DrumBeat: October 23, 2008

The Peak Oil Crisis: In the Eye of the Storm

So where does all this leave the world's oil supply - the life blood of our civilization? Recent reports say world production dropped rapidly in September. As stockpiles seem to be rising, we can presume OPEC will cut production again or be faced with much lower oil prices. Given that nearly all the world's oil exporters have let their economies become accustomed to six years of steadily climbing oil revenues, they, as well as their customers, are in for some hard times.

The scariest factor at the minute are reports that smaller traders, that have been an essential part of moving oil across the globe, can no longer get financing for oil shipments - though Exxon, Shell, BP and WalMart don't have to worry about such things. This lack of loans is forcing many traders to the sidelines leaving the market to only the largest participants.

He Called the Peak in Oil, Now Bleier Sees $50 Crude in Early '09

"The commodity trade is over...oil is going to $100 per barrel."

Or so declared Scott Bleier, president of CreateCapital.com, on July 18. What sounded like an outrageous prediction then turned out to be too conservative as commodities, led by oil and gold, have crashed.

Today, Bleier predicts oil will fall to as low as $50 a barrel in early 2009, and, short of turning off the spigots entirely, he doesn't think OPEC -- which is meeting in Vienna this week -- can do much about it.

Farmers, our best spokesmen

The one message that needs to be driven home even harder is the cost of food production. Pacelle continually referenced what the European Union has done in lawfully eliminating modern livestock farms and implied that we should follow suit. In the United States of America, when farmers began implementing confinement barns in about 1945, American citizens spent 19.2 percent of their annual disposable income on food. As recent as 1980, Americans still spent more than 13 percent of their income on food.

Today, even with higher food prices due to the economic instability, Americans spend less than 10 percent of their income on food because of our production practices. This ranks as the lowest of any nation in the world and yet we have the safest, highest quality food on the planet. So why are people like Pacelle trying to screw this up? Perhaps his vegan agenda has something to do with it.

OPEC President: Many Oil Projects Hit By Banks Crisis

VIENNA -(Dow Jones)- The global banking crisis will hurt new oil development projects and is already forcing many companies to drop oil projects, OPEC President Chakib Khelil said Thursday.

The banking crisis is crimping project financing for foreign oil companies operating in OPEC and non-OPEC nations, Khelil said. Even if oil prices return to $90 a barrel, that wouldn't be enough in some cases to secure adequate financing for projects, he said, speaking at a Vienna press conference.

Official: Russia's oil output may drop this year

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia may see its first drop in oil output for a decade in 2008 as the country's West Siberian oil fields mature, a top energy official said Thursday.

Vitaly Karaganov, head of Energy Ministry's department for oil and gas industries, was the first official to say that Russia's oil production may go down, confirming analyst expectations. Karaganov predicted a cut of 0.3 percent, or 1 million metric tons.

"Compared to 2007, when 490 million tons of oil was produced, we forecast a 1 million ton drop (this year)," Karaganov said, according to Russian news agencies. He added that planned new projects by Lukoil company may help prevent a slump in production.

ANALYSIS - Falling oil could challenge Saudi development plans

RIYADH (Reuters) - Some of the grand development plans in the world's biggest oil exporter could fall victim to falling crude prices, analysts say, but canny money management means Saudi Arabia has no reason to hit the panic buttons yet.

The government has sought to reassure Saudis that modernisation schemes are on track after fears of a global economic slowdown helped push oil prices down to around $70 a barrel this month from double that three months ago.

Canada oil sands projects revamped as crude slides

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Companies developing Canada's oil sands, one of the world's largest deposits of crude oil, said on Thursday they aim to cut spending on multibillion-dollar projects in response to tumbling oil prices and the financial meltdown.

Africa's Potential to Sate World's Oil Demand Dims

The petroleum potential of Africa, a key contributor of oil barrels to thirsty markets, is beginning to look dimmer because of the credit crunch and a host of endemic challenges.

Suncor Energy CEO Predicts Failure of Some U.S. Oil Refiners

(Bloomberg) -- Some U.S. refiners may be forced to shut plants and go out of business in coming months as declining demand aggravates narrowing fuel-production margins, said Suncor Energy Inc. Chief Executive Officer Rick George.

Persian Gulf Tanker Rates May Drop on Bookings Delay

de to Asia, the world's busiest route for supertankers, may drop as oil companies hold back cargoes and the supply of ships rises.

There are 85 very large crude carriers, or VLCCs, for hire through Nov. 22, Paris-based shipbroker Barry Rogliano Salles said in a report yesterday. Chartering officials who hire ships for refiners need to find about 82 for the whole of November.

Gas prices increase student bus ridership

ASHEVILLE – More Western North Carolina students are riding the school bus, according to figures collected last month and finalized this week. Advertisement

Increases in gas prices and the monthlong fuel shortage caused a drastic spike in the number of school bus riders across the region, local school transportation directors said.

Australia: Orange transport firm victim of high fuel costs

ONE of the city’s iconic transport firms has become the first high profile company to fall victim to the high cost of petrol in Orange.

In a disturbing sign of things to come, soaring petrol prices have shifted from an issue of annoyance to a cause of utter devastation to the 30 employees of Whites Westran, who will all lose their jobs when the business shuts down tomorrow.

The collapse of the company, just two months from Christmas, is a devastating blow to the employees, some long-term, and their families.

UK: Pensioners cutting back on heating risk death, warns expert

As many as 20,000 more pensioners could die this winter as they try to cut back on heating following the sharp rise in energy prices, new research warned.

Holidaymakers warned shortage of flights could scupper Christmas in the sun

Families have been warned they may struggle to find a holiday in the sun this Christmas, because holiday companies and airlines have cut thousands of flights.

Earth as a magic pudding

The resource pyramid idea contains a hidden assumption - that energy is cheap and abundant. In fact, it is the price of energy that ultimately determines the base of the resource pyramid. At each step down the resource pyramid the substance sought is less pure and/or accessible and so it requires more energy to extract.

At some point the cost of the energy required to exploit the resource will equal the value of the substance obtained. It is at that moment that exploitation of the resource ends. To date, energy has been so cheap that we have rarely (if at all) been faced with having to end exploitation. (No examples spring to my mind. Maybe readers can suggest some in comments on this article.) The high price of any substance has usually resulted in substitution by something else more abundant.

Norway should make oil fund greener: minister

OSLO - Norway should earmark some of its $295 billion oil fund for long-term investments in environmental stocks, Environment Minister Erik Solheim said on Thursday.

He said that clearer support for renewable energy and other green technologies by big sovereign wealth funds -- Norway alone owns about 1 percent of European equities -- could help stabilise the shares and encourage private investors.

Wood heat rises again

High cost of oil and gas fuels a boom in wood stoves. But what is the cost to climate?

The tyranny of the immediate

The difficulty, as I’ve suggested in previous posts, is that historical change happens at a pace much more leisurely than textbook summaries suggest. Most people who didn’t live through the opening years of the last Great Depression leave school with the notion that when the stock market crashed in the fall of 1929, the economy reached a full stop by the time investors stopped plummeting from Wall Street windows. In reality, it took more than three years for the economy to finish contracting, and scenery en route included a dramatic stock market rally in 1930 and some of the best days of rising prices, in percentage terms, that Wall Street has ever seen. At every point along the course of contraction, furthermore, financial pundits drew false conclusions from short-term changes. The resulting headlines have more than a little similarity to the ones that clutter the financial press today.

This habit of reading too much into short-term conditions has shown itself more than once in the recent economic convulsions, and guesses about the future price of oil – a subject of interest to many peak oil researchers – have been particularly affected. Earlier this year, as the price of oil soared to $143 a barrel, a great many people argued that it would keep on climbing to $200 or $250 a barrel in the near future. Now that the price of oil has slumped below $70 a barrel, the tide of opinion has turned, and some pundits are now predicting a continued slump to $50 or even $35 a barrel. These predictions seem quite plausible at the moment they’re uttered, but then so did the idea that shares in dot-com startups would keep on climbing in value all through 2000.

Mexican Senate takes up oil reform amid protests

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Riot police are surrounding the Mexican Congress as the Senate prepares to take up a controversial energy reform bill.

The measure would allow more private and foreign investment in the state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex.

The company is facing dropping production.

President Felipe Calderon proposed the bill and says it will help the company tackle deep-water drilling. But leftist opponents argue it is a veiled attempt to privatize the industry.

Pemex Enters Gulf Ultra Deepwater in Search of Oil

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos has started seismic studies for oil under seas three times deeper than anything it has drilled, marking its entry into ultra deepwater as it seeks to offset an almost five-year decline in output.

Canada in 2020

From the current financial crisis to the issues of energy, food and the environment, we are increasingly seeing the complex networks that connect us all. There are issues of oil supply, man's impact on the environment and the search for viable alternative energy. There are issues of education and infrastructure — and hard questions about whether or not Canada is prepared to do what it takes to stay competitive (see what former Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar has to say about that). And finally, there are issues about what we're going to do to best manage the wealth we generate and the products and services we manufacture. Read on as Canadian Business takes a look at the future and some of the long term challenges facing Canada and our global neighbours over the next decade.

Rural energy a hot topic for cold climate communities

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Alaska leaders met in Anchorage Wednesday to deal with the high cost of energy in Alaska's rural areas.

The discussion took place during the annual Alaska Federation of Natives Conference. The focus Wednesday was helping Alaska Native villages and Bush communities deal with fuel prices that are double what they are in Alaska's cities.

Visionaries look to the past for rural Alaska's future

A tribe-owned company aspires to turn the trees into firewood and barge their product to Bethel, where heating oil is getting unbearably expensive, said Mark Leary, the Napaimute village official spearheading the project.

South Africa: Penalties for power hogs likely to wait

Johannesburg - The government is expected to delay implementing proposed energy penalties until after next year's general elections, to avoid upsetting consumers.

Proposals before the national emergency response team are that consumers that use more than 10 percent more than their allocation on three occasions will face an electricity price of R18 a kilowatt-hour, which is 72 times the average electricity price of 25c per kilowatt-hour.

Balochistan peace must for oil exploration: Zardari

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari said on Wednesday that the government would restore peace in Balochistan and make it safe for oil and gas exploration after holding dialogue with stakeholders.

At a briefing on energy crisis and the pace of oil and gas exploration in the province by officials of the ministry of petroleum and natural resources at the presidency, he said energy security was as much vital for the nation as food security.

School encourages carpooling

Like most community colleges, Walters State is a commuter college. A program on the college's website is helping students connect and save money by carpooling.

Students sign in and find students in their area who want to carpool to class.

"It's saving me right around $80 a month," said student Jonathan Barrett.

No electricity, no study: teachers and students unite

LAHORE: Students and teachers are equally suffering due to the unscheduled load shedding in the city, which is hampering their lectures and laboratory work.

Students in Masters and Bachelors programmes, especially those enrolled in the semester system, said that they were the ‘worst victims’ of unscheduled power outages. They said the problem was even worse for science and information technology students because most of their classes were held in laboratories and required electricity.

Cash-strapped Pakistan finds few friends in time of economic need

Islamabad, Pakistan - With Pakistan forced to ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Wednesday for help avoiding bankruptcy, its government is learning that having friends in high places doesn't always pay.

Pakistan, a frontline country in fighting global Islamic militancy, counts wealthy nations like the United States, China, and Saudi Arabia among its friends – all of whom understand that Pakistan's shortage of funds will severely handicap its already weak government.

Yet its tumbling economy has caused even its strongest allies to so far resist bailing it out.

Survival Of The Fittest Building

As the largest controllable operating cost, energy conservation in commercial buildings is hardly a new idea. From the World Wars to the energy crisis of the 1970s, efficiently harnessing the power needed to run commercial buildings at optimum comfort and performance levels has been no small task for facility professionals. Now that challenge is increasingly urgent, as utility costs continue to spike, cities and nations combat escalating climate change concerns, and facility managers (fms) look for the competitive edge in a tightening economy.

Wheeling considering electric carts on village streets

Wheeling trustees again considered allowing electric carts to drive on village streets last week and this time momentum seems to be in favor of the unconventional mode of transportation.

Oil predicted to rebound above $100 US

On a day when the price of oil plunged by more than $5 US a barrel to a 16-month low below $67, one of the country's top economists and an oilpatch expert told the city's commercial real estate industry that oil will rebound to more than triple digits next year.

Before about 1,300 delegates at the Calgary Real Estate Forum on Wednesday, Jeff Rubin, chief economist for CIBC World Markets, said four of the past five global recessions were triggered by huge spikes in oil prices, which peaked at $147 in July.

But he said the world oil supply has not grown for the past three years and predicted oil prices will rebound to triple digit levels by next year and could go to even "higher triple digits than we've seen before."

Oil, anyone want it?

Energy investors had better hope that China continues to burn through more and more crude oil, because the United States sure isn't going to. The latest report from the U.S. Energy Department showed that oil inventories rose more than 3 million barrels last week, higher than forecast.

Previously, rising inventories had been blamed on so-called demand destruction, where the high price of energy forced consumers to cut back. Now, with the price of crude oil less than half of what it was in July, the slowing economy is getting the blame.

NY pol asks oil companies to redo contracts

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — The Westchester County executive says heating oil companies should renegotiate with homeowners who agreed to a fixed price when oil was much more expensive than it is now.

County Executive Andrew Spano says some customers may have locked in prices as high as $4.50 a gallon, fearing the price would go even higher. Now prices are averaging $2.78 in Westchester.

Spano has asked 69 companies to consider assisting some customers, especially seniors and others on fixed incomes.

Are airlines a buy now the oil price is down?

Are the risks of falling consumer demand as a result of a global economic downturn outweighing the benefits of lower oil?

Oil powerhouse Venezuela struggles to keep lights on

SAN FELIX, Venezuela (Reuters) - Despite having some of the world's largest energy reserves, Venezuela is increasingly struggling to maintain basic electrical service, a growing challenge for leftist President Hugo Chavez.

The OPEC nation has suffered three nationwide blackouts this year, and chronic power shortages have sparked protests from the western Andean highlands to San Felix, a city of mostly poor industrial workers in the sweltering south.

Vietnamese president called for joint oil/gas projects with Russia

HANOI (Itar-Tass) - Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet has called for joint oil and gas projects with Russia, not only in the Vietnamese territory, but also in Russia and third countries.

"Russia is implementing 58 investment projects in Vietnam at present," he said expressing the hope that it will continue to take part in the key Vietnamese projects.

Official describes secret uranium shipment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Enough processed uranium to make six nuclear weapons was secretly transported thousands of miles by truck, rail and ship on a monthlong trip from a research reactor in Budapest, Hungary, to a facility in Russia so it could be more closely protected against theft, U.S. officials revealed Wednesday.

U.S. to boost geothermal energy use on federal lands

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Interior Department said on Wednesday it would make more than 190 million acres of federal lands in 11 western states and Alaska available to energy companies to develop geothermal energy resources for generating electricity.

"These federal lands ... hold a huge energy potential," said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

Political pressure keeps ethanol cash flowing

By most rational measures, the corn-based ethanol industry should be on its knees. Its six biggest public companies have lost more than $8.7bn (€6.7bn, £5.3bn) in market value in the past three years alone.

The fuel has had little impact on either greenhouse gases or US dependence on foreign oil, in spite of an estimated $80bn in taxpayer subsidies that were supposed to address both issues.

Can Cape Wind save your ocean view?

If one thinks that to be a sound reason for selecting a property that is to become a family treasure into the future, perhaps one needs to do some research on climate change.

At present our air contains 385 ppm (parts per million) of CO2, and we are increasing that by 2 ppm annually. At 350 ppm polar and glacial ice melt is beyond the tipping point. NASA climate scientist James Hansen says sea level rise of 20 feet in this century can't be ruled out unless we get below 350 ppm pronto!

UK announces world's largest algal biofuel project

The world's biggest publicly funded project to make transport fuels from algae will be launched today by a government agency which develops low-carbon technologies.

The Carbon Trust will today announce a project to make algal biofuels a commercial reality by 2020. The plan could see up to £26m spent on developing the technology and infrastructure to ensure that algal biofuels replace a signficant proportion of the fossil fuels used by UK drivers.

Beetle invasion threatens New England trees

WORCESTER, Mass. - A wood-devouring beetle has gained a foothold in New England, and authorities plan to cut down large numbers of infested trees and grind them up to stop the pest from spreading to the region's celebrated forests and ravaging the timber, tourism and maple-syrup industries.

..."The movement of firewood is probably, in my mind, the biggest threat in this area because so many people burn wood, so many people move wood without thinking, 'Oh, I could be transporting a pest,'" said Tom Denholm, who has set up a federal program to fight the insects in New Jersey and was sent to Massachusetts to help with efforts here. "We can move the beetle a lot faster moving firewood than the beetle moving on its own."

Stern: Green routes to growth

There are two crucial lessons we must learn from the financial turbulence the world has been facing. First, this crisis has been 20 years in the making and shows very clearly that the longer risk is ignored the bigger will be the consequences; second, we shall face an extended period of recession in the rich countries and low growth for the world as a whole. Let us learn the lessons and take the opportunity of the coincidence of the crisis and the deepening awareness of the great danger of unmanaged climate change: now is the time to lay the foundations for a world of low-carbon growth.

High-carbon growth - business as usual - will by mid-century have taken greenhouse gas concentrations to a point where a major climate disaster is very likely. We risk a transformation of the planet so radical that it would involve huge population movements and widespread conflict. Put simply, high-carbon growth will choke off growth. To manage the climate, we must cut world emissions by at least 50% by 2050, as recognised by the G8 earlier this year. Given that rich countries' emissions are far above the world average, their cuts should be at least 80%, acknowledged in Europe and the UK, with the adoption of that target last week.

OPEC faces 'uphill battle' as oil prices plummet

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries saw fit to schedule an "extraordinary" meeting this Friday after seeing oil prices drop more than 50% in three months.

That constitutes an emergency to them, just like the weakening global economy is to the rest of us.

"It's about a snowball running downhill, and turning into an avalanche," said Anthony Sabino, a professor of law at St. John's University, whose legal practice includes oil and gas law. "Per-barrel price is cascading downward and only gaining momentum."

Oil companies take steady, careful approach to '09

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Energy companies put on a brave face in response to rapidly deteriorating pricing on Wednesday, keeping 2009 spending plans largely steady, even as crude oil prices tumbled to a 16-month low.

Executives plan to wait for cues from clients before altering capital budgets because, even if oil prices are half that of three months ago, a $70-a-barrel range still represents a historically healthy level for production.

What World Religions and Leaders Won't Talk About

All great religions promote unending and limitless birth rates. The Catholic Church, no matter how much humans suffer, promulgates endless birth rates. That holds true for Buddhism, Islam and the rest of them.

So, what’s the big deal? Too many people, that’s the big deal!

Seattle never 'misses a chance to miss a chance' on light rail

The only thing keeping it from succeeding here are the myths propagated by foes, says this economics journalist. Here's a line-by-line debunking.

Village bid for greener future

IF a group of green-thinking residents achieve their ambitious goal, a Suffolk village could soon be self-sufficient ... with solar panels glistening from its famous medieval roofs.

A group of villagers have launched a campaign to transform Lavenham into a "transition village" – making it an eco-friendly community less reliant on fuel and food from outside the area.

Going Udall the way

New Mexico Democrat Tom Udall is battling for a vacant Senate seat in a race that enviros are watching closely this year -- just like his cousin in Colorado.

Republican New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici is retiring this year, and Udall is facing Republican Rep. Steve Pearce in a contest to fill the vacancy. Enviros are happy to see Domenici go -- the six-term senator has just a 14 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters.

As store shelves go bare, Kremlin whitewashes credit crisis

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has couched the crisis as an illness exported by the West - one that Russia is better prepared to ride out than other countries thanks to Russia's massive sovereign wealth fund, which has been filled by years of rising oil prices.

But with a recent drop in oil prices, energy firms Rosneft and Lukoil are among rich companies lining up for government credits. Moscow's bourses have lost 70 per cent of their value from peaks in May.

Kremlin critics say the government's planned 170 billion dollars in loans will be handed out based on political ties. Furthermore, they say it will only boost inflation, already closing in on 15 per cent.

But shoppers staring at the empty store racks Friday mainly shrugged.

Oil rises to $67 as OPEC prepares to cut output

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rebounded from a 16-month low after Iran said OPEC should cut production by 2 million barrels a day to stem the slump in prices.

Oil rose after Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said OPEC must ``balance'' the market after prices tumbled 53 percent since a record high in July. Analysts in a Bloomberg survey expect OPEC to reduce output by at least 1 million barrels a day when the group meets in Vienna tomorrow.

The passing of peak oil?

When a Goldman Sachs analyst predicted that oil prices could reach $200 a barrel over the next six to 24 months in May, it sent shockwaves around the world.

Newsweek ran a cover that conceptualized what a future $200-a-barrel-world would look like, while the Los Angeles Times envisaged a breakthrough in telecommuting. All the while, Western governments railed against OPEC for refusing to increase output.

By September, the same analyst cut his 2009 oil price target from $140 to $110. Last week, Goldman Sachs slashed its 2009 oil price target by another $35 to $75.

"We clearly underestimated the depth and duration of the global financial crisis," a team of commodity analysts wrote in a research note. And yet $200 oil didn't seem like such a strange idea this summer, when a barrel of crude was nearing $147.

Savings from cheap gas not getting spent freely: Despite dramatic fall, consumers are wary about spending habits

HOUSTON - It's almost like a surprise stimulus check: Gas prices have fallen so fast that the nation has found itself with an extra $125 billion to spend. But don't expect the freed-up cash to pump much life into the economy.

Filling up for less than $2.50 a gallon in some places hasn't done much to boost confidence — not when disappearing jobs, sagging home prices and the financial meltdown are everyday worries.

OPEC Faces Worsening Oil Price Drop as Growth Slips

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC's first production cut in almost two years may fail to stanch a collapse in oil prices as roiling stock markets signal that the financial crisis has spread to emerging markets, the center of demand growth.

Norway to maintain oil production

Norway will at present not follow the call by the organisation for oil producing nations (OPEC) for a cut in oil production, says Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.

Suncor Cuts 2009 Spending Plan by 33%, Delays Oil-Sands Project

(Bloomberg) -- Suncor Energy Inc., the world's second-largest oil-sands producer, trimmed its 2009 capital budget by 33 percent to C$6 billion ($4.8 billion) and slowed construction at its Voyageur project.

Will gas price dip help vehicle-dependent firms?

Greenco Environmental had some ambitious plans, but last spring found itself pinned between the fixed rates it had negotiated for contracts and the soaring cost of diesel fuel.

The Barnesville company, which hauls organic trash and turns it into compost, was spending up to $1,500 more per month on fuel. Now, with prices falling, the company has decided that money can be used to create a new job.

Petro-Canada's Profit Rises 61% on Higher Oil Prices

(Bloomberg) -- Petro-Canada, the country's third- largest oil company, said third-quarter profit rose 61 percent from a year earlier on higher prices, beating analyst estimates.

Five things investors believed about the market six months ago but now don't

Related to the emerging market story are two other tales no-one gives much credence to anymore. First, the commodity super-cycle, which was pedalling furiously until the prices of everything from oil to copper and wheat turned south in July. In the 18 months prior to this, the benchmark commodity index had risen by 120pc. In the three months since, it has fallen by 46pc, almost back to where it started. The Baltic Dry Index, which measures the cost of shipping these commodities, has fallen by 90pc since May. Second, the investment opportunity represented by global warming and energy insecurity, which has cooled as fast as the oil price. The iShares Global Clean Energy ETF has fallen by 48pc in three months. Have these two stories, which sounded so reasonable half a year back, really been so discredited? Are half a billion Chinese no longer moving from the countryside to the city? Has peak oil been cancelled or merely deferred? Has the credit crunch put climate change on hold?

Australia plans electric vehicle network

Melbourne - A United States firm on Thursday unveiled plans to build a massive $667-million (about R7,6-billion) charging network to power electric cars in Australia as it seeks cleaner and cheaper options to petrol.

Better Place, which has built plug-in stations for electric vehicles in Israel and Denmark, has joined forces with Australian power company AGL and finance group Macquarie Capital to create an Australian network.

Energy Financing Is Gone with the Wind

Financing for wind farms has disappeared and fewer companies will be able to develop the kind of "mega projects" needed to feed the growing demand for energy, said Reyad Fezzani, CEO of BP's (BP) wind and solar operations, at the Dow Jones Alternative Energy Innovations conference Wednesday.

In just the last month, money that typically would be available for building renewable-energy projects has "completely dried up," thanks to the financial market crisis, Fezzani said during a keynote and on-stage interview with Yuliya Chernova, editor of Dow Jones' Clean Technology Insight.

City urged to spend cash on local food

Activists would like bolder action than city hall's go-slow approach to buying more locally grown food as a climate-change initiative.

"The message should be (we're) going to 30 per cent to 50 per cent local," said Jamie Reaume, executive director of the Holland Marsh Growers Association. "They've limited themselves to 37 daycare centres in the first year."

Councillors yesterday endorsed a policy to "progressively increase" the percentage of local produce served at city-owned venues.

Spain's ex-prime minister blasts 'new religion' of climate change

MADRID (AFP) - Former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar Wednesday dismissed climate change as a "new religion" that is drawing hundreds of billions of euros at a time of economic crisis.

Some epidemics linked to climate change

WASHINGTON — When a 1991 cholera outbreak that killed thousands in Peru was traced to plankton blooms fueled by warmer-than-usual coastal waters, linking epidemics to climate change was a new idea.

Now, scientists say, it is a near-certainty that global warming will drive significant increases in waterborne diseases around the world.

The Five Horsemen of environmental change

And as railroads built national networks, so the new capitalists followed them, merging, acquiring, or stamping out local firms, which were unable to compete with the financial muscle and economies of scale of the new trusts – Rockefeller's Standard Oil, Carnegie Steel, American Tobacco, the sugar trusts. Truly national economies emerged.

But even more fundamentally, the railroads changed America's self-image forever. Swept aside was the ideal of Jeffersonian agrarianism; in its place, American exceptionalism, America as technological optimist, the glittering New Jerusalem – the America of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, a technological sublime captured by Katherine Lee Bates' vision in America the Beautiful: "Thine alabaster cities gleam/undimmed by human tears."

I have a new post regarding the statistics of oil field sizes and how the fields may have evolved over time. Statiscally is there a possibility of a Black Swan?

is there a possibility of a Black Swan?

The question implies that you have personally not read Nassim Taleb's book (The Black Swan). Black Swans arise in Extremistan. Oil fields arise in Mediocrestan. So philosophically we might say, no, there is no chance. However we humans can attach whatever noise we wish to any event. So, say for example, they find mega-fields in the South Pole after Global Warming does its thing. People can choose to call such an event a Black Swan although technically it would not be one. Oil forms and collects under Mediocrestan rules.

(If the Indian Moon probe found oceans of oil 5 feet under the lunar crust, that would be a Black Swan.)
Interesting graphs at your mobjectivist page BTW


Undiscovered world hydrocarbon reserves are too far from depletion. For example, the world’s second largest discovery in the past 20 years occurred at Brazil's Tupi field, in November, 2007. Estimated recoverable reserves could reach eight billion barrels. Some early was discovered Sugar Loaf field (25-40 billion barrels).
Swiss-based Manas Petroleum stated that a resource evaluation in north-western Albania had assigned 2.987 billion barrels of oil with 3.014 trillion cubic feet of associated gas.
Oil contents of the US Outer Continental Shelf estimates as about 19 billion barrels and so on.
There are many large undiscovered oil fields (perhaps 40-50%).
Problem is in low success rate in exploration wells.
According to industry figures the rate for the North Sea now are approximately 25%. In other words only one well is successful in four drilled. It significantly brakes industry growing.
However there is a Binary Seismo-Electromagnetic (BSE) technology, which uses new physical mechanism for creation the direct response from hydrocarbon deposits. It can significantly mitigate statistic data cited above because BSE success rate is more then 75% for wildcats with discovering commercial pays. Or to put it another way, failure rate is 25% only (one well in four drilled). So, new method is at least in three (3) times more effective then conventional methods. The BSE survey can find and outline at list 75% of all reserves in any region before any drilling is done or it can add 25-30% reserves in old provinces. www.binaryseismoem.weebly.com

Greetings folks. Been away for a couple of months (funny how failing businesses require so much work). But, I see not much has changed despite the world economic meltdown.

Glad to see we still are going to find all this new oil. (I'm purposefully ignoring the inopportune fact that all of the wonderful "discoveries" listed in the post above amount to less than a years world consumption).

So, have a missed anything?

Welcome back shaman.

If you've missed anything, your shaman abilities will quickly bring you up to speed.

Quite the roller-coaster ride going on these days. Only one change worth mentioning: SNAFU (situation normal all fouled up) has been displaced by FUBAR (fouled up beyond recognition). Otherwise, same mess different day.

And you're bang on: the promise of the next gusher just around the corner is still with us. Same prototype or archetype as the cavalry coming to the rescue. Such wishful thinking is as pandemic as ever.

We mortals have much to learn!

I learned that the government's best way of dealing with colossal debt problems is to take out more colossal debt. Oh, and the stock market likes this idea too, until they realize there is almost no way to foot the bill.

But oil is below $70/barrel, so Peak Oil has been averted, party on! (Yeah, whatever.)

I thought we had moved past FUBAR to BOHICA (Bend Over, Here It Comes Again)

And I'm sure they'll have no problem at all coming up with the financing for all those new megaprojects. That OPEC President obviously doesn't know what he is talking about.


Is it pure coincidence that BSE also stands for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. otherwise known as Mad Cow Disease?

For your info:
Dr. Peter McCabe, a world-renowned scientist who has spent over 30 years in geologic research related to fossil fuels in academia, industry and government, has made a bold claim that in his opinion, “There is no impending peak oil crisis - and the same thing goes for natural gas and coal.”
Dr. McCabe thinks that the “peak oil crisis” is a poorly thought-out concept, and has determined many ways to access more fossil fuel resources: “squeezing oil out of unconventional sources such as oil shales, to using new technologies to re-exploit old oil fields that had since been left as dead.”
Do you think McCabe's hypothesis is justified? Or is there a looming oil crisis?
To read more environment-related news, please visit http://www.causecast.org/environment
For the full story, please visit http://gas2.org/2008/10/07/how-much-oil-is-actually-left-on-this-planet-... Photo / flickr/FreeWine

According to McCabe, in a nutshell the peak oil concept is fundamentally flawed because it doesn’t account for external factors.
The way he sees it, the world has plenty of remaining and untapped fossil fuel resources to keep up with demand for at least the next 30 years. From squeezing oil out of unconventional sources such as oil shales, to using new technologies to re-exploit old oil fields that had since been left as dead, to undiscovered conventional oil sources, Dr. McCabe’s opinion is that there is no impending peak oil crisis - and the same thing goes for natural gas and coal.

Concerning BSE.
You know nothing about it. See www.binaryseismoem.weebly.com

Hmm, I'm not sure that an ocean of oil on the moon would qualify as a Black Swan. At least not the simple discovery. Taleb gives 3 requirements for a Black Swan:

1) Must be an outlier (tick)
2) Must have an extreme impact (unless and until we could actually make use of such a discovery it would be unlikely to have much impact outside of the scientific curiousity of such an unexpected discovery)
3) Concoct explanation after the fact making it explainable and predictable (I haven't fully groked this part of his theory. I see how it applies to some of the events he calls Black Swans but not others)

I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about his theories and one question I've been turning over in my head is: Can the same event be both a Black Swan to those who didn't see it coming and a Grey/White Swan for those who did? From his book (paraphrased)

"If you know the stock market can crash as it did in 1987 then such an event is not a Black Swan. Not an outlier if you use a fractal with exponent of 3. Some black swans arise because we ignore sources of randomness. Others arise when we overestimate the fractal exponent. Grey swan concerns modelable extreme events, a black swan is about unknown unknowns."

So in my mind that makes peak oil, the current financial turmoil and Hurricane Katrina all Grey Swans. At least to those who believed the models and predictions. But were the same events Black Swans to a whole bunch of people who didn't see them coming? In an interview last year Steven Colbert titled his segment with Taleb, 'Schrödinger's Swan' which I thought was brilliant. It's only Black if you can't see it, otherwise it's Grey...

Well, yes, absolutely.
Black swans were well known to those in Australia who saw them all the time. It was just the not-yet-explorative Europeans who were shocked to discover that which already existed.

The color of the Swan is in the eye of the beholder.

People here at TOD are of course aware of the probability of global PO being now or soon and that USA domestic PO already happened 35 years ago (back in circa 1970).

However, to the average lay person who believes that gasoline magically appears in the marketplace, just as all high and low tech stuff appears, the very idea that one day the supply can suddenly cease is a Black Swan. It can't happen. Especially not now. Not in this "advanced" 21st century!

Or to put it another way, what Taleb calls a Black Swan is something that defies statistical characterization, rendering your question unintelligible...

That is the point. As Step Back says above if the statistics reside in well linear and bounded zones we don't expect anything outside the envelope. What is mathematically neat is that were this to happen, it would put the entire field size distribution off kilter. Even something really big would not put much of a dent into what we already see.


I have a question - forgive me if it's a stupid one. It is this: How is it that stocks even get sold in a bear market such as the present one? Who is it that would want to buy under such circumstances? Yet, stocks are getting sold, so SOMEONE must be buying?

More generally, I guess you could say that my question relates to the mechanics of the markets. Whenever there is a panic sell-off of stock, oil futures, whatever, someone is buying. But who? What kind of fool exactly is it who steps into this role? Or do panic sell-offs happen with plummeting equities simply being sold into the ether?

Isn't some of this short selling? But that doesn't explain everything, at least to me. I have always thought of this stuff as a sucker's bet.


“The low-hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking,” he said of our oligarchic class. “These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.”

Phil: There is little difference between buying right now and holding equities right now. Each is a choice of capital allocation-if one is a fool to buy now, one is a fool to own equities right now, and SOMEONE does own as the global markets have not vanished down to a 0.00 market value. IMO you should never hold anything you wouldn't buy with extra capital right now.

best investment advise i have heard for awhile. although i consider it more like speculation advise.

disclosure: i am holding and buying oil and gas equities currently.

I hope oil goes all the way down to zero; I still own an SUV I would like to drive once more :)

I predict oil will go down to zero eventually -- but not before it goes up, up, and up. At some point it will be too difficult (expensive) to extract, and therefore its availability will go to near zero. But by then there will be nothing that depends on it, needs it, and therefore no demand. OTOH, bio fuels may, by then, supply a certain amount of our drastically reduced energy budget, and oil, were it to somehow appear, would be a possible substitute.

Hm -- but again, when something disappears from circulation altogether, what meaning attaches to a price?

I was going to go on to estimate the cost of that last ride in your SUV, but I'll spare everyone. :)

I was going to go on to estimate the cost of that last ride in your SUV, but I'll spare everyone. :)

It'll be about the same cost as hiring several able-bodied men to push your SUV from your driveway to the junkyard because it's out of gas.

If you lived in Council Bluffs, Iowa, you could fill up with E85 for $1.49/gal. Assuming about 12 mpg on e85, that would be, what? About 12 1/2 cents/mi.?

Who knows? Maybe it's not the end of affordable driving, after all.

Of course, that does have a $0.51/gal subsidy in it. So, in all fairness, it's really $2.00/gal, or about $0.17/mi. Still doable, though, I guess.

I noticed several weeks ago the Quick Shop I get gas at increased their ETOH offerings to mid-grade from just premium. I buy low grade, so I'm not affected. I did ask, and was told that it was a chain wide move. NE's ETOH is only 10%, so far.

That's not quite true, lets say you buy company x for $1 a share tomorrow and achieve a 6% dividend payout at that price, the next year the market recognises this and the price goes up to $3. Now the stock might not be worth buying, as it only yields 2%, but you continue to receive 6% on your capital as the dividend remains the same. Therefore it does not make sense to buy, but neither does it make sense to sell.


You have it wrong. If you buy a $1 stock that pays a 0.06 div, you are getting 6%. If that stock goes up to $3, you are only getting 2%, not 6%.

It doesn't matter what it was yielding when you bought it. If there is a savings account paying 3%, you should sell that stock and put the money in the savings account (ignoring taxes and future stock appreciation).

I buy 100 shares at $1/share for $100 and recieved 0.06/share = $6

This is a yield of $6/$100 = 6%

Next year someone else buys 100 shares at $3/share for $300

That year dividend is again 0.06

I still recieve $6, I have not invested any more capital to recieve this so: $6/$100 = 6%

The other chap also gets $6 but his yield is $6 / $300 = 2%

The return on my invested capital is still 6%

Yield on my original invested capital is still 6% because I did not pay $300 for the shares, I paid $100

I don't want to threadjack, but think of it this way:

If there is a $300 bond that pays $9/year, (3%), should you sell your $300 stock that pays $6/year? Yes, because you get an additional $3 per year. Think of it in terms of opportunity cost.

PhilRelig: I sincerely hope you don't find my answer, to your question flippant, I dont mean it that way.

I ask if you are aware of the "Beanie baby" market bubble ?

If you arent aware of this rather bizarre and recent accurance, I suggest you find reference and take a look. I will try and use brevity and give a historical perspective. Small bags, shaped like cute little non existant animals, filled with a bean like material, were mass produced and sold in limited release marketing blitzes. This drove speculators to purchase these worthless articles, which componded and drove prices higher and higher. Soon humans believed they could actually retire, by buying and trading beanie babies.

Well !...you neednt have 20/20 hindsight, to know where this would end up.

Well, at the very least there are those 401k mutual funds that people keep dumping money in for "retirement."

I wouldn't count on those too much.

The leading edge of the baby boom is already old enough to start pulling money out, and there will be more and more, for several years at least. Also, more and more people are reaching the age where they have to take distributions.

Younger people will likely be contributing less as well. One, they'll have less money to spare, two, what money they do have may be placed in (supposedly) safer investments than stocks, and three, if you lose your job, you won't be putting money into a 401(k).

And people may pull their money out early, regardless of the penalties - just to pay bills.

Slightly off on a tangent - I was also considering the baby boomers the other day, thinking about their affect on the economy in the near future, but also about the impact of breeding cycles. The baby boomers had their children mainly in the 70s and 80s, and their children are now starting to have their own children. So their was a boom of births after WWII - particularly during the 50s - the number of births rose again in the late 70s/80s (see link below), and although there wasn't a corresponding drop as there was through the 60s/early 70s, I think that we may now see a steady rise in births during the next decade.


As we head into an energy tight future, punctuated initially by this economic crisis, it might be that birth rates will climb initially, rather than level off - further aggravating the resource crisis into which we are plunging...

Well, at the very least there are those 401k mutual funds that people keep dumping money in for "retirement."

Um, some of us *can't* stop putting money into our 401(k). Why? Our wonderful HR departments have "Open Enrollment" periods at the end of the year which is the only time we get to make changes to our 401(k) contributions. Translation: People are watching this go down (my stupid self included) but MUST continue to toss our money down this black hole because of arcane company rules. I'm sure if people could change their contributions and stop putting money in NOW, they would. I know that come January 1, no more of my money will go down this hole, and there may be a whole lot more people that will do the same thing.

Pretty sure if you want to go from 10% to 5% you have to wait until the "change date". If you want to go from say 10% to 0% you should be able to do that at any time throughout the year. You just wouldn't be able to adjust that back up until the change date. (Usually once, twice or quarterly throughout the year.)

For the record as a self employed financial planner, I have advised most clients to stop deferring for at least the end of the year. Dollar cost averaging only works if you think the market will go back up sometime in the next 15 years.

I started a new job a few months ago - when I turned in my start paperwork I got a call from our benefits person, who pointed out that I had not made any selection for the 401k plan. I replied to her that looking at the various options, and looking at the economy, there wasn't a single choice that didn't look like a loser to me. She was surprised, but when we spoke in more depth agreed that there were issues with ALL of the choices.

At this point getting as much of my paycheck as I can each month, staying out of debt and keeping my job (which I walk to each day) are the only investments I feel safe making.

Funny enough, during the last few months, my decision has been seen to be a pretty smart move....thank to TOD and Automatic Earth for that!

Phil - I be one of those fools. Was almost 100% cash up to 2 weeks ago and am now 50% equities. This may not be the bottom, but I think it is a good opportunity to buy those equities with good balance sheets and high dividend that do well in recessions (e.g. utilities). If markets decline another 10-15% I go in up to 75%. I think this strategy will work in the medium/long term as long as this does not morph into a real depression. If it does, I may have more important things to worry about than my portfolio.


Note that every time the market moves up, the volume goes
to Holiday levels.

The PPT is there to hit every bid.

Even today the manipulation is evident for all to see.

The US loan to mutual funds was for what?

You might want to use Argentina’s confiscation of its own pensions as an early warning sign, and not just in the US.

"Even today the manipulation is evident for all to see."

You are truly a gem! Not only is the world coming to an end soon but it is a conspiracy! I look forward every day to see just how deep the depths of your doom & gloom! There are drugs for serious depression as well as for paranoia, you know.

Don't encourage him/her to take medication, I like having someone to balance out the rosy optimism of Totoneila with his links to dieoff.org and descriptions of how the Overshoot will be bleeding from every orifice.

I would say that these days, in light of all that has happened, it is those who are all smiles, whistling a happy tune, that have already begun self-medicating. Panglossamen?

I spend a few hours every morning reading about Paulson and others' manipulation of the markets, in the FT, the WSJ, the NYT.

I'm buying regular amounts stocks each month as this is a historic stock buying opportunity. People like Warren Buffett are buying, the only reason not to buy is if you do not have the money and cannot afford to hold for a few years.

8 year total return on cash:


-28, -67, -23, -11 for

S&P, Nasdaq, DJWilshire, DJIA respectively.

as of Oct 06. That was 16 days ago.

I Hate To Disagree With a Billionaire, But...
I'm simply going to post a chart that shows the facts


buffett will be the swedish Match King.

"The only players staying at the table are the ones who are already broke, and the only money left is the funny sort.

That makes it inevitable that the trendlines for stock markets will keep pointing downward, and do so much longer and much steeper than we are willing to see. This will drag down the value of "real assets" with it, until hardly any of the labor of man will have a monetary value left, till most people will not be able to afford to pay for many of their basic needs, and ultimately till the value of human life itself will be discounted to a hair’s width above absolute zero.-Ilargi-TAE

how does the Russell decline 2.5% while the DJIA stays
basically uneven.



There is another reason not to buy. You may be concerned about companies' prospects for future growth given limited availability of credit, recession and decreasing oil supplies.

There may even be some websites where you can go to investigate and discuss such concerns ;)

Warren Buffett is hanging on to huge amounts of cash in his Berkshire Hathaway company. I think that he expects stock prices to fall farther, and I interpret his public remarks as "happy talk" that he was urged to emit at behest of The Powers That Be. Watch what Buffett does, not what he says.

I expect earnings on all the major stock averages to decline drastically (in real terms) over the next twenty years as an indirect result of falling oil production.

If you are looking for a good investment, compare the investment results of buying TIPs (Treasury Inflation Protected securities) over the past ten years compared to buying into any index of stocks you care to look at. True, TIPs won't do well in a deflationary depression, but at least they will keep your financial capital intact.

I've been out of stocks since 2004 and expect never to invest in stocks again.

I think that for a lot of people "alternative" investment might make a lot of sense. By alternative investment I'm thinking of things such as paying down loans and CC debt, purchasing durables and increasing the energy efficiency of your dwelling.

For example, if real inflation is now running over 10%, purchasing durables provides an excellent return that is risk free (unless there is major deflation). By durables I mean things such as tools or a PV system, not a bigger plasma TV.


I think that high-quality hand tools, made in U.S.A. or Germany or Finland, for example, are one of the best investments one can make. Even if you never use the tools in your lifetime, they can be handed down to children and grandchildren.

A complete PV system with battery backup to accommodate three days of no sun would be a pricey but good investment.

Paying down debt is especially important if we are going into deflationary times. On the other hand, if we go back to the double digit inflation of the seventies and early eighties, then hanging onto fixed-rate mortgages makes more sense than paying them back.

Like a LeFever side by side, Damascus twist doublebarrel made in Ithaca NY. Can't use the new shells though, must use black powder. 4 generations later it's still quite the tool and investment. I wonder about the value of many tools tho should later generations become nomadic, or like the link the other day, domiciles are cut to 100 sq ft. Seemed foolish, in that he stored his wardrobe in his vehicle. I thought the objective in new vehicles is the lightest possible.

I checked a poster's own link a while back for quality hoes. Product and price seemed right, but the shipping was more than the article.

Good quality will always be relatively high in price. For example, you can get guns made in China--or you can buy American made products. Americans make some of the best guns in the world, and we still make some fine hand tools of other kinds; it is silly to say that we have no manufacturing capacity anymore.

IMO Czech Republic make some of the world's finest handguns.

As a kid I had an old double barreled 12 gauge with hammers. It had short (barely legal) barrels & little or no choke. I used it to kill doves & quail, primarily: #8 shot low brass shells, altho I occasionally fired high brass #6 shot & even rifled slugs thru it. One day I took it to a gunsmith to have the spring on one of the external hammers fixed. He told me that it had a twist steel barrel & was unsafe, and that he couldn't work on it. I kept using it anyway. Must have fired hundreds of boxes of shotshells thru it. It worked fine til I sold it years later. Maybe they just tell us we can't use modern smokeless powder shells in those old twist steel scatterguns so we'll buy new ones.

Twist and particularly damascas barrels can be strong. The problem is corosion between the steel bonds / layers is difficult to detect.

It is possible to have a damascas barrel proofed [accomplished by firing an over standard pressure shell and seeing if the barrel fails.] At that point you know the gun is safe at that point in time when used with normal loads.

The punch line: Your gun may or may not of been an accident waiting to happen.

"Like a LeFever side by side, Damascus twist doublebarrel made in Ithaca NY."

Well how about a 1929 16ga side by side smokeless powder LeFever? I picked it up 20 years ago and will take it out this weekend for the opener of Pheasants. Nicest gun I have ever shot bar none. I consider it equal to it weight in gold because neither the bluing or the metal work can be equaled today. "Who ever heard of broken LeFever!"

As you probably know, the chambers of 16 gauge guns even as late as the 1930s may be shorter than the current U.S. 2 3/4 inch standard. [BTW just because a gun will chamber a modern 2 3/4 inch shell means nothing --- the issue is what happens when the crimp unfolds --- is there enough room for the crimp and the shot column in the front of the bore? -- if not the chamber pressures can unnecessarily get very high]. Have the gun's chambers gauged. BTW, shorter shells are available at a little more expense and inconvenience. In most instances chambers can be reamed, but in terms of collectability it is better to buy the shell that fits the gun rather than ream the chambers.

If you don't know for certain, have the gun checked out for chamber length. It obviously will handle smokeless powder. The chances are that you can shoot it with moderate loads with confidence.

I have a Lefever in 12 gauge that I have never shot. Probably a shame. I love side by sides.

"if we go back to the double digit inflation of the seventies and early eighties, then hanging onto fixed-rate mortgages makes more sense than paying them back"

- agree. But even if interest rates do not go up, a _partial_ paydown of a (fixed-rate) mortgage may not be a good idea because you are still obliged to pay the same amount each month afterwards as before, you only make that process end sooner. So if you were to lose income you'd have trouble paying. On the other hand, if you keep the savings in the bank for a rainy day, you can use them for the monthly payments as needed.

Paying down debt is especially important if we are going into deflationary times.

Deflation will never, EVER happen on Bernanke's watch. EVER. He will criss-cross the country with thousands of cash laden helicopters with quadrillions of dollars flying out of them before he lets deflation happen. He loses his tools when deflation hits. I know that's been a talking point here, but taking a good look at the situation, Helicopter Ben will NEVER EVER let the US go deflationary.

Do you read "The Automatic Earth"? I have a lot of respect for the opinions of Ilargi and Stoneleigh, even though I don't always agree with them. The deflationists could be right. What if all the helicopters crash?

In the long run I believe that inflation will return--with a vengeance. But over the next year most anything could happen on the inflation/deflation front.

In any case, I think the stock market is toast.

Yes, one of the most remarkable graphs around is the GDP increase per dollar of debt: It's declining with every added borrowed buck, and when it reaches zero, there's no point in printing money any more.


Remember that it's not an either/or situation with inflation vs. deflation. We know that at some point food and energy have to become more expensive, even as the economy crashes. Likewise, Ben & Hank's tightrope walk will not "balance" inflation against deflation so much as it will ensure a whipsawing back and forth between the extremes.

IMO the equity markets will be smoothing out after the election and commodity prices will take off again. The inevitable hyperinflation will result as the debt becomes unserviceable, until finally the wave breaks and the Great Depression returns in earnest.

Gecko: The problem is that even crazy helicopter drops will not necessarily raise asset prices or earnings of companies-e.g. maybe your debt will be small in Swiss francs, but your wage will also be small. Bernanke's gifts only benefit the direct receivers-mainly top executives of companies he gives taxpayers money.

Remarks by Governor Ben S. Bernanke
Before the National Economists Club, Washington, D.C.
November 21, 2002
Deflation: Making Sure "It" Doesn't Happen Here

Sustained deflation can be highly destructive to a modern economy and should be strongly resisted... as I have discussed today, a variety of policy responses are available should deflation appear to be taking hold... prevention of deflation is preferable to cure. Nevertheless, I hope to have persuaded you that the Federal Reserve and other economic policymakers would be far from helpless in the face of deflation, even should the federal funds rate hit its zero bound.

I expect no bounds to the lengths he will go to either stay out of deflation or get out of deflation.

The problem is that Bernanke is referring to a deflationary situation similar to that experienced by Japan in the 1990s or the USA in the 1930s-the current situation is radically different-the USA is broke/bankrupt/insolvent overall. The total debt level exceeds the wealth of the country by a great margin-probably sooner than later a major devaluation of the currency is required (e.g. 50%) because this piecemeal approach, while helping out some connected players, is doing absolutely nothing for the economy. The bummer is that this means a 50% wage decrease for most USA employees.

In a fiat currency, such as the US Dollar, "money" is debt. The Federal Reserve does not print up dollars and hand them out. It makes loans. That's how dollars are created.

Deflation in a fiat currency comes about because of a too-rapid expansion of debt. Since dollars==debt, deflation ultimately is caused by a too-rapid expansion of the money supply through too-rapid expansion of credit. When the economy is over-saturated with credit, it cannot take on more loans and instead begins to default on old ones. Deflation is not the opposite of inflation; it is really the end state of credit inflation.

Bernanke's solution to a too-rapid expansion of credit is to expand credit even faster by lowering interest rates and goosing the money supply. If we are really in "end state" deflation, Bernanke will fail. Period. Pumping more air into a popped balloon isn't going to reflate it.

IMO, in 10 years we're going to be listening to Bernanke tell about how he now realizes there was a flaw in his ideology, just as we're hearing Greenspan confess today.

The treasury was buying some unsecured loans, some of the money is being given away. The investment banks that were most in need of assistance were the ones with the worse management/investment policies.

I have read that one is no longer able to get "no doc" loans. That was where all one needed was a downpayment and one's income history was not checked.

The interest only balloon notes will become due and there might be no way for people to refi. Some borrowers were in bankruptcy proceedings thus the collateral may not be seized until the bankruptcy proceedings are completed. A house in Michigan was sold at auction for under a thousand dollars.

"Let" may not be in his control, politically, if he poisons his wells bailing out many more big-boys with schemes that don't seem to work. Then all he'll have left is incentive packages, and those take a long time to percolate.

"That's a name I haven't heard for a long time"

Welcome back Don. Wondered where you'd got to. Hopefully you've had good wind in your sails and fine scotch to share with your lovely...

Looking forward to your inputs once again. (hopefully not a fleeting visit) Much has unfolded since you last posted....

Thank you for your kind remarks. I shall continue making comments on TOD until I go back to work on my memoirs.

Because of the debt cycle, the way to run any portfolio since 2006 is to make it an "anti-hedge fund". Pick only dull, out-of-the-way, cash flow healthy stocks you never hear of on CNBC far away from the madding crowd. And when the hedge fund forced selling is in gear, short the market in general and the popular darlings the funds are loaded up with in particular.

"What kind of fool exactly is it who steps into this role?"

Retirement funds, companies that sell annuities, and universities just to name the most obvious.

Old fools like myself. You can't be too old, can you? I was born during the depression and have seen bulls and bears as well as stagnant markets. Do you really believe there are no companies worth investing in at the moment? Many people make routine monthly, quarterly investments into mutual funds. In the long haul this has paid off quite well. I own a mix of individual stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. The long haul has paid off well for me as I now live off the proceeds of these investments and don't have to sell any stocks to live.

I'll leave you with a few thoughts. It is a loss only if you have to sell. Try to get some perspective; step back and try to see the forest. Things aren't good; however, it is far from a depression. There are a lot of good articles about noting this downturn with previous ones and the great depression. And finally I'll give you a example of another fool investing at this time: Warren Buffett.

At this time it cannot be known whether or not we are now in the early stages of a Greater Depression. As a student of economic history I've been surprised at how long it takes people to realize that they are in a whole new ballgame. For example, well into 1930 there were many pundits of the time saying, "It's only a stock market correction. The economy will improve next year."

I expect a that we will soon (if not now; I don't know about now) be in a Greater Depression of perhaps 20 years due to falling oil production.

If I did have an inclination to invest in stocks, I'd buy mainly natural resouces stocks, especially stocks related to the exploration and development of oil and natural gas. In light of the extreme uncetainty we are experiencing, I think it is best for most of us older folks (I was born in 1940.) to stay out of the market.

By the way, stocks are not a good hedge against inflation; that was the main conclusion of my MBA in finance thesis that I wrote in 1965.

Or it could be that we are facing something totally different: not a recession followed by recovery, not a depression followed by recovery, but a recession that levels off but does not recover, followed by a further decline and leveling off, in stairstep fashion all the way down to a permanently poorer economy.

Given the realities of peak oil that we are facing, that is exactly what I would expect. I don't know if there is anyone besides myself that is seriously talking about this, or even realizes that it is a real possibility.

If this is in fact the way it is to be, then that means that capital gains are dead, except maybe for a few exceptionally lucky people who are skilled in the day trading game. There will be far more losers than winners in that game, though. Dividends are about the only thing that stocks would really have to offer. Most corporations presently don't pay out enough on their dividends, relying on the hope of future capital gains to attract investors instead. That will have to change once the reality of what we are facing sinks in, and thus the number of stocks that could offer a sufficient dividend yield to justify including them in your portfolio could increase quite a bit from those few that fit the bill now.

Peter Schiff forecasts for the USA what you are describing-the scary thing is he doesn't explicitly bring oil depletion into his forecast. He points out that building any economy around consumer spending (72% of the economy) is a scheme that is not sustainable.

"Given the realities of peak oil that we are facing, that is exactly what I would expect. I don't know if there is anyone besides myself that is seriously talking about this, or even realizes that it is a real possibility."

I think many peak oilers believe this, the $64 question is when, and how are the steps and slope in the staircase. There's alot of arguments either side, all well presented on these boards.

Awhile back there was a poster, a very compassionate, sharing type of person who posted with the handle of OilmanBob. A landman, he called himself, but he unexpectedly passed away about a year ago. A company he recommended, a stock safe for old ladies, he said, was Permian Basin Trust. In spite of the meltdown in energy stocks the last few months, it's value has only fluctuated, today down, but usually trading in the low 20's. With a dividend consistently over 10%.

It's not a matter of if you're buying stocks or not, but rather the allocation of your investments (financial or otherwise). When stock valuations were high like they were a year ago, it was a good time to increase your allocation of investments toward the paydown of debt while reducing your allocation of stocks.

Despite the drop of energy prices as of late, it's still a pretty good time to invest in energy savings (replacing inefficent HVAC systems, insulation, etc). For example, this summer I convinced my dad (I'm 19 so I only have limited amounts of money in the market) to replace our 50+ year old oil boiler and our ~15 year old direct hot water tank with an 87% AFUE triple pass boiler and an indirect hot water tank (the most efficient combination available to me) for $8k (the triple pass was an extra $900 and the indirect was $300 more), which should save us ~$1000 (we could have gone nat gas but it would have been an extra ~$5k for piping and a condensing boiler would have needed expensive chimney work). Now with stock valuations down so much (although it could well go down significantly more), stocks are relatively more attractive than paying down debt or cash savings (especially with negative real interest rates). Corporate bonds are probably much more relatively than even stocks, as the spread between even very highly rated corporate bonds and treasuries have soared. GE bonds (if GE goes under there are bigger problems than your bonds becoming worthless) yield about 6.5%, while treasuries are like 3.5%. Definitely an attractive time to reallocate bond holdings from treasuries to corporate bonds.

Warren Buffett is sitting on a ton of cash right now. He's not as big a fool as his recent public statements would indicate.

I'm not sure I understand the hero worship of Buffett. He made a lot of money investing during a long bull market. Lets wait and see how he does in a long bear market. He got creamed this year, along with everyone else.

Me, too. Been buying dividends regularly the last month or 2 in my IRA; about 75% in, and always looking to buy. Pretty much have my own mutual fund by now. There are some pretty good yields out there, even in staid old companies like GE, which I got into a few days before Buffet. Yielding 6.6% right now.

My 401K is 95% cash getting 5.1%.

There is no ether Phil. The stocks are bought by folks who believe in their future value. In the last two weeks my natural gas company stocks have agained over 20%. And heating season hasn't even begun yet for most of the country. Many others are picking up long term value stocks. Many hedge fund managers have no choice but to sell to limit the downside. But some will turn around and buy the value stocks which were driven down by the overall market movement.

Long live the panic!!!!

Economic activity requires energy even if it is just ones and zeros in a web server shifting between files. Real wealth is generated by farming, forestry, mining (which includes oil), and manufacturing (which includes construction). Everything else is just a redistribution of wealth and that includes the entire financial sector. Real wealth generation takes a lot of energy and the form of that energy must change. The Hirisch Report claimed it will take at least 20 years to convert from an oil reliant economy to anything that would provide as much energy. with less fuel available there will be less economic activity and I have labeled this the Hirisch Recession. If we are in a period of declining oil availability a true recovery on a global scale will take decades. I believe peak oil happened in 2005 but very little has been done to offset the decline. Even the optimists in the oil industry claim peak oil won't happen until 2030. That gives us a little over one year to start changing our fuel sources to maintain BAU. But BAU is why we are in the current recession. BAU simply reacts to current conditions and is very bad at preparing for the unfamiliar like the peak oil challenge. Greenspan today told a Congressional committee that current conditions are unlike anything he has seen in the last 40 years. Current conditions may not be like anything in the last 4000 years.

If I had money to invest, which I don't, I would invest in those technologies which will get us away from reliance on fossil fuels. The one old company to invest in would be GE. As a manufacturer they actually create real wealth. They are into things which will power the economy of the future. If possible look at what their financial branch is investing in and follow along. At the other end is a small company in Iowa called TPI which makes those big wind turbine blades. Look for companies like that which have huge growth potential. If you think you are too old to wait for the new technologies to blossom then big oil may be the way to go. In spite of the drop in oil futures the oil companies are still making big profits. Even though they only own a small fraction of all reserves they do provide refining and distribution of end products. Until renewables, nukes, and more efficiency kick in big time the oil companies will continue to make big profits.

Seems no matter what, we'll still be able to drown our sorrows :)

Green light for £65m bio-plant

PLANS FOR a pioneering £65 million bio-energy plant at Scotland’s largest distillery were approved yesterday by Fife Council.

Levenmouth area committee granted planning permission which will allow drinks giant Diageo to press ahead with the investment at its Cameronbridge site in Windygates.

The company, which makes leading global brands such as Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, has joined forces with energy management company Dalkia to create the new plant.

It is expected to generate significant environmental benefits while placing Scotland at the forefront of green technology.

The 5.5 megawatt plant represents the biggest single investment in renewable energy technology by a non-utility company in the UK, and will generate around 80% of the distillery’s electricity using waste products created by the distilling process.

The process will improve the quality of the effluent discharged from the distillery into the Forth—at present there is too much of the grain residue or malt in the water—and will reduce the amount of fossil fuels used.

It will also cut annual CO2 emissions by around 56,000 tonnes—the equivalent of taking 44,000 family cars off the road.

chris martenson's chapter 20 is now out.

Thanks for the heads up, been waiting for it.

For the uninitiated, google Crash Course or Chris Martenson.

I actually thought this was the weakest chapter of the course. I don't think it was as useful as some previous entries, it was just a description of descision making process, which most of us know by now. I was also kind of surprised that he ended by asking for money.

I actually thought this was the weakest chapter of the course.

Totally agree. Just read it last nite, big disappointment. But everything up to there, especially peak energy chapters, are first class.

Edit: Somehow in the last chapter, methodology and technique overwhelm the message and the information. Prior to that perhaps he employs a methodology that helps keep things very clear and logical, but in the last chapter you have the feeling the means have gone beserk and forsaken the ends.

The last chapter should not take any of the credit for the outstanding job that has been achieved with this eye-opening course.

If only we could get it out to congress. This is truly first class stuff and easy to “get” for many a clue-less Honorable in House and Senate.

Can TOD post a link under "Blogroll" ??

Let me say it for you all (hope you agree)


Very sincerely
Tom Pescatore

I certainly agree.

I have spent the morning listening to this guy... I'm on chapter 15.

Great quote in Chapter 15, relevant to the current situation:

"There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom expansion brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." Ludwig von Mises, 1881-1973

This guy is highly recommended to those interested in the financial markets long term...


Chapter 18 is the real money shot. Apparently there are ecological limits to how much abuse the earth can take. Shows how we exploit the easiest to reach resources first, and how this is true of ALL resources. The logical conclusions that can be drawn from this are staggering.

"As for oil, it is now indispensable and ubiquitous as a necessity throughout the entire economic world, we have passed the Peak Oil point, and without it we would not be able to, for example, drive our cars to Washington, D.C. and make a fuss about the economic stupidity that is so rampant there, or to drive someplace where we can buy more gold, silver and oil to take advantage of the economic stupidity that is so rampant there!

Whee! This investing stuff is easy!"


From the story up top: "Norway to maintain oil production"

Are they building an even bigger straw?

They will be doing OPEC's bidding by just following their depletion curve.

Some Recent Net Export Decline Rates:


2005: -6.4%/year
2006: -6.5%/year
2007: -16.4%/year


1998: -3.7%/year
2007: -10.2%/year


2002: -2.5%/year
2007: -8.9%/year

News Item Regarding Russia:

. . . energy production is already stagnant, and export
volumes declining. Russia's crude oil exports fell by 5.9 percent
during the first eight months the year.

This comment sums up the bailout

Now that the investment boom has gone bust and the necessary adjustment process has begun, we are being told incessantly that the solution to the problems caused by massive increases in the supplies of money and credit is additional massive increases in the supplies of money and credit.


...the solution to the problems caused by massive increases in the supplies of money and credit is additional massive increases in the supplies of money and credit.

Yes, and the solution to Peak Oil is to drill for more oil.

Funny how that mainstream circular logic works?

The Bank Capital Mirage

The following more or less supports what some have been saying for a while -– that major banks in the U.S. and the U.K. will end up being entirely nationalized before this crisis is over –- but it's still a striking way of looking at the data. The gist: Government recapitalization and other fund-raising has largely been in service of banks' prior subprime losses, while corporate and consumer loans are just starting to hit bank balance sheets. It won't take much to tip banks over into insolvency again.

Wall Street Journal has a story today on the uptick in credit card defaults:


and the NY Times had this on the impending wave of business defaults:


To help weigh the relative potential importance of each, these are the Fed figures for the amount of outstanding debt from each of the sectors at the end of the 2nd Qtr 2008:

Home Morgage: $10.6 trillion
Consumer Credit: $2.6 trillion
Business: $10.9 trillion


Roubini is now saying a "systemic economic meltdown has not been avoided" and "I feel the worst is actually ahead of us." This is a reversal for him from his position just last week.

He wrattles off all the types of loans that he feels were made with the same reckless abandon that subprime were made:

2/3 of all mortgage loans written in the last three years
commericial real estate loans
credit card loans
auto loans
student loans
business loans
municipal loans
corporate loans

It sounds like it's going to get ugly:


Re: Udalls in the Senate.
I think this is an excellent development. The Udall family has long been "peak aware" and Randy Udall, Tom's brother, is a co-founder of ASPO-USA. To say that these two (Mark and Tom) will bring a high level of energy awareness to the Senate would be a huge understatement. They are each polling double digit leads, but I would still invite people who live in CO or NM to cast a ballot for Udalls to help advance the Capitol towards a more sane energy policy.

This article from Outside Magazine earlier this year gives an enjoyable overview of the family and its legacy:

Re: Energy Financing Is Gone with the Wind

I have a solution. In fact, it is THE solution. Oh, and here's a nice little diatribe on the causes of the financial meltdown.

Welcome aboard. Go buy a generator from a junkyard and build a windmill. Time's a'wastin.


Karl Rove has a commentary in today's WSJ The Tax Argument Still Works. (might be behind a paywall)

His revisionist history is interesting, as it is intended to painting John McCain in the best possible light. Here's an example:

America's economy got into trouble when people didn't heed warning signs. Three years ago, Mr. McCain called for stricter oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, warning their risky practices threatened our economy and could cost taxpayers billions. He tried to prevent or at least reduce the breadth of the crisis we're in now. Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats ignored these signs and opposed reform.

Of course, 3 years ago, the Republicans were in control of the U.S. Congress. The Democrats had no chance of changing things. Rove has another comment about energy:

Mr. Obama's dismissal of offshore drilling and opposition to nuclear power are warning signs for an economy whose growth depends on affordable energy.

A carefully crafted comment, that. Just how does Mr. Rove think it possible that offshore oil drilling and building new nukes will provide "affordable energy"? Oh well, it's always fun to watch the disinformation and out right lies from the politicians. I just wish that they would suffer just as much from the results of their efforts as will the rest of us...

E. Swanson

The disinformation may be working. The latest AP polls puts Obama and McCain neck to neck:

SHOCK POLL: AP presidential poll: All even in the homestretch

A few past posts on the board here have commented on the potential for irregularities in these last days to keep the executive firmly in the hands of the GOP.

War with Iran, anyone?

Whether accurate or not, if McCain wins, the opinion of many people outside the US will be that the fig leaf of democracy has been ripped off the Great Republic, arguably a name itself that can be assigned past tense status for the history books.

War with Iran, anyone?

No thank you. I have two boys 18 & 21 in college -(yes, meltdown hurts)- that I do not want fighting for oil or misguded ideals.

FWIW, I'll be in Indiana today, where it's close, making calls for Obama. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe Obama will change the world but for my money I'm convinced we'll at the very least get some leadership. I am tired of a headless executive. (no pun intended)

Much different poll data at cnn ===>


Edit:--There are always some irregularities. We'll see how it shakes out.

Good luck with your boys Sterling. Once a young, charming and intellegent Democrat President, with the full support of a Democrat-dominated Congress, was coerced into a war that cost the lives of 60,000 sons. Even those with the best of intentions can follow the wrong path when they are overwhelmed by circumstances.

And if Nixon had been in charge in October 1962?


Robert Strange McNamara (born June 9, 1916, in Oakland, California) is an American business executive and former United States Secretary of Defense. McNamara served as Defense Secretary from 1961 to 1968, during the Vietnam War. After holding that position he served as President of the World Bank from 1968 until 1981. McNamara was responsible for the institution of systems analysis in public policy, which developed into the discipline known today as policy analysis.[2]

The first shot fired in the Viet Nam War, should hve gone to the back of his head. The first shot fired in the Iraq War, should have gone to the head of Donald Rumsfeld. When will the people of this country stand up and stop this crap. The nitwits in Washington hide behind the money, and cower in the face of real action to solve the problems we face. You are starting to hear the ripping of the fabric of society now. CNN just had a story about the fake powder being sent to the Banks. What if it were real? Are we to go down that road because government is spineless in the face of true adversity? Vigilante justice will come out of the shadows, unfortunate as that is, it cannot be stopped. Your government has gone fishing......C_A

A vigilante is a person who ignores due process of law and enacts their own form of justice in response to a perception of insufficient response by the authorities. Several groups and individuals have been labeled as vigilantes by various historians and media. Vigilantes have been central to several creative fictional works and are often depicted as being heroes and retaliatory against wrongdoers.

Thanks Rockman. I appreciate it very much. I do know the risks these days are many and the future is never what we imagine. I'm hoping the new leader will motivate action at home to address climate, energy, food, promote local economies and not have time to strut arrogantly around the world with hackles up. There's plenty to do.

Both US political parties are fully on board when it comes to American imperialism projecting US power abroad. As this years' primaries showed, it is impossible for anyone to get to the presidency if they are not. I'm afraid the only future for the US is economic collapse coupled with endless war, unless we somehow completely restructure our political environment.

To demonstrate how completly out of touch CNN is:



That AP poll showing that Mccain is cutting into Obama's lead appears to be flawed. According to this link:

(I haven't looked at the poll data myself), in this poll, the number of people identifying themselves as evangelical or born-again was 44%. Seems really high, doesn't it? I think this introduced a large mccain-leaning statistical anomaly into the poll data.

According to my own personal conspiracy theory, all McCain needs is "close enough" to allow for rigged electronic voting and other election day shenanigans to give him the nod.

The beauty of my theory is: the only way to disprove it is for Obama to win. I said the same thing about the last two elections (somebody has to beat Bush or it's rigged) and so far I've been right.

I'm in my own little world, but it's comfortable here.

The only thing in question for this presidential election is whether or not McCain will manage to poll more than 40% of the vote.

(Disclaimer: I will vote for neither of the two major party candidates. They are two sides of the same coin.)

that ap poll is definitely an outlyer (outliar ?) and if it is correct, then nearly every other poll is off by +/- 10%. it's all in the determination of likely voters. how did ap arrive at who is a likely voter ? i dont know.

figures dont lie, but liars figure.

does ap have a hidden adgenda ? maybe they are afraid all that campaign propaganda revenue will dry up.

and on a somewhat related note, gallup got his start in 1932 when polling incorrectly decided hoover would win. apparently the source of the error was that the polls were conducted by telephone and in those days only the wealthy had phones. and today, how do we correct for the demographics of exclusively cell phone households ?

Not only that, many people like myself have caller ID phones. I do not answer the phone unless I recognize the caller or am expecting a call.

Broadcast and cable television were destroyed by commercials. And now the telephone is moving in the same direction with computerized calling and "robo calls". I would say that 90 or more percent of the calls I get are junk calls that I find very annoying.

I filter most calls by letting the phone ring at least 5 or 6 times before answering. If it stops there it was a computerized call. If the phone continues to ring I check caller ID. If I don't recognize the number or caller I let is ring until it stops. I have my phone sound turned way down so the ringing is not unbearable.

If I answer the phone by mistake and it turns out to be a Nielsen survey or some such I hang up immediately. They will call back repeatedly, but I will ignore all of the calls. If a political poll or any other poll called I would hang up at once.

The telephone use to be something used to call others who are important. Now it has become a device to annoy others you don't care about. Those who have the time and patience to deal with such silliness as answering telephone polling calls can not be trusted to be representative of the voting public at at large IMO.

They certainly do not represent me. The Internet is the only refuge left from rampant computerized commercialism. Pop-ups can be blocked. And websites that have obtrusive and obnoxious advertising can easily be ignored.

yes, i dug into that poll. they give a transcript of what the polster is supposed to ask. everything but the kitchen sink. it seem that they dont trust any of the respondent's answers, prefering to determine if the respondent is likely to vote based on their sex, income, race and religion. imo, it is not really a poll at all but an exercise to determine which candidate some theoretical likely voter will theoretically vote for.

I agree. I think that telephone based polls are very flawed.

I do not own a land-line. Even when I did, I didn't use it for talking on the phone, it was used either for Internet access or for my security system. (Now the security system is cellular network based.) I only talk on my cell phone. I get a sales call on my cellphone once every 6 months or so, but beyond that, the only calls I get are from people I know.

You could take into account the extreme difference between what the polling numbers said how Guiliani, Romney, and Ron Paul would do in various states, but when it came time for the primary, Paul stomped on Romney and Guiliani. Why? Because Paul's supporters were motivated, as opposed to the others who sat on their arse. Plus, Paul's supporters likely were younger and more technologically inclined, and likely to eschew land line phones.

However, those who still have land lines and use them regularly are likely part of the "old guard" and part of the current establishment that is resisting things like civil liberties and accountability within the government. I'd wager that 75% of the people who currently support the Iraq war are over 50 years in age.

(Tin foil hat warning)
I suspect that someone with an agenda is trying to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. A credible, but false claim, to start to stampede in the direction of McCain. It is also possible, that people are simply looking at statistical noise, and trumpeting any (to them) good news. We certainly see the second effect all the time. But I wouldn't totally discount the deliberately bad poll being used to try to affect the result.

Let's be honest here -- who actually votes, historically speaking? Under 25 kids? Minorities? Soccer moms? Church-goers? Middle-aged middle-manager men?

If you want the tin-hat issue, it's the new lawsuit alleging that Obama isn't even a US citizen, and that he attended college as an international student. Now THAT would be funny, given the earlier flurry about McCain's birth scenario!

That just doesn't jibe with what I have been following. Looks like Obama's lead is widening, especially in the electoral college.


It is getting more and more difficult for this race to be stolen since the margins Obama has in so many states are so large.

Ben Smith of The Politico recounts a story from a medical student in Evansville, Indiana:

The most moving moment came when the family in front of me, comprising probably 4 generations of voters (including an 18-year-old girl voting for her first time and a 90-something hunched-over grandmother), got their turn to vote.

When the old woman left the voting booth she made it about halfway to the door before collapsing in a nearby chair, where she began weeping uncontrollably. When we rushed over to help we realized that she wasn't in trouble at all but she had not truly believed, until she left the booth, that she would ever live long enough to cast a vote for an African-American for president.


Here's how the increasingly biased AP pulled off this scam.

They polled about 1000 voters - among them Obama won by ten points.

Then they determined that only about 800 of these were "likely" voters. Suddenly the outcome was tied.

The 200 they kicked out were overwhelmingly for Obama.

There's a lot of this going on nowadays.

The numbers to watch are simple: Kerry got 252 electoral votes in 2004. Obama gets that many by holding all the Kerry states. The closest Obama lead in those states is 8%, in New Hampshire. If he gets 18 votes out of the Bush states he wins. There are many such states in which he is leading, some of which McCain's campaign has already given up on. McCain's minions are running around like crazy trying to purge new voters, but judges are ruling against them in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, etc. If that was the GOP defensive strategy, it's not good enough. Word is that they're going to try something in Pennsylvania, but Obama is up there.

Some folks suggest that the right-wing extremists who infiltrated McCain's campaign, not least of them Sarah Palin, are just trying to get the election close enough and confused enough so that they can claim the Moslem terrorist stole it, and then prepare for dirty war. As in, Spain in 1936, or Chile in 1973. We shall see. I'm keeping a close eye on reported incidents of violence related to the election, and I notice that the Republican bigots and cranks are always pretty old. You don't go to war with an army of middle-aged supporters.

It seems the young lady who is in the news today was beat up by a bunch of Obama extremists because she had a McCain-Palin sticker on the bumper. Radicalism is extreme in both camps proving once again, it is quite impossible to live in a pristine glass house and throw stones.

Care to post a link to that story? I'm having a hard time finding it on the web. You didn't happen to see it on Fox News, did you?

Dunno if it's true, but I'd heard it too. Found this:

FWIW maybe it's this, an alleged mugging by one person rather than "a bunch".

Lynford ;
I couldnt help but try my hand at some political spin, just too see how easy it might actually be to manufacture such drivel. I will endeavor to use the story you refer too as my foundation.

"News Flash" Women who supported McCain/Palin attacked at ATM machine"
Women who had pro McCain/Palin sticker on her car was robbed as she withdrew money from an ATM machine, police reported. Police spokesperson said "The mugger carved a "B" on her face with a knife or sharp impliment" police speculate the "B" stood for Barack Obama.

"News Flash Update" Police spokes person reports "Mugger who robbed a women who was withdrawing money from an ATM machine caught" Turns out he was a former McCain/Palin campaign worker who was recently let go from a campaign headquarters.
The man explained he was fired, to save money, so the RNC could purchase $150,000.00 in clothes for Sarah Palin. "Police couldn't confirm the mans story as the campaign headquarters were closed recently. A call to RNC headquarters was not returned, seems they closed the headquarters and abandoned the state due to low polling numbers and lower cash flows to Republican coffers.

Contibutors to this article were Dewy Screwem , Andy Howe.

"News Flash Update"

Women recently beaten in ATM robbery for having pro McCain/Palin sticker on her auto, was wtihdrawing money to pay for late term abortion, according to police spokesperson who refused to identify themselves as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

contributions to this article made by Eyelean Abits and Phill Indirt.


JUST IN: AP poll flawed. Used 44% evangelicals rather than 23% from the 2004 election

A new poll was released earlier today by the Associated Press that seemed to make imply that the race was tightening on a national scale. The Associated Press said:

The poll, which found Obama at 44 percent and McCain at 43 percent, supports what some Republicans and Democrats privately have said in recent days: that the race narrowed after the third debate as GOP-leaning voters drifted home to their party and McCain's "Joe the plumber" analogy struck a chord.
AmericaBlog looked over the methodology, however, and a found that the poll skewed far too heavily in favor of Evangelical Christians. Click here for the complete breakdown:

The problem? In 2004, evangelicals/born-again Christians made up 23% of voters. But that same group makes up 44% of likely voters in AP's poll released today. That's almost double the number - it's totally implausible.

Read the whole story here.

IBD poll..

Nate Silver just did a number on the IBD poll.

What's Wrong With This Picture? (a.k.a. Nate the Poll Nazi Strikes Again)

But fluctuations of this magnitude are an entirely different matter.

Suppose that the true distribution of the 18-24 year old vote is a 15-point edge for Obama. This is a very conservative estimate; most pollsters show a gap of anywhere from 20-35 points among this age range.

About 9.3 percent of the electorate was between age 18-24 in 2004. Let's assume that the percentage is also 9.3 percent this year. Again, this is a highly conservative estimate. The IBD/TIPP poll has a sample size of 1,060 likely voters, which would imply that about 98 of those voters are in the 18-24 age range.

What are the odds, given the parameters above, that a random sampling of 98 voters aged 18-24would distribute themselves 74% to McCain and 22% to Obama?

Using a binomial distribution, the odds are 54,604,929,633-to-1 against. That is, about 55 billion to one.


I have nothing to back this up, but from what I've seen, 8 years of Bush has made a lot of the 18-24 crowd angry enough to actually get to the voting booths.

Who to believe?

Obama lead on McCain grows to 12 points


If Obama is leading by 12 points on some polls the day before the election and he ends up losing the fallout will be huge.

You beat my edit (below), but agree about fallout.


This Race Goes to 11 - Powell Helps with Indies


I don't think any of them are accurate, much less predictive.

*I misplaced this post-should be in reply to Zadok*

We may be looking at just that. I believe what some people tell pollsters and the choice they finally make are not the same, especially in this race. I think racism is alive and well hidden by most.

That doesn't discount the shenanigans in Ohio, Florida and other states.

My thinking is that possibly the polls might be far more accurate than the actual vote totals-if this is felt to be obvious by the general population it might be a turning point for the nation.

Personally, I always lie to pollsters, on principle. I also make up the information for online registrations. (And I'm not the only one. Reportedly, there's an unusually high number of 100 year old men living in zip code 12345 in most registration databases.)

I really don't understand why people put so much weight on polls. They don't seem to be very accurate. And no, I don't blame crooked elections. Often, the polls all disagree with each other. And the pollster who is right in one election may be the furthest off the next time.

In my opinion, polls are more valid than they used to be. I can still remember the huge headline in the November something 1948 "Minneapolis Star" DEWEY WINS! The sum of the polls is much more reliable than any single poll, and I think polling has changed from more of an art to more of a science. One problem is that it takes a bundle of money to do a proper survey, and some polling organizations cut corners--both to save money and to get faster results.

Close elections don't mean much is wrong with the democracy -- with anything close to a 50/50 split, half the people will be unhappy, and half will be happy. The unhappy people whine like poor sport schoolboys who lose the big game on a bad call by the referee, while ignoring the fact that if they hadn't errored or fouled throughout the game that call wouldn't have mattered.

I'll be in the camp that will be unhappy with either win -- I don't like either candidate, but I don't think it will matter much. At least I won't whine.

Here's my one off-the-wall observation for the election: the winner will have an unusually high probability of dying in office.

Uh, maybe then people would learn not to listen to polls? The only fallout would be PO'd democrats, and they'd be happy whining for another 4 years about "stolen elections". Both parties would rather complain than come up with a winning plan, IMHO.

The real threat for Obama is for all his "kids" to decide they have something better to do on election day since he's up in the polls, while Palin's mom's and McCain's dad's show up. I imagine it'll end up being close, especially if the ACORN voters don't show up. Nobody is going to go vote for Biden, so he's just a potential liability for Obama at this point.

I expect the election will turn out to be a lot closer than most people believe. Republicans get better every year at vote supression, and I think there are a lot of Americans who simply will not pull the lever for an African American (but who would never admit that to a pollster).

I'm just disgusted that (once again) we get to choose between two warmongering imperialists who will trip over themselves to spend America into oblivion.

Seems like voting issues cut both ways -- uncounted military votes, dead voters, non-existent voters registering, ballots carried unlocked in precinct captains cars, short ballot supplies -- seems like those were all in Democrat-controlled areas.

You can't trust any zealot, political or otherwise, who believes the cause is sufficiently important that the desired ends justify shady means. Last time I checked both parties and all elections were mostly staffed by humans, unfortunately.

BrianT -

For what it's worth, my son and his girlfriend live in center city Philadelphia. He says that the support and enthusiams for Obama among African-Americans in Philly is quite astounding.

He also expressed fears as how ugly it would get if either something happened to Obama before or after the election or if it becomes widely perceived that massive election fraud stole the electon away from Obama. He pictures a modern version of the urban riots of the 1960s.

Hopefully that isn't the reason for the troop battalion ready to "assist" civilians.

BrianT -

Well, I suspect they ain't there for nothing!

Most of us will feel either a lot better or a lot worse after the Inauguration of 2009 (provided, of course, that there is one).

It's beginning to look like this period between now and the Inauguration is going to be one of the most dangerous periods this country has faced in a long, long time. I am convinced that, quite literally, anything could happen - here or abroad.

There appear to be so many malevolent forces assembling that, if one were of such a mindset, one might conclude that we were in the midst of a harmonic convergence of some really bad shite. However, inertia, for all the bad-mouthing it has gotten, does indeed have its good points nonetheless. Perhaps just plain old inertia will enable us to muddle through, albeit in a totally half-assed way. Which is about all one can hope for.

Also, it is not just the American reaction-this huge financial scam blowup has labelled the USA as the global epicentre of giant frauds and really put a huge dent in the country's rep (Iraq didn't help either). An apparent fixed Presidential election (3rd in a row?!) woudl really put the nail in the coffin.

BrianT, you've articulated this point very well. Thank you.

The world is watching the 2008 American election very closely. I repeat, the world is watching the 2008 American election very very closely.

If McCain wins the November election, and especially if there are hints the election was stolen from Obama, the consequences for the loss of prestige will be incalculable... a prestige that is already hemorrhaging like never before.

America's future is contingent, also in ways like never before, on the goodwill of the rest of the world. A serious breach of reputation would cause even the most friendly of governments and allies to distance themselves. And the US will be much poorer as a result, much poorer than it otherwise will be.

More importantly, the torch will be passed to someone else... because American reliability will have been seriously breached. And no one wants to put their faith or trust in a dysfunctional, unstable, and arbitrary world power. The American business class is now thoroughly discredited. The American military is seen as overextended and vulnerable. The political class is highly suspect.

So what?

I for one would see this as a worse tragedy than merely the fall of another empire. B/c the American republic was an entity that could rise, from time to time, to aspire to (and even inspire) the ideal of a better humanity.

The yearning for change in the way America works is not just confined to the USA. Like it or not, Obama has tapped into this. Like it or not, the rest of the world is overwhelmingly rooting for him. Like it or not, the world expects Americans to opt for change. There will be widespread disappointment if that doesn't happen.

Preventing riots in the streets may be the least of the mounting problems facing the new administration.

Hi Zadok

I'm wondering if anyone heard this today, or has read Miller's book?

AMY GOODMAN: Mark Crispin Miller, professor of media, culture and communication at New York University is our guest. His most recent book, Loser Take All. Who is Stephen Spoonamore?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Stephen Spoonamore is a conservative Republican, a former McCain supporter and, most importantly, a renowned and highly successful expert at the detection of computer fraud. That’s his profession. He works for major banks. He works for foreign governments. He works for the Secret Service. Those are his clients.
He knows personally the principal players in Bush-Cheney’s conspiracy to subvert our elections through electronic means since 2000, and he has named these principal players. Specifically, he has named a man named Mike Connell. Mike Connell, according to Spoonamore, is Karl Rove’s computer guru. This is the guy who has helped Bush-Cheney fix election results through computers since Florida 2000, in Ohio in 2004, also in the stolen re-election of Governor Don Siegelman in Alabama in 2002, also in the stolen re-election of Senator Max Cleland in Georgia in 2002.

Not energy related but quite important.....

Taiwan now forbids insurance companies to purchase US mortgage backed securities issued by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

If others follow suit, the US is stuck funding it's own mortgage market.

Taiwan insurers ordered out of US agency MBS

The FSC has not only limited insurance company exposure to Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie bonds and mortgage-backed securities, but has decided that existing credit ratings are meaningless.

The FSC says it cannot see how the United States will develop a valid mechanism to assess the credit quality of MBS issued by US federal housing loan agencies, namely Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae.

Hello Datamunger,

The Banker Boyz are trying to nip this trend in the bud:

China urged to join global bailout

Leaders from Asia and Europe have opened a summit in Beijing with a call on China to do more to tackle the "unprecedented" challenges posed by the global financial crisis.

..European governments have already committed more than $2 trillion to banks and money markets in efforts to shore up investor confidence.

But unlike Europe's co-ordinated effort, Asian governments have for the most part limited their intervention to cutting interest rates, guaranteeing bank deposits and injecting money into the credit markets.
Meanwhile, Asian markets plummeted. At this moment:

Nikkei 225 down 9.6 %

Seoul Composite 10.6%

AIG's Liddy Says $122.8 Billion U.S. Loan `May Not Be Enough'
Would 500 Billion U.S. be enough, 1 trillion? I doubt it. From where should this money come from?


It should come from any remaining profitable sectors of the USA economy-it is the new American Way-steal from the taxpayer to pay the crooks.

It is totally absurd: on CNBC they are still discussing whether there is recession or not!!!

TRILLIONS of US$ have been destroyed in all asset classes: real estate, stocks, commodities, corporate bonds.

There is just one "safe" place to be: US Treasuries, at least it seems to be for the time being. How long does it take until this last "safe" place is going to be hammered?

Treasuries will be safe until there is a rise in the rate of inflation. If we go into deflation first, Treasuries will also be highly profitable as the real value of a dollar increases.

I like TIPs (Treasury Inflation Protected securities) because they do provide some protection against inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Also, if you look at the record of the last ten years, TIPs have done way way better than any of the stock indexes. In my opinion, TIPs will continue to outperform the stock market averages.

Dear Don,

How nice to have you back! Though in an apparently reduced capacity? I had wondered if you'd sailed off into the sunset for ever, so it's good to see your still around and watching the great unravelling.

My wife, whose family lost a large fortune and several factories in the last Great Depression, is livid that it's all happening again. She feels like she's turned into her grandmother, who went from a princess to a virtual Cinderella in a few short years. Luckily she's invested in government bonds for her future, similar to what you recommended.

I think this crisis has the potential to be worse than the Great Depression. This is, of course, a minority view, but, as they say in Starwars, I've got a bad feeling about this!

I'm concerned that many of the same people who led us into this mess are in charge of the efforts to get us out again. I'm not convinced they are the right people for the challenge, and the challenge now is preventing the onset of a new Great Depression, not some temporary and shallow recession.

The bubble was 10(100?) times the size, the pop will be 10 times as loud.


Back in a reduced capacity? Surely not. Indeed the doctor says I gained eight pounds and must lose them.

I agree that the Greater Depression, which will be driven by the falling of net oil exports to zero or thereabouts, will be worse than the Great Depression of the thirties, which ran from 1929 through most of 1940 in the U.S. (Unemployment was still above 10% in 1940, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was still nowhere near its 1929 high.) Compared to the long-run consequences of Peak Oil my opinion of the current financial turmoil is that it is relatively small potatoes.

How long until we reach bottom in the forthcoming Greater Depression? My guess is twenty years, and thus if it is starting now we're looking at perhaps 2037 before we reach a stability based on nuclear energy and renewable fuels.

I would worry if I had a portfolio of nothing but ordinary government bonds, because I think double digit inflation (or worse) is in our future, perhaps after a debt deflation. That is why I like TIPs so much. (I imagine that you could get TIPs in Britain or in Europe, in pounds or in euros.)

Did you ever finish that science-fiction novel you were working on more than a year ago? Is it published yet.

Treasuries will be safe until there is a rise in the rate of inflation.

Or until the US has to issue so many treasuries the world cannot soak them up. There now seems to be general agreement that the US budget deficit will top 1 trillion dollars in the current fiscal year. I don't expect things to get any better until/if the economy improves. What's worse is that Reagan's first term debt (1981-1984) was financed with 30-year treasuries and will have to be rolled over starting in 2011 (we're rolling over the relatively tiny Carter debt at the moment). What's worse still is that Dubya, in his infinite wisdom (is there anything he hasn't screwed up?) funded his first term debt with 10-year treasuries, which will also have to be rolled over starting in 2011.

Something like 6 trillion dollars of the national debt is from Reagan's and Bush's first terms. So in addition to trillion dollar plus deficits, we'll have to roll over 6 trillion in old debt in the middle of an historic economic downturn.

Who in their right mind is going to buy that debt? Who, not in their right mind, is going to have that much money? We won't need inflation to trash treasuries, just decades of profligate spending finally coming home to roost.

For Social Security purposes the inflation rate has been 5.8%. I read the other day that T-bills are going for only 1.25%. That is a loss of 3.55% which isn't bad after you've lost 40% in the stock market.

I didn't know that participation in the stock market was mandatory.

I notice a number of stories today about the need for $90 or $70/barrel oil to make development of new resources happen. It is worth thinking about this. Do we really want oil that costs that much to produce? I would say that reduced demand for oil is saying that we don't. If that is the case, then we really want to treat peak oil as peak cheap-to-produce peak oil and plan to end our use of oil as that stuff runs out, not try to extend supplies into the expensive-to-produce stuff. And, if that is so, we need to discourage, as much as possible, exploration for new oil. To do that, we should be continuing to drive the price down with further demand reductions.



Demand won't go down unless the price stays high. The balance between economic anxiety (causing lower demand) and lower prices (increasing demand) will be played out in the coming weeks/months. Human psychology will also enter in the form of "boiled frogs": If external things (economy and prices) stabilize, demand will keep evolving: bored people (even if unemployed) may start driving more.

It seems to me that we can have low demand together with low prices if we ration to control demand. We have a stand-by rationing plan that can be started up by executive order. It is a pretty innovative plan and might be kind of fun to try out.


Hello TODers,

UPDATE 2-Potash Corp says 'sheltered' from worst of crisis

..The company said it mined 5 percent less potash during the quarter than a year earlier, but potash prices were up 262 percent. Production has been curtailed by a strike at three of its Saskatchewan mines that began Aug. 7.

Recently, nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer prices have slipped as buyers held back amid weather delays and uncertain markets, Potash Corp said.

Major phosphate producers have cut back production, which will support prices, Potash Corp said, and the company could take the same tack to cut potash production if demand weakens.

The company said it still expects demand for potash to outstrip supply in coming years, and will move forward on plans to boost capacity by 80 percent by 2012 -- projects worth more than $6 billion.
Thus, IMO, it so far appears that the P & K cartels [legally empowered to collaborate on pricing and I-NPK flowrates by Webb-Pomerene Act,etc] are being more nimble than OPEC is on crude. Time will tell how the sour crude & sour natgas situation will shake out in the sulfur and Haber-Bosch [N] ammonia and urea markets.

This is a good thing, by my estimation, because a collapse in the very long 'pull-system' I-NPK JIT supply chain would be a global disaster, especially with global food reserves already at historic lows per capita. I sure hope we can ramp O-NPK recycling to help long extend the depleting I-NPK.

Job specialization, therefore civilization, depends upon food surpluses. We are evolved to sit in the dark--starvation is a bridge too far...Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

The credit crisis is taking its toll...but what I found interesting is that US airways said that they raised 1 billion in new debt in the last few days. Now I am not anexpert on the credit crisis but if US airways with BBB1- rating (and that comes from agencies who thought subprime was AAA) can raise 1 billion with the level of economic uncertainity I would say thinks are hunky dory.
I think we are setting up for a decent bull market in stocks.

Thanks to Leanan for today's energy headlines.

Oil prices have turned up a bit with expectations of what might come from the OPEC meeting in Vienna tomorrow. The time difference is about six hours between Vienna and New York.


Hello TODers,

Government to stop fertilizer subsidy in 2009

The [Philippines] government is set to stop its fertilizer-subsidy program for palay farmers next year as part of efforts to encourage farmers to use organic fertilizers.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said the department will start promoting the manufacture of organic fertilizers next year.

“While the Department of Agriculture [DA] will continue providing seed support to farmers, it will do away with its fertilizer-subsidy program involving the grant of discount coupons for the purchase of petrochemical fertilizers,” said Yap.
Let's hope the govt. will encourage SpiderWebRiding to help keep O-NPK cheap.

I'm posting a spreadsheet study of UK Oil production from my google account.
If anyone is interested email me at mschwery@gmail.com and I'll give you access to it.

SAO PAULO -(Dow Jones)- Brazilian farmers should purchase about 24 million metric tons of fertilizer in 2008, lower than originally expected, Eduardo Daher, president of the National Association of Fertilizer Distributors, or ANDA, said Wednesday.

"We originally expected to reach 26 million tons in 2008, and now we expect to reach about 24 million tons, close to last year's figure, due mainly to the lack of credit," Daher told Dow Jones Newswires.

Lines of credit have recently been stopped by private-sector lenders such as Cargill, Bunge (BG) and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), he said. Credit is also slow to reach farmers from the public sector, he added.

Brazil is the world's fourth-largest consumer of fertilizer.
IMO, I would expect the Brazilian I-NPK model to be moving more towards the North American model of requiring advanced prepayment. This is financially safer for the I-NPK supply chain, while at the same time it encourages the growth of O-NPK recycling.

Glory Days Fade for U.S. Farmers

.. But growers are hearing from suppliers that fertilizer and seed costs could rise by more than 40% each for next spring's plantings.

..The uncertain outlook already is expected to cool demand for Midwest farmland, where prices have jumped by double-digit percentages for four consecutive years. In June, a piece of McDonough, Ill., farmland sold for $7,750 an acre, just 20 months after the seller had paid $4,700 for it.

Michael Boehlje, a Purdue University agricultural economist, said he expects Midwest farmland prices to decline moderately for as long as five years. Because land is farmers' largest asset and source of collateral, any decline in values would dent their borrowing power.

Drax plans £2bn biomass power stations

Drax uses biomass, or biological material, such as straw, forestry residue and sunflower seed and peanut husks, much of which has to be shipped from around the world.


Who needs topsoil anyway?
They manage to make coal look like the environmentally sound option.

Will there be TOD coverage of ASPO International earlier this week?

Today, I was watching the Nov NG contract and noticed it dropped sharply at around 10AM ET. This was about 35 min before the EIA's "Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report" was published.

Do you think there is a natural explanation for this move or could there be some 'insider dealing' going on?

Yesterday a comment was made regarding Sarah Palin as the GOP nominee in 2012. Since 1952 being the losing VP candidate has essentially ended any chance of being the party's nominee in the future. Of the last 10 losing running mates only Bob Dole and Walter Mondale later became their party's nominee. Dole was the running mate of a sitting president, Jerry Ford in 1976. Mondale was the winning running mate that same year. It took 20 years before Dole led the ticket in 1996. Mondale lost big in 1984. Sarah Palin will take her spot in history along side Ferraro, as the only other woman running mate. She will be remembered like John Sparkman, Estes Kefauver, Henry Lodge, William Miller, Ed Muskie, Sargent Shriver, Lloyd Bentsen, and Jack Kemp.

thomas ;

Do you know what you call Sarah Palin Nov 5 th?

"Hey Waitress"

Sarah Palin walks into a bar with a parrot on her shoulder....

The Bartender says; "Hey, thats really cute, where did you get it"

The Parrot says; "ALASKA" !

On a more serious note. I often see reference here on TOD about black swan events. Could the election of John McCain and Sarah Palin be such a black swan?

The irony wouldn't be lost on me, Obama being black, well half black. Iam not a conspiracy kook by any measure, Ive been involved in too many conspiracies to discount them. As a matter of fact, Iam conspiring right now, too get off this merry-go-round when TSHTF.
Besides, the long lines at this popcicle stand annoy me. Be honest, many of you are thinking the same thing.

Obama isn't black. It's just as accurate to say that he's white.

Since "black" and "white" are politically charged terms, I prefer to say "dark-skinned" and "light-skinned."

e.g. "Because Obama's skin color is darker, some people would never vote for him, on principle. They will vote on principle, only for candidates whose skin color is lighter."

What nonsense ... try this.

McCain wins honestly by a bunch. The resulting black riots prove nothing except a riot is more profitable than working for a wide screen. McCain's cancer returns with a vengence and Sarah takes over and is re-elected in 2012.

Drummers revolt and immediately declare peak oil, Ben and Hank are stung up one night by tourchlight and the end of sustainable life for four and a half billion people.

FUBAR prevails in Washington. So what else is new?

Lynford ; I can see your point of view. Let me see if I can offer a wider angle. A larger population of people, living in a relativley prosperous country, are delegated to grinding poverty, through a corrupt political system. They occasionally misdirect their anger , in a misdirected effort, to gain a "piece of the pie". A piece of the pie that is controled by a small minority of people, who live in splendor and excess of almost unemaginable granduer. Both groups of people are essentialy committing crimes aginst each other.

Now emagine a relatively prosperous nation, who musters a huge military force, and brings this military might, down on a much poorer countries population, in order to rob it of all its resources, just so some in the relatively prosperous nation, can have big screen TV's.

I know its hard to quantify crimes and or criminals, but in my book, some crimes are minor and some are felonious.

Besides, Televisions show Tele-Tubbies and many religious preacher will tell you, Tele-Tubbies are Gay and indoctrinate our youth with perverse thoughts from infancy.

(I hope people get when Iam sarcastic and when Iam not. I hope people are aware of how surreal this place is and the referances to that surrealism fits into my writting)

Insulating our homes — and our wallets

LAST SUMMER, as the price of oil zinged up towards $150 a barrel, I was furious. Not with the speculators, who have since (predictably) had their comeuppance. Not with governments, which were no more dozy than usual. Not with the oil companies, which were simply being what they are. You can’t blame a jackal for being a jackal.

No: I was furious with myself. I knew perfectly well that the price of oil was, sooner or later, going to the moon. (It is, too. Don’t be fooled by its present plunge to a mere $75 or so.) I remember the twin oil shocks of the 1970s, and — like the Danes, who took the hint and made themselves into world leaders in renewable energy — I had taken steps to ensure that another oil shock couldn’t ambush me.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotian/1085549.html


I know several forum members have installed geo-thermal heat pumps in their homes or are giving consideration to such systems, in which case, the following thread may be of interest to you.



Surprised nobody has mentioned that S&P, Dow and Nasdaq futures have all been suspended at limit down.

Stocks Tumble, Yen Rallies on Economy; U.S. Futures Plunge by Daily Limit

Trading in futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was limited to stop contracts from dropping, following declines of more than 6 percent.

And OPEC Cuts Production by 1.5 Million Barrels a Day

VIENNA -- Eager to rein in a dramatic slide in oil prices, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided Friday to make a deep cut in oil production, taking 1.5 million barrels a day off global markets as it embarks on the task of managing prices amid a potential global recession.

The move comes as oil prices trade near 16-month lows, depressed by a drop in demand in major consuming nations and the financial crisis that has gripped global markets.

In a statement following their meeting, OPEC said "the financial crisis is already having a noticeable impact ...

Edit: Here's Denninger today

One sentence this morning

"Told you so."

...Absent something extraordinary, we are going to crash this morning in the stock market.

For real.

No, what you saw earlier this month wasn't a crash.

This is a crash.

I expect some sort of intervention will be attempted. It won't work for long, if at all.

I need a drink, and its 5:30 in the morning.