DrumBeat: July 1, 2008

Peak Oil: IEA Inches Toward the Pessimists’ Camp

But the juiciest nugget? The conservative IEA appears to be inching ever-closer to the “peak-oil” crowd. Supply simply can’t keep pace with demand — everybody with an oil well has the taps open, but there’s not much left in the keg. Oil fields are aging quicker than free-agent pitchers, and the global oil industry has to run faster just to stay in place.

....Politicians can pick their bogeyman—be it speculators, OPEC, or Democrats. But more and more it seems like the oil connundrum boils down to an age-old truth: Finite supplies can’t meet infinite demands.

Auto sales plunge

Buyers flee SUVs and pickups but can't find the cars they want, resulting in steep declines at most automakers.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- June auto sales plunged, according to reports from the nation's major automakers, as Americans shunned pickups and SUVs in the face of record gas prices.

General Motors reported that its U.S. sales fell 18% in June versus a year ago. Sales of GM's light trucks, which includes pickups, SUVs and so-called crossovers, tumbled 16%. GM's car sales dropped 21% in the month.

Pemex says crude output may plummet without reform

MADRID (Reuters) - Crude production in Mexico could fall dramatically by 2015 if a reform bill before Congress is not passed, the head of state oil company Pemex said on Tuesday.

"From today's production of around 2.9 million barrels a day (bpd), Pemex's production levels could fall by around 1.2 million bpd by 2015 without this reform," Jesus Reyes Heroles told journalists in Madrid.

The Long Wait For More Oil

This is not necessarily a case for peak oil. There is a glut in the market of heavy, sour crude, the kind that is high on sulfur and difficult to refine; the problem is that refining capacity is under pressure and lacks the free capacity to handle such oil. New refinery projects, such as the planned 400,000 barrel-per-day refinery planned by Total in Saudi Arabia, could help ease the strain.

But many will not come on-stream for another five years, and higher costs and delays are already pushing back many projects. The IEA predicted on Tuesday that at least 1 million barrels per day of refining capacity had already been pushed back to 2013, from 2012, piling on the medium-term pressure.

Gazprom: endless price growth strategy

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom, the world's biggest gas company, believes that there will be no alternative to hydrocarbon-based fuel in the foreseeable future and therefore gas prices will continue to soar.

U.S. turns against curbs on oil drilling - Exxon

MADRID (Reuters) - The U.S. public mood is moving toward allowing drilling in areas which are currently off limits to the oil majors due to environmental concerns, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil said on Tuesday.

Iran to Increase Investment in Oil Refineries as Costs Advance

(Bloomberg) -- Iran, OPEC's second-largest oil producer, will increase investment in modernizing and upgrading refineries as costs rise and the dollar declines.

The country plans to spend as much as 20 billion euros ($32 billion) on the refining industry in the seven years through 2012, Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Nematzadeh said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. In April, he estimated expenditure of 18 billion euros.

Retail gasoline demand down on $4 pricetag

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. retail gasoline demand remained in a slump as high prices at the pump trimmed demand for the fuel, MasterCard Advisors said Tuesday.

"The regional year-over-year view shows all regions but the Midwest are consuming less gasoline when compared to a similar week in 2007," said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis at MasterCard Advisors.

Manufacturers struggle to overcome rising prices

NEW YORK - Each week, Ira Cooper opens a letter from another supplier with the same message as the last: We're raising our prices, effective immediately. We can't tell you how long the new prices will last.

"We used to get quotes good for six months," said Cooper, president of QED Inc., a lighting company based in Lexington, Ky. "Now you're lucky if you can get a quote good for 15 days."

Manufacturers of everything from wallpaper to cereal are feeling the same hit. The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its index of prices manufacturers pay for raw materials hit 91.5 in June, up from 87 in May and the highest reading since 1979.

Omaha storm caused $10 million in utility damage

OMAHA, Neb. - Omaha Public Power District officials estimated that it will cost about $10 million to repair all the damage to the power system caused by last Friday's strong winds.

OPEC couldn't replace Iran oil output: OPEC chief

MADRID (Reuters) - OPEC will not be able to replace some 4 million barrels per day in lost Iranian output if Tehran carries out its threat to stop oil exports if attacked, OPEC President Chakib Khelil said on Tuesday.

"It's obvious that if you curtail 4 million bpd from the market, you are going to have a big problem," he said. "I don't see who can replace that, including OPEC," Khelil told a news conference in Madrid.

Kuwait gearing up for possible oil route closure by Iran

KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait is drawing up a contingency plan to maintain the flow of oil exports in case Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil route in the Gulf, a Kuwait official was quoted as saying Tuesday.

"There are precautionary plans to export Kuwaiti crude in cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, but those plans are not finalized yet," Saad al-Shuwaib, head of the state oil firm Kuwait Petroleum Corp was quoted as saying by KUNA news agency.

Oil could hit $200 if Gulf witnesses dramatic events

KUWAIT CITY (Agencies): Oil prices will certainly sky-rocket to the unprecedented level of $200 per barrel in case the Gulf region witnessed dramatic developments, according to officials and experts. These executives and specialists, in exclusive interviews with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), confirmed that the prices of the vital energy resource have been soaring unchecked largely due to the war of words and recurring sabre rattling pitting Iran against Israel over Tehran’s nuclear issue. Any military step by either side against the other will certainly plunge the whole region into a deep crisis and create an international energy crisis, they affirm. Israeli officials have repeatedly hinted at prospects of launching a military strike on Iran to wipe out the country’s nuclear sites and hinder the Iranians’ efforts, as the Israelis say, to manufacture nuclear arms that will eventually pose a serious threat to Israel’s very existence.

Australian Energy R&D Spending Nears $1B a Year

In 2004-05, $987.57 million was spent on energy R&D. When the categories of 'prevention and treatment of pollution' associated with energy is included, the total increases a further $87.6 million to be more than $1,075 million.

In oil-rich Iraq, lines to buy gasoline are long

BAGHDAD — Frustrated Iraqis trying to tank up their cars faced miles-long gas lines today — a stark reminder that a country with one of the world's largest oil reserves still has major challenges delivering fuel to its people.

Thailand: LPG shortage stems from higher demand by personal vehicles

BANGKOK (TNA) – Thailand's supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is in shortage at present mainly because greater numbers of personal vehicles have been converted to use the alternative fuel, according to the Energy Ministry.

The ministry's officials had been assigned to check gas stocks of retail outlets to see whether they were hoarding the gas as many had charged.

However, the ministry believed the LPG shortage stemmed mainly from the much higher demand for the gas by personal cars.

Argentina's Salta power plant resumes Chile supply

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile said on Monday that Argentine power plant Salta reestablished service to its northern grid after supplies were diverted on Thursday to satisfy shortages in Argentina following a plant failure.

Brazil oilmen stage 24-hour strike, output not hurt

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Oil workers at Brazil's state oil company Petrobras started a 24-hour warning strike on Tuesday that is not designed to affect output but to make the company discuss safety and profit-sharing with workers.

Australia: Trading scheme to combat gas crisis

WA companies will soon be able to trade scarce gas supplies with each other as they battle to cope with the State's energy crisis.

Energy crisis: Three strikes and we are out

A scientific and political consensus now exists on the threat posed to our civilisation by climate change. The problem is generating the political will to take the steps necessary to radically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels.

The present oil shock provides the answer to that problem — if our leaders have the courage to use it.

Richard Heinberg's MuseLetter: Coal in China

China is the world's foremost coal producer and consumer, surpassing the United States by a factor of two on both scores and accounting for 40 percent of total world production. Moreover, its coal consumption has been rising rapidly, at a rate of up to ten percent per year (which translates to a doubling of demand every 7 years). While China is a significant producer of oil and natural gas, coal dominates the nation's fossil-fuel reserve base. About 70 percent of China's total energy is derived from coal, and about 80 percent of its electricity. The country has recently become the world's foremost greenhouse gas emitter due to its growing, coal-fed energy appetite.

Europe's Nuclear Energy Woes

Global interest in nuclear energy (over 200 projects currently are pending) has tripled the construction costs for plants over the last five years, according to figures from Lehman Brothers. That’s come just as many workers in Europe’s nuclear industry are thinking about retiring (consultancy Capgemini reckons the average age of employees now is around 45 years old) and energy companies are finding it hard to fill this knowledge-gap with graduates.

All told, Europe (and the U.S, for that matter) could have trouble fulfilling the expectations of this so-called ‘nuclear renaissance.’

Speculation not to blame for oil - report

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- An influential oil-policy group released a report Tuesday arguing that the increase in oil-market speculation is not driving up crude prices. But the study far from ends the debate.

With oil at $140 a barrel, can you still love Julian Simon?

Remember Julian Simon, the guy who argued that resource prices would fall, fall, fall in real terms? I loved spending time with him and to this day he remains an underrated economist. (By the way, the very first piece I ever wrote was a guide to using Julian Simon for high school debaters.) But can we still advocate his major thesis?

High Gas Prices Threaten to Drain Small Towns' Populations

Don Campbell's daily commute to Kansas City - about 100 miles each way - costs him roughly $866 a month at $3.90 per gallon. But he's a union iron worker and says he can make the math work.

Most of his neighbors can't. For them and thousands of other small-town residents across the country who drive long distances to jobs that pay little more than minimum wage, the high cost of gas is making that daily commute cost-prohibitive.

So much so that economists predict that over the next few years, the country could see a migration that would greatly reduce the population of Small Town America - resulting in a painful shift away from lifestyle, family roots, traditions and school ties.

A Discussion with Matt Simmons (video)

Amidst skyrocketing oil prices, considerable financial activity in the oil market, and increased gas prices, producing and consuming nations alike are concerned about efficiency and supply. World Energy recently spent an afternoon with Matthew Simmons, president of the energy investment firm Simmons & Company International and author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, to hear his perspective on oil supplies, pump prices, distributed generation and a return to post–World War II practices.

Does Iran have Bush over a barrel?

WASHINGTON - If United States President George W Bush wants to boost Republican chances of holding on to the White House and keeping Democratic gains in Congress to a minimum in the November elections, he might consider taking an attack on Iran before the end of his administration "off the table".

Of course, that's probably the last thing Bush - and his particularly belligerent vice president, Dick Cheney - will do.

Deflationary Hurricane To Hit U.S.

Peak oil, in conjunction with a crack-up inflationary boom in China, is masking deflation in the U.S. and pending deflation in the U.K. Those focused on rising energy and food prices are missing the boat.

We Can Lower Oil Prices Now

Although most experts agree that financial speculation was not responsible for the surge in the global prices of food and energy, many people remain puzzled about the source of these remarkable price rises. Economics offers a simple supply-and-demand explanation and reason for optimism about the future of commodity prices. In the case of oil, economics also suggests how policy changes today that affect the future could quickly lower the current price of oil.

Strapped to a barrel

Let us make two assumptions. There’s enough oil in the world for now. And oil supply won’t respond to a rising price, not even a stratospheric one. Indeed be ready for perverse responses (a DECLINE in oil supply?).

The first of these assumptions is blasphemous, at least in some eyes. Yet there is forty years of global oil reserves at current pumping speeds, and this has been so for forty years.

2008: The Return of Chicken Little

Predicting mass bankruptcy, hyperinflation and resource shortages, Orlov recommends stockpiling items that can be bartered on the black market, such as razors, condoms and liquor, strengthening local communities and learning how to grow your own food. “For most people in the U.S., rich or poor, life without money is unthinkable,” he notes. “They may want to give this problem some thought, ahead of time.”

Notes on the new culture of the end

Much has been said about the religious fervor of peak oil proponents, and World Made By Hand’s righteousness does beg parallels with its counterpart in Christian eschatology, the Left Behind series of Rapture potboilers. But peak oilers have physics on their side, and their queasy conviction—the I-told-you-so quality—is part of what has always made such speculation, secular and otherwise, so compelling. After all, even an eco-apocalypse is a story of judgment—the sinners suffer; the faithful are tested. And in the end, both are cast out of the ruined cities to wander in the wilderness.

In food crisis, Asians look to agriculture

The global food crisis means that countries across Asia are making agriculture a higher priority and taking steps to grow more crops within their own borders.

"People suddenly care about agriculture," says Neil McCulloch, director for economics programs at the Asia Foundation office in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. "It takes a crisis to make everyone wake up and realize agriculture has been neglected."

On America's New Energy Future

The World Health Organization estimates that 38.8 million Americans are now "obese" - i.e., 30 pounds or more overweight. That factors out to 583,000 tons of body fat. Since a kilogram of human fat contains 7,200 kilocalories of energy and a barrel of oil generates 1,410,579 kilocalories, Americans are hauling around (at minimum) the fat-equivalent of 2.92 million barrels of oil on their bodies.

If the concept of "flab gas" leaves you flabbergasted, prepare for a shock. Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital reportedly has signed a deal to supply Norwegian entrepreneur Lauri Venoy with 3,000 gallons-per-week of liposuction leftovers harvested by its clinics. This bio-fat could produce 2,600 gallons of biodiesel, sufficient to fuel a Hummer for a year.

World oil supplies will be tight until 2013: IEA

LONDON — World oil supply will rise more slowly than expected by 2013, leaving little spare capacity on the market despite weaker demand growth, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

In its Medium-Term Oil Market Report, the energy adviser to 27 industrialized countries said global supply capacity will reach 95.33 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2012, 2.7 million bpd less than its previous forecast a year ago.

The outlook comes as supply concerns and robust demand in Asia and the Middle East have helped drive crude oil prices to record highs above $140 (U.S.) a barrel, adding a strain to the world economy.

Oil refining capacity expected to tighten

LONDON — The global oil market will see about 40 per cent less additional refining capacity in 2012 than expected as a results of project delays due to increasing costs, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

“Increasing cost pressures have added 50 per cent to investment expenditures over the past two years,” the IEA, the energy adviser to the world's most industrialized countries, said in its Medium-Term Oil Market Report for 2008-2013.

Energy Projections vs. Energy Realities

It's a big government report, with charts and graphs. If you've ignored every other technical paper from an agency with a long name, it sure looks like you can cheerfully deep-six the one released last week, since it contains phrases like "World marketed energy consumption is projected to increase by 57 percent from 2004 to 2030. Total energy demand in the non-OECD countries increases by 95 percent, compared with an increase of 24 percent in the OECD countries."

More oil will not bring price down-Saudi king

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Oil prices would not ease even if production were raised because speculation and taxes are behind the soaring market, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah was quoted as saying in a Kuwaiti newspaper on Tuesday.

"People who think that oil prices will go down once production is raised are wrong because there are indications the prices will remain high," the Arab Times quoted the ruler of the world's largest oil exporter as saying.

Oil Exporters Need Future Demand Assurance, OPEC Says

(Bloomberg) -- Oil producers face ``big uncertainties'' concerning future expectations of demand, potentially affecting some $500 billion worth of investment, OPEC's president said.

``We need to be assured of what to expect for future demand,'' Chakib Khelil, president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said today at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid. ``There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to decision-making about investing in upstream and downstream.''

Arctic Holds 100 Billion Bbl Oil In Unexplored Fields-US Government Expert

MADRID (AFP)--The Arctic holds 100 billion barrels of oil in unexplored fields, a government geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey said Monday at an international oil industry gathering in Spain.

"The Arctic is almost completely unexplored," said Donald Gautier at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid. "There are 100 billion barrels of oil to be found in the Arctic."

Are big bets by speculators driving up oil? Experts disagree

Speculation about whether speculators are to blame for the superspike in oil prices is in overdrive.

Now that it costs $100 to fill up big SUVs, an Agatha Christie-esque whodunnit featuring finger-pointing lawmakers and suspected speculators is gripping this oil-obsessed nation in search of someone to blame.

World oil reserves and future production

“By 2010, the production of the fuel that has driven the world’s economy will start to rapidly decline. This will conflict with the steadily increasing demand for oil. The collision of these two trends will lead to shortages and increased prices, providing a strong incentive to shift to alternative fuel resources…Due to unequal distribution through the world of oil and gas supply and consumption, [the upcoming] transition will result in significant shifts in global power and wealth.”

Oil creating ‘overnight millionaires’ in N.D.

The drilling frenzy has led companies to search for oil using horizontal drilling beneath Parshall, a town of about 980 in Mountrail County, and under Lake Sakakawea, 180-mile-long reservoir on the Missouri River.

"I have heard, anecdotally, that there is a millionaire a day being created in North Dakota," said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council.

Promise of Biofuel Clouded by Weather Risks

The record storms and floods that swept through the Midwest last month struck at the heart of America’s corn region, drowning fields and dashing hopes of a bumper crop.

They also brought into sharp relief a new economic hazard. As America grows more reliant on corn for its fuel supply, it is becoming vulnerable to the many hazards that can damage crops, ranging from droughts to plagues to storms.

Most state workers in Utah shifting to 4-day week

Utah this summer will become what experts say is the first state to institute a mandatory four-day work week for most state employees, joining local governments across the nation that are altering schedules to save money, energy and resources.

India in solar energy push as climate plan launched

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India on Monday released a national plan to tackle climate change with a focus on renewable energy, but stuck by its refusal to specify targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, the country will gradually move towards renewable sources of energy and focus on solar energy.

Experts urge states to invest in CO2 carbon capture and storage

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Capturing and storing carbon emissions from power generation holds the key to managing climate change amid rising use of polluting oil, gas and coal, an international CO2 conference heard in The Hague on Monday.

Fund aims to help small Japanese firms cut emissions

TOKYO (AFP) - A new fund aims to help small Japanese companies gain access to technologies to reduce emissions of gases blamed for global warming, its supporters said Monday.

The fund, which will be set up in July, seeks to facilitate the transfer of low-carbon technologies from big Japanese firms to smaller companies which normally cannot afford them.

Fish Fade Away, Crabs Take Over

Global warming has caused dramatic shifts in some aquatic communities in which fish populations die off and lobsters, crabs and squid move in.

The finding comes from a new analysis of 50 years worth of fish-trawling data collected in Narragansett Bay and adjacent Rhode Island Sound but may apply elsewhere, researchers said.

UN chief urges rich nations to lead on Africa, climate

TOKYO (AFP) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed Tuesday to rich nations not to backtrack on assistance to Africa and action against climate change at next week's Group of Eight summit.

Leaks of the draft statement for the July 7-9 summit in Japan suggest that rich nations will water down commitments to help Africa and offer little new on cutting greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change.

Scientists say ailing penguins signal sea problems

WASHINGTON - The dwindling march of the penguins is signaling that the world's oceans are in trouble, scientists now say. Penguins may be the tuxedo-clad version of a canary in the coal mine, with generally ailing populations from a combination of global warming, ocean oil pollution, depleted fisheries, and tourism and development, according to a new scientific review paper.

Pentagon Official Warns of Israeli Attack on Iran
U.S. Offical Sees Two 'Red Lines' That Could Prompt Strike
WASHINGTON, June 30, 2008

Senior Pentagon officials are concerned that Israel could carry out an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities before the end of the year, an action that would have enormous security and economic repercussions for the United States and the rest of the world.

A senior defense official told ABC News there is an "increasing likelihood" that Israel will carry out such an attack, a move that likely would prompt Iranian retaliation against, not just Israel, but against the United States as well. The official identified two "red lines" that could trigger an Israeli offensive. The first is tied to when Iran's Natanz nuclear facility produces enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon. According to the latest U.S. and Israeli intelligence assessments, that is likely to happen sometime in 2009, and could happen by the end of this year.

Yeah, the US Special Forces are there in Iran just playing Tiddly Winks and the US has nothing to do with it.

Plausible deniability.

I prefer to call it treason.


It's interesting that we are getting so many reports of resistance by key officers in the Pentagon to a US attack on Iran, and now we have a leak from the Pentagon warning of an attack on Iran by Israel. Makes one wonder if the Cheney led Neocon faction has given up on getting Bush to authorize a US attack on Iran, because of massive resistance from the Pentagon. I have frequently cited retired three star General Greg Newbold's essay in Time Magazine, from April, 2006, on why the invasion of Iraq was a mistake (he resigned in protest over the invasion). Following is a key excerpt (emphasis added):


With the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important.

Unfortunately, an Israeli attack on Iran is probably even more inflammatory than a US attack on Iran. In any case, I wonder how much of this is related to getting McCain elected in November, because Obama is a mortal threat to the Neocon's plans to stay in Iraa for a 100 years plus. A few days ago, the former head of the Mossad basically said that if Obama is elected, that event in and of itself could trigger an Israeli attack. In other words, a vote for Obama is a vote for World War Three.

Friedman thinks this won't matter come November.

Just a few months ago, the consensus view was that Barack Obama would need to choose a hard-core national-security type as his vice presidential running mate to compensate for his lack of foreign policy experience and that John McCain would need a running mate who was young and sprightly to compensate for his age. Come August, though, I predict both men will be looking for a financial wizard as their running mates to help them steer America out of what could become a serious economic tailspin.

All the more reason to start another war that will help hide the underlying disaster.


Just finished reading "Reinventing Collapse" (by D. Orlov).

To wit; "It is still quite possible that the USA will choose to engage in some futile new conflict, for instance with Iran. Such a move would be in keeping with the political dictum 'If you can't solve a problem, enlarge it,' It would also provide political cover for a variety of domestic measures......."(p. 103)

They are starting to hit the panic button pretty hard there in W.D.C. I guess it's the prospect of all those layoffs soon to come as more companies report bad results.

The only thing Friedman should be doing now is issuing
a handwritten note saying, "I'm sorry, sorry, sorry, for my cheerleading the US into the Invasion of Iraq."

He has no creds left.

"The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas... And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps."
-- Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree

That was said in relation to Kosovo; a decade ago.

The entire New York Times enterprise has reduced itself to toilet paper. It makes me physically ill to read anything from them -- and our local paper (often castigated for being "too liberal") runs NYT columns-- which I no longer read.

This is beyond politics -- the blinders are off a naked grab for empire. Congress is bent on continuing business as usual, defined as USA the sole world superpower.

History has not been kind to empires. I weep for what might have been.

Too bad, no time for self-pity.

Just to bash the NYT a little more.

In trying to read the tea leaves on Iran, it is useful to look for articles by Michael Gordon in the NYT. He has taken Judith Miller's place for Cheney on the issue of Iran.

Gordies doing a hecka of a job lately. He has been very active.




I weep for what might have been.

Cry me a river! ;-) The whole American experiment went off track long before you and I were born. We are a shadow of the potential we once had. Indeed, by the time we decided that we would give our "gift" of exceptionalism to the world, we were already generations removed from anything that made us unique.

We were off track before we even got started. The original contradictions (slavery and the treatment of the Indians) were quickly compounded by a war of agression against Mexico. Soon after extending the empire to the West coast, we fell to fighting among ourselves (the Civil War), which was followed all too soon by a war of agression against Spain, the annexation of Hawaii, and the gunboat capitalism documented by Smedley Butler.

The US faced a choice from the get-go: to extend the idealism of the original Republic to all people of all races, or to become an empire. For a while, the issue was in doubt, but the issue was settled long ago, by the dawn of the 20th century at the latest.

Agreed. Though I'd probably push the date to the dawn of the 19th century, but I'd have to push the proviso that we could have recaptured it perhaps as late as the lecture tours of Mr. Emerson.

Even from the start, there was a strong "banker" contingent that pushed for the global economic power, led by Alexander Hamilton. Is appointment as Secretary of the Treasury under Washington was probably the start of the fall.

Don't overlook Thomas Jefferson. Master of deceit. Claimed he was interested in family farms and local democracy -- in real life, a slave-holding believer in a global American Empire. (See Gary Wills on this point.)

The last chance we had to do more good than harm was in 1945. Eleanor Roosevelt's Human Rights Declaration began the discussion of trans-national standards of liberty. The Bretton Woods system we strongarmed the world into led to the best quarter century that poor people have known. The IMF and World Bank did some good things before the Reagan movement transformed them. Our occupations of Germany and Japan, and especially letting them retain control over their own capital, was a rebuke to the idea of liebensraum and eat or be eaten militarism - but now the US itself has destroyed international law in that realm. If only we had followed through with the 1946 Baruch Plan and given up our nuclear weapons. But the odds against successful UN control of nukes were fantastic.

Mostly, the evils of America's post-war vision were based on the belief that all-out, unimpeded growth would solve the grievances of poverty. Was it sincere? Instead the population explosion and attendant pollution and energy crises have left the US with no positive vision for the world besides neo-Victorian hypocrisy.

Actually, it was Carter that started the transformation of the IMF and World Bank, with Robert McNamera the tool:

Starting in the United States during the Carter administration, neoliberalism expanded its influence through the Reagan administration and, in the United Kingdom, the Thatcher administration, to become an international ideology....

What Reagan (and Carter before him) did was dramatically change the nature of state intervention, such that it benefited even more the upper classes and the economic groups (such as military-related corporations) that financed his electoral campaigns.

Also see Profit Over People by Chomsky.

You history guys all need to read The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein.

Got it. It's in the queue. I've read lots of excerpts. Why do we as "history guys" need to read it?

Somehow, it doesn't surprise me much that you have it in queue...it has a nice account of the shameful history of the US overthrowing governments that didn't follow the economic party line. Perhaps "need" was a bit too emphatic; just a strong recommendation. It takes a lot for a book to get my jaded attention, these days.

George Carlin: Our nation was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free. So they killed a lot of white English people, in order to continue owning their black African people, so they could kill the rest of the red Indian people, in order to move west and steal the rest of the land from the brown Mexican people, giving us a place to take off and drop our atomic bombs on the yellow Japanese people. You know what the motto for this country oughtta be? "YOU GIVE US A COLOR, WE'LL WIPE IT OUT.

Thank you George, for a true insight! Rest in peace.

True enough. I didn't say when things went astray. Interestingly enough, even though the truth has been hidden in plain sight since the beginning of the Republic, it is only recently that it has started to be easily visible, even to the true believers.

When I try to get past the problem of the policies of particular eras, I encounter the strange sensation that there was something wrong with the American definition of liberty from the very start, but it's hard to define the problem.

But one clue is the belief of early Southern elites that true liberty required involvement in politics, which required slaves to perform all drudgery. This was a ripoff of the story of Athens. But what if there's something to it? What if only the existence of slaves or energy slaves makes it possible for citizens to govern themselves - the Greek root of the word "autonomy"? Don't we think of autonomy as liberty?

I think you're close as Athens, Spatra and Rome were all modeled. Plato's Republic was and is very influencal. You also need to look at Hume, Locke, and Hobbes, and at those that influenced them (Trace those footnotes). Baylin's The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution and Wood's Radicalsim of the American Revolution are very revealing, as are their footnotes/sources.

As I mention elsewhere in this thread, one needs time to learn what must be learned. And learning from books or other sources of information pays very poorly. Thus the rationale for the hypothesis that only the well to do have the time to learn what must be learned in order to govern or vote for those who will govern properly. Amazingly enough, Protestantism is the root cause of this rationale's undoing, as its prime postulate is that everyone know what the Bible says so that s/he may be closer to God. That of course meant learning to read, the basis of learning and self government.

For Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish where? In government surveillance software? In smart bombs plowing into a wedding party? The technology that has flourished in the non-American world since the war started is cell phones, dominated by Europe and Asia, and weird little cars, which America doesn't make. The most successful American technologies: airliners, subsidized by Boeing's defense contracts and now headed down the tubes, and the realm of financial technology, the rigging of exotic derivatives. Linux has done well, but then that's a net loss for Microsoft and the US.

Our military-industrial complex doesn't want the world to be safe; otherwise there'd be no market for its products. But it's nice to see confirmation from the ass' mouth for what I've been saying (paraphrased from the old KGB slogan): America is the sword and shield of capitalism.

With all the resistance the administration pretty much needs an excuse to bomb Iran. They either need to get Iran to do something stupid, or they need Israel to start it so we can join up.

As an aside, did you ever think that your export land model might apply to Iraq, except in reverse? To wit, not only does the U.S. need Iraqi oil to keep our lifestyle, but they also would prefer that Iraqi internal consumption be minimized so that most of their production goes into exports. It would explain why nobody seems too concerned about the wrecked Iraqi economy. It would be a feature, not a bug.

That is an almost exact description of Naomi Kleine's
Shock Doctrine.

You only left out "the introduction of Friedman Capitalist Doctrine"
into the "vacuum".

When ever nation in question needs another "lift", the most developed oil
exporter in line gets the treatment.

See PNAC for details.

I was wondering how long until Hezbollah would be accused of training Shiite freedom fighters. This AP itemof Black Propaganda tries again to tie Iran to US casualties. It's being given Yahoo! mainpage space to play. It's just a matter of time before it gets similar treatment elsewhere.

Elsewhere, a poll shows a majority of American against "Free Trade." The Bush years and outsourcing have made their mark.

Hezbollah is the least corrupt, most competent ruler in the Middle East. A lot of ordinary Arabs recognize that, despite their anti-Shia prejudices. It should be training community organizers, construction teams, and yes, armies from Egypt to Iran itself, spending far less money in the effort than Mubarak in Egypt steals from US taxpayers. It is very telling that America considers its greatest enemies to be those who endeavor to act as a proper government for the poor, and its greatest allies to be those who act as jailers for the poor.

We have nothing to offer these people but sweatshops.

Yeah, perplexing, isn't it? Socialism for the Commonman was declared the enemy of the US Elite way before Lenin's Revolution. Corporate Socialism is The American System, however. What started with a turnpike and a canal led to Clay's and JQ Adam's program named above. Another work you'll find thought provoking is WA Williams's Empire as a Way of Life, along with the rest of his work about the US Empire.

Of course, if the U.S./Israel axis bombs Iran, Iran will bomb, rocket, and generally blast the hell out of Iraq's oil facilities. THEN what would Cheney do for more oil? Invade Mexico? Or, perhaps Chevez is right...

They are going to hit Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, possibly Qatar and Oman. Why attack Iraq? The Shiites in Iraq will just turn a few valves and shut off oil exports. No need to bring out the artillary.

Yes, absolutely. I read that the US is going to form a sort of union with Mexico and Canada with a new currency called the Amero. This will be a sort of cure for the dollar doldrums. Also Canada's and Mexico's energy will go to propping up the US Govt for as long as possible. They in Washington will need that energy to keep the military running. They are not playing games, I think, they are pretty serious about grabbing what they can to keep the game going for as long as possible.

Neither Canada nor Mexico are particularly interested in forming a joint currency with the US. It would mean that we would have to take on part of the US' 9 trillion dollar deficit and all the reckless borrowing and spending policies that has brought the US to the brink of financial collapse as it is. The Canadian government has been running huge budget surpluses for 7 years (last year over $28 billion at both the federal and provincial level) and using that paying down our debt. We currently have the 2nd lowest national debt burden in the OECD. That is the reason our currency has gone from .62 cents to the US dollar to parity over the past 5 years.

Canadians are increasingly worried about the fact that 85% of our trade is with the US and more effort is being made to unhinge the Canadian economy from the US and diversify it so that your coughs don't become our colds.

Perhaps some kind of coup d'etat or military action could occur that would force both countries to stay in bed with the US but that would costly.

"In other words, a vote for Obama is a vote for World War Three."

Unfortunately it looks like so is a vote for McCain.

Just to clarify, I think that is the implied message that the ex-Mossad guy is delivering. I plan to vote for Obama, although I feel sorry for the "winner."

Two outlooks for a post-peak world:

Matt Savinar: Looking for a place to live upwind from probable fallout zones.

Alan Drake: Making a go of it in New Orleans, while pushing for Electrification Of Transportation.

I hope Alan is right, but I am afraid that Matt might be right.

You feel "sorry" for Obama if he wins?

I think he understands the program, and has willingly signed on. I doubt that this is a deliberate self-sacrifice.

But I could be wrong -- often I am.

If Matt Savinar is right, wouldn't you be better off living like there is no tomorrow?

Where you gonna go? Hawaii? Fiji? Well above the Arctic cirle? I personally think the nuclear fallout scenario is too terrible to think about.

We scientists are clever — too clever — are you not satisfied? Is four square miles in one bomb not enough? Men are still thinking. Just tell us how big you want it.
-Richard Feynman

Feynman became so depressed after creating the bomb that he didn't see the point in building bridges, roads - that it was just pointless - with the assumption that they would be used again, and again. I can't find the specific quote (in "Surely, You're Joking Mr. Feynman").

Even if you aren't irradiated the EMP will certainly send you back the the dark ages (note http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_Prime - only 1.4 Megatons). It's really bizarre to see all the Savinar folk talking about EMP proofing laptops and things...

I sooner not live in this kind of fear ... it's more sheer terror.

Relevant quote:

I returned to civilization shortly after that and went to Cornell to teach, and my first impression was a very strange one. I can't understand it any more, but I felt very strongly then. I sat in a restaurant in New York, for example, and I looked out at the buildings and I began to think, you know, about how much the radius of the Hiroshima bomb damage was and so forth... How far from here was 34th street?... All those buildings, all smashed — and so on. And I would see people building a bridge, or they'd be making a new road, and I thought, they're crazy, they just don't understand, they don't understand. Why are they making new things? It's so useless.
But, fortunately, it's been useless for almost forty years now, hasn't it? So I've been wrong about it being useless making bridges and I'm glad those other people had the sense to go ahead.
-Richard Feynman

Then again, Darwinian sounds kind of similar with regard to peak oil. Note the last line.

A nuclear winter sure looks like a good way to cure global warming,and overpopulation,and the energy crisis and on ad nauseum. 100% cure in a bomb - bravo.

Feynman might still be right.

If that slogan starts to take hold, I hope I won't be alone in reminding people that the rush to this war is already 3/4 over the waterfall. It was the last two presidential elections which were the ones voting to head us towards a WW3.

I think it's just what I said. You added a bit, but I don't think BuCheney are out of sync. I think they just want to be able to make excuses for what they have pre-arranged. By getting Israel to act first (or getting Iran to act defensively first - either will do), they have deniability... and a free hand to act while claiming they are defending (oil) security and abiding by their treaties.

As for the presidential politics... I just don't care anymore. I can't even remember what it was, but something today made me realize just how much Obama represents BAU. Don't count on him getting us out of anywhere.


To the extent that there is a US ground move on Iran, I think that it will be to seize the key producing areas along the border with Iraq and presumably their offshore fields. That is the most that strained US ground force could do, if they can do that, and the producing areas are what the Neocons want anyway. The presumed justification would be to provide a buffer zone against Iranian attacks on Iraq and to deprive the Iranian regime of the cash flow they need to build nuclear weapons.

The question then would be if Bush/Cheney would face a revolt by key officers--sort of a reverse "Seven Days in May" scenario.

One can only dream that a patriot will eventually be found. These treasonous bastards have left us hanging high...


Perhaps Fallon is rallying the "flag officers" right now!!! One can only hope.

...and just to reply to myself, if Fallon does read TOD I wanted to send this message to him.

SAVE US...SAVE US NOW!!! If you have an ounce of decency sir, please save us from the evil NEOCONS.

OK, nuff said....really...save us.

Uh, yeah... we're all gonna die. That's why God invented beer.

Well, I dimly recall that Saddam Hussein had a fantasy along these lines back in 1980 - that didn't work out too well for him. In the end, the bulk of the Iran-Iraq war was fought on Iraqi soil.

These days, between the regular military, the IRGC, the Basij and other security services, the Iranians can probably count on in excess of 150k "military" and "security" personnel in the region that you're talking about; and unlike Iraq in 1991/2003, these guys are very well-equipped, can bank on popular nationalist sentiment to back them up, will have the bulk of global opinion behind them ( ie there's no possibility of a UNSC resolution mandating the US to steal their oil fields ) and will definitely fight. They also have the advantage of already having proxy forces and personnel behind US lines in Iraq, which makes tactical surprise impossible, and renders everything triply awkward. I'm pretty sure that the US simply has no troops available to do this, let alone sustain an occupation for any length of time.

Even without the twin millstones of Iraq and Afghanistan hanging around the Pentagon's collective necks, the force requirements for this would far exceed the invasion of Iraq ( you're looking at Desert Storm type numbers, only without any allies this time around ), and the Iranians would still retain the ability to complicate things further elsewhere - especially along the entire Persian Gulf littoral and in the Straits of Hormuz.

All of that is why the US is likely thinking of using tactical nukes. Israeli starts the barrage with air raids and the US follows with a wave of tactical nukes on Iranian military targets. Then ground forces move in and take the oilfields adjacent to the Iraqi border. The devastation would be enormous, but the MSM would never report it.

Could they ask Poland for help? Don't forget about Poland....

*Thank you all for the essential work you do here.

If we try to do this one, a lot of people around the world will be thinking about Poland and September 1, 1939.

Absolutely that. No question the centerpiece of the plan. But I think also a buffer zone along the Straits of Hormuz.

Neither of these would be easy to hold, except maybe that island in the strait(can't think of name off top of head). Our forces are stretched very thin.

I doubt very seriously they are planning to occupy anything. They will be more than happy to bomb the shit out of the country and leave it at that. Hell, if they don't invade they can claim, when Russia makes moves towards joining in, that they never invaded, just bombed a bunch of nuclear facilities and some terrorists (Those Guards, whatever they're called...).


If the U.S./Israel axis bombs Iran, Iran will react militarily, even if the reaction leads to tactical nukes. I think pride of race, history, and nation will win out; they will look at anything less as cowardice, and who can blame them? Other nations have decided to go down fighting; the aforementioned Poland comes to mind. WWIII won't start immediately, but the resulting resource wars will lead to it eventually. Personally, I think I'll just stay upwind.

Consulting my handy-dandy map of Persian Gulf targets...

Qeshm Island
Lesser Tunb Island
Kish Island
Sirri Island

Thanks. I was thinking Qeshm and Lesser Tunb. I think with the latter there's a dispute with Oman anyway, which will provide flimsy rationale for occupation.

Kish would seem pretty likely to be a target given that the recently opened Iranian Oil Bourse is situated there. Attacking Iran is at least partly about defending dollar hegemony, removing a competing petroleum exchange seems to follow that logic.

but something today made me realize just how much Obama represents BAU. Don't count on him getting us out of anywhere

FWIW, if you have a tinfoil hat( :-))

Barack O’Bilderberg: Picking the President

Recently, there has been much discussion about Barack Obama having possibly attended the recent Bilderberg conference in Chantilly Virginia .

This speculation arose when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton sneaked off for a secretive meeting while in Virginia .

As the AP reported, "Reporters traveling with Obama sensed something might be happening between the pair when they arrived at Dulles International Airport after an event in Northern Virginia and Obama was not aboard the airplane. Asked at the time about the Illinois senator's whereabouts, [Obama spokesman Robert] Gibbs smiled and declined to comment."7

The press that had been traveling with Obama were not made aware of the secretive meeting until the plane that they assumed Obama would be present on was moving down the runway,

"Why were we not told about this meeting until we were on the plane, the doors were shut and the plane was about to taxi to take off?" to which he responded, "Senator Obama had a desire to do some meetings, others had a desire to meet with him tonight in a private way and that is what we are doing."

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss.....

Just got fooled again...

Obama to expand Bush's faith based programs

ZANESVILLE, Ohio - Reaching out to religious voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama called for expanding President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and — in a move sure to cause controversy — supported some ability to hire and fire based on faith.

This and his stated energy policies have me thinking there is no one I can vote for....

Why the US is one helluva country, complete with an alternative slate down toward the end of the article to make you smile in times of awakening or distress.

Ah! That's the little nugget that had me thinking Obama is just more of the machine. Before I figured he was somewhat in the machine, but perhaps a little bit of a maverick. (I found it odd that the one touting hope was the one of th final two for the dems who was offering the LEAST change... and, no, I am not a fan of Hillary.) But this crap shows he's just as deep in it as anyone else. Clinton's health care plan is better, they are a wash on energy, and her Iraq plan is better.

Americans are dumber than yeast.


The first two of the four indictable offenses at Nuremberg were:

1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace

2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace

Unlike our civilian "leaders", most of our military officers are probably actually aware of this fact.

Yes, and this man is an example of how to properly and morally respond in such a situation. And if morals aren't enough for some of you soldiers and "contractors" out there, just consider that you might be charged and thrown in jail or even executed somewhere down the line. If fear of consequences, rather than good morals, ends up preventing a war, I'll take it.

When I try to look through a neocon's eyes at the consequences of an attack on Iran, I believe that they might conclude that an American attack is much riskier than an Israeli attack.

The challenge here (as it is in so many ways for American authority) is to maintain the greater status quo. They want to derail growing Iranian power and influence, but maintain the status quo as it relates to the American military position in the Gulf and relationship to the Gulf states. An American attack is much riskier from this standpoint. A very real danger of an American attack is that that position will become untenable.

Why does a North American nation have such a dominant military presence in the region? Is the US a catalyst for stability and development in the region or the cause of conflict? These are the questions the Iranians want the other Gulf states to deal with. The Iranian goal is to expel the US from the region, no less.

An israeli attack is less risky to the American position. It doesn't change the status quo as obviously. Israel is already in existental conflict with much of the region. An Israeli attack would no doubt be followed by a volley of missiles from Iran, but it is not so clear that it would broaden in the way that would threaten the US. How would Iran justify closing the straight of Hormuz if the were attacked by Israel and not the US? I don't think they could effectively link the attack to the greater US military presense.

For this reason I believe the hawkish contingent in the administration is turning towards support for an Israeli attack. Well, actually that's no the only reason. I also think there is a lot of opposition to an attack from within the administration (Rice, Gates) and they don't have much choice but to contract it out to the Israelis.

Like the Israeli attack on Lebanon, any attack on Iran must have US okay. There may not be a formal mutual defense treaty between the US and Israel, but there is a de facto one that is well established, which was justification for the attack on the USS Cole and other US assets, and is a very important fact most of the propagandized people in the West fail to appreciate. Consider, most everything the Israelis would use is US made, and they would have to fly over occupied Iraqi airspace, thus any Israeli attack has Made in America stamped all over it.

Since Iran is now a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, all it need do is have its GCC Ambasador submit a tersly worded note saying that, while sorry to do so, GCC country's oil facilities would be targeted in retaliation for any attack on Iran. This may incense the leaders of the GCC countries, but they would have to admit to Iran's POV. IMO, that would be close to the ultimate "oil card" play. Clearly, it's in any GCC country's interests to not have any attack on Iran, so perhaps a threatened Embargo of the West to get the West to stop its fuelisn insanity?

I have always wondered about the Shia workforce at Ras Tunara, the GOSPs at Ghawar, et al, the electrical power plants, etc.

I do not wonder about the senior leadership of the Shia Iraqi Army (there is a separate Kurdish Iraqi Army). Many of them fought with the Iranian Army (as auxiliaries, Badr Brigade) in the Iran-Iraq War.

Iranian Intelligence is reported to be VERY good, almost the equal of Mossad.

The US Army supply lines to Kuwait are unlikely to survive 6 hours after an Israeli attack on Iran. Supply convoys may be politely turned back at checkpoints or ...

The US Army does not have the ability to take & hold those supply lines.


Thanks for the sane reply Alan. I often wonder if any of our "Imminent War Prognosticators" served in the military, specificly the Army, or have an historical understanding of how "Interests" move geopolitics. I have been there and study that. Someone referred to Iraq as the US "Stalingrad in the Sand," which well describes the tactical and strategic problem facing the US military.

The overall equation goes like this: The US military can inflict damage upon Iran, but the retaliation for such an attack by Iran will wreck for all time the current Golden Goose Globalized Economic Paradigm. Iranian behavior shows that they know this equation. Other players also show they know too. I would submit that the short-selling futures traders know this too, which is why they continue to bet short. Most important as I point out in the thread below, Little Oil would gain zero but rather lose it all along with everyone else if Iran is attacked. Personally, I would view an attack on Iran as an attack on my person and respond in an appropriate manner, and I know many folks who feel the same.

The US Empire has reached its zenith; all it can do now is crumble slowly or collapse spectacularly.

'an attack by Iran will wreck for all time the current Golden Goose Globalized Economic Paradigm.'

i hate to see the markets fail ,as they are now doing. imo bau is what has held war back;bau failing increases the probability exponentially.

You speak as if America tells Israel what to do
Israel has never listened to or done anything the
USA asked or told it to do.
America has ALWAYS done everything that Israel
wanted done.
Read Noam Chomsky or Norman Finklestein or Steven
Walt or John Mershiemer or Jimmy Carter or...well
I dont want to load you up with home work the 4th of
July is comming and all.
Every USA intell agengy says Iran ISNT building a bomb
The chutzpah is laughable if the nuclear fallout

Oh please dear Nephilim, where do I "speak as if America tells Israel what to do?" And careful, you are guilty of using the fallacy of absolutes here: "America has ALWAYS done everything that Israel wanted done."

Ah, I see it. Yes, they would need just that, just as they needed it before their 2006 Lebanon Campaign. If you were watching closely, you would have seen how it was all orchestrated with BushCo as bandleader.

It looks to me like the neocons will have Israel launch the attack. The US will then intercede to prevent Iran from retaliating in any meaningful way, like blocking the Straits of Hormuz. If Iran does anyway, the US could interpret that as an attack on the US, and our hands would be free to attack Iran.

This would even make sense if Israel attacked Iran without US approval or against US wishes. However, everyone (including Iran) will know that the US will have granted authorization and provided material support, if not actually egged Israel on. But, as far as evil schemes go, it might well provide the US with a "hands clean" way of attacking Iran.

On the other hand, the Iranians are pretty savvy. So I suspect direct Iranian retaliation (if there is any) will be directed only against Israel. Iran will retaliate through its proxies (Shiites in KSA and Iraq, Hezbullah and Hamas nearer Israel). That way Iran retains some form of plausible deniability, and the US would lose its "clean hands" opportunity to attack. That doesn't mean the US won't attack of course.

In short, a war seems pretty much inevitable. And escalation of that war seems inevitable as well.

It is not inconceivable that the Russians will not intercede, due to their oil production, but that says nothing about the Chinese, who of course have stepped in to help the Iranians financially, in part due to our blockage of investment resources from the West for the Iranians. Of course, the Chinese nukes will kill us just as dead as the Russian nukes, so I don't think that is any consolation.

Photo without comment:

Interesting how the Admiral is saluting with his left arm. Too bad the last 7 years aren't the joke this photo intimates.

I doubt that's a coincidence. Saluting left-handed is the military equivalent of flipping someone the bird.

Yep, I know that. I was sort-of musing in print about just how photo-shopped the pic is.


Navy custom permits left-hand saluting when a salute cannot be rendered with the right hand. Army and Air Force customs permit only right-hand salutes

Or maybe Putin is secretly hoping it will go down. Nothing like having your Golden Goose exports immediately triple in price, at the same time as your geopolitical competitors are screwed. Their best move is to enjoy the spoils at a distance.

If he trusts those missiles he sold Iran, he may believe the Israeli-American attack will fail. That would shake the balance of power and the balance of foreign arms sales in his favor. A loss of US warships in the Gulf to Russian/Chinese missiles might have even bigger effects.

A loss of US warships in the Gulf to Russian/Chinese missiles might have even bigger effects.

US Navy losses to Iranian missiles is a given, unless all US Navy assets are pulled from the Persian Gulf. If not, I have given some thought as to what might happen if the past can be used as a guide: Nothing. Evidence: Vietnam was supplied with Russian and Chinese weapons and very little protesst was made. True, now a different group of Crazies are on the button, but I believe MAD works, so I can sleep at night.

"In short, a war seems pretty much inevitable. And escalation of that war seems inevitable as well."

There is a thin thread of hope to hold onto. Given that the military understands how easily their troops can be encircled in Iran but also in Kuwait and Iraq, the military planners understand that an attack on Iran could lead to nuclear weapons being used. This is something that the military abhors.

As these articles show, the military is one of the main reasons that nuclear weapons have not been used in the past.


Also, the military brass unlike the neocons have sons and daughters in Iraq. Most of the military brass are patriotic and don't want to be responsible for the possible deaths of hundreds of troops that are under their command. Bombing Iran also means a draft and a return of the Vietnam style draftee Army.

That is why Fallon, Pace, the NIE folks and other military people have stopped an attack of Iran in the past and hopefully the military will stop this last campaign for war too.

Will they be able to stop Israel? My fear is having Israel attack is the end run around US opposition, inside the millitary and outsdie.

I have no idea. This sucks watching these assholes play out their grand apocalyptic chess game as the American public watches American Idol and shops at Wallmart.

Lighten up dood. That's why God gave us beer and fireworks.

And misssing fingers after the combination of the two!

Here's something might affect the military's effectiveness:

Fallon’s early retirement, however, appears to have been provoked not only by his negative comments about bombing Iran but also by his strong belief in the chain of command and his insistence on being informed about Special Operations in his area of responsibility. One of Fallon’s defenders is retired Marine General John J. (Jack) Sheehan, whose last assignment was as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command, where Fallon was a deputy. Last year, Sheehan rejected a White House offer to become the President’s “czar” for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “One of the reasons the White House selected Fallon for CENTCOM was that he’s known to be a strategic thinker and had demonstrated those skills in the Pacific,” Sheehan told me. (Fallon served as commander-in-chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific from 2005 to 2007.) “He was charged with coming up with an over-all coherent strategy for Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and, by law, the combatant commander is responsible for all military operations within his A.O.”—area of operations. “That was not happening,” Sheehan said. “When Fallon tried to make sense of all the overt and covert activity conducted by the military in his area of responsibility, a small group in the White House leadership shut him out.”

The law cited by Sheehan is the 1986 Defense Reorganization Act, known as Goldwater-Nichols, which defined the chain of command: from the President to the Secretary of Defense, through the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and on to the various combatant commanders, who were put in charge of all aspects of military operations, including joint training and logistics. That authority, the act stated, was not to be shared with other echelons of command. But the Bush Administration, as part of its global war on terror, instituted new policies that undercut regional commanders-in-chief; for example, it gave Special Operations teams, at military commands around the world, the highest priority in terms of securing support and equipment. The degradation of the traditional chain of command in the past few years has been a point of tension between the White House and the uniformed military.

Friggin' idiots... This is what happens when a bunch of arrogant, draft dodging hawks get in control... their egos can't accept they don't know WTF they're doing...

And, surprise, surprise, it's another violation of the law and abrogation of their duties. History will not judge kindly our failure to throw out, try and punish these whack jobs.


And the MSM says Obama is weak on National Security. What kind of mind-altering drugs is the governing class of America on?

Sure would like to get my prescriptions filled. Sure beats trying to handle reality.

I agree that history will judge Americans harshly.
Americans should never have allowed AIPAC (American
Israel Political Affairs Committee) To take over
domestic and geo political power of America.
Americans shouldnt have allowed GWB to be coronated
for a second term.
Americans shouldnt have sat passively while Bush
fininshed his second term.
Excuses like...."We didnt want to ruin the cherry
blossoms on the cherry trees with neocon fruit
swinging from the branches the spring of 2008"
Wont suffice.
I also cant believe our military hasnt performed a coup with all the damage thats been done.
Thats why I dont hold much hope for rectifying peak
oil in America.
The strangle hold of American finacial systems, media
political strong holds is to all encompassing by these
many chosen few, too allow for mankinds natural
gift of invention and resourcefulness.
These leaches arent smart enough to realise that a
symbiotic relationship is their only hope.
That mans symbiotic relationship with the earth is
mankinds only chance.
These bloodsucking shysters are gonna be the obstacle
too humankinds pulling off that Hail Mary pass the
world needs right about now.

Jeff Vail's comment on the story, with more stuff to follow:


Has anyone here got enough military knowledge to place this in some kind of context?
Clearly bases in Iraq and Afghanistan outflank Iran, and if some kind of oil grab is planned then they might hope to also take some of the ex-USSR resources in proximity.
Is the hope, if this is the intention, to shut out China because they would not have enough oil to fight a war?
It seems clear that some of the 'forces behind the throne' are peak oil aware, and as TSHTF may be planning some sort of coralling of resources.
Leaving morality aside, as it is plain that that is already the case, what might be the strategy and the game plan?

Hi Dave--Remember Sir Halford MacKinder? He forumlated the term/concept of Geopolitics in a paper, "The Geographical Pivot of History," and published a book after WW1, Democratic Ideals and Reality, which can be read online in PDF. These two works should be required Freshman reading for anyone majoring in International Relations, or related subjects like History. They are the places to start understanding.

Regarding your thesis, such a plan, such as it is, could be aimed at either Russia or China, and is built on old Cold War ideas and methods. Although his embacing abiotic oil and speculators as the main reason behind oil price rise has discredited him somewhat, Engdahl's geopolitical analysis, IMO, is quite good and should be read here and here.

The problem facing US policy makers is that while some of the steps in the game were quite easy--extending NATO to Russia's doorstep along with its unworkable missile defense shield, debilitating the "Slav Beachead" Serbia and establishing a huge base in Kosovo, invading Afghanistan [for which plans were well advanced during the Clinton admin well before 911] and escalating the war being waged against Iraq through direct invasion--other steps were rebuffed--especially the attempt to establish bases in the FSU Central Asian countries. Further, the US Army is too small to do anymore than it has; even the NATO forces in Afghanistan are too small and their nationals are clamoring for their withdrawl. Add into the mix the increasingly visible fact that the rising oil price is destabilizing the global economy, even rich EU countries, and is a result of US Imperial actions, and the whole of the NATO alliance is threatened, and revolt against the US Empire is gaining momentum globally, and very importantly in South America. Last, the asymmetric tools its foes have at their disposal as Engdahl points out are formidible given the US Empire's very visible weaknesses. IMO, the biggest failure of US planners was not instituting the Draft after 911 because the main problem is the lack of soldiers to hold territory and launch further invasions requiring the capture and securing of more territory. Thus, the seemingly good flanking positions in Iraq and Afghanistan amount to zero militarily.

It would seem to me that no-one would be very interested in capturing Osama Bin Laden, as it would reduce the perceived threat and stretch the utterly threadbare justifications for the various invasions and occupations even more.

I doubt that the worry for the Zionists and associated neo-con loonies and evangelicals about a Democrat victory is well-founded, as Obama was considerably more convincing in his pledge of unswerving and undying loyalty to Israel than he ever has been about his support for America - this must be the first time a pledge of allegiance has been required from a prospective head of state to a foreign power.

How foreign it is is of course subject to debate, since it's adherents are installed at every level of political and economic power in America, and they certainly conspire quite openly together, however frowned upon the term may be.

That a psychopath like Albright comfortably resided in the Clinton administration after describing the death of 500,000 Iraqi children as a price worth paying should perhaps show how little grounds for concern they should have.

However, if it is desired to bring matters to a head you have outlined very well the needed steps.
A crisis is needed, to make America submit to the draft and mobilise fully.
Presumably the burning of the Reichstag is being studied extensively.
A 'provocation' would be very handy.

The military plans don't necessarily need to be that coherent or sensible - this bunch of jokers tend to commit, then leave it to the military brass to sort it out.

German war plans in 1914 were also deeply flawed.

Those who are expecting the rapture shortly are comparable to the Seigfried obsession in the Reich, and prepared to court disaster.

This seems the most dangerous time since the Cuban missile crisis.

I'm going to try to respond to some of this type of comment again.

"I doubt that the worry for the Zionists and associated neo-con loonies and evangelicals about a Democrat victory is well-founded, as Obama was considerably more convincing in his pledge of unswerving and undying loyalty to Israel than he ever has been about his support for America - this must be the first time a pledge of allegiance has been required from a prospective head of state to a foreign power."

I would like people to just take a second and think of the double-standard that we impose on Israel vs. the rest of the world. We have defended, not just by words but actually stationing troops in Germany and South Korea for the last several decades. Why didn't I hear calls for us to abandon Germany and Europe to the Soviet Union in the 80's? We made it very clear that an attack by the Soviets on our allies would not be tolerated. How is this any different from defending Israel from it's neighbors?

We still have troops defending South Korea. Should we make it clear to North Korea that we would do nothing if they were attacked? How about defending Japan from China? We have pretty much guaranteed Japan that would defend it, and the Chinese would not risk an attack.

No, it seems to people on this board that Israel doesn't merit the same level of security that we provide to European and Asian countries. As for having pro-Israel people in Government, we do. There are also a lot of pro-UK people in goverment, but that doesn't seem to get people pissed. Do you think a president could get elected who said that an attack on the UK would be tolerated and that we had no loyalty towards them?

True enough. But I think what "we" are defending in Europe, Japan, etc. are business arrangements, not democracy. And I don't think that Germany has independent control of a tactical nuclear force.

Do you think a president could get elected who said that an attack on the UK would be tolerated and that we had no loyalty towards them?

Maybe not now, but I could see it coming. (Remember Rummy dissing "old Europe"?)

It all comes down to common interests. We've been trying to get Japan to take responsibility for their own defense, and I could see it going that way with other countries, too.

Our interests and Israel's are increasingly diverging, and I think this is going to be a problem in the future.

In the long run, Israel is unsustainable. Even without peak oil, they cannot go on as they are, with a minority ruling over an ever larger and more oppressed majority. With peak oil...forget it. I think this is a big reason so many here want to wash their hands of the whole thing. It's a lost cause. The same cannot be said for Korea, or Germany, or Japan, or the UK.

Oh please.

There is indeed a double standard - in the US it's uncritically in favor of Israel.

Your analogies to Germany and Korea are ridiculous and irrelevant.

Here's how it's different - Israel is occupying land that doesn't belong to them, building out settlements in de facto annexation, turning Gaza into a pressure cooker, has 200 nukes and the most powerful military in the area, etc. etc.

Leanan, can you pull the plug on this pro/anti Israel/Jew/Zionist/Armageddonist crap? It is becoming quite absurd.

If you don't see a double standard in Israel's treatment of Palestinians, I don't know what would do the trick for you.
The present outcry about terrorism is done without a sense of irony, as many of the founders and heroes of Israel were members of terrorist organisations.

Many religious Jews rejected the notion of Zionism, as they felt that human intervention would not be appropriate in awaiting God's will.

You can't nick a country, and rule it in a way which is democratic only because it kicked half the inhabitants out, and claim that it is all OK really as you have an old book that says it is.

The State of Israel is as much a product of Western, formerly British and lately American, power politics as the Crusader fortresses were.

Personally, although my relations fought their way across Europe, and in so doing allowed many Jewish people to survive, I was less than thrilled when those same people resorted to bombing British troops, or content with the fact that British troop movements were often known to the people living there before they had received their orders.

Madelaine Albrights cheery dismissal of around 500,000 deaths of Iraqi children as a price worth paying, and the fact that she herself had been taken in as a child with her family to save her form Nazi Germany, but felt no obligation to show humanity herself perhaps illustrates the degree of special pleading and double standards prevalent in the notion of the Zionist state.
She still remained a member of the Clinton administration after revealing her pathological tendencies.

There is a fatal disconnect between the demand for equal treatment in a host country, to the extent of forming a greater portion of the ruling class than any other ethnic group, and giving primary loyalty to a foreign power.
I would emphasise that this by no means applies to all Jewish people.

The Israelis though can fight their own battles, and preferably be joined by all the other Zionists in so doing.
They should not have a single dollar to help them do so, nor a single soldier from elsewhere.
I have no wish to take 'my share of the bombs' on Israel's behalf, nor any interest in supporting it.

The tragedy of the Jewish people is the Zionist state, which became that which it arose in opposition to, a racialist imperialist imposition.

These things do not go on forever.

The interests of the US are being subverted in the service of a foreign power.

EDIT: Re-reading, I should emphasise tht I am referring to Zionists, not Jewish people, and even Zionists I have some sympathy for, as the pressures which gave rise to it were extreme.

The sympathy however does not extend to having any more of my kin blown up on their behalf, or to OK'ing undue influence or activity contrary to the interests of my own country.

I'm not going to keep arguing this, but I don't approve of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, especially in Gaza. I think it is not right to cut off fuel and aid to Gaza, and I think we should heavily pressure the Israeli government to stop it's policies there.

My point is just that there is a double standard. Maybe the Israeli's shouldn't be where they are, but they are. What the last part of the twentieth century taught us is that it is not OK for innocent populations to pay the price for what their leaders or ancestors did. White people shouldn't be in Argentina, but that doesn't mean we should allow them to be attacked. We can not go back and put everyone where they "belong", we have to defend people's rights to safety and security where they are. We should not allow black Sudanese to be killed, or Sunni Iraqi's to be killed, or any kind of Israeli, Arab or Jew.

You make a very good case for armed intervention on behalf of the Palestinians.
As for the rest of it, if Israel wants to fight its neighbours that's fine by me, providing they do the fighting and don't expect help.
They could pay for it too, instead of helping the neo-cons bankrupt America.
The sympathy ploy is worn out, and there has been quite enough special pleading.

I don't know about armed intervention, but I think we should offer humanitarian aid to the Gazans, as with anywhere, most of those whom are suffering are innocent, and are paying the price for the few who are causing trouble. It would also be nice if some of the oil-rich countries in the region (UAE and Kuwait) would help out with this.

My personal opinion is that most of the anger against Israel amongst the Arabs and Iranians is due to their leaders needing a scapegoat. It is a lot easier for the Saudi or Iranian leadership to tell their people that the US and Israel are to blame for their problems, so they don't look to their own crappy leadership for answers. Same thing we are doing in this country, blaming "speculators", "terrorists" and "evironmentalists" for our current economic and energy problems, so we don't focus on our own incompetent "rulers".

You seem to be able to pass by the fact that we are apparently once more teetering on the brink of war, at least partly due to the unsavoury and undemocratic garrison-state of Israel, which has the gall to quiz presidential aspirants to vet them for their support for its illegal occupations.
You ignore the massive influence that Zionist sympathisers have had in committing America to a disastrous course, and the huge, probably fatal costs of that.

You are also a fellow traveller rather than someone who is committed to Israel, and it is not your body on the line.
I have news for you, this is not some passing fancy of an Arab regime, this is their line in the sand, and Israel will not stand.

So if you wish to support Israel, do it from within, and don't try appealing to non-existent sympathy for that regime.
Yes, people will suffer, but at the moment the Israelis are well aware that they are squatting on someone else's land, and spending someone else's money to sustain that injustice, so what is coming to them is their affair.

If you support Israel, go and man up and commit to them.

I reserve my sympathy for the British soldiers who died at Zionist hands in their terror attacks, and for the many since who have been dragged in to conflict due to their racialist state.

"at least partly due..." - agreed, but it takes two to tango. Israeli settlements in the West Bank need not be cause for for war with Iran, but that fault lies as much with the Iranian anti-Israel lobby as with the US pro-Israel lobby.

"If you support Israel, go and man up and commit to them." - No thanks, I'm happy in Minnesota.

"I reserve my sympathy for the British soldiers who died at Zionist hands in their terror attacks" - I reserve my sympathy to people dying in attacks everywhere, from all perpetrators.

You neatly manage to avoid real responsibility, both corporate and personally.

We are living in the real world here, not Mary Poppins land, and support for Israel, which is what you are asking for, means oppression for the Palestinians, and the ones who have been rendered stateless not reclaiming from the burglers you are supporting.

You then compound the evasion of responsibility, by pleading that is not your fault if some of them are nasty, as you want sweetness and light for everyone.
What's more, you wish to do so from a position of safety, hiding behind the skirts of the America you are effectively helping to bankrupt.

I much prefer the real, loony racist Israeli settler, thanks - at least they stand for what they believe.
Presumably if you are ever held to account by your fellow Americans for your subversion, it will be all due to racist mistreatment, and you will still, in your eyes, be pure as the driven snow.

No wonder you are happy in Minnesota - you are happy anywhere you can evade real commitment or taking responsibility.
That may not work forever.

So I am living in Mary Poppins land, and you are living in the real world?

Are you? Or are you sitting at a computer in the UK, typing on a blog, just as I am? Have you gone to Gaza, to take up arms for the Palestinian cause?

Methinks the pot is calling the kettle black.

I think the phrase 'rootless cosmopolitan' must have been invented with you in mind.
Where I am is in my own country, the UK, which is being swept to disaster partly in the service of a foreign country to which we have no obligations whatsoever.

If you wish to continue to defend the indefensible in the fascist state that you apparently give primary loyalty to, perhaps you could likewise actually go there, instead of remaining in comfort whilst attempting to subvert the interests and pick the pockets of your fellow citizens in your place of domicile.

I am living in the country to which I give my loyalty, against the interests of any other state.
Where do you live?

Except that history proves the USA IS responsible for Iran's problems.

Can't agree. Maybe the US threw a log or two on the fire, but it goes much deeper than that.

If you're going to argue with "history," you must come up with some sort of valid argument.

Do you have no clue whose money has allowed Israel to build their aresnal? Whose technology? Whose uncritical, unbending support even in the face of masive war crimes?

WHAT double standard?


Google "Jabotinsky". He's the Zionist pioneer who stated that the goal of Jewish colonists was to do to the native Arabs what the United States of America did to the Indians.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Yes...let's get rid of the natives that have learned to adapt to their local environment and live sustainable, happy lives. Why that is anti-growth and anti-West and anti-Capitalism and is therefore savage and evil!! They are wasting their resources for the "greater good".

We do not have a formal treaty of alliance with Israel.

And in my opinion, our treaty of alliance with the UK, Germany and the rest of Europe terminated the day the USSR fell. NATO could only be justified by the Soviet threat to dominate the world by conquering a continent that held much of its wealth and technological power. There is no justification for it now. There is no justification for US troops in Germany and Japan and for crying out loud one hundred and twenty other countries.

Israel has 150 to 200 nukes to deter a strategic attack. Case closed. Let's knock 400 billion off our $750 billion in annual military spending and put it to work saving our society from collapse.

Consumer - I agree with your general drift.At bottom I think that a large part of the problem people have with Israel is that anti-semitism is still alive and thriving,especially in Europe although it occurs here in Australia as well,sometimes in the most unlikely places.Note - I am not Jewish.
That said,Israel has brought a lot of problems on their own heads by being stubborn about the West Bank settlements.The extreme religious right is a threat in Judaism as well as Christianity and Islam.
From what I have read in TOD and elsewhere I doubt if Israel will carry out a first strike on Iran.I know that they did this in Iraq but the present situation is totally different.
There is a hell of a lot of posturing(read bluff)going on in Iran,Israel and the US.Let us just hope none of the protagonists begins to believe their own propaganda.

Oh bullshit. It is not antisemitism.

Arabs, being Semites, could easily be pictured as victims of Jewish Anti-Semitism, as I have often and successfully argued.

That's odd then. I'm Jewish ( and so's my wife ) but I'm opposed to the state of Israel's establishment and subsequent treatment of its Palestinian 'subjects'.
Does that mean I'm anti-semitic ? Or a self-hater ? Or maybe I'm just confused ?

This seems the most dangerous time since the Cuban missile crisis.

Yes, I said the same in some writing I did last week. I know I've posted this link here once before, Operation Northwoods Plan, but the big difference between the Northwoods's Plan and 911 is the Draft was already in place and deemed "normal" by the Cold War propagandized society of the times, and Neocon dogma insists that one big reason for losing Vietnam was the Draft "democratized" the military too much. Thus, there was no call for a Draft after 911.

This item by Jim Lobe wasn't posted here until now AFAIK and contins some intersting poll results and assessments from a center-right source, The Nixon Center, which agrees with my assessment, ""I think one of the things that makes [an attack] a lot less likely is what it will actually do to the oil price," said the Nixon Center's Saunders." The poll numbers clearly indicate the American people are pissed-off, and can easily see the cause and effect relationship between BushCo and Israeli Wartalk and the rises in oil and gasoline price. Thus the new Black Propaganda piece I posted upthread that indicates the desperation of the bloody warhawks, which includes the Democrat Party leaders as the Iran targeted covert operations financing proves. As I have said before, US Imperial policy is bipartisan; far too much history proves it so.

Some general once said: All war plans immediately become worthless as soon as the first shot's fired, referring to unanticipated events and unplanned consequences. Fischer's War Aims I've cited before shows the Kaiser wanted war with Russia to rid Europe of the Slav, but the only War Plan called for attacking France first, although the Kaiser had no desire to make war with France, or the UK for that matter, as he viewed both France and UK as fellow Teutons. So yes, the Kaiser like Hitler wanted lebbenschram at the expense of the Slavs. His last gasp attempt at victory was to send that day's eqivalent of Bin-Laden, Lenin, to Russia. His gambit won, but instead of moving his armies to the West, he tried to fulfill his initial ambition in Russia, and lost the war because of the Americans, as Hindinberg admitted when interviewed by Geore Seldes in 1918 detailed in Chapter 2, which is an amazing story.

So we can see the Neocons have much historical precedent, and IMO the world is fortunate they are no better tacticians than the Kaiser and believe in their own Mythos as much as Hitler. But it is very unfortunate that Western leaders haven't awoken to the peril they are placing themselves and their countyfolk in by allying themselves with the US Empire's exploits, particularly since the 2003 escalation of the Iraqi Holocaust. That there have been no public attempts by Western leaders demanding BushCo back down from their wartalk is alarming, and I wonder why that is, or perhaps I have missed some published in non-English sources.

What he said. I wish I could click the green arrow thingie about 4 or 5 times.

It's all very interesting, eh?

I have a feeling one of the main reasons for the Afghanistan adventure was to establish a blocking force more than anything. Directly on the land route from China into the Mideast. Sure, grossly outnumbered by Chinese land forces, but any loss of U.S. service forces there due to Chinese action would be 'justification' to unleash tactical nukes.

I have to keep telling myself that these people in power have access to data that I don't. They also have acres of super computers gaming this situation full time. I doubt that there are options that they have not gamed to death...

Which of course makes one wonder- what are the BAD choices? (sigh)

Do I fit into their plans for the future? Time will tell.

and revolt against the US Empire is gaining momentum globally

This has been niggling at my brain for weeks... maybe evena couple months: is a limited collapse possible? Is the ill will the current administration has sown (and our silence in the face of it) of such great extent the international community might choose to, and be able to, isolate and cut off the US? This might be termed The Gangrene Solution.

I've not got a handle on the idea. It has not grown in my head past the concept stage stated above. But the feeling that it might be one of the possible futures we face has slowly, uneasily grown in my thoughts.


Well, you live in one of our occupied countries where a multitude of protests, different, but with a common denominator, have been happening almost constantly for several months; a country that had one of its citizens commit suicide at Cancun in protest of US-backed WTO trade-policies. Who do you think the South Koreans hate more: US troops or their ertswhile cousins, the North Koreans? Have you read the recent revelations of mass killings by the South government under US auspicies--even promoted by the US--during 1950, when it looked like the South and US might lose?

"Is a limited collapse possible?" Yes. I argue for the necessity of a self-imposed rollback/collapse of the Empire's overseas assets to save the Metropole, and a wholesale redesign of the Metropole's governmental structure. To your second question, a Containment policy imposed against the US Empire to force its rollback is possible, and from many POVs desirable, but at the current time would take some heroic action--EU rejection of NATO, for example. If US/Israel attack Iran, such action becomes quite probable.

The future is going to be ugly no matter what. It's the degree of ugliness that's yet to be defermined and is something we have some amount of control over.

Your first paragraph is a bit of a non-sequitur. My question wasn't about public sentiment about the US. To address Korean public sentiment in this simplistic manner indicates a very simplistic, black-and-white take on Korean-US relations. It's not worth going into, but the points raised in by you aren't very germane. Not that public sentiment wouldn't play a role in the scenario I suggested...

I've said, I've not got my head around this issue, but whether it's possible might better be asked in terms of what is probable. Your response though, has finally caused a bit of a jiggling in my brain resulting in the following thought: It would take a great deal, as you say, to get the world to act. It would, in effect, require the vast majority of nations - and virtually all the powerful ones - to act in concert and to be willing to risk a great deal of harm to themselves either economically or militarily.

Given the yet huge resource base of the US and its military might, I don't see anything less than a global backlash being able to accomplish isolating the US. Also, it seems relatively obvious that as soon as a more benign regime was in power they'd invite the US back into the fold.

Then again, the BuCheney regime is driving the world to the very brink of disaster (past it in already some respects.) How long can the world allow this to go on?


I very much suspect that as soon as the US dares to unleash a tactical nuke, there would be a flurry of countries breaking diplomatic relations and treaties in protest, and lots more countries recalling their ambassadors. Most US embassies around the world would be mobbed and burned, and any US national the angry locals could get their hands on would be severely beaten or killed. McDonalds, Starbucks - any business establishment with an obvious US tie would be wrecked. Many or even maybe most of those 120 countries hosting US bases would demand that we pack up and get out immediately. Some countries would freeze US assets, and there would be a great dumping of US dollars on the global currency markets. Numerous countries would impose a trade embargo on the US, unilaterally or in concert.

I wouldn't recommend overseas travel for the next six months at least.

Well, the "world" has "allowed" US aggresion to "go on" since the end of WW2 and the contrivance of the Cold War. The USSR's collapse and ending of the Cold War unmasked US intentions as it never changed its prior behavior pattern. Both Bush I and Clinton gropped for enemies to continue the Cold War's campaign of fear, with Bush II handed 911 on a silver platter--just what the Empire ordered, which is not to say that the Empire did the act itself, although it has planned that intent in the past (see the Operation Northwoods Plans linked elsewhere on this thread).

If you understand how "soft" Empire works through controlled Compradore governments, you can see how that arrangement might unravel--see South America for current examples. Arguably, much of the rise in oil price can be attributed to US Empire war and war threats, which has seriously destabilized many of its Compradore allied governments, whose publics are not fooled at one of the primary reasons for their immiseration (even the US public is understanding this finally). Further, overt US behavior in its War of Terror has revealed what it did secretly during the Cold War, and displays itself as no better than any totalitarian government that was the supposed enemy during the Cold War. This has served to marginalize its infuence in many international forums, in some cases even its expulsion. Simply changing the guard and installing a new smiley face, perhaps one of color, will do nothing to change this marginalization; only overt changes in behavior over an extended period of time will suffice. But we still have 6 1/2 months of BushCo to go with the economy in a death spiral for more damage to be inflicted.

That the US economy is in a death spiral is the best, strongest deterent for any further war making by BushCo, and the US military's overextended position serves to second that deterent. Virtually the whole think tank political spectrum save the utlra-right Neocon shares this assessment. They well know just how threatened the Golden Goose Globalized Economy (GGGE) is to being shattered. Compradore governments's interests would also share this POV. Suffice to say there is a lot of domestic and international push-back against BushCo, but we aren't allowed to see anymore than its iceberg-like tip.

Yesterday, and on days before that, I asked Qui Bono? The most obvious answer to me is Formerly Big Oil, the last bastion of BushCo's base, as the MIC has already gotten their pound of flesh. If the Democrats really wanted to, they could reign in BushCo. IMO, they are walking a knife's edge by not doing so. Why? Because a matrix of interests have BushCo bottled up enough so they won't kill the GGGE. Oh, we'll still get Black Propaganda like yesterday's attempt to tie Hezbollah to the Iraqi insugency, and more talk from Neocon sources in Israel and US about the need to attack Iran. Otherwise, BushCo has shot their wad.

westexas -

I think Israel has got to learn that it is not the only one who can make credible threats.

It is incredibly nervy and highly insulting to the American people for Israel to threaten an attack on Iran if Obama is elected. Who the hell do they think they are?

If I were Obama and won the election, the very first statement out of my mouth on election night would be that if Israel attacks Iran at anytime between then and the inauguration, then i) it can permanently kiss goodbye the $3 billion+ in annual US aid, and ii) it can forget about the US coming to its aid if Iran and/or others retaliate in response to Israel's attack. Of course, this would make Obama an instant target of the powerful pro-Israel lobby, but someone has got to draw a line somewhere.

Israel, a country about the size of New Jersey, has a highly exaggerated sense of its own importance and has got to learn its proper place in the overall scheme of things.

Speaking of Obama, the paranoid corner of my mind says that he should pick a very well qualified VP running mate. The fact that he is part black makes for a ready-made pretext for an assasination attempt ('Yup, must have been some of those redneck racists' who done it').

Israel may be a small country - approx 5.5 million. However, there are an estimated 13.3 million Jews worldwide. There are actually more Jews in the US than in Israel. Add that to their political clout in the US and their strategic importance in the Middle East and you have a small country with greater influence and importance than mere size or numbers would otherwise dictate.


Not all Jewish people are in sync with the government of Israel. Supposedly, Israel is a democracy, not a theocracy.

If there is any real cohesion among people of that faith, they should make it clear they oppose the outrages of Israel the government. In reality, most Jews are probably like most Presbyterians. "Jewishness" is not a useful category.

Throughout the Iraq War, Jewish-American voters have ranked right up there with African-Americans in their overwhelming opposition to the war, a great compliment to both groups. They knew it would be bad long before the white Christians did.

However, the power cliques who moved freely between the Likud Party and the GOP (Cheney's got a ton of them working for him) have long since learned how to intimidate liberals into silence in both countries by using fear. Fear seems to cause a person to hesitate in turning his principles into an actual vote for an actual ruler. Fear seems to make a person willing to support the parties that exist but not form new parties that will express his integrity. Israel has several major political parties, but all of them support the destruction of the Palestinians by one means or another. As for America, look at the Democrats and their eternal fear of being labeled "soft" on damn near everything.

So liberal Jewish-Americans, who once organized many fine institutions to stand up for their values, could not prevent those organizations from being captured or silenced by this new crew. Worse, in Israel, piece by piece laws are being passed that call for the suppression of anyone who points out that the system can not continue as it has. Specifically, it is now a crime to question the "Jewish democracy" of Israel, when it is known by everyone that one day Jews will be a minority in Israel and cannot retain control by democratic means. Elected Arab parliamentarians who discuss this might now be threatened with expulsion from their offices. That will create an all-Jewish apartheid Knesset, which will make many things possible indeed.

I agree. I was simply pointing out that size does not always matter. :-)

Ireland is a small country, but there are a lot of Irish-Americans in the U.S. Does that mean Ireland has too much influence? There are plenty of Italian-Americans. Do we question their loyalty? Why the double standard?

Please just go cash your AIPAC check - you've earned it.

Last I knew, Ireland wasn't occupying anybody, cutting them off from fuel and water, strangling their economy, and then invading them at will because the people there are desperate.

Double standard my ass.

Show me the Irish equivalent of AIPAC. Tell me how many times we've egged Ireland on to invade another country? For that matter, show me leftist Israelis that have any influence in the US.

Did any presidential candidate go in front of a right-wing Korean-American lobbying group and make the kind of statements Obama & Clinton made to AIPAC? A right-wing German-American lobbying group? A Mexican-American one? When you can point to them, I'll believe there is a double standard.

The right wing in Israel has a disproportionate influence on US policy. I think the reasons for that are complex, but to deny it seems perverse.

In fact, some Irish-Americans did create an IRA terrorist lobby. It was well-known that contributions raised for Ireland were helping the IRA. In Boston you could not do anything to stop it.

But the Irish war was so tiny that there was no need to conspire to hijack an entire American political party to affect its outcome. JFK had a good relationship with the UK. Nor was it reasonable for Irish-Americans to think that they could so demonize the British as to get America to launch wars against them.

Perhaps the founders of AIPAC observed all this and decided to be more ambitious.

Well ,

800 000 Irish just fooked the European Consitution by voting no...

God bless all here...

Now the Poles have said that there is no point in signing up, next the Czechs.

Funny that, smaller the nation, more finely tuned to loss of sovereignty.

Looks like the Bilderburgs will have to book another hotel.

Yes, Irish-Americans's loyalty was indeed questioned. Some Italian-Americans ended up in the same concentration camps as the Japanese. German-Americans would have been put in camps during WW1 had there been any due to massive British and US propaganda. Slavs were automaticly seen as subversive socialists. And I can provide more. Unvarnished US history is UGLY, which is why so little of its ugliness gets taught at any level--Post-grad included. One must actively want to learn REAL US history and World history, too. That means lots of time spent--time very few people can afford to take, and the indoctrination system knows it. And no, I don't know it all. I uncover hideous things from time-to-time that lead to others. A good place to start is The National Security Archives as most everything there is an eyeopener.

"Yes, Irish-Americans's loyalty was indeed questioned."

Was, not is. That's my point. Just about every immigrant group was discriminated against when they got to this country, and was suspect as to their loyalties. After two or three generations, this should not be the case anymore.

How f**king obtuse can you get! None of those immigrant groups is involved in inflaming CURRENT events in a very crucial part of the world! On OUR dime.

You are a flaming troll. And yes, I am guilty of feeding the troll, but I cannot let this arrant nonsense just slide by.

Or maybe you're just an idiot.

I'm not a troll, I'm Dick Cheney.

Seriously, I think we've taken this discussion as far as we can, nobody is going to change anyone else's mind. I'd like to get back to discussing peak oil myself. BTW I thought trolls had to post the original off-topic discussion, I have only replied to others.

"I'm not a troll, I'm Dick Cheney. "

Ah, that explains everything.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled PO program...

Any Jew born in America is automatically a citizen of Israel. As far as I know Ireland and Italy have not adopted such a policy. It's irrelevant because the problem is those Likudniks who have organized to take over the GOP under the Neoconservative movement after already having a great power base in the Democratic Party. How many other pressure groups do you know which have power over both the Republican and Democratic Parties?

The oil companies.
Wall Street.
Defense contractors.

And what do the neocons do? They plot the conquest of oil states, using the weapons of defense contractors, which profits Wall Street.

Now that's what I call gaming the system. There is simply nowhere you can go in our political system where you can oppose them.

There is simply nowhere you can go in our political system where you can oppose them.

I agree, as that's been an argument of mine since 1992, when I voted Perot. It's an argument that's hard to wage because of the high level of individual's ignorance, stubbornness; the obfuscation and conflation generated by the Propaganda System; and the Machiavellian wedge political methodology waged by both parties against the American public. But the polls are encouraging; the onset of Hard Times has a way of waking up people.

The sad truth is that the US political system is terminally dysfunctional, and its days are numbered. One of the symptoms is its incapacity to raise up truly wise and effective statesmen. It isn't just that Obama and McCain are bad choices - all of the clowns that were running were bad choices. It has been a very long time since we've had any good choices. I do not expect to see any good choices put forward as long as we remain with the present system.

This a repost, it was originally posted way down the DB thread late on 6/27, I worry about the influence of Christian fundamentalists on US foreign policy

I heard an interesting take on the US hostility to Iran's nuclear program on recent a US TV talk show, from the Commonwealth Club, syndicated to ABC2 here in Oz.

Israel has a huge nuclear arsenal (200+ warheads) and 2nd strike capacity from submarines, so attacking Israel would be mass suicide for the Iranians.

However the nuclear threat would likely deter some of the Jewish diaspora from returning to Israel and may frighten some Israelis into leaving their country.

Although the program did not mention it, it seems to me that this would be anathema to the Christian fundamentalists who think that the second coming, as per the book of revelation, must necessarily be preceded by the return of all Jews to the holy land. So Iran's nuclear program stands in the way of the Jesus and it must be stopped at all costs.

Are there enough religious loonies in the Republican party/US military for an idea like this this to take hold?

Already done.

The Air Force is full of them. So are the state GOPs in the Sunbelt.

Well, I for one and staying put in Blighty. If I can single handedly feck up the 2nd coming then all is good.

George Washington was a real commander and a war hero. After becoming President, he advised the republic not to keep standing armies, since this would lead to unnecessary conflicts.

Dwight Eisenhower was Supreme Allied Commander in WW2 Europe. And he warned the nation against the dangers of the "Military Industrial Complex" when stepping down in 1961.

If the US had men of this calibre in the White House there would be absolutely no problem at all - Ike would have settled the whole matter with a five minute phone call to Jeruselem.

Unfortunately, it's amateur hour in DC. After trashing the Constitution and wrecking the economy, what can these guys do for an encore.

"Hey, let's start another war!!!"

Yeah, that should solve everything. Bunch of Twits.

Eisenhower authorized the Operation Ajax to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammed Mosaddeq.

Ike also waged an undeclared, semi-covert war against Indonesia in 1958. Prior to that he reneged on the Paris agreement to hold elections in 1954 that would have united Vietnam. There's more. The lesson is too few Americans know what they need to know about their country's past.

The lesson is too few Americans know what they need to know about their country's past.

Amen. I highly suggest Overthrow:America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Steven Kinzer to anyone that wants to learn more about the history of American interventionist policies in the 20th century. He was also interviewed on Democracy Now!.

In it, he writes that the invasion of Iraq “was the culmination of a 110-year period during which Americans overthrew fourteen governments that displeased them for various ideological, political, and economic reasons.”

I concur. Kinzer's book is one of many in my library.

In fairness to the last decent GOP president, Ike underwent a change of attitude about the Cold War while in office. He didn't even announce he was a Republican until 1952, so he had to accept GOP hawks like Nixon and the maniacal Dulles brothers to run his first term of office. After 1956 there were a lot of changes. The death of Stalin also changed perceptions of the Soviet threat.

However, the non-white Chinese were inflated as the Communist Threat Mark II, explaining our activities in Indonesia which culminated in the 1965-66 genocide.

The main tenet of Ike's policy was that he didn't like big government. His embrace of Massive Retaliation let him neglect the US Army and keep down the number of troops drafted. Nukes were comparatively cheap. Seven of his eight federal budgets were balanced. I'm afraid that all those dirty wars in the 3rd World may also have looked cheap to him... but they didn't stay that way.

Good old Ike left many thousands of surrendered German soldiers to live in utter misery, on minimum rations and dying like flies, as he blamed them all, even the 16 year old boys, for the concentration camps.
He was a war criminal, he just was never brought to book.

History has shown that massive deaths among German POWs in US Army custody have been proven untrue. For one thing, no mass graves, or reports of massive cremation.

What happened is that many "Hitler Youth" etc. were simply let go, without proper paperwork. Thus the # released was much smaller than the # captured.

The Allies did miscalculate the # of people that they needed to feed in occupied Germany. Proper allowance was not made for the tens of millions fleeing the Soviet advance.

Incompetence more than malice.


There have been grossly exaggerated accounts of German deaths.
Just the same, it is clear that Eisenhower abrogated the Geneva convention, and deliberately instituted cruel and inhuman conditions.
This was not in a situation where the critical problem was a lack of supplies, but was due to a wish to give them 'a taste of their own medicine':

Although not on the level of a Himmler, this is clearly criminal behaviour, and the 16 year old boy soldiers it partly affected were hardly to blame for the sins of their parent's generation.

It stains Eisenhower's name, and it is right and proper that it should forever do so.

He also waited until he was out of office and couldn't do anything about the Military Industrial Complex to warn us about it.

Don't get me wrong ... I'd take Ike over Dubya any day, a thousand times over. But that is more a measure of how far the presidency has sunk than it is an endorsement of Ike.

What I most liked about Ike was how he set Pentagon spending.

He wrote the military budget himself, having some experience in such matters. Congress was only allowed to vote up or down. Since Congressmen couldn't change it to benefit their constituents, the Pentagon had no reason to go to Congressmen to champion their boondoggles against Ike's will. Defense contractors were efficient, fast and very cheap compared to today.

However, you can see that only a former five-star general like Ike had the credibility to run things this way. He knew it would end when he left office, so he gave the military-industrial complex speech.

We still do not have a solution to this insidious cancer.

What solution? Isn't this cancer terminal?

It sure is. As I've said in other posts, the US political system is terminally dysfunctional. The workings of the Military Industrial Complex are yet another symptom.

Note that on the same day the Fifth Fleet said it will keep the Hormuz open.

It should also have said that the Fifth Fleet will stop any Israeli attack on Iran.

Well as long as israel is winning the war no fleet of any number will come from america. When israel's defeat finally start many fleets will come to save israel, they may have take control of the strait of hormuz inspite of inevitable numerous suicide attacks on their sea crafts by irani navy and volunteers but there is little they can do at land. Sure american and israeli air force can do a lot of damage both at battlefield and to civilians in iran but still I think israel will be conquered by iranis given the large number of irani armed forces, their weapons, their spirit, their moral, the tiny size of israel even if no other country join the war against israel. Its almost sure that syria and jordan will have their own war with israel parallel with israel's war with iran. There is also a strong chance that turkey atleast remain nuetral and egypt may have big political changes in it.

Just like the SS had to back off to let people kill JFK,


the fifth Fleet will have to stand down to let Israel thru.

Iran will not wait for a Warren Commission.

Russia will know the instant the orders leave DC/Tel Aviv/London.

And so Iran will know.

The timeline will be hours/days.

Right, like IAEA Chief said: Any attack on Iran will turn Middle East into "fireball."

Juan Cole in his blog today calls the first "redline" mentioned above "bullshit," as there is absolutely no evidence of any attempt by Iran to highly enrich uranium, which is the first needed step in atomic bomb making. I'm not going to repeat the many points I've made about this issue, its illegality, utter insanity, and how it will end the whole globalization project. Nor do I think the Straits of Hormuz can be controlled by the US Navy. Not mentioned is the fact that Saudi oil facilities will be attacked to deny their use to the enemy, which from Iran's POV will be the whole of the Western world. I could go on, but it's pointless, as it's all a rehash of previous analysis.

Bottom line is in any conversation about Iran's "nuclear ambitions" it must be stated that they are only doing what's Iran's RIGHT to do as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and have submitted to IAEA inspections that not even the USA, not to mention Israel, won't allow.

Interseting, you print the truth about a situation and you get a negative ranking, which is now showing positive as I write this reply. Why is what I wrote negative, or is the person(s) too cowardly to write a cogent reply?

It's a coordinated dance to the ballroom of war with Iran. Cheney and Lieberman are doing some heavyweight pushing behind the scenes. Israel and the neocons are in this together. The debate behind the scenes is "when" not "if" and whether Israel or the US fires the first missiles.

Seymor Hersh is reporting in The New Yorker:

Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year.
“The Finding was focussed on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” a person familiar with its contents said, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.”
Gates warned of the consequences if the Bush Administration staged a preëmptive strike on Iran, saying, as the senator recalled, “We’ll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America.”
But a lesson was learned in the incident: The public had supported the idea of retaliation, and was even asking why the U.S. didn’t do more. The former official said that, a few weeks later, a meeting took place in the Vice-President’s office. “The subject was how to create a casus belli between Tehran and Washington,” he said.

Looks like the war is still on.

Did anyone else listen to the Hersh interview on "Fresh Air" last night? If he's right, Cheney & Co are irrational and delusional. The actions of madmen cannot be predicted. WASF.


Iran has threatened heavy retaliation if Israel attacks. I am virtually certain that Israel is very concerned about Iranian retaliation. To preclude an Iranian response on Israeli territory, Israel most assuredly will have warned Iran of nuclear retaliation should a wave of Iranian missiles rain on Tel Aviv. The wild card is whether Iran actually has nukes it may have gotten from the former Soviet Union and whether they can make a counter threat of nuke retaliation against Israel. It could get extremely dicey.

The wild card is whether Iran actually has nukes it may have gotten from the former Soviet Union and whether they can make a counter threat of nuke retaliation against Israel.

Don't worry. The days of israeli nuclear harassment of the region is over. It not matter whether or not iran has nuclear capability, Pakistan do. The counter nuclear attack warning would come as soon as muhammed ali's left punch followed his right punch in ring. The tables were turned when pakistan developed intermediate range ballistic missile abdali of 5000 km range that easily bring entire israel in our range. We have a declared arsenal of over 120 nuclear bombs and a few dozen hydrogen bombs and we will no doubt use it not only for our own defense but also for the defense of arab countries, iran, turkey and central asian muslim countries. We have an already developed vast underground infrastructure and launch capabilites. The nuclear attack could be limited in intensity (by reducing the bomb size) so that only jewish colonies get affected and jerusalem and palestinians areas not affected thermally though they will inevitably be affected by radiations, that is why we keep nuclear attack as last option.

I think I'll take the afternoon off to start digging a basement under my bomb shelter. You mfs are scaring me.

How does this differ from the misguided American who thinks nuclear bombs were built to be used and that US will start using them soon?

The whole point of nuclear weapons is deterrence.

US has that. So has Russia, China, UK, France, India, Pakistan... and the list is growing.

Whether we in the OECD countries like it or not, this development is inevitable and we really have no moral right to stop others getting nukes either, unless we disarm ourselves as well.

Of course, we can always bully others to submission and that is in fact what we are doing.

To which extent it'll work remains to be seen.

The whole point of nuclear weapons is deterrence.

Where did you get this idea?

In American nuclear thinking it is mutual assured destruction (MAD) that is the deterrent. Nuclear weapons with large enough payloads in large numbers minus any meaningful defensive system provides the MAD. However, once you change that calculus, add in a defensive system, reduce the payload or the number, and that mutual assured destruction is no more.

Which explains why North Korea's artillery pointed at Seoul alone deters the US?

MAD is desirable from a policymakers standpoint, but its by no means necissary to deter.


First - Pyong Yang's artillery is not nuclear, so it really doesn't fit into this discussion.

Second - It's a stretch to suggest that artillery alone is what deters the US. That is your assertion only, based on....?

Third - please show me where I said that MAD was necessary for deterrence? What I said was that MAD was the basis of our nuclear thinking. It is, of course, conceivable that other basis of deterrence exist.

EDIT:It's a stretch to suggest that artillery alone is what deters the US. That is your assertion only, based on....?

I so rarely agree Mr. Akin, but I have to back him up on this one.

North Korean guns, clear and present danger to South

But for South Korea, a more immediate danger may be North Korea's artillery.

The capital Seoul, only 60 km (37 miles) south of the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone that has divided the peninsula since the end of the Korean War in 1953, has long been within range of one of the world's most powerful artillery batteries.

South Korea's Defense Ministry said the North had amassed more than 13,000 pieces of artillery and multiple rocket launchers, much of it aimed at Seoul.

Jane's International Defense Review estimates that if North Korea launched an all-out barrage, it could achieve an initial fire rate of 300,000 to 500,000 shells per hour into the Seoul area -- home to about half the country's 48.5 million people.

The biggest are 170-mm self-propelled artillery guns and 240-mm multiple rocket launchers. It also has hundreds of Scud missiles that could hit any part of South Korea.

Granted this is not the same deterrence as a nuclear weapon, but it is well understood that an artillery attack on Seoul by the north would be devastating.

And is about as likely as my dropping a golden poop in the toilet. Folks, there is a reason Bush and Co. pay almost no real attention to NK: they simply are not a threat. They are well managed by the Chinese.

The greatest threat to Korea, in fact, is the Chinese. They have been engaging in revisionist history regarding the ancient history of Korea and have made recent (in the last few years) claimsto the effect that Korea down to the Han River (Seoul) is, in fact, historically Chinese.

This is utter crap, but when has that ever stopped anyone? Korea, being a minor power and not unified until well after China was, historically had to pay tribute and act as a vassal state of China. This is a far cry from saying Korea and Koreans north of the Han were ever Chinese. (Genetics proves this is bunk. Koreans' closest cousins are... the Japanese.)

China's interest lies in NK actually having some natural resources, unlike SK. Also, for China to essentially annex SK would be beyond stupid. They could do it, but the one thing the Koreans have always done is fiercely defend their nation. (The Japanese annexation was achieved politically (with US consent via Taft-Katsura), not by force. There was a resistance movement throughout the occupation. Kim Il-sung came to power via one of the arms of that resistance. China claiming SK would be it's own Iraq, which I am sure it is not interested in.

NK, however, is ripe for the picking. The relationship between the two is long and extensive. The NK regime is weak in reality. It rules by fear, by personality cult and the deprivation of its people of any knowledge of the outside world. China need not officially take over anything. All it need do is maintain a puppet and slowly bleed the nation dry of its resources.

Were the Chinese to actively annex, they still would see little resistance, imho. The people are already brainwashed into docility and unquestioning allegiance to authority. They've already made the rationale public and can also claim to be acting to prevent the collapse of NK and it spinning out of control, thus igniting another Korean conflagration.

Sorry... a long aside. Anyone interested enough, I'll scrounge up some links.


And is about as likely as my dropping a golden poop in the toilet.

I missed the part where I speculated on the likelihood of an attack from either the US or NK. I would say that an attack from either side is highly unlikely, but infinitely more probable than you shitting gold. The fact that North Korea deters an American attack by threatening Seoul with artillery bombardment is not a new development nor one that is the result of my speculation alone.


SEOUL -- When the U.S. military tries to explain the difficulty of using force to stop North Korea's development of nuclear weapons, the oddly poetic phrase it turns to is the "tyranny of proximity."

The phrase, which has been in the lexicon of the U.S. forces in South Korea for years, stems from the imposing array of conventional artillery that the North Koreans have dug into the hills just north of the demilitarized zone, a mere 30 miles from this capital city of 12 million. The nightmare scenario is that if the United States opts for a more forceful approach to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions, the communist regime would retaliate not only against the 38,000 American troops stationed in South Korea, but also against South Korea itself.

Ease up, there, Hoss. I didn't mean to imply you had. I was just commenting on the thread with a little historical/current events background and from the perspective of someone having spent eight years in the theater.

I would say that an attack from either side is highly unlikely, but infinitely more probable than you shitting gold.

Uh, nope. About equal, at best. You can't imagine how people living here giggle at the international histrionics over NK/SK/US relations... The one time we actually came close, I knew it. I could feel it. Most Koreans were oblivious because they had no feel for the US political mind. But I did. I told my friends we were a lot closer than they thought we were. Recent revelations about Carter's visit and how many hours Clinton was from bombing Yongbyon have borne out my suspicions at that time.

While this is hardly a definitive or scientific analysis: It ain't happenin'. See the golden poo above.


And is about as likely as my dropping a golden poop in the toilet.

LMAO! Man, you get a greenclick for that line alone.

Thanks! (I think...)


I read it from the people who practically wrote the book on deterrence, nuclear arms race strategy and MAD. That is, RAND.

I agree that MAD is one deterrence strategy which has prevailed in the old discussion of USA vs former SU.

However, slow motion 'MAD' using sticks and stones is not a very heavy deterrence. It requires retaliative capability using very heavy loss weapons, such as nuclear weapons.

The point of nuclear weapons is deterrence - the potentiality of great losses through their use.

When everybody has them, who's going to start using them, when everybody gains to lose?

We did fine enough with the 'crazy communists' (sic), so I hope we can do the same with the 'terrorist islamists' (sic).

Anybody who wants a big picture view on to this manufacturing of enemies (communists, terrorists, islamists), I recommend 'The Power of Nightmares' by Adam Curtis.

Hello Peakoil Tarzan,

Yep, I gotta agree. If a full-on nuclear/bioweapon gift exchange quickly results from this MidEast War--even Jay Hanson's Themo/Gene Prediction Timeline will be historically seen as a writings of a wild-eyed cornucopian-optimist. :(

Just picking numbers off the top of my head with no research: Let's say Iran-Israel War would cost $100 trillion to the global economy, and who knows how many lives. It would be far, far cheaper to pay the Israelis to live elsewhere, then guarantee their travel right [for those so inclined] to go on the 'Jews to Jerusalem' equivalent of the Muslim Hadj to Mecca.

For some hugely wasteful and deluded reason, every religion needs its physical version of Disneyland to validate their faith in some concrete matter. My guess is the High Priests always create these physical manifestations because the generated income, easy Priest-lifestyle sure beats working like the rest of the world.

This way the religion problem is removed from the oil equation; the 'Iran-Iraq fear premium' would be mostly removed from the oil markets, thus the supply-demand situation would be much clearer to all. Then, the planet can get busy solving the 'Shia-Shiite' conflict, which has festered for nearly 1,000 years, plus solving the problem of Fundamentalist Christians seeking the Rapture and Armageddon, plus solving the Hindu-Muslim Impasse, and so on.

IMO, Peak Outreach to all is my best solution towards this end because energy could care less what you think or believe--only what you actually do has any effect. My feeble two cents.

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

For some hugely wasteful and deluded reason, every religion needs its physical version of Disneyland to validate their faith in some concrete matter.

Bob, your stuff is wonderfully sane. Keep it up, please!

(conversion factor: one written plaudit = 15.57 up arrows)

Just some 'wild & crazy' thoughts:

To avert the MidEast War--relocate Israel to the North American SouthWest--afterall, somewhat similar in climate and water problems.

Then, WTSHTF in my general area:

The highly-skilled Israeli Army with lots of jetplanes, tanks, nukes, missles, etc, will come in real handy as we fend off the inevitable invasion from a collapsing Mexico [or the Israelis can easily militarily grab the PEMEX fields], plus greatly assist in the future 40-years of a northern, desert-migration Exodus towards Cascadia, and other green pastures.

Alternatively, by immediately relocating Israel inside Cascadia, then it instantaneously will preclude the 50 million SouthWesterners [and who knows how many from Mexico?] from ever migrating north as our desert ecosystem evaporates away.

Then, will being a Phoenician = Palestinian?

The Las Vegas strip = the Gaza strip?

Albequerque = Armageddon?

Mexico City = Masada?

It is fascinating to me to mind-stretch, then extrapolate further all kinds of future possibilities.

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

Why not re-locate all of the African-Americans back to Africa? That would end all of the racial strife in the US. We could then re-locate all of the North African Europeans back to Algeria and Morocco.

Actually, I've got a better idea. Why don't we re-locate all of the white Americans back to Europe. That would clear up all sorts of problems. Oh wait, European-Americans don't want to be forcibly removed from the country they call home, where they grew up and where their parents grew up? Yeah, that's probably how the Israeli's feel.

Leanan, can you get rid of this troll, please?

Enough is enough.

Not everyone who disagrees with you is a troll. Please feel free to attack my arguments if you disagree with them. My point is that it's pretty easy for white folks in America (I'm one of them) to say what's right or wrong in the Middle East, but it's probably a lot different if you live there. We should try to put ourselves in the Palestinian's shoes and the Israeli's shoes before we say that millions of people of one variety or other should just move. We are all people, and it would do us good to remember that once in a while.

You're not a troll because you disagree with me. You're a troll because you are just trying to inflame things.

I have been attacking your arguments all along, but with no response, because you are not interested in that sort of give and take. Your wacky "double standard" posts about Ireland, etc. We don't give Ireland 3 billion (nominal - I suspect it's much more than that) in military aid every year. Military aid that is used in some reprehensible ways.

We are indeed all people, and it would do a world of good if Israelis would remember that once in a while, vis a vis the Palestinians.

Not "cockroaches", as they call them. People.

Fine. To your point on 3 billion in military aid. That is a lot, but I think that it is somewhat distorted to say that it's far and above what we have given to other countries, sometimes in different ways. We gave the Afghans lots of aid in their fight agianst the Soviets, we gave the South Vietnamese plenty of aid (and our soldiers lives) in their fight against the North, same with South Korea wrt North Korea.

We have a long history of foreign involvement in just about every region in the world, sometimes taking both sides (Iran vs. Iraq). The part I don't get is why the only one that seems to get people upset is Israel. We are allowing horrible abuses in Zimbabwe without lifting a finger, but that doesn't seem to get people riled up.

Several dozen wrongs do not make a right.

We (I'm talking the US here) have an extremely sorry history of foreign interventions, usually in support of corporate interests. It is shameful, not something to use as a standard.

But the fact is that Israel is not the "only one that gets people upset". You are spinning and twisting like crazy. The US supports Israel always, and to the hilt! You are making the US unconditional support of Israel into a double standard against Israel.

Classic neocon Orwellian doublespeak.

You are a troll - go away.

Hello Consumer,

Thxs for responding. Calm down--I was just openly musing as I have no agenda or power to dictate global policy. Consider it as fiction. I was just trying to get people to consider other potential paths for the Downslope Ride. They will have to decide for themselves how to shape our future.

Yeah, I know, but it's been a rough day hear on DB. I just want people to remember that all of these groups we talk about on DB are made up of human beings, sometimes people seem to forget that. This is especially true when people are talking about the food situation.

I am going to hug my NPK bag now...

What we should have done was give the freed slaves entire states in the West in 1865, so they would leave the Southerners to pick their own cotton. That would have been hilarious. Maybe the blacks would have made better arrangements with the local Indians than whites ever intended to.

See, the joke you're missing is that there is a giant global war between the rich and the poor. The Palestians had their land stolen from them because they were too poor to have a voice. The king of Saudi Arabia told Franklin Roosevelt that if the German people had committed a great crime against the Jews, the Germans should lose land to the Jews, not the Palestians.

Why did this not happen? The Germans, even in ruins, were part of the rich white world. The Jews were, in our eyes, 3/5ths of a white man and didn't qualify for valuable real estate. The Palestians were, in our eyes, 2/5ths of a white man and DING DING DING we have our loser.

So the issue here is who gets to decide when to declare a moratorium on land theft and genocide? I guarantee you we are all too biased; we will use theft and murder to get in power, then try to freeze the rest of the world into place so no one else can follow our path. The Jews are white Europeans in the eyes of non-white victims of Western imperialism, so Israel will inevitably be seen as a Trojan horse to resume the monstrous crimes of the West.

We better solve this problem fast, because there's some post-collapse mass migrations coming so vast that they'll blow our minds. Wait'll the Arctic is ice-free and there's no longer a Canadian government to stop the Chinese. "Hey, if you got to do it to the Injuns why can't we do it to you?"

I know I said I would stop posting on this topic, but I can't believe I actually agree with you. East Germany would have made a lot more sense as a Jewish state, but rich white people tend not to be punished for their crimes.

I can't believe you are actually arguing this point as though it were a serious contemplation. Maybe time to go for a walk.

Now that you've said it, I feel safe to join in. I thought peak oil was scary.

The question is, do your positions reflect the policy of the new Pakistani government, and perhaps more importantly, the shaken-up Pakistani Army?

It seems the new coalition in power there is either keeping its real intentions secret, or the US media does not want to investigate it because this would reveal a massive defeat for America domination in the region. Folks over here seem to think Musharraf is still in charge and fully on our side.

It must also be pointed out that many governments must now show two faces, one to their own citizens, and one to Washington, as the demands of the former are utterly opposed by the latter.

>>so that only jewish colonies get affected <<

Sorry mate , I cannot let this pass without comment.

1. What have the Jews ever done to Pakistan to allow that kind of racist language?

2. The minute you launch , India has about 2 minutes to decide if your missiles will go south and east or north and west (you launch vertically). So the hindu kuffar and sikh kuffar have two minutes to launch. I suppose you have a good telephone link to the premier of India? I suppose your general / nutter / boss will be able to convince the Indian premier that ''its ok, we are going for the 'jew kuffar only'...We get the Christian Kuffar later...''.

3. Last time I was in the Sub-continent, the phonelinks were pretty shitty.

4. Maybe, assuming the Jew Kuffar and the American Kuffar do nothing, perhaps the Indian Kuffar will do nothing as well?

Big risk....

Maybe Pakistan's population bomb can be resolved in a microsecond?

Maybe cut in half by 20000 deg C?

Truly, if you believe in the the teachings of the prophet (pbuh) then forget nuclear weapons as a solution.

Peak oil and Religious Nuclear War, now that's proper doomer porn.

There's some seriously complicated politics and an unexpected turn of events could create one serious shitstorm.

I hope it's just more sabre rattling and a strategy to divert attention away from oil and banking.

So,this is WisdomfromPakistan.I wonder what passes for StupidityfromPakistan.
Also,before you post on TOD again it may pay to go back to what passes for school in Pakistan and polish your English grammar.

Must you display American Exceptionalism and arrogance?

No need to criticize foreigners English skills. As an English speaker living in a foreign country and not speaking the local language I'm always amazed that people even try to speak our language and given how different the grammars often are it's not at all a surprise how well it comes across. We should welcome input from other countries as we tend to get too embalmed in our own perspectives here. I think there are problems with this writer's arguments but I'm very interested in hearing from him about the view on the street over there.

If Israel is telegraphing an airstrike on Iran's nuclear facilities, then I would bet on almost any action by Israel except for that one. Normally we don't have the slightest clue as to what Israel is going to do until way after they've already done it.

Iranian missiles heading in Israel's direction would have to get past Patriot missile batteries in Iraq first. Then they'd have to get past Israel's own missile shield.

Does anyone have any idea what happens if you drop a nuclear bunker buster on an oil field? If Israel did that to Iran, would Iran become suddenly irrelevant and broke?

And now we have Hezbollah in Iraq??? http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080701/ap_on_re_mi_ea/hezbollah_in_iraq

Just gets curiouser and curiouser...

Does anyone have any idea what happens if you drop a nuclear bunker buster on an oil field?

I can't tell you what the effect would be on the oil field, but I'm pretty certain I can figure out what it will do to the price of oil.

If Israel did that to Iran, would Iran become suddenly irrelevant and broke?

I'm thinking that in the case of a shooting war with Iran, the country destined to become irrelevant and broke is the US.

Hmmm...something does not add up here. Can you say "Contention between Gov. Depts?"


The U.S. State Department dismissed an ABC News report that Israel is increasingly likely to attack Iranian nuclear facilities this year.

``I have no information that would substantiate that,'' spokesman Tom Casey said. The report was based on statements from an unnamed U.S. Defense Department official and Casey criticized the official for not speaking publicly.

``I think it's rather foolish of people who often have no clue what they're talking about to assert things and not even have the courtesy to do so on the basis of their name,'' he told reporters in Washington today.

Spokesmen for the Pentagon, Central Intelligence Agency and the White House declined comment on the report as did Israeli government officials. Iran's government dismissed it as propaganda.

ABC cited the official as saying an Israeli strike might be triggered by the production of enough enriched uranium at Iran's Natanz nuclear plant to make a bomb. A second possible trigger would be the delivery of a Russian SA-20 air-defense system, the installation of which would make an Israeli attack more difficult, the U.S. official told ABC.

could it be that this sabre rattling will subside along about,oh say september, a meaningless agreement on iran's nukes will be reached(thus demonstrating bush's "superior diplomatic skill"), the price of oil and gasoline will fall, voters will fall in love (again)with the gop. old mcgimp will be elected and the country will live in ignorant bliss for 4 more years. and meanwhile the debt will rise to $18T, (mcgimp will not raise taxes).

Some of it might happen. Any country that voted for GWB twice could well vote for McCain (even if one buys that the GOP stole the elections, it never should have been close enough to steal). The $18T debt is plausible as well, as is 4 years of ignorance. It is the bliss part that seems most unlikely to me.

There have been several good video interviews from the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid on CNBC Europe this morning concerning what is causing the high price of oil. The first says it is all about capacity or more specifically, the cost to produce a barrel of oil:

Cost of Oil

"We are facing a big dilemma right now with what we call a capacity issue ? and that's pushed the marginal cost of a barrel up to staggering levels really," Bob Fryklund, vice president at IHS, energy industry consultants said Tuesday.

The second says it is all about supply and demand:

Repsol CEO on Oil Price

At the World Petroleum Conference in Madrid, Antonio Brufau Niubo, CEO of Repsol, believes the oil price is not being driven up by speculation but by supply and demand.

And another says it is about geopolitics.

Geopolitics Tighten Oil Supply

The World Petroleum Congress opened in Madrid Tuesday with every CEO of every oil business talking about oil supplies and tightness due to geopolitical reasons. Jean Claude Gandur, CEO of Addax Petroleum, discusses the issues in Nigeria.

And the OPEC Sec. General says it is all because of speculators and the falling dollar.

No Oil Shortage: OPEC Sec. General

There is "no shortage" in the oil market and OPEC member countries would prefer a lower price than the current highs, OPEC Secretary General Abdalla El-Badri told CNBC.

And earlier:

The Oil Debate Continues

The 19th World Petroleum Congress got underway in Madrid Monday with governments and oil companies gathering to discuss the spiraling price of oil. CNBC's Steve Sedgwick has this report.

Ron Patterson

I've noticed kind of a sea change in the comments coming from the executives of major integrated oil companies and their spokespersons over the past six months.

At the beginning of the year they were all saying that they could find and produce new oil reserves for $50 or $60 per barrel. The orthodoxy then was that we were going to have plentiful and cheap oil. We don't hear that so much any more. The party line now seems to be we are going to have plentiful but expensive oil.

So these guys are undoubtedly behind the curve. I wonder if that is because they themselves don't know what is going on, or if they know what is going on but are reluctant to be the bearers of bad news.

Here's Bloomberg's take on the IEA report:

IEA Slashes 2012 Oil Demand Forecast on Record Prices

They put the drop in demand up top, but further down...

While the IEA expected its barrel-counting analysis would show weaker demand, the ``surprise'' was that its supply forecast also needed to be cut, Tanaka said in Madrid.

Growth in global supply capacity will peak at about 2.5 million barrels a day in 2010, slowing to less than a million a day for the following three years, the report said.

The oil market will be ``tighter'' than previously expected because many major oil projects are experiencing ``slippage'' of 12 to 15 months in their completion time, he said.

This is why I distrust the "bottom up" projections....

The projections I trust most, if I trust any, are bottom up projections that take slippage into account. This is done by keeping track of project delays and developing a model that attempts to capture the factors that effect slippage (and projecting them). CIBC does this.

But their objectivity can be questioned I suppose. They do a ton of energy-related business.

I think even that is probably overly optimistic.

The factors that cause slippage are worsened by peak oil, so any model based on the past performance is likely to be inaccurate.

Militants and NOCs are emboldened by high prices. Labor gets more demanding, both because they need more income and they see their employers making fat profits. Nations start rattling their sabers. Shortages of raw materials and skilled labor worsen. The oil companies are going where no man has gone before in search of oil, and encountering problems they never anticipated. And getting financing becomes a problem, even for "good investments" like oil infrastructure.

Data: I agree.OTOH it looks like the IEA is starting to separate itself from the likes of the EIA at this point in terms of attempting to maintain credibility. If the IEA wanted to increase its credibility even more, it would examine its consistent record of overshooting on supply predictions and attempt to adjust for this tendency when making revised predictions of future supply.

I was wondering if we're witnessing the start of an about face by the IEA. The idea would be to adjust their forecasts little by little so that, by the time they get close to reality, people would have forgotten the crap they've been putting out up to now. It would be embarrassing, to say the least, for them to say "Oops, sorry, we made a couple of tiny mistakes. The real numbers should be.......".

We will see;-)

Alan from the islands

From the article "Arctic Holds 100 Billion Bbl Oil In Unexplored Fields-US Government Expert"

"The Arctic is almost completely unexplored," said Donald Gautier at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid. "There are 100 billion barrels of oil to be found in the Arctic."

Is it me being stupid here? I cannot understand how if the arctic is unexplored they can say it holds 100 billion barrels of oil.

Can anyone help me understand this?

That's nothin. My Closet's got a kazillion barrels of oil in it. It's never been explored, either.

Add to that the Brazillion barrels found of the coast of south america and were saved!

Back to BAU I guess.

I don't think you're being stupid. It's more like, inquiring minds would like to know. What is the basis for that number? Why not 50 billion or 500 billion?

Alan from the islands

Wait a few months. It will get to 500 billion eventually. If you have to make stuff up, it is better not to start too big, or people won't take you seriously.


He could be extrapolating the size of known fields in the region to get an overall number at a comfortable probability level. I think M. King Hubbert did the same thing to get total recoverable reserves when he original came up with his Peak Oil predictions... and it seems that Hubbert came pretty close.

Speedy – This might help you to understand the disconnect, and yes Darwinian they do conspire.

“Iran-Contra's 'Lost Chapter'”


“To understand this extraordinary development, historians might want to look back at the 1980s and examine the Iran-Contra scandal’s “lost chapter,” a narrative describing how Ronald Reagan’s administration brought CIA tactics to bear domestically to reshape the way Americans perceived the world.
That chapter – which we are publishing here for the first time – was “lost” because Republicans on the congressional Iran-Contra investigation waged a rear-guard fight that traded elimination of the chapter’s key findings for the votes of three moderate GOP senators, giving the final report a patina of bipartisanship.”
“The American people thus were spared the chapter’s troubling finding: that the Reagan administration had built a domestic covert propaganda apparatus managed by a CIA propaganda and disinformation specialist working out of the National Security Council.”
“One of the CIA’s most senior covert action operators was sent to the NSC in 1983 by CIA Director [William] Casey where he participated in the creation of an inter-agency public diplomacy mechanism that included the use of seasoned intelligence specialists,” the chapter’s conclusion stated.
“This public/private network set out to accomplish what a covert CIA operation in a foreign country might attempt – to sway the media, the Congress, and American public opinion in the direction of the Reagan administration’s policies.”


Appetite for Arctic oil rises in line with crude prices has a little map of where oil potential is supposed to be - the Amerasian Basin.

Yeah, that's why I call it the Propaganda System. Impeacchment was "taken off the table" during Iran-Contra, which has directly contributed to the crisis we enjoy today. Both Reagan and Bush, for starters, were certainly guilty of high crimes. Look at how many actors in both today's congress and executive were players during that policy action. The CIA also attacked US inner cities by starting and supplying the Crack Cocaine Epidemic, as documented in the late Gary Webb's Dark Alliance and by Mike Rupperts tireless efforts at From The Wilderness.

it's just a nice number , everyone like numbers like "100 billion"-something.

That number will rotate the planet for another 3 years ... and then ?
.... kdolliso ? And then ?

The king may say it's speculation, and the articles may say the experts disagree, but damned if the comments by A found here: http://seekingalpha.com/article/78264-commodities-prices-speculation-exp... don't make a lot of sense.

Originally posted by someone else on another thread here. (Sorry, not sure who. Whoever you are, props on the find...)


The article is complete nonsense, at least as far as oil is concerned. Speculators have not stockpiled oil, because speculators on the futures markets don't buy oil. They buy paper. The guy just doesn't know what he's talking about.

Agreed. It's commenter "A" that is worth a read.

Thanks to whomever originally posted that to these forums.


Oops. I thought you had made a typo in your original post, and that caused me to misinterpret your post, when actually I had just misread it. Commenter A does make many good points in his reply. I especially like this one:

4) If you don't understand how futures markets work, then either go find out so you can understand the facts, or ignore it and keep pointing to conspiracies and speculators when you curse at the $4+ it costs you at the pump.

Well said! My bad.

We've already responded to these ideas numerous times.

While index funds did add longs to the market, other market participants shifted around to balance out the new buyers. In other words, while longs increased, shorts also increased: http://www.cftc.gov/stellent/groups/public/@newsroom/documents/speechand... (see especially the chart on p. 15).

Speculators are now net short in oil: http://www.cftc.gov/dea/futures/deanymesf.htm. And during the second quarter, there were net outflows from exchange traded funds that go long in energy, while $270 million went into etfs that short energy futures: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20602099&sid=ace77xJYOjNU&refer=e...

All of this information is publicly available. Which means that the seekingalpha piece was written by someone who is truly incompetent to comment on the futures markets and energy prices. Marvin Masters is incompetent too. He represents himself as the manager of an investment fund and he doesn't even know where to get this most basic information???

World oil supplies will be tight until 2013: IEA

Yeah, world oil supply will be tight until 2013 and then ... we get used to it.

How about, and then ... whats that word that means tighter than tight?

Alan from the islands

After that...supplies just won't be available for most people.

it's like a step-motor . everyone knows a step-motor doesn't last for ever, but nowbody talks about it....That was top notch philosophy if U ask me :-)

That said, I find it very positive that IEA has gotten a new set of glases.

Arctic Holds 100 Billion Bbl Oil In Unexplored Fields-US Government Expert

How can he be so sure about UNEXPLORED territory

Been wondering about you. News coming out of Pak sounds a bit grim. What are things looking like there on the ground?


Well as everybody know we are an undeveloped poor country. Our per capita income is about $1000 nominal and $3300 ppp. Most people live under $2/day in cities and under $1/day in villages. We are getting rapid increase in oil prices because our govt has recently (last month) stopped paying any subsidies. Most people in cities go to work in buses that run in diesel and there is almost a doubling of bus fare in past six months. A few people in cities that own cars are using cng since past few years because oil is so expensive even the rich can't afford it now. Along with oil prices our cng prices has rise too at a faster rate even though we have lots of natural gas and enough plants to make cng out of it. In villages where 67% of our population lives people do not travel much and the little they do is on bikes and buses. We do use lots of tractors and that run on diesel so may be soon we have to stop using tractors and do work with hand. Being a country with only a quarter of an arable acre per person we have no option of using animal ploughs. Our gdp is 25% agriculture, 25% industry and 50% services. Cotton and clothes makes 70% of our exports.

We have the advantage of having lots of natural gas, lots of untapped coal reserves (200 billion tons) and closeness both in geography and hearts with major oil producing countries.

This is an opportunity to ask a question I've wanted to ask for a long time:

We've been told by our media that Pakistan has received vast amounts of US aid, US loan cancellations and a giant stock market bubble in exchange for its junta's alliance with the US.

Have you or anyone you know in Pakistan seen any actual benefits from all this money, or has the money been bottled up in walled manors and overseas accounts?

I have heard from various resources (pakistani media etc) that ten billion dollars came in 8 years from usa but that was almost all eaten away by corrupt politicians, generals and musharraf. Unlike the previous streams of usa help in zia's time we not get any weapons which we really really need. We do get a major upgrading of roads, under passes, over passes etc in karachi and other cities of pakistan. The cost of that in karachi alone is told to be $2 billion so I assume total its $4 billion for all pakistan. Remember that most of it (80%-90%) is eaten by corrupt politicians as usual.

About loan deductions before musharraf came in 1999 our loans were standing at $30 billion, now its $70 billion, so we actually got an increment in it. Most probably most of the so-called aid is not in cash but in loans that we do have to pay sometime along with its annual interest. By the way a one third of our national budget is already being spent paying interests of the debts we have. No need to mention that as usual the debt go in coffers of the elite.

We do have large increase in stock exchange indexes since past two years but its known that its because of arab brothers investing the huge amounts of cash they are getting these days. With oil prices increasing they have more cash than they know what to do to even after their extremely luxurious levels of living. So they are investing a lot in our stock exchanges and buying real estate here. They are also buying prime assets of pakistan like our national telephone company ptcl in $8 billion and our kesc etc. They are also known to be heavily investing in our developing sea port of gwadar.

So the money we are seeing in stock exchange boom and real estate boom (prices are on average six times what it used to be two years ago) is from arab brothers particulary from uae and ksa. Pakistan rarely see any aid or loans from usa because it all end up in swiss bank accounts of corrupt politicians and generals.

Can you comment on electricity shortages and load shedding in Pakistan?


We not had load sheddings prior to 1980. That was the time we had our two dams already built, consumption was low (no air conditioners, deep freezers, very few refrigerators, not a lot of industry, population was half than today). Since then our electricity production is out paced by consumption. Having already used up major dam sites with remaining in dispute we have not expanded hydro electricity production. We do have added lots of thermal (oil, gas) power plants. After nuclear explosions of 1998 we openly started to expand nuclear power plants, have 2 plants of 2000 mega watts in chashma, one very old one of 80 mega watt in karachi and a few here and there. Altogether our electricity production is 18,000 mega watts.

Load shedding is typically 4 hours per day and we are pretty much used to it in cities. In villages it can be as high as 12 hours per day depending on where you are. Its not uncommon to remain without electricity for 72 hours continuous in summers when consumption get very high than production (due to declining water level in dams) in cities. Also the infrastructure of electricity is old so in hot summers when demand is high we often get power plants tipped, transmission lines heated up and pmts fired.

In winter though we rarely have any load shedding because consumption is less (we use gas heaters to keep warm) and production is high (dams get filled in moonsoon).

Thanks. So would it be accurate to say that electricity shortages and load shedding have existed in Pakistan for more than a decade or two or is it a more recent problem? I don't mean occasional outages or shortages in rural areas, but consistent daily load shedding in urban areas.

Load shedding is typically 4 hours per day and we are pretty much used to it in cities. In villages it can be as high as 12 hours per day depending on where you are. Its not uncommon to remain without electricity for 72 hours continuous in summers when consumption get very high than production (due to declining water level in dams) in cities. Also the infrastructure of electricity is old so in hot summers when demand is high we often get power plants tipped, transmission lines heated up and pmts fired.

In winter though we rarely have any load shedding because consumption is less (we use gas heaters to keep warm) and production is high (dams get filled in moonsoon).

A view of our own near future.

A view of our own near future.

care to put a date to that near future and tell me who will win the Super Bowl that year? our grid uses very little oil.

our grid uses very little oil.

Yes, but the equipment to maintain it and to haul the coal to the power plants sure does.

If you examine Wisdom's original comment, he did not say that Pakistan's grid runs off of oil. He mentioned ample natural gas and untapped coal. So apparently one can have a government-toppling electricity crisis even with those assets. Scary.

I doubt if it is helpful to extrapolate Pakistan's problems with any other country.
Pakistan is a cot case in just about every way.The fact that it has nuclear weapons is the scary part.

WfP: I think a lot of us would be interested in knowing more about how average people cope with the blackouts. How has daily life changed for common people, and what do they do differently now to adjust to the blackouts?

"How has daily life changed for common people, and what do they do differently now to adjust to the blackouts?"

here is a glimpse.

After Avalanche, Juneau Races to Conserve Power

During the past two weeks, people in Juneau, Alaska, have cut their power use by 20 percent. They've been turning down thermostats, unplugging appliances and switching to fluorescent bulbs. The local Juneau Empire reports that so many people have started hanging out their laundry that it's impossible to find a clothespin in town.

WNC Observer was asking the person from Pakistan about the situation in his country, not ultra-wealthy Alaska. America makes its living off the profits of the world economy, most of which looks like Pakistan, not Juneau. If the 6 billion out there go down, who will make our stuff?

Except Juneau has plenty of power. They just generate it with diesel instead of cheap hydro. And the power lines were repaired after a couple of weeks. Hardly a burden.

WNC asked "How has daily life changed for common people, and what do they do differently now to adjust to the blackouts?"

Why you think Juneau has anything to do with that question is beyond me.

The power lines to the main hydroelectric plant have been down for months. Still down as of 3 weeks ago.


Lines repaired, Juneau, Alaska, back on hydropower

More than six weeks after avalanches knocked down transmission lines and cut off Juneau's source of low-cost hydroelectric power, the city's utility company powered down the expensive diesel generators that kept the city running and that forced many residents to cut their energy usage.

This says six weeks, not months. And fixed as of June 2.

Unlike the previous streams of usa help in zia's time we not get any weapons which we really really need.

Statements like this make me question the "Wisdom" part of your moniker. Don't you realize that more weapons will only get used by the corrupt politicians you refer to? I fervently wish the USA had many fewer weapons and MANY fewer corrupt politicians.

You are looking at it from american and british eyes that if you have a weapon you must use it somewhere no matter you can justify the war or not.

In pakistan we not think that way. May come as a surprise to you but there are peaceful countries in world. We see weapons as tool of peace by balancing power so that neither us nor our enemy want to fight. If any of us get sufficiently low in power war is inevitable.

If usa aid come in form of money that got eaten up by politicians and nothing is left for country. If aid comes in form of weapons the politician can't eat it (we are not in business of selling weapons) so it get add up in country's arsenal and bring balance of power with india, this prevent a war. India being bigger country get weapons from somewhere (usa, russia, israel, france, britain etc) so its always military superior to us. The above mentioned countries not want to sale any weapons to us so all we are left with is either china or building our own.

That weapon race between pakistan and india do take up lots of resources of both countries (one third of pakistani budget and about the same of india) but it keep both of us strong. In case of any invasion from usa india will most likely fight with us because they hate those colonial days and not want any outsider to occupy any land in the region. Also it keep us ready to help arab brothers and iran in case things become really hard for them.

"If any of us get sufficiently low in power war is inevitable."

Exactly what is happening.

See your Power Grid for details.

This is all news to me. I can't find out about these things in the mainstream media, and the anti-war media is too busy with all Bush's other mischief to even attempt to get ahead of an important story like Pakistan's economy.

No doubt the understanding between Bush and Musharraf (obey or we'll wipe you out) had a 3rd hidden partner, the Saud dynasty. So the subsequent flow of Arab money into Pakistan makes sense. It's what happened in Lebanon, except there the Saudi frontmen allied to the US got betrayed by the Israeli bombing. In Pakistan, Saudi Arabia has its own favored candidate and he's not taking US orders.

This also explains how Pakistan's stock markets could possibly survive the awful events of the last year.

You have my condolences on Pakistan spending its revenue on highway improvements. Many people at The Oil Drum from many different countries are reporting similiar idiocy. Combined with the energy shortages and massive debt payments, and we can say that Pakistan's problems are both similar to the rest of the world, and revolutionary in their consequences.

Thank you for this update.

You could try contraception.

>>In early 1994, the population of Pakistan was estimated to be 126 million, making it the ninth most populous country in the world. Its land area, however, ranks thirty-second among nations. Thus Pakistan has about 2 percent of the world's population living on less than 0.7 percent of the world's land. The population growth rate is among the world's highest, officially estimated at 3.1 percent per year, but privately thought to be closer to 3.3 percent per year by many planners involved in population programs. Pakistan's population is expected to reach 150 million by 2000 and to account for 4 percent of the world's population growth between 1994 and 2004. Pakistan's population is expected to double between 1994 and 2022.
(Latest estimates: an additional 133 million between 1995 -2025)

These figures are estimates, however, because ethnic unrest led the government to postpone its decennial census in 1991. The government felt that tensions among Punjabis, Sindhis, muhajirs (immigrants or descendants of immigrants from India), Pakhtuns, and religious minorities were such that taking the census might provoke violent reactions from groups who felt they had been undercounted. The 1991 census had still not been carried out as of early 1994. The 1981 census enumerated 84.2 million persons.<<

Olduvai theory is about power generation not keeping pace with population growth.

Olduvai theory is about power generation not keeping pace with population growth.

No, not really. Olduvai says that energy generation will fall catastrophically along with population level


* Industrial Civilization can be described by a single pulse waveform of duration X, as measured by average energy-use per person per year.
* The life-expectancy of Industrial Civilization is less than one-hundred (100) years: i.e., X < 100 years.

any article quoting "an expert" should raise some suspicions.
why are you even discussing what some noname self-proclaimed expert says?

Why discuss the 'So-called Experts'?

To challenge their expertise.
The attention given to these So-called Experts have given this site it's purpose.

He could be extrapolating the size of known fields in the region to get an overall number at a comfortable probability level. I think M. King Hubbert did the same thing to get total recoverable reserves when he original came up with his Peak Oil predictions... and it seems that Hubbert came pretty close.

Are there ANY known fields in the Arctic. I thought the big chunks of ice in the way (at the moment) prevented drilling.

Is anyone aware of test drilling in the Arctic?

Didn't Matt Simmons says arctic exploration would consist of "200 dry holes"?

Shtokman, a giant gas field offshore Russia.

NG is more likely than oil according to some (due to past history of limited vegetation).




Its Gas, and yes, many Geoscientists think that in general the Arctic may be more gas-prone than oil prone. Certainly the North Sea is looking that way as you go further north into the Norwegian and Barents Seas.

Development will be a major technical feat.

That is why the US and Canada should start now.

While you have the money.

Looks like Canada is the only one of the two with money. But even so, Canada will rely on Little Oil to do the work, as in Alberta. Of course, getting rigs designed and built to withstand the freezing and unfreezing of the Arctic Ocean will be very costly and time consuming, ensuring that whatever hydrocarbons they produce will be quite expensive.

I think he said "40 years, 200 dry holes".

ANWR & Point Barrow have sizeable oil fields. Both are in the Arctic.

I could be wrong, but I think there have not been exploratory wells in ANWR. If this is so, amount of oil is still largely guesswork.

chevron drilled a single well in anwar '83, i think it was. there are NO fields in anwar and NO production.

Still "tight holed"?

Read what Taleb had to say about "experts" in The Black Swan.

The truth is, this is just a SWAG: Stupid Wild-A$$ed Guess. Something experts are paid big money to do with great regularity - and who get it wrong with great regularity as well.

North Pole goes ice free this year.

The New York Times has an article on their web site today about progress on the Khurais field in Saudi Arabia: Khurais Oil Field Journal. Overnight it was featured prominently on the front page, but since then it has vanished into the bowels of the site.

4-day working week

I guess these workers then are payed for 4 days a week instead of five, so they'll again have difficulties to make ends meet, even with a commuting day less.

Usually, the way it works is you work a longer day. So you still get paid the same.

The good side is that this schedule often fits your customers' needs better. They can go get their driver's license renewed or whatever before or after work, rather than having to take time off. The bad side is the people working those long days don't get to see as much of their families. Though they do get that extra day off, so that might make up for it.

It seems like this would save employers money but is bound to end up costing the workers. They say it saves energy but I'm not so sure. I expect that on their day off just about everyone will spend money doing something else, and there's at least some likelihood they will use more energy having time off too. Of course, it depends what they do for work - if someone snoozing in front of their computer gets a day off and spends it driving around town then it truly just shifts energy use rather than saving it.

Ordinarily, that might be a concern. But I think cost will enforce conservation. People don't have the money to do extra driving or go on road trips on their long weekends.

And this is the state. The "employer's money" is the taxpayers' money, so the energy saved by shutting down the building for an extra day helps everyone.

It's called flex time. You can work four 10 hour days instead of five 8 hour.

Our municipal public works guys have been on a 4 day week for years. Ten hrs X 4 days (M-Th) = 40 hrs. They love it, because every weekend is at least a 3-day weekend, great for hunting and fishing. They do understand that they might have to be called in for an emergency, which does happen a few times each year.

Well, at least it saves a day of daycare costs for some families, and it's better for the kids.

Not if the daycare doesn't have equivalently long hours. Also, I would think kids would like a little time with mom and dad. By the time they get home, it is just time for bed.

Also. with older kids, mom and dad can't help with homework (see that it gets done), make dinner for the family, or check on how teenagers are doing. The biggest problem time for teens is between the time school gets out and when mom and dad get home. This will make it much worse. Teens may well be in school, the day their parents are actually home.

RE: carbon capture and storage article

I feel like I am watching some kind of absurd comedy going on with this one.

The industry is saying: 'Let's wait for someone else to develop the technology, the costs will be lower'

At the same time a government official is telling the following: "If they want to be in business in the longer term they had better be in a position to deal with this."

Obviously both sides have neither the intention nor the idea how to move forward. Everyone is waiting on the other side to take on it. But in this case the problem lies in the government policy (and the lack thereof) - the politicos know very well that without the government creating the proper incentatives, financing pilot plants and building the proper infrastructure, profit motivated private enterprises will not do anything alone. They can't just say "do it or we'll close you". It will never work this way.

Personally I think the political establishment behaves this way because they know very well that CSS is a dream technology that will never work. Worse - it is a boondoggle to put us babies to sleep while we are destroying the Earth's climate. My only unknown left is: if they know very well that climate change won't be addressed in any meaningful away what is all this farce about? One guess - to distract us from PO, to teach the populace accept high energy prices, as well as to introduce yet more schemes of transferring billions of public wealth to certain interest groups... carbon trading, carbon capture and storage, carbon offsets, carbon taxes, ROCs etc... I'm starting to get tired of this crap.

As far as I know, technologies to strip CO2 from emissions exist already. Something like a porous membrane functionalized with amines that cause the CO2 to adsorb. To regenerate it, you rinse it with water. The problem is not that, the problem is that you have to pressurize the CO2 that you've stripped to something like 3000 psi before you can pump it into the deep subsurface where it will stay put. That's expensive, as it stand now it will double the cost of coal. I'm sure there are other processes that need to be refined, and of course if you could cause conditions to be such that a carbonate mineral precipitates, you don't have to pump the CO2 so far into the subsurface.

Basically, what needs to happen is that governments need to actually actually come up with a plan to either do more research, force people to use the technology as it is, or abandon it all together. Right now, we've just got obfuscation and procrastination. Of course coal companies aren't going to want to do anything about it, if they do it, it will substantially increase their costs while their competitors may not be doing it.

There are myriads of problems:
1) Who and when is going to built the pipeline system to pump the CO2 around? This one will rival the oil and gas pipeline system.
2) It will cost a lot of energy to do all of this. A third of the plant output must be devoted to bringing the carbon it burnt back to the ground. How would this possibly happen in an energy starved world?
3) Would you want to live near a CO2 storage repository? I wouldn't. A CO2 release (say due to an earthquake) could kill every breathing creature miles around. Hell I would prefer a nuclear waste dry cask stationed in my garage than having such a thing less than 100 miles from my home.
4) In the end, and most importantly - old plants can not be made to work with CCS, or it will be ridiculously expensive to do that.

Point 4) means that during the decades CCS will be debated, obfuscated, developed, proven, and finally deployed hundreds and thousands of coal power plants will be built that will never ever capture any CO2. We will be way past peak oil and peak natural gas when CCS becomes ready and at some point it will become obvious that it is politically and economically impossible to just sacrifice a third of our already scarce and precious coal for CCS. At some point we will start approaching peak coal and CCS will become even more absurd - what is the point of building new, advanced, and much more expensive plants, when there won't be any extra coal for them to burn?

I think all of this is crystal clear to those on the steering wheel, we are just looking at a show for the masses, and not a very good one.

1) Who and when is going to built the pipeline system to pump the CO2 around? This one will rival the oil and gas pipeline system.

Sure it will, it would be a massive undertaking. In some cases it might be possible to do it at the site where the energy generation is going on.

2) It will cost a lot of energy to do all of this. A third of the plant output must be devoted to bringing the carbon it burnt back to the ground. How would this possibly happen in an energy starved world?

Yes. Burning more coal to remove CO2 from coal. MAJOR loss of EREOI.

3) Would you want to live near a CO2 storage repository? I wouldn't. A CO2 release (say due to an earthquake) could kill every breathing creature miles around. Hell I would prefer a nuclear waste dry cask stationed in my garage than having such a thing less than 100 miles from my home.

Would you want to live near an oil refinery? No. They have fires and explosion sometimes, so do grain elevators and nuclear power plants. But, people live near these things.

4) In the end, and most importantly - old plants can not be made to work with CCS, or it will be ridiculously expensive to do that.

Why do you say that? Old plants have been retrofitted with bag-houses for pm10s and SO2. The CO2 strippers would go after the bag-houses.

My point here is not that carbon sequestration would be easy, nor is it that it would be cheap, nor that it would even work. The point is that the coal lobby is so strong in the U.S at least, that my guess is that very few congresspeople are going to support not burning coal any more. Simply declaring that carbon sequestration is a fantasy and will never work leaves us with precisely three options:

1) You can find something else to generate power. What would that be? 50% of U.S. power generation comes from coal. At current rates of increase in alternative energy will not provide this level of energy for decades or even hundreds of years, that's if its even possible to generate that much electricity. Nuclear is a possibility, but considering the U.S. can't even find a place to store it's current nuclear waste, I'd bet on politically this being a difficult sell since a large segment of the population is mortally afraid of nuclear power.

2) You can stop generating 50% of your power. This would be a disaster for the economy, or at least would be painted that way by the conservatives in the U.S.

3) You can continue your CO2 emissions. This is tantamount to accepting that nothing can be done about global warming.

So which are you going to pick?

There's no point in wasting energy sequestrating co2, we're going to need all energy we can get, its a hollow technofairy because co2 is harmless.


And see those bar charts comparing 'greenhouse effect' to each other? ask yourself why they don't include water vapour.


Water vapor is a feedback, not a forcing.

1. CO2 is a green house gas (well-known fact)
2. Increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases will cause the earth to warm (laws of thermodynamics, q.v. black body radiation)
3. Burning fossil fuels produces CO2 (well-known fact)
4. Humans burn fossil fuels in large quantities (well-known fact)
5. CO2 concentration is rising (well-known fact)
6. The earth is warming (prediction of 1-5, also observed to be occuring)

You can choose to ignore laws of physics and observed facts. However, you will not be able to avoid the consequences of them.

"But honest research shows that atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful".


"There is nothing in the data to suggest anything but natural cycles at work."


The climatic effects of water vapour:


I don't need a physics degreee to use google.

3) You can continue your CO2 emissions. This is tantamount to accepting that nothing can will be done about global warming.

Old plants can/will not be retrofitted as they were not designed for it. IIRC it is only feasible to separate CO2 from IGCC plants - and AFAIK in USA there is only one such plant. In addition old plants were not placed with the availability of a suitable geological formation in mind, and building the pipelines will be times as expensive.

My point is that CCS will not be done on any meaningful scale, and we have to plan and act accordingly. This a sad realization, but it is also sad that fusion will too not arrive any time soon, so we all have to live with it.

We must plan for replacing coal with carbon-free energy sources. If CCS ever delivers - fine; I'll be glad to be proven wrong. My worry is that it is currently used as a boondoggle to keep our most polluting industry alive and prosperous. We simply have to ban new plants without CCS and that's it.

We must plan for replacing coal with carbon-free energy sources. If CCS ever delivers - fine; I'll be glad to be proven wrong. My worry is that it is currently used as a boondoggle to keep our most polluting industry alive and prosperous. We simply have to ban new plants without CCS and that's it.

Agreed! I'm just playing devil's advocate here because I think that the situation is grave enough that there will be a lot resistance to moving from coal so it's at least worth trying to see if it can be made to work, alongside an increase in alternate energy sources.

I agree, and I think that it is certainly worthed.

But then the question arises why don't we have a crash program with government funding to kickstart CCS, build the infrastructure and deploy it en masse. I think that if resources are mobilized we would need 5-10 years at most to do it. But no - they are talking that only building a "demonstration plant" will take 10-15 years from now. WTF?

My answer - after looking at the numbers and the technical challenges it becomes apparent how ridiculously expensive such an enterprise would be. Only in infinitely small number of cases when there is NG or IGCC plant near old oil fields CCS would be justified. Govts don't have the extra funding and they are disinterested in building yet another infrastructure to maintain with public funds so they are protracting the matter and pushing it to the industry with the hidden intention the whole idea to be forgotten. And it will be - once energy prices reach unbearable levels, super-expensive environmental projects will be the first to drop off.

What a bunch of pathetic luddite gobbledygook, something TOD is (regretably) becoming known for.


CCS is a proven technology. Weyburn has been sequestering 1.5 million tons a year of CO2 for a decade. Sleipner has been sequestering a million tons per year.


CO2 is piped at 150 bar which is the same pressure as natural gas pipelines of which there are many.

You don't understand that the IGCC process produces 50 bar high purity CO2 to begin with.
The amount of energy required to compress CO2 for an IGCC plant with current technology is 10%(.194 kwh/ton). The cost to run a IGCC plant would be ~1 cents per kwh more than our old conventional plants.

The CCS sequestration sites are in old oil or gas fields at more than 1000 feet below the ground. They have been rated by experts having a 95% probability of not leaking for 1000 years.

The idea that we cannot afford new coal plants is unbelievably stupid. Coal plants are being built and licensed all the time.

If people agree that CO2 sequestration is vital as does James Hansen, they will be willing to pay for them.

But then along comes some internet moron who says he'd rather put nuclear waste in his garage.

It's amazing the amount of ignorance that is routinely spread at this site and gets 'rewarded'.

As far as I can see the rating system rewards ignorance and group-think and punishes referenced scientific comments which seek to counter the garbage.

I hope the editors see this comment and decide to either drop this joke of a rating system which panders to a low class element
or actually promote a professional level dialog on the issues if that means anything.
To me, it's a failure.

Hell, my reputation is not on the line--yours is!

Best Wishes for a quality TOD!

I think it is a mistake to answer this, but here we go:

CCS is no more proven then fusion, large-scale space PV, or mining He3 from the lunar soil. We know we can do it, *if* we devote a substantial chunk of our *limited* resources to do it. A few NG plants happening to be near oil fields, prove nothing but that there are a few instances where it might not be so expensive to do it. But for this technology, going from a few isolated cases where it is feasible, to mass scale deployment will be even more challenging than going from an idea to the drawing board to a demonstration unit.

And, for a person who claims to know about these things you fail to understand one basic thing - practically none of the old CPPs, and the CPPs which are on the drawing boards will ever sequester CO2. All known processes of separating the CO2 from the flue gases from a conventional CPP (18-19% of volume) are extremely energy and capital intensive. Not so with IGCC or plain NG plants where the CO2 can be easily separated. Now, virtually all plants on the line are of the conventional type, not IGCC. IGCC is regarded as unproven and too expensive to build just for the *option* of sequestering CO2. Can you add 2+2 now?

What's CPP? Is that a pulverized coal plant?

I can't get over how you lump IGCC-CCS in with PV or H3 fusion. Is this what a '2+2' perspective does to your brain?

Did you know that the service life of a conventional coal plant is 30 years?

There are around 1500 conventional coal plants in the US, probably hundreds are rusting away.

These old plants are 30-35% efficient, whereas
IGCC are 40-45% efficient.


Let's compare the economics which you claim is so unfavorable.

Conventional coal: $600/kw spread over 30 years +
8Mwh per year/2Mwh per ton x$100 per ton coal=
$420/KW per year. We really should add an expected carbon tax of $30 per tonC, so that works out to
$540/Kwh per year.

IGCC-CCS: $1500/kw spread over 30 years + 8 Mwh per year/2.5 Mwh per ton x $100 per ton coal= $370/KW per year. However we must add in for the CCS which is 20%=$444 /KW per year.

all your assumptions are based on
out-of-date 'thinking'.

Your numbers, assumptions and even measurment units are totally messed up. If IGCC was cheaper than conventional, even without carbon taxes utilities would have crowded to built that one, not the conventional.

I don't have the time to perform a detailed cost analysis, but luckily others have done it for me:

From wikipedia:

But that's old information. Recent testimony in regulatory proceedings show the cost of IGCC to be twice that predicted by Goddell, from $96 to 104/MWhr. [7][8] That's before addition of capital intensive and efficiency sucking carbon capture and sequestration (sequestration is not available or probable on commercial level) -- capture at a 30% rate is expected to have a $50/MWhr additional cost. Id.

So the cost of IGCC with CCS works out to between 146 and 156$/MWh. This is if all assumptions in those calculations will be correct, which I doubt they will. Specifically the cost of financing and building all the additional infrastructure has been consistently underestimated in recent projects due to skyrocketing material costs. The FutureGen demonstration plant was cancelled when it's costs skyrocketed upwards of $1.8bln - which worked out to the staggering $7000/kw per installed kw - more than the projected cost of new nuclear power plants! And what about the added cost of maintaining all that additional equipment, the loss of output due to energy costs, etc?

In the end - compare $150/MWh with old coal and nuclear plants producing at $20-$30/MWh, new ones projected to be at $60-70/MWh, natural gas plants at $70-80/MWh, even wind being much better - at $80-100/MWh at the good sites. How can you sell an undemostrated, risky and much higher maintenance technology under such bleak financial projection I have no idea.

Let me state up front that I am a techie. From as far back as I can remember I've been fascinated by machines resulting in an interest in cars, computers and technology in general. While I think it is too late for technology to save us, I think that there's a lot of technology, very close to being applicable that, could make things a lot less worse than they would otherwise be. Take algae for example.

Joint venture to use coal emissions to grow algae for biofuels

The joint venture will grow algae using flue gas emissions from a power plant and use the resulting liquid fuel to power its operations or sell it.

How much would it take to get technology like this off the ground on a large scale? IMHO as a casual, non expert observer, this is how carbon capture and sequestration should be done. Pumping CO2 into underground storage, sweeps the CO2 under the carpet at great cost, without doing anything else useful, unless it is used to pressurize oil or NG fields.

How's this for an idea, use all CO2 from power plant operations to grow algae. Then having had the algae sequester the CO2, we could do anything we want with it, burn it, eat it, make stuff with it and even pump it into old oil fields for storage if the volumes become a problem. In a way, that would be leaving some of the FF legacy we enjoyed for our descendants!

For an example of products that could flow from an algae industry, these guys seem to be on to something:

Solazyme rethinks algae

From the second slide

Algae can double its cell mass every few hours, and Solazyme is searching for the best methods for optimizing the oil output. The process essentially takes the 150-million-year process of making oil and condenses it into a matter of days.

If I didn't view this stuff as hope for the future then our situation would be hopless and what would be the point......

Alan from the islands

Only problems are the usual two: nobody's ever got it to work at anywhere near full-scale; and it's going to take a shitpile of investment even if it does.

If you are techie do the math - it will take tens of square kilometers of algae ponds to capture the output of an average power plant. Now how many of the plants do or will have so much spare land and so much water nearby? How much energy will growing and processing algae take? I would guess that harvesting 20 or 30 sq.kilometers of algae ponds will take a good chunk of the plant output, if there is anything left of it at all.

What about vertical tubes?

Pipe dream. CO2 is not an energy source. The algae need to be spread around in a thin horizontal layer to absorb the sunshine that is the energy source. (And it won't work at night.) Total boondoggle.

I wonder if we'd be better off feeding the algae to cows rather than expending the energy to grow corn for feedlots.

Looks like I better start collecting tilapia recipies.

Most modern power plants are already close to large bodies of water since power plants tend to use huge amounts of water. I cant remember ever seeing a picture of a power plant that didn't have those huge cooling towers adjacent to a large river or lake. NIMBYism has taken care of having spare land nearby. AFAIK most major power plants in major cities have been moved to locations some distance away. I can think of the Battersea power plant in London and a Huge Con Edison facility in New York that stand as monuments to an age gone by (the earlier days of coal).

From http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3963#more the following chart indicates that algae could produce enough fuel to replace half of the US requirements for transportation fuels on a no more than 2% of the existing US cropland. Maybe, as an island native, I just have no concept of how large a large US FF based power plant can be but, the Us has always struck me as a place where bigger is considered better, i.e. doing things on a large scale has never been a problem Why not scale algae facilities up to US size?

As for the math, if
C is the cost of CO2 sequestration
R is the revenue earned from CO2 sequestration
N is the net profit/loss from sequestering


If R is less than C then N is going to be negative or a loss
If R is more than C then N is going to be positive or a profit


From your own response to the post above, you seem to support my basic argument that, other forms of CCS are a dead loss, since there is little or no revenue to be earned from doing it. There is a possibility that CCS using algae could earn some revenue and at some time in the future, however remote, a possibility that it could even turn a profit. In addition to which the descriptions of technology that just chemically capture the CO2 sound pretty expensive to me so, I'm pretty sure the algae lobby would be able to produce numbers that indicate that, their way is cheaper even without the revenue. Like you, I just don't get how pumping huge amounts of a toxic gas underground, to be stored under extreme pressure, makes any sense.

Alan from the islands

OK I made a quick calculation:
A 1000MW power plant working 80% of the time would output:
1000*0.8*365*24 ~ 7bln. kwth times 0.9 kg. CO2/kwth = 6.3 bln.kg. CO2 = 6.3 mln.tonnes of CO2 = 1.7 mln.tonnes of carbon

According to this information paper here algal productivity is between 98 and 174 dry grams/sq.meter per day. This is equivalent to between 36 and 64 kg/sq.m/year. If half of the algae mass is carbon - this is 18 to 32kg./sq.m/year. Let's take 25 as the middle value.

1.7 bln.kg. of carbon div 25 = 68 mln.sq.meters = 68 square kilometers. I will multiply by two for technological space between ponds, access roads etc. = 136 km^2.

I leave it up to you to calculate how much it will cost to cover an area equal to more than two Manhattan islands with algae ponds. IMO only the land will be comparable in value to the emitting plant. If the idea sounds hard to implement in land abundant USA, try to imagine how it could fly into land-constrained places like Europe or China.

The technology has existed for decades, it's just expensive. Nobody's ever going to do it unless they're forced. Should we force them? My free opinion:

1. It's getting kind of obvious that whatever we do about new power plants, the existing coal burners are not going to be replaced.

2. So if we are to avoid being eventually poached like eggs on a hot sidewalk, sequestration will eventually have to be used.

3. It will still probably be less expensive to retrofit existing plants than to replace them, since the investment was paid off long ago.

Considering all I've seen recently, my free opinion: we get poached like eggs on a hot sidewalk. There, done with it, and nature gets to move on. Our brains were way too big anyway.

Thank you!!

True, but adding my anthropocentric observation, we also lose 100 million years of great diversity, the rise of angiosperms, flowers, etc.
The Sun is in late middle age as a star---
How many times do we start over?
Of course this is just my human centric view, as someone who loves diversity and most mammals, flowers, fish, etc.
The extinction we are in is probably going to exceed the KT, and let's hope in doesn't reach the Permian in extent.

Who is "we"? If the thing you are talking about happens, there most likely won't be "we". Just curious :)

Good point. I was talking about (we, as in humans) at the present time. That is what "we" are facing.
Of course, your point is well taken, as "we" will not exist.
Take it from a existential point of view, and doing the right action now, no matter what the result my be.

We're our own headache?

The IEA voice for member oil producer nations is as optimistic as ever about supply and demand loosening up after 2013. According to Matthew Simmons, global oil production is now declining, from 85 million barrels per day to 60 million barrels per day by 2015, while at the same time demand will increase 14%. This is like a 30% drop.

No one can reverse this trend, nor can we conserve our way out of this catastrophe, because the demand is so high that it will always be higher than production; thus the depletion rate will continue until all recoverable oil is extracted.

We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel trucks for maintenance of bridges, cleaning culverts to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so too does the power grid, as highways carry the parts, transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension wire, all from far away. With the highways out, there will be no food coming in from "outside," and without the power grid nothing works, including home heating.

hi cjwirth, have you got a link to where Simmons prognosticate them numbers ? Thx !

Cj: This is why I don't buy the Honolulu as Easter Island premise-first, lots of North America will be transformed into little Easter Islands IMO. Slow boats are the most efficient.

The difference is that it's possible to walk away if you're in North America.

Walk away to where? Or are you expecting there to be "islands" of BAU?

I expect there will be islands of almost-BAU for quite awhile, but that's not really the point. The point is not to be stuck on a rock in the middle of nowhere, with too many people, not enough food, and not enough water.

That's what made Easter Island so tragic. They couldn't leave when things started going to heck.

Do I think it will be possible on the mainland to walk somewhere where the happy motoring will go on forever? No. But it might be possible to walk somewhere where you don't have to resort to cannibalism.

That makes it a bit clearer. But really, no need to worry, the cannibalism phase won't last that long in Hawaii ;-).

On the other hand, I'm not sure that the ability to walk somewhere has any impact on the cannibalism potential. You could just as likely walk into a cannibal zone (a la McCormack's "The Road") as walk out of it.

Non-working pets and local wildlife go first. Fortunately, I live near a large lake with the biggest alligator population in central Florida.

As for having to choose between survival and cannibalism, clearly there are those who will choose to eat. That doesn't mean that choice is ever real for the person who doesn't want to go down that path.

Hawai`i has a long history of resource problems. Even the (relatively) sparsely populated Big Island now has twice the number of people it supported in the days when King Kamehameha went to war because there wasn't enough farmland to feed the population.

There are stories of battles where both the winners and losers starved to death in the aftermath...because the land could not support both the existing population and the invading warriors.

On an island, you just have a lot less room for error.


On an island, you just have a lot less room for error.

I often read what you say Leanan and you have alot of smart ways of seeing things - thx

I have lately thougth of the reasons behind why some people live in the "strangest" of envirnoments... like the eskomoes, beduins of Sahara, inner Siberia and so on. Obviously those living there today are born there and descend from people having lived there for a long long time. But is there a remote history that may tell a story that they "lost wars" in more fertile grounds, and thus being expelled to the rim of sustainable nature ?? Just some reflections ...

(obviously I don't see Sahara or an Ice-sheet or the biting frost of Siberia as "cool" places to live :-))

If this is sarcasm, it is very subtle. You're right-lots of people mistake Honolulu for "inner Siberia". Everybody that lives on Oahu is a descendant of ancestors that lost wars in more fertile rounds and was expelled to the rim. Is Wisdom boy your cousin?

did I unintentially hit a soft spot in you Brian ? If so sorry.

No it's not sarcasm, it's as I write a reflection - and I see you provide an answer as well. Im not of the impression that all people living in extreme areas are there due to lost wars, but sure some are ... Today there is Drafur's suffering people forinstance ....

Lighten up pal, Hawaii was not part of my rim-scenario, is't that Paradise ?

No need to apologize-I was the one that compared you to Wisdom boy-but you're right about the soft spot for Hawaii-hopefully the place pulls through.

I'm actually starting to wonder if people will manage to get out of Hawaii whilst they can still afford it - I can see tourism dropping by perhaps 30% next year, so that is a lot of people out of work.
Will they hang on, getting poorer, and coping with ever more expensive imports, or will they buy a ticket to the mainland whilst they can still afford it?
What proportion of the population at the moment have no alternative but to stay, as they haven't got the airfare to get out?

With the coming of the Second World War, many eyes in imprisoned Europe turned hopefully, or desperately, toward the freedom of the Americas. Lisbon became the great embarkation point. But not everybody could get to Lisbon directly, and so, a tortuous, roundabout refugee trail sprang up. Paris to Marseilles, across the Mediterranean to Oran, then by train, or auto, or foot, across the rim of Africa to Casablanca in French Morocco.

Here, the fortunate ones, through money, or influence, or luck, might obtain exit visas and scurry to Lisbon, and from Lisbon to the New World. But the others wait in
Casablanca -- and wait -- and wait -- and wait.

- Casablanca, Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch

And they wait at Rick's.

We'll always have Paris...

round up the usual suspects.

One of my favorite lines in all of movie history :-)

Mine is -

'Dick, why are you in Baghdad?'

'I came for the petrofuels.'

'But surely Iraq is a Sovereign state, and won't let you just walk away with their oil?'

'They were misinformed..'

Ok, that's not really it.. my favorite line is really

Sam, if it's December 1941 in
Casablanca, what time is it in New

Uh, my watch stopped.

I bet they're asleep in New York.
I'll bet they're asleep all over

Suddenly he pounds the table and buries his head in his arms.
Then he raises his head, trying to regain control.

Of all the gin joints in all the
towns in all the world, she walks
into mine.

He holds his head in his hands.

The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

Leanan: I can't say for sure if you are right about the long long term outlook, but right now food costs more in Toronto than in Hawaii. It appears that at $142 oil it is more costly to truck food to Toronto than to boat/fly it to Honolulu. At what point do you foresee the end of food being shipped to Honolulu, and how is food going to be delivered to the 5.5 mill in the GTA or 9 mill in Chicago in February?

Leanan - you're forgetting that I also lived their for awhile.

You are exactly right when it comes to resource issues. One of the most populated valleys in the islands prior to the rise of Kamehameha (and correspondingly one of the most lush places I've ever been) is Halawa valley on Molokai. Exactly zero people live there now.

it's always entertaining to see Hawaii, particularly Oahu, mentioned spontanously in the drumbeat threads in an "easter island" context. Makes for a little frisson of anticipation every time.

And I may be singlehandedly popularizing the phrase "famine trap" for Oahu, since I've used it in a number of contexts. Doesn't play well with the neighbors though.

Still, for me and my wife with no kids, the question is whether the famine & cannibalism will hit during our tenure or after we've snuffed it anyhow. We've been practicing recipes on marked-down safeway bulk pork roasts for the last month to see how we'd cope with the cannibalism phase. (mental note: get bulk salt & pepper at costco).

This is a stinking hot-muggy day in the islands, but a dip in a rainwater-filled stock tank is an easy way to cool off. Roof water catchment will provide water; food will have to come from somewhere else. It may not.

What will be interesting is that Hawaii may experience economic crash a full 10 years before the rest of the nation does. If so, a LOT of people may leave. Maybe me, maybe not, but being the first state to crash could be a useful asymmetry. The option to leave and go elsewhere will still exist to a large extent. First on charter planes, then on ships. Stuff like ramping up food production on the big isle for barging to oahu could at least be feasible; particularly if a bunch of NPK were bought and stored there. Indeed, with enough NPK, Oahu could probably be agriculturally self-reliant at a 1 million population. Not sustainable for 200 years, but maybe for 50.

Owning a home will become pretty undesirable as property values plunge just as the state needs to tax hugely to keep itself from falling apart. Still, the actual way things roll out will have a large "luck" factor I think. I may be incinerated by H-bombs before the end of Bush's term due to living on a prime target, or events may conspire to keep food flowing to Hawaii for awhile.

my mileage may vary....

I don't know enough about how the American system works to evaluate, are poor people actually going to be able to finance the ticket, bearing in mind that as early as next year fares are going to be a LOT higher than now?
If they can't, are they going to be trapped in ever-increasing poverty, and later, hunger?

in terms of moving away, my guess is that there will be a number of charter jet rides available for the next 15 years at increasing prices, even after the airlines are defunct. There will be a lot of planes sitting around looking for work, and a lot of people in Hawaii are either relatively well-off (by world standards) or have mainland relatives.

There will be ever-increasing poverty, probably in Hawaii sooner than the rest of the nation. On the other hand, poverty has a slightly different face here: a lot of the beach people live a reasonably idyllic existence until they're chased away by the cops. Nobody freezes or dies of the heat. And marijuana should remain plentiful & easy to grow. (mental note: cig paper as trade goods).

Eventually, hunger is a good bet for most places. It'll be interesting to see how it rolls out here. I have about a year's worth of consumables stored in a non-obvious manner. My guess is that barring a nuclear exchange, I won't be absolutly "trapped" here for another 15 years. I'll be sussing out the rest of the world during that time.

In the meanwhile, I'm planting papaya trees, breadfruit, and other stuff that has a reasonable return on laziness.

People will find a way to leave. They will commandeer a Matson freighter or invade Pearl Harbor or steal a yachat from Ala Wai Marina, or... well, you get the idea. Or they could actually try to grow their own food, which has yet to be tried on the scale required. I think it can be done. I lived there long enough to know the potentials and drawbacks. But it has yet to dawn on the populace that they must put their resources into such a project, which was proven by the long comment thread at the Honolulu Advertiser article about the Mayor's choo choo.

HMMM, got any gator recipes ?

Maybe AlanFBE knows of one/some ??

Fortunately, I live near a large lake with the biggest alligator population in central Florida.

Ah, it's been a long time since I had me some gator tail, hush puppies, catfish, crab, cole slaw and wootermelon... nighborhood fish fry followed by beer ball ('ceptin' fer th' young'uns.)


Right, and no wood to build boats with!

Here is how we get to 60mbpd in 2015: With a 5% decline in existing production, and zero new production coming online each year.


My theory: In the not too distant future, a seachange will occur in the business world as people lose all faith in their ability to predict the future price of oil. Forget about next year, they won't have the faintest clue what price oil will be next week. All investment will end overnight. All new oil projected to come online after 2008 won't.

Without certainty there can be no planning.

Does anybody know of an online framework for System Dynamics modelling - preferably something in Javascript, Java, or failing that server side?

Have you looked at PowerSim Studio SDK:


Also, this is not exactly what you want, but:

Anylogic Professional 6 allows for modeling with System Dynamics, Discrete Events and Agent based approaches. The Pro version allows one to export fully interactive java applets.

The modeling itself is done with the desktop app. Very powerful, and also quite expensive.

It appears that all the well known instances tend to be overpriced. Never trust an advert that has businessmen in suits in the advert - it translates as "we think we can get lots of money out of you".

Closest seems to be work on something called "OpenSim" which is referenced as under development.

Think I may knock something up myself with fixed functionality - they aren't that complicated.

This is not exactly what you're looking for, but it's very useful for modeling system dynamics: http://www.iseesystems.com/index.aspx

Very good Guardian article on the choice between saving planet and saving economy but it explicily mentions peak oil.



Good catch.

The New Scientist article referenced (June 28) contains the sobering warning TOD has tried to get across now for a few years:

Spare capacity has now all but vanished, oil producers cash in on soaring prices by extracting as much of the stuff as they can.
"There is absolutely no slack in the system any more," says Gal Luft, executive director of the institute for the Analysis of Global Security, a Washington-DC based think tank.
This has left the oil market so fragile that a few well-placed explosives, an energy-sapping cold winter or an unusually intense hurricane season could send shock waves across the globe.
Situation most experts fear is what they call a "psychological avalanche."

[Describes what happens when people find out there's no more oil: hoarding and fighting]

So, the article finally explains to people it's not just about cars driving around. It's about much more than that.

But wait, it gets better:

It's not just about fuels. A Giant chemical industry relies on oil as its feedstock, and without it many of the products we now take for granted would vanish.
Much of the economic expansion and growth of the human population in the 20th century is directly tied to the availability of large amounts of cheap oil," says Cutler Cleveland.
There isn't a single good service consumed on the planet, except in rural economies, that doesn't have oil embedded in it. Oil is the lifeblood of the global economy.
Ras Tanure on the Persian Gulf handles 1/10th of world's oil. This makes it a prime target for attack.
"If you have a facility like this and a plane crashed into it, or terrorists get int and somehow succeed in blowing it up, then you have a very, very significant disruption on your hands. That is what analysts see as a doomsday scenario.

As discussed here and elsewhere, the supply is so tight and choke points so obvious that it doesn't even require a Shadow Opec to bring down several percentage points of world oil production capacity.

A mere accident or a freak of weather can do that.

And finally, a blow to the CERA cornucopians:

Most industry experts, including geoscientists and economists, who were polledy by Samid in 2007 said that peak production will occur by 2010. "Now a real consensus is emerging"

Good article.

I recommend people buy copies and give to those who need to know, but have been so far unconvinced.

The New Scientist article can be read here for free:


Thanks. I knew you had posted it, but couldn't find it again :)

The interactive map of pipelines, choke points, shipping routes and the like is at New Scientist web site. This is part of the article.

Strait of Hormuz, 16 MB/day. --> Strait of Malacca, 15 MB/day.
Me thinks that blockading Iran would be a wee bit more than a declaration of war on Iran.

As discussed here and elsewhere, the supply is so tight and choke points so obvious that it doesn't even require a Shadow Opec to bring down several percentage points of world oil production capacity.

A mere accident or a freak of weather can do that.

Yes, and one of the top links has just given us a definitive top end on spare capacity: they can't cover 4 mb/d. Even with the KSA.

The chips are falling into place ladies and gents.

Place your bets!


Ausra's Vegas solar thermal plant comes online

Solar thermal company Ausra on Monday opened a Las Vegas factory meant to produce enough equipment each year to provide 700 megawatts of power.

The 130,000-square-foot facility is designed to manufacture massive mirrors and absorber tubes, employing 50 workers and leading to the creation of 1,400 construction jobs at solar sites.

Ausra makes utility-scale solar equipment that it says costs 30 percent to 40 percent less than photovoltaics. Its compact fresnel reflectors use relatively small amounts of steel and the same kind of glass used in building construction, according to Ausra.

How happy are these guys going to be about the freeze in applications for new utility scale solar projects reported in last Friday's drumbeat?


The CNET website, now owned by CBS, also has a nice pictorial story about a variety of solar thermal projects that are either being implemented, experimented with or are on the drawing boards.

Alan from the islands

I'd think it's a safe bet that this BLM Applications 'freeze' has pretty much a snowball's chance in hell of not melting quickly?

Of course, the article was talking about US Applications hitting a bureaucratic wall, so Ausra might just have to rely on exporting its product until a few more Americans start pushing our policies away from such insane roadblocks..

the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years.


'Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after they have explored all the other alternatives..' - Churchill paraphrased..

I'd think it's a safe bet that this BLM Applications 'freeze' has pretty much a snowball's chance in hell of not melting quickly?

I'm sure it won't last an Obama administration.

I think the real issue is that the grid can't handle the solar (just like it is pretty well maxed out for wind). I am wondering if the environmental issue might not be just a more politically correct way of putting a hold on things that won't work anyhow.

I participated in a web seminar last week through Renewable Energy World on the subject of concentrating solar power. They also talked about thermal solar power for electricity generation. These things seem to work pretty well, if you are trying to run a desalination plant, because intermittency is not a problem, and there is a direct connection, so the grid is not involved. Costs are in some cases similar to natural gas.

These solutions also seem to work in Spain as well. There are fewer grid issues, and there are feed-in tariffs that make them more competitive.

In this country, several speakerss said that it is the grid that is the overwhelming issue. One suggested that the only way he thought solar would work was if

1 .Large permitted solar zones were established.
2. A group of solar providers using varying solar technology were recruited to operated in these zones.
3. A large amount of storage for buffering the output were also built.
4. High voltage transmission lines to urban areas were built.

In this arrangement, theoretically the costs could be divided among the various solar providers. I suspect as a practical matter there would need to be a fairly big subsidy to make it work.

I have been interested in solar thermal ever since I first read about the Solar One Project, built in the Mojave Desert in California in the early 1980s. I followed it through it's transition to Solar Two, which used molten salt as a heat transfer and heat storage medium. They seem to have largely solved the intermittency problem with the molten salt as I remember reading that, solar two could still generate power for a few hours after sundown.

From http://news.cnet.com/2300-13840_3-6240094-6.html?tag=ne.gall.pg

Newer solar thermal plant designs incorporate several hours of storage, either by storing hot water or molten salt. This allows them to operate during the entire day, rather than only when the sun is out. Economically, the storage makes a very big difference because it allows utilities to meet peak demand hours, which is the most expensive time to supply electricity.

Unfortunately the company linked to in the above article does not have any projects underway but there are people out there with the experience from Solar One and Solar Two, who should be able to commercialize the technology.There is also a lot of other interesting stuff going on in the energy storage realm, see What's in store for power grid storage.

I think one of the major worries of all the companies involved in alternative energy tech is the pronouncements of the likes of the EIA. The prospect of returning to a world of cheap FF is a nightmare for them. The problem is that by the time it becomes widely accepted that, we will NEVER see cheap FF again and we are looking at PO in the rear view mirror, the energy needed to make all this good stuff will have skyrocketed in price and the costs may still be out of reach. The phenomenon of receding horizons I believe.

From my POV ,I wish people would stop thinking that this stuff is too expensive. A lot of things that people percive as valuable now, are going to be pretty useless post peak, while stuff like renewable energy is going to seem priceless. I am personally investing in stuff that, I hope will enable me get more than my fair share of work done post peak. In the future it's going to get even more expensive to get that $40,000 worth of man hours out of a barrel of oil.

Alan from the islands

Hi Gail,

Any chance you could write this up in more detail?

Who was the one speaker? Any chance of expanding on the four conditions, etc.?

Kinda late here, but isn't solar-thermal ideally load suited to the areas where it's most practical?

AC load peaks in the heat of the day, just when solar thermal is at it's best, so you can use the heat of the sun to cool off. This is also peak time for industrial and office power usage.

Just saying, I don't think it carries the loading penalties that wind does at all, and could be treated as a much higher percentage baseload in areas like the American SW.

Absolutely correct. That is why coal is pulling out all the stops to halt it.

It's not an insane roadblock to demand that solar at one point or another if not stand then at least lean on it's own legs for support instead of on the tax payer.

But this is not a question of subsidies it is the Bush admin simply forbidding the construction of solar concentrating plants. As it happens this is the first form of alternative energy which has reached price parity w/ fossil fuels w/o subsidies and now they are trying to ban it.

Coal interests, together with oil clearly run the country.
It is interesting that the most effective way of generating nuclear power via molten salt reactors was sat on in the 60's - but of course, the nuclear industry would not have made money by processing fuel rods, and they are absolutely useless for providing weapons grade materials, so there are two more major interests groups upset.

I note that there is no proposal to cease chopping the tops off mountains in the Appalachians for coal mining, or releasing mercury into the streams - no environmental impact presumably.

But this is not a question of subsidies it is the Bush admin simply forbidding the construction of solar concentrating plants.

How is this not about subsidies?

You can buy or rent private land and do whatever you want with it but rather than bearing the full costs yourself you ask to be given tax payer subsidized access to public land no questions asked.

Well sorry, it doesn't work that way. If you want access to public land you will have to deal with the bureaucracy that follows and that includes NEPA(which applies to everyone else as well, no exceptions).

Yeah, look at the way the coal industry has always paid the full costs of its emissions and wastes!
No bureaucracy ever seems to stand in the way of desecrating the landscape for coal.

And look at how the oil industry built all the roads and airports in the US, to make automibile and airplane travel so much more cost effective than railroads. And look at how the oil companies always paid market price for the oil they pumped out of public lands, not to mention how generously they compensated the Tribes for oil pumped off Indian lands.

Do we know the candidates' positions on this? McCain is GOP, but he is/was trying to position himself as caring about AGW.

Obama is a Dem, but he has gotten a lot of money from the coal industry (he is from Illinois).

Who the heck cares? Like it will make any difference which public relations quack gets elected.

I do feel that we have to make sure any industrial scale installations have to meet certain criteria, or they'll come back to bite us later. Windpower, Tidal etc.. these could easily be done wrong and have to cost us more time and ecosystem destruction as we battle over failed projects again and again. So it is worth doing these things carefully.. regardless of how desperate or rushed we feel we have to treat such things.

I suppose the issue could be put in better perspective when looking at how BLM and dept of interior are treating requests to explore and develop for Oil Shale, Tar Sands and new Natural Gas drilling..

And here was me thinking it was a transparent ploy by the coal industry to derail anything that looked as though it might be competitive - the timing was great too, as a lot of the start-ups have just finished building their factories, so they have spent the capital and are exposed when the expected contracts can't be built - if they had known a year ago they might have been able to reduce expenditure.

No conceivable damage the relatively modest solar farms could do would remotely compare to that done routinely by the coal industry - no fiddling about there with permission to cap individual mountains, I believe, or the damage done by tar sands oil extraction.

"transparent ploy by the coal industry"

I don't doubt it for a second. I wasn't trying to equivocate over BLM's move, just to say to Soylent that I'm not against there being ecological standards to meet for renewable projects. But I don't turn a blind-eye to the timing and placement of this news. Smells Ratty as hell.

Soylent's follow-up said "If you want access to public land you will have to deal with the bureaucracy that follows and that includes NEPA(which applies to everyone else as well, no exceptions)." Yeesh, Soylent. You don't think 'friends of the court' get walked quickly through that red-tape every day? Google Clearcutting.


Petroleum imports to Australia have fallen 28% lower than a year earlier:

Oil imports fall as drivers change road behaviour

Perhaps they where right, there is no demand for more oil anymore. At this rate AU can be independent from oil in only a couple of years! Way to go!

I don't know what this claim means but I flatly refuse to believe Australian use of petroleum products has declined anything like 28% since last year. That's just total nonsense. Anyone have any further insight? Does it just indicate a sharp drop in Australian stock levels in May?

I just had a glance at the ABS page linked to from the ABC article, and it appears to me that the figures are for imports of crude, not petroleum products. This could be an indicator that the Australian economy is being forced to import more refined product. So it's not that demand is down (it probably is a bit, however), but that we can't source crude oil to refine ourselves. This will of course only worsen our current account deficit problems. From an Australian perspective, this could be a very interesting figure to watch.

I flatly refuse to believe Australian use of petroleum products has declined anything like 28% since last year.

Well for a start that is not what the article said. It said *imports* are down 28%. Australia imports just over 1/3 of its consumption according to figures here:


so a 28% drop in imports is roughtly a 10% drop in overall consumption, assuming domestic production stayed constant over the period being measured.

Agreed but the report makes the claim that the monthly decline is proof that domestic consumption had dropped considerably when, as the replies show - it isn't.

Re: High Gas Prices Threaten to Drain Small Towns' Populations

I hope to god some of those people hear of the ELP plan ASAP.


Interseting, the euphemistic use of "Small Towns" for the suburbs they've turned into.

That is what a lot of rural America has become. That's why I've been predicting that rural America will suffer first and worst. Their incomes are low, their commutes are long.

Some people have this idealized vision of rural America parking their pickups and taking up subsistence farming without missing a beat. But many rural people today don't know any more about farming than city folk. And they don't want to learn. As gas prices rise, they will move closer to cities - where the jobs are - rather than give up on the American dream.

There was an article in the EB a year or two ago about a couple that concluded that running their little organic farm/garden in the middle of nowhere was not such a good idea. They moved into an urban area and practiced intensive permaculture in a small garden, and then traded with other organic food producers.

There ya go! Do you happen to know how much space they had and whether they could actually feed themselves?

Something people are missing, or overlooking, or just forgetting... If you are in a sustainable home and growing your own food, it could be quite some time before one needs to get into town. If there is any community around at all, that should be doable a couple times a year.

But, yes, very rural people without skills and lacking awareness of what is coming are going to hurt in the early stages. Then, again, I am not sure I want to be in a city of millions when the food trucks slow down and/or stop...

It's gonna be a wild ride, that much I know.


That's also the tragedy of the ghettoes. The grandparents of many current inner-city residents were subsistence farmers. Their descendants have no relationship to nature whatsoever. Many of the newest immigrant arrivals were subsistence farmers, but will not pass those skills on to their children unless their community leaders patiently explain to them why they must.

Best bet to spread the word: the African-American and Latino churches.

I don't think the places that are being talked about in this article are quite what we think of as "suburbs." These are what we would generally call rural areas, where housing subdivisions are pretty much non-existent. Rather, everyone has a small brick ranch or double wide parked within sight of a state or county highway. Formerly, the local economy -- such as it was -- consisted of a hardware store, a "gas-n-go" or a run-down farm that had been in the family for a generation or two.

Eventually, the farm became unsustainable, the local hardware store was put out of business by the Wal-Mart in town and these folks were forced to (a) move and leave "momma" living by herself in her run-down trailer-home or (b) take a job in a town miles away (which didn't pay much but as long as gas was cheap, was manageable).

I feel for these folks. A lot of them have nothing but the crappy mobile home that they live in and the idea of picking up and moving to a new town to take a job that may be outsourced to Asia six months from now, doesn't have that much appeal for them. So, they struggle on.

I've lived close up with these people. When I lived near Winchester VA, I would see them pouring out of West Virginia on Rt 50 and 522 everyday, headed for construction jobs in Northern Virigina. How those folks are making out now I can't say, but I would guess that at the least mortgage/credit crash has removed the temptation to commute long distances to work every day.

Yeah, I'm familiar with those types of small towns too. I once lived and worked in Caslte Rock, CO for several years, and moved before it became the upscale bedroom community midway between Denver and Colorado Springs it is today. IMO, it was far more attractive and livable as the small countyseat it once was. There was an item linked at the top of a DrumBeat several days ago that used Elizabeth, CO as an example of a failing exurb, where in 1989 I almost bought a property in one of the devlopments there but couldn't justify the communting and other expenses. I agree that some rural towns will die before being reborn once the city jobs start their eventual evaporation.

Ultimately, the question comes down to, What will become the core of the future American economy besides agriculture?

I feel for these folks. A lot of them have nothing but the crappy mobile home that they live in and the idea of picking up and moving to a new town to take a job that may be outsourced to Asia six months from now, doesn't have that much appeal for them. So, they struggle on.

outsourcing is sorta becoming last year's news. manufacturing jobs are slowly coming back because of high oil costs and the falling dollar.

Labor equivalent value of a barrel of oil...

Assume you can use the power output of a man as efficiently as a bicycle can, so that his work output in an 8 hour day could be on the order of one kilowatt hour. Also assume that the net heat energy available from a barrel of oil is about 1500 kilowatt hours, and that you can convert that to work at thermal efficiency = 1/3, so the work available from a barrel of oil is about 500 kilowatt hours. Finally, assume you can get the laborer to work for $50 per day.

It would appear that the labor equivalent value of a barrel of oil should be something like 50x500 = $25,000.

Looks like we have a way to go.

Mark Folsom

Your final figure seems rather low, I think you have overestimated the daily work output of a man. 0.1 HP, or 75W sustained output is a more common figure. Therefore I would estimate more than $40,000 equivalent value.

Figuring the value of oil based on human wages is silly. Why employ someone when a horse will work for oats and hay?

Every farm boy knows that before tractors came horses. They were used for fieldwork and for transport even in big cities. Today horse and buggy are still used by the Amish. They appear to be prosperous enough to raise families and continue their lifestyle.

Valuing the energy in oil at human labor rates is fallacious reasoning and grossly overestimates the value of oil. It is a meaningless exercise.

Figuring the value of oil based on human wages is silly.

So what's the value of a barrel of oil based on horse wages?

One gallon of diesel will produce 20 hp-hr of work (assume chain saw or plowing).

I would gladly rent a horse for two 10 hour days for $100 or $5 per hour. I doubt I could get one that cheap and a horse cannot put out 1 hp continuous.

Assuming approximately 42 gallon of diesel equivlalent energy, this is $100 per gallon or approximately $4,200 per barrel. Round up to $10,000 per barrel for the conservative assumptions.


re: USGS guy says there are
l00 billion barrels to discover in Arctic. Jean Laherrere, in the above link, believes there is very little left to discover there. I think Laherreere is more of a heavyweight in this field.

Here's a story posted this morning on the NYT's web site.

Georgia Judge Cites Carbon Dioxide in Denying Coal Plant Permit


A judge in Georgia has thrown out an air pollution permit for a new coal-fired power plant because the permit did not set limits on carbon dioxide emissions.

Both opponents of coal use and the company that wants to build the plant said it was the first time a court decision had linked carbon dioxide to an air pollution permit...

In the ruling released late Monday afternoon, a state judge relied on a decision by the Supreme Court last year that carbon dioxide could be regulated as a pollutant...

E. Swanson

Whoah! How did I miss that? Thanks for posting! To me it looks like a potential supreme court case, but I'm no fortune teller. :) I live in Georgia and I can tell you about a year or two ago the state came up with an 30 year power plan that called for two new nuclear plants and three new coal power plants, NO alternative energy sources. As you can imagine, the environmental groups are livid about this. (I disagree with the environmental groups in that I believe that out of necessity, nuclear has a place in our future energy generation.)

Some people at Georgia Tech and the GT Strategic Energy Institute have been examining off-shore wind potential in GA for a long time and found some good spots but for some reason, the GA state legislature isn't interested in including that in their plans.


One of the concerns I heard was that it was not clear they would be able to get insurance on the offshore wind turbines, because of the hurricane risk. I think that was one of the things that reduced many people's interest in the approach.

Maybe it's time to bring back steam-powered coal-burning locomotives?

I was thinking the other day about the benefits of electrifying the railroads. It's an expensive task, and in the USA at least, it significantly raises the property taxes of railroad companies, which is a major disincentive. We should change our property tax laws to exempt railroads, but hell will probably freeze over first.

In the early 1990s, I traveled all over China on coal-burning steam locomotives. China continued to produce steam locomotives up until around 1990, but has since been retiring them. Newer trains are either diesel or all-electric.

The coal-burning steam locomotives looked beautiful, but they did output a lot of black smoke. The smoke doesn't really bother the passengers (it rises almost straight up), but it no doubt pollutes the various communities that the train passes through, and contributes to global warming. Other than smoke, I didn't see any disadvantage to these coal burners when compared to modern diesel or all-electric. When China finally retired the steam locomotives, wealthy collectors from all over the world descended on the country to buy them up.

The thing is - China now burns lots of coal to produce electricity, which is in part used to power modern all-electric trains. Coal is dirty no matter where you burn it, and I have to wonder if it wouldn't be more efficient and perhaps even less polluting to bring back steam locomotives, as opposed to burning coal to make electricity to power trains.

Coal burning locomotives without condensation of the steam output from the drive cylinders is rather inefficient. China's use of coal has added considerably to their air pollution problems, much like Britain during the 1940's and 50's, when the fabled "London Fog" was actually smog. It is much better to use the coal in an steam powered electric generator (with those large cooling towers), then run the trains with electricity. That approach can capture most of the pollution at the power plant, resulting in both lower air emissions and less use of coal. That, assumes, of course, the power plants do actually have scrubbers, etc...:-(

E. Swanson

ozonehole -

I also love the look and sound of the old steam locomotives, but I would seriously doubt they are going to make a comeback anywhere but in the remotest corners of the Third Word. The steam locomotive has several serious inherent drawbacks that essentially makes it a technological deadend.

i) It has very poor energy efficiency. If I recall correctly, a modern diesel-electric locomotive requires something like less than half the amount of energy input to produce the same amount of useful power at the wheels.

ii) It is terribly polluting, and trying to retrofit the sort of pollution control systems that are used on large stationary coal-fired power plants would be next to impossible.

iii) It is very expensive to build and maintain and also highly labor-intensive to operate.

While not an inherent drawback, another fact that works against bringing back steam locomotives is that the heavy manufacturing infrastructure for steam locomotives has long ago disappeared and would be prohibitively expensive to recreate.

Plus the fact that the U.S. has used up most of the anthracite and high-grade bituminous coal those locos used to run on.

Steam engines have run on wood in the past. In my part of the world, this is a potential advantage. I wonder whether twood fired steam engines have a small role to play in the future, in spite of their many disadvantages. However, if we have the infrastructure to get the wood to a biomass electrical plant and electrify the tracks, that sounds like a better solution.

If you want a WAG I'd say that someday our oil shale deposits will be developed, but not to make oil. We'll simply burn the stuff in boilers, for steam engines. It'll be like really low-grade coal.

I also love the look and sound of the old steam locomotives, but I would seriously doubt they are going to make a comeback anywhere but in the remotest corners of the Third Word.

Maybe 10 or 20 years from now, America will quite possibly be one of the remotest corners of the Third World. We'll be lucky to have horse-drawn carts by then.

That's what I've been wondering about, since they do it in the FSU. Of course this would mean stripmining on an epic scale, with all kinds of nasty stuff released from burning the kerogen rock, and then ending up with a sizable disposal problem. But we could keep making electricity.

We should probably trademark "kerogen kars" while it's still available.

Steam locos also murder the tracks. Given the reciprocating motions that go on, they hammer the tracks (literally)and tend to twist them. Given how expensive steel is and how expensive it is going to become, steam locos are probably not the way to go.

Electrics have much better torque characteristics, don't damage the tracks and have regenerative braking and depending on the source of electricity - could be a loss less polluting.


It's unlikely to be a win at the current price of coal. Back in the 90's with 50 cent/hour miners yeah, but not at $125/ton. They're not efficient: That picturesque black smoke is pure waste. In a real power plant it would be energy. Also those things have a single speed transmission with little low end torque unlike an electric/diesel electric. It takes hours to get steam up. If you let them cool off it takes coal to reheat the boiler. Otherwise you burn coal for hours while they idle. And electrics do regenerative braking. You can get a lot of juice back when you stop a megaton that was doing 50 km/h.

Hey Ozone, the Union Pacific RR still has two active operating steam locos. One of them, #8444, a 4-8-4, has never been retired. It has been in active service since it was built in the 1940s. Of course they mainly pull excursion trains. but sometimes they will pull freight trains when they are being repositioned.

Holy-Moley! If I googled that right--that loco is huge. Looks about 3 times the length [if you count the following tender] of a modern day loco:


It's been renumbered back to 844 (which it was originally), and was long ago converted from burning coal to using fuel oil instead (as was UP's other steam locomotive, #3985)

This would be funny if it had been printed on April 1, but our local paper seems to be serious. They took up one third of the front of the business page with this. After lecturing us for several months on the need for offshore drilling and clean coal and nuclear and.... I think they've tipped their hand as to how little they know about energy.

Powered by Innovation: alternative energy device could turn a daily commute into electricity

Six months ago, in the garage of his west Redmond home, Carl Ylvisaker started tinkering with a tire, a trailer hitch, an alternator, car batteries and a power inverter.

The result: a device with the potential to complement alternative power sources like solar panels and windmills. And if everything falls into place, something that could help resolve the world’s energy crisis, says Ylvisaker, a retired physical therapist.

On April Fool's Day 2007 I posted a story about how we could generate all the power we needed by building wind towers and adjacent electric fans (to blow on the wind towers to keep them turning). This was, of course, a joke.

The article you linked to is a slight variation on the theme. But it sounds like a number of people think this can actually work.

The USA seriously needs to start spending more money on its school districts.

Another one I have heard that people actually believe is the car mounted wind turbine to recharge the batteries. As you drive 60mph down the highway, the air rushing by turns the wind turbine, which charges the batteries, which push you down the highway at 60 mph.

Hybrids nowadays have regenerative braking. So the logical conclusion - you can keep the batteries charged by driving with one foot on the accelerator and the other foot on the brake.

Sometimes complex problems have simple solutions.

When people notice that my bicycle is "different", their first question is: "is it electric?". Their second question is always: "does it have regenerative braking?". My explanations that I kind of like coasting down hills at slightly more than my level-ground speed don't seem to get across...

Sometimes simple situations seem unacceptable, thus complex musings are created to mask them.

sounds like a perpetual motion machine to me. Ain't happening.

If you live in a windy location, and leave it charging up in the parking lot long enough..... Of course unless you have a very strong tailwind, you'd want to stow it while driving.

If driving speeds were low enough, in windy places you might be able to put a sail onto a plugin hybrid, and actually gain some charging while moving.

Retired Phys Therapist, huh?

Poor guy is probably suffering from Carpool-Tunnel Syndrome..

"We Can Lower Oil Prices Now" by M. Feldstein in WSJ today:

This article, already picked up by Leanan is well worth a read as an example of massively muddled economic analysis. I'll pass over the main argument (read it yourself in its full horror). I'll point out a little gem.

" ... credible reports about the future decline of oil production in Russia and in Mexico implied a higher future global price of oil ..." OK, but a few paragraphs later concerning Saudis and OPEC; "A rise in the expected future demand for oil thus causes a current decline in the amount of oil being supplied. This is what happened as the Saudis and others cut supply in 2007." Why are Mexico and Russia subject to inexplicable production declines while Saudis and OPEC are responding rationally to market forces? Is the assumption that Mexicans and Russians are not very bright? Maybe they are smarter than Saudis in that they have generated an entirely believable cover story for cutting back production. (A cover story that protects their territory from invasion.) Why are Saudis credited with a rational economic response? Maybe their fields are actually in decline. I have my own opinion about the production data, but what I find worth pointing out is the selection of different reasons to be applied to different players. Surely they are all playing the same game.

If your country surrenders to American corporations, then our media depicts all your actions as rational.

If your country screws over American corporations, then our media depicts your society as socialistic, backward and incompentent, thus not rational.

If your country lends America billions of dollars and owns lots of its best real estate, our media spins in confusion, denouncing you one day, calling you our ally the next.

do we want crude prices to drop,,thats the question.if prices drop and we go back to a cheap energy scenario armagedan may show up before the next phase of energy (solar,geothermal,wind)are ready to replace crude that makes economic sense

This ones for Bob Shaw, who, if you recall, reminds us constantly to hug our bag of NPK. Alternatives to fertilizer..a little segment on CNBC today...and contains an interesting tidbit on the California fires related to fertilizer:


Hello Peekaboo,

Thxs for the video. Let's hope the firechem stays on the denuded land, instead of being washed into the ocean to further enlarge anoxic deadzones.

For those keeping score....there are now 7 grades of crude trading above $140!! Minas is almost over $150.

Name / Last Price

Brent Blend / 140.41
Tapis / 148.83
Alaska North Slope / 141.37
Bonny Light / 145.41
Louisiana Sweet / 146.18
Minas / 149.43
WTI / 142.56


Those wiley Nymex speculators! They've managed to push oil prices up in the rest of the world even MORE than they've pushed up WTI. They're insidious, I tell you. Imprison them all!

you too can become an oil speculator!


If Congress is against speculating in oil and other commodities, it's probably the best investment idea around.

And whereas ordinary investors until recently had lacked access to futures, options and other sophisticated tools that allow hedge and pension funds to leap into this volatile arena, exchange-traded funds have opened the doors for us.

Thanky you Dragonfly I've posted this observation at least 3-4 times now hopefully more people will see the obvious.

The next observation is its not just exportland the price of bunker fuel which is a byproduct of all refineries regardless of if the gasoline diesel is sold at a discount is going through the root indicating tight oil supplies.

This one is for Alan Drake, I came across it on my congressman's website:


From Roads to Rail: A Town Hall Discussion on the Future of Transportation in Northern Virginia

Congressman Moran to host a town hall discussion on transportation issues facing Northern Virginia. Rep. Jim Oberstar will provide his perspective as the highest-ranking member of the House of Representatives on matters involving transportation.

I attended a regional transportation meeting a few days ago. One of the speakers said that towns without rail will be in trouble. I disagreed. I said that towns without rail won't be in trouble--they will probably die.

Where I live (ex-urban SE Pennsylvania) you can't drive 5 miles in any direction without crossing a railroad track. Most of them are biking trails now, or just abandoned, stripped of their tracks. It's sad, really, though I suppose it would make it easier for us to put rail back in then if they had never been there, assuming we could get the capital and the steel for rails. Labor will be cheap, though.

I forwarded the link on to Ed Tennyson, who lives in Virginia (near a Metro Station I think).

Thanks !


Hi Alan--You might be heartened that McSame's anti-AMTRAK agenda got some exposure in a big city paper, although not on the front page where it belongs. IMO, if his history on this issue was made very well known, he would lose the election based on just that alone, given the great need for passenger rail expansion. Letting local newspaper editors know of his position on this issue would be a public service--hint, hint, wink, wink to drumheads.

California's March 2008 Gasoline and AV Gas and their Diesel consumption numbers are out.

March 2007(gallons) March 2008(gallons) %change
Gasoline+AV GAS 1,353,047,025 1,306,103,269 -3.47
Diesel 275,550,478 241,439,734 - 12.4

Wow, it looks like we're finally getting so see some demand destruction. California is using less Diesel than in 2004 and less gasoline than in 2003.

Thanks for the numbers. I don't think the diesel figures entirely reflect demand destruction. Last weekend I was listening to a report about the trucking industry, and with diesel at over $5/gal here in CA, many truckers noted they were filling up with the minimum amount possible to get them to the cheaper diesel in Nevada and Arizona. So I think part of the decline in diesel is demand-shifting.

There is also the San Diego border crossings into Mexico to buy diesel in the $2.xx range, to the point of creating shortages.

Groan the housing industry died in California. Given that on of the last major industries heavily dependent on transportation has died one would think this is not good news nor does it reflect future changes in consumption. Its a one shot deal.

Next on the diesel side any truck on the planet can fill up before entering California and fill up after exiting if they are going east west which is 99% of the truck traffic only north south trucks might be forced to fillup in california.
Given that fuel is significantly cheaper on leaving CA this is a no brainer.

4.65 or so


Kill the Oil Speculators: Raise Margin Requirements, Force Physical Delivery

This one and the others by Scott Bleier on tech-ticker are my pick for today


I keep telling all the oil trader types that I knew you before you were tried for international crimes against humanity.

Best Hopes for a Solar Thermal Future.

New Solar Thermal Factory Opened in Las Vegas, Triples Worldwide Manufacturing Capacity

“This is a crossover point for this industry. Ausra’s factory is accelerating Nevada’s and America’s solar future by tripling worldwide manufacturing capacity, relieving the supply constraint that has slowed the industry, and continuing to drive down costs,” Fishman said in Ausra’s press release.


I just received a corporate email asking me to sign up to "reduce my use". One paragraph in the email stated:

"To the 450 of you who have already pledged to Reduce Your Use...thank you. Over the course of a year, your pledges will eliminate the use of more than 100,000 disposable bags. This is equivalent to the amount of petroleum it takes to drive a car from New York to Los Angeles and back! "

I recently went looking to see how much the plastic industry as a whole , utilizes oil as its feedstock. What I found (I had posted this before on TOD) was an estimate that 7% of total global supply was used in the plastic product ingredients and another 7% of total global supply was used just to run the manufacturing process for plastics.

My point was at the time is that I think there is a lot if low hanging fruit, inefficiencies in our utilization of oil that we could immediately cut out (if forced).

There is some good ideas going on in packaging too...look at what a simple redesign of the milk carton has done for reducing petroleum consumption:


The company estimates this kind of shipping has cut labor by half and water use by 60 to 70 percent. More gallons fit on a truck and in Sam’s Club coolers, and no empty crates need to be picked up, reducing trips to each Sam’s Club store to two a week, from five — a big fuel savings. Also, Sam’s Club can now store 224 gallons of milk in its coolers, in the same space that used to hold 80.

Bring your own bags to the store, or if you forget them, tell them not to bag your stuff. Also, bottle bills do quite a bit towards forcing re-usable containers. In college, we bought beer in cases of returnable glass bottles in the 1980s and early 1990s. Some of the bottles were 30-40 years old by the date stamps on the bottom of them. Try that with plastic. We need to return to these days. While I realize that safety is an important issue, so is energy conservation and conserving oil by not using plastic.

Also, we may be able to make plant based, not oil based polymers. Soy plastics were used in the 1930s to make dashboard components and knobs for cars. DuPont is also experimenting with non-petroleum plastics as they see the writing on the wall for oil.

I am thinking something more drastic. Instead of putting it on the consumers...just stop offering the plastic bags. Stop making them. Pass a law making them illegal. If it still remains an option...we're on a slow train to hell getting folks to change thier habits.

In Italy it's very simple. When it's your turn at the grocery store check-out, the clerk asks how many bags you want then charges you for the bags up front and hands them to you. You bag your own. We were tourists, but it only took us a couple of shopping trips to start bringing in bags we had accumulated. I don't even remember how much they charged for the bags, but a huge majority of shoppers brought their own and it's clear that bags were reused many times.

Any time your "solution" involves "pass a law," you may as well toss it right out the window. Unless, that is, you also have a plan for how you are going to overcome corporate interests and gain control of the U.S. congress, the European Parliament and every other legislative body in the world. (And then start on those executives/monarchs who really hold the legislative power in their countries.)

I shop at Whole Foods. Here in LA, they stopped using plastic bags about 6 months ago. Paper only or your own.

They started taxing them in Ireland (33 cents per bag at the register) See The New York Times
Motivated by a Tax, Irish Spurn Plastic Bags. February 2, 2008. Ireland ended up with a 94 per cent reduction in plastic check-out bag usage (but an increase of 77 per cent more "bin bags" because many people would use the bags as "bin liners" when plastic bags were eliminated from the market consumers bought bags off of the shelf).

Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable — on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog.

... the environment minister told shopkeepers that if they changed from plastic to paper, he would tax those bags, too.

While paper bags, which degrade, are in some ways better for the environment, studies suggest that more greenhouse gases are released in their manufacture and transportation than in the production of plastic bags.

There was overall reduction in annual plastic usage of over 1.08 billion plastic bags. See The London Telegraph The plastic bag debate

If Ireland can cut out over a billion plastic bags in a year imagine how many could the U.S. eliminate?

Oil prices should solve it.
When shops stop giving them away, and they will as most of them will end up as thrift shops, then folk will bring their own bags in.

Not just bags at the cash register---I bet all plastic packaging is in for it soon afterwards. The costs will be so high people are just going to be unable to buy anything. It will be shipped in....what? barrels? boxes? You bring your own little bags and it will be divided and weighed out, what little there is. I'm sure scarity will prevail. We won't be seeing great quantities of anything.

I bought a bottle of ketchup yesterday - it was the cheap stuff, and the bottle was made just big enough to hod the juice - the tendency in the more expensive bottles, and usual in the past, was to make containers as big as possible to create the illusion you were getting more, when most of it was actually air.

Let's hope it doesn't get so expensive that food is inadequately packaged and rots.

In Mexico in the 70's and 80's, the empty glass beer bottles were worth more than the beer in them.
Being on the edge surfers, we recycled every one, jut to keep the money reasonable.

When we started using/reusing paper and plastic bags over 10 years-ago, we'd get strange looks at the grocery, but no more. Over those years I'd estimate we refrained from using and then throwing away (as done by most) several thousand plastic bags. IMO, an important point all can make at the local level is the mandating of ALL plastics recycling.

That's a horrifying idea. The cost by any measure would be unreasonable(money, labour, energy, pollution).

It's better to just burn things like plastic bags in a CHP plant or to burry them in a land fill(the fact that it doesn't degrade well means that you just sequestered a bunch of carbon); rather than trying to make them into some inferior junk nobody wants at great expense.

(Re-use of glass is also quite water and energy intensive but doable. Recycling however is a bad idea, especially for green glass; it's better to just grind it down and use it as filler in building materials and pavement rather than trying to fashion it into new bottles.)

The reason I made mention is that many plastics recyclers are crying for feedstock, and I think the case can be made for its positive EROEI.

Of course the best use of glass bottles is to keep circulating them before scrapping to other uses.

On a job in Korea last fall, I found a coke bottle with the telltale wear of a frequently refilled container, and the date on the inking showed it to be ten years old. That's a lot of energy saved.

I think some of our 'hyper-hygenic' mania will subside with practical attention to prices, and real dangers vs imagined ones.. Of course if we learn to eat real food again, our immune systems will be able to handle a few more bumps than today (I don't drink much Coke.. never at dusk!)


A winning formula for sustainable mobility

Given that more than half of cars are driven less than 50 kilometres a day, this flexibility offers peace of mind to the consumer and a promising path for meeting the demanding standards of reliable low-cost transportation. From a strategic perspective, electrification of the transportation sector can deliver substantial environmental benefits (low greenhouse gas emissions), lower cost to consumers and increased revenues to utilities. Reducing the dependence on oil-based transportation has the added benefit of moderating the pressures on security of long-term supply in a global marketplace driven by explosive demand from emerging economies.

salad powered salad spiner

Look, a good old-fashioned run on the bank.

"Of course we do need to raise capital," Nichols said. "We're working the problem from many angles. That's all I can say."

The company's stock sank 19 cents Monday to close at 62 cents a share. The shares are down 90% this year....

"The thing is, every bank is going down. Everybody's afraid,"

That the last sentiment was made by someone depositing money at IndyMac is high irony.

Apologies if this has been previously posted:

Entertainment Scientists Warn Miley Cyrus Will Be Depleted by 2013

Onion News Network report:

Dr. Justin Canty of the Institute for sustainable Cyrus use warning of dire consequences from the over consumption of Miley Cyrus... We are overusing her at unprecedented levels!" 83% of Tween entertainment now Cyrus-based; Miley already showing near Lohan levels of depletion; Scientists push for the Typhoon Lagoon Protocol.

Yesterday. But it was late in the day.

A delusional article from Bloomberg: U.S. Stocks Gain on GM Sales Report; American Express, CIT Rise

``The market has spooked as many people out as it's going to for a little while, and it's going to rally back,'' said Michael Williams, who helps oversee about $2.8 billion as managing director of Genesis Asset Management ``There is far too much good news going on that is being completely ignored.''

The good news included:

GM June U.S. sales fall 18.2%

Chrysler Sales Fall 36%

Ford Sales Off 28% in June

More good news like that, and we are undone.

CNBC has been reporting for most of the day that the GM decline was only about 8%, while everyone else is using the 18% number.

BTW, Starbucks is closing 600 stores in the US, and reports that the casinos in Vegas are having problems.

The discretionary implosion continues.

Here is the answer apparently. From CNBC (regarding GM sales numbers):

CNBC reports sales figures on an adjusted basis accounting for the number of selling days in the most recent month compared with the year prior. There were 24 selling days in June, compared with 27 days a year earlier.

I don't think this makes that much difference. If one wanted to buy a vehicle in June, it seems that you bought it, regardless of the number of sales days.

General Motors holds off Toyota as June sales fall

The nation's biggest automaker on Tuesday reported selling 262,329 vehicles for the month, compared with Toyota's 193,234. Some industry analysts had expected Toyota to beat GM in the U.S. for the first time, but both companies were hurt by a sluggish economy and poor sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles.


Toyota says sales were of because they did not have enough cars to sell .. Prius and Corollas

My dealer says Prius's are 2 months out.

I need to buy a car now.... any suggestions

I'l lean toward a Civic or Corolla. You might take a look at a natural gas powered Civic, and a home refueling station. For out of town trips, you could rent a car. Or try to rearrange your lifestyle so that you can get by without a car.


Small & used

Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit if buying new.


I would go for a Fit in a heartbeat over the Yaris at the same price even if the Fit was a little more $.

Fit seemed to have taken a lot more into consideration. You can fit a ton of stuff in a Fit. The back area turns fully into a little flat bed. One add shows a full sized washing machine in the back of a Fit.

I have a Yaris and love it! But would consider the fit also. Have driven Hondas for over 500,000 miles, but chose the Yaris over the Fit.
Mainly ergonomics and friends experience.

Hmmm. And I thought car dealerships were open 7 days a week. Also, not sure how 3 selling days difference would amount to a 10% differential from 18 to 8???

Around here dealerships are closed on Sundays. I've always thought that was curious, but it seems to be pretty universal. Even so, I'm pretty sure this June didn't have 3 more Sundays than last June. I could imagine a very late Memorial Day holiday might push some sales into June, but I can't figure out how there were 3 fewer days in June this year.

24 is 11% less than 27.

Then the question to ask is "Why were they selling only 24 days that month?". The answer could very well be "Maybe they did not need those selling days".

CNBC will do its best to paint a positive spin on every bit of bad news (at least bad news from its perspective).

The discretionary implosion has started in India as well. Airlines have been cutting flights to stem losses. Inflation has hit 11.4% (if the government admitted that then I would think it is closer to 13%). Fuel shortages have hit at least one city because oil importing companies are going broke having to lose money on every litre of petrol and diesel they sell.


My Newsweek just hit the mail box, page 44-45 has an article by Marc Bain with a map showing (or it so claims to show) how much oil is available in the U.S.

Part of it I find intriguing is southern Florida, the map shows potential oil in all or parts of Manatee, Hardee, Highlands, Hendry, St Lucie, Browerd, Palm Beach, Miami Dade, Collier, Lee, Monroe and Okeechobee counties.

Will we soon be arguing over drilling in the Glades, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, or Collier-Seminole State Park?

Will drilling rigs be going up next to the condo canyons of Miami or Boca?

From the same issue: Americans suffer "green fatigue" or "eco-anxiety"

I’m So Tired Of Being Green

The Shelton Group's latest study, Energy Pulse 2007, revealed that between 2006 and 2007, Americans' enthusiasm for energy-efficient products and services fell across the board. Among its findings: the number of green or energy-efficient activities consumers said they participated in—such as recycling or riding a bike to work instead of driving—dropped from an average of 3.63 in 2006 to 3.0 last year. Furthermore, the number of respondents who considered energy efficiency "important/extremely important" in deciding whether to buy a product fell from 72 to 67 percent. "We are really seeing a backlash to the whole green thing," says Shelton. "We've tested environmental messaging for some clients lately, and we get a lot of eye rolls and deep sighs. We hear things like 'I'm so tired of the green label being slapped on everything,' 'I'm so tired of being guilted into being green'."

A new field, eco-psychology, has even arisen to help people cope with their mounting "eco-anxiety"—worries not just about the planet's health but also about their own environmental inadequacies. Melissa Pickett, a self-proclaimed eco-psychologist and president of the SoulWays Center for Conscious Evolution, believes it's only a matter of time before insurance companies recognize it as a treatable psychological ailment. "I compare it to PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]," she says. "Years ago, there wasn't a label for it. There isn't a diagnostic label [now] for green fatigue or eco-anxiety. At some point there probably will be."

"We are really seeing a backlash to the whole green thing," says Shelton. "We've tested environmental messaging for some clients lately, and we get a lot of eye rolls and deep sighs. We hear things like 'I'm so tired of the green label being slapped on everything,' 'I'm so tired of being guilted into being green'."

My guess is that there is a close causal link between skyrocketing energy prices and growing indifference to ecological issues. And if the general public ever 'goes solar', it will because at some stage solar energy may become cheaper than energy from fossil fuels. Any beneficial impact on carbon emissions will be a side effect and will have nothing to do with eco-awareness.

Ditto for 'organic foods' and 'going local'. These are luxuries at the moment that only the upper middle classes can afford. Ditto for all those chirpy tips and tricks about not storing hot food in your deep freezer. People will save energy because they can no longer afford not to. Price will be the great driver, not the pseudo-morals of 'ethical living'. Ditto for what we burn in our ovens. If people freeze at minus 30 degrees in the winter, they will recycle their plastic bottles by putting them in the fire, not by depositing them in the local recycling centre.

The green movement was in itself a product of the age of cheap oil -- basically an exercise in cosmeticism (to use Catton's term). The age of cheap oil is over. Time to write the requiem of the Greens.

Environmental considerations have always been a luxury (here in the US). The first sign of economic trouble, and screw it.

We WILL eat the planet - count on it.

"We WILL eat the planet - count on it"

Sadly, Haiti has already started with the ever-popular Mud-Cookie.

Hello Umass82,

Your Question: "Will drilling rigs be going up next to the condo canyons of Miami or Boca?"

If there is oil there, but no available rigs, due to the ever-worsening global material shortages: I would expect engineers to quickly convert, with internal modifications, a condo-tower into an ideally located, working drill-rig. Just be careful walking thru the lobby as the rig-workers do their job. You might get free rent & utilities too, but the 24/7/365 noise of the clanging drillpipes and grinding motors might drive you crazy.

Considering what will happen to land in South Florida, once the ice covering Greenland really starts to melt, maybe it's better to drill before it's flooded, instead of waiting until that land becomes continental shelf. Remember that Lake Okeechobee sits at an elevation of 14 feet above sea level.

E. Swanson

From the Financial Times:

The IEA said that despite billions of dollars of investment, the challenge of pumping ever more oil out of their aging fields is proving so great that non-Opec countries will in the next five years have to rely on biofuels, such as corn-based ethanol, for 50 per cent of their growth in overall fuels.

[emphasis mine]

We live in interesting times ...


Richard Heinberg on Chinese Coal reinforces my opinion that China will be the first of the major industrial nations to go into meltdown.Apart from the problem with coal and energy generally it has immense problems with environmental degradation and festering ethnic minority issues.
The root cause of all this is a population level which can in no way be sustained.China is a clear and present example of a nation which has and will breed itself into oblivion.
An object lesson for the rest of humankind but I see little sign of any awareness.
Instead,in my country(Australia)for example,the BAU crowd are shouting from the stands about our resources boom which is largely based on exports to China of coal and iron ore etc.We have a huge and apparently intractable balance of payments deficit.Relying on a fragile market like China seems to me to be a short cut to penury.
I wouldn't be surprised if,after the Olympic circus is done,the "government" in China will be forced to apply the brakes heavily.The consequences of this will be interesting,to put it mildly.

interesting but scary ideas thirra.

The big Q is when will the London Olympics have to apply the breaks?
(before or after)I know the modern Olympics are 100 years, but the grandiose O-schemes in resent decades will not be possible for too many years to come,IMHO.

There are Olympics every 2nd year, in which year will "grand scale olympics" fail ? Hmmmm
Or when the going gets really though, maybe they see it fit to recycle the Olympics in "old and readymade host-cities" ?

I think most people at this site could give you good arguments why China will at least outlast Australia. The Chinese have endured amazing things in the last 4000 years, and especially the last 200. The conditions of Chinese life in the 1930s were horrible beyond belief.

But by the quotation marks you put around government, I see this has something more to do with ideology than history.

The quotation marks around Government had nothing to do with ideology.It is problematic as to how much of what happens in China is actually controlled by the government.In spite of a gargantuan state apparatus it appears that the whole conglomeration is beyond total central control.
Over the last 4000 years the Chinese nation/empire has ebbed and flowed through many invasions and dynastic changes.The Chinese peasant has survived,in spite of incredible losses from famine,disease and war.Possibly,they will survive,in some unknown number, the coming trauma.
What I was trying to get across was that the Chinese nation as it now exists has very little chance of surviving.
Whether Australia survives is also unknown but that is not especially relevant to the Chinese situation.

From the IEA 2008 MTOMR press release

Project delays averaging 12 months, coupled with global average decline of 5.2% - up from 4% last year – are the factors behind these revisions. Over 3.5 mb/d of new production will be needed each year just to hold global production steady.

Does anybody know how the IEA's "3.5 mb/d of new production" is calculated?

Here's my guess:

Case 1: Assume that total crude, condensate and NGL production is about 83 mbd. 5.2% of 83 mbd is 4.32 mbd which is much greater than 3.5 mbd. This can't be how it was calculated.

Case 2: Maybe the IEA assumes that NGL production is excluded. Crude and condensate production is about 75 mbd. 5.2% of 75 mbd is 3.9 mbd. IEA 2008 MTOMR says that biofuels is increasing by 0.6 mbd from 2008 to 2013, or 0.12 mbd/yr, and that OPEC NGL is increasing by about 1 mbd from 2008 to 2013, or 0.2 mbd/yr.
slides 28 & 30 from IEA 2008 MTOMR presentation

3.9 mbd decline offsetted by 0.12 mbd biofuels increase & 0.2 mbd OPEC NGL increase is 3.58 mbd which is close to 3.5 mbd.

Reading between the lines, the IEA 2008 MTOMR is really stating that the world is on a peak total liquids plateau. Unfortunately, a significant part of the IEA's forecast capacity growth is coming from low energy density NGLs and biofuels. If the IEA measured total liquids in energy units instead of volume units, their outlook would probably show a total liquid energy decline.

FYI...all the tea leaves are showing you have months to get your sh*t together for some pretty big shocks in the 4th QTR. Get some plans in place...if you haven't taken WT's advice then you should think again. Downsize, get out of debt, grow a garden, get to know your neighbors, start using your credit cards less, use cash when you can and get used to it.

Just a feeling...

From your lips to gods' ears... trying.. trying.. Korean family can't see it, even now and US family are conservatives who think it's oil companies holding back production...


Thxs for this analysis, Ace. Hopefully, someone early tomorrow will post a brief DB-intro and a TOD hyperlink back to your posting.

Maybe Leanan will catch your post, then put in her toplinks. Amazingly, she doesn't miss much.

Hey ACE,

I just wanted to make sure you saw Jerome's latest post on EnergyBulletin [EB] plus Bart's following comments. Sadly, the IEA appears to deeply politicized and compromised--must be a lousy work environment trying to labor under those conditions imposed by external forces:

International Energy Agency says current prices justified
by Jerome a Paris

...I have been told by a reliable source that the IEA has been forbidden by the US administration from updating their absurdly cornucopian oil supply and demand scenarios until the report that comes out late this year (after the election)...

...The IEA, which was deeply unhappy about the current lies it was supposed to present and support, has been leaking word of the expected content of that new report for many weeks now, including an increasingly alarmist tone in its official reports, such as today's Medium Term Market Outlook...

Bart's comments to Jerome's article:
I have been puzzled why recent interviews of Dr. Fatih Birol (chief economist of the IEA) have been available in the German media but are not translated into English.

Is Jerome's informant right, that there is an effort to suppress the bad news until after the U.S. election?

Now that I think of it, the Energy Watch Group came out in May with an updated report on oil -- but it is still only available in German. (Normally they translate their reports into English).-BA

How can we get the MSM to really dig further into this potential energy/election news suppression? Can Tom Whipple and/or Seymour Hersch carry the ball? Would Jerome want to introduce his 'Deep Throat' to Woodward & Bernstein?

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

I've been having a go at some basic translation, you can play along too:

Here's a link to view the pdf as html.

You can cut n paste prospective sections in babelfish.


Here's a translation of the conclusion

The most important result of the available analysis is the realization that the world-wide oil production reached its highest level in the year 2006. The oil production will decrease/go back annually in the future around some per cent points. Until 2020 and only quite until 2030 a dramatic decrease of the world-wide oil production is to be expected. Thus a supply deficit will result, those within this timeframe hardly from the increasing contributions of other fossil, nuclear or alternative energy sources to be closed can

The world economy stands at the beginning of a deep structural change. This change becomes by the decrease of the supply of fossil Fuels released, and it will affect almost each aspect of our everyday life.

It's fun until your brain fries with syntax overload.

edit :

just ran it thru the google web page translate:


thX ace for your take!

The gloomy part : average decline of 5.2% - up from 4% last year ..

"All bio-fules gone" - (the equivalent to)
That added 1,2% DECLINE "wiped out" almost ALL the BIO-FUEL portion of the All-liquids charts .....

When crude oil really starts to decline we will all learn really fast what bio-fuel is. (I've seen it already)

Why floods could bring America to its knees

" In the Iowa floods, we’ll see more evidence of how the problems of weird weather (climate change) combine and ramify the problems associated with Peak Oil."