DrumBeat: July 2, 2006

Update [2006-7-2 9:40:22 by Leanan]: Chavez urges Africa to unite against U.S.
Chavez, whose repeated criticism of America has raised hackles in Washington, called on an African Union summit to cooperate with Latin America in everything from oil production to university education to counter "colonial" meddling in developing nations.

Citing the example of Venezuela and Bolivia, he urged Africa to seize greater control of its energy resources. He described the low royalty payments made by some foreign oil companies as "robbery."

Morales to meet Lula on natgas price. Bolivia is raising the price of natural gas and continuing with the nationalization of the energy industry.

Worries about natural gas supplies in the U.K.: We must stop the Continent's gas incontinence

This winter, interconnector capacity is increasing by another 30pc, but few in the industry dare to dream that the pipeline will be full come mid-winter.

The implications are stark. Ofgem has estimated that British consumers paid £1bn more for gas last winter than they should have done because the interconnector was not being used to its full capacity. This coming winter, it thinks consumers will be paying £3bn more.

Playing Oil Politics in the Caspian Sea

From Canada: Oil pipelines could face capacity constraints by 2008

Canadian oil pipelines could face capacity constraints by 2008 because of a surge in heavy crude oil from the Alberta oilsands, the National Energy Board says.

Growing demand for natural gas in North America is also expected to exceed domestic supplies and pose potential new challenges for gas pipelines, according to an annual survey released Friday by the board.

Another article about high asphalt prices and shortages.

Ford Abandons Pledge On Hybrid Production.

Northeast floods stir global warming debate

Paul Epstein, associate director of Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and the Global Environment, said the Atlantic is warming faster than scientists projected even a decade ago, and he expects such storms as the one seen this week from Virginia to New York to become common.

"Scientists and climatologists are looking at one another and we're just stunned because no one, even in the 1990s, projected the magnitude of the storms and degree of warming in the Arctic that we are seeing," he said.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/world/mexico/stories/DN-latamoil_02bus.ART0.State.E dition1.16f4e25.html

Mexico's oil model is under pressure
Today's presidential election will also decide Pemex's course

12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, July 2, 2006
By JIM LANDERS / The Dallas Morning News


At a recent reunion of retired Pemex executives, former chief financial officer Ernesto Marcos recalled, a colleague urged that "the next president be told as soon as possible that we may soon not have enough oil for our own requirements and none for exports."

On the refining front, Pemex is losing ground. Imports of gasoline and other refined products were up 22 percent last year to 450,000 barrels a day.

Imports of natural gas are also growing. Mexico has lots of gas, but production cannot keep up with demand.

Mexico is now turning from scarce, expensive pipeline suppliers in the United States to liquefied natural gas imports from Asia and nations such as Peru.

Analysts such as Mr. Marcos say Mexico is not running out of oil. Instead, Pemex lacks enough money to explore for new fields to replace depleting old ones.

Legally, Pemex is barred from seeking partners to share the high-cost risks of drilling in deep ocean depths and protected from competitors that could force efficiencies on the company, from gasoline stations to natural gas fields.

Mexico, in short, is facing the consequences of 68 years of energy nationalism.

See, nothing to worry about.  Nothing that a little free-market capitalism won't fix...

Very good post by Khebab on Mexico:  http://graphoilogy.blogspot.com/2006/03/mexicos-ability-to-export-oil.html

The overall theme of the Dallas Morning News article is that Mexico's production is suffering because of the nationalization of the oil industry.  This is certainly a key factor, but IMO depletion trumps free markets in this case.  

Based on Khebab's HL plot, Mexico is very close to the same point at which the (free market) Lower 48 started declining.   My point is that whether the oilmen are free market Republicans, communists or socialists, we all tend to find the big fields first, and the HL method is primarily plotting the rise and fall of big oil fields.

I suspect that we are going to see a rising tide of negative US media coverage of energy related events Central and South America.  A few weeks ago, some of the talking heads at Fox discussed the premise that Chavez might be using oil as a "weapon of mass destruction."

I suspect that declining oil production will be blamed on inefficient state ownership of energy reserves.  Again, this is partially true, but depletion trumps politics.  The key point is that depletion marches on--regardless of the political orientation of the person operating the oil wells.      

It is imperative that we kill consumption before consumption kills us. Unfortunately, many exporters such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela are doing the exact opposite--they are doing everything they can to encourage consumption.  

IMO, we need to tax energy consumption to fund Social Security and Medicare.

I suspect that declining oil production will be blamed on inefficient state ownership of energy reserves.

I would say that is not completely a bad thing, since could lessen the rate of decline on the right hand side of the curve as these resources are "inefficiently" brought on line.  Isn't Aramco under some state guidence?  They would seem pretty efficient in utilizing their resource.
>IMO, we need to tax energy consumption to fund Social Security and Medicare.

This is a terrible idea:

  1. Curbing consumption in the US does NOT curb consumption in China, India and the rest of the world

  2. Higher Taxes translate into more wasteful spending (more taxes mean more money for Washingtion Buracrats) This leads to higher inflation and further erosion of the US savings rate. (Why save when inflation will steal your savings). This exacerbates retirment issues since more americans give up saving for retirement, and become more dependant on SS and other gov't entitlement programs. Those that are already retired and live on fixed income suffer more because the are unable to keep up with rising costs!

The answer is to raise US interest rates:

  1. Causes a global reduction in consumption since all central banks are force to raise interest rates to prevent money from leaving. Higher interest rate force consumers to reduce spending (consumption) and increase savings.

  2. Higher savings rates are better for retirement plans and it reduces dependance on gov't entitlements.

  3. Gov'ts are force to reduce wasteful spending and only invest in programs that make it function more efficient (less wasted energy)

  4. Business invest more wisely and enact policies to reduce debt. They only invest in things that make them more efficient. US wages become more competitive, since the labor costs are contained (slower and smaller increase in salaries, medical insurance, etc).

  5. Retirees are able to stretch their saving further and are likely to be less dependant on gov't entitlements. This would slow the expansion of entitlement expendures.

To summarize:
Higher taxes = higher consumption and increased wasteful spending.
Higher interest rates = reduced consumption, higher savings investment in only more efficient technology and systems.

Class dismissed!

I think that we need to offset an energy consumption tax by abolishing the Payroll Tax.  The faster than we adjust to more expensive energy the better off we will be.
>The faster than we adjust to more expensive energy the better off we will be.

Raising Interest rates would be the fastest way to make energy more expensive. It makes everything more expensive and prevents inflation. It wasn't until the 80's after the interest rates shot up that efficiency of US cars began to rise. During the 1970s when the gasoline tax was enacted it did nothing to curb demand.

>I think that we need to offset an energy consumption tax by abolishing the Payroll Tax

That won't happen. What do you believe abolishment the payroll tax will accomplish?

FWIW: I think your interpretation of future Oil production is right on the money.

It makes everything more expensive and prevents inflation.

Hmm. Just a second, let me get that.

>>It makes everything more expensive and prevents inflation.
>Hmm. Just a second, let me get that.

Nice oxymoron! I apologize. I definately should have done a better job writing that statement:

Higher interests rates raises borrowing costs which makes it more expensive for consumers to purchase goods and services on credit. Because consumers spend less, business lose the ability to raise prices which lowers or stops inflation. If interest rates rise too high it causes deflation, as businesses are forced to reduce prices and must reduce costs. Cost reduction can be accomplised by improving efficiency or reducing production to meet the decline in demand. Either way, the results is decreased energy consumption.

And what, the next Great Depression?  We're in a pretty big fix at the moment.  Thanks to lowering interest rates too much we've ended up with a negative savings rate.  The next recession is going to be brutal because most people will not have the assets to weather the downturn.  

Don't get me wrong, the Federal Reserve needs to raise rates and they will, but I don't see the correlation with energy consumption.  Yes, a recession may cause a drop in consumption, but higher energy prices in itself should also cause a drop in consumption and a move to more efficient use of energy.  

I don't know how many friends I have who leave their computers running 24/7 (because waiting 30 seconds to turn it on is so inconvenient), and drive like maniacs (because getting some place 2 minutes earlier is so important).  Most people don't even need to buy anything new or more efficient, they can make drastic changes by altering their own lifestyle.  Eventually if costs keep going up, they're going to realize the need to do so.  

Anyway, I don't really see the benefit of the Federal Reserve meddling directly in the oil market by essentially purposely causing a recession.  That's not their mandate (in fact it runs counter to it) and they're not going to do it.  They will cause recessions, but not a long drawn out, perpetual one like what you are suggesting.  

We can't worry about world oil consumption, we need to solve our own problems and improve our own efficiency before worrying about others.  We have the most room for improvement, and thus the most need to improve, as we will be hit hardest when energy becomes scarcer.  I just don't see how having the Federal Reserve try to solve the proble is anything other than a shotgun approach (even if they would do what you suggest and they won't).  

I think auto efficiency rose mainly because of higher gas prices and high fuel efficiency requirements forced on automakers.  I kind of doubt that increasing interest rates directly resulted in increased fuel efficency. (It probably reduced fuel consumption by putting alot of people out of work, though).

I think taxation is a question of incentives.  Taxing labor encourages people to work less (at least work that is taxed).  Taxing non-renewable energy consumption encourges conservation and development of alternative energy sources.

Come on, our congress spends no matter what.  The last few years have proven that "starve the beast" is empty fanatasy.

So you gotta get the money somewhere, getting it while creating proper disincentives sounds like a good idea.

... or are going to cut taxes until the spending is 100% deficit?  Maybe the way the congress is heading.

>Come on, our congress spends no matter what.  The last few years have proven that "starve the beast" is empty fanatasy.

US Federal reserve is not directly controlled by congress. To accomplish a goal of global conservation, all that is required is to convince 12 people to raise interest rates. Congress is powerless to stop them from raising rates. If you think about, these 12 people have more power than the president, the congress and the senate to influence conservation. The policies enacted by the Fed are the only ones that broadly affect the global economy.

Raising rates would also force Congress to cut spending any move to a balanced/sustainable budget.

I was picking up on item "2" above:

Higher Taxes translate into more wasteful spending (more taxes mean more money for Washingtion Buracrats) This leads to higher inflation and further erosion of the US savings rate. (Why save when inflation will steal your savings). This exacerbates retirment issues since more americans give up saving for retirement, and become more dependant on SS and other gov't entitlement programs. Those that are already retired and live on fixed income suffer more because the are unable to keep up with rising costs!

That assumes a couple things.  First it assumes that the earlier poster was recommending higher taxes, and not a revenue-neutral shift in their source.  Second, it states the connection I was referring to:  "Higher Taxes translate into more wasteful spending"

I think our governemtn leads to wasteful spending, and they have proven that they don't need higher taxes to do it!!!

>I think our governemtn leads to wasteful spending, and they have proven that they don't need higher taxes to do it!!!

Higher taxes prove additional capital for increase wasteful spending. Wasteful spending also creates inflation as the gov't overpays for goods and services (aka the $500 hammer).

>That assumes a couple things.  First it assumes that the earlier poster was recommending higher taxes, and not a revenue-neutral shift in their source.

Taxing energy will lead to inflation even if taxes for other items are reduced. Plus it still does not address consumption outside of the US. The only way that the US can curb global consumption is through interest rates.

Higher taxes prove additional capital for increase wasteful spending. Wasteful spending also creates inflation as the gov't overpays for goods and services (aka the $500 hammer).

You are ignoring a couple of us, who are asking you: why we keep spending ourselves further into debt even as we cut taxes.  It's an interesting question.  Indeed, I might not have become the "lapsed Republican" that I am if the taxation and spending connection had worked the way you are describing.

I'm sorry, but I think too many of my Republican brethren got lazy and or greedy.  They got to where all they care about is cutting taxes, and they don't give a darn about what spending does or does not follow.

Taxing energy will lead to inflation even if taxes for other items are reduced. Plus it still does not address consumption outside of the US. The only way that the US can curb global consumption is through interest rates.

Pronouncements like that are always fun.

12 people? I suppose you mean central bankers, or something?

Sure, they are not supposed to make political judgements, just set the interest rate according to economical principles, to seek pre-defined goals ... usually controlled inflation, isn't it? But they are few, they really do have a lot of power, and their perception of the economy decides everything. Right?

Or do you disagree? Do you think it strictly speaking matters whether the central bankers are doomers or cornucopians?

>12 people? I suppose you mean central bankers, or something?

By 12 people I am refering the 12 voting members of the Federal reserve board members. In my opinion it would be far easier to convince them that we are facing an immenent danger that we need a way to curb global consumption of fossil fuels to avert a civilization disaster. Its virtually impossible to get Congress to agree on anything (except perhaps raising entitlements and the debt ceiling)

>But they are few, they really do have a lot of power, and their perception of the economy decides everything. Right?

The Federal reserve board is probably the most powerful organization when it comes to economics since US interest rates affect the global economy. But they don't have the power over much else.

>Do you think it strictly speaking matters whether the central bankers are doomers or cornucopians?

I believe that f they full understood the systematic risks that they would take action that would be the best. I don't subscribe that they are bent on world domination or some other bizarre conspiracy theory. Unlike most politians Central bankers are analytical and reasonably well-educated.

Overall, I believe Fed reserve is pessmistic about our future fiscal prospects. Over the last few years the turn over has been well above this historic average and a lot of senior members have choosen early retirement or have gone to work in the private sector. Considering that working at the Fed is a prized career, I think its points to pessimism in the Fed. Although I don't believe the concept of "Peak Oil" has been the leading issue. I think it has a lot to do with the massive debt levels (consumer, corporate, and gov't).

I, too, believe that the central bankers in question are basically decent, in other words that they try to set the interest rate according to the goals they have been told (by government) to pursue. But as a non-economist, I wonder just how much their expectations of the future affects their decisions.
A great deal.

IMO, the best book ever written on what really goes on at the Fed is "Managing the Dollar" by my old and favorite prof, Sherman Maisel. The book is thirty years old, maybe, but little has changed.

When Sherm was appointed by LBJ to be on the Board of Goverenors of the Federal Reserve System, his colleagues chipped in to get him a little toy printing press as an emblem of his office.

Every time a new book comes out, read or reread an old one.

To summarize:
Higher taxes = higher consumption and increased wasteful spending.

Please explain how this model works with the present increased spending meanwhile taxes having been cut.

>Please explain how this model works with the present increased spending meanwhile taxes having been cut.

US Gov't Spending whether taxes have gone up or cut has not declined in that last 60+ years. Most of the revenues collected by higher taxes will not but used to cut deficit spending, but to fund new or increasing funding of gov't programs (usually entitlements). You find data that supports this from the Annual Federal Spending reports posted on the Treasury's Web site. The GAO also has releases some reports about this as well.

Ideally if you wanted to impose a Energy Tax, the way to do it is to have the gov't cut spending, abolish the creation of new spending programs and cap all existing programs. I would also sugguest that the GAO and Federal Reserve be granted line-item veto rights to all future bills that affect spending, revenue(taxes) and budgeting. We need people that can directly influcence spending that aren't worried about losing a election because they didn't increase entitlements, subsidizes, etc.

Before anything can be done, we need a way take away Congress's ability to create wasteful spending. However since the likelyhood of that happening is Nil, its pointless to discuss this further.

However, a US energy tax still does not address consumption outside of the US. I would be pointless just conserve US Domestic consumption if the rest of the world (mainly Asia) continues to expand their consumption.

In my opinion the US gov't as it is, is done by 2015. The widthdraws to support the absurdly huge entitlement programs, coupled with soaring federal, local, trade consumer, corporate debt, and the pending shortage of energy has doomed its future. We have all already depleted all of our capital resources, its there no longer is a path out of the ditch that has been dug.


westexas wrote...

> I suspect that declining oil production will be
> blamed on inefficient state ownership of energy reserves

Depends what side of the fence you are on. Click the link below to see the Russian Academy of Sciences blaming Shell and Exxon for delays in energy megaprojects, and recommending that the State assume control.


An earlier article on Mexico:

Fiscal crisis for Mexico as oil starts to dry up

Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, June 30, 2006

You and I recently exchanged e-mails and I stated a preference to a story on Mexico. However, it appears that Khebab has already done it. It's a good job and I urge readers to look at his graphoilogy story.
I need a bit of data for my analysis of electric rail vs. tar sands.

What is the "crack spread" or cost of refining syncrude (upgraded tar sands) into products ?  What percentage yield is gasoline in volume,and more importantly, value ?

Results from any refinery that handles syncrude will do.  I know that results vary by refinery.

Let the 'newbie' have a 'crack' at it. :-)

gasoline % before and after revamp for Syncrude

You probably have seen this statement from EIA

"Canada's Syncrude Sweet Blend...... trades at near parity with WTI; however, the cost of the upgrades is almost $15 a barrel, in addition to the cost of tar sands recovery."  

"As for adapting to heavier crude slates, there are two basic approaches. The first is to "upgrade" the oil  to a lighter oil in the producing region, before it is sent to the refinery."

"The second approach is to "convert" heavy oil at the refinery directly to light products, in a process more typical of the refining process for conventional oils."

US refineries have apparently been messing with the unbufferred form of Syncrude for some time with some success.

Some potentially 'useful' data from experience with Syncrude at another refinery

When getting into Orinico belt tar sands I found 3 different scemes
 for getting the transporting/upgrading done. These had  the following costs and none comes close to yielding refinery ready WTI grade feedstock (API 17 vs. 39.6) like comparing apples and asteroids.

          SCO By

            Aquaconversion      Delay Coking       Dilution

Prod. TBPD           128          86                 179
 API                   17            17                 17
Invest. MM$          1725         1963               1778
Invest.Recover%      34.2         21.7               13
VPN MM$              572          395                133

Looks like best case after recovery at least add $15 (wiki says $18) a barrel crude costs. (Who knows how much for Oronico 'heavy') Then maybe somebody can answer the question of whether this super Syncrude is just as good as WTI for refining like EIA says and since it's EIA....Hey I tried!

Chavez' advice to Africa touches on a very sore spot. Africa south of the Sahara is indeed the last frontier where the western oil giants still play basically by their own rules. Low royalties, a very limited role for national oil companies, no state control. And this in the only region which still has potential for growth, and which produces overwhelmingly light, sweet oil.
There have been some mutterings about change recently, like Angola's interest in joining OPEC. But many African officials take bribes from the western companies. Who will have the courage to take up Chavez' gauntlet? The situation in the continent, possibly in the world, could be profoundly affected.
Anyone know what the water temperatures are relative to previous years off the Mid-Atlantic coast?  I know there have been some links posted on the GOM, but I cannot find them now.

Kuwaiti experts predict steady rise in oil prices


The total value of the crude oil exports in the oil producing Arab states and members of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (Oapec) reached $327.4 billion in 2005, which is a $99 billion increase compared to 2004.

Regarding the oil and energy consumption in the Arab states, Oapec said that the consumption increased by 5.6 per cent reaching 8.1 million bpd in 2005 compared to 7.6 million bpd in 2004.

According to the report, the energy consumption in the Arab states is influenced by several factors, namely the tangible increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which rose by 15.8 per cent reaching $870 billion in 2004 and played an important role in the energy consumption in 2005.

It added that this major leap in the GDP is mainly due to the increase in the oil national production, which also resulted in the increase of the oil revenues that have a major impact on the economic development especially in the oil producing Arab states.

The demographic factor also has an influence on energy production in the Arab states, where the population increased by 2.1 per cent in 2005 to reach about 312 million people, out of which 200 million (64.1 per cent) live in the Oapec member states.


Business: Kashagan oil field: beginning of oil production postponed

Vremya Novostei, Not indicated, 29.06.2006

Beginning of oil production on Kashagan is postponed until 2009 or even 2010 from 2008, Kazakh Energy Minister Baktykoja Izmuhambetov said. Kashagan is to become one of the principal providers of oil for the Baku-Tbilisi-Jeihan pipeline, the project Kazakhstan officially joined earlier this month. "Oil production there is not going to begin in 2008," Reuters quoted Izmuhambetov as saying. Three years of negotiations between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan terminated this July in the agreement on a route for Kazakh oil export alternative to Russian and Chinese routes. The volume of Kazakh oil export is expected to amount to almost 30 million tons and the pipeline itself cost over $4 billion. Official Astana needs Kashagan and other Caspian oil fields to accomplish its plans to triple oil production and become of the world's ten largest oil producers.

Isn't Kashagan thge last giant (or is it supergiant) oil field found in 2000 ?  The one found before that was also found in Kazakhistan, in 1988.

Time between giant (or is it supergiant ?) oil fields is getting longer & longer.

I think that we are talking about a million b/day field (or is it more, does anyone have specifics) being delayed.

About 1.2 mbd, from Agip KCO

it is currently estimated that there are 38 billion barrels of oil-in-place of which 13 recoverable in case of gas re-injection. Kashagan is also the largest oil field discovered over the last thirty years worldwide. Its development represents one of the greatest current challenges of the petroleum industry given the following characteristics: deep, high-pressure reservoir; high (16-20%) sulphur content with associated production of hydrogen sulfide; shallow waters that range from 3 to 4 meters and freeze from November to March and sea-level fluctuation during the rest of the year; wide temperature variations from -30C to +40C and a very sensitive environment with a variety of internationally protected species of fauna and flora.

Sounds pretty nasty for the best stuff coming on line, no wonder they are having problems.
Imminent PO, high asphalt prices and a burden of debt which will be difficult to be repaid (if ever). At the same time the  US administration plans a 10-lane NAFTA Super Highway!

This article does not mention the price for this, but I presume this is going to be a very expensive venture which will be in the end almost obsolete.

Yes, but if it is completed, it will be an excellent way to reduce wages for port workers and truck drivers (circumventing unions), and even if it isn't ever finished it will stil be an excellent tool for siphoning public funds into the pockets of wealthy friends of public officials.  Win-win, I'd say.

Nothing is ever what it seems with such corrupt people.  The fact that they are public officials does not mean they work for the public interest.

Re: Another example of how the government spends your tax dollars

The recent attack by Israeli on Gaza stemming from the kidnapping of an Israeli solder by Hamas involved, among other things, the bombing of a power plant that supplied roughly half the electricity to the people in Gaza. The amount of damage to the power plant has been estimated to be roughly $48 million.

Well, it turns out that the power plant was built by a partnership of Enron and some Palestinian business interests and was insured by the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), a US government entity created to encourage investment in developing countries by reducing the risk through insuring such projects against a variety of losses.

So, guess who's going to pay to rebuild the power plant that Israel bombed?  That right: the American taxpayer.  Note that it was the American taxpayer who also supplied the money for Israel's planes and bombs.

Thus, we paid for the weapons to destroy the power plant, and we will also pay to rebuild it. This is exactly as productive as having to pay someone to dig a hole and then fill it back up again. Of course, in this election year few if any congressman would dare suggest that the $48 million should be deducted from Israel's next installment of US aid. Not a chance! In fact, Israel is likely to extort even more money from congress.  

Of course, to the federal goverment spending $48 million is about as trivial as spending 48 cents.

It is this sort of thing that makes me almost totally despair of the federal government doing anything meaningful to help get us out of this energy mess. Not only will they do no good, but in all likelihood they will make things even worse.

Don't think of it as wasteful. Think of it like  Roman gladiatorial  events.  

The emperor would sponsor elaborate destructive and murderous events to distract and entertain the masses.  All the while enhancing his political capital.

A perfect analogy!
You're looking at this all wrong!  Crony capitalism wins both ways - they make the missiles and bombs, they rebuild the power plants.  All on public funds.  Rest assured there is strict oversight to ensure that there is no abuse or waste of public money - after all, ENRON was part of building it the first time!  What's that you say, you don't have a spot at the trough?  Too bad then - did you see American Idol?

Hey, as a debtor nation we borrow the money from other nations anyway, so what's the problem?

Just ridiculous.  Does anyone understand what the hell the Israelis think they are doing lately?  Blowing up a power plant because someone is kidnapped seems to be one of the most assinine things I've ever heard.  Couldn't they just blow up the transmission lines or something?  

It's sad that no one is even trying to talk sense into the Israelis anymore.  Their actions are just as much terroristic as any suicide bombers.  Blowing up buildings for the hell of it, to make a point (cause fear), is that not the definition of terrorism.  This is the actions of a "civilized country"?  

I think its disgusting that we prop up Israel with aid because they simply do not deserve it.  If both sides are insistent on fighting it out, then we should either go in and start a peace keeping operation, or just let them fight it out without taking sides.  I swear, we've gone in to other countries to maintain order for little more than what is happening in Israel now.  

Nagorak -

I think the Israelis are doing exactly what they've always planned on doing: making life progressively more impossible for the Arab population so as to eventually drive them all out of Israel and finally realize their goal of a pure Jewish state.  

It is no coincidence that they are taking these extreme measures during the latter years of the Bush administration, a time when an unholy alliance between right-wing fundamentalist Christians, neocons, and extreme Zionist Jews has created a climate in which Israel feels it can literally get away with anything, including mass murder.

Let us keep in mind that we may be Israel's ally and sole guarantor of its very existence, but Israel is no  ally of America and would sell out this country in a flash if was to their benefit.

 I swear - given enough time, Israel is going to be cause of WW III yet. This may be comforting to the armageddon crowd, but not to any sane person.

please keep your anti-semetic sentiments bottled up at the neo-nazi sites you frequent ... your oil related comments are welcome here ... but this idea that a shrunken population of people ... ones whom hitler almost succeeded in exterminating (there are only 14 million jews left in the whole world) ... are responsible for all the ills of the world ... even as the crazed hamas try to finish hitler's job and the rest of the world doesn't say boo ... well those ideas of yours are ubber-conspiracy fantasies wrapped up in exponentially-amplified jew power ... not part of the real world ... by knocking other people down, you don't levitate yourself above the ground even one inch  ... einstein's realtivity does not work that way
I agree 100%.
are responsible for all the ills of the world

Where is Joule making the case of 'responsible for all the ills of the world'?  

If you don't feel joule is correct, show HOW his statements are wrong.  

If Joule posts these comments on a site where they are relevant to the topic being discussed, and if I visit that site, I would then comment.

I support Stepback in clearly noting that this post is off-topic, controversial and unlikely to lead to any resolution related to peak oil. I do not think Stepback or anyone else is obligated to prolong or encourage this discussion.

I support Stepback in clearly noting that this post is off-topic,

And Stepback says 'this is off-topic' where?   He/She come close with 'please keep your anti-semetic sentiments bottled up at the neo-nazi sites you frequent ' then goes off-topic him/herself.  (Semites include Arabs AND Jewish.
  And on wikipedia Yehuda Bauer articulated this view in his writings and lectures: (the term) "Antisemitism, especially in its hyphenated spelling, is inane nonsense, because there is no Semitism that you can be anti to.")   So whatever the stepback objection is, I do not see it as being clear and asked for clarification.

obligated to prolong or encourage this discussion.

If the present action/reaction cycle continues its esclation, there will be increased oil prices.   Would that magically make 'the topic' (of the state of Isreals actions) OK on theoildrum?

I don't see any anti-semitic comments, only legitimate criticisms of the actions and policies of the Israeli government.
"an unholy alliance between right-wing fundamentalist Christians, neocons, and extreme Zionist Jews has created a climate in which Israel feels it can literally get away with anything, including mass murder."

Nothing but the facts Mam. Yes you must be right. No religous hatered. Pure legitimate criticism. No anti-semetic venom. IOW, the Israeli government=extreme Zionist Jews but we don't see any anti-semitism. Have it your way. But aren't we are way off topic from peak oil and peaceful earth-loving prema-culture sharing communities?

What, are you suggesting that the Project for the New American Century (the ideas in it pitched to Israel even before America, IIRC), is a "holy" operation?
You must not be wearing the right kind of tinted glasses:-)
In the USA of 2006, you can criticize the policies of the USA guv to any extent. Call BCR morons, say all the politicians are crooked, say the Dems are no better or worse-knock yourself out. All branches of the government of the USA are fair game. Make even one criticism of any policy of Israel and you are immediately subjected to vehement attack (which is why almost everyone is afraid). Someone should do a sociological study on this one.    
If the subject was how France had blow up an American supplied generator would the level of venom be the same?

France has been an ally since before we were a country, yet it's perfectly reasonable to suggest their motive are less than pure, or that they might have agents in the USA acting against our interests.

Israel is just another country, quite capable of doing bad things an undermining US interest.

step back -

Well, well, well ...... looks like my comments hit a raw nerve with certain people! I've got to be more careful lest I upset someone.

The accusation of anti-semitism is so predictable. It is the standard rebuttal aimed at anyone who dares to criticize Israel and its American backers.  I will ignore it.

As far as relevance goes, my comments are HIGHLY relevant - simply because the polical situation in the Middle East is highly revelant to our oil supply situation, and the Israel/US axis is highly relevant to why there is so much turmoil and instability in the Middle East.

Can you deny that the reason why the US is on the shit-list of practically every Muslim nation is because of its unquestioning one-sided support for Israel?

 Israel, as a sovereign nation has, of course, the right to further it own self interests. But its self interests and those of the US are not one and the same, and in many areas are quite divergent, though the pro-Isreal lobby would have us believe otherwise.

Israel and its US supporters were partly instrumental in selling the Iraq war to the American people. And now much the same crowd is trying to do its best to have the US take out Iran. When are the American people going to say: enough is enough?

And please don't portray Israel as this poor little put-upon country. It has one of the most powerful armed forces in the world, thanks to the American taxpayer and is the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the US props up Israel to the tune of $3 billion per year (a figure that is expected to rise).

 Please name one good thing Israel has done for the US? How many young Isreali men and women have been killed or mained to further the interests of the US?  From a purely objective point of view, Israel is of as much value to the US as Togo or Honduras, yet we act as if it is our 51st state. This is at the heart of what irks me.

So, in the interest of 'staying on topic' (an admonishment usually leveled toward someone with whom one disagrees) that is all I will say on the matter. We can now go back to such relevant open-thread topics as the  fine points of the derivatives market or whether the XYZ electric bike has longer battery life than the ABC electric bike.

I think we used to do a better job of saying we were "for peace" and playing things "for stability."  Now we've got a little bit of a hodge-podge.  Some elements (or actors) within the national government are overt in "supporting Israel" while at the same time of course "supporting Saudi Arabia" and even now "supporting the Iraqi government."

I see more of a mess and less of a plan.

(as you might guess, I think the moral (and political) high ground is to be "for peace" and "for stability.")
step back - Well, well, well ...... looks like my comments hit a raw nerve with certain people!

Damn right.
I am the son of two holocaust survivors.
There is no one else from my family to speak up against your jew-baiting remarks because the rest of them are mere ashes in hitler's crematoriums. I've sat silent here watching you & others implant a "jew this" and "jew that" line in your comments, thinking to myself that perhaps, just like my people thought in the 1930's, this will simply go away.

But it's not. You keep implanting one anti-semetic snippet after another. As Goebbels well knew, if your repeat lies often enough and no one opposes them, pretty soon the sheeple assume they are true.

You want to criticize the governement of Isreal and its current policies? Fine. But there is no need to gratuitously toss in the "dirty jew" vile into your discussions. I don't see you constantly calling America the extreme Protestant/WASP state. I don't see you naming SA as the extrme Whahadi head-chopping state. Somehow you have a special place in your heart for people who observe the jewish faith.

When you claim the Israel-Palestine conflict has everything to do with oil you are full of shit.

There is no oil under Israel.
There is no oil under Palestine.

The poor people of Palestine are the victims of a Mafia-style terrorist organization: Hamas. The people of Israel are also being victimized by this same terrorist organization: Hamas. Despots in various non-Democratic countries use the Israel-Palestine conflict as a diversionary tactic for keeping the minds of their citizens off the real problem: What the #$%! are we going to do once our oil runs out?

I do not wish bad for any Arab people. They are humans like I am a human. They bleed red when you prick them just like I bleed if you prick me. They are going to be in as much deep doo doo (worse) as the rest of us when the oil starts petering out. This is a global problem. A problem that hits all the people of the world. Why are you engaging in a divide and conquer campaign? What's in it for people like you? Please keep your religious animosities containerized in other appropriate forums. Please don't pollute our crude discussions with venomous bile. Thank you.

Luckily, America is still a free speech country (for now) and our part of the Internet is still a free speech medium. If you want to contribute your opinions about PO, I welcome them. If you want to pick on an almost-exterminated minority because you feel they are easy prey for your unholier-than-though feelings; that's another matter.

Please name one good thing Israel has done for the US?

Just one joule? --Duh -- take out the Iraqi nuclear reactor?
Does that count as one?

You want to go for two, joule? Huh? A big 2? --How about warning President Carter to put freaking sand masks on his helicopter engines before attempting rescue of the American hostages in Iran back in 1979, which he didn't listen to, and the American helicopters crashed due to ingestion of sand into the engines ... and the rest of American history with Iran followed.

That's 2 right off the top of the head. Why don't you try Google for more answers. Or are you afraid to hear facts?

In my opinion you should apologise to joule for falsely stating he used the term "dirty jew".
smekhovo, you are right, the exact terminologies he used were: "extreme Zionist Jews" and "mass murder".
I am sorry that you family was killed, but nobody posting on theoildrum was responsible for that.  Nor is anyone advocating we start the who thing up again.  Everyone who criticizes Israel is not a Neo-Nazi.  Your responses are disproportionate to the provocation.
disproportionate to the provocation

Criticizing the democratically-elected and current administration of the Israeli State is fine. Incredible as it might seem, even the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel criticize their own governement. This is to be expected and encouraged in a democratic and open-minded society. Taunting someone with hidden-agenda name callings ("extreme Zionist Jews"), and packs of shameless lies is not fine because it embeds manipulative hate messages under a pretension of making some other point.

As for being "disproportionate to the provocation", I respectfully disagree. This is exactly how hitler/goebells came to power: First with some mild flavored stereotyping and then progressively getting worse with no one really paying notice until it was too late --sort of like slowly boiling a frog in water (and yes I saw that scientific study that shows the figure of speech to be inaccurate).

The point is that if you shine the spotlight on these cockroaches, they run back to the creepy crawly spaces from which they eminated. But if you don't, they become emboldened. I'd hate to see TOD become another neo-nazi outpost just because everybody was too polite to object to provactive hate speech. If anything, I would say my response was disproportionately too tame.


Note there is one country where Palestinean citizens have the vote and generally are accepted more than Blacks are in the U.S. That country is Israel.

Many other Arab states hate and fear the Palestinians, rhetoric notwithstanding:

  1. Remember Jordan and September 1970, a.k.a. "Black September" for the Palestineans who were driven out of Jordan?
  2. Remember after the first Gulf War how tens of thousands of Palestineans were driven out of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia?

Or do you only remember the wrongs done to Palestineans by Israelis? If so, I think that says something about where you and some others are coming from.
Nonsense. Palestinians do not have the vote in Israel.
Unless you mean the remnant of "Israeli Arabs" who were not driven from their homes in the North are Palestinians.
Then presumably you favour a right of return for all the other Palestinians and a one-state solution :-)
You seem to be suffering from a common psychosis.
Just for the record:  Part of my family was also exterminated during WWII.  Although we were never able to determine whether it was the Nazis or the Communists.  

Wholesale slaughter was not limited to the Jews during WWII. My grandmother was Ukrainian. In the Ukraine the estimates vary widely, but run from 3 million to 10 million dead.  I believe this was comparable to the the number of Jews killed.  We were also shipped off to the camps, just like the Jews.


Of course this fact does not in any way entitle me to an special privileges or immunities in this century.

"does not in any way entitle me to any special privileges"

No, it obligates you to speak up when you see the same ugly thing rearing its head up once more.

Which is why I try to speak out, as calmly as possible, against fanaticism in all its forms.
"speak out, as calmly as possible, against fanaticism in all its forms."
Well said Bittercoot.
I sincerely hope Peak Oil will not lead to such bitter name calling, religious animosity, xenophobia and acrimony as we see from what started here mostly as a criticism of current Israeli responses to kidnapping and murder of their soldiers. And then again what does any of this have to do with PO except that it falls under the general rubric of "Middle East"?

There is no oil under Israel.
Face it, Moses made a wrong turn when he led the Israelites out of bondage and into some small sliver of land that hardly anyone paid attention to until 1948.

Then again, maybe it was a right turn given the "curse" that befalls most oil producing states as their leaders fall over each other to grab at the golden gleam of petro fumes and fortunes.

Nothing inaccurate or racist about those terms.
You are a fucking whore who couldn't tell the difference between a monkey and a frog.Ahhaaahahhaaaa. You owe me. Eat it....... Try me.
You're a stale joke.
But you always move for the bate. Click.
Why is no one sticking up for the other half of the "unholy alliance" (the right-wing fundamentalist Christians)?

I was wondering the same thing, except for correctness sake, it is actually a trinity. I believe he threw "neocons" into the cauldron as well.

It is a three way super-secret cabal.

Every Saturday they get together and  ---(no that won't work, the jews complain it's their Sabbath) OK every Sunday they gather together --(oops that won't work either) OK so every Wednesday night they congregate to plot and plan on how to destroy the world --(oh what's that? neocon poker night?) Damn these conspiracy things are hard hard work just in the scheduling of things. Can't we just all cooperate in destroying the world? It shouldn't be that difficult to do!

Could you at the very least get your facts right? Israel did not advocate or support the Iraq war.
You forgot to mention the Zionist plan to take over the world and use goy children's blood for passover matsos. In other words, you are being ridiculous.
A friend of mine left Israel after growing up there, doing her time in the military, etc. ... because she couldn't live in a culture of permanent war.  What Joule wrote above isn't so different from what she has told me ... though perhaps she doesn't use the few words you are reacting to.  Her ideas are similar.

The Neocons did try to import the culture of permanent war with this Iraq war.  We are lucky that it doesn't seem to be taking.  We are lucky the "permanent bases" are not openly embraced.

There is no "culture" of permanent war. There is simply permanent war. It is not something Israelis desire. Nor is there any desire for a "racially pure" Israel. That is a libel of the entire Israeli public, and an antisemitic libel at that.
I don't live there, and I'm certainly not going to pass myself off as an expert.  I've only reported the feeling I've gotten from my friend.

Perhaps if you susbstituted "hardliner" for some of the more inflamitory words, you'd capture a little more of the problem as it is reported in the general press.

I think it falls in line with the National Public Radio report I heard, as they traveled with Israeli soldiers who had to evict Israeli settlers from their homes ...

And once again you are making assumptions you would not be able to support. The only people wanting a "racially pure" Israel are the Arab hardliners who want to evict every single Jew. The Israeli hardliners are hardliners only in the sense that they are willing to fight hard and bloody to avoid being evicted.
Apuleius, I never said "racially pure."

Why are you inserting that as my position?

I hope you'll note that I've said that I consider the moral high ground to "support peace" and "support stability."

QUoting you: "What Joule wrote above isn't so different from what she has told me ." What Joule wrote is a vile calumny.
Well perhaps I looked at that through a filter, seeing echos of my friend's comments.

I do think that the American position should be to support no hardliners, on either side, and if anything leverage power toward moderates, on all sides.

(If we support democracy, than our advice should be toward "one person, one vote" in any county.  Obviously we can't force that around the globe.)

Well, I didn't argue with you to insult your honor, I did it to get you to backtrack, and it appears I succeeded.
That's what I get for taking the high ground.

Note to readers - this is the culure of permanent war.

If we support democracy, than our advice should be toward "one person, one vote" in any county.

First and foremost, I am an American.
What are you saying? Should all persons inside of America, whether here "legally" or not be allowed to "vote" in all elections within the USA?

Amazing how quickly the can of worms spills itself outwardly, no?

I recognize the two-step dance in that argument.  You are suggesting that since "citizens" are legally defined entities, they can be defined at will.  Perhaps we won't recognize as "citizens" someone who entered our land last night.  Perhaps some other country won't recognize as "citizens" someone who has lived on the land for seven generations.

Heck yeah you are trying to create a can of worms, and you know what?  I don't really care.

The important thing for me is this "culture of war" thing.  I do not doubt that hardliners in Israel have accepted "permanent war" as a reality, and that some of them would like us Americans to buy into that same reality.  To live it, with our future generations.

This is only indirectly an Israeli connection, but my worry is that Bush is buying into the "Israeli model."

I'd sure as heck like someone to explain to me that "peace plans" and a "Camp David" style strategy is out, is impossible, and that we have to accept this new future.

I am not one to meddle in another nation's business.  All I care about is how this is washing over on us ... and perhaps changing us.

There is no "culture" of permanent war. There is simply permanent war.

If those two lines do not capture the culture, I don't know what does.

A culture of permanent war is a culture that wants it. Israelis do not want it.
I think it's a culture that accepts it, as their reality.
By that logic a culture that accepts the law of gravity is a "culture of permanent gravity."
I think you gives us messages you may not intend.  What is it when someone compares "permanent gravity" to "permanent war" ...
When someone observes that his neighbors have bought into an ideology of permanent war, that does not make it his fault. Nor does it make his culture one of "permanent war." If you want to see a culture of permanent war, look here.
That's why the old Camp David thing was about reaching out to moderates.  I hope that is possible, or will become possible, in the future.  Obviously that kind of "hope" must die on the way to permanent war.

I think this is an important story for Americans because they may not realize that this is a subtext of the Neocon cause and the Iraqi invasion.  It is at least possible that some of those folks did not see us "winning" in the short-term and traditional American sense.  It's at least possible that they saw us joining a permanent war.

By the way, this affects us in the US without Israel even being named, or being part of the discussion.

Back in the last Presidential election I said to a co-worker "the problem with this path is that it could lead to war for generations."

The guy actually lifted his chin in the air (how's that for body language) before saying "So?"  (If that's not priceless enough, it's from a 60 year old guy with no kids.)

Living in the deep south I see a lot of this attitude.  
It's very much a part of the right wing evangelical culture.
Waging perpetual war against Satan is very ingrained in the culture.

Here is a good link explaining their world view.
Ignore the first part and scroll down to "WAYFARER"

It was originally a blog entry after the last election but it got to much attention so apparently she closed down the blog.

an interesting read ... thanks

do they have any position papers on oil as well?

I have lunch once a week (Wednesday as a mater of fact) with some fundamentalist baptists.  I use them as my own little focus group.

I've quizzed them on peak oil, but they never even heard of the term.  They have a ,"god will provide attitude", so this is not unexpected.

However climate change has made it on to their radar in a big way.

Well that will invariably bring them into the fossil fuel thing given that CO2 comes from burning hydrocarbons.

BTW, the jewish faith has a similar thing to "good stewardship of the Earth". It's call Tikkun Olam which is hebrew for "fixing the world". The idea is that we should each leave this place a little better than how we found it when we came onboard. Not a bad philosophy. The devil is in the details of course.

Israelis do not want it.

The elected gov't of Palestine had announced that there would be national vote to reverse their multi-decade refusal to accept the legitimacy of the State of Isreal.  A truly significant step of the road to Peace ! (If it got a majority vote).

Isreal could have exchanged the children and women that they held in prison for their POW (as they have done in the past).

Instead they, among many other similar steps, bombed the office of the Prime Minsiter.

It appears on the face of it that the current Isreali gov't  does not want to make any steps towards peace.

You should read the fine print. The new consensus is only for a truce, not a peace agreement. In other words, same old crap.
Nor is there any desire for a "racially pure" Israel.

Thank you Apuleius for chiming in. There were so many shamelss lies packed into the one hate-rant that it is not possible for one defender to single handidly take them all on.

I wonder if people out there can guess as to how many "jews" there are sitting in the Iraqi parliment, or the Iranian parliment, or the Saudi version of a parliment. Now guess how many Arabs are citizens of the State of Israel and have their own party members sitting as voting members of the Israeli parliment?

Now, admittedly the system is far from perfect and there are many problems, but if you want to point to where the major "faults" lie for the current world situation, you've got plenty of much better places to look before you turn a hateful and crooked finger against "the jews".

There are, from memory, two Christians in the Iraqi Parliment.
I agree 100%
This is one of the more heated discussions I've seen on TOD and one I won't toss my cap into other than to point out a document published by the UN which discusses the origin of the conflict in Palestine. The document covers events back to 1917, and makes it clear that there is no one without blood on their hands and no clear path out of the problem due a long, troubled history of full misunderstanding, distrust, and hatred:


To be honest, I don't think there exists enough leadership in our world today to actually make significant progress on  the problem in Israel/Palestine. That said, I'm pretty sure peak oil will solve it one way or another regardless of whether we hit post oil in 25 years or 100 years. And I truly wonder what Israel's post-petroleum plans are, as I fear they will find themselves defenseless in a den of enemies.

Peak Oil is not the "only" problem.
Water is the huge problem.
Has been for thousands of years.
With Global Warming coming on strong,
less snow/ice accumulates in mountain tops.
There is less trickle down water for the long hot dry summers.

Already the River Jordan is shrinking under increased demand pressures and the Dead Sea is, well dying, because not enough water flows in to even keep its highly salty contents at steady concentration.

"defenseless in a den of enemies."

Interesting points.
I always thing about how post peak will affect us, but the only thing propping up some of the OPEC governments is petro-dollars.  Collapsing Muslim regimes sitting beside an oil starved Israel. That's  a recipe for war.  You can't use a conventional army, (no gas).  So that leaves us with soldiers on foot marching across the desert or the nuclear option.   Boy is this going to be ugly!

The excuse for the first shot will probably be over water.  Thirst people are desperate and irrational.

Israelis are no slouches when it comes to desalinizing salt water. Also, I believe their agriculture uses water more efficiently than any other in the world. Before Jews came to Israel in large numbers, it was mostly rocks and deserts. With no exaggeration, and it is something to be proud of, Israel made the desert bloom.

Now as to how the water that flows into the river Jordan should be allocated, that one is beyond Solomon. There isn't a whole lot to start with.

A map of Middle Eastern rainfall:


I zoomed to 400%

Northern Isreal is one of the wetter places in the Middle East, 20" to 40" inches/year.  (I have seen other maps where part of Tunisia and a small section of Morocco are also moderately wet).

Not quite "desert" except for the Negev.

No, it is not desert NOW. That was my big point.

BTW, have you ever been to Israel or Jordan? How many Palestineans and Israelis do you know?

I know rather well several of each nationality (or ethnicity, if you want to get picky). Many overseas Palestineans have no use for Hamas or Islamic Jihad, nor were they fans of Arafat. Not a single Israeli I've ever talked to has expressed a wish to commit genocide on the Palestineans, while many in Hamas etc. have expicitly stated that they want to finish what Hitler started. These facts are well known.

20 to 40 inches of rain is not desert.  One of the earliest lands that Zionist settlers got was swamp that they drained.

So the "Make the desert bloom" is a bit overdoen.

I ahve found more hatred and genocidal thoughts among Isrealis.  Specifically three Likud supporters (one a former pilot) whilst I was in school at one time or another.  They are aware that is not PC and it took a while to find this out.

Many more Labor supporters did not feel that way.

In the three Palestineans I knew fairly well, no such thoughts or expressions.

One was a next door neighbor who was studying abroad during the 6 Day War when his camp was conquered.  He was not allowed ro return home.  I remember how torn up he was whilst his father was dying of cancer and being able to only talk to him.

I've talked to that Israeli. The one who wants to exterminate the Palestinians. But then I talk to all sorts of odd people.
 I do regularly talk to Americans who fancy themselves as supporters of Israel who loudly express the wish to exterminate all Arabs, not just Palestinians. If you were to listen to right-wing talk radio you could hear a lot of loose talk about mass killing of undesirables.
Actually I don't talk much to these people. I end up in places where it's just not possible not to hear it. And I try to disengage and stay away.
I've been around 54 years and have to say the blood lust I've heard the past 5 years roars loud. The desire to kill Commies or ***(Africans) I remember growing up was not expressed with the vehemence and nearness I hear today.
It's sad when one human being "labels" another as an unhuman and thereby justifies a taking of the other's life. There are many people out there who harbor bad thoughts in their heads at one moment or another.

The causes are many. Maybe they have been fed misinformation by groups who want to use them after filling their heads with blood lust all their lives. Maybe they are personally insecure and want to feel better about themselves by feeling superior to the next one. Hopefully they will do no harm and learn a better way.

Are we at TOD superior to the sheeple because we "know" about PO and "they" don't? No. We are no better than them. Do "they" deserve to die because they are ignorant and consumed in their consumerist lives? I hope your answer is no, they are people like me. Just because they have different thoughts in their head at the moment doesn't make them worse or make me more deserving.

The scary part is when the crazies gain control of the tools of warfare and the minds of the masses.

The power plant was blown up to make sure there was no power in the tunnels going under the Gaza-Egypt border. Without power, the tunnels cannot be used safely. (And with power from generators, the tunnels are easier to detect and destroy.)

The kidnappers had stated they were going to try to move the hostage to Egypt.

None of this should come as a surprise. One of the first things you take out when you attack a target is the power. It does away with a lot of command&control and other capabilities of the enemy.

The power plant was blown up to make sure there was no power in the tunnels going under the Gaza-Egypt border. Without power, the tunnels cannot be used safely

And the Palestinians have no flashlights ?

In any case, safety is probably not uppermost on their minds.

I disagree that many of the targets are legitimate and the kidnapping of elected officals is as well.  There is no evidence that the elected gov't approved or planned the attack. If anything, the opposite since they planned a popular vote on reversing the multi-decades position on the legitimacy of Isreal.  Isreal has destroyed any hope for that path to peace with their recent actions IMHO.

Isreal could have instead released all children & women from their jails in a prisoner exchange and simply ended this.

I have always had trouble with Likud (Begin blew up a hotel and was involved in a village massacre that prompted the fleeing of many Palestinians, Sharon killed almost 100 civilians directly in the 1950s (2/3 women & children) and thousands by proxy in Lebanon) but not Labor.  The current gov't is just repackaged Likud apparently.

There is a connection to TOD.  About 40% of US foreign aid goes to Isreal.  I support helping Uganda build two dams to create renewable electricity instead of oil fired power (better for them, better for the rest of the world by reducing oil consumption).  And that (and similar actions) could be funded by cutting aid to Isreal.  The US public is not warm towards greater funding for foreign aid.

The tunnels cannot be used safely without ventilation and without motorized carts (they cave in very easily).
As per kidnapping elected officials, they are overtly avowed terrorists. They are certainly fair game, and are not "sacred" just because they got elected.
And regarding the women and "children": the women in question have been caught attempting terrorist acts. Last I heard, being a woman did not mean one could commit crimes and get away with them. The "children" by the way, were also mostly caught smuggling explosives and are in juvvie.
Google Sharon and Qibya, Sharon and El-Bureig

One Link is:


And then Google:

Sharon and Shatila Sabra

Isreal has elected two mass murderers as Prime Minister (Begin was the other terrorist in his younger days).  They have no moral standing to refuse to deal with others with blood on their hands.

Google harder. Find out just how many murderers were hiding in Qibya and AL Bureig after having made forays into Israel to commit massacres. This modus operandi is what GIs have had to deal with in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is a pretty damn old one, of hiding among one's own civilians in order to use your enemy's humanity against himself.
Hardly.  First two thirds of the bodies were women and children, some more were old men. In Arab culture of the 1950s, none would be involved in warfare.  So 3/4 of the dead are prima facia victims of Isreali mass murder.

I seriously doubt that even one of the dead able-bodied men were anti-Isreali commandos, but that is difficult to tpove either way from this distance in time & place.   But it seems unlikely that a village would have no ordinary farmers and craftsmen.

And then Sharon later let Isreali mercenaries do the dirty work in Lebanon and kill thousands of women and children.

Yes, when gunmen hide among ten times as many civilians, that tends to be the result.

By the way, those weren't Israeli mercenaries. They weren't mercenaries at all. They were Chritsian militiamen who decided to avenge similar massacres (google for Damour) committed against them earlier.

Isreal paid them, clothed them, feed them, armed them, selected (or rather "vetoed") their officers, helped them recruit and deployed these irregular forces as the IDF determined.  That makes them mercenaries IMO.

And the IDF deployed them to the Palestanian camps so that they could avenge themselves.  Only a fool (a crime I do not accuse Sharon of) would expect any other result than the mass murders that resulted.

Even Isreali public opinion was appalled by the massacre and Sharon lost his job for killing thousands.

Yes, indeed. Only a fool would expect Arabs not to be savages.

Or is that not the gist you meant to put in your comment?

Sharon lost his job for not anticipating the massacre. As you note, the Israeli public didn't anticipate it either. The militia in question had many men who knew by face the major figures of the PLO, which is why it was sent into the camp, to flush them out. They decided to up things a notch while they were there. That is not evidence of Sharon lacking humanity.

Since Sharon was not a fool, I think your conclusion is "extremely" unlikely.  And the ISF waited for an extended time to let their mercenaries complete the job.

VERY few, if any, PLO fighters were left in the camps; they were in Tunis (from memory) having left with a guaranty of their families safety.  The camps were full of women, children and old men and very few men.  Which made them "easy pickings".

Let me give another example (which also, like all of Sharon's actions, brings great shame upon Isreal & the IDF).

In active hostiliites, unarmed medical personnel, trucks and ships with a Red Cross, Red Crescent or Red Star of David are not to be fired upon. In WW II US hospital ships had flood lights on their Red Crosses in the Atlantic.  None were torpedoed, although a couple of reports exist of German U-boats sighting them.  Likewise, fairly few European Western Front medics were shot (the Japanese specifically targeted medics).

In the '73 October War, AFTER the cease fire, the Egyptians announced in advance that they were sending in a single, unarmed helicopter marked with the Red Crescent to bring in medical supplies to their encircled 3rd (?) Army.  Sharon ordered it shot down.

Your memory is mistaken. Sabra and Shatila happened before the evacuation to Tunisia.
Only a fool would expect Arabs not to be savages.

You are a racist.

You're the one who said it when you claim that Sharon should have anticipated the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla. It was committed by an Arab Christian militia. It was not anticipated by Sharon or the Israeli public. If you say it should have been anticipated, provide a reason why.
You made an all inclusive statement about "Arabs".

IDF helped train their mercenaries, they helped recruit them, they surely had liason officers, they knew the character of the irregulars on their payroll.  They were the force that Isreal helped create.

A near universal military truth is that irregular troops are wont to commit attrocities.  I would point you towards the United States Declaration of Independence.

That the IDF gave their irregular mercenaries "extra time" to do their dirty work also points to premeditated intentions.

Sharon is a mass murderer, he has a lifelong history of it, as documented.

Hey, while we're quarelling here, did anyone notice this one zipping by?

See? We don't have to kill each other. God will do it for us. A mile-wide meteor should do the trick.

First of all, they were not mercenaries. They were in it to protect their community from the predations of other militias, starting with the PLOs. Secondly, they did not receive much training from the IDF. Thirdly, the IDF did not recruit them. It is more accurate to say the PLO did. Fourth, they were not as irregular as you think. Plenty of Lebanese army veterans among them, who had left the LA since it was not doing enough to protect their villages and neighborhoods.

So it was hardly a matter where "any fool" would have seen an atrocity coming.

A near universal military truth is that irregular troops are wont to commit attrocities.  I would point you towards the United States ...

Much hay can be made with such absolutist "truths". But this is all getting old and tiresome. Didn't expect for this to blow up into such a hate fest. Not on TOD.

Let's get back to playing with electric trains.
I think that is a far more productive use of our limited life spans.

Peace. Shalom. Salam alaychem. Please.

to use your enemy's humanity against himself

Sharon has no historic evidence of humanity that I am aware of.

The United States did not promote Lt. William Calley to a 4 star general, and then later elect him as President.

And now you have degenerated to name calling. Which tends to be all that one has to use against Sharon.
Statements of fact, not name calling.
And as for the other buildings blown up, they were mostly weapons warehouses, plus offices belonging to the Hamas movement. Completely legitimate targets. Your selective outrage shows a lot about you.

 I have some cool pictures of an Indian platform burning into the water on June 23rd, how do I insert them?
You have to host them in your own Web space, or use a hosting service like ImageShack.  Then link to them using HTML code.  
pictures of an Indian platform burning into the water

BBC pics here

Check this out. If you download and install the new Google Earth, you can see high-detail images of almost anywhere on the Globe.

It's a small program, about 11MB, but it says you should have 400MB free on your hard-drive, a 500MHz processor, and at least 16MB Video Ram. Most computers built in last 3 years should have that.

Google Earth Free Download

Then you can just click on this link to see something truly amazing.

Supertankers loading at Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia

I centered the location between the peninsula and the offshore filling facility, so zoom in or out to get a better view. If you follow the road Southwest to Abqaiq you can see a pipeline and what I believe are black, oil leakages into the sand.

You can rotate and tilt your view to make it look like you are flying everywhere at 500 feet off the ground. I'd be interested in feedback from people who have tried this out. I'll post more oil-related locations if people like it.

It's true.  I remember checking out Ras Tanura in the old Google Earth, and there was a lot of haze obscuring it.  (I wondered if that was deliberate.)  With this new one, you can see the whitecaps.
Any theories on what these black lines are? They are just south of the Israeli town of Dimona in the Negev Desert. How did the Israelis get Google to do that?


Nuclear Test Site, Nevada

Craters and depressions from underground tests clearly visible. Zoom out a bit on this one after it lands.

I'd be interested, and I'm sure others would appreciate it as well. Thanks!
I think the real lesson of Google Earth is there are an awful lot of empty roofs on which we could lay out solar panels.
Actually, you don't need to download the client to appreciate these satelite images. You can view your supertankers with just a browser, too.

I had a bit of fun with this the other day including finding my house.

Note that the satelite images are over a year old.  The one of our house looks to be about 2 and a half years old.

Here's a long but very interesting NYTimes article on car culture in China.  Not from a PO perspective but fascinating and funny.  One of the best-written magazine articles I've read in a while.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/02/magazine/02china.html?hp&ex=1151899200&en=a71b55fa60c64722 &ei=5094&partner=homepage

I guess no one cares that Ford is cutting back on their Hybrid targets.  Maybe that's because no one thinks they're going to be around by the end of the decade anyway, so whatever their plans are just irrelevant?  

I'd say Ford's inability to sell hybrids are a combination of two things: their inability to sell vehicles period, and their stupid choice to make only hybrid SUVs.  Anyone who is really concerned about gas mileage for whatever reason (global warming, saving money, etc) is not going to buy a hybrid SUV that basically gets no better MPG than a midsize car.  Talk about missing the target market completlely.  Hybrid SUVs are good, for those who absolutely need an SUV, but we're talking about a niche of a niche here.  Typical stupidity on the part of Ford.  

Sadly, Honda made the same mistake with the Hybrid Accord.  It gets no better gas mileage than the standard Accord because they built it for power instead of efficiency.  Someone who is looking for power would probably just buy a different car.  I just don't understand why it's so hard for these automotive manufacturers to believe that people really want to buy hybrids for fuel efficiency, not more power or other BS.  

I'm saddened by it ... for what it's worth, I think they should have hybridized the Focus Wagon.  It's a good size, gets goom mileage to start with, and would have been the only hybrid wagon on the market.

The Escape isn't bad as a hybrid SUV, but I don't think the the hybrid SUV market is that big ... and it's already crowded.

I think Toyota hit the sweet spot with the Camry, apparently learning from Honda's mistakes (obvious to me) with the Accord. As for some other Toyota offerings like the Highlander, that seemed like a dumb move.

I know there is this meme that says we start big because the actual fuel saved per vehicle is greater, but it just ain't working. Toyota obviously has a great hit with the Prius. The Camry will also do well.  Then they should have progressed to the Matrix and maybe the Rav4.  Forget the big autos; as you say, that is just an attempt to salvage an SUV market that won't be there in a few years.  Start at the top and scrap the biggest vehicles one at a time. That could happen with gas rationing or steep gas taxes.

Ford and GM are determined to screw up the hybrid approach. When they fail, they can say, "see, there isn't a market for hybrids."  Well, in the mean time Toyota and, to a lesser extent Honda, will have proved them wrong.  Of course, the people at GM and Ford in charge of marketing strategy will no longer have their jobs, assuming, of course, there are any jobs at those institutions.

I could be wrong, of course. And oil could go back to $30 a barrel.

Just checked out hybrid sales through April of 2006.  Just one full month of Camry sales.  Unless things pick up, the Highlander may end up to be more successful than the Camry. My previous post comparing the Camry and Highlander was wrong unless this result is just a supply problem. It certainly appears I was wrong. But we probably need some more months of data.

In any event, I just don't get the Highlander.  I think it gets something like 22 mpg in real world conditions. Paying all that extra money just seems weird.  An Escape seems like it would make more sense.  But maybe a sentiment from a friend of mine says it all. She says she loves Toyota and would never buy a Ford.  The numbers and expense mean nothing in her case.

Whoops!  Back to theory A.


Camry Hybrid --     4269
Highlander Hybrid --2705

The above is Sales for June 2006.  
Ford licensed the hybrid technology from Toyota.  I'd be willing to bet that the agreement included a clause that forbid Ford from directly competing against the Prius.