Daily Digest

Daily Digest - October 28

Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 9:50 AM
  • Costco plans to accept food stamps nationally
  • Back-Door Taxes Hit U.S. With Financing in the Dark
  • New York Fed’s Secret Choice to Pay for Swaps Hits Taxpayers
  • U.S. Imposes Preliminary Tariffs on Two Chinese Steel Imports
  • Commission to rein in federal entitlement costs is proposed
  • Once Lucrative Commercial Real Estate Industry Faces 50% Job Cuts Nationally
  • MBA puts new headquarters up for sale
  • Plan Puts Cost of Bailout on Rivals
  • GMAC Asks for Fresh Lifeline (posted by joemanc)
  • Economic Collapse in America - Victorville Part (Video)
  • Housing slump hits California timber industry like a buzz saw


Costco plans to accept food stamps nationally

Costco Wholesale plans to accept food stamps at its warehouse stores nationwide, a major shift for a company that earlier this year said it doubted there would be enough demand among customers to warrant accepting food stamps in even one market, New York City. "The rules are different today," CEO Jim Sinegal said. "People who were in good shape financially all of the sudden are needing some assistance."

Back-Door Taxes Hit U.S. With Financing in the Dark

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Salvatore Calvanese, the treasurer of Springfield, Massachusetts, for four years, had a ready defense for why he risked $14 million of taxpayer money on collateralized-debt obligations laden with subprime mortgages in 2007. He didn’t know what he was buying, he says, and trusted the financial professionals who sold them and told him they were safe. “I thought they were money markets that were just paying more,” Calvanese said in an interview. “Nobody ever used the term ‘CDO,’ and I am not sure I would have known what that was anyway.” Such financial mistakes, often enabled by public officials’ lack of disclosure and accountability for almost 90 percent of government financings in the $2.8 trillion municipal bond market, are costing U.S. taxpayers as much as $6 billion a year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg in more than a dozen states.

New York Fed’s Secret Choice to Pay for Swaps Hits Taxpayers

The deal contributed to the more than $14 billion that over 18 months was handed to Goldman Sachs, whose former chairman, Stephen Friedman, was chairman of the board of directors of the New York Fed when the decision was made. Friedman, 71, resigned in May, days after it was disclosed by the Wall Street Journal that he had bought more than 50,000 shares of Goldman Sachs stock following the takeover of AIG. He declined to comment for this article.

U.S. Imposes Preliminary Tariffs on Two Chinese Steel Imports

The U.S. Commerce Department imposed preliminary duties of as much as 12 percent on $269 million of imports of steel grating and wire strand from China.

Commission to rein in federal entitlement costs is proposed

U.S. public and private health expenditures are expected to reach $2.5 trillion this year and account for 17.6 percent of the gross domestic product, according to an analysis by the National Coalition on Health Care, a nonpartisan alliance. By 2018, national health care expenditures are projected to soar to $4.4 trillion.

Once Lucrative Commercial Real Estate Industry Faces 50% Job Cuts Nationally

Imagine working 10- to 12-hour days without knowing when and if you will get paid. Or collaborating with a client for six months to find the right property, only to find out the bank that approved them for a loan has since changed their lending requirements, which means you get paid nothing for half a year of work. This is a common reality today for many commercial real estate brokers. Some industry experts predict that 50 percent of the 130,000 CRE brokers nationwide will be out of the business by 2011. These job cuts will not be due to layoffs or RIFs, but from sheer job attrition.

MBA puts new headquarters up for sale

The Mortgage Bankers Association is putting its new downtown headquarters building up for sale, citing the economic downturn. The MBA’s headquarters, a 170,000-square-foot, 10- story building at 1331 L St. NW, was completed in the summer of 2008.

Plan Puts Cost of Bailout on Rivals

WASHINGTON -- A deal between the Treasury Department and a key House Democrat would require financial firms with more than $10 billion of assets to pay for the rescue or unwinding of a collapsed competitor........ The measure would also give the Federal Reserve the power to direct any large financial holding company to sell or transfer assets or stop certain activities if the central bank determined there could be a "threat to the safety and soundness of such company or to the financial stability of the United States." This suggests the Fed would win new authority to order companies to shrink.

GMAC Asks for Fresh Lifeline (posted by joemanc)

In a stark reminder of how some battered financial firms remain dependent on government lifelines, GMAC Financial Services Inc. and the Treasury Department are in advanced talks to prop up the lender with its third helping of taxpayer money, people familiar with the matter said. The U.S. government is likely to inject $2.8 billion to $5.6 billion of capital into the Detroit company, on top of the $12.5 billion that GMAC has received since December 2008, these people said. The latest infusion would come in the form of preferred stock. The government's 35.4% stake in the company could increase if existing shares eventually are converted into common equity.

Economic Collapse in America - Victorville Part (Video)

(start at 2 minutes of the video)

Housing slump hits California timber industry like a buzz saw

Weak demand for lumber is forcing some mills to close and leaving many loggers and truckers unemployed.


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Re: Daily Digest - October 28

"ANKARA, October 28 (RIA Novosti) - Turkey is switching to national currencies in trade with Iran and China, ending dependence on the U.S. dollar and the euro for about 20% of its commodity turnover, local media reported on Wednesday.

Turkey has already switched to settlements in national currencies with Russia amid weakening confidence in the greenback as the world's major reserve currency."

""I know that Medicaid rolls are up, and instead of cutting the $240 million we expected in September, it will be closer to $280 million. I'm guessing we're going to cut higher education some more, and now the governor has announced four more furlough days. That hurts," she said.

Keller said even if the recession ends, it will be at least another year before state revenues rebound."

"More than 4,000 state employees from just two state agencies may be forced to take unpaid time off.

Lawmakers were hoping to avoid furloughs while trying to balance the state's $650 million revenue shortfall. But state employees who are struggling now in this economy could take another big hit by being forced to take time off without pay—a lot of time if you work for the Human Services Department."

"JEFFERSON CITY — The number crunchers who follow state revenue trends sound like doomsayers.

"I've never seen anything like it," said business consultant and former state budget director Jim Moody.

"There aren't too many ways out of this one," said House Budget Chairman Allen Icet, R-Wildwood.

"We're talking about complete elimination of programs," said Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah."

"HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Gov. Ed Rendell said hundreds of layoffs are coming in November because of cuts in the state budget.

But that is about all he is saying, and the lack of information is putting the more than 76,000 people who work for the state on edge."

"Reading's budget woes mean city police will end up next year with only a third of the criminal investigators they have now, and the detectives will work only on major crimes, city administration officials said Tuesday."

(Page after page of these. Scroll down)

""After careful review of all of our options, bankruptcy protection seems to be the only solution left at this time," Davis said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "Over the past 50 years, the pension plan was amended by the Legislature more than fifteen times, and always the economic burden on the City was increased. This has been a long-term problem that was unfortunately inherited by this administration.

"After several lawsuits filed by pensioners, it has forced us to come to this decision, one that will protect the city and its residents," Davis' statement added."

"Native Americans testifying at the all-day hearing at Borough of Manhattan Community College Tuesday, most notably the Seneca Nation, strongly resisted the notion of paying state taxes on the sales to nontribal members. Violent confrontations accompanied two attempts at tax collection by the state in the 1990s.

"A police problem could quickly elevate to a military one," Kiernan said, adding Paterson is still considering how to move forward. He said the state favors a policy of negotiating a peaceful settlement."

"A state report expected soon from the CalPERS state government employee retirement system will show the county has about $63 million in unfunded pension liabilities, Christoffel said. That is the amount of money the county would need to pay out in pensions if all 906 county employees were to retire tomorrow."

"New Yorkers are fleeing the state and city in alarming numbers -- and costing a fortune in lost tax dollars, a new study shows."

"RealtyTrac counted 937,840 foreclosure-related filings during the third quarter, a 5.4 percent boost from the previous quarter and a 22.5 percent increase from a year ago."

"Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- California’s Assembly will consider lifting its 96-year-old ban on marijuana, decriminalizing the drug and taxing it like alcohol, as the state seeks ways out of its worst financial crisis since World War II."


"“It is time to take our heads out of the sand and start to regulate this $14 billion industry,” Ammiano said in the statement."



........In related news it has been reported  that we have two new candidates for Governor of California here and here.

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Re: Daily Digest - October 28

20 largest debtor nations


In sure you all on the other side of the Atlantic feel much more relieved knowing that it could be worse!!Wink

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Re: Daily Digest - October 28

It's bad if you realize that in the 1950's we were the world's #1 creditor, now in terms of pure dollars we are the world's biggest debtor.  From first to last in 50 years.  How much worse can it get!


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Re: Daily Digest - October 28

We're  #1 in declining empires!

Apparently, you can dig a hole to China

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Re: Daily Digest - October 28

"Apparently, you can dig a hole to China"

Very clever, dcm.  George Soros agrees with you, btw.

From the Financial Times, Oct. 23rd...



High points:


"I believe that basically the system is broken and needs to be reconstituted."

“I think you need a new world order that China has to be part of the process of creating it and they have to buy in, they have to own it in the same way as the United States owns…the current order,” said Soros, adding that the G20 was a move in this direction."

"Well, certainly a decline in the value of the dollar is necessary in order compensate for the fact that the US economy will remain rather weak, will be a drag on the global economy. China will emerge as the motor replacing the US consumer and, of course, it’s a smaller motor because the Chinese economy is much smaller. So the world economy will have less of a motor, so it will move forward slower than it has in the last 25 years. But China will be the engine driving it forward and the US will be actually a drag that’s being pulled along through a gradual decline in the value of the dollar."

"“You need a new currency system and actually the Special Drawing Rights do give you the makings of a system and I think it’s ill-considered on the part of the United States to resist the wider use of Special Drawing Rights, they could be very useful now when you have a global shortfall of demand, you could actually internationally create currency through Special Drawing Rights,” said Soros, explaining that this was already in process after the IMF injected an allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) equivalent to $250 billion into the global economy."



Oh ya - hi y'all.  Long time reader, new to the boards.


Be safe!



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Peak Oil ?


Confessions of an “ex” Peak Oil Believer

By F William Engdahl, September 14, 2007

The good news is that panic scenarios about the world running out of oil anytime soon are wrong. The bad news is that the price of oil is going to continue to rise. Peak Oil is not our problem. Politics is. Big Oil wants to sustain high oil prices. Dick Cheney and friends are all too willing to assist.

On a personal note, I’ve researched questions of petroleum, since the first oil shocks of the 1970’s. I was intrigued in 2003 with something called Peak Oil theory. It seemed to explain the otherwise inexplicable decision by Washington to risk all in a military move on Iraq.

Peak Oil advocates, led by former BP geologist Colin Campbell, and Texas banker Matt Simmons, argued that the world faced a new crisis, an end to cheap oil, or Absolute Peak Oil, perhaps by 2012, perhaps by 2007. Oil was supposedly on its last drops. They pointed to our soaring gasoline and oil prices, to the declines in output of North Sea and Alaska and other fields as proof they were right.

According to Campbell, the fact that no new North Sea-size fields had been discovered since the North Sea in the late 1960’s was proof. He reportedly managed to convince the International Energy Agency and the Swedish government. That, however, does not prove him correct.

Intellectual fossils?

The Peak Oil school rests its theory on conventional Western geology textbooks, most by American or British geologists, which claim oil is a ‘fossil fuel,’ a biological residue or detritus of either fossilized dinosaur remains or perhaps algae, hence a product in finite supply. Biological origin is central to Peak Oil theory, used to explain why oil is only found in certain parts of the world where it was geologically trapped millions of years ago. That would mean that, say, dead dinosaur remains became compressed and over tens of millions of years fossilized and trapped in underground reservoirs perhaps 4-6,000 feet below the surface of the earth. In rare cases, so goes the theory, huge amounts of biological matter should have been trapped in rock formations in the shallower ocean offshore as in the Gulf of Mexico or North Sea or Gulf of Guinea. Geology should be only about figuring out where these pockets in the layers of the earth , called reservoirs, lie within certain sedimentary basins.

An entirely alternative theory of oil formation has existed since the early 1950’s in Russia, almost unknown to the West. It claims conventional American biological origins theory is an unscientific absurdity that is un-provable. They point to the fact that western geologists have repeatedly predicted finite oil over the past century, only to then find more, lots more.

Not only has this alternative explanation of the origins of oil and gas existed in theory. The emergence of Russia and prior of the USSR as the world’s largest oil producer and natural gas producer has been based on the application of the theory in practice. This has geopolitical consequences of staggering magnitude.

Necessity: the mother of invention

In the 1950’s the Soviet Union faced ‘Iron Curtain’ isolation from the West. The Cold War was in high gear. Russia had little oil to fuel its economy. Finding sufficient oil indigenously was a national security priority of the highest order.

Scientists at the Institute of the Physics of the Earth of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Ukraine Academy of Sciences began a fundamental inquiry in the late 1940’s: where does oil come from?

In 1956, Prof. Vladimir Porfir’yev announced their conclusions: ‘Crude oil and natural petroleum gas have no intrinsic connection with biological matter originating near the surface of the earth. They are primordial materials which have been erupted from great depths.’ The Soviet geologists had turned Western orthodox geology on its head. They called their theory of oil origin the ‘a-biotic’ theory—non-biological—to distinguish from the Western biological theory of origins.

If they were right, oil supply on earth would be limited only by the amount of hydrocarbon constituents present deep in the earth at the time of the earth’s formation. Availability of oil would depend only on technology to drill ultra-deep wells and explore into the earth’s inner regions. They also realized old fields could be revived to continue producing, so called self-replentishing fields. They argued that oil is formed deep in the earth, formed in conditions of very high temperature and very high pressure, like that required for diamonds to form. ‘Oil is a primordial material of deep origin which is transported at high pressure via ‘cold’ eruptive processes into the crust of the earth,’ Porfir’yev stated. His team dismissed the idea that oil is was biological residue of plant and animal fossil remains as a hoax designed to perpetuate the myth of limited supply.

Defying conventional geology

That radically different Russian and Ukrainian scientific approach to the discovery of oil allowed the USSR to develop huge gas and oil discoveries in regions previously judged unsuitable, according to Western geological exploration theories, for presence of oil. The new petroleum theory was used in the early 1990’s, well after the dissolution of the USSR, to drill for oil and gas in a region believed for more than forty-five years, to be geologically barren—the Dnieper-Donets Basin in the region between Russia and Ukraine.

Following their a-biotic or non-fossil theory of the deep origins of petroleum, the Russian and Ukrainian petroleum geophysicists and chemists began with a detailed analysis of the tectonic history and geological structure of the crystalline basement of the Dnieper-Donets Basin. After a tectonic and deep structural analysis of the area, they made geophysical and geochemical investigations.

A total of sixty one wells were drilled, of which thirty seven were commercially productive, an extremely impressive exploration success rate of almost sixty percent. The size of the field discovered compared with the North Slope of Alaska.  By contrast, US wildcat drilling was considered successful with a ten percent success rate. Nine of ten wells are typically “dry holes.”

That Russian geophysics experience in finding oil and gas was tightly wrapped in the usual Soviet veil of state security during the Cold War era, and went largely unknown to Western geophysicists, who continued to teach fossil origins and, hence, the severe physical limits of petroleum. Slowly it began to dawn on some strategists in and around the Pentagon well after the 2003 Iraq war, that the Russian geophysicists might be on to something of profound strategic importance.

If Russia had the scientific know-how and Western geology not, Russia possessed a strategic trump card of staggering geopolitical import. It was not surprising that Washington would go about erecting a “wall of steel”—a network of military bases and ballistic anti-missile shields around Russia, to cut her pipeline and port links to western Europe, China and the rest of Eurasia. Halford Mackinder’s worst nightmare--a cooperative convergence of mutual interests of the major states of Eurasia, born of necessity and need for oil to fuel economic growth--was emerging. Ironically, it was the blatant US grab for the vast oil riches of Iraq and, potentially, of Iran, that catalyzed closer cooperation between traditional Eurasian foes, China and Russia , and a growing realization in western Europe that their options too were narrowing.

The Peak King

Peak Oil theory is based on a 1956 paper done by the late Marion King Hubbert, a Texas geologist working for Shell Oil. He argued that oil wells produced in a bell curve manner, and once their “peak” was hit, inevitable decline followed. He predicted the United States oil production would peak in 1970. A modest man, he named the production curve he invented, Hubbert’s Curve, and the peak as Hubbert’s Peak. When US oil output began to decline in around 1970 Hubbert gained a certain fame.

The only problem was, it peaked not because of resource depletion in the US fields. It “peaked” because Shell, Mobil, Texaco and the other partners of Saudi Aramco were flooding the US market with dirt cheap Middle East imports, tariff free, at prices so low California and many Texas domestic producers could not compete and were forced to shut their wells in.   

Vietnam success

While the American oil multinationals were busy controlling the easily accessible large fields of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran and other areas of cheap, abundant oil during the 1960’s, the Russians were busy testing their alternative theory. They began drilling in a supposedly barren region of Siberia. There they developed eleven major oil fields and one Giant field based on their deep ‘a-biotic’ geological estimates. They drilled into crystalline basement rock and hit black gold of a scale comparable to the Alaska North Slope.

They then went to Vietnam in the 1980s and offered to finance drilling costs to show their new geological theory worked. The Russian company Petrosov drilled in Vietnam’s White Tiger oilfield offshore into basalt rock some 17,000 feet down and extracted 6,000 barrels a day of oil to feed the energy-starved Vietnam economy. In the USSR, a-biotic-trained Russian geologists perfected their knowledge and the USSR emerged as the world’s largest oil producer by the mid-1980’s. Few in the West understood why, or bothered to ask. 

Dr. J. F. Kenney is one of the only few Western geophysicists who has taught and worked in Russia, studying under Vladilen Krayushkin, who developed the huge Dnieper-Donets Basin. Kenney told me in a recent interview that “alone to have produced the amount of oil to date that (Saudi Arabia’s) Ghawar field has produced would have required a cube of fossilized dinosaur detritus, assuming 100% conversion efficiency, measuring 19 miles deep, wide and high.” In short, an absurdity.

Western geologists do not bother to offer hard scientific proof of fossil origins. They merely assert as a holy truth. The Russians have produced volumes of scientific papers, most in Russian. The dominant Western journals have no interest in publishing such a revolutionary view. Careers, entire academic professions are at stake after all.

Closing the door

The 2003 arrest of Russian Mikhail Khodorkovsky, of Yukos Oil, took place just before he could sell a dominant stake in Yukos to ExxonMobil after a private meeting with Dick Cheney. Had Exxon got the stake they would have control of the world’s largest resource of geologists and engineers trained in the a-biotic techniques of deep drilling.

Since 2003 Russian scientific sharing of their knowledge has markedly lessened. Offers in the early 1990’s to share their knowledge with US and other oil geophysicists were met with cold rejection according to American geophysicists involved.

Why then the high-risk war to control Iraq? For a century US and allied Western oil giants have controlled world oil via control of Saudi Arabia or Kuwait or Nigeria. Today, as many giant fields are declining, the companies see the state-controlled oilfields of Iraq and Iran as the largest remaining base of cheap, easy oil. With the huge demand for oil from China and now India, it becomes a geopolitical imperative for the United States to take direct, military control of those Middle East reserves as fast as possible. Vice President Dick Cheney, came to the job from Halliburton Corp., the world’s largest oil geophysical services company. The only potential threat to that US control of oil just happens to lie inside Russia and with the now-state-controlled Russian energy giants. Hmmmm.

According to Kenney the Russian geophysicists used the theories of the brilliant German scientist Alfred Wegener fully 30 years before the Western geologists “discovered” Wegener in the 1960’s. In 1915 Wegener published the seminal text, The Origin of Continents and Oceans, which suggested an original unified landmass or “pangaea” more than 200 million years ago which separated into present Continents by what he called Continental Drift.

Up to the 1960’s supposed US scientists such as Dr Frank Press, White House science advisor referred to Wegener as “lunatic.” Geologists at the end of the 1960’s were forced to eat their words as Wegener offered the only interpretation that allowed them to discover the vast oil resources of the North Sea. Perhaps in some decades Western geologists will rethink their mythology of fossil origins and realize what the Russians have known since the 1950’s. In the meantime Moscow holds a massive energy trump card.



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Re: Peak Oil ?

RE: Confessions of an "ex" Peak Oil believer

Oh no, not this article again. Frown

It's funny. The other day I ran into a fella that happened to be a geologist at the philosphy discussion group I attend (I know, sounds totally nerdy), and we talked for quite some time about PO after the meeting. At one point I brought up the notion of abiotic oil. I thought he'd laugh about it, but instead he looked at me with complete bewilderment as he had never even heard of it before. That just shows how fringe, shot-in-the-dark this is.

As far as fuel being fossil-based making no sense, I've never understood this idea. Isn't that what compost is? Dead stuff turned into energy. Oil is the ultimate compost.

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That didn't sound right. How about- Ex-Peak Oil'er. . . better?

Good read and brings up some good points. However, this may not be good news when thinking about increased population taking over a limited planet, climate change (IF that is real) and other Bartlett exponential problems.

And the article does re-affirm that the cheap easy oil is gone and it is going to cost more to get it.

Peace - EGP

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Re: Daily Digest - October 28

I first heard of this theory (abiotic origin of oil) maybe 20 years ago and have never come across a thorough, well written debate about the matter - perhaps I never searched very hard... LOL Wikipedia has a pretty interesting summary - particularly if one has a residual fondness for organic chemistry - posted here:


A read through this reconfirms my sense and recollection that the earths hydrocarbon resources are a bit mysterious - par for the course as we do live in a rather mysterious and wonderful universe.

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Quercus bicolor
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Re: Peak Oil ?

“alone to have produced the amount of oil to date that (Saudi Arabia’s) Ghawar field has produced would have required a cube of fossilized dinosaur detritus, assuming 100% conversion efficiency, measuring 19 miles deep, wide and high.” In short, an absurdity.

OK, let's do the calculation: a barrel = 42 gallons ~ 5.25 cubic feet. 1 cubic mile = 147 billion cubic feet ~ 28 billion barrels.  19 mile cube = 6859 cubic miles = 192 trillion barrels.  But - 1 trillion barrels is all of the oil we've ever consumed and Ghawar accounts for about 75 billion of that.  So the calculations are off by 192 trillion /.075 trillion, about a factor of 2500.  All of the oil we've ever used would fill about 36 cubic miles (or a cube about 3.3 miles on a side)

Dinosaur remains?  Anyone who spends any time outside knows that if the time of the dinosaurs was anything like today, the vast majority of the biomass consisted of the plants that the dinosaurs lived among, not the dinosaurs themselves.

Finally, exactly what miraculous energy source caused all of that carbon and hydrogen to organize into oil at about the time the earth formed?  If carbon and hydrogen simply jumped together on their own accord, that would be the ultimate free energy source.


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A Heavy Post

I ran across this and thought I might share it here. Be advised...strong language.

One of my favorite Slopers is Leisa. Besides being a nice person all around, she also doubles as my conscience; if I ever get a little out of hand, I get a kind but firmly-worded email, and that sets me straight.

She sent me something to post on the blog which she originally wrote a couple of years ago. I offer it to you and I thank Leisa for sharing this. - - Tim


This post is very pertinent to investing, but it is also deeply personal. For whatever reason, I was moved to post this story. I may regret it. But I'll resolve not to delete it because I think it is important. I would also like you to share it with someone that you think might benefit. And let me be clear, this post is not meant to be dramatic. I'm not trying to draw attention to myself. I'm trying to draw your attention to you. It is meant to be honest and coldly objective. If you ever find yourself in this position, I hope that you remember reading this post. It's tragically true, and one of the most deeply moving experiences of my life.

Nearly 17 years ago my brother committed suicide. He was 32. In February of 1990, my father, sister and I went out to Colorado Springs (my mother had died of lung cancer the previous November) to await the why's and wherefore's of my brother's death. It's a horrible space to find one's self in. He had a wife and two young daughters: 2 years old and 5 months. It was heartbreaking to see my 2 year old niece cry Daddy, Daddy, Daddy to every headlight that beamed down the road. She didn't understand that her Daddy would not be coming home.

He had put all of his things in order--to include his income tax preparation. I will not go into all of the underlying reasons why I thought my brother (estranged) chose suicide, but the catalyst was that he lost everything in the stock market. Everything. There was $300 in his bank account. They were arrears in their rent. His wife had no idea. He had sold his home in CA with a significant gain. Moved to CO and was renting a beautiful, expensive home. The sizable gain on home? Evaporated. Nada. Zippo. He had the one thing that was of financial value: a sizable insurance policy (he sold insurance).

He did the penultimate financial fuck up--he lost EVERYTHING in the stock market. The real pathos of the story is not that he lost his money, but that he thought that the insurance policy was more valuable to his family than his life. Amaranth and Mother Rock are titillating stories. But, there are real people behind those stories. Why am I posting this? BECAUSE I DON'T WANT ANY OF YOU TO EVER CONFUSE THE VALUE OF YOUR BANK ACCOUNT WITH THE VALUE OF YOUR LIFE.

I have little to offer people who stop by to read this modest blog. But I assure you that today's message is the most powerful and incisive that I could ever offer--one that you will NOT get from any paid subscription. Sure, investing is a provocative subject: it's sexy, it's intellectual and it's instant, provocative conversation. But in the end, it is your financial health. But I want to tell you, bluntly, that if you fuck up, it is not your life. It is never your life. You start over. You dial back to being in your 20's again--poor but idealistic. However, never, ever is it your life. (Of course the underlying message is NOT to screw up (no more than 2 f-words in a post!).

I don't know what 2007 will bring. I don't know a damn thing but this: You are not your bank account. You are not your annual return. You are not your annual salary. You are a spouse, a mother, a father, a friend, a son or a daughter, but you are never a dollar.

So whatever decisions that you choose to make about your life--whether it's a stock purchase, business venture, financial investment, love interest or employment decision--you do so with conviction that should it blow up in your face, you can face the next day with the stain of embarrassment on your cheeks or a "how could I be so stupid" slap to the forehead, but you continue to be a part of the lives of the people who know and love you. And all of these things I feel well qualified to tell you.


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Re: Daily Digest - October 28

RE: Confessions of an "ex" Peak Oil believer


"Go peddle crazy somewhere else..."


For a moment, just imagine the population of dinosuars that were gathered around the Saudi Arabia area (in order to create a 500 BILLION barrel pocket); imagine what they--were they able to move when jambed in, side-by-side, on their dino tippy toes--would have been dining on to satisfy the average 10,000 pound herbivore's (for the most part) daily consumption of leafy greens.

Given a few simplifications and reasonable assumptions:

At 5000 lbs/dino, there would have been a mere 34 Billion scampering about in the area;

at an average Dino weight of 10,000 lbs, the population would have been a relatively sparse 17 Billion individuals--the size of Hummer buses!

For your sake, I hope you posted the "article" as a joke--or, at least, just to push people's buttons, 'cause if you really believe what the "author" claims, you need serious help.



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Abiotic Oil

As mainecooncat points out, If you think about it, If it were legit, we'd know a lot more. There are many problems with this theory, aside from the fact that the scientific community gives it very little validity beyond theory...

Matt Savinar has some interesing thoughts on it


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Re: Peak Oil ?

This is so full of holes (pardon the pun) it's hard to know where to start drilling......  like 6000 barrels a day in 'Nam is "success"? Here in Australia we burn through that in 1.5 MINUTES!!  As it happens, I have written an article about PO and Vietnam, and if you read it you will see 'Nam peaked in 2004... and since this was published, it is now clear 'Nam hasn't exported a single barrel since the beginning of this year. It turns out the predictions I made in that article were correct.

Then there's "The only problem was, [the US] peaked not because of resource depletion in the US fields. It “peaked” because Shell, Mobil, Texaco and the other partners of Saudi Aramco were flooding the US market with dirt cheap Middle East imports, tariff free, at prices so low California and many Texas domestic producers could not compete and were forced to shut their wells in."  Are you SERIOUS?  Ever heard of the 1973 OIL SHOCK?  Do you REALLY think the government would have allowed such a disruptive process to occur and cause a recession secondonly to this current one?  Who wrote this drivel....??

Even IF abiotic oil was for real, it's plain to see the planet is simply not making it fast enough to sate the growth monster.  Now can we please stick to FACTUAL stuff?



idoctor's picture
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Posts: 1731
Re: Daily Digest - October 28

Clonkernomics at work LOL......with management like this where are we headed????

GregSchleich's picture
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Posts: 187
Re: Daily Digest - October 28
Headless wrote:

RE: Confessions of an "ex" Peak Oil believer


"Go peddle crazy somewhere else..." ...

... For your sake, I hope you posted the "article" as a joke--or, at least, just to push people's buttons, 'cause if you really believe what the "author" claims, you need serious help.

Nice way to greet a new poster, Headless.     DTM, not much better.  


A hearty welcome.

Apparently I'm both "crazy," and in need of "serious help," too,  because I found the article interesting, and I'm glad you posted it. As I see it, a great strength of this site is that Chris Martenson's admirably non-ideological, and of course, altogether excellent presentation attracts an unusually broad cross section of people from all parts of the political spectrum, who are mostly pretty tolerant of each others often differing views. But even so, in my view, there is a certain insular group-think mentality that almost inevitably tends to evolve, even on great websites like this one. And so to many people on this site, it seems, any effort to challenge or even mitigate Peak Oil Theory and the absolute doomsday scenario they are unshakably convinced it entails, is considered blasphemous and heretical. It almost seems as though optimism itself is frowned upon by some.

But don't be discouraged. To paraphrase Churchill, this is still the worst website around, except for all the other ones I've tried!



GregSchleich's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
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Posts: 187
Re: Daily Digest - October 28
GregSchleich wrote:

 DTM, not much better.  

Oops. I thought better, and meant to pull this out. I must have hit the back arrow by mistake.

In all fairness, DTM's post is completely consistent with his normal(or at least frequently) exasperated style. I should have left him out of it.

Sorry Mike

Dutch John's picture
Dutch John
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Posts: 50
Re: Peak Oil ?

Fossil oil? Abiotic oil? Who cares?

Abiotic oil also needs to be found and pumped up. I did not see an increase in new oil fields since the theory of abiotic oil. Hubbert's Peak-Oil theory still seems to be right. If not, well, the world would still be better off with less oil consumption.




Headless's picture
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Posts: 363
Re: Daily Digest - October 28

Greg Sleich said,

"Nice way to greet a new poster, Headless.     DTM, not much better."

You're right Greg.

Welcome RSkelton! Now stop that kind of nonsense.


P.S. The article about "abiotic" oil is abiotic--always has been among the biotic...

wake-up-sheeple's picture
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Posts: 5
Re: Peak Oil ?
rskelton wrote:

The Peak Oil school rests its theory on conventional Western geology textbooks, most by American or British geologists, which claim oil is a ‘fossil fuel,’ a biological residue or detritus of either fossilized dinosaur remains or perhaps algae, hence a product in finite supply.



Your facts are not correct. I suggest you watch Chapters 17a, 17b and 17c of the Crash Course and listen carefully to what's being said.

The Peak Oil camp does not state that we are out of oil. The Peak Oil camp does not state that oil is a finite non-recreatable resource. I have heard that oil can be manufactured from garbage in 20 minutes under high pressure.

Peak Oil simply states that we are not discovering as much oil as we used to as often as we used to while the world continues to use more and more oil. Knowing these facts, you are free to draw your own conclusions but please, don't twist the facts anymore.

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