Sunday, June 13, 2010

Open Thread

Weekend Open thread ...

Obama chats with British PM about BP

Did they also talk about the World Soccer competition where Britain & U.S. tied (1-1)?

The Sun is getting into one of its 11-year cycles.

This is a reminder that smart nations will bring their power grids "up to code" (cosmic code) or will suffer if the Sun goes rogue.

Russia backs away from Iran missile deal - does Russia know something we don't?
Russia becomes leading oil producer ...

The world's oil production dropped by 2m barrels per day in 2009 (peak oil or consumption?)

global gas production declined for the first time on record, falling 2.1%.(recession caused?)

Here's $1 Trillion To Cut -- From The Pentagon war budget


  1. Putin has Russia poised to be nothing less than the key oil broker for the entire world. I imagine he's merely keeping the competition on a leash with the Iran sanctions, as well as cozying up to some potential EU customers. He may well also be sending a subtle message to the west (the US) to stay out of Iran, that there's other "adults" in the region that can handle the situation.

    I spent a lot of time on The Oil Drum yesterday. It appears that the oil resource wars (not necessarily shooting wars at first, but certainly soon thereafter) may be a lot closer than I previously thought. As soon as 2012 maybe, certainly no later than 2015.

    World oil reserves, especially in the largest mideast fields, are being grossly overstated, and the fall could be precipitous, especially with contributing economic factors. Peak oil overall might play out for several decades, but the shocks on the way down will be sudden and calamitous as some sources dry up or otherwise become unavailable before others come online.

    With the recent wholesale industrialization of China and India and major worldwide market volatility, we're getting very close to the first of what will be no doubt be many such shocks. The Gulf spill will very likely be a major contributing factor, one way or another.

    Imagine a tightening market in the face of an offshore drilling moratorium, forcing MOMCOM to "get all jiggly wid' it" in the mideast and/or South/Central America to secure access to new supplies. Someone starts the dollar run by dumping reserves in retaliation, and the shootin' match is on. Russia and China make a joint move on the mideast oil fields, knowing full well that the US already has a toehold and that the fields are vital for US survival, the US is forced to threaten the nuclear card, and then its high stakes poker from there on out to see who (or if anyone) blinks first.

    Plausible? Easily.

  2. disaffected,

    The Iraqi oil development acceleration supports that notion.

    See the post on BP in Iraq I just put up.

  3. The fix is about to be put in in favor of BP due to the pensioner issue. If I were Obama, I'd respond to the PM's concerns by replying,"Fine, go ahead and pay out the dividends. Just give us the recipients' names and addresses so that we can bill them directly for the damages." I know, I know, corporate veil and all that.

    This points out the same difficulty the US is gonna have when it comes time to default on either (or both) SS/MC or Treasuries. Both affect pensioners immediately, and, like it or not, pensioners are going to be a key demographic for the foreseeable future. The same problem applies to all countries that suffer from a demographic bulge, which is to say, most of the first world, as they all recovered from WWII at the same time.

    The one $trillion military budget cut proposal points out just how untouchable the Pentagon has become. That is a laughably small amount when spread over ten years, but even that trivial amount is political fantasy. Not only will the military not see a cut over that term, I predict that their budget increases will be many times that, provided of course there's still a US government in place to allocate them in the first place. I'm betting not. I think we're going to be winging it by then.

  4. How is it that Iraq (aka BP) is developing a 10 million barrels a day oil business but they do not have a government?

    Perhaps that is the model the U.S. is trying to emulate ...

  5. Randy,

    Iraq will in all likelihood never be (pre US collapse at least) more than a puppet regime for the US. That was the idea from the start. Iran realizes it could well soon be in the same boat, hence the nuclear ambitions. Remember, they've already been fucked by the US once, with the Shah Pahlavi. Russia and China will probably have a thing or two to say about any renewed US ambitions in Iran as well.

    Fortunately for the world, the days of US empire are now numbered. We're spread dangerously thin across the globe, with a military that's over reliant on cheap oil and technology and a population that simply will not support conscription or any other measure to massively increase our troop levels to the levels required to sustain our current ambitions. And then there's the debt. That alone will be our undoing. And it's not going to be long now either.

    A personal note: what I find most ironic about the current state of affairs is that we've actually convinced ourselves as a country that we're doing "god's work"; i.e., that we're not just another soon to be failed imperial empire, but that we're genuinely the world's one last, best, hope. As Dredd has said in many posts, it really is a mass national psychosis! In our delusional way of thinking, leading the world down the road to human extinction, with monumental inequity and human suffering all along the way, is some kind of "divine mission." You really do have to stand back and take it all in with wonder. What can you expect from an economic system that glorifies unregulated greed enforced by state monopolized and sanctioned violence?

  6. disaffected,

    You must stop holding back bro, and learn to not be afraid to say what you mean ... ;) ;)

    C'mon folks.

    The evidence strongly supports disaffected ...

  7. Governors Charlie Crist(I-FL), Bob Riley(R,AL), and Haley Barbour (R,MS) were all on Face The Nation this morning. What I found particularly interesting was that in between all the predictable bitching and whining about the ineffectiveness of the federal response (hey, where's all that vaunted private sector can-do when you need it most?), their primary beef was that the media (uh oh, it's the dreaded media again!) was overplaying the disaster and costing them tourist business! How about hiring cruise ships to tour the spill (commemorative tar balls anyone?)? I'm sure there's be a fair number of fat-assed tourists with too much time and money on their hands who'd pay for the privelege.

    Of course they also differed on whether or not to suspend drilling, based on - you guessed it - their state's proximity to and ability to benefit from continued drilling. So much for enlightened national interest, eh? In fairness, only Crist mentioned the fact that the spill indicates the urgent need to get off oil, although, of course, he had no credible alternatives to suggest. Mainly because there simply aren't any, I'm sure.

    Politicians in general, and Republicans in particular, are hilariously fascinating for their sheer predictability. NBC mentioned that Chris Matthews has a new "special" coming up called Rise of the New Right. Matthews has always been prone to hyperbole (hell, he's paid for it!), so that's not a terrible surprise. As far as the "New Right" being any more virulent than the "old right," I'm not sure that's really even possible. I really think it's just a matter of them hiring a better marketing team to get their message out.

  8. If Matthews had any soul at all he would call it "The Rise of The New Wrong" ...

  9. I've noticed every time I watch the news showing the oil spew on the beaches that it looks remarkably just like... runny SHIT!

    How very ironic, that after all these years dumping all manner of shit into the environment, the environment is finally returning the favor. Mother earth is fed up and is now taking a colossal dump right back on us.

    Maybe Obama will consider reprogramming some of the AfghanIraq money to fixing the Gulf mess and/or compensating the victims? Nahhh, just kidding. That would be sheer lunacy.

  10. Report: US finds mineral riches in Afghanistan
    (AP) – 48 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON — A team of U.S. geologists and Pentagon officials has discovered vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan, conceivably enough to turn the scarred and impoverished country into one of the world's most lucrative mining centers, The New York Times reports.

    "There is stunning potential here," Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, told the paper in a report published Monday. "There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant."

    Americans discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, including iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium, according to the report. The Times quoted a Pentagon memo as saying Afghanistan could become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium," a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and cell phones.

    Oh boy! Wonder if anyone has bothered to ask anyone living in Afghanistan - one of those anonymous people we bomb and kill with remote controlled Predator drones - whether or not they want to play the first world resource exploitation game and enjoy being raped in the world commodity markets while their landscape turns to an industrial sore? I'm betting... NOT! They're better off growing opium poppy IMO.

    Capitalists just can't help themselves. When all you've got is hammers, all you see is nails.