Monday, July 30, 2007

Stolen from Crooks and


C&L July Film of the Month: A CRUDE AWAKENING The Oil Crash

Documentary by Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack

“Oil is our God. I don’t care if someone says they worship Jesus, Buddha, Allah, whoever – they actually worship petroleum.”
Mathew David Savinar, Lawyer and Founder of

If An Inconvenient Truth could be considered The Wizard of Oz of environmental documentaries, then A Crude Awakening would have be considered the Rosemary’s Baby of that same genre.

Global warming. So what? Melting polar icecaps? Call me later. A Crude Awakening paints a picture so much grimmer than anything Americans have seen in their lifetimes. Or in the movies this summer, for that matter. It is dark. It is primordial. It is terrifying. It is - The end of oil, as we know it.

While technically speaking, oil is running out, for it to go bone dry will take a few lifetimes. But do not dare exhale a sigh of relief. That fact is not relevant to this splendid documentary. It seems there is a bigger problem. One that is arriving faster than Netflix. That problem is global peak oil. Say it over and over, folks. Say it until your tongue gets used to saying it. Write it down. Tell your children. Open the windows of your Ford Explorer and scream it out into the dark abyss. You will be seeing and hearing about it for the rest of your lives – possibly beginning today.

Written, produced and co-directed by Basil Gelpke, from Switzerland and Ray McCormack, from Ireland, A Crude Awakening will scare the living Bush out of you and at the same time leave you dumbfounded. If you’re like me, you’ll be grasping at straws for a logical way out of this oncoming runaway train that some experts have already dubbed the “post-industrial stone age.”

Now that, my friends, is an inconvenient truth. It is a truth so scary, so inconvenient, that few will even utter its name. Once again, for the record, its name is Peak Oil. And no one seems to have the slightest idea what to do about it.

You might not know about it but THEY do. The heads of the ‘Seven Sisters’ oil companies. The Saudis. OPEC. Dick Cheney’s secret Energy Task Force. Bill and Hillary – they ALL know about Peak Oil. Everybody but YOU! Maybe its time YOU found out? Huh? Curious? End of the World? Saving for your toddler’s college education? Uh, sorry, that won’t be necessary.

The world as we know it is coming to an end soon.

That doesn’t come from a religious cult like the Moonies or conspiracy lunatics with tin foil hats in Idaho. Rather it is the uncontested scientific conclusion of the world’s most widely respected geologists, physicists, oil executives, bankers and politicians.

Gelpke, with a background in anthropology and economics, worked as a war correspondent before becoming a scientific filmmaker. His partner, McCormack who has a history in corporate filmmaking also holds an Honors Degree in Environmental Policy and Management. These guys know their stuff, are extremely serious and bring on-camera expertise to back them up. A parade of renowned academics, scientific experts and corporate advisors from across the political and economic spectrum enter and re-enter this shocking film. Each time they reappear they bring with them overwhelming amounts of irrefutable evidence that the world as we know it is about to go through some very savage changes.

And they mean NOW.

I don’t want to alarm anybody but you should be afraid. VERY AFRAID. Not of bin Laden. Not of AIDS. Not of global warming. Not of George Bush. But of global Peak Oil and what that represents.
For the uninitiated, in order to understand this movie one has to understand peak oil. It is not very difficult.

Peak Oil, also known as Hubbert’s Peak was named for the Shell Oil geologist, Dr. Marion King Hubbert. In 1956, M.K. Hubbert accurately predicted that America’s domestic oil production would peak in 1970.
His peers laughed at Hubbert at the time.

He had successfully examined the amount of new discoveries of oil in the United States from the 1930s onward. Those rose and fell like a bell curve. After a huge spike, they were simply running out of places in the U.S. that held oil fields. He figured that if the discovery of oil supplies formed a bell curve, then the production of the oil would form a matching bell curve soon afterwards.

He was dead right.

By 1970, U.S. oil production had peaked and the decline was in rapid freefall. Using the same extrapolations for the entire world, Hubbert predicted that world oil production would be peaking by 1995. It would have been spot on accurate, had the politically motivated oil embargoes of 1973 and 1979 not been enacted, setting back world oil peak by just 10-15 years.
In other words…NOW.
“The United States had been the largest oil producer on earth for nearly 100 years and nobody thought it would ever end,” explains Mathew Simmons an energy investment banker and advisor to president George W. Bush.
The last new frontiers in oil discovery were in the Alaskan North Slope, Siberia and the North Sea. That was in 1967, 1968 and 1969 respectively. All have peaked since then. The North Sea oil finds were indeed massive and quite unknown at the time. A huge discovery. It peaked in 40 years. Next year Britain will actually have to import oil for the first time since the discovery.

The world has been so thoroughly explored with massive new technological devises that most experts feel there is no new oil out there. In fact, advanced engineering technology has created in effect, “super straws” to suck all known oil out of the ground faster than ever before believed possible.

The desperation of the oil companies have led them to oil shale fields in Canada and steaming old well sites for the very last drops of “the devil’s excrement.”

Two thirds of the known oil fields today are in the Persian Gulf. In 1978, Iran was producing 6 million barrels a day. Today? 3-3 ½ million barrels a day. This is indicative of the downward slope of oil production following a peak. The Saudis have found only one new oil field since 1967. They pump 12 million barrels a day yet each year they claim their reserves are exactly the same. How is this possible? It’s not. In the late 80’s all the OPEC countries simply increased their “known” oil reserves by 50% for political reasons and quota busting.

With the massive industrialization of India and China already underway, it is becoming quite obvious that oil production will not be able to keep up with demand. In fact, we already see this happening with the doubling of our own gas prices in just the past few years. Experts believe that those same prices will rise steadily and quickly to $15 per gallon.
And that’s when things will really and finally get hairy. Once oil peaks, the downward crash is fast and furious as the entire world scrapples for the remaining apples.

Our entire civilization has been built on cheap oil. Not only are we reaching the end of the artificial American dream, peak oil experts also feel we are on the precipice of a massive worldwide Age of Depression. We have become the victims of our own success. Huge population booms have occurred due to the mid-century “green revolution” in farming that produced enough cheap food to feed the entire world. Our cities and society grew at staggering rates because of the use of the cheapest fuel source ever discovered.

“One barrel of oil for $100, will produce as much energy as you would get from 12 people working all year,” says Roscoe Bartlett a scientist and U.S. Republican Congressman from Maryland.

But the times they are a changin’.

Ten or fifteen years ago, the per capita income of the average Saudi was $28K. Today its down to $6K. There has been a huge drop in the standard of living for the average Saudi. Strap yourselves in folks. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride. We’re next.

There seems to be two solutions:

1) Multinational resource wars. Militarize our population to allow them to continue to drive SUVs. Tell them what the stakes and go for it. Invade till the last drop.
2) Begin to prepare for the end of cheap oil and adjust to available alternatives as soon as possible. As bleak as they may seem.

Just so you understand what we’re up against.

If we hybridized every stinking car on the road today, we would still be consuming the same amount of gasoline as we are now in just 5-7 years. With each year demand grows enormously. With no end in sight.
The alternative fuels everyone has been jabbering about lately don’t cut it. If you added all the alternative fuel sources up, that is if they were even ready and functioning at massive levels, it wouldn’t even make a dent in the loss of oil.

Oil is that cheap.

We pay more for a bottle of drinking water than we do for a gallon of gasoline,” explains David L. Goodstein, professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology.

If you went nuclear alone, we would need 10,000 new nuclear plants immediately and then the damn uranium would run out in 10 years anyway. Unless you’re France. Their entire country is powered by nuclear power. Just watch were you put the trash, Jacques.

The most fascinating chapter of the film is entitled, Life After The Peak. This shows us the other side of the Hubbert Peak. The downward slope. Ouch. We got a snippet of it in 1973, when OPEC turned off the U.S. oil spigot because of the Israeli War. Cars lined up for miles to get the last drop of gas. Everyone freaked, but quickly forgot about it when the man hooked them up again with the Persian Black.

In the near, near future, driving cars and flying by plane will be a luxury reserved only for the Super Rich. The financial markets will shrink due to the elimination of petro dollars. The stock markets will collapse worldwide. Populations will shrink immensely as hunger and starvation sweep the globe.

An apple will cost $7.

Hydrocarbon Man’s days are severely numbered.

Oh, and if you think hydrogen is gonna save you, think about this: It currently takes 3 – 6 gallons of gasoline to make enough hydrogen to drive a car the equivalent distance that one gallon of gasoline would drive it.

Coal? Too dirty. We’ll choke to death. Wind power? Keep blowing. Hydroelectric? Every river is already dammed. Biomass? Too much energy to create it.

In fact, the only science that seems to have any chance in hell is solar. How ironic. But there is a catch. A huge catch. It would take a field of solar panels half the size of California to power the country. The sun. Of course. How could we miss it?

When Jonas Salk found the cure for polio, he was asked if he had filed a patent on his new vaccine. Salk looked quizzically at the reporter and famously said, “No. After all, could you patent the Sun?”

Hey, New Mexico. Let’s go. Everybody out! That means you.

See A Crude Awakening before there are no more petrochemicals left to even make DVDs.

A screenwriter/producer/journalist based in Hollywood, California, Mark Groubert is the Senior Film and Book Reviewer for As a filmmaker he has produced numerous documentaries for HBO. Groubert is also the former editor of National Lampoon Magazine, MTV Magazine and The Weekly World News. In addition, he has written for the L.A. Weekly, L.A. City Beat, Penthouse, High Times and other publications. He is currently at work on his memoirs…or so he says.

Important enough to quote word for word.


Friday, July 27, 2007

After reading Digby's post about the Gay Old Party and their homoerotic fascination with all things big and bold, I have to wonder about why GW's figurine has a bigger penis than Ken.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

It's Good To Be The King!

Just yesterday in the Denver Post there was an interesting article about how foreclosures were running at a record high in Adams and Weld Counties. These are all low to low-middle income houses. There are also record rates in Douglas County, also known as rich, white Christian county (remember when Castle Rock voted down affordable housing--good to have Hispanic gardeners and housekeepers, just don't want to live by them). People bought on ARMs and as the rates raise, they lose their homes. Simple. Pay rates for low and middle class have not raised with the Cost of Living. They have remained stagnant, while worker productivity has increased.

Today's headlines in the same paper? A Sales Surge for Digs Over $1,000,000. Hmmm. There is no shortage of people who can afford over $1,000,000 and those people, some of whom may be rich enough to be Monkeyboy's base-"What an impressive crowd: the haves, and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base.", can't find adequate housing. There is dearth of $1,000,000 plus homes.

Let's see. Worker productivity up. Worker salaries stagnant for 5 years. CEO and executive pay rising at incredible rates compared to worker salaries. Hmmm. Trickle down economics at its finest.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fun to Visit - Just Don't Drink the Water

Indiana regulators exempted BP from state environmental laws to clear the way for a $3.8 billion expansion that will allow the company to refine heavier Canadian crude oil. They justified the move in part by noting the project will create 80 new jobs.

Under BP's new state water permit, the refinery—already one of the largest polluters along the Great Lakes—can release 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan each day. Ammonia promotes algae blooms that can kill fish, while sludge is full of concentrated heavy metals.

This is not a comforting admission:

[Paul Higginbotham, chief of the water permits section at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management] said regulators still are unsure about the ecological effects of the relatively new refining process BP plans to use.

here is the complete story for the Trib.

Si if we place BIG mixers in the lake we can dilute the pollution? Maybe we can make toxic sludge pudding. Can't wait to eat carp. Yum.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Iraq is going so well, we can’t have our Congressmen stay there over night.

“The delegation's visit was harrowing at times. While visiting with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker at the U.S. Embassy inside Baghdad's walled, high-security Green Zone on Friday, mortar blasts landed inside the American-controlled territory.

"This recorded message played four times while we were there, asking us to move away from any windows, to get on the ground and move to the center of the building," Bachmann said. "(Crocker) stayed in his seat and kept talking with us the whole time. He never moved."....

Security conditions in Iraq prevented Bachmann from meeting any Iraqis, leaving the Green Zone or staying in Iraq overnight. She and other congressional members were required to wear full body armor, including Kevlar helmets, during the entire trip, she said.”

From the St. Cloud Times via

And yesterday there were mortar and rocket attacks in the Green Zone. Right in the middle of the Green Zone. Our safe zone. By our Embassy. In the middle of surge-secured area.

“On Tuesday, guerrillas launched some 20 katyusha rockets and mortar shells into the Green Zone in downtown Baghdad, killing 3 persons, including a US soldier, and wounding 25 persons.

The Green Zone was originally supposed to be the safe place in Iraq, with the area outside it (everything else) called the "Red Zone." The US Embassy in Baghdad appears to have forgotten what the phrase "Green Zone" means, since a spokesman there told the LAT, "There's fire into the Green Zone virtually every day, so I can't draw any conclusions about the security situation based on that . . .’ ”

And the Iraqi security Chief for the Green Zone was KIDNAPPED!

"Tuesday's attack came the same day gunmen kidnapped Iraqi Police Col. Mahmoud Muhyi Hussein, who directs security inside the Green Zone . . .

Hmmm!!! Let me see if I got this straight. We get attacked in our own safe zone. Anyone we don’t want to get hurt can’t stay there and the Iraqi Security dude gets kidnapped there.

We know the war is lost. I am not trying t incite feelings, etc., but it is a failed policy and now the question becomes how do we keep the casualties to a minimum. How do we retreat with our equipment and 160,000 personnel plus contractors? Does anyone remember the last days of Vietnam? It was a zoo. People were hanging on helicopters trying to leave.

We are arming Sunnis to fight Shiites right now. Where do you think their arms will point as we leave the country? Do we walk out of the country backwards? Do we run like hell? Hope we don’t leave too much behind. Think anyone will shoot at us as we leave. After all, we are the liberators. And how much will be left of our new airbases and army bases? Will we leave a force there enough troops there to man them. Or will they be allowed to die on the vine as they wait for supplies in the middle of the desert?


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Hooray for NPR!

I have lived with my wife in many locations. In fact, we are soon to be moving to Northern California to follow my job. Can you say ASAP?? More on that later. Egad!!!!!!

That said, I went to work this morning and heard 3 FM radio stations playing the Doors out of the 7 possible choices. Oh, yes, 2 were playing ZZ Top. And one had Breakfast with the Beatles. Why, God, why??? Much music has been made since 1970.

But when my wife and I lived in Iowa, we only had AM radio. Yes, I am an old fuck and FM was not popular and cars had no FM radios (remember fm converters? anyone?) and the best Cedar Rapids had was oldies and there was KUNI and one FM station out of Muscatine that was pretty good. The AM stations had hog reports and futures and high school football. Then you could drive across the state and hear NPR on AM and it had quirky songs you did not get on other stations. An aside, we drove from Colorado to Ohio this past autumn and heard OAR in Omaha and Natalie Zuckerman in Iowa.

In '93, I worked in Grand Junction and had to drive from Ft. Collins to Grand Junction weekly and you had better have a tape deck or listen to NPR. It kept you sane. The university station at Mesa was good but had a range of 10 miles and there was as a good station outside of Carbondale. The rest was "Classic Rock." I mean, how many times can you get a woody listening to Smoke on the Water? Oh yes, Rush would have been the liberal talk show host in Grand Junction at that time and the local Classic Rock station had its 3rd anniversary. Having been to GJ two years ago, it has entered the 21st century and has nice bistros, etc. downtown. Very Cool.

Fast forward to today--crappy choices on the radio and I hit KGNU and Radio 1190 and KRFC. All have live listening links and are worth a listen. The day started better as I heard Gogol Bordello as the first cut!!!! Yay! Something New. and if no NPR, there would be no joy.

Anyone know of good minor stations in between Sacramento and SF?

For your listening pleasure.

A good band out of Denver. happy day.


Saturday, July 07, 2007