Following these remarks is a brilliant piece of reporting by the American Progress
Action Fund. It makes a clear case for what we are all now suspecting and seeing:
the Bush administration is horribly mismanaging relief efforts along the Gulf
Coast. Several things are now becoming clear. It is unlikely that New Orleans
will ever be significantly rebuilt. When we talk about collapse as a
result of Peak Oil, New Orleans is an exemplary – if horrifying –
glimpse of what it will look like for all of us. In the case of New Orleans,
however, it’s happening about two or three times as fast as we will see
it when Peak Oil becomes an unavoidable, ugly, global reality. How long? Months.
If we’re lucky, a year. As of August 2005 it’s not just a race to
make sure that a particular region is not eaten by warfare and economic collapse.
Mother Nature is obviously very hungry too. What region will be the next to
go? What sacrifices can be offered before the inevitable comes knocking at our
own personal door? Who can be pushed ahead of us into the mouth of the hungry
beast in the hopes it will become sated?
How low can human beings sink? Keep watching the news. It’s not
the first time civilizations have collapsed. This has all happened
many times before. This behavior is not new. What is new — but is now
dying — is our enshrined belief that there were to be no consequences
of our reckless consumption and destruction of the ecosystem. What is now dying
a horrible death is America’s grotesque global arrogance, brutality and
What is not being discussed rationally by the mainstream media is Katrina’s
impact on energy production. They don’t dare. By my calculations and those
of oil energy expert Jan Lundberg, the United States has just lost between 20%
and 25% of its energy supply. My projection is that it’s not coming back
— at least not most of it.
As a result of Katrina, Saudi Arabia has finally admitted that it cannot increase
production. Many of us knew they’ve been lying for at least two years.
The Energy Information Administration has just admitted that global demand has
been outstripping supply for several months before Katrina. Nice time to start
telling the truth. Nature is finally calling everybody’s bluff. The liars,
deniers and mentally ill will be exposed soon enough and they will pay their
own price. Daniel Yergin will finally get his comeuppance. FTW’s race
is to reach as many people as possible who want to prepare and are willing to
prepare for this in local community settings.
You save whom you can.
Gulf energy production has four main components: drilling and production, pipeline
delivery to shore, refinery capacity, and then delivery to the rest of the nation.
We have heard precious little about the damage to Louisiana’s Port Fourchon
which is the largest point at which energy passes from sea to land in the region.
It is heavily damaged and mostly inoperable for now, despite optimistic financial
reports, intended to calm the markets, stating that “damage is minimal.”
I am quite sure that I speak for the maybe 250,000 New Orleans residents who
couldn’t or wouldn’t get out when I say, “Screw the markets!”
Production, if and when it starts trickling again, will most likely shift to
Port Murphy or to Lake Charles. Sounds easy in the abstract, but the corporate
headquarters at which to make and implement those decisions were mostly located
in New Orleans. Shifting energy flows will never replace what was lost because
those two facilities already face the daunting task of restoring their own output.
They can’t handle the additional burden of compensation for what has been
lost. As one astute and great researcher put it, “How will the oil companies
even find their workers or tell them where to report for work?” Where
will the workers live? Where will they buy groceries? How will they get to and
from work if the gasoline they’re supposed to produce isn’t there?
The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) is also much more seriously damaged than
press accounts disclose. It’s here that supertankers from overseas (used
to) offload. They have no place else to do it. They’re too big. I have
seen video of LOOP damage which doesn’t look anything like the minimal
damage that’s been reported. OK, so when the port is fixed what about
the damaged pipelines running to shore? How many boat anchors have been dragged
over them? In how many places are they ruptured, crushed or broken?
As many as twenty offshore rigs have now been confirmed as adrift, capsized,
listing or sunk. Each rig may have as many as eight wells. Where’s the
money coming from to replace them? How long will that take?
Bottom line: my assessment is that New Orleans is never going to be rebuilt
and that US domestic oil production will never again reach pre-Katrina levels.
The infrastructure is gone, the people are gone, and the US economy will be
on life support very, very quickly. If people are griping at $5.00 gasoline
what will they do when it’s $8.00? $10.00? Start shooting (the wrong people)?
How difficult is it to rebuild in that kind of social climate? And if US oil
production does not soon exceed pre-Katrina levels then the US economy is doomed
anyway. It’s a catch-up game now. I think it’s quite likely that
the Bush administration is responding so ineptly in part because it is in a
complete crisis mode realizing that the entire United States is on the brink
of collapse and there’s very little they can do about it. The Bush administration
doesn’t know how to build things up, only blow them up. They aren’t
worrying about New Orleans because they’re frantically triaging the rest
of the nation and deciding what can be saved elsewhere.
What lingers for all of us is the inexplicably bovine behavior of the Bush
administration. And how in the name of a loving God could Louisiana’s
Attorney General Charles Foti say on national television that he will prosecute
those who loot for survival with the same vigor as those who have looted for
profit and greed? Even New Orleans police are smarter and better than this.
They’re letting people go who have taken food, water, shoes that fit their
feet and clothing that fits their bodies. Those who understand the situation
condemn Mr. Foti’s callous and unreasoned position in the strongest possible
And may God have mercy on the Democratic Party if it approaches the 2008 campaign
with a platform saying that oil will flow, the prices will fall, and unbridled
consumption will return if only we elect Hillary.
I was on ABC network satellite radio yesterday and after the show I repeated
an observation that has been clear to me for some time. “Demand destruction”
has become a priority not only to mitigate Peak Oil but also to mitigate global
warming. The United States, with 5% of the world’s people, consumes (wastes)
25% of the world’s energy. How do you destroy demand? You collapse the
economy. Homeless, unemployed “refugees” (what a cold, depersonalizing
term) don’t buy gas, take trips, fly on airplanes or buy consumer goods
(made with energy and requiring energy to operate). They don’t use air
conditioning because they can’t afford it. They are the embodiment of
Henry Kissinger’s infamous term “useless eaters,” a phrase
from the Nazi vocabulary. If energy demand destruction, as acknowledged by the
Bilderbergers and the CFR, is a priority, then the only – I repeat only
– beast that must be tamed is the United States.
What happens when we run out of the poor and “minority” people
whom our country has historically regarded as expendable – and the beast
is still not satisfied?
The people in New Orleans and Mississippi are being sacrificed just
as surely as the World Trade Center, Pentagon and airline victims were sacrificed
The most chilling thing I have heard is that hurricane Katrina fell on the
thirteenth anniversary of Hurricane Andrew which devastated Florida in 1992.
Hurricanes are named alphabetically. Andrew was the first tropical storm of
1992. Katrina was the eleventh of 2005 and the hurricane season is just beginning.
There are more storms forming now. Some of them will most likely become very
large hurricanes because water temperatures are so high in our dying oceans.
Go ahead. Tell me we’ve all been wrong about Peak Oil, about climate
collapse, and the metastatic corruption of our government and economic system.
Now it’s an easy bet and one that we will not have to wait long to settle.
I’ll take your wager.
As New Orleans is showing us, and as Groucho Marx once said, “You bet