Monday, December 29, 2008

As if Things Weren't Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S.

"...He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI analysts, he says... When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.

California will form the nucleus of what he calls "The Californian Republic," and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of "The Texas Republic," a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an "Atlantic America" that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls "The Central North American Republic." Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia."

Reported in that bastion of wack-o conspiracy theories, the Wall Street Journal.


Friday, December 26, 2008



JO adds:

The following article must have been written just before the one above.

Pakistan Moves Forces Away From Afghan Border
A... Pakistani security official would not say where the forces were being sent...

No First Use of Nuclear Weapons Is Not in Pakistan's Favor
Op-Ed in Pakistan Daily by unnamed author.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


[This post is dedicated to our regular poster RanD... You knew I had this already. But you just say it so much better than I do sometimes.]

Throughout out man's history as one major epoch passed and a new one emerged, mankind's religions and interpretations of God have changed dramatically. But did God itself change? By definition that is impossible. This isn't the quote that's coming but another of my favorite spiritual writers, a guy by the name of Joel Goldsmith, once offered a definition of God as something that is self-created and self-sustaining... unto infinity. He told the tale of a nuclear
physicist who had just presented a theorem demonstrating the everything in the universe was a form of hydrogen -- one proton and one electron. Ipso facto: there was no place in the universe where God wasn't. Now compare that with John, Chapter1...

Religions follow business models just like businesses do. Christianity, since around 300 AD anyway, has had the most "successful" business model and has helped shape every aspect of our lives, especially, business, finance and commerce; infinite expansion, capitalism, slavery and relentless population growth.

I think it inevitable that all religions are facing great challenges at the moment; some much worse than others. I think Buddhism and Taoism are probably most immune from this because they incorporate every challenge we see today in one way or another. The Indian parable
of the four blind men and the elephant is apropos here. -- Four blind men come across an elephant. One grabs the trunk and argues, "An elephant is very like a snake!" One grabs the ear and says, "No! An elephant is very like a leaf!" The next one grabs a leg and proclaims, "You fools! An elephant is like a tree." The last grabs the tail and proclaims, "I must kill all you infidels, "An elephant is exactly like a rope!"... In the meantime the elephant just stands there waiting for
someone's consciousness to expand. For the record, I believe that Christ, Mohammed, Isaiah, Buddha and Lao Tze were all prophets -- among others -- who in their lifetimes achieved enlightenment in some form. I believe that all of mankind is being challenged to do the same thing. Every individual is being held accountable for its own level of spiritual awareness.

Think of it this way: The next phase of human spiritual growth will also appropriately be called relocalization.

We must anticipate, expect and encourage new spiritual thought as much as we MUST encourage new political, economic and social thought at this epochal shift in human existence.

So, with that being said, here is a quote from George Fowler's "Dance of a Fallen Monk" which is (today) my favorite.

"Now I understood for the first time that all these problems are caused by a race asleep and thrashing about in its panicked nightmares. There will be wars and holocausts and genocides as long as God is portrayed and thought of as a tight-minded Legislator, a feudal Lord, n offended King, a hypersensitive artisan -- even if church managers condescendingly tack onto that ridiculous list the not-very-convincing footnote that He is also loving. As long as people dream that they are insecure and needy, in some sort of eternal jeopardy, there will be atrocities. But as the human race grows up spiritually, and as individuals gain a personal experience of the God they have been worshipping in fear, they will recognize that much of their theology and philosophy is built on nightmares. That will be the day of the rethinking of presuppositions and of vested positions. That will be the day of peace. I suddenly found myself unwilling to sit it out in the mountains of Utah. I wanted to play an active role in the process of the world's awakening."

Happy holidays to all, with a special message of love and gratitude to our growing tribe.

Carl Jung might be pleased. And God, with no concept of time, just is.


JO adds:

Meanwhile, back at the unspiritual, materialistic ranch...

US Warned India in Early October of Potential Terrorist Attack
The Fool's Gold of Carbon Trading

The mainstream media wake up to the nightmare:

Fed Refuses To Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion
Trade secret. See, it's taxpayer money but the Fed isn't the government so transparency isn't required. Heads I win, tails you lose.

“It would really be a shame if we have to find this out 10 years from now after some really nasty class-action suit and our financial system has completely collapsed,” [Lucy Dalglish, executive director of Reporters Committe for Freedom of the Press] said.

Barney Frank, sounding downright defensive

"Let me start with that second despicable comment you just made I am surprised at you that you would do something like that."

"You wrote the bill," Stahl points out. "You’re, quote, 'the smartest man in Congress.' How did it happen that you wrote a bill that the secretary of treasury has the power not to fulfill in the way you wanted it fulfilled?"

"Because there’s a metaphor that works here: you cannot push on a string. There’s no Constitutional way to force them to do things," Frank says.

A Second Mortgage Crisis on the Horizon?
Peak Money

Since Dick Cheney called the "War on Terror" a war that would not end in our lifetime (because that is how long it will take to use up the second half of the oil), we could call the global financial crash triggered by reaching the limits to growth "the economic crisis that will not end in our lifetime."

Quote of the day (strictly speaking, the actual day of the quote was December 12):

[D]espite yesterday’s setback, we wouldn’t be surprised if this rally continued for several more months. No particular reason. It’s just the way Mr. Market works. Investors have gotten scared...they’re taking precautions. They’re closing their wallets...they’re asking questions and reading prospectuses carefully. Mr. Market will want to loosen them up a bit...get them to relax, let down their guard and come out into the open – so he can destroy them.

Robin Williams on Obama Election
Businessman's Version of The Night Before Christmas
See comment posted at 12:24 pm

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Dec 23, 2008 -- About a year and a half ago a landmark conference was held at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. which -- for the first time -- linked the obviously related crises of climate change and Peak Oil. I was one who celebrated that belated bridge as I boarded a train from Manhattan to DC with my right thumb aching from six externally fixated pins holding shattered bones in place, my arm in a sling. (The thumb works fine now.) While the conference was a great milestone it was, in my opinion, a checkpoint that should have been passed much earlier. At the time I was convinced that the milestone was a bit like the French army in 1939 which was perfectly prepared to fight the First World War. Already the clear cracks were emerging that signalled the start of economic collapse. As I had said in my speech at NY's Cooper Union in May of 2006, there was a clear possibility, even a likelihood, that economic collapse would trump everything... and indeed it has. Throughout 2005 and 2006 I warned as
loudly as I could that all eyes needed to be first on the economy. Peak Oil would remain the ultimate cause of collapse but the first blows striking at the legs of a three-legged stool would be economic ones, rendering effective response to address the other two legs, extremely difficult and possibly impossible.

In my last public interview in early July of 2006, just weeks before I left for Venezuela, I made clear statement that I thought the economy would get us first and that it might be a death blow. This is almost certainly the best interview -- out of maybe 200 TV, film, radio and print interviews I have ever given. It was certainly the most comfortable and relaxed, even though FTW's office computers had been smashed just a week before. I spoke as clearly and unguardedly as I ever have. A great deal of credit went to my comfort with the interviewer, Janaia Donaldson, and the fact that Megan Quinn (now Megan Quinn Bachman) of Community Solutions was sitting just a few feet away. I had flown her into Ashland for a presentation on
sustainability at Southern Oregon University that day.

I just watched this 27-minute interview on YouTube again and it was so compelling in terms of recent events that I thought I'd recommend it.

It is now abundantly clear that the economic collapse is a global one and occurring much faster than almost anyone anticipated. There just isn't going to be any one region that escapes.


More pieces of the landscape are emerging with respect to piracy. It's not possible yet to say that I have the full landscape but I am very concerned. One of the alternative futures that all of us in the Peak Oil movement saw was that economic and social tensions arising for the effects of Peak (the loss of cheap energy) would result in nuclear war. It's not a stretch to say that a nuclear exchange would render issues of climate change and Peak Oil moot. Recent development vis a
vis piracy have my antenna extended to the max. I cannot draw any conclusions yet but there are clear grounds for worry and to keep our eyes fixed on the Gulf of Aden.

It was just announced that Iran is also sending warships to the Gulf. Apparently an Iranian ship has been seized also. (It's very helpful to look at a map while analyzing this.) That makes the U.S., Russia, India, China and Iran (along with NATO countries) heavily deployed in a relatively small body of water which lies just outside the Straits of Hormuz (Iranian and international waters) through which about 30% of the world's oil passes. Now if you go back and look at this blog's main page you see the quote that if there's a gun on the table in Act One of a play it's a sure bet that someone's going to get shot. Either the involved powers have agreements for safe operations in these waters or they don't. If they have an agreement we do not know either how solid or shaky it may be. I do strongly see that a rapprochement of sorts is already underway between the U.S. and Iran but have no idea how solid it is. Like George W. Bush, Ahmadinejad is on his way out. His tenure was guaranteed by having the enemy of Bush to rally his domestic base. For years I have been (correctly) saying that there was never going to be either a U.S. or Iranian attack on Iran. And, in another one of those far-forward looking pieces, I predicted a
rapprochement between the two countries. Here's the link:

I'm no Polyanna on this. We have no idea what kinds of communications exist between the major powers. I would like to think that concentrating this much naval power in a relatively small and totally strategic body of water can be done without incident. But as the economic collapse continues, desperation will increase in like measure. So, the nightmare scenario is that with all those tankers and all those warships in a small body of water, it might be only a matter of time...


I've written so much about Saudi Arabia. I recommend all of FTW's older writing on the subject but especially this one called "Saudi Arabia: The Sarajevo of the 21st Century:
Of course you should go to "Rubicon"

In an historical context I think back to the fact that the U.S. engineered and forced the collapse of the USSR by absolutely destroying oil prices in the mid and late 1980s. Oil was the main staple for Soviet forex revenue and as the oil price collapsed (OPEC magically increased reserves with a pencil and eraser, allowing glut-production under its quotas), the Soviet Union was doomed. Without forex cash the Soviets could not compete with a massive U.S. arms buildup and military expansion. Well it looks like the same thing is happening to Saudi Arabia (whether by intent or as an unforeseen consequence). The Saudi monarchy is hopelessly corrupt. There are more princes on the dole there than raisins in a box of raisin bran. For several years I reported on how the financial corruption was so severe that, even as oil prices climbed rapidly between 2001 and 2006, the Saudi government was borrowing money to keep its social welfare programs afloat while the toyals skimmed everything else off the top.

Those social welfare programs were essential because between that carrot and the stick of a Saudi police state the undereducated, largely unemployed masses, almost all influenced by Wahabi extremism, were kep under control. Now that the price of oil has collapsed it's one of those Wile E. Coyote off-the-cliff moments. After the recent 2 mbpd OPEC production cut oil prices are still plummeting and OPEC is begging Russia to cut production as well to stabilize and raise oil prices. I think it's likely that Russian will cut production because they too are experiencing sharp declines as they pass their second peak. (The first was engineered by the collapse of the USSR and was "artificial".) This Russian peak is geologic. So is Saudi Arabia's which is standing in the middle of the town square, stark naked, just waiting for someone to "see" it and gasp.

Then just yesterday I clipped a story (thanks Rice Farmer) the said that the Saudi government will have a budget deficit in 2009.

Now I seriously doubt that all those corrupt Saudi princes have stopped their insatiable looting. As dinosaurs in the old paradigm they have the same exposure and liquidity positions as all the other dinosaurs. Consequently I am anticipating some serious upheavals throughout the Kingdom next year. We took great pains at FTW to document how the U.S. and much of the region had positioned itself starting back in 2002 to deal with an ultimately inevitable Saudi
collapse. The answer: when in doubt, Balkanize!

If this scenario is correct then my best case would be that key players might be positioning themselves to respond to such an event with some kind of coordination. Iran, by virtue of its location and critical importance would -- of necessity -- be an essential player. Saudi Arabia's life expectancy as a unified kingdom is now less than three years IMO. The instability which might follow that would be life-threatening for all of us. That threat would magnify if Pakistani warships, also close by, decided to express a vital national interests in the Gulf of Aden.

Again, these are only working hypotheses at the moment. But they are very worrisome. While I am seeing grounds for some optimism with apparent US/Sino/Russian naval cooperation in the area, Iran must be involved. But I keep going back to my analogy of a bunch of wet cats being tied in a burlap sack.


JO adds:

Lugar Urges Quick Action in 2009 on US-Russian Nukes
US Wants Details of Russian Purchase of Israeli Made Drones
Oligarchs Seek $78 Billion as Credit Seizure Empowers Putin
US Sets Up Diplomatic Mission in Crimea
Protests in Russia

“The authorities are like a person who has been diagnosed with cancer who refuses to believe that it’s terminal,” said Yevgeny Kiselyov, a political analyst who was ousted as director general of NTV during Putin’s presidency. [FTW Admin adds: See December 13 entry for this blog.] “Russian leaders and the media have tried to convince the public that there is no crisis at all.”

On Dec. 12, a bill was submitted proposing to expand the definition of treason to “a deed aimed against the security of the Russian Federation, including her constitutional order, sovereignty, territorial and state integrity.”

Kiselyov said these moves reminded him of 1937, the start of Josef Stalin’s Great Purge, when any public criticism of the authorities could be interpreted as high treason.

Forward Thinking on Backwardation
Article on the recent unprecedented backwardation in the gold market signifying, according to the author, drastic reductions in availability.

By the renegade (let's have a moratorium on the word 'maverick') Professor Antal Fekete.

In this article I want to enumerate the reasons why I believe that permanent backwardation in gold would bring about the descent of our civilization into lawlessness similar to that following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

Death of Pollster Mike McConnell
Reported in mainstream media, finally, albeit in the UK.
Neo-Mercantilism and the Politics of Economic Integration
US Trade Rep Supported NAFTA Freeway
Limits To Growth and Greenwashing

Friday, December 19, 2008

Reproduced from the "comments" section of today's earlier post:

eyeballs wrote:

Hi Jenna!

Again, I'm not out to contend and prove, but would like to clarify. I've lived in Taiwan since 1988, except for 5 years in Oregon, recently. I'm in Taiwan now. The Diaoyutai article does not say what Mike says it says.

Three things matter around these ridiculously tiny islands: national pride/national security (or in Oriental parlance, "face"), fish, and petroleam reserves -- in that order. If the total oil and gas reserves were efficiently harvested, they wouldn't run Shanghai for a week. Everyone knows that. But they would be commercially viable, barring accidents or international interference, so the governments involved all have to somehow answer the question: Why aren't WE harvesting this booty? But a great deal more money is being made between China, Japan and Taiwan (which, as the "Republic of China", officially claims not only the Diaoyutais, but Beijing) and loss of goodwill would more than offset the dram of petroleum available. So they talk about it, they bluster about it, and one HK guy with an ROC flag died after jumping into the sea and trying to reach the main island as the Japanese Navy did maneuvers around his boat.

Of greater practical value are the fish stocks. Fishermen from various nations, or regions, or whatever, go there, get chased off by someone's navy, protest, etc. Again, the question is posed: Aren't these OUR fish? So in order to show its testicles, each government must go through the motions of lodging a protest, etc. And again, nobody lets this get out of hand because the Sony business and the Chinese low-end tech components and the Taiwanese investment are just too important to fuck with for a few fish.

Of greater importance to China -- and presumably Japan, is security. It's hard to imagine a serious military base on even the main Diaoyutai, which is about the size of a football field, thurst out of the ocean by high, jagged cliffs. But an acknowledged (tollerated) 24/7 military "presence" there would block either Japan's southern waters, or put a serious hole in China's eastern perimeter. For this reason, permanent military presence has not been established by either. It is a demiliterized zone - although warships significantly travel there, to renew one claim or another. All parties are very careful not to actually escalate.

There is slightly more oil and gas around the Spratley Islands, south of Taiwan. Again, the total reserves are not much, but worth something. But these are claimed by Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, China ... and of course Taiwan. Taiwan has an airstrip on the biggest island, in fact. Vietnam may have a sub base in the archipelligo and Philippine troops are also stationed around some cays. China considers the whole lot to be part of the motherland, citing the continental shelf, among other things. (The same argument is also employed to demonstrate that Taiwan is an integral part of China.)

My point is that no one is "fighting over the scraps". Everyone is, on the contrary, trying very hard NOT to fight, while at the same time justifying their "sovereignty". These island groups highlight subtleties of Asian politics that differ from the Palmerston/Perry "gunboat diplomacy" of imperial Western powers. China will not take these islands -- or Taiwan -- until the value of trade and the threat of a debilitating war diminish beyond their actual value. And if fighting ever took place, it would not be primarily for the petroleum reserves... it would be for the symbolic confirmation that China was, in fact, The Boss. The PRC is obviously heading in that direction with some enthusiasm, but it's not there yet.

I don't dispute Mike's basic point that resource wars will become fiercer, for ever smaller bits (unless we can somehow, perhaps by Protocol, solve the matters peacefully -- and I'm not holding my breath). But in this case, he's wrongly interpreting a complex, ongoing situation that is not, in fact, escalating. It's important not to let skewed interpretations reinforce existing expectations, 's why I mention it.


MCR said...

DEAR EYEBALLS: I have never so thoroughly enjoyed being corrected and instructed. Please feel free to chime in any time you want. Thanks!

MICHEL -- What a great catch that story on the Iranian Navy and piracy. It's a huge piece of the map. I need a couple of days to chew on it... I don't think I like it much.


JO adds:

As you read the following from the Somali pirates front, bear in mind who's doing the talking:

Pirates Capture Ukrainian Ship Bearing Arms to Kenya
Mysterious Cargo Aboard Iranian Ship Seized By Pirates Raises WMD Concerns
Iran: Pirates and Secret Wars

Last week, the UN approved a resolution allowing foreign troops to pursue pirates on land in Somalia

Africom, here we com. [sic]



This guy has it about right, though I disagree about wealth destruction. There is no wealth as we have known it when there is no energy. Wealth will be measured in completely new (old) ways: food, water, land, shelter, clothing... and gold.

Read the whole story, but this quote knocked my socks off:

"I then showed a chart of the monetary base (all paper dollars and coinage in existence). It took 200-years for the monetary base to go from $0 to $800 billion, but in just the past 3-months it has grown from around $800 billion to $1.5 trillion, and by the time you read this it will probably be surpassing $1.6 trillion. That's double the number of paper dollars in existence since last summer!"

That's one of the reasons he says that what's coming is worse than all previous financial disasters COMBINED. He includes everything from the Great Depression to Weimar Germany, to the Tulip Bubble.


JO adds:

The graphs in the article will look sickeningly familiar to anyone who's ever glanced at the hockey puck curve of population growth since the discovery of oil.


There's Good News and Bad News in Recent Events


Michael C. Ruppert

Dec. 18, 2008 10:00 Am PST -- Just after the debacle and demise of Elliot Spitzer last spring, Jenna sent me the below article. What I have listed below is all the reference data I have. (Maybe she can put up a link.) This was some fabulous critical analysis. (I didn't fact check it.)


Ellen Brown, May 12, 2008

Elliot Spitzer was a serious guy and I have to agree that he was conveniently removed long before he could – as Governor of New York – put some serous people in jail behind this criminal collapse that the elites knew was coming. Sure, the collapse would have been here anyway, but it might have been mitigated much better. (It can still be mitigated much worse.) There is so much yet to come. And old Bernie Madoff, as significant as he is, would have turned out to be a smaller
fish that Spitzer might have nailed a while ago compared the real tuna that have yet to surface. They may never. Elliot Spitzer is a forgotten memory now and Madoff is rattling the world.

Spitzer was a very risky bet all along for anyone believing in white knights. I believe he had some seriously good intent. He had very big cojones for sure. But he did not have a national base and he obviously did not have the smarts or self control to avoid a self-inflicted wound. Way back in the 9-11 movement from 2003 through 2005 there was one activist who just kept insisting that a solitary state politician would crack the case. The activist kept pushing the movement to spend time, money and energy convincing Spitzer to pick up 9-11 and run with it. Petitions, donations, pleas to organize and demonstrate to make Spitzer save the world. All I could say to myself was, "You f—ing idiot." I sighed in disgust at the belligerent naiveté and all the wasted energy and attention that was flushed. At the time Spitzer was the NY Attorney General with no federal jurisdiction or standing to crack anything as big as 9-11. He would never have stood a chance. Without a broad governmental base, especially in at the federal level, Spitzer was totally vulnerable. Using a military metaphor, he had no armor, no air cover, and no heavy artillery.

That particular 9-11 activist is in my number-four spot for having done more to damage the real 9-11 movement over time than anyone else. I'll tell you who the number one and two destroyers of 9-11 were… but that's all you'll get from me: Amy Goodman and Alex Jones (in that order). I just don't have time for dead-end bs. None of us do now. For me the sex life of politicians is utterly irrelevant to anything… Vive la France! Now, some of the less-sophisticated minds who come here will say, "See, this is proof that there's a master plan."… Bullshit. All Elliot Spitzer's public assassination is, is the proof that the dinosaur elites saw the shit storm coming and they cut the legs out from under a guy who would likely – as Governor – have shown the ubiquitous corruption now just emerging in the stark light of day. Do you think Madoff was the end of that? As Bernie Madoff demonstrates, the elites are out of their league now. They are "dying" too. Even the highest rungs must be starting to sense the impending climate change and ecological/energy/economic event horizon that is upon them.

Spitzer's great failing was that he could not control or subvert his personal needs to protect his larger mission. Forget about whether his actions with an escort were right or not. (Like I said, I could care less.) They were, in our ridiculous moral climate… vulnerabilities. They demonstrated a choice of self over service, and risk taking that was not justified if his mission was that important. He handed his enemies the means for his own destruction and you can bet that they could have put him down any time before that. They have handles (leashes) like that on a great many powerful people. For as much as has been thrown at me over thirty years I have never given any reason for anyone to discredit me. That has come at a great personal price. There were risks I just never took, and life opportunities and experiences I avoided just to keep myself on the field. All that could be done to me was to manufacture a fictitious scandal and it failed. It did extract a heavy toll but I'm still here, intact, with a great new book out in a few months. (No announcement yet. Don't ask.)

So I haven't written for a while because everything that is happening is just so smack dab in the middle of the map we made in "Rubicon" and at FTW that it's heartbreaking to watch: The breakdown of the economy, the collapse of moral and ethical standards, and ever-increasing dysfunctionality. Everything is broken. I am saving the really good news for last… It is Christmas time.

DarkNetz commented that she had seen a big CEO on a videotape sounding like he was quoting from my video, "The Truth and Lies of 9-11." He was. She wondered who else read us. I can tell you that a great many powerful people read me and have for years. They are even more powerful than this one CEO. They just dare not mention my name yet. They can't acknowledge Colin Campbell, Matt Simmons, Richard Heinberg and many others either. I am getting less angry about that as time passes because I know that this will pass too. The old paradigm cannot afford to "see" us in the Peak Oil movement. They read us under the blankets with flashlights, afraid of getting caught – like Spitzer with his mistress. They know how accurate our map has been and those executives who did find us have benefitted from our accurate predictions and map making. There's a reason why "Rubicon" was at or near the number one spot in both Politics-Reference and Public Affairs-Reference for the first eight months of this year at Amazon

But, as the old paradigm dies, things will be stripped away until we who have been sounding the warnings will be the only things left to look at.

And talk about accurate predictions. Here's just a few…


Everyone's asking, "How did the SEC miss Madoff? It had warnings. Go back and pick up "Rubicon" again. Look up Chris Cox in the index. You'll find him in the chapter on Russia. He chaired hearings on how the U.S. looted Russia in the late 90s under the direction of Al Gore.
You'll see that he said some honest things but that he stopped short when any political capital he might have acquired from truth-telling turned into possible collateral damage for Republican interests also backed by the now shaken elites who back both parties… But remember, all constituencies are unwinding now. Who are Republicans? Who are Democrats?

Chris Cox is not the brightest bulb on the tree and he is certainly no troublemaker. He was just the perfect guy for SEC as things started coming down.


Bush got his global free-fire on Somalia. But it's not all his. A new player joins the U.S. and Russia in the Global War on Piracy. (I'd call it G-Wop but I'd get sued, rightly, by Italians.)

I described this a week ago. In another recent story from a few days ago I saw that, for the first time ever, China has sent warships to patrol the Gulf of Aden against piracy. OK, let's see. It's the first time Chinese warships have ventured beyond the Pacific and Indian oceans. The US, Russia and China are moving to control the seas around the Horn of Africa and the Straits of Hormuz. It's pretty clear that parts of the die-off map are being handled by the big three powers together. They are moving to control Middle East oil, 60 percent of all the known oil on the planet. I suspect a tripartite and very secret agreement that a lot of the "who-eats-and-who-dies" decisions will be made this way.

But the scariest thing of all is that OPEC has just moved to cut more than two mbpd from production and the oil price is still falling. The elites just cannot control the economic implosion… a supernova implosion it appears.

The Bumpy Plateau, described so accurately and by so many, for so long, is looking like one steep initial crash, followed by a flattening out with maybe a flicker of recovery, then off the cliff we go. The reaction to OPEC's move tells me that we have very little time.

To read more about the Bumpy Plateau go to:


What this story says is what we told you at FTW for years. All the major powers know there is very little oil left to find and they are fighting over relatively tiny reserves that are close by. We must have published four or five stories on the Sino-Japanese dispute but the first one started came after China tried to extend its territorial waters to the continental shelf. I mentioned it first, vis a vis Japan, in "GlobalCorp", which is proving to be one of my most enduring essays ever. We followed it closely in our section "Key Stories From Around the World" (which is no longer available from the archives but will be next year we hope).


My state is so broke it's shutting down major construction projects and laying off tens of thousands right before Christmas. How is your state doing? I see a bridge collapsed in Atlanta today… lack of maintenance I'm sure. Two nights ago Nat Geo ran a great show on collapsing infrastructure… everywhere. It showed clearly not only how expensive, but how energy intensive it is to rebuild thing like sewers, water pipes, aqueducts, and the grid.

Now the simple, logical thing to do would be to look at three problems: collapsing infrastructure, severe water shortages and near total soil depletion in urban areas and fix much of them with one simple stroke. How? Pass an immediate federal law requiring all states and localities receiving federal aid to review, rewrite, and suspend prohibitions against composting toilets in residences. They're safe. The good ones have no odor at all and are very sanitary, fine for any house… They also produce some of the best fertilizer in the world that doesn't have to be driven anywhere. The human waste not needing to be disposed of wouldn't come flowing out on the streets when there's no money left to fix sewers. The soil would be healthier to plant gardens in, and we'd have flushed that much less fresh water that would then be available to water the gardens. The disease sure to follow from massive sewer failures wouldn't happen either.

Naw! That's too simple.


At this point, had Bush not done something, he would have made one clear statement above all else. "We know the Big Three aren't going to make it and we're not going to waste a penny on them." That would have been the right decision but we would have seen one go before Barack Obama took office. That might have been a tailspin he couldn't pull out of, even temporarily, by the time he got there. That's all this was… buying a little time.


Could be a nasty protracted cat fight here. It will be a great sideshow at the end of the universe.


OK, now for the good news…

President-elect Obama has named Colorado State Senator Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior. Salazar is a really good guy who gets Peak Oil. Here's a quote from Salazar that I used in my new book "A Presidential Energy Policy":

"To hear Bush touting Western oil shale as the answer to $4 per gallon gasoline, as he did again yesterday in the Rose Garden, you would think it was 1908 . . . or 1920 . . . or 1945 . . . or 1974. Every couple of decades over the past century, the immense reserves of the oily rock under Colorado and Utah reemerge as the great hope for our energy future.

"Bush and his fellow oil shale boosters claim that if only Western communities would stand aside, energy companies could begin extracting more than 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil from domestic shale deposits. If only the federal government immediately offered even more public lands for development, the technology to extract oil from rock would suddenly ripen, oil supplies would rise and gas prices would fall.

"If only…

"Furthermore, energy companies are still years away -- 2015 at the earliest -- from knowing whether this technology can cost-effectively produce oil on a commercial scale…

"… It would take around one ton of rock to produce enough fuel to last the average car two weeks.

"… How is a federal agency to establish regulations, lease land and then manage oil shale development without knowing whether the technology is commercially viable, how much water the technology would need (no small question in the arid West), how much carbon would be emitted, the source of the electricity to power the projects, or what the effects would be on Western landscapes?...

"The governors of Wyoming and Colorado, communities and editorial boards across the West agree that the administration's headlong rush is a terrible idea… "

19 Salazar will stop the last-minute actions of the Bush Administration to favor preposterous oil shale development in their tracks… Again, we have more access. Salazar knows us.

It is pretty clear that Obama is following an FDR pattern in his cabinet. FDR put polar opposites in his cabinet and watched them fight. He learned that way. Like I said from the start, Barack Obama's presidency cannot and must not be judged on a few snapshots (Oh yeah, Polaroid went bankrupt today too.) You have a Neocon, energy idiot as National Security Advisor (Jones) but his portfolio isn't energy is it? What Obama is saying to all of us is, if you've got an agenda bring it forward. We'll listen. Now is the time. The Secretary of the Interior has more influence on domestic energy policy than anyone except the Secretary of Energy and the President.

We have several toes in the door I'm telling you.


This blog is not a democracy. This blog is also not a government. Neither I nor Jenna was elected by anybody.

We have no obligation to let disrupters, mental cases and the ill-informed occupy this space or our minds. This is a self-selected group, run by me and Jenna with the express purpose of facilitating knowledge, information, learning and experience between like-minded individuals. My job (Jenna does 95% of the work) is to make sure that this list functions as effectively as possible. It just so happens that we have chosen to share our discussions in a way that can be read frequently by anyone in the world who wishes too. We have nothing to hide.

We have no obligation to anyone to compromise the effectiveness of our list in the name of democracy because we are not a government. We are problem solvers, not problem makers. Jenna lets the growing number of talented stalwarts see just a little of the huge volume of messages intended to destroy our effectiveness. She is doing a fabulous job and I support her 100%.

We welcome and encourage new participants to comment. That they come with an open mind, a willingness to work a little, and good intent is all we ask.

There are some of you who very shortly will find all of your comments rejected without being read or posted. All I can say to that is… tough shit. We – all of us who work hard to make this blog good – are saving lives. As the skipper, my job is to help make you more productive and
eager to come here every day. That's all I care about.

I can't say how much deep affection I have for the regulars here. Soul mates. Brothers and sisters. Sons and daughters. Family. We're feeding each other health food. It's getting close to Christmas and the thought I'd like to close this long entry with is a quote I got from you guys. Its significance was recently reinforced in something that came up in a discussion between me and a new friend; a talented young writer named Emilie (write your own script). It took on special meaning as I just absorbed and meditated on the myriad ironies that adorn this year's Christmas tree.

This line -- which I got from this list -- sums up my whole life experience more succinctly than anything I have yet seen or heard.

It's not about how large you live. It's about how well you live.


Jenna Orkin adds:

Russia Plans To Test Obama, Diplomat Says
Russia, India China Cooperate On New Aircraft Carriers
Russian Arms Exports To Top $8 Billion

India is a major buyer of Russian arms ranging from advanced fighter jets to aircraft carriers, though some of those deals were postponed by price increases and delivery delays.

Moscow is also striving to sell more to the Middle East, Southeast Asian and Latin American states.

At Meeting in Brazil, Washington Is Scorned

With the rise of China as a principal export destination and the visit last month by President
Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia to court Latin American leaders, there are more frequent reminders that the United States is becoming an ever more distant player in the affairs of the region, said Riordan Roett, the director of the Latin American Studies program at Johns Hopkins University.

Russia Blames Dawood Ibrahim For Mumbai Attacks
Russian Warship Sails Into Havana Bay
Russia To Provide Free Fighter Jets In Beirut

Did Bear Stearns Fall Or Was It Pushed?
as per MCR's hint.

EPA Could Speed Up Approval Of Coal Plants

“There are a bunch [of coal plants] that they are going to argue now don’t have to consider carbon dioxide, and which will be beyond the reach of the incoming Obama administration,” said Bruce Nilles, director of the anticoal campaign at the Sierra Club, an environmental group.

Energy Dreams: Looking Towards a Bright Future Using Much Less Energy


Monday, December 15, 2008


See, I told ya!

Anti-Kidnapping Expert Kidnapped in Mexico

Apologies to Mr. Dylan. I have a musical background as well. But Kenny
Wayne Sheppherd's version just says it better now.

-- MCR

JO adds:

Sea Water Pumping at Saudi Oil Field
Relevance of Mainstream Sustainability to Energy Descent
The Fed's New Approach

The Fed must now turn to an approach called “quantitative easing,” because it involves injecting money into the economy [emphasis the blog's; is that like injecting steroids?] rather than aiming at an interest rate. The Fed has almost no experience with this approach.

“This is a whole new world,” said Richard Berner, chief economist at Morgan Stanley. “You don’t have a whole lot of historical precedent for knowing how this is going to work and what the unintended consequences could be.”

And on that reassuring note...

FAS Responds to DOE's Revision of FOIA Regulations
In view of Mike's clamoring for the release of the NEPDG records, this seems worth noting.

Sun in a Bottle
Book debunking cold fusion

Rice Farmer adds:

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Today, on his CNN Sunday talk show "GPS", Fareed Zakaria asked the above question... I responded to the show's web site as follows:

Dear Fareed:

Unquestionably, the most important international news story of 2008 was the Russian/US confrontation in Georgia. It was a desperately needed bucket of cold water in the face of a rapidly declining, but from a Russian perspective, extremely dangerous empire."Wake up! The world's going to hell in a hand basket and we're the only ones who can prevent this... for however long." Some might argue that Mumbai was more significant, but it was not. Only the United States and Russia can prevent India and Pakistan from a nuclear exchange. To do so they must act in concert. For several reasons there are signs that this once-scorned partnership is beginning to emerge. Not the least of these is emerging Russian/US naval cooperation regarding Somali pirates. The world is standing on the brink of economic chaos and now would be a good time to recall von Clausewitz's most famous quote, that "war is a continuation of politics by other means."

Politics are a continuation of economics by other means, Fareed; and economics are solely a product of energy. The current global meltdown; "the end of the epoch" as labelled by George Soros is -- and has always been -- about energy. Sixty per cent of all the known oil on the planet is in the Gulf. Only the U.S. and Russia can hope to preserve short-term stability there as well. I, for one, believe that for the U.S. and Russia to act by either overt or covert means to prevent a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan might be highly desirable. Wouldn't you agree?

I wrote about Russia on my own blog 24 hours before your incredible interview with Secretary Powell. For the record, he deserves great respect for his conduct over the last eight years, but most especially in the last six months. I understand the soldier's code and how he has walked to the outer edges of it. My own final piece of investigative journalism was to break the Pat Tillman cover-up. Pat's mother Mary will gladly confirm this. My first book is in the Harvard Business
School Library.

I have a new book which should be out in the Spring entitled, "A Presidential Energy Policy".


Michael C. Ruppert

Author: "Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil."


As wealthier countries bid for food-growing land in poorer ones, the snake has begun literally to eat its own tail:

"Egypt is investing in Sudan; Libya in Ukraine; Saudi Arabia in Thailand; China in Africa, the Philippines and Russia," says Joachim von Braun, head of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington DC.

The Saudi BinLaden Group Bids for Land in Indonesia
Quite a switch from the days when the Saudis required foreign companies to dye their rice red so as to distinguish it from the local brand.

Wait a second - Was that, "Saudi BinLaden Group?"
Yes; they seem to be back (or rather, still) in business tho' it's hard to tell from their distinctly unforthcoming website.

The Qatar/Kenya predation

Obama on Clean Coal
Obama Coal-to-Liquids Act
Bush Rushes to Pass Anti-Labor Law Opposed By Obama
Part of the scorched-earth, Leave-No-Intact-Area-Behind policy of the current administration.

Jenna Orkin

Saturday, December 13, 2008


So many new pieces of the map!

This guy Chris Floyd is just brilliant and the writing is delicious. I started tracking piracy almost five years ago. Something smelled. I have been waiting for the Aha! moment and this story gave it to me. If the Bush Administration gets Somalia declared a "Global Free-Fire Zone" I'm fairly sure that we'll see some troops leaving Iraq for Somalia (directly or indirectly). Who the hell knows what happens next in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Empire strains and groans. Money and food evaporate at home. Industrial output collapses while military obligations expand. The warlords running the teeny-tiny, feeble central government in Mogadishu are CIA backed. The whole piracy thing is CIA and this is straight out of Ted Shackley's "Third Option". (I interviewed him once when writing a story that helped get former CIA officer Edwin Wilson out of prison. It was chilling.) Starting back in 2002 we made these detailed maps showing U.S. troop deployments post-9/11. (Those maps are still up at FTW.) The Gulf was surrounded. Well, almost. The Horn of Africa was the weak spot. But it won't be for long. Create problem. Solve problem. The desired end result: The entire Persian Gulf is a hostage of the United States Military Empire; a collapsing empire. We watched Africa closely at FTW for years and -- for good reason -- we watched West Africa especially. We watched the inevitable creation of the Africa Command (AFRICOM). But AFRICOM's first big deployment will likely be to Somalia to "protect international free trade". This will open another theater of war. Bush is going to try and sell it like he's riding in with the cavalry. I have absolutely no doubt that President Obama will follow through swiftly and committedly with this agenda.

Now, what will it signal if the Russians show up as partners? Ahhh... The Grand Chessboard. China's all over Africa... from Sudan to Zimbabwe... from Nigeria to Tanzania.

Will the United States be able to maintain hegemony in the Gulf? Not without Russian help it won't. Geography is exerting its irresistible force as we always said it would. If my supposition is correct, then India will ultimately fall into a Russian sphere of influence and way farther out of China's. History would suggest that. It's a long ways off, however.

Things are changing so fast now.

I'm still working on Mumbai but -- and this is just investigative speculation, following leads -- I'm sensing that both Russia and the US are benefiting as a result. I might smell something like the "great partnership" that Vladimir Putin recently lamented "might have been". Where was the one place where CIA, MI6, Russian DFS and every form of radical Muslim moved relatively freely? Chechnya. There's still not enough data to be convinced yet and the possibility of nuclear war still hangs heavy in all of our backgrounds. But, if the US and Russia are showing anything like cooperation it's a good thing. Anything else and it wouldn't be long before, instead of India and Pakistan in a nuclear confrontation it would be the United States and Russia. Together -- for the time being -- Russia and the US can prevent a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. I don't want to offend anyone but I really do think that might be a good idea. Don't you?


Shit! Yes, he's crazy and he's cut from a mold at the same time. You know how I'm looking at this? Do this: go buy, find or steal a copy of a Kenny Wayne Sheppard's song called "Everything Is Broken". I just love the shit outta that song. Which brings me to my next point. The
biggest revelation of all...


Any political or economic entity has a constituency. The Democratic party has the unions, etc. Wall Street titans have the ready access to "old money". Well the Auto Bailout failed today (as it should have), under minority Republican arguments and resistance (which were basically quite sound)... and now Bush wants to rescue them from what's left of an unrecognizable TARP. (Don't forget about the other $7 trillion.)... Today, the former head of NASDAQ was outed for having stolen $50 billion from "old money" in a Ponzi scheme that's going to result in a lot of vacant penthouses on the West side near the park and in the upper east 70s and 80s. The New York real estate market just collapsed... Dagnabit I've been screaming that this whole damn thing was a Ponzi scheme since 1998. Everything is falling apart as it must. The coalitions that have made up the parties are fragmenting and, in some cases, on their way to extinction. Every constituency is unwinding now and new ones will be emerging. We must be a strong and focused one. The entire political landscape is breaking up faster than I had even considered it might. This was a blind spot in my thinking. Good God this is our chance! Everything IS broken and we're the only ones who could possibly understand the implications of that. Society still functions and -- while it does -- we have to get every foot in every door possible. If we are truly about saving lives, this is our chance over the next maybe eighteen months. After that I can't guarantee how much society will be left or what it will look like. Sure, the unions had to be broken. There was just no other way. That's what this was all about, as a start. And the sad, sad truth is that there will never be an economic recovery that will enable the Big Three to recover. Everyone knows that. All day CNN and CNBC and many other mainstreams were saying that the public says "Don't bail out the automakers. Nobody's buying cars and we can see that. Nobody's going to be buying cars!" The oil companies have cut the car companies loose after a good, long run. But business is business...

Go back to FTW and read "Globalcorp"... again!

Someone or something is already making decisions in the dieoff. We (the Peak Oil/Sustainability movement) are influencing some of that. We must do everything possible to gain access.

Look, and for you guys who keep asking about some New World Order plan for a new gray world where machines still work and cars still move... SNAP THE FUCK OUT OF IT!

For the one new commenter from Europe who asked if Europe was going to have it as bad as the US...

Ma'am... In October industrial production fell in Japan. It also fell in China. China is preparing for civil unrest. So are we. Some parts of Europe are already suffering badly. We are all going down to the bottom... very quickly. Look to your neighbors and to your family. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare... I closed my 2005 lecture at the University of Washington with those words. It feels like I've been at this for a lifetime. Ma'am, we're all going to the bottom, pretty much together and very quickly. Please get your head on straight and get your shit together.

(I wish someone would tell the idiot who said that no one saw this coming about us, what we have done here, at FTW and all the other great sites... and what we are doing now.)


When I posted about Kalid Sheikh Mohammad I egregiously neglected to mention the brilliant and enduring work done by Paul Thompson in his brilliant timeline. Paul should rightly be remembered in history as a lion of the real 9-11 investigation. Sorry Paul. -- We're still waiting for that confession...

I'd also like to extend a deep personal thank you to Hikkomori. A while ago you posted a comment about Claude Debussy and me. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, because not only did it describe how I feel and act perfectly, it rendered me unalone. You gave me a part of my own map. As Jenna will confirm, "Claire de Lune" is my favoritest piece of music in the world.

Since there has been some very decent spiritual exchange here lately I thought I'd throw out a list of my favorite spiritual books, the ones that have influenced me most. (I'll strangulate the first clown who says, "Hey Mike, read this!") I don't need any more books. I've got it!

"Dance of a Fallen Monk" by George Fowler
"The Prophet" by Khalil Gibran
The AA Big Book
"Sermon on the Mount" by Emmett Fox
The "Tao Te Ching"
"Siddhartha"... I can pray. I can meditate... And I can wait

As what I have just written demonstrates, and as the Buddha and Christ taught us... everything is connected.


You don't have to be overly cynical to observe that Obama has the trappings of a good ambassador for any sort of agenda in Africa. And indeed, he's been acting in that capacity since at least 2006 when he visited Kenya as well as Darfurian refugees in Chad.

Yet the paradigm is shifting. Not fast enough, of course, but with each collapse of a bank or an industry we gain - if you'll pardon the expression in this economic climate - leverage.

A few years ago I had a phone conversation with a woman I'd known in high school. At the time of the conversation, she'd had a major portion of her gut and liver removed because of cancer which doctors retroactively determined had started fifteen years earlier.

She was about to embark on a treatment of thalidomyde, a teratogenic drug that was taken off the market in England years ago.

It was a long shot but she focussed on the slim chance that it could cure her. It didn't.

The point is: People will grasp at straws before facing godawful realities.

That is all the more true in the case of Peak Oil and its fallout. People are at least theoretically aware of their own eventual death whereas the scenario facing us now is one undreamed of by almost everyone. At least consciously.

I'm not sure why the readers of this and related blogs take to it so readily. There seems to be an innate understanding that we've been living on borrowed time, borrowed earth and borrowed water; an understanding which only needed to be prodded awake by a few connected dots to elicit an, "Of course. I knew it all along."

But not everyone is willing to go there. Yet.

Perhaps the hardest part of activism about life and death issues is having to keep one's cool. If you jump up and down as the situation merits, you look like a nut.

The person shouting, "Fire!" looks like a nut too, until the people he's shouting to see or smell the smoke. Besides, the notion of 'fire' is not new to them.

But Peak Oil is orders of magnitude greater and more complex as well as being sui generis.

On top of that, CNN still shows that heart-warming series in which you get to vote for your favorite hero.

So unless you have a willing audience, which is nine tenths of the battle, you'd be advised to continue to hold some of that pent up, urgent energy in reserve. It will still be there when the time is right.

That's my two cents for dealing with friends and family. But our job will be made infinitely easier if we can get the media and the pols on board. In the chicken/egg conundrum of whether or not they shape opinion or simply react to it, let's face the fact that they have a lot more control than they admit.

And since they also have more information, at this point they may be willing to listen.

Quote of the day:

"I think you have to reckon with the fact that one of the Fed's assets is gold certificates, which are priced, as I remember, at $42 an ounce, and if we were to price them at market prices, the Fed's leverage would look a lot less than it is now."

Human Terrain Program Needs To Be Shut Down
Social scientists befriending locals are felled in the line of duty.

New Yorks Response to Peak Oil: Cut Subway Service
Somali Pirates Acquire U.S. Senate Seat


Friday, December 12, 2008

“If anybody could have predicted this economic crisis, I would have
liked to have met them.”
-- Ellen Weiss, NPR's senior vice president for news
PBS News Hour December 11, 2008

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
-- George W. Bush, September 1, 2005

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would
take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another
one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an
airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."
-- Condoleeza Rice, May 16, 2002=

Thursday, December 11, 2008


The dieoff has already begun though is not yet recognized. I suspect
that is about to change because this CNN story from Africa has been on
our map of future events for many years.

My dawg sure is getting a lot of loving lately.


It is interesting, though not reassuring, that zoonotic diseases have been among us for longer than one might realize. In addition to the risk to pregnant women of toxoplasmosis from a cat and Creutzfeldt-Jacob from mad cows, there is also evidence (vigorously denied by USG agencies) that multiple sclerosis may in some cases be linked to canine illnesses such as distemper. (It's also interesting when referring to the French oriented-study in the link, to remember that France was critical in uncovering the treatment for AIDS, whose origin is simian.)

Swine flu, bird flu... When you consider that 99% of our genes are shared with mice, whyever would the viruses not make the species leap?


Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Here's a great quote from a story on T-Bills (linked below)

"One of the more unusual manifestations of the financial meltdown this year has been the dollar spike, that caught a lot of traders by surprise, and was generated in part by a stampede into the percieved safety of short-expiry US Treasuries, which necessitated the purchase of US dollars. This is now arriving at its ultimate conclusion where Treasury yields have been beaten down to zero, which means that in real terms they are negative, resulting in the bizarre situation where investors are now paying the US government for the privilege of lending them money. This is clearly an untenable circumstance that cannot be expected to continue indefinitely, and it has only been occasioned by desperation, as panicked investors have sought safe haven."

PLUS, the BIS is now warning that the bailouts are putting nations at risk... That means several nations (e.g. the US) might be going bankrupt soon.

So here's the way the first half of next year is shaping up. Mark my words here amigos. MIKE RUPPERT IS MAKING ANOTHER PREDICTION.

Dollar collapsing. Oil rising slowly in the first three months, after an OPEC production cut to try and hide Peak a little longer. Some temporary and illusory signs of a "maybe-sorta" recovery and bottom. Bailouts continuing. (Some like Citi might cry wolf again.) Bailout sending. Bigger banks failing. One of the big three failing (GM or Chrysler) plus maybe one more in Chapter 11. Foreclosures skyrocketing. Layoffs exploding. Then somewhere around June or July, an oil spike up past $100.bbl. That should pretty much finish things off. It's possible that by the end of 2009 the Government of the United States of America will declare itself insolvent.

Remember also that the Federal Reserve is a consortium of privately-owned banks and that it too can fail... It can probably declare bankruptcy which -- carried to its fullest extreme -- would mean that there would be no effective legal tender "for all debts public and private." Note the "public" part. They could possibly "public" in many ways.

How much do you think gold might be worth then? I don't know how to put a number on what gold could be worth if that happens.

[Rice Farmer, you rock!]

Call it heroic patriotism. Or touching, if pathetic idealism. Or call it the final fukking over (a phrase whose Anglo Saxon spelling I've apparently coined) of the public before the Hugest Pop of the World's Latest Greatest Biggest Baddest Really Humongulous Bubble. In an article marvelling over the zero yield of US treasuries, this morning's New York Times calls these investments "the world's safest."

The Times is not a-changing; on the contrary, it is living in a time warp as well as a geography warp. For true to its xenophobic, solipsistic tradition, it is comparing US treasuries to US stocks as opposed to some other country's treasuries in today's economy.

Keep on running, people. Just don't look down or you might notice that the ground beneath your feet has disappeared. Only then will we all go splat.

Like a doctor who, hearing that his medicine has done no good, doubles the dose, the fed is a one-trick pony. When the ground disappears, they simply run faster.

Ostensibly this is because they are focussed on the immediate problem, deflation. And since we live in a constant state of emergency, they are 'of necessity' responding with short term fixes or at least what they're calling fixes. Maybe they mean that in the sense that a baseball game is fixed.

But the faster we run, the sooner we hit hyperinflation. Does the word evoke in you the symptoms of the sound-alike "hyperventilation?" No? Wait a few months.

In the vortex that is approaching, everything, particularly metaphors, will get blended together like the kaleidoscopic images in a dream. The United States and Zimbabwe, previously at economically opposite poles, will find themselves rubbing elbows in hell on wheels.

And yet, even as I never cease to marvel at the sleight of hand of today's media, I'm grateful for the bromides, the mindless reassurance. It means we have another day.

Follow the 8.5 Trillion: Breakdown of the Bailout

The New Yorker magazine runs a competition in which they present a cartoon and readers are invited to submit captions. You might find this week's cartoon fun.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Obama Meeting With Gore on Energy

There's only one thing to say about this one... Hmmmmmmmmmmm!

There are some big decisions being made... right now.


RUBICON readers are going to love this! OMIGOD. Khalid Sheikh Mohhamed wants to confess to 9-11... How convenient, just weeks before Bush/Cheney leave office. Maybe he'll get a pardon!
Wait a minute!... in Rubicon we published very credible stories from several reputable news agencies that KSM had been killed way back five years ago. Wait a minute!... KSM has never ONCE been seen in public since his reported capture.

If we get his "confession" I can almost guarantee that we will never see him in person. If we do, there are enough of us with pictures of the real KSM to tell a switcheroo. You, see, we caught them switching his photographs too. He ain't the chubby guy whose pic is out there. (I must give credit to Michel Chossudovsky for his absolutely brilliant work after 9-11.)

George W. Bush and Richard Cheney you are stupid, lying criminals and this is an insult beyond belief to all of us. It may be too late to get justice for 9-11 with collapse underway (that's what I said in 2004). But damnit there are those of us who will remember what you have done and what an idiotic and transparent move this is.

I heard Ahnold's name mentioned on-air today as a possible Energy Secretary... Lawd have moicy!... If that happens our first mission will be to shove his Hydrogen Highway up his non-polluting tailpipe.

Yeah, I am real pissed off.

(Note: I'm proud to have Mark Robinowitz post on the front page of the blog on occasion. He's one of only about six people in the whole world I'd do that for. But Thorium reactors belong back in the comment section now. The science is irrelevant. Collapse will prevent them from being built even if they might be a transitional help. My new book "A Presidential Energy Policy" will explain why. On my list we try first to discuss implementable, off-the-shelf, and existing solutions. Anyone who wants any of my readers to bet their futures on theory with non-existing operating proof outside a laboratory has zero grasp of our collective predicament. There ain't going to be any money to build anything like that. For, to quote Matt Simmons, "the return on investment is uncertain." Please, let us keep focused.)


Market Intervention Is Top Financial Story Of Our Time

More from crusader John Crudele, who has made it his life's mission to expose the farce which is our 'free market' system. It's a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose freedom that ceases to be free as soon as it veers off the course outlined by TPTB. At that point the Plunge Protection Team swoops in, deus ex machina, to save the hero marketplace from its tragic fatal flaw: a tendency to submit to the laws of nature (what goes up too far must come down commensurately.)

That intervention derives not from the benevolent interest of a parent who wishes to foster independence but from the self-interest of a drug-dealer who wishes to foster the opposite.

The more familiar face of the New York Post:
NY Post Kills Triple Cross Review By Angry Ex-Fed
Another possible candidate for Energy Secretary
Tim Geithner's Background
...including a stint working for Kissinger Associates.

The Automatic Earth

Quotes of the day

Asked why he was undertaking a zero-gravity flight into space, Stephen Hawking said, "I am doing it for many reasons. First of all, I believe that life on Earth is at an ever increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers."

Perhaps he is smart in more ways than we knew.

"The total outstanding notional amount of financial derivatives, according to the Bank for International Settlements, is $684 trillion (as of June 2008) -- over 12 times the world's nominal gross domestic product."
Wall Street Journal

"We still talk in terms of conquest. We still haven’t become mature enough to think of ourselves as only a tiny part of a vast and incredible universe. Man’s attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature. But man is a part of nature and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself ... Now I truly believe that we in this generation must come to terms with nature, and I think we’re challenged as mankind has never been challenged before to prove our maturity and our mastery, not of nature, but of ourselves."
Rachel Carson, April 1963


Sunday, December 07, 2008

from Mark Robinowitz

re: more about thorium

Digging alpha emitting radioisotopes out of the Earth where geology, or God, or Jesus, or the Great Spirit, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster (pick one, if you want) put it out of harms way is not a good idea for the long term genetic health of any species.

One of the many decay products of thorium is radium, which becomes radon gas, which can be breathed in very easily where it causes havoc on delicate lung tissue. I recommend reading about the death of Marie Curie (who was poisoned by experimenting with radium and related elements) or perhaps the plight of the Navajo uranium miners to understand what these materials do to biological systems. Alpha particles cannot pass through a sheet of paper or your skin, but if they get into your body they can cause tremendous damage to the cells next to the radioactive materials. Some of the decay products - such as radium - also emit gamma radiation that can go through lots of shielding, although they are less dangerous per unit dose than the alpha emitting isotopes.

All reactors - even thorium powered - create hundreds of new isotopes not found on Earth before the 20th century. There is no such thing as a safe dose of ionizing nuclear radiation. The "background" radiation does has roughly doubled since the nuclear era began, with a nuclear war's worth of radioactive waste still being babysat at reactors and waste storage sites all over the world. There is no way to detoxify nuclear waste to make it harmless, all that can be done is to stabilize it and hope for the best.

If you came home and your bathtub was overflowing, your reaction probably would not be to go to a hardware store to buy another bathtub. The only way to mitigate the nuclear waste problem is to stop making more of it since we have no idea how to cope with what has already been made.

I recommend the writings of:

Dr. John Gofman, Manhattan Project veteran who helped synthesize the first visible quantities of Pu-239. In the 1960s he was made assistant director of the Livermore Labs, and eventually realized that nuclear fission power was a crime against humanity. There's no substantial difference in the fission products of U-235 and Th-233.

Dr. Ernest Sternglass, who worked for Westinghouse until he realized that nuclear reactor pollution was killing people.

Dr. Alice Stewart, first scientist to document the medical effects of x-rays on fetuses. The medical establishment ridiculed her, but years later had to admit she was right (she had done her research properly) and now great care is usually taken to prevent or minimize medical x- rays for pregnant women.

there are many honest scientists others to choose from, but these are a good start.

The nuclear industry has had great motivation to hide the full truth about radiation health impacts, since that would interfere with reactor construction and operation (people might want to shut down their polluting facilities) and also it would expose the lies of a "limited nuclear war" marketed by the Pentagon for decades.

Boiling water with fission to generate electricity is like using a chainsaw to cut butter.

A thorium reactor could still be used to make nuclear weapons material if the reactor core is surrounded by natural uranium (u-238). The neutrons from the fission process could bombard the U-238, starting the transformation into Pu-239. Any government above the complexity level of Zimbabwe is probably capable of weaponizing Pu-239, or perhaps most transnational corporations.

Nuclear reactors require a police state to guard these materials.

The 1975 "Barton Report" from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission admitted that a police state would be needed to safeguard the nuclear materials if "reprocessing" was used to "recycle" nuclear fuels, specifically warning about the use of detention without trial and torture. Nuclear "recycling" is a euphemism for "reprocessing," the most toxic technology ever invented. It involves taking irradiated fuel rods - which are millions of times more radioactive after exposure in a reactor than before use - and dropping them into an acid to chemically separate out the fissionable materials for reuse. The leftover radioactive acids and solvents are the most dangerous materials ever invented. Some of the places unfortunate enough to have hosted this process include Hanford, Washington, Savannah River, South Carolina, La Hague, France, Chelyabinsk, Russia, to cite a few of the most famous (or notorious).

If you like the USA PATRIOT Act you will love the nuclear economy. Welcome to the future.

If we were a planet of peaceful robots nuclear fission might have some more validity, but DNA and ionizing radiation are incompatible and all reactors can give bomb materials to their operators.

As for James Hansen, world renowned climatologist, now supporting nuclear power, that shows the unfortunate situation where experts in one field can show themselves to be painfully limited in their understanding of other issues. Nuclear reactors require enormous fossil fuel inputs to construct, the fuel needs a lot of coal powered electricity to mine, mill, enrich and eventually babysit for centuries or millennia, reactors emit lots of heat that can disrupt local climates, and the "net energy" is negative if all of the externalities are considered. Hansen is right about climate change, but wrong on thinking that fission power to boil water to spin turbines to make electricity will do anything to slow down global warming.

It would be much cheaper to change building code requirements to require passive solar construction, light colored roofs in hot climates, solar panels on roofs and many other efficiency efforts that are well understood yet will take decades or centuries to implement at current rates of adoption.


No reactor could operate without being immunized from the impacts on downwinders. Read about the Price Anderson Act, which makes the idea of "free market" nuclear power that would be "too cheap to meter" a cruel hoax.

The only safe nuclear reactor rises in the morning and sets in the evening. It has a 93 million mile evacuation zone.

Ultimately, we will have a society that exists on solar energy, the only question is whether we will have complex technology for turning sunlight and wind and waves into electricity and other uses, or whether we will slide back in our technological simplification to the Bronze or Stone ages, with a global population of garbage pickers as an intermediate step toward "Olduvai Gorge."

There is no way to keep the hyper consumption going forever, oil and coal and uranium are not the only finite resources on our round Earth. Even the mythical "free energy," if real, still can't make soils and forests and fisheries and mineral ores suddenly revive to pre-industrial age levels, we will have to learn to treat the Earth and each other with respect as if we are not planning to be raptured to another planet on either the Star Ship Enterprise or following Jesus at the End of Days. If we can learn to conserve, restore, give back to the Earth, other species and our fellow humans, it might be possible to implement a permaculture type paradigm based on sincere sustainability instead of pretending we are having a planet wide "going out of business" sale. It's certainly worth trying to make this the "central organizing principle of civilization," as Al Gore described it in his 1992 book "Earth in the Balance" (this quote is not an endorsement of Gore's anti-environmental policies while in the White House, it is sad that privately he understands overshoot yet was compelled to promote more overdevelopment while in a position to do something about it).

Admiral Hyman Rickover, the pioneer of the nuclear powered submarine program (which served as a prototype of nuclear power reactors), eventually had second thoughts. He told the Congress in 1982 that

"I think from a long-range standpoint--I'm talking about humanity--the most important thing we could do is start by having an international meeting where we first outlaw nuclear weapons and then we outlaw nuclear reactors, too."Until about two billion years ago it was impossible to have any life on Earth. That is, there was so much radiation on Earth you couldn't have any life … Gradually, about two billion years ago, the amount of radiation on this planet and probably in the entire system became reduced. That made it possible for some form of life to begin and it started in the seas .... when we use nuclear weapons or nuclear power we are creating something which nature has been eliminating. Now that is the philosophical aspect, whether it's nuclear power or using radiation for medical purposes or whatever. Of course, some radiation is not bad because it doesn't last long or has little effect on the surroundings, but every time you produce radiation, you produce something that has a certain half-life, in some cases for billions of years. I think the human race is going to wreck itself, and it's important that we get control of this horrible force and try to eliminate it.”
from a hearing held in the Joint Economic Committee, January 28, 1982

No degree of prosperity could justify the accumulation of large amounts of highly toxic substances which nobody knows how to make safe and which remain an incalculable danger to the whole of creation for historical or even geological ages. To do such a thing is a transgression against life itself, a transgression infinitely more serious than any crime perpetrated by man. The idea that a civilization could sustain itself on such a transgression is an ethical, spiritual, and metaphysical monstrosity. It means conducting the economical affairs of man as if people did not matter at all.-- E. F. Schumacher “Small is Beautiful”

Dr. Alice Stewart: "single-celled organisms could not exist until background radiation fell to present levels millennia ago. And it requires just as delicate an environment for us to survive. Yet today, in the arrogance of humankind, we are raising the levels of background radiation and setting back the evolutionary clock."

Friday, December 05, 2008


From this linked CNN story on today's jobs report.

"The economy is now deteriorating with frightening speed and ferocity- it's truly horrific," said Bernard Baumohl, chief economist at the Economic Outlook Group. "We'll see significant declines going forward."

Now add that to the fact that a spokesman from the Bureau of Labor Statistics testified in the House today that this was the single worst jobs report in history. One member asked, "How long have you guys been keeping records?" The answer: "124 years."

BUT the DOW rose 274 pts. today based upon investors "hoping for a brisk holiday season."... A brisk holiday season??????????????????????

That's about as stupid as asking Peak Oil activists to stop flying to conferences. Yeah right! Let the bad guys who are running us off a cliff use all the best and most powerful means of accomplishing goals available, then relegate us trying to save things to the 19th Century. That was a classic example of stupid Progressive thinking. No, it won't make any difference whether any of us stops flying or not. The math is so far out of line that... we'll, you'll have to read my new book. And if my book does well I will fly as fast as I can to promote it and to get where I need to go. For me, I am making full use of the energy while we have it. I am also enjoying a few energy luxuries while they're still available. There's a well-known peaker who refuses to fly or do any number of commonplace things. He's a good guy but I wonder if he knows how many conferences he screwed up by making everyone wait for him.

The logic of that is about the same as risking the entire species going extinct in order to NOT deal with a dieoff that is scientifically inevitable, very predictable, and massively documented in many other species throughout history. The chaos that will result from this approach is... is... suicidal. And we on this list, and throughout the Peak Oil movement, are not. The idea is to save as many lives as possible. For those of us who have been at this for many years I can say that it's real hard to save people's lives until someone admits that they are in danger.

Correction: Biolabs only go up to Level Four. Thanks Mark.

Have a good weekend. "The economy is now deteriorating with frightening speed and ferocity - it's truly horrific." ... Man is that a mouthful!

Go out. Party. Take a long drive. Make love. Make someone smile. Make yourself smile.

[Mary, I think I love you. Please keep posting. You too Victoria. Rice Farmer, my brother, you are just a big solid rock. Businessman, I miss ya.]


And while we're mouthing off at irksome comments, below is a paraphrase of some correspondence with a person important to me; otherwise I wouldn't bother trying to convince one who so obviously wishes to remain HUA: (That one's hard to get by googling but you can guess. I did, when Mike first used it. It's a cops' term for a distracted driver.)

FTW, the blog and other writers correctly foresaw the Balkanization of Iraq, the disintegration of poorer countries such as Zimbabwe, the "recession," the heightened tension between India and Pakistan and the steep and inexorable decline in oil production reported by the IEA last month, among other symptoms of global disaster too numerous to go into.

What do you think collapse looks like in the beginning? People on Madison Avenue looting Ralph Lauren? The U.S. has a financial situation that even the mainstream media are now comparing to the Great Depression and worse. The Peak Oilists warned of this years ago, remember?

To compare us to apocalyptic cults is superficial, arrogant bait. It derives from a wish to be cool by being a wiseass. Mark Twain said words to the effect of: "When I was fourteen, I thought my father was an idiot. When I was twenty-one, I found it remarkable how much wisdom the old man had acquired in seven years."

If you want to achieve cool, read and find out actual facts instead of being an armchair critic who dismisses with a snarky soundbite. Don't follow the crowd; lead them.

Swiss Bank CEO Commits Suicide

"Shares in Julius Baer have lost some 60 percent in 2008 as markets have worried about outflows at its hedge fund GAM, which accelerated in October."