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30 July, 2011

House Committee Passes Bill Requiring Your ISP to Spy on Every Click and Keystroke You Make Online and Retain Info for 12 Months

House Committee passes bill requiring your ISP to spy on every click and keystroke you make online and retain for 12 months – Boing Boing: "Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 19-10 for H.R. 1981, a data-retention bill that will require your ISP to spy on everything you do online and save records of it for 12 months. California Rep Zoe Lofgren, one of the Democrats who opposed the bill, called it a 'data bank of every digital act by every American' that would 'let us find out where every single American visited Web sites.' Here’s commentary from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who’ve got a form for contacting your rep to ask her or him to kill this:


The data retention mandate in this bill would treat every Internet user like a criminal and threaten the online privacy and free speech rights of every American, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have recognized. Requiring Internet companies to redesign and reconfigure their systems to facilitate government surveillance of Americans’ expressive activities is simply un-American. Such a scheme would be as objectionable to our Founders as the requiring of licenses for printing presses or the banning of anonymous pamphlets. Today’s vote is therefore very disappointing, but we are especially thankful to GOP Representatives Sensenbrenner, Issa and Chaffetz, who chose principle over party-line in opposing this dangerous tech mandate. We hope that bipartisan opposition will grow as the bill makes its way to the House floor and more lawmakers are educated about this anti-privacy, anti-free speech, anti-innovation proposal."

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URGENT: Congress Pushing Broad New Internet Snooping Bill | Demand Progress: "'A direct assault on Internet users' is what the ACLU is calling it. Yesterday a U.S. House committee approved HR 1981, a broad new Internet snooping bill. They want to force Internet service providers to keep track of and retain their customers' information -- including your name, address, phone number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, and 25 other civil liberties and privacy groups have expressed... opposition to this legislation..."

‪Ron Paul's Urgent Warning!‬‏

Government Is Twice The Size It Was A Decade Ago

PolitiFact | Tom Coburn says government is twice the size it was a decade ago: "On the July 24, 2011, edition of NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., sought to give some perspective on the size of federal spending -- a central factor in the current debate over raising the debt ceiling.

Addressing host David Gregory, Coburn said, 'David, everybody's talking about the symptoms of our problem instead of the real disease. The government's twice the size it was 10 years ago. It's 30 percent bigger than it was when (Barack) Obama became president. The problem is that we're spending way too much money, and it's not hard to cut it without hurting entitlement benefits. But we don't have anybody that wants to do that without getting a tax increase.'

We wondered whether Coburn was right that the size of government has doubled over the past 10 years...

... doubling the 2001 outlays over 10 years would have meant a 2011 figure of $3.72 trillion. Since the actual figure is higher than that, Coburn is right that the cost of government has doubled over the past decade.

What about Coburn’s second claim, that government expenditures are 30 percent bigger than they were when Obama became president?

For this one, it depends when you start the clock.

If you use fiscal 2008 as the baseline -- which we confirmed with Coburn’s staff was his intention -- then the comparison is just about right. Federal outlays increased by 28 percent between fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2011, which is just below the 30 percent Coburn cited...

... We also considered whether Coburn intended to blame Obama for this spending increase. This was a tough call. Re-reading his claim, we don’t feel that his use of the inauguration of a new president as the cutoff point necessarily invokes blame. The entirety of Coburn’s comment encompasses government growth over a 10-year period, most of which was clearly under a Republican president, George W. Bush, and not Obama. And the inauguration of a new president is a pretty natural dividing line for making mathematical comparisons.

'No one has a more consistent record of being a nonpartisan critic of spending than Coburn," said Coburn’s communications director, John Hart. "He has been criticizing Republican and Democratic spending for many years.'

We agree with this assessment, so we’ll give Coburn the benefit of the doubt on whether he intended to place the blame for government growth on Obama.

So what's the bottom line? Coburn is entirely right about federal outlays doubling over 10 years. And if you use one of two plausible measures, he’s right on the growth since Obama took office. But using another plausible measure, the growth of government under Obama was smaller. On balance, we rate Coburn’s statement Mostly True."

What's Really In The Food? The A to Z of the Food Industry's Most Evil Ingredients

What's really in the food? The A to Z of the food industry's most evil ingredients: "Ever wonder what's really in the food sold at grocery stores around the world? People keep asking me, 'What ingredients should I avoid?' So I put together a short list that covers all the most toxic and disease-promoting ingredients in the food supply. These are the substances causing cancer, diabetes, heart disease and leading to tens of billions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs across America (and around the world).

If you want to stay healthy and out of the hospital, read ingredients labels and make sure you avoid all these ingredients..."


[Detailed List At Link Above]

29 July, 2011

Why I Advocate Preparedness (And No, It Isn't Because I Believe The End Of The World Is Around The Corner)

Anyone who has ever attempted to convince a friend or relative that they need to get prepared will, no doubt, understand exactly where I'm coming from in this article. As some of you are already aware, this blog automatically posts to my Facebook page -- my personal Facebook page, where folks who have found me as a result of reading this blog intermingle with my family and friends I've had for many years. I suppose that unusual dynamic is what ultimately inspired me to write on this subject.

By and large, my peeps are an understanding bunch. No one has ever outright told me off or ended their friendship with me over my beliefs, possibly because I don't really push them all that much. Other than my blog posts appearing on my wall and linking to the occasional media story, my Facebook page is not altogether unlike any other. Still, that is not to say that I have not gotten some grief over posting so-called "depressing" stuff all the time, but I don't hold that against them any more than I'm sure they hold it against me.

It was something that a dear friend said recently, however, that got me to thinking and set me on the path to writing this article. In short, we were talking on the phone and the conversation turned toward a friend of hers who had found me through her Facebook page and added me as a mutual friend. I've actually never met the lady, but I typically approve friend requests unless the person gives me a bad vibe. Anyway, apparently the lady had said something to my friend about deleting me because of all of the "depressing" things I post. Oh well. To each his (or her) own. But it did get me to thinking about why I believe the things I believe and what put me on this path.

First, to dispel a common misconception: I *DO NOT* believe that the end of the world is just around the corner. With all the hoopla regarding the supposed apocalypse looming in 2012, all alternative news sites and blogs seem to be getting unfairly lump together with tinfoil hat-wearing whack-jobs these days. So, for the record, let me just say that 2012 is B.S.!!!

My blog isn't about preparing for the end of the world, but rather the end of the world as we know it (a concept often described using the moniker "TEOTWAWKI"). The fact is that societies have a shelf life. Read your history, if you don't believe me: every great civilization in history has risen, flourished, slipped into decline and eventually collapsed, leading to a "dark age" or a period of anarchy and chaos until the next great civilization rises and imposes order. It is in order to survive that so-called "dark age" that I prepare. It has been theorized that all it would take for the thin veneer of polite, civilized society to utterly unravel would be for the power grid to fail, which will surely occur if we are ever again hit by a geomagnetic solar storm such as the one that hit in 1859 -- and, that we one day will be is all but a statistical certainty. Also, one should keep in mind that that is only one of the possible scenarios that could cause everything we know of to unravel before our eyes. There are many others, some of them even more worrisome.

But even if, by some unbelievable and unlikely stroke of fortune, such dire occurrences never again befall us, there are still plenty of reasons why one benefits from leading a preparedness-minded lifestyle. I'll talk about that a little more later.

Without allowing this article to devolve into one completely devoted to that horrific event, I will tell you that the true catalyst that made me understand the importance of personal and family preparedness was Hurricane Katrina. I was absolutely riveted and appalled, and it definitely woke me up to the dangers of complacency and what comes of people leaving their very survival solely in the hands of a bureaucratic behemoth like the federal government. It wasn't as though no one wanted to help; the government was simply incapable of doing so in an efficient and timely manner and it cost lives. The lucky ones were left to fester for days among rotting bodies with precious little food and water, waiting for help that seemed never to arrive; while the more unfortunate fell victim to roving gangs intent on rape and violence. Never could a person ask for a better example of what happens in a large-scale crisis when it seems as though there is no end in sight: some people become butchers, others the meat -- and all suffer universally.

It was, likewise, a very good lesson in what to expect from the government in such a situation. It took them what seemed like an endless string of days to get their act together and get a few trucks of water to arguably the largest building in the entire city (not exactly a difficult target to aim for), yet little time seems to have been wasted in deploying armed personnel from private security firms to forcibly remove people from their own property, confiscate supplies and firearms from law-abiding private citizens (in direct violation of their constitutional rights) and generally cause a ruckus and make a bad situation even worse. There were even reports of people who didn't want to leave their homes, because they weren't being allowed to take their pets with them... so these thugs just shot their pets dead right there in front of them. It's a good thing that I wasn't there. Most likely, I would have misbehaved and someone would've had to have shot me dead too.

Watching all of that play out live on CNN and reading even more detailed stuff about it in the following months (much of it eyewitness accounts reporting things that were not allowed to be broadcast over mainstream media), I made a vow to myself that I would never end up like one of those unfortunate people, and that is a vow I intend to keep.

However, even were I not worried about such things, I would still maintain that a prepared lifestyle is a worthwhile endeavor.

In today's economy, with people losing their jobs left and right and unable to find work, who would not benefit from having a few months worth of food and other necessities socked-away in a pantry or attic?

It seems like every winter there are more and more reports of people being stranded in their cars by blizzards. They are typically either rescued after several harrowing days of not knowing if they'd survive, or they decide that they have no choice but to try to walk and find help themselves, losing their lives as a result. How much easier to you think their plights may have been to endure had they had the foresight to keep a $30-$40 emergency survival kit in their car at all times?

How many perish every year in earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters for want of such cheaply and easily-obtained supplies?

So you see, it isn't all about preaching of the end of the world and prognosticating doom. Emergency preparedness and survival training to help one endure future threats should be thought of in the same way one thinks of homeowners and car insurance. You don't pay that monthly premium in the expectation that your house is going to burn down or you are going to wreck your car; you pay it so that, in case one of those eventualities comes to pass, you won't be left twisting in the wind.

The lifestyle and mindset that I advocate is truly no different.

The Dollar, Gold And The Quality Of Money

The Dollar, Gold And The Quality Of Money - Charles Kadlec - Community of Liberty - Forbes: "... With every headline, it is becoming increasingly apparent how much the governing class has overreached. Those who believe in government are simply running out of other people’s money. For example, President Obama’s call to reverse the tax break given to owners of corporate jets in his 2009 stimulus bill would supposedly raise $300 million a year in revenue, enough to cover less than two hours of current deficit spending. Even if the Federal government could tax 100% of personal income in excess of $250,000 a year, it would collect little more than half of the revenue needed to balance the budget.

These real world results mock the conventional wisdom that given the power to spend, borrow, tax and print money, elite public servants can manage the economy and protect the average individual against the vicissitudes of life. Instead, government itself has become a source of systemic risk, and a direct threat to our prosperity and liberty..."

White House Privately Telling Bankers We Won't Default Even If Debt Deadline Missed

GASPARINO: The White House Is Privately Telling Bankers That We Won't Default If Debt Deadline Missed: "It's looking more and more likely that Congress will not hit the August 2 deadline, but according to Charlie Gasparino you should have no fear.

He reports that in secret, the administration has been making calls to Wall Street, telling bankers that the administration will find a way to avoid no matter what.

It's not clear what that means: Payment prioritization, the 14th Amendment option, or perhaps some new special measure Geithner could pull out to conserve cash?

That being said, the Administration reportedly does believe that a downgrade is still likely without a deal that cuts costs.

A lot of folks have suspected that August 2 isn't REALLY a debt default day... it might explain the market's ennui at the failure of politicians to solve this issue.

Meanwhile, one GOPer is out saying that if Obama did let a default happen that he'd possibly be impeached, which is hilarious because others have talked about impeachment in the event that the 14th Amendment is invoked."

Consolidation of Seed Companies Leading to Corporate Domination of World Food Supply

Consolidation of seed companies leading to corporate domination of world food supply: "Throughout the history of agriculture across the globe, farming has always been a diversified sector of the economy. Small, self-sustaining, family farms were the order of the day in most cultures. Even as small farms grew larger and more specialized over time, many of them still saved seeds or purchased them from other farmers, which kept control of farming in the hands of the people.

But today everything has changed, as large chemical and agribusiness firms have acquired or merged with seed companies and other agricultural input companies. They have successfully gained a foothold on genetically-modified (GM) crops with transgenic traits.

These primary factors and several others have facilitated a crescendo towards the global domination of agriculture by corporations, and thus the world's food supply..."

City To Firefighter and Police Retirees: Give Up 50% Of Your Pension Or Risk Losing It All

City To Firefighter and Police Retirees: Give Up 50% Of Your Pension Or Risk Losing It All: "As the size of government across the nation continues to spiral out of control countries and states across the nation are finding it increasingly difficult to pay their [bills]. Central Falls, Rhode Island has been forced into giving their retirees a dreaded ultimatum[.]

According to a CNN report, Judge Robert Flanders who appointed by the state to work out a solution to keep the the city from going bankrupt said the choice is limited to the pensioners to either volunteer to a 50% pension cut or risk losing it all in bankruptcy court..."

Memphis Delays School Year's Start Indefinitely in Funding Dispute

Memphis board delays school year's start indefinitely in demand for city funds - The Commercial Appeal: "Classes for Memphis City Schools will not start this fall until the City Council deposits $55 million -- the amount the city has budgeted for schools from tax revenue -- in the district's account, school board members decided Tuesday night.

The board voted 8-1 to delay the start of the school year indefinitely, putting the system in the limelight as the district attempts to force city leaders to make good on funding promises..."

28 July, 2011

Report: China Building Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons for Use against U.S. Aircraft Carriers

Report: China building electromagnetic pulse weapons for use against U.S. carriers - Washington Times: "China's military is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons that Beijing plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, according to an intelligence report made public on Thursday.

Portions of a National Ground Intelligence Centerstudy on the lethal effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons revealed that the arms are part of China’s so-called “assassin’s mace” arsenal - weapons that allow a technologically inferior China to defeat U.S. military forces.

EMP weapons mimic the gamma-ray pulse caused by a nuclear blast that knocks out all electronics, including computers and automobiles, over wide areas..."

Fed’s $16 Trillion Dollar Secret Slush Fund Props Up Our Way Of Life

Fed’s $16 Trillion Dollar Secret Slush Fund Props Up Our Way Of Life | Don't Tread On Me: "'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system,for if they did,I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.' -Henry Ford

While the world waits with bated breath on the Contrived Drama of the Debt Ceiling, the real show has already been played out, secretly and behind the scenes. The first audit of the privately owned and foreign owned Federal Reserve by the GAO,has turned up $16 Trillion dollars of loans all over the world to prop up the global fiat empire. This massive money creation is over and above Hank Paulson’s $700 billion dollar heist of the American public. It is also in addition to QE1 and QE2 that resulted in an illusionary recovery of the economy. All of this money printing has done nothing to create any economic growth and it never will. The scary part is that this was done with no oversight or accountability . (Thank God we have someone like Ron Paul to hold these Elite accountable and expose their crimes before the collapse.)

'As a result of this audit,we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world. This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.' Senator Bernie Sanders VT (Get the full report here.)

While Americans have been getting hammered,in this winter of our Empire,the Elite have been securing their bets gone wrong. Too Big To Fail should be Too Rich To Fail. As Americans continue to get crucified for speculating on the housing and stock bubble,the Elite get you to pay for their losses. This kleptocracy is a way of life and if the American people understood the enormity of this perverse crime,there would be revolution in the morning. And not just here in America,this money went all over the world to prop up the local Elite in foreign fiefdoms. The world is enslaved by debt and the wars they fund..."

James Howard Kunstler: Nobody Knows Anything

Nobody Knows Anything - Clusterfuck Nation: "... Here in the pitiful tweet-sphere that contains the atomized remnants of USA governance, there is no such clarity. We don't know if that's spaghetti hitting a wall or the shit hitting the fan. But due to the amazing obduracy of the parties involved, the next sound you hear may just be the wall itself tumbling down, perhaps even the famous wall with the famous street attached...

... Whatever other conclusions can be drawn from the great debt ceiling debate of 2011, the main one seems to be that this country can no longer govern itself. Our reverence for the constitution appears to be inflated along with everything else in the USA these days: gas prices, waistlines, cable TV bills. Even congresspersons themselves seem to hold it in low regard, since proposals for a 'super-congress' were floated last week. A lot of sentient folk who follow national affairs actually wondered out loud, 'what the fuck is that supposed to mean?'.

I took it to mean that our faith in the apparatus of governing has evaporated at the same rate as faith in our promises to pay back stuff-of-value denominated in certificates called dollars, our faith in which also melts into air. One thing for sure everybody knows: this is not a good time of year for financial shenanigans and chicanery. The rough beast called Reality comes back from its vacation in foul and turbulent spirits. Things shake loose when it roars.

There is widespread and growing agreement that the two major political parties have reached the end of their useful lives..."

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James Howard Kunstler is an author and among the leading voices in the charge to be prepared to change how we live as Peak Oil approaches. He is the author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century as well as the fiction novel World Made by Hand: A Novel.

‪Jim Rogers "Get Ready for the Next Financial Crisis"

‪Ron Paul: Floor Speech on Debt Ceiling July 19 2011

Preparing for the Worst as Debt-Limit Talks Drag On

Preparing for worst as debt-limit talks drag on - Yahoo! Finance: "Scrambling to protect themselves against a U.S. default, investors are buying gold and foreign currencies, using derivatives to bet on a stock market collapse and taking out complicated insurance policies.

They may want to consider crossing their fingers.

If the United States suddenly stiffed its creditors, the impact would be so widespread, complex and unpredictable that it is next to impossible to shield against steep losses, experts say.

A default could cause turmoil in the stock and bond markets, plus a replay of the fear that froze lending in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis. In the chaos, investments you'd think were a sure bet to fall might rise instead, and vice versa..."

Coal-Fired Power Plants May Have to Close or Cut Operations

This is important as a harbinger of what could become a very serious issue if it spreads to other companies in the industry, because coal-fired power plants account for 44.9% of all the electricity produced in the United States (2009 figures).
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Coal-fired power plants may have to close or cut operations - Power Engineering: "Energy Future Holdings Corp, parent company of Luminant, said it might have to cut operations or shutter some of its coal-fired power plants to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules.

In a filing July 13 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, EFH said six months is not enough time to modify its 12 coal-fired power plants to meet the EPA’s new Cross State Air Pollution rule that was released July 8. The rule requires coal-fired power plants to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions beginning Jan. 1, 2012. The rule also would launch a cap and trade system for emissions credits.

EFH said in the filing that its options to comply are either to reduce operations at some plants while mothballing others, switch generating fuel sources, conduct seasonal or temporary shutdowns at some of plants or install dry sorbent injection systems for SOx emissions. The company said it also expects capital expenditures and operating costs to rise due to reduced generation and wholesale power sales volumes.

The company said it doesn’t expect to have “sufficient liquidity in emissions trading markets” to comply through cap-and-trade.

In the filing, EFH said it has the options to petition EPA to reconsider the rule or challenge it in court."

27 July, 2011

You Know You Live in a Banana Republic When....

Blog: You know you live in a banana republic when....: "You know you live in a banana republic when....other banana republics taunt you for your debt problems. Reuters:


'When did the American dream become a nightmare?' gloated Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez, whose own country defaulted on about $100 billion in debt a decade ago.


In a speech at the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange on Monday, she contended that Argentina had prospered since then by focusing on exports and controlling financial speculation -- a lesson that Washington has yet to learn, she said.


The Americans 'thought that money just reproduces by itself, and only in the financial sector, without having to produce any goods or services,' Fernandez said.


Washington's biggest critics in the region, such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Bolivia's Evo Morales, have also portrayed the crisis as an inevitable outcome for a country that failed to follow its own financial advice and overextended itself militarily -- in Latin America, and elsewhere.


'If they didn't spend money on military bases and keeping troops in other parts of the world, I think the United States could easily resolve its financial crisis,' Morales said last week, according to state news agency ABI.


News flash: We are now in hock to...Brazil. That's right, Brazil is the fourth largest sovereign creditor of the US, holding more than $200 billion in Treasuries.

But perhaps most humiliating of all, is this:


These days, Latin America's economy as a whole is expected to expand about 4.7 percent in 2011 -- almost twice the expected rate in the United States -- thanks to strong demand for the region's commodities and a decade of mostly prudent fiscal management, itself the product of many hard-learned lessons of the past.


When the socialist economies of Latin America can run rings around the US, the world has truly turned upside down."

Yet Another Letter RE: "Motorists Driving Less, But Gas Prices Keep Rising" *OR* THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT SHALE OIL

Once again, in order to follow Along fully with this conversation, you will need to read: first here, and then here.
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Anonymous said: "Okay, have the states take over the oil companies and not the federal government. Do you really think Exxon should make 300 billion a year? Thats a lot of money and power, they could use that to take over the USA. Thta more money some most countries make.

So what you are writing is that oil shale and coal are too exspensive and we'll just run out of oil soon and be ready to pay $20 dollars a gallon for gasoline.


This is mis-information the crooked oil companies put out to justify their making billions in profits (which should be used to pay off the national dept.), why should a handful of people get all the money? Most of them aren't trust worthy, and to the rich, they never have enough money. They want the world with a fence around it!


They are laughing their asses off and lighting their $100 cigars with $100 bills! I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the newspapers and media are owned by the oil companies/Saudi arabia.

And what about oil sand-like what Canada has? I've read that there is enough oil there to supply all of North America for the next 100 to 200 years alone! And the "greens" are trying to stop more oil sand to open up in other locations across Canada. ( The "greens" also don't like coal powered power plants- they think everyone should have a windmill or solar power-but you still need factories to build these products.) Forget about other countries, keep the fuel here.

Also, most people don't realize this, but, the airline industry uses 50% of all fuel in the USA, not car drivers like the media says. Didn't anybody notice how fast fuel prices came down after 9/11? When no planes flew for 3 days? It sold for less that a dollar in some places!"

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My Response: I won't speak to how much money it is okay for oil companies to make (because, truly, it isn't any of my business or yours). That wasn't the point of anything I said. I will say, however, that any form of collectivization is a bad thing, whether it is done by the federal government or the states. Truly, that's only my opinion though. Everybody has one. I also find it troubling that you would consider it okay to essentially hijack a company's earnings in order to pay off a debt that it had nothing to do with accruing. If you take out a loan and can't pay it back the bank doesn't repossess your neighbors car - your poor neighbor had nothing to do with your failure. Exxon didn't run up the national debt; an irresponsible government did. What you're talking about is dangerously close to communism.

The real "meat and potatoes" of what I had to say was in regards to the utter infeasibility of using shale rock or coal to completely (or even significantly) replace current petroleum inputs. I think the problem is that you're looking at this entire thing as we have always been taught to look at it in the past, but the problem with that is that the future is not going to look anything like the past... er... actually, it will: the future is going to look very much like the past - the distant, pre-industrial past, to be exact. You have it in your head that the idea that we are running out of oil was something that was put out there by the oil industry when, in truth, it is that industry that has done everything in its power to bend public attention away from that fact by touting all of the new technologies that are supposedly looming on the very edge of the horizon that will allow them to make more and more oil discoveries and extract a greater and greater percentage of that oil they have already found but cannot yet reach. The problem with that is that they have been saying that for quite a long time, meanwhile -- with every year that passes -- the petroleum sources we have at our disposal are drying up; each year, the industry must work harder and harder simply to get the same amount of oil out of the ground that they got the year before, and, as I stated in my previous article, most of it is not even of the quality that it once was.

Peak Oil Theory is not propaganda, but rather is based on solid science and not a small amount of simple logic. You seem loathe to agree with the point I laid out in my previous article that very clearly spelled-out the utter absurdity that shale and coal, with the far more labor-intensive processes required to convert them into petroleum equivalent liquids, would, in fact, accomplish anything but to raise gas prices, not lower them. This is simple logic. The more labor and resources you have to put into creating something, the more it is going to cost the consumer in the end. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you a bill of goods. Shale and coal are fine on a small scale, just like solar panels and wind turbines - but none of them will *EVER* yield us an EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested) ratio even close to what petroleum gave us.

What you are espousing is political propaganda that has been fed to you by the exact opposite extreme of the so-called "greens" (as you called them). The "greens" want everybody on solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy, whereas the other extreme wants to exploit new sources of oil. Both are tied to extreme polar opposing political philosophies, and both are utterly deluded. This delusion manifests itself in the idea that there is going to be any way whatsoever for people to continue living the way they currently live in the future.

So you see, it isn't that I'm trying to say that people should just be okay with the idea of paying $20 per gallon for gas and not mind if the oil companies make a killing off of it. Put aside for a moment the facts that I've already laid-out to show that they won't really be making that much of a profit because the gasoline will cost so much for them to produce, I actually don't even think that those companies will still exist, at least not in the form that we see them now.

When gasoline reaches $20 per gallon (notice that I said "when," not "if"), travel as we now know it -- both overland and by air -- will largely be the domain of government entities and the very rich. People seem to have this misconception that Peak Oil represents us suddenly and completely running out of oil, when it is actually a simple understanding that, as oil becomes harder and harder to harvest and process, it will also become prohibitively expensive. If you live in the United States, like I do, say goodbye to things like coffee and bananas, unless you are willing to pay a hundred times more for them than you currently do. It will cost so much for them to be shipped overseas to your local grocery, that the price will be comparably high. Likewise, oranges will be quite a bit cheaper if you live in Florida or Georgia than if you happen to reside in the Northeast, because they won't need to be shipped as far.

Say goodbye to the current dynamic of living in the suburbs and driving 30-40 minutes to get to your job in the city. You will either find a job near where you live, or you won't have a career as we think of it. All throughout human history, setting aside the past century or so, people who lived in cities were those who worked jobs as we think of them today, not those who lived in the countryside. City dwellers worked for an employer and paid for food and other necessities with the coin that was paid to them in return for their labor; rural people worked the land and fed themselves thusly, and would often live their entire lives having never even been to the city. Even as recently as in the early twentieth century, we hear tales of people living out in the sticks and only venturing into town two or three times per year to acquire those things that they could not provide for themselves, such as salt.

There is only one thing that ever changed that dynamic: petroleum and the cheap, easily-accessible energy it represented. What most people fail to realize, however, is that this has simply been a blip in the long continuum of human understanding and it is about to come to an end.

My advice to all of you:

Learn to grow most of your own food, and learn everything you can about ways you might preserve it if you suddenly lost your freezer (human beings have been using root-cellaring and drying methods as well as salt to preserve foodstuffs for a far larger part of our history than we ever had refrigeration).

Acquire the ability to produce your own electricity on at least a small scale, or get used to living without it.

Locate a source of fresh, potable water near your home or, better yet, have a well drilled and install a holding tank and at least one solar panel, so that you do not find yourself at the mercy of the outdated shambles that is the national power grid. If you cannot accomplish either of those, a purchase a good-quality ceramic water filter and as many replacement filters as you can afford. Water-borne illnesses will claim the lives of many, mark my words.

Do not leave your life in the hands of electric or gas heating; install a wood-burning stove in your home, so that, come winter, you have at least the ability to attempt to provide for your own survival and comfort.

There are many other things that would be prudent for one to do to prepare themselves to live in a very different society than the one we currently live in (not the least of which would require gaining as much knowledge as possible about proper wound care and bush medicine), but those listed above will give you a good head start and ensure you will survive quite a bit longer than the average person.

Get ready, folks... you'll be terribly sorry if you don't.

Changes...

As you can no doubt see, much and more has changed with the blog. I suppose it was time for a good housecleaning and change of scenery, but I wish that I could rightly say that it was done for those reasons. Rather, I made some changes yesterday in an effort to decrease load times and correct some very nagging CSS errors; changes that had the unforeseen side effect of causing half the links on the blog to go dead -- well, actually they weren't dead so much as every link on the page just loaded the home page instead of where they were supposed to go.

Anyway, it looks as though everything is back up to par now. My apologies to anyone who visited the blog this evening while it was under construction and, admittedly, looked a hot mess. Feel free to e-mail if you're having any problems with the new layout or if you have any other comments.

26 July, 2011

500 Million Debt-Serfs: The European Union Is a Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy

charles hugh smith-500 Million Debt-Serfs: The European Union Is a Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy: "The banks of Europe are the new Feudal Manors and Masters. All Europeans now serve them as debt-serfs in one way or another.

If we knock down all the flimsy screens of artifice and obscuring complexity, what we see in Europe is a continent of debt-serfs, indentured to the banks under the whip of the European Union and its secular religion, the euro.

I know this isn't the pretty picture presented by the EU Overlords, of a prosperity built not just on debt, but on resolving the problem of debt with more debt, but it is the reality behind the eurozone's phony facade of economic 'freedom.'

What else can we call the stark domination of the big banks other than Neo-Feudalism? In one way or another, every one of the 27-member nations' citizens are indentured to the big international banks at risk in Europe, most of which are based in Europe..."

Europe's Contagion Effect: Prepare for a Global Economic Collapse

Commentary: Europe's Contagion Effect: Prepare for a Global Economic Collapse | The National Interest: "Europe is on the brink of a major financial disaster. Moody’s has downgraded Irish and Portuguese debt to junk, a status until now reserved for Greece. This in turn has led interest rates on Spanish and Italian debt to spike. Contagion of these two major economies is now imminent. If it happens, the global economy will plunge into a crisis that will make the 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers look like a cakewalk.

For the past two years, the EU has treated the debt crisis in its periphery as a liquidity problem. As Greece, Ireland, and Portugal were forced out of the credit markets by high interest rates, the EU has stepped in, lending them more money. By 2014, Greek, Irish and Portuguese debt is projected to reach, respectively, 180 percent, 145 percent and 135 percent of GDP. At the same time, EU bailout plans have forced troubled countries to implement severe austerity measures that produced recessionary spirals, decreasing the chances that they will be able to meet skyrocketing obligations. Today, Europe's periphery is all but insolvent..."

The Fed Is Now More Leveraged That Lehman Brothers Was

The Fed Is Now More Leveraged That Lehman Brothers Was: Gains Pains & Capital - A financial investment newsletter published by Phoenix Capital Research: "The 2008 Crisis occurred when private US banks became so distrustful of one another’s balance sheet risk that interbank liquidity dried up triggering a systemic implosion in the unregulated derivatives market, particularly in Credit Default Swaps (which was a $50-60 trillion market at the time).

The Federal Reserve dealt with this situation by suspending accounting policies (permitting banks to lie about their true balance sheet risk), offering to backstop those banks with the greatest derivative exposure (JP Morgan, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup), shifting trillions of dollars’ worth of toxic debt to the US balance sheet and then funneling trillions of new dollars into the banks most at risk of a derivative collapse (the banks I listed before).

From a philosophical perspective, the Fed removed the notion of 'risk of failure' from Wall Street’s collective mind. As anyone who’s studied human behavior can tell you, without consequence for one’s actions most people will take their bad behaviors to the limit.

As a result of this, Wall Street went back to doing what caused the Financial Crisis in the first place: increasing leverage, fleecing clients, and paying its employees’ excessive salaries. Today the financial system is once again overleveraged. In fact, leverage levels today exceed those that occurred during the 2008 Tech Bubble, the large banks continue to be insolvent due to their gargantuan derivative exposure.

Put another way, the financial system is primed for another 2008 episode. The very same issues that caused 2008 remain in place. Leverage is far too high. And the unregulated derivatives market remains a multi-hundred trillion dollar problem..."

Secretary Geithner vs. Reality on the Economy

Secretary Geithner vs. Reality on the Economy | Speaker of the House John Boehner | speaker.gov: "Our economy is not creating enough jobs, and the policies coming out of Washington are a big part of the reason why. Don’t tell that to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner – he of 'Welcome to the Recovery' fame – who declared [recently] on Fox News Sunday that the economy is 'absolutely' in better shape than it was three months ago. By just about any measure, Secretary Geithner is absolutely mistaken..."

Why the Jobs Situation Is Worse Than It Looks

Why the Jobs Situation Is Worse Than It Looks - US News and World Report: "The Great Recession has now earned the dubious right of being compared to the Great Depression. In the face of the most stimulative fiscal and monetary policies in our history, we have experienced the loss of over 7 million jobs, wiping out every job gained since the year 2000. From the moment the Obama administration came into office, there have been no net increases in full-time jobs, only in part-time jobs. This is contrary to all previous recessions. Employers are not recalling the workers they laid off from full-time employment.

The real job losses are greater than the estimate of 7.5 million. They are closer to 10.5 million, as 3 million people have stopped looking for work. Equally troublesome is the lower labor participation rate; some 5 million jobs have vanished from manufacturing, long America's greatest strength. Just think: Total payrolls today amount to 131 million, but this figure is lower than it was at the beginning of the year 2000, even though our population has grown by nearly 30 million..."

CyberGhost VPN Is a Free, Anonymous VPN that Protects Your Surfing from Prying Eyes

CyberGhost VPN Is a Free, Anonymous VPN that Protects Your Surfing from Prying Eyes: "Windows: CyberGhost VPN is a free utility that encrypts, anonymizes, and offshores your internet use when you're using public Wi-Fi at an airport or coffee shop, or you're worried someone on your network is running a tool like Firesheep to gather credentials.

The service is built for users who just want secure, private access when connected from public or untrusted networks. The app gives you an offshore IP address and connects you to an anonymizing server to mask your real IP address and location, and then encrypts all of the internet traffic between you and the VPN service. It may sound like overkill, but if you use public Wi-Fi networks on a regular basis, using a VPN is the best way to protect yourself..."

25 July, 2011

Heat Wave Safety Checklist from the Red Cross

Heat Wave Safety Checklist from the Red Cross: "It's excessively hot and unusually humid in the central and eastern parts of the US, and this heat wave can be very dangerous (the Red Cross says excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods, in recent years). To make sure you and your loved ones stay safe, the Red Cross has published a heat wave safety checklist.

Much of the advice is common sense, like preparing for a heat wave by having a plan for potential power outages and where to go if you don't have air conditioning, as well as drinking plenty of water. It's useful, though, to have a checklist all in one place and know the signs and care for heat-related emergencies like heat cramps and heat exhaustion..."

Another Letter RE: "Motorists Driving Less, But Gas Prices Keep Rising" *OR* THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT SHALE OIL

In order to follow along with the originating conversation that this letter refers to, click here. As always, the letter first, then my response below.
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"I see you have now added a "commodities report" box to your site. Thanks for doing that.

I might add that watching TV on the Nazis and WW2, that Germany didn't have any oil, so what they did was to use coal to make oil and gasoline. Interesting. Because Wyoming has enough coal deposits to fuel the USA , depending on whose figures you read, for up to 500 to 800 years!

Well, with modern advancements, I'm sure that some company could convert coal to oil/gasoline today better than Germany did in the 1940's, and probably cheaper too. (And just think of all the good, high paying jobs that would generate!)

And I read on several sites that the USGS has written reports that state there is more oil under North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming then there is in all of Saudi Arabia. But, the oil companies won't touch it for fear of driving oil prices down to $25 a barrel. They want to keep the price high so they can make tens of billions in profits. I say to hell with the oil companies, nationalize all of them and use the profits to bring down the national dept!

Why should Exxon make 300 billion a year? And give their CEO a 250 million dollar bonus. What does one do with that much money? The government could pay off some of the dept with that kind of money.

It's still the New York City speculators driving up the price of oil. I don't think they should be able to buy up contracts unless they can take delivery! They would drop those contracts like a hot potato then and oil would drop to 40 to 50 dollars a barrel.

Some gloom and doom sites have written and you've probably read them too, that gasoline could go to 15 to 20 dollars a gallon. If it did, could you afford to spend 300 to 500 dollars to fill up your car or pickup gas tank every week? How could people afford to go to work? Or why even bother.

In my area, the power company (electric), if you can believe this, burns OIL to produce electricty. And now our power bills are the highest ever! When i went to pay the last bill, there were more people waiting in line to see service reps about making some kind of payment plan (or I guess just have it shut off-in the hot summer time). And because they are making so much profit, they gave their CEO (said the newspaper) a 2 million dollar bonus! Can you believe that?!

What does he need that for? To pay for his country club membership? If they have this much in profits, use it to lower the bills, or better yet, let the city take it over and any profit generated can be used to pay for city services!"

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My Response: Since you posted anonymously, I'm not sure if this communication is coming from the same anonymous individual who replied over the weekend or from another reader altogether, but I would advise anyone reading this now to definitely go back and read the previous discussion linked to at the top of this article. There is a lot of information in that previous post that I don't necessarily want to repeat. Rather, I will mostly be responding directly to the above letter in as close to a point-by-point method, as is possible in this type of medium.

Regarding using coal as a resource from which to extract petroleum equivalents, I will admit that there is quite a lot of promise evident there. Several plants have been and are currently being built to do exactly what you're talking about, and believe me it is big news in my coal-rich home state of West Virginia.

The problem with doing this on a full scale basis, as would be required in order to supply the kind of demand that you get into when talking about nationwide and worldwide energy usage, is that -- like the shale rock that is so abundant beneath North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming (it is not "oil" as you stated above, but rather solid rock with hydrocarbon chemicals embedded within it) -- coal is a solid, not a liquid that you can simply pump out of the ground, fill a barrel and ship off to a refinery.

As a matter of fact, even crude oil itself doesn't exactly work quite that easily nowadays. The popular public image of someone "striking oil" and a gusher of black liquid erupting into the sky to fall upon their elated heads like black rain is largely a thing of the past. Nearly all of our major oil fields are depleted to the point where, in order to get the oil out of the hole, millions of gallons of seawater first have to be pumped down into the well to flood it and bring the oil up, where they are then re-separated and the oil can be harvested. Most of this is not the deep black light sweet crude oil that all of us think of when images of petroleum come to mind; most of that is gone now, and what we are left with is by-and-large a heavier, gummier substance, more brown than black in color, and far, far more difficult and time-consuming to process. But, at least existing refineries have been modified so that they can process it into energy. These same refineries will be of no use whatsoever when it comes to refining coal or shale rock. An entire all-new infrastructure must needs be built to do what you are talking about - just where do you think the money is going to come from to do all that? I am at a loss to see how anyone could even imagine in their wildest dreams that this will lower gas prices.

In order for coal or shale rock to be converted to a liquid petroleum equivalent on the scale that would be required in order to meet just our energy demands here in the United States, much less the rest of the world, would require the energy industry to spend literally billions of dollars. They would have to build hundreds of brand new facilities; purchase large quantities of brand-new equipment (much of which is not even produced on a large scale right now, because all of these types of operations up to this point have been few and far between); and, train workers in entirely new processes they will have to follow just to do their jobs. Oh, and don't forget that rock doesn't travel down pipelines nearly as easily as liquid, so every bit of it is going to have to be put on trucks and driven cross country to the facilities where it is processed, some of which will likely be hundreds of miles from the places where the raw resources are harvested. So, that means you have to hire hundreds if not thousands of truckers to haul your rock up and down the interstates, deal with the Teamsters Union and it gets even better... every one of those trucks has to run on either gasoline or diesel fuel! Further energy must also be expended in great amounts once the raw resources arrive at the processing facilities; the rock must be superheated to very high temperatures in order to extract the petroleum equivalent hydrocarbons.

And yet you folks think this is going to make gas prices go down?! Not likely, my friends. Not likely.

In fact, I have my doubts (and I am not alone) that, taking all of the above into account, it would even end up being a profitable enterprise. There exists a concept, against which all of these kinds of arguments must needs be weighed, known as EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested). To put it succinctly, if harvesting an energy source costs you more energy than it produces, then it is a pointless venture that will actually leave you worse off in the end than if you had not bothered in the first place. Think about all that I have said above and weigh it all against that concept, and you will understand where I'm coming from.

Now, that is not to say that I disagree with you entirely. As of this moment, we are not yet deeply in the throes of a Peak Oil scenario (though I believe it is only a scant few years away), and so I agree with you that the current weirdness in oil and gas prices is a result of market manipulation that needs to be end yesterday, if not sooner. Everything above was, rather, directed toward all of the recent talk of coal and shale "oil" somehow representing a savior that will allow us all to continue driving gas guzzling SUVs and loafing on the couch watching "Dancing with the Stars" until the end of time. The truth is that the way we live today is the direct result of enjoying easy access to cheap energy, a state of affairs that has existed only for the past handful of decades and never before in all of human history, and is quickly coming to an end. It falls to us, therefore, to prepare ourselves for this coming, otherwise our civilization will simply not survive.

Also, I cannot agree with the idea you put forth regarding the government nationalizing the oil industry. The government in this country is far too large and overreaching as it is, little resembling anything close to what the Founding Fathers intended. Nationalized industries are a collectivist, left-wing concept, with which I do not hold. The United States of America was never meant to be a collectivist state, but rather a state built by and for individualists. Never forget that we are afforded the right to the "pursuit of happiness," not to a guarantee of happiness. As much as many people would like to turn the United States into a socialist state, I cling to the faith that the American populace would never allow this to occur. Honestly, to ever truly yield that small bit of faith would likely result in me never sleeping another peaceful night again.

Peak Oil - Are We Sleepwalking Into Disaster?

I must say that I could find very little to agree with in regards to the heavy progressivist leanings espoused by the author of this article, but it is clear that they have a very good understanding of the basics of what we will be faced with in a Peak Oil scenario. I will never agree with the idea that we should surrender even the tiniest bit more power over to government bureaucrats, but, that aside, I post the article here for your review and information.
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Peak oil - are we sleepwalking into disaster? - Public Service Europe: "Like climate change, peak oil is often perceived by the more pessimistic analysts as one of those apocalyptic conundrums where we are already past the tipping point – meaning that any solutions human ingenuity can deliver will simply mitigate the worst-case scenario. Certainly, oil-field discoveries have been in sharp decline since the 1970s. And there is a consensus that peak oil has already been reached, at some point between 2004 and 2008. This does not bode well at a time when huge emerging nations like China and India are experiencing energy-hungry industrial revolutions. China's economic growth was 11 per cent last year and in India, it reached 9 per cent. Increased demand could soon outstrip depleted supplies.

But unlike climate change, politicians seem unwilling to encourage public debate about the ramifications of peak oil. There has been no shortage of government-commissioned reports into the problem, but most have been kept from public view – Britain and the US, for example, have maintained the cloak of secrecy by not publishing many findings. This could be because politicians are concerned that doom-laden messages - like the prediction that ordinary families will only be able to use their cars for emergencies within 10 years because of spiralling fuel prices – will cause panic and civil disobedience on the streets. Or, a more cynical view, might suggest that governments and oil companies are so deeply entwined – in some cases like Saudi Arabia and Iran they are, indeed, the very same thing and we all know about the intimate connections between BP and the political world here in the UK – that educating citizens on the need to move towards conservation and away from consumption would damage business and tax revenues and possibly, even, the foundations of capitalism itself..."

Banks Pay Back TARP Funds by. . . Borrowing From The Treasury

Banks Pay Back TARP Funds by. . .Borrowing From Treasury | Daniel Gross - Yahoo! Finance: "Most of the big banks have repaid the government funds they received under the Capital Purchase Program (CPP), the pillar of TARP under which Treasury bought preferred shares in the nation's banks. Enough so that, combined with dividends and sales of warrants, Treasury has declared that taxpayers have earned a profit on the CPP. Thus far, $245 billion has gone out, and $255 billion in repayments, interest and warrants has come back, yielding a profit to taxpayers of $10 billion. And there's several billion more where that came from...

... But sometimes there's less than meets the eye. Generally, banks that repaid CPP funds did so with cash raised from earnings, or by raising new outside capital. In finance and banking you always have to read the fine print. And if you go back to the report, you'll notice that the fine print accompanying the entries for each of the above exits makes reference either to Footnote 49 or Footnote 50. Footnote 49 reads: 'Repayment pursuant to Title VII, Section 7001(g) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 using proceeds received in connection with the institution's participation in the Small Business Lending Fund.' Footnote 50 reads: 'Repayment pursuant to Title VII, Section 7001(g) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — part of the repayment amount obtained from proceeds received in connection with the institution's participation in the Small Business Lending Fund.'

All of which is to say that these banks repaid cash owed to a program run by the Treasury Department by. . . borrowing from another program run by the Treasury Department..."

Audit: Fed Gave $16 Trillion in Emergency Loans to Foreign Banks

Audit: Fed gave $16 trillion in emergency loans | The Raw Story: "The U.S. Federal Reserve gave out $16.1 trillion in emergency loans to U.S. and foreign financial institutions between Dec. 1, 2007 and July 21, 2010, according to figures produced by the government's first-ever audit of the central bank.

Last year, the gross domestic product of the entire U.S. economy was $14.5 trillion...

... The audit also found that the Fed mostly outsourced its lending operations to the very financial institutions which sparked the crisis to begin with, and that they delegated contracts largely on a no-bid basis..."

Why So Much Is Going Wrong Everywhere At Once And How Life Teaches Us To Fix It

Life Rules: Why so much is going wrong everywhere at once and how life teaches us to fix it | Energy Bulletin: "Floods, drought, natural fires, hurricanes, violent storms, massive species extinction, infrastructure collapse, terrorist attacks, starvation, economic disaster, climate change, water shortages, food shortages, soil depletion, war, pestilence and a lack of preparedness for geologic events like tsunamis and earthquakes.

What in the world is going on?

'We've lost sight of the fact that the non-living systems we've created and the natural ones we didn't create share the same planet....and on Earth, Life rules, we don't,' says Ellen LaConte, author of the new book, Life Rules.

What she is describing is Critical Mass, a term borrowed from nuclear physics, which identifies 'a point in time when enough of something has been literally amassed that a spontaneous transformation occurs.'

Already we are seeing five symptoms of Critical Mass occurring in both rich and poor countries, including our own: hyper-urbanization, joblessness, poverty, dislocation and disease.

As we emerge from Critical Mass, says LaConte, we will either be on the path to our own extinction or we will evolve to a new consciousness where we conceive ourselves as a part of Life rather than as separate beings above it..."

23 July, 2011

Letter RE: "Motorists Driving Less, But Gas Prices Keep Rising" *OR* THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT SHALE OIL

In response to our recent post "Motorists Driving Less, But Gas Prices Keep Rising," an anonymous reader had this to say:

"There is no shortage of oil. Did you hear on TV, that there is one trillion barrels of oil in the USA in oil shale rock! Even if they could only get out 10%, that would be 100 billion barrels of oil.

Its the out of control crooked New York City speculators driving up the price so that they can make 10's of millions of dollars for themselves in profits and live in 25 million dollar townhouses in New York City.

During WW2, they couldn't do this or else they would be put in jail, which I think they should be in now!

People have had to cut back on buying groceries so they can buy gas for their car.
People have had to cut back on buying their perscriptions so that they can buy gas.
How are folks suppose to pay rent, make a car payment, pay electric and gas bills, when these out of control crooked New York City speculators keep driving up the price of oil and gasoline?

I've read that they actually want to get the price of gasoline up to 6, 8 or even 10 dollars a gallon!

Could you then afford to pay out $200 a week for gasoline just to drive your car to work?

I believe thats when the SHTF and it all falls apart. Hey, didn't these New York City assholes do this back in 1929? (only it was the stock market back then)"


My Response: I agree with most of what you're saying here with regard to why prices are currently rising. After all, the article I linked to was mostly all about those types of economic reasons for oil and gas to be rising in price. But I feel that I would be remiss if I did not address some uncomfortable facts regarding shale oil that somehow never seem to make it into these types of discussions and could greatly affect all of us moving forward.

Actually, it is estimated that there may be as much as 1.8 trillion barrels of economically feasible oil equivalent in the U.S., according to this report. There is actually quite a bit more than that even, but the economical feasibility of extracting it is judged on many factors - to put it simply, deposits have to be a certain density/thickness before they're worth the trouble. Smaller deposits would result in a lesser EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested) and would, therefore, actually result in gas prices going up as opposed to down. So, taking those numbers into account and going along with your 10% recoverability ratio (which, by the way, is a little high - a more realistic number using today's technology would be closer to 3%-5%), that gives us a net gain of 180 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil equivalent.

Sounds great, doesn't it? The problem arises when you dig deeper into the numbers to see just exactly how much oil we are truly talking about. According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States consumes 18,690,000 barrels of oil per day (2009 estimate); other more recent estimates place it at closer to 19,148,000 barrels/day - not far from a full 25% of total world consumption, if you can believe that (no wonder half the world despises us). So -- using your recoverability estimates which are too high, mind you -- that means the entire quantity of oil in the form of shale rock in the entire United States actually only represents enough petroleum to keep us afloat for approximately 9,631 days or just over 26 years; or, if we share with the rest of the world only 2,074 days/5.68 years. And again, that is with a recoverability ratio that, in reality, is at least twice, if not three times higher than what current technologies can consistently produce.

Every one involved with the petroleum industry always has an eye toward the future, talking about what new technologies are going to be able to do and new oil discoveries that they'll be able to make with those technologies; but we have to live in the real world, where you plan based on what you can do now, not what you hope you might be able to do tomorrow. The truth is that there is probably a wealth of energy potential beneath the earth's crust that exceeds everything we have ever seen before and, in truth, would probably provide us with all that we can ever hope to need. But what good does that do us if we are never able to make those discoveries, because we have used up all of the cheap, readily available energy needed to, not only make such discoveries, but, in truth, to even continue living the way we currently live?

Another important factor to consider is that the estimates above are based on current petroleum consumption, which is rising inexorably along with population growth and changes in people's living habits. EIA estimates forecast future consumption of 28.3 million barrels per day here in the United States as early as 2025. Lifestyles in places like China and India are changing; more and more people are driving cars than ever before and, with greater economic prosperity, meat is becoming more and more a part of the daily diet. What does meat have to do with it, you ask? Beef cattle are fed on grain, which is planted and harvested using modern methods for greater yield - modern methods that rely on cheap, abundant and readily-available sources of energy, namely petroleum. China's oil consumption has risen every year since 1990 to the tune of, if I remember correctly, around 7%; and, while their usage is still far below ours in the States, the two are expected to be more or less on par with one another some time in the 2020s. Rising consumption, when coupled with the fact that new discoveries are coming less and less frequently and most of the world's major oil fields (the sources of the light sweet crude oil that has formed the backbone of our entire world for the past century) are beginning to dry up, it is not hard to see that we are in the for some very interesting and troubling times ahead.

In the end, I imagine that they will eventually have to harvest even those deposits of shale that are not currently considered economically viable as other sources continue to wane. However, the assumption that the public has been fed -- namely that this will make gas prices lower than those we currently pay -- is, quite simply, a fallacy concocted for political reasons by the right-wing "Drill Baby Drill" crowd, in the same vein that the left-wing has been attempting to frighten the American populace into getting behind legislation to raise the debt ceiling by claiming that if this were not done people might not receive their Social Security checks; when, in reality, current outlays would not necessarily be affected.

Shale, after all, is rock. The reason why only a portion of it is considered economically feasible to recover is because it doesn't simply come out of the ground like liquid petroleum. Rather, it must be pulled out of the ground and hauled to another location where it is heated to extract the liquid oil from the stone. You have to consider all of the work that goes into that, including even down to paying the guys who drive the trucks, because all of that affects the overall EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested) and, therefore, the price you pay at the pump. They are currently only processing those shale deposits that represent an EROEI high enough to keep gas prices at a reasonable, if altogether too high, level. It's when they start trying to process those deposits with a lesser EROEI (which, they will, because eventually that is all there's going to be left) that you will truly start to feel the pain at the pump. Also contributing to higher prices when that happens will be the fact that most of the petroleum infrastructure will have to be essentially rebuilt. There are only a few facilities capable of processing shale rock into oil, because it has thus far been such a small-scale operation. The vast majority of the oil industry infrastructure on planet Earth was built to process liquid crude oil, not rock. When the day comes that they must start processing more and more shale, most of the existing infrastructure will be useless and have to be replaced. These costs will either be passed on to consumers at the gas pump or paid for through an emergency government bailout, putting yet another nail in the coffin of the ruinous thing that was once the greatest economy in the world.

Another article you might find interesting, where I have done my best to shine the light on some of the fallacies being presented to the American people: Scientists Confirm U.S. Has World’s Biggest Oil Reserves

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22 July, 2011

MSNBC Host Claims Murdoch’s Power is Reason Why Government Must Regulate Private Media

Apparently, somebody needs to take this joker by the scruff of his neck and march him back down to grade school Civics class, so that he can be reintroduced to a neat little thing called the U.S. Constitution. But, what's even scarier is that a lot of people agree with this kind of thing. Obviously, anyone -- not just Rupert Murdoch -- having any amount of control over the media is not a good thing, by any means. But, I can imagine few things worse than the idea of government having control of our media.

Then again, it seems more and more these days that such things are beginning to matter less and less in a world where our supposedly "free and independent" media has somehow morphed into just another entertainment vehicle to deliver Justin Bieber updates to a zoned-out populace.
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MSNBC‘s Martin Bashir Claims Murdoch’s Power is Reason Why Government Must Regulate Private Media | Video | TheBlaze.com: "On Wednesday’s episode of Morning Joe, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir reportedly suggested that the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, and, Rupert Murdoch’s “power” in general, proves why government should regulate privately owned media enterprises..."

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Too Big To Fail?: 10 Banks Own 77 Percent Of All U.S. Banking Assets

Too Big To Fail?: 10 Banks Own 77 Percent Of All U.S. Banking Assets: "Back during the financial crisis of 2008, the American people were told that the largest banks in the United States were 'too big to fail' and that was why it was necessary for the federal government to step in and bail them out. The idea was that if several of our biggest banks collapsed at the same time the financial system would not be strong enough to keep things going and economic activity all across America would simply come to a standstill. Congress was told that if the 'too big to fail' banks did not receive bailouts that there would be chaos in the streets and this country would plunge into another Great Depression. Since that time, however, essentially no efforts have been made to decentralize the U.S. banking system. Instead, the 'too big to fail' banks just keep getting larger and larger and larger. Back in 2002, the top 10 banks controlled 55 percent of all U.S. banking assets. Today, the top 10 banks control 77 percent of all U.S. banking assets. Unfortunately, these giant banks are also colossal mountains of risk, debt and leverage. They are incredibly unstable and they could start coming apart again at any time. None of the major problems that caused the crash of 2008 have been fixed. In fact, the U.S. banking system is more centralized and more vulnerable today than it ever has been before..."

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‪Dr Helen Caldicott - Fukushima Nuclear Disaster- You won't hear this on the Main Stream News


‪Dr Helen Caldicott - Fukushima Nuclear Disaster- You won't hear this on the Main Stream News.‬‏ - YouTube: "Nuclear Facts you'd be more comfortable not knowing from a very clued up professional who will not be bought or intimidated into silence: Dr Helen Caldicott, true to style, tells it as it is/as she sees it/like you wont usually hear it.
To find out more about this Morally Driven Woman.. check out the links below.

http://www.helencaldicott.com/about.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Caldicott
http://www.conflict-resolution.org/sitebody/education/lecture_series/Caldicot..."

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18 Signs That Global Financial Markets Smell Blood In The Water

18 Signs That Global Financial Markets Smell Blood In The Water | Hawai`i News Daily: "Can you smell it? There is blood in the water. Global financial markets are in turmoil. Banking stocks are getting slaughtered right now. European bond yields are absolutely soaring. Major corporations are announcing huge layoffs. The entire global financial system appears to be racing toward another major crisis. So could we potentially see a repeat of 2008? Sadly, when the next big financial crisis happens it might be worse than 2008. Back in the middle of 2008, the U.S. national debt was less than 10 trillion dollars. Today it is over 14 trillion dollars. Back in 2008, none of the countries in the EU were on the verge of financial collapse. Today, several of them are. This time if the global financial system starts falling apart the big governments around the world are not going to be able to do nearly as much to support it. That is why what is happening right now is so alarming..."

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Getting Prepared for an Electromagnetic Pulse Attack or Severe Solar Storm

Getting Prepared for an Electromagnetic Pulse Attack or Severe Solar Storm | (◣_◢) NEWSBAD.COM: "... We now live in a world that is so completely immersed in advanced technology that we depend upon it for our very survival. Most of the actions that we depend upon for our everyday activities -- from flipping a switch to make the lights come on to obtaining all of our food supplies at a nearby supermarket -- are things that any individual from a century ago would consider magic.

Very few people in industrialized countries do work that is not directly assisted by electronic computers, although that computerized assistance is often quite invisible to the average person. Few people think about things such as the fact that whenever we buy some food item at a supermarket (and many others are buying the same item), the next time we go to that same supermarket, they still have about the same supplies that they had before. There are invisible infrastructures all around us that are made up of advanced technology. Most of us just take the magic for granted.

Few people stop to consider what would happen if, in an instant, the magic went away. If our advanced technology were suddenly and completely destroyed, how would we manage to survive? A nuclear EMP could make the magic go away. I hope it never happens, and I don't think that it is at all inevitable. It makes no sense, however, to be blind to the danger. It is both much less likely to happen -- and also less likely to have a catastrophic impact -- if, both as a civilization and as individuals, we are prepared for an attack on our advanced technology. A nuclear EMP would be a seemingly magical attack upon our advanced technology, the technological infrastructure upon which our lives depend.

Among all of the kinds of electromagnetic disturbances that can occur, though, it is important to keep things in perspective. It is possible that a nuclear EMP may never happen where you live. On the other hand, a severe solar storm that will destroy most of the world's power grids appears nearly inevitable at this point. Protection against the damage of a severe solar storm could be done easily and rather inexpensively by the electrical utilities; however it is not being done, and there is no sign that it will be done. A severe solar storm poses little threat to electronics, but would take down the most important power grids in the world for..."


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1 Single Acre of Land, If Well Managed, Can Yield Self-Sufficiency

Start a 1-Acre, Self-Sufficient Homestead - Modern Homesteading - MOTHER EARTH NEWS: "1-Acre Farm With a Family Cow

Half of your land would be put down to grass, leaving half an acre arable (not allowing for the land on which the house and other buildings stand). The grass half could remain permanent pasture and never be plowed up at all, or you could plan crop rotations by plowing it up, say, every four years. If you do the latter, it is best done in strips of a quarter of the half-acre so that each year you’re planting a grass, clover and herb mixture on an eighth of your acre of land. This crop rotation will result in some freshly sown pasture every year, some 2-year-old field, some 3-year-old field and some 4-year-old field, resulting in more productive land...

Intensive Gardening

The remaining half of your homestead — the arable half — would be farmed as a highly intensive garden. It would be divided, ideally, into four plots, around which all the annual crops that you want to grow follow each other in a strict crop rotation.

An ideal crop rotation might go something like this:

— Grass (for four years)
— Plot 1: Potatoes
— Plot 2: Legumes (pea and bean family)
— Plot 3: Brassicas (cabbage family)
— Plot 4: Root vegetables (carrots, beets, and so on)
— Grass again (for four years)

Consider the advantages of this kind of crop rotation. A quarter of your arable land will be a newly plowed-up, 4-year-old field every year, with intensely fertile soil because of the stored-up fertility of all the grass, clover and herbs that have just been plowed-in to rot with four summers’ worth of cow manure. Because your cow will be in-wintered, on bought-in hay, and treading and dunging on bought-in straw, you will have an enormous quantity of marvelous muck and cow manure to put on your arable land. All of the crop residues that you cannot consume will help feed the cow, pigs or poultry, and I would be surprised if, after following this crop rotation and grazing management plan for a few years, you didn’t find that your acre of land had increased enormously in soil fertility, and that it was producing more food for humans than many a 10-acre farm run on ordinary commercial lines..."


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Yarrow: Ancient Insect Repellent

Yarrow: Ancient Insect Repellent - First Ways: "If you plan on spending time outdoors this summer, then yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is a very useful herb to know about. As the title of this post suggests, you can make an alcohol extract of the upper parts of the yarrow plant — the leaves and flowers — and spray it as an insect repellent. (The recipe is one part herb per two parts liquid menstruum, which should be 50% alcohol).

Yarrow has other applications, too. If you’re out hiking and you cut yourself, applying the fresh leaves and flowers topically will stop bleeding and disinfect the area. If you pick the plant now, you can dry and powder it to have on hand for first aid later. And you can also brew a warming tea with the dried yarrow as a cold remedy. Herbalists say it’s good for sweating out a fever. If you make the tincture described above as an external insect repellent, you also could use it internally as an antibiotic to treat dysentery or urinary tract infections, according to herbalist Stephen Buhner..."

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The Night Watch

Paratus Familia: The Night Watch: "Years ago there was a Sci-fi show called Babylon 5. It was full of your typical aliens and humans trying to coexist within the confines of a strategically located space station. While rife with intergalactic conflict, this show had a particularly political bend. The first and second season simmered with treachery under the surface but by the third season the treachery reached epic proportions. The earth government instituted a newly formed department (as a subsidiary of the executive branch) called the 'Night Watch'. Their sole mission was to encourage citizens to inform on one another. They were told to report 'suspicious' behavior, ideological 'differences' or anything 'out of the ordinary'. They were encouraged to take their suspicions to the authorities so that the authorities could further investigate their 'traitorous' activities. They said 'you might not recognize sedition, but we will'. The Night Watch reduced law abiding citizens into suspected terrorists.

Sir Knight and I watched Babylon 5 saying 'never would the United States of America tolerate such Gestapo tactics! Our people would never turn on each other like that!'. It seems that we were sadly mistaken. Our very own government, under the head of The Department of Homeland Security, has begun their very own Night Watch. DHS calls their version 'See Something, Say Something', but it is the same soul stealing program implemented by freedom grabbing regimes throughout time.

DHS wants you to tattle on your neighbor. The current political climate encourages us to see a terrorist under every rock, a murderer in every shopping mall. Maybe, if we all turn on each other, we won't notice our freedoms being being systematically dismantled by those sworn to protect them. Maybe, if you tell on me, they won't come after you. Ya, that worked out really well for Nazi sympathizers, too..."


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