Monthly Archives: April 2006

The Oil Discussion is way off base

The folks over at The Oil Drum have an excellent post regarding the current state of discussion regarding high prices at the pump. As anyone who has studied peak oil knows, the discussion going on in the political realm and U.S. society in general is far off base. In fact, the discussion is not even close to the target. If this were a game of hot and cold we’d be in the ice of the northern glaciers… of course those are warming up and melting aren’t they? But that is another discussion. Back to The Oil Drum and peak oil, I strongly recommend that you read The Politics of Oil: The Discourse Must Change:

Leaders of both political parties are expressing concern about the high price of gasoline. President George Bush announced yesterday that he was suspending deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to make more oil available to consumers as well as putting on hold the traditional regulations requiring additives to make fuel burn cleaner during the summer driving season.

We strongly feel that the leaders of both political parties are not only headed in the wrong direction with respect to gas prices, but we also worry that they fundamentally misunderstand the factors behind the current situation at gasoline stations around the US. Public statements by political figures over the past several days would seem to suggest that oil companies and their record profits are the sole factor determining the price of gasoline. Not only is this untrue, but it is dangerous to give the American people the impression that only oil companies are to blame. The American people need to understand that the phenomenon of high gas prices cannot be attributed to a single source. They also need to understand that no one political party will be able to fix our current woes.

It’s a must read and is, as expected, followed by a fantastic discussion thread.

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Garter Snake

The snakes have woken from there winter naps! Every spring we have two or three Garter snakes that have made it a habit of visiting our little garden pond for their first frog meals. I left alot more leaves in this year and thus far I don’t think any frogs have been eaten.

Yeah, I know, I know. The snake has to eat too and as much as I appreciate the snakes and their need to eat, I still have a hard time watching or listening as a frog is eaten… and yes, they make quite a racket as they are going down.

Also worth noting, we have lots of Leopard Frog eggs in the pond so we should be seeing some tadpoles soon. Within the next couple weeks the Gray Tree Frogs will also start breeding… that usually happens once night time temperatures average mid 60s. I’m guessing the first or second week of May.

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America’s Iraq

It’s time again for a little Iraq check-in. We’ll start with some photographs of the real situation in Iraq, photographs that American news outlets systematically refuse to print. Warning: they are graphic. Unlike U.S. audiences that view a cleaned up CNN version of Iraq, these sorts of uncensored scenes are shown on Arab satellite television all the time.

Then there is the ongoing story of Donald Rumsfeld, who, just like FEMA’s Brownie, is doing a heck of a job according to Bush. There are some though, most notably a growing number of Generals that have, you know, actually gone off to war. Generals like Retired Major General John Batiste who, on Friday 4/14 said of Rumsfeld:

We went to war with a flawed plan that didn’t account for the hard work to build the peace after we took down the regime . . .” and added, “We also served under a secretary of defense who didn’t understand leadership, who was abusive, who was arrogant and who didn’t build a strong team.”

Then there is the story of Iraqi’s who are fleeing their homes. 65,000 more Iraqis have been displaced during the past two weeks by ethnic violence and reprisal killings.

Then there is this from Patrick Cockburn, Situation in Iraq could not be worse:

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A cruel and bloody civil war has started in Iraq, a country that President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair promised to free from fear and establish democracy. I have been visiting Iraq since 1978, but for the first time, I am becoming convinced that the country will not survive.

I wonder, what would America’s Iran look like?

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Oh no Iran’s going to have the Bomb in 16 Days!

Among many others is reporting that, according to the U.S., Iran Could Produce Nuclear Bomb in 16 Days. Ok, I’m terrified, truly terrified. I’m building my bomb shelter. I mean, not long ago it was 10 years until d-day, but now it’s 16 days! These bloodthirsty Iranians are just out of their minds. We must defend ourselves now, the sooner we bomb them the better. Did I mention, I’m terrified! Is that a mushroom cloud I see? Thank God that Bush and his trustworthy administration are on this. I’m sure that with each minute they are diligently collecting piles of evidence from sources we can rely on. Yes, lets bomb Iran, let’s do it now!

Iran, defying United Nations Security Council demands to halt its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days, a U.S. State Department official said.

Iran will move to “industrial scale” uranium enrichment involving 54,000 centrifuges at its Natanz plant, the Associated Press quoted deputy nuclear chief Mohammad Saeedi as telling state-run television today.

“Using those 50,000 centrifuges they could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 16 days,” Stephen Rademaker, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, told reporters today in Moscow.

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Java Cabana

Be one of the first visitors to the website I just finished for Java Cabana! I should say it’s almost finished as we are still fine tuning the content. Not a huge site, not too fancy… but I think it has turned out quite well. If I’ve never professed my love for the Java let me do so now. My favorite Memphis coffee shop with many memories of the place going all the way to the early days in 1992. There’s nothing in this world as tasty as a Java Shake.

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Biolab lies catching up to Bush

The Washington Post is reporting that Bush knew the truth but ignored it when he repeatedly asserted that the trailers were biolabs. Yes, I know, it’s a big surprise that Bush and Co. lied. Damn hell, how many lies could one man tell? Just think of all the potential with the buildup to war on Iran!! Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War:

Administration Pushed Notion of Banned Iraqi Weapons Despite Evidence to Contrary

On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile “biological laboratories.” He declared, “We have found the weapons of mass destruction.”

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq — not made public until now — had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president’s statement.

The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped “secret” and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.

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Bush’s real plans for immigration: war fodder?

My good friend Banana over at Liar Paradox has a very interesting thought on Bush’s real immigration plans:

Bush is planning a land war in Iran. But Americans would burn Bush to pieces if he instituted the draft…see? Americans don’t want to fight in wars for Exxon and Halliburton. These are just not the kinds of jobs that Americans want to do. Well under Bush’s new and improved illegal immigration reform he’s got over 20 million immigrants from Central America and Mexico that he can send over there.

Wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

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Lots going on right now as the War Criminal in Chief prepares his second war of aggression, this time against a nation that will be able to defend itself: Iran. If Bush gets his way we are in a great deal of trouble. The mess caused by the crime against Iraq has largely been contained in Iraq. This will not be the case if we start something with Iran. If you think oil and gas are expensive now, just wait. Bombing Iran will trigger major blowback and our lives will change in ways we only glimpse in nightmares and not just in terms of the energy markets. The effects will surge through the global economy and the violence will spill far outside of the middle east.

Here’s a small sample of Iran related news. Of course there is the Seymour Hersh article, The Iran Plans. It’s long but well worth the time:

Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?
The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran fro pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increase clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams o American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting dat and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”

One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”

Then there is this article from the Washington Post, U.S. Is Studying Military Strike Options on Iran:

The Bush administration is studying options for military strikes against Iran as part of a broader strategy of coercive diplomacy to pressure Tehran to abandon its alleged nuclear development program, according to U.S. officials and independent analysts.

No attack appears likely in the short term, and many specialists inside and outside the U.S. government harbor serious doubts about whether an armed response would be effective. But administration officials are preparing for it as a possible option and using the threat “to convince them this is more and more serious,” as a senior official put it.

Preparations for confrontation with Iran underscore how the issue has vaulted to the front of President Bush’s agenda even as he struggles with a relentless war in next-door Iraq. Bush views Tehran as a serious menace that must be dealt with before his presidency ends, aides said, and the White House, in its new National Security Strategy, last month labeled Iran the most serious challenge to the United States posed by any country.

Many military officers and specialists, however, view the saber rattling with alarm. A strike at Iran, they warn, would at best just delay its nuclear program by a few years but could inflame international opinion against the United States, particularly in the Muslim world and especially within Iran, while making U.S. troops in Iraq targets for retaliation.

Then there is the Congressman from Texas, Ron Paul, who has this to say about Iran being the next Neocon target:

The significant question we must ask ourselves is: What have we learned from three years in Iraq? With plans now being laid for regime change in Iran, it appears we have learned absolutely nothing. There still are plenty of administration officials who daily paint a rosy picture of the Iraq we have created. But I wonder: If the past three years were nothing more than a bad dream, and our nation suddenly awakened, how many would, for national security reasons, urge the same invasion? Would we instead give a gigantic sigh of relief that it was only a bad dream, that we need not relive the three-year nightmare of death, destruction, chaos and stupendous consumption of tax dollars. Conceivably we would still see oil prices under $30 a barrel, and most importantly, 20,000 severe U.S. causalities would not have occurred. My guess is that 99% of all Americans would be thankful it was only a bad dream, and would never support the invasion knowing what we know today.

Even with the horrible results of the past three years, Congress is abuzz with plans to change the Iranian government. There is little resistance to the rising clamor for “democratizing” Iran, even though their current president, Mahmoud Almadinejad, is an elected leader. Though Iran is hardly a perfect democracy, its system is far superior to most of our Arab allies about which we never complain. Already the coordinating propaganda has galvanized the American people against Iran for the supposed threat it poses to us with weapons of mass destruction that are no more present than those Saddam Hussein was alleged to have had. It’s amazing how soon after being thoroughly discredited over the charges levied against Saddam Hussein the Neo-cons are willing to use the same arguments against Iran. It’s frightening to see how easily Congress, the media, and the people accept many of the same arguments against Iran that were used to justify an invasion of Iraq.

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Peak Oil on Global Players

I just finished watching Global Players with Sabine Christiansen which was a discussion of oil. Various important oil folk were there: Edmund Maduabebe Daukoru (Nigerian minister of State for Petroleum Resources, President of the OPEC Conference), Malcolm Brinded (Group Managing director Roy Dutch/Shell), Claude Mandil (Executive Director of IEA), Kevin Rosner (Institute for Analysis of Global Security), and Kjell Aleklett (President of ASPO). I was not impressed.

As expected, most talk was to the effect that there’s plenty of oil, just not much extra capacity. Plenty there for 50+ years but acknowledgment that conservation must be taken seriously not only because oil is a limited resource but also because of climate change. Strange, that while they acknowledge oil as a limited resource they outright rejected the notion of peak oil… almost reflexively when it was brought up by Kjell Aleklett. I know very little of him or his work with the Association for the Study of Peak Oil but truthfully I was not at all impressed with him. To put it bluntly he was a pushover. Perhaps it was a language related limitation… the discussion was in English and while he certainly speaks English I’m just guessing that any slowness or hesitation in his responses might of been language related. I don’t know.

In any case, it was a chance to promote the concept of peak oil that fell flat.

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