Big News – May 2015

Saudi king’s naming of new heir a sign of toughening regional stance
McClatchy Foreign Staff
April 29, 2015

Lessons of the Vietnam War
We haven’t learned them
by Justin Raimondo
May 1st, 2015

Similarly, such gains as Al Qaeda has made are due, in large part, to our own actions. As our Saudi allies invade and decimate Yemen with Washington’s full support, the heirs of Osama bin Laden are expanding their foothold amid the ruins and the misery. In Libya, where we overthrew a secular tyrant at the behest of our European allies and our own “humanitarian” interventionists, Al Qaeda is now cavorting in what was our embassy swimming pool. In Syria, where US support to “moderate” Islamists is weakening another secular tyrant, Al Qaeda and its allies are consolidating their hold. And ISIS, the latest bogeyman to haunt our fever dreams, is the mutant offspring of George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and the neocons who took us to war in Iraq on the basis of a lie.

The lessons of Vietnam, and of the cold war generally, haven’t been learned by our political elites for the simple reason that they don’t want to know about anything that contradicts their dogmatic worldview. That conception of how the world works is rooted in their own little careers, and the colossal conceit that is the hallmark of elite culture in this country. They live in an ideological bubble, one that punishes truth-telling and rewards conformity – and nothing is more obligatory in the world of Washington than to pledge allegiance to the delusions of a political class that believes it can do anything and get away with it. The same policymakers and pundits who ginned up the disastrous war in Iraq have lost none of their power and prestige: we live in a political culture that rewards failure and comes down hard on anyone who strays outside the Washington consensus.

The US hasn’t won a major war since the end of World War II: Korea was a draw, Vietnam a humiliating defeat, Iraq was an American rout, and Afghanistan is a quagmire that is slowly draining the lifeblood out of our military. The only successes we’ve had is when we picked on a country as small and defenseless as Panama, Grenada, or Serbia. As we push our way into every local conflict, internationalizing it and blowing it way out of proportion – e.g. Ukraine – this is worth bearing in mind. The supposedly mighty US empire, like its Soviet predecessor, projects the illusion of invincibility and permanence, while an inner rot eats away at its core.

That rot is the cancer of debt, corruption, and a cultural nihilism which threatens the very values that made America an economic powerhouse and the envy of the world. As our leaders preen and pose on the world stage, as we bully our way into every local conflict, braying that we embody the concept of “world leadership,” and demanding that lesser nations follow Washington’s diktat, the mirage of our global hegemony is dissipating. Can we control events in Kabul if we can’t even keep a firm grip on Baltimore?

8 Replies to “Big News – May 2015”

  1. interesting perspective test. first, watch it as a young male, say, filming the girls (mainly) on the dance floor. then, watch it as an older parent with a daughter about that age. no wonder the song was “controversial”.

  2. for those 3 or 4 people following my crassus’ end-of-life story in the hands of the persians, which may or may not be true, but is historically plausible, here is a graphic analysis of what happened. instead of molten gold, these kids used molten aluminum. a watermellon represents crassus’ head, and they pour the liquid metal into an opening that could have been his throat. (the analogy is mine, not the two kids doing the demo.)

  3. down in kona chllin’ with some old friends near the beach (right across the street). what’s that constant pounding noise?

    “Rex [Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil] knows his company is in liquidation and he’s terrified his stockholders are going to find out.” — Arthur Berman. Is this what Rex sees when he dreams?

    Arthur Berman is perhaps the most credible debunkers of oil hype on the planet because he is a highly qualified petroleum geologist and a longtime, top-tier employee of the oil industry. In a presentation early this year, he made an offhand remark in answer to a question about Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. “Oh,” Berman responded, “Rex knows his company is in liquidation and he’s terrified his stockholders are going to find out.” I don’t know if anyone else heard a thunderclap at that moment. The discussion moved quickly onward, but I sat stunned (as I listened to the tape). It seemed to me I had just heard spoken aloud the essential truth of our industrial age: it’s in liquidation, and the people in charge are terrified we are going to find out.

    Liquidation, also known as a going-out-of-business sale, is a stunning word to use about the oil industry, unless you think about it for a minute.A company in liquidation stops making or buying its product and keeps selling until its inventory is gone, then turns out the lights and locks the doors. Oil companies don’t make oil, they have to find it, and they aren’t finding any. What’s more, take a look at their capex (capital expenditures for exploration and development) numbers and you see that after a decade of increasingly frenzied and expensive searching for new oil fields, with ever-diminishing returns, the industry has virtually stopped looking. Which brings us once again to the shoals of peak oil.

    Oil hypists have been declaring the “theory” of peak oil to be dead since the phrase was first used. Never more enthusiastically than when the shale oil “revolution,” a.k.a. the fracking boom, took hold in America five years ago. The assault on logic and uncommon sense was massive, well funded and for a time successful: for a while, the term “peak oil” became synonymous with “loser.” Not any more. Peak oil is back, and Rex Tillerson is, if anything, more terrified than he was at the beginning of the year.

    First of all, peak oil is not a theory, it is a straightforward expression of mathematical reality. If you are using a resource whose supply is finite, at some point you will have used half of it. And by extension, of course, at some point you will run out altogether. But peak oil is not about running out, it’s about reaching that halfway point, after which the supply of oil will steadily decline toward zero. That’s because everybody goes after the cheap and easy oil first; the second half is harder and more expensive to get.

    Once we drilled a hole a few hundred feet into the ground and watched a gusher soak the neighborhood with crude. Now we drill through four miles of rock in order to wring oil by the pailful out of a sponge made of stone. As if that were not enough evidence that we are, as someone said, taking jelly beans out of a jar that is no longer even close to full, consider the torrent of reports and articles that just in the past few weeks has documented our arrival at the peak:

    The Return Of Peak Oil – Worrying Signs From U.S. And Russia —
    ‘Beyond petroleum’ – fracking’s collapse heralds the arrival of peak oil — Ecologist
    The U.S. Production Decline Has Begun —
    Kemp: US Oil Production Is Probably Peaking Right Now — Rigzone
    Oil production falling in three big shale plays, EIA says —
    Debunking America’s Energy Fantasy — naked capitalism

    The oil hypists would have us believe that this is all the fault of the collapse of oil prices last fall, and all will be well as soon as this temporary blip is over. But well before prices fell below $100 a barrel, the oil companies were giving up on their capex budgets and the frackers were up to their eyeballs in debt and running out of sweet spots to frack.

    Where there is no liquidity, there is liquidation. Now the stockholders are finding out. Be afraid, Exxon. Be very afraid.

  4. JR, Bif, please check the spam filter. there are at least 2 posts sitting in there. use the first one of mine, with moron news at top. mahalo. something about too many embedded links.

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