Drumbeat: August 10, 2009

Mexico gov't doubts mount on Chicontepec oil project

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The multibillion-dollar megaproject that Mexico hopes will turn around its slumping oil industry is being questioned by some officials as results fall short, according to a source familiar with the issue.

State oil monopoly Pemex has banked on an $11 billion plan to tap the unconventional Chicontepec crude deposit to shore up output as yields at other fields plummet, sending Mexican oil production to near 20-year lows.

However, Chicontepec was producing only 30,800 barrels per day in June, a modest rise from December. After years of missed targets and with $3.4 billion already sunk into the project by the end of last year, grumbling about its cost is growing.

"They are coming under a lot of pressure because some people in the government are unhappy with the results. They have spent a lot of money and people are wondering why there is not more oil," the source said, echoing private remarks made recently by several government officials.

Vast expanses of Arctic ice melt in summer heat

TUKTOYAKTUK, Northwest Territories – The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles (square kilometers) of ice on Sunday in a relentless summer of melt, with scientists watching through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap.

From the barren Arctic shore of this village in Canada's far northwest, 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) north of Seattle, veteran observer Eddie Gruben has seen the summer ice retreating more each decade as the world has warmed. By this weekend the ice edge lay some 80 miles (128 kilometers) at sea.

"Forty years ago, it was 40 miles (64 kilometers) out," said Gruben, 89, patriarch of a local contracting business.

Global average temperatures rose 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degree Celsius) in the past century, but Arctic temperatures rose twice as much or even faster, almost certainly in good part because of manmade greenhouse gases, researchers say.

Europe’s Listless Quest for Energy

Last month’s euphoria over the European Union’s agreement with Turkey on the Nabucco gas pipeline was perhaps a little premature—Brussels still has a long way to go to reduce its energy dependence from Russia. No doubt the agreement on the terms for Nabucco’s construction between Turkey and the other prospective pipeline transit states—Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria—is a step forward. The problem, though, is that not a single Caspian gas-producing country has yet signed on to the project.

Enterprise force majeure remains on US Gulf system

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Enterprise Product Partners LP (EPD.N) said Monday that force majeure on its High Island Offshore System would continue, noting the Aug. 4 fire caused significant damage to its offshore natural gas platform HIA-264 in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a website posting, the company said, "HIOS has sustained significant damage to compression, power generation, communications and other facilities. HIOS' compression facilities will be unavailable for service for an indefinite time period."

Feds to Expose Theft of Mexican Oil

(CBS) U.S. law enforcement agencies will unveil details of an investigation into smuggling Mexican oil into the United States, CBS News correspondent Peter Maer reports.

The U.S. will return up to $2.4 million to the Mexican government as a result of a year-long probe into a scheme in which stolen Mexican oil products were funneled into the United States.

Virgin’s Whitehorn burns with fury

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now, for poor old Will Whitehorn. Not only is the government taking no notice of his apocalyptic warnings over falling oil supplies, he complains in the FT that the UK Department of Energy review “ignores not just our conclusions, but our very existence.”

Whitehorn used to be Richard Branson’s bag-carrier, but he’s moved on to greater things in the Virgin empire. He’s also chairman of ITPOES, a frightfully grand-sounding outfit which says, roughly, that we’re all doomed because peak oil is less than four years away.

A New Building Energy Label in the Works, Alternative to Energy Star

(gigaom.com) -- The miles-per-gallon metric has gone a long way toward marketing the Prius and other fuel-efficient cars, and some are hoping a new, more detailed energy label than is currently available could do the same for buildings. That’s the idea behind a program set to be unveiled this fall by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, or ASHRAE, that would provide buildings with a sort of report card, or label, of their energy use.

The program would give buildings a rating from A+ to F, with the former reserved for facilities that are net zero –- meaning they produce as much energy on site as they consume –- and the latter meant for those that are “unsatisfactory.” The labels would provide an easy-to-understand metric for owners and tenants to compare with other, similar buildings, such as office buildings in downtown San Francisco, for example. ASHRAE hopes the labels will help spur more energy-efficient design by making energy use a more visible characteristic of buildings, said Bruce Hunn, director of strategic technical programs for ASHRAE, a research and standards writing organization.

How to save the world at work

For-profit companies with a social mission are growing -- and hiring -- thanks to a new breed of venture capitalists.

Oil-short Cuba returns to use of oxen on farms

SAN DIEGO, Cuba — In China it's the year of the ox — and it could be for Cuba, too.

President Raul Castro is promoting the beasts of burden as a way for the economically strapped communist country to ramp up food production while conserving energy.

He recently suggested expanding a pilot program that gives private farmers fallow government land to cultivate — but without the use of gas-guzzling machinery.

"For this program we should forget about tractors and fuel, even if we had enough. The idea is to work basically with oxen," Castro told parliament Aug. 1. "An increasing number of growers have been doing exactly this with excellent results."

Global Populations to Accelerate Demands For Fossil Fuels, Renewable Energy

By 2025, the world will add another 1.4 billion people creating an energy hungry workforce of the nearly 700 million new middle class people. China alone represents 350 million with India adding 100 million to the total emerging middle class population. The rapid growth will almost triple worldwide energy demands within the next 15 years.

In order to clearly understand the urgency behind the “peak oil” issue it is useful to examine that despite trillions of dollars in debt, currently the United States still imports two-thirds of its oil at a cost that has reached over $400 billion per year. Much of it is from politically unstable regions including South America, Africa and the Middle East; countries that control 55% of world oil supplies.

Iran not to lower its crude price: minister

TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- Iran's Minister of Oil Gholam-Hossein Nozari said Monday that Iran will not lower its crude price, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Iran has not lowered its crude price and will not lower it, Nozari told the reporters when asked about the rumors around the country's decision to lower its crude price.

Electric car future may power a charging industry

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - As makers from Tesla to Nissan Motor Co jockey to dominate the next generation electric-powered cars, a fight on which companies will control the lucrative market to fuel them is just getting started.

China to unveil plan for "new energy" by year-end

BEIJING (Reuters) - Coal-dependent China will unveil a plan to foster the development of "new energy" sources, including wind, solar and nuclear, by the end of this year, state media on Monday quoted a senior energy policy official as saying.

Sun Qin, vice head of the National Energy Administration (NEA), told a forum in southern Guangzhou city that a guide for developing energy technologies would also be released, but gave no further details.

Indonesia's Texas? Rural Java braces for oil boom

BOJONEGORO, Indonesia (Reuters) - Few things seem to happen at speed in this sleepy Java town where rickshaws ply the streets. But this rural area of rice fields and teak forests is set to be transformed by Indonesia's biggest oil find in years.

Oil production could start to flow from the huge Cepu field straddling East and Central Java later this month and eventually add millions of dollars to the coffers of local governments, as well as an influx of workers and a wave of new expectations.

At-risk teens create garden, grow job skills

Shamar Armstrong dug the shovel into the hard-packed earth behind Elinor Hickey School, then jumped, the full weight of his fullback-size frame stomping the shovel into the ground, carving out an irrigation line one blade-width at a time.

"It's tiring," he said, a T-shirt wrapped around his head to soak up the sweat. "But it's kind of surprising. I didn't think this was going to be as cool as it is."

Staving Off a Spiral Toward Oblivion

The old can also create a bridge to the new through hybrid products that combine elements of each. Research on electric vehicles has been under way for many years, but a direct leap from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric vehicles has proved challenging.

“Hybrids were an easy way for carmakers to start this transition,” says Felix Kramer, founder of CalCars, a nonprofit organization. Because the required shift in behavior is minimal, many drivers have been willing to make the change. Later, as these drivers become accustomed to the electric-vehicle features of hybrids — the quiet ride, for example — they will presumably become more willing to acquire a purely electric vehicle.

Food crisis could force wartime rations and vegetarian diet on Britons

The British people face wartime rations and a vegetarian diet in the event of a world food shortage, a new official assessment on the UK’s food security suggests today.

Even though the nation is 73 per cent self-sufficient in food production, higher than during the 1950s, the food chain is at risk from global influences such as a worldwide increase in population, climate change bringing extreme weather patterns, higher oil prices and more crops being grown for bio-fuel instead of food.

Supplies in future may also be disrupted by animal disease outbreaks, disruption of power supplies, trade disputes and interruptions for shipping and at ports.

Gas climbs nearly 19 cents in 20 days

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Gas prices continued to climb Monday, with the national average up nearly 19 cents over the last 20 days, according to motorist group AAA.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline edged up 0.2 cent to $2.645, according to AAA's daily survey of up to 100,000 filling stations.

Recession and Oil Demand: Looking to Recovery

Leading indicators suggest that global oil consumption will bottom out shortly and that pricing power will return to OPEC by late summer or early autumn. Oil demand remains off long-term trends lines and is determined primarily by the continuing effects of the recession. Consequently, forecasting oil markets remains more dependent on understanding recession economics than anything to do with oil per se.

Therefore, any prudent analysis of oil demand and pricing must first and foremost at the course of the recession.

US government to loan Petrobras $10 billion

The U.S. government is prepared to provide up to $10 billion in loans to finance the development of massive hydrocarbon reserves off Brazil’s coast, a Brazilian official said Wednesday.

Saudi to keep Sept crude supplies to Asia steady

State oil firm Saudi Aramco will supply crude at 7 to 8 percent below contracted volumes in September, unchanged from August, to one buyer, one of the sources said.

Saudi Aramco completes Khurais 1.2 million bbl/day project

Saudi Aramco's Khurais field mega project added 1.2 million bbl/day of production capacity to the Kingdom's energy stream. More than 400 new wells were required including 232 oil wells and 119 water injection wells. The project also required 58 observation wells. The oil wells were treated with 12 million gallons of stimulation fluid (acid?). Coiled tubing rigs replaced conventional drilling rigs for the stimulation. Producing well were completed with electrical submersible pumps and monitors.

Marcellus activity sizzles while Barnett interest fizzles

If there’s a lesson to be taken from the latest round of earnings reports from oil and gas exploration and production companies, it’s this: the Marcellus Shale is the place to be.

Many of the Barnett Shale’s biggest operators are shifting resources toward what they see as an amazing opportunity in the Appalachian Basin play, which runs through parts of New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It appears the core area – the richest area – is in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Huge gas project on target

THE massive Gorgon liquefied natural gas project planned for Western Australia's Barrow Island continues to gather steam, with part-owner ExxonMobil completing a deal to supply India with as much as $19 billion worth of offtake.

Gorgon, which is expected to cost $50bn to build and will be the nation's biggest resources project, was also yesterday given environmental approval by the West Australian government.

The two landmark agreements mean the project developers' targeted go-ahead is on track for this month or next.

The world is already getting a little smaller

The debate over rising energy prices has lately focused on how an early rise in commodities prices might stall an economic recovery. But two well-publicised books this year have focused on the effect of permanently higher energy prices on the shape of the world economy, rather than just its growth rate.

Peak oil, energy security and food supply in the UK

Are general concerns over resource depletion rising in the UK? Last week we saw the IEA peak oil story, the Wicks report on energy security, and The Economist publish an alarming cover story about the future of the country’s energy supply.

A New Angle

What’s the X factor that will bridge design with social change? A new website says it’s journalism.

Ecological revolution for our time

With his previous books such as Marx’s Ecology and The Vulnerable Planet, John Bellamy Foster established a reputation as one of the most persuasive voices arguing for fundamental social change to tackle the looming ecological catastrophe.

His new book, The Ecological Revolution, argues that a solution to the ecological crisis “is now either revolutionary or it is false”.

Foster draws on the warnings from leading environmentalists such as Bill McKibben, James Hansen and Lester Brown among others.

Duke Energy, Echelon team up on $1 billion smart grid project

Last week, the nation’s third-largest utility, Duke Energy filed an application for $200 million in federal stimulus funds to bolster its $1 billion smart grid initiative in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Today the company is announcing that it has found a partner to supply the guts for the project — and it’s not who you might think.

Six hybrid choices coming to your neighbourhood

Walk into a dealer showroom in five years, and you’ll be faced with up to a half-dozen options of propulsion system.

“There has been a rush to pick a winner, but the reality is there are many possible solutions to our transportation issues,” Bienenfeld explained during a recent Honda-sponsored environmental roundtable in Vancouver with Canadian journalists.

Here's a snapshot of six real-world examples of the choices that lie ahead.

Crisis and climate force supply chain shift

Manufacturers are abandoning global supply chains for regional ones in a big shift brought about by the financial crisis and climate change concerns, according to executives and analysts.

Companies are increasingly looking closer to home for their components, meaning that for their US or European operations they are more likely to use Mexico and eastern Europe than China, as previously.

“A future where energy is more expensive and less plentifully available will lead to more regional supply chains,” Gerard Kleisterlee, chief executive of Philips, one of Europe’s biggest companies, told the Financial Times.

Canada's Horn River Basin has natural gas producers envisioning another Barnett Shale

The Dallas-Fort Worth area and Canada’s remote Horn River Basin are more than 2,300 miles apart, but there’s nevertheless a significant new link between the two highly diverse regions.

Horn River, in a heavily forested area of northeast British Columbia where subzero temperatures are commonplace, is now drawing comparisons to North Texas’ Barnett Shale, a hotbed of drilling activity recently cited as the biggest natural gas-producing field in the United States.

There’s increasing talk that Horn River, scene of a budding natural gas play attracting major oil industry players, could become another Barnett Shale in terms of headline-making gas production. The two regions have very similar geologies, and both are "unconventional" gas plays requiring advanced horizontal drilling techniques and extensive hydraulic fracturing to make them economically attractive.

Higher oil prices boost Gulf fiscal outlook: study

DUBAI (AFP) – Oil-rich Gulf economies are on course to achieve better-than-projected budget figures in 2009 as higher world crude prices offset the global credit crunch, a study said.

But oil production cuts mean three of those major oil producers -- Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates -- will still see their overall economies contract this year after expanding rapidly in recent years on the back of record oil prices, according to the analysis.

Don’t Bet on a V-shaped Economic Recovery

Another factor which will impact economic recovery is rising crude oil prices. As the global economy recovers, demand for crude oil will increase furiously even as supply is depleted irreversibly. Crude oil may face downward pressure as rumors surface that the Federal Trade Commission will impose fines on market abuse.

This will prevent excess speculation but the fact remains that we are approaching or have passed peak oil. Market forces will drive oil prices up beyond the average consumers’ affordability levels and eat into the profits of businesses and discretionary income of consumers.

BG Starts Survey in Norwegian Sea as It Expands From North Sea

(Bloomberg) -- BG Group Plc, the U.K.’s third- largest natural-gas producer, started a seismic survey of its Norwegian Sea license that it got earlier this year as it expands beyond the North Sea into the Arctic.

BG expects to finish a 3D seismic survey of its Gullris license in the Norwegian Sea this month, Edel McCaffrey, a Reading, England-based spokeswoman, said in an e-mail on Aug. 7 in response to questions.

LNG Market ‘Softened’ by Recession, NW Shelf Says

(Bloomberg) -- The Woodside Petroleum Ltd.-operated North West Shelf Venture, Australia’s biggest liquefied natural gas producer, said the global recession has “softened” the market for LNG and signs for the future are mixed.

The global economic crisis has had “a dramatic” effect, Peter Cleary, president of North West Shelf Australia LNG, told the LNG World conference in Perth today. “Severe downturns in industrial production and associated energy consumption have impacted demand for all forms of energy and LNG has not escaped.”

Kurdish faultline threatens to spark new war: The only thing keeping Arabs and Kurds from fighting is the glue of US occupation

It is called the "trigger line", a 300-mile long swathe of disputed territory in northern Iraq where Arab and Kurdish soldiers confront each other, and which risks turning into a battlefield. As the world has focused on the US troop withdrawal from Iraq, and the intensifying war in Afghanistan, Arabs and Kurds in Iraq have been getting closer to an all out war over control of the oil-rich lands stretching from the borders of Syria in the west to Iran in the east.

Clinton Meets Angolans as Minister Calls $70 Oil ‘Not Bad’

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Angola to expand efforts to increase transparency in reporting petroleum revenue as the country’s oil minister expressed satisfaction with the current price of about $70 a barrel.

Clinton, aiming to improve U.S. relations with Africa’s leading oil-producing nation, stayed overnight in Angola’s capital city of Luanda, becoming the first secretary of state to do so. She called on Angola’s leaders to fight corruption and hold a timely presidential election.

Asian Oil Majors Yet to Affect Ownership in Africa, Report Says

(Bloomberg) -- Asian oil companies have yet to shake the dominance of European and U.S. energy producers in Nigeria and Angola, according to a Chatham House report.

“In spite of fears expressed in Western capitals about an Asian takeover in the Nigerian and Angolan oil sector, the reality is different,” said the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs, also known as the Chatham House, in a report released today. “These fears were highly exaggerated.”

Britain wants "radical rethink" on food production

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain must find ways to grow more food while using less water, energy and fertilisers to help feed a growing world population and offset the effects of climate change on agriculture, the government said on Monday.

A senior minister said last year's sharp rise in the cost of food and oil and a severe drought in Australia showed the urgent need to develop a food security plan.

"Last year the world had a wake-up call with the sudden oil and food price rises," Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said in a statement to launch a national debate on food security. "We need a radical rethink of how we produce and consume our food.

Renewing Nova Scotia’s future

EVERY WEEK, as part of my job, I read hundreds of clean-technology articles, following billions of dollars flowing through every major economy — the EU, U.S., China, South Korea, Japan. That money ignores Canada because the Harper Conservatives have put all our eggs into the Alberta tarsands basket.

German energy giant unveils huge cost-cutting plan

BERLIN (AFP) – German energy giant E.ON Saturday said it had reached agreement with unions on a 1.5-billion-euro cost-cutting plan that rules out job cuts until the end of 2012.

Clunkers program could drive used car prices up

Hundreds of thousands of "clunkers" headed for scrappers may cause already rising prices for used cars to head even higher, dealers and market analysts warn.

The popular cash-for-clunkers program, extended by Congress last week with $2 billion more in federal incentives, requires that all the old fuel guzzlers traded in are scrapped — not resold. That means up to 750,000 vehicles will never find their way into the hands of another owner. Many are at the end of their useful lives, but others, with years of life left in them, normally would be resold.

"Those are the cars that lower-income families need," says Geoff Smartt, owner of Smartt Cars in Caldwell, Idaho.

Wyoming joins western states in growing oilseeds

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wyoming's agriculture industry is looking at the oilseed crops camelina, canola and sunflowers as part of an effort to diversify farming and produce the seed stock for biofuel.

Researchers are testing Wyoming's ability to grow oilseed crops, which are already getting attention in nearby states such as Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Oil made from the crops can be useful as biofuel, cooking oil and in products such as natural deodorizers and lubricants.

Oil-rich Brunei to have solar power plant

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (AFP) – Brunei, one of the world's top oil and gas producers, is venturing into alternative energy with the construction of Southeast Asia's largest solar power plant, officials said Thursday.

The plant will supply 1.2 megawatts of electricity to the national grid, the equivalent of powering about 400 homes, according to Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation which is fully funding the project.

Downturn hits India renewables; solar plan by Dec

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The global financial crisis is hurting India's hopes of attracting about $21 billion worth of investments in renewable energy by 2012, but a new solar plan expected to be rolled out by December could provide a boost.

Renewables energy officials said on Monday they had already received more than $3 billion worth of investment since 2007, which could generate about 3,000 megawatts (MW) of power, almost half of it from wind energy alone.

Greenpeace to sink boulders to stem trawling off Sweden

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – Greenpeace said Saturday it will press ahead with plans to sink nearly 180 boulders into cod fishing grounds off Sweden to impede bottom-trawling, despite criticism from the Swedish government.

From Monday, the global environmental group will drop the boulders -- each weighing one to three tonnes -- into two protected areas in the Kattegat sound that separates the Swedish and Danish mainlands.

New Zealand sets greenhouse gas emissions target

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand announced on Monday that it will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, the country's climate change minister said.

UN chief says climate change biggest challenge

SEOUL, South Korea – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that climate change is the greatest challenge facing a world beset by crises and called on governments to reach a deal on the environment at a meeting in Denmark later this year.

Ban said the world has "less than 10 years to halt (the) global rise in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people and the planet."

"It is, simply, the greatest collective challenge we face as a human family," Ban said, referring to climate change, in a keynote speech at a gathering in Seoul of the World Federation of U.N. Associations.

'Motion Picture' Of Past Warming Paves Way For Snapshots Of Future Climate Change

ScienceDaily — By accurately modeling Earth's last major global warming — and answering pressing questions about its causes — scientists led by a University of Wisconsin-Madison climatologist are unraveling the intricacies of the kind of abrupt climate shifts that may occur in the future.

I heard on CNBC this morning that the Chinese stock market fell for the fourth straight day. I wanted to see if there was anything in the news about that so I news.googled Chinese Stock Market and found this:

Shanghai acting like it's 2007 again, analysts say

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Early warning signs suggest a bubble could be building in China's stock market, although it's too early to know whether this warrants an immediate exit from Chinese equities, analysts said in a recent research report.

Ron P.

Kunstler's up early today:
"Now that Newsweek Magazine -- along with the mendacious cretins at CNBC -- have declared the "recession" officially over, it's a sure thing that we are entering the zone of greatest danger. Some foul odor rides the late summer wind, as of a rough beast slouching toward the US Treasury."

The comments are dated from 2 days ago, perhaps this is a time stamp snafu.

Never really followed his blog much, looks like he has some really bigoted schmucks chiming in there.

It is definitely not the oil drum crowd over there. I don't even bother going through the comments after I get my laughs from JHKs rants.

CONCERNING STORY UP TOP: "Crisis and climate force supply chain shift"

Ironic; I was reading JD in PO debunked yesterday saying that higher oil prices will favor global trade.

It was odd, because - after his initial statement - it initially sounded as if he was pointing out that Central Canada would be better off localizing rather than buying imported goods coming in through Vancouver; but then he drew the opposite conclusion to where his arguement seemed to be leading.

I have to read more of his stuff.

Actually, I find JD is a bit of a doomer.

In this case he is right, in so far as we had global trade, albeit on a much smaller scale before we had oil. Those romantic ships sailing through the indian ocean bringing back tea so it could be thrown in Bostons harbour.

He pointed out that transport via cargo ship is the smaller cost of transporting goods around the world. Once the goods are in port, then you have to distribute them inland. Our main mode of doing this is with expensive trucks.

So what I took from his post was that I would be better off living in a port town/city until global warming floods it.

Certainly before trans-continental shipping disappears, trans-continental flights for strawberries will disappear.

Something I read recently and had to do a double take on was the ice trade started by Frederick Tudor. At first read I thought it was straining credibility. Ice was taken from frozen ponds in New England, then shipped to The Caribbean, Europe, and India via sailing ships. And in the early 19th century.

Well Barrett

Look at it like this.

If you were to own a prosperous business in a place where there is no refrigeration or air conditioning and the heat and humidity are the geniune tropical item ,how much would you pay for a cold drink?

And a lot of those trips would have been made in ballast.You might as well haul some ice if you're going down for a load of sugar or rum anyway.

Ice King Frederic Tudor built an Icehouse at Madras - now have a look at his Madrasian outlet Vivekanandar Illam, also called Ice House (been there and done that surreal thing:-)

"Horn River, in a heavily forested area of northeast British Columbia where subzero temperatures are commonplace, is now drawing comparisons to North Texas’ Barnett Shale, a hotbed of drilling activity recently cited as the biggest natural gas-producing field in the United States."

some perspective:

www.spe.org/spe-site/spe/spe/jpt/2008/09/12BarnettShaleREV.pdf -

"marcellus sizzles while barnett fizzles"

paint your wagon:


Re: The story above about Greenpeace dropping boulders in fishing grounds. I'm sure with them it's all about getting the message out but if their main focus was on truly protecting the fish population why would they be announcing this at all ? Just go out under cover of darkness - navigate by GPS to where you need to go and do your thing. Now they will cause this big uproar with much anger from all sorts of people / fishing organizations etc. with yet another club to use against those "a-hole environtmentalist".

Better to just go do it and when the fishermen start losing their rigs due to snagging on the boulders, just shrug your shoulders and say "I don't know... there must have been some sort of submarine debris flow that moved some pretty big stuff around..." - plausible deniability

I think they just want the press and are looking to get arrested.

Yes, they want press. But I'm sure they also do not want to jeopardize fishermens' lifes, and if they don't announce it that's where it comes down to. If nets get stuck while trawling the vessel can capsize.

I wonder why they feel compelled to fish in two "protected areas"...

"Well that's where all the fish are."


I have little sympathy for boats or people that can't follow the "agreements" already in place.

The Swedish ag minister says their action threatens "necessary cooperation" - what does this mean - cooperate to allow destruction of habitat in a "protected area" ?

The Swedish ag minister says their action threatens "necessary cooperation" - what does this mean - cooperate to allow destruction of habitat in a "protected area" ?

I'm Swedish, and if I've got the right impression from the news coverage, it seems the Danes are angry about this and are threatening to withdraw from (or not sign?) a treaty protecting even more important waters. I hope Greenpeace will dump stones there too...

It's quite funny, actually - Greenpeace has got the necessary permits by the regional swedish government branch to do this. The case has also been taken before the Swedish "environmental court" and there, the Greenpeace action was deemed permissible. The Ag minister can whine, but according to the Swedish (otherwise somewhat inadequate) rules for separation of power, he can't do anything about it.

It's the same with spiking trees to impede logging operations: it's unethical not to announce that the trees have been spiked. Loggers or sawmill employees could be injured or killed when the cutters or saw teeth hit the spikes.

Don't mean to sound hard hearted here, but this type of "ethical behavior", as you say, will quickly fall by the wayside when things really start to go south in the economy. We have'nt even started yet with the downward slope.

Too many take the easy way out and will not stand up for their beliefs or they hide behind someone else, let someone else do the dirty work while they cruise around in the SUV or fly cross country to make a sales pitch for a product only the rich can afford.

I say tough. If you are in the business of killing everything on the planet, there is a price you pay. Whalers need to be sunk. Period. Factory fish ships need to be sunk. Period. The list is quite long. Your spineless government will do nothing but BAU until everything is dead and gone....

You live by the sword, ,,you die by the sword. Maybe the Earth Marines do need to step up.

I think I was trying to mince words a bit more than you T_Z but that was absolutely my point...

What part of "protected" does the fishing industry not understand - they know full well what they are doing and as always just try to get away with whatever they can. And then someone will call them out on it and they will go straight into victim mode where they attack the fish protectors as trying to destroy their livelihood etc etc - heard it all a million times...

I'll freely admit that I don't have nearly enough specific knowledge about this particularl area to judge whether fishing should be allowed there or not - but stop calling all these places "protected" if it basically boils down to being nothing but a PR stunt... it's a waste of money and effort that might be able to be devoted to other worthy projects. As someone pointed out the other day - "protected" is another of those words that is basically meaningless - it can't or won't be enforced so cut the PR nonsense...

"Come swim and dive in our beautiful protected waters.*"

(* The parks dept. makes no guarantee as to the conditions of the protected areas. Protected areas may be bottom trawled and entire ecosystems destroyed without advance notice. The dept. assumes no responsibility for condition of protected area etc etc - fill in your own lawyer BS fine print here)

Whaling & fishing ships shouldn't be sunk, they should be dismantled in shipyards. Sinking them pollutes the oceans with bunker fuel & motor oil. Spiking trees may cause the timber industry some grief or it may not, as they just pass the additional costs of running logs past metal detectors on to the consumer of finished lumber. But in any case, if spiking trees (or sinking boulders in trawling waters) causes the injury or death of workers because such activities weren't announced, you become what you are fighting against; you sacrifice any moral high ground you may claim to be standing on. Civil disobedience needs to be principled & nonviolent to be effective. Otherwise, it becomes terrorism.

Whales are the most elegant and graceful creatures in the world.

Shame on the Japenese. Power to the fish I say.

One man's ceiling, is another man's floor. Saddam was hanged, but Bush killed far more Iraqi's and Americans than Saddam ever did in his many years of Iron Fist.

Injury and death will come to many, in the short future. Regardless of any call for ethics.

Time to pick sides. Those that sit on the sidelines will just get run over.

Saddam was hanged, but Bush killed far more Iraqi's and Americans than Saddam ever did in his many years of Iron Fist.

There are never trials, juries and verdicts for the victors of war... There were no Allied officers as a defendants at Neuremberg...

I am with you but i am still regarded as a wack-job doomer.............although that is softening a little.
Things are going to have to get pretty bad and personal for people to get off their assess. I just hope enough pick the right side.

I just hope enough pick the right side.

Me too! (Which side is it that's right, once again?)

How many facets are there on a brilliant cut diamond? Pick a "side".

The right is always right, duh.

OK.... correct "side".... and the comment was an allusion to the fragmented and confusing number of possible positions to have on so many issues.
Unless you were trying to be funny?

Check the thread more carefully, I was responding to dd.

100% right darwinsdog. Terrorists and the like, they know very well how to deal with them. Tyrants don't fear terrorists, they fear lawyers.

Lets be honest here, the owners of logging companies do not pick up chain saws and start cutting trees side by side with thier employees. So when the chain in the chainsaw hits metal and snaps it is some average joe that is injured or dies. I don't know about the owners of bottom trawling fishing vessels, but I imagine that the situation is similar.

By announcing the sabbotage Greenpeace does three things.

First it creates a big juicy story for the media. The issue can be removed from the cute fluffy animal interest part of the news and put in the violence and social unrest section. It will catch more attention.

Second, it raises the cost of doing business. Maybe, if the campaign is totally sucessfull, the companies have to move to less profitable areas. Maybe the company has to add in extra saftety measures or buy extra insurance. The company will also have to spend money on PR to counter the bad press.

Third off, announcing the sabbotage will increase the cost of labour. It could be seen as demands for danger pay, reduced productivity, increased turn over, or declining worker quality as those that have other options go elsewhere. This will happen more often if the employees families and friends see threats of sabbotage on TV and are constantly bringing up the subject.

I don't dispute that announcing actions results in media coverage. I'm just saying that even if it didn't, it would still be necessary to make the announcements, out of safety concerns.

And as an aside, spiked trees aren't really much of a threat to the timber faller. I've hit metal in trees before and all it tends to do is dull the cutters on the chain really bad. Maybe ruin the chain. In 35 years of running chainsaws I've never had a chain break. Never even been around other guys who've had chains break. After repeated sharpenings the cutters do break off but I've never heard of anyone being injured by this. The real threat is to the sawmill workers. Teeth flying off the saw blade or the blade flying apart upon hitting a spike could be really dangerous.

DD I think ultimately all of these tactics are doomed to failure. The corporation rules unchallenged while "the people" show up to the feeding trough to get their daily bread. When I was an alter boy there used to be an old parish priest that would extol in heated Sunday sermons about the evil of the word: MINE

In contemporary industrial societies you're either a person or you're property. Until that fundamental equation is changed, that allow for the expansion of the rights of non-humans, humankind will continue to exploit their property.


What things are and what people regard them as being are often two different things. The biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems exist and function on their own regardless of whether people consider them to be "persons" or "property." You're correct that so long as people consider these components property to be exploited, they will be degraded. Even if people hold some superstitious view that non-human entities only exist to serve human needs, it should be obvious that their degradation is not ultimately in the best human interest. If people could be convinced that ecosystem components have intrinsic worth perhaps a certain degree of degradation could be avoided. But if people in any numbers could be convinced of this, running as it does against their short term profit interests, they already would be. I agree that such tactics as dumping rocks & spiking trees are, if not quite "doomed to failure" at least futile. But if people want to engage in such tactics I say "more power to them." They may not be accomplishing anything besides making themselves feel better for at least having tried to oppose the forces of greed & destruction.

They may not be accomplishing anything besides making themselves feel better for at least having tried to oppose the forces of greed & destruction.

Eco-terrorism also called green terrorism, is terrorism committed in support of ecological, environmental, or animal rights causes.

The people who are taking radical actions such as those as espoused by perennial coat-holders like Derrick Jensen are putting their lives and their very freedom at risk. Young people are being senselessly encouraged to engage in these suicide activities by charismatic leaders. I liken it to recruiting suicide bombers.

A far more profitable pursuit is to get young people to form political coalitions that might have a chance of changing the law...that is if we ultimately decide to remain a nation of laws.


"They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within..."
Leonard Cohen

There's a difference between nonviolent civil disobedience and terrorism. Warning trawlers that rocks are being dumped for the purpose of interferring with destructive bottom trawling is different from bombing ships without warning with crew aboard, or otherwise engaging in activity that might place the crew in danger. Young (and not so young) people can think for themselves. If they decide to participate in acts of civil disobedience on behalf of ecosystem integrity, and do so in an ethical manner, they have my full support.

"When they said 'Repent! Repent! Repent!' I wonder what they meant."

DD - In the end we are in agreement.

On Civil Disobedience: Almost 150 years ago there was a movement in this great country to rid itself of an evil called slavery. Political philosophers then counseled caution about revolution because the upheaval of revolution typically causes a lot of expense and suffering.

However, likening back to the great abolitionist and reformer Henry David Thoreau: a cost/benefit analysis isn’t appropriate when the government is actively facilitating an injustice like slavery. Such a thing is fundamentally immoral and even if it would be difficult and expensive to stop it, it must be stopped because it is wrong.

This people must cease to hold slaves, and to make war on Mexico, though it cost them their existence as a people.

If we replace the cause of slavery with environmental justice perhaps this cause is on equal footing with what we faced (and to a large degree turned back) 150 years ago.


BTW I love Leonard Cohen...but I guess that shows my age. I read a post here a while back that said that the average demographic on the oil drum is fifty-something-retired-civil-servants with too much time on their hands. Ouch!


Terrorism is committed against people, either directly (killing them) or indirectly (blowing up water treatment plants, then they die of cholera).

You can't commit terrorism against a bulldozer, or a boat, or by burning an SUV.

To label it as such is bogus.

If you haven't read Edward Abbey get started: The Monkey Wrench Gang.

The term "monkeywrench" has come to mean, besides sabotage and damage to machines...any violence, sabotage, activism, law-making, or law-breaking to preserve wilderness, wild spaces and ecosystems.

"The most common form of terrorism in the U.S.A. is that carried on by bulldozers and chain saws." E.A.

"Hayduke...is that you out there?"


P.S. If Ed Abbey were still alive he would have been a staff member of TOD.

When the gang blew the bridge out from under the supposedly "unmanned" electric train running between the Black Mesa coal mine & Page powerplant, they were appalled to see a person on it doing an inspection run. This is an example of what I mean by unintended consequences in my post below.

Ed Abbey, Black Mesa coal, Leonard Cohen... free association time:

"Shi'zehe'e' won't you take me back to Black Mesa
Down by the Tse'lani' where paradise lay.
I'm sorry Shi'ye' but you're too late in askin,'
Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away..."

--With my sincere apologies to John Prine.

You can't commit terrorism against a bulldozer, or a boat, or by burning an SUV.

No, but you'd better make damn sure that they're unoccupied or that by disabling them via bombing or burning doesn't start a fire or do other unintended harm.

I thought they called that Collateral Damage.

Is this actually a war or just a misunderstanding?


DD - I've given a great deal of thought to the concept of terrorism against property crimes. The stand-by argument is that human life is sacrosanct therefore if loss of human life results it renders your cause null and void.

Not so fast...

Middle east terrorists blowing up bombs in public places in order to render the most harm is hardly a desperate cry for justice to the commons. In most cases it is a local tribal dispute over property.

One is a blow for the Rights of the Commons where the other is vain-human-greed.


I fully agree DD.

But charging folks with terrorism for burning SUV's is outrageous. It's easy enough to accurately ascertain whether an Escalade or a Suburban is occupied before torching it. Just to say - I'm not engaging in it... In today's police state it's not worth the time.

I've read every word Abbey published, and lately some of it a second time. I find his attitude inspiring. His definition of terrorism would include violence against nature, and I concur. (Please don't complain about air pollution from burning an SUV, once it's built the damage is done...)

We're compromising away the natural world, giving up half of everything over and over and over.

Who writes the laws and the headlines? They will determine what is terrorism.

Whatever the intent of the perpetrators are, if they really threaten entrenched power, they will be labeled terrorists (or worse). Same with "riots" most of which end up to be police rioting on completely peaceful (or 99.9% peaceful) protesters. The recent St. Paul NRC situation was a case in point.

That was sort of where I was going with my original point though Joe - the law apparently was already in place that declared the fishing area as being protected and there certainly isn't equal weight given to this violation by the fishing companies vs. the "terrorism" being wrought by Greenpeace.

So this goes beyond forming political coalitions - the coalitions were formed and some movement occurred to declare those areas as marine sanctuaries or protected zones or whatever... and those declarations are then ignored by the fishing fleets and everyone with any authority appears to be absolutely powerless to put their foot down and say no you're not fishing there and if you do you'll deal with our navy, coast guard, EarthMarines or whatever.

Ultimately a group like Greenpeace then has to step in and make a stink about it and everyone just rolls their eyes and curses under their breath (or maybe out loud) at Greenpeace for their meddling. But we get no mention of the outright violation of "necessary cooperation" promised to the political coalitions of young people who were told with nice firm handshake and a fancy signing ceremony that the sanctuary they worked so hard to form would be monitored and remain a truly protected area. So I say good for Greenpeace - keep the boulders coming...

Is it ethical to announce dates and times to shoot at windmills, to make sure no humans are up in the nacells?

Couple Questions:

When the affected countries declare the now present fishing sanctuary to be open for fishing, who will bring up the stones?

When the BLM or whomever declares the logging venture to be OK, who will remove the spikes?

Etc, etc. My point is, there are other ways to handle problems like enforcement with extremely high fines and/or owner jail time. Closing the Japanese loop hole about scientific research to harvest whales is easy enough if desired.

It will never be okay to destroy benthic communities with trawls or to destroy old growth forest communities with logging activities, regardless of what some bureaucracy decrees. If policy makers valued ecosystem integrity over profit, the stones & spikes would not be necessary. As things stand, the stones & spikes need to stay put.

What about getting better politicians? Ones that have the guts to write laws and enforce them.

When you find these "better politicians" be sure to let me know so I can vote for them.

Go ahead. If you don't like the current crop run for office.

Yeah, right, r4ndom,

Because we live in a true democracy, a real level playing field.

Running for office takes huge $$$, and there's really only one way to get it, and that's by selling out.

There are a lot of political offices on any US ballot at the city, county and state level (I believe this is true in every country that runs open elections, but I could be wrong about that).

Even in the US you don't have to be rich to run for State Representative or any other office with a constituency small enough for shoe leather to do the job. You do have to be dedicated, and a fair bit of charisma helps too.

Running for office takes huge $$$, and there's really only one way to get it, and that's by selling out.


Tevis generated internet attention to his Kansas State House race with an online ad that pays homage to the web-comic xkcd.[4] He raised $109,581.45,[5] mostly from more than 5,700[6] online donors, between July 16, 2008 and October 23, 2008.

The reaction:

Maybe it’s because in 2008, there was only been one candidate to raise more than $1,000 in small donations. Me. Representative Schwab has written a bill not to increase government transparency, but to target me or any other future candidate who tries to avoid taking lobbyist money by asking for small donations.

I ran a successful city council campaign for a friend of mine in 2004. Total cost about $4,000 all from door to door, word-of-mouth and direct mail. It can be done.

Lynford If I was an honest individual, with pure motives running for public office under a plan to reduce your footprint for the good of the commons...would you vote for me?

I don't even think I would.


Probably not, Joe. Your commons may not be the same as my commons. Most of the badness we are seeing is coming from people who think they are doing the best thing for all of us.

Bottom trawling is never ok, anywhere. The stones won't ever hurt, only protect. Sure, punishments may work, but the government doesn't really do it, and this works.

"Save the f**king Planet? Trust me on this. The planet is fine. The people however are fu**ed. Do you want me to tell the truth about what most environmentalists are concerned about. A clean place to take a sh*t." George Carlin

I wish I could say it like George could...but he was one of a kind.

Here is a link for Carlin's shtick: Saving The Planet. I hope you laugh half as hard as I did. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eScDfYzMEEw


Yeah, George is great, but in this case, wrong. Or at least we can't be that sure the planet will be fine.

I'm sure George was talking about the Earth and a biosphere. In that case, the Earth has endured more and will persevere. However, it won't do so in its current form, which is, of course, what we're all worried about, despite the rational inkling at the back of our minds saying it is a futile venture to save the planet's state as is now forever and ever. Species will go extinct, fluffy ones and slimy ones, and we will see a world different to that which we see now. It's no different to what ever mass extinction created, may as well try and reverse entropy itself.

Something I've posted on before, because I believe it is an important piece of the jigsaw that is our future; basically the view that overshoot will create the need for some form of neo-colonialism. With Africa being the only continent that it can really take place on (and probably the battleground of WWIII). Which makes this article interesting, throwing light on how the future will unfold:

Wish you weren't here: The devastating effects of the new colonialists

But what whipped them into action was news of a deal the government had recently signed with a giant Korean multinational, Daewoo, leasing 1.3 million hectares of farmland – an area almost half the size of Belgium and about half of all arable land on the island [Madagascar] – to the foreign company for 99 years. Daewoo had announced plans to grow maize and palm oil there – and send all the harvests back to South Korea.

A long article with lots of interesting stuff in it.

Neo-colonialism is hardly limited to Africa.

A pretty good argument could be advanced that much of Oregon has been colonized by the "Eastern" money establishment. And I'm fairly sure that if West Virginians were really in charge of their own land, they wouldn't be blowing off their mountaintops and dumping the debris into the valleys.

Perhaps better than when Oregon was colonized by the Baghwan Rajneesh, aka Osho. Especially fun was the biological warfare attack on The Dalles. Those were good times.

Friend of mine was hospitalized by Rajneeshi salmonella, don't recall him describing the experience as "fun," although those of us a couple counties to the east all laughed at the tribulations of them whacky cultists. More fallout: for years post-Baghwan you could pick up a used sitar at Artichoke Music in Portland for ca. $200.

Huh, Wiki says that the Wasco Co poisonings "[are] regarded as the largest germ warfare attack in the history of the United States."

, Wiki says that the Wasco Co poisonings "[are] regarded as the largest germ warfare attack in the history of the United States."

I'd say the smallpox introduction into the Americas was bigger WRT direct death count.

Does a virus qualify as a "germ"? The incident with the blankets was during the Siege of Fort Pitt in 1763, thus predates the US and greatly antedates the first contact between Europeans and Native Americans, if you want to be fussy about these matters. Unknowing transmission of disease between two parties isn't warfare, or even subject to ethical debate. On other scores Europeans behaved in a wholly deplorable manner.

Unknowing transmission of disease between two parties isn't warfare


Historian Francis Parkman, in his book The Conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian War after the Conquest of Canada [Boston: Little, Brown, 1886] refers to a postscript in an earlier letter from Amherst to Bouquet wondering whether smallpox could not be spread among the Indians:

Could it not be contrived to send the Small Pox among those disaffected tribes of Indians? We must on this occasion use every stratagem in our power to reduce them. [Vol. II, p. 39 (6th edition)]

Sure sounds like war.

Sure sounds like war.

And there was at least one infamous attempt, whereby blankets of smallpox victims were collected to be distribute among the Indians. I think the shelfblanket life of the virus was too short, so that no transmission ocurred, but the intent was clearly there.

I think the shelfblanket life of the virus was too short


Librarian Susanne Caro was leafing through an 1888 book on Civil War medicine when she spied a small, yellowed envelope tucked between the pages. Freeing it, she read the inscription "scabs from vaccination of W.B. Yarrington's children" in the corner, with the signature "Dr. W.D. Kelly," the book's author.


At the very least, inoculation scabs would shed light on the historic development of American vaccines for smallpox, eradicated a generation ago but now in the public consciousness as a potentially devastating weapon for bioterrorists.

There's also a slim chance, researchers say, that the scabs could yield live smallpox virus

And if you read the link I offered up, you'll note a rise in smallpox cases in the Indians in the area in question, based on the data of the day.

As my original comment was about the treatment of Indians and no one has contested the issue of the Trail of Tears, I'll offer up yet another.

The U.S. Army encouraged the buffalo slaughter in order to subdue the Plains Indian. If you did away with the Indian's food and shelter source you could more easily subdue them and place them on marginal land reservation

What about used Rolls Royces?

Here's a late story from the NYT:

Coal Miner in Australia Agrees to Chinese Bid

As Dmitry Orlov and others have pointed out, China is scouring the world to acquire access to resources. Buying those commodities will allow China to continue it's economic activities as the purchasing value of their U.S. dollar holdings inexorably decline.

E. Swanson

-So load up on stocks of Companies that supply Post-PO transitional non-discretional stuff outside of China: {Lynas, Avalon, Ivanhoe:REEs, Moly Mines, TC, GMO:Moly, POT, etc, etc.}

Investing: Turning PO beliefs into increasingly worthless $$$$$s ;o)

(Make sure to have an exit strategy a couple of months b4 total financial collapse though...)


Might work until countries wake up and start nationalizing the resources.

Was watching an animated movie set in various times, including this scene set in 2012:

[Scene: Fry flags a Chinese Checker Cab Co. cab. Bender runs after him and flags a Hybraxi.]

Bender: Follow that guy. There's an extra hundred in it for you if you follow him so close that you run him over.

Al Gore: (cab driver) Yes sir.

[Taxi peels out, hits a garage truck, and looses control - careening through traffic and crashing through a sign reading "Warning - severely warped dock" as Bender and Gore scream. The taxi launches off the upturned end of the dock, drops back down, and rolls backwards into the garbage truck, launching Bender into the sky.]

Al Gore: Dang. That hundred dollars could have bought me one gallon of gas.

Yes, Al Gore himself provides his own voice here - his daughter's one of the writers on this show. Transcript:Bender's Big Score - The Infosphere, the Futurama Wiki The movie came out two years ago; telling that such brainy people think a world with $100/gal would putter along much the same as before, courtesy of 5 years of hybrid car sales or the like.

Futurama: Best sci-fi cartoon ever.

Although Venture Bros is giving it a run for its money.

Venture Bros


Publick and Hammer have stated that one of the primary themes of The Venture Bros. is failure.

"Yeah failure, that's what Venture Bros. is all about. Beautiful sublime failure." —Doc Hammer[9]

In the commentary for the episode "Home Insecurity" Hammer and Publick elaborated on the theme.

Publick: "This show... If you'll permit me to get 'big picture,' This show is actually all about failure. Even in the design, everything is supposed to be kinda the death of the space-age dream world. The death of the jet-age promises."

Hammer: "It's about the beauty of failure. It's about that failure happens to all of us..." "Every character is not only flawed, but sucks at what they do, and is beautiful at it and Jackson and I suck at what we do, and we try to be beautiful at it, and failure is how you get by." "It shows that failure's funny, and it's beautiful and it's life, and it's okay, and it's all we can write because we are big fucking failures. (laughter)"[9]

Man's failure is so much a part of TOD.....

Yeah, that "death of the space-age dream world" observation really gets me. Probably why I love this show so much.

Will check it out. Loved Space Ghost C2C but everything else from [adult swim] I've seen has just induced snoring.

It's grimly hilarious. Free episodes here: http://www.adultswim.com/shows/venturebros/indexpage.html#video

Space was boring. Now a Walking Eye, that's where it's all at.

S&P 500 P/E ratio above 140!

Ten reasons to beware the Bear

5. Valuations are extremely high. The price-earnings ratio (PE) of the S&P 500 is somewhere north of 140, quite a bit higher than the average of 14 and Bear Market lows around 7.

6. Insiders are selling like crazy. The ratio of insider buying to selling transactions is 5 to 145, and the buys--$13.4 million--are pathetic compared to the Sells: $1,042 million. Hmm, what do they know that the rest of us don't?

Insiders are dumping theic companies stock like their company is about to go bankrupct. Perhaps they are right. Doing the math, insider sell dollars outnumbe insider buy dollars by 77.76 to 1.

Ron P.

Valuations are extremely high. The price-earnings ratio (PE) of the S&P 500 is somewhere north of 140, quite a bit higher than the average of 14 and Bear Market lows around 7.

Ya think?

And here's why...

Oh, I do love roller coasters. Looks like those whacky graphs from the Fed where they're shuffling trillions around.

S&P can be dead flat as well:

The influence of computerized trading programs

It may be that computer software is already in charge of our futures. In 2005, I posted an article called "A new mystery: Why is the P/E ratio remaining constant?" I noticed that the S&P 500 price/earnings ratio had remained almost constant for over a year, something that had not occurred in the previous century or more. In that article I described something called the "Fed Model," a simple trading algorithm which, I understood, was widely followed by many traders and financial institutions.

The Fed Model was based on a 1997 Federal Reserve report that related price/earnings ratios to changes in long-term Treasury yields. I inferred from the evidence that most traders and financial institutions were all following the same buy/sell strategies based on P/E ratios, as a result of which the P/E ratio was remaining constant. If you look at the bottom of the home page of this web site, you'll see the price/earnings ratio chart that gets updated every week.

OK, folks, let's hear a collective sigh of relief...

Krugman says world avoided second Great Depression

Full recovery is still at least two years away, Nobel laureate says

Aggressive stimulus spending by governments helped the world avoid a second Great Depression but full economic recovery will take two years or more, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said Monday.

Mr. Krugman said the worst of the global crisis was over with economic and exports growth showing signs of stabilization. Still, recovery was likely to be “disappointing” as government spending wasn't sustainable in the long-run and unemployment rate still lagging behind, he told a two-day world capital markets conference here.

See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/crash-and-recovery/kru...

See, that wasn't so bad.


What's going to happen when the mortgage defaults from Alt-A and option ARM resets peak in Fall 2011?

Some sort of bailout.

I think that bucket is a bit too leaky to bail with.

And another crash in the economy as the Fed prints all the money to buy all the U.S. treasuries needed to save the banks again.

Once again, one can have complaints against the Cuban gov't, but one can't say it is completely detached from reality or that it makes no effort to help its people -- in stark contrast to ours on both counts.

We have tent cities springing up all over the country and there is no move toward getting these people reorganized into sustainable, carless, agriculturally based communities where people could start rebuilding their lives.

We have cash for clunkers, luring people into buying that which they can't afford, more debt. And the clunkers are destroyed, poring sodium silicate (I think it is) into the engines. What a crime and a waste.

Profit trumps all else.

I dunno. Seems to me more like the contrast is remarkably low. The clunkers program and the oxen project look rather alike - make-work, wasted effort, intended to keep people at the hamster-wheels so they'll be too exhausted to bother their officials over feckless incompetent governance. (The line about being "thankful for the revolution" when it can't even come up with boots is simply priceless, but had the guy failed to mouth it, he'd no doubt have been disappeared into a labor camp.) After all, the key consideration for officials the world over is that nothing should ever disturb them, most of all not their duties, as they snooze comfortably in their cushy sinecures.

Well, two things are obvious for the clunker program: the take rate was so fast, the enviros are right that the definition of "clunker" should have been worse and the mileage of the replacement should have been higher; and the program will raise the floor price of cheap cars while getting more people into debt they can't really handle.

I don't think the clunker program will have enough of an impact to raise used car prices. I know that view is out there on the internet but people haven't run the numbers.

About 225 million cars and light trucks are registered in the USA. The "natural" scrappage rate for these vehicles is close to 6%, or about 13.5 million vehicles annually. Funded at $3 billion, the clunkers program will take fewer than 666,000 off the road, or less than 5% of one year's normal attrition and 0.2% of the vehicles in use.

$3 Billion to take less than one half of one percent of clunkers off the road to purchase mostly imported cars seems to be a big waste of government money. It fails to either stimulate Detroit or really make a dent on AGW caused by transportation...

$ 3 billion is about 0.1 % of the budget. maybe this should be called distraction for clunkers.

Yes, but think how much that represents in car loans, always look at what the baksters are in favour of.

"...a big waste of government money..." when has the government ever been careful with our money?

A small update to the number of vehicles that may be scrapped under the Clunkers program. Data released today (registration required) show that the first $1.03 billion funded rebates on 245,384 vehicles. That rate suggests about 714,710 vehicles over the whole $3 billion, 5.2% of one year's normal attrition.

I just love the article about the price of gas (petrol) in the US!!!

You Yanks (and Confeds!) have it easy.

The article was moaning about gas costing $2.6 per gallon

Well here in England my local Shell petrol station is charging a litre for £1.05 which is the equivalent of $6.60 in the US!!!!!!!!

I would KILL to get petrol as cheaply as you Americans! Stop moaning!


As has been frequently pointed out before, higher prices via taxes really don't count. Presumably, you're getting something back for those taxes.

Presumably is the key word. Perhaps the tax money is being spent on something you would want anyway, perhaps not. And even when it's for something you would want, it's almost certainly being greatly overspent. After all, the whole point is to give something away free or nearly free at the point of delivery, otherwise those who wanted it could simply buy it. So we can quibble over the extent to which higher prices via taxes might count, but I'd say that a very substantial portion is deadweight cost, spent to produce what shouldn't be produced.

Oh, and AFAIK immigration into the USA from the UK greatly exceeds the reverse. That may also tell us something.

Oh, and AFAIK immigration into the USA from the UK greatly exceeds the reverse. That may also tell us something

Well if I was given a 'green card' I would be on the next plane out of this misserable crowded country called England. I am English through and through, and love this place but there is nothing here for my generation. The USA has, is and always will be the 'Land of Opportunity and Freedom'.

Points in favour of the USA:

1. Lots and lots and lots and lots of open space.
2. Can-do attitude. Man on the moon? No problem!
3. Written constitution, clearly laying out the Law.
4. A much more robust parliament/congress than we have. Ours are just supine empty vassals of the European Union of Unelected Dictators.
4. Sunshine in parts, snow in others and bits that look like Old England (cunningly called New England)
5. No pompous 'aristocracy'. All men created equal. None of this 'Lord and Lady' crap we still cling to.
6. North Carolina accent is enough to make me weak at the knees. (when from the lips of a beautiful lass)

Points against USA:

1. Too much debt.
2. No free health care.
3. An odd situation which allows citizens to buy guns and then go around shooting each other. Bizarre!
4. The death penalty - very un European and backwards.

The US certainly has its challenges, but intrinsically it is still a facinating country and will always have a real pull to people who want to be free and prosperous (if they are prepared to work for it).

No offense, but you're living in a dream world. Please read "A Peoples History of the United States" by Howard Zinn.

I have. And there is no doubt that emigrating to the US is not all clover and fluffy bunnies, but you try being an entrepreneurial spirit in early 21st century Britain. My capital, which is neither large nor small, would go much further in the US and achieve more than in the EUSSR satellite state formerly known as ‘Great’ Britain. Every member of my social circle are desperate to leave the UK. We are all well educated self motivated people in our thirties and there is absolutely nothing worth hanging around here for. Sure the US has its problems but come check out the UK some day! We are rapidly approaching third-world status, the governance of this country is laughable at best – all parties. My generation has never, ever been consulted on the EU and now we are about to be shoe-horned into a formal treaty to establish an undemocratic dictatorship which will see my MP cede even more power to represent me to some Soviet in Brussels. The US is a true Federated Republic, where the power rises from the bottom to the top. That is how it was designed and, even if it might need realigning every now and again at least there is a written code stating how it should be. The EU is deliberately designed from the top down. It is deliberately designed to squash independence and localism.

A true Federated Republic is good enough for me.

To HAcland and all potential migrants from wherever to wherever - stay where you are - you broke it,you fix it.

err... Actually I am acutely aware that I didn't break it. It was my parents' generation which broke it and I don't see why they get to retire in clover, with all the wealth, and ask me to work harder and harder to pay the bills and keep them in their pension.

No matey, I am not responsible for the abject failure of the UK. That is why I want out. Not my mess. But I don't mind emigrating to another country and building my own future.

errr... Mate you have obviously drunken the Kool-aid. The noble class is every bit alive and well in the U.S. The irony is almost hysterical.

I, in fact, have a family Pedigree that goes back to the days or yore in Merry Ol' England where wealth and nobility were gained or lost by the Kings favour. (i.e. see that chunk of London called Clapham, that was or original family estate).

I know many ex-pat Brits in the U.S. and Canada and most have been disillusioned by the realities once situated. Do you know how many people we have pining for the bucolic country-side living portrayed in quaint english novels?

No, the grass is not greener.

The real tragedy is that those who are suffering the most are not the ones who "broke it."

We have all had a hand in "breaking it." Perhaps we had no choice in the matter. And we all suffer. Fixing culpability for its being broken is beside the point. Is there any possibility of, if not fixing it then of ceasing to break it further or at least of slowing the pace of breakage? Maybe not, but what else do we have better to do than to explore the possibility?

Fixing culpability for its being broken is beside the point

Normally if one has people breaking things, its a good plan to ID the ppl breaking things then not let them back near the stuff to break 'em again.

You make a lot of sense.

I can only wish the Great Banana puts more people in a conservationist frame of mind than it really hurts badly. We could do with a White Crow (as opposed to a Black Swan).

I don't agree, the FED did not address the inflation in real estate in 2002-2005. This led to the mortgage crisis and real estate meltdown, now entering the commercial stage. The same FED is now bailing out banks and Wall Street who profited from these errors. The growth in debt, derivatives and Federal spending are all Wall Street and Washington. All are still there at the trough. A weak immigration policy keeps wages low and oil keeps inflation high but never recognized in Washington. Health care costs and exporting jobs have wreaked many, but Washington keeps rolling along. Executive compensation is and has been excessive for six or seven years but stock investors pay the price.
We fight recessions with unemployment, Most industrialized countries have a better "safety net".
We all know Wall Street is out for itself, but when the Federal Government socializes Wall Street losses by up to a potential $23 trillion, then taxpayers and 300 million Americans should have been asked. Republicans and Democrats in Washington have bankrupt us all to get contributions to be reelected and stay in power, throw crumbs to the masses, enrich their contributors, and recite the Pledge and Pray with the best of them- they are all very good at their jobs, but they have risked our future, but they and theirs have a good life.

Maybe so but such things don't really concern me. A broken economy is of little consequence to me, relative to a broken ecosystem. Ask yourself what is important to an organism living in and through and because of the ecosystem its a part of. Matters of mere sociopolitical concern pale in significance compared to broken biogeochemical cycles and the global collapse of biodiversity.

A broken economy is of little consequence to me, relative to a broken ecosystem.

It should be.
At least if you view the economy as an extension of the ecosystem.

You have it backwards.
The ecosystem is the sine qua non of the economy.

On the contrary, I have it right.

I was thinking of the Pacific Islanders whose islands are sinking beneath the waves, or the poor Africans who are starving because climate change is causing drought. They have had little part in adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, but they are suffering the most.

No point really in fixing blame, but I think it could be argued that the wealthy countries most responsible for climate change have an obligation to accept the climate refugees.

In a world of declining resources, I think "could be argued" will hold little weight versus "could be militarily determined". Why would would ANY country want outside immigration in a constrained-resource environment? If billions will die, the first goal of self-preservation should be to make it "somebody else's billions" I would imagine.

It may reach that point eventually, but I think we're a long ways from there. We're not yet at the point where we'll just let people drown.

Australia is already making plans to take in refugees from Tuvalu and such places.

We're not yet at the point where we'll just let people drown.


I agree that we're not there yet, but I suspect it won't be long before natural disasters, mass starvation, and disease incur many more victims than they do today, and it won't be a "on purpose" evil act on our part to let them die, just a "can't afford to stop it" neglectful inaction.

It's easy to make plans to take in refugees now, when things are still "pretty good". Probably when things are worse we won't much notice or think about such folk. Maybe at best we'll remain inept at policing borders, and those who find their way here might yet assimilate.


I agree as a moral and ethical matter that we should accept the Pacific Islanders if necessary as climate refugees.

There aren't very many of them......and we can handle THEM as a practical matter.

But the rest of the worlds potential refugees are another matter altogether.

I am beginning to believe that we are going to have "a tough row to hoe" just keeping things on a more or less even keel in an an ecologically overloaded American boat.

I don't think we can afford to accept refugees by the million.

Go ask anyone who lives in Houston about Katrina refugees and you will see a micro example of this topic.
Definitely no way this will work.

This is something that perplexes me too.

Well, "we" didn't break it here, and HAcland didn't break it there. And I think it would benefit HAcland to come here and see for himself that it IS very broken here. I know so many cases of immigrants who are much more ready to return than they used to be -- better to be unemployed at home with their families than unemployed here and lonely too boot. The bloom is off the rose.

A true Federated Republic is good enough for me.

When you find one, let us know.

You see! There it is! In plain sight and for all to see!

I trust, Eric, that you are an American?

If so, you are certainly not a first generation American. Or a second generation. Your grandparents might have emigrated to the US but I would guess that you are more than third generation. You see, complacency always begets defeat! 'Twas ever thus. Don't be so disparaging about the political system in the US. The more used to it you get, the less you see how good it is. Chrikee, you have a black man as president! We can't even have a Catholic as our head of state, let alone a black person! A black kid growing up in the US can at least aspire to the highest office in the land - whatever his religion.

You see! There it is! In plain sight and for all to see!

You must be new to these parts. How TOD readership TRIES to identiy things is via links. Your above response is, well, not helpful. Do try to be helpful with links.

CIA Factbook - https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/print...

Federal republic - a state in which the powers of the central government are restricted and in which the component parts (states, colonies, or provinces) retain a degree of self-government; ultimate sovereign power rests with the voters who chose their governmental representatives.

Republic - a representative democracy in which the people's elected deputies (representatives), not the people themselves, vote on legislation.

Ask many people what the form of government is in the US of A and, like most of the people running for office they'll claim the US of A is a democracy. Not a Republic. Nor a Federal Republic. Nor even whatever a "Federated Republic" is.

The more used to it you get, the less you see how good it is.

good VS some other metric or just Good? Plenty of Nations fall under the 'worse than' bar. But the lesser of 2 evils is still evil.

The Cherokee people can comment on "the Good" of the US Government. How about the Navjo?

Chrikee, you have a black man as president!

So? Big whoop.

A black kid growing up in the US can at least aspire to the highest office in the land

Not if you were not "native born" or under 35.

whatever his religion.



are you an American citizen? If so do tell. Also roughly your age. It would help me put your comments in some perspective.

BTW, love him or loathe him, it was only 40 odd years ago that blacks had to drink from different water fountains in the US. Now there is black man in the white house. That is a 'big whoop', and in my books shows that even a Cherokee or Navjo American could become president.

Edit: the 'whatever his religion' part was to highlight that a US president can have any or no faith, whereas it is specifically outlawed - to this day - for a Catholic to ascend the throne of England (and through Union, Scotland).

Here is a most favoured link to the Act of Settlement, 1701:


There it is, black and white! Still on the UK statute book. A Catholic can not become monarch. It was shenanigans such as this which made up the minds of the pioneers to go find a better world - a 'New World'.

Let me know when a non-Christian POTUS appears. Being able to to =! possibly happening. America abhors atheists more than Muslims. The idea of someone not believing in an imaginary sky pixie scares the bejeezus out of them, so even one of those terrorist Muslims we all hear about blowing things up in places with funny names is more likely to be voted in.

Or maybe not. Exhibit A: The "Truther movement". You have a good chunk of the US who are so stupid they think Obama wouldn't be American even if there was a video recording of his mother popping him out in Times Square on the 4th July. That whole charade is genuinely scary.

You appeal to what the Founding Fathers envisioned. Nowt wrong with that, in fact, that is a PERFECT society. It's too bad people ruined it.

New Rule: Just because a country elects a smart president doesn't make it a smart country. A few weeks ago I was asked by Wolf Blitzer if I thought Sarah Palin could get elected president, and I said I hope not, but I wouldn't put anything past this stupid country. It was amazing - in the minute or so between my calling America stupid and the end of the Cialis commercial, CNN was flooded with furious emails and the twits hit the fan. And you could tell that these people were really mad because they wrote entirely in CAPITAL LETTERS!!! It's how they get the blood circulating when the Cialis wears off. Worst of all, Bill O'Reilly refuted my contention that this is a stupid country by calling me a pinhead, which A) proves my point, and B) is really funny coming from a doody-face like him.

Now, the hate mail all seemed to have a running theme: that I may live in a stupid country, but they lived in the greatest country on earth, and that perhaps I should move to another country, like Somalia. Well, the joke's on them because I happen to have a summer home in Somalia... and no I can't show you an original copy of my birth certificate because Woody Harrelson spilled bong water on it.

And before I go about demonstrating how, sadly, easy it is to prove the dumbness dragging down our country, let me just say that ignorance has life and death consequences. On the eve of the Iraq War, 69% of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. Four years later, 34% still did. Or take the health care debate we're presently having: members of Congress have recessed now so they can go home and "listen to their constituents." An urge they should resist because their constituents don't know anything. At a recent town-hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his Congressman to "keep your government hands off my Medicare," which is kind of like driving cross country to protest highways.
I'm the bad guy for saying it's a stupid country, yet polls show that a majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. 24% could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don't know what's in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don't know what the Food and Drug Administration does. Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, like the way the Slumdog kid knew about cricket.

Not here. Nearly half of Americans don't know that states have two senators and more than half can't name their congressman. And among Republican governors, only 30% got their wife's name right on the first try.
Sarah Palin says she would never apologize for America. Even though a Gallup poll says 18% of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth. No, they're not stupid. They're interplanetary mavericks. A third of Republicans believe Obama is not a citizen, and a third of Democrats believe that George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, which is an absurd sentence because it contains the words "Bush" and "knowledge."
People bitch and moan about taxes and spending, but they have no idea what their government spends money on. The average voter thinks foreign aid consumes 24% of our federal budget. It's actually less than 1%. And don't even ask about cabinet members: seven in ten think Napolitano is a kind of three-flavored ice cream. And last election, a full one-third of voters forgot why they were in the booth, handed out their pants, and asked, "Do you have these in a relaxed-fit?"

And I haven't even brought up America's religious beliefs. But here's one fun fact you can take away: did you know only about half of Americans are aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity? That's right, half of America looks at books called the Old Testament and the New Testament and cannot figure out which one came first.

And these are the idiots we want to weigh in on the minutia of health care policy? Please, this country is like a college chick after two Long Island Iced Teas: we can be talked into anything, like wars, and we can be talked out of anything, like health care. We should forget town halls, and replace them with study halls. There's a lot of populist anger directed towards Washington, but you know who concerned citizens should be most angry at? Their fellow citizens. "Inside the beltway" thinking may be wrong, but at least it's thinking, which is more than you can say for what's going on outside the beltway.

And if you want to call me an elitist for this, I say thank you. Yes, I want decisions made by an elite group of people who know what they're talking about. That means Obama budget director Peter Orszag, not Sarah Palin.

Which is the way our founding fathers wanted it. James Madison wrote that "pure democracy" doesn't work because "there is nothing to check... an obnoxious individual." Then, in the margins, he doodled a picture of Joe the Plumber.

Until we admit there are things we don't know, we can't even start asking the questions to find out. Until we admit that America can make a mistake, we can't stop the next one. A smart guy named Chesterton once said: "My country, right or wrong is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying... It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'" To which most Americans would respond: "Are you calling my mother a drunk?"

Bill Maher is the host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," and will be joined on the show tonight by Arianna Huffington. "Real Time" airs fridays on HBO at 10:00PM Eastern Time.

For all the dumb views Maher has, he's bang on target for this.

Let me know when a non-Christian POTUS appears

Jefferson, Thomas. 3rd POTUS (1801 - 1809).

(the best POTUS the US ever had, and one whose politics and attitude to religion I adhere to completely with the sole exception that I would have done more to distance myself from slavery no matter what.)

Two centuries ago? I was talking about today. Like I said, the Founding Fathers were idealists and gave rise to a dream that has since been tarnished, just as you would argue the same of the UK today post-empire. You know as well as I do that the chances are slim to none of modern America accepting such a figure (consider the number of Americans who are totally ignorant regarding their own history. They'd label Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington as leftists at best). This is like arguing we move to the KSA by romanticising the Islamic republics of old, despite the surge in Wahhabist fundamentalism in the last century.

What has been has been. To believe your ideal example, you may as well stay put. The next Winston Churchill or Ben Disraeli is just around the corner.

Like I said, the Founding Fathers were idealists and gave rise to a dream that has since been tarnished, just as you would argue the same of the UK today post-empire

Perhaps with the exceptions of the trades unions movement, the suffragettes and the abolitionists there hasn't been any 'dream' or 'vision' in British politics for the last two centuries. That is the problem with modern day politics, and why we are sleep walking into a new century of less resources without any men or women of substance who are prepared to show real leadership. Seriously, can you see Cameron or Clegg as modern day Jeffersons, Wilberforces or Churchills? Damn squids the both of them.

By-the-by, Jefferson and Wilberforce corresponded on several occasions - whilst Jefferson maintained his slaves, the content of their missives must have been revealing. Two of my political heros; great men both.

Even the progressives of their time can be seen as somewhat backwards by today's standards, the slaves thing for instance. It is all relative, and I'd still rather have one of the politicians from those days, or hell, even a few decades ago, than the sycophants we have today building a career out of exploiting the system. Obama is probably one of the few politicos of recent times I can get behind, but even he has many shortcomings, one of which will be his inability to rally everyone for the long haul. You can't turnaround decades of neglect in 100 days, or even one term.

That's another thing. A two consecutive term limit? If the guy is doing well, keep him in. We may have Clegg and Cameron to look to, but at least if someone good ever materialises (and the public isn't dumbfounded and keeps them out), we can have them in as long as it takes.

In summation, humans suck.

Haven't you heard? The U.S. is a Christian Nation, thus the Founding Fathers must have been so inclined. Didn't those Great Awakenings happen here (not in England). The Second Great Awakening probably led to the Civil War. My generation had Woodstock and other semi-mystical happenings. A couple of generations after mine found religion all over again, complete with the Young Earth Myth..

E. Swanson

mmm. Me thinks you need to go learn about the First Amendment to the US Constitution - the US is most certainly **NOT** a Christian country.

I will grant you that, perversely, the US has more religion in politics than the UK, which is inherently a Christian country. The Queen is 'Established' as the head of the Church of England, prayers are still said before each daily sitting of parliament - in the chamber! and, although it is often ignored, it is still a requirement for state schools (what Americans would call public schools) to hold a fifteen minute act of Christian worhship prior to classes. Yet the UK is blissfully secular and the US constatly tears itself apart over religion. Go figure!

As is the norm nowadays, the revisionism movement will have you think the Founding Fathers were Christians, and damned Bible bashing ones too. We can't have the people who created the nation be seen as horrible secularists who love ideas other than Gawd and a nation state entity of their own making.

If only the US had the UK's secularism, then maybe the vast majority of these issues would vanish.


I have read a lot of history,and you and the other guys questioning the christian antecedects of the US are either willing to cherry pick and distort the facts to make your case and enjoy your rant; or else you just don't have a clue.

Our law and our culture are based on the Judean/Christian culture to a much greater extent that any other culture,with a supporting roots contribution from the Grecian/Roman heritage.

Now I'm pretty much of a cynic myself ,and one of the first to not only admit but to STATE that religions are honored about as much in the breach ,or more so,than in the observance.

We are most certainly NOT an Islamic nation,and although I run into the odd Buddhist or Confucian or Wiccan Witch occasionally ....you should get the picture.

I rant myself from time to time but we need to remember that maybe the greatest strength of the Oil Drum is that we mostly stick to the facts.

Iexpect that if you want to find historians in any number that DON'T classify the US as a CHRISTIAN NATION you will have to sample the REVISIONIST historians-at least if you limit your sample to the pre-politically correct days.

And one more little nit- a NUMBER OF Christians are be BIBLE THUMPERS but never have I met any one who described himself as a CHRISTIAN who is a BILBE BASHER.

My physician,who holds several advanced degrees and believes in the Big Bang theory describes himself as a CHRISTIAN.

I myself am a CHRISTIAN although I am a thru and thru Darwinian.why?

Simply because my world view and morality have been shaped by CHRISTIANITY and because I live in a society that is based on the philosophy to a large degree.BECAUSE I SAID SO,if you want to put it that way.

And all those thumpers have tv and nowadays quite a few have the net.

You will never gain thier cooperation by bashing them.The most your bashing will accompliah is to keep them riled up and voting hard right.

There is plenty of common ground between the christian right and serious environmentalist/socialists/ middle of the road democrats/populists that can be exploited ,and many a vote to be switched color,if people who should KNOW BETTER THAN TO JUST GO AROUND shooting off thier mouth would just calm down and THINK.

We may be a society composed of predominantly Christians, but it is a large leap from there to say we are a "Christian Nation" and founded on "Christian Principles".

Morals are morals, most of the basic ones are common to all societies:
1. Don't harm people in the "in group"
2. Don't sleep with the spouse of someone in the "in group"
3. Don't steal the property of people in the "in group"
4. Do 1-3 to people in competition with the "in group" as much as you can

The rest mostly amount to making sure you can tell who's "in", who's "out", and when rule #4 applies.

We are a nation of Law, and of refusing to allow anything other than citizenship decide who is the "in group" and who is the "out group" in the eyes of the Law.

That is the reason for the First Amendment establishment clause, the "Christian Nation" rhetoric is an attempt to define everyone who is not a Christian (and frequently a Christian of a particular denomination) as "out group" and it is obscene and offensive by the standards our nation was founded to aspire to.

R4ndom,You are playing word games and you know it.

But I will agree with you that we are (to a large degree) a nation of laws,anmd that we have EVOLVED AWAY form being a chrisian nation in the sense that Jerry Falwell and his buddies use the term,although there was a time when thier definition of the term did reflect reality.

All civilized nations are nations of laws but the laws can be VERY different from place to place,
and the differences are largely based on the prevailing religious(or philosophical) heritage of that nation.

Baptist women don't have to cover thier faces for instance.

Go on down to the library and check for yourself-the ACCEPTED description is "christian"up until the era of pc.

Suppose you tried to write a coherent history of the US starting from the view point that we are followers of Islam ,or Confucianism ,or the Shinto faith,or animists, or the Norse Gods?

I am well acquainted with the constitution and at one time donated money on a regular basis to the ACLU.I support religiuos freedom ,regardless of the religion,but that doesn't mean I have to think it's a good thing that some other religions are taking root in our society.

The practical result will be an even greater loss of the sense of community and direction that is causeing so much trouble already.Almost any religion can produce a workable society,but mixing them is a recipe for potential trouble on the grand scale.

As a practical matter many years ago I decided that while the work of The ACLU is very important to me the work of the NRA is even more so,and began donating my money to them.I came to this conclusion because the right to bear arms IS ultimately the FOUNDATION of the right to be free.

Of course there will always be those who will wrap themselves in the cloaks of piety or partiotism to further thier own agenda.

And I will remind you that no other religion or philosophy that is wide spread goes farthetr than the teachings of christianity towards teaching us to regard EVERYONE as members of the "in group".

I make these remarks in the interest of accuracy as I see it,personally being a Darwinist and an athiest from an intellectual pov.CULTURALLY I am a christian.

I am not a fan of Humpty Dumpty.

Words have accepted meanings.

The US is a christian nation within the accepted meaning of the term.

We are a nation of equal opportunity under the law to somewhat greater extent than we are a nation of christians practicing universal brotherhood.Not a HUGE extent.

Have you ever noticed how many doctors kids get to be doctors or engineers as compared to the kids of laborers?

Or how many politicians have rich families?

You can say I'm just playing word games, but what I am doing is pointing out the DANGEROUS word games being played on all of us.

As a nation we do tend to follow Calvinist philosophy, which is nominally christian but bears little relationship to the actual teachings to be found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John where the actual words (within some tolerance) of Jesus Christ are recorded.

Indeed, the majority of the country does claim association with one or another Christian denomination.

But the insistence from many quarters that this is a "Christian Nation" founded on "Christian Principles" is so much hogwash, misdirection, and divisive rhetoric. It is intolerable and offensive.

The "god" of this country is Law, and the law is to find the followers of all religions equal.

Baptist, Anglican, Muslim, Jew, Norse Pagan, Neo-Druid, Wiccan, Atheist, Hindu, Buddhist, and thousands of others. All equal in the eyes of the law. If one or another is dominant in the population as a whole, fine. Should Muslims or Mormons find themselves in the majority down the road it should not change one thing about how the country is run.

I have no problem with your religion or the religion of anyone else. I do have a problem with people who use religion as a weapon to divide people who have more in common than the user has with their flock.

I believe it was in another thread where I pointed out that there are really only two political systems, Rule of Law and Rule of Man. The US was founded with the intent of being a nation where the law ruled instead of men, safeguards were put in place in the Constitution to try to ensure that no individual or group obtained sufficient power to ignore the law.

Sadly, we seem to be drifting away from that principle even while many European nations have been moving towards it more closely.


I agree there are dangerous games being played,and stated in this thread that there will always be those who wrap themselves in piety or patriotism for gain.

As far as what will happen and what ShOULD HAPPEN according to the law if another religion becomes really powerful here...I agree with you from the theoritical/legal pov but I EXPECT that law or no law we will fight another civil war.

I should think that I have made it clear by now that I have no religion ,personally.If I do have anything approaching a religion,it's based on the science of biology pure and simple and can be described as "survival is the only virtue".I don't actually believe that but that's where the evidence seems to be pointed.
At other times and in other forums I have defended the Jews as I am defending christians here and now.

See my post below addressed to admiral as to the seperation of church and state.No better system could have been devised to ensure the perpetuatuin of the status quo,and the founding fathers were the new status quo.They were christians almost to the last one and obviously expected and WANTED the religion to continue to dominate the culture.It may take a while for you to get your mind around that,it took me until the middle part of a very long intellectual journey.I once felt exactly as you do now in regard to the church and the state.

While I hold the founding fathers in the deepest respect at one level,at another I see them as just another bunch of rich guys dividing the pie and rigging the rules in thier favor.

I think we are really not so much disagreeing in a fundamental way as we are just feeling up the elephant from different vantage points.Once we each work our way blindly all the way around the elephant we will find we are pretty much at least in the same book ,if not on the same page.

OldFarmerMac, I agree with you on almost everything.

I am just acutely aware of propaganda, and feel the need to point it out when I see it.

To describe a country as a "ReligiousGroup Nation" implies that somehow people who are not members of the religious group in question are somehow less than those who are. In many countries that lessening has real legal force (Catholics in the UK, for instance).

I mentioned in a thread a few days ago about how dangerous ideas can get enmeshed with a group's identity, so that you cannot attack the idea without attacking the group?

This is exactly an example of that phenomenon in action.

I don't know what this rant was really meant to convey. The US was not formed as a Christian nation (consult the FF texts). The US has separation of church and state in its constitutional documents. Yes, the world has been shaped by Judeo-Christian culture, but then so has it been shaped by Islam and secular thinking post-Enlightenment. Stating intelligent people can also be Christian? I knew that already.

Saying bashing these people will achieve nothing? I care not. They are not open to rational thinking and the idea that polite dialogue will suddenly magically turn a televangelist and his flock of ignoramuses protesting gay sex and an Earth older than the pyramids of Giza is, I'm sorry to say, wishful thinking. These people are quite happy to condemn others for benign lifestyles because a book written by various nomads two-millennia ago says so. They are not people I would want on my side even if their impenetrable walls of ignorance could be breached.

That said, some of my best friends are, shock horror, religionists, from all walks be they Christian or Muslim, Hindu or Wiccan. I might find their teachings quaint, irrational or silly, but as people, they are agreeable so long as they remember to avoid proselytising (I got enough of that with the Church of England all through my childhood).

No, the biggest problem is ignorance today, which can take many guises, but predominantly religion is used as a good tool to ensure it remains and can be wielded by those in power. The last thing we need is the US turning full blown theocracy to counter an ever more fanatical Islamic ME when our resources become restricted.

Although the book of Revelations is awesome, I'll stick with the original hippy's (Jesus) teachings over that doomsday stuff. Pity some label themselves Christian and totally missed that guy's stuff in the Bible.


as to what I meant to convey see my further comments addressed to r4ndom.

We'weren't talking about the world,we were talking about the US.

Only an idiot or a person dteremined to win an argument by any means would include Islamic thought(,excepting perhaps indirectly thru mathematics etc) as central to the American experience.

As far as the seperation clause goes,i coverEd that in my response to random.

The seperation clause could not have been written PURPOSELY to have protected the EXISTING chuches any more effectively;it is and was a powerful bulwark to the status quo,and the ff WERE the status quo.

Its a shame that you appear to know absolutely nothing about human nature,in respect to communicating with those who think differently.

The walls of ignorance are high but they can be breached if you are willing to look for the common ground,and quit insulting people for no reason other than it allows you to feel smug and superior.

EO Wilson is one of the greatest scientists and thinkers of our time.He grew up in a fundamentalist christian environment and founded the science of sociobiology,which will in a hunderd years be recognized as fully as important as any work of this century,in terms of impact on our culture.

He has a great deal to say about tolerance and communication.

I suggest you climb down off of your elitist hobby horse and study some biology.

Your ATTITUDE is scarcely an improvement over the ATTITUDE of those you condemn.

The vast majority of christians are not at all like the small minority that you are so hung up about,but your sniping puts the rational more- secular- every- year- christian
in a foul mood and reduces the chance that someone with,ahem, an OPEN MIND can get a useful communication bridge built between the scientific and the religious cultures.

You may be suprised to learn that if you sit down with an old time fundamentalist who is scared silly of OBama's health insurance proposal and explain to him that ss was attacked the same way when it was on the drawing boards by the opposition,and that medicare,medicaid,etc, really are democratic programs and that national health insurance is a CONTINUATION of these programs,that he will agree to vote the democratic ticket next election.

You might find that he is ready to support a clean water bill if you make it clear to him that it means the water in the stream that passes thru his farm will be clean,or that his water bill,if he is a city dweller,will be less,rather than more.

You will find that his religion has prepared him for the concepts of war and famine and collapse,and that in this respect HE is smarter than the average college grad,because he BELIEVES that these things can really come to pass.

You might hear him say(if he is one of my nieghbors who lives on the slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountians) that although its hard to pay his electric bill he's glad that he can again see the far off blue mountians clearly just about every day now ,as he could in the days of his youth-and that he knows this is so because of the clean air laws that have cleaned up some of the pollution that blows here from the west.BECAUSE I told him,PERSONALLY,instead of telling him off.

You might find out that he has feelings and doubts and worries and problems of his own,just as you do,and that he is not nearly so narrow minded or ignorant as you think he is.

You might realize that if you talk to him quietly ,he is an old farmer who has studied his animals and thinks that evolution makes a little sense to him,and that he has a lot more faith in the surgeons at The Baptist Hospital than he does in the prayers of his pastor.

Have you ever by chance heard the word s-t-e-r-e-o-t-y-p-e?

You appear to be so DENSE this respect that I will paraphrase a song by Carly SIMON "this song IS about you",dude.

He can't CHANGE the fact that he has little education and is behind the times in many ways, he cannot be held accountable for the circumstances of his birth and upbringing,and he deserves some slackbecause he is doing tje best he can with what he has to work with.

You on the other hand were obviously lucky enough to have been born into a different world.That doesn't make you one whit superior to your less fortunate fellows.You sound like some member of the nobility of a bygone time who thought that GOD MADE HIM THE SON OF A NOBLE AND THAT THE REST OF HUMANITY's purpose was to lick his boots.

Sorry, I forgot the Sarcanol tag...:-)

But, please read the Wiki entries. The U.S. Civil War was fought before Darwin's ideas had a chance to filter out into the public consciousness. More than 100 years later, for the past 30 years or so, there's been a major effort by the Fundamentalist to return the U.S.A. to they think was it's Christian basis. Of course, the Republicans have happily co-opted the Fundi vote in politics, with Palin as just the latest example of a know-nothing religious idiot...

E. Swanson

Me thinks you need to go learn about the First Amendment to the US Constitution - the US is most certainly **NOT** a Christian country.

But, with a strong majority thinking it is, and an entrenched political party seeing it as a useful wedge issue, there has become a clear threat that it will be imposed upon us.

it is still a requirement for state schools (what Americans would call public schools) to hold a fifteen minute act of Christian worhship prior to classes. Yet the UK is blissfully secular and the US constatly tears itself apart over religion. Go figure!

I think the difference is with history. In Europe they still have historical/cultural memories of the great Catholic versus Protestant battles (30 years war, 100 years war ...). So a certain wariness of the excesses of religion -and especially religion as harnessed for political purposes exists. Here we don't have that example to warn us of the dangers -so the temptation to try it is strong.


Your remark "with a strong majority thinking it is" makes my case,I need say no more.

If the people say and believe thet are a christian nation ,in the ordinary sense of the language that's what we are.

You guys remind me of Bill Clinton parseing words like a jail house lawyer.

The fact that the founding fathers wisely made as sure as they knew how that we would not have a state religion-which is the real point of the seperation of church and state- is tangential at best.Every last bleeping one of them(nearly) supported the christian churches of the time and there is zero doubt that they as a group expected the christian church to continue to dominate our culture,and that they wished this to be so.

You can revise to your hearts content,and you may win the day,but you are clearly trying to win the argument by revising the historical facts.

Big Brother lives,and if he doesn't like the past,why then,he just brings out a new edition and burns all the old books.

I personally could care less if the christian church vanishes from the face of the earth,except for one little detail.

Nature abhors a vacuum and SOMETHING will rush in to fill the void.

I am of the opinion that the devil we know-the christian church-is probably not as dangerous as the unknown devil that would take its place.

Me thinks you need to go learn about the First Amendment to the US Constitution

And I'll do ya one better.

Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary.


As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion

Now why would a mere Treaty have any weight?


The Supremacy Clause is a clause in the United States Constitution, article VI, paragraph 2. The clause establishes the Constitution, Federal Statutes, and U.S. treaties as "the supreme law of the land". The text establishes these as the highest form of law in the American legal system, mandating that state judges uphold them, even if state laws or constitutions conflict.

Thus, a Treaty is "supreme law" - and was started in 1786 when Nathan Gorman was in charge of the US of A. Arthur St. Clair (1787), and Cyrus Griffin (1788) - all prior to Washington taking office.

Paperwork of "that time" says "not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion". I'm not quite sure how one gets much closer to the "intent" without a time machine and a mind probe.

Go figure!

Yea, go figure.
(And I await your refutation of President Thomas Mifflin. The longer no one challenges my claim....the more credible it is tho.)

Which is another shame. You have a deist/atheist group of well educated, benevolent liberal men, who are way ahead of their time and give rise to a nation that, not two centuries later, reverts to the same puritanical, backwards thinking those in the 13 colonies took the Mayflower trip to get away from.

And they say Americans don't do irony.

Only 72 years elapsed between the landing in Massachusetts by the Mayflower and the Salem witch trials. They brought the puritanical, backwards thinking with them.

The 3rd President of the United States was Thomas Mifflin (1784)

(good to see most of you know that this is correct. The war for Indepenance was 'till 1783, with 1781 being the start date and Washington didn't take power till 1793 so ya all know who was leading things from Independance to 1789.)

We had Presidents back then? I thought we all lived in an anarcho-capitalist commune with an honorary executive with power deriving from the people!

Hey, where'd all this mud come from?

We didn't have anything back then. We weren't even a lustful twinkle in a future immigrants eye at that point.


Which actually shows Thomas Miflin to have been the 5th President of Congress, rather than the third, as long as I was being bothered to look up the link that Mr. Blair was so inconsiderate as to leave out of his (now obviously incorrect) assertions above. The third was John Hanson.

Mind you, the United States of America as such did not properly exist until the ratification of our current constitution, and none of the Presidents of Congress were presidents of the country in our modern sense.

Mea Culpa - John Hanson was the 3rd.

Mind you, the United States of America as such did not properly exist until the ratification of our current constitution

From your link:

The following list contains short summaries of each of the thirteen articles.

1. Establishes the name of the confederation as "The United States of America."

So it 'did properly exist' as "The United States of America."

The 1st Constitution went belly up, in part due to the money "to pay for the costs of the American Revolution. Due to over-issue and lack of confidence in the government, the notes were soon nearly worthless-"not worth a continental." "


(Watch the search engines for "not worth a continental" - I'm guessing it'll uptick as things get worse.)

That what I get for scanning it so quickly. Those history lessons were light to begin with and long ago.

Still, the President of Congress was not the President of the USA in the same sense George Washington and his successors were. The later position had much greater powers, so I still think it is fair to treat them as separate.

Those history lessons were light to begin with and long ago.

Yes, well parts get skipped because the present people may find 'em not in line with modern senibilites.

August 7, 1765: "--began to seperate (sic) the Male from the Female Hemp at Do--rather too late."

Such an observation leads into "the drug war" - and we can't have that.

Nor is observation about slavery welcome.
(But the "energy slaves" conversation can point out how todays modern human likes pushing off 'energy change' till after their death, similar to Jefferson's comments how slave reform would damage the economic condition and should be considered in the future.)

Still, the President of Congress was not the President of the USA

from http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/articles/text.html

The Stile of this Confederacy shall be "The United States of America".

The United States in Congress assembled
is the section that mentions the word 'president' so "President of the United States in Congress Assembled" appears to be the long form.

Shorting to 'President of the United States' appears to be acceptible but not exclusive.

It's funny. The many Americans I know on other boards talk about wanting to leave the States for elsewhere. Grass is always greener, eh?

As for me, I love the Daily Wail Euroscepticism and sarky "Great" Britain comments. Fact is, if anyone is seeing the States as being some land of wonder devoid of political corruption, social ignorance or crackpot laws, then they're a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

Want a progressive nation in North America? Go to Canuckistan, not the dying experiment that was the US of A.

Go to Canuckistan, not the dying experiment that was the US of A.

No thanks. The head of state of Canada is my current head of state. A lovely lady, who I have absolute respect for. She has served both Canada and Britain - indeed all the Commonwealth - her whole reign but she was never elected. She was never elected to be Canada's head of State, nor New Zealand's, nor Australia's and nor mine!

I will take the 'dying experiment' of the USA any day. And if I did immigrate to the US I would roll up my sleaves and set about fixing it back to the Republic it should be: strong, free and meritocratic. Not that the USA is a 'dying experiment' mind. It is only perceived as such by those who are too blinkered by current events to see the true worth of a Republic.

Why don't those Americans who despise their own Republic roll up their sleaves and set to work fixing it? At least you can....

You mean like how they're putting on a global circus for me to get both amused and depressed about with regards to healthcare? Thanks, but watching the majority of the US swallow hook, line and sinker the bullshit the right throws their way, aided by corporate lobbyists, is a very good indicator that fixing the republic ain't happening.

Obama is being painted as Hitler out to eat babies and pull the plug on grandma and appease the green leftist terrorists. He's inherited the most bankrupt economy in history, and he has this gargantuan task. Despite the lack of realistic results within one year, look at how his polls are faring now.

With Palin and her ilk waiting in the wings, I'll take the inept two parties, and ignored third of the UK over the spineless Democrats and the batshit insane Republicans.



The US is in a pickle. That is obvious for all to see. I too have taken to watching the health care fiasco. It is comical. The right are being petulant sour losers, the left are being innumerate graspers and Obama is being poorly advised. Indeed Obama did inherit a bankrupt economy, but his naive worhsip of Maynard Keynes has exacerbated the problem wholesale.

But whereas in Britain our parliamentary system has been ceded to an unelected dictatorship in Brussels, which coupled with the party whip system is such that our MPs have about as much interrogative, legislative and representative authority as an asthmatic dodo, the US Congress is still able to hold the Executive to account. Would that it be so in Britain. The US is more democratic today than Britain is.

Democracy only works with an intelligent, well informed populace. Neither the US nor the UK have such populations, and this is why even the Founding Fathers accepted that democracy is a dream and a dangerous one in many respects. It's a quaint idea that is unworkable in practise, as we can see. I'd far rather be ruled by a few with actual knowledge, than the many idiots I see amongst me today.

As Churchill once said, the best argument against democracy is a five minute chat with the average voter. And besides, the many claims of our independence being eroded by silly bureaucratic laws in Brussels is blown way out of proportion. Case in point: the various health and safety or trade rulings that are either bogus (the "bananas must be a certain curvature") or totally misrepresented ("all workers must wear hard hats above 2 metres, therefore even trapeze users must wear one" except, they don't).

The problems we see here are going to come to a head eventually. Resources being constrained and the climate radically altering will see to that.

Written by HAcland:
The US is a true Federated Republic, where the power rises from the bottom to the top.

It may have been but is no more as evidenced by the $700 billion bailout in October 2008. The people were heavily against it crashing Congressional Internet servers and jamming their telephone lines but were ignored in favor of enriching Wall Street titans.

It may have been but is no more as evidenced by the $700 billion bailout in October 2008.

Plenty of other evidence before that.

All depends on where one wants to draw a line.

You could just switch taxes - I think gas tax is more efficient than income taxes. And you do need taxes, if for nothing else, then for repaying your $12 trillion national debt. If you taxed a dollar per gallon of motor gasoline (378 million a day), it would take you 87 years to repay your debt with the added revenue, even if you otherwise balanced the budget.

Your idea shifts the burden from the rich to the poor.

I'm asking the poor to limit their gasoline purchases instead of asking them to limit their incomes. I think this is better. They can also buy frugal cars and organize their lives to drive a bit less, while the rich will go on with their current use, paying more.

Also, oil producers would take some of the hit - the price raise will be less than the tax raise for reasons of supply and demand.

You don't understand the US tax scale at all. The poor barely pay if at all now and the graduated scale taxes the uppers much, much more than the tax they would be paying on gas consumption. In reality though it is the middle class that gets hit the most on the income tax regardless of the BS statistics that say the rich pay the most. I think that statement is pure propaganda by the rich to pacify the middle.

Between mandatory insurance, license fees, and maintenance requirements most of the poor can't afford a car anyway.

Doing away with income tax would also give them access to the interest-free loan they give the government out of every paycheck, too.

No, I'm not very well versed in US tax code, but as I understand it, the poor pay for social security and medicare through income taxes (you can call it whatever you want, but it is regressive income taxes), and there are also state income taxes. The ordinary federal income tax work as you say, though.

I'm asking the poor to limit their gasoline purchases instead of asking them to limit their incomes.


Um, the poor already do limit their gasoline purchases. That's an ineluctable consequence of being poor.

They can also buy frugal cars...

Double LOL!

Yeah, and they can buy houses closer to work and school. Oh, and holiday homes that are accessible by public transport.

Funny how it's always "them" who have to make difficult changes, not "me".

Um, the poor already do limit their gasoline purchases. That's an ineluctable consequence of being poor.

Then everybody else will be hurt more by gasoline taxes, since they purchase more gasoline.

Yeah, and they can buy houses closer to work and school.


Funny how it's always "them" who have to make difficult changes, not "me".

As rich will be taxed more, they will have to do more changes. Whether they will limit gasoline purchases or something else is up to them. As I said, if taxes put brakes on what's taxed, it's better to put brakes on gasoline than on income. (And social security is an income tax - you could add gasoline tax and draw down social security contributions.)

It does penalize certain poor groups, but it benefits others and even those groups that would take a hit from higher fuel taxes could make changes to moderate the impact.

Personally, I think that the ideal mix would be 1/2 imported FF tariff, 1/4 Domestic FF production tax, 1/4 fuel tax. Replace personal income taxes with that and most folks would be better off.

The bottom half of the work force in the US does not pay income taxes so all take the hit at the pump and only the top half of the work force gets the benefit. Is that what you meant?

The bottom half of the workforce still has to give the government an interest-free loan of a significant portion of their paycheck. That matters more than you might think. Besides, with mandatory insurance and licensing fees and whatnot a lot of the people you are talking about can't afford a car in the first place. No car == No direct fuel use.

Yes, it is possible to live in an American city with crappy public transport without a car. Really. The bottom half of the income ladder aren't driving their kids to soccer practice and piano lessons in an SUV.

good point.


I'm sure you are acquainted wuth the concept of the fungibility of money.

I believe that I could make a pretty good case that nearly all taxes are income taxes,in a very real sense starting at this point.

Simply calling money withheld from a paycheck a different name does not change the fact that once it is in the hands of the govt it is spent indiscriminately on whatever the govt is spending on that particular day.

Putting a thousand bucks in a checking account that yu use to pay household bills and athousand in another that you use for other expenses may be useful in a practical sense but it does not increase your total balance either way,in the red or in the black.

The various trust funds that are supposed to contain your ss and other advance contributions are spent just like "income tax "dollars.The trust funds contain only iou's and are worth nothing whatsover if the govt becomes unable to collect enough in taxes from current incone to make the monthly checks good,unless the difference can be borrowed.

We have been borrowing the difference every month,even by the standards of "guvmint" bookkeeping ,for just about every month of my adult life.The socalled "surplus budgets " that Clinton got credit for weren't really in surplus.

Of course rich people pay huge amounts of tax,in total, but most of these payments are shifted in one way or another to the average working jerk on salary or wages.The rich usually have to pay income taxes on maybe a few hundred thousand when the bookkeepers are finished,and imo that much is left on the bottom line to be taxed mostly for only one reason;once the taxes on that amount have been paid,there is no way for anyone to ask a question legally about where it is spent, or what it is spent on unless there is a CRIMINAL investigation.

If you have a few million of uncollected capital gains to your credit this year,you can easily afford a measly fifty grand "privacy tax".

And the dems are just as much in the pockets of the rich as the pubs,depending on what day of the week it is.If I'm not mistaken the dems held the house for about fifty years straight during the last half of the last century and all federal tax leglisation had to pass thru the dem owned and operated ways and means committee.The whole time I had to listen to the liberals raving about pub tax policies and the govt belonging to the well heeled.

A few years back when the dems wanted to prove that the rich enjoyed some particular percentage of the national income,they adjusted the definition of rich down low enough to include two wage earner families with a teacher and a cop working.

This week OBama tells us that your income taxes will not go up unless you earn over two fify big at your house-obviously at only two fifty big you are hurting -but it's ok for localities and states to raise sales taxes on the food bought by families having a hard time scraping up food money.

Maybe Reagen was so opposed to high taxes because,as a poor man,when he finally had a good year as an actor he was subject to a ninety percent tax rate.

Warren Buffet will owe maybe ten to fifteen percent if he cashes out,and his hiers will probably pay even less,since inheritance taxes are for people who can't afford real lawyers and accountants.

We are imo a little better off with OBama and company in office than otherwise but only the niave believe that real change is in the offing in the short term.

Maybe this generation will get a single pay health insurance plan that will get costs under control.
In terms of human lives thats pretty damn slow but in terms of evolutionary time it's virtually instantaneous.

If the Saudis suddenly moved to an open immigration policy their population would probably double or treble in short order. Would that tell you the same thing?

If the Saudis suddenly moved to an open immigration policy their population would probably double or treble in short order.

sorry but that is bollox. Not only is the KSA actually in debt (yes, surprisingly) but they are having enough trouble feeding and educating the 25% of the country under the age of twenty. (well, to be fair, they aren't trying too hard to educate the girls under 20).

Just because they have oil doesn't mean that it is Utopia in the Kingdom.

"Not only is the KSA actually in debt (yes, surprisingly) but they are having enough trouble feeding and educating the 25% of the country under the age of twenty."

You could say the same about the US. Food stamps anyone?

Having spent several years in KSA I can confirm that it is no utopia. But of course that is not what I said. Yet strangely enough, people actually put themselves in debt to get there. One might assume it was Utopia based on such facts or not?

It also seems that lots of people are desperately trying to get into the UK, the place you'd gladly leave. Is the UK Utopia based solely on immigration figures? Having left there myself, I don't think so. But in the eyes of some, the expectation is that the streets are lined with gold, which it obviously isn't.

Peoples' willingness to go somewhere else to live is usually based on their perception of the place, mostly misinformed, but once they arrive they rarely leave, even though they're often worse off. Yet, deluded as they may be, people flock to a perceived better life, like moths to a bright light. My point being that immigration is a poor metric for identifying the best countries to live, whilst some feel it is more meaningful.

Peoples' willingness to go somewhere else to live is usually based on their perception of the place, mostly misinformed, but once they arrive they rarely leave, even though they're often worse off. Yet, deluded as they may be, people flock to a perceived better life, like moths to a bright light. My point being that immigration is a poor metric for identifying the best countries to live, whilst some feel it is more meaningful.

Agreed to a certain extent. The point about emigration to another country is that the immigrant is making a determined decision to cast of his chains of normalcy and go and find a 'better life'. This is the epitomy of the human condition. The better life is sometimes held in the immigrant's eye to be of monetary worth and sometimes the desire to move is borne from a need to be free. Whatever the motivation, the act of putting oneself outside of one's comfort zone is invigorating for the immigrant and the receptive country alike.

The reason the US has always been a magnet for immigrants is that they are emigrating to an idea, not a place. People currently coming to Britain likely see us as less bad than the hell-hole they have left but it is not the political system per se which draws them in. More often than not it is the fact that we speak English and that they have learnt rudimentary English (usual thanks to Holywood) and that we are 'easy' to get to. I bet if you asked, most immigrants who have arrived in Britain from outside the EU over the last decade would much rather have made it as far as the US. Infact, I would put money on it.

The grass is certainly always greener, but I maintain that the vision of the USA as a beacon of hope for meritocratic political union between disparate peoples is still burning strong to those outside the 50 states. Perhaps those inside the 50 states need to realise what a good thing they have right under their noses!

Hac: No one disagrees with your premise that the UK is a lot worse than the USA-even Americans desperately sick of the USA have the UK way, way down the list of agreeable countries. Literally the only positive attribute your country has is the use of the same language (almost).

That immigration, if it came at all, would come from the many countries in this world that are far more miserable than the KSA in many respects. So, yes, it would indeed tell me something about the KSA vis-a-vis those countries. Of course, it would tell me nothing about the USA vis-a-vis the UK, or about any other pair of countries. If you're suggesting there would be a huge rush from the USA to the KSA, that seems mad, beyond the bounds of absurdity.

yes, it would indeed tell me something about the KSA vis-a-vis those countries.

What would it tell you? I can't imagine anywhere being more miserable than the KSA.

Well, you said that you thought lots of people would go there if they opened immigration, so you must think somebody finds their own homeland to be even more miserable. Maybe Zimbabwe, I dunno. Moving to another country is almost always a very expensive - and not necessarily in monetary terms - proposition that few carry out lightly.

Presumably, you're getting something back for those taxes.

Yes. Free health care!


Don't knock the free health care - in the last six months I have had literally tens of thousands of pounds spent on my world class hospital treatments. Health care can be a very complex, expensive business I have discovered.

Don't knock the free health care - in the last six months I have had literally tens of thousands of pounds spent on my world class hospital treatments. Health care can be a very complex, expensive business I have discovered

Eh??? How do you get my knocking the NHS out of my statement?

Far from it. It is truly a great thing to be able to go about my life knowing that should I need it I will get anything from a vacination to heart surgery with out opening my wallet or phoning my insurance company first. I do however strongly believe that we need to reform the way the NHS is run and administered and that it can be done in a way that maintains the 'universal and free at the point of delivery'.

Oh and I think women who want boob jobs should have to pay for it. Those sort of things should never be free.

Which you might like, or you might find to be worth only what "free" is most often worth ;)

In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to compare the human and veterinary health services of Great Britain, and on the whole it is better to be a dog.

As a British dog, you get to choose (through an intermediary, I admit) your veterinarian. If you don’t like him, you can pick up your leash and go elsewhere, that very day if necessary. Any vet will see you straight away, there is no delay in such investigations as you may need, and treatment is immediate. There are no waiting lists for dogs, no operations postponed because something more important has come up, no appalling stories of dogs being made to wait for years because other dogs—or hamsters—come first.

The conditions in which you receive your treatment are much more pleasant than British humans have to endure. For one thing, there is no bureaucracy to be negotiated with the skill of a white-water canoeist...

—Theodore Dalrymple is the pen name of Anthony Daniels, a British physician.

Each to his or her own, I guess.

PaulS - absolutely. But just because you allow people to choose does not mean that it has to cease to be free at the point of access. Reforming the British NHS service so we get to choose - like your fictional hound - is only being held up by weak-willed politicians and heavily entrenched NHS workers/unions. There will be huge cost savings from such a system but it can all still be provided from the public purse.

By the way, I recently read that 85% of British dog owners would rather see their dog treated first if both mutt and owner were involved in a traffic accident. Shows you how nuts we are for our pets. To be fair, I would want to know my whippet was safe first too.

The difficulty with allowing choice with anything that's free at the point of access is that quality often costs money - it can't always be had merely by "trimming fat" since oftentimes even when there is "fat", it's not nearly enough to offset infinite demand. Ever more people would pile into ever more expensive options until the country went bankrupt, as there would be no direct feedback notifying them that their choices are not cost-free.

That's the central dilemma. Europe tries to solve it with ever more ruinous taxes; America proposes to solve it by inculcating the belief that there is a Health Care Fairy (and an Everything Else Fairy too) to provide without limit and without cost, don't tax you, don't tax me, tax the guy behind the tree. This nonsense seems to be helped along by a virulent Puritan tradition which has come to manifest itself perversely as a sense of infinite entitlement cloaked in "morality", as if there were a fundamental human right to enslave others to fix the problems caused by one's own shiftlessness, sloth, and stupidity. The American problem can be seen in stark relief in California, where the voters have been helping themselves to super-deluxe everything for decades while refusing to pay for it all the while, and it appears their system may finally be going to ruin.

Yes, Very important for you Brits across the Pond to keep your Dogs healthy and fed,

You'll need the meat, soon enough.

or you might find to be worth only what "free" is most often worth

Yea, that evil FREE stuff is what brings you TOD.

Or how about the BSD Licenced TCP/IP stack that brings you the Internet?

As for your comment:
For one thing, there is no bureaucracy to be negotiated with the skill of a white-water canoeist

VS what, the non-bureaucracy of the American Hospitals or American Insurance firms?

Please DO point out where one can get healthcare without "a bureaucracy".

The bit about bureaucracy actually belongs to the author of the article I linked. Nonetheless, government bureaucracy is usually the worst to deal with, as it is politically virtually impossible to discipline it. That's why the longer Congress takes to ram a bill through, the less likely anything will change very much. The public will become more and more scared of the unknown, even as Congress is becoming more and more paralyzed by sheer sticker shock. And just consider a few of the associations the "public 'option'" calls to mind:

Municipal bus: tardy, glacially slow, unreliable, may well require using a transfer point infested with thugs; probably doesn't run usefully (if at all) on the weekend.
Amtrak: who knows when you'll get there? Who knows whether you'll even get there by train?
DMV: wait and wait and wait until the spiders are using you for web support - nothing to do with BSD, mind you.
Public toilet: filthy and possibly infested with muggers or perverts; probably open only seasonally, as if people magically acquire infinite bladders after Labor day.
Public highway: just enough behind the times to waste massive amounts of irreplaceable time in jamups; yet not nearly far enough behind the times to save any money.
Road construction: financial black hole with the words "project finished" simply missing from the vocabulary - vide the perpetual road "work" between Joliet, IL, and Portage, IN. Often managed, or rather not-managed, so as to maximize delay and inconvenience to the public.
Public 'airway': still running simulations of simulations of what was pretty good tech in the 1960s. No one alive really knows how it works any more, so it breaks down frequently.
Congresscritters: the unspeakable in pursuit of the unworkable.

Few people have ever died of a tardy, slow, useless bus, so some of these things might be semi-acceptable. Health care, on the other hand, must often be delivered competently, reliably, and on-time, if it is to be of use. As execrable as the current system may be, examples abound of how government could make it even worse.

Oh, and let's not be foolish, we won't see free-BSD medicine or dentistry any time soon, nor free-BSD trains or highways or anything else that incurs a large per-customer cost. That model works only sometimes, and then only with stuff incurring negligible per-customer cost. And while documentation from, say, Microsoft, is often difficult to penetrate, Linux and other free-software documentation is usually a ruddy nightmare.

That is funny.

American corporations are disciplined only in the pursuit of profit.
Most of the worst examples of "government services" are actually services that were outsourced to private companies.

Nonetheless, government bureaucracy is usually the worst to deal with, as it is politically virtually impossible to discipline it.


Then you've never tried to put down/resist a corporate bureaucracy.

If you are being taxed to pay for it, it is NOT free! I much prefer to pay my bills and let others pay theirs. (And let the politicians and bureaucrats starve!)

Where do you get off saying something like that?
Don't you know that rich people have a creamy, nougat center that constantly regenerates new revenue?
I forgot to mention that anyone who works for a living is considered "rich".

I would KILL to get petrol as cheaply as you Americans! Stop moaning!

Start with your politicians! They are the cause of your high prices. You folks let your politicians tax the devil out of you and then just mildly complain about it?

Oil prices endanger recovery (Video Warning)

In 'The Buzz' our editor at large discusses the ramifications of high gas prices during an economic comeback.

Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor?

In Los Angeles, the fine for truancy is $250; in Dallas, it can be as much as $500 — crushing amounts for people living near the poverty level. According to the Los Angeles Bus Riders Union, an advocacy group, 12,000 students were ticketed for truancy in 2008.

Why does the Bus Riders Union care? Because it estimates that 80 percent of the “truants,” especially those who are black or Latino, are merely late for school, thanks to the way that over-filled buses whiz by them without stopping. I met people in Los Angeles who told me they keep their children home if there’s the slightest chance of their being late. It’s an ingenious anti-truancy policy that discourages parents from sending their youngsters to school.

Another symptom of the unraveling society.
Also good conditioning for the police state.

Why do teens ride metro buses versus school buses, or walking? Is public transit for school kids becoming the norm? It makes sense, efficiency-wise, but I'd never seen it in cities where I've lived.

If these kids are like my teens though, getting them out of their beds 30 minutes earlier would be a monumental task, yet it would probably have them waiting for half-full buses before rush hour instead of always-full rush hour buses.

It's the norm here in Portland. My office is next to a light rail line and also near a high school. Right after school lets out you can't even find standing room on the train because it's completely packed with teenagers.

So perhaps the real problem in both examples is that the public transit is not scaled to deal with ridership peaks?

If the public transport fleet was scaled to meet demand, all the non-public-transport-using property owners would be rebelling against the huge "waste" of having half the bus/train fleet sitting idle 18 hours out of 24. Proposition 13 mark 2.

Off topic, people moan about the "inefficiency" of bureaucracy, when what they're really upset about is having to wait. Unfortunately, efficiency (working the bureaucrats 100%) is not compatible with responsiveness (being served straight away).

An efficient service (with minimal unused capacity) will always have queues. A responsive service will always have spare capacity (aka "waste"). That's just the way the universe was built. No free lunches.

Sorry, that's a pet peeve of mine. I wish elementary queuing theory was mandatory in schools -- but then, 90% of people still wouldn't "get it."

An efficient service (with minimal unused capacity) will always have queues. A responsive service will always have spare capacity (aka "waste"). That's just the way the universe was built. No free lunches.

An efficient service, whose metric of merit somehow incorporated the time value of its clients, as well as the time value of its employess is what we should be seeking. What we need to work on is some way to get the various enterprises to feel the negative externalities of their actions. But, that requires some amount of government regulation etc. And here in the USA a large chunk of the public thinks the battle against the notion that government can ever be a solution is more important than actually trying to make things work.

You can have reasonable efficiency without excess queuing though, if you have a reactive system that can schedule capacity to match demand. Certainly there is no reason other than investment economics not to have a system modestly over-engineered to address peak capacity yet capable of shedding trains (increasing service interval) or cars (capacity per interval) during slow periods.

Whether you're talking about rush hour, school letting out, or the local MLB game finishing, there will always be peak demand needs, and engineering the system to address those while (importantly!) planning the needs to match the transit resources is a reasonable expectation.

You have the same problem with personal transit, it just results in traffic jams and inability to find parking spots -- a few months ago there was some sort of downtown event here that was scheduled at 9:00 a.m. -- overlapping the local business rush and exacerbating an already tight parking situation. Simply pushing the timing off by an hour would have fixed half the problem, and pushing it until the evening would have resolved it all.

I don't think you can ignore queuing/riding time -- it might not be totally wasted, but it's not the same value as "play time" or "work time" either. Again, though, some cleverness can help. Time spent in a climate-controlled shop with Wifi connectivity is more valuable than time spent standing on a landing in the August sun. Time spent sitting in a car with enough room to type is better than time spent in standing-room-only mode on a crowded car. Still, I'd be hard-pressed not to consider door-to-door time as the key point, whether driving or rail commuting.

Just to reiterate what Enemy said, a proper measure of efficiency will account for the citizen's time, not just the bureaucrat's. The phony measures typically used, on the other hand, will treat the citizen's time as worthless or nearly worthless.

This is constantly a problem. For example, public transit would barely exist in the USA outside New York City, downtown Chicago, and downtown San Francisco, if citizens' time were treated as worth more than $1 or $2 per hour. The cost of a ride is not just the derisory fare and the massive tax subsidy, it is also the absurd quantity of time consumed. Similarly, nearly all road construction projects are ridiculously understaffed - a few guys show up for a few days and move a few piles from here to there or back from there to here, then the thing sits fallow, draining mud into the storm sewers for a week or two, and so on - because the costs to the public (fuel, time, and even flushing the mud out of the sewers) are treated as zero.

And yet, people use that public transit anyway.

Perhaps, since they are not driving, they can do other things while getting to where they are going.

Like reading, portable crafts, or even just sitting and thinking. That time that they do not have to be focused on driving can be quite valuable to public transit users.

This is constantly a problem. For example, public transit would barely exist in the USA outside New York City, downtown Chicago, and downtown San Francisco, if citizens' time were treated as worth more than $1 or $2 per hour.

Do you have proof to back this up?

Or should I just enjoy the cool breeze of your hand waving?

The cost of a ride is not just the derisory fare and the massive tax subsidy, it is also the absurd quantity of time consumed.

Cost of time consumed?

Consumed? Each tick closer to death is "time consumed" - that is all that life is. I've "consumed" plenty of time today - some of that trying to get you to actually respond.

One can opt to have that "transport" time with YOU "driving" (driving - car, walking, bike, whatever) or "riding - so you can do something else".

If I opt to leave my place of business at 7:45 AM to 9:30AM or 2:30PM to 6:00PM to my client my arrival time could be up to 1 hour 45 mins later via the freeway system. If I go at 2:00AM - under 15 mins. If I opt to take my 2kW hub bicycle and selectivly ignore traffic laws I can get there via city streets in 55 mins "to" (uphill) or 45 min (downhill)

Now, do you want to actually man up with "real data" on your "the costs to the public are treated as zero." claim? Or do you want to just slink away to post more BS another day?

Also in Seattle. When I take the early afternoon bus, it's filled with kids from Ballard High School.

Strangely, they sound just like when I was in high school 25 years ago. Except that they all have handheld gaming devices and continue to chatter while playing. Even the girls!

Those probably aren't "gaming devices" but more probably they are texting other friends.

No really, it's like they all have those little networked handheld gaming consoles, like Nintendo DS or PSP. So they play the game with somebody else on the bus, but they also maintain conversations with those around them. It's kind of amazing.

Maybe they should let the school kids out in staggered intervals. Say like 15 minutes apart in three groups whatever works for the trains schedule. Start them on the same interval.

It varies from city to city. In cities with relatively abundant transit service, it makes little sense to run school buses except for the little kids. I rode the public bus to and from junior high school. It was what was offered, and that isn't new, it was a while ago. Despite overcrowding and the odd bus whizzing by as described, it was a shorter and quicker trip, at twenty minutes or a half hour, than the tedious two-hour all-over-town grand tour dished out on typical school-bus routes. So no problem.

The walk was a bit long-ish, although I sometimes did it following an after-school activity, since the later-PM bus drivers couldn't always be bothered to show up. Maybe they did show up an hour late, but long before that I didn't care any longer. However, the walk involved more busy intersections than the ride.

In view of today's "safety" paranoia where we can't seem to teach even high-schoolers how to cross the street, I imagine most parents today would be horrified clear out of their minds at the thought of their offspring walking that route. Of course, by some magic, that paranoia doesn't extend to raising the driving-permit age to where kids are cognitively equipped to handle driving tasks. Not that the magic is very magic - even paranoia can be trumped by convenience, and in any event much of the strident noise these days over "safety" has nothing to do with attention-worthy risk and everything to do with avenging oneself on entities deemed to be Big And Wicked.

Part of the problem of long commutes for school is the racial and/or ethnic ballance requirements.

But that's another problem.

If you want to see a lot of racial tension occur just jam lots of kids of different races aboard a bus.

The Kitimat LNG project is a proposal to build and operate a 700 MMcfd LNG terminal on British Columbia's north coast, to export gas to Asian markets. It has government approvals and construction is expected to start later this year. The proponents have signed an MOU with Apache Resources for a supply agreement, the project's second such in the last two months. Apache has several producing wells in northeastern BC and is delineating further gas reserves in the Horn River shales.

Food crisis could force wartime rations and vegetarian diet on Britons

The threat of climate change however will also require new growing techniques such as reduced water usage in agriculture

Something I've been experimenting with this year. Using terraces and rainfed only horticulture (or working only with what nature provides farming). Not difficult really, just throw away the rule book, use more space and give economics the finger. Otherwise it becomes very difficult to adapt and will push farmers towards the use of GMO's which will probably precipitate the biggest blowback in history and a boom for liver disease specialists. Something the feckless minister in the article thinks is a necessity unfortunately.

"C'est la vie!"

The 100 Foot Diet Challenge -

Growing Closer to Home: A Lifelong Challenge

It wasn’t that long ago (1940s) that people planted Victory Gardens when it became necessary for them, due to wartime shortages, to grow their own food. Now, it’s our turn

If you want to fight against peak oil, climate change and our consumerist culture, then join us and start a living protest right in your own back (front) yards. Be the change, live the solution! Use your yard (or balcony or porch steps) not only to grow food but also to cultivate a healthier and more fulfilling life.

There have been 100 mile diet and other eat local challenges. PTF’s homegrown revolutionaries are upping the ante by reducing the mileage to a few steps - to right outside your back or front door.

:: Guidelines ::

A meal must be comprised of food grown on your property or garden plot (literally or figuratively within - 100 feet - of your front or back door).


Regarding using Oxen for crop cultivation in Cuba:

Movin', movin', movin',
Though they're disapprovin',
Keep them dogies movin', rawhide.
Don't try to understand 'em,
Just rope an' throw an' brand 'em.
Soon we'll be living high and wide.
My heart's calculatin',
My true love will be waitin':
Waitin' at the end of my ride.

Move 'em out, head 'em up,
Head 'em up, move 'em on.
Move 'em out, head 'em up:

Well-off people may wax romantic about so-called ecological programs in Cuba, but the few dissident voices that are tolerated over there tell it different
Adios to Schools in the Countryside

Jim Rogers is right again as world sugar prices reach a 28 year high.


It is about time that Brazilian ethanol got a taste of what American ethanol has been dealing with in corn prices. 22 cents per pound is still ridiculously cheap compared to what is charged for a retail pound of candy which is mostly sugar.


As a diabetic I couldn't care less. Can't touch the stuff.

Sugar for people is like gasoline for cars ... a refined fuel

Biochar for your body?!?!


Created by blasting wood blocks with heat until they are nearly pure carbon then coating them with calcium, the scientists say the material allows bones to heal faster and more securely. Unlike titanium, the wood-based artificial bones flex slightly much like real bone, and the porous nature of the wood allows for better bio-activity with surrounding tissue. Though human testing is still likely years away, the material is currently being used successfully in sheep and may have other industrial applications.


Engineering Earth's Climate

When politicians fail, is this the way to slow climate change? Or just some really bad ideas (especially compared with simply putting less carbon up there) ?

Several recent reviews of these ideas conclude that cooling the planet would be technically feasible and economically affordable.

There are still plenty of skeptics, but even they have started calling for more research into climate engineering. The skeptics understandably fear the unintended consequences of tampering with the planet’s thermostat, but they also fear the possibility — which I’d call a near certainty — that political leaders will not seriously reduce carbon emissions anytime soon.

The National Academy of Sciences and Britain’s Royal Society are preparing reports on climate engineering, and the Obama administration has promised to consider it. But so far there has been virtually no government support for research and development — certainly nothing like the tens of billions of dollars allotted to green energy and other programs whose effects on the climate would not be felt for decades.

For perhaps $100 million, climate engineers could begin field tests within five years, says Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science. Dr. Caldeira is a member of a climate-engineering study group that met last year at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics under the leadership of Steven E. Koonin, who has since become the under secretary for science at the United States Department of Energy. The group has just issued a report, published by the Novim research organization, analyzing the use of aerosol particles to reflect shortwave solar radiation back into space.

These particles could be lofted into the stratosphere to reproduce the effects of sulfate aerosols from volcanic eruptions like that of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, which was followed by a global cooling of nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit. Just as occurred after that eruption, the effects would wane as the particles fell back to Earth. Keeping the planet cooled steadily (at least until carbon emissions declined) might cost $30 billion per year if the particles were fired from military artillery, or $8 billion annually if delivered by aircraft, according to the Novim report.

Putting reflective aerosols in the upper atmosphere does not stop the acidification of the oceans as they absorb CO2. If one wants to play with geoengineering, then remove the fossil CO2 from the atmosphere by reacting it with olivine and serpentine while halting emissions. Planting more forests and ceasing the destruction of the existing ones would help a little.

Here's my reply on Tierney's blog:

The plans for geoengineering our way around the CO2/greenhouse gas problem often ignore the fact that the solutions proposed require constant and increasing application. Lofting aerosols into the stratosphere would need to be continued for hundreds of years, long after all the fossil fuels had been burned, until such time as the CO2 levels returned to a “safe” level by ocean absorption. Sad to say, it’s not reasonable to think that mankind will have the resources to continue these techno-fixes after the fossil fuels are gone.

Furthermore, we are presently experiencing just such an experiment, since China and India are dumping large quantities of SO2 into the air while burning coal. The SO2 aerosol in the global atmosphere is increasing as a result. This may be impacting climate in ways which already counter the continuing buildup of greenhouse gases. It’s been suggested that U.S. emissions of SO2 were a causal factor for the cooler winter conditions experienced in the U.S. during the 1970’s. If China and India should decide to require SO2 scrubbers, as used in the U.S., this “experiment” will end and we would see the full impact of our CO2 emissions afterwards.

I should have noted that the aerosol is the sulfate particles produced from the SO2 gas. Oh, well...

E. Swanson