Petrocollapse roundup: Ruppert

As Stuart did for the Community Solutions conference, peakguy and I will be writing a series of posts over the next couple of days about the Petrocollapse conference that was held in New York City today. There were many interesting speakers, and we'll get to all of them, but I wanted to start with Mike Ruppert. Now, I know Ruppert is a controversial figure, and he's been discussed (not necessarily positively) on TOD before. Before seeing him speak today, I hadn't really read much of the From the Wilderness publications, but when I came home I scanned the website, and on the recommendation of JLA's comment in the above linked story, I read the Nation article about him. When it comes to 9/11, he seems pretty nutty. And with respect to peak oil, he's firmly in the apocalypticon camp. Still, he's a dynamic speaker, and I can see people being easily convinced by his message, at least as it was delivered today. Many of you will no doubt be worried by that.
Ruppert firmly believes that the government certainly knows about peak oil and has started preparing for it, although their solutions are not what the American people will want to see. He started off his speech by mentioning a comment made by Dutch economist Maarten van Mourik at the 2003 ASPO conference. As repeated on Kunstler's website, van Mourik reported to the ASPO attendees that "deep water drilling would not add significantly to the world's oil reserve, that it did not make sense economically, and ultimately could only produce five billion barrels. Van Mourik also made the interesting observation that, 'it may not be profitable to slow decline.'" With this in mind, Ruppert proclaimed that "until we change the way money works, we won't do anything to fix peak oil."

Ruppert reminded the crowd about the Hirsch report (I forget—was it ever re-released or not?), which said that if we only initiate action when the peak occurs, there will be a liquid fuel shortfall of 2 decades. Since Ruppert believes the peak is already upon his, he takes this to mean that there will only be a shortfall because after 2 decades, there will have been enough of a die-off to go back to a lifestyle where the populations may be able to use liquid fuels again.

Ruppert then outlined several steps that the government will take in the face of the energy crisis. If Ruppert is right about the timing of the peak, then we should see this as a set of predictions that will soon be verified or debunked.

  • Rationing. Ruppert believes that because of treaties that have been signed with the IEA, they can come into the US and impose rationing on the American people without making the federal government look bad. [I think rationing is possible in the near future, but we'll have to wait to see see whether or not Ruppert was right about blaming it on the IEA]
  • Coal. Brian Schweitzer of Montana thinks we can fuel US transportation for a long time using Fischer-Tropsch.
  • Critical infrastructure. The government will do whatever it must to protect military, police, fire, internet, electral power generation, pipelines, airports, water supplies, food processing, highways, ports. [This doesn't sound so terrible to me, except that they might do it by increased domestic military powers—which was actually another one of his predictions.]
  • Strengthening FEMA. Ruppert warns us that FEMA's primary job is to protect critical infrastructure, not human lives. [I'm not predisposed to believe this, but the handling of Katrina didn't do much to instill confidence.]
  • Suspend minimum wage laws and change and tighten bankruptcy laws. The second has already been done, and the president has set a bad precedent regarding the former in New Orleans, where he suspended the Davis Bacon act, which requires federal contractors to pay prevailing wage.
  • Allow and facilitate population reduction through famine and disease. [Yes, the message got increasingly hysterical. I think there was some mention of the bird flu here]
In the second half of his talk, Ruppert detailed a timeline demonstrating when the government first knew about peak oil, and specific government acts that support the idea that their only goal is to protect businesses and the elite. Much of this involved quoting Dick Cheney's various comments about oil depletion when he was CEO of Halliburton. He also thinks that Saudi Arabia's recent doubling of their reserves is laughable. I won't go into this in further detail, but I'm sure you can find it somewhere on From the Wilderness. Ruppert ended with 5 rules for "survival" of the coming collapse. Actually, they weren't so much rules about how to survive as they were apocalyptic observations, but here you go:
  1. No combination of alternative energy can replace petroleum [to maintain our current lifestyles, I think he meant]
  2. Even if it could, we'd need 30 years to develop a plan. PO is here now, and the current infrastructure simply cannot be maintained.
  3. No government will be able to do anything (federal or state).
  4. Until we change the way money works, we change nothing.
  5. All real solutions will be local and will originate at a grassroots level.
Please, dear readers, don't shoot the messenger. Many of you think that Ruppert is nutty, but still, I think his talk may prompt an interesting and worthwhile discussion here. Many of the speakers at the conference stressed that the society that will be formed post-peak will be a very local one. Even if the fall isn't hard, there are a lot of benefits to local production (especially with respect to food), since the centralized and global nature of supply chains is a large part of why so much of our fuel usage goes to the transportation sector. If nothing else, I think this is a valid point.

As an addendum, since I know you're all interested: the participants were about 80% business professional, middle class white American types. I was surprised at how few gray ponytails there were (no offense intended, of course).

I was also at Petrocollapse today and enjoyed it immensely -- especially Mike Ruppert and James Howard Kuntsler.  I found Mike Ruppert to be truthful, honest and sincere in his intentions to help those who are willing to be helped.  James Kunstler is just pure fun to listen to -- outrageous and forthrightful...there aren't many who are willing to go out on a limb and both of these men are.  They both seem to be fully enjoying Peak Oil and Life and is there any difference between the two?
I find these points very interesting (except his last point on population reduction - a bit much to swallow that one).  I have actually come across opinion peices (not in mainstream media) that discuss the Bush administration's intention to expand the role of the military in the U.S., particularly noticed more commentary along this line in the summer (If interested I may try to dig up some links) but of interest is that the commentary pointed to the fall as to when we would start to see signs of such intentions.

I thought such talk was a crock of Shit.  However, Bush commenting on using the military for purposes of quarantine during a flu pandemic had my jaw dropping to the floor (is this Bush testing the waters?). None of us should take democracy for granted and any developments in this direction should be followed closely.  If other PO people have further info, please share.

My understanding that using the military to enforce quarantine goes way back(*).  Do you remember the movie "Outbreak" with Dustin Hoffman?

There is actually a very brutal fact in this ... simulations show that to enforce a true quarintine, troops would have to be willing to kill Americans attempting to run roadblocks.  In all simulations, even when the soldiers and National Guardsmen were shootin blanks ... they refused to shoot those blanks at the civilians.

This is harsh math, but in the simulations "not killing" a few hundred at roadblocks leads to (in worst cases) millions dying in other cities.

Not nice, but I believe that really is the way it goes.

* - I suppose a historian would say it goes by thousands of years.

"What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and there's only one lifeboat? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship's axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides of the boat." -Pentti Linkola, finnish fisherman

When thinking about big picture, when the question is about saving human species, you have to give away such humanism-christianity which tells not to kill a human. When there is 5 billion large carnivorous too many on this tiny planet with huge consumption rate, this species nor, in the worst case, even the whole biosphere has no future if human population is so huge. If human species if important to you, start killing people. If not, why not kill yourself right away, how can one human life be important, while the whole species future is not. Every act of terror which decreases consumption and/or production will give this biosphere few more minutes, days or perhaps years.  

The most amazing thing to me is all the articles that claim that high proces have curbed consumption and that the reduction in demand is the natural operation of the "invisible hand" that they learned about in eco101.  WAKE UP!!!  We just lost an area of the US that is greater than the size of Great Britain.  Isn't it possible that the reduction in demand is because 100s of thousands of homes were underwater and are no longer drawing on the energy bank.  What do you think will happen when resources are applied to the reconstruction and as houses and infrastructure come back on line.  And then we have to pay back what we borrowed in oil and natural gas and make up the difference and make up for growth.  If we make it to Christmas, the new year is going to see some great changes.
Re: van Mourik reported to the ASPO attendees that "deep water drilling would not add significantly to the world's oil reserve, that it did not make sense economically, and ultimately could only produce five billion barrels".

That is a really crazy statement and I am sorry to see it repeated here. In their latest newsletter, ASPO made an oil depletion revision putting deepwater at 54 Gb and the (world) peak out to about 2010/2011 based on that revision. Deepwater probably peaks at about 2011 to 2013 based on what I've seen though there are technical challenges (as well as hurricanes) that make all this risky to predict.

We could really do very nicely talking about peak oil without this hysterical hyperbole.
Like I said, please don't shoot the messenger! (Not that you were, I'm just reiterating.) But here's another reason why I think it's valuable to post about this on TOD: there aren't a lot of forums (fora?) out there where people can respond to Ruppert's claims. If TOD readers can give specific reasons why Ruppert's statements are unfounded, the relevant information will get out there. Otherwise, people will read From the Wilderness and never get to see specific refutations of his comments.
In fact, many of the people that I spoke to today had actually first heard of Peak Oil through "from the Wilderness" and many of those folks had never heard of TOD. We need to expose folks to the diversity of opinions and backgrounds we have collected here at TOD.
Not shooting the messenger, Ianqui...

Re: "diversity of opinions"

There is no significant diversity of opinions as far as expected outcomes goes from deepwater oil. What I don't want to see is for us to look like fools as far as CERA, Michael Lynch and some others think. I don't want to be associated with statements like the one I referenced above.
Here's my read on Ruppert and Kunstler.  Ruppert is a Tom Clancy who can't write fiction so he works in this other conspiratorial newsletter public speaker realm.  And Kunstler is a comedian like Bill Hicks.  A social commentator who is amusing to listen to.

I imagine both are very good speakers.  I was impressed with both of them in the movie End of Suburbia, which I found a very professional documentary.

But they are both stuck clocks.  They are entertaining and amusing.  But I really don't see either as harboring a great respect for truth. They produce the results they want to produce irrespective of the input data.  Therefore I think, over time, they should be ignored.  They are dead weights that will become more of a burden than a benefit.

Just this week President Bush suggested Congress should give him the power to activate the military in a law enforcement role to deal with disasters such as the avian flu.

Here's one example story about this:

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist or totally falling in line with Mike Ruppert's comments, it sure sounds an awful lot like what Ruppert is talking about.  Unfortunately, this type of thing is not unprecedented (i.e. Germany pre-WWII).

The slow but steady march that this Presidential administration has been making away from our hard won democratic freedoms, and their sheer lack of respect for real science worries me greatly.

In light of the fact that this administration is more connected to the oil industry than any other in history would lead me to believe that they know more about the Peak Oil situation than any of us bloggers do.  There have also been some excellent and very reputable news publications that have detailed how the US military is realigning itself around the world and building "enduring" bases in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Who knows what to think anymore in this time of information overload.  All I know is I don't have a real good feeling in my gut when I think about how our national leaders appear to be reacting to the growing uncertainties around the world.

I agree that while Ruppert has weaknesses, the gist of what he is saying regarding the way things really are is pretty accurate.  We have such a concentration of corporate/gov't/media power in this country that it's hardly surprising, really.  Policies are promulgated for the benefit of the top 1%.  The rest of us are just labor, consumers and soldiers.  There are two media outlets that provide a non-corporate viewpoint - LINK TV and FSTV.  They're available on Dish Network and DirecTV (at least for now...)  Some specific programs I recommend are Orwell Rolls in His Grave, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (yes, I know Palast is a bit like Ruppert, but again, he raises the right issues, even if in a self-promoting manner) and Liberty Bound, which is a low-budget doc done by a recent grad type who just travels the country revealing instances of the creeping police state.  Right here in my area - Chapel Hill, NC - we've had college and HS students questioned by FBI and Homeland Security because of the posters they had in their rooms!  Even RFK Jr. can be heard speaking about the Bush Administration and fascism in the same speech - very carefully not calling them fascists, but providing the evidence and letting you make your own conclusions.  Any useful, sustainable response we have to PO is clearly going to have to be on the local, community level, because TPTB are doing nothing but building a fortress to protect their own interests.
There was an interesting article by Lewis Lapham in the Harper's Magazine on Umberto Eco's analysis of fascism. It can be found here.  The entire article is worth a read, but a small extract is below.

In 1938 the word "fascism" hadn't yet been transferred into an abridged metaphor for all the world's unspeakable evil and monstrous crime, and on coming across President Roosevelt's prescient remark in one of Umberto Eco's essays, I could read it as prose instead of poetry - a reference not to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or the pit of Hell but to the political theories that regard individual citizens as the property of the government, happy villagers glad to wave the flags and wage the wars, grateful for the good fortune that placed them in the care of a sublime leader. Or, more emphatically, as Benito Mussolini liked to say, "Everything in the state. Nothing outside the state. Nothing against the state."

The theories were popular in Europe in the 1930s (cheering crowds, rousing band music, splendid military uniforms), and in the United States they numbered among their admirers a good many important people who believed that a somewhat modified form of fascism (power vested in the banks and business corporations instead of with the army) would lead the country out of the wilderness of the Great Depression - put an end to the Pennsylvania labor troubles, silence the voices of socialist heresy and democratic dissent.

Roosevelt appreciated the extent of fascism's popularity at the political box office; so does Eco, who takes pains in the essay "Ur-Fascism", published in The New York Review of Books in 1995, to suggest that it's a mistake to translate fascism into a figure of literary speech. By retrieving from our historical memory only the vivid and familiar images of fascist tyranny (Gestapo firing squads, Soviet labor camps, the chimneys at Treblinka), we lose sight of the faith-based initiatives that sustained the tyrant's rise to glory. The several experiments with fascist government, in Russia and Spain as well as in Italy and Germany, didn't depend on a single portfolio of dogma, and so Eco, in search of their common ground, doesn't look for a unifying principle or a standard text. He attempts to describe a way of thinking and a habit of mind, and on sifting through the assortment of fantastic and often contradictory notions - Nazi paganism, Franco's National Catholicism, Mussolini's corporatism, et cetera - he finds a set of axioms on which all the fascisms agree. Among the most notable:

  • The truth is revealed once and only once.

  • Parliamentary democracy is by definition rotten because it doesn't represent the voice of the people, which is that of the sublime leader.

  • Doctrine outpoints reason, and science is always suspect.

  • Critical thought is the province of degenerate intellectuals, who betray the culture and subvert traditional values.

  • The national identity is provided by the nation's enemies.

  • Argument is tantamount to treason.

  • Perpetually at war, the state must govern with the instruments of fear.

  • Citizens do not act; they play the supporting role of "the people" in the grand opera that is the state.
And yet, having learned my lesson from S.J. Gould (the lesson being: pay no attention to anything written by a bad writer), I cannot take Eco's analysis of fascism seriously. Roger Griffin defines fascism as "palingenetic ultranationalist populism". (Palingenesis = rebirth, ie the nation as phoenix.) Which is useful. In any case, let us cease bickering over the wellknown excesses of the previous millenium. We have a new page to scribble on.
I think the Bush administration is toast ... a dead man walking, politically.

If we were going to make this movie (my term for a semi-plausible alternate reality), we'd do it with a President who was still believed when he talked about bogey men.

Nutty? Hardly. I've been following FTW & Ruppert for a number of years, and the scary part is how much of what he's helped to bring to the fore on FTW is so front and center in the public's consciousness now a'days.

I don't mean to give him credit for ideas he didn't invent, but Mike does have an amazing way of plucking seemingly inconsequestial news items from the chaff of the MSM and making people notice them. I think part of that ability comes from his years as a detective with the LAPD -- an experince which I'm sure helped him finely attune his bullsh*t detector to get to the bottom of the important stuff.

Yeah, NOW Bush is talking about Avian Flu, Quarantines, mobilizing the military for domestic response. This is all stuff Ruppert started talking about a LONG time ago. Next we'll be hearing how FEMA (or some revamped version of it) will divide the country up into 10 more-easily governed regions as the case warrants. Mike's got his finger on the pulse of how this Government operates, so I wouldn't write him off as "nutty" so quickly. (I'm not so convinced with claims of gov complicity in 9/11, but at the same time, I also do recogize the need for the gov to find a new enemy in the post-Soviet/Cold War era -- so maybe he's not entirely off-base in this regard).

In the end, what it comes down to is the proverbial 'canary in the coal mine'. Will you act on that warning when you hear it by preparing... or just go about business as usual and find out the hard way?

I'm choosing the former.

Here's the real problem with this fascism arguement.  Fascism is, as has been pointed out, really a collective term.  A government can sieze centralized power without being fascist (I'm sure you don't consider the Constitution facist, although it consolidated power from the Articles of Confederation,) and all that we have been talking about, military law, government control in lives, etc, is consolidation of power.  And, if you notice, it's being repeated again and again on the world stage (Putin in Russia, Blair in UK). While not easy to stomach with our principles, there are several reasons control should be encouraged during times of strife.  

Command and Control is a very interesting thing. We tend to hate it, but when we really need it, we beg for it.  The obvious example of this is Hurricane Katrina.  Notice that only when the threat of force was applied to the people, were they calmed and subdued enough to begin helping.  In a perfect world, anarchy is king.  But in a world where people are not making decisions based on the greater good, but decisions hard-wired into their brains through years of evolution, violence is appealing as it is an immediate trigger.  There is nothing like the possibility of meeting instant, molten-lead death to make you compliant. And while it seems naseua inducing, if 10,000 American citizens are murdered in one city because they cannot overpower their instincts, and end up trying to violate a quarentine, then it's tragic, but it's the best alternative to cascading the problem and causing 10 million more deaths.  This describes Control, and is a necessary evil in our evil society.  

The two problems that come up on the other side, command, is where the lines between CaC and fascism blur.  A) Who watches the watchers?  Again, as Katrina showed, the people who are primarily in charge of enforcing control are tied to the people they are controlling.  Not only are they compelled to not hold control so they can take care of their families during tragedy, they also are made up from the society.  National guardsmen, for instance, are regular people, seperate from those who issue command.  Since absolute control is needed, there is a cracking of the whip up the entire command chain, which in it's ultimate conclusion leads to extreme consolidation of power onto an individual or onto a close oligarchical group.  It's at this point, free from opposition that the truely nasty things happen.  B) What if command, as often the case, is ineffectual?  The leaders in our society tend not to know much about the reins of control.  Yes, they direct our government in normal operations, passing legislation, even authorizing military actions, but all of those are different than leading an operation bent on saving an entire society (especially when military leadership is about second against the wall behind the intellectuals).  This particular case is nearly without precedent.  

So, to recap.. control, unfortunently the tighter, the better.. command, necessary, but best if decentralized and effectual.  Basically, the hardest combination to pull off in the best of times.  Let's just hope, pray, or politick our own Hitler.*

*Yea, I know what you're thinking.  Don't go there.  You know exactly what I mean by this.  

"Hurricane Katrina.  Notice that only when the threat of force was applied to the people, were they calmed and subdued enough to begin helping."

Untrue. I read many stories from Katrina in which people helped, both individually and in groups, without any threat of force. In fact, even in a power vacuum.

There were many other stories where people tried to help, and the authorities wouldn't let them.

And even a few stories of FEMA doing direct damage (cutting emergency communication lines).

Central government isn't always bad, but it sure was bad this time around.

Uhh, I seem to think the President knows far more than we are led to believe.

It would seem that our border issues are being ignored for a reason, welcome NAFTA PLUS. immigration is one thing. but it's really about securing resouces. esp OIL!

Nutty?  Well then I'm nutty too.  After reading about Peak Oil and studying it on my own for 2-3 years now, I've come to most of the same conclusions that Ruppert reached.

I think most folks simply lack understanding of what has happened in the past and therefore discount the possibility of what's going on right in front of our very eyes (Iran 1953, Chile 1973, Operation Northwoods, etc, etc...)

Of course I hope he is wrong but I think everyone should do their own DD and plan accordingly.  It's your life.

Ruppert and Kunstler are both highly intelligent and well-informed men.  Nevertheless, they are fallible, and I think the nature of their fallibility offers lessons for us all - and may make all of us no less "nutty" than they are in the end, to the extent that this is an apt description of them.  I will also include Heinberg in this group, since the remarks I am about to make apply to him as well.

When I read them all (and I do read them all with great respect and attentiveness), I distinctly detect that their prognostications for the future are intimately affected by their underlying value systems.  In Kunstler's case, this can be summed up as a hatred of suburbia and an idealization of small-town rural living.  In Heinberg's case, this can be summed up as a hatred of 20th century American culture with all of its attendant deceit, brutality, and hypocrisy, and an idealization of a hunter-gatherer's intimate connection to nature.  In Ruppert's case (with whom I personally identify most closely in this regard), this can be summed up as a passionate, visceral, bottomless hatred of lies, hypocrisy, brutality, and injustice masquerading as virtue and goodness.

I teach logic, and I have a pretty keen sense for non-sequiturs.  I think a close study of the writings of all the aforementioned will reveal significant non-sequiturs, whereby they stretch the evidence that they present to conclusions that extend beyond what is strictly in accord with logic.  The purpose of these "stretches," of course, is to bend the data in a plausible yet still inconclusive way to fit their pre-conceived value systems.  This tendency emerges most controversially when they prognosticate about the future.

But let's be real here, ladies and gentlemen: Do we not all do this all the time?  Is any one of us perfectly logical all the time in our thinking patterns?  Is any one of us free from the tendency to impose pre-conceived and inadequately examined value systems on our analysis of the data?  Can any one of us really say - with justice - that we are any less prone to this than Kunstler, Ruppert, and Heinberg?

I have already announced what my own pre-conceived interpretive framework and operative value-system is, and I will repeat it here:  All of these events, horrific as they may become, are unfolding within the guidance of God's loving Providence; and their purpose is to inaugurate Jesus the Messiah's Glorious Kingdom - which will bring the world to a state of peace and bliss better than any one of us can imagine.

That is my pre-conceived interpretive framework.  I think I can ably demonstrate that faith in it is reasonable.  All of you who doubt me - or who doubt Ruppert, Heinberg, and Kunstler - I ask you this:  Have YOU asssured yourself that the value system that constitutes YOUR interpretive framework is based on anything other than blind faith?  And have YOU, who doubt the conclusions that Kunstler, Ruppert, Heinberg, and myself draw by applying these interpretive frameworks assured yourself that you are NEVER guilty of glaring non-sequiturs along the way?

We are all fallible, ladies and gentlemen - Ruppert, Heinberg, Kunstler, myself - and all of you as well.  Only God is infallible.

That last line is a non-sequitur because God is inseparable from the fallible you.
I honestly don't think your accusation is on the mark, step back.  However, I can see how I invited it by coming on rather strong.  Apologies to all for this.
Everyone does that all the time.
And it is because in our world facts do not exist. There are only interpetations of percieved facts.
Let alone when you try to interpolate the percieved facts to hypotetical facts in the future.
I just saw the local musical theater production of Cabaret. Cabaret is set in Berlin in the days of the decadent Weimar Republic and spans into the rise of the Nazi party. In the play the characters must come to decisions about how they will respond to the increasing power of the Nazis.

The fascinating thing is that most everyone discounts the Nazis even when its clear as day that they shouldn't.

Evil doesn't come with a flashing neon sign over its head, rather it's a warm bath that slowly but surely heats up until it boils you alive.

It would be nice to discount Ruppert because I prefer that he be crazy, but that doesn't mean he is. The one and only time I've ever seen him was when I went to one of his WTC lectures to laugh at the whackos. I wasn't laughing when I left. Anyone who doesn't think the official 9/11 story stinks needs to explain why WTC 7 collapsed: there is no logical explanation that fits with the offical story.

No one knows how or why WTC 7 collapsed. The visual evidence points to an implosion because that is how imploded building s come down. Now, if they imploded WTC 7 and won't admit it what else are they hiding?  

Go to and watch the videos. If you want to see some comparison explosions check out

So I know nothing about building collapses, but I reviewed this website for an hour, and I find the official FEMA investigation report a lot more persuasive than the critique of it. It seems very clear that fires were burning in the building for many hours with no effective firefighting (for obvious and excellent reasons given there were no people in the building and a sizeable fraction of the fire department had just been killed). It doesn't seem obviously implausible that a structural failure of part of the buildling might not propagate to the whole via some of the strengthened floors. The tone of the critique comes off as completely rabid and not rational or thoughtful. The alternative hypothesis that the government wired the building with explosives ahead of the 9/11 attack and then waited seven hours before triggering them seems implausible, even if I were willing to grant that the government might be capable of deliberately allowing a bunch of arab lunatics to fly planes into buildings, including ones in DC occupied at the time by senior members of the administration. Having some considerable experience watching government operate from up close, I find its incompetence always a much more persuasive explanatory factor than it's ability to pull off complex conspiracies with no opportunity to practice them ahead of time. I am untempted by the possibility of spending further time investigating this.
FEMA doesn't even believe its explanation. In the report they refer to it as being improbable.
Agreed.  Ruppert is off the deep end. He's part of the Made It Happen (MIH as they say) conspiracy group instead of the slightly more benign Let It Happen (LIH) brigade, which I believe in includes Heinberg.  I think we should always use the lesson's of history.  I keep in mind the many many Jews living in Nazi Germany who just couldn't imagine that the oppression would go beyond the economic and social rejection they experience in the earlier years of the Nazi rise to power.  Many of these Jews lacked easy opportunities to immigrate out, they had vested interests--tradtions, businesses, etc--drawing them to stay.  And sadly, they were wrong.

When The New Republic reviewed The Long Emergency, the synopsis was, and I'm paraphrasing:  Important message. Too bad its delivered by someone lacking in credibility.

Maybe I'm wrong.  Ruppert seems an opportunist. He is driven by conspiracy theories.  Little more.  I don't find any grander theme to his thinking.  Kunstler, on the other hand, has a very sensible and respectable thesis on suburban life.  I happen to think he's right in his reaction, e.g. his comments about the missalocation of resources, in particular the automobile and lifestyle hinged upon it.  And Heinberg seems similar motivated--though less mean spirited.

But focusing on Ruppert. Let's use Occam's Razor here.  I agree with Stuart.  Be cautious attributing to conspiracy what can easily be attribute to incompetence.

I am no great fan of Ruppert. But the fact that Ruppert belongs to the MIH people doesn't make him less or more credible than Heinberg in the LIH group. A theory that is more benign is not necessarily more true than others. There ary many untrue stories and only one true and I think that the true one is not yet available. We simply have no way of knowing the truth now.

But we have a problem with all these conspiracy theories. The  US government spreads these fantastic stories about those evil terrorists that may have or almost certainly have or could get WMDs and are ready to use them in the US and everywhere. True or not but this is clearly a conspiracy theory. They claim that this very wide secret network really exists. They insist officially that there is a large conspiracy and many foreign governments are part of it. If we would call them "Illuminati" or "Jews" or something we would be considered nuts. If we call them "al-Qaeida" we would be serious. If we say that the US government has connections to terrorists we are considered as nuts. If we say that foreign governments have we are serious.

Conspiracy theories are usually not very useful in explaining social or political phenomena. Conspiracy people belong to the fringe. But if the US goverment says otherwise they are either nuts or those theories can be serious. Both ways it is really discouraging.    

To steal a line from Slashdot, "Mod parent up!"

Al-Qaeda = conspiracy theory: Excellent point.

Double standard on conspiracy theories: Excellent point.

Lots of conspiracy theories are bogus, but rejecting them all just because of how they're framed is not wise. The way it is today, a gang of conspirators could get away with anything: they just need to start an Internet rumor of what they just did, framing it as a conspiracy theory, and anyone who tries to talk about it will be ignored.

Personally, I'm skeptical about using Occam's Razor when it comes to describing human behavior.  Physical processes, OK, but people do conspire, scheme, and mask real intentions and motivations.  If they assume you will give them the benefit of the doubt, its that much more they can get away with.  

Sure, parts of the gov't are bloated, incompetent, etc. but I struggle to believe that's the case at the highest levels of the military and intellegence in this country.  

I think a lot of Peak Oilers don't want anything to do with Ruppert because he promotes ideas that many Americans just cannot accept, true or not.

"I think a lot of Peak Oilers don't want anything to do with Ruppert because he promotes ideas that many Americans just cannot accept, true or not."

Yes, most Americans don't want anything to do with the Peak Oilers, because they promote ideas that many Americans just cannot accept, true or not.

"Having some considerable experience watching government operate from up close, I find its incompetence always a much more persuasive explanatory factor than it's ability to pull off complex conspiracies with no opportunity to practice them ahead of time."

Amen.  I've spent much of my career as a consultant to various federal agencies, and this is so true.  You won't find many conspiracy theorists among the consultants and bureaucrats who actually run things on a day-to-day basis.  

There has been a broad appeal to logic and reason here, which I will applaud.  In that vein, I will recommend David Ray Griffin's 2 books on 911, "the New Pearl Harbor" and "Omissions and Distortions of the 911 Commission."  I think they are both published by "Olive Tree."  He is a Prof of Theology and logic at Claremont.  His writing is careful, methodical and balanced.  His conclusion is simply that the official story is not to be trusted on its face.  There are simply too many unanswered aspects to the story that merit deeper inquiry.  I am a fan of all three authors being dicussed here, (Ruppert, Kunstler, Heinberg)though I feel most affinity with Heinberg. I agree with the above description of each ones' individual biases.  Very astute and concise read of the three of them.  
imo For 911, Griffin is the best for a treatment of the whole story that is readable and rational.  Ruppert's "Rubicon" is an amazing work, but I wasn't able to digest the whole thing.  
I also agree with most of the opinion here on Kunstler.  I loved his book, even though it was rhetorically over the top.  But at the same time, I think he will be proved correct on many of his prophecies.  The fate of the southwest, the breakdown of maintenence of the highway system, the end of long haul trucking, end of big box stores etc... I also loathe and regret suburbia.  
Thanks to all for this great discussion and to Oil Drum.

Since Ruppert has put himself in the business of predicting the probable outcome of events, whether we should put stock in him should be judged by the accuracy of his predictions.  If his predictions are exaggerated and inaccurate, we should question why we should trust further predictions from him, and why he should continue as a spokesman for these issues.

Very recently, a couple of days before Rita hit, he predicted that barring divine intervention, Rita would be the finishing blow for America, our nation no longer exists in a recognizable form.  He did not qualify his prediction other than to say 'barring divine intervention'.  Now, we could say each time he is wrong that God must have divinely intervened.  Or maybe he was just flat wrong and prone to exaggerated predictions.

Last time I checked, we still exist.  We have some difficult problems to address, but our government and nation continues to function.  We will struggle to some extent through this winter, with equal parts energy and finance problems.  What happens after, only God knows.

Ruppert may have some good points; but on balance he has become a casualty of his own self-promotion and desire to be the first kid on the block with the most scintillating prediction.  He exists in some kind of positive celebrity feedback loop with Kunstler and Heinberg independent of reality or accountability.  They may be marginally useful in stirring people up, but not in finding solutions.  

Which is more exciting:
 a)  the satisfying glow of being in the exclusive club of those who know now all secrets of the future and grand conspiracies
 b)  to work towards realistically achievable solutions, accomplished in small increments on many fronts amidst boring details, daily grind and a cloud of unknowing

We got very lucky with Rita. It could have been a lot worse.
Check out what the meteorologists at Weather Underground were saying.

Hurricane season isn't over yet either.

I think it seems pretty nutty to NOT believe in government compicity in 9/11. Please do some research on the topic and tell me why the planes were not shot down or even intercepted, especially the plane that hit the pentagon.
I don't understand how anyone can look at a video of WTC building 7 collapsing and not conclude that it was demolished.  Clearly, every vertically load bearing structure stopped bearing that load simultaneously.  How could a fire have possibly caused that?  It is an absurd allegation.  If one concludes that building 7 was demolished, how can any of the rest of the story hold water?
When someone with a deep knowledge of building skyscrapers writes a thoroughly researched 400+ page book in a rational persuasive tone arguing this building couldn't have collapsed from fires and that person is credible enough to get at least a handful of other experts on skyscrapers to agree, and thus the controversy gains enough traction to attract major media coverage, I might look again. As far as I'm concerned this stuff is totally lunatic fringe right now, and the less we have to do with it, the better. Anyone who goes in for it is just damaging their own credibility as far as I can see.
Buildings are not complicated.  The basic principles haven't really changed in the entire time humans have been building them.  You have columns, and you hang stuff on them.  For WTC 7 to collapse without losing its shape, all of those columns must have stopped bearing load simultaneously, no?  Appealing to authority rather than thinking it out yourself is bad science.
Not so at all. There are millions of things I don't have time to investigate myself. It would take me weeks-months of concentrated effort before I felt sufficiently prepared that I was willing to make a judgement about the likely cause of a building collapse. Scientists make decisions all the time about the initial credibility of hypotheses based on the quality and credibility of the people drawn to investigate them. fails the sniff test, and extraordinary allegations require extraordinary proof. There's no way I'd have given peak oil more than an hour of my time except that we had retired oil company VPs and Princeton professors and investment bankers with decades of experience all saying variations on the same thing (and it was a very scary thing).
Actually, structural design of modern skyscrapers is very complicated compared to, say, the design of the Empire State Building.  Newer skyscrapers use lighter sections of stronger steel.  Instead of calculating static loads and adding safety margins to each member, engineers use programs to calculate bending, shear, bearing, wind, etc. very precisely and reduce the weight of everything as much as they can.  Instead of wrapping everything in heavy masonry or terra cotta or plaster, they spray on fluffy fireproofing.  In the case of the WTC, some columns were protected by concrete, but the beams/joists were only sprayed.  That sort of fireproofing adheres well, but could have been largely dislodged by the impact of a jet.

The only thing about the collapse of the WTC that surprised me was that they held up so long.  Once a floor failed, the impact loads would have been more than enough to take out the next floor below, and so on.

Except WTC7 wasn't hit by a jet !!
The editor-in-chief of Fire Engineering might not meet your credential and length requirements but he makes some interesting points in this 2002 written article:

$elling Out the Investigation
By Bill Manning

Did they throw away the locked doors from the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire? Did they throw away the gas can used at the Happyland Social Club Fire? Did they cast aside the pressure-regulating valves at the Meridian Plaza Fire? Of course not. But essentially, that's what they're doing at the World Trade Center.

For more than three months, structural steel from the World Trade Center has been and continues to be cut up and sold for scrap. Crucial evidence that could answer many questions about high-rise building design practices and performance under fire conditions is on the slow boat to China, perhaps never to be seen again in America until you buy your next car.

Such destruction of evidence shows the astounding ignorance of government officials to the value of a thorough, scientific investigation of the largest fire-induced collapse in world history. I have combed through our national standard for fire investigation, NFPA 921, but nowhere in it does one find an exemption allowing the destruction of evidence for buildings over 10 stories tall.


He calls for an investigation because he wants to learn everything possible from the incident. Fair enough. He doesn't say he thinks the government probably blew the buildings up. I don't have to think hard to imagine that Giuliani's priority might plausibly have been getting the mess out of his city ASAP.
More specifically, the information he wants is about HOW buildings in such situations collapse, so that they can be built better. He's not calling for an investigation into who made the buildings collapse.
Writing a book that implies government compicity in a terrorist attack that killed thousands, is not the best career move. Nor is it a very safe thing to do. It is also very difficult to do after the government has confiscated or destroyed all the physical evidence they could get their hands on. So, if you want a book with a scientific look at the physical evidence, you probably will never get one. "...the controversy gains enough traction to attract major media coverage, I might look again." So, you'll look at the topic after the MSM covers it?  Is that how you got into the topic of peak oil?  Do you think that the MSM would cover a book like that if it did come out?  
Peter Maass's coverage of Twilight in the Desert made the front cover of the NYT magazine. Matt Simmons wrote it despite the fact that it was not exactly a standard investment banker career move and the Saudi's have done their best to obscure all the evidence.

I'm done debating this 9/11 stuff lest I encourage more of the lunatic fringe over here. Don't defend it if you want to keep your credibility is my advice.

I think you missed my point.  I assumed that you have been looking at the topic of peak oil for a while now, BEFORE the MSM coverage began.  At any rate, I think that is a poor prerequisite for topics that gain your attention.  Also, hiding the evidence from a local disaster is a lot easier to do compared to a global and ongoing  phenomenon like oil production, so the two things are not analagous.  Your ad hominem name calling clearly shows that you are done debating; you have nothing of substance to say on the topic. And I will defend my side as long as I want, because I'm not concerned with how I look or how good my credibility is. I hope others won't judge what I say based on my status or background, but on its content.
And one more thing, there's a difference between calling a group of foreigner liars and calling a group of people who rule your country murdering, treasonous, liars.
With all due respect:  Calling people who seriously entertain conspiracy theories members of a "lunatic fringe" is an ad hominem argument.  It is directed "at the man" and is not logically relevant with regard to the solidity (or lack thereof) of the arguments and evidence they present.

Having made the criticism, I will readily admit that I fall into an ad hominem mode myself all the time.  It's an incredibly easy thing to slip into.

Though not appropriate in the world of pedagogical debates, in the real world an hominem is totally appropriate.  I've finally come to the conclusion, after much though, that in practice we use "ad hominem" reasoning all the time, and to good effect.

Look at it this way.  There are billions of people.  With trillions of opinions.  On a day to day basis, in our daily lives, less so, of course.  But to make progress, say in a large technology organization, creating large projects, I could not day in day out engage in arguments and logical discussions with every single person.  And I've experienced those with the debaters mentality, who want to continuously debate the fine points, to bring up caveats and other issues.

When in fact, it is clear that these people are clueless.  Ad hominem is completely appropriate in these circumstances.  You push the person out of the way-nicely, sentively (I'm serious)--but you push them out of the way all the same.  Because behind their back, the word is "that guy is an f-ing idiot."  Or something to that effect.

It's the only way to make progress.  The only way. Debate for a while.  But one can only debate with idiots for so long.  There are too many of them.  And many of them are tricky debates.

Please note:  this does not apply to anyone here.  I'm not making that argument.  I'm just saying that progress--even if progress might mean regressing portions of industrial society--requires pushing the idiots out of the way. One debates with them for a while, but then finally, one tells them to shut the f*** up.  Fires them.  Or promotes them to an ambassadorship to outer mongolia.

Great movements, and great ideas, are driven by great people.  So ad hominem, characterizing the people, which is often a quick way to characterize their ideas, is essential.  And good.

Because this is not a debating class.  This is real.

There is truth in what you say, TRE, about the pragmatic value of ad hominem arguments in a world filled with confusion.  But it also needs to be said that the advancing of an ad hominem argument is often a sign of weakness and insecurity - a sign that the person making the attack does not (at that moment, at least) have a substantive response to the position he is challenged by.
Ad hominem attacks are simply evidence of someone not willing to weigh the evidence.  I think it's fine if you are responding to something outside the realms of science (non-falsifiable) like religion. But the standard in science is NOT extraordinary claims require ad hominem attacks.  Instead it is extraordinary claims require extraordinary EVIDENCE.  Though certainly pessimistic, I've followed the FTW  webpage for about a year, and find it to be a place to find articles which I would have never seen anywhere else.  Obviously he cherry picks those that fit his world view, but that doesn't mean he is a nutjob.  I find the quick dismissal of any idea outside the MSM as a conspiracy theory sickening.  I am very scientific minded, and the more I have learned about the world, and studied scientific studies, the more I discovered that much of accepted "wisdom" is flat out wrong.  But the truth is quite elusive when the power structures have a reason to promote an alternative.  Just to end with an example, even scientific studies have to be studied carefully - most prescription drugs are likely to do more damage than good.  A drug company can run 10 studies, have 7 show negative results, 3 postive.  They bury the 7 and submit the 3 to the joke that has become the FDA! :)
I agree.  Ad hominem must be used cautiously, as with other techniques.  But anyone who thinks they can spend their lives debating with every single idea that comes along has far too much time on their hands.  It's not the way the world works.  And shouldn't.  There are so many tricky debaters.

That said, scientific standards should be used, by and large, and scientific standards should not be open to ad hominem arguments.  But even in science it doesn't work that way.  Though I have no direct experience of it, I've been lead to understand--e.g. in the development of particle physics--that just one or maybe two relatively large published errors will destroy a career.  It doesn't matter what you do afterwards.  From that point on, your inputs are ignored for ad hominem reasons.  So even in science I see this operate.  Sometimes, the errors made were honest mistakes.  But the reaction in the scientific community was severe.

Ruppert has picked up quite a few interesting tidbits in his message that are pertinent to peak oil.  He's a great speaker.  He's believable.  He's earnest.  But I will not pay attention to him.  The 9/11 stuff is completely unsubstantiated and appears almost entirely bogus.  I therefore will ignore everything he says.  I won't read anything of his at this point.  He reminds me too much of Larouche.  It's not worth it. I'm capable enough--if I don't say so myself--to draw on the primary sources to make my own decisions.  I don't need to waste my time with him.  There are many many other people who have been addressing the issues without all the nonsense.

I've almost reached that point with Kunstler.  Not yet.  He's just too damn funny.  And an entertaining social critic.  And Heinberg's message is important.  I'll continue to listen to him.

That said, this has nothing to do with the possibilities of fascism, totalitarianism, etc etc etc.  I take those seriously.  But I'll ignore Ruppert.

The funny thing is, I don't imagine you'd know a competitive policy debate if one came and bit you on the ass.  You surely wouldn't understand it.

(Proud HS Policy Debate x3 years)

Oh yeah? well I'm a masterdebater!
Hah.  Well, I'm not only a master debater.  I'm also a cunning linguist. =D
I am sure PhilRelig that most of the posters here are studiously ignoring you in the hope you will get tired of putting your point of view. I have to admit I was one of them, with anything that spoke of Jesus and coming glories making me instinctively recoil (and that is to put it politely).

But I am glad you stuck around because I found this last post very enlightening, and the question that you pose to us all is a good one.

Thanks for your kind words, dogtired - all the more so because you have published them in spite of the regrettably overbearing tone of my post.
I plead agnosticism on Ruppert, but I appreciate his viewpoints and the fact that he seems to be a very loyal and idealistic American.

I've studied American politics a lot more than I have peak oil, and I have to say that his concerns about the United States being transformed into a corporate-military state headed by a political oligarchy is exactly what I see happening, too.

His basic claim that 911 was extremely suspicious and created the pretext for a U.S. invasion of Middle East as the first shot in a worldwide resource war doesn't seem farfetched at all.

If forced to choose between Limbaugh and Hannity, and Michael Ruppert, I'd have to go with Ruppert ...

Ruppert is cynical, honest and bold. He is not competent in many fields and his forecasts and solutions are not much worth. But he is a police officer that makes the nasty questions. This is his strength.

One of them is "does the US goverment know about the Peak Oil and does it act on it?" Can we maintain that it doesn't? Simmons has told that he informed the government in 1995. Hubbert informed it in the '50s. The government sponsored the "limits of growth" reasearch in the '70s. Does it act? Is there any connection to the war in Iraq? Of course the US government don't do those things the Peak Oil community would like but that is a different matter.

Another one is the avian flu. We know that the previous deadly pandemic flu was in 1918-1919. And I thought that the origins of that flu were found: it was a pig flu (not avian) and started in a WWI British base in France. It is clear that a new pandemic of that kind is possible but it is not at all clear that it will start spreading soon or that it will be an avian flu. What exactly is the reason that this kind of pandemic would occur now - not ten years ago or in twenty years? So why all the talk? OK, may be just to sell the vaccine. But this is a legitimate question anyway.

Can we deny the claim that the US government is building an emergency powers structure right now? Hardly. Is the official explanation for it - to counter the terrorism - true or sufficient? If not, what are the other purposes? What has changed? There have always been hurricanes.

And of course it is true that there is a military solution to the global warming and peak oil. Kill half of the world population so they don't consume any fossile fuels. This would work. We know that an all-out nuclear war was planned and prepared for in those Cold War days. MAD was planned (Mutually Assured Destruction). All those nuclear missiles were deployed. A lot of them are still there. They can still destroy the world. If we didn't know this is reality nobody would believe that somebody would seriously plan something this mad. Only now the Apocalyptic event is the Peak Oil - not the Nuclear War - so nobody is interested in these things any more.

Should we believe the official conspiracy theory of Osama bin Laden and his world wide invisible and sinister oragnization? Ruppert is the one without a conspiration theory - he says it was the US government. If we don't subscribe to consipiracy theories how can we take the official theory seriously? Should we have take the official reports on the Iraqi WMDs seriously?

Ruppert may not have right but he he asks disturbing questions. And the reality is still more disturbing.

Killing third world people does not decrease oil consumption, but increases it. The survivors are richer and increase their standard of living. The steel mills and iron ore mines are still there, and will continue to make cars for people to drive.
If you want to reduce oil consumption, kill oil consumers, specifically rich, old, people.
I think it is more likely that the government is stupid, not evil.
I dont think TI said which half of the population.  .  
Every government should have a planned and trained emergency power structure since any kind of disaster can happen. Disasters kills fewer people if  the government and other institutions are prepared to try to function during disasters.
They just discovered (from old tissue samples) that the 1918 flu was in fact avian.

"The 1918 flu virus that killed between 20-50 million people worldwide has been reconstructed and found to be a bird flu that jumped directly from human to human.

Dr. Dixon says the 1918 flu virus has the same basic make-up as the bird flu"

See also

Yes, I noticed that, too. But this is news. They have spoken about the avian flu a long time already, even before they could confirm the previous epidemic was it. And now, do they have some kind of timing theory that will tell that the next deadly pandemic will start every 90 years? I don't doubt the possibility of a pandemic not at all, but...

There has been a lot of talk about an inevitable WMD terrorist  strike in the US. It is also possible, but it doesn't mean that it will really happen.

For you guys that criticize Ruppert as being a conspiracy theorist try reading the book linked above.  Then maybe you'll get a true understanding what this country is all about...


Something tells me this is going to be a hot thread. I hope I am not at the trailing, no one even reads it, part of the thread. Because I think that I have some very good insights regarding Mr Ruppert. I am one of "them" that bought his book, "Crossing the Rubicon". And to be honest I credit Mike Ruppert with my current knowledge of Peak Oil. I actually came to the peak oil camp through the conspiritorial 9/11 movement. It all started with a simple google search for one of those 9/11 tributes. So I put in 9/11 video, what got returned was a video of Bush at Booker T Washington elementary school. I watched the full 9 minutes of the video, not understanding what I was watching. It wasn't until Ari Fleisher walks into the scene, that I realize what this was. It was that now famous scene with Ari telling the president that a plane had hit the 2nd tower. I didn't understand the relavence of the video. Almost 2 1/2 years later, and only God knows how much reading, I came to a startling conclusion. It didn't really matter to me.

I came to the realization, that if Ruppert and all the others were right, the world was so far gone, as to make anything I did about it irrelevent. What I did learn though was the term peak oil. Out of all this wasted time I learned of peak oil. To me this is the linch pin issue of our lives. Ruppert may be right about the governmnet knowing about it(in fact I am convinced they do). This may have led them to war in Iraq(convinced also), to war in Afghanistan(convinced), to our beligerent attitudes around the globe(convinced). But if they are responsible for the attrocities of 9/11, then really there is very little I can do about it, except what I am doing now.

The only weapon against such mindless acts, is to not play the game anymore. I am getting myself out of debt and staying there. I am trying to remove myself from the consumer lifestyle(slow work in progress), I am informing myself about sustainable living(a term that 3 years ago set my hair on end), and I'm getting me and my family ready for a period of transformation.

Mike Ruppert is in it for Mike Ruppert. He found allot of BIG discrepencies in the 9/11 report and timeline, and has made a career out of it. I truly thank him for his introduction to me, to the peak oil movement. But I for one will not be wasting one move brainwave on the 9/11 conspiracy movement. Because to be honest, it's a waste of time and resources. Spend your limited brain power on things that matter. Like changing your lifestyle and getting ready for a world that is going to be much more difficult than it is today. How hard that is, no one knows. But worrying about governmental conspiracies to me is a waste of precious, precious time..

Robert NW Ohio

Mostly agree, Robert.

Except I think it's important to know who the government is and what they're real plans are if you plan to become "self-sufficient" in the future.

A certain type of government may not approve of self-sufficient.

That's very true. I didn't say, I didn't believe in the governments ability to harm it's citizens, I just believe it's not helpful to dwell on it for to long. I could have walked away from the whole 9/11 conspiracy thing after about 3 months of thought about it. Instead I let it dominate my life for over 2 years. This was time I should have spent on peak oil preperation and thought. Although Mike did spur me on to get radical and get out of debt.

Crash or no crash, that was the best advice I ever listened to. My wife and I are less than 8k away from debt free(except for them damn student loans!!!!!)....

So point very well taken.

Robert NW Ohio

I think 9/11 is too much of a psychological trauma for the american public.
Most people in the USA have not ever, ever made even the slightest suggestion that their own government might surrender them and use them as pawns it its game.

Guess what? This is what governments have always been doing all over the history! With no exception at all! What's so special about USA government? From its point of view, it just passively let the terrorists do what they would have done anyway sooner or later. And the worst part - the ruling elite really believes that it has done it for the good and the prosperity of the same people it sacrificed. We can only be grateful that our empire is not like others in the history. Stalin killed 20 million of his own people... this sounds like 7 000 "9/11"s to me, but strangely it has not rocked anybody's soul here... Why? Because they did not show it on TV?

I'm not saying it is normal - I'm just saying not to make assumption like "It can not be true", "It can not happen here", "It can not happen again". And most important - do not make some apocaleptic conclusions from it. The fact it has happened means just that now the stakes are higher then before. But this country already killed millions of people around the world, own citizens included, just for that John Smith can go on shopping. It's a fact and I don't see why it will not continue like that for quite a lot of time to come. Of course some day the bills come to pay even for the greatest empires.

Whether or not they did this back in '01...

What you're describing is exactly what we saw with Katrina.

The most important thing about 9/11 was that it was used as a Pearl Harbor event. This is more important than "who did it". Even it proves to be a pure accident its political impact would be the same.

Compare 9/11 and Kennedy murder: Oswald did have proven connections to Soviet Union. It could have been used as a pretext for war. The government chose not to interpret it so. The 9/11 did not have any proven connections to Iraq but it was used as pretext for war. This time the government chose to interpret it as a Pearl Harbor. It could have chosen to interpret it as a work of a small isolated fanatics group without any connections to foreign governments but with some private financing. It could have said that the operation was really a small scale and not difficult to finance and organize. No sophisticated weapons, easily planned with airlines timetables, only needed four people with rudimentary and easily acquired piloting skills (no landing was needed) and some airline tickets. Just a bunch of religious fanatics with a very bad idea. America was not under attack, a tragic incident, no more.

Let's take as a given that what one desires is to resolve the event of peak oil in a manner the minimizes the total societal pain.

Achieving broad societal consensus that this is a near-term, critical problem is a good thing.

Organizing a vigorous robust search for ways to ameliorate the pain is a good thing.

Bringing the powers of various societal institutions - government being but one them - on the problem is a good thing.

I guess you could argue that Ruppert's add to the problem space has some positive effect on all these; but it's slight.  It seems to me he is not working on the peak oil problem.  He seems to be selling a product, paranoia about the Government and the elites.  That has a robust market.

Ruppert and many others believe that gas rationing will be here soon.  I can understand that but what I can't figure out is how?  I pay for gas using a credit card at a gas station that doesn't even have an attendant.  The infrastructure isn't there for coupons or someone checking if my license plate is odd/even.  I don't see how (enforced) gas rationing can be implemented here, at least not without changing the way gas is sold.
That's a good point. The added cost of enforcement may be near impossible. He did point to something at the IEA that said our own government might be powerless to stop rationing from occuring, but somehow I find that hard to believe considering Bush's no-permission slip policy.
Very easy. Imagine imposing a heavy tax on gas that can be returned as a tax credit but to a certain quantity of gas per year.

I think this will be the best way to do it because will reduce demand NOW when it is needed, will spare the economically weak and can provide mitigation funds, that will be paid from the excessively consuming members. I'd suggest 200% tax. Yesterday.

I'm not arguing but let me be the Devil's advocate here ...what about illegal immigrants?  Maybe I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that they do a substantial amount of work in our country or at least in my state (CA).  A tax credit would mean nothing to them.

I wonder how that would affect the economy when the hardest, dirtiest jobs of all can no longer be performed because illegal immigrants cannot get the tax credit so they can no longer afford to drive?

Well when I think of it I would suggest that for our society it is not quite desirable that a person without a driving license and a car insurance to be allowed to drive.
There is also the option that a lot of these people will take mass transit, like they always have (maintaining a car here is not easy for a low-income person, I can tell from experience). Developing more adequate mass transit is an inevitable measure, that will have to be implemented sooner or later.

On more general note my opinion is that illegal immigrants must receive a legal status much quicker than they do now - something which is already happening.

Unlike most of the people here, I am glad that people like Kunstler and Ruppert exist.
They may be nuts but they can also not be quite nuts, which is the scary part. People like that are meant to challange our assumptions - if there were Ruppert's or Kunstler's in Germany 80 years ago and people listened to them we probably would not have seen a holocaust and 50mln. dead people.

On the other hand one should not take all that apocaliptic talk too seriosly. This is one possible scenario but it is still just possible. I'd object only dismissing it completely - this is just as stupid as completely dismissing the possibility that the market and technology will get us through.

My greatest concern is that people like Ruppert, Kunstler and Heinderberg actually do not want that we find a solution within our system, and tend to dismiss any evidence even for a "soft lending". They are convinced that we have to go thorugh a complete crash and emerge as sustainable society. Reasons are 2: the personal reason is that all of them are betting their repitation on their projections and will be hard to admit if they turn out to be wrong; the second is the implicit hate of the leftist intelectuals towards the current right-sloped living arrangement. Personally I share the latter dislike, but I strongly disagree the path proposed. Yes there will be crisis, it is quite likely that there will also be lots of wars, famine and death. But the idea that we will have to somehow get rid of 5-6 billion people and be reborn as some idealistic technology-free ecotopia - this I can not accept.
My view is that in the long run the system will have to evolutionize to something in the middle - middle of left and right, of respect to nature and its conquery. Ying and Yang balanced against each other.

marielle -

The good old government can always limit delivery TO THE GAS STATIONS....

The WTC buildings were brilliantly designed to withstand all credible and non credible events, including earthquakes and large commercial airliners, fully laden with fuel.
First, the most important requirement for buildings designed to withstand an earthquake is that occupants can safely exit, not that the building be habitable following the event. Most individuals below the impact had time to leave the building before collapse - had the building collapsed instantly, the number of deaths would have been far higher.
Second, the building columns were designed for dead weight and live loads, but not for impact if the upper part of the building falls. Impact is enormous compared with dead weight*, so once the temperature of the columns in the burning section reached a critical point, the hot sections collapsed from the upper floors' dead weight, and the lower sections subsequently collapsed from the impact loads. I assume the reason that upper floors collapsed in sequence from the top is that the lower floors were designed for higher loads.

Engineers design for most credible events - society can't afford to design for not credible ones. Consider that planes would be too heavy to fly if designed for impact, and in this case impact is quite credible.

* I was involved in the design of steel impact limiters, or "cushions", that are intended to protect casks carrying spent nuclear fuel from drops. The test is a 10-meter drop onto an "unyielding surface", which causes extensive damage to the limiters. Naturally, the limiters can support the cask when simply resting on the hard surface. The lower WTC columns received the impact from a one-story drop from the upper floors, far higher than their design loads.

Let me see if I get this right: You say that if the planes had crushed at lower heigth the building would have most probably not collapsed?

So, so, so... let's assume that this was an attack organised by a group of blinded islamic fundamentalists brought up in some god-knows-what place, whose greatest success by now was to send a bomb-car to the american embassy in Iemen (if I recall correctly). So the same guys actually knew where to hit and how to hit a building so it collapsed? And did not choose the obvious option to hit its groung floors? And they also knew that they have to kidnap an airplane travaelling to the West coast? So that the resulting fire would be big enough? Well I also consider myself an anti-conspiracy person, but beliving this story is too much of a challenge.

I guess you did not understand what I meant to say. Certainly the lower the hit, the greater the weight on the hot supports, and the greater the impact on the lower floors when the higher floors fall down.

Although I did not discuss the side load, somewhat more like an earthquake load, the higher the hit the greater the moment at the base. The fact that the building withstood this side load was beneficial to both the occupants and those of neighboring towers. As another mentioned, the building was in fact designed for a smaller plane, but in this case the design conditions are not founded on very much test evidence.

I suspect the design to withstand wind load was more than enough to withstand the impact of the jet.  Especially since it penetrated more than pushed.  

I checked that bit about the jets, and the 707 they designed for wasn't much different than the 767s that hit the towers.

Sorry, misread.
People use impact all the time, but often don't appreciate it. For example, when pounding a nail they accelerate the hammer head over a distance of maybe two feet, such that the force is sufficient to drive the nail into the wood some distance, at least when the force is not expended on your thumb, which is when you most appreciate impact. Your dead weight, including hammer, standing on the nail is probably insufficient to push the nail into the wood, another way to appreciate the added advantage of the increased force (mass x acceleration) that your hammer brings to the nail when aimed right.  
The upper stories of the WTC were accelerated downward by gravity a distance of around 12 feet when they met the not yet moving lower stories. The foundation was too hard to allow the nail to be pounded into the ground, so the irrisistible force crushed the nail.
"The WTC buildings were brilliantly designed to withstand all credible and non credible events, including earthquakes and large commercial airliners, fully laden with fuel. "

Actually, they were designed for a previous generation of airliners.  The ones that hit were larger than anticipated.

"... I assume the reason that upper floors collapsed in sequence from the top is that the lower floors were designed for higher loads."

The columns do get heavier and stronger as you go down, but the floors that had been steadily burning were probably the first to collapse.  So you have the weight of dozens of stories hitting the next floor down then all of that hitting the next floor down, etc.

Here's a decent summary:

What about WTC 7, which wasn't hit by a jet, but still collapsed as if it had been imploded?

I don't pretend to know what happened with WTC 1&2 because they are complicated, but the collapse of WTC 7 is simply unexplainable, even FEMA who was tasked with explaining it could not come up with an explanation they considered plausible.

The upper floors were burning for hours.
Fire has never caused a skyscraper to collapse before. That it happened is a very peculiar thing.
Most skyscrapers don't have 275 gallon tanks of diesel fuel stored on their upper floors.
You should mention this to FEMA. They investigated the collapse and could come up with no reason they were willing to call plausible.

They didn't investigate whether it had been imploded though.

One thing for sure, if the building would have come down at 11+ seconds instead of ~10 sec we could have definitely ruled out an implosion. Imploded buildings fall at the speed of gravity.

Gravity describes acceleration, not speed.  7 WTC was 570 feet tall, so:

t - seconds to fall
x - distance to fall
g - 32 ft/sec^2

t = SQRT[(2x)/g]
t = SQRT[(2*570feet)/32]
t = 5.96 seconds

At ten seconds, under gravity, something should fall:
x = [g*t(^2)]/2
x = 32*100/2
x = 1600 feet

So by your logic, 7 WTC fell much too slowly to have been imploded.

How much do you know about the implosion of a building? Just because it "looks" like something doesn't mean that it "is" something.
A building implosion is no simple thing. It is the most difficult way to bring down a building and is only perfomed when necesary, such as when there are nearby buildings that can be damaged. Implosions are the work of highly trained engineers who specialize in it. Skyscrapers do not collapse in on themselves by accident, even those that have experienced
severe fires.

A signature of an implosion is the fall time of the building.
Buildings that have been imploded have all their support
removed simultaneously causing the top of the building to
reach the ground at roughly the speed of a free falling object
dropped from the same height.

Apparently much of the structure of 7 WTC was supported on transfer trusses, so as not to disturb powerplant facilities below.  A transfer truss, or transfer beam, supports some of the columns of the structure above, instead of continuing them down to a foundation.  If a tranfer truss failed, it would seem like many columns had failed at once.
Don't worry, ianqui, I won't shoot the messenger...

I'd like to suggest that as ianqui and peakguy post about other speakers at the conference, perhaps we should evaluate what is said in terms of quantifiable predictions that can be proven or disproven with the benefit of future evidence. For example, I get the impression that some TOD participants have a certain skepticism about CERA, because some CERA numbers just don't seem to square with numbers we already have. As time goes on, I suspect we may see reality square with those CERA numbers even less.

In the same spirit, Ruppert and FTW should also be held to the same standard. The problem, it seems to me, is that so much of what he says is "squishy" -- qualitative, not quantitative.

If we focus on provable and disprovable statements, perhaps we can avoid some emotion and continue to make these discussions so informative.

The one clear point he did make was that the collapse was imminent - starting around Thanksgiving 2005 or 6 months thereafter. That's based on Deffeyes I believe. As Ianqui said in another comment, the other presenters had a lot more data in their presentations.
I was able to attend too. It was an interesting collection - the optimists (Darnell from Bartlett's office and Pimentel), the pessimists (Kunstler, though he was so busy insulting everybody not present it was a little hard to tell) and the paranoid (Ruppert).

Unfortunately, a lot of the attendees seem to have been drawn by Ruppert and he was given quite a hero's welcome. He also had more time to speak, in total, than anybody else except perhaps the chair, Jenna Orkin. The first "open mike" question session was entirely directed at, and responded to, by him. And he basically shouted down or laughed at anybody who tried to talk about solutions.

So I was disappointed in that. But I found Pimentel and Darnell's talks very encouraging. Did anybody else notice they were the only major speakers really talking about the numbers?

Yes, and more on these guys tonight. (PS--I'm not sure I thought Pimentel was such an optimist.)
Well, I'd say Pimentel was a realist. His discussion of land area requirements was interesting - in particular proof that a renewable solution is far from impossible: yes it might occupy 1/6th of the area of our nation, but that's a lot less than the 200% or more required for bio-fuels.

Scalability of solutions is the critical issue.

That's why we need to do EVERYTHING that works (positive EROEI), even if it is a small part of the total solution or even if it just fills a niche of the daily energy needs. For instance, waste oil for biodiesel make a lot of sense. Solar water heaters makes sense.

In New Mexico, there is more land for solar and wind than there is in NY. But we've got potential for tidal energy that they don't as well as offshore wind turbines.