DrumBeat: November 8, 2008

Stunned Icelanders Struggle After Economy’s Fall

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — The collapse came so fast it seemed unreal, impossible. One woman here compared it to being hit by a train. Another said she felt as if she were watching it through a window. Another said, “It feels like you’ve been put in a prison, and you don’t know what you did wrong.”

This country, as modern and sophisticated as it is geographically isolated, still seems to be in shock. But if the events of last month — the failure of Iceland’s banks; the plummeting of its currency; the first wave of layoffs; the loss of reputation abroad — felt like a bad dream, Iceland has now awakened to find that it is all coming true.

...Overnight, people lost their savings. Prices are soaring. Once-crowded restaurants are almost empty. Banks are rationing foreign currency, and companies are finding it dauntingly difficult to do business abroad. Inflation is at 16 percent and rising. People have stopped traveling overseas. The local currency, the krona, was 65 to the dollar a year ago; now it is 130. Companies are slashing salaries, reducing workers’ hours and, in some instances, embarking on mass layoffs.

What is the Energy Independence of Ethanol? – Or, is that Even the Right Question?

Rapier is a chemical-engineer/entrepreneur in the business of rainforest damage mitigation, carbon-sequestration and energy reduction (placing him squarely in the enviro-conservationist camp). He tells us the way our government ethanol proponents have been reporting ethanol yields and comparing them to gasoline confuses conversion efficiency with energy ratio (two entirely different metrics). From Rapier's analysis, the USDA researchers reported the energy conversion yield of gasoline (0.8) versus the net energy ratio of ethanol (1.22) as if these are equal things; suggesting it takes more energy to produce gasoline than to produce ethanol. In fact, it takes more energy to produce ethanol than gasoline, with or without energy credits. As Rapier elaborates, the conversion efficiency of gasoline is the simple ratio of energy output to input. Thus, to get 100 Btu's of gasoline you have to burn 20 gallons. Despite involvement of our keepers-of-the-public-trust in this likely deceit, it remains theoretically possible to convert corn or another feedstock to ethanol with a positive NEV. Assuming we do get to that point, ethanol will become the sustainable fuel proponents are hyping.

Green Plans in Blueprints of Retailers

Across the country, a race is under way among stores and fast-food restaurants to build environmentally friendly outlets, as a way to curry favor with consumers and to lower operating costs. Most chains are focusing on prototypes at the moment, but the trend could eventually change the look and function of thousands of stores.

GM staring into abyss as industry seeks help: Bankruptcy a possibility, would be devastating to economy, analysts warn

The election of Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th president offers some new hope for the industry.

Obama singled out the auto industry Friday in his first news conference since the election, calling it "the backbone of American manufacturing and a critical part of our attempt to reduce our dependence on foreign oil."

"I have made it a high priority for my transition team to work on additional policy options to help the auto industry adjust, weather the financial crisis and succeed in producing fuel-efficient cars here in the United States," he added. "I have asked my team to explore what we can do under current law and whether additional legislation will be needed for this purpose."

GM's crisis-mode product plan

The Chevrolet Volt seems to have made it through unscathed. In fact, GM said it would increase spending on its next-generation auto.

Will Obama Have to Adjust His Timetable on Iraq?

Senior U.S. military officials will likely advise Barack Obama to adjust his campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by mid-2010. While promising a 16-month timetable for getting all U.S. fighting forces out, Obama repeatedly insisted on what he calls a "responsible" withdrawal. Pulling nearly all U.S. troops and equipment out of Iraq in 16 months is "physically impossible," says a top officer involved in briefing the President-elect on U.S. operations in Iraq.

Shell to Drill in Brazil's Subsalt Region in 2009

Royal Dutch Shell PLC will start drilling in Brazil's promising subsalt region in late 2009, according to a report Friday in local financial daily Valor Economico.

According to the report, Shell will drill in the BM-S-54 block in the Santos Basin, the area off the coast of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo states that has seen a wave of new discoveries. Shell holds 100% of the block.

Algeria says $50 oil won't hit projects, for now

ALGIERS (Reuters) - OPEC member Algeria's oil sector could survive on $50 a barrel oil for some years and none of its foreign partners is slowing investments due to sagging prices, Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil said on Saturday.

Iraq lawmaker says Shell deal lacks transparency

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The head of Iraq's parliamentary Oil and Gas Committee said on Saturday he was concerned about a lack of transparency in a flare gas contract which the government has signed with oil major Royal Dutch Shell.

Zimpapers suspends the circulation of its publications

The Zimbabwe Newspapers group (Zimpapers) has reportedly stopped the circulation of its two publications, the monthly magazine Trends and the weekly Matabeleland vernacular tabloid Umthunywa due to critical shortages of newsprint.

...Suppliers of newsprint said that they were operating under harsh conditions due to the shortage of raw material, fuel and the erratic electricity supplies.

Demand For Wood Pellets Heats Up

To give you an example of just how far reaching this shortage is, Sundance Leisure was getting customers from as far away as the Syracuse area - people driving an hour or more to get wood pellets.

Exhibition for Red-Hot Performance Takes a Green Turn

UNBRIDLED horsepower has been a center-ring attraction of the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show for 40 years. Yet one of the show-stoppers at this year’s SEMA show, held last week in the sprawling convention center here, was a 2009 Ford F-150 pickup with no engine at all under its hood.

Instead, this truck, called the Hi-Pa Drive F-150, was powered by electric motors fitted inside the wheels. Together, the four motors can deliver more than 600 horsepower, Ford said, or about twice the output of the V-8 that once occupied the engine compartment.

Saudi Aramco Says Oil Price Falls May Curb Investment

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest state-owned oil company, said a further drop in crude oil prices may curtail investments needed to offset declining output in aging fields.

Investment is also needed to expand production capacity to meet long-term demand growth, Chief Executive Officer Abdallah Jum'ah said in a handout distributed today at an industry summit in Beijing.

Energy demand 'is set for sustained increase'

BEIJING: Global energy demand is set for a sustained increase on the back of developing nations' growth, despite economic problems that have temporarily dented demand in the West, the head of top producer Saudi Aramco said yesterday.

Saudi Arabia may delay Total JV refinery-report

RIYADH (Reuters) - French oil major Total's $12-billion joint venture with Saudi Aramco could face a delay as the two firms seek to cut costs, Gulf newspaper al-Hayat reported on Saturday, quoting unidentified sources.

Regina truckers laid off without answers

REGINA -- Employees of Regina trucking company SynLogistics were left without jobs and three weeks back pay after the company shut down operations this week.

...Although no SynLogistics representatives were available for comment, Al Rosseker, executive director of Saskatchewan Trucking Association, said the diesel shortage crisis could be a contributing factor.

Protests continue in Dominican Republic due to blackouts

Privately owned power companies are seeking US$400 million from the government and say they cannot afford the petroleum needed to run electric plants. Police say at least one person has died and dozens have been injured in protests against the crisis.

Cuba readies for another hurricane

Cuba put aside the work of recovering from the two powerful hurricanes that have already struck this storm season to prepare on Friday for Hurricane Paloma spinning towards the eastern half of the island.

While Paloma was less powerful than hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which raked Cuba two months ago, it posed a new threat to a region where homes, power lines, roads and other infrastructure were still being repaired and damage to agriculture has contributed to a national food shortage.

Obama's Cabinet Choices - Fantasy League Style

Secretary of Energy - Daniel Yergin - Pulitzer prize winning author of The Prize, the seminal work on the history of the oil industry, and Chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. The energy sector is going to take a serious thinker to overhaul. The last thing we need is a johnny come lately with a shiny copper penny plan. Yergin knows the business, knows the politics, and knows the people.

ExxonMobil official dispels fears on peak oil

(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Richard C Vierbuchen, Vice-President, Caspian/Middle East of the global petroleum giant ExxonMobil Exploration Company, has dispelled the fears expressed by several sections that the world has reached the peak oil production or was fast approaching that level.

"Most of these fears are unfounded. The global hydrocarbon resource base has been continuing to grow over the years, as the technological capabilities were improving There is no indication so far of any resource limit to increasing oil production," Richard C Vierbuchen told Khaleej Times here on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) here.

OPEC says Oran meeting must verify output cuts

ALGIERS (Reuters) - OPEC's next meeting must confirm that members have made all the oil output reductions they promised before taking any more action on output levels to prop up sagging prices, OPEC President Chakib Khelil said on Saturday.

"We will discuss another cut, whatever happens, but will there be a consensus? I cannot tell you today," Khelil said at a seminar on oil, referring to cuts agreed at an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna last month.

Byron W. King: Oil Prices Down…for Now

Speaking of how the larger economy unfolds, some of the most surprised people on the planet are the folks who run oil-exporting countries. Hey, they believed their own press releases. They thought that oil prices would continue to rise upward, ever upward. All they had to do was figure out what to do with all the money that was going to pile up in their bank accounts. No waiting at the rope line for these worthies. But right now, demand destruction trumps even market manipulation by OPEC, not to mention the inexorable effects of depletion.

Laying Out a Feast for Bears and Gold Bugs

Like natural resources or gold or silver or metals, any energy investment should be safe for the future. Peak oil is very real and the Chinese are expanding like crazy and using more energy all the time. Natural gas is good, coal is good, nuclear is good. Renewables, unfortunately, are a 3% solution. Wind power’s another 3% solution. It’s never going to be anything but a 3% solution. Guys like Boone Pickens can spend millions encouraging people to invest in wind power, but our current infrastructure will not support it. It’s not just a question of investing in the wind power; you have to invest in the infrastructure as well and nobody ever wants to talk about that.

Gold to outperform oil as recession brews

"Right now you would rather be long gold than short oil because you are still heading into a direction where gold will continue to buy more of everything," said Greg Orrell of California-based OCM Gold Fund.

Orrell said a key difference between gold and oil is that oil is produced for consumption and will deplete one day, but gold accumulates over time.

"For a commodity such as oil, you are getting a reflection of the global slowdown, and that's why it is going down on a relative basis versus gold," Orrell said.

Parents pull kids from day care as money tightens

Parents nationwide are telling day care providers they must scale back or abandon their services. Instead, they keep kids at home with grandparents or upend their work-life balance because gas and food prices have become prohibitive and average child care costs outpace rent and mortgage payments - even for those drawing salaries.

...Centers that have had waiting lists for as long as anyone can remember now find themselves scrambling for children. Many are for the first time offering part-time services or changing hours to accommodate the growing number of parents working off shifts, or struggling to make ends meet.

Association: Declining fuel prices send 17 gas stations out of business in Jordan

(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Around 17 gas stations have gone out of business due to a series of drops in the prices of fuel derivatives, the latest which went into effect midnight Thursday, for the sixth time in a row since September.

Ottawa approves yellow mini submarines for Arctic

The Canadian government has commissioned a pair of miniature submarines -- torpedo-shaped, robotic submersibles -- to probe two contentious underwater mountain chains in the Arctic Ocean, part of the country's quest to secure sovereignty and potential oil riches in a Europe-sized swath of the polar seabed.

Analysts, others assess possible actions of Obama administration

Voting machines had barely cooled down earlier this week before energy analysts began to evaluate the apparent election victory of Ill. Sen. Barack Obama.

A Turning Point in U.S. History

How will Obama handle the current military expectations of our nation’s people? On the positive side of the ledger, Obama has proposed a comprehensive policy for developing alternative energy sources and improving energy efficiency. That is very encouraging indeed. I also see as very encouraging his early opposition to the Iraq War, and his stated intentions of withdrawing most of our military from Iraq as quickly as possible. Most encouraging of all, I firmly believe that, like Jimmy Carter, his heart is in the right place.

But notwithstanding all of this, Obama has shown very little tendency to question the predominant American dogma on the use of our military – that we have the right to intervene any time anywhere in the world if our “interests” are at stake.

Saudi minister stresses need to focus on cleaner energy

(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi Arabia has affirmed its commitment to the principles laid down by the UN convention on climatic change and support to the technological research and development in the field of cleaner energy and better environment.

Pastor says eco-friendliness is next to godliness

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd will hold private talks tomorrow with an American evangelical leader and lobbyist who preaches that inaction on climate change is an offence against God.

The Reverend Richard Cizik arrived in Australia yesterday on a seven-day tour to spread God's word about saving the planet.

The Energy Blog is back after a 6-month hiatus.

Two more bite the dust...

2 more banks go belly-up

Regulators close down Franklin Bank, a Houston bank with $5.1 billion in assets, and Security Pacific Bank of California, with assets of $561 million, raising the tally of failed banks this year to 19.

Meanwhile, Democratic senators want the Treasury to police bank loans and force banks to lend out the bailout money.

Shoulda thought about that before you voted for it, bozos.

Shoulda thought about that before you voted for it, bozos.

Leanan, they did think of it. That's why they didn't bring it up. This is feigned helplessness. Their real constituencies - the bankers, hedge fund democrats, those making over $200k - profited nicely. The elected only need make pretend - oh look at those evil republicans - to keep the rest of their believers believing. Reminds me of little children. Look what Johnny did, did not, did too.

And there is the issue of Treasury policing the loans. Yeah, right. I can see a whole department filled by laid-off hedge fund operators, all hired at top salaries, not finding a single thing wrong and earning bonuses for the speed with which they accomplish that work.

cfm in Gray, ME

This reinforces my feeling that trying to indirectly bail out the real economy with the financial economy is an inefficient and wasteful process which will not end up accomplishing its intended purpose. The government should focus on directly funding infrastructure and jobs that work on renewable energy and conservation.

I'm wondering what the actual "intended purpose" is. Clearly not creating jobs and boosting the economy or anything like that, or they wouldn't have structured it this way.

The way I see it, there are two possibilities.

1) They know a hard crash is coming, and there's no way to avoid it, so they're looting the country while the looting is good.

2) They're afraid our Chinese (and Japanese, Indian, etc.) overlords will cut us off if their investments aren't made good.

I am not quite as cynical as you are but I suppose what you suggest is possible. Another problem is that the so called real economy is pretty much hollowed out. Regardless, the only people bailed out so far are multimillionaires.

Reading the coverage of the bailout debate before it passed...there was concern among some congressmen about the fact that there were no controls over how the money was used. But when they voiced their concerns, Paulson said it was a dealbreaker. He insisted on no limits, no controls, or Bush would veto it.

Why? And why would congress go along with that? IMO, there had to be a compelling reason. It's not like they didn't notice or didn't know what would happen.

These are not mutually exclusive. If you have to go for (2) to keep the game going for a while longer, wouldn't you naturally go for (1) and get yourself and your buddies set up nicely?

My key belief is that those in high places saw the oil spike and financial crash coming, and probably see the recession quite vividly and have plans for that too, but many lower-downs even in the financial and oil industries are just scrapping for what they can get like most of us.

"Nobody could have seen this coming" said by officials is synonymous with "sucks to be you".

"Nobody could have seen this coming"

But... it's built in... Money as debt...

Take out a loan, new money and new debt are created. Debt pays interest as percentage per unit time.

Debt = (1 + interest% )no of years
Debt = e(No of years * ln(1 + interest %))

eix = cos(x) + isin(x)

If you're using credit/debt as money it IS going to come down. The fundamental nature of debt says so. Not only that, with all those cos and sin functions built in you are pretty much guaranteed a wild ride. Making debt money, doesn't seem like a very good idea to me, but then, I don't own JP Morgan.

Debt can be repudiated, it's nothing but agreements which last only as long as some power exists to enforce them.

Once the system crashes, the debt is repudiated, and the real assets, whatever they are, are all that matters.

Money is nothing but some force -- coercive or attractive -- that makes people do things.

The world will certainly be a different place in a few years, but it won't end.

Debt = e(No of years * ln(1 + interest %))

eix = cos(x) + isin(x)

It's highly misleading to suggest that these two equations are similar; their behaviour is completely and utterly different. Writing a complex number as (x,y), the equations become:

  1. e^x = e^(x,0)
  2. e^ix = e^(0,x)

The first equation is the regular exponential function we're all familiar with, and quickly produces very large numbers; the second equation describes the circle of radius 1 centred at the origin. The results are not even remotely similar.

as long as we are picking nits, i believe the first equation should read:


where p is the principal , i is annual interest rate,fraction(not as %)
and t is time,yrs

example i = 0.05 t=5 then debt is p(1.05)^5
= 1.28p

If they do something like
d2Debt/dt2 = K - c*Debt
which shows Debt accelerating until it crosses some artificial limit, it will start oscillating, as the solution to this equation is a phased sin/cos equation.

Why this would happen, I don't know, but it is mathematically one way it would start oscillating.

I would think the debt would crash or reset before oscillating.

I would think that oscillating is actually the norm, and we will see much more of that before we see a crash or reset.

Don in Maine

The yearly deficit seems to oscillate a bit but the accumulated debt keeps on increasing.

Would not an oscillation in debt require a feedback loop and a gain of greater than one, as in classical control theory?

I know there are other theoretical modes that can drive oscillatory behavior, but I can't see what would drive a debt oscillation other than such a feedback loop consisting of changes in interest rate, regulation, and behavior. Likely any such oscillation would be on a very long scale -- to the tune of decades. Perhaps there is short-duration cycle overlaid upon a much larger generational cycle?

I am sure that there have been attempts to model economic theory in terms of overdamped and underdamped systems, with various input functions and signal paths, but the complexity would likely be intractable. A discrete simulation with enough interconnected but independently acting entities might be viable.

I imagine that social mores and emotional readings like "consumer confidence" play into any such mechanism, but maybe those could be quantified in some way as well.

Likely any such oscillation would be on a very long scale -- to the tune of decades.

You mean something like this:

I think we had discussed, or at least mentioned, the L-V equation a while back, and I think it applies. Depending on the parameters, it can assume a nearly constant steady state, oscillate (almost- but not-quite- sinusoidally), oscillate wildly, or crash.

Just substitute fossil fuel for "prey" and the financial system for "predator".

I wasn't really suggesting they're similar I was just pointing out that exponentials are closely related to functions which form waves and are therefore likely to vary wildly.

When trying to measure the size, or value of an item, it really doesn't seem wise to use something which is itself likely to vary wildly. In fact, the very idea is ridiculous. Would you use an elastic band to measure the width of a door?

How can credit then be said to be a good way of measuring the value of something? How could anyone possibly reliably gauge the value of anything when the value of money itself is based on millions of loan agreements and debt payments.

I'm not at all sure 1 and 2 are mutually exclusive.

I vote all of the above. And then some.


"...trying to indirectly bail out the real economy with the financial economy...?

I look at it differently.

The financial economy knows the jig is up so they have tapped into the real economy via the treasury to monetize as much of their virtual wealth as possible before total collapse.

So the real bitch here IMO is the fact that these smokers who have created vast amounts of digital dollar wealth without producing anything tangible but instead through creative accounting, financial engineering, basically dirty dealing, now get to turn their phony wealth into real tangible goods.

In other words they SUCK!

The only way to stop them is to drag them out into the streets. They have no shame, their ambition knows no bounds.

Congress has proved impotent to control it -- that is our "legal" recourse. Now we capitulate or we resist.

Absolutely, tstreet. Put people to work on much-needed projects, and let the bankers compete for their business as these people take their paychecks to buy what they need and do (also heavily subsidized) projects such as super-insulating homes, converting to low-energy appliances and the like.

A trickle-up recovery is the only recovery that will work.

Palin Calls Critics Among McCain Aides ‘Jerks’

By the end of the week, their complaints had escalated considerably, with Fox News quoting unnamed McCain campaign officials as saying that Ms. Palin had not known that Africa was a continent, not a country, and claiming that she did not know which countries were covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“So, no, I think that if there are allegations based on questions or comments that I made in debate prep about Nafta, and about the continent versus the country when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context,” Ms. Palin said. “And that’s cruel and it’s mean-spirited, it’s immature, it’s unprofessional, and those guys are jerks, if they came away with it taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news. It is not fair and not right.”

There's a phrase that comes to mind about pots and kettles and name calling. I remember more than a few terms like "socialist" and "pal-ing about with terrorists" being used. Can't say I'm sorry to see this come out in the open. 2012 is looking dim for Mrs. Palin, but a lot can happen in four years.

In regard to the future, few things are certain--but we can be sure that a great deal will happen during the next few years. Among the most likely happenings are:

1. Increasing unemployment as the recession becomes more severe and perhaps turns into a depression.

2. Increased deficit spending by government to combat the recession.

3. Increased growth in the money supply to finance the increased deficit spending by the U.S. government.

4. Increased inflation because of rising oil prices and 2 and 3 above.

5. A greatly increased misery index from rising prices and rising unemployment rates.

6. A search for a scapegoat to blame our woes on. Obama is the man . . . just as Herbert Hoover was.

7. A search for a savior. Either Palin or somebody worse and more extreme with "drill, drill, drill" policies in 2012.

Don, I agree with everything you say until you reach #6. Everyone will remember that the collapse begin under Bush's administration and they will continue to blame Bush's policies for that collapse. Remember the Great Depression raged for almost ten years under Roosevelt and no one blamed him for that depression, they blamed the man under who's watch it all started.

I think that in four years we will be a lot worse off but by that time there will be a much greater understanding of the energy situation. We will, by that time, likely be drilling everywhere but that will no longer be seen as the panacea that will save us.

There will be scapegoats however but they will likely be those who continued to say there was no peak oil problem in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.


I sincerely hope that you are correct. What I think is likely is that most people will look back on the eight years of George W. Bush as "the good old days," "the good times," in contrast to the utterly bleak and deteriorating economic conditions of 2012.

Obama has promised better economic times ahead. When he fails to deliver, I expect a powerful reaction against him.

FDR only took power in 1933, at the depths of the depression. By the end of his first administration in 1936 economic conditions were less bad than they were in 1933. Obama is going to face economic conditions going from bad to worse.

Obama has promised better economic times ahead. When he fails to deliver, I expect a powerful reaction against him.

Depends. He could stick about if he tosses the 'political system' under the bus. Graft, corruption, special interests are all quite tossible. But I'm not sure how the Demopublicans can do the tossing without also suffering tire tracks.

In theory tossible.
In practice how would one manhandle the corporatocracy ?

If no one has an interest in the corporatocracy, then you don't care what happens to it.

Alas, for that to happen, there would have to be wholesale destruction across the economic landscape. That would not be pretty - I fear for the rise of the Samuel Byck's who will feel they did everything right and are owed some'tin.

Said by RBM:
In practice how would one manhandle the corporatocracy ?

Adapted from a letter that I am writing to Obama:

Reinstate the IRS task force that specializes in corporate tax evasion to put them on the defensive. After 8 years of no regulation by the Bush administration, this area is ripe. The subprime crisis provides an area overflowing with fraud, from falsified incomes on loan applications, through predatory lending practices, to bogus ratings of mortgage backed securities. Blame them, drag them into court, take their money and lock them up. Restore the law forbidding one corporation from owning multiple media outlets in the same region to recreate a news media with critical reasoning and loyalty to America. Split up all companies that are too big to fail. Raise taxes on the wealthy. Learn some lessons from Russia's former president, Vladimir Putin, on how to deal with a corporate oligarchy. If government saves a business using tax payer dollars, then the president should replace the top executives whose incompetence wrecked the business with people who can save it and support his policies. After the crisis has passed, the government sells is ownership stake back to the public.

Yeah, I think that would get the ball rolling. lol !

I'm not sure the Russian mob-oriented plutocracy is the best solution, or the "tax the rich" part, but the rest seems reasonable. No business should ever be "too big to fail".

I love these threads forecasting the future of US Presidents. So much earnest speculation and hope for the future.

But I'll make one very simple forecast that will prove accurate. To wit : The opposition candidate will ask one question that will settle the issue. "Are you better off today than you were four years ago ?"

These are the good old days

Howard Dean asked that in 2004.

It doesn't necessarily work. To a great degree the outcome will depend on spin, bs and public relations. Which candidate is rubber and which is glue?

Remember the Great Depression raged for almost ten years under Roosevelt and no one blamed him for that depression, they blamed the man under who's watch it all started.

I hope you are correct, and will do my part to make it so. But I think we have forces at work, such as Faux News, AEI, and the serious reduction in critical thinking skills, that may give undue traction to the "blame it on Obama and the liberals" meme. Also the lag time between cause and effect (financial blowup leading the unemployment on main street) is fairly longer -probably 12months or so on average, so most people will see the recession deepening just as Obama is elected, and a great effort will be made to link the two.

What's with proactively shielding BO from blame when we don't even know what he'll do yet? If the economy DOESN'T crash, then BO doesn't get the credit either?

If real GDP does not decline drastically during the next four years, I, for one, will be:

1. Surprised.

2. Delighted.

Peak oil is here. From now on we will see--with fluctuations--a declining economy.

Even if Obama and the strongly Democratic Congress do everything "right" we are looking at an economy that will decline as the net exports of oil decline, oil becomes much more expensive, and hence other fossil-fueled energy also becomes more expensive. A decline in natural gas production in a year or two or three is likely and if it happens will make the economy much worse than it was during the era of cheap and abundant natural gas.

Can Obama pull a rabbit out of a hat? Sorry, all the rabbits are gone.

This is why some of us are worried about this scenario:

1 Obama tries his best but the economy declines markedly in the next four years because the problems are just too huge to be resolved in a short time frame.

2 The backlash against Obama's 'failure' to solve economic problems results in the election of a right-wing demagogue in 2012.

He can't pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Which is why IMHO, if somewhere deep down underneath whatever polical skin he has, if he believes that things are fundamentally much worse than we have been lead to believe (we know they are), if he really believes we cannot continue to increase debt, print money, and spend our way out of this then he must - as he has promised - be honest with us and level with us on his Day One.

The truth about the economy and energy - as they are interwined - needs to come from him ASAP.

I think he could buy some time - and credibility - if as suggested by others a fast track study by the likes of the National Academy of Sciences starts on 21 Jan 2009.

Yes - I have submitted this to change.gov


Wall Street's typical answer to economic problems, "lower interest rates." They cannot go much lower and did not prevent the credit crunch, but may have exacerbated it as the pool of creditors soon outnumbered lenders. Would you lend out at 1.5% if someone was offering you a better deal down the street?

Making more money did not solve economic woes for Zimbabwe. Greater public debt did not fix it for Iceland.

The credit swap mess has not been solved by bailing out some gambler's who took control of investment banks. There should be a law against derivitaves that are not backed by deposits just as the insurance industry in regulated.

Oil is a boom to bust industry. Unemployed people do not have to drive to work, and unemployment checks were much smaller than real paychecks.

It could be that if things are really that bad, if the economy is a smoking hulk by 2012, the people may want NONE OF THE ABOVE. That would be the time when perhaps something new could emerge.

Fits in well with the Mayan calander too! ;)

I doubt that something new under the sun will emerge. What I fear is that something old--like Pelley's Blackshirts in America, or Gerald L.K. Smith, or Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party, or Huey Long will emerge and transform this country to dictatorship. You think things are bad now? Just you wait for a few years.

The Great Depression in the U.S. gave rise to extremests both on the left and the right. I expect the Greater Depression to do the same.

The more the world changes, the more it stays the same.

If the looting of the country continues unimpeded as it looks it will (Obama is predictably silent on the subject) your possibility is strengthened greatly.

I doubt that something new under the sun will emerge.

Never say never.

I envision a giant space mirror being fabricated out of an asteroid and being brought into Earth orbit to focus solar energy on a solar concentrator farm.

Of course it may take international cooperation to pull off such a stunt. But hey, we're all on this sinking boat of a planet together.

Agreed. And I don't think anyone will remember who Palin is in four years. It'll be some doofus who's currently selling used cars or running a megachurch.

I have not heard the expression "The Greater Depression" before, and coming from you Don, I am now truly worried. I hope that this expression does not become common usage soon.

I vote for "World Depression II." World War I was called "The Great War" and "The War To End All Wars"... before WWII came around.

I'm thinking "The 1st Global Depression" and "The 2nd Global Depression"

World Depression I and World Depression II doesn't have the right ring to it, and both the 1st and 2nd Global Depressions fell on the heals of the 1st and 2nd rounds of globalization.

how about "the big one" ala fred sanford

Yes We Will (Have A Depression)

NOW WE CAN SEE THAT THE ECONOMY IS A CONFIDENCE GAME. With markets spinning out of control and liquidity frozen, analysts and commentators repeat again and again that the problem is that investors have lost confidence. What they don't adequately stress is that this loss of confidence is fully justified.

I did not coin the term "Greater Depression," but I have seen several others on TOD use the term and decided to adopt it. Unfortunately, I think it is an apt phrase to describe the next fifteen years in the U.S. In other words, I think our economy will be in worse shape in 2020 than it was back in 1933.

Hello Don Sailorman,

Once I am reduced to living in a squalid squatter tent city: my first act will be posting a prominent 'Shruburb' sign [full credit to Souperman for the clever word invention]. IMO, it rolls off the tongue so much better than the earlier 'Hoovervilles'.

But Dubya's on his way out. We need a name for the Obamavilles. Barry-os?

Hello Leanan,

How about "Obamanations"*** with the various parts of the squatter camp called Kenya, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Easter Island, Iceland, Roman Empire, Mayan Empire, Nauru, etc?

If the world's wealthiest can live on a artificially constructed map of the world in Dubai--> the world's poorest can certainly imitate that too as the geography lesson can be quite instructive. Some examples: Nauru would be a great name for where all the camp outhouses or open latrines are located, and the graveyard could be called Waterloo so as to provide another lesson when the time comes to dig up the bones and teeth for recycling.


5 thesaurus results for: abomination
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition
Main Entry: abomination
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: object of extreme dislike, hate
Synonyms: anathema, aversion, bother, curse, detestation, evil, horror, nuisance, plague, shame, torment
Antonyms: beauty, blessing, delight, enjoyment, esteem, joy, love, treat

Beyond the "Palindrome"?

which for some reason brings to this mind the image of a capuchin monkey dressed as a jockey, riding ...

but, nevermind; that person's 15 minutes of fame are now over.

Don Sailorman,

I've been reading TOD for over 3 years and I have a great deal of respect for your opinion. You're probably right.

But I'm only 40, and I'm still trying to figure out what to do with this hope thing. Is it truley the last evil to escape Pandora's Box, or should I hang on to some of it in case I need it?

I guess my feeling is that the world will have to be broken in order to be remade. When we go to put the pieces back together again, I want there to be enough hope left that we can avoid being scared into adopting the world you predict.

Plan for the worst and hope for the best?

Hope is the enemy of reason, empathy, and action. It's the expectation of an outcome in which you have no influence. Hoping is the learned practice of relying on luck.

Plan for the worst. Check in with your feelings and understandings. Then take action to move in the direction of what you consider to be the best.

In regard to hope, I think for it to be constructive it must also be realistic. For example, I can hope for my family to stick together during the hard times to come; I think that is a realistic hope. To hope for some technological breakthrough that would solve the problem of Peak Oil--that is a false hope and should be avoided.

In my opinion, the best philosophy for hard times is stoicism as expressed in the writings of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. The stoic does his duty. One of the duties of the true stoic is to do his duty cheerfully--and not to rail against what cannot be changed. Also stoicism doesn't mean you can't have fun; the stoic has normal feelings but does not let feelings interfere with doing what is right. Epictetus pointed out that it is usually pretty easy to know what is right--the hard thing is to do what is right.

I hope we all stick together in hard times.

I definitely don't expect a technological breakthrough to save us.

What I'm grasping for is some kind of future where we (humans) can continue living on this green Earth. In the past, there have been huge changes in the way humans live. I think we need to change again.

I read you're comment and it was quite interesting, my own reaction to it. I've been here a while. It translated to a "find you're shit job now" thought. Points out more about me than you. Jobs we used to consider bad, are jobs. They may become few. There will be a large line for interviews. Sharing thought, that's all, but it might be a better idea to look for a job, that will continue to pay something other than a career. Some of these jobs continue even in the worst of times. Be the one that excels at your "shit" job and you will have an income, small, yes... but an income. Was it SCT who was shoveling shit? Cash coming in is cash coming in. I'd say we need to focus on a way to do that. There are not many of us here who will cash in on the changes.

Some will, again mostly not this group. We need to work for some dollars. ELP. cut back as much as you can so you need fewer dollars. Find work that will not go away, even if it is beneath you,

There's a problem there if you think about it. How well are you programmed. I think if you have an income from any means, in a few short years, you will be doing fine. As compared to the larger and larger group that has no income.

My own situation, I sold my business, I should have been set, we just won a court case for $250,000 , but they don't have it, they have new cars etc, the payed employees under the table and they bled the business dry. Haven't payed what they agreed to for three years. Put the $$ in their corp and we lose. I'm still taxed on the value I sold.

So now I clean toilets, went from a check for $10,000 a month to nothing. Still had the bills. IRS especially. But you know, it's not bad, I'm in and as bad as it gets I think I'll still have a paycheck, I clean two banks and a med center. I make more than the tellers. Think cash, you will all need it, think about when your job is gone. It will go.

Don in Maine.

I'm not so sure, didn't things not really get better economically in the great depression until WWII started? Roosevelt was elected three times during that period. Since this all started before he got into office, Obama might avoid the scapegoat-ing, I suppose it depends if his policies are viewed as helping or hurting (not necessarily whether they actually help or hurt).

The worst part of being a victim of the Depression in 1932 was the uncertainty; you might very well starve to death without doing anything wrong, and it kept getting worse in fits and starts. Not only was the economy (and the Dow Jones) much better by 1936, but you knew that there might be recourse even if you had to go to work building a Federal dam. So when the second crash hit in 1937 there was far less panic. Note that in 1937 the Supreme Court also overturned many New Deal measures, which were trivial compared to the measures FDR was able to employ during the War. That doesn't prove the New Deal was useless, it proves that the New Deal should have been on the scale of World War 2. Do I hear any far-right revisionists denouncing the wartime economy? But then they will always tolerate socialism in the name of violence and conquest, and only for that.

That's what worries me about a lot of my friends (here in the UK): they're all of the ingrained belief that if they're prepared to work reasonably hard, then they will always be able to find a reasonably well paying job. (I'd put it as "you might well starve to death regardless of what you do to try to help yourself".) If the UK ends up in a situation like the start of the great depression in the US where even lowest paid manual work is not easy to get they're in for a big problems.

So do you tolerate violence and conquest in the service of socialism? Sometimes the end justifies the means, but it doesn't mean it's an optimal goal or a long-standing solution.

Even conservatives can tolerate a social program where people actually have to work for their rewards. Do you think most Americans would willingly work doing manual labor to feed their family? I hope that most still would, but our welfare approach doesn't foster than sentiment.

'Welfare Approach' -at all levels, right? So that we don't just reward those Auto companies again for their shortsighted business planning, and inability to face the darwinian realities of the marketplace.

Adam Smith was not so naive. He was well aware that wherever the powerful gather together they conspire against the public interest.
In what way have the investment bankers 'worked for their money?'
They have taken over companies to draw contracts such that they win regardless of performance.
Of course, this ignores the long-standing conspiracy in the stock market to relieve the small investor of their money, to the benefit of the big players - you try to get the same deal as Warren Buffet has recently.
The reason most Americans have tried to avoid manual work is because the rates of pay for doing it have been consistently destroyed, for instance by illegal immigration, which is 'controlled' by utterly ineffective border fences, criminalising those who are only seeking a modest living.
An effective measure to control immigration would be to impose heavy penalties on those who employ them, but of course this would result in better wages for those Americans who do manual work, and impose real costs in dearer food, for instance, on the elite, which is not at all what they want.
The 'Welfare system' for the elite certainly does not encourage them to engage in productive effort, merely to impose costs on others and get deeply socialist bail outs from the asset inflation that they have created with financial engineering.
Do you think that the top 1% of American 'earners' actually do anything which could not be done at a fraction of the cost if , say, Indian entrepreneurs were imported instead?
The grifters and dead-beats are the folk at the heart of the establishment, not the folk who you feel are lacking moral fibre by trying to avoid manual labour when it is so poorly rewarded.

Even the socialists can tolerate a capitalist system where the leaders actually have to input real value for their vast rewards.

They (powers that be) hope it will be blamed on Obama. That is the reason they didn't bother to steal this election.

This is why Obama needs a National Academy of Sciences study and a revitalized/real function National Commission on Energy Policy http://www.energycommission.org/

If the word really gets out about Peak Oil from major studies, which the media will now cover, the heat will be off of Obama.

Is he that smart?? He is kinda green, we will see. :)

Cliff Wirth

You can't steal an election unless it's close. The only close elections that mattered were for the Senate. Check out Alaska and Georgia, where many votes seem to have gone missing and a convicted felon was miraculously elected despite polling data that has proven accurate in all normal states.

And inflation means less capital for deep water drilling. Uh oh there goes Brazil's much touted one years worth of oil :(


Cliff Wirth

As for Points 6 and 7:

This is exact;y why the very first words from President Obama's moth need to be:

"I instruct Congress to mandate exploratory drilling for oil in both the Artic National Wildlife Reserve and in all previously off-limits areas of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. Energy independence is a a matter of National Security and exploring for and exploiting oil reserves in these areas will begin within 3 three months from today."

His next sentences need to educate the American people that the very best case that can be hoped for is oil reserves from these new areas sufficient to provide 24B barrels of oil, equivalent to roughly three years of U.S. consumption, and that even if this fantasticly high recovery amount can be realized, it will not start flowing for at least 6 years even under crash measures and the entire recovered amount will be spread out over 25 years of production...therefore, these resources will help in a small way to reduce oil imports, but are by themselves woefully insufficient.

His next words are the quid pro quo for offering to have us swallow the 'poison pill' of drilling in environmentally sensitive areas, which is anathema to people who care about wildlife and care about Global Warming.

He also instructs Congress to mandate energy efficiency increases of 50% for all appliances sold in the U.S., to be realized no later than 3 years from this day. Additionally, the U.S. CAFE will be increased to 45 MPG no later than 4 years after this day, with incremental targets to be met each year under penalty of steep fines/taxes. Consumer trucks below a certain weight will not receive an exemption. Exempted consumer vehicles will be subject to an excise tax and must meet a 30 MPG CAFE. People using such vehicles used for legitimate business activities can file for a tax rebate with by providing appropriate documentation. The U.S. government will provided targeted bailout/industrial development monies to US car makers only for the purposes of energy efficiency improvements. A select group of start-up electric/hybrid car makers will be seeded with US money to jump-start their development, certification, and deployment of these new car technologies. A gas tax will be phased in over the next 6 months placing a $4/gallon floor on US gasoline and diesel prices (inherent price + taxes = at least $4/gallon).

Production Tax Credits for wind and solar energy will be trebled and locked in for 10 years.

There would be more initiatives in more (and better) detail, but you get the idea.

As much as we hate the idea of opening ANWR and OCS, ot is imperative to do this to pop the balloon, let the wind of the sails, etc to the "Drill, Baby, Drill" crowd led by Faux news. In fact, President Obamna should tell the public and the oil companies that if they don't start drilling, the U.S. military will! And the first platform/wells should have the biggest damn American flags imaginable proudly flying in the wind nearby/over them...10 times bigger than the biggest flags flown by the most audacious car dealerships...big enough to see from space (little hyperbole here for yucks). We need to shut them the hell up so we can pursue the real, necessary agenda. We take these environmental risks to lock in the longer-term, greater good. In fact, democratic operatives should seed the crowd and incite a 'Drill, bay, drill' chant. The low-information voters/Fox noise zombies and their corporate puppet-masters would be completely co-opted and out of ideas. We win.

There endith my fantasy for the day...Sun Tzu would be proud.

There endith my fantasy for the day...Sun Tzu would be proud.

I wholeheartedly agree with your wishes. Unfortunately I think they are wishes we won't likely see come true. Of course you can, and I hope will send your thoughts to Change.gov. My hope is that thoughtful well written recommendations can have an influence on the thinking of this administration. I suspect low level staffers are reading the inputs, with a few being selected to be passed up the line.

Oh, by the way, eliminating our importation of foreign oil would take the wind out of the terrorists sails for funding and remove the rationale for having one US troop on ME soil.

Yes, there is the protection of Israel, that is what our nuclear umbrella is for and our aircraft carriers and Marines.

I need to do some research, but I am not convinced that lack of US safety feature compliance has anything to do with not selling the Ford eFiesta in the US. Plenty of European cars have been sold in the US (VW, Audi, Mercedes, etc). Even if true, it would be trivial to add door beams and such...especially when Uncle Sugar is giving you $50B now,ore to come when they threaten to close.

Pollution laws I would more easily believe being an impediment, especially for diesel engines. I wouldn't go pissing and moaning about our environmental protection laws...our air and water are not models of cleanliness now as it is.

That being said, again, I don't buy the idea that these engines could not be made to pass muster...what about adding the BlueTec technology invented by Mercedes or whomever? Come on now, esp. with $50B and counting of free capital from Uncle Sugar.

Oh, and once we get Universal Health Care like the rest of the civilized world, our companies do not have to deal with that issue...just like the Japanese and Europeans don't have to provide company health care either.

Plenty O' excuses, and almost all of them stink.

Time to move out...or do we just like to post blogs and wring our hands. I am writing my Congresspeople and the Pbama site...are you?

Yep, the Zionists must be protected so that they can continue to murder Palestinians. After all, it is a democracy, even if they have had to exile most of the population to make it so.


I am not taking sides with my statement, just relating how it is. That issue is well above my pay grade and yours.

The situation would have been much easier to solve if the folks over there understood and practiced birth control (no more than 2.1 children per woman per lifetime). Their breeding is over the top, producing bigger and bigger demographic pigs in the python of angry young men without jobs and prime to accept a scapegoat for blame when offered (as it continually is).

The issue is not above our pay grade; we Americans were the prototypes for Israel. The intent of the Israelis, as the early Zionist hero Jabotinsky explained, was to do to the Arabs what white Americans did to Native Americans; to outnumber them and marginalize them into invisibility and steal all they had of value. Yet because of the Palestinian birth rate, they have thwarted the settler's scheme and the settlers are beginning to realize it. You might not like it, but overpopulation is what saved the Palestinians, not being "reasonable" by double-dealing Western standards.

When is this particular exercise is 'nation-building' due to be over anyway? It has been sixty years now (1948-2008). I personally think that's long enough to cut the cord and tell them 'sink or swim, you're on your own now'. What's the worst that could happen? Millions dead? OK, maybe but most likely not. And there have already been millions dead in Iraq, Congo, Rwanda, etc., and the world keeps turning. No one cares (much). I think it is likely that US involvement in Israel and environs de-stabilizes things more than it stabilizes.

I profoundly disagree with Sarah Palin on just about every issue, including religion, but I am increasingly offended by the media pundits turning her into an object of ridicule because she is a woman.

Hrmm. Care to provide links to the mote?

but I am increasingly offended by the media pundits turning her into an object of ridicule because she is a woman.

Oh give me a break! Do you really believe that the pundits are having a field day with Palin because she is a woman? Did they turn Geraldine Ferraro into an object of ridicule because she was a woman? Hell no, Ferraro is a very smart woman and the press respected that fact. So is Hillary and she did not get the Palin treatment either. It is because Palin is a dunce and McCain picked a dunce, a dingbat, as his vice presidential candidate. Wake up and smell the coffee Hummingbird.

I think you are going a bit too far to call Mrs. Palin a dunce. I do agree that she does not have the depth of education and experience required to be President and would not have had the time to acquire this level of understanding if McCain had been elected. And, I do continue to think that someone with her mystical world view should not be President either, no matter how well educated he/she appears to be. Anybody that thinks the World is less than 10,000 years old and was formed in 7 days is seriously disconnected from the basics of science and would not be able to understand the foundations of our science and technology based society. Also, one who thinks this way would likely chose a path without regard for the long term consequences, since they would also be likely to think that the End of the World might be an acceptable result.

E. Swanson

Most of us here on TOD seem to think that Palin is as bad as American politics gets. My guess is that in 2012 the Republicans will either nominate Palin or someone who is much more extreme than she is.

Also, I think Palin and many others believe that we are in End Times right now. Thus they expect and will accept (welcome?) the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. When business as usual breaks down, these Believers will see it as proving that we are in End Times.

Somebody like Joseph McCarthy may be waiting in the wings to take power in 2012, i.e. somebody far worse than Palin.

Ancient Chinese curse:
"May your children live in interesting times."

This again is rather similar to some of the flotsam and riff-raff floating around in the Third Reich.
Himmler was very keen on sending expeditions to determine the origins of the Aryan race.

This of course is not to say that Palin approaches Himmler in evil, but people with outlandishly eccentric views are starting to come to the fore, and that becomes dangerous when the situation deteriorates.
Most of the characters in the Reich were complete non-entities before things got so bad that the lowest gangsters could seize power.

I think many in the administration take for granted the stability that they do so much to undermine.
They may be lucky and their cronies will keep power, but they may not and in that case they and their families are in deadly danger.

True enough, but that doesn't alter the fact that Palin is a dunce, an embarrassment, and her selection caused many a McCaananite to scratch their heads and reconsider.

The gender issue may still be in there somewhere, since our nation seems to be willing to follow a male dunce to perdition, given the right rollout and spin.

Funny you should mention expeditions; like the Nazis, Palin's Spiritual Warfare movement claims to have sent an expedition to the Himalayas. But instead of Hitler's obsession with the ancient past, these whackos proudly announce that they exorcised a demon named "The Queen of Heaven". See, this movement Palin is in blames everything they don't like on demons and witches. The Queen of Heaven, an obvious reference to the Virgin Mary, is the reason why Catholics and Moslems don't all flock to the Assemblies of God church, because of her evil mind-control powers. According to the mail-order DVD these guys sell, after the exorcism Mother Theresa died, which may be proof that it worked.

Yes, they're applauding themselves for killing Mother Theresa. Because she did good and that blocked their plans to conquer the Earth, see? They intend to destroy Catholicism and every other religion, even most other Protestant churches. Palin was anointed by some of the leaders of this madness in a ceremony to serve as their tool to gain high office. One of these leaders, Mary Glazier, is also an activist in the Alaska Independence Party. Some Spiritual Warfare guys talk about taking over Alaska as a stronghold during the End Times. They are indeed preparing for collapse and using it as an excuse to create a dictatorship.

Extreme enough, Don and Dave?

I think I prefer Leanan's driverless bus.
Sounds as though inn 2012 we may well discover that the driver is a psychopath, as I am sure there are more loonies where they came from.
A few million German soldiers died because some people could not distinguish between an Opera and real life, and shortly it looks as though we are going to be carved up by a choice of religious lunatics, Moslem, Christian and Jewish.

Barak Obama doubtless spells 666, although I have not seen the precise calculations.

I am voting Anti-Christ.

Good God Dave, have you lost your senses?
I can whole heartedly agree with you on the matter of religion, I am constantly trying to get people to 'escape' from the clutches of organized religion.And when these acquaitances of mine ask why they should not attend 'church' I simply ask them why they would put so much trust in what men say.

It seems that many on this board (though brilliant in mathematics) are somewhat ignorant when it comes to socialogical trends, and or, deception.Every year it is the same circus of so called right verses so called left.It is merely a show for your amusement, a distraction, something to give you false hope and perhaps the impression that 'your' vote can actually make a change.It is nothing more than an illusion however (and) unfortunately.Do yourself a favor and research the works of Hegel and you will see a text book example of a dialectic being orchestrated among Americans within our political system.

Being intellectual and having wisdom are not mutually exclusive to one another,in fact, in most cases it can be quite the opposite.

Religion may be wrong for the most part, but truth will prevale.The Bible does not need our approval to be true.The Bible is diametrically opposed to modern religious systems - especially American main stream christianity.Read it for yourself, without religious influence, and you will clearly see what I mean.
If you don't you may find yourself holding hands with the loonies in the end cause I see no difference in their ideology and most people who are so called secular.
Secularism is obviously a religion unto itself....people gotta put their faith in something I suppose.

Actually I have done some bits and pieces of reading also.
I don't necessarily go along with your strictures on religion per se, but rather have critiques of certain expressions of the impulse where, in Joseph Campbell's words, 'To read poetry and take it as a recital of historical fact is to prove oneself a dolt'.

I have severe doubts whether the structure of the human mind allows it to be other than religious, although what is meant by that can vary widely.
The usual result of too emphatic rejection of religious feeling seems to be displacement, often with not very pretty results.

It is also not clear that voting has no effect at all, although to be sure the establishment is two-headed.
Just the same, I doubt that the return of the Democrats in 2000 would have resulted in the appointment of Dick Cheney as Vice President, and I am persuaded that that choice and the victory of the neo-cons had real consequences.

It is however accurate to say that the dialogue is constrained.

This site seems to be politically self-sorting toward an intellectual-left perspective, which doesn't change the simple fact that much of the US is middle-right. Belief and intellect are not the same thing -- a person can be quite intelligent and still hold profound but possibly irrational beliefs that may simply differ from those generally held. Being smart, being wise, and being decent aren't the same things either.

Also, I'd be surprised if Palin's church's tenets differ terribly from Obama's, though their political positions likely differ considerably.

This site seems to be politically self-sorting toward an intellectual-left perspective

Not exactly. It takes growing levels of cooperation to get at harder to find energy sources. Rugged individualism just doesn't cut it anymore.

You are not going to go out there into the middle of GoMex with your row boat and a couple of wooden sticks to build an offshore rig. It's going to take "community". It's going to take a concentrated and combined effort of armies of people to get the job done.

It is a natural outcome of the disappearing energy sources that is driving us towards more communal (socialist?) behavior.

Human beings have generally fared better when they coalesced into cooperative tribes.

Bailout Harbor here I come.

I think you are going a bit too far to call Mrs. Palin a dunce.

Okay so I exaggerated a little, a very little. ;-) (That's a Palin wink on the smiley face.) Perhaps the word "dunce" was a little too strong. "Airhead" would have been a much better word. Sorry for the exaggeration, I will try to do better next time.

If she thinks Africa is a country, she is a dunce. Period.

I think you are going a bit too far to call Mrs. Palin a dunce.

The admittedly anecdotal evidence, is that she cannot learn in the normal academic way. Now I am the first person to recognize that intelligence is multi-factorial, and some individuals can be very intelligent in some environments and fields of study, but incapable of even average performance in others. As an example, I'm pretty good in science, and maths, but if I had to be a lawyer I would be an absolute failure as I suffer from MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) in five seconds flat when presented with legalistic arguments. So probably Palin is very talented in some areas, sometimes called street smarts, that was a remarkably rapid rise to governorship, but she is clearly deficient in other areas that would be considered crucial to governing well at the national level.

At least she didn't think the Taliban was a band, like our fearless leader.

Then there was Dan Quayle, who thought they spoke Latin in Latin America, among many other howlers.

Quayle, according to the reporters who covered him, was actually a very intelligent and well-educated man. He just had a tendency to say stupid things in front of the cameras.

I think what we saw with Palin and well as Quayle were podunk politicians unexpectedly thrown into the national spotlight, and unprepared for it. They'd probably have been fine if they worked their way up in a more normal fashion. But they were used to the friendly local press coverage of their (relatively) small towns.

IMO, the coverage of Palin was a little unfair; Biden said some stupid things that got little coverage (like that thing about FDR running the nation during the 1929 crash). But he's been on the national scene for a long time, and his reputation is set. He's known for saying stupid things, but not actually being stupid. For newbies like Palin, saying something stupid might mean forever being branded as an airhead or bimbo. (But the same thing happened to Quayle, so I don't think it was necessarily sexist.)

The other common thread is the Biden's agenda is supported by the media, while Palin and Quayle were not.

I don't think that's necessarily true.

The "liberal media" is a myth. Yes, they're liberal when it comes to social issues, like gay marriage. But on fiscal issues, like taxes, they are conservative. And why shouldn't they be? The MSM is now dominated by a handful of giant corporations. And the reporters in the national media are in very high tax brackets indeed.

Gore got screwed by the media when he was running for president. His agenda is little different from Biden's, while Palin could be Bush in drag. But eight years ago, Bush was the media's favored son, while Gore was the redheaded stepchild.

Gore got royally picked apart by the right-leaning talk media, for sure. I always felt he got a pass for his dumb statements in the MSM, but his real problem with the press was that he always seemed pale next to Clinton. IMHO.

I think the press is plenty "liberal" wrt gov't size, role, healthcare, social programs, social issues, etc. Fiscally they may be more conservative than some, but if so that hardly ever gets headlines. Hardly ever do I hear a pundit saying "and exactly how are you going to pay for this big new program?" if it's not a military program. But then, I know I am biased, and I probably tune out or change the channel by then anyway.

On a barely-related note: Gun show attendance today was massive. BO has managed to single-handedly swell the ranks of assault rifle owners to new heights. Cheap Chinese SKSs are selling at a rare premium, while AR-15's pretty much sold out in the first hour. One gun store owner said, "I wish I had 100 more". This from guys who usually sell 3-10 per day.

"On a barely-related note: Gun show attendance today was massive. BO has managed to single-handedly swell the ranks of assault rifle owners to new heights. Cheap Chinese SKSs are selling at a rare premium, while AR-15's pretty much sold out in the first hour. One gun store owner said, "I wish I had 100 more". This from guys who usually sell 3-10 per day."

Do you think this is in reaction to the election of Obama? Is the People getting ready for a "well regulated Militia"?

“ A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. ”

Geeze...no one is going to do anything to the Second Amendment, for crying out loud. All kinds of Democrats hunt and have weapons for home defense/self-protection.

Another right-wing fake issue to distract the masses from the real issues. Did William Jefferson Clinton, the Straw Man Devil of the RW zealots, abolish the Second Amendment?

Fools and their money are easily parted.

I wonder how many of those AR-15s and Chinese knock-off AK-47s will be trans-shipped across the Mexican border to the drug gangs...our ruinous war on drugs is another distraction that needs to end...right after we get off the oil teet and get our military the hell out of the ME.

??? I don't understand your post. Did anyone suggest something would be done to the Second Amendment?

I hope you don't fall in the category of your third paragraph.

Suggestion ?

Gun owners fear tough new laws; one shop criticized for 'Obama sale'

Of course he will start with handguns and assault weapons, and then semi-auto shotguns, and then limit sales, and increase registration. Those are long-standing areas of previous attack against gun ownership.

And if all that succeeds, eventually the 2nd Amendment will fall, nibbled away bit by bit.

How is a "fake issue"? It's simply a valid issue that isn't important to many people. Those to whom it is somewhat important bought guns today. Those to whom it was very important bought them a long time ago.

The Mexicans and their drug gangs can buy their own guns first-hand. They're not short on cash or long on regulation.

What they are going to do is ban assault weapons and possibly semi-automatic large-caliber ones and clips larger than ten rounds. I also assume they will increase any gun-related taxes they can.

Do you think this is in reaction to the election of Obama?

Yes. People are afraid Obama will enact gun control laws.

As I read the Second Amendment, guns should serve a "well regulated Militia".
So again: do you think there is such a thing in the making so that the People may keep a free State? As they buy guns all of a sudden, are the People getting ready for the formation of such a Militia?

As they buy guns all of a sudden, are the People getting ready for the formation of such a Militia?

No, I don't think so. They just like the idea of having the option.

No, I think part is people who want Beanie Babies when they fear there won't be any more, and part is people who want to feel independent and have some control over dark things that go bump in the night. Not many have a principled view of limiting gov't action by force if necessary.

Citizens may be armed (if they so choose). Slaves cannot be.

The use of the term "the people" in the Bill of Rights refers to the general populace in amendments 1, 4, & 5. Why should it refer to the militia in the 2nd? That's the Supremes' reading anyway, but maybe you know more constitutional law than they do.

The Constitution is not a stand-alone document - Just peek at Jefferson's other writings and you can see what the framers intended:

"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."
--Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824.

"No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms (within his own lands or tenements)."
--Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution with (his note added), 1776. Papers, 1:353

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
--Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and Punishment (1764).

The "well regulated Militia" has historically been the Guard. And in case you missed it, the Bush administration stripped the states of the Guard. The Governors of the states blew it totally by letting that happen. It is entirely realistic to consider reforming state and community militias because the Guard will not be there for the states.

It's not, however, obvious to me that such a "militia" would have to be a fully armed military force. It could imagine it built of earth marines, barefoot doctors and permaculture workers. We're moving into a new paradigm - the guns and military command are going to look stupid.

cfm in Gray, ME

Obama's stance:
* Ok for states & cities to determine local gun laws. (Apr 2008)
* FactCheck: Yes, Obama endorsed Illinois handgun ban. (Apr 2008)
* Respect 2nd Amendment, but local gun bans ok. (Feb 2008)
* Provide some common-sense enforcement on gun licensing. (Jan 2008)
* 2000: cosponsored bill to limit purchases to 1 gun per month. (Oct 2007)
* Concealed carry OK for retired police officers. (Aug 2007)
* Stop unscrupulous gun dealers dumping guns in cities. (Jul 2007)
* Keep guns out of inner cities--but also problem of morality. (Oct 2006)
* Bush erred in failing to renew assault weapons ban. (Oct 2004)
* Ban semi-automatics, and more possession restrictions. (Jul 1998)
* Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers. (Jul 2005)

Biden's stance:
* Keep assault weapons ban; close gun show loophole. (Apr 2007)
* Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers. (Jul 2005)
* Voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence. (Mar 2004)
* Voted YES on background checks at gun shows. (May 1999)
* Voted NO on more penalties for gun & drug violations. (May 1999)
* Voted NO on loosening license & background checks at gun shows. (May 1999)
* Voted NO on maintaining current law: guns sold without trigger locks. (Jul 1998)
* Rated F by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun control voting record. (Dec 2003)

Obama has a long history of being against the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns and assault weapons and ammunition for them. He is against concealed carry.

Per the WSJ, he said, "“Even if I want to take them away, I don’t have the votes in Congress."

Then it's going to be interesting to see how Obama is going to swear on the Bible to uphold the constitution...

Or perhaps getting ready for a poorly-regulated militia.

Like the Ku Klux Klan in 1876.

Or the Minute Men. How can you be so uniformly suspicious of EVERY gun-toting, Bible-thumping, business-running, property-owning, tax-avoiding white male out there?

This Second Amendment bullcrap is ridiculously illogical.

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The way the NRA looks at this, the above should be rewritten as---"A totally unregulated mob necessary to security of a free State... etc."

It's not an individual right; it's a collective right(like right of free assembly which IS regulated by reason and local laws) of the people to form a militia.
If a local government passes a law regulating what weapons can be in a 'theoretical' militia there's really no conflict.

It's interesting that cities which are confronted with high crime who want gun regulation to increase their security are prevented by remote rural people who want guns to hunt which is not a militia activity.

It's oxymoronic.

On a barely-related note: Gun show attendance today was massive. BO has managed to single-handedly swell the ranks of assault rifle owners to new heights. Cheap Chinese SKSs are selling at a rare premium, while AR-15's pretty much sold out in the first hour. One gun store owner said, "I wish I had 100 more". This from guys who usually sell 3-10 per day.

Paleocon, compared to the rest of the western industrialized world, there is no "left wing" anything (including the press) in the good old USA. The ideological and cultural divide is skewered in one direction... on the USS America, it's starboard all the way. Your last paragraph illustrates quite nicely what sets the USA apart from everybody else. Talk loudly and brandish a big fire arm.

I see no reason to be like the rest of the world, and yes I know that to them we're right and righter, but they've been moving left for a lot longer than we have.

It's OK to be different. Try it. You might like it. :)

Your ignorance is appalling-the USA of 1978 was a commie wet dream compared to the current setup.

I know. I'm stupid and ignorant. And the US in 1978 had broader social programs, a larger more invasive gov't, more ownership and control of industry, and higher taxes than we do now.

1970's had social activism by youths and underprivileged groups, funded and aided by real communists. They didn't have institutional sway within the gov't and broad mind-share support to the degree they do today. Socialist tenets just aren't called that anymore. Now they're "living wages" and "universal healthcare" and things "the richest nation in history can afford".

And now thanks to the heirs of Reagan we have a barbaric state that allows torture, invades countries and lies about why, and demands that the world lend it trillions of dollars because it is the defender of free enterprise. My God, Paleo, you would be happier living in the Confederate States of America. And places like the Confederate States of America can not exist without a slave race, whether it parades under the banner of fascism or private property. How could you be miserable living in Germany or the Netherlands or Canada and happy living in a re-creation of Jeff Davis' Mississippi or Pinochet's Chile or Franco's Spain? Unless the only thing that gives your life meaning is being able to say you're the master race, and watching the queers, ni**ers and atheists suffer? What a rotten excuse for a life.

We had a 91% top income rate under Dwight Eisenhower! Was he a Communist?

Just because I maintain the US is significantly more liberal now than in the 70's and that I think that aspec is bad doesn't mean I think invasive gov't, war, or debt is good at all. Quite the opposite, really.

I prefer freedom and opportunity, and yes that means the opportunity to fail as well as succeed. Just because I value small gov't, states' rights, and individual worth doesn't mean I have an ounce of racism or fascism. I don't know where you come with all the "master race" crap. Certainly not anything I have said. Nothing Reagan would have said, either. Certainly the big gov't, massive debt (personal and federal), and irresponsible corporate actions would have gone against his beliefs. If he'd lived until now I'm sure he would have modified his positions as well. Most of us adapt our actions and positions as circumstances change.

Sure I'd be happy in the South. Heck, I'm here now. I'm happy most places, really, and I've been to a few. You say "Confederate States" as though that's an epithet, as if slavery was the primary issue, or even a north/south issue. Getting rid of slaves then was the same basic problem as getting off imported oil is now, but with a heavy moral aspect of course. The "hard" part is the same now as then -- it takes sacrifice by many and shifting the status quo, and changing BAU for the privileged.

Speaking of unintended consequences that grow and morph over time, I doubt that Lincoln envisioned a strong social state with massive debt when he successfully increased Federal powers over State's rights. I doubt Eli Whitney foresaw slavery when he created the cotton gin. Society is a chaotic process -- none of us can foresee far into the future, but we can each take action on the situations we find ourselves in.

Reagan? Reagan taught the GOP how to borrow its way to victory. He also turned California into a police state to crush anti-war activists. Isn't War the biggest and worst form of big government? There is not a single violent or tyrannical measure Bush Junior took that Reagan would have objected to. Do you think he would have legalized marijuana or gay marriage? Your embrace of Reagan tells me that you want government to protect the freedoms you want, and strike down my desired freedoms as "unAmerican", as he so often did.

Lincoln said that labor took precedence over capital, because it existed first. He also said that after the defeat of the "slave power", America would be threatened by the "money power", and he didn't know how it could be stopped. So I think he would not be surprised at America's subsequent history.

You denounce every form of redistribution of wealth. Yet Teddy Roosevelt said when he imposed the progressive income tax that unimpeded private wealth was becoming so unequal that it was destroying the people's faith in democracy. Eisenhower had a 91% top tax rate, and said that the only people who opposed Social Security were wacky millionaires from Texas. Doubtless you wrap yourself in the cloak of Goldwater, who wanted to nuke Vietnam. Isn't that the ultimate act of tyranny? He also refused to decline his Presidential endorsement by the Ku Klux Klan until Ike flew to his house to order it.

Goldwater wasn't a racist. He worshipped private property, and if white males owned the lion's share of private property, then the other races had to be defective and had to be butchered if they rebelled.

Except that lion's share keeps growing bigger and bigger, Paleo, if you've bothered to look at income distribution figures. It's exploding now just as it exploded during the laissez-faire 1920s. Is that merit? No, it's the same class war by the rich, using rank & file conservatives as dupes and henchmen to get away with it until the system collapsed. And it happened in the old South, where slaveowners convinced suckers like my ancestors in Tennessee that their autonomy and self-sufficiency required a caste system that overrode "All men are created equal" while the gap grew between the big owners and everyone else. It will happen again and again because that is the nature of the private property system absent intervention. And this obvious injustice will always inspire resistance, so the owners must inevitably resort to tyranny.

Do you think for a second that your ideology's spokesmen would hesitate to switch from free enterprise to big government to enrich themselves even further? They just did. Many of the most extreme conservatives cashed in on the War on Terror. Like Reagan's Cold War. Then they will switch back to free enterprise when the "threat" has passed. It's all the same game to the plantation owners.

Yet every damn time, it is people like you who act as the stormtroopers for this class warfare. You cry about self-sufficiency and call all the rest of us pinko parasites. Yet every right-wing property-worshipping state becomes a tyranny where business and state interlock. Sparta became a perverted collectivist military cult because of the need to bear arms against its slaves. South Africa, Rhodesia, all the US-backed landlord oligarchies in Latin America, descended to murder and torture. Every time, supported by a "middle" class of macho gun-wielders who loved butchering labor organizers, leftist nuns, or anyone who lifted a finger against the robber barons. Aren't these the countries you'd move to if America became too equal for your ego? Too bad they've all been destroyed by their own madness.

The reason why I go after you and other people on the Internet is that I can't ask my stupid dead ancestors why? What kind of sick bastard would live in a violent, oppressive hell-hole like Jasper, Texas rather than the Netherlands? Who feels oppressed unless his society leaves the poor to starve, to die in overcrowded emergency rooms like Houston's, or get cancer from unregulated capitalist waste? Who proclaims his self-sufficiency in a country built on stolen land that Paul Volcker admitted "makes its living off the savings of the world's poor?" Who rejoices that his bosses and exploiters got another tax cut, so they can laugh at him from their private boxes at Churchill Downs and plot more ways to use fear and bigotry to expand their power?

There's only one word that I can think of to explain such people: sadism. They will tolerate any amount of suffering as long as they can draw comfort from someone different who is made to suffer more by the institutions of church, property and the police. Sadism is the fuel of bullies, and my ancestors were bullies, and they deserved to go to Hell for their loyal service to the rich. Self-sufficient my ass.

When the oil runs low and times get really hard, that sadism will rise again to fuel a new class of bullies, who will help a new class of landlords enslave the earth in exchange for a few slaves and a few acres to master. But what's really sick is that if we solved our current problems and we eliminated poverty and medical neglect, many conservatives would hide in self-sufficient squalor up in the hills looking for the leader who would give them an excuse to blow it all up, because inequality is all they have to live for. That is the root of human evil.

Nobel invented dynamite, but that doesn't mean he's guilty of all it's uses. Ditto for Einstein and splitting atoms.

I don't deny much of what you assert, except the name-calling aspects, but the key difference is that believe equal ill of "your" preferred leaders. And though I am still a Reagan fan, I have no love of today's neocons at all, nor of many Bush policies. I fully expect there to be poor and rich, oppressing and oppressed, and strife of all sorts as long as there are humans. I just happen to believe a powerful gov't helps along those aims, and will always tend to be controlled by the powerful. Lincoln's changes helped create the very future he feared.

As for redistribution, I'd be fine with sales taxes, limited corporate and trade taxes, and significant taxes on financial institutions, those using natural resources, and corporate ownership of property. The notion of a corporation has significant value, but there is no reason it has to be "as good" as a person. I think every employee should get an equity stake in a corporation he works for. Certainly more broad regulations and meaningful controls on corporations are needed (not lots of red tape, but a few simple and enforced restrictions). The wealth concentration isn't a problem with those who have a few million, but on the mega-rich. Some of the wealth inequity is a result of debt though -- I'm personally worth as much as half the country combined, simply because my net worth is positive, and theirs isn't.

For sure I'm not for gay marriage or legal drugs. I don't much care what people do in their own homes, but I'd prefer not to have any form promiscuity thrust at me in public. And that goes for hetero as well as homo. The legal/marriage status wouldn't matter that much if we didn't have so many gov't-assisted perks like health insurance and tax benefits associated with it.

Who rejoices that his boss is going bankrupt, trying to keep the family business afloat through Christmas out of a sense of duty to the many families he's helped support through the years? I don't know what kind of boss you work for, but I've worked for rich and socio-pathic, rich and humane, large unfeeling corporations, and small family-owned businesses. All of them paid me on time and when I thought they might not, I changed jobs. All of my bosses have been hard-working and focused, and only one was "evil" in any measurable sense. All the world is "stolen land" by now, at one time or another, and just for the record I've never stolen any of it, so I won't apologize.

Your last paragraph is eccentric fiction. Sure, any stress brings social cracks to the surface, and struggle is likely. But there is no reason to assume that anybody LIKES it that way, or would destroy utopia to regain dystopia. History proves that people get along best when everybody can work to make a decent living and raise a decent family. That's all I want, and I'm not going to prevent anybody else from wanting it too. But if somebody comes to take mine, I'll fight, and probably win.

Just for the record, I didn't oppress your ancestors and I'm not oppressing you or anybody else. Quite the opposite, actually. Nor did I call you a pinko parasite, though I have thought "socialist" plenty of times. Are you a parasite? If your life sucks and you hate it, it may not be anybody's fault. Maybe not even yours -- sometimes life rolls you snake-eyes. It certainly has me.

I hope that with a minority as President the issue of insufficient "institutional power" has been put to rest, and any notion of reparations or some sort of jubilee can finally end.

OK, but just get over your concern over a liberal media. Smart, educated people vote for the smart, educated leaders. If the media happens to be more educated than the rest of the masses, which is likely, they will tend toward bias of the more educated and intelligent candidate, no matter what there corporatist, presumably right-wing bosses want.

Same here on TOD, smarter people go more toward progressive candidates. Look up any questionnaire posed to engineers, scientists, doctors, dentists, and note how they vote. You ain't gonna change that no matter how much you complain.

"smarter people go more toward progressive candidates. Look up any questionnaire posed to engineers, scientists, doctors, dentists, and note how they vote"
Saw some interesting research on that quite a while back, don't have a link on it though. What it showed was that professionals such as you mentioned favored fact based propositions while managerial types favored propositions which got people to do things. The difference between a technical manual and marketing literature. Lots of those manager types are very smart.

"It's OK to be different. Try it. You might like it. :)"

But is that really what the US says/does in relation to the rest of the world? Just sits there and passively lets them 'be different'? No, we spend billions of dollars and kill thousands of people in an effort to make the rest of the world 'be' more like us. It is that kind of double standard that shreds our credibility around the world.

Agreed. I'm perfectly happy being different from the US gov't for sure!

Gore got royally picked apart by the right-leaning talk media, for sure. I always felt he got a pass for his dumb statements in the MSM, but his real problem with the press was that he always seemed pale next to Clinton. IMHO.

No, I don't think that's it. They really didn't like him. For example, he beat Bush in the debates, but the coverage was all about how loudly he sighed. Even in the "liberal" media like CNN.

Hardly ever do I hear a pundit saying "and exactly how are you going to pay for this big new program?" if it's not a military program.

I hear it a lot, though these days, nobody seriously proposes big new programs. Small new programs is more like it.

Well, I'll concede the Gore point, as I wasn't watching closely and it was a while ago. I know I had stronger anti-Gore filters in my head then.

Do you think that Obama was grilled about how he'd pay for all the big items on his list? All I heard was "taxes on big oil" and "tax the rich", neither of which is likely nor sufficient to cover even child healthcare, let alone the rest of his platform.

I'm still vainly looking for the candidate that says he'll cut spending first, and then decide whether to focus on deficit reduction or tax reduction.

Obama said he'd pay for his health care plan by rolling back the Bush tax cuts. And there was a lot of press coverage about it, not least because of McCain and "Joe the Plumber."

I think it might actually work, because we don't (yet) let people die in the streets. The taxpayers end up paying for health care for those who don't have insurance, either via taxes or in higher costs for medical care, and often, preventive care would have been a lot cheaper.

However, I am not expecting Obama's plan to actually be enacted, and that seemed to be the press' attitude as well.

I'm still vainly looking for the candidate that says he'll cut spending first, and then decide whether to focus on deficit reduction or tax reduction.

If you find such a candidate, you can be sure that he's lying.

I don't buy that the "Bush tax cuts" would even come close to covering that one program, but that was the "tax the rich" point that I had heard.

Taking the Reagan view, increasing taxes on the upper middle class will cut net tax receipts. Certainly a national health program of any sort will balloon in costs as graft and collusion infect it (just like VA care and Medicaid).

low costs estimates + high tax estimates = nonviable plan?

If you find such a candidate, you can be sure that he's lying.

They all lie -- I'd just like somebody to at least say what I want to hear. Sigh.

I've been a conservative all my life, and certainly support the right to bear arms.
However, it is now clear that the ideas of extreme libertarianism did not work.
To take your point of reducing tax rates increasing total receipts, in fact the excess earnings of the folk at the top with their high propensity to save and ability to leverage their investments has gone into inflating asset prices, not increasing productive capacity.

In Germany, for instance, compared to the 60's, average earnings of the chief executives is now around 400 times the average wage, as against a multiple of around 20 at the earlier period.
Can anyone honestly say that their productivity has increased by a similar amount?

I think the alleged 'productivity' of the financial engineers had better be passed over in silence.

Older traditions of Conservatism to which I have always adhered do not favour a vast social divide, in which an aristocracy lives in a manner totally at variance with the general population, but rather insists that those at the top of society should expect to contribute far more,a s they benefit greatly for the society of which they are members.

After the criminal larceny of the banking and political establishment since the fall of Communism, when they were unfettered and without challenge, I find it hard to work out how anyone can be other than a Social Democrat of one sort or another.

Laissez-faire has not worked, and the imposition of the doctrines of the IMF has crippled countries and led to mass starvation, as loans given to brutal dictators to support them whilst their resources were pillaged were enforced against the general population after their fall, and subsidised food production from the US and EU destroyed farmers in, for instance, Haiti, so that they are now down to eating mud biscuits.

In the US and UK, the countries are now being bankrupted by the asset inflation and controls on earnings by such means as importing the products of cheap overseas labour, together with numerous measures against the common man, such as not allowing the building of modest houses by means of building codes, thus roping them into revolving credit with the banks and ruining the populace.

Dave, I've argued with you, before but you have presented an eloquent proof that one who is considered a conservative in Europe would be denounced as a Marxist in America. There are contradictions in American conservatism that cannot be explained by a support for free markets. Many paleocons would ban "immoral" industries like marijuana, and eliminate immigration such as to make labor markets inflexible. Many theocons demand a fantasy capitalism where only those who act most Christian succeed. Many neocons want the military-industrial complex to supplant every form of liberty.

This is about tribalism and caste privilege, not laissez faire. It comes down to the words often heard against Obama here, he's not "one of us." For a few generations capitalism favored white Protestant males over all mankind, so it was deified as a supposedly non-racist proof that beings who look like Ronald Reagan are naturally more fit to rule. The success of Japan and China, the success of Jewish liberals who stay liberal, the success of black rappers and athletes, and the failures of 1929 and 2008 all chip away at this cult of inequality, and forces true believers to either fight or flight into the inner depths of the continent.

In order to keep "our kind" on top, American conservatives will sacrifice every virtue they claim to honor. Bush did his part with torture and massive nationalization. Those who reject this will be purged to leave a purer core. The Afrikaners in South Africa, the settlers in Rhodesia, now the settlers in Israel face the same road of jettisoning the myth of property-based liberty for an open demand that "good" tribes are guaranteed wealth and status over "inferior" tribes by tyrannical measures. If that seems far removed from your experiences with conservative thought in Europe, we must recall that the Soviet Army killed off millions of Germans who thought that way.

Since no foreign army has the power to do that to our fascists, it will probably come down to another civil war one day, with or without total social collapse.

There are many strands of Conservatisms in Europe, but almost none that have similarities with the US Religious right.
The more laissez-faire variants, although relatively strong in the UK after Thatcher, still have relatively shallow roots compared to the US.

With this crisis of capitalism then from an American perspective the right in Europe would be to the left of the Democrats.
There is little conflict with my strand of Conservatism, which has always been suspicious of internationalism and liberals, who in their historic British context were the Imperialists and the free traders.

My own disillusionment with the right has happened after the fall of Communism, when hubris has been rampant, and I am now considerably to the left of my previous positions.
As a Conservative, human nature has never appeared perfectable to me, and so it was enough that America and the west seemed to be rather less brutal than the alternative, in the Russians and Chinese.

As Churchill said, it is not I who have changed, but the parties.

Bush's gang are straightforwardly criminal thugs, and the world economy is being pillaged.

In the US "conservatism" has several traits, not all subgroups share all or even most traits. My population most American conservatives, are religious protestants, who want to roll back at least some of the changes brought about by the enlightenment. But we also have a very large contingent of economic libertarianism. These very different groups have uneasily shared the same political party, but they are not natural allies. No libertarianism has a serious flaw, as the natural state of an economy with no redistributive government is that over time the concentration of wealth leads to an Aristocracy, which is actually quite at odds with the libertarian idea of a meritocracy. In any healthily functioning politics the economic argument should be primarily about the degree and form of the redistributive function. In the US it is between a mildly redistributive system, and absolutly no redistributive function whatsoever.

"In order to keep "our kind" on top, American conservatives will sacrifice every virtue they claim to honor."
It makes it a lot easier to understand all the twists and turns of conservatism if you keep firmly in mind what is to be conserved: keeping "our kind" on top. Seen in this light it will be seen that conservatives are not being inconsistent at all.

For example, he beat Bush in the debates, but the coverage was all about how loudly he sighed.

I used to think that way, but then a got and read Wesin, and Lakoffs books on the political mind. Us geem types look for substance during the debate, and it was no contest. But for the Amygdula dominated brains of the masses, it is a completely different picture. Bush insulted Gore's (and his mothers) honor, and Gore chose not to respond. For the legions of voters who have a strong honor culture that was a giant death blow to his campaign. Folks like myself, and most TOD readers, are looking for substance, and judging whether a candidates programs and policies would interact with reality. But the real battleground in the greater block of voters heads is emotional, and those of us logic dominated types, just can't judge how they will be affected. I may be very smart when it comes to judging wonky policy, but when it comes to judging the political outcome of a debate, my batting average is well under .500. I suspect you fall into that same category as well.

I may be very smart when it comes to judging wonky policy, but when it comes to judging the political outcome of a debate, my batting average is well under .500. I suspect you fall into that same category as well.

Actually, I think I'm pretty good at it. For the most part, they just don't matter.

In some cases, where they did make a difference, it was immediately obvious to me. (Like when Lazio put a knife through his own heart in the debate against Hillary.) You have to look at it as fiction, not non-fiction, and then it's usually pretty clear what the media's take will be.

Corporate leaders are bound by fiduciary responsibility to uphold what is in the best financial interests of their shareholders. This is as true for the MSM as any other corporations. Because of amazing organization and inspiration, Obama was actually able to tap democracy at the grassroots and come up with a far larger pot of money than his opponent. So it seems to me that the corporate leaders would be bound by their fiduciary responsibility to treat such a well-heeled customer with respect. Good to know that democracy can work, even in a country taken over by corporations! $$=votes.

I don't know where you read that-maybe on the tombstone of the unknown ethical CEO, but nowadays a shareholder has to watch his "corporate leaders" like a hawk-if they get a chance to steal from you they usually will not hesitate-they certainly have the OK from the guv.

ROFL -- I think we should start a contest for design of the monument for "the tombstone of the unknown ethical CEO."

A rose by any other name...is just as unqualified to be President (or Senator, or Governor).

Perhaps I shouldn't have attributed Palin's treatment to blatant sexism, but the treatment is certainly biased and unfair. Who are these "anonymous staffers" that are accusing her of these gaffes? Did anyone else hear them? Have the quotes been verified in any way? I remember when the mainstream media wouldn't report anything by an anonymous source unless they could corroborate it.

But yes, Hillary did get such treatment once the media had decided Obama was the anointed one. Anyone remember Chris Matthews or Olberman ridiculing her hair, her shrillness, her clothes?

Why would such anonymous staffers get the time of day at Fox?

We must consider that McCain approves of these leaks, because he has stared into the eyes of Sarah Palin and seen madness. His thirst for power let him ignore the implications, but now that he's lost, he is performing one last service for his party by preventing her from taking over.

There are far worse truths about Palin:


The website www.talk2action.org is devoted to investigating Christian fascist infiltration of institutional power, and finds Palin in orbit around a galaxy of bizarre Pentecostal schemers. Exactly the sort of people we fear will prosper during the collapse of our cheap-energy civilization.

I've never had a Pentecostal person take anything from me or even attempt to limit my lifestyle or otherwise impose any restrictions on my life. But then I suppose my lifestyle is pretty basic and unobjectionable. I can't see that laying-on of hands materially affects Sarah Palin. How is that a "worse truth"? How would it hurt you if she believed it helped?

The government, though, takes my money monthly, hassles me about once a year over taxes, and restricts how I do things all the time. I give a lot unwilling, and get little in return. Sorta the opposite from church, where I give a little willingly and get quite a lot in return.

I don't know that I'd choose a religiously-based nation, but a secular nation with religious people in any fraction of the posts is fine with me. Mormon, Pentecostal, Catholic, Baptist -- we've had plenty before without any harm.

Certainly all religious groups will gain influence as times get harder. It's natural for people to look inward and upward when stressed, and local churches are good at helping out those in need (sometimes with a prayer and an invitation to church for good measure).

When an agnostic or atheist ever gets elected to the Senate or the Presidency, call me from beyond the grave.

So much for your secular nation.

Is this close enough? I'd be sorry to hear you're dead. I enjoyed your posts. :)

"State Senator Ernie Chambers [an agnostic] is suing God. He says it to prove a point about frivolous lawsuits."

Secular structures populated by any sort of person is the proper structure. You can't say somebody is ineligible for office because of their religious belief, but you are correct that they may well be unelectable.


Like Jews, atheists have median education levels above the
national average. Yet there is not even one openly atheist member
of Congress, despite the fact that atheists are at least 3 percent
of the population, more than the percentage of Jews and
similar to the percentage of homosexuals. Nor has there ever
been an openly atheist president, vice president, governor,
Supreme Court justice, or member of the president’s Cabinet.
While we should not expect proportional representation of atheists,
the absence of even one open atheist in high political office
is troubling.

Actually, I imagine there are multiple politicians that are agnostic but find it politically expedient to be "non denominational" or maybe Unitarian. It's not like politicians are highly scrupled about faith matters in general.

More like it. Your previous comment noted a State Senator, sheesh, this could be in Vermont or Boulder or Portland.

Even my congressman, Ellison, is a Muslim.

There is one congressman in California, Pete Stark, who belongs to some nothing church:

Who are these "anonymous staffers" that are accusing her of these gaffes?

Assuming the leaks and stories have some truth to them (one should always be cautious about such things), she was a diasaster for the campaign. And that would be a prime motivation for bitter staffers to try to get even. Of course the whole episode is really the fault of McCain and his staff for making a snap selection without first doing due diligence on the candidate. But (from the reports) she didn't have the right kind of personaility to take direction. Several pyschological types have commented that she appears to have narcissitic personality disorder, and the symptoms seem to fit the descriptions of her behavior. That is an unfortunate disorder to have, but we shouldn't compound the damage by putting such a person into a position of power over others. I can have empathy for her as a human, but still be highly opposed to giving her power.

But, at this point, I will leave it to the Republicans to fight this out themselves. There is no need for the rest of us to get involved.

Mitt is behind trashing her IMO, He has to get her out of the way for his run in 2012.

Anyone who thinks Palin would have come within 1000 miles of the vice presidency without looking great in a skirt is an idiot. She probably wouldn't have even been elected to be Grand Poobah of Wasilla, Alaska.

Well, I would prefer she was denounced as a fascist, but I can't get anyone to look at the evidence of her extremist Pentecostal associates, like the witchhunter Thomas Muthee. The media can't accept that the GOP has become so extreme that such a person could use it to climb to power, so they go after shallower matters.

Over at Live Journal they have a community called Dark Christian, which has followed Palin's antics. I think the word is getting around.

ExxonMobile says most of these fears about Peak Oil are unfounded. Kinda makes me wonder which fears are real:(. Maybe they mean the fear that is clear in the IEA report:

"It is not an exaggeration to claim that the future of human prosperity depends on how successfully we tackle the two central energy challenges facing us today: securing the supply of reliable and affordable energy; and effecting a rapid transformation to a low-carbon, efficient and environmentally benign system of energy supply. What is needed is nothing short of an energy revolution. This World Energy Outlook demonstrates how that might be achieved through decisive policy action and at what cost. It also describes the consequences of failure." http://www.energybulletin.net/node/47128

And maybe the IEA they really means "survival" instead of "prosperity?"

I don't see any signs of an "energy revolution." And what does that mean -- that everyone in the world dump consumerism and stop driving? And everyone knows that there is little oil yet to be discovered, and that there is dwindling capital for deep water drilling. Oh my :(

And, I smell a skunk in the woodpile. Maybe this explains the statement of ExxonMobile:

Both private and national oil company executives and their allies in business and government have lied to the media and public about oil reserves in order to create an image of corporate financial growth. This has increased their salaries, stock investments, stock options for retirement, and large consulting fees to research organizations which produce phony optimistic research. The media and government officials have believed the lies and have conveniently avoided giving the public bad news about the future. And most leaders and people across the globe believe that there must a new energy source for continued prosperity and economic development, so why worry about Peak Oil?

ExxonMobile says most of these fears about Peak Oil are unfounded.

you'd have a reason to deny peak oil if peak oil was the reason you signed onto a radical oil acquistion project that included a false flag attack on your home country, i spose.

motive, means, opportunity and character... not to mention decades of documented premeditation.

oh well.

cjwirth -

About a hundred years ago, a fellow classmate of mine at engineering school went with General Motors right after graduation. He told me of an orientation session for all the newly hired engineers. Some senior executive was conducting the session, and one of the first questions he asked the entire group of young stary-eyed engineers was, "Gentleman, can you tell me what is your purpose here at GM?"

My former classmate (probably hoping to get an early jump on accumulating some brownie points) shot up his hand and said, "Sir, my purpose at GM is to build the best cars in the world!" Mr. Big then thundered, NO, NO, NO, a thousand times NO! Your purpose at GM, and your only purpose at GM, is to make money for it's stockholders. And don't you ever forget that, young man!"

So, how this relates to ExxonMobil, et al, is the fact that Big Oil has an inherent conflict of interest with regard to any national energy policy focused on reducing energy consumption. Big Oil is in the business of selling extracted hydrocarbons. Generally, the more extracted hydrocarbons it sells, the more money it makes for its stockholders. I don't know of a single company that wants people to buy less of its product. So why should we be surprised that Big Oil spends many millions a year in an attempt to convince people that it's still Morning in America, that they shouldn't worry, and that if they just trust Big Oil to continue doing what they're doing, everything will be OK.

Big Oil is increasingly becoming part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Hey Bob,

Who's surprised? :)

The 4th law of thermodynamics is that all oil producers are pirates.

The 1st law of social science is that business ethics is an oxymoron.

Sorry I missed the fall in Maine/NH this year, how about bringin me some maple syrup when you visit?

Cliff Wirth

Hey CJ;
Is Joule a New England 'Bob' as well, or were you thinking of me?

Bob Fiske- Portland, ME

(celebrating my 44th today, with some of that fine syrup and local wheat, dairy, etc.. May the Great Pumpkin help us that we'll be able to keep producing these treasures!)

(Sorry, Joule. I don't recall your name/home area..)

Happy "B" day, Bob! You wouldn't have been old enough to earn your drivers licence when this programme first aired on the CBC (not much has changed over the past thirty years, or so it seems).



Hello Jokuhl,

Happy B-day! Since I am not an engineer, but you seem pretty clever and inventive: Have you done any research into a scythe that has a quick-reversing blade so a person can cut in both directions? Or does it take too much energy too quickly; the worker quickly reaches burnout?

Also, I assume you saw the DB posting yesterday on the Japanese strap-ons to assist walking: Can these be modified so that as a person walks through a grainfield the action could power small hedge-clippers to cut down the grainstalks? Instead of swinging a scythe, a person could safely 'dance' his way thru the harvest?

What about a pedal-powered, multi-bladed, rotating scythe that could be pushed through the grainfield? When the pedaler gets tired, one of the pushers takes his place round-robin style?

Thxs for any inventiveness you can bring to the table. As we go postPeak: I hope that a lot more pedal-tools can be invented because our legs are so much stronger than our arms.

Here is a link for a pedal powered bandsaw. Obviously this would be much better than flogging a 'misery whip':


The increased interest in outdoor activities by sports enthusiasts has resulted in an increase in the use of bicycles, both for travel and exercise. The latter can also be attained by riding a bicycle both outdoors and indoors in a stationary position. The energy expended when pedaling a bicycle in a stationary position can be used to drive various types of tools and at the same time achieve the benefits of physical exercise.


The invention of the present application relates to a device which can be used both for exercise as well as a drive for a band saw. This has been achieved by using the bicycle as the primary source of power for a portable band saw. The bicycle can be quickly and easily mounted in the frame for the band saw. The bicycle may be stabilized so that an operator can exercise at the same time that the band saw is being operated.

Japanese strap-ons to assist walking

So this must be, what, a third leg?


You know, if GM had actually listened to him and just concentrated on building the best cars in the world they might not be absolutely and completely doomed right now.

I don't know why GM are doomed really - I drive a GM car - a basic 1litre petrol Corsa bought in England new 3 years ago. I get 62 miles per (English) gallon out of it. In the intervening period, they could have improved on this and put it on sale in the US.

You know, if GM had actually listened to him and just concentrated on building the best cars in the world they might not be absolutely and completely doomed right now.

And, the GM stockholders wouldn't be looking at losing everything.

If they'd driven a Toyota for a few years, or even just rented one every now and then, the stockholders would have seen this coming.

I'm sure we'll hear "nobody could have foreseen" a few more times in the coming weeks.

If not for gov't fleet vehicles, I wonder how badly the Big 3 would be doing? Haven't we been supporting them this way for years?

Just a general observation, possibly related to pumping a trillion newly minted Bushybucks into that other economy, the one that WAS being pillaged by his cronies. There's precious little left to steal by now. I'm beginning to think the cynical suggestion that the bailout was the final fiscal outrage contains more than a grain of truth.

No, this new observation has little to do with cjwith's wirthy (sorry...) riposte. This thread has seen some serious "up arrow" inflation. Is it the O'man's victory? Is it the return of gun control (please keep them out of Canada...)? Or maybe Palin's tailings? Whatever the source, there has been an unexpected surge. Up 1000 basis points, I would venture to guess.

Apart from arrows, what's up?

Way back when - you know ancient hisory - when oil was racing past $120 and it was all but certain gasoline would be +$5.00 there used to be posts about the crack spread and the profitability - or lack thereof for refiners.

Whith oil hanging around $60 and gasoline anywhere from $1.90 to $2.50 ($2.35 locally) how are the refiners making out: spead, utilization, etc?

Sorry if I missed any related posts.



Tell Obama your vision at: change.gov

It's worse than ever for refiners.

Poor gasoline demand will see refiners cut, close

LONDON (Reuters) - A golden age of profits for western oil refining companies has ended and many are likely to face cutbacks and even possible closures, analysts said on Friday.

Falling demand for gasoline globally has come just as more refinery capacity comes on stream, piling on the pressure.

The global economic crisis allied with record high oil prices earlier this year have slashed gasoline demand and curbed future growth projections, forcing refining margins for motor fuel deep into negative territory.

A golden age of profits for western oil refining companies has ended and many are likely to face cutbacks and even possible closures, analysts said on Friday.

Yet we will get to see their CEOs summoned back to Capitol Hill next summer to explain why they haven't expanded refinery capacity enough to keep gasoline prices at $2.00.

RR Right you are! Do we laugh or do we cry? Maybe both.

Is it possible that the new administration will put together a group -- someone has mentioned using scientific organizations already set up,but I'm thinking of Dr. Hirsch primarily here leading a select panel -- to educate the American peeps about the realities of petroleum?

People need to understand what all happens before the gasoline or diesel gets to the pump and into the gas tank.

We cannot afford ignorance anymore, even though "ignorance is bliss."

People also need to understand Peak oil as a reality -- not as a conspiracy by "Big Oil" to jack up prices and profits.

The next administration does need to educate people about energy, good public policy, and what individuals can do to prepare for the future.

I believe that this is as urgent as any task the new administration will have.

Anyone else have suggestions about who would head such a project and how it would be carried out?

Hello Beggar,

Thxs for your post. I have suggested many times before that the President needs to jumpstart massive Peak Everything Outreach by telling the world to read Peak books [Deffeyes, Tainter, Catton, Simmons, et al] and/or study Dieoff.org, TOD, EB, LATOC, etc. The Overshoot can readily understand the following [which I have posted many times before too]:

Mommy, we had to walk home because Daddy's car ran out of gas.

Mommy, I am so cold, thirsty, and hungry.

Mommy, why is Daddy joining all those men carrying machetes?
Obviously, this is the most simplified [but true] scenario, and IMO: most would agree that we can do better than this by moving to a global strategy of Optimal Overshoot Decline.

It would aim to shoot the gap between Jay Hanson's Thermo/Gene fast-crash prediction timeline and the ArchDruid's long grind to Catabolic Collapse.

I have tried, by my numerous postings, to briefly outline my Optimal Overshoot Decline strategies and tactics so that we can minimize, as best as possible, the coming ecosystem decimation and high specie extinction rate; to rapidly paradigm shift so as to ideally time compress the Overshoot Decline plus minimize the dire Undershoot period.

I admit that I am not the sharpest pencil in the box, but I think that the excellent scientists, engineers, biologists, etc, on TOD can much further advance Optimal Overshoot Decline.

As a newbie TODer succinctly said in a recent DB posting [full credit to her]: "We can't consume our way out of this and population matters."

The future always belongs to the young: always has, always will. Obama needs to get moving on Peak Outreach so that the inevitable machete' moshpits can be minimized in scale, duration, and the sheer numbers of occurrences.

I tell young people that if they don't get going on massive change then they will be forced to kill my generation [I'm 53] if they hope to survive.

This process has already started in many places around the globe such as Zimbabwe, Congo, Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda, etc. Gang rapes, denial of aid, uprooting of homeowners into wandering refugees on a deathmarch, child soldiers, starvation and deprivation on a mind-numbing scale...on and on.

IMO, this will only get much worse in the postPeak years ahead unless a giant grassroots to the keystone leaders get involved. See my archived postings on Asimov's Foundations, I/O-NPK, Earthmarines, initialization and enlargement of biosolar habitats, innate territoriality and watershed demarcation, SpiderWebRiding, Strategic Reserves of wheelbarrows, bicycles, and I-NPK, Tiger Woods plowing golf courses, the Google Unlucky button, plus much more.

I am trying my best to be on what I consider the leading, bleeding edge of outside-the-box thinking, but I bet many TODers can come up with even better strategies and tactics for Optimal Overshoot Decline.

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

I went to change.gov and commented that the tax relief to help people with high gas prices was no longer operable. They need to change their rationale for tax relief due to the now lower gas prices. Now is the time to impose high oil and gas taxes.

Great suggestion. I already did, and am not finished yet by any means. Don't forget Senators and Representatives to Congress...they pass the legislation.

Send them as many links like this:


to ask them to cut a deal with the US car makers who now want ANOTHER $25B to impose a condition that they sell cars like the Econetic Fiesta (63 MPG Diesel, not even a hybrid) in the U.S starting immediately. Uncle Sam should sweeten the pot with tax incentives not only to the manufacturers of these cars but to the purchasers as well...significant tax incentives (big rebates) to purchasers.

Ford's line of eco-friendly cars are good for Europe but not so much for the U.S.? B.S....time for some targeted industrial policy!

Ford's line of eco-friendly cars are good for Europe but not so much for the U.S.? B.S....time for some targeted industrial policy!

Well first you have to dismantle the EPA and DOT. Lots of rules and regulations passed by these two that make importing cars that are 'good for' others impossible. Good luck with that.

Ford's line of eco-friendly cars are good for Europe but not so much for the U.S.?

I suspect this is much more of a case of US safety regulations being tougher than European standards. Unless we get a strong plurality of the public believing we are entering post PO hell, I don't think we will be able to roll these back.

They're not. However there is a long history of protectionist regulations in the US trying to play spurious games to keep competitors out. Look at diesel for an example.

tstreet & Moonwatcher I have a question for you guys. Previous articles here claimed that peak oil caused this economic downturn. (Or at least contributed greatly to it.) Is this true or false? If this is true than $4.00+ gas and diesel was a major contributor to the economic downturn. If true, then how is increasing the fuel taxes, which would be, I believe, the largest tax increase in history back to $4.00 on every citizen who drives as well as every business especially transportation thereby increasing the cost of particularly every good sold in the USA be a "good thing" for the economy? If 4.00 gas then a recession. Therefore $4.00 gas = recession. If $4.00 gas did not cause the recession than you need to prove that removing over $270 billion from the economy is not going to deepen the recession.



Maybe the $4.00 before was mainly going to ME. but tax stays in US?

From the link up top: ExxonMobil official dispels fears on peak oil:

"But the estimates on the total reserves have been continuously growing, and I don't know what the figures could be in 2030. It can be more than four trillion barrels."

Estimates are totally worthless unless one can actually produce the oil. As Mat Simmons says, data trumps all theories. Non-OPEC has now fallen off its five year plateau. August non-OPEC production was almost 2 million barrels per day below its 05 peak. We don't really know how much OPEC can produce but I suspect they were near their peak before the current round of cuts. At any rate it is now doubtful that OPEC could grow fast enough to offset non-OPEC collapse.

The current world situation is just awful and the primary cause is sudden stoppage of the growth in oil supply that happened in 2005. The world's economy has only two states, growth or recession. Because the energy supply stopped growing then all industry stopped growing. The end of growth is the beginning of collapse.

High oil prices were the result of the end of energy growth. And the current collapse of oil prices is the direct result of the demand destruction brought about by those high prices. Now prices are much cheaper but there is less oil being produced now and industry cannot rebound without more oil. It will be a "Catch 22". If industry recovers then oil prices will be driven back up, driving the economy right back down again.

An ever growing energy supply combined with very cheap prices is the only thing that will pull the world's economy back up again and that will never happen....again.

Ron Patterson

And the current collapse of oil prices is the direct result of the demand destruction brought about by those high prices.

i wonder why GM lent 125% of the value of a house to people who couldnt afford the house in the first place.

i wonder why all the heavy hitting financial wizards were peddling these worthless securities to the rest of the world long before oil production plateaued in 2005.

i wonder why, once peak oil was becoming obvious ---and manifested itself in oil prices approaching $150 a barrel--- all these bad loans and bad securities started coming home to roost.

i wonder why so many of these heavy hitters are so confident the american taxpayer will bail them out.

if these heavy hitters were aware of peak oil ---and there's no way they couldnt have been--- and peak oil was their motive to start an oil acquisition project, and they started selling junk securities before the onset of peak oil... well, what are we supposed to think?

i was born in a cabbage patch, i've got hayseeds in my hair and i've got a piece of straw hanging out of my mouth...

...but this aint my first rodeo.


I prefer to think of it as the world's biggest game of whack-a-mole. The economy is the mole, oil prices are the mallet. As soon as the economy starts to pop back up, the mallet is going to come down hard on the mole.

It's plain to see that the market has difficulty reaching stable price equilibrium when supply is at capacity (as explained by Queuing Theory, IIRC). The consequence of this will be extreme price volatility.

It all makes for a very exasperated mole with a very painful headache.

ExxonMobil official dispels fears on peak oil

Thank goodness! Let's go for a drive. There is an Exxon station near my house, and gas is cheap, cheap, cheap! So let the good times roll.

Most of these fears are unfounded. The global hydrocarbon resource base has been continuing to grow over the years, as the technological capabilities were improving There is no indication so far of any resource limit to increasing oil production,"

I am beginning to believe it is an advantage to NOT work in the oil industry to understand oil. These people have been wrong, are wrong, and are about to be VERY wrong with their understanding of what peak oil means. Peak Oil has many definitions, but the most common is the all time high in world annual production of crude oil. Resources have little to do with it. (There are probably 10 million earthworms on my property -but even with a team of people and the best equipment I might only get a fraction of them). Higher prices and higher technology have little to do with Peak Oil, which has to do with cheap, reliable flow rates. There is not the slightest evidence that market theories (or activities) has helped find any more oil and gas (in the United States) since price-induced drilling increases had essentially zero impact on the production (or finding) of oil and gas.

Lets scrap the word 'peak oil' for the moment. To the economists and cornucopians at Exxon, the API, the EIA, etc. I ask these questions:

1)Do you expect oil production costs to get cheaper over time?

2) Have we past the point of cheap oil? (which is what matters - who cares if we can get an extra 20 mbpd if it takes more energy, more steel, more water and costs $500 per barrel)

3)Will the energy and other resources you use to procure oil and natural gas increase or decrease in the future?

4)Irrespective of resource or reserves, what will be the highest, reasonably low priced (say under $80 cost), FLOW rate that you can consistently provide that is not subject to geopolitical disruptions at the margin? (i.e. is there a perpetual cushion in case something goes wrong)

5)What is the error band and confidence interval you assign to your above answers? Are you willing to stake the future of industrial civilization on your answers? Even if there is a 5% chance that the resources you see translate to regular, cheap, flow rates of high quality oil, that is too big of a risk for society to take (and I think it is much higher than that).

You people are asking the wrong questions, because you've been focused on what you believe is the most important aspect of the problem - where IS the oil. That is a small part of the many more important questions, yet the group think and myopia has created an enormous blindspot. A couple months ago, if I would have told you the Federal Reserve would DOUBLE its balance sheet since the end of September, would anyone have believed me? Well, they did. Rules and facts change. Correlations that worked in the past are now uncorrelated. What was uncorrelated in the past is now completely correlated. Thats why economics isn't science. Its based on a moving target. Economists at the oil companies are trained to think in resources and price, not in energy costs and externalities. They will not see this Black Swan until it bites them in the ass.

They will not see this Black Swan until it bites them in the ass.


after watching the lower 48 peak in 1970, canada peak in 74, indonesia in 77, alaska in 88, and the north sea in 2000, none of these people have an inkling of peak oil.

Clearly many within the industry are aware of this problem. And I bet many of their instincts are that something is not right, but the economists are eloquent and dogmatic enough to drowned out the scientists - 'all that is needed is more investment'...'high prices will create substitutes to oil and encourage more drilling'....'there are many many unexplored provinces'.....

If they understand Peak Oil why do they keep denying it? (to be fair, Fatih Barol and IEA, deMargerie at TOTAL, Jim Buckee at Talisman, Gareth Roberts at Denbury Resources, and other oil folks are all pretty concerned about the situation.

I guess I am just tired of people 'refuting' peak oil by pointing out there is plenty of oil resource. No one I am aware of in the Peak Oil community has ever even mentioned oil resource- they mention URR, flow rates, net energy, and costs. Not resource.

in september of 2000, PNAC said they needed a new pearl harbor.

PNAC is a spinoff of the AEI.

exxon has been supporting the AEI since 1998, at least, and lee raymond, ex-exxon CEO, is vice-chairman of the board of the AEI, and was probably in on the planning of the iraq war... of course, we dont know for sure, because the whole administration is surrounded by stone walls a thousand miles high, especially since 9/11.

I grant that the administration has known that the worlds power will concentrate by who has the oil/gas, and that the united states uses far more than we produce. I grant that they probably positioned themselves militarily to prepare for this situation. Beyond that is complete and irrelevant speculation. Because what matters is what corporations are told and believe. If Obama hears from corporations, which are told by economists, there is plenty of oil through 2030, he and his advisors will pursue Plan A. If he is advised that by 2030 we may be down to 30 mbpd C+C (which was original prediction in 1998 IEA WEO report), then Plan B or C will be undertaken. What/why 9/11 happened is not relevant now - what is relevant is how we divert the energy train wreck in the next 5-10 years.

so admitting that you need a new pearl harbor is not evidence of motive to do a new pearl harbor, supposing ---in addition to motive--- you acquire the means and opportunity to stage that new pearl harbor... especially seeing as how you were installed into positions that gave you the means and opportunity by election recounts in a state governed by the president-elect's brother and PNAC signatory, jeb bush.

FlickerVertigo - give it a rest. This isn't that kind of web site. There are plenty of other sites where you can post about that kind of stuff.


"I am just tired of people 'refuting' peak oil by pointing out there is plenty of oil resource. No one I am aware of in the Peak Oil community has ever even mentioned oil resource- they mention URR, flow rates, net energy, and costs. Not resource."

Then maybe "the Peak Oil" community should change its language and call it "Peak Oil Flow".

Some marketing help might be welcomed.
Maximum Power is EROI X Flow Rate.
That is the ultimate measure we are after. We are beyond Maximum Power, but we still seek it, and act as if we have it -we will resist the energy gradient decay in any way we can.

I don't think this is helpful. Marketing should be about clear messages. This "Maximum Power" thing is not, in my opinion. Something like "Peak Oil Flow" (there may be other and better slogans) would be clearer and encompass all the issues of costs and investments related to exploration and exploitation.

Peak Oil Flow is self fulfilling anyway. Even if one had a trillion barrels and could dump it on the world market in one go, the overall return would be far less than if they could spread the flow over time just to keep up a good price (whatever the market can bear) but low enough so as to bar entry to the competition (tar sands; deep water; alternative energy; etc.) as much as possible.

The concept of "peak oil flow" drops right out of the Oil Shock Model. The final tap on the model is an extraction rate perturbation. The variation of this parameter during the duration of a plateau tells all.

Nate, I just want you to be amoung the first to know that I have just completed my personal tour of the world's known and not-yet-known oilfields with my one-and-only "Magical Dipstick!"

I found that, yes, the global oil tanks are way more than half-full, by careful Magical Dipstick insertion and also by careful recording of the results.

In fact, I seem to find that the petroleum supply actually responds in some mystical way to the prognostications of economists. However, the petroleum supply does not respond at all to scientists of any ilk -- physicists, geologists, whatever.

You of all people will be happy to know that my Magical Dipstick ensures you a rapidly growing supply of petroleum for centuries -- centuries!!! -- to come! Happy motoring, Nate! And say, how about snapping up a few tickets to exotic vacation destinations around the planet! What's to stop you now?

I may just write up this Magical Dipstick Tour for the NYT or for the WSJ.

We all of us need "Real news we can use ... and use ... and use..."

(sarconal off, for now)

Exactly, it's absolutely absurd to think these guys don't know about peak oil. It defies all logic. And keeping up with that delusion is an intellectual handicap. We are engineered to only question competence anything else then you get shuffled off to the ranks of the babbling paranoid. If we really want to make progress we should be having a different conversation, like why is there a coordinated campaign to deny peak oil and what are their plans to cope with it instead of, boy these rich and powerful people are so stupid.

Totally and completely disagree. I talk to lots of people within the industry and investment community and while some might agree that it is 'going to be harder to get the same amount of oil production', 98% believe we will find the answers - its only a matter of time.

You give too much credit to conspiracies. They are quite difficult to keep under wraps. Far more likely is the pervasive belief in unlimited economic growth causes cognitive dissonance the first (and second and third) time hard questions about limits are encountered.

Its the Stupid, Economists. (and actually that too is simplistic - these people are not evil, nor do they 'see' that they are wrong. History will view these economists that advise corporations as a giant Cargo Cult, not some complicated conspiracy to give cover to a terrorist attack on some buildings 7 years ago so that there would be more easy credit established to send buying into overshoot, creating a mortgage/housing/hedge fund collapse to keep more oil in the ground for later. Cmon. Hollywood maybe. Real life, people just aren't that smart.

You give too much credit to conspiracies. They are quite difficult to keep under wraps.

B.S. I can name several off the top of my head that are real, documented and some of which changed history. I get tired of hearing this toss-off line. It's dismissive and based in concerted efforts to minimize those that seek to expose such things. That is not to say there are not kooky theories out there, but the scariest ones are real.

Here's a quick list:

Reichstag Fire

US attempted coup in the 1930's

Tonkin Gulf


Overthrow of Iranian President

USS Pueblo

2000 election (two went to jail, but not the right two)

US: detentions/secret prisons/torture

US: wire taps

US: Bailout (ongoing)

US/Britain: 2nd Iraq war


Given conspiracies have occurred just in the last eight years that are massive... how do you make such a reality-fracturing statement?


Leanan, have we not had enough of this kind of crap? Is this the official conspiracy theory website? The above post is proof that conspiracy theory wingnuts see a conspiracy in ever major world event. If it happened, then it was a conspiracy, that is they they see everything.

Dar - You win.

They actually no longer have to conspire.

They can just pull this kind of crap off right out in the open now.

The lord is thy shepherd for thee are all SHEEP


Leanan, have we not had enough of this kind of crap?

Which crap would this be Sir?

To say there are no conspiracies is an outright lie. Or showing that you are ignorant of history.

And on liars or ignorant people - there is enough of that crap around here, I am in agreement with you.

The above post is proof that conspiracy theory wingnuts see a conspiracy in ever major world event.

Providing a list that shows you to be ignorant or a liar is somehow proof "that conspiracy theory wingnuts see a conspiracy in ever major world event." But do, go ahead. Show how each of the listed items is not a conspiracy as claimed to show your absolute knowledge of the topic.

Show how each of the listed items is not a conspiracy...

And please show all of us that you are not constantly surrounded by invisible floating pink unicorns whispering sweet nothings in your ears. Truly, I dare you to prove the negative.

Look, even in most cases where historical conspiracies are now seen as having "succeeded", the conspirators merely remade themselves as shamans standing on the riverbank loudly and publicly commanding water to flow downhill. But if you want to understand the river's flow, then pay attention to such matters as topography, rainfall, soil, and land use - and never mind the shaman's futile, stupid ranting.

And IMO that's the issue with conspiracy theorists hijacking these threads. Even if they were right, those theories can only be a side show, explaining little or nothing of importance about the river's flow. Oh, and there are indeed plenty of other places on the 'internets' to be entertained by that side show, thank you very much.

Can anyone on this site explain who attended, and what was discussed, and what was decided, at Tricky Dick Cheney's Secret Energy Meeting back at the beginning of the Shrub administration?

I'll grant you it had nothing to do with pink Unicorns or Russell's Teapot.

Too many secrets, Marty!

It is against the law to slap a classification caveat on any government document if the purpose is to cover incompetency, malfeasance, or to prevent embarrassment to government personnel. I know, I have taken friggin classification training for 20+ years.

The shredder has been busy in Cheney's office for years. emails are easier...push some buttons.

Do you know that if you invent warp drive or cold fusion (I'm being flippant, but bear with me) that the USG can roll in and classify that information on 'national security grounds', if you were a government employee when you invented it? That too, is a fact.

Dismissing all unproven assertions as conspiracy theories out of hand ironically gives cover for any real malfeasance going on. There was a time when the Press reported such things, but that time has passed...mainly because most of the people don't want to know what or why or how, they just want us to get it for them.

I never dismissed ALL conspiracy theories, neither did Ron or other posters above. But to KEEP pointing fingers at 9/11 as reason for Iraq, etc. etc. is counterproductive. We are there and its been many years. To say that we shouldn't trust our leaders is hardly news either.

We understand many of the problems. What are we going to do about it?

You did not limit your definition of "too much." And you did not respond to the poster's point. They were obviously talking about those in power while you were talking about people in lower positions, I'd wager. I'm fairly certain you are not having regular conversations with oil executives. I may be wrong, but if not you are conflating issues.

Also, where was 9/11 in the discussion? Associating 9/11 with hidden agendas with regard to Peak Oil is the sort of thing I expect from Cheney, not you. But, then, this isn't your first attempt to minimize the potential conspiratorial aspects of current events. One wonders: why? How does one detect and prevent the successful implementation of a conspiracy if one is regularly dismissing them out of hand?

"But to KEEP pointing fingers at 9/11 as reason for Iraq, etc. etc. is counterproductive. We are there
and its been many years."

This is illogical: it's an old issue so it has no relevance. B.S. I would argue, as with the credit crisis, that transparency and accountability must become the norm if we are to be successful in reforming our society into something better. When you hide from the past, it is bound to find you sitting in the dark and kick your ass, but good.


The organization Judicial Watch launched a Freedom of Information Act request some years ago and, for some incomprehensible reason, the administration did comply initially (later Cheney & company stonewalled and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court, finally being decided in favor of the administration and secrecy).

What came from that response was several documents, which you can find on the Judicial Watch web site. I downloaded them to my laptop. One document is a map showing Iraq's known oil reservoirs. Another was a listing of all international oil companies (mostly European) doing business with Iraq. There are one or two other documents as well.

As far as who participated, it's well known by now that the top people at most U.S. oil companies and other energy businesses were invited to the White House for Cheney's meetings. Ken Lay of Enron was there at least 6 times.

Judicial Watch doesn't seem to have an ideological ax to grind, as they were the outfit that went after Clinton during the Monica L case.

Dick Lawrence

If we are to assume that we can trust your assumptions, there can't be anything that is both "invisible" and "pink". It's also impossible to whisper nothing.

That they could also be floating and unicorns is now irrelevant.



You give too much credit to conspiracies. They are quite difficult to keep under wraps. Far more likely is the pervasive belief in unlimited economic growth causes cognitive dissonance the first (and second and third) time hard questions about limits are encountered.

I'm only giving credit to the obvious. It's well documented public knowledge that Cheney knows about peak oil. It's also obvious that the highest levels abandoned their free market theory. Who cares about other conspiracies it's obvious the people at the highest level understand PO and it's time frames. Start from the FACT and move forward. If they are not sharing it with most of the economic world so what?

its the Stupid, Economists. (and actually that too is simplistic - these people are not evil, nor do they 'see' that they are wrong. History will view these economists that advise corporations as a giant Cargo Cult, not some complicated conspiracy to give cover to a terrorist attack on some buildings 7 years ago so that there would be more easy credit established to send buying into overshoot, creating a mortgage/housing/hedge fund collapse to keep more oil in the ground for later. Cmon. Hollywood maybe. Real life, people just aren't that smart.

Sure there are plenty of economists, analysts and other financial types that don't accept it because of their ideologies and economic dogmas as well as most of the general population. Many believe PO is a conspiracy itself but as I stated earlier it already OBVIOUS that they highest levels have given up their ideologies about the market and have knowledge of PO. They are facts.

Not entertaining the idea that the highest levels have knowledge of PO is factually wrong for one, and leads to a fake discussion.

If Cheney knows about PO, which he does, why is he not sharing with the world? Besides the speech he gave, I'm sure he has shared it with some other people. Quite possibly all the oil people that he was inserted in the White House with. Hmmmm.....


Whether you choose to call it a conspiracy or not, there is clearly a different rationale current amongst the elite from the one for public consumption.
Greenspan talking about the invasion of Iraq made it clear that it was about oil, and Cheney has also talked about Peak Oil and so is clearly aware of the issue.
In the light of this the bail-out and the form it took cannot but be different from it's alleged purposes, as they know that oil is going over the cliff.
If one chooses to call it a conspiracy though, that does not need to imply some fiendishly cunning masterminds are behind it.
Indeed, they appear to be monumentally incompetent, although that is collectively rather than individually.
Many in the administration appear to have been genuinely surprised when Iraq was difficult to hold down, but if he was surprised I doubt that Cheney shed many tears, as he made out like the bandit he is through Haliburton.

This gang reminds me of the Third Reich, and so conspiracies and plots are likely to be part of the fabric, but different factions having different agendas, and the whole thing confused by copious doses of wishful thinking and self delusion.

This gang reminds me of the Third Reich, and so conspiracies and plots are likely to be part of the fabric, but different factions having different agendas, and the whole thing confused by copious doses of wishful thinking and self delusion.

Brilliant summation DaveMart...

DaveMart -

Well put!

'Conspiracy' seems to be a dirty word around here, and anyone using that word tends to be branded as some kind of paranoid or kook.

To believe that a conspiracy might be behind a certain event does not automatically mean that one believes the event was the work of some sinister group of Ancient Elders in black robes huddling around a torch-lit table whilst performing satanic incantations.

The more realistic form that a modern conspiracy takes can be nothing more bland than Mr. Big No. 1 playing golf with Mr. Big No. 2 and casually dropping a piece of confidential information that Mr. Big No.1 knows will set certain things into motion.

That's why I don't even like the word, 'conspiracy', as it has too much emotional baggage attached to it. I prefer to think of such things as a confluence of mutual interests among a group of people in power that have the desire and ability to cause certain things to happen without the general public knowing why those things happened. And if one in power has access to the right controls and knows how to skillfully operate those controls, it is not necessary to confide in a large group of people to set something in motion.

We could call it "insider trading in death".

Whether you choose to call it a conspiracy or not, there is clearly a different rationale current amongst the elite from the one for public consumption.

Well you have the ignorant (or decietful) like Darwinian who claim there are no conspiracies to people who are seeking some form of grand unification of purpose to the 'different rationale current amongst the elite from the one for public consumption' all the time calling for their fellows root out this purpose so that they might slay it once and for all.

For the 1st classification - no matter how many times you provide proof of actual conspiracies - they enjoy staying ignorant. For the other classification - A unifying element is sociopathic behavior. (Turn them loose on that and they have a whole new lens for the world. Gives 'em their unity thye seek or they stop talking to you about the masons with the help from the boy sprouts are going to use the mind control orbiting lasers to change the alignment of the hippies to aggressive.)

You sir are the liar! I have never claimed that there no conspiracies. In fact in the past I have given examples of conspiracies. A conspiracy is a covert collusion between two or more people to deceive another person or group of persons. "To conspire to deceive" is what a conspiracy is. I have claimed that there are no giant conspiracies, conspiracies that require literally hundreds of co-conspirators.

The D-Day attack is a perfect example. The exact time and point of the landing was known only to a very few allied insiders. Had hundreds have known then the secret would have leaked out. Also, any undercover operation by the FBI could be considered a conspiracy. The FBI conspires to deceive the bad guys by making them believe that the undercover agent is one of their own.

But you guys have conspiracy on the brain and it is starting to smell to the high heavens. To you guys everything is a conspiracy. Conspiracy nutcases, like a few on this list, have ruined many a good list. Stupidity simply drives people away and it is happening here, right now. There are conspiracy wingnut lists, you should take your stupid conspiracy theories there.

My conspiracy is more pedantic. Everyone seems to have been trained in the art of rhetoric as opposed to the dialectic. One aspect of the dialectic is models and simulations to understand what is going on with respect to oil depletion (which I seek out with a passion bordering on obsession). I will always wonder why people get so worked up in the rhetoric, whereas math-porn is so much more enjoyable.

So the conspiracy here on TOD is to maintain the level of rhetoric at a high 99% level, and to keep the logical reasoning to a minimum. Who then are the conspiricists? WE ALL ARE.

If Cheney knows about PO, which he does, why is he not sharing with the world? Besides the speech he gave I'm sure he has shared it with some other people. Quite possibly all the oil people that he were inserted in the White House. Hmmmm.....

He didn't say anything because it is not to his personal advantage and that of his class to say so. Obvious huh?

Let's take that as a given and move on...

BTW my problem with these conspiracy theories is that it doesn't add anything to the discussion to call the groups involved 'conspiracies'.

So let me get this straight: rich powerful people around to world are working together to influence events to their own benefit?

Jeez tell me something I didn't know already...isn't that the way the world has always worked?

Real life, people just aren't that smart.


It's simply poor cognitive hygeine to retroactively ascribe significant world events to the conscious intent of superentities. It's unfalsifiable even in principle, self-insulating against critique.

Most conspiracy beliefs quickly fail a test by becoming untenable if logically extended. In other words, in order for X conspiracy to be true, what else must perforce be true? The ad hoc complexity of the resulting morass then soon passes the threshold of absurdity, in terms of additional conspirators who must be involved, additional imputed motives, and logical contradictions.

The existence of low-level dumbass deceipt and individual perceived self-interest is more than sufficient to explain the emergent results we see from human action. The fact that "conspiracies exist" on this banal level says nothing about the probability of intricate scenarios which would tax the cohesiveness of an ant colony. Machiavellian deceipt is socially useful, but surrounded by apes exquisitely evolved to detect deceipt, a bit like building a house of cards on a windy day. Unless you're holding onto the cards, you won't build high, and no one but a fool would even attempt a million-card house (or believe it had been done by others).

I recall that when animating the huge battle scenes for an epic battle movie (Lord of the Rings?) the animators sought to give the action a bit more realism by giving, via computer program, very basic reactive emotions to each little character in terms of reacting to the immediate tide of battle which it was immediately in contact with, to provide a more natural fight. They were surprised to find that in some cases this caused the entire army to unpredictably retreat, counter to the script they were trying to animate.

There's pretty much nobody driving the bus. That's the deal, and the really scary part.


Excellent post.

There's pretty much nobody driving the bus. That's the deal, and the really scary part.

That pretty much sums it up. There's nothing so terrifying as the idea that there's nobody driving the bus.

I'm reminded of that article in Newsweek last week, about how belief in religion, belief in the paranormal, and belief in conspiracy theories spring from the same root: basically, fear that there's no one driving the bus.

Oh, there is an energy bus being driven, right off the cliff, whether you choose to ignore Cheny and Company or not.

I love it, I love it. Thanks Leanan for that link, and thanks Greenish for such an excellent post. If everyone would realize that the tendency to see every government action, or corporate action or terrorists act as some kind of conspiracy is actually a mental defect, we could put all this conspiracy theory crap behind us.

But alas, that is not likely to happen. We will be plagued with this nonsense all the way down the backside of Hubberts Peak. Pity!

Ron Patterson

Sounds almost George Bushian-the tendency to see "a terrorists act" as some kind of conspiracy. Make up your mind-are all these evildoers loners (like the myth of Oswald) or are they working together?

Maybe more Germans should have been conspiracy-minded from 1933 to 1939, so they would have had the sense to either shoot Hitler or emigrate. We accused the Bush Administration of evil conspiracies to get people out there to stop voting for the bastards before they stole all our money for their sponsors. Well, now they've stolen it all and it may be too late to undo the damage. It is a conspiracy, and an international crime, to plan a war of aggression.

Leanan -

Well, the first person to come to mind is FDR, who was a master at 'driving the bus' without most people even realizing that he was doing just that. He was without doubt the most duplicitous man to ever have occupied the White House. He was a firm believer in not letting his right hand know what his left was doing - so much so that when Truman became President he wasn't even aware that there was such a thing as the Manhattan Project. FDR's own vice president was kept in the dark, all the while that FDR knew he was a dying man. Now THAT is one sneaky person!

Arguably, FDR very skillfully manipulated the US into WW II by pushing the Japanese into a corner with the US embargo of oil and scrap iron against Japan, thus making war with Japan almost inevitable. Whether he had pre-knowledge about Pearl Harbor has not been proven and is still the subject of some debate.

So, 'conspiracies' do not have to be the delusions of feverish imaginations, but rather conspiracies can be nothing more than the end result of very devious people coming together to effect mutually desired goals that they don't want revealed.

A conspiracy is usually nothing more than two or more bad guys planning and carrying out bad things. What is so delusional about that concept? It has been going on since antiquity, since the time when one brother arranged the death of his elder brother so that he could gain the throne.

I guess Shakespeare must have been a conspiracy nut.

Did you even read the post I was replying to?

Nobody is arguing that conspiracies of two or three people don't exist. "Conspiracy theories" generally refers to theoretical conspiracies involving hundreds or thousands of people.

Even if such existed, what's the point in arguing about it? If thousands of people are in cahoots, how will you ever prove anything or do anything about it?

If, for example, the 9/11 "truth" allegations are true, the entire field of civil engineering is complicit. Not just in the US, but throughout the world. They are changing textbooks because of what happened with the towers and WTC-7.

If that many people are involved, and the conspiracy is that powerful, what point is there in arguing about it? Every bit of evidence, every expert, can be explained as "part of the conspiracy." As with "god put fossils in the ground to tempt the geologists into sin," you really can't argue against it.

That being the case, I just don't see any point in having such discussions here. There are plenty of other web sites where that kind of thing can be discussed.

No, Leanan. Your conception here is flawed. The assumption is often that a conspiracy with broad consequences needs vast numbers of people. Incorrect. All that need exist is a small group of people in positions of power who can give orders to others. Many people involved in the execution of a plan are unwitting, simply doing their jobs.

I present known conspiracies: Iran-Contra, Tonkin Gulf, Operation Ajax. That last was carried out primarily by one guy inciting many others. One need not have great numbers, only great power and reach. So, saying the entire field of engineering is complicit is incorrect. It is entirely possible 9/11 was false flag, but the engineers were swayed not by being willing participants, but by the intense rhetoric that followed. That is, like many millions of other Americans they likely believe what their lying eyes tell them.

NOTE: I am an agnostic on 9/11 conspiracy claims.

Asking what's the point is exactly why conspiracies happen: To convince you there is nothing you can do; to get you to give up.

From Barron's via Denninger:

Although the disguises have changed, the game has not. When values-financial, moral and religious-are based on nothing, redemption is impossible. We will not solve our economic problems until we unmask the disingenuous tricksters and reassess values that are not merely financial."

That being the case, I just don't see any point in having such discussions here. There are plenty of other web sites where that kind of thing can be discussed.

That I have no quarrel with. But I reserve the future bandwidth to respond to unfair and/or inaccurate statements by others. (Note that I never raise such things on these forums.)


belief in conspiracy theories

Facts of history now fall under the heading of beliefs?


i think you and the article are duped by the same problem it points out. That is they may be(and personally i think they are) fooled by the old 'Correlation does not imply causation' just because some of those who believe in paranormal and the evidence less theory's are stressed does not mean that 'stress' causes such things.

As a side note, as long as these theory's are backed by good evidence(for example the 9/11 have enough to debunk the official theory. while shape changing lizard aliens do not) i think they are fair game because as some here have pointed out. the general public at large think peak oil is a 'conspiracy' of the big oil company's to rake in extreme profits or big government to do the same thing depending on your political view point.

No, they are not fair game. This isn't a question that's up for debate. Please discuss 9/11 "truth" elsewhere. It's just not something we want people to see here.

Besides, it's been beaten to death already. Nobody's mind is going to be changed at this point.

That's a good point, but I'd put it slightly differently: I can entirely believe that there are lots of people who would like to, and many who even actually do, initiate conspiracies. What I have difficulty believing in is any long-term, widespread conspiracies actually working and not leaking out. (A man and wife hiding a secret for forty years I can believe, some wider group of people with less strong ties I have difficulty accepting that they'll hold together for more than about a year.)

Lots of people want to drive the bus, and some are trying. There may well be some strong people pulling on the bus steering wheel where you don't believe they're doing what they say they're doing. There wheel may be being turned consistently by strong people whilst you aren't paying proper attention because you're watching Paris Spears, etc. What I find very difficult to believe is that there's an army of regular guys who've been guiding the steering wheel hidden under the dashboard for the last ten years without someone breaking ranks.

There, that's pushed the bus metaphor beyond all plausibility.

There, that's pushed the bus metaphor beyond all plausibility.

I find bus metaphors inherently limiting, don't you? But to extend that toss-off line, this bus has no steering wheel, is full of delusional armed paranoid cannibals, and if it goes slower than 60 it explodes. Just sayin'.

So how did you know about the horrible secret my wife and I have kept hidden for 40 years?

Be that as it may, certainly people start conspiracies, in the sense of compartmentalized information and action intended to benefit oneself and associates. It's called "doing business" or "being human" and, as noted, is sufficient to explain all that we see in society.

For that matter, I've done stuff like running reasonably effective international espionage networks. Those who think a large-scale secret is "stable" have probably never tried it. The more single-point failure possibilities, and individuals involved - the higher dimensionality, you might say - the shorter the half-life gets.

And just to end on a contentious note, I'll assert that TPTB don't exist per se except as statistical outliers; that the path-dependent nature of reality will tend to create relatively stable groups of more highly-relative-advantaged individuals by purely stochastic means. "they" are as dumb as the rest of us, and operating on no different levels.

Luck is the thing. That's it. Luck. In navigating the uneven landscape of "luck" phase space, the only reason we have apes driving cars around N. America instead of dinosaur descendents scampering about is the chance impact of the KT impactor, and its orbit was an infinitely delicate dance.

Every animal or plant population has some individuals which happen to be in the best location at the right time to exploit the situation, and others which cling to the margins of survival. Humans are no different, and it could be we greatly err in thinking that it matters or could be otherwise...


Hi greenish,

re: "I've done stuff like running reasonably effective international espionage networks."

A multi-talented group here at TOD. :).

1) I find this interesting, "the shorter the half-life gets." - and yet, at the same time, your efforts were "reasonably effective."

Hmmmn...how was this possible?

2) On a slightly different, and related point, my personal observation confirms what you say about compartmentalization, etc.

Except that there is something else, in addition.

Some people fully and completely "get it."

And then, seemingly "choose" to remain silent. They do not tell others what they know; they do not try to warn anyone. Why? I wonder.

3) WRT conspiracies or no, I thought this was interesting, though I haven't read the book:

"Weaving their way through a labyrinth of clues, they discover a shocking historical cover-up."

This is nothing but psychobabble. "All you have said is what others have said: conspiracies don't really exist, and if they do, well, so what? Especially since they require such broad complicity and intricacies beyond the ken of mere mortals!

This is not, contrary to the positive responses you have received, this is not a great post. Big words and psychobabble do not a great post make. There is only one way to dismiss conspiracies: prove they do not now, and have never, existed. This is impossible, for they have and do exist.

You said, "It's simply poor cognitive hygeine to retroactively ascribe significant world events to the conscious intent of superentities."

You are attempting to be dismissive, calling people who acknowledge conspiracies exist stupid. This is, itself, stupid because we know conspiracies do exist: Did the wiretapping not go on for some time before being discovered? Were not the CIA prisons extant? Did Iran Contra NOT happen? How are these not conspiracies, or do you not understand the term? And you attempt to apply a tin foil hat by implying **every** major event is ascribed to conspiracy. They are not. This is certainly an excellent example of poor cognitive hygiene on your part.

You also attempt to minimize by saying actions are ascribed to superentities. Really? Where has this claim been stated on these pages? Are Bush and Cheney superentities in your lexicon, for example? Need they be to have engaged in the conspiracies they have?

The existence of low-level dumbass deceipt and individual perceived self-interest is more than sufficient to explain the emergent results we see from human action.

True for many things, but not all. I repeat: conspiracies, large and small, happen, which renders the quote irrelevant to the discussion. Your problem is, along with the others here repeating the same false claim, is that you might acknowledge some conspiracies exist, but are never open to the next one happening. Yet, it will. And by playing along by painting those who discuss such possibilities as tinfoil hat wearers, you make them more possible. You are vicitmizing yourself. Paolo Frere described the phenomenon in "Pedagogy of the Oppressed."

Your pretense that conspiracies can't happen (even though we know they have) because the complexities are too great is wishful thinking. You simply do not wish to accept that things which you do not know about are happening. It means you have no control. It means the Bogeyman exists. Sadly, he does. All I can say is: They do and have existed. Some remained hidden for decades - or longer - but others lasted not long at all before being revealed. But revelation doesn't mean they never existed. Again: wiretaps. Secret for how long? And still going on, bizarrely with the complicity of our congress criminals. I suppose your stance is that this secret, illegal activity wasn't a conspiracy because either a. it was revealed or b. it was accepted and approved after the fact? I hope not, for this would be, well, a dumb argument.

In fact, it takes little to rise to the level of conspiracy:

1: the act of conspiring together

And what of conspire?

1 a: to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or an act which becomes unlawful as a result of the secret agreement

If you wish to hide away in your denial that conspiracies exist, go ahead, but when you deny facts as mere fantasy, it is you who is wearing the tin foil hat, friend.

I suggest you limit your future comments to whether any given event is or is not tied to conspiracy, for when you broadly brush anyone pointing out conspiracy, it is you who, as my grandmother was wont to say, acts the fool. Worse, you are allowing yourself to identify with those who would conspire against you and taking on the label of "oppressed" they have chosen to place on you.


"cargo cult" hilarious, Nate.

Since Obama will not nominate Paul Krugman to a cabinet post, how does Secretary Hagens sound?

And I believe all you guys are wrong, very wrong. I have spent a lifetime witnessing people deny the blatantly obvious, or so it seemed to me. And they were not lying, they actually believed truly absurd things. Disbelieving in peak oil is very mild compared to some things that most people believe or disbelieve.

These guys actually believe that we have enough oil in the ground to last for many decades. Some even believe it will last for centuries. Most politicians, and for sure the general public, has not examined the evidence of peak oil. They simply believe what is most comfortable to believe. And that is believing that nothing really bad can happen to humanity in their lifetimes.

While it is true that most oil executives have more data, and some may be lying, most are not. It is that their position has condition them to see and believe what is best for them and their company. They see what experience has conditioned them to see. They believe what they need to believe and tell the world that there is nothing to worry about because that is, deep down, what they themselves need to believe.

However there is a case to be made that most oil company executives are in a position to see the real situation, as horrible as it really is, no such case can be made for politicians of the general public.

Edit: I posted the above before reading Nate's post. I completely agree with Nate on this. Even though oil executives should know better, the vast majority of them do not. And when oil executives say there is no peak oil problem, what are politicians and the general public to believe?

Ron Patterson

"And I believe all you guys are wrong, very wrong. I have spent a lifetime witnessing people deny the blatantly obvious, or so it seemed to me. And they were not lying, they actually believed truly absurd things. Disbelieving in peak oil is very mild compared to some things that most people believe or disbelieve."

Sounds like you were in some kind of believing sect.... How has that been working for you?

Theories can only be falsified, not verified. Therefore we have to believe them. That's the philosophy of science.

Apparently you cannot read Willem. I said I witnessed people deny the blatantly obvious, I never said I was part of any such believing sect. And I continue to witness such people, mostly on the internet these days.

Have you always had problems with reading comprehension? If so, that would explain a lot.

Theories can only be falsified, not verified. Therefore we have to believe them. That's the philosophy of science.

We have to believe them? That is one of the most absurd statements I have ever read. The Big Bang is a theory and many astronomers disbelieve it. Halton Arp to name just one.

And a theory can either be falsified or verified! Theories However once a theory is verified it is no longer a theory. And by the same token, once it is falsified it is no longer a theory either.

You don't know too much about science do you Willem.

"Apparently you cannot read Willem."

Well, I read this: "And I believe" and the rest of your post. So, you are a believer yourself. Nothing wrong with that...

"We have to believe them?" No rather: "We have to believe them?"

Re: Nate's and Ron's post, I think it's likely that:

Some executives know about peak oil, but deny it, possibly even because they are genuinely worried about the reaction of the people, but certainly because they can't discuss it until the idea becomes commonplace (protect share price).
Some executives think getting oil out is just a technology issue or if oil does become scarce, that moving to some other energy source is just a technology issue.

Either way, my point is that "they" do not all think the same. And it's hard to know what someone thinks unless you go case by case. Even then what they say and what they think are two very different things.

but certainly because they can't discuss it until the idea becomes commonplace (protect share price).

Ding! We have a winner. Upthread the Mr. Big at GM reminding the new hires their job is to protect the share price.

So long as the legal system backs the 'protect share price' - the failure modes as exist will continue to exist.

What would you like the legal system to back instead? Looting? Haven't we already had too much of that?

Surely most investors don't buy shares in order to fund management's crackpot theories on politics, society, or anything else - there are plenty of nonprofits available for that. Surely they buy shares in expectation of a return, no?

Yes "(protect share price)" and shareholders interests above any other: BP is following Shell in pulling out of wind investment in UK - because it is more profitable to invest in wind in US. When it is more profitable for them to shout about Peak oil they will.

And I believe all you guys are wrong, very wrong.

This is a belief rooted in a faith and a silly one at that. You really mean HOPE we are wrong. It's an emotional leap not intellectual

While it is true that most oil executives have more data, and some may be lying, most are not

It's already documented the Cheney has intimate knowledge of PO. What are you denying this FACT? Are we really naive enough to think he would not plan or share the concept with a few other insiders? Maybe it just slipped his mind, right? Is it not beneficial to know and understand in regards to geopolitics and the balance of power in the world?

And when oil executives say there is no peak oil problem, what are politicians and the general public to believe?

I'm sure oil execs never ever talk to certain politicians behind closed doors and certain politicians would never ever think it would be better to not make PO public knowledge. I guess since we can't scientifically prove that conclusion it invalidates the obviousness of it. See writing see wall.

LOL, as per your articles as I recall Nate, such as on addiction, evolutionary psychology, we are genetically biased to think in a certain way and to overcome this programming is very tasking! I read a few of Jay Hanson's articles on the subject and it's pretty clear that nothing might be done till it's too late. I found his logic cold and chilling I must say.

Have you guys considered sending some of you comments and thought about energy to Rachel Maddow so that she can help to start informing America about the problem and ways to mitigate it? She is a pundit on MSNBC and recently requested a to do list for OBAMA and then airs it on national TV. I am going to send her info but I think if you folks did it, it would be more far reaching because you have the education and experience to know what you are talking about. I think it would be a way to get the info out nationally and if you could convince her this is a problem, she would engage, I have no doubt. She would need info to get up to speed, but I bet she is a quick study since she is a Rhodes scholar. I use your info in my classes working with inmates in prison to help them have a context in which to understand the massive changes that are taking place in our country. Your info is great and it is fun to see what really smart people are thinking.

The IEA is about to release a major new report, where apparently some of their thinking and analysis departs from prior years. They are considered the worlds 'energy watchdog' created in the 1970s in response to the global energy crisis. We plan to have a week (or 2 week) long series analyzing and reviewing different segments of the IEA report. In a sense, the internet watchdog of the energy watchdog. We'll see what they come up with...

Why are there no comments on the summary of the IEA report released two days ago?

we all have our abacuses and slide rules out and are under radio silence...

Obtaining a copy of the leaked draft version would be very useful in the analysis. Having the draft in hand might help with teasing out changes to the final version that reflect politics more than real analysis. Perhaps a TOD'er with contacts in the news industry could could help out...

Gentlemen and ladies, I look forward to your usual, thorough, and educational analysis.

Obtaining a copy of the leaked draft version would be very useful in the analysis. Having the draft in hand might help with teasing out changes to the final version that reflect politics more than real analysis. Perhaps a TOD'er with contacts in the news industry could could help out...

ASPO-International and ASPO-USA are both obtaining the IEA report.

What I would be very interested in is TOD's or Chris Skrebowski's "Megaprojects Analysis" with IEA's new depletion rate factored in; where does this put the peak in time, and at what daily flow rate for C+C and All Liquids?

To complicate things, there seem to be several quoted depletion rates: 9.1%, 8.6%, and a lower value that I don't remember.

Plus, given the economic situation with new project delays and cancellations, it should be time to re-visit the Megaprojects calculation anyway. The new depletion rate figures, for the largest 800 fields that IEA reviewed, are potentially dynamite when combined with reduced expectations for new field development. I hope you guys can crank out some numbers soon.

Dick Lawrence

Bill Moyers mentioned Peak Oil last night on the Journal on PBS.
It's already widely accepted.

The problem is that the public sees no solution to this problem.

For example, many people know the earth will be destroyed
in about 6 billion years when the sun becomes a red giant.


The solution to peak oil is to vastly reduce the use of energy per person.

This is a paradox because we are conditioned to think
more energy = more everything = more happiness.

In fact, it is possible to decrease our energy use by 10 and
still enjoy a high standard of living.



I contest your assertion that 'most people already accept PO'. I have been embedded in a very conservative crowd for 20+ years...people with BS degrees, Masters Degrees, and some PhD s to boot, all with clearances. The over-arching mantra is that PO is a liberal/hippie/commie/pinko/fag sham. I literally have heard some of our top warriors say that they believe there is enough oil to last for millions of years. There is some kind of belief is abiotic oil being provided by God the Almighty for his chosen Nation (USA), as well as faith that there are oceans of oil awaiting us in ANWR and in the OCS and Africa and Antarctica, etc. The same crow believes that Global Warming is some conspiracy made up by whack-job terrorist librals (sic) who want the bad guys to win and who want to take their SUVs and guns away. Many of this crowd most definitely DO NOT think that the Earth will be swallowed by the Sun's red giant stage; they say loud and proud that we are in the 'End Times' and that therefore it doesn't matter how many species go extinct or whatever, since paradise is just around the corner for the true believers. I do NOT make this crap up...I have seen many many Bibles and Left Behind novels on the desks of top military people (including GS civil servants and contractors) and have suffered to hear all the garbage I related above many times over.

Damn, I though everyone was going to go postal at work when Obama was elected!

Researchers have shown that very religous people are happier than less (or non) religious people: No wonder, since their scriptures provide them a nice little packaged answer for everything, including providing the 'Don't worry, be happy' mindset preventing any concern for future events. 'He who believeith in me shall be saved' (eternal paradise and such).

Against such mindsets, what good are these charts and graphs of facts?

Cynical, plotting politicians such as the Dark Lord Cheney and his PNAC gang don't really believe this crap, but they take advantage of these folks for all that it is worth. Make some tie-ins to abortion and Gay marriage and scare the folks about their guns being taken away, and abra-kadabra, the sheeple are distracted from reality once more!

That's pretty wild.

You must live in Jesusland.

BTW, I live in a pretty conservative area myself.

Thanks to Rush, Hannity and Dr. Dobson those people are beyond freaking-out. Rush describes himself as an 'entertainer'.

Reminds me of that Tennessee truck driver who shot a bunch of kids at a Unitarian Church--he wasn't mentally ill, just filled with hate.

It's clear that you can't allow yourself to be intimidated by those assholes, but I agree they have intentionally tried to put themselves beyond reason( by publicly displaying the emblems of insanity).

Fortunately, Obama's victory will probably sideline those folks for a couple of elections as the Republican party is nothing but toxic wingnuts now.

When things get bad I fully expect OK City type terrorism from these folks--probably even more likely than Al Qaeda.

For sane people it's not fun to associate with CRAZIES who are insecure and VERY unhappy. Self-reporting that you're happy though clenched teeth is the epitome of insanity.

Just remember that the majority of people even in Jesusland are clinically SANE and are worth talking to once you figure them out.

Keep calm and try to be pleasant.
Remember to smile.
Find some peak oilers in your area and meet regularly.

If the earth will remain intact in a future red giant giant solar system, it might be without people.

Much more immediate is the danger of a hypernova within the Milky Way:


It is all theoretical until it happens, just like all the talk about the housing bubble and coming recession a couple of years ago. The earth is only sustainable for a time.

People are happiest when they fit in. I grew up an agnostic in a heavily religious area. Sometimes it was rough. Now I'm going to church and raising my kids Christian -- they're happier and so am I. I still smile and nod and bite my tongue sometimes, but I see the value of being part of a local "tribe" and the community it engenders.

We all believe in something. We're wired that way. We strive to impose order and predictability on all we survey, and our views self-reinforce over time, sometimes much to our detriment. Global warmers, peak oilers, and political idealists don't want to entertain contrary perspectives any more than the faithful would to have service interrupted by hecklers on Sunday morning. Actually, I've been to Bible studies that entertained doubts and contrary views far more pleasantly than this forum!

Of course what you choose to believe shouldn't preclude one from rationally addressing reality and assessing new information. That's where I differ with some pastors who say that the Bible is infallible, and therefore their interpretation trumps any observed situation. It may be comforting in that same way that ignorance is bliss, but it doesn't keep reality from imposing itself upon you.

Thanks for putting it as you have. I think we're such a 'clubby' society that we sometimes get extremely agitated by different views. There is a false sense of security in blind conformity, while there is also a real source of security in a strong community. In some churches, but surely not all of them.. there is that 'test of faith' that gets you accepted or not, and yet in both Religion and in Rationalism/Science, a healthy dose of humility and skepticism draws the distinction between Faith and Blind Faith, or

I hope you have the chance to share the nuances of your religious beliefs with your kids.. not to convince them of anything, but that they know who you are inside..

I feel that Doubt is the liberal phase of Faith and Knowledge. 'Liberal' only in the sense of what you 'let go of' when you need to find a new grasp, change the grip. (Or the scientist's test of 'Falsifiability') 'Faith' and 'Conservative' is what you choose to hold on to, the assumptions you can accept, the constants that you assemble to base your other hypotheses on.

Best Hopes for 'Fitting In', but still being allowed to question and challenge the assumptions that don't seem to fit our perspective.


You state "...the majority of people even in Jesusland are clinically SANE...".

My old Concise Oxford Dictionary defines SANE as: "Of sound mind, not mad; (of views etc.) moderate, sensible."

I cannot see how any religious person could fit this definition of SANE. "Reality ends where faith begins" is an old quote (source unknown), and the occupants of Jesusland are mostly completely out of touch with reality.

Here in New Zealand a majority of people claim at census time to have some form of religious affiliation but only a small proportion (about 12%) admit to regular participation in religious activity. This means that we are largely free from such nonsense as pressure groups trying to push Creationism or Intelligent (sic) Design into our schools and other institutions.

We do have other forms of insanity, such as just electing a former Meryll Lynch money market gambler as our new Prime Minister, but thankfully religion takes a back seat here. Politicians can be kicked out at the next election; religious belief is much harder to cure.

no details.

Granted it's anecdotal but I'm finding widespread acceptance of the idea that EITHER PO exists or that lower fuel prices are a temporary anomaly (for what ever reason) and are set to rise dramatically.

For instance the conversation is a lot more of 'how to' the electric bike rather than 'why to' the electric bike. There were two of us 'peddling' them and at the gun show flea market it wasn't shunned at all.

Peak oil is off the radar because the price of oil and gasoline has dropped dramatically. It has been replaced by the financial crisis and job cuts. When the economy eventually starts to recover and oil prices start going back up the MSM will seize on it and once again make it an issue. At that point the politicians will once again haul the oil executives in front of a committee. Peak oil will once again be front and center. A politicians primary job is to keep his job. Complaining to politicians now will do no good as it is not a big issue with the public at this time.

Forbes www.forbes.com has a group of stories on energy supply and demand. Very good objective look at everything from oil to nuke to supply of Lithium. Go to "Energy & Genius" catagory in news block at top. Vote in their poll of promising future energy supplies!

One story, "The Octopus", has KSA officials claiming the Saudis will eventually reach at least 450 billiion barrels of reserves over the next two decades and Ghawar will have a recovery rate of over 70%. No data givien for these claims though.

Interesting. Here's a direct link:

Energy and Genius

The Saudi article is here.

Khursaniyah in 2009?

Hit by delays in building a natural gas processing plant, the Khursaniyah field was supposed to start producing 500,000 barrels of oil and 1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas but should be ready to go in 2009.


Ghawar will have a recovery rate of over 70%

The East Texas oil field is still pumping 1.2 million b/day. Unfortunately it is 99% water. But that % appears fairly stable. We are decades (a century ?) away from abandoning East Texas and calculating the final recovery ratio.

Two centuries of pumping oil stained water out of Ghawar will certainly give some good recovery rates. The rock is porous and of good quality in the north, and the reservoir has been produced according to best possible practices (all contribute to high % recovery).

I do expect North Ghawar flow rates to plummet within a few years (if not already) and South Ghawar (fully on-line just a few years ago) to pump 900,000 b/day for over a half century.

70% ultimate recovery from North Ghawar by 2200 does not seem unrealistic to this amateur. 500,000 b/day from North Ghawar in 2025 does seem unrealistic.

Best Hopes for LOTS of oil stained water,


My comment on the Forbes article

What a bunch of smoke the Saudis are blowing up your writer's pen !

There also remain vast stretches of Saudi Arabia that have never felt the vibrations of seismic tests, let alone the drill bit

Is utter nonsense unworthy of your publication. The "Four Sisters" that owned Aramco before nationalization certainly did not fail to do seismic surveys on EVERY worthwhile area (oil is never found in volcanic areas anywhere, so skip those).

The inference is that are major oil fields waiting to be discovered. Ghawar is about 120 miles long, 10 to 20 miles wide and a 1,000' thick. With modern technology, one cannot miss such fields, or fields 1/1000th that size.

The recently discovered oil fields (last 25 years) in Saudi Arabia are 1/100th or less of Ghawar and any future finds will be much smaller than that (see failure by internationals to find anything even medium sized in KSA).

Aramco (best in world petroleum engineering) has redeveloped their big fields. A few feet below the top of a 1,000' thick production zone, they drilled horizontal wells. This reduced the water cut (see article and a major missed point).

Water is injected at the bottom, forcing oil upwards to the wells. But when the water front hits the wells, they water out quickly (the East Texas oil field still produces 1.2 million b/day; unfortunately it is 99% water).

One quarter water from horizontal wells is an alarming percentage (*VERY* different from 1/4th water from conventional vertical wells).

I hope that Forbes stops swallowing Saudi PR whole, without skepticism and critical review.

Several of the claimed #s are fanciful.

Best Hopes,

Alan Drake

Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest state-owned oil company, said a further drop in crude oil prices may curtail investments needed to offset declining output in aging fields.

I think we should be sure to curtail demand enough that these investments are not made. If Saudi Armco needs $60/barrel oil to make investments, then they are pretty much tapped out. Better to admit it and just get off of oil.


if saudi cant afford to drill for the cheapest oil in the world (supposedly), how can we afford to overhaul our infrastructure to support the new energy sources, and how are we gonna develop the new energy sources in the first place?

more chinook-drops of thousand-dollar bills into wall street?

It does not cost us any more than we already spend to switch over in terms of new cars and roads and such. For electrified transportation, we apparently already have the generating capacity we might need. So, there does not seem to be a need for a huge new investment.

Note that the Saudis want us to pay for the new supplies up front by paying a high price for their inexpensive oil. If we have up front expenses in out transition that come in at less than $45 BOE (their current profit margin) then we are clearly making a better choice by converting. I'm pretty sure I don't want to buy the oil they are proposing to invest in because it will be too expensive. So, it would be better not to pay for their investment either.



i dont see how you're gonna replace 20 million barrels a day worth of energy for nothing... how much does one of those windmills cost? how many of them will it take to replace 20 million barrels of oil?

how much is it gonna cost detroit to convert to producing electric cars?

how much will it cost to overhaul the transmission lines so they can handle the increased load?

it's time for you to produce some numbers.

It is going to costs lots (gazillions)..would we rather send that money to KSA and the rest of the world or spend it here. It is a give that either way we are going to create dollars out of thin air to do it...one way sends those dollars down a rat hole (more than enough to finance a WMD attack on our soil) and the other way provides jobs here and stops sending big bucks to the ME to pay for our destruction. The numbers are meaningless, compared to the flows and consequences.

You wouldn't have to replace 20 million barrels a day of oil, just a pretty large chunk of it to get the ball rolling. Personal transportation vehicles (cars/light tucks/suv's) collectively consume around 9 million bpd of oil in the USoA alone - that's still roughly 50% of our total consumption. Canada and Mexico have similar ratios as well. If one could wave a magic wand and overnight change all 3 of our countries PTVs into PHEV like a volt, NA would be a net exporter of oil.

In order to cope with a global decline of roughly 4% per year, we would need to replace roughly 11 million cars per year with PHEV's, car pooling, or mass transit light rail systems. That's not entirely unfeasible if we were to mobilize ourselves appropriately. We have already cut our consumption by over 5% this year alone due to the higher prices over the summer!

Personal transportation vehicles (cars/light trucks/suv's) collectively consume around 9 million bpd of oil in the USoA alone - that's still roughly 50% of our total consumption.

In my first post to change.gov, I tried to make the point that perhaps the best low hanging (oil demand reduction) fruit may lie within the non personal transportation sector. A hybrid delivery truck, or bus, or garbage truck operates probably 40 hours per week, versus a few hours foer personal vehicle, not to mention the difference in size. The savings from converting a single one of these commercial/municipal vehciles would be many times that of converting a persoal car. Given the fact that we have limited time, and resources before the oil shock reignites, we need to direct our public resources to where they will provide the greatest benefit to cost ratio.

I suspect that it will take more than a single unsolicited post, to achieve rational policy, I hope the TOD community will contribute to this effort.

No, not nothing, just less than we are already paying.

Detroit changes its designs all the time. This is a normal expense.

There is really no need for more transmission if charging is done off peak. Electifying transportation requires about one third more generation, but really no more capacity if demand side management is used.


US oil consumption, (all liquids), peaked in August of 2005 at 21,666,000 barrels per day. In August of 2008 the US consumed 19,412,000 bp/d a drop of 2,254,000 barrels per day from peak.

Of course the peak month does not represent the average. Average world consumption in the US also peaked in 2005 at 20,802,000 bp/d for the entire year. So far this year, for the first eight months, we have averaged consuming 19,727,000 barrels per day, a drop of 1,075,000 bp/d. That is a drop of 5.2 percent.

EIA's Excel Spreadsheet for oil consumption.

Ron Patterson

i'm starting to doubt my theory that india is doublecrossing the US by continuing negotiations about the iran-pakistan-india pipeline after they signed onto the nuke deal with the US.

it's beginning to look more like india is resuming pipeline negotiations with iran to prevent china from replacing india... as long as india is "involved", they have priority... but they're just stalling, waiting for the PNAC afghanistan/pakistan project to develop further, which will result in pakistan being decapitated, thus eliminating pakistan's shared border with china, and eliminating the pipeline route to china.

...all of which might explain india reopening airbases in the ladakh region of northern india, on the border of pakistan and china... a classic pincher movement with obama's warriors from the afghanistan side, and indians from the indian side.

1674 x 1770

and i gots to admit, i'm a little spooked by people who have balls enough to put that eye gizmo (shown on the map over new delhi) on their national flag.

"Eye Gizmo"?? Try Wheel of Dharma.

There are also maps drawn up for the annexation and subsequent plunder of Canada. You don't see many people taking stock in the viability of such actions today, do you?

Naw, too many so-called lefties north of the border. If Canadian provinces were admitted as states, there would be a permanent predisposition in the electoral college for a Democratic presidency. Nothing worthwhile for the American right to sanction.

Btw, the so-called lefties found in the Great White North would include many self-styled conservatives who would see no contradiction between fiscal and social responsibility. Then again, what else can you expect in a land where the British high Tory tradition still carries freight.

US 'manifest destiny' be damned. Long live the counter-revolution!

Uncle Caveman just want Alberta.

Nuke rest.

Tar good.

When it comes to a bottom line about who knows about peak oil and who doesn't, ask this question. Who has an estate that can unplug from the grid without significance? Who is located in one of the best places in the US to grow crops, beef, etc. with excellent weather? GW of course. His place should be the envy of everyone here on TOD.

Whatever happens with Peak Oil, the economy, bailouts, the war etc. GW has a sustainable place to retire.

The other PTB don't have anything compared to his place even with all their millions (billions). So IMHO they don't know what he knows.

That's an urban myth.

Dubya's place is not some kind of peak oil homestead. It does have passive solar with geothermal heat pumps. And there's a graywater system used to water the landscaping. But they are still connected to the grid. He considered installing solar panels to run the swimming pool, but decided it wasn't worth the expense.

Uh, is this the off-the-grid "homestead" you're talking about that's an urban myth?
Bush Buys Ranch in Paraguay: Planning Escape?

No, I was talking about Prairie Chapel Ranch, Bush's Crawford spread.

The Paraguay rumors have been going around for years. I seriously doubt Bush is planning to move there, though. The natives aren't particularly friendly.

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest state-owned oil company, said a further drop in crude oil prices may curtail investments needed to offset declining output in aging fields.

What, the saudis are finally admitting that their aging fields are in decline.

The Saudi decline rates have been mentioned numerous times over the past couple of years. They are admitting nothing new. More than likely, they are hinting at the fact that they have no intentions of increasing their oil production beyond their stated goal of 12.5 million bpdoe.

Is It Time to Kill Off the Flush Toilet?

Now, the flushing loo — that human innovation that lifted the industrialized world out of its own dirt, cholera and dysentery — is quickly becoming one of the more egregious instruments of waste in this time of acutely finite resources. "The world can't sustain this toilet," says Jack Sim, the founder of the World Toilet Organization — the other WTO — an organization that advocates for sustainable sanitation solutions for all. "This 'flush and forget' attitude creates a new problem which we have to revisit."

Joe Costello,

Yesterday you linked to a story you had published in Asia Times.


It was a thoughtful but provocative article. I want to critique several of your assertions. However, since each will be quite lengthy, I will break it down into several separate comments.

Lack of Moral Vision

You offer no moral clarification and no moral vision. On the contrary, what you give us is a “scientific” solution to what ails us. This is put forth in the passage that begins with:

Five hundred years ago, the Renaissance reintroduced to Europe the ideas, histories, and philosophies of ancient Rome and Greece, renewing interest in democracy, and republican self-government. Subsequently, scientific thought and method was invigorated, redefining humanity's place in the cosmos…

and concludes with:

In reforming the American system, the concept and principles of distributed networked power would serve well in both restoring and evolving our political economy. In fact, the fundamental principles of republicanism and democracy share the biological necessities of distributed order and robust feedback loops that create stability. Reinvigorating the principles and practices foundational to the American republic will help move forward the evolution of self-government for the 21st century.

However, my contention is that at the root of our current financial crisis is a moral failure, and therefore the solution that is needed is a moral one.

During the latter part of the 20th century morality in the United States got a bad rap.

This happened because there was a deliberate attempt on the part of rightwing pundits to conflate morality with religion. This took the form of ahistorical claims such as “America is a Christian nation” or “America was founded on Christian principles.”

This of course was historical revisionism at its worst. But instead of setting the historical record straight, the left responded by throwing not only religion overboard, but morality as well. In its place the left offered what Reinhold Niebuhr called “a 'scientific' approach to all human problems." Your proposed solution was formulated in this spirit.

This is lamentable for two reasons. First, this approach flies in the face of all human history and human nature. And second, it leaves the field of morality wide open to the rightists. (In a separate comment that talks about political efficacy I want to expand on why this has been so politically devastating to the left, and in yet another comment why the “scientifically-based” concept you propose—a “distributed network order”—offers no solution to the political, social and natural-resource-depletion problems that we now face.)

What did our forefathers say about morality?

To begin with, and quite contrary to what Christian fundamentalists would have us believe, the United States was not founded on “Christian principles.” The authors of our constitution and other seminal documents were guided by the principles of the enlightenment, not religious dogma. The book to read is The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: Its Evolution and Consequences in American History:


Unfortunately I have misplaced my copy so I can’t give specific quotations. I’ve ordered another copy, but meanwhile let it suffice to say that our founding fathers emphatically drew a distinction between religion and morality. The espousal or belief of some predetermined religion was not deemed necessary for virtue. Instead, the professed ideal was that in the new republic an atheist had every bit as much potential to be a productive and well comported citizen as a Baptist, Catholic, Jew, or whatever.

This did not mean—and this is where the left gets it wrong—that our forefathers eschewed morality. In fact, just the opposite is true. They fully realized that the new republic would not, could not, operate without morality. Unfortunately this truth has been lost in modern “science-based” approaches.

Let’s take one example that is germane to the economic crisis currently inflicting the nation. Today mainstream economists embrace the “new classical” theories that Milton Friedman fathered. In so doing they lay claim not only to the mantle of “science,” but to the ideals of “freedom” and “individualism” of our forefathers as well.

However, the first priority of Classical economics was to purge the study of economics of all moral considerations. Drawing from precedents established by Albert Hirschman and Jeremy Bentham, modern economists concluded that:

[T]he constitution of a “science” of economics as the most important form of social self-scrutiny of capitalist societies could not be attempted until moral issues, which defied the calculus of the market, were effectively excluded from the field of its investigation.

Robert L. Heilbroner, Behind the Veil of Economics

Critiques of the sort of “thinking” reflected above are quite common in literature. Besides Reinhold Niebuhr they include Daniel Yankelovich. Relying on the earlier philosophies of Wittgenstein and Whitehead, plus a lifetime’s experience in public opinion polling, he concluded that:

The abstractions of scientific materialism illuminated one aspect of physical reality that helped seventeenth-century physics to fructify. But when we come to the truths of human experience, these abstractions are utterly inappropriate… They have proven more than a hindrance to the human and social sciences. They have been a total disaster in the scientific study of mental and social processes.

Daniel Yankelovich, Coming to Public Judgment

Other critiques have come from within the field of economics:

“[I]nformal social controls in the form of socialized norms of behavior,” Hirsch writes, “are needed to allow the market process itself to operate. These range from personal standards such as telling the truth to acceptance of the legitimacy of commercial contracts as a basis for transactions. An important aspect is implicit agreement on the sphere of market behavior; on what can be bought and sold, what interests may be pursued individually and collectively. These matters are recognized as of crucial importance in the establishment of a market economy, but as an underpinning for existing market practices they have been neglected in modern economic analysis…"

Perhaps even more profoundly than Hirsch, John Locke recognized the necessity for an affectual foundation underneath exchange society. As Joyce Appleby has pointed out, “Locke…understood well the fragile underpinnings of an exchange economy. Commerce was more than anything else a system of promises…; if people could be expected to cheat or lie in pursuit of their profit, how could those great enterprises be undertaken that required confidence that others would perform their duty…”

Robert L. Heilbroner, Behind the Veil of Economics

So there are large discrepencies between the "freedom" that our forefathers talked of and the "freedom" espoused by free market fundamentalists.

In my next comment I want to talk more about the moral imperatives of our forefathers and about what a moral vision for our nation might entail.

You might want to take a look at "Theory of Moral Sentiment" by Adam Smith--a best-seller prequel to "Wealth of Nations."

BTW, no way was Jeremy Bentham a modern economist. Modern economists, rather than being followers of Milton Friedman, are overwhelmingly members of a post-Keynesian synthesis.

Robert Heilbroner is one of my favorite economists; I used to use his textbooks in my econ classes. Keep the quotes from Heilbroner coming!


Thanks very much for reading the piece and a very thoughtful comments. First, I don't consider myself amongst "the left" and find it a word, just like "the right," that at this point offers more obfuscation than clarity. These words tend to let people fall back to old easy comfortable positions, instead of engaging the uncomfortable hard thinking we are in desperate need.

Secondly, my thinking is very much informed by what was the unique experiment the founders of this nation set forth two centuries ago in establishing this republic and bringing forth a system of self-government, and despite what many try and deny, a form of democracy, to which I'd like to add democracy is something much of the left and right in this country have quit thinking about a long time ago.

To your main point, which is well taken. I did not explore a moral base for this system, for only one reason, whatever my morality, political economy needs pragmatic logical systems to work, whether you want autocracy or democracy. With that in mind, democracy is by many still considered unworkable, and in fact today is under attack in this republic to a greater extent than ever. So, with this one piece I was putting forth the idea that not only can order be created from below by the interaction and cooperation of millions, billions, and trillions of individuals, that this is in fact the foundational order of nature.

We are after all simply a part of nature. Of course our understanding of nature, or, our much more prevalent misunderstanding of nature has been and continues to be a foundation for much of our morality -- for examples, the idea of sun kings, social darwinism, and most recently the ridiculousness of the "selfish gene." Bad science as worse morality. So,I don't believe nature and science, can be or should be separated from morality.

That said, as the 19th century German philosopher said of morality, "this as in all things some times nothing more than a matter of taste." Homo sapiens have evolved a certain freedom to understand and thus enormously impact their an environment, create if you will, that is both quite extraordinary and quite wondrous, but we are as small children with loaded guns at this point. Yes, we are in desperate need of morality, one that I would say, respects life, understands the basic and necessary paradox of freedom and responsibility, cherishes the individual and diversity, understands as Aristotle said we are social animals thus our social systems greatly impact who we are as individuals, and respects a certain egalitarian ethic based on both needs and outcomes from an understanding that once you met people from all walks of this life, there are no supermen, everyone has value and something to offer.

Obviously, this can be delved into much deeper and would enjoy doing. I have to offer my apologies in advance though in that the next 2 days, I'll have very limited net connection so if I can't get right to it, doesn't mean I'm not interested.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments


Hi DownSouth,

re: "what a moral vision for our nation might entail."

A suggestion, if you'd like one - to write this up as its own post, and if it's relevant to a sustainable, steady-state economy, peak oil, etc., perhaps it can run on TOD. Or, if not, then perhaps somewhere else.

This way more people could see it and respond, other than simply on one day's DB section.

I agree. DownSouth should have his own blog. It's a shame that his long, thoughtful posts are flushed down the open thread toilet each day.

Behind the dreaded WSJ paywall, but you can get in free through Google News:

Gulf Energy Output Still Hobbled in Ike's Aftermath

As a late-season hurricane barrels toward Cuba, the offshore oil and natural-gas industry is still struggling to get back on its feet from the last hurricane to churn through the Gulf of Mexico.

Almost two months after Hurricane Ike slammed into the Texas coast, nearly a quarter of oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico remains offline, according to federal data. That is an improvement from the 33% that was offline in late October, but progress has slowed from the first weeks after the storm.

"The stuff that was easy to repair has been repaired," said Eileen Angelico, a spokeswoman for the Minerals Management Service, the federal agency that oversees the offshore oil industry.

Have they totalled up how many people are still missing after Ike?
last I heard there were around 300, but they just seemed to become unpersons and dropped out of the news.

The really strange thing was when the CNN website ran the story about over 300 still missing and then the story was replaced the next day with a blank page. Not an update, not a correction, just a blank page (which is still there - totally blank - http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/10/02/ike.missing/ ). I have never seen any reputable news organisation ever replace a news story with a blank page. What was that supposed to mean?

Even stranger is that if you type "CNN 300 missing ike" into google that CNN link is still the top hit even though it hasn't been online for over a month now. Helpfully Google's cache still contains the story.

You might want to contact one of the British newspapers and see what they make of this - it sounds as though this is under lockdown in the States.

I doubt it. It's probably just some kind of computer glitch. If it was under lockdown, they'd have removed it from Google's cache.

It seems odd that it just disappeared, without further mention.
Have the local newspapers or TV also not covered it?

There was local coverage.

But we Yankees have short attention spans. The hurricane is old news now. There was an election going on, and a financial crisis.

Wikipedia is a pretty good source of hurricane damage information. There's a crew of storm buffs that keeps it updated.

Interesting though there is no mention of UTMB and the "Homeland Security" bio-defence (or germ warfare as we used to say) establishment on Galveston Island in the Wikipedia articles. The local stations were talking about that a lot before the plug was pulled on their worldwide tv network distribution.

Here's a recent story from the Galveston Daily News

World must hear how Galveston’s hurting

I’ve just returned from a newspaper meeting in hurricane-debris-free Miami and here’s what I heard, often, when people learned I was from Galveston:

“Well,” they said with a smile, over and over again, “I guess things are getting back to normal now, huh?”

They knew we’d had a storm. They knew it was bad, but there was no conception of what we in Galveston face — business community decimated, population reduced, piles of stinking debris everywhere and more than 1,000 people still living in shelters.

...People don’t understand that this storm is the third worst hurricane in U.S. history in terms of loss of property, and it’s the fifth worst natural disaster of all types,” (former president) Clinton said several times.

He’s right, and the fact that people don’t understand can harm Galveston’s recovery.

...The Daily News will continue to push stories about the storm and recovery to The Associated Press for state and national distribution. We plan to publish a hard-bound coffee table book in November that will help bring the storm back to the minds of many people outside Galveston. The initial press run now planned is 25,000 copies, and we hope to print and sell more than that.

There's also a video clip of one of the local news reporters angrily challenging Governor Perry on the initial media blackout at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQpE3kw5Fco

"You're delving into some questions and issues that....(does not complete sentence)", Governor Perry

There is a deliberate effort at the state level to ignore it because it is politically embarrassing. Maybe just hope everything (including the account) washes out to sea.

It's hardly even discussed here in Houston. I guess the way we will deal with rising ocean levels in the future is to pretend that coastal cities that get washed away don't really matter.

It's my guess the only reason the story is still in Google's cache after this length of time is because of the blank page. If the page was removed or updated then Google's cache would reflect that on the next crawl. Retrieving a blank page (not even any html in it just a zero byte page) is probably seen as an error by the Googlebot and thus not valid data to update the cache.

I cannot believe that CNN's webserver people don't know full well that they are serving up a zero byte file, which was in their top-5 most read stories about the time it was pulled, so I just can't see it as a glitch lasting over a month.

If they really wanted it to go away, why not remove the blank page, then?

laziness? or maybe they had no policy for erasing stories, and this was the easiest thing to do?
as long as nobody reads the story, mission accomplished.

I don't buy it. How is posting a zero-byte file easier than removing it altogether? And there are plenty of other very similar stories still on the net.

If it was intentionally removed, I would guess it's because it used reporting and video from a local TV station. Their agreement with the station may have required them to remove it after a certain amount of time.

Leanan, depending on how CNN's publishing platform works, it might be easier to leave a blank file than to remove one. It's extremely unlikely that a conscious choice was made between "zero-byte file" and "remove it altogether." It's more likely that whoever got rid of the story did whatever took the fewest mouse clicks. Very rarely on the Internet do we worry about saving a few bytes by deleting an empty file. We worry much more about saving a few dollars by avoiding extra human labor.

The BBC joined in the "dodged the bullet" story at almost exactly the same time the US networks dropped live coverage - just about the time the local channels were showing live pictures of people's wrecked houses floating past Galveston. The BBC reporters in the area were just dropped from the air. It was astonishing - one moment the BBC had a live report from the Galveston area taking about devastation and then half an hour later they were running with "dodged the bullet". I really wish I'd recorded the local news streams as they went out but I assumed they'd be on every news bulletin in the world the next day.

Here is the most blatant example of BBC news manipulation I've seen: With WTC7 undamaged in the shot, they reported that WTC7 had fallen, thankfully without casualties. Shortly before WTC7 actually fell, the feed was cut. The BBC claims to have lost all copies of the video. They don't claim this video is a fake:


Russia has a 24/7 English news channel that looks and smells like CNN, but projects a consensus that agrees with the Russian government:


When Russia invaded Georgia, RT had 24/7 coverage of the Russia's "peacekeeping mission" to stop "genocide" in Georgia. Supposedly-independent experts were trotted out to discuss details of the story. Like CNN, the idea is to conjure a broad independent consensus that happens to match the government's point of view.

After watching RT I can't take anything I see on CNN seriously at all, anymore.

This is the most blatant example of BBC news manipulation I've seen.

Nah, the most blatant example occurred about the time this happened.


Bloom was traveling with the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq when he suddenly died due to deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism. [2]

Hey, that sounds interesting. Would you explain what you're talking about? A quick Google revealed nothing.

This situation isn't likely to improve as state budgets shrink:

Citing Rising Workload, Public Lawyers Reject Cases

MIAMI — Public defenders’ offices in at least seven states are refusing to take on new cases or have sued to limit them, citing overwhelming workloads that they say undermine the constitutional right to counsel for the poor.

Public defenders are notoriously overworked, and their turnover is high and their pay low. But now, in the most open revolt by public defenders in memory, many of the government-appointed lawyers say that state budget cuts and rising caseloads have pushed them to the breaking point.

Regarding "GM staring into abyss as industry seeks help":

If a corporation is too large to fail, then it is too large to exist. The solution is to fire all of GM's top executives, split it into small pieces and sell the pieces at fire sale prices to different American buyers. GM's executives get investigated and prosecuted for malfeasance and the shareholders lose.

Hello TODers,

Glad to see this I/O-NPK discussion linked below. Remember that NPK is the topsoil's fuel and there are No Substitutes for these Elements:

How much manure to apply? Look at phosphorus content instead of nitrogen

..When using manure to replace commercial fertilizer, Hergert said, the strategy commonly has been to fertilize on the basis of the manure's nitrogen content. In manure and compost, the ration of nitrogen to phosphorus is usually 2:1 or 1:1. But most crops will uptake much more nitrogen than phosphorus (corn, 6:1, wheat, 5:1, beans, 9:1, sugar beets 7:1, alfalfa, 7:1), so Hergert points out that meeting a crop's nitrogen need will at the same time far exceed its phosphorus need.

When manure is plentiful, it makes sense to apply enough to meet a crop's nitrogen need, Hergert said. But at today's prices, he said it makes more sense to base the application on phosphorus need--then, if necessary, fill the crop's N requirements by supplementing with commercial sources of nitrogen.

Manure is typically applied every four years. So 25 tons of manure per acre would satisfy a corn crop's phosphorus requirements for four years. (Research shows that 200-bushel corn removes 35 pounds of phosphorus per acre, and it would take 6 tons per year to supply this much phosphorus.) But depending on the crop, this amount of manure might not meet a crop's nitrogen needs...
IMO, postPeak SpiderWebRiding can easily supply 6 tons of manure/acre/year. If a rider can move 500 lbs/trip, 24 trips can be accomplished quite quickly. Then the wheelbarrow crews can disperse this to the final square foot. Obviously, the further the final acre is from the narrow-gauge railtrack, the longer it will take the wheelbarrow crews to traverse this distance. But my hope is that the TOD engineers will perfect my earlier idea for kite powered multi-ton manure 'surfboards' that can quickly cover this distance while at the same time helping to disc in the manure already spread across the peripheral acres.

Recall that under ideal conditions of Liebscher's Optima: the ERoEI of NPK > 20:1, and food surpluses is what allows job specialization. Thus when food's net energy & ERoEI is much higher than FF's net energy & ERoEI it will behoove us to have non-fossil fuel dependent networks in place so that we do not decline to the level of the iconic African head-balancing a heavy load.

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


I finally googled SpiderWebRiding and gotta hit at Kunstler's CF Nation and it was YOU posting the concept in May of '07. I am ROFL. Not because your idea isn't good (you are so humble) but that I was probably the only reader out here that didn't know what you were talking about! And I find that future vision hilarious ... and OK. If in the future we DO "decline to the level of the iconic African head-balancing a heavy load," I really want to be in your tribe as I have lumps on my head and wouldn't be much good unless we had appropriate technology for timely transport of manure. And regardless of our tribe's prosperity, your humor will see us through. Thanks...It's late and I have to go to bed :)

Hello Sterling925,

Thxs for responding and getting up to speed on SpiderWebRiding, then using wheelbarrows for dispersion to the final square foot.

Please consider viewing the first commercial in this CSX link entitled "Close to Nothing" as I believe it encapsulates quite well the postPeak liquid fuels transport problem:

CSX can move one ton of goods 423 miles on one gallon of fuel.
Consider how much more efficient these pedalers can be with appropriate Spiderbikes on light, narrow gauge railtrack, or pulling an even larger load on a irrigation canal barge/canoe. Mud, snow, ice, potholes, thorns, broken glass, and sewage overflows will be significant obstacles compared to an easily maintained, smooth railtrack.

How do you want to work when fuels and tires are mostly Unobtainium? Consider the problem of getting fragile, fresh eggs to market without breaking them: Smooth SpiderWeb, or someone balancing the eggs on their head African-style [hope they don't slip in a mudpuddle!], or on the back of a skittish horse that might stumble, bolt, or rear-up?

This is why Alan Drake's electrified RR & TOD ideas are so good, but obviously, we can't lay heavy, standard gauge tracks everywhere; we only need them to act as vital 'spine and limbs', then the SpiderWeb 'ribcage' to bi-directionally move vital goods to/from the rural and permaculture hinterlands to the urban cluster, or to the various depots of RRs & TOD.

One Btu equals 252 calories, one gallon of diesel is 138,690 Btus.

So if some human burns 252 x 138,690 or approx 34.95 million calories-->they too can move one ton 423 miles. Or 200 lbs 4,230 miles. But it doesn't make sense for one human to move one ton these distances-->Alan's trains can do this.

Far better to use a Spiderbike to move a load short distances; say 5 I-NPK out-bound loads of 200 lbs one way of 4.23 miles each load + 5 return legs carrying 200 lbs of harvested foodstuffs; thats 42.3 miles total. Then an additional 45 round trips carrying 200 lb loads of recycled and well-composted urban O-NPK outbound, then more, heavier foodstuff load inbound for the rest of the 4,230 mile sum total. Remember the 20:1 NPK ERoEI?

It shouldn't take too many calories to pedal 200 lbs 4.23 miles at a slow and easy speed. I betcha Lance Armstrong can easily cover this distance in 30 minutes; a normal human in a hour with a properly geared Spiderbike. Just that first load of 200 lbs of I-NPK can then [under ideal Liebscher's Optimal conditions] generate 2 tons of foodstuffs for the urban core.

Geez, Bob.. what are you doing up?

Who else is getting a blast of insomia this week?

I have been thinking that spiderweb bikes should be on some standard gauge dual rail, possibly one of the track systems used by small amusement parks. It wouldn't be hard to make quadricycles on fairly standard bike wheels which have paired side runners made from skateboard wheels to keep each wheel on the track.. those can be raised away with a lever when you are leaving the tracks and returning to normal roads/paths.. Don't know how best to manage switching and entry/exit stretches of track, but I'm sure it would be doable, and with the lightish loading of these rails, I suspect that a reasonable wooden version could be created in poorer places.

(Maybe these skate guide wheels would 'rotate' up, instead of just lifing.. to make additional groundwheels to help get over tracks and bumps in transitional areas..)

Just playing!

(ps, my Pedal Reaper you asked about above is more of a 'Pedal Snowshoveler'.. a bit whimsical, but it 'could' work..)


One Researched Link on 'Park Trains' - http://www.trainweb.org/parktrains/info/faq/index.html

This is the FAQ page of an informative site..

Q: Where can I find small rail?
A: This is a toughie. Park-size rail is hard to come by. Generally, 12# - 25# rail is best for guages up to 24", while you might need rail as heavy as 60# for a large 36" guage train. Chance Rides sells new light rail for their C.P. Huntington trains. Hunt around your local scrap yards, or make friends with a local railroad contractor if you want used rail.

Q: Where can I find crossties for a park railway?
A: This is much easier. Some park railways have used standard-guage relay ties cut in half for smaller guages (24" and under). Most 36" guage roads use standard-guage creosote ties. Many smaller-guage lines use pressure-treated 4x4s as ties. I've even seen pressure-treated 2x6s used. Don't use untreated lumber, whatever you do!

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you with thanks... I'll look at some archived material, too.
Back to work...

Crude and condensate (C&C) forecasts updated for EIA IPM Nov 7 data.

The monthly peak C&C production remains July 2008 at 74.94 mbd. The recent drops are due mainly to outages in the Gulf of Mexico and Azerbaijan. The increasing production from these two regions will be offset by the OPEC 1.5 mbd cuts, effective Nov 2008.

I believe that these OPEC 1.5 mbd cuts are restoring the OPEC production rates back down to more suitable field extraction rates as OPEC was probably overproducing their fields from October 2007 to October 2008.

By middle of 2009, forecast C&C production falls below 72 mbd. The last time that C&C production was less than 72 mbd was May 2004.

In many ways, I sincerely hope that my forecast is wrong and that the peak C&C production plateau can be extended for a few more years. However, I think that the Post Peak Oil Age is here now and that the irreversible decline in C&C has begun.

The key reason for the start of irreversible decline is that there are not enough countries whose production is increasing at a fast enough rate to offset declining production from vast majority of countries. Russia has admitted to a slow decline now. Brazil, whose production was supposed to increase significantly, produced 1.75 mbd C&C for 2007 and YTD Aug 2008 C&C was only 1.80 mbd, up by just 50 kbd.

Iraq has the geological potential to increase production significantly, but above ground constraints such as delayed petroleum legislation and terrorism are likely to limit C&C production to about 2.6 mbd over the next year or so. Nigeria also has potential but militant action and OPEC quotas will limit their production.

Angola appears to have reached a peak C&C plateau of about 1.9 mbd. Canadian C&C production includes declining conventional production offset by increasing oil sands production. Credit, environmental and economic constraints on expanding tar sands production are likely to limit C&C production to about 2.8 mbd over the year or so, compared to Aug 2008 C&C of 2.7 mbd.

Azerbaijan appears to also be on a C&C peak production plateau of 1.1 mbd. Kazakhstan's production should continue increasing slowly. C&C from the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea is declining at very high rates.

There remains the secrecy of Saudi Arabia's real production capacity which may help extend the C&C production plateau. However, I am assuming that Saudi Arabia's C&C production was pushed to its maximum limit on Jul 2008 at 9.7 mbd. Future Saudi Arabia capacity additions from Khursaniyah, Shaybah and Khurais will only offset declines from other fields, rather than increase production capacity.

Crude and Condensate Production to 2012 - click to enlarge

The end of century forecast has not changed significantly from the last forecast. However, the C&C production, including heavy oil and tar sands, appears to have peaked in 2005 at 73.74 mbd. The 2008 C&C production is forecast to be slightly less at 73.69 mbd.

The 74 mbd C&C peak production plateau is forecast to end in 2008 with 2009 C&C production forecast to be less than 73 mbd.

Crude and Condensate Production to 2100 - click to enlarge

Thanks! We need a regular post on this.

Thank you. I always eagerly await the updates to your graphs, they are one of the best situation summaries I've seen.

It's interesting to look at the above graph (World Crude Oil & Lease Condensate Production), and - to quote Leanan - compare it to .. and here's what they expected:

Comments any one, especially as of the time period Jan 2008 - Nov 2008?

Hello Ace,

Thxs for your posting--I hope all TODers specifically seek out whatever you write.

Question: Once the official IEA report is out next week, will you use their decline rate as the basis for your charted forecasts?

You currently use 3%-->do you anticipate going to 6.4% [the leaked report number so far]? Anyhow, let's hope the official IEA % is not higher than the already leaked %. Time will tell.


I don't use a 3% decline rate as an input. Instead, it's similar to a weighted average production output based decline rate which is calculated after allowing for increasing production from some of the 400 different regions/fields/countries which are included in my model.

It is also unlikely that the data in IEA WEO 2008 will change my forecast, unless the IEA has information on new projects and/or revised URRs for countries or fields.

For example, the North Sea is made up of fields mainly from offshore Norway, UK and Denmark. There are individual decline rates for North Sea fields. These decline rates combined give a North Sea decline rate of about 8%/yr, after allowing for additional capacity from new projects.

The forecast C&C production from the North Sea is then added to forecast production from all the other producers to give a forecast world C&C production rate. Finally, the decline rate of 3% is calculated as follows.

The forecast production for Dec 2008 is 72.7 mbd and for Dec 2012, 65.6 mbd. Using logarithms, the implied decline rate is 2.54%/yr, rounded up to give 3%/yr.

Note that the forecast to 2012 is mainly bottom up project based, in contrast to the forecast from 2013 to 2100 which is an exponential fit to the URR.

Thxs for the reply. WOW--Big Kudos to you--> I had forgotten how much prep work went into your final output efforts. Much, much appreciated by me. :)

Hi. In my own post on the leaked preview of the coming IEA WEO report, I treated their two decline rate numbers, 6.4% and 9.1%, as not calls on the aggregate decline rate. But rather, on the natural decline rate of existing fields, apart from new production. I then went on to remark that both of these decline rate figures were actually quite theoretical, as the lower number was derived in a world where all necessary investment is made, and the higher number is derived from a world where no investment is made. In the actual world, I concluded, we do both--we neglect to invest and we do invest. Thus, I am still using what industry people have been using which is 7.00% -- for the natural decline rate of existing fields. Thus implying quite a hurdle for new production, just to match the decline taking place in the background.

Ace, meanwhile, appears to be using a different decline rate apart from those I mentioned. Ace appears to have come up with an aggregate, net decline rate. In this case, 3.00%, going forward. While I don't remember how long Ace may or may not have been using this aggregate decline rate this year, or prior, I can certainly see such an aggregate rate starting to unfold right now. Pretty easily, actually. Because if we take 7.00% as the real world natural decline from existing fields, and posit that the world would have to come up with 5.18 Mb/day of new production just to offset that decline (about what the US produces), then there is no way 2009 will see such a quantity of net, new oil. After all, August IEA production figures tell me there has been an immediate supply response already in non-OPEC production to the price decline. (I would remind that hurricane Ike came in September, though shut-ins did start last few days of August--my point being that the crash in August non-OPEC can't just be from hurricanes, etc--it has to be in part a response to price). So, I can easily see an aggregate decline rate of 3.00% next year, especially as non-OPEC just looks terrible. I mean, what does one say about 6 years of flat non-OPEC supply as price rose from 35 to 145? My take is that free-market, western oil dissappears quickly when oil returns below 100.00.

Finally, I am fascinated with the psychological effect the current oil price has on producers, as the daily price imo always acts as a forecast on people's perception. The boardroom discussion of future plans is obviously going to be heavily impacted as oil prints 63.00. This is the case even when price prints in the 60's may have occurred over only 10-12 sessions. There is no question based on the totality of public statements made by western oil producers that the supply response that we will feel in 2009 is seeing its foundation built right now. I'm pretty concerned about it, actually. It implies that the first inklings of the global economy coming out of any trough will be met by a fast price response, as demand inches up a little. If one took the view that negative GDP in the US was currently at trough, for example, at negative -4.00%, and then one took the view Q1 would be negative -1.50%--even that relative change could potentially inch up demand. This is just one example.

My current view is that we could be right back into a price spike by late Q3 2009.


Revealing story about the true state of UAE's oil production ability.

Adnoc moving ahead, November 8, 2008

Adnoc has 11 projects under way or on the drawing board which will influence the the emirate’s economy in the next decade and determine whether the UAE remains an influential producer among Opec nations.

In 2006, the Supreme Petroleum Council tapped Exxon Mobil to help it raise production at the offshore Upper Zakum reservoir, one of the country’s prized fields. The project aims to increase production from 550,000 bpd to 750,000 bpd.

At last week’s conference, the Society of Petroleum Engineers presented a study of the expansion work, which they said would be delayed at least until 2015 due to escalating costs and uncertain availability of drilling rigs.

New concession: Jarn Yabhour and Ramhan fields

Occidental clinched the concession to develop these two small fields close to the capital last month. The deal was Abu Dhabi’s first concession in three decades to a foreign oil and gas firm.

Occidental said it would invest $500 million in the two fields to produce about 20,000 bpd. The firm expects production to start next year.

Birth of small fields: Qusahwira, Bida al Qemzan and Mender

Abdul Munim al Kindy, the general manager of Adco, has announced plans to develop these three smaller fields, and the company is drilling some wells in the reservoirs. Drilling will intensify in 2011, Adco’s drilling plan said.

Together, the three fields will produce 76,000 bpd.

The Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (Adma-Opco) is moving forward with plans to increase offshore crude production to 1 million bpd by 2019, from about 600,000 bpd today, according to Ali al Jarwan, the general manager. Adma-Opco produces oil and gas at the Umm Shaif and Lower Zakum fields, as well as host of smaller reservoirs.

Oil fields are highlighted in bold above.

First, the Upper Zakum 200 kbd expansion delay from 2009 to 2015 places serious doubt over the UAE's future oil production ability. Both OPEC and the EIA had Upper Zakum exp first oil in 2009.

Second, it's interesting that 20 kbd project is even stated for Jarn Yabhour and Ramhan fields. That seems so small for UAE.

Third, the expansion of Lower Zakum and Umm Shaif from 600 kbd to 1,000 kbd is significant but the target date of 2019 is too far away to be meaningful. There needs to be disclosure about intermediate targets. For example, when will it reach 700 kbd?

Overall, it looks like the UAE is having trouble with its old oil fields. The article also mentioned that Bab's production will be increased to 435 kbd, but requires another 543 more wells. How long will it take to drill them?

The UAE might be losing its status as an influential OPEC producer.

What a difference a year makes...

Remember the Craigslist gold digger? The self-described "spectacularly beautiful" young woman who wanted to know how to marry a rich man. She plaintively asked, "Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?"

The reply was hilarious at the time:

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a crappy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity... in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't be getting any more beautiful!

It's still funny now, but in a different way. The guy who replied is rumored to be a New York investment banker. It's only been a year, and she is likely still quite beautiful. Whether he still has his job and his wealth - well, I suspect it's faded a lot more than her beauty.

Hello TODers,

Financial crisis hampers trade as shipping of supplies slows

NEW YORK - The growing financial crisis is constraining world trade with a jumbled mess of frozen credit that could mean shortages of food and energy supplies for some countries.

..Mavrinac said most markets around the world will work through stockpiles of commodities on hand, including coal and grain. But he said food and energy shortages could be a problem in 2009, especially in developing countries, if lending does not ramp up and shipping activity continues to stagnate.

"It will take a few months, it's definitely the worst-case scenario." Mavrinac said. "Right now there are plenty of ships, but no cargoes."

That doesn't imply that global demand is slowing," Mavrinac said. "It implies that global trade is stalling - ships are idling."

Bill Gary, president of Oklahoma City-based Commodity Information Systems noted that with the U.S. harvest season under way, supplies are surging and crops, such as grain, might sit in limbo if tight credit markets continue to prevent the free flow of exports.

"Things have gotten worse over the past couple of weeks," he said. "Last week was probably the worst that we've seen."

Gary noted that shipments of corn, grain and wheat have stalled as receivers of U.S. commodities still don't trust letters of credit from many banks, if they can be secured at all.

Ahh, face it, Bush & his cronies got an opportunity late in his last term to give away lots of fun money to the banks and their executives. "Here boys, take this 700 billion and spend it as you please. I couldn't deliver on permanent tax cuts for the super-wealthy, so here's my parting gifts to you, my base."

Meanwhile the regular stiff trying, but in many cases failing to keep up mortgage payments in the face of mass layoffs, increasing ARM's, etc. is still being hung out to dry.

What sense does it make to give away money to the banks, when it is the regular guy working his butt off that pays the mortgages that keeps everything going? If all those millions of regular people can't make their payments, then the system falters. So the emphasis should have been on a transition period of 3-5 years, during which all adjustable rate mortgages would have been frozen at a reasonable fixed rate, or permanently change those mortgages to fixed rate loans. Sorry banks, you don't get to rack up huge profits on rising loan rates, just make a regular stream of income from fixed loans. How hard would that have been?

But oh no, we must leave the regular guy out there on his/her own, or we might look like a socialist country. Oh, no, not socialism!!! Not for a minute, not for any period of readjustment. No, we must have super wealthy executives enjoying a little more of the good life. Surf & Turf please! And while your at it, throw that grant deed for the hunting lodge in my briefcase. It does have a helicopter pad, right?!