DrumBeat: July 4, 2008

ANALYSIS - US oil firms seek drilling access, but exports soar

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - While the U.S. oil industry want access to more federal lands to help reduce reliance on foreign suppliers, American-based companies are shipping record amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel to other countries.

A record 1.6 million barrels a day in U.S. refined petroleum products were exported during the first four months of this year, up 33 percent from 1.2 million barrels a day over the same period in 2007. Shipments this February topped 1.8 million barrels a day for the first time during any month, according to final numbers from the Energy Department.

The surge in exports appears to contradict the pleas from the U.S. oil industry and the Bush administration for Congress to open more offshore waters and Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

UK Lawmakers to Probe Energy Market Speculation Mid-July

U.K. lawmakers will probe the regulation of the oil markets in mid-July, as oil prices cycle ever higher and their U.S. counterparts pressure the market watchdog there to clamp down on excessive market speculation.

Naomi Klein: Big Oil's Iraq deals are the greatest stick-up in history

Once oil passed $140 a barrel, even the most rabidly rightwing media hosts had to prove their populist credibility by devoting a portion of every show to bashing Big Oil. Some have gone so far as to invite me on for a friendly chat about an insidious new phenomenon: "disaster capitalism." It usually goes well - until it doesn't.

For instance, "independent conservative" radio host Jerry Doyle and I were having a perfectly amiable conversation about sleazy insurance companies and inept politicians when this happened: "I think I have a quick way to bring the prices down," Doyle announced. "We've invested $650bn to liberate a nation of 25 million people, shouldn't we just demand that they give us oil? There should be tankers after tankers backed up like a traffic jam getting into the Lincoln Tunnel, the stinkin' Lincoln, at rush-hour with thank-you notes from the Iraqi government ... Why don't we just take the oil? We've invested it liberating a country. I can have the problem solved of gas prices coming down in 10 days, not 10 years."

Power Hungry: As Russia becomes more aggressive regarding its natural gas supplies, Europe faces a whole new energy crisis

Oil may be headed for $200 a barrel and the price of everything from wheat to gold set to cause yet more ructions in world commodities markets, but for European businesses, households and governments, natural gas may be the next big headache. Like oil, the price of this fossil fuel is rising dramatically. Now EU officials and others in the industry are warning that Europe is facing a supply crunch as well, whatever the price.

Europe is “sleepwalking” its way to a “staggering dependence on imports,” Paulo Scaroni, chief executive of Italy’s national energy company, Eni, told the World Energy Congress in Rome late last year. By 2020 gas demand could be 40% higher than in 2007, at a time when production in the 27-nation EU was “expected to halve.” The result, he stated, will mean doubling Europe’s annual imports from 300 billion cubic metres to 600 billion cubic metres. “We clearly run the risk of a gas shortage in the future,” he added.

Oil at $300

You would think that this story is right out of science fiction. But the facts appear to be that the US Democrat-controlled Congress intends to destroy the Republican middle class with $11 per gallon gasoline.

The Democrats’ base -- wealthy white “limousine liberals”, and very poor people -- won’t be harmed, but the families who live in suburbia will be devastated.

High fuel prices cause shortage of Meals on Wheels volunteers

Meals on Wheels Association of America reported effects of the rising food and fuel prices in all 50 states from May 22-30.

More than half the reporting programs reported losing volunteers because of fuel prices. Of those, almost half, 48.3 percent, reported they were forced to consolidate or eliminate routes.

Australia: Rising prices lead to volunteer crisis

Underprivileged children and the disabled are missing out on services across the region as rising living costs force volunteers to quit their roles, according to community organisations.

India: Anti-malaria drive runs out of fuel

Every year, the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) observes June as 'Month Against Malaria' and undertakes several pre-monsoon precautionary activities. But this time, the main activity of fogging was indefinitely stopped as 36 fogging machines of the RMC Health Department remained out of order due to a shortage of petrol.

Drivers choosing cheaper rides: As fuel prices soar, motorbikes and scooters not being used just for fun

Victor Slobodian says he can't keep scooters and motorbikes in stock.

The owner of Cool Rides in Barrie says customers are downsizing their vehicles and fuel bills by using these alternatives.

"I've seen a dramatic shift in sales this year," Slobodian said. "We are selling scooters and small bikes just as fast as we can get them in stock.

"We're actually experiencing a bit of a shortage from our suppliers because of the demand," he added.

Tricks of the hypermilers boost mileage in any car

With gasoline topping $4 a gallon, there's no shortage of advice from the financial experts: Try car-pooling, biking or walking. Or trade your car.

Then I heard about "hypermiling": changing your driving behavior to coax better gas mileage out of your car. Hypermilers do such things as drive slowly, brake as little as possible and limit their use of the air conditioner.

Gas prices driving Houston cabbies out

HOUSTON -- Before he even starts his taxi cab, Yamare Ndiaye knows the day will take a toll. “Every day I keep losing a lot of money.”

Ndiaye says he hasn’t turned a profit in months.

He says he doesn’t even bother to ask customers for that $1 fuel surcharge the city allowed this week.

“I don’t even ask it to customers because I feel ashamed. One dollar is nothing,” he said.

Politics Failed, but Fuel Prices Cut Congestion

Soaring gas prices and higher tolls seem to be doing for traffic in New York what Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s ambitious congestion pricing was supposed to do: reducing the number of cars clogging the city’s streets and pushing more people to use mass transit.

Biodiversity: Some species could be wiped out 100 times faster than feared, say researchers

Endangered species could become extinct 100 times faster than previously thought, scientists warned yesterday in a bleak reassessment of the threats to global biodiversity. They say methods used to predict when species will die out are seriously flawed and dramatically underestimate the speed at which some will disappear.

Some rows to hoe at the White House

IT HAS BEEN decades since that famous forager Euell Gibbons reached through the White House fence and picked four edible weeds out of the president’s garden. This is not something that the Secret Service would recommend you try today.

But Roger Doiron has a better plan for eating the view of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. He’s started a campaign to get a kitchen garden growing on the White House lawn.

Warning from Energy Insider…

“We need to depoliticize most of the energy debate. The energy reality out there is changing, and changing fast. If you have not thought about the ‘energy issue’ in, say, five years, then your thinking process is probably obsolete. If you are frozen in some past that you learned years ago, then you are part of the problem.

“At the same time, we need policy stability and long-term focus within the national energy evolution. Are we going to produce large amounts of energy in the future? If not, how do we plan to run the country? To run the economy? Or are we just going to blow down what we have in the installed base? If we want to just live off the past energy heritage, we should also ask the band to practice playing ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee.”

Oil Makes Markets Go 'Round

There's a sea change in how the think tanks feel about the energy question. Opinion is shifting fairly rapidly toward the tight supply conclusion. One major holdout, Cambridge Energy, still believes that Saudi Arabia's elephantine fields, more than 40 years old, are not even close to peaking. The Saudis themselves say they expect to develop sizable fields that, in the longer term, will push them past 12 million barrels of production a day.

Some of us question whether the Saudis can achieve this from their present 10-million-barrel capacity. Satellite cameras don't tell you much about Saudi capacity. Recent photos suggest a high level of pressure pumping, which is what you do to keep an oil reservoir at peak production rates. But there is no proof that their fields have peaked. Recently, however, the retired head of Aramco, the Saudi production company, said future production could not exceed 12 million barrels.

School district's 4-day week approved (Minnesota)

MACCRAY will be the first district in Minnesota to join rural districts in 17 other states to adopt the alternative schedule that promises to save $85,000 in energy and transportation costs.

Gas Prices Keep Vacationers at Home

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - Despite a spate of wet weekends, family camping is enjoying a surge in Connecticut this vacation season. High gas prices are given much of the credit.

Maine: High cost of oil turns focus back to wood

AUGUSTA — Facing a winter where home heating oil likely will cost $4.50 or more per gallon, a task force created by the governor believes the public is ready to start making the switch back to the state's most plentiful homegrown resource: wood.

The goal is to convert 10 percent of home oil-based heating systems to wood in five years, using pellet or wood chip technology, according to a draft report released by Gov. John Baldacci's Wood-to-Energy Task Force.

Marshall Islands declares 'economic emergency' over energy crisis

MAJURO (AFP) — The tiny western Pacific island nation of the Marshall Islands has declared a state of economic emergency as soaring fuel prices threaten to shut down electricity supplies.

Failure to resolve the fuel crisis could lead to a "disaster of unimaginable magnitude," President Litokwa Tomeing said in a statement late Thursday.

Indonesia: A strategy to cope with the worsening energy crisis

Until the end of the last decade, Indonesia always cheered on any increase in the oil price because it translated into windfall profits for the country. But now Indonesia has become a net oil importer and even withdrawn from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the current oil price increase is hurting the country a lot.

Like other countries that maintain a subsidy policy to provide affordable fuel for the public, Indonesia has no option but to raise fuel prices to cut the ballooning subsidy.

Raising fuel prices is, however, only a short-term solution with no long-lasting impact. It helps ease the increased burden on the state budget caused by the rising oil prices. However, the burden will only increase with the continually rising oil price.

Londoners steer clear of city's Carpool Zone

With gasoline prices going through the roof, you'd think there'd be no shortage of takers for a free London carpool match-making service.

Think again.

Only 350 people -- about .01 per cent of the population -- have registered for city hall's Carpool Zone since the Internet-based, ride-sharing program was launched last year.

Diesel deliveries in Baja slow to a trickle

TIJUANA – The search for diesel led Daniel Rojas and his 18-wheel Freightliner from Pemex station to Pemex station one afternoon this week, but each time he heard the same stories: It hasn't arrived. We're still waiting. We've run out.

While gasoline has continued to flow, shuttered pumps and long lines have greeted diesel customers across the state of Baja California in recent days – the result of a dramatic spike in demand for low-cost Mexican diesel created by rising U.S. prices.

Attack on nuclear sites means war, says Iranian commander

Tehran - An Iranian military commander warned Friday that any attacks against Iran's nuclear sites would mean the start of a war, official news agency IRNA reported.

'Any military action against (nuclear sites in) Iran would mean start of a war and the Iranian reaction would definitely make the enemy regret both its decision and action,' commander of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, told IRNA.

The energy panic

The poll results sure make it seem like Americans are fearful enough to embrace all the wrong solutions to their energy woes. Support for conservation is down markedly in just a few months.

Alaska: Stevens outlines energy goals, stresses domestic resources

FAIRBANKS — In order for any energy plan to move forward, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., will have to set aside party politics that are blocking domestic oil and gas development, Sen. Ted Stevens said this morning.

“We need to get together as Americans and forget about all this political baloney,” he said. But, he added, relief from high energy prices could come sooner than people realize because of the heavy pressure the public is putting on lawmakers.

Ad Hoc Citizen Energy Board Lighting Up The Future

The scant reader response my articles elicited, combined with the ease with which a heartbreaking number of acquaintances dismissed the subject in conversation, just about convinced me no one was listening.

Now that prices at the pump have nearly doubled, of course, Americans are sitting up. It seems now everyone and her cat has an opinion of what’s going on and what must be done to preserve that which cannot be saved – our “just in time” economy dependent on faraway sources of energy, supply and even government.

New Zealand: Moore slapped with council ban

For several months now Mr Moore has been a constant thorn in the council's side as he has campaigned to force it to prepare more for the effects of climate change and peak oil.

He's already been thrown out of one council meeting, and became perilously close to being turfed out of another.

But in her letter, Mrs McKerrow claims it is Mr Moore's treatment of council staff that is the reason behind the trespass notice. In his dealing with staff he has shouted, used bad language, yelled over their efforts to speak to him, and generally intimidated them, she says.

Let's use 'telework' to grease economy

"We've found that folks can telecommute and be more productive when they do it," says Malcolm D. Woolf, director of the Maryland Energy Administration. "My perception is that employees are more focused because they're not interrupted by colleagues. They're able to read the big document and get focus time."

Many bosses worry if they can't see people toiling, but this is as outdated as it is benighted. Among computers' many advantages is their ability to measure work accomplished, wherever it is done. Instant messaging ought to satisfy even hovering, neurotic supervisors.

The U.S. Declaration of (Energy) Independence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the economic bands which have connected them with another — and to assert among the powers of the earth, a separate and equal access to the energy resources necessary to preserve that people's standard of living, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Response to oil, gas rules disappoints Colo. guv

DENVER - Gov. Bill Ritter said he's disappointed by the oil and gas industry's campaign assailing proposed new regulations as "job-killing" because the goal is to balance energy development with other important Colorado resources.

Energy Myths

"We can't drill our way out of our energy crisis."

Actually, we can. As we've noted before, conservative estimates put the total amount of recoverable oil in conventional deposits at about 39 billion barrels. Offshore, we have another 89 billion barrels or so. In ANWR, 10 billion barrels.

In oil shale deposits, we have more than 1 trillion barrels of oil. In perspective, that's about four times the total reserves of Saudi Arabia. And if estimates of shale reserves as high as 2 trillion barrels prove true, we'll have about a 300-year supply of oil just from shale. This compares with current estimated total U.S. oil reserves of about 21 billion barrels.

Biofuels behind food price hikes: leaked World Bank report

LONDON (AFP) - Biofuels have caused world food prices to increase by 75 percent, according to the findings of an unpublished World Bank report published in The Guardian newspaper on Friday.

The daily said the report was finished in April but was not published to avoid embarrassing the US government, which has claimed plant-derived fuels have pushed up prices by only three percent.

...The report's author, a senior World Bank economist, assessed that contrary to claims by US President George W. Bush, increased demand from India and China has not been the cause of rising food prices.

"Rapid income growth in developing countries has not led to large increases in global grain consumption and was not a major factor responsible for the large price increases," the report said.

Droughts in Australia have also not had a significant impact, it added. Instead, European and US drives for greater use of biofuels has had the biggest effect.

EPA considers requests on easing ethanol rules

The Environmental Protection Agency said it's reviewing congressional requests to relax rules mandating the use of ethanol, which some lawmakers say is straining corn supplies.

Oil steady above $145 in Asia on Saudi declaration

BANGKOK, Thailand - Oil prices remained near record highs above $145 a barrel in Asia after Saudi Arabia's oil minister suggested his country doesn't plan to boost production.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery was up 23 cents at $145.52 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, midafternoon in Singapore. Crude futures rose to $145.85, a record high, in New York on Thursday before settling at a record finish of $145.29 a barrel.

Oil prices have risen more than 50 percent so far this year.

Gas prices scale record $4.10 a gallon

LONDON (CNNMoney.com) -- The high cost of gas is one thing Americans won't be celebrating on July 4.

Retail gas prices in the U.S. rose overnight to a record high for the fifth straight day, a daily survey by auto club AAA showed Friday.

Why Isn't Natural Gas at $19.50 Per Mcf?

Traditionally gas was evaluated at its energy content which, when compared to the energy content of a barrel of conventional oil, was about one-sixth. This traditional measurement was used for years as a tool for evaluating gas reserves in barrels of oil equivalent (BOE). Therefore, it was a tool for setting the value of reserves in a single format.

Over the last half dozen years this traditional measurement has lost its validity as the price of natural gas has failed to maintain its place in a rising oil price environment.

Michael Klare: Life at the summit

Because the oil summit will extend over another decade or so, it is easy to fall into denial and behave as if the eventual decline in output is so far into the future as to not require serious concern today. And, for the most part, this is the way most consumers are behaving. Although high gasoline prices in America, for example, are forcing motorists to cut back on summer driving plans and to trade in their old gas-guzzlers for more fuel-efficient automobiles, few are abandoning their reliance on private motor vehicles as their prime means of transportation. Meanwhile, automobile ownership in China, India, and other rapidly developing nations continues its meteoric rise. All this ensures that global oil demand will continue to rise.

While such behaviour is certainly understandable, it would be a grave mistake to persist in denying the fundamental realities of life on the summit. The global market has more oil than ever before – but not enough to cope with major crises and certainly not enough to satisfy unbridled increases in demand. From now on, we must view petroleum as a precious commodity, to be used prudently and for the most valuable purposes; we must also take steps to reduce our vulnerability to crisis and turmoil, and slow the rise in international demand.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Assesing $200 Oil

Three months ago anyone talking about $200 oil was considered a fear monger, or worse, but things happen fast these days. In the intervening period, oil prices have risen by nearly $40 a barrel and show no signs of stopping. All of a sudden it has become fashionable to start talking about much higher prices and to start thinking about the implications of multi-hundred dollar oil.

The Wheels Are Coming Off

The consequences of "peak oil," of course, loom far more ominous than what can be described in terms of a mere "business cycle." The planet is running out of oil, plain and simple, and even tapping new offshore or Alaskan fields would only temporarily postpone that reality. Given the lack of cyclical references in Paulson's speech yesterday, it is plausible to assume that he recognizes this fact, even if not explicitly acknowledging it publicly.

Cities Plan for World Where Oil is Scarce

Knowledge of peak oil, the point at which the amount of petroleum that is economically feasible to extract and refine goes into decline -- and prices go through the roof -- has spurred some cities in the United States to curb their oil use. Some activists cry out for a World War II-scale mobilization that would transform the economy to run on a fraction of its fossil fuel base.

Oil prices are probably going up no matter what we do

But here’s what is really scary: Even though oil prices have been rising sharply for several years and that has encouraged additional drilling, the global supply of oil has increased only modestly. Output is actually falling in some substantial oil-producing nations as a result of declining fields, civil war or other issues.

High costs hit fireworks producers

As in so many other industries, the cost of procuring materials and transporting goods has been rising precipitously. Add in shipment problems with China, where most fireworks come from, and the result is a rocky start to 2008.

National speed limit pushed as gas saver

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An influential Republican senator suggested Thursday that Congress might want to consider reimposing a national speed limit to save gasoline and possibly ease fuel prices.

Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, asked Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman to look into what speed limit would provide optimum gasoline efficiency given current technology. He said he wants to know if the administration might support efforts in Congress to require a lower speed limit.

Air France eyes move to railways

Air France is holding talks on a joint venture that could lead to it offering high-speed rail travel.

The airline confirmed reports it was discussing a possible tie-up with Veolia, a French utility firm that also runs several rail services.

Commentators suggest such a deal would enable the airline to cut fuel costs by moving some services onto the railways.

UK: Oil prices could sink resort

“Peak oil is upon us and, given the rising demand for oil from India and China, it is unlikely that future long-distance travel will be as commonplace as now,” he said. “Is our economic future one in which this kind of resort will flourish, or is it more likely that future behaviour and the need to act sustainably will render it redundant before it is built?”

From flat world to free world

The lack of an intellectual defence of capitalism has left free markets vulnerable. "The power of the state is reasserting itself," said Daniel Yergin, coauthor of The Commanding Heights and a free market optimist, in The Wall Street Journal recently.

Israel: Kinneret Water Line Just Days Away From Red Line

Though the Kinneret is not in as bad shape as it was seven years ago, the overall water situation is even worse. This is because the Coastal and Mountain Aquifers (underground water reservoirs), Israel's next two largest water sources - each providing 20% of Israel's water, as compared with the Kineret's 27% - are very low on water.

Many water experts say that water conservation by residents could save tens of millions of cubic meters of water each year, and that campaigns to this effect should be run. "However," one official said, "in reality, we are not short tens of millions, but rather hundreds of millions. Therefore, desalination is the only real solution."

Japan Sees a Chance to Promote Its Energy-Frugal Ways

“Superior technology and a national spirit of avoiding waste give Japan the world’s most energy-efficient structure,” Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said in a speech outlining his agenda for the meeting. Japan “wants to contribute to the world,” he said.

Merger of US earth sciences agencies proposed

WASHINGTON - From climate change to volcanoes and earthquakes, the world's growing challenges have leaders in earth science proposing a merger of agencies that study the planet.

Creation of a new Earth Systems Science Agency is urged in this week's edition of the journal Science, by merging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Hot future shock: Heat wave temperatures to soar

WASHINGTON - During the European heat wave of 2003 that killed tens of thousands, the temperature in parts of France hit 104 degrees. Nearly 15,000 people died in that country alone. During the Chicago heat wave of 1995, the mercury spiked at 106 and about 600 people died.

In a few decades, people will look back at those heat waves "and we will laugh," said Andreas Sterl, author of a new study. "We will find (those temperatures) lovely and cool."

Sterl's computer model shows that by the end of the century, high temperatures for once-in-a-generation heat waves will rise twice as fast as everyday average temperatures. Chicago, for example, would reach 115 degrees in such an event by 2100. Paris heat waves could near 109 with Lyon coming closer to 114.

73 minutes of Amsterdam Bicycles

A photo essay based on 73 minutes of observation near a main city square. A look at what Non-Oil Transportation can look like. The comments are good too.

Sloow load with dial -up.


Best Hopes for the Quickest Non-Oil Transportation Conversion,


Alan writes:

73 minutes of Amsterdam Bicycles

A photo essay based on 73 minutes of observation near a main city square. A look at what Non-Oil Transportation can look like. The comments are good too.

This has always struck me as indicative of American and European attitudes toward cycling. In America you are considered an ID10T if you don't wear a helmet or use special riding clothes or other equipment. In cities like Bruges and Amsterdam no one wears helmets or special clothes. They wear daily clothes. Cycling is utilitarian, not just recreational.

While cycling to an art gallery outside of Harrlem, Netherlands I saw a scene I won't forget. Two middle aged women on dutch cycles with their full dresses flowing in the breeze were leaning over their handlebars chatting with not a care while cycling to the art gallery. They were as comfortable cycling in daily clothes as walking to a close restaurant.

In my several trips to Europe I saw only two of many thousands of cyclists wearing helmets. I saw no one wearing spandex riding shorts. It's true their average speeds are much slower than American roadies and that in itself may be the real reason America is so off base with respect to utilitarian cycling. We think it's just for sport. Cyclists in Bruges and Amsterdam think of it as life.

"It's true their average speeds are much slower than American roadies and that in itself may be the real reason."

Ammond, I think you got a good start on answering your own question/argument. Amsterdam is wall-to-wall people and then some, a relatively small city with New York density (and the 84 square miles in the Wiki page must be including some of the less dense satellite areas like Bijlmer, because the more touristy bit, which is less than 30 square miles, is really jam packed.) It's crammed in every way, so speed is not really possible, and there's only a little way to go before you're in the next city. And when you're not going anywhere to speak of, speed is not essential.

When they're out in the country - or, more precisely, what they would refer to as the "country" - I never saw anything that looked like real "country" as it's hard to find a spot out of clear sight of the next town - they may sometimes even ride road bikes and even wear your horror of horrors, spandex shorts. (By the way, I've never quite understood the horror of some over those, in the light, or whatever it is, of the routine acceptance of the often glossy spandex, or at least spandex-like, knickers that are part and parcel of the standard American football uniform.)

In addition, theft is so utterly out of hand that you can't use an even slightly decent bike for utilitarian purposes unless, for example, you commute and can take the bike inside where you work. I knew a couple of people who could indeed take it inside, and they indeed rode road bikes to work unless they needed to run errands (they also participated in races, so sport and utilitarian use are actually compatible, contrary to what you seem to imply.) So it's a choice forced by social mores, in this case that people profess to hate petty crime but fundamentally condone it as some sort of Robin Hood thing. That means we can't know what they would do if they could choose freely.

And then there's weather. On the exceedingly rare occasions when it hits 90F in Amsterdam (all-time record a whole 93, something I, even well in the north, can only wish for), it now makes for global headlines about how, boo-hoo, the world is coming to an end. In many parts of the USA, spring and fall are short, leaving little time when it's not (1) too icy to ride safely, or (2) reaching well into the 90's F or at least the high 80s and probably with a sky-high dew point. In that kind of stifling heat, virtually unknown in Amsterdam, one's office mates will simply not tolerate one's failure to wash up and change clothes unless the distance is very, very short (see first point above.) So, might as well wear something that's comfortable on the bike, rather than lug all sorts of heavy fenders and guards up and down hills in the heat in order to accomodate flouncy clothes one will need to change anyway. (Another alternative is the Tokyo-area approach, to carry, at a minimum, several freshly washed shirts or blouses to change into every couple of hours over the course of a perfectly normal steaming, sauna-like summer day.)

Oh, and I was forgetting the ultra-flat terrain of Holland, which beats out by a long shot many areas in the allegedly flat U.S. midwest. I wouldn't care to try to get the perfectly normal $20 single-speed Amsterdam junker bike up and down the hills of San Francisco several times a day, or up and down Midwestern hills in the heat of a 95F early evening commute (heat aggravated by our corrupt Congresscritters with their Daylight-Saving Time.) But then again, Amsterdammers never need to - the highest terrain for many miles around would be the motorway overpasses.

As to the helmet issue, well, with respect to smoking and leaded gasoline, Europe lagged fifteen or twenty years behind the USA. So I think the jury is very much still out on what the 'elf'n'soifety Puritans will forcibly impose in Europe, as they have all long since run out of important things about which to get their undies all in a bundle. Stay tuned.

In summary, while I'm aware that a very peculiar national self-hatred seems to be de rigueur among many leftists and environmentalists in the USA, when all is said and done, it is not terribly helpful always to view things in snarky terms ("We think it's just for sport. Cyclists in Bruges and Amsterdam think of it as life.") based on apples-to-oranges comparisons that fail to compare, and fail on no less than multiple physical and social dimensions.

Paul, this is a very eloquent answer to the complaints of Ammond and others about North American cycling. There are certainly some North American inner cities that lend themselves to the Amsterdam style of cycling, but they are the exception. (Central Montreal is an example, maybe).

On the whole, North American cycling must be competitive with the automobile. Most of us commute significant distances across relatively low-density neighbourhoods. To use a bike as a serious substitute for a car means having a fairly good quality road bike and not being afraid to work up a sweat. I often wear my regular pants and shoes, but always wash up and change my shirt when arriving at work.

Recently my car insurance expired and I haven't rushed to renew it. This morning I had an appointment before work in a rather out-of-way spot. There was no way I could get to my suburban workplace on time by bus, but I could by bike. But not an Amsterdam style bike. If that was what cycling involved in my city, I would have had to re-insure the car right away, and save my cycling for the weekends.


As PaulS's reply illustrates, often there are rational reasons having to do with different local conditions as to why different cultures have different practices. The Americans who look down on their fellow citizens as somehow morally defective as compared to Europeans ought to try thinking before snottily condescending. I realize that makes it harder to score status points. But it leads to a more accurate assessment of reality.

A friend of mine who lives in Amsterdam (about 3 km west of the Nieuwmarkt) has done the exact opposite, she has made a documentary about cycling in San Fransisco from a dutch perspective.
A trailer can be found at myspace under http://www.myspace.com/onlythecity

Some point about the observations. I live in Amsterdam and cycle through the Nieuwmarkt quite often.
Dynamo light systems: a well maintained dynamo gives hardly any extra drag. They use copper connections which break down very easily however, for example when parking your bike. Over the past two years a new generation of cheap and hardly energy using LED clip-on lights have become available and are now legal as long as they are fixed to a bike (not a coat for example). Dynamo's are on the way out.
The location: the pictures were taken in front of a police station, what he saw seems to be legal.
Bike locks; Amsterdam has specialized bike thieves who tend to concentrate on on type of lock so the trick is to have two wildly different lock. Leaving your bike unlocked is illegal in parts of the city. Many types of O-Locks are vulnerable as 'mother-keys' are circulating which can unlock all lock of their type. D-locks are easily opened by using their rigid moment arm. They're nice for locking yourself to a fence, they are useless for securing a bike.
And after stealing they will be repainted .
Safety: whatever you do in Amsterdam traffic, don't go native. Rent a bike firtsso Amsterdam cyclists can see you in advance and try to keep to the traffic rules which are practically the same as in other right side of the road countries. Amsterdam cycling is like driving in Milan; it works as long as everyone has the same reflexes.
When moving to Amsterdam from another dutch town it took me half a year to get used to this. I'm still not a real Amsterdam cyclist, I stop when having a mobile phone conversation and I try to cycle on the right side of the road as long as that does not kill me like in the Haarlemmerstraat.
I seriously dislike the 'children in bucket' application as other cyclists and car drivers can hardly spot these things when overtaking one. The classic large transport bike is much safer.
The small wheel bikes are folding bikes. It is illegal to take a bike in dutch trains between 0400 and 0900 and between 16.30 and 1800. Folding bikes folded to maximum luggage size (70*40*40cm) do not count as bikes so they can be carried.
So they are either going to a railway station or coming from one.

I'm a cyclist myself - note my username - but only for exercise/cross-training in full kit, not for transportation. Bicycling in regular clothes may work in some temperatures zones (i.e. cooler) but as you move towards warmer climates it's not possible to ride a bike for transportation without arriving at your destination in a puddle of sweat. Even walking results in huge sweat spots when you reach your destination. So bicycling & walking does not work for all geographical areas.

After the collapse of public transportation in New Orleans post-Katrina, I saw quite a few office workers commuting by bicycle from late September till April/early May. Not wearing coat and tie (either in bag or @ the office, but white or blue long sleeve shorts and suit pants.

Even in New Orleans, the weather is not so bad for a 1, 2 or 3 mile bike ride at moderate speed in the cool of the morning.


BTW: Maybe 5% to 8% (1 in 20 to 1 in 12) New Orleanian bicyclists wear helmets.

It comes down to the trade off of what is more important, getting to work or being sweaty. I agree that today, it is not socially acceptable to arrive at work sweaty. But the future might be different.

At my work (in the DC suburbs where it gets quite warm and humid) we have a shower, and a growing number of employees are biking in. We have over 1000 employees at my site, so a shower room is little overhead for us, and the same cannot be said for a typical work site.

I live in Austria... Today it was 30°C and about 200 bikes were in the park platz at work. Including mine (and I do wear a suit & tie). During the winter with 10-15 cm of snow that number will drop down to about 75 bikes parked out front. So while cycling & walking may not work for all commutes in all geographic areas, it can work for far more than many people realize.

All of the points against cycling are arguments of convenience. I too work in an office environment that requires at a minimum 'office casual' as acceptable dress. In South-Western Ontario Canada, where I live, the humidity can reach Amazonian proportions and as such you WILL arrive sweaty.
Solutions are simple work-arounds:

1) purchase a decent backpack or set of panniers for your bike.
2) choose to pack clothes that either do not wrinkle, or wrinkle minimally (the few wrinkles drop out quickly with body heat)
3) pack a wash cloth and a small towel. (leave the bath sheets at home - this is about function, not luxury)
4) pack your deodorant/antiperspirant (and soap if you feel you will truly need it).

All of these items MIGHT add 10lbs to the total weight of your bike (which for most of us is equal to the minimum amount of weight we will loose by choosing to bike instead of driving so the weight point is moot)

Even if your place of work does not have a shower, they ALL have a washroom. And unless you are exceptionally stinky when you sweat, a simple wipe down of your body with a cool wet wash cloth will be more than sufficient (fresh sweat doesn't really stink horribly, OLD sweat does, and fresh sweat wipes off your body easily). This method is also known as a 'sink bath'
(note: I do not condone the wasting of paper towel as they use it in that how-to)

This really isn't rocket science and I'm rather dumbfounded that while many here at TOD can comprehend some of the higher science put forth, but come up with extremely weak arguments why something just cannot be done by them.

As for going shopping or whatever other discretionary trips you have to make. Either choose times that are cooler, wait for a cooler day, or simply go slower.

As I sit here, I just got back from a 10 mile bike ride over rather hilly terrain with mixed paved/gravel trails, road, and rough forest trails. I have not showered and hey, my deodorant is doing its job just fine. I would be completely comfortable riding in a crowded elevator.

I will agree, the bicycle is NOT the most convenient thing, but then again, neither is peak oil.

I've been playing around with electric assisted bicycles, and can't say enough. I feel as though I could ride forever, and never break a sweat even in hot smoggy Los Angeles. Obviously China figured that one out already. Check_out_and_share www.peakaware.com

Thanks for this. Absolutely loved seeing the pictures. I went for most of my life without wearing a helmet even in the worst traffic. Finally gave into peer pressure (my wife) but still think it might be a bit too risk adverse unless you are racing. On the other hand, I wonder if they have a lot of accidents in Amsterdam based on having multiple riders, using cell phones, etc. May have more to do with the respect from the autos versus the skill of the riders.

After many years of road racing (bicycle) I have a hard time not wearing a helmet. It is like not wearing pants or something.

The only problem with commuting here in the mountains of Western North Carolina is the mountains. I am really in shape and a 5 mile commute is just a miserably sweaty adventure. Although it is not like stinky sweaty causing an odor problem in the office. Just I walk in the office and am immediately frozen by the AC with damp clothes.

I love the Drum Beat entries, but if I could make one small suggestion ---

It would be helpful if you would identify the source, just below each headline (eg. CNN.com, AP, Bloom Picayune, etc.). A bit of context, that would help readers gauge the headline. I find myself hovering over each headline to see the URLs.

I'd like to be able to see at a glance how much of this sort of stuff is penetrating the mainstream media, vs. being confined to peak oil-aware blogs and the like.

If you agree with this, vote this comment up. Thanks.

Two things. You can normally see the source by hovering over the link. But second, I think if Leanan started doing this, she would have less time to post Drumbeat stories. So you will be getting shorter Drumbeats.

Happy 4th to those who celebrate it.

Robert ~
Happy 4th from yer old stompin' grounds in Oklahoma :)

I am headed to Oklahoma in just a few minutes. Got to figure out whether to pick up fireworks in Texas or Oklahoma.

For the first time in 17 years, the family farm is only two hours away. On the other hand, next week I am back in Europe.

I would imagine everything is more expensive in Texas (Taxes, spelled sideways :)

After 17 years, welcome home!

Happy Fourth from your cousins in GB.

D'you think the US will ever mark Oil Independence Day? (Maybe 28th August - the day Drake hit oil in 1859)

I spent a good chunk of my time yesterday on the phone with a British colleague in London. We joked a bit about whether the British celebrate the 4th as well (i.e., glad to be rid of us). :-)

Well.. Thank ya kindly! As for Aug 28th, I wouldn't be suprised if we in the US aren't already quietly celebrating it.. it's roughly the day we switch from imported to domestically produced oil.

I agree. I've always found hovering works perfectly well.

If that doesn't work, right click and select "properties"

There's additional advantage to posting the sites name, often I find thread entries referring to "the CNN article up top" or "the USA today article" , it would be far more easier to search in your web browser (Ctrl-F).
Thanks for all your work with the drumbeats, Leanan!

I've had people request this before, but frankly, it's too much work for too little benefit. The EROEI makes it very unappealing, at least for the one who has to do the work. ;-)

However, because of requests like this, I do leave the "dateline" on if I quote the first paragraph. (The part with the "(AP)" or whatever.) I used to leave that part out for bandwidth reasons.

I don't know if it's feasible for TOD, but on some other web-sites (slashdot.org) the web-site code automagically puts the web-site address in brackets after the link for peoples comments. E.g., If this were my link [it.would.be.followed.by.the.web.site.address.org].

*edit* Not the full address, just the domain name.

I could write a javascript snippet for you that would display the URL below the link automatically ....

This would not hurt your bandwidth because the processing would be done on the client side.

I've had a job like yours in the past Leanan and it is extra work, but I considered it a service to the readers and they appreciated it.

I second the request for the source of the link. I find it valuable.


Leanan, you are doing a fabulous job, and I agree with your EROEI sentiment. I'd much rather have more stories (and Drumbeat seems to be growing rapidly) than more detailed link info.

I guess this doesn't do much for me. My peeve is that I am on a slow link this week, and a DB with 400 comments takes quite a while to load. Something that I would find useful is something like Kos style comments where a page refresh will only pull down comment titles, and then expand only the ones you are interested in...

Of course we don't have comment titles - I guess that would need to be added first :-).

I was just searching for a Firefox plugin or Greasemonkey script to accomplish this.

Using the Slashdot-style these links would appear as:

Gas prices scale record $4.10 a gallon [cnn.com]

Oil at $300 [humanevents.com]


Thanks for the illustration.

Now I'm sure I'm in the same camp that says 'do a mouseover'.

Secondly if Leanan says the EROEI is "unappealing" then I hope it's settled.

'At a glance', in this case, sounds way to much to me like an
unhealthy 'immediate gratification'
issue in your life :(

Good Luck in locating a plugin !

Good idea. You can try my brand new Greasemonkey script (only for Firefox, naturally) here: http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/29612

Currently it only displays URLs for links in the main post, not in comments.

That works great!


How does one use/install the script?

Get FireFox, get Greasemonkey and then install the script.

Works really well. Thanks for this.

Just a note: Although the NYMEX is closed today, WTI is still being traded on electronic trading. It is currently down $1.13 at $144.16.

Also, I should have commented on this yesterday but did not notice it then. Dragonfly41 stated, after noticing the huge difference between the price of trades right before the close and the settling price:

Ya...noticed there was a "late kick" after all. Man...someone is running it up right before they shut the door in the last few days.

Well no, it doesn't work like that. The settling price, or closing price, is never based on the last trade. The settling price is the average price of all contracts traded at the close. Since the exchange must calculate this settling price after the exchange closes, the settling price is not announced until 15 minutes after the close. This is true even to those with live feeds. They get it live 15 minutes after the close and those like Bloomberg, who post 30 minute delayed data, posts it 45 minutes after the close.

Edit, a clarification: It is quite common for orders to be placed to trade "at the close" or "at the open". If far more buy orders are placed "at the close" than sell orders, then the remainder must be filled by those who have placed "limit" orders, or orders to sell if the price reaches a certain point. This is why the price often jumps, or falls, at the close.

Ron Patterson

I recently returned from a nice ride to Ashville and back. Anecdotally, I found lots of gas for sale at higher prices than the last time I made the trip. While visiting friends in Ashville I was informed of this (new?) sight and some interesting blog entries to be found there:

'A number of high-profile economists, like Paul Krugman, have recently been making the argument that trading in oil futures can't really influence the price of physical oil because it doesn't remove any oil from the market. Here's a classic statement of this argument by Jon Birger, a staff writer from Fortune:' (statement at link below)'...snip...

'I will now provide that explanation, and in the process show that both Krugman and Birger are grossly misinformed about the way physical crude is actually priced in the global oil market.' (explanation at link)...snip...

and here is a excerpt from site...

...snip...'Low volumes of crude oil available for spot trading make price discovery problematic and increase the vulnerability of markets to squeezes, distorting prices and undermining market confidence. A squeeze refers to a situation in which a trader goes long in a forward market by an amount that exceeds the actual physical cargoes that can be loaded during that month. If successful, the squeezer will claim delivery from sellers who are short and will obtain cash settlement involving a premium. It is true that all markets are prone to squeezes and in the last few years there have been occasions on which the Brent market was subject to successful squeezes. But it is also true that it is easier to squeeze thinner markets.Source
The Brent spot market in particular was plagued by frequent squeezes in the early 2000s, and this is well attested to by numerous sources here, here(pdf), here, here, and here etc.'...snip...

The site has an interesting name...and includes the following statement underneath the site name...'DISCLAIMER FOR IDIOTS: This site officially accepts that oil is finite, and will peak someday.'...I thought the disclaimer especially appropriate for those using the nitwit buttons...Happy Fourth!!! Off to Ponce Inlet for merriment and fireworks later on the beach.


River, I read with interest the peak oil debunker article as well as the MEES article which most of it is based on. It appears that the author of the debunker article is a little confused. That is, he is confusing traders of the physical product, who often hedge on the exchange, with paper traders, normally called speculators. Speculators are not hedgers and hedgers are not speculators. (This is not to be confused with so-called "hedge funds" which are not true hedge funds at all but professionally run speculation funds.)

A "squeeze" involves an actual buyer of oil and a seller of the physical oil, who sells, or hedges, more contracts on the futures market than he can actually deliver in physical oil. He then must settle his shortfall in cash and pay a premium for his unfilled promise to deliver.

Speculators do not hedge and are never involved in squeezes. They never take or make delivery of the physical. Therefore the debunker's argument is totally debunked.

Note: To hedge means you reduce your risk. That is, you take a known price now rather than gamble on what the price may be later on. To speculate means to take on higher risk in hope of a greater profit. That is sell or buy now in hopes the price will move in your favor later. They have opposite meanings.

Ron Patterson


Thanks for that clarification !

RBM, did you read the link? I didn't think so. Before you congratulate someone for clarifying something as complicated as oil spot and futures markets you should find out enough about the subject to know if the congratulatee is deserving. Otherwise you could be seen as a nitwit or a butt kisser and we certainly don't want that to happnen, do we?

commodities prices speculation exposed

Don't read the article; it's crap. Read the comments by poster by the handle "A."

Ron, as usual it is you that are confused, not the writer of the article. I have read your posts about the futures markets many times in the past and you are usually wrong...as you are this time. All you have done is obfuscate what was said in the link. Here is more from the link:

...snip...'The Brent spot market in particular was plagued by frequent squeezes in the early 2000s, and this is well attested to by numerous sources here, here(pdf), here, here, and here etc.

Here's an interesting tidbit on the subject:

Dated Brent, which acts as a price marker for many international grades, is physical crude traded on an informal market, rather than a regulated futures exchange. This lack of regulation poses problems for oil producers and consumers seeking a fair price, said Robert Mabro, director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and a leading Brent expert.

"There are regular squeezes in the Brent market," Mabro said. "In the trading community, people are fed up. This general view that you can do whatever you like in an informal market is okay, as long as you regulate the market a bit. But if it's a free-for-all, you're back to the cowboy age."

A typical Brent squeeze involves a COMPANY (caps mine) quietly building a strong position in short-term swaps called contracts for difference, or CFD's, for a differential not reflected in current prices. The company then buys enough cargoes in the dated Brent market to drive the physical crude price higher, which boosts the CFD differential, Mabro said.

The company may lose money on the physical side, but it's more than compensated from profits on its offsetting paper position in the short-term swaps market, Mabro said.

"The whole trick is to collect more money in CFDs than you lose on the physical squeeze," Mabro said. "People seem to do it in turn. It depends on who's smart enough to move in a way that nobody notices until it happens."Source...snip...



For the sake of the argument, let's assume JD is right. This way we can analyze his argument.

Why don't the oil producers bring the price down?

If they have the spare capacity, they could flood the markets. This would crash any positions even in low volume 'squeezed' physical markets.

They could also settle lower prices on long contracts, right?

Further, they could settle on a different pricing structure altogether.

Or even start a new exchange, settled in cash and traded exclusively in physical commodity.

All Middle-East Opec nations have said the price is too high, not supported by fundamentals and needs to come down.

If we believe that they are not lying about their spare capacity, or when they say price is due to speculators, we should also believe them when they say the price is too high for them and for the world economy - causing them potential issues as sellers in the mid-to-long term. Figures are already showing a severe demand response happening. Not good for oil exporters future.

Clearly, by this reasoning they would have both the capacity and the motive to normalize the price.

Why don't they crash it?

What's the explanation to that?

The prevailing current hypothesis is this: they can't.

If they can and want, why won't they?

Happy 4th of July all you American types! :)

Great line from the Simpsons

"Celebrate the birth of your country by blowing up a small part of it"

Anyone know how much the cost of fireworks for the average joe has gone up this year?

I know firework sales are down big here in California...the fire dangers being one reason and the econonmy the other... I think this is true across the nation


SACRAMENTO (CBS13) ― It seems many people took the governor's fire danger message to heart and fireworks sales have taken a big dip.

Vendors say so far, fireworks sales are down compared to last year. Jennifer Smith, who's selling fireworks in Natomas for the River City Youth Soccer League, says sales are down 60 percent -- that's money that's needed for uniforms and soccer trips.

"I think it's gonna be a hardship to the parents. And with everything going up with high gas prices, it's just making it worse," said Smith.

Vendors we spoke with are seeing sales down anywhere from 40 to 75 percent this year.

For those that think Obama will change anything:

In the great tradition, Obama is a hawk

Again, Obama went further than Bush. He said the United States had "lost Latin America". He described the democratically elected governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua as a "vacuum" to be filled. He raised the nonsense of Iranian influence in Latin America, and he endorsed Colombia’s "right to strike terrorists who seek safe-havens across its borders". Translated, this means the "right" of a regime, whose president and leading politicians are linked to death squads, to invade its neighbours on behalf of Washington. He also endorsed the so-called Merida Initiative, which Amnesty International and others have condemned as the US bringing the "Colombian solution" to Mexico. He did not stop there. "We must press further south as well," he said. Not even Bush has said that.

Hardly surprising given that Zbigniew Brzezinski is Obama's National Security Advisor. More wars soon.

Hardly surprising given that Zbigniew Brzezinski is Obama's National Security Advisor. More wars soon.

Poppycock! Presidential candidates do not have National Security Advisers, only advisers. Brzezinski does, when asked, give Obama advice, just as he did all previous democratic presidential candidates. However there is absolutely no proof, or even an indication, that Obama will choose Brzezinski as his National Security Adviser.

I think it is just stupid to suggest that Obama will simply be another war monger like Bush. Of course all presidents must display a big stick, else small rogue nations would feel free to openly support terrorist attacks upon the US. It's all about diplomacy. I don't think Bush knows the meaning of the word.

And by the way, I really don't think this list is the correct place for such political discussions. And if Leanan should choose to delete this post, along with yours, I would not be offended at all.

Ron Patterson

According to Wikipedia the evil Mr Brzezinski is:

currently the national security advisor for Barack Obama's presidential campaign


And I'll remind you that the Oil Drum is about discussing oil and our future, it says so at the top. I think that having another president hell-bent on expanding the US empire is very on topic. He's being damned by the people he keeps company with and the words from his own mouth.

I think Brzezinski is a brilliant man. His book "The Technotronic Age" forecast in 1971 that the West's lead in computer technology would doom the USSR eventually.

However, if this 1998 interview really happened, Brzezinski is also immoral as hell, and we are much more to blame for our recent problems than we think.


Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

B: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?


And that is why being a part-time warmongerer is like being a part-time virgin.

My only suspicion of the authenticity of this interview is that Brzezinski would not so pompously spill the beans on a closely guarded secret unless it were to promote one of his books. As far as I know that book isn't out yet, though if he were still working on it on September 11, 2001 I bet he shoved it in the back of his closet.

But I haven't found any denials from Brzezinski yet.

I think it is still possible to reconcile Brezinskiis actions and morality (of a sort). He felt that any harm done by the Soviet Invasion, and eventual defeat, was jsutified by the effect it (may have) had on the ending of the cold war. In this sort of calculus, the coldwar had the capability of destroying the world, while the damage inflicted on Afghanistan (and to the hapless Soviet troops) was a small price to pay for the possibility of ending the coldwar.

That doesn't mean I agree with either, this calculation, or of the morality of expending the lives/treasure of unknown strangers thousands of miles away in order to advance an agenda (which to the agenda holder is of vastly greater import). Most people who appear evil to us have probably made similar mental tradeoff. In some cases their calculations may be delusional. But in most cases, they see themselves as performing an important function for the world.

in interviews he has bragged about creating the whole "jihad" movement during that war.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Who ever imagined that Bush would turn out to be the warmonger we now see him as? The guy was so disinterested in foreign affairs that he thought the Taliban was a rock band. Many voted for him because they thought he wouldn't involve us in foreign wars, as Clinton did (and Gore presumably would). Hah!

I fear peak oil means more wars, no matter who's in the Oval Office.

Who ever imagined that Bush would turn out to be the warmonger we now see him as?


121200 was the key.

Paul O'Neill-"Invading Iraq was Item One at the First cabinet Meeting."

Paraphrased, sources on demand.

"Who ever imagined that Bush would turn out to be the warmonger we now see him as?"

who ever imagined bush would be president ?

5 of the 9 supreme court judges.

Me, too. It was obvious the guy was a dunce. It was obvious he was dogmatic about what he believed. It was obvious he had a chip on his shoulder about poor Papa's legacy.

One reason I could not believe so many voted for him was it was obvious we were headed to war, environmental degradation, etc.

As noted in, I believe, Guns, Germs and Steel, we are getting less intelligent, not more.

Yeast, I tells ya! YEAST!


I fear peak oil means more wars, no matter who's in the Oval Office.

That's my feeling as well. The Iran thing seems to be coming to a boil, and our economy is tanking. Everyone is looking for a scapegoat...

Even if we don't start anything, someone else will. And we won't be able to stay out of it.

The transition from coal to oil was very difficult, despite the fact that it was going in the right direction, thermodynamically speaking. There were many conflicts, including WWII. This time, we'll be going in the wrong direction - toward a poorer energy source - and it will be even more difficult.

IMHO, it will take not just a miracle, but a whole series of 'em to get through this relatively unscathed. Otherwise, well, several post-apocalyptic movies spring to mind -- Road Warrior, or The Postman perhaps...

I fear peak oil means more wars, no matter who's in the Oval Office.
That's my feeling as well. The Iran thing seems to be coming to a boil, and our economy is tanking. Everyone is looking for a scapegoat...

I'll take the other side of that bet, at least once we are talking the next administration. At some point soon, two points sink in: the US military, in action, accounts for about 5% of all US consumption; and occupied oil exporting countries export less oil, not more. China and the US -- to pick two examples -- can probably deny the world oil from various exporting countries, but it seems unlikely to me that they can guarantee their own access to the resources.

I find it very frustrating trying to reason with people who paint all conflicts with the same brush. That is, a war is a war is a war. What should we have done with Germany and then Japan in 1941? Should we have left Osama bin Laden to plan and carry out more attacks on the US. And should the US and the UN simply have left the Balkans to their own resources? Did our intervention stop the massive genocide that was well underway? Was Charlie Wilson a war monger? Should we have minded our own business there as well? Or, was there a great benefit in the result of our efforts there which led to the fall of the Soviet Empire?

Should we all be frigging pacifists no matter what?

There is a difference between carrying a big stick and using to whack ever mole that squeaks and using it only when it is direly needed. And I deeply pity those who cannot understand that very simple fact. But dear god, it seems that there are very few who do understand that.

Ron Patterson

I can explain. Ron, but then I'll have to give you the real history of WWII:

Like this:

Britain, Netherlands report Japanese Fleet leaving Yokohama.

All sea lanes cleared between Japan and Pearl by order of US Navy.

USS Boise sees fleet. Cites radio silence for not reporting.

Last carrier, Lexington, leaves Pearl, last week in November, even
as commder decries lack of air cover.

Us knows Germany enters war upon Japan initiating hostilities w/ US.

Japanese Naval Code broken at least one year earlier.

As well as the German Enigma.

And you use the word "terrorist' much too loosely.

while exonerating "pre-emptive" strikes like they have some kind of legal standing.

"Britain, Netherlands report Japanese Fleet leaving Yokohama"
"USS Boise sees fleet. Cites radio silence for not reporting."
The malayan invasion force, not the ones going to PH.
"All sea lanes cleared between Japan and Pearl by order of US Navy"
Not true, but the the US did have a trade boycott towards Japan going on.
"Last carrier, Lexington, leaves Pearl, last week in November, even
as commder decries lack of air cover."
Which save her from almost certain destruction.
"US knows Germany enters war upon Japan initiating hostilities w/ US."
That means the US knew more than the German high command, which was against such a declaration and was totally surprised by it. The US government hoped Hitler would do so but they were not certain.
"Japanese Naval Code broken at least one year earlier. As well as the German Enigma." This information was incomplete, often contradictory and in the case of enigma there were periods in which nothing could be red, such as at the end of 1941. Also, the IJN simulated carrier radio traffic in the inland sea while the real carriers were travelling under radio silence.
Th real story about Pearl harbor is that the japanese were smarter and the US was defeated in this battle. Deal with it.

Oh, please.

"Which save her from almost certain destruction."

Exactly. And that reinforces your arguement?

Along with every ship in Pearl being ancient.

And I get negative remarks?

fore knowledge people. think.

malayan expidition? Think Pearl shoulda been given a head's up?

Britain about to be attacked? Not to worry? And we knew the direction how?

"That means the US knew more than the German high command, which was against such a declaration and was totally surprised by it. The US government hoped Hitler would do so but they were not certain."

So now the US doesn't know anything, unlike with the Lexington.

The US gov't hoped...what? And I'm getting negatives?

"Japanese Naval Code broken at least one year earlier. As well as the German Enigma." This information was incomplete, often contradictory and in the case of enigma there were periods in which nothing could be red, such as at the end of 1941."

How incomplete? The Japanese Fleet radio'd back to Yokohama on the hour, every hour. And we're " surprised."?

At every critical moment, Pearl, Coral Sea, Stalingrad, North Africa, D-Day,
the US is right where it need to be.

And I can go on.

Germans refused to nationalize the Ford plants because there study said they
couldn't build trucks faster.

Think GI's laughed when they saw FORD nameplates on German war machines?

Your world doesn't make sense.

""That means the US knew more than the German high command, which was against such a declaration and was totally surprised by it. The US government hoped Hitler would do so but they were not certain."

So now the US doesn't know anything, unlike with the Lexington."
The US gov't hoped...what? And I'm getting negatives?

I don't think you understand what I mean her. Lex in harbor on sunday morning is a sitting duck just like the rest, her being out at the time was pure luck.
Th Us Government hoped that Germany would declare war IF Japan was starting a war as the situation would be very difficult otherwise.

"How incomplete? The Japanese Fleet radio'd back to Yokohama on the hour, every hour. And we're " surprised."?"
No, the fleet did not. Assuming your source is Stinnes here's a good rebuttal
http://www.usncva.org/books/book-10.html. Scroll down to the last section.
"Along with every ship in Pearl being ancient." The ships in port were the most modern ships the USN had in active service at the time apart from three modernize vessels sent to the atlantic early in '41- which is not too modern as the first battleships built since 1921 (Washington and North Carolina) were still on trials and working up.
"Malayan expidition? Think Pearl shoulda been given a head's up?"
Starting the war by moving south (Malaya) means the IJN is behaving like most analysts assume and the IJN was also active in the ongoing occupation of French Indo China at the time. To their surprise, Yamamoto is smarter than that. He would be outsmarted in june 1942 however. You win some, you loose some.

"Your world doesn't make sense." You're absolutely right. We're in a somewhat strange looking imperfect world in which unexpected things happen and human control of the scheme of things is partial at best. Not even the best conspirator can control all things.

As a trained historian I am extremely skeptical of the conspiracy theories about Pearl Harbor. In your post you claim the USS Boise saw the Japanese fleet. Since she was on route to the Philippines, arriving on December 4, (see http://www.multied.com/navy/cruiser/Boise.html) it is practically impossible the Japanese fleet which traveled a northerly route to Peal Harbor could have been spotted (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:PearlHarborCarrierChart.jpg) The actual code that was broken was the diplomatic code not the naval one (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_(cryptography) ) Even with the diplomatic code broken it would have been difficult to ascertain what was being attacked, since diplomats were not privy to such information, and communications were always kept vague in case of code breaking (drug dealers do this all the time incase of wiretaps). Would the Germans have known about the attack? No evidence exists that they did. As to Germany automatically entering the war against the US any agreement Hitler entered was void before the ink dried. As to the other assertions, show me the evidence, hopefully not written by some conspiracy theorist living in a trailer park.

I'd suggest the best single volume book to read on the subject Gordon Prange's "At Dawn We Slept".

One thing as well. If the USS Boise spotted the Japanese fleet surely the Japanese fleet would have spotted the Boise. Then sunk her to make sure she didn't send off a message.

Are you denying the Boise was there?

And what happens once the Boise is attacked?

It still maintains silence?

It's time we did some history here at TOD.

I suspect the culpability was more similar to the culpability for 9-11. TPTB at the time, were too confident that a severe attack wouldn't happen, and probably in the back of their minds thought that in the very unlikely case my confidence is misplaced, we will be able to deal with it. One could argue that even a low probability attack should elict at least some precautionary preparations. But this is quite different than knowing in some sufficient level of detail before hand.

I don't think it reasonable to take as given that the Germans would honor their pact with Japan. The Japanese did not expect them to.

"TPTB at the time, were too confident that a severe attack wouldn't happen,"

......................from the condi memo:"bin laden determined to attach us........"

more likely tptb at the time knew what was going to happen or were on vacation.

OK, Mr TH. Me, too.

Joe Fenton, 82, talked about his WWII days during an interview Wednesday in his Colorado Springs home. (DAVID BITTON, THE GAZETTE)

Man aboard USS Boise saw fleet that later bombed Pearl Harbor


Around this time every year, Joe Fenton’s mind wanders back to the preview he had of the destruction that would be unleashed on Pearl Harbor.

Just 17 years old and six months removed from boot camp, Fenton was an oiler on the USS Boise as it escorted five merchant ships carrying air base construction materials across the Pacific to the Philippines. After midnight on the morning of Nov. 28, 1941, the light cruiser’s loudspeakers blared with orders for crew members to man their battle stations.

Fenton scrambled to the deck and saw two dozen ships of unknown origin about 3 miles away on the horizon, heading east. They were silhouetted by moonlight that would have blinded the fleet to the Boise’s presence.

Greatly outnumbered and under orders to maintain radio silence, the Boise did not fire and did not alert anyone for days to what it had seen.

When the Boise reached Manila, officers alerted members of Gen. Douglas Mac-Arthur’s staff of their find, Fenton said. Their reaction, as he recalled, was: “They’ve got as much right to be in the water as we do.”

Japanese Naval Code broken 1940.

And per the Germans. Avoid entangling alliances.

I grew up with a SeaBee as Grand Dad. I know all the stories.

I suggest you read:

Robert B. Stinnett offers compelling evidence that Murray had it right. The truth that emerges as one makes his way through this exhaustively researched volume is of an American political and military establishment whose brilliance is exceeded only by its utter lack of moral scruple or genuine patriotism. Sixty years after the fateful attack, Stinnett has uncovered, presented, and substantiated the truth behind Pearl Harbor. It is now clear that FDR did know the Japanese attack was coming. He knew more than a year in advance of Japanese plans to bomb the United States’ Pacific fleet at Pearl, and he knew more than a week before that the attack would come early Sunday morning. He knew because American naval intelligence had cracked the Japanese naval codes in the early fall of 1940, 15 months before the fateful attack."

And I'm sticking with Pearl. I can expand to places like Stalingrad and Battle of the Bulge if you wish more.

Should we have left Osama bin Laden to plan and carry out more attacks on the US.

Should America went ahead and done the various things that Osama wanted?

Like leaving Saudi Arabia? Or buying oil at over $144 a barrel? Or ..... well an intelligent man would get the idea.

Should we all be frigging pacifists no matter what?

What a black and white world you live in Ron. Where there are no people who conspire, where if one is swinging a big stick at whatever is seen as strength.

How much of your pension is at stake with such a worldview Ron?

What a black and white world you live in Ron. Where there are no people who conspire, where if one is swinging a big stick at whatever is seen as strength.

Irony upon ironies. The very point of my post is that it is not a black and white world! My point was that there are times to be pacifists and times to take dire measures. The folks who paint all wars with the same brush are those who see everything as either black or white. The folks who see all politicians as exactly the same live in a black and white world. The people who see everything as either good or evil live in a black and white world. Damn Eric, it is not really that hard to understand that this was the point I was trying to get across.

But it does appear to me Eric, that you see everything as either good or evil with no gray areas. Methinks Eric, that you are the one living in a black and white world.

There are some conspiracies. The rescue of the hostages in Colombia was the result of a conspiracy. Conspirators infiltrated the drug lords camp and pulled it off. There are no giant conspiracies that involve thousands, or even several hundreds of people. And everything is not a conspiracy as you conspiracy theory wingnuts seem to think.

How much of your pension is at stake with such a worldview Ron?

Nothing is at stake with my world view. What I think or what I believe does not matter one whit to anyone but me. I am not so stupid as to believe that what I believe has any influence on my, or anyone else's pension.

On the world stage, wars, energy, population, food supply, etc. it is never a choice between good and evil, it is always a choice between the greater evil and the lesser evil.

Ron Patterson

There are some conspiracies.

So you have changed your view, because in the past you have said there are NO conspiracies. My posts on propane price fixing were not in vain.

I do note how you have not touched the concept that OBL wished the US out of KSA - and that wish was granted. OBL wished oil to be at at least $144 a barrel - and that wish was granted. (I'm sure others more versed in the wish list of OBL can add to that. I didn't know that oil was at 4 Yergins/1 Bin Ladin till this week BTW) But if one is gonna toss about what OBL would do/not do, one should be able to list off what OBL wanted to happen. Thus - why no comment on the GRANTING of what OBL wanted if one is willing to wax on and on about 'preventing action'?

So you have changed your view, because in the past you have said there are NO conspiracies. My posts on propane price fixing were not in vain.

Bullcrap! I have never claimed that there are NO conspiracies. That would be stupid. In fact I have posted, many times, that conspiracies exist. An FBI or police undercover agent is engaging in a conspiracy. Many such conspiracies, both good and bad, exist and have always have existed. Conspiracies can involve, at most, a few dozen people. The chance that it will be exposed increases exponentially with the number of people involved. In times of war, more people may be involved in conspiracies, but with the threat of death if they expose the conspiracy. The D-day invasion was such a conspiracy. Every effort was made to try to make the Germans think the landing was to be at Calais. The true point of landing was known by but a very few, right up until the very last minute.

Don't know about your propane price fixing post, I don't recall that one at all. However people often engage in unlawful price fixing schemes. If they get caught they are prosecuted but they don't always get caught.

However, the point of my earlier post is that it is not a black and white world! All politicians are not the same. There are some politicians who truly want to make this a better nation and a better world, regardless of how misguided their efforts often are.

All wars are evil, (in that innocent people are always killed), but many are much less evil than others. And some, though certainly not all, prevent a far greater evil from happening. (If Hitler had won the world he would have killed ALL the Jews and likely all others whom he deemed it necessary to eliminate.)

Nothing in this world is entirely black or white Eric! Everything the government is not necessarily evil or part of some dammed conspiracy. That was and is my point!

Ron Patteson

that it is not a black and white world!

Then why the absolute:
Should we all be frigging pacifists no matter what? in "questions" you do not seek an "answer" to.

If you are going to try and make a point, make it.

Listing "questions" that you are actually not seeking answers to isn't gonna help the noise VS signal level round here.

Oh, and now I'll ask you directly Ron:

What is your view on the US of A embracing the wishes of OBL to be outta KSA and paying $144 a barrel for oil?

Then why the absolute:
Should we all be frigging pacifists no matter what? in "questions" you do not seek an "answer" to.

Eric, I simply cannot believe you misunderstood that question. It is just so damn obvious. It is a rhetorical question with the implication that all who paint all wars with the same brush are really dumb? That is, there are sometimes when we MUST go to war. If you were English in 1939 and saw Hitler was about to invade you, would you be a pacifist? If so that would be suicidal.

There are also times we should be a pacifist. It is never a case of black or white. Notice the word "frigging" in my question which expresses my sentiments to those who ARE pacifists all the time. Everything is either black or white to people who are ALWAYS pacifists.

NO, NO, hell NO, we should NOT all be pacifists no matter what. There is a time to be a pacifist and a time to defend yourself or even defend your neighbor if he is under attack. (For the obvious reason that if you do not defend your neighbor, you will likely be next on the list.)

What is your view on the US of A embracing the wishes of OBL to be outta KSA and paying $144 a barrel for oil?

Huh? Now it is I who do not understand the question. Who exactly is embracing the wishes of Osama bin Laden? Not I! And paying $144 a barrel has nothing to do with the wishes of OBL so how can you phrase that within the same question as getting out of KSA? Oil is high because of supply and demand. OBL is a religious fanatic who wishes to destroy all infidels. Now please re-phrase your question in some understandable manner and I will try to answer it.

Ron Patterson

It is a good thing that your tax dollars never supported this religious fanatic-OBL working with the CIA is just another of those crazy conspiracy theories. I have a picture of you circa 1979? yelling at your neighbour that we have to support the proud Afghani freedom fighters-we are not going to let those damn Reds push us around.


Confused that that US government has done exactly what OBL wanted and left KSA?

Confused that US citizens are paying +$144 per barrel of oil, just like OBL had wanted?

Or confused over quotes of OBL?

Now it is I who do not understand the question.

Perhaps then you have not even BOTHERED to listen to messages of OBL.

So then, exactly how, have you come to your view of what OBL has said/done?

Who exactly is embracing the wishes of Osama bin Laden? Not I!

Really? Where are you getting sub $144 oil? Or your protestations to leaving KSA?

And paying $144 a barrel has nothing to do with the wishes of OBL

As anything I write you won't believe, perhaps these will help you.

''He said at one point that he wants oil to be $144 a barrel''


For its own good, America should leave [Saudi Arabia.] ... There is no more important duty than pushing the American enemy out

While digging about for the above two links I found the below.

How about this quote: http://www.justresponse.net/Bin_Laden4.html

Bin Laden: We declared jihad against the US government, because the US government is unjust, criminal and tyrannical.

Do feel free to show how the US Government is Just, under the rule of law and benevolent. Often. Extra points if you can show the Cherokee nation move out of Georgia was 'OK do-kay' and Smedly Butler was a liar in 'war is a racket' - just because I've yet to see a successful rhetorical dismantaling of S. Butler.

Ahh, don't you just love a great pissing contest...

Conspiracies can involve, at most, a few dozen people.

False. Support your claim. It is a truism, not a fact.

gotta agree with you here .

So every time the US goes to war it is fully justified with no lies or propaganda being used ever?

Germany and Japan SHOULD have been dealt with in the 1930s, long before Japan attacked us. Instead because so many big business people were making money off the war(s) going on the US government tried to ignore what was happening instead. Osama bin Laden shouldn't have been supported and used by the CIA in the first place so that when the USSR eventually got bogged down in Afghanistan we wouldn't have to quit supporting him for 'political reasons' and he wouldn't have bothered with us. The Balkans was a Clinton joy ride to cut off oil routes from Iraq to France, Germany, and Russia (Guess which 3 UN countries voted against the Balkans attack and Iraq war 1?) And PS the 'massive genocide' continues in the Balkans even though we don't care now because Iraq is now unable to send oil anywhere without our say so.

Something else you don't believe in that actually exists btw:

The Balkans was a Clinton joy ride to cut off oil routes from Iraq to France, Germany, and Russia

Iraqi oil simply does NOT transit the Balkans, a fact that makes the rest ...

Kurdish oil goes out via a Turkish pipeline to a Mediterranean port, and from there to anywhere (mainly EU), Shia oil goes out to the Persian Gulf, and from there to anywhere.

There is a North-South Iraqi pipeline (status uncertain today) between the Kurdish oil fields and the Shia oil fields for suppling mid-Iraq/Baghdad and to shift export routes.


No I don't have 100% proof. I read some reports that during the UN sanctions on Iraq Saddam was getting around them by shipping oil through the area to central Europe. Probably should have just not bothered.

No I don't have 100% proof. I read some reports

It's worth noting the difference between "100% proof" and "some guy on the internet said".

It's also worth considering the reliability of any source you read, and if possible either checking it against other, unrelated sources or pulling out a calculator and checking the feasibility of what it says. There's an enormous amount of false claims and bogus information online, and it's a wise idea to approach anything not from a trusted source with a healthy dose of skepticism.

(That includes, by the way, all stories and especially comments here. Explicitly including mine; always be wary of people who claim to be the exception.)

The nonsense that gets posted is mind bogleling. In the 1930's, the general population of the US was almost as isolationist as Switzerland. There was no way to engage Germany or Japan in a direct war before Pearl Harbour.

Ceiii200, I never said there was no such thing as a signing statement. What I said was: There is no such thing as a "signing statement" that can negate any bill. A signing statement is an attempt to modify the meaning of a bill, it cannot possibly negate it. (A veto CAN negate a bill but a veto can also be overridden.) In other words, when the President signs a bill into law, he can also issue a signing statement stating something to the effect: "This bill does not really mean that I, as President, cannot really torture people as long as we do not call it torture." I am being sarcastic here, but you get the point. Also there is a way to prevent any "signing statement" to modify the meaning of a bill. If the bill is written in such precise language that it cannot be interpreted in any other manner, then the meaning cannot be changed.

Note: A signing statement does not change the meaning of a bill one iota. It is just a statement by the president saying "This is how I interpret this bill and it does not really mean what some people think it means." Also, there is no constitutional way a president can disobey the law, he, in this case, simply says this law does not really prevent me from doing this or that because I am doing not really doing what this law prevents me from doing.

I need proof that there is "massive genocide" currently going on in the Balkans because I flat don't believe it.

To say that Germany and Japan should have been dealt with BEFORE they attacked us shows just how totally ignorant of history you really are. We TRIED to deal with Japan. They invaded China and half the Asian Pacific, committing their own type of genocide. We cut off their oil in hopes of stopping the murder and genocide. Because of the isolationism and attitudes of the American people it was IMPOSSIBLE to do more.

But I notice you have a hindsight answer for everything. Typical.

Ron Patterson

Darwinian -

Bush's use of signing statements amounts to no less than the raising of an extended middle finger directly in the face of Congress.

By using signing statements Bush IS in effect making an attempt to negate, diminish, or alter the meaning and/or impact of the legislation put on paper by Congress. He is saying: I go along with this provision but not that one.

The problem is that Congress only has the power to write laws; it does not have the power to enforce them. That is the role of the Executive branch and the various bureaucracies contained therein. Thus, by selectively interpreting Congress's legislation through the use of signing statements, Bush has been attempting to make an end-run around Congress by not so subtly implying that certain provisions of the legislation will be carried out while other provisions will not be carried out. To my mind that amounts to a de facto negation of the legislation.

This a Constitutional issue of the first order, one that if pursued by Congress could (and probably should) lead to a constitutional crisis. But Congress is too pathetically timid to meaningfully confront Bush on this issue, so the separation of powers continues to be eroded until one day the President of the US will effectivly become Maximum Leader of the US. That appears to be the trajectory we are on.

Regarding your comments re Japan, Roosevelt's embargo of oil exports to Japan in September of 1941 was not calculated to stop Japan's rape of China, but rather to provoke Japan into a war with the US, the ulterior motive being to give Roosevelt a polictically acceptable means of saving Britains ass in its war with Germany. Roosevelt knew that without US oil Japan could not continue for long without making a move on the oil fields of southeast Asia. He was thus successful in provoking a war with Japan. Pearl Harbor flowed direcly from that action. Whether this was the right thing to do in the big scheme of things is arguable.

Looking back with the hindsight of over 60 years of history, I am steadily getting closer to the conclusion that WW II accomplished little more than to make the world safe for Communism, as the big winners of The Big One did not just include the US, but also Stalin and Mao, either of whom killed far more people than Hitler did. My guess is that if we did not enter WW II against Germany, we would have eventually become involved in a cold war with Germany instead of with the USSR. Six of one, half a dozen of another? Trading a headache for an upset stomach?

You've missed out one very important dimension: there's a debate to be had about the motivations for wars but there's also the point that when you're engaging in war for more "abstract" reasons -- to create a "democratic beacon" in the middle east, for example -- of being competent enough to achieve the concrete objectives that you've planned. (And "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy" doesn't cut it here: if you choose to go to war then it's on you to overestimate the difficulty and plan accordingly.)

I found some of the "Project for the New American Century" writings (before they moved down a floor and rebranded themselves as the American Enterprise Institute) deeply disturbing, but the big criticism of the neocons is that they simply haven't proved compentent at actually achieving their war based goals. My worry, as a non-American, is not the motives of war-mongering American presidents but that they start wars without thinking through the difficulties of winning a war in practice, rather than in a nice wargamming room, before embarking on the thing.

Should we all be frigging pacifists no matter what?

To ask that Obama not make belligerent statements towards democratically elected governments that do not threaten us is not being a pacifist. It is simply to ask that he not conduct "diplomacy" the same way Bush does. Nor is concern that the next president drag us into a lot of wars (or prolong the wars we're already in) pacifistic. Decent people everywhere abhor war and resort to it only when there is no alternative. In fact, part of the reason Obama won the nomination is that he seemed less bellicose than Clinton.

But really, that kind of talk is mostly for domestic consumption. Penile display seems to be a requirement to get elected president. I suspect that says more about the American public (I almost typed "pubic") than it does about Obama.

"Should we have left Osama bin Laden to plan and carry out more attacks on the US."

We did. Haven't you been paying attention?

Baloney! Osama is very busy hiding out in the mountains. He would like to think that he can carry out more attacks and a few are being planned by his surrogates, but his influence has been greatly diminished due to his needing to be hid all the time. And we have not left him but are greatly seeking his whereabouts.

It appears Arraya that you have not been paying attention.

Ron Patterson

Indeed, I hear he`s planning another 9/11 inbetween bouts of chess with Emmanuel Goldstein.

And we have not left him but are greatly seeking his whereabouts.


Best I could do on short notice and so late at night.


Should we all be frigging pacifists no matter what?

Absolutely not. While you probably noticed I am opposed to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, not *all* wars are wrong. As I mentioned the allies in WW2 were on the right side and really did need to fight. (They should have started the fight earlier, in fact.)

Also, the Iraqi and Afghan people have a right to fight to liberate their countries. They certainly shouldn't be embracing pacifism.

Once in a blue moon you get a politician who really is different. Dateline 1999:

Gore Offers Plan to Control Suburban Sprawl

As part of its latest budget request, the Administration is seeking to commit almost $10 billion -- more than $1 billion of it in new spending -- to local governments and communities for programs that preserve open space, ease traffic congestion and promote economic development in a way that some states are calling ''smart growth.''

''In too many places across America, the beauty of local vistas has been degraded by decades of ill-planned and ill-coordinated development,'' Vice President Al Gore said today, announcing the program. ''Plan well, and you have a community that nurtures commerce and private life. Plan badly, you have what so many of us suffer from first-hand -- gridlock, sprawl and that uniquely modern evil of all too little time.''

I note that more responsible development policies eight years ago might have had a substantial lessening of the impact of current energy crisis. But nooo.... Bush was more likeable. He was a compassionate conservative.

I think Gore is only different because he's not a politician any more.

He was always different. It's not him that has changed, it's the media's portrayal of him.

Gore was always determined to be treated with appropriate respect. He made the point in the Governor's mansion, the morning of July 9, as he and Clinton were rehearsing for the joint news conference they would soon hold to announce that Gore was joining the ticket. An aide, acting as reporter, threw out a question accusing Gore of being an environmental extremist.

Gore answered, but then Clinton cautioned, "We don't want to come off like a bunch of Greenpeace warriors."

Gore, the author of a best-selling psycho-environmental polemic, "Earth in the Balance," shot back: "What do you mean we, kemo sabe?"

After a tense moment, Clinton began to laugh, then everyone else did, too. From that day on, Clinton and Gore appeared as the Alphonse and Gaston of politics, handing off the microphone to each other on stage, picking up each other's points. Except for some Southern focus groups' grumping that the two looked like a couple of yuppies with cellular phones and Rolexes, the act went over big. While George Bush campaigned with rarely a mention of Dan Quayle's name, Clinton used Gore to great advantage, employing him to lead the attack on the Bush Administration's prewar coziness with Saddam Hussein, and to serve as ambassador to Jewish and environmental groups.


*Edit* I will admit that he seemed to get caught up in the lobbying and political scandals fairly easily. The quote I put up is a favorite quote of my father's that I think shows that he was never really into politics a game, I honestly believe he believed in what he was doing.

Call me cynical, but if he was really different, he'd never have been as successful as he was.

No, I'm not claiming there's any kind of a conspiracy. Just that you can't be elected to the second-highest office in the land without having connections...and being beholden to big business.

At least he's not in the pocket of Big Lapel Pin. The ethanol lobby has him pretty tight though.

Gore came from a political family. With his background, he had very different opportunities presented to him, different than you or I have had. For him to go into politics was rather easier than you might think.

Also the initial quote was something that he said while still holding office of Vice President. It was not something he said after re-inventing himself as an environmental guru.

Gore came from a political family. With his background, he had very different opportunities presented to him, different than you or I have had. For him to go into politics was rather easier than you might think

On this Independence Day 2008 isn’t it wonderful that we now have replaced the class of British aristocrats with our very own!! The Kennedy’s, Rockefeller’s, Taft’s, Gore’s, Cuomo’s, Daley’s, Bush’s, …too many royal families to name! Yes, it makes voting a lot easier, just vote for the son or daughter of the name you have always been comfortable with. Maybe we should just do away with voting and make positions hereditary. Hey, wait a minute….just what are we celebrating today? It was all a lie right from the get go. All the founders had probably read The Republic.

Bingo. You have hit the nail on the head. No amount of "wishing it weren't this way" makes it the way people like to pretend it works.

Al Gore's main estate uses over 220,000 KWH per year. He's a real "Do as I say. Not as I do."

Al Gore's main estate uses over 220,000 KWH per year. He's a real "Do as I say. Not as I do."

the sad thing is you actually believe that. anyways, al gore went solar in case you didn't know.

Where does Gore deny that he uses that much electricity? Also, how much of his electricity is now generated from solar panels? Maybe not so much. He only installed the solar panels within the last year. He apparently was okay with not going solar until embarrassed into it by the publicity.

Really, a "Do as I say, not as I do" kind of guy.

He apparently was okay with not going solar until embarrassed into it by the publicity.

Hi FP,

Are you sure about that?

BELLE MEADE, Tenn. (AP) — Zoning rules in Al Gore's upscale neighborhood kept the former vice president and environmental activist from installing solar panels on his roof.

Gore bought his multimillion dollar home in 2002 in Belle Meade, an exclusive city encircled by metropolitan Nashville, and he has been ramping up an ambitious renovation ever since. But his contractors ran into a legal barrier last summer when they sought to apply for a permit to install solar panels on the roof....



Hi FP,

I understand this number was supposedly obtained by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research through a "public records request" to the Nashville Electric Service, Mr. Gore's energy provider. I'm not familiar with U.S. privacy laws, but I can assure you that if I were to disclose such information without the written consent of the party in question, NSP would have those cute little 'fellas that happily dangle between my legs nailed to a cross, then ship me off to the big house and the loving embrace of Bubba, my new best "friend".

So anyone can simply call their local utility and ask for a copy of their neighbour's billing history? It's just that easy?


Alas, this week I came to the conclusion there is no one I can, in all concience, vote for. I contributed to the Obama campaign several times during the primaries, but his recent statements (AIPAC, Iraq) put him in the "business as usual" camp. Ron the Perfecter, McCain the Battler, Ralph the Rattler...ugh, I'll stay home and tend the garden; on the upside, the tomatoes are doing great this year.

I keep telling people I'm voting for Gore, I don't care that he's not running! :)

No, don't stay home - they'll just think that you don't care. At least show up and write in "None of the Above" if nothing else, so at least you'll be sending a message of rebuke.


There was only one answer and America didn't even look in his direction.

We deserve what we get. Our nation is what we allow it to be, no more, no less.


The way the Propaganda System "vetted" potential candidates ensured "America" Wouldn't "even look in his direction."

Just so it is known obama was talking about fighting drugs and gangs.

I agree with my friend, Senator Dick Lugar – the Merida Initiative does not invest enough in Central America, where much of the trafficking and gang activity begins. And we must press further south as well. It's time to work together to find the best practices that work across the hemisphere, and to tailor approaches to fit each country. That's why I will direct my Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security to sit down with all their counterparts in the Americas during my first year in office. We'll strive for unity of effort. We'll provide the resources, and ask that every country do the same. And we'll tie our support to clear benchmarks for drug seizures, corruption prosecutions, crime reduction, and kingpins busted.

Some strange articles from the stock analyst web-sites today.

Warning from Energy Insider…

The energy reality out there is changing, and changing fast. If you have not thought about the ‘energy issue’ in, say, five years, then your thinking process is probably obsolete. If you are frozen in some past that you learned years ago, then you are part of the problem.

Ahh yes, that sweet old Wall Street line that's a sure sign of a stock bubble and investors getting hosed: This time, it's different. If you learned thermodynamics five years ago, just forget all that, we have an all new thermodynamics, we're going to call it thermodynamics 2.0. It's the much more efficient and the old rules like EROEI are obsolete.

Energy Myths

"We can't drill our way out of our energy crisis." Actually, we can...

More Republican propaganda. Just about every little bulleted point in there is A) misleading or flat out untrue or B) blames the Democrats. I'd say that both parties at this point are just trying to find a scape goat besides themselves. Democrats point at OPEC and big oil, Republicans point at environmentalists. Business as usual.

Actually, maybe these headlines are not so strange.... The more I look the more I seem to think that investors, and the market, are not so smart, in fact they're rather dumb and have a bad tendency to get fleeced again and again. The invisible hand only drives the market to the local minimum in energy (max. efificiency), not necessarily the global one.

Sometimes I think it's only the little guys who get fleeced. The big wheels just want them to stay in the market as long as possible, to keep the pyramid scheme going. Like Kenny-Boy Lay, selling his Enron stock while telling his employees not to sell theirs.

Yeah, just after I wrote that I thought about all the people who just put their money in more or less trusted stocks and just left it there. E.g., people saving for retirement. Most of the baby boomers seem to have made out pretty well, certainly a lot of their wealth was (is) from their houses but a fair portion came from the mutual funds, etc., even with the internet bubble.

It works like this:

Socialism for the Wealthy, Free Market for the Poor.

The Baby Boomers are being separated from their gasoline now.

how you know what the top price will be.

I say $167 does it.

I thought it is more like socialism for the wealthy, feudalism for the poor.

"Sometimes I think it's only the little guys who get fleeced"

Tell that to the people at Bear-Stearns (or, soon, the people at Citi, or GM/Ford - is Kirk Kerkorian a mildly retarded billionaire or what ?).

It seems like only the "little guys" get fleeced because there are so many more "little guys," we are likely one of them, and/or know them personally.

If you are a big boy, but you invested in the wrong companies -implicitly betting that Yergins oil price predictions were true say, you have probably seen a great deal of your wealth vanish. The poor don't directly lose out when the market tanks. Later on indirect results may hit them via the economy, but they didn't have any wealth to lose in the first place.

My point is only that it is Not only "the little people" who lose their shirts on Wall Street.

There are plenty of Big Wheels who line up on the wrong side of the market on a daily basis - as you point out, Yergin's victims are a good example.

The "little guy," who is not desperately poor and does invest, has lots of company among the "rich" and even many "insiders" when he loses his shirt.

"Sometimes I think it's only the little guys who get fleeced"

Sounds like the fed thinks that, "Everybody should get fleeced!"


HERE'S a Yankee Doodle Doozy of an idea from the taxman: if you've had enough of the United States and choose to renounce your citizenship, you will now have to give up a large chunk of your assets.
The same new tax also will hit foreigners who are living and working in this country legally - with a so-called green card

Hoist that rag

Well I learned the trade
From Piggy Knowles and
Sing sing Tommy Shay Boys
god used me as hammer boys
To beat his weary drum today

Hoist that rag
Hoist that rag

The sun is up the world is flat
Damn good address for a rat
The smell of blood
The drone of files
You know what to do if
The baby cries

Hoist that rag
Hoist that rag

Well we stick our fingers in
The ground, heave and
Turn the world around
Smoke is blacking out the sun

At night I pray and clean my gun
The cracked bell ring as
The ghost bird sings and the gods
Go begging here
So just open fire
When you hit the shore
All is fair in love
And war

Hoist that rag
Hoist that rag
Hoist that rag
Hoist that rag

Taxes bad. Government spending good. Taxes bad. Government spending good. Deficits bad. What do we now? Pray to Jesus I guess.

I'll pray to Joe Pesci.

Ahh yes, that sweet old Wall Street line

I interpreted that part completely differently. The conventional wisdom until recently was that commodities were cyclical. Prices rise, so demand drops and production increases. That causes prices to fall, so demand risea and production decreases. Rinse and repeat on decade-long cycles.

If that's the world you're mired in, then "your thinking process is probably obsolete". "If you are frozen in some past that you learned years ago, then you are part of the problem" is a pretty good summary of the Yerginites.

Julian Simon must be spinning in his grave. :)

I actually agreed with a lot of what the guy was saying but I disliked the way it was said. That is, reality hasn't changed any, reality is still the same as it has always been and I'm immediately suspicious of anyone who claims otherwise.

I have a pdf of the 1956 paper where M. King Hubbert predicted the oil peak in production was going to be around the year 2000. Some guy in 1956 who drew his graphs by hand who had never heard of the interwebs, just in time processing, digital television and the new economy predicted what is happening right now based some reasonable estimates of possible reserve volumes and extrapolating the behavior of oil fields to global scale. (Granted, he does get the production volume wrong, he predicts about half of what it is I think.)

These people who think in terms of new realities need to suck on that for a while, I know I am continually amazed by it and think a lot about how much things really have changed. He even considers 1-2.5 trillion barrels of oil shale and tar sands in his analysis. What was that again about unconventional oil sources being the solution to our energy crisis? It's all been thought of already, more than 50 years ago.

But I suppose that people forgetting the lessons of history is as old as history itself.

"We can't drill our way out of our energy crisis." Actually, we can...

ROFLMAO! I hope that guy invests a lot of money trying to extract the kerogen from shale by drilling. There's a trillion barrels of it! Maybe two! Hehe.

I think he's long XOM and SLB and short OIL.

Todd has been talking about our wildfires. So far, Mendocino has lost 39.5 K acres, still 40 fires going unfought, despite the fact we now have over 1600 firefighters, equal to 2% of the county population. Further south, Big Sur is now threatened. Some photos from various fires..


Sadly, the only death was a patient of mine...

Anderson Valley volunteer firefighter dies

Adding a few more things to Rat's post about the fire near me:

It is finally contained and will be left to burn itself out. One section that is too steep to enter will be helitorched this week. However, the voluntary evacuation order has still to be lifted. In all, somewhat over 3k acres burned.

I was talking to a friend who worked on the fire and he is really pissed at the bureaucracy specifically, BLM and Cal Fish and Game. They wouldn't let CATs be used to cut fire breaks during the early stages of the fire because of a rare endangered plant. They did let a hand crew in to cut a fire line which was jumped almost immediately. The result was that a moderated fire that could have been contained grew into a major fire. Finally, it burned a lot of the endangered plants they were trying to protect.

In another instance, a smaller fire near the bigger one, a CAT was being taken up an old road at another location but was stopped for the same reason. The irony, of course, is that it was being driven up an existing road. The result was that the fires joined. This resulted in evacuations. My friend says that both fires could have been contained early in the process if a little common sense had been used.

I have to wonder whether this sort of stuff is why the Big Sur fire has gotten so big.

Finally, staffing was squat. Most of the time there were less than 50 people actually on the fire line of a 3+k acre blaze (that's over 3 1/2 square miles).

The "official" communications seemed to take a page out of Bush's play book and were useless, PR crap that didn't keep people fully informed. We all relyed upon phone trees to pass on what we heard from people who were actually on the fire line or from looking at the fire from vantage points. I will say that, if nothing else, it built better relationships between people in our boondocks area.

All in all, it's been a pretty stressful two weeks.


Hey, Todd. Glad to hear your situation has improved. Was hearing they had been backfiring around Red Mt, etc.
More food for thought; I have heard that, when this first started, our bombers were being used on the Napa fire. By the time they were reassigned back here, there was too much smoke to use them. I wonder if the county should have one of our own that can't be reassigned. Doubt we could afford it, tho. I hope summer lightning is not some new, ongoing climate change phenomenon.

But, about staffing, in all fairness to CDF, it is really hard to prepare for the outbreak of 800-1000 fires from one storm.
An oldtimer pointed out to me that, when the logging industry was a force here, the woods were full of loggers who would have stopped many of these in their tracks.
Also, they used to graze sheep in the Mendo National Forest which offered a certain amount of fire protection.

Aerial tankers..

Mandatory evacs down in Goleta now, Big Sur in deep doo-doo.

Hang tough, Bud.


Mike - To show how much things have changed, my neighbor bought an old used fire truck a week ago that he is overhauling and we'll ask the fire department in town to train us so, at least in the early stages, we can take action without waiting for TPTB to do get their act together. In many ways, this personifies for me how things are going to in the future. Todd

Good idea. The Hog Farm has their own truck.

Just returned from the Hog Farm (4 days at the Kate Wolf Music Festival)---
Lot's of smoke, and they did have fire vehicles present--

Ukiah was so smokey that it was apocalyptic in mood.
A friend had 80 acres burned next to him above Potter Valley.

Ukiah has gotten a lot better in the last few days. The bombers have been flying out of here all afternoon.
Laytonville is better, too. Looked almost normal til about noon.

Also, they used to graze sheep in the Mendo National Forest which offered a certain amount of fire protection

I don't know how it compares to the Cali situation, but the the SW (think mostly southern rockies) decades of cattle frazing set up the current potential for catastrophic fire. I.e. frequent grass fires controlled the growth of brush and the density of trees. Some namagement techniques can work wonders in the short term, but build up a much more serious problem long term. Those with a commercial or political interest in a particular policy outcome will often promote one sided arguments.

"Finally, staffing was squat."

I see on Calif State web site that there are tens of thousands of fires and well over a thousand fires have no fire fighters working them.

California wilderness is a dangerous place to try to live. Beautiful scenery but dangerous. Fighting wild fires is dangerous work. In recent years, the bureaucrats have several new burdens to contend with: houses and live stock and people and a new found concern for the lives of the firefighters.


I understand what you are saying but you are also off base because, in my circumstance, you don't have all the "facts."

I don't want to turn this post into big OT thing so I'll cut to the chase. The BLM land was going to be benched mined 30+ years ago. I and a few other people convinced BLM to assign the land ACEC status (area of critical of critical environmental concern) since at the time Hanna Mining wanted to bench mine the mountain for nickel using heap leaching using cyanide.

BLM has had 30+ years to develop a fire protection program if their intent was to not suppress fires and to make it public - along with a public comment period. For example, they could have cut firebreaks around the property's perimeter so it "could not escape."

Instead, when TSHTF, they said, "Oh, we have rare and endangered species of plants. Fuck you who live outside the area. It's not our problem if it escapes and you live there."

They and Cal Fish and Game turned what should have been a minor expense into a fire that cost, according to my friend, 10-20 more than it should have.

Now, all of us really appreciate what was done...but it shouldn't have been necessary.


As a PS - lots of folks wanted to work the fire lines but were turned away because they hadn't attended an approved Cal-Fire class and gotten their "card."

The Goleta Gap Fire has cost me electric power two nights in a row. This serves as a useful reminder of just how fast we go backward without a constant flow of lots of energy.

I have been following these stories for a few weeks now. I live about 20 minutes north of the border.

The Mexicans are still having problems in Tijuana with supply.

If you read this article you will see interesting quotes by fuel station owners about Pemex possibly withholding supplies. Probably suspicion but interesting nonetheless.



you are watching the Black Market in operation.

In a Black Market, you can get all you want of the commodity in question
by paying world high prevailing rates.

And any subsidized commodity will, by definiton, dry up or be obtained
only thru force and/or in the seat of power.

One ex- bread prices in Moscow, pre 1989.

Another small ex- my state of Arkansas must waive taxes at border gas stations,
like Ft Smith, to keep folks from crossing into OK for gasoline.

My humble apologies.

I found this link at the top of the DrumBeat. I didn't see it.



I realize the bio-fuels story is old news and no surrpise to anyone here in terms of the analysis, but for frick's sake, how many crimes against humanity are we going to put up with before putting these politicians-cum-traitors/criminals on notice and holding them accountable?

Iraq data: spiked

Wire taps: spiked

Bio-fuels: spiked

And how many others?

My skins is crawling...




Mr Ferez’s research was into bacteria which create ethanol for use as fuel.

The supposedly 'leaked' biofuel report from the World Bank serves an alternative agenda - to think otherwise would be dim-witted indeed.

Regarding the article in the Drumbeat....

ANALYSIS - US oil firms seek drilling access, but exports soar

The explanation is rather simple. With declining demand the US has a surplus of refining capacity.

Check out the data from the EIA on the portion of capacity currently being used:


For April it was: 86.2 percent.

When was it last lower than this level in April?
Answer: 1992

Similarly for Feb and Mar. You have to go back to '92 or '91 to find lower values.

The logical thing is to use this excess capacity to refine products for export as other nations who are past peak demand do. i.e. Japan


Fitch Ratings said Japanese oil refineries are likely to benefit significantly from rising demand overseas, especially China.

The ratings agency commented that Japan's refineries have historically been under-utilised due to a continuous fall in domestic demand. However, these plants are geographically well-positioned to meet China's impending shortfall in capacity for refined petroleum products.



Japanese refiners led by Nippon Oil have more than doubled oil exports since 2004 to counter flagging oil demand at home, which has been shrinking around 4 percent per year since 2006.

It's also worth noting, which the Forbes article sadly fails to do for some reason, that the US is exporting record quantities of petroleum coke - and this alone amounts to anywhere from 30 to 40% of the total export level.

We have declining demand because of higher prices which are due to insufficient supply. So, how do we get sufficient supply? We are told we need to drill more. But how will we get sufficient supply if any additional oil is refined and then exported?

I guess that's the dark side of having a world market.

Any price benefit of drilling in your own backyard will go to the world as a whole rather than helping prices specifically in the US. The benefit is diluted. Could help a bit with energy security, though.

So any tiny price benefit of drilling ANWR would go to Chinese, Indian and European consumers as much as to Americans.

The big oil corporations have zero allegiance to any country. That's what globalization is all about.

Here is a very odd thing about refinery utilization: margins are still pretty high. Thursday 3:2:1 spread is $12/bbl. Normally with refinery utilization so low, spread would be much lower (close to zero). And distillate demand does not appear to explain everything in my mind - refineries could run harder, make gasoline at negative margin as long as they get compensated by higher distillate output. Clearly there is some discontinuity. Anyone has a theory?

flagging oil demand at home, which has been shrinking around 4 percent per year since 2006.

Oil use has been declining at 4% a year since 2006, shouldn't they be overrun with barbarians in off road vehicles by now?

Export Land Model - well explained in a major Norwegian Financial Magazine

WT/ Jeffrey Brown credited as the man behind ELM, but I know WT normally share this with Khebab, Simmons ... more ? Anyways -

First paragraph translated by me
(I don't know of any Norwegian to English babelfish-tools, Danish would also work ... Swedish too ,albeit not that well..–)


Have you ever heard of the Export land model, also abbreviated ELM ? The American geologist Jeffrey Brown is the man behind this theory - which tries to explain the real causes behind the ever increasing oil prices.

The ELM theory is very well explained in the continuation of the article ……..
Kudos to Mr. Westexas, ELM now also in Norwegian.

I don't know of any Norwegian to English babelfish-tools,

Google Translate will do it. Here's a google translated link to the article

ahhhhh Undertow , thanks. I see those auto-translators are not a perfect thing, but they surely give a good idea of what the article is about .. afterall they would not be possible to use in the court IMO :-)

Higher fuel costs are having an impact on British car sales, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Rising living costs hit car sales

Rising fuel bills and living expenses have put the brakes on demand for new cars, a UK motor trade body has said.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said UK new car sales fell by 6.1% in June, compared with the same month in 2007.

Overall car sales in the year to the end of June were 1,247,479, down 1.6% on the previous 12 month period.

Diesel car sales bucked the trend, with registrations up 4.5% to take diesel's share of the market to more than 40%.

It's only a small change so far, but it's a sign of things to come. Apparently the fuel efficiency savings from diesel still outweigh the fuel's higher cost relative to petrol. And people are going to need all the fuel efficiency they can get as the Institute of Advanced Motorists is forecasting that motorists will 'see another 20p on a litre over the coming month'.

P.S. Happy 4th July to all those of you in the US!

Left the war thread after a few reads – not invalid points just the usual ones, which they would have to be from the suppositional perspective of what Obama might do 8 months form now.

On the related topic, “new boss same as the old boss”, the current situation has never held more hope. The self-serving Washington (scum, ignorant, poll driven spokes people, vacuous) – (your choice) politicians are no longer in control. The most extreme measures put forward to fight global warming are now in place. A worldwide energy transition to sustainability has begun if we can keep coal use from exploding. The north pole is melting (even normals seem to get that one) and we have a legend in Hansen leading the charge against coal use without sequestration. I dare to hope.

Former Intel-CEO wants electric cars, retrofits of older vehicles

Grove believes that the confluence of oil prices, environmental concerns and economic conditions now demand a rapid move from internal combustion to electrically driven vehicles.

This is a couple days old but I don't remember seeing this anywhere here. As former CEO and chairman of Intel this man should not be taken lightly. I would love to see someone with the resources, such as him, bring a retrofit electric drive system to market

My ideal system would consist of a standard set of AC motors available in different sizes to match the weight of the vehicle. Each motor size would have a matching system controller to provide regenerative braking and basic battery management. Purchasers would be able to choose their batteries based on budget and performance considerations eg. Li ion expensive, high performance vs Lead acid lower cost, lower performance. I would be happy to have a conversion that gave me 20-50 mile range with a top speed of 50-60 mph. at a cost of 5-10k. That would take care of most of my driving.

While there are lots of challenges to coming up with such a system, it would certainly speed up the conversion to an electrified personal transport system for those who are willing to make the sacrifice. I would imagine someone like Andy Grove could pioneer something like this with some amount of success and maker a small profit to boot.

Hope springs eternal.

Alan from the islands

Heard Martin Eberhard, co-founder of Tesla Motors, speak last night.

I think some of his comments are worthwhile to reproduce here. He is not peak oil aware at all (but very climate change aware) and seemed to accept projections of the world having 2.3 billion cars by 2050 (which to me is tosh on so many levels). Here are some of the things he said:

  • current crop of cars are too heavy for retrofits to make much sense
  • battery technology is increasing very quickly. In this phase of the market it makes it difficult to standardize on a chemistry.
  • thus swapping out batteries as Project Better Place proposes might work in limited countries, but isn't ready for a large rollout
  • better than swapping out batteries like PBP he suggested waiting until the batteries improve to the point they are two or three times as energy dense as now so that instead of the 220 mile range like the Tesla Roadster, one can get 400 miles
  • he thinks PBP's subscription model may not work very well. He wonders: will people be willing to pay a lot more for the same electricity that goes into their car that they get get at home?
  • people buy cars for what they think they need rather than what they actually need. Not many people will need greater range than that. When they do, they can rent a vehicle
  • lithium is abundant and won't run out soon but other metals in batteries are less common; new chemistries can (and will) be created to work around this

Thanks for the report.

I've thought about the implications of the leased battery car, and I can see why Eberhard is pushing built-in batteries. In a small city car, the leased battery would be about half the total cost, say $6000. Now the driver is only paying $6000 for the rest of the car. This doesn't leave much room for margin, so the cars become standardized, interchangeable commodity appliances, like bicycles. Leave the battery built in, and they capture their customers, so can differentiate the product, and charge more.

Tesla is still stuck in the mindset of car-as-ego-extension, selling an expensive sports convertible. Its profitable while it lasts, but soon people will have bigger things to worry about than driving impressive cars.

Hi, half full. You're welcome.

About your second point, I didn't get the sense that Martin was stuck in the car as ego extension at all. In fact, he addresses that directly. He showed the electric cars that were available to purchase when he got started and they were ugly. The last crop of mainstream cars had all been discontinued.

He had the following goals with the Tesla Roadster:
* put some excitement into electric
* deliver a car at a price point that could support a young company
* use the profit from that to go down the price ladder

He accomplished all three items.

Pretty well done, if you think about it. Almost every major car company has an electric vehicle program now. Some of them may even stay in business long enough to get them to market.


current crop of cars are too heavy for retrofits to make much sense

battery technology is increasing very quickly.

some contradictions there.

I see no contradition. He wants to sell new cars powered by batteries. His cars can be powered by batteries better than old, heavy cars. Better batteries will make better cars. Indulge me, for I am dense. Abide in My love, bro.

part of the reason why today's cars are too heavy is because the batteries they'd have to put into the cars are very heavy. I believe the tesla battery pack is 800 pounds. most advances are making the battery packs lighter. heck, some high school kids converted a saturn.


While I agree your idea, if realized, would be awesome... but I don't want to spoil the party by telling that cars built the last 20 years are amazingly complex vehicles. The mechanical part is a no-brainer, throw out the engine and gearbox and you got yourself plenty of room to fit in a motor and custom brackets. Electronics is the problem here, cars today have everything controlled by the on-board computer. Accelerator linkage, everything electric, whole gauge cluster, ECC .. etc, my head hurts already thinking about all the electronics. The software involved tricking the cars on-board computer into believing that the old engine still was there (otherwise it goes TILT) would probably be quite complex.
It would be a major project to convert just one car, and to fabricate kits for a dozen different models.. I'd say this is not economically feasible.
I have personal experience converting inefficient gasoline cars to more efficient diesel engined cars, in which you can burn whatever oils you find including the vegetable-based ones. Done so on 30+ year old cars, I was blessed not having to deal with the electronics..

Re: the Forbes analysis above ("ANALYSIS - US oil firms seek drilling access, but exports soar").

We do export finished products. We import a lot more.
Net Imports: 1,924
Imports: 3,341
Exports: 1,417

What that has to do with drilling, I'm not sure. I guess Forbes is arguing we should hold on to every last drop of liquid we produce. That's a curious argument for supposed free-marketeers to make. In any case, I would presume that cutting exports would cut imports accordingly, so we wind up with the same net. Source is the most recent TWIP report

From Bloomberg: Dollar to Rise Against Emerging Markets, Morgan Stanley Says

July 4 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. dollar will appreciate against most emerging market currencies as their economies are hurt by rising energy prices, according to a Morgan Stanley.

The dollar will also strengthen to $1.53 against the euro by year-end and $1.40 by the end of 2009, Morgan Stanley's chief currency strategist Stephen Jen wrote

This guy's analysis strikes me as bizarre, if not delusionsal. A rise in the price of oil is implicitly a decline in the value of the dollar, because oil is denominated in dollars. Asian markets have been raising interest rates to strengthen their currencies, precisely to blunt the impact of high oil prices. China has been doing this for months. The Koreans just did this in the past couple days. The Japanesse have NOT, so the Yen has stayed weak and oil prices are killing them.

Yes, their economies are going to weaken as the US-led economic crisis spreads to them. But the US economy is going to weaken as well, sooner and possibly faster than Asian markets. As I've said before, as long as (a) the US government spends money like a drunken sailor, (b) the Fed keeps interest rates low, and (c) the US economy is weak, the dollar will stay weak. Now, maybe the rest of the world will eventually follow the US-Japanese model of ZIRP (or near-ZIRP). But until they do, their currencies are going to stay stronger than the dollar.

This morning I walked in our town's 4th of July parade, a part of our Public Library parade group (kids in animal masks, extolling "Reading is Wild"), hoisting a display sign about the local effort underway to try and raise the funds necessary to install a 15 kilowatt PV system on the Library's roof.

The crowd was enthusiastic as I called out: "Go Solar, Go Library; Solar Energy for the Library!" People cheered back, "Solar, Yes; Good Idea" etc.

In the big scheme of our energy woes it's a small but necessary step in the right direction, which those of us behind this endeavor hope will generate the private fundraising ($30,000) needed to get this project off the ground and onto the roof.

With any success for the Library, the Fire & Rescue station is the next municipal building to put PV on, and beyond that, as a member of the town's Alternative Energy Committee, we have the potential (both in wind & land) to install one to three 1.5 megawatt windmills which we will be talking about later this year.

Best hopes for sane community responses to our energy crisis.

Congrats godraz,

Now if we could get another 500,000 of you doing likewise across the country maybe we can ease the pain from the slide to PO. Another thread got into such a "WWll war time mobilization" style push but quickly got distracted by fantasy military responses to PO. But your recent efforts are just the type that helped us greatly back in the 40's. The net result of 500,000 small efforts can have agreater impact than a few dozen mega projects.

It depends what percent of your commmunity you want to be Nuclear.

A 100% solar community may be possible but it will be much different.

I feel most will say keep the lifestyle ....Go Nuclear

On July 8th I will be making a short speech to the Mesa Arizona City Council before they go on "Summer Break" for a month.
I hope it gives them a little heartburn! here's the speech:

Mayor Smith, Council members;

While you are on "Summer Break", between your "to do" lists and vacations
please spend some time considering several very serious issues.

Two weeks ago the following financial institutions; Fortis, Barkleys, the
Royal Bank of Scotland, and the Bank of International Settlements issued
a series warnings about the U.S. economy. They said there was a grave
possibility that a collapse of the U.S. economy/financial institutions
would occur by the end of August. Fortis, an international bank with over
100 billion dollars in assets, further stated that as many as 6000
American banks could fail by the end of this year!

These are not "wild eyed" radical dooms day bloggers. They control and advise
vast fortunes as well as governments. Their concerns must be taken seriously!

On July 2nd during a speech in London at the Chatham House U.S. Treasury
Secretary Hank Paulson identified a "perfect storm" taking shape.
This storm combined the housing crises, the credit crises, and energy prices
as a "triple threat" to the U.S. economy. He then said it would be possible to;
"limit the impact of market stresses" by, for example, "allowing major
financial institutions to fail".
(Fall Church News-Press -byline- Nicholas F. Beton - )
(The Wheels Are Coming Off)
(07/03/08 //35,000 weekly copies to the Washington D.C. Beltway)

As you are aware energy prices have been rising quite rapidly:



Natural gas---

Electric Palo Verde---

This in turn increases the cost of food, utilities, and transportation
the very foundation of our economy!

Goldman Sachs as well as several other institutions and individuals have
forecasted increases in oil prices will reach 200 dollars a barrel by the end of
summer. Many others are forecasting 200 dollars a barrel by the end of
the year. At this price gasoline will be somewhere around 6 dollars gallon with
diesel nearly 7 dollars gallon.

Natural gas has more then doubled in the last 9 months and prices are
forecasted to continue to rise. Wholesale heating oil has risen to over
4 dollars a gallon. The potential for a disaster in the Northeast U.S. is
quite real. There may be a large number of people heading here simply
to survive! Increases in the price of coal and natural gas will drive up
electricity costs very quickly.

This process will continue until something called "demand destruction"
occurs. For those wishing prices would come down be very careful.
"Demand Destruction" is economic code for a depression or a very deep
recession! I Refer you back to the first issue.

There is a need to plan for these issues for I am fearful that those of you
who are newly elected face the very real possibility that before your terms
are over you will be dealing with up to a 50% reduction in revenues,
over 20% unemployment, but most of all -- 10's of thousands of extremely
desperate people who have lost everything including their future!!!

David A. Douthit


Nice commentary on current affairs as known to those of us who read blogs like these.

I wish you well with tossing this out to people who are about to take a summer recess.

Most people don't/won't see this coming. The storm clouds are gathering, the sky is darkening, but people's focus is still on the sunshine behind them. There is something surreal with pronogstications of gloom. Cassandra type pronouncements have always been ignored -- that's why the ancient Greek story still holds relevance.

When the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami wrecked havoc on the coastline and islands of the Indian Ocean, spectators who found themselves on low-lying ground often simply stood there, speechless and frozen, gaping into the on-coming abyss, blinking incomprehensively at death.

A strange circular dialectic takes over: something is wrong, something is terribly wrong, this is not really happening, my eyes are deceiving me, everything was okay just a moment ago, can I believe my eyes?, no way, but I am seeing what I am seeing, something is wrong, something is terribly wrong, and so on until the wave hits.

I am seeing the same thing around me. Oil prices are rising. Food prices are rising. Gasoline prices are rising. My household budget is shrinking. My debt load is maxed. Something is wrong. Something is terribly wrong. This is not really happening. My eyes are deceiving me. Everything was okay just a moment ago.

Autumn 2008, when the weather begins to cool and life is suppose to gear up again for school, work and various sundry activities, it may not be BAU.

Look around. People are gaping.

PS: to the Americans not watching fireworks and checking in, Happy 4th.

Double D, What you are referring to is going to happen everywhere, IMHO. Here is a link to what one well informed citizen of OKC is planning. I'm not so sure what will come out of it, but here is the link. I'll be attending, and will report back for anyone interested.


To quote the opening line:

"The time to build the cellar is before the tornado hits."

Referred to as Plan C because the "Sustainable Energy Alliance" was set up by another group.
linked here - http://groups.google.com/group/sustainableenergyalliance/web/history-of-...

Planning is going to be essential. I hope we can all be ready, as best we can.

HI David,

Thanks, this sums it up. May I borrow it? (w. attribution, of course!)

Do you happen to have a link for the financial institutions warning (paragraph 2)?


You may borrow it.

The BIS (Bank of International Settlements) link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/06/30/cnbis1...

The Royal Bank of Scotland link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/06/18/cnrbs1...

The Barclays link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/06/27/cnbarc...

The Fortis link (in German): http://www.telegraaf.nl/dft/bedrijven/fortis/4339542/Amerikaanse__rsquo_...

The basic translation of the German article is: Fortis’ Chairman was quoted as saying:

American ‘Meltdown’ Reason for Capital Raising - Fortis
28th of June, 9:10
De Financiële Telegraaf

BRUSSELS/AMSTERDAM - Fortis expects a complete collapse of the US financial markets within a few weeks. That explains, according to Fortis, the series of actions by the bank of last Thursday to raise €8 billion. “We have been saved just in time. The situation in the US is much worse than we had thought”, says Fortis chairman Maurice Lippens. Fortis expects bankruptcies amongst 6000 American banks which have a small coverage currently. But also with Citigroup, General Motors, a complete meltdown in the US is beginning.”

Amerikaanse ’meltdown’ reden geldinjectie Fortis - De Financiele Telegraaf

Official X Prize Entry:

87 Ford Mustang - 400 horsepower - 0-60 in 3 seconds - 110mpg on E85.


Happy 4th America!

After trying to do some Google searching as to who this guy Doug Pelmear is, a racer and mechanic who designs block reinforcements for racing, it just smells too much like a hoax. No details as to the technology and what kind of engine he is using at all. This guy out of small shop found something that EVRYBODY else missed. I’ll believe it when It is verified.

Saw this one yesterday over at autobloggreen and based on their writers comments, quickly filed it in the "Ill believe it when I see it" box. A little too good to be true. Posted the story about Andy Grove instead.

Alan from the islands

The 0-60 times he is claiming would make him faster than all but a couple of production cars and with significantly less horsepower! He is supposed to have a 100 mpg car that has better 0-60 times than a $580,000.00 Saleen? This does not pass the smell test.


Yea , I heard that NASCAR is going all elecrtic next year ....

Reminds me of a bulk oil salesman last year who tried to convince me his brand of motor oil increased a vehicle's MPG by an average of 8%. It was not until I mentioned the billions of dollars such a MPG improvement would be worth worldwide that he began to doubt the veracity of his claim, and his company's ethics:)

I had an equally earnest auto parts store owner try to convince me placing a magnet around the fuel line would change the "polarity" of the gasoline resulting in a substantial increase in MPG.

Hello TODers,

I expect to see much more selling of counterfeit fertilizers. The profit potential is just enormous for these crooks. Every country should be encouraging rigid enforcement of NPK testing:

Poor quality fertilizer embitters coffee farmers

Police of Dak Nong Province are investigating a fertilizer producer which allegedly sold poor quality fertilizer to coffee farmers in a local commune...
O-NPK also needs stringent rules for testing for toxic herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals that result in crop-wilting, plant & fruit deformation, etc [see earlier post on the organic disaster in the UK].

As a possible indicator of how bad the coming recession/depression/ collapse will be:

Zinc Price Decline May Force China Production Cutbacks

..."We are already losing money at current zinc prices, but so far, we have not made the decision to cut production...Domestic zinc smelters are now running primarily on profits from sulfuric acid production, a by-product of zinc smelting, Zhu Yiman, an analyst with CBI China, told Interfax.
My guess is the sulfur demand for beneficiating I-NPK is what is propping up many mining and smelter operations. Once sufficient numbers of poor people are priced out of I-NPK: the cascading blowbacks throughout the global economy will be truly ugly to behold.

Which brings up another discussion that I have also mentioned earlier. Has anyone tried to figure out at what point it will be more profitable to sell their shares of fertilizer stocks, then convert that cash into the real asset of hoarded fertilizer? My guess is that the best time is just before a country nationalizes their fertilizer industry [See prior post where Brazil was considering this].

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

Hello TODers,

I guess the leaders of Bangladesh are counting upon a high farmer suicide rate + starvation + violence to bring demand back down to meet supply:

Fertiliser crisis likely: Low consumption target fixed

...The Government has fixed the distribution target of fertilisers at 42.90 lakh tonnes against the actual demand of 73.79 lakh tonnes, sources added...Consequently, production of crops will be short of target, according to them.
IMO, the leadership should be cheerleading the effort for a quick and truly massive O-NPK recycling infrastructure throughout the country.

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

BTW, Big Kudos to those TODers that have posted about their fertilizer purchases, such a TODer Greenish's Hawaiian stockpile. :)

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

Heh, sounds like the fall of the Roman civilization all over again. Seems like you can never trust governments to get their priorities straight.

Hello TODers,

The desperately poor of India should be moving to flint rocks and friction-sticks as a cheaper way to start fires:

SIVAKASI (Tamil Nadu): The retail price of a matchbox will be doubled to Re. 1 with effect from September 1.

A joint statement said the price of duplex board had gone up by Rs. 10,000 from Rs. 22,000 a tonne in the last six months. The cost of match wax increased to Rs. 66,000 a tonne from Rs. 32,000, while one kg of red phosphorus cost four times now. The cost of sulphur had gone up by 10 times.

Splints and potassium chlorate had also become dearer.

It is a sad state-of-affairs when a whiff of sulfur is a luxury for the world's poor. We're next.

It wasn't that long ago when penny matches were a standard household item. Check another n/a on the "Back to the Future" resource list.

Hello Zadok_The_Priest,

Thxs for responding. Yep, the 'Murkans have no idea of what is coming. Evidently, matches are already so expensive in India that any price increase makes immediate Headline News.

In the future: Imagine tuning into CNBC Radio [No TV any longer] from your hand-cranked unit, then hearing the talking hairdos' lead story being about dire shortages of matches, candles, and BIC-lighters [Note to self: windproof Zippo-lighters, Zippo-flints, and Zippo-fluid may be extremely valuable barter-items postPeak].

Picture future Murkans digging up landfills to recycle anything valuable. Finding a still-functioning, full BIC-lighter will be the equivalent of finding a large gold nugget.

There was a time when Boy Scouts taught lessons on basic survival. Wilderness camping using the barest of supplies was a regular feature of the Scouting movement.

Valuable life lesson were passed on, like:
When it's winter and there is nothing to start a fire but flint and stick, thoughts of a lighter is better than a wet dream.

Mine is a very spoiled generation. I don't relish doing without many of the conveniences made abundant by fossil fuels and other fine commodities. Lighting a fire without matches or a lighter looks easy on television or the big screen. So does milking a cow by hand. Until, of course, you try.

A Mad-Max world is a nightmare. Ignorance will not make it blissful.

Yep, I could see Zippo lighters being handed from one generation to the next with great ceremony and reverence as a priceless family heirloom.

A couple of drops of fluid on what you are trying to ignite [old styrofoam cups & packing peanuts, plastic wrap, etc], then just a couple of drops on the Zippo wick, quickly followed by an ignition finger-flick before the fluid evaporates.

Actually filling the Zippo lighter tank will be seen as a huge evaporative waste when lighter fluid goes for $1000 per 4 oz. bottle, and a single replacement flint goes for $100. :(

Actually filling the Zippo lighter tank will be seen as a huge evaporative waste when lighter fluid goes for $1000 per 4 oz. bottle, and a single replacement flint goes for $100. :(

Perhaps b/c of new "economies of scale".

Moving near a large-scale and long-standing landfill site may be a worthwhile strategy. What better place to dig up priceless family heirlooms?

My reply to the conservatard story, "Oil at $300."

Google "Peak Oil." There is your answer. For all you conservatives who can barely find Iraq on the map, I've got news, "We live on a sphere!"

That's right! Oil is finite. When it gets too short in supply, then price signals begin to start flashing! DUH!! For a bunch of capitalism-loving, brown people hating, business is always right, Escalade conservatives, you sure don't seem to understand much about bidness.

Now that reality has set in, you people start crying about poor people not being hurt, while the righteous middle-class conservatives who opted for this silly, but doomed, high energy lifestyle of land yachts, hundred mile commutes, and bloated value McMortgages, are left holding the clown bag full of trinkets and worthless Chinese manufactured crap and are now whining that the corporations aren't getting enough corporate welfare.

I have news. Physics don't care about your votes, your concerns, your whiny-butt, conservative entitlements, your hypocrisy. It is an inexorable reality. And one day you will realize that Darth Cheney's specious comment that the American lifestyle is non-negotiable was so much utter BS. Here is the news--You have a new negotiating partner. Its name is "REALITY." Get used to it.

Cheney's comment was absolutely true. The American "lifestyle" IS non-negotiable. Nature does not negotiate...

Hello TODers,

Two links that show how sulfur shortages affect harvest yields:

...“In some cases nitrogen was put on too early or not applied uniformly resulting in more take-all. Sulphur deficiency has also been an issue, preventing uptake of nitrogen.

...Sulphur products remain hard to source with any offers 'few and far between'...

Also, are the Russians strategically planning ahead for when North America goes into Phosphate deficit [See my earlier postings related to UN FAO Forecast PDF]?

Gazprom's real estate subsidiary to invest one bln euros in Morocco
Just as the US military found Saddam Hussein's palaces to be convenient GreenZones, will the Russians later convert these resorts into their Greenzones?

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

Krugman showing a 28 year chart of the diesel price. someone please tell me how this is not a bubble? maybe not a 2000 bubble, more like a 1987 bubble where the market recovered quickly, but nonetheless still a bubble.

Don’t keep on truckin’

When the price of something is at a real price that is an all-time high you have to respect that no matter what.

Hello John15,

I would expect diesel to get more expensive as time goes on. Recall that the first reponse, where the grid starts having uptime problems, is that those businesses, farmers, and rich people who can afford it, immediately rush out to buy big diesel gensets to power their tooling, irrigation pumps, and appliances. Caterpillar and Cummins are making bigbuck$$ now selling these items all over the planet.

An earlier TODer posted a weblink on real big gasoline motors than can be used in big trucks to help narrow the gasoline-diesel price differential. I would expect they will soon offer big gasoline gensets, too.

Recall that the first reponse, where the grid starts having uptime problems

why? the grid barely uses any oil.

businesses, farmers, and rich people who can afford it, immediately rush out to buy big diesel gensets to power their tooling, irrigation pumps, and appliances.

but you have to balance that out with all the diesel not used because the grid is down!!!! how many trucks are going to be delivering consumer crap to stores that aren't open because the grid is down? not very many, and that's why it won't be a big problem.

PO means we're going to see lots more all time highs before any bubbles burst. The demand destruction that will burst these bubbles is likely to involve inconvenience, discomfort, pain, suffering and possibly even death, in that order, depending on your circumstances. Inconvenience for Warren Buffet, death for a poor starving Sudanese refugee.

Here's to hoping we can avoid the pain, suffering or death 8-(

Alan from the islands

The demand destruction that will burst these bubbles is likely to involve inconvenience, discomfort, pain, suffering and possibly even death

oh really? so conditions in denmark, germany and italy must be TERRIBLE?

Peak Demand

depending on your circumstance

You left that out of your quote. The countries you've cited might fall in the inconvenience bracket but might move into the discomfort or pain brackets come winter. We'll see.

Also remember that in most parts of the world diesel is not used for discretionary transport. It is the fuel that must be increasingly used when people CHOOSE to take public transport instead of driving. It is also used to move goods for businesses that, may have to cease operation to destroy that demand, resulting supply disruptions and job losses. Look what's been happening with the truckers protests. The first one I recall was in Italy!

Maybe the whole world is so wasteful that we can all just tighten our belts a little and make a few adjustments here and there to have the necessary demand destruction but, I doubt it.

Alan from the islands

Pakistan has more people than all those countries put together. There are a lot more poor people than rich people outside America; but the poor all look alike to our media.

Yes it's a bubble

Now I can go out and sell all the diesel I bought last year for a good profit!

Oh, wait, I burned it all!

every house I ever bought & sold is still right where I left it. (by google earth)

Most every stock I ever bought & sold is still out there somewhere. (BK does destroy some stocks)


Oh, wait, I burned it all!

every house I ever bought & sold is still right where I left it. (by google earth)

Most every stock I ever bought & sold is still out there somewhere. (BK does destroy some stocks)

1. remember we just had a housing bubble and we were running out of land? so how did we get one of the biggest builds in inventory ever? we just used less. people realize they can't use or afford 4 spec houses. people will realize they don't need 2 suvs in the driveway and we'll just use oil different and soon we'll see plenty of oil. it's all about getting more use out of each gallon of gas. for homes, it's all about not having 4 spec homes sit vacant and suddenly out shortage was a glut.

2. stocks have experienced bubbles before.

Price rise alone doesn not a prove a bubble. It may indicate a bubble, but it may indicate something else as well.

Let's look at facts, not conjecture.

1. Crack spread of mid-distillates (incl. diesel) is increasing rapidly (thus also increasing the price of diesel FASTER than the price of oil has risen)

Source: ATA, 6/2008

Source: SARAS, 6/2008

2. Power generation demand (in the developing world) for diesel has increased considerably. Even CERA thinks the refinery capacity will not match demand for mid-distillates in the near future.

3. Overall demand for mid-distillates like jet fuel/kerosene has increased steadily. This is the same category as diesel, causing refinery capacity competition in the mid-distillate category.

Source: IEA, MTOMR 6/2008

4. US Refinery capacity is geared for light distillates (causing a refinery mismatch in regards to diesel supply/demand)

Source: ATA, 6/2008

5. Car fleet outside US has been moving rapidly over to diesel

Source: EAMA, 2/2008

6. Mid-distillates demand is rising rapidly and is estimated to rise even faster

Source: SARAS, 6/2008

Source: ATA, 7/2008

Combined, these go a long way explaining the rapid rise in diesel prices. IMHO, YMMV, IANAE, etc.

If there is a bubble in diesel prices, one needs to explain:

  1. The underlying causation mechanism of how this happens
  2. Proof in numbers from the market that show this causation mechanism is in action

Remember, correlation is not causation.

Is there any proof for a "diesel bubble" (sic)?

Hello SamuM,

Thxs for all your work to generate this posting. I don't know how to post graphics. But I am sure your charts are much appreciated by all.

Okay, John15, if you will now be so kind: please post your rebuttal argument with an equal number of charts and references-- so we can debate the merit of your argument that diesel is in a pricing bubble.

Thanks for the encouragement.

I'm a little worried that people who really know about these things (for a living) are not posting about these issues, as far as I can tell.

I try to analyse the issues, but as I am not an expert in the field, there are bound to be errors.

As for posting images - it is quite easy, although takes a bit of time.

  • 1. If you have an image on the web already, skip to step 3.
  • 2. Upload an image from your computer to http://tinypic.com/ (there are other services that do equally well)
  • 2.1. Select 'browse' and locate the image on your computer. Press "Upload Now"
  • 2.2. Copy the address for the uploaded image from the box titled : "Direct Link for Layouts"
  • 3. In a TOD post box, write:
  • 3.1. <img src="http://this.is.the.address.you.copied.from.tinypic">

    If you are using tinypic servers, you can also copy the contents from the tinypic's "HTML for websites" box directly, which saves some typing, like this example:

    <a href="http://tinypic.com" target="_blank"> <img src="http://this.is.the.address.you.copied.from.tinypic" border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"></a>

  • 3.2 Press 'Preview' Button in the TOD form to preview how the image looks like.
  • 3.3. If image doesn't show, make sure that there is an even number of quotes (") in the copied text and that the img tag starts properly with a smaller sign (<) and ends up with a greater sign (>).

    That's it.

    I'm looking forward to informative image posts from you in the future! :)

Re: I'm a little worried that people who really know about these things (for a living) are not posting about these issues, as far as I can tell

You're right to be worried.

Middle distillates have been driving the oil price for months now. Both Tom Whipple and I have written all about it. Most "serious" analysts are well aware of where the squeeze is.

-- Dave

Dave, thanks for the comment. I have read your articles at ASPO-USA as well as Tom's at - and have learned a lot from them.

The main lack of analysis I was referring to was the discussion at TOD comments, where this issue of 'speculation' is constantly raging.

It would be nice to have these issued analyzed and settled, instead of this constant going back and forth between the same arguments (speculation!) and counter-arguments (inventories!).

I don't claim to understand the whole issue myself, but I find the 'financial speculation via futures markets' arguments weak and missing the main point (mid-distillates crunch and other fundamental supply/demand issues).

"If there is a bubble in diesel prices, one needs to explain:"

you're correct, but that still does not take away the point that diesel is at an all-time high. all-time. I can hear your arguments but not when we're at an all-time high. I can make valid points about why housing in 2005 is not a bubble and the same with stocks in 2000, but it's impossible to get around an all-time high.

oil is very expensive compared to gold. that should tell us something. energy prices can't race too far past the prices of commodities because you need to mine and farm. contrast the real price of oil and diesel to the real price of gold. gold's inflation adjusted price is over $2,000. some of the ags are even further from their all-time highs. oil and diesel aren't.

truckers all around the world are protesting high prices. they can't make money. what does that mean? there are too many truckers. too much demand that isn't real demand because they can't pay their expenses. too much demand for diesel. in the US it costs in some cases almost $1,000 to fill up. the demand from one truck off the road could be the demand for diesel for one european diesel car for maybe half a year!

Champions of Thunder Horse have little to cheer

The Thunder Horse platform was supposed to begin producing in January 2005, but was delayed three years by a string of engineering problems. However, in spite of the thrill of having achieved first oil on June 14, the mood at last week’s celebration was sombre.


Dan Replogle, vice-president of Thunder Horse, had sent an e-mail to staff inviting them to celebrate, but adding a note of caution: “We will, undoubtedly, face new challenges in the months ahead.”


There are a few reasons for sad faces at BP. The general consensus inside the industry is that they've been the most mismanaged big oil around.

But Thunderhorse is a bright note. While the delays hurt at first, the cashflow now is probably 3X what they had used when then ran the original economic model. Assuming TH declines as quickly as most Deep Water fields the production delay probably created a much great net present value then they would have ever anticipated.

On the dark side though, should there be an upkick in North Slope productionin the next few years BP's poor management will again be highlighted. They had not anticipated much future untility for the NS Pipeline so they let maintenace slide to a severe level. The oil flowing thru the pipeactually erodes the metal over time. It began springing little leaks a year or two ago. The result publicity highlightd their decades long neglect.

Ever since 9/11 and Iraq shock & awe I am unable to stomach the fireworks without seeing death and destruction. I mean what is it but a highly charged, graphic re-enaction of BOMBING.

Yes, I understand about the independence thing so save your key boards.

My ultimate measure of self as of the last 5 to 7 years ( well in truth for ever) is hypocracy. I can,t stand it. In myself or in others, yet I find it EVERYWHERE.

Here is a good 4th O july read;

Published on Friday, July 4, 2008 by The Progressive
Why I’m Not Patriotic
by Matthew Rothschild



To the bewilderment of Western minds, the Chinese invented gunpowder and then ONLY used it for entertainment (and scaring off evil spirits).

Superior Western technology soon found "better" uses for gunpowder.

Enjoy the fireworks as they were originally intended, for entertainment and to scare off evil spirits !

New Orleans had a pathetic 10 minute display. Not enough money, and what we have is needed for higher priorities. Enjoy the good shows where and as long as you still can.

Best Hopes for SOME fireworks :-)


That would have been very nice of the Chinese, but no, they explored ALL aspects of gunpowder. Here's an exerpt from Wikipedia:

Contrary to popular belief, the Chinese did not use gunpowder only for fireworks. In fact, the earliest surviving recipes for gunpowder can be found in the Chinese military treatise Wujing zongyao[9] of 1044 AD, which contains three: two for use in incendiary bombs to be thrown by siege engines and one intended as fuel for poison smoke bombs.[12] The formulas in the Wujing zongyao range from 27 to 50 percent nitrate.[13] Experimenting with different levels of saltpetre content eventually produced bombs, grenades, and land mines, in addition to giving fire arrows a new lease on life.[9] By the end of the 12th century, there were cast iron grenades filled with gunpowder formulations capable of bursting through their metal containers.[14] The 14th century Huolongjing contains gunpowder recipes with nitrate levels ranging from 12 to 91 percent, six of which approach the theoretical composition for maximal explosive force.[13]

For many of us who live outside the Great Republic, the patriotic hoop-la around the 4th of July can be a tad-bit mystifying -- but it does look like a party and like most parties, the promise of a good time.

Yes, souperman2, there are times when people will be deliberately forked-tongued and speak or act in ways that are deceptive and manipulative. Hypocrisy can be a difficult thing to behold.

Yet my experience also tells me that there is a subtle and important distinction to be made between contradictions found within human nature and acts of "hypocrisy". Every human being, to some degree, is a tissue of contradiction.

IMO, this is not borne out of any inate ignorance or depravity, but simply b/c we try to make sense out of - and construct lives through - a welter of stuff... some of which fits nicely into our worldview, some of which does not. Moreover, these life experiences and learnings will fit better into one or more dimensions of who we are (or think we are), but perhaps not everywhere or equally. They may add or subtract from who we are as a spouse, a parent, a worker, a neighbour, a friend, a protector, a citizen, etc. And it is a lifelong project to fit the jumble of pieces together.

Nor are these inherent contradictions always a bad thing. They are our best source for humour. Where else can we find life's most joyful, if not embarassing, moments? How else to keep us humble and thereby grounded and real?

All that being said, IMO, Americans have contributed greatly and generously to human civilization. What would the English speaking world be like without a Hawthorne, or a Poe, or an Emerson, or a Melville, or a Hemingway? Where would philosophy be without a Thoreau? And where would practical knowledge be without an Edison? Yes, there have been things the US has done poorly. Indeed there have been incidents of insanity. But equally, there have been things the US has done well. There have been moments of true inspiration.

I find it helpful to take the good with the bad and glean from the paradox those qualities and virtues that enrich life.

Take it from someone who does not lived in the US: be patriotic by being the best American you can be. What that looks like, only you know.

Incidently, today marks a special celebration in a town where I once did live: Québec City turns 400.


If you want to do something different this 4th of July, impress a neighbour with a greeting of different kind. Pardon my French and wish them a Bonne Fêtes.

Be of good Cheer!

Re: Maine: High cost of oil turns focus back to wood

One June 22nd, the Morning Sentinel ran this story: http://morningsentinel.mainetoday.com/news/local/5165711.html

Interesting to note that we're told 2.5 tons of pellets will set us back about $900.00. Although it will vary somewhat by sap content, a pound of pellets provides roughly 8,500 BTUs of heat and at 80 per cent combustion efficiency, we net approximately 80 kWh of heat from each 40 lb. bag (4,000 kWh/ton). The cost per kWh, in this case, works out to be $0.09 -- a little higher than what I would normally expect. Taking into consideration the cost of a good quality pellet stove, vent kit, labour to install and hearth pad (if required), I question whether one or two oil-filled space heaters wouldn't be a more cost-effective alternative.


Regarding the "Michael Klare: Life at the Summit" article -- Michael Klare seems to generally have his head on straight, based on the books of his I have read, but what the heck is this quote about (from the "Life at the Summit" article)??

"Within the transportation field, moreover, priority should be given to aviation fuel over light vehicle fuels, given the importance of air travel to international commerce and tourism."

Tourism? *Tourism?*

Since when is *tourism* a vital industry that deserves special protection as we get down to the last few drops of oil on the planet and have to ration it out only to necessities? Tourism is one of the most wasteful activities humanity has ever invented. It produces absolutely nothing while at the same time consuming large quantities of fossil fuels. About the only thing I can think of that is more wasteful than tourism is military adventurism, which also produces nothing and consumes large quantities of fossil fuels, but as an added bonus actively destroys existing wealth by blowing it to smithereens.

When we are all starving to death because the tractors have run out of fuel, thank Zeus that at least we will be able to take a quick weekend vacation to Hawaii or Vegas to help us momentarily forget about those pangs in our bellies.

Utopia in Decay

Kevin Cherkauer

Tourism is huge business. It is a major contributor to the economies of cities like New York, London and Paris. There are areas where the whole economy is based on tourism like Hawai and the Bahamas. Where I live here in Jamaica, tourism is the third largest source of foreign exchange (hard currency earnings) behind remittances and bauxite. For economies that have become dependent on tourism it is a vital industry.

Don't get me wrong, I have never been fond of tourism as an industry because of it's discretionary nature, the way it tanks at the first sign of economic weakness in your major markets. I have seen the effects in my own island nation many a time. I would rather live in an economy that is based on the production of much less discretionary goods and services but, for me and many others all over the world, things have just not worked out that way.

As a part of demand destruction, tourism is likely to go into steep decline. This is going to result in severe dislocation and hardship for many families all over the world. It sort of brings a new urgency to Westexas' edict "Cut thy spending and get thee to the non-discretionary side of the economy". Not depending on the tourism industry for your livelihood, you can easily take the stance you do. What about the people like my neighbor who, is already having problems paying his bills?

Maybe the world needs to create a lot of new jobs building the post peak infrastructure of nuclear/renewable electricity generation, electrified rail/transport and localized, sustainable food production. Failing that there should be some openings in the undertaking industry.

Alan from the islands

I was also taken aback by that.

Kerosene / jet fuel are mid-distillates. The compete with diesel for trucks, not with gasoline, which is a light-distillate.

So, saving jet/kerosene for aviation would take it away from (assuming zero sum):

1) Power generation in the poor & developing countries which are already experiencing rolling blackouts

2) Diesel from trucks that move (on land) all our raw materials, food, consumables, clothing and most of the fuels.

I don't know about you and I admit it's not a simple call, but I would still cut passenger aviation first.

Business people can use video conferencing for at least half of their trips.

People can vacation more locally. Domestic travel can be done partly by train.

But taking away electricity from the poor or destroying our land based delivery system of food and energy? Not a good idea.

Maybe I'm not reading Mr Klare correctly?

Interesting article in 'Der Spiegel' (English edition)

Why the Gulf Is Switching to Coal


The economics behind the coal fad are clear. To produce a megawatt hour of electricity using Australian coal, it costs just €11. Using natural gas, on the other hand, ups that price to €26 while oil-fired power plants swallow up €50.50 per megawatt hour of electricity.


Which Gulf are you referring to? An Aussie Gulf?

Well...Dah! Carolus.

Read the link. First cup of coffee hadn't kicked in yet...my only excuse...yep...very interesting.

For years I've wondered why so many Gulf states hadn't switched to NG to fire E plants. (Yes...Iran's explanation for needing nuclear to feed the economy has always been BS. They flare many time the amount of NG which could supply all their E needs).

The swing to coal may be at least be partly explained by the anticpation of rising demand for LPG worldwide. Right now US LPG buyers are being outbid by other end users so there is some competition among the buyers.

I wonder how this story fits with a supposed long term plan, announced a few months ago, by a group of PG countries forming a coop, of sorts, to fund a major expansion of nuclear E power in the region. That plan would take a decade or two to ramp up significantly so maybe the coal swing would be used for a transition period. No guess how they've cut their trade but most big coal contracts used to be done on 10 to 20 year terms.

Iran's explanation for needing nuclear to feed the economy has always been BS

Iran has the most active hydroelectric program in the world ATM, despite their meager hydro resources. They are building any dam that makes sense, almost all at once.

About a year ago, they built their first wind farm, using domestic designs . And their first geothermal plant.

Itan is actively exploring ALL non-NG options except coal.


Great update Alan. I hadn't seen one story about their other energy advances.

I was wrong on the first wind farm in Iran. Here is a poorly worded article on Iranian wind (apparently 120 MW on-line in 2004).


As of 12/31/2007, Iran had 37 Vestas wind turbines for 16 MW.


Other manufacturers of course.

Iran Policy is to supply 1 percent of Electricity with renewable resources until fiscal year 2010. This amount of energy is about 550 MW electricity. This capacity will be gained from different renewable resources as follows:

1-Renewable Power Plants which are constructed by Ministry of Energy (300MW):

- 55 MW Geothermal Power Plant in Sabalan (North West of Iran)
- 60 MW Wind Power Plant in Jarandagh( Center of Iran)
-100 MW Wind Power Plant in Manjil (North of Iran)
- 10 MW Biomass Power Plant (Urban solid waste)
- 25MW Wind Power Plant in Binalood (East of Iran)
- Photovoltaic systems in rural areas (50 MW Total Capacity)

from MS Word

243 dams under construction or evaluation


Two more dams on Azeri-Iranian border


I see these other efforts as confirmation that Iran is serious about non-FF electrical generation. Nuclear fits into this overall pattern.


Carolus, good find!

This is the same reason, that Asian countries are doing the same. And UK/US will probably choose the same path.

It's just that it's so CO2 intensive and dirty.

And CCS technologies are not commercially here, so we can scap those IPCC CO2 growth projections as very optimistic, if the coal revival continues (revival being a misnomer, as it really never went away).

I just calculated CO2 rises from here to 2030 based on EIA's annual 1.7% CO2 increase profile: 560ppm.

The often quoted 450ppm is then way past. We are already past another 'safe' long term limit of 350ppm. If the IPCC models are anywhere near correct and not overly optimistic, then this ball is toast.

Of course, a lot can happen in 22 years before 2030...

I've just read this remarkable story :


It is remarkable in that it uses Peak Oil as an analogy.
The main story is even more remarkable .. Peak Internet IP addresses .... my word we ARE in trouble.
The ramifications of this are extraordinary and will absolutely NOT help in any form of P.O. transition.

Just as everyone knows the solution to peak oil (use less of it), the solution to the IP address shortage is equally obvious: upgrade to new addresses that can accommodate our hunger for online connectivity. Such a system, called IPv6 (www.ipv6.org ), was agreed more than a decade ago, providing enough addresses for billions upon billions of devices as well as improving internet phone and video calls, and possibly even helping to end e-mail spam.

Unfortunately - and again like peak oil - just because we know what’s good for us that doesn’t mean we’ll do it. The OECD notes that “immediate costs are associated with deployment of IPv6, whereas many benefits are long-term and depend on a critical mass adopting it”. The problem is that the new system is not really compatible with the internet today. If, for example, Google wants to support IPv6, it will need to build a whole new IPv6 web service, complete with new domain names, servers and bandwidth.

IPv4 exhaustion is real. It's not going to be anything like peak oil though.

Today, anyone can get pretty much as many IPv4 addresses as they need. There is no production cost associated with addresses, they are just numbers after all.

In a few years, all available IPv4 addresses will have been allocated. Most likely there will then be a period in which the world will recycle allocated but unused addresses. Estimates about how much extra time that will provide differ from a few months to a few years.

It all sounds very serious, but the world is not going to end. The internet will not turn off, it will keep working. Granted, getting addresses for new, large scale (think DSL, cable) deployments will be hard.

As you wrote, IPv6 will provide all the addresses we'll need and deployment is now finally underway, I would be typing this comment via IPv6 if www.theoildum.com would be connected via IPv6. It will take a lot of hard work to be ready in the few years remaining, but it won't be impossible: Modern ISP routers can mostly handle IPv6, as can most desktop computers. Unfortunately very few DSL and cable modems still can.

Also, new domain names will not be needed. For the technically minded, an AAAA record in the DNS is all that's needed. Besides functioning IPv6 connectivity of course :)

Google is already testing IPv6 at ipv6.google.com

Now I'll crawl back into my corner as I realise this is wildly off-topic...

Another story in the UK MSM featuring Peak Oil as the main protagonist.


The page title in the link sums up the overall delivery ... it looks
like P.O. doomers are moving to a more central position from far off
on the left field.

Remarkable how quickly this is all .... unravelling!