DrumBeat: October 11, 2008

GPS could save airlines billions in fuel costs

CHICAGO - A World War II-era air traffic network that often forces planes to take longer, zigzagging routes is costing U.S. airlines billions of dollars in wasted fuel while an upgrade to a satellite-based system has languished in the planning stages for more than a decade.

The $35 billion plan would replace the current radar system with the kind of GPS technology that has become commonplace in cars and cell phones. Supporters say it would triple air traffic capacity, reduce delays by at least half, improve safety and curb greenhouse gas emissions.

An Associated Press analysis of federal and industry data found that if the new system were already in place, airlines could have saved more than $5 billion in fuel this year alone.

Falling gas prices may lure travelers off planes

CHICAGO - So far, U.S. airlines have coped well with a painful economic downturn, but a sharp decline in gasoline prices soon may lure travelers off planes and into cars for short-haul trips.

That would be a departure from a long-held public perception that flying — while increasingly expensive — still makes sense because the cost of driving is almost as bad and driving takes longer.

But with gas prices down more than 15 percent since July and air fares steady, travelers look likely to rethink that logic, said Rick Seaney, chief executive of air fare research site FareCompare.com.

Now THAT’s more like it: Dropping gas prices fuel hope for motorists

Gas prices during the past two weeks have dropped around 50 cents on average for the price of a gallon of gas, and customers such as Shorter College sophomore Jennifer McKee, who filled her tank at the Kroger gas station on Turner McCall Boulevard Friday afternoon, had reason to be happy.

McKee, who lives in Stockbridge, said prices were back to where she could just about afford them again.

Finding Energy to Beat a Recession

The stock market's record fall in September suggests that the impending global financial crisis is not just some kind of bad dream, but the new reality. With globalization, it is clear that the next few years will be painful for both the world economy as a whole, and for the energy industry -- one of its most important sectors -- in particular.

OPEC tells IMF bearish oil market to persist

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The global financial crisis and worsening economic outlook is likely to sustain a bearish oil market and this poses a risk of oversupply in the first half of 2009, OPEC said on Saturday.

North Korea Removed From Terrorism List, U.S. Says

(Bloomberg) -- North Korea was removed from a list of state sponsors of terrorism after the communist state agreed to measures to verify its progress in disabling its nuclear facilities, the U.S. State Department said today.

While the final language must still be written, ``the North Koreans have committed that the disablement activities at Yongbyon will resume immediately,'' said Sung Kim, the U.S. envoy to the six-party nuclear talks, referring to the reactor that is the source of North Korea's weapons-grade plutonium.

Surviving in Zimbabwe

How do people really survive in a country with 231 million % inflation, worthless money, shortage of fuel, meaningless salaries, where prices go up every day, where medical attention has become a luxury because it has gone beyond the reach of many, where parents can not afford to pay school fees. A country suffering from the yoke of economic sanctions romanticised as targeted travel bans by the all powerful west. The country is with erratic electricity supply and flowing raw sewage. Zimbabwe is suffering from internal political tension, international condemnation and isolation.

Wrong Baby Wrong!

You would have thought we had come as they used to say, “A long way, baby”, but apparently not. When listening to the rhetoric in this presidential election year about how to achieve energy independence, I shake my head in disbelief. What are worse are the chants of the crowds in enthusiastic agreement. As one of Hitler’s top lieutenants Joseph Goebbels famously said, “The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it.” Yep, and if you throw in high prices at the pump, and a recession, then suddenly presto -“it” becomes gospel. The “it” this year is made up of renewed support for allowing off shore oil drilling, and the screams of crowds chanting “Drill Baby Drill” no doubt in the false belief doing so would help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil, lower gas prices and ease our energy woes. Right. You can also put out a three alarm structure fire with a garden hose and by stomping your feet and blowing hard. Drilling is a convenient, expensive, ineffective and unwarranted distraction.

How to Win My Vote for Obama

Obama claims that he is going to create jobs in this country through revamping and revitalizing the energy industry. But his focus is on "green energy" — mainly wind and solar energy. The energy input required to create a ton of steel (450 kW-hours) with wind power costs $29.52, according to the American Wind Energy Association (without the government subsidy - taxpayer money). With solar power the cost is, per Scientific American, $36.00. With nuclear power — which apparently isn't considered sufficiently "green" enough to merit more than lip service — the cost is $8.10 according to the Department of Energy, including fuel, depreciation, waste fuel storage, and eventual decommissioning. (It is true that this cost of nuclear power does not take into account initial capital costs for building a nuclear power plant and the quoted wind and solar costs do take into account initial capital costs for wind towers and solar panels. But because solar and wind power are intermittent power sources and hence must be backed up by conventional power plants that are always running — generally nuclear and coal power plants, called "spinning reserves" — or not be used, wind and solar power are reliant on capital being expended for coal and nuclear power.) Given the extra costs our country's businesses will incur because of wind and solar power, why does Obama believe that U.S. employment won't go down as manufacturing costs go up?

Sarah Palin's Alaskan Wasteland

The mess of pollutants in Alaska has clearly taken its toll. In general, the state has double the national average of birth defects. While the causes are unknown, environmentalists point to the region that includes the North Slope, an area slightly larger than Minnesota, where most of Alaska's oil is produced. The byproducts of oil production can cause serious nervous system disorders, and the North Slope and its environs, home to Alaska Natives and itinerant oil workers, has the highest prevalence of birth defects in the state--11 percent--compared with 6 percent statewide and 3 percent nationwide.

Drought in southern Australia declared ‘worst on record’

If you want to know what the U.S. southwest faces in the coming decades if we don’t reverse greenhouse gas emissions trends quickly, just look to Australia:

David Jones, the head of climate analysis at the Bureau of Meteorology, said the drought affecting south-west Western Australia, south-east South Australia, Victoria and northern Tasmania “is now very severe and without historical precedent”.

Dr Jones said Victoria had had “the driest multi-year period on record, but also by far the hottest….”

He said temperatures were running at about one degree “above any previous comparable drought. That is substantially hotter, and that one degree is a global warming signal.”

Fuel rationing could continue a few more weeks for truckers in Alberta

Truckers already experiencing lean times in the wake of rocky economic conditions are facing a new challenge this week – fuel rationing – in the province of Alberta, Canada.

As of Friday, Oct. 10, several of the major refineries in Western Canada were shut down because of scheduled routine maintenance, but unexpected production problems have amplified the fuel shortage there.

Mayne Root, executive director for the Alberta Motor Transport Association, told Land Line in an e-mail on Thursday, Oct. 9, that he has been told that the fuel rationing situation may last another few weeks.

Some trucking companies are only receiving 50 percent of the fuel they need. Root said that producers in Western Canada anticipate being back up to full production by the end of the month.

EPA Approves Fuel Waiver for Phoenix area

As a result of the disruption in the supply of fuel from Gulf-area refineries and pipelines, EPA has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive certain requirements for gasoline sold and distributed in Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. The disruption and delays in production and delivery of gasoline to Arizona resulted from effects of Hurricane Ike, as well as a fire at a fuel distribution terminal that temporarily shut down deliveries of gasoline to Arizona.

Counterproductive price-gouging laws

But while supply disruptions cause high prices, they typically don't cause shortages. We need more than Ike and Gustav to explain the lines and frustration.

For that unhappy coincidence, one should look to the political response to high gas prices. Governors and attorneys general across the South responded to the gas price increases by wielding anti-price gouging laws and issuing threats and subpoenas to gas stations.

Looking back to a grim US future - THE AMERICAN FUTURE: A HISTORY (BBC2)

"IF we succumb to a dream world, we will wake up to a nightmare." It's a brilliant oratorical line, worthy of a president, but who uttered it? Barack Obama? John McCain? Sarah Palin? Er, no. Definitely not.

It was Jimmy Carter, the most decent president Americans never knew they had and a central figure in the first part of The American Future: A History, four compelling, documentaries authored by historian Simon Schama that delve into the country's past for pointers to its future.

Carter was a man of the land, and he was aware of his great country's tendency to rape itself in the pursuit of happiness. He was preaching conservation long before it was popular.

But he was doing it near the unpopular end of his term, in the middle of a fuel shortage. Americans didn't heed Carter. They succumbed to the dream world by falling for the Hollywood-cowboy hucksterism of Ronald Reagan, and now they've woken up to the nightmare.

Water, not oil, is the great social lubricant and it's running out.

Credit crisis adds to pressures on dealers

NEW YORK (AP) - Hundreds of thousands of new cars and trucks that would have quickly made their way to people’s driveways a year ago are now stacking up on dealer lots across the country, with potential buyers worried about whether they’ll keep their jobs, be able to pay for gas or qualify for a car loan.

For auto dealers already suffering under the worst U.S. sales downturn in 15 years, the increasing cost of the credit they use to keep inventory in their showrooms means every Ford Focus and Jeep Grand Cherokee with a sale sticker in the window is chipping away at dealers’ razor-thin profit margins every day and threatening to send more of them out of business.

Amtrak feeling love after years of criticism

WASHINGTON - Amtrak felt like an unwelcome relative throughout President Bush's two terms. The nation's passenger railroad even feared for its existence after he threatened to shut it down.

But in the final days of the Bush presidency, the passenger rail service is enjoying greater congressional support and public popularity in an era of high gasoline prices and louder calls for alternatives to driving.


APA-Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) Barely days after Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete assured investors that his country was well-equipped to contain any energy crisis and that all viable alternative sources of power like natural gas are being exploited to make power crises history, the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) on Friday announced fresh power rationing that would see some parts of the country remain without power for nine hours daily for an unspecified period of time, APA learnt here Friday.

Tanesco said that the national grid had lost 60 megawatts of supply of electricity following technical defects at the two power plants in Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital.

India: Industry expresses shock over power cut order

Coimbatore: Textile industry in the region today urged Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi to announce a scheme immediately to use the "idle" capacity of around 3500 MW High Speed Diesel oil generators available with the industrial units by reimbursing the cost of generation and prevent the industry from total closure.

The industry expressed shock on the reported instructions by TNEB not to draw power between 6 PM and 10 PM, with a warning of disconnection in case of violation on the part of industrial units, apart from five to eight hours scheduled/unscheduled load shedding.

Pakistan seeks oil bill deferral from Iran

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has asked the Iranian government to help meet its growing energy crisis by giving oil on deferred payments, and also shown interest in buying additional 1000 megawatts of electricity from the Islamic republic.

Malaysia delays buying rice for stockpile

Malaysia will delay importing another 300,000 tonnes of rice for its stockpile as its current stock of 310,000 tonnes is sufficient and also the world price for the staple is expected to drop further next year after a reaching a record high in 2008.

It's a poor time to exploit oil shale

We are at a critical moment. As we burn fossil fuels, we are causing a buildup of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, and our climate is very close to spinning out of control. Demand has outstripped supply of petroleum, causing inflation and putting America in the precarious position of relying on foreign governments for our energy needs

Will cheap gas mean return to gas-guzzling ways?

DENVER (AP) — Prices at the pump are dropping fast, and gas could fall below $3 a gallon in a matter of weeks, if not sooner. Does that mean Americans will return to their heedless, gas-guzzling ways?

Experts say no because most drivers assume the dip in prices will be short-lived, and motorists have adjusted their habits accordingly.

"We've been through almost eight years of continuously rising gasoline prices," AAA spokesman Geoff Sundstrom said. "Any notion that this is a temporary thing has pretty well been erased."

New technologies are emerging fast, with electric cars expected to hit the market in a couple years. But the question is no longer when gas prices will fall, but when will the next spike come?

Oil's Drop Squeezes Producers

Big oil-producing countries are showing signs of distress as the global credit crunch and falling crude prices begin to squeeze government budgets and delay projects.

Fears that the boom days are fading appear strongest in Iran and Venezuela, whose governments have come to rely on oil prices to prop up otherwise shaky economies. Both countries this week led a chorus within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries calling for an emergency meeting of the cartel, now set for Nov. 18, to weigh a production cut.

The global economic crisis is eating into oil demand, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, and helping to drive down crude prices. Some forecasters said that despite a strong thirst for oil in Asia and the Middle East, global oil consumption could flatten out next year, potentially ending nearly a decade of steady demand growth.

Oil Demand Falls on Global Economic Woes, Iran's Nozari Says

(Bloomberg) -- Oil demand is faltering as the financial crisis slows global economic growth, Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said, after crude oil fell below $78 yesterday for the first time in a year.

``Oil demand has decreased due to the current economic situation in the world,'' Nozari told reporters today on the sidelines of an oil-refining forum in Tehran. ``A way out needs to be found; the balance of the market is essential for oil consumers and oil producers.''

Iran agrees to export natural gas to UAE

TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- Iran signed a 2 billion U.S. dollars gas deal with Crescent Petroleum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the English-language Press TV reported on Saturday.

According to the 25-year gas deal signed on Friday, Iran will export natural gas from the country's Salman field to UAE, said the TV report.

Reporter denies newly signing of Iran-UAE gas deal

TEHRAN, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- An Iranian reporter who writes for Wall Street Journal of the United States denied on Saturday an earlier report on newly signing of Iran-UAE gas deal.

No new gas deal signed between Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday but there was one in 2001, Roshanak Taghavi told Xinhua through telephone.

Peru president accepts resignation of Cabinet

LIMA, Peru - President Alan Garcia accepted the resignation of his entire Cabinet on Friday without naming replacements in response to an oil kickbacks scandal.

Garcia's government has been rocked by the public airing of audiotaped conversations discussing kickbacks for steering government contracts to Norwegian oil company Discover Petroleum. Discover denies any wrongdoing.

Mexico Lawmakers' Draft Oil Bills Leave Major Overhaul in Doubt

(Bloomberg) -- Mexican lawmakers negotiating an oil- industry overhaul have drafted bills for the least contentious of President Felipe Calderon's proposals amid continued wrangling over his plan to let the state oil monopoly use private companies to reverse declining production.

Drafts of the bills by members of the Senate's energy committee, obtained by Bloomberg News, would increase the use of renewable fuel sources, give the government more control over energy policy and create a board to review exploration projects. The documents cover four of seven proposals derived from Calderon's plan to loosen the monopoly in what would be the most ambitious revamping of the industry in 70 years.

Exxon Mobil is controversial but should you buy its stock?

Exxon is the kind of stock I want anchoring my portfolio, particularly when times are tough. The company produces a product people need and use every day and it generates lots of cash. I also believe we are fast approaching the era of "peak oil" and Exxon’s large reserve base will continue to become ever more valuable.

The Perils of the Coming Sugar Economy

Peak oil, skyrocketing fuel costs, and the climate crisis are driving corporate enthusiasm for a "biological engineering revolution" that some predict will dramatically transform industrial production of food, energy, materials, medicine, and the ecosystem. Advocates of converging technologies promise a greener, cleaner post-petroleum future, where the production of economically important compounds depends not on fossil fuels but on biological manufacturing platforms fueled by plant sugars. It may sound sweet and clean. But the "sugar economy" will be the catalyst for a corporate grab on all plant matter as well as the destruction of biodiversity on a massive scale.

Shell’s hilarious attempt to beef up email security

The series of leaked Shell internal emails to our website revealing construction flaws in the Sakhalin-2 project cost Shell many billions of dollars after the Russian government used the evidence as a pretext to take back ownership. The move cost Shell £11 billion UK pounds according to an article by The Sunday Times, which Shell managed to kill just before publication.

...We have even received and published leaked emails from Shell CEO Jeroen van der veer within hours of them being sent. In January of this year we passed to The Times newspaper a confidential Shell internal email authored by Jeroen. It resulted in one of the most important energy related scoops ever. The email contained an astonishing forecast in relation to “peak oil”, saying that demand for oil and gas would outstrip supply within 7 years. The leak and subsequent widespread publication pre-empted Shell’s own plans for making an announcement.

James Taylor Prepares For Peak Oil, Fears Collapse Of Society

Rolling Stone has a great new interview with legendary singer James Taylor about his new album Covers, his desire to go local in the face of rising energy prices, and why society may only become sustainable after a serious collapse. Here are some highlights:

On how rising energy has made him prepare for a more local existence:

“I have the sense that energy will become more and more expensive, and people will need to exist in a more local way,” he says. “And I feel sort of like a citizen of New England. I like living here and working here, so it may just be that my efforts are more and more sort of locally focused as time goes by.”

Arctic stormier as Earth warms, study finds

The Arctic has become more stormy in the past 50 years due to the warming climate, which in turn has quickened the pace of drifting sea ice, a new NASA study finds.

"Big oil-producing countries are showing signs of distress as the global credit crunch and falling crude prices begin to squeeze government budgets and delay projects."

So far no major projects in the Athabasca Tar Sands have been cancelled outright, but several are postponed or altered due to high labour costs and difficult supply (try buying steel pipe these days). Existing conventional oil wells in Alberta will continue to pump because the capital cost is paid for, but there might be a slowdown in new wells if rig costs don't come down fast and far. It's the rig costs that are killing natural gas producers.

Alberta's conventional oil peaked in the middle 1970s, then plateaued for a while as the superstraws were applied, before falling off a cliff in the 1990s. Today we have three times as many producing wells generating one-third of the peak amount. (Numerical data from www.capp.ca)

If the current "drop" in oil stays or gets worse, we might see more problems. I put the word "drop" in quotation marks because, of course, it is still at historical highs compared to the last few years. A sustained cold winter in eastern USA will boost oil and gas prices temporarily.

One word: Kondratieff.

Kondratieff. Executed Sep 17, 1938

Initially imprisoned in 1930, Kondratiev served eight years before he was re-sentenced and executed; he ached for the separation with his family. Kondratiev’s daughter, Elena — Alyona or Alyonushka in the Russian diminutive — preserved his correspondence to her, the only remnants of her father in her life.

The last letter — as it turned out; plainly the writer had no inkling of it — was dated August 31, 1938.

My sweet darling Alyonushka.

Probably your holidays are over now and you are back at school. How did you spend the summer? Did you get stronger, put on weight, get tanned? I very much want to know. And I would like very, very much to see you and kiss you many, many times. I still do not feel well, I am still ill. My sweet Alyonushka, I want you not to get sick this winter. I also want you to study hard, as you did before. Read good books. Be a clever and a good little girl. Listen to your mother and never disappoint her. I would also be happy if you managed not to forget about me, your papa, altogether. Well, be healthy! Be happy! I kiss you without end.

Your papa.


He was executed at the height of Stalin's Great Purge and "rehabilitated" fifty years later. [wikipedia]

Looming recession, cash crisis cut oil demand: IEA

Uncertainty, and "tightening credit and equity markets will slow the pace of investment," the report warned. "Investment is already being affected at a number of highly leveraged (indebted) companies in locations such as Russia and the Caspian."

Ambitious expansion plans, "for national champions like Brazil's Petrobras, which will need upwards of 500 billion dollars (368 billion euros)", could be further delayed. "Some analysts envisage a sizeable proportion of current global drilling rig orders will be cancelled."

The agency, an offshoot of the OECD, cut its forecast for OECD demand this year by about 360,000 barrels per day from its previous, falling, forecasts.

Will depletion beat out economic woes?

From Stratfor:

Red Alert: The G-7 - Geopolitics, Politics and the Financial Crisis

The finance ministers of the G-7 countries are meeting in Washington. The first announcements on the meetings will come this weekend. It is not too extreme to say that the outcome of these meetings could redefine how the financial markets work, certainly for months and perhaps for a generation. The Americans are arguing that the regime of intervention and bailouts be allowed to continue. Others, like the British, are arguing for what in effect would be the nationalization of financial markets on a global scale. It is not clear what will be decided, but it is clear that this meeting matters.

(Stratfor's $30 oil prediction may come true after all. But not because of the collapse of China. The collapse of the US, maybe.)

I thought this quote from the same article on forces working towards regionalisation was also very relevant:

For example, American banks lend to European banks. If the United States comes up with a plan which guarantees loans to U.S. banks but not European banks, and Europeans lend to Europe and not the United States, the integration of the global economy will very quickly shatter, leading to significant limitations on international trade, currency convertibility and so on. You will nationalize economies that can’t stand being purely national.

Sounds like Germany failing to pay UK/France who then failed to pay the US.

Who then brought in Smoot Hawley:

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 was considered by many economists to be the single factor that transformed the U.S. recession into a global depression. The legislation was enacted on June 17, about 8 months after the collapse of the U.S. stock market. It quadrupled import tariffs on 20,000 goods, particularly agricultural products. Countries immediately retaliated, bringing international trade to a halt and depressing global demand. Ironically, the U.S. economy was showing signs of recovery by the spring of 1930. Unemployment stood at 7.8%, but the decline in global trade doubled the rate by 1931. The unemployment rate in the U.S. continued to climb, peaking at 25.1% in 1933. Although the decision to shelf the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia should not be considered to be a return to U.S. protectionism, the growing restrictions against food exports could be the start of a dangerous trend.-Roubini

but this time Russia waits with open arms and gas/oil
for the cold winter coming.

We've got til Sunday PM for something/

Has anyone got any insight on the other concern mentioned in the article?
Trying to run an international equivalent of the UK guarantee on LIBOR rates is apparently vastly complex, and since risk is effectively taken out of the equation and loaded on to the taxpayer, there would seem to be no effective mechanism left to differentiate good and bad risk.
Judging by the record of management of nationalised industries, one can't be very confident of a good outcome.

Hey Mc did you see this one?

"A new dawn for Iran"
By Chris Cook


"I have been working for some seven years, with a background in global financial services at the highest level, to assist Iran in developing a coherent financial system fit for the 21st century."

"It is ironic that Iran has been protected from being infected by the "Anglo disease" by the very sanctions which were aimed at damaging it."

"This currency would be created by unitizing energy as units redeemable against energy within the "PetroTrust" framework I am presenting in Tehran at the International Oil Refining Conference on October 11-12. Such units would then circulate globally, subject to mutual guarantees, within the framework of an International Clearing Union similar to that proposed by the great economist John Maynard Keynes at the first Bretton Woods conference in 1944"

I believe that Iran should examine - from first principles - how a market economy might operate collaboratively to develop Iran's productive economy, rather than being operated as a casino for the benefit of financiers at the expense of the productive economy.

I look forward to working with my Iranian friends to achieve an economy fit for the 21st century.

Chris Cook's comments are not so much provocative as loaded with irony.

The mother of all ironies. Babylon falls and the land of the Medes (Persia) rises again. Cyrus the Great rocks on.

Ça plus change, ça plus la même chose.

Exactly. From SuddenDebt:

"Finance as practised in the last 30 or so years has no place in this brave new world. There is no room - or any need whatsoever - for chop-and-shop LBO strippers, asset pumpers, market operators, derivatives designers, financial engineers... No, this gallery of rogues has seen the end of their days. Instead, relationship finance will fast make a comeback, if only because the manufacture and placement of unprovenanced securities to faceless "investors" is no longer possible. From now on real investors - the only ones still left standing - will ask for every detail and reason behind their potential investments.

And the market knows... The collective wisdom of millions acting in their self-interest has ground market prices of old-style financial companies into dust. That's no coincidence and no "crisis", either. It's the most obvious sign that the Pony Express is no more... And like all major turning points there will be plenty of opportunity for those with foresight, once the dust settles.
Posted by Hellasious at Thursday, October 09, 2008 "

No economy, no Empire.

We've got til Sunday PM for something

Oh, D@MN!!!!! I am coming to hate those Sunday PM announcements.

People who are experts in economics and finance usually don't understand energy. A prime example might be Alan Greenspan, who was a disciple of Ayn Rand and who spread her mantra of unbridled capitalism leading to today's extreme distress.


Since it was cheaper in economic terms to rely on imported oil instead of domestic supply in the 1980's, we imported ever larger volumes of the stuff. As a nation, the U.S. could have continued Nixon's "Project Independence" and Carter's follow on efforts, but we did not. Now, we are finding that to have been a very bad decision, as there may not be enough time to make a transition to sustainable energy sources as the fossil fuels are depleted.

Oil at $30 a barrel? Maybe for a short while, given the inelastic nature of oil production and consumption. But, the Peak will eventually be seen and the price will of necessity begin to soar again. Like the stock market on a given day, there will be "volatility", but the long term price trend is likely to be upward.

E. Swanson

The WSJ website had the following headline, linked on yesterday's Drumbeat:

The Official Demise of the Oil Bubble

Jim Rogers noted that there have been at least two large price pullbacks since the current secular bull market started in 1999. That gave me the idea for the following

A What-If: Basically the same story, but written at the end of 2001:

In November, 2000 the price of crude oil averaged about $34 a barrel. What seemed like a bewildering ascent in the price of crude at the time is now a relief to traders, who watched oil fall $14 a barrel to average about $20 a barrel in November, 2001 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Like a number of other commodities, oil’s move went from a steady ascent to a vertical bounce in the fall of 2000, before speculative excess started to drain from the market. And those who believed that the oil price was justified by fundamentals — being, as it is, an actual product, rather than an Internet company’s vague promise of revenue — are smarting.

“This is a market that is basically returning to the price level of July, 1999, which it arguably should never have left,” says Evans Tims , energy analyst at Citigroup. “We pumped up a big bubble, expanded it to an impressive dimension, and now it is popped and we have bubble gum in our hair.”

Oil prices remain 2-3x more expensive than they were back in 2003-2004 when the NASDAQ settled in the 7,000-8,000 range.

Que? NASDAQ peaked in 2000 during dot.com bubble at about 4,600. In '03-'04 it was in the 1500-2000 range.


Jim Rodgers on CNBC.com yesterday

The current rescue plans, which will force governments to issue more debt, print money and flood the markets with liquidity, will flare up inflation after the crisis is over and will create worse problems, Rogers warned.

"We're setting the stage for when we come out of this of a massive inflation holocaust," he said.


If the bailouts lead to a spike in inflation, into the double digits like in 1980, recovery form the mortgage crisis will be followed by an new crisis as consumer's credit card payments climb rapidly. A wave of bankruptcies which could follow the 'recovery' would renew pressure on the banks holding these debts.

That is not true,

(1) Should there be an increase in the money supply (so far it is shrinking) AND
(2) Should there be resultant asset-price inflation

(3) It will be great for Americans who are Asset Rich (Houses, real-estate, commercial property via REITS, other assets) but Cash poor.

Americans will easily be able to pay off their credit loans via selling of some assets or borrowing cheaply agains assets that are worth more now (e.g. home equity) instead of relying on usurius credit card rates.

Rogers is trying to buy the same assets on the cheap, while shedding crocodile tears for average Americans. (& he has always done that)

Also Rogers has publicly stated on many occasions that the place where he puts his money is the PRC.

The only cash rich entities are KSA, PRC, some other gulf states, Russia, Norway

Rogers is also fond of coming on TV (he is frequently invited to Fox News) and boasting about how rich he is:


(1) Is he really that wealthy?

(2) How much income tax does he pay? Since he talks about everything else why does he not boast on the amount of tax that he pays?

(3)Perhaps he has sheltered his wealth in a charitable foundation? No one seems to have heard of it, unlike for e.g. the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation

(4) What is the source of his wealth?
Corrolary: I will assert that traders cannot get that wealthy. Buffet had operating companies and is buy and hold. The other famous stock investor (who may be broke right now after his lousy bets on YHOO, MOT, others) is Carl Icahn. But all his bets are public knowledge. The United States Government REQUIRES that any individual or entity who has more than $100 million in investible assets file statements with the SEC disclosing their holdings. Where are Rogers' filings?

This is the same Jim Rogers who said China was a screaming buy even at 5000. It's at 2100 for those of you scoring at home.

Half the time he's right and half the time he's wrong. I have similiar success when I'm guessing as well. Maybe I'm just jealous of his bike ride around the world.

Strangely enough he was able to accomplish this motorbike-ride around the world without being kidnapped or otherwise harmed. Yet he is a self acknowledged Wealthy American, who went to all
sorts of places that do not have much law and order.

A Texas political endorsement (in The Austin American-Statesman):
Texas Railroad Commission: Energy experience gives Michael Williams an edge

Williams has served on the commission since 1999 and is serving a second term as chairman. During that time, he has pushed with success to get Texas involved with developing new engines for school buses and other vehicles that run on propane instead of diesel or gasoline. He has traveled the state to promote propane buses and helped school districts purchase them with state and federal grants available from his agency.

Anyone have an opinion on the TRC, has it been well run? I'll have a chance to vote for the guy in a couple weeks ...

I have had experience with the oil and gas division since 1978, and it has become less well run over the years. I don't know of any school bus successes. I do know that Williams pushed hard, with success, to accelerate the bonding requirements with a resulting enrichment of the insurance companies which write bonds - did it in one year rather than over three years as the legislature had prescribed. Others have provided leadership in making the bonding system more functional. I do not know who is running against him, but I would seriously consider them. Most of the RCT oversight is of oil and gas, so if they had strong experience there it would be helpful. The RCT field people are good and always fair, sometimes to a fault, and enforce the rules in a fair manner. I do not think that comes down from the top. I've had experience dealing with them as both the surface owner and as the owner of the production - they make sure everything is done right, without bias favoring either side.

A huge number of people have sold off their stocks and mutual funds the past few weeks ... stating the obvious. Not so obvious is what percentage of the people have done this so far? Among colleagues, I find maybe a couple of people that have done anything recently. It seems to me that knowing this percentage will tell us about how many people will really be in trouble. We know percentage drop in DJIA but not in the people that have divested completely.

It is scary if only a small percentage think they don't have any choice in this. Especially IRA and 401k accounts where you can move stuff around without having to take a distribution or penalty. I actually heard someone on the radio that pulled it out of an IRA, not knowing about rollover or transferring into a self-managed account.

My feeling is that only those close to retirement are that concerned. The big moves we've seen are probably the institutional players and high rollers, not the ordinary Joe.

Younger people have been told time and again that day-to-day fluctuations in the market should not concern them, that they should be in this for the long haul. Many don't even look at their statements. We're told that even during the Great Depression, the stock market recovered in 20 years. And of course, the old "we now know a lot more about economics, so it won't happen again." And even if it does, things will be fine in 30 or 40 years when you are retiring.

I think in the long run, a lot of people will be pulling money out of their IRAs and other retirement accounts. Not necessarily out of panic (though that might happen, if people start to seriously distrust the financial system). But because they need the money. That is already happening. People generally raid the IRA, penalty and all, before they give up their homes to foreclosure. It will happen more often as the economy worsens.

Then there's the people who are using IRAs as intended: older people who are required by law to take distributions. (McCain has suggested changing that rule, but so far, it's just talk.) The US population is aging, and I don't expect there will be enough new money coming in to make up for retirees cashing out.

One of the biggest travesties is we have the highest absolute and highest in % of population people working in financial services (or did), and they, like very good used car salesmen due to their MBA pedigrees, went out and sold the 'fact' that stocks return 10% a year over the long haul as if it were some natural law. Business school model is over. If any of you are planning to go to business school, I would think seriously about changing that decision pronto. There are better things to learn for one, and more importantly what they teach about Capital Asset Pricing Model and efficient markets is all wrong. One COULD create an workable CAPM if one included real capital (natural resources, etc) as opposed to stocks, bonds, real estate. Markets are semi-strong efficient. Until they're not.

Yes, wasn't the stock market flat starting in 1965 and going into the early 1980's? I think people made money then only via dividends and stock splits. Apart from that the annualized rate of return could not have been anything more than 1%. That's almost 20 years of nothing.

In recent times, it looks like one generation caught the wind of the stock market sails. That was in the late 80's and 1990's, the basis of the "natural law of returns". That generation wasn't my father's, and it certainly wasn't mine ... it was basically the people that are running the country right now. Running it right into the ground.

Weird thing about mutual funds is that at one time they were supposed to be risk mitigators. That was also supposed to be a "natural law of mutuial funds". But what happens right now is that any disturbance infects the entire market at once, even if it is only one company's poor earnings. I guess the poison analogy works here: diluting a potent poison across a large population doesn't help, it just kills more people.

My premise is that the DJI is pretty much going to flatten out and stay within a trading range of a few K for years and years - and this is my BEST CASE scenario.

This is totally contrary to the conventional BAU wisdom, which assumes that this is just a cyclical dip which will soon reverse and resume the upward climb. Huge numbers of people are making investment decisions - and being advised to make investment decisions - based on this BAU assumption. The investors will lose badly, although not much harm will come to their advisors, this being the way things go these days.

Of greater concern, it appears that most corporate managements are also operating under similar BAU assumptions. For example, GM is assuming that if it can just manage to hold on to enough cash to carry it through for 18-24 months, then demand will rebound and all will be well. Nobody seems to be confronting the very real PROBABILITY that things will not rebound in a couple of years, but might settle down into a very long stagnation (at best!) for may years. What happens to companies like GM when we move forward into that reality? I can't see them surviving. Which in turn means that we fail to gain any traction to climb out of the stagnation, and every step forward is matched by a step backward - at best!

From MBA course book:

The Laws of Term Market Dynamics:

1. Conservation of Capital: Capital is created but never destroyed

2. Entropy: Markets trend towards ever higher levels of profitability

3. Super cooled market: For every ask there is a lower and opposing bid, until there are no bids

Wiki laws of thermodynamics

I notice that many corporate plans have a self-directed brokerage account (SDBA). Once the money goes over there, you have lots of options. Even purchasing CD's over the last 10 years is probably a good investment strategy in comparison to what just happened. My current strategy is to keep pace or lag closely behind inflation. Anything else holds too much risk. Think about it like a supplemental social security, and nothing more.

I am seriously considering cashing out my retirement accounts and taking the hit. Yes, I have money market and treasury options, but frankly, I don't trust the financial system. I expect things to be profoundly different by the time I can withdraw the money without penalty.

My adviser told me when I set up my account that the biggest thing I had to worry about was the government changing the rules governing IRAs. I think he's more right than he knew. There's already talk of the government forcing everyone to convert their IRAs to government bonds. IRA money is going to be an irresistible temptation. The government will not be able to keep their hands off it.

"401Ks - the new HELOCs" - (until the rules don't allow early withdrawals, even with penalties)

It's not just the Govt. fiddling with the rules.
My wife had a few residual IRA & SEP IRA stocks which
she exchanged for MM US Treasurys ( she thought ) via an
internet transaction.
A paper letter got snail-mailed & forwarded from VT to us here
in France arriving 1.5 wks after the supposed "sale" saying the exchanges had been reversed because they were strictly-speaking not qualifiable for that particular type of IRA. She had tried to do it on the phone but the small company's lines were perpetually busy the last couple of weeks.
So ..... -20k later ..... easy com easy go..... right?
But don't worry ...... shrub is in control of things.

It might have worked better to sell it off into the brokerage's sweep account as an intermediate step. That way it would have gone through with the penalty of not getting it immediately into an interest bearing account. I cringe because I can see myself doing this same kind of thing.

Isn't it funny that during these horrible times, it is when you really start learning how things work? :(

I think these Great Depression analogies need to stop, it is damaging. The way it looks now, it might not be worse than the 1991 recession going into 2009 for the economy, at worst, it could be another 1982, although it seems unlikely that it will turn that bad (-2% contraction). A stagnant year for the real economy next year and then a gradual recovery is by far the most likely scenario.

Kenny: You are absolutely right, we should not compare what is going on to the Great depression. They had essentially unlimited low cost energy available to pull them out. We do not. Anyone Peak Oil Aware will be able to help you understand the difference. 1982 and 1991 were mere blips on the economical graph.

Peak oil always seem to be delayed though. Now it is 2012, next 2014? I think we all have to admit that speculators were heavily involved in the sky-high prices in the summer, and not so much fundamentals. When are Saudi Arabia supposed to fall, like Matt Simmons tells us? I think he has some explaining to do if S-A don't soon turn into decline. The Great Depression brings pictures of all sorts of horrific stuff, but it is far from certain, even unlikely, that we will even see a 1982 contraction. 1982 was not the end of the world, in fact the economy bounced back strongly, and using less and less oil as well.

2005. And that's why TSHTF. Call it my "unfounded assertion" if you will, based on a thermodynamic study of the economics. It doesn't matter if it's speculators, war or plague as the immediate cause; the underlying cause is we've hit the wall.

cfm in Gray, ME

I think these Great Depression analogies need to stop, it is damaging.

I pretty much assume anyone advocating silence rather than discussion about the problems we face to be a gov't or other agent. The gov't and/or corporate interests are the only ones who need fear open, honest discussion.

Why would you tell people they should not analyze a situation otherwise?

You should explain yourself.


Please don't do that yet. IRAs, with CDs are insured for 250,000. This is the old number, I don't know if higher now.

Give these guys a little time to get things implemented. I don't know of a single person who's lost their job due to the credit crunch. Not one. The freeway is packed. My Mom just closed on a new house. Gas is getting relatively cheap again.

I'm not saying things are going to be okay. It's just going to take time to work out crash even if it does crash.

If you still feel you have to, remember, you can still roll it over into the same or another IRA 60 days from the date on the check, so make a photo copy. If things mello out in the next 60 days, you can put it back without penalty. If you can at least hold on until November 3rd or so, you can roll it back in to a bank on the last day of the year, and then on the first day of the year you can take it back out again for another 60 days. You can put it in one of the "Chosen Ones", BankAmerica, JPM Chase. Anything to keep from paying the taxes.

Good luck. I understand your POV.

I don't know of a single person who's lost their job due to the credit crunch.

I do. But that's not the reason I'm considering cashing out.

It's really not the insurance issue that concerns me. It's that I won't be able to draw out my money for decades, and I expect the spit to have hit the fan in a big way by then. That just seems like an awfully long time to trust the government, when they're changing the rules day to day.

I might leave it, because it's not that much money, relatively speaking. I am already investing far less than I would if I were expecting BAU, and have been for years.

"My feeling is that only those close to retirement are that concerned."

I'm 3 weeks from retiring, and not worried. Haven't bought anything since yesterday.

I have the option of managing half my 401K myself, and that is one of the steps I have taken since coming to TOD in 2005. I realized at that time that the bureaucrats in charge of my company's benefits and at the financial house that has the 401K are likely to continue their concept of BAU, in strict oblivion, until the whole nest egg is gone.

Moving on from that point, I started listening to the goldbug report over at FSN. Then Stoneleigh and Ilargi started their blog, with a very different perspective. Time has proven Ilargi correct: money is disappearing a whole lot faster than it's being created, and there are several billion people who don't want the dollar to collapse. Although the goldbugs' vision may come to pass in a few years, and although people are not exactly tossing their Krugerrands into the dumpster, precious metal based money isn't coming back into vogue quite yet.

My only regret is that I waited until last week to liquidate the last of my non-retirement mutual funds.

Regrets ... sigh, tell me about it. I was OK in my own investments but had to scramble to get a relative liquidated in a non-retirement mutual fund brokerage account. Apart from dividends gained over the years, in 10 years time, it came out about even. On first glance, probably enough of a loss to provide $3000 capital loss tax deductions for several years. Too bad that Uncle Sam won't be getting ANY tax revenues from her!!! Ha Ha! That is the only consolation I can get out of it.

IMO, mutual funds are the worst thing ever foisted on the ordinary J6P investor.

Millions of Americans make sales in their IRA's, ROTH's, 401'K's every month. They do this to obtain their annuitized retirement payment. Many have it set up so that, the amount changes on a yearly basis as the account fluctuates. Fewer have it set up so they actually must place the sale themselves every month and the money taken from the retirement account and dropped into a "core" account. Fewer still, do this in quarters (every 3 months) fewer still bi yearly and the fewest do this once yearly. The IRS allows this, AS LONG AS its "EQUAL AND PERIODIC". A 22 year old with a inheritance or trust fund can accomplish lower taxes by utilising this simple IRS rule.

As for people bailing in panic? I suspect not that many. I believe the mass withdrawls are most likely caused by people in financial trouble and as a last resort, or first? they liquidate the retirement account. Divorces are going up, no doubt. Small personal businesses are failing, no doubt. I could list dozens of reasons and real life examples...but why rub salt in raw wounds?

A lot has been written about the oil demand destruction that occurred between 1978 and 1983. Something HUGE is missing IMO on that subject; the lost demand came from industrial uses of oil (Electricity generation etc) not so much from motor vehicles.

Because we get more GDP out of a barrel today, is it reasonable to conclude oil demand is less elastic than it was then?

It looks to me like the trade assumes that demand for oil will fall even more than supplies will fall. If demand for oil is so weak that $70 buys all the oil you want in a supply falling environment, won't the world go Mad Max?

By this logic, one should either buy oil contracts, or ammunition?

Does anyone have more info on the percent industrial use of oil prior to the 1978 run-up?

Excellent question. Quick google didn't yield me anything on overall industrial use, but just the amount used in electric generation fell by about 1.25 MBD from '78 to '85. As you imply, that's low-hanging fruit that is not there to be picked again.

In small part due to PIFUA, but primarily due to new plant construction and higher oil prices in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the use of residual fuel oil at electric utilities declined substantially. From a peak of 1.7 million barrels per day in 1978,(20) oil consumption at electric utilities fell to 475,000 barrels per day in 1985.


You know the saying "One can never be too thin or too rich"?

Same goes for ammo. You never think you have enough, even when what you have, you could never carry 100 yards, never mind a couple miles. Then the bunker mentality kicks in, untill you realise that, ammo cooks off under extreem heat. All you need is a tipped over candle or a attacker who sets fire to the compound.

Still, a couple thousand rounds wouldnt hurt to have on hand. 7.62X39, S&W 40-cal, 12-gauge, 22-cal, 30:06

Hi highplainsfarmer,
Stuart Staniford had a post on this at TOD( I think 11 Feb 2007). There was an immediate drop in VMT but a much larger increase in vehicle efficiency from 12mpg to 18mpg over a decade.
Its not realistic to conclude that oil demand is less elastic because GDP per barrel is higher. What important is if there are alternatives such as switching from oil to NG for heating, switching from a 15mpg SUV to a 45mpg vehicle which will influence gasoline use. Importantly more than 50% of VMT are not commuting or what would be considered essential. When the economy is strong, people are willing to pay for these non-essential trips but perhaps now these are being cut back. It looks like a move to higher vehicle mpg is also occurring which will have a decade long effect on gasoline consumption. If EV and PHEV's or CNG become a significant part of vehicle fleet then its game over for oil producers having a monopoly on transport fuels.

It will be more difficult to reduce oil use this time around due to more efficient vehicles...because of the "MPG illusion."

HighPlainsFarmer is correct. The low-hanging fruit has been picked. Doesn't mean it's impossible to further reduce oil use, but it won't be as easy this time around.

If EV and PHEV's or CNG become a significant part of vehicle fleet then its game over for oil producers having a monopoly on transport fuels

What if we create a parallel Non-Oil Transportation system, next to the oil based one ?

1) Electrify, expand capacity and slightly speed up intercity railroads
2) massively expand Urban Rail
3) much more transportation bicycling
4) Walkable neighborhoods

No new tech required.

Best Hopes for Non-Oil Transportation,


Keeping track of climate change

LONDON, England (CNN) -- It can often seem like hard work keeping track of the changes happening to our planet. Another day, another new prediction. Another week, another warning. It's enough to make even the most conscientious climate change student issue a weary discombobulated sigh.

Well, fear not. Scientists at NASA, along with a dedicated team of their designers, programmers and researchers, have put together one of the most stimulating, most thorough climate tracking sites you'll find anywhere on the web.

Global Climate Change, NASA's Eyes on the Earth provides up-to-date -- up to the minute in some cases -- information about how the planet is changing in a detailed and engaging format with graphs, tables, reports and interactive features which are easy to find, follow and understand.


The Los Angeles temperature change from 1880 to 2007 looks linear. I wonder what caused the the same change between 1880 and 1920 as the change between 1967 to 2007.

Don't know if it has been discussed yet, but the EIA recently released July numbers for Saudi:


The preliminary indication is that Saudi production for July - at 9.7 million bpd - was at the highest monthly level since 1981.

I don't expect it to stay there, because I think they will eventually cut to maintain the price.

Taking the EIA data at face value (Simmons has his doubts about what the Saudis are reporting), the Saudis would have to average 10 mbpd C+C for the last five months of 2008, if they wanted, and were able to match their 2005 average crude production rate of 9.6 mbpd.

So, it's a pretty good bet that Saudi Arabia will show three straight years of annual production below their 2005 annual rate. We shall see what happens in 2009.

Regarding total liquids & net exports, the EIA numbers and my 2008 estimate are as follows:

2005: 9.1 mbpd
2006: 8.5
2007: 7.9
2008: 8.4*


It's a pretty good bet that the cumulative difference between what the Saudis would have (net) exported at their 2005 rate and what they actually exported will exceed a billion barrels of oil next year.

Saudi Arabia cut back production in 2006 and 2007 due to an OPEC 2 million barrel a day cut. As the price of oil crossed the hundred dollar mark, OPEC opened the taps.

A correspondent from Baku, Azerbaijan, reported current oil market conditions in broken English:


Yeah, I forgot. Saudi Arabia has oil fields that don't deplete.

Just trawling for E-bike info today, and found this Australian bit of Transport Witness..


Stephen Gale, a practical guy (who last rode a bike the day before he gained his drivers licence), has riden all the way from Melbourne to Sydney over eight days while wearing a business suit. He didn't plan to break any records, in fact he wants to show just how easy it was.

To make it more fun he convinced a large number of people to join him - scientists, salesmen, machanics, a cheff - in fact just about everyone from every walk of life - there was even a hair extension facilitator! They rode their electric bikes, in their work outfits (well, mostly) , from Melbourne to Sydney!


Thats great! Mad Max with a nerd twist to it. I hope Tina Turner wears those stockings with the line down the back..sweet!

Sleepwalking thru the Outback:

Woke up again in the middle of the night. Something nagging me and kept trying to get my conscious mind's attention.

Then it finally came. Seed stocks.Garden seed stocks to be sure.

I had none. Last spring there was little to be had of seed potatoes and little onions slips or sets. I remembered how it was and finally found some old sprouted potatoes I had left in the barn so I planted those and had a very large crop. But onions? Nada.

So I wondered if perhaps this coming spring might be even worse. Perhaps the seed companies and infrastructure went out of business? If just some of them failed in the financial crisis ..what then to do about spring garden planting?

That morning I went out to my garden and began grubbing in the soil and mowed down beans, tomatoes , squash and peppers. I found enough Blue Lake to get by. I saved some non-hybrid tomato seed. Found one rotten squash and rescued the seeds. And one firm yellow cucumber.

Now I can rest easier. I have my own seed saved and if TSHTF I will be able to plant all I need.

For those who are expecting to buy next springs seed packets? Might want to think more about that.

On the financial scene. I noticed corn for Dec 08 is now at or below $4.00 bu. and with the graineries basis figured in I suspect it is very close to the breakeven point for farmers.

We are still harvesting. However the farmers are for the most part here pretending they don't see the huge drop in grain commodity prices. You ask them and they mumble and walk away.

One in fact told me that we desperately need Greenspan back at the helm. I almost screamed in his face at the ignorance of such a remark.

Farmers spend a lot of time denying reality but then have to face it daily. Its there escape hatch I suppose. However I notice some very, very hair trigger attitudes.

Poor devils. They are not sure what is happening.


"Poor devils. They are not sure what is happening." Are you? I'm not sure of much of anything and if odds were given, I would bet odds that not one in twenty even here know anything for sure. If we would extend those odds to government (local and national) it would be 100% not sure. Be truthful, how many of you expected to see $80 October crude last July? Extend that to 8000 DJIA?

With every Black Swan there is the expected declaration, "Geeze, I knew that all the time. Don't you remember, I said that might happen." 'Might' is the key word here.

I'm sorry Airdale, but we are all "Poor Devils" without a clue what will happen Monday.

I'm sorry Airdale, but we are all "Poor Devils" without a clue what will happen Monday.

With Monday being a holiday in North America, and I read somewhere also in Japan, most eyes are on Tuesday for further big surprises.

I have to agree, Lynford, cluelessness is epidemic right now. Wait and see is all any of us can do.

I tend to the view that most people have some clues, but they take their clues as if they were cast-iron "histories of the future".

Given the number of very clever (not necessarily wise, but clever) people around the world with a vested interest in preserving some semblance of the current system, I'm still half expecting some new financial fiction to be created that makes things look stable-ish for a while. I strongly suspect this can't work, shouldn't be done and will make things worse in the long run, but that doesn't mean people won't do it.

But Zadok and Lynford, ..
I know it's not your intention to say 'don't bother preparing, since we don't know whether it's going to be better or worse on Monday' .. but the arguments you presented do frequently get used that way by the Anti-Climate crowd, the Cigarettes are safe until thoroughly proven without a doubt fatal crowd, the Daniel Yergins, etc etc..

Airdale was really just saying 'be prepared', and the Poor Devils are not ones who have no crystal ball, but simply those who don't even know that they should always be prepared and stocked up with the essentials.


Most people that I've met recently are obviously aware of the seriousness of the situation, but are doing absolutely nothing to prepare. By default, their future plans and actions are based on BAU. They're non-functional, zombies, going through the motions of a life that no longer exists.

The speed of this collapse is leaving governments behind eating dust. If individuals cannot do what is necessary and governments are unable to help, then tragedy will surely follow.

Amazingly, a relative today suggested that if things get bad (for them) then at least they can come stay with me and help grow the vegetables. The remarkable thing is they've hardly ever set foot outside of a city. Social psychology is certainly changing with a vengeance, so maybe there is some hope.


Ok let me put it this way and I don't want to sound elitist about it.

I worked in many areas after I left the country , back in 1949.
I idled thru high school in the then baby suburbs of St. Louis North County...I went to work for a large aircraft company wiring avionics ,then to the USN as an Electronics Tech in aviation, then to the aerospace industry , then to the largest computer corp in the world as an engineer and later a staff programmer. Each time I was tested before I could make these steps.

I learned a lot. I read a lot. I helped in some areas of developing the internet(packet protocol etc).

I returned to the farm ,a few miles from where I was born and raised some 20+ years ago. I helped many by building them high end Desktop Systems and work on their 2way radios and combine electronics,gps systems,etc.

I had a more global view of the world and big business since they were our/my customers. Many of mine were corporate headquarters. I made field trips to like ATT Hqtrs,Frisco RR,Sears Hq,and so on. I was a systems programmer then specializing in tele-processing(internet like technology).

I was always back then in the stock market. Back when it made sense and dividends were the main feature and not spurious 'growth'.

So I have been around and I have seen the 'elephant'.

Now back on the farm I judge most all the farmers and residents to have the IQ approaching a dead gerbil.

So when I say they haven't a clue I am comparing what little they know against my experience. Most cannot repair a broken mower section. Many can no longer raise a garden. At playing the commodities market they are basically neanderthals in their understanding and methods.

"Poor devils"..yes..they are not catching on to what is coming down.

Like I said...the remark about Greenspan. They spend a lot of spare time in coffeeshops telling each other lies and stupid ignorant bullshit.

I love them nonetheless for many are my relatives but they just shake their heads when I try to give them a bit of insight. And for what it is worth most of this for a large part comes from the church's pulpit. That is where most ignorance starts around here. I do go to the local church but its just about all I can stand to do so. I go for to see my neighbors and learn who is ill or needs help. Not for the 'messsage' for that is utter claptrap , in most cases.

Airdale-I call it the way I see it--how else? RIght or wrong I tend to do it 'my way'.

Of course YMMV and most likely does..but thats YOUR life.Good luck with it. And BTW I was on the tail end of the Great Depression, I lived thru WWII and all the rest of the conflicts. I was here during the '73 gas crisis. I saw all this stuff start. The DOTCOM bubble apparently didn't teach us a frigging thing. So now we are heading for a shitstorm and if you can't see that...well sweet dreams.

Airdale: You and I are of a similar generation (1933 - ????). Retired USAF 1952 - 1972. I hate war and killing more than you can believe but we are well armed. I worked with growers 1976 - 1987 and understand some of what you are saying however the men I worked with were farming hundreds of circles of potatoes and were world and market wise. I programmed in 'C' 1987 - 2000 (Y2K I retired). Also HAM extra class. Most things BTDT.

We are falling into an area that is new to all of us and I think we are all "poor devils" because we have little control of our circumstances. Many are more clueless than others. Obviously the more prepared we are, the better we will make it. I wish we had better soil here and we are working on it. This stuff is really bad but we are stuck here to be near to family who will need us WTSHTF.

Yes, Greenspan was a bad one as it turns out but he was not alone and to a great extend "the enemy is us."

As Alan would say

"Best hopes for all of us"

Lynford: I ran a pirate radio station from 1991 to 1992. WBBD "Home of the Big Black Dog" If you couldnt hear my dog barkin in the radio of your shack, you needed a new shack. D-104 lollipop mics from Conneaut Ohio, Yaesu radio, moonraker ant, PDL-2 ant, 10,000 watts, AM, FM upperside & lower all at once. Back driving and hammering Newfoundland to Jamaca with skip. The amp was a military surplus, formerly used for propaganda in Korea. I blew vacumme tubes as fast as I found old TV,s that still had working ones. I had one 75 watt lightbulb on a 225 amp elec panel box and the equipment. The bulb dimmed when I keyed it up.
I felt the walls for romex fires. Rural PA and no neighbors to screw up their phones or auto garage doors. I did political satire and played Muddy Waters, BB-King , Blind Lemon, Brian Mcgee and old timey jazz. The A-Frame shack burned down in 45 minutes flat. Dog died a few years later.


Now back on the farm I judge most all the farmers and residents to have the IQ approaching a dead gerbil.

I've noticed the same thing. From what I gather from listening to local's conversations about their families and reading there has been a brain drain on rural areas for some time. Anyone who gets an education leaves the sticks for better opportunities. What’s left? The ones who barely made it through the inadequate county school system. Maybe when the shit really hit’s the fan the smarter ones will move back, but I’m not counting on it.

Anyone who gets an education leaves the sticks for better opportunities. What’s left? The ones who barely made it through the inadequate county school system.

This is the Dead Sea Principle.

The same thing occurs in large organizations. The most intelligent individuals are always presented with better opportunities and move on. What you are left with is a concentrated morass of dreck.

We'll be ok for wheat (I mean the local "we"). Farmers here still keep back a portion of the wheat harvest to plant next spring. Corn and soybeans will be a big concern... 1) Illegal to hold over and plant as seed companies own the genetics 2) the yield is a fraction of the hybrid seed parent.

Here we've passed the point where the cost of the inputs (land rent, fertilizer, seed, pesticides) exceeds the current commodity price for corn.

I have some garden seed for next spring. Airdale-- I saved my heritage tomato seeds last year-- but not one sprouted. Husband discovered the tomato seeds need to ferment to dissolve an impermeable coating... Better get to that as well.

I spend too much time on TOD -- it's putting a dent in to my food storage productivity. There are tomatoes (also cabbage, beets, parsnips, popcorn) in the garden that need my attention-- but I am so drawn to this place.

We have a divided household. My husband can't stand me talking about getting a hand pump for the cistern behind the house-- or getting some draft horses for the farm work. He's still talking about that 4-wheeler he needs for the cattle (once the pasture is in), new tires for the tractor, and getting that Bobcat going for once and for all. He thinks I'm nuts with my building up a food supply in the pantry. But this morning he took another bag of food down w/o a word. So maybe he is starting to get worried as well.

View From Here,

I understand exactly where you are coming from. Sounds exactly like some of my events with my wife,who refused to stay on the farm and left(I stayed).

About the tomato seed? News to me. I better check that out for sure.

I today dried my heirloom varieties and placed in plastic baggies.

How does one ferment them? I would suggest putting some very early under a grow light in the basement and checking for their viability.

Wheat seed. Yes no problems there. Its the huge amount of manipulation of corn seed stock and now soybeans as well. I think soybeans will still raise 'true to form' but corn that is now ALL hybrid and now also GMO ...will for sure not...

The seed companies take farmers to court for not following the rules they must comply with.

Thats why I raise open pollen corn in my garden.

As to ignorance. My friend the farmer/operator told me you couldn't eat the field corn because it was not 'food grade'. I asked the guy who is an ag graduate up the road and he told me that was utter nonsense. Its just #2 yellow dent and sometime flint and most folks eat 'white' corn but its still edible. As to the genetic modifications? I don't like to take chances so I leave it alone.


To ferment your tomato seeds, just mash up the seed-bearing pulp, put it in a jar, maybe add just a dab of water (but you really don't need to), and put it on a window sill or something - room temperature. Fermentation will develop in about 2 or 3 days, and as it does, the good seeds will sink to the bottom. Stir it up each day. Keep going for a couple more days, pouring off the junk on top. No more than 5 days is what I've been told for the whole process. Then take your clean seeds and dry 'em off on some paper towel or whatever for several days before storing, and you're good for next year.

Hello Airdale! I’ve been saving seeds for the last five years. One of the ways I’ve been building up a seed bank is to buy seeds when they are on sale at the end of the growing season and seal them in a food saver packet and put them into cold storage. The germination will not be a good as fresh seeds but better some than none. I presently work at a grain elevator (presently working very long hours) and none of the farmers are selling grain (all beans presently) but instead choosing to store it. Nothing but long looks despite the hopeful talk of prices rebounding. The few farmers that are selling - $8.31 for beans today from my employer - might prove to be foresighted. It is going to be an interesting growing season next year.

Chrysler, GM discuss merger, acquisition

Pretty much inevitable. I predict all three will combine and shrink drastically. Some form of the US auto industry will probably linger on for a while.

EDIT: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7664866.stm

From the BBC story of the Chrysler/GM merger talks:

The New York Times's sources spoke of a merger that was a "50-50" possibility, although it could take weeks to finalise and had been stalled by the turmoil in the financial markets.

With GM capitalized at a 58 year low (cash value of 1950) and with stock prices at 1930s level, this very well could be a BBC make-the-public-feel-good story.

The news gets grimmer by the day. Hard to say if there will be any US car industry left at the end of 2008. In this climate anything and everything is possible, including the mouse swallowing the snake (Chrysler acquisition of GM).

IMHO, the G7 financial leaders are gathering for the sake of gathering. They are clueless.

Mating dinosaurs---
The meteor is about to hit, the game is over for these creatures.

a meteor may or may not hit. and these dinosaurs may go extinct because of an inability to adapt, just like the originals,imo.

that meteor theory has been fully debunked.

that meteor theory has been fully debunked.

How does one "debunk" an extinction theory? The closest I've seen to what you claim is multiple causes and/or a meteor cause, but slow extinction.

You got a link?


You put the merger foot out
You put the merger foot in
You do the hokee pokee

...and that's what it's all about

Paul Krugman's Blog this morning:

G7 Meeting

I think the finance ministers just failed a test, or at best got a C minus.

Update update: Paulson says he’ll move ahead on recapitalization, but also seek private capital. So the communique represents the United States arguing with itself, as well as with others.

Listening to Paulson: Where are the guarantees? It’s only a half-Gordon: not the whole British plan.

And while I generally despise body language/tone of voice stuff, I have to say that Paulson sounds terrified.


What it came down to was that a significant fraction of the American population, backed by a lot of money and political influence, simply does not consider government by liberals (even very moderate liberals) legitimate. Ronald Reagan was supposed to have settled that once and for all.

What happens when Obama is elected? It will be even worse than it was in the Clinton years. For sure there will be crazy accusations, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some violence.

The next few years are going to be very, very tough.

Treasury Market

And his opening comment this morning is a shocker. After describing some of the weird action in Treasuries, he says:

"Is this the beginning of the end for the dollar and the Treasury market? Is this the first sign of the bursting of the bubble in Treasury securities? That market, in a sense, represents the ultimate bubble as it exists at the whim and caprice of foreign investors, who have as participants in a Faustian bargain, financed our war(s) and our lifestyle so generously over the last decade. Maybe even that bizarre construct is crashing about us as we speak.

Maybe I should be drinking something a bit more … calming .. than coffee right now.

I take some satisfaction in the fact that Paulson seems to be suffering. There's a tiny, tiny measure of poetic justice there.

He's not suffering nearly enough, IMO.

I dont think it is helpful or constructive to wish pain and suffering on people like Paulson. He's a human too, that must be kept in mind.

Yes, but he's also a parasite.

I'm going with lying, scheming scumbag who knows exactly what he's doing. He'd have to be a complete and utter idiot and fool to not be. A child knows better than to pull some of the crap he is.


My assumption is that when Paulson was down on his knees in front of Pelosi, begging, it wasn't on behalf of ordinary people like you and I.

I did a little checking to try to understand your third quote better. It is really a quote (by Krugman) of material from John Janson's blog here and here.

EDIT: Nevermind, Gail pointed out it wasn't Paulson who said that, but I would ask the original poster to edit his post, since it's misleading in the sense that makes us think Paulson said something that if, had he said it, would be really, really, really strange.

Here's my original message, don't want to delete it completely:
Damn, I can't believe Paulson actually said that, about the "bursting of the bubble in Treasury securities"! What the heck? Is he losing it or is there some distorted reason behind this? The only consequence I can see for the Treasury Secretary to say that there is a bubble in Treasury securities is to completely crash the dollar and I can't see a reason why TPTB would want that. Krugman said Paulson sounded terrified. Maybe he's losing it?

The original poster cannot edit his post, once someone has replied to it. If you want to preserve someone's ability to make corrections, don't reply to their comment.

Oh, didn't knew that. Good to find out, but that cat was already out of the bag, other people replied long before I did.

They are following in the path of the British auto industry. In the 1960's they all merged due to declining competitiveness against the US, German and French automakers. By 1975 they had failed and became a government entity. After another decade of losses the various parts were essentially auctioned off. Today the various brands are in the hands of the Chinese, Malaysians, Indians, Germans, etc.

As I posted a day or two ago, I think that over the next decade or two the US will be able to support one or maybe two domestic small car makers if they really concentrate on PHEVs, EVs, NEVs, maybe a few CNG vehicles, and one or maybe two domestic manufacturers making trucks, vans and other utility vehicles, mostly for the commercial/institutional market. These two lines might or might not be integrated in the same company. There will still be too much competition from foreign manufacturers to allow more than one or two US companies to survive. I would not be at all surprised if all of the big 3 went bankrupt, and successor companies bought up the choice bits for pennies on the dollar.

It'd seem likely to me that the pressure would be on to take all the overhead and transport cost out, so what you would end up with is bucket shops making fibre glass and composite bodies, and fitting in standard batteries and motors from big companies, Far Eastern or American.
EV cars are a lot simpler than ICE, and lend themselves well to this sort of approach - they have no difficulty turning them out in Nepal, for instance.

They would not bear much resemblance to what American's now think of as a car though, they would basically just toddle along for a few miles at low speed to make the battery as economical as possible, whilst keeping their occupants dry and maybe warm, perhaps with vacuum panels to minimise power draw.

Take a look at some of the motors in the Paris auto show for an idea of how they might look.
They are one up on getting wet riding a scooter, at least, and should be buildable for around Euro 5k - that's $7k approx.

Took the kids to see "City of Ember" last night - fun movie. One of things that struck me is that it depicts a small, decrepit place where things are obviously falling apart. The things that are wrong with the place are pretty obvious to the viewer - but not to the inhabitants. The young people were wide-eyed and looking forward to their futures, expecting to make a difference. The adults went about their business without looking about them.

It made a nice parable to what we are going through. A visitor from another world might look at the situation and say "Um, you know you are going to run out of that stuff one of these days, and that might make it a bit hard to feed all those people you've got. And you've got a bit of a problem with that CO2 you've put in the air." and so on. But we cannot see it, or cannot accept it.

Have we noticed the apocalyptic tone creeping into Hollywoods offerings lately? Even the kids cartoon "Wall-E" had some pretty sharp elbows, albeit with a tacked on happy ending.

Dilbert understands peak oil!

Has anyone seen this?
11 Web companies on the brink!

Wow. Some pretty big names on that list, like MySpace, Twitter, and Second Life.

Pure information - art, not even commerce. The highest emergy and very low return. Probably a worse ROI than watching Gilligan's Island on-demand over the net. At least that sells potato chips.

How are they supported? Advertising. Toast.

cfm in Gray, ME

Actually, Twitter is on the list because they aren't supported by advertising. The article is urging them to start getting sponsors.

And really, doesn't your comment apply to pretty much everything on the net? It's all supported by advertising. Or it is advertising. There are some commerce sites like Amazon, but like advertising, they are likely to tank with the economy.

This is why I'm not so sure the Internet is "too valuable to fail." As Web sites start going dark, and people's budgets start getting tighter, the value of the Internet will decrease, and its relative cost increase.

I agree that the Internet is vulnerable. My friend's husband works for Amazon (not in the US, in Tokyo) and there is a hiring freeze there now he told me yesterday.

Oh, yeah. Dilbert does understand peak oil.


LOL, he's so subtle.

Peak Oil I can cope with. Peak Dilbert would be another matter altogether!

Fannie, Freddie to Buy $40 Billion a Month of Troubled Assets

(Bloomberg) -- Federal regulators directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to start purchasing $40 billion a month of underperforming mortgage bonds as the Bush administration expands its options to buy troubled financial assets and resuscitate the U.S. economy, according to three people briefed about the plan.

Fannie and Freddie began notifying bond traders last week that each company needs to buy $20 billion a month in mostly subprime, Alt-A and non-performing prime mortgage securities, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are confidential. The purchases would be separate from the U.S. Treasury's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Stealth TARP.

A few days ago some bond traders noted that Fannie's bonds were trading at lower levels than before the government took over. Now we know why. The gov is getting them to soak up toxic waste.

And, at $40 billion per month, in a year they slurp up 1/2 trillion.

That $40B/month isn't included in the Plunder Package. Nor was the extra $138B (???) AIG got. And there seems to have been about $600B in addition to the Plunder Package the Treasury "lent" out. Sorry, I can't keep track - which I suspect is part of the play. Someone mentioned - I think on another thread - that Paulsen looked scared. What is he afraid of? The economy tanking or being caught tanking it?

Anyway, I'm shutting down my business and going dark. It's a sucker's game playing by those rules and there is other more important work to do.

cfm in Gray, ME

I would add that if the crisis worsens we can expect to see more of this.

i.e. The government using failed companies that it has nationalized to inject money into the system.

Hello Datamunger,

Ilargi's weblink @


Nature loss 'dwarfs bank crisis'

The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.

It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion...
Jay Hanson 'Requiem' Quote from DIEOFF.ORG: "Trapped in obsolete belief systems, Americans won't even know why their society disintegrated."

I am hoping my many and varied postings on Optimal Overshoot Decline will eventually lead to the rise of the Earthmarines. They can protect these habitats for minimal costs as compared to the lost cost of this essential biodiversity.

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

Bob, it's a shame but we'll never see a G7 action plan to save the forests. In fact, I imagine that the amount of garbage paper the leaders have generated over the weekend probably has done in a forest or two.

"Trapped in obsolete belief systems, Americans won't even know why their society disintegrated."

Sad and right on the mark.


Falling natural gas production in Alberta linked to lower natural gas prices. There was also a change in the provincial tax law making Alberta production more expensive.

Note: NYMEX natural gas prices were for natural gas delivered to the city gate including pipeline tarrifs, marketing commissions, customs, and gross receipts taxes.

Hello TODers,

My thxs to Leanan for the Zimbabwe toplink.

I hope all will see the photo of the Zimbabwean lad head-balancing approx. 100 lbs of firewood in a 10 foot long tied-up bundle. This is a great [tragic?] example of TopTODer HO's keypost on the inherent inefficiency of the Nuahtl Tlameme transport scheme. I would imagine this firewood is inbound to a village or larger urban center for trade. It would be fascinating to know how far he moved this wood on his head-->my guess is about five miles maximum.

If this worker had a wheelbarrow, cargo rickshaw, or a 4 wheel wagon of appropriate size and proper design: for the same caloric output, he could probably move two or three times the volume and/or weight. Even more importantly: Having a transport tool would have allowed him to outbound move, then plant a few tree seedlings [with enriched urban compost + fresh urine moved outbound with the seedlings too].

Instead, I bet he walked outbound carrying nothing to seed or plant, and even worse, might have had to walk additional distance to skirt the rank urban pools of raw, overflowing sewage [that should have been humanure composted]. This lack of properly closing the NPK recycling loop will only mean, over time, that this lad will eventually have to go further and further to harvest less and less [until he cannot]. He is unknowingly building his own personal cascading blowback against himself.

A SpiderWebRiding pedal network, even more efficient than a wheelbarrow, could have facilitated even greater inbound + outbound transport loads over a far greater dispersive geography. For the same caloric expenditure: the smooth-riding efficiency of steel wheels on steel rails, combined with the greater leveraging of geared pedaling, could have greatly helped this laborer. No aching head/neck repetitive stress injuries, no aching back & arm stress: our legs are ideally musculature setup for the non-pounding stress of smooth circular motion in a relaxed recumbent pose.

If this lad is on a downhill firewood delivery slope: instead of arduously walking/head-balancing a mere 100 lbs just a few miles-->he could be recumbently pedaling + relaxed coasting back into town, from many, many miles away, with a 500 lb [or far greater] combo load of wood, fresh fruit & veggies, grain, eggs, etc. Of course, the surface rail/pipeline SpiderWeb combo would be moving potable water downhill to the urban core.

THE BIG POSTPEAK QUESTION: Will the US learn from the early and fast collapse of Zimbabwe, Haiti, etc? Will we proactively move to Optimal Overshoot Decline? Or are we Thermo/Gene ordained to replicate their disasters in the years ahead? Time will tell...

I admit that I am not the sharpest pencil in the box, but it boggles my mind that TOD,EB,LATOC,DIEOFF.ORG, etc are not overwhelming swamped with new readers. I guess they want their houses to be swamped in sewage while their kids are forced to ferry heavy loads. Now that is using our heads. :(

We already know that China has a very long and ancient tradition of using their heads more productively:


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

I can't fully know the conditions under which that lad is working. I'm left to wonder, if he ever came to possess an appropriate cart, cycle, or whatever, how long he would go on possessing it before someone else forcibly relieved him of it. I also wonder, if it started raining, how far he would get along that road before a wheeled contraption bogged down - or a cycle slid right out from under him, since mud can be as bad as ice. It seems to be fairly common in Africa for people to carry huge loads on their heads; maybe there are reasons for that. So I'm unsure how judgmental to be on the matter.

Hello PaulS,

Thxs for responding. Recall my earlier postings on building Strategic Reserves of bicycles and wheelbarrows. If Zim had responded to my earlier e-mail, then had done this: these tools would be everywhere, therefore no incentive to steal.

The Chinese invented the wheelbarrow and rickshaw many generations ago. They used them in all weather conditions because even if it became difficult to move with one person--by adding more people, it was still easier than carrying the load on their backs or heads.

From a safety perspective: if I was going to stumble or fall, I would prefer to hit the ground by myself versus having to worry about an additional 100 lbs come crashing down on me next.

Hello TODers,

Nobel Peace Prize winner wants jobs for the young

.."During the next 10 years about 1.2 billion young 15-to-30-year-olds will be entering the job market and with the means now at our disposal about 300 million will get a job," Ahtisaari said in an interview with Finnish YLE TV.

"What will we offer these young, about a billion of them, or will we leave them to be recruited by criminal leagues and terrorists?" he asked.
I put forth the conjecture that a global postPeak buildout of local SpiderWebRiding Networks would easily employ these youngsters, thus supporting widespread O-NPK recycling, as 60-75% of the overall labor force moved to relocalized permaculture. Additionally, the O-NPK recycling will help greatly extend the affordability of depleting I-NPK. IMO, this is much better to help reduce the future scale, numbers, and duration of postPeak machete' moshpits.

Recall the earlier weblink where the transport cost far inland and/or to high altitudes can increase the I-NPK local cost four to six times the raw value of the I-NPK.

Please see my earlier postings on keystone predators, and how their innate territoriality optimally enhances O-NPK recycling, although it should be intuitively obvious to most smart TOD members. My SpiderWebRiding is a non-FF, low-tech, community cooperative method of extending our own innate territoriality to the outer reaches of the habitat's watershed demarcation boundaries.

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

Warning signs of an Israeli strike on Iran

In the past 40 years there have been few occasions when I have been more concerned about a specific conflict escalating to involve, economically, the whole world. We are watching a disinformation exercise involving a number of intelligence services. Reality is becoming ever harder to disentangle.

The writer is David Owen, an ex Foreign Secretary of the UK, and it should be taken with the utmost seriousness.

In my view the large poll lead of Obama will likely mean that an attack will take place before 4th November, to influence it to favour McCain, with perhaps the period 26th to 31st most probable to take advantage of the new moon to help for a night raid.

If that happens, some McCain supporters may sing, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran", but a global chorus would be chanting, "Run, run, run, from the old man!".

An Israeli strike would isolate the US from everyone else except Israel and embroil the middle east in a conflagration of apocalyptic proportions.

No western troops would be safe in Afghanistan, Iraq, or anywhere else in the region. Pakistan would cut off supply lines in a flash.

The new American century will be over in less than a decade.

The oval office wouldn't be worthwhile occupying by January.

No future historian, if civilization survived at all, would attribute this to God's will but the insanity of one country's hubris and another's paranoia.

Btw, I have a great deal of respect for Mr. David Owen so I take this warning very seriously.

And right now, Bush is so beleaguered, he may be apt to do something to finish his presidency with a rip roaring bang.

I'll take that bet. The way we've responded to the Obama is a Terrorist BS tells me that the Republican's are fighting yesteryears election battles and Americans are not buying it.

So, an attack by Isreal would guarantee an Obama victory. This is my opinion of course since nothing has as yet happened.

And what it would do for the economy right now? If Isreal cemented the economy's death, American attitudes towards supporting them in the future would diminish very quickly. Not that we're going to have money to support anybody anyway, but that's a different story.

With all that said, I wouldn't be completely surprised if it did happen as you suggest. This is definitely a topic I don't follow, and care about even less.

Whether an attack takes place or not, I think we can take David Owen's word for it that the disinformation campaign needed for one is in full swing - this is something of which he is in a good position to judge, and he also probably still has many of the needed contacts to evaluate the situation.
As for not being interested, at minimum assessing the possibility means that it might be prudent to have a lot of cash to hand at the relevant dates, and also a large supply of food, bleach to purify water etc.

"In view of the large poll lead by Obama...etc"

Why don't Americans refuse to tell the truth about their voting preferences to these pollsters? People shouldn't divulge the information which might cause the scenario you outline.

Finance chiefs endorse G7 action plan: IMF panel

Why does IMF want to ratchet up pressure on poor?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Finance leaders from the International Monetary Fund's 185 member countries on Saturday endorsed a plan announced by major economies to chart a course out of the credit crisis.

Reuters, "Finance chiefs endorse G7 action plan: IMF panel"

A statement like this makes me want to break out in song. O.k. all together, let's sing the words to "Age of Aquarius",
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind's true liberation
Aquarius! Aquarius!

Go back to sleep boys and girls. Wake up refreshed in the morning. It' all been a bad dream. Must have been something you ate.

Or perchance, drank? Take another sip of this nice glass of Kool-Aid.

Looks like the spin doctors have been working overtime.

What exactly is the G7 action plan?

Funny you should ask. Just like the toy action figures of days gone by: anything you want it to be, and nothing at all grounded in reality.

i smell a rat. not to be overly conspiratorial but was this "crisis" engineered in order to make fundamental changes to the game?

"i smell a rat"

Sorry; tonight is bath night.


i thought hippies like junkies avoided water?

hmmm... Fear
Boys we might be onto somethin here

Japanese insurer files for bankruptcy

TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Yamato Life Insurance Co. filed for bankruptcy on Friday, the company's president said.

"In the critical situation of the global financial market, our equity asset value went down in a speed and depth that we never expected," Takeo Nakazono told reporters.

Your article quote: "...went down in a speed and depth that we never expected..."

Japanese battleship Yamato

She was lead ship of her class. She and her sister ship the Musashi were the largest, heaviest, and most powerful battleships ever constructed, displacing 72,800 tonnes at full load, and armed with nine 46 cm (18.1 inch) main guns.

The ship held special significance for the Empire of Japan as a symbol of the nation's naval power ('Yamato' was sometimes used to refer to Japan itself), and its sinking by US aircraft in the final days of the war during the suicide Operation Ten-Go is sometimes considered symbolic of Japan's defeat itself.
I would suggest Japan postPeak prepare itself for its next Edo Period, period.

72,800 tons of steel could have built a hell of a big SpiderWeb.

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

IMF chief warns of global financial meltdown

WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund warned Saturday that debt-ridden banks were pushing the global financial system to the brink of meltdown and wealthy nations had so far failed to restore confidence.

Britain plans financial rescue of top 4 banks

LONDON - Britain will launch its biggest retail bank rescue on Monday when the four largest — HBOS, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and Barclays — ask for a combined 35 billion pound ($60.5 billion) lifeline, the Sunday Times reported.

The unprecedented move would make the government the biggest shareholder in at least two banks, HBOS and Royal Bank of Scotland, the newspaper said on its Web site. It did not give a named source for its information.

We're all going to die.

Not me. I'm going to live forever, or die trying.

Don't you ever sleep?

I'm gonna die with a smile if it kills me!

I'd like to schedule a time in late 2063 or early 2064 if you have one available. I could also do 2065 if that's better for you.

Worst ever Australian drought? The part of Australia I live in has just had 100 straight days when it rained for at least half an hour a day. Clearly that's not where the punters want to live. A weekly TV show discusses a possible population shift to another rainy part of Australia. The fact they had to swap their Prius for a 4WD is a hint to the lack of city comforts. Even the dinosaurs moved in tough times, not that it helped in the end. I guess it was city folks who said 'we're not getting off the Titanic into those flimsy lifeboats'.

If your aren't living in the tropics you must be on the west coast of Tasmania. Sydney was great in the drought from 2001-2006. Not so good now that it's raining again, more humid but greener. Living in large cities has a lot of advantages; reliable water supply, reliable public transport, hospitals, rail and shipping access. A small country town won't have or may loose all of these, plus the extra cost of 100% oil based road transport.

The fact they had to swap their Prius for a 4WD is a hint to the lack of city comforts

A 4WD uses, what, 500% more fuel/km than a Prius ? And spaces that require a 4WD also require more km traveled just for the essentials, say 500% or 1000% more ?

For many urban trips a bicycle can substitute for a Prius.

In a post-Peak Oil world, 4WD country does not seem like a wise choice.


They make hybrid 4x4s too, that only use 200% as much gas.

There seem to be two camps: those who think a city life offers short-travel convenience in a car-free world, and those who think cities will be deathtraps full of starving zombie hordes. Maybe both could be true, in a decaying world?

It seems to me that the most self-sufficient life would be had far from the madding crowds, but that for most of us that is an unattainable (or undesirable) existence, and denser city life will be the future for most.

I have noted that the "run for the hills" Doomers have discounted the need for medical (and dental) care.

Broken limbs, cancer, diabetes and even impacted wisdom teeth are better taken care of in a city than a remote farm with minimal or no transportation to "The Big City". And each of us may not need these services now, but almost all of us will need them at some point.

Best Hopes for decent medical and dental care post-Peak Oil,


Bingo. Even though the vegies are leaping out of the ground I've had to wait a week to have a cracked molar looked at.

And the care and feeding required of hybrid 4x4s will be readily available when the cities are in flames.


If moving to 4x4 land means you make less trips, even if they are much farther, you may come out OK. Major lifestyle change. As to the hybrid 4x4. If TSHTF for real, I'll take a late 70s carburetor fed Toyota or equivalent. Forgoing things like crash protection, insulation, ABS, etc means its light, so the fuel costs are far better than a modern one. Light also means less likely to get stuck, and easier to get unstuck. It'll run forever.

In a pinch I bet I could re-jet it to use alcohol myself, based on nothing more than the basic theory that if ethanol fuel is only 70% as useful (from posts here), it probably will need about 30% more flow than when it used gas. It has no electronics more complicated than a voltage regulator, and if that fails you can probably regulate charging by hand with a loose wire and a voltmeter. It'll probably pull a plow far better than a horse, and it doesn't eat your food all winter when you aren't using it.

Anyone with a room-temperature IQ and a do-it-yourself manual can probably maintain an old car. No special tools needed, just time. Grandpa probably already knows how, and can't do much heavy lifting anyway, stick him in a warm spot with a manual. (and have him teach a handy 10yr old in the guise of babysitting in the process)

There's a question. Plowing/Planting/Harvesting. Assuming you aren't sharing a team with the neighbors, and are only working enough land for an extended family (say 20ppl max), is it better to try to pasture and store grain for draft animals, or spend that grain/effort on biofuel to run your tractor (with the understanding the tractor is ONLY used for essential jobs too big for manpower (plowing&planting)?

Previous discussion on TOD indicated from knowledgeable members that the area needing to be set aside to supply draft animals for agriculture was of the order of 30% of total cultivated area.
It should not be difficult to do better than that with biogas, but you would obviously need to allow for excess crops to pay for the equipment.
Sorry, I did not save the links.

I've looked at this problem from several angles. I've bred draft horses, grown oilseed for biodiesel, constructed a methane digester running on manure and tried to gasify straw. Each has severe shortcomings. Word is solar charged battery tractors are way underpowered. If somebody has a tractor running on home made ethanol they are keeping it quiet. If the on-farm fuel problem can be solved I suspect it will be via plasma gasification then methanation of crop waste. However even large plasma systems have poor EROEI. Somebody needs to invent a plasma machine small enough and cheap enough to work on farm.

I have nothing to remotely compare with your level of experience!
I was seeking to provide a couple of links for those curious - I understand that the most hopeful progress has been made in Germany, and involves converting biogas to liquid fuels.
At the present price of diesel it has not gone too far though.

There is a world of difference between prototypes and running a system in the real world, so perhaps steam tractors will make a comeback!

I drive a low mileage manual transmission 1982 M-B 240D, the most durable and reliable car Mercedes ever built. And easy to maintain as well.

No computers, and if the vacuum system failed, I would lose central locking (all doors & trunk) and cruise control.

BUT it does need fuel (perfect car for bio-diesel), engine oil for oil changes (even low mileage cars recommended once/yr, perhaps longer if TSHTF), filters (oil, fuel, air, PS), tires, and occasional spare parts (the original starter failed recently after 26 years).

Best Hopes for Access to Supplies,


Prices of steel have been dropping as demand for housing and autos is diminished. Coal prices have started to drop. The price of copper has dropped from four dollars a pound to near two dollars a pound. Record high copper prices brought record profits and mine expansions, that in turn created record supply, etc.

The price of corn, wheat, and soybeans have been dropping. While the corn harvest this year is expected to be lower than last year, speculators anticipate demand for meat may be dropping as financially distressed consumers cut back on meat consumption worldwide. Livestock consumes most of the corn produced in the world. A delay in the opening of some ethanol plants may also contribute to a reduced price for corn.

A recent article indicated efforts to use EOR methods in the Persian Gulf to try to get more oil from declining fields. Two Persian Gulf nations were experiencing oil declines at a national level. Six larger Persian Gulf producers were increasing total liquids production capacity.


Nothing really new in the article rain. EOR has been heavily applied to fields around the globe for over 50 years. The one implication that might be taken from the report is that these countries had not focused on EOR until recently. Very unfortunate if true: EOR techniques general improve ultimate recovery the max if applied early in a field's productive life. It can still be worthwhile in the later stages but much of the initially recoverable oil is lost forever. Just a wild guess on my part but these countries may have taken the same attitude as the Mexican gov't took toward PEMEX: milk the cows almost dry before reinvesting to improve the herd. For decades PEMEX has been begging for a bigger budget so they could enhance production. But now production has decloned so far the Mexican gov't has very few funds to offer PEMEX today.