“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, September 28, 2007

John's McCain's Energy Strategy - NR Online

This is an excellent article by John McCain. Says all the right words. I noticed that in the previous thread, DR had picked up on it too.
September 27, 2007, 0:15 p.m.

America’s Strategic Vulnerability
Vital energy questions.

By John McCain

America’s dependency on foreign oil is a major strategic vulnerability for our nation. One element in al Qaeda’s war against us is to target the U.S. economy by driving up the price of oil in the hope that severe recession and higher inflation will follow. Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda terrorists have spoken many times about the need to “mount … operations accordingly” in order to hit energy supply points in the Middle East and other regions to spike oil prices. Moreover, while most of the world’s known reserves are in the Persian Gulf, oil supplies are no more secure elsewhere on the globe. In Russia and Venezuela, Vladimir Putin and Hugo Chavez have rolled back democracy and utilized oil and gas as foreign policy weapons. Nigerian supplies — our fifth-largest supplier — are endangered by internal strife. Oil’s availability is uncertain and its price at the mercy of countries where our values aren’t typically shared and our interests aren’t their first priority.

We must not leave the “lifeblood” of America’s economy in the hands of foreign cartels, or bet our future on a commodity located in countries in which authoritarians repress their people, and terrorists find their main support. Terrorists understand the seriousness of our vulnerability. A little over a year ago, a suicide attack at a major Saudi Arabian oil refinery came close to disabling its target. Had the attack succeeded, some price experts speculated that it would have driven the price of oil above $150 dollars a barrel and kept it extremely high for some time.

The flow of oil has many chokepoints — pipelines, refineries, transit routes, and terminals — most of which are outside our jurisdiction and control. Our enemies understand the effects on America of a significant disruption in supply — a crippled transportation system, gasoline too expensive for many Americans to purchase, and businesses closed. As we sacrifice blood and treasure, some of our gas dollars flow to the fanatics who build the bombs, hatch the plots and carry out attacks on our soldiers and citizens. Iran made over $45 billion from oil sales in 2005, and it is the number one state sponsor of terrorism.

The transfer of American wealth to the Middle East helps sustain the conditions on which terrorists prey. Some of the most oil-rich nations are also the most stagnant societies on earth. As long as petro-dollars flow freely to them, these regimes have little incentive to open their politics and economies so that all their people may benefit from their countries’ natural wealth. The Middle East’s example is spreading to our own hemisphere. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is using his country’s oil revenues to establish a dictatorship, bully his neighbors and succeed Castro as Latin America’s leading antagonist of the United States.

National security depends on energy security, which we cannot achieve if we remain so dependent on imported oil from Middle Eastern governments who support or foment, by their own inattention and inequities, the rise of terrorists or on swaggering demagogues and would be dictators in our hemisphere. Additionally, by mid-century there will be three-and-a-half billion cars worldwide — over four times the number today. As world demand for oil soars, higher prices, severe economic volatility, and heightened international tensions follow. These unpredictable forces could seriously circumscribe our future if we let them.

As president, I won’t let that happen.

I’ll implement an energy plan that won’t be another grab bag of handouts, a full employment act for lobbyists, nor another round of tax breaks and other subsidies to big oil. It will recognize the fundamental truth that our oil problem is an automobile fuel problem and break the dominance of oil in our transportation sector just as we diversified away from oil use in electric power generation 30 years ago.

America’s electricity production is, for the most part, petroleum free, and the existing electric-power grid has the capacity to handle the added demand imposed by plug-in hybrid vehicles. We can add more capacity and improve its reliability in the years ahead. Nuclear energy, renewable power, and other emission-free forms of power production can expand capacity, improve local air quality and begin to address climate change. I’ll work to promote real partnerships between utilities and automakers to accelerate the deployment of plug-in hybrids.

With some of the savings from cutting subsidies for industries that can stand on their own, we can establish a national challenge to improve the cost, range, size, and weight of electric batteries for automobiles. Fifty percent of cars on the road are driven 25 miles a day or less. Affordable battery-powered vehicles, that can meet average commuter needs, could help us cut oil imports in half. The reward will be earned through merit by whoever accomplishes the task, whether it comes from a laboratory in the Department of Energy, a university, a corporation, or an enterprising young inventor who works out of his family’s garage.

Breakthroughs in high-tech materials can also greatly improve fuel efficiency in the transportation sector. We can provide fuel options and improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet by making them out of high tech materials, which will improve their strength and safety. We are doing that very thing right now to beat our foreign competitors in the aerospace industry.

Alcohol fuels made from corn, sugar, switch grass, and many other sources, as well as fuel cells, biodiesel derived from waste products, natural gas, and other technologies are all promising and available alternatives to oil. I won’t support subsidizing every alternative, or endorse tariffs that restrict the healthy competition which stimulates innovation and lowers costs. But I’ll encourage the development of infrastructure and market growth necessary for these products to compete, and I’ll let consumers choose the winners. I’ve never known an American entrepreneur worthy of the name who wouldn’t rather compete for sales than subsidies.

Energy efficiency by using improved technology and practicing sensible habits in our homes, businesses and automobiles is also a big part of the answer, and is something we can achieve right now. New advances will make conservation an ever more important part of the solution. Improved light bulbs can use much less energy; and smart-grid technology can help homeowners and businesses lower their energy use.

There is much we can do to increase and diversify our own oil production in ways that protect the environment using advanced technologies, including those that use and bury carbon dioxide, those that recover the oil below the wells we have already drilled, and those that tap oil, natural gas, and shale economically with minimal environmental impact.

The United States has coal reserves more abundant than Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves. We found a way to cut down acid-rain pollutants from burning coal, and we can find a way to use our coal resources without emitting excessive greenhouse gases.

We have in use today, a zero-emission energy that could provide electricity for millions more homes and businesses than it currently does. Yet it has been over 25 years since a nuclear-power plant has been constructed. The barriers to nuclear energy are political not technological. We’ve let the fears of 30 years ago, and an endless political squabble over the storage of nuclear spent fuel make it virtually impossible to build a single new plant that produces a form of energy that is safe and non-polluting. If France can produce 80-percent of its electricity with nuclear power, why can’t we? Is France a more secure, advanced, and innovative country than we are? Are France’s scientists and entrepreneurs more capable than we are? I need no answer to that rhetorical question. I know my country well enough to know otherwise.

I want to improve and make permanent the research and development tax credit. I want to spend less money on government bureaucracies, and, where the private sector isn’t moving out of regulatory fear, to form the partnerships necessary to build demonstration models of promising new technologies such as advanced nuclear power plants, coal gasification, carbon capture, and storage and renewable power, so that we can take maximum advantage of our most abundant resources. And I’ll make it a national mission to develop a catalyst capable of breaking down carbon dioxide into useful chemical building blocks, and rendering it a new source of revenue and opportunity.

I also believe that strengthening our energy security goes hand-in-hand with addressing global climate change, which I believe is real with human activity contributing to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. I oppose carbon taxes and I have joined with Joe Lieberman to pursue a market-based, cap-and-trade system to achieve appropriate limits on greenhouse gas emissions as efficiently and effectively as possible. I will ensure that such a system is harnessed as a means of diversifying the nation’s energy mix, which in turn will make us less dependent on foreign oil, and will place America at the forefront in the development of the energy and environmental protection technologies the world will demand for many years to come. I will also ensure that these efforts meet several key tests, including protecting consumers and the economy, preventing other countries from dodging their responsibilities, promoting the development and deployment of advanced technology, and prioritizing the America’s economic, environmental, and national-security interests.

America competes in a global economy where innovation and entrepreneurship are the pillars of prosperity. The competition is stiff and the stakes are high. We have the opportunity to apply America’s technological supremacy to capture the export markets for advanced energy technologies, reaping the capital investment and good jobs it will provide. Our innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs, and workers have the knowledge, resources and drive to lead the way on energy security, as we have in so many other world-changing advancements. The race has always been to the swift, and America must be first to the market, with innovations that meet mankind’s growing energy and environmental needs.

Answering great challenges is nothing new to America. It’s what we do. We built the rockets that took us to the moon — not because it was easy, but because it was hard. We’ve sent space probes into the distant reaches of the universe. We harnessed nuclear energy, mapped the human genome, created the Internet, and pioneered integrated circuits that consolidate the computing power of the Apollo spacecraft onto a barely visible silicon chip. If we can do all this, we can surely solve our oil-dependence problem, and strengthen our security.

— John McCain is the senior United States senator from Arizona. He is currently running for the Republican presidential nomination.
National Review Online -


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The Left was Right all Along!
    Fucking Idiot!
    Bush Outlines Proposal on Climate Change
    By JOHN M. BRODER 1:09 PM ET
    President Bush said today that the world can limit global warming while still promoting prosperity.

    Mr. Bush proposed the creation of an “international clean technology fund,” to be supported by contributions from governments around the world, that would help finance clean-energy projects in developing countries. The president said Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. would lead discussions with other countries on starting that fund.

    “No one country has all the answers, including mine,”
    Single handedly botched the War,
    Turned the country over to Global Socialism at home.

  3. "Together, our nations will pave the way for a new international approach on greenhouse emissions.”
    We are the der Welt,
    We are the Keikis!

  4. On Thursday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged that climate change was a real global problem, and that the United States was a major contributor. She said the United States was willing to lead the international effort to reduce emissions of gases that had led to the warming of the planet, with the attendant ill effects.
    Bend over, Time for some Saudi Sodding!

  5. Anybody else willing to concede he's been more disasterous than Carter?

  6. What Does It Mean To Be A Jelly Bean?
    If the government redefines jelly beans as "jellied sugar lumps", does that mean there is a shortage of jelly beans when the report shows zero?

    Beware of Crooks in White Shirts and Ties

  7. Doug,

    It's called political fuskjudtsu. Bush, while bending over and showing his political enemies his rear, has used the momentum of their attacking thrust to turn them fly on their back. :D

  8. Change the codes.... and Voila! Shortages of Qualified American Workers... in all categories.

    And that's not the worst of it. The same people who were inside players on the SCAM of redefinition of the codes for U.S. economic reports - are the same people who are pushing "reform" of our education system to be a supply-chain management system for business to fulfill the 'orders' caused by the 'Shortages' of qualified American Workers.
    National Association of Manufacturers
    U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    Regionalism and Education - Central Planning and 'Regional Economic AUTHORITIES'

    History of the 1997 Economic Census

    History of the 1997 Economic Census

    "In June 1994, the Census Bureau reorganized the Economic Directorate to facilitate conducting both the 1997 Economic Census and the agency's current economic programs. The Census Bureau established the Economic Planning and Coordination Division (EPCD) to provide centralized planning."

    OMB Announcement 1994

    In a Federal Register notice of July 26, 1994 (59 FR 38092-38096), OMB announced that the ECPC had agreed to work in concert with Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática (INEGI) and Statistics Canada to develop a new and common industry classification system the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) that would replace the existing system used in the United States, the Standard Industrial Classification System (SIC). Final agreement on NAICS was announced in a Federal Register notice of April 9, 1997 (62 FR 17287-17337). This agreement resulted in the publication in 1998 of the new North American Industry Classification System, United States, 1997 manual.

    Senator Judd Gregg, "We Do Have A Centrally Managed Economy", 2007

    A final note in this commentary is a warning.... the people who are the controllers of the government codes and computer systems (IT computer consulting corporations in charge of government facilities) can and will continue to "tweak" the codes to manipulate the reports to serve THEIR economic interests... not the interests of the American people and our country. It's a classic example of the tail wagging the dog. To be more precise.... the corporate takeover of government computer systems by computer consulting firms was a coup d'etat on the U.S. government - an administrative coup d'etat.

  9. Diversification of energy resources away from oil dependence is a *good thing*.

  10. The Muzzies will realize the player has tricked them into being (OPENLY) Gay, and they'll all have a group suicide vest party.

  11. Global laws are a *Bad Thing!*

  12. Doug,

    And who will enforce these laws? The Global Socialist Workers Party?

  13. Depends upon who the Sheriff is, doug.

    George P Bush, now he'd be 46, or 47 right?

    Ms Chelsa, she's gonna need her turn, them Clinton's don't have the depth of family those Connecticut yankees do.

    Jorge P, first Hispanic Boner President, in 2024. Just in time for the first annexation.

  14. Think how surprised we were to learn from Gregory Mankiw, chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers:
    "Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade. … More things are tradable than were tradable in the past, and that's a good thing."
    Service versus manufacturing
    Controversy also arose from a rhetorical question posed by the report (and repeated by Mankiw in a speech [6] about the report): "when a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, is it providing a service or combining inputs to manufacture a product?" The intended point was that the distinction between manufacturing and service industry is somewhat arbitrary and therefore a poor basis for policy.
    Even though the issue was not raised in the report, a news account [7] led to criticism that the Administration was seeking to cover up jobless losses in manufacturing by redefining jobs such as flipping hamburgers as manufacturing.

  15. The REAL long-term budget outlook - animated version:

  16. Inevitably followed by:

  17. "For this update we modified the alternative simulation to reflect a return to historical levels of revenue and a more realistic Medicare scenario for physician payments.

    Although the timing of deficits and the resulting debt build up varies depending on the assumptions used, both simulations show that we are on an unsustainable fiscal path.

    By definition, what is unsustainable will not be sustained. The question is how and when our current imprudent and unsustainable path will end.
    At some point, action will be taken to change the Nation’s fiscal course.
    The longer action to deal with the Nation’s long-term fiscal outlook is delayed,
    the greater the risk that the eventual changes will be disruptive and destabilizing.

    Acting sooner rather than later will give us more time to phase in gradual changes, while providing more time for those likely to be most affected to make compensatory changes."

  18. The Future Of Manufacturing

    But in the U.S., employment in traditional manufacturing, already down to no more than one-sixth of the labor force, will have shrunk to no more than one-tenth. And the share of manufacturing in GDP, which is still around 15% or so, will have shrunk to 5% to 7%.
    "Altogether, there are no more service industries in the traditional sense. There are only production industries. And to the extent that they apply principles of production that traditionally were considered manufacturing, they become competitive and successful." -- Peter Drucker

  19. IW: Do you agree with our basic assumption that there's been phenomenal growth in the presence of government, both U.S. and internationally, in the last half of the 20th century?

    Drucker: Absolutely. The idea that government is shrinking is pure delusion. The more we have privatized, that is, moved out of government being the "owner," the more we have moved into government being the "regulator." And the trend is still accelerating.

    One of my oldest complaints is that executives do not understand how government and the political system work. They believe in lobbying -- and that's stupid. If you have to lobby, it only proves that you have not done your homework. The few executives and the few businesses that have tried to understand the values of a political system and of a political elite don't need to lobby. They see government as a market, and it is their job to understand the market and to satisfy it.

    We have learned that the Marxist idea that government controls by ownership has been proven to be as much of a misunderstanding as most of the rest of Marxism. We are now learning -- Hitler learned it long ago, all of 70 years ago, in fact -- that the most effective way to control industry is not by owning it, but by regulating it. And this is what all governments are doing

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Cold?
    If you were Jackassonian, you could say it in 500 words or more, and feel important, to boot!

  22. Kudlow is confident the Pandering Dems can't win!

    Calls it the worst debate in history!

  23. I would be unable to keep myself from punching him out if I had to share a room with A Jackassonian!

  24. 2164th said...
    Why don't I care about Myanmar?

    I dunno...You only like democracy when it is advanced militarily and not from the 'bottom up'?

  25. 2164th: Why don't I care about Myanmar?

    Answer from the CIA world factbook:

    Oil - production: 9,500 bbl/day (2006 est.)

    Oil - consumption: 20,460 bbl/day (2006 est.)

  26. Took me almost an hour once, to figure out they were talkin' about Burma.
    Must have been pre-Google.

    My World Atlas is almost as old as I am. The shapes have remained the same, but the names keep changing.

  27. Only if you think voting is a rational, not emotional activity.

    The GOP is gonna get handed it's hat.

    Drumming will be to nice a description. You can feel the earth move. In newly blue AZ.

  28. That's what the Socialists prefer to be called.
    To the victor, ya know.

  29. Some kind of Cosmic Justice, I guess, since we would not have gone this far left with either of the Dem candidates, with the Pubs opposing instead of
    "bending over for Bush" tm.

  30. Would be interesting to see a Graph of ACTUAL Govt. spending, not just that accounted for in the on-book budget.

  31. funny how so many treat Reagan like a god these days and he led off the drunkin' republican spending spree.

  32. Reagan was no Bush.
    They are kinder and Gentler, and proud of it.

  33. Doug, Treasury publishes those numbers. Our Total deficit this year will be in the $165 Billion range, or, about the cost of the Iraq War.

  34. I'm convinced that Bush had a secret, unspoken plan to balance the budget in 08', but the Fed going too far, and the resulting slow growth in 07', plus the surge put the "qieetus" to that.

  35. ash asked
    DR, how do you maintain that Chinese prices will rise vis a vis the US when the Yuan is pegged to the dollar?

    Because, ash, the Chinese will unpeg it, when the 80% of their exports are selling for less & less.

    That was one of the interesting points, the US only made up 20% of the Chinese export market.
    By pegging to the dollar, the Chinese lose control of their economic pricing policies to the balance of the market, a no no for a ChiCom, ideologically.

  36. Over their dead bodies. The Chinese are fighting like hell to keep it pegged, and as a result, low. They're following the Japanese "export" model. We're threatening them every week to let their currency "rise." They're resisting, mightily.

  37. as I responded in the other thread:

    "I figured they'd unpeg the Yuan ages ago but, like bubbles, I was wrong. Still my China investments did good..."

    The pressures been building for awhile now. As one analyst I read said "becareful what you wish for". An unpegged Yuan could put the knife in the US dollar and that wouldn't be a good thing...

  38. By the way, we just had another "Big Success" with a Missile Shootdown.

    This was the more difficult one that they had to scrub when the "Target" fell into the Sea a few months, ago.

  39. Theresita Fri Sep 28, 07:52:00 PM EDT

    Check natural gas.

  40. They are resisting, no doubt.

    But check the numbers
    We are at a five to one advantage financially, one to four by population.

    That'd be a combined advantage factor of 20, no?

    It's that 80% of their exports that are not sold to US. The Chicoms will feel the same economic pain the US does, magnifed by a factor of at least 5, but maybe 20 times, comparitively.

    I'm not wishin' for it, just watchin' the happenin's.

    per capita income
    the US rakes 6th @ $43,740
    Canada ranks 19th @ $32,600
    Mexico is 45th @ $7,310
    China is 108th @ $1,740

    So if the "pain" is tough to handle here, imagine it there.
    The Germans wer going to "buy up" the USA, I made some money then.
    Then it was the Japanses that were going to show US the "Way of Zen in the new Millenium". They've been in a funk for over a decade.
    Now here come the Chinese.

    Because exchange rates do not always reflect international differences in relative prices, The comparison of GNI per capita estimates into international dollars using purchasing power parity (PPP) rates, can be viewed here.

    PPP rates provide a standard measure allowing comparison of real price levels between countries, just as conventional price indexes allow comparison of real values over time. The PPP conversion factors used here are derived from price surveys covering 118 countries conducted by the International Comparison Program.

  41. McCain is a fool. He is still thinking like the Big Government boy he has been all along. He thinks he can make innovation happen by the right combination of taxes & tax breaks & regulations. He is wrong!

    If McCain really wanted to cut imports of foreign oil, he would have to attack the huge bureaucracy & forest of laws we have created to stop anyone from doing anything. That is the untold story of outsourcing -- the Chinese can build a factory & make the damn thing before someone in the US can file the paperwork to hold the public hearing to provide the record for the lawsuit which will ......

  42. But he sees and admits to the challenge, which is not often heard from politicos.

    The fragility of the oil infrastructure not often commented upon. But vital to any discussion of US security and vital interests

  43. He is a Big Government man, no doubt about it.
    Sides with the bureaucrat against the citizens, every time we've had to deal with him.

  44. I hear you on the not 'wishin but watchin'

    It is interesting that the per capita measure is measured in US dollars. The rapid change, which could become even more rapid, makes that an even more, actually less, interesting number. How do you measure when your yardstick becomes so variable? The power and weakness of being the exchange currency.

    I find your 80% non-US sales figure interesting. I also note they hold many US dollars in reserve. As a rational actor what would you do? (My answer - quietly divest those US dollars then depeg - may not be possible though - the quiet part - there is also the negotiating power of holding all that debt - then again them's that owe the bank...).

    tis truly interesting time that we live in...

  45. on government -

    I'll take a regulating government over an ownership government any day.

    Someones gotta make and sherrif the rules! Ohmigod - how do we handle international stuff!!!??

  46. Invest in Rhodesia?
    The Congo?

    That's been a loser for eveyone that's made the attempt.

    Venezuela, that'd be a good trading partner for the Chicom.
    Ecuador could drift their way.

    Most of the Asian nation states are leery of the Chinese.

    Their entire foreign exchange reserve is $1.3 trillion or so.

    It's a lot, but not that much, really.
    Same as the bill for Iraq.

    A speed bump, which at 65 mph ...

  47. You don't understand; one reason they got those dollars is their cheap currency makes their exports very affordable. The only ones harmed are the Chinese people in that it makes imports more expensive.

    The only problem the Chinese have is "they're making it faster than they can bale it."

    Believe me, the last thing in the world they want to do is de-peg.

  48. They will "Slowly" let their currency appreciate. This will give the Chinese a slowly rising standard of living, and keep the Rebels off the streets.

  49. One Caveat: China is now importing both Oil, and Coal. If, as I think is possible, Oil continues to Get More Expensive China might let their currency rise a little faster than they have in the last year.

    By the way, they are buying more and more stuff from US. As their currency rises they will probably buy more.

  50. McCain has been a biofuels opponent. He voted against all of the ethanol and biodiesel bills.

    He's just another fucking, opportunistic, elitist, big-government worshipping asshole at heart.

  51. Cutler said...

    Theresita Fri Sep 28, 07:52:00 PM EDT

    Check natural gas.

    I did, but natural gas liquefaction is not implemented on a large scale at this point in history. That makes Myanmar interesting to the Chinese (pipelines) but not as interesting to the Americans as the Canadians.

  52. Agree with Rufus. If any of the tyrants-in-waiting running for president were serious about "solving" the energy problem, they would move to make the government irrelevant in the whole process.

    Won't ever happen.

  53. One thing (of many) that puzzles me is the ratio of 'dollars' traded for the sake of trading vs 'dollars' traded to facilitate business transactions.

    Let me try to explain:

    I used to console myself when contemplating economics that reality trumped all - that current accounts, trade, was the ultimate dictator of what occurred in economics. It appears that this may be a niave approach on my part - though I still have trouble disabusing myself of this notion. My doubt comes from a recent discussion I had with a friend tied into a big bank with a spouse who headed the currency exchange desk and a former trader. When I cracked about how trade flows were the main deteminant of exchange rates as opposed to interest rates I was greeted with a laugh. When the career was started in the '70's that was the case but now it was simply cash flowing to best rates of return. When I asked the ratio I was told 100:1. I find that amazing - the amount of captial flowing throught he markets is rougly 1% trade oriented vs speculative 'fluff'. Then we started talking derivatives and their relationship to the seizure of the ABCP (asset backed commercial paper) market.

    to repeat myself

    tis truly interesting times we live in..

  54. "By the way, they are buying more and more stuff from US."
    But each yearly increase in our imports far outstrip theirs, I'll wager, w/o looking up.
    In absolute terms, NOT percentage increase!

  55. Ash, when did I ever say I liked democracy? I like government the most when it is the least.

  56. oh, so you are an anarchist?

  57. Long term, (more than five minutes) it IS trade flow. The gamblers take one side, or the other, but the grownups are busy buying and selling things.

    About that, Doug, you are Correct. But, our Oil Imports are inching (surging?) up toward $30 Billion/mo. That's over half of our total trade deficit. If you just take away the "Increase" over the last four or five years, we would be at minus $37 Billion/mo, instead of minus $57 Billion/mo total trade deficit. In a $14 Trillion economy that would be hunky-dorey.

  58. Already, China uses more coal than the United States, the European Union and Japan combined. And it has increased coal consumption 14 percent in each of the past two years in the broadest industrialization ever. Every week to 10 days, another coal-fired power plant opens somewhere in China that is big enough to serve all the households in Dallas or San Diego.

    To make matters worse, India is right behind China in stepping up its construction of coal-fired power plants — and has a population expected to outstrip China's by 2030.

    Aware of the country's growing reliance on coal and of the dangers from burning so much of it, China's leaders have vowed to improve the nation's energy efficiency. No one thinks that effort will be enough. To make a big improvement in emissions of global-warming gases and other pollutants, the country must install the most modern equipment — equipment that for the time being must come from other nations.

    Industrialized countries could help by providing loans or grants, as the Japanese government and the World Bank have done, or by sharing technology. But Chinese utilities have in the past preferred to buy cheap but often-antiquated equipment from well connected domestic suppliers instead of importing costlier gear from the West.

    The Chinese government has been reluctant to approve the extra spending. Asking customers to shoulder the bill would set back the government's efforts to protect consumers from inflation and to create jobs and social stability.

    But each year China defers buying advanced technology, older equipment goes into scores of new coal-fired plants with a lifespan of up to 75 years.

  59. BTW, it's not the trade deficit as it stands, "today," that's causing the dollar weakness; it's that people (traders) are starting to realize that oil could be, not only not going back down, but rising even more. Markets are "forward-looking" things.

    Understand, I'm NOT saying that oil is going straight up from here. That's not how markets work. We are going into a couple of "shoulder" months, and we would expect some temporary pullback. We'll probably get it. I, also, wouldn't bet any money on it. The biggest money boys in the world are playing every day in the oil markets. They will, undoubtably, send it off on some tangents.

    Fact Remains. Oil "Production" is slowly falling, and demand is steadily rising. Buy Monsanto, and Deere.

  60. rufus, my instinct is with you on the trade but I was surprised by the (alleged) disparity in amount that is speculative. 100:1 - that's huge. Maybe the number is false but even then, if it is say, 5:1 that still dwarfs trade. I thought trade would dwarf all but it appears I was wrong. Liquidity used to be noooo problem now it is. Where'd all that money go?

  61. (From my Bush Outlines link above)
    Caint we all just get along?
    "Yu Jie, an environmental advocate from China, expressed frustration with efforts by the industrialized nations to impose an emissions plan on her country, which is passing the United States as the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases.

    China, she said, was already taking steps to tax sport utility vehicles, close dirty coal-burning plants and expand use of renewable energy sources.

    “China should not be blamed just because of its development,” she said, echoing her government’s position.

    “They will follow if the European Union and the United States lead.”

  62. I believe we could do well with about 25% of our present federal government. I suppose that makes me a 75% anarchist and the other 25% republican.

  63. Thatsa buncha coal, Rat. I had no idea they used that much. When Bush says he won't do a deal unless China and India are on board the left goes nutz.

    I did see where last month China became the world's premier polluter/greenhouse gasser.

  64. Rufus:
    One thing is almost a certainty:
    Long term, Oil will increase in price more than Chinese goods! long as there's not a slave labor shortage.

  65. It's more than the amount of money, ash, it's the velocity.

    The number of turns.

    That's what is dropping.

    The speed of the deals, the numbers of them. Refi numbers and used home sales. Car sales.

    It's all a bit off previous pace.

  66. Deuce, no, that makes you part anarchist and part CONSERVATIVE!

  67. yeah, well we all want the gov out of our life unless it suits our purpose.

  68. In the long run the "gamblers" will balance each other out. However, as in the dollar, they can prop a currency up for quite awhile before stepping aside and letting it crash. Of course, then they jump on the "Other" side of the trade and really run it into the ground. You have to take all "short-term" (whatever THAT is) movements with a degree of aplomb.

    In fact, that is why I resisted the "Peak" oil scenario so long. Then, I Really screwed the pooch, and looked at the numbers.

  69. part? I'd say he's a (wannabe) pure rationalist ;)

  70. I think the scale of India/China might just be sufficient to cause global man-caused headaches!
    My belief, even.

  71. The Chinese are more wed to coal than they are pegged to the dollar.

    The oil costs could drive them to float the coinage. Depends on who in China decides. No idea who or what is really driving them.

    A mighty warped perspective, from here, of the motivations of the Chinese.

  72. I think we could do well with no Dept. of Commerce, Education, Civil Rights Commission, Dept of Labor, Energy, Post Office, Home Land Security, TSA, and a Congress that meets more than 90 days per year. Since we are dreaming, I would prefer the Capitol be moved every twenty years with the next stop being Mountain Home Idaho.

  73. I think the GOP should restart with 1994 as the starting point in terms of their positions.
    (Like get rid of Fed Dept of Ed)

  74. Throw in Land Management, Dept. of Agriculture, AFT and We could negotiate another 50% reduction.

  75. rufus, I'm somewhat sanquine about peak oil. We may be there, we may not. The free trader in my, my (somewhat irrational) belief in free markets leads me to shrug my shoulders at declining supply. When the price hurts people change. Heck, even Trish was lookin' to stick some veggie oil in her tank. I was trying to parse the numbers - what with flushing the tank every now and then she'd save maybe 10 cents a gallon? A buddy of mine in the oil business has regularily pointed out the value still in a litre of gas. Compare the price to, say, milk. How far can you go on a litre (ok, 'mericans, a gallon) of milk vs gas?

  76. Being a rational realist has served me well. Kept me alive.

    Better than being an emotional weather vane.

    Some things can be achieved quickly, most things are achieved incrementally. Nothing in Government is done quickly.

    Set achievable goals, then achieve them, until the "whereas's" are fulfilled. Then admit that you have.

  77. The moving Capitial, which is a fabulous idea, to discourage a permanent Government from establishing itself.

  78. moving capital eh? Will Quebec City get its' turn?

  79. Right after Des Moines and Vera Cruz.

  80. Veggie oil is good if you can make your own.

    Ethanol is $1.52/gal, today, and that's "before" the $0.51 "blender's credit."

    Eventually, some short-haul trucking outfit, like Yellow-Roadway, will realize that they can can cut their fuel costs in half with a "High-Compression" E-85 engine.

    THAT will cause some shock-waves.

  81. That's "Wholesale" ethanol is $1.52/gal.

  82. I just feel guilty 'cause the Dream Act didn't pass.
    Anyone with a good story deserves citizenship and a free College education.

  83. I, also, am somewhat sanguine about the peak oil, thing. In fact, I intend to make some money off of it. :)

    In shalalala bing bang, or whatever it is the A rabs say.

  84. It's
    "In shalalala lick him."
    That concubine thing.
    Sweet Dreams.

  85. Arabella Ark on the Hana coast.
    Eros Hoagland for The New York Times
    In the Land of the Lotus Eaters
    New Age migrants come to Hana for a new life in a fragile oasis of Hawaiian culture.
    But it can be tough in paradise.
    Slide Show
    One guy in the slideshow wrote a guidebook for Hawaii, and now is at War with the very Tourists he invited and profited from!