DrumBeat: October 25, 2008

Crisis could trigger big public transit payments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Transit agencies around the country may have to come up with billions of dollars to repay investors as long-term financing deals disintegrate, a result of the global credit crisis that could eventually affect millions of commuters.

The problems stem from the collapse of insurance giant American International Group, which had guaranteed financing deals between transit agencies and banks. Officials say about 30 transit agencies across the country have entered into these types of deals, including those in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington. The fallout could mean less money for new trains and buses at a time when ridership in many areas has been steadily climbing because of high fuel prices.

Rob Healy, vice president for government affairs at the American Public Transportation Association, said some agencies could be forced to increase fares, cut bus routes and delay long-term capital improvement projects.

"You've got agencies struggling to meet increased demand, they are hamstrung by the higher cost of fuel ... and this is exposing them to additional costs," Healy said.

Anger over BP and Royal Dutch Shell profits

OIL giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell will court fresh controversy this week when they unveil a combined £8.8 billion ($14 billion) in profits for the three months to September.

The pair will reveal the gains - equivalent to about $77m a day for both companies - just days after Gordon Brown threatened to call in the Office of Fair Trading to investigate fuel pricing if companies did not pass on the recent drop in the oil price to consumers.

Gulf oil producers cite new urgency for monetary union

RIYADH — Gulf Arab oil producers said they had already taken adequate steps to deal with the impact of the global financial crisis but that turmoil on world markets had given new urgency to their plan for monetary union.

Finance ministers and central bank governors of the Gulf Co-operation Council held an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss co-ordination of their response to a global downturn that threatens to brake their region's six-year economic boom.

Economy, politics, and oil: Neil King spills all

The biggest myth of all, and it’s a word that they both use regularly, is the concept of energy independence. It’s a nice aspiration to motivate us, but the idea that anytime soon—or probably ever—we will be totally separate from our reliance on foreign oil is really a pipe dream. We will have to create so much energy of some form of our own, it’ll take a long time to get that going, and we’re not going to find that much more on our own shores. So that’s the biggest single myth: the idea that energy independence is anywhere within sight.

The one thing that neither candidate ever talks about, because it’s just so out of fashion, is the word “sacrifice,” or the idea that we should conserve. Everyone agrees in the energy world that the best way we could create a new form of energy would be to save energy, but that add-on that we could do now is just through conservation. But that also automatically sounds like anti-growth [on the political stage], and so on.

What's Behind (and Ahead for) the Plunging Price of Oil

It doesn't feel like it, but we got a raise this week. The plunging price of oil, which prompted OPEC to announce a 1.5 million barrel a day production cut, has put money in the pockets of recession-worried consumers. "It follows that there's going to be some spending effect," said Francisco Blach head of commodities research at Merrill Lynch in London

Palin pipeline terms curbed bids

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Gov. Sarah Palin's signature accomplishment — a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 — emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration, an Associated Press investigation shows.

Angola: Nation to Reduce Crude Oil Production

Angola will cut down 99,000 barrels a day from its current daily output estimated at about two million barrels, Angop learned.

This follows a decision from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to reduce its production by 1.5 million barrels a day, as a result of the drop in the price of crude oil in the international market.

Pirates hijack Nigeria oil ship

LAGOS (Reuters) - Pirates in Nigeria attacked at least two oil vessels in the offshore waters of the Niger Delta on Saturday, briefly seizing a group of oil workers including seven French citizens, security sources said.

Gunmen early Saturday hijacked the vessel Bourbon Ajax in the oil-producing delta, also taking 10 Nigerians on board hostage, two private security sources said.

Nigeria: Oil Workers Call Off Strike

Abuja - Members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the Nigerian Union of Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have called off their proposed strike scheduled to have commenced at the end of a 14-day ultimatum given the Federal Government to halt the sale of some key outfits in the oil and gas sector.

Demographics, markets shrink furniture designs

A trend at this week's High Point Market is for smaller furniture that fits into smaller living spaces. The twice-a-year furniture industry trade show in High Point, N.C., displays thousands of new home furnishings that consumers could see in stores in a few months.

Furniture manufacturers are responding to downsizing baby boomers and the growing appeal of urban living by reducing the scale of dressers, coffee tables, night stands, and the like. They are compressing home offices into a single fold-out cabinet. And they're cutting back the length of sofas and entertainment centers that sprawled across the length of wall in McMansions.

What does oil have to do with the price of bread? A lot

LONDON — Our eyes have been fixed in horror on the price of oil, the price of gold, the price of the Canadian dollar, the price of bank shares, the price of our house, the price of credit. Fair enough: These are the yardsticks of the economic crisis, the gauges of the world's health.

But we ought to keep our eyes on the price of a loaf of bread. This, too, has been fluctuating wildly: The global price soared this spring to almost double what it was a year before, and then plunged over the summer and autumn by 40 per cent, along with most other food prices – proving, in a way we have never seen before, that food is a global commodity, completely linked to petroleum, metal and other tradable goods.

UN urges 'drastic' action to help banks and poor

"The danger is a succession of cascading financial crises," Ban warned. "This demands drastic measures. The IMF and the world's central banks may need to set up substantial standby lines of credit for proactive intervention, so that banks in developing nations, too, have adequate funds to draw on in emergency."

The credit crisis engulfing nations from central Europe to Latin America and emerging markets ranging from Turkey to South Africa "compounds the food crisis, the energy crisis, the crisis of development in Africa," Ban said.

"It could be the final blow that many of the poorest of the world's poor simply cannot survive," he warned.

Clinton links food, energy and financial woes

Former US President Bill Clinton urged the international community to stop using the global financial crisis “as an excuse” to avoid dealing with escalating hunger, adding that over the long term, only agricultural self-sufficiency could take a significant bite out of world hunger and stave off future financial woes.

Normal service will be resumed

But whoever wins the presidential election, the next administration is sure to want to ramp up America's bungling "war on terror", most likely by taking the failed Afghan campaign into Pakistan. Maybe the war on terror will simply implode, along with the American financial system. Certainly, the vast levels of military expenditure of the past 20 years cannot be sustained. But it is hard to see the US, which alone among the countries engaged in Afghanistan still believes the war can be won, quietly departing the scene. A political solution is nowhere on the agenda. Even Obama has urged that US forces hunt down the Taliban by following them into Pakistan. If this happens America will have mired itself and the world in another intractable conflict, this time in an increasingly unstable state that is also nuclear.

Pakistan: A worsening crisis

Pakistan has plunged into a severe energy crisis over the past few months. Consumers all over the country are enduring long hours of load-shedding – from 10-15 hours on a daily basis – in the wake of power shortages that has crippled civic life as well as industry, trade and commerce. The shortfall in electricity supply has steadily worsened in recent years. The crisis will further deepen in the next two years due to an almost 50 percent increase in electricity demand. By 2010, the shortfall is predicted to exceed 5,000 MW, more than the current combined output of the country’s two largest hydroelectric power stations. Important energy programmes are being delayed for a number of reasons, including bureaucratic hesitation, a lack of political will and consensus and absence of private-sector interest.

Pakistan: Rice mill owners threaten to shutdown their mills to protest against prolonged power outages

The rice mill owners of Badin threatened to close their mills till unknown period, if the problem of load shedding problem will not be solved by 1st November. This was decided in the meeting of the rice mill owners belonging to Tando Bago, Matli, Golarchi, Talhar, Kariyo Ghanwar, Khorwah and other areas, which was presided by the Vice President of Sindh Balochistan Rice Mills Associations, Haji Muhammad Nawaz Memon on Friday.

Addressing the meeting the participants of the meeting said that they are facing great financial loss due to 16 to 18 hours prolonged power outages.

Israel Worried about Washington-Tehran Talks under Obama

TEHRAN (FNA)- Israel is making discussions on future US-Iranian ties with some concerns and worries over a possible direct talks between Washington and Tehran if Senator Barack Obama wins the US presidential elections.

Israel expects Washington to initiate direct talks with Iran if Obama is elected president, in which case a critical Israeli interest would be to condition any talks between the West and Iran on halting uranium enrichment, Zionist daily Ha'aretz quoted a senior government source as saying.

Jet Airways Posts Biggest Loss in Three Years on Fuel

(Bloomberg) -- Jet Airways (India) Ltd., the nation's largest domestic carrier, posted its biggest quarterly loss in more than three years after jet fuel expenses surged.

BC Pipeline Explosions: Inside an Explosive Situation

TOMSLAKE, B.C., VANCOUVER — For Christine Mortensen, it's the headaches. Ms. Mortensen and her husband run a cattle operation near Tomslake in northeastern B.C. and live across a gravel road from an EnCana compressor site that, on occasion, flares gas 24 hours a day.

At those times, Ms. Mortensen is plagued by headaches that sap her energy and that she's convinced are related to emissions from the EnCana stack.

So she can imagine how someone might be frustrated enough by a gas operation to want to blow it into smithereens. Imagine – but not understand.

Diesel shortage 'dire' for shoppers

Alberta's diesel supply crunch -- expected to continue into next month -- could result in a shortage of everything from produce to electronics on store shelves, warns the province's trucking industry.

Asphalt plant's oil use kicked to curb

Residents near the city's northwest periphery are breathing a little easier after a busy asphalt plant resumed using diesel after last week, sparking controversy by reverting back to smelly recycled oil.

A provincewide diesel shortage forced the province to temporarily go back to burning recycled oil as a fuel source for the plant at the Stoney Tr. gravel pit at 85 St. N.W., leaving homeowners worried their communities would be shrouded in thick, noxious smoke.

But in an e-mail that went out to residents yesterday, the province said a source of ultra-low sulphur diesel has been found and is expected to last until the end of this year's construction season.

Down market shrinking capacity: OTA survey

Cash flow is increasingly threatened as customers are taking longer to pay freight bills. About 45 percent of respondents said receivables are being delayed compared to a year ago.

At the same time, access to credit is tightening (65 percent) -- most likely as a result of the blowback from banks and credit markets collapsing south of the border.

Oil firms cautioned

AUSTRALIA'S big oil companies have been warned by the Federal Government's Petrol Commissioner that he expects prices to come down this week.

French conservation decreases motor fuel demand

PARIS - High oil prices and dwindling domestic purchase power over the first 9 months of this year pulled down motor fuel consumption in France by 1.9%, indicated the oil trade group Union Francaise des Industries Petrolieres (UFIP).

Venezuela announces slash on oil production

The Venezuelan gov`t announced Friday a slash on crude oil production by 129,000 barrels per day, from the current daily output of 3.6 million barrels.

Gas prices fall again

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Gasoline prices fell again, tumbling to the lowest price in a year, according to a daily survey of credit card swipes released Saturday.

Late Corn Affects Local Ethanol Production

The delayed corn harvest is causing more than just frustration to farmers; it's having an affect on the local ethanol industry as well.

The ethanol plant in Mina will temporarily go off line as soon as it runs out of corn and that could happen soon. The plant gets the majority of its corn from the North Central Farmers Elevator of Ipswich.

No Longer a Farm, but Still Hard at Work

WARREN, Conn. - ON a warm spring morning in 1979, the Hopkins family took delivery of thousands of young grapevines that would transform their 200-year-old farm here from making milk to making wine.

“I remembered it being a very difficult decision,” said Hilary H. Criollo, who was 13 at the time and helped her parents plant the first six acres of grapes. “I remember that the neighbors thought they were crazy.”

Her parents had considered the wine business for a few years because of two persistent challenges: a national energy crisis that made fuel for farm machinery expensive, and the worries of environmentalists that farm animal waste might pollute Lake Waramaug, a 680-acre tourist draw whose northern shore was below the farm.

Deffeyes: Was It Deliberate? - Peak oil was the cause; the financial disaster was an effect

Warning: I am not convinced that the following event actually happened, but it is an important possibility to explore.

The current financial crisis is clearly not simply the bursting of the housing bubble. The underlying cause was world oil production. The housing crisis is a symptom, not the disease.

Timing: World oil production stopped growing (on schedule) in 2005. The first big news in the financial crisis was the collapse of Bear Stearns in March 2008.

Size: A $100 per barrel increase on 30 billion barrels of oil per year is a $3 trillion annual drain on the world economy.

The Ultimate Race: Winning Is Infectious!

As we always advise, when in a conundrum, which is a Tim McCarver word for "tough spot," think of Tom Brady! Peak Oil's price run-up this summer is just like No. 12's season-opening knee injury—devastating on its face. But the worst isn't over. Just because oil prices start to come down doesn't mean anything is healing. Think of the rampant oil price deflation, which has made the oil companies even less likely to explore for new sources, as the staph infection that in the long run can do even more damage!

Greece: President warns of looming global crisis

"What is emerging in recent times is the downfall of a specific cultural model, the ideological delegitimisation of a method of economic development and operation of society," Papoulias said.

The world was approaching a difficult conjuncture when it would have to face the combined challenges of the international financial crisis, the food crisis, the energy crisis, the environmental crisis and geopolitical conflicts that threatened global peace and stability, the president added.

OPEC cut 'too late' to stop slide

Unlike CIBC economist Jeff Rubin, who says supply constraints and expensive unconventional oil will push prices back up, Verleger argues the forces at work on the demand side are stronger and will prevail.

Case in point: Regardless of which candidate wins the U.S. presidential election, the new administration will push for energy conservation, Verleger said.

Demand destruction during a recession, he said, has a much greater long-term impact on prices.

Cheaper oil, poorer Canada

OTTAWA -- Consumers and manufacturers are reaping the benefits of OPEC's inability to prevent the slump in global crude oil prices, but the lower energy price is also eroding the wealth of Canadians right across the country.

Speculation undermines the right to food

The price increase has several explanations. There are long term factors, such as increases in demand, insufficient agricultural productivity in several developing countries, structural adjustment programmes crowding out local food production in favour of cash crops and bio-fuels, as well as short term factors such as bad harvests and the depreciation of the dollar. But these factors alone cannot explain the dramatic increase in such a short time.

KENYA: Biofuels Boom and Bust

NAIROBI (IPS) - The Kenyan government has hailed bio-diesel as an innovation that combines green politics with poverty reduction. But recent drops in biofuel prices have caused concern about the sustainability of alternative fuel production.

A 21st-century battle we must win for all the world's sake

IF THE 1930s are any guide, the seismic shock hitting the global economy has a long way to go. First came the plummeting stocks on Wall Street, then the social trauma of mass unemployment, soup kitchens and skid row. But they in turn triggered much deeper changes.

From the wreckage of the Depression emerged radical new approaches to running the world's economies: Roosevelt's New Deal, Keynesian beliefs in using government spending to manage slumps, and, in developing countries, a wholesale switch away from reliance on exporting raw materials such as coffee or copper to the pursuit of industrialisation.

...Even before the current crisis, the world was facing new challenges. Since the Second World War, massive economic growth based on fossil fuels has brought material benefits to millions. Now we are entering an age of scarcity – of water, fertile soil and, above all, carbon.

Whether through the onset of "peak oil" or the response to climate change, the rationing of carbon will transform the nature and language of politics. Avoiding catastrophic climate change while still allowing poor countries to grow their way out of poverty will require the United States and Canada to reduce their per capita emissions from 20 tonnes to roughly two (some argue it should be nearer one tonne). The average starting point for Germany and France is ten tonnes per head. China stands at three tonnes.

Boom will return, don't ask when

Mr. Komesaroff has worked in the industry for 30 years and said he has never seen a price collapse as swift and deep as the one now clobbering commodities. The prices of most have fallen between 50 and 70 per cent since the summer as the financial crisis, sputtering economic growth and the rising U.S. dollar sap demand and buyers' confidence. He, and others, think the exodus of the hedge funds and other commodity speculators are only accelerating the fall. "I don't think we've seen the bottom," Mr. Komesaroff said. "There's more to come."

Indeed, in the past 24 hours, the commodities drubbing has gone from bad to worse. Asian and European stock markets were hammered again yesterday. Copper traded as low as $1.66 a pound yesterday, its weakest level in more than three years. Peak oil? Try weak oil. The price of crude slid as much as 7.7 per cent to below $63 a barrel on the belief that a full-blown global recession will squelch demand.

Saudi bourse plunges as Gulf ministers meet

RIYADH (AFP) – The Saudi stock market, the largest in the Arab world, began its trading week on Saturday with a nine percent plunge to sink to its lowest point in four years.

The renewed nosedive came as policymakers from Gulf states met in Riyadh to seek a common response to the global economic crisis.

Big Oil, the big survivor

Democrats pledged in their election campaigns to take action against the oil industry, climate change, and the war in Iraq - all three of which are intimately and rightly connected in the public's mind. The Democrats failed to deliver. Far too often, Big Oil's money appeared to be the reason why.

In one particularly glaring example, the Center for American Progress investigated the relationship between votes and campaign contributions in connection with HR 2776, the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007. The bill would have eliminated $16 billion in oil and gas industry tax breaks to fund clean energy alternatives. Between 1989 and 2006, members of Congress who voted against the bill received on average four times more money in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry (approximately $100,000) than those who voted for the bill (approximately $26,000). The bill ultimately died.

Khurais Oil Field on Stream in Mid-2009

Saudi Arabia will bring on stream its 1.2 million barrel a day Khurais oil field development in mid-2009, the country's oil minister Ali Naimi said Friday.

"Come June 2009 and you will see Khurais (oil field) on stream," Naimi said, speaking after agreeing with fellow OPEC members to cut the group's crude output by 1.5 million barrels a day to stem a decline in oil prices.

Growth of Oil Exporting Countries to Decline - IMF

International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that the economic growth of Africa's oil exporting countries was expected to fall by half a point to an average 8 percent in 2008.

This, it said, is due to the "lower-than-expected output in the Niger Delta and Equatorial Guinea plus weaker non-oil growth in Chad due to insecurity " as well as global financial turmoil.

The Financial Crisis Symptom of Unsound Economy

Where is the voice for rebuilding the American economy through re-industrialization?

America's fundamental problem is that the economy is fundamentally unsound. it is hollowed out--a consumer economy that depends on persuading people to buy stuff they don't need with money they don't have.

That's a cruel scam, not an economy.

China to give soft loan of $1.5 billion to Pakistan

BEIJING: China is quietly working to provide Pakistan a soft loan of $1.5 billion to overcome its financial crisis in addition to more than $3.7 billion to be invested in the telecom and power generation sectors in the next two to three years, Chinese officials said. Despite all security issues and financial pressures, China has decided to stand by its two trusted friends — Pakistan and Nigeria — where China will invest more than $4 billion by the end of 2009, they said.

The Long Road Ahead - Are You Ready for the Worst the Economy Has to Offer?: Are we headed for a deflationary period followed by a tidal wave of inflation?

So, the question begs itself again: what will we do? Under the best circumstances we will reorganize our society and economy at a lower level of energy use (and probably a lower scale of governance, too). The catch is, it will have to be a whole lot lower. I think we'll be very lucky fifty years from now to have a few hours a day of electricity to do things with.

Credit crunch darkens solar’s prospects

At the solar industry’s big annual conference in San Diego last week, renewable energy executives were euphoric over Congress’ 11th-hour passage this month of an eight-year investment tax credit that would allow big solar power plants to get up and running, eventually allowing for economies of scale crucial to driving down the price of green electricity. Then a dark clouded drifted over the sun-splashed proceedings in the form of three somber-suited men bearing ominous PowerPoint presentations.

The message from Wall Street: The credit crunch will wallop big solar plant projects that need billions of dollars in financing to get built.

Battle over coal mining gets a windy twist

Massey Energy, holder of state permits to blast 6,000 acres, sees the future — and a fortune — in Coal River Mountain. With the spot-market price of steam coal at $133 a ton and likely to rise, the mountain is a resource capable of feeding power plants for 14 years. Massey plans to start work as soon as federal regulators approve.

But Gibson and others propose a future in which the mountain survives.

Mine coal the traditional way, they say. Dig tunnels and leave the top intact for 200 windmills. Generate enough electricity for 150,000 homes. Let the mountain produce energy forever.

Iraq's Farm Sector Crumbling As Drought Bites

BAGHDAD - A severe drought will force Iraq to import 40 percent more wheat in 2008/09, the agriculture minister said, even as the country struggles to revive a sector crippled by decades of neglect and decay.

Wyoming Carbon Capture Threatened by Wall Street Credit Seizure

Capturing carbon dioxide, pumping it underground and storing it there forever may be key to curbing the greenhouse gas that causes global warming. The problem for Surdam in Wyoming, which supplies 39 percent of U.S. coal and relies on the fuel for about 20 percent of annual revenue, is that already tight research funding may be squeezed further by the global financial crisis.

Climate change may drown cities

People in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, prefer to commute in three-wheeled autorickshaws, taxis and buses that run on compressed natural gas (CNG), in their bid to slow down global warming.

CNG produces a lower level of greenhouse gases and is an environmentally cleaner alternative to petrol. Dhaka's residents are among the most vulnerable to global warming and don't want to become "climate terrorists".

The city is among more than 3,000 identified by the UN-Habitat's State of the World's Cities 2008/09 as facing the prospect of sea level rise and surge-induced flooding. The report warns policymakers, planners and the world at large that few coastal cities will be spared the effects of global warming.

Tuvalu refugees 'last resort'

AUSTRALIA will help resettle climate change refugees but only as a last resort, federal immigration officials have admitted.

This has prompted the Greens to call for a new visa category to cover climate change refugees.

Climate commission says global warming threatens Va. coastline

The state Commission on Climate Change issued its first findings today about how global warming will affect Virginia.

The commission found, among other things, that:

● a rising sea level is a major concern for low-lying Hampton Roads. A warmer climate causes the sea to rise, in part from the melting of glaciers.

● the continued affordability of insurance is a problem as the planet warms. Some experts say a warmer planet will generate worse storms.

● climate change will cause some species to disappear from Virginia by changing their habitats.

Global Warming Commission approves final revisions to report

LITTLE ROCK -- The Arkansas Governor's Commission on Global Warming on Thursday approved final revisions to its report containing 54 recommendations for reducing the state's contributions to climate change.

Climate Change Seeps into the Sea

Good news has turned out to be bad. The ocean has helped slow global warming by absorbing much of the excess heat and heat-trapping carbon dioxide that has been going into the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Dynegy Agrees to Warn Investors About Climate Change Risks

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Nearly two months after forcing one of the country's largest utilities to disclose climate change risks to investors, New York's attorney general reached an agreement Thursday with Dynegy requiring that it offer investors a glimpse into potential liabilities posed by global warming.

Climate Change Poses Risks, Advantages to Insurers, Zurich Says

(Bloomberg) -- Climate change poses risks to insurers as economic losses from weather-related disasters have risen 2 percent a year since 1970. Insurers, though, can turn global warming to their advantage, Zurich Financial Services AG said.

Warming weather raises flood dangers and the frequency and severity of catastrophes such as hurricanes, Zurich's Australian unit said today in a report. Rather than drop coverage of those at risk, insurance companies should help clients adapt, it said.

Hello TODers; I see everyone is busy putting in seed orders. Stocking the root cellar and pantry shevles. I think its a prudent idea myself. I can't see the down side at all. Everyone busy as a bee, insulating and checking stocks. Making lists, knocking out those projects that have been neglected. Ever notice how handy a life preserver is when the boats sinking? Or a fire extinguisher is during a fire?
Nothing gets people busier than a calamity I always say......that reminds me, Ive got something too do.

Wish I was near by and could lend a hand to any who needed one. And lets be honest, I could use help also once in a while.


RE: Climate Change Poses Risks, Advantages to Insurers, Zurich Says

Here's an example of an extreme weather event:

Floods in the desert?

These mud brick cities in Yemen have been around since the 15th century. Couldn't be Climate Change, could it?

E. Swanson

Per the AR Climate change Report.

If the state wants to address AGW, then they can shut down the SWEPCO/
Fulton Co coal fired plant that is being sued.

And the people can vote down the sneaky referendum that Guv Beebe
snuck onto the ballot to drive the Grand Prairie Irrigation Project.

The GPIP drives right thru the Ivory Billed Woodpecker's prime habitat
in order to benefit, maybe, 17 rice farmers.

Couldn't be Climate Change, could it?

No! We never claim any single event is caused by climate change. Even if a thousand year event (one per millenium on average) is now a decadal event, there is no proof we wouldn't have been unlucy enough to experience it anyway.

The problem with this (formally correct) logic, is that it helps the do nothing crowd. Since few members of the public think in terms of probabilities, the inability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt causation for any single catastrophy, means we can continue to discount the damage.

Pedal-Powered Delivery Methods Save Big Bucks

..Equipped with flatbeds, baskets or cargo lockers, the new generation of delivery bikes can haul just about anything. At New Amsterdam Project, a "human-powered delivery service" in Boston, trikes outfitted with bright red cargo bins can deliver up to 800 pounds of goods in all kinds of weather.

That kind of flexibility, along with rising gas prices, has helped push the 1-year-old company to $100,000 in sales, according to general manager Wenzday Jane.
Consider that a horse cannot carry 800 lbs on it back. I think many people underestimate the leverage generated by selectable gearsets on modern multispeed bikes. Then add a small batt/motor for assist on the steeper grades.

SpiderWebRiding 800 lbs of I-NPK many miles out to the countryside or permaculture area might result in 8 tons of food that can be later harvested and pedaled back to the city or a nearby RR & TOD depot.

Hi Bob, have you seen this?

I'd be tempted to put a couple of square metres of PV above the capsule to provide a couple of hundred Watts of motive power.

Hello OMGlikeWTF,

Thxs for responding--seen it before. Looks like great fun, but too expensive per installed mile compared to how I envision postPeak SpiderWebRiding being mostly used to move essential cargoes over a dual-purpose pipeline and narrow gauge rail network.

We can postPeak move large loads very comfortably and smoothly for many rail miles [30 miles max for a 500 lb load?] on gear-selectable railbikes at moderate speed [5-15mph], or we can be like the poor Zimbabwean worker transporting a 10 foot long, 100+ lb load of firewood on our head for a very short max distance [5 miles?] at a very slow and exhausting pace [1-3 mph, with lots of resting stops]. See earlier link for photo.

If you were a farmer who needed to get 200 fresh eggs to market, wouldn't you prefer a very smooth railbike ride into town? Or would you rather take the chance on some worker's head-balancing skills over potholed roads and through slippery sewage overflows?

How much more efficient is a railbike versus a standard tirebike on pavement? For single person, no cargo most of the energy is consumed fighting air resistance. Of course as speeds lower, and loads increase, I would expect that the proportion of dissapative losses due to rolling resistance will increase. At what point do the rails become important?

Hello Enemy of state,

Thxs for responding. I am not an engineer, so I don't know the specifics of frictional loadings and rolling resistance.

But if everyone needs tires postPeak--IMO, the price will go to Unobtainium. Even bicycle and wheelbarrow tubes & tires will be prized possessions. But by going to steel-wheel on steel-rail as much as possible: you could have one set of wheels that last a lifetime if the bearings are regularly replaced before the bearing race gets damaged. Compare with 100 or more tires for the same mileage.

Also, if the asphalt roads can't be maintained--riding a bicycle will be a pounding experience. A smooth railtrack should be preferred, and will be much less costly to install and maintain for all seasons [mud, snow, ice, flooding].

OPEC cut 'too late' to stop slide

Case in point: Regardless of which candidate wins the U.S. presidential election, the new administration will push for energy conservation, Verleger said.

This guy must not be listening to the same Obama and McCain that I listen to.

All I hear coming out of Obama's and McCain's mouths is an urgency to increase growth, increase consumption and increase consumer spending. I have listened very carefully, and I don't recall either candidate ever uttering the word "conservation."

There's talk of a stimulus package to get spending and consumption going again, but building energy infrastructure doesn't seem to be part of it.

This fellow sounds like another one of those who lives in a parrallel universe, totally disconected from the one I live in.

Yes, but the cultural bias for growth is very strong - any politician who advocates shrinking the economy would be committing political suicide. The general public isn't ready to give up on the status quo and are looking for the leaders to bandage it all together for a while longer. And I might add that the general public hasn't grasped the problems that exist with unending growth.

What to me is of far more interest is in choosing leaders that are intelligent enough to be capable of understanding the predicament that we are in, and then finding ways of leading us through it.


I certainly don't disagree. But what you argue only supports what I am saying, and that is that Americans may indeed conserve energy, but it won't be because they want to. It will be because they have to. And like you say, this is deeply rooted in the culture. The writer of the article I was responding to seems to believe there's some huge ground swell of enthusiasm in America for energy conservation (and therefore oil prices are going to come crashing down). I don't see it. (This isn't to say that oil prices might not come down from where they are now, but it won't be for the reason he cites.)

Paul Krugman talks about the difficulties of selling energy or green investment as part of the upcoming stimulus packages in this interview with Charlie Rose:


The discussion about commodity prices, oil prices, alaternative energy investment and green investment is between minutes 31:00 and 33:00.

Rose says that green and alternative energy investments should be central to any stimulus package, but Krugman kind of pooh-poohs the idea, implying that that is politically impractical.

While what Krugman says may or may not be true, that doesn't mean the folks at TOD shouldn't keep up the good fight. Therein lies the difference between being an advocate and being a politician.

Here is another view.

Wiki: "Energy conservation is the practice of decreasing the quantity of energy used."

People are not thinking at all about practicing (willing) conservation. People will use as much energy as they can afford. A person with a million $ plus doesn't think of price of gas or MPG. A person without a job thinks a lot about the price of gas and MPG. The reason the consumption is going down is that many people cannot afford as much energy as before, not that there is any thought of conservation. If price of gas would go back to $1/gal and jobs created, the demand would go right back up. What conservation?

Yes, but the cultural bias for growth is very strong

Interesting anecdote.

In one of the Master Plan sessions for the City of New Orleans (some good outside experts "helping", but citizens, anyone willing to spend the time, mostly drive this process); "growth" was treated as an assumed good in the prepared material. Another citizen challenged this assumption (I thought it) and the general consensus was that "stability" and an increasing quality of life (better education, less crime, better mass transit/more streetcars) rather than "growth" should be the goal.

Best Hopes for Stability and a Better Quality of Life,


the general consensus was that "stability" and an increasing quality of life (better education, less crime, better mass transit/more streetcars) rather than "growth" should be the goal.

Yeah, but is "stability" as appealing to those who do not have the wealth and leisure to attend planning meetings?

And how do you fund "increasing quality of life" without growth? How do you pay for better education, better services like transportation?

People do say they don't want growth if they think of it terms of more sprawl or more traffic on the roads, etc. But they are still in favor of growth. Nobody wants job losses or a lower quality of life.

and I don't recall either candidate ever uttering the word "conservation."

I don't think thats entirely true (at least in spirit). Back during the peak of the gasoline price spike, McCain was making fun of Obama, for suggesting people inflate their tires to reduce consumption. Of course talking efficiency, instead of lifestyle change is admittedly the easy part politically. But both candidates at least give lip service to energy efficiency. And Obama has proposed incentives to accelerate the move towards plugin hybrids. Any candidate who pushed for serious lifestyle or economic system changes would get about as many votes as the green party, and hence become irrelevant.

It seems to me that green party candidates are very relevant since they put adequate choices up at the ballot box. As of June 2007, there were 266 greens holding elected office in the US. http://www.feinstein.org/greenparty/electeds.html At least 245 greens are on the ballot this November: http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=123


The above link; Deffeyes: Was It Deliberate? - Peak oil was the cause; the financial disaster was an effect is very interesting. I agree that peak oil was the cause of the current financial meltdown. In fact I have stated as much in several posts on Drumbeats. However I emphatically disagree with his hypothesis that it might have been deliberately engineered. I don't think Deffeyes believes this either. This is just a bit of "tongue-in-cheek" on his part.

Ron Patterson

OK then. Just think about this. The US and Europe have known
since the '30's, at least, that oil is everything.

It was no accident that Stalingrad happened. Or that the Japanese
lost the Battle of Leyte Gulf by running out of bunker oil.

That the CIA and National Petroleum Council were formed at the same
time. That the Church Committee 1979 classified info on when
Ghwar would peak(in 2003. Matt Simmons source).

The Military hires the finest minds to plan for the future.
The latest $700 billion bail out plan was pulled off the shelf by the
Treasury-Operation Break the Glass(Author-Kashkari).

Since 1985 Greenspan has known that keeping Prime Rate below
inflation rate blows bubbles. The "I've found a flaw in my free market
ideology" is a lie.

What you're witnessing is Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine. Driving the
economy into the ground while enriching the elite and creating debt slaves has been the goal.

It's no accident that the only time the wealth disparity has come together was from 1929 -32.

pretty obvious the whole thing's a setup, a response to peak oil.

the shakers and movers have probably been planning the endgame for global peak oil production since the american peak became obvious, dont you think?

how very nice that the people most likely to be paying attention were installed into the american government in time to get an oil acquisition project underway before peak oil became too obvious.

it's way too bad that their efforts to achieve "benevolent global hegemony" by controlling energy have, so far, killed another million people.

some benevolence, huh?

and it's way too bad that peak oil happened so soon, and prices got so out of hand, but maybe that was part of the plan, too... an attempt to recruit american support for the project, assuming that a significant number of americans have been dumbed down, demoralized and brutalized enough to hold still for oil wars... not to mention the fact that now high oil prices, even though they've "gone away", can now be blamed for the financial crash.

how very nice that the powers-that-be have been putting this toolbox together to deal with peak oil, and have been able to flood the world economy with bogus "securities" that will drag everyone down with us... which ought to obscure the fact that this whole dismal performance is nothing but a response to peak oil.

My analogy is that the debt buildup is analogous to a dry forest, with knee high dead underbrush, i.e., a firestorm just waiting for a trigger.

Flat crude oil production and two years of declining net oil exports--and the resulting increase in oil prices--are analogous to a guy dropping a lit match in said forest, during high wind conditions, with aerial tankers dropping napalm, instead of fire retardant.

Of course not, people in power are stupid and never heard of peak oil and never plan ahead. Everybody on the internet is much smarter. Even when Cheney was caught with his hand in the cookie jar with maps of Iraqi oil fields in his secretive "Energy Task Force" meetings back in 2000, it was just pure coincidence that he was in Iraq a few years later. Even if he was signatory of a foreign policy plan stating the need for "A new Pearl Harbor" to get into Iraq, again, just a lucky coincidence. And to top off all coincidences we had the biggest asset bubble in history fueled by loans that are never going to be paid back because of peak oil and ironically a select few people that coincidentally were part of the financial firms that fueled the asset bubble own all the property that was attached to the loans, again it will be a coincidence, because people of power never plan ahead or coordinate in secret but they are extremely lucky with obviously random events. Again, don't we feel superior that we saw this and those dumb dumb billionaires did not because if there was a secret coordination of huge events we would feel like suckers and we would not want that.

"I agree that peak oil was the cause of the current financial meltdown."

Peak Oil caused Freddie & Fannie to buy all those subprime loans? (46%) Peak oil caused those mortgages to be securitized and traded like Halloween candy in the private sector? (54%) Peak oil caused a real estate bubble? I don't think so.

Did high oil prices, gasoline play a part in slowing the economy? Yes.

The current collapse does not have a "THE" cause. Little in complex systems does. Peak Oil is a cause. And the idea that this whole thing isn't to some degree planned is absurd. "The ME is where the prize ultimately lies" and "We need another 50mb/d by 2010" (rr something like that.) The speaker, of course, is Cheney, the man who has run the nation for the last 8 years. Their solution is to pretend PO and AGW don't exist, but invade Iraq? To be able to believe that to be a legitimate response to the problems they knew of would require a suspension of disbelief on the order of an adult believing in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus - and that they were co-habitating.

Yes, there has to have been some intentional actions. Were they for profit? Power? Survival? Control? What the extent? What the ultimate design?

Who knows.

I do know there is one and only one solution: rule of the people, by the people.



I wonder how ethanol is fairing with gas headed to $2.50 a gallon? And why aren't we investing in coal to liquids refineries ...

Before long it will be so cold that even the dumbest among us will recognize there is something wrong with Al Gore.

Gas is 2.23 a gallon at the nearby walmart. I tell my buddies not to worry; we will burn off all our inventories this winter and come spring/summer we'll see new highs for gasoline, just like this year and the year before.

However, if the economy continues its nosedive, we may see lower prices due to forced conservation since there won't be as many people commuting to work. I consider this low price scenario to be the most doomerish.

Before long the water will be so deep even "the dumbest among us" will realize climate change is real. Sadly, by then it will be too late to save our most economically productive cities and we will have a multi century dark age. Congratulations on a job well done. What is your address? I will mail you your 30 pieces of silver.....

Very interesting. Grey Horse dissed Al Gore and thus garnered a -5!

Do you suppose that there is some type of a migration to TOD of those with certain political agenda and are using the rating(karma) system to
make it appear that the poster is a fool or misguided or not in vogue,,,or whatever their agenda may be....perhaps hoping to swing voters ?

Nahhhhh. Couldn't happen could it.

Wonder then what I will get. The other day I spoke naughty of Obama and observed the results. I think the site is being invaded by podpeople or perhaps offspring of the Borgs.


Or people with reality based world views.


Do you suppose that there is some type of a migration to TOD of those with certain political agenda

Or people with reality based world views.

It is probably more of the later than of the former, i.e. those interested in reality based solutions -and not short term gimmicks, or political diversions come here. Such people tend to come to a somewhat similar worldview. Even if they have started from different worldviews, the reality of the predicament they see ourselves in, and out reactions to certain common counterproductive societal responeses, tends to create a somewhat common experience.

Personally I make it a point not to worry about what rating my comments get. I rarely go back to check. If I started censoring myself in an effort to gain popularity at this site, it would negate the whole reason for joining the conversation, which is to hopefully in some way contribute to an improvement in the general level of understanding.

OR it could be those who believe the vast majority of climate scientists are correct, that AGW is real, get very very sick of the AGW-denialists blaming Gore for everything. Seriously, not only are AGW-deniers anti-science in the same way that evolution-deniers are (dinosaurs and people walking hand in claw!), but they insist on ascribing some vague conspiracy to those who, like Al Gore, believe the science and think that humans should probably clean up their act.

What boggles my mind with you Airdale is you get it on the one hand (when you speak of what you know - agribusiness and modern farming, the problems with resource depletion, wearing out the soil etc.), and then you have what appears to be a sort of right-wing mental block when pushed to project that onto a global scale (and what appears to be an unfortunate tendency towards racism and anti-urbanism).

Pod-people? The Borg? So the vast majority of climate scientists, those who actual study the problems with the most up-to-date data are all guilty of some sort of "groupthink"? or can you maybe conceive that YOU, who do not have the training or access to the science and the data are wrong, and that perhaps, like the affects of poor land management on soil, we humans have been equally poor stewards of the whole earth on a far vaster scale?

And wtf is wrong with wanting to preserve some of what is left of species diversity, untouched landscapes, breathable air, habitable coastlines, drinkable water and edible fisheries? It consistently amazes me that people can speak out against environmental movements as if they are radical and some sort of anti-human conspiracy.

The fact you say "I spoke naughty of Obama" implies you know what you said was inappropriate, perhaps you should look at what you write and ask yourself if it is civil, if it is cogent, if it is backed by facts and science and if it has VALUE, before you hit "Post Comment".

The buddhist notion of karma refers to cause and effect.


Most of your posts are useful, in that they convey a decent amount of information supporting your reasoning. This Grey Horse post was nothing more than a sound bite. We shouldn't accept it from MSM and we shouldn't accept it from each other.

Grey Horse mumbled something about the possibility of cheap gas hurting ethanol producers without even referring to any of the recent articles on the topic. He then predicted a new ice age with no supporting arguments and faulted Al Gore for supporting Gore's cause with vigorous intelligent public debate.

If that's the kind of rigor you expect, then perhaps TOD is not the right board for you.

Sadly, Airdale, you occasionally toss some persecution complex into your otherwise quite useful posts. The reason, I believe, you got downed with your Obama comments is you made what could have been a racist implication and left it hanging unexplained.

WTH do you expect when you set yourself up?

Here, let me try (I'm betting I don't get so many down arrows for addressing Obama's race.)

1. What pisses ME off is how we hear "black" all the time. He's not black, he's mixed-race. We should hear he is white as often as we hear he is black. As a father of a mixed-race son, I'd like to see him not use one or the other of his backgrounds when convenient. Are you black, white or mixed? Choose an identity, for cryin' out loud! Which is up to you. Halle Barry openly identifies more with her black heritage. I identify with my Irish half, but not at all with my English half. So choose!

2. There are racist idiots who will not vote for him because he is half black.

3. There are racist idiots who will vote for him because he is half black. (98% of the black vote? Wow!)

Conclusion: racism lives.


Tinfoil hat time. What follows is my opinion and fear, not fact.

I suspect TPTB are fomenting this market crash, especially the price of crude.

What they desire is the price of oil companies and their associated support companies to go to near zero.

Early one morning, in the near future, traders will turn on their screens to find oil companies and support services have just jumped 10,000%.

And nobody they even knew was in, as everyone had wearied of the continual losses.

Somebody else now owns the whole kit and kaboodle.

Ok, now back to common financial sense. Hat off.

There is lots of evidence backing up your gut feeling-you could google Naked Short Selling etc. Supposedly the SEC has been purchased outright.

i have kind of wondered about that. the price of oil and nat gas has dropped extremely fast since mid august. 50% or better? but the population hasn't gone down, people are still not conserving gasoline at the same rate. and lifestyles have not really changed, pretty much living life as they always have. there is no incentive by govt to change your lifestyle, unless this is a direct result of switching light bulbs to cfl's. there seems to be the idea that we have seen oil go way up, then back down. it did in the early 70's. why not now? things will come and pass. lets all go back to what we were doing.

I seem to think that oil and nat gas prices are soon to start creeping up. i would expect after the election, but suspect it will be after the new year, then prices will creep up on a weekly basis. where it tops out? don't know, but i have a feeling that prices will start back up soon.

gasoline sold around my corner? $2.32!

Two Views of 2012:

Christian right intensifies attacks on Obama

Terrorist strikes on four American cities. Russia rolling into
Eastern Europe. Israel hit by a nuclear bomb. Gay marriage in every
state. The end of the Boy Scouts.

All are plausible scenarios if Democrat Barack Obama is elected
president, according to a new addition to the campaign conversation
called "Letter from 2012 in Obama's America," produced by the
conservative Christian group Focus on the Family Action.

"If This Goes On—"

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"If This Goes On—" is a science fiction short novel by Robert A.
Heinlein, first serialized in 1940 in Astounding Science-Fiction and
revised and expanded for inclusion in the 1953 collection Revolt in
2100. One of his Future History series, it recounts a future theocratic
American society, ruled by the latest in a series of “Prophets.” The
First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned
President (elected in 2012), then dictator (no elections were held in
2016 or later).

Let us not forget the approaching Mayan Doomsday - December 21, 2012.

When the human race has once acquired a superstition nothing short of death is ever likely to remove it.

- Mark Twain, "Autobiography of Mark Twain"

For the Pastafarians, there are the four Hors D'oeuvres of the Apocalypse. They aren't specific about a date however...

It amuses me to see the lengths to which the far-right will go to try and pull this back. Every day they turn up the hysteria another notch, and each day nothing happens in the polls. It will be interesting to see how they rationalize a loss on Nov 4th.

It doesn't amuse me - it scares the heck out of me. These people will stick at nothing. No amount of hate-mongering, fear-mongering, race-baiting, cheating, or flat out lying is too much for this crowd. This next week is going to be ugly, I'm afraid.

I only find it amusing because they are headed for a resounding defeat.

In general I try and avoid inflammatory rhetoric, but the core of the GOP these days seems to be evolving into fascists. I don't know how you sugarcoat it to make it to make the statement less outrageous, and many of the so called mainstream would act like they would find such a statement to be offensive. Yet their behavior speaks for itself - people are afraid to give it a name. Or at least that name, anyways..

When they do lose, some of them may even resort to violence. My hope is that the reaction is similar to what happened to the militia movement after Oklahoma City - many of them backed away not wanting to be associated with that sort of behavior.

I hope your election gives a clear result regardless of who wins. I hope this since a doubtfull result with legal processes trying to interpret the output of broken election machinery wears on the credibility of your democracy and a clear mandate is very god for handling hard times.

sgage - If I were you, I would be even more worried about 2012, assuming Obama wins this time. Nothing can be done to prevent continuing economic collapse for years to come. Obama will be regarded in 2012 as an incompetent failed president, just like Carter was in 1980. In 2012, the US is likely to react by electing a genuine fundamentalist theocrat, just as Heinlein feared.

My partner and I decided to emigrate out of the US during the early morning hours of 3 November 2004. The deciding factor was the increasing use of homophobia in US politics. People thought that preventing same-sex marriage was the most urgent national priority, even in Oregon and Michigan. That did not bode well for who would be the designated scapegoat for the inevitable economic collapse. I am sure that people in the US will be told that God took away the oil to punish the US for tolerance of homosexuality. (After all, Falwell and Robertson agreed that 9/11 and hurricane Katrina were God's punishments for homosexuality in the US)

So we eloped to Vancouver, where Canada was happy to marry two women. And we kept going. Now we are permanent residents of New Zealand. NZ is far from perfect, but it is a much healthier environment for same-sex couples than the US.

So here we are in 2008. Ellen DeGeneres is married - for now. But the most well funded ballot initiative in history is trying to reverse that result, and may succeed. Glad to know that California doesn't have any larger problems these days. We as so effing glad to be out of the US.

And yet, my partner of twenty-two years and I have elected to stay in our home country, and not only that, but to live in a rural area, and we're two men, generally more loathed by the fundies than two women.

The situation for gays gradually improves in the US, yet you have let fear drive you away from your home. That is pitiful. I'm tempted to say, if it's too hot in the kitchen for you, then perhaps you don't belong there.

Thanks for the help.

Perhaps things are a little different in Canada, but my partner and I have been together for nearly twenty years and I can't recall a single occasion when we were made to feel uncomfortable about our sexuality, even in situations (or communities) where I thought it might be an issue. I've gradually come to the conclusion that most folks don't give two hoots. Could that change if social/political/economic conditions deteriorate sharply? I can't honestly say, but I'd like to think not.


"Everyone uses fear in the last part of a campaign, but evangelicals are especially theologically prone to those sorts of arguments," said Clyde Wilcox, a Georgetown University political scientist. "There's a long tradition of predicting doom and gloom."

But the tone this election year is sharper than usual and they're pumping up the volume as Nov. 4 approaches.

Steve Strang, publisher of Charisma magazine, a Pentecostal publication, titled one of his recent weekly e-mails to readers, "Life As We Know It Will End If Obama is Elected."


Strange, Mr. Strang, to say, "Life as we know it will end if Obama is elected." Would someone like to point out to Mr. Strang that life as we know is already ending. Not under some nefarious Satan ridden critter of leftist commie persuasion, but ending very quickly under the watch of his own beloved, Mr. Christian right president, Dubya.

Thanks for the Apocalypse, buddy. These idiots helped create the mess we're in.

To loosely paraphrase Henry II, who will rid me of these meddlesome purists?

A local kansas clerk or treasurer of a county was caught recently sending mass emails from her work computer saying obama is the anti-christ... it makes you wonder where these people come from.

Ken Deffeyes conspiracy theorizing is a bit much. Ken may need to be started on Aricept. Conspiracy theories and proponents of them have no place on TOD forums. Please remove it.

It is hard to believe Deffeyes would write such a thing-a financial collapse caused by government sanctioned fraud of unreal proportions was the fault of Putin and his cousin Chavez? Hard to picture Fuld, Paulson, Rubin, Hugo and Putin meeting in a Prague basement to cook this one up.

This brainless denunciation of conspiracy theories has got to stop.

The history of America is all about conspiracy from beginning to END.

Hell the history of the world is rife with conspiracy.

Instead of dismissing something as a conspiracy theory why not just admit it…


Your truth Soup, is what you dream up. Dreaming up "what if" scenarios is one thing but calling them "truth" is another thing altogether. Even Deffeyes did not call it truth, he just proposed it as a possibility. But of course it is not a possibility. Such a scheme could not possibly have been dreamed up in advance. We all know why gasoline and petroleum products is so cheap in producing nations and it has nothing to do with killing off their customers.

You Soup, just cannot handle reality so you dream up silly, very stupid, conspiracy theories and call it truth.

Ron Patterson

i spose it's just a coincidence that GM bought Ditech just after exxon started funding the AEI.

how many thousand Ditech commercials have you attempted to ignore in the last 10 years?

i spose it's a coincidence that exxon and the AEI are the world's foremost purveyors of junk science intended to discredit global warming.

i spose it's a coincidence that exxon and CERA are the world's foremost deniers of peak oil.

if you got motives to start wars, and then start wars when people dont want wars, then i spose it's best if you disguise your motives...

it's just too damn bad that AEI-spinoff PNAC said they needed "a new pearl harbor"... because if you want something to happen, that must mean you have motive to make it happen.

Darwinian - I could list hundreds of confirmed conspirasies over the last century but it would do no good as you live in your own world.

In your world its BAU if some big bald guy demands "One Trillion Dollars" no questions, no oversight, no recourse, just give it to me, (I think he even had his pinky at the corner of his mouth as he said it). Then the nation opposes it 100 to 1, most email, fax, callin activity ever recieved by most congress men and senate, but no it passes.

To me it is conspiring to rob the treasury.

A big single malt CHEERS to ya.

hundreds of confirmed conspiracies

Before you guys go at it, have you agreed on a clear definition for the word "conspiracy"?

When two or more people enter into a fog filled room, does everyone (or even anyone) know what's going on?

Introduction to How Conspiracy Theories Work

One of things that has consistently hurt the credibility of peak oilers is saying really dumb things once they get away from the topics they know something about. And they have done it often.

Some who haven't include Pickens, Staniford, Rubin (of CIBC) and a few others.

Deffeyes latest is a farrago of nonsense. The old man has done good service but now his brains are addled.

It does bring another point to mind however. The recent production decreases by OPEC to me more or less prove that we are now past peak. In a year or two, it is likely that Ghawar will have watered out, and production will never reach the levels that we had earlier this year.

This brings to mind yet another somewhat unrelated point. Earlier this week, I toured the Gettysburg battlefield - there was a lot of discussion of the civil war, of course, and it is a good place for contemplation. To the south, the business model of the plantations only worked as long as they had extremely cheap human labor in the form of slaves (somehow they managed to rationalize away the moral aspects of this - that I haven't gotten my head around). No slavery, and the economy collapses. Ultimately mechanization eliminated the need for slavery, but of course we now have traded the repugnant practice of slavery for a dependency on fossil fuels.

Now whenever there is talk of a need to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels (either because of peak oil, or because of global climate change), there are many in our society who strongly argue against any such reductions. Their protestations remind me of the stubborn refusal of the south to abandon the practice of slavery - once you have built an economy around certain practices, it is very hard to convince people to give them up.

I see many people argue for the need for "alternatives", and by this they mean something that is no more expensive than gasoline/diesel that lets them continue on as usual. In other words, many people don't want to conserve - that to them implies a decrease in the standard of living.

of course we now have traded the repugnant practice of slavery for a dependency on fossil fuels

Not at all true.

Slavery is alive and prospering in our modern world.

Think of all the young people who took out student loans so that they can learn and advance themselves.

Now they are slaves to their loans.

Think of all the people who bought homes because they believed home ownership was the path to prosperity.

Now they are slaves to their mortgages.

In this world there are ranchers and there are those who get ranched.

Here's an overview of the world's stock markets:

Many world stock markets now off 50% or more from peaks

Markets down more than 70%: Vietnam (-70.5%), Peru (-73.2%), Ireland (-73.4%), Russia (-73.9%), Iceland (-88.7%).

Markets down between 60% and 70%: Hong Kong (-60.1%), Poland (-62.6%), China (-69.8%).

Markets down between 50% and 60%: South Korea (-54.5%), Italy (-55.2%), Egypt (-56.9%), Brazil (-57.2%), Japan (-58.1%), Singapore (-58.2%), Turkey (-58.5%), India (-58.3%).

Markets down between 40% and 50%: Great Britain (-42.3%), Australia (-43.3%), U.S.-S&P 500 (-44.0%), Spain (-46.4%), Germany (-47.0%), Mexico (-48.3%).

Note that, for U.S. investors who own foreign stocks, the losses in many cases are worse because the dollar has rallied against most foreign currencies in recent months. A strong dollar means stocks denominated in foreign currencies have even less value when translated into dollars.

So the conditions today are worse than in the great Depression; and the outcomes for debtor nations, creditor nations, is always hyperinflation. The unfunded liabilities of the United States today are now 70 trillion dollars. This reflects once again Laurence Kotlikoff’s article Is the US going broke: who will bail out the US out? And certainly, they’re already talking next year of a trillon dollar deficit for the United States, we’re talking about even a current account deficit that is going to be 700 to 800 billion dollars, and that’s why at some point in the next 12 to 18 months you’re going to see a major devaluation of the dollar. That is one of the ways you solve your debt problems, one of the way that you solve your asset deflation problems: A massive devaluation of the US currency. And that’s what’s ahead of us.

Minus 48% to 73%...
I think, it is wise to invest NOW!
Actually I'm quite bullish on stocks. Why not to invest 50% of the cash just next Monday?

When the Chinese market was down 40%, I bet there were those who thought that was a great time to invest. Which market will you be investing in? Tell us in a month how that is working for you.

Hello Tstreet,

Your Question: 'Which market will you be investing in?"

Zimbabwe: Bourse in Terrific Form

..The rally seen on the stock market in recent weeks has not been restricted to blue-chip counters alone; it has been across the board.

..On Monday, the benchmark industrial index gained 241 percent, the biggest single day increase, to close at an-all-time-high 78,108,522,494.03 points...
/rant off

hrmmff ... already invested :/

I think, it is wise to invest NOW!

Well, maybe. But there is still a chance that things are even worse than we (and the market expectation as reflected in price) currently think. I had been pulling cash out of equities for the past year (but not nearly enough to my great chagrin). Most of the cash went into paying off the mortgage. I have a bit left, during the past two weeks I've put about 2% of it back into the market. My plan is to reinvest no more than a couple percent per month, while prices of equities are low. That way I'm not too sensitive to timing the bottom.

In any case, the case that the current situation is unlike anything we've seen post WW2, is a strong one. We have certainly entered waters labeled on the may by "thar be dragons". Caution is called for.

Apparently, Europe was a big lender to the emerging markets. Now the UK Telegraph has this headline:

Europe on Brink of Currency Meltdown

The latest data from the Bank for International Settlements shows that Western European banks hold almost all the exposure to the emerging market bubble, now busting with spectacular effect.

They account for three-quarters of the total $4.7 trillion £2.96 trillion) in cross-border bank loans to Eastern Europe, Latin America and emerging Asia extended during the global credit boom – a sum that vastly exceeds the scale of both the US sub-prime and Alt-A debacles.

The IMF’s experts drafted a report two years ago – Asia 1996 and Eastern Europe 2006 – Déjà vu all over again? – warning that the region exhibited the most dangerous excesses in the world.

Inexplicably, the text was never published, though underground copies circulated. Little was done to cool credit growth, or to halt the fatal reliance on foreign capital. Last week, the silent authors had their moment of vindication as Eastern Europe went haywire.


From an actuary standpoint, from where you sit, is there anything that can be done to stop this financial implosion from crashing through the floor to depths unknown? Without the obvious benefit of a crystal ball, what I am asking you is for your honest assessment, is the current financial system as presently configured now set for a catastrophic failure? Is it just a matter of time until the global banking system is smashed to smithereens?

Alarmist bells were ringing on Friday and yet the DOW recovered a little? Despite the talk and bluster of the Asian - European forty or so leaders, has the day of reckoning been merely postponed until next week?

What are your fellow actuaries saying? Do the numbers add up anywhere at all? Or is blind fear the only driver behind the wheel this weekend? Are we in for a very dire, spooky Halloween?

I am aware that the variables in this game are changing daily. I for one would very much appreciate your educated assessment of where we stand in the current morass, bearing in mind that everything is subject to change. Many thanks. I value your opinion.

I know you werent asking me, but as filthy lucre is in essence a foundation to sinful ways, and myself having vast knowlege of basically nothing concerning either essence or foundations, but having a passing understanding of sin and filth.....Do I sound like Alan Greenspan?
See how easy that is?

Zadok_the_Priest; Short answer to your excellent question. Yep. Its gonna happen this coming week.

I forgot all my prayers, having been estranged these many years and all, could you say a few for me? Do a boiler plate recital, nothing fancy, some latin would be great, he likes latin you know. Iam not looking for wings or anything, keep it simple.
Thanks in advance. Nephilim

There are too many unknown unknowns! In all likelihood this crisis is going to get worse, but we can't fully predict how bad. There is a small minute chance things could improve but there are black swans everywhere!

For eg, here in Australia, the Government recently guaranteed all deposits on local banks. sounds good right,so what happened? Investors began withdrawing their money wholesale from funds, foreign banks, etc to deposit them into SAFE Australian institutions. Prompting concern that funds and foreign banks would effectively have to shut down.

All this intervention, government tweaking and changing the rules wholesale in the markets is creating SAFE and UNSAFE assets, with money gravitating towards SAFE assets, but that leaves the system in danger, so the govt has to change the rules again! Pretty soon, the government guarantees virtually everything and you have a total socialist state and you soon realize that govt guarantees are pretty worthless.

The compounding of errors is taking place across the board, we're in a vicious cycle that will be compounded by peak energy and even worse errors across the board by govt and financial institutions and their silly VAR measures.

That article makes it sound like the US is in pretty good shape. At least in comparison...

Five Examples of Net Export Declines. Notice a Recurring Pattern?

The 1997 net export decline rate for Venezuela was -3.7%/year. The 2007 decline rate was -10.2%/year.


The 2005 net export decline rate for Mexico was -6.4%/year. 2007 was -16.4%/year (I estimate -32%/year for 2008).


The 2000 net export decline rate for the UK was -38.4%/year. 2005 was -230%/year.


The 1999 net export decline rate for Indonesia was -16%/year. 2003 was -74.1%/year.


The 2002 net export decline rate for Norway was -2.5%/year. 2007 was -8.9%/year.


By the net decline rate of 230% for the UK in 2005, what exactly do you mean? As I do the numbers, a 100% decline means you go to zero net exports. Where does the other 130% come from? Net imports?

I suppose that was it. The UK transitioned from a small net exporter to a small net importer.

Given the quality of North Sea oil, the UK was a small oil importer by volume but a small oil exporter by dollar value their first year.


A 100% reduction in net exports would mean zero net exports, but there is a difference between a 100% decline and a 100%/year decline rate. For example, do the following exercise on your calculator:

Input -1.0 (-100%/year) and use the exponential function; the result is 0.37. So, a -100%/year decline rate would result in a 63% reduction in production in one year. Similarly, a 100%/year rate of increase would not double the production, it would increase production by a factor of 2.7.

In any case, regarding the UK, the math is as follows:

Divide 27 (2005 net exports in thousands of barrels) by 274 (2004 net exports) and use the natural logarithm function and you get -2.31 (-231%/year).

You can reverse it, as outlined above. Input -2.31 and use the exponential function, and you get 0.10 (a -231%/year net export decline rate reduces net exports by 90% in one year).

i think you are using nominal decline.

effective decline is the one most of us are used to: de =(qo-qf)/qo

nominal and effective decline are related by d(nominal)= -ln(1-de)

so for your example de=(274-27)/274 = 0.90 or 90% (effective)

and d= - ln(1-de) = - ln(.1) = 2.31 or 231 %

nominal decline is easier to work with mathmatically (determining future rate and reserves).

The scary thing is that as time goes on, we are going to see more and more net exporters showing accelerating net export decline rates. Note that all five case histories--with vastly different demographic factors and energy taxation/subsidy policies--showed the same accelerating decline rate pattern.


You know, until I saw this story I would have said that although we will get a severe recession, odds were still against a depression. Now I'm not so sure.

News from the world's 2nd largest truck manufacturer regarding its European sales.

Volvo truck sales plunge 99.7%

The depth of the recession was revealed today as truckmaker Volvo admitted demand across the Continent has crashed by 99.7% as it took orders for just 115 new lorries in the last three months.

That compares to orders totalling 41,970 in the third quarter of 2007. Global orders for Volvo slumped 55% in the last three months while Scania, of which Volvo has majority control, said its western Europe truck orders collapsed by 69%.

Wow! That is scary stuff. My brother just started working for a truck leasing company in Wisconsin. I think the prospects might not be so good.
It's so weird to be able to see what's coming and not really do much about it.

You know, until I saw this story I would have said that although we will get a severe recession, odds were still against a depression. Now I'm not so sure.

This begs the question: wtf are people paying attention to that 1. they didn't see some sort of dislocation coming at all or 2. didn't see it coming in the Sept./Dec time frame and/or 3. still have any remaining shred of hope that anything other than a depression is coming?

Seriously, what kept you from this conclusion prior to this article?


In 2005 the price of gasoline was under $2.00 a gallon. Might we see such low prices again?


$4.00 a gallon gas curtailed some wasteful driving habits.

Venezuela was reporting 3.6 million barrel a day oil production, this is much higher than what the EIA reported for Venezuela in 2006. With U.S. products supplied down 8% and an OPEC cut of less than 2%, they may have overstated their ability to defend the $100 per barrel price seen earlier this year.

Cellulosic ethanol appears more and more like an expensive mistake. The government erred in imposing quotas instead of choose a free market system for ethanol.

R squared has a post up - $1.98 in Texas.

I was just thinking today about how wildly popular the paranormal is these days. Supposedly science-oriented TV channels like The Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel are running TV shows about haunted houses, bigfoot, psychic detectives, UFOs, Biblical prophecy, etc.

Newsweek has this article today, that points out that belief tends to spike in tough times:

Why We Believe: Belief in the paranormal reflects normal brain activity carried to an extreme

The pervasiveness of belief in the supernatural and paranormal may seem odd in an age of science. But ours is also an age of anxiety, a time of economic distress and social anomie, as denizens of a mobile society are repeatedly uprooted from family and friends. Historically, such times have been marked by a surge in belief in astrology, ESP and other paranormal phenomena, spurred in part by a desperate yearning to feel a sense of control in a world spinning out of control. A study reported a few weeks ago in the journal Science found that people asked to recall a time when they felt a loss of control saw more patterns in random noise, perceived more conspiracies in stories they read and imagined illusory correlations in financial markets than people who were not reminded that events are sometimes beyond their control. "In the absence of perceived control, people become susceptible to detecting patterns in an effort to regain some sense of organization," says psychology researcher Bruce Hood of the University of Bristol, whose upcoming book "Supersense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable" explores the mental processes behind belief in the paranormal. "No wonder those stock market traders are clutching their rabbit's feet"—or that psychics and the paranormal seem to be rivaling reality stars for TV hegemony ("Medium," "Psychic Kids," "Lost" and the new "Fringe" and "Eleventh Hour"). Just as great religious awakenings have coincided with tumultuous eras, so belief in the paranormal also becomes much more prevalent during social and political turmoil. Such events "lead the mind to look for explanations," says Michael Shermer, president of the Skeptics Society and author of the 1997 book "Why People Believe Weird Things." "The mind often takes a turn toward the supernatural and paranormal," which offer the comfort that benign beings are watching over you (angels), or that you will always be connected to a larger reality beyond the woes of this world (ghosts).

It also points out that belief in religion, belief in the paranormal, and belief in conspiracy theories spring from the same roots. I would guess we can expect a lot more of all three as times get tougher. It's human nature.

It's human nature.

we all gots to be a little loony, or we wouldnt have kids.

just a little hot blooded in our youth

I don't know what I would do without my big furry floppy eared friend and drinking partner here, Harvey.

Say hellow to the TODers Harvey...

Elwood P. Dowd: Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.


It also points out that belief in religion, belief in the paranormal, and belief in conspiracy theories spring from the same roots. I would guess we can expect a lot more of all three as times get tougher.

Newsweek soma for the masses. While they may be right they are only partially right, there are also mysteries.

Through the history of man, mysteries have been made less mysterious through science. The species has much to learn yet.

I don't think the article denies that there are mysteries. Rather, people make up their own answers to mysteries, because, well, that's what the mammalian brain does.

I do think that we may be at or near "peak science," though. We may have a lot to learn, but we may never do it, at least with respect to scientific knowledge.

well, the following conspiracy theory certainly shows traces of mammalian brain activity...

osama was on the internet one day, and stumbled across PNAC's call for a new pearl harbor, and osama sez to himself, "huh! i'll fix those guys' wagons! i will stage a new pearl harbor for them! ...and everyone will think those assholes from PNAC dun it!"

so osama rigged the 2000 election so the signers of the PNAC document, people like cheney, rumsfeld and the usual assortment of likud loons, got installed into positions that would have enabled them to make 9/11 happen, had they been inclined to make 9/11 happen, which they were most definitely NOT ---despite their yearnings for a new pearl harbor as expressed in the PNAC document they signed.....

then osama organized everything, from the training of the pilots to the security at the airports to the standdown at NORAD to oneill's job at the trade center, including bunnypants' month-long absence from dc while the shit was coming down.

osama even dispatched five mossad guys to film the event....

well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men... little did osama know that the PNAC guys had enough juice to reverse the frameup, and osama found hisself dragging his dialysis machine from pillar to post in an effort to escape the wrath of PNAC.

it's a sad sad thing.

Oh, Leanan, don't you think you're more than a "mammalian brain?" We may be at "peak science" because, well, science is limited. It's peaked. We're all peaked. But, we are not. Just look at your woolly sheep post. Baaaa! There's so much more. Baaaa! Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Baaaa! And I am not making fun of you. Others may have in the past. But I can see what a brilliant girl you are. You just don't know how much brillance you have. You keep it hidden. Behind your post. Behind your comments. Behind your quick retorts. Behind sitting in the stands of a baseball game. Behind your sarcasm. But it is there. Shining. Brightly.
Yes, Leanan, "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

We may be at "peak science" because, well, science is limited.

"Science" is not limited.
There thousands if not millions of interesting questions to ask and experiments to carry out and yet they won't be. Why? Well first because people need spare time and excess wealth in order to perform experiments, or even to wonder about intelligent questions. Secondly because so few people get educated in science now a days. Thirdly, television and blogging suck up most of our spare intellectual time.

Step back - Add some pedals to that thing and you could be the next Bill Gates.

I never knew Leanan had a regular blog! Thanks to those who posted references to "sheep" causing me to go looking. Another blog for my blogroll!

Keep up the good work Leanan -- I admire your perspective and am impressed with your range of news posts daily!

That may be what the mammalian brain does, but there is more to the brain, indeed the larger system of the mind. Nate could probably nail this – I'm gong on mostly gut reaction.

So, the mammalian brain has this belief, then science comes along develops a proof to refute the belief. Either the mammalian brain is overruled, as in a scientific oriented individual, - 0r – the belief is retained through a complex interaction of the mammalian brain to the rest of the brain via what is called denial or some other type of mental corruption. (Randi comes to my mind here.) Then you end up with someone who believes dinosaurs and humans walked together.

It may be human nature but there's a lot more than being human by nature. Wasn't it Albert Einstein who said he only used 5-10% of his mental potential? Think of that. Perhaps we are at a point in the evolution of earth that we will be using lots more of that 90 percent that's been dormant.
Speaking of which, Leanan, I love your blog -- especially the wooly sheep post. I wish you'd write more, there's a lot more of you too!

Everybody uses a different meaning for the term "Conspiracy Theory" so the term becomes rather meaningless, especially here. Global Oil depletion is widely considered to be a Conspiracy Theory-IMO when the term is used it means the facts cannot be disputed on their own merits, the responder must resort to insults rather than evidence or logic.

It's human nature.

And not just in the manner discussed here (trying to find patterns where their aren't any). I think part of it is rebelion against the scientific worldview. In scientific circles we tend to refer to this sort of stuff as woo. Most of it appears to be relatively harmless entertainment. But the more the thinking processes of the masses depart from reality, the more likely foolish responses to problems will be pursued.

This deterioration of science to woo is also very notable in fiction. Unfortuanetly the SciFi channel has morphed most days into the "woo-fi" channel.

"It's all right for a woman to be, above all, human. I am a woman first of all." anais nin

Uses for $700B bailout money ever shifting

As the crisis worsens, the government's reaction keeps changing. Lawmakers in both parties are starting to gripe that the bailout is turning out to be far different from what the Bush administration sold to Congress.

In buying equity stakes in banks, the Treasury has "deviated significantly from its original course," says Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. "We need to examine closely the reason for this change," said Shelby, who opposed the bailout.

And Denninger has the speech he thinks McCain has to give if he wants to win the election. (I'm not holding my breath.)

I have to ask this again, why is Denninger's opinion given so much weight here? I looked at his resume again and it appears from his background is that he's a IT nerd? I don't get it.

Maybe because his, Mish's, Ilargi's and some others predictions of the severity of the global financial meltdown have been a lot more accurate than your rosy speculations that everything is fine and science will save us.

and not everybody's resume reflects their worth

Charles Darwin wasn't especially impressive as a college student - and then he just bummed around the world for 5 years shooting and collecting - I mean, prior to publication of "On the Origin..", what would you say about his resume? Didn't do well in medical studies, did ok in theology, no real jobs to speak of.

I have to ask this again, why is Denninger's opinion given so much weight here? I looked at his resume again and it appears from his background is that he's a IT nerd?

I'm not following you here. Are you saying he'd be more credible if he was, say, an analyst from Goldman Sachs?

Denninger wants everyone to sell stocks. So do many posters here. Aligned interests? Isn't it always about money! After all this is America.

Hello TODers,

Another weblink below showing that the I-NPK fertilizer companies are effectively moving now to temporarily slam the factory doors shut to prevent excessive inventory buildup:

Norway's Yara halts Italy plant, not ruling out more

Analysts said closing the Italian plant could help prices recover. "I am not surprised, this was the only sensible thing to do," said Pareto Securities analyst Samir Bendriss.

"Instead of producing at losses and building up more stock, they are halting production, contributing to tightening supply," Bendriss said.
Hogna said some analysis suggested that fertiliser prices were bottoming out and would again start to rise.

"The fact that we and other producers are adjusting supply according to demand, will hopefully bring the market into balance again," he said.

The ammonia & urea markets are expected to grow tremendously:

World Ammonia Market to Reach 167 Million Metric Tons by 2012, According to New Report by Global Industry Analysts

..World ammonia market has increased substantially from the year 1998 when consumption was estimated at 112.8 million metric tons to 147.6 million metric tons in 2008. Fertilizers represent the largest end-use market with close to 85% of ammonia produced worldwide being used in the production of mineral fertilizers.
For the full details of this "Ammonia: A Global Strategic Business Report", please pay $3950 here,


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

Hello TODers,

Evidently, judging by the content of the article below, the Credit Crisis is putting the hurt to Third World Countries:

World Bank to double loans to poor countries - Nikkei

TOKYO, Oct 26 (Reuters) - The World Bank plans to increase loans to poor countries to make up for dwindling private fund flows to these economies, Japan's business daily Nikkei reported on Sunday.

The international lender aims to double its long-term loans to those countries from $13.5 billion in 2007 to help them cope with the global credit crisis, the paper said.

The move came as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), another Washington-based multinational lender, offered help to crisis-struck countries, such as Iceland and Ukraine.

Also, from the USA's Main street:

Small investors lose faith
Long slump has many disregarding advice to stay in

This could become a self-fulling prophesy if too many investors start yanking their funds out. This process would force the Fund Managers
to have to sell even more stocks to raise sufficient cash to cover investor redemptions, thus making stock prices decrease even more, thus making even more small investors head for the exits....

To quote from totoneila's link,
"Small investors lose faith
Long slump has many disregarding advice to stay in

This could become a self-fulling prophesy if too many investors start yanking their funds out. This process would force the Fund Managers
to have to sell even more stocks to raise sufficient cash to cover investor redemptions, thus making stock prices decrease even more, thus making even more small investors head for the exits...."
Now, let's talk about the world as it is, not as it exists in the glossy ads of the brokerage houses...

Of course small investors are now bailing out. This is right out of the textbook, and has happened in every single major market downturn.

It is called "capitulation", and until almost everyone is driven out of the stock or "risk" markets, the historical pattern is that the recovery will not begin.

The problem for the small investor is that they do not have the excess money to pour back in when the market gets to bottom, generally the period when stocks are being sold at "firesale" or scrap price (i.e., the assets of a company could be sold for scrap and it would still well exceed the stock price...this is the price that big professional investors are willing to pay).

It took me years of study to figure out what advantage the big institutional and professional investors have over the small investor making it a historical fact that the big pros win in the markets over time, while the the small investor generally loses over time. (By the way, this is where those persuasive charts come from that say "over time the stock market beats all other investments." It does, IF your one of the winners, which most people are NOT.) Please take this VERY seriously. The one advantage the big pros have is called OPPORTUNITY MONEY. This is the SPARE cash that the big pros can pour into the markets at a moments notice.

Despite what they would have you believe, and what has been proven true by recent events, the professional investors are no smarter than than the rest of us. They are no more able to predict the future than the rest of us. They do not have superior analytical tools (in fact the analytical tools often are so complex that they obscure the truth instead of find it.) What they do have is the money to pour in, and pour in fast, when the market gets to unreal levels of discount prices. And they will. And one night, just when everyone, EVERYONE, has given up on the markets, cursing them bitterly as they are forced to exit, while most little investors try to sleep in their hobbit houses in their little cot beds, the pros will be placing buy orders. And by the time the little investor realizes what has happened it will be too late to make the real lions share of the loot. The little investor, with no real leeway on how much money he or she can pour into the market BIG AND FAST, will feel stupid and hurt. They will curse themselves for having tried to "time the market". But that is not what has happened. They didn't time the market. The market timed them.

And the little investor will come back in, too little and too late, and to soothe the pain brag to his/her friends that he/she made out like a bandit, meaning in the terms of the little investor that he/she made just enough to pay the broker, the taxes, and maybe just match the rate of inflation, while the professional investors clean up and make three, four and more times on their money, if not even more.

And then, in a few years, we'll go through the whole sad and sorry thing again. There is a reason the poor stay poor. There is a reason that "investing for retirement" is a myth and a scam. Do you think that Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn, Jerome Kohlberg, Jr. and Henry Kravis, George Sorros or Kirk Kerkorian "invested for retirement"? THINK MAN! These guys could have retired years ago on the interest on a few percent of the bonds they hold. They don't need "investment for retirement", they play the damn game to win it! And if you don't know the names above, look them up, and learn.

Wall Street is not designed to make you money, it's designed to take your money. And they could give a less than a rat's ass about your "retirement", regardless of what those pretty soothing commercials tell you. This is not new, it is not "the age of greed". It's the way it has always been and will always (for our purposes) be. If you can't play to win, you lose.


All market crashes are engineered to enable those engineering the crash to pick up stocks on the cheap, as you note.

oh, i dunno, is there any reason a small investor cant have a pile of cash as well. and if the small investor is wise enough to avoid buying on margin, they wont be the ones forced to sell at fire sale prices either.

and if a person is truely an "investor" isnt he or she in it for the long term. mark to market is a gambler counting his money at the table. i've heard this is bad form or bad luck or that it leads to bad decisions.

disclosure: i sometimes count my chips when playing blackjack.