Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Casino Capitalism: Neoliberalism in Western countries

"When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done"

John Maynard Keynes

PseudoScience > Who Rules America > Neoliberalism

News Neoliberalism Recommended Links Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists as Fifth Column of Financial Oligarchy The Systemic Instability of Financial Institutions Regulatory Capture & Corruption of regulators Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA
GDP as a false measure of a country economic output Number racket Efficient Market Hypothesis Invisible Hand Hypothesys: The Theory of Self-regulation of the Markets Supply side Voodoo In Goldman Sachs we trust Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
Economism and abuse of economic theory in American politics Secular Stagnation Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump Energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) Rational expectations scam Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult Monetarism fiasco
Twelve apostles of deregulation Summers Greenspan Rubin Reagan Helicopter Ben: Arsonist Turned into Firefighter Bush II
Chicago school of deification of market Free Market Fundamentalism Free Market Newspeak as opium for regulators The Idea of Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium CDS -- weapons of mass financial destruction Phil Gramm Clinton
Zombie state of neoliberalism Insider Trading SEC corruption Fed corruption Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush Regime Wall Street Propaganda Machine American Exceptionalism
Redistribution of wealth up as the essence of neoliberalism Glass-Steagall repeal Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Fiat money, gold and petrodollar Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Buyout Kleptocrats Republican Economic Policy
Principal-agent problem Quiet coup Pecora commission History of Casino Capitalism Casino Capitalism Dictionary :-) Humor Etc

Financialization is a process whereby financial markets, financial institutions, and financial elites gain greater influence over economic policy and economic outcomes. Financialization transforms the functioning of economic systems at both the macro and micro levels.

Its principal impacts are to (1) elevate the significance of the financial sector relative to the real sector, (2) transfer income from the real sector to the financial sector, and (3) increase income inequality and contribute to wage stagnation. Additionally, there are reasons to believe that financialization may put the economy at risk of debt deflation and prolonged recession.

Financialization operates through three different conduits: changes in the structure and operation of financial markets, changes in the behavior of nonfinancial corporations, and changes in economic policy.

Countering financialization calls for a multifaceted agenda that (1) restores policy control over financial markets, (2) challenges the neoliberal economic policy paradigm encouraged by financialization, (3) makes corporations responsive to interests of stakeholders other than just financial markets, and (4) reforms the political process so as to diminish the influence of corporations and wealthy elites.

Thomas Palley, See http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_525.pdf

Speculation and gambling were always a part of Wall Street but since the 1930’s they were just a side-show, now they are the show.

Comment to Matt Taibbi article Fannie, Freddie, and the New Red and Blue t


Introduction

“The sense of responsibility in the financial community
for the community as a whole is not small. It is nearly nil.”

-- John Kenneth Galbraith, The Great Crash of 1929

The term Casino Capitalism as a specific phase of neoliberal transformation of capitalism. Politically it was slow motion corporate coup d'état, which started in 70th and is now accomplished in the USA and other Western countries which buries social-democratic (New Deal style) model of capitalism.  It hypertrophied police functions of state (in the form of national-security state)  while completely avoiding economic sphere in ways other then enforcement of laws (with a notable exclusion from this top 1% -- Masters of the Universe). In this sense it is the opposite of communism (i.e. an entirely state-planned economy) and presupposed a deregulated economy (in a sense of the "law of jungle" as a business environment) , but with extremely strong militarized state, suppressing all the attempts to challenge the new "nomenklatura" (much like was the case in the USSR).  It is also called economic liberalism or neoliberalism

“Liberalism” can refer to political, economic, or even religious ideas. In the U.S. political liberalism has been a strategy to prevent social conflict. It is presented to poor and working people as progressive compared to conservative or Right wing. Economic liberalism is different. Conservative politicians who say they hate “liberals” — meaning the political type — have no real problem with economic liberalism, including neoliberalism.

In other words this is a variant of neoliberal model of corporatism used in wealthy Western countries during the period of "cheap hydrocarbons".  The period that is probably near the end and which by some estimate can last only another 50 years or so.  The major crisis of casino capitalism in 2008 was connected both with financial excesses (caused by moving to semi-criminal ways of extracting return on capital, typical for casino capitalism),  but also with the rise of the price of oil and decrease of  Energy returned on energy invested (EROEI)In this sense the current low oil price period that started in late 2014 can be viewed as the "last hurrah" of the casino capitalism.

In understanding neoliberal transformation of the society since early 80th it is important to understanding of the key role of financialization in this process. When major services are privatized (education, healthcare, pension plans) financial institution insert themselves as intermediaries in this arrangement and make it the main source of their profits.  Also contrary to neoliberal propaganda this process is aided and abetted by state. State is used by neoliberalism as a tool of enforcing market relations even where they are not useless or even harmful (education). All this talk about irresolvable controversy between market and state is for gullible fools. In reality, being Trotskyism for rich, neoliberalism uses power of the state to enforce market relations  by force on reluctant population even in areas where this can do no good. That make really it close to Soviet Communism. As Marx noted "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."

A very good discussion of the role of Financialisation in entrenchment of neoliberalism in modern societies can be found in the book by Costas Lapavitsas. Some highlights are provided inhis Guardian article Finance's hold on our everyday life must be broken

This extraordinary public largesse towards private banks was matched by austerity and wage reductions for workers and households. As for restructuring finance, nothing fundamental has taken place. The behemoths that continue to dominate the global financial system operate in the knowledge that they enjoy an unspoken public guarantee. The unpalatable reality is that financialisation will persist, despite its costs for society.

Financialisation represents a historic and deep-seated transformation of mature capitalism. Big businesses have become "financialised" as they have ample profits to finance investment, rely less on banks for loans and play financial games with available funds. Big banks, in turn, have become more distant from big businesses, turning to profits from trading in open financial markets and from lending to households. Households have become "financialised" too, as public provision in housing, education, health, pensions and other vital areas has been partly replaced by private provision, access to which is mediated by the financial system. Not surprisingly, households have accumulated a tremendous volume of financial assets and liabilities over the past four decades.

The penetration of finance into the everyday life of households has not only created a range of dependencies on financial services, but also changed the outlook, mentality and even morality of daily life. Financial calculation evaluates everything in pennies and pounds, transforming the most basic goods – above all, housing – into "investments". Its logic has affected even the young, who have traditionally been idealistic and scornful of pecuniary calculation. Fertile ground has been created for neoliberal ideology to preach the putative merits of the market.

Financialisation has also created new forms of profit associated with financial markets and transactions. Financial profit can be made out of any income, or any sum of money that comes into contact with the financial sphere. Households, for example, generate profits for finance as debtors (mostly by paying interest on mortgages) but also as creditors (mostly by paying fees and charges on pension funds and insurance). Finance is not particular about how and where it makes its profits, and certainly does not limit itself to the sphere of production. It ranges far and wide, transforming every aspect of social life into a profit-making opportunity.

The traditional image of the person earning financial profits is the "rentier", the individual who invests funds in secure financial assets. In the contemporary financialised universe, however, those who earn vast returns are very different. They are often located within a financial institution, presumably work to provide financial services, and receive vast sums in the form of wages, or more often bonuses. Modern financial elites are prominent at the top of the income distribution, set trends in conspicuous consumption, shape the expensive end of the housing market, and transform the core of urban centres according to their own tastes.

Financialised capitalism is, thus, a deeply unequal system, prone to bubbles and crises – none greater than that of 2007-09. What can be done about it? The most important point in this respect is that financialisation does not represent an advance for humanity, and very little of it ought to be preserved. Financial markets are, for instance, able to mobilise advanced technology employing some of the best-trained physicists in the world to rebalance prices across the globe in milliseconds. This "progress" allows financiers to earn vast profits; but where is the commensurate benefit to society from committing such expensive resources to these tasks?

The term "casino capitalism" was coined by Susan Strange who used it as a title of her book Casino Capitalism published in 1986. She was one of the first who realized that

  1. "The roots of the world's economic disorder are monetary and financial";
  2. "The disorder has not come about by accident, but has in fact been nurtured and encouraged by a series of government decisions." (p. 60). In other words its was a counter-revolution of the part of ruling elite which lost its influence in 30th (dismantling New Deal from above in the USA (Reaganomics) or Thatcherism in the GB).

According to Susan Strange transformation of industrial capitalism into neoliberal capitalism ("casino capitalism") involved five trends. All of them increased the systemic instability of the system and the level of political corruption:

  1. Innovations in the way in which financial markets work due to introduction of computers;
  2. The sheer size of markets; (with the introduction of 401K the size of stock market multiplied, etc)
  3. Commercial banks turned into investment banks;
  4. The emergence of Asian nations as large players;
  5. The shift to self-regulation by banks (pp.9-10).

Now it is pretty much established fact that the conversion from "industrial capitalism" to neoliberal, completely financialialized "casino capitalism" is the natural logic of development of capitalism. In early and incomplete matter this trend was noticed at early 1990th by many thinkers. This is just the second iteration of the same trend which was interrupted by the Great Depression and subsequent WWII. So, in a way, replacement of industrial capitalism with financial capitalism in a natural tendency within the capitalism itself and corruption was contributing, but not decisive factor.  The same is true about globalization, especially about globalization of financial flows, typical for casino capitalism.

Also this conversion did not happen due to lack of oversight or as a folly. It was a couscous choice made by the US and GB elite, both of which faced deterioration of rates of return on capital. Also unlike "industrial capitalism" which was more-or-less stable system, able to outcompete the neo-theocratic system of the USSR, the financial capitalism is unstable in the same sense as radioactive elements are unstable.  And this instability tend to increase with time. So there is probably natural half-life period for neoliberalism as a social system. It might be already reached in 2008.  In we assume that global victory of neoliberalism happened in 1990. It is just 18 years.  If we think that it happened in late 60th, then it is closer to 50 years.

The global crisis of neoliberal capitalism which started from bursting the USA subprime housing bubble in 2008 undermined ideological legitimacy of its central claim that "free markets" lead to faster and more uniform economic development of all countries. While the peak of its "ideological" power might be over (much like the peak of attractiveness of "command socialism" was over after WWII), it will exist in a zombie state for a long time due to economic and military power of the USA and G7.  And as we know from Hollywood films, zombies can be especially bloodthirsty. It probably will remain the dominant force for at least the next two decades pursuing the same policy of "forceful" opening of energy rich  and resource countries for western multinationals intact using color revolutions and local wars.  But as Napoleon quipped "You can do anything with bayonets, you just can't sit on them".

Conversion to neoliberal capitalism was a reaction on stagnation of industrial production and as such it was nurtured and encouraged by a series of government decisions for the last 50 years. Stagnation of industrial production made expansion of financial sector of paramount importance for the ruling elite and by extension for Congress which represents this elite. House vote 377:4 for Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 is pretty telling in this respect.

There were also at least two important parallel developments.

Most respectable authors like Henry Giroux in his article in Counterpunch generally consider the term "casino capitalism" to be an equivalent to the term Neoliberalism. Here is a relevant quote from Henry Giroux's Authoritarian Politics in the Age of Casino Capitalism :

There is more at work here than simply a ramped up version of social Darwinism with its savagely cruel ethic of “reward the rich, penalize the poor, [and] let everyone fend for themselves,” [ii] there is also a full scale attack on the social contract, the welfare state, economic equality, and any viable vestige of moral and social responsibility. The Romney-Ryan appropriation of Ayn Rand’s ode to selfishness and self-interest is of particular importance because it offers a glimpse of a ruthless form of extreme capitalism in which the poor are considered “moochers,” viewed with contempt, and singled out to be punished. But this theocratic economic fundamentalist ideology does more. It destroys any viable notion of the and civic virtue in which the social contract and common good provide the basis for creating meaningful social bonds and instilling in citizens a sense of social and civic responsibility. The idea of public service is viewed with disdain just as the work of individuals, social groups, and institutions that benefit the citizenry at large are held in contempt.

As George Lakoff and Glenn W. Smith point out, casino capitalism creates a culture of cruelty: “its horrific effects on individuals-death, illness, suffering, greater poverty, and loss of opportunity, productive lives, and money.”[iii]

But it does more by crushing any viable notion of the common good and public life by destroying “the bonds that hold us together.”[iv] Under casino capitalism, the spaces, institutions, and values that constitute the public are now surrendered to powerful financial forces and viewed simply as another market to be commodified, privatized and surrendered to the demands of capital. With religious and market-driven zealots in charge, politics becomes an extension of war; greed and self-interest trump any concern for the well-being of others; reason is trumped by emotions rooted in absolutist certainty and militaristic aggression; and skepticism and dissent are viewed as the work of Satan.

If the Republican candidacy race of 2012 is any indication, then political discourse in the United States has not only moved to the right—it has been introducing totalitarian values and ideals into the mainstream of public life. Religious fanaticism, consumer culture, and the warfare state work in tandem with neoliberal economic forces to encourage privatization, corporate tax breaks, growing income and wealth inequality, and the further merging of the financial and military spheres in ways that diminish the authority and power of democratic governance.[v] Neoliberal interests in freeing markets from social constraints, fueling competitiveness, destroying education systems, producing atomized subjects, and loosening individuals from any sense of social responsibility prepare the populace for a slow embrace of social Darwinism, state terrorism, and the mentality of war — not least of all by destroying communal bonds, dehumanizing the other, and pitting individuals against the communities they inhabit.

Totalitarian temptations now saturate the media and larger culture in the language of austerity as political and economic orthodoxy. What we are witnessing in the United States is the normalization of a politics that exterminates not only the welfare state, and the truth, but all those others who bear the sins of the Enlightenment — that is, those who refuse a life free from doubt. Reason and freedom have become enemies not merely to be mocked, but to be destroyed. And this is a war whose totalitarian tendencies are evident in the assault on science, immigrants, women, the elderly, the poor, people of color, and youth.

What too often goes unsaid, particularly with the media’s focus on inflammatory rhetoric, is that those who dominate politics and policymaking, whether Democrats or Republicans, do so largely because of their disproportionate control of the nation’s income and wealth. Increasingly, it appears these political elite choose to act in ways that sustain their dominance through the systemic reproduction of an iniquitous social order. In other words, big money and corporate power rule while electoral politics are rigged. The secrecy of the voting booth becomes the ultimate expression of democracy, reducing politics to an individualized purchase—a crude form of economic action. Any form of politics willing to invest in such ritualistic pageantry only adds to the current dysfunctional nature of our social order, while reinforcing a profound failure of political imagination. The issue should no longer be how to work within the current electoral system, but how to dismantle it and construct a new political landscape that is capable of making a claim on equity, justice, and democracy for all of its inhabitants. Obama’s once inspiring call for hope has degenerated into a flight from responsibility.

The Obama administration has worked to extend the policies of the George W. Bush administration by legitimating a range of foreign and domestic policies that have shredded civil liberties, expanded the permanent warfare state, and increased the domestic reach of the punitive surveillance state. And if Romney and his ideological cohorts, now viewed as the most extremists faction of the Republican Party, come to power, surely the existing totalitarian and anti-democratic tendencies at work in the United States will be dangerously intensified.

History

Alternatively, we could have spent more time studying the work of Hyman Minsky. We could also have considered the possibility that, just as Keynes’s ideas were tested to destruction in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Milton Friedman’s ideas might suffer a similar fate in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. All gods fail, if one believes too much. Keynes said, of course, that "practical men … are usually the slaves of some defunct economist". So, of course, are economists, even if the defunct economists are sometimes still alive.

Martin Wolf

 


 

 

Casino capitalism  is a nickname for nailibelism. Probably more properly nickname would be  financial corporatism. While the key idea of corporatism: that political actors are not individual people, but some associations and first of all corporations (which are officially considered to be "persons" and have rights as well as trade unions and some other associations) remains intact, financial corporatism is different from classic corporatism in several major ways:

Historically corporatism in various modifications became dominant social system after WWII and defeated "command socialism" as was implemented in the USSR. Here is an instructive review of corporatism history (The Economic System of Corporatism):

In the last half of the 19th century people of the working class in Europe were beginning to show interest in the ideas of socialism and syndicalism. Some members of the intelligentsia, particularly the Catholic intelligentsia, decided to formulate an alternative to socialism which would emphasize social justice without the radical solution of the abolition of private property. The result was called Corporatism. The name had nothing to do with the notion of a business corporation except that both words are derived from the Latin word for body, corpus.

The basic idea of corporatism is that the society and economy of a country should be organized into major interest groups (sometimes called corporations) and representatives of those interest groups settle any problems through negotiation and joint agreement. In contrast to a market economy which operates through competition a corporate economic works through collective bargaining. The American president Lyndon Johnson had a favorite phrase that reflected the spirit of corporatism. He would gather the parties to some dispute and say, "Let us reason together."

Under corporatism the labor force and management in an industry belong to an industrial organization. The representatives of labor and management settle wage issues through collective negotiation. While this was the theory in practice the corporatist states were largely ruled according to the dictates of the supreme leader.

One early and important theorist of corporatism was Adam Müller, an advisor to Prince Metternich in what is now eastern Germany and Austria. Müller propounded his views as an antidote to the twin dangers of the egalitarianism of the French Revolution and the laissez faire economics of Adam Smith. In Germany and elsewhere there was a distinct aversion among rulers to allow markets to function without direction or control by the state. The general culture heritage of Europe from the medieval era was opposed to individual self-interest and the free operation of markets. Markets and private property were acceptable only as long as social regulation took precedence over such sinful motivations as greed.

Coupled with the anti-market sentiments of the medieval culture there was the notion that the rulers of the state had a vital role in promoting social justice. Thus corporatism was formulated as a system that emphasized the positive role of the state in guaranteeing social justice and suppressing the moral and social chaos of the population pursuing their own individual self-interests. And above all else, as a political economic philosophy corporatism was flexible. It could tolerate private enterprise within limits and justify major projects of the state. Corporatism has sometimes been labeled as a Third Way or a mixed economy, a synthesis of capitalism and socialism, but it is in fact a separate, distinctive political economic system.

Although rulers have probably operated according to the principles of corporatism from time immemorial it was only in the early twentieth century that regimes began to identify themselves as corporatist. The table below gives some of those explicitly corporatist regimes.

Corporatist Regimes of the Early Twentieth Century
System Name Country Period Leader
National Corporatism Italy 1922-1945 Benito Mussolini
Country, Religion, Monarchy Spain 1923-1930 Miguel Primo de Rivera
National Socialism Germany 1933-1945 Adolph Hitler
National Syndicalism Spain 1936-1973 Francisco Franco
New State Portugal 1932-1968 Antonio Salazar
New State Brazil 1933-1945 Getulio Vargas
New Deal United States 1933-1945 Franklin Roosevelt
Third Hellenic Civilization Greece 1936-1941 Ioannis Metaxas
Justice Party Argentina 1943-1955 Juan Peron

In the above table several of the regimes were brutal, totalitarian dictatorships, usually labeled fascist, but not all the regimes that had a corporatist foundation were fascist. In particular, the Roosevelt New Deal despite its many faults could not be described as fascist. But definitely the New Deal was corporatist. The architect for the initial New Deal program was General Hugh Johnson. Johnson had been the administrator of the military mobilization program for the U.S. under Woodrow Wilson during World War I. It was felt that he did a good job of managing the economy during that period and that is why he was given major responsibility for formulating an economic program to deal with the severe problems of the Depression. But between the end of World War I and 1933 Hugh Johnson had become an admirer of Mussolini's National Corporatist system in Italy and he drew upon the Italian experience in formulating the New Deal.

It should be noted that many elements of the early New Deal were later declared unconstitutional and abandoned, but some elements such as the National Labor Relations Act which promoted unionization of the American labor force are still in effect. One part of the New Deal was the development of the Tennessee River Valley under the public corporation called the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Some of the New Dealer saw TVA as more than a public power enterprise. They hoped to make TVA a model for the creation of regional political units which would replace state governments. Their goal was not realized. The model for TVA was the river development schemes carried out in Spain in the 1920's under the government of Miguel Primo de Rivera. Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, the son of Miguel Primo de Rivera, was the founder of Franco's National Syndicalism.

Corporatist regime typically promote large governmental projects such as TVA on the basis that they are too large to be funded by private enterprise. In Brazil the Vargas regime created many public enterprises such as in iron and steel production which it felt were needed but private enterprise declined to create. It also created an organized labor movement that came to control those public enterprises and turned them into overstaffed, inefficient drains on the public budget.

Although the above locates the origin of corporatism in 19th century France it roots can be traced much further back in time. Sylvia Ann Hewlett in her book, The Cruel Dilemmas of Development: Twentieth Century Brazil, says,

Corporatism is based on a body of ideas that can be traced through Aristotle, Roman law, medieval social and legal structures, and into contemporary Catholic social philosophy. These ideas are based on the premise that man's nature can only be fulfilled within a political community.
..........
The central core of the corporatist vision is thus not the individual but the political community whose perfection allows the individual members to fulfill themselves and find happiness.
...............
The state in the corporatist tradition is thus clearly interventionist and powerful.

Corporatism is collectivist; it is a different version of collectivism than socialism but it is definitely collectivist. It places some importance on the fact that private property is not nationalized, but the control through regulation is just as real. It is de facto nationalization without being de jure nationalization.

Although Corporatism is not a familiar concept to the general public, most of the economies of the world are corporatist in nature. The categories of socialist and pure market economy are virtually empty. There are only corporatist economies of various flavors.

These flavors of corporatism include the social democratic regimes of Europe and the Americas, but also the East Asian and Islamic fundamentalist regimes such as Taiwan, Singapore and Iran. The Islamic socialist states such as Syria, Libya and Algeria are more corporatist than socialist, as was Iraq under Saddam Hussain. The formerly communist regimes such as Russia and China are now clearly corporatist in economic philosophy although not in name.

The concept of Quite Coup

Sine ira et studio

Tacitus, see Wikipedia

The term "Quiet coup" which means the hijacking of the political power in the USA by financial oligarchy was introduced by Simon H. Johnson, a British-American economist, who currently is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. From March 2007 through the end of August 2008, he was Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund. The term was introduced in his article in Atlantic magazine, published in May 2009(The Quiet Coup - Simon Johnson - The Atlantic). Which opens with a revealing paragraph:

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government

The wealth of financial sector gave it unprecedented opportunities of simply buying the political power iether directly or indirectly (via revolving door mechanism):

Becoming a Banana Republic

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldn’t be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldn’t roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.

But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better—in a “buck stops somewhere else” sort of way—on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for “safety and soundness” were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies — lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership—had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits — such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998—were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Several other factors helped fuel the financial industry’s ascent. Paul Volcker’s monetary policy in the 1980s, and the increased volatility in interest rates that accompanied it, made bond trading much more lucrative. The invention of securitization, interest-rate swaps, and credit-default swaps greatly increased the volume of transactions that bankers could make money on. And an aging and increasingly wealthy population invested more and more money in securities, helped by the invention of the IRA and the 401(k) plan. Together, these developments vastly increased the profit opportunities in financial services.

Not surprisingly, Wall Street ran with these opportunities. From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent. Pay rose just as dramatically. From 1948 to 1982, average compensation in the financial sector ranged between 99 percent and 108 percent of the average for all domestic private industries. From 1983, it shot upward, reaching 181 percent in 2007.

The great wealth that the financial sector created and concentrated gave bankers enormous political weight — a weight not seen in the U.S. since the era of J.P. Morgan (the man). In that period, the banking panic of 1907 could be stopped only by coordination among private-sector bankers: no government entity was able to offer an effective response. But that first age of banking oligarchs came to an end with the passage of significant banking regulation in response to the Great Depression; the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy is quite recent.

He further researched this theme in his book 2010 book 13 Bankers The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown  (ISBN 978-0307379054), coauthored with James Kwak. They also founded and regularly contributes to the economics blog The Baseline Scenario. See also History of Casino Capitalism

The net effect of the ideological counter-revolution based on market fundamentalism ideology was that it restored the power of financial oligarchy typical for Gilded Age. As Simon Johnson argues that was partially done by subverting regulators and that oversize institutions always disproportionately influence public policy:

The second problem the U.S. faces—the power of the oligarchy—is just as important as the immediate crisis of lending. And the advice from the IMF on this front would again be simple: break the oligarchy.

Oversize institutions disproportionately influence public policy; the major banks we have today draw much of their power from being too big to fail. Nationalization and re-privatization would not change that; while the replacement of the bank executives who got us into this crisis would be just and sensible, ultimately, the swapping-out of one set of powerful managers for another would change only the names of the oligarchs.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical—since we’ll want to sell the banks quickly—they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the "efficiency costs" of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail—a financial weapon of mass self-destruction—explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation. Laws put in place more than 100years ago to combat industrial monopolies were not designed to address the problem we now face. The problem in the financial sector today is not that a given firm might have enough market share to influence prices; it is that one firm or a small set of interconnected firms, by failing, can bring down the economy. The Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus evokes FDR, but what we need to imitate here is Teddy Roosevelt’s trust-busting.

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. Wall Street’s main attraction—to the people who work there and to the government officials who were only too happy to bask in its reflected glory—has been the astounding amount of money that could be made. Limiting that money would reduce the allure of the financial sector and make it more like any other industry.

Still, outright pay caps are clumsy, especially in the long run. And most money is now made in largely unregulated private hedge funds and private-equity firms, so lowering pay would be complicated. Regulation and taxation should be part of the solution. Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine.

Two Paths

To paraphrase Joseph Schumpeter, the early-20th-century economist, everyone has elites; the important thing is to change them from time to time. If the U.S. were just another country, coming to the IMF with hat in hand, I might be fairly optimistic about its future. Most of the emerging-market crises that I’ve mentioned ended relatively quickly, and gave way, for the most part, to relatively strong recoveries. But this, alas, brings us to the limit of the analogy between the U.S. and emerging markets.

Emerging-market countries have only a precarious hold on wealth, and are weaklings globally. When they get into trouble, they quite literally run out of money—or at least out of foreign currency, without which they cannot survive. They must make difficult decisions; ultimately, aggressive action is baked into the cake. But the U.S., of course, is the world’s most powerful nation, rich beyond measure, and blessed with the exorbitant privilege of paying its foreign debts in its own currency, which it can print. As a result, it could very well stumble along for years—as Japan did during its lost decade—never summoning the courage to do what it needs to do, and never really recovering. A clean break with the past—involving the takeover and cleanup of major banks—hardly looks like a sure thing right now. Certainly no one at the IMF can force it.

In my view, the U.S. faces two plausible scenarios. The first involves complicated bank-by-bank deals and a continual drumbeat of (repeated) bailouts, like the ones we saw in February with Citigroup and AIG. The administration will try to muddle through, and confusion will reign.

Boris Fyodorov, the late finance minister of Russia, struggled for much of the past 20 years against oligarchs, corruption, and abuse of authority in all its forms. He liked to say that confusion and chaos were very much in the interests of the powerful—letting them take things, legally and illegally, with impunity. When inflation is high, who can say what a piece of property is really worth? When the credit system is supported by byzantine government arrangements and backroom deals, how do you know that you aren’t being fleeced?

Our future could be one in which continued tumult feeds the looting of the financial system, and we talk more and more about exactly how our oligarchs became bandits and how the economy just can’t seem to get into gear.

The second scenario begins more bleakly, and might end that way too. But it does provide at least some hope that we’ll be shaken out of our torpor. It goes like this: the global economy continues to deteriorate, the banking system in east-central Europe collapses, and—because eastern Europe’s banks are mostly owned by western European banks—justifiable fears of government insolvency spread throughout the Continent. Creditors take further hits and confidence falls further. The Asian economies that export manufactured goods are devastated, and the commodity producers in Latin America and Africa are not much better off. A dramatic worsening of the global environment forces the U.S. economy, already staggering, down onto both knees. The baseline growth rates used in the administration’s current budget are increasingly seen as unrealistic, and the rosy "stress scenario" that the U.S. Treasury is currently using to evaluate banks’ balance sheets becomes a source of great embarrassment.

Under this kind of pressure, and faced with the prospect of a national and global collapse, minds may become more concentrated.

The conventional wisdom among the elite is still that the current slump "cannot be as bad as the Great Depression." This view is wrong. What we face now could, in fact, be worse than the Great Depression—because the world is now so much more interconnected and because the banking sector is now so big. We face a synchronized downturn in almost all countries, a weakening of confidence among individuals and firms, and major problems for government finances. If our leadership wakes up to the potential consequences, we may yet see dramatic action on the banking system and a breaking of the old elite. Let us hope it is not then too late.

It is pretty interesting to see how financial oligarchy filters information provided to the population to fit their biases. For example, the key facts about repeal of Glass-Steagall law  (BTW Joe Biden voted for it) mostly hidden from the public: 

Commodity Futures Trading Commission — under the leadership of Mr. Gramm’s wife, Wendy — had approved rules in 1989 and 1993 exempting some swaps and derivatives from regulation. In December 2000, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act was passed as part of a larger bill by unanimous consent after Senator Gramm dominated the Senate debate...

"He was the architect, advocate and the most knowledgeable person in Congress on these topics," Mr. Donovan said. "To me, Phil Gramm is the single most important reason for the current financial crisis."

"The virtually unregulated over-the-counter market in credit-default swaps has played a significant role in the credit crisis, including the now $167 billion taxpayer rescue of A.I.G.," Christopher Cox, the chairman of the S.E.C. and a former congressman, said Friday.

But you will never find discussion of flaws and adverse consequences Phil Gram (or Greenspan for a change) initiatives in Heritage Foundation and other right-wing think tanks publications.

Stages of transformation

So what we are experiencing is a the completion of the transformation of one phase of capitalism to another. It happened in stages:

  1. Manufacturing stagnated and can't provide the "decent" rate of growth. Competition from re-built Europe and Asian markets severely stressed the US manufacturing. due to competition return of capital dropped and in several industries became negative.

  2. Computers brought innovations into financial markets. They make possible real time trading of induces like S&P500, complex financial instruments like derivatives, etc. Later they enables superfast trading (HFT). All those instruments dramatically increased the possibilities of extracting the rent by financial institutions from the society.

  3. Globalization kicked in due to new opportunities offered by high speed global communications (Internet). And that is not limited to outsourcing. Due to globalization the sheer size of the financial markets increased to the extent that they started to represent a different, new transnational phenomena allowing new types of redistribution of wealth to be practiced. Integration of Russian elite (oligarchs) is just one example of this process. In case of pro-western oligarchs (fifth column) West went to significant length to protect them and their racket (Mikhail Khodorkovsky - Wikipedia,)

  4. Commercial banks turned into investment banks to exploit this opportunity.

  5. Financial sector completely corrupted academic science converting most economists to pay prostitutes which serve their interests.

  6. Collapse of the USSR provided the financial sector major shoot in the arm and a golden, once in century opportunity to finance new half-billion consumers and stole for a penny on a dollar huge industrial assets and natural resources as well as put most of those countries in the debt (Latin-Americanization of xUSSR space). Harvard Mafia (with some support from London) did the bidding of western banks in xUSSR space. As more becomes known about the laundering of Russian money in Western banks, many in the United States will likely try to hide behind stories of faraway organized crime. But U.S. policy toward Russia has contributed to that country's sorry conditions--with the Harvard Institute for International Development's Russia project (HIID) playing a major role (Harvard's 'Best and Brightest' Aided Russia's Economic Ruin ). Professor Jeffery Sacks provided a bogus idea of "shock therapy" to achieve spectacular for Western banks result. As a result all xUSSR space became new Latin America with typical for Latin America problems like huge level of inequality, prostitution, child poverty, and prominent role of organized crime.

  7. Banks became dominant political force on western societies with no real counterbalance from other parts of the elite. The first president completely subservient to banking elite was elected in the USA in 1992. Bill Clinton regime lasted eight years and along with economic rape of xUSSR space in best colonial powers tradition, it removed what was left of financial regulations after the flurry of deregulation of the early 1980s. And they behaved as an occupying force not only in xUSSR space but in the USA as well. They deprived workers out of their jobs, they abolished the US pension system as it impede playing with population money and replaced in with widely inadequate 401K plans. They deprived municipalities out of their revenues and assets, while municipalities became just a den of bond traders looking for then next mark which give them the ability to put municipalities deeper in debt.

  8. Newly acquired political power of financial elite speeded the shift to bank "self-regulation" created huge shadow banking system which dwarf "official" under the smoke screen of "free-market" propaganda and PR from a coterie of corrupts academics (Chicago Scholl, Harvard Mafia, etc) . It engaged in pursuit of short term profits and self-enrichment of top brass which became new elite by-and-large displacing not only the old one, but also the newly minted IT elite of dot-com boom. Using newly acquired power financial elite remove all regulations that hamper their interests. Glass-Steagall was repealed at the last days of Clinton presidency, financial derivatives became unregulated.

  9. Deindustrialization kicked in. As financial speculation proved to be much more profitable to other activities deindustrialization kicked in the USA as the financial center of the world. Outsourcing which first was limited to manufacturing jobs now extent its reach on IT and decimate previously profitable sector and its export potential.

  10. Externalities can no longer be suppressed and economics became unstable. Growth of inequality, job insecurity, as well as frequency of financial crises were natural consequences of financialization of the economy. They create huge imbalances, like bubble in residential real estate which was blown with the help and full support of the USA government as a way to overcome dot-com crisis consequences.

  11. Debt crisis strikes. Growth of debt became unsustainable and produces the financial crisis of enormous proportions. By their reckless policies and greed financial sector caused huge financial crisis of 2008 and now they are forcing national governments to auction off their cultural heritage to the highest bidder. Everything must go in fire sales at prices rigged by twenty-something largest banks, the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known.

  12. Devastating "local" wars became "new normal". Due to financial crisis, the overconsumption in western economies came under threat. Debt expansion which led to overconsumption within the western economies affected (or infected) by financialization. To sustain the current standard of living financial expansion became the necessity. It took the form of a competition for spheres of influence in the area of energy supplies, which we see in post USSR space, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere. And central banks play critical role in financing wars. After all Banks of England was created with this exact purpose.

I think by 2008 when the second major financial crisis hit the USA, the transformation on the USA economy into casino capitalism, which is essentially implementation of neoliberal doctrine (or more correctly the US brand of corporatism) was by-and-large complete.

In short we are living in a new politico-economic system in which financial capital won victory over both labor and industrial capital. We might not like what we got, but financial elite is now a new ruling class and this fact is difficult to dispute. As a result. instead of the robber barons of the early 20th century (some of whom actually created/consolidated new industries), we have the top executives from investment banks, insurers and mortgage industry who represent a new Rentier class, much like old aristocracy.

They are living off parasitic monopolization of access to any (physical, financial, intellectual, etc.) kind of property and gaining significant amount of profit without contribution to society (see Rentier capitalism which is a very fuzzy term for neoliberal model of capitalism).

Casino Capitalism as a result of stagnation of industrial manufacturing

Stagnation of industrial manufacturing droved up financial speculation as the method to compensate for falling rate on return on capital. This stagnation became prominent during Reagan administration (which started the major shift toward neoliberalism), although signs of it were present from early 60th.

For example Chicago which was a manufacturing center since 1969 lost approximately 400K manufacturing jobs which were replaced mainly by FIRE-related jobs, In 1995 over 22% of those employed by FIRE industries (66K people) were working in executive and managerial positions. Another 17% are in marketing, sales and processional specialty occupations (computer system analysts, PR specialists, writer and editors).

Those changes in the structure of employment had several consequences:

  1. The stagnation of the underlying economy meant that capitalists were increasingly dependent on the growth of finance to preserve and enlarge their money capital.
  2. The financial superstructure of the capitalist economy could not expand independently of its base -- underlying productive economy — hence the bursting of speculative bubbles became a recurrent and growing problem.
  3. Financialization could never overcome stagnation of industrial production. It is just an opium for rich, not a structural adjustment of the stagnation-prone economy. But like addition to narcotics does to human body it does tremendous damage to real economy.
  4. Rapid increase in inequality is necessary to sustain the appetites of the elite in the system with fixed size of the pie. Politico-economic conditions might became even more unfavorable for labor. Stagnation of industrial production mean shrinking pie, which necessitates redistribution of wealth in favor of a new, all-powerful financial Rentier class. This redistribution resulted in partial wipe-out of large swats of middle class. For the past three decades, America has steadily converted itself into a nation of haves (as Bush II quipped "This is an impressive crowd -- the haves and the have mores! Some people call you the elite -- I call you my base". ) and have-nots. The cost of a college education rises rapidly at a time when wages for skilled labor stagnate, so access to college became against discriminated in favor of upper class of the society. Repressive apparatus and ideological brainwashing are too strong to mount effective resistance.

The key to understanding of Casino Capitalism is that it was a series of government decisions (or rather non-decisions) that converted the state into neoliberal model. In other words casino capitalism has distinct "Government property" mark. It was the USA elite, which refused to act responsibly in the face of changing economic conditions resulting from its own actions, and instead chose to try to perpetuate, by whatever means it had at its disposal, the institutional advantages of dollar as a reserve currency which it had vis-à-vis its main economic rivals and grab as large part of the world economic pie as it can. And this power grab was supported first of all by the role of dollar as currency in which oil is traded.

There might be some geo-strategically motives as well as the US elite in late 80th perceived that competitiveness is slipping out of the USA and the danger of deindustrialization is real. Many accuse Reagan with the desire to ride dollar status as a world reserve currency (exorbitant privilege) until the horse is dead. That's what real cowboys do in Hollywood movies... But the collapse of the main rival, the USSR vindicated this strategy and give a strong short in the arm to financialization of the economy. Actually for the next ten years can be called a triumphal ascend of financialization in the USA.

Dominance of FIRE industries clustered up and in recent years reached in the USA quite dramatic proportions. The old Bolsheviks saying "When we say Lenin we mean the Party and when we say the Party we mean Lenin" now can be reworded: "Now it we say US banks, we mean the US government and vise versa if we say US government we mean US banks".

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the FIRE sector was and is the biggest contributor to federal candidates in Washington. Companies cannot give directly, so they leave it to bundlers to solicit maximum contributions from employees and families. They might have been brought down to earth this year, but they’ve given like Gods: Goldman Sachs, $4.8 million; Citigroup, $3.7 million; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., $3.6 million; Merrill Lynch, $2.3 million; Lehman Brothers, $2.1 million; Bank of America, $2.1 million. Some think the long-term effect of such contributions to individual candidates was clear in the roll-call votes for the bailout.

Take the controversial first House vote on bailout of major banks on Sept. 29, 2008. According to CRP, the "ayes" had received 53 percent more contributions from FIRE since 1989 than those who voted against the bill, which ultimately failed 228 to 205. The 140 House Democrats who voted for the bill got an average of $188,572 in this election cycle, while the 65 Republicans backing it got an average of $185,461 from FIRE—about 23 percent more than the bill’s opponents received. A tinkered bill was passed four days later, 263 to 171.

According to the article Fire Sale (The American Conservative) half of Obama’s top ten contributors, together giving him nearly $2.2 million, are FIREmen. The $13 million contributed by FIRE executives to Obama campaign is probably an undercount. Democratic committee leaders are also dependent of FIRE contributions. The list includes Sen. Dodd ( please look at Senator Dodd's top donors for 2007-8 on openSecrets.org ) and Sen. Chuck Schumer ($12 million from FIRE since 1989), Rep. Barney Frank ($2.5 million), and Rep. Charlie Rangel ($4 million, the top recipient in the House). All of them have been accused of taking truckloads of contributions while failing to act on the looming mortgage crisis. Dodd finally pushed mortgage reform last year but by then as his hometown paper, The Hartford Courant stated, "the damage was done."

Casino Capitalism and Financial Instability

At the same time rise of financial capital dramatically increased instability. An oversized financial sector produces instability due to multiple positive feedback loops. In this sense we can talk about Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy. The whole society became "House of cards", "Giant Enron" and "extension of Las Vegas". Reckless management, greed and out-right stupidity in playing derivatives games was natural consequence of the oversized financial sector, not just a human folly. In a way it was dramatic manifestation of the oversized financial sector negative influence of the economy. And in 2008 it did brought out economy to the brink of destruction. Peak oil added to suffocating effect on the economy of reckless gambling (and related debts) of financial sector producing the economic calamity that rivals Great Depression. Also, like Socialism, Casino Capitalism demands too much of its elite. And in reality, the financial elite much like Bolsheviks elite, is having its own interests above the interests of the society.

As Kevin Phillips noted "In the United States, political correctness, religious fundamentalism, and other inhibitions sometimes dumb down national debate". And the same statement is true for financial elite that became the center of power under the Casino Capitalism. Due to avalanche of greed the society became one giant Enron as money that are made from value addition in the form of manufacturing fade in significance to the volume of the money that is made from shuffling money around. In other was the Wall Street's locked USA in the situation from which there is no easy exit.

Self-reinforcing ‘positive’ feedback loops prevalent in Casino Capitalism trigger an accelerating creation of various debt instruments, interest of which at some point overwhelm the system carrying capacity. Ability to lend against good collateral is quickly exhausted. At some point apparently there is no good collateral against which lending freely was possible, even at high rates. This means that each new stage of financial innovation involves scam and fraud, on increasing scale. In other words Ponzi economy of "saving and loans" is replaced with Madoff economy.

Whether you shift the resulting huge private debt to public to increase confidence or not, the net result is of this development of events is a crisis and a huge debt that society needs to take. Actually the debt bubble in 2008 can only be compared to the debt bubble of 1933. The liquidation of Bear Sterns and Lehman was only a start of consolidation of finances and we need to find something that replace financial sector dominance in the national economy. It would be nice is some technological breakthrough happened which would lift the country out of this deep hole.

See Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy for more details.

Neoliberalism as the Ideology of Casino Capitalism

Like Bolshevism was marked by deification of teaching of Marx and Lenin, converting them into pseudo-religious doctrine, the Casino Capitalism has its own deified ideological doctrine. It is the ideology of Neoliberalism. The latter as an ideology and an agenda seeks to topple democratic capitalism and replace it with a de facto unaccountable autocratic government which serves as channel of a wealth transfer from the public to a rentier elite. In a way it is a spectacular example of a successful (in a very negative sense) pseudo-religious doctrine.

Addiction of the societies to disastrous politico-economical doctrines are similar to addictions to alcohol and drugs in individuals. It is not easy to recover and it takes a long, long time and a lot of misery. As dissolution of the USSR aptly demonstrated not all societies can make it. In this case the USSR elite (nomenklatura) simply shed the old ideology as it understood that it will be better off adopting ideology of neoliberal capitalism; so it was revolution from above.  this abrupt switch created chaos in economics (which was applauded by Washington which under Clinton administration adopted the stance the Carnage needs to be destroyed and facilitated the process), criminal privatization of major industries, and pushed into object poverty the 99% of population of those countries. For some period under "drunk Yeltsyn" Russia sees to exist as an independent country and became a vassal of Washington.

This also means that "society at large" did not had effective brakes to the assent of financial plutocracy (aka financial oligarchy).  I would add to this the computer revolution and internet that made many financial transaction qualitatively different and often dramatically cheaper that in previous history. Computers also enabled creation of new financial players like mutual funds (which created a shadow banking system with their bond funds) , hedge funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), as well as high-frequency trading and derivatives.

From the historical view Reaganomics also can be considered to be the US flavor of Lysenkoism with economics instead of genetics as a target. Here is how Reaganomics is defined in Wikipedia

Reaganomics (a portmanteau of "Reagan" and "economics") refers to the economic policies promoted by United States President Ronald Reagan. The four pillars of Reagan's economic policy were to:[1]
  1. reduce the growth of government spending,
  2. reduce marginal tax rates on income from labor and capital,
  3. reduce government regulation of the economy,
  4. control the money supply to reduce inflation.

In attempting to cut back on domestic spending while lowering taxes, Reagan's approach was a departure from his immediate predecessors.

Reagan became president during a period of high inflation and unemployment (commonly referred to as stagflation), which had largely abated by the time he left office.

Please not that the Number 1 idea ("reduce government spending") was essentially a scam, a smoke screen designed to attract Rednecks as a powerful voting block. In a way this was a trick similar to one played by Bolsheviks in Russia with its "worker and peasants rule" smokescreen which covered brutal dictatorship. In reality all administrations which preached Reagonomics (including Clinton's) expanded the role of state and government spending. The number two was applied by-and-large to top 1%. The number three means deregulation in the interests of financial oligarchy and dismantling all social program that hamper profit of the latter (including privatizing of Social Security). The number fours is a scam, in the same sense as number one. As soon as financial institutions get in trouble, money are printed as if there is no tomorrow.

While the essence of Reagonomics was financial deregulation, the other important element was restoring the Gilded Age level of power of financial oligarchy which influence was diminished by FDR reforms. In this sense we can say that Reagan revolution was essentially a counter-revolution: an attempt to reverse the New Deal restrictions on financial sector and restore its dominance in the society.

Like it was the case in Bolshevism the ideology was developed and forced upon the society by a very small group of players. The key ideas of Casino Capitalism were formulated and implemented by Reagan administration with some contribution by Nixon (the role of rednecks aka "moral majority", "silent majority" as an important part of republican political base, which can be attracted to detrimental to its economic position policies by the smoke screen of false "moral" promises).

It was supported by each president after Reagan (paradoxically with Clinton having the most accomplished record -- he was the best Republican President in a very perverted way). Like in case of Lysenkoism opponents were purged and economic departments of the country were captured by principless careerists ready to tow the party line for personal enrichment. Like in case of Bolshevism, many of those special breed of careerists rotated from Republican Party into Fed and other government structures. A classic example of compulsive careerists that were used by finance sector to promote its interests was Alan Greenspan.

One of the key ideas of Reaganomics was the rejection of the sound approach that there should be a balance between too much government regulation and too little and that government role is important for smooth functioning of the market. In this area Reagan and its followers can be called Anarchists and their idea of 'free market" is a misnomer that masks the idea of "anarchic market" (corporate welfare to be exact -- as it was implemented). Emergence of corporate welfare Queens such as GS, Citi, AIG, are quite natural consequence of Reaganomics.

Reaganomics was a the US flavor of Lysenkoism with economics instead of generics as a target... It can and should be called Economic Lysenkoism.

The most interesting part of Reaganomics was that the power of this ideology made it possible to conditioned "working class" and middle class to act against their own economic interests. It helped to ensure the stagnation of wages during the whole 25 years period, which is close to what Soviets managed to achieve with working class of the USSR, but with much more resentment. This makes it in many ways very similar to Bolshevism as a whole, not just Lysenkoism (extremes meet or in less flattering way: "history repeats, first as a tragedy, then as farce).

Along with the term Reaganimics which implicitly stresses the deregulation, the other close term "market fundamentalism" is often used. Here is how market fundamentalism is defined (Longview Institute):

Market Fundamentalism is the exaggerated faith that when markets are left to operate on their own, they can solve all economic and social problems. Market Fundamentalism has dominated public policy debates in the United States since the 1980's, serving to justify huge Federal tax cuts, dramatic reductions in government regulatory activity, and continued efforts to downsize the government’s civilian programs.

Some level of government coercion (explicit or implicit ) is necessary for proper labeling of any pseudo-scientific theory with the term Lysenkoism. This holds true for both Market Fundamentalism (after all Reagan revolution was "revolution from above" by financial oligarchy and for financial oligarchy and hired guns from academia just do what powers that be expected) and, especially, Supply side economic. The political genius of those ideas is evident. Supply-side economics transformed Republicans from a minority party into a majority party. It allowed them to promise lower taxes, lower deficits and, in effect, unchanged spending. Why should people not like this combination? Who does not like a free lunch?

In this sense the Republican Party played the role very similar to the Communist Party of the USSR.

For example supply side economics was too bizarre and would never survive without explicit government support. This notion is supported by many influential observers. For example, in the following comment for Krugman article (Was the Great Depression a monetary phenomenon):

Market fundamentalism (neoclassical counter-revolution — to be more academic) was more of a political construct than based on sound economic theory. However, it would take a while before its toxic legacy is purged from the economics departments. Indeed, in some universities this might never happen.

Extreme deregulation and extreme regulation (Brezhnev socialism) logically meets and both represent a variant of extremely corrupt society that cannot be sustained for long (using bayonets as in the case of USSR or using reserve currency and increasing leverage as is the case of the USA). In both cases the societies were economically and ideologically bankrupt at the end.

Actually, elements of market fundamentalism looks more like religious doctrine than political philosophy — and that bonds its even closer to Lysenkoism. In both cases critics were silenced with the help of the state. It is interesting to note that Reaganomics was wiped into frenzy after the dissolution of the USSR, the country which gave birth to the term of Lysenkoism. In a way the last act of the USSR was to stick a knife in the back of the USA. As a side note I would like to stress that contrary to critics the USSR was more of a neo-feudal society with elements of slavery under Stalin. Gulag population were essentially state slaves; paradoxically a somewhat similar status is typical for illegal immigrants in industrialized countries. From this point of view this category of "state slaves" is generally more numerous that gulag inmates. Prison population also can be counted along those lines.

It look like either implicitly or explicitly Reagan's bet was on restoration of gilded Age with its dominance of financial oligarchy, an attempt to convert the USA into new Switzerland on the "exorbitant privilege" of dollar status as the global fiat currency.

Casino Capitalism is characterized by political dominance of FIRE industries (finance, insurance, and real estate) and diminished role of other and first of all manufacturing industries. It was also accompanied by the drastic growth of inequality (New Gilded Age). Its defining feature is "the triumph of the trader in assets over the long-term producer" in Martin Wolf's words.

Voodoo economic theories

Attempts of theoretical justification of Economic Lysenkoism fall into several major categories:

Those can be called pillars, cornerstones of Economic Lysenkoism. Each of the deserves as separate article (see links above).

Historically especially important was Chicago school of market fundamentalism promoted pseudo-scientific theories of Milton Freedman (Chicago School) as well as supply side economics.

Collapse of the USSR as ideological justification of Casino Capitalism superiority

The huge boost of Casino Capitalism was given by the collapse of the USSR in 1991. That gave a second life to Reagan era. Collapse of the USSR was used as a vindication of market fundamentalism. After it New Deal regulations were systematically destroyed. Dumped down variants of Nietzsche philosophy like bastardatized variant promoted by Russian emigrant became fashionable with an individual "creative" entrepreneur as a new Übermensch, which stands above morality.

"The word Übermensch [designates] a type of supreme achievement, as opposed to 'modern' men, 'good' men, Christians, and other nihilists ... When I whispered into the ears of some people that they were better off looking for a Cesare Borgia than a Parsifal, they did not believe their ears."[9] Safranski argues that the combination of ruthless warrior pride and artistic brilliance that defined the Italian Renaissance embodied the sense of the Übermensch for Nietzsche. According to Safranski, Nietzsche intended the ultra-aristocratic figure of the Übermensch to serve as a Machiavellian bogeyman of the modern Western middle class and its pseudo-Christian egalitarian value system.[10]

Brainwashing

The instability and volatility of active markets can devalue the economic base of real lives, or in more macro-scenarios can lead to the collapse of national and regional economies. In a very interesting and grotesque way it also incorporates the key element of Brezhnev Socialism in everyday life: huge manipulation of reality by mass media to the extend that Pravda and the USSR First TV Channel look pretty objective in comparison with Fox news and Fox controlled newspapers. Complete poisoning of public discourse and relying on the most ignorant part of the population as the political base (pretty much reminiscent of how Bolsheviks played "Working Class Dictatorship" anti-intellectualism card; it can be called "Rednecks Dictatorship").

The "heroes" or transformation of US economy to casino capitalism model

While transformation to casino capitalism was an objective development, there were specific individuals who were instrumental in killing New Deal regulations. We would single out the following twelve figures:

  1. Ronald Reagan (although first steps toward casino capitalism were made under Carter).
  2. Milton Friedman
  3. Alan Greenspan
  4. Phil Gramm
  5. Robert Rubin
  6. Larry Summers
  7. Helicopter Ben
  8. Bush II
  9. Bill Clinton
  10. Sandy Weill
  11. Jeffrey Sachs with his "shock therapy" racket
  12. Martin Feldstein

There is no question that Reagan and most of his followers (Greenspan, Rubin, Phil Gramm, etc) were rabid radicals blinded by ideology. But they were radicals of quite different color then FDR with disastrous consequences for society. Here again the analogy with Bolsheviks looms strong. In a way, they can be called financial terrorists inflicting huge damage on the nation and I wonder if RICO can be use to prosecute at least some of them.

In Bailout Nation (Chapter 19) Barry Ritholtz tried to rank major players that led country into the current abyss:

1. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan
2. The Federal Reserve (in its role of setting monetary policy)
3. Senator Phil Gramm
4-6. Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings (rating agencies)
7. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
8-9. Mortgage originators and lending banks
10. Congress
11. The Federal Reserve again (in its role as bank regulator)
12. Borrowers and home buyers
13-17. The five biggest Wall Street firms (Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch,Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs) and their CEOs
18. President George W. Bush
19. President Bill Clinton
20. President Ronald Reagan
21-22. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
23-24. Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers
25. FOMC Chief Ben Bernanke
26. Mortgage brokers
27. Appraisers (the dishonest ones)
28. Collateralized debt obligation (CDO) managers (who produced the junk)
29. Institutional investors (pensions, insurance firms, banks, etc.) for
buying the junk
30-31. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC); Office of Thrift
Supervision (OTS)
32. State regulatory agencies
33. Structured investment vehicles (SIVs)/hedge funds for buying the junk

Early Researchers of Casino Capitalism

Hyman Minsky

Hyman Minsky argued that a key mechanism that pushes an economy towards a crisis is the accumulation of debt and the fact the financial system represents a positive feedback loop that tend to destabilize the system, creating ossilations in the form of boom and bust cycles. . He identified 3 types of borrowers that contribute to the accumulation of insolvent debt: Hedge Borrowers; Speculative Borrowers; and Ponzi Borrowers. That corresponds to three stages of Casino Capitalism of increasing fragility:

Growth of debt and increased levarate at some point create predocition of the crash. The stage of business cycle at which those preconditions are met is called "Minsky moment":

A Minsky moment is the point in a credit cycle or business cycle when investors are starting to have cash flow problems due to spiraling debt they have incurred in order to finance speculative or Ponzy investments.

At this point, a major selloff begins due to the fact that no counterparty can be found to bid at the high asking prices previously quoted, leading to a sudden and precipitous collapse in market clearing asset prices and a sharp drop in market liquidity.[1]

After the collapse of the USSR there were a lot of chest thumping of the status of America as a hyper power (American exceptionalism) and the "end of history" where neoliberalism that displaced Brazhvev socialism (and wiped out the socialist camp) was supposed to reign supreme forever.

But this triumphal march of neoliberalism was short lived. The system proved to be self-destructive due to strong positive feedback look from the unregulated financial sector.

But in 2000 the first moment to pay the piper arrives. It was postponed by Iraq war and housing bubble, but reappeared in much more menacing form in 2008. In 2009 the USA experienced a classic Minsky moment with high unemployment rate and economy suppressed by (and taken hostage) by Ponzi finance institutions which threaten the very survival of the capitalist system and way of life. Huge injection freom the state halped to save the economy from disintration, but the price was very high. And  after 2009 the US economy entered the period prologed stagnation, called  the perios of "secular stagnation".

In events preceding 2008 the shift from speculative toward Ponzi finance was speed up by increased corruption of major players.  The drive to redistribute wealth up destroyed any remnants of the rule of the law in the USA. It became a neo-feudal two casts society with "Masters of the Universe" as the upper cast (top 1% ) and "despicables" (lower 80%) as the lower cast. With some comprador strata of professional in between (top 20% or so), who generally support the upper cast.

Loweer cast experienced deterioration of the standard of living, loss of well paying jobs to outsourcing and offshoring and in 2016 revolted electing Trump, who defeated Hillary Clinton, who became a real symbol of the corruption of neoliberal system. 

"As Minsky observed, capitalism is inherently unstable. As each crisis is successfully contained, it encourages greater speculation and risk taking in borrowing and lending. Financial innovation makes it easier to finance various schemes. To a large extent, borrowers and lenders operate on the basis of trial and error. If a behavior is rewarded, it will be repeated. Thus stable periods naturally lead to optimism, to booms, and to increasing fragility.

A financial crisis can lead to asset price deflation and repudiation of debt. A debt deflation, once started, is very difficult to stop. It may not end until balance sheets are largely purged of bad debts, at great loss in financial wealth to the creditors as well as the economy at large."

For more information see

Susan Strange

For Strange the speed at which computerized financial markets work combined with their much larger size and  near-universal pervasiveness is an important qualitative change, that changes the social system into what he called "casino capitalism".  She actually popularized the term "Casino Capitalism" with her important book Casino Capitalism  published in 1997.

One of the side effects of this change is that volatility extends globally. Approximately $1.5 trillion dollars are invested daily as foreign transactions. It is estimated that 98% of these transactions are speculative. In comparison with this casino Las Vegas looks like a aborigine village in comparison with Manhattan.

Notes:

Susan Strange (June 9, 1923 - October 25, 1998) was a British academic who was influential in the field of international political economy. Her most important publications include

For a quarter of a century, Susan Strange was the most influential figure in British international studies. She held a number of key academic posts in Britain, Italy and Japan. From 1978 to 1988, she was Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the first woman to hold this chair and a professorial position in international relations at the LSE. She was a major figure in the professional associations of both Britain and the US: she was an instrumental founding member and first Treasurer of the British International Studies Association (BISA) [1] and the first female President of the International Studies Association (ISA) in 1995.

It was predominantly as a creative scholar and a forceful personality that she exercised her influence. She was almost single-handedly responsible for creating ‘international political economy’ and turning it into one of the two or three central fields within international studies in Britain, and she defended her creation with such robustness, and made such strong claims on its behalf, that her influence was felt—albeit not always welcomed—in most other areas of the discipline. She was one of the earliest and most influential campaigners for the closer integration of the study of international politics and international economics in the English language scholarship.

In the later period of her career, alongside the financial analyses offered in Casino Capitalism (the analysis in which she felt was vindicated by the South-East Asian financial crisis) and Mad Money, Strange's contributions to the field include her characterisation of the four different areas (production, security, finance and knowledge) through which power might be exercised in International Relations. This understanding of what she termed "structural power", formed the basis of her argument against the theory of American Hegemonic Decline in the early eighties.

Her analysis particularly in States and Markets focused on what she called the ‘market-authority nexus’, the see-saw of power between the market and political authority. The overall argument of her work suggested that the global market had gained significant power relative to states since the 1970s.

This led her to dub the Westphalia system Westfailure. She argued that a ‘dangerous gap’ was emerging between territorially-bound nation states and weak or partial intergovernmental cooperation in which markets had a free hand which could be constructive or destructive.

John K. Galbraith

Among important early critiques of casino capitalism was John K. Galbraith. He promoted a pretty novel idea that the major economic function of Governments is to strengthen countervailing powers to achieve some kind of balance between capital and labor.

While unions are far from being perfect and tend to slide into corruption due to "iron law of oligarchy" when thier management stop representing interests of thwe worksers and start to reprreesnt interest of thier own narry strate of fat cats,  there were the only sizable countewailing power that made the New Seal possible.

His prediction proved to be wrong as government actually represent the capitalist class and is not that interested in creating this balance, which was convincingly demonstrated by Thatcher and Reagan.  Both Britain and the USA start sliding into a new form of corporations, called neoliberalism which actually does not allocate any space for uniot at the negotiation table and strive for their complete elimination and "atomization" of work force, when each invididual is up to himself to find employment and group solidarity is suppressed by instilling neoliberal ideology in schools and universitites as well as via MSM (which in the USA surprisingly never were allowed to use the work neoliberlaism, as if it represents some secret Masonic cult)

And it does not look like there is any renewed support of unions right  (including important right to organize) at the  post subprime/derivatives/shadow_banking crisis stage of neoliberalism, when neoliberal ideology became sufficiently discredited to allow rise of populist politicians such as Trump. 

Still John K. Galbraith critique of primitive market fundamentalism of Milton Freedman and the whole pseudoscience of neoclassical economics which like Marxist political economy is one of there pillars of neoliberalism (along with Randism as philosophy and Neoconservatism or "Trotskyism for the rich" in politics), still has its value today. As Joseph Stiglitz noted (CSMonitor, Dec 28, 2006):

...In many ways, Galbraith was a more critical observer of economic reality.

Driven to understand market realities

Galbraith's vivid depictions of the good, bad, and ugly of American capitalism remain a sorely needed reminder that all is not quite as perfect as the perfect market models – with their perfect competition, perfect information, and perfectly rational consumers – upon which so much of Friedman's analysis depended.

Galbraith, who cut his teeth studying agricultural economics, strove to understand the world as it was, with all the problems of unemployment and market power that simplistic models of competitive markets ignore. In those models, unemployment didn't exist. Galbraith knew that made them fatally flawed

... ... ...

In his early research, Galbraith attempted to explain what had brought on the Great Crash of 1929 – including the role of the stock market's speculative greed fed by (what would today be called) irrational exuberance. Friedman ignored speculation and the failure of the labor market as he focused on the failures of the Federal Reserve. To Friedman, government was the problem, not the solution.

What Galbraith understood, and what later researchers (including this author) have proved, is that Adam Smith's "invisible hand" – the notion that the individual pursuit of maximum profit guides capitalist markets to efficiency – is so invisible because, quite often, it's just not there. Unfettered markets often produce too much of some things, such as pollution, and too little of other things, such as basic research. As Bruce Greenwald and I have shown, whenever information is imperfect – that is, always – markets are inefficient; hence the need for government action.

Galbraith reminded us that what made the economy work so well was not an invisible hand but countervailing powers. He had the misfortune of articulating these ideas before the mathematical models of game theory were sufficiently developed to give them expression. The good news is that today, more attention is being devoted to developing models of these bargaining relationships, and to complex, dynamic models of economic fluctuations in which speculation may play a central role.

Government's role

While Friedman never really appreciated the limitations of the market, he was a forceful critic of government. Yet history shows that in every successful country, the government had played an important role. Yes, governments sometimes fail, but unfettered markets are a certain prescription for failure. Galbraith made this case better than most.

Galbraith knew, too, that people aren't just rational economic actors, but consumers, contending with advertising, political persuasion, and social pressures. It was because of his close touch with reality that he had such influence on economic policymaking, especially during the Kennedy-Johnson years.

Galbraith's penetrating insights into the nature of capitalism – as it is lived, not as it is theorized in simplistic models – has enhanced our understanding of the market economy. He has left an intellectual legacy for generations to come. And he has left a gap in our intellectual life: Who will stand up against the economics establishment to articulate an economic vision that is both in touch with reality and comprehensible to ordinary citizens?

Galbraith was vindicated in his belief that the only economics possible is political economics and that government is always an agent of dominant class. As such it always pursue poklitics favorable to this class, just making marginal efforts to prevent the open revolt of lower classes.

In 2008 neoliberal economist such as Krugman and (to a lesse extent) Stiglitz both have eaten humble pie, because according to neoclassical economics the crises should not have happened. Both should now reread Galbraith's The Great Crash: 1929 (see also extracts).  Krugman also need to shred his previous writings with this mathiness execises of using differential equations to justify the dominance of financial oligarchy,  and eat them with borsch ;-)

BTW it is interesting that in 1996 neoliberal stooge Paul Krugman criticized limitations of Galbright vision in the following way:

To be both a liberal and a good economist you must have a certain sense of the tragic--that is, you must understand that not all goals can be attained, that life is a matter of painful tradeoffs. You must want to help the poor, but understand that welfare can encourage dependency. You must want to protect those who lose their jobs, but admit that generous unemployment benefits can raise the long-term rate of unemployment. You must be willing to tax the affluent to help those in need, but accept that too high a rate of taxation can discourage investment and innovation.

To the free-market conservative, these are all arguments for government to do nothing, to accept whatever level of poverty and insecurity the market happens to produce. A serious liberal does not reply to such conservatives by denying that there are any trade-offs at all; he insists, rather, that some trade-offs are worth making, that helping the poor and protecting the unlucky may have costs but will ultimately make for a better society.

The revelation one gets from reading John Kenneth Galbraith's The Good Society is that Galbraith--who is one of the world's most celebrated intellectuals, and whom one would expect to have a deeper appreciation of the complexity of the human condition than a mere technical economist would -- lacks this tragic sense. Galbraith's vision of the economy is one without shadows, in which what is good for social justice always turns out to have no unfavorable side effects. If this vision is typical of liberal intellectuals, the ineffectuality of the tribe is not an accident: It stems from a deep-seated unwillingness to face up to uncomfortable reality.

Similar limited understanding of Galbright is demonstrated in London Times (cited from comment to Economist's View blog) :

Some motifs of Galbraith’s work have entered popular consciousness. Galbraith wrote of private opulence amid public squalor, illustrating it with a memorable metaphor of a family that travels by extravagant private car to picnic by a polluted river.

Yet while arguing for increased public expenditure on welfare, Galbraith gave scant attention to the limits of that approach. His writings perpetuate a debilitating weakness of modern liberalism: a reluctance to acknowledge that resources are scarce.

In Galbraith’s scheme, said Herbert Stein, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers: “The American people were only asked whether they wanted cleaner air and water . . . The answers to such questions seemed obvious — but they were not the right questions.”

Soros contribution to the understanding of growth of financial sector as source of new, global economic instability

This idea of "casino capitalism" as a driver of financial instability was developed further in the book The Crisis of Global Capitalism by prominent financial speculator and staunch neoliberal George Soros (1998), who after Minsky highlights the potential for disequilibrium in the financial system, and the inability of non-market sectors to regulate markets.

the latter is a prominant feature of Casino Capitalism, which can be defined as economic system were financial barons run amok.

Although the insights of the Soros critique of global capitalism are scarcely new, they were articulated with such candor and accuracy that the book made a significant impact. The following is a sampling of Soros' insights.
  1. Unregulated financial markets are inherently unstable. There is nothing new in this statement. It is just a repetition of what Keynes and Minsky said much more eloquently. But Soros made in important observation about the source of constant disequilibrium of markets under neoliberalism, the observation which permitted for him to achieve spectacular success as a financial speculator.  Soros observes that, contrary to conventional economic theory, financial markets are not driven toward a relatively stable and rational price by the objective value assessment of such things as the soundness of a company's management, products, or record of profitability. Rather they are constantly driven away from equilibrium by the momentum of self-fulfilling expectations -- a rising stock price attracts buyers who further raise the price-to the point of collapse. The recent massive inflation and subsequent collapse in the price of the shares of unprofitable dot-com companies illustrates Soros' point.

    Bank lending also contributes to the instability, because the price of real and financial assets is set in part by their collateral value. The higher their market price rises the larger the loans banks are willing to make to their buyers to bid up prices. When the bubble bursts, the value of the assets plummets below the amount of the money borrowed against them. This forces banks to call their loans and cut back on the lending, which depresses asset prices and dries up the money supply. The economy then tanks-until credit worthiness is restored and a new boom phase begins.

  2. Financial markets are amoral by definition. Following Napoleon Bonaparte ("Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain. "), Soros stressed that there is no meaningful place for individual moral behavior of financial oligarchy in the context of financial markets, because such behavior has no consequences for them other than to reduce the financial return of  a more  ethical actor.  In other words modern finance is breeding ground for ruthless sociopath, which we really observed during 2008.

    When I bought shares in Lockheed and Northrop after the managements were indicted for bribery, I helped sustain the price of their stocks. When I sold sterling short in 1992, the Bank of England was on the other side of my transactions, and I was in effect taking money out of the pockets of British taxpayers. But if I had tried to take social consequences into account, it would have thrown off my risk-reward calculation, and my profits would have been reduced.

    Soros argues that if he had not bought Lockheed and Northrop, then somebody else would have, and Britain would have devalued sterling no matter what he did. "Bringing my social conscience into the decision-making process would make no difference in the real world; but it may adversely affect my own results." One can challenge the Soros claim that such behavior is amoral rather than immoral, but his basic argument is accurate. His understanding that it is futile to look to individual morality as the solution to the excesses of financial markets is all too accurate.

  3. Corporate employees are duty-bound to serve only corporate financial interests. As such financial institution are closely related to organized crime and top layers of managers are essentially institualized criminals. Soros writes:

    Publicly owned companies are single-purpose organizations-their purpose is to make money. The tougher the competition, the less they can afford to deviate. Those in charge may be well-intentioned and upright citizens, but their room for maneuver is strictly circumscribed by the position they occupy.

     They are duty-bound to uphold the interests of the company. If they think that cigarettes are unhealthy or that fostering civil war to obtain mining concessions is unconscionable, they ought to quit their jobs. Their place will be taken by people who are willing to carry on.

    Though not specifically mentioned by Soros, this is why corporations were in the past (at least partially) excluded from the political processes (although it was never complete and it is well known fact that Crusades and Siege of Constantinople (1204) were financed by Genoese bankers upset by lack of access to the Byzantium markets). But at least formally other parts of the society can define their goals and the rules of the marketplace and suppress excessive appetities of banker, if nessesary by brute force.  Financial oligarchy is incapable of distinguishing between private corporate interests and broader public interests. And that situation became even worse with the the global dominance of corporatism in the form of neoliberalism.

  4. Financial markets are oblivious to externalities and are infected by "short-termism". Specifically the fact that a strategy or policy produces economic returns in the short-term does not mean the long-term results will be beneficial. The focus of financial markets is on short-term individual gain to the exclusion of both social and longer-term consequences. The fact that particular policies and strategies are effective in producing short-term financial returns does not mean they are more generally beneficial or desirable. Soros offers the example that running up a budget or trade deficit "feels good while it lasts, but there can be hell to pay later."

  5. The relationship between the center and the periphery of the capitalist system is profoundly unequal. The powerful countries at the center of the capitalist system are both wealthier and more stable than countries at the periphery because control of the financial system and ownership of productive assets allows them to shape economic and political affairs to their benefit.

    "Foreign ownership of capital deprives peripheral countries of autonomy and often hinders the development of democratic institutions. The international flow of capital is subject to catastrophic interruptions."

    In times of uncertainty financial capital tends to return to its country of origin, thus depriving countries at the periphery of the financial liquidity necessary to the function of monetized economies. "The center's most important feature is that it controls its own economic policies and holds in its hands the economic destinies of periphery countries."

  6. In the capitalist system greed (aka "monetary values") tend to displace social values in sectors where this is destructive to important public interests. Soros writes:

    Monetary values [under neoliberalism] have usurped the role of intrinsic values, and markets have come to dominate spheres of existence where they do not properly belong.

    Law and medicine, politics, education, science, the arts, even personal relations-achievements or qualities that ought to be valued for their own sake are converted into monetary terms; they are judged by the money they fetch rather than their intrinsic value."

    Because financial "capital is free to go where most rewarded, countries vie to attract and retain capital, and if they are to succeed they must give precedence to the requirements of international capital over other social objectives.

Ha-Joon Chang

One notable later researcher of casino capitalism, especially "free market" fundamentalism propaganda Cambridge University researcher Ha-Joon Chang. In 2011 he published a fascinating book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism. Here is a Youtube lecture at LSE (23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism  ). We will reproduce  two Amazon reviews that shed some light at the key ideas of the book:

William Podmore

Ha-Joon Chang, Reader in the Political Economy of Development at Cambridge University, has written a fascinating book on capitalism's failings. He also wrote the brilliant Bad Samaritans. Martin Wolf of the Financial Times says he is `probably the world's most effective critic of globalization'.

Chang takes on the free-marketers' dogmas and proposes ideas like

He notes that the USA does not have the world's highest living standard. Norway, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden and the USA, in that order, had the highest incomes per head. On income per hours worked, the USA comes eighth, after Luxemburg, Norway, France, Ireland, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands. Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, Finland and Sweden have the highest industrial output per person.

Free-market politicians, economists and media have pushed policies of de-regulation and pursuit of short-term profits, causing less growth, more inequality, more job insecurity and more frequent crises. Britain's growth rate in income per person per year was 2.4 per cent in the 1960s-70s and 1.7 per cent 1990-2009. Rich countries grew by 3 per cent in the 1960s-70s and 1.4 per cent 1980-2009. Developing countries grew by 3 per cent in the 1960s-70s and 2.6 per cent 1980-2009. Latin America grew by 3.1 per cent in the 1960s-70s and 1.1 per cent 1980-2009, and Sub-Saharan Africa by 1.6 per cent in the 1960s-70s and 0.2 per cent 1990-2009. The world economy grew by 3.2 per cent in the 1960s-70s and 1.4 per cent 1990-2009.

So, across the world, countries did far better before Thatcher and Reagan's `free-market revolution'. Making the rich richer made the rest of us poorer, cutting economies' growth rates, and investment as a share of national output, in all the G7 countries.

Chang shows how free trade is not the way to grow and points out that the USA was the world's most protectionist country during its phase of ascendancy, from the 1830s to the 1940s, and that Britain was one of world's the most protectionist countries during its rise, from the 1720s to the 1850s.

He shows how immigration controls keep First World wages up; they determine wages more than any other factor. Weakening those controls, as the EU demands, lowers wages.

He challenges the conventional wisdom that we must cut spending to cut the deficit. Instead, we need controls capital, on mergers and acquisitions, and on financial products. We need the welfare state, industrial policy, and huge investment in industry, infrastructure, worker training and R&D.

As Chang points out, "Even though financial investments can drive growth for a while, such growth cannot be sustained, as those investments have to be ultimately backed up by viable long-term investments in real sector activities, as so vividly shown by the 2008 financial crisis."

This book is a commonsense, evidence-based approach to economic life, which we should urge all our friends and colleagues to read.

Loyd E. Eskildson

The 2008 'Great Recession' demands re-examination of prevailing economic thought - the dominant paradigm (post 1970's conservative free-market capitalism) not only failed to predict the crisis, but also said it couldn't occur in today's free markets, thanks to Adam Smith's 'invisible hand.' Ha-Joon Chang provides that re-examination in his "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism." Turns out that the reason Adam Smith's hand was not visible is that it wasn't there. Chang, economics professor at the University of Cambridge, is no enemy of capitalism, though he contends its current conservative version should be made better. Conventional wisdom tells us that left alone, markets produce the most efficient and just outcomes - 'efficient' because businesses and individuals know best how to utilize their resources, and 'just' because they are rewarded according to their productivity. Following this advice, countries have deregulated businesses, reduced taxes and welfare, and adopted free trade. The results, per Chang, has been the opposite of what was promised - slower growth and rising inequality, often masked by rising credit expansion and increased working hours. Alternatively, developing Asian countries that grew fast did so following a different version of capitalism, though to be fair China's version to-date has also produced much greater inequality. The following summarizes some of Chang's points:

  1. "There is no such thing as a free market" - we already have hygiene standards in restaurants, ban child labor, pollution, narcotics, bribery, and dangerous workplaces, require licenses for professions such as doctors, lawyers, and brokers, and limit immigration. In 2008, the U.S. used at least $700 billion of taxpayers' money to buy up toxic assets, justified by President Bush on the grounds that it was a necessary state intervention consistent with free-market capitalism. Chang's conclusion - free-marketers contending that a certain regulation should not be introduced because it would restrict market freedom are simply expressing political opinions, not economic facts or laws.
  2. "Companies should not be run in the interest of their owners." Shareholders are the most mobile of corporate stakeholders, often holding ownership for but a fraction of a second (high-frequency trading represents 70% of today's trading). Shareholders prefer corporate strategies that maximize short-term profits and dividends, usually at the cost of long-term investments. (This often also includes added leverage and risk, and reliance on socializing risk via 'too big to fail' status, and relying on 'the Greenspan put.') Chang adds that corporate limited liability, while a boon to capital accumulation and technological progress, when combined with professional managers instead of entrepreneurs owning a large chunk (e.g.. Ford, Edison, Carnegie) and public shares with smaller voting rights (typically limited to 10%), allows professional managers to maximize their own prestige via sales growth and prestige projects instead of maximizing profits. Another negative long-term outcome driven by shareholders is increased share buybacks (less than 5% of profits until the early 1980s, 90% in 2007, and 280% in 2008) - one economist estimates that had GM not spent $20.4 billion on buybacks between 1986 and 2002 it could have prevented its 2009 bankruptcy. Short-term stockholder perspectives have also brought large-scale layoffs from off-shoring. Governments of other countries encourage longer-term thinking by holding large shares in key enterprises (China Mobile, Renault, Volkswagen), providing greater worker representation (Germany's supervisory boards), and cross-shareholding among friendly companies (Japan's Toyota and its suppliers).
  3. "Free-market policies rarely make poor countries rich." With a few exceptions, all of today's rich countries, including Britain and the U.S., reached that status through protectionism, subsidies, and other policies that they and their IMF, WTO, and World Bank now advise developing nations not to adopt. Free-market economists usually respond that the U.S. succeeded despite, not because of, protectionism. The problem with that explanation is the number of other nations paralleling the early growth strategy of the U.S. and Britain (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan), and the fact that apparent exceptions (Hong Kong, Switzerland, The Netherlands) did so by ignoring foreign patents (a free-market 'no-no'). Chang believes the 'official historians' of capitalism have been very successful re-writing its history, akin to someone trying to 'kick away the ladder' with which they had climbed to the top. He also points out that developing nations that stick to their Ricardian 'comparative advantage,' per the conservatives prescription, condemn themselves to their economic status quo.
  4. "We do not live in a post-industrial age." Most of the fall in manufacturing's share of total output is not due to a fall in the quantity of manufactured goods, but due to the fall in their prices relative to those for services, caused by their faster productivity growth. A small part of deindustrialization is due to outsourcing of some 'manufacturing' activities that used to be provided in-house - e.g.. catering and cleaning. Those advising the newly developing nations to skip manufacturing and go directly to providing services forget that many services mainly serve manufacturing firms (finance, R&D, design), and that since services are harder to export, such an approach will create balance-of-payment problems. (Chang's preceding points directly contradict David Ricardo's law of comparative advantage - a fundamental free market precept. Chang's example of how Korea built Pohang Steel into a strong economic producer, despite lacking experienced managers and natural resources, is another.)
  5. "The U.S. does not have the highest living standard in the world." True, the average U.S. citizen has greater command over goods and services than his counterpart in almost any other country, but this is due to higher immigration, poorer employment conditions, and working longer hours for many vs. their foreign counterparts. The U.S. also has poorer health indicators and worse crime statistics. We do have the world's second highest income per capita - Luxemburg's higher, but measured in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) the U.S. ranks eighth. (The U.S. doesn't have the fastest growing economy either - China is predicted to pass the U.S. in PPP this coming decade.) Chang's point here is that we should stop assuming the U.S. provides the best economic model. (This is already occurring - the World Bank's chief economist, Justin Lin, comes from China.)
  6. "Governments can pick winners." Chang cites examples of how the Korean government built world-class producers of steel (POSCO), shipbuilding (Hyundai), and electronics (LG), despite lacking raw materials or experience for those sectors. True, major government failures have occurred - Europe's Concorde, Indonesia's aircraft industry, Korea's promotion of aluminum smelting, and Japan's effort to have Nissan take over Honda; industry, however, has also failed - e.g.. the AOL-Time Warner merger, and the Daimler-Chrysler merger. Austria, China, Finland, France, Japan, Norway, Singapore (in numerous other areas), and Taiwan have also done quite well with government-picked winners. Another problem is that business and national interests sometimes clash - e.g.. American firms' massive outsourcing has undermined the national interest of maintaining full employment. (However, greater unbiased U.S. government involvement would be difficult due to the 10,000+ corporate lobbyists and billions in corporate campaign donations - $500 million alone from big oil in 2009-10.) Also interesting to Chang is how conservative free marketing bankers in the U.S. lined up for mammoth low-cost loans from the Federal Reserve at the beginning of the Great Recession. Government planning allows minimizing excess capacity, maximizing learning-curve economies and economies of scale and scope; operational performance is enhanced by also forcing government-owned or supported firms into international competition. Government intervention (loans, tariffs, subsidies, prohibiting exports of needed raw materials, building infrastructure) are necessary for emerging economies to move into more sophisticated sectors.
  7. "Making rich people richer doesn't make the rest of us richer." 'Trickle-down' economics is based on the belief that the poor maximize current consumption, while the rich, left to themselves, mostly invest. However, the years 1950-1973 saw the highest-ever growth rates in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, despite increased taxation of the rich. Before the 'Golden Age,' per capita income grew at 1-1.5%/year; during the Golden Age it grew at 2-3% in the U.S. Since then, tax cuts for the rich and financial deregulation have allowed greater paychecks for top managers and financiers, and between 1979 and 2006 the top 0.1% increased their share of national income from 3.5% to 11.6%. The result - investment as a ratio of national output has fallen in all rich economies and the pace at which the total economic pie grew decreased.
  8. "U.S. managers are over-priced." First, relative to their predecessors (about 10X those in the 1960s; now 300-400X the average worker), despite the latter having run companies more successfully, in relative terms. Second, compared to counterparts in other rich countries - up to 20X. (Third, compared to counterparts in developing nations - e.g.. JPMorgan Chase, world's 4th largest bank, paid its CEO $19.6 million in 2008, vs. the CEO of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's largest, being paid $234,700. Read more ›

Willem Buiter and the idea of long term stagnation

Willem Buiter in his FT article After the Crisis Macro Imbalance, Credibility and Reserve-Currency suggested that after financial crisis of 2008 there might be very long a painful deleveraging period aka secular stagnation.  He was right.

In short each financial crisis make recovery longer and longer. That's why the US will most likely face a long period of stagnation: the digestion of huge excessive debt of the private sector might well take a decade:

Since the excess of debt is relative to income and GDP, the lower the rate of growth, the longer the required period of digestion. This explains for the paradox of trying to stimulate consumption when the economy faces a monumental crisis provoked exactly by excessive debt and excessive consumption. A cartoon line best captured the spirit of it: "country addicted to speculative bubbles desperately searches a new bubble to invest in. "

... ... ...

The roots of the crisis are major international macroeconomic imbalances. Despite the fact that the excesses of the financial system were instrumental to lead these imbalances further than otherwise possible, insufficient regulation should not be viewed as the main factor behind the crisis. The expenditure of central countries, spinned by all sort of financial innovations created by a globalized financial system, was the engine of world growth. When debt became clearly excessive in central countries and the debt-financed expenditure cycle came to an end, the ensuing crisis paralyzed the world economy. With the lesson of 1929 well assimilated, American monetary policy became aggressively expansionist. The Fed inundated the economy with money and credit, in the attempt to avoid a deep depression. Even if successful, the economies of the US and the other central countries, given the burden of excessive debt, are likely to remain stagnant under the threat of deflation for the coming years. The assumption of troubled assets by the public sector, in order to avoid the collapse of the financial system, might succeed, but at the cost of a major increase in public debt. Fiscal policy is not efficient to restart the economy when the private sector remains paralyzed by excessive debt. Even if a coordinated effort to increase public expenditure is successful, the central economies will remain stagnant for as long as the excessive indebtedness of the private sector persists. The period of digestion of excess debt will be longer than the usual recessive cycle. Since imports represent a drain in the effort to reanimate domestic demand through public expenditure, while exports, on the contrary, contribute to the recovery of internal demand, the temptation to central economies to also adopt a protectionist stance will be strong.

Willem Buiter also defined ‘cognitive regulatory capture’ which existed during the Greenspan years and when the Fed were just an arm of Wall Street.

This regulatory capture has resulted in an excess sensitivity of the Fed to financial market and financial sector concerns and fears and in an overestimation of the strength of the link between financial market turmoil and financial sector deleveraging and capital losses on the one hand, and the stability and prosperity of the wider economy on the other hand. The paper gives five examples of recent behavior by the Fed that are most readily rationalized with the assumption of regulatory capture. The abstract of the paper follows next. The latest version of the entire enchilada can be found here. Future revisions will also be found there.

Joseph Stiglitz on 5 steps to Casino Capitalism

Stiglitz is very unene and early Striglist was actually defender of neoliberalism (aka casino capitalism). Later he became a critic. In his 2008 Vanity Fair article Capitalist Fools Stiglitz identifies five key steps in transformation of American capitalism to Casino Capitalism (moments of failure as he called them):

No. 1: Reagan Fires Fed Chairman Volcker and Replaces Him With Greenspan in 1987:

Volcker also understood that financial markets need to be regulated. Reagan wanted someone who did not believe any such thing, and he found him in a devotee of the objectivist philosopher and free-market zealot Ayn Rand.

snip

If you appoint an anti-regulator as your enforcer, you know what kind of enforcement you’ll get. A flood of liquidity combined with the failed levees of regulation proved disastrous.

Greenspan presided over not one but two financial bubbles.

  1. Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 under Bill Clinton (Glass-Steagall was a depression-era reform that separated commercial and investment banks)

I had opposed repeal of Glass-Steagall. The proponents said, in effect, Trust us: we will create Chinese walls to make sure that the problems of the past do not recur. As an economist, I certainly possessed a healthy degree of trust, trust in the power of economic incentives to bend human behavior toward self-interest—toward short-term self-interest, at any rate, rather than Tocqueville’s "self interest rightly understood."

Stiglitz also refers to a 2004 decision by the SEC "to allow big investment banks to increase their debt-to-capital ratio (from 12:1 to 30:1, or higher) so that they could buy more mortgage-backed securities, inflating the housing bubble in the process."

Once more, it was deregulation run amuck, and few even noticed.

  1. The Bush tax cuts, both on income and capital gains

The Bush administration was providing an open invitation to excessive borrowing and lending—not that American consumers needed any more encouragement.

  1. Faking the Numbers

Here he refers to bad accounting, the failure to address problems with stock options, and the incentive structures of ratings agencies like Moodys that led them to give high ratings to toxic assets.

  1. Paulson and the Flawed Bailout

Valuable time was wasted as Paulson pushed his own plan, "cash for trash," buying up the bad assets and putting the risk onto American taxpayers. When he finally abandoned it, providing banks with money they needed, he did it in a way that not only cheated America’s taxpayers but failed to ensure that the banks would use the money to re-start lending. He even allowed the banks to pour out money to their shareholders as taxpayers were pouring money into the banks.

Stiglitz concludes:

The truth is most of the individual mistakes boil down to just one: a belief that markets are self-adjusting and that the role of government should be minimal. Looking back at that belief during hearings this fall on Capitol Hill, Alan Greenspan said out loud, "I have found a flaw." Congressman Henry Waxman pushed him, responding, "In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right; it was not working." "Absolutely, precisely," Greenspan said. The embrace by America—and much of the rest of the world—of this flawed economic philosophy made it inevitable that we would eventually arrive at the place we are today.

The flawed economic philosophy brought by Reagan, and embraced by so many, brought us to this day. Ideas have consequences, especially when we stop empirically testing them. Republican economics have created great pain to America and harmed our national interest.

The flaw that Greenspan found was always there: self-regulation does not work. As Stiglitz said:

As an economist, I certainly possessed a healthy degree of trust, trust in the power of economic incentives to bend human behavior toward self-interest — toward short-term self-interest

Yes, for all their claims to science, the premise conflicts with tendencies of people.

This is the real legacy of Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan:

The whole scheme was kick-started under Ronald Reagan. Between his tax cuts for the rich and the Greenspan Commission’s orchestrated Social Security heist, working Americans lost out in a generational wealth transfer shift now exceeding $1 trillion annually from 90 million working class households to for-profit corporations and the richest 1% of the population. It created an unprecedented wealth disparity that continues to grow, shames the nation and is destroying the bedrock middle class without which democracy can’t survive.

Greenspan helped orchestrate it with economist Ravi Batra calling his economics "Greenomics" in his 2005 book "Greenspan’s Fraud." It "turns out to be Greedomics" advocating anti-trust laws, regulations and social services be ended so "nothing....interfere(s) with business greed and the pursuit of profits."

 Conclusions: From Animal Farm To Animal House

Instead of conclusion I will reproduce the post from Sudden Debt (March 17, 2008):

In Orwell's Animal Farm all animals are equal - except that some are more equal than others. All in the spirit of law, order and the proper functioning of society, of course. Fittingly, the animals that have chosen this role by themselves and for themselves, are the pigs.

Cut to US financial markets today. After years of swinish behavior more reminiscent of Animal House than anything else, the pigs are threatening to destroy the entire farm. As if it wasn't enough that they devoured all the "free market" food available and inundated the world with their excreta, they now wish to be put on the public trough. Truly, some businessmen believe they are more equal than others.

But do not blame the pigs; they are expected to act as swine nature dictates. The fault lies entirely with the farmers, those authorities entrusted by the people to oversee the farm because they supposedly knew better. While the pigs were rampaging and tearing the place apart, they were assuring us all that farms function best when animals are free to do as they please, guided solely by invisible hooves. No regulation, no oversight, no common sense. Oh yes, and pigs fly..

So what is to be done now? Two things:

In other words, the focus from now on should be on adding value by means of work and savings (capital formation), instead of inflating assets and borrowing.

Furthermore, we should realize that in a world already inhabited by close to 7 billion people and beset by resource depletion and environmental degradation, defending growth for growth's sake is a losing proposition. The wheels are already wobbling on the Permagrowth model; pumping harder on the accelerator is not going to make it go any faster and will likely result in a fatal crash.

Debt, and finance in general, should be left to re-size downwards to a level that better reflects the carrying capacity of our world. The Fed's current actions are shortsighted and "conservative" in the worst interpretation of the words: they are designed to artificially maintain debt at levels that myopically projects growth as far as the eye can see.

What level of resizing may be necessary? I hope not as much as at Bear Stearns, which got itself bought by Morgan at buzz-saw prices: $2 per share represents a 98% discount from its $84 book value. What scares me, though, is the statement by Morgan's CFO, who said the price reflected the risk the firm was taking, even though he was comfortable with the valuation of assets in Bear's books. It "...gives us the flexibility and margin of error that's appropriate given the speed at which the transaction came together", he said.

If it takes a 98% discount and the explicit guarantee of the Fed for a large portion of assets to buy one of the largest investment banks in the world, where should all other financial firms be trading at? ....Hello? Anyone? Is that a great big silence I hear, or the sound of credit imploding into a vacuum?


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

[Jan 21, 2018] Wells that they drilled last year will produce the biggest rates of decline, well over 50 percent. So, how many wells would need to be completed to increase production over a million barrels in 2018?

Jan 21, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

John x Ignored says: 01/18/2018 at 9:12 pm

Will be interesting to see US shale production in response to increasing frac hits, increasing costs, mounting debt wall. These are all legitimate issues which IEA seems to overlook when issuing rosy predictions. Three Stooges thought they could repair a hole in a pair of pants by cutting it out .same logic as IEA.
Guym x Ignored says: 01/19/2018 at 5:20 pm
Yeah, it's those items and more. The biggest they overlook is declines from production. The past two years, they have concentrated in sweet spots, to keep their chins above water. In doing so, they have miraculously brought production back up to 2015 highs, and not much more, although the EIA is reporting imaginary oil. Underneath all that production, wells are declining at a rapid rate. The biggest rates are what they drilled last year. Those wells will produce less than half of what they produced last year. So, how many wells would need to be completed to increase production over a million barrels in 2018? More than current capacity, that's for sure.
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 01/19/2018 at 6:40 pm
Hi Guym,

I agree.

Although tight oil output has increased at an annual rate of close to 1000 kb/d over the past 12 months (Dec 2016 to Nov 2017), I doubt that rate of increase will continue, probably about half that unless oil prices rise more than I expect (and I expect we might get to $85/b by Jan 2019).

Guym x Ignored says: 01/19/2018 at 7:48 pm
I'd say it's a crap shoot as to whether it goes up, or down with about the same number of completions in 2018 as 2017. Ok, let's say we have more completions, I still can't say it will go up 500k barrels. While people place statistics on depletion rates, I haven't seen a well, yet, that can comprehend statistics. As a matter of fact, they defy statistics.
There are 180k producing wells in Texas. There were about 5400 completions in 2017. That's about 3% of total producing wells.

[Jan 21, 2018] "frack cocaine" and oil price swings

Jan 20, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Stephen Hren: 01/20/2018 at 10:55 am

I believe the oil price will be extremely volatile over the coming decade. There are major developments in both the supply and demand for oil that are very independent of each other and unlikely to move in tandem, with the likely result that there will be ebbs and flows of both supply and demand that have little relationship to one another, causing wild price swings.

I would summarize these as follows:

SUPPLY: The development of medium- and long-term supply appears to be severely curtailed by fracking and a limited supply of suitable sites for new exploration. CEOs are likely worried that any developments will not be profitable because shale will overproduce and knock down prices again. Until a clear picture of this phenomenon is apparent, it will curtail the willingness of oil companies to tackle bigger and more expensive projects. Possible new medium-term supply appears to exist in Mexico's Gulf, Guyana, South China Sea, off-shore Brazil, Canadian Tar Sands, possibly the Arctic. The problem with developing these resources is fracking.

Fracking leads to a quick hit of oil, based primarily on debt infusion, that quickly dissipates – hence I like the term "frack cocaine". It prioritizes rapid expansion of oil supply in the short term to the detriment of medium and long term investments. What Wall Street giveth, Wall Street can also taketh away. The shale oil industry has a similar profile to developing countries like Mexico in 1994 and Argentina in 2005. The flow of money can halt abruptly, and the consequences could be disastrous. The short-term oil will quickly go away, but the investments for serious longer term oil supply will likely be too little, possibly much too little.

Political trouble will likely lead to disruptions in Venezuela, Nigeria, and Libya. The cold war between Iran and KSA will likely remain cold, but if proxy wars get out of hand, massive oil supply disruptions will likely ensue.

DEMAND: The outlook for short and medium term demand is quite good. Global growth is strong, and entrenched systems of car production that favor ICEs will continue. Longer term, EVs and self-driving EVs in terms of taxi systems pose serious threats (perhaps least of all to the US, where distances tend to be longer, density is lower, and gas taxes are cheapest). GM is deploying self-driving cars as a taxi service next year based on the EV Bolt. Developing countries have a big incentive to embrace this technology for their populations: small diesel engines that primarily power scooters and taxis and larger bus engines lead to horrible air pollution, and electricity can be generated within borders rather than imported (whether by coal, gas, wind or solar doesn't matter, so far as oil demand is concerned). Europe's love affair with diesel cars is over and gas taxes (and parking prices) remain high, making EVs and EV-based taxi services very appealing. Battery technology is about to enter a new wave, with solid-state lithium ion batteries that are basically dendrite-free (hence much longer life), super-safe, easier to charge, and 2-3 times the range of current technologies now in production. Specifically I am looking at Toyota, who has promised such a vehicle by 2022. All other manufacturers better be able to match Toyota by then or very soon after, or they will leave everyone in the dust just like they did with hybrids. Lithium-based batteries and lithium itself could see major price swings based on this rapid increase in demand.

Or, of course, the global economy could fall off a cliff at any moment. Fwiw, I see a price range for oil over the next decade as between $25-$250, with very little pattern to its rise and fall. Volatility will be key. Oil may peak and fall several times based on fracking and other short-term trends – a very bumpy plateau. I reckon by 2030 the peak in oil will be obvious, although some will call it from supply while others will call it from demand, based on their preferences. By that date, little to no investment in oil will likley make financial sense, and it will begin to whither away as a global industry. This will be from a combination of reduction in demand due to an EV technological wave that will unstoppable by then, and political collapse that occurs in the interim in countries heavily depending on exporting or importing oil.

Should be an interesting decade!

[Jan 21, 2018] Possible Seneca cliff of oil production due to technological enhancements of extraction of oil from depleting fields. And first of all KSA

Notable quotes:
"... Major oil producing countries, Saudi Arabia chief among them, are using technology to stave off production declines. These YouTube videos are a perfect example of the extreme lengths being employed to continue production: ..."
"... When the decline kicks in, these technologies will ensure that the cliff will be steeper. While I believe we are living at the absolute peak of world production and that decline will kick in soon, I'm not so concerned about specific predictions. It will happen soon enough and when it does the impact will be severe. ..."
"... I think of this problem in personal terms -- my son was born in 2000. He will live to see a world of diminishing oil production (as well as sea level rise, resource conflicts, and many other problems). Does anyone doubt that by the time he is 30 (2030) world oil production will be in decline? Does anyone doubt by the time he is 50 (2050) the world will be a drastically different place than it is today? I have lived through the peak period. I cannot envision what comes after. I can only hope that my son finds a way through it. ..."
"... "Does anyone doubt that by the time he is 30 (2030) world oil production will be in decline? Does anyone doubt by the time he is 50 (2050) the world will be a drastically different place than it is today?" ..."
"... Perhaps. But such sentiments were very common ten, fifteen years ago, and they were directed toward today, not 2030. So, yes, I do "doubt" it, but that's not saying much, as it's a subject I find interesting but useless to speculate about. ..."
"... I'm checking in here for the first time in about 9 years. I'm an old-time peaker, who jumped ship in 2009 when it became clear the dire predictions of Campbell, Deffeyes, et al., were failing to materialize. ..."
Jan 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

x says: 01/19/2018 at 9:55 am

Ron is absolutely right about the creaming issue. Major oil producing countries, Saudi Arabia chief among them, are using technology to stave off production declines. These YouTube videos are a perfect example of the extreme lengths being employed to continue production:

These videos underscore how uniquely valuable oil is as an energy source and how no other substitute will ever come close to matching its utility.

When the decline kicks in, these technologies will ensure that the cliff will be steeper. While I believe we are living at the absolute peak of world production and that decline will kick in soon, I'm not so concerned about specific predictions. It will happen soon enough and when it does the impact will be severe.

I think of this problem in personal terms -- my son was born in 2000. He will live to see a world of diminishing oil production (as well as sea level rise, resource conflicts, and many other problems). Does anyone doubt that by the time he is 30 (2030) world oil production will be in decline? Does anyone doubt by the time he is 50 (2050) the world will be a drastically different place than it is today? I have lived through the peak period. I cannot envision what comes after. I can only hope that my son finds a way through it.

Michael says: 01/19/2018 at 10:12 am

"Does anyone doubt that by the time he is 30 (2030) world oil production will be in decline? Does anyone doubt by the time he is 50 (2050) the world will be a drastically different place than it is today?"

Perhaps. But such sentiments were very common ten, fifteen years ago, and they were directed toward today, not 2030. So, yes, I do "doubt" it, but that's not saying much, as it's a subject I find interesting but useless to speculate about.

I'm checking in here for the first time in about 9 years. I'm an old-time peaker, who jumped ship in 2009 when it became clear the dire predictions of Campbell, Deffeyes, et al., were failing to materialize.

This doesn't mean I think oil is infinite or anything. I do think our capacity to predict doom is much more circumscribed than our abilities to avoid it.

(I like the new editing feature on this site.)

[Jan 20, 2018] Tanker With Russian Gas for Boston Makes Mid-Atlantic U-Turn by Elena Mazneva & Anna Shiryaevskaya

Jan 19, 2016 | www.bloomberg.com

LNG tanker Gaselys was scheduled to arrive in Boston Saturday. Vessel reversed course to Spain after almost 21 days en route

... ... ...

While unusual, it's not unheard of for LNG cargoes that aren't tied into a contract with fixed destination to change course en route as cargo owners seek the highest price and the best market. Companies with access to wide global supplies can also swap shipments between regions. What's more, the tanker may still make it to Boston with a delay, as was the case with deliveries earlier this month, according to Kpler SAS, a cargo-tracking company.

"We have still not canceled the Everett port call for Gaselys," Madeleine Overgaard, an LNG market analyst at Kpler, said by email. "Her course is currently not very different from the average delivery at Everett in 2017, she is probably just diverting to delay arrival."

Engie SA's North American unit bought the spot cargo for delivery to the U.S. from Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd. to supplement its contracted volumes from Trinidad and Tobago into its Everett terminal near Boston, it said last week. Engie declined to comment on the tanker's movement on Friday.

The Yamal LNG project, co-owned by Russia's Novatek PJSC, Total SA, China Natural Petroleum Corp. and China's Silk Road Fund, started production in December despite U.S. financial sanctions imposed in 2014 because of Russia's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. It plans to deliver 14 spot cargoes by April, when long-term contracts kick in.

[Jan 16, 2018] Interview with Jamie Galbraith by Dan Crawford

Some banks blew out the mortgage market, [and] they blew out technology investment two decades ago. What are they doing now? They are financing energy investments, and they are financing consumer debt. This is an almost brainless approach.
Jan 15, 2018 | angrybearblog.com
Via Marketwatch Jamie Galbraith states his thoughts on a how the current US economy functions. Here are a few snippets:

University of Texas economist Galbraith, the son of the famous Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith, believes mainstream economists and the Federal Reserve are too wedded to old ideas to see what is really going on in the economy. Specifically, Galbraith is worried that the consumer is the only game in town -- and that can't last.

Galbraith used his latest book "The End of Normal" to lay out his case that the 2007-08 financial crisis wasn't just a brief interruption in the life of an otherwise healthy economy but instead the latest crisis for an economy that lost its footing back in the 1980s.

At the American Economic Association meeting in Philadelphia, MarketWatch asked Galbraith to share his views on the economic landscape.

(On inflation and labor) There is no Phillips Curve, and there hasn't been for decades. The supply of labor is not a constraint. If you wish to pay people higher wages, you could lure people back out of retirement. Net immigration has basically stopped. If you needed more workers, it would start up again. So we don't have a real labor-force constraint. We are not going to get inflationary pressure from the labor markets. It has been 40 years. Economists are slow learners, and central bankers are a slow-learning subset. They should recognize that things did change in the 1980s.

(Losing ground in global trade) I think that is clearly the case in the wider world. The Chinese have engaged in an extraordinary exercise in engineering in recent years domestically, building 12,000 miles of high-speed rail. They now have vast engineering capacity, and they are applying it to their periphery -- a One Belt One Road network that will orient commerce across Eurasia and into Africa as well that is in the interest of furthering Chinese development. This is on a scale which dwarfs anything that is being conceived of in the United States. (Dan here This statement is before the sh**hole storm)

(On infrastucture)Trump came in with the idea that we should be investing heavily in infrastructure. He got no traction from the Republican Congress. Why is that? Because the immediate beneficiaries of an infrastructure program are people who live in cities, people who live in the expensive coastal areas of the country -- and these people don't vote Republican. So a political obstacle that prevented the one sensible or necessary element of Trump's political framework from getting any traction at all.

(Role of banks) You have to have a situation where banks, which are publicly chartered institutions, serve a public purpose with some common objectives. Some banks blew out the mortgage market, [and] they blew out technology investment two decades ago. What are they doing now? They are financing energy investments, and they are financing consumer debt. This is an almost brainless approach.

[Jan 16, 2018] GOM oil and gas production in decline from now on

Jan 16, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

SouthLaGeo

x Ignored says: 01/12/2018 at 7:11 pm
Interesting BOEM report attached – their prediction of GOM oil and gas production from 2018-2027.
They predict oil production will increase from 1.65-1.67 mmbopd in the 2017-2019 window to 1.74-1.77 mmbopd in the 2023-2027 time frame. They include future production from current reserves, contingent resources and undiscovered resources. Contingent resources are mainly field expansion projects, new fault blocks, new reservoirs, and resources from discoveries that have not been put on production.
They have initial production from undiscovered resources occurring already in 2019 – suggesting that a few discoveries will be made and be on line by the end of 2019. Seems rather ambitious even for subsea tiebacks.
Given the lack of GOM exploration success in the last few years, my biggest challenge to these predictions are their estimates of production coming from new discoveries. They show about 1 BBO of production comes from currently undiscovered resources in this 10 year window.

https://www.boem.gov/BOEM-2017-082/

George Kaplan x Ignored says: 01/13/2018 at 3:14 am
SLG – hope you are well and had a good holidays. Here is my updated effort at the same thing. I've added some new discoveries, but not as big or developed as fast BOEM show. I've included all qualified fields as named entries except a few discovered in 2016 and 2017, and for a lot I've had to make guesses for reserves based on the expected development size (numbers in brackets show nameplate capacity). I might be able to improve things a bit when BOEM reserve numbers for end of 2016 come out, but it's still not going to look much like their estimates. It's noticeable that there's a lot of activity in short term, small tie backs now – but these only add about 5 to 10 kbpd and immediately start to decline. So like you I don't know where they are getting such high contingent resource production additions from unless it is all on existing developments – I guess if a lot of fields get to grow like Mars-Ursa has and Atlantis might this year then there'd be enough, but that seems unlikely to me, especially at the rate they show it.

SouthLaGeo x Ignored says: 01/13/2018 at 8:47 am
Thanks George, and same to you for the new year.
I've made a stab at comparing numerous production profiles for the 2018-2027 window – your's from above, my midcase and downside estimates from a little over a year ago, and BOEM's estimates – both their total estimate, and their total estimate minus any new resources/discoveries.
I plan to expand on this in a future post – including revised EUR estimate ranges.

George Kaplan x Ignored says: 01/13/2018 at 11:53 am
They are all models with something worthwhile to add to the discussion, which is not what I would say about the EIA projections. They just add have some kind of growth rate, with no basis in actual numbers, and make it look fancy by adding a hurricane effect – and yet this is the number usually quoted in the MSM. I think their predictions a couple of years ago had an exit rate for this year of 2.2 mmbpd – miles off, and when they do try to provide bottom up justification they look ridiculously ill informed.

Fernando Leanme x Ignored says: 01/15/2018 at 4:49 am
Maybe they have a higher oil price forecast? Or they don't bother to see if what gets put on line is worth developing? I know this is hard, but try preparing a forecast with prices increasing 3% per year above inflation for 30 years, and you will get a higher forecast.
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 01/15/2018 at 10:28 am
https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/data/browser/#/?id=12-AEO2017&region=0-0&cases=ref2017&start=2015&end=2030&f=A&linechart=ref2017-d120816a.3-12-AEO2017&sourcekey=0 \

The BOEM probably uses the EIA AEO 2017 reference price forecast.

[Jan 14, 2018] Neoliberalism betrayed its promises

Notable quotes:
"... A signal feature of modern totalitarianism was that it arose and came to power through the discontents of people's isolation and loneliness ..."
Jan 14, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

Originally from: How Democracies Perish - The New York Times

Deneen argues that [neo]liberal democracy has betrayed its promises. It was supposed to foster equality, but it has led to great inequality and a new aristocracy. It was supposed to give average people control over government, but average people feel alienated from government. It was supposed to foster liberty, but it creates a degraded popular culture in which consumers become slave to their appetites.

Many young people feel trapped in a system they have no faith in. Deneen quotes one of his students: "Because we view humanity -- and thus its institutions -- as corrupt and selfish, the only person we can rely upon is our self. The only way we can avoid failure, being let down, and ultimately succumbing to the chaotic world around us, therefore, is to have the means (financial security) to rely only upon ourselves."

... ... ...

When communism and fascism failed in the 20th century, this version of [neo]liberalism seemed triumphant. But it was a Pyrrhic victory, Deneen argues.

[Neo]Liberalism claims to be neutral but it's really anti-culture. It detaches people from nature, community, tradition and place. It detaches people from time. "Gratitude to the past and obligations to the future are replaced by a nearly universal pursuit of immediate gratification."

Once family and local community erode and social norms dissolve, individuals are left naked and unprotected. They seek solace in the state. They toggle between impersonal systems: globalized capitalism and the distant state. As the social order decays, people grasp for the security of authoritarianism. " A signal feature of modern totalitarianism was that it arose and came to power through the discontents of people's isolation and loneliness ," he observes.

[Jan 14, 2018] Trump Stumped As Bannon-Backed Roy Moore Wins Alabama Republican Primary By Landslide

Bannon backed candidate later lost. So much for this Bannon "success".
This idea of Trump playing 6 dimensional chess is a joke. It's the same explanation that was pushed for Obama disastrous neocon foreign policy. Here is one very apt quote: "What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan..." What 6-dimetional chess?
According to Occam razor principle the simplest explanation of Trump behaviour is probably the most correct. He does not control foright policy, outsourcing it to "generals" and be does not pursue domestic policy of creating jobs as he promised his electorate. In other words, both in foreign policy and domestic policy, he became a turncoat, betraying his electorate, much like Obama. kind of Republican Obama.
And as time goes by, Trump looks more and more like Hillary II or Republican Obama. So he might have problems with the candidates he supports in midterm elections. His isolationism, if it ever existed, is gone. Promise of jobs is gone. Detente with Russia is gone. What's left?
Note the level disappointment of what used to be Trump base in this site comment section...
Notable quotes:
"... In a serious rebuke for President Trump (and perhaps moreso for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), ousted judge and alt-right favorite Roy Moore has won the Alabama Republican Primary by a landslide ..."
"... The Steve Bannon-backed candidate, who defied court orders to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom and refused to recognize gay marriage after the Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, is leading by 9.6 points with 92% of the votes counted... ..."
"... These attacks on Bannon were one of the most prominent news stories in the first week following Trump's election victory. It didn't take long, however, for a counter-attack to emerge - from the right-wing elements of the Jewish community. ..."
"... Bannon is a true fucking patriot trying to pull this once great country from the sinkhole. ..."
"... I think the reality is that this was a message to McConnell much more than Trump. That message is simple: I'm coming to kill your career. Bannon went out of his way to say he fully supports Trump (despite backing the opposite candidate). And, let's face it, if Bannon buries McConnell, he's doing everyone a service, Trump included. ..."
"... The echo chamber media "is so surprised" that in Germany and the US we are seeing a rising tide of pissed off people, well imagine fucking that? Leaving the echo chamber and not intellectually trying to understand the anger, but living the anger. ..."
"... Well, we can only hope that Trump gets the message. He was elected to be President of the USA, not Emperor of the World. Quote from that Monty Python film: "He's not the Messiah; he's a very naughty boy!" ..."
"... A cursory background reading on Roy Moore tells me that he is one of the worst types for public office. And he might just turn out to be like Trump -- act like an anti-swarm cowboy and promise a path to heaven, then show his real colors as an Establishment puppet once the braindead voters put him in office. ..."
"... When Trump won the Republican nomination, and then the Presidency it was because people were rebelling against the establishment rulers. There is considerable disgust with these big government rulers that are working for themselves and their corporate cronies, but not for the US population. ..."
"... Trump seems to have been compromised at this point, and his support of the establishment favourite, Luther Strange is evidence that he isn't really the outsider he claimed to be. Moore's victory in Alabama says the rebellion still has wheels, so there is some hope. ..."
"... In Missouri where I live, the anti-establishment Republican contender for the upcoming US Senatorial 2018 race is Austin Peterson. It will be interesting to see how he, and his counterparts in other states do in the primaries. Both of the current Missouri Senators are worthless. ..."
"... I remember well the last "3-Dimensional Chess master" Obama while he too was always out maneuvering his apponents, per the media reports... ..."
"... Every now and then Trump tends to make huge blunders, and sometimes betrayals without knowing what he is doing. "Champions"- (great leaders) do not do that. ..."
"... What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan... ..."
"... It is epitome of self-delusion to see people twisting themselves into pretzels, trying to justify/rationalize Trump's continuing display of disloyalty to America ..."
"... YOU CAN'T BE A ZIONIST AND AN AMERICAN FIRSTER, IT IS ONE OR THE OTHER. ..."
Sep 27, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!

In a serious rebuke for President Trump (and perhaps moreso for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), ousted judge and alt-right favorite Roy Moore has won the Alabama Republican Primary by a landslide

The Steve Bannon-backed candidate, who defied court orders to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom and refused to recognize gay marriage after the Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, is leading by 9.6 points with 92% of the votes counted...

... ... ...

However, as Politco reported this evening, President Donald Trump began distancing himself from a Luther Strange loss before ballots were even cast, telling conservative activists Monday night the candidate he's backing in Alabama's GOP Senate primary was likely to lose ! and suggesting he'd done everything he could do given the circumstances.

Trump told conservative activists who visited the White House for dinner on Monday night that he'd underestimated the political power of Roy Moore, the firebrand populist and former judge who's supported by Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon, according to three people who were there.

And Trump gave a less-than full-throated endorsement during Friday's rally.

While he called Strange "a real fighter and a real good guy," he also mused on stage about whether he made a "mistake" by backing Strange and committed to campaign "like hell" for Moore if he won.

Trump was encouraged to pick Strange before the August primary by son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner as well as other aides, White House officials said. He was never going to endorse Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks, who has at times opposed Trump's agenda, and knew little about Moore, officials said.

... ... ...

Déjà view -> Sanity Bear •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

AIPAC HAS ALL BASES COVERED...MIGA !

On Sept. 11, the Alabama Daughters for Zion organization circulated a statement on Israel by Moore, which started by saying the U.S. and Israel "share not only a common Biblical heritage but also institutions of representative government and respect for religious freedom." He traced Israel's origin to God's promise to Abram and the 1948 creation of modern Israel as "a fulfillment of the Scriptures that foretold the regathering of the Jewish people to Israel."

Moore's statement includes five policy positions, including support for U.S. military assistance to Israel, protecting Israel from "Iranian aggression," opposing boycotts of Israel, supporting Israel at the United Nations, and supporting direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without outside pressure. He added, "as long as Hamas and the Palestinian Authority wrongly refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, such negotiations have scant chance of success."

While those views would give Moore common ground with much of the Jewish community regarding Israel, most of the state's Jewish community has been at odds with Moore over church-state issues, such as his displays of the Ten Commandments in courthouses, and his outspoken stance against homosexuality, both of which led to him being ousted as chief justice.

http://www.sjlmag.com/2017/09/alabama-senate-candidates-express.html?m=1

justa minute -> Déjà view •Sep 27, 2017 2:53 AM

moore misreads the Bible as most socalled christians do. they have been deceived, they have confused the Israel of God( those who have been given belief in Christ) with israel of the flesh. They cant hear Christs own words, woe is unto them. they are living in their own selfrighteousness, not good. they are going to have a big surprise for not following the Word of God instead following the tradition of men.

They were warned over and over in the Bible but they cant hear.

I Claudius -> VinceFostersGhost •Sep 27, 2017 6:27 AM

Forgive? Maybe. Forget? NEVER!! He tried to sell "US" out on this one. We now need to focus on bringing "Moore" candidates to the podium to run against the RINO's and take out McConnell and Ryan. It's time for Jared and Ivanka to go back to NYC so Jared can shore up his family's failing empire. However, if his business acumen is as accurate as his political then it's no wonder the family needed taxpayer funded visas to sell the property. Then on to ridding the White House of Gen Kelly and McMaster - two holdover generals from the Obama administration - after Obama forced out the real ones.

Clashfan -> Mycroft Holmes IV •Sep 26, 2017 11:33 PM

Rump has hoodwinked his supoprt base and turned on them almost immediately. Some refuse to acknowledge this.

"Ha! Your vote went to the Israel first swamp!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gdw_MVY1Vo

Déjà view -> Clashfan •Sep 27, 2017 1:00 AM

MIGA !

These attacks on Bannon were one of the most prominent news stories in the first week following Trump's election victory. It didn't take long, however, for a counter-attack to emerge - from the right-wing elements of the Jewish community. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) came to Bannon's defense and accused the ADL of a "character assassination" against Bannon.

http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.807776

The Wizard -> Oh regional Indian •Sep 26, 2017 10:12 PM

Trump should figure out the Deep State elites he has surrounded himself with, don't have control of the states Trump won. Trump thought he had to negotiate with these guys and his ego got the best of him. Bannon was trying to convince him he should have stayed the course and not give in.


Theosebes Goodfellow -> Oh regional Indian •Sep 26, 2017 10:35 PM

~"American politics gets moore strange by the day..."~

Technically speaking OhRI, with Moore's win politics became less Strange, or "Strange less", or "Sans Luther", depending on how one chose to phrase it [SMIRK]

Adullam -> Gaius Frakkin' Baltar •Sep 26, 2017 11:05 PM

Trump needs to fire Jared! Some news outlets are saying that it was his son in law who advised him to back Strange. He has to quit listening to those who want to destroy him or ... they will.

overbet -> Killtruck •Sep 26, 2017 9:41 PM

Bannon is a true fucking patriot trying to pull this once great country from the sinkhole.

Juggernaut x2 -> overbet •Sep 26, 2017 10:07 PM

Trump better pull his head out of his ass and quit being a wishy-washy populist on BS like Iran- the farther right he goes the greater his odds of reelection because he has pissed off a lot of the far-righters that put him in- getting rid of Kushner, Cohn and his daughter and negotiating w/Assad and distancing us from Israhell would be a huge help.

opport.knocks -> Juggernaut x2 •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

Distancing us from Israel... LOLOLOLOL

https://youtu.be/tm5Je73bYOY

The whole Russiagate ploy was a diversion from (((them)))

NoDebt -> Killtruck •Sep 26, 2017 9:42 PM

I think the reality is that this was a message to McConnell much more than Trump. That message is simple: I'm coming to kill your career. Bannon went out of his way to say he fully supports Trump (despite backing the opposite candidate). And, let's face it, if Bannon buries McConnell, he's doing everyone a service, Trump included.

Oldwood -> NoDebt •Sep 26, 2017 10:08 PM

I think it was a setup.

Bannon would not oppose Trump that directly unless there was a wink and a nod involved.

Trump is still walking a tightrope, trying to appease his base AND keep as many establishment republicans at his side (even for only optics). By Trump supporting Strange while knowing he was an underdog AND completely apposed by Bannon/his base he was able to LOOK like he was supporting the establishment, while NOT really. Trump seldom backs losers which makes me think it was deliberate. Strange never made sense anyway.

But what do I know?

Urahara -> NoDebt •Sep 27, 2017 12:20 AM

Bannon is hardcore Isreal first. Why are you supporting the zionist? It's an obvious play.

general ambivalent -> Urahara •Sep 27, 2017 2:23 AM

People are desperate to rationalise their failure into a victory. They cannot give up on Hope so they have to use hyperbole in everything and pretend this is all leading to something great in 2020 or 2024.

None of these fools learned a damn thing and they are desperate to make the same mistake again. The swamp is full, so full that it has breached the banks and taken over all of society. Trump is a swamp monster, and you simply cannot reform the swamp when both sides are monsters. In other words, the inside is not an option, so it has to be done the hard way. But people would prefer to keep voting in the swamp.

Al Gophilia -> NoDebt •Sep 27, 2017 3:58 AM

Bannon as president would really have those swamp creatures squirming. There wouldn't be this Trump crap about surrounding himself with likeminded friends, such as Goldman Sachs turnstile workers and his good pals in the MIC.

Don't tell me he didn't choose them because if he didn't, then they were placed. That means he doesn't have the clout he pretends to have or control of the agenda that the people asked him to deliver. His backing of Stange is telling.

Lanka -> LindseyNarratesWordress •Sep 26, 2017 11:07 PM

McMaster and Kelly have Trump under house arrest.

Bobbyrib -> LindseyNarratesWordress •Sep 27, 2017 5:38 AM

He will not fire Kushner or Ivanka who have become part of the swamp. I'm so sick of these 'Trump is a genius and planned this all along.'

To me Trump is a Mr. Bean type character that has been very fortunate and just goes with the flow. He has nearly no diplomacy, or strategic skills.

NoWayJose •Sep 26, 2017 10:35 PM

Dear President Trump - if you like your job, listen to these voters. Borders, Walls, limited immigrants (including all those that Ryan and McConnell are sneaking through under your very nose), trade agreements to keep American jobs, and respect for our flag, our country, and the unborn!

nevertheless -> loveyajimbo •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

I had hope for Trump, but as someone who reads ZH often, and does not suffer from amnesia (like much of America), I knew he was way too good to be true.

We all know his back tracking, his flip flops...and while the media and many paid bloggers like to spin it as "not his fault", it actually is.

His sending DACA to Congress was the last straw. Obama enacted DACA with a stroke of his pen, but Trump "needed to send it to Congress so they could "get it right". The only thing Congress does with immigration is try and get amnesty passed.

Of course while Trump sends DACA to Congress, he does not mind using the military without Congress, which he actually should do.

Why is it when it's something American's want, it has to go through the "correct channels", but when its something the Zionists want, he does it with the wave of his pen? We saw the same bull shit games with Obama...

Dilluminati •Sep 26, 2017 11:02 PM

Anybody surprised by this is pretending the civility at the workplace isn't masking anger at corporate America and Government. I'll go in and put in the 8 hours, I'm an adult that is part of the job. However I'm actually fed up with allot of the stupid shit and want the establishment to work, problem is that we are witnessing failed nations, failed schools, failed healthcare, even failed employment contracts, conditions, and wages.

The echo chamber media "is so surprised" that in Germany and the US we are seeing a rising tide of pissed off people, well imagine fucking that? Leaving the echo chamber and not intellectually trying to understand the anger, but living the anger.

You haven't seen anything yet in Catalonia/Spain etc, Brexit, or so..

This is what failure looks like: That moment the Romanovs and Louis XVI looked around the room seeking an understanding eye, there was none.

Pascal1967 •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

Dear Trump:

Quit listening to your moron son-in-law, swamp creature, Goldman Sachs douchebag son-in-law Kushner. HE SUCKS!! If you truly had BALLS, you would FIRE his fucking ass. HE is The Swamp, He Is Nepotism! THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HATE HIM.

MAGA! LISTEN TO BANNON, DONALD.

DO NOT FUCK THIS UP!

ROY MOORE, 100%!!!!

You lost, Trump ... get your shit together before it is too late!

ElTerco •Sep 26, 2017 11:28 PM

Bannon was always the smarts behind the whole operation. Now we are just left with a complete idiot in office.

Also, unlike Trump, Bannon actually gives a shit about what happens to the American people rather than the American tax system. At the end of the day, all Trump really cares about is himself.

samsara •Sep 26, 2017 11:25 PM
I think most people get it backwards about Trump and the Deplorables.

I believed in pulling troops a from all the war zones and Trump said he felt the same

I believed in Legal immigration, sending people back if here illegal especially if involved in crime, Trump said he felt the same.

I believed in America first in negotiating treaties, Trump said he felt the same.

I didn't 'vote' for Trump per se, he was the proxy.

We didn't leave Him, He left us.

BarnacleBill •Sep 26, 2017 11:31 PM

Well, we can only hope that Trump gets the message. He was elected to be President of the USA, not Emperor of the World. Quote from that Monty Python film: "He's not the Messiah; he's a very naughty boy!" It's high time he turned back to the job he promised to do, and drain that swamp.

napper •Sep 26, 2017 11:47 PM

A cursory background reading on Roy Moore tells me that he is one of the worst types for public office. And he might just turn out to be like Trump -- act like an anti-swarm cowboy and promise a path to heaven, then show his real colors as an Establishment puppet once the braindead voters put him in office.

America is doomed from top (the swarm) to bottom (the brainless voters).

Sid Davis •Sep 27, 2017 1:40 AM

When Trump won the Republican nomination, and then the Presidency it was because people were rebelling against the establishment rulers. There is considerable disgust with these big government rulers that are working for themselves and their corporate cronies, but not for the US population.

Trump seems to have been compromised at this point, and his support of the establishment favourite, Luther Strange is evidence that he isn't really the outsider he claimed to be. Moore's victory in Alabama says the rebellion still has wheels, so there is some hope.

In Missouri where I live, the anti-establishment Republican contender for the upcoming US Senatorial 2018 race is Austin Peterson. It will be interesting to see how he, and his counterparts in other states do in the primaries. Both of the current Missouri Senators are worthless.

nevertheless -> pfwed •Sep 27, 2017 7:33 AM

I remember well the last "3-Dimensional Chess master" Obama while he too was always out maneuvering his apponents, per the media reports...

LoveTruth •Sep 27, 2017 2:56 AM

Every now and then Trump tends to make huge blunders, and sometimes betrayals without knowing what he is doing. "Champions"- (great leaders) do not do that.

nevertheless -> LoveTruth •Sep 27, 2017 7:16 AM

What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan...

But most treasonous of all was his sending DACA to "get it right", really? Congress has only one goal with immigration, amnesty, and Chump knows dam well they will send him legislation that will clearly or covertly grant amnesty for millions and millions of illegals, dressed up as "security".

Obama enacted DACA with the stroke of a pen, and while TRUMP promised to end it, he did NOT. Why is it when it's something Americans want, it has to be "Constitutional", but when it comes form his banker pals, like starting a war, he can do that unilaterally.

archie bird -> nevertheless •Sep 27, 2017 7:45 AM

Bernie wants to cut aid to Israel https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/09/25/bernie-sanders-yeah-i...

nevertheless •Sep 27, 2017 8:04 AM

It is epitome of self-delusion to see people twisting themselves into pretzels, trying to justify/rationalize Trump's continuing display of disloyalty to America, and loyalty to Zionism.

Trump should always have been seen as a likely Zionist shill. He comes form Jew York City, owes everything he is to Zionist Jewish bankers, is a self proclaimed Zionist...

YOU CAN'T BE A ZIONIST AND AN AMERICAN FIRSTER, IT IS ONE OR THE OTHER.

Either Zero Hedge is over run with Zionist hasbara, giving cover to their boy Chump, or Americans on the "right" have become as gullible as those who supported Obama on the "left".

[Jan 14, 2018] Liberalism and neoliberalism are quite opposite ideologies. Liberalism is closer to the now abandoned New Deal capitalism, then to neoliberalism

Jan 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

likbez January 14, 2018 at 10:56 am

The problem with the article is that the author mixed liberalism and neoliberalism:

Liberalism and neoliberalism are quite opposite ideologies. Liberalism is closer to the now abandoned New Deal capitalism, then to neoliberalism

Moreover, Neoliberalism has nothing to do with Christianity. It is, in essence, a Satan-worshiping cult ("greed is good"), as it rejects Christian morality. And due to that, the notion that the USA is Christian country is false if we are talking about the elite. The US neoliberal elite abandoned the Christianity. In total. Just look at Podesta and other miscreants.

The fact that neoliberalism is dominant in the USA and Western Europe suggests that we can talk about persecution of Christians under neoliberalism. Inflicting on them the epidemic of narco-addiction, alcoholism, and conscious efforts at destruction of family ties.

Siarlys Jenkins , says: January 13, 2018 at 6:02 pm
The problem with Brendan is that he fails to realize that the things he treasures -- personal virtue, community, self-restraint, temperance and so on -- are not actually creations of any specific ideology exclusively, but have some creedence in many ideologies, religions, cultures, and political formations, although in larger or smaller doses, and making different appearances relative to the over-all social fabric.

Brendan and Brooks have in common a rather expansive notion of liberalism. Nobody who took a close look could call Calvin or Luther or even Muenzer or Zwingli "liberals." I'm not sure one could with credibility call Ethan Allen a liberal either. John Adams? Maybe kinda sorta. John D. Rockefeller was a liberal. There was a political faction called the Liberal Republicans, and I credit them with the title.

If we are talking about the strain of Enlightenment thinking that values each human individual as a unique person, not merely as a useful tool, acolyte, or retainer, defined by their utility to a master, I think that's much more enduring a principle than "liberalism." I also consider the notion of constitutional government in which certain precepts are set forth as not quite indispensible, but setting the bar for changing them very high, while allocating power for those matters suitable for discretion by government, that's a much bigger deal than "liberalism" too.

Are these crumbling? Sometimes but largely through ignorance. They can be affirmed. And I will continue to affirm them in the face of moralistic pessimists like Deneen. Hmmm, I may be on the very of a new label moralistic pessimistic theism?

Q , says: January 13, 2018 at 5:42 pm
Adamant: who are you to call anyone insane?
What do you know about the morality, or the behavior, of the 53gender crowd? Or any of the other 'subhumans' who cause you to fleck spittle on yr keypad?

I don't know much about silicon valley peeps, and i tend to assume the worst. But i don't know them.

College students are their own special flavor of hell.

I'm from the south, almost 50 now. I've got a Christian wing of my extended family, plus lots of lefty eggheads and hellraisers in the tribe. I'd say the incidence of infidelity, drug abuse, cruelty, deceit, kindness, selflessness, wisdom and compassion is not greater in one camp than the other. Doubt that my experience is unique.

John , says: January 13, 2018 at 2:29 pm
What can the [neo]liberal culture brag about? Tolerance? No. [Neo]liberals on campus and also everywhere, do not tolerate free speech for their conservative fellow citizens. Promoting social peace? No. [neo]liberals promote racial conflict by labeling anyone disagreeing with their political positions without any real proof racist, especially if the person happens to be a white male. Do progressives/ [neo]liberals promote responsible individual behavior to advance the common good? No. [neo]liberals advocate all manner of substance abuse contrary to applicable state and federal laws.

[Neo]liberals or progressives, if you will, succeeded to foist on the rest of us a brand of gender ideology thereby creating real social and economic hardships for society at large. The resulting cultural landscape is reminiscent of descriptions of mental institutions in the middle ages where the sick were chained, beaten, and driven further out of control by the staff put in charge to govern the hapless inmates.

Anyway, that is how it looks to me. Iranian theocracy with all its peculiar features has nothing over what we are going to face in 5 years or less if the current disordered cultural trend continues without major modifications. American democracy is now on life support. One miss-step and it will expire.

The list is way too long to continue.

Chris Ray , says: January 13, 2018 at 10:49 am
Secular Humanism provides the necessary moral framework for Western Culture. People don't need to delude themselves with Christianity to not fall into Nihilism as The author implicitly suggests. The problem is Christians and atheists alike have been possessed by the Ideological ghost called Cultural Marxism.
Giuseppe Scalas , says: January 13, 2018 at 6:09 am
"Since there's no liberty but the liberty to do good, at the heart of liberty is the duty to form one's conscience(*) to the truthful discernment of good and evil"

(*) http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a6.htm

E.J. Worthing , says: January 12, 2018 at 7:08 pm
"If prudence and temperance are synonyms for modesty and self-restraint – the rising generation of Americans has utterly abandoned these values."

They are not synonyms. Prudence is appropriate concern for the future. It has nothing to so with modesty. Temperance has to do with appropriate self-restraint. It is not temperate to constrain oneself in a way that causes oneself senseless suffering. That is what some conservatives are asking people who don't fit into traditional gender categories to do.

[Jan 14, 2018] The moment of US failure (the financial tsunami from the accumulated fixing and rigging of absolutely all "markets") is hard to predict, but I would give it more than three remaining years

Jan 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Kiza , January 13, 2018 at 5:31 am GMT

@FB

I appreciate your sentiment and the disappointment (which we all share). Probably the best description of the pre-election promises versus post-inauguration realities was a zero-hedgers joke: yes, Trump has drained The Swamp, but just one little piece of it enough to build a hotel for Jared and Ivanka.

Where you are almost certainly wrong is your conclusion:

"This entire economy is a soap bubble that is about to burst and it's going to happen on Dump's watch "

This is an exaggeration. The moment of US failure (the financial tsunami from the accumulated fixing and rigging of absolutely all "markets") is hard to predict, but I would give it more than three remaining years (yes, a one term president). Trump is for US what Brezhnev was for Soviet Union -- the Dotart in Chief signalling the end. It took nine years after Brezhnev's death for SU to collapse, whilst US is a bigger economic system and thus should be more resilient (although it is also much more rotten).

Regarding Saker, I made exactly the same point to a friend -- the misfortune of US was the terrible choice between evil and stupid, or as someone quipped, the worst candidate in US history lost to the second worst candidate in US history . But unlike Saker, I do think that US people amply deserved it even if not aware of the death, destruction and chaos their compatriots were sowing around the World, for profit and for Israhell.

[Jan 13, 2018] Surging Russian-Chinese Trade Pressures Petrodollar

Jan 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

With the opening of the new ESPO oil pipeline connecting Siberia to China doubling the amount of oil China can import to 600,000 barrels per day we'll see those numbers continue to accelerate.

And that's the key. Remember, the massive $400 billion gas deal China made with Gazprom in 2014 hasn't begun delivering gas. The first Power of Siberia pipeline isn't due to be completed until 2019. The second Power of Siberia pipeline is on the table after this one.

And the two countries just agreed to a third pipeline to bring gas in from Russia's far east last month.

So, despite back-biting from western media about the profitability of these projects, they are going forward and the two countries continue to strengthen fundamental ties to one another.

... ... ...

The important takeaway is that China has created the first unassailable and above-ground challenge to the petro-dollar oil trade. To break the world's use of the dollar as the sole settlement currency for oil required the right contract issued by a country the U.S. can't immediately invade and conduct a regime change operation in – like in Iraq and Libya.

Russia wins here because now there is a path for its Urals grade to become an international benchmark like WTI and Brent. And since Gazprom prefers to price its long-term gas contracts based on underlying oil prices rather than the more volatile natural gas price, this is also a win in the long run for them.

Gold convertibility is a means to deepen China's sovereign debt markets by making it less risky to hold Chinese bonds. The lack of true yuan convertibility is the big impediment to people holding them. So, gold convertibility creates a viable exit route.

WTFUD -> BobEore Jan 13, 2018 7:53 PM Permalink

Bob, when you control 40% of the World's Oil & Gas Reserves and can turn the tap on and off then you can hardly be considered POOR, especially when you make up 20% of the world's Land Mass ( am also thinking Fresh Water ).

Vichy DC's Sanctions on Russia are in Essence, Sanctions on Exxon & the Majors (who soon won't be Majors at this rate ) and the EUROPEAN UNION.

However, i understand your thought processes.

coast1 Jan 13, 2018 7:43 PM Permalink

get real zerohedge...archaic news..you are so far behind the times...

http://www.thedailyeconomist.com/2018/01/all-eyes-may-be-fixed-on-jan-1

messystateofaffairs Jan 13, 2018 7:59 PM Permalink

The vice tightens inexorably and US foreign policy thrashes about in response to the pressure. What will the parasitic Jewish overlords do to save their declining host?

[Jan 13, 2018] Is There a Pathological Obsession with Hillary Clinton Amongst Hillary Haters

Hillary symbolize neoliberalism and suffering or working people associated with neoliberal globalization. So the level of hate is totally appreciate, not excessive.
Notable quotes:
"... Reprinted with permission from Target Liberty . ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Recently on the Liberty Report , Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams discussed the horrific Executive Order signed by President Trump that would allow the US government to freeze the US assets of individuals or corporations worldwide who have allegedly (without trial) violated "human rights" or have engaged in corruption.

Immediately some Trump supporters argued that the EO would be a way to go after Hillary and prosecute her. But as Dr. Paul and McAdams point out, if the Trump administration really wanted to go after Hillary, there are plenty of current laws she has likely broken that she could be prosecuted for without this new EO.

The new EO simply introduces a major new weapon the government can use against its enemies at any time--- any enemies. It is a dangerous expansion of government. Still, some attacked Ron Paul as being a purist because he objected to the evil EO.

They want to get Hillary that badly.

But why should we be against Hillary? It is because she was willing to expand and use government tools for abuse. Why would we want to create more tools for the next Hillary?

Hillary is a has been, as bad as she was, she is basically through. She is not going to run for office again. As things look, she is going to have trouble standing up for extended periods of time. She is now a nothing, perhaps a short-term footnote in history books but 10-years out maybe not even that.

She has no intellectual depth, there is not a chance she is going to motivate a new generation the way Ron Paul is with his Liberty Report. She is at this point nothing more than a crazy lady neighbor for those who live next to her.

Don't get me wrong. I would like to see Hillary tried convicted and put into a super-max. But I would also like to see that happen to Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Janet Yellen.

And these guys:

undefined

But I am not obsessing over past threats. Present threats are my top priority. President Trump is running a horrific foreign policy and he just nominated to the Fed an individual, Marvin Goodfriend, who is in a favor of negative interest rates.

But still, if I put up a negative tweet about has-been Hillary, it will get three to five times more views than a negative piece on Trump foreign policy. There is something wrong with this. There seems to be a pathological obsession with Hillary haters.

As I say, I am all for prosecuting her--but not if it means expanding government power. Let's keep our priorities straight.

Ron Paul is correct, the expansion of government is a dangerous threat, including the executive order.

But lets, not get obsessed with a has been. If she is tried and convicted, great, but I am not giving her much thought compared to clear and present dangers.

Reprinted with permission from Target Liberty .

[Jan 12, 2018] >When Your Bank Fails, Don't Walk Run!

Notable quotes:
"... or history. ..."
"... "Bail Outs." ..."
"... "Too Big to Fail," ..."
"... "Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions" ..."
"... "unsecured creditors" ..."
"... "Good morning, Sir!," ..."
"... "would be glad to help me." ..."
"... "Today, you've come to the right place." ..."
"... "super-priority" ..."
"... Naked Capitalism ..."
"... before you may have your savings cash. ..."
"... "cross-border bank resolution." ..."
"... "Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions." ..."
"... Financial Sense ..."
"... "about two days." ..."
"... Au Contraire ..."
"... "We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank," ..."
Jan 12, 2018 | dissidentvoice.org

by Brett Redmayne-Titley / January 11th, 2018

So. The US economy is just fine. The post-recession 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation has cured all. Banks have lots of cash. Congress is your friend and that certain-to-pass Tax Cut and Jobs bill will finally allow you, your family and America to MAGA.

Really?!

... ... ...

Oh, those evil banks! The shadowy corporatist denizens of New York, London, and Brussels, all guilty of a staggering set of every-expanding frauds couched in the beneficent language of greedy short-term materialistic gain. Financial "crimes of the decade," like the Savings and Loan meltdown, the Enron Collapse, and the Great Recession are nowadays reported almost monthly. With metered US justice amounting only to a monetary fine for the offending criminal bank – usually a small fraction of the money it previously stole, hypothecated, leveraged or manipulated – and with criminal prosecution no longer a possibility, these criminals continue to shovel trillions – not billions – into off-shore, non-tax paying accounts of the already uber-rich. There is never enough.

Just in time for Christmas, Americans received the "Tax Cut and Jobs Bill 2017" that, of course, contains not one word about jobs, but sounds so good to the ignorant who are still transfixed on the false mantra of MAGA.

LIBOR, FOREX, COMEX, which used high-speed program securities trading combined with insider manipulation, were the first serious examples of recent bank frauds. Since the Great Recession magically became the Great Recovery, Wachovia and HSBC banks plead guilty to laundering money for Mexican drug cartels, dictators, and terrorists. Wells Fargo and Bank of America were also guilty of defrauding 10's of thousands of homeowners of their properties during the "robo-signing" scandal; that was a scandal until Wells and BA paid the mortdita and all returned to business as usual. Example: In July 2017 it was revealed that more than 800,000 customers who had taken out car loans with Wells Fargo were charged for auto insurance they did not need. Barely a month later, Wells was forced to disclose that the number of bogus accounts that had been created was actually 3.5 million, a nearly 70 percent increase over the bank's initial estimate. Why not? When the predictable result will be a small percentage fine and keep the rest. Now that's MAGA!

If the individual retail – Mom and Pop – investor actually had a choice of where to put their cash money, then no one with better than a fifth-grade education would put a penny into the major stock markets. However, the goal of the many banking manipulations have had one goal: eliminate financial investment choices to one – stocks.

One choice, Gold and silver, the previous historical champion alternative in preserving one's wealth, was deliberately eliminated from short-term, private investment. The banks, issued and sold massive amounts of worthless certificate gold and derivative gold (not bullion), and the same in silver, at a current ratio of 272 paper instruments to one measly ounce of real physical gold. All this has been leveraged against real precious metals, and next used to influence the price of gold-down- by selling huge tranches of these ostensibly worthless gold contracts (1 contract=100 paper ounces) within seconds when the spot price of gold begins to rise. The banks have done this so often that gold has not risen to levels it would likely reach without this manipulation. This has driven massive liquidity that would have gone to precious metals towards stocks. This is likely evidenced by the advent of the meteoric rise in the price of BitCoin, one that-like gold- escapes the bank's control and a super-inflated stock market.

Similarly, thanks to the economic trickery that has been three rounds of Quantitative Easing, the other two conventional options; the bond market and personal bank savings accounts, have been manipulated to also produce a very low rate of return, driving these cash funds to stocks. It is this entire package of criminality – providing no other place for liquidity to go – that has performed as the plot to push a surging world stock market to obscene levels that have no basis in factually-based accounting or economic methods or history.

Banks Are Ready for the Next Crash – You're Not!

The banks know the next crash is coming. Like 2007, they have set in motion the next great(est) recession. Predator banks know that most people, thanks to the aforementioned financial control, media omission and an inferior education system, are "stupid," especially regarding the nuances of financial fraud. As the majority of Americans and Europeans live in the illusion that their financial institutions will protect their savings, they miss their bank's greedy preparations for the next stock market crash slithering through the halls of their Parliament or Congress. This already completed legislation states in plain English, and the language of endemic corruption, that your bank intends to steal your money directly from your savings account. And your government will let them do this to you.

30,000 pages make up the Dodd-Frank post-recession legislation, authored by the banks in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The Dodd-Frank legislation was touted as eliminating the massive bail-outs the US gave virtually every ill-defined too big to fail worldwide bank and US corporation in 2008-9. In reality, Dodd-Frank was as much a fraud against Americans as LIBOR or COMEX manipulation, et al .

Title II of the media-acclaimed 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act provides the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) with new powers and methods to again guarantee – first and foremost – the massively leveraged derivatives trade once this massive leverage plummets as it did with AIG in 2007-09. However, that collapse was singular. The next will include all banking sectors.

The bank's paid-for politicians made sure a post-crash congress did not regulate derivatives via Dodd-Frank, and thereby encouraged a further increase in this financial casino betting, despite it being the root cause of the original problem. Thanks to Dodd-Frank and its predecessor, the 2005 Bankruptcy Act, Congress made sure these new fraudulent bets on stock market manipulation would surely be paid. But, not to worry; there would be no more "Bail Outs." Next time, these banks would use their depositors' savings, including yours. Meet: the "Bail-In."

Really?!

All Americans recall the massive "Bail-Outs" of 2007-9 and how their corporately controlled Federal Reserve Bank and an equally controlled US Congress threw several trillions of US taxpayer dollars at US banks, dozens of foreign banks, and any corporation with enough political pull to be defined as "Too Big To Fail" (TBTF). In the aftermath a year later, the banks understood that Americans and European citizens had lost enthusiasm for any future government Bail-Out, most preferring instead that any institution suffering self-inflicted financial duress should enjoy the fruits of their crimes next time, via the reality of formal bankruptcy proceedings.

The will or financial safety of the public is, of course, no concern to criminal corporations, and so easily circumvented via congress and the president. So, the banksters have redefined their criminality using two newly defined methods, both rebranded to be far more palatable to the public.

Currently, "Too Big to Fail," (TBTF) has a very fraudulent and elitist connotation just like, "Bail-Out." To millions across the world who have lost their homes, pension funds, retirement plans, and dreams, this decade-old moniker for financial oppression and fraud has now been conveniently re-branded. The bailed-out TBTF banks now have a far more magnificent definition: TBTFs are now, "Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions" (G-SIFI).

This sounds so much better.

But, "Bail-Out"? No No. Would you not prefer a "Bail-In"? Not if you know the details. "Bail-Outs," may have also lost their flavour but in the new world of the G-SIFI, the next one is actually just a "Bail-In," away.

Yes, Bail-Ins, the new "systemically" correct term for publicly guaranteed bank fraud are already named as such in new national policies and laws, appearing in multiple countries. These finance laws, such as Dodd-Frank and its pending UK and European Union version, make upcoming Bail-Ins legal. These Bail-Ins allow failing G-SIFI banks to legally convert the funds of "unsecured creditors" (that's you) into bank capital (that's them). This includes "secured" creditors, like state and local government funds.

Really?!

With this in mind, I entered the main branch of Wells Fargo. The two checks in hand. On the way in I was greeted warmly, one after the other, by three more fresh-faced and eager proteges, all smartly uniformed to match the Wells décor, and who proffered, "Good morning, Sir!," again, and again and again. Certainly, these little fish were not in possession of authority enough to cash my mammoth checks, so I asked for bigger game, the Branch Manager.

Thus, I explained my plight to a very lovely lass who predicted she "would be glad to help me."

"Cheryl," patiently explained that I had come to the right place and she would be glad to cash both checks. Regarding my previous polite banking experience, she admitted that it was indeed bank policy to have limits on the availability of cash for withdrawals and that different branches had different limits. This was the main branch so my request here was meritorious. Further, she admitted that whatever daily cash coming into the branches in the form of deposits was not available for withdrawal, but was sent from the main branch for daily accounting at a central point common to all area Wells bank branches. Only a prescribed amount of cash was provided with each bank for daily customer cash withdrawals.

Really?!

"A couple of times your current request," was her cautious response to my question about her branch's limits on check cashing. Not to be put-off, I asked about a hypothetical US$25,000 check. She admitted this would be beyond her branches authority. "But," she smiled, "Today, you've come to the right place."

The financial law firm Davis Polk estimates the final length of Dodd-Frank, the single longest bill ever passed by the US government, is over 30,000 pages. Before passage, the six largest banks in the US spent $29.4 million lobbying Congress in 2010 and flooded Capitol Hill with about 3,000 lobbyists prior to Obama predictably signing its final unread version. No US congressman or senator had read it. But, the bank's congressional minions were told to vote for it. And dutifully they did.

The major cause of the upcoming financial meltdown, as with the pre-2008 conditions, is globally systemic gambling against national economies, called derivatives. Derivatives are sold as a kind of betting insurance for managing fraudulent banking profits and risk. So, why fix systemic banking fraud when the final result allowed these same banks to make even more money in the aftermath of the national and personal financial destruction they originated in the first recession?

Instead, thanks to Dodd-Frank, derivatives suddenly have "super-priority" status in any bankruptcy. The Bank for International Settlements quoted global OTC derivatives at $632 trillion as of December 2012. Naked Capitalism states that $230 trillion in worthless derivatives are on the books of US banks alone. Applied to Dodd-Frank this means that all these bad bank bets on derivatives will be paid-off first before you may have your savings cash. If there's actually any cash left once you get to the teller's counter.

Normally in a capital liquidation or bankruptcy proceeding, secured creditors such as a bank's personal depositors are paid off first because these are hard assets, not investments, and thus normally have a mandated priority. Under these new "Bail-In" Dodd-Frank mandates, your government has re-prioritized your bank's exposure and your cash deposit. Derivatives and other similar banking high-risk ventures are now more highly protected than bank depositor's savings. In the 2013 example of Cyprus, Germany and the ECB also made depositors inferior to other bank holdings leaving depositors with, after many months, a small fraction of their deposits.

And then came Greece.

Selling the lie while using the language of Dodd-Frank, we are told by media whores that banks will not be given taxpayer bailouts next time. True. The preamble to the Dodd-Frank Act claims "to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts." But how, then, to Bail-In the G-SIFIs without another taxpayer Bail-Out? No problem.

Enter the FDIC and another new banking term, "cross-border bank resolution." As the sole US agency required to pay back depositors who lose savings up to $250,000, FDIC is armed with a paltry US$25 billion war chest to pay depositors. Under Dodd-Frank, the FDIC will be the mechanism to replace deposits lost or squandered by bank fraud. The public, however, has an estimated total US cash deposits of US$7.36 trillion so, once the banks steal your savings, FDIC will be just a little bit short of funds. How to fix this mathematical shortfall? With, of course, more of your money via emergency taxes or a massive new round of Quantitative Easing (QE). Either way, by the time this happens your money is long gone. And it gets worse.

Really?!

Say, "Goodbye" to your Savings- Two Greedy Methods

It's [FDIC] already indicated that they will confiscate [savings] funds .

-- US congressman Ron Paul

On December 10, 2012, a joint strategy paper was drafted by the Bank of England (BOE) in conjunction with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) titled, "Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions." Here the plot to steal depositor savings is clearly laid out.

The report's "Executive Summary" states:

the authorities in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) have been working together to develop resolution strategies These strategies have been designed to enable [financial institutions] to be resolved without threatening financial stability and without putting public funds at risk.

Sounds good until you read the fine print; i.e., whose risk are they actually protecting?

While claiming to protect taxpayers, Title II of Dodd-Frank gives the FDIC an enforcement arm, the Orderly Liquidation Authority (OLA) which is similar to its British counterpart the Prudent Regulation Authority (PRA). Both now have the authority to punish the personal depositors of failing banking institutions by arbitrarily making their savings deposits subordinate – actually tertiary – to bank claims for the replacement value of their derivatives. Before Dodd-Frank savings deposits were legally senior and primary to these same claims in a routine bankruptcy.

With the US banks holding only $7 trillion in personal cash savings deposits compared to $230 trillion is US derivative obligations, FDIC's $25 billion will not be enough. The creators of Dodd-Frank knew this before it was signed. As John Butler points out in an April 4, 2012, article in Financial Sense :

Do you see the sleight-of-hand at work here? Under the guise of protecting taxpayers, depositors are to be arbitrary, subordinated when in fact they are legally senior to those claims Remember, its stated purpose [Dodd-Frank] is to solve the problem namely the existence of insolvent TBTF institutions that were "highly leveraged with numerous and dispersed financial operations, extensive off-balance-sheet activities, and opaque financial statements.

Oh, but bank depositors can rest easy in the knowledge that replacing their savings will not come out of their pockets via another bank Bail-Out. Thanks to Dodd-Frank, the first line of defence will allow Congress to instead replace personal savings with a government paid for $7 trillion bail-in to FDIC to "replace" these savings.

But, that's the good choice.

Worse, Dodd-Frank gives new powers to FDIC and its OLA that allow an even more powerful and draconian resolution: any deposited funds in a bank, from $1 to $250,000 (the FDIC limit), and everything above, can instead be converted to bank stock! FDIC has provisions so this can be done, via OLA, quite literally overnight.

Really?!

An FDIC report released in 2012 ago reads:

An efficient path for returning the sound operations of the G-SIFI to the private sector would be provided by exchanging or converting a sufficient amount of the unsecured debt from the original creditors of the failed company [meaning the depositor's cash] into equity [or stock].

Additionally, per April 24, 2012 IMF report, conversion of bank debt to stock is an essential element of Bail-Ins included in Dodd-Frank.

The contribution of new capital will come from debt conversion and/or issuance of new equity, with an elimination or significant dilution of the pre-bail in shareholders. Some measures might be necessary to reduce the risk of a 'death spiral' in share prices.

Really?!

For affected depositors to retrieve the value of what was formerly the depositor's account balance, the stock must next be sold. When Lehman Brothers failed, unsecured creditors (depositors are now unsecured creditors) got eight cents on the dollar.

This type of conversion of deposits into equity already had another test-run during the bankruptcy reorganization of Bankia and four other Spanish banks in 2013. The conditions of a July 2012 Memorandum of Understanding resulted in over 1 million small depositors becoming stockholders in Bankia when they were sold without their permission -- "preferences" (preferred stock) in exchange for their missing deposits. Following the conversion, the preferences were converted into common stock originally valued at EU 2.0 per share, then further devalued to EU 0.1 after the March restructuring of Bankia.

Canada has also stated they are planning a similar "Bail-In" program. The Canadian government released a document titled the Economic Action Plan 2013 which says, "the Government proposes to implement a "Bail-In" regime for systemically important banks."

However, don't be getting cute by hiding your cash, precious metals, or passport in a bank safe deposit box. There are no longer safe either. Dodd-Frank took care of that, too.

Under Dodd-Frank the FDIC, using the auspices of Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) can legally, without a warrant, enter the bank vault, have the manager secretly open any and/or all safe deposit boxes and inventory, or seize the contents. Further, if the manager is honest enough to inform the depositor of the illegal incursion he is subject to criminal charges and termination from bank employ. Independent reports reveal that all of America's safe deposit boxes have already been invaded and inventoried for future confiscation.

This already happened in Greece. Depositors who removed their jewellery or precious metals were met at the bank's door by security, a metal detector and confiscation.

Really?!

The power of the now remaining G-SIFI banks and FDIC was further evident when, cash finally in hand, I headed to my bank, JP Morgan Chase, right next door to Wells Fargo. The manager confirmed that the cash withdrawal policy at Chase was in keeping with that at Wells; very little cash available on demand. I posed a slight untruth and inquired as to what I should do about my upcoming need for $50,000 in hard cash. No, her bank would not do that on demand, but arrangements could be made to have the cash transferred to her bank. That would only take "about two days." Of course, I would need to fill out a few forms.

What a Difference a Congress Makes!

With the American and UK public again on the hook by law for the anticipated loss of the banks a distressed depositor might think the plot to defraud them now complete. Au Contraire .

In its rush to transfer further wealth upwards to off-shore bank accounts, US president Trump and his recently re-aligned republican bootlickers have left no stone unturned. First, Trump issued a memorandum that sets in motion his plan to scale back the provisions of Dodd-Frank and repeal the Fiduciary Rule.

It should be noted that the only voice of economic reason at the White House, Former Fed Chairman, Paul Volker, divorced himself from this growing scandal of basic mathematics very publicly. As head of Obama's recession inspired, President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Volker ran into the headwinds of fiscal insanity for too long, resigning in January of 2011 in disgust. His departure thus coincided with the renewal of the litany of criminal financial manipulation already discussed here. And now

The House approved legislation on February 2, 2017, to erase a number of core financial regulations put in place by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, as Republicans moved a step closer to delivering on their promises to eliminate rules that they claim have strangled small businesses and stagnated the economy. Said Trump:

I have so many people, friends of mine, with nice businesses, they can't borrow money, because the banks just won't let them borrow because of the rules and regulations and Dodd-Frank.

Poor banks!

Never mind, of course, that these poor banks are holding derivative exposure thirty-five times the total cash deposits of US savers nor that their ill-gotten riches – such as the UBS, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, RBS multi-billion dollar frauds – were taken off-calendar in Federal court for approximately 15% of the total crime. The banks kept the rest.

And they want more?!

"We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank," Trump said further defining the mantra of MAGA. This will likely see the deterioration of the newly created Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) since these agencies curb further excessive risk-taking and the existence of too-big-to-fail institutions on Wall Street.

Well, depositors, your extreme caution is required. The wording of these new, bank-inspired sets of legislation is silently waiting to be used by many nations to prioritize banks before their citizen's. When the time comes, the race to the bank will be a short-lived event indeed.

With this in mind, I stepped into the bright sunshine outside the walls of JP Morgan/Chase bank, all but $100.00 of my day's take stuffed deep- and securely- in my pocket, its final outcome no one's business but my own.

However, for almost everyone else? Well when YOUR bank fails, don't walk, run! YOU do not want to be second in line.

Really!

Brett Redmayne-Titley is an Independent Journalist, Photographer/ World Citizen. He is a former columnist: PRESS TV/IRAN; writer and contributor to: Earth First! Journal; Zero Hedge; Veterans Today; Activist Post; Off-Guardian; Western Journalism; Intellihub; UK Progressive; Fars News Agency; Russia Insider; Mint Press News; State of the Nation; News of Globe; Blacklisted News; Before It's News; Common Dreams; Shift Frequency; etc

Read other articles by Brett .

This article was posted on Thursday, January 11th, 2018 at 8:01am and is filed under Banks , Barack Obama , Cyprus , Deposits/Depositors , Donald Trump , EU , Greece , Money supply , Wall Street .

[Jan 11, 2018] 3 Million Barrels Per Day Could Go Offline In 2018 OilPrice.com

Jan 11, 2018 | oilprice.com

Ed Morse of Citi says that Venezuela's production could fall below 1 mb/d , which would essentially be a loss of 700,000 bpd by the end of the year.

The losses from Venezuela, combined with potential outages in Iraq, Libya and Nigeria, could reach 3 mb/d in 2018, Citi said .

[Jan 11, 2018] 5 Oil Market Myths In 2018 OilPrice.com

Jan 11, 2018 | oilprice.com

Busting The Five Biggest Oil Market Myths

By ZeroHedge - Jan 09, 2018, 3:00 PM CST
Rig

The oil market has come to be defined by several narratives over the past couple of years: market rebalancing, OPEC versus shale, Russia's delicate relationship with OPEC, OPEC's conformity with production cuts with the latest deal extension running to end of 2018 and shale's resilience to lower prices.

But these frameworks have created a narrow ideology that could harm the way producers participate in the oil market this year and beyond.

Myth 1: OPEC's exit strategy means exit

The idea that the 24 producers who came together and struck a deal to cut production by 1.8 million b/d in November 2016 are somehow going to 'exit' the alliance later this year is misleading. There will be no exit when OPEC, Russia and other non-OPEC producers decide the market has rebalanced -- based on OECD stock levels reaching their five-year average -- rather a continuation of the grand alliance under amended, and most probably looser, terms.

OPEC's hands are somewhat tied: unwind from the deal and undo all the good work achieved, and so it must continue managing the market in another guise to create stability and encourage long-term investment in oil.

Gary Ross at Platts Analytics has been talking of cuts "into perpetuity" since the historic deal was made and informed industry sources note that the exit strategy is the wrong phrase to be using. But while there is uncertainty as to what that new agreement will look like, the market will anxiously hang on to the exit strategy term and these jitters could serve to keep an ultimate cap on prices.

Myth 2: OPEC's top priority is market rebalancing

Market rebalancing may be the measure, backwardation may be the means but price is the ultimate goal.

When prices tanked after a nine-month extension was agreed in May 2017, there was clear disappointment from OPEC sources even if publicly the whims of the market were dismissed and ministers anxiously waited for prices to recover in the medium term.

The difficulty with a price target is that nobody knows what an optimal long-term sustainable price is so the goal posts keep shifting. Besides, different price levels create new supply-demand dynamics and the price may be influenced by more than just underlying fundamentals such as geopolitical risk.

Related: Is This The Beginning Of An Oil Sands Revival?

Thus, for now OPEC's clumsy priority is market rebalancing. It just needs remembering that bringing down the more than 100 million barrels in stocks to its five-year average could prove elusive given the oversupply in recent years.

There is also the flipside risk in which OPEC tightens too much. Indeed, Saudi Arabia oil minister Khalid al-Falih has admitted that OPEC may need a more concrete goal at its June meeting and when it alters its market management strategy it may well coincide with a new long-term target.

Myth 3: Russia will end its alliance with OPEC

Russian oil companies have begrudgingly stayed on board with the deal due to the iron hand of President Vladimir Putin and steely determination of oil minister Alexander Novak.

Russia is not so at ease with ongoing market management and the fanfare and media circus that surrounds OPEC. Russia also arguably needs the extra revenue less and is more worried about losing market share in Europe and Asia to competition from rising U.S. shale oil exports. But the growing political nexus between Russia and Saudi Arabia, Russia's increasing swagger as joint head of this broad OPEC alliance (as noted at the November 30 meeting in Vienna with everyone awaiting Novak's arrival) as well as the budgetary need for sustained higher prices means Russia could well be in it for the long haul.

Putin is keenly aware of the U.S.-Saudi ties and has been building relations with Saudi Arabia since 2007 when it offered the kingdom nuclear aid.

Indeed, the overriding concern for the world's biggest oil producer is that, should the agreement unravel, prices could plunge putting the country back at ground zero. It may be an inconvenient truth for both, but to wield the necessary global energy influence, OPEC and Russia need each other indefinitely.

Myth 4: The battleground is OPEC versus U.S. shale

Ever since OPEC did an about-turn on its pump-at-will strategy and started working on a market share approach that was first brokered in Algiers in September 2016, the battle between OPEC and shale has been exaggerated. What may have started out as a move to crush U.S. shale in 2014 has transformed into a broader coexistence at the end of 2017 in a bid to find an equilibrium that allows profits to be made and coffers to be filled by all producers.

(Click to enlarge)

There has been growing dialogue between U.S. frackers and the oil producer group.

It could be argued that OPEC's first mission was to stop the runaway train that was OPEC output as producers ramped up production month on month as competition intensified. It could also be argued that the real target for OPEC is still unconventional and uneconomic oil as once investment becomes a free for all, OPEC risks a repeat of an oil boom and bust and the volatility it is trying to guard against. But at what point will deepwater, oil sands and Arctic drilling in general become economic enough to persuade investors to commit?

For example, the U.S. deepwater Gulf of Mexico sector has struggled since crude dropped in late 2014, but costs have dropped and efficiencies improved, and analysts suggest the sector may be at a turning point if prices are maintained.

Myth 5: U.S. shale is simply resilient

U.S. shale producers may well be predicted to make capex gains in 2018, they may have made technological innovations in drilling and completions that have brought down costs and they may have adapted to a lower price environment. In fact, Platts Analytics predicts a U.S. shale production growth of 900,000 b/d in 2018. But, despite all this, a productivity inflection point may well have been reached, a crossroads for investors.

(Click to enlarge)

Cyclical cost efficiencies and geological productivity are beginning to unwind with a combination of inflation and a broadening from the sweetest spots and core acreage.

Related: China Is About To Shake Up Oil Futures

In the Permian, rig efficiency peaked in July 2016 according to the EIA, and has since consistently decreased, while the Eagle Ford and Anadarko (Woodford) plays have experienced a significant drop-off in rig productivity. Moreover, investors want a return on their capital and have tired of capturing resources without seeing value being maximized. For almost a decade, the U.S. exploration and production industry has outspent its cash flows in drilling costs, requiring a constant inflow of debt and equity financing to keep going.

With prices back above $60 a barrel, can investors make a healthy sum? With the biggest producers now the oil majors, their shareholders may prefer returns over market share.

By Paul Hickin via Zerohedge

[Jan 09, 2018] There has been talk of higher interest rates for 10 yrs.

Jan 09, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Watcher x Ignored says: 01/05/2018 at 3:02 pm

There has been talk of higher interest rates for 10 yrs.

The US debt is $20 Trillion. 1% rise in rates would be $200 billion that must be serviced. US deficit this year will be almost 500B. 1% rise would be about 50% of the deficit. 2% doubles it.

Seems easier to just not let them rise.

[Jan 09, 2018] Oil prices are volatile because of the fiscally irresponsible, short investment nature of the shale oil industry and offshore development takes years and years to bring to market

There is natural gas coming out of our ears at the moment because of the shale phenomena; the price is tanking back to the mid $2's and there is no place to put anymore gas.
Notable quotes:
"... Shale companies are on track to spend $20 billion more than they will generate in the next six months if prices hover around $40 a barrel, analysts say. ..."
"... Compensation practices play a role in the behavior of U.S. shale producers: Most of their management teams are paid based on growth or adding new oil and gas reserves -- not on profits -- according to Matt Portillo, an analyst at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co., in Houston. "Until that changes, growth may continue to prevail," he said. ..."
Jan 09, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Mike: 01/08/2018 at 7:34 am

The shale oil industry is NOT profitable. It never has been and in general terms it will not be in 2018 either. There has always been something fishy about its funding, particularly when wanders like this guy can make $16M a year in compensation, while his company looses money year over year for stock holders.

Clearly, however, it is not his fault his company can't be profitable and it is not their fault they are "forced" to borrow all that money

Anadarko's Al Walker Says US Shale Is An Alcoholic And Investors Are 'A Problem'

As we've noted on too many occasions to count, this is aiding and abetting a situation where these companies effectively sow the seeds of their own demise. They're running up the down escalator. They're working their asses off to drive down the price of the very commodity they're producing.

And hilariously, they think maybe you're the problem. Here's the Journal again:

"The biggest problem our industry faces today is you guys," Al Walker, chief executive of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. , told investors at a conference last month.

Wall Street has become an enabler that pushes companies to grow production at any cost, while punishing those that try to live within their means, Mr. Walker said, adding: "It's kind of like going to AA. You know, we need a partner. We really need the investment community to show discipline."

Even if companies cut back on drilling now, it wouldn't be enough to stop a new wave of oil from hitting the market in the second half of the year : U.S. shale output typically lags behind new drilling by four to six months, analysts say.

Shale companies are on track to spend $20 billion more than they will generate in the next six months if prices hover around $40 a barrel, analysts say.

Compensation practices play a role in the behavior of U.S. shale producers: Most of their management teams are paid based on growth or adding new oil and gas reserves -- not on profits -- according to Matt Portillo, an analyst at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co., in Houston. "Until that changes, growth may continue to prevail," he said.

Isn't that last bit about executive compensation great?

So folks like Al Walker are paid based not on profits, but on growth, and that growth is funded by investors like you.

So if you connect the dots there, it means you are literally giving these management teams money to fund the growth that ends up boosting their compensation, and that growth is going to ultimately bankrupt the companies you're investing in by creating a supply glut.

Welcome to the shale industry, goddammit. Enjoy your stay.

[Jan 09, 2018] Oil rises above $68 to highest since May 2015 on tighter market

Jan 09, 2018 | www.reuters.com

Oil rose further above $68 a barrel on Tuesday, touching its highest since May 2015, supported by OPEC-led production cuts and expectations U.S. crude inventories fell for an eighth week.

[Jan 09, 2018] Neocon power in Big Government is directly connected to neocon media access and neocon media visibility

Notable quotes:
"... Neocon power in Big Government is directly connected to neocon media access and neocon media visibility. This is why 'experts' such as Boot, Kristol, Weinstein, Cohen, Stephens, Glasser, Podhoretz, Dubowitz, etc., are not only never stepping down from their appointed roles as high media priests–they're actually failing their way into positions of tenure and (undue) respectability. ..."
"... Under any other circumstance, their bulletproof status would defy logic. But because of Israel's unique place in American life, this makes perfect–though astonishing–sense. This above list of scoundrels may resemble the guest list of a Jewish wedding, but this ongoing affair will produce no honeymoon. These operatives function as soft double agents. Their devious mission is to justify US war(s) of aggression that benefit Israel. ..."
"... More subversion and more conflict. This explains why Pres. Trump has reversed course. He's caved. Once elected, Trump decided to would be suicide to try to frustrate the Israeli Lobby. So he cucked his Presidency and dumped several major campaign pledges. ..."
"... Candidate Trump also stated: "I don't want your [Jewish] money" to an auditorium full of wealthy Jews. Well, that's changed too. Pres. Trump is now surrounded by wealthy and powerful Israeli-firsters now, including mega-billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, who ended up feeding the Trump campaign untold millions. Sadly, Trump has totally rolled over for the Israelis. ..."
"... Regarding Israel, Washington will foot their war bill, supply the arms, lend diplomatic cover and even wage war on their behalf. No country in the world receives this kind of treatment. And no country in the world deserves it. ..."
"... Ironically, US security would be improved if we simply minded our own business and did nothing in the Middle East besides pursue normal and peaceful trade policies. But that's not to be. ..."
"... America's 'special relationship' with you-know-who is the quintessential red line that no establishment figure will cross. And those who do cross that line tend to fade rapidly into oblivion. This phenomena has not gone unnoticed. ..."
"... When you control the media, you control the message. That message is that America just has to keep busting up nations for the glory of Apartheid Israel. ..."
"... Much is said about "we dumb Americans." We are not all that dumb – but we are 100% misinformed. Propaganda works. It is a fact that the human mind is susceptible to repeated lies. (It is also true, that people hate being lied too.) ..."
"... The whole US media scene can be summed up as "don't believe their pack of lies. Believe my pack of lies"! ..."
Jan 09, 2018 | www.unz.com
Mark Green , January 9, 2018 at 10:57 am GMT
Neocon power in Big Government is directly connected to neocon media access and neocon media visibility. This is why 'experts' such as Boot, Kristol, Weinstein, Cohen, Stephens, Glasser, Podhoretz, Dubowitz, etc., are not only never stepping down from their appointed roles as high media priests–they're actually failing their way into positions of tenure and (undue) respectability.

Under any other circumstance, their bulletproof status would defy logic. But because of Israel's unique place in American life, this makes perfect–though astonishing–sense. This above list of scoundrels may resemble the guest list of a Jewish wedding, but this ongoing affair will produce no honeymoon. These operatives function as soft double agents. Their devious mission is to justify US war(s) of aggression that benefit Israel.

Being a successful neocon doesn't require being right. Not at all. It's all about sending the right message. Over and over. Evidence be damned. The neocon mission is not about journalism. It's about advancing the cause: Mideast disruption and a secure Jewish state.

More importantly, Washington's impenetrable array of Zio-centric PACs, money-handlers, bundlers, fund-raisers, and billionaires want these crypto-Israeli pundits right where they are–on TV or in the your local newspaper–telling Americans how to feel and what to think. And Big Media–which happens to be in bed with these same powerful forces–needs these Zions in place to not only justify the latest Mideast confrontation, but even ones being planned. It's one big happy effort at group-think, mass deception, and military conquest. Unfortunately, it's not being presented that way.

So what lies ahead?

More subversion and more conflict. This explains why Pres. Trump has reversed course. He's caved. Once elected, Trump decided to would be suicide to try to frustrate the Israeli Lobby. So he cucked his Presidency and dumped several major campaign pledges.

The first to go was his pledge to normalize US-Russian relations ('make peace' with Russia) and after that 2) avoid unnecessary wars abroad. That's was a huge reversal. But Trump did it and few pundits have scolded him for it. The fix is in.

Candidate Trump also stated: "I don't want your [Jewish] money" to an auditorium full of wealthy Jews. Well, that's changed too. Pres. Trump is now surrounded by wealthy and powerful Israeli-firsters now, including mega-billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, who ended up feeding the Trump campaign untold millions. Sadly, Trump has totally rolled over for the Israelis.

So Trump (the President) now sees things differently. Very differently. When it comes to the Middle East, Trump has been Hillary-ized. This means there's no light between what Israel desires and what Washington is willing to deliver. The hyper-wealthy, super cohesive, extraordinarily well-positioned and diabolically cleaver Israeli lobby has Trump over a barrel. Shocking, yes. But true.

So watch Israel's roughshod expansion continue, along with the typically meek and accommodating responses from Washington.

Regarding Israel, Washington will foot their war bill, supply the arms, lend diplomatic cover and even wage war on their behalf. No country in the world receives this kind of treatment. And no country in the world deserves it.

What's worse, our 'independent' MSM will be there to sanitize Washington's pro-Israel shenanigans and basically cheer the whole bloody process on. This is where the Zio-punditry of Kristol, Cohen, Stephens, Dubowitz, and Co. come in. They soothe the nervous nellies as they gently justify the death and destruction that come with these military strikes. Media tactics include:

Don't count enemy war dead. Don't count civilian war dead. Don't count displaced refugees. Don't connect Europe's immigration crisis to Zio-Washington's destruction of Iraq, Libya and Syria.

At the same time: Always praise Israeli 'restraint'. Always refer to Israel as a 'democracy'. Sneer and jeer the 'terrorist' Republic of Iran. Treat every Mideast warlord or rebellion as if it threatens the sanctity of Disneyland or even the next Superbowl. Oh my!

It's a slick, highly-coordinated, and very manipulative affair. But the magic is working. Americans are being fooled.

Ironically, US security would be improved if we simply minded our own business and did nothing in the Middle East besides pursue normal and peaceful trade policies. But that's not to be.

The reason for this phenomena is that Washington's major PACs, syndicates, heavy hitters, influence peddlers, oligarchs, and Big Money handlers (and who also have their clutches on our corrupt MSM) want more Mideast disruption.

Why? Israeli 'security'. Israeli 'survival'. Considering Israel's extraordinary military power, this might seem silly. But this is what the entrenched Israeli lobby desires. And both Parties are listening. To make matters worse, how one 'thinks' and 'talks' about Israel has unacknowledged limitations and restrictions in Big Washington as well as Big Media.

Diversity of opinion stops at Israel's doorstep. Like it or not, Zionist Israel is the Third Rail of American discourse. Watch what you say. Even the typically rancorous disputes between Democrats and Republicans gets warm and fuzzy when Israel's 'special place' in American life is raised. America's 'special relationship' with you-know-who is the quintessential red line that no establishment figure will cross. And those who do cross that line tend to fade rapidly into oblivion. This phenomena has not gone unnoticed.

So America is stuck with pro-Israel speech codes and a militantly pro-Zionist foreign policy that has caused immense cost, dislocation, suffering and destruction. It's been designed that way. And 'outsider' Trump is stuck with it. Few dare examine it.

Here's the short list of Israel's primary Enemies. Significantly, these are the countries that also get the worst press in American media:

N. Korea is even a player here. Iran and N. Korea have allegedly shared nuclear technology. This infuriates nuclear Israel.

So the Israel angle in this picture is huge. Overwhelmingly so. This is where the oligarchs, media lords, and corrupt journalists come together.

Thus, Israel's tenured Hasbara brigade in US media will remain firmly in place.

Buck Turgidson , January 9, 2018 at 11:12 am GMT
The local DC 'conservative' radio station has Bolton as a guest all the time. Same old neocon crap that we don't want any more. Bolton had his day 15 years ago and he sucked then; yet, they keep bringing him on, slobbering all over him ("Ambassador Bolton"), and letting him blather about blowing up everyone. I still see a lot of online comments about how people would love to have John Bolton as our ambassador to the UN. Good grief wise up people.
wayfarer , January 9, 2018 at 11:56 am GMT

" Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. " – Buddha

"Israel Lobby Refuses to Register as a Foreign Agent! "

Tom Welsh , January 9, 2018 at 12:08 pm GMT
'Stephens' article, entitled Finding the Way Forward on Iran sparkles with throwaway gems like "Tehran's hyperaggressive foreign policy in the wake of the 2015 nuclear deal" and "Real democracies don't live in fear of their own people" and even "it's not too soon to start rethinking the way we think about Iran." Or try "A better way of describing Iran's dictatorship is as a kleptotheocracy, driven by impulses that are by turns doctrinal and venal."'

Hmmmmm . I can immediately think of another nation to which those strictures are far more applicable.

"Hyperaggressive foreign policy"
"Kleptocracy"

Sounds more like the USA, doesn't it?

As for "Real democracies don't live in fear of their own people", that's a real home run.

1. The USA is not, never has been, never will be, and was never meant to be "a real democracy". (Except by unrealistic visionaries like Jefferson).

2. The USA has been, for some decades, a plutocracy – as comprehensively proved by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page. https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

3. "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty". – Thomas Jefferson

No prizes for guessing which of Jefferson's alternatives prevails today.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/14/why-is-department-homeland-security-buying-so-many-bullets.html

Greg Bacon , Website January 9, 2018 at 12:32 pm GMT
When you control the media, you control the message. That message is that America just has to keep busting up nations for the glory of Apartheid Israel.

From an April 2003 Haaretz article:

The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it's possible.

This is a war of an elite. [Tom] Friedman laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/white-man-s-burden-1.14110

If this insanity keeps up, America will either be destroyed by financial collapse from waging all these wars or we'll stumble into WW III and the last thing we'll see is a mushroom cloud.

Former Brit PM Tony Blair at the Chilcot inquiry:

What role did Israel play in the run-up to the Iraq war?

"As I recall that discussion, it was less to do with specifics about what we were going to do on Iraq or, indeed, the Middle East, because the Israel issue was a big, big issue at the time. I think, in fact, I remember, actually, there may have been conversations that we had even with Israelis, the two of us, whilst we were there. So that was a major part of all this."

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2010/02/iraq-war-israel-bush-saddam

annamaria , January 9, 2018 at 12:49 pm GMT
@Mark James

"Whether print, air, or both the Neocons want to be players. They have the friends in high –media– places to do it." – They, neocons, are devoid of dignity. This explains why none of them feels any responsibility for the mass slaughter in the Middle East -- picture Madeleine Albright near thousands of tiny corpses of Iraqi children or the piggish Kristol next to the bloody bags with shredded Syrian children. They are psychopaths, the profiteering psychopaths. There is no other way to deal with neo/ziocons but through long-term incarceration.

DESERT FOX , January 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm GMT
Those Zionist neocons are just a few of the cabal that destroyed the WTC and got away with it and every thinking American knows it.

Zionists are Satanists and are going to destroy America, please read THE PROTOCOLS OF ZION.

Jake , January 9, 2018 at 3:01 pm GMT
My fine tuning of this excellent article begins, and perhaps ends, with this quote: "The fact is that Iran is being targeted because Israel sees it as its prime enemy in the region and has corrupted many "opinion makers" in the U.S., to include Stephens, to hammer home that point."

The 'corruption' is not recent and is not about any one issue or series of issues. It springs from Deep Culture. It is part of the WASP worldview.

WASP culture is the direct product of Anglo-Saxon Puritanism, which was a Judaizing heresy. Judaizing heresy always produces culture and politics that are pro-Jewish, pro-Semitic.

At least by the beginning of the Victorian era, virtually 100% of British Empire Elites were hardcore pro-Semitic. Most were pro-Jewish, but a large and growing minority were pro-Arabic and pro-Islamic.

The Saudis are Arabic. The Iranians are NOT Arabic; Iranians are Indo-European.

Siding with both wings of Semitic culture – Jewish and Arabic/Islamic – against an Indo-European people is exactly what WASP cultural Elites will do. It is roughly analogous to Oliver Cromwell allying with Jews to wage war against the vast majority of natives of the British Isles.

JoaoAlfaiate , January 9, 2018 at 3:03 pm GMT
Excellent piece. I'd just like to add that Stephens' op-ed in the NYT ought to be view like Judith Miller's misleading articles about aluminum-tubes-for-nuclear-centrifuges which appeared in the Times during the run up to the Iraq war: Preparation of the Times' readership for yet another war in the middle east, this time against Iran.
Jake , January 9, 2018 at 3:05 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX

No, Saudis destroyed the World Trade Center.

But the Israelis do see the Saudis as their Middle Eastern BFF, and the US is also tightly allied with the Saudis.

Jake , January 9, 2018 at 3:07 pm GMT
@Bill Jones

You cannot separate that 'error' from the fact that such an act fit perfectly with WASP culture as the product of Judaizing heresy.

That is exactly what WASP culture would do.

Tammy , January 9, 2018 at 3:22 pm GMT
@MEexpert

MEexpert says, "Look again. His has a typical Jewish face.

The score is still 6 to 1. John Bolton may bot be Jewish but he is a venom spewing neocon."

Finally someone with the courage of Justin Raimondo has guts to call spade a spade. He has taken the courage to move from the FAKE NEWS:

Why the Korean 'Crisis' Is Completely Phony

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/01/08/korean-crisis-completely-phony/

Ron Unz is another courageous man. I wish and pray to God, that people like Ron Unz, Philip M. Giraldi, Paul Craig Roberts, Saker and their likes to move away from FAKE NEWS too, and tell us the TRUTH.

Evil can be fought only with TRUTH ..

Your idea about an article on political Islam by either Ron Unz or Philip M. Giraldi is an excellent idea, and I am willing to help provided we keep away from sectarianism and stick to TRUTH. The war the First Caliph abu Bakr which he fought with Yemen's Muslims within six months of Prophet's demise is very important to show how the rights given by Prophet Mohammad (saws) were taken away as soon as his demise. Our aim should be to shine the light on the Prophet. This is what Yemen's war did, just to start with:

1. Prophet did away with excommuniting someone from the fold as he saw a very powerful tool in the hands of Rabbis and Preacher. Who gave them the right to remove someone from Synagogue or Church.

2. So abu Bakr came up with much stronger tool, he called all the Yemeni Muslims en masses as apostate.

3. Brought back the slavery.

4. Claimed that he the Caliph abu Bakr was appointed by Will of Allah through predestination.

5. Thus, the ideology of ISIS calling everyone kafir, kafir, kafir .. and chopping their heads.

6. Used Islam as a disguise to bring other countries in to the fold for power and mammon (money), thus bring Islam by Sword.

The list is extensive and I can go on and on. The divide / confuse / rule was used against the Muslims.

The objective of the article should be to bring TRUTH about the Prophet.

for-the-record , January 9, 2018 at 3:26 pm GMT
@Tammy

Anyone who thinks Trump is a fool is an imbecile himself/herself.

Thanks for the compliment!

sarz , January 9, 2018 at 3:33 pm GMT
@Mark Green

Don't lose heart, Mark Green. There is a very good chance that Trump is actually with you, and that he's winning. He cannot afford to be straight at all. His strategy is to take up highly charged strands of the dominant discourse and to short circuit them. A strong play of a weak hand. He's run with the demands of Adelson, Netanyahu and Kushner regarding Jerusalem and other maximal Israeli demands. It's all in response to the worst Jews. The result is that Shias are united with Sunnis, Hamas with PLO, Iran with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The whole world against America, Israel and some specks of guano. The Iran caper is the same. The Pakistan caper even better. Trump gives the military a free hand to show what they can do in Afghanistan. Then he blows his twitter top to insult Pakistan so there will no longer be a land route. He's doing his damndest and always failing. What a clueless asshole. Yet every failure is undoing the empire, and leading to a one-state resolution in Palestine.

That's just the foreign policy part.

By the time he's finished there will be no Democrat party left as we know it, and the GOP will be transformed as well.
There will be no more Fed. No more debt based currency. A paid off national debt.
And there will be single payer medical coverage.
God willing.

Achmed E. Newman , Website January 9, 2018 at 3:35 pm GMT
That was a great summary of our foreign policy situation, Mr. Giraldi. You have a lot of guts to write out all the truth that you see, as you have in all of the articles of yours I've read on unz.

I really liked this line, too:

To be sure, Iran is a very corrupt place run by people who should not be running a hot dog stand, but the same applies to the United States and Israel .

I have one question for you, Phil, and this is not hypothetical or snarky – just looking for your opinion: What do you think the neocons' attitude about the Orient is? I realize that China is on the road to kicking our ass economically , but that's the "war" we need to fight, not a military war. Then, there's N. Korea, which, in my opinion, is none of our business. Rest of the question – Trump seems to get sucked into the standard invade-the-world mode in the Far East also – do you think that is neocon-inspired, and, since that part of the world is no threat to Israel, if so, why? Would they possibly be masking their intentions by expanding the range of their invade-the-world program?

DaveE , January 9, 2018 at 3:35 pm GMT
Another fine essay, Mr. Giraldi. Thanks once again.

This morning we find a very unusual Op Ed in the JYT by David Brooks, "The Decline of Anti-Trump_vs_deep_state".

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/opinion/anti-trump-opposition.html

I don't usually read that filthy rag other than to skim the headlines, but this was just so bizarre, I couldn't resist. Brooks seems to admit that they (Jewish neocons/Bolsheviks) are losing the battle to take down Trump. He openly criticizes the media for being so obvious and self-discrediting.

Is this a total retreat for the neocons / Bolsheviks? Or is Brooks merely rallying the troops? Or simply a desperate attempt to regain credibility by telling the truth, for a change?

Or maybe he is preemptively refuting Mr. Giraldi's premise in this piece, a semi-novel tactic one might call Jewish Preemptive Vengeance getting even BEFORE the fact?

Anyway, it was downright WEIRD.

DESERT FOX , January 9, 2018 at 3:40 pm GMT

@Jake

Do some research, Israel and the U.S. deep state blew up 7 buildings at the WTC on 911 and blew up a section of the pentagram, the Saudis were the patsys , and as corrupt and evil as the Saudis are they had on part in it.

The Zionist neocons did 911 to set the Mideast wars in motion, do some research, hell every thinking American knows Israel did it.

c matt , January 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm GMT
@wayfarer

Considering what an absolute stranglehold they have over American politics, they may have an argument.

Art , January 9, 2018 at 4:01 pm GMT
Mr. Giraldi has gone after the real power center in America – the Jew controlled US media. Much is said about "we dumb Americans." We are not all that dumb – but we are 100% misinformed. Propaganda works. It is a fact that the human mind is susceptible to repeated lies. (It is also true, that people hate being lied too.)

Much is said about "Christian Zionists." Why is it, that NO Christian broadcast media tells the truth about Palestinian suffering? Of course, it is because of Jew media control. If Christian stations were to tell the truth, there would be a lot less Christian Zionists – they would be a small segment of Christianity.

Thanks to Mr. Giraldi and others on the internet – more and more people are listening and learning and getting mad. A base is building. Truth will out!

Think Peace -- Art

Joe Hide , January 9, 2018 at 4:03 pm GMT
The more the psychotic control freaks publically expose themselves, what with social media, the internet, and disenchanted leakers in their own group the more of humanity wakes up to a great sense of absolute disgust in them. We, humanity, are gradually winning and the disgusting pyschopaths are losing.
Michael Kenny , January 9, 2018 at 4:23 pm GMT
Does Mr Giraldi really expect us to believe that the US internet is any better than the media outlets he criticizes? The whole US media scene can be summed up as "don't believe their pack of lies. Believe my pack of lies"!

[Jan 08, 2018] To what extent shale companies are just prostitutes of Wall Street and to what extent they are independent oil production companies?

Jan 08, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

shallow sand x Ignored says: 01/05/2018 at 6:36 am

Every article on oil prices in the last several months says the ONLY downside is US shale.

Do the larger US shale companies pay attention to supply/demand dynamics at all? At current prices most can show positive EPS, assuming service costs do not surge too much?

For example, auto manufacturers do not produce the maximum vehicles possible. They pay attention to supply and demand. Almost every single manufacturer tries to forecast demand for its product.

Even farmers try to grow what crops are in most demand and raise what livestock is most in demand.

We have not drilled a well in over 3 years due to lack of oil demand, our production has fallen.

So, we will see.

Mike x Ignored says: 01/05/2018 at 6:47 am
Shallow, here you go: https://www.forbes.com/sites/daneberhart/2018/01/04/revenge-of-the-oil-services-sector-in-2018/#25e1060569e9 maybe this, rising interest rates, and fresh water issues in 2018 in arid West Texas will slow the bastards down a little and help give us some price stability.
Longtimber x Ignored says: 01/05/2018 at 2:14 pm
"Rystad Energy is even bullish on American oil. The Norwegian firm sees U.S. crude output hitting 11 million barrels per day by December, narrowly surpassing global leader Russia and OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia."

http://peakoil.com/production/america-could-become-oil-king-of-the-world-in-2018
http://money.cnn.com/2018/01/03/investing/oil-us-russia-saudi-arabia-shale/index.html
y MAD MAD MAD Mad 2018 world. Just drive down and dig it up, dig it all up.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w00Kab17aeI

Guym x Ignored says: 01/05/2018 at 7:11 pm
Absolute poppycock! US output will do good to get to the level that EIA is currently reporting, about 9.75 by the end of 2018. Mike's post explains why. 11 million barrels a day,? Man, that is some potent stuff they are smoking.
likbez says: 01/07/2018 at 7:30 pm
shallow sand,

>Do the larger US shale companies pay attention to supply/demand dynamics at all?
> At current prices most can show positive EPS, assuming service costs do not surge too much?

This might be a wrong question. The right question IMHO is: "To what extent shale companies are just prostitutes of Wall Street and to what extent they are independent oil production companies? "

What if the key role for such companies is to be a part of "price crasher" mechanism (along with "naked shorts" and similar financial chicanery) ?

I believe that with the shale boom it is Wall Street that obtained mechanism using which they can dictate oil prices.

Not Saudies or OPEC in general but Wall Street titans are now in the driving seat, although OPEC and Russia are fighting back by limiting production.

And Wall Street is not shy to step on the throat of "conventional" oil producers and force them to produce with no or even negative margins because of the specific of oil industry.

When you gets so much money on such lenient conditions something is fishy This dual production mode (oil plus junk bonds and evergreen loans) looks to me just a variable of "subprime housing boom" on a new level.

[Jan 08, 2018] Oil will take a much higher price to get any bids for the NS and for the GOM

Notable quotes:
"... Always skeptical of "technical recoverable guesses," my suggestion is to focus on product prices instead and the current reduced level of activity in the GOM. Oil prices are volatile because of the fiscally irresponsible, short investment nature of the shale oil industry and offshore development takes years and years to bring to market. There is natural gas coming out of our ears at the moment because of the shale phenomena; the price is tanking back to the mid $2's and there is no place to put anymore gas. ..."
"... much like Trump turned over Obama's legislation regarding offshore drilling, this one will be turned over as well. I don't think a 3 year time frame and price volatility gives the offshore industry enough time to do anything with this, personally. Its fluff. ..."
Jan 08, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

HVACman

x Ignored says: 01/05/2018 at 5:23 pm
Carrying over from islandboy's EIA thread:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/trump-proposes-vast-expansion-offshore-drilling

From post above:
TRUMP PROPOSES VAST EXPANSION OF OFFSHORE DRILLING
(Zinke) "This is a start on looking at American energy dominance,"

Regardless of emotional reaction to this announcement, I am skeptical of its viability.

My skeptical mind tells me, when all else fails, look at the numbers. The numbers per MMS chart on Wikipedia:

Undiscovered technically-recoverable oil resources on the outer continental shelf, 2006:

Washington/Oregon – 0.4Bbo Nor Cal – 2.08 Bbo Central Cal – 2.31 Bbo So Cal – 5.74 Bbo All Atlantic + east FL – 3.84 Bbo GOM – 44.92 Bbo North Slope – 23.6 Bbo Alaska less NS – 3.0 Bbo

Total 85.88 Bbo

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/758Syms2006OCSMapWithPlanni.png

I conclude that most of the "new" oil unleashed by this stunning decision is in the GOM and and the North slope, both of which are well-known by the industry and which have been open to Federal leases in the past. After Shell's bad experience, oil will take a much higher price to get any bids for the NS and for the GOM, this is just BAU. The Atlantic and Pacific Coasts don't have enough resource to be worth exploring, much less leasing.

OK, there are some sharp oil people here on the forum and I'm just a dumb HVAC engineer. Help me. Am I missing something? Are they actually going for the natural gas, and is it worth going after?

Boomer II x Ignored says: 01/05/2018 at 11:20 pm
Either Trump and his energy folks are so determined to stick it to environmentalists that they are willing to hurt the industries they claim to help, or they know this won't amount to anything but it will impress their hardcore supporters.
shallow sand x Ignored says: 01/06/2018 at 12:10 am
I sincerely doubt most states will cooperate with allowing all the shoreline and shallow water infrastructure needed to replicate the GOM.

Can anyone see FL allow pipelines running to tank farms located on the shoreline?

I understand the states control from the shore to 3 miles out.

If I am wrong, please point out how.

Greenbub x Ignored says: 01/06/2018 at 7:24 pm
Shallow, you aren't kidding about these reckless frackers:

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/367780-michael-moore-says-hes-going-to-frack-off-coast-near-mar-a-lago

Mike x Ignored says: 01/06/2018 at 6:57 am
I believe that is a good summary HVAC, as is Boomers suggestion that this offshore development legislation is cursory and an otherwise meaningless gesture made toward an agenda that involves eliminating regulations for the oil and gas industry and "unleashing" America's energy might on the rest of the world.

Always skeptical of "technical recoverable guesses," my suggestion is to focus on product prices instead and the current reduced level of activity in the GOM. Oil prices are volatile because of the fiscally irresponsible, short investment nature of the shale oil industry and offshore development takes years and years to bring to market. There is natural gas coming out of our ears at the moment because of the shale phenomena; the price is tanking back to the mid $2's and there is no place to put anymore gas.

This is another nail in this administrations coffin, from my conservative perspective. It is enraging the environmental left and will help assure the biggest Democratic turnout in history in 3 years.

Then, much like Trump turned over Obama's legislation regarding offshore drilling, this one will be turned over as well. I don't think a 3 year time frame and price volatility gives the offshore industry enough time to do anything with this, personally. Its fluff.

[Jan 07, 2018] Neoliberal MSM want to control the narrative

"Controlling the narrative" is politically correct term for censorship.
Notable quotes:
"... I suspect most of the people who write all that furious invective on the Internet, professional polemicists and semiliterate commenters alike, are lashing out because they've been hurt -- their sense of fairness or decency has been outraged, or they feel personally wounded or threatened. ..."
"... "controlling the narrative" by neoliberal MSM is the key of facilitating the neoliberal "groupthink". Much like was in the USSR with "communist" groupthink. This is a step in the direction of the theocratic society (which the USSR definitely was). ..."
"... In other words "controlling the narrative" is the major form of neoliberal MSM "war on reality" as the neoliberal ideology is now completely discredited and can be sustained only by cult-style methods. ..."
Jan 30, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
libezkova -> Fred C. Dobbs... January 29, 2017 at 08:31 AM , 2017 at 08:31 AM
Neoliberal MSM want to control the narrative.

That's why "alternative facts" should be called an "alternative narrative".

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/09/controlling-the-narrative/?_r=0

== quote ==

Maybe this is the same kind of clinical detachment doctors have to cultivate, a way of distancing oneself from the subject, protecting yourself against a crippling empathy. I won't say that writers or artists are more sensitive than other people, but it may be that they're less able to handle their own emotions.

It may be that art, like drugs, is a way of dulling or controlling pain. Eloquently articulating a feeling is one way to avoid actually experiencing it.

Words are only symbols, noises or marks on paper, and turning the messy, ugly stuff of life into language renders it inert and manageable for the author, even as it intensifies it for the reader.

It's a nerdy, sensitive kid's way of turning suffering into something safely abstract, an object of contemplation.

I suspect most of the people who write all that furious invective on the Internet, professional polemicists and semiliterate commenters alike, are lashing out because they've been hurt -- their sense of fairness or decency has been outraged, or they feel personally wounded or threatened.

libezkova -> libezkova... , January 29, 2017 at 09:24 AM
"controlling the narrative" by neoliberal MSM is the key of facilitating the neoliberal "groupthink". Much like was in the USSR with "communist" groupthink. This is a step in the direction of the theocratic society (which the USSR definitely was).

In other words "controlling the narrative" is the major form of neoliberal MSM "war on reality" as the neoliberal ideology is now completely discredited and can be sustained only by cult-style methods.

They want to invoke your emotions in the necessary direction and those emotions serve as a powerful filter, a firewall which will prevents you from seeing any alternative facts which taken as whole form an "alternative narrative".

It also creates certain taboo, such as "don't publish anything from RT", or you automatically become "Putin's stooge." But some incoherent blabbing of a crazy neocon in Boston Globe is OK.

This is an old and a very dirty game, a variation of method used for centuries by high demand cults:

"Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece.

Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood.

But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

– Hermann Goering (as told to Gustav Gilbert during the Nuremberg trials)

You need to be able to decipher this "suggested" set of emotions and detach it from the set of facts provided by neoliberal MSM. It might help to view things "Sine ira et studio" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sine_ira_et_studio )

That helps to destroy the official neoliberal narrative.

Here skepticism (whether natural or acquired) can be of great help in fighting groupthink pushed by neoliberal MSM.

We are all guilty of this one sidedness, but I think that we need to put some efforts to move in direction of higher level of skepticism toward our own views and probably provide at least links to alternative views.

[Jan 06, 2018] Crash or no crash musings

It will be 10 years since 2008 crash this year.
Jan 04, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Reply 04 January 2018 at 02:41 PM

Farmer Don , 04 January 2018 at 02:41 PM

Where will the economy be at the end of 2018
I HAVE NO CLUE!

too many variables for me:

Reasons for crash:
Personal debt rising starting to cause problems. Credit card debt up/Car loan defaults up
US debt rising.
US balance of trade continuing
Fed says it will quit increasing QE & may raise interest rates.
China and bricks completing parallel monetary trade and movement systems to stop US financial monopoly. Ie chinese SWIFT replacement system, Chinese credit cards, Russian increasing gold holdings compared to US$
Rents and housing most expensive compared to wages ever.
US health care costs rising


Reasons for good times
Central banks printing money and buying stocks.
Tax laws brings money back to US (more stock buybacks)
US debt ceiling seems to be an illusion
Trump great spokesman for business
Trump may use new tools to fight recession (helicopter money etc.)
Trump says he likes cheap US$
Momentum of stock markets
Trump has started no new wars. Military $$ stay mostly inside the USA
Trump gets huge infrastructure bill passed

Wild cards
Crypto currencies?
Interest rates?
Job outsourcing or coming back to USA?
Economic Black Swan from outside USA

Richardstevenhack , 04 January 2018 at 02:41 PM
I tend to agree that the economy is due for a crash to the limited degree I read economics news and opinion (I used to be much more interested but after forty years of waiting for the "Big Depression" which hasn't come, I've become tired.) But hoping it will happen in the next year is clearly speculative.

Bottom line is Democrats have no plan for 2018 - and therefore are likely to lose big again.

kao_hsien_chih said in reply to tv... , 04 January 2018 at 04:23 PM
Of all the components of the tax bill (many of which are problematic--but that's mostly b/c it's a tax bill, not necessarily for ideological reasons), I thought putting a lot of tax onus on wealthy bicoastals was a stroke of genius. Having said that, things are looking in a lot of mixed directions: many people are uneasy for all sorts of reasons about Trump, but the bottom line (esp on economic matters) does not look too bad, to say the least.

In many ways, actually, the overall situation looks like Bill Clinton 2.0: people had all sorts of issues with WJC--Democrats were uneasy with him and Republicans absolutely hated him. But things were looking OK or better in general and voters weren't going to punish him for nothing that was particularly off track. I see the Democrats trying some of the same tricks. Maybe even all the way to impeachment. Unless things come apart at the seams very visibly, none of them will stick on DJT.

Jack , 04 January 2018 at 04:23 PM
Sir

The stock market and financial asset prices in general drive perceptions of the strength of the economy. As long as financial assets prices remain in melt-up mode it will benefit the incumbents. While the Fed and the other major central banks are slowly reducing liquidity by either reducing the rate of growth of their balance sheet or reducing it outright as in the case of the Fed, there's no knowing when speculation peaks. The one thing that bulls should watch is the flattening of the yield curve.

turcopolier , 04 January 2018 at 05:35 PM
Jack

All that is true but as a supply sider I am inclined to think that this is nothing like a bubble. pl

turcopolier , 04 January 2018 at 05:37 PM
Greco

Bannon is an ego mad hubris driven freak. pl

Patrick Armstrong -> Greco... , 04 January 2018 at 05:39 PM
http://www.breitbart.com/radio/2018/01/04/bannon-praises-trump-potus-is-a-great-man-i-support-him-day-in-and-day-out/
To which all I can say is ???
and maybe !!!
Jack -> turcopolier ... , 04 January 2018 at 05:39 PM
Sir

Alan Greenspan famously quipped that a bubble can only be recognized after it bursts.

As you note reducing regulatory burdens and reducing taxes stimulates the economy. So we can expect improved economic performance.

Financial asset prices however, don't necessarily need an improving economy. What it needs is the perception that asset prices will increase prospectively. We have seen asset prices rise substantially after the GFC even with the weakest economic recovery since WW II. A partial explanation is the growth in liquidity by expansion of central bank balance sheets and the perception that central banks can always reflate asset prices.

The major central banks now are either contracting their balance sheet or reducing the growth rate. Increased economic activity also puts pressure on interest rates and businesses use more capital for economic activity than financial engineering. These factors will apply brakes on financial speculation. When psychology changes the smart money will start reducing exposure. What we don't know is when psychology changes and when asset prices correct.

VietnamVet , 04 January 2018 at 07:20 PM
Colonel,

Your ability to see through and clarify the opaque is amazing. If the economy stays the course and if Deplorables' lives get better; yes, Donald Trump will have seven more years in the White House. The bottom of the half full glass for Donald Trump is that he must avoid a war with Iran or North Korea, a cabal of globalists led by the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos (owner of the Washington Post), is out to get him and his Secretary of State described him as a moron.

Keith Harbaugh , 04 January 2018 at 07:28 PM
I wish you were right but believe you are wrong.
Reasons:
1. The disastrous GOP showing in the November 2017 Virginia election.
Not only did the GOP lose all the state-wide contests,
but shockingly their control of the lower house of the VA legislature (the House of Delegates)
was cut from 66-34 to 51-49 (with some ongoing uncertainty due to recounts, etc.).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_House_of_Delegates_election,_2017
No one expected/predicted that, and it surely indicates a general dissatisfaction with the GOP brand.

2. This poll:
http://thehill.com/homenews/house/364722-poll-democrats-lead-gop-by-15-points-in-generic-2018-ballot
and similar polls.

r whitman said in reply to turcopolier ... , 04 January 2018 at 07:32 PM
so is Trump.
Matt , 04 January 2018 at 07:58 PM
https://www.epi.org/productivity-pay-gap/

George HW Bush was correct when he described Reagan's Supply-side Trickle-Down economic policy as - "Voodoo Economics"

Practically all of the gains in the economy for the last 40 years have gone to the top. It's one of the reasons why Trump was able to appeal to the suffering working-class, much like Bernie Sanders did, to win the Presidency. Unfortunately for them, they got suckered by the flim-flam con-man in the WH.

An unnecessary tax give-away to the already individually wealthy and rich corporations will do nothing to raise wages of working people, especially when the meager "tax-cut" for them expires and they are left holding the debt bag along with Republican Party calls to cut Social Security and Medicare.

Republicans don't give a shit about anything except their donor class.

TV -> turcopolier ... , 04 January 2018 at 08:00 PM
And a drinker.
I don't know him, but take a good look:
Puffy face, veins in the nose, disheveled overall look.
blue peacock said in reply to turcopolier ... , 04 January 2018 at 08:23 PM
Col. Lang

The economy can continue to improve and do even better with the recent actions of Trump & the GOP in Congress. The stock market however need not continue to rise at the rate it has over the past years.

You are correct that we don't see public participation in a frenzy as we have at the tail end of other speculative cycles. Crypto-currencies are the only asset class with that type of frenzied activity and price acceleration. We do see however price distortions - like Euro-area junk bonds yielding less than US Treasury bonds - but that can continue for some time.

Lemur , 04 January 2018 at 09:29 PM
the left is starting to burn out under the constant anticipation 'once X happens, Gronald Grumph will be gone.'

there's also a systemic tension mounting between the thin line of WASPs and Jews holding off, excuse me, 'representing' the coalition of the ascendant. If those factions of the party base gain control, they'll drive the Dems off the cliff (through alienating the whites the Dems still require to win elections). The agitprop the Dems are pushing through their sympathizers in the media regime are only serving to undermine them long term.

Ed S. , 04 January 2018 at 11:42 PM
Colonel,

I too am perplexed by the expectations of the Democratic Party in the 2018 elections. Wasn't it a mere 18 months ago that we were hearing not only of an overwhelming Presidential victory but also a likely takeover of the Senate and the remote possibility of the House as well?

A few contributing thoughts:

1) You can't beat something with nothing. The Democratic Party believes that the populace so loathes DJT that they will turn out to vote them into power to do -- well I'm not exactly sure WHAT they propose to do. The expectation of the "wave" is solely that they are not DJT. Maybe they take the Senate. But even in the best of circumstances, it's a close race.

2) Gerrymandered House districts. Several years ago I looked up the margin of victory in every Congressional race. Any race with less than a 5 percent spread between candidates was "competitive" (IOW one candidate received 48 percent and the other received 52 percent for a 4 percent spread). Roughly 40 races were "competitive". Most districts are OVERWHELMINGLY drawn to favor one party or the other -- to the degree that one party will receive 65,75, or even 80 percent of the vote. Loathing DJT doesn't change that math

3) Impeachment/25th amendment/etc. Not. Gonna. Happen. The popular media has been at Russia!! Russia!! Russia!! for 14 months but there is NO evidence of any collusion or interference.

4) The economy isn't going to crash anytime soon. The tax bill is HUGELY stimulative. Growth is accelerating. The stock market is at all time highs (maybe only matters to 20 percent -- but they are all voters). If anything, the economy may be STRONGER in 8 months, not weaker. To me, it feels like 1996, not 1999. See, for example, Jeremy Grantham ( https://www.gmo.com/docs/default-source/research-and-commentary/strategies/asset-allocation/viewpoints---bracing-yourself-for-a-possible-near-term-melt-up.pdf?sfvrsn=4.

5) Marginal voters matter and there has to be something to get them to go out of the house on Election Day. "We're not Trump" isn't going to do it. Yes, I've said it twice because as far as I can tell, it's the only Democratic issue.

6) Democratic bench strength. There isn't any. They need to have appealing candidates and are taking the Jones victory in Alabama to be a sign of an impending sweep. But Jones ran against an amazingly unappealing candidate and barely squeaked out a victory. There are NO "young" Democrats in the places that matter for them to take the House.

My apologies for the long comment, Colonel. I think your absolutely right and simply wanted to add a few personal thoughts

elev8 said in reply to turcopolier ... , 05 January 2018 at 03:58 AM
That is something I really disagree with. But if the bubble bursts during the first half of this year or next year, it may still not damage Trump. It's also not clear to me that any damage to Trump would automatically translate into political benefit for the Democrats to the degree they seem to hope for. There is historical precedent for a president not being lethally wounded by a massive stock market downturn on his watch. It's from pretty far back in the past, though (Kennedy).
TonyL , 05 January 2018 at 09:33 AM
Colonel,

It is a bubble. The market is way overvalued (up there in stratosphere so to speak). Now is the time to start rebalancing your portfolio more often.

turcopolier , 05 January 2018 at 09:37 AM
TonyL

Thanks. Our portfolio is well balanced and managed by Burke and Herbert Bank and Trust. nevertheless, I do not think the markets represent a bubble. pl

David E. Solomon said in reply to Matt... , 05 January 2018 at 09:45 AM
Matt,

Amen to everything you said, but I might add that the Democrats (as well) "DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT ANYTHING EXCEPT THEIR DONOR CLASS".

THAT IS ESSENTIALLY WHY THE VARIOUS INCOME STRATA IN THIS COUNTRY ARE AT EACH OTHER'S THROATS.

Huckleberry , 05 January 2018 at 10:14 AM
The J-left is trying to meme a "blue wave" into existence.

White women will be the key to this effort, so watch for a lot of 2nd wave feminism culture war stuff.

Trump, unfortunately, will likely react poorly to this, taking every piece of bait laid out for him.

But so long as he adheres to an Immigration and Infrastructure campaign, this ought to be pretty straightforward.

The Dems may indeed take the House but their chances of taking the Senate are very low this cycle.

Joe Manchin will almost certainly be vaporized in West Virginia and there are many red state Democrats who are going to have to go against the party's coastal owners when it comes to immigration.

rjj , 05 January 2018 at 10:25 AM
DES @ #26: "VARIOUS INCOME STRATA IN THIS COUNTRY ... AT EACH OTHER'S THROATS."

sounds like received opinion -- CorpsMedia's version of How-Things-Are - possibly reinforced by a personal view from within some department. Everybody else is busy holding the world together and keeping things going locally - at the moment here in the East by the neighborly clearing of snow.

outthere said in reply to turcopolier ... , 05 January 2018 at 11:01 AM
I wish you and other investors no ill, so please don't misunderstand what I am saying here.
What did you think was happening in 2008?
Were you confident then as you are now?
As for supply side economics, again I recommend reading David Stockman, he is the grandfather of that concept.
And he NOT optimistic today.
Here's a taste of Stockman's latest:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-26/thanksgiving-2017-david-stockman-explains-why-there-no-peace-earth

http://thehill.com/opinion/finance/365905-moynihan-was-right-the-gop-tax-giveaway-will-lead-to-safety-net-cuts

Personally I own no stocks or bonds at all, but that is a personal decision, I make no recommendations.

outthere , 05 January 2018 at 11:08 AM
more and better about Stockman
David Stockman Takes Aim at the 'Washington War Party'
Longtime contrarian continues to be a fly in the establishment's ointment.
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/david-stockman-takes-aim-at-the-washington-war-party/

best of all his 2013 book,
The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, a scathing indictment of the twin scourges of crony capitalism and massive governmental debt.

on WaPo and McCain and Trump in Syria:
http://original.antiwar.com/david_stockman/2017/07/30/tweet-shaking-war-party/

outthere , 05 January 2018 at 11:24 AM
just published today

quote
How did the war on Vietnam, the First Gulf War to save the Emir of Kuwait's oil wealth, the futile 17-year occupation of Afghanistan, the destruction of Iraq, the double-cross of Khadafy after he gave up his nukes, the obliteration of much of civil society and economic life in Syria, the US-supplied Saudi genocide in Yemen and the Washington sponsored coup and civil war on Russia's doorstep in Ukraine, to name just a few instances of Washington's putative "world leadership", have anything to do with preserving "order" on the planet?

And exactly how did the "benefits" of these serial instigations of mayhem outweigh the "burdens" to America's taxpayers – to say nothing of the terminal costs to the dead and maimed citizens in their millions who had the misfortune to be domiciled in these traumatized lands?

Likewise, have the refugees who have been flushed out of Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere in the middle east by Washington's wars done anything for the peace and stability of Europe, where Washington's victims have desperately fled in their millions?
. . .
So when candidate Trump said the Iraq invasion was a stupid mistake, that Hillary's war on Khadafy was misbegotten, that he would like to cooperate with Putin on pacifying Syria and that NATO was obsolete, he was actually calling into question the fundamental predicates of the American Imperium.

And that gets us to the Russian threat bogeyman, the War Party's risible demonization of Vladimir Putin and the cocked-up narrative about the Kremlin's meddling in the 2016 election.
. . .
At the end of the day, we are supposed to believe that a country with a puny $1.3 trillion GDP, which is just 7% of the US' $19.5 trillion GDP, and which consists largely of aged hydrocarbon provinces, endless wheat fields, modest industrial capacities and a stagnant Vodka-favoring workforce, is actually a threat to America's security.

And we are also supposed to fear the military capacity of a country that has no blue water Navy to speak of and no conventional airlift and air-attack capacity which could remotely threaten the New Jersey shores, and that spends less in a full year than the Pentagon consumes every 35 days.
endquote

http://original.antiwar.com/David_Stockman/2018/01/04/war-partys-desperate-assault-america-first/

Valissa said in reply to Ed S.... , 05 January 2018 at 11:37 AM
Great comment Ed! (#22)

To your item 6 I add the following.

The next generation of Democratic leaders is, um, nonexistent https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/16/the-next-generation-of-democratic-leaders-is-um-nonexistent/

Retirements shine spotlight on GOP term limits for chairs http://thehill.com/homenews/house/359044-retirements-shines-spotlight-on-gop-term-limits-for-chairs
The surprise retirements of several veteran Republicans are reigniting a debate about the GOP's self-imposed term limits for committee chairs. Some argue that term limits create a brain drain in Congress, with the most experienced committee leaders more inclined to head for the exits once they're done holding a gavel. But while many Republicans acknowledge the potential downsides to limiting chairmanships, they maintain that it's far better than the alternative facing their Democratic colleagues: frustration about not being able to rise in the ranks.

"You can certainly make the argument about keeping people around longer, about the value of institutional knowledge," Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chairman of a House Appropriations subcommittee, told The Hill. "But the reality is, for most of our members, they're willing to run those kinds of risks in order to have the potential for upward mobility."

The term-limit policy, put in place by former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) in 1994, was designed to keep the party from growing stale by regularly injecting new blood and fresh ideas into the mix. The term limits have offered an opportunity for younger members to climb the leadership ladder far more quickly than if the rules weren't in place. Lawmakers can get a waiver from the rules, though they are rarely granted. The thinking is that if a chairman can't achieve major policy goals within six years, then it's time to let someone else give it a try.

Discontent has been brewing among rank-and-file Democrats, who have been unable to crack the leadership ranks and feel shut out of important decisionmaking. The frustration in the caucus, and concern about the future of the party, has only grown since last year's Election Day drubbing. "If you don't have term limits, people stay forever. That's what you're seeing on the Democratic side," Mackowiak said. "They don't give the young and up-and-coming members that same leadership opportunities. There's nowhere to go." There have been some past efforts by Democrats to impose term limits on committee leaders, but powerful groups like the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have remained opposed to the idea, arguing that seniority is the best way to ensure that their members can move up in the ranks.
--------------

Looking at the deep structural problems the Dems have, it is clear they have some major reorganizing to do if they want to start winning elections. The Republicans actually have a 50 state plan. They appear to know how to strategize better than their opponents. That's why they have so many governorships and majorities in so many state congresses.

Can't find the article just now, but another problem the Dems have is that the leadership refuses to listen to the red state democrats as to how to win more elections in red states. The arrogance combined with the ineffectiveness of thy Dem leadership never cease to amaze me.

Howard Dean was right (though maybe not the right person for the job) but the party refused to listen to him. Just look at the people who have headed the Democratic party in recent years. In addition, the base has been rendered impotent by the top down authoritarian propagandist fashion by which the Democrat party runs itself now. [Note: I refuse to call them the Democratic party anymore because they aren't.] After all, the Dems are just as much of the plutocratic oligarchy as the Repubs are.

I wish I dared tell my friends (all liberal Dems) that if they took even 50% of the time & energy now spent on hating Trump and put that into improving their party or into volunteering for a cause they care about and can have some impact on, then they might be able to make the world a tiny bit better of a place. One friend did this on her own. She lives in Florida and decided to take up some local Dem issues like getting ex-felons the right to vote. She goes out in grass roots fashion and gets signatures, etc., despite having a 50+ hour a week job.

turcopolier , 05 January 2018 at 11:37 AM
outthere

I am happy that you mean no ill will to me for being an investor. I have always been that while trying to emulate Robert Edward Lee who always required his wealthy wife to live on his army pay and still save money. We rode out the the great wall street disaster with steadfast hearts and would do so again. Do you have a treasure chest full of Golden Grickels buried somewhere? BTW Qathafy had no nuclear weapons program. What he had was a quiescent chemical weapons program with his two plants shut down and a warehouse or two full of still crated equipment that would have been useful in a nuke weapons program if the Libyans had known what to do with it. GWB Bush and his clowns built the image of that up, used him as an example of how well things could go if you surrendered to the US and then the US betrayed him. I loathed Qathafy. pl

[Jan 06, 2018] Selling Out Argentina's Future -- Again by lan Cibils

Notable quotes:
"... desendeudamiento ..."
"... desendedudamiento ..."
"... Source: Ministry of Finance, Argentina. ..."
"... World Economic Outlook ..."
"... The grand history of Latin America: borrow billions of $$$ from U.S. banks, hand the money to the wealthy who immediately deposit it right back in American banks, and let the poor pay back the principal and interest. Hmmm . seems more and more the way this country is going. ..."
"... The fixed exchange rate under Kirchner was totally unsustainable. One difference between Macri's neoliberalism and his predecessors is Macri is allowing much more of a floating currency than in the pre 2001 time period (We can debate how much it is actually is floating and clearly a lot of this debt issuance is for currency stabilization that I personally don't approve of). ..."
"... Brazil's recent neoliberal turn was frustrating for a variety of reasons, but being a big, diverse economy, they've got more sovereignty than their neighbors. However, the business and political elites in Brazil decided to hammer through austerity (spending cuts and interest rate hikes) because they WANTED to, not because external forces made them do it. ..."
Jan 05, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

by lan Cibils and Mariano Arana, Political Economy Department, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Originally published at Triple Crisis

In Argentina's 2015 presidential run-off election, the neoliberal right-wing coalition "Cambiemos" (literally, "lets change"), headed by Mauricio Macri, defeated the populist Kirchnerista candidate by just two percentage points. Macri's triumph heralded a return to the neoliberal policies of the 1990s and ended twelve years of heterodox economic policies that prioritized income redistribution and the internal market. The ruling coalition also performed well in the October 2017 mid-term elections and has since begun implementing a draconian set of fiscal, labor, and social security reforms.

One of the hallmarks of the Cambiemos government so far has been a fast and furious return to international credit markets and a very substantial increase in new public debt. Indeed, since Macri came to power in 2015, Argentina has issued debt worth more than $100 billion. This marks a clear contrast to the Kirchner administrations, during which the emphasis was debt reduction.

The Kirchner Years: Debt Reduction?

Both Néstor and Cristina Kirchner pointed to desendeudamiento -- debt reduction -- as one of the great successes of their administrations. To what extent was debt reduced during the twelve years of Kirchnerismo?

Figure 1 shows the evolution of Argentina's public debt stock and the debt/GDP ratio between 2004-2017. One can see that there was a substantial reduction in the debt to GDP ratio between 2004-2011 -- the first two Kirchner terms -- due primarily to: a) the 2005 and 2010 debt restructuring offers, b) a deliberate policy of desendedudamiento (debt cancellation), and c) high growth rates. Indeed, debt/GDP dropped from 118.1% in 2004 to 38.9% in 2011. One can also see that the actual stock of public debt fell after the 2005 debt restructuring process, and then remained relatively stable until 2010. In 2011, it began a slow upward trend, due to the re-appearance of the foreign exchange constraint once the commodity bubble burst and capital flight increased.

Figure 1: Public Debt Stock (millions of dollars) and Debt/GDP ratio

Source: Ministry of Finance, Argentina.

An additional, fundamental change occurred during the first two Kirchner administrations: the change in currency composition of Argentina's public debt. Indeed, as Figure 2 shows, peso-denominated public debt reached 41% of total debt after the 2005 debt-restructuring process. Between 2005 and 2012 it remained relatively stable, and then, after 2012, dollar-denominated public debt began to grow again although never reaching pre-2005 debt-restructuring levels. The currency composition change is key, since it reduces considerably the pressure on the external accounts.

Figure 2: Currency Composition of Argentina's Public Debt (as a % GDP)

Source: Ministry of Finance, Argentina.

Fast and Furious

Since Macri became president in December 2015, there has been a dramatic change in official public debt strategy, radically reversing the process of debt reduction of the previous decade. As shown in Figure 1, there was a substantial jump in the stock of public debt in 2016, and it has continued to grow in 2017.The result to date has been a substantial increase in the stock of Argentina's dollar-denominated public debt, as well as an increase of the debt service to GDP ratio. New debt has been used to cover the trade deficit, pay off the vulture funds, finance capital flight, and meet debt service payments. All of this has resulted in growing concerns about Argentina's future economic sustainability, not to mention any possibility of promoting economic development objectives.

Upon taking office, the Macri Administration rapidly implemented a series of policies to liberalize financial flows and imports, and a 40% devaluation of the Argentine peso. [1] In this context, it also went on a debt rampage, increasing dollar denominated debt considerably. Between December 2015 and September 2017, Argentina's new debt amounts to the equivalent of $103.59 billion. [2] This includes new debt issued by the Treasury (80%), provincial governments (11%), and the private sector (9%). While Argentina's debt had been increasing slowly since 2011, the jump experienced in 2016 was unlike any other in Argentina's history.

If the increase in debt is alarming, the destination of those funds is also cause of concern. Data from Argentina's Central Bank (Banco Central de la República Argentina or BCRA) show that during the first eight months of 2017, net foreign asset accumulation of the private non-banking sector totaled $13.32 million, 33% more than all of 2016, which itself was 17% more than all of 2015. This means that since December 2015, Argentina has dollarized assets by approximately $25.29 billion.

According to the BCRA, during the same period there was a net outflow of capital due to debt interest payments, profits and dividends of $8.231 billion. Additionally, the net outflow due to tourism and travel is calculated at roughly $13.43 billion between December 2015 and August 2017.

In sum, the dramatic increase in dollar-denominated debt during the two first Macri years served to finance capital flight, tourism, profit remittances, and debt service, all to the tune of roughly $50 billion.

Where is This Headed?

Argentina's experience since the 1976 military coup until the crash of 2001 has shown how damaging is the combination of unfavorable external conditions and the destruction of the local productive structure. The post-crisis policies of the successive Kirchner administrations reversed the debt-dependent and deindustrializing policies of the preceding decades. However, since Macri took office in December 2015, Argentina has once again turned to debt-dependent framework of the 1990s. Not only has public debt grown in absolute terms, but the weight of dollar-denominated debt in total debt has also increased. Despite significant doubts regarding the sustainability of the current situation, the government has expressed intentions of continuing to issue new debt until 2020.

What are the main factors that call debt-sustainability into question? First, capital flight, which, as we have said above, is increasing, is compensated with new dollar-denominated public debt. Second, Argentina's trade balance turned negative in 2015 and has remained so since, with a total accumulated trade deficit between 2015 and the second quarter of 2017 of $6.53 billion. Import dynamics proved impervious to the 2016 recession, therefore it is expected that the deficit will either persist as is or increase if there are no drastic changes. Furthermore, in the 2018 national budget bill sent to Congress, Treasury Secretary Nicolás Dujovne projects that the growth rate of imports will exceed that of exports until at least 2021, increasing the current trade deficit by 68%.

Finally, according to the IMF's World Economic Outlook (October 2017), growth rate projections for industrialized countries increase prospects of a US Federal Reserve interest rate increase. This would make Argentina's new debt issues more expensive, increasing the burden of future debt service and increasing capital flight from Argentina (in what is generally referred to as the "flight to safety").

The factors outlined above generate credible and troublesome doubts about the sustainability of the economic policies implemented by the Macri administration. While there are no signs of a major crisis in the short term (that is, before the 2019 presidential elections), there are good reasons to doubt that the current level of debt accumulation can be sustained to the end of a potential second Macri term (2023). In other words, there are good reasons to believe that Argentines will once again have to exercise their well-developed ability to navigate through yet another profound debt crisis. This is not solely the authors' opinion. In early November 2017 Standard & Poor's placed Argentina in a list of the five most fragile economies. [3] It looks like, once again, storm clouds are on the horizon.

Jim Haygood , January 5, 2018 at 11:02 am

'What are the main factors that call debt sustainability into question? First, capital flight.'

Capital flees Argentina whenever the opportunity arises because successive governments -- whether leftist or conservative -- refuse to control inflation and maintain a stable currency.

Since 2001, the Argentine peso has slid from one-to-one with the US dollar to about 19 to the dollar today. With Argentine inflation running in the low to mid twenties (according to INDEC and Price Stats), the peso can be expected to carry on weakening against the dollar indefinitely.

A hundred years during which the peso has lopped off thirteen (13) zeros owing to chronic inflation shows that Argentina is politically and culturally incapable of responsibly managing its own currency.

Argentines know this. Unfortunately, only the richer ones have assets they can move to safety outside the country. The hand-to-mouth poor will continue being ravaged by inflation, not to mention the large quantities of counterfeit pesos in circulation.

Letting Argentines play with fiat currency is like handing out loaded pistols to rowdy 5-year-olds. In both these sad cases, adult supervision is urgently needed.

Jon S , January 5, 2018 at 11:21 am

The grand history of Latin America: borrow billions of $$$ from U.S. banks, hand the money to the wealthy who immediately deposit it right back in American banks, and let the poor pay back the principal and interest. Hmmm . seems more and more the way this country is going.

Tim Smyth , January 5, 2018 at 11:53 am

The fixed exchange rate under Kirchner was totally unsustainable. One difference between Macri's neoliberalism and his predecessors is Macri is allowing much more of a floating currency than in the pre 2001 time period (We can debate how much it is actually is floating and clearly a lot of this debt issuance is for currency stabilization that I personally don't approve of).

Anonimo2 , January 5, 2018 at 1:05 pm

And who are the adults? Let me guess, bankers and bondholders?

Joel , January 5, 2018 at 2:12 pm

I'm not an expert in this at all, but in Peru, you could hold bank accounts in either national currency or dollars. The national currency accounts spared you currency exchange fees and also had higher interest rates. Most people who could hedged their bets by putting money in both accounts.

It seems like a happy medium between abandoning national currencies and letting savers get ravaged? No?

Wukchumni , January 5, 2018 at 11:14 am

While not as spectacular of a return as Bitcoin, but impressive nonetheless, the escape route for an Argentinean @ the turn of the century was the golden rule, an ounce of all that glitters was 300 pesos then and now around 25,000 pesos, a most excellent 'troy' horse.

MisterMr , January 5, 2018 at 11:31 am

So, is austerity good or is austerity bad? And in what conditions?

I'm for expansionary government expense (and direct government ownership of some industries, such as with an NHS) balanced by taxes on high incomes.

So in my view the problem happens when the government lowers taxes on the rich, as seems likely in this case.
On the other hand taxes on the rich are likely to cause capital flight.

a different chris , January 5, 2018 at 12:41 pm

So why did Macri get elected to do this? Yeah he didn't win by much, but he won.

>The hand-to-mouth poor will continue being ravaged by inflation

Which is freaking weird. Argentina has cropland. They have energy sources (and I won't bore everybody ok, I will with the observation that the Industrial Age is generously a 300/8000 year ratio part of human history).

And doesn't the below need some unpacking?:

>only the richer ones have assets they can move to safety outside the country

What are these assets? Why are said assets mobile? How did they come to "own" them? What percentage of the population is encompassed by "the richer ones" phrasing?

nonsense factory , January 5, 2018 at 5:07 pm

Question: why doesn't MMT thinking work for countries like Argentina?

As wikipedia notes:

"The key insight of MMT is that "monetarily sovereign government is the monopoly supplier of its currency and can issue currency of any denomination in physical or non-physical forms. As such the government has an unlimited capacity to pay for the things it wishes to purchase and to fulfill promised future payments, and has an unlimited ability to provide funds to the other sectors. Thus, insolvency and bankruptcy of this government is not possible. It can always pay."

Is this a general flaw in MMT? Does MMT only apply to dominant nation-states like the U.S., who can use foreign military and financial pressures to protect the currency, aka the petrodollar? Is the petrodollar a true 'fiat currency' or is it somehow based on control of commodities (especially oil)? Is there something peculiar about Argentina and other countries facing currency devaluation that MMT doesn't handle well? Any ideas on this?

JohnnyGL , January 5, 2018 at 6:21 pm

That wikipedia write up isn't wrong, but it could be better. Probably need to hammer home the point that the sovereign can always pay IN THE CURRENCY THAT IT ISSUES.

Most of the MMT related conversations on this site, and the posts that are written up on the subject are mostly about explaining how there are constraints that many people THINK exist in the USA, but don't actually exist, at least in economic terms (political constraints notwithstanding). A country cannot be forced to default on a currency it issues. If the USA had significant debts in EUR or JPY, then it'd be a very different conversation.

External constraints are a big deal for most countries, especially developing countries that depend on exports of primary commodities. Chile, for instance, is constrained by balance of payments problems when the price of copper declines. Also, developed countries that are relatively smaller have much more limited sovereignty. The Swiss Central Bank has to follow what the ECB does, to a large degree.

On the other hand, there's episodes where some countries have found room for maneuver when they give up their sovereign currency. I didn't expect that Ecuador's economy would perform quite as well as it has in recent years. But, they've shown that you can find ways to get creative to compensate for loss of monetary sovereignty. Of course, the fiscal constraints are real since Ecuador can't print USD.

Brazil's recent neoliberal turn was frustrating for a variety of reasons, but being a big, diverse economy, they've got more sovereignty than their neighbors. However, the business and political elites in Brazil decided to hammer through austerity (spending cuts and interest rate hikes) because they WANTED to, not because external forces made them do it.

No doubt an MMT prescription for Argentina would advice them to lay off the $ denominated debt and stick to pesos as much as possible. I'd imagine Stephanie Kelton or any of the UMKC crew would advise curtailing imports or doing some import substitution in order to take pressure off balance of payments issues. They'd also take a look at what was driving inflation domestically and try to find ways to relieve it with a targeted approach, instead of risking recession and unemployment. Neoliberal/Washington Consensus type economists would say hike interest rates, cut government spending in order to curtail demand. They'd argue that the private sector will make the best decisions about where to reign in spending to reduce inflation.

[Jan 06, 2018] Selling Out Argentina's Future -- Again naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... By lan Cibils and Mariano Arana, Political Economy Department, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Originally published at Triple Crisis ..."
"... desendeudamiento ..."
"... desendedudamiento ..."
"... Source: Ministry of Finance, Argentina. ..."
"... World Economic Outlook ..."
"... The grand history of Latin America: borrow billions of $$$ from U.S. banks, hand the money to the wealthy who immediately deposit it right back in American banks, and let the poor pay back the principal and interest. Hmmm . seems more and more the way this country is going. ..."
"... Brazil's recent neoliberal turn was frustrating for a variety of reasons, but being a big, diverse economy, they've got more sovereignty than their neighbors. However, the business and political elites in Brazil decided to hammer through austerity (spending cuts and interest rate hikes) because they WANTED to, not because external forces made them do it. ..."
Jan 06, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Selling Out Argentina's Future -- Again Posted on January 5, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. While you were busy watching Trump and the Middle East, and maybe Brexit and China once in a while, some supposed neoliberal success stories are likely to be anything but that.

By lan Cibils and Mariano Arana, Political Economy Department, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Originally published at Triple Crisis

In Argentina's 2015 presidential run-off election, the neoliberal right-wing coalition "Cambiemos" (literally, "lets change"), headed by Mauricio Macri, defeated the populist Kirchnerista candidate by just two percentage points. Macri's triumph heralded a return to the neoliberal policies of the 1990s and ended twelve years of heterodox economic policies that prioritized income redistribution and the internal market. The ruling coalition also performed well in the October 2017 mid-term elections and has since begun implementing a draconian set of fiscal, labor, and social security reforms.

One of the hallmarks of the Cambiemos government so far has been a fast and furious return to international credit markets and a very substantial increase in new public debt. Indeed, since Macri came to power in 2015, Argentina has issued debt worth more than $100 billion. This marks a clear contrast to the Kirchner administrations, during which the emphasis was debt reduction.

The Kirchner Years: Debt Reduction?

Both Néstor and Cristina Kirchner pointed to desendeudamiento -- debt reduction -- as one of the great successes of their administrations. To what extent was debt reduced during the twelve years of Kirchnerismo?

Figure 1 shows the evolution of Argentina's public debt stock and the debt/GDP ratio between 2004-2017. One can see that there was a substantial reduction in the debt to GDP ratio between 2004-2011 -- the first two Kirchner terms -- due primarily to: a) the 2005 and 2010 debt restructuring offers, b) a deliberate policy of desendedudamiento (debt cancellation), and c) high growth rates. Indeed, debt/GDP dropped from 118.1% in 2004 to 38.9% in 2011. One can also see that the actual stock of public debt fell after the 2005 debt restructuring process, and then remained relatively stable until 2010. In 2011, it began a slow upward trend, due to the re-appearance of the foreign exchange constraint once the commodity bubble burst and capital flight increased.

Figure 1: Public Debt Stock (millions of dollars) and Debt/GDP ratio

Source: Ministry of Finance, Argentina.

An additional, fundamental change occurred during the first two Kirchner administrations: the change in currency composition of Argentina's public debt. Indeed, as Figure 2 shows, peso-denominated public debt reached 41% of total debt after the 2005 debt-restructuring process. Between 2005 and 2012 it remained relatively stable, and then, after 2012, dollar-denominated public debt began to grow again although never reaching pre-2005 debt-restructuring levels. The currency composition change is key, since it reduces considerably the pressure on the external accounts.

Figure 2: Currency Composition of Argentina's Public Debt (as a % GDP)

Source: Ministry of Finance, Argentina.

Fast and Furious

Since Macri became president in December 2015, there has been a dramatic change in official public debt strategy, radically reversing the process of debt reduction of the previous decade. As shown in Figure 1, there was a substantial jump in the stock of public debt in 2016, and it has continued to grow in 2017.The result to date has been a substantial increase in the stock of Argentina's dollar-denominated public debt, as well as an increase of the debt service to GDP ratio. New debt has been used to cover the trade deficit, pay off the vulture funds, finance capital flight, and meet debt service payments. All of this has resulted in growing concerns about Argentina's future economic sustainability, not to mention any possibility of promoting economic development objectives.

Upon taking office, the Macri Administration rapidly implemented a series of policies to liberalize financial flows and imports, and a 40% devaluation of the Argentine peso. [1] In this context, it also went on a debt rampage, increasing dollar denominated debt considerably. Between December 2015 and September 2017, Argentina's new debt amounts to the equivalent of $103.59 billion. [2] This includes new debt issued by the Treasury (80%), provincial governments (11%), and the private sector (9%). While Argentina's debt had been increasing slowly since 2011, the jump experienced in 2016 was unlike any other in Argentina's history.

If the increase in debt is alarming, the destination of those funds is also cause of concern. Data from Argentina's Central Bank (Banco Central de la República Argentina or BCRA) show that during the first eight months of 2017, net foreign asset accumulation of the private non-banking sector totaled $13.32 million, 33% more than all of 2016, which itself was 17% more than all of 2015. This means that since December 2015, Argentina has dollarized assets by approximately $25.29 billion.

According to the BCRA, during the same period there was a net outflow of capital due to debt interest payments, profits and dividends of $8.231 billion. Additionally, the net outflow due to tourism and travel is calculated at roughly $13.43 billion between December 2015 and August 2017.

In sum, the dramatic increase in dollar-denominated debt during the two first Macri years served to finance capital flight, tourism, profit remittances, and debt service, all to the tune of roughly $50 billion.

Where is This Headed?

Argentina's experience since the 1976 military coup until the crash of 2001 has shown how damaging is the combination of unfavorable external conditions and the destruction of the local productive structure. The post-crisis policies of the successive Kirchner administrations reversed the debt-dependent and deindustrializing policies of the preceding decades. However, since Macri took office in December 2015, Argentina has once again turned to debt-dependent framework of the 1990s. Not only has public debt grown in absolute terms, but the weight of dollar-denominated debt in total debt has also increased. Despite significant doubts regarding the sustainability of the current situation, the government has expressed intentions of continuing to issue new debt until 2020.

What are the main factors that call debt-sustainability into question? First, capital flight, which, as we have said above, is increasing, is compensated with new dollar-denominated public debt. Second, Argentina's trade balance turned negative in 2015 and has remained so since, with a total accumulated trade deficit between 2015 and the second quarter of 2017 of $6.53 billion. Import dynamics proved impervious to the 2016 recession, therefore it is expected that the deficit will either persist as is or increase if there are no drastic changes. Furthermore, in the 2018 national budget bill sent to Congress, Treasury Secretary Nicolás Dujovne projects that the growth rate of imports will exceed that of exports until at least 2021, increasing the current trade deficit by 68%.

Finally, according to the IMF's World Economic Outlook (October 2017), growth rate projections for industrialized countries increase prospects of a US Federal Reserve interest rate increase. This would make Argentina's new debt issues more expensive, increasing the burden of future debt service and increasing capital flight from Argentina (in what is generally referred to as the "flight to safety").

The factors outlined above generate credible and troublesome doubts about the sustainability of the economic policies implemented by the Macri administration. While there are no signs of a major crisis in the short term (that is, before the 2019 presidential elections), there are good reasons to doubt that the current level of debt accumulation can be sustained to the end of a potential second Macri term (2023). In other words, there are good reasons to believe that Argentines will once again have to exercise their well-developed ability to navigate through yet another profound debt crisis. This is not solely the authors' opinion. In early November 2017 Standard & Poor's placed Argentina in a list of the five most fragile economies. [3] It looks like, once again, storm clouds are on the horizon.

_______
[1] For details, see " Macri's First Year in Office: Welcome to 21 st Century Neoliberalism ."

[2] Observatorio de la Deuda Externa, Universidad Metropolitana para la Educación y el Trabajo (UMET).

[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/06/these-are-now-the-5-most-fragile-countries-exposed-to-higher-interest-rates-according-to-sp.html

0

0

0

0

0

Jim Haygood , January 5, 2018 at 11:02 am

'What are the main factors that call debt sustainability into question? First, capital flight.'

Capital flees Argentina whenever the opportunity arises because successive governments -- whether leftist or conservative -- refuse to control inflation and maintain a stable currency.

Since 2001, the Argentine peso has slid from one-to-one with the US dollar to about 19 to the dollar today. With Argentine inflation running in the low to mid twenties (according to INDEC and Price Stats), the peso can be expected to carry on weakening against the dollar indefinitely.

A hundred years during which the peso has lopped off thirteen (13) zeros owing to chronic inflation shows that Argentina is politically and culturally incapable of responsibly managing its own currency.

Argentines know this. Unfortunately, only the richer ones have assets they can move to safety outside the country. The hand-to-mouth poor will continue being ravaged by inflation, not to mention the large quantities of counterfeit pesos in circulation.

Letting Argentines play with fiat currency is like handing out loaded pistols to rowdy 5-year-olds. In both these sad cases, adult supervision is urgently needed.

Jon S , January 5, 2018 at 11:21 am

The grand history of Latin America: borrow billions of $$$ from U.S. banks, hand the money to the wealthy who immediately deposit it right back in American banks, and let the poor pay back the principal and interest. Hmmm . seems more and more the way this country is going.

Tim Smyth , January 5, 2018 at 11:53 am

The fixed exchange rate under Kirchner was totally unsustainable. One difference between Macri's neoliberalism and his predecessors is Macri is allowing much more of a floating currency than in the pre 2001 time period (We can debate how much it is actually is floating and clearly a lot of this debt issuance is for currency stablization that I personally don't approve of).

Anonimo2 , January 5, 2018 at 1:05 pm

And who are the adults? Let me guess, bankers and bondholders?

Joel , January 5, 2018 at 2:12 pm

I'm not an expert in this at all, but in Peru, you could hold bank accounts in either national currency or dollars. The national currency accounts spared you currency exchange fees and also had higher interest rates. Most people who could hedged their bets by putting money in both accounts.

It seems like a happy medium between abandoning national currencies and letting savers get ravaged? No?

Wukchumni , January 5, 2018 at 11:14 am

While not as spectacular of a return as Bitcoin, but impressive nonetheless, the escape route for an Argentinean @ the turn of the century was the golden rule, an ounce of all that glitters was 300 pesos then and now around 25,000 pesos, a most excellent 'troy' horse.

MisterMr , January 5, 2018 at 11:31 am

So, is austerity good or is austerity bad? And in what conditions?

I'm for expansionary government expense (and direct government ownership of some industries, such as with an NHS) balanced by taxes on high incomes.

So in my view the problem happens when the government lowers taxes on the rich, as seems likely in this case.
On the other hand taxes on the rich are likely to cause capital flight.

a different chris , January 5, 2018 at 12:41 pm

So why did Macri get elected to do this? Yeah he didn't win by much, but he won.

>The hand-to-mouth poor will continue being ravaged by inflation

Which is freaking weird. Argentina has cropland. They have energy sources (and I won't bore everybody ok, I will with the observation that the Industrial Age is generously a 300/8000 year ratio part of human history).

And doesn't the below need some unpacking?:

>only the richer ones have assets they can move to safety outside the country

What are these assets? Why are said assets mobile? How did they come to "own" them? What percentage of the population is encompassed by "the richer ones" phrasing?

nonsense factory , January 5, 2018 at 5:07 pm

Question: why doesn't MMT thinking work for countries like Argentina?

As wikipedia notes:

"The key insight of MMT is that "monetarily sovereign government is the monopoly supplier of its currency and can issue currency of any denomination in physical or non-physical forms. As such the government has an unlimited capacity to pay for the things it wishes to purchase and to fulfill promised future payments, and has an unlimited ability to provide funds to the other sectors. Thus, insolvency and bankruptcy of this government is not possible. It can always pay."

Is this a general flaw in MMT? Does MMT only apply to dominant nation-states like the U.S., who can use foreign military and financial pressures to protect the currency, aka the petrodollar? Is the petrodollar a true 'fiat currency' or is it somehow based on control of commodities (especially oil)? Is there something peculiar about Argentina and other countries facing currency devaluation that MMT doesn't handle well? Any ideas on this?

JohnnyGL , January 5, 2018 at 6:21 pm

That wikipedia write up isn't wrong, but it could be better. Probably need to hammer home the point that the sovereign can always pay IN THE CURRENCY THAT IT ISSUES.

Most of the MMT related conversations on this site, and the posts that are written up on the subject are mostly about explaining how there are constraints that many people THINK exist in the USA, but don't actually exist, at least in economic terms (political constraints notwithstanding). A country cannot be forced to default on a currency it issues. If the USA had significant debts in EUR or JPY, then it'd be a very different conversation.

External constraints are a big deal for most countries, especially developing countries that depend on exports of primary commodities. Chile, for instance, is constrained by balance of payments problems when the price of copper declines. Also, developed countries that are relatively smaller have much more limited sovereignty. The Swiss Central Bank has to follow what the ECB does, to a large degree.

On the other hand, there's episodes where some countries have found room for maneuver when they give up their sovereign currency. I didn't expect that Ecuador's economy would perform quite as well as it has in recent years. But, they've shown that you can find ways to get creative to compensate for loss of monetary sovereignty. Of course, the fiscal constraints are real since Ecuador can't print USD.

Brazil's recent neoliberal turn was frustrating for a variety of reasons, but being a big, diverse economy, they've got more sovereignty than their neighbors. However, the business and political elites in Brazil decided to hammer through austerity (spending cuts and interest rate hikes) because they WANTED to, not because external forces made them do it.

No doubt an MMT prescription for Argentina would advice them to lay off the $ denominated debt and stick to pesos as much as possible. I'd imagine Stephanie Kelton or any of the UMKC crew would advise curtailing imports or doing some import substitution in order to take pressure off balance of payments issues. They'd also take a look at what was driving inflation domestically and try to find ways to relieve it with a targeted approach, instead of risking recession and unemployment. Neoliberal/Washington Consensus type economists would say hike interest rates, cut government spending in order to curtail demand. They'd argue that the private sector will make the best decisions about where to reign in spending to reduce inflation.

[Jan 05, 2018] Oil And Gas Run Low As East Coast Sees Record Snowfall

Jan 05, 2018 | oilprice.com

The past week of continuous record low temperatures and snowfall has oil-dependent power plants in the northeast scrambling to secure supplies of some of the dirtiest burning oil available in the market due to an impending supply shortage, according to a new report by Hellenic Shipping News .

Oil fuels 30 percent of the New England power plant market, but winter storms could lead to another foot of snow, making it difficult for tankers or trains to deliver needed commodities, Marcia Blomberg of regional grid operator ISO New England, said.

Oil imports to the East Coast jumped by almost 60 percent last week in anticipation of increased demand due to heating needs. JBC Energy predicts distillate use to increase by 90,000 barrels per day in January and February as well.

The cold weather, expected to become a "bomb cyclone" in the coming days, has also shocked natural gas markets. Extreme cold is cutting production in North Dakota's Bakken, while demand is surging because everyone is turning up the thermostat to stay warm.

Reuters said that gas flowing through interstate pipelines from North Dakota dropped from 1.3 billion cubic feet per day in the week ending on December 25 to just 1 bcf/d as of Tuesday. Texas (-20 percent) Oklahoma (-22 percent) and Pennsylvania (-5 percent) are also reporting weather-related production problems, Genscape data says.

[Jan 05, 2018] What Is Keeping Oil From Breaking $70 by Nick Cunningham

The answer to this question is simple: the USA geopolitical interests. But if natgas prices go up so will the price of oil.
Cold spell in the USA means increased oil consumption, especially in heating oil. Due to gas shortage some electrical ganerators in affected areas were switched from gas to oil.
Jan 05, 2018 | oilprice.com

In other words, investors are bidding up prices even as the underlying fundamentals point to questions regarding the balancing process. Oil might push higher as inventories fall, but in the near-term there is downside risk to prices. Moody's Investors Service said on January 2 that oil prices will probably bounce around in a range between $40 and $60 per barrel for much of this year.

The risk is that with so much money currently going long, a bit of negative news sparks a sudden selloff. "The expectation is that the rebalance will continue," Gene McGillian, a market research manager at Tradition Energy, told Bloomberg. "We've approached an area where we really need to see a steady diet of positive information."

[Jan 05, 2018] Trump the Eradicator, by Eric Margolis - The Unz Review

Jan 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

Trump's campaign to return manufacturing to America and repatriate profits held overseas makes good business sense. The ravaging of America's once mighty industrial base to boost corporate profits was a crime against the nation by unscrupulous Wall Street bankers and short-sighted, greedy CEO's.

The basis of industrial power is the ability to make products people use. Shockingly, US manufacturing has shrunk to only 14% of GDP. Today, America's primary business has become finance, the largely non-productive act of paper-passing that only benefits a tiny big city parasitic elite.

Trump_vs_deep_state is a natural reaction to the self-destruction of America's industrial base. But the president's mania to wreck international trade agreements and impose tariff barriers will result in diminishing America's economic and political influence around the globe.

Access to America's markets is in certain ways a more powerful political tool than deployment of US forces around the globe. Lessening access to the US markets will inevitably have negative repercussions on US exports.

Trump has been on a rampage to undo almost every positive initiative undertaken by the Obama administration, even though many earned the US applause and respect around the civilized world. The president has made trade agreements a prime target. He has targeted trade pacts involving Mexico, Canada, the EU, Japan, China and a host of other nations by claiming they are unfair to American workers. However, a degree of wage unfairness is the price Washington must pay for bringing lower-cost nations into America's economic orbit.

This month, the Trump administration threatened new restrictions against 120 US trade partners who may now face much higher tariffs on their exports to the US.

Trump is in a hurry because he fears he may not be re-elected. He is trying to eradicate all vestiges of the Obama presidency with the ruthlessness and ferocity of Stalinist officials eradicating every trace of liquidated commissars, even from official photos. America now faces its own era of purges as an uneasy world watches.

[Jan 03, 2018] Oil production in the USA remains flat

Notable quotes:
"... At this point the only (legal) reason left to explain the divergence is that the EIA has started including NGL into their numbers ..."
Dec 29, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News says: 12/29/2017 at 11:54 am

EIA 914 Survey, October crude oil production 9,637 kb/day, +167 kb/day m/m. September revised down -11 kb/d to 9,470 kb/day

Texas October 3,767 kb/day, September 3,561 kb/day revised down -13 kb/d

Gulf of Mexico October (Hurricane Nate) 1,449 kb/day, September 1,649 kb/day, revised -1 kb/d

https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/production/#oil-tab

dclonghorn says: 12/29/2017 at 12:00 pm
EIA estimated Texas production at 3767000 bpd vs Dr Dean's above estimate of 3305000 bpd a difference of 462000 bpd. Wow that is a big difference.
Dean says: 12/29/2017 at 12:13 pm
Yes, it is unreal: either at the Texas RRC they had really HUGE problems in the past months collecting data, or the EIA used only model estimates without any form of revision.

The correcting factors of the Texas RRC have not changed much and they showed they usual variability, so that I cannot explain why there is such a big divergence between corrected RRC data and EIA. They only problem that I can think of (on the part of the RRC) is that the hurricane completely disrupted their work: does anyone know whether the offices and data servers of the Texas RRC were damaged during the hurricane? Thanks for the information.

Dean says: 12/29/2017 at 1:55 pm
I had a very interesting discussion on Twitter: operators in Texas confirmed me that the RRC offices were not affected by the hurricane and data reporting proceeded normally. At this point the only (legal) reason left to explain the divergence is that the EIA has started including NGL into their numbers:

https://twitter.com/ZmansEnrgyBrain/status/946796541406208000

[Jan 03, 2018] WTI might reach $90 in 2018

Beware this post has "confirmation basis" I am a believer in peak oil...
Notable quotes:
"... Was doing some tax work earlier today and noted for June 2017 oil we got $40.71 per barrel. If 12/29/17 close holds we get $56. $15.29 more on every barrel is huge for us as it is for everyone who operates wells Be it you XOM Harold Hamm Russia OPEC etc. As I recall oil prices rebounded in late 2016 then shale went nuts and the price tanked. Their shares tanked too as I recall. ..."
"... However I am then also sure that you just like us went from making a killing on low decline conventional and $90 oil to making much much less and in your case were using almost all cash to pay for new shale well AFE's. ..."
"... I am happy to see you want $70 even higher than me. So I'll leave you alone now. Take care. I think maybe deep down you too hope US doesn't ram through 10 and then 11 million BOPD next year? ..."
"... Cling to whatever makes you feel good dude. I guess when you're favorite industry produces a lot of product but can't make any profits doing so one has to find the silver lining wherever they can. Shale is a Ponzi scheme. It won't be long until the music stops and the investors lose their shirts. ..."
"... I agree with Mike that LTO producers are not profitable (as a group). I have suggested that if oil prices remain under $65/b (WTI price) that US output may increase by about 600 kb/d (average annual C+C output) in 2018 compared to 2017. If oil prices are higher output may be higher if you tell me what that average oil price will be in 2018 I can make a better output estimate. ..."
"... The oil price may improve in 2018. However it will likely go DOWN CONSIDERABLY first before it continues higher. According to the COT REPORT (Commitment Of Traders) there is a record Commercial Short Position against oil going back 23 years. ..."
"... You will notice right before oil fell from $100 in 2014 there was also a high amount of Commercial Short Positions. Today that level is even higher. ..."
"... WTI is refined to 6% Diesel while global crude average is 34% Diesel. ..."
Dec 31, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com

shallow sand says: 12/31/2017 at 11:20 pm

Mike.

Unless I missed it I am still waiting for TT to explain how he finances the huge AFE's he must routinely get from $10+ million STACK and SCOOP wells.

Was doing some tax work earlier today and noted for June 2017 oil we got $40.71 per barrel. If 12/29/17 close holds we get $56. $15.29 more on every barrel is huge for us as it is for everyone who operates wells Be it you XOM Harold Hamm Russia OPEC etc. As I recall oil prices rebounded in late 2016 then shale went nuts and the price tanked. Their shares tanked too as I recall.

Say TT owns 10% of a shale monster well that cranks out 200K BO in year one. Say his NRI is 8%.

So he got billed $1 million for his part of the well. A $15 higher oil price nets him $240 000 more in year one before deducting severance tax.

So I assume TT would rather get an extra $240 000 in year one and have shale not go crazy talk and crazy drill again as opposed to being able to crow about political crap?

Mike do you know any non-op's on shale wells? How the heck do they finance them?

PS. I know you think it's cold down there in Texas but in my part of the Mid Continent it will be -5 F later tonight. 1 stinking degree F right now. Ouch!!

shallow sand says: 01/01/2018 at 8:43 pm
TT. If you came into shale with a lot of rock solid conventional paid for in full I can see how you could come up with the money.

However I am then also sure that you just like us went from making a killing on low decline conventional and $90 oil to making much much less and in your case were using almost all cash to pay for new shale well AFE's.

Even if you have zero debt I assume you at least have an un drawn credit facility just in case a good big deal were to arise. And therefore I assume you were none too pleased when your borrowing base dropped by more than 2/3 from 2014 to 2015 and again another 20+% in 2016 due to shale over production crashing oil and NG prices.

If you are big enough to cash flow several shale AFE I assume you have net production of somewhere between 2 000-10 000 BOEPD?

So let us say 5 000 BOEPD. Again just hypothetical to show what shale did to a larger private independent owned by maybe 2-4 shareholders who got very rich 2005-14.

2014 say you could have cashed out for $500 million. 2016 likely cashed out for 1/3 to 1/4 of that. Quite a hit to the net worth.

Further in 2014 you maybe cleared $90+ million pre income taxes before CAPEX on that 5 000 BOEPD? 2016 that went to $18 million maybe and of course you are getting AFE and JIB on the shale that is draining that the near zero? So no shareholder dividends or distributions in 2015 and 2016 after getting big ones in prior years.

We are small and not in a shale area but we have been around the block Dad has been in since the Arab Embargo. Pretty much everyone had to fire someone in 2015-16 it's good if you didn't. Pretty much everyone had the rug pulled out from under them just like in 1986 and 1998.

Thing is I think even most of the shale guys aren't real happy about shale. They know shale overproduction will drag the price. Same bittersweet deal as farmers growing a bumper crop. Farmers made the most $$ during 2012-13 even though most places 2012 was terrible drought. US commodity producers never do good during periods of oversupply. Just the middle men do good then.

Again I'm just speculating on how you do things numbers etc. I may be all wrong. If I am I apologize.

I just know in 2015 and 2016 there were a ton of shale wells completed that won't payout. Maybe not as many in 2017 but they are still out there. Further they hurt cash flow especially when you cannot control the expense recognition time frames as a non-op.

I am so glad we did not own non-op where drilling was going on 2015-17 as it would have sucked away all our cash and then some plus sold our flush production at market lows.

I am happy to see you want $70 even higher than me. So I'll leave you alone now. Take care. I think maybe deep down you too hope US doesn't ram through 10 and then 11 million BOPD next year?

Mike says: 01/01/2018 at 8:48 pm
Your 2% production tax in Oklahoma is going back to 7% tee tee; you and Mr. Blackmon are definitely on the same 'mindless' page regarding the future of shale oil: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2017/12/31/the-oil-and-gas-situation-a-preview-of-2018/#7b9a4fe67613

You are insulting to people here who actually understand the basic arithmetic of the oil business a little better than you give them credit for. There is very clear mounting evidence that things are not getting better in your industry they are actually getting worse. You on the other hand seem to struggle with reality. Five days ago gas was trading at $2.55 per MMBTU not $4 and after royalty deductions interest expenses etc. etc. 5 BCF will not come close to paying for a $10-11M well. I understand now that even after 35 years of whatever it is you do you can't insult me anymore than you have already tried. I would have to value your opinion first.

If you want to win friends and influence people here on POB it would be helpful if you were to give us your name your company's name where these awesome wells are so we can check production data and tax roles etc. That would give you credibility and strengthen your arguments. Otherwise you are just a cute name embarrassing as that is to my beloved Texas who likes to brag about how much money he makes in the shale oil business. We're interested in the big picture here not you personally.

Boomer II says: 01/01/2018 at 9:30 pm
I still get the feeling that this is a sales job. Why tout the industry doing so great if you don't need investors and lenders?
Boomer II says: 01/01/2018 at 2:56 pm
I found this. It is from 2016 and it is based on privately held companies. Oil and gas extraction companies was the least profitable industry.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sageworks/2016/10/03/the-15-least-profitable-industries-in-the-u-s/#2c690cbf618a

I just found the same article for 2017. Oil and gas still tops the list.

https://blogs-images.forbes.com/sageworks/files/2017/09/least-profitable-industries-ttm-07312017.png

Survivalist says: 01/01/2018 at 5:35 pm
@TT
Cling to whatever makes you feel good dude. I guess when you're favorite industry produces a lot of product but can't make any profits doing so one has to find the silver lining wherever they can. Shale is a Ponzi scheme. It won't be long until the music stops and the investors lose their shirts.
Survivalist says: 01/01/2018 at 7:01 pm
My credentials are irrelevant to the fact that shale oil is a profitless venture. If not for profit then what's it all about? Take a long hard suck on my ass fuck face. Fucking retard.
Survivalist says: 01/01/2018 at 7:33 pm
shale oil is a profitless venture. Deal with it fuck head.
Survivalist says: 01/01/2018 at 7:53 pm
Here's one for the Texas teabagger aka the Lone Star State scrotum sucker.Im guessing it didn't go to business school.
Lloyd says: 01/01/2018 at 11:28 pm
Until you post a name and a company you can't complain about anyone else's credentials. We know who Mike is. You are nameless likely lying and probably a charlatan. And the emojis prove you are a moron.
Lloyd says: 01/02/2018 at 10:57 pm
Watcher I didn't say he had to identify himself I just pointed out that he was a hypocrite to demand other people's credentials without presenting his own.

To the Teabagger I say "Put up or shut up." Though I do prefer "shut up".

-Lloyd

Dennis Coyne says: 01/02/2018 at 9:01 am
Hi Texas Tea

I agree with Mike that LTO producers are not profitable (as a group). I have suggested that if oil prices remain under $65/b (WTI price) that US output may increase by about 600 kb/d (average annual C+C output) in 2018 compared to 2017. If oil prices are higher output may be higher if you tell me what that average oil price will be in 2018 I can make a better output estimate.

I also agree with Mike that I do not know what the future oil price will be. Generally higher World output levels result in lower oil prices (as in 2015-2017) and generally lower oil prices result in lower profits for oil companies ceteris paribus.

SRSrocco says: 01/01/2018 at 10:35 am
Shallow

The oil price may improve in 2018. However it will likely go DOWN CONSIDERABLY first before it continues higher. According to the COT REPORT (Commitment Of Traders) there is a record Commercial Short Position against oil going back 23 years.

You will notice right before oil fell from $100 in 2014 there was also a high amount of Commercial Short Positions. Today that level is even higher.

steve

Energy News says: 01/01/2018 at 3:24 am
EIA Today In Energy: What are natural gas liquids and how are they used?
Table on Twitter: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DSarQ0wUEAACODP.jpg
https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=5930#
Energy News says: 01/01/2018 at 4:38 am
World demand for oil products – JODI Data – As everyone knows January is the seasonal low for demand. Comparing demand in December to January of the next year shows an average drop of -2.2 million barrels per day.

Chart on Twitter: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DScZ25HX4AAdDwB.jpg

Longtimber says: 01/01/2018 at 2:54 pm
Rather Crude product sort out by molecular weight: WTI is refined to 6% Diesel while global crude average is 34% Diesel.
Survivalist says: 01/01/2018 at 8:06 pm
One more for the Texas Teabagger

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-01/fracking-boom-hits-midlife-crisis-as-investors-geologists-see-shale-limits

Watcher says: 01/02/2018 at 12:43 pm
George don't want to scroll way up.

Don't suppose you know if oil fields do blending prior to sending to assay? Doesn't seem too very conspiratorial. Someone could gin up a rationale and no one would complain provided the refiner gets the same blend as assayed.

George Kaplan says: 01/02/2018 at 2:32 pm
Most are blends – i.e. a bunch of producers discharge into a pipeline and what comes out the end is the cargo – it varies a bit depending on the relative flows from each platform and they might have to blend further in the tank farm (e.g. Forties delivers Brent crude I think from 15 to 20 different platforms).

I can only think of one time there might not be blending of some kind which is if an offshore platform with storage (e.g. FPSO) unloads as repeated cargoes which always go to one specific refinery (probably the platform operators – but even then there are usually more than one owner and they often take the cargos separately in proportion to their stake).

George Kaplan says: 01/02/2018 at 3:20 pm
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hassan_Harraz/publication/301842929_BENCHMARKS_OF_CRUDE_OILS/links/572a065b08aef7c7e2c4ede8/BENCHMARKS-OF-CRUDE-OILS.pdf

This is from 2015/2016 – but prices are still light/sweet -> expensive; heavy/sour -> cheap. The only thing that can mess that up is if there are transport bottlenecks which is why WTI is a bit cheaper than Brent (it wasn't before LTO came on line).

Tapis is still the lightest and costliest although almost none of it is produced it is still a useful benchmark against which other oil can be rated.

Although there are benchmark crudes I think every cargo is basically a negotiated price between the refinery and the producer (there can be penalties if it isn't quite the quality agreed on and it could even be rejected and I think there is an adjustment based on the latest benchmark prices as the contract price would have been negotiated well ahead of delivery). And that is about as much as I know about the trading business except there is a lot of money that can be made and lost on very small margins and variations.

Watcher says: 01/02/2018 at 6:26 pm
source of interest my recall of Bakken and Eagle Ford assays of yrs ago and how with an increase in API degs reported in the new assays the middle distillate yield hasn't changed. Should not be -- well it's possible but should not be likely.
Watcher says: 01/02/2018 at 1:16 pm
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-02/peak-mexico
Energy News says: 01/02/2018 at 6:06 pm
US implied domestic demand monthly figures – seasonal

(Finished Motor Gasoline + Finished Aviation Gasoline + Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel + Distillate Fuel Oil + Residual Fuel Oil + Lubricants + Asphalt) but no NGLs

From here: EIA – Finished Petroleum Products – Products Supplied: https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_sum_snd_d_nus_mbblpd_m_cur.htm

The January dip in demand table on Twitter

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DSki1qFWsAAK6zX.jpg

Yearly averages & the year over year change. 2017 to Oct.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DSko0eLXcAEyl8L.jpg

Dennis Coyne says: 01/02/2018 at 6:35 pm
First chart from comment above

Dennis Coyne says: 01/02/2018 at 6:36 pm
Second chart in link from energy news. Thanks!

[Jan 03, 2018] WaPo propaganda

Jan 02, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Cats@Home says: 01/02/2018 at 8:04 pm

U.S. oil production booms to start 2018
Updated 8:39 AM; Posted 8:39 AM

By The Washington Post

http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2018/01/us_oil_production_booms_to_sta.html

U.S. crude oil production is flirting with record highs heading into the new year thanks to the technological nimbleness of shale oil drillers who have unleashed the crude bonanza.

The current abundance has erased memories of 1973 gas lines which raised pump prices dramatically traumatizing the United States and reordering its economy. In the decades since presidents and politicians have mouthed platitudes calling for U.S. energy independence.

President Jimmy Carter in a televised speech even compared the energy crisis of 1977 to "the moral equivalent of war."

"It's a total turnaround from where we were in the '70s " said Frank Verrastro senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Shale oil drills can now plunge deep into the earth pivot and tunnel sideways for miles hitting an oil pocket the size of a chair Verrastro said.

The United States is so awash in oil that petroleum-rich Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil and natural gas company is reportedly interested in investing in the fertile Texas Permian Basin shale oil region according to a report last month.

That is a far cry from the days when U.S. production was on what was thought to be an irreversible downward path.

"For years and years we thought we were running out of oil " Verrastro said. "It took $120 for a barrel of oil to make people experiment with technology and that has been unbelievably successful. We are the largest oil and gas producer in the world."

The resilience of U.S. oil producers has come as the price of crude rose above $60 per barrel on world markets. Many shale drillers can start and stop on a dime depending on the world oil price. The sweet spot for shale profit is in the neighborhood of $55 to $60 per barrel.

[Jan 03, 2018] No major discoveries in 2017

Notable quotes:
"... Rystad Energy concluded this week that 2017 was yet another record low year for discovered conventional volumes globally. Less than seven billion barrels of oil equivalent has been discovered YTD. "We haven't seen anything like this since the 1940s," says Sonia Mladá Passos, Senior Analyst at Rystad Energy. "The discovered volumes averaged at ~550 million barrels of oil equivalent per month. The most worrisome is the fact that the reserve replacement ratio* in the current year reached only 11% (for oil and gas combined) – compared to over 50% in 2012." According to Rystad's analysis, 2006 was the last year when reserve replacement ratio reached 100%; largely thanks to the giant onshore gas field Galkynysh in Turkmenistan. Not only did the total volume of discovered resources decrease – so did the resources per discovered field. An average offshore discovery in 2017 held ~100 million barrels of oil equivalent, compared to 150 million boe in 2012. "Low resources per discovered field can influence its commerciality. Under our current base case price scenario, we estimate that over 1 billion boe discovered during 2017 might never be developed", says Passos. ..."
"... We have recently observed strong empiric evidence for the theory that a positive tendency in initial production rates for shale wells does not always lead to similar improvements in ultimate recovery. ..."
"... But profits and stock valuations are terrible over the past five to ten years. Drillers, Explorers, Services, I'd be shocked if you could find an index combo that has come even close to matching S&P, Biotech, Semiconductors, NASDAQ. Not positive but E&P et al might not even have beaten transportation over the past decade. If you've been invested in Oil and Gas you are officially a loser. ..."
"... The cooperative program and understanding between the Kingdom and Russia, the two largest producers in the market. ..."
"... Last but not least, we need to develop a culture of saving to increase our capital buildup for the economy. This is not an easy task, and requires a total rehabilitation of our consuming behavior." ..."
"... At this posting, New England is burning oil for 17% of their electricity generation. Wholesale spot price for electricity is $230/Mwh, about 10 times regular pricing. Later this afternoon, demand is expected to increase more. ..."
Dec 21, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com

George Kaplan, says: 12/21/2017 at 6:55 am

https://www.rystadenergy.com/NewsEvents/PressReleases/all-time-low-discovered-resources-2017

ALL-TIME LOW FOR DISCOVERED RESOURCES IN 2017: AROUND 7 BILLION BARRELS OF OIL EQUIVALENT WAS DISCOVERED

Rystad Energy concluded this week that 2017 was yet another record low year for discovered conventional volumes globally. Less than seven billion barrels of oil equivalent has been discovered YTD.

"We haven't seen anything like this since the 1940s," says Sonia Mladá Passos, Senior Analyst at Rystad Energy. "The discovered volumes averaged at ~550 million barrels of oil equivalent per month. The most worrisome is the fact that the reserve replacement ratio* in the current year reached only 11% (for oil and gas combined) – compared to over 50% in 2012."

According to Rystad's analysis, 2006 was the last year when reserve replacement ratio reached 100%; largely thanks to the giant onshore gas field Galkynysh in Turkmenistan.

Not only did the total volume of discovered resources decrease – so did the resources per discovered field.

An average offshore discovery in 2017 held ~100 million barrels of oil equivalent, compared to 150 million boe in 2012. "Low resources per discovered field can influence its commerciality. Under our current base case price scenario, we estimate that over 1 billion boe discovered during 2017 might never be developed", says Passos.

I think every drilled high impact wildcat well identified by Rystad at the end of 2016 has now turned out dry, with a couple postponed for lack of finance.

Dennis Coyne, says: 12/21/2017 at 8:14 am
Thanks George.

It would be great if they gave the gas/liquids split all rolled up. Does it look to your eyes like a roughly 50/50 gas/liquids split in 2017, as it does to mine? (Talking about Rystad chart.)

SouthLaGeo, says: 12/21/2017 at 8:38 am
2017 looks likes another very disappointing year for conventional discoveries. I wonder how unconventional resource adds have been over the last few years. I suspect that is how many of our big oil friends are achieving their annual resource add goals.
George Kaplan, says: 12/21/2017 at 8:50 am
The EIA reserves are going to be interesting: even before the price crash the extension numbers, which is where all the LTO growth came from rather than discoveries, were starting to fall and reserve changes looked like they might be going negative, which I'd guess is due to decreases in URR estimates; e.g. below for Bakken.

George Kaplan, says: 12/21/2017 at 8:50 am
And EF.

George Kaplan, says: 12/21/2017 at 8:54 am
About 50/50, maybe slightly more gas because of the big BP find, which I thought was 2.5Gboe but they have as 2.
Dennis Coyne, says: 12/21/2017 at 10:54 am
Thanks George,

Yes reserves decreased in 2015, probably due (in part) to a fall in oil prices from $59/b in Dec 2014 to $37/b in Dec 2015, the price in Dec 2016 was $52/b, using spot prices from the EIA, so perhaps reserves increased a bit in 2016, it will be interesting to see the 2016 estimate.

George Kaplan, says: 12/22/2017 at 3:22 am
I think they have to use averages for determining economic recovery not spot prices – I can't remember now if it's six month or annual (or other – I think maybe six months to March and September when they reevaluate) – 2016 would be bout the same or a bit lower depending on the time frame.
Dennis Coyne, says: 12/22/2017 at 8:59 am
Hi George,

I am not sure exactly how it works.

I found this:

https://sprioilgas.com/sec-oil-and-gas-reserve-reporting/

Initially, SEC rules required a single-day, fiscal-year-end spot price to determine a company's oil and gas reserves and economic production capability. The SEC Final Rule changes this requirement to a 12-month average of the first-of-the-month prices.

Using this I get
2014, 101
2015, 54
2016, 42

So 2016 reserves should decrease further if prices affect reserves.

George Kaplan, says: 12/21/2017 at 6:56 am
EIA reserve estimates were due at the end of November, but still haven't appeared, maybe they don't look so good?
Dennis Coyne, says: 12/21/2017 at 8:15 am
Hi George,

Last year it was mid Dec, maybe at the end of the year. Not sure why it takes so long as these are 2016 reserves as of Dec 31, 2016.

George Kaplan, says: 12/21/2017 at 6:59 am
https://www.rystadenergy.com/NewsEvents/Newsletters/UsArchive/shale-newsletter-december-2017

EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FOR COLLAPSING PRODUCTION RATES IN EAGLE FORD

We have recently observed strong empiric evidence for the theory that a positive tendency in initial production rates for shale wells does not always lead to similar improvements in ultimate recovery.

Cabot announced they are selling up in the EF and concentrating on gas (15,000 bpd), maybe more likr them to come.

Fernando Leanme, says: 12/21/2017 at 10:14 am
I have had to work hard over the years to explain to management that oil completions have to be optimized, and that seeking the highest peak rate wasn't likely to be the best answer. This of course happens because high level oil company managers are good at sales and PowerPoint, but have opportunities for improvement in key areas.
Dennis Coyne, says: 12/22/2017 at 2:38 pm
Hi George,

Great article, thanks.

This confirms the suspicion of many that the high peak rates on newer wells (often with longer laterals and more frack stages and proppant, in short more expensive wells) don't boost cumulative output much. In the case of the Eagle Ford, wells in Karnes county (the core of the play) only increased output by about 40 kb over the older wells with less expensive completion methods.

Looking at Bakken data, it is clear that this is the case as well, with about a 10%to 15 % increase in cumulative output over the first 24 months and then similar output to older wells thereafter.

Many observers assume that a higher peak production from a well leads to higher cumulative output of the same proportion. That is if the peak goes from 400 kbo/d for a well projected to have an EUR of 200 kbo to a peak of 800 kbo/d for a newer well, it is often assumed that the new well will have cumulative output of 400 kbo. This is incorrect, in fact the newer well is more likely to have an output of 240 kbo an increase of only 20% rather than the 100% often assumed.

Ron Patterson, says: 12/25/2017 at 7:00 am
Another article citing that same Rystad report:

Shale Growth Hides Underlying Problems

However, Rystad Energy argues that there is some evidence that suggests those higher initial production (IP) rates do not necessarily translate into larger gains in the total volume of oil and gas that is ultimately recovered. A sample of wells in the Eagle Ford showed steadily higher IPs in recent years, but they also exhibited steeper and steeper decline rates.

George Kaplan, says: 12/21/2017 at 7:16 am
It seems a bit unlikely that Canada is going to continue increasing production as shown above over the next 6 to 8 years (after 2018 ramp ups are complete). There are no major greenfiled developments currently under construction and these take at least 5 years from FEED to production, there are continuing redundancies in the oil patch as some of the large, recent developments move from development to operations, and there is no spare pipeline (or rail) capacity such that the oil is at about $10 to $15 discount which is likely to increase as Fort Hill's ramps up through next year (and new pipeline permitting and construction is likely to take even longer than the actual oil sands project).

With Iran and Iraq – they may have oil in the ground, but they need huge,new surface production facilites to process it and supply water/gas for injection – those too take about 5 years to construct, assuming they can find some outside funding.

FreddyW, says: 12/23/2017 at 5:31 am
Dennis,

"OPEC has already demonstrated it can produce more, before they cut back in Jan 2017"

Yes OPEC may have some capacity to increase production. But many OPEC countries are in decline and Saudi Arabia does not have any Khurais or Manifa like fields left to develop. If I ruled Saudi Arabia then I wouldn´t produce more than 10 mb/d even if there were shortages. Better to stay on the platau a little bit longer. Iraq is the country with the biggest possibilities for increases. But they will do so when they are able to, not because of shortages. The other countries you mentioned have mainly expensive oil like tar sands in Canada, arctic in Russia and ultra deepwater in Brazil. Sure we can see increases there but it takes a long time to develop.

"I don't think oil producers were struggling at $100/b, they were overproducing so prices dropped."

US LTO increased production. But conventional prioduction not so much (outside OPEC). Remember this?
https://www.ft.com/content/35950e2a-a4be-11e3-9313-00144feab7de
(google for "ExxonMobil targets $5.5bn spending cuts")

"There's also rail, ridesharing, telecommuting, public transportation etc. High oil prices will lead to changes."

Yes I agree on that. Changes will have to happen.

Dennis Coyne, says: 12/26/2017 at 2:20 pm
Hi Tech guy,

http://www.imf.org/external/datamapper/NGDP_RPCH@WEO/WEOWORLD

World real economic growth has been about 3.5% per year since 2012.

https://www.bis.org/statistics/totcredit.htm?m=6%7C380%7C669

For the World Debt to GDP has increased from 226% in 2012 to 243% in 2Q2017, for advanced economies over the same period debt to GDP went from 272% to 275% and for emerging economies over the same period 145% to 190%.

The story is better access to credit for emerging economies from 2012 to 2017.

A major recession is not very likely.

The IMF forecasts real GDP growth of 3.75% for the World from 2018 to 2022.

Dennis Coyne, says: 12/27/2017 at 5:12 pm
Hi Techguy,

Oil prices at over $100/b were no problem for the World economy from 2011-2014, real GDP grew at 3.5% per year. No reason $100/b oil would cause a recession.

The $160/b (2017$) will only be about 3.3% of World GDP in 2026, assuming medium UN population growth scenario and real per capita GDP growth at 1.5%/year and 84 Mb/d C+C output in 2026.

That's a lower level than 2014.

George Kaplan, says: 12/21/2017 at 7:25 am
https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/weekly/

There was another big drop in US crude stocks by the twip – down 6.5 mmbbls with gasoline and diesel up 2 mmbbls combined. The crude level is fast approaching the middle of the 5 year average – how far does it have to undershoot before panic sets in?

Jeff, says: 12/21/2017 at 9:05 am
US SPR drawdown this year is about 21.5 million barrels, this is usually not included when calculating the 5y average. Planned annual sales are similar for the next couple of years ( https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=29692 note that the figure shows fiscal year).

The story being told is that oil markets should be in balance next year or slight surplus if LTO maintains its pace. KSA low production during end of 2017 and the problems in Venezuela should result in continued stock drawdowns or only a small build during the spring (forties supports this too). Next summer driving season can be interesting, assuming the economy remains healthy. 2019 will be _very_ interesting since it will be revealed how much of the OPEC cuts were made voluntary.

Heinrich Leopold, says: 12/21/2017 at 4:49 pm
As inventories are still way above historical averages, it is important to bear in mind that substantial infrastructure in form of tanks and pipelines have been constructed over the last few years. This increased the necessary working inventory to keep the system functioning. So, the critical inventory level might be much higher than in previous years.
George Kaplan, says: 12/22/2017 at 3:26 am
They need a minimum amount of empty capacity to allow for blending and movement, not a minimum amount of stored volume to keep it working. The storage is to cover for upsets and to allow people to make money from arbitrage.
FreddyW says: 12/22/2017 at 5:39 am
You are wrong on this point. See
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-storage-kemp/should-we-worry-as-oil-stocks-hit-3-billion-barrels-kemp-idUSKCN0T92PP20151120

The lowest value the commercial oil stocks have been since 1982 was 247 mb in 2004:
https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=WCESTUS1&f=W

It was propably close to the point where it was low enough to cause problems at that time. Why? Because from a commercial point of view, it´s just stupid to have more storage than you need. It´s cost money to store it and it´s better to sell it and get the money instead of just having it in storage. Also there is the SPR from where you can get oil if there is supply problems. So really no need to have large amounts of oil in storage.

George Kaplan, says: 12/22/2017 at 3:26 am
I was speculating about future undershoot, not current conditions.
Dennis Coyne, says: 12/22/2017 at 9:34 am
Hi George,

Yes that was how I interpreted your original comment. At least for US commercial crude stocks for the current week we are currently about 95 million barrels above the 2012 and 2013 average for the same week of the year, so perhaps another few years before any panic if stocks continue to decrease by 50 Mb per year as they did from 2016 to 2017. I chose 2012 and 2013 because oil prices were relatively high in 2012 and 2013 ($88/b and $98/b in Dec 2012 and Dec 2013 for WTI).

On rereading your original comment, I think when it gets near the lower edge of the 5 year average, panics sets in, it may take a few years.

Longtimber, says: 12/21/2017 at 4:17 pm
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-20/another-governor-demands-state-pension-abandon-fiduciary-duties-sell-fossil-fuel-inv
A factor in Future production if Pension Shale Patch backing is reduced? A sample position breakout in there.
texas tea, says: 12/22/2017 at 8:03 am
"You can just say it is an industry in decline and there are better places to put one's money in." yes you can say "the industry is in decline" but then you would be wrong, not usual for you or many on the board. In this case however, the statement is not only wrong but delusional. Both production and demand are at record highs for oil natural gas and natural gas liquids. Of course why let facts get in the way of your political views, to quote a old line; fat, drunk and stupid in no way to go through life, son 😜
twocats, says: 12/22/2017 at 2:03 pm
"Both production and demand are at record highs for oil natural gas and natural gas liquids. "

But profits and stock valuations are terrible over the past five to ten years. Drillers, Explorers, Services, I'd be shocked if you could find an index combo that has come even close to matching S&P, Biotech, Semiconductors, NASDAQ. Not positive but E&P et al might not even have beaten transportation over the past decade. If you've been invested in Oil and Gas you are officially a loser.

Now, high yield bonds might be a different story. But in the wake of all the bankruptcies for the past five years was 100% of all bonds paid? They might have been, not sure.

Boomer II, says: 12/22/2017 at 6:40 pm
Oil companies themselves have changed the way they are investing. So I take that as a sign they, too, think their best times are behind them.

In terms of financial management, there are industries that have done better and are likely to do better than gas and oil. It's simply not a growth industry anymore.

Dennis Coyne, says: 12/24/2017 at 8:44 am
Hi Boomer II,

I think oil prices have an effect on investment, especially outside the LTO focused companies. For the LTO players they seem to focus on output growth regardless of profits, not a great long term business model.

David Archibald, says: 12/21/2017 at 10:10 pm
Regarding the gap, a third of the consumption growth over the last decade was from China. If Chinese consumption plateaus, as it very well might, then consumption growth from here will be less and the gap smaller. But putting in an assumption to change an established trend would just add another point of failure. This piece isn't so much a model as a creation story, trying to figure out why past expectations weren't met and where the known unkowns might come from. A big one of these is what the Permian might end up doing. I think that is why industry is paying up to get into the Permian. If you are not in the Permian you don't have a future. And shareholders will pay any amount of money for you to keep your job.

The piece was prompted by Ovi's observation that Non-OPEC less the big three has been in decline since 2004 – very encouraging. There are some systems in which a price rise does not result in an increase in production simply because the resource is clapped out. The gold market last decade for example. The gold price rose at an average of about 17% per annum year after year but gold production fell. That is not supposed to happen. Now some mines are digging up rock with just over one part in a million of gold in it and that pays for turning that rock into mud.

Paul Pukite (@WHUT), says: 12/21/2017 at 10:57 pm

David Archibald says

https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2014/04/14/meet-david-archibald-the-fringe-scientist-predi/198886

Hickory, says: 12/22/2017 at 11:30 pm
Thanks Paul. Good to know the bias of the author.
Watcher, says: 12/22/2017 at 2:11 am
There was a July report for China imports that extrapolated to another 6.6% consumption growth year for them. No evidence of slow down. Ditto India.

Reminder to folks because it is a tad obscure. India's consumption growth is 8% but it's concentrated in an unusual way. LPG. They run motors on LPG, mostly motorbikes.

Watcher, says: 12/23/2017 at 2:24 am
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/M12MTVUSM227NFWA/

Vehicle miles driven. The increase is relentless as is US population growth. In the big smash of 2008/2009 there was a flattening of the increase but not really any sort of collapse. There was in oil price, but there was no need for it since consumption did not decline more than 5%. A quick look at historical consumption not just miles driven shows essentially the same tiniest of down ticks during that timeframe.

So I would say we need a new theory as to why price declines during recession. Doesn't appear to be less driving to work.

OFM, says: 12/23/2017 at 8:23 am
Consumption of oil would seem to decline a little bit right across the board during a recession, especially a big one. Construction machinery runs less, people travel less, buy fewer new things. It doesn't take very much by way of falling consumption to reduce the price of oil. The price of oil is highly inelastic, in the short term, and it's like milk.

The price of milk has to fall a long way before you can find uses for more than the usual amount.

People buy as much milk as they want for their kids, and maybe a little to cook with. NO MORE, even if the price goes down a lot. They don't have any use for it. So .. if it's coming to market, it has to sell cheaper in order for people to FIND uses for it. You can feed milk to the cat, and even to the pigs, if it's cheap enough. Farmers have been feeding excess milk to pigs just about forever, lol. I did so myself when we had more than we could use otherwise when I was a kid.

So . if the price of gasoline falls, maybe you take the ski boat to the lake one extra weekend , which can easily result in burning a couple of hundred gallons, round trip, as opposed to spending the weekend golfing at a cheap nearby course.

Or you drive the old car that's a gas hog more, because it saves putting miles on a newer car. When the price of gasoline bottomed out, I drove my old four by four truck a lot more than I would have otherwise, because I knew I would be retiring it before long, and wanted to get as many miles out of it as I could, saving wear and tear on the car .. which I'm planning on keeping indefinitely.

It broke down yesterday, and while it's not quite dead, I 'm thinking it's time to euthanize it, lol.

I'm also running my big yellow machines a lot more than usual, because when diesel is down close to two bucks, as opposed to four bucks or so, this saves me a hundred bucks a day, or more, if I stay with it, and I've got some pretty big long term projects such as a new lake, which I work on at odd times, whenever circumstances permit.

IF I were hiring out, which I don't , I would be able to offer a neighbor a hundred bucks or more off for a days work, with diesel at two, as opposed to four bucks. That would result in neighbors with cash, and thrifty Scots habits, spending some of their savings, doing long planned work sooner, or maybe going for a new small project.

Overall though construction falls off during a recession.

Most of the increase in total miles happens as the result of people driving new cars, and by and large, new cars and light trucks are far more fuel efficient than old ones.

And people who are broke spend as much on gasoline as they can afford, period. They MUST spend to get to work. If a tank at twenty bucks will get them to Grandma's house and back in their old clunker, they go. A tank a forty bucks often means calling rather than visiting.

Krisvis says: 12/23/2017 at 10:04 am
It is pretty much a given that Permian oil needs export market. This is from PAA conference call.

" PAA comments: If you look at the amount of 45-plus gravity. It's about 300,000 barrels a day now, growing to 1 million plus. So, a lot of those volumes are coming, and that's really the crux of the benefit of a Cactus pipeline being able to take that directly to the water because I think we are going to see a lot of pushback from refiners. We are already starting to see it as far as the lightning of the general stream going up to Cushing.

The refiners don't want any lighter. So, it's an integral part of the strategy and a piece of everything we've been building."

Delaware basin produces 56% oil that is greater than API gravity 50 plus according to Woodmac.

Every week I see announcements to export US oil. Here are some.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171206005367/en/Wolf-Midstream-Partners-Plans-New-Permian-Basin#.Wik_YewJKuc.twitter
https://www.upi.com/More-US-oil-export-capacity-in-the-works/8051512568297/?spt=su&or=btn_tw
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171222005375/en/EPIC-Announces-Approval-New-Build-730-mile-Permian

HuntingtonBeach, says: 12/24/2017 at 2:34 am
"OPINION-
Don't be taken in by the surge in oil prices

But oil prices have continued to be volatile. They went down from $114 per barrel in June 2014 to $26 per barrel in early 2016 and moved gradually upward to touch $64 per barrel in late November 2017. On the other hand, economic forecasts expect oil prices to continue to rise to a range of between $70 to $80 by the end of the first quarter of 2018. Futurists in the field base their expectations on the following indicators:

1) The cooperative program and understanding between the Kingdom and Russia, the two largest producers in the market. 2) The continuation of efforts to reduce oil surplus in the market 3) The agreement among OPEC members and some non-members to continue their programs of production reduction up to the end of 2018. 8. Last but not least, we need to develop a culture of saving to increase our capital buildup for the economy. This is not an easy task, and requires a total rehabilitation of our consuming behavior."

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/article/524652/Opinion/OP-ED/Dont-be-taken-in-by-the-surge-in-oil-prices

Heinrich Leopold, says: 12/27/2017 at 10:04 am
Interesting development for natgas: Iroquois zone 2 spot prices just shot up to over 32 USD per mcf. This is nearly 1000% up from last month. As much depends now on the future weather, it shows how volatile the US gas market can be – despite massive efforts towards more supply.

As the industry has completely shifted the supply from the South to the Northeast, hurricanes are no more a threat to supply, yet freeze offs become now a major issue. Previously just the supply of the Rockies has been hampered by freeze offs. As this concerned just 10% of US total production, this has never been an issue for gas supply. However, as currently 70% of supply comes from the Northeast and the Rockies, freeze off could lead to serious supply disruptions, if the freeze continues.

The next weeks could now be very interesting.

coffeeguyzz, says: 12/27/2017 at 11:07 am
Not freeze offs, simply lack of pipeline capacity in the face of unprecedented demand. When the receipt figures from the various transfer points are published, they should show 100% capacity utilization.

At this posting, New England is burning oil for 17% of their electricity generation. Wholesale spot price for electricity is $230/Mwh, about 10 times regular pricing. Later this afternoon, demand is expected to increase more.

The supply is there in the pipelines, Mr. Leopold, there just isn't enough of them to satisfy demand during this cold spell.

Heinrich Leopold, says: 12/27/2017 at 11:47 am
Coffee,

I was expecting your reply. Thanks for your opinion.

Nevertheless, there has been huge infrastructure spending over the last years. The pipelines should be already in place.

However, freeze offs are not an issue just yet. If the gas wells freeze off later in the week (temperatures are going to zero down until Cincinnati) , the shortage of supply may be really a concern. There is just one week left and we know it.

This is one of the structural weaknesses of Shale gas:you probably do not have it when you need it the most.

coffeeguyzz, says: 12/27/2017 at 12:35 pm
Mr. Leopold

The pipelines that have been completed greatly favor delivery west to southwest from the Appalachian Basin.

The Atlantic Sunrise is being built that will deliver into the NYC area via a hookup with Transco, I believe.

Deliveries to the north, that is New York State and New England have been virtually nil.

Yes, the storage aspects of all gas products is a challenge, and – as you mentioned – the coming cold days will highlight the vulnerabilities of the situation, sadly, at great expense to many.

[Jan 03, 2018] Possibible commection between oil prices and the US trade deficit.

Jan 03, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Heinrich Leopold says: 12/21/2017 at 6:44 am

The main catalyst for more oil demand and higher oil prices is actually the US trade deficit.

A high US trade deficit weakens the US dollar and thus ignites higher worldwide growth and oil demand.

This is why Shale condensate production is so important as it reduces the US trade deficit.

[Jan 03, 2018] Is fracking gas production in the USA is sustainable, or this is yet another "subprime" bubble?

Jan 03, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

likbez , January 3, 2018 at 5:10 pm

Are companies which produce it profitable or they survive by generating a parallel stream of junk bonds and evergreen loans?

Most of them are also shale oil producers and might well depend on revenue from shale oil to produce gas. Shale oil proved to unsustainable at prices below, say $65-$75 per barrel or even higher, excluding few "sweet spots". Also a lot of liquids the shale well produce are "subprime oil" that refiners shun.

They are not only much lighter but also they have fewer hydrocarbons necessary for producing kerosene and diesel fuel. Mixing it with heavy oil proved to be double edged sword and still inferior to "natural" oil. So right now the USA imports "quality" oil and sells its own" subprime oil" at discount to refineries that are capable of dealing with such a mix. Say, buying a barrel for $60 and selling a barrel of "subprime oil" at $30.

And without revenue from oil and liquids it can well be that natural gas production might be uneconomical.

I wonder what percentage of the total US oil production now is subprime oil.

Modern multistage shale well now cost around $7-10 million. And that's only beginning as its exploitation also costs money (fuel, maintenance, pumping back highly salinated and often toxic water the well produces, etc). So neither oil nor gas from such wells can be very cheap.

Generally such a well is highly productive only the first couple of years. After that you need to drill more.

Also there is a damage to environment including such dangerous thing as pollution of drinking water in the area,

[Jan 03, 2018] I think the only appetite for US LNG comes from the more anti-Russian eastern European countries such as Poland, which hates dependency on Russian gas.

Jan 03, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

PlutoniumKun , January 3, 2018 at 9:39 am

From what I can tell, in Europe there was a policy of encouraging LNG terminals in order to provide leverage against Russian supply. But there seems to have been a significant slowdown in construction – quite simply, LNG is too expensive relative to Russian and domestic (Norwegian, Dutch, UK, Mediteranean) supplies. It makes much more sense for Europe to broaden out its pipeline network. So I think the only appetite for US LNG comes from the more anti-Russian eastern European countries such as Poland, which hates dependency on Russian gas.

likbez , January 3, 2018 at 5:19 pm
Poland would suffer without revenue from pipelines that transport Russian natural gas to Western Europe. That's why they adamantly oppose North Stream II.

Not as much as Ukraine, for which it might mean the economic collapse, but still.

[Jan 03, 2018] Momentous Change in US Natural Gas, with Global Impact

Notable quotes:
"... By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Originally published at Wolf Street ..."
"... Exports to Mexico via pipeline have been rising for years as more pipelines have entered service and as Mexican power generators are switching from burning oil that could be sold in the global markets to burning cheap US natural gas. The US imports no natural gas from Mexico. ..."
"... This is just the Sabine Pass export terminal. In addition, there are five other LNG export terminals under construction, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), with a combined capacity of 7.5 Bcf/d. This brings total LNG export capacity to over 11 Bcf/d over the next few years and will make the US the third largest LNG exporter globally, behind Australia and Qatar. ..."
"... According to the Institute of Energy Research, global LNG demand is currently around 37 Bcf per day. This is expected to grow substantially as China is shifting part of its power generation capacity from coal to natural gas. And US LNG exports to China have surged from nothing two years ago to 25.6 billion cubic feet in October (for the month, not per day): ..."
"... US natural gas production has been booming since 2009 as fracking in prolific shale plays took off, and the price has collapsed – it currently is below $3 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at the NYMEX, despite tthe majestic cold wave that is gripping a big part of the country. ..."
"... This caused some immense price differences between the US market -- where a gas "glut" crushed prices, pushing them from time to time even below $2/mmBtu -- and, for example, the Japanese LNG import market, with prices that were in the $16-$17/mmBtu range in 2013 and 2014. Even the average spot price contracted in November 2017, the most recent data made available by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry , was $9/mmBtu. US LNG exporters hope to arbitrage these price differentials. ..."
"... Meanwhile, US producers are hoping that this overseas demand will mop up the glut in the US and allow them to finally boost prices, including the prices LNG exporters pay. But funding continues pouring into the oil and gas sector to pump up production, and prices have remained low, and drillers continue to bleed. ..."
"... Poland may have one built but think about this – the Ukraine may be happy to pay for American coal which is twice as expensive as what they could buy from the Donbass regions but will Europe be happy to pay double or more for LNG from the US just to spite the Russians? ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Originally published at Wolf Street

Even China is Buying U.S. LNG

In 2017, the US became a net exporter of natural gas for the first time. It started small in February, when the US exported 1 billion cubic feet more than it imported. By October, the last month for which data from the Energy Department's EIA is available, net exports surged to 45 billion cubic feet. For the first 10 months of 2017, the US exported 86 billion cubic feet more than it imported. And this is just the beginning.

Exports to Mexico via pipeline have been rising for years as more pipelines have entered service and as Mexican power generators are switching from burning oil that could be sold in the global markets to burning cheap US natural gas. The US imports no natural gas from Mexico.

Imports from and exports to Canada have both declined since 2007, with the US continuing to import more natural gas from Canada than it exports to Canada.

What is new is the surging export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by sea to other parts of the world.

This chart shows net imports (imports minus exports) of US natural gas. Negative "net imports" (red) mean that the US exports more than it imports:

The first major LNG export terminal in the Lower 48 – Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana – began commercial deliveries in early 2016 when the liquefaction unit "Train 1" entered service. Trains 2 and 3 followed. The three trains have a capacity of just over 2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). In October 2017, the company announced that Train 4, with a capacity of 0.7 Bcf/d, was substantially completed and is likely to begin commercial deliveries in March 2018. Train 5 is under construction and is expected to be completed in August 2019. The company is now lining up contracts and financing for Train 6. All six trains combined will have a capacity of 4.2 Bcf/d.

This is just the Sabine Pass export terminal. In addition, there are five other LNG export terminals under construction, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), with a combined capacity of 7.5 Bcf/d. This brings total LNG export capacity to over 11 Bcf/d over the next few years and will make the US the third largest LNG exporter globally, behind Australia and Qatar.

In addition, there are several other export terminals that FERC has approved but construction has not yet started. And other projects are in the works but have not yet been approved.

According to the Institute of Energy Research, global LNG demand is currently around 37 Bcf per day. This is expected to grow substantially as China is shifting part of its power generation capacity from coal to natural gas. And US LNG exports to China have surged from nothing two years ago to 25.6 billion cubic feet in October (for the month, not per day):

US natural gas production has been booming since 2009 as fracking in prolific shale plays took off, and the price has collapsed – it currently is below $3 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at the NYMEX, despite tthe majestic cold wave that is gripping a big part of the country.

Exporting large quantities of LNG is a momentous shift for the US because it connects previously landlocked US production to the rest of the world. Unlike oil, the US natural gas market has largely been isolated from global pricing.

This caused some immense price differences between the US market -- where a gas "glut" crushed prices, pushing them from time to time even below $2/mmBtu -- and, for example, the Japanese LNG import market, with prices that were in the $16-$17/mmBtu range in 2013 and 2014. Even the average spot price contracted in November 2017, the most recent data made available by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry , was $9/mmBtu. US LNG exporters hope to arbitrage these price differentials.

Meanwhile, US producers are hoping that this overseas demand will mop up the glut in the US and allow them to finally boost prices, including the prices LNG exporters pay. But funding continues pouring into the oil and gas sector to pump up production, and prices have remained low, and drillers continue to bleed.

And there are already global consequences – including in Europe, where large regions, including Germany, increasingly depend on natural gas from Russia as production in Europe is declining. The new competition from the US – though it really hasn't started in earnest yet since most of US LNG goes to places other than Europe at the moment – is already reverberating through the Europe-Russia natural gas trade.

Read Russia's grip on European gas markets is tightening

The Rev Kev , January 3, 2018 at 8:48 am

The first major LNG export terminal in the Lower 48 began commercial deliveries in early 2016

Hmmm, is this a case of build it and they will come? Somebody has to sink the capital in to build a fleet of LNG containers which will take a decade to come online. Somebody also has the build the LNG terminals as well as the infrastructure to go along with it.

Poland may have one built but think about this – the Ukraine may be happy to pay for American coal which is twice as expensive as what they could buy from the Donbass regions but will Europe be happy to pay double or more for LNG from the US just to spite the Russians?

Consider this as well. That LNG terminal is in Louisiana. Which is in the Gulf. Which has all those annual hurricanes. Which is getting worse through climate change. Would the Europeans want to risk depending on American deliveries under these conditions? I will reword that.

Will the Europeans want to risk their economies over this? Last year they shut down the place for a month for repairs. What if Hurricane Harvey had slammed into the place. How will the Europeans be able to trust that a future Trump doesn't shut down LNG deliveries in winter time to get them to commit to some American policy? Too many variables with no net gain and all loss – on their part.

rjs , January 3, 2018 at 8:51 am

they started a buildout of the container ship fleet a half dozen years ago..

[Jan 03, 2018] Pope Francis Only Those Who 'Acknowledge Their Faults' Receive Forgiveness

Notable quotes:
"... Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | www.breitbart.com

The reception of God's mercy in dependent upon a person's acknowledgement of his sins, Pope Francis said Wednesday, because "the proud person is unable to receive forgiveness."

"What can the Lord give to those whose hearts are full of themselves and their own success?" the Pope asked the thousands of pilgrims gathered in the Vatican for his General Audience . "Nothing, because the presumptuous person is unable to receive forgiveness, since he is full of his supposed justice."

The Pope called to mind Jesus's parable of the Pharisee and the publican, where only the publican, or tax collector, receives forgiveness for his sins and returns home justified.

"Those who are aware of their own miseries and lower their eyes with humility, feel the merciful gaze of God resting on them," Francis said. "We know from experience that only those who can acknowledge their faults and ask forgiveness receive the understanding and pardon of others."

In his catechesis, Pope Francis has been reflecting on the different parts of the celebration of the Eucharist, and on Wednesday considered the penitential act, when Catholic examine their consciences and ask for God's mercy.

This act favors the correct attitude to worthily celebrate the holy mysteries, he said, by "recognizing our sins before God and our brothers, recognizing that we are sinners."

At the beginning of Mass, "everyone confesses to God and to his brothers and sisters 'to have greatly sinned in thoughts, words, deeds and omissions,'" Francis said.

Omissions matter too, the Pope insisted, by neglecting to do the good we could do. "We often feel good because we say 'I didn't hurt anyone,'" he said. "In reality, it is not enough not to harm others; it is necessary to choose to do good by seizing the opportunities to give good testimony that we are disciples of Jesus."

A public confession that we are sinners before God and our brethren "helps us understand the dimension of sin that, while it separates us from God, also divides us from our brothers and sisters, and vice versa," he said.

Out of fear or shame, we often point our finger to accuse others, Francis continued. "It's hard to admit to being guilty, but it is good to confess it with sincerity."

The Pope also held up biblical examples of penitence that are models for today's Christians.

He mentioned King David, with his Psalms of repentance after his great sins, as well as the parable of the Prodigal Son and the petition of tax payer: "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner."

He went on to speak of other biblical penitents, such as St. Peter, Zaccheus and the Samaritan woman, suggesting that acknowledging our personal weakness and sins strengthens us while disposing us to receive God's mercy and forgiveness.

Pope Francis has made the gospel message of mercy and forgiveness a central point of his pontificate, and declared the year 2016 to be a Holy Year of Mercy.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome

[Jan 03, 2018] If global oil demand increases by around 1.5mbld as it has done over the last few years then $90 + oil is very possible in 2018. Obviously it also depends on how strongly US tight oil grows and what OPEC will do.

Notable quotes:
"... In the oil business debt is having stage 2,3 or 4 cancer. Ignoring its treatment is not the cure. Again, take Shallow's CLR's diagnosis: it has $6.6B of debt and only $10M of COH. If independently audited its reserves would not cover its long term debt. It is basically insolvent. It belongs in Hospice Care. You are relying on corporations like that to make your predictions come true. ..."
"... If global oil demand increases by around 1.5mbld as it has done over the last few years then $90 + oil is very possible. Obviously it also depends on how strongly US tight oil grows and what OPEC will do. ..."
"... At the moment US growth and OPEC spare capacity could drive down prices again. I believe in around 3 years time there will be very little OPEC spare capacity and increases from the US, Canada, Brazil, Iraq new developments etc will not be able to meet the extra demand. ..."
"... The big factors for future energy costs is the lack of CapEx in replacing consumption and the lack of finding replacement reserves. A lot of big western projects that would have replaced depletion were cancelled. Western Oil companies opted to drill in Wall Street (ie Stock buybacks) or buying up smaller companies instead of developing newer fields (Artic and Offshore). ..."
"... I suppose sooner or later Middle East Producers will follow the Western Oil Companies by choosing to Drill Wall Street instead (ie the Saudi Aramco IPO). ..."
"... So you own your country, as a practical matter, and you therefore own your own ( national ) oil company. Oil's cheap. You expect it to STAY cheap for years. But maybe you know a buyer that will pay you a hell of a lot of money for your oil company, fifty times, a hundred times, maybe , the net cash flow you're getting after paying the oil company's expenses. Now if you were an ordinary businessman, such as the ones with an MBA from any of the Ivies, you would sell in a flash, and take that cash and put it into another business. ..."
"... I'm as far from an expert as east is from west, but according to everything I read, investment in the oil industry is at very low levels, world wide, and oil wells are like apple trees Ya gotta have new ones, cause the old ones quit on ya. ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

x says: 12/23/2017 at 7:09 am

Dennis, I am not capable of predicting what the price of oil is going to be in six months, much less six years. Neither are you. Shallow and Fernando, both oily folks, might state a "range" scenario but if you were to pen them down they'd likely say they don't know either.

If the predictor of our hydrocarbon future has to "qualify" those predictions based on what the price of oil might be, I am sorry, I don't see the point in the prediction at all. You, Mr. Archibald, and many others all miss the point entirely with regard to LTO growth in America. You assume that because LTO has grown, it will continue to grow. You focus on oil prices to make your predictions come true and ignore, entirely, that shale oil extraction in America is not nationalized, it is managed by private enterprise. Private enterprise must succeed, it must be profitable enough to drill new wells from old wells. Now, because of poor business decisions in the past the US LTO industry must manage its old debt, ultimately pay down that old debt AND create sufficient net cash flow to drill new wells without getting further in debt. It cannot do that at prices short of $100 or more for a sustained period of time. It is a business, Dennis; I am sorry you cannot seem to grasp that.

In the oil business debt is having stage 2,3 or 4 cancer. Ignoring its treatment is not the cure. Again, take Shallow's CLR's diagnosis: it has $6.6B of debt and only $10M of COH. If independently audited its reserves would not cover its long term debt. It is basically insolvent. It belongs in Hospice Care. You are relying on corporations like that to make your predictions come true.

I suggest you quit worrying about the price of oil and start focusing on profitability and debt. You seem to embrace debt as being acceptable in the reserve growth LTO business model. That is a very bad mistake, a mistake common to people that have never been in the oil "business," that must write checks, receive revenue from the sale of oil and gas production and be profitable. Or not eat.

Instead I suggest you focus on where the money is going to come from to keep funding this miracle of US LTO growth. That growth potential is not price sensitive, it is capital sensitive.

Mike says: 12/24/2017 at 12:06 pm
Rune has a good handle on it all, indeed. Regarding LTO debt and new tax laws, he was kind enough to recently send me this:

https://wolfstreet.com/2017/12/22/what-will-the-tax-law-do-to-over-indebted-corporate-america/

Merry Christmas, Dennis.

Peter says: 12/22/2017 at 3:27 am
Hi Dennis

If global oil demand increases by around 1.5mbld as it has done over the last few years then $90 + oil is very possible. Obviously it also depends on how strongly US tight oil grows and what OPEC will do.

At the moment US growth and OPEC spare capacity could drive down prices again. I believe in around 3 years time there will be very little OPEC spare capacity and increases from the US, Canada, Brazil, Iraq new developments etc will not be able to meet the extra demand.

Many people do not realise how many electric vehicles would have to be sold to cope with a world where oil production stops growing. About 30 to 40 million of the 100 million vehicles would have to be fully electric, hybrids would not be enough.

TechGuy says: 12/26/2017 at 1:56 am
Peter Wrote:

"Global demand has been slowing down in recent years, so the graph does not show a gap of 8 million between demand and supply."

Seems likely that global demand will likely to decline as Western & Asia populations continue to grow older. Currently the global economy has been propped up by ZIRP and lots of QE (China, Japan, EU, & US). Worldwide Debt has nearly doubled since 2008 due to cheap & easy credit. Sooner or later there will another global recessions that forces a reduction in Oil demand.

The big factors for future energy costs is the lack of CapEx in replacing consumption and the lack of finding replacement reserves. A lot of big western projects that would have replaced depletion were cancelled. Western Oil companies opted to drill in Wall Street (ie Stock buybacks) or buying up smaller companies instead of developing newer fields (Artic and Offshore).

I suppose sooner or later Middle East Producers will follow the Western Oil Companies by choosing to Drill Wall Street instead (ie the Saudi Aramco IPO).

My guess is that Oil pricing does not increase much (excluding geopolitical events/natural disasters) over the next 2 years. I think the odds favor a decrease in prices and consumption over the next 2 years caused by another global recession: Interest rates are rising at a time when consumers are borrowing more to meet ends, and consumers savings rates are near zero (perhaps going negative again).

OFM says: 12/21/2017 at 4:34 am
I don't do any modeling and number crunching. Couldn't even if I wanted to, due to lack sufficient statistical and computer skills.

But I don't see where all this new production is supposed to come from, without the price going up. There's nothing in the news I read here, or at a number of other places, indicating that any huge new fields that are going to be cheap to produce have been discovered in recent times, and are in the process of being developed.

So how is it that new production adequate to offset the inevitable decline of the huge older fields that still supply the bulk of the oil, PLUS enough more to actually increase production somewhat, can be achieved without the price going up quite a bit?

Where's the new CHEAP oil supposed to come from, considering that oil companies these days are going after ever smaller and more expensive to produce fields ?

Some of my neighbors, and some of my family members, have amazed everybody who knows them, including their physicians, by continuing to be productive workers right on into their eighties.

But when they did finally " decline " or "deplete" they went down hill pretty damned fast. Men and oil fields are subject to the SENECA CLIFF.

I disagree with our honorable and esteemed founder Ron Patterson about the odds of some of us pulling thru the coming bottleneck more or less whole, but I'm of the opinion he's right about a lot of production being maintained these days by practices such as infield drilling and water flooding and so forth that will result in pretty sharp declines in production at many major oil fields sometime in the not very distant future.

Maybe the people who think like Tony Seba are right, and our need of oil is peaking now, or will peak, very soon. I don't see it happening within the next ten years though, because I just don't see electric vehicles displacing oil burners so quickly, considering the size of the vehicle fleet, and the number of relatively new ICE cars that will continue to be sold for some years yet.

Matt Simmons was ahead of his time, like a lot of people who are hailed as visionaries after they're gone, but he nailed it when he said rust and depletion never sleep.

Demand for use as auto and light truck fuel may indeed peak and plateau in rich western countries, but unless the world wide economy goes sour, demand overall won't peak until batteries or fuel cells get to be fully competitive in up front terms.

Money has a hell of a lot of time value, and most people aren't going to lay out a lot of money up front unless they earn an excellent return by doing so . This is particularly true in the case of small businesses and the large majority of individuals, because they don't HAVE a lot of money to lay out up front, and lack good enough credit to borrow enough to pay a significant premium for an electric vehicle, considering their other needs for borrowed money.

The oil biz is unlike any other, because most of the key players are GOVERNMENTS, and governments have never been noted for their business acumen.

Sure governments want to make money on their oil, but the ordinary rules that allow us to predict what other industries will do just don't apply well to oil, because politicians have too many other things to consider, in addition to the bottom line.

Consider this. Suppose you are the head of government, with enormous power, dictatorial power, so that you can do more or less as you please. You must have money coming in at all times, and once you're selling oil , you're HOOKED on the money.

So you own your country, as a practical matter, and you therefore own your own ( national ) oil company. Oil's cheap. You expect it to STAY cheap for years. But maybe you know a buyer that will pay you a hell of a lot of money for your oil company, fifty times, a hundred times, maybe , the net cash flow you're getting after paying the oil company's expenses. Now if you were an ordinary businessman, such as the ones with an MBA from any of the Ivies, you would sell in a flash, and take that cash and put it into another business.

But since you're a little tin pot dictator, or even time dictator, like the king of Saudi Arabia, you won't give selling even a passing THOUGHT. ( Remember it always takes at least an exception or two to prove a rule, lol, and in the case of the Saudi's selling a little .. it's a pig in a poke, and they're going to maintain total control, and they're just MAYBE pricing it at a very large premium, lol) .

You CAN'T sell, it just doesn't work that way, because you have to control the oil industry in order to control your country. Politicians who expect to stay in power more or less forever very rarely sell national assets that generate cash. The money they could skim off isn't worth as much to them as the power that comes with control. Sure they sell a money losing operation such as a water works sometimes, because that HELPS them stay in power.

But even though they are constrained from selling the assets, they are virtually always compelled to sell produced oil, and the lower the price, the MORE they need to sell, ouch! And the bigger the bind they're in for cash, the less likely it is that they will be making the long term investments necessary to bring new production online , or even spending the cash to preserve current production by properly managing the oil fields.

The amount of money actually spent by the big independent super national oil companies on new production is trivial, compared to the amounts spent by national oil companies, and they aren't spending much, not even a piddly hundred million here and there, if they can avoid doing so.

I kept my old Daddy's orchard up and running right thru some very tough times, losing money a lot of years, making almost nothing some other years, because it was his LIFE, his passion. And I had every reason to believe that good times would return, because almost everybody backed way off on planting new trees, and lots of growers simply quit altogether.

But I didn't plant new trees, because I was getting old myself. My neighbors who did are doing VERY well the last few years, as farming goes, because prices are very good in relation to costs, and will stay that way until the industry as a whole manages to over do production again. Both oil and apples involve long lead times, lol. If oil production capacity falls short of demand, the price will go up, substantially, and stay up a long time, as long as the economy holds up, and as long as there aren't viable substitutes. Batteries are nice, but it's going to take a LONG time for batteries to displace more even five percent of oil consumption.

I'm as far from an expert as east is from west, but according to everything I read, investment in the oil industry is at very low levels, world wide, and oil wells are like apple trees Ya gotta have new ones, cause the old ones quit on ya.

I'm dead sure oil will go up unless the world wide economy goes to hell. But .. I've been dead wrong before. ;-)

Chain Oil says: 12/23/2017 at 10:46 am
Thank you soooo much for that brilliant essay, written clearly and understandably for us laymen.

[Jan 03, 2018] Quick rump up of oil production is impossible. There will no the second shale revolution in the current range of oil prices, or may be ever

Jan 03, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

says: 12/27/2017 at 8:37 pm

So, is there a big wall of US shale oil coming from Texas that will dash my "happy times" of $55-65 WTI?

So thankful to get up to this level after 36 months of headaches about the oil price. Seems the only thing that could screw it up is US shale, which apparently is set to explode in 2018.

I saw someone touting Halcon stock today on SA. Making a big deal about having little debt. Too bad they flushed about $3 billion of debt when they went BK. I'm sure Mr Wilson (CEO) is, "still getting his" so to speak.

My brother is griping about why he hasn't been able to draw a salary for the last three years, heck all the shalie management has! Have to remind him we aren't in the shale fantasy land. He knows, he's just blowing like I'm prone to do.

If I don't post anymore this year, happy New Year everyone!! Things are looking up, just hope the shale industry doesn't torch it again!

Heinrich Leopold x Ignored says: 12/30/2017 at 8:12 am
Shallow sand,

IN my view you will be sleeping well in the next year. Shale increases mostly the supply of condensate and light distillates, which does little to cover the worldwide shortage of middle distillates. So, the price of 'real' oil will very likely increase over the next future whereas the prices of light distillates (propane, butane, pentane , LPG, NGPL composite .. ) are very likely depressed. Light distillates can substitute middle distillates to some degree, yet the potential is limited. So, in that sense I wish you a happy and successful New Year.

Energy News x Ignored says: 12/28/2017 at 4:36 am
INEOS Forties Pipeline System Media Update – 28/12/2017
All restrictions on the flow of oil and gas from platforms feeding into the pipeline system have been fully lifted. All customers and control rooms have now been informed.
https://www.ineos.com/businesses/ineos-fps/news/ineos-forties-pipeline-system-media-update/
https://uk.reuters.com/article/forties-oil/update-1-ineos-sees-forties-oil-flows-back-to-normal-around-new-year-idUKL8N1OS0VU
Stephen Hren x Ignored says: 12/28/2017 at 12:59 pm
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/12/27/world/americas/venezuela-oil-pdvsa.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Oil production in Venezuela appears to be in free fall.

Mushalik x Ignored says: 12/28/2017 at 4:37 am
Shale gas revolution did not last long for BHP – the Fayetteville story
http://crudeoilpeak.info/shale-gas-revolution-did-not-last-long-for-bhp-the-fayetteville-story
Heinrich Leopold x Ignored says: 12/30/2017 at 6:37 am
There is no question, Shale is a disaster for investors. Nevertheless, it is a blessing for Wall Street as high oil and gas production ensures dollar stability and a growing bond bubble. The only question is when will investors will wake up. As it is perfectly OK for small companies to sacrifice themselves and burn the cash of investors through, big companies are less willing to do so. Who is next? XOM, Statoil , APA ?
Energy News x Ignored says: 12/28/2017 at 7:31 am
The ratio of commodities / S&P500 is at a record low, S&P_GSCI / S&P_500
The S&P GSCI currently comprises 24 commodities from all commodity sectors – energy products, industrial metals, agricultural products, livestock products and precious metals.
Bloomberg chart on Twitter: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DSCfWj6W4AA7xyW.jpg
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 12/28/2017 at 7:33 am
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-27/all-that-new-shale-oil-may-not-be-enough-as-big-discoveries-drop

Discoveries of new reserves this year were the fewest on record and replaced just 11 percent of what was produced, according to a Dec. 21 report by consultant Rystad Energy. While shale wells are creating a glut now, without more investment in bigger, conventional supply, the world may see output deficits as soon as 2019, according to Canadian producer Suncor Energy Inc.

George Kaplan x Ignored says: 12/28/2017 at 9:39 am
Are we not now near enough to 2019 to say that there just isn't time to bring major new conventional projects on-line before mid to late 2019? The only offshore projects that could be approved and developed earlier than that would be single well tie backs using the wildcat/appraisal well as a producer, probably no more than 5 to 10 kbpd and in immediate (and likely rapid) decline, and would be dependent on there being spare processing capacity on a nearby hub (i.e. production the new production would be mitigating decline not adding output).
George Kaplan x Ignored says: 12/29/2017 at 5:00 am
But the issue isn't lack of discoveries this year, as the headline implies, it's the lack of recent FIDs which might be in part because of the drop off in discoveries in 2012 to 2015 (for all oil, but particularly easily developed oil), coupled with high debt loads, and prices that aren't high enough (or at least not yet for long enough) to allow development of what resources there are available to the IOCs. As prices rise and IOCs become more confident and are able to pay dividends as well as fund longer term developments then the really low discoveries in 2015 to 2017 might give them far fewer options than people expect (noteworthy is that any discoveries in that period that have been attractive, like Liza, have been immediately fast-tracked, so there really isn't much of a backlog of attractive projects at all).
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 12/30/2017 at 7:37 am
Hi George,

Headlines are almost always not quite right.

I was basing my comment on what the article said. Many of the companies are aware that discoveries have been low and not many projects will be coming online soon.

George Kaplan x Ignored says: 12/28/2017 at 9:50 am
Mexico may be heading for a period of accelerated decline (above 10%). Their two onshore regions and the southern marine region are falling at 15 to 20%, and the largest producing region (Northern Marine, which includes KMZ and Cantarell) looks like it may be starting to accelerate. The non KMZ nd Cantarell fields had been the only ones increasing, but look to now be in decline or at least on plateau, and by PEMEX forecast KMZ should be off plateau in the next couple of months or so. Mexico has now stopped exporting light oil (which mostly comes from the three smaller regions, with KMZ and Cantarell producing heavy and medium heavy) and will presumably be looking for increasing imports of it, which is probably good for the Texas LTO producers. Operating rigs have recently been declining fast.

(Apologies if this has already been posted)

George Kaplan x Ignored says: 12/28/2017 at 9:53 am
ps – for numbers: last month C&C was down 35 kbpd, and overall 210 kbpd y-o-y (almost exactly 10%).
Lightsout x Ignored says: 12/28/2017 at 10:11 am
Hi George

Do you have any information on how the ramp up of production is going for the Western isles project following first oil on 15th November.
On a side it looks like the Weald basin myth is starting to unravel.

George Kaplan x Ignored says: 12/28/2017 at 11:27 am
Not yet -first numbers for December start-up should be in March, it's a question of limiting their losses at current prices I think. All the wells were predrilled so ramp up should be fast but I wouldn't be surprised if they get pretty low reliability in the first 6 to 12 months given all the construction problems they had. Also interesting that Catcher started up on time, against most expectations. Wonder if Clair Ridge will make it this year – do you know if there are big tax benefits from depreciation for starting within a given calendar year in the UK (or might be financial yar end is more important)?
George Kaplan x Ignored says: 12/29/2017 at 10:19 am
This shows how fast the SW marine region fields are now falling (a lot of small fields were added 2007 to 2015 and are now in steep decline).

There seems no reason this and the two land regions shouldn't continue to fall at current rates (they may even accelerate given how the rig count has dropped), and if KMZ follows the predicted PEMEX curve Mexico could drop around 350 kbpd this year, possibly the same in 2019 in decline (but with 60 kbpd additions due from Abkatun), but maybe approaching as low as 1000 kbpd by mid 2020, which is probably the earliest ENI will be able to get their shallow water field on line if they fast track it.

Greenbub x Ignored says: 12/30/2017 at 1:26 am
thanks, George
Energy News x Ignored says: 12/28/2017 at 1:04 pm
Dallas Fed Energy Survey – December 28, 2017 – At what West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price would you expect the U.S. oil rig count to substantially increase?
Above $60, chart on Twitter: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DSJdl-zX0AAUwD4.jpg
https://www.dallasfed.org/research/surveys/des/2017/1704.aspx#tab-questions
Frugal x Ignored says: 12/28/2017 at 11:11 pm
$16B Mackenzie pipeline project cancelled

CALGARY -- Imperial Oil says its much-delayed $16.1-billion project to build a natural gas pipeline across the Northwest Territories from the coast of the Beaufort Sea to northern Alberta has finally been cancelled.

George Kaplan x Ignored says: 12/29/2017 at 6:50 am
IRAQ FORMS PANEL TO OPERATE MAJNOON FIELD

Originally the plan was to increase Majnoon to over 1 mmbpd. That has now been downgraded to 400 kbpd (from current 220). Shell and Petronas have pulled out and a "government panel" will oversee the development. I'd bet on continued decline rather than any increase, and potential for significant reservoir damage along the way.

Similarly for Nasirya oil field – intend is to increase from 90 kbpd to 200, using a local oil company that also sounds like it has a lot of government input.

To me none of this ever declining brownfield development with IOCs pulling out, and promises of more exploration "coming" is compatible with the claims for their discovered resources (developed or not), or any chance of a quick ramp up if oil prices start to inflate rapidly after 2018.

http://www.ogj.com/articles/2017/12/iraq-forms-panel-to-operate-majnoon-field.html

Heinrich Leopold x Ignored says: 12/29/2017 at 9:28 am
So far, the experiences about freeze off Shale wells are limited. Will glycol also work for Shale wells when there is much water involved? I think nobody knows yet how big the impact of the cold will be on Shale wells. However, it looks like shorts are getting hyper-nervous.
Ian H x Ignored says: 12/29/2017 at 7:25 am
Oil and Gas Producers Find Frac Hits in Shale Wells a Major Challenge
In North America's most active shale fields, the drilling and hydraulic fracturing of new wells is directly placing older adjacent wells at risk of suffering a premature decline in oil and gas production.

The underlying issue has been coined as a "frac hit." And though they have long been a known side effect of hydraulic fracturing, frac hits have never mattered or occurred as much as they have recently, according to several shale experts who say the main culprit is infill drilling.

"It is a very common occurrence -- almost to the point where it is a routinely expected part of the operations," said Bob Barree, an industry consultant and president of Colorado-based petroleum engineering firm Barree & Associates.

He added that frac hits are also an expensive problem that involve costly downtime to prepare for, remediation efforts after the fact, and lost productivity in the older wells on a pad site.

A frac hit is typically described as an interwell communication event where an offset well, often termed a parent well in this setting, is affected by the pumping of a hydraulic fracturing treatment in a new well, called the child well. As the name suggests, frac hits can be a violent affair as they are known to be strong enough to damage production tubing, casing, and even wellheads
https://www.spe.org/en/jpt/jpt-article-detail/?art=2819

FWIW The first SPE paper referenced discusses mediating the negative nature of frac hits. It discusses the refrakking of a six well pad drilled in 2010 in the middle Bakken and three forks, North Fork Field, McKenzie. The six wells have a cumulative oil production to date of 3.6mmboe and 7.7bcf.
Since I am not in the field, much of the paper went over my head, I merely skimmed through it, however it appears that well communication was observed for horizontal and vertical spacing of 1000 feet.

[Jan 02, 2018] Who Is the Real Enemy by Philip Giraldi

Highly recommended!
Money quote: "And even given that, I would have to qualify the nature of the threats. Russia and China are best described as adversaries or competitors rather than enemies as they have compelling interests to avoid war, even if Washington is doing its best to turn them hostile. Neither has anything to gain and much to lose by escalating a minor conflict into something that might well start World War 3. Indeed, both have strong incentives to avoid doing so, which makes the actual threat that they represent more speculative than real. And, on the plus side, both can be extremely useful in dealing with international issues where Washington has little or no leverage, to include resolving the North Korea problem and Syria, so the US has considerable benefits to be gained by cultivating their cooperation."
Notable quotes:
"... And even given that, I would have to qualify the nature of the threats. Russia and China are best described as adversaries or competitors rather than enemies as they have compelling interests to avoid war, even if Washington is doing its best to turn them hostile. Neither has anything to gain and much to lose by escalating a minor conflict into something that might well start World War 3. Indeed, both have strong incentives to avoid doing so, which makes the actual threat that they represent more speculative than real. And, on the plus side, both can be extremely useful in dealing with international issues where Washington has little or no leverage, to include resolving the North Korea problem and Syria, so the US has considerable benefits to be gained by cultivating their cooperation. ..."
"... Cohen-Watnick is thirty years old and has little relevant experience for the position he holds, senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council. But his inexperience counts for little as he is good friend of son-in-law Jared Kushner. He has told the New York Times ..."
"... Both Cohen-Watnick and Harvey share the neoconservative belief that the Iranians and their proxies in Syria and Iraq need to be confronted by force, an opportunity described by Foreign Policy ..."
"... What danger to the U.S. or its actual treaty allies an Iranian influenced land corridor would constitute remains a mystery but there is no shortage of Iran haters in the White House. Former senior CIA analyst Paul Pillar sees "unrelenting hostility from the Trump administration" towards Iran and notes "cherry-picking" of the intelligence to make a case for war, similar to what occurred with Iraq in 2002-3. And even though Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster have pushed back against the impulsive Cohen-Watnick and Harvey, their objections are tactical as they do not wish to make U.S. forces in the region vulnerable to attacks coming from a new direction. Otherwise they too consider Iran as America's number one active enemy and believe that war is inevitable. Donald Trump has unfortunately also jumped directly into the argument on the side of Saudi Arabia and Israel, both of which would like to see Washington go to war with Tehran on their behalf. ..."
"... You forgot the third significant potential threat from a friendly nation, i.e. Israel. Israel will sabotage any effort to normallize relations with Russia or even Iran. They will resort to false flag operations to start a war with Iran. ..."
"... The problem with this White House, as well as the previous ones, is that none of the so-called experts really understand the Middle East. The US is not interested in having friendly relations with all nations. All her efforts are towards one goal, the world domination. Even if President Trump wanted to normalize relations with Russia, the MSM, the democrats, as well as, his republican opponents will not let him. ..."
"... That is why the constan drumbeat of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election despite the fact that no proof has been given so far. Similarly, the "Iran has nuclear weapons" narrative is constantly repeated, the reports by IAEA and the 17 Intelligence Agencies to the contrary not withstanding. ..."
"... The elevation of Muhammad bin Salman to the Crown Prince position will only make the Middle East situation worse. Israel will be able to manipulate him much more easily than the old guard. ..."
"... The titanic elephant in the room -- that US foreign policy is not governed by "rationality" but by "special interests" seems .missing ..."
"... Trump has no control of most government functions, particularly foreign affairs. The Deep State takes care of that for him. The Deep State has been calling the shots for decades and all Presidents who weren't assassinated have complied. Democracies never work and ours quit long ago. ..."
"... I fully agree that attacking Iran would be yet another disaster but I don't understand why Saudi Arabia is portrayed as an 'enemy', the 'real' one, no less, in alt-media circles like this. I mean let's be honest with ourselves. KSA is the definition of a vassal state. Has been so since the state established established relations with the USA in the 1940s and the status was confirmed during the 1960s under King Faisal. Oil for security. Why pretend that they have any operational clearance from the US? ..."
"... The BIGGEST threat to the USA is from within, as we are nothing more than an occupied colony of Apartheid Israel, paying that bastard state tributes each year in the form of free money and weapons, political backing at the UN, and never tire of fighting her wars of conquest. ..."
"... The also have a choke-hold on Congress, which is always eager to wag their tail and hope their Yid Overlord gives them a treat and not a dressing-down in the Jew MSM, which is a career killer. ..."
"... Israel's current "agreements" and its "kowtowing" to Saudi Arabia speaks VOLUMES. Once again, Israel is about to get others to do their "dirty work" for them. ..."
"... There's no alternative to Saudi royal family rule of the peninsula. Who's there to replace them? Any other group, assuming there might be one somewhere waiting in the wings, would probably be anti-American and not as compliant as the Saudis. They've spent gigantic sums in the endless billions buying military equipment from the US, weapons they can't even fully use, as a way of making themselves indispensable customers. Many other billions of petrodollars find their way westward into our financial systems. They collaborate with the US in various schemes throughout the Muslim world using their intelligence services and money in furtherance of US goals. ..."
"... Mattis still seems stuck with his Iran obsession. Shame I thought he had the intellectual curiosity to adapt. Trump has good instincts, I hope Tillerson comes to the fore, and Bannon stays influential. ..."
"... Iran is US enemy #1 not only because it is against that country smaller than New Jersey with less people (Israel) but also because Iran has been a model for other countries to follow because of its intransigence to US oppression and attacks, financial political and cyber. As the world becomes multi-polar, Iran's repeated wise reactions to the world hegemon have been an inspiration to China and others to go their own way. The US can't stand that. ..."
"... Contrary to the popular view, Wahabism is necessary to keep the local population under control. Particularly the minority Shia population who live along the eastern coast, an area, which incidentally also has the all the oil reserves. USA fully understands this. Which is why they not only tolerated Wahabism, but strongly promoted it during Afghan jihad. The operation was by and large very successful btw. It was only during the '90s when religion became the new ideology for the resistance against the empire across the Muslim world. Zero surprise there because the preceding ideology, radical left wing politics was completely defeated. Iran became the first country in this pattern. The Iranian left was decimated by the Shah, another vassal. So the religious right became the new resistance. ..."
"... And as far as the KSA is considered, Wahabi preachers aren't allowed to attack the USA anyway. If any individual preacher so much as makes a squeak, he will be bent over a barrel. There won't be any "coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia" because USA already owns that country. ..."
"... The British Empire 'made' the House of Saud. Thinking it wise to use Wahhabism to control Shia Islam is like thinking it wise to use blacks to control the criminal tendencies of Mexicans. ..."
Jul 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

It is one of the great ironies that the United States, a land mass protected by two broad oceans while also benefitting from the world's largest economy and most powerful military, persists in viewing itself as a potential victim, vulnerable and surrounded by enemies. In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.

And even given that, I would have to qualify the nature of the threats. Russia and China are best described as adversaries or competitors rather than enemies as they have compelling interests to avoid war, even if Washington is doing its best to turn them hostile. Neither has anything to gain and much to lose by escalating a minor conflict into something that might well start World War 3. Indeed, both have strong incentives to avoid doing so, which makes the actual threat that they represent more speculative than real. And, on the plus side, both can be extremely useful in dealing with international issues where Washington has little or no leverage, to include resolving the North Korea problem and Syria, so the US has considerable benefits to be gained by cultivating their cooperation.

Also, I would characterize international terrorism as a faux threat at a national level, though one that has been exaggerated through the media and fearmongering to such an extent that it appears much more dangerous than it actually is. It has been observed that more Americans are killed by falling furniture than by terrorists in a year but terrorism has a particularly potency due to its unpredictability and the fear that it creates. Due to that fear, American governments and businesses at all levels have been willing to spend a trillion dollars per annum to defeat what might rationally be regarded as a relatively minor problem.

So if the United States were serious about dealing with or deflecting the actual threats against the American people it could first of all reduce its defense expenditures to make them commensurate with the actual threat before concentrating on three things. First, would be to establish a solid modus vivendi with Russia and China to avoid conflicts of interest that could develop into actual tit-for-tat escalation. That would require an acceptance by Washington of the fact that both Moscow and Beijing have regional spheres of influence that are defined by their interests. You don't have to like the governance of either country, but their national interests have to be appreciated and respected just as the United States has legitimate interests within its own hemisphere that must be respected by Russia and China.

Second, Washington must, unfortunately, continue to spend on the Missile Defense Agency, which supports anti-missile defenses if the search for a modus vivendi for some reason fails. Mutual assured destruction is not a desirable strategic doctrine but being able to intercept incoming missiles while also having some capability to strike back if attacked is a realistic deterrent given the proliferation of nations that have both ballistic missiles and nukes.

Third and finally, there would be a coordinated program aimed at international terrorism based equally on where the terror comes from and on physically preventing the terrorist attacks from taking place. This is the element in national defense that is least clear cut. Dealing with Russia and China involves working with mature regimes that have established diplomatic and military channels. Dealing with terrorist non-state players is completely different as there are generally speaking no such channels.

It should in theory be pretty simple to match threats and interests with actions since there are only a handful that really matter, but apparently it is not so in practice. What is Washington doing? First of all, the White House is deliberately turning its back on restoring a good working relationship with Russia by insisting that Crimea be returned to Kiev, by blaming Moscow for the continued unrest in Donbas, and by attacking Syrian military targets in spite of the fact that Russia is an ally of the legitimate government in Damascus and the United States is an interloper in the conflict. Meanwhile congress and the media are poisoning the waters through their dogged pursuit of Russiagate for political reasons even though nearly a year of investigation has produced no actual evidence of malfeasance on the part of U.S. officials and precious little in terms of Moscow's alleged interference.

Playing tough to the international audience has unfortunately become part of the American Exceptionalism DNA. Upon his arrival in Warsaw last week, Donald Trump doubled down on the Russia-bashing, calling on Moscow to "cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran." He then recommended that Russia should "join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself."

The comments in Warsaw were unnecessary, even if the Poles wanted to hear them, and were both highly insulting and ignorant. It was not a good start for Donald's second overseas trip, even though the speech has otherwise been interpreted as a welcome defense of Western civilization and European values. Trump also followed up with a two hour plus discussion with President Vladimir Putin in which the two apparently agreed to differ on the alleged Russian hacking of the American election. The Trump-Putin meeting indicated that restoring some kind of working relationship with Russia is still possible, as it is in everyone's interest to do so.

Fighting terrorism is quite another matter and the United States approach is the reverse of what a rational player would be seeking to accomplish. The U.S. is rightly assisting in the bid to eradicate ISIS in Syria and Iraq but it is simultaneously attacking the most effective fighters against that group, namely the Syrian government armed forces and the Shiite militias being provided by Iran and Hezbollah. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that at least some in the Trump Administration are seeking to use the Syrian engagement as a stepping stone to war with Iran.

As was the case in the months preceding the ill-fated invasion of Iraq in 2003, all buttons are being pushed to vilify Iran. Recent reports suggest that two individuals in the White House in particular have been pressuring the Trump administration's generals to escalate U.S. involvement in Syria to bring about a war with Tehran sooner rather than later. They are Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek Harvey, reported to be holdovers from the team brought into the White House by the virulently anti-Iranian former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Cohen-Watnick is thirty years old and has little relevant experience for the position he holds, senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council. But his inexperience counts for little as he is good friend of son-in-law Jared Kushner. He has told the New York Times that "wants to use American spies to help oust the Iranian government," a comment that reflects complete ignorance, both regarding Iran and also concerning spy agency capabilities. His partner in crime Harvey, a former military officer who advised General David Petraeus when he was in Iraq, is the NSC advisor on the Middle East.

Both Cohen-Watnick and Harvey share the neoconservative belief that the Iranians and their proxies in Syria and Iraq need to be confronted by force, an opportunity described by Foreign Policy magazine as having developed into "a pivotal moment that will determine whether Iran or the United States exerts influence over Iraq and Syria." Other neocon promoters of conflict with Iran have described their horror at a possible Shiite "bridge" or "land corridor" through the Arab heartland, running from Iran itself through Iraq and Syria and connecting on the Mediterranean with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

What danger to the U.S. or its actual treaty allies an Iranian influenced land corridor would constitute remains a mystery but there is no shortage of Iran haters in the White House. Former senior CIA analyst Paul Pillar sees "unrelenting hostility from the Trump administration" towards Iran and notes "cherry-picking" of the intelligence to make a case for war, similar to what occurred with Iraq in 2002-3. And even though Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster have pushed back against the impulsive Cohen-Watnick and Harvey, their objections are tactical as they do not wish to make U.S. forces in the region vulnerable to attacks coming from a new direction. Otherwise they too consider Iran as America's number one active enemy and believe that war is inevitable. Donald Trump has unfortunately also jumped directly into the argument on the side of Saudi Arabia and Israel, both of which would like to see Washington go to war with Tehran on their behalf.

The problem with the Trump analysis is that he has his friends and enemies confused. He is actually supporting Saudi Arabia, the source of most of the terrorism that has convulsed Western Europe and the United States while also killing hundreds of thousands of fellow Muslims. Random terrorism to kill as many "infidels and heretics" as possible to create fear is a Sunni Muslim phenomenon, supported financially and doctrinally by the Saudis. To be sure, Iran has used terror tactics to eliminate opponents and select targets overseas, to include several multiple-victim bombings, but it has never engaged in anything like the recent series of attacks in France and Britain. So the United States is moving seemingly inexorably towards war with a country that itself constitutes no actual terrorist threat, unless it is attacked, in support of a country that very much is part of the threat and also on behalf of Israel, which for its part would prefer to see Americans die in a war against Iran rather that sacrificing its own sons and daughters.

Realizing who the real enemy actually is and addressing the actual terrorism problem would not only involve coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia rather than Iran, it would also require some serious thinking in the White House about the extent to which America's armed interventions all over Asia and Africa have made many people hate us enough to strap on a suicide vest and have a go. Saudi financing and Washington's propensity to go to war and thereby create a deep well of hatred just might be the principal causative elements in the rise of global terrorism. Do I think that Donald Trump's White House has the courage to take such a step and change direction? Unfortunately, no.

Jake, July 11, 2017 at 4:12 am GMT

The title of the article tells it all.

Saudi Arabia is THE worst nation in the Middle East.

Why does the US follow along blindly? Well, it is a WASP thing. We are the new Brit Empire. By the height of the Victorian era, virtually all English Elites were philoSemitic. Roughly half of the UK WASP Elite philoSemitism was pro-Jewish and half was pro-Arabic/Islamic. And by the time of WW1, the English Elite pro-Arabic/Islamic faction came to adore the house of Saud. So, our foreign policy is merely WASP culture continuing to ruin most of the rest of the world, including all the whites ruled by WASP Elites.

Priss Factor, Website , July 11, 2017 at 4:41 am GMT
US foreign policy is simple. Zionist Emperor goes thumbs up or thumbs down on whatever nation based on his own interests. That's about it.

Priss Factor, July 11, 2017 at 4:49 am GMT

In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.

No, the only threats are the following three:

Too many Meso-Americans invading from the border. These people have totally changed the SW and may drastically alter parts of US as well. This is an invasion. Meso-Americans are lackluster, but Too Many translates into real power, especially in elections.

The other threat is Hindu-Indian. Indians are just itching to unload 100s of millions of their kind to Anglo nations. Unlike Chinese population that is plummeting, Indian population is still growing.

The other threat, biggest of all, is the Negro. It's not Russian missiles or Chinese troops that turned Detroit into a hellhole. It is Negroes. And look at Baltimore, New Orleans, Selma, Memphis, Oakland, St. Louis, South Side Chicago, etc.

Afromic Bomb is more hellish than atomic bomb. Compare Detroit and Hiroshima.

Also, even though nukes are deadly, they will likely never be used. They are for defensive purposes only. The real missiles that will destroy the West is the Afro penis. US has nukes to destroy the world, but they haven't been used even during peak of cold war. But millions of Negro puds have impregnanted and colonized white wombs to kill white-babies-that-could-have-been and replaced them with mulatto Negro kids who will turn out like Colin Kapernick.

http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/2017/07/pattern-recognition-great-sin-than.html

The real missile gap is the threat posed by negro dong on white dong. The negro dong is so potent that even Japanese women are going Negroid and having kids with Negro men and raising these kids as 'Japanese' to beat up real Japanese. So, if Japan with few blacks is turning like this, imagine the threat posed by Negroes on whites in the West.

Look at YouTube of street life and club life in Paris and London. Negro missiles are conquering the white race and spreading the savage genes.

Look how Polish women welcomed the Negro missile cuz they are infected with jungle fever. ACOWW will be the real undoing of the West.

Replies: @Z-man

Besides what Priss Factor said above the following is to be reinforced with every real American man, woman and child.

Israel , which for its part would prefer to see Americans die in a war against Iran rather that sacrificing its own sons and daughters.
Israel, the REAL enemy! , @K India is looking to unload hindus to U.S? Quite the opposite. India is 'losing' its best brains to the U.S so its trying to attract them back to their country. For eg: The chief- architect of IBM's Watson is a Hindu Indian and so is the head of IBM's neuro-morphic computing. These people are advancing western technology.... civilian and also defense (IBM is collaborating with the American defense organization DARPA) instead of helping India achieve technological competence. And most of other super intelligent Indians also India is losing them to the west.

(i dont hate the west for doing that. Any country in amercia's place would have done the same. It is india's job to keep its best brains working for it and not for others. And india is trying its best to do that albeit unsuccessfully.)

Wally, July 11, 2017 at 5:02 am GMT

The US govt. does what "that shitty little country" tells them to do.

The True Cost of Parasite Israel. Forced US taxpayers money to Israel goes far beyond the official numbers. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-true-cost-of-israel/

How to Bring Down the Elephant in the Room: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/how-to-bring-down-the-elephant-in-the-room/

RobinG, July 11, 2017 at 5:49 am GMT

100 Words #UNRIG adds AMERICA FIRST, NOT ISRAEL to Agenda. ."A.I.P.A.C.. you're outta business!"

Due to slanderous attacks by a Mossad internet psy-op, Steele now prioritizes Israeli malign influence on US. Also, check out Cynthia McKinney's twitter.

#UNRIG – Robert David Steele Weekly Update

@Durruti Nice action approach to cure ills of society.

Enclosing copy of flier we have distributed - with a similar approach at a cure.

*Flier distributed is adjusted & a bit more attractive (1 sheet - both sides).

The key is to Restore the Republic, which was definitively destroyed on November 22, 1963.

Feel free to contact.

Use this, or send me a note by way of a response.

For THE RESTORATION OF THE REPUBLIC

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles "

The above is a portion of the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson.

We submit the following facts to the citizens of the United States.

The government of the United States has been a Totalitarian Oligarchy since the military financial aristocracy destroyed the Democratic Republic on November 22, 1963 , when they assassinated the last democratically elected president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy , and overthrew his government. All following governments have been unconstitutional frauds. Attempts by Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King to restore the Republic were interrupted by their murder.

A subsequent 12 year colonial war against Vietnam , conducted by the murderers of Kennedy, left 2 million dead in a wake of napalm and burning villages.

In 1965, the U.S. government orchestrated the slaughter of 1 million unarmed Indonesian civilians.

In the decade that followed the CIA murdered 100,000 Native Americans in Guatemala .

In the 1970s, the Oligarchy began the destruction and looting of America's middle class, by encouraging the export of industry and jobs to parts of the world where workers were paid bare subsistence wages. The 2008, Bailout of the Nation's Oligarchs cost American taxpayers $13trillion. The long decline of the local economy has led to the political decline of our hard working citizens, as well as the decay of cities, towns, and infrastructure, such as education.

The impoverishment of America's middle class has undermined the nation's financial stability. Without a productive foundation, the government has accumulated a huge debt in excess of $19trillion. This debt will have to be paid, or suffered by future generations. Concurrently, the top 1% of the nation's population has benefited enormously from the discomfiture of the rest. The interest rate has been reduced to 0, thereby slowly robbing millions of depositors of their savings, as their savings cannot stay even with the inflation rate.

The government spends the declining national wealth on bloody and never ending military adventures, and is or has recently conducted unconstitutional wars against 9 nations. The Oligarchs maintain 700 military bases in 131 countries; they spend as much on military weapons of terror as the rest of the nations of the world combined. Tellingly, more than half the government budget is spent on the military and 16 associated secret agencies.

The nightmare of a powerful centralized government crushing the rights of the people, so feared by the Founders of the United States, has become a reality. The government of Obama/Biden, as with previous administrations such as Bush/Cheney, and whoever is chosen in November 2016, operates a Gulag of dozens of concentration camps, where prisoners are denied trials, and routinely tortured. The Patriot Act and The National Defense Authorizations Act , enacted by both Democratic and Republican factions of the oligarchy, serve to establish a legal cover for their terror.

The nation's media is controlled, and, with the school systems, serve to brainwash the population; the people are intimidated and treated with contempt.

The United States is No longer Sovereign

The United States is no longer a sovereign nation. Its government, The Executive, and Congress, is bought, utterly owned and controlled by foreign and domestic wealthy Oligarchs, such as the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and Duponts , to name only a few of the best known.

The 2016 Electoral Circus will anoint new actors to occupy the same Unconstitutional Government, with its controlling International Oligarchs. Clinton, Trump, whomever, are willing accomplices for imperialist international murder, and destruction of nations, including ours.

For Love of Country

The Restoration of the Republic will be a Revolutionary Act, that will cancel all previous debts owed to that unconstitutional regime and its business supporters. All debts, including Student Debts, will be canceled. Our citizens will begin, anew, with a clean slate.

As American Founder , Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to James Madison:

"I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, 'that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living':"

"Then I say the earth belongs to each of these generations, during it's course, fully, and in their own right. The 2d. Generation receives it clear of the debts and incumberances of the 1st. The 3d of the 2d. and so on. For if the 1st. Could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not the living generation."

Our Citizens must restore the centrality of the constitution, establishing a less powerful government which will ensure President Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms , freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship God in ones own way, freedom from want "which means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peace time life for its inhabitants " and freedom from fear "which means a world-wide reduction of armaments "

Once restored: The Constitution will become, once again, the law of the land and of a free people. We will establish a government, hold elections, begin to direct traffic, arrest criminal politicians of the tyrannical oligarchy, and, in short, repair the damage of the previous totalitarian governments.

For the Democratic Republic!
Sons and Daughters of Liberty
florent.defeu@yahoo.com

MEexpert, July 11, 2017 at 5:50 am GMT

In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.

You forgot the third significant potential threat from a friendly nation, i.e. Israel. Israel will sabotage any effort to normallize relations with Russia or even Iran. They will resort to false flag operations to start a war with Iran.

The problem with this White House, as well as the previous ones, is that none of the so-called experts really understand the Middle East. The US is not interested in having friendly relations with all nations. All her efforts are towards one goal, the world domination. Even if President Trump wanted to normalize relations with Russia, the MSM, the democrats, as well as, his republican opponents will not let him.

That is why the constan drumbeat of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election despite the fact that no proof has been given so far. Similarly, the "Iran has nuclear weapons" narrative is constantly repeated, the reports by IAEA and the 17 Intelligence Agencies to the contrary not withstanding.

The elevation of Muhammad bin Salman to the Crown Prince position will only make the Middle East situation worse. Israel will be able to manipulate him much more easily than the old guard.

jilles dykstra, July 11, 2017 at 6:59 am GMT
The western world is dependent on oil, especially ME oil. Saudi Arabia was made the USA's main oil supplier at the end of 1944. The Saud dynasty depends on the USA. That the Saudis would sponsor terrorism, why would they ? And which terrorism is Muslim terrorism ?

Sept 11 not, Boston not, Madrid and London very questionably. We then are left with minor issues, the Paris shooting the biggest. That Saudi Arabia is waging war in Yemen certainly is with USA support. The Saudi army does what the USA wants them to do.

Ludwig Watzal > Website , July 11, 2017 at 7:01 am GMT
Mr. Giraldi, you forgot to mention Israel as one of America's biggest liabilities besides Saudi Arabia. But with such amateur dramatics in the White House and on the Security Council, the US is destined for war but only against the wrong enemy such as Iran. If the Saudis and the right-wing Netanyahu regime want to get after Iran they should do it alone. They surely will get a bloody nose. Americans have shed enough blood for these rascal regimes. President Trump should continue with his rapprochement towards Russia because both nation states have more in common than expected.
animalogic, July 11, 2017 at 7:32 am GMT
I'm a little disappointed in this article. Not that it's a bad article per se: perfectly rational, reasonable, academic even. But unfortunately, it's simply naive.

"Realizing who the real enemy actually is and addressing the actual terrorism problem would not only involve coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia rather than Iran, it would also require some serious thinking in the White House about the extent to which America's armed interventions all over Asia and Africa have made many people hate us enough to strap on a suicide vest and have a go."

Realize who the real enemy is ? Come down hard on the Saud's ? No -- really ?

The titanic elephant in the room -- that US foreign policy is not governed by "rationality" but by "special interests" seems .missing. Israel, the Saudi's themselves, the MIC & so on & so forth ARE the special interests who literally "realise" US Policy.

Paul, July 11, 2017 at 7:44 am GMT

Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag. Those who sent the Anthrax letters to resisting congress members. Those who pre-planned the wars of aggression in the whole middle east.

So any appeal to the "White House" is almost pointless since the White House is one element of the power structure captured by the war-criminal lunatics.

To change something people in the US should at first stop buying their war criminal lying mass media.

Then they should stop supporting ANY foreign intervention by the US and should stop believing any of the preposterous lies released by the media, the state dept., or any other neocon outlet.

Actually Trump was probably elected because he said he was anti-intervention and anti-media. But did it help?

The US needs mass resistance (demonstrations, strikes, boycotts, non-participation, sit-ins, grass-root information, or whatever) against their neocon/zionist/mafia/cia power groups or nothing will change.

We need demonstrations against NATO, against war, against false flag terrorism, against using terrorists as secret armies, against war propaganda!

B.t.w. Iran has always been one of the main goals. Think of it: Why did the US attack Afghanistan and Iraq? What have those two countries in common? (Hint: a look on the map helps to answer this question.)

Replies:

@Wizard of Oz

I am beginning to get interested in why some people are sure 9/11 was a false flag affair covered up by a lot of lies. So may I try my opening question on you. How much, if any of it, have you read of the official 9/11 commission report? ,

Realist, July 11, 2017 at 8:24 am GMT

"The White House is targeting Iran but should instead focus on Saudi Arabia"

Trump has no control of most government functions, particularly foreign affairs. The Deep State takes care of that for him. The Deep State has been calling the shots for decades and all Presidents who weren't assassinated have complied. Democracies never work and ours quit long ago.

Chad, July 11, 2017 at 8:28 am GMT
I fully agree that attacking Iran would be yet another disaster but I don't understand why Saudi Arabia is portrayed as an 'enemy', the 'real' one, no less, in alt-media circles like this. I mean let's be honest with ourselves. KSA is the definition of a vassal state. Has been so since the state established established relations with the USA in the 1940s and the status was confirmed during the 1960s under King Faisal. Oil for security. Why pretend that they have any operational clearance from the US?

Contrary to the popular view, Wahabism is necessary to keep the local population under control. Particularly the minority Shia population who live along the eastern coast, an area, which incidentally also has the all the oil reserves.

USA fully understands this. Which is why they not only tolerated Wahabism, but strongly promoted it during Afghan jihad. The operation was by and large very successful btw.

It was only during the '90s when religion became the new ideology for the resistance against the empire across the Muslim world. Zero surprise there because the preceding ideology, radical left wing politics was completely defeated. Iran became the first country in this pattern. The Iranian left was decimated by the Shah, another vassal. So the religious right became the new resistance.

And as far as the KSA is considered, Wahabi preachers aren't allowed to attack the USA anyway. If any individual preacher so much as makes a squeak, he will be bent over a barrel. There won't be any "coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia" because USA already owns that country.

So what's the answer? Well, props to Phillip as he understood – "it would also require some serious thinking in the White House about the extent to which America's armed interventions all over Asia and Africa have made many people hate us enough to strap on a suicide vest and have a go."

Bingo.

Replies:

@Jake

Your analysis starts too late. The US supports Wahhabism and the House of Saud because the pro-Arabic/Islamic English Elites of 1910 and 1920 and 1935 supported Wahhabism and the House of Saud.

The British Empire 'made' the House of Saud,

Thinking it wise to use Wahhabism to control Shia Islam is like thinking it wise to use blacks to control the criminal tendencies of Mexicans.

Anonymous, July 11, 2017 at 9:33 am GMT

@Priss Factor

US foreign policy is simple. Zionist Emperor goes thumbs up or thumbs down on whatever nation based on his own interests.

That's about it. That's most of unz.com summed up in a single sentence!

Johnny Smoggins, July 11, 2017 at 10:19 am GMT

The casus belli of America's hostility towards Iran is the 3000 year old grudge that the Jews have been holding against Persia.
Z-man, July 11, 2017 at 11:22 am GMT
@Priss Factor

In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.

No, the only threats are the following three:

Too many Meso-Americans invading from the border. These people have totally changed the SW and may drastically alter parts of US as well. This is an invasion. Meso-Americans are lackluster, but Too Many translates into real power, especially in elections.

The other threat is Hindu-Indian. Indians are just itching to unload 100s of millions of their kind to Anglo nations. Unlike Chinese population that is plummeting, Indian population is still growing.

The other threat, biggest of all, is the Negro. It's not Russian missiles or Chinese troops that turned Detroit into a hellhole. It is Negroes. And look at Baltimore, New Orleans, Selma, Memphis, Oakland, St. Louis, South Side Chicago, etc.

Afromic Bomb is more hellish than atomic bomb. Compare Detroit and Hiroshima.

Also, even though nukes are deadly, they will likely never be used. They are for defensive purposes only. The real missiles that will destroy the West is the Afro penis. US has nukes to destroy the world, but they haven't been used even during peak of cold war. But millions of Negro puds have impregnanted and colonized white wombs to kill white-babies-that-could-have-been and replaced them with mulatto Negro kids who will turn out like Colin Kapernick.

http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/2017/07/pattern-recognition-great-sin-than.html

The real missile gap is the threat posed by negro dong on white dong. The negro dong is so potent that even Japanese women are going Negroid and having kids with Negro men and raising these kids as 'Japanese' to beat up real Japanese. So, if Japan with few blacks is turning like this, imagine the threat posed by Negroes on whites in the West.

Look at youtube of street life and club life in Paris and London. Negro missiles are conquering the white race and spreading the savage genes.

Look how Polish women welcomed the Negro missile cuz they are infected with jungle fever. ACOWW will be the real undoing of the West.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yB69UkJGwk

Besides what Priss Factor said above the following is to be reinforced with every real American man, woman and child.

Israel , which for its part would prefer to see Americans die in a war against Iran rather that sacrificing its own sons and daughters.

Israel, the REAL enemy!

eah, July 11, 2017 at 11:26 am GMT
The WH should focus on the USA.
Replies: @Sowhat And what grudge is that? The only two I can find are connected. The deposing of our puppets, the Assads and the nationalization of their natural resources. I have the impression that it removes around future hegemon and the rich gas reserves off their coast and the decades long desire to run a pipeline west to the Mediterranean.

Greg Bacon > Website , July 11, 2017 at 11:41 am GMT

The BIGGEST threat to the USA is from within, as we are nothing more than an occupied colony of Apartheid Israel, paying that bastard state tributes each year in the form of free money and weapons, political backing at the UN, and never tire of fighting her wars of conquest.

You won't see Israeli troops in the streets, since their confederates control the economy thru their control of the FED and US Treasury and most of those TBTF banks, which we always bail out, no matter the cost.

The also have a choke-hold on Congress, which is always eager to wag their tail and hope their Yid Overlord gives them a treat and not a dressing-down in the Jew MSM, which is a career killer.

The WH is also Israeli territory, especially now with a Jew NYC slumlord now Trump's top adviser and his fashion model faux Jew daughter egging Daddy on to kill more Arab babies, since she can't stand the sight of dead babies

Wizard of Oz, July 11, 2017 at 11:50 am GMT

@Paul Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag. Those who sent the Anthrax letters to resisting congress members. Those who pre-planned the wars of aggression in the whole middle east.

So any appeal to the "White House" is almost pointless since the White House is one element of the power structure captured by the war-criminal lunatics.

To change something people in the US should at first stop buying their war criminal lying mass media.

Then they should stop supporting ANY foreign intervention by the US and should stop believing any of the preposterous lies released by the media, the state dept., or any other neocon outlet.

Actually Trump was probably elected because he said he was anti-intervention and anti-media. But did it help?

The US needs mass resistance (demonstrations, strikes, boycotts, non-participation, sit-ins, grass-root information, or whatever) against their neocon/zionist/mafia/cia power groups or nothing will change.

We need demonstrations against NATO, against war, against false flag terrorism, against using terrorists as secret armies, against war propaganda!

B.t.w. Iran has always been one of the main goals. Think of it: Why did the US attack Afghanistan and Iraq? What have those two countries in common? (Hint: a look on the map helps to answer this question.) I am beginning to get interested in why some people are sure 9/11 was a false flag affair covered up by a lot of lies. So may I try my opening question on you. How much, if any of it, have you read of the official 9/11 commission report?

Replies:

@Sowhat

https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/former-nist-employee-speaks-out-on-wtc-investigation/

@NoseytheDuke

A better question: Have YOU read The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation by Phillip Shenon?

Sowhat, July 11, 2017 at 12:13 pm GMT

@eah The WH should focus on the USA. And what grudge is that? The only two I can find are connected. The deposing of our puppets, the Assads and the nationalization of their natural resources. I have the impression that it removes around future hegemon and the rich gas reserves off their coast and the decades long desire to run a pipeline west to the Mediterranean.
anarchyst, July 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm GMT
Israel's current "agreements" and its "kowtowing" to Saudi Arabia speaks VOLUMES. Once again, Israel is about to get others to do their "dirty work" for them.

The point that everybody seems to miss is the fact that Judaism and Islam are inextricably linked. In fact, one could safely argue that Islam is an arabicized form of Judaism.

1. Both Judaism and Islam promote their own forms of supremacy, relegating non-adherents as "lesser human beings", or in Judaism's take "no better than livestock, albeit with souls, to be used for the advantage of the jew".

2. Both systems proscribe lesser (or no) punishment for those of each respective "tribe" who transgress against "outsiders" -- goyim or infidels. Both systems proscribe much harsher punishments against "outsiders" who transgress against those of each respective "tribe".

3. When it comes to "equality under law", Israel is no better than Saudi Arabia, as a jew who has a disagreement with an "outsider" will always have the advantage of a judicial system which almost always rules for the jew.

4. Both Judaism and Islam have taken it upon themselves to be arbiters of what the rest of the world should follow, demanding that "outsiders" conform to what THEY believe, thinking that they know what is best (for the rest of us). Just look at the demands moslems (who are guests in western Europe) make of local non-moslem populations.

Read the jewish Talmud and islamic Koran you will find virtually identical passages that demonize and marginalize those of us who are "goyim" or "infidels".
A pox on both their houses

Replies:

@ThreeCranes

Now before I say what I'm going to say I want to say that Israel has the right to define and defend her interests just as China, Russia and USA do, as Geraldi says above. No nation or people can be denied this (without force).

Having said that, I am grateful to you, anarchyst, for having pointed out the familial similarities between Islam and Judaism. In addition to what you say there is the fact that the Jewish genome is virtually identical to that of the Palestinians--except for that of Ashkenazi Jews who are more than half European.

As far as I can see, Ashkenazi Jews have an existential choice. They can identify with their European half whereby they acknowledge that the Greeks and not Moses made the greatest contributions to humanity (and more particularly, their humanity) or they can go with their atavistic Semitic side and regress to barbarism. Science, Logic, Math, History, Architecture, Drama and Music or blowing up Buddhas and shrouding your women. Take your pick.

Of course, this is sorta unfair in as much as they were kicked out of Europe and now dwell in the ME where if they try to act like Europeans they will be persecuted by their neighbors as apostates. The Jews do indeed have a tough row to hoe. , @bjondo Jews/Judaism bring death, destruction, misery.

Muslims/Islam (minus Western creation of "Muslim"terrorists) brought golden ages to many areas.

Christianity and Islam elevate the human spirit. Judaism degrades.

bjondo, July 11, 2017 at 12:31 pm GMT

SA is the tail wagged by US. US is the tail wagged by internal Jew. Israel/Jewry the enemy of all.

Terrorism is Israeli weapon to take down Sunnis and Shias.

US is Israel's go-to donkey.

Sauds gone tomorrow if wished. And they may be with Arabia broken into pieces. Yinon still active.

Agent76, July 11, 2017 at 12:54 pm GMT
June 7, 2017 We Have Met the Evil Empire and It Is Us

Life in America was pure injustice, the lash and the iron boot, despite the version of history we have been given by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations who "re-invented" America and its history through taking control of public education in the late 1940s. You see, the multi-generational ignorance we bask in today is not unplanned. The threat represented by advances in communications and other technology was recognized and dealt with, utterly quashed at birth.

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/06/07/we-have-met-the-evil-empire-and-it-is-us/

ThreeCranes, July 11, 2017 at 1:41 pm GMT
@anarchyst Israel's current "agreements" and its "kowtowing" to Saudi Arabia speaks VOLUMES. Once again, Israel is about to get others to do their "dirty work" for them.
The point that everybody seems to miss is the fact that Judaism and Islam are inextricably linked. In fact, one could safely argue that Islam is an arabicized form of Judaism.

1. Both Judaism and Islam promote their own forms of supremacy, relegating non-adherents as "lesser human beings", or in Judaism's take "no better than livestock, albeit with souls, to be used for the advantage of the jew".

2. Both systems proscribe lesser (or no) punishment for those of each respective "tribe" who transgress against "outsiders"--goyim or infidels. Both systems proscribe much harsher punishments against "outsiders" who transgress against those of each respective "tribe".

3. When it comes to "equality under law", Israel is no better than Saudi Arabia, as a jew who has a disagreement with an "outsider" will always have the advantage of a judicial system which almost always rules for the jew.

4. Both Judaism and Islam have taken it upon themselves to be arbiters of what the rest of the world should follow, demanding that "outsiders" conform to what THEY believe, thinking that they know what is best (for the rest of us). Just look at the demands moslems (who are guests in western Europe) make of local non-moslem populations.

Read the jewish Talmud and islamic Koran...you will find virtually identical passages that demonize and marginalize those of us who are "goyim" or "infidels".
A pox on both their houses... Now before I say what I'm going to say I want to say that Israel has the right to define and defend her interests just as China, Russia and USA do, as Geraldi says above. No nation or people can be denied this (without force).

Having said that, I am grateful to you, anarchyst, for having pointed out the familial similarities between Islam and Judaism. In addition to what you say there is the fact that the Jewish genome is virtually identical to that of the Palestinians–except for that of Ashkenazi Jews who are more than half European.

As far as I can see, Ashkenazi Jews have an existential choice. They can identify with their European half whereby they acknowledge that the Greeks and not Moses made the greatest contributions to humanity (and more particularly, their humanity) or they can go with their atavistic Semitic side and regress to barbarism. Science, Logic, Math, History, Architecture, Drama and Music or blowing up Buddhas and shrouding your women. Take your pick.

Of course, this is sorta unfair in as much as they were kicked out of Europe and now dwell in the ME where if they try to act like Europeans they will be persecuted by their neighbors as apostates. The Jews do indeed have a tough row to hoe.

Sowhat, July 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz I am beginning to get interested in why some people are sure 9/11 was a false flag affair covered up by a lot of lies. So may I try my opening question on you. How much, if any of it, have you read of the official 9/11 commission report? https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/former-nist-employee-speaks-out-on-wtc-investigation/
virgile, July 11, 2017 at 1:55 pm GMT
Trump is torn between Israel's permanent need to weaken its powerful neighbors (Iraq, Iran) and the necessity to protect the USA from terrorists attacks.

Iran is an hypothetical threat to Israel, Saudi Arabia has proven to be a threat to the world.

SolontoCroesus, July 11, 2017 at 2:07 pm GMT
Saudi Arabian Manal al-Sharif is the latest (((MSM))) media darling; she wrote a book about being imprisoned for driving in Saudi Arabia. She is attempting to expand a movement to strike down the Saudi ban on women driving. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/09/opinion/sunday/saudi-arabia-women-driving-ban.html

At the same time, (((MSM))) gleefully focuses on Iranian women who are wearing white hijab in protest of restrictions on women's attire in Iran. http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2017/05/24/why-women-and-some-men-in-iran-are-wearing-white-headscarves-on-wednesdays/

I think these women ought to get together.

In Iran, women drive.

In Tehran and other Iranian cities including Iran's holiest, that is, most conservative cities like Mashad. there are taxi companies owned and run by women.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/turnstyle/iranian-women-take-the-wh_b_879041.html

Tehran traffic makes NYC look like Mayberry RFD; many Iranians use small motorcycles to commute and take care of daily chores. It's not at all uncommon to see an Iranian woman in full chador driving a motorcycle with a child and parcels in tow.

Iranian women could offer to teach the women of Saudi Arabia to drive.

What could Saudi women teach Iranian women?

NoseytheDuke, July 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz I am beginning to get interested in why some people are sure 9/11 was a false flag affair covered up by a lot of lies. So may I try my opening question on you. How much, if any of it, have you read of the official 9/11 commission report? A better question: Have YOU read The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation by Phillip Shenon?

siberiancat, July 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

Why is is so difficult to avoid this ugly term 'regime'? Does it really add anything to the discourse?
anonymous, July 11, 2017 at 2:33 pm GMT
There's no alternative to Saudi royal family rule of the peninsula. Who's there to replace them? Any other group, assuming there might be one somewhere waiting in the wings, would probably be anti-American and not as compliant as the Saudis. They've spent gigantic sums in the endless billions buying military equipment from the US, weapons they can't even fully use, as a way of making themselves indispensable customers. Many other billions of petrodollars find their way westward into our financial systems. They collaborate with the US in various schemes throughout the Muslim world using their intelligence services and money in furtherance of US goals.

They live the royal life thanks to being able to use the money from their nation's resource wealth as their own personal kitty, living in palaces, buying obscene amounts of jewelry and other luxury goods, and so on. They'll never give that up and being a close ally of the US affords them protection which of course they pay for. They may be seen as an enemy by the average person but not at the elite level with whom they all consort and roll around in the money with.

LondonBob, July 11, 2017 at 2:39 pm GMT
http://mihsislander.org/2017/06/full-transcript-james-mattis-interview/

Mattis still seems stuck with his Iran obsession. Shame I thought he had the intellectual curiosity to adapt. Trump has good instincts, I hope Tillerson comes to the fore, and Bannon stays influential.

Don Bacon, July 11, 2017 at 3:02 pm GMT
Iran is US enemy #1 not only because it is against that country smaller than New Jersey with less people (Israel) but also because Iran has been a model for other countries to follow because of its intransigence to US oppression and attacks, financial political and cyber. As the world becomes multi-polar, Iran's repeated wise reactions to the world hegemon have been an inspiration to China and others to go their own way. The US can't stand that.
Corvinus, July 11, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT
@Paul Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag. Those who sent the Anthrax letters to resisting congress members. Those who pre-planned the wars of aggression in the whole middle east.

So any appeal to the "White House" is almost pointless since the White House is one element of the power structure captured by the war-criminal lunatics.

To change something people in the US should at first stop buying their war criminal lying mass media.

Then they should stop supporting ANY foreign intervention by the US and should stop believing any of the preposterous lies released by the media, the state dept., or any other neocon outlet.

Actually Trump was probably elected because he said he was anti-intervention and anti-media. But did it help?

The US needs mass resistance (demonstrations, strikes, boycotts, non-participation, sit-ins, grass-root information, or whatever) against their neocon/zionist/mafia/cia power groups or nothing will change.

We need demonstrations against NATO, against war, against false flag terrorism, against using terrorists as secret armies, against war propaganda!

B.t.w. Iran has always been one of the main goals. Think of it: Why did the US attack Afghanistan and Iraq? What have those two countries in common? (Hint: a look on the map helps to answer this question.) "Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag."

Adjust tin foil hat accordingly.


Father O'Hara, July 11, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Jake The title of the article tells it all.

Saudi Arabia is THE worst nation in the Middle East.

Why does the US follow along blindly? Well, it is a WASP thing. We are the new Brit Empire. By the height of the Victorian era, virtually all English Elites were philoSemitic. Roughly half of the UK WASP Elite philoSemitism was pro-Jewish and half was pro-Arabic/Islamic.

And by the time of WW1, the English Elite pro-Arabic/Islamic faction came to adore the house of Saud.

So, our foreign policy is merely WASP culture continuing to ruin most of the rest of the world, including all the whites ruled by WASP Elites. SECOND worst,my friend.

Jake, July 11, 2017 at 4:23 pm GMT
@Chad I fully agree that attacking Iran would be yet another disaster but I don't understand why Saudi Arabia is portrayed as an 'enemy', the 'real' one, no less, in alt-media circles like this.

I mean let's be honest with ourselves. KSA is the definition of a vassal state. Has been so since the state established established relations with the USA in the 1940s and the status was confirmed during the 1960s under King Faisal. Oil for security.

Why pretend that they have any operational clearance from the US?

Contrary to the popular view, Wahabism is necessary to keep the local population under control. Particularly the minority Shia population who live along the eastern coast, an area, which incidentally also has the all the oil reserves. USA fully understands this. Which is why they not only tolerated Wahabism, but strongly promoted it during Afghan jihad. The operation was by and large very successful btw. It was only during the '90s when religion became the new ideology for the resistance against the empire across the Muslim world. Zero surprise there because the preceding ideology, radical left wing politics was completely defeated. Iran became the first country in this pattern. The Iranian left was decimated by the Shah, another vassal. So the religious right became the new resistance.

And as far as the KSA is considered, Wahabi preachers aren't allowed to attack the USA anyway. If any individual preacher so much as makes a squeak, he will be bent over a barrel. There won't be any "coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia" because USA already owns that country.

So what's the answer? Well, props to Phillip as he understood - "it would also require some serious thinking in the White House about the extent to which America's armed interventions all over Asia and Africa have made many people hate us enough to strap on a suicide vest and have a go."

Bingo. Your analysis starts too late. The US supports Wahhabism and the House of Saud because the pro-Arabic/Islamic English Elites of 1910 and 1920 and 1935 supported Wahhabism and the House of Saud.

The British Empire 'made' the House of Saud. Thinking it wise to use Wahhabism to control Shia Islam is like thinking it wise to use blacks to control the criminal tendencies of Mexicans.

Durruti, July 11, 2017 at 4:25 pm GMT

1,000 Words @RobinG #UNRIG adds AMERICA FIRST, NOT ISRAEL to Agenda.
..................."A.I.P.A.C.. you're outta business!"

Due to slanderous attacks by a Mossad internet psy-op, Steele now prioritizes Israeli malign influence on US. Also, check out Cynthia McKinney's twitter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxcnaNND4XM

#UNRIG - Robert David Steele Weekly Update Nice action approach to cure ills of society.

Enclosing copy of flier we have distributed – with a similar approach at a cure.

*Flier distributed is adjusted & a bit more attractive (1 sheet – both sides).

The key is to Restore the Republic, which was definitively destroyed on November 22, 1963.

Feel free to contact.

Use this, or send me a note by way of a response.

For THE RESTORATION OF THE REPUBLIC

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles "

The above is a portion of the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson.

We submit the following facts to the citizens of the United States.

The government of the United States has been a Totalitarian Oligarchy since the military financial aristocracy destroyed the Democratic Republic on November 22, 1963 , when they assassinated the last democratically elected president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy , and overthrew his government. All following governments have been unconstitutional frauds. Attempts by Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King to restore the Republic were interrupted by their murder.

A subsequent 12 year colonial war against Vietnam , conducted by the murderers of Kennedy, left 2 million dead in a wake of napalm and burning villages.

In 1965, the U.S. government orchestrated the slaughter of 1 million unarmed Indonesian civilians.

In the decade that followed the CIA murdered 100,000 Native Americans in Guatemala .

In the 1970s, the Oligarchy began the destruction and looting of America's middle class, by encouraging the export of industry and jobs to parts of the world where workers were paid bare subsistence wages. The 2008, Bailout of the Nation's Oligarchs cost American taxpayers $13trillion. The long decline of the local economy has led to the political decline of our hard working citizens, as well as the decay of cities, towns, and infrastructure, such as education.

The impoverishment of America's middle class has undermined the nation's financial stability. Without a productive foundation, the government has accumulated a huge debt in excess of $19trillion. This debt will have to be paid, or suffered by future generations. Concurrently, the top 1% of the nation's population has benefited enormously from the discomfiture of the rest. The interest rate has been reduced to 0, thereby slowly robbing millions of depositors of their savings, as their savings cannot stay even with the inflation rate.

The government spends the declining national wealth on bloody and never ending military adventures, and is or has recently conducted unconstitutional wars against 9 nations. The Oligarchs maintain 700 military bases in 131 countries; they spend as much on military weapons of terror as the rest of the nations of the world combined. Tellingly, more than half the government budget is spent on the military and 16 associated secret agencies.

The nightmare of a powerful centralized government crushing the rights of the people, so feared by the Founders of the United States, has become a reality. The government of Obama/Biden, as with previous administrations such as Bush/Cheney, and whoever is chosen in November 2016, operates a Gulag of dozens of concentration camps, where prisoners are denied trials, and routinely tortured. The Patriot Act and The National Defense Authorizations Act , enacted by both Democratic and Republican factions of the oligarchy, serve to establish a legal cover for their terror.

The nation's media is controlled, and, with the school systems, serve to brainwash the population; the people are intimidated and treated with contempt.

The United States is No longer Sovereign

The United States is no longer a sovereign nation. Its government, The Executive, and Congress, is bought, utterly owned and controlled by foreign and domestic wealthy Oligarchs, such as the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and Duponts , to name only a few of the best known.

The 2016 Electoral Circus will anoint new actors to occupy the same Unconstitutional Government, with its controlling International Oligarchs. Clinton, Trump, whomever, are willing accomplices for imperialist international murder, and destruction of nations, including ours.

For Love of Country

The Restoration of the Republic will be a Revolutionary Act, that will cancel all previous debts owed to that unconstitutional regime and its business supporters. All debts, including Student Debts, will be canceled. Our citizens will begin, anew, with a clean slate.

As American Founder , Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to James Madison:

"I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, 'that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living':"

"Then I say the earth belongs to each of these generations, during it's course, fully, and in their own right. The 2d. Generation receives it clear of the debts and incumberances of the 1st. The 3d of the 2d. and so on. For if the 1st. Could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not the living generation."

Our Citizens must restore the centrality of the constitution, establishing a less powerful government which will ensure President Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms , freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship God in ones own way, freedom from want "which means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peace time life for its inhabitants " and freedom from fear "which means a world-wide reduction of armaments "

Once restored: The Constitution will become, once again, the law of the land and of a free people. We will establish a government, hold elections, begin to direct traffic, arrest criminal politicians of the tyrannical oligarchy, and, in short, repair the damage of the previous totalitarian governments.

For the Democratic Republic!
Sons and Daughters of Liberty
florent.defeu@yahoo.com

SolontoCroesus, July 11, 2017 at 4:28 pm GMT

Scholars at Mercatus Center, George Mason Univ. https://www.mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings

are studying US states and ranking them according to financial stability measures. The states with biggest problems -- Illinois, California, New Jersey, Connecticut -- are in the mess they are in largely because of pension liability issues: some pensions are unfunded or underfunded.

I recall that ten years ago about a dozen Jewish organizations formed the "Iran Task Force," ** whose primary activity was to persuade managers of State pension funds to divest from Iran-connected companies; that is, corporations & banks, etc. that did business with Iran. I recall very clearly that Arnold Schwartznegger was the poster child for California's vanguard role in divesting from such nasty nasty companies, in accord with the wishes of Jewish Israel-firsters.

Perhaps the Mercatus scholars could prepare an exercise in alternative financial history: What shape would the US economy, and the various States's economies, be in if the US were NOT so overwhelmingly influenced by Israel firsters, and were NOT persuaded, Against Our Better Judgment, to entangle themselves in Israel's nefarious activities?

____
** The 2007 Iran Task Force is NOT the same as the group formed in 2015 or so, embedded in US House/Senate, with Joe Lieberman and Michael Hayden playing prominent roles in attempting to influence the Iran Deal.

The 2007 initiative was sponsored by groups such as ZOA, RJC, AIPAC, etc., and / or spun off groups such as Foundation for Defense of Democracy, United Against Nuclear Iran.

[Jan 02, 2018] Hillary Clinton and neoLiberal American Exceptionalism

Notable quotes:
"... It does, after all, have deep roots in the Manifest Destiny ethos that spurred the Mexican War, drove continental and trans-Pacific expansion, and emerged as a paternalistic justification for voluminous military interventions in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. As Dick Cheney suggests, "the world needs a powerful America." In this unilateral missionizing zeal Clinton proves most typical. ..."
"... she wants the United States to be the dominant power in the world, so she doesn't question the massive sums spent on the military and on the other branches of the national-security state. ..."
"... But Clinton's brand of American exceptionalism goes beyond the issue of American military dominion and into the policy potentials of mid-century social liberalism and, more specifically, the neoliberalism that has since replaced it. Indeed, since George McGovern's failed presidential bid of 1972, neoliberals, moving decidedly rightward on economic issues, have consistently employed exceptionalist code to fight off movements, ideas, and challengers from the left. ..."
"... She is smart enough to know that women in the United States endure far more poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity than women in Denmark-yet she shamelessly made clear that she was happy to keep it that way." Indeed, Clinton's denunciation of the idea that the United States should look more like Denmark betrayed one of the glaring the fault lines within the Democratic Party, and between Clintonian liberalism and Sandersite leftism. ..."
Jan 05, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. : January 05, 2017 at 07:42 AM , 2017 at 07:42 AM
...It's hilarious how cocky and confident the neoliberals were throughout the election. It's amazing how wrong they were. Trump's victory is almost worth it.

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/02/26/we-are-not-denmark-hillary-clinton-and-liberal-american-exceptionalism

Published on
Friday, February 26, 2016
by Common Dreams

"We Are Not Denmark": Hillary Clinton and Liberal American Exceptionalism

by Matthew Stanley

Several months removed, it now seems clear that the Democratic debate on October 13 contained an illuminating moment that has come to embody the 2016 Democratic Primary and the key differences between its two candidates. Confronting Bernie Sanders's insistence that the United States has much to learn from more socialized nations, particularly the Nordic Model, Hillary Clinton was direct: "I love Denmark. But we are not Denmark. We are the United States of America."

The implication behind this statement-the reasoning that ideas and institutions (in this case social and economic programs) that are successful in other nations are somehow practically or ideologically inconsistent with Americans and American principles-speaks to a longstanding sociopolitical framework that has justified everything from continental expansion to the Iraq War: American exceptionalism. Rooted in writings of Alexis de Tocqueville and the mythology of John Winthrop's "City Upon a Hill," the notion that the history and mission of the United States and the superiority of its political and economic traditions makes it impervious to same the forces that influence other peoples has coursed through Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address," the Cold War rhetoric of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and the foreign policy declarations of Barack Obama.

Despite particular historical trends-early and relatively stable political democracy, birthright citizenship, the absence of a feudal tradition, the relative weakness of class consciousness-historians have critiqued this "American exceptionalism" as far more fictive than physical, frequently citing the concept as a form of state mythology. Although different histories lead naturally to historical and perhaps even structural dissimilarities, America's twenty-first century "exceptions" appear as dubious distinctions: gun violence, carbon emissions, mass incarceration, wealth inequality, racial disparities, capital punishment, child poverty, and military spending.

Yet even at a time when American exceptionalism has never been more challenged both by empirically-validated social and economic data and in public conversation, the concept continues to play an elemental role in our two-party political discourse. The Republican Party is, of course, awash with spurious, almost comically stupid dialogue about a mythic American past-"making America great again"-the racial and ethnic undertones of which are unmistakable. Those same Republicans have lambasted Obama and other high profile Democrats for not believing sufficiently in their brand of innate, transhistoric American supremacy.

But this Americentrism is not the sole province of the GOP. We need look no further than bipartisan support for the military-industrial complex and the surveillance state to see that national exceptionalism, and its explicit double-standard toward other nations, resides comfortably within the Democratic Party as well. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa censured Obama's use of the term in the fall of 2013, with the latter likening it to the "chosen race" theories of Nazi Germany. Hyperbole notwithstanding, academics often do associate American exceptionalism with military conquest.

It does, after all, have deep roots in the Manifest Destiny ethos that spurred the Mexican War, drove continental and trans-Pacific expansion, and emerged as a paternalistic justification for voluminous military interventions in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. As Dick Cheney suggests, "the world needs a powerful America." In this unilateral missionizing zeal Clinton proves most typical. As historian Michael Kazin argues in a recent piece for The Nation: "Hillary Clinton is best described as a liberal. Like every liberal president (and most failed Democratic nominees) since Wilson, she wants the United States to be the dominant power in the world, so she doesn't question the massive sums spent on the military and on the other branches of the national-security state. "

But Clinton's brand of American exceptionalism goes beyond the issue of American military dominion and into the policy potentials of mid-century social liberalism and, more specifically, the neoliberalism that has since replaced it. Indeed, since George McGovern's failed presidential bid of 1972, neoliberals, moving decidedly rightward on economic issues, have consistently employed exceptionalist code to fight off movements, ideas, and challengers from the left.

The victims include leftist efforts toward both American demilitarization and the expansion of a "socialistic" welfare state. Socialist feminist Liza Featherstone and others have denounced Clinton's uncritical praise of the "opportunity" and "freedom" of American capitalism vis-à-vis other developed nations. "With this bit of frankness," Featherstone explains, referring to the former Secretary of State's "Denmark" comments, "Clinton helpfully explained why no socialist-indeed, no non-millionaire-should support her.

She is smart enough to know that women in the United States endure far more poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity than women in Denmark-yet she shamelessly made clear that she was happy to keep it that way." Indeed, Clinton's denunciation of the idea that the United States should look more like Denmark betrayed one of the glaring the fault lines within the Democratic Party, and between Clintonian liberalism and Sandersite leftism. It also revealed a more clandestine strain of American exceptionalism common among liberals and the Democratic Party elite in which "opportunity" serves as a stand-in for wider egalitarian reform. As Elizabeth Bruenig highlighted in The New Republic: "Since getting ahead on one's own grit is such a key part of the American narrative, it's easy to see how voters might be attracted to Clinton's opportunity-based answer to our social and economic woes, though it leaves the problem of inequality vastly under-addressed. Indeed, a kind of American exceptionalism does seem to underpin much opportunity-focused political rhetoric."

This preference for insider politics (rather than mass movements involving direct action) and limited, means-tested social programs speaks to a broader truth about modern liberalism: it functions in a way that not only doesn't challenge the basic tenets of American exceptionalism, it often reinforces them. Whether vindicating war and torture and civil liberties violations, talking past the War on Drugs and the carceral state, or exhibiting coolness toward the type of popular protest seen during of Occupy Wall Street, with its direct attacks on a sort of American Sonderweg, establishment Democrats are adept at using a more "realistic" brand of Americentrism to consolidate power and anchor the party in the status quo. Now the 2016 Democratic Primary has seen progressive ideas including universal health care, tuition-free college, and a living minimum wage, all hallmarks of large swaths of the rest of the developed world, delegitimized through some mutation of liberal exceptionalist thinking. These broadminded reforms are apparently off limits, not because they are not good ideas (though opponents make that appraisal too), but because somehow their unachievability is exceptional to the United States.

All this is not to exclude (despite his "democratic socialist" professions) Sanders's own milder brand of "America first," most evident in his economic nationalism, but to emphasize that American exceptionalism and the logical and practical dangers it poses exist in degrees across a spectrum of American politics. Whatever his nationalistic inclinations, Sanders's constant reiteration of America's need to learn from and adapt to the social, economic, and political models of other nations demonstrates an ethno-flexibility rarely seen in American major party politics. "Every other major country " might as well be his official campaign slogan. This bilateral outlook does not fit nearly as neatly within Clinton's traditional liberal paradigm that, from defenses of American war and empire to the, uses American exceptionalism tactically, dismissing its conservative adherents as nationalist overkill yet quietly exploiting the theory when politically or personally expeditious.

In looking beyond our national shores and domestic origin-sources for fresh and functional policy, Sanders seems to grasp that, from the so-called "foreign influences" of the Republican free soil program or Robert La Follette's Wisconsin Idea or even Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, American high politics have been at their most morally creative and sweepingly influential not only when swayed by direct action and mass movements, but also when they are less impeded by the constraints of ethnocentrism and exceptionalism. The "We are not Denmark" sentiment might appear benign, lacking as it does the bluster of Republican claims to national supremacy and imaginary "golden age" pasts and what economist Thomas Picketty has termed a "mythical capitalism." But it is the "seriousness" and very gentility of liberal Americentrism that underscores the power, omnipresence, and intellectual poverty of cultural dismissal. "I still believe in American exceptionalism," Clinton has proclaimed in pushing for U.S. military escalation in Syria. Indeed she does, and it is by no means relegated to the sphere of foreign policy.

[Jan 01, 2018] shocktherapy

Jan 01, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Government nee Dec 31, 2017 10:19 AM

Trump's "tax cuts" are going to accelerate the deficit spending trend that Obama (and Bush before him) initiated. The Fed's machinations over the last 100+ years are utterly irrelevant because all of them are in fact driven by Congress. The Fed is a creature that operates at the behest of Congress, as a creation of Congress, and every single dollar it has "printed" it has "printed" because Congress spent money it did not have.

In other words, Congress ran a deficit.

The Fed has its share of detractors and I'm among them. But those who refuse to place responsibility where it belongs are fraud-running jackasses, and while I'm happy to try to educate folks those who refuse to learn and cling to that which is trivially disproved mathematically wind up on my "ignore" list.

The bottom line: It is Congress, which is elected by you, that has destroyed the purchasing power of the currency and enabled all of the fraud and force in our economy today.

Karl Denninger

Trump has now publicly acknowledged that McCabe violated several federal laws, not the least of which is the Hatch Act. Yet he now proposes to allow McCabe to retire next year, keeping his federal pension and benefits.

Not only that but Congress has that evidence now too -- but note that the House Judiciary Committee is not issuing a single word about the fact that such actions are violations of several federal laws.

What Trump should do is have Sessions immediately indict him - after firing McCabe for cause, which terminates his right to any sort of federal pension or benefit. If McCabe wants to sue for his pension let him, because that will force into the public record all of the evidence on exactly what he did as he will have to defend the claim that his firing "for cause" wasn't actually for cause.

Good luck with that.

But Trump isn't going to do that. Instead he's going to let McCabe walk off with your money America. Money he will steal from you for the rest of his life after having taken actions that, the President has good reason to believe, were felony violations of the law and abuses of his office, effectively using the FBI as a political weapon in a Presidential contest.

Karl Denninger

[Dec 31, 2017] Is [neo]Liberalism a Dying Faith by Pat Buchanan

Highly recommended!
Nationalism really represent a growing threat to neoliberalism. It is clear the the rise of nationalism was caused by the triumph of neoliberalism all over the globe. As neoliberal ideology collapsed in 2008, thing became really interesting now. Looks like 1920th-1940th will be replayed on a new level with the USA neoliberal empire under stress from new challengers instead of British empire.
Rumor about the death of neoliberalism are slightly exaggerated ;-). This social system still has a lot of staying power. you need some external shock like the need of cheap oil (defined as sustainable price of oil over $100 per barrel) to shake it again. Of some financial crisis similar to the crisis of 2008. Currently there is still no alternative social order that can replace it. Collapse of the USSR discredited both socialism even of different flavors then was practiced in the USSR. National socialism would be a step back from neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... The retreat of [neo]liberalism is very visible in Asia. All Southeast Asian states have turned their backs on liberal democracy, especially Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar in the last decade. This NYT article notes that liberalism has essentially died in Japan, and that all political contests are now between what the west would consider conservatives: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/15/opinion/liberalism-japan-election.html ..."
"... What is today called "Liberalism" and "Conservatism" both are simply corrupted labels applied to the same top-down corporate-fascistic elite rule that I think Mr. Buchanan once referred to as "two wings of the same bird of prey." ..."
"... Nobody at the top cares about 'diversity.' They care about the easy profits that come from ever cheaper labor. 'Diversity' is not suicide but rather murder: instigated by a small number of very powerful people who have decided that the long-term health of their nations and civilization is less important than short-term profits and power. ..."
"... Hillary and Obama are to the right of the President that Buchanan served in his White House. Richard Nixon was to the Left of both Hillary and Obama. I can't even imagine Hillary accepting and signing into law a 'Clean Water Act' or enacting Price Controls to fight inflation. No way. Heck would freeze over before Hillary would do something so against her Banker Backers. ..."
"... It's sure that financial (neo)liberalism was in a growth phase prior to year 2000 (under Greenspan, the "Maestro") with a general belief that the economy could be "fine tuned" with risk eliminated using sophisticated financial instruments, monetary policy etc. ..."
"... If [neo] Liberalism is a package, then two heavy financial blows that shook the whole foundation were the collapse of the dot.com bubble (2000) and the mortgage bubble (2008). ..."
"... And, other (self-serving) neoliberal stories are now seen as false. For example, that the US is an "advanced post-industrial service economy", that out-sourcing would "free up Americans for higher skilled/higher wage employment" or that "the US would always gain from tariff free trade". ..."
"... The basic divide is surely Nationalism (America First) vs. Globalism (Neo-Liberalism), as shown by the last US Presidential election. ..."
"... Neoliberalism, of which the Clintons are acolytes, supports Free Trade and Open Borders. Although it claims to support World Government, in actual fact it supports corporatism. This is explicit in the TPPA Trump vetoed. Under the corporate state, the state controls the corporations, as Don Benito did in Italy. Under corporatism, the corporations tell the state what to do, as has been the case in America since at least the Clinton Presidency. ..."
"... But I recall that Pat B also said neoconservatism was on its way out a few years after Iraq war II and yet it's stronger than ever and its adherents are firmly ensconced in the joint chiefs of staff, the pentagon, Congress and the White House. It's also spawned a close cousin in liberal interventionism. ..."
Oct 01, 2002 | www.unz.com

Asked to name the defining attributes of the America we wish to become, many liberals would answer that we must realize our manifest destiny since 1776, by becoming more equal, more diverse and more democratic -- and the model for mankind's future.

Equality, diversity, democracy -- this is the holy trinity of the post-Christian secular state at whose altars Liberal Man worships.

But the congregation worshiping these gods is shrinking. And even Europe seems to be rejecting what America has on offer.

In a retreat from diversity, Catalonia just voted to separate from Spain. The Basque and Galician peoples of Spain are following the Catalan secession crisis with great interest.

The right-wing People's Party and far-right Freedom Party just swept 60 percent of Austria's vote, delivering the nation to 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, whose anti-immigrant platform was plagiarized from the Freedom Party. Summarized it is: Austria for the Austrians!

Lombardy, whose capital is Milan, and Veneto will vote Sunday for greater autonomy from Rome.

South Tyrol (Alto Adige), severed from Austria and ceded to Italy at Versailles, written off by Hitler to appease Mussolini after his Anschluss, is astir anew with secessionism. Even the Sicilians are talking of separation.

By Sunday, the Czech Republic may have a new leader, billionaire Andrej Babis. Writes The Washington Post, Babis "makes a sport of attacking the European Union and says NATO's mission is outdated."

Platform Promise: Keep the Muslim masses out of the motherland.

To ethnonationalists, their countrymen are not equal to all others, but superior in rights. Many may nod at Thomas Jefferson's line that "All men are created equal," but they no more practice that in their own nations than did Jefferson in his

... ... ...

European peoples and parties are today using democratic means to achieve "illiberal" ends. And it is hard to see what halts the drift away from liberal democracy toward the restrictive right. For in virtually every nation, there is a major party in opposition, or a party in power, that holds deeply nationalist views.

European elites may denounce these new parties as "illiberal" or fascist, but it is becoming apparent that it may be liberalism itself that belongs to yesterday. For more and more Europeans see the invasion of the continent along the routes whence the invaders came centuries ago, not as a manageable problem but an existential crisis.

To many Europeans, it portends an irreversible alteration in the character of the countries their grandchildren will inherit, and possibly an end to their civilization. And they are not going to be deterred from voting their fears by being called names that long ago lost their toxicity from overuse.

And as Europeans decline to celebrate the racial, ethnic, creedal and cultural diversity extolled by American elites, they also seem to reject the idea that foreigners should be treated equally in nations created for their own kind.

Europeans seem to admire more, and model their nations more, along the lines of the less diverse America of the Eisenhower era, than on the polyglot America of 2017.

And Europe seems to be moving toward immigration polices more like the McCarran-Walter Act of 1950 than the open borders bill that Sen. Edward Kennedy shepherded through the Senate in 1965.

Kennedy promised that the racial and ethnic composition of the America of the 1960s would not be overturned, and he questioned the morality and motives of any who implied that it would.

Jason Liu , October 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm GMT
Yes. Fuck yes.

Liberalism is the naivete of 18th century elites, no different than today. Modernity as you know it is unsustainable, mostly because equality isn't real, identity has value for most humans, pluralism is by definition fractious, and deep down most people wish to follow a wise strongman leader who represents their interests first and not a vague set of universalist values.

Blind devotion to liberal democracy is another one of those times when white people take an abstract concept to weird extremes. It is short-sighted and autistically narrow minded. Just because you have an oppressive king doesn't mean everyone should be equals. Just because there was slavery/genocide doesn't mean diversity is good.

The retreat of [neo]liberalism is very visible in Asia. All Southeast Asian states have turned their backs on liberal democracy, especially Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar in the last decade. This NYT article notes that liberalism has essentially died in Japan, and that all political contests are now between what the west would consider conservatives: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/15/opinion/liberalism-japan-election.html

Good riddance. The idea that egalitarianism is more advanced than hierarchy has always been false, and flies against the long arc of history. Time for nationalists around the world to smash liberal democracy and build a new modernity based on actual humanism, with respect to hierarchies and the primacy of majorities instead of guilt and pathological compassion dressed up as political ideology.

TG , October 20, 2017 at 1:10 pm GMT
"Liberalism" is not dying. "Liberalism" is dead, and has been since at least 1970.

What is today called "Liberalism" and "Conservatism" both are simply corrupted labels applied to the same top-down corporate-fascistic elite rule that I think Mr. Buchanan once referred to as "two wings of the same bird of prey."

Nobody at the top cares about 'diversity.' They care about the easy profits that come from ever cheaper labor. 'Diversity' is not suicide but rather murder: instigated by a small number of very powerful people who have decided that the long-term health of their nations and civilization is less important than short-term profits and power.

Paul's Ghost , October 20, 2017 at 6:08 pm GMT
Its been dead for nearly 20 years now. Liberalism has long been the Monty Python parrot nailed to its perch. At this point, the term is mainly kept alive in right-wing attacks by people who lack the imagination to change their habitual targets for so long.

To my eye, the last 'liberal' politician died in a susupicious plane crash in 2000 as the Bush Republicans were taking the White House by their famous 5-4 vote/coup and also needed to claim control of the Senate. So, the last authentic 'liberal' Senator, Paul Wellstone of MN was killed in a suspicious plane crash that was never properly explained.

Hillary and Obama are to the right of the President that Buchanan served in his White House. Richard Nixon was to the Left of both Hillary and Obama. I can't even imagine Hillary accepting and signing into law a 'Clean Water Act' or enacting Price Controls to fight inflation. No way. Heck would freeze over before Hillary would do something so against her Banker Backers.

And, at the root, that is the key. The 'Liberals' that the right now rails against are strongly backed and supported by the Wall Street Banks and other corporate leaders. The 'Liberals' have pushed for a government Of the Bankers, By the Bankers and For the Bankers. The 'Liberals' now are in favor of Endless Unconstitutional War around the world.

Which can only mean that the term 'Liberal' has been so completely morphed away from its original meanings to be completely worthless.

The last true Liberal in American politics was Paul Wellstone. And even by the time he died for his sins, he was calling himself a "progressive" because after the Clintons and the Gores had so distorted the term Liberal it was meaningless. Or it had come to mean a society ruled by bankers, a society at constant war and throwing money constantly at a gigantic war machine, a society of censorship where the government needed to control all music lyrics, the same corrupt government where money could by anything from a night in the Lincoln Bedroom to a Presidential Pardon or any other government favor.

Thus, 'Liberals' were a dead movement even by 2000, when the people who actually believed in the American People over the profits of bankers were calling themselves Progressives in disgust at the misuse of the term Liberal. And now, Obama and Hillary have trashed and distorted even the term Progressive into bombing the world 365 days a year and still constantly throwing money at the military machine and the problems it invents.

So, Liberalism is so long dead that if you exumed the grave you'd only find dust. And Pat must be getting senile and just throwing back out the same lines he once wrote as a speechwriter for the last Great Lefty President Richard Nixon.

Miro23 , October 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm GMT

Is Liberalism a Dying Faith?

Another question is whether this is wishful thinking from Pat or some kind of reality.

I think that he's right, that Liberalism is a dying faith, and it's interesting to check the decline.

It's sure that financial (neo)liberalism was in a growth phase prior to year 2000 (under Greenspan, the "Maestro") with a general belief that the economy could be "fine tuned" with risk eliminated using sophisticated financial instruments, monetary policy etc.

If [neo] Liberalism is a package, then two heavy financial blows that shook the whole foundation were the collapse of the dot.com bubble (2000) and the mortgage bubble (2008).

And, other (self-serving) neoliberal stories are now seen as false. For example, that the US is an "advanced post-industrial service economy", that out-sourcing would "free up Americans for higher skilled/higher wage employment" or that "the US would always gain from tariff free trade".

In fact, the borderless global "world is flat" dogma is now seen as enabling a rootless hyper-rich global elite to draw on a sea of globalized serf labour with little or no identity, while their media and SWJ activists operate a scorched earth defense against any sign of opposition.

The basic divide is surely Nationalism (America First) vs. Globalism (Neo-Liberalism), as shown by the last US Presidential election.

reiner Tor , October 20, 2017 at 6:39 pm GMT
@Randal

A useful analogy might be Viktor Orbán. He started out as a leader of a liberal party, Fidesz, but then over time started moving to the right. It is often speculated that he started it for cynical reasons, like seeing how the right was divided and that there was essentially a vacuum there for a strong conservative party, but there's little doubt he totally internalized it. There's also little doubt (and at the time he and a lot of his fellow party leaders talked about it a lot) that as he (they) started a family and having children, they started to realize how conservatism kinda made more sense than liberalism.

With Kurz, there's the possibility for this path. However, he'd need to start a family soon for that to happen. At that age Orbán was already married with children

Verymuchalive , October 20, 2017 at 10:10 pm GMT
@Paul's Ghost

Liberalism ( large L) is indeed long dead.

Neoliberalism, of which the Clintons are acolytes, supports Free Trade and Open Borders. Although it claims to support World Government, in actual fact it supports corporatism. This is explicit in the TPPA Trump vetoed. Under the corporate state, the state controls the corporations, as Don Benito did in Italy. Under corporatism, the corporations tell the state what to do, as has been the case in America since at least the Clinton Presidency.

Richard Nixon was a capitalist, not a corporatist. He was a supporter of proper competition laws, unlike any President since Clinton. Socially, he was interventionist, though this may have been to lessen criticism of his Vietnam policies. Anyway, his bussing and desegregation policies were a long-term failure.

Price Control was quickly dropped, as it was in other Western countries. Long term Price Control, as in present day Venezuela, is economically disastrous.

KenH , October 21, 2017 at 1:51 pm GMT
Let's hope liberalism is a dying faith and that is passes from the Western world. If not it will destroy the West, so if it doesn't die a natural death then we must euthanize it. For the evidence is in and it has begat feminism, anti-white racism, demographic winter, mass third world immigration and everything else that ails the West and has made it the sick and dying man of the world.

But I recall that Pat B also said neoconservatism was on its way out a few years after Iraq war II and yet it's stronger than ever and its adherents are firmly ensconced in the joint chiefs of staff, the pentagon, Congress and the White House. It's also spawned a close cousin in liberal interventionism.

What Pat refers to as "liberalism" is now left wing totalitarianism and anti-white hatred and it's fanatically trying to remain relevant by lashing out and blacklisting, deplatforming, demonetizing, and physically assaulting all of its enemies on the right who are gaining strength much to their chagrin. They resort to these methods because they can't win an honest debate and in a true free marketplace of ideas they lose.

[Dec 31, 2017] Truth-Killing as a Meta-Issue

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... What we know, first and foremost, is that it hardly matters what Trump says because what he says is as likely as not to have no relationship to the truth, no relationship to what he said last year during the campaign or even what he said last week. ..."
May 05, 2017 | nationalinterest.org
One of the best summary observations in this regard is from Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein , who writes on business and financial matters but whose conclusions could apply as well to Trump's handling of a wide range of foreign and domestic matters: " What we know, first and foremost, is that it hardly matters what Trump says because what he says is as likely as not to have no relationship to the truth, no relationship to what he said last year during the campaign or even what he said last week. What he says bears no relationship to any consistent political or policy ideology or world-view. What he says is also likely to bear no relationship to what his top advisers or appointees have said or believe, making them unreliable interlocutors even if they agreed among themselves, which they don't. This lack of clear policy is compounded by the fact that the president, despite his boasts to the contrary, knows very little about the topics at hand and isn't particularly interested in learning. In other words, he's still making it up as he goes along."

Many elements of dismay can follow from the fact of having this kind of president. We are apt to get a better idea of which specific things are most worthy of dismay as the rest of this presidency unfolds. I suggest, however, that a prime, overarching reason to worry is Trump's utter disregard for the truth. Not just a disregard, actually, but a determination to crush the truth and to instill falsehood in the minds of as many people as possible. The Post 's fact checker, Glenn Kessler , summarizes the situation by noting that "the pace and volume of the president's misstatements" are so great that he and other fact checkers "cannot possibly keep up."

Kessler also observes how Trump's handling of falsehoods is qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the garden variety of lying in which many politicians indulge: "Many will drop a false claim after it has been deemed false. But Trump just repeats the claim over and over." It is a technique reminiscent of the Big Lie that totalitarian regimes have used, in which the repetition and brazenness of a lie help lead to its acceptance.

The problem is fundamental, and relates to a broad spectrum of policy issues both foreign and domestic, because truth-factual reality -- is a necessary foundation to consider and evaluate and debate policy on any subject. Crushing the truth means not just our having to endure any one misdirected policy; it means losing the ability even to address policy intelligently. To the extent that falsehood is successfully instilled in the minds of enough people, the political system loses what would otherwise be its ability to provide a check on policy that is bad policy because it is inconsistent with factual reality.

[Dec 30, 2017] The Gas Fight Between Ukraine and Russia is Finally Settled - Who Really Won

The key here is whether Russia will stop transit of gas via Ukraine or not.
Notable quotes:
"... A more far-reaching result from the Stockholm proceedings was the intention to void the traditional (Gazprom) formula for gas prices which is based on a linkage to the price of oil. Instead, the price of gas will be tied directly to the spot gas market such as the European hub. ..."
"... In traditional Gazprom contracts, the price of gas depends on the price of oil, and only up to 15% of the price is a spot gas component. For decades, this contractual linkage of the price of gas to oil was largely accepted as being open and fair. ..."
"... the Stockholm arbitration declared that Naftogaz must honor their contract, and buy from Gazprom 5 billion cubic meters of gas annually. As it turns out the "take or pay" clause remains in force, but the volume has been significantly reduced. ..."
"... The irony is that while this is a loss of face for Kiev politically, economically it benefits the Ukrainian consumer. To date, Ukraine's purchases of "reverse gas" from Europe has been far more expensive than that which was contracted reliably over the years by Gazprom. ..."
Dec 30, 2017 | russia-insider.com

After 2014, Ukraine claimed that it was being overcharged, and therefore Naftogaz refused to pay Gazprom their contracted price for gas. Instead, it paid unilaterally a different amount that it subjectively considered "fair."

Gazprom, in keeping with mutually contracted terms and conditions, could only issue an invoice for the resulting underpayment, and after Naftogaz still refused to pay (a debt of approx. $2 billion), made any further deliveries of gas contingent on prepayment.

The arbitration additionally upheld Gazprom's position and denied Naftogaz any right to a refund for gas priced between May 2011 and April 2014 or collect any of the claimed "overcharged gas" totaling approximately $14 billion for that period. In sum, the price Kiev claimed was "inflated" was judged as in Stockholm as baseless.

Therefore, the question of who is accountable and responsible for settling debt has been clarified in Stockholm. Naftogaz must pay Gazprom $2 billion plus a fine calculated at 0.03% per day for each day this debt remains unpaid. This fine has already reached $3 million since the court decision on December 22nd, and if it not paid can reach an annualized figure of $216 million and still keep growing daily.

Like any political and economic story, there is quite a bit that does not make the flashy headlines, but plays a role in contributing to the noise surrounding an issue. Naftogaz takes satisfaction in that the settlement allowed that the gas price for the second quarter of 2014 was to be reduced from $485 to $352 per 1000 cubic meters, or 27%, thereby "saving" Ukraine about $ 1.8 billion for 2014-2015. The price of $485 was in fact fixed for that one quarter, and it was higher than the market price. The reason was that the March referendum and subsequent reunification of Crimea within the Russian Federation happened then. Up until that time, Russia had given Ukraine a discount of $100 per one thousand cubic meters of gas as payment for renting the Crimean base for the Black Sea fleet. The Kharkov treaty with Ukraine which dealt with the naval base was therefore canceled, as Crimea was once again Russia. Without this discount, the price increased by that same discounted $100 in the contracted quarterly price fix.

Key is Stockholm's recognition that the Russian gas price for Ukraine in 2011-2014 was fair, which is much more important than the price fixed in that second quarter in question. It is worth noting in the next third quarter of 2014 Gazprom was prepared to provide Ukraine with a market price for gas again. However, as we all know today, since June 2014 Naftogaz has refused to buy gas from Russia for political reasons and calling it an "aggressor nation."

A more far-reaching result from the Stockholm proceedings was the intention to void the traditional (Gazprom) formula for gas prices which is based on a linkage to the price of oil. Instead, the price of gas will be tied directly to the spot gas market such as the European hub. Should this occur, then the future gas price for Ukraine will be linked to the cost of fuel in the European hub. This would be a major departure from the traditional pricing Gazprom has used for decades, and might set a precedent for other buyers of Russian gas, who might also want to change their price formulation. In traditional Gazprom contracts, the price of gas depends on the price of oil, and only up to 15% of the price is a spot gas component. For decades, this contractual linkage of the price of gas to oil was largely accepted as being open and fair.

Since 2014, Ukraine has been buying reverse gas from Europe at such European spot hub prices, and it has so far been more expensive than the traditional Gazprom contract. It is also worth noting that spot prices are far more volatile, are seasonally demand-affected, and as winter is a peak consumption season the prices can and do increase dramatically.

Why did Gazprom take their initial large claims to court knowing beforehand that it would be impossible to get the tens of billions of dollars from Naftogaz or Ukraine without ruining both through default? The first reason is that a "take or pay" clause was a key and mutually agreed covenant of the contractual relationship, not a point to be discarded unilaterally by any single party. The second reason was as a response to Naftogaz multi-billion lawsuit on the transit of gas from Russia through Ukraine to Europe. The Ukrainian side believes that Gazprom should pay them extra for not sending 110 billion cubic meters of gas through pipelines annually across Ukraine. In the transit contract, there is no obligation for any such volumes to be transited through Ukraine's pipelines.

To sum up this drama, the Stockholm arbitration declared that Naftogaz must honor their contract, and buy from Gazprom 5 billion cubic meters of gas annually. As it turns out the "take or pay" clause remains in force, but the volume has been significantly reduced. How this volume of 5 billion cubic meters was arrived at remains a mystery, but one which will surely become clear over time. The political spin, however, will be interesting to observe since Ukraine must now buy (and pay for) this Russian gas. How will Kiev explain now having to buy Russian gas when since 2014 it stridently proclaimed it shall never buy fuel from "that aggressor nation."

The irony is that while this is a loss of face for Kiev politically, economically it benefits the Ukrainian consumer. To date, Ukraine's purchases of "reverse gas" from Europe has been far more expensive than that which was contracted reliably over the years by Gazprom. Now Kiev will have to find the funds to pay for Gazprom's gas, settle their debt and ever-growing fines, plus meet the rest of their energy needs by purchasing expensive reverse gas from Europe. It will take spin that is a lot more imaginative from Kiev to package this settlement into a believable political victory, and very creative accounting to get the money to pay for it.

[Dec 30, 2017] The Gas Fight Between Ukraine and Russia is Finally Settled - Who Really Won

The key here is whether Russia will stop transit of gas via Ukraine or not. All other details are less important.
Dec 30, 2017 | russia-insider.com

After 2014, Ukraine claimed that it was being overcharged, and therefore Naftogaz refused to pay Gazprom their contracted price for gas. Instead, it paid unilaterally a different amount that it subjectively considered "fair."

Gazprom, in keeping with mutually contracted terms and conditions, could only issue an invoice for the resulting underpayment, and after Naftogaz still refused to pay (a debt of approx. $2 billion), made any further deliveries of gas contingent on prepayment.

The arbitration additionally upheld Gazprom's position and denied Naftogaz any right to a refund for gas priced between May 2011 and April 2014 or collect any of the claimed "overcharged gas" totaling approximately $14 billion for that period. In sum, the price Kiev claimed was "inflated" was judged as in Stockholm as baseless.

Therefore, the question of who is accountable and responsible for settling debt has been clarified in Stockholm. Naftogaz must pay Gazprom $2 billion plus a fine calculated at 0.03% per day for each day this debt remains unpaid. This fine has already reached $3 million since the court decision on December 22nd, and if it not paid can reach an annualized figure of $216 million and still keep growing daily.

Like any political and economic story, there is quite a bit that does not make the flashy headlines, but plays a role in contributing to the noise surrounding an issue. Naftogaz takes satisfaction in that the settlement allowed that the gas price for the second quarter of 2014 was to be reduced from $485 to $352 per 1000 cubic meters, or 27%, thereby "saving" Ukraine about $ 1.8 billion for 2014-2015. The price of $485 was in fact fixed for that one quarter, and it was higher than the market price. The reason was that the March referendum and subsequent reunification of Crimea within the Russian Federation happened then. Up until that time, Russia had given Ukraine a discount of $100 per one thousand cubic meters of gas as payment for renting the Crimean base for the Black Sea fleet. The Kharkov treaty with Ukraine which dealt with the naval base was therefore canceled, as Crimea was once again Russia. Without this discount, the price increased by that same discounted $100 in the contracted quarterly price fix.

Key is Stockholm's recognition that the Russian gas price for Ukraine in 2011-2014 was fair, which is much more important than the price fixed in that second quarter in question. It is worth noting in the next third quarter of 2014 Gazprom was prepared to provide Ukraine with a market price for gas again. However, as we all know today, since June 2014 Naftogaz has refused to buy gas from Russia for political reasons and calling it an "aggressor nation."

A more far-reaching result from the Stockholm proceedings was the intention to void the traditional (Gazprom) formula for gas prices which is based on a linkage to the price of oil. Instead, the price of gas will be tied directly to the spot gas market such as the European hub. Should this occur, then the future gas price for Ukraine will be linked to the cost of fuel in the European hub. This would be a major departure from the traditional pricing Gazprom has used for decades, and might set a precedent for other buyers of Russian gas, who might also want to change their price formulation. In traditional Gazprom contracts, the price of gas depends on the price of oil, and only up to 15% of the price is a spot gas component. For decades, this contractual linkage of the price of gas to oil was largely accepted as being open and fair.

Since 2014, Ukraine has been buying reverse gas from Europe at such European spot hub prices, and it has so far been more expensive than the traditional Gazprom contract. It is also worth noting that spot prices are far more volatile, are seasonally demand-affected, and as winter is a peak consumption season the prices can and do increase dramatically.

Why did Gazprom take their initial large claims to court knowing beforehand that it would be impossible to get the tens of billions of dollars from Naftogaz or Ukraine without ruining both through default? The first reason is that a "take or pay" clause was a key and mutually agreed covenant of the contractual relationship, not a point to be discarded unilaterally by any single party. The second reason was as a response to Naftogaz multi-billion lawsuit on the transit of gas from Russia through Ukraine to Europe. The Ukrainian side believes that Gazprom should pay them extra for not sending 110 billion cubic meters of gas through pipelines annually across Ukraine. In the transit contract, there is no obligation for any such volumes to be transited through Ukraine's pipelines.

To sum up this drama, the Stockholm arbitration declared that Naftogaz must honor their contract, and buy from Gazprom 5 billion cubic meters of gas annually. As it turns out the "take or pay" clause remains in force, but the volume has been significantly reduced. How this volume of 5 billion cubic meters was arrived at remains a mystery, but one which will surely become clear over time. The political spin, however, will be interesting to observe since Ukraine must now buy (and pay for) this Russian gas. How will Kiev explain now having to buy Russian gas when since 2014 it stridently proclaimed it shall never buy fuel from "that aggressor nation."

The irony is that while this is a loss of face for Kiev politically, economically it benefits the Ukrainian consumer. To date, Ukraine's purchases of "reverse gas" from Europe has been far more expensive than that which was contracted reliably over the years by Gazprom. Now Kiev will have to find the funds to pay for Gazprom's gas, settle their debt and ever-growing fines, plus meet the rest of their energy needs by purchasing expensive reverse gas from Europe. It will take spin that is a lot more imaginative from Kiev to package this settlement into a believable political victory, and very creative accounting to get the money to pay for it.

[Dec 29, 2017] As former CIA Director William Casey allegedly once said: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false."

Notable quotes:
"... Russiagate and corporate media scapegoating Putin's trolls are information operations to keep the little people misinformed. The Ukraine Putsch and the MH-17 shoot down were handled poorly by Russia. They've come back in Syria. Russian intelligence wouldn't be doing their job if they weren't surveilling the West. ..."
"... What got western oligarchs upset is the disclosure of the truth; the system is rigged. Obama voters in mid-America voted for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton's loss triggered a witch hunt rather than addressing the root causes of her defeat. A group of oligarchs want the upstart NY casino boss gone. The only question is what will be the collateral damage from the mob war. ..."
"... As former CIA Director William Casey allegedly once said: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." His error here was saying Americans were the target and not the global population as well, but at least as far as America goes I think its pretty much a thumbs up. Mission Accomplished. ..."
"... Media and social media tycoons - all could be taken down very fast if they did not toe the CIA line, though for most, it seems their work with CIA is voluntary and enthusiastic. ..."
"... I guess you don't get that rich by having ethics or scruples. ..."
Dec 29, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

VietnamVet , Dec 26, 2017 3:40:43 PM | 30

Russiagate and corporate media scapegoating Putin's trolls are information operations to keep the little people misinformed. The Ukraine Putsch and the MH-17 shoot down were handled poorly by Russia. They've come back in Syria. Russian intelligence wouldn't be doing their job if they weren't surveilling the West.

Victoria Nuland's EU rant was released. Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

What got western oligarchs upset is the disclosure of the truth; the system is rigged. Obama voters in mid-America voted for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton's loss triggered a witch hunt rather than addressing the root causes of her defeat. A group of oligarchs want the upstart NY casino boss gone. The only question is what will be the collateral damage from the mob war.

NemesisCalling , Dec 26, 2017 4:39:00 PM | 36 karlof1 , Dec 26, 2017 4:42:57 PM | 37
Name of Me | Dec 26, 2017 12:13:28 PM | 2

The US Government was controlling media well before the CIA's creation. Please take a little time to learn about George Seldes whose 1929 book You Can't Print That!: The Truth Behind the News, 1918–1928 is vastly informative with original copies easy to find under $15, or even online through this link . Indeed, numerous works of his are digitized. I.F. Stone followed in Seldes's footsteps, and the website with his collected writings is here . Perhaps one of the least known episodes of US Government media manipulation was related to the atomic bomb crimes, an event nearly 100% airbrushed from history books, and of course the ongoing attempt to cover up one of the biggest crimes of all time.

My mention of media manipulation by the US Government wouldn't be complete without including the 100% blackout that was to apply to the discussions in Philadelphia that led to the 1787 Constitution -- the document that elevated the "natural aristocracy" into the catbird seat ensuring their control of the federal government until it's overthrown via revolution.

Fortunately, Madison and others kept copious notes that were eventually published long after the fate of Commoners was sealed, so we know that Aristocracy viewed its contemporary deplorables no differently than how HRC and today's 1% view them/us.

Pft , Dec 26, 2017 7:09:07 PM | 43
Americans and much of the rest of the world are the target of an immense psyop . Propaganda techniques going back to Bernay and WWI have been expanded on and perfected. Infiltration and control is lot limited to the print media and TV news stations but also , hollywood movies/TV shows , academia (history, economics, etc) , book publishing, blogs and social media. The last few bastions of truth will be eliminated with the end of net neutrality.

As former CIA Director William Casey allegedly once said: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." His error here was saying Americans were the target and not the global population as well, but at least as far as America goes I think its pretty much a thumbs up. Mission Accomplished.

Peter AU 1 , Dec 26, 2017 7:58:27 PM | 49
"We do not know what the billionaires get for their service. The CIA surely has many ways to let them gain information on their competition or to influence business regulations in foreign countries. One hand will wash the other."

Something I have often thought about. Media and social media tycoons - all could be taken down very fast if they did not toe the CIA line, though for most, it seems their work with CIA is voluntary and enthusiastic.

I guess you don't get that rich by having ethics or scruples.

[Dec 26, 2017] Evangelii Gaudium Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today's World (24 November 2013)

Highly recommended!
Nov 23, 2013 | w2.vatican.va

... ... ...

CHAPTER TWO: AMID THE CRISIS OF COMMUNAL COMMITMENT

50. Before taking up some basic questions related to the work of evangelization, it may be helpful to mention briefly the context in which we all have to live and work. Today, we frequently hear of a "diagnostic overload" which is not always accompanied by improved and actually applicable methods of treatment. Nor would we be well served by a purely sociological analysis which would aim to embrace all of reality by employing an allegedly neutral and clinical method. What I would like to propose is something much more in the line of an evangelical discernment. It is the approach of a missionary disciple, an approach "nourished by the light and strength of the Holy Spirit". [53]

51. It is not the task of the Pope to offer a detailed and complete analysis of contemporary reality, but I do exhort all the communities to an "ever watchful scrutiny of the signs of the times". [54] This is in fact a grave responsibility, since certain present realities, unless effectively dealt with, are capable of setting off processes of dehumanization which would then be hard to reverse. We need to distinguish clearly what might be a fruit of the kingdom from what runs counter to God's plan. This involves not only recognizing and discerning spirits, but also – and this is decisive – choosing movements of the spirit of good and rejecting those of the spirit of evil. I take for granted the different analyses which other documents of the universal magisterium have offered, as well as those proposed by the regional and national conferences of bishops. In this Exhortation I claim only to consider briefly, and from a pastoral perspective, certain factors which can restrain or weaken the impulse of missionary renewal in the Church, either because they threaten the life and dignity of God's people or because they affect those who are directly involved in the Church's institutions and in her work of evangelization.

I. Some challenges of today's world

52. In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history, as we can see from the advances being made in so many fields. We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people's welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity. This epochal change has been set in motion by the enormous qualitative, quantitative, rapid and cumulative advances occuring in the sciences and in technology, and by their instant application in different areas of nature and of life. We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power.

No to an economy of exclusion

53. Just as the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say "thou shalt not" to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a "throw away" culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society's underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the "exploited" but the outcast, the "leftovers".

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people's pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else's responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: "Not to share one's wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs". [55]

58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and to the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

No to the inequality which spawns violence

59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called "end of history", since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.

60. Today's economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. It serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an "education" that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.

Some cultural challenges

61. We also evangelize when we attempt to confront the various challenges which can arise. [56] On occasion these may take the form of veritable attacks on religious freedom or new persecutions directed against Christians; in some countries these have reached alarming levels of hatred and violence. In many places, the problem is more that of widespread indifference and relativism, linked to disillusionment and the crisis of ideologies which has come about as a reaction to any-thing which might appear totalitarian. This not only harms the Church but the fabric of society as a whole. We should recognize how in a culture where each person wants to be bearer of his or her own subjective truth, it becomes difficult for citizens to devise a common plan which transcends individual gain and personal ambitions.

62. In the prevailing culture, priority is given to the outward, the immediate, the visible, the quick, the superficial and the provisional. What is real gives way to appearances. In many countries globalization has meant a hastened deterioration of their own cultural roots and the invasion of ways of thinking and acting proper to other cultures which are economically advanced but ethically debilitated. This fact has been brought up by bishops from various continents in different Synods. The African bishops, for example, taking up the Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis , pointed out years ago that there have been frequent attempts to make the African countries "parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel. This is often true also in the field of social communications which, being run by centres mostly in the northern hemisphere, do not always give due consideration to the priorities and problems of such countries or respect their cultural make-up". [57] By the same token, the bishops of Asia "underlined the external influences being brought to bear on Asian cultures. New patterns of behaviour are emerging as a result of over-exposure to the mass media As a result, the negative aspects of the media and entertainment industries are threatening traditional values, and in particular the sacredness of marriage and the stability of the family". [58]

63. The Catholic faith of many peoples is nowadays being challenged by the proliferation of new religious movements, some of which tend to fundamentalism while others seem to propose a spirituality without God. This is, on the one hand, a human reaction to a materialistic, consumerist and individualistic society, but it is also a means of exploiting the weaknesses of people living in poverty and on the fringes of society, people who make ends meet amid great human suffering and are looking for immediate solutions to their needs. These religious movements, not without a certain shrewdness, come to fill, within a predominantly individualistic culture, a vacuum left by secularist rationalism. We must recognize that if part of our baptized people lack a sense of belonging to the Church, this is also due to certain structures and the occasionally unwelcoming atmosphere of some of our parishes and communities, or to a bureaucratic way of dealing with problems, be they simple or complex, in the lives of our people. In many places an administrative approach prevails over a pastoral approach, as does a concentration on administering the sacraments apart from other forms of evangelization.

64. The process of secularization tends to reduce the faith and the Church to the sphere of the private and personal. Furthermore, by completely rejecting the transcendent, it has produced a growing deterioration of ethics, a weakening of the sense of personal and collective sin, and a steady increase in relativism. These have led to a general sense of disorientation, especially in the periods of adolescence and young adulthood which are so vulnerable to change. As the bishops of the United States of America have rightly pointed out, while the Church insists on the existence of objective moral norms which are valid for everyone, "there are those in our culture who portray this teaching as unjust, that is, as opposed to basic human rights. Such claims usually follow from a form of moral relativism that is joined, not without inconsistency, to a belief in the absolute rights of individuals. In this view, the Church is perceived as promoting a particular prejudice and as interfering with individual freedom". [59] We are living in an information-driven society which bombards us indiscriminately with data – all treated as being of equal importance – and which leads to remarkable superficiality in the area of moral discernment. In response, we need to provide an education which teaches critical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values.

65. Despite the tide of secularism which has swept our societies, in many countries – even those where Christians are a minority – the Catholic Church is considered a credible institution by public opinion, and trusted for her solidarity and concern for those in greatest need. Again and again, the Church has acted as a mediator in finding solutions to problems affecting peace, social harmony, the land, the defence of life, human and civil rights, and so forth. And how much good has been done by Catholic schools and universities around the world! This is a good thing. Yet, we find it difficult to make people see that when we raise other questions less palatable to public opinion, we are doing so out of fidelity to precisely the same convictions about human dignity and the common good.

66. The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple. As the French bishops have taught, it is not born "of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition, but from the depth of the obligation assumed by the spouses who accept to enter a total communion of life". [60]

67. The individualism of our postmodern and globalized era favours a lifestyle which weakens the development and stability of personal relationships and distorts family bonds. Pastoral activity needs to bring out more clearly the fact that our relationship with the Father demands and encourages a communion which heals, promotes and reinforces interpersonal bonds. In our world, especially in some countries, different forms of war and conflict are re-emerging, yet we Christians remain steadfast in our intention to respect others, to heal wounds, to build bridges, to strengthen relationships and to "bear one another's burdens" ( Gal 6:2). Today too, various associations for the defence of rights and the pursuit of noble goals are being founded. This is a sign of the desire of many people to contribute to social and cultural progress.

[Dec 26, 2017] Pope Francis denounces trickle-down economics by Aaron Blake

Highly recommended!
This "apostolic exhortation" is probably the most sharp critique of neoliberalism by a church leader.
Notable quotes:
"... "In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world," the pope wrote. "This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting." ..."
"... In his exhortation, the pope also attacked economic inequality, suggesting Christians have a duty to combat it to comply with the Ten Commandments -- specifically the prohibition on killing. ..."
Nov 26, 2013 | www.washingtonpost.com

Pope Francis delivers a speech March 15, 2013, during a meeting of the world's cardinals. (Osservatore Romano/EPA)

Pope Francis has released a sharply worded take on capitalism and the world's treatment of its poor, criticizing "trickle-down" economic policies in no uncertain terms.

In the first lengthy writing of his papacy -- also known as an "apostolic exhortation" -- Francis says such economic theories naively rely on the goodness of those in charge and create a "tyranny" of the markets.

"In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world," the pope wrote. "This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting."

While popes have often warned against the negative impact of the markets, Francis's verbiage is note-worthy because of its use of the phrase "trickle-down" -- a term that came into popular usage as a description for former president Ronald Reagan's economic policies. While the term is often used pejoratively, it describes an economic theory that remains popular with conservatives in the United States today.

The theory holds that policies benefiting the wealthiest segment of society will also help the poor, by allowing money to "trickle down" from the top income levels into the lower ones. Critics, including President Obama, say the policies, usually focused on tax cuts and credits that primarily benefit upper-income Americans, concentrate wealth in the highest income levels and that the benefits rarely trickle down to the extent proponents suggest.

In his exhortation, the pope also attacked economic inequality, suggesting Christians have a duty to combat it to comply with the Ten Commandments -- specifically the prohibition on killing.

"Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality," the pope wrote. "Such an economy kills."

The pope also likened the worship of money to the biblical golden calf .

"We have created new idols," Francis wrote. "The worship of the ancient golden calf ... has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose."

The pope also attacks "consumerism": "It is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric."

Here is the entire passage:

I. SOME CHALLENGES OF TODAY'S WORLD

52. In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history, as we can see from the advances being made in so many fields. We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people's welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity. This epochal change has been set in motion by the enormous qualitative, quantitative, rapid and cumulative advances occuring in the sciences and in technology, and by their instant application in different areas of nature and of life. We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power.

No to an economy of exclusion

53. Just as the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say "thou shalt not" to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes