Sunday's Dilbert (or, talk about surreal...)

Check out the Dilbert cartoon today.  I was reading it over breakfast and had this really strange surreal feeling...  (link)
just another place trying to tell you that conservation doesn't work, will never work, so why don't you grow up and go out and buy a hummer like everyone else...
yeah, I agree to a certain extent...but at least they're discussing the topic, and using crazy-assed words like "fungible."  I guess what I am saying is that, well, at least the oil discussion/terms are getting into the discourse...
True, but what was communicated was profoundly depressing. It doesn't matter who buys the oil, the Islamofascists are always  funded. One might then argue that controlling the oil with the military is the only solution. Arrgh!!!
The Christofascists seem pretty well funded too.  The reality is that the "Islamofascists" will be funded as long as they have enough support from their general populations, and that support is a direct result of our policies.  They don't hate us becasue we're free, they hate us because we've been such bastards.  If we did things to make the lives of the ordinary, non-fascist people in those countries tangibly better, the support for the radicals would dry up.  We would be at least safer than we are now.  And we could buy the oil, although most likey at a higher price.  We must learn to think past the idea that the military must be part of every solution.
At least some of them also seem to hate us because we sometimes make fun of their prophet and that subset seems to seriously lack a sense of humor.
Stuart, we didn't make fun of their prophet, a Danish mewspaper did. Most Americans would have an easier time finding Doha on a map than Denmark. Yesterday's attacks by protesters on the American embassy in Indonesia is particularly alarming. It is more evidence that they hate us no matter what.
They see as much difference between <fill in your country> and Denmark as you see between Sudan, Somalia and Chad. Things getting gray yet?
Informational packets prepared and distributed (with "bonus" cartoons not actually printed), shipments of Danish flags for burning.  It's not hard to set angry people off.  I don't make any claims about who orchestrated this stuff, there seem to those on both sides who benefit.  Mostly I see an overwhelming anger and hatred boiling over - it probably wouldn't matter what the provocation was.  The REAL underlying provocations have been manifold.  Now we can all stand back and say - "those crazy Muslims, look at them rioting over a cartoon".  I think that seriously misses the point.
Twilight, you're on to it. This latest trouble has MISUNDERSTANDING written all over it. But not just the misunderstanding about this one incident. Its about 50 years of it. Same is happening in Nigeria now, as it has in Colombia, and Venezuela and Cuba. It just goes on and on. The US government (and the west in general) sees unjustified attacks on the oil companies and the average punter sees his gas bill go up. Nobody here (in the west) understands the desperation that is behind this. I've been shot at in Colombia while working at a pump station. We had a helicopter shot down and I ate crap for a week until they would fly back to the pump station and bring supplies. Some of my collegues were kidnapped, another contracting company employee was killed. I don't like what's going on, but I DO see their reasoning. It's not so hard to understand. When you've got nothing to live for, yes total desperation, why not. I'd have to say, if you (not you specifically) had the same vision of your future as these guys have of theirs, you'd be running guns to them (at least blankets to Pakistan earthqake areas), if not fighting side by side with them, rather than worrying about what you're going to do in 5 years when the oil runs out or something. You'd be thinking, "Hell! I ain't going to live 2 more days anyway. Give me the gun.", If I can be so bold to say so. Please, I'm not saying IMO they are justified or not. I'm just saying that I "get it".
A couple of underlying numbers: both per capita food production and per capita oil production peaked over 20 years ago. It's not you and me that have gone hungrier or consumed less energy.

I do see their reasoning in that they find themselves having to struggle more to survive yet see others growing fat and consuming with abandon. It doesn't smell right to them, nor does it to me.

They crystallise that onto religion. OK, I have a problem with that, I think it bloody silly, but maybe that's my downer on monotheisms - they seem to lend themselves to such silliness.

Maybe this perceived disrespect for Islam is a proxy for our more fundamental disrespect for them as humans.

When humanity has the possibility and perhaps necessity to coalesce into a powerful wholeness, what I see is the accelerating opposite.

Rose is best known for commissioning the drawings of Muhammad in the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoon crisis on 30 September 2005. He later said that he did so because he felt he had seen too many examples of self-censorship because of possible threats from Muslims.

When asked: "But you depicted Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, armed with a knife and with a broken halo that resembled satanic horns."

Flemming replied: The cartoon with horns didn't arouse special criticism; it was the other two. The one with the bomb in his turban doesn't say, "All Muslims are terrorists," but says, "Some people have taken Islam hostage to permit terrorist and extremist acts." These cartoons do not treat Muslims in any other way than we treat other citizens in this country. By treating them as equals, we are saying, "You are equal."


Holocaust Cartoons
On 8 February 2006, Flemming Rose said in interviews with CNN and TV 2 that Jyllands-Posten planned to reprint satirical cartoons depicting the Holocaust that the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri planned to publish. He told CNN "My newspaper is trying to establish a contact with that Iranian newspaper Hamshahri, and we would run the cartoons the same day as they publish them". Later that day the paper's editor-in-chief said that Jyllands-posten under no circumstances would publish the Holocaust cartoons. [1] and Flemming Rose later said that "he had made a mistake".[2] [3]. The next day Carsten Juste, the editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten, stated that Flemming Rose was on indefinite leave.[4]

Flemming Rose, cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, who has "has clear ties to the Zionist Neo-Cons." Rose "traveled to Philadelphia in October 2004 to visit Daniel Pipes, the Neo-Con ideologue who says the only path to Middle East peace will come through a total Israeli military victory.

Secondly, let us examine the venue - a newspaper that today describes itself as "liberal" in the classical sense, but yesterday openly supported fascism - and particularly the man most responsible for starting this ruckus: Flemming Rose, the "cultural editor" of Jyllands-Posten, who commissioned the cartoons and now is at the center of a rapidly-escalating controversy.

The Iranians have come up with a novel answer to Rose and his fellow provocateurs: they have announced a contest for cartoonists to make light of the Holocaust.

"'It will be an international cartoon contest about the Holocaust,' said Farid Mortazavi, the graphics editor for Hamshahri newspaper - which is published by Teheran's conservative municipality. He said the plan was to turn the tables on the assertion that newspapers can print offensive material in the name of freedom of expression. 'The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let's see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons,' he said."

Of course, the publication of such cartoons would be illegal in most states of the European Union, as well as Canada, and the publishers, as well as the artists, would probably be thrown in jail and forced to issue a groveling apology. Rose is supposedly against any religion demanding "special treatment," but apparently there is at least one exception.

All crap stupid justifications for stupid actions. The original came out for revenge against precieved or real threats. What has tit for tat revenge ever done to help a situation?. This is just a blood fued. If the west truely was of superior intelligence and tolerane, rather than just trying to sell newspapers, I'm sure they could find some other way to "treat them equally". Now its all about freedom of the press. What crap! No newspaper can publish pictures of underage pornstars, so where's our freedom of the press? Its all a matter of judgement, isn't it? No doubt there are other reasons that are manifesting themselves in these riots, for which I would urge the newspapers to investigate and publisize and offer concrete solutions to their respective governments for correcting all of them that they can, instead of continuing to try to keep the fire going just to sell more toilet paper for fuel.
Well said Gets It.

The hypocrisy is just too transparent:

Thanks. Here's another example. David Irving gets jail time in Austria for simply denying the Holocaust ever happened. First, please let me say, this is NOT MHO. I believe it did happen and I have all symphathy for Jews everywhere as well as Palestinians. Somebody tell me the logic behind agreeing that depicting the Islamic Prophet Mohamad in "poor taste" is freedom of the press, when this man can't print, say, or believe that the holocaust never existed? Likewise, I don't personally that freedom of speech allows Muslim radicals to call for beheading the cartoonists for doing such a thing either, but I do understand why they are upset. 30 Jan VIENNA, Austria -- Right-wing British historian David Irving, who has been jailed in Austria pending trial next month on charges of denying the Holocaust occurred, has been writing his memoirs and receiving fan mail, his lawyer said Friday. I'm not saying this shouldn't be a sensitive issue, but I do object to the inconsistancy between how the west treats these things and others in relation to Islam, and I am aware of how the Islamic world sees this example and comes to the conclusions that they do. Wise up guys. If the west was half as worried about being "politically correct" with the rest of the worlds occupants as they are about being politically correct with Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, Jews and Women, the Muslims wouldn't be able to find too terribly much to bicker about .... other than an illegal WAR! Answers are not to be found in printing rubbish to sell newspapers and calling it freedom of the press or freedom of speech. Turn your cheek and get on with starting to understand your neighbours. If you make the attempt, they will respond. Military action, flaming the Prophet, JC or your sister and the rest of your family tree and yelling freedom allows us to do that doesn't help anyone understand the situation, nor help anybody who does not have freedom understand why they should want it. Cheez! Is it so complex?
Gets IT

I share your sentiments not Irvings.

My reason for posting the link was to show that the "Freedom of the Press" is routinely censored either by law or voluntarily; for reasons of decorum, politics, historic legacy or even domestic tranquility.

To say this cartoon episode is an exercise in freedom is nonsense. It's at least profiteering and possibly incitement. On all sides!

Would any main stream publication in America reprint scurilous cartoons -- printed in Denmark -- of say, Martin Luther King and purport to be acting in solidarity with press freedoms?

No worries. I got it. I'm just offering the rest of the folks another <this time extreme> example to over-emphisize how unfair treatment is and on how sensitive the west manages to be towards Jewish concerns when totally ignoring those of Islam, or IMHO even worse, as treating Islamic indignity as complete nonsense and totally of no reasonable concern or possibe consequence as they ask where their sense of humor is. They do nothing when an insult is hurled towards Islam, but arrest this guy and give him 3 years for simplying denying the Holocaust existed. I'm constantly amazed at the inconsistancies of western law and the ease of convenience in how it can be perverted, twisted and turned and applied so unequally. Where is integrity? Certainly not in western law.
Fallacy of questionable analogy. Irving was trying Orwellian changing of history. The cartoon printed in Denmark had a legitimate satirical purpose in pointing out the GREAT TRUTH that terrorisim is an utter and complete and 100% perversion of Islam.
This whole thing has to be seen in a much broader context. For a very long time now (since at least the 70s, perhaps longer) both Arabs and Islam have been fair game for remarks and humor that would not be tolerated against ANY other ethnic group, at least in the mainstream press. Demonization has been in progress for some time now. It's funded and it's conscious and it serves definite geopolitical purposes.

Back in the 30s it was another branch of the semitic family and another religion that was demonized. It too was demonized to a purpose, it was too was funded. It's so easy to see something after it has happened, so hard to see it while it is happening. But what is happening right now is a replay, mutatis mutandis.

Back in those days it was easy to find some unsavory financier or slumlord or whatever who happened to be Jewish and put the spotlight on that. Now it's easy to put the spotlight on extreme reactions to provocations to make a whole group seem humorless or worse.

It's completely wrong to fall for this created division. We are heading ever deeper into an endless war that has absolutely nothing to do with a war of civilizations, nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with anything but oil/gas, money, and hegemony. These incitements, these provocations are an absolutely integral part of the military and diplomatic campaigns that are unfolding in front of our very eyes. To think otherwise is very naive.

Tens, if not hundreds, of books have been written about the Holocaust, the anti-semitism that preceded it, and so forth. I've read many during my life, many on Hitler Germany. But I never really understood until now. It takes a great of money and effort to get people to hate other people, people they have no or little knowledge of, but who are no different from themselves, who just want to live, eat, reproduce, make jokes, etc.

The end result is that we are hardened to the fate of those who are bombed, detained, tortured, and killed. The end result is that we say, better them than me. The end result is we find outselves in the predicament Pastor Niemoller found himself in.

Stuart, they have a sense of humor.  They simply don't see anything humerous about insulting their prophet.  If you lived and worked next to them for 15 years, you would have a better understanding of how much religion means to them.  Western religions have lost the profound influence they once had on our lives.  If you could travel back in time 5 or 600 years, then you might have some idea.  For example, do you know the term "hot cross bun", the little bread things you might eat once every 8 years or so for breakfast.  Its not just a little nice design the bakers put on the bun, its "The" sign of the cross, and at one time it was put there to remind people where it came from every time they ate, but today, I'm the only one who knows that.  My grandmother would go to church every day.  I would go once a week and got tired of that a very very long time ago. In Saudi Arabia, they close the shops 5 times each days and EVERYBODY goes to the mosques, 5 times a day for 20 minutes to 40 minutes each time.  When you can't go to the mosque, no problem, there's a prayer room on every floor of the office buildings.  We had a company mosque.  When you can't fit in a mosque, they put prayer shelters on the Saudi Aramco refinery plot plan drawings.  All plot plan drawings have both NORTH arrows AND MEKKAH arrows!  Even if you're not thinking about religion, when you're hungry or want a smoke, or a drink of water and the store's closed... kinda made me crazy, thinking about it.  You cannot pass 5 blocks without seeing a different mosque, how many miles can you go without seeing a church?  There is no escape, nor does anyone want to escape.  There's just no comparison.

It is not only their religion that was insulted.  You see in those countries, the "Islamic" Republics, there is no distinction between religion and state, nor is there any distinction between your personal life and religion.  Its all in one and one and the same and all things together.  It cannot be separated.  You insult one and you insult them all.  Solidly and wholely melded together.  There is no distinction between what the law says and what the Koran say.  There is no difference between what you think and what the Koran says, and they don't understand you no matter how many times you tell them.  Its one, the same and all things together.  You can't even speak of the concept of having anything different.  

The number of times you hear something in language as it is spoken every day, is a direct indicator of the function that the idea of the word represents to the culture.  How many times do Muslims say, "God willing"?  or "if God wants", or "thanks to God".  I'd give you a WAG of about 30-40 times each day.  They say that every time, yes EVERY time they refer to an event that may happen in the future, or any possible event that they do not have direct control over.  When they say, "it might rain today" it is followed by "God Willing".  Anything.  To me even saying it that many times is amazing, never mind actually believing it.  How many times did you hear that phrase today in your office?  And IMHO, when a Muslim tells you, or says this, he means exactly what it/he implies and he/she believes it.  Really, I can't possibly tell you how different the concept and influence god has between them and "us".  Now, I still don't understand the concept of jihad, and suicide bombing that goes with it, and a number of other things, so I'm not saying its all so fantastic... but I will say, we in the west don't "Get IT".  When I say, "I'm going to cross the street", I don't say "God willing" at the end of it.  And when I think you will read this, I don't say "God willing" either.  If somebody drew the same cartoon with Jesus Christ, well I'd use my sense of humor, as would 850 million other people.  He just doesn't have any influence on me anymore.  Do you understand what I'm "getting at"?  Well, I guess its just different.  Get to know a moderate but devoute Muslim.  If they live in the west, they're moderate, no matter what they say or think. You'll notice something different about them.  Maybe you'll like whatever that difference is and you'll begin to understand a little more about Muslims and their religion.  I don't mean to sound so NUTS by writing such a long response to such a short comment, but for some reason, I couldn't help myself.  A sense of humor just has no relavence in this case.  Should I post or not????... maybe... yes.

Seems like devote muslims would have some problems understanding agnostics minded people who simply do not have the religious component in their lives.  

If such people then are willing to argue and fight for keeping that stupid religious nonsens out of their lives it could get tense.  But its worth it, freedom of religion is very important and most important of all is to be able to choose to be free from religion.

IMHO I agree and believe what you say is true; they do have difficulty understanding agnostics. I will also venture to say the same is true for a lot of Christians and Hindus I have known.
LOLROF (laughing out loud and rolling on the floor) - You want a picture of what the Muslims are all about take a closer look at Israel - in the last month the Muslims have been using a rallying cry using cartoons - just an excuse to flex their power - they HATE all non-mulsims, plain and simple - the only thing the Jews and Christian have done is being NON-MUSLIM .... this is a religious war, like it or not ... whether one believes it or not makes no differences - Jihad, is the word of the day around the world in Muslim communities - and the US and Russia are playing a game that they are going to lose because of the manner in which they are playing ... IMHO, China is taking a real live tiger by the tail by dealing with Iran ... They hate China as much as the west - because they too are not Muslims ... The bull crap about we did this or that to them and there fore they hate us and its our fault is being blind to the facts ... If the US withdrew every troop out of the middle east tomorrow it would not change the Muslims view of non-muslims - The Clintons started the mess and Bush continued it - the Strip was handed over and Hamas now want it all - nothing new - their goal - World control - period!  If they had any brains all they would have to do is stop selling us their oil - of course then they would be broke ... Remember India threw the Muslims out and gave them a country ...
"the only thing the Jews and Christian have done is being NON-MUSLIM"

"The Clintons started the mess"

I cannot even begin to fathom such historically ignorant statements.  The present situation is the result of hundreds of years of history, but the animosities we see today stem mostly from Western actions of the 20th century.  

Yeah, Bill never should have talked the British into invading Iraq in the early 1900's, and if he had only refrained from supporting the establishment of Israel, the sabotaging of the elected Iranian government, not had the CIA pay that punk Saddam to assassinate the Iraqi leadership, not meddle with the Iraq/Iran war, etc.  Seriously, how can you post such nonsense on a public forum?

Yes, it will be hard to put the genie back in the bottle.  So what the hell, they hate us now, lets just kill `em all.  

Um, . . . more than a few people, both in Russia and the U.S., quite seriously would like to kill all Muslims. I am not joking.
Nah, surely it's the Jews, LOL, or have I timeslipped?
;) :-((
Twilight, you are the one who doesn't get it.  Islam has been intolerant of other religions from the day it came into existence.  Within 300 years of Mohammed's death the Arab Muslims had created an empire stretching all the way from N.African and Arabia to Afghanistan.  They essentially exterminated non-Islamic religions and non-Arabic cultures in much of the regions they conquered.  In Iran they extinguished Zorastrianism, in Egypt they exterminated Coptic Christianity, in Afghanistan they destroyed Buddhism, in Pakistan they exterminated Hinduism and Buddhism.  Now there are vitually no non-Muslims left in these parts of the world.  The Serbs have extremely unpleasant memories of life under Ottoman rule; the Hindus of life under Mughal rule.  Islamic fanaticism predates western colonialism and imperialism.

Today there are problems wherever large Muslim minorities live: Kashmir, southern Thailand, southern Phillipines.  Can you tell me why they Thai Buddhists, Indian Hindus and Christian Philipinos?

To see the real face of Islam go to:, a website created by an Iranian ex-Muslim named Ali Sina.

So, I guess makes pesecution of Islam is right??? Look go after the terrorists, but leave Islam and Arabs and Oil out of your equation. Don't go 'round looking for oil and saying your giving people that don't have a good concept of democracy, democracy. Hell,... democracy. In the mid east practically speaking, the tribe leader has 100% of the power. They (speaking collectively, stereotypically and in IMHO) don't care what the other tribe wants or doesn't want. They (speaking collectively, stereotypically and in IMHO) have no idea of what the collective good means outside of the tribal context. How is democracy for a nation going to function in that environment? Why can't the 3 groups agree on anything in Iraq? Why does not Pakistan control the entire countryside, Why does SA need such military might? In the outside world (NA and Europe), troops are not billeted to protect from foreign invasion. They are there to control the locals. But I rant again. There's just so much the west can't fathom in the real world. I've lived 30% of my life in the mid east. At least I know about what I rant. I'm not saying Islam is "the way". Neither am I saying persecuting Islamists is any more correct than the Spanish Inquisition or the Holocaust was against the Jews or the Cowboy against the Native Americans. I am saying that somebody must keep their senses and start figuring out how to solve all of this crap rather than simply keep on justifying their insatiable need for eliminating the other party. Don't read what I don't say. I have a hard enough time trying to write what I do mean. PS. Don't forget who invaded the holy land first. War was not about religion until then. It was about gaining the other tribes, lands, cultures and riches for your own tribe and was just a way of life until the 1700s. It didn't become a religious issue until Christians felt the power of Islam developing in what they considered the roots of their power base and started the War on Terror I. The Crusades was not about the Islamic republics invading London. It was about the loss of the Holy Land and the roots of the authority from which all Kings and Popes and Emperors derived their power and for which all commoners depended upon to gain their salvation for all of eternity. IMHO. To put it in modern terms, its like the Klingons taking over Earth in Star Trek. Would you tolerate that? But all that Holy Land stuff appears irrelavent now. Its just War on Terror Ver MM.06 Is anybody going to come to their senses? No need to answer. My non-blind eye can see... it aint gonna happen soon.
And I think you confuse the Ottomans with Arabs. Quite different you know. No I guess you don't.
I thought you were implying that Islamic fundamentalism is a reaction to Western colonialism.  My response was that that is not true; Islam is inherently intolerant.  There is no mechanism in Islam to adjust to the changing times or to accomodate other points of view.  The Quran clearly and unambiguosly advocates violence and oppression against non-Muslims.  The best Islam can do is accomodate other religions in a subordinate position (e.g. Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh).  At its worst, it exterminates other religions (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Middle-East and N.Africa).
So even if there was no Israel, and even if there was no history of Western colonialism, we would have religious wars anayway.  

Personally, I have no hope of ever reaching an accomodation with Muslims.  I think this problem will solve itself in 30 years when the middle-eastern nations no longer have oil to export.  Then their societies will collapse and they will destroy each other.

Personally, I have no hope of ever reaching an accomodation with Muslims.  I think this problem will solve itself in 30 years when the middle-eastern nations no longer have oil to export.  Then their societies will collapse and they will destroy each other.

Funny, I get the feeling they think the same about us.

If they truly thought that they wouldn't be so full of rage against the modern world.  It is thwarted desire that makes one angry.  Islam aims for world domination but finds itself at the bottom of the totem pole in the modern world.  That is what makes the Muslims so angry.

Anyway, the average person in the Islamic world isn't aware of peak oil.  They are too busy debating whether it is permissible for men to shave their facial hair and what kind of clothes are needed to protect woman's modesty.  And ofcourse, whenever something bad happens it is a "Zionist Conspiracy" :-)

Oh, they are well aware of peak oil.  Iran's politicians talk about in their public speeches and everything.  

Have you see that little quote that comes up in the upper right corner of this site?

"My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet-plane. His son will ride a camel."

--Saudi saying

They know about peak oil, and it just adds to their resentment.  The Islamic radicals who are trying to overthrow the House of Saud specifically talk about peak oil, and how Saudi Arabia should not sell a precious, limited resource so cheaply.  

I have doubts to your assertation that, "The Quran clearly and unambiguosly advocates violence and oppression against non-Muslims." Would you please provide the reference. I would like to see it in it's original context.
GetsIT, I thought you would never ask.  Please go to
Thanks for the reference. It doesn't change what I wrote; "I am saying that somebody must keep their senses and start figuring out how to solve all of this crap rather than simply keep on justifying their insatiable need for eliminating the other party."
No, he didn't confuse them. You are a complete idiot. There's a difference between somebody who knows history and a moron. Quite different you know. No I guess you don't.
Thank you, Hugo, for your elegant example of the ad hominem fallacy--and also for your self-identification as a moron.
Don, Hugo IMHO is not a morron.  You might not like him, but he's good for the people of Venezuela.  True, he's not so good for USA business, but that's his business and his people's business.  He knows what his people need and what they want and cares more for them than the Pipsqueek ever will for you. (IMHO)

Latin America is no different from the rest of the developing world.  Its all going to remain FUBAR until the 5% of the people that own 95% of the countries down there start redistributing their wealth.  One thing I've noted is that they are never gonna' do it voluntarily.  Its not a pretty picture if you or your business interests, or your government leaders are connected into that 5%, but anything  other than massive wealth distribution guarantees instability for eternity.  Do you know that 28 families own 96% of Mexico?  That 5 families own 88% of Colombia.  How can that be stable?  That's why Colombia has national police (read "army") guard every 5 miles along the only 2 major highways they have.  The fact is that I left Venezuela when Chavez was the rising star.  I knew he was going to go sky high, because even the Venezuelan engineers I was working with had to farm crops and build their own houses in their spare time to get by on their salaries.  And they were the very lucky ones.  No public institution other than PDVSA and MARAVEN was functioning, especially the legal system.  Anybody with a buck could buy off anybody who didn't have one, or wanted another one.  If you had to go to the hospital, you had to bring your own bandaids and get somebody to bring you your medicine and food from the outside.  Nobody had anything they needed except gasoline at 15¢/gal.  But the gasoline was better for you to drink than was most of the water.  I wanted to stay there forever, but I knew his coming to power would not further my interests there at the time, as I just finished working on a Conoco-Maraven pipeline, so I skipped, but I can't say that he's not good for 95% of the Venezuelans.  The other 5% will get used to it, or leave.  At least Venezuela has some Cuban doctors and sports education now, and I'll bet they have a few bandaids now too. I hear he's working on land reformation and I hope that works.  I think he's even trying to do it fairly, starting negotiating with some English Lord of all people that owns 300,000 HA (yes HA) or so and doesn't even live there.  And I think gasoline is still about 20¢/gal or so, but not sure about that.  But the people need cheap gas there.  We can afford to finance it.  They can't get fair credit.  The word is that its getting better now such that even some ex-Maraven guy I worked with in Saudi thought it was time for him to go back.  I'm still thinking about it now too (as ever).  Spain is great, but South America... Puerto La Cruz and Barcelona are one of the nicest places you can find on this planet.  Buy a ticket and check it out.  

Go to Puerto la Cruz,
out to the Angel Falls
Canaima National Park

I promise you that somewhere in the back of your head you'll think at least once before going back to Minnesota.  You will definitely give up French women.

Now please excuse me.

<Sr. Presidente. Siga luchando por su gente! Hay muy pocos como ustd en esta mundo.>

Some have done their homework. Some have not.
Put forth your argument, Sailorman. Did he[suyog] confuse the Arabs and the Ottomans? Or did he not?

This is a challenge. I maintain suyog was correct. Neither you nor Gets IT has replied regarding the issue at hand. Maybe it wasn't so important regarding the original point, but it is important now, for it regards one's grasp of reality.

As far as I know, (my version of history) the Arabs have always been loose nomadic traders and raiders that have banded together or disbanded when convenience suited them.  Anyone that traveled unprotected was fair game.  All maintained fiercly independent tribal relationships.  Several city states and loose nations came and went, but basically they were really only loyal to their immediate tribes at any given time, no matter who thought he might have been king at one time or another.  There was NO Arabic Empire.

The Ottoman Empire, from which today one finds Turkey, was founded by Central Asian invaders from the the general area of what is today is called "Turk"-ministan.  All the Arabian arabs loosly semi-organized tribes fighting mostly individual battles against the Turkish Ottoman Empire and various rival factions amongst themselves until King Saud united several tribes and married as many women as he could possibly do to bond the tribes as solidly as he could.  The Turks eventually left the area around WWI, only to be followed by our wonderful British and French friends, who promptly divided the area up into unstable districts.  We still pay for their mistakes today.  Lawerence of Arabia made his fame by actually uniting a small faction of a few of the western mideast Arab tribes for a very short time in an effore to fight "Ottoman oppression" during WWI, but we know he was just sucking in the Arabs to fight alongside the British against the German's Ottoman allies.  

Today there are still rival factions amongst the many houses of Saud.  Each tribe still retains its own power base and too much of its original independence in its traditional area of influence.  It is not easy for a Saudi from Riyadh to live in Mekkah or the Asir Province.  The Asiris don't like admitting that Sauds in Riyadh control that province to this day.  This is the reason that there are so many Arabic states that have survived in the east all the Emerites city states, Qatar, Bahrain, Kewait, and the southern regions of Iraq to this day.  The Empty Quarter made communication among the inland Arabic tribes impossible towards the southern coast.  

The situation along the Med is a little different due to the more hospitible climate where it was not so difficult for outsiders to reach and Arab tribes were forces to unite from time to time to resist invaders, but the Turkish Ottoman Empire was more or less the masters of the area for several hundred years.  Across the Sahara Desert, communication was difficult and only lose official relations between various Arabic nation states were maintained, until the Ottomans arrived, when some cohesion was reached.

Other than that, Moroccan "Berber" tribes, who IMHO are not Arabic, but are of Islam, invaded the Iberian Peninsula and held it longer than Spain and Portugal have had it 'till this day.  They were finally thrown out in 1490 (?) only 2 years before Colon went to the USA.  

TMALSS (to make a long story short.. ha. ha.) All the rest of the major battles of the area were fought by filthy diseased, cut-throat barbarian crusaders from Europe invading their long ago lost "Holy Lands".  

Later, when the Ottomans were on their takeover bid for the world campaign, they reached the gates of Vienna, before being turned back.  Turing that time there were hundreds of battles over several hundred years, but that was the Euros against the Ottomans...had nothing to do with Arabs.  

So, that's the history of the mideast interactions with late western cultures as far as I ever needed to know about it and I lived there many years just fine with that limited amount of maybe wholely wrong information.  

So if none of it is true, nothing I can do about it, or want to... so I'm dropping it.

I know the difference between Ottoman Turks and Arabs.

My point was that Muslims (whether Turks or Arabs) have a long history of exterminating or persecuting other religions that predates western colonialism and crusades.  Within the lifetime of Mohammed, non-Islamic religions were eliminated from Arabia (which includes S.A., Oman, Yemen, UAE).

So even if the crusades had not happened and even if there was no European imperialism and even if there was no state of Israel, religious conflict with Muslims was inevitable.
Do you agree or disagree?

I think a good deal of the Islamic religion was spread through trade and normal peaceful relations, just as other religions have spread.  I will venture to mention that Central and South America is today Catholic which was not a voluntary conversion.  Spainish and Portuguese conquistadors ruthless killed, tortured and murdered many thousands of natives in their misguided attempt to convert the world to Christianity.  I think if you could take the time machine and count all deaths in history, probably the most could ge ascribbed to religious ideology to one religion or another.  The Catholics and Protestants can't get along in Northern Ireland to this day.  

As for the reference you so kindly supplied, I decided that, just as I do not take every word in the Christian Bible to be a litteral command and use my reasoning abilities to make certain "adjustments" in principles required for modern day applications, so should Muslims.  I think the real danger to us all is being too "fundamental" to think for ourselves.  

Times have changed much since when Mohammad began with the Quran, the Arabian Peninsula was a vastly different world than it was just a few hundred years later and who knows how his enemies actually treated his tribe at the time?  Maybe drastic measures and biblical type commands of such severity was necessary to protect his tribe from them?    Even today in many areas of the United States, the words you hear are "Shoot first and ask questions later".  Is that really that much different than the words your reference to the Quran implies, when brought up to date to apply in modern times?  

Basically, I think too much of anything does nobody any good.  We should all learn tolerance and cooperation will get us much farther along than rabbid beliefs of one thing or another that forget all reason.  So, no I don't tend to take these things so litterally that I see it as inevitable.  We all just need to understand each other more as the world changes.  The only thing I see as inevitable is change, death and taxes, so we'd better learn to deal with all of them very soon.

And thanks for the discussion.  Enjoyed it.
Who's reality???
I am blue in the face on this already, the problem is more fundamental in a religious sense and is a function of the type / style of the religion. Hint: what have Islam, Christianity and Petrotheism got in common?
One God.
Your statement about Islam being intolerant of other religions from the day it came into existence is totally wrong. In fact your whole statement is completely wrong. Islam was very tolerant of other "book" religions (Christianity and Judaism). When the Crusades started, the Muslims were still trying to behave as decent human beings, despite the savagery of the Crusader Knights from Christendom. It took a couple of hundred years of Christian atrocities committed in the Holy Land to slowly turn the Islamic world against Christianity. The Muslim world was far in advance of the uneducated barbarian West. The Muslim leaders were much harsher in dealing with internal dissidents i.e. a Sunni leader would persecute or kill any Shia person for the smallest of reasons but leave Jews and Christians totally alone.
Essex, long before the crusades the Muslims had eliminated or were close to eliminating non-Islamic religions in Arabia (as a matter of fact Mohammed said on his death bed that no other religion should be permitted in Arabia), N.Africa, Persia and Afghanistan.  Maybe the Muslims were justified in hating Christian Europeans; please explain why they had to destroy Zorastrianism in Persia, Buddhism in Afghanistan and Christianity in Egypt.

The history of Islam is full of blood right from the start.

By golly, somebody does get it.
India didn't throw the Muslims out and give them a country.  Indian Muslims demanded a separate country which was opposed by Hindus and some Muslims.  After much bloodshed, India was partitioned and Pakistan came into being.  Today Pakistan is a rabid Islamic state with 99% Muslim majority.  Virtually all non-Muslims have been ethnically cleansed out of Pakistan.  The small number of minorities in Pakistan live a miserable and marginalized existence.

India is a secular democracy with a large (second largest in the world after Indonesia) and growing Muslim minority.  The president of India (a figurehead) is a Muslim; its Prime Minister is a Sikh.  The leader of the ruling Congress party is a Christian of Italian origin.

Well, I certainly know what fungible means and I can't for the life of me understand what Adams is trying to convey here. This may be one of the most cynical statements I've ever seen. Some basic things first.
  • Oil, if available, is sold to anybody who has the money and desire to buy it at the current price. This is called demand.
  • Efficiency is useless (Jevon's Paradox)? If we use less, somebody else will use more? I guess so in some cases but Dilbert wants to do the right thing. Powering down is the only ultimate solution. The problem is convincing everybody everywhere of this fundamental truth. Oil & gas are scarce resources looking into the future. Powering down means decreasing consumption.
  • Oil is fungible, meaning one barrel from here is as good as (interchangeable with) another barrel from there. Even this is not strictly true. Heavy sour oil or potential oil from kerogen in marl rock or unprocessed tar sands are not interchangeable with light sweet crude (depends on the SPE API).
So, noting these fundamentals, nobody believes that buying a Prius to decrease consumption and increase efficiency deters financing of international terrorism regardless of oil's fungibility and the demand for it. It is despicable for Adams to set up a straw man and then have Dogbert knock it down. This straw man has nothing to do with efficiency, Jevon's paradox, demand or fungibility--all these concepts seem to be embedded in there somewhere. So when I read this cartoon, I just stared at it thinking what could this man possibly be thinking? And when I saw the intelligent design link down below, that just about sealed it for me.
Well put, Dave.

Adams' statement that "developing countries" will just buy the oil misses the point that they don't have as much money as we do, and thus wouldn't fund the terrorists at the same high rate as we are. As by far the largest buyer in the market, we're pushing the demand and the price up -- at our own expense!

The Dilbert strip is ridiculous, and will no doubt encourage all kinds of wrong thinking.

Dave, you're taking the cartoon too seriously - as well as misunderstanding the whole Dilbert philosophy.

Dilbert's always about how there's no hope because people are just too stupid.

This strip is about how there's no hope because people are just too stupid.

It doesn't matter that there would be hope if people understood the problem and worked toward a solution - that's also true of every other thing that Adams pokes fun at. Unless you believe that that Adams shouldn't be allowed to poke fun at Peak Oil (and I doubt that you do believe that) then the subject is as fair game as is anything else.

I'm often very fond of Dogbert cartoons and my criticism of this one is that it's just not very funny.

I thought it was a pretty funny cartoon.  I read it as making fun of Bush's speech.  

Didn't know Scott Adams was a Creationist, though.  :-(

If Adams is going to poke fun at the fact that buying a Prius is not going to save us, he should have found some better way to do it.

As far as people being too stupid to solve their self-created problems in general, I agree with that. In fact, half the world makes a living off trying to solve the problems that the other half creates.

However, in this case, reducing consumption and the fungibility of oil have nothing to do with each other as regards financing Jihadist terrorism. I only vaguely remember a story about a physicist who was presented with a theory about something or other. Having listened to it, he said "Your theory isn't right. In fact, it isn't even wrong. It's just complete nonsense." That's how I felt when I read this cartoon. Adams should stick to making fun of corporate culture, which he understands, and lay off peak oil and evolution--which he clearly does not understand. I can't wait for that climate change cartoon now.

In fact, half the world makes a living off trying to solve the problems that the other half creates.

Yeah, but if we didn't create those problems, you wouldn't be able to make a living solving them.

But if they solved them they would not have a living ;)
I'm glad to see dilbert and dogbert discussing the fungibility of oil and such.  I expect the dilbert discussion to be at or above the level of the NYT's Thomas Friedman, which does not seem to be too much to ask.

The fact that we are discussing peak oil and climate change within the paradigm of current economic dogma highlights the precise way in which we manage to not talk about the real issues at all even while thinking that we are.

Climate change and peak oil have to do with the way we humans interact with our habitat.  We do not think about ourselves that way at all, and so we intereact with our habitat as though it is an infinite source of energy (and other resources) and also a convenient infinite waste sink.  That is the real economy.  Economy comes partly from "oikos" meaning "household." Until we understand that, we will continue to burn up and poison our household while thinking that we've made progress.

Poor dilbert.  Poor dogbert.  Poor Friedman. Poor us.

The fungibility of oil has only to do with oil understood as an abstract commodity to be extracted and sold, bought, and consumed without reference to the real economy at all.

I'm glad the topic is broached in popular media.  That alone is a kind of progress.  Now we will see if new ways of thinking will make their way into such discussion.

We need to see ourselves in a whole new way.  dilbert and dogbert --like nearly everyone --are stuck without the conceptual tools to work on the issue.

"conservation doesn't work"??

I'll repeat myself but... IMO people will be surprised to see how much they can do without.

Scott Adams is a vegetarian. He has a veg*n  high-end "junk" food company. His extensively fortified products satisfy almost 100% of the RDAs.

That reminds me that gm has a concept suv(not car) made entirely of corn oil plastic, soybean oil plastic, using hydrogen. I almost fell out of my chair laughing when i saw it on a show about concept cars.
Thought This Worth A Post

Sweet energy deals
Fri Feb 17

"This week came the disclosure, first in The New York Times, that energy companies won't have to pay a nickel for an estimated $66 billion worth of oil and gas to be taken from government-owned sites in the Gulf over the next five years.

That's right: Certain companies, currently enjoying record profits, will earn at least $7 billion more by not having to pay the usual royalty of 12% to 16% for pumping oil and gas from public property.

Thanks to a generous investment in Washington's pliant politicians, this heist is perfectly legal.

A decade ago, when oil prices were relatively low and exploration was slack, the industry got royalty relief written into law. With bipartisan support, Congress voted to waive royalties for a time as an incentive to spur potentially costly deep-water drilling in the Gulf. It seemed to many like a good idea."

Car Related - Bush's Gestapo Limits Free Speech

Red State, Meet Police State
FEBRUARY 15, 2006

A federal employee gets hassled by Homeland Security for antiwar stickers on his car. Is it a mistake, a new rule, or the part of a trend of the First Amendment being bullied out of existence? Read the transcript, read the rules and decide for yourself

Dwight Scarbrough's idea of political dissent is one that rubs some people the wrong way. He likes to blame his compulsion for peaceful troublemaking on his birthday: October 2, the same as Ghandi. However, a few of Scarbrough's techniques are all his own--especially when it comes to his truck.

For instance, when the Iraq War was looking imminent, not long after September 11, Dwight attached a garbage bag to the back of his truck bed. He splattered the bag and the truck with ketchup and added a sign reading, "This veteran knows that our children are worth more than a $6.95 body bag." When he drove down the freeway, the bag would inflate and appear occupied.

"That one was a little in-your-face and on-the-edge," Scarbrough recalls. "It got a lot of response."

Snip ......

Ye gods.  I feel so much safer, knowing that Homeland Security is busy protecting me from...bumperstickers.
USA look to Guantanamo. That's your future. 45 years ago, every college kid would be out in the streets. Illegal war, wiretapping, jail without legal representation, tortue, kidnappings, Enron culture run rampent. Where are they today? Already in Canada or slugging it out on the streets of Game Boy? If you don't protect your freedoms at home, you don't deserve to protect them in Iraq. Maybe "no draft" has taken the personal relavence out of the present situation. Excellent idea that was; the discontinuation of the draft... and the subsequent of making the military a job training camp for minorities. Who GAS today? No answer required. I still got one seeing eye.
Was it Mark Twain that said, "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics"

This is a website that shows historical US production going back for decades:
(average US 2004 oil production, 5.43 mbpd)

This is a website showing top world oil producers and net exporters:
(average US 2004 oil production, 8.69 mbpd)

Note the "slight" discrepancy of 5.43 versus 8.69.  I believe that the latter number reflects refinery gains and every possible form of liquid petroleum.    It might be a good idea to do a post on the difference between the various types of oil production estimates.

Was not the exact quote something along the lines of: "There are three kinds of liars: Liars, damned liars, and statisticians." ?
If you actually go to the US CAB for oil, which is what the table references, you find it says:

U.S. crude oil production, which declined following the oil price collapse of late 1985/early 1986, leveled off in the mid-1990s, and began falling again following the sharp decline in oil prices of late 1997/early 1998. During 2004, the United States produced around 7.6 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil, of which 5.4 million bbl/d was crude oil, 1.8 million bbl/d was natural gas liquids and 0.4 million bbl/d was other liquids. This compares to the 10.6 million bbl/d averaged during 1985. U.S. crude oil production, which averaged 5.4 million bbl/d during the first eight months of 2005, is now at 50-year lows.

So some of the discrepancy is NGLs, but a significant amount of it appears to be straight error on the part of Infoplease.

Here is a link at the EIA

This is a list of the EIA's downloadable international production excel spreadsheets.

The files that will allow you to make the relevant comparisons are all labeled 'All countries 1980-2003'

There is one for the total barrels, from which they get the 8.69 number. Then there are three others for NGPLs, RPG, and 'Other Liquids'

The lower 5.43 number is straight crude including only lease condensate.

If you want the more recent monthly and yearly numbers they are also available on this page, but for only select countries, the US being one.

Our production of NGPLs,RPG, and 'other liquids,' the last time I checked has been growing as a percentage of our total production. Worldwide, it averages 13%. Ours is whatever that is -35%? My assumption is that that is due to both the large and highly efficient characteristics of out production/refining system. Only Canada, Saudi, and Brazil really compare.

Huh. So the difference between the CAB number and the "all liquids" number is refinery process gains as far as I can tell. So the 8.69 includes 1mbpd of refinery gains. The only thing I can think is that the refinery gains on all the imported crude are getting counted as US production in that 8.69 number. Sweet.
Your guess is as good as mine. Probably better. I brought this issue of RPG up a long, long time ago. I'm glad it is finally getting attention.

I'll ask this of anyone who knows, what is RPG?

If my logic is correct. We produce 10 barrels of crude and we put those 10 barrels into a refinery. We get x amount of barrels of gasoline, diesel, and everything else - plus 1 barrel of RPG. This barrel of RPG is considered crude equivalent - so we then count this barrel as part of our "produced crude" for next year(or next month, or whatever). I still want to figure this out. Recursive production?

A perverse programming language devised by IBM a bit over 30 years ago. There is still awareness of RPG2 and RPG3 embedded in my sick brain. APL, however was a more interesting IBM language spawn of similar vintage, I wrote a random bridge hand dealer / displayer in it in 13 short lines.
I remember APL. The APL joke was to show someone one line of code and say "I bet you can't figure out what this one does". You could write the sieve of eratosthenes in one line.
I noticed that infoplease had Qatar listed as exporting a million barrels a day. Qatar produces mostly natural gas. If infoplease is conflating oil and oil equivalent, that would explain the numbers.
Qatar produces 835,000 bpd of straight crude and about 200,000 bpd of NGPL, RPG, and other liquids.
I always thought of Qatar as a gas producing country. I see they do produce oil and NGL. Thanks.
Scott Adams is also a supporter of Intelligent Design... the critique below from the excellent biological science blog Pharyngula gives some insight into the muddiness of Scott Adams' thinking:
For a bit of fun with fungible, see this interesting little graph showing the differing rate of change of the price of oil vs.that of gold. p;p=s
I wasn't able to track it back to where the discussion was the other day but it certainly looks as if those that can afford gold are edgier than those of us who are forced to afford oil.
I think you're missing part of the picture here by not going back far enough. Oil increased much faster than gold before that - which is why gold has increased - sort of back filling over the past few months. Easiest money I ever made.
Americans are not "hated by other countries", but American foreign policy is. It's a delusional and dangerous misconception to believe that people in other countries Americans - they don't. There have been numerous investigations into attitudes towards Americans and America in the last few years since 9/11. Especially in Arab and Muslim countries. All these opinion polls come to two basic conclusions. First people love and admire loads of things about American culture, music and movies. They like America for the good stuff, like the ideals behind the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Democracy, Free Speech, Habeas Corpus... There are huge majorities in favour of these things. However, the same people when asked, from Morroco to Indonisia, absolutely loath and despise American foreign policy and interferance in their affairs. This "Amerika" is regarded as both ignorant and arrogant. As employing double standards and being hypocritical. People think you talk about human rights and torture defenceless people in secret torture centres across the globe. One could go on all night about how the Bush regime is literally destroying America and all it stands for in the eyes of the world, especially the third world. Bush is an unmitigated disaster for American interests. But it not too late. It's still possible to show that Americans and Amerika are not one and the same thing. It won't be easy, but the alternative is not worth thinking about. Eternal war leading to bankruptcy. It shouldn't be called the long war, but the wrong war. They don't hate you for who you are but for what you do.
All the real America needs to do is turn away from "Amerika"  and  the Empire. Bring the soldiers home and close the bases. Reduce the Pentagon's vastly inflated budget and turn away from destructive militarism. It's incredibly wastful and your really don't need it. Use the money to re-build American industry, education and infra-structure. Give a billion to Africa for ten years without strings but controlled by the U.N. Americans would be richer, healthier and far, far safer. All this madness about creating an invincable Empire is doomed to failure anyway. Only fools and madmen dream of ruling the world, if history teaches us nothing else, it at least teaches us that much.
Well spoken, Writerman, that is the truth as I know it, also.

I would add, however, that Bush is not the only demon. There is too much willful ignorance amongst much of the US populace and media, they, to some extent, choose to not see what their country is doing 'on their behalf'.

In that regard, is your Tony Blair any better than Bush? Or perhaps worse?

As far as I can tell from what I've read, the UK is actually far more down the road toward  a totalitarian state than the US, given its massive public surveillance program. Though the US is hardly far behind, and will probably catch up and pass the UK before too long, I think one must have to look to see how one's own house is in order.

I think this trend is global. The Powers that Be want to put in place mechanisms that will maximize their ability to control the masses when The Shit Hits the Fan.

This is not a good time for true democracy or personal liberty. Once it is gone, it is gone for good.

If we don't watch out, we will all become worker ants.

I don't know, Joule, your question is a good one.

In some ways the UK (where I live) is further down the totalitarian road than the US, in other ways it lags behind.

We have much more CCTV surveillance, there is no evidence so far that is being abused by the state but it could be. Our government can be more secretive than the US's but it seems the US government has ways around that nowadays. It is always wise to keep an eye on one's government just in case they begin to seriously overstep the mark. I would say that it feels to me that the US govt has made more sweeping changes recently compromising individual freedom than has the UK govt, and that where the UK govt has tried to they have met more resistance.

I'm reminded of "The War Game" a film made for the BBC in 1963 but not shown on TV till 20 years later. It was about a nuclear attack on UK but the most important and chilling bits, to me, were the exercise of arbitrary state power and justice: summary shooting of presumed looters, billeting of displaced people in houses in safe areas (if you didn't comply you get displaced, LOL), and the like.

I still think it would be easier for the UK to evict or change its government should it so choose, but I am equally sure the UK government could rapidly exercise more draconian powers than just about any other democratic government. In the end it comes down to what the people think, how aware and informed they are, and how important they consider their freedom is compared with other considerations.

Perhaps I have just argued myself into a despondent corner, both for UK and US.

You appear to still be somewhat protected, but IMHO only because the House Of Lords was, for some miraculous reason, not completely abolished.

But I still note that even with all those CCTVs (that are always watching me whenever I go there it gives me the creeps) nobody stopped the Tube bombings.  Makes me wonder what use they really are.  Maybe they aided quick identification of the bodies of the terrorists and aided capture of any live associates still lurking around to do the next one, but still didn't stop the original act.  Maybe we should all get one of those webcams for all our little heads issued to us when we get to HRW and wifi the signals them back to NSY in realtime, or JFK homeland and wifi to NSA-CIA-FBI as the case may be.  Or ... gps satellite Nikes.

"Abolition of Parliament Bill" to allow government to bypass scrutiny

If not ahead already we'll soon be racing past the US down that totalitarian road.

I am astonished at what that bill seems to propose, and astonished that I hadn't heard anything of it, and that there has not been more opposition to it.

On another subject: The lack of any serious mention of peak oil by the UK Green Party seems perverse to me. Before the last UK elections I checked out the political sites for any mention of PO. There was one very brief mention of it in a Green Party conference speech, other than that Michael Meecher (Labour, ex-environment minister) is the only politician who has spoken about PO that I could find at that time.

OK, I have checked this bill out further. Here are a couple of links:

In its 'Preconditions' section, direct link:
subsection (2) it states:

(2) Those conditions are that--

(a) the policy objective intended to be secured by the provision could not be satisfactorily secured by non-legislative means;

(b) the effect of the provision is proportionate to the policy objective;

(c) the provision, taken as a whole, strikes a fair balance between the public interest and the interests of any person adversely affected by it;

(d) the provision does not remove any necessary protection;

(e) the provision does not prevent any person from continuing to exercise any right or freedom which that person might reasonably expect to continue to exercise.

Under the notes to the bill relating to (2)(d) and (2)(e) :

  1.     The fourth condition is that the provision made by the order does not remove any necessary protection. This condition is the same as one of the safeguards in section 3 of the 2001 Act. No order can be made unless the Minister is of the opinion that it would maintain any protections that the Minster considers to be necessary.

  2.     The fifth condition is that the provision made by the order will not prevent any person from continuing to exercise any right or freedom which he might reasonably expect to continue to exercise. This condition is also the same as one of the safeguards in section 3 of the 2001 Act. It recognises that there are certain rights that it would not be appropriate to take away from people using an order, and has certain parallels with the concept of 'legitimate expectation'.

  3.     The Minister is also required to set out in the explanatory document (clause 12) laid before Parliament why he considers that these conditions are met.

This provides some reassurance, notably in (d) and (e), but it remains to be seen how "necessary protection" and "right or freedom which that person might reasonably expect" might be interpreted.
IMHO, Tony is a businessman just as Aznar was in Spain and Burlusconi is in Italy. Aznar, who did not persue the wish of the Spanish people and joined the war in Iraq, got his because Spain happened to have an election at exactly the right time. Tony, if you haven't noticed, is getting his now. Burlusconi would get his, if his mafia wasn't able to exert so much power on the Italian people, who IMHO, didn't ever and don't now want war either. America promises "big business in the holy land of heaven" in return for the right favours. That was Aznar's plan. He's history. Tony... soon to be forgotten. Burlusconi.. continues as mafia god father. How's BP doing? How's Repsol doing?
Keep up the excellent posting! However, I must quibble with you on one point. George W. Bush as president is not an "unmitigated disaster." Oh my goodnes, no. I find "W." an excellent example of regression to the mean--which is a somewhat subtle statistical phenomenon that is difficult to explain to people with a limited background in statistics. Briefly, let us say, for the sake of discussion, that "W."'s father was a person of superior abilities, perhaps an above average President. (Clearly it will take historians a hundred years to come to a consensus on this. I do hope there will be historians a hundred years hence;-)
Now, considering the phenomenon of regression to the mean, what would we consider the likely quality of the first Bush's children to be?

Mean. No, no, I mean closer to the mean than the first Bush.
BTW regression to the mean is one big reason why monarchy cannot work very well for very long. (Although, if you know a lot about population genetics, it could be argued that there are good reasons for aristocracies and monarchies to interbreed, despite problems with harelips and hemophilia.)

Anyway, I think bashing Bush, Cheney and Co. is a big waste of energy. There are far, far more important issues.

I think you're just being mean spirited.
I have never had a doubt that human beings will use up (essentially) all the oil.  I only save the "essentially" caveat because I've always expected a rising price, and that the last bit would be too valuable for all but a few uses.

It's also true that oil is a fungible commodity (with the exception of some non-market treaty arraingements) and someone is going to buy it.

That said, I think there is still room for a couple arguments:

  • at the group level, our society probably would be more wealthy and secure with a lower "energy intensity" in our economy.

  • at the individual level, I know that it keeps bucks in my pocket to lower the "energy intensity" of my household.

So sure, Dilbert can buy a Hummer ... but he still might be a victim (in more ways than one) when he goes to fill it up.
I think the cartoon says something more about ethics an economics. People will always complain that certain things are evil to buy so we need to change our buying habits. I think this is backward. The fact is if you want something changed the most effective and permanent change is law, not public opinion. Dilbert is like the masses, he's fairly ignorant and does not want make the decision difficult. Thats where government could step in and make the decision for him. I think we need a big gas tax that goes towards alternative fuel developement. That way oil supply and demand will take care of the situation and jumpstart an independant fuel economy.
Off subject;  60 Minutes, has segment on ice melting & global warming tonight.
BBC 4 has climate change season this week.
If you say, "I want to buy from Venezuela instead of Saudi Arabia cuz I don't like the Saudis," then Dogbert is correct that because oil is fungible S.A. will still be making about the same amount of sales from others who will buy from  them instead of Venezuela.

But if I buy less oil, the same conclusion doesn't follow. Dogbert is just confused. Not surprising, he's just a dog.

OTOH, I guess his point is that you can't selectively hurt one oil exporter by reducing demand, without hurting them all about the same. I guess that's true. Not that I care. I got a fuel efficient vehicle not to hurt anyone, but because I just like it and it saves me money. And pollutes less. I mean, not everything is about sticking it to someone. Lighten up, people!! (I mean dogbert.)

By coincidence I looked up "fungible" yesterday -- hey I knew what it meant but just wanted to check the official definition -- honest!

But I was amused to get this definition:

  Main Entry: ^1fun?gi?ble
   Pronunciation: 'f&n-j&-b&l
   Function: noun
   : something that is fungible -- usually used in plural

[edit: oops, I missed that there was another definition, which is what I was reallly looking for,]

The issues are separate and distinct: fungiblility and conservation (Jevon's paradox notwithstanding) are not the same. Given that, you DO have a choice as a consumer--buy Citgo or 7/11 and support Chavez.
Or boycott Citgo to hurt Chavez.
I really wouldn't be too hard on Dilbert, for he has for many years served as an oasis of sanity in a desert of corporate insanity.  The reason that Dilbert is one of the most popular cartoon strips is that it so accurately shows what it is like working and living in the modern corporate environment.  The reason that Dilbert seems surreal and Kafka-esque is that the modern American corporate culture IS surreal and Kafka-esque.  He is hardly exaggerating. I know from firsthand experience.

While Scott Adam may be a bit off-base regarding peak oil, he is nevertheless an ally in the struggle against institutionalized aburdity. And we should all be grateful for that.

Love live Dilbert!

Very good.

Dogbert is the worst in everything. He will rot in hell. And heck, Dilbert can not even get laid! This is not a bad cartoon, nor is it a bad statement.

Get real folks. Love live Dilbert!

This is the first time I understood Jevon's Paradox on a worldwide basis. I always just thought of it on an individual basis I guess by the example that the higher fuel efficiency of automobiles just allow longer commutes.
(Nit:  I believe the man's name was Jevons, so it's "Jevons' Paradox.)

More-efficient cars are not going to increase the carrying capacity of roads, so anyone whose commute is limited by time (which is many) is not going to increase driving distance in response to better economy.  And if we cut back on our own consumption, the third-world economies which are no longer priced out will consume it instead but won't be paying the producers as much; a similar amount of oil will probably be produced, but less money will change hands.

Reading Dilbert is like watching the new series "The Office". The boss is a strategicly-placed moron, there to give the officeworker an object of scorn and detract attention from the private doings of corporate headquarters. Usually, I fail to see humor in Dilbert.

Current popular arguments against hybrids are suspicious. Wired Magazine hurled specious ridicule about Hybrid technology in its recent issues. "Plug-in Hybrids won't achieve all they're cracked up to be", and, "GM demolishes hybrids" in research labs. An issue of Popular Science hypes the utterly preposterous hydrogen fuel cell car and the next issue asks, "Is your battery dead?"

The phenomenal promise of Plug-in Hybrids ought to be debated extensively, rather than let right wing shills and idiotic cartoonists frame the debate.    

I totally agree with everything you say. But here's a piece of trivia for you.

Do you know how many high-fuel-economy vehicles must be sold each year(in the US)to offset yearly growth in gasoline consumption?

One million?

Or is this a trick question?

No, it's no trick question. I have a well researched answer.

But first. Do you know how many new vehicles are sold in the US each year? I don't, but just want to put the question and answer in scalable perspective. We are working off a vehicle base of about 230 million.

Also, and I should have said this before, a high-fuel-efficiency vehicle is one that gets approximately 25% better gas mileage that its equivalent counterpart. So if a pickup gets 20mpg, the h-f-e version would be like the Escape Hybrid or something that gets 25mpg.

One million is not the answer, but please try again.

OILCEO, Hybrids are not merely an economy car. The Plug-in Hybrid is a portable power supply and a perfect technological match with rooftop photovoltiac. Households get a valuable lesson in electricity conservation. Such Homepower systems, in sufficient numbers, leads to public power. In an emergency, the back-up power will prove invaluable.

The battery packs lower vehicle center-of-gravity, improving stability, handling and safety; a perfect application for top-heavy SUVs. The Plug-in Hybrid is applicable to every class of vehicle, from compact to heavy freight truck.

Perhaps most important, the owners of any weight class of Plug-in Hybrid gain an economic incentive to drive only the shorter distances which their limited battery packs provide, thus patronize and build local economies. In time, more destinations become accessible without having to drive. Walking and bicycling become practical alternatives. And, mass transit systems can be more practically arranged.  

We don't need to hear about Hybrids being futile because the oil they save will be used elsewhere. The argument in their favor blows the doors off opposing argument.

I know, and I'm not arguing that hybrids are futile. But here is a fact I came across. In order to stop the increase in gasoline consumption in the US, every single car sold in the United States from now on has to be a hybrid. Every single one.
Well.  I guess that plan won't work for China and India then.
Do you mean future yearly growth in gasoline consumption?

Because that may well be negative. So it won't take any high-fuel-efficiency vehicles to offset it.  :)

We waste so much now, we can reduce consumption without breaking a sweat.

Actually, we have to do a lot more than break a sweat. Since the introduction of the automobile we have increased gasoline consumption in all but a handful of years in the 1970's and early 1980's. We used to waste a lot more.
From Comics Curmudgeon

Dick Tracy, for instance, features an quite lovely picture of one of those new-fangled eco-friendly wind turbines, in flames and tumbling to the ground. Is this strip now focused on the battle for freedom against American's addiction to oil? The presence of the "evil Oily" would certainly seem to point in that direction. Perhaps we'll see the Halliburton board of directors armed with Tommy Guns in a future installment.

Good on Adams for tackling the subject. I'm not to big a fan of this strip anymore - it got a bit enamored with itself a few years back - but I seem to recall that Dogbert is always playing the devils advocate - hard realist. The dog is right, but only insofar as it relates to the points that Dilbert raises. If he were to say "(I'm getting a fuel efficient car) To insulate myself against the economic pain of oil price spikes" the geopolitical issues just don't come into play, nor does the fungibility issue. I think we'd agree that oil is not in fact fungible the way that say, wheat is. This is a fundamental point in the consideration of peaking global supplies. Nobody can tell me that sour 20 API crude is equal to sweet 42 API blackgold. Fungibility only applies when products are refined to a standard specification. The point however is well made - we should not delude ourselves tthis local action yeilds exactly this global effect. The complexity of the oil production and marketing system should inspire us to think of it globally - but respond in such a way that we insulate ourselves against the risks it presents. I'm a late poster to this thread so apologies to any readers encountering redundancy.