Sunday, September 16, 2007

Now Sit Back And Watch The White House "Spin" This

Do you ever wonder why people in power don't speak the truth? Sit back and watch what happens when someone who was in the center of it all says the public secret out loud for all to hear.

Without elaborating, Alan Greenspan states:

"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."


Now let's sit back and watch the spin-meisters do their thing.

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On the other hand, why is Mr. Greenspan saying this right now?

Of Course it is good for book sales. Could it also be related to the unwinding of the economy and his need to point the finger elsewhere?

My own personal sense is that the best way for Mr. Greenspan to have made this statement would be to have also added that he knew it while it was all developing and in spite of that he chose to remain silent and let the mistake, the whole mistake, take place with his silent complicity.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Junkie's Last Fix

Until we deal with speed and energy - faster and more powerful - everything will propel us down the same road to depletion. Yes depletion; not just of values and the ability to take life at it's own pace, but also of earth's unreplenishible resources. Ironic, isn't it, experiencing speed and power can make us feel so alive, but it can also be so short sighted if we are borrowing our endowment or our reserves in order to make us feel alive so we can stay pumped up so we don't feel emptiness. Full and empty are both parts of the human condition and to try and deny either part is to throw the system out of significant balance.

Speed and rushing are such addictive patterns. Laura had a quote which I just love: "...and make the best life of enough-ness I can...."

When the junkie is at his or her most desperate, they will do things they never thought they would. We are blowing tops off mountains in the Appalachians. Tops of mountains leveled!

We are destroying tracts of land the size of Florida for some more of that stuff that allows us to propel a two thousand pound metal box at highway speeds, or to sit in traffic, in order to transport one person from here to there and back again, day in and day out.

The CIA tracks how much oil is consumed by various countries. Take a look at this pie chart - I wasn't able to copy and duplicate it in this post unfortunately. That pie is being eaten by a very big piggy.

And this is how one person talks about the junkie's addiction for oil:

"Now, (the story about the Tar Sands) wasn't easy to piece together. The press is almost universally in favor of anything that sounds like "more oil," no matter the cost. Nearly all we hear about is X billion in new investment announced by Y Company. We don't hear too much about the cancellations, delays and cost overruns. A full reckoning is rarely attempted.
But that's what we're here for.

So let's reckon this.

What we have here is arguably the most environmentally destructive activity man has ever attempted, with a compliant government, insatiable demand and an endless supply of capital turning it into "a speeding car with a gas pedal and no brakes." It sucks down critical and rapidly diminishing amounts of both natural gas and water, paying neither for its consumption of natural capital nor its environmental destruction, to the utter detriment of its host. And all to eke out maybe a 10% profit, if it turns out that the books haven't been cooked, and if the taxation structure remains a flat-out giveaway.

All of that, just to produce enough oil to offset the declining conventional oil production in the rest of Canada. Maybe.

And that, my friends, is what I call the oil junkie's last fix. An act of sheer desperation to stave off just a little longer that inevitable day when we are forced to realize that the fossil fuel game is truly over. No more rabbits in the hat. Done.

In the July 2006 issue of Rolling Stone, Al Gore called the tar sands "crazy," a huge waste of energy and an eyesore on the landscape of Western Canada. "For every barrel of oil they extract there, they have to use enough natural gas to heat a family's home for four days," Mr. Gore told the magazine. "And they have to tear up four tons of landscape, all for one barrel of oil. It is truly nuts. But you know, junkies find veins in their toes. It seems reasonable, to them, because they've lost sight of the rest of their lives."

This quote was taken from: Tar Sands: The Oil Junkie's Last Fix, Part 2 September 9, 2007 at:

I stand pat on my resolution: I will rush no more!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Refreshing Look Into A Future

I came across a new essay by Ran Prieur entitled "How to Save Civilization." It walks a new line for me, one that is different from grim visions of a post-apocalyptic post peak oil world and also different from updated versions of 1984.

Please read it. It is well worth your time. In my opinion it outlines thinking and action which should form a foundation for a more mature discussion of planning for the future. Sadly it would be political suicide for any of the current presidential candidates to address any of his points directly, but it has the potential in the hands of some to begin to shift some basic positions, across time. On the other hand, if the level of discussion of the candidates doesn't significantly shift away from their typical bullet points it will, through neglect, make the pain of the future even more intense.

Some quotes: "The deeper problem is that we are on an airplane designed by madmen to only work if it keeps going higher and faster, and the higher and faster we go, the harder we will eventually crash." This is in a context of energy usage, now and in the future, but it could as easily be addressing the shenanigans of the past several years with the process of seemingly ever increasing amounts of liquidity available to people.

And, "...we think we're turning off the air conditioner and bicycling to work to save the Earth. In fact, other people and other economies will just take our place at the Earth-gobbling table and eat it just as fast. what we're really saving is our future sanity, by practicing for the day when we're forced to reduce consumption." This quote really speaks to me and addresses several issues I have been writing about, e.g., the dangers of identifying ourselves with the amount of money and the number of toys which we have accumulated. I liked it also that he addressed the needs for defense to protect your basic sustenance from the "bad-guys."

A few days ago a friend gave me a copy of Lester Brown's book: Plan B 2.0. I have only read a few portions of it, but one of the issues I see with it is that it is premised on an allocation of radical amounts of money from the government to implement many of the ideas. (If I have misread that I apologize in advance.) Big money will do what big money does and I just don't see that as a viable option to turn things around for the planet.

Prieur's approach is different, as I see it. He seems to be saying, it's going to happen, and then it will be a whole new ball game and then here are some further thoughts as to how we can approach that situation such that we don't automatically find ourselves right back in the same situation all over again. Refreshing.

I am curious to hear people's reactions to his essay.