DrumBeat: December 19, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 12/19/06 at 10:08 AM EDT]

Wood Boilers Cut Heating Bills. The Rub? Secondhand Smoke.

Their owners proudly proclaim that they reduce dependence on foreign oil — and save thousands of dollars on heating bills each year.

Neighbors say that they create smoke so thick that children cannot play outside, and that it seeps into homes, irritating eyes and throats and leaving a foul stench.

They have spawned a rash of lawsuits and local ordinances across the country. A report last year by the New York attorney general’s office found that they produce as much particle pollution in an hour as 45 cars or 2 heavy-duty diesel trucks.

Merger of Statoil, Hydro to Plant Large GOM Footprint

The merger of Norway's Statoil ASA and Norsk Hydro ASA will create not only the world's largest offshore oil and gas company, but an acquisitive-minded player that is expected to wield a much bigger stick in developing the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM), analysts said Monday. In the past two years, the companies have spent a total of about $6 billion buying GOM assets.

Misguided assault on autos won't solve energy crisis

Blaming the auto industry for all things related to global climate change is the thing to do these days, but it's misguided, especially when it targets the failed Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) guidelines. And it ignores other industries, which do their share of dirtying up the atmosphere.

Texas faces energy crunch

Some Texas business leaders are projecting a shortfall in the state's energy supply as early as 2008 unless Texas invests in new generation capacity to support record population growth.

James Kunstler gets in the Christmas spirit (well, not really): Not So Wonderful

It's a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra's 1946 Christmas card to America, is full of strange and bitter lessons about who we were and who we have become. It also illustrates the perversity of history -- the fact that things sometimes end up the opposite of the way we expect.

Raymond J. Learsy: Saudi Realpolitik: Political Blackmail, Oil Price Extortion

If so it would be an exercise of blatant political blackmail threatening the American government with the following Hobson's choice:

A- Either you continue your presence in Iraq at the cost of the lives your soldiers, and at the cost of billions and billions in treasure, or

B- We the Saudis, will initiate policies that will all but guarantee a massive riposte by Iran and the descent of the region into a conflagration of war and savagery. It will certainly result in impaired access to, or possibly even destruction of the regions oil and gas infrastructure and push the world's economies into deep crisis.

EU risks mini-repetition of last winter's gas crunch

BRUSSELS – With EU gas transit state Belarus and Russia locked in a bitter row over energy prices for next year, some north and eastern EU states risk seeing a mini-repetition of last winter's Ukraine gas crunch.

Japan banks on energy, environment

TOKYO - The government-affiliated Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), one of the world's biggest international financial institutions, is revving up its energy- and environment-related business activities, apparently reflecting growing government concerns over energy supplies and global warming.

Biofuel majors: Will exports be profitable enough?

SINGAPORE: Mergers in the booming palm oil sector are creating the biofuel industry's own 'Big Oil' companies, but vertical integration and economies of scale may not be enough to make exports profitable or to replace crude.

Westinghouse deal kicks off Chinese nuclear energy drive

BEIJING (AFP) - China's decision to buy four nuclear power reactors from US-based Westinghouse represents a major step in an ambitious drive to boost atomic energy production.

Gulf energy industry leaders call to protect marine environment

Peak Debt - US Debt & GDP Growth

Economics I am no expert on Peak Oil, but Peak Oil is not the urgent problem that the world faces, economically, or politically. The problems of the supply-demand of oil will play out over a longer period and its effects would be spread over a longer period of time than that of the Peak Debt, which are lot more immediate. As a matter of fact, it has been the rapidly rising debt (racing towards the peak), which in turn has "fueled" a worldwide construction boom, that has resulted in the high prices for oil over the past 4 years and not the realization of the problem of Peak Oil. During the coming global depression, within this decade, the price of crude oil should fall below $25 a barrel and there will be glut due to sharply falling demand. I realize that these are not the concerns that people have today as long as the American consumer keeps borrowing. But, for how long?

Big Oil seeks to burnish U.S. image in 2007

WASHINGTON - The U.S. oil industry will launch a multiyear, multimillion-dollar public relations push early in 2007 aimed at bolstering its sagging image.

Japan: Closing the biofuel gap

Japan is lagging behind several other countries in developing liquid biofuels that serve as alternatives for fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas.

China looking to expand non-grain biofuels

BEIJING (AFP) - China has launched a series of pilot programs for farmers to plant non-grain crops as raw materials for biofuels, state media has reported, citing a senior government official.

Sorghum, cassava and other biofuel crops will be planted on lands that are unfit for grain production, the China Daily quoted Yang Jian, a director at the ministry as saying.

India: Promoting renewable energy

NEW DELHI: To promote use of renewable energy, the Delhi Cabinet on Monday approved a scheme for grant of rebate amounting to Rs. 6,000 on installation of Solar Water Heating Systems replacing electric geysers at residences.

Iran Will Face Sanctions Vote Within Days, U.S. Says

Global warming is good for Russia

According to the United States Geological Service, about one-quarter of the world’s undiscovered energy reserves may be in the Arctic. Earlier this year Russia announced a project to exploit the world’s biggest offshore gas field, Shtokman, 300 miles off its northern coast. Russia had been expected to pick partners from among the world’s big energy companies, but instead it let Gazprom, its energy giant, go it alone.

...However the sea is divided up, warming is likely to make Russia richer rather than poorer. Which may help explain the reluctance of some Russian members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body charged by the UN with establishing the facts on climate change, to accept that global warming is a problem that needs to be dealt with.

EU trade chief dismisses idea of punitive "carbon tax"

BRUSSELS - EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson opposed the idea of a "carbon tax" on countries which do not ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, as France recently suggested.

Group offers roadmap to reduce pollution

ROCKPORT, Maine - A regional environmental group Monday released a comprehensive "climate change roadmap" to reduce pollution linked to global warming by 75 percent in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.

Green light for world's biggest windfarm

Algeria strives for oil security

CAIRO, Egypt - Despite a recent attack on foreign oil workers in Algiers, and a government that is struggling after a civil war in the 1990s, world demand for oil and natural gas will likely drive foreign companies to endure risks and remain in energy-rich Algeria.

The coming fight for oil

"You have two powers competing over the same sandbox," said Gal Luft, a China expert with the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security in Washington. "As a country of China's size grows, there will be a moment when the moment of reckoning comes."

China's energy diplomacy poses an utterly new challenge to the U.S.: a rival that is growing in stature not by seeking to undo the American rules of the game, but by playing the game more and more like Americans.

Russia may be thankful to OPEC

The crucial thing for Russia, the bulk of whose revenues come from oil exports, is that oil prices should not fall below $60 per barrel. The Russian budget for 2007 is based on an optimistic forecast for Russian export crude, $61 per barrel. However, its actual price has been no more than $56-$57since autumn, as its quality is believed to be inferior to that of the world's leading brands.

Nigerian militants strike oil properties

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria - Militants seeking a greater share of oil revenues for their impoverished region detonated two car bombs nearly simultaneously Monday in southern Nigeria, the latest in a series of attacks that have cut crude production in Africa's oil giant by one quarter.
Not terribly important, but an amusing factoid on aluminum and transportation:

Airlines Toss Enough Cans Each Year to Build Fleet of Airliners

I think in general we have a lot of room for easy improvement, as time goes on, and waste becomes a more pressing issue.

Makes you wonder if all the plastic in our landfills will someday be mined and reprocessed into fuel of some kind.  Like having oil in the bank.
I've always considered it a "when" and not an "if."
Some people are already burning plastic in their wood stoves.  I hate to think of the emissions that would create, but they point out that it burns really hot and is really cheap.
You had written something about this before - personally, I find it inconceivable, at least in a country which considers itself to be the leading member of the industrial West.

This seems to illustrate one of the deepest differences between America and where I live - no one would put up with such obviously stupid behavior, and no one cares the reason behind it either. It will take an incredibly broad breakdown in social order before people would consider burning plastic to keep warm, whereas in the U.S., to some at least, it seems a clever response since it burns hot and is cheap.

Nothing like creating toxic waste to keep warm - what a metaphor of the American Dream going up in smoke.

This still boggles my mind in some hard to define way - plastic is just disgusting to burn (to my nose, much worse than coal), apart from how nasty the byproducts may be (not being current on the plastics currently in use, it is a fair assumption). I guess tires are next in the good old U. S. of A. In Germany, burning too much paper or cardboard is considered socially unacceptable, since the amount of ash generated is noticeable for those living in the same area.

I'm fully expecting them to dig up the roads to burn the asphalt.
Wow!  I never thought of that.  I wonder if people will be out defending their roads--or will they be the ones digging it up?
Sometimes, I have this feeling that you think the U.S. is even more insane than my worst imaginings.

Which doesn't mean you are wrong - it was certainly striking at how very little had actually changed in 6 years in any real sense between U.S. visits, but such beliefs (if my statement is close enough to truth) imply a collapse of truly immense proportions, and quite honestly, I don't think the rest of the world will simply follow along that path.

Besides, burning plastic is something any lazy person can do - ripping up roads will require a level of fitness no longer common in the U.S.

What can I say, I'm a very imaginative person.  ;-)

I've also seen what people do to public infrastructure now, just for profit or out of random vandalism.

"What can I say, I'm a very imaginative person."

Then why not use that imagination to help solve the problems rather than to paint gloom and doom on every wall?


What makes you think I'm not?
Your negativism. Maybe you just don't know how to advertise? There is nothing wrong with being positive, you know. The only thing that is flat out wrong is to be un-realistic.
Then why not use that imagination to help solve the problems rather than to paint gloom and doom on every wall?

You know something Infinite, Peak oil IS the solution to most of the problems Mother Earth is suffering from.

Ron Patterson

Dead on Ron.

Mother Nature Bats Last.

If that were to be true, we also needed to see peak coal and peak methane within a decade. We won't... Earth's atmosphere was thick with CO2 in the past and too much of it got sequestered into forms that can be released. Sorry to burst your bubble... reality is more complex than your version of it.
yes, mostly meth addicts here but they are a problem.  Our local utility has a magazine with an article about some guy who got into a power substation to steal @$20.00 worth of copper wire only to get himself electrocuted.
What about that incident in Germany, where someone dug up three miles of railroad track and sold it for scrap?  That wasn't meth addicts.  IIRC, they said it was probably organized crime.  

There was something about all the aluminum luggage carts in Sweden or some such place being stolen and sold for scrap.  

And in China, people are falling through the street because hundreds of thousands of steel manhole covers have been stolen.

It's not just we rowdy Americans.

OMG look at what we can learn from the true "leaders" in "recycling".  3 miles of track WOW!!

Some funny stuff you just can't make up.

Ever read the darwin awards? - often given post-mortem to those who do us a favor and remove themselves from the gene pool.

Other good reading are the Buller Lyton (sp?) awards for bad writing.  some very good stuff...

Edward Bulwer Lytton


Not half as bad a writer as all the jokes make him out to be! Pelham must have been a big influence on Dickens. The scenes from the wrong side of the tracks in London are quite vivid. Though of course they didn't have tracks in those days!

I found a link - http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1709261.html?menu=news.quirkies.strangecrime and this was a fairly unusual, but not exactly infrastructure destroying crime in terms of some desperate person bringing down part of the grid for a few dollars.

And it fits into a certain German tradition, stretching back to this incident - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hauptmann_von_K%C3%B6penick

Nonetheless, the 'scavenging' of infrastructure will certainly happen more into the future, no argument.

Of course, no one is stealing the huge number of bicycles left at the stations for steel or rubber yet - and I don't expect it to happen, if only because then some sort of security will be implemented - which already tends to exist at train stations here.

Power lines have a mechanism to protect themselves from thieves... they usually kill them. And even if you are very skilled, how long until someone notices? Approx. 120us for a 15 mile long power line. The speed of light is fast...


Gives new meaning to the word "derailment" .-)
Let me know when the world copper market collapses because of copper thiefs.


Leanan,  great links (above) by the way.  The one on the coming oil wars is rather bleak looking for the US.  Also peak debt. Sure makes you wonder...how soon and how fast/slow does something tip the scales.
We'll be destroying the roads to clear land for food production. US paved surface is about the size the UK, lots off grwoth potential.

So, food and heat, a win-win for everybody. Free enterprise.

I'd imagine the land beneath the pavement would be dead as nails though for a few years.

If they treated under the roads with sodium borate (boron) then a few years might be a few decades...or longer.
You would have to condition the soil.  All the topsoil is removed.  It's considered unsuitable to build on, because the organic matter will rot, causing anything built on it to shift. So they dig it out and sell it to farmers or landscapers.

This is one reason why older cities are better places to homestead.  They didn't scrape off the topsoil in the old days.  Plus, older cities are usually situated in the best spots (as far as soil, water, shelter, etc., go).

Older buidings have lead paint that has flaked off around the foundations.  One should check for lead and other chemicals around older buidings if planting a garden.
Why exactly do we need more land for agriculture? Didn't we just bribe our farmers with corn-ethanol pork to re-start production on previously unused land?

If we got too much of anything, it is probably agricultural area...

I just deadlifted 375 for 5. My all time best is 405 for 8. I hope to being doing 475 for 5 by June 28 of this upcoming year. This is with a pause in between each rep so there's no momentum.

It's good to know my muscular buttocks will be in demand post-peak oil.

Wait that sounded really bad . . . .

Peak Toil?
Sounded more like a Toilet Peek..
You may want to consider the SAS perspective on such a question - according to several different SAS accounts, they find the American emphasis on strength, especially upper body strength, to be fairly worthless.

The SAS emphasizes endurance and fitness - they find the ability to be able to cover 20 miles over a mountain range in less than a day much more important than the ability to lift something heavy a few times - after all, generally you aren't alone, you are with other people who can help with anything too heavy for one person.

But then, that is the British perspective - they were famous for their Navy, not for Hollywood Westerns portaying single figures facing down evil alone.

maybe nuclear waste is a good choice either - keeps warm for quite some time ..
Should we burn the tires or the asphault first?...Hmm
Indian build small fire - sit close.

White man build big fire - stand way back.  

With regards to our energy future we should do some trial and error.  Maybe get a DOE grant or something.  
Trial #1 Burning parked cars. - tires, some pavement(?), etc. and sell the scrap metal.
<test result questions>
Do Ford's burn better than Chevy's?
Diesel vrs. gas cars - which burns the most efficiently?
How many people can stay warm around a compact car vrs a full size suv?
Do red cars burn fatser than white ones? ;)


In Southern Appalachia it was common for tires to be used as fuel for heating a 50-gallon drum of water for scraping the hog at a hog slaughtering. Quick and hot... and very dirty. Not that many people do their own hogs anymore, they are done in modern slaughter houses that are clean, safe and ecological </sarcasm off>
What is the cancer incidence in Appalachia? About twice that in the rest of the US? Sounds about right...
Unless my memory fails me, the burning of plastic (which is a common practice with medical waste in particular) creates dioxins, which are not pretty.
Only if it contains chlorine.  You're probably safe burning polyethylene or PTFE, but make sure you don't have any PVC.
But I wonder about all the things which add color to plastic. Not to mention that the controls in the U.S. are probably pretty lax under the Bush League - do the Chinese care about the plastic they use or export?
If it was my decision, I'd sidestep the issue by using CWT's process with a shot of limestone to soak up the chlorine and turn it into CaCl2.  They claim it works with waste plastic, rubber and a host of other things.

I suspect that CWT's thermochemical conversion process could turn waste plastic, algal fats and just about anything else into a very light, sweet synthetic oil plus gas (if it works with turkey fat, how could it not?).  The gas product provides the process heat, and it would not surprise me if the liquid and gaseous effluents would be happily munched up by algae again to make more fats.  This would give you a trash-to-fuel process which converts plastics and everything else into fuel, and recycles the carbon in the process-heat exhaust to more fuel.  Odor-causing emissions would be trapped and made available to algae (possibly dealing with THAT problem), while the power would ultimately be supplied by sunlight.

I wonder how many acres of Fresh Kills that NYC would be willing to devote to covered algae greenhouses...

I heat my home with an outdoor wood boiler.  Yes it smokes and is inefficient.    New York State is passing a law to regulate OWB.    200' offset from your neighbors' house is proposed.    I live in the country on a 5 acre parcel, so the smoke is not that bad.   They do pollute, but compared to coal which home owners will have to switch to when peak gas hits, OWB will be off the radar screen.
Some time ago I sifted through a number of rather old weather documents and for a while it confused me why almost every day in the winter the visibility was less than 1/2 mile and the reported condition was smoke.  Then it hit me...it was because they were heating with coal and wood.  Must've been a hell of a time with all those people putting off smoke like that.
The inefficiency of the OWB is reason enough to replace it with a decent indoor stove.  Firewood, too, will not get any cheaper.
Ah, nothing like the crisp aroma of vinyl chloride monomer on an autumn evening whilst burning PVC plastic in your antique wood stove!
Burning plastic? Sounds like another urban legend.

Who? Where? How many?

You do have a news source for this? I would like to read it.

Possibly like the 'journalist?' who drove by the fallow corn field and dashed off an article on 'massive fertilizer' and sterile soil.  

Why is it so terribly hard to believe  that some people might be burning scrap plastic (and assorted other junk) in their wood stoves?

When I was a kid the nasty old bastard next door (who wouldn't give my baseballs back when they went over into his yard) used to frequently burn all sorts of noxious stuff in this rusty old 55-gallon drum that he used as a burner. God, it smoked out the entire neighborhood and smelled awful. My father had a long running battle with this guy, and it once almost came to blows.

People will do what's convenient and will use what's at hand, particularly if they're poor. As an example, I know of a US chemical company that had a plant in Mexico. They received certain chlorinated solvents, dyes, and other toxic chemicals in plastic drums. They found that they had to cut the bottoms out of the empty drums before putting them out for disposal. Why? Because the local poor people were stealing the drums and using them to store drinking water in.

So, it doesn't surprise me in the least that certain people might not know better than to burn plastic. And even if they did know better, if it's a choice between keeping warm and possibly developing cancer 20 years hence, it's not hard to guess what the decision will be.

Burning plastic? Sounds like another urban legend.

The smell of burning wood and plastic (and other trash) is noticeable on the air.


People breaking the 'no burning of TRASH laws?


In places where plastic can be mixed with 'the burning bag'

How many?

Why not get a goverment study to find out?

You do have a news source for this? I would like to read it.

And where ya going to find a news story where someone admits to breaking the 'don't burn rubbish' laws?

My mothers mother was wanting her garage warm so she could start her diesel car (bought when gas was expensive and diesel was cheap).  She burned records, books, trash and plastic christmas decorations.   She'd spent most of the money she had, so if it would burn to warm the garage, it was burned,  

My parents have a 'paper burn bag' and sometimes plastic mylar bags or window envelopes go in that.

And I can smell the plastic sometimes where there is no wind and the smoke hangs in the air.   Seems worse Dec 25th Dec 26th.

People in the 3rd world burn trash for heat/cooking.   What makes you think that 'the poor' of the US of A won't do the same thing?

Possibly like the 'journalist?' who drove by the fallow corn field and dashed off an article on 'massive fertilizer' and sterile soil.  

Naw, how about the people who talk how Hydrinos will save us all?

Changing World Technologies has a process which they claim will turn waste plastic, rubber, and a host of other things (including waste turkey guts, feathers and fat) into a light oil (plus some combustible gas and char).  Metals and such wind up with the char fraction and can be recycled.  If the source material is sulfur-free, I can't see how the product wouldn't be too.

The problem with mining landfills at this point is that it will cause the release of large amounts of methane which can currently be captured and flared or even used for fuel.  This would be a greenhouse gas problem.  We're probably going to have to wait for the organic stuff to finish decaying first.

This process is merely heating the stuff up and recovering whatever oil drips out. What is left depends on the input - if they use turkey guts, it might be possible to use it as a form of fertilizer. Tf they use old tires, it might be possible to use it as asphalt. But you can't expect generic garbage to be of any use after being heated for a bit.
Proof positive that the Maine "news" establishment is on the forefront of peak oil awareness.

I'm so glad they care.

Masters of Trivia, Portland Press Herald

And, oh, by the way: on page C4 you can "learn" that our natural gas problem is the result of "bottlenecks."

But you can't find that online!

  at least there's a few gallons of that crap that noone has to drink.  (I do drink that crap at the movies, but it's some peoples' bread and butter.. frightening!)
Leanan... you had asked about the woman in the basement. NPR is carrying the story this morning on Morning Edition.
Here's a like to some text...


Hothgor, I recall you commenting on how inflation was not a big deal recently...thought you might be interested in this:

Wholesale prices surge in November
Latest inflation report shows largest jump in over 30 years


WASHINGTON - Inflation at the wholesale level surged by the largest amount in more than three decades in November, reflecting higher prices for gasoline and a host of other items.

The Producer Price Index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, was up 2 percent last month, the biggest advance since a similar increase in November 1974, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

The problem right now is that the Fed is stuck between a rock and a hard place. If property wasn't on the precipice of a rather slippery slope (if not already on it), then not a second thought would be given to raising interest rates.

Otherwise I would agree with Hothgor and say that inflation right now is not a problem.


  There's a catch...look at the Producers Intermediate Goods Price Index. It's been falling off a cliff. What is happening is that any "inflation" in the price of raw goods cannot be passed on through the system. There is no pricing power.  The following was taken from Minyanville (which is incidentally where I came across "Twilight In the Desert" which led me here

 Excluding food and energy, the so-called core rate rose 1.3 percent last month, the most since July 1980, after falling 0.9 percent last month, Bloomberg reported.
Wow, surely this must be inflation, right?  Let's take a look.
Putting on our protective data sifting gloves, we find that objects in headlines may be farther away than they appear.  
Much farther away.
Light trucks prices came in +13.7% over October's prices.  
Cars were up 2.2%.  
But if you strip out the transportation equipment category there was virtually NO producer pricing power last month.
In fact, the Core Intermediate Price Index actually FELL 0.3% last month.  (See highlighted section below.)
The big problem with producer cost increases is that in order for them to become consumer inflation, the costs must be "passed through."  
OK, so are businesses finally able to pass costs through to customers?  
According to Bloomberg, Steel Dynamics (STLF) last week cut its fourth-quarter profit forecast after a greater-than- expected drop in selling prices for flat-rolled steel and fewer orders.
Lower prices also led Nucor (NUE) to reduce its profit forecast the same week.
And then there are the homebuilders.  
Ok, but we're not a manufacturing based economy anymore.  Surely service providers are where the real demand-led inflation will show up, right?  
One would think.  But according to the BLS, only commercial banking, securities brokerages, savings institutions, and television broadcasting received higher prices in November.
By contrast, lower prices were paid to the industries for lessors of nonresidential buildings (except miniwarehouses), couriers, investment banking and securities dealing, wired telecommunications carriers, general medical and surgical hospitals, and line-haul railroads.
Yes, Virginia, there IS stagflation.  
And stagflation is simply the transition we are now living through, a transition from the recent  cyclical upturn in inflation back to secular deflation.

Which way is the price index for core intermediate goods trending?

 Damn...screwed up the format and a table got clipped...
The $64,000 dollar question. Depends on whether you use dollars or not! If the dollar dives like it is doing now importing core intermediate goods becomes more expensive.

So if you don't take account of this I would say the price index should be flat. Oh i forgot - increased energy price to mine/produce will push it up also: both homegrown and imported. Double whammy.

My gues then UP?....

I want a gold star if I have this right....i'm just an engineer!


Looks like the makers of light trucks were finally forced to pass their higher costs through to their customers.  Watch out for that to happen in the food markets next year.  No matter how much "deflation" we'll see in the housing market, I think that prices of everyday necessities will be going up.   Especially for those of us paying in US dollars.
In the 1970's they called this Stagflation at the consumer level.

My prediction is that the wholesale inflation is quickly going to get to the consumer level.  Prices can't rise because buying power is surpressed when energy prices rise quickly.  Potential profits and gains in efficiency are consumed by the higher cost of energy.  Employees and other recipients of corporate profits (read buyers) don't have as much to spend in this environment.  So everything costs more and almost everybody has less to spend. The big squeeze has started.

And this includes the price of gasoline. For those who are pointing out that gasoline in 1969 was roughly the same as in 2006 in inflation adjusted terms, wages are less in the same timespan and so we are still paying more for the gasoline. The cost of energy is going up on a scale relative to incomes for most of us.
For those who are pointing out that gasoline in 1969 was roughly the same as in 2006 in inflation adjusted terms, wages are less in the same timespan and so we are still paying more for the gasoline.  

You may also add that in '69 many households only needed ONE wage earner working to bring home the groceries and pay for that gasolene.  

Now, Both need to work to buy that "Same Price" gas and food.

I wonder how far that wage earner drove to work...
There is no pricing power in the PPI, and that's the point to it.  Producers can't pass on higher costs and are it's eating into margins first.  It wont immediatly transfer through since there are plenty of lower cost alternatives for much of the goods we consume.  Services are another ball game.
  Ting! We have a winner! Let's put it another way, even with the recent rise in oil, 10% growth in M3 there is very subdued inflation within the system. This should give you an idea of the deflationary pressures in the system... This also applies to services (outsourcing, anyone?)

Was at one of the electronics big-boxes over the weekend: a standard offer now is 0% interest untill 2009(!)on TV's over $500. The value of the merchandise is dropping 5-10% a month. Stores are willing to take a huge hit on financing to move inventory that they already have a contracted price for....

From your same article, which you obviously did not read:

"The 2 percent rise in wholesale inflation followed four straight months of benign readings including outright big declines of 1.3 percent in September and 1.6 percent in October."

So lets see, just from September to November, prices are DOWN on a SIMPLE scale 0.9%.  Congrats man.  I'm shaking :P

<sarcasm>Right, prices are down....pass that.
I wonder what the real numbers are.
(no one knows. shhh)
You also might want to avoid investing in emerging Asian markets today....

Thai market slammed by investment rules
Government reverses investment rules after near 15 percent slump


BANGKOK, Thailand - The Thai government is lifting controls on foreign investment in stocks after the market plunged nearly 15 percent on Tuesday, rattling regional bourses amid worries about a repeat of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Finance Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula said that the controls -- announced just a day earlier -- would remain on foreign investments in bonds and commercial paper as part of central bank's measures to stem the surge of speculative investment in the Thai baht, which had risen to a nine-year high versus the dollar on Monday.

Investors dumped stocks in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and the Philippines amid contagion concerns that the plunge might to spread through the region and trigger the kind of slump that enveloped Asia nearly ten years ago.

Thanks for posting this.  It was posted at the bottom of yesterday's DrumBeat, but I doubt many saw it there.

I didn't want to post it up top, since it's not strictly energy-related, but I think this story is going to be very important economically.

You're welcome, but seems this change was short-lived due to a major slump in their market.  Was this just a "test"?:

Thailand Abandons Lockup on Foreign Stock Investments (Update2)


Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Thailand's government scrapped currency controls imposed on international investors one day after the central bank imposed them and sent the stock market plunging by the most in 16 years.

The government is removing a requirement that banks lock up 30 percent of new foreign-currency deposits for a year, Finance Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula said in Bangkok.

``The stock market has fallen too much today,'' Pridiyathorn told reporters at a press conference. ``This is the side effect of the central bank's measure, but we have fixed it already.''

Thai stocks erased $23 billion of their market value today after the central bank said international investors must pay a 10 percent penalty unless they keep funds in the country for a year. The currency controls triggered declines in other emerging stock markets by highlighting the risks of investing in developing economies.

It may not be so easy to calm spooked investors. Confidence lost due to political risk is unlikely to be restored by a panic reaction by the government that elevated political risk in the first place. Watch this space.
Thailand's pre-emptive strike on speculative capital flows could indeed trigger something much larger than most of the coverage is currently suggesting. A new round of Asian Contagion is entirely possible, and more likely to spread this time given the extent of speculative activity in the global financial system. This could be the event that bursts the global bubble.
Fooled by Randomness has a couple nice sections on the volatility of small national stock markets.  The short story is that they are often whipsawed by a particular feedback loop:  When they seem stable, foreign capital floods in, making them unstable, causing capital to flee, creating a crash.  With less cash the become stable again, repeat.
...and rinse...sorry I've washed them out of my hair.
sounds a lot like (some) mutual funds
Check out this article that defines the issue as more an IMF problem.  In a nutshell and for those who dont want to read....

IMF establishes beachhead, usually a capital city, in a third world country.  They pump debt into economy, I mean credit, and the local city does wonderful.  This creates social discourse due to the rising upper class that increasinly dominates ownership and limits expansion by those less well connected.  In third world countries, there tends to be many rural people who do not benefit from this rising city and they begin to raise objections and in some cases, outright revolt and create a revolution.


Ya...my thoughts as well this morning...surely Thailand did not "test the waters" without China's knowledge.

Emerging markets in general have been EXTREMELY risky this year which is why I pulled out of them in June and switched over to Developed European Funds (up 32% so far this year).  I really is getting more difficult to find a place to park the 401K in a "sure bet".

Shorter: was Thailand ever a cornerstone of the "global financial system" or was it a relatively unstable market at the edge?
Thailand doesn't have to be a cornerstone of the global financial system in order for events there to trigger larger consequences. Just look at what happened in the last Asian crisis, which also started in Thailand. What happens at the margins cannot be dismissed as irrelevant. If memory serves, hedge funds have been very interested in Thailand lately, and they will have taken some lumps today. Given how leveraged they are, there may be knock-on effects yet to develop. As I said, watch this space.
I'm just seeing this pattern here at TOD, where people point to countries (in Africa and Asia) that have been unstable all my (middle-aged) life, and claiming that they might be "triggers" or "prequels" to our own troubles.

If that wasn't true in 1976 why is it true now?

Financial globalisation has created the potential for crises at the margins to have significant effects elsewhere. We are seeing vastly larger speculative capital flows than we saw in the 1970s (before liberalisation in the financial sector).
What about "speculative flows" in the blog sector? ;-)
Surely you are familiar with the East Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, the involvement of Long-Term Capital Management, and how the finances of Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand were involved?

And yet you sit here and dispute that such nations could cause disastrous panics when it has already happened in the past? And when notable economists like Friedman and others have discussed the dangers of these situations?

Please tell me that you knew all this and that your entire line of questioning here was facetious.

Some people think in terms of "what has happened in my life" or other simple anecdotes.  

Using such superficial analogies and assumptions, they seem forget the conditions that allowed us to cope with crises at those times may not be the same as the conditions we are facing globally This TimezUp (eg. the US as the "world's lender of last resort" in the little Great Depression of the last century).

Each civilization may have faced mulitple crises over time and survived each, but ultimately they faced a final crisis which usually began with the breakdown of communities within the whole (Look at what happened to the various interconnected communities in past civilizations.. e.g. Anasazi, Norse, etc, etc...).


The "speculative flow" occurs when someone goes seamlessly from "could happen" to something seemingly more substantial.

If you stand on "could cause disastrous panics" that's harmless, and meaningless, enough.

Now, do you have a solid prediction, with good grounding in causation?

Since they weren't measured in the 70's I'll say that have to say they have increased infinitely.
"I'm just seeing this pattern here at TOD, where people point to countries (in Africa and Asia) that have been unstable all my (middle-aged) life, and claiming that they might be "triggers" or "prequels" to our own troubles.

If that wasn't true in 1976 why is it true now?"

Well, the instability of the Middle East has had its consequences in the West. And there was something called the Asian monetary crisis, to name only a few.

We can name things.  The important question is whether we are naming things which support our pre-existing outlook, or whether we arriving at a rational conclusion based on all available evidence.

Did you see that other article I dropped today?

Political Partisans Addicted To Irrational Defense Of Their Tribes

From that:

"None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged," says Westen. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones."
I was already familiar with the article.

The point is that today, things that happen on the other side of the world can and do have fast effects on our lives. An obvious example is the phenomenon called outsourcing.

Saying things affect us is different from a calling a particular, seemingly random, event as a precursor of our future.

The later smacks of confirmation bias, in spades.

There is a front page story on the WSJ today titled "As Threats to Oil Supply Grow, A General Says US Isn't Ready.  Wald, Now retired, Seeks Help from Allies in Defending Caspian Line, Africa Coast; Pondering Doomsday Scenario" by Chip Cummins.

  The story features newly retired Air Force General Charles F. Wald, 57, who was deputy commander of U.S. forces in Europe, Central Asia and Africa.

I'll quote the last paragraphs of the article:

 Back in Washington, Gen. Wald has joined forces with a movement that some are calling the "green hawks."  Prominent former policy makers and retired armed-forces officers, they argue that a tough military and foreign policy won't be enough to ensure energy security, and the only real solution lies in changing consumption at home.
  Gen. Wald is on a board of retired officers that is assessing how global warming might affect military readiness in 30 to 40 years.  For example, the military might have to ready itself for natural disasters caused by rising sea levels or prepare troops better to fight in deserts.
  One group to which Gen. Wald belongs, the Energy Security Leadership Council, includes retired officers as well as chief executives from companies such as FedEx Corp.  Last week the council unveiled proposals for tough fuel-efficiency standards and more home-grown ethanol production.  It also said allies should help defend energy supply lines and called for international "oil peacekeeping".
  One official familiar with the new thinking about energy security is Mr. Gates, who was inaugurated yesterday as secretary of defense.  Last year Mr. Gates participated in a war game at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington.  During the game, unrest and terrorist attacks hit oil production in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Alaska, according to a video of the session.
  At one point, Mr. Gates, playing national security adviser, asked about sending in troops to help Nigeria restore order.  "We can't do it.  We don't have the forces,"  replied retired Marine Corps Gen. P.X. Kelley, playing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  At another point, Mr. Gates fretted that the U.S. was short of resources to safeguard even its domestic facilities.  "The infrastructure is too big to protect as a whole," he said.
  Gen. Wald thinks energy security may finally get more attention under Mr. Gates.  "It's really difficult to make people aware we have a problem," he says.
The answer will be fulfilled with this simple slogan:

"Help us keep energy free for all to use...join the US armed forces to keep the peace!!!"

No, the answer will be fulfilled with this simple slogan:

"the only real solution lies in changing consumption at home"

Feel free to run for president on that slogan. I'll vote for you. And I will watch as you lose massively. The country won't accept that yet. They've been lied to incessantly and they believe those lies. Why would they suddenly believe a 180 degree turn to the truth?
My slogan was just quoting Gen. Wald from the article.  I can't tell if either of you read it from your comments.
My slogan was a joke referring to this passage:

At one point, Mr. Gates, playing national security adviser, asked about sending in troops to help Nigeria restore order.  "We can't do it.  We don't have the forces,"  replied retired Marine Corps Gen. P.X. Kelley, playing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  At another point, Mr. Gates fretted that the U.S. was short of resources to safeguard even its domestic facilities.  "The infrastructure is too big to protect as a whole," he said.


This is a story about the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) reportedly being unanimously opposed to "surging" troops in Iraq.  FYI, the JCS serves in an advisory role to the Secretary of Defense and to the President.  

I suspect that Colin Powell was on CBS this past Sunday at the request of the JCS, saying that he had not seen any plan that would make him support the surge option.  

First, we saw the revolt of the retired generals.  I suspect that we are very, very close to seeing the revolt of the active generals (and admirals), perhaps via a mass resignation.

When I hear this talk of a 'surge', I canna help but think of the German 'bulge' in December of 1944.  Another last desperate gasp of a collapsing power?
The suspicous side of me is beginning to think that the desire on the part of the Bush regime for a 20,000 - 30,000 troop increase in Iraq might have more to do with Iran than with Iraq.

Some military analysts (such as William S. Lind) believe that the US troops concentrated in the Bhagdad area are far more vulnerable to being encircled and cut off by combined forces consisting of Shiite Militia and Iranian irregulars than is commonly thought.

Could it be that this troop build-up is to serve as further force protection against the inevitable Iranian counterattack in the event of a US and/or Israeli strike on Iran?  Just a conjecture on my part.

The Bush regime is getting more desparate by the day, and desparate people do reckless things.

Keeping up with this breaking news...

Annan: Iran intervention would be unwise


UNITED NATIONS - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday a negotiated settlement with Iran over its nuclear program should be sought, and he warned that military intervention would be "unwise and disastrous."

Annan, who steps down as U.N. chief Dec. 31, issued the warning as the Security Council debated a resolution that would impose sanctions on Tehran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. The United States is considering sending a second aircraft carrier to Persian Gulf as a show of force against Iran.

He addressed concerns about a possible military operation in Iran at a farewell news conference in response to a question about how the Security Council should deal with crises after the Iraq war. The council refused to authorize a war against Saddam Hussein in 2003 and Annan called the U.N.'s failure to stop the conflict "the worst moment" of his 10 years as secretary-general.

"You mentioned Iran, which implies that there is concern that there may be another military operation there," Annan told a reporter. "First of all, I don't think we are there yet, or we should go in that direction."

"I think it would be rather unwise and disastrous," he said.

"I believe that the council, which is discussing the issue, will proceed cautiously and try and do whatever it can to get a negotiated settlement for the sake of the region and for the sake of the world," he said.

I agree.  It serves as a deterent to Iran as if to say, we're here to stay regardless.  It's a chess game for sure.
From Drudge:


About Face: Soldiers Call for Iraq Withdrawal

For the first time since Vietnam, an organized, robust movement of active-duty US military personnel has publicly surfaced to oppose a war in which they are serving. Those involved plan to petition Congress to withdraw American troops from Iraq. (Note: A complete version of this report will appear Thursday in the print and online editions of The Nation.)

After appearing only seven weeks ago on the Internet, the Appeal for Redress, brainchild of 29-year-old Navy seaman Jonathan Hutto, has already been signed by nearly 1,000 US soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen, including dozens of officers--most of whom are on active duty. Not since 1969, when some 1,300 active-duty military personnel signed an open letter in the New York Times opposing the war in Vietnam, has there been such a dramatic barometer of rising military dissent.

Interviews with two dozen signers of the Appeal reveal a mix of motives for opposing the war: ideological, practical, strategic and moral. But all those interviewed agree that it is time to start withdrawing the troops. Coming from an all-volunteer military, the Appeal was called "unprecedented" by Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice.

Hey, not to put too much levity into things, but....

Who did the "HumDrum" website?  I thought it was very funny.
Any plans for a "Holiday HumDrum?"

We could poke fun at ourselves and at the cornucopian propaganda at the same time, and maybe garner some positive attention while having fun.

You know, we could invent "digital pumps" for Yergin's "digital oil" and plan "digital distribution" ofthe "digital oil" ober "the internets" which is a "series of tubes."

Maybe we could develop a new "digital spirituality" to provide strength during post-peak times.

We could develop ideas for faith-based cars that go when you pray.  Digital, of course!

Just a thought.

PS:  Has anyone seen a Digital Baby Jesus?  I'm believfe that there must be one somehwere.  Maybe Newsweek is covering that this Holiday Season?

When I was a kid, "going digital" meant counting on my fingers...
and toes ?
That reminds me of the old accusation of stupidity: "He can't count past twenty with his pants on."
don' yo be diss'n our presydent now!
He can't count above 20 with his pants off either.
Oh snap!

21 he is male remember.
tsk, tsk....foul...we are trying to cultivate ourselves into a "family-friendly" format these days.
I think that was the point of the joke.  Only 20...
this "digital" stuff is going right past me.  is that because i know what the word means?

digital data collection and analysis did change understanding of reserves and recovery, is it rooted in this?

Digitus is latin for finger.
I've no clue who did it, but it's a hoot.  
Commenting on the Iran sanctions article above, a couple of month ago we had conflicting reports on what Iran's retaliatory reaction would be.

I think it was the oil minstry who had said that they would not use Oil as retaliating measure, whilst at the same time, nut job was spouting off that they could push oil above $120 should they be backed into a corner with sanctions.

I believe however at the time supply/demand was a lot tighter and oil's price climb was starting to surprise no-one. Now it seems that even the mighty opec are having a job satbilizing it! (I smirk slightly here as any earmarked quota cuts seem to be all hot air) See demand!

Anyway my point is that in the current climate it looks as if the carpet has been pulled out from under nut jobs feet as Iran's oil sword is bluntened by reduced demand.....perfect timing to impose sanctions.


Afterthought. Enter sino-russian-iranian politiks and things might get interesting.
On a related note, CNN is reporting that a carrier group is being sent the Persian Gulf.  They are going to park it there as a warning to Iran.

If I were the paranoid type, I would think they are doing it at Christmas on purpose, knowing the average voter is too distracted to care at this time of year.

A terrifying threat indeed, "Stop doing something - we can't define what it is - or we'll do something else to you, but what it will be we have no idea."
Seems the wrong time to worry (or to interfere):

EHRAN: Iranian reformers and moderate conservatives asserted Monday that they had struck a blow against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by winning most of the seats in local elections and exposing public discontent with the president's hard-line political stances and inefficient administration.

The voting for local councils represented a partial comeback for reformists, who favor closer ties with the West and a loosening of social and political restrictions under the Islamic government. In past years, hard-liners drove reformers out of the council, Parliament and finally the presidency, leaving the once popular movement demoralized.


Especially in light of the belief that Ahmadinejad is a misquoted blowhard who has little real power.

 'Iran is a theocracy, and Khamenei is the theocrat-in-chief. To give you an idea of where Ahmadinejad lies in Iran's political hierarchy, note that no one can even run for the presidency in the first place without the approval of Khamenei and the Guardian Council, a group of six clerics and six conservative jurists that are selected by Khamenei."


Doug: This would-be Rosa Parks feels that possibly Iran isn't the only theocracy on the planet:http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/801449.html
I'm sure it is not the only theocracy, in fact I think many in the US have pushed us far too close here.

Regarding Iran, I have read many stories which claim Ahmadinejad, the president, is used as a mouthpiece to placate  or stir the populus, while Khamenei himself has a much more balanced approach, sending offers thru diplomatic channels that  are rebuffed by the US.  

Hmmm, let's see. This administration, doing the wrong thing, at the wrong time? That wouldn't possibly happen, would it? </snark>

not funny!
"'We shall do such things, what they shall be I know not, but they shall be the terror of the earth". King Lear.
Iran must know that they stand to cripple themselves by disrupting flow through the Straits of Hormuz. Saudi would then pledge 800,000 camels and Israel pledge their rear end to America to bomb the S**t out of Iran. Permission slip signed.

However there is a actually a double edged sword here. It goes back to a discussion waged early in the year (May maybe) about whether oil was truly a global product.
If Iran supply china then china buy less elsewhere and in the end, supply is changed but everyone gets their oil. For action to be effective then Iran would have to remove export and this is what would cripple them.

So I insit now that the powers at be are well aware that sanctions will be effective.


ANOTHER carrier group?  Crickey...I'm gonna have to start googling the Eisenhower group again and Persian Gulf to see what's up.
You can check the Navy status at any time you please. Last year at this time, deployments and on station were nearly 80% - an extremely high number hence the concerns at that time that a military strike might be pending. Note that ships underway or on deployment total 60% between the two categories at the moment, down considerably from previous highs. Watch carefully if deployment plus underway goes above 75%. That's not a guarantee that something will occur, but things won't occur until we exceed those levels (unless we are attacked first and unexpectedly, an unlikely thing at the current time).
From this site:

Ships and Submarines

Deployable Battle Force Ships: 278  

 Ships Underway (away from homeport): 85 ships (30% of

 On deployment: 83 ships (30% of total)  

 Attack submarines underway
 (away from homeport): 25 submarines (47%)  

 On deployment: 18 submarines (34%)  

Ships Underway  

 USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - Pacific Ocean  
 USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - Persian Gulf  

 Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG):  
 USS Boxer (LHD 4) - Persian Gulf  
 USS Dubuque (LPD 8) - Persian Gulf  
 USS Comstock (LSD 45) - Persian Gulf  

 Amphibious Warfare Ships:  
 USS Saipan (LHA 2) - Atlantic Ocean  
 USS Ogden (LPD 5) - Pacific Ocean  
 USS Ashland (LSD 48) - Mediterranean Sea  

Interesting comment on Venezuela

Venezuelan oil production averaged 2.71 million bpd in 2005, but in 2006 output recorded a steady fall. In the first quarter, the mean was 2.61 million bpd, in the second quarter, production dropped to 2.51 million bpd and in October-November it averaged 2.46 million. Venezuelan output is expected to recede further in December, to fully meet the goal of reduction under OPEC.

Actually the decline began in April of 2005 and has continued, more or less, on a downward trend ever since.

Ron Patterson

It's because there's a communist in charge.  If only the Bush administration had succeeded in overthrowing Chavez and installing a good capitalist government, IOCs would be in there and production would be booming.
Actually, Venezuela's oil industry is grossly mismanaged, as Chavez has kicked out most foreign oil companies, or imposed ridiculously high taxes on them.  Not to mention the fact he has fired anyone in the oil industry that didn't vote for him in his first election.

Now that being said, it was certainly possible that their HL show their Qt to be more then 50%, but as far as I know, they've been in 'decline' since Chavez took power, not simply since last year.

"imposed ridiculously high taxes on them"

When you compare what a good deal the developed world gets out of them compared to what they get in return out of us I would not be so quick to call the taxes ridiculously high.

Also there is no denying the extra revenue that Hugo Chaves has invested in healthcare and education in the country.


Especially considering his next step will undoubtedly be to deny health care to people who didn't vote for him ~_~
Thats below the belt. But I appeciate your humour.

Many politicians appear to do good for the masses when it suits their own bolstering. however you have to live with the lesser evil. You stick Blair, Bush and Chavez in a ring for a good old debate - old school fashion and here's what will happen.

Bush will wonder where the popcorn is.
Blair will throw ice-cream at the referee
and Hugo will pontificate about the greatnes of being in the ring. He is a lot smarter then the other two comedy acts.


I guess Hugo thought that only getting 16% of the profits for selling off his country's natural resources was a little chincy.
Damn commies. If only Kenny Lay was alive to show them the American way to run an energy enterprise.
Because a society can never be judged from its best aspects, only the worst, right BrianT?
Well, I guess we'll have to judge the USA by you then, you wretched little trollboy waste of space.
I would like to moderate this somewhat and say that he is not wretched. All opinions need to be heard. Like it or leave it this site is one of the best multifaceted source of information I have ever read.


You're right he's a miscreant.
Calling people names was SO COOL in the 3rd grade!
Hey, at least he graduated the 3rd grade ;)-.  You should really check in with your alternative health care practitioner, because your posts reveal the classic symptoms  of someone suffering from a major case of Trolliosis.
Do you have any evidence that oil extraction practices in Venezuela will diminish the ultimate recovery?  Venezuelan officials have indicated awareness of peak oil.  Hmmm.

Have you got any evidence that the government has any intention, not to mention capability, of denying health care to those who voted for the opposition?

One thing for sure, when the previous incarnations of the opposition ran the show, the poor, who voted massively for Chavez, did not get health care.

You are so sadly brainwashed.  A tool of Lucifer, his stench emanating from your postings.

Chavez would be pleased with you ~_~
As I thought, no evidence.  Just ignorant comments based on indoctrination.  Very sad.
I provided a number of articles on this subject about 3 weeks ago.  I suggest you go look it up for yourself as I will not get into another 'Is Venezuela a good Democracy' debate with people who do not and will not listen to reason.

If anyone is brainwashed here, its you.

Chavez Fires Dissident Oil Workers

Chavez Threatens Media Crackdown

Chavez Administers Last Rights to Rule of Law

PS, I especially like how he now has the power to seize control of the Supreme Court :P

And thats just a few articles.  You can do the rest of your dirty work.

Hi Hothgor,

What I always feel is the slant and angle on all reporting. Your first weblink, look at the webhost!

The second: Our media is wholesale supressed, it's just that our governments don't blatantly admit to having any control over it - Hugo's got the balls to just come out and say it.

The third - this is the scariest bit. What amendment did the US president just make to the constitution? Go look it up - then tell me the rule of law is as democratic in our country(s) as you tout it to be.

Your point I feel is that he is not the Golden boy that he at first appears to be. No one is naive enough to fall into this trap. What is being said though is that we cannot be guilty of the same perpetrations and still point the finger.


amendments are passed by congress not the president....what r u talking about?
None of these articles provides any evidence to support any of your claims.  They are mostly opinion coming from people with the same ignorant slant that has your small mind in its grip.

Do I need to pull out articles with headlines such as:

"Reagan fires air traffic controllers"  to show you just how inadequate is your argumentation.  

You are a sadly deficient and uncritical thinker.  In the hands of people with your level of intellectual talent, your republic slides into a bucket of sludge.  Tom Paine would probably want the monarchy back.

Apples and Oranges and you damn well know it.

Chavez is playing political loot and plunder by rewarding those who vote for him, and punishing those who don't.  That is coercion even if its not a gun to your head.

Reagan on the other hand fired those air traffic control workers after they BROKE THE LAW, and not because they did or did not vote for him.  This was also after the air traffic controllers rejected a proposal for IIRC for a 10+% annual pay increase.

Sorry but you example is pure bull and a pure strawman.  Completely different circumstances.

Why don't you try to improve your "Critical thinking" and "intellectual talent", cause sadly I find it lacking.

I thought you wingnut scum went to church, didn't you ever hear the one about not bearing false witness?
Wow!  Just WOW!!
Wood Boilers Cut Heating Bills. The Rub? Secondhand Smoke.

Already been noted on The Oil Drum.  

The advertisements for using natural gas for heating was 'safety to the neighbors' in the form of no hot cinders from your chimney and because of its clean-burning nature.

Some places passed laws to prevent wood stoves for heating.  (I wonder how bad it has to  be before they get repealed)

And on 'peak debt'
The dollar used to be worth more than six British pounds; now, it's worth about half of a pound.
A greenback used to be worth three Swiss francs; today, the two are almost equal.
The U.S. currency has already lost nearly 30% against the euro, which is barely six years old.

Can't pay your debts?   http://fms.treas.gov/fr/06frusg/06frusg.pdf
The US is insolvent. There is simply no way for our national bills to be paid under current levels of taxation and promised benefits. Our federal deficits alone now total more than 400% of GDP.
(Wonder who gets first?  Vet bennies or things like heat/food/housing assistance to the poor?)

Now its not Africa's poor but:
More Americans went homeless and hungry in 2006 than the year before and children made up almost a quarter of those in emergency shelters, said a report released on Thursday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

All leading to thinks like 'peak robbery'

The Ride of Broken Dreams is beginning

I posted a bit about this below, but there is a local wood/biomass burning facility on school grounds in the next town - one of the people I work with heats her house with its output, though she lives a good 2-3 kilometers away - and no one has ever complained. Maybe because Germans know how to engineer things?
I've heard a completely different story.

A couple in my town had a new wood pellet heating installed in their house, and now are being sued by neighbors, who complain about allegedly particulate matter.
The new unit, which replaced an old oil heating, is state-of-the-art (these folks are really wealthy) and coupled with a new solar collector on the roof.

However there is indeed a lot of research in Germany, and lots of apparently successful attempts to build zero energy houses. Great projects that really make me hopeful, but - hard to believe - ever and ever hindered by NIMBYism.

The unit I am describing is used to heat the school, and maybe 50+ houses - it is not a single house unit. The co-worker is connected to the Fernwärmeleitung, she burns nothing herself.

Quite honestly, I don't see how a single home unit will ever be that clean burning in terms of particles which require either filtering or a burning temperature which is not practical in a home, which is why I think burning less is the only way to improve things.

I don't see how a single home unit will ever be that clean burning in terms of particles which require either filtering or a burning temperature which is not practical in a home

Maybe you are right, maybe not. (Page is both in English and German BTW)

Hang on, since when has the dollar ever been worth 6 pounds?

IIRC it used to be $4 = £1, and it worst it was down near $1.10 = £1 - but I know of no time when it was anywhere close to $1 to £6

Well unless you have a crystal ball than is...

Wood burning broilers are highly inefficient means of heating.  The massive amount of smoke generated is evidence of the poor burning attributes of the broiler.  A modern EPA certified wood burning fireplace insert of stove will actually burn very clean as all the secondary gases given off of the wood are ignited in secondary burning.  When my fireplace insert is fully running and heated up I can walk outside and not even see smoke coming out of my chimney.

The wood broiler industry was not included in EPA rules for wood burning stoves and consequently there is little oversight and very poor and inefficient designs out there.

Check out the following website for more info:

Outdoor wood boilers are coming along in many regards, just as indoor wood stoves have.  I recall my first woodstove, a Coles back in the late 60's.  It a was mess by today's standards that belched smoke thru the house with any change of atmospherics.

Many wood boilers today have secondary combustion chambers, and have been tested by the EPA.  While probably not applicable to postage stamp back yards, there are quite a few plusses.  In addition to heating much larger areas, even multiple buildings from a central location, easier manipulation of fuel and varied sources of fuel, longer loading times, the elimination of smoke from the living enviroment is a big point for those with respiratory ailments.  Disclaimer: I do not own one, but have over the years purchased the latest current new and improved wood stove.  

Eric: Re the insolvency of the USA, many posters on TOD have predicted a return to a 1930s style deflationary depression of some duration. When you examine the debt and unfunded liabilities of the government, there is no possibility that the dollar could survive a long deflationary depression (i.e. the country would have to reneg on its obligations, which IMO is extremely unlikely). The total liabilities are up 2.5X since 2000- there appears to no way out without severe devaluation of the currency and subsequent hyperinflation.
There is actually one doomsday get-out scenario I have just conjured up: They sell all military equipment and tech including all nukes therby giving up their military supremacy. problem could be solved overnight.This would generate unimaginable revenue.

Why do they need all that power now anyway? It's sure as hell not to defend their own shores.

They then move into other industry such a alternative/renewable energy, selling systems to china and europe.

This is called a moment of clarity, and i hope to dine here more often.


Speaking as an economic historian and economist, I agree that hyperinflation at some point is much more likely than deflation. There is one and only one way for a society to get out from under a crushing load of debt--an abrupt and major and unexpected increase in the rate of inflation.

Bernake does not need helicopters dropping bundles of currency: The Fed has it in its power to monetize the debt, and I think the Treasury Dept. of the U.S. still has the authority (originally going back to the Civil War) to issue currency in the form of U.S. notes, which us older folk can remember on e.g. some old five dollar bills. Thus, with the Fed and the Treasury both in effect "printing money" there is a very clear and potentially rapid path out from under the burden of debt in the U.S.

To a large extent, the history of money is a history of inflations, i.e. a decline in the purchasing power of money.

"Treasury both in effect "printing money" there is a very clear and potentially rapid path out from under the burden of debt in the U.S."

Yes but it became a bit easier to do this in 1971 did it not? Keywords: nixon, delink, gold.


Or they could just switch to Amero, making 1 Amero = $1,000 USD.
Don, I agree with your 1st paragraph.  My question is there are alot of banks holding debt. How willing are they to go along with this plan.  I guess at some point it doesn't matter but I think the gov. can't move real fast on this.  any comment?
Banks will do fine, because both their financial assets and their financial liabilities are both denominated in dollars. Thus their liabilities (checking accounts, also known as demand deposits) go down just as fast as do their assets such as Treasury Bills and bonds.

For more, do some reading on the German inflation of 1923--fascinating stuff.

I really don't understand why bankruptcy is not realistic? If we get hyperinflation first, which IMO, will happen at some point.  The only way out is to start over with a different currency.  You renegotiate your debts and emerge.  Look my overall thinking is very simple - Rome was the greatest civilization of it's time and it collapsed with all knowledge lost for hundreds of years.  We aren't special.  


Bankruptcy will not happen.  Bankruptcy will imply that the government can not pay its debts.  The debts will be paid as the debts are denominated in US dollars.  All the government has to do is print the money to pay the debts.

However, monetization (money printing your way out of debt) is highly inflationary.

That is why the likely outcome is hyperinflation (to pay off debts) followed by a currency collapse and recession/depression.  Once the debts are inflated away and currency destroyed, the Amero will be introduced as a way to have a stable currency.

And then the dance can begin again with another currency backed by the labor, materials, and photon capturing capacity  of the entire north and south America.

Alas, the 'villans' won't get their 'come-uppins'.  (pick your villian and how they avoid whater fate you wish to have them suffer)


That's what I said.  Following hyperinflation you introduce a new currency, thus it is bankruptcy since you aren't paying back the original debt dollar for dollar.

Who knows what way its gonna play out.    Deflation, hyperinflation, barter economy (to avoid the taxing structure - "I as just helping a buddy"), local currencies et la.

Change is on the menu, and will the change be orderly (IE you live, others who suffer will "just deserve what they got") or will change be chaotic (You got shot by some punk who wanted to buy some crack to forget about how their life went t o hell after gas went to $5 so they couldn't get to their Mal*wart job and at $7.50 a gallon Mal*Wart closed anyway)

The Samuel Byck way of thinking and then reaction to that conclusion worries me more than just what and how the economy does.
he experienced a number of business failures and admitted himself to a psychiatric hospital, citing depression, for two months in 1972.....He began to believe that the government was conspiring to oppress the poor.

(i.e. the country would have to reneg on its obligations, which IMO is extremely unlikely).

How about going off the gold standard? Many see this as a reneging on US monetary obligations. In any case, I can see the US reneging on its obligations quite easily. Inflation is the way to do it. "Sorry, but your dollar is only worth 1/4 what it was last week in terms of goods and services." This will affect everyone who holds dollars, both domestic and foreign.

What do you think is already happening? This is the power of the exponential function at work. A mere 3% inflation annually means you need 34% more dollars to purchase the same goods in just 10 years. In just 23 years at 3% inflation, a nation eliminates 50% of its old debt (when measured in real goods and services). That's from the birth of a generation to when it graduates from college - 50% of the old debt vanished into irrelevant paper.

Because of this governments have both incentive to inflate and incentive to under report inflation. After all if someone believes inflation is 2% and offers to take 3% interest (so they make 1% profit on the investment in your debt) but your real inflation rate is 4%, then you've just snookered the poor schmuck into transferring his money to you over time.

You are very wise. To an untrained person like me the obvious answer seems to be to take 5% or hold Gold! Does that sound reasonable to you?

thank you for your insight.

Holding ANY form of a material that can be traded directly for other labor/material is not a bad plan, no matter what happens.

Silver, gold, copper (say some wire? or plumbing), ethyl alcohol (see the Dymetry O - the Ex-pat russian who was on From the Winderness about booze VS gasoline) - many  many items that can be used by you or as trade goods is a good plan.   A 55 gallon drum of Honey could even be a fine way of 'holding' some of your 'wealth'.

But there are plenty of people who say 'hold 5 or 10% of your wealth in gold/silver', so its not like the advice is a lone voice in the wilderness.

Given the nature of the internet, it is hard to tell if someone is being sarcastic or not. And on this forum it has become the norm to expect the sarcastic unfortunately. Even so, I will take your response at face value and state further that while my prior statements are obvious to anyone who understands compound interest and how money is created, it is not obvious to most people because most people really do not understand exponential functions (of which compound interest is just one) nor how money is created.

Side note: Did you realize that the $24 the native Americans received for selling Manhattan, if invested at 7% interest compounding annually since the 1626 date of sale, would yield about $3,515,982,963,776.94 - enough for those same native Americans to buy back all of Manhattan today and have change left over for Las Vegas too. ;)

Exponential functions are incredible things.

The Manhattan purchase. One of the first projects for mewbie programmers is writing a program to calculate this. All serious programmers that is. Not the webmonkey wonks who spring up from beneath the cracks in the floorboards and think J2EE is the charm,,the only  one most Indian fakirs know.

"Please Mister Airdale you will now listen to me Mister Airdale and reboot your computer Mister Airdale and please do not use those words with me Mister Airdale. Now Mister Airdale the problem is gone Mister Airdale, goodybe. "Duhhhhhh.  

Write it in BAL ,Mister Newbie and no abends please.

Cobol? Not fair. Asm language.

Were you a programmer?


How about wireboards for a 1401?   Still have my card saw and a drum from a 029.  (and the little straight rod to poke thru a card deck).
Poke the 'card needle' thru to check if the sorter is sorting correctly? Looking for the errant card? Wish I had a box of blank 5081s.

Ah..righteous tools. Back when machines were under real control and not running amok.

Jeez...coding with cards...that's a freakin' flashback and just goes to show you technological progress in the last 30 years.  Jeezus H. Christ...feelin old today!
Well let us say that over time compound interest grows pretty damn fast :-).

I suppose 7% if inappropriate - perhaps a lower number. There have been periods where inflation has been nonexistent (18th century perhaps??)

Actually my statement, though stated in an obtuse fashion, was that
(i) no one is holding a gun to Beijing or to anyone else to buy treasuries. They do it for their own nefarious purposes.
(ii) Treasuries are short term and if inflation rises then the  Fed raises rates so short termers are protected
(iii)5.25% is pretty damn high IMHO
(iv) If you are concerned buy Gold or copper etc (maybe it is already happening)

I was hoping that you would address that statement about buying Gold. Mr. Blair did acquiesce to the statement (thank you)

Did you realize that the $24 the native Americans received for selling Manhattan, if invested at 7% interest compounding annually since the 1626 date of sale, would yield about $3,515,982,963,776.94 - enough for those same native Americans to buy back all of Manhattan today and have change left over for Las Vegas too. ;)

Another side point: markets crash regularly and banks go bust (US history being full of that). Rather than being able to buy NY and Las Vegas, anyone taking such a 'very long term view' of investment would probably end up ruined. Rather like Dawkins' comment on the human perception of probability: 'If you lived for several hundred thousand years, you would be extremely careful about crossing roads, because in that time you would be certain to get run over.'

To retain wealth over many generations requires control of real assets, and preferably actual control of the banking system, as opposed to passive participation in that system as 'savers'.

Had those Indians invested as you suggest, they would in all probability still be broke.

(Yes, I realize you are only trying to illustrate the power of the exponential function and it is just an example...)

Another side point: markets crash regularly and banks go bust (US history being full of that).

Isn't it curious that at any point along this history, the people involved in the 'growth' industry sell it as though it will proceed onward forever, even though this is physically impossible.

When there is a crash or a big bank bust, in economic history it is simply referred to as a 'break in series' as though things will then proceed as 'normal.'

'Collapse of Complex Societies' principles apply equally to economics. Every so often we will have either a big collapse or a number of smaller 'catabolic' collapses to bring us back down to some lower starting out state from which we can build, and dream....

Myth buster.
Actually they never paid $24 to the "Indians of Manhatten".

Instead, a sham transaction was conducted with the Canarsie Indians of Brooklyn, New York.

Hey. Not dat I would know anyting about Bwooklyn, ya know. :-)

Total US debt is broken down as follows, by who owes it:

*Financial Sector: 32% (mostly mortgage and GSE pools and ABS)
*Households: 30%
*Non-financial sector businesses: 20%
*Federal Govt.: 12%
*State and local govt.: 5%

The total as of 3Q06 was nearly 42 trillion dollars and does not include the Social Security Trust Fund debt (another $4 trillion or so).

We all love to blame the govt. as having too much debt, but in fact the blame should first be placed elsewhere.

Another salient fact about inflating debt away: interest rates would shoot up, naturally. Before you know it debt service would become so onerous that you would get a depression from defaults, anyway.

The only debt that can be successfully inflated away to nothing is long-term fixed rate debt. There is now much less of that than used to be in the past. Another factor is the constant swapping of fixed debt into variable rate and long term into short via derivatives.

If you think debt can nowadays be inflated away you are still living in the 70's and 80's. Bond markets have become extremely sophisticated and bond investors are not stupid.

No, people will just have to cut down consumption and pay off their debts. Or default. Either way, severe recession and even depression.


Good points. I have suspected for a while that a Weimar-type hyperinflation is not going to be what happens, but a combination of debt defaults, inflation for some goods and services and deflation for other goods and services. A mixed bag with the average joe caught in the squeeze.
Social Security has always been insoluble.  If only we could make congress understand this, we might be able to fix the problem.  Keep in mind that the 53 trillion figure is mostly SS future liabilities, and as such will be paid out over many many decades.
Or at least thats how I understand it.  What are your opinions on the matter?
What are your opinions on the matter?

My God...can I frame this?  Is this the first time Hothgor has actually asked for someone's opinion instead of just giving his?

Of all posters on this board, that criticism should be directed strictly at you.
I'm really only a prick when it comes to Yergin Hoth-bore.

I'm nice to nice people.  And I have asked for opinions before..all the time...RR, WT, Dave, Stuart...

I guess Hothie is starting to get his groupies now though...that'll embolden him some...thanks for that.

I see....a groupie full of sock puppets.  Well...such is the nature of blogs...no one is as they seem (myself included).

I am sure that our face to face personalities are much different than our "virtual" personalities.

I have used a different moniker (Virtual Ipecac) but only to display my emotions during the elections.  I switched back to Dragonfly41 afterwards.  And I never said, "That Dragonfly41 is such smart dude...ain't he?"

I like how anyone who comes out and points out how moronic the flamers are towards me, they are automatically labeled as a 'hothgor groupie, hothgor alt, hothgor paid disinformer, etc etc'.
social security takes in $ 173 billion more per yr (2005 data) than it spends the "excess" is "invested" in the "trust"fund  
unfortunately these "trust" funds are "invested" in treasury debt  which is currently $ 8.65 trillion   ($3 trillion added by the befuddled one in 6 yrs)   $ 1.9 trillion of this debt is in "special t notes" owed to the social security "trust" fund by the us treasury

now tell me hotgor ( expert on everyting)  who is insolvent   ? social security or the us treasury ?

I'm sure the dollar amounts due under Social Security will be paid out in benefits. However, at that time the U.S. dollar may be worth the same as the Mexican peso (which, BTW, it was for a very long time, well into the twentieth century).

Surely the government will find a way to default on its obligations; that what governments typically do when they are in a tough financial spot.

That'e just exactly correct Hothgor. Social Security is insoluble. Cannot be dissolved. Cannot be broken up. Won't work if rendered into small liquid pieces and no one is going to try.
Now what was the question you were trying to ask but didn't?
The 'Social Insurance' title for the 53 trillion debt we apparently have.  Thats for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, right?
Solstice 2150 - from A Different part of the world ???

I enjoy M Greer's fiction on the future, but I think there may be many more stories to tell - some might be from the perspective of survivors in countries other than the US/west.

Ethiopia: Villagers Receive Training On Solar Energy in India

The trainees were said to be just ordinary villagers in small sub-subsistence farming communities who, after the training, said they could assemble and repair electronic circuits, and charges for solar lighting panels, which generates electricity for more than 1,300 households...

"Their mastery over electronics circuitry, transformers and renewable solar energy borders on the incomprehensible, (they have barely completed primary schools and never took mathematics, chemistry, or engineering).

Yet, they are unquestionably Ethiopia's first rural solar engineers with the skills and competency to match or even exceed any university trained urban expert."

Please don't mention works of Science FICTION, as it grossly damages the scientific credibility this site is trying to maintain, or at least thats what I've been told :P
When did you become the moderator of this site?
When did science fiction become the rational scientific basis for action?
I think you misunderstand Drumbeats, dear Hoth.  It's the trenches here...the information frontlines.  Go to the more formal sections if you want scientific rational.
SciFi should be allowable, as long as it is presented as such, and not paraded as news..
Which it was :P
Fine by me.

Live long and prosper..

One often overlooked component of humanity.  Education vrs. inteligence.  So often we look down at poor uneducated people.  
I agree the "poor and uneducated" are often overlooked.

It's amazing what the poor come up with in terms of satisfying their necessities.  In some cases those 3rd worlders come up with some pretty good methods of coping that we Firsties might find useful.

Also, although I think Greer's story is useful and interesting food for thought, I think we need to remember that over the past few hundred years civilization developed in an asymmetrical fashion in both time and place.  

Likewise, in the Post Peak era civilization will likely decline in an asymmetrical manner in time and place. If for no other reason than differences in the distribution of remaining resources and the differences in regional political rivalries and regional population pressures of each locale.  

So goes the "ebb and flow" of civilization over time and place.


They are the ones that benefit from a 'distributed power approach' - the ones that aren't tied to the industrialized grid in the first place.  If training means the difference between being able to pump water / light rooms at night or not for an entire village, then they sure as hell are motivated to get it.
Rational and normal people in the West will never act like this...

Fuel Scarcity Hits Port

Long queues of vehicles waiting to get fuel in filling stations have resurfaced leading to harassment of motorists by street urchins who seize gallons from people and smash wind screens in the metropolis.

The long queue became noticeable Sunday evening and by yesterday it assumed an alarming proportion as queues started stretching into miles and sometimes blocking express roads which led to serious traffic jam...

At a point yesterday evening, some miscreants clashed at the Waterlines area, smashing windscreens of motorists waiting to procure fuel, while some of the more audacious ones used pipes to openly siphon fuel from some vehicles.

The effect of the scarcity is already telling on the people as transport fares jumped by about 150 per cent while fewer vehicles were seen on the road.

I blame the Frnech. They should never have sold them that patent for the Wheel.


the 'French' even.
The NYT article about particle pollution was not available for me to read (easy enough to get around, but why bother?), but the main point is very real.

According to an article in Die Zeit a few months ago, wood burning causes as much particle (wasn't it 'particulant' previously?) pollution as diesel powered vehicles in Germany, which has fairly strict standards in terms of checking/cleaning chimneys and stoves.

Burning things is pretty much a problem whatever is burned,  which is one of the shining allures of the hydrogen dream - look, nothing but pure water. Speaking very broadly, wood remains one of the better things to burn, as long as it is locally grown and locally burned, in houses with chimneys that are kept as clean as possible, using efficient stoves, with good insulation.

Unfortunately, most wood is burned either by poorer people who have little option, or by richer people who think that burning pellets shipped hundreds of miles is somehow green.

However, I do think that local heating 'plants' can remove most of the problems associated with particle pollution when burning biomass, but this would involve another layer of expense and infrastructure - the heated water is circulated through pipes to the space being heated, after all. Germany has certainly moved in this direction, as has Sweden - till now, I haven't really read anything about how emissions are handled. It is possible, though not real likely, that it is a dirty secret.

The correct term (at least in the US) is 'particulate emissions', i.e., of or having to do with very small solid particles suspended in air.

While wood and other biomass CAN be burned cleanly, usually it is not. It is not difficult to burn wood in a industrial boiler, where the fuel feed rate and the amount of combustion air can be carefully controlled, but home fireplaces and wood stoves are another matter.  

 In the typical home fireplace or wood stove one essentially has uncontrolled combustion, especially during the period when you are trying to get the fire started. A home wood fire may smell nice, but the very fact that you are smelling anything is proof positive that there is incomplete combustion taking place. I believe some areas of the US (Portland, Oregon comes to mind) now have local ordinances restricting the use of domestic wood stoves.  

Wood chips are better than logs with respect to air emissions because they have a much higher amount of exposed surface for a given weight of wood. And it is the exposed surface where the combustion process actually takes place.

There are a number of more sophisticated wood stoves/heaters on the market that have a secondary combustion chamber where the exhaust gases containing the products of incomplete combustion get a second chance to be burned. These probably have an order of magnitude less particulate emissions than a conventional wood stove or fireplace.

It's not much of a trick to burn wood (relatively) cleanly, but you do need the right equipment.

I have read many comments over the last several days concerning woodstoves. Many posters comments are simply incorrect.

Any stove purchased since 1988 must meet smoke emission standards of 7.5 grams per hour, or less. Outdoor woodburning units are not subjected to this requirement.


All new stoves (since 1988) have secondary combustion technology to meet emission requirements.

I burn a Woodstock Soapstone catalytic stove that is very efficient and clean. No visible smoke during the burn cycle.

For anybody considering woodstove heat, visit hearth.com and go to the community forum to discuss your options. I am a frequent poster there.

This place is much too intimidated to post! And thats good....keeps my mouth (or fingers) shut and my eyes open.

Yes, it is good that we are getting more and more evironmentally friendly wood stoves. But the fact remains that there are hundred of thousands of domestic fireplaces and old-fashion wood stoves that belch terrible air emissions.

Maybe one day these will all be retrofitted with the latest technology, but I tend to doubt it, as many of these tend to be in rural areas.  I've got no problem with that, as it's mainly a matter of people making do with what they have.

Wood burning was banned in Denver at some point in the mid-1980s.

As a note to the comment below about rural burning - particulate emissions tend to be a problem in concentration, when they are inhaled. Someone living in a place where their next neighbor lives a couple of miles away is unlikely to be causing any harm burning wood on a winter night. This doesn't apply to most of Europe, however.

That's pretty interesting that the API is "investing" 100 million dollars in improving the image of the oil and gas business. That's enough money to attract the interest of even a member of the Bush clan.
  Oil has horrible public relations. My best theory is that it is a combination of fear, dependency and envy by the general public. Most people know how dependent they are on fossil fuels and feel powerless to do anything. And they envy huge wealth.
  Perceptions aren't helped any by the Majors ham-handed interference in the US political process. The Bush clan has received huge industry contributions as far back as I know, George Herbert Walker was a director of Dresser and is a very large part of Halliburton. George H.W. Bush was introduced to the Houston oil elite by Carl Rove's ex-mother-in-law, Jane Oberwetter Wainright, the republican Precinct Judge for River Oaks and publisher of the Houston Social Register, and they have funded the Bush League very heavily since.
  H.L. Hunt, ever the progressive <sarcasm alert>, bankrolled the John Birch Society, and tried to fund efforts to change the constitution to give rich people more votes. Texaco used to fly a black flag of piracy, and was the main supplier of crude to the Nazi's before Pearl Harbor. The list is endless. But, recently Exxons funding of skeptics of global warming and peak oil hasn't helped  at all.
  The thing that offends me most is that bi oil isn't planning to change its behaviour, just the perceptions of its behaviour, sort of like the Man-Boy Love Society
  But it will be great if they fund internet ads on this site!
That JBS is a mean outfit.  I filled out some info one time and got calls once a month from a guy.  I was in high school still, so naturally I just avoided the guy and laughed at his efforts.  They are a persistent bunch with a message.

I remember he was talking about the consitutional convention that keeps coming up.  Anyone know anything on that?

Re: OPEC admits peak oil is near

JoeWP from PeakOil.com has stripped out the relevant six pages from the PDF file, for those unable or unwilling to download the 120 page original:


That was helpful, thanks.

I wonder if CERA has a one-year guarantee or your money back?
Haaa...that IS a GOOD one...with interest...no doubt.

How much gold could I buy with $1,000?

From today's New York Times:

Iraq Insurgents Starve Capital of Electricity

The article reports that within the past few months insurgents have been effectively disrupting power into Baghdad by blowing up unguarded power lines to the north, south, and west of the city.

The insurgents dismantle the downed towers to be melted down into ingots for the lucrative aluminum market.  They then lie in wait to ambush the work teams sent to repair the damage.  As soon as one breach is repaired, new explosions bring down other sections of the power line to keep it out of action.  

The article states that Baghdad is now down to a 6-7 hour ration of electricity per day (vs. roughly 9 hrs/day nationwide) and the few aging power plants within the city proper are clearly inadequate to meet the city's basic power demands going forward.

It also points out that some American-financed power projects in the city have been ineffective, citing the Qudis plant, just north of Baghdad, which was "outfitted with turbine generators modeled on 747 airplane engines that work efficiently only when using fuel of higher quality than the Iraqis can provide with any regularity, a fact that has led to damaging breakdowns."

Real progress in the war on terror. What a glorious world. If I were an American I would be very ashamed of myself. As it stands I am British and only mildly ahamed as we are the ones bent over the barrel getting a sore Neocon whipped posterior. In fact, yes i am ashamed to be British. This is an OPEC country for goodness sake. That means it's an energy EXPORTER and it cannot even give reliable supply to it's own citizens even after 3 years of (current) occupation by us.


In fact, yes i am ashamed to be British.

Blame the Frnech.

Very funny, my tonge got twisted round my fingers:-)
More progress on the war on terror:


God bless the West.

I posted the IHT link to the same story late in yesterday's Drumbeat but posting it here is probably better given that the prior Drumbeat had mostly run its course.
Real Life or Fiction ???

At a social gathering a citizen asks his town's Mayor and the Emergency Management Coordinator what they think of Peak Oil?

Both look slightly puzzled but reply, "I've never tried it - I usually just use Quaker State or whatever they have in bulk when they changes my oil."

Hope springs eternal only when on narcotics.

"Hope springs eternal only when on narcotics."

SOP, don't despair and please don't go back on the dope; I like you much better when you're clean.

Well, another week and yet another hit piece on fuel efficient vehicles - nicely crafted to scare everyone into keeping those SUV sales Humm(er) ing along...

Front page on MSNBC.com


When pushed, most SUV owners will cite safety as the primary reason for buying a large vehicle.  But my assumption always is that their choice was driven more by fashion and the subconcious feeling of superiority that some get from (literally) looking down on others.  They would consider a small car a real "come down."  Only $10 a gallon gasoline will change those people's minds.

Actually, I was happy to see this article as we've been thinking of buying a Toyota Yaris.  I'd been debating spending the extra $$$ for side-impact air bags.  Given that having them pushed the Yaris from the bottom to the top of the heap, I'm more inclined now to spend the extra money and get them.

Sorry but your bias is showing.

That article was fairly balanced and pointed out cars that received both good and bad marks.

Also while smaller vehicles are more fuel efficient they are as a fact less safe than larger vehicles.  This isn't spin, nor is it scare tactics.... its simply the facts about kenetic energy and the physics surrounding it.  Being in a more massive vehicle is going to allow for the vehicle to absorb more shock than a smaller one.

Furthermore, the claim that more smaller vehicles were sold due to increased fuel concerns is again a fact.  That trend seems to have begun reversing itself for the time being but I suspect as summer hits we will see a return to that trend.

Given the increase in the number of small vehicles on the road, and trying to provide information to consumers about their choices (both good and bad) is not a scare tactic.  I know full well when I purchase a small car that I'm giving up certain features including cargo/passenger space, and saftey rating, but I also know I'm gaining fuel efficiency, and economy.  Its a trade off and one I'm willing to make given that fuel costs generally have a much greater impact on me personally than crash ratings, given I have not been in too many crashes.

That's not to say that someone else would value the same things I do, and as such may be willing to pay more for the sense of security they obtain in a larger vehicle.  As fuel prices increase, they will need to re-evaluate the price tag they attach to their safety in a vehicle.  At some point.. the price tag will be too much.

Yeah - I suppose my bias is showing there... although the title of the article and the first paragraph (at least) don't exactly start out giving the impression of a balanced presentation.

I should have made it more clear that what upset me was not necessarily the actual content of the story - more along the lines of the way it's presented.  It's just annoying that THE lead story on the site screams (to those who might only skim over it) "Small Car Concerns" - which as you point out, is well balanced by the facts in the body of the story...  Also, the presentation of it as THE biggest story of the day at that point - is it really or is this just a not so subtle way of planting that seed of doubt that might lessen the sales of these cars that admittedly don't make much money for anyone.  

And then the cycle is just perpetuated - after the safety concerns article there will be a another story out (as was just out there last week) about how much sales of small cars or hybrids are down (Shocking !!) and then there will be another safety story and oh by the way SUV sales are way up etc etc.  Perhaps I'm too cynical - but I'm at the point now that I don't believe any of this "news" exists outside of that grey area where the distinction between infotainment and advertising gets very fuzzy...

The bias of the media as a whole is not something I would fundamentally disagree with you on.

However on this article as a lone sample I'd say the article was fairly balanced.  It noted the negatives and positives, and even the positive and negative of "same" car with different feature sets (the Yaris I believe)

Given that generally "good" news doesn't sell well, and "bad" news does, it doesn't surprise me that the title of the article is what it is.

But then if someone is the type of person who only reads the headlines, that someone would likely have a really screwed up view of the world.  Sadly I think too many people pay attention to just the Headlines.

I think the article is okay as far as it goes, but the perception of large vehicle safety is generally not as good as most people think.

  • Younger people generally drive smaller cars. Young means likely to take chances and get into fatal accidents.
  • Small cars have been generally economy cars, without any special safety features.
  • IMO, there is a disproportionate number of women driving those SUVs.  Women drivers means less risk taking and so fewer  accidents for these large vehicles.

AFAIK, the numbers that I have seen do not take any of these driver-related factors into account.  If we had a mutant horde of "Tunses the Cat" driving those SUVs, the statistics would show small cars to be incredibly safe.
i didnt think the article was "fair and balanced" at all   ........trying to justify gas guzzling suv's on the basis of "safety"   if americans would just drive less drive SLOWER or not drive at all  the roads would be a lot safer   (and you probably wouldnt have such a "need" for those side impact air bags )
 of course that would make it more difficult to comute to their vinyl sided suburban wastelands
A larger vehicle is not necessarily safer than a smaller one - it depends on the difference in size.  Two behemoths hitting each other will probably have more damage to each than two small cars [at equal speeds] because of their greater mass and therefore momentum.
Also while smaller vehicles are more fuel efficient they are as a fact less safe than larger vehicles.  This isn't spin, nor is it scare tactics.... its simply the facts about kenetic energy and the physics surrounding it.

It is also a fact that collision resistance is only one of many parameters used for measuring vehicle safety. It is also a fact that overall safety of SUVs may be worse than for conventional vehicles. Especially considering that SUV's are exempt from most of vehicle regulations regarding not only mileage requirements, but crash resistance in terms of 'crash cage' construction etc, not to mention the greater maneuverability of a smaller car.

IMO SUV's are not safer than a well designed conventional car.

Following the "vote" link from that article I found this:

Would you consider buying a small car?   * 6544 responses       
Yes, it's the best way to offset high gas prices.
No, the safety concerns worry me.
Not sure, I'd want to check the different models' crash-protection features first.

- so not everybody is into the "mass race".

Just a heads up on what analysts are expecting from tomorrow's inventory report (from Bloomberg):

Crude oil -2.13mb (from 335.4)
Gasoline +0.1mb (from 199.9), refinery capacity 89.7%
Distillates -0.55mb (from 131.9)

The January spot contract expires today. At the time of this post the Feb contract is trading at $63.57.

Pemex crude oil production for Nov was 3.163 mbd vs 3.311 in Nov 2005.
All liquids was 3.552 (2006) vs 3.723 (2005).

Robert....I'm just razing you, but what are your predictions for tomorrow's inventory report?

I'm going to say based on today's Iran war rhetoric that someone already knows that tomorrow's numbers will not be good.

I'm going to shoot for the second consecutive week of draw downs across the board.

Robert....I'm just razing you, but what are your predictions for tomorrow's inventory report?

I have been off work for almost a week, so I am a little bit out of the loop with what marketing is saying. I have been expecting gasoline inventories to head back up, so I will make that single prediction: Gasoline inventories to increase.

Alright...we shall see at the stroke of 10:30am.

Place your bets folks!!

BTW I think imports/exports will have been affected by the disruptions caused by fog in the Houston Ship Channel.
As someone living in Houston, I can attest to the fog the pass week.  Its been absolutely haunting.  Usually this stuff burns off with the mid-day sun, but this stuff stays, and at night I would guess we've had about a 20 meter visibility on average.

No idea how that ultimately affects shipping, but I would guess like car traffic, it slows things down.

The inventory report will be as of Friday, December 15th. When did the fog move in?

I am predicting crude will be down 2mb. Gasoline and Distillates will be up by .5mb each.

Ron Patterson

Just a heads-up that Pemex will be reporting that it has exceeded 4-mbd produciton at the end of Q1.
Just a heads-up that Pemex will be reporting that it has exceeded 4-mbd produciton at the end of Q1.

Surely you Jest!

Pemex reports 3.163 mb/d, crude + condensate for November and 3.552 mb/d for all liquids. Their production is falling like a rock. And you actually believe that they will ramp up to 4 mb/d for the first three months of 2007.

Pemex has never reported that kind of production in their history. That is never Freddy! For crude + condensate, their highest month ever was 3.455 mb/d. In November their production was down almost 300,000 bp/d below that level. And they are currently in steep decline. I have a chart but I haven't figured how to post from Excel yet. It would shock you.

Where on earth do you get this stuff Freddy? Do you live in fantisy land?

Ron Patterson

I have a chart but I haven't figured how to post from Excel yet. It would shock you.

  1. Get the graph (in excel) on the screen
  2. Hit the Print Screen button
  3. Open the paint program (in accessories)
  4. select edit:paste
  5. Crop if needed
  6. save file as .jpg
  7. upload to flickr
  8. copy past the image url into your post

I want to see the chart :-)
I think he means heads-up his ass.
Just a heads-up that Pemex will be reporting that it has exceeded 4-mbd produciton at the end of Q1.
Interesting prediction, and it will be educational for all of us to revisit your statement next year when the figures are available.

In December 2005 Pemex said that it expected fields such as Ku-Maloob-Zaap, Offshore Light Crude, Bermúdez Complex, Jujo-Tecominoacán, and others will make up for the Cantarell production decrease. However, as it's turned out there's a 250,000 mbd shortfall in the decline offset, so those fields are going to have to ramp up pretty sharply in the next four months.

ASPO NL (Koppellar) has the 2007 incremental increase from these offsetting fields as 225,000 mbd, which is pretty much the amount that Pemex is expecting Cantarell to decline next year. So, for Pemex to add some 450,000 mbd production in just 121 days will be quite some feat.

We shall see.

Oops. I meant bd not mbd on those last numbers. I think even Freddy's eyebrows would be raised if Pemex increased production by 450 billion barrels per day.
Welcome FTX.  Almost every month since oil was at 82-mbd Ronny says my predictions and statements are made up or fantasy.  Like most in the usa, he is EIA-centric and he ignores more recent global stats on oil and nat'l gas by the better sources.  And thus every next month he sulks and claims my new one is gonna be wrong.  I will let my record speak for itself.  We supply monthly data, new supply records and forecasts to visitors from 88 countries.

I just consider baseless boasts of decline and cynicism by TOD blowhards as white noise that we must weather to get to the good posts.  TOD has several shining light researchers that i enjoy but unfortunatley most of the posts are by agenda driven neophtyes that don't understand overall trends, their markers and critical mass.  

Drunk again?
This is really totally off subject, I guess, but since most everywhere here is damn smart, I figured someone would know the answer.

Does Exxon Mobil have a proprietary trading operation?  Do they have a floor full of traders doing nothing but trading (speculating) futures contracts or physical product with the house money?  Or is that sort of thing limited to Shell, Chevron, BP, Valero, Koch, Conoco, etc.?

Do you have evidence that Shell, Chevron, BP, Valero, Koch, Conoco and others actually have floor traders on the floor? Wouldn't that be a little like IBM having floor traders on the floor of the NYSE. I know for a fact that this is not allowed. There are specialists that specialize in IBM and a few other stocks. But they are employees of the owners of the seat that they represent. And that is never a publicly traded company. In many cases the trader himself/herself owns the seat. Brokerage companies, of course, own seats on the exchange but they are never allowed to be specialist in their own stock. They are allowed to trade their own stock but that trade must be handled by the specialist in that stock. In other words, the floor trader places the order through the specialist and the specialist executes the order.

I simply cannot imagine Shell being allowed to hold a seat, and trade on the floor of the NYMEX. I know they often hedge and deal in depravities but I was not aware that they were actually allowed to hold a seat on the exchange.

But if you have a reference, a URL or evidence that they actually hold their own seats on the exchange, then by all means post it. If you can do that then I have learned some astonishing news today.

Ron Patterson

Jacques Rousseau of Friedman Billings Ramsey has a piece in Barron's Online today (subscription required), "The Crux of the Problem for Crude Oil," in the Investors' Soapbox section. Excerpts:

AFTER INCREASING FOR FIVE consecutive years, we expect crude-oil prices to decline in 2007, and again in 2008, due to market expectations for demand growth being too high, in our view, while forecasts for supply increases appear to be too low due to the exclusion of the significant rise in bio-fuels production that we foresee.

Although we expect global-refining capacity to remain a bottleneck until 2009-2010, rising Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) spare production capacity should help reduce the "risk premium" on crude-oil prices, which has averaged $10 to $15 per barrel in 2006, in our view.

As a result, we are lowering our crude-oil price forecast (West Texas Intermediate, or WTI) for 2007 (from $65 per barrel to $60 per barrel) and 2008-2010 (from $60 per barrel to $55 per barrel), and reducing our refining margin forecasts for next year by 10%, on average.

Global crude-oil demand growth could disappoint in 2007. Despite forecasts for a decline in global Gross Domestic Product growth, many industry groups are expecting a sizeable increase in world-wide crude-oil demand growth from 2006 to 2007. Additionally, global economic growth forecasts for next year could be reduced. Given this economic uncertainty, we are forecasting a lower year-over-year increase in global demand of 1.4% in 2007, and then expect annual consumption growth near the long-term average of 1.5% over the 2008-2011 timeframe.

Bio-fuels production growth should become a major story in energy in 2007-2008. We expect average U.S. ethanol production to increase by 125,000 barrels per day (1.9 billion gallons) in 2007 and 300,000 barrels per day (4.6 billion gallons) in 2008, while the rest of the world adds another 175,000 barrels per day and 100,000 barrels per day of ethanol and bio-diesel supply in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Bio-fuels should be the reason that incremental non-OPEC supply exceeds demand in 2007-2008, resulting in downward pressure on crude-oil prices, in our view.

OPEC spare production capacity could double in 2007 versus 2006. The result of the rising non-OPEC crude-oil and bio-fuels supply is that OPEC will need to reduce its production. OPEC's effective spare production capacity should double from about two million barrels per day to four million barrels per day, on average in 2007. The growing spare production capacity should help ease concerns about whether or not the global energy market could offset a major supply disruption, reducing the "risk premium" on crude-oil prices, in our view.


I post this not because I agree with it, but in the interest of showing an example of what a mainstream financial analyst might be thinking, at present. Lots of hope being placed in bio fuels, it seems to me.

My apologies, if this has already appeared elsewhere in the thread.

If I am doing the math correctly, Rousseau is predicting that a total of 700,000 bpd of new biofuels production will come on line in 2007 and 2008.  Leaving aside the whole EROEI aspect, let's look at the underlying decline rate in crude + condensate + NGL production from existing wellbores, which ExxonMobil puts at 4% to 6% per year--let's use 5%.  

In round numbers we need 8 mbpd of new oil production from new wells, workovers, recompletions, etc., over the next two years just to offset declining production in existing wellbores.

But let's just look at Saudi Arabia, which is currently showing the same post-peak decline rate as Texas.  Assuming that it continues, a safe assumption IMO, the projected 700,000 bpd in new biofuels production would just go go offset the decline in Saudi production.  Then, let's consider the fact that we would be replacing high EROEI fossil fuels with low EROEI biofuels.

IMO, the underlying message of this article is to go ahead and buy the SUV to drive to and from the large suburban mortgage.

Another possibility is that buyers such as Zimbabwe will exhaust their reserves and drop out of the oil market, freeing several hundred thousand bbl/day of production.

Nobody said demand destruction would be pretty.

How ironic that the saudi "blackmail" offer (Raymond J. Learsy: Saudi Realpolitik: Political Blackmail, Oil Price Extortion) aligns with what GW Bush has been saying about our need to control the oil in Iraq:

It would be a disaster for governments that have got energy resources to be in the hands of these extremists. They would use energy to extract blackmail from the United States. And when you couple all that with a regime that doesn't like the United States having a nuclear weapon, you can imagine a world of turmoil. And we're not going to let it happen. - GWB 12/13/06
tom skilling , weatherman for the chitown tribune, has a sidebar showing that el nino' is weakening   earlier he showed a long term forecast with the jet stream bringing an arctic blast to midamerica the last week of december .........      given the recent sunspot activity .......    could the old farmer's almanac have it right (colder than normal)and noaa(normal temperatures) wrong ?
Is this global warming?

In Pensacola, Florida today, we set an all time record high, 79 degrees F. The old record for this day was in 1998, 77 degrees F.

Anyone else have record highs?

Ron Patterson

One of the things I find interesting is that we are apparently having to meet world demand for petroleum by drawing down inventories, during what is (so far) a very mild Northern Hemisphere winter.  
In my area the big steel ships (Hummbers, Landcruisers, Lexus GX470, Tahoe, Expedition) are out and out in force. Some were parked post Katrina.

Seems like a slightly higher (unl > $2.5/gallon) is required to enforce some conservation.

Moreover, there appears to be a significant drop-off in transport truck freight tonnage.  Assuming reports of this trend are accurate, it will be sometime before we know how that translates into fuel consumption.  Rail is gaining business.
according to the Washington Post, Washington DC broke its all-time record by 7:
Records fell across the Washington region yesterday on an unusually warm December day that pushed the mercury to 76 degrees at Dulles International Airport, torching the previous high of 69 set in 1984. It reached 74 degrees at Reagan National Airport and 72 degrees at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, also records.
Darwin: Lucky you. Here in Toronto, we have not had an actual snowfall yet (there was one very light dusting). There has never been a December like this one. My natural gas consumption is down 35% from last Dec.
At last we had snow in European Russia two days ago, a great boost for the spirits. People were growing desperate without it. A new cyclone and burst of warmth on the way.

Hey has anyone seen this?  If you own your own home they will rent you solar panels for 25 years.  Your rate stays the same so you lock in todays prices and use green energy.  In a few years they make their money back. Win win

Thanks. This was discussed Nov. 15 and 16; if I had one more minute, I'd figure out how to provide the link. (serious. not sarcasm.)
OK, folks...wanted to point out some scary frickin' articles over at Energy Bulletin.  All are US dollar related and quite interesting.  They are making a big thing about Iran's move away from USD transactions.  Wonder if this has anything to do with us heading more warships to the Persian Gulf and call up of more troops, especially in southern Iraq and Kuwait.  

Just a big coincidence that we had all the scare from Thailand today as well?  What the h*ll is going on here?

Good reading all around....

Dollar hegemony - Dec 19


The end of Dollar supremacy
Al Jazeera Magazine
The Iranian government has finally developed a new weapon that can destroy the financial system underpinning the American Empire. The U.S. dollar dominance is coming to an end.

A hundred years ago the U.S. currency's dominance was refered to as "dollar diplomacy". After the end of the Second World War, and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, that policy evolved into "dollar hegemony."

But after all these many years of great success, this "diplomacy" or "hegemony" seems to be coming to an end soon.
(19 Dec 2006)

Why China Is Rising And The U.S. Is Declining
Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute via New West Bozemam
I know Santa Claus is Chinese because each Christmas morning after all the gifts are unwrapped and things settle down I systematically go through the presents to see where they are made. The results are almost always the same: roughly 70 percent are from China. After some research, it seems that my one-family survey is representative of the country as a whole.

...Underneath the American Christmas spirit and good cheer is a debt-laden society that appears to have lost its way, marred in the quicksand of consumerism. As a society, we seem to have forgotten how to save so we can invest in a better future. Instead of leaving our children a promising economic future, we are bequeathing them the largest debt burden of any generation in history.

...If China's leaders ever become convinced that the dollar is headed continuously downward and they decide to dump their dollar holdings, the dollar could collapse.
(16 Dec 2006)

Venezuela, Oil Producers Buy Euro as Dollar, Oil Fall
Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez is directing a growing share of the country's oil profits into euros as the dollar and crude prices fall.

The dollar, down 9.5 percent against the euro this year, may face more pressure in 2007 because Venezuela and oil producers from the United Arab Emirates to Indonesia plan to funnel more money into the single European currency.

``The U.S. dollar has suffered a long process of deterioration,'' Domingo Maza Zavala, one of seven board members at the central bank of Venezuela, said in a Dec. 14 interview. ``The diversification strategy started this year.''

...Bank Indonesia is boosting euro holdings, said Senior Deputy Governor Miranda S Goeltom in a Dec. 13 interview in Jakarta.

...OPEC members and Russia increased the percentage of their foreign-exchange deposits held in euros to 22 percent in the second quarter from 20 percent, the BIS said.
(19 Dec 2006)

Dollar dropped in Iran asset move
BBC News
Iran is to shift its foreign currency reserves from dollars to euros and use the euro for oil deals in response to US-led pressure on its economy.

In a widely expected move, Tehran said it would use the euro for all future commercial transactions overseas.

Analysts said Tehran had been steadily shifting its foreign-held assets out of dollars since 2003 and that Monday's announcement was unlikely to affect the value of the dollar, which has weakened significantly in recent months.
(18 Dec 2006)

Chief banker says Iran to use all currencies in int'l exchanges
Iran's top banker said on Monday that Iran will use all currencies, and not just the euro, in its international transactions.

"We are going to use many currencies, and not just the euro, in our system of payments in line with national interests," said Governor of Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Ebrahim Sheibani in the seminar of `A Survey of Islamic Banking Challenges'.

Sheibani said that some foreign banks too have called on Iran to use the euro as well as other currencies in the country's
(18 Dec 2006)

Dollars, Debt and the Trade Gap, Thoughts on the Dropping Dollar
Menzie Chinn, Wall Street Journal
...China clearly doesn't have an interest in seeing the dollar decline quickly. So I'm certain that -- in part -- explains why the PBOC is tightly managing the yuan's appreciation against the dollar. But even if PBOC and other holders of large dollar reserves don't want the dollar to depreciate rapidly, they also don't want to be the last one out the door. That's why I view the current equilibrium as balanced on a knife's edge. Any decline in the dollar might be enough to prompt some central banks to try to diversify their holdings. The big question will be how China will respond once the dollar decline takes off.

So, while I used to worry a lot about China, now I worry a lot about China and the oil exporting countries. As Brad Setser points out, the oil exporters of the Persian Gulf maintain a much more rigid peg against the dollar than does China. The pace of reserve accumulation is certainly of a comparable magnitude, and when one adds in Russia, the oil exporters probably weigh more heavily in this dimension.
(19 Dec 2006)

Debut of the 'Amero'
Judi McLeod, Canada Free Press
The People's Republic of China, long lauded by America's enemies as the world's next economic power, will be the country that will force the creation of the `North American Union' (NAU).

Kofi Annan's former pointman, Canadian Maurice Strong, has been boasting from Chinese soil that China soon would be replacing America as economic king, using the jingo that's the official language at Turtle Bay.

The billions of dollars China has invested in the flagging American economy will be worthless. They will have to negotiate the exchange rate to the new amero. This will then force the creation of the North American Union.

... "People in the U.S. are going to be hit hard," says Bob Chapman publisher of The International Forecaster newsletter. "In the severe recession we are entering now, Bush will argue that we have to form a North American Union to compete with the Euro."

"Creating the amero," Chapman explained, "will be presented to the American public as the administration's solution for dollar recovery. In the process of creating the amero, the Bush administration just abandons the dollar."
(14 Dec 2006)
Canada Free Press, while claiming to be independent, promotes some somewhat dubious institutes and thinktanks such as once-Philip Morris front group junkscience.com. This article quotes Jerome Corsi who is also a peak oil denier. So take this with a grain of salt.

Tangental thought: Apparently the phrase 'take with a grain of salt' meaning 'take with skepticism' comes from the use of salt in the past in preventative medicine, when it was believed to help counter minor poisons. In the recent James Bond film our severly poisoned hero swallows a whole shaker full of salt in order to induce vomitting. There may or may not be some merit in this article, so choose your own salt dosage...

Can you do everything wrong and end up a winner?

Essentially we have been going into debt to maximize the use of energy right before the production of oil peaks. The stupidity of the US economy has grown exponentially.  We have been investing in energy consumption. Governments, corporations, individuals are borrowing money as fast as possible. Total US debt has increased $3.5 trillion over the last year. The total value of oil produced over that time is about $1.8 trillion. We borrowed enough to buy all the world's oil twice. We have loaded the guns, handed them out to our enemies, and dared them to shoot us in the head. Any predictions on what happens next?

Oaksmoke: Stupidity might not be fair. Few have noticed that the rise in the fortunes of China and India coorelate very nicely with the rise in the fortunes of the top 1% of the American population. Win/win.
And isn't discouraging when your top banker goes to China to devalue your savings? The guy defending the dollar's value wants us to pay more to China for our clothes, shoes, and electronics.
Hello TODers,

From The Nixon Center [yes, that Nixon], honorably? headed by Henry Kissinger, comes an article finally and frankly admitting that oil is the reason we are in Iraq.  Sadly, this article should have been published years ago, but the last paragraphs are telling IMO:
The Bush Administration's chief concerns regarding the regional impact of a U.S. withdrawal in Iraq can still be traced to oil interests. If the United States were to leave Iraq now, it would in all likelihood lose influence in Iraq. Iran would become more emboldened. And with a surge in anti-Americanism, the United States could lose all its military bases in the Persian Gulf. The so-called moderate Arab countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) would fear Iran, not to mention their own citizenry, and would likely cease delivering on Washington's directives in order to make a last ditch effort to save their thrones. Why would this matter to America? Because of the region's vital oil and natural gas resources. And the West's loss of control over the Persian Gulf would become the Bush presidential legacy.

What is now the best course of action for the United States in Iraq? The people of the region are sober about U.S. motivations in the Gulf, and an honest admission of what prompted, and has sustained, the U.S. campaign could bolster U.S. credibility there. In addition, U.S. officials should recognize that an aggressive approach to pursuing oil interests could dramatically undermine those very interests.

IMO, the ME is long been fully aware of our full oil control intentions, and an honest admission would do nothing to bolster U.S. credibility there; a drug dealer is fully cognizant of an addict's addiction.

Perhaps this is just a open-coded message sent to Pres. Bush to get him to publicly and honestly admit to the US citizenry that ME fossil fuels has long been a National Security Directive, but with Peakoil nigh, an 'aggressive approach to pursuing oil interests could dramatically undermine those very interests'.

Thus, I believe Kissinger and friends are advocating a subtle, two-pronged, low key policy to promote the grass-roots growth of politically-active American detritovores that will gladly rally for the furtherance of the 3 Days of the Condor scenario:

  1. Start mildly hyping in our MSM: the fear of a production decline in our FFs; i.e.--Yergin's "It's all good till 2030".  This will result in an unsettled feeling in the populace, but console them enough to prevent them from wanting to investigate further into the root causes....

  2. But steering the populace into the continuing full-vein detritovore addiction-direction [infinite growth] as opposed to the superior long-term strategy of Detritus Powerdown conservation and Biosolar Powerup [examples: TODer WT's ELP, Heinberg's ideas, ASPO's Energy Depletion Protocols, etc].

This will help run Detritus MPP to its furthest limits, and simultaneously help constrain the growth of the essential Biosolar MPP and ecologic sustainability.  In short: 150 million rifles is the Kissinger goal versus my hoped-for 150 million wheelbarrows.

Sadly, as long ago predicted by me in my 'Porridge Principle of Metered Decline' posting: the grinding down of the ME continues-- because our short-term oriented leaders and diplomats totally misconstrue what actually needs to be accomplished in the Middle East as required by a thoughtful and carefully planned Paradigm Shift.

The 'Three Wise Men' came bearing gifts versus our three leaders of Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld, who were fully expecting to instead be showered with Iraqi flowers, but who realized too late [despite being warned], that this would never happen due to stupid strategic blunders.  Instead, countless bouquets now adorn the coffins of fallen Iraqis and US citizens alike.  It did not have to be this way.

So now, let me repeat again the first sentence of the last paragraph from the Nixon Center article by Hossein Askari: "What is now the best course of action for the United States in Iraq?"

In short, the fossil fueled lifestyle will inevitably end--what do you want to do next?

As mentioned before by me in many postings: any FF exporting country that dedicates itself to Detritus Powerdown and Biosolar Powerup will enjoy long-term advantages over those that do not adopt this cultural mindset.

The best way to free-will induce the Iraqis to gladly sell most of their FFs is to convince them that they don't need most of their FFs.

How might this be accomplished for the betterment of all concerned parties worldwide?  Simple, as any Peaknik is aware--Do unto others as ye would do unto yourself.

We would all love to live off-grid in a PV-powered Eco-Tech habitat within a social construct of relocalized permaculture.  Riding electrified RRs, mass-transit or PHEVS, then spiderwebrider railbikes to the gardens and/or farms.  Plus all the other marvelous suggestions by other TODers and the other experts across the WWWeb.

The current strategy of trying to build, then rebuild, then rebuild again, and yet again a FF-dependent infrastructure in Iraq is at cross-purposes with a proper Paradigm Shift.  The ME citizens intuitively understand that this only makes them desire to covet their remaining reserves that much more tightly: so that it can fuel that which will inevitably become useless and obsolete.  Recall the camel, car, jetplane, back to riding the camel quotation.  No wonder they feel trapped and angry!

First World mfg. efficiency & knowhow should be harnessed to provide Paradigm Shift Gifts in exchange for the remaining & declining FFs.  The Old World model of extracting resources and giving nothing of true, lasting value back in return will not work as we go postPeak.

From the CIA FactBook: Iraqi pop. = 26.8 million, with a median age of 19.7 years, in a land area equal to about two Idahos.   For comparison, California has approx. 33.8 million people.  Would 49 other states be willing to help CA rapidly Paradigm Shift so that the CA totally organic agricultural goods can be enjoyed by all as they start their own successive transitions?--I think so.  Furthermore, would the First World importers be willing to trade solar panels and other Transition Goods to Iraq in exchange for their FFs?--I think so again.  Thus, the FF exporters would be quite willing to sell their oil & natgas because they don't need it!

Thus, I would argue that a full-bore Peakoil Outreach in Iraq, that is full of young people with hopes and dreams, would be wildly yearning to remake their country with a Paradigm Shift.  It is futile to try and restore their existing decrepit and bombed out old-style infrastructure--let's help them Paradigm Shift!

Let's pick an Iraqi town and shower it with Paradigm Gifts of Eco-Tech PV housing, clean water and humanure sewer pipes with webrailbikes and railPHEVs, heirloom seeds, composting pits, lots of wheelbarrows, bicycles with baskets, solar water heaters, and other lasting value assets--I bet they will take it from there and ask us to help them get it up and running nationwide versus shooting at us.

I hope Putin, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Calderon, and the Saudi Princes try to understand what I am getting at in this posting [repeated again]: any FF exporting country that dedicates itself to Detritus Powerdown and Biosolar Powerup will enjoy long-term advantages over those that do not adopt this cultural mindset.

I hope that Bush will consider my proposals too.  Does this posting help answer the question posed by the above author, Hossein Askari: "What is now the best course of action for the United States in Iraq?"

If so, and KSA would agree, then they would have no reason to try and blackmail us to keep us from withdrawing from Iraq.  Isn't the best way to avert the 'Tragedy of the FF Commons' is by simply converting as many Detritovores as possible into Biosolars?

I don't want to be a fast-crash doomer--I prefer the hopeful alternatives--but the topdogs have got to listen and think before it is too late.  Time will tell.

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