Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Cost of Oil and Gasoline

A lot of folks are writing about why the prices of oil and gasoline are so high.

bush has explained that supply and demand is driving this price increase, citing increasing demand from China and India.

And that's certianly a factor. But there is another.

There are simply a lot more dollars in circulation now, then when gasoline was selling for a $1.00/gallon. So it's no wonder that the price of oil is inflating.

The US government has spent six years inflating the money supply to drive it's own debt as the bush administration goes on the fastest paced spending spree ever. Money has also been created to finance home loans to drive home values into the stratosphere. On top of that we have cashout refinancing which was used to cover credit card debt. Then the credit card debt was run back up.

All of this money, flooding the market, going to Walmart, Halliburton and God knows where else, is in circulation in the international markets. Other countries, awash with dollars, are bidding against us and each other for a finite supply of oil. They are using our inflating dollar supply to buy oil. So the price of oil keeps going up.

Since the Iraq war started, the monthly price of the war has tripled from about $20 billion a month, to over $60 billion a month. Is it no wonder then that the price of oil has more than doubled?

All of the money saved by buying chinese goods has gone to making China a nation flush with US dollars. They can bid as high as they need to, to keep buying all the oil they want. In effect, the money saved by shopping at Walmart, ends up driving prices higher at the pump.

So while we are borrowing our way to prosperity, the money we create from thin air goes to create foreign jobs and drive up the price of oil. In the mean time, back in the US, it's time for belt tightening as we begin to pay the price for living on debt.

The US government will continue to inflate it's way deeper into debt. If current trends continue, the cost of the war in Iraq in three years will be $180 billion a month. Gasoline will sell for $9.00/gal and oil on the international market will be $210/barrel. Pay for the average American worker will decline some, to cover costs.

But on the International front, other nations will continue to increase their share of consumption as the inflating dollars will go to them first. They can then use them to out bid us for oil.

Before bush gave us this new level of globalization, the US drove the price of oil and US demand helped determine how much a barrel of oil goes for. If prices got high, American consumers would buy less, go bankrupt, conserve, and the price would go down. Now, demand is also driven by China and India. So unless these nations also see a recession, demand will stay high if the US backs off. In fact, any weakening of demand by the US will probably be replaced permanently by other nations.

Americans are just going to have to earn less and spend more. It;s the price of trying to externalize costs by inflating the dollar supply to make the rich, richer.

But its not all bad news. The bush family and friends are in the oil industry. They are selling us oil and gasoline at rising prices. It's good times for them.

"We need an energy policy that encourages consumption." - President George Bush II

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Yard Blogging 2.0

As promised, here's a pic of what I've done to my tiny front yard. My war on grass continues and finished weeding my crop circle in a couple of hours today.

The plants you see here are tulips, hyacinths, artichokes and in the center, (barely visible in the cage) is a Luccia Olive.

The hyacinths and tulips already bloomed.

The artichokes are doing great. I'm really looking forward to seeing them gain some height. The ones I planted in the back, in partial shade have only grown to half the size these have.

There is also a volunteer poke salet. At least I think it is. I accidently pulled one that was just a seedling. I'm going to let this one go to seed. I think they are gorgeous plants. They grow tall and lush, with deep green leaves and deep red stems. They produce purple berries that the birds love. And they are partially poisonous. Eating them improperly prepared, can cause stomach cramps and vomiting. I love them though. The poison is only in the reddish parts of the plants. The new leaves and stems are safe to eat. They taste like spinach.

I think I'll be putting in a couple of varieties of thyme in, after I feel comfortable that most of the grass is done sprouting.

This was a pleasant surprise today. A perfect lily blossom in my pond.

This will be a before pic of my backyard garden. My plants are just beginning to take off. Soon it will be flush with greenery. It's planted with onions, beans, potatoes, arugula (going to seed in the foreground), beans, squashes, peppers, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, beans, and in the back some Amish pie pumpkins that will have to be trained around the edges. All that effort in the winter is just beginning to pay off. It's nice seeing a little growth every day.

And this is where it all comes from. One of these mulch piles gave me four wheelbarrows of compost last year. You can see my sifter leaning against them. It's made of scrap 2X4s and some 1/4" screening.

And Ella it seems, isn't a blue heeler. Older she get's the less like one she appears.

I'm pretty sure she is a Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The World Is A Better Place?

bush continues to rant, that even though it turns out Saddam didn't have WMDs, we still had to invade Iraq, to take away his WMDs (that he didn't have), and that the world is a better place without Saddam in power.

Now maybe, there's a better world in an alternate reality, where Saddam is not in power. I can accept that as an untestable possibility.

Could someone explain how the world is better today than it was in 2002?

Let's say hypothetically, that someone who went into a coma in 2002, suddenly awoke and found themselves in 2006. What would they find that would make them exclaim, "Damn! The World Is A Much Better Place Now! What A World Of Difference!"?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Bush Needs To Learn To Read

I find it shameful that Bush is now telling us that he needs attorneys to read and interpret the US Constitution for him. And he has no idea when they get it wrong.

And there -- out of this national -- NSA came the recommendation that it would make sense for us to listen to a call outside the country, inside the country from al Qaeda or suspected al Qaeda in order to have real-time information from which to possibly prevent an attack. I thought that made sense, so long as it was constitutional. Now, you may not agree with the constitutional assessment given to me by lawyers -- and we've got plenty of them in Washington -- but they made this assessment that it was constitutional for me to make that decision.

Now I'm not sure how his attorneys determined that tapping phones without a warrant and without probable cause is constitutional. I'm not sure how they determined that it was legal to break a law that specifically allows an end run around the US Constitution in case of emergency (the FISA Act). They've argue that paperwork is hard to do and it's a lot of work. Well we've seen some of the testimony about these essentially boilerplate requests. We've seen testimony that judges almost always grant them.

Clearly the problem here is, that Bush doesn't read or write well. After all, he can't read and understand the US Constitution where it says, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

This was clearly written by the framers so that even a child can understand it.

We need a literate President. We need a President that doesn't need an attorney to read and interpret, "My Pet Goat", for him.

The sad part is, that Bush doesn't even know he's stupid and ignorant. I guess if you're rich, you can always surround yourself with sycophants that are dumber than you are.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Yard Blogging

Here are some promised pictures of my backyard and it's denizens.

We've had some rain, so I'm behind on the mowing....

My Welsummers. Two cockerals and a hen. They were hatched Nov 5, 2005.

My little fish pond. It contains mosquito fish and a one pound bluegill. It also contains lilies, and horstails. It's a self contain ecosystem except for the pump. Feeding has been optional. It's surrounded by rosemary, lavendar, sage and argugula. I have more planted that hasn't come up yet, including parsley, beans and squash.

View facing West from the pond. My tiny garden area is showing signs of life. I have onions, beans, potatoes, amish pumpkins and tomatoes planted, though they aren't very visible from this angle. Just past the stone is a newly planted mission olive tree. It's next to the flower pot, which has a peach branch in it, that may or may not take root. In the background is a crepe myrtle and a texas everbearing fig.

This is Ella, at six months she has a reputation as a famed chicken wrestler and destroyer of all things newly planted.

Young artichoke plants. They are penned up to protect them from the chickens until they are bigger. They'll provide some shade for them when the summer heat kicks in. Behind them you can see some patches of oregano I started in the fall.

And that's it for today. I'll post pics of the front yard soon.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

DeLay Suggests Democrats Are Thieves...

As Delay resigns after accepting bribes from Abramoff and Indian Tribes that he intended to vote against, he goes down accusing Democrats of being thieves that steal elections.

I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative personal campaign," DeLay said in a video announcement Tuesday, a few hours after news broke of his decision.

It's a bit sad really, here Delay is being accused of accepting bribes for services that he never intended to render, effectively making him a participant in the theft of millions of dollars from Indian tribes, and he's worried that his criminal behaviour might be viewed in a negative light, allowing a Democrat to take his seat.

When a criminal leaves office in disgrace, is his replacement automatically considered a thief? Why is it that Republicans win elections, but Democrats are criminals that steal elections? And isn't the blanket accusation that Democrats are criminals, a negative campaign tactic?

John Cornyn a while back made the problem clear I think, when he argued pretty much that all of the qualified Republicans are engaging in criminal behaviour, and whether they have committed crimes or not, shouldn't be a factor in choosing Republican leadership. Instead, he made the argument that the most qualified of the Republican Criminals, should be considered for the leadership positions. And so, knowing full well that Tom Delay was a criminal and in effect, the definition of dirty laundry, he won the Republican Primary. As there were no ethical, moral and law abiding Republicans that were qualified to take his seat, he won it handily.

My own Pete Sessions is himself embroiled in a number of scandals where illegal bribes for illegal services is bringing down some prominent businessmen. He was also involved in the same scandal that brought down Tom Delay, and followed along, commiting the same crimes. All on public record.

As John Cornyn has explained, pretty much all of the Republicans in Congress and the Senate are criminals and like him, there's no point in replacing them all. Where would you get qualified people if you kicked the criminal element out of politics?

So for now, the Republican Party recognizes that they are criminals, has accepted that they are criminals, and have agreed to support each other's criminal activities as they continue to work against the interests of the American People and the United States itself.

Crime does pay and the Republican Party doesn't intend to upset the gravy train over any issues like ethics and morality.