Friday, February 18, 2005

stampeding topics

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
"And ... as far as I can see, this is a direct result of the fact that Chavez has awakened a sense of dignity in El Pueblo, a return to basic human values and Venezuelan culture. Venezuelans no longer have to feel smaller than the USA or less important than a gringo."

Looks like the Venezuela is enjoying a cultural renaissance. It may be too late for the redcoats to do anything about it. (They who control the spice...)

China and the Final War for Resources
"Also alliances have been made with Venezuela who are threatening to cut off oil exports to the U.S. entirely while giving China as much as it wants. These new deals China is making with these and other hostile OPEC countries also involve trading oil in euros not U.S. dollars. The dumping of U.S. dollars for euros would be devastating to an already weakening dollar."

I'll be delving more into China shortly. But for now - I wonder if the play for Venezuelan oil is a canny strategy to distract us in our own hemisphere? China doesn't have the refinery infrastructure for lower grades of Venezuelan oil at present.

Snow News, Bad News
"...though snow pack may dwindle if temperatures rise, Northwest may also get more total precipitation. Still, during the key summer months when California's electricity demand peaks, low snow pack can mean bad news for electric power up and down the west coast."

This is the local beat for me - American Left Coast. Northwest snow pack is presently running about as low as 2000-2001 - the year of rolling blackouts due to a tight energy market. This is no joke for Californians.

ChevronTexaco Warns of Global Bidding War
"Asia's insatiable appetite for oil coupled with tight supplies has triggered the start of a global bidding war for oil from the Middle East, the head of ChevronTexaco Corp. said on Tuesday."

Yah think? Thanks K. Creten for the link.

Could Cuba be the future?
"Cubans reshaped their economy to use much less oil. (...) Personal cars have virtually disappeared. The country diversified its agriculture (...) Those who stayed in the cities set up gardens everywhere. Today everyone learns how to grow food."

You know, without cars around, I could bicycle to work faster than I currently drive on the freeways.

The Apocalyptic Landscape
"As it stands now, I'm afraid that apocalyptic scenarios are simply too emotionally attractive to have any reliable transformative power. As odd as it sounds, we're simply going to have to offer people something a bit more fulfilling than the end of the world."


At 9:42 AM, February 19, 2005, Blogger Bubba said...

Regarding the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela:

I don't claim to know much about Venezuela but:

The person who wrote that article sounded like they had been stuck in a time machine since 1970.

Chavez, like all "revolutionaries" before him (Castro, Mao, Lenin, etc) is mostly interested in power. He plays up the class struggle thing and has a convenient bogeyman Dubya. He is liked by the masses because they see him as being their revenge against the upper class. By all measures the Venezuelan economy and the quality of life for the average Venezuelan has declined in recent years.

I have three friends who recently returned from Venezuela. One is a Colombian, one an Argentinian, and one a Brit. Of course they are all middle aged, educated, and members of he upper middle class, but are for the most part open-minded liberal thinkers.

There assessment of Venezuela was the following:

It is very poor - even relative to Colombia

The people are not very friendly, especially when compared to other Sud Americanos

They seem to be developing a Soviet mentality - i.e. we'll pretend to work and you pretend to pay us.

At 6:44 PM, February 19, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:07 AM, February 20, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

Thanks for the comment. I'd like to see a account from one of your friends who visited the country. I've been reading accounts on sites like and they are slanted left.

I'm very leftist of late, but I spent most of my life as a conservative republican, (never so much on social issues, more fiscally) and I retain a vestigal belief in capitalism and free markets - provided they are regulated. For that reason few of your arguments, classic chestnuts I have used myself, like the "soviet mentality" comment, don't really persuade me.

Your point about revolutionaries is fair and a valid warning.

I disagree for now with the statement that quality of life is declining. They are still suffering from interference from outside parties, including propaganda. Perhaps the upper classes don't get as big a cut of the oil wealth anymore - and we hear the sqawks of those wealthy elite here in the states.

I don't doubt that the country is poor - how did they end up that way, with all the oil wealth? The question answers itself. You can't blame Chavez for the last 30 years of US "friendship."

We'll see how Chavez does. I think he'll be dead inside of 5 years.

At 3:50 AM, February 20, 2005, Blogger Big Gav said...

I'd agree with monkeygrinder (and I've followed pretty much the same trajectory from "right" to "left" over the years, although personally I think its the "right" that has moved away from me).

Bubba's noise just sounds like the usual whingeing of an elite group that doesn't like its grip on power and wealth being loosened by someone else.

As this change is going to impact the US, in the form of less access to Venezuelan energy resources, any howls from small portions of the Venezualan population are going to be amplified by the US media. This doesn't make them valid.

If Venezuela is poor its not because of Chavez - he's inherited centuries of problems that were most likely created by outsiders who wished to exploit Venzuelan rsources at minimal cost.

Maybe the Venezuelans just want "freedom" (in its traditional sense) as much as everyone else does.

As for "They seem to be developing a Soviet mentality - i.e. we'll pretend to work and you pretend to pay us.", well - have you talked to many lowly paid workers for large corporations lately ? If you exploit people for long enough they don't bother trying - I doubt this attitude suddenly appeared since Chavez came to power.

At 1:21 PM, February 20, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

Well, I've been reading Bubba's blog for the past few weeks and while we may disagree on some things, peak oil is an issue that cuts right through the current polarized political debate. So I am glad to have dissenting opinions on this page. If I start to get to many gold stars, I begin to imagine my readership consists solely of other peak energy related sites.

I would definately like some more detail on Venezuale, both for myself, and if Bubba has more to post at his place, I'll be reading.


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