In the world of Linux and Unix there historically was a banner that greeted you at the time you would ‘log on’ to the machine. This was called the “Message Of The Day” and was often simply called the MOTD.
As an homage to that tradition, and until we run out of Muslim countries, I’m starting the Friday “Revolution Of The Day” posting.
We’ve already had Tunisia and Egypt in prior weeks. This week, it’s Libya and Bahrain:
Bahrain protest: ‘The regime must fall, and we will make sure it does’
Despite the killings after the army fired live ammunition at the crowds, the mood in Manama is one of staunch defiance
Just after 5.30pm on Friday, central Manama again erupted in gunfire and screaming. Up to 200 demonstrators had attempted to march on Pearl Square, the scene of Thursday morning’s savage assault that left three dead. Just over a mile from the central Bahrain landmark, soldiers and police opened fire, killing at least one more protester and leaving 50 others wounded.
“We don’t care if they kill 5,000 of us,” a protester screamed inside the forecourt of the Salmaniya hospital, which has become a staging point for Bahrain’s raging youth. “The regime must fall and we will make sure it does.”
Bahrain is home to the US 5th Fleet. Further, the history has the rulers arriving about 200 years ago as conquerors. They are Sunni. Much of the population are Shiite. This, as they say “is a problem”….
Government loyalists also filled Manama’s grand mosque to hear words of support for the monarchy and take part in a post-sermon march protected by security forces. Many arrived with Bahraini flags draped over their traditional white robes. Portraits of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa were distributed.
“We must protect our country,” said Adnan al-Qattan, the cleric leading prayers. He denounced attempts to “open the doors to evil and foreign influences”, an apparent reference to suspicions that Iran could take advantage of any gains by Bahrain’s Shias, who account for about 70% of the population.
The pro-government gathering had many non-native Bahrainis, including south Asians and Sunni Arabs from around the region.
Bahrain, which hosts the US Fifth Fleet and has traditionally enjoyed strong relations with Europe and the US, stands to lose a lot from this crisis. The Formula One grand prix, scheduled for 13 March, is already in jeopardy; a decision on its fate will be made by Wednesday.
The Al Khalifa family (Arabic: آل خليفة / ALA-LC: Āl Khalīfah / English: The house of Khalifa) is the ruling family of Bahrain. The Al Khalifa profess Sunni Islam and belong to the Anizah tribe that migrated from Najd to Kuwait in the early 18th century. They are also from the Utub tribe. The current head of the family is Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa, who became the Emir of Bahrain in 1999 and proclaimed himself King of Bahrain in 2002.
As of 2010, roughly half of the serving cabinet ministers of Bahrain have been selected from the Al Khalifa royal family,, while the country’s only Prime Minister, Khalifah ibn Sulman al-Khalifah, (serving since independence in 1971) is also from the Al Khalifa family and is the uncle of the current King.
So we’ve got a more or less classic “rulers vs serfs” problem and here we are all cozy with the rulers… Bahrain has a causeway that connect the island to Saudi Arabia. Saudi is full of Sunni that support the ruling class in Bahrain and are not interested in a revolution there. Certainly not if it might give their own people ideas… “Watch this space”…
As a side bar, last night Glen Beck had a descent story about the difference between Sunni and Shia Islam and the implications of the “12 Imam” sect. Seems they are an apocalyptic sect that expects to see a variety of signs of the “end of days” that will result in the rise of Islam to dominate the world. They also, per the story, believe that they can hasten that day by causing the chaos… That would explain a lot…
For what it’s worth, I don’t know if this particular site is a “nut job” site or just likes strange colors, but they had an amusing write up of the Mahadi / 12th Imam issue. There are a lot more out there, but I get tired of the sugar coated wiki stuff after a while… So be advised: I’m not endorsing this link, just wanted some “juice” as my coffee is wearing off…
Who is the Imam Mahdi – according to Shia Muslims?
The term “MAHDI” is a title meaning “The Guided one”.
Hadhrat Ali (R.A.) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Even if only a day remains for Qiyamah to come, yet Allah will surely send a man from my family who will fill this world with such justice and fairness, just as it initially was filled with oppression.” (Abu Dawood)
So on one side we have an apocalyptic sect that wants some degree of chaos so they can get on with the getting on to paradise and who also believe that only direct descendents of Mohammed can be in charge. On the other side we have a sect that thinks anyone can be divinely inspired, but they ought to be in charge and like things to be a bit more “settled” so they can enjoy the high life. Each tends to think of the other as somewhat immoral. And we’re standing in the middle of it…
On To Libya
This one is a bit shorter. Kadhafi has been a whack job for a while and it’s pretty clear. Runs the country largely for his own benefit but with a veneer of “revolution for the people” (that mostly amounted to “make trouble for the west” … until we ‘whacked his peepee’ and he decided to shut up and enjoy the caviar…)
That was fine, except after 42 years or so the people are wondering why, as a “rich oil state” they all live in poverty? I’m reminded of that old French Revolution joke: Servant: “Your Highness, the peasants are revolting!” Master: “Yes, aren’t they…”
Rights group estimates 84 killed in Libya protests
By MAGGIE MICHAEL and PAUL SCHEMM, Associated Press – 1 hr 6 mins ago
CAIRO – Libyan security forces have killed 84 people in a harsh crackdown on three days of protests, said the New York-based Human Rights Watch, even as the government shut off Internet in the North African country early on Saturday.
The protests calling for the removal of Moammar Gadhafi, Libya’s leader for the past 42 years, have erupted largely in the cities of the country’s impoverished east and have been brutally suppressed with a combination of armed militias and elite forces.
“The Libyan authorities should immediately end attacks on peaceful protesters and protect them from assault by pro-government armed groups,” the organization said in its statement.
Most of the deaths appeared to have taken place in the country’s second largest city of Benghazi, where doctors told the Associated Press Friday that 35 bodies had been admitted, on top of more than a dozen killed the day before.
Internet was also cut off in Libya in the early hours of the morning Saturday, reported the U.S.-based Arbor Networks security company, which detected a total cessation of online traffic in the North African country just after 2 a.m. local time.
OK, we’re starting to see how the “play book” works on both sides. Cut off communications, isolate, and abuse the people vs “stand your ground and let the world know”.
At this point I must praise Anderson Cooper of CNN “AndersonCooper360”. He has had stellar coverage of these events. He also got attacked when in Egypt and his cameraman was beaten, so I think it’s fine that he is back to the “anchor” job and has other folks ‘on the ground’ right now. He’s paid his dues.
Despite all the ‘lock down’ on media, he had video and even live interviews with folks in both places.
His stuff is here:
Hit the link and give it a read. He deserves the traffic.
Note To Evil Dictators: “Do not ever beat up the press. It only pisses them off and you will not like the results.”
2nd Note To Evil Dictators: “This is the age of every cell phone is a live video reporter. Kick out the cameramen and you get 10,000 reporters to replace them, but they are the ones with an agenda and are really pissed off. Oh, and cutting the internet just makes you look really stupid. The stuff gets out anyway…”
Ok, so who’s left?
Sudan (though they had a ‘divide in two’ election so are 1/2 done)
Yemen (but I think they may be about 1/2 way to boiling already)
Iran (had some riots in the street but hard to tell how bad)
Jordan (last week had some protesting… don’t know if it’s on the boil yet)
and I’m sure I’ve missed a few but it’s soooo hard to keep track of where the Muslim world is in revolt from day to day… wonder if Turkey ought to be on the list… and the “Ickey-stans”…
For the ones that already had some action, I’m not sure if they ought to be in last week, this week, or just left to simmer for next Friday ROTD… so I’m just going to let them simmer for now. If they blow up, well, OK, I’ll cover it next Friday…
And folks wonder why I think that there is a global problem with Muslims and disorder…
No, I don’t know if it is driven by the religion and their beliefs, or if it is just an historical artifact of the W.W.I and W.W.II partion of the Islamic world into unstable mixes by the European powers; nor if it is the result of The West trying to bribe anyone with a title to buy favor. But whatever the cause, the troubles are there.
Fill your gas tank, buy some Canadian oil trusts and oil companies, stock up on food with a long shelf life and don’t make a lot of plans to take that North Africa / Middle East tour any time soon. Buckle up folks, it’s gonna be a rocky ride for a couple of years…
I find this an excellent site for content on Islam, which also has links to other sites that tell it like it is.
My historical perspective is that the lifespan of the British Empire was extended by installing and supporting a number of friendly potentates in Middle Eastern and Eastern countries.
The British Empire managed to evolve and adapt throughout the Industrial Revolution as the life blood of Empire evolved from sail power through the age of steam and through the petroleum age into the modern nuclear age.
In the twentieth century the British Empire was in terminal decline as the costs of Imperial War grew and the Eastern countries threw off the Yoke of Empire and declared themselves independent nations. Meanwhile, the American Empire was in the ascendancy and the Suez Crisis in 1956 can be seen as the point were the British handed over the responsibilities of Empire to their American cousins.
Thus the American Empire inherited all the Burdens of Empire from the British and have since being embroiled in a lengthy series of overt and convert Imperial Wars around the world. By the end of the twentieth century the Costs of Empire were already bankrupting the American Empire as the national debt spiralled upwards and [if history repeats itself] the American Empire will probably collapse when the Middle Eastern countries throw off the Yoke of Empire.
Currently the American Empire is engaged in overt Imperial Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as they fight for control over the life blood of Empire while there is unrest in several Middle East countries as they seek independence from the Empire.
My biggest worry is that the American Empire will fight to the bitter-end for a New American Century in this nuclear age.
@ E.M. 2nd Note To Evil Dictators: “This is the age of every cell phone is a live video reporter. Kick out the cameramen and you get 10,000 reporters to replace them, but they are the ones with an agenda and are really pissed off. Oh, and cutting the internet just makes you look really stupid. The stuff gets out anyway…”
That is such an important point that is deserves emphasis. We are witnessing what I believe will be a growing and long term effect of decentralized information transfer. This is Gutenberg V2.0 and the powers that be are fighting a losing battle.
I am reminded of an incident from the days of the Roman Republic. There had been some slave unrest, and one of the Senators suggested that all slaves be marked by a special arm band so that they could be monitored more closely. The suggestion was quickly dropped when another Senator observed “No, then they would realize how many of them there really are!”
That is what Facebook does.
The flood of tourist flying into Egypt took off again this weekend.
Many of the resorts, diving schools etc. are run by people from the West.
They fear bankruptcy and made a successful appeal to the Governments to remove their negative travel advice from their websites. With success.
I think it is to early.
The Egyptian Army has undertaken a troop build up in the Sinai and extreme members of the Muslim Brotherhood have stepped up their campaigning.
And as the Egyptian Amy digs in against the wish from Obama to include the Muslim Brotherhood in the negotiations for a new government tensions are on the rise again.
This isn’t a run race and conflict can explode out of nothing. Egypt is not safe by a long shot.
The same goes for any other Muslim State from Morocco to Saudi Arabia. Bahrain, one of the Gulf States and home of the US 5th Fleet has become a very dangerous place and every country ruled by Sunni minorities faced with Shiite majorities is a potential bomb.
This goes for all the Gulf States including Dubai and Abu Dhabi but also Saudi Arabia.
I say wait for the storm to lay down and prepare for the worst.
So stock up on fuel and food.
It can’t harm and might even save you money for the future.
We are visual creatures. Regarding Bahrain, I read where you said “Despite the killings after the army fired live ammunition at the crowds, the mood in Manama is one of staunch defiance.” Honestly, my internal response was that the little voice in my head said, “yeah, rough.”
But now, I see that there is video, and it is harder to be unfeeling about it.
“No, I don’t know if it is driven by the religion and their beliefs, or if it is just an historical artifact of the W.W.I and W.W.II partion of the Islamic world into unstable mixes by the European powers; nor if it is the result of The West trying to bribe anyone with a title to buy favor. But whatever the cause, the troubles are there.”
We now know that the riots in Tunisia and Egypt were prepared for a long time with help from organizations in New York teaching local opposition leaders how to work with the social media on the web.
The recent spikes in food and fuel prices is real but there is an agenda…
The Global Agenda.
The objective is to replace the current Governments with pro UN Governments.
That’s the real objective and I think there is a big risk that the entire scheme will backfire.
The US is obligated to protect the oil resources in the region. This includes the oil fields and intallations of Iran. That’s why we didn’t engage in a war with Iran.
However, the latest developments in Lebanon and the establishment of an Anti Western, Anti UN, Anti Israel and Anti US pact between Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey can no longer be ignored. The battle for Egypt is underway and more countries will follow.
Even Libyan Leader Kadaffi who has moved mountains to remove the US and EU boycott has changed his course and now calls for the protesters to march on Israel.
As our political elite continues to play the UN game of peaceful consolidation and expansion the real progress is made by Iran.
To stop Iran means war.
If we like it or not.
@ R. de Haan
The objective is to replace the current Governments with pro UN Governments.
Mmmmmm… I wondered… my guess is that western reporters are either embedded or are out of their depth and will report just about anything they are fed.
there is a big risk that the entire scheme will backfire.
Then the Empire is in the shit… but then 911 was used as a good excuse…
The battle for Egypt is underway and more countries will follow.
I think you are probably right.
To stop Iran means war.
I think you are right.
The looting of America
@ R. de Haan
The objective is to replace the current Governments with pro UN Governments.
Mmmmm… I can see similarities with the modus operandi of the Colour Revolutions… if that is the case then they are very experienced players and know the rules of the game… but they are playing with fire…
The internet bubble in the Middle East
If you think some in the Middle East are against westerners, just wait. The real bloodbath will be between Shite and Sunni. That’s when the nukes come out
Very interesting that you should make a list of who’s left. A related story on the WSJ site 3 days ago prompted me to write the following:
The WSJ (and the US Govt. Ha!) should have a row of statues of all the world’s dictators – these should be 30 feet high and cast of concrete. All should be set in a prominent place easily seen and accessible.
It should be the goal of the USA to see that every one of these dictators be replaced by a functional democratic-like government in a timely manner. Citizens, corporations, and our government should all work to bring these tyrannical governments to an end. We have lessened ourselves for not having done this many years ago.
As each regime is ended the statue of the leader should be toppled forward into a large pit of mud while US citizens celebrate with dancing and fireworks while waving Old Glory and the flag of the newly free people.
This would be a spectacular image and true to the values of the USA.
@ John F. Hultquist
There can be a lot of collateral damage when the props are removed… things can topple in any direction… so be careful what you wish for… as R. de Haan suggests perhaps only the props are being changed… time will tell… at this point I know nothing.
Check out Movements.org
This is US State Funded Revolution Machinery working the Arab World for two years now.
Also watch this Breitbart video from Obama here
Obama SEIU and the Unions
Now think Global Governance again.
In the end he will screw them all.
Do you get the picture?
@ John Hultquist and Malaga View
Pardon me if I get preachy here for a moment, but this is a subject dear to my heart.
Well, it is very true that when things fall there is no telling which direction they will fall in — but I have to agree with John on this. The fact is, things are ALWAYS falling down, and we have never been able to confidently predict what will come. That being the case, I think it is even more important that we allign ourselves with what is right, with what is ethical. I know that to some people being practical and pragmatic means supporting dictators who will allow us inexpensive natural resources or who will “provide stability” in a region, but I would disagree with those who practice that form of pragmatism. At the risk of being thought naive, I would say that long term, the smartest form of pragmatism is being true to the principles that formed this country. We are the good guys — at least we used to be the good guys and we ought to be again. Not perfect, but we are the guys who stand for freedom, for honest trade and for the right of regular people to decide their own future. We do not support theocracy, monarchy, dictators or tyranny, and where such things exist, they can do it without our help. Whether correctly or not, we still had that reputation 70 years ago, and we Americans were not just respected, we were welcomed almost everywhere in the world.
No one knows how the current revolutions will turn out. They may turn out good, they may turn out bad. Either way, I do not want to think that my tax dollars are going to support dictators or to fund torture and slavery.
I’ll step away from the pulpit now…
Somehow governments like to deal with governments no matter their relationships with their governed – it’s simply professional courtesy.
The dog in the back yard of a neighbor went berserk; foaming at the mouth, barking, and running around. the fence was sufficiently high, thank G.
After some discussion, the police were called and one came.
The dog settled down immediately on seeing the policeman. It was a police dog and it was an expression of professional courtesy.
i very much like John Hultquist’s suggestion of statues – brilliant. Somewhere near the Mall in DC. It might get tricky, though, deciding whether we support or acquiesce. We do like to pretend to play both sides of the street.
I don’t think we’re fooling anyone.
@ Jason Calley
at least we used to be the good guys and we ought to be again
You are preaching to the converted in some ways… I think most people want to be on the side of the good guys… one problem is that there are at least two sides to every argument… another huge problem is separating fact from fiction… especially if you rely upon the Main Stream Media or have learnt Main Stream History… as they say the first casualty of war is the truth.
Having read through those Wikipedia histories it is very difficult for me classify those events as either good guy actions or bad guy actions… I also know that the classification depends upon my perspective… and I also know I would not find anyone who would totally agree with all my classifications.
@ Jason Calley
I think it is even more important that we allign ourselves with what is right, with what is ethical
I don’t have a too big a problem with we allign ourselves with what is right provided we can agree upon what is right and we do not intervene in other countries internal affairs… I work on the Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You principle.
@ j ferguson
We do like to pretend to play both sides of the street.
I don’t think we’re fooling anyone.
I think that is very true…
“No one knows how the current revolutions will turn out. They may turn out good, they may turn out bad. Either way, I do not want to think that my tax dollars are going to support dictators or to fund torture and slavery.”
We knew with Iraq.
But what happens to a President who cleans house?
And Yes, for the better or the worse we are pauing tax dollars to crooked regimes.
Take teh Karzai Regime in Afghanistan, take Pakistan, take any regime where we have interests and military basis.
But since we have an tiran’s ass kissing moron in the White House our foreign policy is in shambles and Iran is has gained more influence in the region than the formed past 25 years.
And did you know that the Turks undertook a joint military exercise with the Chinese Air Force with planes flying in via Iran landing on Turkish NATO basis last year?
China’s oil interests in this region are too important and while our Great Healer of the Planet and Controler of Sea Levels and Earth’s Temperature thinks we can live the american dream with wind mills and bio fuels for the remainder of history the Chinese will work with any tyrant or mass murderer to get what they want.
But I am sure lots of lefties will be really happy with the new Green Jobs and their plug in golf cart.
Next stop, the House of Saud
Libyan forces shoot at mourners, killing 15
Protests, riots and revolts are not new in the Arab World.
To be honest with you I don’t recall a single happy ending.
This article will disappear behind a pay wall soon so I took the liberty to post it in full.
Please remove it it it takes up to much space.
Military opens Tahrir Sq. for Islamic radical to preach jihad
DEBKAfile Special Report February 19, 2011, 9:52 PM (GMT+02:00) Tags: Egypt military junta Muslim Brotherhood Qaradawi US
Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Sunni Islamist preacher
In their first week in power, Egypt’s new military rulers took two steps that had nothing to do with democratic reform. They allowed Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the radical Sunni preacher exiled by Hosni Mubarak, to return home and lead a victory assembly in Tahrir Square Friday night, Feb. 17 with a call to march on Al Aqsa in Jerusalem. From Qatar, al-Qaradawi repeatedly justified suicide bombings against Israelis. The second was permission for two Iranian war ships to transit the Suez Canal.
Voices from the Obama administration have commented since Mubarak was overthrown that a Muslim Brotherhood taking part in the political transition in Egypt might not be a bad thing. US intelligence officials briefing committees in Congress have not exactly exhibited depth of knowledge about the Brotherhood.
In contrast, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has warned that a Muslim role in government would put the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty at risk.
Friday night, events in Cairo and other Egyptian towns – and the light they shed on the military rulers’ intentions – made most observers sit up and take a second look at the outcome of the popular revolution.
Thursday, Feb. 17, the Muslim Brotherhood was allowed to take charge of opposition demonstrations in the emblematic Tahrir Square and given permission to build a platform, after the other opposition parties and movements had been refused. Ahead of the big event Friday night, the soldiers withdrew from the square and the Brotherhood’s strong-arm brigades move in. Opposition leaders who tried to mount the platform alongside Brotherhood speakers were thrown off and dragged out of the square without the army interfering.
By this means, the military rulers achieved two objectives: Letting Muslim Brotherhood adherents mass in the square diminished the role played by the other opposition factions in the eighteen-day uprising; and, secondly, it flashed a graphic warning to the Obama administration to stop pushing for a rapid transition to democracy because it would only lead to the Muslims taking power in government and parliament.
The sermon preached by Qaradawi, a respected figure in many Sunni circles, had nothing in common with the goals of freedom, rights, reforms, a better life, for which the people demonstrated in Tahriri Square for 18 days. Not only must the Egyptian people go out and conquer Al Aqsa, said Qaradawi, but Cairo must open the Egyptian-Gaza Strip border to “our brothers,” the Palestinian Hamas. He hammered home demands that would have taken Egypt beyond even scrapping its 1979 peace treaty with Israel and all the way to jihad.
For this speech, Egypt’s military rulers gave the radical preacher a national platform over state television.
DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources believe the generals’ latitude toward a notorious radical might make sense in regional terms: For three decades, by living in Qatar, Qaradawi gave the ruling Al-Thanis legitimacy in the eyes of Islamist circles. The military regime in Cairo hopes his presence in Egypt will contribute to their acceptance by the Brotherhood.
Tahrir Square Friday was therefore the testing ground for future cooperation. If it continues to work smoothly, Yusuf al-Qaradawi will rise over the heads of the opposition as the most prominent civilian powerbroker in the country with the greatest influence on Supreme Military Council decision-making.
Another external Mubarak policy the generals made a point of reversing in their first week in power concerned Iran. For the first time in three decades, Iranian war ships received permission to transit the Suez Canal on their way to the Mediterranean and Syria, and return to the Red Sea and home base by the same route.
The military rulers must have realized they were giving Tehran a leg up for its expansionist aspirations and strengthening the Iran-led alliance Turkey, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas. Al those allies have ports on the Mediterranean.
Just as Saudi Arabia welcomed those same Iranian war ships at Jeddah to tell the Obama administration that Riyadh was turning its face toward Tehran and away from Washington, so too is the military regime in Cairo signaling Washington and Jerusalem that Mubarak’s policy of boycotting Iran and keeping the Shiite revolutionaries of Tehran at a distance from of Egypt, Sinai and the Suez Canal is history.
End of story.
Are we taking a gamble or not?
In the mean time Israel is very grateful for the US for vetoing the Palestinian proposal to declare the Israeli settlements as illegal and offered all possible cooperation to achieve a lasting peace with it’s neighbors.
What they will get is war.
War on every land border they have.
The question is what Europe and the US will do when Israel is at peril.
I am afraid they will continue to talk peace.
I continue to think the statue idea is brilliant. It should be done.
This article from the NYT covers the events of this Saturday.
There is this distinct pattern.
We first see the people really want freedom. They take the risk and the bullets.
And when the regime caves in the extremists take over.
The 100 million US Iran invests in the region over the past decade bears more fruit than the billions the US tax payers have coughed to keep the ruling powers happy and armed.
The last stronghold is Saudi Arabia.
After that the road to Israel is free.
I repeat my question.
Who is going to stop Iran and the developing Sunni -Shiite conflict?
@R. de Haan:
And answer came there none…
Democrats: Embolding America’s Ennemies & Terrifying Her Allies Since 1976
History will provide us with the answer but with the current government will leave the Middle East and Iraq to Iran, the Turks and the Chinese.
Big mistake I tell you. Big mistake.
@ R. de Haan “Who is going to stop Iran and the developing Sunni -Shiite conflict?”
Here is a question of my own.
Who is going to stop the Communists in Viet Nam? Any reasonable person, anyone who listens to the stated opinions of our newspaper columnists, our businessmen, our politicians, our veterans and our military leaders, knows with absolute certainty that as goes South East Asia, so goes the world. Once that domino falls in Viet Nam it is only a matter of time — and a short time at that — until Communism engulfs the entire world. The only way to save our nation — and you DO want to save our nation, don’t you? — is to fight them to a stand still over there, there on their own soil, in their own backyard, to say, “This far and no farther!” We face a threat in Viet Nam unlike any we have faced before, and even if it costs the lives of a hundred thousand men and bankrupts the Treasury, our nation MUST prevail!
OK, OK, it is an old question, but I still remember it quite clearly. I bet you know how it turned out.
Pardon me if I refuse to stand to attention when I hear a modern repeat of the same old stories that fueled our wars in Korea, in Viet Nam, and in a hundred other God forsaken places around the world. I may have fallen for them once but that was long ago and I was younger. The result has indeed been the death of a hundred thousand men and the bankrupting of the Treasury. I no longer believe that we need to be the policemen of the world. Not only do we not need to do so, we do not have the wisdom to do so, and we certainly do not have the ethical right to rule other nations, not even if we put in a fellow national as their puppet king.
I believe that freedom works, that liberty is contagious and that the best thing we can do, as a nation, is to be a good example of honest friendship and open trade to the world.
If that is not enough reason for you (though it is for me) then perhaps we should also remember that we are broke, that we are in deeper debt than any nation in history. Perhaps that is a clue that the militaristic “pragmatism” of the last half century is not working. Let me repeat that. Militaristic “pragmatism” is not working. It does not achieve it’s supposed aims. We are less free, less prosperous, less secure than we were 50 years ago. In the face of extraordinary leaps in technology, leaps which should have tremendously improved our standard of living, the average American has experienced no growth in real income for approximately forty years. Realpolitik has been proven by experience to NOT work. We have dug ourselves into a hole. Perhaps what we need is not more shovels.
“My biggest worry is that the American Empire will fight to the bitter-end for a New American Century in this nuclear age”.
I should be more worried if they didn’t fight.
Or do you think the world will better off with when the Chinese, the crazy Mullah’s from Iran and a second Ottoman Empire rule the world?
You have 5 seconds to make your pick.
It took me a split second.
With all due respect for your opinion but I absolutely don’t share your view.
There is no viable alternative to replace the Free World currently under siege from within and without.
And we better come to our senses soon about the direction we’re heading because this world is getting more dangerous by the day and it’s not because of us.
If the US retreats from the world arena we will have a century of war and destruction. What the heck, I think we won’t have a next decade. Or do you think the Chinese will tell Pakistan to back down when tensions heat up with India?
Do you think they sweet talk India to back down? No, they will occupy Pakistan and nuke india themselves.
And what about the Turks, Iran and the Russians?
Do you really think they will protect our our values?
Ask the Kurds about the Turks who accuse Israel of excessive force against a Turkish ship send out to break the Israeli blockade.
And Iran supporting the protests in Egypt but killing their own opposition at home. Ask the free press in Russia how they are doing.
No sir, if we give up because we have ended the Cold War and feel tired about policing the world, the lights will go out.
I have seen our future by looking at the past and the present. I have seen the bad sides and the good sides and draw my conclusion. There is no alternative.
I’m sure there is lot’s of criticism for US military actions in the past. But if we hadn’t fought the Korean War (with China and Russia), do you think we had kept the peace in Berlin? Do you think the Chinese and the Indians would have listened to us when they fought the escalating Sino Indian War?
Do you think the Dutch would have stopped their war with Indonesia if it hadn’t been for the USA?
Do you think the Brits would have stopped their war with Egypt after they lost control over the Suez Canal?
Do you think the Chinese would have given Panama control over the Panama Channel if they had build it?
Do you think Panama had become the prosperous country it is today if the US had left Noriega in charge?
Think how Europe would have looked like if America hadn’t engaged in WWII and there hadn’t been NATO to keep the peace lasting for over 60 years now.
You shouldn’t focus on the bad wars but also think about all the conflicts that have been prevented and mitigated by the USA and all the good that has been done.
This world can’t do without a policeman and it better is the US that performs the job because all the other candidates trampling to take advantage of a pending US retreat are the very crooks that have to be policed.
And that Sir is the reality and the truth.
Even in Iraq most people have been killed by Sunnis killing Shiites Arabs killing Arabs if we count the numbers.
And although the price has been high it was nothing compared to the continuous slaughter of the opposition and the wars undertaken by Saddam Hussein.
As for our current economic situation…. it is completely irrelevant.
The Green Madness, to my great delight and relief, currently addressed in Congress will cost us much more than any war or police action it it continues.
The economic rise of China is entirely artificial. They make money because we let them. Using our know how, our technology plus what they have stolen and still steel from us. And believe me, they steel our intellectual property every day. They are scam artists. Without our markets and their ruthless exploitation of their own populations China is nothing.
And what do they do? They build an offensive army.
The same goes for the “wealth” from the Middle East.
The entire wealth comes from us.
There are no Arab inventors or builders.
Only underpaid work forces, Western know how and OPEC, another bunch of scam artists.
The day they run out of oil is the day they cease to exist. The day we retreat is the day they take each other by the throat and Israel with it.
And how about Russia, our Cold War opponent that once brought the world on the brink of destruction.
Do they walk the road to freedom?
At the end of last year they reported that they had moved a significant part of their nuclear arsenal closer to the border with Europe.
Stalin is back in the streets and Putin prepares for a second run for the Russian Presidency ready to blackmail the hell out of Europe.
It’s like I said. There is no alternative, not at this moment in time. Unless you’re suicidal.
Here I am in Qatar. Been to Bahrain many times within the last year and on the surface it seemed calm. Talking to the taxi drivers though and you could get a sense of the tension.
Remember what happened a while back in Jordan when the throne was threatened by Palestinians. I can see the same happening in Bahrain. It is not likely that the Shiites will get any power there. At least I would be surprised if they did.
Democracy is not for everyone. Having been to many different countries and talking to ordinary people in the streets I formed my opinion. The US is a very special place and I thank God everyday that I am an American.
@ Jason Calley
Well said… when in a hole – stop digging.
@ R. de Haan
There is no viable alternative to replace the Free World
So the Free World starts digging faster… digging deeper… digging more holes… until digging holes is the only freedom left in the Free World and the world is full of holes… great plan – not
this world is getting more dangerous by the day
That tends to happen when you dig holes… you either fall into them… or the walls collapse on top of you.
we will have a century of war and destruction
So just like the last century… great plan – not… so there are only two options: attack or be attacked…
Do they walk the road to freedom?
I don’t think the path to freedom is perpetual war…. for them… or us… or anybody.
The path to freedom is based upon two principles:
1) The right to choose – self determination
2) The right to defend your freedom of choice
Those principles apply to THEM and US… that’s a lesson from the history books… you know… the American Colonies and all that.
In the age of MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction there is no justification to rampage around the world claiming you are defending freedom by denying freedom to others.
Catastrophic Global Warming is very much a myth manufactured to raise taxes and curtail freedoms… just like its predecessor Catastrophic Global Communism… I hope that Catastrophic Arab Nationalism doesn’t become its successor.
The difference is that we had a very long history of weakening the Crown and strengthening the Parliament long before our revolution. Most of the nations of the Middle East have no history of self-determination or free will. They have no analog to English Common Law. They have no history of the secular state separate from the religion aside from despotic rule where they are at the mercy of the whims of the despot or monarch.
We had our own assemblies long before the Continental Congress came about. We were not so much fighting to bring down a monarch as we were fighting to stand up a new form of government. Nobody in the Middle East seems to be agitating FOR anything so much as they are AGAINST the status quo. This leaves a vacuum once their goal is met. Then they have to stop and thing what it is they want next. It isn’t like they already have a plan of what they want next. We had a Congress at least. The House of Burgesses went back all the way to 1619.
What they are doing now is more akin to the English Civil War of 1642 but they don’t really have anything of any tradition like Parliament had even then so that doesn’t form an analog either.
What might be much closer and much scarier is the French Revolution of 1789. Let is pray we don’t see another Reign of Terror once the despots and monarchs have been toppled.
Will the Great Fire Wallof China prevent tomorrow’s Beijing Jasmine Revolution
Great view George and a realistic one.
The only tradition in the Arab world is ‘submission’.
Submission to Allah and Islam but that’s where the buck stops.
It’s a great breeding ground to dictators and Mullahs
but not for democracy.
The Arab world has been relative stable for the past 30 years but the economic systems are fragile and the number of people depending on government support and subsidies extremely high.
Although much progress has been made during the past two decades 40 percent of the people are still illiterate, especially women.
In Egypt for example every nine out of ten women suffer from genital mutilation.
Violent suppression is common practice on a family level.
Those who have made a comparison with the the former East Block revolutions and
the current ‘Jasmin’ Revolution in the Arab World lack any reality and insight.
The big masses have no affinity with the concept of freedom, let alone democracy and they probably never will. The relative few who escaped their societies and ‘broke rule’ are threatened with the death penalty. Adultery still is punished with a public stoning. This is not the thorn of their ruler but the rule of the masses.
To be honest, Arabs need a strong hand because if the hand that leads them is weak violence runs rampant.
We have nothing in common with them.
Cheer up guys! It is darkest before the dawn. pg
The causeway between Saudi and Bahrain was built to facilitate boozing trips.
Alcohol consumption is permitted in Bahrain, the number of flights needed to accommodate those that wanted to spend a weekend away in a country that allowed booze was excessive. When I was there in early 1980’s flights to Bahrain from Saudi were on 15 minute intervals on Thursday night.
The primary ‘feature’ of SHia vs Sunni is Shia allow temporary marriages, which we in the US would refer to as prostitution.
I usually agree with Beck, but his analysis while having some basis in truth ignores the fact that the majority of muslims are just like the majority of Christians, non-practicing.
Patt Condell on Islam, I rest my case.
“The big masses have no affinity with the concept of freedom, let alone democracy and they probably never will. ”
And that extends even down into the smaller units of measure as well. Much of Arab culture is still tribal in many areas. The leaders of these various tribes and clans still wield considerable power and even the succession when one passes isn’t anything we would recognize as democracy. Sometimes there are rivalries involved that can be quite bloody, sometimes blood feuds can last for generations.
You can have two families that hate each other today because of some slight hundreds of years ago. One mistake we make, and a natural one, is to place events there in our context. That doesn’t work. Our concept of the nation state doesn’t exist in many places in that region. One might think of themselves as Bedouin first and Egyptian second or maybe not even identify as Egyptian at all but all would agree that they are Arabs.
Even the language is different. The Arabic spoken in Algeria might be so different from the Arabic spoken in Iraq that people from those places might not even be able to understand each other in their spoken language though they could communicate by written language. There are basically three Arabic languages. It is sort of like having a written Arabic that is the lingua franca, the local spoken Arabic that might be analogous to the difference between Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese in relation to Latin, and an ancient classical Arabic in which the Qu’ran is written sort of like an ancient Catholic bible.
There is a reason Isaac Newton wrote in Latin and the state of that part of the world is really not much different than the state of Europe in the 17th and 18th century except that it is plopped down into the middle of a very modern world and is having problems reconciling the traditional world with the extant world. You have very powerful “conservative” forces (and I use “conservative” in the sense of “resistant to change”) in conflict with a modern generation wanting to “connect” with the rest of the world. Boys and girls at the mall are sexting photos of their private parts to each other while they sit covered on opposite sides of the hall. They travel abroad and party like there is no tomorrow. They go to Western universities and discover the liberties of our civilization. This has to be particularly conflicting for the women.
The thing that is really odd is that the wrath of the people isn’t aimed where I thought it would be. I have been expecting an uprising in the various countries against the religious police. The various Committees for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. That is happening to some extent with the Basij in Iran, as that is supposed to be their primary function, but not so much in other places. I have been expecting the people to yank the cane from the hands of them and give those people a taste of their own medicine.
Anyway, the point is that people here keep expecting people there to look at things from the same frame as reference as we have. That doesn’t work. It is literally going to take generations to change that. It wasn’t so long ago in this country that a woman didn’t go out without something on her head and certainly never went to church without her head covered. My grandmother was positively scandalized the first time one of the local women went to church without something on her head. Some things can take centuries to change.
And as a contemporary example of the power some of these tribal leaders wield:
Cyrenaica rises up against Qaddafi’s Tripolitania regime
DEBKAfile Special Report February 20, 2011, 11:24 PM (GMT+02:00) Tags: Libya Qaddafi Cyrenaica
Around two million Cyrenaican protesters, half of Libya’s population who control half of the country and part of its oil resources, embarked Sunday, Feb. 20, on a full-scale revolt against Muammar Qaddafi and his affluent ruling Tripolitanian-dominated regime. Unlike the rights protests sweeping the Middle East and North Africa, in Libya, one half of the country is rising up against the other half, as well as fighting to overthrow a dictatorial ruler of 42 years.
Since last week, heavy battles have been fought in Benghazi, Al Bayda, Al Marj, Tobruk and at least two other two cities. In some places, DEBKAfile’s military sources report protesters stormed army bases and seized large quantities of missiles, mortars, heavy machine guns and armored vehicles – and used them. The important Fadil Ben Omar Brigade command base in Benghazi was burnt to the ground.
Our sources cite witnesses who spied Berber tribesmen among the insurgents, which bodes ill for Algerian and Morocco and their large Berber populations.
The reports of massacres and imported mercenaries, especially in Benghazi come mainly from opposition sources in West Europe and cannot be independently confirmed at this time. Neither could reports from the same sources Sunday night that Qaddafi’s rule had collapsed and the revolt had spread.
At the same time, there is no doubt that Qaddafi will not scruple to use brutal measures in desperation to save his regime, if he has not already. Hospital sources describe hundreds of dead and injured.
He has meanwhile put Ahmed Gaddaf Al-Dam, his cousin and security chief, in charge of the army’s effort to suppress the uprising in Benghazi. Most of the city appears to have fallen to the protesters, with the exception of its airport through which the ruler is pumping heavy reinforcements and sending them straight into battle.
So far, the Libyan Air Force and Navy have not been deployed. Helicopters sent in action to shoot into crowds are confirmed in only one place, Al Bayda.
Since Saturday afternoon, Qaddafi has not been seen or heard in public. According to some rumors, he has left Tripoli and made for the Saharan oasis town of Sebha, his tribal birthplace. So far, he has kept up the flow of military reinforcements to the six rebel cities because the towns of Tripolitania have been relatively quiet. But if Tripoli and its environs rise up too, he will be short of military strength to deal with trouble spots in both parts of the country.
Some Libyan would-be go-betweens proposed a ceasefire between Qaddafi and the protesters whereby the government would resign and the popular former prime minister Abdul Salam Jaloud be appointed caretaker prime minister until the crisis is resolved. But Jaloud declined the offer.
It is too early to determine in advance how the showdown between Qaddafi’s army and the protesters-insurgents of Cyrenaica turns out. Before it is over, Libya’s eastern provinces may be called on to sacrifice thousands more dead and wounded. If the Cyrenaicans do manage to hold on, they will be in a position to carve Libya in two and break away from Tripolitania and the Qaddafi regime.
That’s how it is.
Giving these people power, modern arms, a few nukes and the party is on.
“Despite the killings after the army fired live ammunition at the crowds,”
Ever wonder what would happen if they fired dead ammunition at the crowds??
@ R. de Haan “With all due respect for your opinion but I absolutely don’t share your view.
There is no viable alternative to replace the Free World currently under siege from within and without.”
While I appreciate the time, effort and thought you have shared with me on this subject, your words above are about as close to agreement as we are likely to come to on this.
Absolutely, there is no viable alternative to replace the Free World, and yes we are indeed under siege from within and without. My main point of difference with you is that I think that what you propose as a prudent course does more to destroy our status as the hub of the Free World than any threat posed by Islamic extremists. I really am not that frightened by other nations, Islamic or not. To the contrary, every loss of freedom, every loss of property, every loss of rights and every loss of due process of law that I have experienced over the last half century has been implemented not by foreign nationals, but by Americans, by people telling me that we are in a crisis and that our only way to safety is to surrender more money, more power to them.
Indeed the world does have real wolves in it, but until I see actual punishment for past little boys who falsely yelled “wolf” I will assume that the same old jokers are still playing games.
Thank you again for sharing your time and thoughts with me. I do appreciate it.
God save the Republic.
One of the questions I have been asking myself is “why now”. There is really nothing existing in these places that hasn’t existed for a very long time. Why all of this upheaval now?
In scouring global media, everything seemed fine until this article from Al Arabiya
The underlying “thing” in this case being high unemployment. There were no articles in any papers I can find leading up to this that would have indicated that things were so close to a boil there.
There was one controversial decision early in November where the President made changes in opposition newspapers to limit what they could say but at the same time increased government subsidies of those papers so it would appear that rhetoric in the local media might have been heating up.
But why the spread? Why Egypt? Why Lybia? Why now?
I think part of it has to do with someone Donald Rumsfeld once said: “Nothing succeeds like success”. The Tunisians and the Egyptians were successful in overthrowing their leaders. Easter Libya is currently described as out of control with crowds having broken into military stocks and the opposition now having tanks and heavy weapons with which to face government forces. I don’t know how much ammunition they have managed to obtain, but having tanks is a big thing for a group of “protesters”.
If Libya falls, none of the despots are safe.
This is horrible:
ENGLISH LPC #Tripoli man: “Hired African militias shooting protesters in the head.” #Libya #Feb17
43 minutes ago
Just saw a report of anti-aircraft guns used against protesters in Green Square in Tripoli.
1/3 of the world will be drenched in blood.
It is time for the muslem world to get this war rage out of their system. Maybe those that will be left will swear off of the sword. For 300 years the west has limited their strife and now they can fight among them selves and with modern weapons. The leaders and mullas have fomented holy war againest outsiders and their personal list of nonbelievers, now they will reap the whirl wind.
The Mayan calender glyphs call for an overturning of social order at this time, an ending of things and new beginnings.
My, don’t we live in interisting times. pg
Venezuela being Gaddafi’s choice of exile locations is “interesting” considering recent reports of Iranian and Hezbollah operations there.
“My main point of difference with you is that I think that what you propose as a prudent course does more to destroy our status as the hub of the Free World than any threat posed by Islamic extremists. I really am not that frightened by other nations, Islamic or not. To the contrary, every loss of freedom, every loss of property, every loss of rights and every loss of due process of law that I have experienced over the last half century has been implemented not by foreign nationals, but by Americans, by people telling me that we are in a crisis and that our only way to safety is to surrender more money, more power to them”.
I appreciate our exchange of views as well, so no thanks at all.
Let me please answer to your recent remarks.
“My main point of difference with you is that I think that what you propose as a prudent course does more to destroy our status as the hub of the Free World”
That’s a difficult point but let me say this:
I have served with the Air Force and was stationed in Germany at a nuclear defense unit where I worked with Americans.
Just like me they were without exception dedicated to their job and convinced they were defending the West. This despite the fact that in we were at a fixed defense unit that made a primary target for the Russians in case of war with a survival time of 3 minutes.
We were in this situation because the USA joint the Second World War and liberated a huge chunk of Europe. If the USA would have continued it’s pre WWII Isolationism, the Russians eventually had beaten the NAZI’s and all of Europe would have been under Communist rule.
I personally doubt if we had been able to win the Cold War and I doubt the US would have able to raise to the powerhouse it still is today.
How the world thinks about the US is irrelevant.
The majority of the countries are not free.
Most of their political establishment and every lefty outside the US hates it’s guts.
But even in Moscow people stay in line to buy a burger from Macdonalds and watch an American movie. Governments, even from Europe have made negative remarks about the USA about the invasion in Iraq and the way prisoners were treated but the big majority is Pro US, no doubt about it.
I personally think Iraq has asked for it and I am glad
our Government (I am Dutch) send in troops as well.
So if I were you I wouldn’t worry about how the outside world thinks about the US at all.
And if you look at the number of people a move heaven and earth to migrate to your country this only confirms my view.
“I really am not that frightened by other nations, Islamic or not. To the contrary, every loss of freedom, every loss of property, every loss of rights and every loss of due process of law that I have experienced over the last half century has been implemented not by foreign nationals, but by Americans, by people telling me that we are in a crisis and that our only way to safety is to surrender more money, more power to them”.”
I am not afraid but they are out to harm us.
We had 9/11, in Europe we had Madrid and London and in Morocco the train bombing in Casablanca.
So the treat is real but I don’t agree with the measures taken. The fact that we all lost a substantial part of our freedoms have turned us into the losers of these attacks and we need to fight to get our lost freedoms back again.
The check at the airports are terrible and it can be done in a totally different way.
The point is that we mentioned ‘our enemy from within” and this has a lot to do with it.
So I completely agree with you on this subject.
The current powers in Government, the UN, the EU and the US have launched a frontal assault on our societies with the objective to break it.
The Green Transformation of our Industry is nothing more but sabotage masquerading a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.
They sell people a dream of clean and cheap living from wind and solar power but in reality we are accelerating the consumption of resources, destroying our wealth and undermining our economic competition power.
Now the insane and criminal scam to turn food crops into ethanol has put our food chain in competition with our fossil fuel chain and sparked food riots in NA and the Middle East.
This will become a growing problem as our Governments have adopted a mandate to increase bio fuel production.
Every person on the planet living from 2 US dollar a day or less will starve. It’s as simple as that.
And we the voters in the West are responsible because we allowed this and still allow this to happen.
When I heard the State of the Union from Obama and he announced his idiotic plans for an economy based on 90% bio fuels, electric cars and a high speed railway system so Americans could travel without pad downs, his approval ratings went up.
What he really said is that he was going to kill 1.5 billion people and ruin the USA.
The latest news form Lybia:
Kadaffi ordered his air force to bomb the protesters.
Some did but two pilots refused and flew their planes to Malta.
Rumors go Kadaffi has fled to Venezuela.
He lost control over his secret service, his police, huge parts of his army and the protesters in Bengasi and tripoli now have guns and took control.
Not bad for four day’s of work.
Hopefully they will refrain from destroying the oil and gas installations like the Iraqi’s did in Kuwait.
But anyhow, the Kadaffi Regime has fallen.
Just like “The King of the Arabs” to turn chicken and run. This will really hurt T. Boon Pickens. He has billions in gas field concessions that he has been paying the Kadaffi s to keep for him.
Part of the problem is that the folks there are control freaks. What control freaks forget is that with control comes responsibility.
So they had some oil money and sent a pot load of young kids off to get college degrees. Fine. But that brings with it the expectation that you will do something other than herd goats and drive an oil truck. But the “leaders” didn’t do the central planning well enough to provide 100,000 jobs for “political science majors” and 200,000 jobs for “Economists” and 300,000 for “writers”….
Now, IFF I choose on my own to spend my time and money to get an Econ degree and learn the law of supply and demand… and then learn that “There is a very large supply of economists and almost no demand”, then that is MY fault. But if the government sent me off to do it…
So they are now up to their eyeballs in a very well educated group with high aspirations and no real future.
The “trigger” was Tunisia showing “Like this works!”. But the pile of fuel as a rapid growth of population with high aspirations and nothing to show for it…
@R de Haan:
Didn’t see that about Kadaffi fleeing… did see the bit about the figher planes.
That’s every dictators worst nighmare. They guys you bought off with great jobs don’t want to shoot their cousins and brothers…
OK with everything from Tunisa through Libya to Egypt done, I’d put Algeria as next on the “shopping list”…
Then I think they will come back for a Bahrain / Yemen “pickup” to start surrounding Saudi.
Morrocco as a “when convenient” to finish the North Africa coast, then spread south to the end of the Sahara on the “someday” list.
From a Saudi surround, you expand out to pick up adjacent places (UAE, Oman) and try for a Jordan destabilize (that gets you another front on Israel along with a surround of Saudi.
At that point, it’s a toss up to me… Take down Saudi for a clean sweep from Atlantic to Persian gulf, or jump to Syria for a nice Iraq surround. With the Iraq surround, as the US leaves, Iran picks up the Shiia part, Turkey picks off the Kurds, and the Sunni get handed to Syria? Now all that’s left is Saudi to tumble… then a long pause…
At that point, will Iran get tossed too? Or as the kids there insufficient to stand up to the nutjobs with guns?
It’s somewhere about that point that I think we see the war on Israel start. Iran will find it an easy way to send folks they don’t like off on a “kill them all” jihad…
OK, nice fantasy, now we get to see what happens in real life…
On your other comment:
The bio-fuels / oil connection is inevitable. I can buy cooking oil at Costco and dump it directly into my Diesel. I watch the price regularly for ‘parity’. It is technology that joins these two at the hip, not policy.
What IS policy is the idiotic avoidance of Coal. We can turn coal into oil at about $50-60 / bbl. That oil is running 50% (soon to be 100%) higher than that is a clear case of government regulation preventing markets from acting and of policy stupidity.
Unfortunately, yes, we have idiot leaders infested with a broken “green meme” and the results are that millions will die. I know how to technically prevent it, I am blind on how to politically get those changes made.
I do know that we’d be a heck of a lot better off with the UN gone and the EU Central Command Kommisars put out of business ( let the people decide their own fate…). In the USA, I’m hopeful that we’re on our way to spanking the folks who are screwing things up. We’ll see, though, as the jury is still out… couple of more elections and a State bankruptcy or two to go…
On the Macro scale, it’s just a great example of how Central Planning goes terribly wrong. We’ve had effectively Central Planning of vehicle fuels ever since the EPA decided to say what was allowed. We’ve had the MTBE debacle, we’ve had the bio-fuels fantasy a couple of times. We’ve headed down the e-Car fantasy now (even though folks here have shown the problems that prevent it from working – the “fleet change” problem and the “metals” problems make it a 30 year solution at best, centuries at worst), and we’ve had the hydrogen fantasy floated every so often (show me the hydrogen mines… it’s a battery, not a power source…).
In a less regulated world, folks would be taking coal and turning it into gasoline and Diesel at a 50% gross margin and gasoline would cost about $2.50 – $2.80 / gallon. But when you need government premission for every single step of the process and you get taxed to conform to the Central Plan if you stray, nobody is going to go there.
Nutty, really. But that’s what Socialism and Central Planning is always like. Lots of “sounds good and good political spin” projects that are “lousy economics” until the wealth is used up. Then collapse and restart.
(But the fact that it take a generation to collapse leads folks to think it’s a good system as it had good results for a decade or two… most folks just can’t see past this week, never mind this year… and this decade is nearly impossible… Now I want them to see a 5 decade cycle? Yeah, right…)
At any rate:
Yes, you are right. America is “our last best hope”.
Unfortunately, what I’m seeing on this side of the pond is not as encouraging as I’d like…
So, as Africa decends into chaos, and as China licks it’s chops over the spoils, and as Russia looks longingly at Europe… I’m just glad I’m not living in Europe right now.
With luck, there will be enough stability in The Americas, Australia / New Zealand / Pacific and Japan to hold the world together.
Without luck, it’s going to be a very rough ride.
“The brothers of the north will prevail” prophecy
The Anglo-American empire? pg
“The bio-fuels / oil connection is inevitable. I can buy cooking oil at Costco and dump it directly into my Diesel. I watch the price regularly for ‘parity’. It is technology that joins these two at the hip, not policy.”
No, you’re wrong.
You always could fill up your tank with cooking oil.
I drove a Mercedes 300D in 1974 on cooking oil which at that moment in time was more expensive than diesel.
Now we have clear government regulations that force the industry to mix gasoline with ethanol and diesel with raps or palm oil.
No, the bio fuel scam is clearly a political mandated policy
@R. de Haan:
We are in violent agreement ;-)
They two are inevitably joined by the simple act of technology. That means that whenever cooking oil drops in price “too much” it can substitute for Diesel, or if Diesel rises too high.
Similarly, during the moonshine era many cars were converted to run on “shine”. Even today, anyone who want’s to setup a still could blend their own. (and some folks have).
That technology clearly ties starches and gasolines.
It was also done several times during history, especially during the world wars… there is a long history of using alchohols and ethers as gasoline extenders, it didn’t just start with the present events. Remember that the first Fords had an ethanol carb on them, then later a dual fuel ethanol / gasoline option. Only later did gasoline win out on costs. During W.W. II a 30% alchohol blend was common in the USA.
None of that depends on goverment programs.
What is different now, though, is active goverment SUBSIDY programs and legal mandates. To that extent, yes, you are correct that it is “clearly a political mandated policy”. One that I think ought to be eliminated (as much as I like biodiesel…)
Up until about 1970, it was a tech driven tie. From 1970 (Gasohol phase) to now it’s been a policy driven tie. Going forward, we are consuming about 30 units of oil for every 10 that we find in new finds. That means eventually $200 oil headed for $300. From this point forward, it will be ever more driven by economics as the technical tie reasserts. The only question is: Will $200 oil lead to stark increases in the cost of cooking oil and starch?
If no: Folks will substitute biofuels for oil until it does.
If yes: We have a few billion dead people to deal with.
Oh, and the “no” biofuels substitution will kill millions at least…
So, IMHO, we disagree on the exact path through the mess, not on the starting point, nor on the ending point, (nor even on the stupidity of the policies…)
Now shift that paradigm:
Build coal to liquids plants that make Diesel at $60 / bbl.
Suddenly you have cheaper food, not more expensive, as you can use more energy to grow more at lower prices. Now food has to come down even more dramatically in price, by a lot, to compete as a fuel, and it just can’t.
That technological CTL sword cuts the other way.
It is only by having policy that suppresses the CTL while promoting the Food To Fuel that we get the worst possible outcome (as it overrides the technical / economic ties that are inevitable).
And what is are our governments doing? Why, the worst possible combination of policies….
At “paranoid moments” I wonder if this could possibly be an accident and the answer tends to be “no”…
Sometimes you find decent reporting in the oddest places…
has a decent even handed writeup. They, along with Reuters, are reporting: Where in the world is Carmen Kaddafi? — noone knows…
At least, that’s the essence of the “he said / she said” he’s gone / he’s not…
I do find it interesting that looks like he’s left the kid in charge of the cleanup:
My take on it?
It’s all down to where his jet lands. So we’re in the haggling over ‘when will it / has it taken off” and “where will it / has it landed”?
Next stops: Algeria and Yemen…
@ R. de Haan and E.M.
Foreign policy aside, I think you two are right on the “Green Energy” thing.
E.M., call me paranoid too, but yes, I think the current crisis in energy cost and access is very much a result of premeditation. Heck, I even support low-impact technology, but only (and this is the important part), when implemented in a free market. Sadly, a free market is the one thing that we have not had for decades, especially in the energy field. If ethanol, or wind energy or solar or nuclear was allowed to stand or fall on its own merits in an open marketplace, we could be assured that the appropriate energy source(s) was developed.
As for the coal to gas process, of course it works. The Germans proved it was workable in a war time economy when other oil sources were restricted, but how many people know that it has been used in a peacetime economy — and made a profit doing so?
After treatment by the Karrick process, a ton of coal will yield up to a barrel of oil, 3000 cu. ft. of rich fuel gas, and 1500 lb. of solid smokeless char (semi-coke). The economics of the process are such that the oil is obtained for free! The smokeless char is an excellent substitute for coal in utility boilers, and for coking coal in steel smelters. It yields more heat than raw coal, and it can be converted to water gas. That gas can be converted to oil by the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis-process. The coal gas produced by Karrick-LTC yields more BTUs than natural gas because it contains a greater amount of combined carbon, and there is less dilution of the combustion gases with water vapor. The phenolic wastes are used by the chemical industry as feedstock for working up into plastics, etc.. The process produces no pollutants other than carbon dioxide.
Electrical energy can be co-generated at minimal cost, in addition to coal products. A Karrick-LTC plant with a daily capacity of 1000 tons would produce enough steam to generate 100,000 KW-hours of electrical power at no extra cost other than the capital investment in electrical equipment and steam temperature losses in the turbines.
No such claims can be made for any other coal or shale oil project in practice or theory. Nor can anyone demonstrate any other process that is manufacturing oil, gas, and semi-coke from coal commercially and without government subsidy, as is was done in England by the National Coal Carbonizing Co., Ltd. For 40 years, until the NCCC became catastrophically involved in North Sea oil in the 1970s, the company operated five LTC retorts producing Rexco-brand smokeless fuel (plus oil and gas) for use in England’s official clean air zones. Other LTC plants have been operated in Estonia and a few other countries, but they are obsolete or are over-managed (as in India).
I do not think that any rational person can examine the stated energy policies of any Western nation on Earth and honestly pronounce them in the public interest. The saddest part is that we have the technology to solve our problems — food, energy, shelter, clothing, education, medical care — but due to mandated fiscal, licensing and manufacturing restraints, we cannot use what we know.
Now… as for foreign policy.
I cannot ignore the fact that our national foreign policy is created and implemented by the same group of people who have set our energy policy.
Well, it apparently isn’t over yet. Qaddafi or Gaddafi or whatever has apparently shipped in more hired guns. Reports are that more planes are landing in Tripoli with African mercenaries. He knows he can’t trust the army to shoot their own countrymen so he highers foreigners for the job.
He might actually survive this for a while longer. He is one ruthless and bloody man.
The good Col. still has a away to go to reach the true heights of ruthless in the Middle East:
However he is working on it.
Cleric orders Gaddafi killed
That’s the same Cleric who will take over the the protesters movement.
If they really want to be free, kill the Cleric.
@R. de Haan:
If they really really want to be free, kill them both…
“Dictator or Religious Despot?” Decisions decisions…
I’ll take “Paradigm Shift for 2000!”… my own right to make my own mess of things without despots making it any worse.
Now, IF I’m lucky… IFF I’m really really lucky, my country will not decide that it ought to send a few more $Billion / year off to that part of the world while getting a few thousand of our kids killed in the process….
( Why I really like the idea of CTL and tell the rest of the world to go stuff it.)
@R. de Haan:
We are in violent agreement ;-)
No, I look at the energy matter from an European view.
That’s all. And that European view maby provides some insights in where we’re heading with the bio fuel policies
Virgin and a few other carriers have planned to fue their entire fleet with palm oil.
Palm oil is already burned for power generation in germany but it’s also used to produce margarine and many other food products.
One of the reasons our Governments have already begun to promote the consumption of less meat is to make land available to plant palm oil farms to replace for example soya.
They will go for a prohibition of fossil fuels fro transport and yank up the price for bio fuels and food at the same time.
And yes, it is their objective to take out a substantial part of the world population.
As I have stated before the entire concept of the current AGW doctrine is to accelerate the consumption of our resources and destroy pristine tropical forests for palm oil production.
Especially the Green Eco Solutions provide a great opportunity to do that.
The amount of oil and steel, composites etc. used for a single wind farm equals the construction of two nuclear plants.
Carbon sequestration as mandated by the EU will drive up the use of coal by more than 50%.
Electric cars build in large numbers requires the production of more steel and therefore the use of more oil.
When the cars are on the road the batteries will be charged with electricity from fossil fuels.
If we calculate the amount of fossil fuels burned to charge a battery of an electric car it is more efficient to drive a modern ICE car. So again we see an acceleration in the use of resources.
With the acceleration prices go up and the ultimate goal, a complete collapse of of our economies is a fact. The moment our economies collapse, the new World Government is a fact.
That’s the big plan and they call it the First Global Revolution and Barack Obama will be it’s first unelected President.
Why I know they will go for fossil fuel prohibition is this highly politicized Europol assessment report about organize crime and the energy supply in Europe until 2020.
Click to access Organised_crime_in_energy_supply.pdf
As for your statement that we use 30 units of oil for every ten new found reserves is not true.
It’s peak oil propaganda.
Only the recent upgrades of the oil reserves in Venezuela, performed by the now bigger than the reserves of Saudi Arabia defy this statement.
Venezuela now has 279 billion barrels of oil
In the mean time (2010) we have found new oil reserves in the Gulf (2 trillion cubic feet and counting)
http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-oil-discovery-in-gulf-2-trillion.html Africa, http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article5512531.ece Afghanistan http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/news.aspx/139169 and Pakistan but also in Panama and Brazil.
We won’t see peak oil this century by a long shot.
The amounts of new natural gas finds even exceed the oil finds and we haven’t mentioned the shale
gas which could deliver excellent diesel oil but that’s another subject.
The point is that we don’t know what to do with oil but or governments are set to railroad our entire economies with no other reason but the entire sick world view that emerged with the Club of Rome and infected our establishment believing that the end of the planet is given if we don;t reduce world population. That’s it.
@ E. M Smith and Jason Calley
I totally agree with your assessment that coal to liquid is the real solution but also natural gas and LPG. BUT WE DON’T NEED IT BECAUSE WE HAVE ENOUGH OIL.
Just to defy your peak oil assessment of new oil finds:
Current global oil consumption is approx. 3 billion barrel per year.
(One metric ton = 7 barrel)
New oil finds 2009
approx. 10 billion barrel
New oil finds 2010
approx. 50 billion barrel
New oil finds 2011
As you can see that even in a relative bad year like 2009 we still find over three times our annual oil consumption.
2010 with over 50 billion barrel almost 14 times our annual consumption.
Please have a look at the last three graph’s at the presentation from Burt Rutan about Peak Oil graph and the real, non to scare graph.
Click to access Electric%20flight%20keynote.pdf
Um, R. de Haan, I think you are mixing two topics.
1) Conventional Oil discovery / consumption relative rates.
2) Alternative hydrocarbon sources.
We are NOT finding regular old oil anywhere nearly as fast as we are depleting old fields. Just not going to happen.
We are finding plenty of other hydrocarbons that can completely REPLACE oil (by making Diesel and gasoline). But they are NOT oil. We are also finding modest amounts of regular oil, but not enough for replacement.
So you stated:
“In the mean time (2010) we have found new oil reserves in the Gulf (2 trillion cubic feet and counting)”
That looks to me like a natural gas number “cubic feet”, not an oil number.
And, preemtively, yes, it is absolutely the case that with trivial effort it can be run directly in cars and trucks or we could make GTL plants to make gasoline and Diesel out of it. So it is FUNGIBLE with oil; but it is not oil.
Similarly, Venzuela is up to their rafters in hydrocarbons, but alot of it is what is called ‘unconventional oil’. It is actually a tar / butumin sludge. Not oil. Again, yes, you can easily convert it into oil. With a re-work of your refineries you can make gasoline and Diesel out of it (and Valero has been a master at making ‘heavy crude’ into fuels). But it is not the same as the nice conventional oil that IS in decline.
This is not just hair splitting.
If you invest in oil refiners, you need know what oils they can refine, and what they can’t (and where supply is likely to be found). So just saying “there is plenty of oil” when you mean “there is plenty of bitumin tar” will put you into a Holly and not into a Valero… and then you face a large refinery upgrade cost cycle. Like this 2007 expansion:
So not only WILL we see peak oil, we already HAVE seen peak oil.
It just didn’t matter as we started converting refineries to use heavy tars and Canada has gone big time into tar sands. IMO and SU have made me a fair amount of money based on understanding that distinction as did VLO when it was the only guy refining cheap heavy crude. For about a decade they had about a $5/bbl “crack spread” advantage on the competition.
So please be careful to keep those two things very very separated.
We are AT or PAST “Peak Oil”… AND it just “Does not matter” as we have alternative sources of hydrocarbons for at least a century. Gas, shale gas and shale oil, tar sands, Orinoco tar in Venezuela, etc. But those are NOT oil.
though there is a growing tendency for folks to talk about them as though they are oil; but that is still a mistake. Not tidy at all ;-)
BTW, your assertion that “we” don’t need it because “we” have enough “oil” leaves out some simple but important details.
First of, who is “we” and second what is “oil”. And it masks the fact that the two “we”s are different folks.
The world has enough unconventional oil (tars, tar sands, etc.) and natural gas. The world does NOT have enough conventional oil. (The middle east does have enough conventional oil for itself and probably Europe, but not for Europe, the USA, and Asia combined…)
So in the USA “we” don’t have any oil to speak of. We could drill like crazy (and OUGHT to …) and it would help reduce our dependency on foreign oil, but never can eliminate it. We just can’t expand that fast and there isn’t that much left to extract.
In the USA “we” very much DO have plenty of natural gas, coal, even shale oil and tar sands. Note that these are NOT oil, but can economically yield OIL PRODUCTS which is all most folks care about…
So in the USA “we” ought to be using those unconventional sources to make all the OIL PRODUCTS we need via CTL, GTL, Tar to Liquids, etc. facilities. Vehicle CNG conversions. etc. Not because the world can’t sell us the oil products, but because “we” can’t stand selling every scrap of our national wealth to burn it up in our gas tanks.
As for Europe: It’s so screwed up I don’t know where to begin… but rich in oil it is not. It does have a fair amount of coal, though, so CTL helps it solve the foreign exchange problem too. Or you can just ship your central bank reserves to Chavez and be happy for a decade or so, then die.
Now if you live in Mexico, it’s even more interesting. The “we” in Mexico have had all the oil they needed and then some. Their main fields are drying up at prodigeous rates and they are going to hit the wall hard very soon. “We” as a world may have enough oil, but “we” in the USA have burned up the Mexican excess. Shortly they will not be having any left to export. After that “we” in Mexico will be getting very cranky as prices rise fast.
Yes, “we” in the USA could just go hat in hand to Chavez and ask what country he would like to have in exchange for some tar… Perhaps Surinam this year? Colombia for the whole decade of black tar “fix”? But that solution is not very pleasing… politically nor economically.
I’m sure, though, that he would gladly give oil products to Mexico if they decided to join his little Latin Socialist Empire…
The point? There are very imporant bits in the part behind the gross agregates of “total hydrocarbons” vs “total consumption”. CTL and GTL breaks some of the worst problem dependencies. FWIW, the ‘upgrading’ process applied to tars is very similar to what is done in the CTL processing.
1) Despite what some folks do in mixing tar into oil, they are not the same. Fungible products, but different inputs. Tar is not oil.
2) There IS peak oil, we’ve hit it and moved on. Yawn…
3) The “unconventional hydrocarbons” are the answer. Be it CTL, GTL, Tar to Liquids. Between them I don’t really care. It’s more about to whom you would like to ship $Trillions than technology / economic factors.
4) The conventional oil IS dropping, fast, and it will accelerate. The bell curve has an ever steepening drop down the backside as you round over the top.
THIS MATTERS. You get a decade or two to adapt, then it’s “hello floor”. It takes a decade to build the facilities needed. That means you have a zero to 10 year “haggle time” before it’s too late even if you make the “right” decision.
5) The un-conventional oil / tar needs different types of construction and facilities to process (thus different stocks win… large trucks yes, drill rigs no…) so it DOES matter to keep them clear as to what they really are.
6) The facilities to handle unconventional sources can often be made flexible enough to take varieties of inputs. Heavy tar, butumin, coal, whatever. We need to build those faclities in any case. So we ought to be building them NOW. We aren’t. China is.
7) IFF we were building those upgraders, why not use the coal we have under about 1/3 of OUR USA land instead of making Chavez a new Little Hilter in South America. It’s not like the Kaddafi / Gaddafi / Quadafy thing has worked out all that well in North Africa (sorry T. Boone… )
8) Just saying “we” have enough “oil” masks those very important details. “We” in the USA and Europe most definitely do not have enough conventional oil. The folks with the tar sands are Canada, Chavez, and poorer sands in the USA. “We” in the USA can drill enough conventional oil to slow the decent of the conventional oil curve, but we can’t stop it. N.America hit it’s peak of the Hubbert Curve a while ago. (That is NOT a reason not to drill, it’s a reason to drill faster WHILE building alternative hydrocarbon upgraders…). The clock is running and that the USA has STOPPED drilling instead of drilling faster puts us about 1/2 decade “gone” out of the decade we had. “Hello Floor”…
9) What the politicians in the USA and EU are doing, based on the nutty Club Of Rome nonsense is criminal on a scale deserving of War Crimes trials. The power of a broken idea is astounding.
10) I have no idea how to stop them. I know how to fix it technically, though. I also know that shipping our national wealth to the House of Saud and Chavez is NOT the best solution, even if they have enough “oil” both conventional and not.
11) The EU has a whole load of corruption and crime issues I can’t even begin to sort out. “You” get the added choice of sending your national wealth to Russia and Putin. Oh Joy. Like that’s a better deal…
12) Given all the above, “we” would be vastly better off using “our” coal in the USA and EU and keeping our national treasure at home. In a free market this would be happening. Even China is building CTL / GTL facilities.
13) Given our politicians are infected with the Cl.of.R “running out” and “green meme”; nothing sane will be done.
Have I mentioned lately that Economics is called “The Dismal Science” for a reason?…
Oh, and on the press releases about new “finds”.
There is one heck of a lot of ‘sellers puff’ in the early press kits. How much was found? Nobody really knows. It was a hole, it had some oil in it and some pressure. Time will tell AFTER it’s drilled out and developed.
Sometimes you win big (like Brazil where the more they drilled out the exploratories the more they found oil under the salt). Often you find more salt…
I’m not particularly interested in chaising down the (pointless) rat hole of “does not, does so”.
Press releases are sellers puff fantasies.
Production figures are doctored.
Depletion rates are covered up so as not to trash your stock price…
Tar, bitumin and, for many “oil” wells, natural gas; are all converted to bbl “equivalent” without paying attention to the fact they are not equivalent…
National levels are lied about (as it determins the OPEC Quota size). Etc.
But most importantly, it just DOES NOT MATTER.
If Chavez trippled HIS oil tomorrow, that does not solve MY problem. CTL and GTL does.
The other problem is that the DECAY of old fields means a very large offsetting FIND is needed just to stay in place. So “find all you want”. Until is is MORE than we’ve got now, you are still losing field position. Now you get to play the other side of the fiction game too. How much depletion really happened? The lies there are huge.
PLEASE, realize: I am not a doom and gloomer. I strongly advocate that “There is no energy shortage, there never has been, and there never will be“.
HOWEVER, we need to take steps to secure that energy and without selling our children into slavery to do so.
The solution that fixes those ills is domestic production of non-conventional oil.
But, for purposes of illustration, your Greenland “oil find” page says:
In other words: We hit a gas pocket, and we’d like to talk it up enough to get a load of money to keep exploring in the hope we MAY find oil…
Also, the North Sea article contains this point:
That is EXACTLY the way oil fields deplete and decline and entirely in keeping with Hubberts Peak theory. You keep on finding oil. Just the average size moves from the “whopper” that was typically found very early on into ever smaller ‘finds’. They are statistically distributed, so sometimes a ‘medium’ comes along, but the average size is ever downward as the “whopper” runs out, then the “big”, then the “medium”, then…
So yes, you absolutely will keep on finding oil and gas in the North Sea. In ever smaller pockets, but more of them. AND it does not matter. That is why the backside of a Hubberts Peak for a field is a 1/2 bell and not a cliff…
FWIW, the much stronger argument for “your side” (and the one I stress) is that the “deep water finds” in Brazil and The Gulf of Mexico mean that all over the world where we have announced “there is no oil, we drilled”, there is a ‘shell of depth’ that is NOT drilled. So we really don’t know if, for example, Texas is “dry” now, of if we just need to drill a 15,000 or 25,000 foot well.
“Classic” theory said that at those depths it was too hot for oil to survive. But we found it at those depths under the water…
So, one or two “great depth” finds in “depleted” fields, then the whole Peak Oil thing is toast for a generation.
But until then: Yes, you find oil. LOTS and LOTS of oil. That’s why it’s not a cliff, but is a gradual decline after the peak. But it’s still a peak. ONLY if global PRODUCTION rises year on year do you not have a peak.
Apparent a new find in Northern Afghanistan, oil sands.
Al Jazeera has some decent coverage on Libya:
How to throw “fearless leader” under bus, by most esteam’ed UN Deputy Ambassador:
Looks like a very un-civil civil war to me…
The closest country that probably has the resources to provide the most help right now is Israel and I have no doubt they would not accept such help from Israel even if it were offered.
I have been watching pleading all night long on Twitter asking the USG to do something. We get criticized if we do something, we get criticized if we do nothing, we lose either way. I notice no such pleas going out to Russia or China for help.
If I were President Obama, we would already have people in there in civilian clothes, blending in with the population, helping them organize their defense against these mercenary forces and helping them care for their wounded. This is actually a primary mission for Special Forces. That is the sort of thing that the Green Berets were designed to do. We would be doing clandestine supply drops and insertions/evacuations of key people in the desert.
I would be quite surprised, embarrassed, and completely ashamed if we aren’t already there. This is exactly the sort of mission those people have been training for over the past 50 years.
While I agree with you, mostly, I do have to point out that the quickest way to “kill” the rebellion would be to have it air on Al Jazeera or Al Arabia that the US was “helping” the rebellion and our Special Forces were on their side.
This is the special hell that we’re in… that of the Geek who can teach you how to pass your math test, but if you invite him over and your friends find out, you are a social outcast… and you would never think of inviting him to your dinner party… “You like Geek Boys!@! OMG, sit at the other table…”
Though a ‘predator’ or two taking out some selected “positions” and Lybian aircraft could be ‘a nice touch’… Basically, give the citizens an unseen airforce on their side…
Though I do have to say that the vision of a Marine Amphibious unit having a reprise of the “shores of Tripoli” has a certain attraction to it ;-)
I don’t think the people would have to know that the people organizing and helping them are Americans. Seriously. I don’t know the state of DLI these days, but “back in the day” they were turning out linguists with local accents that even fooled locals. Maybe I am revealing a little too much of my past, but there was a time when we had such a capability. We have likely allowed it to slip through our fingers, though.
Looks like they are still there:
though I thought I remembered something about cutbacks some years back…
Ah, from the wiki. They TRIED to close / move it in 2005 and folks pointed out that having it in the place with the most native speakers of everything on the planet outside NYC was maybe a good thing ;-) So they kept it here.
So I suppose if we sent that kind of guys, with some Soviet made kit… yeah, that would work…
BTW, I really like the DLI grounds… One of the spouses friends went there ‘for a while’… and we visit the Presidio every year or two. It’s a national treasure.
Move it to OHIO? Who you kidding? We’ve got China Town, 2 Japan Towns (SF and SJ), a scattering of Russian Expat wattering holes, some Greek places, more flavors of Spanish spoken by native speakers than you can count (Heck, you can choose Cuban, El Salvadoran, Mexican, Guatamalian, and Brazillian restaurants just in San Jose from the ones that I know of personally…. ) then there is Little Saigon in San Jose and the Lao community and… the list goes on. And if that’s not enough, you can visit S.F. and Oakland in a couple of hours or hit L.A. in about 6 (and EVERYTHING is in L.A….) Heck, there is a Persian restaurant 3 blocks from my home, fer crying out loud, and they barely speak English at all. The place is full of expats. And I’m in the less mixed side of town… I can think of two Halal markets (one I went into, couldn’t understand a thing anyone was saying, all in Arabic) and both a Mosque and a Greek Orthodox church inside 5 miles. Oh, and you can hit the Rosicrucian Center if you want to try out your Coptic on anyone…
Oh, looks like we picked up a coptic church when I wasn’t looking, and they have a web site…
Yeah, it’s THAT kind of place… Have a Greek breakfast, go to a Coptic church, have Persian lunch, visit a Japanese theatre, and finish with a Chinese dinner where everyone is speaking Chinese… then out for Tequila shooters at the Mexican place… Each in their own language.
But Ohio? …
I’m glad they saw the light and kept it here.
I worked with a fellow once down in Southern California. At that time I was working for a defense contractor building a component of a Grumman system. Anyway, most of the women on the assembly line were from Viet Nam. One of the ladies had a brother that owned a restaurant and one Friday each month we would order out to his place for lunch. She came around collecting orders one day and happened across this co-worker of mine. She asked him if he would like Viet Namese for lunch. He ordered in perfect Viet Namese but she got flustered. Her eyes got really big and she seemed to get nervous. After he was done, I asked her, smiling, “haven’t you ever heard a white guy order in Viet Namese before?” she said “not with a Hanoi accent!”.
@ E.M. Smith
As for Europe: It’s so screwed up I don’t know where to begin…
So true… EU management are so remote we don’t even know their names… and the National Governments are no better as they scramble to climb aboard the EU gravy train to oblivion… in Europe it is just about impossible to know your enemy… so we will have to wait for the Euro implode… then we can revert to our old currencies and old styles of government… like we had just before the second world war :-(
Or you can just ship your central bank reserves to Chavez and be happy for a decade or so, then die.
The UK has tried that one… sold off most of its gold reserves… and all they got were a few containers shipped over from China that were full of party hats and streamers…. so they have sent that off to be pulped so they can print lots more monopoly money – like a few other countries I can think of… so its a good time to invest in companies that print bank notes… its a global market…. there is a complete A to Z of countries queuing up to print their own notes notes… so its probably also a good time to invest in wheelbarrows.
Looks like there are a lot of bank note companies to choose from, don’t know if it’s worth finding out who’s publicly traded:
Canadian Banknote Company has been sold to RR Donnelley who trade on Nasdaq as RRD
presently running up, but slower than gold…
and more…. looks like a big diverse industry…
Nice… very nice…
@ R. de Haan Interesting discussion about how much oil (conventional oil, not tar sands, etc.) there is in the world. I think that E.M. is certainly correct about the recent discoveries being non-conventional, but there are little bits of information that make me wonder. Here is a speech given by a gentleman who claims that the regular oil reserves in Alaska are much larger than officially reported. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxahMADBvQ8
Personally, I do not know whether Mr. Williams is telling the truth or not. I have him filed in my mental folder as “unknown — trust but verify”. One of the reasons why I am willing to at least consider his reports, unverified as they are, is that I have suspected for some time that the US government is keeping certain natural resources off the market as collateral to induce Chinese (or other) bond purchase. Call it just a suspicion.
@ E.M. “Oh, and you can hit the Rosicrucian Center if you want to try out your Coptic on anyone… ”
Memories, memories… Back when National Semiconductor was the largest chip manufacturer in the world I used to spend quite a bit of time in SJ. As someone who as a child had read the Rosicrucian ads in the back of every odd magazine of the time, I made a point to visit there. Nice museum! And so nice to see a pristine example of ancient Eqyptian architecture!
@ Malaga View “The UK has tried that one… sold off most of its gold reserves”
I wonder how much of that gold — sold, as I recall, at the very bottom of the market — was bought up by friends of the same people who took the decision to sell? :)
@ E.M. Smith
My mind turns to De La Rue in the UK…
But I am not sure these days…
@ Jason Calley
I have suspected for some time that the US government is keeping certain natural resources off the market as collateral to induce Chinese (or other) bond purchase. Call it just a suspicion.
I think a lot of countries are under reporting… mainly because they don’t want too many foreign tourists to arrive dressed in khaki.
“I don’t think the people would have to know that the people organizing and helping them are Americans. Seriously. I don’t know the state of DLI these days, but “back in the day” they were turning out linguists with local accents that even fooled locals. Maybe I am revealing a little too much of my past, but there was a time when we had such a capability. We have likely allowed it to slip through our fingers, though.”
Please stop shaming yourself for being an American.
Raise your head, fill your lungs with air and say” I am an American and I have 1 million reasons more to be proud of it than there are reasons to be ashamed of it.
I am not even an American and I am proud of Americans. There are at least three billion other people on the planet who think the same.
As for Libyia where Khadaffi is now bombing and shooting his own people with loyal’s and foreign hired guns and threatens to blow up the oil installations.
We know where he is.
And we know where he send his money to
We should sweep the skies, taking out his choppers and fighter jets, send in the Marines to protect the oil installations, secure the Libyan Airspace and arrest Kadaffi & Co.
Libya is a big country, no risk for escalation if we do it fast. We only risk an encounter with the odd Russian because Russia has big stakes in Libya but that’s the only immediate foreign risk
We can do it in two day’s.
The hired guns would be forced to leave because they wouldn’t be paid anymore or risk arrest.
Call a press meeting with the ‘people’, hand them control over their country and we’re the hero’s.
There is a reason why our political establishment doesn’t step in.
It is their agenda to create chaos and disrupt the oil and gas production.
E. M Smith
About the oil reserves.
With all due respect for your comments and agreement on the fact that hype play’s a big role for oil companies to get financing and hike their stock value, there is no way you can hold up the claim that we find less oil than we consume.
As for the retraction costs of oil which is often used to explain the high barrel prices, the only difference between easy oil and hard to get oil is a 10 US dollar
margin on costs.
It costs between 1.5 and 3 US dollars per barrel to retrieve oil from Saudi Arabia and it costs 13 dollars per barrel to retrieve oil from the tar sands.
Deep drilling is somewhere in between.
Since the North Sea oil drilling a revolution in techniques have increased the yields of all known but also old oil fields and the costs for exploration are only going down.
If we would take out the OPEC Cartel and Iran, prices would drop to 45 US dollars a barrel immediately.
One of the reasons why Iran is threatening the world is that they have higher retrieval costs for oil and gas compared to the Middle East.
They know the effect of threats because they effectively boost oil prices as we see now happening with the Libyia developments.
Current oil prices are entirely hyped and there is no
sane explanation for the barrel price we currently pay and the price you pay for gasoline at the pump.
This is especially the case in Europe where we already pay over five Euro for a gallon gasoline.
Here gasoline prices contain 80% taxes, consisting fuel taxes and 20% VAT.
I have friends of mine working with Fugro and Royal Dutch Shell.
They confirm every word I wrote.
There is no oil shortage and there is no peak oil.
Another factor I forgot to mention.
During the sixties and seventies one in 33 drill holes resulted in an oil find.
Today tanks to enhanced technology and geological survey’s we score a success rate of one in three bore holes and this number soon will be one in every two bore holes.
Please have a read at this article about Fugro:
THE ROVING EYE
‘Brother’ Gaddafi, you’re going down
By Pepe Escobar
@ E.M. Smith
As for Europe: It’s so screwed up I don’t know where to begin…
“So true… EU management are so remote we don’t even know their names… and the National Governments are no better as they scramble to climb aboard the EU gravy train to oblivion… in Europe it is just about impossible to know your enemy… so we will have to wait for the Euro implode… then we can revert to our old currencies and old styles of government… like we had just before the second world war :-(
Or you can just ship your central bank reserves to Chavez and be happy for a decade or so, then die.”
@George and E. M. Smith
You are absolutely right about Europe but wrong about not knowing our enemies.
We know them by name and we even know where they live.
Obama has tried to drive the US into the EU model but he has failed.
Most of his policies will be rolled back and he will be history soon.
This is typical of the US, always coming to it’s senses at the last moment.
That said it is really disturbing to me that the US has become the last bastion of freedom.
Europeans have been conned into the Lisbon Treaty but there is still hope.
Opposition against the EU is in the rise and we will not allow them to directly tax our populations.
We won’t accept any form of fiscal taxation without political control.
Lot’s of Europeans woke up when the unelected President of the in his first speech said he was committed to a World Government.
As fuel poverty is on the increase in Europe, our political establishment is only executing EU directives growing the distance between their electorate with every election making a farce of democracy this won’t last long.
One other scam is the increase of activities of Somali piracy.
Now four Americans have been killed and hopefully we are going to do something about it.
We can solve this problem if we neglect the UN and take out their operating basis.
We don’t because this too serves the Agenda.
I forgot to post the info about the location of Khadaffi
The Dutch media currently have relative good inside information about what’s going on in Libya because of a Libyan employee of Radio Netherlands Wordwide.
He is in close contact with family friends and the Libyan Liberation Organization who have distributed satellite phones in Libya.
This will open your eyes:
Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex
We now are now under the spell of the insane idea’s dreamed up by the Club of Rome that have infected the minds of our elite.
And they deliberately sabotage our societies to get the truth on their side.
Time to take them out.
Ghadaffi is making another speech right now (CNN).
President Reagen was right, he really is the mad dog of the Middle East.
Oil prices rise 9% in a single day.
I have this strange gut feeling that this crises is going to do us more harm at the home front than we ever could expected.
I am especially worried about Obama not taking a stance on Libya, just like the EU.
They could be triggered by the opportunity to shift to the next phase of their Agenda to down our economies and finish the plan they have prepared for thirty years now.
Further rise of oil prices could cause a crash of the stock exchange causing a new crises.
Libya declares force majeure canceling 1.5 million barrelas a day oil exports.
As his regime crumbles, Qaddafi tightens his grip with tribal, army backing
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 22, 2011, 1:22 PM (GMT+02:00) Tags: Libya Qaddafi Tripoli
Muammar Qaddafi in fighting speech from Tripoli
Even after two pilots defected to Malta, the 22,000-man strong Libyan Air Force with its 13 bases is Muammar Qaddafi’s mainstay for survival against massive popular and international dissent. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that 44 air transports and a like number of helicopters swiftly lifted loyal tribal militiamen fully armed from the Sahara and dropped them in the streets of Tripoli Monday, Feb. 21.
Qaddafi had mustered them to fill the gaps left by defecting army units and the large tribal militia which went over to the people.
One of the ruler’s sons, Mutassim Qaddafi, is in command of the Tripoli crackdown. Air Force planes, mostly from the Libyan Air Force’s inventory of 226 trainers, and helicopter gunships, bombed and fired heavy machine guns to scatter every attempt to stage a rally in the city’s districts.
In their wake, Mutassim’s “Libyan Popular Army” cleared the streets of protesters.
The tactics employed by Qaddafi and his sons was, first, to give the protesters free rein to rampage through the city, torch state TV and government buildings and so generate an impression among them and in the West that the Qaddafis were about to fall.
But when the demonstrators fanned out to seize the rest of the capital, they were bombed from the air and targeted by the tribal militias, who had no qualms about shooting directly at civilian crowds.
By the small hours of Tuesday, Feb. 22, when Qaddafi went on air to demonstrate he was still in Tripoli, he was again in control of the capital.
In a similar tactic, he first tried to gull his international critics by sending his urbane son, Saif al-Islami, who has convinced many influential people in the West that he is a moderate compared with his father, to state the Qaddafi case in a television interview Sunday, Feb. 20. Behind the scenes, another son, Mutassim, supreme commander of the Popular Army, designed a vicious crackdown in the capital. Deep in Sahara, their father raised a tribal army to fight for their survival.
When Muammar Qaddafi delivered his victory statement Tuesday, he sounded just like “the madman of the Middle East” – and epithet attached to him by the late Ronald Reagan. But in less than 60 seconds, he had conveyed his message that, although buildings were on fire in Tripoli, he was still standing and was determined to punish all his enemies, whom he dismissed scornfully as “foreign dogs” and “terrorist gangs of misguided youths, exploited and fed hallucinogenic pills.”
Our military sources report his strategy for staying in power rests first on consolidating his grip on Tripoli and then using it as a base for military operations to regain control of the rest of the country, including Cyrenaica.
The Libyan ruler has not yet thrown all this military resources into the battle for survival. His navy is still in reserve. But his substantial air might well be crucial fro his fight to recover Cyrenaica’s coastal towns of Benghazi and Tobruk from the rebels.
Qaddafi shows no sign of being cowed or deterred by international revulsion at his methods and the condemnations expected from the UN Security Council and the Arab League, both of which hold special meetings on Libya later Tuesday. Libya’s deputy ambassador to UN accused the ruler of “genocide” and war crimes against his own people” and several ambassadors have quit or refused to represent his government any longer. But Qaddafi is very much on the warpath.
Obama’s problematic Mideast messages
Despirate Qaddaffi boms Libyan protesters and…
burns those refusing to shoot on their own people.
@R de Haan:
I get this feeling like I’m explaining the difference between Linguine with marinara and Spaghetti with marinara to someone who’s saying “But look, I have a plate of noodles with red sauce”…
Probably ought to put up a “Peak Oil” posting… but there are so many of them already and, as evidenced here, trying to get the idea into peoples heads that “Peak Oil” is NOT “Peak Oil Products” and that “Peak Oil” is NOT “running out of hydrocarbons” is just so much work for so little gain.
But, to your points.
First off “Technology will save us” is one of your themes. See:
graph in Fig. 3 shows the impact on North American Peak Oil (that clearly happened in early ’70s No Doubt About It).
Dramatic improvement in technology, tiny blip on the downslope of production.
So you get about a 5 year “flat” in the fall. But the fall does not noticably deviate from the projection as the enhanced tech gets rapidly overwhelmed by the increased difficulty of extracting dying fields.
As to “reserves are growing”:
The basic issue that you, and to an increasing degree, others in the world, are exploiting is the confounding of “conventional oil” with other “resrerves” that historically were “not oil” but are with greater frequency being called some kind of “oil” simply because they make oil like products.
I know I’m fighting a losing battle here (keeping a “tidy mind” is often that way) as most folks don’t give a fig if it’s “light Arabian” or “Heathrow runway” as long as they can get a gallon of Gasoline from it. But it’s wrong ;-)
So look at this chart:
Notice that the “conventional oil” is only 30%. Notice that they have “oil sands bitumin” called out specifically as 30%, but call it a chart of “oil”. Bitumin is NOT oil. It’s basically crude asphalt. Pavement.
But because in the last 30 years the world has figured out how to turn it into something ELSE that can be treated as oil, ever more folks polute their language by calling it “oil”.
My position is that the 30% that is “conventional oil” has hit (and most likely is well past) “peak”. We hit Peak Oil already. BUT it simply does not matter as we’ve moved on in that graph to using that “Bitumen”, along with the “Heavy Oil” at 15% and the “Extra Heavy Oil” at 25%.
Your position is basically that that graph is growing (largely due to the extra heavy and bitumin finds) AND that we have found a load of natural gas and there is shale oil too. (ALL of which I agree with, BTW).
Then you say “So we don’t hit Peak Oil, it’s a contrived falsehood.” That is where we do not agree.
We don’t hit Peak Hydrocarbons would be a correct statement. Linguine is NOT spaghetti, even if you can’t really tell if the noodle is rectangular or round under the sauce…
So take a look at this article, and you find an interesting graph of total “oil like stuff” production that included the observation that conventional oil hit peak in 2006. (Yes, and nobody noticed…)
And in that one paragraph is a microcosm of our bickering.
I’m saying “the blue part of the graph rolled over” but adding “but the red and yellow parts are filling in the gap” while you are saying “the top of the graph keeps rising!”
BOTH are correct. It’s only when you want to call the unconventional sources “oil” that it’s un-tidy.
And frankly, I don’t think it’s worth a lot of time to argue over it. The only practical difference is that if you are going to invest, you want to do it in companies that make mining trucks and skip loaders and tar sands equipment and giant tires; and not in companies that make land drill rigs and drill pipe.
On oil prices:
Not going there. It’s about a 20 page dissertation and makes folks eyes glaze. And that’s the short form. It’s a hypothetical anyway. Saudi owns the farm, and imagining a world where they are not relevant is a pipe dream. They are a natural monopoly (gaining in market share every decade) and can enforce their will on other major players (though that will end in a decade or so as even THEY become unable to crash prices with excess production).
But the bottom line is that oil prices are VERY volatile in BOTH directions. For every double, there has been a matching “half”. Keeping oil prices stable is the only thing that can’t be done. As we round over the peak of conventional oil, this will change, but not a whole lot. (Processing tar sands needs more stable production to maintain profits. With Saudi you can turn it on, or off, and still make boat loads of money as cost to produce is so low). But even with Saudi pumping 100% you would not get oil at $45 / bbl. All it would do is shut down the tar sands that cost $50 / bbl to produce… Price is set by the marginal producer, not by the lowest cost producer.
Could we get oil down to $80 / bbl? Sure. Can happen overnight, and has. With present levels of world demand, it would be hard to get below $60, though, even on a supply spike / demand drop. It’s about a “double” range with the MIN at about $70 and the MAX at about $140 at present. Inside that range it can wobble back and forth with great vigor. (Inelastic supply and demand curve products are like that…) Historically we had about $60 – $120 range for a good while. It’s moved up about in keeping with the paper money printed…
Realize that oil has always behaved like this, even prior to OPEC. (See the history of The Texas Railroad Commission as precursor / model attempting to stabilize oil prices). Osccillating glut and shortage.
BTW, like the Matt Ridley video. It’s a point I try to get into peoples heads at every chance, that there is no shortage of stuff and there is no shortage of energy as we can make both via invention of new ways. (I’ve got two postings up on “stuff” and “energy” to that effect). I do tend to think it’s a bit overdone to say nobody can make a pencil or nobody knows how to make a mouse. (Probably because I do know how… but I know I’m an odd case… and I worked for a company that made some of the first ones including the prototypes… and I’ve taken them apart and… BUT the point that for 99.9999% of the world they could not make a mouse is valid.)
And whenever possible I will “rant” against “The Limits To Growth” by Meadows et.al. and the abomination of broken ideas that is The Club Of Rome. It’s just sooo wrong, and sooo untidy….
That will have to wait until after I have coffee ;-)
@ E.M. ” I do tend to think it’s a bit overdone to say nobody can make a pencil or nobody knows how to make a mouse.”
Ah, but could you build a toaster? :)
Obviously, when folk make statements about making a pencil, or a mouse, the unasked question is always “how far down the construction chain do you have to go?” If you are making a mouse, do you have to make your own plastic? If making plastic, do you have to refine your own petroleum feed stock? If refining your own stock, do you have to roll your own steel retorts? Mine the ore? Make your own pick axe?
My young son and I decided to make our own Reeses Peanut Butter Cups one day. It was a prolonged experience.
E. M. Smith,
I have no comments on your assessments of sweet crude being only 30% of the total carbon pie.
However, the so called ‘sour’ crude which come with a higher sulfa content and a much thicker mass and represents the bulk of our current reserves as presented in the carbon pie you linked from Wiki can be perfectly processed if you have the right refinery equipment.
The reality of today is that 40% of our refinery capacity in the world and even 80% of the capacity in China is equipped for sweet crude processing only.
In the USA, thanks to EPA regulations and declining oil consumption since the eighties, not a single dollar has been invested in refinery capacity.
A similar picture can be seen in Europe.
This means that adapted refinery capacity is needed.
Se here the true reason for the unexplainable difference between barrel prices and the price of a gallon of gasoline at the pump.
Refineries that have specialized in sour crude processing are very successful because the additional costs to process sour crude are relative low (between 1.50 and 2.00 US dollar ) but the profits are relative high because there is a growing price difference between sweet crude and sour crude.
In 2007 the difference was 7.00 US dollars.
Today the price difference is somewhere between 9.00 and 15.00 US dollars a barrel.
That price difference leaves room for a big profit margin for sour crude refiners.
The financial crises however saw a big drop in demand causing considerable losses to Big Oil refinery owners causing a sell off of refineries far below market price.
Government regulations and CO2 emission fees remain a sword of damocles hovering over the markets and oil producers run away from the risks.
Well, I *have* made my own plastics ;-)
Honest. It was in high school chemistry… AND the instructor was fond of making his own reagents and showed us how to do it (in fact, one of our ‘experiments’ was a recrystalization purification of copper sulfate…). So yes, I can make my own plastics. Though I’d start with plant materials rather than oil as it’s a lot easier to grow soybeans than drill a well…
You know, like George Washington Carver did for Henry Ford…
Per making iron or steel retorts, well, that “Smith” part of the name means something… Two generations back we were actively working Iron. About 3 or 4 back we were making it ‘from scratch’. Dad taught me how (though I havn’t DONE it from scratch… but I have worked iron and steel and I have reduced metals from oxides and I have made coke from coal and I have …. done all the individual parts at one time or another.)
Oh, and I have made a ‘pick ax’ of sorts. It was one of the early welding “projects”. Turn flat stuff into pointy stuff and put it on a wooden handle… (And yes, I’ve made “flat stuff”…) Didn’t make a very good one, though. But I was just a kid…
BTW, I agree FULLY with the thesis that trade makes things orders of magnetude easier. My only disagreement is over “NOBODY knows how to make X from scratch” or “nobody could”. I’ve spent a large part of my “spare” time making sure I can make a load of the most essential basic stuff “from scratch”.
One of my favorite books at the library was “Formulas Processes and Trade Secrets”. An old book of “arts” that told you how to make all sorts of interesting things ‘from scratch’. I’ve got a copy of a related book (though not exactly the same one) that I cherish… It was from the first one that I first made guncotton without nitric acid… A trick that probably is not something to share in the present world upheaval….
So yes, I can start from “natural materials” and go through all the upgrading steps to make “working stock” and from that work on up to “finished products”. And yes, I freely admit that this is strange and that I’m “one in a million” that way…. I even learned how to make cement from scratch just because I wanted to know.
Don’t do any of it, much, as it IS a load of work. But very handy skills to have “in an emergency”. FWIW, one of my favorite home brew tech bits is the “Gasogen”. As fuel prices rise, I’ll problably make one to feed CO gas into the air intake of my Diesel as a ‘co fuel’ to reduce my fuel costs. Take yard waste, run car… (It was done during the World Wars in Germany and France a fair amount…)
Also, FWIW, if you can, get the book “Outdoor Survival Skills” by Larry Dean Olsen. His basic technique is to say “if lost in the outdoors, live as stone age people did. Learn their tech.” It’s a very good example of how to take “nothing” that you find laying around and make “what you need” from it.
So in a true end of civilization catastrophe, I’d not start off with re-inventing ferrocement. I’d start with flint napping, making a brush shelter, and weaving sandals from the Banana Yucca or Fan Palm I’ve planted out front. (Guess why I planted them ;-)
@R. de Haan:
You are confounding two different metrics. While there is a tendency for heavy crude to be sour and light sweet, it isn’t a given and is often not the case. The two are very different things that need different proccessing.
Heavy needs to be cracked. Sour needs to be de-sulphured. Heavy Sour needs both. There is also Light Sour:
The wiki on ‘heavy oil’ also has this to say:
My “assessment” is NOT that “sweet” is only 30%. It is the assements of those folks cited that “conventional” oil is only 30%. Conventional includes things like “light sour”.
“Conventional Oil” means it comes from a well. Light, heavy, sour, sweet. Drill a hole and pump liquids.
“Heavy” is not easily pumped. The wiki on heavy crude is “ok” but continues to call it oil when it is often a solid or goo…
When I was a kid, it was called tar, not oil. Slowly over time folks have started calling this stuff “oil” as it gets moved into production. Thus the neologism “conventional oil” to talk about what is actually oil. Very untidy.
What the wiki says about extraction is enlightening:
“Open pit mining” kind of says it all…
And yes, I know all about the differential crack spreads for folks like VLO who can process that crud crude. That’s why I’ve owned them on and off for over a decade…
But that we’ve found a way to turn asphalt into gasoline does not make tar into oil nor does it stop the “conventional oil” from having past “peak oil”. It DOES, however, mean that we don’t run out of hydrocarbon products.
An NO I can not and will not let go of those distinctions. They are critical to knowing what shares of which companies to buy.
Gadaffi said have ordered to ordered Libyan oil infrastructure sabotage
I would take just about any news reports coming out of Libya right now with several grains of salt.
@ E.M. “Dad taught me how (though I havn’t DONE it from scratch… but I have worked iron and steel and I have reduced metals from oxides and I have made coke from coal and I have …. done all the individual parts at one time or another.)”
My knowledge is much more theoretical; I have a copy of De Re Metalica and was a bit flabbergasted at how COMPLICATED some of the procedures were. By the way, speaking of basic ground up iron work, I read a book some decades back, titled “Lost America” by Arlington Mallery http://www.amazon.com/Lost-America-Story-Pre-Columbian-Iron/dp/B000GM0V7Y/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I26A5P9CPHA3VL&colid=1BNYVWRXKJGW4 which detailed his discovery and examination of what he believed were pre-Columbian primitive iron smelters for “bog iron.” Been a long time, but my memory is that he felt that perhaps European visitors or traders had produced very basic iron goods for the locals. Oh, also a great blog post here on the reasons why iron technology was so quickly accepted and spread beyond areas where bronze was established. http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2011/02/02/the-disruption-of-bronze/
“FWIW, one of my favorite home brew tech bits is the “Gasogen”. As fuel prices rise, I’ll problably make one to feed CO gas into the air intake of my Diesel as a ‘co fuel’ to reduce my fuel costs. Take yard waste, run car… (It was done during the World Wars in Germany and France a fair amount…)”
Yes, another neat and almost forgotten technology! I have considered making one as well, though more for stationary use running an electric generator. Current mental schematics involve a couple of galvanised trash cans and/or a 55 gallon drum. Add a shop vac and some water bath cooler filters. Wonder can I use an old scuba regulator for a carburettor?
Considering possible emergency situations is a never ending source of amusement, but one quickly realises that having access to 1850 technology is an enormous advantage over 10,000 BC technology. Give me 1850 and I can get us up to basic electric power, lights, water and a cold beer. On the other hand, give me Neolithic and things will stay Neolithic for a looooooooong time.
When the ship sinks I hope you get a seat on my lifeboat.
Glad to come aboard… just stop by and pick me up…
BTW, with Mesopotamian technology I can make beer ;-)
The earliest Sumerian writings contain references to beer. A prayer to the goddess Ninkasi known as “The Hymn to Ninkasi” serves as both a prayer as well as a method of remembering the recipe for beer in a culture with few literate people.
I’ve made beer with a jug and yeast. No fermentation lock. No sterilization (though I did start with clean water).
“Beer may have been known in Neolithic Europe as far back as 3000 BC, and was mainly brewed on a domestic scale.”
So notice that 5000 years ago they had beer and 4500 years ago in 2500 BC they had a range of selections at your local tavern along with laws governing their operation (one presumes to assure quality, purity, a fair price, and how to properly kick out a drunken solder armed to the teeth ;-)
So I’m good with just post neolithic technology. As long as I can make fired clay jugs, I’m “good to go”… (And I have made clay goods too… it’s way easy. Though finding good mud can take a while if you are not near an adobe location)
But Cold Beer? Please… Let us start with a proper British Ale! Once a few batches are made, then we can work on the fridge… when we sober up ;-)
Scuba regulators expect 2000 psi range. You have about zero. It’s easier to just make a proportional mixing body. Two holes, relatively fixed sizes. You don’t need to vaporize a liquid after all, just get the ratio right. So two hoses, one with a bit of a flapper valve to adjust ‘mix’…
BTW, this is one of the easiest with “found” materials:
So with one of them, an old gasoline electricity generator, and some ceramic / clay jugs: Lights, beer, radio / CD player (there will be LOTS of them laying around for ages), stove, distillery (for people and motor fuel, along with cash generation)… Sounds like a party to me ;-) “Will trade beer and music for grains at advantageous ratios”!
BTW, I have tobacco naturalized around the edges of Darwins Garden. It is a natural insecticide, but also makes a very nice ‘trade goods’ for all the folks dealing with withdrawl symptoms…
Now take some of that gas, and make a nice forge with it… and use some of the char that it makes for coke. You are well on your way to the poor mans Smithy and foundry with about 1/2 the work. With a Smithy you get tools. Lots and Lots of tools… (There is no need to worry about refining ore to iron for generations. Those cars everywhere will take a long time to rust… all you need is a Smithy…) The gas lets you get hot enough to melt iron if needed.
Now with power and tools, you are at about 1700-1800. Easy “leap” to 1850-1900 inside 10 years. I figure I could be back at 1950 inside my remaining lifetime. (Need a better way to make home made vacuum tubes, though. Havn’t quite figured out how to do a decent vacuum pump from trash bits…. I’m working on an idea to make a ‘gassy’ tube or perhaps use pure O2 and LOTS of “getter”… so at present I’m a bit stuck on getting past vacuum tubes… but I’m working on it. I have a couple of vacuum tube radios in hand, though, so it’s not like it would be ‘urgent’ … Then again, I suppose I could just dip into my buckets of a few hundred transistors for a decade or two ;-)
Yeah, it’s a ‘hot button hobby’ for me. How to come up from nothing to something with found items…
I’ve a very nice book on setting up a Smithy. One of the first things my Dad taught me was how to make screwdriver and tongs. Then the bootstrap process of making all the tools a Smithy needs. You only travel with a hammer and anvil. The rest you make…
We talked about making a cast hammer head and anvil (on which to make the finished tools to make the molds to make the final hammers and anvils… that you use to make everything else…) but didn’t actually do it. It’s not hard, but it takes a long time and a lot of work.
Next to the retort, you dig hammer and anvil shaped holes in the ground, then tap the retort and let the metal run in. There are your rough blanks. Face with a sheet of tempered iron (assuming they are made from a softer easier to melt metal) and you have a surface for forming and forging your first bootstrap tool set. They won’t last long, but it gets you to where you can make the ones that do last… In a real emergency, a small chunk of rail from an abandoned railroad spur is a quicker path to a very nice first anvil… and I’ve some hammers in the garage already…
From that flows an endless set of saws, knives, nails, hinges, gouges, chisles, axes, drills, files, …
The rest is just recreating history.
Smithy; I’ve got a 12″ craftsman machine lath, drillpress etc and a bed of clay that I have tested to 1700F and about 8 tons of old cars and iron. :-) pg
Looks like I’m not the only one who’s “ready to rumble” at the forge ;-)
FWIW, there is an “open source” gassifier project that has a very nice design:
If you have money and like to prepare ahead, it would be better than making one from ‘found materials’ after the fall…
And once you have clean gas, all sorts of things become possible to run. All from ‘trash’…
Though, really, I never expect to actually need or use any of it. More of a “hobby with benefits” 8-) Like the folks who do “reenacting” at various living museums…
We, as a world, have so much material goods sitting all over the place that even a horrific disaster would leave the remnant population restarting from at worst about 1920-1950. Just think how many tools are sitting in your average Sears / Shopping mall on any one day… They don’t go away just because a plague kills 80% of the people…
So the reality is that ‘material goods’ are likely the least of the issues to need tending.
(FWIW, a new disease is the most likely horrific thing to happen, if we don’t have W.W.III first, that is…)
As I’m from families of builders and machanics I have 3 generations of tools and know how to use them. A steam engine or gasifier to drive a 5 kva 3hp generator is my next machanical project.
Don’t worry about WWIII it already started 10 years ago. Our worry is a communist coup that has started, at least they have now come out of hiding and declared themselves. This time when they fail they won’t be able to hide as they did in the 1950s.
There is a prophecy of a disease that afflicts man and beast for about this time.
Have you checked your California earthquakes map tonight? Things have changed. pg
@PG: I’ll check the quake map if you check the page I just put up. I think you’ll like it …
Might I suggest one of these as a project:
10 Kw electricity, heat, and shaft power take off…
Runs on wood chips. Wood chipper not included 8-)
@ E.M. I know there has been some speculation about the discovery of beer brewing and the beginning of civilization. Makes as much sense as anything, though my sense of esthetics would be more satisfied if it had been wine instead of beer. Or maybe mead… I guess I have just never been a big beer drinker. (Does fewer than six beers a year justify that statement?) Still fermentation is a great subject; I have made wine, sauerkraut, kimchee, salt pickles, pickled eggs, ginger ale, kefir, and have a jug of home made vinegar in the closet still perking. No mead yet, or beer, but the day is not over yet.
As for the vacuum tubes, you know, if you had access to some mercury, you can make small volume vacuums that way. Remember the old barometers? They pulled a vacuum by just filling a tube with mercury and inverting it. Maybe not a great vacuum, but pretty good. better yet, take the compressor out of an old refrigerator. It will pull a pretty good vaccum, and if you gang two together, and then use getters, you are home free.
Speaking of forges and such, did you see the news some time back on using microwaves for iron and steel production? http://www.imp.mtu.edu/information/microwave_JAN_04.htm
Here is another case of decentralizing technology. This is good news!
Also, thanks for the windward.org link. Good stuff there, as well. One of the problems I have with your blog, E.M., is that the amount of information — and not just the speculative, fun ideas, but the really potentially usefull stuff — makes it hard to keep up sometimes. I honestly do not know where you find the time, the energy and the mental storage space. Wherever that place is though, I am grateful that you make such outstanding use of it!
“I know there has been some speculation about the discovery of beer brewing and the beginning of civilization. Makes as much sense as anything, though my sense of esthetics would be more satisfied if it had been wine instead of beer.”
The thing about beer and wine wasn’t so much aesthetics as it was health. See, the process of making beer required boiling of water. Beer is also high in B vitamins. People who drank even weak beer we “healthier” because the boiling killed water borne bacteria. You didn’t suffer from things like diarrhea which was probably the leading killer of people back then.
So a population consuming lots of beer would not get sick as much, might have a larger number of any given family mature to adulthood and would eventually out-populate the surrounding populations and take them over when looked at in the context of dozens of generations.
I’m compulsively driven to observe and absorb information. All I do here is present some summaries… I can’t stop it, and can barely control or direct it most of the time (but not always…) So it’s not a matter of ‘finding the time or energy’ it’s a matter of “hang on and pray”…
The mercury idea is an interesting one. There is a cinnabar mine not too far from here… Though it’s got me wondering if a steel rod, gasket wetted with mercury, would do the same thing and with far less mercury… or maybe a lead rod ;-) It’s really just getting the vapor pressure down that’s the advantage… mass you can stack up. Maybe it isn’t all that hard to make a good vacuum pump if you only need small volumes…
I’d not seen the bit about microwaves and iron (other than the “make toaster from scratch” video.) It’s cool…
Finally, remember that ancient beer was not modern beer. Hops was a recent invention. These folks:
place it as about 1000 AD for some use, and even in 1500 there were un-hopped beers.
For most folks, it’s the bitter taste of hops they don’t like in beer.
Ancient beers were more like “barley wine”, but didn’t keep as long or as well.
So you would likely find the older un-hopped sweet ales very pleasant.
What you say is true of later beers. But one of the “odd bits” about ancient beers is that they DIDN’T boil and sterlize all that well, so they often DID have bacterial fermentation too.
This was discovered by looking at Egyptian mummies under UV light. The bones fluoresced. This happens if you take tetracyclines (as it binds to the bones and glows under UV). Further testing found Tetracycline residues…. How? WTF? …
Turns out the bacteria that make tetracyclines blow in the desert winds… and landed in the beer vats and grew.
So all the ancient pappiri that said “Use Beer to Cure [food]) were not just crazy talks, they were accurate. As their beer was full of tetracylines…
The things you learn studying ancient Egypt…
@R. de Haan:
I finally got time to watch that Patt Condell video.
What a hoot! Had to pause it at the 1/2 way point and make a cup of tea, I was laughing non-stop and needed a break…
But I wonder what he really thinks ;-)
At any rate, while it’s refreshing to hear someone “tell it like it is”; I also have to point out that if you look at the crazy ideas of religious zealots you will find plenty to go around even in other countries and other religions.
Don’t forget that Jews think you have sinned if you put cheese on a hamburger, use a plate for a steak, wash it, then put cheese on it. (As the Bible says not to cook a baby goat in the mothers milk…)
Yes, we Christians have had our reformation, so we’ve generally stopped doing “conversion by the sword” (which the Christians did for a century or three in there too) and we’ve moved away from polygamy (which IIRC, Clovis I thought was just fine… )
IIRC, he racked up 3 or 4 wives before he was done.
…and we’ve moved on from marriage to 13 year olds (though Charlemagne thought it fine: “Less than a year after his marriage, Charlemagne repudiated Desiderata, and quickly remarried to a 13-year-old Swabian named Hildegard”)
But don’t worry, France is on top of things. They’ve banned polygammy as of 1993
Yes, we’ve vastly morally superior to those other heathens…
We’ve come so far since the 1500s:
Now the thing I find amusing about those folks, is that one of the offshoot Anabaptist groups evolved into the Mennonites, religious first cousins of my Amish ancestors…
The point? We all started from very similar places. Some of us have just moved a bit faster than others.
FWIW, I remember how my Dad thought it scandalous that my eldest sister wanted to wear a dress to the High School dance that let her ANKLES show… Insisting on “bobby socks” as a compromise to floor length dress… This was in the late 1950’s…
We won’t talk about Henry the VIII, the Mormons (one fringe sect / group of which has been raided recently for arranged mariages between underage girls and middle aged polygamist men) and the hundreds of thousands of folks we throw in jail for decades for smoking grass ( last I looked, in Texas it was still a 50 year sentence, though that was a couple of decades ago…)
Nor will we talk about the number of countries in the world the USA has destablized for it’s own ends. It would take too long to list them all anyway… nor the number of leaders we have bribed into subverting the will of their people to our ends and funded for the murder and oppression of their people. Thank God it’s murderous thugs and dictators doing for us so we can stay clean and pure…
I agree with everything said in the video, AND think that a very similar set of things could be said about western countries and other religions as well.
Yes, at the moment we’re having a nice spell, modulo that ‘overtrowing and subverting goverments’ and the rape of countries for natural resources that do not benefit the people who live in them “little thing”… But we ought never to forget that just under the skin we are the same people who murdered millions upon discovery of the new world and spent a couple of hundred years eradicating their culture, languages, and history. While others of our kind went on to enslave most of Africa and Asia in ‘colonies’. What we did to the Maya books ranks with the burning of the library of Alexandria.
So as long as we are willing to throw rocks at ALL sides, hey, absolutely right. Religious Nuts exit in all places.
So, on Friday, is it OK to eat meat, or does it have to be fish? And can the meat be on a plate with cheese, or not? Or do we do the Hindu / Budhist thing and just skip the meat all together? Can I have wine with it, or not? (Some Christians don’t do alcohol either…) Decisions decisions…
BTW, when I was a kid it was up to the parents if they wanted to let the kid have wine with dinner. Now if you give the kid a taste of wine, they will be taken from you and you go to jail. So that’s good, or bad? …. Sip wine, lose your parents and go into foster care… Yeah, real bright. Also now, in some places, if you look at a cartoon of an underage girl, you get branded for life as a child mollester. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not in favor of perverts. BUT: How is it hurting anyone to look at a computer generated artificial image that someone CLAIMS represents a child? And does that really justify years in prison and a Scarlet P (for Pervert) branded into your (electronic) forehead for life?
You see, it’s important to have the “Martian View” when assessing just what is, and is not, “perverse behaviour”, lest you get caught up in being branded too…
We are on the cusp (though I’m not sure on which side) have having THOUGHTS be criminal. I can’t say I find that much better than making it a crime for women to be uncovered.
Not sure how much cred to give this source, but here it is:
I’m working on this weeks “Friday ROTD” posting… and it’s a Rich Field of Mobile Arabian Total commitment to Eni-thing they can do to win… But there is a Shell game with the oil fields, that is Standard operations in the Sun of the desert…