Thursday, August 09, 2007

Is Creaking America on the Road to Ruin?
More mainstream recognition of what FTW has been asserting for years.
"According to a report by Ernst & Young, the consultancy group, published in June, the US has a funding shortfall for infrastructure of $1.6 trillion (£785 billion), a sum needed merely to repair and bring the existing infrastructure back up to scratch."
Central Banks Take Emergency Credit Crunch Action
This looks like the work of an international arm of the Plunge Protection Team.
International Forum on Globalization
Food that Travels Well
In case we forgot that the devil is in the details, the article claims "...that lamb raised on New Zealand’s clover-choked pastures and shipped 11,000 miles by boat to Britain produced 1,520 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per ton while British lamb produced 6,280 pounds of carbon dioxide per ton, in part because poorer British pastures force farmers to use feed. In other words, it is four times more energy-efficient for Londoners to buy lamb imported from the other side of the world than to buy it from a producer in their backyard. Similar figures were found for dairy products and fruit."
Tillman Memo Contradicted Citation
CIA Report on 9/11 Due Labor Day

From Anne Scott

I am about to tell you the story of my morning. This does not end tragically, nor is it of global importance. It is a small, local happening. But the much broader significance will be frighteningly, gut quiveringly, evident.

For background: I've not had a dog for more than twenty years. Much travel with work and frequent moves made it impossible to happily raise a dog. Imagine my joy, after buying the farm, to find a lovely young pup at our local shelter. Never was a dog born who so richly deserved a farm. Nor has a better farm dog walked this earth.

This morning she walked up to the glass door and waited for me to see her. In horror I saw she had a face filled with porcupine quills! I grabbed a heavy shirt, gloves, pliers, and raced out to help her. I was only able to remove one quill before realizing she would not allow me to proceed. Even with two of us to hold her, it was not going to happen. She weighs eighty pounds, and though sweet tempered, even during this ordeal, I feared hurting her even more.

I called her vet at six a.m. No one there, and no one on call. I called another and within half an hour, she arrived and immediately sedated Sakai. Within an hour, the Dr. returned with more help and transported her to the clinic. By the time I arrived, moments later, they had already removed all the quills, given antibiotics and she was groggily returning to the world. I could not stop crying or saying thank you, thank you.

The bigger meaning of all this came crashing down on me as I waited for help to arrive. Peak oil, mega disasters, war, martial law, name your poison. I am more prepared and self-sufficient than ninety eight percent of the population, yet I was helpless in a fairly routine situation. I now will become more prepared. A stretcher to move someone, sedatives to give if needed, and what ever else occurs to me when my mind is operating at normal again. Because it is one thing to intellectualize about "help not arriving" and another thing entirely to feel the result of what could have been, and most probably, will be. The future is about no help being able to arrive.

I shall never forget the look in Sakai's eyes this morning. She did not whimper, or cry. Just looked at me mommy.....

I am crying as I write, can't seem to stop. She is sleeping peacefully and has just enough energy to wag her tail when I walk up.

So, now! I shall make more preparations. I'll miss something, no doubt. But I'll learn every lesson the Universe is sending. And say Thank You...Thank You.

Her name, Sakai, was given to her by the woman who rescued her and brought her to the shelter. It is from a Native American language and means "Brave little one".



Rice Farmer said...

Good lesson. I myself think of something nearly every day that I should have for the hard times to come. It's easy now to cheaply buy stuff made in China or SE Asia. But there are also limits to my time, energy, and money, so I have to approach preparations with a triage mentality.

Rice Farmer said...

The US is desperate to have Japan extend its "anti-terror law," which allows it to provide logistic help to US forces in the Middle East. According to this morning's paper, Defense Minister Koike met with Armitage, Cheney, and Gates, who all urged her to get the law extended.

Momo the Wonder Dog said...

Hang in there Sakai. That must really hurt. Hope you feel better soon. I was rescued too (by Pandabonium) and your story hit home with him.

I found out he has dog food in the family emergency kit. That made me feel good.

Thanks to Anne for sharing that important story. It really does focus attention to the realities we will have to face. Take care.

Pandabonium said...

The analysis by NZ scientists which concludes that eating NZ lamb in the UK is better for the environment that eating locally produced lamb leads me to an entirely different conclusion. That people in the UK ought not to eat lamb and rather eat a diet which requires neither feed nor long transport - ie, an organic vegetarian diet of foods that grow well in that country.

Tyler Havlin said...

Why oil won't hit $100, but won't see $20 either

"If this market can continue going lower without OPEC disrupting it, it's very possible that by 2010 we could be substantially lower than anyone is imagining," said Peter Beutel, an oil analyst at the consultancy Cameron Hanover. "Four to 8 years from now, we could come down and break $20 a barrel."

EIA says by 2010 the amount of oil OPEC can pump should increase by 2 million barrels per day, largely driven by Saudi Arabia. The EIA, like most analysts, does not agree with the view that production has peaked or will soon peak in Saudi Arabia, although a small but growing number of experts say it might.

Tyler Havlin said...

Oil forecasting off-target

"I've done 120 short-term energy outlooks and I've probably gotten two of them right," said Mark Rodekohr, a veteran Department of Energy (DOE) economist.

"We've long been embarrassed by our mistakes," he said.

Private forecasters have done little better. Even with Monday's big drop, if oil prices don't fall a lot further, 2007 will mark the ninth year in a row that the "market consensus" guessed low on how high oil prices would go.

Rice Farmer said...

I for one expect oil to hit $100.
Unless they induce some very extensive demand destruction (who's gonna tell China and India to stop using oil?), it's not going to get cheap again. And energy conservation runs counter to the American ethos.

From today's paper: (1) The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between Japan and the US takes effect. This means further military integration of the two countries. (2) The Agriculture Ministry announced that in 2006 Japan's food self-sufficiency rate had dropped to 39%.

Tyler Havlin said...

I agree with you rice farmer. Oil will eventually hit $100 and I believe it will before 2007 is over. Here's a review of that CNN story I posted:

Tyler Havlin said...

Iraq war czar: Consider a draft

"I think it makes sense to certainly consider it," Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute said in an interview with National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."

"And I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation's security by one means or another," said Lute, who is sometimes referred to as the "Iraq war czar." It was his first interview since he was confirmed by the Senate in June.

Rice Farmer said...

Airport security -- While I still think one purpose of "airport security" is demand destruction, let me make it clear that I think it has other purposes as well. For example, it also helps maintain a consciousness of the "war on terror" among the public, and feeds the climate of fear and suspicion. Who is this guy in line next to me? Surely that guy over there with the full beard is a Muslim. Can he be trusted? And what about that woman who's furtively glancing about while talking on her cellphone in a foreign language I can't understand? Very suspicious!

The no-fly list is no doubt used for political purposes to keep certain people from flying or to harass them.

Airport security is a bonanza for connected companies. In fact, the "security" industry seems to be growing by leaps and bounds.

Tyler Havlin said...

Venezuela's Chavez says oil headed for $100 barrel

"I've always said that oil prices are headed straight to $100 per barrel," he said during a televised speech. "We should prepare ourselves for those prices of one hundred dollars."

Chavez said high oil prices were the sign of a "global crisis" in energy caused by voracious consumption that has vastly reduced available oil reserves.

"No one should think that we're going to stop sending oil to the United States, no -- unless they attack us again," Chavez said during a speech to leaders of Caribbean nations meeting in Caracas for an energy summit.

"If they attack us again like they did in April of 2002 ... there will be no oil."

Tyler Havlin said...

US Housing Market Crash to result in the Second Great Depression

“The US economy is in danger of a recession that will prove unusually long and severe. By any measure it is in far worse shape than in 2001-02 and the unraveling of the housing bubble is clearly at hand. It seems that the continuous buoyancy of the financial markets is again deluding many people about the gravity of the economic situation.”
Dr. Kurt Richebacher

The bottom line is that inventories are up, sales are down, profits are eroding, and the building industry is facing a steady downturn well into the foreseeable future.

The ripple effects of the housing crash will be felt throughout the overall economy; shrinking GDP, slowing consumer spending and putting more workers in the growing unemployment lines.

mrs p said...

Oil or no oil there's no way to completly comprehend the magnitude of what we're on the brink of.

Ms. Scott's post and Sakai shows us how fast a small crisis can baloon and the stuff we take for granted today will just not be there later. Something as small as an insect bite could take you down if not attended to. How many people have fire extinqishers on their property? or those gas turn off wrenches for the gas main when there's a bad earthquake, or snake bite kits? I don't have these things. Ms. Scott's post was a great reminder of how vulnerable we are. Just the other day during some outside plumbing repairs for a leak we couldn't turn our water back on for most of the day and it was horrible not being able to just wash my hands. You don't realize how much you use it til it's gone completely.

mrs p said...

Mike Ruppert explained the world wide housing bubble burstlong ago in Crossing the Rubicon. The really ugly part is the intenders of this folly profiting further on the way down.

gaelicgirl said...

Re: the article on New Zealand lamb being cheaper for Britain to import than feeding their own lamb corn: this is a fairly absurd and ignorant article to begin with. Why feed lambs corn??? The reason New Zealand beef is cheaper is that they have their sheep on pasture, the way they're supposed to be. If Britain would transition back to raising their sheep on grass, the way they did for hundreds of years, they'd be able to afford it, the sheep would be healthier, and it would be a highly nutritious food.

Rice Farmer said...

Interesting comments on the Sakai lesson. Our infrastructure (both its physical and institutional components) is high-tech and high-energy. No one person has access to the energy, tools, and expertise needed to repair everything. And that is precisely why we are so vulnerable. Low tech is the best because it's accessible to anyone.

Rice Farmer said...

Can't find anything on English about this, but a story run in the Japanese press on August 11 reports that China's PLA is about to establish a new "Office 048" (or something like that -- not sure what it would be in English) concerned exclusively with building aircraft carriers. The story quotes a Chinese source as saying that the Chinese navy has decided to build its own carriers, and it will take seven to 10 years for completion. A military specialist living in Hong Kong, Ping Kefu, speculates that carriers built by the Chinese navy will displace about 60,000 tons and carry about 25 aircraft.

Rice Farmer said...

China, seeking resources, brings deep pockets to Africa

Can you spell "AFRICOM"?

Leigh said...

I hope this dog is smarter than my neighbor's dog was. He continually would get porcupine quills time and again...