FTW: Ruppert's "You Bet Your Life"

Michael Ruppert is a controversial figure, even inside the peak oil movement.  I do not agree with his perspective on some things (but as I have said before, I do not agree with anyone all the time...).  I am posting this link to his post on From the Wilderness today as a perspective to be considered and discussed, as parts of the piece are quite germane to peak oil (especially in the face of government response to this tragedy) and today's events. Suffice it to say that I do not necessarily subscribe to some of his hypotheses...
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It sounds like Ruppert is jumping to conclusions when he says this is the onset of Peak Oil.

We don't know that.

He asserts that Saudi Arabia finally admitted to being unable to boost its production. Can I see a news link supporting that? As far as I remember they stubbornly claim ot be "on their way" to boost oil production to 12.5 mbpd.

I'm not saying he's wrong but without any proof it's basically his word against the Saudi minister's. And from the look of it, both desperately want us to believe in what they are saying.

I agree, where's a link to this "admission" on the part of Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi? I will accept such a statement from no one else but him. Don't get me wrong (here's my TOD signature):

I love the Saudi Arabian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources!
Yeah, this is a lunatic fringe piece to me. Katrina by itself is not going to trigger anything worse than a mild recession, if that. Of course, it doesn't help, could hasten the end of the housing boom, increases the vulnerability to other shocks, etc. But the idea that the whole US is about to collapse this year or next strikes me as silly. It's not helped by the conspiracy theory stuff at the bottom.
In regards to the effect on the economy, MSM (main stream media) is woefully incorrect on the long term consequences of Katrina.

Comparing this to 9/11 - 9/11 didn't disrupt the basic infrastructure structure of the economy much in the long run (ignoring the tragic personal toll for a moment). Of course the short term effects were substantial.

Katrina marks a permanent change in the infrastructure of the economy, plus an outright destruction of energy resources that may take a long time to replace. It's effects on the economy will be greater than 9/11.

There is a recession on now, mostly caused by the sudden reduction of total energy availability - plus the loss of a million jobs. Those main stream economists that think we just bounce back from this, like a rubber ball, are plain silly. The tremendous amount of resources that will be diverted to rebuilding are not available from either domestic or foreign savings. Net national savings is less than zero, and foreigners already provide nearly $900 billion per year to the US (also called the current account deficit).  That means the rebuilding of the Gulf will create a capital shortage - regardless if interest rates go up or down from this point. Actually, this is a recession that may cause interest rates to rise, maybe much higher, at the same time total energy costs deliver a crushing blow to disposable income.

Depression anyone?

Rupert links to the NJ Star-Ledger, and the following quote is salient:

Warning signs have been everywhere. More people than ever are living near hurricane-prone coastlines, earthquake fault lines, forest fire-prone areas and in flood plains, a trend that has created a landscape of expanding risk, with more people, homes and communities in the path of danger.

Let me doctor the quote to:

"Warning signs have been everywhere. World oil prices have been rising steadily for several years. Natural gas prices have risen even faster.  Saudi Arabia is having difficulty increasing crude production, except for sulphur laden heavy oil, a sign that reservoirs are deteriorating. U.S. refineries have been running flat-out to produce adequate supplies. There hasn't been a new refinery built on our soil in 25 years. North Sea oil production is past peak, declining at 10% per year.  U.S. oil production peaked in 1971. The last giant oil field was found in the 1960's." And the list goes on.

What we can learn from the Katrina disaster is this:  when the news comes out that we are FUBAR on oil/gas, (1) the vast majority of people everywhere will be shocked, (2) the main stream media (MSM) and the voting public will have no mercy on the politicos, (3) it could get very ugly on the streets of America.

Prof. Goose,

I'm sorry, but Ruppert is a nut.  You discredit this wonderful blog by dragging his paranoid, conspiratorial jibberish over here.  Any interesting points he might contribute are more than overshadowed by the stain he leaves behind by association.  (Bush and Cheney behind 9/11?  Sorry folks, they have pills for people that are that checked out from reality.)  

Here is an interesting article on Ruppert from that Vast Right Wing Conspiracy publication The Nation that nails him pretty well:


JLA, I agree that it's a bit loony...but he does make a couple of good points in between the conspiracy theories.  That's why I put up the bug huge disclaimer in the lead-in.  I didn't say I subscribed to it.  Plus, about ten people sent me an email to post the piece...although they too had all caveated themselves in those emails...so, take it for what it is.
I agree that his article is mostly conjecture, but he does make a few good points nonetheless.

I'm using this crisis to explain peak oil to people that otherwise wouldn't care. They think this is simply about price gouging and that "America has plenty of oil if we would just pump it out of the ground."

The government would've done that a long time ago if it was possible. We might have a few big reserves there were missed, but compared to the amount we use anything short of a "mega-super-collosal-giant" oil field isn't going to help us. People really don't want to get it. They don't want it to be true. They think technology will rescue us from any situation, but too little, too late won't do us any good.

The looting and shooting that has been going on in NOLA is only a HINT of what peak oil could bring if we aren't better prepared in time. However, I'm not 100% pessimistic. We need such a serious event to cut demand and bring attention to the problem, especially inside of the United States.

"Bottom line: my assessment is that New Orleans is never going to be rebuilt and that US domestic oil production will never again reach pre-Katrina levels."

I'm no Ruppert fan but this sentence captures my concerns in a nutshell.  

American oil production already peaked years ago, so technically you are correct. As far as NOLA not being rebuilt, the political pressure won't allow that to happen. Personally it seems like the area is too vulnerable to rebuild like it was built before. However, there are a lot of good ideas out there already about how to better protect the land. The problem was that the politicians didn't want to spend the $15 billion that it would have taken. With an estimated rebuild cost currently at $100 billion, it seems that someone should've been listening to all the people who've been talking about this for the past 20 years.
Ruppert always jumps to conclusions far too easily, and many of his conclusions require a pole vaulter.

This is one of the main reasons why I have always regretted writing for Mike Ruppert. In his defense, I will say that when he published my first article, nobody anywhere would publish anything about peak oil, not The Nation, Z-Magazine, In These Times, etc. I had grown quite desperate in my attempts to get the word out when Mike Ruppert published my first article.

I apologize for any damage my association with Mike Ruppert may have done to the subject of peak oil. When I began, I was just happy to have an outlet. And then family problems left me dependent upon him for income.

However, I have never been happy with the way Ruppert posed both me and himself as energy experts. For myself, I am a geologist, but not a petroleum geologist. My specialty was PreCambrian structure, which has little enough to do with petroleum. I wrote about peak oil only as an informed journalist. As for Mr. Ruppert, he knew nothing about peak oil before I began writing for him. If you will look through the history of his publication and public appearances, you will see that he never mentioned peak oil before I submitted my first article to him.

Mike Ruppert is an expert at taking the work of other people and making it his own. His website copies most of its information from other news sources. He wields the Title 17 with abusive abandonment. While I worked at FTW, we did produce some good scientific journalism, reporting on the research of others and attributing it to them. But the only original scientific research to appear on FTW was an article about peak coal in the US by Gregson Vaux, and an upcoming piece by Tom Wayburn. Both of which I piloted into FTW. I doubt that there will be any more serious scientific research at FTW, now that I have left.

Certainly, Mike Ruppert did help bring peak oil to public attention. But for every intelligent statement he makes, he also comes out with something totally asinine which only serves to damage the subject of energy depletion.

Although I was still dependent on Mike Ruppert economically, I stopped writing for him as of the end of August. I just could not go on feeling used and abused by the man. Now I am looking for newspapers interested in a weekly column on energy issues. It will be refreshing to write for publications which will not spin everything I say into a conspiracy theory.

In the meantime, you can find my latest article about hurricane Katrina at the Online Journal. www.onlinejournal.com