
Never compromised, did it all his way.
If you're quick you can see oldhippie with
martini in 2 vids.
I still think you're a writer.
Could you post some drawings here?

Impossible to post drawings here, the Internet is a text-only medium.

I don't know why you'd consider me a writer, no college degree, remember? Sheesh.

And no one ever made dollar one from writing anyway, does anyone here know anyone who's made dollar one by writing? No? I didn't think so. Sure, we hear about Great Writers, and we've all read our Twain and so on, but has anyone ever SEEN one? Or TOUCHED one? Hell I've met Jay Leno, Ahnuld, Greg LeMond, Magnum, P.I. and all kinds of fictional people, even smelled their farts, but I've never met a real-live writer.

I've done some incredible shit myself that I just don't want to talk about here, but I've never met a real-live writer.

I think they're like angels, everyone knows about 'em, but no one's ever met someone with wings sprouting out of their backs!

Anyways, the thing about doing a song then having a job singing it all over again, was Woodie Guthrie's idea, not mine. I read it in a book by him called Seeds Of Man. Pretty interesting book - they were living like we'll be soon. Great Depression-A-Mundo. Woodie was collecting junk, painting (good enough that he had sales and had a lady giving him frames etc) and in general trying whatever worked. Throwing mud at the wall. Art worked but for him, but singing was probably the best combination of pay, fun, ease, fun, demand, fun, and well ... fun. He also joined the Merchant Marines, and then died and came back and wrote about a pickle riding a motorcickle or something like that. At Alice's Restaurant. Guy's been alive 90 years and counting and that's not bad. A hero that would work for me.

All kidding aside I managed to sell a story in my field for $600 last spring. So ... you follow stuff here ... maybe you need to contact some primary sources, do some interviews, and start selling pieces?

FYI on http://strandedwind.org under the new user sign up section we see this tidbit:

We would be completely thrilled if a person with a PR/journalism background presented him/herself and were ready to write press releases and do freelance stories on the industry. We realize that well done freelance stories are salable and we would welcome this sort of activity here.

You don't need a college degree to be a writer, any more than you need a college degree to be an artist or musician.

I've made a dollar or two writing. Not enough to make a living at it, but I was never really interested in a writing career. Many of my friends do support themselves by writing. Many of them are science fiction writers. Also romance and mystery. I have friends who write everything from movie and TV scripts to comics to the blurbs on the backs of DVDs.

The wealthiest are the screen writers, but boy, do they work hard for the money. It's brutal, especially the TV writers.

You can write what you love (and forget about $), or you can write what sells. The number of people that can successfully pull both of those off are miniscule.

I'd say it's sort of a trade-off. It's not either/or. Yes, you have to take into account the market. But there's also room for incorporating what you love. Because chances are, if you like it, others do, too. TPTB may not realize it. But if you do it, and it sells, they'll hop on board.

And of course, this holds true for music and art, too.

And who knows, it could become easier to make a living in the arts. It used to be that anyone with talent could make a living at it. They wouldn't get rich, but they'd make a living. Now, you have a few mega-successful people who make millions, and a bunch of struggling wannabes making a pittance. The so-called "midlist" has practically vanished.

While entertainment is certainly not the non-discretionary side of the economy, it might do all right. People still went to movies during the Great Depression. And even now, peasants are selling their blood and using the grocery money to buy movie tickets.

To FLeam and Sacredcowtipper:


Question is - How would you get on the dang thing?


Have you ever considered getting into one of the traditional folk arts & crafts in some way? Those are really big in my part of the country. Folk arts were never useless; instead, they were all about making items that actually were useful, but doing it in a way that brightened up what would otherwise have been a pretty drab existence.

I suspect that folk arts and crafts are going to make a strong comeback in the future. You might consider catching the wave earlier rather than later.

This is a problem I'll have to solve, maybe winter will be spent making something that I sell the rest of the year

I would recommend you trying that Fleam. If you are house bound, use the time to make something to sell some other time. If you are house bound, you're there for 24/7 ANYWAYS.

Try Mandolin, has the same fingering as violin. Same Neck size. Their transferable.

When I was young, when our family and friends got together, four or five played, piano, spoons, mandolin, guitar and everyone else would dance. (Kitchen table was the bar). Woody Guthrie, Jimmy Rogers(the Singing Brakeman) and the like.

But Real People Playing real music as something you just did. Ya we had records, but we prefered to play.

It's so much more fun when you're making the music yourselves.

". . .freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." Janis Joplin

kris kristofferson actually.

Jewel Heart has a large group in Lincoln

Hmm, Jewel Heart rings a bell, but I don't know why.

If your in Lincoln anytime , send me an email prior for my personals (it's on my bio page).

Before the liberal-capitalist media convince us all that Bhutto was a martyred saint, let's recall that her family was very rich, her government supported secret nuclear weapons and good relations with the Taliban and continued terrorism in Kashmir, and even her own family doesn't trust her. From her niece Fatima Bhutto's letter to the Los Angeles Time:

"My father was a member of Parliament and a vocal critic of his sister's politics. He was killed outside our home in 1996 in a carefully planned police assassination while she was prime minister. There were 70 to 100 policemen at the scene, all the streetlights had been shut off and the roads were cordoned off. Six men were killed with my father. They were shot at point-blank range, suffered multiple bullet wounds and were left to bleed on the streets.

My father was Benazir's younger brother. To this day, her role in his assassination has never been adequately answered, although the tribunal convened after his death under the leadership of three respected judges concluded that it could not have taken place without approval from a 'much higher' political authority."

Well, it's only her crazy anti-American niece, but Pakistani political parties seem to be inherited fiefdoms and with everyone else in the family dead...

Meanwhile, the similarity in the sibling assassinations will be noted by cynical Pakistanis, if not by us.

On the other hand, let's see what the Asia Times has to say about Nawaz Sharif, who now stands to inherit her mantle of leadership of the pro-democracy coalition:

"By insisting on Sharif's return to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia took matters into its own hands... Senior unnamed US officials, in turn, have leaked to the American mainstream newspapers - including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle - the Bush administration's disquiet that Sharif might spoil the "war on terror". They paint Sharif as a conservative politician who connived with Abdul Qadeer Khan's nuclear proliferation and hobnobbed with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and argue that he stands in the way of the emancipation of Pakistani women. They cherry-pick from Sharif's tumultuous political life and find fault with him for just about everything that went wrong in Pakistan in the recent two to three decades. But that is grossly unfair. There is almost nothing that Sharif did while in power at which Bhutto didn't try her hand... First, Sharif may not resort to agitational politics. He could easily be a rabble rouser, but the Saudis wouldn't want him to do anything by way of stirring up things that threatened to destabilize the existing political order in Islamabad. Saudi interest lies not in undermining nuclear-armed Pakistan but to be able to navigate it if the gyre of Shi'ite Iran's influence continues to widen in the region... The Saudi calculation would be to work toward a political accommodation of the Taliban as a step in the direction of isolating the radical elements, which have gained ascendancy in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border regions."

I would point out that if Saudi Arabia wanted Bhutto dead, it certainly has cultivated the right contacts to do the job. Now nothing stands between Sharif and power but yet another assassin's bullet from yet another shadowy faction in the Pakistani Army/ISI/Taliban/al Qaeda/Saudi stew that your tax dollars paid have been paying for since 1979.

Ms. Bhutto was certainly pushed by NPR -- I guess that's what passes for "liberal" these days.

Where is Chekhov when we need him?

I'll believe the liberal, as in neo-liberal, media is pushing Bhutto as a saint, in order to sell more papers. Case in point: Fox news, the propaganda wing of the conservative party in the U.S., is reporting this in a similar way. I'm not sure what passes for leftist media in the U.S. any more, I don't think we really have any except small scale web-sites and local newspapers.

I certainly agree with you and Super390, how great was Bhutto if the US liked her so much? The picture we're seeing is of a martyr, of a saint. A veritable Ghandi in a dress and hajib. But, even on the MSM one US politician being interviewed said Bhutto and her husband took billions of dollars out of the country, and seemed to be connected to quite a bit of corruption.

I had to wonder, was Bhutto being painted as a saint here in the US because she was going to let us do what we want with Pakistan? Open up markets, do the usual IMF plundering, put military bases there, etc?

I'm very suspicious of anyone my country likes so much!

I don't think we ever considered Benazir Bhutto to be a saint. - it's just good form to generally speak well of someone who is recently deceased.

Pakistan is a tough situation. It is a nuclear power, with a large radical Islamic presence (including Taliban and Al Qaeda). The military and the Intelligence Service there are sometimes dangerously independent of the government. Every few years Pakistan and India nearly go to war over Kashmir. Most of the population is very negative on the U.S., but the leader (Musharraf), who is not exactly a Jeffersonian democrat, is generally friendly to us.

Bhutto was popular among a large plurality of Pakistanis and was on good terms with the west. To try to encourage her and Musharraf to come to some sort of power-sharing agreement while also moving the country toward greater democracy was not a bad idea, in principle. That's what we tried to do. It just didn't work.

US didn't like her. US deposed her.
US killed her father.
Factions in US returned to her as overall
situation became desperate. Any port in a storm.
Just a hope for someone who could do a little
Did you notice she was a babe?
Did you notice she was secular?
Did you notice she was female?
Who here remembers the torrid tabloid affair
with Rajiv Gandhi?
Old money, dynastic, corrupt, and completely
fresh and unique in that part of the world. Or

Your sources and deductions seem reasonable.

OTOH while the woman (BB) may have been a thug like the rest, she does provide a ready-made martyr and can potentially be used to pressure the other thugs, aka Taliban etc...??

liberal-capitalist media


A couple of generations back the word liberal described the conduct of those we'd now call conservative - a "liberal capitalist" would be in favor of small government, limited regulation, etc.

It is an interesting use of the phrase in these times :-)

Juan Cole at his blog, Informed Comment, posted this AM regarding the assination of Bhutto...imo...Bhuttos assination could easily lead to a widening conflict in the ME, drawing in countries directly, that have, until now, relied on proxy participantion in the ongoing conflicts. Comparisons to the assination of Ferdinand in the Balkans, and the war that followed, are not farfetched. We might see the gloves come off soon.


'Benazir Bhutto, the leader of the Pakistan People's Party, has been assassinated at a rally held Thursday evening near Islamabad. She appears to have been shot by the assassin, who was wearing a suicide bomb belt, which he then detonated to make sure he had finished the job. The Bhuttos are sort of the Kennedys of Pakistan, marked by wealth, power and tragedy, and central to the country's politics for the past four decades'...snip...

'The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) faithful will almost certainly blame Pervez Musharraf, and sentiment here is more important than reality,'...snip...

'And Pakistan is key to the future of its neighbor, Afghanistan. Pakistan is also a key transit route for any energy pipelines built between Iran or Central Asia and India, and so central to the energy security of the United States'...snip...

the situation over there is like the Balkans a century ago - very tense and the powers that be pouring more energy into the region, not knowing just how far the outcome would spread.

Otto Von Bismarck saw what would happen as his statement in 1897 to William II predicted: "If there is ever another war in Europe, it will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans."


For one Benazir Bhutto is unabashedly pro-West....

Benazir must — to use her father’s phrase - pick up the pieces. Her stand must be clear. The answers are well known: While respecting its Islamic heritage and sense of identity, Pakistan must become for all practical purposes a secular state with clear separation of church and state. She must undo the terrible legacy of outward and hypocritical Islamization, which ironically was initiated by her own father. As the leader of the largest and the strongest party she must go at it alone without any futile consensus building exercise. Benazir must learn to live in the solitude of great leaders. She must leave her father behind and rise above him not for the sake of popularity but posterity. Despite her many faults, Benazir today commands the support of the people. For once Uncle Sam also seems to be on the right side of the Pakistani current, dragging the army and the establishment along kicking and screaming. The soldier-president must also know that while he will fade away into oblivion, Benazir is the best hope for the future of his agenda of enlightened moderation. A democratically elected strong woman Prime Minister like her alone can further the little good Musharraf has achieved. He must therefore come out in total support of Benazir Bhutto.

Kaptain Korner, October 28, 2007

Bhutto was the darling of the West. If you listen to the media, she was our great, last hope.

Viewed from a broader perspective, what on earth did America and Britain expect to see happen when she arrived back in Pakistan and campaigned? A home coming pageant? A great liberal awakening? Crowds chanting "Allah be damned. Down with Patriarchy"?


All the things that made her a popular icon here - as a woman, a secularist, and pro-Western - would make her an obvious target there. She was a three sided peg jammed into a round hole. While one can admire her tenacity and courage for taking on the challenge, it does not hide an uncomfortable reality. She was a lightning rod for division.

The powers on this side wanted her on that side to keep Pakistan under our control. To put it crudely, “she’s our bitch ‘mong dem dere hounds”.

Pakistan spins out. Afghanistan spins out. The Middle East spins out. 2008 has the potential to be a year like no other!

It would not surprise me to see $200 /barrel oil before St. Valentine’s Day notwithstanding how shabby the economic situation in the US. I'll add my voice to what others have expressed: “above ground factors will be the driver in 2008".

Well gee, it's such a wrong thing for the US to prefer foreign leaders who are sympathetic to the west? What the hell do you expect? That we kiss Chavez or Kim Jong Il's ass instead?

Well, um, actually we do. We buy Venezuela's oil gladly, and many made-in-China products are farmed out by Chinese contractors to slave laborers in N. Korea. We also send "aid" (payment) to North Korea because we like their style!

Actually, I would settle for us not trying to overthrow or assassinate the ones we don't like. There is a yawning gap between "prefer" and intervening to screw up foreign countries every time their leader don't toe the US line. The reality is much closer to the latter than the former. And in any case, it isn't going to work with Putin and Hu/Wen.

Chavez and Kim Jong Il in the same phrase. A bit rich and typical of the we-know-what-is-best for the universe mentailty that is driving the US into the mess it is in. Chavez does not need the US to kiss his ass, what he wants is the US to stop supporting death squad juntas in the name of "national interests".

Just hope that Pakistan doesnt collapse into civil war.

Because if it does, then the main route south and out of Afghanistan could be problematic for NATO. It is this road that supplies the bulk of fuel, food and munitions for the prosecution of the war in Afghanistan.

We tried evacuation once before:


It did not go quite as well as we hoped...

Amen, Mudlogger. Let's hope and pray Pakistan will find a way out of this morass. If not, then NATO may be out of Afghanistan early with deepening difficulties for the U.S.A. in Iraq.

To state an old history maxim: countries don't have morals, they have interests. Above all, it is in our interest to have some semblance of stability in the region.

The paradox is that President Pervez Musharraf is our next best (if not only) hope to maintain influence and prevent further disintegration. And that may yet prove to be the least tenable and operational of options.

As Robert Fisk said during an interview with Frontline: snip... "I don't understandy why we need a crisis with Iran. There is one major Moslem state in the Middle Eastern region which is packed with Taliban and Al Qaeda supporters and is in a state of semi-anarchy. It is infinitely more dangerous and chaotic than Iran and it's got the bomb. It's called Pakistan. But because President Musharraf is on our side in this "war of terror", it's not written into the narrative."

Later Fisk goes on to say, ... snip... "Why don't we worry about Pakistan? Because they are on our side. We hope. For the moment anyway."

2008 will be an interesting year.

Pakistan I believe is where the Military get most of their petro supplys from. They have a refinery that keeps our troops moving I think.

Someone posted some facts on this a while back.

(oh, they have nucs also... That may account for something)

It does seem the media coverage is whipping everyone into a frenzy on this. I think it's pretty obvious there will be some kind of increased US involvement in Pakistan. If we keep this up, we'll need a 2 million + member standing army.

Bhutto assassinated ... echos of Archduke Ferdinand with this one.

Somehow I think, more like echos of a female Dr Martin Luther King.
Either way there are monumental changes ahead.

King's death didn't set off a global war. She might be more like him in temperament, but closer to Ferdinand in the implications of her assassination.

Was this discussed earlier?

"Elect me and oil prices instantly drop, says Hillary Clinton in Iowa"

The headline may be somewhat misleading as to what she meant. But it begs the question: can oil producers squash the drive for alternative energy by dumping oil on the US market?

It was posted. Discussion was limited to "Haha, stupid politicians." :-)

can oil producers squash the drive for alternative energy by dumping oil on the US market?

I doubt many believe that any more.

A: No, I don’t. I agree with the energy secretary that the strategic petroleum reserve is meant for a national wartime emergency. What I think the president ought to do is get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots. One reason why the price is so high is because the price of crude oil has been driven up. OPEC has gotten its supply act together and it’s driving the price, like it did in the past. And the president must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price. And if in fact there is collusion amongst big oil, he ought to intercede there as well.
Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

Yup - more hot air, that many will believe.

The reason The Shrill Old Lady knows that oil prices will drop when she is ellected is that oil futures have been bid up by her friend George Soros and company. They are doing this to try to push the economy into a ression so that Hillary can campaign on the idea that the economy is bad, the same theme that got her husband ellected. Soros will pull his profits out early and leave others holding the bag when oil prices tumble. He will more than make up for the millions he has wasted on Move ON. org. How do I know this? Look at his history, he made his billons trading against the Bank of England, forcing them to devaluate the Pound. He will be doing it again and have Hillary in the White House!

Well hell, George Soros is responsible for the price of oil being so high. He bid the price up. Wow! And he forced the Bank of England to devalue the pound by trading against it! How did he manage that trick?

Last time I checked the pound was floating. Check it out here: http://www.livecharts.co.uk/ForexCharts/gbpusd.php The value of the pound changes minute by minute. Is George Soros causing this? That cad!

Ron Patterson

P.S. Thanks Leanan for the link. (The crude oil link which led to this link.) It appears that the quotes on this page are live. I have no idea what kind of agreement they have with the exchanges in order to be able to do this.

Ron Patterson

Brilliant, brilliant man, Mr. Patterson. Also on the pay of George Soros and his backers?


No, probably just AIPAC.

Also on the pay of George Soros and his backers?

Of course I am! I just cashed my December check from George today. We are having dinner together tonight to discuss my contract for next year. Hillary was supposed to join us but she is busy campaigning.


Really? And when was that? "The pound was floated in the early 1970s" and has remained that way since.

The free-floating pound
With the break down of the Bretton Woods system — not least because mainly British currency dealers had created a substantial Eurodollar market which made the U.S. dollar's gold standard harder for its government to maintain — the pound was floated in the early 1970s and so became subject to a market appreciation. The Sterling Area effectively ended at this time when the majority of its members also chose to float freely against the pound and the dollar.

Ron Patterson

Yeah, I meet with him in January to discuss my '08 contract ;)

Quote lifted from wikipedia


"Currency speculation

On Black Wednesday (September 16, 1992), Soros became immediately famous when he sold short more than $10 billion worth of pounds, profiting from the Bank of England's reluctance to either raise its interest rates to levels comparable to those of other European Exchange Rate Mechanism countries or to float its currency.

Finally, the Bank of England was forced to withdraw the currency out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and to devalue the pound sterling, and Soros earned an estimated US$ 1.1 billion in the process. He was dubbed "the man who broke the Bank of England."

The Times October 26, 1992, Monday quoted Soros as saying: "Our total position by Black Wednesday had to be worth almost $10 billion. We planned to sell more than that. In fact, when Norman Lamont said just before the devaluation that he would borrow nearly $15 billion to defend sterling, we were amused because that was about how much we wanted to sell."

Seems to imply that the pound was in some sort of fixed exchange rate mechanism and these short positions forced the Bank of England to life that fixed exchange rate.

Cheme, Soros sold 10 billion dollars worth of GB pounds. Not very much but Soros was betting on what would happen, he did not cause it to happen. He sensed that that the pound was about to fall.

He was correct. Britain withdrew the pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. This was a system set up in hopes to reduce volatility and allow participating currencies to float within a given range. In the case of the pound, it failed.

By withdrawing the pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, the pound then sank lower. George Soros did not cause this. The EERM was a system that failed. The value of the pound verses other world currencies was then, and is now, subject to its inflation rate verses other currencies. No system can hold a currency within any range for very long if the true value of that currency moves, up or down, far enough, against other currencies.

And speculators buying or selling the currency does not change anything either. The value of a currency is determined, in the long run, by the buying power of that currency verses the buying power of of other currencies. (Its inflation rate verses the inflation rate of other currencies.)

That is what happened with the pound. George Soros did not cause it, British monetary policies caused it just as the policies of the Bush administration are causing the dollar to greatly depreciate in value.

Ron Patterson

Without going into the rest of the points, I would agree that ultimately Soros did not cause the devaluation of the pound. It should have headed there due to structural reasons.

That Soros run fund did accelerate that adjustment by forcing the Bank of England to keep borrowing dollars/whatever to defend the exchange rate. THE BOE knew (realized?) that it (BOE) would have to take mounting losses on that currency intervention, caved and withdrew from the exchange rate mechanism.



At the time, the £Sterling was in an exchange rate mechanism called the ERM , it allowed for fluctuations against a basket of European Currencies (read D-Mark) by about no more than +/- 2.5 %.

Soros bet and won.

UK interest rates hit 17% for a while when the UK Chancellor tried to support the £Sterling.

The British government was furious. Lower pound exchange rates causes imports to go up in price and encourages local wage rises. If not controlled this causes workers in Britain to become quite uppity.

Didn't you miss a few idiotic right wing fantasies that you could have thrown in?

The Soros-Demon haunts the dreams of wingnuts the world over. And the Hillary-Succubus has them walking around with one hand protectively clutching their groins.

A few? The conservatives have no shortage of idiotic fantasies -- if they listed them all we'd be reading this thread all day.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending December 21, 2007

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.2 million barrels per day during the week ending December 21, down 22,000 barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 88.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production moved lower compared to the previous week, averaging 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production fell last week, averaging nearly 4.3 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.8 million barrels per day last week, up 694,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 9.6 million barrels per day, or 62,000 barrels per day less than averaged over the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 143,000 barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) dropped by 3.3 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 293.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.7 million barrels last week, but are in the lower half of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories fell last week while gasoline blending components inventories increased during this same period. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 2.8 million barrels, and are near the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 1.8 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 10.5 million barrels last week, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year.

CNN Breaking News: Oil prices extend gains on larger inventory drop than expected.

How many times have we seen this:

"...larger inventory drop than expected."

or this:

"Finished gasoline inventories fell last week while gasoline
blending components inventories increased."

{And if "blending components" aren't ethanol (as someone clarified
for us last week) shouldn't the "blending" agents cost more than regular RBoB? Thanx beforehand for any input.}

...Since Memorial Day?

this data doesn't answer your question, but it does raise another question -- What the heck are "Other Blending Components" since that is where most of the build took place?

Blending Components 95.2 96.2 98.4 100.2
East Coast (PADD I) 25.2 24.9 25.3 27.0
Midwest (PADD II) 16.5 16.5 17.5 16.8
Gulf Coast (PADD III) 29.8 30.2 29.9 30.1
Rocky Mountain (PADD IV) 1.7 1.6 1.8 1.9
West Coast (PADD V) 22.1 23.0 23.9 24.4

RBOB with Ether 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

RBOB with Alcohol 42.7 43.5 44.5 44.3

GTAB Reformulated 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.2

GTAB Conventional 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.3

All Other Blending 45.7 46.3 47.1 48.9
East Coast (PADD I) 8.9 9.0 8.9 10.2
Midwest (PADD II) 7.1 7.3 7.7 7.3
Gulf Coast (PADD III) 18.9 19.1 19.1 19.7
Rocky Mountain (PADD IV) 1.5 1.4 1.6 1.7
West Coast (PADD V) 9.3 9.6 9.9 9.9

It does seem to be the ongoing mantra, doesn't it?

At the risk of being redundant, extrapolating from year to date data, I estimate that net exports from the top five are going to show a drop of about one mbpd per year in 2006 and 2007. I expect this pattern to more or less continue--with net exports from the top five dropping at about a million bpd per year (which is an accelerating decline rate per year).

I'm missing something, over 10 minutes ago, CNBC Began reporting oil over $97, though it hasn't cleared that yet today. Still hovering around 96.50. Are they predicting? hoping? or manipulating? Or is their ticker that far delayed.?

Most "tickers" are delayed half an hour.

This one is the only free one I know of that's live, or close to it:


CNBC network ticker is delayed 30 minutes. CNBC television is not delayed. It gives the figures as they are happening.

The reason free stock and commodities quotes are delayed is because the exchanges charges a fee for live data. You can get live data by subscribing to several data/trading services. These companies pay each exchange, the NYSE, NYMEX, CBOE, etc. and in return are given permission to post the data on their networks. All subscribers of course pay a hefty fee for the service. These are the traders and they require live data.

Of course CNBC, Bloomberg and others post live data but you cannot trade with this data, not very well anyway, because you cannot get it as it changes. You must wait for it to scroll across the screen.

Ron Patterson

Tapis is over $101, and Louisiana Sweet is knocking on $100.

Louisiana Sweet is now at $100.83 and probably going further up.

Bloomberg reports:

Crude oil for February delivery rose $1.36, or 1.4 percent, to $97.33 a barrel at 11:09 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil reached $97.50 today, the highest since Nov. 26. Futures touched a record $99.29 on Nov. 21. Prices are up 61 percent from a year ago.

And on the subject of currency:

Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The dollar fell against the euro for a fifth day in its longest drop since October after weaker-than- forecast reports on durable goods and jobs and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's former prime minister...

The dollar fell to $1.4569 per euro at 10:57 a.m. in New York, from $1.4489 late yesterday. The U.S. currency dropped to 114.16 yen from 114.34. The euro rose to 166.33 yen from 165.68.

$100/barrel oil commonplace by and on New Year's Day? With the holidays, how many people will notice?

Bad economic news will likely put a cap on oil prices today. Most traders still believe a recession will cause oil prices to collapse.

A week or so back Leanan posted an article on TOD that implied IOCs could not produce oil profitably for less than $70 per bbl...(please correct me if my memory is faulty Leanan). I posted a comment about the article, suggesting that in effect a $70 floor had been placed under crude and that OPEC had no good reason to produce enough oil (if they could) to destroy the 'floor'. I also suggested that only severe demand destruction could remove the floor. Since that time I have seen no news from the oil patch or from world events that would change my mind and no one bothered to point out to me that I was wrong about a $70 floor for oil.
WT, Darwinian, anyone? I would like to hear other opinions about this subject. Thanks.

The former head of exploration & research at Aramco said the same thing a few weeks ago. I don't see economic slowness putting enough of a dent in demand to overcome depletion. And before oil gets to $70/bbl, some production will come off line, reducing supply. Also, economic slowness will make it harder to make capital improvements, infrastructure will continue to decay, and the world will become even less stable. Oil could get as low as $70 in a severe downturn I suppose, but I think it is unlikely unless the dollar shows some life (which is doubly unlikely in a severe downturn).

Even with demand destruction for exports you still have the compounded effect of depletion and increased consumption in producing countries to factor in. So the interesting thing for me, at least, will be how well these factors support the 'floor.'

Last spring oil was just over 50/b, now nearly twice that price. What changed? Slightly less production plus 4% world wide growth. Imagine a sharp recession that cuts world growth just 3%. Prices will have to go down unless opec cuts production, and with a recession blowing full force they might find that would not be prudent. In addition, there is at least the possibility that production will increase, eg stuart's mega project shows at least a possibility of sharply higher production in 08... another 2mb/d would push down price even if we avoid a recession. Then, imagine both at once...

Price might hold thru 1Q08, high demand month, but IMO will be weak, maybe very weak after than.

Jk:You left out the biggest piece in the puzzle, the US dollar and its strength/weakness. China is intending to let the Yuan strengthen to help cool inflation while all US politicians/candidates are promising that a much stronger Yuan will fix many problems. A much stronger Yuan will provide a major tailwind for oil prices. Even on this site it seems that the US dollar is treated as some sort of constant.

According to Stuart's mega projects report, we had nearly 6 mbpd in new production this year. Yet overall world production was largely flat. Depletion + demand growth? So how much of the planned 7 mpd in new production will also be hit by these factors?

I think oil price may go down substantially only if:

1. Demand contracts worldwide.
2. Supply increases.
3. OPEC allows the price to fall.
4. A lower price doesn't take a significant portion of high cost supply off the market.
5. Geopolitics remain relatively stable.

Even if all these factors somehow manage to pan out, how long could a price stay 'low' and what is 'low' in the current environment? $70 dollars? $ 50 dollars? 35 dollars? $20 dollars? Also, as noted above, OPEC has unprecidented price control at the moment so even if it becomes structural for prices to fall, how much will OPEC let it? One other thing to think about is where is this 7 mbpd coming from? Given the discovery rate, it can't possibly all be new reserves. The lion's share must be coming from exploiting existing reserves and if that's the case it will only further exacerbate the depletion rate.

Remember, even if the US goes into an economic downturn and reduces its oil consumption, you have the raging and subsidized markets in India and China to take up the slack. In any case, forecasters are still expecting US demand to increase next year which, if it materializes, won't do anything to help matters.

If the US hits an economic downturn, where will India and China get the money to buy their oil? And to whom will they sell all the products they make?

How many of those IOC production costs are dollar-denominated? In other words, if the dollar keeps going down, what costs of production occur in economies that try to keep their currencies weak, and what costs occur in the EU or Russia or other places whose currencies are strong? If the entire cost were based on some absolute value, then it ought to have gone from $40 to $70 in the last year or two.

A week or so back Leanan posted an article on TOD that implied IOCs could not produce oil profitably for less than $70 per bbl...(please correct me if my memory is faulty Leanan).

River, I seem to recall the post but I think it was referring to new deepwater oil. It certainly does not cost Saudi or anyone else anywhere near that amount to produce the oil they are currently drawing from their old fields. It probably cost less than $5.00 a barrel over the many years a well has been in place. But all the expense of exploration and drilling has already taken place. The cost for maintenance and delivery by pipeline to the port is probably pennies on the barrel.

I think the point of the discussion at that time was that if oil dropped below $70 a barrel it would not be economic to explore and drill in very deep water therefore there would be no more deepwater oil until prices rose.

Then again I am just guessing but deepwater oil is the only thing I can possibly think of that cost anywhere close to that amount to produce.

I really cannot picture a $70 floor for oil. If oil dropped to $50 I think you would still get almost as much oil as you are getting right now. There would be some shutdowns but only to hold the oil for higher prices later.

Ron Patterson

I see technical support at $75 for crude.

Good page to bookmark, has a few good numbers to keep an eye on during the day at top of screen- http://www.thelion.com/bin/forum.cgi?tf=wall_street_pit

Continuously updated throughout the day. Also will spot some good trading tips now and then, hehe. Some good traders posting in here.

"Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 10.5 million barrels last week, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year."

Holy crap.

Total commercial petroleum inventories are down 58.1 million barrels from the same week last year. 981.9 million barrels verses 1040.0 million barrels for the same week of 2006. That is a drop of 5.6%. That is not really a lot over a one year period but the trend is clear.

Ron Patterson

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending December 21, 2007


U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve) dropped by 3.3 million barrels compared to the previous week.
At 293.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the lower half of
the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories
increased by 0.7 million barrels last week, but are in the lower half of the
average range. Finished gasoline inventories fell last week while gasoline
blending components inventories increased during this same period. Distillate
fuel inventories decreased by 2.8 million barrels, and are near the lower limit
of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories
decreased by 1.8 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum
inventories decreased by 10.5 million barrels last week, and are in the middle
of the average range for this time of year.

This week's consensus from bloomberg:


Supplies dropped 1.63 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 21, according to the median estimate by analysts. Imports may have been hampered by delays because of fog on Dec. 19 at the Houston Ship Channel, which serves the largest U.S. petroleum port.

The Energy Department is scheduled to release its weekly report on inventories at 10:30 a.m. in Washington, a day later than usual because of the Christmas holiday.

`Further Drawdown'

``A further drawdown in stockpiles will reinforce the perception that the market is tight,'' said David Moore, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. ``The immediacy of the tensions in Iraq has brought back the risk premium and will remain for some time.''

TOTAL Drawdown of 10.5 MILLION Barrels!


3.3 Million barrels less Crude. (more than expected)

Gasoline up 0.7 Million barrels, demand steady at 9.3 MMBPD and up 0.3% over 2006. Imports 1MMBPD.

Distillates down 2.8 Million barrels

Propane DOWN 1.8 Million barrels (now 12.5% lower than 2006)

Total petro inventories - 51.2 Million barrels lower than 2006 (or 3% lower than this week in 2006)

But, wow, 10.5 Million barrels lower overall.

Just a perception, though. Somewhere there is an actual reality. If I could just find my glasses....

``A further drawdown in stockpiles will reinforce the perception that the market is tight,'' said David Moore, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. ``The immediacy of the tensions in Iraq has brought back the risk premium and will remain for some time.''

China warns against rate cuts:

Rate cuts will hammer dollar: Chinese official

"If the (U.S.) federal funds rate continues to fall, this will certainly have a harmful effect on the U.S. dollar exchange rate and the international currency system," Hu wrote.

Financial markets closely watch official Chinese comments on the dollar because Beijing keeps a large portion of its $1.4 trillion in reserves in U.S. Treasury securities and any change in China's investment strategy could affect exchange rates.

Rock, meet Hard Place.

Sooner or later they have to raise interest rates to encourage savings and defend the dollar, and take the economic consequences. If they don't, soaring oil prices and a declining dollar force the economic consequences without the savings necessary to work through them.

But even the news outlets state it... The Federal Reserve is "doing everything it can to avoid a recession in an election year." So basically, no matter who gets elected, 2009 we are going to pay dearly if Bernanke can limp us along.

How well can we limp given the injuries we've sustained? I don't have a good feel for it - can they really crutch things along another eleven months with the forces in play?

I thought things might get ugly by Christmas but we have three more bites at the apple, with 2007Q4, 2008Q1, and 2008Q2 numbers given all of the ARM resets during that time period. It seems unlikely that the central banks can steer a course through just that minefield and the Bhutto assassination shows there are, uhh, other forces at work as well.

That was the exact reason I stated "if" Bernanke can limp us along. I think "Rock, meet hard place" puts it in perspective.
I am actually more scared if he is successful propping up the economy than if he is not. Especially with growing external forces. How much money will be printed, how much inflation will we endure, how much debt will be pile on our future to stay afloat?

Who in their right mind would save in this environment? I did staples first and if I have more cash than I need in any given month its going straight into junk silver in my box at the bank.

Any "saving" type behavior is likely to be handshakes, commodities, and barter - you just watch what happens as those state governments total up how much less they're getting and how much they thought they had which is caught up in the great mortgage caper.

No one. Interest rates are below the rate of inflation. That coupled with cheap credit kills savings. Raising rates above the rate of inflation will kill cheap credit and make it worth people's while to keep their money rather than spend it. Of course, that will kill the economy. Oh, well. The economy is a dead man walking. Better to put it out of its misery in a manner of our own choosing than to watch it stagger off further into the desert.

Dealing with Peak Oil will require massive capital investments. Without savings (and with the PO-induced end of Globalization), there is nowhere for that capital to come from.

I am saving and I hope I am sane. I have manny ideas about good investments but speculation in the short term overwhelmes likely long term trends. If I were good at reading speculation and the market changes that dont depend on physical reality it would make sense to invest in stocks or strange papers.

What I mostly am saving for is a short tour thru USA since I need to learn more about our cultures leading country. I hope the SEK holds its value against the $.

Like all MSM reporting this article is not clear and incomplete.

(1) Is China saying that they are going to dismantle capital controls, let the Yuan float and consequently find a higher equilibrium against the dollar, if the US cuts rates ?

(2) Or are they saying: Europeans watch out, a US rate cut means a stronger Euro?

Not answered in that piece.

(1) is big news

(2) big deal - everyone knows that.

My guess is that this is a warning that if we keep on with the rate cuts, they'll start dumping their US treasury securities.

They could do that. That means they will have to sell them in exchange for dollars in the open market. Given their large position that could cause them to receive less money than is currently bid on these securities.

Then they would have to buy some other securities with those dollars, perhaps Euros. Again paying more than the current ask because of the size of the position.

That would still leave open the question of what to do with the additional $300 billion that they obtain in US trade surplus every year.

I suppose we must prepare to consume less going forward. Not a bad thing really for us minimalist TOD readers :-). And good for the earth too.

No doubt, they'd have to take a hit.

The China experts seem to be interpreting the various smoke signals as meaning that China is warning us that they won't be left holding the bag. They are willing to take a share of the pain, but not all of it. If they have to cut off their nose to spite their face, they'll do it.

ChemE: Your third line is a good one- their main problem- to paraphrase Frank Lopez- is "What to do with all the f--king cash!"

That's a problem our investment banks would love to have... now, there's a match made in heaven. Cash china cant spend joining up with insolvent banks... This shows how restricted china's options are; tired of bailing out the treasury, so they're bailing out our banks, instead.

JK: Not how I see it-IMO it has more to do with who you guys have representing your interests in negotiations with China. China wins, they win, most of the USA population takes the hit.

It's NEW debt that is their biggest weapon. I think the Chinese will:

1. Use their current stash of dollars to buy up US assets at firesale prices.

2. Curtail their purchase of new US debt. The Treasury had a decent-sized auction today, I think. A slowing US economy will drive the deficit up, increasing the "supply" of US govt debt just as the demand from China goes down.

3. Let the Yuan rise. They have to do this now to curb inflation domestically. This and the decline in the dollar will send the price of goods imported from China sharply higher. Offshoring our manufacturing to China has kept manufactured goods from inflating with everything else. This will drive inflation sharply higher in the US, making it harder for the Fed to deal with a slowing economy.

4. Possibly dump their dollars to drive the Yen up. This will kill the Yen carry trade and suck huge amounts of money out of US equities. I say "possibly" here, because the Chinese seem to have worked out a deal with Japan. The Yen has dropped recently vis-a-vis the dollar, and it is back in happy carry trade territory. The Chinese will only do this if the deal with Japan breaks down.

Yeah, but they're the ones in the hard place. Dumping dollars makes the rest of them worth less, makes their dollar investments worth less, too. What will they do with the money, anyway? Buy citi shares? Buy the euro? The yen? these regions will both tank more than the US, just like always.

Maybe they'll buy oil... wait, this boosts the price of oil, and increases the cost of their subsidies... Well, that's why hard places are so hard, none of the options look so good.

All of this chatter about when which commodity or currency will do this or that.

The loss has already occurred.

The damage has been done. While it is true that in a system this large there is some lessening of overall effects by a careful steering towards landing there isn't any combination of rate cuts, sales here, and holds there that will keep the whole thing together. What is happening right now is about positioning, just like the management positions when a public company goes bankrupt. Most of it is useless posturing - the power of those making plans and pronouncements depends on certain revenues and valuations of various things, things that are either worth less or in many cases worthless.

Couldn't agree more. G'span left the door open but it took about five years to realize the horse is gone. The problem with this sort of disaster is that, unlike a stock market crash which produces an immediate one time loss, this one will have poor saps paying mortgages on an inflated principal for several decades. Sure, over time inflation will make those principals relevant to the market, but meanwhile this is the gift that keeps on giving.

Of the three; equity, bond and real estate, the worst to crash is real estate. It's the largest and most crucial to the public. Scylla or Charybdis, deflation and debt repudiation or controlled, ha ha, inflation - or maybe a devil's brew of both? The unearned wealth effect of asset boom gives way to the unearned poverty effect of asset crash. As you say, the loss has already occurred; the question is in what form the loss can be made to appear.

That has the great virtue of being the simplest explanation...

Errol in Miami

Of course China would warn against rate cuts -- they are heavily invested in US currencies and rate cuts would severely hamper their revenue.

Despite what everyone thinks, China is just as invested in a high value dollar as we are. China can't well dump US currency without harming its own economy. If the US dollar goes into free fall, it will crimp exports to the US and have a severe impact on China's own financial institutions who are also wedded to the dollar.

A falling dollar also supports US industry at home and reduces dependence on foriegn goods as suppliers look to the US again for raw materials, labor, and products. A falling US dollar is a mixed bag. It results in sudden loss of US influence now but tends to have long term benefits overall.

I think it would be a big mistake to assume this was just an empty warning. The US issues empty warnings. The Chinese are more subtle than that. I would assume that an explicit statement from China means they have specific concrete steps they intend to take to protect themselves against a declining dollar.

The US economy has very little manufacturing base left. We are absolutely dependent on imports, and we are absolutely dependent on foreigners loaning us money so we can keep our imperial war machine clanking along.

The US and China (along with Europe, Russia, and the rest of the world) are in a long term struggle to secure dwindling natural resources. If it cost the Chinese a trillion or two to hurry us down the road to bankruptcy, that would be a bargain. A war would be immensely more expensive.

In a solvency crisis, the creditor always holds the stronger hand. The debtor may comfort himself with the belief that "They'll never foreclose! Think of all the money they would lose!" But it is a fatal mistake for the debtor to believe the creditor will keep pouring money down a rat hole indefinitely, especially when the debtor refuses to do what is necessary to remain solvent.

What exactly did you mean by foreclosure?

As far as creditors being stronger: All the banks who have lent out mountains of credit are struggling. The debtors partied like there was no tomorrow and are now on the lookout for the next fix.

I think you draw a good analogy using the mortgage crisis. The "debtors partied like there was no tomorrow", and the US has basically done the same thing. We have (had) a booming stock market and lots of flat screen TVs and cheap toys (albeit with lead paint) from China, and expensive little wars in the Middle East.

Now we're telling China we're going to inflate away our debts by trashing the dollar, at the same time that we're asking China to loan us more money. China warning us not to do that is perfectly reasonable. And the something less than $400 billion they hold in treasuries isn't so much that they're going to be willing to throw good money after bad.

In other words, borrowing money to fund our party is more important to us than a few hundred billion in treasuries is worth to the Chinese.

>>...at the same time that we're asking China to loan us more money..<<

Well every time one blinks, Paulson or someone is flying to Beijing requesting them to let the Yuan float, so that the trade deficit adjusts and they accumulate less dollars.

That is exactly the opposite of asking them to lend us more money.

China does tend to make empty threats from time to time to remind of us of its power and position. On the military side, I seem to remember a "turning Los Angeles into a lake of glass" threat some years back.

That said, I think China is using its creditor status the way it intended -- as a lever to influence US monitary policy. But don't mistake influence for primacy. China would be stupid to dump money and hurt the economy that is primarily responsible for its rapid growth in wealth and status.

If China is strong and growing, we don't need to worry so much as when China starts to falter. That's when the trouble really starts.

China's economy doesn't exist from its own side. If their largest customer, the United States, founders, they tumble right behind us a quarter or two later.

If there is no way out, which there isn't, I could see us being spanked on a strategic issue by a sudden sale of dollars but they don't like what is coming any more than we do. We are interdependent in ways that will only become clear as it comes apart, much like the skeleton becomes clear as the flesh of a corpse rots.

Why are consumers important for an economy?

The important part must surely be to have paying customers that gives you something valuble for your service or product. If they only can consume and not produce something of value they become a very complicated incinerator for your product.

If US consumers can not pay with something valuble the chinese producers could cut the transportation and trade costs by local chinese consumption. The chinese seems to have figured out how to produce valuble stuff and thus it could work out ok for them to work with producing the goods they need.

But this is of course naive thoughts, I have verly little education in economics.

Also remember that the U.S. consumers buy a substantial portion of the cheap Chinese goods whose manufacture is driving the economic growth in China. Their economic miracle, if you want to call it that, would probably end in recession if China did reinvest. I believe it's a case of mutually assured destruction.

Incidentally, the Chinese make empty threats all the time. Just recently they refused entry of the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk to Hong Kong (I think), only to reverse themselves a few hours later.

I find it difficult to believe China will have trouble finding other nations willing to consume its goods.

If the USD is made to tank then, all fiat currencies being relative, wouldn't China simply reprice according to the purchasing power of its new consumer targets in Europe, India, and Asia?

No skin off their nose then?

The U.S. taking a tumble affects everything. That would be true even if the biblical scale fraud of SIVs wasn't spread everywhere, but they are.

We didn't just cut our own throats, we pretty well made a mess globally.

Two Chinese generals published their plan for asymmetrical warfare using economic weapons about five or six years ago. In this document they outlined how they could destroy the U.S. economy by dumping dollars.

If you wanted to make sure that you got enough oil for your country, you might consider wrecking the largest oil user's economy.

At some point, the Chinese will realize that the U.S. is into severe diminishing returns on its cheeseburger economy and that the best strategy is to pull the plug on its bloated ass and let it die.

Goodbye service economy, hello starvation.

Thanks Cherenkov,

re: "Two Chinese generals published..."

Do you have a reference for this handy?

Hello, nh3,

When I tried to follow this link, I got a page with a bunch of questions marks on it and nothing else. Was this a joke?

New show on the Food Network focuses on creating dishes using ingredients fresh from your own garden.

Jamie Oliver returns to Food Network with his new series Jamie at Home. Jamie's back doing what he does best - cooking at home with simple, accessible ingredients, including fruits and vegetables fresh from his backyard garden. In each episode, Jamie focuses on a specific ingredient and shows viewers several completely different recipes.


First episode is January 6th.

Look for good recipes featuring potatoes, rutabagas, chard.

I tried to pimp you guy's but to no avail on this one:


WORLD AIDS DAY: Catholics Snub Vatican's Condom Ban

The poll asked Catholics living in Ghana, Ireland, Mexico, the Philippines and the United States if "using condoms is pro-life because it helps save lives by preventing the spread of AIDS." It found an overwhelmingly positive response, with agreement expressed by 90 percent of Catholics in Mexico, 86 percent in Ireland, 79 percent in the United States, 77 percent in the Philippines and 59 percent in Ghana.


Oscillator, I enjoy quoting G Patrick Moynihan on the Pope and birth control:

"You no playa da game, you no maka da rules!"

Errol in Miami

ah, the doom dampens, the gloom darkens and the tomb is dug ever deeper.

before your knickers twist into a strangling knot let me say that todays events mean nothing. world leaders, especially south asian ones, come and go. peaceably or otherwise. a new stooge will be quickly found.

do you remember former paki prem zia ul-haq? his unpleasant end came about in a convenient plane crash accompanied by the u.s ambassador and a u.s general. hmmm....

if that event occurred today i suspect all of you would rush to your fortified underground bunkers to check the canned goods, water supply and to apply new filters on the air circulation systems.

carry on.

If that event occurred today, it would probably result in political instability, maybe even a military dictator taking over the country, increasing unrest, and the possibility of civil war and the devolution of Pakistan into a failed state with nuclear weapons.

Whew! I'm sure glad Zia's death didn't mean anything and didn't lead to any of that, and that today Pakistan is the model of a peaceful, stable, prosperous democracy!

Air filter...right
change air filter

I didn't do anything about staples but I did discover a pawn shop not up on silver values - 1oz liberties for $12? 1/2oz coins for $6? I wish they had more and I had the cash to do something about it :-)

Keep in mind most coins are 90% silver. ....

Of course in a local economy where everyone's broke, prices can be quite low for a lot of things. That's why I can pick up good books for 10 cents apiece, jeans for 50 cents, etc.

And the "People's Money" of US gold/silver/copper coins is not well established yet, at what I think will be 100X face so a silver dime will be worth 10 paper dollars, etc.

That's surprising; pawnshop owners are usually pretty savvy. But thanks for the tip; I'll check out a few pawnshops here.

Errol in Miami

We entered the realm of 100 dollar oil almost two months ago. The actual print, when it comes, will be useful for players of parlour games, and newspaper editors. But, once we started to establish the range between 87.00 and 92.00, it meant that a 10% move would take us through.

100.00 dollar oil is therefore a psychological level. This can seem an odd concept to those who are currently experiencing the actual, psychological effects, of "100.00 dollar oil." Imagine therefore oil sitting at 95.00 dollars for the next 5 years.

It's also very amusing to consider how the culture greeted 75.00 dollar oil, 50.00 dollar oil, and 25.00 dollar oil. And the pullbacks from those levels. Naturally, each of these was an "astonishing and unprecedented level" when initially attained. And likewise, each 20-30% pullback from those levels, was of course, "the end of the bull market in oil." (This was in fact said not once in some cases but several time from each of these levels.)

The biggest story in Oil remains, therefore, that an entire generation of petroleum engineers, oil market pundits, oil company CEO's, oil consultants, and other financial market veterans either don't care or have never bothered to fully get their head around oil. These are often topped by, however, many others who think they know, but do not. What emerges is a calcified class of persons who think they know Oil best, but in fact know it least. Until you see a paradigm shift among this group, or see this group replaced, enormous investment gains in the complex will still be there for the taking. It's like bags of money, in the middle of the street.

When Oil is trading above 150.00, it will seem awfully quaint that many huddled around a campfire to watch it print 100.00.

Happy New Year to all,


Gregor, you are soooo right! CERA, the USGS, and all the other cheerleaders have been pulling out every stop to jawbone the price of oil lower. If an investor has a medium-to-long timeframe, this situation is indeed like bags of money in the middle of the street!

Errol in Miami


An interesting analysis by Matt Simmons from Feb 2006 where he reviews the oil price chart over a 20 year period and points out how clueless the pundits really are.

Whoever is in touch with Oilmanbob. Please send him my warmest regards and tell him that I wish him a speedy recovery and return to TOD. We miss you and your perspective Bob.

Oh no, what's wrong with bob? Best wishes to him and his family.

Get well soon, Oilmanbob

Not long ago, Stuart had a post on food inflation:


In the comment thread, many folks challenged the official government data that Stuart relied on.

Now I just noticed this:


which argues that the government indeed underestimates inflation (and has good motivation to do so since mandated government expenses are tied to CPI). I am not well versed in this topic, so would be interested if others had perspectives they could offer.

CPI is understated , causing GDP to be overstated.
Real interest rates are negative which is one reason commodities have been doing so well.
Gold is up 30% ytd 2007. People don't move into gold which pays no interest if there are financial vehicles available that have a positive income stream. Real interest rate minus real inflation rate equals real income stream.
(The hard part is getting real)

Gunga: Yes. IMO, the coming Depression will not exhibit negative GDP stats at any point. Therefore, it won't even be termed a recession. If you look at the GDP stats, for the 3rd quarter, the USA economy was "superheated". The guv stats are starting to look increasingly absurd.

Indeed, the Q3 GDP figure was so absurd that even MSM commentators have started to question the accuracy of that metric...

Errol in Miami

CPI is kept low otherwise the Gov. would have to pay nearly everyone who gets a check from the Gov. a LOT MORE money.

Like your elder relatives who get soc sec. Veterans etc.

You gonna believe the goverment stats or your lying eyes?

Leanan, regarding the Exxon post, I wonder how long the company thinks it can keep selling its Sakhalin-I natural gas to the Chinese when Russia wants it domestically. As long as Gazprom is earning enormous profits from its exports to Europe, Exxon will be under pressure. But Exxon seems to think it can hold out.

Steve LeVine
The Oil and the Glory

re Saros
He saved the British economy be forcing us out of the ERM. Our polititians would have tested it to destruction(of the economy)We owe him a lot.

OK, nothing so pretty to look at, but the Drupal install at http://strandedwind.org went live a little while ago. I've managed one of these a little bit previously and I think you're safe to sign up if you're so inclined - CraterCounter and I will make a concerted effort to not zap the user table as we massage this into something presentable.

they have this article on cnn.com :

" i don't think too many people are talking about $150 oil, unless they're also stocking up on canned goods and ammunition", said jeff tjornehoj