Thursday, April 21, 2005

In 1999, Dick Cheney said we would start running out of OIL by 2010

This article links to the speech it self. Oddly, that link is dead, but if you go to the wayback archive, you can still get it:

It's nice to know that members of the Bush administration can be honest, even if it's with the London Institute of Petroleum not with us.

Cheney did show a sense of humor though: he complained that oil, unlike soapflake companies and other business interests, have little influence over politics.

If you know someone who still believes these guys are building bases around the Caspian Sea [in the former Soviet Union] and invading countries around the Persian Gulf because they are worried about terrorism, whap them over the head with the words of our lizard-like vice president, who rarely come out of his bunker to sun himself, usually when he smells oil.

Far from being out of left field, it echoes predictions in James Baker's report at Rice University, the Council on Foreign Relations, and in fact, any peak oil research. You rarely hear about this in the US press, but the Guardian in the UK had an important story on it today:,13026,1464050,00.html


Oil is unique in that it is so strategic in nature. We are not talking about soapflakes or leisurewear here. Energy is truly fundamental to the world’s economy. The [first] Gulf War was a reflection of that reality.

By some estimates there will be an average of two per cent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead along with conservatively a three per cent natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? Governments and the national oil companies are obviously in control of about ninety per cent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer greet oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies, even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow.

looking back to the early 1990's, expectations were that significant amounts of the world's new resources would come from such areas as the former Soviet Union and from China. Of course that didn't turn out quite as expected.”

Some of the oil being developed in new areas is obviously very high cost and low margin. Companies that are finding it difficult to create new core areas through exploration are turning to production deals where they can develop reserves that are already known, but where the country doesn’t have the capital or the technology to exploit them. In production deals there is less exploration risk but dealing with above ground political risk and commercial and environmental risk are increasing challenges. These include civil strife, transportation routes, [Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon] labour issues,[i.e. labor needs to be neutered] fiscal terms, sometimes even US-imposed economic sanctions.[referring to Iraq, Libya, and dealing with Taliban for pipeline in Afghanistan]

In many ways the traditional role of oil companies are changing. Increasingly we are seeing international oil and gas companies concentrating on managing investment, financial, commercial and political risk or above ground risk, while service companies are managing technical, completion and operating risk. Meanwhile, national oil companies are focused on managing their country’s national interest and its resources and in the domestic markets. This is part of the new resource rationalism of the 1990’s. NOC’s may own the resources, but when it is in the national interest to bring in outsiders to help develop them, they do so. Venezuela obviously is a clear example of what I would define as the new resource nationalism.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Mr. Carroll,

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

As I mentioned in an earlier letter I mailed to you, I would like to know why you haven't covered the Bush administration's plan to privatize and sell off, essentially steal, Iraq's oil, and the subsequent revision of that policy.

You guys did a great series recently on corruption in reconstruction contracting, which wastes a lot of tax payer dollars, but this privatization scheme probably contributed directly to the insurgency and was why the Bush administration made no plans to pull out and in fact is constructing over a dozen major military installations there.

This is the very heart of the story in Iraq, and Americans need to hear to decide knowledgeably whether to support what our government is doing in our name.

To the degree that the media fell for and printed uncritically the administration's lies about why they went to war in Iraq, you have an obligation to print the real story.

Professor Smartass


On Apr 19, 2005, at 4:08 PM, Carroll, John - LA Times wrote:

Thanks for the thoughts. I attended the Murdoch talk in Washington and found it interesting. As for our "info-tainment" strategy, I'm not sure what you're talking about. The front of our paper is packed with serious news from all over the world. Calendar does cover entertainment, but in a sophisticated way -- could you imagine a paper based in Los Angeles not doing so? Regarding our fear of scaring away advertisers: We just lost GM because of a Dan Neil column, which we have no intention of correcting or retracting. And no, we don't care about Rush Limbaugh. I agree with your general sentiments about what a newspaper should do, but I believe the L.A. Times is doing them as well as any paper in the country. Yours truly, John Carroll

[Carroll, John - LA Times]

-----Original Message-----

From: Professor Smartass
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2005 10:19 AM
Subject: Rupert Murdoch on why newspapers are dying (not why you think)

Rupert Murdoch says 18-34 year olds don't find the news media trustworthy OR entertaining, which means you are not only failing at your reason for existence, providing news, but also at your misguided info-tainment strategy.

Two of the successful British internet news sources he mentions, the BBC and the Guardian, differ markedly from their American counterparts in reporting the news regardless of whose ox is gored in the case of the BBC, and printing opinion pieces that are factual, written by the real players (not think tank PR hacks) and question the essence of the policy of those in power.

Real news and real, reasoned dissent.

I would buy a newspaper for that, and trust that I would hear about what's on Bush's iPod and what kind of bikini wax Arnold Schwarzenegger uses on his nipples on Entertainment Tonight.

I know you guys are in a bind; you don't want to scare away advertisers or get that flood of angry letters from toothless, hillbilly Rush Limbaugh fans and that nasty call from Karl Rove, but timidity makes you bland and bland doesn't sell.

You should make it your goal to get those angry letters and consider them a gauge of your success as long as your story is accurate and serves no interests other than giving the public NEWS they actually need to know for democracy to function.


He said consumers wanted "control over the media, instead of being controlled by it", pointing to the proliferation of website diaries known as "blogs" and message boards.

And newspaper editors simply cannot afford to ignore this, he said, or to look down on readers or ignore what they actually wanted.

He said consumers between the ages of 18-34 were increasingly using the web as their medium of choice for news and neglected more traditional media.

Young people's attitudes towards newspapers were "especially alarming", he said. "Only 9% describe us as trustworthy, a scant 8% find us useful, and only 4% of respondents think we're entertaining."

He described the shift in attitudes as "a revolution in the way young people are accessing news".

"They don't want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. They don't want to rely on a God-like figure from above to tell them what's important. And to carry the religion analogy a bit further, they certainly don't want news presented as gospel."

Mr Murdoch, who recently held a summit with his newspaper bosses about forging a new internet strategy, said the industry had "sat by and watched" as circulations had fallen over the past 40 years, complacent because of its historic monopoly on the news business.

A rise in population had masked a relative decline in the TV age, he said, while in the 1990s profitability had held up in spite of circulations falling, further lulling the industry into a false sense of security.

"But those days are gone," he warned. "The trends are against unless we awaken to these changes, which are quite different to those of five or six years ago, we will, as an industry, be relegated to the status of also-rans."

Now, however, the Sun is, along with the Guardian and the BBC, one of the top 10 news websites in the UK but the online operations of the Times and Telegraph, which have not received the same investment, are not ranked in the top tier.

FULL TEXT:,14173,1459697,00.html

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

PROBLEM: public attention deficit vs. corporate terminator

A serious problem with making any lasting reform is that it is difficult to get the public to pay attention for more than a couple of years to trying to fix a problem, and once fixed after a while they forget the problem that required the solution in the first place--like the followers of the right wing who have forgotten why we needed the New Deal or even unions.

The good side of this is when a society goes off the deep end religiously like Iran now or England under Cromwell, or politically like Stalinist Russia or China during the Cultural Revolution. Most people get tired of "the cause," it's requirements for zeal and sacrifice of liberty or other things.

The downside of this is that we face opponents, corporations, that are designed to accumulate money and power irrespective of the people who tend the "machine." If someone loses interest, they are replaced. The goal is constant, the people change. They are the Terminator, and money and power is Sarah Connor (the rest of us are the extras that get shot along the way).

Democracy is the opposite. We have roughly the same people to work with for long periods of time, but absent some catastrophe, those people don't act together, and even when they do, they dribble away and drift off to other things over time, collecting Hummel figurines or watching Croatian yard darts on ESPN.

It's like we're all holding a door shut, and the terminator is relentlessly ramming against it. When a certain number wander from holding the door, he busts in, kills who he wants, and makes a mess of everything else. We curse, get together, and try to make a new room with a new door we can stand against--until we lose interest.

Right now, the terminators are break dancing in our family room.

In real life, this is the cycle of robber barons and reform.

This wastes a hell of a lot of time, energy, and money that could be used for real progress instead of fighting these same battles over and over again.

What I want to know is how we can build a door we don't have to stand against.

How can we reshape our political structure so that it is as single-mindedly focused on the broader public good (the way corporations are on ass-raping us) and can't be over-whelmed or hijacked during periods of relative political apathy.

I think when we get to the end of this Buzi push to pull us back to feudalism, we will see a period of FDR-like idealism...and then the forgetting will start and the terminator will start ramming the door.

When we get a chance to clean up, this should be part of what we do.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Serious exchange on Bush Butler story

Re: Bush Butler apology
by: mahlonriggs
04/01/05 10:15 pm
Msg: 5700 of 5731

I would remind you that John Effing Kerry is also a Skull and Bones member. Be careful what you believe, it might bite you on your ass.

Posted as a reply to: Msg 5678 by Professor Smartass


Re: Bush Butler skull/bones butt buddy
by: Professor Smartass
04/02/05 02:24 am
Msg: 5733 of 5733

Kerry was a far from perfect candidate, and it doesn't speak well for our democracy when our choice of candidates run in the same incestuous circles of privilege.

On the other hand, Kerry didn't base his candidacy on homophobia and ostentatious religiousity, so even if the gay aspect of Skull & Bones initiation is true (and most fraternity initiations have strong homo-erotic undertones in any case), nor was he trying to establish the kind of cult of personality that requires people to think he is perfect when he is not. He was running for elected-office as the first among peers, not as self-appointed god-king.

If Bush was a good president, I wouldn't care if he was buggered in a coffin, didn't show up for all his air guard duty, or snorted coke until he was 40. I wouldn't care if he was gay or what he did in his personal life in office.

But the habit of focusing on these things seems to only matter when the candidate is a Democrat (or even an insufficiently conservative Republican).

If you spent the eight years Clinton was in office analyzing his job performance as closely as you did his penis, you might have figured out which of his policies made your life more difficult and which made it easier. Did welfare reform work? Deregulating the media? Clinton's approach globalization? Those are all things that I thnk he did less than ideal work on, and where conservatives who make less than $250K a year should be concerned about their effects too. But instead, you focused on his dick.

So I doubt that you really know if President Bush is helping or hurting you either. You just know that he likes to stand in front of the flag, and mouth allegiance to Christian and Democratic values, and you think he's actually acting on those values because the network and talk radio hosts that get faxed his talking points everyday say he is doing a wonderful job.

It doesn't matter if Bush or Kerry took it up the ass in college because we all are right now. The difference between you and me is, I know it, and you think it's a nasty case of hemorrhoids, but you can't be sure because you don't have health insurance and you don't get overtime pay any more, so you can't go to the doctor to find out.

But it all must be the fault of people like Kerry and Howard Dean.

Posted as a reply to: Msg 5700 by mahlonriggs

Retired Bush valet: W has never wiped own ass

(AP) Thrallport, Maine--Alan Puckerthorn, recently retired lifelong valet of President George W. Bush is surprised that the public thinks of his former master as a "regular guy."

"I served Master Junior from the time he was out of his nappies until my arthritis made it difficult for me to dress and wipe him everyday," Puckerthorn said. "I doubt that he could survive more than a few hours or even minutes without servants to attend to his needs."

Remarkably, he claims the president has never even wiped himself after defecating. "Never. A gentleman does not touch feces even with toilet paper." In fact, toilet paper has never touched Bush's posterior. "His mother insisted we cleanse his anus with natural sponges soaked in mineral water, and then blow on it until it dried."

Puckerthorn didn't consider this duty a hardship until he had to accompany Bush to his one year of public education in fourth grade. "The other children would mock the master viciously when they saw me servicing his rectal hygiene needs. Being a child of privilege this did't hurt his pride any, but it did annoy him." He went on to say that Bush had him beat several of the boys that mocked him. "One must learn to respect their social superiors, and a good drubbing did the trick for most." One boy persisted in teasing Bush though, so Puckerthorn was forced to take the matter to the elder Bush, who used his CIA connection to have the child sold into slavery.

The following year, Bush returned to the safety of Nancy Phillips Academy, an elite finishing school for girls, where, like all the other students, he had not one but two servants, his valet, and another to do his homework.

As his personal manservant, Puckerthorn probably knew more about his master's dreams and ambitions than Bush's parents. "Even before he went to college, I knew Master Junior wanted to be a cheerleader--he slept in the uniform pom-poms and all from the time he was eight. He would fuss so when I tried to dress him for school. His proudest moment was when he made the squad at Yale."

College posed a different set of challenges for the future president's valet. When Bush wished to join Skull & Bones, it was Puckerthorn who had to endure the initiation. "Although I'm British, I didn't enjoyed being buggered in a coffin by someone else's gentleman's gentleman, I can assure you."

When asked how the president will survive without him, Puckerthorn demured. "I've signed a confidentiality agreement that forbids me to give the details, but I believe the duty has fallen to a pasty, pudgy senior staffer. He looks like that unfortunate fat fellow in Deliverance, only not so manly. I knew that it was time to retire when I came in one morning and found him helping the master with his pants."

With the utmost of discretion, Puckerthorn refused to comment on the President's drug use, military service, sexual orientation, literacy, sanity, or mental competence. "One doesn't air the master's dirty laundry in public," he said. "At least not until you have thoroughly scrubbed out the skidmarks."