Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Road to Hell...

"The Road to Hell is paved with good Intentions."- unknown

Healthcare, extended unemployment, Goldman Sach's on mission from G-d, Medicare, Social Security, Deep Water Drilling(!), Bank Bailouts, Abortion "Rights", overindulging our kids... the RTH is indeed pave with the best of intentions...

Said another way... its OK to blow up the best political endeavor in the history of mankind, as long as you publish nice platitudes about judging a society by how they treat their weakest members, blah, blah, blah... and it always seems to be said by someone getting or expecting a government pension or some other non net taxpayer...

Our healthcare system IS broken... I will give you that, Mr. President et al (by the way, I am not picking on Obama who I believe has started to show some promise; maybe I am being optimistic, and no I have not become an Obama policy supporter, but it seems the man has found his footing as well as his b*lls... one can only hope. I would love to see him recall troops from Germany, Japan, Korea... and anywhere else that is not currently a hot point, and then I would like him to use that as leverage with the hotpoint folks to bring those troops home, too... not to worry, though... the troops will be there until our financial system implodes)... so is our financial system, our legal system, our justice and law enforcement system, our transportation system, our infrastructure system... and just about every other system political meddling can kerbolix... Here is where this rant is going.

Folks on the Left and the Right in America should take a good, hard, long look at Europe. The difference between Europe and America is that Europe has a geographical divide to its most productive and least productive peoples - and that imbalance you are now seeing in unraveling of Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece (PIGS) and its effects on the Eurozone - while America, which has the EXACT SAME IMBALANCES!!!!!!! just not geographically... No, our least productive peoples are spread around fairly well creating the exact same imbalances as we are seeing in Europe, only the U.S. cannot eject their slackers from the Union like the European Union can.

I can hear the fuse burning, and smell the cordite... I am just waiting for the Ka-BOOM.


bureaucrat said...

For those of you still interested in ENERGY :) .... a nice little summary written by some environmental lawyer. Most of us have seen this in one for or another ...


Dextred1 said...


Good article and chart. We all know it is coming. After thinking about this lately, I tend to think our resources as a nation will let us buy more of the market share for oil even if all other avenues are exhausted (electric car changeover ha-ha, hybrid, conservation, etc..). The real problem will be the expansion of Chinese purchasing power. I saw a stat today saying that 90% of Chinese car purchases are cash. CASH!!! That is striking. We only purchase 14% of our cars cash. Could you imagine car sales with if they were not constricted by cash buying (30 million sales a yr? Maybe) they have the huge population and tons of cash on hand. I am waiting to see if they start trading greenbacks for commodities (mostly oil and gold) or they keep on plowing it back into treasuries.

If someone can explain to me about floating their currency and the negatives and positives of it I would appreciate it. I often see these two scenarios.

1. This will massively increase their purchasing power and draw in the commodities and goods from around the world. Would this really crash treasuries? If this did happen, would American goods really be cheaper than goods made in China. I think our agricultural exports would increase in proportion to the upward move of their currency.

2. It will not change much at all. Just slightly revalue the trade deficit in our favor.

Both points have good arguments, but 1 seems more likely. I would think that the dollar would weaken considerably drawing more capital to China.

Anybody with thoughts on it clues me in.

Anonymous said...

China is already buying up foreign long term oil leases and agricultural land and expanding its deepwater navy to retain access.
That's what they are doing with our credit card debt.
They are thinking waaaay ahead.
Meanwhile, the Americans are intensely lost in their latest video game.

bureaucrat said...

Ive said this before, I think ...

In the 1970s, there was a TV show called "All In The Family." It is one of my favorites. During the show, Mike Stivic (the #3 character) said he didn't see any reason to bring a baby into this horrible, overpopulated, pollution-filled, 1970s world.

If he had had his way, baby Joey Stivic would not have been born.

That baby (character) did end up being born, and he would be about the same age I am now (almost 43). Since that time, things did get better and cleaner, and we added a couple billion people along the way, almost all of whom are eating at least something today.

Of course, we had boku oil supplies waiting for us to be used in the 1970s, and we had borrowed a lot less money than we have today.

But before you doomers (I know Jeffers says he is not one) write off American civilization and start inventorying your guns and gold, try to remember 43 years ago people had those same apocalyptic thoughts, and they were dead wrong. :)

bureaucrat said...

(By the way, Mish [search Google for "Mish"] has an article from yesterday about how the "China thing" is overrated, unless the US, Europe and Japan start buying a HELL of a lot more stuff from them real fast.)

Stephen B. said...

Bur, Joey Stivic could have been born in a whole list of other countries, in fact, given that most births *have* been somewhere outside the US since Gloria and Mike had that discussion, he most likely would have been born somewhere else. Life in most of those other, third world countries since then has been pure hell.

Unfortunately, Mike Stivic's concerns will eventually prove to be correct for the US as well. A lot of his concerns were caused by the US facing its own Peak Oil back when and we rescued ourselves by buying up the rest of the world's oil with our fiat currency. Sure, the US could pull a rabbit out of a hat once again, but I just don't see it this time. I just don't. Our society's social capital is just so much more spent since that episode aired back in Sept, 1975.

Greg, I agree, we here in the US have our various factions fairly well integrated unlike Europe. When Civil War II comes, it will be somewhat harder to draw battle lines this time, although said lines might form somewhat around the red/blue state lines we see on the electoral maps. Still, those lies are a pretty crude approximation of reality - probably too course and crude really.

It's going to be UGLY.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Stephen's comment "pretty crude aproximation" in regards to blue state/red state.

I live in PA, where we are officially a blue state--yet much of this blue come's from Philly, and to a lesser degree Pittsburgh. Other from that, this is a very large rural state still, with many small towns still existing--albeit not thriving.

The cultural differences here make for strange politics as our Governor proposed many very liberal/I would say actually draconian ideas on guns for example--yet we still have a mostly rural state of NRA members etc. and the Dem's don't have that big a foothold here--but Philly political scene tends to dominate the debate.

No way, if things ever got crazy this would be some sort of Blue-state vs. Red state, the fiction we call state borders don't represent true regionalism, which sometimes can be measured in a handful of miles, rather than 100's of miles.

China does seem to have a national policy toward energy--one that the US seems to lack, although China has many many problems--hidden by their temporary job growth. I contend that the US continues to have two major advantages--even in the 'globalized' world--they are called the Pacific and Atlantic.


Dextred1 said...


In a lot of ways I agree. I don't think the wheels will fall off completely, but let’s assume that we have to live on 50% of current consumption with a growing population the world would be different.

That was my point a couple articles back. If the government diffuses it power back to local communities many of the worst things will be avoided. Most major cities would eventually get smaller as self sustaining things like small scale farming take hold. Very doubtful a city will exist in a energy starved future. I remember reading that the average 3rd world citizen spends 60 or 80 percent of income on food.

The funny thing is that the Jefferson vision of an agrarian economy might end up being the more workable program (citizen farmers). I have a friend who is peak oil doomer, but I remind him that in the 1800’s without oil lubricating the economy the nation grew and goods traded between us and other nations. They were poorer, got more exercise, had lots of kids and died younger.

I surmise it all depends on your definition of falling apart. If you think living in an apartment with TV dinners, going shopping, buying 600$ phones and American Idol is the pinnacle of civilization you might think it is the end of the world. All depends on perspective.

Stephen B. said...

Ooops, I mistyped a key word. I meant to say:

"Still, those *lines* are a pretty crude approximation of reality - probably too course and crude really."

Meiyo seemed to get it, however.

Yes, I think the lines will be largely rural versus urban. How that maps to states? Well, that's a tough one to forecast.

Dextred1 said...

I meant major city over a couple million people. Think Rome peaked at 1 million

tweell said...

London had six million by 1900, why would major cities be maxed out at one million?

Greg T. Jeffers said...


When I said "Ka-Boom" I was talking about the financial system and the US$, not civil war.

The Eurozone can kick the PIGS out, and the EURO will go UP as a result. The has created its under achieving populations... and can't kick them out... ergo, they will stay and sink the ship.

Dextred1 said...

I just see with a rapid fall of debt and the ability of governments to fix decaying infrastructure. In my county we do not even get our roads plowed in the winter on Friday-Sunday from this small economic dislocation. Plus in the U.S. we have this unique way of building cities in areas that do not have a navigable river or for that matter any water source at all. Think about the lack of water in California. Some like Saint Louis, Detroit and Chicago were on rivers and lakes for agricultural, transportation and other water needs. The former inhabitants of this planet were not as dumb as us; we build cities in the dessert. Phoenix will be done for... Plus people will migrate to be closer to food sources.

I said no bigger than a couple million. Can you imagine getting a loan to fix these building? Many of the building in major cities are getting old and need to be repaired. Debt is based on future ability of borrower to repay. If you can’t repay, who will pay to fix it?

Plus this was assuming a fifty percent reduction in oil. The rise of mega cities have just happened in the last 100 yrs. (10 million plus). Look through history and you can note the dissolution of large cities after the apex of power and then diffusion to smaller agrarian economy (Rome, Mayans, Egypt, Ancient Israel, Babylon, etc...). Plus in general birth rates are declining in the industrial and non-industrial world, which will have a large effect on ability to rebuild these mammoth structures built when labor was cheap, energy was cheap and regulations which much easier to follow.

westexas said...

Re: bureaucrat & oil production predictons

Regarding predictions, M. King Hubbert, in 1956, predicted that US Lower 48 oil production would peak between 1966 and 1971. We peaked in 1970.

In 1956, Hubbert said that predicting a global peak was more difficult, but he predicted that global oil production would peak within 50 years, i.e., by 2006.

Based on EIA data, it appears that global crude oil production will be at or below the 2005 rate for five straight years, including 2010, with four of the five years probably showing year over year increases in oil prices and with all five years probably being above the annual price of $57 that we saw in 2005.

But if you would rather believe in non-depleting oil fields, I understand, since you share the majority opinion that there is no problem with an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base.

bureaucrat said...

Gentlemen, gentlemen ...

There isn't going to be any U.S. civil war (primarily because Americans are too old and too fat and too tired to launch any kind of "aggressive action" of any kind) nor will there be a return to the farming countryside (primarily because all the people that had experienced living under the boot of the domineering, old, dead, white men who run this world's farms left a long time ago, and they ain't coming back -- that's also the main reason why the percentage of people who don't believe in God -- the "white man church industry" -- has moved from 5% to 16%).

We have a new generation of Mexican-Americans coming up right now in the U.S. They are young and usually hard workers (not including my lazy Latino friends :)). They will have babies and fill the government coffers with taxes to provide you old goats your benefits (once most of the baby boomers have moved thru the system). The legalization of marijuana (inevitable) will erase the Federal debt within three years (take cigarette taxes x 1,000).

After 20 years of yelling and screaming that the oil was going to peak, the oil in storage is above its range, the gas stations are all open, and the food stores always have my Ritz Baked Chips in stock. We are overflowing in real estate (rental and owner-occupied), oil, natural gas, food (the corn and soybean harvests are supposed to be huge this year) .. pretty much anything you want you can get.

Even the Federal government reports it won't have to borrow as much as it thought cause money is rolling in again.

So, sorry, unless you have some real evidence the world is hitting the brakes, pop a beer instead and watch a little American Idol. :)

bureaucrat said...

Hell, we got so much oil available, we're gonna burn it off the top of the Gulf of Mexico!! Can you believe it??? :)

westexas said...

Speaking of deepwater production, waiting for some MSM outlet to "break" the story of the astounding crash in production from the main portion of the Thunder Horse Field is beginning to seem like "Waiting for Godot."


Anonymous said...

I agree with Bur--there will not be a civil war, this is just emotionally laden rhetoric--much of it being amped up by Right wing talking heads and some Tea-party folks.

Argentina's collapse, or other 3rd world countries MAY be what much larger parts of this country turn into during continued economic/energy decline. Until the magic energy unicorn that shits skittles (vitamin enhanced I might add) shows up and concurrently mesmerizes the masses into accepting a drastic change in their living conditions--since we all know humans just love change :)

There is a big difference in carpe diem' mentality that 'everything is fine' now--which may be a good life philosophy to a degree--than I'm gonna wait until the gas and my crackers aren't available to "believe" that consistently lower worldwide oil number, and consistently higher prices--will some how be overcome by new immigrants?! So what are all the new immigrants going to do Bur? Since we've lost over 8 million jobs, perhaps you can give a heads up to many people who have lost/or downgraded their employment--sometimes drastically. Minimum wage earners, don't pay much taxes do they--beyond the more consumptive types locally.


Dextred1 said...


I don't think all the potheads are going to save the world. Would you say it would be bigger than auto industry? I live 20 miles from a ford plant that is 2 miles long. Will it replace that kind of industrialization? At peak auto industry was what 5 or 6 percent of U.S. economy

Stephen B. said...

A kid asked me last week if people would grow pot if it were legal. I pointed out that tobacco is legal and I bet he and I don't know anybody that grows THAT.

When pot is legalized it will be no fantastically big revenue deal. In fact, it might cannibalize tobacco taxes mainly.

Dextred1 said...


Quick facts on that white dead religion.

Christianity is the predominant religion in Europe, Russia, the Americas, the Philippines, Southern Africa, Central Africa and East Africa. There are also large Christian communities in other parts of the world, such as Central Asia, where Christianity is the second-largest religion after Islam. The United States is the largest Christian country in the world by population, followed by Brazil and Mexico.
Word Christian pop 2.1 billion
USA 241,000,000
Brazil 174,000,000
Mexico 105,000,000
India 25,000,000
Peru 25,000,000
Congo 62,000,000
Kenya 33,872,000
Iraq 1,000,000
Hong Kong 700,000
Korea 17,000,000
Malawi 12,000,000
China Estimated 100,000,000
Yup must just be a white thing!!!! JUST SAYING

Dan said...

Presently we have third worlders going on missions to proselytize to a neo-pagan west that has lost its way.

Dan said...

Whether we have war really depends on how one defines war. While I don’t see industrial slaughter al la the civil war or either of the world wars a low intensity conflict seems frighteningly possible. From the fall of the western empire (Roman) until the nascent renaissance we have roughly 800 years of one group of thugs killing another over turf. Most of these wars are 8-10 guys per side with cooler heads (the church) trying to impose restrictions on when and how they could fight. Not all that different form modern street gangs.

Donal Lang said...

I think the interesting elements of the European model are more about what happenned to Yugoslavia, Cyprus, the old Eastern states, .... There cultures were held together for a while by common belief and strong government, but fell apart into intercultural squabbles, sometimes leading to wars once the common cause diminished.
The USA is a big place, but includes not just language, cultural, ethnic and religous differences but also a strong military centred,aggressively independant gun culture.
Like, say, Bosnia and Serbia on a much bigger scale?

kathy said...

The war zone will comprise areas of big cities where a hand-out culture has existed for decades. When the food stamps won't buy enough food (or just don't arrive), when the rent subsidies go, when the fuel assistance and the Head Start and the clinics close, you will see violence in the streets that is going to look like Mexico. Rich people will need bodygaurds to avoid kidnapping and murder. You really have to work in these neighborhoods to understand the depth of their utter dependence on government support and the sence of entitlement. I did work with the low income population for years and my compassion was sorely tested. If one wants to believe in a never ending supply of oil, a necessity for continuing hand-outs, along with Santa and the tooth fairy, go ahead but you will do so at your own peril.

Anonymous said...


How about that! You are sounding like a religious zealot. Just remember that Atheism is a religion too. It can be just as radical as any other. The center ground on the religious issue is Agnosticism.

I think that the left likes Atheism because it allows all power to devolve to men. The left chafes at the idea that there is a natural order to things that is beyond their control, and a limit to power and things that government ought not do.


Coal Guy

bureaucrat said...

To Carbon (and all the other lesser elements :)) ...

Religion was invented by men (white men in America and other men worldwide) to control the population using a mysterious being that somehow manages never to be seen in person, yet sees all and knows all. Religion has this awful tendency to appear to be designed by men (God sure seems like a obsessive-complusive character at times), with nonsense that fits every situation without having to prove anything.

Why does God hide? What is he afraid of? Us? I will guarantee he has nothing to worry about down here. :) And this "turning sticks into snakes" crappola permeated the farm country of the world, turning the patriarch-preacher into the family dictator, and no one wants that to come back. There is a reason why way more than 75% of the US population lived on farms 100 years ago, and that percentage is in the single digits today. It wasn't just cow shit that chased people off the farms. :)

One of these days I'm going to have to see the science of the "complexity" of drawing a Hubbert bell curve for oil. How hard is it to show any well depletes? Any idiot can draw an oil depletion bell curve, yet I would never call myself a PhD. :)

Not all 3rd world places are "pure hell." A lot of people were born in modest but livable places. Maybe they don't have Nintendo XBoxes, but they do eat, and live another day .. most of them. Some of them are even happy.

You do know that food stamps aren't actually stamps anymore, right? :) In Illinois, they give them "Link" cards, and it's all electronic. Food is cheap (and plentiful -- in most of the world anyway). That's why we can have 39 million US people (10% of US pop --- an all time high) on "food stamps", and it only costs us $60 billion a year. Cheap. We could have twice as many, easy.

Pot: I wish there was a recent example of legalization of something to show just how much power you can get from something that was illegal and is now legal .... oh yeah, how about the Chinese people? :) Most of China was illegal and now they are running wild with neo-capitalism. They have bought a trillion dollars of our bonds in just 10 years, after expenses! The money the US will rake in from marijuana taxes and the money we will save from cutting law enforcement, court and prison costs will be in the trillions.

bureaucrat said...

Overflowing in natural gas (from Marketwatch 4/29/10) ...

"Nat gas prices plunge on higher storage numbers"

Dextred1 said...

Witness (Whittaker Chambers)

One thing most ex-communists could agree upon; they broke because they wanted to be free. They do not all mean the same thing by “free”. Freedom is a need of the soul, and nothing else. It is in striving toward God that the soul strives continually after the condition of Freedom. God alone is the inciter and guarantor of freedom. He is the only Guarantor. External freedom is only an aspect of interior freedom. Political freedom, as the west has known it, is only a political reading of the bible. Religion and freedom are indivisible. Without freedom the soul dies. Without the soul there is no justification for freedom. Necessity is the only justification known to the mind. Hence every sincere break with communism is a religious experience, though the communist fail to identify its true nature, though he fails to go to the end of the experience. His break is the political expression of the perpetual need of the soul whose first faint stirring he has felt with him, years, months or days before he breaks. A communist breaks because he must choose at last between irreconcilable opposites- God or man, Soul or mind, Freedom or communism.

Be careful who you cast your lots with. The reason the communists follow atheism is because it frees them from the constraints of morality (Humanity) and let’s them act like the animals they are.

Anonymous said...

They declare martial law yet in Chicago Bur, or they decide against it?

I concur with your religious comment, be there a god or not, certainly religion has been used to help "prevent the poor from murdering the rich" and as a control system, that can't be contended with rationally, since it's an invisible man, who only talks to the 'chosen' eh?

Your Oil arguments Bur I find to be anti-intellectual, saying anyone can make a bell curve, makes it sound like some of the Geologists did more then estimate and extrapolate, but rather just drew a bell, and were totally winging it. So please tell me when Oil is going to deplete and at around what rate Bur, so I can time buying oil futures.


Dextred1 said...

We have many examples of country’s that lived by the credo that “Man is God” (Russia, China, Jacobean France, Nazi Germany, and Cambodia. Most in the last hundred Years). Have men used God as a excuse to enhance power, yes. That only tells you of men and not of God.

bureaucrat said...

Go ahead and buy those oil futures. :) Just remember they won't go to $300/barrel for any length of time. Perhaps over 5-10 years, maybe.

bureaucrat said...

A bunch of weekend warriors (the Illinois National Guard) PROPOSED to be put into Chicago, which aren't even wanted by the mayor or police chief (nor the governor), but instead were "requested" by two pinko Illinois assemblymen hardly sets the stage for "martial law." Again, sorry to all you old men who desperately want national collapse so you can yell "SEEE!!! IIIII TOOLLLLDD YAAAAA!!!!' :)