DrumBeat: September 12, 2008

Kazakh Oil: A War of Nerves - Russian brinkmanship could imperil the flow of oil and money across the Caspian to Europe

ASTANA - On the scorching, scrub-dotted steppe along the east coast of the Caspian Sea, a Chevron-led team is opening up the taps on 50 new wells at the supergiant Tengiz oil field. Fifteen years after snagging rights to the Kazakhstan field, the U.S. oil giant is at last doubling production to 540,000 barrels a day, its largest single source of oil in the world.

Tengiz is a prize, and Chevron has spent bundles to secure it. In the nearby city of Atyrau, the headquarters and logo of Chevron's joint venture dominate the skyline, while company townhouses in the city center include pools, a gym, and schools for the expat oilmen and their families. You would think Chevron's victory in this remote oil patch was complete.

Yet getting the oil out of the landlocked country has always been a tricky affair: Russia has blocked, stalled, and restricted the flow of Tengiz oil through its territory since the first day Chevron took over the field. Teaming up with the Kazakhs, Chevron has resorted to shipping some of its oil across the Caspian Sea to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and then via pipeline and railroad to Georgia's Black Sea coast in an effort to avoid Russia. These days, Chevron does ship most of its oil through Russia, but for safety's sake it hopes to build a long, new pipeline across Georgia and export more through that route.

The plans for the corridor, though, were drawn before Russia's summer romp through Georgia. Suddenly, that tiny Caucasian state—embraced by Washington in a bold plan to pry it away from Moscow's grip—seems much less secure. The republics along the route and the companies working there are wearing their game faces, saying it's not clear the conflict in Georgia changed anything. Chevron regional vice-president Ian MacDonald says "it's too early to say" whether the Georgia events will cause transportation problems. But already Kazakhstan has canceled plans to build a refinery on the Georgian coast, and Big Oil is privately scrambling to assess how much of a setback its export plans have suffered.

Oil dips below $100 as Ike approaches

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices churned Friday, briefly dipping below $100 a barrel for the first time in 5 months, as the concerns about a global economic slowdown overpowered even the fury of a massive hurricane blowing toward refineries on the Texas coast.

Highlight: Oil Apocalypse Now?

British filmmaker Andrew Evans travelled the globe to create this documentary examining the impact of rising oil prices.

For every "Drill, baby, drill" enthusiast like Sarah Palin and U.S. Energy Administration head Guy Caruso, there's an industry insider like energy investment banker Matthew Simmons and former oil exec Colin Campbell who believe oil has had its day.

The film balances peak oil theory with the promise of new technologies for oil discovery and recovery. Its apocalyptic stance stems from a lack of supporting evidence for a significant increase in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' official reserve figures from 1983 to 1990. And the January, 2006, revelation that Kuwait claimed to have more than double the oil it actually had.

Gas prices - voters' No. 1 concern

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The high price of gasoline is voters' top economic concern, according to a poll released Friday.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that 35% said price of gasoline was their highest concern. That was followed by availability of good jobs (28%), high taxes (18%) and mortgages or home values (18%).

The poll was taken on Sept. 5-7 and surveyed 1,022 adults. It has a margin of error of three percentage points.

While energy concerns led the list, the percentage of respondents who said that high gas prices were causing them "financial hardship" fell to 63% from 75% in July.

Brazil flexes military might around new oil fields

NITEROI, Brazil, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Brazil deployed warships, fighter jets and thousands of troops off its southern coast on Friday, starting two weeks of military maneuvers aimed at showing the world it can defend vast new oil reserves.

The exercise, dubbed Operation Atlantic, will simulate an attack by a fictitious enemy on oil platforms and pipelines both on and off shore along the coastline of the states of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Espirito Santo.

The maneuvers are the latest in a national debate over how to manage a slew of recent deep-sea oil finds that could thrust Brazil, which still occasionally imports crude to meet domestic demand, into the top 10 of the world's oil producers.

"This is an exercise that is intended to dissuade, a show of force," Admiral Edlander Santos, the commander of the operation, said at a ceremony near Rio de Janeiro marking the beginning of the exercise.

What next in plummeting U.S.-Venezuelan ties?

(Reuters) - U.S.-Venezuela ties plunged to their lowest point in years on Friday as the superpower and one of its top oil suppliers ejected each other's ambassadors.

The United States also imposed sanctions on Venezuelan officials, and leftist President Hugo Chavez threatened to stop selling crude to his main customer.

Here are some possible scenarios of how the relations could proceed...

Iran 'won't wait forever' on Nabucco

VIENNA (AFP) - Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari on Friday warned Austrian energy giant OMV that it should sign a deal on the Nabucco gas pipeline soon or Tehran might look for other partners.

"The Austrians must hurry up and turn the preliminary contracts into actual contracts, because time is running out and we won't wait forever," Nozari told the Austrian daily Wiener Zeitung in an interview published Friday.

Large fire hits Mexico gas pipeline in accident

CUAUTITLAN IZCALLI, Mexico (Reuters) - A Mexican gas pipeline caught fire Friday in an accident near the capital, sending flames more than 100 feet into the air and closing a main highway into the city.

Chevron caught up in oil agency scandal

A government scandal mixing alleged drug use, cronyism and sex at a federal office that handles billions of dollars in oil-drilling royalties has ensnared Chevron Corp.

The oil company, America's second largest, figures prominently in a report released this week that accuses government officials of growing far too close to their oil industry contacts. The report focuses on a little-known government agency at the heart of the offshore drilling debate, the Minerals Management Service, which leases government lands to oil companies.

Shell begins probe in reponse to fed report on fraternization

WASHINGTON — Houston's Shell Oil Co. has launched an internal probe to examine the explosive findings of the Interior Department's Inspector General regarding fraternizing between oil company workers and the U.S. Minerals Management Service.

Calling the inspector general's report "very concerning," Shell President Marvin Odum said today he has started an investigation to make sure there wasn't "inappropriate behavior within my company."

Exelon chief urges 'energy Marshall Plan'

Com Ed parent Exelon Corp. said Friday that Chairman and CEO John Rowe will urge federal lawmakers Friday to "develop a 21st century Marshall Plan for energy."

The Chicago utility holding company said Rowe is slated to appear before the U.S. Senate Energy Committee, where he will tell members that "nothing less than a comprehensive national effort for energy will put us on the right track" to meet future energy needs.

Richard Heinberg: The dress rehearsal is over

As oil crosses $100 on its way south, not even a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico and a statement from OPEC that the cartel will cut production by over 500,000 barrels per day seems capable of halting the bloodletting. In response, the Financial Post features an article titled “Peak Oil peak,” quoting this writer out of context; compare this with my commentary, which was the source of the quote).

Wasn’t the price of oil supposed to rise endlessly? Wasn’t the world supposed to end by now? What happened? What does it all mean?

Patience, gentle reader. All will be explained.

U.S. plans to expel Venezuelan envoy

"The plan is to kick him out," said the U.S. official, who asked not to be identified.

Colombia will stick to Venezuela gas deal

Colombia will stand by its part of the deal to provide gas to Venezuela through a joint pipeline that was opened in January this year, senior energy official Armando Zamora said.

Saudi Aramco to Maintain Oil Supplies to Refiners in October

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest state oil company, will maintain crude supplies in October to customers in Asia and Europe at levels agreed under annual contracts, refinery officials said.

The Dhahran, Saudi Arabia-based producer will supply full volumes of crude oil to Asia and Europe next month, unchanged from September, said four refinery officials who had received notices from the company. They asked not to be identified because of confidentiality agreements.

ANALYSIS - Mixed Saudi signals confuse OPEC output cut deal

LONDON, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Mixed signals from Saudi Arabia have thrown into question whether the top oil exporter will throttle back output as agreed with other OPEC members this week.

BP Shuts Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline After Leak in Turkey

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc shut a pipeline carrying Azeri crude oil from Baku to Turkey's Mediterranean coast near Ceyhan after a leak in the Turkish section required repairs.

Shell extends force majeure on Nigeria oil exports

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Friday that it has extended the force majeure on Nigerian Bonny Light crude exports.

The force majeure has been extended because of security concerns in the oil-rich Niger Delta region in Nigeria and because the Anglo-Dutch oil major has found more leaks at a Bonny Light pipeline, a Shell spokesman said.

Medvedev assures European consumers Russia has enough gas

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev dismissed speculation on Friday that his country would not have enough natural gas for European consumers and pledged to launch new fields if the market grows.

"It is amusing to hear statements that Russia will not have enough gas for supplies to Europe...This is not so," Medvedev told a Valdai International Discussion Club meeting.

Medvedev also said that the country's plans to develop energy cooperation with Asian states would not adversely affect energy supplies to Europe.

"We will do everything possible to solve a number of tasks on diversifying energy flows to Asia without detriment to Europe," Medvedev said, adding that this concerned oil, gas and nuclear energy.

Mexico lawmakers see deal on oil law by October

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Senate-level talks in Mexico are dragging over a politically thorny plan to tweak oil laws, although ruling and opposition party lawmakers said on Thursday a deal could still be reached by October. Leftists oppose conservative President Felipe Calderon's idea of luring more private firms to the flagging state-run oil sector via incentive contracts, but with centrists broadly on board, a compromise is in sight, lawmakers at the talks said.

American exports fuels at record levels

While the White House and most conservative congressional leaders have been pushing for more offshore drilling to relieve record fuel prices at the pump, new government data shows there is no domestic oil shortage as U.S. oil companies are exporting American petroleum products at record levels.

The U.S. Energy Department reported exports of finished petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel, soared to 1.592 million barrels per day in May, up 31 percent from a year ago.

Electricity shortage may choke B.C.'s gas patch

An urgent electricity shortage is threatening to curtail the hottest economic growth sector in British Columbia -- the natural gas exploration industry.

Documents on file with the B.C. Utilities Commission show that the town of Fort Nelson, in the heart of B.C.'s gas patch, is so squeezed for power that there is no room for economic growth -- and some existing customers operate under the threat of blackouts.

The situation is raising concern among Canada's leading gas exploration and development companies.

National Oil Cos Boast Value Proposition

International oil companies (IOCs) offer technological expertise, operational capacity and project management as core strengths in striking oil and gas deals.

But they are finding it increasingly difficult to provide a value proposition acceptable to the owners of natural resources and in terms of shareholder return. Despite record oil prices and rising levels of capital expenditure, the overall trends in oil and gas production from the major oil players are down.

IT underestimating coming power shortage

UK IT managers are being accused of ignorance over their power consumption figures, despite spiralling energy prices and the looming 'energy crunch', which could lead to power shortages in four years time.

Green Mortgages Offer New Growth

If you could save up to $200 a month in energy bills for 30 years, would you be willing to borrow an extra $5,000 for a home loan upfront? Probably yes.

That’s the power of energy-efficient mortgages, or “green” mortgages. Now, legislators, lenders, brokers and consumers are pushing for their wider use. Advocates say green mortgages can help solve several of the nation’s broader problems, including the energy crisis, the mortgage implosion and the slowing economy.

Still stuck in the '50s

If longer commutes, heavier congestion, increased pollution and greater dependence on oil seem inevitable, there's a good reason: These ills all stem from the misguided way our elected officials fund transportation in America. It's time to establish a 21st-century transportation policy to pay for 21st-century priorities.

SOLAR POWER: Industry execs ponder major shifts in demand, production

NEW YORK -- Executives of some of the world's top photovoltaic manufacturers are preparing for a major shift in their industry.

While they may disagree on how quickly and widely changes will be felt, everyone is aware that shortages they have endured of their primary feedstock material, polysilicon, will soon be a thing of the past. And they worry that if they cannot get production and demand estimates right, they might inadvertently produce a glut of solar panels that could send prices for their products spiraling downward.

Wood shortage hits Boralex

The weak U.S. housing market has taken its toll on an unlikely sector - the Canadian renewable power industry.

Boralex Power Income Fund said this week that it is temporarily closing a second power plant in Quebec because it can't get enough wood residue to fuel its operations.

Huge increase in spending on water urged to avert global catastrophe

Countries across the world will have to dramatically increase investment in dams, pipes and other water infrastructure to avoid widespread flooding, drought and disease even before climate change accelerates these problems, experts have warned.

"Titanic Syndrome" warns of catastrophe

"The Titanic Syndrome," the directing debut of French environmental program-maker-turned-eco-campaigner Nicolas Hulot, is a cinematic attempt to wake viewers up to the calamitous future we're arguably heading for if we don't change our ways.

The titular syndrome is simple: Our planet is the doomed oceanliner, and we -- in the West, at least -- are all busy leading our more-or-less luxurious lives as we sail toward cataclysm. It's obviously not the first film in recent times to put forward the case for safeguarding Earth, but it promises to look at the issue from a bold perspective.

Out of Gas: Partisan sniping keeps Congress from getting anything done on energy

CONGRESS expended a lot of energy debating how to solve the energy crisis before running off for summer recess for five weeks. It ended up accomplishing nothing. Now Congress is back and seemingly ready for more of the same. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will present an energy bill next week that would expand offshore drilling. But Republicans rejected the legislation on the basis of the outlines Ms. Pelosi released Tuesday. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) will hold hearings today with an eye to bringing energy bills to a vote sometime next week. But don't expect anything to happen.

Travel Industry Unites To Push Congress For Energy Policy

As the price of oil escalated to unprecedented levels earlier this year, the travel and tourism industry mobilized to urge Washington policymakers to enact an "emergency energy policy that will bring down fuel costs to economically sustainable levels and keep Americans productively traveling by air." A broad-based coalition, called 100DollarOil.us, was formed this summer to urge policymakers to act now as it enlists industry support to lobby elected representatives.

Experts target shocking electricity bills

If the high price of gasoline isn't enough to startle Americans, guess what's happening to the cost of power?

And energy experts say a crisis isn't coming; it's already here.

Tree Length Wood Debate

Karen Hawkins is already getting ready for winter. And that means cutting, splitting and stacking wood.

She'd like to use her fuel assistance money to buy tree length wood. Hawkins says its the best deal around.

"By buying a whole truckload, having it delivered here, cutting it with my chain saw and splitting it with the wood splitter, I get probably almost twice as much wood as if I received cut and split," says Hawkins.

But under the LIHEAP program, tree length wood isn't allowed. A spokeperson for Maine State Housing says it use to be--but so many consumers complained about being "shorted" that they decided to prohibit it. Now, that decision is being reconsidered.

Pakistan: Deepening oil crisis

As the crippling energy crisis has eased to some extent after the authorities made payments to the IPPs (Independent Power Producers) enabling them to go for full capacity generation, there is now warning from the oil marketing companies (OMCs) that there would be no oil supply chain during the next few months unless the Government clears their huge dues amounting to Rs 80 billion.

Bolivia expels US ambassador Philip Goldberg

Bolivia has expelled the US ambassador, accusing him of fomenting the civil unrest that threatens not only the country's first indigenous Indian president, Evo Morales, but the unity of the nation itself.

"Without fear of the empire, I declare Mr Goldberg, the US ambassador, 'persona non grata,"' said Mr Morales, echoing the anti-US rhetoric of his friend and close ally, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

"He is conspiring against democracy and seeking the division of Bolivia."

The announcement came after protests against Mr Morales escalated and turned violent. Earlier in the week opposition protesters burnt and pillaged government offices in city of Santa Cruz, which was followed by an attack on a gas pipeline that feeds the neighbouring giant of Brazil. Gas is the lifeblood of the Bolivian economy and the source of much of government revenue.

Venezuela to expel U.S. ambassador

(CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday he is recalling his own ambassador from Washington and expelling the U.S. ambassador from Venezuela.

"He has 72 hours, from this moment, the Yankee ambassador in Caracas, to leave Venezuela," Chavez told a crowd of supporters.

The president said he was making the moves "in solidarity with Bolivia and the people of Bolivia."

UK's third-largest tour operator collapses

LONDON, England (AP) -- Thousands of British travelers were stranded Friday when the country's third-largest tour operator collapsed under pressure from high fuel prices and a sagging economy.

XL Leisure Group went into administration overnight, saying it had been unable to secure more funding.

Interior Secretary "outraged" by oil-sex scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on Thursday said he was "outraged" by department workers who had sex, used drugs and took gifts from employees at regulated oil companies, while one senator called for a Bush administration official to resign over the scandal.

House to vote next week on offshore drilling

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives could vote next week on energy legislation that would open nearly all of the U.S. coastline to offshore drilling while repealing some tax breaks for oil companies, Democratic leaders said on Thursday.

Palin 'governed from the center,' went after big oil

Palin's agenda has been dominated by an energy policy that, in part, bears more resemblance to the one put forward by Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and other Democrats than the one backed by McCain and the GOP.

Shell's Ormen Lange Gas Output Won't Peak Until 2010

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc said the peak in supplies from Norway's second-biggest gas field will be a year later than planned, risking lower shipments to the U.K. at a time of record prices.

Slime for change: Can an algae-to-biodiesel facility help meet Maui's needs?

The idea of replacing fossil fuel consumption with biofuels has been a much-ballyhooed topic of late, both globally and in Hawaii. Initial enthusiasm has since been tempered with realities of costs, including ongoing debates over converting food crops to fuel and converting farm lands and rainforests to agri-fuel plantations.

Throughout the discussions of plant-based biodiesel and ethanol, there has been a consistent optimism that the best biofuel choice—someday, when science and technology solve existing hurdles—could be miacroalgae. That’s right—pond scum, lurking like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, could be the answer to Peak Oil.

Poison Fire Interview

Filmmaker Lars Johansson talks to the Ecologist about the making of the film 'Poison Fire' and the curse of oil in the Niger Delta.

Consumers Likely To Lead a Cooldown

Deepwater-exploration companies -- the oil producers that need to lease drilling rigs -- aren't deterred by today's falling prices. They are locked into extremely expensive long-term contracts, and they can't walk away from their huge investments in deepwater energy.

...Says Matt Simmons, who heads Simmons & Co. International, an energy-centric investment bank: "There is an extremely bullish, long-term case for the [deepwater] drillers. They are far more immune to short-term swings in oil prices, and their earnings power is just unbelievably vast."

(Note: Retail sales came in even worse than expected.)

Climate change could devastate Philippines: NASA scientist

MANILA (AFP) - Climate change could have a devastating impact on the Philippines, leading to widespread destruction of the country's flora and fauna and flooding the capital Manila, a NASA scientist warned here Friday.

The continued melting of Arctic ice caps, brought on by climate change, could cause sea levels to rise by seven metres (23 feet), said National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) physicist Josefino Comiso.

China May Cut its US Dollar Holdings

China, which holds a fifth of its currency reserves in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt, may cut the portion held in US dollars, according to China International Capital Corp (CICC), one of the nation's biggest investment banks.

China, which holds a fifth of its currency reserves in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt, may cut the portion held in US dollars, according to China International Capital Corp (CICC), one of the nation's biggest investment banks.

Interesting to contemplate the impact on the domestic housing market if the interest rate on US treasuries has to rise in order to attract foreign investors.

Volker is Obama's pick for Treasury.

From Marketwatch.com,

"Seeking to head off any unloading of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds by Japanese investors, the U.S. Treasury Department is taking the unusual step of directly contacting Japanese financial institutions about the plan to rescue the mortgage giants, according to a published report."

A massive unwinding of japanese holdings in these plans could really hamper the treasuries efforts to deal with the situation.

It's really scary to think that with the actual decline in oil production still ahead of us, the world is least prepared to handle the energy crisis with the financial crisis over hanging us. The real energy crisis hasn't even started yet, wonder what the situation will be like when instead of the 1-2% shortfall we have it increases to 5% declines annually. The effect and scale of the crisis than is truly monumental.

...what the situation will be like when instead of the 1-2% shortfall we have it increases to 5% declines annually.

Yes but, if the economy implodes at 6% annually, there won't be a problem.

Try to look on the bright side :)

An economy can only "implode" when there is deflation. But I doubt, that a full scale deflation could occur. Chief reason: The world is no longer on a gold standard. And central bankers are free to print money whenever they want. And they certainly will do so.

deflation and inflation co-exist at the same time. Housing, finance etc. deflation and food and energy inflation.

Deflation and sector piracy.

The world is no longer on a gold standard. And central bankers are free to print money whenever they want.

The amount of currency available has to be put into a credit context. Money that is created by central banks doesn't 'travel well'. It remains in the close circle of banks and financial institutions that have credit with each central bank. Credit may be available ... but nothing can compel lending or borrowing. Today, lending and borrowing is shrinking. Tomorrow, it will shrink more, the trend is a decline in credit that takes place across the length and breadth of the economies, worldwide.

For instance the US Fed has opened several auction facilities to provide liquidity to finance companies while keeping the 'discount window' open to commercial banks. The purpose of this liquidity is to maintain balance sheet 'integrity'. The banks have bad loans that have little market value; the loss of market value is replaced with Fed credit. What this means is the money created by the Fed simply replaces credit already destroyed in the markets.The market value 'shrinkage' is exponential growth - compounding - in reverse. This gearing - of all the banks and finance houses that are serviced by the central banks - is working against them. Increasing service to more and more banks - bailing Fannie and Freddie, for instance - exposes the central bank(s) to even more credit unwinding.

The banks can emit more money than there is collateral to trade for it ... but that liquidity will never gets anywhere important ... at least it will never get to me!

The only way that fiat money can get into the hands of citizens is in 'Stimulus Packages' that are budgeted by US Congress or other governments. Think public works projects and subsidies. Even if these are massive - as were the make work projects in 1990's Japan - they amount to a small fraction of the credit destroyed by reverse gearing.

Just because there is less and less credit doesn't mean that prices can't rise. Certain sectors of the economy have more traction on individuals than other economc sectors. Food and energy sectors that have decided to get while the getting ... is possible. The fuel sector has more economic clout over customers than does the home furnishing sector. The 'vital' sectors are raiding other sectors. People choose between gas ... or ... drapes and a sofa.

This is a terrible bear market indicator. Exxon-Mobil is profiting at the expense of the airlines. All companies are profiting (relatively) at the expense of their employees. In an inflationary context all the sectors would be increasing relative to each other ... to reflect the rise in credit availabliity.

As for Foreign central banks reducing their holdings of US securities ... this is quite complicated with many feedback loops. The institutions that hold our paper have an interest in keeping the 'growth machine' running. Other countries export to us and if we don't buy, they have problems. This pretty much requires recycling Dollars into Dollar denominated treasury paper. Another issue is the relative value of other currencies. If one 'Get's Out' of Dollars, they have to 'Get Into' something else. The last time there was a surge into 'something else', oil spiked to $147/bbl. Better to have Saudi Arabia buying T-Bills rather than crude futures contracts ...

Other currencies are tied to economies with just as many problems than the US has; a recession in Europe and UK, possible recession in Japan, a bubble economy starting to unravel in China (and a currency that does not trade, so it is TRULY fiat). Brazil is a 'force in being' but is not large enough to carry the economic future of the world and Russia is acting like they are run by Mafia dons ... Even with consumer spending declining and a government bent on socializing Wall Street, things look better here than in a lot of other countries, so betting on the Dollar is pretty safe ... for the moment.

In deflation, credit shrinks. Not necessarily currency. There is an entire 'Greatest Generation' of WWII- era citizens who are passing away and leaving their savings to their children and grandchildren. "To invest in a new energy infrastructure," you ask? No .. to pay credit card balancess and mortgage arrears on houses that are worth half of the cost ... to banks that are insolvent.


I think that we tend to focus too much on the economic doom and gloom. There are bright spots and a silver lining if one is willing to go outside of the MSM.

Colbert Report: Repo Man

Democrats may see the glass as half empty, but the repo men see that you are behind payments on that glass.

From now on, I think that I will get all my TV news from the "Colbert Report" and Jon Stewart's "Daily Show".

It's the only way that I can find out what's going on and still maintain my sanity :]

To this I actually credit a large portion of their popularity.

there will be new hurricane thread up soon - pls put reference, links, resources regarding Ike in that thread.

And Palin advocates Georgia joining NATO, while acknowledging that war with Russia is a possibility if Russia attacks Georgia after Georgia joins NATO.

ABC noted this morning that Palin would be the first VP in about 32 years who had never met a foreign leader. Of course, it's hard to meet a foreign leader when you don't have a passport (which she didn't have until a couple of years ago).

Fortunately he said "he would not hesitate to attack it under circumstances similar to last month's conflict"
And I don't think Russia will allow for similar circumstances to return. However this is still far from over

It boggles my mind that the US and "Old Europe" would consider placing the fates of their citizenry in the hands of politicians in faraway and little-understood countries like Georgia or Ukraine. Saakashvili? Youshenko? Tymoshenko? Who are these people and what do we really know of their character and their motives? And even if we decide that we can work with these people, what of their inevitable successors?

Americans have a long history of dealing with Western European cultures and I am much more comfortable with mutual defense agreements with the Brits or the Germans. But the Georgians? That's nuts! We have no history of relations with these people. If we wish to promote democracy abroad, I can -- at least in principle -- support that (within limits). But to tie the fate of the populations of Europe and North America to the shadowy goings-on in former Soviet republics is madness!

"But to tie the fate of the populations of Europe and North America to the shadowy goings-on in former Soviet republics is madness!"

See Cheney's Energy Task Force for details. ;}

Shadowy goings on in far away places, no need to look so far, this is from a WSJ blog.

Trust McCain? McCain’s dad & grand-dad Navy Admirals’ influence got John into Annapolis, not his smarts. McCain ranked 894 out of 899 grads, near last. Didn’t read flight manual, crashed 3 planes. Careless. At 42 traded 1st wife & 3 kids, for 24 year-old-millionaire Cindy, his beer distributor boss’s daughter, whom John romanced while living at home with 1st family, grabbing at chance to get Congressional Campaign funded.

McCain’s Senator influence gott trophy-wife Cindy’s felony charges reduced to pleading “no-contest,” when she was a drug addict, stole drugs from her medical charity, used forged prescriptions, paid a fine. Had to join Narcotics Anonymous, dissolve charity, do community soup-kitchen work, & presto …buy another charity and h-e-r-e’s Cindi, our new First Lady.

WOW! I did not know all that about McCane.

Seems like a shoe in to me.

As I said, it is from a from a WSJ blog so may or not be true or a "bending" of the truth.

Only trust a politician do do whatever they can to get elected or re-elected. How do you know they are lying, when you see their lips move:-)

Can we get a reference?

All of this has been shown by CNN over the past couple of weeks and what's amazing is that much of these admissions are in directly from the McCains. So, it's a little hard to deny what you are recorded as saying.

It's part of the "candidates revealed" series. This weekend CNN will turn to the VP candidates.

I knew about the graduating last in his class and last in the divorce, but the drug use by Mrs. McCain I hadn't heard of. Figures, I don't watch CNN, or any cable news any more, I can't stand the catty voice the "news" anchors use these days.

I can write you one. What kind of job are you looking for?

Didn’t read flight manual, crashed 3 planes...

Interesting. Is this legit? Can you post a link?

McCain lost five U.S. Navy aircraft.

Robert Timberg, author of The Nightingale's Song, a book about Annapolis graduates and their tours in Vietnam, wrote that McCain "learned to fly at Pensacola, though his performance was below par, at best good enough to get by. He liked flying, but didn't love it."

McCain III lost jet number one in 1958 when he plunged into Corpus Christi Bay while practicing landings. He was knocked unconscious by the impact coming to as the plane settled to the bottom.

McCain's second crash occurred while he was deployed in the Mediterranean. "Flying too low over the Iberian Peninsula," Timberg wrote, "he took out some power lines [reminiscent of the 1998 incident in which a Marine Corps jet sliced through the cables of a gondola at an Italian ski resort, killing 20] which led to a spate of newspaper stories in which he was predictably identified as the son of an admiral."

McCain's third crash three occurred when he was returning from flying a Navy trainer solo to Philadelphia for an Army-Navy football game.

Timberg reported that McCain radioed, "I've got a flameout" and went through standard relight procedures three times before ejecting at one thousand feet. McCain landed on a deserted beach moments before the plane slammed into a clump of trees.

The fourth and fifth losses are the accident on the USS Forrestal where a missile was accidentally launched from another plane on the deck striking McCain's plane or the one next to him. The fifth of course was shot down over North Vietnam. Hard to blame him for these last two incidents but the other three...

Factcheck.org has an article on this subject. They claim that the accident over the Iberian peninsula did not lead to an aircraft loss which I guess would make the official "score":

2 crashes (both due to engine failure)
1 loss to friendly action
1 loss to enemy action
1 aircraft damaged by pilot error

Those who claim McCain lost five planes – when they bother to give specific citations at all – point to an incident described in Timberg's book as happening on one of McCain's deployments to the Mediterranean between 1960 and 1964:

Timberg (p. 94) His professional growth, though reasonably steady, had its troubled moments. Flying low over the Iberian Peninsula, he took out some power lines, which led to a spate of newspaper stories in which he was predictably identified as the son of an admiral. The tale has gotten better with age. These days they talk about the day McCain turned the lights out in Spain.

But Timberg's book makes no mention of any plane being lost or of McCain bailing out. We called Timberg, just to be sure. "My clear recollection is that this plane did not crash," he told us. McCain's detractors should scratch that one off their list.

"My clear recollection is that this plane did not crash," he told us.

So McCain bailed out but the plane did not crash? This would mean it is still up there somewhere.

Want to bet it finally lands in some convenient location like Tehran, or Georgia, in the last minutes of the campaign?

No, it says he didn't bail out.

John McCain: "Sittin' on the bottom of the bay / 'Cause I skipped the class on how to blow the cockpit away."

Not to mention his involvement with the Savings & Loan disaster from the early nineties(Keating Five). Seems pretty germane with what's going on now. Can't believe the Dems won't hammer him on these, the Repubs sure would if the shoe was on the other foot. Sigh, I guess four more years of the McSame.

The reason they don't is because Obama has alot worse associations. Given his long association with Ayers, his apperance at ground zero takes on a new irony.

Not to mention that Obama came up the ranks in the Chicago political machine.

From the cheapseats, it looks like both canidates are avoiding hammering their associations and focusing on basic cheapshots.

The reason they don't is because Obama has alot worse associations.

Such as?

Given 'an investigation' showed Mr. McCain was not 'worth' charging with a crime, its possible that the DNC leadership feels its not worth it.

It could also be that the DNC is a buncha wimps.

Some linked the Bush family to dealings with the Bin Ladin family and both Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. having served the Saudi Royal Family as business consultants. No wonder when the Saudi hijackers attacked, the Saudis were not reprimanded. Sadaam was reprimanded for 9-11, or for the anthrax attacks launched from Ft. Dietrich, or some other vain cause.

Maybe Ayers was right that America was the evil empire.

Sounds like a wingpawn wet dream!
And with Palin and the snowmobile racing and guns, moose burgers, I know where my vote is going.
How about some cheese whiz with those moose burgers!

You do not need to know who these people are. The Bush Administration will tell you what you are to believe about them and what actions you are to take. Freedom is the freedom not to have to worry your simple little mind.

Yes, I know. My job is to go shopping and "support the troops."

I've been trying to get my friends to see past the bluster surrounding this, and get them to listen to some simple questions: Why do we care about Georgia? (BTC pipeline) If we are trying to control oil literally from the other side of the world, to the point of constructing a multi-billion dollar pipeline through a narrow strip of unstable countries between Iran and Russia, what does that say about the wisdom of our energy strategy and the desperateness of our situation?

Why do I agree with this Guy more than any Western Leader?


Vladimir Putin: 'Georgia? We couldn't just let Russia get a bloody nose'

In a blunt three-hour interview over lunch, Vladimir Putin turned the air blue and denied claims he is building a new Soviet empire as he defended his 'embattled and encircled' country
Whether prime Minister or President, the man holding forth across the vast dining table was unmistakably Vladimir Putin. Wagging his finger and occasionally clenching his fist, the man who many believe retains the real power in Russia denied that the world was entering a new Cold War, rejected claims that he wanted to restore the Soviet empire and insisted that a fresh arms race in Europe was avoidable.

His immediate concern, he made clear, was to defend his country's much-criticised action in Georgia. He stressed that Russia had no choice. "They attacked South Ossetia with missiles, tanks, heavy artillery and ground troops. What were we supposed to do?"

If his country had not invaded, he said, it would have been like Russia "getting a bloody nose and hanging its head down", and there would be a "second blow" into the north Caucasus.

Why do I think this schoolboy deserved his verbal kicking?


David Miliband subjected to 'F-word' tirade from Russian foreign minister
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, was subjected to a tirade of four-letter abuse when he spoke to his Russian counterpart over the country's invasion of Georgia.

Look. If you believe in the rapture and you think that Alaska will be a place of refuge, a little nuclear war centered somewhere around Georgia or Russia is no big deal. Fallout might be a bit of a problem but what the hell.

Putting Georgia or Ukraine in NATO just serves to further infuriate Russia. Kind of like putting Cuba in a counterpart organization headed by Russia or the old Soviet Union. And then putting missiles in the Ukraine to boot. Are we surprised that Russia is pissed off?

I also see that there are discussion between Russia and Opec which could end up making Russia a de facto member. I guess Palin's response to that is to drill harder and deeper in Alaska because as we know she is the nation's foremost energy expert.

Didn't you know that recent tectonic plate movement caused Ukraine and Georgia to be located right beside the North Atlantic?

Palin is probably familiar with with tectonic plates to some extent as there is quite a bit of action in her backyard. I have no idea her degree of understanding. Maybe Charlie will ask about pipeline safety. I hear Scotty saying, "Captain! I don't know how much more she can take!"


Anybody know the ultimate lateral tolerance at Denali fault?

It boggles my mind that the neocon's sucessfully planted the Owellian speach words "OLD EUROPE" into the mass lexicon. It conjures animosity towards a backwards group who live in the past and bygone eras.
Never mind the vast majority of Americans are from European decent, or that the very culture and marrow of America is based on "OLD EUROPE"
The term "OLD EUROPE" is always said in a derogatory manner by the Public officials, who try to sound official instead of the public servants they are supposed to be.
Most Americans havent ownership of a passport and wouldnt know that Europeans live a higher standard of living then they do.

My use of the term "Old Europe" was merely meant to distinguish between long-time NATO members (+ the French:) and those former Warsaw Pact and FSU states that have since been courted (or perhaps lobbied) for NATO membership.

Old Europe = learned the hard way that empires do not pay.

New Europe = still crazy and violent as America. See, America is the original New Europe.

... to tie the fate of the populations of Europe and North America to the shadowy goings-on in former Soviet republics is madness!

There is fear that the Russians have reached a politcal 'critical mass' and are bent on war. It seems rational to fight the next war in the Caucasus or in the Ukraine rather than in Poland or the Czech Republic. The underlying premise is not ncessarily true, that Russia is bent on war ...


In the old, bipolar world, the CIA would tweak the Soviets while maintaining 'plausible deniability'. Now, the Georgians are expected to do the dirty work ... That's the 'quid pro quo'.


Oh well she has at least visited some US bases in Germany and Kuwait, does that count as abroad??

Don't three out of four VPs become the big chief?

I think she also did some duty free shopping in Ireland while the plane was refueled.

I believe the odds of a VP becoming P are about one in three.

Our soon to be elected leader (named John McCain, I can bet any sum of money on this) is of already respectable age. What happens if the soon-to-be elected VP, that insult to human intelligence, as her statements vividly show, needs to become an acting president?

Last time this happened we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Next time? Moscow?

Our soon to be elected leader (named John McCain, I can bet any sum of money on this)

You can bet any sum you want, but I doubt your willingness or ability to pay.

First: the fact I think he will win, does not mean I want him to win. Quite the opposite. I guess I'm just too cynical about the way politics is done in this country.

As for the bet, e-mail me and we can arrange something. For reasonable amounts of course.

"Last time this happened we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki." I would hardly call that a mistake. It saved millions of lives, on both the American and Japanes sides.

OMG, don't start this debate again...

Its only a "debate" in the minds of people who refuse to acknowledge the fact than an invasion of the Japanese mainland would have been disasterous for all parties involved.

As far as I am concerned, it's ancient history and no matter what people say one way or another, it won't change what has already happened. A couple of weeks ago, a good chunk of the DB was consumed by what seemed to me to be a largely pointless discussion about the merits/pitfalls of using atomic bombs on Japan. I'm just saying, let's not start that "debate" up again...

Ah, for the days when the US still tried to come up with rationales to cover for its atrocities! In fact, there was no need to invade Japan. Japan was busy trying to negoatiate surrender terms, but the US refused to talk to them. It is a false dichotomy to present the case as either nukes or a bloody invasion. IMO, the nukes were dropped for entirely political reasons.

The terms Japan was looking for included giving up the European colonies they conquered to independence, but keeping Korea, a reduced military "for a time" but the same military dictatorship, Emperor worship, and Bushido values.

Such a "peace" would have resulted in another war in a generation, but with nuclear weapons on both sides.


""Last time this happened we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki." I would hardly call that a mistake. It saved millions of lives, on both the American and Japanes sides."

so by this loqic Sadam would have saved many lives if only he nuked a couple small towns in the US?

"so by this loqic Sadam would have saved many lives if only he nuked a couple small towns in the US?"

No, most of the military comes from small towns.....no Iraqi would have ever been safe. Now if he nuked San Fransisco, we might have sent a thank you card.

"Now if he nuked San Fransisco [sic], we might have sent a thank you card."

Whatever for?

You ever see the flag burning in San Fransisco or the way they treat military recruiters? I don't think any GI would want to protect SF. GIs have pretty long memories.

Oh noes! A flag burning! Better nuke 'em. Your posts are getting increasingly nutty.

As for the patriotism of anti-war protestors, it depends on whether you think the Founding Fathers wanted America to become a militarist empire.

Don't feed the trolls.

if the soon-to-be elected VP, that insult to human intelligence, as her statements vividly show

I actually think she is of above average intelligence. What we are seeing is a profound lack of knowledge. I suspect it comes from an attitude of not wanting to do the homework. And the level of knowledge that we should be talking about here requires at least of couple of hours a day over a period of several years to acquire. The scary thing is that the media seems to be changing the standards, to how would the average Joe feel, if he were suddenly picked for the job? A person with her level of knowledge would be at the mercy of her advisers. A leader doesn't need to be able to follow all the details, but she needs to be able to determine the difference between sensible policy and a line of BS.

I would imagine that Obama has the same lack of knowledge, given that he didn't realize Russia had veto power in the Security Council. I'm assuming that's why he picked Biden, who would be a walking encyclopedia on this subject even though he doesn't seeem to want to be VP anymore.

Profound lack of knowledge... of what? That Russia has nukes? Or that there is ever bigger possibility our relations with it will go sour after similar stupid comments? This lady will be presenting US in front of other countries, what does threatening powerful nations with war tell about her diplomatic background? Russia is not North Korea, Ms Palin.

Maybe someone should explain to Ms Palin that, as VP, she (and her family) would be amongst the first casualities in a nuclear exchange.

Might temper her views somewhat.

I doubt it. She sent her firstborn off to Iraq yesterday, but still supports the war.

Leanan, normally I would not answer but this is unmittigated political BS. Lots of Moms have sent lots of firstborns to fight lots of wars. If her son is killed like so many others, then we all lose something and she will cry at night like so many mothers have before her.

Did I say she wouldn't?

What exactly did I say that is "political BS"?

If her son is killed like so many others, then we all lose something and she will cry at night like so many mothers have before her.

That would certainly get her elected. Let's hope it's not God's Will that he be sacrificed as was Pat Tillman.

Failing that, her son will help kill many more Iraqis. None of whom are my enemy. "Like so many others," as you point out. He will come home on leave and be trotted out. Perhaps he will bring back scalps.

McCain went so far as to say that the 95% of the troops - those not protesting the Iraq occupation - obviously support it. While I don't believe that, I do recognize that our glorious troops are mercenaries and that a very large percentage do like the war. They are not drafted and they are not the sort of people I'd want to marry my daughter or serve in my town police force.

Support the troops; get them another job.

cfm in Gray, ME

Dryki, Downthread I see where Biden does have his son in Iraq. Think his son will bring back some scalps also? Or is he immune to that being Obama's VP's son? That is a disgusting comment, I am amazed 7 people marked you up for that jewel. Many, many troops have died to enable you to say that. I am not in favor of this war, but I sure don't denigrate our troops over it. You need to stay up on current events and notice which side is taking scalps.

If you've ever known, lived with or been troops, then you know that many, just as in the general population, are sickos. This blamket "support the troops" is pure BS. Some of them are war criminals just like their CiC.

I'd add: troops are trained that they have no duty to follow an illegal order. They are, in fact, responsible for the war crime that is the Iraq war. Why do they get a free pass? The only true war heroes in Iraq? Those that have refused to serve because the war is illegal and immoral.

The rest? The best support they can get from me is to get their arses out of Iraq.


She didn't threaten Russia with war, she only stated the obvious ie what was expected if Georgia is a member of NATO and Russia invaded. My personal thought is that we can blame this on Cheney for and Kosovo. This was about like Obama threatening to renegotiate NAFTA, which is never going to happen. Canada was pretty POed about this, and they are our friends.

As I sit here in Maastricht, Holland writing this, let me tell you the Euros are freaked out about Georgia. They're worried about freezing in the dark even more. Of course, the EU is the true definition of paper tiger so the discussions about sanctions are dead in the water. Wonder what the EU will start doing up once Russia has problems with meeting their exports a la ELM. By that time though, most wealthy Russians might live in Western Europe so it might be a mute point.

Our relations are already sour, another mistake for the Bush/Cheney, man I'll be so happy when some adults are in charge. And no, that doesn't include Obama. Wonder if Jim Baker wants his old job as SecOfState back?

Obama threatening to renegotiate NAFTA, which is never going to happen. Canada was pretty POed about this, and they are our friends.

Canadians were not POed about renegotiating NAFTA. Many would be only too glad to see it renegotiated and put an end to the creeping, creepy, secretive SPP.

Canadians were extremely upset that the leak came from the yo harper government. The conventional wisdom was that this was an intentional leak to undermine Obama and influence the course of the US election toward Bush III.

I would be careful who you call "friends." A state that engages in wars of agression is committing war crimes. A states that cares nothing for civilian life and views the deaths of 100,000 plus as little more than collateral damage is also commiting war crimes. A state that vanishes Canadian citizens into Nacht and Nebel is against the interests of free people everywhere. A state that ignores its international obligations but expects other states to live to their international obligations is a threat to all nations. A state that deludes itself over its place in the world and the degree of friendship others may feel for it is a dangerous state.

Your government commits war crimes and in your silence you condone this fact. You are not deserving of the friendship of any free citizen.


That "obvious thing" is the last thing she needed to say in this situation. If I were Russian I would translate it into: "We will accept Georgia in NATO. Now if they decide to attack SO and Abkhazia again, don't dare to fight back because we will be at war with you". From their POV this is a provocation and an outright threat. You don't talk to someone you want peace with like that.

The situation is much more delicate, with virtually everyone but the neocons interested in putting down the tensions. If she insist to be the pig, I mean the elephant in the china store, so be it - but it goes to show what we are to expect the next 4 years.

This woman is neither a diplomat nor a maverick, but a pawn. At this critical juncture in history, the U.S. -- nay, the world -- can ill afford a pawn in the Oval Office, should circumstances put her there, and Biden has a better grip on the broader world situation than Palin. Obama may not have all the answers, but I prefer his coolheaded approach to McCain's hotheaded one.

Just ask the Iraqis how they felt about Biden's solution for their country, real winner there.

You mean like this?

Yeah, like that.

Biden doesn't have his first born in Iraq, does he?

Biden - we went to war with too few troops. Someone needs to point out that no matter how many troops we sent sooner or later it would turn out to be too few. The more we send the worse we make the situation. So Obama goes on Fox to talk about the wonderful success that the "surge" is turning out to be. It's not the surge, but that we're bribing the various factions to kill off each other. That top-secret super-dooper weapon will come back to bite us in the ass, just like the Taliban.

The Democrats want a kinder, gentler occupation. A more competent war. As long as they get the gas for their Subaru Outbacks and a return to go-go prosperity. Seems to me that energy policy is more delusional than "drill here drill there drill everywhere".

cfm in Gray, ME

No, the Democrats are afraid to run on peace because they suspect the Republicans have already succeeded in creating a fascist public. No matter how much surveys show a majority is sick of the war, there always seems to be people out there who understant the purpose of the "commander-in-chief" is to maintain a permanent state of war. That's the only way they can tell if someone is presidential. Some Democrats mind this condition more than others. But if the public is fascist, does that mean one should stop trying to get into power to make things less bad than they could be?

"A fascist public"---This is a good analysis at this moment. Palin and her NRA membership are therefore trumping Obama's experience in the Senate and his education (as shown in recent popularity surge of Republicans unfortunately).

It's worth considering how and why this disastrous state of affairs arose.

Maybe the US public has just been so beaten down by decades of govt priority on "defense" spending instead of on things to help lives improve (healthcare, education, public transportation).

Doesn't the US govt spend more on "defense" than all the other countries in the world PUT TOGETHER??

At some point the public internalizes the values of its tormentor, like a hostage or the victim of an abusive relationship.

Sadly the staging of an intervention does not seem to be simple when the victims number in the millions.....

I think other countries have been through this kind of thing before by the way. So the US isn't unique but the scale now makes it a special case.

As Sen. Barack Obama closes in on his running mate pick, one prospect with clear momentum is Sen. Joseph Biden Jr.

Even difficult news for the Delaware Democrat personally has added a compelling twist to his case. On Oct. 3, Biden's son, Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III, will be deployed to Iraq.

Biden doesn't have his first born in Iraq, does he?

As a matter of fact, Biden's firstborn left for Iraq a month before Palin's. I suspect this is one reason he was picked as VP.

"I don't want him going," Biden told an Iowa state fair crowd a year ago, when, as a presidential candidate himself, he learned that his son's unit would be deployed at some point in 2008. "But I don't want my grandsons or granddaughters going back in 15 years. So how we leave makes a big difference."

Raising five kids while being governor - where would she find time to boneup on foreign affairs?

Simple. She's not doing the "raising" part.

Actually, last time this happened we lost a very sick president heavily dependent on psychoactive drugs for his Addison's Disease for a far more sensible, less adventurous one.

Palin's comments might just be rhetoric. Talking tough to garner support.

Mrs. Palin is a Dominionist (end-timer/rapture-nut) who believes that dinosaurs and humans lived together, and that God put the dinos on earth to turn into unlimited amounts of oil under the North Slope to be refined into gas for her Guy Todd's snow racing machines. Sure, she is McLame's and the republican Party's apparachick's pawn, but what if McSame kicks the bucket a month or three after taking office...everyone on TOD who wants 'Caribou Barbie' be be in charge of the football raise their hands...she is clueless, and smitten with dreams of fulfilling Revelations from her book of fictional allegories. That all being said, she and McInsane probably stand a better than even chance of getting elected...even if their minions have to cage voters in Ohio to do it.

And Palin advocates Georgia joining NATO, while acknowledging that war with Russia is a possibility if Russia attacks Georgia after Georgia joins NATO.

Couldn't you just skip the election and keep Bush/Cheney around for another 8 years?

Just saw part of the Sarah Palin interview and I am really starting to appreciate Dick Cheney :\

sad to say that some people in office and trying to get in, on both party's, long for the good old days of the cold war and think they could of done better(as in easially destroy Russia). it's also sad but understandable that the leadership and people in Russia long for those days.

Russia skipped the "smart bomb" thing and focused
on Mach 3, evasive nuclear tech missiles/rockets.

OTTAWA — Canada's oil industry is returning to the remote, iceberg-infested waters off Labrador after a 25-year absence, eager to explore for natural gas in hopes of developing a new producing basin off the country's east coast.


Although I belive that oil has peaked or is about to, it seems that natural gas has some time to go before it peaks. Besides the pure-play gas wells, there are a lot of declining oil wells with natural gas caps that won't be bled off until the oil is kaput.

What worries me is that too much natural gas is currently being wasted by flaring, bitumen extraction, and electrical generation, instead of being used directly for chemical feedstock or heating buildings.

If there is too much, it seems like the gas will go to whoever gets there quickest. This probably means with the least new infrasturcture.

Heating more homes in the Northeast would probably require some more gas pipelines, homeowners buying new furnaces, and some more underground storage. I expect making a full-scale change won't happen, becaue of the infrastructure issue.

One thing that might ramp up qickly is selling more natural gas powered cars, especially near where natural gas is sold. This is not really a very high use for the natural gas, but it wouldn't take a lot of cars to take up the surplus. It would be better if fertilizer and chemical plants could be built near where the gas is produced.


USGS geologists have a lot of new estimates of undiscovered oil and gas in the US. As far as I know nobody has bothered to comment on them, which I find odd given the drill..drill..drill debate, which some folks at TOD have apparently succumbed to.

Using the mean estimates, they seem to come up with ~10 Gb and ~400 Tcf 'undiscovered' for the lower 48 and ~30 Gb and ~225 Tcf 'undiscovered' for Alaska.

The US consumes 7.2 Gb of oil per year and 24 Tcf of natural gas.

Would this be a good topic for a post (especially as energy is a topic in the election)?



From toplink about electricity shortage choking gas development

Documents on file with the B.C. Utilities Commission show that the town of Fort Nelson, in the heart of B.C.'s gas patch, is so squeezed for power that there is no room for economic growth -- and some existing customers operate under the threat of blackouts.

That sort of completes the cycle doesn't it? Not enough gas to install more power generation to develop more gas.

cfm in Gray, ME

Skills and Materials shortages impact on oil lifting costs.


Bolivia expels US ambassador Philip Goldberg

It all sounds way too familiar:

Another conspirator against the trusting Madero was an individual who surely rates as the worst ambassador in the annals of U.S. diplomatic history. Henry Lane Wilson, hatchet man for big business and apostle of dollar diplomacy, longed for the good old days of Porfirio Díaz. Then there had been a favorable climate for the global capitalism of its day and the masses were held firmly in check.


Just the latest episode in the U.S.'s long, sordid involvement in Latin America. Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua--the list goes on and on.

Reports are that there is an insurrection in progress led by rich white land owners, and yes evidence is pointing towards US funded operations.

It should be obvious what this is about. Bolivia is the largest natural gas supplier in South America, supplying both Brazil and Argentina with Natural Gas.

But there is more. Brazil wants to build a highway across South America to Peru to send supply trucks filled with Brazilian oil to ports in Peru where ships bound for China can pick the oil up circumventing the US oil market. Any highway from Brazil to Peru will have to pass through Bolivia.

Once again, its all about oil!

Not only - I know someone whose wife is from that region. It is also about racism - the Indios now have power, and regardless of any other aspects of the conflict, those who aren't Indios find the idea of no longer being in charge unacceptable, if not completely unnatural.

U.S. involvement in Latin America has a long, sordid history. As Carlos Fuentes outlines in The Buried Mirror it has its roots in the 19th century and, except for a short hiatus during the Roosevelt administration and his Good Neighbor Policy, has pretty much followed the same trajectory:

In the phase immediately after independence, Britain managed Latin America's foreign trade; in the latter part of the nineteenth century, the United States came to be the principal partner. However, they employed the same instruments of economic power, namely favorable agreements for their merchants, loans and credits, investment, and the handling of the export economy of minerals, agricultural produce, and natural products required by Anglo-American expansion. A highly privileged local minority served as intermediaries, both for these exports and for the imports of manufactured European and North American goods, which were in demand among the urban population in the interior.

The attitude of the Bush administration towards Latin America has pretty much been one of indifference. He's had his hands too full in the Middle East. This has allowed China and Russia to establish some pretty formidable beachheads in the region. And certainly the starkness of U.S. failures in the Middle East has lessened U.S. prestige and influence in Latin America. If the U.S. ever had any moral capital in the region, that is undoubtedly gone. But perhaps more important, as one Latin American commentator put it, there is "no fear." That's why Bolivia and Venezuela can eject their U.S. ambassadors with little risk of retribution. U.S. hygemony is being challenged even in its own back yard.

Maybe this isn't something to just passively sit back and observe. Perhaps this is something that concerned Netizens can stop or influence. This attempt by Western elites to overthrow a country which won't play the exploitative "free market" game should be publicized as much as possible - on blogs, forums, and by any other means - and the evidence linking the right-wing agitators in Bolivia to funding by the U.S. government should be laid out for the world to see. What if we could make things like this a "campaign issue"? I'm tired of being a chihuaua-sized dog wagged by the St. Bernard sized tail of our corporate media.

Trucking oil across the Andes?


You do know they can make tunnels now?
i hear they made a pretty long one between england and france recently [/sarcasm]

Thanks to the TODer that suggested reading
"Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq"


If you haven't read this, you should (I borrowed it from the Library).

Really puts current affairs (including Russia/Georgia) into context.

Options for Battling Crisis Narrow

The credit crunch could be entering a critical stage, with the share prices of Lehman and other financial firms reeling even after the Fed slashed interest rates. Officials and market players are struggling to understand why the steps taken so far haven't calmed the system.

"Officials and market players are struggling to understand why the steps taken so far haven't calmed the system."

Teacher! Teacher! OOHOOH. Can't you see my hand!?

From Ilargi yesterday:

"The mayhem hasn’t even started for real yet: the problems will be solved when both of the following issues have been fully addressed.

First, home prices will have to go down to trendline levels; to do so, they will need to lose around 65% of their 2005-6 peak levels. They are down about 20% today, according to Robert Shiller. Because swings of this magnitude are always intensified by sheer momentum, the losses, as I have said 1000 times, will be close to 80%.

Second, the securities, derivatives and other casino toilet paper that reside in the vaults of banks, pension funds, money funds and elsewhere, will have to be exposed to daylight and valued at the market price of the day, not that of 10 years ago or 10 years in the future. This is called mark-to-market, and it gets harder to avoid it, try as they all might.

Until these two conditions have been met, the only result of actions such as the Treasury "rescue" of Fannie and Freddie will be one, and one only: the transfer of public funds, revenue drawn from taxpayers past, present, and future, into private coffers. And no, I do not believe that is an unintended consequence."

And there's approx. $400 billion, actual cash, w/15% in the vaults.

Now that's fractional banking.

The French Revolution -- in reverse.

The Second Estate is rebuilding. Not everyone will lose in this wholesale collapse that Illargi foresees.

And signs of a re-nascent First Estate are present. The Dispensationalists will have to overcome a few doctrinal problems with the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, but the Lutherans are already moving in that direction, and Ms. Palin is ideally placed to build bridges.

Quite likely a large number of people will be hurt or killed before this is all over.

Now that's fractional banking.

No. That is fictional banking.

Westexas, I haven't been on site much lately so don't know if you have you given any thoughts to how deflation/recession-depression will effect costs of world oil production?

What instigated this thought was that Jerry Rubin of CIBC came out the other day saying that 100 dollar oil is close to the costs of production which seemed rather largish, but maybe he was considering prices where oil sands stuff would wither. Anyway, and particularly in the oil sands, as deflation etc. gain steam, I would expect cost to diminish?

This is a general observation, not an Ike specific one - why are modern Americans so absolutely certain that nothing bad will ever happen?

There was someone on the third Ike thread dismissing the storm basically, recommending that a buddy and his family remain on Galveston Island - advice hopefully ignored, since CNN is already showing homes being pummeled on the coast - http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/09/12/hurricane.ike.texas/index.html#...

To use a phrase from another source - why has America become fact resistant?

Why has America become so fact resistant?

As the enemy drew nearer Moscow, instead of the Muscovites' view of their situation growing more serious, it became more frivolous, as is always the case with people who see a great danger approaching. At the threat of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal power in the human soul: one quite reasonably tells a man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of averting it; the other still more reasonably, says that it is too depressing and painful to think of the danger, since it is not in man's power to foresee everything and escape from the general march of events, and it is therefore better to disregard what is painful till it comes, and think about what is pleasant.

--Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss..

"As darkness settled over Europe on the evening of August 31, 1939, and a million and a half German troops began moving forward toward their final positions on the Polish border for the jump-off at dawn, all that remained for Hitler to do was to perpretrate some propaganda trickery to prepare the German people for the shock of aggressive war.

"The people were in need of the treatment which Hitler, abetted by Goebbels and Himmler, had become so expert in applying. I had been about in the streets of Berlin, talking with the ordinary people, and that morning noted in my diary: "Everybody against the war. People talking openly. How can a country go into a major war with a population so dead against it?" Despite all my experience in the Third Reich I asked such a naive question! Hitler knew the answer very well. Had he not the week before on his Bavarian mountaintop promised the generals that he would "give a propagandist reason for starting the war" and admonished them not to "mind whether it was plausible or not"? "The victor," he had told them, "will not be asked afterward whether he told the truth or not. In starting a waging a war it is not right that matters, but victory.

-W'm Shirer, Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich (p593)

I nominate that for one of the rotating quotes, top right.

Given that a large fraction of the U.S. population holds to the Fundamentalist view of the world, it's not surprising that other "facts" don't sink in. If one thinks the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, that the universe was "created" in 7 days, that all living animals were also created just as we find them today, that the Earth was completely flooded, killing all life except those on a big boat and that dead people will (eventually) "rise from the grave", what's a few "facts" going to do? Add to that, the MSM, especially TV and movies, which have managed to instill a Disney World view of the future, there's no reason to think that there's any connection between the average American and reality, except at the gas pump and on tax day, 15 April...

E. Swanson

Even taxes are unreal and like facts, evadable if you have the means.

That leaves the gas pump as the ultimate reality.

Don't be so sure.

I've told some of my friends and coworkers to fill up their tanks, in case of price spikes and shortages. I've shown them Ike on satellite images, filling up the whole Gulf and heading toward Houston.

Their reaction? It's just an excuse to screw us over at the pumps. They bought the gas they're selling now before Ike, so why is the price going up? It's big oil, raping us again.

I guess if you own the gas pump, you get to create reality.

It's all so circular. Too early in the morning to get my head spinning like this.

And the people who say that have never tried to run a business, I suspect.

Gas stations have to raise their prices because it isn't how much they paid for this tank, it's how much it's going to cost to refill it.

Hmm, I wonder. It doesn't seem to work that way when prices are going down!

Whom can you trust in the U.S. for real, worthwhile information? You cannot get it from the tube, radio or government. It is a systemic loss in trust. Can one really blame them for not listening when most everything they hear is a lie or tied to someone else making money? Where do the poor and rapidly shrinking middle classes go to find the truth?

Cliches are the historic poor man's philosophy.

Myths are their history.

Grimm's Fairy Tales and Aesop's Fables work nicely.

And I can tell you that Cinderella's Step Daughters
were treated a lot worse (blinded, for instance)
in the earlier versions.

Cliche's are a shorthand, like Polls and Statistics. They can be used to reveal truths, and just as easily can conceal or distort them.

"The cat that steps on a hot stove will never step on a hot stove again, but will also never step on a cold one."


Partly its human nature to discount bad news - see Nate Hagan's postings on that.

It's also the media - it's been so throughly corrupted that no one takes it seriously anymore - thus even when it does get something right - like Ike being dangerous - no one pays it any heed.

Nobody with common sense wants your effete, liberal facts, boy. Maybe if you people with facts would stop looking down on regular folks someone would take you seriously. And don't forget the road to hell is paved with facts.

If common sense worked, we wouldn't need to send people to college (and beyond) to study medicine, engineering and geology. Or, is your horse and buggy capable of 70 mph on the freeway (designed and built by engineers using oil, coal and the steel, concrete and electricity produced there from)? The last time common sense built a computer, it was called an abacus...

E. Swanson

Miss Swanson,

The reason we send people to college is to deprave them of their common sense.

As far as I can see most of the people building the freeway nearby here speak in foreign tongues and can barely write. And where do you get off with the idea that electricity is produced from concrete?

And let's face it, one of the best things we ever got from the swedes was the abba-cuss. At least in them days a cashier could add and subtract.

The reason we send people to college is to deprave them of their common sense.

While I think you intended to say deprive, "deprave" is so much more appropriate to the college experience...I wish mine had been more "depraving".

Actually, I do know my way around the dictionary.

I wasn't referring to the machines or the people running them. The people that actually set up the "building" usually don't get their hands dirty. And, the concrete is produced from fossil fuel, but, in case you care to use your common sense, how would one produce electricity from nuclear fission without using concrete in the mix of materials?

Hey dude, thanks for the gender slander too. It's so down right Repuglican...

E. Swanson

When was the last time your abacus went off-line?

Slide rules, er, rule.

Now that you mention it, my Keuffel & Esser Log Log Duplex Decitrig is in need of an upgrade. FORTRAN 2003, anyone?

E. Swanson

If common sense worked, we wouldn't need to send people to college (and beyond) to study medicine, engineering and geology.

The irony is that the term 'common sense' was once a perjorative, referring to the dull, short-sighted sense of the 'common man.' By this reckoning, the Palin-loving masses are simply rife with common sense. What we are sorely needing is more 'uncommon' sense.

I believe it was Thomas Paine (John McCain's younger cousin) who wrote a best seller pamphlet called "Common Sense". He was not intending to deprecate the common man but rather to incite him towards "change".

'Certain death' warning over Ike

Residents in one area of the Texas coastline have been warned they must evacuate before the arrival of Hurricane Ike or "face certain death".

The National Weather Service issued the grave warning to those living in low-lying areas around Galveston Bay.

"Persons not heeding evacuation orders in single family one- or two-storey homes will face certain death."

The warning was issued after it became apparent that some residents in the Galveston Bay area were resisting orders to evacuate.


"Persons not heeding evacuation orders in single family one- or two-storey homes will face certain death."

Is this because they are sending in Blackwater?

It's because 15' of storm surge completely covers a 2 story residential home.

Add waves on top of that.

It's a futile attempt because people with common sense only learn from experience.

expat, another thought I had is that perhaps we are currently sandwiched between two mass movements in the U.S.--that of Palin and that of Obama. This thought came to me the other day when I was watching CBS Evening News and saw how Palin is now attracting the same sort of mass meetings as Obama. These mass meetings are one of the hallmarks of mass movements:

[Vehemence, passion and fanaticism are] the great magnetic forces which alone attract the great masses; for these masses always respond to the compelling force which emanates from absolute faith in the ideas put forward, combined with an indomitable zest to fight for and defend them... The doom of the nation can be averted only by a storm of glowing passion; but only those who are passionate themselves can arouse passion in others.

-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf


When from his little workshop or big factory, in which [a person] feels very small, he steps for the first time into a mass meeting and has thousands and thousands of people of the same opinion around him... he is swept away by three or four thousand others into the mighty effect of suggestive intoxication and enthusiasm, when the visible success and agreement of thousands confirm to him the rightness of the new doctrine…

-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

Eric Hoffer was a 20th century philosopher and thinker who dedicated his life to studying mass movements--Christianity, Islam, Nazism, Communism and many others. He argued that the doctrine of a mass movement had to be, as you put it, "fact resistant":

To gain fanatical converts requires certain organizational and doctrinal chararcteristics. "What Pascal said of an effective religion is true of any effective doctrine: It must be 'contrary to nature, to common sense and to pleasure.'" 9 "It is obvious, therefore, that in order to be effective a doctrine must not be understood, but has to be believed in. We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand. A doctrine that is understood is shorn of its strength. Once we understand a thing, it is as if it had originated in us. . . . The fact that they understand a thing fully impairs its validity and certitude in their eyes."10


And looking at both Palin's and Obama's energy proposals, they both seem to be pretty "fact resistant"--Palin with her statements about 11 billion barrels of oil and 9 TCF of gas under 2000 acres and her Alaskan natural gas pipeline pipedream; Obama with his promise to “end our dependence” on Middle East oil in a decade.

If this indeed is what is transpiring--two competing mass movements--I suppose our chore is to choose which of the two mass movements is the most benign, and persuade fellow Americans to vote accordingly:

A core principle in the book is Hoffer's insight that mass movements are interchangeable; he notes fanatical Nazis later becoming fanatical Communists, fanatical Communists later becoming fanatical anti-Communists, and Saul, persecutor of Christians, becoming Paul, a fanatical Christian himself. For the true believer the substance of the mass movement isn't so important as that he or she is part of that movement. Hoffer furthermore suggests that it is possible to head off the rise of an undesirable mass movement by substituting a benign mass movement, which will give those prone to joining movements an outlet for their insecurities.


fact resistant

That's a wonderful connection DownSouth. I noticed during the Democratic caucuses here in Maine that the vehemence of the Obama and Clinton camps was directly proportional to how poorly informed they were. The Obamamamas insisting he was going to bring the troops home right away and the Hillaristas insisting she would institute single-payer health care. They had been turned out in numbers by respective canvassing organizations and were almost all new faces - no history. This worked well for the Democratic leadership in Maine, where it used the new people to purge long time party activists who had the audacity to point out the facts.

Whether or not the fact-free Democrats are any different than the fact-free Republicans I don't know. My guess is that it's one movement, something like "America First". The division of US into two parties - both wholly owned subsidiaries of the corpos - is only a distraction.

cfm in Gray, ME

You can't have a game unless there are two teams. The fact that they may have the same owner is largely irrelevant. The game's the thing.

Democracy, the Game: You get to choose your leader from a panel selected by your social betters. You can color your hair any color you want. The press is free, if you own one. You may drink Pepsi, Coke, bottled water or all three if you really want to.

And while I appreciate DS. citations of Eric Hoffer, I am very skeptical of that last quote where he seems to suggest the possibility of creating a "benign" mass movement.

My (woefully inadequate) knowledge of history includes no examples of such a thing. Does anyone know?


I read The True Believer many years ago but have since lost my copy, so I can't answer your question with more detail. I only have what I can find on the internet, such as this:

The mass movements discussed in The True Believer include religious mass movements as well as political, including extensive discussions of Islam and Christianity. They also include seemingly benign mass movements which are neither political nor religious.


Oh my dear NeverLNG feeling a bit Wobbly in the history dept?

. The town of Spokane, Washington had outlawed street meetings, and arrested Elizabeth Gurley Flynn,[4] a Wobbly organizer, for breaking this ordinance. The response was simple but effective: when a fellow member was arrested for speaking, large numbers of people descended on the location and invited the authorities to arrest all of them, until it became too expensive for the town.

This sort of thing makes me feel rather warm and wobbly about the I.W.W.

Unfortunately I think the members of benign movements end slowly twisting in the breeze or eventually 'meeting the enemy as us' as Walt Kelly so aptly described.

One of the best statements against web filtering I have ever read -

'Talk about intellectual dishonesty! Violence and profanity!?
Why are they ashamed to admit that they don't want working people to learn about the revolutionary program of the IWW?
Why can't they just admit that they're afraid of the economic and political ideas that are communicated in the pages of the Industrial Worker? Instead of labeling us as "Communist subversives", which of course is what they think we are, these cowards have tried to brand us with "Violence and profanity", as if the IW is like some tasteless TV show. The boss class has always tried to stifle the voice of the IWW because we scare the hell out of them, no matter how small we are. (Look at that, violence and profanity in the last sentence, oh my god!) The only threat to their continued and eternal bamboozlement of the toiling masses is that ideas such as those conveyed by the Industrial Worker start to spread and catch fire. So the attempt of a money-grubbing capitalist outfit such as CyberPatrol to block out access to the Industrial Worker comes as no surprise. That they would use such a gutless pretext to block us is a bit more surprising, but maybe they're afraid that "liberals" might object to blocking our newspaper on purely political grounds.

To the censors:
So, CyberPatrol bootlicking lackeys, here's my challenge: Show the courage of your slimy capitalist convictions and give us the label we deserve: Red. If you can't bring yourself to be honest enough to admit that you don't want young people to be free to learn about the Industrial Workers of the World because we are Reds, and proud to be Reds, than how about lifting your ban altogether?

Who appointed you to trample over the sacred right to Free Speech, anyhow?
The Industrial Worker is the official newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World, and bills itself as "The Voice of Revolutionary Industrial Unionism". Any but the most degraded cynic would have to acknowledge that it is precisely publications like the Industrial Worker that embody the concept of Free Speech. By attempting to deny young people the right to hear the voice of the IWW, you reveal your total contempt for the "free marketplace of ideas" that you no doubt claim to uphold.

Here's some unsolicited personal advice:
For your own good, while you still have a shred of self-respect, why not try to find a less shameful line of work? No freedom loving individual likes a censor, and I'm sure you are already circumspect about revealing your unfortunate occupation to people you meet. You'll feel a lot better about yourself if you find an honorable trade, and people will respect you more too.

For the One Big Union,
Frank Callahan,

Expat, the other day I was trying to remember the missing third leg, to Eisenhower's statement about the industrial military complex, that he was advised to remove from his speech. Yours, about web-filtering, reminded me the word was 'academic'. The 'Military Industrial and Academic' complex.

The veteran pollster Daniel Yankelovich explores in great detail what he calls "the picture of a populace helpless before the 'engineers of consent' " in his book Coming to Public Judgment: Making Democracy Work in a Complex World.

I'm an avid art collector so in my studies of art have read extensively about the nuts and bolts of how consent was engineered in the past. Certainly the Council of Trent deployed propaganda masterfully in the 16th century, but propaganda was taken to entirely new levels in the 20th century with the promotion of the secular ideologies Nazism and Communism, explored extensively in Victor Arwas' The Great Russian Utopia and Peter Adam's Art of the Third Reich.

So has the science of propaganda now been so highly perfected that it makes democracy obsolete? Yankelovich believes it has not, even though he concedes that his stance is hopeful and optimistic, and is certainly not unanimous.

Yankelovich argues the process by which the public makes judgments is a three-step process:

1) Consciousness raising

2) Working through

3) Resolution

He goes on to observe that the news media do a great job of consciousness raising, but subsequently leave the public in the lurch:

If there is an important news story to cover that should arouse public concern and alarm, the media are superb at beating the drums and getting everyone agitated. But once people are whipped into a state of high anxiety, the news media then move on to the next task of consciousness raising, as if arousing people's concerns were an end in itself. Just as people are starting to wonder, "What in the world should we do about this problem?" the news media move on to the next story.

By shifting restlessly from one story to another, the news media leave the public either in a state of moral frenzy or in a passive posture of being entertained and diverted. One week it is the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the next week the hostages in Lebanon, the next the murder of citizens who interfere with the drug traffic in their neighborhoods. You barely begin to focus on one issue before it is gone and replaced by another. In each instance consciousness raising is achieved, but the task of stage 2 is greatly complicated.

Could all this be intentional? Yankelovich makes a couple of statements that indicate that maybe it is. One is the following:

There will be some readers who think: "...If my only alternative is mass opinion (low quality, ill-informed opinion formed before people have time to complete steps 1 and 2), then I'll take that. If people are inconsistent and hold mushy points of view, they are easily persuaded to shift one way or the other, leaving room for leadership to do what is right without consulting the public."

This is not a trivial argument. Moreover, in one form or another it is held by many of our elites.

Another is this, which follows his section on "The Polling Profession":

Unfortunately, the full capabilities of public opinion polling are mostly hidden from public view. The polls the public sees are those favored (and supported) by the media. Much polling, however, is done by businesses in market research and by political candidates and officals who hold public office. These polls are private. Some are just as trivial and misleading as the media-sponsored instant polls. But many of these private polls are conducted when the stakes are particularly high; for example, testing reaction to a new corporate or presidential initiative. You can be sure that these are not low-cost "quickie" polls built around single, simplistic questions. They are trend-tracking, probing, complex, thorough explorations of consumer or citizen thinking.

And another is this:

Our system of representative democracy assumes that those who act for the public have superior knowledge but that they share the public's goals and values. But on many issues this assumption is invalid. Leaders and experts seek to advance their own values and interests. This is why so much emphasis is put on public relations. Correcting the public's understanding is rarely the goal of public relations. The usual goal is to make it possible for special interests to achieve objectives and advance values the public does not fully share.

You are certainly going in my direction, but I would use 'marketing,' in all its glorious and extremely well funded aspects, instead of the word propaganda.

I'm not certain that in the U.S., there is really even a meaningful distinction between marketing and propaganda, except that marketing has been able to ride at the forefront of numerous scientific fields, because marketers have money to spread around in ways that governments don't.

Further, the most classic uses of propaganda are backed up with force, naked or otherwise, though admittedly, that trend can be seen to some extent in the former free speech zone that was the United States of America.

I just wonder if the U.S. really ever was the "free speech zone" you refer to:

I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. The majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

But one thing is for sure, that following 9-11, if it ever existed, that then, during our hour of greatest need, it ceased to exist. If you haven't seen this you should take the time to watch it:


My contention is that perhaps we really don't have any "good" choices come November. It's like the choice many Europeans faced in the first half of the 20th century, between the two mass movements of Nazism and Communism (Well, not quite as dire, but I hope you get the point).

Fortunately at that time the U.S. avoided falling victim to either of these mass movements.

Can it do so again?

Certainly the path the U.S. chose was far from perfect, but it was nevertheless, I believe, a far superior path than was chosen by Germany, Italy, Spain or Russia. Quoting Hoffer again:

Free men are aware of the imperfection inherent in human affairs, and they are willing to fight and die for that which is not perfect. They know that basic human problems can have no final solutions, that our freedom, justice, equality, etc. are far from absolute, and that the good life is compounded of half measures, compromises, lesser evils, and gropings toward the perfect. The rejection of approximations and the insistence on absolutes are the manifestation of a nihilism that loathes freedom, tolerance, and equity.


And let me also point out I'm just throwing out some ideas here, because it seems to me that the United States has embarked on a prolonged mental holiday. Can the theories of mass movements help explain that? I don't know. It's not so much an argument as a question.

Yes, the true believer is becoming ever more a dominant part of American life, but another aspect not discussed here is fear.

I think part of the refusal to acknowledge facts is that they would require people to live differently - and that is something I don't understand about the U.S.

Germany had the Greens, a party which frightened many Germans actually, but the Greens did have a number of facts on their side in political debates, facts which were convincing to many people who did not necessarily agree with the Greens in many areas.

And because the Greens became a political force, the other parties were forced to move their positions to deal with the fact that many Germans would no longer support parties with no interest in environmental concerns. The last time this dynamic played out in the U.S., in my opinion, was when Nixon created the EPA and was involved in passing many environmental laws, such as various clean air regulations.

I do have theories why the U.S. has become so rigid, but reality - empty gas stations, for example - does not care whether it is acknowledged or not.

Reality is what the fact resistant end up with in the end. And generally, it is a reality that thoughtfulness could have avoided. And it is the reality which people were so scared of that they avoided thinking about it until it arrived.

I don't think Nixon was the last time this has happened. Look at the Democrats moving their position over to deregulation and NAFTA under Clinton, these were clearly Republican sorts of ideas that got co-opted. Also, look at the number of african americans serving in the cabinet of Bush Jr, or the choice of McCain's VP pick. I'd rate it as highly probable that Palin's being a woman was mentioned during discussions of who to pick as VP choice, if only to pick someone who offset McCain's old white man image. These sorts of equality issues are often Democratic positions.

I see where you are coming from, but what I meant was where a political party/administration was forced to implement policy which it considered anathema, but was forced to do so because of facts which were above politics - regardless of how hard various politicians attempted to ignore or deny those facts, or ridicule those who held them.

Hmmm, kinda like the global warming thing, eh? As I recall, the phrase "climate change" did not come easily to Bush.

[Vehemence, passion and fanaticism are] the great magnetic forces which alone attract the great masses; for these masses always respond to the compelling force which emanates from absolute faith in the ideas put forward, combined with an indomitable zest to fight for and defend them... The doom of the nation can be averted only by a storm of glowing passion; but only those who are passionate themselves can arouse passion in others.

-- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."
W.B.Yeats, The Second Coming

While independent of the corporations, Nader's energy policy is as fact resistant as Obama's.

I hardly think this is a specifically American problem. But consider this from today's hurricane thread:

NHC and the emergency managers have to play up the risks or people will not evacuate. They never want to be wrong on the low side, so if there is any potential for intensification, they will plug that in to the forecast. Unfortunately, that plays on the fears in the oil/gas markets, and drives up prices unrealistically, so I spend a lot of time downplaying the NHC forecasts as they tend to my "hot" from a damage perspective. The risk is that someone will read my infrastructure forecasts and decide not to evacuate. That's stupid; rigs and refineries can be replaced, lives can't.

I suppose the behavior of the emergency managers is "understandable" - mollycoddled jobsworth bureaucrats covering their own plush rear ends - but it was inevitable that over time it led to ever-escalating exaggeration as ever more lurid tales were deemed necessary to induce evacuation. So where have attitudes like that led us?

Every hurricane is a world-transforming disaster. Drinking coffee causes cancer. Failing to drink coffee causes cancer. Everything and its opposite causes cancer. A warm summer is the beginning of the end of all life in the world. A cold winter is the start of a new ice age. Let's all quiver paralyzed in perpetual fear of our own shadows, the Precautionary Principle says so. And so on, ad nauseam. But since nearly all of the breathless predictions of gloom and have been outright duds, how is anyone not expert in the particulars of the fearmongering of the hour supposed know what to believe?

For example, the real risk from cell phones is wrapping one's car around a tree. But if you don't care about real risk because you're really charging after evil wicked business on your Marxist deconstructionist hobby horse, it's far more fashionable to bloviate about "radiation". And as some news reports have dared to mention, even with Hurricane Rita, many more Americans died in the evac than in the storm.

So in the end, why should anyone pay the slightest attention to the exaggerating, bloviating, even lying fearmongers, a good many of whom are merely covering their bureaucratic behinds, or charging about on their own private social or political hobby horses?

I basically agree with you, but you should do some more research on the cell phones IMO.

Expat: You obviously arent aware that "big brother" is
protecting America and Americans, therefore nothing bad CAN happen. If you or countless other Americans should have calamity befall you, you deserved it and it was the will of God. Died in a hurricane? Gods retribution for sin and homosexuality. Lost your home to financial manipulations? God took your abode to punish you....etc etc.

Palin 'governed from the center,' went after big oil

Former aide Larry Persily said she didn't want to risk offending Democrats, whose votes she needed on energy legislation.

You know, I'm getting a real sense of déjà vu here. Oh yeah:

AUSTIN, Texas -- George W. Bush governed Texas for nearly six years with an amiable style, carefully cultivated friendships with top Democrats and a limited legislative agenda.

When Bush Jr. was governor of Texas he governed from the center too. Yet, he has been rather partisan as president (to put it mildly). So does the usatoday article tell me anything about how Palin would act as VP? Experience says no.

Boy I wish Obama's campaign would hurry up and get down to some muck-raking already. Nothing personal against Palin or McCain, but it looks like 2000 and 2004 all over again. He or she who can spin the most vicious slander wins.

But I'm not jaded or anything. :)

And, speaking of Mrs. Palin:

Palin's climate remarks conflict with past views

Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's assertion that she believes humans play a role in climate change -- made in her first major interview since joining the Republican ticket -- is at odds with her previous statements. Palin said she didn't disagree with scientists that the problem can be attributed to ''man's activities.''

''Show me where I have ever said that there's absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any effect or no effect on climate change. I have not said that,'' Palin told ABC News in an interview broadcast Thursday and Friday.

However, in the past Palin has said she does not believe global warming is caused by human activity. She has told the Internet news site Newsmax, ''A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. ... I'm not one, though, who would attribute it to being man-made.''

So, is she lying now, or has she changed her mind? If she's changed her mind, why not admit it? Maybe she's afraid she'll look weak. However, I suspect the former answer: she's probably lying now.

In First Big Interview, Palin Says, ‘I’m Ready’

At times visibly nervous, at others appearing to hew so closely to prepared answers that she used the exact same phrases repeatedly, Ms. Palin most visibly stumbled when she was asked by Mr. Gibson if she agreed with the Bush doctrine. Ms. Palin did not seem to know what he was talking about. Mr. Gibson, sounding like an impatient teacher, informed her that it meant the right of “anticipatory self-defense.”

At a separate event on Thursday, a deployment ceremony for her son Track and thousands of other soldiers heading to Iraq from Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Ms. Palin told them they would be fighting “the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.” The comments sounded reminiscent of the disputed connections the Bush administration once made, but no longer does, between Iraq and the Sept. 11 attacks. But a senior McCain campaign aide said Ms. Palin did not believe Saddam Hussein played a role in the attacks.

I would say that its was the influence of Rummy and Cheney that caused Bush so many problems. Even Putin says Bush is decent guy, but that his advisors have steered him wrong. google "the court makes the king". Unlike Putin who has strong views aka "Russia First", I would imagine that Bush was more malleable on international affairs, especially after Sep11 and Rummy and Cheney took advantach of this. Sure wish he would have listened to his dad on these things.

Again on politics, seems even the UK has noticed the big disconnect between what Obama says and does.


Here's the real problem with Mr Obama: the jarring gap between his promises of change and his status quo performance. There are just too many contradictions between the eloquent poetry of the man's stirring rhetoric and the dull, familiar prose of his political record.

Well sure, but Bush bears blame because his name is on the executive orders and bills, not Cheney's or Rumsfeld's (sure, they're all at fault). As for what happened after 9/11, I agree with you: I saw the video of how Bush reacted to the news of the airplanes hitting the WTC. That's not how good leaders react during a crisis. It's easy to hypothesize that Bush really had very little idea what to do and the neo-Nixonians were telling him that invading Iraq would make him a great president and get out of the shadow of his father's legacy. Well, he did get out of the shadow of his father's legacy, just not in the good way.

Wicked remix of "Pet Goat" classroom video with sound bites from Clark, Cheney, Bush etc.

Bush in classroom on 9/11 with his commentary!

That was my thought after the video came to light, he didn't know how to react and turned to Cheney/Rummy and said "help me". Before 9/11, his agenda was rather limited. We all know Cheney wanted "finish the job", but yeah Bush bears the ultimate responsibility. His name will be a four letter word for a long time, especially to most of us Republicans who are embarrassed by his performance at basic governing. I consider his keeping incompetance around to be his greatest "sin". If Gates was in charge in the early going in Iraq, we would have been home 3 years ago. Rumsfield will go down as the worst SecOfDef in history, even worse than McNamara. Keeping him around was just unexcusable.

I am reminded of Gen. Andrew Jackson coming to New Orleans to defend it against a British invasion. A couple of days after arrival, he was guest of honor at a magnificent banquet given by a prominent Creole family. As he was putting the first bite into his mouth, a messenger came with news that the British were landing.

He jumped up and exclaimed "There is not a second to lose" and quickly gathered an ad hoc force to repel the British landing. After a brief skirmish with the landing party, the British withdrew till daylight, giving Gen. Jackson another 10 or so hours to prepare for the Battle of New Orleans.

Best Hopes for no $500 bill with GWB on it,


Best Hopes for no $500 bill with GWB on it,

With the drug war we can't have such bills in circulation.

One problem with your benevolent Bush theory is that the invasion of Iraq was on the books from the first days of the administration. Obviously, even before that or they wouldn't have been ready for full meetings with maps and such within ten days of taking office...

And don't forget it was in '99 that Cheney declared the ME to be "where the prize ultimately lies."


Some have regarded the PNAC's January 16, 1998 letter to President Clinton, which urged him to embrace a plan for "the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power," and the large number of members of PNAC appointed to the Bush administration as evidence that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a foregone conclusion.

...Frontline, broadcast on PBS ...PNAC's letter to President Clinton as a notable event in the leadup to the Iraq war.

... signatories ...PNAC's January 16, 1998 letter to President Clinton ... Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton, Richard Armitage, and Elliott Abrams.


He or she who can spin the most vicious slander wins.

Spin from right-wing pundits? Perish the thought...

The Daily Show: Sarah Palin Gender Card

We should not even be talking about Sarah Palin because it's sexist.

You know, I'm getting a real sense of déjà vu here.

This is sort of a long bit (8:00 minutes) but see your observation verified at around 4:50.

The Daily Show: John McCain's Big Acceptance Speech

Surely, the change John McCain wants to bring to Washington is different than the change George W. Bush wanted to bring.

I promise I will not link to any more fake news videos (today). I meant to post these when they were aired by they got lost in the shuffle. Today I happen to have a lot of time to mess around, thus they get posted.

I don't mind. I think Jon Stewart is doing a great service to society by showing these clips. :) I think the "real" news ought to do more serious versions of these. I think it exposes hypocrisy pretty well. You can always take things out of context with a sound bite, but overall I think they're useful.

There is a definite gasoline shortage/scare going on. Day 3 no gas at my local normally very busy station in Asheville NC. It will be interesting to see who else is affected while I ride my bike by them. I do own a little car, but why drive when you can ride?

Also this little tidbit from cnn about our area

Deleted [Duplicates of stories posted on Ike thread.]

This stuff should go in the Ike thread, please. In fact, it's already posted there. :-)

Technical Analysis (TA) – Third Post

Special trading session on Sunday at 10:00 am instead of 6:00 p.m. (9:30 am Monday for me)! Does anybody know who gets invited to these? Not only does the Smart Money (SM) have knowledge of all of the orders, including stops, they are being invited to a party that I'm being left out of! Its because of my family right? I'm just too low class...

So, what does TA say about all of this? I am using OmniTrader with the pattern recognition module, and I trade USO as a proxy for oil. Once again, I am getting a strong short signal on all of my strategies except for the “Reversal” strategy. Today (11:00 am) we are working on a weak bullish harami pattern. This could mean indecision. However, there is still the constant march downward.

The price of oil is very close to the important level of 100. I can't help but think that the SM would love to knock off some more long stops by blasting down past 100. They know of all orders in place, so they must be drooling so bad that their keyboards have shorted out. The current resistance may be the kind of trading range that induces a false sense of security. And, you know what happens when a hurricane takes out a bunch of oil infrastructure – yes, the price of oil goes down! Usable products on the other hand...

So, I'm still keeping my USO puts today and awaiting profit taking until the price of oil goes below 100, with my stop set at 88 for USO.

If there was an imminent invasion of Iran I would guess that there would be some leakage to “friends” that would cause some upward movement, or at least a large daily spread as the SM struggled to keep the price in check. Creg indicated that he thinks that an invasion would occur on a new moon, I guess that the dark would help hide attackers. On the other hand, a full moon would light up targets. Many on the Internet think that the US has all of the locations and and codes of the Iranian air defense system, so it would be toast in any case... A significant “terrorist” attack (can you say “False Flag Operation”?) would be a big “buy” signal for me. I'm not a big fan of the misery caused by war, but it seems like we are doomed to a series of wars in the Middle East. On the other hand, many on the Internet believe that the US is allied with Iran, like the Saudis, but that we just pretend that they are our enemy. Actually, because of how deeply western oil companies are into Iran, this makes a lot of sense.

Once again I have put myself out as a fortune teller – a sure way to end up looking like a fool. Please add to this analysis, and don't feel shy about flaming me if I said something dumb.


One point, Generaly--the smart money won't be trading into low volume on a Sunday. So, we'll see high flux, but nothing sound. Also, no pit trading, so no one there to see all the buy and sell orders.

I rather agree with your USO strategy. $100 is a big number, but a test past that to $98ish or even $96ish wouldn't be a shock (or whatever the equivalents are for USO).

Also, relentless bearishness, with many days down in a row, is often a sign you're nearing the end of an intermediate move.

Also, the dollar took a hit today, and gave a number of sell signals.

Good points!

If there will be light trading volume on Sunday, then what would be its purpose?

David Letterman: Peak Oil Aware?

From Huffpost.

This is a collection of takes from a (very?) recent rant on his show. (He was having Friedman on with his new book.) The rant is primarily about Global Warming (We're screwed!), but he says something like, "Forget about oil. We don't even have enough to worry about anymore. Not here, not in the middle East..."

... and the audience is laughing... but it may have been a laff track... I hope...


hahahaha, go Letterman. Of course, if one were a cynic you'd say that he sees the success of the Jon Stewart show and he and his marketing department decided to get political.

Holy cow I'm jaded today! The reason for it was yesterday some inner-city teenagers ran up behind me and hit me in the head while I was walking to the grocery store. In the end there was no harm done, it turned out it was just boys being stupid because some strong language and a quick call to the police made them think better of continuing anything, but it has made me more cranky than usual (and reminded me to keep up with carrying a knife while walking around after dark). Living in downtown Atlanta, it's like practice for when TSHTF. :)

Pretty soon they might not listen to strong language. Might want to read "Living in Argentina" blog if you want to keep living down there. What are you going to do if there is no police to call? Knife is okay, but you still have to be close...:-(

Do you have a link? I couldn't figure out which blog it was.

He's a little extreme, but you have to understand the situation down there, which is basically if you have to shoot, plan on running like hell afterwards instead of waiting for the police. I guess since they are completely corrupt they might shake you down afterward.

Too bad, Argentina has alot of advantages but the thugs are running the streets. I would think that this is what a slow collapse looks like and might be us circa 2011.

BTW, his archives are priceless and contain alot of useful info for an urban environment.


One difference is that the USA has a great many places that are as safe as anywhere on Earth. The discrepancy between the bad areas and the safe areas in the USA is pretty extreme-the country still has many towns where nobody locks their front door.

As a regular reader of his blog, it really makes you grateful for those safe places too.

Heck, for most of the Summer I hardly ever even close my front door, much less lock it.

Never close my door anymore. Thieves stole it last summer, sure makes winter seem long!

I'm very surprised to hear that. I always thought Buenos Aires was a very civilized place.

I always thought so as well, but apparently things have changed quite dramatically since their economy crashed (2000?). I stumbled across his blog awhile back, sounds like things are pretty bad down there. We go to Mexico City alot and have to be careful (no jewelry on the metro) but BA sounds much worse.

Definitly looks like slow crash and this is the "recovery". His comments about money and banks are quite informative.

Check out Naomi Klein's brief discussion of Argentina (after a more detailed discussion of Chile) in "The Shock Doctrine". Civilization took a big hit down there in the 1970s.

Yikes! I hope you're OK.

Best hopes for just getting along.

Yeah, thank I'm alright. As far as I can tell they were standing around after some after school function (it was right outside the high school) and they saw me walking by listening to my ipod and I think due to some peer pressure one of them was put up to messing with me. I actually heard them walking behind me and turned my ipod down just in case but for some reason I didn't look around behind me.

I don't know, I was debating whether a more violent response was warranted but I think that in this case my reaction was fine. If they were really after me they would've hit me harder. There was a huge number of students standing around and I couldn't tell how many there were that were involved vs. just being there. I certainly was outnumbered but I couldn't tell by how much.

This sort of thing does happen though in Atlanta without such happy endings. Even if you get away, the gang-members end up coming after you. Not so nice, wish there was a good solution.

Thanks, phree. I could have sworn I put the link in... that's what comes of posting at 1 AM.


Ever notice the difference between David Letterman's
audience and Jay Leno's? Seems when David cracks political satire and jokes, the audience laughs but
when Jay does the same, people get all tense. I would think the audiences are drawn from the same pool, free
tickets to put average Joe & Jane Sixpacks butts in the seats.

New York versus Los Angeles. Letterman has always done his show in New York, and the people of New York have always been a part of his show.

Lehman to be allowed to fail

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is against any use of government money to bail out Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., a person familiar with his thinking said Friday.

The person said Paulson, who played a major role in engineering the government-back Bear Stearns bailout in March, believes the Lehman situation is different in two critical aspects. The person spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of negotiations.

The person said Paulson believes that financial markets have been aware of Lehman's troubles for a long time and have had time to prepare.

A second difference is that the Federal Reserve is now allowing investment banks to borrow directly from the Fed just as commercial banks can do.

"Given those two things, he is adamant that there be no government money in the resolution of this situation," the source said.


CNBC reporting employees at Lehman saying goodbyes and showing video of people carrying boxes out of the building. If you didn't have the sound on, you would think they were showing old video of Bear Sterns.

Sorry to hear about the jobs, but these guys made their own boat. This one in particular needs to fail. I don't see why I should have to pay for their stupidity.

UPDATE: CNBC has just announced Lehman will not open on Monday if a deal is not struck by Sunday.

Gosh, it has to stop somewhere.

Freddie and Fannie last weekend.

Lehman this weekend.

Who will it be next weekend? And the weekend after that? Washington Mutual? AIG? Merrill Lynch?

Looks like Washington Mutual could be THIS weekend. AIG lost 25% today alone, 40% on the week. Next week could be their last. Merrill has also entered the 'noticed' zone, with knock-on effects from other financials, they also could be in trouble.

We may be seeing the beginning of the anticipated crash of the entire financial system. The Fed and Treasury will be extremely busy this weekend as well as Washington caterers.(The weekend catering orders has become a leading economic indicator. LOL)

This is starting to look more like the 30s by the minute. Wonder when guys will start jumping from high rises again? Peak oil may be the least of our worries in the short term.

Seems like American financial institutions are coming apart fast and furious.

Notwithstanding the Mark Twain syndrome - the market crashes of 1929 and 1987 both happened in October - is there enough monetary ammo in the US government treasury arsenal to stave off a real bust-up until October?

Is that the plan?

To what extent is the election cycle playing on the current FED & treasury interventions?

To what extent will or can the Chinese/Oil states holding petro-dollars cut their losses and run? Or will everybody play the Ponzi scheme to the last nickel because it's the only game in town?

Those are the sixty-four thousand dollar questions. Or should I say, the sixty-four trillion dollar questions?

Green Day words are starting to apply to the greenback: "Wake me when September ends."

I'm not sure how painful the bust up will be to the established players. If these institutions fail and/or get bailed out, it might only be gravy. I suspect the loot has already been stashed and the bust ups will only serve to erase the tracks. Like Ken Lay sequestering the ENRON loot, by the time the institution is in trouble, everything has already been vacuumed away.

All of this is what one would expect in the zero-sum or negative-sum game of musical chairs into which resource and energy depletion has put our environment and economy. This goes beyond an "unwind".

cfm in Gray, ME

Could those boxes have evidence of hanky-panky and not the kind those guys at MMS got into?

If allowed to fail, I await the reporting showing contributions to various political parties and when of the failed VS non-failed firms.

I posted this link about the Venezuelan coup very late last night and have yet to see any discussion of it here, although there are a few items linked up top. As I understand, the events related in the link and the other uncovering of the plot happened Wednesday, with the details and actions taken by the Venezuelan government revealed and taken yesterday. As was proven during the events in Georgia and discussed above, you will not get any straight info from AP or Reuters, or any other US "news" outlet on this event or the events in Bolivia.

I don't know what there is to say. This administration is too incompetent to even be able to pull off a good old fashion coup d’état. The score from Latin America seems to be 0 for 3. I think that most Americans could care less about this sort of thing. The stories are there in the media if you dig, there's just no interest. Most people can't find Bolivia on a map nor name it's elected leader. That the only television interview I've ever seen with Morales was on a fake news show is either an indictment of the American media, or the American public. Take your pick. I tend to blame the public.

Not to mention that when you buy gas from Citgo, you're supporting Chavez and socialism. Does that stop anyone? Not that I can tell.

What? And spending aNY money and paying ANY taxes in the US isn't supporting socialism?
Please.... Ooooh! He's a SOCIALIST! The US has been socialist - for business - since AT LEAST creation of the Fed. The real problem is that it is ONLY socialist for the wealthy and powerful.


I wasn't saying that as if it were a bad thing, but more just reporting the attitude held by many americans that socialism=communism=soviets=cold war.

Anybody catch the Head of GM telling congress how helpful that $25bn from last year's Energy Security bill would be for any and all of the Auto Co's to decide to go greener. A good start..


In his opening remarks to the energy session, organized by the Senate Energy Committee, Mr. Wagoner said that U.S. auto makers have a "tremendous opportunity" to develop cleaner, next generation vehicles, but that the industry needs leadership from the government to do so.

Sounds like Pelosi and Reid are in the pocket. Shocking.

"From each according to his ability, and to each according to his ideology.."

The great blind spot of American policy schemers is their utter, absolute contempt for the ordinary citizens of every damn country on earth, including their own. A government, even a dictatorship, that truly wins the loyalty of its most patriotic and energetic citizens and organizes them properly can't be beaten by normal US tactics. Or even by half a million American troops, as Vietnam proved. On the other hand, idealist but poorly organized elected governments like Chile in '73 and Iran in '54 can be overwhelmed by a fascist conspiracy, and paranoid Stalinist regimes like Iraq's in 2003 rely too much on lines of communication to maintain loyalty by fear and can be beaten by the Air Force. By trying to overthrow so many governments, the US is like a predator who forces the natural selection of governments it cannot overthrow. For better or worse, tough, tightly-organized populist movements seem to be gaining ground in the world.

Saw your link early this am and did a google news search for more info.

Amazed that this was not being reported. Makes one think the US MSM is operating under some form of D-Notice as applied in UK.

I left a comment up-thread about the events in Bolivia.

I find Latin American events interesting because I live in Latin America and travel extensively throughout the region. But I haven't found much interest for the subject in the United States. That might explain the lack of comments.

What is the current Latin American perspective on the US? On Chavez?

Best part of TOD is the fact that folks are able to provide "ground truth" which is frequently at odds with media presentation of the issue.

Here's one of the best sources about what the state of public opinion is in Latin America:


The University of Miami also sponsors, or in the past has sponsored, some polling which I will try to locate, but it polls only economic and academic elites.

As to Chavez and Bush, I think as far as a beauty contest they pretty much run neck and neck for the prize of most unpopular. Chavez, however, unlike Bush, is very popular in his own country.

I'd say, of the countries of any great size, Mexico and Columbia are the only two still taking their marching orders from the United States. Brazil and Argentina pretty much told the neo-liberals to take their Washington Consensus and shove it up where the sun doesn't shine back in 2005 at the IV Summit of the Americas. Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador have since all elected left-leaning governments that are not totally receptive to the U.S. agenda.

Most Columbians really like their righist president, Alvaro Uribe, who polls show enjoys a popularity similar to Chavez.

From what I gather about down there, anyone who actually tries to improve the country is an improvement. Give Chavez credit, he does care about his country and is try to build infrastructure. He may be a bafoon, but he's their bafoon. I guess the standard is pretty low considered most of the previous one just lined their bank accounts.

My God, we are in absolute agreement!

Chavez reminds me most of Louisiana's Huey Long, good and bad.

All Hail from Florida's Gulf Coast where an amazing thing is happening as I type. We are having a major rush on the county's very few gas stations. Word got around that dealers are paying a dollar or more for their gasoline from the refineries, so now we have gas stations with no more gasoline. Anybody else in the region seeing this?

See the Ike thread.

This morning (Sep 12) there were massive lineups at Calgary service stations as morning radio shows reported that gas was about to rise from $1.27/litre to $1.40+. Some stations have already run out of older gas deliveries and are hiking up the price. I was quite impressed to see the lineups of minivans and SUVs stretching out along the road.

One interesting thing I never noticed until this morning is that many service stations no longer advertise their prices. You have to drive in to the pumps to see what the price is.

Some Petro-Canada stations are still closed because of their refinery outage a few weeks ago. This didn't panic anyone because all the other brands were still open for business.

Hello TODers,

Saudi: OK to kill owners of 'immoral' TV networks

I nominate Rupert Murdoch.

Battle Of The Bods Premieres on Fox Reality

Battle Of The Bods Premieres on Fox Reality Oh boy! Another reality show that will set unrealistically high expectations for women and their bodies, and give us yet another unattainable goal to reach for. Clearly, these people have not watched How To Look Good Naked, an adorable new show hosted by Queer Eye’s Carson Kressley. But more on that later.

Battle of the Bods is a new reality show premiering on Fox Reality Channel (all reality, all the time) on late-night Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 1 a.m. EST. It delves into the probing question: What do men and women think of each others’ “assets” Sounds like soft porn to me.

Something tells me these people don't believe in "appeasement".

You can find more of Lars Johansson's (Poison Fire Interview link above)
work on www.rocketboom.com
They have consistently carried his African continent work -
it's very good.

A few folks mentioned wanting some news about Cuba's damage. I left a few links at the #3 Ike thread, but here's an eyewitness report that paints a grim picture. One of the links I posted noted that BushCo offered Cuba $100,000, yes that's 100K, for storm relief, a very tiny fraction of what was sent to Myanmar. I find it difficult to find the right adjective to describe BushCo. Stalinistic and Hitlerian come closest, but still aren't quite right.

There was some discussion in a prior DB over Woodward's new book and the "new" techniques being employed. The same methods are being applied in Afghanistan:


Basically the tactics consist of Special Forces "Death Squads" engaged in the murder of civilians. The German Reich used precisely this technique in the attempt to "pacify" the Ukraine in WWII.

I worry about the day that these guys return home.

No surpise these tactics have returned though, they go back alot further than WWII simply because they work. Noone ever said the 21st century was going to be civilized.

Operation Phoenix.

Does this mark a new low for the United States?

As John Ross has written:

In the name of its hallowed "national secuity," the United States has mounted military invasions and suppressed internal dissent in Latin America, encouraged political assassination, civil wars and military coups, winked at torture, applauded fraudulent elections and ignored genocide.

John Ross, The Annexation of Mexico

But to my knowledge, the U.S. always got some local cabron to do its murder and torture for it, its role limited to supplying arms, money, training and consejos.

But with Bush the U.S. is now doing its own torture and murder.

There is quite a difference, because with the Kissinger way there was always plausible deniability. Now if our soldiers get caught doing these things, there's no deniability.

I have this book called The American Heritage Picutre History of World War II by C.L. Sulzberger. He gives considerable treatment, along with poignant photographs, of the atrocities committed by the Nazi soldiers against the people of the countries they had conquered--Poland, Holland, Yugoslavia, etc. "The Nazi Heel" he called it.

Does Bush have any concept of the line he has crossed?

I also wonder about the practical aspects of deploying these death squads. It's not exactly the way to win people's hearts and minds, as Sulzberger explains:

Many Russians greeted the Nazi invaders as friends come to free them from Stalinist oppression. Had the Germans fostered this initial good will, they might have won Russian support against the Communist regime; but in Nazi philosophy, with its fantasy of a master race, the Russians were Untermenschen--subhumans--fit only for slave labor. Hitler had ordered a completely ruthless campaign--and he was not disobeyed. Russian good will turned to hate. The people retailiated by wrecking troop trains, poinsoning wells, murdering soldiers. At first these acts were scattered and spontaneous, but as Nazi repressive measures grew more savage, the resistance gradually took on organization and discipline. Very soon the partisans behind the lines were playing an important part in the war.

Oh well, so much for Bush's talk of "liberating" the countries he conquered. This pretty well makes a mockery of that.

I just filmed Amy Goodman tonight, telling an audience up here about how she and other reporters with proper Press Tags were targeted and aggresively arrested by the St. Paul police during the Republican Convention. The city and the conventioneers allegedly set up their insurance such that the Party/Insurer paid for the first $10million in lawsuits/damages. City could act as it pleased for at least 10mil$ worth of abuse.

Suppression is becoming normalized. If you don't like it, speak now, or forever hold your peace.

Blessed are the Troublemakers.

After a century of proxy hijinx, it's about time for the US to commit its own torture. The American people must be held responsible, and I guarantee you that all of these crimes are being rehearsed for eventual stateside applications.

Now for the most fun part of Armageddon, watching the banks drop like blowflies on pesticide.