November 22, 2006

BUBBLETALK: November thread to talk about the late great housing bubble ponzi scheme

Post articles (tinyurl), rant away, keep it clean, have a good chat


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Roccman said...

FMW - GREAT Image - I have often thought about getting that tatooed somewhere - the "V"., but thought less identifiable markings during the coming battle against the current police state is better for myself and would protect those I am with through lack of affiliation -

Now that the election is over - BUSH IS MORE DANGEROUS NOW than ever - he truely has nothing to lose and much to gain.

Our southern borders are wide open yet the pretext for war in the ME was 9-11....why is this debachery so hard for most (like Keith) to see?

For you and I we see the police state being formed right before our eyes...the reason ...the middle class has gotten too large.

See our founding father's knew this....and had to be sure that the middle class never got too large...well not only do we have a middle class that is growing by the day (thanks in part to the housing bubble), but we have a multicultural egalitarian middle class - where all rights are afforded all people all the time.

Of course this social fabric only stays together if there is an abundance of natural resources and jobs to go around.

This is about to change.


Good luck comrade!!

"Disgusting. Watch and track the citizens, but let the illegals off the hook."

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Dear Richard,
So true my friend, so true.
Have a Look.

Al Qaeda Leader: Materials Smuggled Across Border
Thursday, November 02, 2006 Posted: 10:31 PM

NEWSCHANNEL 5 Investigation

Terrorists trying to blend in with Mexican culture

A NEWSCHANNEL 5 investigation reveals what the feds don't want you to know. Suspected terrorists are hiding inside the U.S. and they got here by sneaking across the Mexican border.

What we've been reporting for more than a year has been confirmed by a government report just released. (Click here to download the report.)

And a brand new interview by Pakistani investigative reporter Hamid Mir is bringing in more information.

Mir has interviewed some of America's most dangerous terrorist enemies. This time the Al Qaeda commander he talked to gave a grim warning that another attack on America is coming very soon.

"We can attack America anytime," says Abu Dawood during the interview. He also told the reporter that Muslims must leave America.

Mir says, "Abu Dawood told me, 'We are determined to attack America again and that attack will be bigger than 9/11."

The Al Qaeda commander says the attack will be led by Adnan El Shukrijumah. He goes by many aliases but is called Brother Adnan by his terrorist friends.

Brother Adnan is wanted by the feds for possible terrorist threats against the U.S. He's considered armed and dangerous

According to the Pakistani reporter, Dawood said Brother Adnan "had smuggled some dangerous materials from the Mexican border to inside the United States of America."

"It's the kind of scenario that worries everybody," says Fred Burton, a former special agent for the U.S. State Department.

Burton spent much of his federal career studying terrorists, predicting their next move. He now does the same thing at Stratfor, a private intelligence agency in Austin.

NEWSCHANNEL 5 asked Burton about the threat.

"I think it has to be viewed credible, until proven otherwise," he says.

The former special agent tells us the U.S. government is well aware Al Qaeda's been working hard to get a dirty bomb into the country, an explosive packed with nuclear materials small enough to carry in a suitcase.

Smugglers have been caught 300 times in the past four years trying to sneak in radioactive material, which could be used to make a dirty bomb.

That's what the International Atomic Energy Agency told the London Times last month.

But Burton says, "I think if Al Qaeda has a dirty bomb, we would have seen it by now." He says a chemical attack is more likely and the Valley could be a launching ground.

Burton says there are several specific locations in Houston, which if hit, could carry out a devastating terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

However Burton also says if Al Qaeda really does have a dirty bomb, border cities are much more vulnerable to attack, because he says terrorists don't want to get caught.

"You'd want to bring that in right across the border, and you'd want to detonate that as soon as you can," he explains.

We asked who would be at risk.

"You would look at cities such as El Paso or Brownsville," he replied.

For law enforcement, it's a very big worry, says Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr.

He testified to lawmakers in Washington about the dangers of terrorists and terrorist weapons getting smuggled in through South Texas.

The sheriff tells us his biggest fear is that something could go wrong with a bomb.

"We're not prepared," he says.

The possible dangers are also a concern to U.S. Congressman Solomon Ortiz. He was among the first in Washington to sound the alarm about dangers at the border.

Ortiz says, "The biggest threat is people coming in and we don't know who they are."

The government does know terror groups like Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah are active in Latin America. In fact, members of Hezbolla are already inside the U.S., coming in through the Mexican border.

We're also learning these Middle Easterners are changing their Islamic names to Hispanic names, buying fake documents, learning Spanish and posing as Hispanic immigrants.

Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo says there's even a training camp in Brazil teaching Middle Easterners how to blend in to the Mexican culture.

According to government intelligence, Middle Eastern aliens from countries known to harbor terrorists are smuggled to staging areas in places like Venezuela and the tri-border region between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Then they're smuggled again through Mexico and our border right into the U.S.

There's a big payoff for those who sneak them in. Mexican illegals pay smugglers an average of $2,000. Middle Easterners pay as much as thirty times that amount, up to $60,000!

"I don't think they really care who they're bringing across, as long as they get paid for it," says Texas Congressman Michael McCaul. He put out the report, which also says Islamic terrorist groups may be using Mexico as a refuge.

During our investigation, we found out a lot of people from suspicious countries are crossing right here in South Texas. Since 9/11, literally hundreds of illegal aliens have been caught here from places like Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt and Pakistan.

Federal law enforcement estimates only ten to thirty percent of illegals who cross are actually caught.

Governor Rick Perry says, "To think that international terrorists have not already exploited our border is naive."

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

I am glad you like my new look, do you want one?

Roccman said...

And this is the reason for a police state.

IEA warns of ongoing energy crisis
By Carola Hoyos in London
Published: November 7 2006 21:01 | Last updated:
November 7 2006 21:01
The world is on a course that will lead it “from
crisis to crisis”
unless governments act immediately to save energy
and invest in
nuclear and biofuels, the International Energy
Agency warned on Tuesday.

In an apocalyptic forecast, Claude Mandil, the
agency’s executive
director, said that our current path “may mean
skyrocketing prices or
more frequent blackouts; can mean more supply
disruptions, more
meteorological catastrophes – or all these at the
same time”...

Roccman said...

Yes - please send to my email!!!

Thanks !!

Roccman said...

Great Post Again FWM!!!

Miss Goldbug said...

FMW said: "Disgusting. Watch and track the citizens, but let the illegals off the hook.

Go figure.

Oh, and I reckon our domestic Fed Bank will be the next to hike interest rates".

Yes FMW we are next. What better reason to develop the DNA database, what works for criminals works for citizens. (sarcastic)

Did you hear? There's a new border cam starting up tomorrow on the Mexican border so that average citizens can report any illegals sneaking into the US. It's called

Are things that bad on the border, were average citizens are needed to report illegals? I'm sure some people will get off on it though.

This is scary.

Agree too interest rates will go to the moon-has to.

Anonymous said...

I pleasured myself to the election results. AAAAHHHHH!

Time for a cigarette.

Roccman said...

News > November 8, 2006
Lawyers Fight for Habeas Rights
By Frida Berrigan
Protesting the suspension of habeas corpus, a demonstrator poses in front of the entrance to the White house.
Inside the White House, President George W. Bush sat at a small desk. Surrounded by generals, congressmen and members of his administration, he signed the Military Commissions Act (MCA) into law. “It is a rare occasion when a president can sign a bill he knows will save American lives,” he declared.

Outside the White House, it was raining. More than 100 religious leaders, survivors of torture and concerned citizens gathered to mourn the passing of a cornerstone of American law. Many of the marchers wore soggy orange jumpsuits and black hoods over their faces, representing the more than 400 men who remain imprisoned at Guantánamo. The gap between the Bush administration’s agenda and the concerns of the activists outside could not have been greater.

The MCA establishes new rules for interrogating and trying suspected terrorists. It also suspends habeas corpus for any foreign citizen determined to be an “unlawful enemy combatant engaged in hostilities or having supported hostilities against the United States.” While President Bush called the law, “a way to deliver justice to the terrorists we have captured,” the majority of those held at Guantánamo do not fit under even this exceptionally broad definition of unlawful enemy combatant. A Seton Hall Law School analysis of the Pentagon’s own findings reveals that the U.S. government considers only 8 percent of 507 Guantánamo detainees to be al-Qaeda fighters. Of the remaining detainees, 40 percent have no definitive connection to al-Qaeda or Taliban.

If, to paraphrase Ambrose Bierce, wars teach Americans geography, are they also how we now learn Latin? “Habeas Corpus”—part of a longer English Common Law phrase that means “you shall produce the body”—dates to the Magna Carta. In 1215, that foundational legal document guaranteed suspects the right to challenge their imprisonment. The “writ of habeas corpus” is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution: it “shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Though Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez insists that “the new law should not be understood to ‘suspend’ the writ of habeas corpus for enemy combatants,” there is no other way to interpret it. “This new law is a clear suspension and we are mounting a substantial court challenge,” says Bill Goodman, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).

Between Congress’ passage of the MCA in September and Bush’s signing on Oct. 17, the CCR continued to file writs of habeas corpus. On Oct. 2, they filed on behalf of 25 men imprisoned at the U.S. military’s Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. The next day, the group filed for Majid Khan—one of the “ghost detainees” recently transferred to Guantánamo after being held in the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret detention facilities for three-and-a-half years as a “high-value” terrorist suspect. The 26-year-old Pakistani national came to the United States in 1996, and went to high school in suburban Maryland, working at his family’s gas station after classes.

Khan returned to Karachi to get married, but was soon arrested by Pakistani security forces and disappeared in 2003. The next news his family heard of him was on September 6, 2006, when President Bush publicly accused him of delivering money to an al Qaeda operative.

Khan has not been charged with a crime, and was subjected to what the CIA delicately calls “alternative interrogation techniques” while in their custody. His lawyer, Vincent Warren, insists “Majid Khan had nothing to do with 9/11. Any allegations should be made in open court where he has the chance to defend himself against evidence obtained through torture.”

Khan and the hundreds of other prisoners at Guantánamo, Bagram and other detention facilities have filed more than 500 habeas suits individually and in groups to insist that they be granted their day in open court. As the ink dried on the MCA, the Justice Department began dismissing these habeas claims, issuing notice to the U.S. District Court for D.C. and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that they do not have “jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action.”

Goodman and the CCR say such moves do effectively suspend the writ of habeas corpus, and point out that the United States is not threatened by “rebellion or invasion,” the only conditions under which the Constitution warrants suspension. Consequently, the CCR is launching a “strong opposition based on the ‘suspension clause’” that Goodman anticipates will go to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, lawyers like Goodman and Warren will continue to pursue justice for Guantánamo inmates. One of the first steps is hearings before the D.C. U.S. Court of Appeals on the “significance of the MCA” to the cases the Justice Department maintain are no longer under the courts’ purview. The hearings began Nov. 1 and will continue through the month.

And what about regular people horrified at the trampling of law? Matthew W. Daloisio, a Catholic Worker, emphasizes the need for public education, moral challenge and widespread protest. “As we approach the fifth anniversary of the first war on terrorism prisoners’ arrival at Guantánamo, civil action must intensify,” he says. “January 11, 2007 should be a day of national shame but can also be an opportunity to for citizens to insist on the reintegration of law and justice.”

Anonymous said...

I lost one of the 'kids' at work today. I thought that I had him thoroughly talked out of buying right now, but his wife had to have been that nagging, whining bitch the classic realtwhore video was based on. He readily admits she kept at him non-stop until he finally gave in.
It didn't sound too bad at first, thirty year fixed, 7.3% rate
(little high, I thought, but he has a few small credit problems he said.) Then came the kicker. First ten years are interest only, that’s $1600 a month with not a penny on the principle. No problem he said, I'll pay some extra on the principle when I get it.
Extra out of 'what' I thought. He doesn’t make much more than that on 40 hours, and his wife doesn’t hold down a paying job. I wished him well. Another FB going to learn the hard way!

Anonymous said...

This guy is a weenie. The wife is going to ditch him and then make him pay for the house. He's probably counting on his parents to die to leave him some money. Fat chance! They lost it all day-trading!

Never have a non-working spouse. If the b*tch isn't pregnant or raising kids, she should be working out in the real world not hanging out with friends like some dumb teenage c*nt!

Anonymous said...

Can you believe this?
From Hispanic Trending. Latino group calls immigrants an untapped home buyers market: The slumping housing market could get a $200 billion boost from new immigrant home buyers if mainstream lenders start using alternative methods to score credit
....lack Social Security numbers or legal status in the U.S.
...Should the new reporting methods gain wider acceptance
...No law requires that buyers be in the country legally to buy real estate
...generates a credit score using nontraditional data

Anonymous said...

Gotta admit though Pelosi has quite A rack.

Roccman said...

Bush's presidential quagmire
Donald Rumsfeld's discharge continues a shake-up begun months ago -- and marks a major power shift in the White House. But is it too late for Bush to salvage his presidency?
By Walter Shapiro com/opinion/ feature/2006/ 11/09/rumsfeld_ bush/print. html
Nov. 09, 2006 |

To update Tolstoy, George W. Bush's press conference in the wake of Tuesday's elections illustrated that every unhappy president is unhappy in his own way. Other presidents (Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower and even Franklin Roosevelt) have in Bush's enduring description taken a "thumping" in the congressional elections midway through their second term. But no other modern president appeared before the cameras the next day in a mood that veered from contrition to manic giddiness -- and fired his defense secretary to boot.

In the annals of presidential truth-telling (a thin volume), there is no obvious precedent for Bush's startling admission that he lied to reporters when he offered Don Rumsfeld a strong presidential vote of confidence just before the election. As Bush tried to explain Wednesday, "I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign. And so the only way to answer that question ... was to give you that answer." Stephen Hess, a presidential scholar at the Brookings Institution whose knowledge of the White House dates back to his days as a young Eisenhower speechwriter, called it "the honesty of the honest lie. Bush was telling the truth when he said he lied."

Anonymous said...

Get the best information on Digital Photography

Anonymous said...

Did anyone hear Mish on Coast to Coast AM last night?

Roccman said...

http://www.nypost. com/seven/ 11072006/ business/ u_s__treasury_ is_quietly_ doing_the_ feds_work_ business_ john_crudele. htm


November 7, 2006 -- FOR the past few years the U.S. Treasury has been quietly involved in what the financial markets call "repo" agreements and this near-secret operation could explain why the nation's money supply seems to be confoundingly large.

It might also explain why Washington decided earlier this year to stop publishing M3 money supply figures, the broadest and most popular measure of money in circulation.

Repurchase agreements - or repos - have long been used by the Federal Reserve to get money quickly into the hands of financial institutions, which in turn can put the money into circulation in the form of loans.

Last Thursday, for example, the Fed executed $2.5 billion in overnight repos and $8 billion in 14-day repurchase agreements. These were reported on the financial wires.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

In my e mail box today.



2 story home, 5 bedroom, 4 bath, 3520 total sqft, central heat & air, with a 2 car garage. It was built in 1999.

Purchase Price: $265k
Zillow Value: 371k
Approx Cost In Repairs: 10k (paint and carpet)
Showing Instructions: DRIVE BY ONLY, Call 407 897 0911 for arrangements.

4409 Ribblesdale Lane, sold for 330k
3773 Rambling Ct, sold for 335k
4530 Pageant Way, sold for 400k


Attention all investors interested in 4715 Langsdale. We will be at the property on Friday November 10th between 3:30 and 5:00 pm. If you are interested in viewing this property, you must make arrangements with our office no later than Thursday November 9th by 5:00pm.

Anyone who is not on our list will not be able to view the property. We thank you in advance for your courtesy.


2203 E. Hillcrest St.
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 897-0911

Metroplexual said...

Casey Serin is going down the tubes. Check out his site for the latest. He says he needs a job but then he has all kinds of stupid rules that the job must satisfy.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Did anyone see what just ran on CNBC? Hovnanian CEO was just asked if builders were building spec "to move land". He answered affirmatively. Robert Toll was sitting next to him, silently apoplectic. daaaaaaaaamn!

Anonymous said...

Buy metals on dips or you're freaking doomed.

Anonymous said...

yeah the fools who have been sayin commodities are at a bubble top didn't take econ 101


kilobar said...

When the Cinese start rotating out of US bonds, look out. And don't think they wont. This is the same country that killed over 40 million of its own people and likes to drive over its students with tanks.

Anonymous said...

Kweefer: My sock puppet is crusty again.

Maybe I should just use it in the shower.

Anonymous said...

Kweefer: That sock puppet gives me wood.

Anonymous said...

In China humans are a renewable resource. All 800 million underemployed Chinese peasants want your job, your oil, and your standard of living and are willing to work for 25 cents per hour to get it. Isn't globalization fun?

I'm just waiting for my employers to ship my job to China so I can move back in with my parents.

I'm just calculating how far the dollar will have to fall in order to achieve wage parity with them.

People in this country have mortgaged themselves to the hilt and will drag their children down as well so they can afford all those expensive cars and other bling to convince themselves that they are still economically successful. I weep for the future.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if CEO salaries will fall with the takeover of both houses of Congress by Democrats.

I'd love to see these guys get screwed during the Greater Depression.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with driving over your own citizens with tanks?

What? Like, peasants have rights or something? Duh? Where were you the last 5000 years?

They have too many people anyway. If some guy's labor is only worth $1 per day, what's the cost to the economy if he dies? It's not like he was some brilliant heart surgeon.

Jip said...

Here's an interesting site I just found:

Anonymous said...

WOW, are they desparate!!!!!

Credit score changes could spark housing boom--
Real estate agents new method of calculating would bring in Latinos

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous who wrote:

Wow. Did anyone see what just ran on CNBC? Hovnanian CEO was just asked if builders were building spec "to move land". He answered affirmatively. Robert Toll was sitting next to him, silently apoplectic. daaaaaaaaamn!

I watch the CNBC show,
but I wished I did.

I did a little web surf after reading your comment and I found the following on the KBH yahoo message board.

Recent Market Commentary:
11/9/06 The Death Spiral

We cannot emphasize enough that the declining housing industry is the key to both the economy and the stock market, and that, in this regard, the news is all bleak. At a brokerage industry conference today, DR Horton CEO Donald Tomnitz stated that the housing market is in what he called a “death spiral”. In answer to a question, he said that publicly-held home builders were now building on spec just to sell the land they already own since it’s easier to sell the land with a house is on it rather than empty. Sell Spec! Another home building executive was asked whether he thought a bottom was in sight, and he answered it was not likely this year or next, but perhaps in 2008.

Earlier in the week Toll Bros. reduced its 2007 home delivery outlook due to a decreased backlog and slower market conditions. The company’s backlog is down 25% and orders down 55%. Cancellations are higher than expected. CEO Robert Toll said that “We continue to look for a sign that a recovery is imminent but can’t yet say that one is in sight.”

The only thing holding this up is pure manipulation by the crooks on Wall Street.

Anonymous said...

The run-up, fueled by the lowest mortgage rates in more than 40 years, spawned a frenzy in flipping that saw cabbies exchange real estate tips with New York venture capitalists. Sure, that oft-told tale might be urban legend, but given the tenor of the times it just might be true.

" Speculator investment in new single-family homes has been between 25 percent and 40 percent of the sales since 2003," said housing analyst McCabe, who is head of Deerfield Beach-based McCabe Research & Consulting.

Some think investors bit off an even bigger chunk.

Anonymous said...

``We are very alert about the fact that a sudden unwinding due to an abrupt change in future expectations for interest rates could cause various distortions, which would be a very serious risk,'' Fukui told a parliamentary committee today in Tokyo. ``We are always communicating with the market to ensure that that doesn't happen.''

Should Ben Bernanke lower interest rate due to Governor Toshihiko Fukui inability to pull the trigger and start raising interest rates?

With the euro advancing to the yen on speculation the European Central Bank will increase interest rates faster than policy makers in Japan, it would put more pressure on the dollar if Ben lower interest rate.

The Fed raised rate 18 times on concern of a weaker dollar can the Fed afford to lower interest rate and keep inflation tame?

Anonymous said...

If we run out of energy we could just purchase Chinese from the Chinese government and have then shipped over in ToysRus containers to push our cars to work.

According to my calculations the rice and water required to equate to .78 cents per gallon.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Did anyone hear Mish on Coast to Coast AM last night?
Yes, I did. Coast to Coast AM is my Soap Opera, especially Art Bell. I am surprised Mish was interviewed because we have ‘group overlap’ going on here (AM talk radio and Bloggers).

Mish thinks that the mortgage interest rates COULD separate from the long-term bond index because of the housing crash. The mortgage rates would be free to fall, whilst the Dollar against FOREX is protected as interest can go up up and away. That is what I understood him to say, but I did not take notes.

Interesting Theory, but just a theory I reckon.
Mish said health care and commodities are safe career choices because they cannot be outsourced over seas.

Anonymous said...

Is anybody else seeing gas creeping up in price yet?

It has already gone up a couple of cents here in the Seattle area, since the election.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Yep, just in the last three days. Mish explained how they kept gas prices low just for the election last night on Coast to CoastAM.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Federal workers abroad urged to store food, water

Nov 7, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The US State Department is advising government employees overseas to stockpile enough food and water to last up to 12 weeks in preparation for the threat of a severe influenza pandemic.

A Nov 3 statement posted on the Web site of the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau said the State Department recently sent guidance on "shelter-in-place" or "self-quarantine" to all diplomatic and consular posts.

The statement said that overseas employees, like their stateside counterparts and private citizens, should maintain supplies of food and water for a possible pandemic. The advisory urges families to store nonperishable foods that don't require refrigeration, preparation, or cooking. Also, families are advised to store 1 gallon of water per person per day.

The Hong Kong consulate also advises US citizens in Hong Kong and other countries to prepare for water supply disruptions if infrastructure breakdowns occur during an influenza pandemic.

Suggested water purification techniques include boiling for at least 10 minutes and adding specified amounts of regular Clorox bleach.

The recommendation that US citizens overseas stockpile 12 weeks' worth of food and water differs from the current federal recommendation for general pandemic preparedness. The government, on its pandemic planning Web site, recommends that US residents stockpile 2 weeks' worth of food and water.

See also:

Nov 3 statement from US Hong Kong Consulate: "Pandemic influenza—preparing for possible shelter-in-place" article "A guide for individuals and families"

Anonymous said...

“The government, on its pandemic planning Web site, recommends that US residents stockpile 2 weeks' worth of food and water.”
Good general advice that more people need to follow!

Given how the whole nation saw how S.O.L. the folks in New Orleans were, after the hurricane, it is an amazing example of short-sightedness that more people don’t provision for the possibility of being on their own for a few days.

Suppose the power went off for a week? Suppose your water supply was suddenly cut off? Suppose there was a sudden run on the grocery stores and when you went there all the shelves were bare?

Are you prepared?


FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

These things you say are true. I am in the survival supply business, in a way, and there is no Domestic Market.
Additionally, I am concerned that the article advises some to stock a 12 weeks supply (gov workers) and advises US citizens to stock for 2 weeks. wtf?

Roccman said...

As ugly secrets surface, Bushists will turn desperate. Democracy has failed their grand schemes; token resignations like Rumsfeld's come too little, too late. Only tyranny can save their skins. Will the beleaguered neocons led by Cheney and Bush, cornered like rats, unleash their brand-new police state on their political opponents? Or will they tough it out and suck up the fines and prison sentences to come? The next year or two could go either way.
~ Ted Rall

http://www.informat ionclearinghouse .info/article155 49.htm or http://tinyurl. com/yg4j53

Roccman said...

Personally - I have around 2 years of food for 4 people - with my new bunker complex going in in 4 weeks - water will not be an issue (20 feet to water table - IN THE DESERT!!!).

Ammo - check

Dogs (pit, rott, GS) check

First aid including sutures and pain meds and Pennicillin - check

Gold and survival coin - check

Neighbors with gardens and chickens - Check

Food and water caches buried to the bunker - check

Good luck comrades!!

Anonymous said...

Can you produce your own food?

Got seeds as well as the knowledge & experience to turn them into a continuing food supply? The neighbors may have gardens & chickens; will they share if times get rough?

And speaking of chickens, have you read up on NAIS - the government’s plan to wipe out the small farmer?

Anonymous said...

Median home price down in Scottsdale

SCOTTSDALE - Scottsdale's median home price fell in October to $548,500, down 2 percent from a year ago and 5 percent from September.

Sales of existing homes picked up a healthy 23 percent from September to October, but that was still off 27 percent from a year earlier when 575 homes were sold.

The latest snapshot of Scottsdale's housing market was reported Wednesday in the monthly newsletter of the Arizona Real Estate Center at Arizona State University.

The median price of an existing home in south Scottsdale was $300,000 in October, down $20,000 from September and $10,000 from a year earlier.

North Scottsdale's median price in October was $635,000, a decline of $43,000 from the previous month and off $20,000 from a year earlier.

Sales of Scottsdale condominiums and townhouses last month were off 41 percent from a year earlier, but prices were up 3.4 percent year-over-year, to $253,350.

Paradise Valley's median home price was $1.74 million, up 4 percent from a year earlier, for a median-size home of 3,755 square feet. That is about $463 per square foot.

Anonymous said...

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...


2 story home, 5 bedroom, 4 bath, 3520 total sqft, central heat & air, with a 2 car garage. It was built in 1999.

Purchase Price: $265k
Showing Instructions: DRIVE BY ONLY

Less than a mile from Pine Hills (Crime Hills), a working class neighborhood that has gone straight downhill for the last few decades. This property DECREASED IN VALUE by about 40% from 2002 to 2005. Purchased for $183k in April 2002, resold for $100.5k in March 2005.

The 'DRIVE BY ONLY' is way too funny. You might actually witness a drive-by shooting while you're viewing the home. for details...

Anonymous said...

Kweefer: Stop making love to the sock puppet and get back to your blog.

I'm bored already. I'm on disability and there's no forest fires or traffic accidents outside for entertainment.

Anonymous said...

Global Cash Glut Fuels Investment Boom, Rate Concern (Update1)

Markets around the world are awash in excess cash, fueling a frenzy of investment from London to Tokyo that may lead central banks to push interest rates higher than investors now anticipate.

The cash glut is reheating the U.K. housing market

``Interest rates in the main economies have still not been raised enough,'' says Tim Congdon, visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and one of the ``wise men'' who advised the U.K. Treasury in the 1990s. ``There is a buoyancy in asset prices one gets with high-risk monetary growth.''

Without further tightening, central bankers may have new asset bubbles and inflation risks on their hands.

I wonder if they are talking about Governor Toshihiko Fukui inability to pull the trigger and start raising interest rates.

Anonymous said...

FED FOCUS: Waiting game could dampen credibility

The U.S. Federal Reserve seems content to leave interest rates steady for some time to see if slower growth dampens inflation, but some officials worry this waiting game could dent their inflation-fighting credibility.

"Inflation is high and moving higher," said Drew Matus, an economist at Lehman Brothers in New York. "The Fed seems to be a little too optimistic."

The major risk for prices is likely to come from potential wage inflation.

Seems like the only Central Banker not holding up to his end of the deal is Governor Toshihiko Fukui.

Anonymous said...

The governor rejected the possibility the central bank will adopt an inflation target or prescribe a desirable rate of increase in prices, despite some arguments for such measures among economists.

"It's not that we despise that kind of policy, but we'd feel a little cramped [if we adopt an inflation target]," Fukui said.

"It's important to achieve a certain rate of inflation over a certain period of time, but it's better to have a little space," he added.

Governor Toshihiko Fukui said “trust me on rate hikes”. The only thing we could be assured of is that he would fulfill his term of office up to March 2008

Anonymous said...

Trichet and Bernanke differ on strategy

Transatlantic differences over monetary strategy erupted into the open on Friday as the European Central Bank sought to modernise its policy of relying on money supply measures as an inflation early-warning system.

Jean-Claude Trichet, ECB president, used a Frankfurt conference to stress the importance of indicators such as M3, the broad money supply measure.

But in contrast, Ben Bernanke, US Federal Reserve chairman, said a heavy reliance on money supply measures “would seem to be unwise in the US context,” although money growth data might still offer important signals about future economic developments.

Mr Trichet refused to comment on whether differences between the US and European economies justified a different approach to the use of money supply data. But he acknowledged the need for monetary analysis to become more sophisticated, taking into account financial innovation.

Lucas Papademos, ECB vice-president, signalled that at least some on the bank’s governing council would like to merge the monetary component and the ECB’s more general economic analysis into a single “fat pillar” of analysis and revealed that preliminary work that could lead to such a project was already under way at the ECB. “But this will be a larger pillar in which money will continue to play a prominent role in guiding our monetary policy decision making,” he said.

The ECB’s “monetary pillar,” largely inherited from Germany’s Bundesbank, is controversial among economists because of confusion about the implications of money supply for inflation. At the ECB-hosted conference, prominent officials from the Frankfurt institution made clear that they saw significant scope for refinements. Recent fast growth in M3 and in credit figures has encouraged speculation that the ECB will continue lifting interest rates further in 2007, after an expected quarter percentage point rise in its main rate to 3.5 per cent in December, even though inflation is currently within the central bank’s definition of price stability – a rate “below but close” to 2 per cent.

ECB research presented at the conference was open about the shortcomings of the bank’s monetary analysis in its eight-year history.

Mr Trichet said the monetary analysis had been instrumental in the ECB’s decision to start raising interest rates in December 2005. At the time many economists and politicians feared its actions were premature given the uncertainties then about the eurozone’s economic outlook. “Without our thorough monetary analysis, we could have been in danger of falling behind the curve,” he said.

Mr Bernanke pointed to larger methodological problems in the US. “The rapid pace of financial innovation in the US has been an important reason for the instability of the relationships between monetary aggregates and other macroeconomic variables.”

Changes in payment technologies and individuals’ behaviour had meant usage of different kinds of accounts “have at times shifted rapidly and unpredictably”.

GK said...

Tired=McMansion Wired=Mini-House!

The Katrina cottage -- with living quarters about the size of a McMansion bathroom -- is now appealing to people well beyond the flood plain. Californians want to build one in their backyards to use for rental income to help with the mortgage payment. Modestly paid kayakers in Colorado see it as a way to finally afford a house. Elsewhere, people envision building one so a parent can live nearby.

Anonymous said...

Looking for an advice.

I'm moving to Austin, TX next month. Planning to buy a house few months after. I know that it is not a good time to buy a house but looks like Austin didn't experience this huge real-estate bubble, house prices are still reasonable and what surprises me they are still going up.
Is there anybody from that area to give an insight on local real estate market?

Also, what would be the best strategy - pay in cash or just put 20% downpayment and get 15yrs fixed mortgage while deducting mortgage interest from income tax and keep cash in the bank? I'm moving from Canada and not very familiar with US tax system.

Thanks in advance

Anonymous said...

Central Bank warns of decline in mortgage lending standards

Bank lending standards have declined severely since 2003, according to the Central Bank. It says that the number of borrowers at risk from higher interest rates is growing, writes Marc Coleman, Economics Editor.

The bank has welcomed what it says are tentative signs of a slowdown in the housing market, with Central Bank governor John Hurley saying that the worst appears to be over in terms of recently strong house price inflation.

The report notes that "60 per cent of [ bank] debt is property-related. According to survey evidence cited in the report, 71 per cent of bank respondents now regard a "rapid and abrupt house price change" as a "major risk" to the economy. Fifty per cent see "domestic credit risk" as a major threat while a "commercial property price bubble" is seen as the third highest risk factor, with 43 per cent of respondents describing this risk as "major".

Sounds a little like what happened all over America. But if Central Bankers did not loosen the money supply so much then mortgage lenders would not have let standards go out of control. So what came first the chicken or the egg?

Anonymous said...

NEWS-Bubble trouble? Real estate market slowing

Remember the good old days-- last year?-- when you could buy a house in Charlottesville for $100,000 one day and then put it on the market a couple of weeks later for $250,000? Okay, things might never have been that good, but there was a time not long ago when some home sellers made extraordinary profits seemingly overnight, and some real estate agents earned enough in one year to retire.

Take one of the condos at Solomon Court on Hydraulic Road just over the county line. On June 2, 2005, that condo sold for $99,500. Two months later, on August 12, the new owner sold it for $148,000-- an increase of nearly 50 percent. All over town, similar flips were occurring, with double-digit profits padding pockets of speculators.

It doesn't take an economist, however, to see that things have changed in the housing market on both the local and national level. Because local listings have tripled in the last two years while net sales have dropped by nearly 18 percent, the words "bubble," "burst," and "buyers' market" roll off tongues around town-- with dismay or glee depending on the speaker.

Anonymous said...

Habitat for hustlers
Freewheeling lenders seen preying on families in affordable-home program

The guiding principle of the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity, founded in 1976 to build affordable houses for underprivileged families, comes from the Old Testament: "If a brother living near you becomes poor, you must provide for not make a profit on the goods you sell him." But that ethos doesn't carry over to the many banks, brokers, and mortgage servicing companies that deal with Habitat families and, increasingly, are profiting handsomely from the financially naive.

Consider it another consequence of the housing boom. Habitat families are able to buy their homes for much less than full market value. A decade of rising prices has made them wealthier--on paper. At the same time, many are strapped for cash and unsophisticated about credit. For freewheeling brokers and lenders eager for refinancing business, the combination couldn't be better. "Habitat borrowers have targets on their backs," says Michael Calhoun, president of the Durham, N.C. Center for Responsible Lending.

Charles and Ann Williams of St. Paul, Minn., are prime examples. He's a janitor, she's a home child-care provider, and they have three children. Their annual income is $18,187, supplemented by Social Security benefits. In 1995 they built a Habitat house and took a $64,000 mortgage. Since all original mortgages in the Habitat program are interest-free, their monthly payment was just $396.

Anonymous said...

Kweefer: I got a new sock puppet that looks like a hot chick. It has a velvet mouth. : P

Anonymous said...

Countrywide Has Notified Regulators of Its Intent to Apply for a Savings Bank Charter

Anonymous said...

Mortgage rates increase on inflation worries

Rates on 30-year mortgages edged up slightly this week, reflecting market worries about inflation.

Mortgage-giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to 6.33 percent, up from 6.31 percent last week. Rates have exhibited a seesaw pattern of falling one week and then rising the next week for the past 1-1/2 months.

Analysts attributed the latest increase to last week's unemployment report, which raised worries in financial markets about inflation pressures coming from a tight labor market with a jobless rate at 4.4 percent.

Anonymous said...

More homeowners now shown the door

Foreclosures have been rising this year in the Capital Region as overextended homeowners struggle to keep up with higher interest rates and rising property taxes.

People who bought at or near the top of the real estate cycle are the most vulnerable.

As houses have grown more expensive, mortgage brokers came up with new types of loans to make the early years of a mortgage more affordable. Among them were interest-only mortgages with low introductory rates.

As long as house prices continued climbing, purchasers would see their equity grow, even though they were only paying the interest. But that changed when prices stopped climbing.

"Folks are overextended," said Anthony M. Gucciardo, an associate broker in Latham with Re/Max Park Place. He said the local housing market is still strong, but those who bought more house than they could afford are now struggling.

As interest rates adjust upward, they boost monthly payments. At the same time, house prices have softened, so it's harder for homeowners to sell at a price that will cover their debt.

"What our third-quarter research appears to be showing is that the first wave of adjustable-rate mortgages is having a negative impact on the number of homes going into foreclosure," James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement. "With the volume of loans -- more than $1 trillion of them due to adjust over the next 15 months -- this is a trend that definitely bears watching."

Anonymous said...

Foreclosure Statistics for the Nation's 100 Largest MSAs -- Q3 2006

16,155 Chicago, IL
13,562 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA
13,422 Dallas, TX
10,316 Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, MI
10,184 Houston-Baytown-Sugarland, TX
9,825 Denver-Aurora, CO
9,380 Miami, FL
8,431 Ft. Lauderdale, FL
8,183 Riverside-San Bernardino, CA
7,860 Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
6,854 Ft. Worth-Arlington, TX
6,467 New York-Wayne-White Plains, NJ-NY
6,383 Indianapolis, IN
5,781 Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria-Mentor, OH
5,542 Tampa-St Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
5,492 Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
5,215 Las Vegas-Paradise, NV
4,211 Warren-Farmington Hills-Troy, MI
4,128 Columbus, OH
4,089 Philadelphia, PA
4,069 San Diego, CA
3,929 Memphis, AR-MS-TN
3,788 San Antonio, TX
3,643 Palm Beach, FL
3,532 Oakland, CA
2,973 Suffolk-Nassau, NY
2,944 Pittsburgh, PA
2,882 Orlando, FL
2,838 St. Louis, IL-MO
2,516 Jacksonville, FL
2,509 Sacramento, CA
2,494 Cincinnati, IN-KY-OH
2,456 Newark, NJ
2,378 Austin-Round Rock, TX
2,205 Dayton, OH
2,190 Charlotte-Gastonia, NC
2,120 Oklahoma City, OK
2,058 Edison, NJ
2,058 Orange, CA
1,837 Louisville, IN-KY
1,805 Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA
1,802 Kansas City, KS-MO
1,672 Salt Lake City, UT
1,584 Akron, OH
1,516 Tulsa, OK
1,511 Minneapolis-St Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
1,435 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-MD-VA-WV
1,359 Camden, NC-NJ
1,264 Lake-Kenosha, IL
1177 Little Rock-North Little Rock, AR
1,154 Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Tonawanda, NY
1,143 Tucson, AZ
1,115 Nashville-Davidson, TN
1050 Stockton, CA
1,048 Boston-Quincy, MA
1,037 Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA
1,014 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
973 Fresno, CA
943 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
890 Gary, IN
878 Birmingham-Hoover, AL
862 Raleigh-Cary, NC
854 Toledo, OH
845 Hartford, CT
843 Tacoma, WA
824 Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA-NE
823 Worchester, MA
814 Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, FL
768 Bakersfield, CA
743 San Francisco, CA
720 New Haven-Milford, CT
677 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
664 Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA
654 Springfield, MA
622 Rochester, NY
608 El Paso, TX
602 Albuquerque, NM
551 Providence-New Bedford, RI
525 Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton, PA
511 Baltimore-Towson, MD
471 Essex, MA
415 Ventura, CA
415 Knoxville, TN
370 Greenville, SC
352 Wichita, KS
340 New Orleans, LA
298 Baton Rouge, LA
298 Greensboro-Highpoint, NC
257 Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY
227 Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, NC-VA
206 Syracuse, NY
197 Columbia, SC
186 Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ
174 Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA
163 Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY
160 Charleston, SC
114 Richmond, VA
106 McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr, TX
103 Honolulu, HI
74 Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg, MD

Anonymous said...

But that ethos doesn't carry over to the many banks, brokers, and mortgage servicing companies that deal with Habitat families and, increasingly, are profiting handsomely from the financially naive.
I think there's a special level of hell reserved for these housing scumbags who pray on the poor....

Anonymous said...

Dozens of arsons hit Saginaw since Devil's Night

Dozens of vacant homes have been set ablaze in the city since a fiery Devil's Night, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and keeping police and firefighters busy.

Late Wednesday and early today, four fires erupted on the same block, causing more than $70,000 in damage, The Saginaw News reported. The fires were at two homes one that burned twice and a car. No one was injured.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

The 'DRIVE BY ONLY' is way too funny.
It is funny. I did not bother with and I should have. Crime Hills is the pitts. I thought the discount was big, but it is not enough. I think free should about cover the true value, only if it has been renovated with 10 foot barbed wire topped chain link fences.

I get these e mails all the time.
I can not believe filppers are still flopping in Orlando.

I assume you live here too, anon?

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

We are so screwed.
Got Food
Got Tamaflu
Got Richard's phone number?

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Democrats Must Put
Up Or Shut Up Fast
From Dick Eastman

From Bob -

Democratic Party talking heads are already out there talking about how the election results are not only the best thing since sliced bread, not only the biggest political event of the last 200 years, but also an abrupt end to everything that the neo-cons stand for.

According to these characters Bush and the neocons were uniquely responsible for the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, the erosion of civil liberties, the legal threats that they claim point in the direction of martial law or fascism, the economic changes that have resulted in the rich getting richer, and all else that's not right with the world.

Okay...then it's put up or shut up time!

Let's see the Democrats rescind the complete Patriot Act. No tinkering around the edges - the whole thing has got to go.

And while they're at it, let's see them dismantle the 1996 Anti-terrorism and pro Death Penalty Act that Clinton signed.

Let's see them restore the right to habeas corpus.

Let's see them end the use of torture by the US military, CIA, private armies paid for with tax dollars, and countries whose governments are under US control.

Let's see them declare to the world that the US will no longer try to overthrow Castro, Chavez, Ortega or any other progressive leader who stands up to the US government and tries to bring about better conditions for their people.

Let's see them reject every appointment of another war-mongerer that Bush tries to make. Let's see them start with Bush's new Defense Secretary. Filibuster until January and then vote it down.

Let's see them put a litmus test on ALL nominations to the federal courts: either you're going to strike down anti-civil liberties laws or you don't get appointed.

Let's see them immediately withdraw (not redeploy) all US troops from the mideast. Moving them from Iraq to Saudi Arabia or Jordan is simply not enough. Get them out of there.

Let's see them end the blatant imperialism of the last 2 decades. No more US soldiers stationed anywhere outside the US. They should be a defense force. Defense of the people of the US NOT the defense (or offense) for every corporate executive that decides to wave a flag while he steals and exploits from the people in other lands.

Let's see them tie Bush's hands with a law that says the US will never again attack another country in a so-called "preventive" or "pre-emptive" war.

Let's see them cut the US military down to a size that could only be used for defensive purposes - say a 90% cut in the military budget to begin with.

Let's see them end the use of eminent domain. People should feel secure in their homes and that they won't be destroyed by the government for private profit.

Let's see them end the whole regimen of high stakes testing in schools that subjects our young people to a regular racist assault on their futures.

Let's see them end the current abuse of the legal system that results in the arrests of about 900,000 people a year for marijuana with the result that the rich get their records expunged while the poor are faced with reduced economic opportunities due to their police records in addition to jail time.

Let's see them end the stealing under the name of privatization that has been accomplished by Halliburton and their allies. But let's see them also end the stealing by the Democratic allied corporations like the ones building the useless arena in Newark or the shopping center next to Giants Stadium (soon to be renamed with some corporate logo.)

We have a chance to see if there really is a difference between Democrats and Republicans.

But the signs are already out there. Conyers has been told to shut up. And he's obeyed. No more talk of impeachment said Pelosi and she's going to be the new Speaker of the House. (Talk of impeachment benefited the Democrats during the election campaign by making them appear to be anti-Bush, but now reality sets in.)

Somehow, I foresee that rather than any real pro-people changes, we're instead going to see a lot of posturing, spin control, excuse making and blatant lying about why they can't do any of these things...and then they'll ask us to vote for more Democrats in 2008 to "solve" the problem.


Thank you, Bob. Remember how we expected Republicans to go after Clinton crimes when the House and Senate went to Republicans in 1994? Instead we got Gingrich -- who went with Clinton on every issue of the globalist agenda. The question is will people shut up or get angry. Certainly the neo-liberals and "progressives" are shutting up now that they are cut in on the action.

Still I know that SOMEONE will read your letter.

Dick Eastman

Anonymous said...

Dollar at two-month low against euro

The dollar fell to its lowest in more than two months against the euro after People’s Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan said the country will keep diversifying its foreign-exchange reserves away from the US currency.

The dollar slid against all 16 of the most-actively traded currencies Bloomberg tracks after Zhou said China will “stick to the existing policy’’ of reducing the share of US assets it holds. European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet and Bank of Japan chief Toshihiko Fukui suggested this week they would raise interest rates, adding to the allure of their currencies.

Roccman said...

"Can you produce your own food?"

Yes, but in the end it does not matter - as you pointed out those that have will continually kill those that have not.

Community building is key - no more than 100 people - knowing neighbors and banding together when the "let it burn" mentality sets in is paramont to a small shot at survival.

FMW - cute gif.

Got Richard's number - cute as well.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Dear Richard,

Thanks, I am glad you like my lighter side.

Well, you may be right about the time line.


FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

China reducing the share of US assets it holds.
This is Big. Now we just see by how much and how fast. If there is a free fall, I would not want to be the last one in the "Sell USD's" Line.

Next step, Fed Raises Rates.
It is too late for the Housing Msrket.

Roccman said...

Got gold??

Bush’s Chernobyl economy; hard times are on the way
By Mike Whitney
Online Journal Contributing Writer
http://onlinejourna publish/printer_ 1411.shtml

Nov 9, 2006, 01:24

In the next few months, a financial crisis will arise somewhere in the world which will jolt the American economy and trigger a swift and precipitous decline in the value of the dollar.

This is not speculation; it will happen and there is nothing that the Bush administration can do to stop it.

All of the traditional supports for the dollar have been removed by a shrinking economy, a massive $800 billion account deficit, dramatic increases in the money supply, and the reckless manipulation of interest rates.

Now, the noose is tightening. Our foreign trading partners can see that we are bobbing in an ocean of red ink and are refusing to buy back our debt in the form of US Treasuries. This is a death sentence for the dollar. It means that in a matter of months the once-mighty greenback will crash through the floor and free-fall through open space.

Roccman said...

I think my timeline for the convergence of the perfect calamity of events was two weeks from two weeks ago...

Is the fat lady warming up??

Keefer is still tracking down fire sale releases...

Hey Keefer...its always been about the oil (oh and the oil has been tied to the dollar for decades....) Hey keefer over here bud!!!!

The housing crash ain't even a blip on the radar screen of life.

Roccman said...

Screw it - Keef will probably delete this post because it is too long...screw him - he stopped my ticker at 906 - should be well past his by now and he knows it -

Bush’s Chernobyl economy; hard times are on the way
By Mike Whitney
Online Journal Contributing Writer
http://onlinejourna publish/printer_ 1411.shtml

Nov 9, 2006, 01:24

In the next few months, a financial crisis will arise somewhere in the world which will jolt the American economy and trigger a swift and precipitous decline in the value of the dollar.

This is not speculation; it will happen and there is nothing that the Bush administration can do to stop it.

All of the traditional supports for the dollar have been removed by a shrinking economy, a massive $800 billion account deficit, dramatic increases in the money supply, and the reckless manipulation of interest rates.

Now, the noose is tightening. Our foreign trading partners can see that we are bobbing in an ocean of red ink and are refusing to buy back our debt in the form of US Treasuries. This is a death sentence for the dollar. It means that in a matter of months the once-mighty greenback will crash through the floor and free-fall through open space.

Mike Swanson of the WallStreetWindow explains the worrisome details related to last month’s trade deficit, “Just a few days ago the US Treasury reported that the net capital inflows from the rest of the world into the US fell for a 6th month in a row. Private from abroad fell to $34.7 billion in August and from $72.9 billion in July. Asian central banks made up for the shortfall. If they hadn’t the current account deficit would have exploded. The NY Times quoted Ashraf Laidi, a currency analyst at MG Financial Group as saying, 'foreign central banks saved the dollar from disaster. The stability of the bond market is at thee mercy of Asian purchases of US Treasuries.'”

Swanson poses an interesting theory, but it can’t be verified since the Fed stopped printing the M-3 that would provide the relevant facts about the current cash inflows.

Jim Willie of GoldenJackass. com, offers an entirely different theory in his recent article “Spent Dollar Momentum.”

Willie opines, “Behind the scenes are the many illicit London-based firms busily buying US Treasury Bonds with freshly-printed money from the Dept of the Treasury. Their tracks are covered by the blackout on the money supply statistic. (M-3) An isolated US government with a well-oiled printing press as the primary support device makes for a dangerous currency situation.”

Willie’s theory jives nicely with the US Treasury’s figures on the “Foreign Financing of US Government Debt” (June 2006) Surprisingly, between 2005 and 2006, our friends in the United Kingdom purchased another $142 billion of USD bringing their stockpile of dollars to 201.4 billion.


Why would UK investors suddenly stock up on dollar assets when everyone else in the currency market is moaning about the greenback’s systemic problems?

Could it be that banks in the UK are just hiding the paper trail for friends in America who wanted to forestall a collapse in the dollar until after the election?

Of course there is another explanation for the irregular activity in cash inflows, (purchase of US Treasuries) that is, that we’re still living in a "faith-based" Wonderland where foreign trading partners are only too happy to buy an endless supply of worthless paper from a well-meaning giant who is busy spreading democracy to the "great unwashed" in developing world.

Of course, that is an utter fiction. The world is backing away from the dollar and dollar-based assets while the Federal Reserve attempts to conceal the details until we get through the election-cycle. It's that simple.

There is nothing accidental about the crisis we'll soon be facing. The officials at the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury are fully aware of the devastating effects of massive trade deficits, increasing the money supply, and interest rates. They have set the country on the path to ruin as part of a broader scheme for remaking the global system according to well-known precedents. In truth, the plan to modify the present system has a long history; going back to the 1980s when many of the same actors in government today were in positions of power in the Reagan administration. For the last six years they have been patching together their strategy; producing record deficits, unfunded tax cuts, mammoth government expansion, and doubling the money supply.

Who can possibly argue that they did not understand the implications of their actions?

Did Greenspan know that by lowering interest rates in 2001 to 1.5 percent that he would sluice trillions of dollars into the real estate market, producing the largest equity bubble in history? And, if he didn't know, then how is it that the Fed provides the statistics which actually tell how large the housing bubble is?

Can’t Greenspan read the charts and graphs his own organization puts out?

And why did Alan Greenspan support the “no down payment,” “interest-only” loans and adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), which allowed “high risk” people to qualify for mortgages when the Fed knew, according to their own figures, that if interest rates went up, foreclosures would skyrocket?

Of course he knew; they all knew. How could they NOT know? They produce the facts and figures themselves! It’s all part of a madcap scheme to shift wealth to the top 1 percent and drive a wooden stake into the heart of the middle class. When Greenspan saw that doomsday was approaching, he got “cold feet” and bailed out. Now the scholarly Ben Bernanke is left to supervise the economic meltdown and face the public scorn.

Trouble Ahead

Currently, the U.S. economy is held together by the slimmest of threads; literally duct-taped together by massaging all the crucial economic numbers, pumping as much cheap fiat-currency into the system, and by "increasingly suspicious" maneuverings in the futures markets. With the elections over, there will be no reason to conceal the rot at the heart of the system. After all, we are not facing an unforeseen catastrophe, but a planned demolition intended to increase the disparity between rich and poor to such an extent that democracy, as we know it, will no longer be possible.

Nothing is more repugnant to America’s ruling elite than the notion that every man, however broke and insignificant, can participate in our system of government.

The Federal Reserve's bloody fingerprints are all over our present dilemma. The privately-owned Fed has never operated in the public interest. By doubling the money supply in the last seven years and keeping interest rates artificially low, the Fed has generated a $10 trillion housing bubble while, at the same time, ignoring a $800 billion trade deficit which is sucking up American assets and crushing American industry at an unprecedented rate.

This massive expansion of debt has increased the likelihood that an unexpected event, like a bank failure or a teetering hedge fund, will cause a major disruption in the markets, sending tremors through the global system. Even if nothing explosive happens, the faltering real estate market will continue to swoon, consumer spending will dry up, and the fragile economy will crash to earth. In fact, this is taking place right now; retail sales are anemic, residential housing dropped a whopping 17 percent in the last three months, and economic growth shrunk to a measly 1.6 percent in the third quarter. The only thing keeping the economy from collapsing entirely is the sudden drop in oil prices that “conveniently” coincided with the midterm balloting.

This won’t last. According to industry analyst Matthew Simmons the world production of oil may have already peaked, setting the stage for a leveling-off period before the inevitable decline. Simmons has data to show that “world supply of oil has declined to 83.98 million barrels per day in the second quarter after hitting 84.35 million bpd in the forth quarter of 2005.” Oil production is going backwards not forwards.

No one believes the price of oil is going down any time soon. As energy prices rise and the housing market falls; consumer spending, which added $825 billion from home equity into last year’s economy, will continue to shrivel. Thus, the Fed will have to make the tough choice of whether to loosen the purse strings and lower interest rates to keep the economy sputtering along or ratchet up rates to attract more foreign investment. (Keep in mind that the real estate market is already in retreat, even though the full force of the Fed’s interest rate increases won’t be felt for up to six to 12 months after they have been raised. The worst is yet to come)

Most economists believe that Fed Chairman Bernancke will be forced to lower rates sometime in 2007 to try to stimulate the economy and to affect a “soft landing” in the housing market, but don’t count on it.

I believe the Fed is more likely to either keep rates the same or raise them to outpace the anticipated increases in Europe and Asia. The reason for this is simple: it presently takes nearly $2.5 billion per day to maintain our current account deficit. To continue to attract foreign capital, US Treasuries must offer a higher rate of return than their foreign competitors. Now that the economies in Europe and Asia are growing, their interest rates are going up accordingly (to slow inflation). That means that the only way that America can continue to expand its debt, through the exchange of fiat currency for resources and manufactured goods, is by raising the return on Treasuries. And, that is probably what Bernanke will do, even though it will skewer the struggling American worker and the US economy at the same time.

The secret to running the global economic system is to control the issuance of currency and thereby be in a position to expand one’s own debt as one sees fit. The Federal Reserve must preserve its “dollar hegemony” if it wants to maintain the greenback as the world’s “reserve currency.” To accomplish that, the dollar must stay one step ahead of its competitors (higher rates) and prove that it is on solid financial footing. This is impossible now that the US economy is contracting, so Washington has decided to do the next best thing; corner the oil market. By controlling Middle East oil, US policy-makers believe that they can force foreign nations to accept the debt-plagued greenback regardless of the faltering US economy. It is no different than any other extortion racket.

If the plan succeeds the dollar will remain the de facto international currency. But it is a difficult task and the escalating violence in Iraq suggests that the results are far from certain.

Corporate Colonization

“Free Trade” is the Holy Grail of neoliberalism. It is essentially a public relations scam intended to disguise the shifting of wealth, jobs and resources from either the middle class or the public sector to the corporate and banking establishments.’ Despite the zealous cheerleading of Thomas Friedman and his ilk; the basic facts have been thoroughly examined and are not in dispute. Free trade has been a dead loss for everyone except the people for whom it was originally designed; the wealthiest and most powerful men on the planet. It has served them quite well.

For example, “since NAFTA went into effect in 1994, the US has lost over $4 trillion to foreigners through its trade deficit” . . ."During that 11.5 year period , foreign ownership of US assets skyrocketed an amazing 400 percent from $3 trillion to over $12 trillion” . . ."Foreign interests now own 46 percent of US Treasury debt, 26 percent of corporate bonds, and 13 percent of US corporate equities. Now nearly 100 percent of ongoing borrowings by the government are funded by foreign interests.” . . ."Foreign interests also control a majority of US domestic industries such as movies, music, publishing, metal ore mining, cement production, engine and power plant production, rubber and plastics and are major owners of US industries such as pharmaceuticals, chemical manufacturing, industrial machinery manufacturing, motor vehicles, and electronic equipment and components . . . In addition, the US has lost 3 million manufacturing jobs over the last decade, real wage growth after inflation has been essentially zero,” and personal debt has never been higher. (Data from Thomas Heffner EconomyInCrisis. org)

Since 1980, 13,730 major companies have been sold to foreign corporations. We no longer produce what we need to sustain ourselves.

These facts may have a mind-numbing affect on the reader, but they make a point that is simple and unavoidable. The country is being colonized by corporate predators and its main assets are being sold off to the highest bidder. This rampant carpetbagging is taking place in full view of the American public that still clings to the spurious idea that “free trade” is generally beneficial for all. It is not, and we are about to experience its full-effects as America’s “straw house” economy topples from its loss of manufacturing- capacity and its staggering account imbalances.

“Foreign investors now own 46 percent of US Treasury debt” over $3 trillion dollars! The Federal Reserve and its corporate wolves are planning to prolong the hemorrhaging of US wealth as long as possible, extracting every last farthing from the prostrate corpse of the waning republic.

Now, we are at the brink. Energy prices will go higher after the elections, manufacturing will continue to flag, and the housing Zeppelin is drifting towards the high-tension wires. To make matters worse, the American consumer; the “engine for global economic growth,” is drowning in a sea of personal debt.

There’s no place to go but down.

Every part of this bleak picture was anticipated by its architects. That’s why they hastily slapped together the requisite legislation for a modern day police state. After passing the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (which allows the president the arrest whomever he chooses without charges) and overturning the Posse Comitatus Act (the president is now free to deploy the military within America against US citizens), the Bush administration is as ready as they can be. Apparently, they feel like they can manage the public shock and outrage with detention camps and water cannons.

We’ll see.

In any event, the trap has been set and any minor disruption in the hedge funds or derivatives markets will put the economy into a violent tailspin forcing our "Decider” president to activate his plans for the new world order.

Battle Stations, Battle Stations

Last week an article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard appeared in the UK Telegraph, where he stated: “[Treasury Secretary] Paulson re-activated the secretive support team to prevent markets meltdown. Judging by their body language, the US authorities believe that the roaring bull-market is just a sucker’s rally before the inevitable storm hits. . . . the plunge protection team is a shadowy body with powers to support stock-index, currency, and credit futures in a crash. Otherwise known as the working group on financial markets, it was created by Ronald Reagan to prevent a repeat of the Wall Street meltdown in October 1987.” . . . Paulson has set up “a command center at the US Treasury that will track global markets and serve as an operations base in the next crisis.” (Members include the heads at Treasury, Federal Reserve and Securities and Exchange Commission)

Evans-Pritchard adds: “Mr. Paulson has asked the team to examine ‘systemic risk posed by hedge funds and derivatives, and the government’s ability to respond to a financial crisis . . . We need to be vigilant and make sure we are thinking through all of the various risks and that we are being very careful here. Do we have enough liquidity in the system?'’”

And, finally, Evans-Pritchard asks, "[Do] Mr. Paulson and Mr. Cox [SEC] know something that we do not: whether other hedge funds are in the same sinking boat as Amaranth Advisors and Vega Management, keel-hauled by bets on natural gas and bonds? Or whether currency traders with record short positions on the Japanese Yen and Swiss Franc are about to learn the perils of the Carry Trade, a high-stakes game of chicken where you bet against fundamentals with high leverage to make a quick profit. Everybody knows it will blow up if the dollar goes into free fall.”

So what is Paulson anticipating?

Gabriel Kolko offers us a clue in a CounterPunch article, “Why a Global Economic Deluge Looms,” “The entire global financial structure is becoming uncontrollable in crucial ways its nominal leaders never expected. Instability is its hallmark . . . Contradictions now wrack the world’s financial system, and if we are to believe the institutions and personalities who have been in the forefront of the defense of capitalism, it may well be on the verge of serious crisis.”

Deregulation and reduced market transparency have created a plethora of financial instruments that are relatively untested and extraordinarily volatile. By eliminating the rules of the game, market savvy investors have raked in the profits but reshaped the economic landscape in a way that no one can predict what the ultimate outcome will be. Hedge funds are now loaded with over-leveraged debt instruments that promise a generous return in an up tempo market, but certain doom in an economic downturn. Now, that all the arrows are pointed towards recession, the devastating effects of this new “liberalized” system will be felt throughout the global economy.

No one knows what is in store for these high-risk hedge funds which have only been in existence for a short time and into which Americans have dumped trillions of their hard-earned savings. As Kolko says, “The credit derivative market was almost non-existent in 2001, grew fairly slowly until 2004, and went into the stratosphere, reaching $17.3 trillion by the end of 2005.”

Is it any wonder why the main players at the Fed, the Treasury and the SEC are feeling a bit jittery?

Any shock to the markets could set off a system-wide catastrophe. Just this week, for example, Taiwan was bracing for a stock market crash following the surprise indictment of first-lady Wu Shu-chen. Even relatively small incidents like this on the other side of the world create the potential for contagion that can spread rapidly in this new world of globalized markets. The danger is even greater when those markets are built on foundations of sand.

Hank Paulson was doubtless selected as Treasury secretary as the best possible “industry-insider” to oversee the unwinding of America’s humongous account imbalances and flimsy “deregulated” markets. His job is to ensure that, at the end of the day, US banking giants, the Federal Reserve, and western elites still control the global economic system and that the dollar reigns supreme. Whatever happens to the American middle class in the process is of no consequence.

But Paulson faces an insurmountable task from this point on; fudging the numbers only works for so long. So far, the greenback has benefited from the manipulation of oil prices, but that will soon end. (Better “fill ‘er up” now) The US economy is a shriveled shadow of its former self; housing and manufacturing are in a shambles and growth depends entirely on the expansion of debt. As GDP begins to nosedive, foreign investment will dry up, capital will flee to more promising markets in Asia and Europe, and the American people will totter into a barren world of soaring unemployment, hyperinflation, and 1930s type deprivation.

Unsurprisingly, the Bush administration still believes that their plan to remake the world’s strongest economy into a corporate fiefdom is a prudent way to meet the exigencies of the new century. Their foolishness defies description.

The country is now facing a Chernobyl-type meltdown and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. The foundation blocks for sound economic growth and prosperity have been replaced by a misguided faith in military adventurism and police state repression. The results are plain to see.

We are now more vulnerable to a seismic economic event than anytime since the Great Depression. The corporatists and the money-enders have absconded with the nation’s wealth; gutting the manufacturing sector, creating enormous equity bubbles, and raffling off our vital industries to foreign predators. Their unchecked avarice has left the country teetering on the verge of ruin. At the same time, the Bush administration has sown dragon's teeth across the world; leaving the US with precious few friends who will throw us a lifeline when the ship starts listing.

Hard times are on the way; only this time it’ll be detention centers instead of soup kitchens.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@

Copyright © 1998-2006 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Whatever happens to the American middle class in the process is of no consequence.
Exactly what one would expect from the FEDS.
I have argued this point and people will not believe that anything BAD can happen to us. The USA is some how always safe. We are entitled to security, financial and other wise.
I am continually astonished at the naiveté of our population.
This Essay ties everything together with a nice ribbon made of objective calamity for all, except the few at the top.
Well said.

foxwoodlief said...

Anonymous said...
Looking for an advice.

I'm moving to Austin, TX next month. Planning to buy a house few months after. I know that it is not a good time to buy a house but looks like Austin didn't experience this huge real-estate bubble, house prices are still reasonable and what surprises me they are still going up.
Is there anybody from that area to give an insight on local real estate market?

Also, what would be the best strategy - pay in cash or just put 20% downpayment and get 15yrs fixed mortgage while deducting mortgage interest from income tax and keep cash in the bank? I'm moving from Canada and not very familiar with US tax system.

Thanks in advance

Well buying and paying cash depends on your status and if you will be working or retired. An accountant would better advise on that investment strategy. Of course many would rather have the cash in the bank for emergencies or other investments if you get a low, fixed rate loan. Some of the builders are offering 5 1/2% fixed for 30 years.

As far as Austin, Texas is like some New England states, VERY HIGH property tax rates. In the city expect to pay 3% of assessed value, outside as low as 2.5%. Also location: If you want urban funk you'll pay for it. Expect to pay $250,000 and up for a small 2/1 downtown in Tarrytown, Travis Heights, Frenchman's place, South Congress, to mention a few areas. The tax rate is skewed now since no one knows how the new legislation will lower property taxes. You also will get (after one year) a 20% homestead exemption which will save you some of that 3% tax rate.

Prices are all over the map. There are some VERY good buys in parts of town and other areas because of the high tax rate are not as much of a bargain. You can as a rule of thumb add $50,000 to 100,000 to the price to compensate for the property tax rate on a lot of houses since an assessed value of $150,000 can easily charge you $3600 a year in property tax after homestead so that extra $300 a month would pay for a $50,000 loan at 6%.

Of course every place has a property tax and there is no state income tax so if you work and make a very good income you may be better off on that point but for retired folk, people who pay cash and maybe buy a larger house than they normally could afford and get a medium paying job might find the tax burden excessive since it is regressive toward the working class.

In Oakhill area (SW) in the hills close to Freescale and AMD you can find homes from $100,000 for a small 1300 sq ft and older homes for $250,000 on one plus acres about 2500 sq ft. New homes will run you $250,000 and up. If you go out east or SE you can find new homes for $150,000 that are 2500 sq ft or if you drive south toward Buda/Kyle even larger for that amount but then you have a long drive to the city.

In the NW expect to pay $250,000 for a small fixer and up. NW Hills is very desired and prices may seem low for similar homes say in the Hollywood Hills but in California they have Prop 13 freezing taxes so if you have owned for eternity you can havae a million dollar house that would have a tax rate as low as 700 a year (My parent's in the Bay area fall in that category since they bought in 1962 and their taxes are under a $1,000 for a million dollar home. I'd rather pay 1% tax on a $500,000 house than 3% on a $300,000 house. But then Californa has a high personal income tax.

So you have a lot to chew on. Renting first is smart as it will give you a chance to explore and find sleeper neighborhoods your realtor probably won't show you or know. I used a realtor for the first time in my life buying a home in Austin and as good as she was (and three weeks looking) I'd had been better to just drive neighborhoods all day until I found a place. I like my house, my neighborhood, but I've discovered areas I love just as much for $100,000 less (but older and after you update that would make for less of a savings than brand new but at least your assessed value would start at that lower rate).

Texas and Austin are very tricky markets. People who buy here as an investment or to flip can easily get burned. The market is very schizophrenic and you really have to know the local market not to get burned. If you are buying to live and can afford the taxes then it really doesn't matter where you buy.

Rents are also expensive. If you are single then you have a lot of affordable options. Rents here are higher than they were in Phoenix. Depending on location rents can actually be higher than if you bought. Friends bought a rental in Lakeway and have a mortgage of $1300 and rent it out for $2100 (the average rental price in their area is $1800 but goes up to $4000). In very desired areas you can easily pay $1 a sq ft and up. In average areas .75cents to $1 a sq ft.

Hope that helps.

blogger said...

US administration officials to be brought up on charges for war crimes

Time Magazine:

Just days after his resignation, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.,8599,1557842,00.html

Anonymous said...

Richard, the link dont work, could you tinyurl it? I need to print this out. thanks

Roccman said...

http://adamash. blogspot. com/2006/ 11/us-politics- oversight- subpoenas. html

The Subpoena wars.
House Arrest
by Jeffrey Rosen/The New Republic

On the eve of losing the House, the Republican National Committee sent journalists a frantic e-mail. "Who is Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)?" the missive asked, referring to the man now slated to lead the House Judiciary Committee. "A radical Democrat who would promote an agenda of investigation, obstruction, impeachment and disarmament. "

As far as GOP bogeymen go, Conyers has some credibility. During the past two years alone, he has requested investigations of the administration' s renditions of suspected terrorists, Condoleezza Rice's possible transgression of Hatch Act prohibitions against campaigning on the job, and Justice Department attempts to obstruct the hydra-headed Jack Abramoff investigation. And, of course, the RNC also pointed to Conyers's proposals for the possible impeachment of President Bush.

But, while Republicans paint a nightmare scenario of subpoena-mad Democrats, they fail to capture its truly melodramatic conclusion. Yes, Democrats will attack hard. As one staffer told me, "[T]he memos I've seen suggest that Congress has strong power to investigate. We'll try to find the best test case, and, if we can show that Republicans are part of a cover-up, it's a good fight for us." But Democrats also insist that they will take care to avoid the errors of Clinton-era Republicans, who were spoiling for impeachment as soon as they seized the House in 1994 (see Michael Crowley, " Subpoena Envy, " November 6).

Restraint, however, may not be enough to prevent a constitutional confrontation that could make Monicagate look tame. That's because any conflict could escalate quickly when the White House, invoking its radical theory of unilateral executive authority, refuses to cooperate with Democratic investigations. Congress may then hold the White House officials in contempt, setting up legal battles that could make their way to the Supreme Court while paralyzing the government in the process. One likely spark for this kind of conflagration is a Democratic investigation into the National Security Agency's (NSA) secret surveillance program.

Here's how a constitutional collision could unfold. After the new Congress begins in January, Chairman Conyers sends letters to the Justice Department and the White House counsel demanding secret documents that cast light on the scope and mechanics of the snooping. The questions might include whether Bush obstructed justice when he denied the security clearances that the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility needed to investigate the program.

True to form, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Bush ignore the letters. Conyers responds by issuing subpoenas for documents and testimony. Gonzales then insists that the documents are protected by executive privilege. The Judiciary Committee, followed by the full House, votes to hold Gonzales in contempt of Congress--a federal crime with a punishment of up to a year in prison. After Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, certifies the contempt citation, she then forwards it along to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, demanding that he haul Gonzales before a grand jury.

What happens next? The U.S. attorney might well ignore the request, leading House Democrats to sue in federal court for an order mandating the prosecution of Gonzales. Here, the legal precedents are in the Democrats' favor. During the Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s, Congress investigated the attorney general's failure to prosecute Harding administration corruption, and executive officials refused to respond to subpoenas. The Supreme Court issued two important decisions, sustaining the arrest of the attorney general's brother for contempt of Congress and upholding the contempt conviction of a witness who refused to answer questions on the grounds that the courts were already investigating Teapot Dome.

The last time the House cited an executive official for contempt was in 1982, when Anne Gorsuch, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, asserted executive privilege and refused to respond to a subpoena from House members investigating the Superfund scandal. A grand jury ultimately declined to intervene in the fight. The White House eventually agreed to provide limited access if Democrats dropped the contempt citation.

It's difficult to imagine the Bush administration being similarly accommodating. A White House that has insisted that its executive authority gives it the right to stretch or ignore laws with which it disagrees is not likely to fold under threat of congressional contempt. If Gonzales and Bush decide to fight a congressional contempt citation all the way to the Supreme Court, it's hard to predict what the Court would do. In United States v. Nixon in 1974, the Court rejected Richard Nixon's claim of absolute executive privilege and ordered him to turn over the tapes that had been subpoenaed by the Watergate special prosecutor. The Court suggested that it might reach a different result in a case involving "a claim of need to protect military, diplomatic, or sensitive national security secrets." But other cases have held that Congress has broad power to subpoena even confidential information, because courts presume that congressional committees will act responsibly and won't lightly vote to make classified material public--which they're legally free to do. As the Roberts Court's performance in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld suggests, it is not shy about standing up to the president to defend the powers of Congress. And, in a head-to-head judicial conflict with Congress, Bush could plausibly lose.

Regardless of how the Supreme Court ruled in Conyers v. Gonzales, there would be subsidiary legal battles raging for months as the contempt case made its way up to the Supreme Court. Democrats and Republicans would fight about whether to force Gonzales to testify by granting him the necessary immunity--immunity grants require a two-thirds vote by the relevant committee--and the scope of his immunity might provoke lawsuits of its own. All these fires would be raging from a single investigation into the NSA scandal. At the same time, a series of related battles and lawsuits might be erupting from parallel investigations into Iraq war intelligence, Halliburton cronyism, and the misuse of presidential signing statements.

Even if the Supreme Court eventually ruled against Congress in Conyers v. Gonzales , Congress could always enforce contempt citations on its own. In a little-used procedure, Congress has the power to punish recalcitrant witnesses for "inherent contempt." As Morton Rosenberg of the Congressional Research Service points out in an invaluable 1995 report on investigative oversight that House Democrats are now heavily consulting, the defiant witness can be brought before the House or Senate by the sergeant at arms, tried, and locked up in the capitol jail. (In 2004, a citizen-activist was sentenced to a six-month term there for "disrupting Congress" by demanding to testify at a judicial confirmation hearing.) This inherent contempt procedure hasn't been invoked by Congress for more than 70 years, because a cumbersome trial for contempt has the potential to grind Congress to a halt. But, if the White House is obdurate and the courts are unsympathetic, congressional Democrats might decide that a contempt trial--unlike a presidential impeachment- -would be good politics as well as good theater. And, of course, the House is always free to impeach Gonzales for his refusal to cooperate, which might be less politically risky than an impeachment of Bush.

The history of congressional investigations suggests that Congress can score political points by challenging a defiant White House, but only when it maintains some sense of proportion. Whitewater, for example, was a gift to Bill Clinton's opponents--until House Republicans embarked on their quixotic pursuit of impeachment. This time around, House Democrats say they will assimilate the lessons of the recent past and provoke Bush into overreacting to their subpoenas while keeping their cool. Of course, this restraint may be undone by a few hotheaded colleagues in the mood for payback. Regardless of who wins this match of constitutional chicken, it may occupy most of Bush's attention until he departs office in January 2009--a moment that the nation, by that point, will greet with exhaustion and relief.

(Jeffrey Rosen is the legal affairs editor at The New Republic.)

Roccman said...

Try this:

Bush’s Chernobyl economy; hard times are on the way

By Mike Whitney

Roccman said...

Cheney in a Box

By Mike Whitney

11/10/06 "Information Clearing House"


The Democrats didn’t win anything; that’s all hogwash. Bush was buried beneath an avalanche of bad news which was timed to begin with the release of Bob Woodward’s book “State of Denial”, followed by the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Lancet’s Iraqi casualty report, the Mark Foley page fiasco, and a barrage of ethics-scandals, corruption investigations, and intensified coverage of the war. It was a carefully-coordinat ed coup intended to install “adults” (like Robert Gates) in positions of power, change the policy in Iraq, and remove Rumsfeld and Cheney from office.


Elite powerbrokers and Republican Party kingpins extended their hoary grip all the way into the Oval Office and took the country back from the teenagers. But the boulder is still only half way up the hill. After all, what are their plans for Cheney?


Right now, Cheney is probably huddled somewhere with his national security team, rubbing his sweaty-hands together, figuring out how he can get back in the game and keep his fetid plan moving forward.

Cheney is smart; real smart. Smart like a cobra. He’s not going down without a fight and he doesn’t give a damn if he takes the whole country with him.

This is all about Cheney now; Dick Cheney, political survivor and skilled bureaucratic infighter. If anyone thinks that he’s going to sit around waiting for the Democrats to start sniffing around the Republican corruption-cesspool ; they’re crazy.

He knows what’s going on. He knows that Bush Senior, and Brzezinski, and Baker, and the rest of the “old order” Republicans have muscled in and are taking over. He knows he won’t be able to bomb Iran, kill another 650,000 Iraqis, or declare martial law at home. And, he also knows that Conyers and the rest of them will be nosing-around the Halliburton “no bid” contracts; going through every sordid detail with a fine-tooth comb, and dredging up new scandals on a daily basis.

He grasps all of that. He understands the political climate and he knows that he only has two choices left; offense or defense?

Either he steps down or he collects his wits, gets his team together; Addington, Abrams, Chertoff, Gonzales etc; all the guys who are “one step ahead of the hangman”; and slaps together one “last-ditch” effort to establish absolute-dictatoria l power that will put him forever beyond the reach of the law or of any future accountability for his war crimes.

It’s a tough task. Bush is teetering and he’s probably left the Cheney-Rumsfeld orbit already. Robert Gates’ job is to influence Bush, to win him over with reason and, thus, move the country away from the brink of disaster. Cheney has been removed from the policy-making apparatus and he knows it.

So, what’ll he do next?

What will Cheney do now that he’s been backed into a corner and his power is oozing away like the blood from a sucking chest-wound?

Will he quietly retire and disappear into the political vapor or “lock-n-load” and go down with both guns blazing?

Here’s a clue: Cheney is “dead-ender”. He won’t go peacefully.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

The Judiciary Committee, followed by the full House, votes to hold Gonzales in contempt of Congress--a federal crime with a punishment of up to a year in prison.
New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

Dear Keith and Richard,

I reckon the Germans better hurry before the New Democratic Legislative Branch of the US Government gets um first.

Anonymous said...

All of the doom and gloom, everyone forgets, we carry the biggest stick. Our navy can block all sea lanes that deliver foreign oil. Our airforce can dominate any country. Speak loudly and carry the biggest stick. Nobody wants to see our economy tank and have the U.S. get desperate. Look at the figures on military spending, we spend more than the world combined, even including China's fake numbers.

Roccman said...

by Jay Hanson, 5/10/2006

Available energy on this planet has been declining ever since humans
began digging "ancient sunshine" (fossil fuel) out of the ground. The
amount of fossil fuel burned in a single year (1997 was used in the
study) totals 97 million billion pounds of carbon, which is equivalent
to more than 400 times "all the plant matter that grows in the world
in a year," including vast amounts of microscopic plant life in the
oceans. [ http://www.futurepu archives/ 001744.html ]


Almost 50 years ago, the geologist M. King Hubbert developed a method
for projecting future oil production. Hubbert found that when
approximately one half the estimated ultimately recoverable oil had
been produced in an oil basin, production "peaks" and then declines
towards zero. He calculated that oil production in the lower-48 states
would peak about 1970. His prediction has proved to be remarkably
accurate. Both total and peak yields have risen slightly compared to
Hubbert's original estimate, but the timing of the peak and the
generally declining production trend are correct.

For the last 50 years since Hubbert's prediction came true, many
geologists and oil companies have published estimates of the total
amount of crude oil that will ultimately be recovered from the Earth
over all time. Remarkably, these assessments of EUR oil have varied
little over the past half century and conclude that global oil
production and North American natural gas production are expected to
peak around 2005.

No alternative (even nuclear) has the potential to replace more than a
tiny fraction of the power presently generated by fossil fuel.


Imagine having a motor scooter with a five-gallon tank, but the
nearest gas station is six gallons away. You can not fill your tank
with trips to the gas station because you burn more than you can bring
back -- it's impossible for you to cover your overhead (the size of
your bankroll and the price of the gas are irrelevant). You might as
well put your scooter up on blocks because you are "out of gas" --


If a country must spend more-than-one unit of energy to produce enough
goods and services to buy one unit of energy, it will be impossible to
cover the overhead (e.g., Zimbabwe). At that point, every country's
economic machine is "out of gas" -- money and common stocks become
worthless forever.

For more basic information on energy, see ENERGETIC LIMITS TO GROWTH,
by Jay Hanson, ENERGY Magazine, Spring, 1999;
http://www.dieoff. com/page175. htm

Roccman said...

I shall die
but that is all
I shall do for Death

I hear him leading his horse out of the stall
I hear the clatter on the barn floor
He is in haste
he has business in Cuba
business in the Balkans
Many calls to make this morning
But I will not hold the bridle while he cinches the girth
And he may mount by himself
I will not give him a leg up

Though he flick my shoulders with his whip
I will not tell him which way the fox ran
And with his hoof on my breast
I will not tell him where the black boy hides in the swamp

I shall die
but that is all
that I shall do for Death
I am not on his payroll

I will not tell him the whereabouts of my enemies either
Though he promises me much
I will not map him the route to any man's door
Am I a spy in the land of the living
that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city are safe with me
Never through me shall you be overcome

I shall die
but that is all
I shall do for Death

Edna St. Vincent Milay

Hard assets said...

What's the next bubble? We've seen- Gold in the 80's!
Stocks in the 90's! Housing in the 2000's!
What's next? Gold? Foreign stocks? Oil? Or what?

Hard assets said...

It looks like the Harvard types won the election! Do you think that "brain trust" can run this country? They're about as naive as they get! You think those Texas types were stupid! Well wait until those liberal east coasters get in there. It will be like an all day "happy hour" with Ted Kennedy leading the drinking!
They have us all holding hands with each other singing "Jumbaya My Lord" with the Talaban and Al Quida.
I would just kick back and watch the freak show and laugh if it wasn't so tragic!

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Our navy can block all sea lanes that deliver foreign oil
True, assuming Iran does not have nukes.

Anonymous said...

Anyone keep tap of this webpage For buyers and For sellers recommendation?

If you want to write a book and keep track of a realtor prospective of the housing market start collecting their For Buyers and For Sellers and recommendations you get a good feel of the emotion of a complete housing cycle.

Based on their last two months recommendation (July-Sept 2006) it seems to definetly be the peak.

In March/April time frame the For Sellers recommendation will probably be to lower prices instead of buying down points, because the buyers these days are better informed then they were in the past and won't fall for that non-sense anymore.

For Buyers recommendation will probably be asking the sellers for a lower price instead of buying down points because it will lower your property tax, and you get the same advantage as buying down points.

Roccman said...

"Our navy can block all sea lanes that deliver foreign oil"

Iran has demonstrated an impressive mass launch of swarms of missiles. The zionist-big oil-defense contractor war party in power in the US and Israel should takenote -- although they probably will not going by the unbounded hubris they have demonstrated.

Iran's "Power of Deterrence"
The display of Iran's military capabilities is intended to deter US war plans

by Michel Chossudovsky

November 5, 2006
GlobalResearch. ca

http://www.globalre index.php? context=viewArti cle&code=CHO20061105&articleId=3713

On November 2, Iran tested three new types of land-to-sea and sea-to-sea missiles in the context of its "Great Prophet II" military exercises carried out on land in the desert (See images below), in the Persian Gulf waters, the Sea of Oman and 14 of Iran's provinces.

Western and Israeli military analysts were taken by surprise. According to Debka, the Israeli intelligence publication (5 November), several features of Iran's military capabilities were unknown to the Pentagon:

"The spectacular swarm of sophisticated missiles fired in Iran’s surprise military exercise stuns military planners in the US, Israel and Europe"

Iran's tests of surface missiles on November 2 were marked by precise planning in a carefully staged operation. According to a senior American missile expert (quoted by Debka), "the Iranians demonstrated up-to-date missile-launching technology which the West had not known them to possess."

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Yea, that's what I'm talking about.
Nice post Richard.

Anonymous said...

I did some web surfing and I found this web page.

The following is a message found in the following webpage:

The US economy is growing at a third the pace of China’s. Poverty is rising and median household incomes are, in real terms, declining. America’s total net savings are much less than China’s. China produces far more of the engineers and scientists that are necessary to compete in the global economy than the US, while America is cutting its expenditures on basic research as it increases military spending. Meanwhile, as America’s debt continues to balloon, its president wants to make tax cuts for the richest people permanent. With all this in mind, China’s leaders may not feel they need to seek advice from the US on how to manage either the exchange rate or the economy.

If people feel this way about the US economy why did the governor of the People's Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan just recanted.

China has no plans to change its policies toward foreign exchange reserves or sell any foreign currencies.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Zhou Xiaochuan just recanted.

Very Good question.

Whilst we have been waiting for the other shoe to drop as China very publicly dumps Dollars, (interest rates go up as the USD goes down) this typical spin is spread to prop up the USD, in other words a lie to quell panic and they quietly do the deed.


It is true and someone else, whom ever is really making the decisions, made a recent phone call to Mr.Zhou Xiaochuan. But who would forbid China from diversification of its holdings?


They just changed their mind???

Caveat: Above comments are just my musings and speculations and are not supported by any research.

Anonymous said...

California Mortgage Company reported a huge 3rd QTR loss compared to a large gain last year

The lending and mortgage investing sector might experience some shocks as the ARMS reset and people give the houses back. Its not over til its over.

Anonymous said...

Home prices fall in Suffolk

For the first time in eight years, the median price of a home in Suffolk County dipped compared with the same month last year, yet another sign, experts say, of the housing market's gradual readjustment from the highs of just a few years ago.

The median price of a home in Suffolk County dropped 2.5 percent to $390,000 last month from $400,000 in October 2005, according to data released late Thursday by the Long Island Multiple Listing Service.

Nassau's median home price, which dropped about 5.5 percent last month to $472,300, had already begun its decline. In August, its median price fell 1 percent, to $495,000, and in September, it fell 4 percent, to $480,000.

Along with decreasing prices, the housing inventory has increased, the data showed. At the current pace of sales, it would take 12.4 months to sell the existing housing supply in Suffolk County last month. In Nassau, that figure was 10.6 months, and in Queens, it was 11.5 months.

Anonymous said...

Fed cuts to interest rates not expected

Economic growth in the United States will pick up and inflation will remain elevated through early next year, leaving the Federal Reserve little room to reduce interest rates, according to a survey of economists.

Anonymous said...

Yield Curve Affecting Bank Margins

More of a problem for the banks, I think, is the flat yield curve. What I focus on most is the three-month to 10-year range, and if you look at that spread you’ll see a slightly negative yield curve for the past two months.

But in any case, the yield curve has been below 50 bps since January, so for the whole of 2006 it’s been pretty flat.

This puts pressure on margins, and among banks this spread income represents a majority of revenue. In turn, this puts pressure on the top line, which is where I’ve seen most of the issues with banks recently.

Anonymous said...

Word of the month for housing: Down

The latest Twin Cities numbers offer encouragement for buyers but more headaches for sellers, who are dropping prices.

The Twin Cities housing market had a case of the sags in October -- sagging prices, sagging ranks of listings and sagging numbers of closed sales.

Anonymous said...

Oct. sales of homes lowest in 6 years

In a climate of nervous buyers and frustrated sellers, the average Baltimore-area home price posted the fifth consecutive month of single-digit increases in home values as the number of houses sold fell by more than 22 percent. It was the weakest October since 2000.

The average sales price in
Baltimore and the five surrounding counties crept up 3.15 percent from October 2005 to $307,190, Rockville-based Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. reported yesterday.

Prices were essentially flat in Harford and fell in Carroll and Howard counties.

Regionwide, 2,810 homes were sold last month, about 800 less than a year earlier, with all jurisdictions posting double-digit declines. The figure was the lowest October number since 2,708 homes were sold in October 2000, when the average price fell.

Anonymous said...

Builders use incentives to battle sluggish sales

New home sales have declined dramatically throughout the Northern San Joaquin Valley this year, but some builders say they're having success selling houses that are priced right.
Bad news is new home sales were down nearly 59 percent the third quarter of this year compared with the same period a year ago in Stanislaus County, according to The Gregory Group, a real estate consulting and analysis firm.

Sales were off 32 percent in San Joaquin County and 39 percent in Merced County.

"Prices had just gone up tremendously," said Paquin. "They outstripped income levels."

The good news for buyers is they are getting lower prices, and builders who are finding ways to make buyers happy are making sales.

Roccman said...

The poetry of Big D Rummy:

The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

—Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

Glass Box
You know, it's the old glass box at the—
At the gas station,
Where you're using those little things
Trying to pick up the prize,
And you can't find it.

And it's all these arms are going down in there,
And so you keep dropping it
And picking it up again and moving it,

Some of you are probably too young to remember those—
Those glass boxes,

But they used to have them
At all the gas stations
When I was a kid.

—Dec. 6, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing

A Confession
Once in a while,
I'm standing here, doing something.
And I think,
"What in the world am I doing here?"
It's a big surprise.

—May 16, 2001, interview with the New York Times

You're going to be told lots of things.
You get told things every day that don't happen.

It doesn't seem to bother people, they don't—
It's printed in the press.
The world thinks all these things happen.
They never happened.

Everyone's so eager to get the story
Before in fact the story's there
That the world is constantly being fed
Things that haven't happened.

All I can tell you is,
It hasn't happened.
It's going to happen.

—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing

The Digital Revolution
Oh my goodness gracious,
What you can buy off the Internet
In terms of overhead photography!

A trained ape can know an awful lot
Of what is going on in this world,
Just by punching on his mouse
For a relatively modest cost!

—June 9, 2001, following European trip

The Situation
Things will not be necessarily continuous.
The fact that they are something other than perfectly continuous
Ought not to be characterized as a pause.
There will be some things that people will see.
There will be some things that people won't see.
And life goes on.

—Oct. 12, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing

I think what you'll find,
I think what you'll find is,
Whatever it is we do substantively,
There will be near-perfect clarity
As to what it is.

And it will be known,
And it will be known to the Congress,
And it will be known to you,
Probably before we decide it,
But it will be known.

—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing
Hart Seely writes for the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper. He is co-author of 2007-Eleven and Other American Comedies.

Article URL: http://www.slate. com/id/2081042/

charlatan said...

Look at the figures on military spending, we spend more than the world combined, even including China's fake numbers.

...and can't control iraq.

Anonymous said...

On the eve of losing the House, the Republican National Committee sent journalists a frantic e-mail. "Who is Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)?" the missive asked, referring to the man now slated to lead the House Judiciary Committee. "A radical Democrat who would promote an agenda of investigation, obstruction, impeachment and disarmament. "
OMG! Rep. Conyers has got to be one of the Neocon's worst nightmares. LOL!

skianddive said...

The world as we know it is coming to an end and oh, by the way, I need $$ for an Ipod.



Anonymous said...

Great post i really enjoyed reading it.


Digital Photo Tips

Anonymous said...

Real they've got squatters shooting up drugs in an apartment building down in Miami that was supposed to be torn down and remade as a condo tower.

"Inside the Cameo, the newest residents are sleeping off last night's high. Nearly every apartment has been vandalized. In one, green garbage bags filled with trash are piled in the middle of the living room. In another, a wall is smeared with feces."

Roccman said...

Keefer you should pay me -

You are the breed that is bringing this world to its knees - greed and ignorance.

Get real Keef. Loser

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Just spoke to one of my really smart friends. He does business Internationally, and I asked him about China's waffle with regard to a USD exit. He said Rummy was a war monger and if the war started, then China was going to dump dollars. SO, Bush fired Rummy and China is still.

Benvolio Montague said...

The "buy Keith an ipod" link doesn't work. Is that gonna get fixed?

I'd be really impressed if you donated your 3% to charity.

Jip said...

Here is another reason to not buy a house at this time (ESPECIALLY from a flpipper)...

The new season of "Flip This House" on A&E.

To make a long story short; The guy from the first season (Richard from Trademark Realty), seemed to be a decent honest professional. Anyway, he left A&E over creative differences, and was replaced by two teams. These new teams are lead by REALLY s#!++y men who (IMNO) tend to cut corners (by trying to do stuff on the cheap), in order to boost their profit margin. One case in point was an epsiode from last week (called "Roach House") when Armando tried to "Sugar Coat" a house that had mushrooms growing under the toilet due to major water leeks. That is just one case in point.

If ANYONE thinks I'm going to buy ANYTHING from a shyster like him, you GOTTA be JOKING!!!!! ESPECIALLY if they want half million plus like they do in the LA/OC Area...

Roccman said...

http://www.american articles. php?article_ id=6026

First Order of Business for Democrats: The Draft
November 10th, 2006

On January 8th of 2003, Congressman Charles Rangel [D-NY] began an
extensive campaign to bring back the military draft. He repeatedly
submitted legislative bills to begin a military draft and compel all
American men and women up to the age of forty-two to serve two years
of military service. Under the Republican-controll ed Congress, such
bills went down to defeat.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

i sent you an e mail at your Yahoo address. (:

Anonymous said...

Zhou Xiaochuan has a very vivid metaphor. He said: "A fixed exchange rate is like a shield in the hand when fighting, however you attack me, I will remain unmoved; if I fail to hold on, the impact will cause influence. A floating exchange rate is like a foam-rubber cushion, if you want to fight your way in, I'll react softly, ok, you've come in, but I won't let you hit me; when you want to quit, I'll give you a pinch and let you go only after you have taken a layer of your skin off."

Experts put it frankly that if RMB exchange rate reform is delayed indefinitely, it will bring about three major risks.

First is the risk of domestic economic bubble. If the monetary base grows too big, it will cause inflation when flowing to the commodity market; when the money flows to the capital market, it will lead to a bubble of assets. The emergence of economic bubble will aggravate the frailty of the financial system and will reduce the capability to resist monetary impacts.

Second is the risk of weakening the independence of monetary policy. The principle of the "Mundell ternary paradox" tells us that of the three things: full capital opening, independent monetary policy and stable exchange rate, a country can only choose two, and cannot have all three.

Third is the risk of a reversion of the situation. If the exchange rate must be reformed, then an active reform is better than a passive one; reform carried out under revaluation pressure is better than reform carried out under devaluation pressure.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon,
Haven't these three things already begun?

Anonymous said...

Central banks in Russia, Switzerland and New Zealand are increasing holdings of yen, anticipating the currency will rebound from a 20-year low on rising interest rates and the longest economic expansion since World War II.

Officials in Thailand also said they want to reduce their dollar holdings.

``We're seeing the start of a trend into the yen by central banks,'' said Callum Henderson, head of currency strategy at Standard Chartered Bank Plc in Singapore. ``You'd better believe the smarter investor is paying attention.''

Rate Signal

Japan's government has signaled it prefers a stronger yen, which cuts import costs in a nation that purchases all of its oil from overseas. It also keeps bond yields low by capping inflation. Finance Minister Koji Omi said last month he welcomed the Russian central bank's plan to buy yen.

Anonymous said...

New Zealand's dollar may rise amid expectations the nation's record-high interest rates will attract investors betting the U.S. dollar may fall.

New Zealand's official cash rate is 7.25 percent, or 2 percentage points more than the Federal Reserve's target. About 60 percent of traders surveyed by Bloomberg advised selling the U.S. dollar against the euro this week.

``The weaker bias in the U.S. dollar should provide underlying support for the local currency,'' said Danica Hampton, currency strategist at Bank of New Zealand Ltd. in Wellington. ``Asian demand for New Zealand dollar assets remains strong, and this should limit the currency's downside.''

Anonymous said...

I am still perplexed by the fact that those who sold at the top of the bubble and made lots of money by knowingly screwing others are often the same people who now rail against the housing bubble and/or the greed and excess that caused it- as if they had nothing to do with it.

No, dickweeds, YOU are the problem.

Roccman said...

New nuclear reactors cannot be built in time to fill the huge shortfall in
electricity generating capacity expected a decade from now, top energy
company executives will warn the Government this week.

The Coal Forum, a group of leading industry figures set up over the summer
as part of the Government's Energy Review, will instead argue for support
for the construction of a new generation of clean coal plants.

If no new plants are built, there will be a generation gap of around 20GW
(around a third of the UK's total existing capacity) by 2016. Some 8GW of
old coal plants will have to shut by the end of 2015 to comply with European
pollution regulations.

Anonymous said...

Home Builders in Trouble

I am an employee for a larger homebuilder in the Chicago market. We track other builders locally and nationaly and the housing market is in major trouble throughout the country. Right now in Chicago we have 95,000 houses for sale. Double the number from a year ago and only 1/2 the prosective buyers in the market. Basic supply and demand, over built, not interest rates! Some of the local national builders were so desperate for land they have made some real dumb land purchases and are holding some real lemons. Paying too much for bad parcels of land in bad locations that they in trouble selling homes on. What do you do with all the excess cash you made the last 5 years. They certaintly did not keep it on the balance sheet for the hard times. Most homebuilders margins have dropped a minimum 10-15% with no end in sight. We are basicly giving away the ship to keep operations running. Just like the auto industry! The market is minimum 2 to 3 quarters from any rebound, if a rebound will happen. Our professional guidence tells us that the rebound to levels of 2003 - 2005 will not happen until 2011. As a professional in the homebuilding industry, there is no reason why homebuilding stocks are maintaining any value. Take a lesson from the airline industry. It will be several years before the profits return. I have been through the housing slump of the 1980's and most of the employees in the industry have never been expose to this type market or have planned for it, including the executives of the major builders. No one saw this coming so quickly. The major national homebuilders have been making bad aquistions of smaller regional companies with poor balance sheets to aquire their land in an effort to fuel the machine and roll the dollars. They are basicly burn and churn operations. The churning is not happening, so the burning is coming. Most of these large builders are holding too much land with devaluating prices. The only thing keeping these stock prices afloat are the mutual fund holders who do not know when to get out. Major pounding is about to happpen in the homebuilder sector. Homebuilding executives tighten those butt cheeks! Not,....Most of these dudes will "cash" bow out for a couple of years in semi retirement with pockets full of cash and bottom fishing for devalued land and return under a new corporate name ready to play the game all over. This sisutation has been happening in Chicago for years. Good news is than some great housing deals will be around for the "typical american family" to aford without obscene profits the large HB's have been making. These HB's have been reaping profits not based on good solid business principals, but have been at the right place at the right time, just lucky, as most fortunes are made! Most of these stock will be about 1/2 their current value by June as the numbers come out over the next few quarters. As they should be. As far as Cramer, total butt-foon. Well maybe not, lets check his short sell on the HB's in the next few months. Pump it up Jimmy. I will be shorting these pigs! Interesting?

kilobar said...

I agree with you whole-heartedly regarding the homebuilders. I'm short a couple of them even though I missed most of the downturn several months ago. When cash becomes a problem for these guys, they are going to have to unload assets at an alarming rate.

Jim Cramer is a clown. I sometimes wonder if he pitches these stocks so his crony buddies at Goldman can short into them.

Anonymous said...

Mortgage Fraud: Real Estate Investor Sentenced to 12 Years for $19 Million Mortgage Fraud

Brent Michael Barber, 42, of Belton, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan this morning to 12 years and seven months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Barber to pay $11,206,419 in restitution to the victims of his mortgage fraud schemes.

"This defendant tore through low-income neighborhoods like a hurricane," Schlozman said, "wreaking financial havoc on individual victims and financial institutions, and leaving behind a devastating trail of residential blight. Fortunately, his criminal career has been brought to a halt, and he is being held accountable for the damage he inflicted on the community."

According to Schlozman, Barber's mortgage fraud schemes involved loans on more than 300 properties, totaling more than $19 million. "More than 80 investors were recruited into the scheme, most of whom suffered financially as well as mentally and emotionally," Schlozman said. The actual loss for the financial institutions that were defrauded by Barber totaled more than $11 million.

On Feb. 23, 2006, Barber pleaded guilty to 104 counts contained in two federal indictments. Those indictments, as well as a third federal indictment for which Barber was convicted by a jury, involve separate schemes to defraud mortgage lending companies of millions of dollars.

Too bad for the mortgage backed security investors

Anonymous said...

Three men involved in a Lindale real estate scheme that defrauded investors of at least $27 million are scheduled to be sentenced to federal prison on Monday.

Jules Bernard Fleder, 65, Jack Arnold Brown, 66, and Roger Sherman, 72, have all pleaded guilty to fraud charges and will be sentenced in Tyler federal court by U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider at 9 a.m. Monday.

Fleder, a businessman who operated 130 entities nationwide, pleaded guilty in August 2005 to conspiracy to commit securities and mail fraud and committing securities fraud. He was indicted on 17 counts of bilking dozens of East Texans from January 2001 to November 2004.

At the time Brown pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge in April 2005, he was licensed to sell life and health insurance and was licensed as a securities broker until 2000. He moved from Emerald Bay to Marshall.

Sherman, a former lawyer who lived in Nevada and Minnesota, aided Fleder in the scheme. He pleaded guilty in November 2005 to conspiracy to commit securities and mail fraud.

Fleder, Brown and Sherman each face up to five years in federal prison and will have to pay restitution to the victims.

More problems for mortgage backed security investors

Anonymous said...

A federal indictment unsealed Thursday accuses home buyers, real estate sales people and a mortgage broker — seven people in all — of wire fraud, money laundering and other offenses in attempts to defraud lenders in buying homes in Edmond's upscale Oak Tree addition.

The seven committed fraud by "artificially inflating the sales prices of homes and submitting false loan applications," the indictment alleges. "Each of the defendants intended to personally profit by funneling substantial sums of money back to themselves and others from the excess sales proceeds under the guise of remodeling, repair costs or marketing service fees."

Each of the charges carries a penalty of at 10 but no more then 20 years in prison.

Anonymous said...

Write Downs in California

The city of San Jose wanted $26M for the 5 acres from a developer. The developer has now come back at $18M. That's a 30+% drop. Think HB's will only have a few percentage drop in land prices next year! Guess again!

Japantown deal falls through; city to seek new bids

Anonymous said...

The housing market isn't a Ponzi
scheme. I don't think most people here
know what a Ponzi scheme IS.

Anonymous said...

One can still find the largest mortgage banks in the nation such as Washington Mutual and Countrywide, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac making loans at close to 1% using option ARM programs that carry negative amortization clauses in their notes. These are ticking cluster bombs for the housing market.

Over a trillion dollars worth of mortgage backed securities have been issued to foreign investors which are collateralized by these types of mortgages, whose adjustments are gradually placing huge financial constraints on borrowers who are now trying to get out of them by putting their homes back on the market.

The exit doors are jammed, much like someone yelling fire in a theatre. And there is nothing wrong with yelling fire when there really is one. Because the refinance boom is well over, borrowers who lived off the equity in their homes are faced with only one choice and that is to sell, sell, sell, but many buyers are too nervous. They know.

The herd of thundering bulls rampaging toward the cliffs of real estate moguldom has blocked all the exits. Those who saw the edge of the cliff a year ago know that the time to sell was way back then, and now, if they managed to get out before everyone else, will sit on piles of cash, which was gained through huge amounts of leverage during the past decade, waiting for the end of the correction which may last as long as a decade.

Japan is the prime example of what happens when the people of a nation put their trust in the faulty banking systems currently in place.

Anonymous said...

Hey Keith, I'm doing your work for you.

Next topic:

Night of the living Idiot Incentives!

Let's see. So Cindy and her husband bougtht New House Without Selling Old House And So They Are Paying Two Mortgages. Normal so far.

So what does she do? SHE QUITS HER JOB---as a pastry chef---SO SHE CAN BAKE CUPCAKES FOR THE NEXT HOMEDEBTORS. And she offers them water too. "Whee Louise! For a million dollars we get plumbing!"

If you buy a $5 MILLION dollar house in Bel Air the sellers will put in a Maserati. Oh yeah---a LEASED Maserati.

"When you're walking somebody through here and you see a car here, it's still more exciting than saying, 'I have a $24,000 price reduction or a $50,000 price reduction,' when you see a car here with a bow on it," one realtor said.

Now this has to be the stupidest one of all.

Centex Homes even employs actors who play the role of happy homeowners having a birthday party during open houses.

"It's really fun watching people sing 'Happy Birthday' together," said Amanda Larson, a Centex Homes marketer. "It's one of those American things. Like owning a house."

Except you don't have to pay for Happy Birthday for thirty years.

Anonymous said...

US mortgage market: worsening conditions

In effect, institutional and international providers of capital act now as insurance companies that seem unaware of how risky their agents are acting in underwriting US mortgages. A disconnect between those who underwrite mortgages and those who end up holding them will prove to be a huge problem. This does not really become obvious until housing market conditions worsen further.

Then we will find out the consequences of hyper growth in mortgage securitisation.

There were probably hundreds of thousands of bad loans written when the sun was shining on this market that will only be exposed once the storm clouds fully gather. This process has only just begun and delinquencies and defaults will cast a pall over the industry. Fixed income investors will flee America’s subprime lending market in a hurry...perhaps outside the US, too...fully pricing in the risks of lending where the collateral is overinflated and many borrowers have been less than truthful about income and assets.

Anonymous said...

Disposable income jumped 0.8 percent in September when adjusted for inflation, the biggest gain in a year.

Will this put pressure on the Federal Reserve to reconsider that inflationary expectation is raising?

Roccman said...

Is saving mankind from the most painful aspects of resource depletion really just a question of bandwidth?
http://www.energybu 22283.html

Published on 12 Nov 2006 by Energy Bulletin. Archived on 12 Nov 2006.

Chinese now visiting peak oil sites?
by Aaron Dunlap

Aaron of has posted a map, apparently showing the location of visitors to One surprise in Aaron's map is the number of visitors from China. -BA
More interesting is that this Chinese traffic is new for our site. Around 4 months old.

Before that... nada.

Not a single IP I could identify as a mainstream Chinese visitor.

Then suddenly... poof.

I suspect that our site, along with some others have been taken off the filtered site list in China's firewall.

This probably represents a change in policy for China.

We welcome our Chinese visitors of course & hope to bring them into the conversation eventually.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

The housing market isn't a Ponzi
scheme. I don't think most people here
know what a Ponzi scheme IS.
I don't think most annons know what a metaphor is.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

And you thought you were having a Bad Day.

BORAT star Sacha Baron Cohen was beaten up by a passer-by after he tried to play a prank as his alter ego.

He approached the man and said: “I like your clothings. Are nice! Please may I buying? I want have sex with it.”

But the bystander didn’t see the joke. He took one look at Cohen and punched him in the face.

The funnyman — known for his Borat catchphrase “Jagshemash!” — yelled for help but was slugged again and again.

He was rescued by actor pal Hugh Laurie who had been on his way to a New York bar with Cohen.

Laurie rushed to help and pushed the man away as Cohen struggled to his feet. A pal of Cohen said: “Sacha couldn’t resist playing the fool as Borat, but picked on the wrong person.

“I guess this guy thought he was being attacked by someone unstable and lashed out. Sacha is very lucky he didn’t get a much worse beating.”

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Dear Readers and Keith,

Have a Look. The Poor are building thier own 'affordable' Housing.

We talk about the CEOs, Rich Lawmakers and Middle America. This is another side, the bottom of the financial rung.

Here is an unbelievable sample of the other end of the housing Bubble. There is a protest going on in Miami where The Poor have taken over some public land, are squatting and building ‘condos’ out of wooden crates with blue tarp roofs.

They are protesting because housing is too expensive, so they are building their own ‘affordable housing”.

There is no running water, no electric, and no Kitchen. There is a sense of community, according to the story, surrounding a women’s section and a men’s section.

There is a compelling photo gallery with this link, as well.

The Law is leaving them alone and treating the situation as a protest.

In Florida if you stay on land seven years, you then become the owner, by law.

The Orlando Sentinel will delete this link in two weeks.

Anonymous said...

"Take Back the Land" Shantytown in Miami looks like "The Grapes of Wrath" all over again.

toomuchtimeonmyhands said...


FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

I second.

Anonymous said...

All in favor?


FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...


Anonymous said...

Chinese proverb say- "He that is rich today may be poor tomorrow if bad wind blows down house".
American proverb say- "He that is rich today may be poor tomorrow if housing bubble wind gets taken out of balloon!"

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Dear Keith,

The Washington DC Habeas Corpus Protest you were asking for/about is now scheduled for tomorrow.

“V” Meets The Secret Service

On Monday, November 6, 2006, “V” visited security check points at the White House, the main Treasury, IRS and Justice Department Buildings and the Capitol. “V’s” purpose was to deliver the People’s Petitions for Redress of Grievances relating to the Government’s violations of the war powers, tax, privacy and money clauses of the Constitution, and to inform key Government officials that at least 100 more “Vs” would be at their doorstep on November 14th expecting a response to the Petitions.

All in all, Monday’s “dry run” was beneficial. All local and federal law enforcement agencies in DC have now been introduced to “V.” They now know that on November 14th there will be more than 100 “Vs” rallying at Lafayette Park and the Reflecting Pool and marching from one rally to the other along the streets of DC, stopping at various federal buildings to await a response to certain Petitions for Redress.

All local and federal law enforcement agencies in DC now know the purpose of these events is to show peaceful support for the First Amendment Right to Petition Government for Redress of Grievances and to give expression to the fact that too many Americans are beginning to fear the Government and that that is unhealthy to the longevity of a free people and our Republic.

All participants are asked to arrive at Lafayette Park between 11 and 11:30 am on the 14th. The event starts at NOON. The group will wait up to 1 hour for a representative of President Bush to appear and to tell the group when they might expect to receive a response to the Petitions for Redress of Grievances.

Monday, November 13, 2006 7:52:37 PM

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I hope the housing crash/depression precipitates a civil war in this country. We need one badly.

Anonymous said...

Kweefer: Quit deleting my nuclear 9/11 posts or I'll tell Richard you work for the NSA or was that NASA?

Anonymous said...

Richard: Why don't you go find one of these ducks or swans with H5N1 in it and screw the thing until you get infected.

Then you can go infect everyone that you don't like. Anyone who promotes wacko theories of pandemics and killing 95% of the human race is wishing for it to happen. Or maybe your enviro-buddies are already doing it? Maybe the anthrax in the mail did not work out like you hoped?

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Hey annopuss;
Are you Mark Foley's Page?

Anonymous said...

Here’s a BBC article concerning H5N1, it may help balance out the sick wacko garbage posted above. Click Here

Roccman said...

Tom thanks for posting that about h5n1 this statement is truely scary:

"If a virus does arrive, it will take five to six months to produce a working vaccine. "

I have read that the mortality rate could be as high as 50-75%...if I recall the 1918 pandemic (a kissing cousin to h5n1) the mortality rate was 15-25%.

In six months - this could clear out hundreds of millions - if not billions of people and who is going to distribute the vaccine - truckdrivers - forklift operators -power generation plant employees - etc??

Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

What? You can't transmit H5N1 through sex?

Richard, it's back to the drawing board.

Roccman said...

Abstract. Fossil fuels developed from ancient deposits of organic
material, and thus can be thought of as a vast store of solar energy
from which society meets >80% of its current energy needs. Here, using
published biological, geochemical, and industrial data, I estimate the
amount of photosynthetically fixed and stored carbon that was required
to form the coal, oil, and gas that we are burning today. Today's
average U.S. Gallon (3.8 L) of gasoline required approximately 90
metric tons of ancient plant matter as precursor material. The fossil
fuels burned in 1997 were created from organic matter containing 44 ×
1018 g C, which is >400 times the net primary productivity (NPP) of
the planet's current biota. As stores of ancient solar energy decline,
humans are likely to use an increasing share of modern solar
resources. I conservatively estimate that replacing the energy humans
derive from fossil fuels with energy from modern biomass would require
22% of terrestrial NPP, increasing the human appropriation of this
resource by ∼50%.

The paper can be downloaded at:
http://globalecolog y.stanford. edu/DGE/Dukes/ Dukes_ClimChange 1.pdf

Roccman said...


"As stores of ancient solar energy decline,humans are likely to use an increasing share of modern solar

your solar product is well on its way!!

Roccman said...

A Chinese submarine stalked a U.S. aircraft carrier battle group in the Pacific last month and surfaced within firing range of its torpedoes and missiles before being detected, The Washington Times has learned.
The surprise encounter highlights China's continuing efforts to prepare for a future conflict with the U.S., despite Pentagon efforts to try to boost relations with Beijing's communist-ruled military.
The submarine encounter with the USS Kitty Hawk and its accompanying warships also is an embarrassment to the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Adm. William J. Fallon, who is engaged in an ambitious military exchange program with China aimed at improving relations between the two nations' militaries.

Roccman said...

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

I have read that the mortality rate could be as high as 50-75%...if I recall the 1918 pandemic (a kissing cousin to h5n1) the mortality rate was 15-25%.
Exactly what I read in my research.
The scientists say three months quarantine for the first round then, it stops, then comes back for a second wave.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

your solar product is well on its way!
Daer Richard Dick to Some,
Thank you. I am waiting to hear.

Anonymous said...

Chinese submarine stalks US aircraft carrier fleet. Yes - China is our friend! Read this news article, and then think about it while you are out buying more “made in China” products.

China welcomes your contribution to it’s growing military machine.

Here’s the link to the article:

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

HP has been censored!

A four hour History of The Federal Bank has been censored by Google and who knows who else. They are gone into thin air. I watched all four hours straight through and sent them to friends.

Gee, Hp is now been censored.

I was so amazed by what I saw that I saved the HP Thread with the movie links in it. MArch 2, 2006. Go to;

The Fed Bank History Documentary links and comments are half way down the HP thread.

Now, if it was not all a lie, why would they censor these movies? Who removed them form the web?

China, Googles biggest client?

This is proof of the Kool-Aid, imo. But I ain’t nobody.

Hard assets said...

Why aren't the home builder stocks falling like the crap they are? If I have ever seen a short sale these are the "dogs with fleas" I would take short! The options back dating is just the start of it!
I'm looking for a place to short the whole market. I'll probably us th eProfund's Ultra Bear and the Rydex Inv. Dynamic Dow, plus buy gold mutual funds, like the American Century Global Gold!

Roccman said...

Got ocean front house property in Arizona....

http://www.bloomber news?pid= 20601087& sid=alvdx_ XH5wT4&refer= home

Global Oil Output Won't Peak for 25 Years, Yergin's Group Says

By Joe Carroll

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Global oil production will increase for at least
the next 25 years as new drilling and refining techniques make it
possible to tap heretofore untouchable reserves, according to Cambridge
Energy Research Associates, the consulting firm run by Daniel Yergin.

The world probably has 3.7 trillion barrels of oil left, more than twice
the estimates of geologists and analysts such as Matthew Simmons, of the
investment bank Simmons & Co., who argue global output is close to a
peak, said Peter Jackson, director of oil-industry research for the
Cambridge, Massachusetts, firm.

``The peak-oil theory causes confusion and can lead to inappropriate
actions and turn attention away from the real issues,'' Jackson said in
remarks prepared for a conference call today with analysts, investors
and reporters. ``Oil is too critical to the global economy to allow fear
to replace careful analysis about the very real challenges.' '

The late geologist M. King Hubbert, working for a unit of Royal Dutch
Shell Plc, first put forward in 1956 the theory that output from a
specific oil deposit or region would peak and then start to decline
following a predictable curve. His ideas have gained currency as oil
prices tripled in the past five years and producers struggled to keep
pace with rising demand in China.

The theory is ``misleading' ' and based on incomplete data, according to
today's report from Cambridge Energy. Worldwide oil production will rise
by more than 50 percent to about 130 million barrels a day around 2030
before output plateaus, the report said. Yergin, the firm's founder,
wrote ``The Prize,'' a Pulitzer-winning history of the oil industry.

When global crude output begins to fall around 2050, the decline
probably will be gradual, giving policy makers, industry and energy
producers time to develop new alternatives to petroleum-based fuels, the
report said.

Peak Oil Study Group

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil estimates the world has 1.46
trillion barrels of oil left and that production will peak in 2010,
according to the group's November newsletter. The group's leaders
include British geologist Colin Campbell, who helped popularize the
peak-oil theory with his 1997 book, ``The Coming Oil Crisis.''

An August report from Cambridge Energy that took issue with the peak-oil
theory was criticized by the President of the peak oil association,
Kjell Aleklett, as a money-making vehicle based on proprietary data that
the firm was unwilling to submit to impartial scientific review.

Aleklett said Cambridge Energy analysts were too optimistic about the
ability of big producers including Saudi Arabia to increase output.


U.S. Representatives Roscoe Bartlett, a Maryland Republican, and Thomas
Udall of New Mexico, formed the House Peak Oil Caucus to promote the
theory among lawmakers. Bartlett and Udall endorse the peak oil
association' s prediction that output will start declining after 2010.

``There is not much time to act,'' Udall, a Democrat, told a House
Energy and Commerce Committee panel in December. ``Since oil provides
about 40 percent of the world's energy, a peak in global oil production
will be a turning point in human history.''

Refiners have used about 1.08 trillion barrels of crude since the birth
of the petroleum industry in Pennsylvania in 1859, according to
Cambridge Energy.

Undiscovered fields probably hold 758 billion barrels, followed by 704
billion trapped inside a very hard type of rock known as shale, and 662
billion in the Middle East, according to the report. The rest of the
firm's 3.7 trillion barrel total comes from untapped reserves in the
deepest seas, the Arctic and places such as Canada's tar sands and
Venezuela's Orinoco basin.

Fifth Time

``This is the fifth time that the world is said to be running out of
oil,'' Yergin said in an e-mailed statement. ``Each time -- whether it
was the `gasoline famine' at the end of World War I or the `permanent
shortage' of the 1970s -- technology and the opening of new frontier
areas has banished the specter of decline.''

Oil prices have climbed 24 percent in the past two years and touched an
all-time high of $78.40 a barrel in July. Economic growth in China,
India and the U.S. has boosted demand while hurricanes and militant
attacks crimped production in some regions, including the Gulf of Mexico
and West Africa.

Cambridge Energy Research Associates, which advises governments, oil
companies and financial institutions on energy issues, is not the only
skeptic of the peak-oil theory.

Stuart McGill, a senior vice president who oversees Exxon Mobil Corp.'s
oil and gas business, dismissed the peak theory in a Nov. 1 interview as
being without merit. Irving, Texas-based Exxon is the world's biggest
oil company, pumping more crude than every member of OPEC except Saudi Arabia and Iran.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Carroll in Chicago at
jcarroll8@bloomberg .net
Last Updated: November 14, 2006 11:24 EST

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

There was a new oil field discovered in Utah. The most prime oil, and this new find has billions of barrels.
Did you know about it?

Anonymous said...

I may be stating the obvious – has anybody noticed or even wondered about the irony of the ReMax logotype being a balloon? Funny in a bad way ...

Roccman said...

"There was a new oil field discovered in Utah. The most prime oil, and this new find has billions of barrels.
Did you know about it? "

Yes a mom and pop drilling company found it - I think around 4 to 5 Billion barrels - or about 60 days worth of supply at current consumption rates.

markevius said...

Hi, I was out blogging and found your site. It certainly got my attention and interest. I was looking for Travel Airfare information and even though this isn't a perfect match I enjoyed your site. Thanks for the read!

Gospel Band said...


Gospel Band said...


Roccman said...

Russia to suffer from gas shortage next year

Next year, Russia will suffer its first natural gas shortage, which will prevent it from meeting domestic needs and export commitments, according to the Industry and Energy Ministry's report to the president.

A total of 729.9 billion cubic meters of gas will be needed to cover domestic gas demand and honor gas export contracts next year, while gas to be produced by Russian energy giant Gazprom and independent producers, together with Central Asian gas, will total only 725.7 billion cubic meters, the authors of the report said. In 2008, the gas deficit will double, hitting 27.7 billion cubic meters by 2010 and 46.6 billion cubic meters by 2015.

On the initiative of the heads of Russian electricity monopoly Unified Energy System and Gazprom, the Industry and Energy Ministry has already proposed a new scheme of gas prices, under which they would double in the state sector to $80 per 1,000 cubic meters in 2007, and the price of extra supplies would grow to $125, allowing unregulated prices to dominate on the free market. However, no decision has yet been made. The president will receive an integrated report on the fuel and energy sector on November 22.

"The deficit is caused by an excess of cheap gas," said Sergei Kupriyanov, a Gazprom official. "As long as coal and fuel oil are two or three times as expensive as gas, companies will use the latter as fuel, no matter how much is supplied."

"The gas shortage may be much greater," warns Farkhad Akhmedov, a member of the upper house of Russia's parliament and co-owner of Nortgaz. "The depreciation of Gazprom's core production facilities is up to 60%, and its major deposits have been exhausted by more than 60%."

Akhmedov does not believe it will be possible to attract the $300 billion required to offset a slowdown in Gazprom's output.

"The report benefits both Gazprom and RAO UES," said Vladimir Kondrachuk, the founder of TransNafta and vice-governor of the Novgorod Region. "It will enable the two monopolies to ask for an increase in gas and electricity tariffs."

A tariff revision will provoke changes in macroeconomic indices, primarily inflation, said Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist with the UralSib bank. "I can understand the problems RAO UES and Gazprom are facing, yet inflation is almost a political priority, so the government will not agree to a tariff increase a year before the elections," he forecasts.

A government source said he cannot predict Putin's choice. "Everything depends on whether Chubais and Miller [the heads of UES and Gazprom respectively] will manage to prove to the president that the situation is disastrous and that there is no postponing its settlement until 2008," he said.

Anonymous said...

Chief economist David Lereah found reasons for optimism

Lereah says only 26 percent of U.S. home markets got really overheated, with speculators driving prices up by more than 20 percent annually. In nearly three-quarters of America—including much of the Midwest, Texas, Atlanta, and New York—price appreciation didn't get so out of control.

The caveat to this rosy view is the uncertainty about the other quarter of the country's markets—places that include Las Vegas, southern Florida, Phoenix, and California. These markets attracted speculators in 2004 and 2005, and as investors and second-home buyers have stopped signing contracts, demand has dried up.

"The biggest question I'm faced with is how far do prices have to drop and how long will it take for the correction to finally turn around in [those] markets. I don't have an answer," Lereah says, conceding that those markets could stay soft into 2008.

That uncertainty stems from the fact that the current housing slowdown isn't like the more typical real estate busts of the early 1980s or early 1990s. Those downturns followed a traditional pattern: mortgage rates rose, job growth faded and the economy weakened, pinching people's ability to buy homes.

Today, in contrast, mortgages are still near 45-year lows and unemployment is down, yet many buyers are reluctant to make offers. Lereah attributes this to high prices reducing the number of people who can afford homes, falling demand by investors and the public's psychological shift from celebrating the boom to worrying about a bubble.

Those forces make this slowdown an anomaly, which makes it hard to predict where things will head next. Says Lereah: "You'd have to go back to the Great Depression to find a housing period that is this unique."

Anonymous said...

California Statistical Housing Data

Anonymous said...

"borka and bork clean it up - kids read HP. take it offline."

Keith defenitely works in tech industry -possibly actually lives in Northern California

Anonymous said...

Japan's economy grew twice as fast as expected in the third quarter, spurring gains in the yen on speculation the central bank will raise interest rates next month to cool surging corporate spending

Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui said last week the central bank needs to act ``in advance'' to prevent the lowest interest rates among major economies from triggering excessive capital investment

Anonymous said...

Rate rise on way to cool Japan economy

Gross domestic product in the three months ended September 30 grew an annualised 2 per cent, the Cabinet Office said in Tokyo.

Second-quarter growth in the world's second-largest economy was revised to 1.5 per cent from 1 per cent.

"We think the next rate increase will be in January, and won't rule out the chances of a December move," said Ryutaro Kono, chief economist at BNP Paribas in Tokyo.

Anonymous said...

Dollar May Fall; Speculation Fed Minutes to Show Growth Concern

The dollar may weaken for a second day on speculation minutes of the US Federal Reserve's last meeting due today will suggest policy makers are more concerned about slowing US economic growth than faster inflation.

``The BOJ intends to hike rates not just either in December or January, but a number of times'' in 2007, said Jan Lambregts, head of Asian research at Rabobank International in Hong Kong.

"Will foreign Central Banks pull out of US reserves as soon as BOJ starts raising rate?

conrad said...

Wish you success with your site. If you need Travel Nepal information, check out my blog.

Roccman said...

Smells like reproachment.

Blair the good cop??!!

Blair briefs US Iraq inquiry

Matthew Tempest and agencies
Tuesday November 14, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

Tony Blair speaks via video link to James Baker's Iraq Study Group. Photo: Richard Lewis/AP

Tony Blair today urged the US to re-engage in the Israel-Palestine peace process in order to help the situation in Iraq and the wider Middle East.
Giving evidence to the independent and influential Iraq Survey Group, which will advise president Bush on potential exit strategies from the Iraqi occupation, the prime minister repeatedly said that solving that conflict would reduce the opposition of other Muslim states in the region, according to his spokesman.

mit said...

I've certainly got some way to go before the site about Travel News meets the standards of your blog.

Anonymous said...

Hey flyingmonkeywarrior, Whats with your new picture? I know what your up to, You sick-o pervert!
You need to get some help, mister!

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Hey, I had pic trouble yesterday.
I am a she.

Roccman said...

Just like watching a slow train wreck...

Study Shows Importance of

Arctic as Natural Gas Province

The Arctic’s potential is significantly less than previous estimations suggested, with the mix

of resources found to be much more favorable toward natural gas than oil. As a result, the

US can no longer consider the Arctic as a long-term strategic energy supply source, according

to a study by Wood Mackenzie and Fugro Robertson.

Under the most likely scenario, the study projected that production from the Arctic will

contribute some 3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (MMboed) in liquids and 5 MMboe

of gas at the peak, with the proportion from US basins lower than previously anticipated.

“This assessment basically calls into question the long-considered view that the Arctic represents

one of the last great oil and gas frontiers and a strategic energy supply cache for the US,”

said lead study author Andrew Latham, Vice President, Energy Consulting at Wood Mackenzie.

“These findings are disappointing from a world oil resource base perspective,” Latham said.

The study showed only about one-fourth of the oil volumes previously assessed in key

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

November 13th, 2006 Monty Guild

I am happy to be able to write you just before what I see as a propitious time for action. In our opinion, things are about ready to change a lot for global markets, and this process is just getting underway.


The U.S. balance of trade would be easier to balance in the long run with the dollar about 20 % lower than current levels. If I were the Treasury Secretary, I would like to see the dollar fall in a steady and orderly manner.

Anonymous said...


I like your new pic! Use that fertilizer mix and in your next pic that basket will be full of home-grown veggis...


FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

The fifth grade student who was recently disciplined for accessing 9/11 websites at school, such as, may now be forced to undergo psychiatric evaluation.
UPDATE: Elementary Student Threatened With Psychiatric Evaluation After Visiting 9/11 Websites

10 year-old Mark was not punished, the discipline report shows, for breaking school rules or being "off task," but rather because his principal says the webpages in his cache were "inappropriate."

Sites listed in the report include '9/11 Cover-Up', 'Alex Jones' Martial Law' and 'NY 9/11 Truth', among others.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...


I like your new pic! Use that fertilizer mix and in your next pic that basket will be full of home-grown veggis...


Mammoth Veggies.



Anonymous said...

Dear incisive HPrs and real estate agents alike. I am here to blatantly put the basic truth out there, weather or not you like it, dislike it, or otherwise. I frankly don’t care, but the fact of the matter is...There is no housing bubble, there is no impending doom on the American economy. All that’s going to happen in the future is the government it going to strip away slowly our rights until houses are assigned to families based on name race and gender rather than bought. "Why don’t you run home to your mommy?" I can almost hear you responding to my post with that drab over used response. And here I sit; getting entangled in the eternal time waster of old farts past your prime such as yourselves. I already feel as though the few miniscule minuets I am wasting to type this are inevitably doomed to be the most ill spent minuets of my day, but I truly cannot reiterate enough how insignificant your lives must be for your social life to revolve upon virtually arguing with stupid teenagers pretending to be 'terrorists/millionaires'. So in short, I hate HP and what its done to my mother 'sportsarena' 'flying monkey' 'V for vendetta'. She has become a droning HPer with nothing better to do than make sure the computer is comfterbly out of my grasp, and opened to this horrid, revolting blog from virtual hell.

Anonymous said...

Icy Fishes, you are young and cynical. Cynicism is not necessarily a bad quality, as long as it drives you to work toward making this world a better place. The first step is to realize there are problems out there, which you obviously see.

Yes there is no shortage of doom & gloom on this blog, but it is also a community of people who agree there is a problem with housing, and that is why we meet here.

What do you think is revolting about this blog, aside from the hate posts? It is the reader’ task to take in all the information that the world throws at you, filter the useful from the useless, and then do what you think is best with all this information

This blog is both entertaining and educational. A lot of us posting here find HP a fun diversion from the brain-deadening world of an office cubicle, which we spend 8 hours a day in.



Anonymous said...

Is your mom hot?

Anonymous said...

What did icyfishies say? It sounded like charley browns mom, Wonk wonk wonk? Wonk wonk wonk wonk !

Anonymous said...

Knotty Pine Guy. What happened to your secret annonopussy blog?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Icy Fishes, you are young and cynical.

This look into the mind of an american teen age boy. They have too much information, no childhood and think as a collective. They think money is worthless and it is Not PC to get good grades or belong to a group. They think Someone will take care of them. Their wired into electronics to the point that their mind thinks in computer and gaming images flashed onto their carbon screen of grey matter.

This is a look into our childrens future.

toomuchtimeonmyhands said...

Now Daddy Bush Slams Bloggers
Blames Internet for "ugly climate," echoes vitriolic rhetoric of web haters

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

During an appearance with his wife Barbara on Fox News last night, George Bush senior slammed Internet bloggers for creating an adversarial and ugly climate, echoing the rhetoric of fellow Neo-Cons and the White House itself in trashing the reputation of the world wide web.

HOST: "Why do you think it’s gotten so adversarial? Tonight is literacy. Everybody comes in from all different sides and wants to help. It seems like oftentimes in Washington, you know, on something we all want to work towards it’s not necessarily so civilized. It’s not so pleasant."

H.W. BUSH: "It’s true but that’s not new really. I mean, you go back in history and you’ll find that there was always adversarial politics. There was always gut fighting. And it’s probably a little worse now given the electronic media and the bloggers and all these kinds of things."

Establishment kingpins and their cheerleaders have increased their level of vitriolic rhetoric against the Internet in recent months, as legislation in both the U.S. and Europe to regulate, stifle and license the Internet moves forward.

The White House's own recently de-classified strategy for "winning the war on terror" targets Internet conspiracy theories as a recruiting ground for terrorists and threatens to "diminish" their influence.

In addition, the Pentagon recently announced its effort to infiltrate the Internet and propagandize for the war on terror.

In a speech last month, Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff identified the web as a "terror training camp," through which "disaffected people living in the United States" are developing "radical ideologies and potentially violent skills."

Chertoff pledged to dispatch Homeland Security agents to local police departments in order to aid in the apprehension of domestic terrorists who use the Internet as a political tool.

The European Union, led by former Stalinist and potential future British Prime Minister John Reid, has also vowed to shut down "terrorists" who use the Internet to spread propaganda.

In the Fox News interview, Bush senior also reveals that his son the current President refuses to use e mail for fear that the communication would get subpoenaed and the e mails would be used to prove “that you were telling the truth and all this stuff.”

Think Progress has the video.

Roccman said...

Page two...

or maybe you want the ANONs to post F$#K, Shi$, Pus&^y...for the next 4 days...holy crap!!

"What About this Theory that Oil is

Actually a Renewable Resource?"

A handful of people believe oil is actually a renewable resource continually produced by an "abiotic" process deep in the Earth. As emotionally appealing as this theory may be, it ignores most common sense and all scientific fact. While many of the people who believe in this theory consider themselves "mavericks,"respected geologists consider them crackpots.

Moreover, the oil companies don't give this theory the slightest bit of credence even though they are more motivated than anybody to find an unlimited source of oil as each company's shareholder value is based largely on how much oil it holds in reserve. Any oil company who wants to make a ridiculous amount of money (which means all of them) could simply find this unlimited source of oil but refuse to bring it to the market. Their stock value would skyrocket as a result of the huge find while they could simultaneously maintain artificial scarcity by not bringing it to the market.

Even if the maverick/crackpot theories of "unlimited oil" are true, they aren't doing us much good out here in the real world as production is declining in pretty much every nation outside the Middle East.

It certainly isn't doing us any good here in the United States. Our domestic oil production peaked in October 1970 at 10 million barrels per day. It has since declined a little bit each year and now stands at about 5 million barrels per day. This is despite the fact that the US oil exploration companies have more money, more muscle, and more motivation to find oil than anybody other than God. If oil is a renewable resource, why isn't it renewing itself here in the good ole' US of A? (See "Show Me the Oil")

Furthermore, if oil fields really do refill themselves, why aren't advocates of the abiotic oil theory hiring themselves out to independent oil exploration firms? They could becoming fabulously wealthy by helping these firms locate and profit from the magically refilling fields. Perhaps the reason abiotic-oil advocates aren't hiring themselves out to oil companies is because the abiotic-oil theory is little more than clever oil company propaganda. Journalist Paula Hay explains:

If millions of people got the picture that Peak Oil is

imminent, they would surely begin to take steps to protect

themselves and their families—to powerdown—and decline

would be slowed as a result of all those peoples’ aggregate

actions. It would be a classic market response to new


Big Oil cannot allow this to happen if it intends to keep its

profits sky-high. If people believe that oil is abundant

forever; that they are being screwed by Big Oil; and that

the government will step in any moment to save them, they

have no incentive to powerdown.

Abiotic oil propaganda, coupled with finger-pointing at the oil

industry, is a perfect ruse to ensure people don’t start

powering down. Peak Oil is not the oil industry’s propaganda.

Abiotic oil is the oil industry’s propaganda.

Interestingly enough, five of the seven policy recommendations made by outspoken abiotic oil advocate Jerome Corsi in his book "Black Gold Stranglehold" sound like taxpayer funded giveaways to Big Oil: (commentary in italics added)

1. Promote scientific research to investigate alternative


2. Expedite leases offshore and in Alaska to encourage

oil exploration. (Who benefits from this?)

3. Provide tax credits for deep-drilling oil exploration.

(Who benefits from this?)

4. Create an oil research institute to serve as a

clearinghouse of oil industry information. (Who benefits?)

5. Develop a public broadcasting television series

devoted to the oil industry. (Who benefits from this?)

6. Reestablish a gold-backed international trade dollar.

7. Establish tax incentives for opening new refineries in

the U.S. (Who benefits from this?)

With the exception of numbers one & six, Corsi's policy recommendations read as though they came from an oil-industry wishlist. That Corsi would so vigorously advocate tax breaks for the oil industry should come as little surprise: in 2004, he coauthored the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" attack book that many believe helped the tax cut-obsessed and oil industry-backed Bush administration stay in office.

In his book, Corsi cites the Eugene Island 330 oilfield as proof that oil fields refill themselves. Apparently he or his research staff failed to do a google images search for "Eugene Island 330." If he had performed such a search, he would have come across the following graph which plainly shows Eugene Island 330's oil production in decline for the past 25 years. Corsi's primary example of a "refilling field" is only producing about 1/6 the amount of oil it produced at its peak:

"Won't the Market and the Laws of

Supply and Demand Address This?"

Not enough to prevent an economic meltdown.

As economist Andrew Mckillop explains in a recent article entitled, "Why Oil Prices Are Barreling Up," oil is nowhere near as "elastic" as most commodities:

One of the biggest problems facing the IEA, the EIA and a

host of analysts and "experts" who claim that "high prices

cut demand" either directly or by dampening economic

growth is that this does not happen in the real world.

Since early 1999, oil prices have risen about 350%. Oil

demand growth in 2004 at nearly 4% was the highest in 25

years. These are simple facts that clearly conflict with

received notions about "price elasticity". World oil demand,

for a host of easily-described reasons, tends to be bolstered

by "high" oil and gas prices until and unless "extreme" prices

are attained.

As mentioned previously, this is exactly what happened during the oil shocks of the 1970s - shortfalls in supply as little as 5% drove the price of oil up near 400%. Demand did not fall until the world was mired in the most severe economic slowdown since the Great Depression.

While many analysts claim the market will take care of this for us, they forget that neoclassic economic theory is besieged by several fundamental flaws that will prevent the market from appropriately reacting to Peak Oil until it is too late. To illustrate, as of April 2005, a barrel of oil costs about $55. The amount of energy contained in that barrel of oil would cost between $100-$250* dollars to derive from alternative sources of energy. Thus, the market won't signal energy companies to begin aggressively pursuing alternative sources of energy until oil reaches the $100-$250 mark.

*This does not even account for the amount of money it would take to locate and refine the raw materials necessary for a large scale conversion, the construction and deployment of the alternatives, and finally the retrofitting of the world's $45 trillion dollar infrastructure to run on these alternative sources.

Once they do begin aggressively pursuing these alternatives, there will be a 25-to-50 year lag time between the initial heavy-duty research into these alternatives and their wide-scale industrial implementation.

However, in order to finance an aggressive implementation of alternative energies, we need a tremendous amount of investment capital - in addition to affordable energy and raw materials - that we absolutely will not have once oil prices are permanently lodged in the $200 per barrel neighborhood.

While we need 25-to-50 years to retrofit our economy to run on alternative sources of energy, we may only get 25-to-50 days once oil production peaks.

Within a few months of global oil production hitting its peak, it will become impossible to dismiss the decline in supply as a merely transitory event. Once this occurs, you can expect traders on Wall Street to quickly bid the price up to, and possibly over, the $200 per barrel range as they realize the world is now in an era of permanent oil scarcity.

With oil at or above $200 per barrel, gas prices will reach $10 per gallon inside of a few weeks. This will cause a rapid breakdown of trucking industries and transportation networks. Importation and distribution of food, medicine, and consumer goods will grind to a halt.

The effects of this will be frightening. As Jan Lundberg, founder of the Lundberg Survey, aka "the bible of the oil industry" recently pointed out:

The scenario I foresee is that market-based panic will,

within a few days, drive prices up skyward. And as supplies

can no longer slake daily world demand of over 80 million

barrels a day, the market will become paralyzed at prices

too high for the wheels of commerce and even daily living in

"advanced" societies. There may be an event that appears

to trigger this final energy crash, but the overall cause will

be the huge consumption on a finite planet.

The trucks will no longer pull into Wal-Mart. Or Safeway or

other food stores. The freighters bringing packaged techno

-toys and whatnot from China will have no fuel. There will be

fuel in many places, but hoarding and uncertainty will trigger

outages, violence and chaos. For only a short time will the

police and military be able to maintain order, if at all.

Once the seriousness of situation is generally acknowledged, a panic will spread on the markets and bring down the entire house of cards even if production hasn't actually peaked. For this reason, the mainstream media cannot discuss this issue without largely whitewashing the dire consequences for the average person. If they told the truth, people would panic and the markets would crash.

In summary, we are a prisoner of our own dilemma:

1.Right now, we have no economically scalable alternatives

to oil. (Emphasis placed on economic scalability, not

technical viability.)

2.We won't get motivated to aggressively pursue

economically scalable alternatives until oil prices are

sky high;

3.Once oil prices are sky-high, our economy will be

shattered, and we won't be able to finance an aggressive

switch-over to whatever modest alternatives are available

to us.

4.An aggressive conservation program will bring down the

price of oil, thereby removing the incentive to pursue

alternatives until it is too late.

5.The raw materials (silicon, copper, platinum) necessary for

many sources of alternative energy are already in short

supply. Any attempt to secure enough of these resources

to power a large scale transition to alternative energies is

likely to be met with fierce competition, if not outright

warfare, with China.

6.The media and government can't tell the public the truth

without creating a panic and crash of the Stock Market.

7.Most of the steps we need to take to deal with this, such

as driving less, would severely hurt large sectors of the US

economy. For instance, an aggressive fuel conservation

program would lower the demand for new vehicles as

people would be driving less, thereby increasing the life of

their vehicles. This sounds like a perfectly reasonable and

common sense mitigation plan until you realize that

approximately one out of every six jobs in the US is either

directly or indirectly dependent on the manufacture of new


With GM and Ford already on the ropes, any aggressive

program of conservation would likely send them spiraling

into bankruptcy. This would have devastating effects on

the domestic economy and could quite possibly lead to the

rise of extremists political movements not unlike what

happened to Germany in the 1920s when its economy


A similar problem exists when it comes to the aviation

industry. Air travel consumes an incredible amount of oil.

At first, cutting back on air travel seems a logical

first step to dealing with a global oil shortage. According to

the International Air Transport Association the aviation

is a $400 billion dollar industry that generates $1.3 trillion

dollars in economic activity. Overall, it accounts 8% of

global GDP. Thus any plan to aggressively reduce air travel

is likely to severely damage the global economy, eliminate

jobs, heighten geopolitical tensions, meet with severe

resistance from established interests, and so forth.

"What About All the Various Alternatives

to Oil? Can't We Find Replacements?"

Many politicians and economists insist that there are alternatives to oil and that we can "invent our way out of this."

Physicists and geologists tell us an entirely different story.

The politicians and economists are selling us 30-year old economic and political fantasies, while the physicists and geologists are telling us scientific and mathematical truth. Rather than accept the high-tech myths proposed by the politicians and economists, its time for you to start asking critical questions about the so called "alternatives to oil" and facing some hard truths about energy.

While there are many technologically viable alternatives to oil, there are none (or combination thereof) that can supply us with anywhere near the amount of net-energy required by our modern monetary system and industrial infrastructure.

People tend to think of alternatives to oil as somehow independent from oil. In reality, the alternatives to oil are more accurately described as "derivatives of oil." It takes massive amounts of oil and other scarce resources to locate and mine the raw materials (silver, copper, platinum, uranium, etc.) necessary to build solar panels, windmills, and nuclear power plants. It takes more oil to construct these alternatives and even more oil to distribute them, maintain them, and adapt current infrastructure to run on them.

Each of the alternatives is besieged by numerous fundamental physical shortcomings that have, thus far, received little attention:

"What About Green Alternatives like

Solar, Wind, Wave, and Geothermal?"

Solar and wind power suffer from four fundamental physical shortcomings that prevent them from ever being able to replace more than a tiny fraction of the energy we get from oil: lack of energy density, inappropriateness as transportation fuels, energy intermittency, and inability to scale.

I. Lack of Energy Density/Inability to Scale:

Few people realize how much energy is concentrated in even a small amount of oil or gas. A barrel of oil contains the energy-equivalent of almost 25,000 hours of human labor. A single gallon of gasoline contains the energy-equivalent of 500 hours of human labor. Most people are stunned to find this out, even after confirming the accuracy of the numbers for themselves, but it makes sense when you think about it. It only takes one gallon of gasoline to propel a three ton SUV 10 miles in 10 minutes. How long would it take you to push a three ton SUV 10 miles?

Most people drastically overestimate the density and scalability of solar, wind, and other renewables. Some examples should help illustrate the limited capacity of these energy sources as compared to fossil fuels:

1.According to author Paul Driessen, it would take all of

1.California's 13,000 wind turbines to generate as much

electricity as a single 555-megawatt natural gas fired

1.power plant.

1.According to the European Wind Energy Association's

3.Wind Force 12 report issued in May of 2004, the

3.United States has 6,361 megawatts of installed wind This means that if every wind turbine in the

3.United States was spinning at peak capacity, all at the

3.exact same time, their combined electrical output

3.would equal that of six coal fired power plants. Since 3.wind turbines typically operate at about 30% of their 3.rated capacity, the combined output of every wind

3.turbine in the US is actually equal to less than two

3.coal fired power plants.

1.The numbers for solar are ever poorer. For instance,

1.on p.191 of his book The End of Oil: On the Edge of a

1.Perilous New World, author Paul Roberts writes:

" . . . if you add up all the solar photovoltaic cells now

running worldwide (2004), the combined output -

around 2,000 megawatts - barely rivals the output of

two coal-fired power plants."

2.Robert's calculation assumes the solar cells are

2.operating at 100% of their capacity. In the real world, 2.the average solar cell operates at about 20% of its

2.rated capacity. This means that the combined output

2.of all the solar cells in the world is equal to less than

2.40% of the output of a single coal fired power plant.

2.In order to offset a 10% reduction in U.S. petroleum

consumption, the amount of installed solar and wind

energy systems would have to be increased by

2,200%. (Similar numbers apply worldwide.) Graph

provided by the Energy Information Agency:

3.According to ExxonMobil, the amount of energy

4.distributed by a single gas station in a single day is

4.equivalent to the amount of energy that would be

4.produced by four Manhattan sized city blocks of solar


4.With 17,000 gas stations just in the United States, don't need to be a mathematician to realize that power is incapable of meeting our urgent need for 4.a new energy source that - like oil - is dense,

4.affordable, and transportable.

4.According to Dr. David Goodstien, professor of physics Cal Tech University, it would take close to 220,000 5.square kilometers of solar panels to power the global

5.economy via solar power. This may sound like a

5.marginally manageable number until you realize that

5.the total acreage covered by solar panels in the entire right now is a paltry 10 square kilometers.

5.According a recent MSNBC article entitled, "Solar

7.Power City Offers 20 Years of Lessons:"

By industry estimates, up to 20,000 solar electricity

units and 100,000 heaters have been installed in the

United States — diminutive numbers compared to the

country’s 70 million single-family houses.

This means that even if the number of American

households equipped with solar electricity is increased

by a factor of 100, less than two million American

households will be equipped with solar electric Assuming we are even capable of scaling the

7.use of household solar electric systems by that huge a

7. factor, we must ask ourselves two questions:

A.What do the other 68 million households do?

AA. What about the millions of companies, nations,

and industries around the world on which we in

the industrialized world are dependent?

B.Since oil, not electricity, is our primary

transportation fuel (providing the base for over

90% of all transportation fuel) what good will

this do us when it comes to keeping our global

network of cars,trucks, airplanes, and boats


II. Energy Intermittency

Unlike an oil pump, which can pump all day and all night under most weather conditions, or coal fired/natural gas fired power plants which can also operate 24/7, wind turbines and solar cells

only produce energy at certain times or under certain conditions. This may not be that big of a deal if you simply want to power your household appliances or a small scale, decentralized economy, but if you want to run an industrial economy that relies on airports, airplanes, 18-wheel trucks, millions of miles of highways, huge skyscrapers, 24/7 availability of fuel, etc., an intermittent source of energy will not suffice.

While promising work is being done to counteract the intermittency of wind and solar energy, most of this work is still in the developmental stage and won't be ready or cost effective on a large scale for several decades at the earliest.

Without a cost-effective and scalable storage technology to provide power when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining, large scale solar/wind farms must be backed up by things like oil pumps or natural gas/coal fired powered plants. For this reason, the expansion of renewables like wind power actually requires an expansion in the supply of fossil fuels. Journalist Michael Kane writes:

Europe is light-years ahead of America in wind energy, and

Germany leads the world. The German numbers are painting

a dismal picture for wind’s capacity. E.ON Netz – one of the

world’s largest private energy providers – owns over 40% of

Germany’s wind generating capacity. They released a report

titled "WIND REPORT 2004" stating that wind energy require

"shadow stations" of traditional energy on back-up reserve

in case the wind forecast is wrong. They state that reserve

capacity needs to be 60% to 80% of the total wind

capacity! So as more wind comes on line, it is all but certain

that more hydrocarbon reserve capacity will be required,

further demonstrating how renewable energy is used to

supplement over-consumption.

Here is the real kicker: these shadow stations cannot just be turned on and off at will. In order to be ready to produce electricity when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining, they must be fed a constant supply of natural gas or coal.

III. Inappropriateness as Transportation Fuels:

Approximately 2/3 of our oil supply is used for transportation. Over ninety percent of our transportation fuel comes from petroleum fuels (gasoline, diesel, jet-fuel). Thus, even if you ignore the challenges catalogued above, there is still the problem of how to use the electricity generated by the solar cells or wind turbines to run fleets of food delivery trucks, oceanliners, airplanes, etc.

Unfortunately, solar and wind cannot be used as industrial-scale transportation fuels unless they are used to crack hydrogen from water via electrolysis. Hydrogen produced via electrolysis is great for small scale, village level, and/or experimental projects. However, in order to power a significant portion of the global industrial economy on it, we would need the following:

1.Hundreds of trillions of dollars to construct fleets of

hydrogen powered cars, trucks, boats, and airplanes.

2.Hundreds, if not thousands, of oil-powered factories to

accomplish number one.

3.The construction of a ridiculously expensive global

refueling and maintenance network for number one.

4.Mind-boggingly huge amounts of platinum, silver, and

copper, and other raw materials that have already

entered permanent states of scarcity.

IV. Painfully Low Starting Point:

Finally, most people new to this issue drastically overestimate the amount of energy we will be able to realistically derive from these sources inside of the next 5-25 years. If the previous examples didn't convince you that solar and wind are incapable of replacing oil and gas on more than a small scale/supplemental level, consider the following, easily verifiable facts:

In 2003, the US consumed 98 quadrillion BTU's of energy. A whopping .171 quadrillion came from solar and wind combined. Do the math (.171/98) and you will see that a total of less then one-sixth of one percent of our energy appetite was satisfied with solar and wind combined. Thus, just to derive a paltry 2-3 percent of our current energy needs from solar and wind, we would need to double the percentage of our energy supply derived from solar/wind, then double it again, then double it again, and then double it yet again.

Unfortunately, the odds of us upscaling our use of solar and wind to the point where they provide even just 2-3 percent of our total energy supply are about the same as the odds of Michael Moore and Dick Cheney teaming up to win a 5K relay race. Despite jaw-dropping levels of growth in these industries, coupled with practically miraculous drops in price per kilowatt hour (95% drop in two decades), along with increased interest from the public in alternative energies, the percentage of our total energy supply derived from solar and wind is projected to grow by only 10 percent per year.

Since we are starting with only one-sixth of one percent of our energy coming from solar and wind, a growth rate of 10 percent per year isn't going to do much to soften a national economic meltdown. Twenty-five years from now, we will be lucky if solar and wind account for one percent of our total energy supply.

While other alternative energy sources, such as wave and geothermal power, are fantastic sources of energy in and of themselves, they are incapable of replacing more than a fraction of our petroleum usage for the same reasons as solar and wind: they are nowhere near as energy dense as petroleum and they are inappropriate as transportation fuels. In addition, they are also limited by geography - wave power is only technically viable in coastal locations. Only a handful of nations, such as Iceland, have access to enough geothermal power to make up for much of their petroleum consumption.

This is by no means reason not to invest in these alternatives. We simply have to be realistic about what they can and can't do. On a household or village scale, they are certainly worthy investments. But to hope/expect they are going to power more than a small fraction of our forty-five trillion dollar per year (and growing) global industrial economy is woefully unrealistic.

On a related note, even if solar, wind, and other green alternatives could replace oil, we still wouldn't escape the evil clutches of so called "Big Oil." The biggest maker of solar panels is British Petroleum with Shell not too far behind. Similarly, the second biggest maker of wind turbines is General Electric, who obtained their wind turbine business from that stalwart of corporate social responsibility, Enron. As these examples illustrate, the notion that "Big Oil is scared of the immerging renewable energy market!" is silly. "Big Oil" already owns the renewable energy market.

"What About the Hydrogen Economy?"

Hydrogen isn't the answer either. As of 2003, the average hydrogen fuel cell costs close to $1,000,000. Unlike other alternatives, hydrogen fuel cells have shown little sign of coming down in price. Unfortunately, hydrogen and/or hydrogen fuel cells will never power more than a handful of cars due to the following reasons:

I. Astronomical Cost of Fuel Cells

With the fuel cell powered cars themselves costing $1,000,000 a piece, replacing 210 million cars (about 1/4 of the world's fleet) with fuel cell powered cars is going to cost $210,000,000,000,000 (two-hundred and ten trillion dollars).

Furthermore, as a recent article in EV World points out, the average fuel cell lasts only 200 hours. Two hundred hours translates into just 12,000 miles, or about one year’s worth of driving at 60 miles per hour. That's not much of a deal for a car with a million-dollar price tag.

That doesn't even begin to address the cost of replacing a significant portion of the millions upon millions of oil-powered airplanes, boats, trucks, tractors, trailers, etc., with fuel cells nor the construction of a worldwide system to maintain all of these new technologies.

II. Platinum Supply

A single hydrogen fuel cell requires approximately 20-50 grams of platinum. Let's say we want to replace 1/4 of the world's petroleum powered cars with hydrogen fuel cell powered cars. Twenty-to-fifty grams of platinum per fuel cell x 210 million fuel cells equals between 4.2 billion and 10.5 billion grams of platinum required for the conversion. Unfortunately, world platinum production is currently at only about 240 million grams per year, most of which is already earmarked for thousands of indispensable industrial processes.

If the hydrogen economy was anything other than a total red herring, such issues would eventually arise as 80 percent of the world’s proven platinum reserves are located in that bastion of geopolitical stability, South Africa.

Even if an economically affordable and scalable alternative to platinum is immediately located and mined in absolutely massive quantities, the ability of hydrogen to replace even a small portion of our oil consumption is still handicapped by several fundamental limitations, some of which are detailed below. NASA, which fuels the space shuttle with hydrogen, may be able to afford to get around the following challenges, but there is a big difference between launching a single space shuttle and running a global economy with a voracious and constantly growing appetite for energy.

III. Inability to Store Massive Quantities at Low Cost:

Hydrogen is the smallest element known to man. This makes it virtually impossible to store in the massive quantities and to transport across the incredibly long distances at the low costs required by our vast global transportation networks. In her February 2005 article entitled "Hydrogen Economy: Energy and Economic Blackhole," Alice Friedemann writes:

Hydrogen is the Houdini of elements. As soon as you’ve

gotten it into a container, it wants to get out, and since it’s

the lightest of all gases, it takes a lot of effort to keep it

from escaping. Storage devices need a complex set of seals,

gaskets, and valves. Liquid hydrogen tanks for vehicles boil

off at 3-4% per day.

While some research into hydrogen storage technologies looks promising, it is still in the experimental stages and decades (at the earliest) from being ready to scale on an industrial level.

IV. Massive Cost of Hydrogen Infrastructure:

A hydrogen economy would require massive retrofitting of our entire global transportation and fuel distribution networks. At a million dollars per car, it would cost $350,000,000,000,000 to replace half of our current automotive fleet (700 million cars world wide) with hydrogen fuel cell powered cars.

That doesn't even account for replacing a significant fraction of our oil-powered airplanes or boats with fuel cells.

The numbers don't get any prettier if we scrap the fuel cells and go with straight hydrogen. According to a recent article in Nature, entitled "Hydrogen Economy Looks Out of Reach:"

Converting every vehicle in the United States to hydrogen

power would demand so much electricity that the country

would need enough wind turbines to cover half of California

or 1,000 extra nuclear power stations.

Unfortunately, even if we managed to get this ridiculously high number of wind turbines or nuclear power plants built, we would still need to build the hydrogen powered cars, in addition to a hydrogen distribution network that would be mind-boggingly expensive. The construction of a hydrogen pipeline network comparable to our current natural gas pipeline network, for instance, would cost 200 trillion dollars. That's twenty times the size of the US GDP in the year 2002.

How such capital intensive endeavors will be completed in the midst of massive energy shortages is anybody's guess.

V. Hydrogen's "Energy Sink" Factor:

As mentioned previously, solar, wind, or nuclear energy can be used to "crack" hydrogen from water via a process known as electrolysis. The electrolysis process is a simple one, but unfortunately it consumes more energy than it produces. This has nothing to do with the costs and everything to do with the immutable laws of thermodynamics. Again, Alice Friedemann weighs in:

The laws of physics mean the hydrogen economy will always

be an energy sink. Hydrogen’s properties require you to

spend more energy to do the following than you get out of it

later: overcome waters’ hydrogen-oxygen bond, to move

heavy cars, to prevent leaks and brittle metals, to transport

hydrogen to the destination. It doesn’t matter if all of the

problems are solved, or how much money is spent. You will

use more energy to create, store, and transport hydrogen

than you will ever get out of it.

Even if these problems are ignored or assumed away, you are still faced with jaw-dropping costs of a renewable derived hydrogen economy. In addition to the 200 trillion dollar pipeline network that would be necessary to move the hydrogen around, we would need to deploy about 40 trillion dollars of solar panels. If the hydrogen was derived from wind (which is usually more efficient than solar) the cost might be lowered considerably, but that's not saying much when you are dealing with numbers as large as $40 trillion.

As far as how much you as the consumer would pay for hydrogen fuel derived from renewable resources, Joseph Romm, author of The Hype About Hydrogen, estimates you will have to pay $10-$20 per gallon of gasoline equivalent. That's assuming you can even find a renewable-hydrogen filling station.

Even if the costs of these projects are cut in half, that makes little difference over the course of a generation, as our economy doubles in size approximately every 25-30 years. In other words, by the time we will have made any real headway in constructing a "hydrogen economy", the problem will have already compounded itself.

If the "hydrogen economy" is such a hoax, why then do we hear so much about it? The answer is simple when you "follow the money" and ask "who benefits?" (Hint: GM, Shell, et al.)

"What About Nuclear Energy?"

Nuclear energy requires uranium, which is problematic because as David Petch explains in his article "Peak Oil and You", even in the most optimistic scenarios, uranium will soon be in short supply:

Figure 2 illustrates the different projections of uranium

depletion, pending an increase in annual consumption rates

of 3%, 5% or 8%. Currently, uranium production falls

incredibly short of the demand. As oil resources become

scarce, uranium will have more pressure put upon it as a

resource. All three different scenarios have a similar course

until around 2013, where they part trails. By 2020, there is a

serious uranium shortage.

Let's assume a Pollyanna position and assume that uranium

deposits can be doubled up in the coming decade. Figure 3

illustrates the 3 different scenarios, depending on the net

increase in consumption per year. Rather than 2013 being a

focal year, it is stretched out by 3 years to 2016.

Uranium supply issues aside, nuclear energy (like solar and wind) is not an economically or energetically feasible transportation fuel. Put simply, you can't power your car with a nuclear reactor in the trunk.

Even if these problems are assumed away, a large scale switch over to nuclear power is still not going to do all that much to solve our problems due to the cost and time frames involved in the construction of nuclear power plants. It would take 10,000 of the largest nuclear power plants to produce the energy we get from fossil fuels. At $3-5 billion per plant, it's not long before we're talking about "real money" - especially since the $3-5 billion doesn't even include the cost of decommissioning old reactors, converting the nuclear generated energy into a fuel source appropriate for cars, boats, trucks, airplanes, and the not-so-minor problem of handling nuclear waste.

Speaking of nuclear waste, it is a question nobody has quite answered yet. This is especially the case in countries such as China and Russia, where safety protocols are unlikely to be strictly adhered to if the surrounding economy is in the midst of a desperate energy shortage. It may also be true in the case of the US because, as James Kunstler points out in his recent book, The Long Emergency:

. . . reactors may be beyond the organizational means of

the society we are apt to become in the future, mainly one

with much weaker central authority, less police power, and

reduced financial resources . . . in the absence of that

(cheap) oil we can't assume the complex social organization

needed to run nuclear energy safely.

Assuming we find answers to all questions regarding the cost and safety of nuclear power, we are still left with the most vexing question of all:

Where are we going to get the massive amounts of oil

necessary to build hundreds, if not thousands, of these

reactors, especially since they take 10 or so years to build

and we won't get motivated to build them until after oil

supplies have reached a point of permanent scarcity?

Remember, once we get the reactors built, we still have the not-so-inexpensive task of retrofitting a significant portion of the following to run on nuclear-derived electricity:

1.700 million oil-powered cars traversing the world's


2.Millions of oil-powered airplanes crisscrossing the

world's skies;

3.Millions of oil-powered boats circumnavigating the

world's oceans.

Scientists have made some progress in regards to nuclear fusion, but the road from success in tabletop laboratory experiments to use as an industrial scale replacement for oil is an extremely long one that, even in the most favorable of circumstances, will take decades to traverse.

"What About Biofuels Such

as Ethanol and Biodiesel?"

Biofuels such as biodiesel, ethanol, methanol etc. are great, but only in small doses. Biofuels are all grown with massive fossil fuel inputs (pesticides and fertilizers) and suffer from horribly low, sometimes negative, EROEIs. The production of ethanol, for instance, requires six units of energy to produce just one. That means it consumes more energy than it produces and thus will only serve to compound our energy deficit.

In addition, there is the problem of where to grow the stuff, as we are rapidly running out of arable land on which to grow food, let alone fuel. This is no small problem as the amount of land it takes to grow even a small amount of biofuel is quite staggering. As journalist Lee Dye points out in a July 2004 article entitled "Old Policies Make Shift From Foreign Oil Tough:"

. . . relying on corn for our future energy needs would

devastate the nation's food production. It takes 11 acres to

grow enough corn to fuel one automobile with ethanol for

10,000 miles, or about a year's driving, Pimentel says. That's

the amount of land needed to feed seven persons for the

same period of time.

And if we decided to power all of our automobiles with

ethanol, we would need to cover 97 percent of our land with

corn, he adds.

Biodiesel is considerably better than ethanol, (and probably the best of the biofuels) but with an EROEI of three, it still doesn't compare to oil, which has had an EROEI of about 30.

While any significant attempt to switch to biofuels will work out great for giant agribusiness companies (political campaign contributors) such as Archer Daniels Midland, ConAgra, and Monsanto, it won't do much to solve a permanent energy crisis for you.

The ghoulish reality is that if we wanted to replace even a small part of our oil supply with farm grown biofuels, we would need to turn most of Africa into a giant biofuel farm, an idea that is currently gaining traction in some circles. Obviously many Africans - who are already starving - would not take kindly to us appropriating the land they use to grow their food to grow our fuel. As journalist George Monbiot points out, such an endeavor would be a humanitarian disaster.

Some folks are doing research into alternatives to soybeans such as biodiesel producing pools of algae. As with every other project that promises to "replace all petroleum fuels," this project has yet to produce a single drop of commercially available fuel. This hasn't prevented many of its most vocal proponents from insisting that algae grown biodiesel will solve our energy problems. The same is true for other, equally ambitious plans such as using recycled farm waste, switchgrass, etc. These projects all look great on paper or in the laboratory. Some of them may even end up providing a small amount of commercially available energy at some undetermined point in the future. However, in the context of our colossal demand for petroleum and the small amount of time we have remaining before the peak, these projects can't be expected to be more than a "drop in the bucket."

Tragically, many well-meaing people attempting to develop solutions don't even understand this. As Dr. Ted Trainer explains in a recent article on the thermodynamic limitations of biomass fuels:

This is why I do not believe consumer-capitalist society can

save itself. Not even its "intellectual" classes or green

leadership give any sign that this society has the wit or the

will to even think about the basic situation we are in. As the

above figures make clear, the situation cannot be solved

without huge reduction in the volume of production and

consumption going on.

The current craze surrounding biodiesel is a good example of what Dr. Trainer is talking about. While folks who have converted their personal vehicles to run on vegetable oil should certainly be given credit for their noble attempts at reducing our reliance on petroleum, the long-term viability of their efforts is questionable at best. Once our system of food production collapses due to the effects of Peak Oil, vegetable oil will likely become far too precious/expensive a commodity to be burned as transportation fuel for anybody but the super-rich. As James Kunstler points out in an April 2005 update to his blog "Cluster Fuck Nation", many biodiesel enthusiasts are dangerously clueless as to this reality:

Over in Vermont last week, I ran into a gang of biodiesel

enthusiasts. They were earnest, forward-looking guys who

would like to do some good for their country. But their

expectations struck me as fairly crazy, and in a way typical

of the bad thinking at all levels of our society these days.

For instance, I asked if it had ever occurred to them that

biodiesel crops would have to compete for farmland that

would be needed otherwise to grow feed crops for working

animals. No, it hadn't. (And it seemed like a far-out

suggestion to them.) Their expectation seemed to be that

the future would run a lot like the present, that bio-diesel

was just another ingenious, innovative, high-tech module

that we can "drop into" our existing system in place of the

previous, obsolete module of regular oil.

Kunstler goes on to explain that when policies or living/working arrangements are set up around such unexamined expectations, the result is usually a dangerous deepening of our reliance on cheap energy and "easy motoring."

Biodiesel advocates can get downright nasty when somebody points out any of the above described limitations of their favorite fuel. For instance, in a December 2005 article entitled, "The Most Destructive Crop on Earth No Solution to the Energy Crisis," well known progressive journalist George Monbiot, recounted his experiences attempting to point out the limits of biodiesel:

The last time I drew attention to the hazards of making

diesel fuel from vegetable oils, I received as much abuse as

I have ever been sent for my stance on the Iraq war. The

biodiesel missionaries, I discovered, are as vociferous in

their denial as the executives of Exxon.

If biofuels such as biodiesel and ethanol are such poor substitutes for oil, why then do you hear about them so much? The answer becomes obvious once you follow the money: the vast majority of the biofuels produced in this country are (as mentioned earlier) produced by giant agribusiness conglomerates such as Archer Daneiles Midland. Investigative reporter Mike Ruppert points out:

Archer Daniels Midland laughs all the way to the bank. With a

price to earnings (P/E) ratio of 17:1, every dollar of net

profit thrown into their coffers by politicians or investment

advisors selling the snake oil of alternative fuels generates

$17 in stock value which ADM will happily sell off before all

markets succumb to Peak Oil. That $17 came out of your

pocket whether you invested or not.

"What About Synthetic Oil From Coal?"

Coal can be used to make synthetic oil via a process known as gasification. Unfortunately, synthetic oil will be unable to do all that much to soften the coming energy crash for the following reasons:

I. Insufficiency of Supply/"Peak Coal":

The coal supply is not as great as many assume. According to a July 2004 article published by the American Institute of Physics:

If demand remains frozen at the current rate of

consumption, the coal reserve will indeed last roughly 250

years. That prediction assumes equal use of all grades of

coal, from anthracite to lignite. Population growth alone

reduces the calculated lifetime to some 90−120 years. Any

new uses of coal would further reduce the supply. . . .The

use of coal for conversion to other fuels would quickly

reduce the lifetime of the US coal base to less than a human


Even a 50-75 year supply of coal is not as much as it sounds because coal production, like oil production, will peak long before the total supply is exhausted. Were we to liquefy a large portion of our coal endowment in order to produce synthetic oil, coal production would likely peak within 2 decades.

II. Falling "Energy Profit Ratio":

As John Gever explains in his book, Beyond Oil: The Threat to Food and Fuel in Coming Decades, the production of coal will be in energy-loser within a few decades:

. . . the energy profit ratio for coal slips to 20 in 1977,

comparable to that of domestic petroleum. While an energy

profit ratio of 20 means that only 5 percent of coal's gross

energy is needed to obtain it, the sharp decline since 1967 is

alarming. If it continues to drop at this rate, the energy

profit ratio of coal will slide to 0.5 by 2040.

In other words, with an EPR of .5, it will take twice as much energy to produce the coal than the coal actually contains. It will thus be of no use to us as an energy source.

III. Issue of Scale and Environmental Catastrophe:

The environmental consequences of a huge increase in coal production would be truly catastrophic. Caltech physics professor Dr. David Goodstein explains:

We use now about twice as much energy from oil as we do

from coal, so if you wanted to mine enough coal to replace

the missing oil, you’d have to mine it at a much higher rate,

not only to replace the oil, but also because the conversion

process to oil is extremely inefficient. You’d have to mine it

at levels at least five times beyond those we mine now—a

coal-mining industry on an absolutely unimaginable scale.

In his book, Out of Gas:The End of the Oil Age, Dr. Goodstein tells us that a large scale switch to coal could produce such severe global warming that life on planet Earth would cease to exist.

"Can't We Use a Combination of

the Alternatives to Replace Oil?"

Absolutely. Despite their individual shortcomings, it is still possible for the world economy to run on a basket of alternative sources of energy - so long as we immediately get all of the following:

1.A few dozen technological breakthroughs;

2.Unprecedented political will and bipartisan cooperation;

3.Tremendous international collaboration;

4.Massive amounts of investment capital;

5.Fundamental reforms to the banking system;

6.No interference from the oil-and-gas industries;

7.About 25-50 years of general peace and prosperity to

retrofit the world's $45 trillion dollar per year economy,

including transportation and telecommunication

networks, manufacturing industries, agricultural

systems, universities, hospitals, etc. , to run on these

new sources of energy.

8.A generation of engineers, scientists, and economists

trained to run a global economy powered by new

sources of energy.

9.Rational elected officials and capable government

appointees to manage the generation long transition.

If we get all of the above, we might be able to get the energy equivalent of 3-5 billion barrels of oil per year from alternative sources.

That's a tremendous amount of oil - about as much as the entire world used per year during the 1950s, but it's nowhere near enough to keep our currently mammoth-sized yet highly volatile global economic system going. The world currently requires over 30 billion barrels/1.2 trillion gallons of oil per year to support economic growth. That requirement will only increase as time goes on due to population growth, debt servicing, and the industrialization of nations such as China and India.

So even if the delusionally optimistic 8-step scenario described above is somehow miraculously manifested, we're still facing a 70-90% reduction in the amount of energy available to us. A 70-90% reduction would be extremely painful, but not the "end of the world" if it wasn't for the fact that, as explained above, the monetary system will collapse in the absence of a constantly increasing energy supply. If a shortfall between demand and supply of 5% is enough to send prices up by 400%, what to you think a shortfall of 70-90% is going to do?

To make matters worse, even if the all of the above obstacles are assumed away, we are still faced with the problem of "economic doubling time." If the economy grows at a healthy clip of 3.5% per year, it doubles in size every 20 years. That growth must be fueled by an energy supply that doubles just as quickly. Thus, our total "energy debt" will have compounded itself by the time we have made any major strides in switching to alternative sources of energy.

"What About Amazing New Technologies Such As Thermal Depolymerization, Solar Nanotech, Space Based Solar Arrays, and other 'Energy-Miracles'?"

I. Thermal Depolymerization

Thermal depolymerization is an intriguing solution to our landfill problems, but since most of the feedstock (such as tires and turkey guts) requires high-grade oil to make in the first place, it is more "high-tech recycling" than it is a solution to a permanent oil shortage.

While the following analogy is certainly a bit disgusting, it should clearly illustrate why thermal depolymerization won't do much to soften the coming collapse:

Expecting thermal depolymerization to help solve our long

term energy problems makes as much sense as expecting

the consumption of our own feces to help solve a long-term


In both cases, the energy starved party is simply recycling

a small portion of the energy they had previously consumed.

On a less grotesque note, the technology is besieged by several fundamental shortcomings that those desperately hoping for a techno-messiah tend to overlook:

First, there is the problem of production costs. According to a recent article in Fortune Magazine, a barrel of oil produced via the thermal depolymerization process costs $80 to produce as of January 2005. To put that figure in perspective, consider the fact that oil pulled out of the ground in Saudi Arabia costs less than $2.50 per barrel, while oil pulled out of the ground in Iraq costs only $1.00 per barrel.

This means that with spot oil prices in the $50/barrel range, a barrel of oil produced via thermal depolymerization in January 2005 would have to sell for between $1,600-$4,000 per barrel to have a return on investment comparable to oil produced from Saudi Arabia or Iraq.

Oil prices of $1,600-$4,000 per barrel would put gas prices at roughly $80-$200 per gallon.

If the technology was the miracle many people are desperately hoping for, the company would likely not have needed a grant from the Department of Energy to keep its head above water. Nor would it have been the subject of an April 2005 Kansas City Star article appropriately entitled, "Innovative Turkey-to-Oil Plant Eats Money, Spits Out Fowl Odor."

Sky-high production costs and horrific odor problems aside, a look at the history of thermal depolymerization tends to show it will never amount to more than a tiny drop in the giant barrel that is our oil appetite.The technology was first developed for commercial use in 1996. Here we are, ten years later and there is only one thermal depolymerization plant online and it is producing less than 500 barrels of oil per day, despite record high oil prices. Even if oil production from thermal depolymerization is upscaled by a factor of 1,000, and the cost of production brought down by a factor of 10, it will still only be producing 500,000 barrels of oil per day. While that may make a tremendous amount of money for the company, it won't make much difference in our overall situation as the global need for oil is projected to reach 120,000,000 barrels per day by 2020.

If thermal depolymerization sounded "too good to be true" when you first heard about it, now you know why. Again, as with other alternatives, we shouldn't let these challenges discourage continued research, development, and investment into the technology. However, we have to be realistic about what the technology can and can't do. If you're a big agribusiness or energy company, you may want to look into thermal depolymerization. If, on the other hand, you're just a regular person trying to figure out how you're going to acquire things like food, water, and shelter in a post-cheap oil world, you may as well forget about thermal depolymerization. It is never going to make a discernable contribution to your standard of living.

II. Space Based Solar Arrays

As disappointing as thermal depolymerization has been to those hoping for a techno-savior, at least it has produced a small amount of commercially available energy. The same cannot be said for space-based solar arrays, which according to NASA, are plagued by "major technical, regulatory and conceptual hurdles" and won't see the light of day for several decades.

Even if these major hurdles are somehow cleared inside of 5 years instead of 50 years, there is still the not-so-minor problem of rewiring all of industrial civilization - including agriculture, communications, transportation, defense, health care, education, industry, government, finance/banking, etc. . . to run on space-derived solar energy.

Of course, before the global rewiring can begin, we have to find the energy, raw materials, political willingness, financial capital, etc. to get such a project off the ground.

We also have to find a way to prevent China's million man standing army from snapping up all the raw materials necessary to make the transition.

III. Solar Nanotechonology

While there are some promising technological advancements in solar-nanotechnology, even Dr. Richard Smalley, the scientist at the forefront of these technologies, admits we need a series of "miracles" to prevent a total collapse of industrial civilization.

In the February 2005 issue of Discover Magazine, Dr. Smalley gave the following prognosis:

There will be inflation as billions of people compete for

insufficient resources. There will be famine. There will be

terrorism and war.

He went on to say that it will take "presidential leadership" to inspire us to pursue technologies that might alleviate this crisis.

In other words, the chances of technology saving you from the coming economic collapse are about the same as the chances of another virgin-birth taking place.

For you or any other "average" person to expect high-tech solutions to save you from the economic effects of Peak Oil is akin to a person living in sub-Saharan Africa to expect high-tech medical treatments to save their community from the effects of AIDS. These treatments are only available and affordable for super-wealthy people like Magic Johnson, not the average people in Africa.

Likewise, many of the recent technological advancements in energy production and efficiency may be available and affordable to extraordinarily wealthy people or agencies like the Department of Defense, but they aren't going to be available or affordable to the rest of us.

"What About Super Fuel Efficient

and/or Electric Cars?"

I. Hybrids

Hybrids or so called "hyper-cars" aren't the answer either because the construction of an average car consumes the energy equivalent of approximately 27-54 barrels (1,110-2,200 gallons) of oil. Thus, a crash program to replace the 700 million internal combustion vehicles currently on the road with super fuel-efficient or alternative fuel-powered vehicles would consume the energy equivalent of approximately 18-36 billion barrels of oil, which is the amount of oil the world currently consumes in six-to-twelve months. Consequently, such a program (while well-intentioned) would actually bring the collapse upon us even sooner.

II. Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are incapable of replacing more than a small fraction (5 or maybe 10%) of the 700 million internal combustion engine powered cars on the road due to the limits of battery technology. Dr. Walter Youngquist explains:

. . . a gallon of gasoline weighing about 8 pounds has the

same energy as one ton of conventional lead-acid storage

batteries. Fifteen gallons of gasoline in a car's tank are the

energy equal of 15 tons of storage batteries.

Even if much improved storage batteries were devised, they

cannot compete with gasoline or diesel fuel in energy

density. Also, storage batteries become almost useless in

very cold weather, storage capacity is limited, and batteries

need to be replaced after a few years use at large cost.

There is no battery pack which can effectively move heavy

farm machinery over miles of farm fields, and no electric

battery system seems even remotely able to propel a

Boeing 747 14 hours nonstop at 600 miles an hour . . .

Some promising research into new battery technlogies using lithium is being performed, but even the scientists at the forefront of this research admit, "We've got a long way to go."

Assumming these problems away, the construction of an average car also consumes 120,000 gallons of fresh water. Unfortunately, the world is in the midst of a severe water crisis that is only going to get worse in the years to come. Scientists are already warning us to get ready for massive "water wars."

Thus, the only way for us to replace our current fleet of gas-guzzling SUVs with fuel-efficient hybrids or electric vehicles is to seize control of the world's reserves of both oil and fresh water and then divert those resources away from the billions of people who already rely on them.

Even if we are willing to undertake such an endeavor, the problem will still not be solved due to a phenomenon known as "Jevon's Paradox," whereby increases in energy efficiency are obliterated by corresponding increases in energy consumption.

The US economy is a good example of Jevon's Paradox in action. Since 1970, we have managed to cut in half the amount of oil necessary to generate a dollar of GDP. At the same time, however, our total level of oil consumption has risen by about fifty percent while our level of natural gas and coal consumption have risen by even more. Thus, despite massive increases in the energy efficiency over the last 35 years, we are more dependent on oil than ever. This trend is unlikely to be abated in a market economy, where the whole point is to make as much money (consume as much energy) as possible.

"What About Large-Scale Efforts at Conserving Energy or Becoming More Energy Efficient?"

Amazingly, such efforts will actually make our situation worse. This probably makes absolutely no sense unless you understand how the modern day banking and monetary system works. To illustrate, let's revisit Jevon's Paradox, explained above, with an example:

Pretend you own a computer store and that your monthly energy bill, as of December 2004, is $1,000. You then learn about the coming energy famine and decide to do your part by conserving as much as possible. You install energy efficient lighting, high quality insulation, and ask your employees to wear sweaters so as to minimize the use of your store's heating system.

After implementing these conservation measures, you manage to lower your energy bill by 50% - down to $500 per month.

While you certainly deserve a pat-on-the-back and while your business will certainly become more profitable as a result of your conservation efforts, you have in no way helped reduce our overall energy appetite. In fact, you have actually increased it.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, "How could I have possibly increased our total energy consumption when I just cut my own consumption by $500/month? That doesn't seem to make common sense . . .?"

Well think about what you're going to do with that extra $500 per month you saved. If you're like most people, you're going to do one of two things:

1. You will reinvest the $500 in your business. For instance,

you might spend the $500 on more advertising. This will

bring in more customers, which will result in more

computers being sold. Since, as mentioned previously, the

average desktop computer consumes 10X it's weight in

fossil-fuels just during its construction, your individual

effort at conserving energy has resulted in the

consumption of more energy.

2. You will simply deposit the $500 in your bank account

where it will accumulate interest. Since you're not using

the money to buy or sell anything, it can't possibly be

used to facilitate an increase in energy consumption,


Wrong. For every dollar a bank holds in deposits, it will loan out

between six and twelve dollars. These loans are then used by the bank's customers to do everything from starting businesses to making down payments on vehicles to purchasing computers.

Thus, your $500 deposit will allow the bank to make between $3,000 and $6,000 in loans - most of which will be used to buy, build,or transport things using fossil fuel energy.

Typically, Jevon's Paradox is one of the aspects of our situation that people find difficult to get their minds around. Perhaps one additional example will help clarify it:

Think of our economy as a giant petroleum powered machine that turns raw materials into consumer goods which are later turned into garbage:

The Economy
US Domestic Oil Prouction 1930-2050

Graph Courtesy of ASPO

Petroleum In > Garbage Out >

If you remove the machine's internal inefficiencies, the extra energy is simply reinvested into the petroleum supply side of the machine. The machine then consumes petroleum and spits out garbage at an even faster rate.

The only way to get the machine to consume less petroleum is for whoever owns/operates the machine to press the button that says "slow-down." However, since we are all dependent on the machine for jobs, food, affordable health care, subsidies for alternative forms of energy, etc., nobody is going to lobby the owners/operators of the machine to press the "slow-down" button until it's too late.

Eventually (sooner than later) the petroleum plug will get pulled and the machine's production will sputter before grinding to a halt. At that point, those of us dependent on the machine (which means all of us) will have to fight for whatever scraps it manages to spit out.

To be clear: conservation will benefit you as an individual. If, for instance, you save $100/month on your energy bills, you can roll that money into acquiring skills or resources that will benefit you as we slide down the petroleum-production downslope. But since your $100 savings will result in a net increase in the energy consumed by society as a whole, it will actually cause us to slide down the downslope faster. (Note: for examples of Jevon's Paradox in action in other areas, click here.)

"What's Going to Happen to the Economy?"

The US economy is particularly vulnerable to the coming oil shocks as we consume a greater proportion of the world's oil than any other nation. The unparalleled prosperity experienced in this country during the last 100 years was built entirely on cheap oil. Until the late 19th century, the US economy was primarily agrian in nature. Oil was discovered in 1859 but did not become a truly important industrial fuel until Henry Ford began mass producing automobiles in the early 1900s. The mass production of automobiles became a cornerstone of the US economy while allowing people to move out of the cities and into the suburbs.

The expansion of the suburbs fueled the real estate and housing booms of the 20th century, which in turn fueled the US steel, copper, construction, etc. industries. A system of finance sprung up that facilitated these booms while simultaneously becoming dependent on them.

These trends are still driving the US economy here in the 21st. Consider for instance, the following factoids about the U.S.

1. According to the American Automobile Manufacturers 1. Association, one out of every seven jobs in the US is

1. dependent on automobile manufacturing.

2. According to an August 2005 report by Merrill Lynch,

2. half of the new jobs created in the US since 2001 are

2. dependent on housing construction.

Most of the automobile and home purchases in this country are made with interest-bearing loans which, absent a hyperinflationary monetary policy, can only be paid back en masse if the economy grows. Amazingly, the US economy, at least in its current incarnation, can only grow if people can afford to drive more. As researcher Stuart Staniford has shown in a series of graphs originally published on The Oil Drum, a strong causal (if not virtually direct) relationship exists between miles driven and economic growth:

In short, the US has built it's entire infrastructure and way of life under the assumption oil would always be cheap and plentiful. Moreover, it has made next to no rational prepartions for the day when oil is either too scarce or too expensive to be consumed at such prodigious rates. We are thus, as a society, wholly unprepared for what awaits us.

As far as what the specific economic effects will be, consider the conclusions a group of top officials came to when they gathered in Washington D.C. to conduct "Oil Shockwave", a simulation exercise aimed at examining how the US economy would be effected by a small (3.5 mbd) disruption in the global oil supply. Professor Michael Klare, author of Resource Wars: The New Landscape for Global Conflict summarizes their conclusions as follows:

A 3.5 mbd reduction in supply would cause:

1.Global oil prices exceeding $150 per barrel.

2.Gasoline prices of $5.00 or more per gallon.

3.A spike in the consumer price index of more than 12%.

4.A decline of over 25% in the Standard & Poor’s 500

stock index.

5.A crisis with China over Taiwan.

6. Increased friction with Saudi Arabia over US policy

toward Israel.

Remeber, the simulation involved the removal of only 3.5 million barrels per day of oil from the global market. For a global economy that consumes 83 million barrels per day, this is a reduction in supply of only 4.2%. What's going to happen when the supply is reduced by that much or more every year?

Given that any large scale plan to mitigate these problems would need to have been initiated on a global scale at least 20 years ago, it is hard to envision the economy not collapsing as a result of these trends.

How Are People Likely to React to This?

As the US economy begins to disintegrate, civil unrest may become increasingly violent and widespread. Each faction of the American body-politic will likely rally around reactionary political demagogues/movements who promise to bring back the good days by eliminating whatever domestic or foreign group(s) they have decided to scapegoat. Liberals will blame "Bush, Big-Oil and the Hard Right Neocons" while conservatives will blame "Bin-Laden, Big-Government, and the Extreme Left Environmentalists." Mexican immigrants, conservative Christians, gays, and other groups may also be scapegoated.

The anticipation of massive unrest may be the real reason why the Department of Homeland Security recently contracted with a subsidiary of Halliburton to build massive new domestic detenetion camps.

In 1985, the authors of Beyond Oil: The Threat to Fuel and Food in the Coming Decades, warned us of such possiblities:

A stagnant or shrinking economy will have a major effect on

society’s expectations. With few exceptions, each generation

in the United States has become materially better off than

the preceding one. This pattern of increasing wealth has

become an indelible part of the American Dream; a higher

standard of living than our parents is practically a birthright.

These expectations are the standard against which actual

performance is judged. During times of failed expectations, a

society is especially vulnerable to a person or philosophy

promising to restore it to its former glory. The fall of the

Weimar Germany is probably the best example.

As commentator Robert Freeman pointed out in 2004, the end of oil may result in the end of America as we know it.

"Are Governments Planning For This?"

If their recent actions are any indicator, the answer is "absolutely."

The US government has been aware of Peak Oil since at least 1977 when the CIA prepared a report on it. As Professor Richard Heinberg has commented:

The 1977 CIA document shows clear and detailed awareness

of oil issues, including depletion, extraction technologies,

pipelines, areas of likely new discovery, the quality of

existing reserves, and the dynamics of the global oil market.

The CIA has obviously been studying oil very carefully for

some time and must therefore understand the issue of

global oil peak.

In 1982, the State Department released its own report which stated:

. . . world petroleum production will peak in the 1990-2010

interval at 80-105 million barrels per day, with ultimate

resources estimated at 2,100 billion barrels.

In short, the US government has been aware of and actively planning for this crisis for over 30 years. Three decades of careful, plotting analysis has yielded a comprehensive, sophisticated, and multi-faceted plan in which military force will be used to secure and control the globe's energy resources. This plan is simplistically, but not altogether inaccurately - known as "Go to War to Get Oil."

This strategy was publicly announced in April 2001, when a report commissioned by Dick Cheney was released. According to the report, entitled Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century, the US is facing the biggest energy crisis in history and that the crisis requires "a reassessment of the role of energy in American foreign policy."

That's a diplomatic way of saying we are going to be fighting oil wars for a very long time.

James Woolsey, the former Director of the CIA, practically admitted as much at a recent conference on renewable energy:

I fear we're going to be at war for decades, not years . . .

Ultimately we will win it, but one major component of that

war is oil.

Recent statements by Henry Kissinger echo those of Woolsey. In a June 2005 Financial Times article entitled, "Kissinger Warns of Energy Conflict," Kissinger was quoted as saying:

The amount of energy is finite, up to now in relation to

demand, and competition for access to energy can become

the life and death for many societies.

Kissinger distinguished these energy conflicts from previous conflicts such as the Cold War:

When nuclear weapons spread to 30 or 40 countries and

each conducts a calculation, with less experience and

different value systems, we will have a world of permanent

imminent catastrophe.

The war in Iraq, which has been 23 years in the making, is just the beginning of a worldwide war that "will not end in our lifetime." The reason our leaders are telling us the "war on terror will last 50 years" and that the U.S. engagement in the Middle East is now a "generational commitment" is two-fold:

1. All the countries accused of harboring terrorists - Iraq,

Iran, Syria, West Africa, Saudi Arabia - also happen to

harbor large oil reserves.

2. Within 40-50 years, even these countries will see their

oil reserves almost entirely depleted. At that point, the

"war on terror" will come to an end.

While the Middle East countries find themselves targets in the "war on terror", China, Russia, and Latin America find themselves targets in the recently declared and much more expansive "war on tyranny." Whereas the "war on terror" is really a war for control of the world's oil reserves, this newly declared "war on tyranny" is really a war for control of the world's oil distribution and transportation chokepoints.

This type of large-scale, long-term warfare may require a massive expansion of the military draft. It's probably not a coincidence that the director of the Selective Service recently gave a presentation to Congress in which he recommended the military draft be extended to both genders, ages 18-35.

The strategy - as distasteful as it may be - is characterized by a Machiavellian logic. Given the thermodynamic deficiencies of the alternatives to oil, the complexity of a large scale switch to these new sources of energy, and the wrenching economic and social effects of a declining energy supply, you can see why our leaders view force as the only viable way to deal with the coming crisis.

"Is there Any Reason to Remain Hopeful?"

As far as the fate of society or the world as a whole, the most honest answer is "no." Our political processes are entirely controlled by massive corporations in the petroleum, defense, automotive, agribusiness, construction, and media industries. Most of the responses to this situation that would be favorable to you or me (such as mass transit and large scale urban gardens) would be at odds with the interests of these corporations. Thus, there is little realistic hope they will ever be aggresively pursued. The end result is likely to be a large scale societal collapse not unlike what happened to the Roman, Viking, and Mayan societies.

(See Collapse: How Societies Choose to Succeed or Fail by Jared Diamond or The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter for more information on previous societes which collapsed.)

As far as the fate of you and your family, that is a different story. Assumming you are willing to stay flexible, work hard, and encounter some good luck along the way, yes there is still hope you can carve a satisfactory existence out of some very unfavorable circumstances.

"What Can I do to Prepare?"

What you can or will do to prepare for this situation will depend on your age, health, marital status, geographic location, financial situation and other factors too numerous to mention. The best advice I can offer that applies to the widest number of people is to do the following to the best of your ability:

1. Relocate to an area as least vulnerable to these issues

as possible, if doing so is economically feasible for you.

If doing so is not economically feasible for you, then

simply figure out how you might do best in your current

location. As far as what to look for when relocating,

consider the following: A) Access to fresh water,

B) Arable land on which to grow food C) Access to timber

for heating, D) Moderate climate, E) Friendly population

2. Reallocate your financial assets so that you are as best

positioned to handle these issues as you can realistically

hope to be. Books by Stephen Leeb and the website are good places to start

if you're looking for financial advice on these matters.

3. Relocalize your lifestyle as much as possible so that you

are as least dependent on far-flung, petroleum-powered

transportation and distribution networks as possible.

3. Strengthen your body so that you are as least dependent

on our petroleum-dependent system of health care as


4. Solidify any skills and/or social networks you have that

might prove valuable in light of these changes.

5. If you're in shock and want to interact with others about

these issues, check out the LATOC forum on emotional

issues. Understand that being in shock is pretty much

"par-for -the course" when it comes to learning about

these issues. Trust me when I say it subsides after a


6. If you want to discuss personal preparation with others,

check out the discussion forums at Savinar Solar

and at the LATOC forum one self-sufficiency.

7. If you feel the need to tell friends or family, be

forewarned that most people don't take too kindly to this

information. Your best bet, in my opinion, is either send

them an email with a link to this site and some of the

other excellent Peak Oil websites or give them a copy

of the documentary End of Suburbia.

There are endless ways you can begin preparing for these matters. What I've listed above are just some things to get you started. I encourage you to check some of the forums/discussion groups listed above so as to discuss these matters with others.

Best of luck,

Mattthew David Savinar, Esq.

Originally published: January 2004; Last revised: December 2005

Anonymous said...

Richard, this post of yours is waaay to long. It makes this thread unpleasant to fumble through - is this your intention? I hope not.

You write & post some worthy reads, but please keep it short or use tinyurl - please use common courtesy here.

Anonymous said...

In the Fox News interview, Bush senior also reveals that his son the current President refuses to use e mail for fear that the communication would get subpoenaed and the e mails would be used to prove “that you were telling the truth and all this stuff.”
Wow! It sounds like Dubya's got a lot to hide...

Anonymous said...

Richard: Get back to your birds.

Anonymous said...

Japan's Notes May Fall on Concern Fukui to Signal Higher Rates

Japanese five-year government notes may fall on speculation Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui will signal interest rates might rise next month.

``The growth report gave Fukui more leverage to flag a rate increase,'' said Hitomi Kimura, a debt strategist at JPMorgan Securities Japan Co., one of 25 primary dealers required to bid at government bond sales.

``Concerns about a rate increase for December strengthened and government debt may be weak today.''

Anonymous said...

Chastain Condos Auctioned Off

One couple got a $500,000 condo for $300,000. Just five minutes later, another man got the same model for just $278,000.

Hundreds of people showed up at the Sheraton Hotel in Buckhead to bid on condos at the View at Chastain.

The condo tower auctioned off 58 remaining condos. It was not a distress sale, but a way to simply sell condos.

Right now there are 9,000 condos for sale in the city of Atlanta and plans in the works for 17,000 more. Owners can share stories of how difficult it can be to sell a condo.

While analysts say the burst of the housing bubble does not include Atlanta, when it comes to condos there is no denying there is a glut on the market.

Anonymous said...

THE VIEW FROM the back patio of Greg Stone's three-bedroom house in Reno, Nev., is stupendous.

But last fall, when its owners put it on the market for $835,000, there were no takers.

For nearly a year, the price sank.

The Stone signed a contract on the home for $590,000 — 30% below its original asking price.

The Stones' house could be a tombstone for the recent real estate boom.

Prices are falling fastest where the boom has been most extreme, on the coasts and in sunny destinations like Las Vegas and Florida. But outside the housing-hype spotlight, cities like Reno; Warwick, R.I.; and even Boise, Idaho, have experienced their own booms — and now their own fizzling downturns.

Homes in some markets have become so expensive relative to wages that the pool of buyers has shrunk.

The most recent boom now looks most like a bubble in markets that have shown up year after year as the most overvalued — especially in Florida and California, which account for 24 of the top 25 overvalued spots in this year's survey. Now those markets may be falling back to earth.

The long-anticipated slowdown has arrived with a stench of burnt brake pads, with even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke saying that the housing sector is undergoing a "substantial correction."

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