Posted On: Friday - November 3rd 2023 9:20AM MST
In Topics:   Commies  The Russians  History  Socialism/Communism  Dead/Ex- Presidents
Continued from Part 1, which was over 2 months ago. Time to get back to subjects that have fallen through the cracks.
Note: I realize that the title of this series does sound like something out of the juvenile anti-Social-Media blogger Andrew Anglin. However, sometimes Ad Hominem is a good literary technique. This is one of those times.
This fisking of the 89 1/2 year-ago stupidity of a Billboard Top-10 Communist, (Top 10 with a
This is probably out of order, but it'll have to be in another post, after this series, that I try to explain how the new Totalitarians we see, taking Political Prisoners, suppressing dissent, and running Cultural Revolution 2.0 are no different from the Communists of old. Their specific goals may be different, but they want to overturn traditional society and eviscerate the "Capitalist Roader" Middle Class.
OK, back to Leon Trotsky after that 2 month break. We gave a short biography of the man last time. We present here more material from Comrade Trotsky's exhortation to Great Depression 1.0 Americans of 1934 to "RISE UP!", If America Should Go Communist. First, here's the Introduction as written by the editors of Fourth International (Vol.12 No.2), 15 years later, in March-April 1951 (Boy if the publication name Fourth International doesn't scream "Communist wrecker!", I don't know what does!):
The campaign against Marxist ideas sponsored by the capitalist witchhunters today aims to implant the false impression that Communism is completely alien to American life and opposed to the welfare of the American people. In the Thirties, during the rapid spread of anti-capitalist feelings following the Great Depression, there was considerable popular interest in the prospects of a Communist America. On this account the editors of Liberty Magazine turned to Leon Trotsky for a bird’s-eye view of what the Communist future holds for the United States.Yeah, I'll bet it did. I wonder how Americans came around to all those Anti-Communist prejudices? Well, we only had one big sample at the time. Trotsky says that Russia didn't do it right.
Trotsky’s contribution, addressed to a broad public infected with anti-Communist prejudices and repelled by Stalinism, sought to show what far-reaching avenues of progress would be opened up by a victorious socialist revolution in the world’s most advanced country. This article, published in the March 23, 1935 Liberty Magazine, called forth much debate in the press at that time.
Should America go communist as a result of the difficulties and problems that your capitalist social order is unable to solve, it will discover that communism, far from being an intolerable bureaucratic tyranny and individual regimentation, will be the means of greater individual liberty and shared abundance.And, they'd have been right. Interestingly, to an alt-Historian, Trotsky foresaw foreign impediments, as per this line - this was 1934, remember:
At present most Americans regard communism solely in the light of the experience of the Soviet Union. They fear lest Sovietism in America would produce the same material result as it has brought for the culturally backward peoples of the Soviet Union.
They argue that Great Britain and Japan would undertake military intervention against the American soviets.Really? I think I could have easily beaten this guy in a game of Risk, were it being produced by the Soviet economy. Anyway, back to Trotsky's explanation of Americans' fears of Communism:
They shudder lest Americans be regimented in their habits of dress and diet, be compelled to subsist on famine rations, be forced to read stereotyped official propaganda in the newspapers, be coerced to serve as rubber stamps for decisions arrived at without their active participation or be required to keep their thoughts to themselves and loudly praise their soviet leaders in public, through fear of imprisonment and exile.Ya think? We've got the modern Commies rising up now, and this is the stuff that is starting to happen. Yet, per Trotsky in 1934, Americans should have been all "What, me worry?"
They fear monetary inflation, bureaucratic tyranny and intolerable red tape in obtaining the necessities of life. They fear soulless standardization in the arts and sciences, as well as in the daily necessities of life. They fear that all political spontaneity and the presumed freedom of the press will be destroyed by the dictatorship of a monstrous bureaucracy. And they shudder at the thought of being forced into an uncomprehended glibness in Marxist dialectic and disciplined social philosophies. They fear, in a word, that Soviet America will become the counterpart of what they have been told Soviet Russia looks like.Yeah, again, what, them worry? What did they have to be worried about? That would have never happe.... no, it's gonna be different this time, but first, we gotta break the eggs... The evil policies that Trotsky told Americans of 1934 not to worry about ARE happening, today!
The illustrious author started aptly with "They fear monetary inflation..." Hey, we
Actually American soviets will be as different from the Russian soviets as the United States of President Roosevelt differs from the Russian Empire of Czar Nicholas II.I.e., Roosevelt was already something of a Communist, while Nicholas II of Russia wasn't, so the transition in 1934 would have been easier. Still, we'd have needed a revolution, Leon Trotsky says, but I'll get to that in the next post.
This is fun and easy, showing the stupidity of a Top-10 Communist. The more difficult part will be convincing Americans that the people overturning traditional White male America right now are then 2nd coming of the Leon Trotskies, well, more like the 5th or 10th. None of those have worked out very well, but you NEVER NEVER NEVER GIVE UP, if you are a Communist wrecker.
* China's currency, the Renminbi (RMB), means "The People's Money", but we refer to real money here.
Dispatches from The Middle Kingdom: Housing old and new
Posted On: Thursday - November 2nd 2023 8:12AM MST
In Topics:   China  Economics  Peak Stupidity Roadshow
It's high time Peak Stupidity got back to writing about our impressions of China. Our visit to what they may still erroneously call "The Middle Kingdom" was 3 months ago.
Before I go on, let me state that I will definitely discuss the long Evan Osno New Yorker article, CHINA'S AGE OF MALAISE, that commenter Adam Smith so kindly pasted in a portion of* under this post. This visit to China did not give me the ability to know the big economic picture that Mr. Osno's article discusses. I don't speak Chinese, and not everyone wanted to talk about everything. I asked the questions I could, however, and I can extrapolate a lot from the things I did see.
I've noted before a few things about the Chinese style of residing, living arrangements, that is. For whatever long-term cultural, maybe even genetic reason, Chinese people seem to want to live together, even out in the country. Out in the farmland, there will be an (actually small) village - maybe 50 or a couple of hundred people - all close together in concrete structures. In America the 10 to 25 families would rather live spread out on their own plots of land.
Another aspect of Chinese housing is that there's some deal in which the government - local, of some sort - has responsibility for the outside of buildings, including even detached (as well, as they can be) houses. I'm sure there must be exceptions, where, hell, NOBODY takes care of the outside, but that's what it looks like anyway. It's the "tragedy of the commons" as applied to Better Homes & Gardens. They work to keep their family in veggies, herbs, chickens, what-have-you, but there's not an incentive to beautify the outside. I guess our incentive is to keep up with the Jones, but also fresh paint, shutters, trees, well, we like that sort of thing.
China is changing rapidly though. Not everyone is middle class, and even most of that middle class don't make the money America's working class does. However, they want to to live the Chinese Dream, first dreamt by, of all people, a man named George Jefferson of Astoria, Queens, NY City, as he dreamed of moving up to that "dee-lux apartment in the sky-high-high... ♫♪♪ "
The image above shows one such apartment building, as seen from a detached house. Originally an ~ 600 ft2 one-story damp and dark concrete structure with a straw roof, this now 3-story place is very nice inside. The interior decorator could have been a homosexual out of West Hollywood, California, if one hadn't known any better. The outside, well... also "detached" is technically correct, but there's been a Chinese Coke can stuck between it and the neighboring place for years. The maintenance guy's name is Coe Roe Xian, best I could make out.
The image** above shows a row of new places in this village. There are hundreds more, no exaggeration here. These ones are a little shorter, but most of these residential buildings have 25 to 35 stories, from what I've seen.
Housing is not cheap, even when compared to American wages. The apartments I visited were in the range of 750 ft2, but in this area were the 2 bedrooms, a living room, pseudo kitchen, and 2 bathrooms. Rooms are small, that's all. Even in a 2nd tier (as they call it) big city - not the village shown here - prices in the city outskirts are in the range of $400/ft2, so we're talking here $300,000! I will discuss the disparity between prices, rents, and affordability in another post.
That juxtaposition of the old China and the new China can be seen all over, with the new China gaining lots of ground. How great is the New China? That's another story.
PS: As I checked the comments to semi-link to the Evan Osnos article, I remembered Mr. Hail's link to a James Kunstler (of Clusterfuck Nation - he must have rid himself of that non-family-friendly blog name) podcast with the Mao Sackhanger Godfree Roberts. I may give that a listen. There's no transcript, and it would be interesting to hear his voice. I don't think the guy's a troll, unfortunately...
* [Pasting in the whole thing might be some sort of infringement of something ..., so we've only got 99.9983%, as Adam left out an unlaut or something ... - PS Legal Dept.] He gave us a nice working link too - didn't notice and read the whole thing in black on mint green.
** I doctored up the Chinese characters on the banner on that new construction just in case. It's pretty easy to make Chinese characters illegible... for me, anyway!
Autopay - it's sooooo convenient...
Posted On: Wednesday - November 1st 2023 5:59PM MST
In Topics:   Curmudgeonry  Economics  Big-Biz Stupidity
... for the Big Biz world of corporate hustlers.
There's a lot of encouragement from Big Business to us peon customers to switch to autopay for recurring billing. The convenience of it is a siren song for the weak of principle. Yeah, well, you'll save a stamp and check each month, which add up to nearly a buck.* More importantly is that time saved. They seem to have a point.
However, one loses a couple of important things with autopay, leverage and privacy. Regarding the former, it's harder to argue over bogus, or even correct, charges on a bill when you've already given them the money. These companies like to have the money steadily rolling in. If you owe a bill and don't agree, I've found it's easier to dispute something when you can threaten to withhold that steady money. "I'll change companies", you can tell them, either way, but with autopay you're caught up and they've got your card number. You won't be able to stiff them quite so easily if they deserve it.
This reminds me of the escrow account I used to have for the mortgage, insurance, and taxes on a house. (They told me I HAD to have that, and I was young and naive.) "Hey, your insurance went way up, gotta up your payment. Don't worry, we already paid the insurance company. You're good!" It was much better when I was handling the money.
...and, what's a post office?
As for the loss of privacy with autopay, that's just gotten worse. We grudgingly went along with it on our phone plan. That was due to the deal that said we'd be paying $10 more monthly if we didn't. It's a big win for Big Business, as they don't like the deadbeats. Autopay assures them that they can cut off the potential deadbeats while not yet at a loss. WE'RE not deadbeats though, and I highly resent our being treated like we are!
The phone company had our credit card in their files for a couple of years, well, with the continual turnover of the actual card info due to scammers. ( 2 1/2 years back Peak Stupidity posted some information I'd never known about before then regarding the updating of card info, which itself can be automatic - for good or ill. That was in the 2-part post Visa Account Updater: Part 1 - - Part 2.)
Now THAT's not good enough. No, I suppose too many people are still disputing charges. Even with the lack of leverage from the automatic payment schedule, one can call the CC company and put put some charges in limbo. (I am having a brain fart on the term and can't find it.) This phone company now wants either a Debit Card on file or a bank account routing number. To put my feelings bluntly, NO FUCKING WAY!
They have no business knowing this info. At the phone store, when told I wouldn't be using a CC, asked me "OK, then, do you have a debit card? Oh, don't worry - you can just get me your bank account routing number." "Uhh, no. I guess I need to get bills in the mail again." He gotta a little miffed at that, I must say.
So be it, $120 more yearly for this (+ the checks and stamps), but I have my peace of mind and satisfaction. Part of the satisfaction is in knowing that Big Biz HATES HATE HATES this old fashioned paper stuff now. They have to keep contracts with companies that do the printing and mailing, and others that do the opening and data entry! The Philippines has plenty of young men and ladies who can do this, of course.
Yeah, and they are so not into this stuff that the latest bill has the outside envelope printed upside down. With the writing read normally, the envelope flap/seal is on the bottom. Is it just the normal incompetence these days, or are they not even trying? Ha! Better keep killing those trees for me, Big Biz, because you are the ones that brought this on!
PS: I just mailed it off. The account # was so tiny that I had to use the phone camera and enlarge the resulting picture to see it for writing it on the check. I put it in equally tiny writing.
* I've written before that sometimes I pay ahead by 3, 4, even 6 months, a net gain monetarily in the era of basement-level interest rates, but that's changing. It saves on stamps, checks, and, most importantly time. However, that depends on how much I trust the outfit to not change prices or screw me on a charge.
War on Halloween: Who are the real sluts?
Posted On: Tuesday - October 31st 2023 8:43PM MST
In Topics:   Humor  Female Stupidity  Holiday from Stupidity
Peak Stupidity featured a short post on or about Halloween 4 years ago called A Holiday for Sluts. That was about the adult (I hope) women's costumes these days. Since there was no gratuitous girly picture above that post, we will put one here in the morning.
James Fulford of VDare posted an article today that describes a War on Halloween, seeing as the Commies who want to overturn ALL tradition have these informal wars on most American holidays. His article is The War On Halloween Is About How White People Aren't Allowed To Dress, but he says it's being fought on 5 different fronts:
War On BlackfaceThe article is fun, and that's all I've got going this time around, as we had no time for any of it, not even giving out or receiving any candy.
Evangelical Christians’ War On Paganism And Satanism
Mexicans’ War On Halloween: It’s Now The Day Of The Dead, Gringos!
Feminists’ War On Slutty Halloween [The one we're interested in, depending on the venue.]
War On White People Dressed As Non-Whites
I did just hear a Peak Stupidity-worth short anecdote from a colleague that relates, though. She is staying at a hotel in a not-so-nice area in the big city. The place itself, inside, that is, is OK, but it's in the ghetto. I warned her. She went to the Mexican restaurant right off the parking lot. "I don't know", she told me, "There were a lot of women that might have been prostitutes, but I couldn't tell if they are just dressed like prostitutes because it's Halloween."
In some neighborhoods, every day is Halloween. "Trick or treat?" Wait. Or is that "trick or tweet" now?
Presidents and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve: The purpose of Depletions
Posted On: Tuesday - October 31st 2023 8:10PM MST
In Topics:   Economics  US Feral Government  Inflation  Dead/Ex- Presidents
Continued from the previous posts: The Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the Bai Dien Drawdown - - Donald Trump: BS ass-ymptotially approaching Lying and Presidents and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve: Capacity, Filling, and Crude Prices. This ought to be the last of it, since it's getting boring at this point. If it's getting boring to the writer, imagine the situation of the poor readers! [And commenters! - Ed.]
It's a little wonky, but an August '09 paper written by one Robert Bamberger, The Strategic Petroleum Reserve: History, Perspectives, and Issues, for the Congressional Research Office does a good job in explaining a bit of history and what's been going on with the SPR...till 14 years ago, of course. The impetus for this idea was the '73-'74 Arab/OPEC oil embargo that resulted in what Americans figured was the near end of oil. In reality, it was just the end of really cheap oil. The rough times at the gas stations and the shock of it had the US Gov't figuring out a way to stock oil to cushion shocks via a big storage facility.
We discussed the filling of the SPR salt caverns, and which President* did the most and least of it, in the last post. Let's discuss the depleting, draining, or drawing down. Per the act that created the reserves:
The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA, P.L. 94-163) authorized drawdown of the Reserve upon a finding by the President that there is a “severe energy supply interruption.” This was deemed by the statute to exist if three conditions were joined: If “(a) an emergency situation exists and there is a significant reduction in supply which is of significant scope and duration; (b) a severe increase in the price of petroleum products has resulted from such emergency situation; and (c) such price increase is likely to cause a major adverse impact on the national economy.”This power was to be exercised via Congressional authority, yet, since 1990
This section, 42 U.S.C. § 6241(h), has allowed the President to use the SPR for a short period without having to declare the existence of a “severe energy supply interruption” or the need to meet obligations of the United States under the international energy program.Yep, there's that loophole. By the time Mr. Bamberger wrote his paper,
Legislation has been reported in the Senate that would alter significantly the authorities governing drawdown and sale from the SPR. The American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009 (S. 1462) would require that the SPR include 30 million barrels of refined product (distinct from the 2 million barrels of home heating oil held in the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve); would transfer authority for a drawdown from the President to the Secretary of Energy; and would amend the drawdown authority to permit drawdown and sale in the event of a “severe energy market supply interruption” that has caused, or is expected to cause “a severe increase” in prices. This language is a significant departure from existing authorities which predicate drawdown disruptions in supply, and discourages use of the SPR to address high prices, per se.Yep, "leadership", by the President, and now drawdowns could have a basis on oil prices, well, there are these elections every 4 years ...
The writer has 4 pages that discuss the various small drawdowns of the SPR, along with the change in reasoning. There was the Gulf War I drawdown in early '91, based on expected disruption of supply and price increases that didn't much pan out. Then, Bill Clinton proposed in '96 the withdrawal of a small amount, 7 MMbbl, to pay for, well, the work on the SPR. (Wait, whaaa? Forget it, readers, it was ClintonTown.) Mr. Bamberger does not mention the small but sharp drop of 30 MMbbl in the Fall of '00. Then, the disruptions due to refinery damage from the hurricane that hit the Gulf coast in the mid-'00s are discussed. However, along that decently increasing reserve level of the early 00's, there was just a blip down of ~15 MMbbl in the Fall of '05, with the reserve still at 90-95% capacity. That was in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina in August and then Rita in September of that year (not a good time to have had a beach house down there).
The discussion of the depletion of some SPR crude in the Summer of '08 was a different story. In this case ...
The rise in crude prices to over $140/barrel by the summer of 2008 was attributable to many contributing factors, including increasing international demand, and concern that demand for crude might outstrip world production. Markets were described as “tight,” meaning that there might be little cushion in terms of spare production capacity to replace any crude lost to the market, or to provide adequate supply of petroleum products.
Significant and sustained increases in oil prices were observed in the absence of the sort of “severe energy supply interruption” that remains the basis for use of the SPR. As has been noted, legislation in the Senate (S. 1462) would introduce a price basis for authorizing a drawdown of the SPR.In answer to the question posed by commenter M under the last post:
Some policymakers were urging the Administration to release oil from the SPR during the spring and summer of 2008. A review of the dynamics in the oil market during this period provides a demonstration of why an SPR release in the face of high prices will not necessarily foster a decline in petroleum prices.If the Peak Stupidity reader is still interested, he can go to that short paper and learn quite a bit about the intended use of the SPR by the Feral Government and how it was actually used. Since its author Robert Bamberger hasn't covered the last 14 years, it is up to us to see that the massive drawdown of the crude oil reserves by Zhou Bai Dien was, and still is, an attempt, at least to keep gasoline prices down in order for the American voter to not see what a shambles the economy is. That is, it's an attempt to hide at least one portion of the reincarnated Misery Index (any 1970's aficionados here?), inflation.
Could this depletion of so far 1/4 Billion barrels of oil from the SPR help keep gas at the pump prices low until, say one year and 5 days from now? There's a lot more to this than we can cover here. There's global supply and global consumption, along with how much we produce here (not all of it stays here) to think about. However, let's just note that this 1/4 Billion bbl was about 12 days worth of these 2 years at our consumption rate of ~20 MMbbl/day. That's just a couple of percent, but maybe releasing it strategically can keep prices where they want them, which is NOT the purpose of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
One final note: I noted in the last post that the SPR has had authorization to expand to 1 Billion bbl capacity, though the money for that has been long thrown to the winds. In this paper, I read that G.W. Bush pushed for a further capacity increase to 1.5 Billion bbl, but his effort was unsuccessful. No, there are not many preppers in the Feral Government.
PS: Yea! The EIA page with all the SPR level numbers and the interactive graph is back up! (Do they read Peak Stupidity?)
Presidents and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve: Capacity, Filling, and Crude Prices
Posted On: Monday - October 30th 2023 9:55PM MST
In Topics:   Trump  Economics  US Feral Government  Inflation  Dead/Ex- Presidents
Peak Stupidity got on this topic last week to note that President Bai Dien has imprudently sold off 45% of the crude oil in the SPR from the level that existed at end-o-Jan '21, when he took office. That brings it down to 48.5%, just under half of full capacity and 47.7% of its max.*
In case you want details, all the numbers are here, from the US Energy Information Administration** in tabular form to the nearest thousand barrels*** and a very nice interactive graph. Yeah, this is my kind of (small) government agency, if we're going to have any - just the facts with lots of numbers.
We then had something to say about President Trump's erroneous bloviating (to be generous) on the subject of SPR filling and depleting by Bai Dien and himself. In that post, I started getting into what I see in the bar chart below - keeping in mind that the President can indeed unilaterally deplete or fill the SPR. That was interesting, but I realized that it was neither the time nor post. This is.
It wouldn't make so much sense to focus on that chart without keeping this one in mind:
(I don't often get to the same site twice when I do internet searches, but I note that this graph must have been created by the same people who made the gasoline price chart I "borrowed" for Part 2 of Recent history of gasoline prices from 5 years back.)
The reader may also want to pull up a better and interactive graph like this one for recent (only goes back to '83) crude oil price history. Then we can refer to the very simple stuff in the Forbes article and some interesting political/law/economics in a much more comprehensive 12-page paper The Strategic Petroleum Reserve: History, Perspectives, and Issues by one Robert Bamberger of the Congressional Research Service. The latter provided lots of insight, but it is 14 years old. I can't say I read every word, but I skimmed through the latter and found what I was interested in.
Obviously, once the law had been passed in 1975 - signed by President Ford and then implemented in '78 - and the salt caverns were created at the SPR sites, they had to be filled up. This explains the 112 MMbbl pumped into the sites during the Carter Administration, and then the huge amount - 345 MMbbl - input by Ronald Reagan during his first term. He wasn't delinquent on this during his 2nd term either, with another 104 MMbbl. With only 14 MMbbl pumped in during G.H.W. Bush's term and a draw of 12 and 22 MMbbl during the 1st and 2nd Clinton terms respectively, there was not much change until G.W. Bush. 138 and 24 MMbbl were added to the SPR during his 1st and 2nd terms, respectively. There was no significant net change during Øb☭ma's 2 terms. As we noted previously, there was a net draw of 57 MMbbl during President Turmp's term. Then there was Bai Dien...
The filling up of the SPR was not just a matter of Presidents being prudent or not. If you recall, President G.H.W. Bush was genially mocked for his "Wouldn't be prudent..." line back in his day. He wasn't prudent in filling up the reserve, but, yeah, there's more to it.
For one thing there is the capacity. By some point, right there at the end of Reagan's Presidency, for example (at 78% full), one could fill the reserve somewhat higher but the change wouldn't be that significant in days of oil stored. Per the Bamberger paper, in '05 the US Congress required the SPR to be expanded to its authorized (when authorized, I don't know) 1 Billion bbl capacity per the Energy Policy Act. The money was allotted for a site in Richton, Mississippi. However, in '11, Congress voted to nix that insignificant amount of money... would be too prudent, got a Black! President who wants to make a splash and buy everyone a new phone and trash the old clunkers! Still, 1 Billion bbl wasn't that much more reserve. I'd have liked to have seen 5 Billion, a couple of years worth of oil... to get us through the SHTF? - nah, the Chinese would just buy it up.
More interesting are the changes in the price of crude oil as seen above. You want to buy when it's low, of course. The Reagan administration really wanted to fill this thing up, seeing as the steepest rise was in '81-82, when oil was still very high. They filled it up more through the middle of that decade though, as the nominal price eased down and the inflation-adjusted price even more so. (Inflation was still pretty high, as FED Chairman Volcker's high rates took a while to have an effect.)
The time to have bought was the whole decade and and a half from the mid-'80s through the end of the '90s. There was 100 MMbbl pumped into the SPR, but there was a remaining 100-125 MMbbl of capacity that was never attained in that particular cheap oil era. That would have been the time to increase capacity, but Congress didn't get to it until 2005. (As stated above, that never happened anyway.) I gotta give credit to Bush the Shrub then, for filling the rest of the SPR up, right near capacity, from '02 to '06, as crude oil prices were steadily rising. I suppose that rise was the impetus. During the cheap oil period, I suppose everyone thought it would stay that way and that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a "barbaric relic".
Well, two things just happened. This post ended up getting long enough with more discussion to come. That'll be more about the using, that is, draining, of the SPR, for appropriate and also political reasons. I'll refer to the very informative Bamberger paper.
The 2nd thing is that the nice EiA page I've been linking to - I mean, like just this afternoon - went away, as the EIA tells us they are revamping the site. All I have left for now is the screenshot graph shown in the 1st post on this subject, as I cannot find this page now. Damn government! (If anyone wants to try, start here, that is, if you see the "Petroleum Navigator" button. Sometimes, it's there.)
Lastly, while still on this post, let me give President Trump a little credit back after I eviscerated his BS previously. First off, I suppose one COULD SAY right now, the SPR is "mostly empty", technically, at 48% or so. Trump had said "It hasn’t been full for many decades. In fact, it’s been mostly empty.” Uh, no. We've got graphs and tables - the EIA worked for YOU, man! Less pedantically, though, I read in that Forbes article:
But then on March 19, 2020, President Trump directed the Department of Energy to fill the SPR to maximum capacity to help support domestic oil producers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Funding was blocked by Congress,...Of course, because PanicFest Infotainment and monthly impeachments. Too busy! As I discussed before, just a percent of that PanicFest "CARES ACT" money could have filled that thing up to a 6 1/2 month supply, were the capacity there, as opposed to the current capacity of 70 days and right now 1/2 that - 5 weeks worth. That was some good tactically thinking, but without strategic (get it?) thinking way ahead, well... Congress doesn't give a rat's ass about being prudent economically anyway - hasn't for arguably 2 decades.
* As we noted before, the reserve was up to a 725-726 MMbbl value during a 2 year maximum plateau from Summer of '09 to Summer of '11, which was ~ 11-12 MMbbl above the stated capacity from the Dept. of Energy site.
** See now, I gotta admit, an agency that collects and disseminates this kind of information is one of the few I wouldn't be all for eliminating, were I a Founding Father 2.0. Yes, it could be done privately, though. Of course, they've got the usual diversity shown on their "About" page. I'd never heard of these people before, but, then again, the Regime Capital is a big place.
*** Again, in the oil/economics world, a barrel (42 US Gallons) is written as a "bbl", and a million barrels as "MMbbl".
**** These numbers may not quite match the Forbes graph bars, but I trust the EIA tabular data more.
Help us Ron De, yeah, get him outta our hearts
Posted On: Saturday - October 28th 2023 8:39PM MST
In Topics:   Music  Humor  Trump  Pundits  Orwellian Stupidity  President DeSantis
I don't think he can lose the vote for GOP candidate for '24. If Trump is held in jail under the Anarcho-Tyranny, of The Regime, I'll be voting for him just on principle. Still, though I've read and heard that he's not a very good campaigner, I'm hoping Ron DeSantis gets some momentum.
As re-written by Ann Coulter:
I was gonna be his pundit,
and he was gonna build our wall.
But now I don't care
if he's still sittin' in jail next Fall.
Now, Ron De, you caught my eye (caught my eye),
and I can give you lots of issues why
you gotta help me, Ron De.
Help me get him out of my heart.
Help me, Ron De, help, help me, Ron De.
Help me, Ron De, help, help me, Ron De.
(Oh Ron De, yeah)
Help me, Ron De, help, help me Ron De.
Help me Ron DeSantis, get him outta my heart.
This one says it's in stereo. Does anyone care anymore about that or even know what that means?
Brian Wilson, with some help on the lyrics by Mike Love, wrote this, and The Beach Boys included this song on 2 of their albums in 1965, 58 years ago! We could use some decent music again, and perhaps, girls named Rhonda. (Who was that great '70s singer, Rhonda Ronstadt?)
It's a very uncommon name for young people right now. I'd like to see some enterprising new parents retro Rhonda back into usage.
Thanks for reading and writing in this week, Peakers. Will we get back to China posts? I don't know, but there's plenty other stuff that's been left hanging, and more new stupidity every single day. Happy Sunday!
Vaxphobic NY City Cops fight back and win!
Posted On: Saturday - October 28th 2023 8:37AM MST
In Topics:   Kung Flu Stupidity  Totalitarianism
"Vaxophobic", what do you think? That's a better term than "anti-vax", as first of all, not all, not even many, of those against the mRNA gene experimental therapy are opposed to the idea of vaccinations period, for anything. Secondly, whether one is or isn't against this general medical preventative treatment (uhh, supposed to prevent one from getting sick from said disease, if I recall correctly), that still doesn't make one opposed to their availability. Survey "anti-vaxxers", and it would probably be a minority that are against anything that's not a mandatory program or one that involves any coercion, say involving employment.
We'll get to that subject, but just to finish this, the suffix "phobic' has been added ERRONEOUSLY, to lots of terms, homophobic, xenophobic, etc. That is done to make the term a pejorative, implying people are unreasonably AFRAID of something rather than being against the idea, or simply wanting nothing the hell to do with it.
In this case, it kind of works, as many people after what they've seen personally and what they've read, are rightly afraid of taking the Kung Flu vaccines. I am vaxaphobic, but more on that. Let's get to the subject, regrading that coercion of big employers, often out of PotomacRegimaphobia, but often out of the usual stupidity. The Kung Flu PanicFest was rife with both.
Per the FOX News website, Anders Hagstrom
To compare this to my own situation, let me say that there were 3 basic things to consider, back in that time period - very-late-'20 (beginning of vax availability) to early/mid-'22 (the giving up on vax coercion by Gov/Corp America):
1) Is it worth even getting this shot? That is, am I seriously worried about getting the Covid-19?
2) Will I let them give me the jab based on it being mandatory?
3) Will bad health effects (oh, such as death) possibly happen to me if I take the jab?
I think the timetable of the vax political effort and my answers on 1-3 was somewhat fortuitous, as, say, compared to those NYC cops.
Answering (1) in the negative was a given since mid-March of '21, well before any of the vaccine business. I knew this was an overblown ginned-up PanicFest by then. Answering NO to (2) is in my nature. Would I not take it because of question (2), even if my answer to (1) was YES? Of course I'd take it, but I can guarantee you I wouldn't be pushing for the mandatory vax - after all, if it worked for me, why should I care what everyone else does? We should all be against coercion. The answer to (3) only became YES late in the game, as I saw some bad outcomes in people I know and read more about this gene therapy. By that late in the game (2) had been taken out of the picture.
Still, back in mid/late '21, I had plans for (2) involving my having to leave my employment, but making a big scene was part of that. Unlike in the case of these cops and other city employees, for which the numbers suggest they were a small minority, we had lots of pushback by late mid/late '21, when question (2) was still MY main issue. For most of those doing the pushback, unfortunately, I think (3) was their worry, more than the principle (2). Is that the same with the NYC cops? I'm guessing so.
It helped out our cause that our employment became in much higher demand by that same time '21/'22. Did the corporate folks really, really, want to keep pushing this shit? Someone got a little sanity, and then, within just a few months, everyone laid off this stupidity.
Back to the NYC cops, why do I guess they were not worried about principles, so much as their own personal worries? Cops aren't generally known as men of principle, or we wouldn't have the Police State we have. Then too, well, read this one excerpt from the Fox News article, although this is from NYC Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro, not a cop, but this is their tactic:
"If you're going to remove the vaccine mandate for certain people in the city, you need to remove it for everybody in the city," Ansbro said. "If you're going to follow the science, science is going to tell you there isn't any danger right now, and putting hundreds of firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers out of work is not in the best interest of the city. It's not safe."There was no mention of principles here. "No danger right now" and whataboutism are the arguments. Perhaps this talk was in support of the court case, per advice of the lawyers based on practicality. However, practicality doesn't beat this stuff. Standing on principle does... if there are enough of you doing it. The FOX writer was writing out of chronological order here, so I'll take care of it:
NYC fired roughly 1,700 employees for being unvaccinated earlier this year after the city adopted a vaccine mandate under former Mayor Bill de Blasio.
A New York state Supreme Court ordered all New York City employees who were fired for not being vaccinated to be reinstated with back pay.Yeah, and NY City was a virtuous Sanctuary City, open to all the downtrodden of the world!... also, earlier... What do the black pols like Eric Adams say about some poultry or something coming home to roost?
The court found Monday that "being vaccinated does not prevent an individual from contracting or transmitting COVID-19." New York City Mayor Eric Adams claimed earlier this year that his administration would not rehire employees who had been fired over their vaccination status.
Again, the NY Supreme court did not rule on principle. What if this vaccine DID prevent "an individual from contracting or transmitting COVID-19"? This is how you get your back pay and get back at the Totalitarian employers and Government. It's not how you win in the long run though...
Good on the NY cops and firemen just the same. This was some rare good news, seen on Peak Stupidity no less.
* In fact, we've had a WHOLE LOT to say to the contrary. Check out the old posts of the series: First Responders and Heroes (written 22 months before the PanicFest) - - "First Responders!" - The Firemen and Fire Departments - - "First Responders!" - Ambulance drivers, excuse me, EMTs - - "First Responders!" - The Cops - - "First Responders!" at "The Office" and, later 1st
The Stupid comes home to roost
Posted On: Friday - October 27th 2023 5:39AM MST
In Topics:   Immigration Stupidity  University  Pundits  ctrl-left
That "come home to roost" line seems to be predominately a black politician line. They do like their chickens ...
In her most recent column, Ann Coulter has pointed out how the stupidity of the ctrl-left, with Jewish people and University inhabitants being predominantly of this persuasion, has come home to roost recently. She writes: On What LEGAL Immigration Brings: "Staple a Green Card to Their ’Kill the Jews’ Signs". (Legally v illegally is pretty hard to distinguish anymore, with Bai Dien and Mayorkas' recent Asylum Apps being made available.)
Whether Americans wanted it or not, the US Gov't has supported Israel, its defense, and its continued existence for 3/4 of a century. This most recent, Hamas-started violence has not resulted in the usual unified response of America that these Jewish and/or University folks may have expected. See, no matter what you think of the State of Israel and the Middle East, this country is not unified anymore. The 1/2 century long immigration invasion has seen to that.
Yet, the ctrl-left, including most from those particular peoples and Institutions have greatly encouraged this immigration invasion. Ooops, we fucked up. Miss Coulter:
This week, we’ll consider the other main contingent of Hamas Boosters: foreigners, who, for reasons I can’t understand, are in my country.Yeah, they're here, because Diversity is our strength, dammit! But, they don't need to do all that diverse multicultural stuff now though - this is SERIOUS!
In the past few weeks, Muslims and Arabs have poured into the streets in nearly every U.S. city to celebrate the slaughter of Israelis, while wearing scarves, keffiyehs and other clown outfits, waving the flags of Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Yemen, Turkey, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, and on and on.
It’s so obvious that these people don’t belong here that the immediate reaction of a number of politicians was to demand that their visas be revoked.Revoking visas - I wonder why
Sorry to roll my eyes, but where have they been? The gleeful cheering for the mass murder of Israelis is only the latest expression of hate by inferior cultures toward the superior culture of the West—of which the donors are a shining example.After this, she give a whole lot of examples of the wokeness these wreckers of society have wrought. (See this Steve Sailer post about the melting of the Richmond statue of Robert E. Lee.**)
But when the exact same people who hate our country turned out to hate Israel, too, our clueless elites were gobsmacked. Gee, where’d that come from? We thought you liked us.[SNIP - skipping the part in which she takes sides, due to that not being my point here.]
Instead of trampling on the free speech rights of people who hate the West, how about avoiding the problem altogether by leaving them where they are? They’ll like it! Vastly fewer “white supremacists” to oppress them. They can hate us all they want. Just do it from their own countries.Agreed, Ann!
People have gotten on Steve Sailer's case for not speaking up about lefty Jewish influence in American government and media. However, he had a very good post addressing this, just 2 weeks ago today, titled The World-Historical Question. This one was not so much about immigration but the Wokeness that, IMO, he doesn't understand the full scale of. Anyway, this is good stuff in his introduction:
The world-historical question at the moment is whether American Jews — who are, arguably, the single most influential politically mobilizable group in the modern globe — will figure out that Woke anti-white hatred is inherently anti-Semitic. Or will they assume the solution must be tripling down yet again on promoting racist anti-white hatred as the only way to unify the Coalition of the Fringes?I don't think we can just leave it up to them. Hope is not a strategy.
* Sure, there may have been eras in which the President did not cater to their whims so much, but it's been assumed that they are an ally over there, with support available if needed.
** Taking it down was not enough. To humiliate us all the more, they had to melt it down.
Posted On: Wednesday - October 25th 2023 7:34PM MST
In Topics:   Cars  Economics
This post is not about "Super" economics - when did Americans start knowing this German prefix "Uber" anyway, after that Dead Kennedies' song? It's about the contract pseudo taxi service Uber, same deal as Lyft and the Uber-Uber system in China.
Interestingly, when I searched for photos, the one above turned out to have come from an article about using rental cars to do Ubering. Whoaa, I just wouldn't think Hertz, Avis and them* would appreciate this sort of thing! I can't find that article now, but it turns out that there are some partnerships.
For many years, taxi companies had near monopolies in the business of driving people around town. It took money, time, and maybe knowing the right people to get these certificates, or medallions in NY City (makes you feel like a winner). I remember getting a ride in some beater driven by some old black man who said it was a taxi, and we were none the worse for it. We received words later of amazement that we'd have done such a thing. "Illegal Taxi!" OMG! You can't just illegally give somebody a ride and have him illegally give you money in return!
Well, years passed. If you are some new "TECH" company using software and existing new gadgetry to overturn the system, that's fine. The elites who start up these firms must know elites in governments and such that decide, hey, anyone can drive a taxi. We don't neeed no steeenkng medallions, Senor! All those years of thinking there was no other way - what a brilliant idea to have what used to be an illegal taxi service now.
Of course, Uber and Lyft, and then those guys that work out other "sharing economy" ideas, could only have done these things in the age of hand computers, aka smart phones along with cheap GPS systems. Perhaps having a monopoly or the 2 of them is the only way this kind of business can thrive, but it means these companies can squeeze down the contractor drivers. From what I gather from a friend who used to do this (got "fired", aka non renewed, for a few fenderbenders) and others I've ridden with, they have to virtually hand over 25% of the fare to Uber or Lyft.
Anyway, as I've ridden around with these contract drivers, along with other interesting conversation with those who are actually American, I try to get a feel for the economics of this "gig economy" well, gig. Many seem to be enamored with the economics of it. "Oh, yeah, it's good money, and I'm doing a lot of it - just put 45,000 miles on the car this year." I think about the $20 payment, for example, for what had to be 1/2 hour - 15 min for the ride, he had to come from somewhere empty, and then his trolling around (no offense intended) beforehand. After Uber takes its cut, that's $15, so maybe he's getting $30/hr for 8 hours a day, let's say. $240 daily minus maybe $25 in gas is not terrible if you don't have other skills, but then there's no getting out of taxes on this deal, as it's computerized by nature. That 8 hours may entail 150, maybe 250 miles of driving, hence 30-60 thousand miles on the car, if it's done as a full-time job.
The thing is, these people are usually not professionals in business. Now, I don't claim an MBA is necessary, or any college degree. These drivers don't usually seem to have worked it all out long-term. "How much does it cost to run this car per mile?" She doesn't know that. "How often do you wear out a set of tires?" "Yeah, pretty soon, I'll need tires..." "What are you going to do when this car gets old and starts breaking down a lot?" " " [/silence] Lots of this is city driving too.
I think they are fooling themselves that Uber/Lyft driving is a good gig. I haven't talked to any drivers who have already ran through a car and are on their 2nd or 3rd. That's probably because they gave up doing it when the car broke. I doubt it's any different in China. The margins seem much lower there, but I couldn't talk to these drivers about it.
What can I do to help? I have exchanged phone numbers at the end of a ride when I thought I'd be going the same way again - keeps Uber out of the loop. (My friend did some of this, and he also would sometimes limit himself to driving during "surge" times - 3 x the money, or something like that). I tip in cash because:
1) I don't have the Uber app, so it's always on someone else's.
2) Uber doesn't get its cut on a cash tip.
3) (2) means that the driver might come around a bit on that Kash is King idea.
Are Uber and Lyft just churning through suckers who can't do the math?
* I wonder how many companies there are - it may be only 3 or so, as many of these brands are combined into the same companies.
I am the oyster woman, Goo goo g' joob!
Posted On: Tuesday - October 24th 2023 7:18PM MST
In Topics:   Music  Humor  Movies
I'm not really sure how funny the previous post may have been to readers, but it was funny to me, just that thought driving by, "hey, he reminds me of.. who's that guy again, the weirdo Senator from Pennsylvania." Anyway, this one is funny, I don't care who ya' are.
From Instapundit, I clicked over to the website of a TV station in KVLT, out of Knoxville, Tennessee* which reports on a situation in Atlanta in which a Man skips out on paying tab after woman orders 48 oysters on first date. The unfortunate suitor had invited that fat broad to go out for drinks via TikTok. (TikTok, see, now that's your first mistake!)
That's the guy's date in the image above. She looks like she could take on 48 oysters, but then there was more... In the words of the Simpson family lawyer Lionel Hutz, "Do these sound like the actions of a woman who had ALL she could eat?" Unfortunately, this was not an all-you-can-eat joint, so the bill got up to $185. Per the article, "At some point, the man bailed. Bennett said he got up to go to the bathroom and never came back.
That reminds me of a Bruce Springsteen song about going out for a ride... then, the words of this lovely oyster connoisseur via text, "Running out on a tab is crazyyy" remind me of a Billy Joel song that mentions walking through Bedford Stuyvesant in NYC alone. Yeah, dating a girl with that big an ass, she may be right - he may be crazy.
Suitor: Why you got to go and say forty-eight oysters for? Why not thirty-five or thirty-nine?
His date: I thought it was a nice round number.
From the TV station article, "Most internet commenters were siding with the man, with one writing, 'If you eat 48 oysters in a day you are a walrus.'" I ain't the egg man, I am the oyster woman, I am the walrus. Goo goo g' joob!
* Of course. That's Instapundit's home turf.
A child of the Senate...
Posted On: Tuesday - October 24th 2023 7:46AM MST
In Topics:   Humor  US Feral Government
OK, if not socks, at least he remembered his shoes.
I came upon a child of the Senate, he was walking along the road...
if I'd asked him where he was going, he couldn'ta told me....
I was driving 60 mph on a country road nearby, and I saw the back of this guy walking in bare feet on the pavement down the road. At least he was walking on the left, i.e. correct side of the road, apparently not something everyone is taught anymore. I'd guess there were too many stickers or pieces of glass on the grass for comfort, so he took a couple of feet of roadway.
Whatever... but from the back he reminded me of someone. Is that... is that, you know, that Senator, what is is, John Fetterman?! Well, I don't live in Pennsylvania or Washington, FS, so, I wouldn't think so... hard to get a good look backwards at 60 mph, as this was in an older car with the smaller side mirrors.
I'd like to be able to write honestly that, nah, it wasn't him, we're better than that here in the State of REDACTED. I can't say that. I mean, no it wasn't him. Our 2 Senators are better dressed. They are likely more aware of the world and not mentally incompetent. Unfortunately, all that doesn't make them any better these days.
They are stardust, they are golden.
But they've got to get themselves back to the garden... or at least off the side of the road with their sweatshirts and bare feet.
Full discloser: It is fun going barefoot everywhere. By the middle of one summer, I could walk barefoot across a Wal-Mart parking lot at high noon and barely feel it.
A Former Agent lets loose
Posted On: Monday - October 23rd 2023 7:33PM MST
In Topics:   Immigration Stupidity  Bible/Religion
VDare's Former Agent was an American Border Patrol agent for 20 years or so, but he's not the guy in the picture above. This is some famous BP agent from the days of yore, when they got to fulfill their destiny. That they are often employed as illegal alien baby sitters and enablers of the invasion might explain why the VDare Agent has the first name Former.
This writer spent most his BP employment years on the US northern border. That may not have been a big avenue of entry back in the past, but it is fast becoming one. That its Prime Minister, Commie Trudeau, Jr. (see quick blurb within this post) is a World Economic Forum stooge means that Canada has a much bigger population replacement program, in proportional terms, than even the US! Steve Sailer had a very good TakiMag article entitled America, Jr. on Canadian immmigration's effect on housing affordability. (Unz Review shorter post with comments here.)
The immigration rate in Canada in '22 and '23 has reached the insane and suicidal level of almost 1% of the population PER QUARTER!. Oh, but they are hand-picked and vetted, the proud Canadian Cancucks would tell you. No, and this will become part of OUR problem as some of them head south. We have two land fronts of this invasion and then there is the aerial invasion via ports of entry, legal, corrupt entries, and non-immigration visa permanent overstayers. AS for our long, formerly friendly northern border, Mr. Agent even wrote about Illegals Now Swarming VERMONT Border—And Biden Is Releasing Them, Too a couple of days back.
Now that information is so disheartening but also off track, as I was originally only going to write about one paragraph I really liked by this writer from his recent post ho’s Getting A Universal Basic Income (UBI) Thanks To “Non-Profits“? Illegal Aliens, That’s Who!. VDare usually provides lots of facts, but in addition, Former Agent let loose a quick rant of Biblical proportions to describe this evil:
What’s so non-profitable about non-profits anyway? According to this site, it appears that the head of Catholic Charities, Sister Donna Markham, makes $950,000 a year. That buys a lot of communion wafers and wine. (Luke 18:25, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”) I wonder if Sister Markham recycles a lot of her “non-profit” back into her child smuggling service.I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you, Former Agent!
Donald Trump: BS ass-ymptotially approaching Lying
Posted On: Saturday - October 21st 2023 7:00AM MST
In Topics:   Trump  Economics  US Feral Government  Zhou Bai Dien
In yesterday's post, The Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the Bai Dien Drawdown, I noted that the question of filling or draining the SPR is completely the President's call. That is, via the Secretary of Energy, who works for him.
I found the chart below in a Forbes article, written by one Robert Rapier, a Chemical Engineer (so I kinda trust him). Mr. Rapier asks and answers Which Presidents Filled And Depleted The Strategic Petroleum Reserve?.
First off, this is kind of interesting, as these numbers are a function of the mindset of the President and the times. Note that Reagan was, well, not a prepper, but a prudent guy when it came to this. However,
OK, so look at President Trump's net drain over 4 years of 57 MMbbl - that's from the precise numbers on the tables linked to yesterday. That's not so bad, and I'll put that in the analysis of this to come.
However, per the Forbes article, here's what Donald Trump said sometime in '22 after Bai Dien started going gangbusters draining the reserves:
“So, after 50 years of being virtually empty, I built up our oil reserves during my administration, and low energy prices, to 100% full. It’s called the Strategic National Reserves, and it hasn’t been full for many decades. In fact, it’s been mostly empty.”Every single part of that is wrong. It's not been virtually or actually empty since President Carter started filling it in '77. Trump didn't build up oil reserves. I looked at the numbers in the table, and they show just a very slow drain, eventually adding up to -57 MMbbls in the SPR. It was NOT 100% full per the 714 MMBbs written in the D.O.E. SPR site, even when he took office, not unless some capacity of those salt caverns was lost. It's not called the Strategic National Reserves - it's the Strategic Petroleum Reserve - small error there, I'll admit. Yes, it was full, the last time in Summer of '11, less than 6 years before Trump took office. It's not been mostly empty ever, even after Bai Dien's big drain of it (so far), as right at 1/2 capacity is not "mostly empty".
OK, as per the explanation by Elwood to Jake in the old Blues Brothers movie, bullshitting is not exactly lying. Often Donald Trump really means what he says, but without having an idea that he can follow through. Sometimes I think he knows he can't follow through. I call that "bullshit" vs "lying", as it's not purposeful factual misinformation. Telling us that men can become women when one knows perfectly well better - that's lying.
What about this statement by Donald Trump on the SPR? He's not a numbers guy. He may have no idea how much is in the SPR and how much he approved to be drained from it. He can't keep up with everything. However, then he should shut his big mouth about it, as, without numbers to show "Bai Dien drained 5 x as much as I did!" (5.1 X as of this July, is what I just came up with) he's just spouting pure lies, a lot of them... OK bullshit, but it's getting awfully close!
Disclaimer: Peak Stupidity WILL point out the faults of Donald Trump. This was an egregious example today of his BS that was right up there near flat-out purposeful lying. However, I DO KNOW that, as much as voting alone won't cut it to fix this country, if Trump is the '24 GOP candidate, I will of course be voting for him for the reason explained here.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the Bai Dien Drawdown
Posted On: Friday - October 20th 2023 9:16AM MST
In Topics:   History  Preppers and Prepping  Economics  US Feral Government  Zhou Bai Dien
No, no, this post is NOT a movie review. I believe you're thinking of Strategic Air Command*.
This is the West Hackberry SPR site, about 25 southwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
If you can't remember the Convair B-36 nuclear bomber and Strategic Air Command of the 1950s, you may remember OPEC and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve of two decades later. The latter two are still around, after ~ half a century.
A half century ago today (yeah, it's an even number) Americans'
The OPEC countries had nearly a monopoly, at least of American imports, as the world was used to their easily pumped cheap oil. What galled some Americans was that these Arabs would never have, and STILL never have, figured out how to pull this black gold out of the ground without help from Western engineers and such, yet they were in luck to be sitting on top of that, errr, Texas Tea. As former vassals of the West, the Sheiks realized the economic power they had and squeezed us.
I'm going to venture to say that America's having had recently ditched sound money had something to do with the changes. The US Dollar reserve currency did not quite have the power it had when it was backed by REAL MONEY, i.e. gold. We had to find out the real price of oil, and it hurt for a while.
The US Congress passed a law in 1975 establishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to eliminate, or at least cushion, short-term oil price "shocks". "$4.50 a gallon?! I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED, that gambling is going on around here!" (Yeah, had to get that famous movie reference in -you'd be shocked, shocked if I hadn't.***) Now, as a Libertarian, I could go on about the Feral Gov't messing with the market, but seeing as international relations kind of screw with the free market in this commodity anyway, this, to me, was a damn good idea, a strategic weapon of economic war.
To hold reserves of crude oil, huge salt caverns in Louisiana and east Texas are used - 2 in each - with a total capacity of 3/4 of a Billion barrels****. At current use levels, that's about a 4 month supply. From this US Dept. of Energy site, this is interesting:
Strategic Petroleum Reserve caverns range in size from 6 to 37 million barrels in capacity; a typical cavern holds 10 million barells and is cylindrical in shape with a diameter of 200 feet and a height of 2,500 feet. One storage cavern is large enough for Chicago's Willis Tower to fit inside with room to spare. The Reserve contains 60 of these huge underground caverns. These four sites have a combined authorized storage capacity of 714 million barrels.How the salt caverns are made is fairly simple - dissolve the salt precisely to make the shape desired:
Salt caverns are carved out of underground salt domes by a process called "solution mining." Essentially, the process involves drilling a well into a salt formation, then injecting massive amounts of fresh water. The water dissolves the salt. In creating the SPR caverns, the dissolved salt was removed as brine and either reinjected into disposal wells or more commonly, piped several miles offshore into the Gulf of Mexico. By carefully controlling the freshwater injection process, salt caverns of very precise dimensions can be created.Neat! The sites, Bayou Choctaw, West Hackberry, Big Hill, and Brian Mound, were developed and put on line generally from 1977 through the mid-'80s. The D.O.E. put out bids, I suppose, for the purchase of oil off the market to get started filling up this reserve. Fill it they did...
My apologies for the poor quality of this chart as viewed here. You can use a very nice interactive chart, along with a big month-by-month table with numbers to the thousand barrels, here.
Even during the era of the still very-high oil prices (2nd "oil crisis", aka inflation coming home to roost) from the start to '81, 1/8 of a billion barrels were pumped in. At those prices and times, that took a little political will and maybe a prepper mindset(?) As inflation eased, and the nice long oil glut***** started, the D.O.E. went gangbusters and the reserve was brought up to 550-590 MMbbl range in a decade, '81 to '91. One can see a slight drawdown during those Kuwaiti/Gulf War I times, but that notwithstanding, either it was figured that oil crises were forever in the past or it was just those ~600 MMbbl being close to the 714 million barrel capacity that had the reserve flat-lined for a further decade, '91 to '01.
That drop at the beginning of this century was NOT post 9/11. It doesn't look quite right, time-wise,, on my image above, and one can better see this on the source site linked to. The draw-down of the reserves was not large, from a roughly 570 MMbbl barrel level to 540 MMbbl over end-o-Sept to end-o-Dec of 2000. (What was that about? Anyone?) Post 9/11, there was a prudent steady build-up of the reserves from 550 MMbbl in Feb. of '01 to 700 MMbbl by Aug. of '05. After a slight, 15 MMbbl, drop that Fall, the level of reserves plateaued for 3 years. From '09 to '11, the level reached it's global (in the math sense) peak so far, or forever, at 726 MMbbl, above the D.O.E. stated 714 MMbbl capacity of the salt caverns. (Perhaps, the small excess was held above ground. Hell, a friend of mine's yard full of cars could hold a few barrels in their tanks - the ones not rusted to hell.) Were there vestiges of our being a prudent country still existing only 12 years ago?
That survey of what you can see with your own eyes in graphical form over with, I can be confident that the readers here have already noticed what's happened since the summer of '20. (I give readers here plenty of credit for knowing more than I, and that line at the top was a joke, of course.) The starting point was the local maximum of 656 MMbbl in July of '20 to be exact. What the heck was going on in July of '20? Hmmm? Yeah, that PanicFest was an excuse for ANYTHING, most of these things Totalitarian, stupid, or both.
What exactly would be a reason to draw down our Strategic Petroleum Reserve level during the PanicFest? Nobody was freaking driving! Furthermore, this would have been a great time to go the other way. As can be seen here, the ~$15/bbl low that April was one thing, but the crude oil price stayed in the close neighborhood of $35/bbl that whole summer and through late October. Remember that $4 Trillion spent on the CARES ACT? It was just thrown all around, everywhere.
Imagine how much oil could have been stored, were "we" to have spent 1/8 of that throw-around folding money on it? I picked 1/8 to get a nice round number of $500 Billion, which could have resulted in 14,000 MMbbl (written in same units for comparison's sake. Moar salt caverns!?? We'd have needed 20x the amount of storage. Yeah, well, as a prepper, I like it! That stuff doesn't rot, and it'd be over 6 years worth of supply, before scrimping and saving. OK, well, let's be reasonable and take only 1% of that Kung Flu PanicFest money - they'd never have missed it. $40 Billion would have gotten us 1,100 MMbbl, requiring a 60% expansion of the SPR, for a 6 1/2 month supply, enough time to pack up and bug out, were we really at Peak Oil, and with the petro-dollar in the toilet.
Yet another fun digression over with, let me get finally to the point. The point is Zhou Bai Dien and his drastic drawdown of the SPR from 637 MMbbl in Mar. '21 to 347 MMbbl end-of-this-Jul. As with lots of things, it was gradual, then sudden. The gradual part was, slightly arguably, through Aug '21. After that, it's been drastic.
Whadda' gonna do when people go as far as to put "I DID THAT" stickers on gas pumps? People say that that $4 Trillion has something to do with it, but I know, it's nobody's fault ... People are getting pissed at gas prices, so, c'mon, man, you gotta bring the price down. That's the way you do it - that oil's just sitting there anyway for I dunno what.
It IS the President, not Congress, who has the power to control the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, via his Energy Secretary, in this case the odius Jennifer Granholm. (To jog your memory, she was a blue-squad Michigan Governor 20 years back, a CNN host, and general long-term ctrl-left gadfly.) You may want to check this Forbes article out now, but I'll put up a quick post showing the changes in the SPR under the Presidents in charge.
The SPR is right at half of its fairly-near-high level of 3 1/4 years back - even Poltico writers seem concerned. How low can you go? Yes, I see that I can get gas for well under $3/gal right now. The power to mitigate price shocks is going away as these reserves get depleted though. Can Bai Dien sell just the right amount of crude into the market to keep the prices down for, let's see 1 year and 2 weeks? Have his handlers done the math? Remember math is not really the strong suit of the ctrl-left, or most anyone else these days.
* I gotta admit, I like those old bombers - especially the 10-engined (6 turning and 4 burning) B-36 Peacemaker of the 1950s and the century series (F-100 through F-106) rocket-with-wings fighter/interceptors of the '50s, '60s and a little beyond**. To foreshadow the subject of this post, let me just say that fuel economy was assuredly not an issue.
The 1955 movie featured the B-36 and the B-47.
** The F-104 Starfighter was flying into the '90s in Germany, though unfortunately in a role it was not meant for, and even into the '00s in Italy.
***. Also, there is something sort of like gambling involved in the stocking and drawing-down of the SPR.
**** Other than in excerpts, I will use the standard abbreviation bbl from here on, but with the high numbers, MMbbl for a Million barrels. There's great confusion here, as the industry has used "M" with the Roman Numeral meaning, not as a metric prefix. Doesn't "MM" mean 2 thousand then? No, it means a Million. As with saying colloquially "pounds" for psi when talking tire pressure, you can't fight this stuff once it's been engrained in the industry.
One barrel (bbl) of oil is 42 gallons. The chemical energy contained in each is 5.8 million BTUs, or for you young whippersnappers in that metric system, we're talking 6.1 Million kJ.
***** BTW, I discussed my recollections of gasoline prices over my lifetime - but only up to Sept. of '18, the posting dates - in Recent history of gasoline prices: Part 1 and Part 2.