11 February 2006

In other news, Dave Pollard reports that the incoming Prime Minister of Canada plans to renege on the Kyoto Protocol because his campaign was bankrolled by the folks who own Alberta's tar sands... check out the picture...

also, here is an article discussing the potential in Alberta's tar sands. One passage is especially evocative:

Using current technology and at today's oil prices, only about 20% of the Alberta's oil sands can be mined this way and even that at an enormous cost to the surrounding area. The majority of the sands are located in deeper layers, 75 yards and below, and can be recovered by a different method without removing tons of ground or the sand itself. The method entails either heating or diluting the bitumen, making it liquid enough to accumulate in a well and then be pumped to the surface. However, this technique poses severe groundwater contamination problems due to leakage of the diluting materials.

The main drawback of oil sands is that the energy required for both extraction methods is so huge as to offset the amount of energy the extracted oil ultimately yields. The many trucks, shovels and other heavy equipment needed to remove tons of ground -- enough to fill Yankee Stadium every two days -- in order to expose the oil sands and then haul the sands away to upgrading plants for processing consume lots of energy. The reclamation process required to return the mined area to its natural state requires no less energy.
It's nice to see analysts actually talking about the EROEI (energy return on energy invested) concept, rather than hiding behind promo language like "huge oil reserves" and so on.
MySpace sucks today... The big economic news in the mainstream media is the ballooning deficit, but Paul Craig Roberts has much worse to say, thanks to MBG information services...meanwhile, the US plans a costly, permanent residence in Iraq...

10 February 2006

Is this the picture that inspires NSA spying on regular folk?

HERE is the article; I refuse to waste time copying and pasting it. Y'all have browsers; go there first. Kudos to Cursor for noticing.

So this is how liberals analyze the energy situation.  In the article itself, TomDispatch understates the obvious, that US energy policy is "painfully shortsighted." He continues: "After all, there's the Swedish government working closely with Saab and Volvo to produce cars and trucks that will work off biofuels -- and where is our government?" But, see, being "painfully shortsighted" costs you nothing if it's only someone else that has to feel your pain. And Bush loves it when others feel pain; what else would account, for instance, for the behavior of prison guards at Guantanamo Bay who force-feed hunger-striking detainees.

Dispatch then favorably quotes Michael Klare, whose idea of energy policy is as follows:

The sole way out of this trap is to bite the bullet and adopt heroic measures to curb our fossil-fuel consumption while embarking upon a massive program to develop alternative energy systems an effort comparable to, and in some sense a reversal of, the coal-and-oil-fueled industrial revolution of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the United States, this would, at an utter minimum, entail the imposition of a hefty tax on gasoline consumption, with the resulting proceeds used to fund the rapid development of renewable energy systems. All funds now slated for highway construction should instead be devoted to public transit and high-speed inter-city rail lines and all new cars sold in America after 2010 should have minimum average fuel efficiencies of 50 MPG or higher. This will prove costly and disruptive -- but what other choice is there if we want to have some hope of exiting the permanent global energy crisis before the global economy collapses or the planet becomes uninhabitable by humans.
Oh, sure, it'll prove "costly and disruptive," but, as I said before, it's OK to approve "costly and disruptive" measures if it's only someone else who's feeling the pain. Get it now?

Impose a hefty tax on gasoline consumption, and folks who are earning plenty of money will be able to afford to drive to work; those who aren't, can't. I suppose that the liberal endorsement of progressive taxes over regressive ones died with the 1988 candidacy of Michael Dukakis.

So, in conclusion, even liberals like TomDispatch and Michael Klare will recommend financing the energy revolution on the backs of the working class, when push comes to shove. In light of this, I would advise those of us who won't be able to afford $10/gallon gasoline when driving to work to adopt a more revolutionary posture, involving much more far-reaching and immediate changes in energy use and human patterns of survival, so we'll be able to have a world-society that does not consume 83 million barrels of oil per day without sacrificing most of us on the altar of capitalism.

Meanwhile, read this piece, full of busted links and good spirit.

09 February 2006

thanks to Joshua Frank for noting this headline. This is certainly a threat to dollar hegemony, which has been suggested as a rationale for the US invasion of Iraq.

And PLEASE dear readers vote for Todd for Senate!

I will post here when Tom is being a twit and shutting down MySpace.

The KPFK people think the budget is dead because the cuts it demands are absurd -- little do they realize that this is only the beginning...