DrumBeat: August 26, 2008

Hurricane Gustav hits Haiti

Oil investors feared the hurricane could eventually threaten the Gulf's many drilling platforms. Traders on the New York Mercantile Exchange were caught off guard by how fast the storm grew, and the price for a barrel of oil jumped $5 within minutes Tuesday morning.

“Most indications are that Gustav will be an extremely dangerous hurricane in the northwestern Caribbean Sea in a few days,” the Miami-based National Hurricane Center projected.

Forecasts often shift significantly as a storm develops, but longer-term projections show Gustav slicing along the south coast of Cuba during the week and possibly growing into a perilous Category 3 hurricane with 190 kph winds before entering the central Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

Gustav is “still a long way from oil and gas infrastructure, but gas traders will be keenly focused on direction/magnitude of this summer's first storm to potentially impact energy markets,” securities firm Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. told its clients Tuesday morning.

Government warnings to seek shelter went unheeded by hundreds of people in the southern coastal town of Les Cayes, west of Jacmel, who hurled rocks in a protest against rising prices as the storm approached.

'Best Hope At Sustainable Fisheries' Short-changed By Conservation Efforts, Researchers Argue

Small scale fisheries produce as much annual catch for human consumption and use less than one-eighth the fuel as their industrial counterparts, but they are dealt a double-whammy by well-intentioned eco-labelling initiatives and ill-conceived fuel subsidies, according to a University of British Columbia study.

...The average large-scale fisherman receives nearly 200 times the fuel subsidy that the average small-scale fisherman receives.

“This is because small scale fisheries employ more than 12 million people world-wide, compared to half a million in the industrial sector,” says Jennifer Jacquet, study co-author and a PhD Candidate in the UBC Fisheries Centre. “And because small-scale fisheries use less fuel to catch fish.”

“Small-scale fisheries use fishing gear that are more selective and far less destructive to deep sea environments,” says Jacquet. “As a result they discard very little unwanted fish and almost all of their catch is used for human consumption.”

DOE official cites need for major breakthroughs to cope with climate change

Meeting the world's growing energy needs while responding to global warming during the 21st Century will be one of the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced, Raymond L. Orbach, Ph.D., the U.S. Department of Energy's Under Secretary for Science, says in the latest podcast in the American Chemical Society's Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions series.

Mexico's Cantarell oil output falls again in July

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Crude output from Mexico's struggling Cantarell oil field fell for the 10th month in a row in July to 974,000 barrels per day, energy ministry data showed on Tuesday.

The fading jewel of Mexico's oil industry, Cantarell is now producing half what it was yielding at its 2004 peak, pulling down overall output in the world's No. 6 oil-producing nation and threatening Mexico's status as a top U.S. supplier.

The steady decline of around 15 percent annually in the field's output has pressured the divided Congress to tweak laws in the closed energy sector. The government, with backing from centrists, hopes to push a bill through congress to allow more private participation in the state-run oil business.

Medvedev: We’re ‘not afraid’ of a new Cold War - West fumes as Russian president OKs recognition of rebel Georgia areas

MOSCOW - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, speaking in the midst of one of the lowest points in the Russia-West relationship since the breakup of the Soviet Union 17 years ago, said Tuesday that his country did not seek a new Cold War — but neither was it afraid of one.

"We are not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a new Cold War," Medvedev was quoted as saying Tuesday by the ITAR-Tass news agency. "But we don't want it and in this situation everything depends on the position of our partners."

Pinching pennies like your grandparents

In today’s fast-paced society, the Hillbilly Housewife Web site — with its traditional recipes for making cornmeal mush and tips for turning leftover rice into breakfast pancakes — would seem to be a relic of a bygone era.

But with food and gas prices rising at a faster pace than most paychecks, the site devoted to frugal ways to feed a family has recently seen traffic increase by a third, to about 300,000 unique visitors a month. Susanne Myers, who took over the site from a friend about a year ago, says she’s been deluged with e-mails from people looking for cheap ways to fill their families’ stomachs.

Airline shrinkage to make seats scarce this fall


If you’re thinking of flying this fall, you may want to keep that number in mind. Why? Because, according to data compiled by OAGback Aviation Solutions, that’s how many fewer seats will be available on domestic flights during the last four months of the year compared to the same period a year ago.

Hurricane Gustav aims for U.S. Gulf oil facilities

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil companies began early storm preparations on Tuesday as forecasters predicted Hurricane Gustav will enter the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as a major storm by the weekend.

Royal Dutch Shell , one of the largest oil and gas producers in the region, said it would begin evacuating nonessential personnel from offshore facilities on Wednesday as energy prices jumped on the threat.

Other companies operating in the Gulf, home to about 25 percent of U.S. oil production and 15 percent of U.S. natural gas output, were monitoring the progress of Gustav, which was churning off the coast of Haiti as a Category 1 hurricane on Tuesday.

Hurricane forecasters were predicting on Tuesday that Gustav would skirt the western coast of Cuba and enter the Gulf of Mexico as a powerful Category 3 hurricane with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour by Sunday.

"The entire Gulf energy infrastructure is now threatened," wrote Jim Rouiller of forecaster Planalytics, who noted two major hurricane forecasting models predicted the storm making landfall somewhere between Houston and New Orleans, which is home to nearly half of U.S. oil refining capacity.

Looming Energy Crisis In Mexico Stirs Debate

Just about everyone who has weighed in on the Pemex debate agrees that the Mexican oil monopoly is in crisis.

Production of crude is falling dramatically. In July, output at Mexico's largest oil field, Cantarell, was off 37 percent from the year before.

Pemex's exploration efforts have fallen flat, and by some estimates, what was once the world's sixth largest oil producer could exhaust its current reserves in less than seven years.

Shortages of fuel and wheat in Armenia

Russia’s intervention in Georgia and its deliberate damaging of Georgia’s transport infrastructure have caused serious problems to Russia’s strategic partner Armenia. That country receives many of its essential goods by cargo through Georgia. The suspension of transit caused by damage to Georgia’s transport infrastructure has created a shortage of certain products in Armenia, most importantly fuel and wheat.

To try and alleviate the fuel shortage the Armenian Energy Minister has traveled to Iran, although agreeing to obtain fuel from there would be a difficult step to take as it would be more expensive than getting it through Georgia.

Russian Chill Weighs On Imperial Takeover

Although one source familiar with the negotiations claimed the drop was due to the fall in oil prices over the past two weeks, there seemed little doubt that rising geopolitical risks in Russia and the Caucasus also put a damper on Imperial's valuation. The political situation grew tenser Tuesday when Russian President Dmitri Medvedev recognized the independence of the breakaway Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

"I certainly think there is a huge amount of risk involved in this now," said Tim Heeley, analyst with Daniel Stewart. "We're talking a matter of weeks: the whole situation has very much swung in the opposite direction."

Russia Looms Large in Imperial Energy Talks

The company claims that Imperial’s proved and probable reserves currently stand at about 920 million barrels of oil equivalent. At $2.6 billion, that means that ONGC paid around $2.80 per barrel of oil. Not terrible compared to other acquisitions done lately but certainly on the higher side of things. Meanwhile the Russian government claims the company has only 450 million barrels of proved and probable reserves. That would mean that ONGC paid around $5.80 a barrel.

It is not clear why there is such a massive chasm between the two numbers. A company is usually in a better off position to know what they have than a state regulator. Nevertheless, Russian authorities have shown their hostility toward foreign oil producers in the past and have forced international oil companies to give reserves back to the state for no justifiable reason.

Russia may be sending a message to Imperial that there is a cap on the amount of reserves that the company can eventually take out of the country. They also may just be using a far more conservative estimate. Either way, it is enough to make a deal with Imperial look a bit risky.

Norwegian PM defends Snoehvit arctic LNG facility

STAVANGER, Norway (Reuters) - Norway's prime minister on Tuesday defended StatoilHydro's $10 billion Snoehvit liquefied natural gas facility in the Arctic despite numerous start-up problems and higher carbon emission levels.

"I regret that there have been huge technical problems," Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference at an ONS energy conference in Stavanger on Norway's North Sea coast.

"StatoilHydro is taking this very seriously and is committing big resources to solve the problem," he said about production problems which have lowered output and produced unexpected soot and pollution in the Arctic region.

China may further increase rate to tackle power crunch

BEIJING: After two tariff increases in as many months totalling 10%, China may have set itself on a fast track to reform the world’s second-largest electricity market and end the worst supply crunch in four years.

Within this year and maybe within weeks, the government may announce another hike either on wholesale or retail prices, or both, to lift its generators into the black and curb consumption by power-hungry sectors, analysts said.

China Faces Obstacles In Nuclear Energy

China is short of uranium, with known reserves of only 70,000 metric tons (or tonnes), or about 1% of the world total. It now produces about 840 tonnes and imports 700 to 800 tonnes per year from Kazakhstan, Russia and Namibia to meet domestic needs. By 2010, it will need nearly 4,000 tonnes. It has been actively exploring domestic mines in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Liaoning and Guangxi, but its ores are of low grade and its production inefficient, and so it looks abroad.

Volkswagen Denies Suspending Diesel Car Plan in China

lthough Volkswagen is being bothered by China's short diesel oil supply, and unable to smoothly carry out its diesel car plan, Volkswagen Group China still definitely denies the story that it was suspending the diesel car project.

India: Diesel shortage drives vegetable prices up

CHENNAI: Power outages seem to be having a ripple effect, with generators guzzling diesel and the resultant fuel shortage driving up vegetable prices.

Though without an official announcement, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) has powercuts from Sunday. Many parts of the city and suburbs did not have power for more than an hour on Monday. "Whenever there is power cut, the IT companies and other commercial establishments start using generators. This adds to diesel shortage and affects prices of vegetables and other commodities," said T Sadagopan, a consumer activist.

Energy and overpopulation: Man’s biggest challenges

The importance of ensuring sufficient energy for the future is almost impossible to overestimate, because energy directly and indirectly affects the price of virtually everything in society. Energy is needed throughout the whole production chain; expensive energy simply means expensive products, food, medicines, pure water and services, and it is also likely to keep wages and salaries down.

Affordable and sustainable energy can allow us to maintain a fair standard of living for the whole of mankind, and thus allow us to focus on preserving our natural environment, biodiversity and even world peace. Massive population growth is the main reason for the exorbitant energy demand. The birth rate must be regulated, otherwise it will lead to further degradation of the environment and a worsening of problems in society, foiling all our other efforts.

Joe Biden blasts McCain on auto loans

After McCain announced his support for some loan funding on Friday, Barack Obama's campaign said it would back the full $50-billion request over three years, which would cost the government roughly $7.5 billion. Automakers plan to press Congress to approve the funds before it adjourns this year.

"John McCain has not only opposed these much-needed loans for our domestic automakers, he has openly criticized and shown disdain for them," Biden said in a statement Monday, two days after he became Obama's running mate.

Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

The garden provides opportunities extending beyond simply growing and harvesting food. For example, the garden is tended by people on home confinement and probation.

...Not only does the program use able-bodied individuals to cultivate the crop, but it also serves a dual purpose, helping to feed the hungry.

West Virginia Extension Agent April Roach boxed vegetables Thursday, including peppers, eggplants, and butternut squash to be used by area food pantries. The community garden helps to address a pantry food shortage.

Former fisherman takes on world’s energy woes

Last week in the shed behind his new trailer home, which he moved into last year after he sold the lower-Dularge house he built largely with his own hands, Verret demonstrated how his machine works.

A regular car battery fires up a small electric boat winch – a motor about the size of a cell phone – which is attached to a bicycle chain that runs to a tire. The motor spins the tire, which turns a car alternator set above the wheel. The alternator, in turn, recharges the battery that set the whole process in motion.

The winds of change in our energy consumption could still be light years away

As much as there's been lots of talk about wind addressing our energy needs in the future, that future would appear to be a long way off yet. Wind accounts for less than 1 per cent of the energy produced in Canada (Ontario is the wind-farm leader). The Canadian Wind Energy Association believes it can be 5 per cent by 2010.

The European Wind Energy Association is predicting that 28 per cent of the European Union's electrical consumption will be supplied by wind turbines by 2030; currently, it's about 3 per cent. In the U.S., they're talking about a target of 20 per cent in 20 years. Now, it's less than 1 per cent.

No new oil, gas find for Shell Saudi JV-sources

DUBAI (Reuters) - A Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco joint venture has made no new oil or gas discovery in the kingdom's Empty Quarter, industry sources said on Tuesday.

The South Rub al-Khali Co (Srak) was drilling a well where Saudi Aramco had previously made a hydrocarbon find, but has so far made no fresh discovery, industry sources familiar with Srak's operation said.

On the Road Again: Pump Prices Revive Appeal of Natural Gas on Capitol Hill and in Detroit

In the early 1990s, all three major American automakers started building clean and efficient natural gas vehicles. But when a new federal law failed to create an expected guaranteed market, the momentum died. Today, only Honda sells a model in the United States -- and in minuscule numbers.

Now, as drivers reel from the shock of high gasoline prices, natural gas vehicles are attracting renewed interest both on Capitol Hill and in Detroit. Proposed legislation and a new impetus at General Motors may bring a modest revival.

Saskatoon doesn't have to fall into pitfalls of suburbia

Although Saskatoon is beginning to sprawl, it doesn't have suburbs in the true sense of the word. This is likely a good thing, as many thinkers believe North America's suburban experiment has failed.

Don’t panic: oil prices will force us to adapt

Despite their recent slump, high oil prices may turn out to be history’s reference card for 2008. Many pundits would happily file it next to 1973 as a watershed in economic history. They claim we have reached a “tipping point” where oil will be permanently more expensive than before because this oil shock is caused by a natural shortage rather than a 1973-style politically created one.

One of the most popular predictions to stem from this observation is that we will be forced to re-create cities without the car as we know it. Canadian cities, it would seem, were built on the premise of affordable energy, and government tax and planning policies have quietly subsidized the cities’ far-flung suburbs. Very soon, the arguments run, energy economics will force cities to become more compact so we had better get ahead of the curve now.

However, by changing a few assumptions, the continuation of our lifestyle with private transport (cars of some kind) looks more probable than impossible. While permanent $4 or $5 per gallon gas prices are new territory in North America, they are not a “tipping point.” New Zealand and Australia, for example, have been dealing with the equivalent of these prices for years and more recently with the equivalent of $8 or $9 per gallon gas prices. Suburbia still looks much the same there as it does here.

Slowing economy, high fuel costs dent China car market

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's car market, the world's second largest, is losing speed more quickly than expected due to a slowing economy, rising fuel prices and natural disasters, raising the prospect that sales growth could halve this year.

Saudi Arabia Looks for Brazilian Land to Feed Saudi Population

Saudi Arabia has reduced its agricultural production with the objective of economizing water and has been seeking land in other countries on which to grow crops.

UK 'should end biofuel subsidies'

The government should stop funding biofuels and use the money to halt the destruction of rainforests and peatland instead, a think tank has said.

Policy Exchange said the switch would have a bigger impact on climate change because trees and peatland remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Could $100 oil turn dumps into plastic mines?

LONDON (Reuters) - Sparked by surging oil, a dramatic rise in the value of old plastic is encouraging waste companies across the world to dig for buried riches in rotting rubbish dumps.

Long a symbol of humanity's throw-away culture, existing landfill sites are now being viewed as mines of potential which as the world population grows could also help bolster the planet's dwindling natural resources.

12 states sue EPA over refinery carbon emissions

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York and 11 other states are suing federal environmental regulators over greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries, the New York attorney general's office said on Monday.

The suit, led by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, charges that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the federal Clean Air Act by refusing to issue standards, known as new source performance standards, for controlling global warming pollution emissions from oil refineries.

Scrapping fuel subsidies can help climate - UN study

ACCRA (Reuters) - Abolishing subsidies on fossil fuels could cut world greenhouse gas emissions by up to 6 percent and also nudge up world economic growth, a U.N. report showed on Tuesday.

Subsidies on oil, gas or coal are meant to help the poor by lowering the price of energy but the report, issued on the sidelines of a 160-nation U.N. climate meeting in Ghana, said they often backfired by mainly benefiting wealthier people.

Sea Buries a Ghanan Village, and More May Follow

Abandoned concrete buildings are half submerged under sand. Thatched huts have been repeatedly moved back. And about one mile offshore, an entire settlement lies deep under the water, submerged many years ago. Fishermen say they have to detour around the old underwater buildings which snag their nets.

"Every year the sea comes closer. We keep moving the village and we are being pushed down to the lagoon," said 70-year-old Ebenezer Koranteng. He said he believes the village would become unlivable within five years.

New US president seen struggling on climate

ACCRA (Reuters) - The next U.S. president will find it hard to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 enough to satisfy many of America's allies, the chief U.S. climate negotiator said on Monday.

"It's going to be a heavy lift ... It takes time in our system" to change course, Harlan Watson told Reuters on the sidelines of 160-nation talks in Ghana working on a new United Nations climate treaty by the end of 2009.

Norway says oil price still "quite high"

STAVANGER, Norway, Aug 26 (Reuters) - The oil price remains "quite high" despite falling sharply from peaks in July, Norway's Petroleum and Energy Minister said on Tuesday.

Asked if OPEC countries should cut output due to the falling oil price, Terje Riis-Johansen said: "The oil price is still quite high, much higher than we expected for 2008 in Norway. I do not see any reason to do anything special with that now."

Oil Tankers Resume Loading at BP's Pipeline in Ceyhan

(Bloomberg) -- Tankers at the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan began loading oil from a BP Plc pipeline, three weeks after an explosion on the link disrupted flows of Azeri crude to international markets.

Vietnam, Venezuela Speed Up Talks on Oil Projects, VNA Says

(Bloomberg) -- Vietnam and Venezuela accelerated talks on five oil projects, aiming to sign joint-venture agreements in November, Vietnam News Agency reported, without saying where it got the information.

Modec Wins Petrobras Order for Oil Platform, Storage

(Bloomberg) -- Modec Inc., the world's second- biggest builder of floating oil platform and storage facilities, won an order from Petroleo Brasileiro SA for a vessel for the Tupi field, the biggest discovery in the Americas since 1976.

Chasing volatility

Financial firms have become the dominant players in commodity markets and their speculative activity has led to the price increases in oil and foodgrains.

Compressed Natural Gas: Key to American Energy Independence?

So what's the problem then? Why don't we just "gas up" and go, shed our dependence on foreign oil and save money at the pump at the same time? Well, if you're familiar with the "chicken and the egg" syndrome, that axiom applies here precisely.

We have two interrelated problems, if you will. We need cars and trucks that run on CNG (ideally both CNG and gasoline), and we need public filling stations to refuel them. While neither of these difficulties are insurmountable, they will require investments from both automakers and the natural gas industry.

Precious Metals: Emotions Still Stronger Than Fundamentals

So far we discussed the physical demand. The demand side is still what matters in the general market. It seems that some market participants forgot that a price for goods can also rise on a higher level when demand remains the same: When supply is decreasing.

This is actually a fact since 2001. It is still not a topic in the overall market that we not only have “Peak Oil”, we also have “Peak Metals”. We could blame the press as they prefer to write about Peak Oil as this seems to be a hotter topic.

FPL's St Lucie Florida reactor climbs to 30 pct power

NEW YORK (Reuters) - FPL Group Inc's 839-megawatt Saint Lucie 1 nuclear unit in Florida, which shut last week due to heavy rain from Tropical Storm Fay, continued to ramp up power early Tuesday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in its power reactor status report.

US could cut fuel use 50% by 2035

With a vehicle market dominated by lightweight and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the US could cut its current fuel consumption in half by 2035, says a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative. The researchers emphasized a need for government policy supporting independence from large or fast vehicles, and suggested a focus on reducing vehicle weight and size to benefit from cutting greenhouse gas emissions of transportation fuel use in the short term.

Wind Power Boosted by Utility, Inventor's Air Storage System

(Bloomberg) -- Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. plans to spend $20 million to develop devices that compress air to store power, unlocking potential electricity production from wind turbines and solar cells.

Hurricane Gustav Strengthens, Heads for Haiti, Gulf

(Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Gustav is forecast to make landfall later today in Haiti and may enter the Gulf of Mexico, home to more than a fifth of U.S. oil production.

...``This time next week it will be somewhere in the Gulf,'' said Eric Wilhelm, senior meteorologist at private forecaster AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. ``All the states lining the Gulf Coast of the U.S. will be on the lookout.''

Over a barrel

Surging oil prices feed widespread panic and apocalyptic visions of a world without fuel. But it is not obvious whether speculation, rising demand or supply shortages are to blame.

Ready for Winter? Home Heating Update & Heads Up

Western oil corporations deny vehemently that the scary “peak oil” scenario is responsible for this decline. Instead, they refer to “geopolitical peak oil”; which means that countries like Venezuela, Russia, and Iraq want to keep their oil profits in their own nations, even if it means having to develop the oil fields themselves and shut out multinational oil corporations.

It is completely understandable why developing nations would want to nationalize their oil profits. What is somewhat harder (for me) to understand is why our own government isn’t addressing what could turn out to be a real crisis here in the U.S. should we get hit with a very cold or severe winter.

Nozone: The end of the world and we knew it

"There are two camps out there," he explains. "One that says we're all going to die very soon, the other that says we're going to find some kind of miraculous solution that's going to save us all."

Blechman doesn't know which camp is right, and doesn't pretend to have any answers - when asked what the future holds, he simply sighs and says, "I have no idea" - and he knows that some people have already tuned out the peak oil and doom-and-gloom scenarios sometimes trumpeted by environmental activists. Call it global warming fatigue.

Reducing speed limit not big enough of a solution

Despite acceptance that peak oil is nearing, the notion of curtailing our gaudy lifestyle seems as foreign as the Middle East.

A reduced speed limit isn’t a long-term solution to our energy problems. We must continue to work toward alternative energy and improve intrastate mass transportation.

Sinopec Says 2008 Is Company's Most `Difficult' Year

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia's biggest oil refiner, is facing its most ``difficult'' year in 2008 even with state subsidies and higher fuel prices.

The most challenging time will be the third and fourth quarters, Chairman Su Shulin said at a press conference in Hong Kong today. Sinopec will slash its 2008 capital expenditure by 8.2 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) due to ``severe operating pressures'' and ``cash-flow constraints,'' Su said.

Petrobras' Drop on Regulation Concern `Overdone,' Deutsche Says

(Bloomberg) -- The decline in shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA shares has been ``overdone'' and investors should focus on the company's exploration potential instead, Deutsche Bank AG said.

Harper Arctic Cabinet Meeting Risks New Russia Cold War for Oil

(Bloomberg) -- Beneath the melting ice of the Arctic Ocean, the world's last great land grab is under way.

Global warming is opening the Northwest Passage that sailing ships sought 500 years ago, and some of the world's biggest oil reserves are becoming accessible under the polar sea. Russia, the U.S., Canada, Norway and Denmark are jockeying for territory in moves that could end up in clashing claims.

...``You have the recipe for trouble if there isn't real energy invested early to help resolve some of these issues,'' said Scott Borgerson, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. ``You can envisage a future in which all the ice is gone, there is this wild-west environment in terms of lack of respect for whatever national law.''

N. Korea says it has halted nuclear reactor disablement

SEOUL (AP) — North Korea said Tuesday it has stopped disabling its nuclear reactor and will consider restoring the plutonium-producing facility in anger over Washington's failure to remove it from the U.S. list of terror sponsors.

The North's statement marks the emergence of the biggest hurdle yet to the communist nation's denuclearization process and is expected to escalate tension in the nuclear talks involving China, Japan, the two Koreas, the U.S. and Russia.

More car buyers say: I shouldn't have a V-8

The quarterback of engines, the legendary V-8, is starting to have a hard time making the cut.

Most automakers introducing new V-8s are confining them to trailer-towing trucks and a few premium cars or high-performance sports models — and retreating from putting them under the hoods of family cars.

Rediscovering bicycles, and her inner kid: She may grump about high gas prices, but they've reunited mother and son -- on two wheels.

In our neighborhood, before the gas crisis, you used to mostly see swarms of cyclists moving down PCH on weekends, but now all types of people ride all types of bikes. Old bikes, new bikes, some riders wearing helmets, most without. Families. One woman on a beach cruiser always seems to have her basket cluttered with books and folders. One elderly gent rides with a yellow Post-it angled over his nose, protecting it from the sun, and yellow dishwashing gloves.

Wind, solar projects race to finish before tax credit expires

A congressional stand-off that has blocked extension of federal tax credits for renewable energy projects is setting off a boom in the wind and solar industries. Developers and customers are racing to install systems by year's end to qualify for the credits, which can cut the cost of a large commercial system by 30%.

SKorea announces discounts scheme to fight global warming

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea on Monday announced plans for a discount scheme to encourage citizens to buy more energy-efficient products.

Consumers who buy such products will receive carbon points that can be used to pay utilities, transport and other bills or to buy other appliances, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said.

RE: Wind, solar projects race to finish before tax credit expires

Could be that the politicians are waiting until near election time to renew the renewable credits so they can make the claim that they supported the credits. Even my local Repuglican Senator, Ms. Dole, has introduced a bill to extend them. However, her bill doesn't include paying for the tax credits with a windfall profits tax on oil. Thus, these credits would just continue to increase the deficit...

E. Swanson

I myself am rushing to finish my solar PV and solar hot water projects before the year's end so that I may reap the tax credits. I view it as a double-win for me, both getting a 30% discount on my solar panels via the tax credit and ALSO reducing the amount of money that the Federal government gets from me.

Gustav looks like the real deal. A couple of model runs suggest the potential for Cat 4/5 status near Cuba. The waters between Jamaica and Cuba have the highest heat potential in the basin. Less heat potential in the Gulf but waters still capable of sustaining a major (Cat 3+) storm provided inhibiting factors like shear are minimal. My initial thoughts suggested a south-central or southwest LA hit due to a ridge weakness in the wake of Fay but a more southerly track means Gustav could meander further west. Now Port Aurther and Houston will also need to keep close tabs on this system.

Stealing thunder from someone else...
Best hopes for a Kenedy County, TX landfall (as low density as it gets) or a diminished storm elsewhere.

Yes, like Hurricane Allen. Cat 5 that tore up a lot of scrubland.


Cruel of the GDFL to put it on the gulf coast's doorstep on August 31 http://moe.met.fsu.edu/cgi-bin/gfdltc2.cgi?time=2008082606-gustav07l&fie.... Look at the size of that cat 4 wind field. In the infinitesimally small case that this verifies they would need to start evac on Friday night.

looks like Camille to me.


Your Corps at work:

Trees on river levee at risk of removal
by Sheila Grissett, The Times-Picayune
Friday July 25, 2008, 8:51 PM

The Army Corps of Engineers has completed a tree inventory along 512 miles of Mississippi River levee in southeast Louisiana as a first step toward determining which ones must be removed to ensure access for inspections and emergencies.

But there is no federal money to remove trees from the river levee, so local levee districts will have to pay for the work.

"It's unfortunate that it all has to fall on them, but we'll be there for them with technical assistance, " Powell said.


I think that the estimated winds for the Galveston Hurricane were only about 120 mph, versus 190 for Camille.

From what I remember, it was the storm surge / flooding / fires (many buildings made of wood) that killed most in Galveston; that and the bridge off island went before anybody thought it would be a bad storm.

Things were different then. For example, the highest point on the island was less than 9 feet above sea level. The storm surge was almost 16 feet.

Camille's Eye went right over my school.

Brother Allen(I think) told me the anemometer blew off the roof at 210.

Message to Corps:

Spend less time at the River Ridge Country Club
and their trees.

spend more time at the 17th St Canal painting those rusting pipes:

"The two areas highlighted in red are what I'm interested in.

The top area shows...

duct tape.

The bottom area shows...

Rope suspending hoses which convey hydraulic fluid to and from the pumps. Not steel, but rope. I hope those knots are tied tight.

My guess on the reason those ropes are there? Two winters ago, the Corps pulled the pumps to install extended piping on them which moved the previously submerged hose connections out of the water (to prevent further rusting of the fittings as captured in the pictures above). They probably decided to reuse the same hoses.

Before, those hoses ran from the deck above down to fittings which were underwater. With the extended piping, there was a shorter distance between the pipe on the deck and the new connections on the pumps. But they still had the old hoses, which were now too long and heavy, and they needed to make sure the hoses were not pulling down on the new fittings. So they roped them up. Hardly the best solution, and one has to wonder how well the ropes will hold up in extended storm conditions with the pumps running for eight or twelve hours."

The above from Update 6/12/08.

So to recap:

All hydraulic piping/bolts(non stainless steel) Corps installed is unpainted. And duct tape/rope is
being used to hold them together.



They estimate that the 1900 Hurricane was a Cat 4 at landfall. Check out the extensive damage from the storm from the above link. The storm killed people all the way up into Canada. A partial excerpt:

Most accounts of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 stop here and focus on the human tragedy that hung over the devastated city. Although the storm winds likely dropped below hurricane force shortly after the storm moved inland, the storm continued its destructive path into Texas, before crossing the southern Plains states and finally recurving to the northeast to pass across the lower Great Lakes. It eventually reached the Atlantic Ocean after crossing over the Canadian Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland on September 12-13.

Along the Texas coast and just inland, the towns of Texas City, Dickinson, Lamarque, Hitchcock, Arcadia, Alvin, Manvel, Brazoria, Columbia and Wharton suffered great damage and loss of life and property. Over half of the buildings in Houston were damaged. Along a path two hundred miles wide, wind and rain blasted inland Texas from the Gulf to the Red River Valley. The inland towns of Hempstead, Chapel Hill, Brenham and Temple were ravaged.

Leaving Texas, the storm moved northward across Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa where it became an extratropical, but no less deadly, storm. Copious rain fell in Minnesota, as much as 127 mm (5 inches) being measured. Six loggers were killed on the Eau Claire River in Wisconsin. Winds in Chicago were reported at 128 km/h (80 mph) on the 11th. Telegraph lines were downed, cutting communications across the Midwest.

C'mon now, take the Galveston Storm in 2008 and it wont even kill 60 people. 6,000 people died in 1900 because they had no clue the storm was coming. Nobody knew what to expect, so people stuck around in places they didn't know they should be and they drowned. These days low lying areas are evacuated long before any storm arrives. Of course there will still be lots of damage, but continually pointing at the 6,000 dead number is total alarmism. Best hopes for less alarmist.

Perhaps that is why I highlighted the description of the damage outside of Galveston. In any case, we also have a vastly higher population density along the Gulf Coast

It sounds like you're saying 'We shouldn't have a disaster, because we have all these alarms now. So why do you all have to keep ringing those loud and scary alarms all the time?'

The alarms are there to say 'This MIGHT be a wolf. In the past, when we didn't prepare, wolves were deadly and scary. Stay Tuned, be prepared.'

These days low lying areas are evacuated long before any storm arrives.

I can't believe you actually wrote that sentence this close to the anniversary of Katrina's landfall.

Hurricanes are very unpredictable. It is not feasible to order people to leave the entire possible strike area far enough in advance for people to actually get out, and authorities don't do that. If a major hurricane makes an unexpected turn just as it nears land, the odds of major loss of life are actually quite high, depending on where it hits of course.

Barrier islands like Galveston's are especially susceptible. The storm surge can overwash the island, which is what happened in 1900. There isn't much of a high ground - low ground distinction in that case. The only thing to do is get off the island. And because of population density and a limited number of bridges, you need to start the evacuation days in advance.

Galveston didn't have enough warning to evacuate in 1900 because of the state of weather forcasting back then. But the same thing can happen today if a hurricane were to make an unpredictable move.

I remember them saying interstates would be turned one way out.

That never happened in NO or Houston.

it won't happen this time either.

In NO Take I 10 West from Jefferson.

I 10 E to Slidell.

Hwy 90 to the E, the later you leave.

If you stay get to the North MS River Levee.

Fill up now.

Ignorance rampant.

I remember them saying interstates would be turned one way out.

That never happened in NO or Houston.

Contraflow, running both sides of the Interstates in the same direction was done flawlessly, an A or an A+, for Katrina. I know because I drove out on the wrong side of I-10 and I-59 (all signs pointed wrong direction, etc.). Contraflow ended in Meridian.

Texas screwed it up and killed 40+ people, but they did move a couple of million people out of Houston for Rita with contraflow.

BTW, just where is the "North MS Levee" ?

We have East Bank and West Bank, no "North".

You claim to be from New Orleans but if the eye of Camille went over your high school, you must be from the Mississippi Casino Coast.


Yeah! Another stinking hurricane is on the way!

We in Florida just spent the week dealing with Fay, now Gustav is on the way. Crap. Oh well, gas was getting too cheap anyway.

Sorry Mad_Man.

Further down in Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog:

The ECMWF model was initialized at 00 GMT Tuesday, August 26, 2008. The model is predicting a parade of four tropical storms or hurricanes stretched out across the Atlantic: Gustav, 95L, and the as yet hypothetical 96L and 97L.

I'd rather be in earthquake country...

I spent some time in Cali and Hawaii so I have some experience with earthquakes too. (We even had an earthquake here in Florida a few years ago. I was afraid it was a sinkhole opening up under the house!)

The biggest trouble with hurricanes is they take FOREVER. Fay gave us rain for four days. The anxiety buildup is terrible. The Weather Channel goes into 'hurricane mode' two days before landfall and everyone's nerves are set on edge. Our house got a direct hit by the eyes of Charlie, Francis, and Jeanne in 2004. Now, my wife is super-sensitive to any storm with a name. (I will admit, I don't like them either).

I just checked the NOAA site and Gustav appears to be repeating Katrina/Rita's path of 2005. Everyone might want to fill up a couple spare gas cans before Sunday.


I'd rather be in earthquake country...

Wimp! Florida resident here :-)
Seriously though, not exactly looking forward to the next couple of weeks...

One nice thing about Fay is that Georgia is getting dumped on with rain today. Here's hoping it increases the level on the reservoir for Atlanta significantly. That would help Florida too, since the Apalachicola bay wouldn't have to fight as hard to keep its water.

Here's The Weather Underground's Dr Jeff Masters (acknowledged hurricane expert formerly with NOAA) latest comment

Once in the Gulf of Mexico, Gustav is likely to intensify into a major Category 3 or higher storm. I give a 60% chance that Gustav will cause significant disruption to the oil and gas industry in the Gulf

NOAA are saying that Gustav will probably enter the Gulf of Mexico as a Cat 4 hurricane.

Accu-weather is saying it might be a Category 5.

Of course, Accu-weather usually isn't. ;-)

"Accu"-Weather usually gets hysterical about hurricanes and snowstorms.

It might be a Cat 5. Also, it might not. :-)

Sort of like their snowfall forecasts: "up to 10 inches or more".
If you think about it for just a second, you realize that statement covers anything from zero to infinity.

Every Olympic final, they would show all the contestants, and say things like "He's a contender for a medal." Well, yes. That's why it's an Olympic Final.

NOAA are saying potential wind speed of 135-140 miles per hour. They expect it to remain mostly over water, missing both Cuba and the Yucatan peninsular which accounts for the higher category as it enters the Gulf.

It's early yet. Forecasts change, and it's still a week before we really have to worry about it.

Still, this one is looking kinda scary. It's forecast to hit somewhere between Houston and New Orleans, which means oil infrastructure will be affected. (Note to self: top off gas tank.)

"I give a 60% chance that Gustav will cause significant disruption to the oil and gas industry in the Gulf."

Dr Jeff Master's Wunderblog


Still early tho, and 2 models give a landfall around the Yucatan.

Which is why I am waiting till Thursday morning to "worry" about Gustav.

Best Hopes for a Kenedy County landfall,


At least it seems NOLA doesn't get hit by male named storms. Best hopes for this trend to continue!

75776. if you are a business owner, take your occupational license with you
by nolanative19, 8/26/08 20:33 ET

Click to view these responses

1. it will get you back... by nolanative19, 8/26/08

The Louisiana National Guard has been put on alert and could be called up, Jindal said. The number of Guardsmen and the place of deployment will be determined as the direction of the storm becomes clearer, Jindal said.

"Be ready, now's the time to review your plans," Jindal said. "This is a serious storm."

State officials are about to enter a tiered system of emergency alert, Jindal said. The tiers include levels 1, 2 and 3, with level 1 being the most serious. The higher the alert, the more staff goes to work and the more preparations are made for evacuations. The state is expected to enter a Level 3 on Wednesday followed by Level 2 on Thursday, depending on the storm's activity.


it's still a week before we really have to worry about it

The GDFL landfalls on Sunday August 31. Once it crosses Cuba on the 30th at 6Z it races across the gulf in a day and a half at 31st 18Z.
http://moe.met.fsu.edu/cgi-bin/gfdltc2.cgi?time=2008082612-gustav07l&fie.... If some reason that scenario panned out there would not be much time to prepare. The next thing people would be complaining that the NHC did not give adequate warning in time. I think that is why they put in the warning this morning of a dangerous major cane in the central Caribbean this morning.

Faster is better, though, isn't it? Less time to "power up."

That doesn't help if it is a cat 4 after crossing Cuba. And it moving quickly once it passes the loop current, not much time to loose power over the lower heat content of the northern gulf.

Katrina was a Cat one the Friday it passed over Fla., it turned Cat 5 once it hit the GOM.

One of the things to watch is the size of the storm. I think this is usually measured by the total amount of circulation. Higher curculation means a given level of intensity covers a greater area. Currently, Gustav is said to be small, but pretty intense given its young age. Its size could increase, hopefully not, but we will see. Camile was a small, but very intense storm. An absolute diasaster if you are very close to the center of the storm, but the overall affected area was not so large. Katrina was a very large storm, not as intense as Camile, but the area affected was much larger.

Check out the 0Z HWRF http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/hwrf_nested/storm_1/00/..., yeah that's an 896 that is in the middle of it. Talk about powered up.

The tone of the Gustav posts in the forums at Storm2K is strikingly serious. It seems like there's something about this storm that has unnerved the long-time storm watchers.

I hope the folks who have been praying for a deluge to wash out Obama's outdoor speech Thursday night switch to praying that Gustav doesn't become the story at the GOP convention.

Not to mention the other orange blobs rolling our way across the map at the NHC.

Ya...the hurricane train looks loaded...not fun.

Yesterday, DeepSouth brought up some more questions with respect to EIA natural gas data. I was not able to look at the issue until late in the day, and I doubt that many people saw my response.

After I read DeepSouth's post yesterday, I looked to see what data EIA puts out reconciling its production and consumption numbers. It has a monthly report that shows the reconciliation. It can be found here.

The EIA report referenced above does not show any problems of the type referenced by DeepSouth. The biggest difference between Gross Production and Consumption is the difference between Gross Production and Marketed Production. Based on what DeepSouth said, I had expected Marketed Production to be falling as a percentage of Gross Production. This is not, in fact, happening.

Ratio to Marketed Production to Gross Withdrawals, Based on EIA data.

There are some other small categories, but they are not changing materially either.

I believe that the reason DeepSouth's calculation is showing a problem, while EIA data is not, is that somewhere along the line, he is somehow comparing apples to oranges. I do not understand enough of his calculations to check this out precisely.

I might also add that the EIA publishes information on how complete its data is, and how accurate its natural gas production estimates have proven to be in the past. These reports are in Excel spreadsheet format, and can be downloaded from here.

These reports show that EIA data gathered using Form 914 with respect to actual production is quite complete, very early on. EIA-914 reports are sent by producers within 40 days of the end of the period. On a 48 states basis, the data in this report shows that for the latest data, the most recent month was 95.2% complete for the 48 states, and the second month back was 98.4% complete. The EIA uses a ratio approach to make up for the missing data, so it theoretically should be complete.

With respect to the actual "development" (change between the initial amount and the final amount), the reports seem to shows relatively small changes. In the case of Texas, the recent estimates seem to be developing upward, meaning that the EIA method of correcting for missing reports seems to be understating production.

Natural gas data is very complicated. I don't claim to understand all of it. I don't think it makes sense to start making a huge issue that EIA data is wrong, until a person fully understands what is in the data. If there are questions that need to be addressed with the EIA, I would be happy to contact them again. At this point, I cannot understand what discrepancy DeepSouth seems to see. If he feels that there is really an issue and would like me to look over his calculation, I would be happy to do so. If we both feel there is an issue, perhaps we can contact the EIA about it. I can be contacted at GailTverberg at comcast dot net.

The market seems to believe that NG supply will be tight. UNG trade symbol up over 6% in early market trading.


Housing decline worst in history for the quarter charted recently (approaching 20%) easily when the numbers are "revised" at a later date.


Americans dont allow facts to get in the way of their
preconceived beliefs though. Ask the millions who bought "beanie babies" and thought they were a sound
investment for retirerment.
Ya really cant make this stuff up!

Gail the Actuary,

The “Wet” gas production (from EIA-914 surveys of well operators), which is the data used to generate the “gas production has increased by 9%” report, comes from here:

The “Marketed Production” comes from here:

The “Wet” production figures are expressed in Bcfpd and the “Marketed Production” figures are expressed in MMcf per month. So to get the “Marketed Production” figures into the same format as the “Wet” figures you have to divide them by (No. days in month x 1000).

From the EIA’s discussion of their methodology we have this explanation:

Marketed Production Estimated from sample data reported on Form EIA-914
Extraction Loss Derived from data reported on Form EIA-816
Dry Production Marketed Production minus Extraction Loss


and this:


The later is in chart form, but you can see from looking at it that:

Marketed Production=Wet Production – Gas used for reinjection – Gas vented or flared – Gas used as fuel on lease

Gas used for reinjection, gas vented or flared and gas used as fuel on lease I lumped together under the heading of “Well Operator Losses.” EIA doesn’t publish “Well Operator Losses”. What they publish are “Wet” production and “Marketed Production”, both which they say are estimated from the EIA-914 (survey of well operators). Nevertheless, one can solve for Well Operator Losses as follows:

Well Operator Losses = Wet gas production – Marketed gas production

Likewise, the EIA doesn’t publish gas plant extraction losses. What they publish is Dry gas production. But again, one can solve for gas plant losses as follows:

Gas Plant Losses = Marketed gas production – Dry gas production

EIA Dry gas production figures can be found here:

So plugging in these three different EIA production data streams, here is what we get:

              wet       marketed     Diff        dry        Diff
                                  wet - markt            markt - dry
Jan-07       55.66       53.53       2.13       51.29       2.24
Feb-07       55.45       53.33       2.12       51.04       2.29
Mar-07       56.70       54.43       2.27       52.05       2.38
Apr-07       56.82       54.54       2.28       52.17       2.37
May-07       57.06       54.29       2.77       51.89       2.40
Jun-07       57.68       55.18       2.50       52.80       2.38
Jul-07       57.48       55.39       2.09       53.00       2.39
Aug-07       57.91       55.37       2.54       53.01       2.36
Sep-07       58.17       55.60       2.57       53.19       2.41
Oct-07       58.32       55.84       2.48       53.36       2.48
Nov-07       59.69       57.13       2.56       54.60       2.53
Dec-07       60.38       57.74       2.64       55.26       2.48
Jan-08       60.31       57.53       2.78       55.12       2.41
Feb-08       61.25       58.39       2.86       55.91       2.48
Mar-08       61.91       58.96       2.95       56.46       2.50
Apr-08       61.62       58.53       3.09       55.98       2.55
May-08       61.82       58.58       3.24       56.00       2.58

Sorry it has taken a while to figure this out and get back to you.

Basically, what happens is the column you show for "wet" (which I would call gross) is US 48 states, so excludes Alaska. The "marketed" and the "dry" columns are both for all 50 states combined. The difference between wet and marketed is then (US 48 gross - (US 48 marketed + Alaska marketed)) = US48 (gross - marketed) - Alaska 48 Marketed. There is actually a fair amount of Alaska marketed gas (about 1.20 per day, but varying by month) (shown here). If you correct for that, the increase in the column two amounts is not so steep.

The way I prefer to look at the data (marketed vs gross or wet) is as a ratio, rather than as a difference, since this is a better measure when natural gas production is increasing over time. I tried to check to see whether the ratio of marketed to wet (or gross) is changing materially for the 48 states total, when the amounts are calculated correctly. It is possible to get data going back several years, by calculating amounts as the difference between the US total and Alaska. When I do this, the ratios I get are as shown below:

Ratios of Marketed to Gross (or Wet) Production for US 48 States, based on EIA Data

The year 2008 is a bit lower that the other years, but except for 2003, they are all very tightly bunched in the 93% to 94% range. I'm not sure that the difference is very significant.

The other comparison you make on the chart is between marketed and dry. Both of these are on a 50 states total basis, so the comparison makes sense. This one is not trending up very much for the period shown. Part of the reason for the increase is the growing production. I have not attempted to look at it further. I don't think the change by itself is significant.

At this point, I don't see evidence of a problem with EIA data. What seemed to be a difference between "Wet" and "Marketed" really reflects a calculation error.

I might mention that all of the reconciliation exhibits include Alaska. There is quite a lot of production in Alaska (about 15% of US total), but most of it is re-injected. This makes ratios look very different, depending on whether or not Alaska is included.

I think the difference might be found in the "Gross Withdrawls" used in the EIA reconciliation report that you cite vs. the "Wet" production figures that I used. I notice the "Gross Withdrawls" figures are running considerably higher than the "Wet" production figures. The "Wet" figures are for the Lower 48. Perhaps the "Gross Withdrawls" used in the EIA reconciliation report include Alaska? It’s difficult to tell because the EIA does not label the various data streams well, instead labeling the Marketed Gas and Dry Gas data streams only as “U.S.”, leaving it up to the reader to guess whether that is Lower 48 or whatever.

You state that: “Natural gas data is very complicated.”

It shouldn’t be that complicated. It is made complicated because the EIA wants it to be complicated, by its failure to:

► Denominate all data in a common format. The most logical would be Bcf per day, since that wipes out all the differences between the different numbers of days in the months and allows better month-to-month comparisons. But as you can see, it expresses some data in Bcf per day, other in MMcf per month, and other in Bcf per month. Talk about babble! and

► The EIA’s failure to label all of its different data streams well, stating precisely if they include only the lower 48 or the lower 48 plus Alaska or whatever.

That said, look what we get when we compare the two data streams-- that used to issue the “U.S. production increased by 9%” (which is what I used) vs. the “Gross Withdrawls” stream the EIA used in its reconciliation report:

 Month     Gross Withdrawls       Wet Produciton         Difference
         (EIA reconciliation)  (EIA "9% incr. report") (Alaska Prod?)
Jan-2007        65.90                 55.66                10.24
Feb-2007        65.75                 55.45                10.30
Mar-2007        67.03                 56.70                10.33
Apr-2007        66.63                 56.82                 9.81
May-2007        67.03                 57.06                 9.97
Jun-2007        65.93                 57.68                 8.25
Jul-2007        66.29                 57.48                 8.81
Aug-2007        66.42                 57.91                 8.51
Sep-2007        66.87                 58.17                 8.70
Oct-2007        67.97                 58.32                 9.65
Nov-2007        69.80                 59.69                10.11
Dec-2007        70.87                 60.38                10.49
Jan-2008        70.84                 60.31                10.53
Feb-2008        71.62                 61.25                10.37
Mar-2008        72.35                 61.91                10.44
Apr-2008        71.10                 61.62                 9.48
May-2008        70.65                 61.82                 8.83

Even if you accept the EIA data as being accurate, I nevertheless want you to consider that the data for the "U.S. production increases 9%" was cherry picked, because all of the following statements can accurately drawn from the above table:

"U.S. production has increased 9%"
(by comparing only lower 48 for 1st 3 mos.)

"U.S. production has increased 8%
(by comparing lower 48 + Alaska for 1st 3 mos.)

"U.S. produciton has increased 7%"
(by comparing lower 48 + Alaska for 1st 5 mos.)

"U.S. production has increased 5%"
(by comparing lower 48 + Alaska for month of May)

Notice that the title of the EIA bulletin is “Is U.S. natural gas production increasing?”


and of course that is how it spun out in all the news media--that "U.S. production has increased by 9%".

I'm going to do what you suggested yesterday, and that is to take a look at the Q1-2007 and Q1-2008 financials of the largest 10 or 20 domestic natural gas producers to see what that reveals. These also report gas production.

Stay tuned.

I'm also wondering, why NG is a whopping 6.84% up today so far.
I agree with you, that something in EIA's goldilock scenario is fishi.

To review the financials of those large gas producers is a great idea. Thanks in advance for your work.

I think you figured it out too. The difference in the Gross Data is very close to Alaska data, where we have Alaska data. The only way I have figured out to get gross Alaska data for the last 17 months is using the calculation you show. For older periods, you can get it from here.

I suspect the reason the EIA is showing 48 states gross production is because they really don't have a very good handle on Alaska gross production. Most of Alaska production gets re-injected, so they figure it doesn't make too much difference anyhow.

Regarding how to show the NG data, I use the total for a month more often than the average daily production, because it is easier to combine periods. I wish EIA would show both. Oil data is often available both on an average daily production basis and a total produced for the month basis. I also wish they would show gross Alaska production separately, so it is easier to understand the numbers.

I don't know if the data is more complicated than it needs to be. There are a lot of people working with the data, and they have asked for various enhancements over time, to meet their needs. I think EIA is trying to find meaningful numbers to compare (US 48, if they aren't really sure about Alaska gross). Readers get used to whatever strange way a particular report is prepared. Often, it is the percentage change, rather than the absolute amount that is important. It is only when a person starts trying to reconcile the pieces that one starts to see how complicated the data really is.

I am sure you know that second quarter financials are also out for domestic natural gas producers.

Russia recognises the two breakaway regions in Georgia. Nato rejects Russian recognition. Russia is considering refusing Nato resupply routes for Afghanistan via Russian land and air space. Russian general sees the Nato build-up of ships in the Black Sea as being unlinked with humanitarian aid. And Russia sees Georgia rearming its military and not honouring the ceasefire agreement.

Overall I'd say that the breakdown of relations between the West and Russia seem to be accelerating alarmingly fast.

Expect Russia to have “technical” difficulties in its oil and gas supplies to Europe this winter.


Perhaps not. This may be the moment when a wedge is driven between Europe and America.
Energy realities are creating 'facts on the ground', and Europe can't afford to be on the other side to Russia.

Energy realities are creating 'facts on the ground', and Europe can't afford to be on the other side to Russia.

This is the brutal reality the propagandists deliberatly avoid mentioning and unreformed Cold Waarriors cannot fathom. But even this dependency will be short-lived as in a generation Russian exports will be history, and the situation will become even grimmer if Europe hasn't done its best to transition to the new energy paradigm. I can't think of a more useless waste of resources than a conflict over energy delivery routes that will amount to nothing in such a short amount of time. It appears that once again US Imperialists are toying with the lives of Europeans--indeed all of the planet's--in their absolutely pointless jousting with Russia.

Apparently Russia does not care much about better relations with Europe, latest heading line from Dow Jones:
Russia's Medvedev: Europe Can Have Worse Relations If It Wants

Last update: 8/26/2008 1:05:43 PM
(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires
August 26, 2008 13:03 ET (17:03 GMT)

Russia Today has this interview with Medvedev that's a far better source than any western "news" service.


Europe != NATO

Russia needs the cash, just as Europe needs the gas.

This is not to say there can't be difficulties, but for political reasons alone - I doubt it.

Russia can live off of stored cash and other sources of cash far longer than the EU can live off of stored gas and gas from other sources.


Alan, you are of course right.

However, the fiscal outlook for Russia from 2010 to 2015-2020 is not looking all that bright (I can post about this later). They are smart people and plan ahead. Also, the oil and gas industry is in a serious need of investment infusion that will tie a lot of funds. This was recently posted in Bloomberg news as well.

This means that, while they'd prefer higher producer prices, they won't say no to paying big customers within CE - esp. when those have been acting fairly diplomatically as of late. As long as the LNG market is not high enough in volume and the facilities do not exist, they pretty much have to sell where the current pipelines go. Also, they have very little other exports to counter a significant fall in oil/gas exports.

So, they can't just turn off the gas, unless they want to be hurting as well. Surely that is a theoretical possibility, but in terms of current economy and diplomacy - I don't think we are there yet. People from IEP/OIES seem to agree.

What is a big risk is the volume of gas available for export once domestic consumption is subtracted from dwindling/plateauing production.

That is something Europe should be much more worried about, imho.

Playing hardball in the media is something all big countries do. In the background, business is still business.

Humanitarian missions should be done by civil organizations using civilian equipment (ie., cargo ships), not by militaries using warships.

Russia would have to be a fool to believe that the US's (via NATO) only intention is humanitarian.

Something tells me -- oh can it be true?? -- that the wording "humanitarian mission" is icing for the folks back home.

Policy makers and shakers in the the Kremlin will recognize it for what it really is.

When two cats (the US & Russia) are hungry for the same mouse (Central Asia) pity help the mouse. Russia, however, is closer to the mouse hole.

Adding more fuel to the fire: "Cheney will head diplomatic mission to Georgia war zone"


"Cheney's office has used tough rhetoric against the former Cold War foe, saying that "Russian aggression must not go unanswered." "


Would the US elections go ahead if there was a military confrontation or a seriously escalating situation with Russia?

The build-up of Western naval power in the Black Sea seems rather ominous.

While I think an "October Surprise" is likely, and while Bush's failings are obvious, I don't think that he is stupid enough to want to stay on as President for Life.

I'm sure you're correct Westexas, but that wasn't the question. I'm not suggesting the intent to deliberately escalate the situation in Georgia for election rigging purposes, just what happens if things do get out of control?

Would an election still go ahead if a national emergency was building?

Yes. I think the election will go on, for anything short of a nuclear attack on the U.S.

Well, maybe bird flu pandemic worse than the Spanish flu...just because they won't want people out and about.

Would an election still go ahead if a national emergency was building?

Of course it would. There have been very serious national emergencies in the past and the elections have always gone on. Only a total collapse of the government before election day could prevent the elections from happening. That is not likely, not this soon anyway.

Factor in a losing McCain, contracts with KBR to build detention centers and NSPD 51 before you make any declarative statements on this topic: Of course it would.

Then again, since Obama is turning into Right-of-Center Man, who knows...


Then again, since Obama is turning into Right-of-Center Man, who knows...

Exactly. It doesn't matter who wins. Whoever it is, is fully bought and paid for. There's no reason to resort to suspending elections or anything like that. The elections are "fixed" long before it gets to that point (in the sense that no politician can reach national prominence without "playing the game").

Darwinian is right. We had elections during the Civil War, WWII, etc. Why would this be any different?

People were predicting Bush would suspend the elections in 2004, too.

Not gonna happen.

The next president and administration will be doing janitorial duty, trying to clean up the mess the current looters have left behind. Why would BushCo need to stay on? Not much more to take or transfer.

With the neo-con minions firmly entrenched at State and Defense and a compliant Supreme Court and Congress, the next President will choose the path of least resistance.

All bureaucracies are self-serving and self-perpetuating.

The key to political success, as quipped by the master Winston Churchill, is: "the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen."

The British series, Yes Minister, has a timeless universal quality:

Methinks, the neo-cons won't have too much difficulty getting what they want.

While your guess may end up right, the reasoning is based in a spurious correlation. It has nothing to do with there being emergencies. Those you mention were real emergencies. We are talking manufactured/false flag/scare the electorate stuff here. Totally different breeds of "emergency."

That is, this would be different because the reason for the emergency would specifically be to secure a neo-con executive. No, Obama is not much better in the end, not being a modern day Mr. Smith, but he might yet be more difficult to manage than McCain. He did oppose the war (all those years ago).

I'm not saying what will or won't happen in the end, but I think the two of you making definitive statements at this point is very premature. What I am certain of is what I have stated before: if they think they need it to hold the WH, they will act. Does Obama include "holding" the WH? Debatable. (I mean that in the literal sense.)

There *is* one other wrinkle to consider: if Obama is far enough to the center and they don't fear him handing back the powers of the Imperial Presidency, they may be as happy to see the Dems take responsibility for their mess as we would reluctantly be to see them have to.

Also, other than starting to herd us into camps, what else do they need to do? The die is cast and the money flowing up the scale at incredible rates of speed while the debt rolls down the scale at even greater speed. Have they not already put all the little pieces in place?


We are talking manufacture/false flag/scare the electorate stuff here.

No, we are not. The original poster specifically said I'm not suggesting the intent to deliberately escalate the situation in Georgia for election rigging purposes.

You are too literal, Leanan. The phrase "we're talking ~~~" does not equal "We are talking about...", it's akin to, "...those were real emergencies. These would be..."

Is this not a conversation norm wherever you are?

Oh, and in a different post I specifically stated I *would* suggest just that. (But that does not directly affect the above.)


Is this not a conversation norm wherever you are?

Obviously not.

In any case, I don't see how Burgundy's scenario is any different from a "real" emergency.

If Bush is smart, and if we had some kind of national catastrophe, he would declare martial law and deploy military forces in order to make sure that the election is held and to make sure that people can get to the polls. I suspect that he has a clock counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds left until he dumps all of the unfolding problems in someone else's lap.

With the butter-like pliancy of McCain in place, the game has likely changed to doing whatever it takes to get him elected - despite the obvious misgivings many of us have about Obama.


Re: "We're talking about..." OK. I asked as sometimes things get lost just being in print vs. live conversation.

Re: Burgundy: Actually, Burgundy IS talking about a real emergency, as it gets out of control. I was not responding to that. I was responding to his statement he was not claiming an intentional act. I am saying that martial law is possible because there *would* be an intentional act if they felt threatened enough.

Then, the historical analogies no longer apply.

But let me contradict myself a little and say that there's not going to be any way to know if the Georgia thing is intentional or not if it "gets out of control." That might just be the cover. Thus, in the end, it's all just more neo-con frack-up and warmongering, which means martial law is a real possibility. I wouldn't put a percentage to it this far out, though.


there's not going to be any way to know if the Georgia thing is intentional or not if it "gets out of control." That might just be the cover. Thus, in the end, it's all just more neo-con frack-up and warmongering, which means martial law is a real possibility.

One of the reasons this situation is ambiguous to read is b/c all the actors in the drama are pushing different agendas. Is it the neo-cons itching for a Republican win in November who are stirring the pot? Or do the neo-cons even care who wins? Are the neo-cons the only political agitators acting on the American side? Is there a power struggle going on somewhere outside public view? Is America exercising a combination of Carter / Wolfowitz doctrines? Is someone trying to put pressure on / or take pressure off Iran? To what extent is Putin strategically calculating his power base in Moscow and/or securing a firmer footing in Central Asia? Is China giving green/yellow/red light signals to somebody, everbody, or nobody in the background? Where's Europe in all this? Will they play by the NATO rules? Or will oil/fuel security interests trump all? And what about the people under the gun? -- how much is bravado? and how much is genuine sorrow? betrayal? concern? fear? etc., etc.

In the shadowy world of diplomacy, espionage, & war games, much is left to speculation and conjecture. And no matter who is writing the script, others can and will change the story line. Only time will tell how it will unfold.

All that being said, now that the Beijing Olympics are over, I suspect the days of playing nicey-nice are drawing to a close. In the poker game of geo-politics the cards are being re-shuffled and the extras dealt.

Sit back and watch. This could be a very interesting game. Though I do wonder what the players are offering for stakes?

I get the impression that within Putin's circles there is a Russian equivalent of the US neocon movement.

They probably feel that they can win proxy wars where geography gives them an overwhelming logistical advantage such as the Caucasus region and the landlocked *stans. It may also apply in the Gulf region if their cruise missiles are sufficiently good to neutralize naval power.

In a direct confrontation with US forces, they may calculate that high-EMP tactical nukes will disable the US advantage in electronic warfare. One of my previous posts discussed this.

AFICT, the nuclear strategic situation between the US and Russia has not changed significantly in the past half century - each side has sufficient capacity to destroy the other several times over and neither has demonstrated a substantive ability to defend against ballistic missiles. We still are in the "MAD" scenario enunciated by Herman Kahn in the 1950' and 1960's.

Some neocons seem to be itching for a war with Russia - what's unsettling is that some Russians might be more than willing to oblige them.

The strategic situation has changed but as you note, both sides still possess a large amount of overkill capacity so it doesn't really matter, at that level.

What has really changed though is Russia's position on tactical nuclear war. The USSR always implied that they would use tactical nukes but never overtly threatened to do so. During the Georgia conflict, I read stories in the European press that openly discussed the threat Russia had presented to the US. However, in the US I only saw one single oblique reference without expressly mentioning tactical nukes.

The change can be summarized as follows - after the 1991 Gulf War the Soviet generals saw the overpowering firepower of the US conventional forces and tried to come up with a strategy to counter this. They could not. Ultimately, they recommended to Putin that Russia tell the US that any entry of US forces into a conflict against Russia would immediately be met with tactical nukes. In other words, the Russians were now openly planning to strike first (at the tactical level). Putin accepted this recommendation.

What happened when the Russian 58th Army entered Georgia was that SS-21 missiles were moved to the border to support the the 58th Army. The US was then hogtied. Entry into the war in any direct manner would mean unleashing tactical nukes. The only response the US has to tactical nukes is to go strategic. Since Georgia was not worth a strategic exchange, the US response became a bunch of harsh words and nothing more. Mikheil Saakashvili has assumed (whether he was told this or just guessed it himself) that he would have US conventional backing. When the Russians upped the ante, the US folded, leaving Saakashvili alone at the table with Putin.

Regarding Putin and Russia - Putin is (as another TODer noted) a "cold blooded psychopath" but he's also very bright and patient, whereas the US neocons sometimes appear to be bungling fools (as well as psychopaths themselves). I wouldn't trust Putin as far as I can throw him but the recent US handling of the Georgia situation demonstrates either gross incompetence or yet another strategic move on a far larger chessboard.

Oh, please. Saddam's joke army and its defeat after a massive US bombing campaign on military AND civilian infrastructure did not scare Russian generals sh*tless. This is your typical America the invincible drivel. The only chance the US would have in defeating the Russian army in a conventional war is if it could bomb, bomb and then bomb some more without getting its aircraft blown out of the sky. Clearly NATO was not prepared for a conventional engagement with Russia since it takes weeks to prepare for this and there has not been a single squeak about any deployment occurring. So the whole Russian tactical nuke threat is wingnut fantasy. NATO has decided now to up the ante, but the naval armada it has deployed clearly demonstrates it is still not prepared to attack Russia. Unless of course it thinks Russia is afraid of sending its armada to the bottom of the Black Sea and will run away.

Oh, please. Saddam's joke army and its defeat after a massive US bombing campaign on military AND civilian infrastructure did not scare Russian generals sh*tless. This is your typical America the invincible drivel. The only chance the US would have in defeating the Russian army in a conventional war is if it could bomb, bomb and then bomb some more without getting its aircraft blown out of the sky.

It could bomb, bomb, and bomb some more without getting its aircraft blown out of the sky.

Really? By flying above 20,000 feet or something, right. You actually think that your missile cruisers sending Tomohawks onto Russian soil are going to sit there safely like they did in the case of Iraq?

Russian soil is a large area, which means long supply lines.

Which means highways of death.

First of all, Putin is not a "cold blooded psychopath," that is just MSM propoganda. Dick Cheney, however....

Given that the US military was fought to a standstill by the Republican Guards (known in the US media as "Iraqi insurgents") using the techniques that proved successful in Vietnam, I doubt the Russian army has any real fear of the US in a ground war -- or a naval war, for that matter. The Russian navy is fully capable of sinking the US navy in about 20 minutes, using the unstoppable Sunburn and Onyx cruise missiles, which are so powerful that they can sink a ship with nothing but kinetic energy alone. Nevertheless, Russia (unlike the US) has been in enough ground wars on its own territory to know that that is not a desirable outcome.

There is plenty of talk about "NATO this and NATO that," but that is really just the US talking. France and Germany have been having relations with the Russian empire since long before the United States existed. They are not interested in having a war with Russia, and have no reason or ambition to do so either. Indeed, to the French and Germans, this NATO business is looking rather a lot like the treaties that got them involved in World War I.

Okay, econguy, what are you smoking??

Even if you can’t accept that Putin had anything to do with the deaths of journalist Anna Politkovskaya or former spy Alexander Litvinenko -- and admittedly I’m far more wary of his character than you -- you don’t get to the top of the class in the KGB or mount the Russian political slag heap without a good dose of cold blooded ruthlessness flowing through one’s veins.

As for your observation: France and Germany have been having relations with the Russian empire since long before the United States existed. They are not interested in having a war with Russia, and have no reason or ambition to do so either., come on, you can’t be serious. The French danced a belligerent two-step with the Russians during the Crimean War and Germany went toe to toe with them on two occasions in the past century.

And despite the herculean efforts of Peter the Great and others to bring the bulk of the Moscovite Behemoth in line with western thinking, both French and German interests continue to have - and will continue to have - far more in common with the UK/US than with the populations and cultures of the east.

Western European civilization is called “western” for a reason.

Please don’t let your cynicism of US politics blind you to the fact that the world is a nasty place. I can assure you that neither the State Department nor the Pentagon has cornered the market on hubris or evil or the dark side. Plenty of the deadly sins are passed around and shared among the power brokers of the world.

I may not like what the US administration is doing but its rationale is clearly laid-out. The Carter doctrine, the Wolfowitz doctrine, the Project for a New American Century, are not public secrets even if implementation of those same broad policies has been clandestine and shady and unethical.

Cloak and dagger exists elsewhere and often in more brutal forms. Putin and Medvedev are still unknown quantities and their motives, until proven or shown to be benevolent, should be treated
with the same respect one would pay to a scorpion.

Only a fool would think the Russians have kept pace militarily with the US in the 17 years since the collapse of the USSR.
Even before the collapse much of Soviet armament was of dubious quality.
Short range missiles, however, are easy and economical to deploy.

"Poland, by deploying (the system) is exposing itself to a strike -- 100 per cent,"
Russian Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn


So much for your "wingnut fantasy".

I used to think all those signing statements and executive orders were BushCo trying to lay the foundation for something THEY were going to do. After watching the interview with Andrew Bacevich I realized that is probably not the case. The foundation seems to be in place, but any of the 'correct players' can pull the final trigger.

So we will have an election, and nothing will change but the name over the door.

I figured they are to protect against later legal action.

They need McCain so they can all get pardons. Think they are planning for anyone but themselves?

The first executive order authorizing the president to suspend the constitution, dissolve congress, and declare martial law for any "national emergency" of which I am aware was issued by JFK. People assumed this was for nuclear war but the language was very vague. Subsequent presidents have expanded on those executive orders again and again and again. This includes Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton as well so it's not just Bush.

Those of you seeking to blame only Bush for the current mess have been duped and have taken the bait hook, line, and sinker. This has been an ongoing process by parties who have sought to vastly strengthen the Federal government at the expense of the states for the last century. If Obama wins, expect Zbigniew Brzezinski or someone under his influence to have a serious impact in the Obama administration, and if he does, it's just the neocon game all over again in a new guise.

GreyZone--Thanks for pointing out this continuity of Imperiaal Policy.

Taking a cue from Tainter, civilizations arise as methods of problem solving. For the United States that has always meant conquest (imperialism) in some form. Once the US exhausted its internal territories for conquest, it naturally turned outward and found willing world events that enabled its further extension of imperial power. As that power grew, so too did the boldness of those at the very top of the pyramid.

Over at Jerry Pournelle's website/blog, there have been discussions since the mid-1990s about the transition of US to empire. It was not a thing that Clinton did alone though; like those before and after, he also enabled it.

And as Bush leaves the scene, his successor, from either party, will continue to fund the war machine and US imperialism, under various guises such as bringing democracy to people, etc.

Which means that these things could have been typed up by some nameless bureaucrat, stuffed in the middle of a big sheaf of papers, and shoved on the President's desk right in the middle of a particularly hectic, crisis-filled day. They were probably signed without even being read.

Don't think that exactly that kind of thing doesn't happen all the time.

That is just silly conjecture. Were that the case, would Bush not have altered it given the wide attention it got?


Those of you seeking to blame only Bush for the current mess have been duped and have taken the bait hook, line, and sinker.

I think you are making assumptions here. Can you provide a quote from, well, anyone that shows all the US's ills being the fault of Bush? (Particularly given he's a puppet. Or were you using "Bush" to equal the current administration?)

As regards martial law - which you conflated above with the wider mess - , NSPD 51 is, so far as I know, the only PD claiming executive authority over the other two branches. There are other problems with 51, as well.


I'm not suggesting the intent to deliberately escalate the situation in Georgia for election rigging purposes

OK, I will. All the theories on what happened in Goergia make no sense unless tied to the neo-con positioning for the presidency. What is the ONLY thing that could get a majority to vote for McCain's neo-con BAU platform? War. Or the threat thereof. Look what happened to polls when Georgia hit.

I guarantee you the current administration will ramp up the fear factor as high as they believe it needs to be to get McCain elected. Anyone who doubts this simply has been brain dead the last 7.5 years.

The corollary will be painting the economy as rosily as possible and handing out even greater amounts of public money to save the crooks and liars destroying financial sector.

These are not predictions, these are promises. Feel free to save this post for future reference.


"Wag the dog" tactics are not new to Presidential politics. Real Politik policy would not raise tensions in an area of the world where we are impotent. Therefore the only play is domestic.

"No one could have predicted that a NATO flotilla in Russia's backyard would provoke further conflict!"

/sarcanol off

Escalating situation, I would say yes.

Military confrontation, absolutely not.

Military confrontation, absolutely not.

Hopefully, you are correct. We should know by Thursday.

Angering Russia, the United States sent the missile destroyer USS McFaul to the southern Georgian port of Batumi, well away from the conflict zone, to deliver 34 tons of humanitarian aid on Sunday.

The McFaul left Batumi on Tuesday but would remain in the Black Sea area, said Commander Scott Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 6th Fleet in Naples, Italy.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas, meanwhile, was headed for Georgia with a shipment of aid.

Embassy spokesman Stephen Guice did not give details on which ship would aim to enter Poti, but it appeared likely the smaller Coast Guard ship would aim to dock, with the McFaul possibly remaining on guard at sea.

"We can confirm that U.S. ship-borne humanitarian aid will be delivered to Poti tomorrow," Guice said.


"We can confirm that U.S. ship-borne humanitarian aid will be delivered to Poti tomorrow," Guice said.

The problem is that Russian responses, which are being issued
immediately, are not being given airtime.

Like this one:

:Nogovitsyn said Russian peacekeepers, who continue to be deployed in Georgia after the country's war with breakaway South Ossetia, would not carry out checks of foreign ships entering Georgian Black Sea ports.

But he said peacekeepers at a checkpoint near the Poti port would conduct patrols in the area. "Patrols are a civilized form of control," he said.

The senior military official put it more colorfully on Saturday: "Poti is outside of the security zone, but that does not mean we will sit behind a fence watching them riding around in Hummers."


Translation-Those "aid" shipments will be inspected by Russia before leaving
the port.

The problem is that Russian responses, which are being issued immediately, are not being given airtime.

This is precisely why I dub the MSM the Propaganda and Indoctrination System whose pupose is to manipulate events to Manufacture Consent. It's perhaps the most deadliest form of pollution ever emitted into the environment. Compare Hate Radio with 1984's Two Minutes of Hate, and one can measure the System's success.

Compare Hate Radio with 1984's Two Minutes of Hate, and one can measure the System's success.

The best part about the "hate-talk machine" is that the people who are influenced by it subsidize it with their listening, allowing the owners to reap huge profits. Big Brother had nothing on Clear Channel.

A detailed explanation of how the economic syatem operates is absent from 1984 other than the general description of Keynesian Militarism. I think Orwell was right in his decision not to include such a description as most of his audience was already familiar with the sort of society he was describing, having just been through WW2 and the manipulated events designed to generate the Cold War. My estimation is that Big Brother, having a monopoly on all broadcasting, totally trumps Clear Channel for the latter wouldn't exist. In other words, there would be no need for a Clear Channel as it would exist within Big Brother's Ministry of Truth.

I forget, who would win in a fight, Superman or Mighty Mouse?

Both are fictional; therefore, a real fight cannot happen.

Incorrect! Mighty mouse is a cartoon. Superman is a real guy. No cartoon could beat up a real guy! (The preceding was an example of sarcasm and a feeble attempt at humor.)

So when you compared Clear Channel (a real business operating today) to The Ministry of Truth (a fictional creation of George Orwell) with this:

My estimation is that Big Brother, having a monopoly on all broadcasting, totally trumps Clear Channel for the latter wouldn't exist. In other words, there would be no need for a Clear Channel as it would exist within Big Brother's Ministry of Truth.

how was I supposed to respond? By saying, "Dude, you're right, like the Ministry of Truth would so totally run Clear Channel!"

Or might I respond with, "Why bother with analyzing how a fictional organization would trump a real one?"

But if you can create for-profit propaganda media they can be located outside the government for purposes of plausible deniability. It's hard to convince Americans that Fox News is equivalent to Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda because it is an outside, private corporation in a society that worships businessmen. Many Americans actually believe that having corporations control government will lead to better things than having government control corporations, not having lived under feudalism themselves.

Pravda and Tass must be salivating with jealousy over
the wests MSM.The MSM of the west has got it down pat.
I suggest that the wests MSM could have a croud of
evengelicals screaming for Barabas release and calling down the blood of Jesus on their own heads in
2 minutes flat.
I have twenty pieces of silver for any wagers who would accept the challenge.

OTOH there are definitely cracks showing in the shield of public ignorance. Compare 2008 to 1958 or 1908-the improvement is noticeable. In 1958, selling to the sheeple by the MSM was a cakewalk-maybe 95% would swallow anything. In 2008, they are getting maybe 75%-the Interent is a big problem for the MSM and it seems to be getting worse.

Russia's flagship cruiser has re-entered the Black Sea for weapons tests hours after the Russian military complained about the presence of US and other Nato naval ships near the Georgian coast.


U.S. no longer confirms navy ships headed for Poti
The U.S. embassy in Tbilisi on Tuesday retracted a statement saying a U.S. destroyer and another ship were headed for the Georgian port city of Poti, where Russian forces are deployed. (UPDATED)

"We cannot now confirm that U.S. ships will be travelling to Poti," embassy spokesman Stephen Guice said.


"U.S. no longer confirms navy ships headed for Poti"

Two things here:

1) Turkey remembers 4th-10th August 1914 - Escape of the German "Goeben" and "Breslau".

1a) and is as nervous as a cat on hot tin now.

2)Note the speed of the US retraction. a Russian missive got upgraded.

In reference to the "Goeben" and its handover to the Ottoman Empire, do you think Turkey is open for bidding right now?

What's a U.S. Coast Guard cutter doing anywhere near the Black Sea, anyway? Is the Shrub going to re-name it the USS Maine, for hysterical purposes, just before it explodes from a Russian torpedo? Maybe Shrub likes the sound of that old one liner, "Remember the Maine"?

E. Swanson

The ship's history looks like it's straight out of a story book already.

USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716)

In the summer of 1999, Dallas was again assigned to the U.S. Sixth fleet in the Mediterranean and Black Seas to support allied forces during the conflict in Kosovo. While enroute, the conflict ended, but Dallas was tasked to remain in theater and conduct training and professional exchanges with US Naval units and foreign naval forces. Dallas became the first Coast Guard cutter to enter the ports of Haifa, Israel and Antalya, Turkey and conducted training exercises with the Ukrainian Navy, Turkish Coast Guard, Georgian Navy, and the armed forces of Malta.

During the entire 1990-2000 decade Dallas held Commander Atlantic Area’s Operational Readiness Award for sustained excellence in all Naval warfare mission areas.

Name any conflict (including Vietnam) and it's probably been there.

Bit by bit, US domestic government agencies are moving in on foreign countries. Doesn't it bother any of us when FBI windbreakers are seen in Pakistan? Because I bet it bothers the Pakistanis.

A military ship bringing "humanitarian" aid. And an anti-missile system west of Russia to protect the West from... Iran.

What does the Bush administration think... that everyone else is an idiot like him?

One can easily see how sending an 8,900 ton guided missile destroyer (DDG) to deliver 34 tons of humanitarian assistance supplies makes sense.

Certainly the DDG steams faster than a supply or replenishment ship so the supplies get there sooner. However, a Navy or MSL supply/replenishment ship could deliver hundreds of tons of relief supplies.

Maybe all the supplies the US could rustle up only added up to 34 tons. Or maybe the real "relief supplies" are the Aegis conbat control system coupled with 90 vertically launched missiles.

I'm concerned less with the well-publicized "humanitarian" warships that are heading for Georgia than I am the less visible and always secret sub-surface fleet.

How many nukes of both colors do you think are hiding in the Black Sea right now?

You can pretty much bet that no US nuke subs are in the Black Sea. Passage of warships through the Straits of Bosporus is controlled by Turkey under an international agreement, the "Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits."

Only subs from Black Sea countries can transit the straits, with advance approval and only on the surface. The Turks have been somewhat willing to generously interpret the Convention rules when it comes to surface warship passage, they have been very tight about submarine passage.

Besides, at the shallowest the depth is only 120 feet, and at the narrowest the width is only 2300 feet. Submerged transit would be risky, with a high risk of detection. Turkey uses submerged acoustic arrays and other means to try to detect any submerged transits.

I suppose we could convince the Turks to look the other way while one of our boats made such a passage, but it is widely believed that the Russians have good intel connections within the Turkish military and government. I doubt they would hesitate to use of any knowledge of us trying to sneak a sub through to create a major diplomatic fracas.

So, will NATO assist Saakashvili in his attempts to once again grab the de-facto independent since 1992 Abkhazia and South Ossetia? Is NATO hoping that Russia will be too scared to treat NATO's armada as a legitimate target? The same NATO that was acting as the KLA's airforce in 1999 and is bleating about territorial integrity and international law today. The Rove groupies in NATO's leadership need to wake up and smell the coffee and fast.

No problem back in 1944 at the height of the war. T E Dewey lost.

I watched or listened to my 16th DNC last night. Same stuff different year, Big Idea's, few results. 1948: H.H.H. gave the address on human rights, Southern Congressmen and Strom Thurmand walked out, formed Dixiecrats party. Harry Truman was nominated. Richard Russel lost by 3 or 4 to 1.

dipchip -

I'm not quite sure what your point is, but one thing is certain: by November, 1944 FDR was in such failing health that he was physically unfit to be president (or anything else for that matter). However, FDR's circle and the whole Democratic machine went through great efforts to hide from the American people the fact that FDR was but a few steps from death's door. As it was, FDR died less than three months after the innauguration. (He was such a duplicitous person that even Truman, his own VP, wasn't even aware that there was an effort to build an atomic bomb until after FDR died and Truman became president.)

In my view, putting a dying FDR up for a fourth term constituted a massive fraud and perhaps an almost criminal subversion of the electoral process. It was wartime, and perhaps the American people were more interested in a symbol than a living, functioning president. This is an example of the type of dangers a democratic government faces during wartime.

I'll take, "Hey, everything's OK with the Pres. Really." over "Screw the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Geneva Convention!" any day of the week and a million times on Sunday, thanks.


joule--you are quite right to recognize this side of the 1944 election. Careful scrutiny should be given to the selection of Truman as Veep, and the overthrow of Wallace--an event that is very pivitol for post-WW2 history--indeed, for today and the brewing conflict we're witnessing. Unfortunately, the exciting events taking place in the European Theater at the end of 1944-45 have been used very well to obscure any indepth inquiry by historians into the backroom deals and the players involved in Truman's selection. It's very likely Wallace lost his chance when he wrote and the NY Times published his essaay, "The Danger of American Fascism," an abridged version can be read here. (A collection of his speeches and this and other essays were published in Democracy Reborn, which is a very inspiring work.) The decision to adopt the very pliable Truman over the more idealistic and uncontrollable Wallace stands as one of the most important aspects of US history, yet it silently goes unnoticed. My research into this tells me that no A-bombs would have been dropped on Japan, and the National Security State wiould never have come into being if Wallace were president; thus, no Cold War, no Big War lobby, and a whole host of things in the course of the direction taken by the US would have been vastly different.

Fascinating. More "learn something every day."


karlof1 -

Interesting conjecture.

Truman certainly wasn't picked as FDR's VP for his expertise in foreign policy. In fact, as I alluded to in my previous post, FDR kept Truman as far out of the loop on what was really going on as he possibly could. Given FDR's failing health, that was a totally selfish and irresponsible thing to do.

However, I think it's a stretch to contend that the Cold War wouldn't have happened and that the atomic bomb would not have been used if Wallace instead of Truman were president.

The stage was set for the Cold War long before Truman came into office, as Russia was intent on grapping as much of eastern Europe as it could get its hands on. I think the Cold was practically inevitable, regardless of who was president, because with the defeat of Germany and Japan, you now had two rival well-armed superpowers struggling for world dominance.

As for the atomic bomb, there was so much momentum built up around its development that there was a general feeling that it'd be a shame to 'let it go to waste' even if by August, 1945 Japan was no longer a serious threat militarily. Besides, everyone in the US hated Japan and felt they had it coming. The argument that even if it saved one American soldier, it'd be worth frying a couple hundred thousand of those lousy japs would have been very difficult for any president to resist. Plus, it wouldn't hurt to show off our brand new toy to the Russians.

You've got to keep in mind that even the President of the US doesn't have the absolute power to call all the shots. Rather what you really have is a 'presidential regime' that includes all sorts of powerful people and power blocks. The FDR regime was well entrenched, and Truman was merely the spare tire to replace the physical person of president.

What has always amazed me is i) how chummy the FDR crowd was with Soviet Russia both before and during the war, and ii) how rapidly our one-time big ally became our number-one enemy.

The argument that even if it saved one American soldier, it'd be worth frying a couple hundred thousand of those lousy japs would have been very difficult for any president to resist.

You are being overly dramatic as well as painting a completely one-sided picture of the situation. Japan, if left alone, no invasion or no conventional bombing, would have rebuilt its war machine and the war would have continued until tens of millions more, both Japanese and allies, were killed. An invasion would have cost at least a million American lives and perhaps three million Japanese lives, most of them civilians. That would have been accompanied with conventional bombing which would have done even more damage than the two nuclear bombs.

Monday morning quarterbacking is an easy job. Had you been a soldier, or a mother or father of a soldier who was scheduled to take part in the invasion of Japan, your attitude would be dramatically different. And we must not forget the millions of Japanese lives that were saved by ending the war when we did.

Ron Patterson

This is probably too big a topic to tackle here, but you could make the case that a naval blockade combined with targeted conventional bombing could have ended the war with fewer civilian casualties.

Also, giving Japan more time to surrender after the fist bomb may have rendered the second unnecessary.

**Edit** I've always subscribed to the theory that the bombs were not the final shots of WWII, but the first shots of the cold war. We had nothing to prove to the Japanese, but we had everything to prove to the Soviets.

As the Imperial Japanese War Cabinet was discussing surrender, word of Nagasaki reached them. Apparently one minister was swayed (he was arguing that the Americans could not have many atomic bombs) and the vote split 3-3 (those against argued for a glorious fight to the death of 100 million Japanese) and the Emperor cast the tie-breaking vote, citing the atomic bomb that could end civilization.

Had it not been for both atomic bombs what would have been the likely result ?


Japan had decided to sue for peace long before the atomic bombs were dropped. After the fall of the Tojo government in June 1944, Japan decided to try to win one big victory so they could get better terms. As their military was in a shambles, they were unable to do that. As 1945 progressed, they tried to make peace through various intermediaries, most notably the Soviet Union, but the US was unwilling to negotiate. The Wikipedia article on the Surrender of Japan is a pretty reasonable overview.

Basically, the US nuked two Japanese cities full of women and children for two reasons: (1) because the US would accept no conditions on the surrender, and (2) Truman wanted to show off his new weapons to Stalin. The war could easily have ended without either nukes or an invasion, but that isn't what the US wanted.

In addition to your final two points, I would caution those defending the use of atomic weapons of the central point.

You have become an apologist for mass murder.

Be it the fire-bombing of Dresden and Tokyo or the decision to use atomic weapons on a civilian population, it crosses a threshold of human decency that citizens in a republic have every right to expect their government to honor.

There is a central point in 'The Road' that resonated with many of us.

Death is not the worst.

Maybe putting Arnold on the site has emboldened the chicken hawks.

I have come to the conclusion, using 20/20 hindsight and excellent knowledge of end-of-war Japan (quite rare in history) that *NOT* using the atomic bomb would have resulted in either genocide (millions perhaps tens of millions dead AND a destruction of Japanese culture comparable to that suffered by Native Americans as well as a partition of Japan (Hokkaido > North Korea),

OR a negotiated peace that would have resulted in another war in a generation with Imperial Japan (likely armed with atomic weapons).


Since you are advancing your argument using conjecture, allow me to do the same. Suppose that we had prevailed without the use of atomic weapons.
A post-war regime with the Nuhremburg precedent, the Marshall plan, and the MacArthur re-build of the Japanese economy, as well as an energized UN headquartered in the US. The only substantive difference being the US would have been innocent of employing atomic weapons against civilian populations.
Now THAT would have been moral authority with a bully pulpit.
The NPT could have had teeth.
You see, Alan, you want to argue what we could have lost had we not been willing to be immoral.
I argue what we could have gained had we taken the risk of adhering to our principles and not engaged in slaughter.

Such a peace as you posit would simply *NOT* have been accepted by the Imperial Japanese Gov't without atomic bombs.

Nurembourg ? They wanted all war crimes to be tried by Imperial Japanese courts under existing law.

They wanted continued Emperor worship.

They would NOT accept democracy, or any significant social changes (women's rights, strong unions, etc.)

No occupation was acceptable, so no UN HQ, etc.

You simply do *NOT* understand a government that can debate leading the entirety on it's population into a suicidal war to the death and cultural destruction.

They were debating surrender when word reached them of a second atomic bomb. They still split 3-3- !

Your fantasy would NEVER have been accepted by the Imperial Japanese Government. NEVER !! Not without TWO atomic bombs and even then it was close.


I'm not quite sure I understand your argument here.

Are you saying that it would have been impossible to have militarily defeated and occupied Japan without the use of atomic weapons?

Usually the defenders of Hiroshima and Nagasaki restrict themselves to a cost/benefit analysis of the alternative, but you are saying...what?...without atomic weapons (mass murder) to focus their minds that the Japanese would have been inert to the effects of military defeat and occupation?
I much prefer my fantasy. It is simply the extension of trends extant at the time we dropped the bombs.

Your fantasy is a Japanese people beyond reason or comprehension. And that is not the way it turned out to be.

Are you saying that it would have been impossible to have militarily defeated and occupied Japan without the use of atomic weapons ?

Or a genocidal invasion and conquest of Japan with deaths in the range of 10 million and the destruction of much Japanese culture.

And given what is now known, Operation Olympus would quite possibly have failed if executed as planned (US intelligence had Japanese Army strength half of what it would have been, and the Japanese had more effective kamikaze tactics planned).

A conventional end to WW II after a failed attack of the home islands would likely have been of extraordinary brutality. Famine and firestorms. As the Soviets invade where there are minimal forces (they invaded the Kuriles two weeks after the surrender speech).

Please note that after TWO atomic bombs, one half of the War Cabinet wanted to fight on. And that a coup took over the Imperial Palace to prevent a surrender. Historical facts.

Your fantasy is a Japanese people beyond reason or comprehension. And that is not the way it turned out to be

I think I understand them and their reasoning. Which is why atomic bombs were the merciful option.

Perhaps you do not understand responsible leaders of a culture advocating the "honorable death of the entire 100 million" as official government policy ?

Can you understand a military coup occupying the Imperial Place in order to prevent surrender AFTER two atomic bombs ?

If you cannot understand the emotions and logic behind that "supreme policy" of complete social suicide, then you cannot understand Imperial Japan.

The shock of this new total weapon shook up this mindset just barely enough for a surrender. The alternative was many millions more dead, and a culture shredded.


Alan, I know that you are a deeply moral human being.

I can tell that you are invested in this argument and have buttressed your position from many different angles.

But Hiroshima and Nagasaki represent indiscriminate targeting of civilian populations on a mass scale and that is fundamentally immoral.

As a citizen of a republic I have every right to expect that wars waged on my behalf be prosecuted without recourse to what have always been considered crimes against humanity. I know that you are not deaf to the ethical dimension. I would hope you would acknowledge that it is not so simple a matter as weighing the known casualties to the hypothetical. You can pick a sufficiently large number at will.

It pains me that the use of those weapons has diminished our moral stature to this day.

Would it have been more moral just to have firebombed Hiroshima like we did Dresden?

Or if we had let the famine in Kanto come to fruition?

Your objection to this particular weapon is puzzling. Why are nukes so much worse than the other indiscriminate weapons used during the course of the war?

Lemay's firebombing of Japan's cities produced death rates greater than that associated with the atomic bomb attacks.

Since Japanese houses were typically wood frame with paper shoji screen walls the urban areas burned easily and the loss of life was equivalent to Dresden.

To your first question, no. I alluded to the firebombing of Dresden upthread.

To your second question, assuming it to be intellectually honest, I would say...
Sherman's march through Georgia and the Carolinas may very well have resulted in famine and starvation. However, his army certainly was not given carte blanche to kill women, children, the elderly, prisoners, etc.
I really don't see why this distinction should be made to seem so arcane.
Once you have signed off on the mass murder of civilian populations, really, what is left?

"But Hiroshima and Nagasaki represent indiscriminate targeting of civilian populations on a mass scale and that is fundamentally immoral."

I think you miss Alan's point.
While you are quite correct that the use of atomic weapons against a million civilians is fundamentally immoral I cannot see the difference between that and the murder of tens of civilians by conventional means. In fact I'd personally take the position that it is the number of deaths thay matter not the method.

that is fundamentally immoral.

As a citizen of a republic I have every right to expect that wars waged on my behalf be prosecuted without recourse to what have always been considered crimes against humanity

Several points.

Yes it was fundamentally immoral.

But if the USA had waged an entirely moral war, the USA would not have won, and we would have likely faced a later war of aggression by an Imperial Japan equipped with atomic weapons.

You show an ignorance of the horrid history of war with that claim that "have always been considered crimes against humanity". Simply not true.

The concept of "crimes against humanity" had some early seeds in Wilson and his attempt to impose morality upon war, but really developed at the close of WW II and the early days of post-WW II.


Hello AlanfromBigEasy,

I have often wondered: if the US had chosen to drop the BOMB offshore Japan if this would have achieved the same results; Japan still would have unconditionally surrendered, many lives saved [US & Japanese], and it would still have showcased this new weaponry to Japan & Russia. Any thoughts? The Japanese probably did not know how many nukes we had--> wouldn't seeing two detonating offshore make any country capitulate if they thought the next two might be onshore?

Yup. There were many options. I see any attempt to justify using the bomb as pure BS. But I would say the same about Dresden and Tokyo. And that goes for the other side, too.

As has been noted elsewhere, the only winners in war are those with power and money.


Except that we weren't just showing off that we had the weapons and that they worked, but that we were willing to use them against civilian populations.

Consider the physchological impact of meeting, discussing surrender after Hiroshina, one member is arguing that the Americans simply cannot have many atomic bombs, when word reaches the War Cabinet that Nagasaki had disappeared in a mushroom cloud.

Yet the vote was 3-3.

I cannot see blowing up bombs at sea as having the same impact.

And bombing Hiroshima had a great military benefit if the vote had been 2-4 against surrender. It was HQ for the defense against Operation Olympus and the major port for supplies and men to support defense against the planned US invasion. Competent staff officers, plans, communications, war materials as well as many troops disappeared in Hiroshima. That it took days for a detailed description of Hiroshima to reach Tokyo is testimony to the effectiveness of bombing to disrupt Imperial Japanese communications and hence command and control.


The US could possibly have not invaded Japan, and not bombed either, but simply have continued a blockade and allowed it to collapse.

The problem with this notion is that a great many lives would have been lost rolling back forces outside of Japan, including amongst allied prisoners of war, and that deaths from starvation within Japan would likely have been in the millions.

Most of the time it is not very profitable to second-guess our ancestors, especially on the shifting grounds of morality, where anachronism is always likely.

But if the USA had waged an entirely moral war, the USA would not have won

This is a ridiculous statement. There is absolutely no way to substantiate this, to prove it, or even show it to be likely. Utterly lacking in logic. The fact that the US economy alone of all the world's major economies was intact ensured victory. A different victory perhaps, but to state victory could only come with immorality is bogus.

Something about this pushes your buttons, it seems, because that sort of rhetoric is not what I usually see from you.

and we would have likely faced a later war of aggression by an Imperial Japan equipped with atomic weapons.

Oh, please. After losing WWII they would have been on a very short leash of some type.

Oh, and history ain't done yet. You may see a nuclear armed Japan before too long. There has been talk of abandoning the constitutional restrictions already because of NK. What might we expect as TSHTF?


There is absolutely no way to substantiate this, to prove it, or even show it to be likely.

Removing just two elements of the US war effort on grounds of morality would have "turned the tide of war".

"Moral" war (surely an oxymoron) would not have included unrestricted submarine warfare (German sub commanders got off @ Nuremberg because of letters from US Navy sub commanders in the Pacific). Without losses in their merchant marine, Japan would have had plenty of oil from Indonesia, they would have been able to re-supply their overseas garrisons FAR better, food would be plentiful in Japan (just steal food from Chinese peasants and let them starve), movement of war supplies would have been MUCH better and hence war production would have been considerably higher.

"Moral" war would not have bombed civilians (Hiroshima was a prime military target, but also lots of civilians, so it would not have been bombed (conventional or atomic) morally. A limited number of targets might have been bombed morally, but a very limited number. So military assets embedded in civilian infrastructure would have been untouched in a moral war.

The USA was getting war weary by 1945 and FDR et al determined that the USA could continue the war another 12 months after Germany, but not much more. A slower/moral war of attrition would probably have failed even if continued till 1948 (war is FAR more than GDP, logistics favored the Japanese and they would not be handicapped by morality) and it is extremely unlikely that the USA could have sustained war for that long.


Alan, you are into generalities these days, it seems. Is blowing up war material immoral? While the merchant marine were not military, they certainly could qualify as such in choosing to move war material about. They'd know the risks, no? I'm not sure the Japanese could anticipate a nuclear bomb.

Even back then they could have targeted their loads well enough to minimize casualties. Dresden and Tokyo were terror campaigns, not legitimate war aims.

As for the war weariness, it is an excuse, nothing more. Were the Americans of that day to be told we would lose the war if they didn't persevere, you're saying they would have just said what the hell? I'm not buying.

This is quite old, so I probably won't check back. Let's agree to disagree. I find the entire subject pointless, really. I shouldn't have jumped in.


After losing WWII they would have been on a very short leash of some type

After losing WW I, Germany was put on a VERY short leash (no air force, 100,000 man army, very limited navy, demilitarized Rhineland, etc.).


And the Physics department at the University of Tokyo becomes a world leader in nuclear research ...

You may see a nuclear armed Japan before too long

A nuclear armed Japan would concern me slightly more than a nuclear armed Sweden. Japan of 2008 is *NOT* Imperial Japan.

Modern Japan does not have a militaristic cult, it is not expansionist, it is democratic, it values the lives of it's citizens. Mongolia of today is not the Mongols of Genghis Khan, Icelanders of today are not the Vikings, even the English of today are a bit more humane than their forebears.

The idea of nuclear weapons in the hands of Erik Bloodaxe, Genghis Khan or William the Conquerer is a bit more frightening than the Althingi or Parliaments of today.


The movie THE FOG OF WAR basically agrees with you-rather interesting documentary if possibly you missed it.

Yes, that's pretty much correct. The US had already established air supremacy, and had been busy blowing Japan's cities to bits anyway. The "we needed the atomic bomb to make the Japs surrender" story is just propoganda for the stupid US public. They were just showing off their new toy to the Russians.

Note that the Japanese War Cabinet split 3-3 on surrender or "100 million fighting to the death" even though news of Nagasaki arrived during the meeting. More earlier on this thread.

The Emperor specifically noted the atomic bomb in private discussions when he made the tie break vote for surrender and the public surrender address (the recording of the surrender that was later broadcast was smuggled out of the palace in laundry during a coup that took over the palace, trying to force a fight to the death).

How can you say any LESS force would have created a 4-2 vote for surrender ? Or made the Emperor not vote for surrender ?


That was unconditional surrender, which the US demanded. The US could have had a negotiated surrender, which would have involved probably keeping the emperor and not much more. It takes two to stop fighting. The US had many chances to stop fighting, but chose not to.

The US was quite bloodthirsty in those days. There was good reason to fear US occupation. Just look at what happened to Germany in the period 1945-1949. Yes, from 1949, the former-enemy-friendly Marshall Plan was very nice for Germany and Japan. However, until then, US policy was brutal. German deaths from starvation in 1945-1949 have been put as high as eight million. This was under a US occupation government -- and it was not exactly not-on-purpose if you know what I mean.

The US could have had a negotiated surrender, which would have involved probably keeping the emperor and not much more

Simply not true.

Please note the conditions still required by half of the War Cabinet AFTER two atomic bombs (quoted elsewhere in this thread).

What conditions would have the USA gotten after, say, the liberation of most of the Philippines ?

I doubt that Japan would have negotiated the liberation of Korea (note that the mid-1945 "talking point" was giving up European colonies conquered to independence, but not Korea), much less democracy within Japan (almost unthinkable), demilitarization (acceptable after Okinawa and Iwo Jima) and any fundamental change of the Imperial system.

IMO, preserving the Imperial system & militaristic culture would have likely lead to another, and worse, war a generation later.

The surrender in Tokyo Bay did preserve the Emperor (he continued his reign till the 1980s, his son reigns today), but repealed his divinity. Unthinkable before the surrender to repeal his Living God status.

As for the USA being bloodthirsty, this was total war, not the War of the Falkalnds/Malvinas (which had their moments of blood thirst, such as torpedoing of an Argentine cruiser exiting the war zone). Total war, and 50+% casualties are absorbed only with blood thirst.

That conclusion is contradicted by the historical record of Japanese decision making.

And the USA felt that it could not support a prolonged war of blockade (true or not, the PTB felt that they had 12 months after the surrender of Germany to force a favorable surrender upon Japan).


The only terms of peace acceptable to the Imperial Japanese Gov't involved loss of colonies, reparations, armaments limits and so forth.

The basic religious/cultural/governmental polity was not. No democracy, no occupation, no change in the status of the Emperor.

It is entirely reasonable (and probable) to expect that a generation later, a resurgent Imperial Japan would have tried to avenge the humiliation and lost territories and lost honor with another war, this time with nuclear weapons.


From the Wikipedia article:

A second level adviser proposed

Kido proposed that Japan give up occupied European colonies, provided they were granted independence, and that the nation disarm and for a time be "content with minimum defense".

Please note "for a time"

There was no agreement on what peace terms Japan might accept, or when to approach the Allies. The leaders of the Army were confident of their ability to deal the Americans a crippling blow when they attempted to invade Kyūshū in late 1945.

Please bear particularly in mind, however, that we are not seeking the Russians' mediation for anything like an unconditional surrender."

The Allies offered these positives

* "We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, ... The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established."
* "Japan shall be permitted to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind, ... Japanese participation in world trade relations shall be permitted."
* "The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people a peacefully inclined and responsible government.

AFTER two atomic bombs, 3 of the 6 in the War Cabinet still wanted

That Japan handle her own disarmament, that Japan deal with any Japanese war criminals, and that there be no occupation of Japan.


Alan, I must admit I get a chuckle when I read some of the articles and posts about the inhumanity of some types of war. The purpose of war, and I mean real down and dirty war, like used to be fought before PC war, is to break things and kill people, civilians included, until the enemy's will to resist has been broken. This is how wars were fought for thousands of years, and how wars will be fought in the energy constrained future. True war is hell, it is nasty and there are no rules. Many of our enemies know this. We have forgotten it with the obvious consequence that we don't win anymore.

The defender against invaders always has the home turf advantage and usually has the attacked civilian population as an ally. The USA has to overcome this disadvantage as it is always on the attack-all these conflicts are taking place at a great distance from the USA which makes the whole thing much more difficult.

Darwinian -

I really don't see how Japan could have rebuilt its war machine under the circumstances prevailing during August 1945.

It's navy was on the bottom of the ocean, it's air force almost non-existent, much of it's army stranded in China, its industry in almost total ruin, and most important of all: it was completely cut off from all supplies of oil, rubber, and many other strategic materials. Furthermore, its population was at the point of exhaustion and imminant starvation. Japan essentially had next to no remaining offensive capability.

This whole invasion of Japan argument is rubbish. The key consideration here was FDR's insistence on unconditional surrender. Take that away and there would have been no rational reason for a massive invasion of the Japanese mainland, as Japan had already extended feelers for a negotiated end to the conflict, but FDR would have none of it. And the reason FDR insisted on an unconditional surrender was that he wanted total power to control and shape a post-war Japan. He didn't just want peace; he wanted conquest.

Arguably, the insistence on an unconditional surrender prolonged the war longer than it needed to be and cost many thousands of American lives. You might also take note that many high-ranking US brass, including Eisenhower were opposed to the dropping of the atomic bomb because they felt it was entirely unnecessary and would constitute a gratuitous slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

Japan was on the ropes, but that does not mean they could not have made conquest of the home islands costly in terms of lives lost on both sides.

Street by street fighting is nasty.

It would also have tied up a lot of soldiers the US was hoping to station in Europe in order to check the Red Army from putting the Iron Curtain any west of where it did.

And the reason FDR insisted on an unconditional surrender was that he wanted total power to control and shape a post-war Japan. He didn't just want peace; he wanted conquest

A wise war aim that I concur with. Allowing the militaristic culture of Imperial Japan to continue post-WW II would have almost guaranteed another war to reclaim lost territory and honor. But Imperial Japan would be armed with nuclear weapons the next time.

An alternative history that I would not want to live through.


AlanfromBigEasy -

I think you are assuming that the military regime that ruled Japan would have still been in power after Japan's total defeat had inevitably sank in to the even the most loyal and patriotic Japanese citizen. What totally defeated regime ever still maintains powe?

The legitimacy of any goverment depends upon its ability to deliver the most basic essential services: food, water, power, emergency services. By August 1945 the Japanese military regime could do none of these. It was a crippled regime living on borrowed time ..... and very short time at that.

An easily enforced total naval blockage of Japan would have brought the whole country to its knees. But, you see, that would have taken time and would have been boring, and the US government wanted a quick and spectacular victory, i.e., a conquest. Hence the dropping of the atomic bomb. The lives of Japanese civilians meant absolutely nothing. That is the lasting shame that the US will have to live with. And it is a great moral stain that will not go away.

I disagree. You are imposing the cultural norms that you are familiar with.

All the leaders who lead Japan to defeat would have committed suicide as an apology, but the system would have remained as long as the Emperor was a Living God.

The coup that took over the Imperial Palace wanted a fight to the death.

The strength of this cultural paradigm was remarkable. Look at the 100,000 kamikazes planned or used. The refusal to surrender of 99+% of the Japanese Army, choosing death instead. School girls were issued awls and told to stab just one American in the belly.

I saw the movies of women and children tossed off the cliffs of Okinawa to prevent their capture, as US military Japanese translators pleaded over loud speakers for them not to.



You’ve made the case and put forward some convincing and reasonable conclusions based on the facts known to us. Well done.

There seems to be some reluctance by some readers to see radical fanaticism for what it is. Perhaps it is because we live in such a complacent, sanitized, sedated, indulgent, and coddled culture that mediocrity and shopping are all we can expect out of life anymore.

Meanwhile, there are some out there who automatically conclude the following:
- anything the U.S. (and by extension its Allies) does is bad
- everything everybody else does is good
- the U.S. is the source of all the world’s misery
- what a wonderful world it would be if only America would disappear

Such sentiments, I suspect, are carried over from the Cold War and reflect a knee-jerk response to avoid any actions or thinking that could inflame, provoke, or escalate the other side into causing us harm.

This self-preservation business is perfectly understandable, but it does skewer people’s thinking, and is damn frustrating to behold.

No expression would drive me crazier in my youth than hearing: “Better red than dead.”

There may be few things worth dying for, but equally, there are many things worth living for. And sometimes there are things worth fighting for, even at the risk of dying.

But it seems that since the Second World War, several generations have been born for whom the bard’s words have lost their meaning:
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

Perhaps this is what I am lamenting more and more lately. Where are the convictions and values that once sustained us? I ponder aloud sometimes whether this civilization any longer has the will to life or beauty or order or greatness or decency.

Could it be that the "greatest generation" was the last flicker of a candle?

Maybe the peaking of fossil fuels is the least of our worries? Maybe another resource -- within ourselves -- has already peaked?

End of rant/

I fear that you are right, at least for large segments of the USA.

New Orleans had a social fabric and something of great cultural value worth fighting for, something worth an almost fanatical determination to preserve.

Perhaps the same will come from small pockets around the USA, but I doubt that large swathes of Suburbia will have the same response.

Best Hopes ?


Ditto, I'm afraid, north of the border, too.

I think it sad when one of the top ranked t.v. shows so far in the twenty-first century is named "Survivor".

We've gone past living. Do we now "survive"?


"It is fantasy, not history, to believe that the end of the war(WWII)
was at hand before the use of the atomic bomb."
Richard B. Frank - US historian

A lot has been said of the toll the bombs took in terms of civilian lives.
What about the lives they saved?
My Dad told me that his division was scheduled to lead the invasion of the Japanese mainland.
He had heard that the commanding officers were expecting an 85% casuality rate.
With odds like those chances are that without those bombs being dropped I would have never been born.
It sure gave a young, anti-nuke knowitall something to think about.

Goldbug Richard Russell sheds some light on a time most of us can only imagine.

Every guy in the military that I knew was elated. And millions of American mothers and fathers looked to the heavens and thanked God that their kids were still alive.
Should we have dropped the bomb, or should we have invaded Japan the hard way? Don't even ask me that question. When I hear young people or academics arguing that to drop the bomb was inhuman and immoral I simply ask them where they were in 1945. I didn't know where they were, but I damn well knew where they weren't. They weren't in the military in that fateful year 1945.


Besides, everyone in the US hated Japan and felt they had it coming.

I must take great exception to this sentiment. My folks had very close friends who were Japanese Americans, and were very shaken when they were carted off to the concentration camps. I've since worked with many of their peers who related similar experinces and feelings. The source of such sentiment is virulent racism.

I understand many Italians were also in concentration
camps at the same time. Even considering that Italian
Americans were the largest contingient of the armed
forces and literally begged to storm the home shores
of Sicily and Italy.
Black Americans didnt have civil rights and also fought and died in WW11.Indiginous aboriginal Americans were a priceless component in the security communication of secret codes and were treated quite
badly.Of course its tabboo to mention facts like these
so I will mark myself down 12 times to save others the

All that I have read or heard is that Native Americans were treated equally in WW II, except fewer ended up in technical positions (mechanics, radar techs, steam fitters, etc.).

A Pima Indian was one of the flag raisers on Iwo Jima, all of whom were made into national heroes.


I have a close friend whose step-father who was of German extraction, was incarcerated in a concentration camp on one of the Aleutian islands. Apparently this is one of those little known stories of WWII in terms of who was incarcerated where.

Wallace more likely lost support for a second term as VP because of his support for ending segregation, his advocacy for giving minorities opportunities to advance to good paying jobs in war-related industries and his condemnation of the racism and discrimination that were major triggers for the 1943 race riots in Detroit. The Democratic Party relied heavily on support from southerners and Wallace's stance on race relations did not sit well with many southern Democrats.

He also upset the big-money crowd by negotiating agreements with Central and South American countries for production of war supplies that required the countries to allow labor negotiations, enact fair labor practices and to improve health and safety conditions on the job. Central America in particular had long been a virtual fiefdom for several large American corporations and business families and they reacted angrily to the labor changes forced upon them in those countries. They used their connections with FDR's Secretary of Commerce to vent their displeasure. Shortly thereafter Wallace was made into a figurehead by FDR.

Truman's selection may have been heavily influenced by the gain in stature, recognition and trust that came from heading up the "Truman Commission." The commission was able to successfully examine defense spending and identify areas of waste, fraud and abuse and implement fixes, along with recommendations for savings in other areas, all in the middle of a major war effort and apparently without harming that war effort.

By 1944 public support for the war was sagging, especially in the area of providing funding for the war. IIRC, at one point the government was concerned that it has only enough funding for a few more weeks of combat operations and consideration was being given to reducing the flow of men and supplies ot the fronts and directing combat commanders to reduce expenditures of munitions and other war stocks.

One school of thought is that giving Truman the VP spot served to reassure the public that the adminstration was serious about staying on top of waste, fraud and abuse in the war effort.

As Wallace notes in his essay, he knew very well who the fascists were and where they lurked in US society--and he was correct, as events have proved.

Most of US society has never been patient with much of anything, a contributing factor to our national malaise and reflected by the very visible addiction to instant gratification. Part of the problem was the decision to concentrate on Europe where battlefield victories were few and progress was slow versus the Pacific where the opposite was true. Plus, the new experiment with deficit spending was just that--new--and the old mantra for balanced budgets took a long time to quietdown (it still isn't dead yet).

One school of thought is that giving Truman the VP spot served to reassure the public that the adminstration was serious about staying on top of waste, fraud and abuse in the war effort

Imagine this being advanced in today's politcs!!!

Unfortunately, we will never know what might have been as you cannot conduct experiments with history. All we can do is study ALL, of it for the lessons it provides. But very few have the time and resources to do a proper job and thus rely too much on others to do this for them. Add to this the difficulty many history teachers have in connecting the meanings of historic events to the context and importance of contemporary times which results in making the study of history seem unimportant to youth, and you have a recipe for the disaster of a populace allowing its consent to be manufactured for it by forces inimical to its interest. All I can say is that a false Mythos that contains some small truths has been constructed and advanced by a powerful segment of the US to serve its own interest, and that segment owns the vast majority fo the means of communication and education, which isn't a recent development as journalists like I.F.Stone have noted. One of the Commandments says: Thou shall not bear false witness. I try to hold to that standard.

Today, any criticism of the military-industrial complex or the administration during a military conflict is twisted into some kind of unpatriotic subversion. Truman's commission was an exercise in Congressional oversight, by members of the controlling party willing to challenge their own sitting administration. We seem to have gotten further and further away from the idea that members of Congress from the party in control of the White House have any role to play other than that of cheerleaders and compliant stooges.

karlof1 - You forgot about another 1 million dead Americans from invading Japan.

My research has led me to conclude there wouldn't have been any invasion.

There would have been a feint two weeks before landing to draw out the kamikazes ("troop ships" would have been loaded stem to stern with anti-aircraft guns to maximize their survival, but no troops).

And as late intelligence came in, there was talk of going directly to Tokyo or to another island (40% of the ammo, troops & equipment stripped from Manchuria & Korea, were all on the southernmost island, along with most of the kamikazes).

Without a change in plans, it would have been am American bloodbath, with muh higher than expected causalities. The Japanese deployed more men & material in the south than expected. Instead of a 3:1 advantage for the USA, it would have been closer to 1:1.

But the invasion was on ! No note in the historic record of any consideration of not invading.

One reason is that domestic support for a long blockade war was seen as unlikely.


Karlof1 -- all of this WWII discussion comes from people steeped in the "Victory History" written to justify what was done.

As much as we in the USA might try to be objective, it is nearly impossible.

I know a Japanese man now living in the USA who was a child during the fire-bombings of Tokyo. His academic career has enabled him to at least leave some kind of record of the war from a different point of view.

My maternal grandfather was a great patriot, and was a decorated soldier in WWII, having fought quite courageously. Reflecting on the war in later years, he noted that the very wealthy on both sides won, and the poor on both sides lost.

His own impression was that farm boys and shop keepers sons were manipulated into committing terrible crimes, including the crime of killing shop keepers sons and farmers sons for no other reason than that they wore the other uniform, and so must be terrible monsters.

WWII was not a just war fought for noble reasons. It was an evil war for power (literal power) and dominance. There were no "Good Guys" -- there were simply people who wanted to control the world with propagandists working for them.

Remember that after the war our own State Department operated under the blatant assumption that because the USA had a tiny fraction of the world's population enjoying a relatively large bit of the wealth, that we needed to arrange things to keep our advantage unchallenged. I think that it was kennan's memo when stationed in Moscow that most explicitly spelled this out -- from memory.

All of this talk about theoretical lives saved or not is just so much mental masturbation which plays into the American Fascist meta-narrative. The fact is that we entered the war late and ended up consolidating quite a bit of global power as the spoils of war. The Marshall Plan was a good thing in many ways, but even that expanded and consolidated U.S. power in Europe.

War is not about love or justice or winning or strategy. War is about killing others and taking their shit.

Just like the war we are in now.

The war we are in right now is very real, and this time it will be clear that everyone loses in war.

Those who thought they won any war are the biggest losers of all.

War is Hell, and spawns more of the same.

Nukes in Japan was a violent, evil end to a violent, evil war and there were no innocent parties involved. It was all very, very dirty.

Just like the war we are in now.

Obama will use the war we are in now as the noble cause just as McCain will use it if elected, and we humans will kick one another's brains out -- using "justifiable" nuclear -- and biological, and chemical -- WMD's, and all for the noblest od reasons. We will declare this justice and nobility to one another as we complete the job of reducing our habitat to a toxic, smoldering wasteland that will be very much like Hell or Mordor on a bad day.

End of rant.

I exit, humming "Burn, baby, burn, when am I gonna get my turn...."

I respect you, but I disagree.

WW II was not Iraq.

You fail to see the fundamental conflict between a Greater Evil vs. a Lesser Evil (I am willing acknowledge that almost all gov'ts are evil to some degree).

Look at the domestic policies towards their own populations of the military dictatorship (including the way they subverted the culture to support a cult of militarism) vs. FDR.

Look at the treatment of civilian populations in occupied nations (are you familiar with the Rape of Nanking ? Manila ?) and prisoners. Imperial Japan and the USA. I do *NOT* see moral equivalence.

And FDR was the moral equivalent of Tojo & Suzuki ? That both are evil (agreed) ignores the moral difference between venal and mortal sins. between shoplifting and mass murder.

What American Army, when faced with being stranded and out of food and ammo, would make the choice that the Imperial Japanese Army in New Guinea chose ?

His forces, suffering from malaria, heat exhaustion and malnutrition were rendered ineffective for the remainder of the war, despite Adachi's efforts to achieve some form of self-sufficiency by planting crops and giving priority in rations to the sick. As ammunition began to run low, many of Adachi's commanders resorted to banzai charges against the Allied beachhead at Aitape rather than surrender. By the end of the war in September 1945, most of his forces had been annihilated. Of Adachi's original 140,000 men, barely 13,000 were still alive when the war ended.

There are some cultures worth massive evil to eliminate an even greater evil. Consider if North Korea of today was an expansionist world power that had conquered a series of nations, massacred their populations and wanted more, and a "moral war" would have lost in stopping them, but an "immoral war" would triumph. Then immoral means become the proper choice (I will not use the word moral).


Alan -- the respect is mutual.

I've been very busy with work snf fsmily. By now you are very focused on Gustav and implications for your beloved New Orleans.

Your points above were well-made and will make me think and perhaps change my ideas.

War is a lousy thing. Why are we big-brained humans so intent upon continuing war? Does it serve any real positive purpose? I would think we could come up with better, less painful ways to control our population.

Give Cheney a rifle and have him march north from Tbilisi

Have him chant "The American way of life is non-negotiable."

The rest of us can then live in peace.

BOP - One of Obama's economic gurus was just on CNBC, New Jersey Govenor (former Senator) Corzine (former head of Goldman-Sachs). He does not want to depend on exports for prosperity. Rather, we must get more money in the hands of ordinary US citizens so that they can buy more and consume more thereby boosting the economy. So apparently he can join Cheney in your "march" to show that Obama agrees with a non-negotiable way of life for Americans. Since this post is true, feel free to rate it down.

I have since found that the "non-negotiable" way of American life was first uttered by Bush I and may have a precursor in a statement by Kennedy. So it is part of a long established position of American politicos telling the public what they want to hear.

The truth is that no American (President Carter excepted) wants to acknowledge the truth. Here is an aspect of it:


When you do not wish to face the truth then the truth ultimately faces you and the outcome is rarely pleasant.

For what it is worth I modded your comment up.

"We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality" - Ayn Rand.

As for Obama wanting to uplift the working class, This item should provide a corrective to that assumption.

Cheney and diplomatic in the same sentence. That is a new one.

I guess that means he will leave his bazooka at home but will be packing his shotgun.

We know war is imminent if Cheney asks Putin to go bird hunting.

Another Dog and Pony show from the Global Elite, Jeez, what do they hope to accomplish this time? How far do they intend to take this?

Playing the emotions of the public by drip feeding half truths via the MSM is one of the things they do best, making money appear legal from illegal activities is another.

The End Game is upon us, the Bilderburg group won't even blink as they pull the trigger on Mr & Mrs Average to save their own skins.

You relinquish your own survival into the hands of these pricks at your own risk.

Does anyone have any data on oil shows in the Arctic basin?

Dome Pete and HBOG located NG off the Mackenzie Delta but I am not aware of any oil shows.

Russia appears to have NG on its side of the basin.

Is there anything beyond statistical probabilities to confirm all this arctic rumour oil?

From the August 25 post by Charles Hall, point 7: "(you need at least 15 C, thus Harris believes that much of the arctic -- where not continentally drifted -- will not produce too much oil)"

There was some oil produced from the Canadian Sverdrup Basin after the Arab Oil Embargo. The region is gas prone with about 17 TCF of discovered resources including Melville Island.

Devon announced an oilfield discovery in the offshore Mackenzie Delta area. Exxon/Imperial purchased more offshore leases there.

The Russian north coasts contained major oil and natural gas deposits also.

Peak China anyone?


Is it just me or has the bubble in the Shanghai index been overlooked or ignored by the majority of Western commentators?

This issue is a sleeper ready to go prime time. I wonder if the Olympics were to China what gladiator fights were to the Romans; a sign of terminal decline. China is shopping for big resource investments in the Southern Hemisphere and meeting resistance from the takeover authorities. The Chinese Premier and the Australian PM talked this over the day before the Olympics. Small mining towns have executives staying from China and India. Any unease felt by the locals is not against imperialism but that the mine would close were it not for Asian demand. We're talking almost any commodity..iron ore, uranium, nickel, urea, copper, LNG, higher grade coal.

When 1.3 billion people have their hopes dashed on becoming middle class anything could happen.

This presentation by Anne Courin was pretty good. Anne Courin seems to be an old school conservative. I am guessing she is a new face in Washington as I couldn't find much on her using Google. It was interesting to hear her perspective.

Maybe 40% of her energy analysis was bad but many of the risks were identified correctly.

I thought the Q&A was much better than the actual presentation.

It is exciting to see that the conversations are moving in the right direction even if the progress is in baby steps...

The presentation is split into 7 pieces...


With a vehicle market dominated by lightweight and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the US could cut its current fuel consumption in half by 2035, says a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative.

This is good news. Only due to ELM we may only have as little as 10% remaining (domestic supply). Less if we subtract EROEI losses.

Bat roosts for guano - here's Bird roosts for the same.

I really like that - such an elegant solution. Hopefully those that collected the bounty had big hats....

Just don't put 'em near wind turbines...

Wind turbines make bat lungs explode

"Beware: exploding lungs" is not a sign one would expect to see at a wind farm. But a new study suggests this is the main reason bats die in large numbers around wind turbines.

I never see wind turbines' blades spinning very fast. How fast do they go?

And why aren't birds and bats killed by trees swaying in the wind?

In the case of bats, I would guess trees swaying in the wind don't produce the pressure changes spinning wind turbines do.

For birds...the blades may not look like they are moving fast, but they are, at least at the tips. I imagine birds have evolved to find shelter of some sort if the weather is so bad that trees are moving as fast as the tips of wind turbine blades.

Don't they have problems with birda at airports? Do we need to deploy "counter measures" around our turbines?

Maybe we can get Halliburton on it after they finish giving democracy to the middle east.

The difference is that birds at airports can end up killing people. If it's just birds, and not people getting killed, there's not much incentive for counter measures.

Try standing underneath a really large wind turbine sometime. The sound of that tip whipping through the air as it arcs down towards you is pretty impressive. According to


tip velocity is typically 6-7 times the wind speed, meaning that on a fairly windy day (say, 20 mph), tip velocity could exceed 120 mph. Zoom zoom. Not a lot of trees swaying at 120 mph.

tip velocity is typically 6-7 times the wind speed

Sometimes MUCH faster ... no bats would want to get near this!


Birds and bats don't fly into things they can see/sense as fixed objects. Bladed wind machines are not fixed as their blades move and thus clobber the unsuspecting animal. The Windside type of wind machine IS seen as a fixed object, thus it doesn't kill animals.

An engineer who worked on wind turbine gear boxes told me that turbine blades are designed to rotate at 11 revolutions per minute. The pitch of the blades are adjusted to keep this speed constant, or at least as constant as possible. If this is true, the tangential speed of the blade tips is directly proportional to the length of the blades.

Great article about ancient tech and fertilizers.
"InshAllah" This way can be returned too and used again.
Sorry for the phonetic spelling of Arabic..my Arabic isnt what it used to be.

Or here is a more practical and accessible solution to many looming problems:

Rush for Bicyclist Training Classes


A VERY good idea for new commuters.

Best Hopes for Non-Oil Transportation,


Motorcycle training classees in the Arkansas area have been pretty well booked lately as well. I think that is a very important thing for new motorcycle riders, as it helps prevent the creation of bad riding habits.

I just completed my motorcycle training class weekend before last. It was at a Harley Davidson dealership, because the local vocational schools, which do most of the training, were full.

When asked the reason for learning to ride the motorcycle, I was the only one to mention the better mileage. You could tell the instructor thought gas mileage was a reason, but not the reason to ride a motorcycle. They are really into the mystique and are mystified by the practical considerations.

Probably a RePost, but NPR had a story on E-bikes in SanFran yesterday..

Closest stories I saw in a quick search..

Electric bikes selling briskly as gas prices climb

Bicycle roundup -
Several days ago the Associated Press reported electric bicycles are selling well.


This feels very strange.

I'm riding down an alley in San Francisco, pedaling as you would on any bicycle. Each time I put my foot down, the bike presses on a little further. It's all very normal.

But then, with the flick of a switch on the bike's handlebars, it shoots forward with a strong, smooth, motorized thrust. Quickly, I've hit 20 miles an hour.

This isn't normal anymore.

West Texas
There has been some debate on the depletion rate given megaprojects data: should it be 4.5 or 5.2 or higher.
Have you considered updating your ELM analysis, which posits effective depletion (wrt usable exports) of 6.2% (then you say plus or minus 4% - I can see plus, i.e. 10%, but do you really see overall ELM decline of 2% as in the realm of possibility, given geological depletion of 4%?)

My point here is that IF effective decline in usable exports, including the ELM effect, is 10%, then a very negative scenario could unfold.

10% decline i.e. 7 MBPD would be effectively a cliff, not a gradual decline

So the nightmare scenario is oil spikes to lets say $300, causing a major economic slowdown, and demand destruction. But the ELM cliff is so steep that depletion is GREATER than demand destruction, forcing ever higher prices.

How do we model global demand destruction in the face of that? would economies like China adapt faster and more effectively? or would the US?
Given the wasteage in the US, I do think that the US could cut 1/3 of consumption without affecting fundamental operations, but beyond that - no.

I'm sure there will be a few books written - written in about 2020. Can't do it now - only speculate

... may you live in interesting times...

again I highly recommend the book "The Great Wave"
this spike in energy & energy shortage has happened in the past

and as the saying goes 'the past is prologue'

Lots and lots of variables, so I try to keep it as simple as possible. But a couple of points. The depletion rate refers to the volume of recoverable reserves that you are using per year. The decline rate refers to the annual rate of change in production. Simmons defines the Gross Decline Rate as the decline rate from existing wells. He defines the net decline rate as the Gross Decline Rate, plus the effect of new wells, workovers, etc. ExxonMobil puts the Gross Decline Rate from existing wells at 4% to 6% per year. Using the higher end estimate, we need 4.4 mbpd of new crude oil production worldwide every year, in order to maintain constant production.

Regarding net oil exports, our middle case is that the top five collectively approach zero around 2031. My guess is that total net oil exports in 2031 will be down by at least 75% from their 2005 peak rate. I do think that the net export decline will outpace the decline in demand due to a contracting economy, requiring a continued increase in oil prices in order to balance declining net oil exports against declining demand, but it is a horse race between declining net oil exports and declining demand.

Stop the War on the Poor released:
Who Is Leading This War On The Poor?

A group of politicians in Washington, D.C. are working to raise energy prices even higher. Why? Because they want to force Americans to use less and live poorer lives. But higher energy prices hit low-income families the hardest. That makes these politicians the leaders of an immoral "War on the Poor."

Who are these people? Our Alliance recently did an analysis of who votes against the interests of low-income families on energy issues in the Congress. Those who voted most often against the poor have been named "Punishers of the Poor." More.

The first news item above:Scrapping fuel subsidies can help climate - UN study
exemplifies this example of the elite worshipping nature's status quo while further impoverishing and starving the poor. Those who claim to benefit the poor are legislating to impoverish them. The increase in fuel prices has caused catastrophic increases in balance of payments for poor countries far greater than all aid contributions.

Let's be clear about this, David L. Hagen, the poor of every country are going to be the most to suffer from climate change. They are the ones who live in the marginal areas, most vulnerable to floods and drought and every other extreme of inclemency. Most of their income goes to those bulky goods whose production costs are most dependent on climate services such as food and water. I'd like to take you to see my brothers and sisters in Christ in the Pacific isles who are watching the storm tides rise higher and higher every year. The status quo of nature is 280 ppmv of CO2. It's less than the pre-industrial methane level and methane is a key agricultural emission, so let's not worry so much about it. We left the status quo behind long ago. This is belt tightening and damage control.

In this country, the solution to keeping energy costs from hurting the poor is constructing an economy more suited to the needs of labor than the leisure of their managers. It doesn't mean drilling for more oil. That means electrifying as much transport as possible for freight on long hauls and light rail solutions for passenger transport on short hauls. Early 20th century American cities were gritty, polluted, and dank with farms on their outskirts. The working class could walk or take the streetcar to work. Technology may allow us to produce things with far less external costs to the areas where they're made. The early 20th century American city hopefully will be a model for the mid 21st century city. I don't know if we can reclaim urban and suburban blight for agriculture, but we need to try. We need to give the poor more control over their food, so they are less susceptible to price shocks and gradually wean our power generation off fossil fuels. And if this is elitist or racist, let us look to the Caribbean, where there us so much poverty but at least the able-bodied poor usually can grow their own food.

Yes, but everybody knows this-it is just politically incorrect to say it. The UN article read like something out of THE ONION or the Yes Men. Quit giving energy to the poor-sell it to us instead-we deserve it as we have more money (this makes it more efficient).

I might agree with you...except for peak oil. All of us, including the poor, are going to have to get used to using less.

That holds true here in the US as well. It's dumb to subsidize heating oil for the poor. What we should be doing is building housing that's more energy-efficient.

Peak oil means the subsidies are going to end...one way or another.

There is the Catholic doctrine of "http://christopherbennett.blogspot.com/2008/04/preference-for-poor.html">preferential option for the poor". [Liberation theology - I'm not sure where the current Pope sits on that; he has surprised me of late. Perhaps it takes a former Nazi to recognize the current crop.] And while I'd agree that the political elite doesn't give a damn about such ethics and morals, this Stop The War On The Poor site is a crock of shit - more aimed at trying to take that position over falsely. "Price" is not the issue; food, work and so forth are the issues. Giving more money to LIHEAP is not the issue; keeping people fed and warm over the long term is the issue. The preferential option for the poor would suggest ordering the National Guard home to insulate low income housing, lay rail and build community gardens - not drilling and stealing and giving $1000 tax credits to buy fuel.

Who votes against the interests of low-income people in Congress? Give me a break. Almost everyone. That's what Congress is for - insulating the wealthy from the rabble.

cfm in Gray, ME

Funny what they forgot to mention.
CORE: http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Congress_of_Racial_Equality
AAE: http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Americans_for_American_Energy

If you really don't wanna read it here is the jist: CORE gets lots of money from Exxon Mobil and AAE gets lots of money from a PR firm that is getting paid to try and get ANWR drilled not exactly non biased firms. They don't give a flying f*ck about the poor. But if they can use them as a prop to make more money and get any and all enviro legislation gutted (cause it hurts the poor unlike oil spills by the Exxon Valdez and the rusted out pipeline in AK and pollution that comes out of refineries, power plants, and interstates which is right where many of America's poor live and Ronnie Raygun told us trees pollute more than cars so thats that). But hey thanks for the challenge I like to see how fast I can debunk corporate tripe disguised as some supposed "grassroots" organization. It took me 2 and half minutes on this one

Don't forget, if you are poor you are more likely to be living next to a toxic waste dump. If you are poor you are more likely to have been exposed to lead in gasoline and old paint over the years. If you are poor you are less likely to have insurance to protect from health problems and "natural" disasters caused by commerce.

Willingness to destroy the environment is just another sign of the race to the bottom.

Wow even more ways the poor get fvcked by a lack of enviro legislation. Jeez a few I really hadn't thought of. If there is one thing this nation seems to do well its really hurt the weakest members of our society.

I found that piece of news hilarious:

Gulf Arab Investors Interested in GM's Hummer

Thanks to American technology, the Saudis are on the right path to increase oil exports!

How does one get into that THING ?

No outside steps.

And the overhead clearance ?


How does one get in?

Automatic hydraulic ramp?

It has a deployable escalator. Or you could just float up to the door on a Speculative Bubble.(Optional)

Around here, that things SHORT.

Alan writes:

How does one get into that THING ?

No outside steps.

High heels??

What's with the color? It looks like Paris Hilton's Hummer (pun intended).

Bob Shaw,

Apparently Tiger has not taken any of your emails to heart. Perhaps it's time for another campaign?

Tiger Woods unveils his Dubai golf course

The Tiger Woods Dubai is being built on a 55 million square feet (5.1 million square meters) of desert land. It will feature a "state-of-the-art" golf academy, a luxury boutique hotel whose interiors will be designed by the famous Lebanese designer Elie Saab.

The project's luxury residences will include 22 palaces, 75 mansions and 100 villas. It is scheduled for completion in 2009.

The desert emirate which is vying to establish itself as a regional centre for tourism features several golf courses which host international tournaments, despite being extremely poor in water resources

The Tiger Woods Dubai will be part of Dubailand -- an ambitious multi-billion-dollar development that is widely touted as the Middle East's very own Orlando, which is gradually emerging across the desert sands of the booming Gulf emirate.

The entire 24-project venture, not scheduled for completion before 2025, is estimated to cost 235 billion dirhams (64 billion dollars, 48 billion euros), 60 percent of which is expected to come from private investors.

Dubai has become my favorite place. It's the only place in the world that makes the unrestrained growth in Las Vegas look reasonable and by comparison, maybe even a little pathetic.

Somewhat depressing for the members that can only afford a Mansion, when everyone really needs a Palace. Hopefully the clubhouse will include the Dubai staple, the indoor ski hill.

Dubai in on a direct line to our next decade's desolation! If energy consumption demands do not sink the place then global warming will. I can't think of a more deserving recipient for rich folks' aspirational wealth than this. Build me a helipad while I remortgage the family fortune.

Agreed, Dubai has put us to shame wrt conspicous consumption. It makes Vegas look like some hippie eco-village outside Portland. Who the f**k would aspire to have "their very own Orlando"???

When Orlando is something to aspire to, you know we are in collapse. It sounds like something out of The Onion.

It's getting harder and harder to tell the Onion from the NY Times. It's not that one has changed so much, just that they are converging. My personal favorite, that seemed funny at the time, but gets less and less funny all the time describes the end of the 90's and what was coming:


It was supposed to be satire, but now seems like they were looking into a crystal ball. Next year, the NY Times could just change it to the past tense and print it verbatim as a summary of his presidency.

Consumer, that piece by the onion is a gem. Uncanny. Spooky, too.

... and the 2008 Chrystal Ball Award in journalism goes to...

"No one could have foreseen..."

I wish I could argue...however, I can't...

Hello Phreephallin,

Yep, sad to see this link. I wouldn't be surprised if there is an 'insider' on Tiger's staff specifically tasked to make sure he never meets Richard Rainwater or Matt Simmons, much less get an invite to visit their survival Eco-Tech farms.

There's a report traffic jams on motorways in the UK are down 12 percent for first six months this year, believed due to credit crunch issues:


Of course it remains to be seen if this translates into reduced traffic jams in city centres and people making a long term decision on avoiding pointless journeys. Somehow I suspect not.

The voting system doesn't seem to work (for me at least).
In IE clicking to vote does nothing, and in Firefox I get the error message: "Karma Error: parseerror"

Others have complained about it, too. Though clearly, it's working for some people.

OH! Karma error...that's bad. Hope you don't come back as a rat or a spider or a neocon.

Yeah, I was also a bit spooked about it... Just in case, I'd prefer that spider thingy instead of a neocon.

I think I would put a Dung Beetle over a neocon--
At least the beetle is doing something useful!

This is for westexas:

Home, small home: 250 square feet

It's about the size of seven ping-pong tables - and all yours starting at $279,000.

A San Francisco design and development firm has begun marketing 98 tiny condominiums - ranging from 250 to 350 square feet - at the Cubix Yerba Buena building in SoMa.

SoMa = South of Market Street

When we watched a segment on "Tiny Homes" on CBS Sunday Morning, my lovely bride pointed out that the guy designing them, and living in one, was single.

Brown's Housing Theorem For Years Past (disputed by Leanan, who cites Bill Gates): The size of a housing unit is generally a compromise--between the husband, who wants something 50% smaller, and the wife, who wants something 50% bigger.

I have to wonder if the garage is the opposite ;-)

If there are teenagers in the family, almost no house is big enough.

I noticed the short article posted above: US could cut fuel use 50% by 2035. The article is clearly talking about oil and not just "fuel" as in coal or other fuel. Nevertheless, as oil exports from oil producing countries will be down to about zero in 27 years, the US will need to get by on less than 25% of its current oil consumption. But about 150 countries, of the 194 countries in the world, will be far worse off.

While news.googling "oil production" this morning I came across the following article: Oil Prices Reinvigorate Drilling in Germany The article stated that Germany currently produces three percent of the oil it consumes. Imagine that, three percent! And two thirds of that comes from Germany's tiny slice of the North Sea which is in sharp decline. (The article is behind a pay wall but when accessed from news.google the whole article appears for some strange reason.)

My point is, the vast majority of the countries world depends, far more than most people realize, on oil exports from just a very few oil exporters. Oil exports, as Jeffery Brown points out, are scheduled to drop dramatically in the next few years. And escalating conflicts in the world could greatly exacerbate an already bad situation.

People, I fear TSHTF a lot sooner than even the most pessimistic of us realize.

Ron Patterson

Hello Darwinian,

Yup! I think we are still on track for Jay Hanson's Thermo/Gene Collision prediction timeslot [8-page PDF Warning]:

1 Fifteen years, plus or minus ten years, is when I estimate anarchy will reign in the United States. Please note that I do not advocate anarchy. Indeed, anarchy is the worst possible future. However, our government was not designed to solve social problems and will be utterly helpless in the face of unfolding biophysical law-driven events.
Of course, You and I both know from Jay's past predictions that Jay has a stunning prediction accuracy. Basically, I think Jay is pleading desperately for the world to wake up, then take action to make things less worse, but he is not expecting it. Such is life...

I find the news that Russia is going to officially recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia very telling. Along with the fact that they seem to have decided to stay blocking the port of Poti for the foreseable future. Imperial Russia is definitely back and it controls a lot of oil and gas, and is prepared to control even more in the Artic. BTW, the IPCC should probably add a feedback calculation on it's global warming forecast: as the ice in the Artic melts, more fossil fuels become available, which will add even more carbon. Really convenient.

Russia has become very beligerant, but that is a position the west can counter; by removing Russian access to western countries. Visa access for Russian nationals to the EU an US territories is an aspirational goal - which if blocked will hit the Russian pockets where they hurt - politically a withdrawal of visa grants to Russian nationals will have greater long term impact than any short term military action. As a regular visit to the place this is where the politics is most active!

Huh? The EU is not at war with Russia-European are not stupid enough to threaten energy security over Georgian Saddam Hussein wannabes IMO.

Russia is basically giving the US the middle finger. It's next "diplomatic move" will be a thinly veiled threat to reduce energy exports to the EU unless the EU toes the line.


The policy of Containment was tried once before and was a failure before it even got started. Something needs to get through some people's propagandized brains: The "West" is dependent on Russia for its resources; Russia is not dependent on the "West." Russia contains roughly 13% of the earth's continental landmass; within this landmass is the last resource "frontier": Siberia. The motive for stealing 1/2 of Mexico is the same motive for wanting Siberia and Iraq/Iran. Just as Polk painted Mexico as the aggressor, BushCo is doing the same with Russia. There was a large segment of US public opinion that favored the complete takeover of Mexico to discipline it and provide it with "civilization." The "humanitarian" argument is today's substitute.

Yep, them poor deprived commies will have no place to visit but... Beijing.

I think they will forget about us soon enough, thus accomplishing what the Soviets never could.

What I have not seen addressed is the fact that melting ice is absorbing a significant amount of heat energy: the ice melt is holding the temperature stable.

Once the ice has fully melted there will be no further absorption of energy and and the temperatures will increase. This increase will be furthered by the decline in albedo due the loss of ice cover.

The children of the world will not have a bright future.

Not quite. While the ice is absorbing infrared heat energy re-radiated from the atmosphere, this a very minor effect on the energy budget. The key is that it's reflecting 80% or more of the incident solar energy, as opposed to open water, which reflects ~5%. So the potential absorption of solar radiation and infrared re-radiation by the surface (water or ice) at the pole climbs by a factor of 4-5. And makes matters no less dire than you said.

It's not well known but the albedo of the ocean at high latitudes is greater than that at lower latitudes, since the zenith angle is so large, even during the peak period near 22 June. Even though the sun is above the horizon all day long, the amount of energy reflected is quite high and the cosine effect is such that the actual insolation is spread over a wide area as well. At the same time, once the sea-ice begins to melt, the albedo of the surface drops below 50% as the melt ponds act like open water. Thus, during the summer melt season, the difference in albedo in the visible portion of the spectrum between the sea-ice and areas of open ocean is not so large as one might think. The situation is further confused by presentations of composite photos taken from satellite which only receive light reflected at high zenith angle, for which the albedo difference is quite large, which leaves the impression that the total albedo difference is also large.

E. Swanson

To continue where Black Dog left off. Also the polar area is pretty cloudy, so the effect of the surface albedo is lowered. And most of the open water doesn't appear until late in the summer (late July or August), well beyond the insolation max at the solistice.

OTOH, an overall change of albedo of say 5%, is still very significant, and is much larger than the energy needed to melt the ice. At solistice, the pole actually recieves more solar radiation (assuming clouds don't get in the way), than any other level surface on the planet. Since we are talking about changes from some climatic baseline level, the net melting of ice averaged over a year is the proper metric. This isn't such a large number. I once calculated the numbers, but don't recall them, but I think that overall -ignoring the atmosphere, I think the annual insolation at the pole is roughly half of what the equator recieves. So for the six months that the sun is shining, the polar region has about as much solar available as the tropics.

To continue where Black Dog left off. Also the polar area is pretty cloudy, so the effect of the surface albedo is lowered. And most of the open water doesn't appear until late in the summer (late July or August), well beyond the insolation max at the solistice.

I suggest you go look at the pics from the last three years. Late July? Not so much anymore. Historical data does not necessarily equal current data. Links in this and other recent Drum Beats.

the net melting of ice averaged over a year is the proper metric.

I disagree. The most important stat is the summer ice mass, not the averaged ice mass. Single year ice can completely form and then completely melt every single year. That's a zero sum game. The summer gains in energy build up, but don't prevent ice formation in winter. Look at the last calendar year: record low followed by greater ice extent than during the previous year followed by... now nearing the same extent as last summer. Full melting every year may well be the case in a very short number of years.

That heat builds in the water. Current melting is from beneath with air temps below freezing.

These are *not* linear systems.


Thanks, Black Dog, I forgot about glint.

While I don't believe any government does things for mainly ethical reasons, particularly not great powers like Russia or the US, it is pretty clear Russia is in the right on this one, and the US is so deep in hypocrisy it beggars my ability to write about it.

North & South Ossetia were divided by Stalin (himself a Georgian) as part of his effort to harrass and weaken ethic minorities. North Ossetia was made part of the Russian Republic, while South Ossetia was made part of the Georgian Republic. When the USSR broke up, Georgia made off with South Ossetia, very much against the will of the Ossetes.

The South Ossetians want nothing more than to be free of Georgia and united with their kinfolk in North Ossetia. They have a history of being hassled by the Georgians, and the breakup of the former Yugoslavia has given them hope that they can get out of Georgia. In a recent referendum (monitored by neutral observers) the South Ossetians voted 99% for independence from Georgia with 95% turnout.

If one believes at all in the right of a people to self-determination, then there is only one side one could take -- South Ossetia should be independent from Georgia. If they want to join Russia, fine; if not, that's fine too.

The US, of course, doesn't give a rat's ass about self determination. Instead, the US has repeatedly encouraged Georgia to "fight for its territorial integrity", no matter that that territory was set up by one of history's great monsters, no matter that the people in question who live in that territory want no part of Georgia.

Russia may indeed have aggressive intentions in the Caucasus. However, there's precious little actual evidence of it so far. What Russia has done in Georgia was to retaliate against a sneak attack by its agressive neighbor. If they don't leave before ensuring that Georgia is unlikely to attack again, it is evidence of prudence, not agression. But the US propaganda machine (a.k.a. Minitru, a.k.a. the MSM) is working in overdrive to make it look like Russia is the agressor.

Joe Biden blasts McCain on auto loans

I really didn't like reading this. The reason is that I feel like the U.S. auto industry is reaping what it has sown due to its refusal to market smaller cars, and intense lobbying to not raise the fleet average fuel economy. Why should we be bailing out corporations that have shown their ineptitude for conducting what is supposed to be their core business? I recognize that a lot of american workers will lose their jobs if GM or Ford go out of business, but how do we know these loans won't be used to subsidize more plants in Mexico, Europe or Canada? How do we know that the U.S. citizens (consumers) are going to get any benefit from having these corporations continue to be in business? The other day I heard a car commercial from Ford I think talking about the "great" fuel economy of one of their cars at 28-30 mpg. 28-30 mpg is great? These guys do not get it.

Basically, the only way I could support these loans fully is that there would need to be strings attached. As in, the government now dictates fuel economy, quality standards, off-shoring etc. I feel like in the U.S. the corporations get all the benefits of having a "free market" without much regulation but none of the detriments, like the freedom to fail if you do poorly. It's deranged, why should I as a tax-payer want to bail out companies that make cars that I see as a overuse of the very precious resources of oil and steel just for basic transportation? Bah.

All screw up corporations in the USA should get taxpayer money and all profitable corporations should be hit with a windfall profits tax (to help funnel money to the connected screw ups)-the American way.

I feel the same way. However, the Big 3 do make some efficient cars... for Europe. The problem is that they can't sell them over here because of different government requirements.

I think a better help for the domestic manufacturers would be to adopt the EU car regulations so that the efficient cars made in/for Europe could be made in the US for the US market. A forced downsizing retrofit of some of the most egregious of the "light" and medium-duty trucks would do more to improve road safety than all the extra US safety requirements that we would lose by going with European standards.

I just got back from Europe and was amazed at all the wonderfully small and fuel-efficient Fords and Opels (owned by GM). As we've discussed previously on TOD DB, the Ford Fiesta was one that is still being sold there, but there are plans to reintroduce it by 2012.

*edit* Actually, I disagree about the regulations. I think the biggest difference is marketing, the marketing departments in the U.S. don't think that Americans want smaller cars. Yet, whaddya know, when gas prices go up, Americans stop buying bigger cars. Who-da thunk it?

Gwydion son of Don

Small cars in Europe are a practical result of lower wealth (originally after WWII) and narrow winding roads. Enter some historical cities in Europe with an SUV and quite literally you will get jammed between two walls on some roads. The US has so much space that rarely has that been a consideration.

The Ford Fiesta has been on sale in the UK since the 1970's in its various forms. I learn't to drive in one and my brother bought an automatic version last year. It has never had the stigma of being a poor mans car as it acquired in North America because every social group has driven and used the car (or a small car) at some time. For example went for a hair cut a week or two ago and another customer who happens to own a property development company worth several hundred million turns up with his son in an old Mini Cooper, now a classic car (but he is petrol head).

The Mini by contrast seems to have no problem selling in the US, the numbers I saw last year amazed me, obviously hit the right note for some reason. Size might not be the problem but presentation might be. I still remember seeing some US comedy programme with a line of small european cars with huge numbers squeezed into each, The Americans of course led the way in some massive chunk of metal, laughing at the poor plebs. The Smart car has that problem now in the US market, it has comic value on NBC news. The original Mini in the UK had the same problem until it was given away to celebrities, who enjoyed driving them, were seen and photographed in the car, and hey presto they became popular. Get the political, business, social elite driving small cars and like sheep everyone else will follow. Alternatively tax petrol (gas) like Europe and everyone would change to a small car in a fortnight.

And, "who killed the electric car?" These auto makers do not deserve a cent of public money. They purposefully destroyed a good product so they could continue selling gas guzzlers. The EV met all the US standards, yet they destroyed them.

Currently reading "Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein. There is a section about the Argentine Junta as it prepared to leave power assuming the debt of a number of major corporations, nationalizing that debt for the public to take care of while all of the profits were enjoyed by the elite few. One of many Neo Liberal/NeoCon examples. This "Auto Loan" story strikes a similar cord. And I can't help thinking about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I just shake my head as I get an increasingly nauseating feeling. Seems to be about massive transfers of wealth to a select few.

That is the way the game is played-as I type this I see the Governator staring-the same guy that was put in to help out Enron (and made it his first order of business). The American taxpayer is there to be taken-hopefully it doesn't get as bad as in Argentina.

There is a very good movie re the economic collapse in Argentina on You Tube

This is the link to part 1 of 12

Note the similarities in characters and the betrayal of the people

Domingo Cavallo = Paulson/Bernanke

and especially

Menem - Obama

Southwest Airlines to cut almost 200 flights this fall

And aren't they one of the more financially stable carriers?

Yep - and it sounds as if they are gonna REALLY TRY to stay that way.


They are. Because they have a longer planning horizon, as you can see.

Bad day for air travel...

F.A.A.: Communications problems causing flight delay

Communications problems are causing flight delays throughout United States, the FAA says. The glitch is at the FAA facility south of Atlanta, which processes flight plans.

I didn't see this posted on TOD today but thought it was worth a mention:

Oil Drillers Scramble for Workers

"We face a hiring dilemma," said John Breed, a spokesman for Noble Corp., one of the world's largest offshore drilling companies.

In the next two years, Noble plans on bringing five new drilling rigs online. It takes about 150 workers to staff each rig. The total number of employees required to keep these rigs running around the clock is about 300. That means Noble needs to hire nearly 1500 new employees in the next two years, an increase of over 20%.

And while unemployment nationwide may be rising, filling these positions is a challenge.

Neanderthals Not Dumb, but Made Dull Gadgets
Think about this the next time you see the tens of thousands of items of useless crap in the shopping aisle, car malls, etc. We are putting our energy into making 'dull gadgets' vs the building of the real tools we will need postPeak.

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

Think of the economic advantages of all the useless crap our consumer based,marketing driven,corporate controled society benefits from.
Garage sales filled with broken junk and priceless collectables like pet rocks.
Huge industry of transport and storage of all the excess useless crap and broken junk..U store it U keep the key!
Flea markets and the recent online adventures of Craigslist and E-Bay.
Army Navy stores are my favorite though. You can purchase nearly any implement of desruction or the
pieces to make a whole one.
An AK-47 cost about $500.00 US and is a knock off,yet
a real McCoy in any other place, is the price of a
chicken.....ya cant make this stuff up.

(Hurricane Gustav hits Haiti)

"Gustav" Literally means "Staff of God"
Dont mean to wax theologically or religiously but...
The symbolism and coincidence is just too hard to ignore.
The first four letters alone (Gust) combined with the
obvious derivative of the last two (av).
Pointing it out after the fact wouldnt make any tea
leaf reader seem anymore credible.

I always chuckled when the Old Gypsy women answered the door and welcomed the suckers....errr...I mean
customers with the words...."Welcome...I KNEW you were

Another reason not to buy Citigroup stock

From the Mets website:

On November 13, 2006, Citigroup - the leading global financial services company operating in more than 100 countries - and the New York Mets announced an exclusive 20-year, multifaceted strategic marketing and business partnership that includes the naming rights for Citi Field, the new world-class home of the Mets, scheduled to open by Opening Day 2009.

The "Naming Curse" has actually been a pretty good indicator that a company will be going down the tubes, e.g., Enron Field in Houston and Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Texas.

Good point. Over here we have 3Com park (NASDAQ:COMS). Stock was over 80 in year 2000, but trading at about 2 now.

The list of sporting venues with sole naming rights is probably slightly longer than you realize. Here are just the A's (and only from the US!).

Alerus Center 	                Grand Forks, North Dakota
Alexian Field 	                Schaumburg, Illinois
Alliance Bank Stadium 	        Syracuse, New York
Alliant Energy Center 	        Madison, Wisconsin
Alliant Energy Field 	        Clinton, Iowa
Allstate Arena 	                Rosemont, Illinois
Alltel Center 	                Mankato, Minnesota
Alltel Arena 	                North Little Rock, Arkansas
AmericanAirlines Arena 	        Miami, Florida
American Airlines Center 	Dallas, Texas
American Bank Center 	        Corpus Christi, Texas
Amway Arena 	                Orlando, Florida
Androscoggin Bank Colisée 	Lewiston, Maine
Appalachian Power Park 	        Charleston, West Virginia
Applebee's Park 	        Lexington, Kentucky
Arco Arena 	                Sacramento, California
Arrowhead Credit Union Park 	San Bernardino, California
AT&T Bricktown Ballpark 	Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
AT&T Center 	                San Antonio, Texas
AT&T Field 	                Chattanooga, Tennessee
AT&T Park 	                San Francisco, California
Auto Club Speedway 	        Fontana, California
AutoZone Park 	                Memphis, Tennessee
Avista Stadium 	                Spokane, Washington

Of course, one might argue that many of the these venues belong to Podunk semi-pro teams and should not be counted. In which case, I would point you to this list from ESPN that is only professional sporting venues. The ESPN list contains over 65 stadiums and shows how long companies have naming rights and how much they pay per year. Isn't capitalism great?

The ESPN list, with perhaps a couple of exceptions (and some companies have been acquired), would probably make a pretty good list of companies to take short positions on. It would be interesting to see what has happened to American Airline stock since they did the Dallas deal.

First time poster... been lurking here for a couple months. Blame Paul Krugman.

I'm surprised that no one has commented about the Cantarell field dropping below 1 MB/day. It seems to be petering out well ahead of every projection I could find in a quick search of TOD. Is Pemex really that inept at enhanced extraction technology, or did they suck it dry before its time?

Pemex has probably done about as good a job as anyone could have done. In early 2005, if memory serves, a WSJ article noted that the remaining oil column of about 800' was thinning at the rate of about 300' per year. It's really just depletion--the world's second largest producing field watering out. Assuming that the Ghawar complex is in decline, which I believe that it is, every oil field in the world that has ever produced one mbpd or more of crude oil is presently in decline.

And of course, net oil exports should fall faster than production. Mexico, like the UK and Indonesia, is a "fast decliner." They were consuming about half of their production at their final peak in 2004. Mexico--our #3 source of imported crude oil--will probably approach zero net oil exports in the 2010 to 2012 time frame.

Is it my imagination, or do offshore wells deplete at a much faster rate than traditional land based wells? I've only been following Peak Oil for a couple months now ... so forgive me if the answer is obvious.

Because of high operating costs in an offshore environment, especially in more challenging areas, operators try to get the oil out as fast as possible, in the fewest number of years, and because of high operating costs, fields are abandoned before onshore fields would be abandoned.

They deplete faster for economic and geological reasons.

Off-shore is more expensive to operate, so they pump harder and faster, even if more oil is left behind. Fewer years of HIGH overhead offshore operations.

And, on average (out of my depth here), off-shore rock is less compressed (less overburden) and higher permeability. "Tight" formations with heavier oil may never be developed off-shore, while the same fields would pump for 40+ years on-shore.

Hope that helps,


The passing below 1 million b/day was briefly noted. Depletion is in the range of -14% to -40% per annum that was discussed here three years ago in some detail. Closer to -40%.

Cantarell is being over-produced today IMVHO.

Best Hopes,


New EIA data on crude and gasoline demand for June came out after the market closed today. The drop was quite large.

From Marketwatch ...

A monthly report issued by the EIA on Tuesday said total crude oil and products supplied, which is a good indication of domestic consumption, was at around 19.553 million barrels per day in June of this year. That was down from 20.737 million barrels per day a year earlier.

and from Dow Jones Newswires ...

Amid record high prices, U.S. oil demand in June was 1.17 million barrels a day, or 5.6%, lower than a year ago, at 19.553 million barrels a day - the lowest level for the month since 1998 - revised government figures released Tuesday show.

The revised June figure shows the weakest demand for any month since May 2003, data from the Energy Information Administration show. The decline in June demand for oil is the steepest in any month since a 7.2% fall in February, when demand fell 1.527 million barrels a day.

I'm guessing news of this EIA data leaked out, which explains why oil prices didn't blast off today as Gustav took aim at the Gulf of Mexico.

I'm also guessing that we'll see usage drop again next month -- because that's when we'll get July's numbers. The more interesting thing to find out is what is happening now. Are people starting to drive more again as prices at the pump fall? Gas prices are down an average 42 cents a gallon since peaking in mid-July.

Are people starting to drive more again as prices at the pump fall?

Yes,....if they can pay for the gas.

Do you have a link to the exact breakdown by type (gasoline, diesel, av fuel, residual, propane, other) ?



Last week I drove about 400 miles along I-40 from Arizona to California. I saw many simi-trailer trucks, 2 RV's, 1 SUV and many compact cars. My observation suggests that people are driving just as much as in 2006 when I last made the trip, but they are driving in smaller, more fuel efficient cars. Commercial travel appeared to be unchanged.

Galveston, Houston or Austin - that would suit the continuation of life on the planet rather well; Tis an ill wind that blows no man good.

The ice is below the 2005 minimum. Press release and images:


We have a new #2 as of just after the beginning of August. Image:


Here's the most recent trend line image. Note the steep drop of the last two days:


And if you want to know how and why the ice is still melting, look at the concentration of ice:


BTW, I had noted the re-growing of ice here and there along with the overall large amount of ice. The explanation is in the press release above: air temps below freezing, but water temps are still causing melt from below.


The ice is below the 2005 minimum.

But, just as the fact that we haven't beat the 1998 record for warmest year, the fact that we haven't beat the 2007 record low sea ice record, means global warming is in reverse. The spin machine never sleeps!

In reality, not conservative spin, 2005 was a shocking ice melt year, we had never seen anything close to that melt before, 2006 had a smidgen more ice left than 05, and that fact itself should have been alarming. It looks like 2007/2008, will come in like 2005/2006, with the following year, being not quite able to meet the record of the previous year.

We haven't beaten '07? You are aware there are three weeks of melt left, right?

Your post is unclear: which spin do you refer to? that AGW is a real issue or that it isn't?

Someone here was keeping track of shortages.
I've been hearing rumblings of a potato shortage from my bro-in-law who works in food service.

The computer models are converging.

+1 for coolest map ever

Hello TheMagus,

Agreed, beautiful map, but with potentially ugly results. I hope others with more expertise will chime in, but isn't Gustav covering distance slowly? This is akin to being left hanging and twisting in the wind. Lots of hypotheticals in the essay below:

I don't have that weblink that shows where the VLCCs and other ships wait out a storm-->but potentially, if Gustav moves slowly, there might be a building traffic jam of Nigerian and other distant-crude carriers waiting outside the GOM for some time. My guess is the ship Ins. Cos. have told the owners and captains to play it safe vs being caught in a potential CAT 3 or greater stirring up the GoM bathtub...

Additionally, I don't think any Venenzuelan tankers are going to try and outrace the hurricane thru the Yucatan Slot. Mex tankers might still be able to sneak along the coastline, unload, then get out of the way for a few more days, but that safety window should be closing fast if Gustav grows big and if it should start tracking more to the west... besides, with the Mex ELM: these shipments are getting fewer anyway.

IMO, the GoM area is still sensitized to early reaction if Gustav starts acting like a Katrina/Rita [where is the Loop Current and any spun off eddy?]--> GoM rigs & platforms will choke off flowrates, then get the workers ashore early. For example: BP's execs would be crucified if Thunderhorse received similar damage again and the rigworkers had to ride it out. No company wants that kind of bad PR, much less the future difficulty of trying to hire offshore workers.

Now let's take a look onshore. If Gustav starts spooling up bigtime, I would expect most of those along the GoM shoreline to start topping off the vehicles, emergency gensets, plus some extra jerry cans. I would also expect people quite a ways inland to do the same because they remember the earlier price spike from Katrina/Rita.

Thus, the Gulf Coast PADD might quickly find itself at MOL or lower; shortages just when they might need people to evacuate if Gustav gains CAT 3 or bigger status. From the last price spike, more people started the easy fuel conserving steps; carpooling, fewer shopping forays with more stores hit per trip, etc. So you probably have quite a few cars with more empty tanks than before. But with an approaching storm, I would guess most families will be rushing to top off both vehicles and extra jerry cans:

1. In case of evacuation: Mom driving one car, Dad driving the other, with maybe Mom, kids, and the pets leaving much earlier-->People still remember the agonizing traffic jams, the empty gas stations, and no hotels with vacancies for miles and miles; many will want to get a jump on this situation early.

2. Even if you don't live in an evac. area: these far-inland people will still top off their vehicles and jerry cans early hoping to temporarily ride out any price spike if Gustav does hammer home. Lots more people are aware of energy problems from the MSM news and the recent price spike [plus the memory of Katrina/Rita; they don't want to get caught short]. Thus, these people in these GoM PADDs have a already pre-conditioned super-sensitivity to the fact that prices can rise much faster than they have recently fallen.

So, we might see early shutoff of crude inputs plus early hoarding working at cross-purposes to severely strain the infrastructure. To mitigate this, and hopefully prevent outright shortages, maybe the best thing to do is temporarily 'shrink the web' to boost resiliency inside the critical PADD areas. For example, my Asphalt Wonderland gets pipelined fuel from Texas: vastly reduce these NM & AZ supplies to boost/extend native GoM stockpiles now [even before the hurricane hits the Yucatan Slot]. This would prevent or delay sucking crude from the SPR unless the GoM refineries and offshore platforms really took a nast blow.

Of course if that other potential storm [NE of Gustav] turns into a simultaneous major hurricane targeting the East Coast--> then I don't have an answer. :(

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

This is a different link, but interesting because it shows the hurricane, as well as the ships:


Thxs Leanan,

Good weblink--interesting to see the sea already mostly clear of boats from Haiti to the Yuca-slot. I would imagine the luxury cruise ships would have no problem outrunning a 'cane, but boy-oh-boy, I bet they really hate to burn that fuel at such a high rate.

+1 for coolest map ever

It depends upon your perspective.


Yes, perspective indeed.

Best hopes for New Orleans!

Godspeed, my friend.

I checked out Gustav's movements from overnight. It really hasn't gone anywhere since 10pm yesterday. Slow mover as it grinds over Haiti.

It dropped down to TS status, more quickly than they seemed to have expected.

But they're expecting it to intensify quickly again.