I don't like Greg Palast, or the Peak Oil theory.
The chart 'Non-Opec, Non-FSU Oil Production purports to show that oil production has peaked and is declining. However, by it's title, Non-OPEC, Non-FSU Oil Production, shows the flaw in the theory. Both OPEC and FSU oil production are up, FSU up significantly. Given that Oil consumption rises at a relatively steady rate, it would be expected that oil production would rise at the same rate. If it rises faster than the rate of consumption, surpluses develop and the price drops. If it rises slower, shortages exist, and the price rises. The price has risen, but shortages have not developed - so what gives?
Former Soviet Union oil production is rising, but neither consumption nor surplus stocks have skyrocketed, which can only mean one thing - the FSU oil production is taking market share from somewhere else. OPEC production is up - so they aren't taking their shares, and that leaves everyone else (Non-OPEC, Non-FSU oil producers). As the lose market share, they cut back production to avoid accumulating a surplus. That's free trade at work, BTW.
I did a little Googling to find out about Greg Palast. His name comes up again and again in reference to his claim that Al Gore won in 2000, that Kerry won in 2004, and that the Republicans have the grand-conspiracy network in place to ensure victory in 2008, the 'smoking-gun' memo, as well as his grand conspiracy theory regarding Geroge Bush, elections, oil, deficits, Wal-Mart and Swiss Gnomes (well, okay, not Wal-Mart or the Swiss Gnomes, but the rest of it).
I read an interview with him, seems like every left-wing blog out there has had an 'exclusive' interview with him on his theories. In it, he claims that President Bush 'stole' the election in 2004 by disinfranchising 3.6 million voters, mostly poor and minorities. He arrives at this figure by looking at the statistics on the number of spoiled ballots in various precincts and notes that they are higher in poor and minority neighborhoods. I noted that he made no effort to go back and check those statistics against the trend in elections in which Democrats won. His claim is that you are more likely to have your vote invalidated if you are poor or a minority based on statistical evidence.
What he doesn't point out is that you are more likely to have your vote invalidated if you are poorly educated, which is more likely if you are poor or a member of a minority. I've sat in the Clerk's office and watched the vote being counted in Cairo, Illinois and in New Madrid, Missouri. The poor and minority districts are more likely to have undervotes, where voters failed to punch the card properly, or failed to punch it at all. There are more voters who are likely to vote only for the candidate or issues they care about, and thus leave some races unpunched, and they are more likely to put the card in backwards, upside down, or whatever other result may come from failing to properly read the instructions. Voter assistance is usually standing by, but I am told it is rarely asked for. To avoid this, candidates use (and abuse) the absentee ballot, going into the homes of poor and minority voters and 'helping' them fill out the ballot, usually by filling it out for them. Election judges pay particular attention to these ballots, particularly when the percentage of absentee ballots is much greater than historic norms, or when there are a large number of absentee ballots from unregistered voters, or voters who do not traditionally vote, or are dead or moved out of the precinct (not a joke).
There are also likely to be a larger number of overvotes - races in which ballots are cast more than once. In Florida in 2000, one of the most common overvotes reported was the instance of voters punching the candidates number, and then also punching the 'write in' block, and writing in the candidates name, presumably hoping that it will count as two votes for the candidate. This spoils the vote, and can be construed as an attempt at vote fraud. Since this seemed to happen more often in votes cast for Al Gore than for President Bush, Democrat recounters wanted to count them, the Republicans, supported by the law (and by common sense, IMHO) refused to accept this.
What I gather from reading about Greg Palast, he is very good at misreporting statistics to support his absurd claims. In order for the grand conspiracy of Republican election fraud to take place, they would have to have co-conspirators in every election precinct in every State - all trained in the art of disenfranchising voters. I can tell you from experience, it's hard to find even one Repbulican willing to work the polls in the poor and minority districts, let alone enough to pull of such a grand conspiracy.
Greg Palast is a kook. There's no way around it. He is living proof of Benjamin Franklin's claim that An educated fool writes his nonsense in better language, but it is still nonsense.
Last edited by Shapley
on Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Quod scripsi, scripsi.