Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Listening to Friends

Instead of listening to the hammered nail of mendacity,

and the demogoguery that will be the Mis-state of the Union,

We would do well to listen to our friends

who sometimes hit the nail right on the head.

So, if you want the real state of the union.

Here is ex-chief of the Soviet Foreign Intelligence Service:

U.S. Using Anti-Terror War to Gain World Oil Reserves
Soviet Intelligence Chief
Created: 21.03.2005 14:05 MSK

On the pretext of fighting international terrorism the United States is trying to establish control over the world’s richest oil reserves, Leonid Shebarshin, ex-chief of the Soviet Foreign Intelligence Service, who heads the Russian National Economic Security Service consulting company, said in an interview for the Vremya Novostei newspaper.

Using the anti-terrorist cause as a cover the United States has occupied Afghanistan, Iraq and will soon move to impose their “democratic order” on the Greater Middle East, Shebarshin said.

“The U.S. has usurped the right to attack any part of the globe on the pretext of fighting the terrorist threat,” Shebarshin said.

Referring to his meeting with an unnamed al-Qaeda expert at the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization in the U.S., Shebarshin said: “We have agreed that [al-Qaeda] is not a group but a notion.”

The fight against that all-mighty ubiquitous myth deliberately linked to Islam is of great advantage for the Americans as it targets the oil-rich Muslim regions,” Shebarshin emphasized.

With military bases in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, Shebarshin said, the United States has already established control over the Caspian region — one of the world’s largest oil reservoirs. "

Don't you just hate it when your real friends bust you

with all your little acts and your manipulative lies?

And speaking of friends,

Here is Ronnie Dugger, Founder of the Texas Observer,

saying what all good (or bad) Democrats should be saying.

Impeach or Indict Bush and Cheney
By Ronnie Dugger
The Texas Observer
Friday 27 January 2006

The year 2006 will be historic for the nation, and probably for humanity. Texans Bush and Rove and their conspirators in the second Bush presidency have disgraced American democracy at home and in the world with debasements of our nation and our values that have now entered their climactic phase.

What part will the rest of us Texans play in this decisive year? (clip)

We Texans are a major source of this deterioration into crisis. The leading Democrats of the state so dishonored the liberal traditions of their party that in the resulting political vacuum, Bush was elected Governor here, and from Austin he mounted the campaign that a 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court illegally decreed made him President.

After that, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, from Sugar Land, crafted his scheme to use corporate money to widen the Republicans’ majority in the Texas delegation to Washington, D.C., battening down right-wing GOP control of the House and the Congress.

The third President from Texas and his Republican Congress then waged aggressive war on Iraq, drove the nation into insolvency to further enrich the already rich, and just for good measure tore up the Constitution. (clip)

The national resistance to Bush, Cheney, Rove, et al., is coming into focus, too. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, which is the logical source for impeachment initiatives, has taken the significant step of calling for an investigation of Bush and Cheney with a view to censure, which obviously could metamorphose into impeachment. Tom Daschle, until recently the Minority Leader in the Senate, Sen. Edward Kennedy, and Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader, are all calling for investigations of Bush and Cheney.

Elizabeth Holtzman writes for impeachment in the current Nation, and the Internet is on fire with initiatives to impeach Bush and Cheney for crimes committed in office, foremost among them lying our nation into a war of aggression. (clip)

Committed to nonviolence, determined, in this post-Gandhi era, against violence, nevertheless we are once again in the position of the Framers of the Constitution. In the post-revolutionary emergency, the Founding Fathers took things in their own hands, violating their clear instructions from the states by proposing to create the United States, which the states then created.

In the crisis we are in now we must not be misled

by expostulating lawyers or posturing politicians.

We the citizens can make up our own minds

whether we can indict Bush and Cheney and,

if they are convicted, throw them out. "

We have it in our power to begin the world over again."
Thomas Paine

I agree with Ronnie and with Leonid.

This is a crisis.

You won't see it tonight.

Instead, You will see a garland of pompous pooty poots,

acting like the leaders we once had,

pretending to be the leaders we so desperately need.

They are definitely not our friends.



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Monday, January 30, 2006

Getting it

Over the weekend, I had my usual dinner with friends,

good friends,

and we did our usual end of the week hashing of the news.

We talked about Hamas,

we talked about Bird flu,

we talked about spying,

we talked about our beloved leader.

When we talked about who in the world

might the Democrats field,

I threw out the name of Gore.

"Gore is washed up."

"Gore is history."

Anybody but Gore, they said.

Of course, the right, sane, safe candidate is Warner.

He is a southern governor, he is tall, he is popular.

But what my friends didn't and don't know,

Is that Gore is once again the clear leader in the fight to awaken

the American People and the World

to the peril of Climate Change.

My friends still think the world is the same old world,

That the same old formulas still hold.

It is not, and they do not.

Even Bill Clinton knows it now.

Here is the story from WCBS and AP

Clinton: Climate Change World's Biggest Concern
Jan 28, 2006

(AP) Switzerland Former U.S. President Bill Clinton told corporate chieftains and political bigwigs Saturday that climate change was the world's biggest problem -- followed by global inequality and the "apparently irreconcilable" religious and cultural differences behind terrorism.

Clinton's comments provided something a freewheeling and philosophical finale -- ahead of Sunday's formal wrap-up -- to several days of high-powered discourse on the state of the world, and the mostly admiring audience seemed to hang on his every word.

"First, I worry about climate change," Clinton said in an onstage conversation with the founder of the World Economic Forum. "It's the only thing that I believe has the power to fundamentally end the march of civilization as we know it, and make a lot of the other efforts that we're making irrelevant and impossible.

"Clinton called for "a serious global effort to develop a clean energy future" to avoid the onset of another ice age."

Now, couple that with this story.

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him
Published: January 29, 2006

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.

In several interviews with The New York Times in recent days, Dr. Hansen said it would be irresponsible not to speak out, particularly because NASA's mission statement includes the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet."

He said he was particularly incensed that the directives had come through telephone conversations and not through formal channels, leaving no significant trails . "

Now, when the former president thinks an issue is

The world's biggest problem

And the present president,

is trying to silence his own Scientists.

You really have a problem.

This administration will be remembered as a bunch of oil cowboys.

Will we be remembered as a bunch of cattle?

Al Gore has made Climate Change his life again.

He gets it.

When will we?


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*art courtesy of Jeannette MacDougall

Friday, January 27, 2006

Blind and Dumb

The role of the rule of money or wealth in our Civilization

is Legend.

In this crass culture of the rule of money,

we blindly and dumbly repeat the programming of our age.

Let the market work becomes our Mantra.

When actually, letting the market work,

really means, let those who come after us pay.

Markets allocate in real time not between generations.

Last night, I ran into a Beacon Hill Bostonian who asked me

what does Sustainability mean?

He pointedly and sarcastically answered his own question,

not oil?

I responded

not nuclear either.

But then I told him that Sustainability is not defined

as the negative of these resources.

Sustainability is actually defined as providing for the needs

of the current generation,

without prejudicing the rights of future generations.

I went into Bucky Fuller's idea that oil and gas are our capital energy

and wind and solar are our income energies.

And that to be sustainable,

we must use these capital stocks to ignite our income energy stocks.

He said he had never heard it said like that.

Most of us repeat market aphorisms as if they are etched

in some golden book of wisdom.

But they are really just well shaped mind forms,

that give us comfort with the hegemony

of the love of Capital

that has taken over the world.

But it did not take over without a lot of work

and deceit.

Here is a good example of how our economic empire

spreads its roots and traps its victims.

The video comes from the Information Clearing House

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
with John Perkins

"Since world war two we've managed to create history's first truly global empire. This has been done by the corporatocracy, which are a few men and women who run our major corporations and in doing so also run the U.S. government and many other governments around the world.

From 1971 to 1981 John Perkins worked as a chief economist for Chas. T. Main, a Massachusetts-based international strategic consulting firm. During this time Mr. Perkins said his job was to trick developing countries into taking enormous loans from the World Bank in order to construct or repair their domestic infrastructure.

These loans were given with the understanding that these countries would then use those loans to pay U.S. corporations to complete these constructing and engineering projects.

The author writes that when these developing countries were eventually unable to pay off these sizable debts, the United States, World Bank, or IMF would step in and control the country's security arrangements and budgetary structure."

One of the main reasons our culture is on the brink of collapse,

due to the global forcings of climate change and resource depletion,

is because of our individual blindness,

and our dumb love of money,

over ourselves, our loved ones, and those who follow us.

As long as the love of Capital rules our institutions,

they will not respond to the real issues of the day.

For as the Book they love to quote so clearly says,

The love of money is the root of all evil.


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*cartoon courtesy of al jazeera

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Secret Weapons

I found this story today on the Energy Bulletin. In my view, the author takes on this sensitive issue, yet he makes the critical issue clear.

Osama's Secret Weapon
by Neal Brandvik
January 26, 2006

Several times a year Osama Bin Laden emerges from seclusion to taunt America. There is always a quiet confidence about him as he proclaims that victory for Islam and God over America is inevitable. In addition to promising more attacks on us, Osama says he is patient and willing to wait for our demise as long as it takes.

Is he crazy?

Where does he get the idea that a group of rag tag thugs who live in caves is going to defeat the greatest superpower nation in history? After all, as horrendous as the 9-11attacks were, our economy rebounded quickly. (clip)

Bin Laden’s strategy is clear. He learned from another Muslim – Muhammed Ali – in his fight with George Foreman.

Remember the rope-a-dope?

While we exhaust our resources “taking the fight to the terrorists” instead of massively investing in alternative energy, Osama’s army will grow because Arabs know our military presence in the Middle East is all about the oil.

The world knows this except for Americans, especially Iraqis who chased the British out of Iraq during the 1920s for doing the same thing. As global oil depletion squeezes the American economy, Osama’s troops will continue to assault our “Way of Life” by bombing pipelines and killing oil workers.

Unfortunately, in the long run there aren’t enough tax dollars and willing young Americans to protect the Middle East’s vast oil infrastructure. Since 60% of the oil remaining on the planet is in Muslim countries, Osama’s minions never have to go far to make increasingly scarce, expensive oil more scarce and more expensive.

Geography, geology and time are on Osama’s side not ours. The Peak Oil wolf is at our door and he knows it. Osama also knows we won’t confront our petroleum demon any time soon. No politician who is interested in keeping his or her job will stop the continual building, maintaining and accessorizing of suburban sprawl that makes us utterly dependent on cheap oil.

The Bush Administration can’t talk about Peak Oil because acknowledging it makes America’s oil grab in Iraq look obvious to all. They know killing for a resource that will run out some day is not palatable to a Christian nation.

So Bush and Bin Laden have one thing in common.

They don’t want you to know about Osama’s secret weapon --

Peak Oil."

Clearly, the people of earth are facing two huge problems.

Well, facing may not be the right description,

but we are at least dealing with the symptoms of them.

Fortunately, these two huge culture shifting problems,

Climate Change and Peak Oil

can be solved by the same solution.


The pols and the powerful in charge of the Earth's largest economy,

don't seem to get it yet.

They would rather argue over pseudo moral issues,

and parade around in their tawdry suits of blue.

Osama has his secret weapon.

I suggest we come up with ours.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Deaf Ear

This is from the Oregonian

A climate-change chorus, and one deaf ear

Six former EPA administrators urge action on global warming,
but the Bush administration still isn't listening
Friday, January 20, 2006

Six former administrators of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, including five Republicans, are urging the White House to impose mandatory greenhouse gas controls. They are surely right, but the Bush administration remains deaf and dumb on climate change.
Twenty-nine leading U.S. economists, including three Nobel laureates, have proposed a market-based cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases.

Scientists, senators, governors, mayors, industry leaders and many others around the world all are pushing serious steps to slow climate change.

But not the White House. It still acts as though climate change is some distant, theoretical problem, one it can brush off with a token, voluntary program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. That's not enough, and every living person who has served as EPA administrator, except two who still work for this president, knows it.

At an event Wednesday to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the EPA, the former administrators ripped the White House for its failure to address to climate change. "This is a major disaster for the world," said Russell Train, who directed the agency under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford from 1973 to 1977. "We need leadership, and I don't think we're getting it. To sit back and just push it away and say we'll deal with it sometime down the road is dishonest . . . and self-destructive."


I would like to think that it is a rare day

when a people will willingly suffer leadership

that is self destructive.

But We all know that some pretty intelligent Germans

followed a mad man into a disasterous war.

History is full of Civilizations that flourished,

and then collapsed.

When every National Academy of Science,

When every EPA administrator,

When every fair minded, unbought scientist,

When the actually elected president of the United States


And they go on record.

Then it is us

Who have the deaf ear.

Not the President.

Here is the Climate Change Plan I support.

Place an immediate hold on the building of all new carbon plants.

That should help get our minds focused.

Abolish the use of Coal.

The best way to sequester carbon is not to take it out of the ground in the first place.

Establish a Crash International Program to develop nano based carbon solar power paints.

These technologies will literally mine carbon out of the air and put it on our buildings to convert photonic energy to electonic energy on our man made surfaces.

Initiate a world wide policy of Wind Energy development.

Wind is actually cheaper than any other source of energy at this time and it does not contribute to global warming. We should therefore employ it to its maximum potential.

Unify the transportation system with the stationary generation sector through plug in hybrids, all electric vehicles, and electric mass transit.

We can then use the excess wind power that comes at night in our cars.

Move all power plants towards a mix of natural gas and hydrogen fuel.

Affordable wind power will make for hydrogen fuel from water at prices around 12 dollars MCF of natural gas. This will level the price at natural gas at the prices we were paying in the fall after Katrina.

Initiate large scale telework and teleplay programs to reduce energy in the transportation sector.

We spend way too much energy going places we don't need to go to anymore.


We can develop our towns and neighborhoods again

and start growing food locally.


We can continue down the path

of the Deaf Ear.


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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Deep in the Heart

Even though Texas is the home of the oil industry, it has a growing and vibrant renewable energy community. Recently, the state legislature there passed a new improved renewable energy portfolio requirement of 5 Gigawatts with a 500 MW set aside for non wind.

There are several advanced photovoltaic stories coming from deep in the heart of Texas.

Here is one.

Start-up targets thin-film silicon solar cells
16 January 2006

US-based start-up InnovaLight believes its solution-processed silicon quantum dots will take the photovoltaic market by storm.

InnovaLight of the US is a start-up with big ambitions when it comes to photovoltaics. As the cost of solar cells based on crystalline or bulk silicon continues to rise, InnovaLight says its silicon nanocrystal technology not only offers cost savings when it comes to manufacturing but some unique optical advantages as well.

"We have worked diligently on developing silicon quantum dots [nanocrystals] and have successfully been able to do that," company president Conrad Burke told Optics.org. "We can now produce them in volume and solution-process them."

According to Burke, the ability to solution-process the dots in a so-called silicon ink could lead to cheaper manufacturing. "You now have the potential to produce thin-film photocells which lends itself to high-throughput manufacturing using existing roll-to-roll printing technology," he said. "Our modelling indicates that there will be substantial improvements in cost versus how silicon is used today."

Burke says that the company can produce silicon quantum dots in uniform sizes from 2 to 10 nm in diameter. By controlling these sizes, the company can tailor the optical properties of the dot, such as its absorption spectra.

"You can tune the photovoltaic to capture parts of the spectrum that have not efficiently been captured before with traditional methods - the red and the infrared for example," said Burke.

While InnovaLight is fully focused on offering photovoltaic products, and Burke expects this to happen in 2007, it has also exploited its technology to produce tunable silicon emitters.

"Silicon in its bulk format we all know is not an efficient emitter but when you get down to the quantum-confined sizes, you get very different effects," said Burke. "For the smaller sized particles you can get blue emission and for the larger particles you can get red emission. By having a film of these devices, you can electrically stimulate them."

InnovaLight was founded in 2001 based on technology being developed at the University of Texas at Austin.

This process may not be a power paint process, but it should represent a clear advance in PV manufacturing and it offers a new lighting technology.

And here is another story of another P V manufacturing technique and technology that can make a big difference in the cost of distributed solar electricity.

HelioVolt plans factory, weighs future in Austin
Giselle Greenwood
Austin Business Journal Staff

Fresh off an $8 million funding round, Austin energy technology company HelioVolt Corp. is planning to build its first factory -- but not necessarily in Central Texas.

HelioVolt founder, President and CEO Billy Stanbery says the funding will spur product development. HelioVolt plans to use the money to add staff and build its first generation of prototype manufacturing tools.

Next on the company's to-do list: Raise another funding round by the end of 2006 to prepare for construction of a factory. The plant could be finished by 2008.

Stanbery says he's invented a fast, efficient way to manufacture solar cells that can be incorporated into construction materials, such as steel, architectural glass and roofing in custom shapes, sizes and tints.

Stanbery claims the process reduces the time and money needed to create high-quality solar conversion devices."

I had lunch with Billy several years ago,

And, I thought then that he was a guy to watch.

I still do.

Yesterday, I had lunch with an activist/environmentalist friend.

I was amazed when he confirmed,

that one of his influential colleagues is going around

telling Utilities to build coal plants.

Fancy and expensive ones too.

With advanced photovoltaics just around the corner,

and climate change's hot nostril of fire on our necks,

the last thing we need is a national environmental org's endorsement

of the building of more big centralized poisonous fires.

It verges on irresponsible.

No, it doesn't verge.

It's a dagger deep in the heart.

*"Brown Heart" art courtesy of Zindy Nielsen


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Monday, January 23, 2006

Post Nationalism

Over the weekend, I told someone that I was a Post Nationalist.

I may have made that up.

But you probably know what I mean.

Now, I realize that most of you out there are not.

You still love America or the Mother Land or whatever.

Or at least, you think you do.

But I can't help but think we need to grow out of this.

Our true Mother Land is Mother Earth.

And we need to understand

that we are all sailors

on this ocean of space together,

on a very fine craft called Earth.

And it seems a little silly for the engine department

to declare war on the kitchen.

Or for the infirmary to be blockaded by the quartermaster.

We are all sailors on this sea.

Last night, I saw Munich.

It's a well crafted movie.

Here is the plot.

During the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, eleven Israeli athletes are taken hostage and murdered by a Palestinian terrorist group known as Black September. In retaliation, the Israeli government recruits a group of Mossad agents to track down and execute those responsible for the attack.

But the drama comes from watching the agents as they go through the business of executing their targets without a judge or a jury.

Roger Ebert ranks it the third best movie of the year after Crash and Syriana.

According to Ebert,

"The film has deep love for Israel, and contains a heartfelt moment when a mother reminds her son why the state had to be founded: "We had to take it because no one would ever give it to us. Whatever it took, whatever it takes, we have a place on earth at last." With this statement, I believe, Spielberg agrees to the bottom of his soul. Yet his film questions Israel's policy of swift and full retribution for every attack."

Towards the end, Avna, the leader of the execution squad and a former bodyguard to Golda Meir, says

"There is no peace at the end of this."

Then the camera pans to a New York of the 70s and locks in on the World Trade Center towers.The connection of the violence of the 70s in this movie to the violence of today is unmistakeable.

But we must more fully understood the roots of this violence.

And we should understand that our Nationalism has become a disease.

There should not be a two state solution to the problems in the Mideast.

There should be a NO state solution.

For we are all Sailors on this Sea.

And the Seas themselves,

are challenge enough.

We need the whole crew,

and we need the Whole Earth.


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*art courtesy of Mari Giddings

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Peak Discovery

Its hard not to see what is happening if you live in Europe where a reasonable fourth estate is still functioning.

Here is the Independent with an important piece from Jeremy Leggett. Leggett, a former Greenpeacer, sees hope in all of this.

This is a pretty long read, but a good one.

What they don't want you to know about the coming oil crisis

Soaring fuel prices, rumours of winter power cuts, panic over the gas supply from Russia, abrupt changes to forecasts of crude output... Is something sinister going on? Yes, says former oil man Jeremy Leggett, and it's time to face the fact that the supplies we so depend on are going to run out

By Jeremy Leggett
Published: 20 January 2006

A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of an acute, civilisation-changing energy crisis. The latest wobble over disruptions to gas supplies from Russia is merely the latest in a series of reminders of how dependent our economies are on growing supplies of oil and gas. On Wednesday, Gazprom's deputy chairman was in London reassuring Britain that there would be no risk of disruption to British gas supplies in the fall-out from the ongoing spat between Russia and Ukraine over pricing. The very next day, temperatures in Moscow broke a 50-year record, plunging to minus 30C. Gas normally exported was diverted to the home front. Supplies to the West fell.

In December, Sir Digby Jones, director-general of the CBI, warned that any shortfall in gas could cause disaster for British industry. The problem, he said, was the likelihood - as forecast by the Met Office - of a particularly cold British winter. This would mean more gas burning in homes and power plants than our liberalised energy market - or its infrastructure - might be able to supply. There aren't enough pipelines from the continent to carry the imported gas that we need now that our North Sea production is dropping. Tankers that are supposed to be bringing liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the UK are instead following market forces and going to the US, where gas prices have rocketed even higher than they have here. Meanwhile, not enough gas has been stockpiled, because market forces don't favour that kind of thing in relatively warm years.


Towards the end, Leggett offers this summary of Global Oil Discovery.

1. The biggest oilfields in the world were discovered more than half a century ago, either side of the Second World War.

The big discoveries on the Arabian Peninsula opened with the discovery of the Greater Burgan field in Kuwait in 1938. At that time, it supposedly held 87 billion barrels. The slightly bigger Saudi Arabian Ghawar field, supposedly holding 87.5 billion barrels before extraction started, followed in 1948. These fields, the two biggest in the world, are so big that they dominate the global figures in their years of discovery.

2. The peak of oil discovery was as long ago as 1965.

How many people appreciate this? I invite you to do a bit of personal market research. Line up ten of your better-educated friends. Preface your question to them with a few reminders about how many millions of dollars the oil companies make in daily profit, tell them, if you can, an anecdote or two about the technical wizardry they use, and ask them to imagine how many billions of dollars they must have spent on exploration over the years - both of the companies' own money and of the massive tax-deduction subsidies available to them. Then ask: in what year would you guess the most oil was ever discovered?

3. There were a few more big discovery years in the 1970s, but there have been none since then.

The biggest irregularity on the downside of the global discovery curve involved the discovery of oil in Alaska's giant Prudhoe Bay field, and the North Sea, in the late 1970s. I was a geology student then. I remember the thrill as the giant fields were discovered one after the other. They all had such serious-sounding names. Forties, Brent, Piper. I look back on those days now and I see something of the primeval attractions of the hunt in it. As a junior trainee hunter, I used to listen to the tales of the senior hunters, and how they had found their quarry, quite atremble with admiration. However, what I and the other hunters didn't know was that the days of giant discoveries were more or less over.

4. The last year in which we discovered more oil than we consumed was a quarter of a century ago.

Since then, despite all those generations of eager brainwashed geology students, we have been burning progressively more, and finding progressively less. This is another one to try out on the 10 educated friends.

5. Since then there has been an overall decline.

It's hard to imagine how Peak Production doesn't follow Peak Discovery

The question is when.

Fourty years later.

May be the answer.

Leggett finishes with this.

The good news is that it will be possible to replace oil, gas and coal completely with a plentiful supply of renewable energy, and faster than most people think.

When I began my time in Greenpeace, in 1989, the protestations my colleagues and I made that renewable energy could displace fossil fuels and run the world were ridiculed by energy experts and officialdom as naïve wishful thinking.

Now, more than a decade later, such views can be found in the heart of government, at least in Europe. The Blair Government published a report in 2003 that concluded: "It would be technologically and economically feasible to move to a low carbon-emissions path, and achieve a virtually zero-carbon-energy system in the long term, if we used energy more efficiently and developed and used low-carbon technologies."

Among the low-carbon technologies on offer, the government report placed heavy emphasis on renewable energy and hydrogen, rather than nuclear power. Of solar energy, the report concludes: "[It] alone could meet world energy demand by using less than 1 per cent of land currently used for agriculture."

I agree.


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Friday, January 20, 2006


Perhaps it was the announcement that the administration was going to monitor all internet traffic from now on. Or maybe is was when Scotty admitted during the press gaggle that "in order to protect us", the president had the right to do whatever he saw fit.

They reasoned that we may not have any privacy if we are to be safe.

Or maybe it was the way that the Democrats put their talking head pusses on the network talk shows and played hardball by lobbing softballs.

Maybe it was the wire story where it was becoming obvious that these wiretaps were more likely to appear in the lives of those who were against the war and the policies of the administration.

Or maybe, it was after it became crystal clear that these incursions included political opponents perhaps even Democratic National Headquarters. We all said to each other, "Oh, the Democrats will certainly become homo erecti with this", but sadly, they continued to slither on the safe ground of security and war on terrorism ustooism. (yes, even you Howard)

I thought of Ben Franklin and his line about security and freedom.

I thought about my Great Great Great Uncle, who led us in victory from one King George, and later led us by becoming a president who would never act like a king.

I thought about my Dad who never quite got over sinking that Jap Battleship with his torpedo bomber.

I thought about President Eisenhower and his warnings about the Military Industrial Complex.

I thought about the mainstream press and how their ownership had morphed them into the minions of the powerful.

I thought about the guy in Network who shouted that he was mad as hell.

I thought about climate change and the need to act decisively and now.

I thought about peak oil and the oil wars and ruination that it will bring.

I thought about the accelerated advance of technology,

that can either liberate us or enslave us.

And I decided I had had enough.

"Where're you going", said Janelle.

"I don't know. Somewhere"

I walked outside and looked at the beautiful winter day.

It was too beautiful.

More than one person had already brought up the August hell

that would come with a heavenly January like this.

I decided to walk.

And like Eddie I started yelling.

"I've had it. I'm going to Washington. Want to go?"

My neighbor came out and yelled back,

"When are you coming back."

"After I get there," I said.

He looked at me with that look that people give you,

when they realize that their question was not their question.

"Just a minute, I'm coming."

By the time I got to the end of the block,

there were six of us.

By the time We got to another neighborhood,

there were about 30 of us.

By the time we got to really walking,

We were in the hundreds.

When the blogs picked it up,

Others from other cities starting walking.

Like the Salt March of Gandhi,

We gathered together like the small rivulets of the mountains,

but as these mountain streams came together,

we became a mighty river.

By the time we got to Washington,

we numbered in the millions. (Some say 10 million)

There was no room for anything,

no cars, no buses, nothing.

Then, a funny thing happened.

Because all of the politicans had run to their country homes,

and because we had taken so long to get there,

the town was empty of them.

We occupied their offices, and everything else.

And then, as if we were in a Jimmy Stewart movie,

it all changed.

The whole political system collapsed

as if it was the house of cards that it truly was.

Within days, we realized the miracle that had occured.

And we began the real work.

I thought about my neighbor,

and his question,

and realized that none of us were ever really coming back.

"Wake up Max", I heard Janelle saying.

"What baby"?

"You were dreaming"


"You were enjoying it too much."


"Go back to sleep."



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*art courtesy of Nem W. Schlecht

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Revenge of Gaia

A P photo
I have been harboring this idea for over a year now, so I am glad in the most climate noir kind of way that someone who has briefed Margaret Thatcher on the issue has come to the same view. James Lovelock, the scientist and green guru who conceived the idea of Gaia, now believes that we are, well,


As much as I would like to think that most of this is for shock value,

I suspect it is not.

The story came out in the Independent

Environment in crisis: 'We are past the point of no return'
Copyright 2006, Independent
Date: January 16, 2006
Byline: Michael McCarthy

Thirty years ago, the scientist James Lovelock worked out that the Earth possessed a planetary-scale control system which kept the environment fit for life. He called it Gaia, and the theory has become widely accepted. Now, he believes mankind's abuse of the environment is making that mechanism work against us. His astonishing conclusion - that climate change is already insoluble, and life on Earth will never be the same again.

The world has already passed the point of no return for climate change, and civilisation as we know it is now unlikely to survive, according to James Lovelock, the scientist and green guru who conceived the idea of Gaia - the Earth which keeps itself fit for life.

In a profoundly pessimistic new assessment, published in today's Independent, Professor Lovelock suggests that efforts to counter global warming cannot succeed, and that, in effect, it is already too late.

The world and human society face disaster to a worse extent, and on a faster timescale, than almost anybody realises, he believes. He writes: " Before this century is over, billions of us will die, and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable."

In making such a statement, far gloomier than any yet made by a scientist of comparable international standing, Professor Lovelock accepts he is going out on a limb. But as the man who conceived the first wholly new way of looking at life on Earth since Charles Darwin, he feels his own analysis of what is happening leaves him no choice.

He believes that it is the self-regulating mechanism of Gaia itself - increasingly accepted by other scientists worldwide, although they prefer to term it the Earth System - which, perversely, will ensure that the warming cannot be mastered. This is because the system contains myriad feedback mechanisms which in the past have acted in concert to keep the Earth much cooler than it otherwise would be.

Now, however, they will come together to amplify the warming being caused by human activities such as transport and industry through huge emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2 ).

It means that the harmful consequences of human beings damaging the living planet's ancient regulatory system will be non-linear - in other words, likely to accelerate uncontrollably.

He terms this phenomenon "The Revenge of Gaia" and examines it in detail in a new book with that title, to be published next month. "

Even Bloomberg carried a version of the story,

Climate change will kill billions of people this century as the Earth warms, passing into a ``fever'' phase from which it may take 100,000 years to recover, James Lovelock, the scientist who propounded the ``Gaia'' theory, said.

Temperatures in temperate regions such as Europe and the U.S., will soar by 8 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) this century, and those in the tropics will rise by 5 degrees as a result of man-made emissions, Lovelock wrote in today's Independent newspaper.

``We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma,'' Lovelock wrote. ``She has been there before and recovered, but it took more than 100,000 years.

We are responsible and will suffer the consequences.''

Last night, I watched as MSNBC raked Hillary over the coals

for her Plantation statement.

They went on and on.

We should be outlawing the use of coal,

not tearing down thoughtful, articulate leaders,

for stating the obvious about our current leadership.

This kind of media irresponsibility

will lead to the fullfilled prophecy of Lovelock for sure.

There are three strategies to employ against Climate Change.




This is not going to be a tea party folks.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Two More Planets Found


But that is what we need,

if the rest of the world is to live

like our part of the world.

Worldwatch has issued its annual State of the World

and that is its conclusion.

Here is the story.

'Find a couple of spare planets or face global oil war'
Times Online
By Richard Beeston, Diplomatic Editor

THE world faces the real threat of a new conflict over oil as China competes with existing world powers for scarce resources to feed its growing economy, according to a report published today.

The State of the World 2006, released by the Worldwatch Institute, says that last year China became the second- largest importer of oil, after the US, while consuming

26 per cent of the world’s steel,

32 per cent of rice production,

37 per cent of cotton and

47 per cent of cement.

China is set to become the world’s largest carmaker in the coming decade.

While environmentalists are concerned about the impact on the world’s climate and the drain on its resources, strategists fear that the competition for energy, particularly oil, could destabilise the planet.

According to the report, China was nearly self-sufficient in oil in the mid-1990s. But over the past decade its consumption has doubled and it has now overtaken Japan as the second-largest importer of oil, with 3.2 million barrels a day in 2004.

It predicts that if the economies of China and India continue to grow at their current rate, the world will not be able to produce enough oil to meet demand by 2050, when consumption will have grown from the current 85 million barrels a day to 200 million barrels. “Few geologists believe that output will reach even half those levels before beginning to decline,” the report says.

As a result China is already looking for new oil suppliers from Siberia to Sudan, often dealing with notorious regimes, such as the junta in Burma. Of even greater concern is the possibility that open conflict could break out between nations competing for resources or trying to protect their supply lines, such as key trade routes, currently patrolled by the US Navy.

The report draws the parallel between Japan in the 1930s and China today. It recalls that it was Japan’s inability to secure its oil supplies from South-East Asia that prompted its entry into the Second World War.

Today Beijing is strengthening its Navy to protect its energy supplies, shipped at great distances from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

“The prospect of countries ranging from the United States and China to Japan and Saudi Arabia — together with the world’s terrorists — vying for physical control of the world’s oil does not sound like a prescription for global security,” the Worldwatch report says.

Christopher Flavin, the Worldwatch president, says in a preface to the report,

“Unless we find a couple of spare planets in the next few decades, neither of these projections will come to pass . . .

We therefore face a choice:

Rethink almost everything, or risk a downward spiral of political competition and economic collapse,” he says. "

Chris is an old good friend of mine.

He is not given to hyperbole.

We need to rethink everything.


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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

We Are So Screwed

Let me be blunt.

We are so screwed.

You know you are screwed,

when the former Vice President and actual winner

of the presidency in 2000,

calls for a Special Council to investigate the crimes

of the man who stole the election.

And the powers that are, support the powers that be.

You know you are screwed when the world's leaders,

in response to the pleas of the world's scientists,

to take climate change seriously,

and immediately initiate policies which will help mitigate it,

become paralyzed by their own lack of vision,

and their fear of the loss of capital market support.

You know you are screwed when the world spends

a trillion dollars on arms but can't feed or house its poor.

You know you are screwed when the answers scream out,

but the world bank and the financial houses remain silent.

You know you are screwed when lies become truth,

and truth is buried like a found cadaver from a dark alley.

You know you are screwed, when the president blatantly

breaks the law of the land,

and proudly proclaims he will do it again and again.

You know you are screwed,

When the Russians launch an Iranian spy satellite,

When China buys their oil and gas,

and Israel prepares to bomb them

using American bunker busters.

Many years ago,

I was moving my Grandmother's piano.

We put the grand old upright into Dick's truck,

and we roped it down some.

I drove in my car in the front of the minicaravan.

The road we had chosen had a hairpin curve in it

because of some construction.

As I negotiated the curve,

I knew.

The piano would never take the G Force.

I parked immediately and ran back to the curve,

screaming, "stop, stop",

Only to see my Grandmother's piano flip over the side,

and roll over onto the dusty shoulder of the curve.

We should have been more careful.

We should have tied it down better.

We should have taken another way.

We still can.


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* art courtesy of David Willardson

Monday, January 16, 2006

Protecting our Liberties

Watch Al Gore on C Span.

This may be history.

Here is the text of the speech.

As I listen to the man who would have been President,

had the Supreme Court not exercised its political will,

I see the soul of this country.

And from this clear articulation of our situation,

we will see the future unfold.

Gore has called on all members of Congress,

of both parties,

to come to the aid of their country,

and restore the constitutional balance away from the unitary executive.

It is time to stand up.

It is time to breathe new life into the American Democracy.

For, it is We the People who must act to preserve the Constitution.

We must disenthrall ourselves

From our TV's and the controlled media of our day.

Gore speaks of the use of Fear,

to deprive of us of our reason.

For Fear drives out reason,

and results in the politics of destruction.

We have the duty as Americans

to defend the rights of all of our Citizens.

"We have a duty as Americans to defend our citizens' right not only to life but also to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is therefore vital in our current circumstances that immediate steps be taken to safeguard our Constitution against the present danger posed by the intrusive overreaching on the part of the Executive Branch and the President's apparent belief that he need not live under the rule of law.

I endorse the words of Bob Barr, when he said, "The President has dared the American people to do something about it. For the sake of the Constitution, I hope they will."

Therefore, immediate steps must be taken.

Gore and former Republican Congressman Barr agree,

that something should be done.

A Special Counsel should be appointed,

to investigate the violations of law by the President.

Gore has a list of points,

for the restoration of our liberty and of our democracy,

and closes with this,

As Dr. King once said,

"Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us.

If it is, let us trace its movements

and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance,

for we are deeply in need of a new way

beyond the darkness that seems so close around us."

Now let us see who runs with this.

And who runs it into the ground.


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Sunday, January 15, 2006

On Violence

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King day.

And as we come into the eve of my favorite holiday,

another one of my favorites comes to mind.

It was early in my life when I first came across "Flight of the Eagle".

And, it was my first introduction to the teachings of Krishnamurti.

Here are some of his thoughts on non-violence.

You see, we realize that we must change. Let us take as an example violence and brutality - those are facts. Human beings are brutal and violent; they have built a society which is violent in spite of all that the religions have said about loving your neighbour and loving God.

All these things are just ideas, they have no value whatsoever, because man remains brutal, violent and selfish. And being violent, he invents the opposite, which is nonviolence. Please go into this with me. Man is trying all the time to become nonviolent. So there is conflict between what is, which is violence, and what should be, which is nonviolence. There is conflict between the two.

That is the very essence of wastage of energy.

As long as there is duality between what is and what should be - man trying to become something else, making an effort to achieve what `should be' - that conflict is waste of energy.

As long as there is conflict between the opposites, man has not enough energy to change. Why should I have the opposite at all, as nonviolence, as the ideal? The ideal is not real, it has no meaning, it only leads to various forms of hypocrisy; being violent and pretending not to be violent.

Or if you say you are an idealist and will eventually become peaceful, that is a great pretense, an excuse, because it will take many years for you to be without violence - indeed it may never happen. In the meantime you are a hypocrite and still violent.

So if we can, not in abstraction but actually, put aside completely all ideals and only deal with the fact - which is violence - then there is no wastage of energy. This is really very important to understand, it isn't a particular theory of the speaker.

As long as man lives in the corridor of opposites he must waste energy and therefore he can never change. So with one breath you could wipe away all ideologies, all opposites. Please go into it and understand this; it is really quite extraordinary what takes place.

If a man who is angry pretends or tries not to be angry, in that there is conflict. But if he says, `I will observe what anger is, not try to escape or rationalize it,' then there is energy to understand and put an end to anger.

If we merely develop an idea that the mind must be free from conditioning, there will remain a duality between the fact and what `should be.' Therefore it is a waste of energy. Whereas if you say, `I will find out in what manner the mind is conditioned,' it is like going to the surgeon when one has cancer. The surgeon is concerned with operating and removing the disease. But if the patient is thinking about what a marvellous time he is going to have afterward, or is frightened about the operation, that is waste of energy.

The Flight of the Eagle Chapter 4 1st Public Talk Amsterdam 1969

Now, is that state of no-conflict the result of time, of a duration? Obviously not. Because, while you are achieving a state of nonviolence, you are still being violent and are therefore still in conflict.

So, our problem is, can a conflict, a disturbance, be overcome in a period of time, whether it be days, years, or lives? What happens when you say, "I am going to practice nonviolence during a certain period of time"? The very practice indicates that you are in conflict, does it not? You would not practise if you were not resisting conflict; and you say the resistance to conflict is necessary in order to overcome conflict and for that resistance you must have time.

But the very resistance to conflict is itself a form of conflict. You are spending your energy in resisting conflict in the form of what you call greed, envy, or violence, but your mind is still in conflict. So, it is important to see the falseness of the process of depending on time as a means of overcoming violence, and thereby be free of that process. Then you are able to be what you are: a psychological disturbance which is violence itself.

1948 6th Public Talk, Bangalore, India

My whole life, from when I was educated till now, has been a form of violence. The society in which I live is a form of violence. Society tells me to conform, accept, do this, not do that, and I follow it. That is a form of violence. And when I revolt against society, that also is a form of violence (revolt in the sense that I don't accept the values which society has laid down). I revolt against it and then create my own values, which become the pattern; and that pattern is imposed on others or on myself, which becomes another form of violence.

I live that kind of life. That is: I am violent. Now what shall I do?

The Flight of the Eagle Chapter 9 1st Public Dialogue Saanen 1969

A man who is pursuing an ideal can never know a new mind, and that is the curse on this land. We are all idealists wanting to conform to nonviolence, to this, or to that. We are all imitators. That is why we have never a fresh mind, a mind which is completely, totally new, which is yours, not Sankara's, not of Marx, not of somebody else.

That total newness, that complete state of mind, can only come into being when there is no experiencer and no experience; that state is there only when you can die totally to each day, to everything that you have gathered psychologically.

Then only is there a possibility of a complete regeneration.

Just be quiet, be still.

Look at the trees,

the birds, the sky,

the beauty,

the rich qualities of human existence.

Just watch silently and be aware.

Into that silence comes that something

which is not measurable,

which is not of time.

1954 1st Public Talk, Bombay

There is precious little said these days from our media sources,

on the efficacy of non-violence.

We are too busy managing the cognitive dissonance,

between the depraved bombings of innocence villagers,

and the principles we hold dear,

to deeply consider how wrong and misguided we have become.

Perhaps tomorrow, as we listen to the speeches

of one of the greatest orators of the last century,

we might give his message a small opening

and allow it to find a home,

in the ocean of our goodness,

and in the silence

that cannot be measured.


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