Monthly Archives: August 2005

Will Katrina bring oil to $100?

The folks over at The Oil Drum are following Katrina and the storm’s likely impact on the U.S. in terms of energy and economy. Check out their post Gulf Oil Supply/Katrina Weather Map Update: The Event that Introduces Peak Oil to a Nation:

This thing WILL be a big deal, not just because New Orleans is a prime target (remember water has to be pumped out of NO because it is under sea level, and right now with Katrina as a category 5, the estimates are 30 feet of water) under the current models for Katrina, but she could also disrupt Gulf supplies of petroleum (the GOM supplies around 1.3mbpd, we use around 20mbpd in the US) from rigs, etc., for a while. Many refineries are also located within this area (see LA refinery link below), as well as pipeline stations and tanker stops.

With supply and demand balanced on a knife’s edge as it is, this could lead to huge amounts of volatilty in the oil markets for weeks to come.

Even with all of the human tragedy that come from this, the whole scenario to follow will illustrate the peak oil problem. There is simply no more extra oil (except maybe the SPR?) we can call upon to put into the system…and with supply and demand balanced as it is (and with demand only growing over time), it only takes one “something” (terror, weather, malevolent world politician) to disrupt the system. This is what Goldman Sachs was saying six months ago when they introduced the idea of a $105/bbl superspike. One event that really disrupts supply means a terribly volatile market…and yes, that $105/bbl number probably equals somewhere around $4/gal or more for gas or even worse, a shortage of supply because of systemic problems.

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The Bulldog Manifesto: Orwellian 101

The Bulldog Manifesto has an excellent piece on the Orwellian aspects of the current war against Iraq as well as the Newspeak that has spread throughout government and media. I could not agree more and urge you to read it:

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” — George Orwell, from the book 1984, published in 1949.

In the book 1984, the totalitarian government known as “Big Brother”, uses high technology and cleverly crafted language known as “Newspeak” to control the minds of the masses. In that fictional world, any person thinking about notions of freedom or revolution was punished with torture or severe brainwashing. You see, in that world, thinking about true freedom was considered a “thoughtcrime”. So Big Brother used “Newspeak” to get people to think in narrow terms, limiting the range of thought, in order to make “thoughtcrime” impossible.

I’m getting sick and tired of the Orwellian Newspeak. Just turn on the television, all you hear is Orwellian Newspeak. Nothing is as it seems.

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The price of oil

Salon has posted a story and photos on the war in Iraq. The gist of it is that America has been shielded from the harsh reality. Iraq: The unseen war:

The grim reality of Iraq rarely appears in the American press. This photo gallery reveals the war’s horrible human toll.

This is a war the Bush administration does not want Americans to see. From the beginning, the U.S. government has attempted to censor information about the Iraq war, prohibiting photographs of the coffins of U.S. troops returning home and refusing as a matter of policy to keep track of the number of Iraqis who have been killed. President Bush has yet to attend a single funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq.

I used their Photo Gallery to create the collage above. It’s not enough that we face the reality. We need to face the reason behind it all. King George has been telling the truth all along… it all comes down to “Our way of Life” does it not? America, land of suburban sprawl and SUVs. In the end this is a war about access to a limited supply of natural resources, capitalism, and consumerism. In the end it is about a way of life based upon oil.

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Peak Oil and the Corporate Media Delusion

Jim Kunstler writes about the current price of oil as it relates to the media, supply, demand and American consumption: Delusion and the Media:

America consumes one-quarter of the world’s daily production of 84 million barrels of oil. More than half of our share is burned in cars and trucks. In fact, our economy now amounts to little more than running 200 million motor vehicles around the suburban metroplexes in the service of ever more slapped-together McHousing developments, big box stores, and fried chicken huts. That’s our economy. That’s all we do anymore.

Regarding the recent NYT article he offers this critique:

Maas’s article is full of howling omissions and delusions. For one thing, Maas omits any serious reflection of the consequences of a global energy crisis, any specters of geopolitical blowback, or potential problems for America’s non-negotiable easy-motoring way of life. That omission grows out of the delusional assumption that some magical market mechanism will conjure up a menu of just-in-time replacements for the vanishing oil. These are referred to as “alternative technologies,” a term that points to a more fundamental delusion now rampant among the public, namely the mistaken belief that technology and energy are the same thing, that they are interchangeable, that you can substitute one for the other. Out of oil? Get new technology.

I’ll also add that there is a great discussion about the NYT article over at The Oil Drum.

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NYT on Peak Oil

According to The Oil Drum the NYT will, this weekend, publish a Peak Oil story by Peter Maass entitled “The Breaking Point”. Look for it on the 8/21/2005. Here’s a quote:

The largest oil terminal in the world, Ras Tanura, is located on the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, along the Persian Gulf. From Ras Tanura’s control tower, you can see the classic totems of oil’s dominion — supertankers coming and going, row upon row of storage tanks and miles and miles of pipes. Ras Tanura, which I visited in June, is the funnel through which nearly 10 percent of the world’s daily supply of petroleum flows. Standing in the control tower, you are surrounded by more than 50 million barrels of oil, yet not a drop can be seen.

‘The world has never faced a problem like this,’ a report for the U.S. Energy Department concludes. ‘Previous energy transitions (wood to coal and coal to oil) were gradual and evolutionary; oil peaking will be abrupt and revolutionary.

The oil is there, of course. In a technological sleight of hand, oil can be extracted from the deserts of Arabia, processed to get rid of water and gas, sent through pipelines to a terminal on the gulf, loaded onto a supertanker and shipped to a port thousands of miles away, then run through a refinery and poured into a tanker truck that delivers it to a suburban gas station, where it is pumped into an S.U.V. — all without anyone’s actually glimpsing the stuff. So long as there is enough oil to fuel the global economy, it is not only out of sight but also out of mind, at least for consumers.

I visited Ras Tanura because oil is no longer out of mind, thanks to record prices caused by refinery shortages and surging demand — most notably in the United States and China — which has strained the capacity of oil producers and especially Saudi Arabia, the largest exporter of all. Unlike the 1973 crisis, when the embargo by the Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries created an artificial shortfall, today’s shortage, or near-shortage, is real. If demand surges even more, or if a producer goes offline because of unrest or terrorism, there may suddenly not be enough oil to go around.

We’ll be seeing a great deal more of this kind of reporting… or at least we should. Sad that it has taken this long… no, not sad… irresponsible and ridiculous. Of course it is to be expected. The age of oil that has served as the foundation for America’s suburban nightmare is coming to a close folks.

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Thinking Like a Mountain… What are we?

It’s been a long while since I’ve read this but there was a time when I read through this book often… 15 years ago. Late last night someone called me… someone very dear to me and I thought of these words… hope you too might find truth and strength in them.
What are you? What am I? Intersecting cycles of water, earth, air and fire, that’s what I am, that’s what you are.
WATER–blood, lymph, mucus, sweat, tears, inner oceans tugged by the moon, tides within and tides without. Streaming fluids floating our cells, washing and nourishing through endless riverways of gut and vein and capillary. Moisture pouring in and through and out of you, of me, in the vast poem of the hydrological cycle. You are that, I am that.
EARTH–matter made from rock and soil. It too is pulled by the moon as the magma circulates through the planet heart and roots suck molecules into biology. Earth pours through us, replacing each cell in the body every seven years. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we ingest, incorporate and excrete the earth, are made from earth. I am that. You are that.
AIR–the gaseous realm, the atmosphere, the planet’s membrane. The inhale and the exhale. Breathing out carbon dioxide to the trees and breathing in their fresh exudations. Oxygen kissing each cell awake, atoms dancing in orderly metabolism, interpenetrating. That dance of the air cycle, breathing the universe in and out again, is what you are, is what I am.
FIRE–Fire, from our sun that fuels all life, drawing up plants and raising the waters to the sky to fall again replenishing. The inner furnace of your metabolism burns with the fire of the Big Bang that first sent matter-energy spinning through space and time. And the same fire as the lightning that flashed into the primordial soup catalyzing the birth of organic life.
You were there, I was there, for each cell of our bodies is descended in an unbroken chain from that event. Through the desire of atom for molecule, of molecule for cell, of cell for organism. In that spawning of forms death was born, born simultaneously with sex, before we divided from the plant realm. So in our sexuality we can feel ancient stirrings that connect us with plant as well as animal life. We come from them in an unbroken chain–through fish learning to walk the land, feeling scales turning to wings, through the migrations in the ages of ice.
We have been but recently in human form. If Earth’s- whole history were compressed into twenty-four hours beginning at midnight, organic life would begin only at 5 pm … mammals emerge at 11:30 … and from amongst them at only seconds to midnight, our species.
In our long planetary journey we have taken far more ancient forms than these we now wear. Some of these forms we remember in our mother’s womb, wear vestigial tails and gills, grow fins for hands.
Countless times in that journey we died to old forms, let go of old ways, allowing new ones to emerge. But nothing is ever lost. Though forms pass, all returns. Each worn-out cell consumed, recycled … through mosses, leeches, birds of prey…
Think to your next death. Will your flesh and bones back into the cycle. Surrender, Love the plump worms you will become. Launder your weary being through the fountain of life.
Beholding you, I behold as well all the different creatures that compose you–the mitochondria in the cells, the intestinal bacteria, the life teeming on the surface of the skin. The great symbiosis that is you. The incredible coordination and cooperation of countless beings. You are that, too, just as your body is part of a much larger symbiosis, living in wider reciprocities. Be conscious of that give-and-take when you move among trees. Breathe your pure carbon dioxide to a leaf and sense it breathing fresh oxygen back to you.
Remember again and again the old cycles of partnership. Draw on them in this time of trouble. By your very nature and the journey you have made, there is in you deep knowledge of belonging. Draw on it now in this time of fear. You have earth-bred wisdom of your interexistence with all that is. Take courage and power in it now, that we may help each other awaken in this time of peril.
Gaia Meditations
John Seed, Janna Macy
from the book “Thinking Like a Mountain, Towards a Council of All Beings”

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Cindy Sheehan brings it to the White House Coward

Cindy Sheehan confronts the coward:

CRAWFORD, Texas, Aug. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ — More members of Gold Star Families for Peace (GSFP) and Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) are traveling to Texas to join the protest outside of President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he is vacationing for the month of August.

Starting today, Gold Star families from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Arkansas and other states whose loved ones have died as a result of the war in Iraq will be joining one of their members, Cindy Sheehan, at the protest. Ms. Sheehan, whose son Army Specialist Casey Sheehan was killed in Sadr City, Iraq on April 4, 2004, has been in Crawford since August 5th, demanding a meeting with the President. These families will be joined by military families with loved ones currently serving in Iraq or about to deploy or redeploy to Iraq. All of these families are coming to Crawford, Texas to share their stories about the personal costs of the war in Iraq and add their voices to the call for a meeting with President Bush.

On August 3, 2005 President Bush, speaking about the dreadful loss of life in Iraq in early August, said “We have to honor the sacrifices of the fallen by completing the mission… The families of the fallen can be assured that they died for a noble cause.” Gold Star and military families coming to Crawford know that the cause was not noble; that their loved ones died, or are currently in harm’s way, serving in a war based on lies.

In the first 8 days of August, 36 service members died in Iraq; countless Iraq children, women and men are dying each day. All of the families traveling to Crawford will carry the message to the vacationing President: Honor our fallen and honor our loved ones’ service by ending the occupation, bringing the troops home now and taking care of them when they get here.

President Bush has consistently tried to hide, and to hide from, the cost of the war in Iraq. This August, these costs are being brought right to his doorstep.

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