Friday, December 22, 2006

Freedom Hits 2006

True automotive freedom has to be 3 to 4 hour delays driving out of Wellington north bound on State Highway 1. Merry Xmas and thank Christ for the motor vehicle. I can just hear the collective anger, frustration, whinging kids... Just what you needs to begin your holidays. And if you think more roads will solve this you head is up your arse.

Thank god for America - I mean what would the citizens of Iraq done if they hadn't been libertated. The world is a safer place, and the citizens of Iraq must be enjoying the blandishments of democracy this Christmas. On another note "Iraqi insurgents", freedom fighters, terrorists, criminals, thugs whatever you like to call them have offered the US a 30 day truce to get the fuck out of Iraq on news of several more dead americans fighting for the continuation of the American Way of Life - What a choice, either leave the place to the Shiite death squads or continue sending Marines home in body bags, as long as you are able to fill up the Ford Explorer it's worth, isn't that right punters.

Imagine trying to sleep with the temperature 27 degrees C, at night. Melbourne is currently enjoying such conditions - nothing to do with Global Warming however, continue burning whatever you need to burn to ensure the economy ticks along at 3% growth per annum.

While we are on the topic of Australia, the drought is certainly putting constraints on peoples freedom to water their gardens and wash their cars. Once again - nothing to do with global warming I am sure...

Feel free to add your freedom picks for the year in the comments.

Share the love
Merry Xmas

Monday, December 18, 2006

Playing Favorites #1

I've been trying to convince Mark Cubey to invite me on to Saturday National Radio to play my favorites. Usually you have to be someone - like be on TV, or have written some book, or saved a swamp or something. I haven't done any of that stuff - but I reckon my favorites would rate.

My first track would be the natural rejoinder to the Beach Boys Surfing Safari - the Clash's Charlie Don't Surf.

The Beach Boys were the pin ups for the theoretical but mendacious post world war Amercan consumer culture where everybody would live in suburban utopia and embrace absolute automobile freedom. Sometime after the "good vibrations" faded away and like Elvis before him, Brian Wilson descended inevitably into a drug and alcohol induced stupor - obesity, paranoia and depression took over ironically mirroring American society today.

On the exterior the free world puts up a brave front - but it ain't easy work ramming freedom Vegas style down the throats of infidels.

Todays Charlie includes Iraqi insurgents, the people of the Occupied Territories (kia kaha), Lebanon and Syria, probably Muslims in general however when the Clash wrote this track Charlie was the North Vietnamese VC or Viet-Cong also referred to as "Victor Charlie", or ... Charlie for short.

I give you track one of my playing favorites.

Charlie Don't Surf - The Clash - (Sandinista)

Charlie don't surf and we think he should
Charlie don't surf and you know that it ain't no good
Charlie don't surf for his hamburger Momma
Charlie's gonna be a napalm star

Everybody wants to rule the world
Must be something we get from birth
One truth is we never learn
Satellites will make space burn

We've been told to keep the strangers out
We don't like them starting to hang around
We don't like them all over town
Across the world we are going to blow them down

The reign of the super powers must be over
So many armies can't free the earth
Soon the rock will roll over
Africa is choking on their Coca Cola

It's a one a way street in a one horse town
One way people starting to brag around
You can laugh, put them down
These one way people gonna blow us down

Charlie don't surf he'll never learn
Charlie don't surf though he's got a gun
Charlie don't surf think that he should
Charlie don't surf we really think he should
Charlie don't surf

Charlie don't surf and we think he should
Charlie don't surf and you know that it ain't no good
Charlie don't surf for his hamburger Momma
Charlie don't surf

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


The neoconservative geniuses who believed invading Iraq would bolster both U.S. and Israeli interests in fact have accomplished the exact opposite -- handing both military and public-relations victories to their sworn enemies. ... If the Bush administration dares to move militarily against Iran, as it has an almost uncontrollable itch to do, we will become mired in a bloody conflict that will know no borders.
Robert Scheer

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Creating 5 problems by solving 1

I remember when I was about 10 years old. The school I went to, this one summer, had a nasty wasp nest which of course held the attention of all the hubristic, testosterone ravaged lads of my age (including myself of course). The trick was to tease and irritate the wasps into a frenzy, then we'd all run around laughing slapping wasps off our legs, bodies and faces. Endless fun for 10 yr old boys.

Slowly but surely some of the lads developed and a courage that exceeded the potential of the situtation. One such boy, whose name will remain unsaid, stuck a fennel stick well into the wasp nest. Got it right in there and well fucked off the wasps. Well, within 5 seconds he was covered in a hundred or more wasps. There was little we could do as a group and he ended up in hospital for the afternoon. After that some pest eradication guys came around and killed off the nest - no more fun for 10 year old boys that summer.

I hope this summer is just as much fun.

Just a few random thoughts
On another front I notice Obaid (ex Saudi Foreign Minister) has recently argued the US intervention in Iraq and it's recent murmurings of "an exit strategy" would leave Saudi little option but to take up the current US role of keeping Iranian backed Shiite militias from continuing their butchering of Iraqi Sunnis. There is already talk of Saudi providing the Iraqi Sunnis with weapons and financial support - get a feeling of deja-vue, a re-run of the Iraq/Iranian troubles.

There are faults on both sides - however it's clear that if allowed to continue a program of ethnic cleansing by Shiite death squads would be responsible for clearing out the Sunni minority within a pretty short space of time. Saudi would have little option but to intervene thus sparking a regional conflict.

We can be pretty clear of one thing. The US are unlikely to withdraw while there is any question about access to cheap oil. The US are in Iraq primarily to secure a cheap supply of the commodity that keeps the not negotiable wheels of easy motoring life in the States ticking along. If a withdrawal threatened that supply, and in all likelyhood it would then a withdrawal is unlikely.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Far Quitery Knows No Bounds.
or, please do not post pointless points in my comments

The biggest flaw of the pseudo-philosophy called "objectivism" is that its principle tenents are a priori inalienable self-evident truths. Essentially this is a necessary condition for the belief that any particular act is objectively right or wrong. Additionally not helping the cause is the fact that the dogma is overly represented by juvenille pimply faced boys whom after discovering it promptly annoint themselves all knowing rational pedants ready to comment (logically of course) on everything and anything.

Now, I like to think of myself as a philosopher, but unlike Paris Hilton I don't always go out wearing my makeup. Generous helpings of narrative bullshit, satire, illogical mutterings, irrational polemic piffle, and off the cuff thoughts and notions is all wonderful stuff. Living your life with the stupid attitude that prompts you to attempt to logify every sentence you write or utter is about as boring and pointless as it gets.

The reductio of this position is inherent in this little gem by Kane Bunce. Now I don't know much about Mr Bunce other than what can be gleaned by his posts (and his occasional comments on various blogs) but by a strange paradoxical reason that just occurred to me governmental control is most certainly needed such that utter fuckwits like this don't get to make any decisions about matters of public and private good. Bunce is a cartoon of his own ideology. His ridiculous comments policy stands against everything his ideology stands for.

For your amusement I have assembled a brief selection of quotes from Mr Bunce.

  • "Why is it that Iran and North Korea are merely considered rogue states? Both are more than rogue states. They are a threat to the West. Western nations should pull out of Iraq and send their troops to these two countries instead. ... And while they are at it why not deal to Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon?" (get in touch with the redneck within) These people are terrorists and the world would be a safer place without them, were gonna bring these suckers to justice!!!

  • "To teach a child, or an adult for that matter, that they have a responsibility to others will lower their mental health not raise it" What lower it below their nose, or below their crotch?

  • "No person has any responsibility to others" Oh, I wish I could apply this to my son sometimes.
  • "Is the extinction of great white sharks a travesty for humanity? No, I don't think it is. It is not a species we rely on to survive, so it is no travesty to humanity." It's just lucky we NZers rely so heavily on the kiwi.
  • "And he said a world without tigers would not be worth living in. Clearly he values tigers above humans." I think I might be overly valuing porn and alcohol.
  • "And as the science gets older it gets safer, like all scientists" It's just a shame the chemist that developed thalidomide wasn't 85.
  • "So we here in New Zealand will receive local cooling, which is contrary to global warming" Oh, this science obviously isn't old enough yet! What a relief.

nb. I think free speech is overated - therefore I have comment moderation turned on - I do not have a comments policy - I just make it up as I go along. I reject capitalism per se as a farce and a joke nevertheless I have little option but to participate in it - however I can think of better ideas, I have issues with democracy just because a majority of individuals believe something, it does not necessarily follow that it is either true or good. And I certainly do not believe in a fundamentalist approach to private property rights. That is overall I typically disagree with capitalism's consequentialist approach to ethics, in favour of perhaps a combo of deontological and virtue or character based approaches. Sometimes the ends never justifies the means. And if you disagree with that, well, you simply aren't thinking about it.

Joe Bennett and Asian Knickers

I've always like Joe Bennetts humour, ironic, satirical and kiwish. This article suggests, him and I, we're on the same team - on ya Joe.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Closing the Collapse Gap
by Dimtry Orlov

Article Sourced from Energy Bulletin

Highly recommended compelling reading !

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nicky Hager: Late-Capitalisms True Punk Rocker
Published on 1st Dec on Scoop

The fetish we call “freedom of speech” is resolutely defended in particular, we note, by the liberal right. Yet this creates a very uneasy tension. The pretence of the rational, utilitarian individual, very much aware of how things really are is contrasted heavily against the embodiment of the renounced belief in the fetish. We the public readily and eagerly (pretend to) accept the reality regurgitated weekly in the tabloid (and mainstream) press – a self-increasing spiral of production which perpetuates the very market it is responsible for creating, generating in the process of all manner of titillating, facile shite that many claim, we have the “right to know” – no matter how distasteful it is.

Hager playing the NZ media like Nintendo, is NZs answer to Malcolm McLaren, a rude, brazen punk with little regard for the public, politicians, the media or the truth. According to McLaren, “Stealing things is a glorious occupation, particularly in the art world”. Clearly we observe Hager at the peak of his art form, it’s hard not to admire his gall. The creation of a narrative that can topple political parties, must have the marketing gurus in a right tiss. In a world where the public gobble up any and all debris dished up to them by the braindead media - we deserve Hager, we need him and, we created him.

We live within an era of ambiguity between surplus-value and surplus-enjoyment. At the apogee of post-industrialism, a directionless society generates and consumes its own myths bringing forth into existence Marx’s vision of late capitalistic production – production creates the need for the consumption of the products it creates. Nicky Hager embodies this irony of capitalism. It’s hypocritical of those individuals who would enjoy the spoils of the fetish of freedom of speech, the West’s most overrated idea, whilst sneering at Hager. The great irony of capitalism, predicated on freedom, is that its most adherent proponents compulsively re-enslave themselves to its spoils. (cp. US’s entrenchment in a war against the "theft of enjoyment"). One can't help but wonder at the intellectual moralising of those that worship this fiasco. It's called freedom people, and it has you in chains.

In respect of Truth, it is irrelevant. Truth isn’t what Hager is about, Truth isn’t what anything is about. Truth is always balanced against the compulsion to enjoy. The stronger consumptive desire deprives us of autonomy turning us into clowns; it dresses us like babies and shoddier still – renders us manipulated, craving and drooling puppets.

The idiotic jouissance over Hager’s book is contra-posed against libertarian capitalistic ideals manifest in our so-called free “society of consumption”. We are obsessed with celebrity and scandal, we applaud individualism and freedom, we condemn governmentally imposed orders, yet seemingly the loudest cry of injustice regarding the Hager incident comes from the very group defending such idealism – no doubt because it has toppled their champion. I’m reminded of the old Marxist claim: capitalism unleashes a contradictory dynamic that it cannot contain. The ultimate obstacle to capitalism is capitalism itself.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wednesday Morning Ramble, 29 Nov.

Seeking my muse, or in order to find inspiration to write about this I browsed PCs blog - the fatuous nature of a lot of his content usually irritates me enough to write, for that I guess he deserves thanks. Sure enough I found inspiration in footnotes titled Saturday Morning Ramble, 25 Nov. The informal blog begins with this rather facile truisim (paraphrased).

As the world becomes more technologically, scientifically and economically advanced ... what?

The overweening gleeful pride in this statement almost made me gag. And so an inspired rant begins.

I was reminded of my drive from Canberra to Sydney after meeting with my PhD supervisors in late August this year. Scrub and Australian gum trees skirt the road for hundreds of kilometres until you hit the hideous chain store corridors and seemingly endless "nappy valley" subdivision developments that is Sydneys 1.5 hour commute exurban sprawl. At one point, during the drive, I glanced at the road shoulder. The verge was littered with empty plastic and glass bottles, plastic bags, confectionary and fast food wrappings, all manner of trash. Kilometre after kilometre this continued. People (Australians), with absent regard, simply toss their rubbish out of their vehicles as they speed along at 110k towards Sydney, creating a roadside rubbish tip.

It makes me think this unrelenting march towards technological, scientific and economic utopia is ultimately a race to process as much natural resource turning it into eventual landfill (or highway verge) fodder as quickly and efficiently as possible - and this is supposed to be a good thing. I notice Walmart is entering the Indian market - in a bizzare kind of uroborian feedback cycle - the west sells the same shit back to those that produce it and steel the profit from the exercise.

Technological, scientific and economic advance blurs the senses, it distorts our sense of place within the world. It separates us and socialises away our connection with nature. The ultimately doomed project, apollonian idealism, is the driver of technological, scientific and economic advance - the re-birth of tragedy, hedonistic out of control desire surrenders to technological gadgets and the faux status symbols that fill the chain stores. It has turned us into clowns, made a circus of civil society, it dresses us like babys.

Western society knows by seeing. This perceptual vice is at the heart of our culture responsible for producing everything from monstrocities of titanic proportions to the electronic baubles and trinkets that consume us. Our attempts to distance ourselves from Darwinian waste and squalor drive us toward clown-like idiotic ritualised behaviour overtly emphasised in late-capitalisms consumptive society. Browsing with serious concern the endless array of crap we consume which don't actually meet or satisfy any actual need but indeed create the need they claim to satisfy.

The great irony of Capitalism, predicated on freedom is that its most adherent proponents compulsively re-enslave themselves to its spoils. (So much so that the US are now entrenched in a war against the "theft of enjoyment"). One can't help but wonder at the intellectual moralising of those that worship this fiasco. It's called freedom people, and it has you in chains.

Friday, November 17, 2006

New York Magic

I'd do anything to get to this.

If you are in New York - don't miss it, do not miss it! Weller truely captures the essence of a generation, from late 70s punk (The Jam), thru the 80s (Style Council) to the current rock revival with his solo work.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Black Out

As I drove my son home from swim squad tonight I (indicated then) pulled into a lane just in front of a morbidly obese brain-dead male driving a very new and expensive looking Mercedes Benz two door sport version - I mean the guy was so fat I'd have sworn someone had rammed a Humvee up his arse. I was (just) doing the speed limit. It really irritated him that I didn't accelerate away with the torque that no doubt his mostly pointless piece of German engineering could. So much so that he sat about a metre or two surging closer every now and then towards my towbar as we continued the short journey home.

I laughed to myself knowing he wouldn't dare risk hitting me, I could tell he cared a helluva lot more about his wanky status symbol than his health for a start. All this rekindled my wonder as to what would become of the ignorant, impatient obese in the coming long emergency. Fat and can afford to be tasteless is in for a shock.

Something I noticed in the news this evening confirmed the almost fatalistic course of events now unfolding subtley before our very eyes. The lights went out across Europe today in an unprecedented continent wide power outage - and the world barely blinked an eye.

Richard Duncan (2000) argues we are at the beginning of what he calls the olduvai slide. Marked ostensibly by the escalating violence in the middle east, the Jerusalem Jihad, we are at the beginning of ever increasing dysfunction across global energy markets. Financial markets will follow close behind.

The power shortages in California and elsewhere are the product of the nation's long economic boom, the increasing use of energy-guzzling computer devices, population growth and a slowdown in new power-plant construction amid the deregulation of the utility market. As the shortages threaten to spread eastward over the next few years, more Americans may face a tradeoff they would rather not make in the long-running conflict between energy and the environment: whether to build more power plants or to contend with the economic headaches and inconveniences of inadequate power supplies. (Carlton, 2000)

The electricity business has also run out of almost all-existing generating capacity, whether this capacity is a coal-fired plant, a nuclear plant or a dam. The electricity business has already responded to this shortage. Orders for a massive number of natural gas-fired plants have already been placed. But these new gas plants require an unbelievable amount of natural gas. This immediate need for so much incremental supply is simply not there. (Simmons, 2000)

Civilisation came to an abrupt halt (albeit a shortish pause) for most of Europe today. A cold snap encouraged millions of Germans to turn up the heating causing the electricity grid to collapse "like a house of cards" the guardian reported.

"One power company chief said the continent had been close to a total blackout"

Duncan argues Industrial Civilisation is beholden to electricity. What will modern cities be like to live in without electricity? Millions of people packed likes sardines into highrise apartment complexes - inherently everything connected to this way of life utterly and totally depends on electricity. Yet the average punter is totally clueless in regard to the complexity, the fragility and the implications of electricity and large cities.

The reliability of the worlds electricity networks is faltering. As an individual, and in light of Duncan's compelling argument, I urge you to consider what you might do.

Richard Duncan's Olduvai Theory

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

All Quiet on the Industrial Front

People are probably wondering now, what use could a blog on peak oil be - the oil bubble has finally burst and we are seeing a return to normal prices, let the carbon monoxide flow... As consumer confidence perks it's time to go hoc a new plasma screen TV.

I could go on, I could attempt a rebut of the gloating haha's I hear from the students of professor Pangloss. But, to be honest James Kunster and Tom Whipple do it better than me.

The Twilight of Mechanized Lumpenleisure.
James Howard Kunstler
Among the many wonders and marvels of American life in the twentieth century, especially after World War Two, when our country ruled much of the world economically, was the astounding rise in standards of living among social classes who had hardly known leisure or had a dollar to spare on the accoutrements of it from time immemorial.

Continue reading The Twilight of Mechanized Lumpenleisure...

The Peak Oil Crisis: Turning Points
Tom Whipple
From a peak oil perspective, the last couple of weeks seemed pretty quiet. Oil prices continued to drift down into the $50s amid gloats from peak oil skeptics. The Dow Jones climbed to all-time highs, in part, due to optimism the "oil bubble" had finally burst and there would be lower inflation and lower interest rates ahead.

Continue reading The Peak Oil Crisis: Turning Points...

For those that were interested, the PhD topic, no not to do with Peak Oil. Have a read of Luciano Floridi's Problems in the Philosophy of Information, problem 13 and 14 in particular. Should epistemology be based upon a theory of information? Is science reducible to information modelling. (exciting stuff).


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

You could be excused for thinking I was dead.

I actually nearly almost was - well in a metaphorical way. I have officially started the PhD. In itself not so scary, you have to break it all down into easily digestable bits. So, at present it is reading, reading, reading - and worrying, about what I am reading, that is, if it is relevant. A this stage it probably doesn't matter toooo much. The idea initially is to develop a comprehensive annotated bibliography, one that summarises all the major angles around the topic one is studying. You need, I guess a hundred or so significant pieces of work that capture the main debates and wisdom of the area.

That's what I'm doing at present. I've discovered a cool piece of software called Scholars Aid which helps one do this very well. The chopped down freeware version (Scholars Aid Lite) is available.

The Topic!?
Ok, lets run a little competition here. If you think you know post a comment. Haha, no one will guess (that is no one that doesn't already know).

Thursday, July 13, 2006

$80 a Barrel - Just around the Corner

Nymex Crude Futures currently trading at US$78.05

Watch for further rises at the pump by mid next week if we don't see a drop soon.

This spike has been building over the last couple of weeks. I suspect we'll see the psychological $80 a barrel mark tested. Before oil settles yet another $10 a barrel higher.

Fill up the Ford Explorer today folks.

... but don't worry people - your government has told you that oil will settle back to US$25 a barrel sometime soon and for the forseeable future.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Four Corners - Investigative Journalism - still - at its best.

Well done to ABC's premier current affairs show, breaking Peak Oil to Australia.

The wankers in New Zealand media should be ashamed. I've been begging them to run a story like this for several years.

Enjoy on broadband.
Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

NZ's Energy Problems Coming Home to Roost!

The trade deficit is out of control and while the evidence mounts that we are at peak oil now, or at least before the end of the decade rabid fuckwittery by the government is not in short supply with yet further announcements of motorway building spending sprees...
Trade deficit explodes Govt crosses its fingers

Aucklanders ought to prepare themselves for further power cuts this winter as energy consumption maxes out with tedious regularity.
Electricity demand hits another high

Don't expect to catch public transport - railway industrial action means there is no room on the trains.

And as the US "driving season" gets underway - expect further rises in the price of petrol.
Oil Prices Surge as Stocks Plunge

Yet the comatose obese public (continue to be fed by the equally corpulent, brain-dead media) all pimped out on "Dancing with the Stars" and Nicole Kidmans wedding worry about whether they should hock the mortgage to buy the new Ford Explorer, as they continue to munch down the Cheezels. Cluelessness abounds as we steadily march towards the cliff all the while extending the quarter acre suburban dream beyond the 1 hour commute barrier.

Don't worry punters "I'm sure they'll come up with something" (yeah right)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hon Harry Duynhoven at odds with Prime Minister

I suggested to Harry Duynhoven that mainstream opinion about when peak oil might occur was not synonymous for bullshit "business as usual" international energy agency rhetoric. I pointed out to Harry that the Prime Minister agrees with me, not him nor the IEA. And I suggested he should garner the guts to say that the Prime Minister's opinion like mine and many others is just scaremongering nonsense as he (by inference) suggests?

Rt. Hon Helen Clark

"we're probably not too far short of peak production, if we're not already there"

Hon Harry Duynhoven
"Based on current advice, oil production seems likely to peak sometime between 2021 and 2067, with probability highest around 2037. It is not the mainstream opinion for oil to peak in this decade."

This morning I received a letter from the Hon Harry Duynhoven, it simply restated the above quote. It's hard to imagine Harry Duynhoven as anything more intelligent than a retarded parrot, furthermore by calling me stupid (by inference) he's in fact calling the Prime Minister stupid. She should sack him, he's a gutless waste of space.

Steve McKinlay

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Major Electricity Crisis in Auckland Today!

If this isn't a wake up call what is?

It just shows what happens when the lights go out. The largest city in New Zealand has ground to complete a halt. Electricity has been out since this morning because a single 110-kilovolt feeder line broke.

Basically life is cancelled today in Auckland.

I wonder - will people get it? Will this wake up the comatose public as they walk up and down stairs to their highrises apartments. No infomercials on channel 1 tonight at 7pm. Some people couldn't even leave their buildings because the gates powered by electricity didn't work.

Traffic gridlock, total fucking chaos, and news that drivers are simply ignoring the law, driving the wrong way on way streets and road raging at blocked intersections. Civilisation exists on a razor edge - when the lights go out we are back in the dark ages.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Streaming now in Glorious Stereo - for anyone here.

NZ Time 5.30pm Sunday Evening play URL in Winamp

Would be interested to know if anyone can get the alias going.

(testing the winamp crossfader)

Classic rock playlist. Building up some more hardcore playlists - if you feel like something with a bit more punch - comment away...

Friday, June 09, 2006

For my fans (all three of you)

I'm now streaming (mainly cos I got a gig in Second Life dj'ing haha) audio. What that means is I am now able to inflict my music on you (if you so desire).

You just need Winamp (downloadable free via the link) and if you're not using it to play your music on your computer your just silly - it's way the best.

Once you've got winamp, or if you already have it. Then use this URL. or if you have no luck with that the IP version is (click on the File menu then, Play URL, cut and paste the link in)

I'm not always streaming, but, well tune in and you'll find out. What will I be playing, check out my profile and you'll get an idea.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Stuck at Home in Suburbia

I have a friend, currently living in a great house Central City, Wellington. You can walk anywhere in town and the Midnight Expresso is just a stones throw away. My friend is going through a combo-crisis. She is approaching 40. And she is about to move to suburbia.

This frightening tension says a lot about the mid-life mystery. When multiple bathrooms, double garages, lawns that need to be mowed and room to park the Stabicraft replaces the urban alco-club induced hedonism of our 30s. Symbolically she is faced with letting go of her youth in two short punches.

People don't choose suburbia, it chooses them.

Not only has the hyper-suburbanisation of the cattle-class over the last 20 years essentially propped up the New Zealand economy but you can accurately measure the suburban fiasco by the number of other happy motorists interfering with your commuting pleasure. Suburban life isn't much fun in Auckland if you work in the city.

Our entire fucking economy is based on continued creation and maintenance of suburban sprawl and all the insidious bullshit (recreational shopping at the local Warehouse) that it entails - we're at the end of the civilisation cul-de-sac. The far flung exburbian outreaches of society will be the first to implode in the severe vacuum that will accompany disruptions to the oil markets that they depend upon thereby seriously impeding the 80k a day commute. All the morbidly obese brain-dead infotainment zombies and desparate soccer mum housewives who live in their three bathroom "internal access" McHouses will find themselves cut off from work and midweek tennis dates.

The suburbs are the slums of the future. Some won't have to wait that long. The story goes something like this. Gross devaluation accompanied by wholesale denial - what Kunstler terms the pyschology of previous investment will be dictate behaviour. Default, foreclosure, repossession, bankruptcy. And for some, attempts to fly out of office block windows as the reality dawns.

Cheap oil subsidised our way into sprawl, but cheap oil is gone. My advice to those not currently comatose, make plans to get out now. By the time you're spending a third of your weekly wages filling the Ford Explorer it will be too late.

For my friend worried about the suburban choice - the intuition is right. However, suburbia has a knack of quickly dulling the senses.

...but don't take my word for it

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

5 Minute throw away thought.

For the wankers fascinated with non-sequiturs

Stu mentioned -

LibertyScott raises valid points though. What's our problem with people
living wherever they want and how they want. If these guys had their way,
the roads to those suburbs would be privately funded, through private
land. The people who lived there and built the roads would be the only
ones who fell over when the oil price goes through the roof.

To which I replied,

I don't think it's a valid point at all. Who decides that I can't build myself a bach with a view across Mt Aspiring. And whats the difference between the "good" that is a national park and the "good" that is productive farmland. Which is better?

Someone has to make decisions about where we live and what use land is put to. Most libertarian arguments quickly descend into absurdity with little more than a cursory look. Libertarians very rarely understand that their arguments wholly depend on the same normative bullshit that (for eg.) socialist arguments are based on. The decision about who says what goes and what doesn't. By arguing there is no place for me to make such judgements they are infact contradicting themselves.

There is no more foundational basis for the argument that I ought not make a value judgement about some behaviour or desire than I do.

Nothing pisses me off more than the facile truisms of libertarians.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Stress Relief as Southern Lakes Fill
Warm Showers Forecast for Winter

I guess we have to be relieved that inflows into Tekapo and Pukaki have significantly "bumped" in the last couple of weeks. The inflows are approaching average again which means we can probably breathe easy this winter. Unlikely we'll be having cold showers, this year at least.
Oil Price Out of Control As World Pumps at Capacity

This was published on Scoop last week, I forgot to also publish here - here it is.

Powerless NZ
27 April 2006

As consumers around the world baulk at US$75 oil (per barrel) suspicion sets in that the oil companies are price gouging even when a few seconds rational thought informs us that oil is traded transparently on the open market to the highest bidder. Hilariously leading this crusade is President Bush himself. “Bush has ordered the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the price of gasoline has been unfairly manipulated in any way since the hurricanes struck last year.” (Washington, April 25, 2006, AFP).

Interestingly in 1971 around the time US oil production peaked, the oil production regulatory agency announced that it would allow US oil companies to produce at 100% capacity. Prior to that oil production had been strictly regulated to prevent the price falling too low. After that event in 1971 the concept of marginal price for crude became irrelevant, oil became a tradeable commodity in the US on the open market, sold to the highest bidder. Shortly after this event oil production in the US peaked. Today the US produces less than 50% of the oil it consumes.

A similar event occurred in 2004 when in an attempt to quell volatile oil markets OPEC announced it would pump at capacity. At that point a marginal price for oil was no longer under OPECs control. Any first year student of economics could inform President Bush that the long run marginal cost means any additional costs or cost savings per barrel of additional or reduced production. Once the margin is gone and you are unable to increase production the marginal cost as a pricing mechanism or indicator of the same becomes irrelevant — it is simply sold to the highest bidder. The fact that the marginal cost of (Saudi) oil production is estimated to be between US$1.50 — US$3.00 per barrel must make consumers squirm (Littlejohn, 2004., Kudlow, 2001) but this is how the market works. If you don’t like the price you always have the option to purchase an alternative product, or simply not purchase at all.

OPEC has continually argued since late 2004 that they are pumping at capacity and are therefore unable to drive the price down. According to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, OECD oil is currently in decline to the tune of -1.9% per year. Since it seems the world is producing oil at maximum capacity or very close the concept of a marginal cost of crude is no longer relevant and because there are no swing producers, that is, no producer has the ability to control the price by flooding the market with cheap oil. Oil production is no longer at a margin of the total produced — result, the price cannot be controlled by the producer. Thus the market is sending a very clear signal that production is at a peak. Once over the peak we are on a declining trajectory forever, things are not going to get better.

OPEC’s official price range in 2005 was $22-$28, obviously with a marginal cost around 3 dollars a nice profit would have still been made. However the current price of oil is determined by free trade on futures markets with buyer knowledge that there is no excess capacity, and no one wants to miss out. The price is at the mercy of the market, surrendered to the whims of speculating traders and hedge fund managers who are increasingly fidgety due to an increasingly imaginative array of externalities such as production shutdowns in Nigeria, Iran, Iraqi civil war and Hurricanes or indeed any other perceived risk. It’s a bit like selling roses where everyday is Valentines Day.

There is currently enough oil to meet consumer demand, that will however change over the coming year or two as demand continues to grow and existing supply slowly but surely depletes. The price will remain highly volatile so long as the valves remain open at capacity. Economics relating to marginal concepts or a “fair price for oil” are no longer relevant because we are not producing a “margin” of the total producible; we are producing at the maximum, familiar market rules are out the window.

Steve McKinlay
Powerless NZ
27 April 2006

Monday, April 24, 2006

NZ Prime Minister out of the closet on Peak Oil

PowerLess NZ Press Release
21 April 2006

As the price of oil hangs at record heights, unmoving, like a pall threatening to choke economies and festering the sore that is inflation (October delivery contracts on the NYMEX are over US$75 a barrel), the cattle-class as well as the impotent media transfixed by daily trivialities and titillations by and large continue to remain clueless as to why we are paying almost $1.80 a litre at the pump.

Economists and “analysts” roll out the usual suspects whenever the price moves skyward, security worries in Nigeria, “weapons of mass destruction” in Iran, or was that Iraq, hurricanes in the gulf. The point today is any minor supply concern that results in a few thousand-barrel production cutback translates into a several dollar bull-run on oil on the mercantile exchange which is never clawed back. To say that “the end of cheap oil” is here is to merely state the bleeding obvious.

Matt Simmons energy investment banker and Peak Oil advocate argued that 2006 would be the year Peak Oil would be absorbed into the public consciousness as much as climate change and it seems he may be right. This week Helen Clark, New Zealand’s Prime Minister joined a rapidly growing but exclusive club, the penny has obviously dropped – she openly admitted the real reasons behind high oil prices, “because we're probably not too far short of peak production, if we're not already there” [1].

This watershed statement, which incidentally went over the heads of most of the media turkeys in attendance, has enormous economic and social implications. Firstly it absolves Trevor Mallard (acting Minister of Energy) from having to regurgitate International Energy Agency nonsense that Peak Oil is at least 30 years away. “Not too far short of peak production, if not already there” surely can’t mean the same thing as 30 years away. The minister can now base policy in geological reality rather than the flawed economic “business as usual” fantasy that has cheap abundant oil production growing alongside the economy for all eternity.

But will he? Will she?

I can already hear the screams of the damned led by Peter Dunne, all the way down every double-laned highway in the country. By this very admission the Prime Minister puts the Government in a very sticky situation. If indeed we are already at peak oil multi-billion dollar roading projects are about as sensible as New Zealand developing it’s own uranium enrichment program. But New Zealand is obsessed with the “growth” dilemma. Economic growth necessarily depends on a cheap energy subsidy, to grow economically one needs to increase energy consumption. As the price of oil continues to creep upwards the spectre of oil-shock induced stagflation looms. The economy is already stagnant. Interest rates are relatively high and inflation is expected to run at over 3% this year. Expect the ride to become somewhat bumpy over the next couple of years.

In light of Prime Minister Helen Clarks peak oil admission the concept of growth must be re-evaluated. Economic growth and oil production exhibit a linear relationship. As we enter the era of oil decline, Jim Kunstler argues the only growth we are likely to see is “growth in our exertions to stay where we are, and the truth is many of the weak will simply fall behind” [2].

If Helen Clark truly comprehends peak oil then momentous changes in public policy must follow, not to mitigate risk in light of such information incurs liability and, is arguably negligent.

The Clark led Government must start immediately with the recognition that we have adopted (and continue to develop at breakneck speeds) a suburban living arrangement for which the outlook is truly bleak. The public can no longer get what the public wants, the required message will not be popular.

Continuing to pump billions into roading projects, ultimately dependant upon the continued stream of cheap Middle Eastern oil after the Prime Ministers admission is moronic. With less oil being produced every year and as the price of petrol moves beyond Himalayan like territory, Transmission Gully (just picking one example), begins to look like a very expensive white elephant – a monument to the exuberant industrial age, as Kunstler would say, when there was always more of everything.

[1](2006) PM Talks Palestinian Aid, Health 'N' (Peak) Oil, Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 5:53 pm , Article: Scoop Audio.,

[2] Kunstler, J. (2006) April 3, Clusterfuck Nation Chronicles: Commentary on the Flux of Events.,

Steve McKinlay for
PowerLess NZ
PowerLess NZ is a growing group of scientists, energy analysts and concerned citizens whose principle objectives are to alert both Government and the general public to New Zealand’s looming energy crisis. Our aim is to support development of renewable energy resources at both a private and public level, as well as encourage a firm move away from dependence upon fossil fuels.
Steve’s blog is located at
More information about global peak oil and resource depletion can be found at

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Oil Settles Over US$71.

Interestingly the media largely ignored the movement from around $62 a few weeks ago to the current 70 odd dollars a barrel. However the last 48 hours have seen all the usual excuses being rolled out, Nigerian concerns, Increasing descent into civil war in Iraq, Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction etc.

So the average clueless punter queuing up at the pump is paying all time NZ record amount for petrol - almost $1.70 a litre.

Meanwhile the heavy machinery continues to roll around the Terrace Tunnel Wellington with the "bypass" well underway. It's hard not to question the sense in building all this shit. Millions of dollars building concrete ramps all for the holy grail, chopping 3 minutes off your commute time across town, by the time they are finished only the rich will be able to afford to drive on them. And I'm yet to see a single bio-fuel pump station pop into existence as the market promised. I guess there will be a run on used chip oil from the local greasy shop.

On another note, weeks ago I wrote to Trevor Mallard (acting Minister of Energy) with two points. 1. I pointed out the flaws in the MED Oil Pricing Assumptions and Modelling, I wrote a PowerLess NZ press release on this (follow the link). 2. I asked if the minister could assure me that appropriate transparent risk mitigation analysis be done before a billion tax payer dollars was spent on more roading (A billion dollars is the expected cost of the Transmission Gully road).

So far I recieved nothing although I was promised a reply. This from Bruce Donaldson, Trevor Mallards secretary.

Thanks Steve,

I can advise that a response is being prepared for the Acting Minister of Transport and will be copied to the Acting Minister of Energy for his information. The Acting Minister of Energy has noted your email Steve and is seperately enquiring of his MED officals the robustness of their and the IEAs modelling for his own information in light of your concerns.

Yours sincerely
Bruce Donaldson

Private Secretary to the Acting Minister of Energy, Hon Trevor Mallard

I wait with baited breath.
Steve McKinlay

Monday, March 20, 2006

NZ Ministry of Economic Development - US$40 Oil Soon.
Level 3 NCEA "Oil Forecasting"

"Both theory and empirical evidence suggests that oil futures markets are probably the best source of future oil price projections."
Oil Price Assumptions and Scenarios (Samuelson, 2005)

This report goes on to argue that after 2010 oil will drop back to around US$40 per barrel. I doubt Mr Samuelson would ever dare walk under a ladder or cross a black cat.

"Why are you whistling?", "Why to keep the elephants away of course." "But there aren't any elephants." "Ah you see it must be working".

For anyone aquainted with the topic of peak oil the above article makes interesting, if not comical reading. So, I recently asked Ralph Samuelson Senior Energy Analyst at the MED if he had any further information about their oil price projection modelling. What I wanted to know was how they go about coming up with the so far out of whack figures that are supposed to represent where the oil price should be.

This stuff always makes me laugh because economic arguments essentially display the classic characteristics of the Post-Hoc fallacy. "oil price plummets on increased stocks", followed closely by, "oil up after Bahgdad violence", and then today hilariously, "Oil trades near one-week low on speculation US supplies rose". Laugh if you like, yet this is how the MED's pseudo-scientifically titled "energy analysts" do their projections.

I can imagine headlines, "Oil price plummets after Federer wins Open", "Oil price reaches 6 week high after Mahmoud Abbas farts", "Oil price plummets after Sharon Stone wins Oscar". Ok, so I'm having some fun. However, such causal factors are quite possibly just as reliable as arguing because the NYMEX futures price for oil delivery 2011 is US$44.50, it shall be so. Or, as MED argues, this is the best way to figure out what oil will costs in 2011.

And there instantaneously is your justification for spending billions on Transmission Gully, by the end of the decade oil will be 40 bucks a barrel, how do you know? The futures market says so - excuse me but these fuckers are clueless.

The response to my email to the MED regarding where the get their figures from follows.

Hi Steve,
The assumptions shown in that document are still the ones we plan to use in Energy Outlook. Although the oil market is changing constantly, we believe the assumptions are still consistent
with the latest developments.

For a recent comparison of what other modellers
are saying, see, Table 20 (their p. 108).
For the latest futures market prices, see and click on the “crude oil” link.
I hope to see you at this afternoon’s workshop:
Cheers, Ralph

Forget any scientific basis for the models or the assumptions, forget any actual analysis. The only qualifications you'd need to be an energy analyst for this Government is the ability to use Microsoft Explorer.

My reply to Ralph Samuelson,

Ok, so I would be correct in assuming that the modelling is purely economically (ie. post-hoc) based.

I can't make the workshop although I did see it advertised, have classes to teach unfortunately. I think there is the "oil market" and then their are studies, figures and concerns of a more scientific nature which could validly inform modelling processes, perhaps that's outside your brief? At a minimum such scientific opinion could provide mitigating factors in your projections. I think the ASPO data and models are a good place to look first. It surprises me that (given we are supposed to living the "knowledge economy") that the MED use the futures markets to project the oil price, but fail to consider an international scientific bodys modelling and data.

That is, whatever the "market" says unless significant oil is discovered to offset current depletion rates the market might be in for a surprise. Ralph my argument is that the "market" assumes that oil is an infinite resource and it's just a case of getting it out of the ground. The EIA figures suggest this, when every single respected body on the planet are suggesting that by 2030 there will be significant structural supply issues in the oil market, yet the EIA (in AEO2006) have oil at (hopefully) US$33 bl. This is laughable. Are you able to do some modelling based on current depletion rates on all the majors against discoveries?

North Sea decline percentages are much higher than anticipated (7-8%) putting the UK on an increasing net import trajectory. News last month that Mexicos Canterell, third largest field I think is in decline, news in January that Kuwait's Burgen feild (second largest to Ghawar) is in decline. Rumour that the same thing is in store of Saudi's Ghawar very soon, I guess time will tell.

Both parties (the economists and the scientists) can't be correct in the long run (but I know who I'd rely on for reliable information). That is the economic arguments have oil returning to "normal" prices after 2010. How could that possibly be the case unless more oil the size of Saudi or Mexico is discovered based on current demand growth and offset against ever increasing depletion revelations (last year was the worse year for discovery since the second world war, in fact the price paid for exploration exceeded the value of the discoveries).

I would argue that to simply run with the economic arguments ignoring the scientific could be doing the country, the Government a big dis-service. Not sure what you think about this. As I say it's probably outside your brief to look beyond market indicators.

But Ralph, you have a very responsible job. You argue that oil will return to some reasonable figure by the end of the decade and the Government will pump billions into roads based on the data you guys provide. You present data however that oil won't return to 30 bucks a barrel, that it is on an upward trajectory, well over $100 a barrel by the end of the decade and investment in a more sustainable infrastructure might ensue.

Just on the EIA data again, the current AEO2006 high price scenario, that is the worst possble scenario $ value for oil projects the cost of oil at less than the current price. In fact the average of all the current figures is $31.91 (I quickly worked it out) - that's a discrepancy of 100%. They are all out by 30 odd dollars. They have been wrong for about 3 years now, how long do they all have to be wrong before you all start looking at the modelling? If you look to the last published (on the MED website) NZ Energy Outlook by your projections we all should be enjoying US$23 (from memory) a barrel oil right now.

How can all you guys be so consistently wrong? Have you considered that you're not taking into account what the scientific community is saying that we are on a irreversible upward trajectory ?

Steve McKinlay

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Roy Hemmingway Performs Korbut Flip
With a double salto ending in the lunge position.

Perhaps I'll leave it to you to judge.

Last Thursday
"Roy Hemmingway says it is a myth there is a high risk of Auckland blackouts from 2010 and another myth that there will not be enough power this winter"

and today,
"Electricity Commission chairman Roy Hemmingway said the situation had become a matter of concern. "

How can a myth be a matter of concern?

The NFI award of the week goes to Roy Hemmingway.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Oil, Simmons, Iraq and the forthcoming Electricity Crisis.

Matt Simmons and Peak Oil
There have been some very interesting articles written in recent days. Take Matt Simmons's very good article Outlook 2006 What a Difference 20 Years Makes in Crude Oil Prices. The key point to be taken from this article is how fundamentally wrong most economists got it over the last 20 years. Simmons illustrates how demand has exploded and new supply has shrunk. Typically Middle East oil made up any supply shortfalls however increasingly it seems we have already past the peak supply of sweet light crude, the easiest oil to produce, the simplest to refine into a final product.

Until 2005, OPEC had risen to the occasion and supplied constant surges in unexpected demand. Now it is clear - for anyone closely studying OPEC production announcements and other data on the true status of OPEC oil output - that the countries comprising OPEC membership are all producing at maximum levels.

By the middle of 2005 every rig capable of drilling in the world was in use, every key oil pipeline and processing facility is operating at 100%. Oil supply according to Simmons is tighter than it ever has been but more concerning;

2005 will go down in history books as perhaps the poorest year for exploration success for both oil and gas since World War II. This dismal success was not for lack of effort. Record amounts of funds are being plowed into E&P capital spending, which is why all the world's rigs are now in use.

Peak oil advocates are always going head to head the Panglossian optimists, those that place their blind faith in the market, or argue that technology and science will come to the rescue, "the world won't run out of oil for another 70 years or so.." Most of this crowd don't actually understand what peak oil means, nor do they understand the fundamental problem increasingly complex societies are faced with.

Economic growth necessarily requires an energy subsidy, and as existing energy sources become scarce and marginal returns diminish due to increasing societal complexity a civilisation must find a cheaper more abundant energy source to replace the scarce one. Otherwise, economic growth flounders, empires shrink, political and civil disarray emerges. Even technological investment itself is subject to diminishing returns, 4-5% increases in investment in technology are needed to produce around 2% boosts in productivity, at this rate we'd all end up scientists.

2006, Simmons suggests will be the year the Peak Oil debate intensifies into a debate on the scale of climate change.

Another good article dicussing peak oil appears in Scientific American, with a link to the infamous Hirsch Report (which strangely appears back on a US DOE website after going AWOL for sometime during 2005) is titled Facing the Facts on Oil. Worth a read!

Someone way too frightened to face the facts on Peak Oil is Nathan Paulsen, Minnesota Daily. Nathan wrote an article entitled Complacent and Addicated. Showing some weak concern, hey I guess we can say Nathans heart is in the right place but he just couldn't face telling the truth. I know this because I emailed Nathan and he came back to me saying in a meek rodent kind of tone, writing the column caused him a lot of "anxiety", and "I imagined that not one in a hundred of my peers has ever heard of peak oil". A lame excuse for bullshit I say. Nathan argued with reference to the Hirsch report that according to "broad scientific consensus" peak oil will occur within the next 25 years. Fucking Bullshit!

Wake up Nathan! If you had actually read the Hirsch Report and done even a minimal level of research, you would have recognised (AND REPORTED) that the most optimistic suggestions by the discredited IEA themselves (International Energy Agency) is in fact 25 years, nothing like erring on the side of "don't scare the horses" or maybe Nathan is afraid that in Minnesota he'd be lynched by a mob of Ford Explorer Lumberjacks. The other crock of shite from the IEA is that only after several trillion dollars (13 from memory, yes trillion is what I said) has been invested, several mega-oil-fields are found, ones the size of the mighty Ghawar field in Saudi, and all this assumes Canada's oil tar sands can be bought on board meanwhile to make up the shortfall.

Get it right Nathan, peak oil according to broad scientific consensus will occur by the end of the decade, if not already, or else very shortly after. I hate to think what life might be like in 25 years. I had a go at predicting what it might be like in 15 years (two years ago) In 25 years time Nathan there'll be fuck all of anything left, but love, hope, kids, shelter and life, a life red in tooth and claw, nasty brutish and short. Chur Hobbes.

There is an awakening backlash in the United States. People are sick of Iraq, not to mention the Iraqis are no doubt sick of the United States. This marriage made in hell is on the rocks and an ugly divorce is well overdue. After all ask yourself again why did they go there? Weapons of Mass Distruction? Terrorism. None of the 9/11 terrorists were from Iraq. There was no terrorism in Iraq before the US marched in. No, the US are there in an attempt to secure some large oil reserves. They've realised the project is a fucking failure and so just a week or two ago Bush announces we need to reduce our addiction to oil. A very good article predicting the downfall of the Bush regime was published on Scoop. Article by Bernard Weiner titled Conservatives Jumping Ship: Bush is Going Down. Essential reading!

Electricity Crisis Time! (already?!)
Roy Hemmingway Electricity Commissioner earlier last week inferred (my inference) that Meridian's Dr Keith Turner was an idiot. Well, lets face it if you have a theory or opinion and someone calls it a myth then they are calling you an idiot in a roundabout way.

Dr Keith Turner is warning of an electricity crisis due to low hydro lake levels, lake levels are similar to 1992 however electricity demand is much much greater today than 92. I like Keith Turner, he's committed Meridian to renewable energy development, he tells it as it is. He's not afraid of bad news.

But what I wanted to say was this.

If Keith Turner is right, he's warned everyone very clearly, that unless action is taken now there is a high probability of a very serious situation this winter, and Hemmingway is wrong

"Mr Hemmingway told the annual National Power Conference in Auckland yesterday that it was not the case that electricity supply would be short this winter."

"Roy Hemmingway says it is a myth there is a high risk of Auckland blackouts from 2010 and another myth that there will not be enough power this winter." (From Stuff)

If Hemmingway is wrong - he should resign.

Steve McKinlay
PowerLess NZ

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Where's My Free Lunch?

The popular truism, merely a restatement of the laws of thermodynamics, that is (simply) that you can't get anything for nothing is at strangely at odds with the economists "market will always provide", dogma. It used to be God that would always provide, but we mustn't forget, as we are told, we live in a secular society. And so, religious fundamentalism has been replaced by a corporate version of the same thing. Of course the market won't provide for free. No, and we ought to remind ourselves there is a double cost. The price we pay, and the price the environment pays.

Nevertheless, don't worry about supply, or the economy we are told - science and technology, like superman or the cavalry will come to the rescue. And so as New Zealand ponders the implications of the worst trade deficit in the history of our nation, more household debt that could be squeezed into a black hole it's "business as usual" folks. We all need to be MORE optimistic Dr Cullen tells us - otherwise we'll talk ourselves into a shithole. Forget the fact that we are hocking ourselves into a shithole in the name of "progress". No one for a second considers the possibility that we are a nation (a planet) living well beyond our means. Not just financially but in terms of our ability to continue to consume finite resources that we a constantly reminded are not finite, they are only limited by our minds or our ingenuity.

Don't worry about supply the American Roy Hemmingway tells us, will we run out of electricity, it's a "myth" Hemmingway tells us. Don't listen to the doom and gloom merchants - there's plenty of everything to go round. So, keep the spa-pool plugged in and head out to the Warehouse this Saturday armed with your credit cards for some retail therapy, it will help keep the economy ticking along too.

I say "the American" because, culturally Roy Hemmingway has a lot to answer for. His nation wastes more of every concievable resource the planet has to offer, all in the name of the "American Fucking Way of Life". We ought to be wary of the opinions of "optimistic" consumption champions like Hemmingway.

So, while Westport and the southern lakes run out of water, and while the economy looks like a jumbo jet running on one dodgy engine, there is a bizzare rush to bizzarely, build more motorways, because what we all really need in these uncertain times is less commute time. Surely somehow a faster trip to work in the morning will equate to billions of dollars in increased gross domestic product.

Oil production is expected to peak soon, next year maybe, or by the end of the decade. So, the billions that are spent today discounting the future, building Aucklands highways, will still be being paid back as we are on the downside of the production curve. After peak oil global production will be some 3 or so percent less each year, while demand growth continues to run at more than 3% per annum. Once this time arrives there will be no more economic growth because growth requires increased consumption of energy, as we are forced by circumstance to use lesser and lesser amounts of energy so too will economic activity and inevitably population claw back.

So what of the future? Ah, don't worry economists will tell you. For a 150 years scientists have been making discoveries, "they'll come up with something", like the proverbial magician pulling the the rabbit out of the hat. If we don't build the roads now, we'll all be sitting in our solar powered cars bumper to bumper circa 2015.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Nuclear Ship Policy

The ACT party think that we ought to "debate" the nuclear ship policy. That is, they want the US Nuclear ships to come back to New Zealand, they want to turn the clock back so we can all belong to that cosy post-second world war ANZUS treaty again. Heather Roy, published this point of view in her weekly diary, it's now published as an ACT Press Release on Scoop.

Anyway, I disagree with ACT. Fuck America! Do we really want to be part of all that nonsense in the middle east. I wrote back to Heather Roy. Here's my email to her.

Dear Heather,

What are we to debate? Everyone agrees. Why would national or labour want to debate something that by far and away the majority of kiwis agree upon. Nobody (but ACT it seems) are interested in debating it, it's a dead horse. You want a referendum, get your petition boards out and get people signing for the referendum, I reckon you'd be lucky to get a few thousand signatures. No one is interested. We simply don't want American Warships here - and we all know deep down that's the issue.

The issue is not about whether or not nuclear radition is a problem with nuclear powered vessels, or even vessels carrying nuclear weapons - that's laughable. We've all moved on. The issue is an ideological one. Most New Zealanders are very very happy that we are not involved in Bush's debacle in the middle east. And, to be honest most New Zealanders I'm pretty sure are equally not interested in having the American war machine here.

America is our ally?, ok, that's fine, why should it be on their terms - why because we want a trade deal - (consider seriously the morality of that) What is America going to protect us from - terrorism, weapons of mass destruction? Look at the surge of nationalism in Australia - you want that here too? Or do you think we are more intelligent than Aussies, that it wouldn't happen in NZ. Any politician that wants to argue today that we should be in Iraq with Australia and the US is a dreamer - the war is a sham, it's not a war on terrorism, there was no terrorism in Iraq before America marched in, thus by implication any involvement with the US military machine is geo-politically is risky to say the least. What is ACT frightened of invasion by Indonesia? And do we seriously think America would come running to save us if that did happen?

The nuclear ship policy is just a face saving front. It means we can have this policy without having to tell America to f-off. It's called diplomacy - we are having our cake and eating it too - ACT seems to want to toss away that diplomatic balancing act. Clarke and Brash can hide behind their constituents by saying, "it's what the people want" - and it is what we want. We don't want to be part of the US's resource wars, wars for oil and "the american way of life that is not negotiable". I am happy to be a "very, very, very good friend" of the US as long as that means I don't have to participate in their illegal, un(UN)sanctioned, unilateral foriegn policy decisions.

We are living in a different time Heather, the rules have changed. Nation-state is a myth - the "threat" comes from within. With our "nation-state" allies who are we to combat today? The world today faces threats that are bourne out of wide reaching ideology not nationalistic fervour across the border, or English Channel. Furthermore, ok, the nuclear threat is much diminished as you say, but you don't make the point that no state is capable of defending it's own citizens. Having good allies didn't (and could never) prevent the Bali bombing, the London tube station bombing, 9/11, the Spanish train bombs, in fact you could argue it excacerbated the problem. These are not traditional conflicts between nations. The notion of nation allyhood is a historical curiosity.

Anyway, I don't want to be an ally of a nation that acts unilaterally, that holds other nations to standards it can't or won't hold itself, that refuses to cooperate on global initiatives, and that refrains from paying it's UN dues. fuck them Heather - they (the US) are a sick joke. We don't need them. And most New Zealanders while they are happy to listen to hip hop and eat McDonalds don't want a part of anything American. I can't remember who said it "America: the only nation in the world that went from barbarism to decadence, without civilisation in the middle."

Steve McKinlay

Thursday, February 09, 2006

As good as it will ever get.

It always amazes and irritates me to listen to people who talk about the "future". This is the future, this is it now, this is as good as it gets. The real future, the actual future will be a regression. We'll never fly around in personal George Jetson jets. In the future there won't be economic growth. Things are not going to get better. There won't be the internet for everyone in the third world. Living standards are not going to improve, except perhaps on a minor regional or individual basis. World poverty will get worse, a whole lot worse, not better. We won't be living into our hundreds in 20 years time, we'll all be dying a lot younger. We won't be feeding the world, the world, in the future will be starving and cold.

The past, our mistake and we've left the future too late.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Addicted to the stuff?

I've just returned to work from a wonderful extended holiday, the weather has been brilliant - a long hot summer not unlike the ones I remember as a kid. Apart from busting my Acromo-Clavicular ligament (yes, the downside of the Vespa - it's a long boring story...) things have been great. Other than fat interest rates on the credit card, a nasty Christmas hangover for many happy shoppers our disposable lifestyle continues seemingly unabated. No real sign of the promised collapse of modern civilisation yet.

While we are all waiting...

The most interesting media statement in recent weeks has to be George Bush's statement in his "state of the union speech" - America is addicted to oil. The LA Times gets in on the act too, A Nation Addicted to Oil and Debt.

So, the cat, perhaps not quite out of the bag yet, it's certainly making a fair bloody racket. The ability to finance massive debt at a national level requires the continuation of supposedly endless economic growth or for the average mum and dad baby boomers, about to retire, more capital gain on their already leveraged to the hilt, residential property.

And as overall global oil production peaks over the next year or two this problem is going to become one big ugly festering fiscal sore as the debt/housing bubble pops like a bunker buster. Someday, pretty soon, the nightmare picture will begin to emerge. Petrol at $2 a litre. Massive redundancies occuring everywhere, the Reserve Bank Governer and Dr Cullen will admit we are entering a recessionary period. The party is drawing to a close.

The last place I'd want to be when this happens is "Riverstone Terraces" where you have to jump in your vehicle just to go get a bottle of milk, or somewhere up the Kapiti Coast, wishing I could ride my push bike to work.

In the meanwhile, enjoy the remaining days of summer.