Will Canada Fuel Fortress America?

Many cornucopians see Canada as the savior of America's bacon because of the tar sands, especially those of Athabasca.

Will Canada complacently allow the US to pillage her resources as energy supplies become more scarce?  Further, will she become discontented enough with that idea to cause a political rift between Canada and the US when she sees her own future energy security being compromised?  Will the NAFTA energy sharing provisions hold up, maintaining fungibility of scarce resources?  There seem to be many questions that need to be asked about this supposed panacea of a relationship; some ideas of the potential answers under the fold.

This post was prompted by an email by Stoneleigh and some further research by Leanan which yielded this document, which is a policy report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), a progressive policy analysis shop centered in Ottawa.

Stoneleigh writes:

My impression is that most Albertans are too busy enjoying the money that's rolling into their province to be concerned about environmental damage far to the north of where they actually live. Still, I think this report represents a watershed of sorts in that the first stirrings of discontent are being formulated. Some Canadians are beginning to realize that they have been complacent with regard to their own energy security, and others feel very uncomfortable with the idea of fuelling America's imperial pretensions. I would expect that sense of alienation to grow, and for pressure to keep Canadian resources for Canadians to grow with it.
Stoneleigh's opinion aside, as you will see below, this CCPA report, if it is at all a reflection of potential Canadian public sentiment, could be the case around which a few wrenches get thrown into the plans of the corporations that wish to sell Canada's resources to us under their NAFTA obligations.

But, that's the question, is this an accurate portrayal of what's going on in the situation? Many policy documents that come out of policy shops are often very one-sided, so I want to present it to you as exactly that: one side of the argument. The question then becomes, how do the counterarguments stand up?

More about the report in a minute. First, the basics or tar/oil sands: a Google search on oil sands, tar sands, or Athabasca yields numberous hits. We've discussed it quite a bit here at TOD (most recently here and here and in a few other places).

Many are also concerned about the environmental effects of extraction and Mike over at GCC reported just the other day about the potentially deleterious effects on the health of the local citizens of the extraction process (also reported here today at Treehugger). Of course, there's also the questions of whether or not sustainable extraction from the sands has a high enough EROEI to be economically viable. The CCPA report I linked to above also discusses these problems as well, but the report is more concerned with the perspective of sustainability and long-term Canadaian energy security.

I am still digesting much of the report, and will engage in my critical assessment in the comments after I have a day or two to digest it; however, prima facie, there's a case in the document for Canada not to sell her oil to "Fortress America" and poison her citizenry in the process. There are many recommendations that this policy shop finishes up with including withdrawal from NAFTA (which they hit quite hard), and keeping more of these precious resources at home.

Will Canadian sovereignty be tested in the relatively near future, as the US cannot afford to let Canada repudiate NAFTA? (and then the question becomes, what role does China and her lust for energy play in all of this?)

As Stoneleigh said in an email:

At some point, even the amounts presently intended for exported under NAFTA probably wouldn't be enough to satisfy the voracious American appetite for oil and gas. I expect the US eventually to attempt to gain de facto (if not de jure) control over the area. I'm just glad I don't live anywhere near Alberta. Proximity to strategic resources can so easily shift from blessing to curse in times of scarcity.
If there's a community out in the 'sphere who can tear something apart with evidence and logic, it's this one. So, here's the executive summary of the report...have at it!

The Athabasca tar sands of northern Alberta contain an estimated 175 to 200 billion barrels of recoverable oil — the largest known hydrocarbon deposit ever discovered. This estimate is based on using existing technologies. Using newer technologies, as much as 2.5 trillion barrels of oil might be recovered — but the costs would be enormous. Development of the tar sands has already begun, with three large companies — Suncor, Syncrude, and Albian — producing large quantities of crude, and six more massive projects in the early stages. As the soaring price of oil makes these resources financially more viable, many other leases are being explored. An estimated US$100 billion is expected to be spent on tar sands development over the next 20 years.

Though this may sound like a few lifetimes of oil, there are serious social and environmental issues related to the extraction of this bitumen: the provincial boom-and-bust cycle that is being created, including labour, infrastructure and materials shortages; the water intensivity and resulting pollution; and the significant volumes of natural gas it requires. These concerns raise the question of whether the current rate of expansion (planned growth from one million barrels a day to six million barrels a day, most of it destined for export) is reasonable or sustainable.

In terms of the social costs, the dramatic expansion of the tar sands development has created labour shortages, exacerbated by infrastructure shortages in Fort McMurray, that increase the cost of living in the area. The boom is also causing materials and construction costs to shoot up across the province. The rapid pace of extraction has also led to inequities between the provinces, with Alberta in an embarrassment of riches, part of which is being thrown at local infrastructure spending, escalating the boom. In the absence of any plan, provincially or nationally, for pacing the development to maximize the jobs and returns to the province over the long term, there is instead a bonanza, using foreign workers and union-busters in the short term, while offering royalty holidays.

The natural gas situation is even less sustainable. Conventional natural gas has already peaked and is on the decline. This is a key source of power generation for Alberta. As the tar sands consume the gas, the province is already returning to coal for power, and losing value-added jobs in the petrochemicals sector. As that clean source of fuel expires, the tar sands are turning to non-conventional gas sources, all of which have higher social and environmental costs: the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, coal-bed methane, and in-situ (extraction of the gas from the bitumen). There has not been adequate public debate on the impacts of coal-bed methane, in spite of the huge landscape impacts of the well-intensive drilling and pipelines needed, and the likely impact on water tables in an area already short on water. The in-situ strategy is no better, as it has huge carbon dioxide emissions, while the tar sands operations are already among Canada’s largest industrial polluters.

Most of the oil to be taken from the tar sands will go to the United States. In effect, the Athabasca deposits will be the centrepiece of a new continental energy grid. Its main purpose will be to provide a secure supply of fuel for the American industrial and military machines. Canadians are already paying a steep price for feeding the voracious American addiction to the dwindling world reserves of oil and gas.

Given that the rapidly increasing exports of Canada’s oil and gas to the U.S. puts our own energy security as a nation in jeopardy; that Canada, despite being a petroleum-producing country, is already forced to import nearly half of the oil its people need; that Canada has less than a 10-year supply of conventional oil and natural gas remaining; that most of the tar sands oil is earmarked for export to the U.S., and most of the natural gas from the North is also intended for the U.S. market or to fuel extraction of the tar sands crude — the continuation of current energy policies is clearly not in the national interest.

There may be ways of developing the tar sands that could contribute to Canada’s long-term energy needs, including the inevitable transition to renewable energy sources. But, shockingly, there is no coherent national or provincial energy policy to address this need. Nor is the federal or any provincial government conducting the research or public consultation needed to formulate policies for meeting the world energy crisis — or even for assuring an adequate ongoing supply of energy for Canadians.

To be viable, any decisions or policies on energy we arrive at should be based on a complete understanding of all aspects of the tar sands development. It is a project that brings with it enormous economic, social, and ecological costs, as well as raising concerns about our role as suppliers of oil and gas — and soon electricity and even water — to feed the ravenous U.S. appetite for Canada’s resources.

I made some guesses on what it actually costs the Canadian Oil & Gas industry to add one barrel of new incremental oil per day, on a net energy basis.  It's probably on the order of something in excess of $100,000 to add that one BOPD, on a net energy basis.   (Just the capital cost per BOPD on new tar sands is approaching $60,000 or more per BOPD in some cases).

Unfortunately, if you look at 2005 versus 2003, Canada is going backwards--even without taking the EROEI factors into consideration.   2005 Canadian oil production is 700,000 BOPD less than what the EIA (in 2003) predicted it would be in 2005.   So, I guess if you look at the cost divided by zero net new barrels of oil, you get something approaching an infinite cost per new net barrel.

The bottom line for the nonconventional sources of liquid transportation fuels (LTF's) is that they require far more capital and energy than it takes to refine light, sweet crude oil.  In addition, every fossil fuel that we are looking at as a source of LTF, except for kerogen, is currently being used for heating and electrical generation.   Therefore, in a desperate attempt to keep the supply of LTF's stable or increasing, all we are talking about doing it digging ever deeper into our supply of fossil fuels.  

Also, I predict that all energy exporters are going to start asking some very hard questions about whether or not they should--or can--continue to ramp up their production of a depleting resource in order to keep our fleet of Hummers driving to and from $500,000 mortgages in the US.  

Excellent analysis, Westexas.

Will Canada have an energy policy?  Will it be science-based or reality-based?

Will the Canandian government figure that the only option is to comply with the demands (disguised as suggestions or requests or recommendations) of the US government regarding Canandian energy policies?

So far I see some evidence that some Canadians are concerned about careful stewardship of Canadian resources.  However, it seems that the USA is likely to call the shots for North America.  Has the US in fact begun to annex Canada as a resource colony?

I've not got time to find the list of agreements made and pending, but it does seem like the US is moving toward consolidating NA as one economic and military unit.  Such consoidation will in fact trump much of the local political power Canadians now enjoy.

In essence, this is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Of course, here in the U.S., the same will be true for things like the F-T coal-dieselfication process.

Meanwhile, beyond health problems, environmental degradation and economic dislocation, let's not forget one other problem with the tar sands, especially when being exploited at breakneck speed:

Greenhouse gases.

The only way Canada can come close to winning this deal if it becomes so warm as to massively slash national heating bills. (Of course, if the globe is that hot, greedy Americans will want yet more Canadian gas for electricity to run icebox-temperature AC units.)

Forgot to enter the specifics on greenhouse gases. From Wiki's page on tar sands, here's a few numbers.

"For every barrel of synthetic oil produced in Alberta, more than 80 kg of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere."

And how does this impact Kyoto and Canada's efforts to meet its stipulations?

"In ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, Canada agreed to reduce, by 2012, its greenhouse gas emissions by 6% with respect to the reference year (1990). In 2002, Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions had increased by 24% since 1990."


Since these are both formal treaties, does one trump the other? Can Ottawa use that as an legal justification to junk NAFTA?

Something I do not understand: Is Canada legally obliged to
send oil to the USA? How did that get on the statute books and did anybody ask the Canadian people, especially the French Canadians?
"In 1993, oil and gas corporations based in Canada, many of them foreign-owned, lobbied for a proportionality clause to be included in NAFTA, which was then being negotiated. Under proportionality, Canada can cut exports to the U.S. to deal with shortages, only if we cut the same proportion of supplies to Canadians. This would not help at all."


Professor, if I'm not mistaken that also applies to Mexico? Good deal for Us ;)
I remember articles in the Canadian press a couple of years ago, complaining about NAFTA.  They didn't think it was fair that Americans could buy Canadian natural gas cheaper than Canadians could.  (Because of our lower taxes.)  There was talk then of changing the rules, but nothing came of it.

I guess they weren't expecting depletion to be so soon and so sudden when they signed onto this...

To be candid, I never understood why the US Govt (under Bush41 and Clinton) was so excited about NAFTA until I started understanding the other countries' energy obligations under the agreement.  

What's even more interesting is that, as far as I can tell, Mexico is under different obligations than Canada (see the G&M article I link to above, where the next pgh after the one I pasted above reads):  "Proportionality favoured the short-term interests of exporting corporations and producing provinces, to the detriment of using Canada's raw resources to make other things, and for long-term energy security for Canadians.  The Mexicans were smart and got an exemption from energy sharing in times of shortage. Look at the respect that exemption got Mexico in the U.S. national energy task force report: 'Mexico will make its own sovereign decisions on the breadth, pace, and extent to which it will expand and reform its electricity and oil and gas capacities.'"

Out of fairness, here's a link with all of the NAFTA "pros": http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/Policy/NAFTA/nafta.html

Re: "Many policy documents that come out of policy shops are often very one-sided, so I want to present it to you as exactly that: one side of the argument. The question then becomes, how do the counterarguments stand up?"

After I read the whole post, looked at some links and knowing what I do, my reaction was What other side? From Turning tar sands into oil.

Tar sands production is now 1 million barrels a day and is projected to increase fivefold by 2030, still about half of Saudi Arabia's current output and less than 5 percent of world production in 2030.
Other more optimistic projections I've seen show 3 to 4/mbpd in the time period 2015 to 2020. OK, if we consider world usage at 84/mbpd (all liquids using the 4/mbpd by 2020 and supply stays flat all that time), that's 4.8% of world daily consumption in 2020. Those are the benefits. Since we are at or near peak, the percentage would go up as world daily production goes down. That's the "other" side of the argument.

Now, the side you present.

  • the CO2 emissions (very large per barrel produced)
  • the direct damage to the environment in Alberta
  • the enormous cost of each barrel
  • the huge requirements for water for production and the even bigger water disposal problem
  • the huge requirements for natural gas for production - I repeat from my post here
    In Canada, which currently supplies most U.S. gas imports, gas production reached 16.71 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) in 2004. However, these figures are expected to level off, or even shrink. Conventional production at current levels will not be able to supply increasing demand in North America...
    Canadian demand (7.7 bcf/d in 2004) is expected to increase substantially, with the oil sands industry alone consuming 1 bcf/d by year-end....
    That's over 0.365 Tcf each and every year at current production levels.
Now, some say that the tar sands can be a win-win situation because you can capture the CO2, re-inject it for EOR to produce natural gas which you can use to mine the sands, capture the CO2... and round and round. Unless you do something like this (and recycle all the water), the whole process is completely unsustainable. If you actually do all this, the process may be sustainable but the costs will go so sky high that the EROEI may be effectively zero. So, either way, this process can not go on in my view. I'm sure Suncor has a different view. I know they are trying to reduce their CO2 emissions from the production process, but they are years away from successful implementation of carbon capture, storage and injection. But I'm sure of one thing--Suncor thinks the price of oil is going to go up and up and up...

And all this is going on for what is currently 1.2% of global liquids production per day. And under NAFTA, of course the Canadians outside the boomtown in Fort McMurray feel screwed. They are getting screwed.

So, I say again, What other side?

oh Dave, just call me an academic and be done with it!  :)  Perhaps I over-caveated, but that's what we do, usually in the spirit of being as objective as possible...
I try to be objective in my posts but feel no such constraint in my comments....

You know, I used to be an academic... and now I'm a poor starving writer at some obscure website which is a community discussion about peak oil...

In the spirit of being as objective as possible let me just say that this whole tar sands idea - sucks big time! The Canadians must be nuts! This is a nightmare scenario!

On the other hand, we need the oil big time and they've got it, so why waste time talkin' when we should be diggin'.

But seriously, the Canadians cannot say no to us, not in the real world. Canadians have a attitude to the US similar to most small countries situated next to big ones. They resent the big brother little brother relationship, but can't do much about it, and anyway we might as well make some money out of it.

This kind of relationship has existed for a long time. It's almost a classic case of "colonialism". When we talk about "Canadians" it's important to realise there are lots of different types of Canadians with different interests. In classic Marx, just to illustrate the point, we're dealing with the narrow interests of the ruling-class, that is to make millions, as opposed to the objective interests of the working-class to use their natural resources for their own development. The situation the Canadians are in, isn't, in principle, all that different from that of the inhabitants of the Niger delta we've all read about recently on TOD. They are going to get screwed!  

There is a diversity among Canadians, especially by province. Those in the central regions such as Alberta sometimes have views more distant from the coastal provinces than from the US. In an odd sort of way it is the populous coastal provinces of Canada that are the remote, imperial ruling class that oppresses them. We are sometimes blinded by nationalism to the reality on the ground that nations are not the basic, salient entities of economic or socio-ecological life.
One has to remember that there exist "screwers" and "screwees" and the relative merits of each position can change over time.

It is true that a small economy operating adjacent to a large economy will benefit; Canada has benefited economically from its position relative to our neighbor to the south.

Canada presently has a long standing softwood lumber trade dispute with the US. Canada's position is that the US is in violation of NAFTA and acting preferentially to support US softwood producers and inhibit Canadian access to the US market. One can think of this as a variation on the recent rejection of Dubai Ports World. The US is all for free trade as long as the benefits of that trade favours the US. Of course if someone else stands to benefit the US never heard of trade agreements, international law, or the accepted conventions of OECD nations. The US simply takes the position of "screw you."

Long term one has to consider the fact that when the US wishes to purchase Canadian resources, it may not be able to afford them. If it is accepted that you cannot continue exponential growth based on the availability of a finite resource, then it is also likely to be true that one cannot continue with the  exponential export of debt on an indefinite basis. The US is going to have to learn to be very, very nice to its creditors.

I expect a typical uninformed response along the lines of "we will just march north and take what we need."

My response is march north with what? You have elected a president who has destroyed America's credibility abroad, who has insulted many of your former allies and friends (freedom fries, anyone?), that has bogged America in Iraq such that you can neither leave nor stay, and who has rundown the American military in the process. On top of this he unilaterally abrogates the constitution on a legal whim of his own conception and no American citizen gives a god-damn. I suspect you are all too busy hot-tubbing it and discussing how to enforce the christian lifestyle on others and what caliber rifle will be required.

I think you may wish to reflect a little more cogently on exactly who has been screwed, how, and by whom.

As for the environmental destruction, health impacts, and EROEI, none of those concerns has yet had significant inhibitory impact on the course of western capitalism. Don't understand why they should start to matter now.

With a military machine more powerful than the rest of the world's leading nations put together, I don't believe the United States has to worry about securing it's access to the raw materials it requires. We will just make those nations we do business with an offer they can't refuse. Like Dead-eye Dick Cheney said, the American way of life is non-negotiable and he means it, and he and his class have absolutely no intention of giving it up without a fight. As soon as the rest of the world realise this the better.

In the short to medium term debt isn't a problem for the world's greatest military power. It would be imprudent in the extreme to refuse to grant the United States the credit it desires, in much the same way as it would be unwise not to grant the United States access to raw materials and markets. We are, after all, global Capitalism's army. So, be afraid, be very afraid.

Yes, as I've said before, the Alberta Province becomes the 51st State after Canada backs out of NAFTA to try to take care of their own oil & gas problems.

Push will come to shove. Something's gotta give here as PG's cited report inevitably concludes.

Nukes are fast, cheap, and out of control. Get used to it.
"With a military machine more powerful than the rest of the world's leading nations put together, I don't believe the United States has to worry about securing it's access to the raw materials it requires."

Can't help thinking of Japan and the late 1930s, early 1940's.....

Dear Essex,

How right you are. God save us from people who don't understand irony.

How ancient an irony this is.  Bloated Empire believes that no one can oppose it, that no one will dare to stand up to it.  Pride not only going before a fall, but pride loudly proclaims that this Very Special Empire cannot fall.

Then maybe some scraggly prophet comes in from the wilderness of God-Knows-Where and says something to some assemblage of Imperial Big Shots, and the empire crumbles.

What did the scraggly little prophet say?  Well, in this case it might be "Peak Oil says you are so very over," or "Peak Water..." or "Peak Everything...."

And so it goes.

The US has historically used trade sanctions against those it disagreed with. Perhaps in the coming UN talks about Iran Canada should propose trade sanctions against the US if it starts a war with Iran. I don't know if much of the world could do without our food exports but they could certainly hurt Boeing, United Technologies, etc.
Re: "trade sanctions against the US..."

Wow! I never thought of that. The creativity on this website just amazes me sometimes. You saying that just really jolted my whole worldview. Turned it completely upside down. Everybody needs a dose of that once and a while. Great comment.

Absolutely. I also mentioned the idea of imposing economic sanctions on the United States, as a possible way of stopping military action against Iran. Rather sanctions than a potentially disasterous war for the US, Iran and the rest of us. However, I fear it's just pie in the sky, unfortunately, still you never know, once the idea gets out...
Interesting idea but look how hard it is to get sanctions against a tiny nation that represents a fraction of the global market. Then consider that anyone who sanctions the US is likely to be sanctioned in return AND that the US will then cut good deals with whomever is not sanctioning them. The US, for better or worse, currently represents a disproportionately large fraction of the global market. Anyone who cuts themselves off from that, at least today, is hurting themselves. How many European or Asian corporations will continue to support politicians who propose they cut off 1/5th to 1/4th of their world market? And how fast will those corporations move to support politicians who oppose such a move?

Sorry, the marketplace, despite all its supposed other godlike powers ascribed to it by its devotees, doesn't do morality very well at all.

Whose Morality greyzone?  Seriously, Muslim, Christian, Atheist, African nations outlawing the use of witchcraft by Politicians seeking Office?  Lots of moralities to choose from out there.  I guess morals, ethics and laws are luxuries defined by each civilized-ation.  
Yeah, I appriciate in the time we've got left to stop the attack on Iran, sanctions look pretty difficult to get through. Here's another thought. What about imposing an oil embargo on the United States? There is a precedent for this after all. I'm thinking about the Arab oil embargo way back in the early seventies. That could be set in motion pretty quickly couldn't it? I know the Iranians aren't Arabs and all the rest of it, but having seen what a disaster the occupation of Iraq has been, surely an embargo, even though it's a risky policy, is preferable to yet another dreadful war, with possible untold consequences. Maybe an Arab or OPEC embargo would make the great American public sit up and take notice?
"Yeah, I appriciate in the time we've got left to stop the attack on Iran, sanctions look pretty difficult to get through. Here's another thought. What about imposing an oil embargo on the United States? There is a precedent for this after all. I'm thinking about the Arab oil embargo way back in the early seventies. That could be set in motion pretty quickly couldn't it? I know the Iranians aren't Arabs and all the rest of it, but having seen what a disaster the occupation of Iraq has been, surely an embargo, even though it's a risky policy, is preferable to yet another dreadful war, with possible untold consequences. Maybe an Arab or OPEC embargo would make the great American public sit up and take notice?"
   Iran needs to be taken care of NOW, not later, and if a nuke or two will do the job, then lets get it over with ...
   An Arab oil embargo on the US is the BEST thing that could happen at this point in time ... it just might, and I say JUST might wake our congress dead heads up, although the socialist dumbies we have in there now I don't beleive are smart enough ... they would just blame the BIG OIL companys for the embargo and put more taxes on them ...
   In reality then only thing that will wake up the US public would be turning off our TV's ...
   You Gotta To Love Bush ... You bet I support him ... thinking of having Kerry in office is worst than dropping a nuke on Iran ...
Are you serious or are you being ironic? Do you really think nuclear war is the answer to Peak Oil? Come on sensible and rational Todders back me up on this! Is TOD under threat from a neo-fascist putcsh?
Relax. Have a Pink Gin (semiofficial drink of the officer corps of the Royal Navy--dash of Angostura Bitters, dollop of gin, drink at room temp the way Brits do), because nobody is going to nuke Iran. Why?

Very simple. Iran is a piece of cake for destruction of its electrical power generation system by conventional bombs. The U.S. Navy and Air Force could do the job in a matter of a couple of days (1st destroy their pathetic excuse for an air force on the ground while taking out all their AA defenses--a matter of hours), the Israeli Air force or the Russian air force could do it in about four days, and the RAF by itself has enough clout to do the job in under a week. For all intents and purposes, Iran is undefended as soon as the Rooskis bug out, and my guess is that time is coming soon. What I would like to know is on what schedule are the Russian contractors being paid. For example, if they are paid at the end of each month, then I'd expect the bugout shortly after their checks clear--unless they are being paid in cash.

Were I a Russian in Iraq I would demand payment in Euros or dollars, cash on the well head for each day's work. Does anybody know exactly what the payment arrangements are to the Russians? Always follow the money.

Whoops! Meant "Iran" in the last paragraph. Really, it is thoughtless of countries such as Iran and Iraq to have such similar names, and Iceland and Ireland also differ by only a single consonant. On the other hand, few of my college students can distinguish either of those pairs--or even Ireland from Iran in some cases. (Wish I could put a smiley there.)
Dear Don, I've been finding it slightly difficult to relax today. I sort of worry about people on this site threatening to nuke Iran. Are they even half-way serious about this?

I'm sure you understand the meaning of the phrase "Socratic Irony". I think I may have succombed to this in some of my posts and now I'm drawing fire for this. It's "interesting". I suppose I should stop using the word interesting as even that word seems to irritate some people here. It appears that since politics and now war have come to TOD at lot of "camp followers" have turned up too. It's not surprising, but interesting.

There's not much I can take "seriously" anymore. The world seems to be in too serious a state to be taken seriously. One doesn't know whether to laugh or cry, so I choose to laugh as I'm not a pessimist, just an ironist. I suppose I like to laugh in the face of the Demon, just to show I'm not afraid.

Make that pink gin a double.
Wow.  Thanks Sailor.  I think you have it dead right.  A way out that will not necessarily usher in some sort of apocolyptic event... possibly Only a severe blow to the Mass Psychi and Energy Supply complex the Yergins act like we can protect.

And likely economically devastating blow to the World Economy... hmmmm, maybe The Mother will play cat and mouse with us for a while before delivering lethal blows to the Sap Herd...?

P.S.  I think that if Mother Nature were even aware of Mr. Yergin-The-Dunce, She would be EXTREMELY disappointed that such a talented on SQUANDEREDn his WishSong on Trivial Pursuits in Defence of The Grandes Illusion Yet that the Manz-thingy has Played On It'self.

Poor Yergin - I bet that poor sap makes a Blind-date with a bullet before all is said and done.

I think MR. JERKIN YERGIN mistook HIMSELF for a Wave MAker when in fact he is Nothing More than a Wave Rider like all of the Rest of US SAPS.

(wave metaphor by David Hackett Fischer, used and abused w/o permission)

(( and just shut up, I can talk to myself all I want if I want - or cry if I want to even - LMAO, as if.)_

DEAREST MOMMY dearest... does you think the Jerk Yergin actually can control Eddies in the Gulf of Mexico TOOOO ?!?!?!?

Weather those eddies are in the gas phase or the liquid phase - or maybe in both?

And the SUNSPOTS will agree to with Mr. Jerk-who-supsends-his-WISHSONG when it is needed the MOST.

Poor, poor saps... their naked leaders will soon be headless like all the rest and then can join the Horseys with Quiet Headless=but-hooded Riders... the ones YOURS Truly usually employess at these TimezUPs.... yessszzzzmmmm

Remember that the Conservatives who are in power in Ottawa also are in power in Alberta. There is a lot of provincial protectionism feeling too - that is, Alberta resents oil/energy money earned in Alberta going to the other provinces at the whim of Ottawa. That is why there is an independence movement in Alberta, very small but vocal.
Jack (or anyone else knowledgeable), you may want to educate us yankees on the various separtist movements in Canada.  In my research for this, I stumbled across a few groups calling for the western provinces to secede (a la the Quebecois) but I didn't think it was much of a political probability...?
Prof. Goose,

  I do not claim to be an expert here, but I can offer some stuff up.

The obvious one we all know is the Bloc Québecois which has about 50 seats in the Canadian parliament and would like Quebec to be independent. If it were to become independent France would be the first country to recognize it with Canada and the USA probably the second and the third. Frankly I think it would be a good idea, as part of the recent Govt. scandal that got the Liberals kicked out was them putting immigrants into Quebec to keep the separatist just weak enough so as to not get 50% +1 vote.

There are two extremely weak movements in the east maritime provinces. Cape Breton Island - an area which is currently a part of Nova Scotia, but in the past it has been a separate colony. Cape Breton Island is usually considered distinct from mainland Nova Scotia by people across Canada including mainland Nova Scotia. Provincehood has been advocated by the Cape Breton Labour Party.
Labrador - the Mainland portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Labrador Party campaigns on the platform of a separate province. These two have no seats in parliament and the Maritime Provinces are sort of like our West Virginia economically - but without the coal!

You go out west and it gets more interesting as there is a lot of resentment towards Quebec for all the Frenchyness there and Ontario and Quebec (and the Maritimes since they are so poor) because they have MOST OF THE PEOPLE and thus most of the votes. Because of the concentration of population it can be argued that there are JUST three places in Canada. Quebec, Montreal and Toronto.

Which means they are always trying to get money from Alberta. Alberta is just a financial powerhouse because of the energy money. Highest wages, lowest unemployment.

You can check this out at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_Party_of_Alberta. So far it is very weak (not even 5000 votes in the last election), but one of the legitimate politicians from the Conservatives (I think) recently took a leadership role in this party.

But it speaks to a mood in Canada, especially the resentment of the west towards eastern Canada. Harper, being from the west may help this resentment go away, but watch what happens with this budding oil wealth. And don't forget Canada is gearing up (Canadian Pacific Railroad is completing a big rail upgrade) so more minerals can be shipped from British Columbia to China. That means the mountain areas of Canada and British Columbia will get richer.

Two last things.

  1. You can not judge the western provinces as a unit. For example, Alberta is the most conservative and closest to the Republican Party of the USA for a province. Next door in Saskatchewan is a province that has roots in the Great Depression that makes it near socialist - the NEP is quite strong there - Canada's most left party with seats in Parliament.
  2. If Canada were to break-up, there would be Americans who would like to see a couple provinces become states, but the Democrat Party would be the big beneficiaries of that!

For something light-hearted check out the Western separatist flag:


Some minor corrections.

The scandal that led to the defeat of the Liberals had nothing to do with immigration. It's known as the "sponsorship scandal" because funds were fraudulently diverted by Liberal friendly Quebec advertising agencies from the Sponsorship Program. That program donated money to local Quebec events in exchange for the right to post Canadian logos and flags at the events, countering donations, logos and flags placed by the provincial sovereignist (separatist) government. Some of the diverted funds found their way back to the Liberal party in Quebec.

Ontario and Quebec have both most of the population and create the largest share of the GDP. Ontario alone accounts for 40% of Canada GDP. It also contributes the largest absolute share of the transfer payments that go from the "rich" provinces (Ontario, Alberta and B.C.) to the "poor" provinces (all the rest). Alberta, however, contributes the most on a per-capita basis. The resentment of the west, particlarly Alberta, towards the east has partly to do with the fact that highly urbanized and industrialized Ontario dominates the confederation politically and economically as well as partly to do with the west's historical role as supplier of raw materials to the east (it's much like Canada's traditional relationship with the US). Alberta would like to be able exercise its new economic power to tilt political power its way. There are large cultural differences between the socially liberal east and socially conservative rural Alberta.

In number 1 of the the "two last things", NEP should be NDP for the socialist New Democratic Party, which is or has governed 3 of the 4 western provinces: British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The federal Bloc Quebecois and provincial Parti Quebcois can also be considered as socialist or socialist leaning parties.


Thank you for your corrections and additions. I should have got NDP right! If I was Canadian I probably would have voted NDP.

I would point out, as you state, that the immediate govt. crisis that brought about the fall of the Liberal Govt. was over the Sponsorship Scandal. However, underlying it is another old running sore in Quebec politics. And that has been a policy that was set before the last election before the most recent one of funneling immigrants, certainly from nations that were not French/France (!) into Quebec, especially the Montreal Metro area, and that was to offset the French Quebec vote.

It would be like encouraging new immigrants to America from 3rd world countries to move to Texas so we could get Texas to vote for the Democrat Party.

It would be like encouraging new immigrants to America from 3rd world countries to move to Texas so we could get Texas to vote for the Democrat Party.

It's the Democratic Party, not the Democrat Party.  

The right-wing spin machine are the only ones that call it the "Democrat Party."  Apparently because they don't want a positive word like "democratic" associated with those evil libruls.

I can't say that I've ever heard immigration raised as issue by the Parti Quebecois. Of course, Jacques Parizeau did infamously blame "immigrants" for the loss of the last referendum on sovreignty, but the party was quick to denounce him for that.

The Province of Quebec has considerable control over immigration policy and integration programs, more than other provinces. The children of immigrant families must in most cases be educated in French and are actively integrated into the francophone community. Many come from French speaking countries. An example is our current Governor General, Michaelle Jean, born in Haiti.

While immigrants have traditionally voted for Liberals federally, this is changing. In the last election the Bloc was able to recruit candidates from the immigrant communities.

Iceland would rightfully object to the first flag shown.  Too easily confused with theirs at sea, etc.


The first Icelandic flag (blue & white cross in corner and three stripes from memeory) was rejected for being too close to Greek flag.

I saw a couple of "Old Flags" on display during their Independence Day parade.

The point that different parts of Canada have distinctly different political cultures is indeed an important one. As Jack mentions, some parts of Canada (notably Alberta) have more in common with the US in some ways than they do with other parts of Canada. Tensions have arisen over this before and will do again. For a discussion of border-independent regional identies across North America see The Nine Nations of North America by Joel Garreau. Also An Empire Wilderness: Travels into America's Future by Robert D Kaplan can shed some light on the issue.

Peak oil is likely to exacerbate regional differences significantly given the very uneven distribution of energy resources (and wealth) between provinces. During the last oil crisis, the federal government under Pierre Trudeau's Liberals introduced a National Energy Plan which is still a very sore point in the west many years after being cancelled by Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative government. The new Conservative government under Stephen Harper (a free market True Believer) would not reintroduce such a measure, but his successors might.

With the Liberal party in disarray, Harper's minority government will probably be kept in power for quite some time with the support of the dirigiste Bloc Quebecois. Ideologically, these parties are at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but both have an interest in decentralization - Harper because he dislikes big government (especially eastern big government which has not traditionally paid much attention to the interests of the west) and the BQ because they are separatists. Canadian federalism is quite weak already and may be weakened further by this government (although with a Liberal majority in the senate able to veto anything too extreme its powers will be limited).

IMO Canada is likely to turn to the left as a response to peak oil, and a government of the left may well try to reintroduce a successor to the National Energy Plan (as well as attempt to repudiate the NAFTA energy-sharing provisions). My guess is that this would ignite strong separatist forces in the west, to put it mildly. I would expect the US to attempt to widen whatever divisions appear in order to divide and rule. (De facto control is probably all that would be necessary from the American point of view - de jure ownership is messier). Canadian federalism may not be strong enough (unfortunately) to prevent the disintegration of the country under conditions of scarcity.

I can share some perspective from myself, an Albertan with a history in the oil business and fairly knowledgeable about what is going on in the oilsands.

First of all, yes, there is concern by Alberta residents about the pollution that arises from tarsands and other oil production operations.  We live here, and we are well educated about environmental concerns.  This is happening on our doorstep in Edmonton, and in our back yard (Athebasca and Peace country regions).

Provincial government regulations are getting tighter and company efforts are reducing per bbl emissions (check Suncor and Syncrude corporate websites for information).  However, there is much to be done, especially regarding CO-2 emissions.  

In this province we do have industry groups working actively to commoditize CO-2.  For example, page EJ13 of the Edmonton Journal 'Alberta Oil and Gas Report' March 9 (can be viewed on-line) contains an article on the status of efforts.  The Federal Government and the Alberta provincial gov'ts are working with the private industry ICON group (Integrated CO-2 Network).  Industry sees high value in connecting large CO-2 producers (power plants, refineries, tarsands upgraders, etc) to large commercial projects.  The big talk here is about enhanced oil recovery from legacy fields by massive CO-2 injection.  The commercial demand is there, but the legislation to encourage capture of CO-2, and the compression plants and pipelines aren't in place...yet.  I early posted an article on one company that has a pilot project and has recently spent half a billion dollars to buy legacy oilfields for CO-2 recovery.

Alberta has several other projects underway which utilize CO-2 for enhanced oil recovery.  But unless you are reading the local industry news, it is hard to know what is going on.

As for the consumption of large amounts of N. Gas in the tarsands upgrading process...that is correct with current production technology.  However, there is a new process in operation at Opti that all tarsands producers are evaluating.  It doesn't use n.gas...it uses the coke produced in the upgrading process.  Again, there is more information in the articles I mentioned above in the Oil and Gas Report.

All this talk about NAFTA.  The reality is oil production in Alberta is a business.  As long as it is profitable to produce and sell oil to America (or anywhere else), this will entice significant investment in new production. Some recent estimates show 2.3 Trillion barrels of oil in the tarsands which may ultimately be recoverable as oil prices continue to rise.  

As for the relations ship between Alberta and the U.S.  Unlike some regions of Canada (e.g. central Canada), most Albertans are very entreprenural and see America positively, and as a valued trading partner.  In fact, if you look at Alberta's trade, it is mostly north south.  Go to Calgary and you see American flags alongside of Canadian flags.  

Yes there is a small separtist movement in Alberta.  Emphasis on small!  But it is driven by fear that the Federal Government will do something stupid like they did in 1980 and put in place a disastrous National Energy Policy.  The big fear in Alberta is that the Feds will take away the prosperity by taxing the industry to death, or by other measures.

So in summary, yes, the boom in the growth of oil, gas and tarsands production facilities is straining local capacities and impacting the environment.  But Albertans aren't sitting on their hands.  Industry is not complacent.  The rhetoric is heating up, not because the problem is being ignored, but because change in legislation, facilities, etc. takes time, and we are all impatient.  There are many competing agendas and priorities.

Finally, the talk by some posters that America will just march in 'take' the oil is irresponsible. Our two countries have worked side by side collabortively for over a hundred years to exploit  resources.  You want to make Canadians paranoid that big brother is going to take away our prosperity and property?  That is trash talk.

Anyway, I sure the views of this one Albertan won't sway the 'know it alls'.  But for those who are open minded and want to help all of us in moving forward to improve the energy picture, environment and future for our citizens...please take the time to be informed.  Read our local industry reports, news stories and residents' viewpoints.  We are in this together.

Dispite my points, I am very appreciative for the information and ideas exchanged on this site.  I've truely benefited from the discussions on peak oil and related topics.  Thanks everyone who contributes.

I'm not sure if I'm one of the "know it alls" or one of the "not know it alls". I do sort of know, that the more I think I know, the more I know that there's so much more I don't know; and that's kind of comforting.

I also know that in this kind of forum, given the restrictions time and space allow, one often has to use a broad brush, speak in headlines and generally press on the gas so to speak. That is perhaps an unfortunate metaphor to use on TOD, sorry.

Often, playing the role of the Devil's advocate can speed-up discourse and get debates moving. This is the place to kick ideas around like hell and be "creative", because it's our creative use of our intelligence that't gonna get us out of the mess we're in.

Clearly one can upset people by one's choice of rhetorical devices.

I also think that one can in fact "take" Canada's or anyone elses resources if one wants to. Sending in the Marines would be a last resort, just buying it all up is preferable for now at least.

Strangely, the American military apparently developed plans in the last centuary for the occupation of parts of Canada and even a short war with the British Empire. But of course soldiers are always making plans for one thing or another, so I wouldn't read too much significance into it.

At the time of the American Civil War over the "Trent Affair" we almost came to blows with the British and they did send out 10,000 well equiped Regulars to Canada in the event we (USA) did not back down. The famous Lincoln quote went something like, "I want to fight one war at a time."
 While the Americans were spending considerable time and effort drawing up plans for the invasion of Canada, we went down and burned Washington. When you admire the architecture of the White House, you have to give thanks for the belligerance of our marines.

As for Writerman's proposal to have US marines seize Canadian energy supplies, I think Exxon, Chevron, and a few other property owners (myself and Oilaholic amoung them) are going to be a little tetchy about that.

Dear Bop, I don't think I was actually proposing sending in the marines to occupy the Alberta oil-sands, was I? I'm sorry if I gave that impression. I don't advocate doing it. I only, with a bit of irony thrown in for good measure, wondered if it might be a possibility down the line. I can of course go one better and even imagine a future where American and Chinese marines slug it out in the snows of Alberta fighting over the last few barrels of thousand dollar oil!
You have the handle wrong, Writerman. It is BOP not Bop.

My only comment is this:

    What exactly am I saying? How do you know what I mean when I don't actually say what I mean a lot of the time?

That pretty much sums it up, I think. Maybe you can start to understand what the concern is, now.

Thanks for your helpful and insightful comments.  However, I must respectfully take issue with the points articulated in one of your paragraphs:  

"Finally, the talk by some posters that America will just march in 'take' the oil is irresponsible. Our two countries have worked side by side collabortively for over a hundred years to exploit  resources.  You want to make Canadians paranoid that big brother is going to take away our prosperity and property?  That is trash talk."

The use of terms such as "irresponsible" and "trash talk" to characterize speculations about possible future military interventions in Canada are both instances of the ad hominem fallacy.  Your epithets are irrelevantly directed "at the man" rather than at the intellectual substance of their claims.  

And wherein does this intellectual substance consist?  First, there is the fundamentally bellicose character of America's posture in the world in recent years taken all by itself.  Second, there is America's obvious and growing need for external energy supplies.  Third, there exist certain high-level planning documents (e.g.: declassified US military plans for hypothetical invasions of Canada), recent joint military arrangements (e.g.: NORTHCOM), public statements by various high-level officials in both countries, and other bits of hard evidence that make the idea that America may just indeed march in and take over the oil in Canada in the medium to long-term an eminently rational one to adopt.  

Having made my basic logical point, I will take the lazy-man's way out at this point, and leave it to some of my fellow "irresponsible trash-talkers" to go find and hyperlink the hard evidence I am speaking of with a greater degree of detail than I have managed in this post.  

Thank you for your post. You seem to be a sane human being.
I appreciate the commmendation, writerman.  As a MEA CULPA, I should also say (and this is most especially directed towards alberta, who was the object of my criticisms in this instance) that I am just as liable to slip into the ad hominem fallacy-type mode as anyone is.  It happens all the time, I must acknowledge with sadness.

But still, I try to make a point of defending what I regard as unjustifiably marginalized viewpoints (often, but not always, of the "conspiracy theory" variety) from those types of objections.

I'm also from Alberta (I work in oil sands research)
and I respectfully disagree with "Alberta"'s (previous poster) viewpoints on many issues, so it's not a consensus.

However, I conceed that Alberta is very right leaning and pro-American and has a terrible environmental record. We also have a bit of a problem in that there is no real governement opposition on the provincial level. This is similar to how the PRI ran Mexico for 70 odd years. It's easy to bury lots of bodies in the back yard if you know you're never going to be followed into office by the next party coming to power behind you. Alberta has some of the lowest royalty rates of any developed country and there are NO royalies on Oil Sands until the company has paid for infrastructure (which they stretch out by bundling in all costs).

For example some very fishy deals with ENRON were basically brushed under the table (came out in the US media but avoided notice here) when the government privatized electricity, and Albertan customers still don't seem to mind that prices are higher as a result. In other words, there is a kind of religious faith in the market (even though many things called "market" forces aren't bona fide capitalism, but are more like rigged cronyism, see my comment about single party rule above).

So, don't expect Albertans to complain about our oil going to the US. Any talk of rationing the resource is sacrilege, and the Alberta Energy Utilities Board (in charge of conservation, worked for them myself for a bit) is essentially a lapdog. The weird thing is, people aren't doing anything much to complain, because there is still a fair bit of cash sloshing around. In Calgary many municipal seats go unchallenged and voter turnout is dismal. Involvement in the political system is very minimal. A company recently applied to drill a bunch of critical wells in a high pressure sour (25%H2S) reservoir within a few km of Calgary (population 1000000) and the public resistance was negligible. I worked with some groups to raise awareness on this and it was futile.

As for the separatist movements, they've very small, but even the premier of the province (like the governor) likes to inflame interprovincal tensions to keep all the spears pointed outwards. That trick is old as the hills, but still seems to work. He remains very popular in spite of being an alcoholic and saying some outrageous things in public. He is also on record for denying global warming and if it did exist, it might actually be due to animal flatulence.

As for NAFTA, equally scary would be our committments to provide water. This has been kept off the table for now, but there is pressure to make this a salable commodity. Actually, the big problem for oil sands, IMHO, it's the resulting consumption of refined fuel and fresh water to produce a sulphur rich heavy fuel.

Forget the economics, it's the strategic value that counts. Besides, Canada is in no position to boycott the US since our entire economy has been foolishly harnessed to theirs and we export something like 90% or our exports south. Forgetting economics, if it goes from push to shove, I don't even think we could survive strategically (like in a currency crash/barter scenario) because I don't think we are food independent - I might be wrong on this.

Canada's exports of processed food products exceed imports by about 30%. In 2003, Canada exported $16.8 billion worth of processed food products and imported $12.6 billion. The food processing industry accounts for about 4% of Canada's merchandise trade essentially the same as it was in 1995. Canada has always been a major food exporter

Just some interesting facts. Canada is very, very rich in many ways, more ways than most Americans realize. It is also more politically diverse than many Americans realize.
Actually, I own the Alberta tar sands.  At least a small part of them.  And like my fellow shareholders, I can guarantee you than we will sell every last drop of production to the highest bidder.  We're not concerned about conserving production for higher prices because we have 40 to 50 years worth of the stuff at peak production (which is a decade off) - maybe more.  We are protected by the commercial laws of Canada, which are not unlike those of the US.  The likelihood of any government taking over a private company is infinitisimal in any scenario, even Peak Oil.  So we shareholders will be making the decisions.

Incidentally, provicial royalties of 25% are starting to hit this year.  The govt. of Alberta will be able to buy most of the US in a few years.   They are the Arabs of North America.

On the other hand, nearly every other oil exporting country is not a democracy, especially Russia.  They can (and will) make decisions to hold back production, to sell for less than market prices to countries that offer other incentives (e.g. military protection), to subsidize energy costs within their own country, or lots of other things.  All of those things are happening and will happen increasingly and the implications of them for the global oil market is far more important IMO than any other factors.

From what I've read above, the situation in Canada is very simple: there Sunnis and there are Shiites. They'll wage war against each other while we make off with oil. This is working really swell in Iraq. What't all this fuss about?

Anyway, bye, Dick is on the other line.

It was hinted above that the Mexicans are smarter than Canadians, having at least browsed the NAFTA treaty before signing it. But it is well known, on both theoretical and emprical grounds that intelligence is inversely proportional to the cube of military strength. (Why cube? Any BLOCKhead knows that.)

So Canada doesn't fare well. In the case of the US, there are debates about whether trace amounts have been detected or the measurement device is defective.

I wonder if the USA might not dissolve like the USSR (at least I hope it is peaceful this time).  I bet the Upper Midwest and N.E. States, as well as Canada, will be reluctant to let some south-western state have at the great lakes... and that seems like a good possibility if the people of the S.W. also want to keep their AWOL.
One of the greatest novels of our time is ECOTOPIA that was written in the early 70's.

The greatest flaw in it is that the USA made a decision in 1860-1865 about trying to dissolve the Union. It can not be done.

Come on Jack!  The Mother can undo it.  Really, think about the likely conflict coming w/i the states.  Will the Southern states maybe want to keep their remaining oil for themselves at some point?  I can't speak for the midwest, canada or N.E. but my guess is they would not like to have the Great Lakes siphoned off for pressurizing oil wells or for the desert S.W that drains it's aquifers several times faster than they are replenished.  

I'll have to read that one - I love futuristic stuff like that.  Did you ever read Lord of the Flies - or purhaps more appropriate for many places here and there Soon - Lucifer's Hammer (minus the astroid - maybe some hukes but "probably" not at that scale).


I might have had the same thought when I first read it. Ecotopia that is. It has a lot of alternative thought in it. I usually reread it every five years or so.

A professor I had, looked and acted like an old Prussian bureaucrat with coke-bottle thick glasses and he never published, pointed out to me when I brought this up to him about central and northern California with Oregon and Washington seceding, and he said, the Civil War decided that. The Union would have to be exhausted to let it happen.

There is a reason why you hold 13, let alone 50, sticks together and can not break them, while you can break each individual one.

I know the Lord of the Flies, saw the movie but never read it.

I would agree with your professor, and I can only imagine two things that could cause the union to become exhausted.  Scaricity of water and scaricity of oil (not to mention food, meds, veHICles etc, etc...).

I have not seen the movie but IMHO the book is always better.  And at least check out Lucifer's Hammer.  It's sort of one of (if not) the original astroid strike book.  The cause is not as interesting as the way Homo sap behaves after civilized clothing is shed ... and lil' Charley's Naked Apes come out... (Omega Manz meets reality...???)

Try reading Pincher Martin, same author as Lord of the Flies. That novel has an apt metaphor for the world: Buried tin box full of maggots. Maggot eats maggot; larger eats smaller; until finally only one maggot left. The Chinese, who buried the box, dig it up and eat the remaining maggot. (The Chinese here are, metaphorically, not those in Asia.) Nature bats last.
THAK YOU STORMY... I sincerely mean it.

I love honest books that look honestly at the Manz Thingy as an ANIMAL that THINKS it thinks well... well enough to Outsmart Mother Nature... sort of like our DNR who Can't manage Deer populations or bugs or weeds or bi-valves in OUR forests, lakes etc.

Litte Critter with BIG Reality TV Image of it'self... the TRUTH IS Mother Nature is not even aware of us, let alone as Impressed with US as WE seem to be.... ;p)

Pincher Martin is IMO the best book Golding ever wrote. Unfortunately, because of my knowledge of Atlantic geography the meaning of the book was almost immediately obvious to me, but I won't spoil it for those who have not read this most excellent and true-to-life and true-to-death novel.

Every time a new book comes out, I reread an old one, because most of the new stuff is trash, especially the fiction and the nonfiction. Some of the memoirs coming out now "creative non-or-semi-fiction are pretty good.

I'd like to see a discussion of movies and books that will help us to understand Peak Oil. "Syrianna" is an obvious must-see, but let me here nominate one of my favorite films, the classic "Wages of Fear," which is about Venezuela and oil and nitroglycerin--much as "Syrianna" is about Saudi Arabia and oil and terrrorism.

Oh, one more film to recommend: "Match Point" in which Woody Allen makes a magnificent film of harsh social criticism combined with a brilliant exposition of the importance of "luck" or perhaps more accurately "chance" or "happenstance." Really took me back to the old days when I used to coach tennis . . . .

No wonder I have always loved sailors...."yes I was born a pirate, 200 years to late" (jummy buffett doesn't realize there are still plenty of pirates and that there are gong to be many, MANY opportunities for More pirate-like saps in the future).

More MUST SEE and READ REALITY (or closer to it) TV and Books.  Thank you very much Sailorman.

OK, so I'm from Canada eh? and I've been readin this stuff. I just might add a few observations: I live in one of the "seperatist" provinces-Quebec. I think its kind of strange and a pain in the ass that in Quebec gas prices jump because we have to import ours and then send whatever is left over out west/south. Below is a article about the free trade agreement that mentions a clause (2205) that might allow Canada to opt out if the US does not follow other clauses in the agreement  (ie. softwood).


Also it was mentioned that Newfoundland was one of the "poor" eastern provices. Well not lately, ther're reaping a fortune off of their offshore oil boom of their own. But they're given up a lot of their former fishermen labour force to "Fort Macmurry eh by"- Der goin off da rock to werk in da oil fields"
  As a Quebecer, we have a small advantage of having a surplus of Hydro power and more on the way so if we play it smart, we might be O.K. when the rest of the oil runs out. As for separation, it won't happen. It would be financial suiside, though a lot of french Quebecers wouldn"t mind being part of the U.S.The native population that live up north won't allow it, they'll just block the five or six roads that lead north so that Quebec would just be the bottom 200 klm. that runs along the border with the U.S.
-Keep up the post though, I love talking about this stuff-

"Der goin off da rock to werk in da oil fields"-LMAO.  

You Canucks better be careful ... Uncle Sam might just need a helpin' hand OUT from The Greater White North.  Hey, you think Canada might get upset if "anyone" makes plans to siphon off the Great Lakes for any reason?  I don't recall every reading the opinion of a Canadian on that subject.

I'm from Québec also, and I feel obliged to point out that while a chunk of the population might not mind joining with the USA, the original purpose of the Separatist Mouvement is to keep the French cultural identity. I don,t think the USA can give much assurance on this point.

I do think that PO, if/when it materializes would grant Québec a better chance at separation. The original purpose of the Federation was to counter balance American influence. With increased transportation difficulties, it is conceivable that greater regional autonomy will be a fact of life.

Personally, I've always thought that Québec would be vulnerable to invasion from the USA, not on account of oil, but water. If oil is vital to the economy, wait and see the reaction of people here when we export water to the good ol' US of A.

No wonder I have always loved paradoxes.

I think the Global Village Meets Fractured Fairy Tales as Humpty Dumpty falls off This Exponential Growth Wave.

I think PROFOUNDLY Local is exactly that.  Smaller States with more control and local responsibility.

DECENTRALIZED use of resources.... hhmmm that poor marx guy also thought he could Make Waves and could not...

Better luck "next time" Homo Sap (and yes Chicken titbabies, there of course WILL be MANY more Next Times to come... scared twitless I hopenotz this TIMEZup... ??? ...

Okay, another Sane one in the market... the "ONLY" suport...

"James Williams, an economist" at WTRG Economics...
"The only support for oil prices comes from fear of a supply interruption from Iran or Nigeria, and the knowledge that there is too little spare capacity to cover a major supply problem from either count."

Okay, so there is so little spare capacity... and that capacity must be elastic enough to cover future growth in demand... that is NOT a worry to Mr. Econo-Creationist.

But of course, note his focus: ""This, combined with very high crude-oil and product inventories,created a bearish environment," he added.  -- So grave threats to supply disruptions that Jurkin' Yergin says are sooo important AND maxed out production levels are about ON PAR with CURRENT INVENTORIES....  hmmmm I wonder. IF he is right, does that mean the Markets can NOT see beyond the end of their nose... ???

From under what do these critters crawl out from anywayz...

"http://www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/Story.aspx?guid=%7B247B4A8A%2DD501%2D42D3%2DA1AF%2DB93BF26576A 2%7D&siteid=yhoo&dist=

OOOooh (Africa), it sounds so simple  I just got to go
- Not...

The meek might inherit the earth but In The Mean time the Poorest Cracks in the Great Humpty will get to Feel the Economic pain and the Civil havoc first...

Police Run On Empty
March 10, 2006
Posted to the web March 10, 2006

The Namibian police face a major crisis - part of their fleet of vehicles is not running owing to lack of fuel.

Some regions in the country are more affected than others and are operating at a snail's pace because of the shortage, which stems from the force's failure to pay its fuel bill due to lack of funds.

Police Chief Inspector Hieronymus Goraseb confirmed the news yesterday ... that most police filling depots have run dry...source at the Namibian Police said some of the police stations have parked their vehicles because there is no fuel.

"Police stations in the regions have been bombarding the head office with phone calls because their operations have come to a standstill," said a source...




OK if I speak in headlines too.

Er,the mighty US military machine cannot secure the road to Baghdad airport.

They've been trying for 3 years and still can't do it.

I know that any move by Septics against Canada would result in a flood of Commonwealth jihadis.

Heck I think I'll be at the Commonwealth Games with my placard urging Commonwealth sanctions against the US.

I raised an eyebrow when Jack Greene mentioned the strength of the Union and compared it to a bundle of sticks. 13 sticks or 50 sticks being far stronger than 1 stick.

In ancient Rome this too was a symbol of strength through unity. A number of wooden rods were bound together into an unbreakable whole using a red belt. In the middle of the bundle of sticks, sticking out there was an axe. This emblem was usually carried before an official as a sign of his ability to act as a judge. It is called a Faces.

It is perhaps better known to most people as the symbol of the Italian Fascist Party. Europe's first, and very influential, mass, Fascist movement. They were authoritarian, nationalistic, antisocialist and undermined parliamentary democracy forming a dictatorship based on the rule of the supreme Leader. El Duce - Mussolini, who styled himself as a Roman Emperor. He loved wearing military clothes and giving speeches to men in uniform. For them the State had to be militarily strong and independent of the will of the people. El Duce and the small, tightknit, elite around him, new best. They also adopted an agressive, expansionist, and "heroic" foreign policy based on militarism and adventurism, which led ultimately to bankrupcy and disaster for Italy.

Is this starting to sound familiar to anyone?

No, it really doesn't. But I can guess what you mean. You are somehow trying to compare American foreign policy to that of the Romans and fascist Italians. You are trying to compare Bush with Mussolini. Why don't you just say what you mean to say instead of wrapping it up in all this nonsense about bundles of sticks and emperors? Why can't you just say you think Bush is a Nazi? George Soros did it. The Arabs do it fairly consistently. It seems to be quite acceptable these days.

Italy seems to be doing fine, so "ultimately" you would be wrong.


I hate this discussion.

  1. it is Fasces: "The fasces lictoriae ("bundles of the lictors") (in Italian, fascio littorio) symbolized power and authority (imperium) in ancient Rome." Don't go too far with this as those symbols are on either side of the podium in the hallowed halls of Congress.  And on our coins.

  2. they were not anti-socialism, note that the NAZI Party is National SOCIALISM German Workers Party. NSDAP in German.

  3. comparing Bush to Fascism is silly. Bush is a capitalist who can not see beyond the next quarterly report AND an oil baron. Fascists were the European 1920's and 1930's "third way" who supported environmentalist policies (think NAZI Sierra Club here - they loved to go hiking in the Black Forest) along with being against stuff like NAFTA (they hated that period's WAL-MART - think department stores like Macys and the Nazi Party supported the small shop-owner. Same in Italy). So no, it is not familiar.

To the fundamental point, could the USA tear itself apart over regional issues? Regional issues that have been well outlined in the discussion above (water, oil in some areas but not all, coal in other), yes, it could, but it would be unlikely in the extreme for the 50 sticks to self-destruct.

One example to me is that as PO moves on the USA will see a revival of rail travel. The RR industry in Canada and the USA is very healthy right now and growing and hybrid locomotives are a big new and growing area in the RR industry. Granted they are still pretty much for switcher-yard engines, but that will change. The problem is that there will be "friction" during the period of transition.

Plus, GHG are such a problem and they get worst. Shutting down world-wide population growth is going to take decades when we want to do it in days.

Stop population growth and the polar bear might live in the wild instead of the zoo in 2050.

hybrid locomotives are a big new and growing area in the RR industry. Granted they are still pretty much for switcher-yard engines....
Not any more.
  1. The Green Goat hybrids are remanufactured switcher engines, using DC motors I believe.
  2. GE is making an over-the-road hybrid locomotive.  That one's brand-new.
Dear Jack Greene and Oil CeO,

I really seem to have touched a raw nerve here!

The reason I wrote what I did was simple. Jack was discussiing the posssibility of Union falling apart with someone here and mentioned the fact that fourteen sticks or fifty sticks in a bundle were stronger than one stick. This is true. I guess he was refering to the states in the Union of the United States of America.

I just thought it was an interesting and intriging metaphor/symbol to use, one that I recognised. One can't deny that it is a very powerful symbol. I mean it's been around for over two thousand years in one form or another. It symbolizes strength, unity and not least - Power. I thought it was interesting to see this symbol being used today, especially given the historical connection to both Imperial Rome and the New Rome of Italian Fascism. I mean today it's not exactly a neutral symbol is it? It carries a lot of very negative connotations for a lot of people, not least in Europe and especially Italy.

I think it's also odd that Oil CEO should attack me for stating the obvious, that Fascism was a disaster for Italy and by extention the rest of Europe. He seems to be implying that "ultimately", looking at Italy today, Fascism has somehow be a positive experience when you take the long view. I must be mistaken here. He can't possibly mean that can he?

I wasn't sure that Jack was fully aware of this or how many others on TOD were. I thought maybe he'd just thought of this metaphor himself and as such this interested me. That such an old symbol of power could rise again almost like a phoenix rising from the ashes! I hope I haven't caused offence to anyone by using this symbol too.

I also thought it was interesting, maybe for people who don't realize the significance of this Fascist symbol to give a little background information relating to the basic characteristics of Italian Fascism. I think it's clear that Jack seems to know a lot more about this subject than I do.

At no time did I mention anything in my post about Bush or anyone esle in the administration or make any specific connection between present day United States policies and Italian Fascism. That interpretation is the sole property of Oil CeO and it would appear, Jack Greene. Where did I mention Bush? Where did I call him a Fascists? These are conclusions Oil CEO came to on his own after having read my brief outline. I was after all describing the character of Fascism in Italy well over ninety years ago! You two did all the rest. You obviously have vivid imaginations. Are the similarities between Fascist Italy and it's warped ideilogy and the United States today that obvious in your opinions? Niether did I compare Bush to the Nazis or call him a Nazi. That is a mistake both Jack Greene and Oil CEO both make. I make no such connection or claim. It's you who have brought it up.

I did make a mistake when I was typing though. I know it should have been Fasces. I'm sorry. I'm surprised you seem to think it's that important. I hit the wrong keys a lot, Jack. But thanks for the information about the other places one can find this symbol in the United States. It's interesting and I'm sure Dan Brown is following the clues already. I am glad the United States didn't decide to use the sun symbol so beloved of other Fascist groups, that would really have been unfortunate.

I did of course say that some of the traits pertaining to classic Italian Fascism reminded me of something else, but I did not say what, or where, when. I was very careful in that respect not to mention any specific country. But to be honest, I do think there are echoes from Fascism to be found in many countries these days, not least militarism and neo-colonialism, and perhaps the cult of the warrior-hero.

I think I was being/attempting to be very neutral in what I wrote. It is you who have made this connection across the decades not me! Isn't that interesting? I'm not sure I agree with you though. I don't think that Bush is a Fascist. I do not think that the United States is a Fascist state. I do not think that Fascism comparable to the Italian variant is waiting just around the corner. But I do think your reaction to my post is revealing. Though I would contend it tells us more about your thoughts, reactions and fears, than mine.

The complaint, Writerman, is that instead of just saying what you have to say you go off on this stupid riff about fasces and fascism and oh isn't it interesting and so forth. Just stop wasting our time.
Dear Sqeakyrat,

What exactly am I saying? How do you know what I mean when I don't actually say what I mean a lot of the time? You and others want me to say things in a certain way, and you put words in my mouth that I clearly haven't said, and then you get irritated when I have the temerity to defend myself and answer you back. You think I'm implying things about the current Bush administration that I'm afraid to say openly. You are wrong about this. Why do I have to express myself in ways you dictate?

Clearly you and a few other people have begun thinking and reacting to what I wrote, but you guys did almost all the thinking, not me. I was the catalyst. You guys took the ball and ran with it. How are you so sure what my attitude to Fascism is? How many Fascists have you met and talked to? Have you been to Italy?

I met a number when I was working in Italy many years ago. They surprised me a lot. They were young guys with beards and long hair and a wore fashionable Italian clothes. They liked wine, rock-music, girls and drugs. They were also revolutionaries and romantics. They were nostaligic for a time that never existed. The glory that was Rome. These guys were working-class Italians who wanted another kind of society. They weren't intellectuals or particularly well-educated. They had a kind of gut, emotional connection to Fascism. Most of the time they were pretty cool to be around. I found them interesting to talk to. I was really intrigued that their strange ideas were still going around in Italy. I imagine they've changed a lot over the years. I know I have.

Why are so many people on TOD so sensitive about my short post about the origin of the Fascist symbol the Fasces? We are after all, dealing with a subject and movement that passed it's sell-by date decades ago, aren't we?

I just think it's an interesting symbol to use at this particular time and on a site like this.

Fundamentally, some people don't seem to recognise the difference between asking a question and making a statement.

I also think that at times there are some "interesting" ideas floating around on TOD that worry me. A lot of the posts on "over-population for example.

I like to as questions. I think a lot of what's written on TOD is interesting. It's provocative, educational and sometimes a bit scary.

Now especially, as we appear to be going to war again for oil. Personally I don't think oil is worth the price in blood. I'm not sure our civilization is really worth killing for. I'd like to at least think about it before we start the blood-letting. I think war is counter-productive, especially now, when we've got so good at it.

Finally here is another interesting question, how is this for being direct? Are there neo-fascists posting on TOD? And if so, what is the correct neo-fascist attitude to Peak Oil?

My amateur impression of (neo)faschism is that it is an apocalyptic movement among other. The big crizis/war/second comming will clense the people/race/faith/chosen ones/gaia of the unworthy/heathen/lower races  giving a pure/1000 year reich/heavenly/sustainable future.

The correct responce to peak oil would probably be, "bring it on", since it gives a useful background for propaganda for joining such a movement and an opportunity to act in any chaos and thus they benefit from adding to a chaos instead of working to avoid it.

I do not worry about fachists and nazis since almost everybody know how they look and that such people are bad people. The problem is the same kind of pushing on psycological power buttons from organizations that most people do not recognize as evil. Look for how they regard people and what kind of society they aim for, not for brown shirts.

Kære Magnus, Kan du forstår dansk hvis jeg skriver det? Jeg er lidt bange for nogle folk på denne post. Jeg mener at hvis fascismen viste sig igen i hvor tid, at det ville ikke ligner den gammeldags slags overhovedet! Jeg har været ironisk idag. Nogle af disse meget højreorienterede Amerikaner er lidt/meget synsyg. Jeg håber ikke at de kan læse dansk!

Jeg tror ikke at Bush er fascist, men der er nogle sider af den amerikanske politik som minder om fascismen efter min mening. Er der virkelig en fare for en højre magtovertagelse i Amerika? Det ved jeg ikke, men man kan ikke være sikker. Heldigvis, er der mange Amerikaner som er ligeså bekymrede som jeg er. Have det godt.

Tyvärr kan jag inte svara dig på danska. Jag tror likheten främst är hur man utför politisk PR, den verkar vartefter blir mer cynisk och manipulativ. Jag vet inte hur väl mina funderingar stämmer med verkligheten men många amerikaner verkar helt ha tappat kontakten med marken vilket ger många olika sorters oro och vilda spekulationer. Det är svårt att urskilja vad som är befogad oro och vad som är hysteri.
Dear Magus, I think you're bascally correct in your analysis, but I do think you may be wrong about a couple of details. First, we know what Fascist used to look like in the past, their is no garantee they will come back wearing uniforms, carrying torches and marching throught the streets this time. Maybe they will wear suits, most of the time. Maybe they'll have western boots instead of jackboots? Maybe they'll smile and kiss babies? Maybe we won't recognise them at all? You are right about the last part though. They are still bad people like you said. Have det godt min ven! Jeg føler som om jeg har sparket til en hvepserede!
> Maybe they'll smile and kiss babies?

They did that last time. The german nazis were not unintelligent, they were extremely good at doing propaganda. I guess they can be compared with a popular rock group having large concerts married with the best PR-company for selling detergent that money can buy. They mashed togeather all kinds of feelings and  thought systems that can be used to manipulate people, they did not care about creating any internal logic.

I think the warning sign is that they had sick goals and used violent means to gain power. I have not seen signs of such violence in any western country.

If the nazi leaders had been more sane, had better moral and no goals about killing and enslaving people they could have had a much better future. They could have extended and rebuilt germany for civilian production as the end goal instead of military production, armed themselves for a likely stalin sovjet agression and probably beat stalin togeather with great britain. That would have given them a 50 or 100 year reich of extreme prosperity and the ability to buy most of europe and also enjoy a lot of culture they extinguished in the real history. With a better moral they could have had Churchils place in the history books and the US level of prosperity but they choose to do otherwise.

If some entitiy has recources enough for extreme violence they have also recources enough to do good productive things.

Suppose Hitler died in 1936, before occupying the Rhineland. Goering inherits power and decides to mellow out the Nazi agenda, focus on better food, better airlines, more art museums, butter not guns. I believe this could have happened. Sometimes a well-placed bullet can do wonders.

BTW, I have studied the life of Goering extensively, and he was a complex man, highly intelligent, and not at all the buffoon he is often made out to be. He believed Germany would lose the war but kept lying to Hitler about the capabilities of the Luftwaffe; some say he believed these lies, but he was close to his pilots, and he knew the truth and likely outcome of the war after the Battle of Britain and as soon as the decision to invade Russia was made. Nevertheless he remained loyal until the very end and killed himself to avoid humiliation and dishonor. No, he was not a nice man, but he was nothing like Hitler.

I am no expert but I think that would be too little too late. They built an organization that were perfect for abuse of power, it must have had manny more power abusers then hitler.
Do anybody know anything about neo-nazis etc? I have had far more contact and read about socialists then nazis. I have thought about this a little and a statement that hitler was bad but a late change to a second in command person would have  mended things would be along the same lines as out few local neo nazis who try to say that the holocaust never happened, etc. Its a strange way to reason, as if a mass murderer who people thought killed 40 people but then actually only killed 20 suddenly becomes not as bad.

I do not mean to accuse you Don but this line of reasoning could be usefull for quite bad people.  On the other hand I have stated the same kind of thing in that they could have done a lot of good for germany in the 30:s and gotten large ammounts of power in a reasonable way. But that must have included a change of moral, any political movement that is willing to kill its opponents is probably destined to become a monster and any leaders who use assination as a way to campaign will not create a nation where subcultures can thrive.

Perhaps the german nazis sealed their fate early in the way they fought with the local communists and the use of odd subcultures as scapegoats for failures?

There are propbably important lessons here for how the handling of conflicts due to bad times from peak oil can be handled in different ways, some of them leading to disasters.

I am old enough to have known some card-carrying members of the Nazi party. They were not nice people.

Also I know a fair amount about neo-Nazis in the United States, who they are, where they are, and what their plans are. They are not nice people.

I do not like Nazis. I do not like fascists. I feel sorry for communists and despise most socialists I know. Unthinking "capitalists" and advocates of the "free market" find it very easy to co-operate with fascists or Nazis.

See for example, the film "Schindler's List." Schindler was a nobody until the War made him rich.

We are in for tough times in years ahead. History suggests that as an alternative to anarchy people will choose dictatorship. Not all dictatorships are created equal. That of Julius Caesar was not bad. Sometimes benevolent "dictators" such as Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore can do much good.

What I was trying to suggest is that leadership makes a huge difference. Hitler gave power to the worst people, his cronies who by and large had nothing to redeem them. However, if people such as Schaact and Speer and Goering had had more power early on in the Nazi regime, it is impossible to say what would have happened. I do not mean to defend Naziism in any way shape form or manner, but I do not think that Hitlerism and the Second World War was inevitable.

Also I do not mean to advocate assasination. But for Hitler I make an exception.

What exactly am I saying? How do you know what I mean when I don't actually say what I mean a lot of the time?

That pretty much sums it up, I think. Maybe you can start to understand what the concern is, now.

How seriously should I take what you write? I'm not really sure. Why are you so sensitive about this Fascism issue? Isn't fascism just a grotesque joke? Wasn't Mussolini an over-dressed clown? Didn't Charlie Chaplin have the right take on Fascism, that they were ridiculous?

I don't know where to start to defend myself. I almost feel like I'm on trial here. What is my crime? Being ironic about Mussolini, Fascism and these crackpot ideas? If that's the charge then I plead guilty. I am guilty of making fun of El Duce! What have I said that's so shocking in relation to Fascism? Why are you so irked? Why don't you understand irony? Why don't you have a sense of humour? Historically Fascists have always lacked a sense of self-irony and the ability to laugh at themselves, don't you agree?

It's possible to present a case/argument and not actually believe it onesself, just because it is an interesting conceit. So much of what we see on TOD is a sort of game or hobby. It's an entertaining, intellectual, pastime for the over-educated.

When I wrote that I didn't say what I really meant half the time or whatever, I meant that I didn't exactly know what I meant, not with certainty. I'm not really sure of all that much. I am reasonably certain that I can't stand Fascist though. They were and still are pretty mixed-up people, but then aren't we all?

Why do you feel that my words on another post relating to a neo-fascist putsch were directed at you specifically? I was being ironic! There have been other people today apart from you who I've managed to rub the wrong way.

It's strange. You can openly draw parallels to Fascism which seem pretty valid, but don't seem to be allowed to even mention possible parallels, which I, by the way do not. Basically you're saying I'm being dishonest. That I should just come out like a real man, and say that Bush is a Fascist or a Nazi. But why would I do that? Or on the other hands why wouldn't I? Maybe I would choose to do something inbetween the two, or maybe I'd just tease the browshirts instead. You do seem to think it's wrong to compare Bush to Fascism, yet at the same time you make a pretty good case for the it being true. Better than I could, if I felt that way about him.

Wouldn't it be better, more fun and a more interesting tactic to goad gullable Fascists to come out of the woodwork and do the work for me, if this was infact my purpose, which of course, it isn't. I'm sure you of all people appriciate the fine distinciton here. Maybe I've been baiting a trap for unwhitting Fascists, who knows? I'm pretty sure real Fascist are not smart enough to understand all this, after all they believe a load of crap.

You also seem irritated about the connections you make between Bush and Fascism, which you say I make. Why are you so irritated about these connections? After all you are the one making them not me. You have compared certain characteristics of the Bush style with my discription of typical Fascist traits. Maybe you're right. You certainly make a convincing case for the connection! I'm impressed. Aren't you worried that by openly drawing these parallels between Bush and Fascism you may convince people, who actually think Fascism has come to America, that it's true? Are you sure this really what you want to do?

Finally, the problem of Italy. You cannot be serious. You say that Fascism didn't destroy Italy, it was the WW2 that did it. Are you sure? You seem to have a kind of soft spot for Fascism, why is this? Surely you don't pretend that Italy would have entered WW2 on the side of Germany if it had been a democracy and not a Fascist dictatorship. Fascism was the cause of Italy entering the war on the wrong side.

Excuse me, Writerman,
Please note that Francisco Franco was a fascist, an evil hateful man, and when I learned Espanol it was from a refugee from that dictatorship, and each day as we entered the classroom, we would each have to shout vehemently, "Viva Espana, abajo Franco!" Franco, of course, was actively supported and loved by the Roman Catholic hierarchy (After all, he was a good Catholic and gave the priests pretty much free reign to terrorize the people of Spain, and the Spanish Church worked hand-in-glove with Franco and his thugs.), but he was smart enough to stay neutral.

Musso got into the war to restore the Roman Empire with himself as Caesar. That was the deal: Hitler got all of Europe that never had been part of the Roman Empire, and Musso got most of the territory of the Roman Empire, except for England and part of France, and all of Austria was to remain German. I believe they had agreed to split the oil in the Middle East, but what the exact ratio Hitler and Mussolini agreed on is not known to me. Does anybody on this site know that?

The Japanese got Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The Axis had very orderly plans for sharing the world--recarving Africa, etc.

Su profesor de inglés era un irredento republicano!!!

Did you know that here in Spain we are living through a revisionist effort by the extreme right to justify the military coup in 1936?

Here you have a "funny" picture to watch at it, Franco (the one in the middle of the picture) with his friend Saddam, who was kind enough to support Spain with iraqui oil during the 73 oil embargo.

IMO one of the most important books of the 20th century was HOMAGE TO CATALONIA by George Orwell. In it he blew the whistle on the cooperation between the fascists and communists to destroy the POUM and to rewrite history, blew the whistle on the Big Lies that the Socialists in Britain had been telling--and also through his integrity and bravery showed what a real journalist can do.

Without heroes such as Orwell, we are lost. Where is he now? Where is Ed Murrow, now that we need him?

So the rightists in Spain are once again trying to rewrite history . . . . Why does this not surprise me?

BTW my Spanish teacher was an aristocrat whose father, a Colonel, was killed by Franco. She and her mother fled with only the clothes on their backs. She became the sole support of her mother, who was a helpless middle-aged Spanish nobelwoman who had depended on servants for everything all of her life. All that Mara knew was languages, five of them, fluently, plus some Russian, and she used her language skills to support herself all her life. At the end, after she retired from teaching, she went to Mexico to teach illiterate adult peasants to read. One of the unsung heroes.

Viva Espana!

He loved wearing military clothes and giving speeches to men in uniform. For them the State had to be militarily strong and independent of the will of the people. El Duce and the small, tightknit, elite around him, new best. They also adopted an agressive, expansionist, and "heroic" foreign policy based on militarism and adventurism, which led ultimately to bankrupcy and disaster for Italy.

Is this starting to sound familiar to anyone?

This is the end of your original post, unedited.

Now, let's take this step-by-step.

He loved wearing military clothes and giving speeches to men in uniform.

This is a direct allusion to George Bush flying to the aircraft carrier to give his infamous "Major combat operations are over" speech on May 1st, 2003.

For them the State had to be militarily strong and independent of the will of the people. El Duce and the small, tightknit, elite around him, new best.

This is a direct comparison of Mussolini's inner circle to the supposedly Leo Straussian school of neo-con government to which Bush and his "inner circle" supposedly subscribe.

They also adopted an agressive, expansionist, and "heroic" foreign policy based on militarism and adventurism, which led ultimately to bankrupcy and disaster for Italy.

This is a reference to the view most critics of the Bush administration have of its foreign policy, most notably that regarding Iraq.

Yes, you are absolutely correct, I made those connections between your words and the references I made. And you could easily accuse me of putting words in your mouth, if it weren't for your last sentence.

Is this starting to sound familiar to anyone?

What did you mean by that? What was supposed to sound familiar? What was it supposed to sound familiar to? You separated this sentence from the preceding paragraph to highlight it. So what was so important that it was supposed to sound familiar?

It is just silly to suggest that you would write this stuff unaware of the connections while at the same time challenging your readers to make those very same connections  using the rhetorical final question. Dishonest to say the least. I don't think you would be so defensive if people were tripping over themselves to congratulate you on these parallels.

It also doesn't help your case that half the things you deny saying here, you make mention of in other posts. In fact in this very thread, you use the term "neo-fascist putsch". Where did that come from? It is obvious that a Mussolini-Bush connection is on your mind today. Just please don't take it out on others.

On one other point before I tire of this nonsense - Fascism didn't ruin Italy, rather it was the fact that they chose the wrong side in the greatest war of all time - the side that lost.

no while he shares some minor similarity's to Mussolini he has more in common with napoleon.
he wanted to spread the freedom from monarchy to the rest of the world only to become the very thing he was fighting against.
The question was "Will Canada Fuel Fortress America?"

One answer may be found in the paper: Canada's Oil Sands Resources and Its Future Impact On Global Oil Supply. By Bengt Soderbergh, Uppsalla University

Quote: "The International Energy Agency claims that 37 million barrels of unconventional oil must be produced by 2030. Canada has by far the largest unconventional oil reserves. By 2030, in a very optimistic scenario, Canada may produce 5 million barrels per day. Venezuela may perhaps achieve a production of 6 million barrels per day. Who will be the producers of the remaining 26 million barrels per day?"

Canadian unconventional production will be insufficient to compensate for the UK's type III depletion.

Fortress America will have to gas up elsewhere.

If you don't have what it takes to spin up the turbines on the M1A1 fleet, or get the A10s airborne, then the USA ends up with precisely the same global power projection capabilities as the Nigerian police force.

I suspect the EROEI on the nuclear arsenal is a tad bit negative (those pits will be too valuable to be tossed away). I also suspect that the API guidelines for the production and refining of petroleum products in a radioactive environment have yet to be written.

Fortress America is going to end up running on empty. President Bush III will get to enjoy an Oliver Twist moment with Hugo Chavez IV.

But will it really all go down so peacefully, who knows?
"....and the significant volumes of natural gas it requires. These concerns raise the question of whether the current rate of expansion (planned growth from one million barrels a day to six million barrels a day, most of it destined for export) is reasonable or sustainable."

As a frequent reader of TOD, I have read many concerns similiar to the above which questions the sustainablity of oil extraction from Canadian Tar Sands due to long term natural gas supply. I suggest a visit to the web site  of OPTI (a soon to be oil sands producer) to examine their technology that almost eliminates the need for natural gas. OPTI's process extracts the Asphaltenes from the bitumen. The Asphaltenes become both an energy source to make the steam for in situ extraction and a source of hydrogen for the cracking process.

It would also seem obvious the extraction and refining process EREOEI is positive since the other energy inputs are minimal. In fact the projected $/barrel cost of light crude will be if not the lowest, one of the lowest of the oil sands producers.

OPTI's process is highly capital intensive. More so then most of its peers. However, here is an example of a way to over come the future short fall in Canadian gas production. 80% of the Tar Sands bitumen is too deep to strip mine and must be extracted by in situ methods. It seems OPTI's technology or a similiar process could be employed.

Hi all! from a TOD virgin and a keen fellow oils sands investor

Could anyone shed light on the difference between
Alberta's 200 billion barrels of recoverable resources, and the 2.5 trillion barrels of maybe recoverable resources?

Seems like a very large range between the possible recoverable amounts.


I believe the difference is economic. At the current price of oil, it is financially profitable to extract that 200 Billion barrels worth. The other 2.5 Trillion will become economically/technologically  viable at a higher price of oil, although I don't know what that price is. The technology may not exist to extract it, but the working assumption is that at a higher price of oil, investment will be made to "develop" the needed technology.
Also, I keep on reading endless comments about how much natural gas in consumed in the production of oil sands.

But as above, compaines like Opti Canada make their own [NG] from what was previously a production waste by-product COKE.

Fantastic! Go Opti, may you lead the way for large and sustainable oil sands production growth. I believe the world will need every last drop of oil sands production.

All-ready proven and built technology will unlock Alberta's resource for the world to share.

However, I think we will need to find a way of getting far higher production rates than the estimated 4 to 6 million barrels per day due by 2020 or so. How are we going to get Alberta's oil sand production to 20 to 30 million barrels per day? The world will need every drop of production by 2020++

They're not making natural gas, they're making hydrogen (natural gas is just the most convenient source).  You can make hydrogen from coal, petroleum coke, bitumen or just about anything carbonaceous (C + 2 H2O -> CO2 + 2 H2) if you are willing to throw enough money into cleaning up the gas.
It makes me laugh when I read posts about how tough and superior the US is. How the US can take what ever resources it wants from the world, by force etc. You guys have got to get your heads out of each others *&$%#'s before its too late. A lot of the people around the world are getting p*ssed-off towards US. A Global Bouycott against major US brands/products/servcices/currency would sink your whole Country into receivership. Be a good Country and international team member and start making some good friends before too many doors close on you.  
Given that the US is in hock to the rest of the world (East Asia and the Middle East in particular) and that it's not inconceivable that the trade deficit will reach a trillion dollars, I'd suggest that with Iraq and possibly Iran, to me the US is in the same position that Britain was with regards the First World War, i.e. goodbye hegemony.  Oh, and to keep it on topic, it's already in deficit oil-wise.
It does not matter if the trade deficit reaches ten trillion or a hundred trillion dollars. The U.S. can and probably will screw all holders of dollars through the time-tested and traditional method--unexpected, abrubt, and acceleration inflation. When the dollar goes where the Mexican peso has gone over the past fifty years, those fools who gave us good stuff in return for worthless paper are sure going to have a lot of egg on their face.

The history of money is, to a large extent, the history of varying rates of inflation. For a number of reasons, the peroiod roughly from 1814 to 1913 was an exception to that rule that goes back at least to Hammurabi.

Sailorman Don, et al -

While on the subject of inflation, I'd be curious to know what you and other people on TOD make of the Fed's recent move to discontinue stating the size of the M3 money supply.

Is it as ominous as some people think, in that it's a possible signal that the printing presses are going start working overtime? Or that the Fed wants to prevent a panic should foreigners start dumping dollars? Then there's the question of timing: why now?

I would think that regardless of whether the size of M3 is stated or not, there is so much almost instantaneous financial data out there that it would be pretty hard to hide for too long what is really going on. Agree?

So what's the story on M3?

"I'd be curious to know what you and other people on TOD make of the Fed's recent move to discontinue stating the size of the M3 money supply. "

I think "In godz and mere mortals We Trust 2too2 Much"

Don't worry about M3. Milton Friedman and I prefer to track M2.

If you really want to understand money, begin with John Maynard Keynes, "Treatise on Money." Then read his "General Theory." Next, read the famous book by Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz on money.

After close study of those three books, study intermediate and advanced macroeconmic textbooks on money, and if this whets your enthusiasm, read some of the dozens of really fine monographs (published Ph.D. theses) on money.

What I am recommending is about 1,000 hours of hard study.

Do you believe you could learn about the engineering applications of thermodynamics in fewer hours? I think money and thermodynamics are roughly equal in difficulty to understand; however, the math of money is easier. But the interpretation of facts in regard to the history of money is more controversial than the interpretation of facts in connection with thermodynamics. Neither topic is for the faint of heart.

I'm really not interested in delving into monetary theory; I just wanted to know what you think the Fed's motivation was for discontinuing the reporting of M3.  

So far, no one here has offered an opinion.  I guess that means nobody knows?

Playboil (from Canada)-again, I'm surprized that this isn't ending up being talked about more often here! About the M3 and timing, yes it might have A LOT to do with what "oilaholic" mentions below (MON 13th)-

 "In fact the opening bell will be rung March 20th, with the start of trading in oil futures in Iran - denominated in Euro's."  

The opening of the oil bourse in Iran might just mean that many countries will see it as a way to finally have an option in buing/trading energy stocks that is not tied to the US dollar. This may be attractive to any country that does not need to have US dollars to trade and take advantage of the higher valued euro and avoid currence conversion costs. The US is not an oil og gas exporter, why do countries need to trade for the stuff in US dollars if they are not buing anything from the US? If that snowball starts rolling, who knows how big it will get. The hiding of the M3 might just be the fed's way of covering up all the carnage to the greenback that might cause.
 By the way, it might be interesting to watch out in the next few days, to see if anything happens on the world stage to dirupt the bourse from openning-  interesting...

Playboil (from Canada)-again, I'm surprized that this isn't ending up being talked about more often here! About the M3 and timing, yes it might have A LOT to do with what "oilaholic" mentions below (MON 13th)-

 "In fact the opening bell will be rung March 20th, with the start of trading in oil futures in Iran - denominated in Euro's."  

The opening of the oil bourse in Iran might just mean that many countries will see it as a way to finally have an option in buying/trading energy stocks that is not tied to the US dollar. This may be attractive to any country that does not need to have US dollars to trade and take advantage of the higher valued euro and avoid currence conversion costs. The US is not an oil og gas exporter, why do countries need to trade for the stuff in US dollars if they are not buing anything from the US? If that snowball starts rolling, who knows how big it will get. The hiding of the M3 might just be the fed's way of covering up all the carnage to the greenback that might cause.
 By the way, it might be interesting to watch out in the next few days, to see if anything happens on the world stage to dirupt the bourse from openning-  interesting...

Is it as ominous as some people think, in that it's a possible signal that the printing presses are going start working overtime? Or that the Fed wants to prevent a panic should foreigners start dumping dollars?

I think it is both. IMO the FED is positioning for stagflation - they want to melt the debt long-term, but still keep the foreign capital flowing via higher interest rates. For the second thing to happen they need to hide the real amount of money dumped to foreigners. Of course anybody can monitor for example how much treasuries are being sold on auctions each month, but you can not estimate easily what is the total expansion of debt created money. Eventually you can figure it out by summing some other indicators, but my suggestion is that the FEDs are relying on the time gained to prevent eventual market panic. As long as market participants do not realise and start acting at the same time the market can continue bubbling along for pretty long time.

For me the timing is also the most important issue... I think it is connected either with a planned war effort against Iran or with the relization that the debt mounted is imposssible to repay or with both. I can only guess here.

Don's post outlines the key risk to Fortress America.

Where I live, the price of a litre of bottled water is twice the price of a litre of gasoline. A renewable resource is valued by the market as being twice the value of a critical, non-renewable, and depleting resource.

By my estimate, the market value of a litre of gasoline should be at least equal to the market value of a litre of bottled water. This means oil at around 84 euros a bbl for those of us outside of Fortress America.

What will the inhabitants of Fortress America pay? That price will depend on the exchange rate of the American peso to the euro. Since it will be understood by all parties that the US government is seeking to inflate its way out of a debt crisis, the euro /US peso exchange rate is unlikely to be favourable to the holders of the peso.

There have been those on this site who have remarked that Mr Kunstler's writings are overly gloomy. I think there is a better than even chance that Mr Kunstler is a goody two shoes Pollyanna optimist.

True, though maybe it's more accurate to compare the US to Germany, rather than Britain. Power to the People.
When I mentioned economic sanctions against the US is having other countries boycott our exports while the US would still import whatever it could afford. The practice of sanctions has in the past not been influential in the short term. 55 years of sanctions has not changed the who rules Cuba. It took decades for sanctions to work in Rhodesia/Zambia and in the Union of South Africa. It is the threat of sanctions more than the sanctions themselves that would have power to change US policy. Once imposed sanctions create a siege mentality in the leaders of the affected country. The pain is felt most by the common folk and takes years for the plutocrats to start hurting. It is the perception of lower profits in the next quarter by America's plutocrats that will lead Congress to block the White House's blood thirst.
I was not aware that there were sanctions on trade with Southern Africa. There were reports in the newspapers about sanctions supposedly having been placed on those countries, but they weren't commercial sanctions of the sort that were put on countries like Iran in the early early fifties to break the democracy there and it's attempts to prevent nationalisation of the refinery assets by the British, or on Japan in the early forties to force them out of China.
The Iranian sanctions involved attacks on shipping to and from Iran by the British navy, most importantly the firing on the Italian tankers to force them to halt and be interned. As far as I can recall the public relations sanctions on South Africa and Rhodesia involved the legal requirements required to enforce changing the labels on crates.
Anybody here from Southern Africa? I'm interested in your experiences in the sixties and seventies.
Right on! Power to the People!
A little off topic, but a most fascinating Business Week article on all the fabulous new works in the oil rich countries;

Read the whole thing but here's a graf:

"If the Burj Dubai development isn't the biggest project in the world, it must be close. At night under floodlights thousands of mostly Asian workers in hard hats swarm over a 500-acre building site in the heart of Dubai, the Persian Gulf emirate that is tiny in size but limitless in ambition. Emaar Properties, a local company, is carving out of the desert a new $20 billion district with 30,000 homes, a Giorgio Armani-designed hotel, an ice rink, and a 30-acre man-made lake."

It also reports on the highest building in the world going up there - "40%  higher than anything else."   The Peak Oil Tower of Babel?

Or thiis:

"The Dubai Ports deal, though, is just one relatively small episode in the second great Mideast oil boom. The boom is characterized by hugely ambitious projects that are transforming the shores of the Persian Gulf into a Xanadu with some of the most fantastic and expensive structures on earth. The rush of petrodollars is creating enormous private and public wealth and reshaping Gulf business and society."

So as PO devastation washes over the poorer countries and the Mideast spirals into deepr violence as the West jockeys for control of oil--a humungous Disneyland times 10 is going up funded by petrodollars.  Maybe W will have a nice retirement ready for him there when Crawford temperatures rise above 100.  

Way too bizarre. Did we slip into a parallel universe and never noticed?  

Well, at least, as the article reports, the Saudis are investing 50 B in roads, schools, and hospitals.  Lucky for us, we don't need any infrastructure investment here in the  USA--the richest and greatest nation on Earth.  God Bless us All.

CNN ran several stories on the wonders of Dubai last week.  It was truly amazing.  They showed that huge hotel of theirs, with the suites that cost thousands of dollars a night, and have their own swimming pools.  That man-made island that looks like a palm tree.  The mall with the indoor ski slopes, complete with lifts.  Etc.

My first thought was that future archaelogists, examining the ruins of our civilization, would assume that Dubai was the religious and ceremonial capital.  My second thought was that perhaps that wouldn't be incorrect.

We best get used to the notion that the middle east is the leading edge of human activity.  (No, I don't mean the most praiseworthy edge, just the leading edge.)  Last year the oil exporting countries gained over $500 billion of cash reserves from oil exports.   And that's at just $60/barrel.   Imagine the extent of the transfer of wealth from the west to the middle-east when oil hits $250.  

Since the Arabs will have the only economies on earth with a surplus of oil, and since air travel in the west will be five times as expensive and thus much contracted and therefore with much more infrequent service to all places, I image the Emerates will offer free air transport to their new Disneylands - and it will be one of the few vacation options for those in the west with any money left for vacations.   That's just an incidental but interesting tell-tale of what is in store for us.  

Note, on that score, that very few families in "developed" economies will be taking vacations at all.   But the super wealthy will still manage to be OK.   In fact, it will be a lot more fun to have money when few others have it.

I suppose the next item of business will be to transform the middle east into the financial capital of the world, since that will be the dominate seat of wealth.  Bankers will start moving from New York and London to Dubai.  The customer will call the shots, as always, and why do all the work in Geneva or New York, when it can be done in so much better style right here in Dubai.   In fact the opening bell will be rung March 20th, with the start of trading in oil futures in Iran - denominated in Euro's.  

I see this dominence of the middle east lasting about, oh, say, 30 - 50 years.  At that point their oil will actually start to run out.  

Sorry this is so boring for so many of you. After all we're supposed to be talking about energy, not arcane subjects like whether or not old-style Fascism is on the way back. Like so many other things in our world, it's spun almost out of control.

I wish to just clarify a couple of things as clearly as I can. I do not think that President Bush is a Fascist. I do not think that the United States is a fully functioning Fascist State. And I'm not being ironic here. At present this is what I believe to be true. Others may of course disagree with this analysis. They are free to do so.

There are a lot of differences between present day America and Italy in the 1920's and 1930's. Americans are living under totally different circumstances to the Italians of that period. But when Peak Oil hits hard, who knows how the State will react to that challenge, both in America and elsewhere? I'm not really sure. How can one be? That is what the future is for.

There are, however, as I've become aware today, certain details and similarities between developments in Europe at that time and the United States today. Frankly, more than I was really aware of. I've learnt a lot today. These parallels have, I believe, been adequately described and illustrated by various contributors to TOD, so I don't need to repeat them here.

I don't intend to say anymore on this subject, as others have, more than adequately, in my opinion, done that for me.

Peace, Love and Power to the People!

Gosh, sorry about posting twice. That was not my intention. The second post is the one I meant to send. Sorry. I must have a split personality!
No PROBLEM writer(and maybe even thinker) Man!

Good And VERY Valuable subjects to consider...

"After all we're supposed to be talking about energy, not arcane subjects like whether or not old-style Fascism is on the way back."

Better than PICKING LINT ONLY and not looking beyond the current dissection data... ((CAREFUL out there, Mother Nature might just be peering over YOUR shoulder in your little Cubicle or Lab or Tunnel of Silly Visions... IF your feel a Drop of Rain (drool) turn around Very Slowly so as NOT to startle The Mother of Nature going about her Very normal and Cruel Business...  the TRUEST form of captialism does NOT allow for Votes by the critters)))

Well, writerman, though you may not be ready to do so,  I will come right out and say it quite bluntly: the Bush administration is largely composed of cryto-fascists, and the US is rapidly being transformed into a quasi-fascist police state.  There, that wasn't so hard!

The 'security' in Homeland Security doesn't have much to do with yours or mine, but rather the security of the State against the people. As things get worse, as many expect they will,  the people will become more dissatisfied and restive; and as a result, the State will need more security from its people. In the final analysis, I think that FEMA is less about dealing with hurricanes and more with imposing de facto marshall law when things get dicey.  

But of course one has a perfect right to believe that "It can't happen here!"

You are being watched and we know where you live.
I know that. And that's why I am a fool to even state such things in public. I should keep my big mouth shut.

It's the gulag for people like me. But, of course, I'm only joking. Right?

I think that if (if it hasn't happened already) fascism come to America, it will be fascism with a Happy Face. Which is even more frightening. A vast Disney World with boosters  urging everyone to, "Let's everyone, smile and sing!"  

Are we all having a good time yet?

Attempting to impose a fascist state on America would involve building a second system of government with cells in every organisation. I mean every organisation of any kind.
We have not nearly reached that point. We might, though, after the economic crisis and the subsequent government switchover. The legal precedents have been set and all the Democrats need is a sufficiently pissed off electorate.
Singapore is probably the best we can hope for from the Democrats. They've been taking notes on the "K Street Project" system the Republicans set up and I bet they'll do a better job. Think of the present administration, but with competent people in charge.
Australia is looking better all the time.
Please pardon me for being repetitious, but if there is one book essential as a prerequisite for understanding Peak Oil, that book is Jared Diamond's COLLAPSE. See especially his pages on Australia, which is, of prosperous nations, probably in the very worst shape to survive what is probably going to hit the fan PDQ.
I read his book. Interesting. He really doesn't understand commodity and equity investment cycles at all. He thinks Montana is a failed state, instead of being on track to being the richest state in America in the next five years.
I was fascinated by the archeological theory that the Greenland Norse were just one more ethnic group in Greenland that was going extinct, just like the native tribes before them. Only the Innuit had the technology to survive, and they really lived on the ice instead of the land.
Diamond does not care two hoots about commodity or equity trading cycles, because he is going after deeper biological and chemical and geological realities. Australia may not be going to be a viable society much longer because of its fragile and very seriously damaged environment. In other words, there may be good reasons that the "Mad Max" movies were set in Australia. BTW, back in the 1950s, it was a whole different story in Australia, but things have changed a lot there.

In regard to Montana, it is a big state. I believe Diamond's numbers are correct. The coal-to-oil boom to come will bring some prosperity to the Eastern third of the state, but most of the traditional industries of the state are in desperately bad shape. True, there has been a real-estate boom in some places fueled by well-to-do white Californians escaping from their state, people who would like to go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but cannot afford to do so. Having said all this, I still believe Diamond is correct in all essentials. He did his homework.

On The Beach. Australia 1950's.

Is it just me, or does anybody else think sendoilplease is just Don Sailorman pretending he has Tourrette's? - just to fuck with us.

(I don't mean that in a negative way to anybody).

anyway, Don, your vast knowledge has rather impressed me these last few days. You said at one point that so-and-so were the only philosophers who went crazy, or whatever, I think "mental" is the term we use these days. I was curious about Descartes. But then the next day you said Descartes was #2, or even #1, I can't remember.

I've read all the guys you've talked about, and I've read alot of this stuff in the Latin and classical Greek, though not the more modern-(Enlightenment?)philosophers. That was all in English, yet much better than Aeschylus in Greek or Caesar in Latin, or Shakespeare in English.

My question is - Descartes had a breakdown during the 30 Years War. You hold him in such high esteeem. You are also possessed of serious knowledge regarding warfare. I've always wanted to ask this question of someone. Until that perfect someone comes along - you will do. I don't know how to phrase or wrap this question, so I will simply try a variation. How did a major war affect a major philosopher?

And as a follow-on, I want to know if you'll be in the front row for "V for Vendetta" this weekend.

Descartes had some dreams that inspired him during the time he had joined the Army to see the world, but he never had anything resembling a mental breakdown. He had bad physical health (lung problems, possibly tuberculosis) most of his life, and typically he would lie in bed until noon, whenever he could.

You are probably aware of Descartes enormous contributions to mathematics, but he was even more influential as a philosopher. I am not alone by any means in ranking him as probably #1 in sheer brilliance, but, alas, the smartest people make the biggest mistakes: IMO the mind-body dualism developed by Descartes is the biggest mistake in the history of philosophy. Oddly enough, he knew it was wrong, and near the end of his life was trying to fix it, because his conjecture that the mind-body connection was in the pineal gland satisfied nobody, including himself.

The end of his life was strange: Essentially he was kidnapped by Queen Chistina of Sweden (who sent a fleet of ships to get him) so that he could teach her philosophy each morning at 5 a.m. So here is this Frenchman with bad lungs trudging through the Stockholm snows in cold darkness . . . and hence respiratory infection and the end.

I think there is often more to be learned from a person's mistakes than what he got right. Descartes the brilliant and devout Catholic was determined to prove with mathematical rigor the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. He failed, but it was a remarkable attempt, from which I think we can learn that no matter how bright we are there are limits as to what we can do with our giant brains.

Also, we should learn to avoid weird Swedish women;-)

Thank you, I needed that.
How did participation in the Thirty Years War affect Descartes' Thinking?

Oh boy, that would be a great title for a 600 page scholarly tome.

The short answer is that nobody knows. My conjecture is that his quest for absolutely certain knowledge may have been intensified by his experiences. He wanted to prove, for example, his religious beliefs once and for all beyond any questioning--hence conflict over belief would be impossible, because instead of differing opinions he would have presented perfect final complete and indisputable knowledge with mathematical precision and geometric rigor.

This is merely conjecture on my part. Some things we can infer, such as that much of the zest and energy and joy went out of his life after the death of his only child, a young and much-loved daughter. He was a private man, used mail drops to avoid unwanted visitors, always dressed as a gentleman, complete with sword, even when he paced in his garden thinking by the hour. Though a devout Catholic, he knew what had happened to Galileo and was careful not to offend the hierarchy; for that reason he pussyfooted around with some of his ideas on physics and did not let them be published until after his death.

All of continental modern philosphy is a set of extensions or answers to what Descartes did: Spinoza and Leibniz built on Descartes, and to a large extent British Empiricism (Locke, Berkeley, Hume) is an answer and attempt to refute parts of his philosophy.

BTW, he wrote very clear and lucid prose--one of the easiest to understand of all modern philosophers.  

Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
Who was very rarely stable.

Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
Who could think you under the table.

David Hume could out-consume
Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel,

And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel.

There's nothing Nietzche couldn't teach ya
'Bout the raising of the wrist.
Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed.

John Stuart Mill, of his own free will,
On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.

Plato, they say, could stick it away--
Half a crate of whisky every day.

Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle.
Hobbes was fond of his dram,

And René Descartes was a drunken fart.
'I drink, therefore I am.'

Yes, Socrates, himself, is particularly missed,
A lovely little thinker,
But a bugger when he's pissed.

The Pythons have ruined me for Philosophy

Of all philosophers in history, Socrates could hold his wine the best, and this is clearly shown near and at the end of the famous "Symposium" dialogue that asks the question: What is love?

Hume was indisputably the fattest, at about 300 pounds, and his wealthy French hostesses cringed when he sat in their valuable old chairs, because sometimes they would break. Aquinas was a German with a huge appetite, and he was so fat that a big semicircle would be cut out of the dinner table to accommodate his enormous girth, and so I put him at #2 in girth.

BTW, all the great philosophers--without exception, to the best of my knowledge--had the same answer to Peak Oil: Consume as little as possible, because materialism is a dead end, and buying stuff cannot make you happy. Nevertheless, except for the gloomy Germans after Kant, they were a rather fun and cheerful lot of guys (and now some girls), and I'd love to play cards with them. Except that they would all beat me, because they were all way smarter than I am.

That is good. I don't remember that one. Where is from?
Excellent. Thank You.
So when will Canada back out of NAFTA?
After all, Canada can request to unsign the treaty
at anytime.
-Hmmmm, backing out of NAFTA, well, I think unfortunatly its a little complicated, after all its been around for a while, lots of contracts signed, then there's Mexico, I'm sure it s ppossible but might be painful for both sides. We will have to see how desparate things get..
For those of you who think the U.S. will suck Canada dry, read these apples about the economic realities in the U.S.: Soaring U.S. federal government payments to foreign lenders 8 March 2006 http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/webfeatures_snapshots_20060308 Assuming that interest rates on federal debt remain as projected by the CBO (near 5%), the U.S. will be paying foreign lenders $181 billion in interest by 2011, up from $83 billion last fiscal year. That is only slightly more than half of the interests payment obligations that the U.S. Government will pay in 2011. Roughly, total U.S. interest payments alone should amount to $350-360 billion in 2011, at a minimum. In short, Albertan billionaires will be moving in and buying U.S. assets. Who knows, maybe Michigan will be for sale. Welcome to the new banana republic.
Last summer, I lamented to read in the June 22, 2056 issue of The Onion, "Haliburton Wins Bid to Rebuild Midwest."

snip . . .

"Halliburton is proud to have been entrusted with the task of repairing the damage done during the Great Wars between the EOT [Empire of Texas] and the Great Lakes Alliance," said Halliburton CEO Richard Ch5ney, the fifth clone of the former U.S. president Dick Cheney and clone-once-removed of Texan Vice Overlord Rick Chen4y. "With the know-how and can-do spirit of Halliburton at their disposal, the radiation-blasted peoples of the Illinois No Man's Zone can look forward to a bright new future."

Halliburton's efforts in the region will include filling the mile-wide glowing craters dotting the Midwest, repairing the fractured domes over Des Moines and St. Minneapolis, decontaminating approximately 100,000 square miles of farmland, and restoring satellite-hologram service to the more than 120 million homes that have been without access to celebrity infotainment since 2052.

. . . snip

You read it here first:  http://www.theonion.com/2056-06-22/news/5/