A Reality Check on Oil Supply for Newt Gingrich

During the CNN Republican presidential debate Tuesday, November 23, Newt Gingrich made statements about U.S. potential oil supply that reveal either total ignorance of energy or supremely dangerous demagoguery. He stated that the United States could discover and produce enough oil in 2012 to cause a worldwide oil price collapse.

GINGRICH: But let me make a deeper point. There's a core thing that's wrong with this whole city. You said earlier that it would take too long to open up American oil. We defeated Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan in three years and eight months because we thought we were serious.

If we were serious, we would open up enough oil fields in the next year that the price of oil worldwide would collapse. Now, that's what we would do if we were a serious country. If we were serious...


Earlier in the debate, when discussing the impact on Europe and the global price of oil of stopping Iranian exports through sanctioning its central bank, Gingrich said that would not be a problem. The United States would simply provide an additional 4 million barrels of oil per day to Europe to cover the Iranian shortfall.

BLITZER: The argument, Speaker Gingrich -- and I know you've studied this, and I want you to weigh in -- on the sanctioning of the Iranian Central Bank, because if you do that, for all practical purposes, it cuts off Iranian oil exports, 4 million barrels a day.

The Europeans get a lot of that oil. They think their economy, if the price of gasoline skyrocketed, which it would, would be disastrous. That's why the pressure is on the U.S. to not impose those sanctions. What say you?

GINGRICH: Well, I say you -- the question you just asked is perfect, because the fact is we ought to have a massive all-sources energy program in the United States designed to, once again, create a surplus of energy here, so we could say to the Europeans pretty cheerfully, that all the various sources of oil we have in the United States, we could literally replace the Iranian oil.

Now that's how we won World War II.


It seems absurd to have to rebut these preposterous statements, but here are the facts.

During the week ending November 18, 2011, the US used 14.8 million barrels (Mbopd) of crude oil as input to refineries. This included 5.9 Mbopd of domestic crude oil production and 8.3 Mbopd of net crude oil imports. From this input, 18.6 Mbopd of petroleum products were produced and consumed (Exhibit 1).

The U.S. would have to increase field production by more than double current production to become oil independent by increasing domestic production to 14.8 Mbopd. Even peak production in 1970 of 10,000 bopd would only meet 68% of current crude oil consumption. To bring about a collapse in world oil prices, as Mr. Gingrich suggests, would mean increasing U.S. production by substantially more than this.

Maximum daily production from Prudhoe Bay Field, the largest in the United States, was 2.0 million bopd in 1988 (http://www.aspo-usa.com/archives/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&...). Mr. Gingrich suggests that we can find more than six additional Prudhoe Bay-sized fields in one year. Prudhoe Bay was discovered in 1968, did not begin production for 11 years, and did not reach peak production until 20 years after its discovery. But Mr. Gingrich thinks that there are many Prudhoe Bay fields waiting to be found that can be at explored, developed and brought to peak production in one year.

It is difficult to imagine that Mr. Gingrich could be unaware of these fundamental facts and probabilities. If so, he must be placed in a lower category than Rick Perry and Herman Cain, who simply could not remember what they presumably knew. The only other possibility is that he knows the reality of oil supply and is misleading to the American people in order to gain support for a positive "can do" message. Either way, it is clear that Mr. Gingrich does not have a realistic understanding of the oil exploration and production business.

So it seems the question isn't 'Whether Newt will Stumble..?' , but rather 'Will anyone catch his stumble?'

Ok, anyone outside this unmentionable conversation here..

He is running for office. A decent understanding of this subject would be a liability for him, not an asset.

Paul Krugman said a while back what many here would agree with: "Newt Gingrich is a stupid man's idea of what a smart person sounds like."

To be annoyingly precise, the original(as far as I know) was Ezra Klein's, but Krugman borrowed it. But yes, the point stands.

Well as bad as Newt may be, he has to be considered a true genius when compared to Perry!

Even The Onion, couldn't make this up! One has to wonder how he can manage to get up in the morning and dress himself

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) – Rick Perry flubbed both the country's voting age and the date of the upcoming presidential election at a speech to a group of college students in Manchester Tuesday.

The Texas governor told students in the audience he'd appreciate their vote if they were turning 21 by Nov. 12.

That's what I would call a stupid man's idea of what a complete idiot sounds like. I mean seriously, was this guy dropped on his head when he was little?

-His office, not the people's.

"The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself... Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable..."
~ H.L. Mencken

The US gov't, along with other gov'ts, is considered a supreme terrorist organization.

Julian Assange, for one, might know.

Ok, anyone outside this unmentionable conversation here.
~ jokuhl

You mean outside the Overton Window?

Abe's Legacy
Exterior Deco
Good Omen
Industrial Design
Best View

Compulsive Shopping

Price of oil per barrel

When at least half the population of a country believes more in supernatural forces than in science-based ones, you can simply throw out logic, reason, data or common-sense and bring out the beads, cards, bowls of bones and magic eight balls to plan for the future.

Clearly Tankingthinker gets it. We must also consider what has happened in the past to those rare U.S. pols who occasionally tell the public the truth. Can anyone recall Jimmy Carter's (in)famous "malaise" speech, rooftop solar panels on the White House and fireside chats with cardigan sweaters? That lesson has certainly not been lost on anyone seeking public office, least of all the extremely opportunistic and mendacious Newt Gingrich.

This familiar rant about how dumb people are is wrong. First of all, it's false to say that the prevalence of religious sentiment in poll-question replies is somehow evidence of the complete obliteration of knowledge and reason. Tune into sports-talk radio sometime, and pay attention to the detail and nuance displayed in most callers' comments. If reason has been so crushed out, how do you explain the widespread existence of encyclopedic mastery of facts and situations in that venue? Maybe it's a matter of what people are allowed and encouraged to care about, rather than blanket idiocy?

Meanwhile, with all due respect, Jimmy Carter's malaise speech in fact sounded an awful lot like Newt Gingrich's present claims, if you bother to actually remember/look back at it:

Yes, Carter admitted that demand was part of the problem, but his overall answer to the situation was to "unlock" the "many Saudi Arabias" we had somehow neglected right here at home. Same story as Newt, in other words.

People aren't irreparably dumb, and it is hardly a step in the right direction, given the situation, to peddle insults and false history as a purported solution.

So many half-truths and straw men, where to start?

For starters, I actually was not the first person to raise religion as a topic, you were. But, since you did, I would broadly agree that the more religious a person is, the less importance that person would ascribe to empirical evidence, scientific facts/theories or reason-based thinking in general. National polls conducted over many decades also reflect a correlation between religiosity and those who self-identify as conservatives, which is no big surprise.

That said, I don't think because a person self-identifies as conservative or religious (even strongly so) that they are all idiots completely incapable of reason. However, as John Stuart Mill famously observed, "Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives." If you have an ideologically extreme conservative world view and refuse to consider theories or evidence that run contrary to your belief system, then it becomes very difficult to have a reasoned debate grounded in facts. Same goes for extreme Leftists (though there are considerably fewer extreme Leftists in the U.S. than there are extreme conservatives).


Lastly, your comparison of Newt Gingrich to Carter is... how shall I put it, slightly off the mark? For starters, Carter spoke about the need for energy independence long before Peak Oil was a proven theory, and at a time when it might have been possible if the U.S. had marshalled its resources to develop renewable energy technologies and promote conservation. Perhaps Carter's vision back then was still too optimistic, but even so, he was widely criticized for being too pessimistic by the media --and voters. Newt is *still* denying Peak Oil and Climate Change at a point in history when we should be long past the debate part (i.e., they are both well established facts), and well past the point when the U.S. should have started taking action.

Also considers Carters hope to unlock domestic Saudi Arabias; at the time research into producing western oil shale (Marlstone) was in its infancy, and it didn't seem unreasonable to hope it would pay off. Also GOM -especially deepwater was not yet developed.

I submit that Hubbert's Peak Oil hypothesis was factually proven and became theory when USA production peaked as was predicted by his hypothesis, and was thus a proven theory when Carter made his famous speech.

That lesson has certainly not been lost on anyone seeking public office, least of all the extremely opportunistic and mendacious Newt Gingrich.

Mendacious 1. telling lies, especially habitually; dishonest; lying; untruthful: a mendacious person.

You were quoted on an environmental blog today Harm. Newt is incredibly wrong about oil

How wrong is Newt Gingrich about energy?

In last week’s Republican debate #1,237, he called for a national energy program on the scale of World War II that would boost our energy output, driving down the price of gasoline and saving our economy.

There’s just one problem: The actual experts on energy over at The Oil Drum website take him apart as either being ignorant or mendacious. (That last word is a fancy way of saying lying.)

Actually a lot of other Oil Drum folks got mentioned on this blog today, Aeberman got the most but others, including myself, was also quoted.

Ron P.

Thanks, Ron. Nice to know TOD is being read by the wider reality-based community.

It is difficult to imagine that Mr. Gingrich could be unaware of these fundamental facts and probabilities.

Given that Mr. Gingrich is a historian and therefore I strongly suspect, never exposed to in depth training in math, physics, chemistry, geological science, etc... it is quite easy to imagine that he is just another mathematically and scientifically illiterate politician driven by blind faith in things like the invisible hand of the market and his dogmatic political ideology.

Perhaps he could at least be introduced to Tainter's collapse of complex societies. Though I'm afraid he would resort to the old canard that the scenarios proposed by Tainter will never come to be, because we Americans are so exceptional that our ingenuity and technological prowess will always save the day! Here comes Mighty Mouse to save the day, Minnie is so relieved!

Or perhaps the witches brew from Shakespear's Macbeth that contains some magic Newt, would be more appropriate...

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

All The Witches together:
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

I think it's fair to say the entire Republican field, including supposed "moderates" Romney and Huntsman, subscribe to this same magical thinking. They find it borderline treasonous for others to suggest America must follow the same laws of physics as everyone else, and it's an article of faith in the GOP that the only thing holding us back from "energy independence" and even returning to net exporter status is job-killing environmental regulations, not the fact that we've already produced all of our good oil and gas fields. Limits of physical reserves, infrastructure, available labor force, capital expenses, et cetera are no problem if your energy policy is based on faith-based initiatives.

Or maybe the wrong people from both parties keep running for office

Well, "wrong" is really in the eye of the voters, no? If a majority of our willfully uninformed and facts-resistant voting public keeps on *wanting* politicians to tell them comforting lies and playing kick-the-can vs. proposing actual reforms or game-changing solutions to problems, what we get is... remarkably like the candidate rosters of both major parties.

The problem isn't what people want. It's what it takes to be a viable (money) and serious ("safe" positions) candidate.

Remember Barry Commoner? "Dr. Commoner, are you a serious candidate or are you just running on the issues?"

Even with zero leadership and amid the Republican/Tea Party backlash, 60 percent of Americans still believe we are presently spending too little on environmental remediation.


Insulting the people is no way to lead them.

I blame voters.
Politicians come from voters.
People who run for office cater to the voters and tell them what they want to hear.....

Of course voters are partially to blame for this mess....

Did we (as a whole) not vote for urban sprawl?
Did we not vote in favor of cars?
Did not not vote against energy conservation?
Did we not vote to have our cake and eat it too?
Do we not vote for a growing economy, increasing consumption and increasing population?

I do admit politics amplifies corruption reduces the chances voters will be listened to but...,

Politicians aren't separate from the rest of us...,

they are us.

Politicians don't always come from voters. Places like the US and Canada still have outdated electoral systems that skew the number of seats one way or the other. The net result is to misrepresent the electorate.

Countries with more accurate voting systems often --but not always-- are more responsive to their electorate. Norway, Germany and New Zealand have fairer voting systems and somewhat better energy planning than other democracies. (It's difficult to compare this with autocracies).

Also, the other way we vote, and probably the more important way, is with our wallets. Most people want cheap, replaceable goods made by people in near slave-like conditions. They might not say it up front, but they behave with their wallets as if they do.

It's difficult to measure whether "voting" with our wallets counts more than with a ballot - unfortunately you're correct in saying we vote to have our cake and eat it too, and not just at election time, but at the malls and gas stations as well.

Who said anything about "insulting" the American people? I'm not trying to insult average Americans, I'm simply pointing out how generally uninformed and willfully facts-resistant they really are. Poll after poll over the years has reinforced the point (not to mention quite a few "Jaywalking" segements on the Tonight Show), but all the real-world evidence you need you can get by simply interviewing your neighbors and relatives.

Among some gems I've "learned" from some of my own relatives over the years:
--Peak Oil and Global Warming are liberal myths that are "cover" for a Socialist plot to institute a one-world government.
--Torture, indefinite detention and extraordinary rendition are all sanctioned by the Constitution (especially when a Republican is in charge).
--The Founding Fathers were all Evangelical Conservatives who intended the U.S. to be a Christian nation (with evangelical Protestant Christianity as our official state religion).
--Oil/gas prices have risen so quickly due to U.S. tolerance of the gay "lifestyle", which is an abomination to God.
--Concerns about overpopulation and resource depletion is a waste of time, as the Chosen ones will be raptured up anytime now. In any case, human beings are incapable of inflicting any permanent damage to the earth b/c God would not allow it, and if for some reason He did, then that means it's all part of the Plan.

The worse it gets for me is "Market Forces will solve all problems..."

"They've been talking about the end of oil for decades...."


I have to apologize to you, here on TOD I have tendency to skim through the comments not because of the quality but the quantity. one part of your comment registered directly

"The Founding Fathers were all Evangelical Conservatives who intended the U.S. to be a Christian nation (with evangelical Protestant Christianity as our official state religion" Jefferson Paine, evangelicals. give me a break.

I clicked directly on the reply button and in a fit of righteous indignation was going to eviscerate you. I am not an American but a Brit, and I do know my history.

Luckily for me I read it through more slowly and realised that this was not your point of view. I humbly apologise.

Unfortunately for the west our leaders have become more and more, to use a PC expression become more and more " Historically challenged" which means they know f**k all.

;-) No apology necessary! A few times I have pulled a 'Stephen Colbert' and parroted extreme right-wing talking points (to point out just how absurd their actual positions are). I try to be obvious about it, but every now and then someone skim-reads and mistakes it for the real thing.

It is difficult to imagine that Mr. Gingrich could be unaware of these fundamental facts and probabilities.

[i.e. Cude Imports = 8,283/14,796 = 56% ]

No, it's not that hard to imagine such a thing.

I guess I'm echoing FM's near-simultaneous post above about what politicians "know".

Many readers of TOD have a science/engineering education.
That education has deeply warped the way they view the world.

1) How engineers/scientists see the world

2) How politicians see the world

3) How Joe-the-unemployed plumber sees the world

Newt isn't all that ignorant. His answer to a question about oil was fairly carefully phrased in terms of "energy".

"the question you just asked is perfect, because the fact is we ought to have a massive all-sources energy program in the United States designed to, once again, create a surplus of energy here "

i.e., he panders to the nuts while leaving enough wiggle room that he could translate it into a sane policy.

(Of course, the other quote is quite insane.)

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on him not understanding it."
--Upton Sinclair.

I don't think it proves anything at all about what Mr. Gingrich knows. From what I understand he is a very intelligent man. He may know the real facts thoroughly. But since he is running for office it behooves him to say what will get him votes in the Republican primary. To me that doesn't prove he believes it. Just that he believes it to be politically expedient to say at the moment.

And reading all Republican candidates web pages, either nothing on Energy, or a set of variations around "drill baby drill we can be energy independent let's go".
If there is a time to bring a bit of sense in this energy debate it is clearly right now.
And by the way currently happening in France, with Energy becoming a clear focus of the presidential campaign, although more on the "stop nuclear or not" side for the time being, but fossile also discussed, even if still too much in the background, but with the peak and depletion clearly stated.

Also really have problems to grasp why the message "did you know that the US went through its oil production peak in 1970 ?" isn't a key one in the US.


I'll bet Newt's internal thought process went something like this:


Thought #1: The feedback from the experts is that we can't produce enough oil and certainly not quickly.

#2: But the USA doesn't do anything with any real commitment like we did in my parents generation. And most educated people want to get us off oil anyway because they're liberals. Everyone in my political world lies & cheats & bullshits the facts, so I will assume everyone else outside my world does too.

#3: Therefore, surely we can do more to raise oil production if we were serious and stopped listening to my opponents. It would happen if we didn't care about the work involved or the little stuff like environmental damage incurred or other long term problems.

#4: And if we raise production this means domestic jobs, right? People want that, don't they? They don't care about anything else as long as we deliver some more jobs quickly.

#5: So I should claim that whatever oil production we need is domestically possible because this will help get me elected. I can imagine that a portion of what I want is theoretically possible so that means I'm not lying. I'm just playing the Washington game with the voters the way you have to play it.

#6: Let's run through this one more time . . . A positive "bootstraps" sounding message + it boosts domestic jobs + it might have some possibility of working + it makes my opponents look like the problem = I should go ahead and preach it.

Spectator, great scenario but it is wrong because your Thought #1 is wrong. The "experts" Newt listens to are the politicians on the far right along with people he meets at fund raisers and town hall meetings. They all tell him there is plenty of oil if only the government would open up places like the Green River Shale, ANWR and offshore Atlantic and Pacific.

They all believe it is all the government's fault because of the restrictions the government places on drilling. Bottom line, Newt believes every word he uttered just like Bachmann believes she can bring back two dollar oil. They all believe "Drill Baby Drill" will allow us to become energy independent and also bring back cheap gasoline.

They actually believe this stuff!

Ron P.

Darwinian, I think you are right.

Just like Bachmann, Newt believes what he is saying is correct -- when we all know it is not feasible.

If you look at Newt's political history and past speeches, it's pretty obvious that Newt says whatever Newt needs to say to in order to get elected or stay in power. Whether or not he actually believes the cornucopian claptrap emanating from his lips is completely irrelevant. Will it attract votes and campaign contributions from wealthy donors? is the only question that matters. In politics, "we create our own reality", as one of Newt's political soulmates succinctly pointed out.

when we all know it is not feasible.

Come now, all the US of A needs to do is rip open space time to the parallel universe of all oil.

Because the time to make a hole in the ground *AND* lay transport *AND* refineries would exceed the one year time frame given.

(Because no sane person believes in the Invisible Hand of the Market will produce oil just by placing money on the table.)

The key to being able to lie convincingly is to be able to first lie to yourself.

They 'believe' this stuff with one part of their brain, whereas they still have enough logical faculties to know that its not true in reality and use it appropriately.

They are like second hand car salesmen in how they go about their job.

I think you're wrong ... I don't think they believe anything like that at all (even when they are having a beer with their most conspiracy-mad cohorts) - they just think their political fortunes are progressed by spouting such stuff, erroneous as it is, because the people like to hear it. Basic, raw, and predictable politics.

I'm with you for the most part Cargill. Though it probably is somewhat of a mixed bag. There likely are a few of the crazier ones who actually do believe it. But as you say, most of them are plenty smart enough to know better.

I have an acquaintance at work he is inarguably smarter than any of them (there's even a Nobel prize in his family line), yet he is taken completely by the Koch funded John Bircher explanation of things, even including abiotic oil. In his case I think it is a couple of non negiotable religious views, (1) God has provided a virtually unlimited amount of goodies for his children, (2) climate is God's domain, and it is an insult to God to claim that man can influence it in any way. So it really is possible, to have an IQ of 160, be a working scientist even, yet believe totally unreal things.

...although IQ attempts to measure some notion of intelligence, it may fail to act as an accurate measure of 'intelligence' in its broadest sense...
~ Wikipedia

"The scale, properly speaking, does not permit the measure of intelligence, because intellectual qualities are not superposable, and therefore cannot be measured as linear surfaces are measured...
Some recent thinkers seem to have given their moral support to these deplorable verdicts by affirming that an individual's intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity that cannot be increased. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism; we must try to demonstrate that it is founded on nothing."
~ Binet

(see also Flynn et al.)

The [Nobel] award, given in the first year of Obama's presidency, received criticism that it was undeserved, premature and politically motivated. Obama himself said that he felt 'surprised' by the win and did not consider himself worthy of the award, but nonetheless accepted it.

Among the most criticised Nobel Peace Prizes was the one awarded to Henry Kissinger and Lê Ðức Thọ, who later declined the prize. This led to two Norwegian Nobel Committee members resigning. Kissinger and Thọ were awarded the prize for negotiating a ceasefire between North Vietnam and the United States in January 1973. However, when the award was announced, both sides were still engaging in hostilities.[104] Many critics were of the opinion that Kissinger was not a peace-maker but the opposite; responsible for widening the war.
~ Wikipedia

Many of my co-workers do okay at their job and seem smart in that one narrow subject. In every other subject they are totally ignorant, and unable to carry on a conversation. Yet they are completely confident that they are expert at everything.

Therein lies the problem. Non scientific thinkers don't believe they have anything to learn. So they don't seek out knowledge. Scientific thinkers are open to knowledge and try to honestly compare it to their held beliefs.


I think you have it nailed. At least, that's the way that I interpret Gingrich's preposterous statements. He's a fairly intelligent guy and, even without great technical knowledge about energy, he can surely grasp that the U.S. hasn't been able to be energy self-sufficient for a long time. His ploy, therefore, must be, as I have stated, pure demagoguery.


I agree that in the end it is often about demagogy, false promise for which an excuse or scapegoat will be looked for afterwards, and in some cases maybe plain ignorance and/or denial. And not having a precise picture of Newt Gingrich don't know for sure in that case.

However on this point (oil supply and energy in general) I think it is more complex (even way more complex).
First because the frontier expert/politician isn't so clear at all : typically Dick Cheney is/was clearly both, and anyway the basic concept (oil as a finite ressource is so simple that you don't really need to be an expert to grasp it, then true that there is the actual data about it).
Second because it is already an old story, and one extremely linked to geostrategy, diplomacy and the military for a very long time, and the Bush (two of them) era is also about the US oil industry becoming a top if not the top influence in Washington, especially after the "oil glut" (and the Reagan Saudis deal to put the last blow to USSR bankrupcy, by having them increase their prod), but this oil glut also hit the US oil industry quite a bit :
Not to mention that the $ as being the reserve currency is also linked to it being called a "petro dollar", that in itself is linked to US military ensuring the bulk of the oil "security".(and after all Bretton Woods(gold standard) has been fully dropped right after US peak.)

But also true that the US is still the third producer and a big country, so saying "we can go back to previous levels" has some more "sellable" aspects than a country that never had any to begin with.

And this being so important in all aspects, wouldn't be surprised of some kind of "don't say it" kind of deal even if informal or even inconscious or sacred amongst the politician class, something like "not all truth have to be said".

But it doesn't change the fact that it simply can't be concealed anymore, and taking it for what it is, is now the only chance if there is one out of this mess.

And on this, TOD and others could also probably assume a "political" role, everything being more or less political in the end (after all "human is a political animal" according to Aristotle), and even information and bare facts sharing and publishing is a form of political act.

I strongly doubt if it is possible that the Newt is ignorant of the true situation in respect to oil;he has been in high office with the services of a lot of capable researchers available at the lift of a finger.

And even though the powerful are famous for shooting messengers, those who fight their way to the top have to be smart enough to have some advisers who will give them the straight dope.

Now as to what he believes is doable and possible-it's hard to say , but if he were in the White House with a republican congress to back him, I for one am willing to bet we would see the percentage of oil we burn drop noticeably faster than it would otherwise;but the price we would pay in terms of environmental consequences would be high.

I don't doubt that professors are subject to a dangerous combination of egomania and ignorance.We see articles written every week by some ivory tower idiot who thinks we can build skyscraper greenhouses.

But imo it is safe to say the Newt is simply pandering to his base, and it is also safe to say that he will get away with it.

The sort of lie he is telling is impossible for the mainstream media to expose and refute for the elegantly simple reason that the msm-even the vaunted New York Times- is locked into the bau growth forever scenario.

No successful politician -or wannabe successful politician of any party-is in a position to try to tell the public the truth in this matter;he or she might as well publicly announce that the little green men have landed and negotiated a secret pact with him personally to supply us with all the free dilithium we could ever want in exchange for the privilege of setting up a tourist resort in the bottom of the Marianas trench.

The liberal wing has gotten away with a similar tactic for years by telling a simple fast feel good story about the affordability of the welfare state;the conservative wing has managed the trick again in reference to the mic and tax cuts/ increases.

The liberals are not going to win any arguments easily about raising taxes because the only people who get a warm fuzzy orgasmic feeling from doing that are the ones who will be the direct immediate beneficiaries via salary or supplement check.-and they have to be dumb enough or cynical enough to fail to see and/or feel the sting of being welfare recipients.

OF COURSE all of us would benefit from tax increases LEVIED ON SOMEBODY ELSE if the money were to be spent of useful goals, but hardly anybody is idealistic/ or naive enough to believe it would be-unless the goal happens to be an already established hog trough and they see that trough as being useful to the country .My radical conbservative friends for instance see the mic as a cornerstone of our country.

The narrative is everything-at election time.

Reason and facts count for next to nothing-at election time.

The Newt knows his business.

He overreached in office.

Bill and Hillary knew their business too.

They overreached as well.

I strongly doubt if it is possible that the Newt is ignorant of the true situation in respect to oil;he has been in high office with the services of a lot of capable researchers available at the lift of a finger.

Mac, we agree on perhaps 95 percent of things discussed on this list. But here we very much disagree. I have no doubt that Newt, Bachmann, Perry, Cain and the rest of the Republican field believe there is plenty of oil if only....

You just don't seem to understand that anyone can always find some "expert opinion" that agrees with them. So these are the "experts" that they listen to. It simply does not matter what research is available to them, there are "experts" who agree with them and that is all that matters.

No, no, no, these people actually believe this stuff. They all believe it! They are not lying, they are just down in the dirt dumb when it comes to population and natural resources.

Ron P.

Darwinian, Mac and others,

I spent a day on Capitol Hill a few weeks ago and met with 10 different legislators' top energy staffers. We were delivering a Peak Oil message and got zero push-back from anyone. In fact, all had reached similar conclusions long before our arrival. Their feedback to us was to give them some way to deliver the message of impending scarcity that would not guarantee their defeat in the next election. We can't provide that.

So, I'm on Mac's side here. Gingrich and Bachmann get the same advice that those we visited get (it was a mix of Democrats and Republicans that we visited). I can't speak for Cain, and I assume that Perry gets similar information. It is true that egomania and evangelical la-la can go a long way toward denial and magical thinking but, for the most part, I have to believe, based on this recent experience, that most of the candidates understand on some level that the U.S. will never be energy independent in the next few decades, at least.

It serves no purpose for us to dismiss politicians as idiots who, without scientific or technical backgrounds, can never understand energy. It think that we must view the situation through an extreme real politik lens to understand what is really going on. I have no expectation that writing this post will make things different but felt it was, and is, worth responding to what are clear mis-statements of truth (and I plan to continue!).


I'm sure you're both right...,

I'm sure some politicians get it and know there is nothing they can do about it in our current political system....

I'm also quite sure some politicians are not all that bright

It serves no purpose for us to dismiss politicians as idiots who, without scientific or technical backgrounds, can never understand energy.

No, I would rather say they were just ignorant, not idiots. You will not find the word "idiot" in any of my comments. I have used the word "dumb" but I think that implies a lack only of knowledge, just as "ignorant" does. And I have insinuated they were ignorant of resource depletion and population problems.

We know that what Bachmann and Gringrich is saying is just ignorant. So you must concede that they are either ignorant or liars. I think I am being kind in implying that they are just ignorant. What do you think?

Ron P.

Got to agree with OFM on this one --very likely that most right-wing pols are privately aware of the reality of Peak Oil and its implications, but recognize that it's irrelevant to the only goals that matters to them: first getting elected and then holding onto power and wealth. In the U.S. telling unhappy truths to one's constituents is an excellent way to be marginalized, defeated, and driven into political obscurity. On the other hand, telling our willfully ignorant and superstitious voting majority what they want to hear (optimistic lies about perpetuating "Our Way of Life") is an excellent way to get elected and to stay in Wall Street's good graces.

first getting elected and then holding onto power and wealth

The Newt was tossed out over misconduct.


The Washington Post reports that the GOP’s latest-most-beloved, Newt Gingrich, has assembled a $100 million gaggle of businesses. Beyond the incomparable advertising benefit to Tiffany (TIF) of Gingrich’s $500,000 line of credit, the Gingrich Industrial Complex (GIC) looks big enough to pay for Callista’s blue-boxed baubles.


One client Pharmaceuticals Research and Manufacturers of America paid Gingrich $150,000 between 2001 and 20012 when it dropped him after Gingrich recommended that it should build a web site;

(think about that for a sec. The Newt got $150K for telling someone to build a website. )

For Mr. Gingrich to be considered a front runner, given his past, who here is the 'ignorant' party - Mr. Gingrich or the people being polled?

aeberman wrote;

I spent a day on Capitol Hill a few weeks ago and met with 10 different legislators' top energy staffers. We were delivering a Peak Oil message and got zero push-back from anyone. In fact, all had reached similar conclusions long before our arrival. Their feedback to us was to give them some way to deliver the message of impending scarcity that would not guarantee their defeat in the next election.

This is it in a nutshell. One potential solution could be to;

- Reveal the issue plainly and forthrightly, saying that soothing palliatives otherwise were misleading and dangerous to be lulled by. Then lay out the plan to mitigate the risk. Most voters are risk averse to some degree.

I'd be more than happy to help craft such a solution into a coherent plan with you.

... give them some way to deliver the message of impending scarcity [Peak Oil] that would not guarantee their defeat in the next election

That is the lamest cop out excuse I ever heard.

There are only two parties in the USA: Dems and Repubs.

When the need is there, they seem to manage to get to the so-called Nirvana land of "bi-partisan" agreement.
Two competing candidates in a D versus R race could easily agree to jointly deliver the message to the people.

Dear Voters,

Irrespective of who wins in this election, there is something we both agree you need to know.
It's time to act like adults and confront the problem of Peak Oil.
Some people have known for decades, but partisan bickering kept this from coming to the forefront.
However, as two competing but equally patriotic candidates, we jointly inform you of the following ...

How hard is that?

Very hard.

Political consensus requires consensus within the business community, and we don't have that yet. The oil & gas industry is fighting this tooth and nail.

You just don't seem to understand that anyone can always find some "expert opinion" that agrees with them. So these are the "experts" that they listen to. It simply does not matter what research is available to them, there are "experts" who agree with them and that is all that matters.

Most people believe what they want to believe

Yes! Including (and especially) voters.

"Most people" do little if any independent thinking. They tend to believe an approximate aggregate summation of what they are programmed to believe.

Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.
- Francis Bacon

Those who do the programming/advertising know this and use this to their advantage.

Hi, Darwinian

Of course there is no handy way I can prove my case-or that you can prove yours.

But somebody who has top secret clearances and the ability to invite the head of the energy department-or a couple of four star generals over for a chat at that somebody's convenience-now that sort of somebody is going to get the real straight poop handed to him at least occasionally.Gingrich was in that position for a long time.

I have read some of Gingrich's work, and talked to a couple of people who have known him or some of his students personally,and he is definitely an intelligent man.

Furthermore if there is any advantage at all to being a historian , it is that a practitioner of that profession must realize that things change in radical ways over time, and that the typical man on the street-or emperor-or businessman-seldom ever sees the change coming.Hence a historian should at least theoretically keeping his eyes open to spot the new trends and document them if for no other reason than burnishing his professional reputation-although of course the Newt is not really a currently practicing historian.

Everybody here seems to agree that S Chu must know the truth about the perilous state of the oil industry;but I don't recall anybody refusing to cut HIM a little slack when it comes to telling the truth about it.Everybody from the NYT on down allows him to dodge the question and say nothing.

The NYT will not( although the owners, editors and news staff would all probably give up their sex lives for a decade for a good opportunity to do so)call the Newt on this because it would mean exposing the soft underbelly of their own faction to the truth-growth is finished.The rest of the msm media will follow that lead of course.

Do you think the editorial staff and reporters there really believe there is plenty oil oil to go around in the world?

I don't.They hint around about the truth in science and environmental articles -but they dare not go further.

I have had them bookmarked for a long time, and used to get the "paper" paper when I lived downstate near I95-some of the bigger convenience stores north of Richmond carry it.

But as Reagen is supposed to have said, anybody who agrees with me most of the time must be a friend of mine.

If your ever have occasion to visit northwest NC or southwest Va dinner and drinks are on me.Unfortunately I am unable to travel very far or for more than a day or two due to some family member's health issues.

Now that I think about it, Gingrich and the right wing might just conceivably take this issue seriously enough that he would tackle energy with the same enthusiasm they have applied to building the mic.

There would be plenty of political hay to be made.Plenty of opportunities to cut deals to get big labor on board for instance.

I can see in my mind's eye an "arm's race" or space race approach being implemented-coal to liquid plants getting fast tracked, natural gas vehicle initiatives being fast tracked, building code overhauls fast tracked-and lots of other such things all being massively funded, the deficit be xxxxed once the election is won.Environmental review and permitting processes getting rubber stamped in six months instead of six years, construction permits in sixty days more instead of years, etc.

The price would be enormous-but then so is the prize-if you happen to be paranoid about national security and prosperity, or if you tend to be as safety conscious about national security as the typical anti nuke guy is about the dangers of nuclear power.

And of course paranoia is either a mental illness or the sign of a prescient deep thinker-depending on how fate deals out the cards.

I expect you are right about Bachmann and maybe a couple of others you mention.

But otoh-while I believe that a collapse is inevitable and not far off in historical terms, there just by some miracle of luck be a way to sail the ship of state through the coming permanent energy storm for a few more decades if we were to really put our minds to it the way we did to fighting WWII.

Hi neighbor. If you are looking for someone to talk to, I live in Ashe County. My e-mail is in my profile...

E. Swanson

Everybody here seems to agree that S Chu must know the truth about the perilous state of the oil industry;but I don't recall anybody refusing to cut HIM a little slack when it comes to telling the truth about it.Everybody from the NYT on down allows him to dodge the question and say nothing.

Mr. Chu is not on record that I know of making a very provably wrong statement. Mr. Gingrich has made a production claim that is just not able to be met.

The price would be enormous-but then so is the prize-if you happen to be paranoid about national security and prosperity, or if you tend to be as safety conscious about national security

Its easy to be a paranoid with others money.

I (mostly) agree with Ron here. The message (Americans have lost the can do spirit, and I will give it back to them), that is pretty seductive. And the first part feels true (I think it is true), we just seem to throw up roadblocks that slow down or make progress on a lot of fronts impossible, and the people would love that to change. So taking that as fundamental, then add the things the NG industry is saying about shale gas (i.e. we recently discovered we can now produce and voila a hundred year supply), then simply apply that supposed miracle to oil (which most people realize is similar to NG), and belief is easy to come by.

Now some of this is simply learning to beleive that which they need to make their next career step. But it is quite possible for a smart but narrowly focused person, to listen to the wrong experts, and therefore draw the wrong conclusions. The one thing politicians haven't concentrated on, is how to carefully think about a subject in a manner which minimizes the risk that human cognitive weaknesses will lead to a seriously wrong result. Instead they've concentrated, on winning arguments with other imperfect humans, in which case cognitive weaknesses and biases, are not things to be carefully walled off, but rather things to exploit.


I like reading your posts, and I have a question.

In what ways did Newt and Bill Over-reach.

Hillary was the first Lady so I don't count her in the discussion, as she did not hold office then.

Let me caveat with: The Lewsinski affair and the cover-up lie. Agreeing on the idiocy of that, and also recognizing Newt's giving his cancer-stricken wife the heave-ho and his having an affair while he was trying to impeach Bill, I am interested in over-reach wrt U.S. laws and policies during the 1990s.

Bill and Hillary were a team as I see it-Hillary was certainly the lead woman on the health care issue. Bill was more the centrist and the more capable politician of the pair;Hillary is just as intelligent imo, but she lacks Bill's political touch.

They overreached on health care and that imo was the biggest single reason for the election shellacing that followed .

The republicans, with the Newt in the drivers seat overreached when they tried to ram the "contract with America " through and alsosuffered the electoral consequences .

I followed the Watergate thing closely-there is little doubt in my mind it was a slick and slimy business.But otoh, the Clintons were reasonably honest politicians-you got about what you thought you were voting for if you voted for them, which is saying a lot.

The Lewinsky affair blew up on the republicans doing them more harm than it did the democrats, although personally I think Clinton should have resigned for reasons of being personally ashamed of his conduct , considering the President should have enough sense of dignity and decorum to set a better example.

I feel about the same way about the Newt and his affairs but to my knowledge he at least didn't use his office for liasons.

We forgave the Clintons, and I believe we should do the same for the Newt.

I believe those who vote for him will get about what they are voting for, if he gets the nomination, and he wins.That's as much as you can reasonably hope for in an election.

For what it is worth, my opinion right now is that the election is pretty well in the bag for the republicans, given current economic conditions.

I felt the same way early on about O Bama's first election.He will lose this one because his base feels betrayed, and because the public will hold economy is against him.

The republicans will win so long as they don't throw it away by running an unelectable candidate-almost any old fogey will do so long as he does not scare the pants off the middle class women who will determine the outcome in a lot of states.

The election is definitely not in the bag for the Republicans. There might be a general feeling of economic malaise, but the public doesn't assign Obama all or even most of the blame, and the electoral math says it's extremely close -- certainly not "in the bag" for anyone at this point. The most credible models for election forecasting (i.e., those with the best historical track record) have Obama finishing slightly ahead of any Republican challenger in the popular vote, and empirically, incumbent presidents whose party has held the White House for only one term tend to have a big advantage in getting re-elected.

To describe this advantage in terms of the context of this election, it hasn't been that long since Bush. People still remember how much damage a Republican president is capable of doing, even if they aren't thrilled with the results they've gotten from the current one. At least with Obama, folks can be pretty certain of what they are getting. How a Romney or a Gingrich would actually govern is still completely up in the air.

The numbers also do not bear out the assertion that Obama has been abandoned by his base.

"The election is definitely not in the bag for the Republicans."

And exit polls have no meaning... Do you remember what I refer to?

If they knew the outcome already, a corporate win, then any words now are just part of silly show.

The show has gotten pretty silly.

The LAPD hand-selected the press allowed to cover the Los Angeles police action of Nov 30th.
Gas and chemical agents, including pepper spray, are outlawed by the "quaint" Geneva convention.
Habeus Corpus is overturned in recent pending law.

Time for the young to leave.

any more words now are just part of silly show

We're not quite there yet mate.

The candidates announced plans for one more debate, this time over the provisions of the Newt-u-Liar Proliferation Treaty.

This just in. Breaking news. GW Bush has agreed to serve as a speech coach and to help the candidates pronounce, newt-u-liar.

I suspect that the only R candidates electable in a general election are Romney and Huntsman. Huntsman has been unable to make himself heard so he is really a long shot. All of the others have so many negatives that even the dismal economy can't float their boats. So the R party has a serious delimma, can they get someone through their primary that the other 75% of the electorate can stomach.

We are looking forward to yet another election of most voters choosing who they don't want the least ;>)

For what it is worth, my opinion right now is that the election is pretty well in the bag for the republicans, given current economic conditions.

Not if a 3rd party comes in and takes a few %age from one party or the other. Ross Perot as an example.

Huntsman/Paul have been extended the offer to run as Libertarians. Paul can take a few % from the R side with him - enough to keep Prez O in office.

For what it is worth, my opinion right now is that the election is pretty well in the bag for the republicans, given current economic conditions.

Not by a long shot. It is still a long time until November 2012 and lots of things can happen. Anyway:
Poll: Generic Republican Ties Obama

Obama leads Republican front-runner Mitt Romney 49 percent to 43 percent and Herman Cain 49 percent to 40 percent.

The message here is that if the republicans were running an average candidate they would be tied with Obama. But they are running a field of clowns so Obama has the edge. But anything can happen in the next eleven months.

For what it's worth the Obama camp sees Romney as the strongest candidate, they are running ads attacking him but not the other candidates. They are hoping Gingrich gets the nomination. However:
Latest Poll: Gingrich has best shot at Obama

The former speaker of the House of Representatives is neck and neck with the incumbent president, back just 2 percentage points among registered voters. Obama leads 47 percent to 45 percent.

But Gingrich has strong negatives that the democrats have not even started to attack.... yet.

Ron P.

we would see the percentage of oil we burn drop noticeably faster than it would otherwise

OFM - can you clarify what you mean by this? Thx.

You have caught me redfaced in an editorial error.I was in a rush to take care of some chores ahead of the rain which is now falling and didn't preview my comment carefully..

What I intended to say was that there would likely be a relative reduction in imports and relative increase in domestic production, such that the fraction of total consumption derived from imports would probably fall faster than otherwise.

In other words I do not doubt that Gingrich if supported by a republican congress could bring about SOME significant increases in domestic production.But freedom from imports is a pipe dream, within the current bau paradigm.

But this reduction in the portion of the oil we use which is imported is going to happen anyway-WT and Sam have me utterly convinced of that! Export land is as real to me as Heaven is too my dear old Daddy.

Ah - thanks, no worries on the error. I largely agree with what you say, except to amend that any relative increase in domestic production is likely to be minor and short-lived, such that with the inexorable progression of declining ANE, we will be consuming not just less imported oil, but less total oil. We will, indeed, be energy independent sooner than we might think, but it will not be at a level anything like that of the recent past.

Newt is just playing to his constituents. The vast majority or right wing conservatives believe that we could flood the world with oil if we only allowed the oil companies to drill anywhere they desired. They all believed Michele Bachmann when she said if she were elected we would see $2.00 oil. Bachmann believed what she was saying and Newt believed what he said.

You cannot educate a right wing conservative on natural resources because that is their world view that natural resources are overly abundant. World views are not subject to revision.

Ron P.


I respectfully submit that you are conflating political motives (Republican-Democrat) with worldviews (liberal-conservative - libertarian, etc.).

I am a lifelong conservative. As a conservative I despise the Republican candidates, all of whom are pure politicians pandering to their masses. I also despise the Democratic politicians for the same reason. All politicians know at a deep level they they will only succeed if they pander to ignorance of reality - which is in great abundance.

As a lifelong conservative I have never espoused the view that resources are abundant. I read "Limits to Growth" in 1973 and have carried a worn out copy of it ever since. Therefore when I was first exposed to the peak oil narrative here on TOD it all made sense. But I consider myself a conservative.

The small circle of peak oil aware people that I communicate with (in Texas) are all deeply conservative also, hence my reaction to your conflation of worldviews and American politics.

For me a conservative worldview does not equate to a Republican political stance. And a conservative worldview does not equate to a belief in abundant resources. A belief in abundant resources is simply a denial of reality. There is a lot of that going around.

TE, I did qualify my statement by saying "The vast majority of right wing conservatives believe... I know there are many conservatives, like yourself, who do not follow the hard right Republican line. After all there are 300 million people in this country so there must be many of them. However I have never personally met any of them. So I am very glad to hear from one such conservative. Congregations on your insight.

Again, the vast majority of right wing conservatives believe that there are no "limits to growth" and that the "Club of Rome" are a bunch of liberal nut cases. The vast majority believe that Malthus got everything wrong and there will never be any limits to population growth.

Hey, just read the right wing blogs, or listen to talk radio. They all, to the man or woman, identify themselves as "conservatives". I know it must be frustrating for you to hear people who call themselves conservatives talking such trash. You have my deepest sympathy.

Ron P.

Ron - And that brings us back to the problem with generalizing. Makes for short though sometimes inaccurate responses. I’m surrounded by conservatives who have a very clear understanding of our resource limits. But look what I do for a living and who I’m surrounded by. We’ve also seen liberals who truly believe we can quickly maintain BAU by switching to the alts.

For me the distinction isn’t R vs. D or liberal vs. conservative. It’s knowledgeable/realistic vs. ignorant/delusional. There seems to be an endless supply of fools across the entire political spectrum.

I like Ron but I think I can help him...,

Here are some definitions of conservative from several dictionaries...,

con·serv·a·tive   [kuhn-sur-vuh-tiv] Show IPA
disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.
traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.

a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established
b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage)

Merrium Webster

In some ways..., I am conservative...

But I never vote Republican....

Les, thanks for the effort but you were no help at all. I have known for years what the word conservative means. I have also known for years what politicians who call themselves right wing conservatives stand for.

Now perhaps I can help you. What right wing conservatives stand for has no relation whatsoever to what the word conservative means. I thought you knew that. But anyway I hope I helped you at least a little. ;-)

Ron P.

You took my smart aleck response much better than I expected


Thanks for your sympathy - I need it :-)

I am sure that the real issue here is that all of these terms (liberal, conservative, libertarian, etc) have lost all of their meaning in today's political conversation.

I think of Liberal and Conservative as a personality trait before having anything to do with politics

Some people are naturally conservative

Some people are naturally liberal

Probably leads to a nice balance overall

I think Ron is confusing conservative with Republican

Not all Republicans are conservative, though many pretend to be...

And not all Democrats are liberal

However, I do think there have been too many radical politicians on the Republican side of the aisle....

What Washington needs are more politicians with backgrounds in math and science

Too many business people and lawyers and not enough scientists and engineers....

Les, the term "Right Wing Democrat" is a contradiction in terms. So is the term "Liberal Republican". Now there may be a few Conservative Democrats, but a very few. Likewise there may be a Republicans who do not buy into all that right wing rhetoric we hear being spouted by the presidential candidates. But nevertheless if you took all the peak oil deniers and global warming deniers and took a poll, you would find at least 90 percent of them would be Republican. Likewise most Republicans do not believe in evolution but do believe professional wrestling is real.

That last sentence was just a little sarcasm, I hope you enjoyed it. ;-)

Ron P.

I always enjoy sarcasm....

I know the PhD crowed have been swinging Democrat in Presidential elections since Reagan
I've read the scientific crowed swing more heavily in favor of the Dems than PhDs...,
Probably out of intense fear of Republican rhetoric

But I do think it's a bad idea to over generalize

There's plenty of ignorance and stupidity to go around on both ends of the political spectrum.

But I do think it's a bad idea to over generalize

Les, I do not think for one minute that you were over generalizing when you wrote: I know the PhD crowed have been swinging Democrat in Presidential elections since Reagan
I've read the scientific crowed swing more heavily in favor of the Dems than PhDs...,

You were just stating the obvious... as was I.

Ron P.

The obvious can be read in exit polls after every presidential election.

As for the scientific crowed....

It's what I've read on several occasions....

Ron, TE:
I think the problem is that the current rightwing machinery in the US is very good at co-opting words. Freedom loving means, no regulations -or taxes, big military, and harsh interrogation techniques, plus continuation of the war on drugs. If you don't agree with us you are anti-freedom. So they've taken a word we all used to think represented something desirable, and pounded on it so the meaning has changed to supporting their agenda. They've done that to the word conservative, it now means support our radical plan. They can then use that to trick people who are freedom loving, and conservative (old school) into supporting their agenda.

So you can be both old school conservative (and trying to keep the original meaning of the word intact), and horrified by the current conservative movement. The contradiction is not with the old schoolers, but rather that the language has been changed out from under them.

Its 1984 and the MiniTru come to life.

We used to have a lot of talk about shifting the Overton window. The OW was defined as that area of thought that seemed respectable. By continually challenging the edges of the window, it can be shifted. The rightwing think tanks have been doing this for years. A similar concept involves language and identity politics. Most people take great stock in their self identity, and that identity is tied into words, such as conservative. By gradually changing the public meaning of those words, the think tanks have been able to move these peoples Overton Windows, "I am conservative, therefore I believe X,Y,and Z". So very gradually new items can be added, and some old ones deleted, and the voter must go along, or challenge his self ID.

Every once in a while you come up with something really good!

Please tell us more about Overton windows.


Yes, I'll ditto that request. Other than Wiki, do you have any more informative links please?

I've seen something like this expressed elsewhere before.

A person says to himself: I am a _______ (fill in the blank, i.e. Peak Oil believer, conservative, liberal, Demo, Repub, ...)

A person subconsciously thinks to himself: Therefore I am part of the _______ (fill in the blank) herd.

Therefore when the _______ (fill in the blank) herd moves to a shifted grazing pasture, I must subconsciously move there too in order to remain a member in good standing with that herd.

An example might be where "conservatives" begin to say, we must destroy (exploit, drill in) ANWR in order to conserve our energy/ military situation. Someone who wants to think of themselves as being a good and loyal "conservative" would then simply go along with that shifted position. (Never asking themselves: What would our real Founding Father, Teddy Roosevelt say?)

Another example might be where a "liberal" says, we must cut Social Security in order to save Social Security.

Basically, Clinton/Obama "triangulation" called out for what it really is: dressing up in sheep's clothes and leading the herd to where the wolves wait.

edit: another link to the Overton concept: here

This site (which is libertarian in bent) defines the term reasonably well
Overton Window

The basic idea of interest groups here is to systematically do things that shift the window of policies that the public considers to be thinkable. Rightwing groups within the US made a long term effort, which consisted in large part by endless repetition of memes just outside of the window. As these memes get reinforced in the mind, they no longer sound beyond the pale, i.e. the window has been shifted. Come up with another meme just outside the window, rinse and repeat. A determined campaign spread over decades can (in theory at least) have a considerable effect.


Thanks for the link:

"When social and political forces bring about change, the window of political possibility shifts up or down the spectrum and can also expand to include more policy options or shrink to include fewer. The window presents a menu of policy choices to politicians: From their point of view, relatively safe choices are inside the window and politically riskier choices (or bolder ones, if you prefer) are outside."

This sounds like a variation on issue framing.
That which is inside the popularly-accepted frame is inside the Overton Window and that which is outside the most popular frame is outside the Window?


Do you feel that none of the announced Republican Presidential Candidates are conservative per your understanding of the term?

I am attempting to understand what true conservatism means, compared with what is on display currently.

If you had a magic wand, which person alive today would be closest to a ideal conservative President?

Which President(s) and/or Congresspeople from the past are closest to your idea of an ideal or good conservative?

I am trying to 'cage my gyros' here and understand what these definitions mean.

Another question: Some of your statements above sound congruent with ideas that a 'green' candidate/person would have. What separates conservatism from greens?

What separates true conservatism from libertarianism?

I think this application is interesting.

Depending on which version of this type of tool I take, and when, I plot out somewhere from about one-quarter North of the origin and a smidgen left of the Y axis, to about two-thirds the way directly 'southwest' of the origin.

Today, on this implementation of this type of mapping tool, I mapped in the vicinity of Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, according tot he programming in the tool.

It would be interesting to see a anonymous plot of all TOD posters , and also all TOD lurkers.


"Do you feel that none of the announced Republican Presidential Candidates are conservative per your understanding of the term?

I am attempting to understand what true conservatism means, compared with what is on display currently."

Greer: When the neoconservative movement burst on the American scene in the last years of the 20th century, some thinkers in the older and more, well, conservative ends of the American right noted with a good deal of disquiet that the "neocons" had very little in common with conservatism in any historically meaningful sense of that word. In the Anglo-American world, conservatism had its genesis in the writings of Edmund Burke (1729-1797), who argued for an organic concept of society, and saw social and political structures as phenomena evolving over time in response to the needs and possibilities of the real world. Burke objected, not to social change—he was a passionate supporter of the American Revolution, for instance—but to the notion, popular among revolutionary ideologues of his time (and of course since then as well), that it was possible to construct a perfect society according to somebody’s abstract plan, and existing social structures should therefore be overthrown so that this could be done.

By and large, Burke’s stance was the intellectual driving force behind Anglo-American conservatism from Burke’s own time until the late twentieth century, though of course—politics being what they are—it was no more exempt from being used as rhetorical camouflage for various crassly selfish projects than were the competing ideas on the other end of the political spectrum. Still, beginning in the 1920s, a radically different sense of what conservatism ought to be took shape on the fringes of the right wing in America and elsewhere, and moved slowly inward over the decades that followed. The rise to power of the neoconservatives in 2000 marked the completion of this trajectory.

This new version of conservatism stood in flat contradiction to Burke and the entire tradition descended from him. It postulated that a perfect society could indeed be brought into being, by following a set of ideological prescriptions set out by Ayn Rand and detailed by an assortment of economists, political scientists, and philosophers, of whom Leo Strauss was the most influential....

...and by lying, ignoring facts, misleading, obfuscation, pandering.... certainly (as Rockman noted) not monopolized by the neocons, though they have elevated it to a fine art as of late.


I appreciate that you have illuminated the conversation with a reminder about Burke and the true definition of conservatism. As I watched the Republican debate last week, I was struck by the distortion of conservatism represented by all of the candidates except, perhaps, Ron Paul.


I have reached the unfortunate conclusion that honesty-in-political-discourse and democracy (getting elected and creating useful change) have become incompatible, as you suggested above. Feeds my doomer side; essentially flying blind, we are. While I believe that ringing the reality bell loudly at sites like TOD is critical, the Pied Pipers will always lure the majority away from what they need to know. Negative realities don't buy elections, don't sell useful change; conundrums and predicaments are inherently unpopular. Witness Ron Paul.

When Presidents tell us that the best thing folks can do for national security is to go shopping, we're pretty much screwed.


All interesting and important questions. I will not have time to answer them coherently right now because I have to get away from this computer and make a living today - meetings.

But some very short and simple responses:

I frankly never see any politicians that deal with realities - so I cannot identify any that I support. That may be my problem but I suspect it is a problem with how politicians have to behave to not be culled from the system quickly. So I try to maintain my sanity by ignoring politicians. I have not watched any of the debates.

Whenever I have taken any of these mapping tools to see where I fall on the maps I usually am slightly in the libertarian camp.

I do not consider myself a "green" in the sense of a green environmentalist - but am strongly oriented toward ecology and am sort of an amateur ecologist. I think I have read Catton's book "Overshoot" about 4 times over the years, as well as Odum's book on "Energy, Ecology, and Economics". To me the sciences of ecology are very consistent with my conservative views.

Possibly I am more of a Edmund Burke type conservative as defined in Greer's article. I'll have to think about that.

All for now.

Havn't seen that sight before Heisenberg, thanks for the link. I took the 'test' and was not particulary suprised to find that I show up as a fairly left wing (anti-authoritarian) liberitarian. I'm not a big fan of the unfettered free market, considering what it is doing and has done to the planet (with the vast majority of peoples tact or explicit consent of course). I mapped Economic Left/Right: -6.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.36.

I may have a couple of my senior classes take that test as an intro the next time we consider politics. So many of them don't even know what they don't know, as the saying goes.


I took the test, it put me in the Libertarian Left category (near the bottom left corner), but I thought a number of the questions were too simplistic for simple answers. I like to say my politics try to be grounded in the laws of thermodynamics. The closest political party for me is the Greens, but they're generally not that interested in Peak Oil since for most lefties oil is merely bad and we should not use it. I've used solar energy for twenty years and it's great but it won't run food delivery trucks across time zones. I don't know of any political party advocating Power Down and relocalization, certainly none of the "third parties" in the US suggest this. I didn't "vote" for Obama and don't look forward to his re-selection. And I'm not a Republican, but it must be embarrassing for the Republican establishment to have luminaries such as Cain and Bachman seen as credible contenders. Eisenhower must be rolling in his grave at this nonsense.

I've used solar energy for twenty years and it's great but it won't run food delivery trucks across time zones.

Wind, solar and nuclear will certainly run electric rail.

What ever happened to Teddy Roosevelt...?

Conservatives used to believe in CONSERVATION

They're supposed to believe in limits

They're supposed to be frugal

The fact you have to go back over 100 years to find a good example of a self-identified conservative Republican President is quite telling. I agree with others that ignorance and magical thinking do not exclusively belong to to one political party (plenty of ignorant Democrats), but even so, today's Republican party is mind-bogglingly crazy as well as hyper ideological.

But none the less..., or les...,
I like Teddy

If you ignore his imperialism.........

I am another conservative who is totally disenchanted with the current Republican Party.

I also like Teddy Roosevelt. Other examplars of this sort of Republican in my mind are Senators Taft and Dole, President Eisenhower, OMB Head David Stockman. I'm sure there are others.

The dichotomy between conservatism and Republicanism, and the rise of neoconservatism to dominance dates from at least 1990 and the First Gulf War.

Today's so-called conservatives who are the mainstream of the Republican party I find to actually be radical utopian materialists. I suppose the party has always had a streak of this sort starting with the post Civil War Radical Republican faction, but they were marginalized by the Gilded Age Robber Barons and then the Progressive Conservatives of Teddy Roosevelt and later.

The terms "conservative" and "liberal" in US politics are outdated.

Nearly all national elected officials are neoliberals. This shows no signs of changing.

From wiki:
Neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that emphasises the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the political and economic priorities of the country.

In order to understand how, for example, a Democrat like Mr. Obama, can be further to the political right than a Republican like Mr. Reagan on most national policy issues, you have to understand the grip neoliberalism and capitalism have on American politics and the end results of such policy.

The "conservative" and "liberal" labels on essentially the same thing only serve to divide the people into absurd discourse over what amounts to a few, mostly insignificant, cultural issues.

We have blown out the Overton Window to the point that a "liberal" in the US Congress would be a center-right/conservative in most first-world governments.

They know what is what but they don't know what is what, they just strut. What the fü¢k.
~ Fatboy Slim

Statism, Government, External Authority, & The Matrix Are All Finished 1 of 3
(Think also, cheap oil where surplus/productivity and slavery are concerned. 'Free-range serfdom'.)


Be truly free. It's most green, resilient and energy-efficient.

To be thrown upon one's own resources, is to be cast into the very lap of fortune; for our faculties then undergo a development and display an energy of which they were previously unsusceptible.
~ Benjamin Franklin
quote from upper left corner of The Oil Drum

The idea is that a contemporary liberal is near one edge of the window, and conservatives are near the opposite edge. What has happened in the US is that the position of this window has been shifted greatly, as one "side" has been much more skilled and determined in the means of window shifting. So ever time, no matter who has won the most recent election, the policies enacted are far outside of the window of twenty years ago.

I see one of the fundamental problems with the recent US system, being that we have two sides, each of whose goal is to shift things as far left/right as possible. The goal is not specific policies, buy rather the process of moving the goalposts. If for some reason one side gets more effective than the other, the system no longer has a policy center of attraction.

Can we have something more specific and on topic?

1) Where is the current Overton Window relative to Peak Oil (and Peak Everything else)?

2) Take Newt's notion that we have unlimited energy resources inside the USA and they are held back only by the tree-hugging traitor commies in this country; does that notion hold a center point in the current window?

3) Consider on the other hand Al Gore's ideations that Dirty Coal and Oil need to be stopped in order to save the planet and that we need to switch over to pure green technologies. Where is that position relative to the borders of the current Overton Window?

I'm not a great observor of public positions, these are pretty uneducated guesses.

(1) PO is outside of the window. Reality is trying to push the window one way, powerful well funded forces the other.

(2) Newt's view is probably within the public window. Obviously amoung academics, and scientists, it is outside the window, but of the general pop, propbably not.

(3) Harder for me to say. Voters in surveys are pretty green, yet they vote for strongly anti-green politicians. Either they don't know there own minds, or the issue is completely trumped by other things, like misdirected anger.

It sounds like the window is moved by the voters' wallet and emotions related to the state of that purse.

1) If voter has no job, then window is wherever someone promises an immediate job (no matter how unreal or full of shovel the promise is)

2) If voter has a job, then window can move on the basis of some longer term considerations

Good point. Maslow's hierarchy of needs can easily shift that window for the individual voter. Even so, as Enemy of the State pointed out, the U.S. macro policy window has definitely shifted to the hard right over the past 30 years. Things that once would have been unthinkable to the general public (privatizing Social Security, flat tax) are now thinkable, and things that used to be thinkable (single-payer helathcare system, closing corporate tax loopholes) are now off the table, even among most Democrats.

Enemy, I think you hit the nail on the head. But I disagree with your first sentence, I think those were very educated guesses. ;-)

Ron P.

(1) PO is outside of the window. Reality is trying to push the window one way, powerful well funded forces the other.

Nah, Poe's just on the other side of the glass that they're sandblasting. (frosting) ("It's beginning to look a lot like Xmas...")

Everybody knows (hell I even heard it from a ~16 y/o barista at starbux), but now, as we humans are oft to do, are simply dancing in the glaze, frenzy, trance and fog, etc., of myth, denial, overstimulation, and/or superstition, whatever have you, etc..

It's The Matrix around the time Agent Smith starts taking it over and Neo starts blowing up/out vast tracks of downtown.

I was trying to make the point that discussions about the political left and right in the US are futile, since they are essentially the same. By that I mean there is no departure from BAU that takes peak oil (or coal, or water, or soil, or population overshoot) into account in terms of strategic national policy that can be codified into law.

1- Find it all and burn it all is the answer. There's not much past that inside the political reality distortion field. In other words, propose pain now for survival later, and watch the other guy win.

2- Mr. Gingrich is just selling prosperity. That's how you run for office. Create your own reality (energy, economy, foriegn policy, etc.)

3- I think Mr. Gore (and others) found that inside the window / current political climate there is no room for political leadership before a crisis, only during and mostly after. Why plan ahead when you can first create your own reality and later deploy shock doctrine tactics when TSHTF.

hey good post. For example, I often wonder how 'conservationist' and 'conservative' became natural enemies in modern US politics. Aren't they natural allies? It seems like all the obvious divisions are merely convenient for the elite hand turning the gears - until gradually all real meaning is ground out of words and ideas and we're left wondering how we all ended up as sausage.

This here:

Newt is just playing to his constituents.

Totally right. It's not the facts that matter, it's the metaphor. The increasingly stubborn right wing in US politics doesn't care about facts, it care's about feeling legitimate, and winning an argument by virtue of being rightful and legitimate heirs to power, not on any logical or rational grounds. Therefore the more preposterous and anti-factual their platform is, the better and more rewarding it feels to win standing on it.

Also this is an old game for Newt and in politics as well - to tell a lie so obvious that challenging it makes the other side look stupid:

the factual argument: "America will never be able to pump that much oil - we don't have enough left in the ground"

right wing rebuttal: "So you're saying America's best days are behind us? So we don't have any greatness in us anymore?"

That's where the WW2 references come in - oil is a metaphor for gritty courage - if you say we don't have the one, you're saying we don't have the other.

Newt, and the rest of the candidates as well, all know how this game is played. The appeal is to a sense of irrational entitlement but also sophistication - a coalition of fools and people who are riding them for their own ends - the ol' "wink wink". It's the familiar appeal of class division as a benefactor of the established middle class. Many people buying a lie at many levels, all seeing the benefit for themselves.

Plus their constituents are ageing and many are quite shamefully aware that the lifestyle they have lived is not one that their children will be able to maintain, even if they don't like to admit it. Reality has already failed these voters. Why would they not choose the side that tells them what they want to hear - that promises to squeeze a little more juice out of the current system, no matter what the cost down the line? It's what they know.

And the grand irony is that the Republican party may be our best bet for building a majority coalition, and therefor might actually be capable of implementing the kind of legislation needed to drastically change our energy trajectory.

If there is any real pragmatic intelligence gathering behind the hype of both parties, then a massive shift will be undertaken in the next few years. An alliance between corporate and a cohesive political interest will be the most expedient way to make it real. The Right is better positioned to give it to us, simply because their constituents are the loudest and most deluded - they won't complain so much if they are the ones who get to make all the big changes and take credit, (after all, are any of them even paying attention to what the people they elect actually do?), and the reality based community and left won't complain as long as something is done quickly.

However, electing R is also a massive crap shoot, since it seems the right is just as likely to be fundamentally beholden to all kinds of twisted end-game, apocalypse logic - big religion, big ag, big oil and etc. Might be better to hold formation with Dems as capable administrators of a corrupt and broken system, pushing for incremental improvements against increasingly outrageous R, which is pretty much our current situation.

Anyway you look at it, these are interesting times.

Perceptive comment. We need to re-appropriate that WWII reference. In reality, in WWII, the government engaged in massive deficit spending, directed the entire economy, and ran an epic propaganda campaign all with the end of defeating fascism.

It was one of the two points in our history when the nation was that focused on a single goal.

We could focus again, this time on the goal addressing our energy and climate crises. Which are as serious as the Nazis and Imperial Japan. Of course we probably won't, but ....

in WWII, the government engaged in massive deficit spending

Unlike today, the government also funded the war effort through...gasp...raising taxes.

Welcome to Jonestown.
We need to mix/clone Carter and Teddy Roosevelt, and put newt once he expires in a pond somewhere for future coal production.

Whoever coined the term "political science" should be shot. These jokers are parading around while clawing on glass looking for an edge. To think of the powers we will bestow upon whoever finds that magic edge is simply frightening. That these people try to pass as adults and leaders makes me have so little faith.

I don't think I can give Newt a pass on "just being a historian" as opposed to a science backgound. Especially since he used our efforts in WII to make his point. Many historians credit the discovery of the giant East Texas Oil Field with our capabilities to wage war. Some consider this to be THE factor that led to our winning. Add that to the impact of the oil embargo the US imposed on Japan prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Newt might not agree with the other historians but he should at least aware of their positions. So he's either not that good an historian or he didn't want to consider facts that conflicted with his position.

The East Texas Field was found in 1930. By the time that a child, born in 1930, had graduated from high school in 1948, the US was a net oil importer, and our net oil imports increased at 11%/year from 1948 to 1970, when the rate of increase jumped to 15%/year, from 1970 to 1977, after US production peaked (EIA).

Net imports fell in 1978, because of Alaskan production, and later because of declining consumption.

It was the West Texas field... the Permian Basin that played a major role in WWII

Those of us in Washington State were indoctrinated with the idea the real key to US success in WWII was the abundant hydro power from newly completed Grand Coulee Dam. That is what enabled the development of the atomic bomb, and powered the aluminum smelters for Boeing's assembly lines.

Historians have revisited this issue and downplayed the importance of the dams themselves, but the myth lives on.
Let's wage war without asking our citizenconsumers to conserve energy

Which leads us back to Newt and American mythology. I don't think the man is being cynical, but it is high time someone called b.s. on his reputation as any kind of 'historian'.

Interesting link about the Grand Coulee Dam

My birth place 1944

Not to forget that oil and energy in general are all over ww2 history, typically :

"Even a cake for Hitler was adorned by a map of the Caspian Sea with the letters B-A-K-U spelled out in chocolate cream. After eating the cake, Hitler said: "Unless we get Baku oil, the war is lost".[16]


Probably the most authoritarian opinion on what caused the end of the war in Europe is from Albert Speer, Hitler's minister of armaments. He fortold the end by defining when Russian soldiers would be standing on specific German resources.

The US beat the Japanese with some help from the British Empire but Germany was primarily defeated by Russians with Russian resources.

The contest between Germany and Russia was fairly close - the existence of the Western front made a big difference.

The Russians put up an incredible fight.The bravery of her people and her troops and the hardships they suffered cannot be exaggerated.

But Germany had the technological and organizational edge, and had Hitler not been an egomaniac prone to biting faster than he could chew and swallow, Germany would have won the war with Russia.

Lend lease and American war materials, plus a two front war, saved the soviet bacon.

But of course had Hitler not been an egomaniac, history would be far different.

For all intents and purposes, Germany took on the whole of the civilized world, alone, except for the American Navy fighting in the Pacific early on with the Marines getting only heavily involved there a good bit later.

German soldiers who wrote histories made a joke about Italy- saying that next time it is only fair that the enemy side be handicapped by having an Italian ally-with good reason.

I have no use whatsoever for the Nazi philosophy, but anyone who doubts the quality and ferocity of the German armies of WWII knows very little about military history.

We won, largely because we were more numerous, better industrialized, protected from direct attack by a wide ocean in the case of the US, because Hitler despite his undeniable genius in some respects failed to understand the need for a real navy, because the German submarine fleet was to small at the outbreak of the war, because we had the resources such as oil and iron ore and farmland well behind our own borders that Germany went to war to obtain.

Because Goering was a pompous idiot who should never have been allowed the command of an air wing, let alone the German air force.

Because the Germans who were in charge of the defense of the allied invasion were afraid to wake Hitler, and the armored reserves that could have wiped out the invading Allied troops on the beaches were not brought to the front in time.

I love the narrative about how tough and mean we Yankees were , and all our buddies too, and how one yank, or limey, or hairy one, or kiwi is worth a dozen of any enemy.There is a lot of truth in it too.

Because we were reading their communications.

But reality and narratives created by victors are two different things.

Of course in the end, it was likely that we would win in a war of attrition and denial of resources-so long as we did not make any major blunders. We were lucky, we had good generals and good admirals and superb troops and sailors man for man equal to the Germans and we didn't make any really big mistakes.
We won-but winning was a long way from a foregone conclusion.

A big question: why did Hitler invade Russia?

Biographies of Hitler describe him as obsessively anti-socialist, and suggest that his anti-semitism was driven by his perception of Austrian jews as being socialist. There have been suggestions that Hitler was funded by Western companies and interests that brought him to power so that Germany would attack the USSR, and destroy communism (an attack arguably not in Germany's self-interest).

What do you think?

Read Mein Kampf... written long before anyone in the west knew AH... he spelt it out pretty clearly.

hi Nick

It's very simple-he thought he could pull it off, and he was a conqueror after the mold of men of that sort throughout history;no country is safe from such men.Yet it'salso very complicated and nuanced.

I couldn't begin to properly answer the second point in less than a few thousand words, but the gist of it is he hated Jews and commies with awesome intensity as he believed they were responsible for Germany losing WWI, and possibly that the soviets would do him if he didn't do them first.

It is not generally appreciated. but Hitler didn't get his WWI Iron Cross because he was a Nazi.He earned it fair and square by doing the most dangerous job in the trenches, because the cause of an imperial Germany even then was a holy quest in his eyes.

Anyone who wishes to understand Hitler and WWII must spend a lot of time reading a couple of biographies, his own book and speeches, and the history of Germany from the nineteenth century on.

I enjoy understanding such things and have spent many a long evening reading about them.

I think I've read most of that, with the exception of his writings - I suppose I should read them, but I don't trust the guy to be honest about his motivations...

Which Western Front?

The Soviets first inflicted a defeat on the Nazis in December 1941. The Nazis never came near Moscow again (iirc).

From October 1942-January 1943 the Soviets inflicted a severe defeat on the Nazis in and around Stalingrad. This was part of defeating the German thrust to the Soviet oil fields.

It is true that by 10/42 there was effective allied pushback in North Africa. But the scale of that is dwarfed by Eastern Front.

Of course all the efforts against Germany were important. But most German casualties took place in the east.

I guess the question would be: how much of Germany's war resources were devoted to Western Europe? How much would have been freed up if the US hadn't: strengthened the British and kept them in the fight; and threatened invasion?

I don't think Britain and her Commonwealth allies could ever have put together a large enough army to successfully reinvade continental Europe. US support was essential in terms of providing additional troops, armaments and munitions. Immediately after the failure of their Citadelle operation in Russia in the summer of 1943, the Germans were forced to move a large number of their Panzer divisions to Italy and France as it was evident the Western allies now had enough resources to invade the continent. The forces left in the east would never again launch a major offensive and would instead be ground down by an ever increasingly strong Russian army. The Western allies did invade Southern Italy in September 1943, shortly after the Panzer divisions had been relocated from the Eastern front.

Without the US involved in the war, Germany would have been able to keep the bulk of its army on the Eastern front and likely defeated Russia.

I estimate that there were, on average, about 900 rigs drilling for oil in the US in 2009 and 2010. The EIA puts US crude + condensate production at 5.4 mbpd in 2008, and I estimate that it will average about 5.7 mbpd in 2010, so an increase of about 300,000 bpd over a two year period, or an average net volumetric increase, after depletion, of about 170 bpd per year per rig.

It will at least be interesting to see what happens over the next decade. I view it as a Great Race of sorts: Currently rising US production versus currently declining Global Net Exports (GNE) and Available Net Exports (ANE) of oil.

The key problem of course, as Art and The Rock have documented, is that we can--for a while--produce aggregate rising oil & gas production from shale formations, from a group of discrete wells that show rapid decline rates, but sooner or later depletion catches up with us and/or we hit personnel, infrastructure and drilling location constraints. My guess is that at least 90% of the oil wells currently producing from shale formations will be down to 10 bpd or less, or be plugged and abandoned, in 2020.

In any case, it's a little ironic that the primary contributor to the US Lower 48 Renaissance in oil production is generally rising oil prices after 2005, which is primarily due to the fact that global conventional crude oil production in 2005 was at about the same stage of depletion at which US Lower 48 conventional production peaked in 1970, based on the HL models.

Following is a chart showing US consumption to production ratios for 1998 to 2010 for oil, natural gas and coal (BP):

Note that if we extrapolate Saudi Arabia's 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in their C/P ratio for oil, which went from 18% in 2005 to 28% in 2010, or from 0.18 to 0.28, Saudi Arabia would approach the 100% mark (or 1.0 mark on the above chart) sometime around 2024.

And Chindia's combined net imports, as a percentage of GNE, rose from 11.2% in 2005 to 17.6% in 2010. At this rate of increase in the ratio, Chindia would hit the 100% mark, i.e., consuming 100% of Global Net Exports of oil, sometime around 2029.

West Texas,

As always, you bring the conversation down to grass-roots reality. The fundamental constraints keep us from launching into orbits around Pluto when we move from resources to politics. I didn't write the post to get us spun off on politics (although it doesn't surprise me that we did).

I wrote the post in the spirit of Truth in Energy.

Keep bringing us back to Earth.


Rock and West Texas are the two best reasons for checking TOD everyday....

"or an average net volumetric increase, after depletion, of about 170 bpd per year per rig."

That's a nice, simple, and appalling number.

How long does it take to build another drill rig? How many drill rigs per year can we build, and how long does a drill rig last?

Listened to that song many times driving with my father to drilling locations many decades ago.

I've been called many things on The Oil Drum, but never "Sweetheart." :)

Well you had a couple of fanboy/girl ;) comments, so it was a little tongue-in-cheek and a little out of my own appreciation for your (and many others') posts.

Don't let it get to your head.

I've been called many things on The Oil Drum, but never "Sweetheart." :)

"Peak Never Sweetheart". The tide is changing, twilight in the desert and of civilization as we know it and all that... See you in the threads and on the other side.

Newt: If we were serious, we would open up enough oil fields in the next year that the price of oil worldwide would collapse.

Despite a 'serious', massive effort during WWII, from 1941 through 1944, the US only managed to increase crude production from 184 million tons to 223 million tons, about 21%, and rationing was mandated. Perhaps Gingrich should pay attention to his history.

Yup, Gingrich and his cohorts are definitely not members of the reality-based community. They are members of the professional "tell whatever lies are necessary to get get elected/re-elected" community, otherwise known as politicians. Of course, they belong to this club by virtue of their constituents, who overwhelmingly are members of the "if you don't tell me what I want to hear or --even worse-- tell me unpleasant truths then I won't vote for you" club.

It sounds like he is proposing to use the WWII method.

A combination of massive taxes and massive borrowings used to fund massive government expenditure.

Someone should ask him whether he really is as "liberal" as these policies make him appear to be.

If the US doubled taxes and used the funds to subsidise oil imports, I suspect it wouldn't have a problem pulling imports away from Chindia for a term or two.

How about a reality check on Newt Gingrich.

Eighty-four ethics charges were filed against Speaker Gingrich during his term, including claiming tax-exempt status for a college course run for political purposes. Following an investigation by the House Ethics Committee Gingrich was sanctioned US$300,000.[69] Gingrich acknowledged in January 1997 that "In my name and over my signature, inaccurate, incomplete and unreliable statements were given to the committee". [70] The House Ethics Committee concluded that inaccurate information supplied to investigators represented "intentional or ... reckless" disregard of House rules.[71] Special Counsel James M. Cole concluded that Gingrich violated federal tax law and had lied to the ethics panel in an effort to force the committee to dismiss the complaint against him. The full committee panel did not agree whether tax law had been violated[72] and left that issue up to the IRS.[73] In 1999, the IRS cleared the organizations connected with the "Renewing American Civilization" courses under investigation for possible tax violations.[74][75]

References and more ... Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newt_Gingrich

Many folks seem to see Newt as "intelligent" because he sounds intelligent due to a word salad of phrases, usually lifted from his various recent reading. But IMHO he is not. He is like that cocky student who shows up in Political Science classes thinking that, because he listens to Rush and watches FOX News he really understands how the world works far better than his fellow classmates and even his professor. A great deal of class time is spent, saying "actually that is not the case. Here is the data that proves your premise to be false."

Moreover, his emotional and ethical intelligence is at the moronic level. For example, going after a President for his having an affair with a young staffer while at that very moment having an affair with a younger congressional staffer. Or going after a Congressman for accepting money from Fannie and Freddie, while having accepted $2 million from the same.

A lurid description of his own moral compass

The guy's smart. Someone who listens to Fox News does not have to be smart, same is true for someone watching MSNBC. That is just political preference.
But is Gingrich as smart as he thinks? Nah. But probably neither is Obama, despite his loyal media storm troopers doing their best to do his bidding.


The mind-blowingly hypocritical behavior you just described does *not* indicate Newt is a moron. However, it *does* indicate he may be a sociopath.

--Inflated sense of ego beyond all proportion? Check.
--Feeling above the law; normal rules do not apply to me? Check.
--Total lack of concern/remorse for the damage your reckless and immoral actions are having/have had on others? Check.
--Ability to lie effortlessly to anyone (and switch postions) without guilt or shame, especially when this results in a favorable outcome to oneself? Check.
--Inability to maintain long lasting relationships with others; ability to abandon even intimate relationships without regret? Check.

--Inflated sense of ego beyond all proportion? Check.
--Feeling above the law; normal rules do not apply to me? Check.
--Total lack of concern/remorse for the damage your reckless and immoral actions are having/have had on others? Check.
--Ability to lie effortlessly to anyone (and switch postions) without guilt or shame, especially when this results in a favorable outcome to oneself? Check.
--Inability to maintain long lasting relationships with others; ability to abandon even intimate relationships without regret? Check."

See also, Narcissist.

Yep . . . I would not considered Newt a moron. I consider him sleazy, manipulative, dishonest, and corrupt. His personal history is filled with ethics violations, adultery, influence peddling, scams, etc. I can throw him further than I would trust him.

Newt is just out there saying what he knows the GOP base want to hear . . . that we can solve all our energy problems if we just push those hippie tree-huggers out of the way and drill. Is that true? Absolutely not. (Don't you think Bush & Cheney would have done that when the GOP controlled everything from 2000-2006?) Does the GOP base want to hear that and already believe it? Absolutely.

hard to make the case that newt doesn't have a few intellectual credentials, even just in understanding the insides of the political system as he does. He does lack anything resembling ethics. I heard him speak to an auditorium of students in Baltimore a few years ago during the '04 election season. He had 911 fever at the time, and his fear-mongering was first-rate, right-out-of-the-book, neocon garbage. I remember him describing in detail to the kids the effect of a nuclear explosion on a small town in America, "much like your own", as a likely outcome of electing Dems and justification for Iraq invasion. He's a world-class hypocrite, no question about it. What his presidency would actually look like is hard to tell. IMO I don't think we'll find out.

At about that time I was enrolled in graduade classes at VCU in order to renew my professional liscence to teach ag and can honestly describe the classes as a crock full of left wing politics.

Making an A was as easy as mouthing back the professors rhetoric and remembering that everything to be said is either mandatory or forbidden.I learned absolutely nothing, but if I had been dumb enough to believe what I was supposedly taught, I would have emerged a pc storm trooper trained to usher in a grand new era in education wherein every teacher would be under the thumb of the dept of education, and the dept staffed by hand selected pc socialists.

Even a couple of pretty leftish young women in the class felt the same way.

Gingrich played the game close to the edge wiyhout a doubt, but no closer than most of his colleagues imo.He just happened to play it in such a way as to infuriate the msm more than most.

Sopmebody once said that when men cease to believe in God, they do not hence forth believe in nothing;some other concept rushes in to occupy the empty spot in the mind."Nature abhors a vacuum".

During my lifetime I have seen the scenery shift from having a media that basically agreed with traditional American social values and observed traditional American social taboos to one that cynically insists it is objective, in the name of professional purity.

In many ways this shift has been very good for us-we have a better society in several respects, and credit must be given to the media for shifting public attitudes to make this possible.

But objectivity ? Not on your life, when it comes to an opportunity to put a prominent conservative on the cutting board like a frog in freshman biology!

The people who went into journalism and control the media for the most part these days were my social peers when I was a student in the late sixties. At certain times in that era, I was wearing my hair shoulder length , wearing a peace sign around my neck, and smoking "wacky backer"(which is what the older folks called it when it started showing up back in the sticks where I grew up) at every opportunity.

We gained a lot of new freedom by defying the traditional taboos involving sex, dress, personal grooming, attitudes towards alternative lifestyles, sexual orientation, and so forth-but it is the nature of the human animal to hate the symbols of the former prevailing power structure, and while God and country were thrown out with the trash, the dirty tricks skills were cheerfully coopted or maintained and cultivated.

Of course both sides play this same game.But in my opinion, the left is the more skillful player, as the players on the left are more sincere in their beliefs, and more numerous by a huge margin in the media and academia.

Unfortunately, such "conservative" spokesmen as we have today are mostly political hacks and opportunists looking after themselves or their backers who are the corporate interests in control of this country.

Making an A was as easy as mouthing back the professor's rhetoric ...

And that is what is fundamentally wrong with our modern education system.
The teacher/ professor is judge, jury and executioner. No checks and counter-balances.

What did it take for each of us to get an "A" grade in the science of economics?

Well said.

I might add that I could have made as good a case against my professor as the one against the Newt in reference to running a class for political purposes.

But nobody was out to get THAT professor.

Newt is no better -or worse-than run of the mill when it comes to ethics.

observed traditional American social taboos to one that cynically insists it is objective, in the name of professional purity.
But objectivity ? Not on your life, when it comes to an opportunity to put a prominent conservative on the cutting board like a frog in freshman biology!

(Source: Labor's Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979.)

The following remarks were apparently made by John Swinton in 1880, then the preeminent New York journalist, probably one night in during that same year. Swinton was the guest of honour at a banquet given him by the leaders of his craft. Someone who knew neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton outraged his colleagues by replying:

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

"There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

"The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

"We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

The flaw is believing the propaganda that there has been objectivity in journalism,

In many ways this shift has been very good for us-we have a better society in several respects, and credit must be given to the media for shifting public attitudes to make this possible.

But who controls the media? Advertisers? Editors? Owners? The CIA?

Maybe this is a good place to plug some of Adam Curtis' documentaries:


Regarding Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, I found these documentaries, broken into parts, to be relevant for many reasons. In particular, this one:


"Goyo Gakusha", from the Japanese, loosely defined as "an academic under the thumb of the government or large corporate interests"


Use the "Find Connection" feature to show the interlocking of the boards of directors.

Well said, Eric

Of course we don't have a truly free press, in terms of the msm.I have made many comments to that effect here, some quite recently.

But in some respects, the press is free to a considerable extent.One arises when some particular faction of tptb control control certain media and are not opposed to seeing a politician opposed to their interests crucified.

The rich and powerful are not a monolithic establishment-there are lots of factions , and some are always at some other factions throat.No particular faction controls all the msm.

Fox News offsets MSNBC to some extent and so forth.

I will stick to my contention however about the "soldiers and field officers" being by a very large majority liberals by persuasion, and therefore much more enthusiastic about eviscerating a conservative politician than one of their own.This is not to say they won't do a workmanlike job on a liberal but rather that they don't display the same persistence and enthusiasm imo.

It's fun to do in the opposition it's work work-distasteful work-to do a fellow traveler.

As to their personal beliefs-they are no secrets, most of academia and the media describe themselves as liberals.

I have read (and talked to) folks who went into journalism not to be reporters, but to be foot soldiers for change- in just the same sense as as religious missionaries.They went to university in the sixties era, and they dominate the profession now.

OFM, while most of academia may lean liberal, they do *not* dominate political debate or the policies and laws being made in the U.S. --the big banks and (mostly right-wing) billionaries do. As far as the media goes, Fox News beats every other network by a large margin.

As far as the political disposition of most Americans, the U.S. leans heavily conservative. It's not even close:

Journalists are university trained in the most liberal leaning sort of disciplines for the most part-hardly any of them are technically educated.

Raised in an evangelical household-you grow up to be an evangelical. Raised in a commie house, you grow up to be a commie. Raised in Rush Limbaugh house-you grow up to be a little Rush.(Hopefully a LOT littler!)

The correlation between educational environment and politics is very strong.There can be little doubt that this explains why the people in media are as liberal as they can be, within the constraints of holding their jobs.i fully recognize that the heavy heel of corporate ownership suppresses freedom of the press.

And of course most media writers and reporters are hacks at best, and as in any other field, there are always more candidates for jobs than openings. Hence it is not surprising that an outfit like fox can find as many people to toe the fox line as they want. SOME of them are sincere. Maybe even most of them-the liberal training does not always take, and all media people don't come into the profession from the poly sci, sociology, , etc, fields.

Now it might seem as if I am ranting against liberalism-which is not my intent.I hold to more liberal positions than not, personally.

I am simply saying that many, many liberals don't even recognize that they ARE liberals-they are convinced they are centrists. As many more cynically portray themselves as centrists in order to shift the Overton Window. These observations also apply to the conservative faction of course.

What I am ranting against is the smug self satisfied attitude on the part of liberals that the liberal wing of our society is more intellectually honest and infallible than the conservative wing across the board.

This is certainly not true as a general thing, although it is true without a doubt in respect to some issues.

If the political lineup of members here were to be reversed , I would be gadflying the conservatives just as persistently.

I am simply saying that many, many liberals don't even recognize that they ARE liberals-they are convinced they are centrists. As many more cynically portray themselves as centrists in order to shift the Overton Window. These observations also apply to the conservative faction of course.

While I consider myself to be predominantly "liberal" by American standards (i.e., taking the position consider 'liberal' by the general public on most issues), here's the thing: your average garden-variety American "liberal" would be considered a conservative of slightly right-of-center moderate in most other first world countries. Enemy of State, Darwinian and others have provided polling data to support this in previous posts. This is because American conservative political and media organizations have been so spectacularly successful at shifting that Overton Window sharply to the right over the past 30+ years. Shifting it back to the *actual* center (by world standards), would reveal many so-called liberals as what they truly are: centrists and moderates.

What I am ranting against is the smug self satisfied attitude on the part of liberals that the liberal wing of our society is more intellectually honest and infallible than the conservative wing across the board.

I think you may be overstating the case with most liberals. Even so, polling data indicates a kernel of truth in this assumption. Obviously it's easy to over-generalize about ambiguously defined groups that have tens of millions of members. Idiots (and geniuses) can be found among both groups, but in general liberals really are significantly better informed about politics and history than conservatives. I also strongly suspect that Liberals are also significantly more likely to take empirical data into account, reevaluate their own assumptions, and consider scientific (vs. supernatural/magical) explanations for most issues.


I will stick to my contention however about the "soldiers and field officers" being by a very large majority liberals by persuasion, and therefore much more enthusiastic about eviscerating a conservative politician than one of their own.

In the US of A there is right and a bit left of right. As Mr. Nader said "not a dime's worth of difference".

Fox News offsets MSNBC to some extent and so forth.

Really? Fox changes the party attributions of Republican to Democrat if said politician does something not in line with the normal Fox position.

And I do not believe NBC or even Microsoft NBC has a history of going into a court of law and claiming they have the 1st Amendment right to lie.


A Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. The court reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.

A rather sad state of affairs when one party that advocates lying in a court of law is seen as some kind of partial offset.

Of course both sides play this same game. But in my opinion, the left is the more skillful player, as the players on the left are more sincere in their beliefs, and more numerous by a huge margin in the media and academia.


Given that you came of age in the late 60s (the high water mark of the Left/CounterCulture movements in the U.S.), I can certainly understand why you might feel this way. Even so, when you look at our current economic and political system, who it was designed by and for, and who it primarily benefits (hint: not Leftist intellectuals or working class people), it becomes painfully obvious that "the left" is out of power and has been for a very long time. I don't even know how you define the fractured "left" anymore, as so few Americans self identify as liberals or Progressives anymore, and the few that do can't even seem to agree on what's for lunch much less a coherent political agenda.

Within academia, I think you definitely have a point, as there are far more liberals in positions of authority there than anywhere else. However college professors and trustees do not control much of anything beyond their own departments and curriculum. The banksters and corporatists are very much in power everywhere else and are pretty damned far from being "progressive" (though it should be noted that they are quite skillful at dividing the American public over Culture War social issues).

As far as "skillful at propaganda" goes, no Lefty can even come close to Fox News, Clear Channel, Rush Limbaugh, Andrew Breitbart or the Koch brothers. Those guys are masters of the craft to a degree that would amaze Goebbels if he were still around. Rush Limbaugh vs. Keith Olbermann? No contest --the right is far more organized, influential and powerful in this country.

Sorry folks-I don't maintain lists of references, and I'm not skillful enough in searching to. find things in a hurry.

So I can't provide a link.

But om several occasions I have read in reputable publications the results of surveys of the political leanings of academics and journalists.

It is hard to even find a self described conservative in most academic departments.

And as far as Fox goes-I share everybody's low opinion.

But the simple fact of the matter is that Fox wouldn't exist as an important organization unless the rest of the media establishment (excluding talk radio) were so far to the left of the opinions and values of the American people as a whole-they set themselves up for the rise of Fox.

Limbaugh and company hold onto their audiences with paid advertising a few hours every afternoon.

NPR blankets the airwaves 24/7 365 on fm tramsmitters as a non profit-and any body who thinks NPR is middle of the road by AMERICAN standards is such a liberal fool he doesn't even know he is a liberal.

Incidentally my radios are all preset to NPR-I never listen to anything else, excepting some odds and ends of talk radio if I happen to be in the car in mid afternoon where I can get only a local am station.That might be once or twice at most in a month.

Now of course the people working in the media are under the corporate thumb-I have pointed out this very thing myself many times, here, as recently as this past week.

But the people who came of age in the sixties are not only the people working the media-they are virtually everybody in a position of real power in American politics , excepting a few "newcomers" in their forties and early fifties, and a few "children" in their twenties and thirties.

The paradigm shift occurred in the sixties, and the idealists who brought us the liberal faction our modern society-so deeply divided- found their vocation and passion at that time.

Just because they are under the corporate thumb does not mean they don't have ideas and opinions of their own, or that they cannot find ways of indulging themselves to a certain extent from time to time.

Now of course some of the people who work for Fox, etc, are sincere, but imo, most of them are professional prostitutes who willingly take the money.

My opinion of the rest of the media is somewhat higher-but not much. I will describe them as being as honest as they can be, within the limitations of their jobs , and their own preconceptions of what is right and wrong, desirable and undesirable.

And even though I describe myself as a conservative, I mostly agree with them, especially in respect to civil rights, environmental policy , and several other key issues-but I agree for different reasons a lot of the time.

For instance in respect to civil rights, I prefer the status quo, and the prevailing philosophy , to be that everybody is equal before the law for two reasons-the first one being that that is what my culture taught me as a child-do unto others as- and the second-just as important-I'm a member of an ethnic group that has suffered immensely at the hands of other ethnic groups.Right now Scots -Irish Christian hillbillies are doing ok politically , except for being the butt of more jokes than anybody else, but in the future, my nieces and nephews might find themselves reading(or trying to read) signs that say "No Irish need apply".

The best insurance against that is a ban on such signs altogether.

A true philosophical conservative believes one mans rights end short of another mans nose.Hence it stands to reason that nobody-or no corporation- has a right to blithely pollute the air I must breathe.

The real problem with liberals is that they are subject to the same failings as conservatives-we are the ones supposed to be opposed to change, but for instance the educational establishment, of which I was once a card carrying member, is totally opposed to any reform of our school system, unless said "reform" involves more money and greater job security for the very people who are failing our children so badly already.

The liberal establishment would and has , where it has been able to do so, voted in a security net and welfare state so elaborate that eventual failure is virtually guaranteed. This is not to say that conservatives are any less guilty of rigging the game when they can-of course they do, especially in allowing the rich to grow ever richer.

The ordinary person on the street who thinks of himself as a conservative (I think of him as misinformed and mislead by his political leaders) is simply totally unaware of the consequences of allowing individuals, families, corporations , or cartels to accumulate unlimited wealth-which at some point becomes unlimited power.Score one for the liberals here!

But the typical liberal does not understand that there must be a limit similarly placed on the size and influence of government-else we will find ourselves the servants of our govt rather than the other way around.

Thank god for the internet! It may be that it will be the salvation of us all, politically, if we can keep it reasonably free of censorship.

As usual, I beg forgiveness of my one finger typing.

NPR is probably as neutral as it gets in American news reporting. Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann show a lot of liberal bias and are definitely to the left of NPR news.

When it comes to mainstream American news, all of the major television corporations supported a pro-war agenda. Nearly half of Americans believed Saddam was directly involved with the 9/11 terrorist attack (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_attacks_opinion_polls). There was no significant questioning of the Bush Administration's agenda despite its obvious fallacies. Far more attention was devoted to Clinton's sex scandal than to Scooter Libby's multiple felonies for obstruction of justice and perjury.

There is no equal justice before the law; the influence of money on our court system is obvious.

There are definitely problems with welfare as it is practiced in the United States, but the root cause is our economic system that leads to the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few while impoverishing the many. The economic crash enabled by the repeal of Glass-Steagall has drastically increased the number of people using food stamps - the answer is not to get rid of food stamps, but to get rid of the underlying economic disparity.

NPR is absolutely straight-up corporate news with the exact same stories and wording. Only the creepy, uniformly quiet delivery differentiates it from the fully commercial product.

As you note elsewhere, journalists are foot soldiers - they don't control the media.

If the US had a free and independent press it would not have invaded Iraq.

Some excursus, sorry

I am not a native English speaker, so I was wondering if "What say you?" "Well I say you..." is correct english.


Snomm, I am not an English professor, far from it. And as a native Southerner I am often guilty of bad English myself. But then there are many local colloquialisms that are bad English, and most of them are not Southern colloquialisms. "Wassamatta you" comes to mind. "Youse guys" is another. Both, I think come from New Jersey, or somewhere in that area. ;-)

But no, "What say you" I do not think is correct though I have heard the term many times. It would be correct to say "What do you say?" And "Well I say you" is definitely not correct and unlike "What say you" I have never heard that one used. "Well I say to you" would be the correct way to express that sentiment.

Ron P.

"What say you" is a somewhat archaic form that still gets used. Shakespeare used it at least a few times, which probably helps keep it in circulation.

There's nothing grammatically incorrect with "What say you?". Bill O'Reilly, some movie scripts and songs have revived it recently; a more urgent form of "What do you say?" or "What is your answer?"

See: Anastrophe

Anastrophe (from the Greek: ἀναστροφή, anastrophē, "a turning back or about") is a figure of speech in which a language's usual word order is inverted: for example, saying "smart you are" to mean "you are smart".

Yoda was fond of anastrophe ;-)


I you thank all for your help! Always it is overwhelming how things get treated thoroughly here at TOD, even when it comes to grammar! I thought that maybe would it shed some light on the illiterateness of M. Gingrich, but rather it me proves now that he handles even some archaic forms of english. Certainly he knows, that it is impossible to produce that much oil in America, but as a good politician he knows that telling the truth is not what the electorate wants to hear.


it me proves now that he handles even some archaic forms of english

I did not watch the debate (to what end?). But I must disagree with your conclusion here regarding language. Blitzer used "what say you", which is commonly used, and universally understood in American English. It's my guess that Gingrich began to say, "Well I say you [asked the perfect question /or/ raise an interesting point /or/ ...]" But then hesitated as we do when speaking, regrouped, and went on to say "The question you asked..." No mastery of archaic anything. No mastery of the facts, certainly. No mastery of anything, in fact, other than obfuscation, wishful thinking, and typical political expedience.

We are past Peak(ed) Oil but Peak Denial is probably far in the future. I hope this prediction is wrong.



Ignorance is bliss when it comes to challenging social issues

Mon, 11/21/2011 - 15:28

The less people know about important complex issues such as the economy, energy consumption and the environment, the more they want to avoid becoming well-informed, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

And the more urgent the issue, the more people want to remain unaware, according to a paper published online in APA's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

"These studies were designed to help understand the so-called 'ignorance is bliss' approach to social issues," said author Steven Shepherd, a graduate student with the University of Waterloo in Ontario. "The findings can assist educators in addressing significant barriers to getting people involved and engaged in social issues."

Through a series of five studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 with 511 adults in the United States and Canada, the researchers described "a chain reaction from ignorance about a subject to dependence on and trust in the government to deal with the issue."

In one study, participants who felt most affected by the economic recession avoided information challenging the government's ability to manage the economy. However, they did not avoid positive information, the study said. This study comprised 197 Americans with a mean age of 35 (111 women and 89 men), who had received complex information about the economy and had answered a question about how the economy is affecting them directly.

To test the links among dependence, trust and avoidance, researchers provided either a complex or simple description of the economy to a group of 58 Canadians, mean age 42, composed of 20 men and 38 women. The participants who received the complex description indicated higher levels of perceived helplessness in getting through the economic downturn, more dependence on and trust in the government to manage the economy, and less desire to learn more about the issue.

"This is despite the fact that, all else equal, one should have less trust in someone to effectively manage something that is more complex," said co-author Aaron C. Kay, PhD, of Duke University. "Instead, people tend to respond by psychologically 'outsourcing' the issue to the government, which in turn causes them to trust and feel more dependent on the government. Ultimately, they avoid learning about the issue because that could shatter their faith in the government."

Participants who felt unknowledgeable about oil supplies not only avoided negative information about the issue, they became even more reluctant to know more when the issue was urgent, as in an imminent oil shortage in the United States, according the authors. For this study, 163 Americans, with a mean age of 32 (70 men and 93 women), provided their opinion about the complexity of natural resource management and then read a statement declaring the United States has less than 40 years' worth of oil supplies. Afterward, they answered questions to assess their reluctance to learn more.

"Beyond just downplaying the catastrophic, doomsday aspects to their messages, educators may want to consider explaining issues in ways that make them easily digestible and understandable, with a clear emphasis on local, individual-level causes," the authors said.

Another two studies found that participants who received complex information about energy sources trusted the government more than those who received simple information.

All "social sciences" and the like are absolutely nothing but --litterature-- looking for some form of academic flag (there are works, however, be careful not to be called a philistin too much)

Ignorance is bliss ...

This is really not a fair way of characterizing our fellow species mates (or ourselves).

We all sat in classrooms where it was made abundantly clear to us that some people are smarter than others (smarter than us) and the smart ones get promoted to the head of the class.

At some point we accepted the notion that the best and brightest guys in the room would be taking care of the really hard problems and we no longer need to concern our pretty heads with such because we are not the smartest in the room.

This way of thinking started in First Grade.
It was re-enforced all the way up.

Is it any wonder that 99% ultimately decided ignorance is bliss?

Gingrich knows enough to know what he's saying is pure hyperbole, but also that most people will simply go along with what he's saying because it's positive. We have to remember that for most people being positive lands much higher than facts. That doesn't make much sense, however it is the way anericans think.

They don't even care if it proven wrong later. Look at bush jr. with the fuzzy math comment regarding how much his planned tax cuts would increase deficits/debt. People laughed and that somehow made Gore wrong and bush correct. And later when the long term debt doubled, they never called bush jr. on his fuzzy math comment, just like they would never call Gingrich later on his wild oil extraction increase projections.

It's like being positive is food for them like a Big Mac. Hmm! May I have another?

Newt oversimplifies his argument, but I think Authur oversimplifies his rebuttal as well.

We wouldn't need to completely replace all of our oil imports with domestic production to have an effect on the global price of oil.

Reducing the US demand for global exports by ANY amount would lower the global price of oil.

US imports have been dropping since @2007 while world prices have remained well above $100. Not much effect it seems.

Consider what prices might have been if US imports had NOT dropped. The 1973 OPEC Oil Crisis caused a 400% increase in oil prices due to a 4.8% cut in global supply by OPEC - cutting production 11.8% from 29.667 to 26.181 million bbl/day.
BP reports global oil production declined 4.8% from 58.618 to 55.826 million bbl/day.

Let's address Gingrich's actual energy proposal posted at www.newt.org
What needs to be improved to strongly redress Peak Oil?
An American Energy Plan

Newt's American Energy Plan:
Remove bureaucratic and legal obstacles to responsible oil and natural gas development in the United States, offshore and on land.
End the ban on oil shale development in the American West, where we have three times the amount of oil as Saudi Arabia.
Give coastal states federal royalty revenue sharing to give them an incentive to allow offshore development.
Reduce frivolous lawsuits that hold up energy production by enacting loser pays laws to force the losers in an environmental lawsuit to pay all legal costs for the other side.
Finance cleaner energy research and projects with new oil and gas royalties.
Replace the Environmental Protection Agency, which has become a job-killing regulatory engine of higher energy prices, with an Environmental Solutions Agency that would use incentives and work cooperatively with local government and industry to achieve better environmental outcomes while considering the impact of federal environmental policies on job creation and the cost of energy.


"3. Unleash America’s full energy production potential in oil, natural gas, coal, biofuels, wind, nuclear oil shale and more, creating jobs, stimulating a sustainable manufacturing boom, lowering gasoline and other energy prices, increasing government revenues, and bolstering national security."
"3. Unleash America’s full energy production potential in oil, natural gas, coal, biofuels, wind, nuclear oil shale and more, creating jobs, stimulating a sustainable manufacturing boom, lowering gasoline and other energy prices, increasing government revenues, strengthening the dollar, and bolstering national security.

The United States has more energy resources than any other country in the world – more than Russia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, or Brazil. Expanding the development of these resources could create up to 1.1 million new jobs and deliver $127 billion in new government revenues by 2020, according to a recent Wood Mackenzie study. With the right regulatory policies, the United States could be the largest oil producer in the world by 2017.

Yet we pay nearly $4 per gallon for gasoline and continue to import nearly half of our oil from foreign countries, many of which have governments hostile to the United States. Meanwhile, millions of Americans in energy-rich regions of the country remain unemployed.

It is time to harness the immense natural energy resources our country has, get Americans back to work, and lower gas, diesel, and other energy prices for every American.

My administration will pursue an “all of the above” American Energy Policy that allows expanded development of oil, natural gas, coal, biofuels, wind, and nuclear sources of energy.

An effective pro-American energy bill will lead to a boom in American jobs, a dramatic increase in the value of the dollar as we spend less on energy from overseas, and more revenue for state and federal government from royalties and increased economic activity.

As President, I will immediately reset our energy policy by removing bureaucratic and legal obstacles to responsible oil and natural gas development in the United States.

This means development of offshore oil and natural gas resources in places currently blocked by the federal government, such as the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelves and the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

It also means ending the restrictions on oil shale development in the western U.S., where we potentially have three times more oil than Saudi Arabia.

Under this plan, coastal states will receive a share of the royalty revenues the federal government takes in – a benefit that states that drill on land already enjoy -- to give them an incentive to allow offshore development.

This plan will also ensure that federal agencies get out of the way in places where drilling is already allowed.

For example, even though companies have been cleared to drill in the western Gulf of Mexico for months, the Department of Interior has dragged its feet on reissuing permits – and Gulf Coast economies continue to languish.

Through citizen action, we can liberate America’s energy resources. For example, in the spring of 2008, gas prices were surging towards four dollars a gallon, a citizen-led petition called Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less, called upon Congress to immediately address the energy crisis.

One and a half million signatures later, Congress voted to end its 25-year ban on offshore drilling. By the end of 2008, gas prices had plummeted to under $2 dollars a gallon.

A pro-American energy plan must also recognize the enormous natural gas potential in the United States, especially the development of vast shale gas resources across the country. America is a world leader in responsible shale gas production, and we must continue to promote this form of safe domestic energy production that is creating jobs and strengthening our economy, from Pennsylvania to Texas to Colorado.

This also means maintaining the strong and effective regulation of hydraulic fracturing at the state level and ending the federal government’s attempts to clamp down on this vital technology that has been used safely for more than 60 years.

We must also replace the EPA, which pursues an anti-jobs agenda the economy simply cannot sustain. A pro-growth Environmental Solutions Agency in its place will operate on the premise that most environmental problems can and should be solved by states and local communities. Rather than emphasizing centralization and regulation, it would emphasize coordination with states and local communities, the sharing of best practices, and focus on incentives for new solutions, research and technologies.

The imperative to unleash American energy is not just economic. It is also a basic question of national security. The more energy we can produce here, the less dependent we are on foreign countries, many of whom have interests hostile to our own. At the same time, we must strengthen our relationships with close allies that have vast natural resources, such as Canada. For example, we must immediately authorize the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will bring 700,000 barrels of oil a day from Western Canada, Montana, Oklahoma, and the Dakotas to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas, reducing our dependence on Latin America and the Middle East and creating tens of thousands of new jobs.

I look forward to learning more about your ideas and solutions for a bill that will end our man-made energy crisis, and pursuing solutions that will create jobs, bring in more revenue, and lower prices for all Americans.

We have done this before, and we can do it again."

Gingrich quotes from:
News: NPC report supports need for more domestic resource development
National Petroleum Council

Prudent Development – Realizing the Potential of North America’s Abundant Natural Gas and Oil Resources
Approved Report
Slide Presentation (.pdf)

Future Transportation Fuels study – Progress Report
Slide Presentation (.pdf)

My first recommendation is to change the generic emphasis on "energy" to focus on transport "fuel."

Through citizen action, we can liberate America’s energy resources. For example, in the spring of 2008, gas prices were surging towards four dollars a gallon, a citizen-led petition called Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less, called upon Congress to immediately address the energy crisis.

One and a half million signatures later, Congress voted to end its 25-year ban on offshore drilling. By the end of 2008, gas prices had plummeted to under $2 dollars a gallon.

Mushroom politics in the raw. A petition caused gasoline prices to drop?! Gosh, Newt, it was an economic crisis. Could it be that gas prices dropped because demand/consumption dropped? Can you say recession?


End the ban on oil shale development in the American West, where we have three times the amount of oil as Saudi Arabia.

That says it all right there. He actually calls that "oil" and insinuates that some kind of "ban" is keeping oil companies from producing all that oil. Well 80 percent of the "kerogen" is on federal lands. That leaves 20 percent that oil companies are free to drill, mine, cook or whatever.

If there is three times Saudi's claimed reserves that comes to about 800 billion barrels. That means that there are 160 billion barrels of oil, as he calls it, that oil companies are free to develop. But other than Shell's in situ efforts no one is trying to recover any of these 160 billion barrels that are not on federal lands.

Ron P.

There is no real ban against oil shale development. The problem is that oil companies can't see themselves making a profit on it, so they can't justify the expenditure to develop it.

It takes energy to produce energy. The energy return on energy invested (EROEI) of oil shale is quite low, so as the price of the energy produced rises, the price of the energy invested also rises. As a result, a profitable oil shale price is always just out of reach no matter how high the price of oil rises.

And then there is the issue that Canadian and Venezuelan oil sands have a better EROEI and are economically viable at current high prices. There is several times as much oil sand in the world as oil shale, and it is slowly being brought on production by current high prices.

We also have enough hydrogen to fuel everything. LOL. Gingrich is both mendacious and ignorant.

I'll bet that politically it holds water, i.e. a plurality of voters think it is true. Endless repetition of a myth, implants it into everyones brain, so that when they hear an appeal to the meme, it strikes them as correct. Thats why having the facts right in a political debate, leaves you at a disadvantage; challenge an opponent on misinformation which most of the audience believes, and you come across as both foolish, and bad tempered. Your only posible tactic is to hope the mediator does an instant fact check and calls him on it. Then he can take the onus of having burst the pleasant bubble, not yourself.

All the discussion so far regarding the Newt has missed the fact that he ran a non-profit called American Solutions, that was dedicated to the view that all we need to do is drill and the US will find enough oil to become energy independent. The Newt shut down his non-profit when he announced his run. The Newt even wrote a book on the subject in 2008: Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less: A Handbook for Slashing Gas Prices and Solving Our Energy Crisis. I've not read his book, but his more recent pronouncements as part of his campaign appear to be based on the same theme, with some details added...

E. Swanson

A brief preview of Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less is available c/o Google Books and Amazon.

Gingrich clearly perceives the international challenge:

“If oil prices stay at their current level, we can estimate that the spike in oil prices will increase Iranian revenues by as much as tens of billions of dollars per year. That is money the mullahs can use to build nuclear weapons and missiles, finance terrorism, and undermine America's allies.
Without drastic action from the United States – the world's largest energy consumer – this state of affairs will only get worse. . . .

Do we want to leave a country that strangles itself in bureaucracy, regulation and litigation, or an America that liberates itself with entrepreneurialism, innovation, and creation?

mullahs can use to build nuclear weapons and missiles, finance terrorism, and undermine America's allies.

As opposed to religion-based states that have nuclear weapons, missiles, have funded groups called terrorists, acted as a shipping agent for US made weapons to states which were not to have them per US law and even attacked US Navy war ships?

A few months back I ran across an article from Newt's research arm advocating abiotic oil. Frankly, I was stunned. On reflection, though, I remembered hearing Rush drop a hint about it. The new framework among what passes for the conservative wing now is that we have X numbers of Saudi Arabia oil fields in the American West that the evil federal government (usually in the form of the EPA or just "liberals") are keeping us from accessing. Even within the peak oil community I have seen an article taking cold fusion seriously.

I'm a conservative from the old school that focused on "conserving" things like streams and air and natural resources. That version of conservatism left the building a few decades ago along with what used to be called "liberal" thinking. Right now I don't care for either of the political forces at work.

I do have to express some amusement that we get such thinking from someone with a doctorate in history. For three years I have listened to everyone tell me what a threat one Alaskan woman represented to civilization and how we needed candidates with more than a communications degree from a public university. Now we have a PhD, a medical doctor, an MBA, a lawyer with an advanced degree in tax law, and none appear to have any concept of what is almost upon us. And in terms of public pronouncements I will add to that group the former editor of the Harvard Law Review and his Secretary of Energy.

And in terms of public pronouncements I will add to that group the former editor of the Harvard Law Review and his Secretary of Energy.

Perhaps even having a Nobel prize in physics or a Law degree from Harvard are still weak substitutes for actually growing a pair and taking a stand! I reserve a very special and deep contempt for the both of them because they know the truth and despite being in a position to actually do something about it, they refuse to rock the boat.

There were lots of lawyers among the leadership in Germany during their most infamous period. Dr. Mengele had an MD and a PhD.

If having advanced degrees solved these problems the US would be in perfect shape given the number of Yale and Harvard graduates (in both political parties) who have made such wonderful decisions for us in recent decades. Other institutions such as Stanford also share the blame.

In the 1985 movie "Half Life" (a documentary about US nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands), a Marshallese woman concludes that "the Americans are very smart at doing stupid things."

The delusional thinking that Gingrich is pushing about shale oil and related fantasies is mirrored on the liberal side by equal nonsense that pretends we don't need oil to move food around, we're supposedly merely addicted to oil, an addiction that merely requires the right policy to end.

Perhaps the crash is necessary to teach our descendants that physical resources matter more than digital ones and zeros (hallucinatory wealth). It would have been nice to avoid.

"Very smart at doing stupid things"


Very insightful.
Too clever for everybody's (not just our own) good.
I'll have to remember that line.

nonsense that pretends we don't need oil to move food around,

Actually, we don't need oil to move food around. Electric trains will do quite nicely.

we're supposedly merely addicted to oil, an addiction that merely requires the right policy to end.

And that's correct. It's the Gingrichs and Kochs of the world that would like you to believe otherwise.

Actually, we don't need oil to move food around. Electric trains will do quite nicely.

Most trains today are electric, powered by a huge engine that runs on diesel, refined from crude oil. There are no pure electric trains anywhere in the USA. Okay, there may be one in your city or somewhere but those are trams, or streetcars, or subways, not trains that deliver food to your supermarket.

I realize what you are saying however. Not that we can, today, deliver food by electric trains, but we could if only... if only. Truth is that the most of our food today is delivered by a big old truck, and will continue to be delivered by a big old truck until the don't deliver the food and the supermarket shelves will be empty.

Actually we are at least two decades away form any long distance electric trains in the US as well as most other countries.

We are truly addicted to oil. There is no quick way to get off this addiction. We can come up with panaceas and primrose paths that if only we would start some kind of Manhattan Project to get us off this addiction then we could pull it off in twenty years or so. But let's talk reality here, it just ain't gonna happen.

Sorry Nick, to be so pessimistic. But I am well aware of what we might do if only we could convince every citizen and every politician to participate... but again, that just ain't gonna happen. I am far more interested in what will happen rather than what could happen if only...

Sorry Nick, but sometimes these things just get to me. Sorry but this just one of these days. I am just going to pour myself another strong one. :-(

Ron P.

we are at least two decades away form any long distance electric trains in the US as well as most other countries.

Isn't the TGV all-electric?

In fact, isn't there a large list of all-electric heavy trains in many countries, including most high-speed lines?

Pitt, I realize that there a few electric high speed trains that deliver passengers. And yes, as I said, and you posted a list, there are lots of trams, streetcars and subways that are electric. Here, copied and pasted from Nick's post, bold mine.

nonsense that pretends we don't need oil to move food around,

Actually, we don't need oil to move food around. Electric trains will do quite nicely.

Yes, electric trains will do quite nicely. There is no denying that. At least they could deliver food to a depot in the cities, then trucks would have to do the rest. But right now they are not doing anything of the sort. And in the US and most other countries we are still decades away from moving food around by electric trains.

Anyway the original subject was our addiction to oil. Trucks deliver the vast majority of our food and diesel trains and oil powered ships deliver the rest. The idea that sometime in the near future we will have the bulk of our food delivered by electric trains is just a pipe dream, a few electric passenger trains notwithstanding.

Ron P.

I realize that there a few electric high speed trains that deliver passengers. And yes, as I said, and you posted a list, there are lots of trams, streetcars and subways that are electric.

I think you may have misunderstood the links; those are heavy rail, not streetcars.

About 25% of the world's track is electrified, accounting for 50% of rail transport. The USSR was running most of its freight across the breadth of Russia by electric rail in 1990.

Electric rail is already moving enormous amounts of the world's land freight. The difficulties you're implying were overcome decades ago.

Keep in mind that on the whole, Europe moves a much lesser proportion of its freight by rail than the US - irony of ironies, perhaps.


Even though Europeans only use 18% as much fuel per capita for personal transportation, their trucking fuel consumption (and negligible oil production) means their per capita oil imports are higher than that of the US.

And a higher proportion by inland waterway and coastwise shipping.

And a higher proportion by inland waterway and coastwise shipping.

True - 45% of EU freight goes by water, vs. 20% in the US. (Interestingly, much more goes by barge in the US -- 12% vs. 4% -- and the difference is due to coastal shipping, 41% vs. 8%.)

Europe moves a much lesser proportion of its freight by rail than the US

True, but somewhat of a non sequitur; Russia carries much more of its freight by rail than the US does (65% vs. 42%), and 85% of that goes by electrified rail.

Combining those, an absolute majority of Russian freight goes by electrified rail. Moreover, the Russian rail system is the second-largest rail network in the world, and carries the third-highest number of tons per year.

Transporting freight by electrified rail is entirely feasible.

No question.

I find the EU statistic interesting, because the EU has an image of energy efficiency, and yet it's freight transportation is oil-intensive, and it's oil imports are higher than the US.

The EU could certainly move from trucking to rail for freight, but they seem to find it difficult, in part because they've prioritized passengers, and (IIRC) in part because they're having trouble standardizing their rail systems.

It looks to me like the EU will be hurt worse by PO than the US.

we are at least two decades away form any long distance electric trains in the US

And we are much more than two decades away from having so little oil, that if we prioritized its uasge for agriculture, we would have enough fuel to produce and deliver the food.

Well that is probably correct. So farmers and truck drivers will have a job. But the rest of the world has collapsed because most of the oil has gone to farmers and truck drivers. Then we would have to prioritize oil to an army to protect the fields of farmers and anywhere else food might be stored. Then...

Enemy, the problem is collapse not food production or delivery. If the economy collapses after oil production drops to close to half what it is today then prioritizing oil will be a moot point. We are deep, deep into overshoot and need the oil just to keep our heads above water.

Many believe, and I am among them, that the collapse has already began. It is just happening so slow that no one has noticed. And all because the crude oil supply has been flat for seven years. When the oil supply starts to drop the speed of the collapse will likely accelerate. Then people will be far more worried about where their next meal is coming from rather than prioritizing oil for the benefit of those who still have jobs.

Ron P.

1) The comment I replied to was on a pretty theoretical level. On that level, it was just wrong.

2) Quite a bit of food moves by rail in the US right now. Rail uses very little fuel: it's 3x as efficient as trucking, so just moving from trucking to rail would fix 2/3 of the problem. http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/freight_analysis/nat_freight_stats/docs/...

3) Switching freight from truck to electrified double stack container rail trades 20 BTUs of diesel for 1 BTU of electricity. Electrification of rail is not that hard. It hasn't been quite economic in the past (mostly because of property taxes for rail upgrades, and partly because of cheap oil). If we electrify with the same effort that we boil tar out of sand, we could electrify 35,000 miles in 6 to 8 years. Expand and speed up rail enough to take half of truck traffic under current conditions in a decade. 85% in an oil supply shortfall.

If the economy collapses after oil production drops to close to half what it is today

If fuel prices double, buy a Prius (which will reduce fuel consumption by 50%). If Priuses are suddenly back-ordered (because everyone else has the same idea), put in your order and carpool with one other person (which will reduce fuel consumption by 50%) until it comes.

If they double again, put in an order for a plug-in upgrade ($3,500 to $10k), and carpool in your Prius with one other person until it comes.

If they double again, put in an order for a Volt and carpool in your plug-in Prius with one other person until it comes. When it arrives, sell your plug-in Prius and use the profits (because fuel efficient used cars will appreciate) to buy the Volt.

If they double a fourth time(!), rinse and repeat with a Leaf.

Carpooling - the horror.


Yes, this just applies to the 50% of fuel consumption for personal transportation. OTOH, the same logic applies to almost all other uses of fuel. Water shipping can reduce fuel consumption by 50% just by slowing down by 20%. Even aviation has a lot of easy ways to reduce consumption:

"American expects eventually to shave 15 to 35 percent from its fuel bill with the introduction of the new planes — Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s — which will replace older McDonnell Douglas MD-80s and Boeing 757s and 767s. Andrea Huguely, an American spokeswoman, said in an e-mail...."


If they double a fourth time(!), rinse and repeat with a Leaf.

As long as your commute is short enough to fall within the electric-only range, the Leaf the doesn't buy you anything over the Volt (except being cheaper up front).

But why go through so many leaps in your system? . . . consider just going straight for the end game and going EV on the next vehicle. :-)


Seriously: the Prius is cheaper than a plug-in Prius; a plug-in Prius is cheaper than a Volt (though not nearly as nice); and a Volt has a shorter all-electric range than a Leaf.

I do like the Volt - it's a near-luxury vehicle that is a great value, and it could be almost zero-fossil fuel with B85.

Sorry Nick, but sometimes these things just get to me. Sorry but this just one of these days. I am just going to pour myself another strong one. :-(
Ron P.

Well, here's a little virtual nappy for you as you wallow under the shadow of your nanny (-state)...

When more people decide to take their thumbs out of their mouths, and stop talking 'we' as if the babysitter somehow represented them, then maybe they can start doing things again for themselves, and take back (if they ever had it) that old so-called down-Home-of-the-Brave-cum-American-Frontier-Pioneering-Spirit.

Real bravery and strength, incidentally, is in part about losing face, sucking it up and handling it, not for example fighting techno-video-screen-push-button drone wars overseas from back overseas on homeland turf... or continuing to fund the activity through the nanny-sanctioned/licensed 'job'.

...It's about standing up on two feet and walking away from the babysitter, and then putting seed to the soil... and maybe distilling/brewing your own 'strong one'.

Tribe, your post is as strange as the name you chose to go by on this list. Neither makes any sense. But please don't reply, that was just a rhetorical comment.

Ron P.

So much for the nappy...

Given perhaps my going a little beyond of your ostensibly-cushy notion of a kind of TOD Overton Window or groupthink, and the warped (etc.) sociocultural reality within which both you and I exist, are prisoners of a sort, there shouldn't necessarily be an expectation that you make sense of my post(s), nor should there be a surprise by your response.

But being that we are social creatures, and that you begged one through the rear window, I'm offering a reply...

"One manifestation of this ideal of refusing geo-political borders in favor of older or no borders can be seen in Hogan's repeated references to the idea of Pangaea, the theorized 'original' landmass that eventually broke apart into the continents.
I contend that this is precisely what Hogan attempts to do through her decolonizing techniques that seek to both recover Native histories while also recovering from colonial history in order to enable tribal activism. Her characters journey north to protest a massive dam project that affects multiple tribes but, although the dam is being built in what is conceived by the dominant culture as another country, Hogan gives this fact no narrative importance; the Native characters know that the dam will affect all of them, therefore rendering externally imposed geopolitical borders meaningless, and also serving to place Native concepts of space and connectedness, rather than mainstream notions of 'empty' versus 'productive' wildness, at the center of the debate. Such a move is important because it reinstates not only Native concepts of space and sovereignty but also because it enables Hogan's characters to claim political subjectivity by rejecting the imposition of alien ideologies that disempower Native subject positions. The climax of the novel occurs when a coalition of members of many different tribes, and even some non-Natives, effectively block the construction before the coalition, which has never been or striven to be monolithic, breaks up to pursue other goals. Through their reconnection with Native understandings of space and their successful creation of an effective coalition, Hogan's characters claim citizenship as Native subjects who have a different but valid knowledge of the world and can forge the political power to help shape that world."
~ Dreaming of Pangaea: Decolonizing Strategies in Linda Hogan's Solar Storms

"There are a number of steps that need to be taken to successfully reapply the wisdom of the tribe:
1 ) Individuals must re-establish a sense of deep connection and bondedness to the whole (in this case the planet). This is a process that is both practical and mythic, left brain and right brain - and it is fortunately already occurring. It is especially important that people build direct human connections around the globe. Since the nation-states are today's bullies, we can not rebuild the peace of the tribe unless we build a global community that stands independent of these nations, as William Ellis argues so well in the Summer 1983 issue of IN CONTEXT. It is also essential that these connections be "real," based on meaningful ties of economics and common personal interest, and not just a technique for peace.
2) Our societies need to decentralize to remove crucial pressure points. We need to replace brittle systems of hierarchical power with resilient systems of 'network semi-dependence.'"
~ Robert Gilman, http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC07/Gilman.htm

"The Eden that Europeans described when they reached North America was not a wilderness, but a well-managed resource, a complex combination of nature and culture, ecology and economy, a system so subtle and effective that it eluded the settlers who saw only natural wealth free for the taking. The result of this land grab in North America is that only 2% of the land is now wild, its major rivers are polluted, its lakes have caught fire, and its forests are dying from the top down. The tragedy of this commons was that it never really was a commons after colonization, but was surrendered to plunder, privatization, and exploitation in the name of Manifest Destiny and progress."
~ http://www.intelligentagent.com

There was life before the nanny-state (far better I hear) and there will be life after.
The sooner we can remove ourselves of it, by in part recognizing it for what it is and transcending it, the better.

(BTW, you can't seem to change your handle on TOD, and I had one almost immediately after registering this one which, aside from its length, I'm fine with. But I think focusing too intently on some things, such as one's handle, can risk missing other, more important things. But you already know that. It doesn't have to be spoonfed, right?)

"For three years I have listened to everyone tell me what a threat one Alaskan woman represented to civilization and how we needed candidates with more than a communications degree from a public university. Now we have a PhD, a medical doctor, an MBA, a lawyer with an advanced degree in tax law, and none appear to have any concept of what is almost upon us."

I think you just vindicated Sarah. And as an engineer with a degree from a public university, I'll add that after Hoover no engineer will be elected as President either. Maybe in the second half of this century the public will have forgotten, but not soon.

As I recall, Jimmy Carter claimed to be an engineer. His Bachelor of Science degree from the Navel Academy fits the usual definition, especially as later experience can be substituted for eduction to meet the requirements for a GS level job with the government and may also meet PE license requirements as well...

E. Swanson

"As I recall, Jimmy Carter claimed to be an engineer."

He was a peanut farmer, despite his interlude in the Navy.

He was also one of Rickover's prime proteges.

A peanut farmer is a more practical skill than most lawyers, the proclivity of most politicians in the US.

"Deschooling Society" (brought to you by a cute little cartoon cat no less)

Deschooling Society (1971) is a critical discourse on education as practised in modern economies. It is a book that brought Ivan Illich to public attention. Full of detail on programs and concerns, the book gives examples of the ineffectual nature of institutionalized education. Illich posited self-directed education, supported by intentional social relations in fluid informal arrangements:

Universal education through schooling is not feasible. It would be no more feasible if it were attempted by means of alternative institutions built on the style of present schools. Neither new attitudes of teachers toward their pupils nor the proliferation of educational hardware or software (in classroom or bedroom), nor finally the attempt to expand the pedagogue's responsibility until it engulfs his pupils' lifetimes will deliver universal education. The current search for new educational funnels must be reversed into the search for their institutional inverse: educational webs which heighten the opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing, and caring. We hope to contribute concepts needed by those who conduct such counterfoil research on education--and also to those who seek alternatives to other established service industries.

The last sentence makes clear what the title suggests -- that the institutionalization of education is considered to institutionalize society and conversely that ideas for de-institutionalizing education may be a starting point for a de-institutionalized society.
~ Wikipedia

...Because government centralization seems terribly wasteful on so many levels...

...a new report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance reveals that the economic advantage of centralized solar and absentee owned solar arrays rests on federal tax incentives that discriminate against locally owned, decentralized solar arrays.

John Farrell, the report’s author and a strong voice in the energy community, calls for Congress to change federal tax incentives to give equal benefits to residential solar arrays, instead of favoring commercial and centralized projects.

Decentralized solar arrays avoid the cost and hassle of building new high voltage transmission lines', says Farrell. 'They also enable local ownership, which should be a goal of public policy.'

Concentrating solar power plants work more like conventional power plants than solar photovoltaic panels. They use large arrays of mirrors to focus sunlight for heat, using the heat to create steam and generate electricity. These plants, mostly built in the deserts of the American Southwest, must send their power over long-distance transmission lines and are much larger than the rooftop solar panels that were previously the dominant form of solar power production.

The size of concentrating solar plants precludes local ownership, a benefit that renewable energy policy must factor in. 'ownership converts citizens into energy producers, which in turn gives them a personal stake in expanding the use of renewable energy,' notes Farrell. 'It also encourages them to maximize energy efficiency, because the greater the efficiency the more independent they become, perhaps even becoming a net exporter of electricity.'
~ http://www.newrules.org/energy/publications/concentrating-solar-and-dece...

Brains and formal education have a lot more correlation than causation IMHO.

Do these politicians have no shame for their total lack of knowledge when it comes to anything related to the energy industry. Why does everyone including our politicians claim that their is an abundance of undiscovered oil in the US and that these resources can be in production at the flick of a switch?


1. You seem to be confusing genuine ignorance for typical election year pandering-to-the-base.
2. Most voters actually believe what he said, which makes actually telling the truth a risky proposition for any candidate, conservative, liberal or otherwise.
3. No, they do *not* have any shame, and this is not restricted only to energy related topics.

Now that's how we won World War II.

Gingrich is playing to the common American myth that the US won the Second World War all by itself.

In reality, by the time the US entered the war, Britain (with considerable help from the Commonwealth nations) and Russia had already fought Germany to a standstill in Europe, and Russia was doing a pretty good job of fighting off Japan in Asia. The US just brought its massive industrial capacity to bear and started manufacturing military equipment faster than Germany or Japan could ever hope to do, which tipped the balance heavily in favor of the allies and shortened the war considerably. The two atomic bombs dropped on Japan also helped since Japan, unlike Germany, had no hope of building an atomic bomb of its own.

The role that oil played in the war was considerable, but the critical factors were that Russia managed to stop Germany from seizing its oil fields and that the US navy managed to cut Japan off from the oil fields of Indonesia. The Allied forces also denied the Axis powers access to the oil fields of North Africa, although the US came rather late to that campaign. But, really, the important fact was not that US had so much oil, but that its enemies had so little.

It is also noteworthy that during the war the vast majority of war materials produced in the US were shipped to seaports by steam trains, and the vast majority of workers and soldiers traveled by steam trains and electric streetcars. The US rationed gasoline during the war because it wanted to force people to use the trains, which were mostly powered by steam and electricity, and free up oil-based fuels for the war effort.

Actually the rationing rationale, as it were, was more complicated than that [emphasis added]:

The national maximum Victory Speed was 35 miles an hour, and driving clubs or carpools were encouraged. The main idea was to conserve rubber, not gasoline. The interior side of the sticker issued for the car's windshield instructed the driver on this point.

See image at bottom of linked page. There was some fuss over risk to tankers just off the East Coast, possibly partly as a rationalization, but no great national shortage of gasoline. The real kicker was that rubber came from the Far East at the time, and for obvious reasons was in genuinely short supply.

Thanks for sharing that link to the American Historical Society. I forgot how resourceful the US had to be back then (too bad we can't do even a fraction of that now to fight the war on decline)!

RMG, first let me say how much I value your posts. From you and Rockman, I have received a first class education in all things oil. However, I have to disagree with the implication in your post that without the U.S. Russia and Britain with it's commonwealth partners could have won the war. Without the U.S. The third Reich would still be standing. What we didn't supply in manpower, we supplied in material to a level unprecedented in history.

The USSR broke the Reich (look at the casualties and resources deployed by Germany) but would have fallen without U.S. materiel and the threat of the Western Front. East Asia (particularly China) and the Pacific also played a significant role in absorbing and sapping the offensive and garrison capabilities of Japan.

At the end of 1942, before American forces began learning from the British how to fight a "modern" war in North Africa, Russian troops were surrounding the German 7th army at Stalingrad. In the cauldron were over a quarter-million German soldiers and the equivalent of a full year of production of the entire German economy.

The entire effort of the US in Europe didn't compare to that single battle, lost by the Germans omore than two years before the Normandy invasion.

The main result of American and British forces in the European theatre was to keep the Russians as far east as possible at war's end. That was pretty much Churchill's objective and the strategy that the west pursued.

I think maybe you exaggerate a bit.German casualties in France & west Germany exceeded those at Stalingrad. I don't doubt for a minute that the Russians did more than half the heavy lifting.
How did German loses at Stalingrad, compare to Kursk (the next summer)?
The Germans did also lose a lot of personnel (many captured) in North Africa, whose loss was nearly contemporaneous with Stalingrad. Of course counting just German loses at Stalingrad is disingenuous, as their Eastern European allies (Romanians mostly I think), suffered horrific loses and weren't much of a force after that. Also knocking out the (fortunately halfhearted) ally Italy soon afterwards helped considerably.

But by and large Germany was defeated by the combination of Russian ground forces, and British, and American counter industrial bombing campaigns which seriously affected the ability to produce war material. Casualty wise it was very uneven between those two contributions, US and Britsh loses were tiny in comparison to the Russians. Although Russian casualties could have been much smaller without Stalins directions, which were largely heedless of Russian lives.

the common American myth that the US won the Second World War all by itself.

A lot of truth there. The Russians are not happy with this myth, as they did most of the grinding down of the German war machine, at the cost of 20 million of their citizens. Even before the US entered the war, we were shipping war materials (at some risk of ships/crews being sunk), to Brittain and Russia -and even had a volunteer air force fighting the Japanese under Chinese insignia. So its not like we suddenly went from no contribution to full participant on Dec 7th, before that we were involved, but in a small enough way that the axis was smart to look the other way, rather than risk provoking a full blooded effort against them.

I'm not at all sure the Fascists had been fought to a standstill at that point. There was still consierable risk that either Russia and/or Brittain could be taken out at that point in time. Adding yet another powerful enemy probably made the real difference to the result.

I'm not at all sure the Fascists had been fought to a standstill

Was Fascism beaten?
(and what exactly is Fascism - All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.

RockyMtnGuy said:

In reality, by the time the US entered the war, Britain (with considerable help from the Commonwealth nations) and Russia had already fought Germany to a standstill in Europe, and Russia was doing a pretty good job of fighting off Japan in Asia.

(my emphasis)

The Soviets fought the Japanese only for a few days at the very end of the war, and they were not at war with each other when the US entered the War in Dec 1941 (officially anyway, in practice they took sides with the Lend-Lease program, in March the same year).

In April 1941, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a neutrality pact, which remained in effect until April 1945.

The Soviet Union declared war on Japan on August 8th, 1945. This had nothing to do with the Aug 6 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima; they were merely keeping the promise they made at the Jalta Conference, namely to join the war on Japan three months after Germany's capitulation (which happened on the 8th of May).

So in the spring of '41, the SU wasn't at war with either Japan or Germany, and in fact had nonaggression pacts with both.

But yes, by December '41, the German east offensive had failed, and the British were getting even with the Germans in the Atlantic (but it's questionable if they could have won the Battle for the Atlantic without the Lend-Lease program).

The Russians feared a Japanese stab in the back. Moving the Siberian divisions under Zukoff(spelling?) that saved Moscow carried its own risks, had the Japanese choosen to take advantage of that weakness. The Japanese also feared a potential Russian attack.

True about the date of the Russian entrance into the Pacific war. However, because of the bomb(s) and the prospect that the war may end early, they pressed the attack speed much faster than had been planned for. I remember reading that that haste caused a large number of Russian casualties. But, Stalin valued his geopolitical position after hostilities ended more than the lives of thousands of Russian soldiers. As it turned out, that position in Manchuria allowed him to give significant support to Mao in the coming Chinese civil war.

KODE said: The Soviets fought the Japanese only for a few days at the very end of the war, and they were not at war with each other when the US entered the War in Dec 1941

History of Japan: Wars with China and Russia

Japan was defeated by Soviet Union in 1938 in large-scale but localized battles at Battle of Lake Khasan and in 1939 in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. The Army no longer wanted to fight the Soviets, so a Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact was signed. The treaty held until August 1945 when the Soviets attacked.

As the old Commonwealth soldiers often said, the war was half over by the time the United States entered it. The Russians had already fought Japan to a standstill, so the Japanese abandoned their attempts to seize the resources of Russia in favor of attempting to seize the oil fields of Indonesia, which of course the US frustrated.

However, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor really aided the Russian effort against Germany because it tied Japanese troops up fighting the US and ensured they would not attack Russia. As a result Russia was able to move most of the troops in its crack Siberian divisions to the German front, where they really wreaked havoc on the German army, particularly in winter fighting.

Call it like it really is:
A bunch of clueless/fight-for-your-country-brainwashed kids-with-ammo that go and fight the battles of elite gangs of mainly "men" who claim nation-state-control, and has little to do with the unbrainwashed folks in those countrysides who just want to live peacefully.

It's not 'Russia' or 'Japan' or 'Germany' or the 'US' or any other glorified prisons. It is the mindsets.

And it is those very mindsets that have got us to where we are today. In our pickles.

"...[Chris] Hedges draws on classical literature and his experiences as a war correspondent to argue that war seduces entire societies, creating fictions that the public believes and relies on to continue to support conflicts... The Hurt Locker, an Academy Award-winning film, opens with a quotation from the book: 'The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.'"

"Behind Boetie's thinking was the assumption, later spelled out in great detail by David Hume, that states cannot rule by force alone. This is because the agents of government power are always outnumbered by those they rule. To insure compliance with their dictates, it is essential to convince the people that their servitude is somehow in their own interest. They do this by manufacturing ideological systems..."
~ Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

"Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state."
~ Noam Chomsky

See Energy Victory by Robert Zubrin.
Cutting Japan off from fuel precipitated Japan's entry into World War II. The Victory in Europe was secured when the Allies destroyed Hitler's coal to oil production.
The US is under a severe national security threat of cutoff of oil for which half of transport and the economy depend.

I can not blame myself because I can only vote for the lesser of many evils, therefore I can not blame anybody else, until we figure out how to overcome this insane use of money.
How can "illiterates" be mentally slapped into cognition?
How can America be informed that "Newt isn't really that stupid",
That money buys politics,
That trivial pursuits do not have to be caused by conspiracy,
Nevertheless, that they are of great hindrance,
How do we mobilize (without squatting)?
Now, it might be best for me to shut up before I reveal my own misconceptions...
But I believe there are proven ways to overcome any and all energy problems, into the vast unknown!
And am appalled that these "people" in congress pretend to be stupid with results that may as well replicate that of the last page in a conspiracy theory.

Here we needed nothing... Everything was already provided:


And now, what we need we have removed from ourselves, and what we don't need, even what is threatening to our very survival, we have created.

Our monolith.

43 years ago we had 2001, and now, look what we have and don't have, 10 years hence?

All for what?

For the price of our monolith.

And the bill is still pending.

It would be substantially easier to absorb a 4M bpd shortfall in the U.S. than in Europe, but this is because the U.S. Uses so much more oil per capita and thus has the potential to reduce structural demand dramatically. Investment in demand reduction is a longer lever than investment in supply at the present time. However, absent national commitment (including fiscal commitment) on the level of WW2, this is inconceivable on the timeline specified absent a Depression. In WW2, in addition to oil rationing, the government enlisted about 17M people full-time, or about the same fraction as currently represented by 75M people. That's without talking about civilian government employees or those working for companies which had their total production diverted to the war effort. As a hypothetical, we could drop oil use by 4M barrels overnight IF the government drafted everyone for 2 hours per day, paid them, and required them to use that time to shift 'most' travel by personal auto to low oil intensity modes such as carpool, walking, biking, transit, etc. It would take 2 or 3 years to do sufficient work to drop structural demand to the level necessary to allow the draft to be rescinded. This would cost substantially more than the oil was worth, but we ccould save the wasted money by cutting other waste, fraud, and abuse (I.e. Outsourcing management of our healthcare industry to Canada). I'm being sarcastic, in case you couldn't tell.

Actually, discussions of environment or resources often expose so many extreme totalitarian impulses that it may indeed become quite impossible to distinguish between sarcasm and dead-seriousness...

Hello from central California ... I hope I can contribute to the community here as I have been lurking for almost two years now ! God Bless all of you ... curlyq3

Is there an app for Half Baked Bonkers on the CNN website?

The discussion here is remarkable in that a great deal of it is not about oil or the public policy concerning oil, but rather about Newt and his inner, mental life. Does he really believe what he is saying? Or does he know that his words are counter-factual, and he is intentionally lying? There are several attempts to getting at a picture of the real, inner Newt. Some quite interesting, but IMHO, there a lot of people like Newt, who are smart, able to talk fluently, etc. , but who advocate ideas that are well outside the mainstream of popular, rational opinion. See the profile of Peter Thiel in the Nov. 28 issue of New Yorker magazine for another example. There is a lot of stuff about Thiel on Google, but the New Yorker profile is a coherent attempt by a reputable writer (George Packer) in a reputable publication.

Both Newt and Thiel like to argue, and both like to win the argument. In almost every other way they are different. Thiel is a venture capitalist who hates politics, etc., etc. Both are given to making statements that are provocative, statements that make you think in different paths, but ...

I think it is not possible to know the inner workings of the minds such people. And it is not safe to pretend that one can know it. Instead one should realize that they are players in the great game of one-up-manship. Trust them and you are in danger of becoming road kill on their great highway to personal fulfillment.

I read that article about Peter Thiel too. No doubt he's an incredibly smart guy, but definitely does not have a good gauge on reality. At one point, the article seems to imply that he believes in Kurzweil's Singularity, which in my book immediately disqualifies that person as understanding the human condition and the current predicaments we face. Also, near the end of the article the author asks him why he isn't focusing on food/energy challenges as those would most directly help society; the article presents his reply as being aloof, along the lines of, "I'm just not looking at that". Throughout, Thiel struck me as strange, but that response in particular made me realize he's so immersed in his own interests that he's completely oblivious to the difficulties faced by most of the world.

If you think we're 35 years out from solving almost every problem ever through superior technology, it makes perfect sense to focus on developing that technology.

"Oh Deep Thought, how should we act to support the continued civilisation of the human race?"

"You shall cut your use of fossil fuels by 10% per year, arrest the bankers, and support every individual to a minimum standard of human rights."

"You socialist! John, get the axe."

Mr. Thiel is one of the main brains behind Facebook, a reason I refuse to have an account there. It is fascinating how there are more people playing a virtual game about farming on Facebook than actually growing food in the United States. I hope future generations are able to laugh at our insanity.

Thiel is also on the steering committee of the Bilderberg organization, a group that gets little scrutiny due to the allergy of looking at "conspiracy" claims and the proclivity of most of the commenters who do dare discuss it to also support virulent racist nonsense that discourages most sane people from looking closer (a conspiracy to discredit looking at conspiracies?).

The singularity concept is one of the most bizarre ideas I've ever heard of. Perhaps the contraction / collapse / whatever term you want to use will be a teaching tool for future generations that physical resources are ultimately the base that culture and economy rest upon.



January 17, 2008
by the Guardian/UK
With Friends Like These …

Facebook has 59 million users - and 2 million new ones join each week. But you won’t catch Tom Hodgkinson volunteering his personal information - not now that he knows the politics of the people behind the social networking site.

Mr. Gingrich has a poll in Iowa with him pulling 28% The CEO of the Pollster, Insider Advantage, is Matt Towery, who has served as Campaign Chairman for Newt Gingrich.

A bit of background for thinking about honesty, data sources and trust.

Efficasync describes tools used by a more-general type of programmer called a ‘citizen,’ to write, update, and debug democracies. As mentioned above, this document uses many analogies to the world of computers and programming because of their utility in the domain of self-governance. In this vein, a group’s system of governance can be thought of as a computer’s operating system (OS.) Both an OS and a government have the ability to coordinate activity and delegate resources among the constituent parts of a system. As with all pieces of software, operating systems may be one of two varieties: open-source or close-source. Open-source operating systems allow every user direct access to their copy of the underlying code, so the user can examine and learn how the system works, and possibly fix problems or make improvements, which can then be shared with the group that uses the OS. Other systems, called close-source, restrict this access to an elite group of experts whose profession is to maintain the code. Efficasync was created in the former paradigm, and encourages the investigation of its code by every person affected by its code. It is the business and responsibility of every citizen to known and affect their government.

~ Michael Mussman, Programming a Deliberative Direct-Democracy: A Method of Open-Source Self-Governance


I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
~ Thomas Jefferson, 1816.

Speaking about what Gingrich et al. say is, in a sense, a waste of time and effort (and removes valuable time and effort toward more productive discussion). Better left to Fox News or assorted purveyors of corporatocratic-channel fluff.

It is energy-inefficient, if you will...

"Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them."
~ Henry Ford

"The infrastructure of suburbia can be described as the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world."
~ JH Kunstler

Upper-right corner quotes from 'The Oil Drum: Discussions About Energy and Our Future'

By appealing to the state, activists indirectly strengthen the roots of many social problems, the problem of war in particular...
To help transform the state system, action groups need to develop strategies which, at a minimum, do not reinforce state power. This means ending the incessant appeals for state intervention, and promoting solutions to social problems which strengthen local self-reliance and initiative.
~ The State

Leaving Newt out of it, what are the prospects for growing the US oil supply? How about we gather articles, for those new to the discussion, why we think a return of US oil independence is very unlikely.

How about "Shale Oil" - The huge green river shale formation, which actually contains not oil but the oil precursor Kerogen. Here is an article on the end of latest failure by an oil company to make the deposit commercial. If it was oil, and it was recoverable, and it was economic, there would be a whole lot of it, like 800 billion barrels.

Congressmen Tipton and Lamborn accuse the Obama administration of hindering oil shale development, road blocks they say are hurting local economies and job creators. Both congressmen are members of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources with a particular interest in Western Colorado's resources.


I guess Obama traveled back in time to cancel the Exxon Oil shale project in 1982. More seriously, one must ask how can a process that cannot be proven to work profitably can create jobs? It can't. It can steal jobs from profitable industries and waste the money creating dead end jobs in Colorado, but it cannot "create" the jobs without creating net energy. Multiple EROI Studies.

This was different from "Oil Shale" such as the Bakken in South Dakota. (beware email investment scams conflating the two. If you take your investment advice from spam mail that is.) This really is oil and it has been made commercial by high oil prices and refinements in horizontal drilling and hydro fracture. Unlike the Shale Oil, this extraction works. And, as is often the difference between what works and what does not, the working process won't deliver so much oil we will never need to worry again. The USGS guesses there might be 3-4 billion barrels recoverable. The US has a total of 230 to 260 billion recoverable, so like 1-2%. Enough to make some good money, but not enough to shift peak oil or keep the middle class driving.


What about all that offshore oil those Environmentalists are keeping from the oil industry? The EIA (famous for distributing wildly optimistic forecasts) did an analysis and said this:

The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017. Total domestic production of crude oil from 2012 through 2030 in the OCS access case is projected to be 1.6 percent higher than in the reference case, and 3 percent higher in 2030 alone, at 5.6 million barrels per day.


Wow, the EIA is saying the same thing Art and Rockman are saying: It is going to take time to lease, explore, drill, and bring any oil found into production and when it gets here it will adjust production by a world market crushing (NOT!) 3%.

Now, if we could harness all that political hot air - that would be a renewable resource worth commercializing...

How does peak oil threaten the operations of the centralized nation-state? I mean...

How does oil and energy in general factor in the operations of a typical western/-ized nation-state?
How much energy do these kinds of states need/use versus different/other forms of social organization, such as decentralized/local forms?

Are there comparisons out there? Charts? Graphs? Analyses? Predictions? (Might we be able to show/predict at what point or points along the energy-decline curves where the state could "collapse" or show significant stalls?)

Would the threat in the form of significant energy decline of the survival of the centralized nation state model have any bearing on what elites (politicians, lobbyists, corporate media and the like) that depend on the centralized nation-state gov't model might do or say as a result?

Many energy-decline conversations seem to prefer to speak about the effects on 'the economy', or 'civilization', but what of the effects on 'the nation state/centralized governance', such as the responses/discourse/etc. of its elites? (Lies? Deceptions? Distortions? Pretense? Panic? Milk-it-for-all-it's-worth-before-it-collapses?)

It is difficult to imagine that Mr. Gingrich could be unaware of these fundamental facts and probabilities.
~ aeberman

He knows.

In an interview given in 2009, Fridley claims, "[Chu] was my boss...He knows all about peak oil, but he can't talk about it. If the government announced that peak oil was threatening our economy, Wall Street would crash. He just can't say anything about it."
~ Mórrígan, Tariel (2010). Peak Energy, Climate Change, and the Collapse of Global Civilization: The Current
Peak Oil Crisis

Backtracking through the reference provided, it is not clear what Chu actually said to Fridley which allowed him to make that statement. There is no quote where Chu, in conversation with Fridley, tells of his concerns, lists off the problems involved, or speculates on the consequences with David. Just David's statement. Heck, I can attribute anything I wish to my boss as well, as long as I couch in the same verbiage that David uses. "Yup...da boss knows all about them aliens, but he can't talk about it (except to me of course) because heck fire, people would think he was nuts". Fridley doesn't even claim the boss told him anything directly, only that he knows, and this "knowing" appears to imply agreement with all things peak oil. The specific example is peak oil in 2005 and the imminent decline back at that point in time, which we all know was bogus.

Just as Darwin had predicted.