Time’s a Wastin’

Pop would’ve been 83 last month and I probably have him to thank for avoiding a head on collision this morning. There wasn’t time to hit the brakes, as I veered away from the car in my lane. The truck was horribly out of shape, by the time I hit the brakes, so I took my hands of the wheel, as I’d been taught. When then new Toyos touched down, the truck righted itself in the direction I’d been headed.

From Consortium News:

Think about it: not only is the U.S. military the world’s largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels but, according to a new report from Brown University’s Costs of War Project, between 2001 and 2017, it released more than 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (400 million of which were related to the war on terror). That’s equivalent to the emissions of 257 million passenger cars, more than double the number currently on the road in the U.S…

And for the first time ever, three veterans of America’s post-9/11 wars — Seth Moulton and Tulsi Gabbard of the House of Representatives, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg — are running for president, bringing their skepticism about American interventionism with them…

The real antiwar momentum in Washington has begun to come from new members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Ilhan Omar who are unwilling to accept business as usual when it comes to either the Pentagon or the country’s forever wars.

From EJ Magnier:

The US administration recognizes its incapacity to defeat or face Iran with conventional fire power; hence Trump seems to advert to the possibility of using tactical nuclear bombs against Iran as the US did in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon 2006 (uranian based weapons). He also told the press that no exit plan, no Plan B is necessary…

During World War II, the US faced no accountability because the world was at war. Today the situation is very different and Trump is facing an internal political split, an electoral campaign, and the signatories to the JCPOA deal who oppose Trump’s revocation of the deal under the guidance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump is trying to get our soldiers killed, because the warmongers won’t let him bring them home.

So, this is not a war against Iran, but Deep State.

I especially enjoy Trump holding Israel hostage, like so many helpless Palestinians.

You can see the skid marks on Yanceyville, where the green sedan overshot the entrance to the credit union, hit the brakes, skidded into my lane, and apparently made it, just a little before nine, yesterday morning.

Note to self: No one requires me to be at work by nine. Wait until 9:30, or at least 9:15.

Hanlon’s razor: Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Khamenei: No Negotiation and No War

From MoA:

NYT: “On Friday night, the Pentagon confirmed the presence of a second surveillance aircraft, a Navy P-8A Poseidon, which officials said took photographs of the drone being shot down. But a senior Trump administration official said there was concern inside the United States government about whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, or even the P-8A manned aircraft flown by a military aircrew, actually did violate Iranian airspace at some point. The official said the doubt was one of the reasons Mr. Trump called off the strike…”

“The delay by United States Central Command in publicly releasing GPS coordinates of the drone when it was shot down — hours after Iran did — and errors in the labeling of the drone’s flight path when the imagery was released, contributed to that doubt, officials said.”

From the comments:

The devastating impact of American sanctions is everywhere in Tehran: The stores are often empty; the restaurants, mostly deserted. On the adjacent Hafez Avenue, a deafening silence pervades the shopping complex specializing in selling mobile phones…

Iran has seen and knows what sanctions can do over time and recognizes that it has to fight against them early and by all possible means…

The U.S. has shown that it is, as the Russians say, ‘non-agreement-capable’…

Trump: “There was a plane with 38 people yesterday, did you see that? I think that’s a big story. They had it in their sights and they didn’t shoot it down. I think they were very wise not to do that. And we appreciate that they didn’t do that. I think that was a very wise decision…”

The JCPOA was an agreement with a party of one – Obama. That is not how the U.S. government functions on such a huge policy deal…

The U.S. summit in Israel w/Russia this week, that was announced nearly a month ago, has everything to do with the Palestinian plan the Trump administration is lobbying on…

The P-8 and naval drones often patrol together in pairs. I assume to enhance synthetic aperture radar…

Don’t forget that Trump ordered the murder of people in Syria for entertainment whenever you make the error of thinking Trump is anything other than a sociopathic conman…

I really don’t get why Iran would need to pressure the US at the risk of a war. Sure, the economy takes a hit as measured by discredited GDP, but Iran creates its own money and has low foreign debt. The elites might suffer but Iran is well positioned to take care of its population even with sanctions…

Khamenei–

. . .Therefore, negotiation is essentially wrong. Negotiating with a decent person [from the other side] is wrong, let along these people who are not decent. Negotiating with people who break their promises, who go back on their commitments and who are not committed to anything – they are not committed to morality, to legality, to international conventions and to anything – is ridiculous.

Therefore, the definite option for the Iranian nation is resistance in the face of the US. In this confrontation and resistance, he will be forced to retreat. And when speaking of resistance, resistance does not mean a military confrontation. When some people bring up the issue of war in the press, in cyberspace and the like, this is nonsensical. No war is going to be waged. By Allah’s favor, no war will be waged. We are not after a war, nor is it to their advantage to pursue a war. They know that it is not to their advantage.” http://english.khamenei.ir/…/There-will-be-no…

Just a reminder that the JCPOA “agreement” that Iran thought it had was always on tenterhooks because under the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA), the president must issue a certification to Congress every 90 days that is tied to Iran’s performance under the JCPOA. Voila, Trump didn’t certify (after doing so several times) and the international “agreement” was a dead duck…

From 2017: “The Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed, during his recent meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow, that the main ally of Russian in Syria and the entire Middle East will remain Iran, rejecting the Zionist leader’s threats against the Islamic Republic and Hezbollah, Zionist media outlets quoted the Russian newspaper Pravda…” 

Trump himself said a war with Iran is unpopular when he told his Orlando rally Thursday that great nations don’t fight “endless wars,” and he was removing troops and putting “America first.”” https://mondoweiss.net/2019/06/trumps-climbdown-defeat/

The most valuable lesson that the Iranians drew from the Iraq/Iran War was that relying on foreign military equipment is pointless unless you have the ability to maintain that equipment in-house.

Iraq didn’t learn that lesson, so they were unprepared for the Western embargo that followed the Kuwait War – Sadaam’s army simply turned to rust on him to the point where 2003 wasn’t even a fight.

Iran won’t let that happen: their forces are equipped first and foremost with stuff they build themselves, while for the hi-tech stuff that they buy they insist on being able to make the spare parts themselves.

It makes their military sanction-proof in a way that Sadaam Hussein’s forces weren’t…

Having an impotent enemy like Iran serves the same purpose as North Korea. The Empire needs enemies to justify their presence in the region.

VietnamVet in the comments:

The global economy is on a knife edge with trillions of dollars of derivatives. Quantitative easing is restarting in Europe. The USA is in a trade war with China, has sanctioned dozens of countries including Russia, Syria and Venezuela, and blockaded Iran. The United Kingdom and the EU are splitting apart.

Persian Gulf Oil facilities and USA’s Middle Eastern bases are within range of thousands of Iranian missiles. Gasoline prices have risen in Eastern USA with one refinery fire in Philadelphia. If Saudi Arabia and UAE oil storage and shipping facilities go up in flames, the global economy will crash. The USA has stockpiled none of the tanks, weapons or munitions needed to invade. America does not have a proxy force like the Kurds in Syria, to seize the bombed-out Iranian cities. With no allies, 1 or 2 million American soldiers will be needed for the occupation. Yet, the Pentagon says 71% of young Americans are ineligible to serve. The children of the credentialled 10% who do have healthcare, education, clean records and good nutrition would be drafted.

If a shooting war breaks out, it will escalate. But for these reasons, a conventional war won’t be fought but will go nuclear.

PavewayIV in the comments:

First of all, I have only the smallest belief that it was one of our shiny new P-8As. I was wrong about a crew of 20 – three minutes of internet searching shows an 8- or 9-person crew. There are no passenger seats, just a couple of reclining seats at the back of the flight deck for the pilots to snooze. Iran knows this – no idea why they would publish a statement about 35 on board if they knew it was a P-8A. They know perfectly well how many people are (or should) be on one. Even the old P-3 couldn’t carry 35 people. There’s simply no room.

The P-8A is just a 737-800ERxx – *They* can also be controlled by satellite, but you’re not suppose to know that. GCC airlines are gong broke. How hard would it be to slap some navy flat grey paint and some fake antennas on a 737? There may not have been anyone on board that (or whatever was offered up). Removes all that moral ambiguity from Trump about killing U.S. military for the greater good of Israel and Saudi Arabia. Falls in Iranian waters. The B-52s would all ready be over Tehran to retaliate for the ‘dead sailors’ before Iran could recover enough wreckage to raise any suspicions.

The US DoD’s supposed drone-watching P-8A IR surveilance video (at least yesterday) showed the target’s (the Triton’s) bearing of 277° if I’m reading the display right. Which is probably fake – who knows. But that bearing would have put the P-8A further EAST of the drone and even further into Iranian airspace, looking WEST (at 270°). I’m not sure why the DoD would even release that. Sloppy? I don’t know.

I’m already suspicious of the Navy’s involvement. If this was a botched baiting/false flag, then Israel would want the treasonous top Navy commanders/CIA spooks handling it – they know how to keep secrets and silence whistleblowers. That’s no slam on the U.S. Navy in general. No line officers or sailors would have any idea what’s going on. This would be Pentagon/Fifth Fleet chair polishers and their cronies.

The message is clear at this point: Israel and the GCC need dead U.S. military to get their war started. CENTCOM blew it (or the Iranians figured it out). Both Israel and the Saudis remained silent for a day or so, then started beating the war drums again. There will be aluminum coffins coming back to the states to start the war with Iran, and cowardly US military commanders will let it happen.

From the comments:

In 2013 Ali Khamenei said: “Certainly, we are pessimistic about the Americans. We do not trust them. We consider the government of the United States of America as an unreliable, arrogant, illogical, and trespassing government, which is badly possessed and dominated by the international Zionist network.

From Pepe Escobar:

Exports, which before illegal US sanctions and de facto blockade would normally reach 2.5 million barrels a day, now may be down to only 400,000…

The whole northern border of the Persian Gulf, on Iranian territory, is lined up with anti-ship missiles – as I confirmed with IRGC-related sources…

The extent of a possible derivatives crisis is an uber-taboo theme for the Washington consensus institutions. According to one of my American banking sources, the most accurate figure – $1.2 quadrillion – comes from a Swiss banker, off the record. He should know; the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) – the central bank of central banks – is in Basle…

Huge amounts are interest rate derivatives. Most are notional but if oil goes to a thousand dollars a barrel, then this will affect interest rates if 45% of the world’s GDP is oil. This is what is called in business a contingent liability…

Goldman Sachs has projected a feasible, possible $1,000 a barrel a few weeks after the Strait of Hormuz being shut down. This figure, times 100 million barrels of oil produced per day, leads us to 45% of the $80 trillion global GDP. It’s self-evident the world economy would collapse based on just that alone…

Hezbollah’s secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah has been stressing in his speeches, “war on Iran will not remain within that country’s borders, rather it will mean that the entire [Middle East] region will be set ablaze. All of the American forces and interests in the region will be wiped out, and with them the conspirators, first among them Israel and the Saudi ruling family.”

Leaked Audio Shows Saudi-MKO Collusion over Tanker Attacks

The MKO which has assassinated over 17,000 Iranians receives support from the US and its allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia.

The MKO which is said to be a cult which turns humans into obedient robots, turned against Iran after the 1979 Revolution and has carried out several terrorist attacks killing senior officials in Iran; yet the West which says cultism is wrong and claims to be against terrorism, supports this terrorist group officially.

Posted in Foreign Policy Disasters | Tagged | Leave a comment

An Attack on the Dragon’s Head

Where does your plastic go? Global investigation reveals America’s dirty secret

The Wife and I once spent a week at her family’s place in the Adirondacks, where I giggled gleefully reading PJ O’Rourke.

The evil Libertarians have done this to us. I used to think it was the Zionists, but the Libertarians are pawning them, lately.

Fuck Ayn Rand. I wouldn’t do it, but I would’ve paid to watch.

If someone had loved Rand properly, we might not be in this mess.

I used to think the Christofascists were the problem, until I discovered the Libertarians and Zionists compete to pawn them. Now, I am looking for who’s behind the Libertarians.

My words at the time were this is Boeing’s ass. Glad to see Auerback agrees.

At its core, this was a hardware problem, not a software issue. Even when Boeing was using a relatively “safer” version of the early MCAS software (that was later changed to a more dangerous version), the new 737 still had an engine too large to be accommodated in its traditional spot on the plane, which ultimately distorted “the relationship between the engine’s ‘thrust’ and its center of gravity…”

The extra lift of the far larger-diameter engines of the 737 Max (placed on a different position on the wing) caused the plane to pitch up whenever it approached stall angles of attack at both high and low speeds…

It is true that the initial MCAS software for the high-speed problem was a relatively safe and competent two-sensor, G-force and angle-of-attack solution. The problem is that this “fix” would not work at low speeds because G-forces at low speed were too small to trigger an alarm in the 737 Max…

But it was not until the 737 Max prototype was flown four years later – in 2016 – that anyone reported a low-speed pitch-up problem…

Expanding the use of MCAS to lower-speed situations required removing the G-force threshold…

Although modern 737 jets have two angle-of-attack sensors, the final version of MCAS took data from just one.

The problem with Randian Libertarians like Trump is they love regulatory capture. So, increasingly the elites will be the ones playing the price for their villainy.

Next up, let John Galt take care of the railroad. JHK said in Long Emergency, that states and municipalities would stop repairing the roads, because of peak oil in his case, rendering geography useless.

MoA – Iran Decided To Put Maximum Pressure On Trump – Here Is How It Will Do It

Iran will move against the interests of the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It will do so in deniable form to give the U.S. and others no opening for taking military actions against it. Iran has friends in various countries in the Middle East who will support it with their own capabilities. The campaign Iran now launches will also create severe damage for other countries…

By mid 2020 the maximum pressure campaign will reach its zenith. Oil prices will explode and the U.S. will fall into a recession.

From Caitlin Johnstone:

The only reason a nuclear-armed Soviet submarine didn’t discharge its payload on the US Navy and set off a full-scale nuclear exchange between the US and the USSR [during the Cuban Missile Crisis] was because one of the three men in the sub needed to authorize the weapon’s use stood against the other two and refused. That man’s name was Vasili Arkhipov, and he’s responsible for the fact that you and everyone you love exists today…

Stephen F Cohen: JFK made a series of diplomatic moves that would not be possible in this current paranoid, leak-prone climate, including secretly recalling the USA’s Jupiter missiles from their position in Turkey at Khrushchev’s request.

From Ollie Richardson:

A ‘colossally powerful’ supercomputer installed at Russia’s military headquarters helps the country’s armed forces tackle emerging threats by analyzing previous conflicts, such as the Yugoslavian war and the like, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said…

Russian scientists created algorithms to explain how information is disseminated, and conclude that “a short-term increase in the propaganda intensity does not have long-term consequences…

It is thanks to these tools that Russia managed to prevent what would have been the 3rd bombing of Syria by the US, in 2018… We predicted you’d stage a gas attack, and one actually happened, so now ordinary laypeople will not swallow the ‘bad Assad’ pill, and may even start to question the MSM narrative more…

A good general rule is that if a website tries to convince you that war is days away, then it is safe to say that it’s nonsense.

From Tom Luongo:

With the global economy slowing down, US domestic production is already in massive oversupply. There is a glut of oil and gas so profound that it ensures the bottom lines of these companies will not improve, leaving them at the mercy of these creditors…

US shale oil has an upper limit on demand since it’s too light for most refineries and requires blending with heavier feedstock. This is why, for example, US imports of Russian oil are rising rapidly to feed Gulf coast refineries starved of Venezuelan oil thanks to Trump trying to take it off the market…

Prices are falling because of inventory builds which imply slack demand not higher supply.

Moa – Today’s Attacks On Ships In The Gulf Of Oman Are Not In Iran’s Interest – Or Are They?

The most transparent, complete and prompt response was given by Mr [Hassan] Rouhani, the Iranian president, in his last trip to Europe. The response was clear: if Iran cannot export oil through the Persian Gulf, no-one will do this.

US Blames Iran For Tanker Attacks, Says Tehran “Trying To Interrupt Flow Of Oil”

The suspected attacks unfolded as Japanese PM Shinzo Abe met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday, the second and final day of his visit, which was intended to de-escalate tensions in the region.

Shale and fracking producers were going under. Something had to be done. The perps will quickly learn that scarcity cannot compete with lack of demand.

The downing of the Russian jet and killing of the pilot in Turkey, the downing of the Russian aircraft and killing of 18 airmen in Syria, and the downing of two Indian jets over Kashmir prove that “countries involved in each of these episodes display commonsense and don’t see war as a method to settle their differences.” http://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/global-peace-major-war/

UK forces secretly join US troops in Persian Gulf on anti-Iran mission: Report

Royal Navy Merlin helicopters which are not allowed to fly above the Strait of Hormuz will airlift the SBS forces once they enter the Gulf of Oman.

#FalseFlag in the #GulfOfOman makes sense, as it may not cause insurers to close the #StraitOfHormuz and trigger massive derivative unwinds. http://thesaker.is/why-trump-now-wants-talks-with-iran/ …

From Ollie Richardson:

As an act of “hybrid war”, Russia and friends assist in the process of assassinating the commanders of al-Nusra in Idlib, since the less leverage Turkey has, the quicker the Idlib circus can end..

8 years of full-scale local proxy warfare has reduced to… Israel taking aerial pot shots at a limited slice of Syrian territory. As an act of “hybrid war”, Russia and friends assist in the process of assassinating the commanders of al-Nusra in Idlib, since the less leverage Turkey has, the quicker the Idlib circus can end…

If Israel just left Syria alone and minded its own business, then Iranian forces wouldn’t even be in Syria…

Moscow knows that apartheid Israel is the main troublemaker in the Middle East (and even more so in Ukraine), and the Syrian war coming to an end (whilst strengthening Israel’s neighbours in parallel) is in itself a blow to Tel Aviv.

From Pepe Escobar on Iran sanctions:

Rosneft’s CEO Igor Sechin is prepared to send a more “realistic” message— if push eventually comes to shove.

His message to the EU, in this case, would be to cut them off, and link with China for good. That way, Russian oil would be completely redirected from the EU to China, making the EU completely dependent on the Strait of Hormuz…

The war on Huawei – the Rosebud of China’s 5G supremacy – has been identified as an attack on the dragon’s head.

Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’

Israel does not have a single judicial system, but two. This duality has, in fact, defined Israeli courts from the very inception of Israel in 1948. This de facto apartheid system openly differentiates between Jews and Arabs, a fact that is true in both civil and criminal law…

Israel has killed 102 Palestinian journalists since 1972.

From Jesse Colombo:

The economist John Maynard Keynes was a strong proponent of make-work projects and is even known for saying, “the government should pay people to dig holes in the ground and then fill them up…”

The 15 tech unicorns that went public over the past three quarters lost a combined $6 billion in 2018 despite having a lofty combined valuation of $178.3 billion.

None of this matters. The #EU will collapse, like the #SovietUnion, from prolonged low energy prices. #Deflation

China and India are also net energy importers and will fare badly.

The global economy is collapsing, not because of peak oil, but peak coal.

Jeremy Grantham’s unprecedented 200 years of cheap energy is coming to an end, not because we ran out of it, but failed to pay attention to wage disparity. ruining consumers.

Had Obama instituted an FDR type public works program, instead of bailing out the banksters, all this may have been avoided.

Clinton’s banking reforms made student loans undischargable under bankruptcy, destroying the housing market.

We’re probably gonna have a bond crisis from tranches of subprime auto loans.

The resumption of ZIRP and QE mean when the US defaults on its debt, the DOW will be over 40K.

This might have been tried, but never will.https://michael-hudson.com/…/and-forgive-them-their-debts/

I read this in the comments at MoA two years ago.

Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi – the $450 million painting we wrote about back in April that had “vanished into thin air” – has finally re-surfaced – and you won’t believe where. 

According to Kenny Schachter at artnet news, the painting is not only floating somewhere out at sea, but also may not be worth anywhere near the $450 million it last sold foras it may not have even been painted by DaVinci himself…

Now, the painting is reportedly on Mohammad Bin Salman’s yacht, the Serene…  

Paging Jared Kushner.


From John Michael Greer:

The terms “right-hand path” and “left-hand path” come originally from Hindu Tantric tradition, where they refer to two general strategies for achieving the state of expanded consciousness that’s called samadhi in Sanskrit and enlightenment in English. Asceticism of various kinds, including celibacy, vegetarianism, and abstention from intoxicants, are important elements of Hindu spiritual practice. Do you follow the rules of ascetic practice strictly as way to build the inner momentum that will bring you to enlightenment? That’s dakshinachara, literally “the right-hand path.” On the other hand—literally!—do you follow the rules of ascetic practice strictly in the early phases of your training, and then deliberately violate them in a ritual setting, using the shock of the experience to jolt your mind out of its ordinary modes of working, and achieve enlightenment that way? That’s vamachara, literally “the left-hand path.” They’re both well-recognized approaches to Tantra, and many gurus will assign one or the other to a student depending on individual needs and strengths…

Sex cults could let it be known in the proper circles that they followed the left-hand path, meaning that you could join them and get laid, while occult orders that weren’t in the sex cult business could proclaim themselves as followers of the right-hand path, meaning that you could join them and keep your trousers or panties on…’

Where does the power that makes magic happen come from? If you belong to a left-hand path tradition, it comes from the self, and everything outside the self is actually or potentially a passive object on which the self can act. If you belong to a right-hand path tradition, it comes from outside the self—from God or the gods, or some more or less abstract and impersonal equivalent—and the self is a vessel for the power that flows through it from beyond it, not a free agent in a passive cosmos…

Occultists who follow the middle path work on developing the sources of power and insight that exist within themselves, they cultivate relationships with sources of power outside the self, and they also learn how each of these can foster the other.

American snipers and Volodymyr Zelensky

The first visit of Volodymyr Zelensky was in the zone of the so-called Operation of the Joint Forces. Not in the United States and not in Russia, but in the Donbass, on the contact line of the Ukrainian punitive units and the militia of the Lugansk People’s Republic. And, characteristically, Zelensky visited only military units and saw the everyday problems of the Ukrainian fighters. However, he absolutely ignored the needs of the civilian population. In particular, having visited the village of Stanitsa Luganskaya, Volodymyr did not even think to visit the only checkpoint on the territory of Lugansk region between the territories controlled by the LPR and Ukraine…

After the new Ukrainian president took office and after his visit to the contact line, shelling from the Ukrainian Armed Forces only intensified…

The United States is actively working in the Black Sea and Azov regions of Ukraine, using the construction units of the US Naval Forces to build its new military base in Ochakov under the guise of the Ukrainian Naval Operations Center…

On May 6, a multipurpose reconnaissance ship of the British Navy, named Echo, arrived at the port of Odessa and moored to berth No. 18. This is a modern reconnaissance ship of the British fleet. “Echo” was the first ship of NATO, which arrived in Ukraine after the provocation in the Kerch Strait…

There is a unification of the tactical units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the relevant units of the NATO countries.   

Boeing donated $10 million to the Obama presidential library and museum in Chicago.

While pushing the sale of Boeing planes around the world, the Obama administration was at the same time fast tracking a dangerous deregulatory process at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that effectively put the corporations in charge of the safety certification process — and that in effect put Boeing in charge of certifying it’s faulty MCAS software that led to the tragedies in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Global Peace: Why a Major War Is Impossible in Modern International Relations

The preparations made after the Ukraine crisis are very much unlike the efforts to raise an army of invasion or a force grouping deployed by the Warsaw Treaty Organization and NATO in Germany…

Seventy-five percent of the Russian population and GDP are in European Russia, while most of China’s population and GDP are concentrated along its Pacific coast. The Russian vector is pointing to Europe, China’s, to the Pacific. Thus, they are back to back in relation to each other and facing one and the same rival, the United States.

From Jesse Colombo:

As bad as the 2008 crisis was, we now have an addition $70 trillion worth of debt to contend with in the coming crisis…

China has binged harder on debt than any other country since the Great Recession

From Pepe Escobar:

An American source said a series of studies hit President Trump’s desk and caused panic in Washington. These showed that in the case of the Strait of Hormuz being shut down, whatever the reason, Iran has the power to hammer the world financial system, by causing global trade in derivatives to be blown apart…

Crashing the derivatives market would create an unprecedented global depression.

From Robert Fisk:

So promiscuous has been the Saudis’ use of US munitions against Houthi rebels (and civilians, hospitals, aid centres, schools and wedding parties) that they are running out of bombs, guided and unguided missiles, drone parts and other “precision” arms to be used on one of the poorest countries in the world…

So how much of the $8.1 billion worth of missiles, bombs and so on will be sent to Amman? And how much of that will be unloaded from US military aircraft and reloaded onto Saudi military aircraft once the stocks arrive in Jordan?

From Putin:

Take the situation around the company Huawei, for example. There are attempts not even to challenge it, but to brazenly force it out of the global market,” Putin told the audience at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday. “In some circles it is even called the first technological war of the coming digital era.”

Eight Reasons Why Inequality Ruins the Economy

IMF researchers have found (pdf) a “strong negative relation” between inequality and the rate and duration of subsequent growth spells across 153 countries between 1960 and 2010.

From Chris Hedges:

The first post-Soviet leader is Boris Yeltsin. Clinton is president. And they have this fake, pseudo-partnership and friendship, whereas essentially the Clinton administration took advantage of the fact that Russia was in collapse. It almost lost its sovereignty…

Why did they turn against Putin? He turned out not to be Yeltsin…

Contrary to the bunk we’re told, the United States didn’t land on Normandy and defeat Nazi Germany. The defeat of Nazi Germany was done primarily by the Soviet army…

Every Western leader promised Gorbachev NATO would not move eastward…

Our inability to oversee or control senior intelligence officials and their agencies, which fabricate information to push through agendas embraced by the shadow state, signals the death of democracy…

All the surface information suggests that [Russigate] originated with Brennan and the CIA…

Hypersonic missiles. Russia now has nuclear missiles that can evade and elude any missile defense system.

Israeli newspaper reveals leaked document of Trump’s ‘deal of the century’

According to the leaked document, the deal will be signed by three parties: Israel, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Hamas movement that governs the besieged Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian state called “New Palestine” would be established on lands in the now-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip after the signing of the agreement. An election would be held after a year and Israel would start releasing Palestinian prisoners gradually over the course of three years…

The leaked document indicated that the US, EU and unnamed Gulf states would fund and sponsor the deal, spending a total of $30bn – or $6bn per year – over the span of five years to fund projects in “New Palestine”…

A protection treaty would be signed between Israel and “New Palestine” stating that the fledgling state would pay Israel to defend it from eventual foreign attacks…

Once the deal is signed, Hamas – the de facto ruling party in Gaza and the main armed Palestinian resistance movement – would have to hand all its weapons, including personal weapons, to Egyptian authorities.

From EJ Magnier:

Many militant members of Palestinian groups such as Hamas took up arms in support of either al-Qaeda or ISIS, mainly in Syria and but also to some extent in Iraq. Between 2012 and 2018 the political leadership of Hamas even supported NATO’s war for regime-change in Syria, earning the enmity of President Bashar al-Assad, whose government had defended Hamas and the Palestinian cause for decades…

Trump’s gifts to the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu of the Syrian Golan occupied by Israel and of the whole of Israeli-occupied Jerusalem gave an enormous boost of adrenaline to all non-state actors and resistance movements in the Middle East…

During the month of May, the sabotage attack on the United Arab Emirates harbour of al-Fujairah followed by the armed drone attack on Aramco in Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Houthis were clear and strong messages. Both the Emirates and Saudi hubs make it possible to export millions of barrels of Middle Eastern oil while bypassing the Straits of Hormuz; these hubs will become more important in coming years…

Twelve Palestinian military groups have joined forces in Gaza and have coordinated the bombing of Israeli cities…’

Iran benefits tremendously from the consequences of the US-Israeli policies…

Keeping Iran as a model enemy has helped promote US weapon sales to an unprecedented level…

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seems now to be disregarding his earlier 12-point ultimatum and now says that his country is willing to negotiate without pre-conditions with Iran.

Nuclear Power Dying A Slow Death

In South Carolina, ratepayers have been stuck with a $9 billion tab to build a nuclear project, but after a decade of work, the project has been shelved and the state has nothing to show for it.

Posted in Foreign Policy Disasters | Leave a comment

Trade War With China

Markets Tumble As China Strikes Back, May Dump “Some Treasuries”

After vowing over the weekend to “never surrender to external pressure”, Beijing has defied President Trump’s demands that it not resort to retaliatory tariffs and announced plans to slap new levies on $60 billion in US goods.

From Marc A. Thiessen at the WaPo:

Those who suggest Trump started this trade war with China have it backward. Beijing has been waging economic warfare on the United States for years — stealing our intellectual property, forcing our companies to transfer technology as a price of doing business in China and subsidizing state-owned enterprises to prevent U.S. businesses from competing in dozens of sectors of the Chinese economy. The difference now is Chinese leaders are facing a president who is willing to fight back…

While the United States has added about half a million manufacturing jobs since Trump took office, China’s manufacturing sector is shedding jobs…

In other words, our dynamic, growing, low-inflation economy can handle a trade war with China.

From Christopher Whalen at The American Conservative:

China accounted for just 7.2 percent of overall American exports in 2018…

China currently owns $1.13 trillion in Treasurys, a fraction of the total $22 trillion in U.S. debt outstanding…

Moreover, were the Bank of China to sell its Treasury paper, there is a long list of central banks and governments that would be happy to purchase it from them…

China needs the U.S. surplus more than the U.S. needs China’s trade and finances.

From Marshall Auerback at Naked Capitalism:

The United States has increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products to 25 percent, and Beijing has responded in kind on $60 billion worth of American goods. More tit for tat appears to be on the way: the Trump administration is now openly deliberating whether to impose additional tariffs on a further $325 billion of Chinese goods exported to the United States…

Trump’s incessant focus on reducing his country’s bilateral trade deficit with Beijing means diverting Chinese purchases away from other trade counterparties…

Tariffs are certainly effective as an attention-getting mechanism. But if the goal is ultimately to encourage more jobs at home, they will be ineffective if unaccompanied by a national industrial policy that focuses on American re-industrialization in order to create skilled, high-paying private sector jobs capable of profitably supporting workers with solid middle-class incomes…

International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank loans ensured that the developing world would increasingly depend on Western agriculture to feed itself, Western engineering expertise to supply energy infrastructure, and Western finance centers to manage—and leverage—their economies.

Michael Lind: “Under presidents of both parties, the Pentagon drew up war plans against China while the Commerce Department blessed the offshoring by U.S.-based multinationals of much of America’s industrial base to Chinese soil. This combination of ‘containment’ and ‘engagement’ inspired a name that itself was a contradiction: ‘congagement…’”

For America’s trade nationalists, this sort of a deal also has the happy byproduct of undermining the multilateral trade framework established by the World Trade Organization because enforcement mechanisms are left in the hands of the two parties to the agreement…

While managed trade might well dislocate many existing “Chimerica” supply chains, such disruption would likely come at the economic expense of America’s traditional allies in Europe, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.

From Robert W. Merry at The American Conservative:

As the Pentagon’s strategic paper posits, China’s overriding foreign policy goal is to squeeze America out of East Asia and force it back to the Hawaiian islands as its forward position in the Pacific…

While the National Defense Strategy paper suggests that U.S. officials understand the threat, America’s actions reveal an incapacity to grapple with this reality in any concentrated fashion…

Since the end of the Cold War, the sheer folly of Trump’s Iran policy has been exceeded only by George W. Bush’s Iraq invasion…

In no way did it serve America’s national interest to stir up tensions with Iran while the far more ominous China threat loomed…

Instead, America under Trump has created a crisis where none need exist…

But he can’t extricate himself from his own folly so long as he has Bolton and Pompeo pushing him toward ever more bellicosity in ever more areas of the world…

Of all the developments percolating in the world today, none is more ominous than the growing prospect of an anti-American alliance involving Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran…

If China’s global rise is to be thwarted, it must be prevented from gaining dominance over Eurasia. Only Russia can do that…

The Soviet Union is gone, and the 1.3 million Russian and client state troops it placed on Western Europe’s doorstep are gone as well…

Does anyone seriously think that Russia poses a serious threat to Europe or that Europe needs the American big brother for survival, as in the immediate postwar years?..

NATO shouldn’t be abolished. It should be reconfigured for the realities of today. It should be European-led, not American-led. It should pay for its own defense entirely.

From Jamie Ross at The Daily Beast:

China’s three biggest airlines have united to demand compensation from Boeing to make up for losses caused by the grounding and delayed deliveries of 737 MAX jets. 

From the SCMP:

The hyper-globalisation of the last twenty years is unsustainable given the real geopolitical constraints…

From manufacturing, technology to finance – if a foreign company wants access to China’s 1 billion consumers then it typically has to form a joint venture with a Chinese firm and share know-how to operate legally…

In a data-driven age, Huawei has long been seen by the US military and defence establishment as a national security threat, open to exploitation by China’s intelligence agencies…

By removing the Chinese company’s access to critical US tech such as Google’s Android operating system and a variety of US chips, the US can stop Huawei’s overseas expansion in its tracks and at the same time check China’s rapid technological rise…

Even the software that is required for chip design is currently monopolised by US companies.

Posted in Foreign Policy Disasters | Leave a comment

Wage Disparity Causing Global Collapse

From Gail Tverberg:

Growth in energy consumption and in world GDP are very closely linked. In fact, energy consumption seems to be the cause of GDP growth...

The reason why this close relationship exists is because it takes the “magic” of energy consumption to make the physical changes we associate with GDP growth. It takes energy to transport goods. It takes energy to heat goods, whether to refine metals or to cook foods. Refrigeration is similar to heating, except that heat is moved out of the space that is to be cooled. Electricity, of course, depends on energy consumption…

An economy that has been hollowed out by a lack of energy supplies is likely to find that a substantial share of workers are earning only very low wages

Nearly every time the price of oil rises very much, the US economy has tended to head into recession

A carbon tax sends high-carbon industries to Emerging Market nations, helping ramp up their economies…

What little CO2 savings took place in the US, EU, and Japan during the 20 year period between 1997 and 2017 were dwarfed by the impact of the ramp up of industrial growth outside the US, EU, and Japan…

Once China, with its huge unused coal reserves, was added to the World Trade Organization, both China’s coal production (Figure 8) and its coal consumption (Figure 9) soared…

Coal is the EU’s largest source of energy, but it has been declining since before 1965…

China’s flattening CO2 emissions since 2013 are an indication that much of its cheap-to-extract coal has been mined out…

The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 because the Soviet Union was an oil exporter, and the price of oil had fallen too low for an extended period of time, leaving inadequate funding for investment in new productive capacity…

The rising wealth disparity in recent years is a major indicator that the world economy may be headed toward collapse…

If the world economy is headed toward near-term collapse, climate change shrinks back in the list of things we should be worried about…

If the direct and indirect energy costs of storage are considered, the expected climate benefit of wind and solar tends to disappear.    

From Gail Tverberg:

The world economy seems to be on the cusp of a shrinking-back event, with or without the tariffs. Adding tariffs is an indirect way of allowing the US to obtain a better position in the new, shrunken economy, if this is really possible…

The upcoming shrinking-back event is the result of too little energy consumption in relation to total world population…

Too much wage disparity tends to lead to low energy prices, rather than high, because of increasing affordability issues…

With Peak Coal occurring in China, it makes little sense for the United States, the European Union and others to depend as heavily on China as in the past…

Excessive wage disparity sends prices of commodities (such as coal and oil) too low, cutting off production because prices fall too low for producers of these commodities…

By putting tariffs on some goods, Trump is providing a substitute for the missing high oil prices needed to slow the growth of globalization, if the issue of ever-increasing wage disparity is to be solved.

Posted in Financial Disasters | Tagged | Leave a comment

The March to War With Iran

From Zero Hedge, nine months ago:

On Tuesday an Israeli television channel aired leaked video footage it obtained exclusively showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasting that he had personally convinced President Trump to abandon the Iran nuclear deal. The statements were made at a small dinner event where he addressed senior members of his Likud party.

From EJ Magnier:

The US is failing to intimidate Iran and force it to the negotiation table. The US demands, composed of 12 points, are and will remain impossible for Iran to meet or to come close to.

US Military Placed on High Alert over Iranian ‘Threats’ in Iraq

The Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees from the US Embassy in Baghdad and the US Consulate in Erbil, with normal visa services temporarily suspended at both locations…

Prior to these claims, the U.S. admnistration alleged that Iran was behind the ‘sabotage’ attacks on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

From EJ Magnier:

Iran will consider itself at war with every country in the Middle East that allows the US to use it as a base for its military campaign against Iran, the day Trump decides to go to war.

Top British Commander In Rare Public Dispute With US Over Iran Intelligence

“No – there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” British Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, a deputy head of the US-led coalition, asserted confidently.

From MoA:

On May 10 the U.S. warned that Iran might target commercial vessels. That, together with the lack of information and of visible damage on other ships, points to a false flag incident initiated to slander Iran.

From MoA:

An invasion and occupation of the mountainous Iran would require over half a million soldiers just for the start. Even an invasion of only the oil rich areas on Iran’s west coast and on its border with Iraq’s would require a force of some 300,000 men. Without a draft the U.S. army is unable to sustain such a large operation for more than two or three months.

From EJ Magnier:

Over the next 60 days – the deadline announced by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani for European signatories of the nuclear deal to respect the commitments they made before partially withdrawing from the deal – the level of tension will grow. After the 60 days are over, Trump will have either to deescalate (which is unlikely), impose even more sanctions, allow the Europeans to deal with it, or consider a war option.

Iraqi Parliament To Vote On Bill That Would Ban US Military Troops From Iraq

From The Saker:

The Iranians are world-class and most sophisticated players, especially their superb analytical community. They fully understand that a B-52 anywhere near the Iranian airspace is a sitting duck and that if the Americans were planning to strike Iran, they would pull their aircraft carrier far away from any possible Iranian strikes. As for the B-52, they have long range cruise missiles and they don’t need to get near Iran to deliver their payloads…

So all this sabre-rattling is designed to show that Mr MAGA has tons of hair on his chest, it’s all for internal US consumption…

Oscar Wilde (and George Clemanceau) had it right: “America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between“…

IF the US really plans to attack Iran, then it would make perfect sense for Pompeo to talk to Lavrov and open channels of communications between the two militaries to agree on “deconfliction” procedures. Regardless of whether the Russians accept such deconfliction measures or not (my guess is that they definitely would), such a trip is a “must” when deploying large forces so near to Russian military forces.

From EJ Magnier:

Iran doesn’t want to negotiate; its phone is out of order and can only be fixed when Trump returns to the JCPOA nuclear deal…

Iran’s allies are hitting US allies and oil is the target.

Iran announces four-fold increase in uranium enrichment

Posted in Foreign Policy Disasters | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dmitry Orlov on Hegemon

From Dmitry Orlov:

Iran wouldn’t actually have to do anything kinetic; it would suffice for it to threaten to attack some oil tankers for their insurance coverage to be voided, preventing them from loading cargo or setting sail. That would block deliveries of close to two-thirds of all the crude oil that’s shipped by sea…

In order to be effective in action, a US aircraft carrier has to be within 500 km of the targets its aircraft are going to bomb. That’s the typical round-trip range of the aircraft without mid-air refueling. But if said aircraft carrier approaches any closer than 1000 km of said potential adversary, it can be sunk using an entire array of modern weapons against which it has no defenses…

The way things have been going, in just a few years the entire federal budget is going to be swallowed up by interest payments on the federal debt…

Other than saving face and making the retreat look anything other than a shameful rout, there are some practical considerations to pulling out all of the equipment. There is too much of it to pull out by air. It got there via Russia, but begging Russia for help again would be too humiliating. It could perhaps be retrieved via Pakistan, but US-Pakistani relations are in terrible shape. But leaving all of the equipment in place would produce a rather shockingly well-equipped Taliban, causing an international scandal. Last, best choice is to destroy all of the equipment in place, but this would produce terrible optics both at home and abroad…

US farmers are driven into bankruptcy because their GMO-contaminated soya is being replaced by ecologically clean Russian soya (GMOs are illegal in Russia) with major health benefits for the Chinese…

The sanctions against Huawei, which makes half the smartphones and much else, have cut off the US from the next major advance in network technology. And since Google’s recent decision not to support future versions of Huawei phones or to provide updates to current ones, smartphones will no longer run Android, cutting the US out of most of the smartphone market…

China will continue to sell from its hoard of over $1 trillion in US federal debt, driving up the interest rate the US has to pay in order to continue to borrow more and more all the time (which it has to in order to avoid defaulting on its existing debt).

Posted in Foreign Policy Disasters | Tagged , , | Leave a comment