DrumBeat: September 20, 2008

Goldman "super spike" analyst cuts oil forecast

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs energy equities analyst Arjun Murti, one of the first to predict $100 a barrel crude, cut his 2009 oil price forecast to $110 from $140 a barrel this week due to global economic weakness.

"We have moderated our 2008 and 2009 oil price forecasts both to account for the recent pullback and better reflect oil demand uncertainty," Goldman Sachs said in a research note prepared by Murti and other Goldman analysts.

For good neighbours, live in a quiet, car-free street

New research, based on interviews with households on three Bristol streets, has found that people who live with high levels of motor traffic are far more likely to be socially disconnected and even ill than people who live in quiet, clean streets.

It confirms a study done by a British academic in San Francisco in 1969. This found the weight of traffic in urban areas largely determined people's quality of life and also identified a major erosion of community on busy streets. The Bristol study is the first time that research has been conducted in Britain.

Cooking newbies turn to home dining to cut costs

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Arnisha Keyes admits she's no Rachael Ray. Until recently, she spent $30 a day to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at restaurants.

But the high price of gas has her testing her cooking skills to save money, packing lunch for work and experimenting with dinner salads by microwaving frozen vegetables, mixing them with spinach and pouring ranch dressing on top.

United may not be alone with fuel hedge loss

Airline bets that oil prices would rise looked like a no-brainer this summer. But with oil prices falling, those hedges against rising fuel costs are getting expensive.

United Airlines said on Wednesday it is on track to lose $544 million on fuel hedges this quarter. That included $72 million in realized losses and another $472 million in unrealized losses. Those positions forced United to put $400 million into restricted cash for the parties on the other side of its oil price bets.

Government: Gas mileage rise in 2008 vehicles

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average fuel efficiency of the fleet of new cars and trucks rose only slightly in 2008, but the government said Friday an increase in the sales of smaller vehicles due to high gas prices could push the numbers higher.

The Environmental Protection Agency reported that the average performance of new, 2008 model cars and trucks was 20.8 miles per gallon in 2008, up 0.2 mpg compared to 2007 model year vehicles a year ago, and a 1.5 mpg increase since 2004.

The estimates, which the agency uses on vehicle window stickers on dealer lots, are based on a combination of pre-sale road tests and projections of likely sales of the new model vehicles. But with people buying smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles — and fewer SUVs and pickups — those fleet-wide projections were likely to be off the mark, the EPA acknowledged.

USCG opens Houston Ship Channel to most ships

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Coast Guard on Friday lifted nearly all Hurricane Ike-related limits on tankers, freighters and other ships traveling the Houston Ship Channel, a spokeswoman said.

The channel reopened to 24-hour-a-day travel at full depth, 45 feet (13.7 meters), for 47 miles (75.6 km) from the Gulf of Mexico to Shell-Pemex Deer Park. The channel was at full depth, 40 feet, for the next 7 miles to Manchester Terminal.

More fuel on the way to Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Pipelines supplying Nashville with gasoline were running at full capacity after a shortage that officials said was spurred by panic buying.

Gov. Phil Bredesen said in a news release on Friday that the pipelines supplying Nashville should continue at full capacity into next week.

Still, Bredesen urged Nashvillians to conserve fuel, saying the city could continue to see shortages for the next few days.

North Carolina: Supply of gas remains tight

Meals on Wheels in Asheville on Friday issued a plea for volunteers to deliver food and other supplies to homebound seniors.

“Due to the gas shortage, some volunteers have had to cancel their scheduled delivery days … leaving many elderly clients hungry and alone,” said Terri Bowman, the development director for the agency, which serves more than 500 Buncombe County seniors each weekday.

Tallahassee gas supply a week away from normal

Inventory levels are improving. And it will stay on that path if motorists return to normal buying patterns, said Jim Smith, president of the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association.

"As long as we don't see a repeat of what we saw (a week ago), we'll be OK," Smith said.

Frustrated in Ohio: 5 days without power for some

CINCINNATI (AP) — Facing a fifth day without power, the residents of a senior housing community in western Ohio took to the street with foam signs to protest the failure of Dayton Power and Light Co. to restore electricity.

"You would think that based on our abilities, our capabilities, residents here should draw some priority," resident Bob Williams, 80, told the Dayton Daily News.

Power outages are more than an inconvenience at the Fairwood Village retirement community where some residents depend on oxygen devices, 911 service and working elevators.

Michael Klare: Palin's Petropolitics

In the clinical terminology of political science, Alaska is a classic "petrostate." That is, its political system is geared toward the maximization of oil "rents"--royalties and other income derived from energy firms--to the neglect of all other economic activities. Such polities have an inherent tendency toward corruption because of the close ties that naturally develop between government officials and energy executives and because oil revenues replace taxation as a source of revenue (Alaska has no state income tax), insulating officials from the scrutiny of taxpayers. Ever since the discovery of oil in the North Slope, Alaska's GOP leadership has largely behaved in this fashion. And while Governor Sarah Palin has made some commendable efforts to dilute her party's ties to Big Oil, she is no less a practitioner of petrostate politics than her predecessors.

Sri Lanka: Fuel shortage threatens provision of drinking water in Vanni

Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has instructed the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) not to allow Humanitarian Convoys to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Ki'linochchi district with food items provided under the United Nations World Food Programme, as a "punishment" for the people of Ki'linochhci district for not "obeying" its instruction to leave Ki'linochhi to Vavuniyaa, according to an official attached to Vavuniyaa District Secretariat. Meanwhile, North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESoHR) in a press statement issued on Saturday said fuel shortage has severely affected the provision of drinking water to the internally displaced civilians.

Even a little oil floats town along for now

An oil field is like a balloon, Moran says. If you poke a balloon with one pin, air rushes out the hole. If you poke it with ten pins, it deflates faster, with less pressure.

"If we didn't drill another well, production would decrease 10 percent a year," he says. "There's no question that in a few more years, we'll be needing more from other places.

"We will never be independent," he says. "In a few years, we'll be importing 70 or 80 percent of our oil."

One heated debate

SARATOGA SPRINGS - One local business has definitely found the silver lining to this year's skyrocketing fuel prices. From January to July, Saratoga Fireplace & Stove sold the same number of pellet-burning stoves as it did for all of 2007, and with autumn's chill in the air, demand is stronger than ever.

So strong, in fact, that there's a waiting list for stoves that some people might not get until after the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

"It's nuts!" manager Mike Thornton said about his store's high sales volume. "We started way back in early June. Typically, people don't start coming in until September."

GM's long road back to electric cars

Electric cars are not a particularly new idea. In fact, electricity seemed like a natural way to power early automobiles. The motors were quiet, clean and unlike gasoline or steam engines, they could be started with a button press.

The disadvantages were that electric cars lacked the range and speed of gas or steam cars, so they were marketed as the ideal choice for women since, it was said, they needed neither speed nor range just to run errands around town.

What we don't know about biofuels

BERKELEY – Alternately hailed as an energy source that will save us from global warming, or condemned as a pork-barrel payout to agribusiness, biofuels get mixed marks these days in the public mind. For Chris Somerville, director of the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), whether and how these futuristic fuels can be "truly positive" for carbon emissions and our energy supply is, as the saying goes, "in the details."

The institute he heads has a lot on its research plate: Which crops should be grown for biofuels? How would their large-scale cultivation affect land prices, food supply, and food prices? What's their impact on soils, waterways, the air, and nearby food crops? Under what conditions would farmers choose to grow biofuel crops? When all the energy involved in their production is accounted for, is there a net gain?

Is bio-gas realistic in Bangladesh context?

Environment Pollution Department had installed 152 plants at government's expenditure . Most of those plants which involved a cost of US $ 160 each, went to relatively wealthy families. There is logic in this as to supply enough fuel for the cooking and lighting needs of a family of five, each plant needs about 10 kg of dung dailythe output of at least four cows.

In Bangladesh a four-cow owning family is a wealthy family, one which can afford to buy its own fuel wood or cylinder gas. Such families usually do not bother to feed dung regularly into digesters. Thus the experience of biogas project of Ershad period was not all encouraging.

The case of China is different where seven million biogas plants were used as energy source as early as 1983 as the country had well established system of rural communes. It needs to be recalled here that in India 75,000 biogas plants did not function smoothly due to shortage of feeding materials in early 1980s.

The coal conundrum

Tim Flannery's acknowledgement that the world is too far down the path to dump coal as an energy source will surprise many who have followed his warnings on climate change.

Brazil offered $1 billion to save Amazon forest

BRASILIA, Brazil - Norway will give Brazil $1 billion by 2015 to preserve the Amazon rain forest, as long as Latin America's largest nation reduces deforestation, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday.

The promised donation is the first to a new Amazon preservation fund Brazilian officials hope will raise $21 billion to protect nature reserves, to persuade loggers and farmers to stop destroying trees and to finance scientific and technological projects.

Get set for $200 oil, says CIBC economist

The fundamentals for oil are enormously strong, outspoken analyst Jeff Rubin told international business leaders Thursday -- warning those fundamentals may in fact be too strong as high energy prices spark inflation globally and a reordering of the world economy.

Speaking to the Global Business Forum in Banff, Rubin also argued indicators show the underlying cause of the crisis gripping U.S. and world financial markets linked to the credit crunch -- weakening U.S. home prices -- is close to an end.

Alberta steps to the fore on global energy stage

Alberta's role on the energy stage will only continue to grow as it becomes the dominant supplier to the United States, a leading oil strategist said Friday.

Daniel Yergin, who heads Cambridge Energy Research Associates, told the Global Business Forum that Americans are woefully oblivious to Canada's role as their lead energy supplier.

Nigerian militants step up 'oil war' with sixth attack

LAGOS (AFP) - Nigeria's main armed militant group Saturday said it had destroyed a key pipeline run by Royal Dutch Shell in the sixth attack in nearly as many days and vowed to reduce oil exports to "zero".

Shell reacted by declaring force majeure on its exports from the Bonny terminal to release it from contractual delivery obligations as a result of the latest attacks.

Massive fire at oil depot at Sharjah's Port Khalid

Sharjah: A massive fire broke out at a storage facility of an oil refining company located in Sharjah's Port Khalid at midnight.

At least two people have been injured.

Officials would only say on Saturday that Civil Defence was continuing to fight the blaze and that the cause is under investigation.

Top Indonesia oil firm official resigns over policy

JAKARTA, Sept 20 (Reuters) - The president of the board of commissioners at Indonesia's state oil and gas firm Pertamina has resigned over a dispute related to a hike in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices, a company source and media reports said.

Convert to LPG Aussies urged

Former GM Holden engineer and safety campaigner Dr Laurie Sparke wants Australians to convert their cars and trucks to LPG and natural gas to avert what otherwise will be a catastrophe for the country - a shortfall of transport fuels.

Dr Sparke told a Society of Automotive Engineers conference across the Tasman that Australia was facing a supply crisis.

He said the danger to the economy was getting more urgent and called for a massive shift to LPG and natural gas. Oil depletion was arguably the most serious crisis ever to face Australian society, he said.

Honduran leader says he turned to Chavez when U.S. didn't help

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS — President Manuel Zelaya said U.S. apathy toward deepening poverty in Honduras forced the longtime Washington ally to turn for help to Venezuela's leftist leader, Hugo Chavez.

Zelaya said rising food prices began hitting Hondurans hard six months ago and he asked the local business sector, the United States and the World Bank for help. But he said his pleas fell on deaf ears and so he "sought out Chavez."

"Allies, friends, did not help me when I asked for help," Zelaya said in a news release Friday.

'Kiss Your Gas Goodbye' Friday at First Unitarian

A local church may be the last place you'd expect to learn more about how to save money on gas or buy an electric vehicle, but that's Friday night's entertainment at First Unitarian Church.

Long known for its social activism, the church's environmental ministry will host a new documentary film-screening and answer questions about fuel economy during "Kiss Your Gas Goodbye," aimed at helping anyone interested in moving beyond the current nail-biting Utahns experience at the gas pump.

Review: Seven Years to Save the Planet

Why are there only seven years to save "the planet"? (Strictly speaking, as McGuire acknowledges, the planet itself, qua big hunk of rock, isn't in any danger, just the distribution of life on it and our habits of civilisation.) Well, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates, world carbon emissions will have to start falling dramatically after 2015 to prevent catastrophic change. Given such a small window of opportunity, there is no point debating the merits of possible solution A versus possible solution B: we have, McGuire argues punchily, to do everything at once.

Canada: Why Green Shift just won't work

The Liberals' 44-page Green Shift policy has been faulted for being complex and difficult to explain, but that's a superficial criticism. Dealing intelligently with tax policy and climate change requires more than a comic book. The real problem with the Green Shift is not that it's complex, but that its tax incentives cancel each other out, its greenhouse gas emissions cut relies on wishful thinking, and it sucks billions of dollars from the productive economy for yet more social spending. On top of that, the Liberals haven't been entirely honest about the numbers.

Thomas Homer-Dixon and David Keith: Blocking the Sky to Save the Earth

Systems with lots of uncertainty and inertia are notoriously hard to control: we can’t effectively predict their future behavior, and we can’t quickly correct behavior we don’t like. By the time we find out that the climate dice have rolled against us, inertia could make conventional responses like carbon taxes and wind power inadequate. Planning our response around what we currently think is the most likely outcome is therefore reckless. We must hope for the best while laying plans to navigate the worst.

Re: Thomas Homer-Dixon and David Keith: Blocking the Sky to Save the Earth

This year's minimum extent of Arctic sea-ice was stunning, not because it was as low as last year's, but because the extent at the winter peak was higher than that at the start of last year's melt season. Thus, this summer's melt was almost as great as last year's.

With the unexpected rapid decline in Arctic sea-ice, the call for geo-engineering solutions is a predictable result. However, there's the possibility that doing so would make things worse, as there's still no certainty as to the cause of the rapid melt. I think that there's the strong possibility that there are other mechanisms involved besides the buildup of greenhouse gases. We know that the rapid development in Asia, specifically, China and India, is causing major air pollution. The result is seen as the "Asian Brown Cloud" of pollution. Actions to mitigate the effects of added CO2 and other gases may interact with the local effects of air pollution from Asia in unexpected ways.

The best solution would be to stop dumping all our garbage into the air, but this is seen as economically impossible, all the more so with the present financial crisis.

E. Swanson

"This year's minimum extent of Arctic sea-ice was stunning, not because it was as low as last year's, but because the extent at the winter peak was higher than that at the start of last year's melt season. Thus, this summer's melt was almost as great as last year's."

Since the extent went from higher than last year to essentially the same low, this summer's melt was greater than last year's. And since the ice is also getting thinner each year, we pretty clearly set a new record for least ice mass this year. As you say, there is more than CO2 at work. Both terrestrial and oceanic frozen methane is starting to thaw. Vicious positive feedback, that one.

The arctic ocean was observed to be venting methane this Summer. It's also interesting to note that last year was the first year in 20 years that methane as a percentage in the atmosphere had increased. The increase was a mere 20 million tons, but methane has approx. 25 times as much greenhouse effect as CO2. The inference from these numbers is we are now past a tipping point of global warming leading to methane releases from the arctic ocean and arctic circle thawing tundra. As the positive feedback of a warmer world leads to greater melting, greater amounts of methane will be released. Yet, even if we stopped producing anymore CO2 immediately, which is not going to happen anyway, it would still take 30-40 years for the warming cycle to wane. The reason why is because there is a time delay from the increase in greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere that traps more heat, which then transfers into the oceans, a process called thermal inertia. That inertia is a 30-40 year process.

So the initial post in this thread was correct when it suggested that geo-engineering may be the only way to avert catastrophe, i.e. runaway global warming as the albido (positive feedback) response accelerates to the point where the caldrate deposits on the continental shelves thaw releasing billions of tons of methane, essentially turning the majority of the planet into a temporary sauna. Temporary, because methane only lasts in the atmosphere for 15 years or so. But that will be a very tough time period to survive. During the Permian extinction, the last time most of the worlds methane bubbled up in masse, the average temperature in the arctic was 78 degrees fahrenheit. Ouch for the rest of the planet.

But there is a greater problem than all that and its called communication, or lack thereof. Look how long it took Gore to get people to take a concerted look at global warming. He originally started talking to a deaf Congress in the early 80's So for some geo-engineering project to even get started would take at minimum 25 years just to push through all the different levels of communication required to push through the density of human consciousness. You'd have to make movies, and write books and give conferences and still people would say, "Are you sure? How sure can you be? Maybe that's going too far. Let's do a 10 year study on it. What's for lunch?"

I'm thinking any large, multi-billion dollar projects of any kind, that do not have immediate payback, have gone the way of the dodo with the events of this week. At least in the U.S. and U.K.

Yes, you've got to do SOMETHING !!!

There is no mechanic available but we know damn well the car only runs when the Fan Belt is turning - so hurry up and just stick your hand in there and YANK that fan belt - that will stop the engine ... I think, I'm pretty sure...

IF there is one Saving Grace of the current Financial Meltdown, it is that the Climate Changers like Hanson and Homer-Dixon will be soon be unemployed, homeless and a danger only to themselves and those in their immediate vicinity.

Yes, you've got to do SOMETHING !!!

It's good to remember, I think, that sometimes moving quickly is exactly what's required.

Yes, move quickly into the fire, the frying pan was getting hot.

ONLY when we know what we are doing. we are already messing with the climate one way, hastily doing it in another way to try to stop the effects of the first way will be the death of us. Geo-engineering to try to keep the planet the way we want it instead of using the energy and money to adapt to the new environment is a huge mistake.

a more apt analogy is that we are a blindfolded bomb tech, trying to defuse a bomb that has no timer, while someone screams in our ear's to just cut wires till it stops ticking.

"ONLY when we know what we are doing"... Geo-engineering to try to keep the planet the way we want it..."

Utter insanity.

Trying to stop spewing CO2 is one thing, trying to deliberately alter the climate is another.

Besides, it doesn't matter. We are undergoing Collapse. Nature has already taken things into Her own hands.

Sorry Homo Saps, but TimezUp.

if you properly read my comment i am against geo-engineering.

Sorry TrueKaiser - it was late, and I was in a rush.

And your analogy with the Bomb tech and "just hurry and cut the wires" is spot on.

Again, sorry for the misunderstanding.

Conservation is instantaneous

If you care about your childern
and the people yet to come
best you think about tomorrow
and just slow that Hummer down

"Conservation is instantaneous"

Yes, I agree.

But dump the hummer. Get a big stone head on your lawn if you need desperately to impress people.

IF there is one Saving Grace of the current Financial Meltdown, it is that the Climate Changers like Hanson and Homer-Dixon will be soon be unemployed, homeless and a danger only to themselves and those in their immediate vicinity.

I hope for a more ironic outcome.


I agree.

the sooner Hansen is shown up for the fraud he is , the better.

I tried to post a few ripostes earlier, but they appear to have 'disappeared'.

Basically, I want to see some Physics wrt CO2 and warming beyond about 550 ppm atmos.

I would like to see a correlation between CO2 increases and temperature increases above that of the climb out of the LIA.

I would like to see correlation between fossil CO2 and the following:

Holocene warm period
Dark Age Minima
Medieval Warm Period
Little Ice Age
The 1970's cooling scare
The 1990's warming scare

I would also like to see why the impact CO2 is way above and beyond impact of the following:

Water Vapour
Solar Activity

What you posted were not "ripostes". They were rude, crude, all-caps trash. I tried "riposting" to one of them, but by the time I was done, I was "replying to a message that doesn't exist". Which is a good thing.

Are you drunk tonight or something? The stuff you wrote is really not in any way useful, and you should be glad that very few people saw it.

read this

you need to read it all for the subtleties.


Have fun.

dorme bien.

The response of co2 on temperature is approximately 10 ppm/degC

I can't even parse what that first sentence is supposed to mean. Life is short, so with such an unpropitious beginning, I sure haven't time to read on and try to decipher it.

You're using a personal blog as scientific proof of "science" you don't even understand?

So you're suggesting we should continue the experiment we have underway already, and continue dumping millions of tons of CO2 into the air every year?

There's a 5% chance that branch you are sawing isn't the one you're sitting on. Don't bother to look, just saw faster!

(hint: any credible climate model already includes insolation and water vapor)

Do realize, however, that the experiment will continue for quite a long time regardless of what M might wish to suggest, as no one has yet proposed a sociopolitically feasible alternative.

I know.

In fact I am just cynical enough to have much of my savings invested in fossil fuel of one sort or another. Even thinking of getting into some coal stock.

the sooner Hansen is shown up for the fraud he is , the better.

Support this. You may, for reasons noble or otherwise, disagree with the man, but I have never seen any claim he is a liar of any sort before. I will be locating contact info for him and forwarding your libelous comments to him. I doubt he will care, but I will feel better.

I would also like to see why the impact CO2 is way above and beyond impact of the following:

Water Vapour
Solar Activity

You appear to have zero interest in the truth as evidenced by the fact the above has already been explained on these forums. To you, I believe. Here is a thorough explanation: Water vapour: feedback or forcing?

How about some Pliocene Greenland ice build up due to (gasp!) a fall in CO2.

The following is a nice of example of how all your heroes do their work:

How to cook a graph in three easy lessons

And here is THE study on how the skepticism is all bull hockey: Smoke, Mirrors
& Hot Air
(.pdf warning.)

The report documents that, despite the scientific consensus about the fundamental understanding that global warming is caused by carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping emissions, Exxon-Mobil has funneled about $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of ideological and advocacy organizations that manufacture uncertainty on the issue. Many of these organizations have an overlapping—sometimes identical—collection of spokespeople serving as staff, board members, and scientific advisors. By publishing and republishing the non-peer-reviewed works of a small group of scientific spokespeople, Exxon-Mobil-funded organizations have propped up and amplified work that has been discredited by reputable climate scientists.

I repeat my challenge: Show me ONE scientifically sound, peer-reviewed, published study refuting global warming that has not already been shot down by real science and real scientists.

You cannot, so why do you persist?


EDIT: E-mail sent. No, I don't expect a response,but, you know what?, I DO feel better.

Hey ccpo,

Of course we all have the right to disagree. Some just do it less belligerently than others.

Certain arguments have an intellectual content and others do not, I leave you to judge.

Strangely we all know that Ruminant methane (Bovines etc) and Termite methane are a far greater greenhouse problem than CO2. Those you mention are a factor as well.

Having said that I think we must all agree that our planets weather systems appear to be changing. The arctic will be ice free for the first time and certain other events and temperatures seem to be different.

I will give you a possible intellectual argument as to why we may have a Hydro-Carbon burning problem.

Lets look at Thermos bottle-Earth. Nature spent some few million years collecting Sun heat and energy in forests which covered most of the planet.

For about 50 years we have been creating one massive tree-burning forest fire many times the area of the planet.

Personally I think it is a no-brainer.

Are we spewing out a million years of CO2 in 50 years --- YES.

Are we spewing out a million years of captured heat in 50 years -- Of course.

Do the red necks and the Politicians know what they are talking about -- Hell! NO

Do the Capitalists care -- not until it affects their bottom line. Selling Fresh-Air sounds like a growth industry to me.

Do WE care -- Ha! Ha! we see no higher than our navels.

Can the scientists prove Global Warming -- When they can prove it, it will be too late, and we will have to kiss our asses good-bye.


Strangely we all know that Ruminant methane (Bovines etc) and Termite methane are a far greater greenhouse problem than CO2. Those you mention are a factor as well.

No, I'm afraid that is not true. While methane is a more potent greenhouse gas on a kg-for-kg basis, the amount of CO2 release is vastly greater than the amount of methane, and therefore CO2 is in fact a greater problem.

For some background reading, check out http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/07/co2-is-not-the-onl... as well as: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/10/co2-equivalents/

You can see by reading the second link that the ratio between CO2 forcing and methane forcing is 1.66:0.48, so CO2 is a larger forcing effect. Also, methane release isn't primarily due to termites and cows; rice cultivation is actually very important, as is flaring of NG, and perhaps soon release from melting tundra.

and there is also the IPCC report for more details.

"the sooner Hansen is shown up for the fraud he is , the better."

He is not a fraud.

they are (or at least were) doing something.

working out ways to fleece peoople:


>>What is the connection between the bankrupt Lehman Brothers and the likelihood that in four years' time our electricity bills will jump another 25 per cent (on top of the rises likely from soaring coal and gas prices)?
The answer is that, before its collapse, Lehman was pitching to become the leader in the vast trade created by the new worldwide regulatory system to "fight climate change" by curbing emissions of carbon dioxide.<<


>>Advised by some of the world's leading global warming activists, such as Dr James Hansen and Al Gore (a close friend of the firm's erstwhile managing director Theodore Roosevelt IV), Lehman bought their message wholesale. GIM, the company set up by Gore to sell "carbon offsets" in return for planting trees, was a prized Lehman client.<<


Where thas muck thas brass...

It is also factually accurate, is it not, to state that the minimum artic sea ice increased ~ 10% y-o-y. This is in accordance with a recent y-o-y decrease in average world temperature. We will see if this current cooling trend continues through 2008.

I think this is worth keeping in mind as the World Bank, IMF, notable politicians and celebrity figures all insist that government must regulate emissions of CO2, which just happens to be almost analgous to saying they must regulate consumption of oil, nat gas and coal. I wonder whether people who regulated production of CO2 (or burning of oil, coal, nat gas) and regulated it across national boundaries would have much power in our current situation?

I realize there is a great deal of valid science being done which points towards global warming. It is curious though, the less complex issue of total oil reserves also has seen a great deal of valid scientific inquiry. Yet only now is it possible to sometimes mention the idea of PO in polite company without risk of derision. While the other, "the sky is falling" scenario is endlessly and breathlessly popularly spoken of, why is this? It is interesting that the solution proferred for AGW almost always involves (until there is carbon neutral energy) international regulation of national economies. I find this very obvious politization of the issue makes it difficult, for me at least, to evaluate the question.

Despite the recent year of cooling and subsequent increase in artic sea ice, I am undecided concerning AGW. Here is the crux of the matter though, as PO begins to take hold, to the extent that renewable carbon neutral energy sources are not implemented (and at least in the US there seems almost a purposeful avoidance of this path) then lower EROEI carbon based sources would need to be used. These would of course emit more CO2. So what do you do? Do you restrict use of lower EROEI energy sources out of concern for AGW and almost certainly condemn disproportionately the poor to hardship and possible starvation? Or do you use these energy sources and hope that some complexity in the chaos of weather has been misunderstood? For myself I side with an attempt to prevent the more immediate suffering. We saw an initial instance of this in the posted article on Honduras asking assistance of it's allies and international relief agencies and being refused and turning to a large CO2 producer, Venezuala for help.

Of course the lasting solution is a transition to carbon free energy production, at best this will take time, and unfortunately this idea is not currently being concretely discussed or promoted on a national level by either party. For heaven's sake Ford is selling in Europe a 65 mpg mass production car which they cannot sell at home because of regulation.

Here's one other question for the ethanol group and AGW concerned people. As background, this isn't something that occured to me, I caught up with one of my brothers and over a beer he said something along the lines of "aaargh ethanol is "carbon-neutral"(dismissively), like nothing would have been growing in the field anyways." It took a while to sink in but, I can't see a flaw in the reasoning. If one in essence "torchs" a field of corn and then says its carbon neutral cause it will grow back, forget all the EROEI calculations, if it hadn't been burned it would have been fixing atmospheric carbon from say a nearby coal plant, now that carbon fixation is lost. If one used a 100 year time frame instead of a one year time frame you could just as easily say burning a rain forest is carbon neutral because it will grow back. To generalize this, burning any biomass isn't carbon neurtral, the carbon was fixed and would have stayed in the ground now it is CO2 in the air, the fact that new plants will grow doesn't change this, the new plants would have fixed CO2 from oil or gas now they fix CO2 from last years biomass burn.

Best hopes for CO2 being a minor regulator of global climate change.

I realize I'm replying to myself but I wanted to give a notable example of the current level of discourse on the topic, again, I realize there is much valid, honest science on AGW, but the following presentation really makes the hair on the back of my neck want to stand on end. These are excerpts from the Guardian posting on this thread (empahasis mine).

"Why are there only seven years to save "the planet"? ... Well, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates, world carbon emissions will have to start falling dramatically after 2015 to prevent catastrophic change. Given such a small window of opportunity, there is no point debating ...
After the first half's really masterful exposition of current climate science, ... I loved the reported back-of-an-envelope calculation apparently done by one scientist, according to which if every man on Earth grew a beard, the resulting saving in shaving-related energy would be enough by itself to head off disaster. ...The tricky proposition is China, which "must be bound into whatever international climate agreement comes out of Copenhagen in 2009"

Here's my translation of the message of this article. If China doesn't let us regulate its economy the world will end catastrophically.

It is also factually accurate, is it not, to state that the minimum artic sea ice increased ~ 10% y-o-y. This is in accordance with a recent y-o-y decrease in average world temperature. We will see if this current cooling trend continues through 2008.

Almost factually accurate, but completely misleading. First, you say "minimum arctic sea ice increased," but what are you referring to? Minimum extent, I assume. (This would be accurate for the northern hemisphere, but factually inaccurate for the Antarctic's maximum extent, which is below last year and the trend.) If we are talking about the total volume of ice, you are factually incorrect, as the ice thickness is vastly important to this, and thickness has declined and is expected to result in a total arctic sea ice mass decline.

Second, the trend is the thing. Even two years is not meaningful as a trend. In fact, ten might not be. We had decades of seeming cooling in the middle of the last century, did we not?, yet the trend continued upward. What deniers like to ignore are these loooooong-term trends.

Third, despite having perfect conditions for ice formation and retention, we still came extremely close to meeting the minimum from last year. That is the takeaway, not the second-place finish.

Fourth, don't get excited about the rebound in extent: the same thing happened in 2006. In fact, the trend is a sawtooth: it usually happens.

Fifth, also don't get excited about next year's ice level until you see how much multi-year ice remains from this melt.

Sixth, I am certain (opinion only) that the methane/CO2 release starting in the Arctic is a major player in this scenario. I find it no coincidence that atmospheric methane is now rising, after falling for a period of time, while we are having record lows in Arctic ice.

I am undecided concerning AGW

How is this possible? You admit the large amount of evidence and there is virtually none against, soooo...?


Let's take for the position of arguement that you are correct. What, in your eyes is the magnitude of the crisis facing us? Do you agree with the "Intergovernmental" expert (that's not a respected institution of higher learning that I've heard of, and they evidently believe absence of shaving would solve the problem, correct?) that we have seven years to avoid "catastrophe"? Therefore, logically, in such a situation we should stop all import of foreign oil, correct? We should stop coal burning and natural gas as otherwise we will be destroyed. If we only have 7 years to the "tipping point" is this the sort of change you advocate? Millions, possibly billions will die from the distruption, ... but we have weather forcasting models. I am 110% for non-carbon based energy and conservation, but looking at the situation as it exists now, I choose burning carbon over someone starving to death on the other side of the world if not closer to home.

You are misrepresenting the position stated. To wit:

1. Nobody said everything had to change in seven years and all fossil fuel use stop at that moment in time. It's a gross misrepresentation.

2. Your disparagement of the IPCC.

3. Your scare tactic "billions will die" if we do something about climate change!

Sad. Just another anti-AGW troll dressing up as an "objective" doubter, it seems.


Actaully what I did was ask you your assessment of the magnitude of the crisis facing us from AGW, hoping for a discussion of relative risk/benefit. This is relevant as the issues of PO and AGW mitigation are related, decreased CO2 emissions must of neccessity entail decreased burning of fossil fuel. I do not understand your reply.

As to your first point. The postion taken is not mine it is from an article posted on this thread to promote discussion

If you read it you notice that the first setence states, "Why are there only seven years to save "the planet"? and goes on to state that there will be catastrophe if CO2 emissions are not decreased in this time frame. Therefore it is logically valid to state from this position that, if one accepted such a postion we should stop importing oil and burning other fossil fuels.

As to your second point. If you highly value the IPCC, then why would you dismiss their lead off contention that there are only seven years to save the planet. As for me I heartily disparge them, perhaps it goes to the recent governmental and intergovernmental oversight of finance or perhaps it relates to the clearly reported expostion of the postion (it's there to read), which as you highly respect them I can only suspect you concur - that not shaving will solve AGW. This type of article also, again, illustrates why I find AGW to be politicized and risk/benefit difficult to evaluate.

Third. I stand by my position that in the present situation to restrict use of fosil fuels for the purposes of mitigating AGW would lead to the death of millions if not billions. Perhaps you don't consider PO such a serious problem that additional losses of oil wouldn't pose such a serious problem.

Certainly though we already do this, if I say "drill", is ther now some vague, uneasy sense of rage which ensues. We may "drill" in Colorado - God's Country We may drill in the Virgin paradise of the gulf, we may drill in the Eden of California. Why is drilling in the barren artic circle so emotive? Yes it is no solution I just find it quite interesting. Perhaps something for the first class passengers that were escorted to the lifeboats.

Anyhow, don't call me a troll. I only asked for your risk assessment of AGW, you didn't answer.

In my opinion, the decrease in use of fossil fuels can occur along two broad pathways: either controlled or uncontrolled. Neither pathway will be clear cut. And either one is going to result in the deaths of many many people.

In a (semi) controlled reduction in the use of fossil fuels we may find the political support for the development of alternatives, which may be the only major difference between the two. A controlled reduction also implies a controlled time-line. This way the shortages can be planned for in some way, buying time to implement those alternatives.

However, I don't think it is possible to do this - it requires too much political will, and the reduction of too many expectations. People will be inconvenienced, be impoverished, be uncomfortable, and will die. I believe this will happen whether we control the rate of decrease of fossil fuel or not. My opinion is that perhaps (just perhaps) controlling the decrease according to some fair/purposeful/farsighted plan may decrease the numbers.

I also believe that it is not solely the governments responsibility to devise this plan. While I can only control to some extent the amount of fossil fuel and it's derivative that I use, I CAN control it. I don't spend a lot of time agitating for others to do the same - I model the behavior. I tell folks that I expect prices and access to be a severe issue in the near future and I want that to have as little impact on me as possible. That message has sparked interest, and some conversions. In this way I hope to be part of a "sort of" controlled reduction scenario.

Ultimately though, I believe that we are in for a major die off. All of us who live in extreme climates, who depend upon imports and intense agricultural practice for our nutrition, who are economically tied to our current system - we are all at risk. No food, no climate control, no money = death. Ultimately.

So...a lot of us will die, and that includes the community here. I believe we have to make the changes, or the changes will be made for us as we hit the limits. I think that a considered approach may mitigate the number of deaths and (selfishly) where those deaths occur. But I don't think anything we can do will alter the facts that deaths, in huge numbers, will occur.

Label me a doomer.



If what you are saying is right we are all screwed.
The controlled reduction you posit would involve those who die going more or less peacefully.
I can't think of any historical example where a major fall in population has taken place where people haven't fought for survival with everything they have.
Expect survivors to be in the millions, or maybe tens of millions, not hundreds or thousands of millions.

I don't fancy being a really ripped survivor carrying a machine gun in a post apocalyptic world anyway.

Sadly, Al, I essentially agree. What makes it worse is the absolute wastefulness of all those deaths should they occur. We can cut GHG production by a quarter or a third without hardly breaking a sweat.But where is the coordination among the people? For I agree that it must come from us.

There are methods of naturalistic food production that produce at the same, or nearly the same, level as agribusiness.



If there is system to retain and re-examine history in the future, the anti-AGW crowd - particularly Exxon and the neo-cons - are going to be reviled as destroyers for greed and/or political gain.

A shame...


Appreciate the thoughts, I am likely, currently, less of a doomer than many here. Though expand the time frame to 100 years and our current postings and debate begin to pale a bit in significance n'est pas ;)

Here's a concrete example of the risk/benefit question I am wrestling with. Let's say it is two to five years hence and PO is really beginning to bite, causing suffering and hardship and looking to worsen. Do you support the US (the Saudi Arabia of coal) embarking on a large scale coal-gassification initiative? It is technically feasible has been done before and set up a short time frame. I don't know the answer to this question, I am only asking it. If you do so there will be a large scale increase in atmospheric CO2. In a PO environment to not do so, while in the US may mean only a further decrease in living standard, for some poor bastard in Turkmanistan it means crossing the poverty line. As I pointed out earlier and as has been obviously and extensively discussed here, as "easy" oil is harvested one is left with lower EROEI sources of energy which will have greater CO2 emissions.

Do we fully open the continental shelf and Alaska for drilling? Do we pursue artic oil? Russia likely will if we don't. To not do so compounds the effects of PO, to do so increases, even more rapidly, atmospheric CO2.

Of course the overall solution is non carbon based energy, redesigned cities, electrified rail and so on, unfortunately, leadership is sometimes comprised of blithering and, recently, blathering idiots. You might wish for a different hand but you have to look at the actual current situation and say how do I play this with the options currently available.

As I said I find the more immediate, certain and concrete danger to be PO. There was, I think a Star Trek episode which had to my mind a related ethical dilema. A governor of a colony that was starving restricted access to food, after many people starved, the resupply ship arrived early and the Governor was charged with war crimes.

It is within the realm of the possible that AGW is in error. Just how certain are you of your position and who are you prepared to have suffer for your belief that burning fossil fuel will lead to climate change? Yes it is wrong we need to transition away but the reality of the current situation is we are dependant, why else would we even discuss PO?

It is within the realm of the possible that AGW is in error.

It is equally within the realm of possibility that I could turn $1,000 into $1,000,000 in a week with aggressive day trading, that the sun will explode tomorrow, and that the anti-AGW people will simply look at the facts instead of their biases and ideology, but I'm not holding my breath.

What we observe in the natural world utterly confirms AGW. BTW,did you look at this analysis?


No? Gee, what a surprise.

What's even more bizarre with you anti-AGW cultists - for what is a belief with no basis in reality? - at least, those of you who are PO aware, is that the solutions are largely the same, so why would you work against one of the things motivating change?

To not do so compounds the effects of PO

Bull. We will be so far into PO by then it won't make a lick of practical difference. It might to future generations, though. Leave it there.

Anyhow, don't call me a troll. I only asked for your risk assessment of AGW, you didn't answer.

If you want a clear conversation provide a clear starting point. And don't bother asking questions that need not be answered. I tire of going back a decade to arguments that are no longer valid. Asking whether we should do something, with all that is known, is a waste of time. But that is not why I did not answer you. First, I have posted links on these threads several times to an extensive, and I DO mean extensive, set of videos on this subject. Go watch them if you have any doubts about the risk assessment issue. However, even that is not why I did not answer you. I did not answer you because you are posting like a troll. The following are not your words?

Let's take for the position of arguement that you are correct. What, in your eyes is the magnitude of the crisis facing us? Do you agree with the "Intergovernmental" expert (that's not a respected institution of higher learning that I've heard of, and they evidently believe absence of shaving would solve the problem, correct?) that we have seven years to avoid "catastrophe"? Therefore, logically, in such a situation we should stop all import of foreign oil, correct? We should stop coal burning and natural gas as otherwise we will be destroyed. If we only have 7 years to the "tipping point" is this the sort of change you advocate? Millions, possibly billions will die from the distruption, ... but we have weather forcasting models. I am 110% for non-carbon based energy and conservation, but looking at the situation as it exists now, I choose burning carbon over someone starving to death on the other side of the world if not closer to home.

Forgive me for thinking text not in quotes of any kind is not the poster's! My response was to THAT text, not the short overview linked to. The text above is trolling. It is a gross, and intentional (revealed in the sarcastic comment about the IPCC), misrepresentation of the short book description in the link.

Anyone who has read the news articles and such regarding the 7 year claim knows that it does not state ANY of what you claimed. You said:

that we have seven years to avoid "catastrophe"? Therefore, logically, in such a situation we should stop all import of foreign oil, correct?

but the text actually said:

world carbon emissions will have to start falling dramatically after 2015

which is vastly different. Your interpretation says we must change everything by 2015. The position of the 7 years people is that we have that long to begin a program of massive reductions stretching over decades. Please note the emphasis (mine).

Now, if you are claiming you are not a troll, the above says otherwise.If you are not a troll, then you were very, very loose with the information, which makes clear communication impossible. Supporting that you are trolling is that you repeat the... error, according to you:

"Why are there only seven years to save "the planet"? and goes on to state that there will be catastrophe if CO2 emissions are not decreased in this time frame.

Your assertion is again false. You continue above:

If you highly value the IPCC, then why would you dismiss their lead off contention that there are only seven years to save the planet.

I dismissed nothing. I took you to task for misrepresenting the text. I presented no opinion on the validity of the seven year time frame to BEGIN large reductions.

As for me I heartily disparge them

Which means you are a troll. Only a partisan or a fool dismisses the science of thousands for some lame excuse. I don't know what you are referring to about the financing. I've heard nothing but your statement on that supposed issue. But you still don't throw out the baby with the bathwater without reason. Virtually all of the anti-AGW "science" is bought and paid for, and this is well-chronicled, so we can easily dismiss anti-propagandists. That said, show me some science and I'll take a look at it. But deniers never have any.

Then we get more trolling.

or perhaps it relates to the clearly reported expostion of the postion (it's there to read), which as you highly respect them I can only suspect you concur - that not shaving will solve AGW.

You again misrepresent. Here is the truth:

I loved the reported back-of-an-envelope calculation apparently done by one scientist

1. It's not the IPCC (you use the pronoun "them".)
2. It's not presented as a scientific paper.
3. It obviously is a bit of an odd aside in the book. Without context it is impossible to know for sure,but what it clearly is not is a heartily endorsed scientific finding of the IPCC.

BTW, The "article" is not an article. (You don't even get that right.) It's a book review.

Third. I stand by my position that in the present situation to restrict use of fosil fuels for the purposes of mitigating AGW would lead to the death of millions if not billions

Bully for you, but you are railing against something not stated in the book review.

Strange, you are railing against a book you have not read. You are misrepresenting every point you are trying to make. And, finally, you prove you are a troll by disparaging the IPCC.

I stand by my claim: you are revealed as an anti-AGW troll by your own statements/misstatements. You have taken the tack of many such trolls: pretend open-mindedness and to be inquiring honestly. Every time trolls of that sort, when challenged, make the same revealing mistakes you made: you reveal your bias with your opinion, and more so, your distortions of the truth.

Consider yourself debunked.


P.S.: Here's your risk assessment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF_anaVcCXg

Perhaps you are correct C3PO, but "What does it matter in the face of eternity?"


>>Second, the trend is the thing. Even two years is not meaningful as a trend. In fact, ten might not be. We had decades of seeming cooling in the middle of the last century, did we not?, yet the trend continued upward. What deniers like to ignore are these loooooong-term trends.<<

How about 500 million years then?

Our planet is going into a new cooling phase and the AGW types are making us point our guns the wrong way.

Should be really interesting in the next few years:

We are going into cooling

In an energy constrained world.

Thanks guys.

Thanks for blocking the Nukes.

Thanks for kicking the Severn tidal barrier into the long grass.

Hope the AGW carbon cap'n'trade gravy trade of Gore and Hansen (both are 'consultants' to this new bubble industry) helps pay your heating bills. Hansen Consulted to Lehman Brothers (shame they failed to predict their own business a year out :-))

Of course all us 'anti-warmists' are regarded as shills for big oil - The stock scream of the warmist every time.

Yet how many AGWarmists are now on the gravy train? How many tenures and research grants depend upon proving AGW?

There is not much more to add really. The whole AGWarmist scare is a confidence trick, a hoax. No doubt people will continue to be suckered by it. But a growing number are seeing it for what it is.

A con.

We have not warmed since 1998.
We are at a Sun Spot minima
The warming trend of the 80’s and 90’s will was more to do with climbing out of the LIA than CO2 induced warming

Its a shame you AGWarmists will lead to the cold-deaths of so many innocents.


PLACE: The Royal Institution, Albemarle St, LONDON
>>Over the last 25 years successive governments have failed to form a coherent, realistic and structured energy policy for the UK. The business and industrial community, which has already been forced to accept energy prices far in excess of its European counterparts, is now expressing grave disquiet.
Piecemeal legislation has resulted in a crisis situation for both short-term and long- term energy supply in the UK. Industry insiders predict major shortages within the next five years.

Prof Ian Fells, internationally acclaimed energy expert, explains how unrealistic “green” aspirations and wishful thinking about unachievable quantities of offshore wind generation has led to under-investment in energy base load infrastructure to replace the loss of one third of generating capacity over the next decade which the UK faces.
“The report discloses a staggering lack of understanding of the technical and engineering reality of what can be built within a short time scale.<<

"We are going into cooling"

I guess you don't meant setting up in air-conditioning business.

It always amazes me that otherwise sensible people get all worked up over things they really don't understand.

I tried debating with the Jehovah's Witnesses that come to the door, but I didn't get anywhere. I did discover that they think the Koran is literally the work of the devil. Anyway I've now asked to be on the "Do not call" list, let's see if that helps.

Well Bob,

You did post a lot of unrelated tripe. But rather then looking down your nose at the previous poster,

"It always amazes me that otherwise sensible people get all worked up over things they really don't understand."

Why not post your oh so nuanced and high falutin explanation of this topic. Seeing as AGW and use of fossil fuels are diametrically opposed let's hope your reasoning is sound, people's lives may be at stake.

Here is a website of factual data that I have been monitoring for the past four years.

Perhaps someone can provide a disernable increasing trend here.


Go to the monthly data reports. PDF

Thanks, will look to do so.

To re-iterate: I have found standing on the doorstep arguing theology with sales reps from the local church futile. Any questions on climate science should be addressed to a site such as www.realclimate.org, not here.

I will only discuss the topic now with people who at least accept the science in the IPCC reports, if not the IPCC projections, which I believe don't take a realistic account of remaining FF reserves.

My "nuance" is that I try to be an observer and don't wish to cast AGW as "good" or "bad", or determine the difference between "normal" or "unnatural", or contemplate the moral aspects of whether humans have a duty of care over the planet.

I do note that if James Hansen is correct, humans have ended the present Ice Age. That would be a remarkable event, not many species have put such a planet changing imprint on the geological timescale.

In another 500 million years the Sun will be slowly roasting the Earth. Standard cosmology theory has it progressing along the Hertzsprung-Russell main sequence toward a nova event. Still a long way from the nova, but an elderly star with a more compact core and hotter surface.

Absent that Australia-sized mylar space parasol, it'll be worse than CO2/CH4 induced atmospheric warming.

Argumentation by assertion? That's all you ever offer. The websites and papers you offer are nothing more than the same. Not a single peer-reviewed bit of science from you for all your posts. Rule #1 at TOD:

1. When citing facts, provide references or links.

I don't understand why you are allowed to continue to post on this topic. Regarding your sun crap, there was a recent paper saying El Nino, et al., will cause a global cooling for a decade. (First, realize it is ONE paper, not dozens saying the same.) All the deniers got very excited. It was quoted, e-mailed, shrilled about. One small problem: they didn't read the fine print. The authors ALSO stated it would be transitory and the warming would resume thereafter, and catch up to where it would have been.

Hmmm... Lesson? Energy is energy. All that energy signal coming in may be temporarily overwhelmed by a weather pattern, but it will remain hidden only so long.

We have not warmed since 98? Lie. We have not exceeded '98. Big difference.

As for cold, why the hell do you think they call it climate change? I know of no scientist who says warming cannot result in a cold flip. Just the opposite. Seriously, why must you lie?

>>As for cold, why the hell do you think they call it climate change?<<



I sincerely hope your thin ice breaks soon.

Try thermohaline.

Frick's sake...


Your point about trends is very important, currently there is too much drivel being spewed by people who think one year is enough to determine a trend. There are multi-decade oscillations in GCM climate simulations. Since the governing fluid equations are not in doubt (Newton's first law + continuity at their core but still yielding a set of nonlinear partial differential equations) the models are subject to internal variability just like the atmosphere. There is a strong oscillation on the 10 year (+/-) timescale and on the 30 year (+/-) timescale. Oscillations with longer periods are very weak.

''Both terrestrial and oceanic frozen methane is starting to thaw. Vicious positive feedback, that one.''

Prove it.

Like so:


Like CH4 has never bubbled to the surface before.

Just handy that a guy with a cigarette lighter is present.


Why do you allow him/her to post on this topic?


We're pretty tolerant as long as the argument is civil and respectful.

Mudlogger is on thin ice.

Has this already been posted somewhere? The EU is slowly trying to force freight onto the rail system Trans-alpine traffic to be cut - but not yet

Parliament has agreed in principle to set up a system to limit the number of trucks crossing the Swiss Alps as part of efforts to put freight traffic onto rail.

However, the target date for obliging freight companies to reserve slots for their trans-alpine trucks was delayed by about ten years to 2019 at the earliest. When the reservation system is in place, the annual number of transiting heavy-goods trucks will be limited to 650,000.

On Wednesday the House of Representatives followed the Senate in accepting the idea of the transit slots for trucks as well as agreeing to an improved rail infrastructure

The Swiss are actually proposing to do something -- but not just yet.

If the Swiss can't pull it off, who can? What other society on Earth is so disciplined, so focused on self-defense?

2019 because that's when the Gotthard base tunnel will finally be finished.

Nothing to worry about, the Sun is fixing it at this momet.


Nice to know. I'm sure Santa and his Elves were hoping for a white Christmas this year at the North Pole. Currently it's looking like he'll have to trade in his sleigh for a boat.

Thanks for the link to a classic example of denialist dis-information. Singer is the poster child for the denialist crowd and his NIPCC report is a perfect example of his lack of candor. Singer claims that models are not to be believed, since they are flawed. Of course, all models are inaccurate in some way, so he is technically correct, but models can provide enough insight to solve problems in engineering and science, which is the reason they are widely used. In fact, Singer presents the results of a model in his second graph of the NIPCC report, which he then labels as actual measurements. Did Singer lie or was he totally unable to understand the report from which he lifted the graph? His third graph presents results from an analysis that was so flawed that it had already been "corrected" by the time Singer presented his NIPCC report.

The rest of the commentary is just regurgitated talking points from the standard denialist list, most of which were shown to be wrong years ago. I gather you lapped it up like a hungry pig.

E. Swanson

I too am very much opposed to some mammoth geo-engineering project to solve any part of global warming. We already know from PO and IPEE (imminent peak everything else) that the resources available to us are limited going forward. We can't print resources like the gov't prints money (and we'll see how that works out.) There is but one (if that) way out: drastic retrenchment. Of course we may need to retrench in some areas quicker than other according to data.

Unfortunately, retrenchment is anathema to capitalism. It has also been anathema to socialism heretofore, although Cuba, in the wake of the Soviet collapse accumulated some experience in that area. In the end, our only real assets are science and what's left of nature.

I certainly am not against all targeted interventions -- fluorocarbons come to mind. But here too it has been more a targeted restraint than geo-engineering.

I feel that we are most successful when we strive to imitate or work with nature. I've just read an article that suggests imitating the mammoth's impact on its environment as a way to combat global warming.

What if driving the mammoth extinct at the end of the Stone Age brought us this warm climate we have today? If we recreated the Mammoth Steppe, could we engineer global cooling?

For all you ‘denialists out there that think you are alone in the world:

Pugh did not make it as far north in his kayak as Nansen did in the 1920’s….:-)


Explorer Lewis Pugh, self-proclaimed ‘Voice of the Arctic’ took a break from cold-water swimming to try to become the first person to kayak to the North Pole to raise awareness of himself the shrinking Arctic ice mass:
There is one side of me that really hopes I can get there, that I can kayak all the way from Europe to the North Pole. Because if I’m able to do that, I hope I’m able to show world leaders just how much the Arctic has melted, and just how much it’s going to affect each and every one of us. But then there’s the other side of me which says I really hope I don’t get there - I hope I fail, I hope I don’t succeed. Because if I am successful, then it’s a very worrying situation, because it shouldn’t be possible to kayak right across what used to be a frozen ocean.

It would certainly be an impressive feat of paddling. But Pugh should not kid himself that he is raising awareness; he is simply riding a mighty bow wave of awareness that has already been raised by the mainstream media, environmental activists and scientists.

The progress of the Arctic ice melt has been this year’s big climate story. Following an unusual winter, with record snows in China, Baghdad, and across the world, climate alarmists were unable to supply the media feeding-trough with upwardly-record-breaking statistics. After dismal 2007 and 2008 summers, and unusually heavy and late wintry storms, the public wouldn’t buy the idea that the UK was being ravaged by global warming. And as we all know, the Antarctic isn’t warming. Consequently, all eyes pointed north, which has caused much rumination over the significance of the level of ice at the end of the 2008 Northern Hemisphere’s summer. The Arctic has become less the subject of scientific investigation, and more the arena for a battle.

I probably should not give this any more visibility than it deserves but this blog I stumbled across [ http://oilismastery.blogspot.com/ ] is outrageous in its audacity. It almost looks like a prank, but then you look at all the effort the guy put into debunking Peak Oil, and you suspect that he is delusional. And then you realize he works as a hedge fund operator in investment banking, and then everything fits together. His MySpace page is particularly revealing.

These bottom-feeders will do almost anything to keep their way of life going, even succumbing to drawing in the abiotic oil crowd. If nothing else, amusing and still possibly a wicked send-up.

That troll spammed TOD with links to his blog. I think he's been banned. I know he got at least a temp ban at PO.com too.

I don't think it's a prank, or just the usual political crap. I think that guy is a few donuts shy of a dozen.

Years ago I visited Odessa, TX. I remember that after they were unable to pump enough oil out of a well to pay the lifting costs, they poured cement down the well bore. Can yet remember seeing acres of oil well pumpjacks motionless and rusting.

Peak oil happened in Permian Basin.

maybe better to post my link here, then on previus thread.
Sorry for repiting.

Some e-books about clobal risks.

Global catastrophic risks and human extinction library

Interesting collection.

I think I'm going to pick up a copy of Smils's
Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years

From the abstract at MIT Press:

Fundamental change occurs most often in one of two ways: as a "fatal discontinuity," a sudden catastrophic event that is potentially world changing, or as a persistent, gradual trend. Global catastrophes include volcanic eruptions, viral pandemics, wars, and large-scale terrorist attacks; trends are demographic, environmental, economic, and political shifts that unfold over time. In this provocative book, scientist Vaclav Smil takes a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at the catastrophes and trends the next fifty years may bring. This is not a book of forecasts or scenarios but one that reminds us to pay attention to, and plan for, the consequences of apparently unpredictable events and the ultimate direction of long-term trends.

Smil first looks at rare but cataclysmic events, both natural and human-produced, then at trends of global importance: the transition from fossil fuels to other energy sources; demographic and political shifts in Europe, Japan, Russia, China, the United States, and Islamic nations; the battle for global primacy; and growing economic and social inequality. He also considers environmental change—in some ways an amalgam of sudden discontinuities and gradual change—and assesses the often misunderstood complexities of global warming.

Global Catastrophes and Trends does not come down on the side of either doom-and-gloom scenarios or techno-euphoria. Instead, relying on long-term historical perspectives and a distaste for the rigid compartmentalization of knowledge, Smil argues that understanding change will help us reverse negative trends and minimize the risk of catastrophe.


On Monday one third of my company will be laid off, and the rest of us will take paycuts (should we choose to stay) of anywhere from ten to thirty percent. The owner is desperate -- the sales guys just cannot close any jobs of meaningful size, and have not in several months. We've all seen the writing on the wall, knowing that very little new work is coming in. It's very sad.

The company does home technology at the highest level for the very wealthy. Those people are nervous, and nobody is doing anything right now.

Following ELP principles has allowed me 1) to be seen as a "producer" and therefore one of the keepers, and 2) to live comfortably on much less than my salary. Thank you to all here at TOD for the enlightenment over the past two years.


As of yesterday, the World Financial System (WFS) has been stabilized by the Great and Magnanimous Bush Administration (GMBA). Dow up 368, AIG in safe harbor, money funds bailed out, and this weekend they will take care of that pesky mortgagy thingy. Everyone seems so relieved -- just a passing squall.

I hope all this helps you out -- however, I have this feeling that I am not too far behind you in the economic slide off the cliff. Like you, I am grateful for all the info and good advice from TOD. I feel like I have a good crack at weathering the coming storm.

You left out that all of this stabilization will solve the credit card crunch, the car loan crunch, the food shortages, and probably a lot more. Pity the poor soul who thought that it has solved all of those problems and slept last night.

In all seriousness, however, any ideas on if and when the Chinese will resume BAU after all of the Olympic-related shutdown? I had figured the end of this last week, but have seen nothing.

It's important to view the business environment from the point of view of the boss. It sounds cold blooded, but at the end of the day, labor is a cost of doing business. Most people need to be thinking about going in to their boss and demanding a pay cut--preferably in combination with other cost savings proposals. I have previously described how I did exactly that in the late Eighties. Anticipating layoffs, I proposed a 50% pay cut, in exchange for an equity interest in future deals. The boss accepted, and as I anticipated, there were layoffs.

In regard to your specific business, if your company is not already doing something related to high tech energy conservation efforts, you might consider that. Also of course, you might proposed more budget oriented entertainment package programs, keyed to an emphasis on "nesting," i.e., staying home more, doing your own cooking and having friends over for dinner, etc.

Also, it's time to be thinking about a Sharon Astyk's warning of the incoming Brother-in law on the sofa syndrome---incoming unemployed family members. You might want to be thinking about several extended family members consolidating at a house that has home gardening potential. As I said before, one advantage of owning a small garden/farm is that you can take an incoming liability, unemployed family members, and turn them into assets--farmworkers.

Well, in my case, I am the "boss." And I am negotiating paycuts with myself -- so far, the employees have been spared, as they aren't exactly getting rich.

Those whose business is manufacturing luxuries may simply not be able to cut costs enough to keep pace with a falling demand. Those whose business is providing essential services may find either that the services are not as essential as they thought they were, or that there will be little or no payment for the services -- but even so, they may be required by the government.

We are entering uncharted waters-- and a whole new ocean is opening up north of Canada to further pique our interest in these interesting times.

All very good advice...

Another possibility is using the existing marketing conduit your company has already established and introduce a new product line, namely energy efficiency and energy self-sufficiency. The wealthy are prodigious users of electricity and energy of all sorts.

Here is a company that someone turned me onto that seems to be following this model and doing well for itself:

I don't know the company well but my sense is that their target market is relatively wealthy homeowners because their retrofits are not inexpensive.

Neat link, thanks! We had a funny comment from a client's wife after installing seven figures' worth of electronic systems into their new home -- the control/equipment room is packed wall to wall and floor to ceiling with gear that mostly stays powered up all the time. She walks by the room and asks, "Does all that stay on all the time?" "Yes." Bemused half-smile. "Well that doesn't seem very green, does it?" Well they have 14kW of solar on the roof and are rich enough not to care about the electricity bill, but still, they are conscious of their consumption. That kind of thing wasn't even on the radar three years ago when that project's design process began, and now we're going back to do a re-design that will reduce the amount of gear that has to stay on all the time, and accomplish some integration that will give the homeowners more control over the building HVAC and power systems.

For the past year or so all the proposals have taken energy consumption into consideration to some extent. There's an increasing focus on integrating building systems to increase efficiency. Our engineering department is trying to accommodate the requests, but the kind of systems we do are inherently power-hungry. The industry is getting the message and is starting to make products available that help, and there's a lot of room for creativity at the system level. I only hope my company survives and is able to pursue that angle.

Electronic controls don't have to consume much power these days.

Think how much life your cellphone gets from a small lithium cell -- and there's a lot of complicated electronics in that thing!

I'm not sure there is a even a medium term future for your company, but it's good to hear they are starting to be concerned about efficiency.

Perhaps the owner would be amenable to phasing out one product while bringing another, with the goal of completely reinventing the company.

If he or she is unwilling even to consider that, you should start your own company in a line of work that has at least a chance of surviving the upcoming economic storm, in my view.

I'm curious, what are ELP principles? I'm gleaning whatever I can from these threads! :) Thanks!

Economize, Localize, Produce.

E: use less; plan your driving trips for example. Eliminate daily trips to the grocery. Bicycle more.

L: try to patronize local business, eat local food. Use stuff that wasn't shipped 10,000 miles to get to you.

P: do something for a living that is always necessary. Not everybody can farm, but you know, do what you can.

Must see video of John McCain-yeah he looks qualified http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/20/late-night-jokes-of-the-w_n_127...

"Alberta's role on the energy stage will only continue to grow as it becomes the dominant supplier to the United States, a leading oil strategist said Friday. ... Daniel Yergin"

Oh, oh. Given Yergin's track record, this means Alberta is in trouble. It's like the famous TIME magazine cover effect; when a popular fad or trend is featured in a cover story, it means it is almost over.

Alberta will, of course, be supplying oil to the USA for many decades. However, the most optimistic scenario is 3 to 5 megabarrels per day by 2020. That assumes there will be sufficient natural gas to melt the bitumen out of the sands, and water for steam.

Our conventional oil peaked in the 1970s, plateaued for a while as the superstraws were applied, and then fell off a cliff in the early 1990s. Today we have three times as many wells producing one-third of the peak oil. (Numerical data at wwww.capp.ca)

The oilsands have allowed us to increase total production but it is expensive oil. Because it needs massive processing plants, production can't be ramped up simply by turning a few valves. It is more like a factory assembly line designed to run at a certain speed. Oilsands are not immune to plateaus, and even with the current demand destruction in the USA, syncrude will only be a small percentage of American imports.

Dale, thanks for the link though you put one too many Ws in it. Those are indeed very optimistic guesses on production from the oil sands. A link, in your link CAPP Releases 2008 Canadian Crude Oil Forecast and Market Outlook has slightly more moderate expectations.

In the Moderate Growth Case, total Canadian crude oil production (conventional, oil sands and Atlantic offshore) is projected to increase from 2.7 million barrels per day in 2007 to almost 4.5 million b/d in 2020. In the Pipeline Planning Case, production rises to 5.0 million barrels per day.

That is an increase of 1.8 mb/d in the next 12 years. Of course there is a more aggressive scenario which puts it a bit higher, but it could just as easily be a bit lower. The report continues:

Oil sands continue to be the main source of Canada's growing oil supply. This year's forecast is similar to last year's but with oil sands growth being extended over slightly longer time frames. This results in a slightly lower production profile in the 2008 forecast than in 2007.

What this is saying is that crude production from the oil sands dropped this year. No matter how you spin it, I think that drop was unexpected. And total Canadian output might not reach 4.5 mb/d in 2020. That of course will be unexpected also. And will of course result in growth being extended over slightly longer time frames. ;-)

Average Canadian C+C oil production in 2007 was 2,619,000 barrels per day. Average production for the first six months of 2008 is 2,551,000 barrels per day.

Ron Patterson

What this is saying is that crude production from the oil sands dropped this year. No matter how you spin it, I think that drop was unexpected.

I believe that their comment about lower 2008 production profile vs 2007 refers to aggregate production - ie, including conventional (which is declining).

The CNRL Horizon Project was supposed to be in production (110 kbpd) by this month and was delayed - the latest information that I have heard is that they are currently in startup. Keep in mind that this a multi-year $7 billion project. If they were years behind, I might be concerned, but missing a startup date by weeks or months on a project of that size is not uncommon at all.

A couple of sentences beyond the one you quoted, they talk about the reason things are taking longer:

Even with growing world demand and higher global prices for oil, oil sands projects take substantial time and effort to address issues such as rising construction costs, labour constraints, public concerns about environmental impacts and completing detailed regulatory processes.

In part, higher environmental standards are leading to higher construction costs and a lot more paperwork.

The labour cost issue is leading to two trends:

Bitumen upgrading outside of Alberta

You'll probably also see more joint ventures with U.S. refiners because that, in my view, is probably still a cheaper alternative to building an upgrader in Alberta. And you may see more bitumen-only projects go ahead...

and more emphasis on SAGD (in-situ) projects

Potter said rising construction costs may give an advantage to less labor-intensive thermal projects, where steam is pumped into wells to liquefy the tarry bitumen so it can flow to the surface.

"I would presume (thermal projects) will still see inflation but I don't think it's going to be as bad as on the mining side," Potter said.

Forbes Oilsands Article

By 2020, Canadian oil production (4.5 - 5.0 mbpd) is likely to be higher than US oil production. And imports from traditional US suppliers (Mexico, Venezuala, Saudi, etc) are likely to be much lower.

Whether Americans know it or not, their future is very much linked to the success of the Alberta oilsands.

More about the oil sands. http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/energy-fuels/dn14750-i... Production might be better.

Interesting. Thanks for the link.

Their particular innovation seems to be promoting catalytic reactions in the wellbore to minimize heat loss. To date, they have a concept and some simulations, but it is too early to know how important this will be.

The ideal solution would be some in-situ upgrading process (like this one) coupled with a non-FF heat source such as geothermal wells.

Oil companies have lots of incentive and lots of resources to come up with innovative solutions - so I would guess that production methods by 2020 will be substantially improved.

J.H. Kunstler - Is it time for a tribute?


Mr Kunstler has been characterized at times as a Cassandra, a misanthropic curmudgeon and a perennial gadfly, but one thing is undeniable: he has been a vociferous critic of Wall Street and has been predicting weekly the collapse we've witnessed this week was coming in his weekly rant Clusterfuck Nation.

There are a lot of critics but there are few who do it with with such high entertainment value as J. H. Kunstler. Reviewing some of the turns of phrase over the last few months here are a few of the highlights:

Many things happening this week will be interesting to see and hear, but just now an outstanding question is how on earth can the Bank of America buy Merrill Lynch for $50 billion after assuming the liabilities of the tarbaby known as Countrywide? But that little detail may be lost in the din as other banks and bank-like organizations start crashing like sequoia trees in a national forest."

...the Republican Party, now all the hoopla surrounding Sarah Palin can be swept away revealing that group to be what they actually are: the party that wrecked America.

I wish I knew whether this extravaganza of ruin might settle the question as to whether America goes into hyperinflation or implacable deflation, but the net effect is that money is leaving the system in big gobs.

We should be frightened by the political implications of this Great Implosion of presumed wealth.

Why do the big deals always happen over the weekends? So the shrinking fraction of the US public that pays attention to anything besides Nascar and pornography won't catch the news Saturday evening.

...the US economy and the financial part of it that became a nine hundred pound tail wagging a thirty-pound dog.

The climax of the sprawl building economy occurred in absolute lockstep with the climax of peak oil. You can date it virtually to the month -- May, 2005.

The fantasy-du-jour among both political parties is that we can become "energy independent".

This may be what finally stops the game of musical chairs in which insolvent banks pretend to be capitalized by showing up for loans at the Federal Reserve's teller cages.

The American banking system may not need a shove from Russia to fall on its face. It's effectively dead now, just lurching around zombie-like from one loan "window" to the next pretending to "borrow" capital -- while handing over shreds of its moldy clothing as "collateral" to the Federal Reserve. The entire US, beyond the banks, is becoming a land of the walking dead.

America is on vacation from its financial, fiscal, and economic problems, having left the centers of power in Wall Street and Washington for a Nantucket-of-the-mind, where, in a haze of artisanal vodka and bong smoke, it's out in the cool dune grass watching imaginary whalefishes blow, leaving only the TV Bubbleheads behind back home.

...even the greenest captains of environmentalism strive to find groovy new ways to run all our cars, while their counterparts on Wall Street strive desperately to salvage a set of "innovative" financial rackets based on getting something for nothing.

With Wall Street on vacation at its various beaches, the idea has taken hold that the so-called credit crisis is mostly over. In fact, we're still in the first quarter of that classic. The big move before the investment bankers packed their snorkels and baggies was Merrill Lynch selling off a batch of its fraudulent securitized debt bundles for roughly five cents on the dollar.

Take a bow Mr. Kunstler. The drinks are on the me.

J.H Kunstler currently has a fiction book World Made By Hand that has been reviewed earlier in the Oil Drum. (A must read for Peak Oil watchers.)


I'm going to see JHK tomorrow. I'll buy him a drink for you. As Matt Simmons said, Jim may have been an optimist. I can't think of anyone who has more eloquently and consistently described the tragedy of American suburbia.

The WSJ had an article Friday about a guy in Florida who, with an income of $250,000 and a pristine credit history, bought a $2.5 million home, which he is now on the verge of losing. This guy's house payment, which probably had to be a short term floating interest rate, was over $10,000 per month. His take home income probably was probably about $14,000 per month. WTF were these people thinking.

"What were they thinking?" Sheesh, really, we all know what they were thinking:

Buy a house. Buy as much as you can. Make the mortgage payments out of the increase in value. It's a free ride. It's your patriotic duty. Congress said so and funneled trillions into it over many decades, in the form of taxpayer-fleecing subsidies and bailouts, as well as discriminatory income-tax deductions available only to "home" "owners". Everyone was to have a "stake in society", in order that they wouldn't behave as if they were French, and burn tires in the streets of Washington DC most years, when September rolled around. (I'm pretty sure one tacit assumption in the early days was that said "stake" would be earned; we shall soon learn whether the now widely prevalent unearned stakes also have the desired effect.)

Oh, and since all the problems of production had been solved for all time by the late 60's, all we needed to worry about from then on was redistribution. So no one cared that when little Jane and Johnny added 2+2, they got 5, because all that mattered was that the schools should bloat their egotistical "self-esteem". When they grew up they would get the nice big house solely because all human beings have an innate "right" to good housing.

This whole affair has been building up - so to speak - for 35 years now, ever since taxpayers and savers paid for up to half the value of the houses "purchased" from about 1960 until 1975. 12+% inflation, savings accounts limited to 3% by Regulation Q (IIRC) so mortgages at 5%. Sweet deal. Spend your money on a lucrative house before it evaporates. Amazing that so many commentators are so perplexed that Baby Boomers learned not to save! Such a deep mystery!

Now, Herbert Stein said something to the effect that if something can't continue on, it won't. But the free ride had gone on for 35 years, and even if "they" knew it couldn't go on in perpetuity, the important question was only whether it could continue for the far shorter time it would take "them" to complete "their" free rides. And with such a long track record, backed for decades by the full faith and credit of the general taxpayer, and Presidents and Congresses of both parties, it sure seemed like an excellent bet. And who knows, if the Administration and Congress keep throwing more trillions at it each week, maybe they can prop it up through - to pick a date purely at random - November 4.

Oh, well.

Isn't October when the stock market usually tumbles only to rebound in January? That's why the season is called Fall.

Please tell Mr. Kunstler to keep pounding home his Profoundly Local theme.

And please tell him to quit the rabble-rousing "Party that Wrecked America" nonsense. He should know better.

As Dmitry Orlov says, "Pay no attention to the national political parties - they are a colossal distraction." Pay attention to local matters where we have some control.

Both political parties got us here, and niether political party will "save" us (the US or the global village).

"Batten the Hatches, .... Ah-OOOga, Dive-Dive-Dive..."

Hi sendoilplease,

My wife started reading Dmitry Orlov's "Collapse" (published 08) last night. She did so out loud to me while I was cleaning up after supper. It is very well written and humourous. An excellent perspective from a Russian who was there and has seen the changes since then and can now compare, with some understanding, the American state of affairs.

He is not as rough and full of a certain type of machismo as Kunstler. Orlov is more dipomatic, but easily as entertaining and relevant.

Hi Boomy - I've been an Orlov fan for some time now. I finally ordered his book.

Like you, I like Orlov's wit and perspective based on experience.

He was probably thinking that he will sell it in 3 years for $5 million.

Please tell Mr. Kunstler that many of us read his column and enjoy his writing. Usually I agree with him, sometimes I disagree, but always I am entertained when reading JHK's writings.

In social affairs I'm an optimist. I really do believe that our military-industrial civilization will soon collapse.
--Edward Abbey

Kunstler is definitely more entertaining than the historical/mythical Cassandra. But even with all his media savvy and his legions of friends and supporters, he is unable to make his message heard. Troy is toast.

Kunstler's "CF Nation" weekly update is usually brilliant: For years he has been attacking the "virtual wealth" of Wall Street and predicting its collapse. He has been right.

It should not go unremarked, however: when he ridicules the poor, the working class, he is appalling. On that level, he's no Joe Bageant.

I pay tribute to his weekly column, however, and read it directly in the a. m.

Regarding the link up top Get set for $200 oil, says CIBC economist
seems incoherent to me. First he says

"The underlying problem is about to be remedied," said Rubin, chief economist and strategist of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce... He forecasts U.S. house prices will bottom and begin to rebound by the beginning of 2009, while oil prices could hit $200 in four or five years.

Yet later in the article he says

"That's the world where interest rates are going up, not down -- and it doesn't matter what happens to Goldman Sachs in the next three months because there's nothing the Federal Reserve can do to change that world."

US house prices over the past decade have been pushed up from the bottom and not pulled up from the top. Record high home-ownership rates driven by fraudulent lending (and borrowing, US realtors were fully complicit)artificially low interest rates, and low unemployment.

Now we face weakening employment, much tighter lending standards, higher real interest rates, and housing is going to rally?
Reminder to self: roll eyes next time Jeff Rubin gets cited for authority.

Absolutely agreed. The comments from Rubin don't make sense.

Rising long term rates are a sure bet. Accordingly house prices are going to tank again.

He forecasts U.S. house prices will bottom and begin to rebound by the beginning of 2009

The question is, where do house prices bottom?

Since credit is going to be somewhere between difficult to obtain to impossible to obtain, house prices may have to fall to the point that people can afford to pay mostly cash.

In California, the overall bottom appears to be $185000-below that line supposedly they are getting multiple offers right now. Of course, this could definitely decline.

The housing problem begins and ends with oil, if oil and gas prices do not come down, then forget about a "recovery", there will be more bank failures and this time the Federal Reserve will have no more bullets left in their gun to fix the problem with.

True, but they do have the ability to make the situation 10 times worse than it would be otherwise. It appears that if it is necessary to destroy the country to protect the interests of the connected, the country will be destroyed. They have little or no opposition at this point IMO.

It appears that if it is necessary to destroy the country to protect the interests of the connected, the country will be destroyed.

(just thought I'd repeat that important point.)

The question is, where do house prices bottom?

When the median house sells for 3.2 times the median household income. Since markets tend to over-correct, the bottom may be more like 2.5 times the median household income. In a recession, household income can be expected to fall.

From wikipedia:

In 2007, the median annual household income rose 1.3% to $50,233.00

From http://www.realtor.org/wps/wcm/connect/874598004ad3d9c59b84fb1b407934f1/...

Single family home median price, US, Q2 2008: $206,500, which is about 4.1 times the median household income.

So, maybe another 25% or 30% drop. Give it another couple of years, maybe three, before it stabilizes.

That sounds optimistic.
Unemployment will surely shoot through the roof.
Traditionally, before everyone got over-leveraged, only the main earner's income was taken into account, which meant that if times got hard hopefully the other half could get a job and keep things going.
No such backstop exists now, but it will surely be called for, together with high deposits.
So I would go for a bottom at around half the ratio you give, or even less in real terms since incomes will likely drop, although what that means in nominal terms is an open question, since we are in the midst of a savage battle between hyper-inflation and deflation.

The idea that more government intervention is warranted to prevent a disorderly workout of the economic crisis seems to be gaining steam. Nouriel Roubini and Paul Krugman have indicated that they are on board.

But the devil is in the details. And as the details (or "lack of details" might be a more accurate description) of the Bush administration's latest rescue plan begin to emerge, there are signs for great concern. The opening paragraph of this NY Times story pretty much says it all:

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration, moving to prevent an economic cataclysm, urged Congress on Friday to grant it far-reaching emergency powers to buy hundreds of billions of dollars in distressed mortgages despite many unknowns about how the plan would work.

(emphasis mine)


But haven't we been here before? This all seems to be modus operandi for this administration.

"Economic calamity" = "Mushroom Cloud"

When Paulson and Bernanke held an emergency meeting Thursday night to brief leaders of Congress, they painted a picture of "economic calamity," "meltdown," "cataclysm" if Congress didn't act immediately to give the administration broad ranging powers and a blank check to address the nation's economic woes...


This is all too reminiscent of the "mushroom cloud" rhetoric the administration used to stampede the congress into giving it permission to invade Iraq.

Many analysts are already saying the Bush plan will not achieve, that it is not even designed to achieve, any broad-based relief:




So what is the Bush plan crafted to achieve? Again, quoting from the NY Times story linked above:

President Bush and Mr. Paulson made it clear that their primary, and perhaps only, goal was to stabilize the financial markets by removing hundreds of billions of dollars in “illiquid assets” from the balance sheets of banks and financial institutions....

So here's my take on what's going on. Remember in the final scenes of the movie Titanic where all the first-class passengers were evacuated onto lifeboats but second-class passengers were left to go down with the ship? Well that's exactly what is happening here. The US debt ship is going down, being sucked under by $32 trillion in household, business and government debt, an unbearable load. And the people in charge of the ship know that. The only question now is deciding who is to have a place on a lifeboat and who is not.

Details are still sketchy, but apparently what the Bush administration is asking for is carte blanche power to decide which securities to buy, from which banks, and for what price. The price the government will pay will certainly be far in excess of what those securites would bring on the free market. So some select few will be given a place on a lifeboat. But this proposal does nothing to keep the ship afloat, to relieve the debt burden that is sucking it to the bottom of the ocean. So the vast majority of us will be left to go down with the ship.

None of this should come as a surprise to us. We've already seen in Iraq when, given the power, the discretion and the blank check, how this administration does things: no-bid contracts, rampant cronyism and outright corruption.

Have we learned nothing?

The intervention would have a very slim chance if guys like Roubini and Krugman were in charge-unfortunately, what you have is Paulson and Bernanke and the like. One question: during this entire period, exactly what have Paulson and Bernanke been honest about? A leopard can't change its spots-listen to McCain blubbering in the video above. What can be done through sleight of hand is delay and coverup, which is what these guys are best at. Eventually the whole scheme implodes-they are just trying to buy time.

There's 535 congressman and senators who can stop the bailout. 100 Republicans came out against it this weekend.

If Paulson and Bernanke COULD do it themselves, they wouldn't be parked on Capital Hill all weekend. If this bailout BS goes through, it will have been approved by more Democrats than Republicans. So blame GWB and Wall Street all you want, but it is Congress, currently controlled by Democrats, who have the power to stop all this nonsense.

BTW, while I'm picking on possible Democratic culpability, I certainly realize that it is the unanimous stupidity of all those in Washington, New York, and citizens with ARMs who caused all this mess. As I have a credit card with a balance, you can lump me into the class of people living beyond ones means. (Although I have more cash than debt).

In my opinion, there are between 10 and 50 million people responsible for this mess in the US alone, and probably 10 times that worldwide. If everyone would just stop buying shit they don't need, incorporate some ELP, drive and eat less, doom could be avoided. That said, if DOOM were a stock, I'd go long!

Hang in there everybody. This is going to be great to watch.

This guy, Bill Fleckenstein, predicted this disaster years ago. He saved me my life savings, because I'm sure I would have drank the koolaid otherwise. You should bookmark his free weekly post. I read a lot of financial stuff, and he's been absolutely right on.


Your TITANIC analogy is dead on IMO.

It is not enough to bail out people who bought bad paper. Loan originators should be required to require more collateral (money down) and higher standards of income and credit verification to prevent mortgage fraud and undercapitalized loans.

If you give a million dollars to a gambler the gambler might lose it within a few years. If you give the million dollars to a wise CEO the CEO will not be back five years later asking for a million dollar bailout, tha million might have doubled and paid taxes on the increase.

Normally the government backs GNMAs, but not other forms of mortgage backed securities.

They should allow weak companies to be disolved in bankruptcy courts and their assets sold on the auction blocks rather than making them government dependencies allowed to lose hundreds of billions at tax payer's expense indefinately. Failed banks taken over the FDIC should then have their assets sold on the market and dissolved as was done by the Resolution Trust Company of 1989. The RTC took over the assets of insolvent banks and auctioned them off in an expedient and orderly manner.

I've seen mention recently the terms Shock Doctrine and Disaster Capitalism here on TOD. I haven't read the book, but am wondering if some of the themes I keep hammering on are not the same as those developed by Naomi Klein.

The authors of the PIMCO paper that I cited yesterday noted that "poorly crafted sets of economic policies and rules in a global economy would lead to great imbalances that threaten stability and freedom."

In spite of the obvious superior intelligence of the authors of the paper, I was struck by their apparent naivete. They seem to assume that "stability and freedom" is a universally accepted goal. But that is not at all true. There are broad swaths of the US population who abhor freedom and relish upheaval and instability. Their existence in our liberal, democratic society is not unlike that of the Action Francaise in early 20th-century France.

I think you'll like it when you read it.... She must be taking notes like mad since last week ..... anticipating when, how and where the economic Blackwater units will attack under cover of our new highs of total confusion chez USA.

I'm not sure "like it" is the right way to put it. I started reading it and was so terrified and nauseated I had to set it aside after the first few pages. I will get through it though.


Here's a very detailed (16 pages) review of Shock Doctrine that does a far better job than I could in a few paragraphs.



Thanks for the link Todd.

I've printed that out and will read it.

...all the first-class passengers were evacuated onto lifeboats but second-class passengers were left to go down with the ship.


It is amazing that this "once in a century" financial storm arrives just a few weeks before the Republicans might lose control of the executive branch. Looks like an escape plan to me.

All that remains is for Bush to hand out the final pardons and amnesties before he goes.

This "once in a century financial storm" has been aided and abetted by every administration since Woodrow Wilson. Every administration expanded the power of the executive, undermined the constitution further, and created the conditions necessary for a scoundrel to ascend to power.

That you now choose to blame just the scoundrel for his ascension demonstrates how politicians as diverse as JFK and Richard Nixon all conspired to create this moment in time. It also indicates that you may be unaware of what these other politicians actually did along the way to set the stage for this.

But the devil is in the details. And as the details (or "lack of details" might be a more accurate description) of the Bush administration's latest rescue plan begin to emerge, there are signs for great concern.

Yes, the devil is in the details. But like somebody said about Sarah Palin, the fundamentalist Bush (who receives directions from God) doesn't deal with the devil, therefore the details don't matter!

A $700 billion bailout (in the first installment) works out to only about $1 billion a day over the proposed 2 year financial dictatorship. Should be a snap, along with tax breaks for high-enders, wars costing about $1 billion every two days, increasing consumer prices, job losses, a slowing world-wide economy, and current national deficits of around $10 trillion (to go to over $11 trillion with the help of the new dictator), and the real possibility of a market crash (still), and an election that could result in the return of neocon activism and even more national pugnaciousness and the resulting wars. Yea, I'm sure we can do all that standing on our heads...

Well, the system WAS going into meltdown. In my view a collapse far worse than that of 1929 was well underway. The coup de gras was the $62 Trillion in credit default swaps that one wag described as like throwing a couple golf balls into a room with 1000 rat traps.

Won't help though. Its gone too far. It will be interesting to see if they'll have to shut the stock markets down Monday when the casino boys finally figure out what the new deal is. They have the weekend to figure out an old game played by new rules that constantly change.

You're probably right, in the long run. The T. Sec. wasn't blindsided, as much as he was in denial. As far as stocks, I wouldn't doubt if there was a sustained rally; the whole business has been in Oz for months, so there's no telling how long it will take them to wake up. Besides, Wall Street has CNBC to keep everyone hepped up.

Found These Numbers For Magnitude Of The Debt Problem

Debt - 596 Trillion Derivatives - 58 Trillion Credit Default Swaps - 2.5 Trillion Credit Card

So what is 700B gonna buy? Sure looks like golden parachutes for Bush's friends to me.

Source: http://www.wallstreetdigest.com/hotline.php

What is supposed to be the point of bankers who can't manage money? - aside from the vast bonuses they have drawn for their incompetence, of course.
$700 billion would capitalise new banks quite handsomely and keep the system liquid whilst the imprudent go through the bankruptcy they so richly deserve, of course with those who have drawn their bonuses and disappeared after wrecking their companies being arrested for gross negligence - several tens of billions ought to be recoverable there as a contribution.
I wonder why the establishment is not considering this alternative? ;-)

What's funny is that Goldman is probably underestimating the price of oil next year.

Some simplified net export math.

One of the oddities of net export math is that the initial decline can, based on the model and recent case histories, be used to estimate the remaining cumulative net oil exports--since the declines approximate linear declines, i.e., approximately fixed volumetric declines per year, which is an accelerating decline rate. You just average the initial decline over a couple of years or so, and divide the net exports, at the approximate peak, by the average annual decline, to get the remaining years of net exports.

Nine exporters, with net exports of 500,000 bpd or more, showed declines from 2005 to 2007--Saudi Arabia, Norway, Iran, Kuwait, Nigeria, Venezuela, Mexico, Qatar and Oman (EIA). They collectively went from about 25 mbpd in 2005 to 22 mbpd in 2007. Of course, Saudi Arabia is showing an increase in net exports year over year, but to a rate well below their 2005 rate of 9.1 mbpd (probably around 8.4 mbpd for 2008), but the UK and Indonesia also showed brief one year increases in their terminal decline stages.

In any case, the average combined net export decline for these nine was about 1.5 mbpd per year, which would put them collectively at around zero net oil exports around 2022.

And of course, we do have some countries, such as Angola, that have shown increasing exports, but what is the probability that they will show increasing net oil exports to infinity and beyond?

I live in Nashville. it was really bizarre seeing how freaked out and panicked everyone was over the gas shortage. Lines at stations were causing serious traffic jams. Luckily for me gas lasts me a while so I didn't need to fill up. :D

Just talked on the phone to my friend, Al, who works in Nashville. He said one of thirteen gas stations were out of gas. He lives in Portland.

Have you heard a plausible explanation as to why Nashville has been impacted with gas shortages ?

See Gail's post on Gustav & Ike.

"The areas that would seem to be most at risk are the ones at the ends or lines, or on small spur pipelines. "

Nashville would appear to be at the end of a spur of the Colonial Pipeline.

Just read Gail's post for the 20th (today).

Nashville would appear to be at the end of a spur of the Colonial Pipeline

That was the detail I was looking for. Thanks.

Chinese Aug. 08 Auto Sales Dropped 6.25% YOY


First American and European auto sales dropped, then Indian auto sales fell, now China. It is evidence of a growing worldwide recession.

As a result of excessive legislation and speculation to require ethanol production, not only is the nation low on gasoline, the nation is low on corn and soybeans, the cattle herds have been reduced, there is not as much inventory to make it through the long northern winter.

Check a wheat chart displaying price changes since the EPAct ethanol legislation of 2005:


Chinese Aug. 08 Auto Sales Dropped 6.25% YOY

Well there was the Olympics.

The article you reference also states that sales are up 13% YTD (first 8 months) and predicts a growth rate of betweeen 10-15% for 2009.

Americans did not change their auto buying habits during January because of the superbowl, how is it that the Olympics slowed auto sales in China, it was probably more like a major fuel price increase did damage.

There were usually optimistic forecasts going into troubled times. In early 2008 Bush did not believe this recession talk, now unemployment is somewhere near 6.1% The stock market and real estate markets have suffered huge losses the annual trade deficit is approaching 600 billion dollars and the real estate bailout might cost a trillion with more bad debt to bail out if they do not tighten lending requirements.

Keep watching.

I guess the government ordering half the cars off the road isn't conducive to rushing out and buying a new car!!

Boy, Pakistan seems to be going to hell in a handbasket.

At Least 40 Are Killed in Blast at Pakistan Hotel

The choice of target, where many Americans stay, brings into sharp relief, like few others could, Pakistan's alliance with the United States. Recent surveys have shown that the Pakistani public holds a very low opinion of American policy, and that many people call into question the alliance with the United States that was forged after 9/11 by former President Pervez Musharraf.

Yep and mcCain picks that women as his running mate!! Ya gotta be kidding!! With the world going to heck in a handbasket we need something better than what the Republicans have decided to give us for the election.

Could you imagine what it might look like with Palin in the Oval office if McCain won and got sick ??

Sorry things are a mess, and Pakistan is only going to get worse.

But Obama wants to launch air attacks on Pakistan, to root out terrorists.

We need something better than what the Democrats want to give us, too.

The Pentagon might have promised to make him king if he will obey them.

Most likely he was just saying that so people will think he is tough. Democrats are usually accused of being soft on crime, soft on terrorism, wanting to tax the middle class, etc. In order to get elected, Obama has to recognize how he is perceived and counter some of those perceptions.

And I for one refuse to vote for poser-leaders who going around "just saying that so people will think..." whatever.

We have gotten the system we deserve. The only hope is to boycott the "2" parties.

We need something better than what the Democrats want to give us, too.

The three 'different' characters in the Republicrat/Demopublican lineup was Gravel, Kucinich and Paul.

Agreed and each had useful things to say even if I disagreed with some of what they said. Add in that all three were refreshing and candid voices about various problems our nation faces, and it's pretty clear that the actual nominees are the "worst of the worst" from both parties.

They just announced elimination of all fuel subsidies.
Click on http://www.dawn.com/2008/09/20/top1.htm.

Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves are now just $9 billion.
Imagine Somalia with 180 million people and nuclear weapons.

“I can safely announce today... we have eliminated the entire fuel subsidy and there is no additional subsidy today that is going out of the budget to subsidise fuel,” Mr Qamar added.

He said the subsidy on gas had also been withdrawn and the actual cost of gas would now be passed on to consumers.

He admitted that the passing on of subsidies to consumers would add to people’s hardship, but said the government had to stabilise macro-economic indicators which had deteriorated because of the policies of the previous government.

Wow. People are not going to be happy. Food and fuel costs are already killing them.

I think we'll see a lot more of this. They can't afford the subsidies any more.

Pakistan has been,and will continue to be,a very dangerous basket case.An inherently unstable nation with nuclear weapons is a scary proposition.There is a high probability of black swan events in this part of the world.

Obama advocating bombing the tribal territory of Northern Pakistan is not a new idea.It is already being done,and for some time,in an effort to reduce support to the Taliban.
This is just one of the many traps in counter-insurgency - eliminating support for the insurgents from outside the country.
Unless this can be done effectively in Afganistan the US,it's allies and NATO might as well cut their losses and go home.

The new Pak leader is in a bit of a quandry, he and we share a common enemy: radical-taliban, but his countrymen are so very pissed off at US raids, that they are counterproductive. But, we can't stop, theres always the remote chance that we will get lucky and the next house we blow up will contain Osama. It is a political necessity in the US to claim you will try to kill OBL, no matter the cost, that we just can't stop. So we are in the process of creating 180million hate America, get vengence at any cost people, all because of our obsession with the last batch that hit us. Talk about a positive feedback loop!

They don't hate us for our freedom, they hate us for our air raids--
--Bill Maher

Yes and Osama's been dead for some half decade. Funny how this global, single-minded, fanatical terrorist no longer says a word, how meek of him. It just didn't fit the meme that the terribly frightening (ex-CIA allied) bogeyman had kidney failure. Doesn't really make you want to bomb anyone. They may just try to let it all fade, though there could be some news of how we "got him" in October.

Thank you for using the word "claim" in front of "try to kill OBL". Obviously actually killing him would be ruinous to the intricate plans hatched in the name of the War On Terror and all the riches contained therein.

I am almost embarrased to post this given the realtive small size of it, but there is a streak to be continued...

12th bank failure of the year announced

Regulators close down Ameribank Inc., a West Virginia-based-bank with total assets of $115 million.

Hightrekker posted it last night. It has branches in Ohio, too.

Thus the FDIC fund survives another week...

Russian oil industry in danger of production collapse as taxes threaten to choke growth:


I wonder if it is a deliberate policy. They know that the oil is best kept in the ground for a while.

One of Putin's major programs was to try to get more taxes out of oil companies to pay for his public sector programs.

The United States taxed oil companies with 40 percent federal corporate taxes after expenses were paid.

Some state corporate taxes were about 7 percent:


There were federal land minerals leasing payments. There were royalty rates of 1/8 - 1/6 of total oil sales revenues before expenses.

Taxes on capital gains and dividends earned by those who invested in companies was added to the treasury until the United States oil sector is burdened not unlike the Russian oil sector. It was hurtful listening to people talking about how we (the Federal goverment) have been giving too much to the oil companies. Perhaps it is big government that should waste less and give more.

In addition to aforementioned taxes, there were property taxes, payroll taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, customs, tarrifs, tolls, airport taxes, and some taxes you might not have ever heard of.

The corporate tax in the US is not specific to Oil Companies, where as the Russion tax is by the ton, price be damned.

As for the royalties, these are not taxes either. The product they extract is on land that does not belong to them. I believe it belongs to you and me. Therefore, a bill of sale, or royalty, is an entirely appropriate exchange reflecting a very generous purchase price on our part.

The taxes in the last paragraph are paid by the consumers and is not included in the wholesale price that the oil companies charge.

In my opinion, Oil Company reserves should only be calculated to include oil under land they own, and not included leases generously offered by the American people. In my neighborhood, people lease their land out to farmers all the time. The farmers don't own the land.

Good for Putin and every other leader who's taking the countries resources and using the funds for the benefit of the country. If this means lower oil production, well then start walking and turn your thermostat down. I'm getting kind of sick of being exploited by billionaires.

The NY Times has an article that says the big bailout is a Hail Mary Pass. (For non-football fans - or football fans who think football is played with a round ball - a "hail Mary" is a desperation play. It's a long pass into the endzone when time is running out, and you have no other chance to win. The odds of success are extremely low.)

In other words, for all the toxic securities that Wall Street has acknowledged holding, there will be yet more mortgage-backed paper that will go bad as the housing market continues to fall. As much as we all hope the worst is over, it’s probably not.

And as much as we might hope that the government finally has the answer, it probably doesn’t.

And here's the actual legislation:

Text of Financial Crisis Legislation

Check out this part:

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Can you actually make a law saying no court challenges are allowed?

Under Bush, anything is possible...

The Unitary Federal Reserve - Crisis Choreography

The US economy nearly fell into a Great Great Depression

For now, what I want you to consider is that America Inc. nearly failed this week. Every job, every investment, every pension, every 401k, every dollar bill, every company, everything was on the line this week. Your financial and physical safety. Your family's financial future.

It is the US Congress (with the Democrats in charge) that is writing and passing these damn laws. How the heck does that make it the fault of the President?
It is no wonder that they can get away with all this skulldugery - You people are not even paying attention to who is doing what.
I repeat, it is Congress that is giving Dictatorial powers to the Executive Branch. Not that it really matters as neither you nor I can do a darn thing about it.

Article 3 section 2 clause 2 (emphases added):

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

I dunno, but on the face of it, Congress can do anything whatsoever that they jolly well please. If they can take away the Supreme Court's jurisdiction, that gives them plenary (unlimited) power. Any constitutional lawyers here? Be that as it may, it may not matter much since Congress and the President together can always threaten to pack the Court with justices who will do their bidding.

Since the deepest fundamentals that caused this mess have been extraordinarily popular for a very long time, I imagine Congress and any President would do just that, if necessary. After all, as a direct result of all the borrowing, spending, and leveraging, countless of millions of voters got to live in enormous comfortable houses in leafy neighborhoods, when realistic criteria applied to their actual meager earning power would have gotten them little more than Ralph and Alice Kramden's noisy apartment. [I wrote (no direct link to the comment appears possible :( so do a "find" on "hoosiers") one time about the Hoosiers Co. Ltd. luxury real-estate company, advertising on the Yamanote line in Tokyo - yes that's the Hoosiers as in Indiana, the company was named for the big comfortable houses owned by most people there.]

Best to be careful who you vote for and not rely solely on the Court to save the day - though with usually only two realistic choices it's often impossible to do so, and with the great majority looking for handouts (such as the big houses and all the roads, infrastructure, and the odd light-rail line with little farebox recovery to go with) it's perhaps futile to do so.

Can you actually make a law saying no court challenges are allowed?

It has a certain "junior high school playground games" ring to it, but we seem to have lost the ability to even debate such things since 1803.


This confirms my worst fears.

Imagine, Congress is being asked to give the administration an almost blank check ($700 billion) to be spent with no guidelines, no criteria, no requirements, no oversight by Congress, administrative agencies or the courts, and no federal contracting procedures.

We're talking absolutely no accountability here, no checks and balances. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

But you've got to give that cynical SOB credit for one thing. It's an astute political move. For if Congress doesn't rubber stamp this, and the financial situation continues to deteriorate--which it almost certainty will--then the administration can turn its blame-guns on Congress, saying it didn't give the administration the tools it needed to resolve the crisis.

But the true mark of cynicism is that the measure Bush is proposing will do little or nothing to aleviate the financial hemoraging. It's kind of like when Al Queda attacked us, and we went and invaded Iraq. Total disconnect. Cognitive dissonance taken to the nth degree.

Kirby Daley in a CNN interview this morning echoes a criticism that is being voiced by many:

...the potential loss of confidence in the US government is quite astounding. The real systemic risk in the world is if there is a loss in confidence of the US government's ability to fund itself, if the rest of the world doesn't want to keep paying. And with the repitity with which the Fed is spending money that's not an impossibility in the future...

The Bush plan's appeal is to wishful thinkers who are in search of a nostrum, an easy and miraculous cure for what ails them. As Daley goes on to explain:

It does send the wrong message.

We need to work through the pain. This stop-gap...is not going to take away the pain and that's what investors have to realize. This is still going to be a painful and very long process.

What we see now is the possibility of an end of one portion (emphais mine) of the credit crisis with the government coming in, but we don't see an end to the whole situation...


And what "one portion" is this measure designed to benefit? That's right folks, the friends of George.

If the Democrats have any intelligence (which I doubt sometimes) they won't give Paulson $700 billion all at once. They'll do a limited trial program.

If they aren't that smart, then Goldman-Sachs probably gets a giant shitpile of money.

Barf: I know we need the money, but...
Lone Starr: Listen! We're not just doing this for money... We're doing it for a SHIT LOAD of money!
Barf: Oh, you're right. And when you're right, you're right. And you - you're always right.

Our previous government got caught with their hand in the cookie jar and were swiftly booted out of office. And they've been so dismal in opposition that they might lose even their second-place status after this election.

In Canada, we don't use Diebold machines to cast votes:

  • your name is checked off the voters list at the polling station
  • you get a ballot with the names of all candidates for the riding
  • there are multiple parties and independents competing (I've seen up to eight or nine choices)
  • you go behind a screen to mark your ballot
  • you place an "X" beside your choice *with a pencil*
  • you fold up your ballot
  • you place your ballot in a *clear plastic box* which is in *a very public place*
  • representatives from all candidates watch the ballot boxes at all times
  • the ballots are *counted manually* in a *public place*
  • ballots are kept until the election is officially over - then they are destroyed

Nothing electronic, nothing hidden, and everybody knows how to use a pencil.

Politicians should never have too much power or forget whom they serve.

calgarydude,this is how votes are recorded and counted in Australia and probably most Coomonwealth countries.There never seems to be much of a problem with miscounts.In very close counts there is extraordinary care taken with recounts and disputes can be taken to a Court of Disputed Returns.
With all the electoral staff(paid)and volunteer scrutineers it is all rather labour intensive but it saves a lot of trouble in the long run.Importantly,it is transparent and seen to be so.

I can't understand why the US uses machine voting.

Unfortunately,no matter what the voting system,politicians do have too much power and do forget who they serve,but that is another story.

I can't understand why the US uses machine voting.

With all the electoral staff(paid)and volunteer scrutineers it is all rather labour intensive...

You are required by US Federal law to make it "accessible" to the tiny, tiny, tiny proportion who can't use a pencil, no matter how badly the equipment and methodology needed to do so might corrupt the system. Plus, it's seen as cheaper not to hire people to look over each other's shoulders and count paper ballots, though I have no idea whether it truly is cheaper, given the constant instant obsolescence, repetitive "updates", and costly "maintenance contracts" that attach to electronic equipment of any kind.

Paul: I guess it was just lucky for the connected that those damn liberal tree huggers forced a phony voting system that is easy to falsify. I would assume Rush is also blaming the looted trillions on those damn liberals.

Our politicians never forget who they serve: big business.

We spend so much time worrying about who to vote for, and whether the elections are fair. But that's not how the rich and powerful think. They don't really need Diebold. While we're worrying about which horse to bet on, and whether there's any cheating...they just buy all the horses.

I'm going to ask a question that may in retrospect appear stupid. Why use a pencil? Couldn't that mark be erased? Why not use a pen or permanent marker?

The "lead" in the pencils is very thick and soft with a high graphite content. Not the sort of pencil you would use to write with.

It really makes a big "smudge" mark rather than a nice "X". The paper for the ballots is not the high-gloss writing paper used in offices and my guess is that trying to erase a marked ballot would just produce a big mess. Also, I can't see when anyone would be alone with the ballots to do this.

Ballots are numbered and, when you are handed a ballot, a strip (with the ballot number) is torn off and kept separately. These are then matched against the cast ballots during the counting process to check against ballot box "stuffing".

Elections are very labour intensive and it costs about $300 million to run a federal one. I worked as a volunteer "scrutineer" one year and saw the whole process close up. It is very difficult to rig an election here.

Excellent point. Since the "hanging chad" issue and in light of the current level of political "debate" I am not certain whether the goal is to get a politician the most votes or to present a believable scenario where it is accepted that a presidential candidate got the most votes. Not that either "major" party candidate is offering or even discussing anything of importance.

The amazing thing is that the US market also has no ACCOUNTABILITY to US taxpayers. Just from the rumor of the plan in the work, the market had a huge 2 day party, rallying the market for 800 points. They are all assuming it's a done deal and we, the US taxpayers, had to pay for the consequences of their bad gambling debt. I am sick of this. By giving the addict more money to gamble, we are delaying the cure for the sickness that engulf our whole system of life. We don't deserve more tax paying for this bad behaviour and neither can we allow them to keep piling the debt onto our future generations.

I will vote out all those that'll vote for this bills...

Can you actually make a law saying no court challenges are allowed?

Sure, it's called a Dictatorship. And the Demuplicans and the Republicrats are making it happen in Congress. Regardless of who is elected in November to either the Executive Branch and/or the Legislative Branch the process of eviserating the Constitution will continue.
Remember that Adolph Hitler was elected in free elections Chancellor of Germany and it was the legislative branch that gave him the absolute dictatorial powers.
I knew it was going to happen, but it is happening much sooner than I thought.
The Constitution of the United States is being raped by the Congress and no-one can/will do anything to stop it.
I think I am becoming a hard core doomer?

Can you actually make a law saying no court challenges are allowed?
Sure, it's called a Dictatorship.

And look at the contracts you are handed to sign for things like credit cards, cable, telephone or some employment - they deny you court access - disputes are via arbitration.

You probably don't want to hear, and yes it may in fact be lie, that Bush when opposed on the extenion of the Patriot Act on constitutional grounds evidently called the Constitution just a "g-d piece of paper". You can google it, just another fun Bushism, my personal favorite:

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." —Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

You can make any law you like but the Supreme Court will definitely support the 200 year old tradition of judicial review and strike down any prohibition against judicial review.

When I was in high school 50+ years ago, I took a book out of our city's library that had Hitler's speeches in chronological order until WWII. It was a huge book that I labored through.

As I worked my way through it, I kept asking myself why the people were so, I don't know, so mesmerized/obtuse/dumb/enthralled/uninterested that they couldn't see the writing on the wall. There was a consistent pattern for anyone who "listened."

We are seeing/listening/watching/reading the same thing today. And, how many will say, "We didn't see it coming?"


If things will go to hell if we don't immediately pass the bailout Paulson's friends bill, isn't it too late anyway?

After years of deregulation, of promotion of greed and assertion of the superiority of the market, and in particular of financial makrets to decide how to run the economy, it appears - nay, make that: it is now blatantly, in your face, obvious - that none of this worked. Worse, the people that have mocked government throughout, as wasteful, inefficient and incompetent are now counting on the very same government to bail them out from the hole they have dug.
--j Paris

What this latest bailout painfully shows the rest of the world (overtly) is that the players have lost control of the game. This, in turn, has given the rest of the world the explicit excuse to have absolutely no confidence in US financial and treasury assets if they so choose. If there is no trust and no guarantee that the game will continue with agreed upon rules. The consequences of that spell potential disaster, if foreign countries decides investing in US-backed assets is just too risky.

FYI "Hail Mary Pass"
aka Flutie to Phalen, Boston College vs Miami 1984

Just looking for some distraction I suppose I am. This is truely beginning to get ugly and you have done a better job than 95% of paid journalists documenting it. Kudos to your news round-ups.

Sounds to me like this Arjurn Murti analyst just got lucky the first time around. The pull back of his prediction is huge. I don't get how these analysts get away with it...and why we still care about their judgement...


I thought the same thing. He cuts his price forecast from $140 to $110 only after oil falls to $100. Sort of like forecasting who is going to win a football game by looking at the score in the 4th quarter.

Goldman's good at that game. Place your bet and then announce your prediction (odds). When you got a big megaphone its easy to manipulate the crowd.

You could probably do well just by betting against Goldman predictions.

This will be my last comment concerning the recent bailout of Wallstreet. Bush pre-frames the debate by saying "The problem was big, ta ta ta, so the, what I
did, ta ta ta, was big too. We had no choice, ta ta ta
What we did was, because we couldnt do nothing"

He gave two choices (Do nothing) or (Do what was done)
and as if to say (Their wasnt any other options)

Anyone who falls for this elementary school yard tactic, should have the school yard bully take their lunch money FOREVER....Cause he's gonna!

The American public will oooh and ahhh when Wallstreet
gets their bonus checks again this Christmass and have no recollection this event ever happened.

Lots of talk about oil and coal. And surprisingly very little about trees. The news of the $1billion norwegian donation to save the rainforest is huge news.

Staying with the trees, and connecting with your people being happier on car-free quiet streets, let's also add, trees to the mix. It is well known that trees have a calming effect, and enhance one's quality of life.

Imagine what our planet would look like without any trees . . .


Why should Norway pay anything when it is Brazil's problem? I know the Norwegians have a kind of sovereign green wealth fund and it will use offsets to convince themselves their own emissions are somehow cancelled. However there are major issues with the timing, amounts and legal responsibility.

Consider these legal problems
1) the forest dies due to negligence
2) someone else claims 'those are our trees'
3) the forest gets razed without more money
4) a bunch of trees next door get razed.

The issues are blackmail, offsets to offsets, exclusivity and physical futility. I propose Norway keep their cash and use less fossil fuel instead. If as a result of satellite monitoring Brazil's forest cover decreases they should pay some kind of carbon tax to an international authority. In other words Brazil has to pay, they don't get paid.

Good for Norway. Without going into whether it's "the best" solution or not, I give them kudos for at least trying to figure where their money will do the most good.

There is a post about the financial situation at the physics blog Not Even Wrong. Peter Woit comments that the models used by the financial institutions (partly developed by physicists) were wrong. I would point out that when Prof David MacKay says "Modelling not arm-waving", I'm sure he means openly available models subject to vigorous open debate. Which reminds me: where do I get those famous climate models?

The Coal Conundrum - Tim Flannery has a lot going for him as a scientist and as a greenhouse effect activist although he is sometimes contraversial and a bit of a loose cannon.

Lately he seems to be leaning towards the BAU crowd as in this review in the MSM.Just how much that can be trusted is questionable.In any case,I will be going to hear him speak in Brisbane on Wednesday and I will read the article itself later.I hope there will be some there from the informed green side who will challenge any pro-coal assertions.

I regard the CCS issue as just another diversion by the coal industry and their supporters in government.Even if the technology can be developed it would be impossible to scale up to the extent necessary to have significant impact.The resources would be better spent on non-polluting power generation.
What the Chinese do is really up to them.Western nations have to make their own way and hopefully lead and set a good example.

What do you think the price of oil will be after the financial collapse and we go into depression? Remember, this is not isolated to the US. China's market is down 67% but they still claim 10% growth, har de har har.

Some interesting analysis from Krugman--

No deal
I hate to say this, but looking at the plan as leaked, I have to say no deal. Not unless Treasury explains, very clearly, why this is supposed to work, other than through having taxpayers pay premium prices for lousy assets.

As I posted earlier today, it seems all too likely that a “fair price” for mortgage-related assets will still leave much of the financial sector in trouble. And there’s nothing at all in the draft that says what happens next; although I do notice that there’s nothing in the plan requiring Treasury to pay a fair market price. So is the plan to pay premium prices to the most troubled institutions? Or is the hope that restoring liquidity will magically make the problem go away?

Here’s the thing: historically, financial system rescues have involved seizing the troubled institutions and guaranteeing their debts; only after that did the government try to repackage and sell their assets. The feds took over S&Ls first, protecting their depositors, then transferred their bad assets to the RTC. The Swedes took over troubled banks, again protecting their depositors, before transferring their assets to their equivalent institutions.

The Treasury plan, by contrast, looks like an attempt to restore confidence in the financial system — that is, convince creditors of troubled institutions that everything’s OK — simply by buying assets off these institutions. This will only work if the prices Treasury pays are much higher than current market prices; that, in turn, can only be true either if this is mainly a liquidity problem — which seems doubtful — or if Treasury is going to be paying a huge premium, in effect throwing taxpayers’ money at the financial world.

And there’s no quid pro quo here — nothing that gives taxpayers a stake in the upside, nothing that ensures that the money is used to stabilize the system rather than reward the undeserving.

I hope I’m wrong about this. But let me say it again: Treasury needs to explain why this is supposed to work — not try to panic Congress into giving it a blank check. Otherwise, no deal.

Wow. There are actually some critics of this plan. (Krugman's not the only one.) Dare we hope they realize how stupid this idea is?

"There are actually some critics of this plan."
Usually there are critics of most plans and suggestions, that is the way of the world.

The prices will be set in a reverse auction, i.e. the lowest price wins. It will be interesting to see how this is actually run but should come down to who needs the cash most urgently. It will probably result in banks writing down more as the price they pay will likely be below the number they have in their books. Of course they could do this in the open market except people are unwilling to take it, value pennies on the dollar??

IMHO he problem will not be over until at least property prices stop falling.

I like Krugman, but jeez, talk about tiptoeing around the frigging tulips. He might as well say "I think if we actually leave the doors to the bank and the bank vault open overnight with a big sign that says TAKE IT maybe someone, just maybe, might decide to take it". The taxpayers get the bill-that is the whole point, the upside. I would think this is just the beginning. I like his comment "I hope I am wrong about this"-it is like saying I hope I live forever. Is there a possibility these grifters forgot the mention all the great benefits for the country?

In view of the hustle for an Emergency Bailout To Save The World, and Senator Hottairski's signature is required to make it happen, he can suggest that Paulson/Bernanke relay to the POTUS and VPOTUS that he will ONLY sign 30 seconds after they both resign from office and President Pelosi is installed; and fill-in-blank goes too…or some such.
Wouldn’t they agree? to save the world? Wouldn’t you agree if you were in their position? ...if it truly was necessary? or is this another Cry Wolf-Code Red-Shock&Awe-Fear Mongering?

IMO if politicians opposed to this feel they need to cooperate out of necessity they should push hard for strenuous prosecution (long prison time) of at least 700 financial industry professionals. Every single frim receiving a penny should have a least one top manager prosecuted vigourously. Jeez-they was a guy who talked like this-oh yeah-good thing they got rid of the guy who likes to screw-it really saved the country for the sheeple.

It is interesting, and I fear what may be rolled out on Monday because of it, but besides this "plan" being formulated, there is very little other financial news (besides AMBAC possibly going under).

It's quiet....almost too quiet.

Poll: Racial views steer some white Dems away from Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) — Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles.

The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about two and one-half percentage points.

Amazing, isn't it? I tend to forget just how many crap-for-brains people there are out there...


On the bright side...race is not the major issue for voters who don't like Obama, and many who are racists as defined by this study are "willing, even eager" to vote for him.

My guess is that Obama is more helped than hurt by the race issue. The rabid racists are probably not gonna vote for a Democrat anyway, no matter what color he is. While Obama's promise of a "post-racial society" is a big part of the excitement of his campaign. If Obama were white, he'd be seen as just another Dukakis or McGovern. Only with less experience.

OTOH it is very difficult to envision a black man with the obvious lack of intelligence of McCain or Palin being a realistic candidate for the Presidency-maybe someday.

Basically, Sarah Palin is the white female version of Al Sharpton, and I can't see a guy like Al being a realistic candidate any time soon.

How about a nice conspiracy theory...

McCain is told that he will resign "for health reasons" part way though his first term - like, maybe, after three years - so that Palin becomes the president. It kills several birds with one stone.


I don't think McCain and Palin are unintelligent. Quite the opposite, really. I think they are both very smart people, but not in an intellectual way. I don't think Bush is dumb, either. Ignorant, yes, but not stupid.

Dan Quayle isn't stupid, either. He's said some stunningly idiotic things on TV, but according to reporters who covered him, he's actually one of the smartest guys they've ever met. He's just one of those people who tends to blither when the camera's on him.

It is hard to envision a black man who is not intellectual being nominated...but that's because the GOP isn't likely to nominate a black guy, while the Democrats prefer intellectuals.

sorta begs the question...who would you consider a first class meat head?

Generally not the people who have risen to the highest office in the land, or close to it. Or even to the highest office in their states. They are generally either from privileged families ("enriched environments"), or they are extremely talented.

Probably the recent president to closest to meat head status was Reagan. I don't think he started out as a meat head. Far from it. But he ended up that way. I think he suffered Alzheimer's for far longer than they claim. In particular...I suspect he suffered a steep decline after he was shot. This is not uncommon in people vulnerable to Alzheimer's: anesthesia makes it worse.

Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Voter who actually think there is a difference between the parties.

My guess is that Obama is more helped than hurt by the race issue.

Leanan, you have apparently never lived in the South.

You're wrong. I lived in the south for years.

A Democrat is unlikely to win the south anyway. Obama probably has a better chance than most - because of the African-American vote.

But it is not racist for all blacks to vote for Obama? Only if all whites vote for mcCain. One flew over the CooCoo's nest

Fall is in the air up here, a bit of a bite to the air in the shade. Leaves are turning already.
Spent the day cutting and splitting firewood. Wife was busy putting up veggies and way too many tomatoes. Got a nice hot soak in and then dinner, mostly from the garden.

I seem to be somewhat divorced from everything going on, but reading all these posts I see a lot of BAU even here. Place the blame, talk about something else, debate something that means absolutely nothing.

Sea change people, think the fall of Rome, or the sacking of Troy. Why aren't there torches in the streets? After last week your lives will never be the same. You have new controllers now.

The elite, or however you want to identify them are spending this weekend with meetings on their yachts, wonderful food, expensive booze, deciding how you will continue to live, and how to protect their ill-gotten gains. Actually they really don't much care how you continue to live or if you live at all.

This isn't TV, the good guys don't come from behind against all odds and win, this is the bad guys getting paid off. Where exactly is the outrage?

Don in Maine

Hey, look! A plane crashed with Blink-182's drummer on it! And there! A child porn raid on an evangelical church!

The news I watched tonight was TV5 from Paris.

Their biggest news story (20 minutes) was from Mumbai (Bombay) India showing an incredibly sophisticated system for delivering home-cooked meals to office workers. IIRC, all the members of the distribution organization were from the same (very low) social class.

Fascinating stuff.

You would never get this information on Fox.

Don,they may be resting now,but "hot money" is hard to hang onto.All the bad guys know this.

I am pretty sure that this is just act 1,of the "Fall of the American Empire".In the book "Collapse" one of the interesting bits of information was how the elites of each society fared during the end times.

It usually ended with those at the top simply being the last to starve.

I am of the opinion that in this "phase-change" our society is going to experience will have a different outcome.I think those are spending time in their garden,and have a low-energy life to live may be literally the only ones who survive.

Most of those of whom you speak are the equivalent of "hot-house flowers" They were born to wealth,and have little intercourse with the real world.

They will be ill-equipt to deal with the world that is being birthed as we speak.Think of them more as as the aristocracy about to become poor.For the world thats coming ,they are poor .Maybe,they will stay wealthy.My guess is very few will be left in the coming low-energy world,as it takes a hellava lot of energy to support that kind of lifestyle

They had plenty of people in other societies in collapse who were ideally equipped to survive - in fact far better than anyone now, as they were genuinely self-sufficient peasants with generations of experience.
They didn't though, or relatively few of them , as people with weapons came and took it away.
The last to survive are the most heavily armed, and those who control them, not the most self-sufficient.
The closest recent parallel would be the 14th century, and the hundred years war in France.
If you killed the peasantry on the enemy's land you took away his resource base, and anyway the times were so chaotic that the armed gangs in the armies were amuck in a similar fashion to in Sierra Leone more recently.

We have a quite a different situation now.Many on the land have the same firepower as those who attempt control.Its not possible to "control" land with armor and heavy weapons w/o a LOT of F.F......modern warfare is the stuff of petroleum.

I don,t know how it will shake out,but there will not be room enough for very many at the "top".

Don't bet too heavily that having hunting rifles, or even AK47s, can help against an organised army.
The reason that low-tech insurgencies do relatively well at present is that full force is not used against them, and they get backing from other major powers.

In a survivalist situation armed resistance by guerilla movements operating as part of the civil population and so on just results in the obliteration of the civil population.
You can't farm the land, which is essentially a dispersed activity, and fight at the same time - witness Darfur.
In any case, more troops are readily conscripted from other peasant populations to make up for any losses.

A good example would be the Norman conquest of England, where a relatively small number of heavily armed warriors organised into a n army using their arms in an integrated fashion destroyed the ability of the far more numerous Anglo-Saxons after the battle of Hastings.
The Anglo-Saxons were heavily armed, in many respects nearer to the level of the Normans than any similar rebellion could expect to be today, but were repeatedly decimated when they revolted.
The basic Norman tactic was to destroy any organised force which opposed them, and then rather than seek out the Anglo Saxons in detail to destroy all crops, livestock and shelter.
The area would then be sealed off in a cordon sanitaire whilst the people died.

It was the Russian army that rescued the insurgency in German controlled areas, otherwise they would have met the same fate as insurgencies in the Baltics did against the Russians.