March Open Thread

Just realized I haven’t been here in a month. I’ve been waiting for a train that never showed up because of the snow. Seriously. And also, that dress is white and gold.


The F-35B can’t carry its most advanced weapon until 2022

Who Killed Boris Nemtsov?
A verdict has already been reached – without evidence
by Justin Raimondo
March 02, 2015

So, we return to the question at the head of this column: Who killed Boris Nemtsov? The answer is: we don’t know, at least not at this point, and one can only marvel at the investigative prowess of talking heads who “solved” this crime from a distance of several thousand miles, hours after it occurred. Nemtsov’s many enemies include the oligarchs he allied himself with, and then later turned on, who were no doubt eager to exact their revenge. Beresovky, who met his own mysterious death years earlier, was one of his biggest enemies. Once in collusion, the rapacious oligarch and the would-be reformer fell out in the “war of the bankers” that preceded the end of the Yeltsin era: it was Beresovsky who had Nemtsov fired from his job as economic advisor to Ukraine’s Viktor Yushchenko.

Heroes and Villains
by James Howard Kunstler
March 02, 2015

It is more than ironic that Snowden was also Mr. Ed, because if you take his comportment on film at face value, never was there such an exemplary and seemingly normal American young man. His heroism resided largely in his amazing composure under the strain of events. He spoke English clearly and calmly, and reacted to the weighty events he set in motion with startling equanimity. He appeared to know exactly what he was doing, and with quiet, unshakable moral commitment. And then he disappeared down the gullet of America’s modern times nemesis, Russia, where he continues to taunt with his very existence, the NSA gameboys, lizard-lawyers and puppet-masters who cordially invite him back home to face, ho-ho, our vaunted justice system. Of course any six-year-old understands that they would love to jam Snowden down some federal supermax memory hole as an example to any other waffling NSA code-jockey having second thoughts about reading your grandpa’s phone records.

Don’t Touch Me There


American Psycho

Drill, Baby, Drill!!!

The Shale Revolution is like Saturn, it devours its own children.




Rouhani: Countries Behind The Oil Price Drop Will Suffer

No nation or company has control over the price of oil. Neither Saudi Arabia nor ExxonMobil nor Halliburton nor Goldman Sachs have anything but the slightest influence over how high or how low the prices go. This is because the price of oil is the result of two factors of which one is not controlled by any single entity and the other is only observable in retrospect. These are supply and demand.

The additional 3 million barrels per day (mbpd)of production that the United States has brought online in the last 5 years probably has more to do with the collapse of the price of oil in the last six months than any other factor with the exception of global demand stagnation.

In the last decade, Saudi Arabia’s exports have only fluctuated between about 7 and 8 mbpd. Look at the extreme volatility in the global price of oil over that period. To believe that Saudi Aramco and Saudi Arabia have any control is delusional.

At $100/barrel Saudi brings in about $280 Billion/year. At $45/barrel figuring an arbitrary lifting cost of $10/barrel, Saudi brings in only $108 Billion/year, or one third the cash.

The CIA’s World Factbook shows Saudi’s GDP as $718 billion with a budget in 2013 of $302 billion in revenues and $258 billion in expenditures – basically in line with their oil revenues. A drop to $108 billion will cause pain, how much and to whom is arguable.
Saudi could cut its production by 2 mbpd as it has done in the past. However there is no guarantee this in itself would push the price of oil back to $70 or $80/barrel. It would, however, guarantee a 25% drop in Saudi oil revenue to $75 billion/year. Pain.

Iran, on the other hand, has been suffering under sanctions for years already. They have a GDP of $987 Billion with a baseline export market only a quarter of Saudi’s. They also have a government budget of only $47 billion in revenue and $67 billion in expenditures.

Rouhani is basically correct.

A Little Bit Of Oil Speculation
Jan 8th, 2015

As for American foreign policy makers? To assume that they have thought further out ahead than their itineraries, is to demonstrate a severe lack of rationalism. If there is one thing that the US has proven during its 20 years of global benevolent US hegemony, it’s that no US policy will ever be successful at achieving any of its stated goals, with the exception of lining the pockets of the military industrial complex and the state bureaucratic apparatus. As we have seen, there has been no shortage of that recently, so all is well in Washington.

Lower Oil Prices Will Not Turn Producers into Pushovers


Open Thread December

Decline and Fall

Decline and Fall

Decline and Fall
by John Michael Greer

p.2 – The language of politics these days consists largely of snarl words. When people on the leftward end of the political spectrum say “fascist,” or “Empire,” for example, more often than not these words mean exactly what “socialist” or liberal mean to people on the right – that is, they express the emotional state of the speaker rather than anything relevant about the object under discussion. Behind this common habit is one of the more disturbing trends in contemporary political life: setting aside ordinary disagreement in favor of seething rage against a demonized Other on whom all the world’s problems can conveniently be blamed.

p.4 – The 5 percent of humanity that lives in the United States of America uses around a quarter of the world’s energy and roughly a third of its raw materials and industrial product. This disproportionate share of the world’s wealth doesn’t come to us because the rest of the world doesn’t want such things or because the United States manufactures some good or provides some service so desirable to the rest of the world that other nations vie with each other to buy it from us. Quite the contrary: the United States produced very little during much of its empire’s most prosperous period, and the rest of the world’s population is by and large just as interested in energy, raw materials, and industrial product as Americans are.

Open Thread November

It Was An Oil Bubble [Not]

When the price of a barrel of Brent crude oil peaked at a record $145.40 on July 3, 2008, there was lots of talk about “peak oil.” Industry experts were speculating about whether the price might continue to rise to $200 or even higher. Global oil demand was growing faster than global oil supply. It was widely believed that global oil reserves were likely to dwindle because all the cheap stuff had been found. The remaining reserves would require higher prices to develop. Now that the price has plunged from this year’s high of $115.15 on June 19 to Thursday’s $76.13, the focus is on how low can it go, what I called “trough oil” in late October.


Jim Rogers On Putin, Oil Prices

JR: It’s a fundamental positive for anybody who uses oil, who uses energy. It’s not a positive for places like Canada, Russia, or Australia. It seems to me that this is a bit of an artificial move. The Saudis, from what I can gather, are dumping oil because the US has told them to in order to put pressure on Russia and Iran. And it’s probably not a real move. I read about shale oil like you do. But at the same time, North Sea production is declining. Russian production will start declining next year. All the major oil fields that we know about — all the production is static or declining. So it doesn’t quite add up on any kind of medium-term basis I can see.




November 2014


If Nuclear Negotiations With Iran Fail, US Will Be Blamed
by Muhammad Sahimi, November 03, 2014

At a symposium in Washington on October 23, Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary of State who leads the US negotiation team with Iran, asserted that, “We hope the leaders in Tehran will agree to the steps necessary to assure the world that this program will be exclusively peaceful. If that does not happen, the responsibility will be seen by all to rest with Iran.” Given all the concessions that Iran has made, given US excessive demands on Iran, and given the fact that, in effect, the US is trying to impose a new and illegal interpretation of Iran’s obligations under the NPT and its SG Agreement and the meaning of “peaceful nuclear program,” it will be the US that will be blamed for the failure of the negotiations, not Iran.

October 2014

Hezbollah Is Pushing Lebanon Towards Disaster

September 2014

Iranian foreign minister on U.S. strategy on Islamic State


The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower by Robert Baer (2009)

Open Thread October

A few of my friends were outraged – OUTRAGED! I tell you – a few weeks ago when Urban Outfitters was under fire for selling bloodied Kent State sweatshirts. Boring.

Sears Under Fire For Swastika Ring



Swastika Ring





The War Nerd: The long, twisted history of beheadings as propaganda
[thank you, Dave]

For the American/Western audience, you’re hoping to provoke disgust and horror intense enough to weaken support for any more intervention in Iraq. Finally, you’re hoping that some Kurdish and Shia Iraqi fighters will see or hear about the video, because you want them terrified of you. It was that terror that led many Iraqi Army units to bug out before they ever even saw the black flag of IS up close. As Brando intoned while the sweat dripped from his fat face in Apocalypse Now, “Terror is your friend…” When you’re a relatively small conventional fighting force like IS, terror is your best weapon

No Pain, No Game

But Almond is dead serious: Supporting a spectacle that causes brain damage is immoral. He calls out individual commentators, including President Obama. They acknowledge the severity of football’s downside, right? So how can they fail even to consider its abolition? Elsewhere, in a passage representative of the book as a whole, he writes: “I’m going to get hammered for asking these questions. Fine. Hammer away. But don’t pretend that’s the same as answering.”

Real Life is Not Spin Art

The ebola melodrama has all the mojo to set the global economy’s hair on fire. And it comes along at a very strange time: just as central bank hoodoo approaches the brink of its own epic fail – as in, accounting fraud, check-kiting, and public relations can only work as a place-holder for authentic economic relations for so long before the ominous shadow of reality sweeps in on black swan wings. The markets were already well into the puking stage of their own hemorrhagic contagion last week. Maybe the S & P starts bleeding from its eyes and ears this week.

There’s certainly blood all over the overburdened back roads of the Bakken play all of a sudden, where $88-a-barrel shale oil doesn’t even allow you to pretend that you’ve got a profitable venture going. The shale oil fairy tale has been at the center of a matrix of lies America has been telling itself about its economic meth buzz. Saudi America and all that malarkey, all in the service of America’s master wish of all wishes: please Lord, let us keep driving to Wal Mart forever.


Total American crude-oil product consumption dropped during the recession from a peak of about 20.9 million barrels per day in the summer of 2005 to 18.5 mbpd in the spring of 2013 – 11%. It has risen since then to 19.0 mbpd.

The liquid transportation component dropped from 14.7 mbpd in the summer of 2007 to 13.4 mbpd in the spring of 2013 – 9%. It has since rebounded during this “recovery” to 13.8 mbpd.

Happy motoring, y’all!



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