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  “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil”

Alan Greenspan

War-for-oil, or more precisely, power projection to preserve the petrodollar, is realpolitik.

Per capita energy usage in the United States is the highest among all nations of the world. The USA consumes 25% of would energy resources while having only 5% of the population. Approximately half of the energy used in the US is electrical energy  generated by coal-fired power plants. The other part is oil that is mainly imported.

Securing uninterruptable supply of oil became the key task of the USA foreign policy since president Carter. The second important goal is maintaining  dollar as the world primary reserve currency, and, especially, the main currency you can buy oil with.  That includes maintaining the stability of client Arab regimes, such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Oil Wars

Recently the USA waged several "oil wars" (Iraq war, Libya war, Syria war, attempt of "color revolution" in Russia) with the most brutal being the Iraq war. The two main messages from the war in Iraq are:

Manipulating the facts became the norm for the Bush administration, which invaded Iraq on what we know now (and the administration almost certainly knew then) were utterly false pretenses. Thanks to these lies, Americans, including our soldiers and civilians serving in Iraq, were killed or injured.  Links to the 9/11 attacks and the claim that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, two of the ever-evolving reasons for getting into the war were blatantly false from the very beginning.  They were fabricated to achieve specific goals.  Engaging in mass deception in order to justify official policy both degrades the society, so the war has had a detrimental effect on the USA, as a society. It just has shown that elites now are audacious enough to throw out even attempt to present their actions as legitimate of serving national goals. Of course, by far, it is ordinary Iraqis who have suffered the most.

We know now beyond any doubt that Iraq was not involved in 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction. But as Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA analyst with the Iraqi portfolio, wrote on March 14,

 “Intelligence did not drive the decision to invade Iraq – not by a long shot, despite the aggressive use by the Bush administration of cherry-picked fragments of intelligence reporting in its public sales campaign for the war.”

Indeed, this was a war for oil from the very beginning, and any little lie would have worked.

It is very fortuitous for all those politicians, policy makers, and bureaucrats with Iraqi blood on their hands — Republicans and Democrats both — that the only courtroom they’ve been shuffled into is the court of public opinion, where most received light sentences. Bush II actually was reelected for the second term.

Indeed, the Iraq war boosters are still a fixture on our television screens.

Sure, there are pundits and reporters who admit they wrongly supported the war, but their regrets are usually reserved for their blind faith in the war planners and their own lack of inquisitiveness. For example, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius confessed in a March 21 column that Iraq was one of “the biggest strategic errors in Modern American history.” But the thrust of his own mea culpa was that he did not write enough “on the overriding question of whether the war made sense,” which would have allowed him to see that the U.S was not strong enough nor flexible enough to succeed.

Rarely do pundits apologize for the horrendous Iraqi losses inflicted by the war: more than a million deaths and millions more wounded with varying lifelong disabilities, including thousands of tortured prisoners, with an estimated 16,000 of them still unaccounted for. Twenty-eight percent of Iraqi children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and 2.8 million people are still internally displaced or living as refugees outside the country. Add to that the complete destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure outside oil sector, as well as its transportation, education, and medical institutions. Don’t forget the countless people suffering from trauma and depression, sectarian war with daily killings, terrifying birth defects from toxic pollution, and a brain drain that has left the country illiterate.

Not since the American Civil War has the U.S citizenry had to endure such horrors. Yet discussion of these repercussions is noticeably absent as we still struggle to understand the scope of the Iraq war and what all of its lies have wrought.

Let us start with a sincere apology to the Iraqi people for the crimes the U.S. government has committed. A long-range plan for restitution is a second step. Empires decline due to moral decay from within. Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, our nation is looking at the moral abyss. If lies have delivered us to this place, then only the truth will begin our journey back.

From Foreign Policy in Focus

The Real Reason for the Iraq War VICE United Kingdom

Because it was marked "confidential" on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn't believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq.

Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies.

I closed in. I said I wanted to make sure she and I were working from the same State Department draft. Could she tell me the official name, date and number of pages? She did.

Bingo! I'd just beaten the Military-Petroleum Complex in a lying contest, so I had a right to be chuffed.

After phoning numbers from California to Kazakhstan to trick my mark, my next calls were to the State Department and Pentagon. Now that I had the specs on the scheme for Iraq's oil – that State and Defense Department swore, in writing, did not exist – I told them I'd appreciate their handing over a copy (no expurgations, please) or there would be a very embarrassing story on BBC Newsnight.

Within days, our chief of investigations, Ms Badpenny, delivered to my shack in the woods outside New York a 323-page, three-volume programme for Iraq's oil crafted by George Bush's State Department and petroleum insiders meeting secretly in Houston, Texas.

I cracked open the pile of paper – and I was blown away.

Like most lefty journalists, I assumed that George Bush and Tony Blair invaded Iraq to buy up its oil fields, cheap and at gun-point, and cart off the oil. We thought we knew the neo-cons true casus belli: Blood for oil.

But the truth in the Options for Iraqi Oil Industry was worse than "Blood for Oil". Much, much worse.

The key was in the flow chart on page 15, Iraq Oil Regime Timeline & Scenario Analysis:

"...A single state-owned company ...enhances a government's relationship with OPEC."

Gas wars

EuroMaidan can be considered to be a proxy "gas war" when the USA hides behind Ukraine far right  to fight Russia and EU.  See

Asia Times Online China News, China Business News, Taiwan and Hong Kong News and Business.

Well, there is a plan BRICS - or so the BRICS nations would like to think, at least. And when the BRICS do act in this spirit on the global stage, they quickly conjure up a curious mix of fear, hysteria, and pugnaciousness in the Washington establishment.

Take Christopher Hill as an example. The former assistant secretary of state for East Asia and US ambassador to Iraq is now an advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, a consulting firm deeply connected to the White House and the State Department. When Russia was down and out, Hill used to dream of a hegemonic American "new world order". Now that the ungrateful Russians have spurned what "the West has been offering" - that is, "special status with NATO, a privileged relationship with the European Union, and partnership in international diplomatic endeavors" - they are, in his view, busy trying to revive the Soviet empire. Translation: if you're not our vassals, you're against us. Welcome to Cold War 2.0.

The Pentagon has its own version of this directed not so much at Russia as at China, which, its think tank on future warfare claims, is already at war with Washington in a number of ways. So if it's not apocalypse now, it's Armageddon tomorrow. And it goes without saying that whatever's going wrong, as the Obama administration very publicly "pivots" to Asia and the American media fills with talk about a revival of Cold War-era "containment policy" in the Pacific, it's all China's fault.

Embedded in the mad dash toward Cold War 2.0 are some ludicrous facts-on-the-ground: the US government, with $17.5 trillion in national debt and counting, is contemplating a financial showdown with Russia, the largest global energy producer and a major nuclear power, just as it's also promoting an economically unsustainable military encirclement of its largest creditor, China.

Russia runs a sizeable trade surplus. Humongous Chinese banks will have no trouble helping Russian banks out if Western funds dry up. In terms of inter-BRICS cooperation, few projects beat a $30 billion oil pipeline in the planning stages that will stretch from Russia to India via Northwest China.

Chinese companies are already eagerly discussing the possibility of taking part in the creation of a transport corridor from Russia into Crimea, as well as an airport, shipyard, and liquid natural gas terminal there. And there's another "thermonuclear" gambit in the making: the birth of a natural gas equivalent to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that would include Russia, Iran, and reportedly disgruntled US ally Qatar.

The (unstated) BRICS long-term plan involves the creation of an alternative economic system featuring a basket of gold-backed currencies that would bypass the present America-centric global financial system. (No wonder Russia and China are amassing as much gold as they can.) The euro - a sound currency backed by large liquid bond markets and huge gold reserves - would be welcomed in as well.

It's no secret in Hong Kong that the Bank of China has been using a parallel SWIFT network to conduct every kind of trade with Tehran, which is under a heavy US sanctions regime. With Washington wielding Visa and MasterCard as weapons in a growing Cold War-style economic campaign against Russia, Moscow is about to implement an alternative payment and credit card system not controlled by Western finance.

An even easier route would be to adopt the Chinese Union Pay system, whose operations have already overtaken American Express in global volume.

 

Why Energy is Central to the Economy

BC, January 22, 2015 at 6:44 pm
Economics is politics. Politics is war by other means. War is the business of empire (hegemony). War is good business for imperialists.

Therefore, economics is the intellectual and political rationalization for the business objectives of imperial expansionism, expropriation, and co-optation of client-states’ elites by means of state violence when necessary, which is more often than not when resources become increasingly scarce and the hegemonic frontiers of expansionism are threatened.

Yet, most Americans do not yet perceive the US as an empire (successor to the British Empire), not surprisingly, which would necessarily require the inference that empires peak, decline, and eventually collapse, and we have been in relative decline since the 1970s-80s, which most of the working-class bottom 90% would have to concede were they honest with themselves and their fellows. And, no, McConnell, Romney, Rubio, Paul, et al., care not about the working-class bottom 90% but themselves and those deep-pocketed Republicans who cut the largest campaign finance checks.

But one suspects that the 80-90% of the population who were slaves during the Greek city-state dominance and later Roman Empire neither perceived themselves living in the context of imperial decline and incipient collapse, as their daily life experience was preoccupied with acquiescing to their imperial masters’ demands and the imperative to survive and thereafter subsist within their circumstances, if they/we’re luck . . ., or not.

Same as it ever was . . .

Coilin MacLochlainn, January 22, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Malthus was not wrong, he was right. The reason for that is, the Earth is finite and has limited resources. The human population has reached 7 billion. If it continues to grow, or even if it doesn’t, it will exceed the ability of the Earth’s remaining land base to support us.

In fact, it already has. Several of the Earth’s planetary limits have already been exceeded and we are cannibalising what remains of the Earth’s surviving natural resources just to keep going. What I mean is, we are using up the very resources that we rely on as a species to survive into the future. And at the same time, we are making it impossible for much of the rest of life on Earth to survive, which is why so many species are going extinct now and most will be wiped out before we are done.

For those of us living in the developed world, it is hard to picture this, because we are living off the exploitation of resources and labour in less well off countries.

There are also glaring examples of excessive exploitation in the developed world. For example, in California, which leads the world in the production of almonds, walnuts and pistachio nuts, there is not enough surface water available to supply the industry and so nut farmers are irrigating their crops using underground water. With the ongoing drought in California, the underground aquifer is not being recharged, so it won’t be long before the nut farmers run out of water and the industry goes bust. It will go bust and it will also leave the aquifer dry, with no possibility of refilling with water while the drought lasts, which could be for years or forever.

Jan Steinman, January 22, 2015 at 6:26 pm

“Capital is embodied energy.”

Are you talking about physical capital, such as factories, machines, and such?

A lot of very smart people seem to think “capital” is little bits of coloured paper, or even invisible magnetic bits on a spinning disk. But I think that’s where the second half of your essay (debt) comes into play.

It would be nice to have some simple term-of-art to distinguish between the two forms of “capital.” I agree that physical plant is capital. It may even be that, pre-Bretton Woods, money was an adequate symbol for capital. But it seems to me that there is way more money around than there is physical capital these days.

garand555, January 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Economics is a pseudo-science, at least the way it is practiced.

... ... ...

InAlaska, January 21, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Economists endorsed the idea of globalism after it became apparent that without it, national economies could no longer grow. Globalization is going to kill us because it removes from local control the basic production of necessities. Speaking of economics, here is part of a post on The Automatic Earth from yesterday concerning the Davos crowd and the World Economic Forum:

“When it comes to basic necessities, to food, water and shelter, we shouldn’t strive to compete with other economies. That is not good for us, or for our peers in those other economies; it’s good only for those who skim off the top. The larger and more globalized the top, the more there is to skim off. All the ‘reform’ is geared towards making our economies ever more dependent on the global economy. And that is not in our best interest.

It’s not all just even about money, it’s about our security, and independence. Everybody likes the idea of being independent, but at the same time few realize that globalization is the exact opposite of independence. Global trade is fine, as long as it’s limited to things we don’t need to survive, but it’s not fine if and when it takes away the ability of a community or a society to provide for itself.

Protectionism has acquired a really bad reputation, as if it’s inherently evil to try and protect your community from being gutted by economic ideas and systems it has no defense against, or to make sure it can generate and provide for its own basics at all times. But that’s just propaganda too.

If our societies are not designed and constructed to provide for themselves, they’ll end up with no choice but to go to war with each other. Along the same lines, if our societies don’t have strict laws in place that guarantee we can’t and won’t destroy the natural resources of the land we live on comes with, we’ll also end up going to war with each other.

We’re not going to solve the Gordian knot of the entire global economy and all the hubris and propaganda the present leading politicians, businessmen and ‘reporters’ bring to the table. And we probably shouldn’t want to. Our brains did not develop to do things on a global scale. The clowns will blow themselves up sooner or later. We should focus on what we can do, meanwhile, in our immediate surroundings.

And it’s pretty easy from there, really. The economic problems we have are mostly artificial. They have been induced by the broken economic model the Davos crowd, the central bankers and you know who else would have us believe is the one and only, and that they are busy fixing for our sake and greater glory. But they care only about their own glory.”

Gail Tverberg, January 22, 2015 at 8:38 pm

On the other hand, without the growth that was obtained from globalization, the financial system would have collapsed earlier. So in some sense, we are better off, even if it is not sustainable.

The US started hollowing out its manufacturing not too long after the oil problems of the 1970s. Japan came first in globalization, before the other Eastern countries.

InAlaska, January 21, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Liquid Assets,

Economists run the Federal Reserve Bank and all the central banks in the world. How has their “straight thinking” worked out? Has the world ever been in such a fiscal mess before? How have all of those over-educated PhDs in Economics done better than an Actuary could do?

Economics is the dismal “science” in part because it is predicated on the assumption that their can be infinite inputs into the system. Before you insult Gail and suggest she get a “real education,” consider that this whole edifice of “Economics” and endless growth is based on and within a finite world.

escravaisaurabr, January 22, 2015 at 7:33 am
InAlaska,

Two perceptive posts you wrote. Thank you.

I would like to add this post. I think most of you will appreciate. I sure love this post….

By falak pema

Economics is a means to achieve an end, like language.

So linguists are capable of understanding the logic of communication for DECISION MAKING; whether it be in words and intellectual concepts or in numbers/statistics and algorithms.

The issue here is that perfect markets like perfect speech do not exist for themselves in society, except for the “initiated”, but have a different function as a VEHICLE for body politic; which defines the AIMS and uses the means, all the means : of language as of images and of statistics and mathematical constructs.

So the thesis of the Mises/Hayek type Shamans that Economia is the “be-all” of society is just wrong. No more than the works of Shakespeare or Hugo, or of Picasso etc.

They do not define politics and power in society. They may influence it but they don’t define it’s objectives.

Linguists like economists can add substance to a political construct that defines the power play in civilization. And in that respect markets are just a means and their perfection as important as a perfect face on the screen.

All imagery or conceptual work in life is virtual.

It becomes real when it faces the real world of power and its continual balancing act; facts and irreversible acts that define our future as they have our past.

Chomsky is more relevant today to society than Mises.

The first analyses real political acts and consequences the other confines himself to theoretical pontification about the real economy looked at through the lens which keeps referring to the mantra of perfect markets.

Not saying markets are not important just saying they are not ALL important.

For the Mises theory to become reality we would have to live in a perfect “anarchy” state without government. The last time they wanted the state to “shrivel away” it was called the “ultimate step of communism” and it parented Stalinism. So…you have to know what you wish for in the REAL world.

History says you are wrong. You keep harping about a system that has gone off the cliff twice because of market forces being spiraled into Vesuvian eruption under irrational exuberance and greed and thanks to lack of Government regulation : in 1929 and 2008.

You are into DEEP denial of historical FACTS.

The historical thread shows us neo-feudal oligarchs are just as destructive of wealth creation as are statist hegemonists.

The only realistic solution is to balance state power and private oligarchy power and make sure NEITHER is in dominant position by having transparent control of public and private spending and by ensuring due diligence and SANCTIONS.

Today we have a Mussolinian economy of crony collusion between statists and oligarchs. We have the worst of both worlds.

We need good state governance and non monopolistic private sector innovative investment, compatible with “general good”, that does not run us off the cliff in mad speculation nor poison the planet.

The GDP should be run on an equitable basis between both power structures.

Whether this divide is 30/70 or 50/50 between private and public and how its used and how its controlled and monitored is the role of the Republic. And it should be debated and then voted and then executed in a legal framework which is NOT CORRUPT.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-24/you-cant-run-economy-spreadsheets#comment-5138074


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[Dec 09, 2017] The great Middle East energy game Winners and losers - Opinion

Dec 09, 2017 | www.jpost.com

Simultaneously, it has managed to develop fairly profitable, albeit at times tense relationships with other major or rising world powers. Those include Russia, China and Turkey. At the same time it is engaging a large number of European countries, South Korea, India, and others in assorted trade agreements. Iran has managed to place itself front and center – not only as a bad actor bent on colonization of the "Shi'a Crescent" and possibly beyond – it has also gained increasing political and economic legitimacy among its former adversaries.

Iran has even managed to get the United States under the Trump administration to wage limited war against ISIS, first in Iraq and Syria and to a lesser extent in Afghanistan, despite conflicts and occasional confrontations between US forces and the terrorist group's own militias. While Iran's various financial deals are to some extent being tracked, what remains noteworthy is the issue of energy control in the region, a factor that fuels the numerous conflicts, or at least finances them.

... ... ...

The US has miscalculated by believing other countries are incapable of pursuing independent interests without its involvement, or by thinking such nations cannot use energy markets effectively to marginalize any state that is not already in an active leadership position. The US should take stock of the way the energy assets are being played by various states. It should either separate the authoritarian regimes which only grow stronger with the greater access and interconnections such valuable assets provide, or by outplaying those states at their own game.

[Dec 08, 2017] Putin opens Russia's $27bn Arctic LNG plant

The US sanctions were partially anticompetitive move to block Russia selling its hydrocarbons to lucrative EU market. Now Russia is becoming a major player in LNG and things might become more complex for the USA as all US efforts to built LNG infrastructure int he USA in order to export the US LNG to Europe now are can backfire.
Notable quotes:
"... Russia plans to build 15 tankers as big as the 'Christophe de Margerie'. ..."
"... "Russia must accelerate work on development capacity to produce liquefied natural gas," Putin said at the ceremony. ..."
"... Costing $27 billion, the plant will have three production lines and a total capacity of 16.5 million tons of LNG per year. ..."
"... Shareholders of the Novatek project - Total and CNPC - will purchase LNG on a long-term basis. ..."
"... The ceremony was also attended by a member of Saudi Aramco's board of directors. The kingdom is considering taking part in Novatek's new project, Arctic LNG 2, according to Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | www.rt.com

Russia has opened a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in the country's northern region of Yamal. The first tanker with LNG was launched on Friday by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The ice-breaking tanker is named after the former CEO of Total Christophe de Margerie who died in a plane crash in Russia. The tanker can carry up to 173,000 cubic meters of LNG. Russia plans to build 15 tankers as big as the 'Christophe de Margerie'.

"Russia must accelerate work on development capacity to produce liquefied natural gas," Putin said at the ceremony.

The controlling stake in the enterprise belongs to Russian energy major Novatek. Twenty percent each is owned by Total, and China's CNPC, and the remaining 9.9 percent belongs to the China-based Silk Road Fund. Costing $27 billion, the plant will have three production lines and a total capacity of 16.5 million tons of LNG per year.

Almost 96 percent of the Yamal LNG plant's production has already been contracted. The main customers will be the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, Novatek reported. Shareholders of the Novatek project - Total and CNPC - will purchase LNG on a long-term basis.

The ceremony was also attended by a member of Saudi Aramco's board of directors. The kingdom is considering taking part in Novatek's new project, Arctic LNG 2, according to Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak.

Read more Russian LNG unfazed by US sanctions

[Dec 08, 2017] Trump Is Bashing The 'Salvator Saudi' - Why

Notable quotes:
"... Trump has just declared that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Did the administration expect the applause of the Saudis for its breaking of international law with regards to Jerusalem? Does it lash out to the Saudis to get their agreement? ..."
"... If so the miscalculation is clearly on the U.S. side. It is impossible for the Saudis to concede the Haram al-Sharif, the mosque on the so called temple mount, to the Zionists. The Saudi King would no longer be the "custodian of the two holy mosques" in Mecca and Medina but the "seller of the third holy mosque" of Islam in Jerusalem. The people would kill him and his whole family. ..."
"... My pet hypothesis is Trump's recognizing Jerusalem was the bone he was willing to throw the Israelis after his generals told him attacking Iran would be catastrophic for the US military and world economy. The Saudis, who are as rabid about bombing Iran as the Zionists, were pissed as they probably had been led to believe the attack was a matter of time. ..."
"... That sacked FM - Is that the little fellow that Col Lang calls "The Chihuahua"? ..."
"... Saudi in all likelihood were not part of the Jerusalem declaration. Israeli sources spread a plan they said was agreed to by Saudi, trying to embarrass them. ..."
"... Jerusalem: The reaction is deeper than expected. Not in the way of street, easily contained, violence, but by a gut reaction of the whole ME..The religious aspect seems to have been totally ignored by the US. Removing one of the major symbols of about 1.2 billion people - is not going to go down well. ..."
"... wahabbi is a tavistock british demented fiendish virus injected into islam for gang counter gang pseudogang hagel control ..."
"... I do wonder...knowing that real or false-flag violence could ensue against Israeli or US targets, it could be a useful pretext for the US waging war in the ME against Hezbullah or anyone else we accuse. With our intelligence agencies providing the "evidence" and a compliant media to sell it, as usual a majority of Americans would support it. ..."
"... This Jerusalem declaration has me genuinely scared. Violence (real or false flag) could be the expected Reaction to this Problem, resulting in the long-planned Solution of finishing off MENA. If Russia is sincere in its alliance with Syria and Iran, and interest in a multi-polar world with self-determination for sovereign nations, this war could easily escalate to the End Timer's dreamt of Final Battle of Armageddon. ..."
"... Most of the MSM coverage of Reactions I've seen name Muslim/Arab countries as opposing, and others as "concerned," even though almost all official state responses have denounced President Trump's® declaration. This "Clash of Civilizations" type narrative is not encouraging. ..."
"... something stinks in trumptoon. really small world what are the chances A. whenever Donald Trump has left the White House and ventured anywhere, Dmitry Rybolovlev (aka the "Russian King of Fertilizer") has tended to show up in the same city. The latter possibility has long been bolstered by the fact that Trump sold Rybolovlev a mansion a few years ago that neither of them lived in nor cared about, suggesting the sale was mere cover for shifting money from Russia to Trump. ..."
"... Western media called Putin unpredictable, but that was because he could see moves that others didn't see. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Just the day before the administration leaked to the WSJ about the art deal, President Trump had publicly scolded MbS about the situation in Yemen:

President Trump called on Saudi Arabia to lift its crushing blockade against its war-torn neighbor Yemen on Wednesday, hours after defying the kingdom and saying the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel .

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump said he had directed members of his administration to reach out to the Saudi leadership "to request that they completely allow food, fuel, water, and medicine to reach the Yemeni people who desperately need it."

Today Secretary of State Tillerson again pushed that line :

Speaking in Paris on Friday, Rex Tillerson, US secretary of state, called on Saudi Arabia to be "measured" in its military operations in Yemen.
...
Tillerson urged Saudi restraint.

"With respect to Saudi Arabia's engagement with Qatar, how they're handling the Yemen war that they're engaged in, the Lebanon situation, we would encourage them to be a bit more measured and a bit more thoughtful in those actions to, I think, fully consider the consequences," he said.

He once again demanded a "complete end" to the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen so that humanitarian aid and commercial supplies could be delivered.

Embarrassing MbS about the art buy and publicly(!) scolding hm for the situation in Yemen, for which the U.S. is just as much responsible as the Saudis, is quite an assault. What has MbS done - or not done - to deserve such a punishment?

Trump has just declared that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Did the administration expect the applause of the Saudis for its breaking of international law with regards to Jerusalem? Does it lash out to the Saudis to get their agreement?

If so the miscalculation is clearly on the U.S. side. It is impossible for the Saudis to concede the Haram al-Sharif, the mosque on the so called temple mount, to the Zionists. The Saudi King would no longer be the "custodian of the two holy mosques" in Mecca and Medina but the "seller of the third holy mosque" of Islam in Jerusalem. The people would kill him and his whole family.

If the issue of this public hustle it is not Jerusalem, what else might it be that the Trump administration wants and the Saudis can not, or are not willing to concede?

A few hours ago the Saudi King fired his ankle biting Foreign Minster Adel al-Jubair. A relative of the king, Khaled bin Salman, will take the job. Is this related to the spat with Trump?

arbetet , Dec 8, 2017 3:02:14 PM | 1

This came up:
Breaking: Saudi FM allegedly sacked by regime

The Saudi Foreign Minister, 'Adel Al-Jubeir, has been allegedly sacked by the Kingdom's regime, several prominent political activists reported this evening.

According to the claims, Jubeir was fired and replaced by a close confidant of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

The confidant that is allegedly replacing Jubeir is none other than Prince Khaled bin Salman, the Crown Prince's brother.

The Saudi regime has yet to confirm or deny these rumors.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-saudi-fm-allegedly-sacked-regime/

Madderhatter67 , Dec 8, 2017 3:14:21 PM | 2
It was Jerusalem. They were not willing to sacrifice Jerusalem.
Quentin , Dec 8, 2017 3:20:29 PM | 3
Where does MbS's interpretation of Salvator Mundi come from. The Saudi's have something with crystal orbs, like the one Trump so fondly stroked in Riyadh after giving a masterful interpretation of the sword dance.
BX , Dec 8, 2017 3:20:30 PM | 4
Yes. It is puzzling what is going on between MbS and the Trump administration. I was sure MbS, the reformer, secretly okayed the Jerusalem move. His negative statement might be just theater, I figured. But I am not so sure anymore. Yes, MbS wants a peace deal (any deal with "peace" written on it) between Palestinians and Israelis. But both he and Trump/Kushner are novices in politics and diplomacy (and that ain't the same as getting a deal for a new tower) and absolutely underestimated the effort. Totally.

Word is that Kushner made Trump delay delivering his campaign promise because he needed more time for his peace plan (and that would be 6 months???). This is the level they are at. And now, they placed an obvious obstacle in the path go their peace plan - out of folly. Complete folly. Because Trump wanted to deliver. I believe they are already backtracking as good as they can. But the damage is done. I think Palestinians were just waiting for a good opportunity/reason to get rid of the US in the process and found it now. Also, the single state solution is being talked about.

The source for the WSJ need not be the Trump administration in the narrow sense but some stray intelligence official ("U.S. intelligence reports") wanting to throw a wrench because that story is absolutely damaging. Absolutely, because it is embarrassing and I don't think MbS enjoys that. Note, the story began to become known around the time it became obvious Trump would not sign the waiver and reached its epitome (WSJ) just after that. Trump set himself up for this.

Don Wiscacho , Dec 8, 2017 3:38:33 PM | 5
My pet hypothesis is Trump's recognizing Jerusalem was the bone he was willing to throw the Israelis after his generals told him attacking Iran would be catastrophic for the US military and world economy. The Saudis, who are as rabid about bombing Iran as the Zionists, were pissed as they probably had been led to believe the attack was a matter of time. In order to remind them of their position and get them on board with the "peace" deal Tillerson has been hinting about, they've been turning the screws on MBS as a taste of what's to come if he puts up stink about the wonderful Kushner- concocted "plan".
fx , Dec 8, 2017 3:42:39 PM | 6
$450 mil... MbS's Egyptian torturer-in-chief must have just torn a few princely nails and whip a few feet for that, just a few days' worth of "anti-corruption" "campaigning".

Wait, wasn't the Saudi populace all behind MbS because he was going to spend the money on them? If there is no bread, let them non-royals eat paint.

somebody , Dec 8, 2017 3:56:36 PM | 7
About the picture - after the shake down of Saudi Arabia's rich princes MBS must have a lot of enemies. Some of these princes might have been close to the Trump administration.
Bart Hansen , Dec 8, 2017 4:01:43 PM | 8
That sacked FM - Is that the little fellow that Col Lang calls "The Chihuahua"?
somebody , Dec 8, 2017 4:09:19 PM | 9
Good Patrick Cockburn article on the mess .

Gazan military groups are warming up to a rocket competition. I am sure the real stuff is not involved yet. What were they thinking? That people did not take the chance to unite on the only issue they all agree on?

4
I agree, Saudi in all likelihood were not part of the Jerusalem declaration. Israeli sources spread a plan they said was agreed to by Saudi, trying to embarrass them.

stonebird , Dec 8, 2017 4:54:47 PM | 10
MbS is in it for himself, no one else. Leave him aside for the moment.

However, Trump probably thought he had a marvellous peace plan for Palestine which he would show the world.... errr... tomorrow. This was supposed to have the backing of the Saudis and the Israelis and all the other ME "actors" would be lined up behind MbS.

ie. Saudis would provide the backing, which included the "Arab" states as per the recent gathering of them all (excluding Iran and Iraq). Abbas would be blackmailed to go along in order to keep his position (Moneywise), and the Palestinians as well - but by the withholding of funds. (New vote in Congress).

Leaks of the plan (unverified) suggest that the PA's would be held in walled-in isolated camps, with all contact subject to the harassement and nightly raids of the IDF, the land still open to theft by settlers (this has been "legalised" in Israel !) and so on. ie they get nothing except a tissue-paper "treaty" . They seem not to have even been consulted by Kushner and the Israelis. ie who possibly expected to be able to impose whatever Netanyahu and the Israeli Generals might allow.

BUT, when have either the US or Israel kept to an agreement - never. and the PA's and the rest of the ME know it.

Jerusalem: The reaction is deeper than expected. Not in the way of street, easily contained, violence, but by a gut reaction of the whole ME..The religious aspect seems to have been totally ignored by the US. Removing one of the major symbols of about 1.2 billion people - is not going to go down well.

Those countries with a large Palestinian refugee population, either fear them, or may be outnumbered if there are more arriving (Jordan), or will find that they now have a potential source of militants at their disposal.. (Syria?, Lebanon?). The Syrians and Lebanese have not let the Palestinians get more arms - yet, as they might have become targets themselves. But, there have been PA's in the Syrian counter-terrorist forces, even when Yarmouk camp was held by Daesh (or one of the others).

So I think that the "bit" players have got cold feet. They cannot go along with the eradication of the Palestinians or their confinement to concentrated internement camps such as Gaza, whose conditions are WORSE that prisons. Otherwise the whole "Rulers-People and the power-structures that keep them in place" would be in jeopardy.
......
The Leonardo ? .... acquiring "class" by buying expensive "cultural" artifacts. You can buy a lot of "class" with $450.3 million.

psychohistorian , Dec 8, 2017 5:06:51 PM | 11
I think that answer to b's question has a lot to do with trying to incite war in the ME

I think that SA does not want to be the global elite's proxy in a war with Iran....especially to start/incite the war.

It really is becoming a public spectacle and that plays into the desire of the masses to see such incompetence writ large.

I entreat everyone's spirits to keep these kooks away from the nukes.

Jef , Dec 8, 2017 5:17:11 PM | 12
Yo b or any of the commentariat - Any speculation as to the connection to the Russian Oilagarck....you know, follow the money?
Scotch Bingeington , Dec 8, 2017 5:18:55 PM | 13
Maybe that canvas Jesus is meant to be a hostage one day, potentially.
terry tibbs , Dec 8, 2017 5:26:21 PM | 14
a simple question who gets the 100s of millions? who is the seller? the fake painting is cover for a payoff or tribute yes no maybe friends of kushner own the painting maybe it is to help kushner and his 666 moloch tower block mortgage. the bank of gorge soros must need some fund back quick for a new hungary regime change operation.

wahabbi is a tavistock british demented fiendish virus injected into islam for gang counter gang pseudogang hagel control

uae and the house of saud are donmeh jews
satanist hate jesus.
simply google talmud quotes about jesus and all will become clear.

Kabobyak , Dec 8, 2017 5:27:13 PM | 15
As to how the Jerusalem actions play out, the posting here (MOA) a couple of days ago was informative as to reasons and timing (including info about Sheldon Adelson's hundred million to Trump campaign). I do wonder...knowing that real or false-flag violence could ensue against Israeli or US targets, it could be a useful pretext for the US waging war in the ME against Hezbullah or anyone else we accuse. With our intelligence agencies providing the "evidence" and a compliant media to sell it, as usual a majority of Americans would support it.
Daniel , Dec 8, 2017 5:37:14 PM | 16
Great stuff, b et al. This Jerusalem declaration has me genuinely scared. Violence (real or false flag) could be the expected Reaction to this Problem, resulting in the long-planned Solution of finishing off MENA. If Russia is sincere in its alliance with Syria and Iran, and interest in a multi-polar world with self-determination for sovereign nations, this war could easily escalate to the End Timer's dreamt of Final Battle of Armageddon.

Most of the MSM coverage of Reactions I've seen name Muslim/Arab countries as opposing, and others as "concerned," even though almost all official state responses have denounced President Trump's® declaration. This "Clash of Civilizations" type narrative is not encouraging.

Flatulus , Dec 8, 2017 6:09:23 PM | 17
Terry Tibbs 14 - The family trust of Rybolovlev is the seller of the painting. Rybolovlev was also a buyer of Trump estate in Florida previously.
psychohistorian , Dec 8, 2017 6:22:05 PM | 18
@ Daniel ending with "This "Clash of Civilizations" type narrative is not encouraging." That is exactly what they want you to focus on as a narrative rather than the simple truth about the demise of private banking. On the previous thread about the Republican: Ryan deficit BS there was a commenter ex-SA with a John H. Hotson link that I want to see go viral because it simply explains the history of the Gordian Knot we face as a species

The link to a 1996 article: Understanding Money by John H. Hotson. The take away quote

"Banking came into existence as a fraud. The fraud was legalized and we've been living with the consequences, both good and bad, ever since. Even so it is also a great invention-right up there with fire, the wheel, and the steam engine."

Clash of Civilizations is as vapid a meme as the common understanding of the Capitalism myth as that article so clearly states. Spread his word far and wide to wake up the zombies. It is time!

terry tibbs , Dec 8, 2017 6:45:52 PM | 19

17
something stinks in trumptoon. really small world what are the chances A. whenever Donald Trump has left the White House and ventured anywhere, Dmitry Rybolovlev (aka the "Russian King of Fertilizer") has tended to show up in the same city. The latter possibility has long been bolstered by the fact that Trump sold Rybolovlev a mansion a few years ago that neither of them lived in nor cared about, suggesting the sale was mere cover for shifting money from Russia to Trump.

Deutsche Bank in Germany busted for laundering more than ten billion dollars out of Russia and into places like New York. This stood out because Deutsche has also loaned more than a billion dollars to Donald Trump, who just happens to be based out of New York.

james , Dec 8, 2017 6:56:26 PM | 20
thanks b.. fascinating.. i wait for the next shoe to drop.. it's coming... hopefully we get the back story on this sooner then later..

i would think the timing of Foreign Minster Adel al-Jubair being fired has something to do with all this.. he revealed something that he wasn't supposed to? i would also imagine those heavies still hanging at the saudi ritz carlton might be pulling some strings from behind the scenes? meanwhile mbz is doing a hell of a fine apprentice with mbs, lol..

nice pic in the post btw!! clown prince as savior of ksa, lol...

jezabeel , Dec 8, 2017 7:02:46 PM | 21
Belief in Jerusalem as the Jew capital is the same as belief in the intrinsic value of fiat currency, or the exceptionalism of the US. It's just mental illness. The Kingdom of God is within you, not in temples of stone and wood. We'd be better just cultivating our own personal relationship with our higher selves and leave the deluded to scrap it out over ash and sand. That said, if someone with a big nose came to my door and said my house was going to get knocked down because Shalom etc, that would be the day I would have to really figure out how to proceed without becoming the necessary victim in another's persecutor drama complex. I guess that's what Palestinians have to deal with every day. Horrible situation.

I heard a story once that when the British were throwing the Aborigines of Australia off cliffs en masse in their Australian version of the Middle East story of dispossession and demonization, the Aborigines would look up calmly at the officers as they fell and in their own language say: "You have a problem, bro". Sometimes death is better than becoming a victim. And as a worshiper of Lord Shiva the Destroyer, I wish you all completely liberating and renewing deaths from yourselves.

terry tibbs , Dec 8, 2017 7:08:16 PM | 22
probably nothing kosher burger. Russian Oligarch Rybolovlev Saved Trump Financially.
https://new.euro-med.dk/20170314-russian-oligarch-rybolovlev-saved-trump-financially-courier-of-the-tsar-putin-to-president-trump.php

Confirmed: Rybolovlev's Jet & Yacht were in Dubrovnik the same time as Ivanka and Jared Kushner

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/3/17/1644558/-Confirmed-Rybolovlev-s-Jet-Yacht-were-in-Dubrovnik-the-same-time-as-Ivanka-and-Jarred-Kushner

elsi , Dec 8, 2017 7:20:02 PM | 23
But, has not The Donald declared that this media NYT, Bloomberg , etc...were all "fake news"? Then why is anybody going to trust them when publishing whatever?
Sounds quite clumsy, or simply, demential ( as every move of this administration ) to try to leak something through those media you have widely discredited during all your election campaign and beyond....

I, by a norm, do not trust any move coming from Trump could be for any good. This is, simply, "smoke and mirrors" and an intent of whitewashing a bit the already deplorable image of this admnistration in front of the world wide reaction in rejection of his bold and clumsy declaration of Jerusalem as capital of the Zionist regime.
The same for the clearly hypocritical call for to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, just another intent of whitewashing when they are main puppet-masters in that war torn country, as it happens with every conflict in the world.

What it is beyond me is that the Russians, are always amongst those who swallow this theater plays....I wonder why....

In front of the demential way this administration makes fun of every event, people, country... in the world, in spite of the suffering they could inflict on them, I concur with Terry in that this just could be some esotheric issue more proper of unoccupied people with too much money to waste. Most probably something involving "Damian" Kushner, his 666,Madison Avenue penthouse and an occult message from The Messiah in the reverse of the canvas of that Jesus paint with a codified message on the results of the coming final battle of Armaggedon amongst the forces of evil and those of good, when Russia will be santified as the real Promised Land and The Saker will be ( finally! ) crowned as the saint he always claimed to be along with Saint Nicolas Romanov, and they will all eat sardinas together with the Trumps, the Kushners and the Netanyahus in Mar a Lago or in the super-yatch of Abramovich during the summer, but in winter they will go together to Sochi´s Putin dacha, since they love to meet super-intelligent, well educated, cool people....well, the elite of everything...

The surviving Arabs and the rest of us, plebeian ignorant clumsy sinners not so white as them, ( what they call "the sheeple", vaya )we will continue working from sunrise to sunset for crumbs, but, who cares? We will continue having good times with our peers and loved ones and laughing as usual with the little things of real life...Do not despair....

elsi , Dec 8, 2017 7:25:15 PM | 24
This is the real Christmas spirit of The Donald, alias Orange Agent Dotard : https://www.rebelion.org/imagenes/p_08_12_2017.jpg
elsi , Dec 8, 2017 7:44:26 PM | 25
The poster above was drawn by Basque artist Josetxo Ezcurra
Peter AU 1 , Dec 8, 2017 7:46:42 PM | 26
Western media called Putin unpredictable, but that was because he could see moves that others didn't see. Erdogan looked unpredictable and irrational while moving from the hedgemon to the multi-polar world. Trump? Like Erdogan, trying to move US to the multi polar world? Too many moves he makes puts sand in the hedgemon's gears.
elsi , Dec 8, 2017 8:15:30 PM | 27
For you to see that all this is not but theater, look what worries them most, meanwhile, in The Vatican: Pope Francis supports the idea of changing a phrase in the Lord's Prayer

[Dec 03, 2017] Carrying Capacity, Overshoot and Species Extinction by Ron Patterson

Notable quotes:
"... Carrying Capacity : Carrying capacity is a well-known ecological term that has an obvious and fairly intuitive meaning: "the maximum population size of a species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment". Unfortunately, that definition becomes more nebulous the closer you look at it – especially when we start talking about the planetary carrying capacity for humans. Ecologists claim that our numbers have already surpassed the carrying capacity of the planet, while others (notably economists and politicians ) claim we are nowhere near it yet! ..."
"... Overshoot : When a population surpasses its carrying capacity it enters a condition known as overshoot. Because carrying capacity is defined as the maximum population that an environment can maintain indefinitely, overshoot must by definition be temporary. Populations ..."
"... to (or below) the carrying capacity. How long they stay in overshoot depends on how many stored resources there are to support their inflated numbers. Resources may be food, but they may also be any resource that helps maintain their numbers. For ..."
"... one of the primary resources is energy, whether it is tapped as flows (sunlight, wind, biomass) or stocks (coal, oil, gas, uranium etc.). A species usually enters overshoot when it taps a particularly rich but exhaustible stock of a resource. Like oil, for instance ..."
"... The zoomass of wild vertebrates is now vanishingly small compared to the biomass of domestic animals. In 1900 there were some 1.6 billion large domesticated animals, including about 450 million head of cattle and water buffalo (HYDE 2011); a century later the count of large domestic animals had surpassed 4.3 billion, including 1.65 billion head of cattle and water buffalo and 900 million pigs (FAO 2011). Calculations using these head counts and average body weights (they have increased everywhere since 1900, but the differences between larger body masses in North America and Europe and lower weights elsewhere persist) yield estimates of at least 35 Mt C of domesticated zoomass in 1900 (more than three times the total of all wild land mammals) and at least 120 Mt C in the year 2000, a 3.5-fold increase in 100 years (and 25 times the total of wild mammalian zoomass). And cattle zoomass alone is now at least 250 times greater than the zoomass of all surviving African elephants, which in turn is less than 2 percent of the zoomass of Africa's nearly 300 million bovines (Table 2). ..."
"... Carrying Capacity, Overshoot and Species Extinction ..."
"... let go/ get out ..."
"... until which time as I say otherwise ..."
"... until which time as I or you opt out ..."
Dec 03, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com

11/29/2017 Notice: Please limit your comments below to the subject matter of this post only. There is a petroleum post above this one for all petroleum and natural gas posts and a non-petroleum post below this one for comments on all other matters.

First, let us define carrying capacity and overshoot. And none has done that better than Paul Chefurka .

Carrying Capacity : Carrying capacity is a well-known ecological term that has an obvious and fairly intuitive meaning: "the maximum population size of a species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment". Unfortunately, that definition becomes more nebulous the closer you look at it – especially when we start talking about the planetary carrying capacity for humans. Ecologists claim that our numbers have already surpassed the carrying capacity of the planet, while others (notably economists and politicians ) claim we are nowhere near it yet!

Overshoot : When a population surpasses its carrying capacity it enters a condition known as overshoot. Because carrying capacity is defined as the maximum population that an environment can maintain indefinitely, overshoot must by definition be temporary. Populations always decline to (or below) the carrying capacity. How long they stay in overshoot depends on how many stored resources there are to support their inflated numbers. Resources may be food, but they may also be any resource that helps maintain their numbers. For humans one of the primary resources is energy, whether it is tapped as flows (sunlight, wind, biomass) or stocks (coal, oil, gas, uranium etc.). A species usually enters overshoot when it taps a particularly rich but exhaustible stock of a resource. Like oil, for instance

When we talk about carrying capacity we need to define exactly who or what we are carrying. Are we talking about humans, all animals or what? Well, let's just talk about terrestrial vertebrate biomass.

Okay, Vaclav Smil and Paul Chefurka (and the estimates of most earth biologists) are correct, the long-term carrying capacity of terrestrial vertebrate biomass is a little over 200,000,000 tons. But how do we know that amount is correct? Easily, because that is what it was for millions of years before the advent of agriculture and other things brought about by modern day Homo sapiens.

Plant and animal species all struggle to survive. In doing so they have evolved to fill every available niche on earth. If a plant can grow in an area, any area, it will do so. If an animal can find a habitat in any area on earth, it will do so. At least since the mid-Triassic, about 225 million years ago, plants and animals have occupied every available niche on earth. If any animal overshot its habitat, dieoff would soon correct that situation. So for many millions of years, the terrestrial vertebrate biomass remained at about two hundred million tons, give or take. I say that because climate change, sea levels rising and falling, continental drift would cause the long-term carrying capacity to wax or wane. Also, the estimate is just that, an estimate. It could be slightly higher or lower. But the long-term carrying capacity of the earth always remained at one hundred percent of what it was possible to carry.

Then about 10,000 years ago man invented agriculture. At first, this only enabled a slight increase in population. Soon only plants that produced the most grain, fruit or tuber per plant, or per area of ground, was selected for replanting. Genetic engineering goes back thousands of years.

Then they discovered fertilizer. Animal and human waste could greatly increase plant production. Animals were domesticated and the plow was invented. More food per area of ground could be produced. Then chemical fertilizers were invented and the population floodgates were opened. At first phosphates from bird guano dramatically increased agricultural production but around the middle of the last century nitrate fertilizers from the Haber Bosch process enabled the green revolution and enabled the population to expand three fold.

It's mostly cows, then humans, then pigs then chickens then Interesting that the biomass of chickens is ovwe three times that of all the wild animals combined. If this chart does not shock you then you are totally unable to be shocked by anything concerning the earth's biosphere.

The world population is still expanding at an alarming rate. By 1989 the population was expanding by about 88 million people per year. Then by the year 2000 population growth had slowed to about 77 million per year. Then the slowdown stopped and started to increase again. it stands at about 79 million per year according to the US Census Bureau.

Now they are saying it will start to slow. But that slowdown has not yet started. True, the fertility rate has been dropping but that has been offset by the increase in population. The fertility rate is dropping but on more and more people.

Notice the U.S. Census Bureau starts the slowdown at almost the exact date this chart was drawn, August 2017. If they had drawn this chart in 1995, then no doubt they would have started their prediction of constant decline in 1995.

But I have no doubt that the population will start to decline. It must, it must because we are destroying the ability of the planet to feed all its people.

Paul Chefurka created the above graph in May 2011. I think he was a little off. He has the world population hitting almost 8 billion then starting to drop around 2030.

I am more inclined to agree with the U.S. Census Bureau who thinks the world population will hit 9.4 billion around 2050. Then I believe the population will start to fall. The rate of population decline and how far it will fall is hard to predict. That will depend on many things but primarily on if and when globalization collapses. The collapse of globalization will bring about civil strife, border wars, and famine around the world.

I want to call your attention to the green, wild animal, portion of the second graph at the top of this post. Notice the wild animal portion of the terrestrial vertebrate biomass, by 1900, had dropped to about 20% of its historical value. Then by 2000, it had dropped to half that amount. Then by 2050, we expect that 2000 value to be cut in half again.

By 2100, it will very likely all be gone. Well, almost all gone. There will still be plenty of rats and mice and perhaps a few other small vertebrates will still survive, but all the large megafauna, except humans, will be gone. Gone forever or at least for the next million years or so. It will take that long for new megafauna to evolve after the human population has been greatly reduced to a billion or even a few million people.

But the far distant future is of little concern to us now. The sad fact of the matter is your descendants will live in a world completely free of wild megafauna. There is no way to avoid that fact now, it is already too late to stop the destruction.

WHY?

Yes, why? Why are we destroying the earth's ecosystem? Why are we driving most all wild animals into extinction? Why have we dramatically overpopulated the planet with human beings? Why did all this happen? However, when you ask why, you are implying that all this had a cause, that someone or some group of people are to blame for this damn mess we have gotten ourselves into.

Was it the early farmers who invented agriculture. Or was it the early industrialists like James Watt or Thomas Edison? Or was it Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, are they the villains that got us into such a damn mess? No, it was none of these people. It was no one person or no group of people. It was not even any revolution like the industrial revolution, the medical revolution or the green revolution. There is no one to blame and there is nothing to blame.

Agriculture enabled the very small early population to expand. The industrial revolution and later the green revolution enabled more people to be fed. The medical revolution enabled more babies to survive and people to live much longer. Our population has exploded simply because it could. We have always lived to the limit of our existence and we always will. It was just human nature pure and simple.

Now many will say that we are now controlling our population, that we have learned how to limit our fertility rate. Well, yes and no. Reference the below chart and table that were produced by the Population Reference Bureau in 2012.

In the developed world, where most of the world's energy is consumed, we almost have zero population growth. But in the less developed world, the population is still growing.

Here is the perfect example of what is happening, what is still happening , in much of the world. Notice the difference in the infant mortality rate and the annual infant deaths. Most of the world's people are still living at the very limit of their existence.

<sarc>But not to worry. The death rate is rising, babies are dying, the population will soon start to fall in the undeveloped world. </sarc>

Note: The Paul Chefurka graphs in this post were created, primarily, with data from the research of Vaclav Smil and is published in this 24 page PDF file: Harvesting the Biosphere: The Human Impact . The file includes over 2 pages of notes and 4 pages of references where Smil sources and documents every stat he quotes. Below are a table and some text from the paper.

The zoomass of wild vertebrates is now vanishingly small compared to the biomass of domestic animals. In 1900 there were some 1.6 billion large domesticated animals, including about 450 million head of cattle and water buffalo (HYDE 2011); a century later the count of large domestic animals had surpassed 4.3 billion, including 1.65 billion head of cattle and water buffalo and 900 million pigs (FAO 2011). Calculations using these head counts and average body weights (they have increased everywhere since 1900, but the differences between larger body masses in North America and Europe and lower weights elsewhere persist) yield estimates of at least 35 Mt C of domesticated zoomass in 1900 (more than three times the total of all wild land mammals) and at least 120 Mt C in the year 2000, a 3.5-fold increase in 100 years (and 25 times the total of wild mammalian zoomass). And cattle zoomass alone is now at least 250 times greater than the zoomass of all surviving African elephants, which in turn is less than 2 percent of the zoomass of Africa's nearly 300 million bovines (Table 2).

Please comment below but only on the subject matter of this post.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Megafauna Extinction , Overpopulation , Overshoot , Peak Oil , Population Explosion , Species Extinction . Bookmark the permalink .

295 Responses to Carrying Capacity, Overshoot and Species Extinction

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 8:23 am

Great summary. Mainly so I don't have to think about all the depressing aspects: do you not think if humans disappeared but even a few of our larger domesticated animals survived that evolution could go bonkers and we'd have new familes and species springing up all over in far less than a million years. After all homo sapiens are only a few hundred thousand years, and dogs (admittedly still technically wolves) only a few thousand. It would depend a bit whether we left much of the planet that was actually habitable of course – i.e. there'd need to be plenty of evolution pressure, but not too much. I guess your point would be we'd get new species but not the mega fauna, but I think there's evidence that isolated small islands can lead to either pygmy species or giants depending on the exact environment.
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 9:28 am
George, I would have to start by saying that humans are not going to disappear. Other than extinction via natural disaster, like a giant meteorite hitting the earth, species are driven into extinction. That is they are outcompeted for territory and resources. Humans are the drivers of extinction, no species will drive us into extinction. We occupy every habitable niche on earth and will likely continue to do so even after our numbers have been dramatically reduced.

If we have a collapse of globalization, and I believe that is inevitable and will happen within the next one hundred years, then the human population will be devastated by civil strife, border wars, and famine. Seven to nine billion hungry people will be a disaster for all other animal life, domestic as well as wild. So I do not believe there will be enough domestic animal life to kick-start evolution of new wild species of megafauna. As I have said before, we will eat the songbirds out of the trees. So there sure as hell will not be any cows left.

Okay, so perhaps it will not take a million years for other large megafauna to evolve. Perhaps it will only be in the hundreds of thousands of years.

The Cunning Linguist says: 11/29/2017 at 10:18 am
So, after we eat the songbirds from the trees, what the hell will we eat then?

Is it not possible that the human species will drive itself to extinction because we are so successful at destroying the natural environment which we depend upon for our survival?

After industrial civilization collapses, the great human die-off will rapidly reduce human numbers by more than 90%. Life for the remaining humans will be extraordinarily hard. If the overall stress level is high enough, it will be very difficult for humans to raise enough offspring to reproductive age to maintain the species over time. Biologists call this pre-extinction phase die out. Once a species numbers fall below replacement level, they go extinct.

And what the hell do you mean: "If we have a collapse of globalization, and I believe that is inevitable and will happen within the next one hundred years "? Within the next 100 years? You are dreaming! We are in the early stages of apocalypse right now! Rapid die-off will begin within the next few years. 100 years from now, there will be no one alive who will remember it.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 10:44 am
Cunning said; "After industrial civilization collapses, the great human die-off will rapidly reduce human numbers by more than 90%." ..

..while what is left of nature will rapidly move into the niches vacated by species humans have wiped out. If (big if, maybe) there are remaining reproductively viable human populations, they will exploit those recovering niches at rates which will be far below the astounding rates of exploitation during the industrial age. Where humans have abandoned their schemes of destroying the natural world for their own purposes, nature, in some form, recovers quite quickly.

On the other hand, if global warming goes off the scale (ala Guy McPherson, et al), all bets are off. Everything larger than a shrew will be toast.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 10:59 am
Once a species numbers fall below replacement level, they go extinct.

The replacement level for animals in the wild and the replacement level for domestic animals are two different things entirely. For animals in the wild, the replacement level may be several hundred to several thousand. Animals in the wild have to find each other in order to reproduce. For domestic animals, the replacement level is two.

In this regard, we Homo sapiens are far more like domestic animals than wild animals. An example would be the Polynesians who migrated to distant islands in sailing outrigger canoes. Their numbers, in those canoes, likely numbered only a dozen or so. Yet huge numbers eventually sprang from tiny numbers.

Yes, stress during periods of great strife and famine will be great. Stress will likely take a great toll. But there will always be survivors. Everyone is not equally affected by stress. Some can overcome, some cannot. It is a little like a plague or disease. There are always some who are immune or otherwise escape the problem.

As for rapid die-off coming within a few years, yes that may happen but I doubt it. Humans societies are far more resilient than you might expect. For instance, look at Somalia, or Venezuela. Somalia, a failed state, has been in turmoil for decades yet no massive die-off has occurred. Venezuela is in a state of almost total anarchy, yet no massive die-off as of yet.

I believe the die-off will start within the next hundred years. Next week is within the next hundred years. But I doubt it will happen by then, or even within the next few years or so. In my opinion, it will take several decades for things to really fall apart.

The Cunning Linguist says: 11/29/2017 at 12:01 pm
Ron,

You said:
"But I doubt it will happen by then, or even within the next few years or so. In my opinion, it will take several decades for things to really fall apart."

What about Limits to Growth? That study forecast that real problems would begin in the first or second decade of the 21st century, in other words, now. Why is Limits to Growth wrong? How do we avoid sudden, catastrophic collapse once world economic growth comes to an end?

What about the fragile, debt ridden financial/credit/monetary system? Have you read the Korowicz paper? How will industrial civilization gradually unwind over many decades when the world economy freezes very suddenly and food stops arriving at the grocery stores? That should lead to a very rapid die-off as every city suddenly becomes uninhabitable.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 12:27 pm
What about Limits to Growth? That study forecast that real problems would begin in the first or second decade of the 21st century, in other words, now. Why is Limits to Growth wrong?

Hey, I have a copy of Limits to Growth right here in my hand. On what page do they predict catastrophic collapse before 2050. Help me out here but I just can't seem to find it.

As to real problems, hell yes, we are having real problems right now. We have been having real problems in Venezuela and a lot of other places. But there is a tremendous difference between real problems and catastrophic collapse.

And what about all the other terrible things you are say are happening right now. Hell yes, they are happening and they are terrible. But they have not yet led to catastrophic collapse. But it is very likely they will lead to collapse in three or four decades from now.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 12:37 pm
The LTG graphs appear to show economic and industrial peaks @2025-2030, if not sooner, dropping off quickly.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/9/1/1409550981593/cc68cfc8-072c-4e53-a741-b28c3d6bcea3-573×1020.jpeg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=1ec7d319d599211c6d4adb5d287cced8

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 12:59 pm
Ghung, what page is this on?
Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 1:17 pm
It's actually from a Guardian article, taken from Bardi's "The Limits to Growth Revisited". I don't know what page the original graph was on, but I have a copy of the original 1972 graph which shows the same curves, without the more recent data curves.

Guardian article "Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse" :

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:17 pm
Ron – that graph is from the Graham Turner LtG update: http://sustainable.unimelb.edu.au/sites/default/files/docs/MSSI-ResearchPaper-4_Turner_2014.pdf
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 1:32 pm
Shit? Is this real? I had no idea that we might be this close to collapse.

Nevertheless, I just can't believe we are that close. I think it will be at least 20 to 30 years from now.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:43 pm
It depends on what you call collapse. The UK and USA are both following the curve such that life expectancy is starting to decline. I think industrial productivity might be going the same way in UK, and definitely our health and old age care systems (which is one of the measures he uses for "services") are in decline (though the government always finds a way to massage the numbers so far). One of the authors of LtG has said that once one of the main curves is definitely through an extrema then the models probably don't work any more – which I took to mean possible accelerating chaos, but might mean something else.
Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:37 pm
Shit? Is this real? I had no idea that we might be this close to collapse.

Yep -- -
Population overshoot, ecocide, environmental destruction, deforestation, ocean acidification, mass loss of pollinators–
I could go on --

It doesn't take a weather man to tell which way the wind blows.

Alice Friedemann says: 11/29/2017 at 8:02 pm
This a unique, one-time only collapse because we never relied on fossil fuels in the past, and we certainly won't in the future. If you look at energyskeptic/3) Fast Crash, you'll see the many reasons I think collapse will unfold quickly. Turchin, who has looked at the patterns of collapse in civilizations going back to Mesopotamia, says it takes about 20 years on average. That is in line with Hook's estimate of a 6% exponential decline, which is the rate at which the 500 giant oil fields decline on average after peaking (something like 270 of them last I checked), all others (offshore, shale, smaller, and so on) decline much faster, hence Hooks estimate of an exponential increase of .0015 a year as non-giants increasingly contribute to what's left of production (giants are now 60% of world oil production). If Hook (2009) is right, that means we'll be down to 10% of what we produce after global peak production in 16 years. At that point, even if governments are rationing oil wisely to grow and distribute food, you're reaching the breaking point. Oil makes all other resources possible, so although many resources reaching their limits, the decline of oil will be the true beginning of the end. No more pumping water from the Ogallala 1,000 feet down, going 10,000 miles on factory farm fishing boats, and so on. Oil is masking how incredibly far we are over overshoot. Above all, 99% of the supply chain transport – trucks, rail, ships – depends on oil. 80% of communities in the U.S. depend entirely on oil, by far the least efficient mode of transportation of the three. Well, it is too big a topic to cover in a comment. I have a lot more to say in my book "When Trucks Stop Running".

Oh, and when I heard Dennis Meadows speak at the 2006 Pisa Italy ASPO conference, he said that if anything Limits to growth was head of schedule, with collapse starting as early as 2020. We'll see, too many factors. Also in the past, nations avoided collapse way past their carrying capacity by trading or conquering other nations, like the Roman Empire, which had to import food from Carthage and Egypt, no way to grow enough food in Italy.

Hook, M., Hirsch, R., Aleklett, K. June 2009. Giant oil field decline rates and their influence on world oil production. Energy Policy 37(6): 2262-2272
https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:225443/FULLTEXT01.pdf

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:14 am
Hi Alice,

I'm hoping to see more comments from you in the future, and not just in this one thread, lol.

It's very common for experts in any given field to presume there are none in other fields that are capable of solving the problems they see as civilization killers.

There are no guarantees of success, but success is possible when it comes to finding and implementing solutions to problems such as the eventual depletion of oil.

Once the shit starts hitting the fan pretty hard and fast in terms of declining oil supplies, both good and bad things will happen on a scale that will take the breath away.

The bad will unquestionably include economic collapse across large swathes of some and maybe most societies.

The good will come in the form of action on the part of awakened LEVIATHAN, the nation state. Those of us who cannot see that once LEVIATHAN stirs and focuses on such problems as we FORCED to deal with soon have little understanding of history , human nature, and technology.

Now WHETHER , or NOT, Leviathan, Uncle Sam, John BULL, the Russian BEAR, et al, can do enough to keep the wheels on and turning, instead of falling off, is an open question.

I believe they can, depending on how far gone things are once they begin to come to grips with the various troubles that will threaten their existence.

People CAN AND DO come together, and work together, sometimes. Consider the case of the USA. We were mostly all isolationists the day before Pearl Harbor, but within a couple of days after, we were all ready to to go flat out to murder our enemies on the grand scale, and DID.

Neither I nor anybody else can prove either way whether we WILL work together well enough to prevent outright collapse meaning we die hard deaths by the tens of millions even here in a country such as the USA.

There's no question that we CAN work together, once we realize we must. Whether we get started soon enough is probably going to determine just how bad things will get in economic terms.

But between what scientists and engineers can do for us, by way of providing us with better tools, and what we can collectively do for ourselves by way of collective action, there's a real possibility that some countries will pull thru ok, no longer sleek and lazy and fat and wasteful, but at least still functional, and with most of their populations still alive and leading a reasonably dignified life style.

I will have more to say about what Leviathan awakened, scared and enraged can do later on, way down thread someplace within the next few days, by relating some historical examples.

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:22 pm
I too feel that one day the trucks will stop running. It will be a very interesting transition to observe. I imagine it will have a progression that goes something like this:
-trucks running will increase in cost as will the things that they are running about with inside them.
– trucks will run to less and less places.
-trucks will run to less and less places less frequently.
-trucks will run only very rarely and only for high priority reasons.
-trucks will stop running altogether.

As this process takes place I imagine there will be measures taken to fill some of the void, where and when it is possible to do so.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 12:57 pm
Ron – do you think humans will still be around in a million years or even a hundred thousand? If they are I think it will only be because they have made themselves irrelevant to the environment (i.e. small in numbers and having found a way to live sustainably) and other species will be evolving without too much human involvement.
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 1:59 pm
Yes, George, I think humans will be around in a million years. Not nearly as many as are around today however. If I had to guess, and I do have to guess, then I would guess around 10 to 15 million humans would be around a million years from now. That would be one person alive then for every 500 alive today.

Of course, all fossil fuel would be gone and everyone would live off the land.

But if you doubt human survival, then just what do you think will wipe everyone out? What will bring the human population to zero?

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 2:26 pm
That sounds as good a guess as any. Part of my point was that they could only survive if they were not intrusive, and therefore would not be an impediment to evolution of other mega fauna. I think average species life time is estimated at around 1 to 2 million years, homo is a family rather than a species so the sapiens could go and something else come along, like we took out the Neanderthals. On the other hand if the bottlenecks get small enough in different locations we could just be whittled away by different causes.
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 2:52 pm
I think average species life time is estimated at around 1 to 2 million years,

The point is George, Homo sapiens is not an average species. If we were an average species we would still be competing with other species for food and territory, losing some of those battles and winning others. But our numbers would be kept in check by our success and failure of that struggle, just like every other average species.

Our dominance has overwhelmed all other species. Like a plague, we are killing them all off. There is nothing average about us as a species.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 2:59 pm
Ok, but our numbers were kept in check and we were competing like that for almost all of our history, until the Holocene interglacial came along and we decided agriculture was a good idea, or maybe we had a go before and it never took in a less stable climate. But before that there is evidence of some pretty tight bottlenecks when we were almost gone either locally (e.g. in India) or globally. And things like the Roman empire collapse suggest we can forget any kind of technological advantages in a couple of generations.
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 3:11 pm
You lost me. I don't understand your point.

But since our brains to a degree where we could create stone tools and use fire, our population has been on a slow increase, bottlenecks notwithstanding.

What has made us not average is our brains, our mental ability. That is the one thing that has given us a huge advantage over all other species.

We are smart enough to wrestle all the world from every other species that stood in our way. If another species had something that we wanted, including even their flesh, we got it. We are smart enough to dominate the world, but not smart enough to see that we are destroying it.

George Kaplan says: 11/30/2017 at 11:23 am
My point is that unless we find a niche in which we can exist sustainably despite our intelligence and ability to get whatever we want and dominate the world, then we won't survive very long, and may not even then.
Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 12:31 pm
Hi Ron,

I think some (you for example) are smart enough to see that we are destroying our World.

It may not be a majority view, though I think the numbers are increasing.

I would agree that we so far have not demonstrated that we are smart enough to change what we are doing (reduce the rate that we destroy the planet as rapidly as possible to zero (or negative, by which I mean restore the planet closer to a natural or sustainable state).

This may never be accomplished, but we cam move in that direction while reducing our numbers and our impact.

Des Carne says: 11/30/2017 at 1:02 pm
What it is about our brains that makes us not average is our capacity to deny reality. The mind over reality transition (Varki &Brower) is arguably what gave "sapiens" the advantage, successful but apparently impossible risk taking, to do away with neanderthalensis. In small scale hunter bands surrounded by magafaunal predators, denial of reality is a decided advantage, but in mass societies with the capacity to produce mass belief in non-realityy, it is the disadvantage that could do us in. Although not experimentally demonstrable, the idea that this mind over reality transition was an evolutionary event in the hominid genus 100-200 thousand years ago is a plausible explanation for sapiens' dramatic cortical development and the development or consolidation of female sexual selection, not present in our forebears or current great apes.

In a future world scratching a living as we did for most of our history as hunter-gatherer bands, but from a depleted world absent of any predators, we might evolve the ability to believe reality, without sacrificing cortical development. The first inhabitants of my country (Australia) managed to get by fot 60,000 years by killing off the megafauna. They were helped by climate change which dessicated the continent, but hung in there making it an extremely attractive aquisition by my ancestors when they came along.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:26 am
Hi Ron,

In broad terms, I agree with what you are saying here.

"Our dominance has overwhelmed all other species. Like a plague, we are killing them all off. There is nothing average about us as a species."

But we aren't doing any better than rats or fire ants, lol.

You're dead on about humanity not being an average species. We will be around at least until some other species capable of wiping us out evolves, and it's unlikely that we will ALLOW such a species to exist, unless it's a microbe and we can't wipe it out.

If chimps were to evolve just a little further along the lines of using tools and being able to communicate and work together, and started attacking humans, numerous humans armed only with primitive weapons such as fire and bows and arrows would kill every last chimp, and they wouldn't lose any time in doing so.

This brings up an interesting question. We know chimps use stone tools as hammers to break nuts, etc, , and that they fight ORGANIZED fights to the death sometimes.

Is there any evidence they are using stones as weapons . YET?

Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 7:38 am
No, chimps do not use stones as weapons but they do use sticks to flail another chimp with.

Chimps will not evolve much further if any. Their numbers are dropping like a rock. They will all be gone in 20 or 30 years.

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:27 pm
I once heard an interesting story about chimps. Might have been in one of Pinker's books, I can't recall.

If you hang a bunch of bananas from the ceiling that a chimp cannot reach and you leave an A-frame ladder laying on the ground the chimp will set the ladder upright and get the bananas.
If you do the same thing with 2 chimps and a ladder so heavy that one chimp alone cannot set it upright, but 2 chimps working together could set it upright, they'll never get on the same page, so to speak, and cooperate in setting up the ladder. They will both try individually and fail. The bananas will never be reached.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 12:46 pm
Hi Ron,

The charts in your post suggest about 1 billion might work, I would say 500 million would be my guess, not sure where you come up with 10 to 15 million.

Note that 500 million is roughly the World population in 1550 CE.

Just a different guess as I think a sustainable society could be reached by 2300 at these lower population levels, though perhaps fertility levels will remain below replacement over the long term so population will continually decline eventually some optimum will be determined and fewer than two children will not be encouraged.

Fred Magyar says: 11/29/2017 at 3:47 pm
Humans, that is Homo Sapiens per se, maybe not. Don't forget Cro-Magnons probably caused the extinction of Homo Neandertalis in about 40,000 years or so ago. Some other future species of the Genus Homo, very likely will be around for another million or so years. This is what I think they might look like. Maybe they will be called Homo technoligicus implantabilis, feel free to call them whatever you want. In any case resistance will be futile and you will be assimilated. 😉
Cheers!
.

robert wilson says: 12/01/2017 at 12:23 am
http://www.eindtijdinbeeld.nl/EiB-Bibliotheek/Boeken/The_Next_Million_Years__how_to_kill_off_excess_population___1953_.pdf
Nathanael says: 11/29/2017 at 4:18 pm
First of all, Ron, a species which destroys its own food supply or its own habitat *does* go extinct. They're currently referred to as "superpredators" -- it's happened repeatedly throughout history.

Second, regarding population growth, my primary charity for 20 years has promoted sex ed, access to contraceptions, and education of women worldwide. We know how to halt and reverse population growth in the "underdeveloped world". It's not difficult except for the religious groups which oppose contraception and oppose women's liberation.

Often the same religious groups who promote burning of fossil fuels. And deforestation.

Basically, whether humans survive depends on whether we defeat those groups, IMO.

Countries like Cuba which are very underdeveloped but essentially *lack* those religious groups (thank you Godless Communism!) they're doing OK on population stabilization.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 5:15 pm
Hi Nathaneal,

There are countries that are religious such as Iran that have seen rapid demographic transition (15 years for TFR to go from over 5 to under 2). Also non-communist nations such as South Korea saw rapid transitions.

I agree education and gender equality as well as access to modern contraception are helpful.

Electrification will also help.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:46 am
Thank you Dennis,

Religion has it's points, as Twain used to put it, both good and bad. Preachers and priests have a way of figuring out what is in their own best interests, short term, medium term, and long term.

There are some religions or cultures, which are not necessarily one and the same thing , that do encourage or more or less actually force women to bear lots of children.

I come from a culture that is very often ridiculed here in this forum, which doesn't bother me at all personally. It's ridiculed on such a broad scale that it's hard to find a public forum peopled with technically well educated people where ridicule isn't the NORM.

As religion goes, my own personal extended family is about as religious as they come in the USA. My nieces and nephews and third cousins, the children of my FIRST cousins, are having kids at less than the necessary 2.1 rate needed to maintain our blood lines, lol. My informal seat of the pants estimate is that the extended family birth rate is down to somewhere around one point five.

It's well known that the birth rate in some countries that are supposedly Catholic has fallen like a rock over the last couple of decades.

And while I can't prove it, it's my firm opinion that once the priesthood in any country comes to understand that it's own long term interests are best served by encouraging small families, small families WILL BE ENCOURAGED. That may not happen for another generation or so, and it may not happen at all in some countries, if there is no top down control of the culture and religion.

Priests and preachers don't exist to serve GOD, or any combinations of gods, etc. They exist because they have found a way to provide a secure and relatively easy way of living largely off the work of their followers.

This is not to say their followers don't get back as much or more as they contribute. Every society has to have leaders, and priests and preachers can be and have often been very effective leaders. Some of them are effective leaders today.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 5:41 pm
First of all, Ron, a species which destroys its own food supply or its own habitat *does* go extinct. They're currently referred to as "superpredators" -- it's happened repeatedly throughout history.

Really, I have never heard of that. The only superpredator I ever heard of are human beings. But if you can give an example of a species destroying its own food supply and habitat, please enlighten me.

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:31 pm
Humans on Easter island is the only thing that comes to my mind when thinking of such an example. I'm no expert on Easter island, however I understand people there did not go extinct, and that there was a small group living there when the island was found by Europeans. Again, not terribly well informed about that particular bit of history.
Kathy C says: 12/02/2017 at 5:20 am
When things begin to collapse the grid infrastructure will collapse. Coal factories in China and elsewhere will shut down and dimming will end. James Hansen estimated that warming may be held back by 50% by dimming, so we can expect warming to shoot up. http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2013/20130329_FaustianBargain.pdf

When the grid collapses the nuclear power plants will no longer be able to be cooled. We know what happens then. This article addresses that happening from solar flares or emp attack but of course the failure of the grid from civilization collapse would do the same thing http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/7301-400-chernobyls-solar-flares-electromagnetic-pulses-and-nuclear-armageddon

With collapses of civilization their will be no remediation of forest fires. Chemical and Nuclear Dumps will burn as well as the nuclear power plants that have gone Fukushima.

A very underappreciated study is that of decaying leaves around Chernobyl While horses and other wildlife might now roam around Chernobyl the implications of leaves not decaying is enormous. "However, there are even more fundamental issues going on in the environment. According to a new study published in Oecologia, decomposers -- organisms such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects that drive the process of decay -- have also suffered from the contamination. These creatures are responsible for an essential component of any ecosystem: recycling organic matter back into the soil. Issues with such a basic-level process, the authors of the study think, could have compounding effects for the entire ecosystem."
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/forests-around-chernobyl-arent-decaying-properly-180950075/

To just state that humans wouldn't disappear is nothing more than an assertion, as is stating that they would certainly disappear. However what faces humans is much more daunting than just the chaos of civilization collapse. Those who survive everything else will have a hard time reproducing with all that radiation around https://chernobylguide.com/chernobyl_mutations/

Of course long before civilization collapses the countries of the world may well play out the scenario that Richard Heinberg describes – Last Man Standing. Sound like politics today?

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:34 pm
I suspect someone will bulldoze the nuclear power plants into the ocean before they let them melt down on land. Just a WAG.
Fred Magyar says: 11/29/2017 at 9:13 am
I posted this as a reply to a comment by GF a few threads back.

I highly recommend the following three ASU Origins Project debates and panel discussions to get a good feel for the big picture. It might take up a good four hours or so of your time. This isn't something suitable for sound bites. It involves a lot of in depth cross disciplinary knowledge.

https://origins.asu.edu/events/great-debate-transcending-our-origins-violence-humanity-and-future
Great Debate: Transcending Our Origins – Violence, Humanity, and the Future

https://origins.asu.edu/events/great-debate-extinctions-tragedy-opportunity
Great Debate: Extinctions – Tragedy to Opportunity

https://origins.asu.edu/events/conversation-inconvenient-truths-love-extinctions
Conversation: Inconvenient Truths – From Love to Extinctions

Maybe we are all royally fucked already but I also recommend E.O. Wilson's book 'Half Earth'.

Cheers!

Tom Welsh says: 11/29/2017 at 9:38 am
"Why did all this happen? However, when you ask why, you are implying that all this had a cause, that someone or some group of people are to blame for this damn mess we have gotten ourselves into".

I would like to suggest, respectfully, that this wording is the wrong way around. The essence of the problem is that no one has been in charge, no one has taken responsibility – and that is hardly changing at all.

The world is teeming with governments, corporations, NGOs, and "leaders" of all kinds. But what are all those leaders, and their estimable organizations, really trying to do? Some are aiming to earn as much money as possible. Others are trying amass as much power as possible. Most of their programmes have a lot to do with gaining more money and power – which become interchangeable at a certain point (as can be seen from a study of the US Congress, for example).

An intelligent alien visitor to our planet would reasonably conclude that, although individual humans are intelligent to various degrees, the human species as a whole is profoundly unintelligent. It has ample means of diagnosing what has happened, is happening, and will happen. Yet, because it has never developed any organ comparable to the individual's conscious brain, it does nothing about the obvious threats it faces.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 10:34 am
Tom, I think my wording was correct, you just did not quote all of my explanation. You wrote:

The essence of the problem is that no one has been in charge, no one has taken responsibility

No one can take responsibility because no one is in charge of the human race. And as far as being "profoundly unintelligent", I think that is an unfair charge. Having a blind spot in our DNA does not imply that we are unintelligent. The human race has never been faced with such a dilemma before. Our brains evolved to its present state during our hunter-gatherer days. We are molded by evolution to do everything possible to survive and reproduce. There is nothing in our DNA that tells us to protect the biosphere because the lives of our grandchildren depend upon it. So we don't.

What is happening is just human nature. That's all.

Joe Clarkson says: 11/29/2017 at 1:20 pm
What is happening is just human nature.

Evolution has resulted in all species, including humans, having a biotic potential that is greater than the carrying capacity of the niches in which they live. Populations are limited by resource limits and predation, not by self restraint or mutual agreement.

It would have been very unusual, perhaps unique in evolutionary history, for humans to have deliberately limited our population, even though it might have been theoretically possible due to our 'intelligent' ability to foresee our probable future. Despite Malthus, Limits to Growth and many other warnings, no realistic attempt has been made to remain below carrying capacity.

As you note, a massive die-off is inevitable, the only real question is when. Like The Cunning Linguist, I personally think it will be whenever people lose confidence in the global monetary system, as in Korowicz's "Trade Off: Financial system supply-chain cross contagion – a study in global systemic collapse". Once money stops flowing so does the food supply.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 5:10 pm
Hi Joe,

What would cause this rejection of the monetary system? I don't follow the argument. Everyone decides at once that money is no longer a reasonable medium of exchange. Didn't happen during any financial crisis so far, people couldn't access their money at Banks after the 1929 crash, but this was less of a problem in OECD nations during the GFC.

The ETP nonsense is just that, anyone who knows their thermodynamics knows that theory is full of holes.

Joe Clarkson says: 11/29/2017 at 9:29 pm
Didn't happen during any financial crisis so far

No, but we did come close in 2008. All sorts of debt instruments including commercial paper, CDOs (the root of the problem), many derivatives and letters of credit all froze up. Without prompt dramatic action by the central banks and the US Treasury, the financial system could have collapsed. Nobody knew who was solvent or insolvent, so the central banks had to backstop every financial institution. All this over some mortgage securities based on the US housing market.

Now imagine that growth has turned to continuous worldwide economic recession, the inevitable fate of the global market economy in the face of energy and resource depletion ( it will happen despite the stupidity of the Hill's Group). Unemployment increases year after year and tax revenues continuously fall. Every kind of debt instrument, from sovereign debt to mortgages, to municipal and corporate bonds is more and more likely never to be repaid. Defaults are increasing with greater and greater frequency. The equities of every company become suspect as more and more companies go under.

Sooner or later, a critical mass of people are going to realize that most debts can never be repaid and are therefore worthless as assets. Since almost all money is created from debt, almost all money becomes worthless.

The only thing that makes money work is confidence in its value. When confidence in money (debt repayment) fails, the monetary system fails and without a monetary system, the global market fails.

Billions of lives are dependent on that market functioning smoothly every day. When it fails to function, people will die. I fully expect to lose every financial asset I own at some point, that's why I am preparing to live without money. Unfortunately, most people in the developed world can't do that, though they should be trying to do so with utmost urgency.

I admit that if there were a concerted international effort to declare a debt jubilee and start all over with a new world currency, some form of monetary system might continue after the present one collapses, but I really doubt that creditor countries and debtor countries are going to cooperate with the rapidity and solidarity needed to manage such a transition.

And even though all the productive assets in the world would still continue to exist after a financial collapse, without a market to mediate their interconnected function, everything would grind to a halt. I don't see an international command economy taking over either. That would be harder than creating a whole new monetary system.

The global market economy is very complicated and very fragile. I certainly wouldn't trust my family's life to something that could collapse virtually overnight and neither should you.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 12:07 pm
Hi Joe,

There are a lot of if's in your scenario, any of which if broken makes the conclusion invalid.

I suppose it is possible that all of those things could happen, just as it is possible that a large asteroid will strike the planet.

I choose not to concern myself with very low probability events.

Pretty sure neither of us will convince the other. If you are convinced buy some good farm land and maybe gold, guns, lead, and gun powder.

Probably even better, find a nice community somewhere.

Note that as long as governments are willing to intervene in the economy when necessary, the system is much more resilient than you believe.

The biggest risk to the Global financial system would be free market fundamentalism where government intervention is never invoked.

I cannot imagine a continuous world wide economic recession, this is a fundamental flaw in your argument.

This assumes what you are trying to prove.

Joe Clarkson says: 11/30/2017 at 6:32 pm
I cannot imagine a continuous world wide economic recession, this is a fundamental flaw in your argument.

Well, I can't imagine how the global market economy and industrial civilization are going to have a steady state economy forever at present levels of production and affluence. Overshoot means eventual retrenchment and die-off.

Up-thread you estimated the carrying capacity of the earth at around 500 million people. You obviously expect to gracefully reach that level (in 2300!) through birth control while still maintaining current standards of living.

I expect that we will reach that population, or fewer, due to complications from resource-depletion-caused economic failure (famine, war, pandemic). There simply isn't enough energy available to make the transition you desire without also destroying the climate, even if there were the political will to do so, which there isn't.

I suggest looking at the history of the last 100 years to decide which future is more probable. Humanity has had the ability to create a high technology, steady-state civilization with sustainable population levels for over a century, but has failed to do so. There is still no evidence that we are serious about making the attempt now. I wonder why you can believe that such a thing will happen at a time when the resources to make it happen will be declining rapidly. Continuous world-wide recession is a certainty and unless you are very old, you will live to see it.

And as far as your suggestions for prepping go, my family has already got it's lifeboat ready in a rural tropical community. I've got the productive land, the community and the guns. I don't expect to rely on gold at all. To my mind, the best durable trade items are ammo, fishing equipment and livestock.

If raising my own food and living without money is necessary, I can do it. If your eco-modernist utopia magically appears, I won't be disappointed, or regret one iota of the 'unnecessary' preparations I will have made, but I prefer to err on the side of prudence.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 1:14 pm
Hi Joe,

I don't expect to live forever and as I said don't plan ahead for scenarios I believe have a very low probability of occurring. As fossil fuel resources become scarce they will become more expensive and we will use them more carefully (or efficiently). There has been no need to do so for the past 100 years as they have been relatively cheap and abundant. There will be enough energy from Wind, solar, hydro, and perhaps nuclear to make the transition, as fossil fuel becomes expensive these will be produced as they will become cheaper alternatives. Much of freight traffic can be moved to rail, which can be electrified, moving goods from rail to factory or store can be done on overhead wires on main roads with EV used for the last few miles.

Also keep in mind that fossil fuels by nature are quite inefficient in producing electricity with about 60% of the energy wasted, for heating systems compared to heat pumps there is also higher energy use. The transition to non-fossil fuels will result in about one third the energy use for the same exergy (or work and useful heat) provided.

I make no assumptions about living standards being maintained, perhaps the transition will be very difficult and living standards in the OECD will decrease while living standards in less developed nations increase. Note that declining population will reduce resource pressure and realization of resource limits (as will be clear from fossil fuel scarcity) by the majority of citizens may lead to changes in social behavior.

Also note that we have only been aware of the climate problem for about 38 years (using Charney report in 1979 as the starting point).

If fossil fuels are very limited (say 1200 Pg C emissions from 1800-2100) then climate change might be less of a problem, but this will still be adequate for a transition to non-fossil fuels. Even 1000 Pg of total carbon emissions from all anthropogenic sources (including fossil fuel, cement and land use change) may be adequate for an energy transition, though it will need to begin in earnest in the next 5 to 10 years, the sooner we begin the easier it will be to accomplish.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:51 am
"What is happening is just human nature. That's all."

EXACTLY.

I posted a long rant down thread trying to get this across to people who somehow think we are DEFECTIVE because we don't collectively behave more rationally, hoping to get it across in terms that are intelligible to those of us who have HEARD of evolution, but never actually studied it for more than an hour or two at the most.

alimbiquated says: 12/01/2017 at 6:07 pm
Nonsense, this is just Libertarian propaganda, which is actually a fake religion invented by real estate investors in the fifties in a political catfight to avoid rent control legislation. It has now widen to some kind of pseudo-Darwinistic hocus pocus, but it ignores the obvious fact that we became the world's dominant species be collaboration and long term thinking.

We're doomed if we don't get along with each other, and lots of propaganda is pushing you to believe we never have or could, and never can or will. But that doesn't make it true.

Hickory says: 12/02/2017 at 12:02 am
aren't all religions fake (fabrications)?
Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:42 pm
That's a pretty narrow view of libertarianism.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism
What you say is perhaps relevant to contemporary versions of libertarianism in USA, however it goes back a bit further than the 50's.
It's worth noting there are left wing libertarian models also.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-libertarianism
Phil Stevens says: 12/02/2017 at 2:56 pm
I'd like to question the assertion that no one is in charge of the human race. In "Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States" (Yale, 2017), James C. Scott demonstrates fairly convincingly that humans actively avoided adopting grain-based agriculture because the labor:reward tradeoff was far less satisfactory than what could be obtained through hunting and gathering. The accumulation of surplus, and presumably the insurance a surplus would provide against yearly fluctuations in food supply, in other words, was an insufficient motivation for humans to give up hunting and gathering. As Scott documents quite clearly, this refusal to adopt agriculture as the basis of the human economy persisted for more than 5,000 years in Mesopotamia, and much longer elsewhere.

So what caused the shift? Alas, Scott fails to explore this in any detail. (Just one of the many weaknesses of the book, which nevertheless manages to make its central argument very well.)

I will speculate that what caused the change was the coming-together of a sufficiently large number (five? a dozen? who knows?) of individuals who lacked the ability to feel remorse, shame, or compassion, and who were motivated purely by a desire to enrich and empower themselves. Modern psychology calls these types psychopaths. I suggest that it was these individuals who, likely with help from others with the related disorder of sadism (see recent research on "the dark tetrad"), were first able to subjugate (Scott uses the very apposite term "domesticate") human communities and force them to labor on the land to produce a surplus, which of course then could be appropriated by the psychopaths and their henchmen.

I am not aware of anyone else who has advanced the notion that civilization was founded by psychopaths and sadists. But recent psychological research (popularized in books such as Babiak and Hare, "Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work") suggest that psychopaths are four times more commonly represented in upper management than in the population as a whole, so it seems plausible to me, at least, that the project of civilization and its attendant destruction of the ecosphere has been, from its inception, forced upon humanity by a small minority.

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 5:00 pm
Phil, thanks for a great post. I have no doubt that psychopaths have had a great influence on civilization. Many great leaders were no doubt psychopaths. Hitler and Stalin come to mind. However, not all of them were psychopaths. Rosevelt, Washington, Jefferson, and many other U.S. presidents were not psychopaths. Neither was Churchill or Gandhi.

However, your original sentence was: I'd like to question the assertion that no one is in charge of the human race. So I kept reading, waiting for you to tell us just who was in charge of the human race. Of course you did not do that.

Phil Stevens says: 12/03/2017 at 4:56 pm
Fair enough, Ron.

My short answer to your question would be to ask "Cui bono?" Doubtless not everyone who reaps the most benefit from the biocidal trajectory of late capitalism is dominated by one or more of the traits of the Dark Tetrad, of course. Some of us might even be able to argue plausibly that we were unaware of the consequences of our actions. But even though late capitalist society is sufficiently robust that it continues to work out its internal logic without a lot of direct guidance by the dark few, I doubt it would last long without their presence among the wealthy and powerful classes. If their interventions on behalf of the killing machine could be eliminated, my guess is that dismantling the machine would be a much easier project.

Ultimately, it's the ones in positions of power who manifest the traits of the Dark Tetrad whose interventions are critical to maintaining the status quo. If anyone can be said to rule the earth, it's them.

Fred Magyar says: 11/29/2017 at 12:24 pm
An intelligent alien visitor to our planet would reasonably conclude that, although individual humans are intelligent to various degrees, the human species as a whole is profoundly unintelligent. It has ample means of diagnosing what has happened, is happening, and will happen. Yet, because it has never developed any organ comparable to the individual's conscious brain, it does nothing about the obvious threats it faces.

That is my view as well! Though some like E.O. Wilson argue that we have evolved into an eusocial species and can at least in theory function as a hive or termite mound. Where the collective intelligence emerges and even though the individual ants or bees are stupid the anthill is an entity unto itself is smart and knows how to defend itself. See also Douglas Hofstader and Daniel Dennett's book, 'The Mind's I', Chapter 11 titled Prelude Ant Fugue.
http://themindi.blogspot.com/2007/02/chapter-11-prelude-ant-fugue.html

Also check out Curtis Marean's talk at the end of Inconvenient Truths – From Love to Extinctions from the link I provided above from the ASU origins debates. He specifically makes that analogy about aliens, in his talk.

Marean is a professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the associate director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. He is interested in the relation between climate and environmental change and human evolution, both for its significance as a force driving past human evolution, and as a challenge to be faced in the near future. Curtis has focused his career on developing field and laboratory teams and methods that tap the synergy between the disciplines to bring new insights to old scientific problems. He has spent over 20 years doing fieldwork in Africa, and conducting laboratory work on the field-collected materials, with the goal of illuminating the final stages of human evolution – how modern humans became modern.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 8:04 am
" Yet, because it has never developed any organ comparable to the individual's conscious brain, it does nothing about the obvious threats it faces."

Such an organ would be very costly, in terms of depriving humanity of the energy and resources devoted to it, depriving us of the use of these resources for other purposes.

Evolution doesn't create organs that will be useful in dealing with new circumstances, by plan, ahead of time, except by accident. It's just a "lucky accident" FOR US TODAY that our own ancestors evolved hands capable of grasping things such as branches .. which set the stage for us to be able later on to grasp a stone and use it as a hammer or weapon.

No planning is involved. NONE. Various deists who accept the reality of evolution but still believe in higher powers disagree of course.

I can't prove they are wrong. I don't believe anybody else can. All we can do is demonstrate that they have no evidence that such higher powers exist.

An absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, lol.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:04 pm
I doubt if "intelligent" aliens are any different than we are – and therefore probably have a very short life expectancy should they ever get to an industrial age – evolution can only work from one generation to the next and is therefore incompatible with longer term planning for species longevity.
Steve says: 11/29/2017 at 2:25 pm
"It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on the Earth, some other species will take over the running. In the sense of developing intelligence this is not correct. We have or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only." – Sir Fred Hoyle
Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 3:19 pm
Thanks for posting this Hoyle quote Steve. I have read it before, many times. And the truth of it is so obvious. All the things that have enabled this wonderful abundant life will soon be gone. Then what?
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 5:02 pm
Hi Ron,

We recycle what we can, we use less of scarce resources as prices rise and we try to find substitutes for resources as they become scarce. Also population will fall as TFR falls (with a time lag due to population momentum) putting less pressure on resources.

None of this will be easy, and perhaps not possible, hard to predict the future.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 5:58 pm
Dennis, Hoyle here, is talking about long-term. Recycle or not, we will run out of all fossil fuels and eventually all metals. However, recyclig will help, in the short term anyway.

No, we cannot really predict the future. All we can do is look at what is happening right now and say: "If this continues ." And Dennis, it will continue. Human nature may be changed by evolution. But that will take many generations and tremendous evolutionary pressure. So right now, human nature being what it is, we can predict that collapse is just down the road. Just how far down the road is what we are trying to figure out right now.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 6:27 pm
Ron, if we look at the apparent numbers, say of many species, collapse appears already here, just that the shockwave hasn't hit yet. Remember, if you see an explosion in the distance, it takes awhile to hit.
Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 11:51 am
Hi Ron,

Yes some things will continue and others will not.

For example fossil fuel output has grown pretty steadily in absolute terms (about 163 million tonnes of oil equivalent per year from 1981 to 2016) and I expect that will change (it will not continue).

The total fertility ratio has decreased at about 1.38% per year from 1965 to 2015, but I expect this will continue until the World TFR approaches the high income nation average of about 1.75 (which would be reached in 2040 if the 1965-2015 rate of decrease continues).

There may be more fossil fuels available than either of us think, but if my medium scenarios are correct there may be enough fossil fuel to enable a transition to non-fossil fuel, then we just need to deal with other depleting resources.

Note that the fact that fossil fuels have peaked and declined (which should be apparent by 2035 at the latest), may enable people to realize that this will be true for every scarce resource and perhaps we will plan ahead and recycle, and use resources more efficiently.

Much of this is a matter of education.

Perhaps the meaning of soon we use differently.

When you say "will soon be gone." Can you define soon in years.

The sun will eventually destroy all life on Earth, but not "soon", as I define it. 🙂

Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 12:10 pm
Well, perhaps I should not have said "gone". There will always be trace amounts of everything left. And nothing will suddenly disappear. There will be a decline curve for everything. But let's deal with the one with the least future abundance, oil. I believe we are at peak oil right, or very near it anyway. The bumpy plateau may last from 5 to 10 years. Then the decline curve will be much steeper than the ascent.

That's about the best answer I can ive you.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 1:26 pm
Hi Ron,

Let's assume for the moment you are correct and the peak is either now or next month and we remain on plateau for a year or two.

What happens to the price of oil?

Let's assume that you agree that unless there is a severe World recession in the next year or two that oil prices are likely to rise.

What happens it oil output if oil prices rise to say $100/b or more?

Eventually I expect output will reach a peak no matter how high oil prices rise, I just disagree it will be at the current level of output.

Can you define your limits for the "bumpy plateau" (high and low 12 month average output level)?

If the limits were 80 to 85 Mb/d, then we would agree and I would say we may be on a bumpy plateau between 80 and 85 Mb/d for 10 years or so.

I suspect you may expect output to remain below 81 or 82 Mb/d (World 12 month average C+C output).

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 3:01 pm
Dennis, you must be familiar with the phrase "You cannot get blood from a turnip". High prices will not create more oil in the ground. We will most definitely have higher prices but they will be high because we have reached the peak. So, $100 oil will not create a higher peak.

Just my guess but I believe the plateau will average less than 82 million bpd.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/03/2017 at 10:37 am
Hi Ron,

So could you define your "bumpy plateau"?

Is it a trailing 12 month average of between 80 and 82 Mb/d?

I imagine we will break above 82 Mb/d in 2018 if oil prices are over $65/b (Brent in 2016$) for the annual average in 2016.

For the most recent 12 months (EIA data) ending August 2017 we are at 80.93 Mb/d.

In the low price environment since 2015 the trend in World output is an annual increase of 280 kb/d. This rate of increase is likely to double (at minimum) with oil prices over $80/b, which would bring us to 82 Mb/d by 2019 or 2020, perhaps this will be as high a output rises, but my guess is that there is a 50% probability that output will continue to rise above this and perhaps a 25% probability it may reach 85 Mb/d around 2025.

Ron Patterson says: 12/03/2017 at 2:49 pm
I thought I did that Dennis. I the bumpy plateau will average about 82 million barrels per day or less. There could be spikes and dips and it will last from 2 to as much as 10 years. But when it heads down, it will do so with a vengeance.
alimbiquated says: 12/01/2017 at 6:11 pm
Blah, nobody needs coal or oil in the long run, and metal is never "gone" unless you shoot into space or a fission reactor.

For every obvious problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

-H. L- Mencken

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 7:03 pm
Jesus H. Fucking Christ, how fucking stupid can one person be?
OFM says: 11/29/2017 at 6:17 pm
Hi Steve,

I will have a lot to say later on tonight.

For now, all I have to say is that while Sir Fred forgot more about astronomy than I have or ever have even DREAMED of knowing, he didn't know shit from apple butter about biological evolution . not even as much as a good student in a good public high school after finishing one high school level course in biology.

"The chance that higher life forms might have emerged through evolutionary processes is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the material therein."

It's very common for people who are great experts, sometimes even renowned experts at the very peak of their professions, to make fools of themselves talking about subjects of which they know less than nothing.

Hoyle is the best single example I know of and the one I use most often to point out this very common shortcoming.

For what it's worth, he would be RIGHT if the problem were the one of having a gazillion monkeys typing at random and one of them eventually turning out Romeo and Juliet, correct to the last letter.

That involves getting every letter right in one try.

Evolution doesn't work that way. It's more like a poker game, in which you can discard cards you don't want, and keep the ones you do, until you have a GREAT hand.

In a real poker game, discarding is usually limited to two rounds, but in real life and evolution, the number of rounds is literally unlimited, the same as the number of generations. If you have two pairs, you can keep on discarding until EVENTUALLY , assuming all the discards go back into the deck, you have a full house. And given time enough, you could discard your pair, and eventually have four of a kind.

YOU DON'T usually throw away a pair of aces, lol, even in a game that allows you to ask for a redeal if you have no more than a pair.

Evolution is a blind, and runs on random chance, at the individual level and generational level, but at the species level, it's a blind BUILDER, one that generally retains what works from one generation to the next, and builds on it. Over time .. lots of time, usually.

But significant evolutionary change can happen in very quickly, in terms of evolutionary time. House flies evolved resistance to DDT within the space of a single generation of humans, lol.

Biologists work with time on roughly the same scale as geologists and astronomers, counting in billions of years. It's quite possible that life originated not too long after the first stars evolved to the point that the heavier elements were first created from lighter ones.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 6:47 pm

"I will have a lot to say later on tonight." ~ OFM

LOL

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:41 pm
Hoyle, IMHO, is a closet Cabbage for Christ.
Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 8:30 pm
Hightrekker's Alpine Garden of Eden Restaurant

~ Menu ~

• Talking Snake Au Jus (So fresh, you can almost hear it hissing!)
• BBQ Rib-Woman's Ribs
• Stuffed Cabbages for Christ
• Wing Pawn Garlic Prawns

Dessert:

• Apple Pie A La Mode (So sinful, one bite and you will be cast out of Eden, after you pay your bill.)
• Tree of Knowledge Crepe Flambé (Ask about our Summer Forest Fire special!)
• Adam's Fruit Cobbler

Drinks:

• The Blood of Christ
• Holy Water Cider
• Milk of Holy Cow

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:26 am
Yum!
Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/30/2017 at 8:10 pm
Stop the presses! I forgot the

• Cider-Marinated Free Range Chicken Wing Pawn Platter for Two

BTW, I just began my first ever apple cider home brew, Nov 30th . (I actually tried making sauerkraut ages ago.)
What I did was buy half a liter of fresh-pressed raw organic apple juice, and then added the peel of an organic apple to it for a wild yeast innoculation, and closed up top with a simple cellophane wrap and elastic with a toothpick-prick hole on top for ventilation

I used these instructions and accompanying YouTube video, Eat The Weeds, episode 9.

So now the bottle is just hanging out in one of my lower kitchen cupboards, and we'll see what happens. (Does it need light?)

I'll try to let POB know if it works and I get a good batch or if it throws a bad one and I have to start over. I am unsure what a good or bad batch is supposed to taste like, but I guess if it's tasty, then it's good.

Survivalist says: 12/01/2017 at 10:19 pm
My fav post that you made was a link to some great riot porn! Oh man that made my day 🙂
Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/02/2017 at 8:30 pm
Hi Survivalist, glad you enjoyed it.
Frank Lopez's Sub.Media channel, (which is probably where I sourced the riot-porn-in-question from), its videos, have been picked up by PeakOil.com, incidentally.
I'll admit that some of the riot porn was a bit dubious with regard to its 'methodical randomness', but it could be from the younger 'anarchists' who may be still learning. That's perhaps also why some of the Antifa members have sometimes gotten criticized for their (apparent misplaced or misapplied) 'violence' tactics.

The image is of the cider in question– about one litre. With the unwashed organic apple peel in it as the only yeast 'starter', it's supposed to take 2 to 3 weeks to start bubbling. The pin you see is to pop the hole in the plastic when it starts doing so.

If it throws a good flavour, I intend on keeping the yeast, and innoculating some more juice but also some kind of straight-up water-and-honey or sugar mixture and see if I can get pure alcohol or 'mead' or something like that from it, using freeze distillation (a 'jack'). (And yes, I am aware of the methanol issue, but apparently, it is not a big deal at this scale/amount, although I'll recheck it to be sure.) (You can of course select the image for a larger image popup.)

If, when or as the 'trucks stop running', we may want– and have– to look into more local/home-brewing and other locally-/homemade things of course. So we might as well start sooner rather than later.

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:52 pm
Once upon a time I provided health services to inmates in a prison. Generally speaking I liked the inmates better than the guards, who for the most part were men who had wanted to become cops but were too stupid to pass selection. I met some real brewmasters (inmates) working that gig. Good luck with the brew.
Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/03/2017 at 10:00 pm
Interesting line of work, Survivalist, and thanks, fingers crossed
Paulo says: 11/29/2017 at 10:36 am
Up early today and lit the shop woodstove; just waiting for light to get on with my day which always starts (after chores) with my dog and I going for a walk.

Ron, I do not disagree with your post or comments, with the exception of when population will peak and the aspect/timing of social disruption?

On this morning wait for daylight I have been reading various blog sites with CNN ticking over in the background. Maybe it is the speed of the news cycle and my being used to the insanity of what is being reported, but today, after seeing the Trump tweets on Muslim Violence (film clips), the so-called tax plan, sexual misconducts, the recent reports on KSA, Yemen, Syria, and what is ramping up concerning North Korea, I think we are at a crux right now. I think there will be a Market collapse and war; perhaps global in scale. Further to that I don't see any desire or mechanism for defusing tensions or a way to recall the situation.

I am 62 and was a kid during a recent/last big social reset. I had older sibs and parents who moved us north to Canada in '68 because they had had enough. My WW2 veteran parents proclaimed they had seen enough to be afraid, and sold out to start over and build new lives. While I was thinking about it, and your post, I realized that in today's situation there are no simple answers and not really any places to run to. It seems different because of the population numbers and armaments, plus the willingness of people to pretend it's just 'tribal/crooked politics as usual'. Then, I thought about photographs and how a few catapulted us into rapid change last century. Certainly, the haunted faces of the Dust Bowl sparked a move towards reform. Images from the south and the stories of the KKK perhaps Rosa Parks herself helped galvanize the Civil Rights Movement. For me, the image of the young lady holding the dead student at Kent State, (her anguish), the burning Monk and young girl coated with napalm coupled with the lie about the Gulf of Tonkin incident pushed me into cynicism; so much that I was not surprised about the non-existent WMD of Iraq.

Perhaps it won't be an image, or story that we look back to as a turning point. Maybe it will be a tweet. Maybe it will be the Market collapse or a premptive attack on North Korea that sets everything in motion. I just think we are loaded and tamped down like a pipe bomb ready to blow.

I do not think we will continue to grow in population until 2050. I think it could start to unravel pretty fast and any day. I don't see any step back from war(s) in either the ME, or Korea.

From Wiki: (just one event that pales alongside today's triggers)
Kent State
"Just five days after the shootings, 100,000 people demonstrated in Washington, D.C., against the war and the killing of unarmed student protesters. Ray Price, Nixon's chief speechwriter from 1969 to 1974, recalled the Washington demonstrations saying, "The city was an armed camp. The mobs were smashing windows, slashing tires, dragging parked cars into intersections, even throwing bedsprings off overpasses into the traffic down below. This was the quote, student protest. That's not student protest, that's civil war."[10] Not only was Nixon taken to Camp David for two days for his own protection, but Charles Colson (Counsel to President Nixon from 1969 to 1973) stated that the military was called up to protect the administration from the angry students; he recalled that "The 82nd Airborne was in the basement of the executive office building, so I went down just to talk to some of the guys and walk among them, and they're lying on the floor leaning on their packs and their helmets and their cartridge belts and their rifles cocked and you're thinking, 'This can't be the United States of America. This is not the greatest free democracy in the world. This is a nation at war with itself.'"

I apologize if this seems North American centric; and in blinders. I wish to reiterate that our population numbers, plus increasing divide and disparity, proliferation of weapons and intolerance, coupled with environmental degradation and Climate Change, makes this much much worse. It's a gun waiting for a trigger, imho.

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 11:10 am
Yes, things are pretty bad. But things were bad during the Kent State/Nixon era. Yet we survived.

It has been my experience, following this biosphere destruction for many years now, that people who see and understand the destruction, almost always expect things to fall apart real soon. They never do.

I once spent several months as a stockbroker. One thing I learned during that period was a truth about insider traders. That is traders who trade the stock of the company they work for. They see things happening inside their company and expect it to cause great trouble or great profit. They are almost always right and almost always way too early with their predictions. Things just never seem to happen as fast as they expected.

We, you and I and a few others, are insiders to this problem that I have described in my above post. We know something terrible is going to happen. But most of us expect it to happen way before it actually will happen.

An example is "The Population Bomb" by Paul Ehrlich. I think he was spot on, but things just did not happen as fast as he expected. I hope to avoid his mistake.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 11:34 am
Yep, Ron, and we need to be careful about saying "this time is different". Perhaps we need a list of things that really are different this time.

One that should be obvious to anyone paying attention is that, in the late 60s, US debt to GDP was in the mid 30% range. It is now over 100% according to a number of sources. As Gail T. is wont to say, unservicable debt will likely be the trigger that results in a cascading failure of financial systems, and everything else is likely to follow. In short, our financial house of cards has grown three-fold in 50 years, as the global reserve currency is tagged to nothing.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 1:16 pm
Hi Ghung,

I think the debt problem is a little overblown.

Now people use debt differently sometimes implying "total debt" and sometimes "public debt" and sometimes "central government debt".

Which one are you talking about?

I don't read Tverberg's stuff.

Looking at your numbers and the link below

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEGDQ188S

it seems you are talking about total US federal government debt.

Consider Japan

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/QJPGAN770A

They have been over 100% debt to GDP since 1999 and have been around 200% since 2014.

If Japan has collapsed, I missed it. 🙂

Note that I agree with the idea that when the US economy is doing well (which at present is the case), that paying down debt is a better idea than reducing taxes. I would raise taxes if anything ( a carbon tax would be ideal) and reduce the deficit to less than zero and pay down the debt.

Or just balance the budget and let economic growth reduce the debt to GDP ratio.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 1:28 pm
The figures I posted only include US government (National) debt. Total US debt (public+private) is, of course, much higher.

US National debt currently around $20.5 trillion.
http://www.usdebtclock.org/

US GDP for 2016 per the World Bank was $18,569,100.00
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD

As for Japan, most of what they owe is to themselves while they own a lot of that US debt, above. Japan also uses the carry trade to stay afloat.

I only posted this as being one of the things that is different about our situation ~50 years ago. People can make of it what they will. I personally think it is significant since the world runs on credit. No credit, no growth.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 4:49 pm
Hi Ghung,

Hard to imagine no credit.

Also in the 1960s there was less borrowing by the government (so less credit) and higher growth rates (at least in the US) than today.

In the old days there was concern the government would "crowd out" private debt, as if there was some fixed amount of debt the system could sustain and the system always remained at this maximum debt level.

Instead it seems the system had room for higher levels of debt as government debt as increased, but there is little evidence of "crowding out". There may be some maximum debt level that an economy can sustain and Japan may be there. Also note that 50 years ago debt was at fairly low levels, but in 1946 Debt to GDP was 118% of GDP, rapid economic growth from 1946 to 1974 reduced this debt to GDP to 31%, by 1992 it was at 61%, and in 2016 it was 105%.

Strange that the Republicans want to raise the debt higher by cutting taxes, this made sense when the economy was doing poorly during the Obama years and the aftermath of the GFC.

I agree debt could become a problem and would be worried if central government debt to GDP was 200% (as in Japan).

I also don't buy into the unfunded liabilities argument, laws change and governments don't always fulfill their promises, that is just a fact of life.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 8:17 am
Personally I believe Tverberg is a person who has discovered a niche she can exploit and is making a living out of it. I had the pleasure of seeing her make her canned presentation at a conference once, where all the presentations were repeated several times over for three days so the entire attending crowd could see them all.

If you ask her a real question, she seizes up like a deer in headlights. She knows some elementary level stuff that is worth some thought, in the case of people who know little or nothing about the overall economy and environment.

Her answer in the case of a real question is the same answer you get from a politician who doesn't WANT to answer. She just pretends you asked a DIFFERENT question, and provides a stock answer to THAT question.

She doesn't have anything to say worth listening to , in terms of the level of understanding of the contributing members of this forum.

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:25 am
Being a Cabbage for Christ and a AGW Denier doesn't exactly lend credibility to her work.
Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/30/2017 at 9:06 pm
She denies AGW?
doomphd says: 12/03/2017 at 4:18 am
She does not deny AGW. She just doesn't think the effects of AGW are going to be our biggest problem going forward, especially if we run low on fossil fuel flows in the near future.
Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/03/2017 at 10:02 pm
Ok, thanks for the clarification.
Nathanael says: 11/29/2017 at 4:22 pm
UK government debt to GDP was well over 400% for decades running; it was never a problem. Don't worry about it. Government debt is not really debt, it's actually money.
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 4:54 pm
Hi Nathanael,

When was that?

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DEBTTLGBA188A

Oh I see high debt but not 400%

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PSDOTUKA

It was over 160% from 1925 to 1952, maybe that's what you mean.

Paulo says: 11/29/2017 at 1:39 pm
Good point on the rate. I remember my grade 11 Social Studies teacher talking to me after class in 1972. One of our class texts was The Population Bomb. He expected to see, in his lifetime, a collapse of sorts. When I asked him to expand further he described small scale gardens/farms of no more the 2 acres. The primary machinery used would be walk-behind tractors.

I smiled at the memory when I bought my BCS walk-behind ten years ago. I smile every spring when I till the gardens. I still think he was right, just off on the timing (just like I was when I got out of stocks several years ago and put my money in term deposits.) 🙂

The older I get, the less I understand. I take comfort in knowing my Dad wouldn't get it, either.

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:49 pm
I thought Ehrlich's book "The Dominant Animal"was fairly well measured, and generally in line with the post above (I haven't read the population bomb).
Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:44 pm
Ehrlich underestimated the Green Revolution and Haber/Bosch factor that was really upping food production at the time.
Ultimately, he will be proven right.
OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 8:39 am
I met Ehrlich personally when he visited Va Tech sometime around 1972. Visiting scholars often have smaller seminar meetings after making their presentation to the larger U community, which he did. Not many people attended the particular seminar I participated in , probably less than a couple of dozen. I was taking some ag courses there at the time, and enjoyed a long conversation with him.

You're dead on. He badly underestimated what we farmers could do, and are still doing, given the necessary industrial support system that keeps industrial level agriculture humming.

Sooner or later . We are going to have to deal with the Population Bomb. The resources we are devoting to industrial ag aren't going to last forever. Neither are nature's one time gifts of soil and water so long as we are in overshoot.

I was head over heels in love with a milk and corn fed girl from Ohio and we were about ready to join the Peace Corp or something along that line, and go someplace and save the people in some backwards community by teaching them how to farm the American way all day and enjoy each other all night of course.

But one of my crusty and profane old professors took me aside and asked me if I really wanted to go to XXXXX and teach starving people how to produce twice as much food so that twice as many of them would starve a generation down the road.

HE was right about the increase in production just resulting in more mouths to feed . back then. Since then, things have changed dramatically . in SOME countries.

There are good reasons to believe that birth rates may fall dramatically within the next decade or two in at least some of the countries that still have exploding populations. Maybe a few of them will manage to avoid starvation on the grand scale long enough for their populations to stabilize and decline.

It's too late for falling birth rates to prevent famine on the grand scale in a hell of a lot of places.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 10:54 am
Hi Old Farmer Mac,

Let's assume Ron's prediction of 2050 for a peak in World population at around 9 Billion is correct (this seems a very reasonable guess to me).

Also assume for the moment the grain is freely traded throughout the World with few barriers to trade (tariffs and outright bans).

Are you suggesting that it is likely that World food output will not be adequate to feed the World under this scenario?

Typically famine results from war and food supply not being able to be safely transported to those in need, at least in the past 50 years or so.

Do you expect this to change before 2070?

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 2:51 pm
Hi Dennis,

I'm going to answer twice, lol.

First off, do I think it's technically possible that we can feed a population that peaks around nine billion a few decades down the road?

This answer depends on how well energy supplies and the overall world economy holds up, with some wild cards thrown in relating to climate, depletion of certain critical resources such as fresh water and minerals such as easily mined phosphate rock, etc.

New technology and the reactions of the people to it will also play a big role.The role played by governments local to national to international will be critical, and huge, because only governments will have power enough to FORCE some changes that may and probably will be necessary.

Here are a few examples.

It may be necessary to force well to do people aka the middle classes, to give up eating red meat for the most part, so that grain ordinarily fed to cattle and hogs can be diverted to human consumption.

(I expect rich people will still be able to get a ribeye or pork chop any time by buying up ration tickets, or buying on the black market, or paying an exorbitant consumption tax, or any combination of these strategies.)

Fuels, especially motor fuels, may be tightly rationed, so that enough will be available to run farms and food processing and distribution industries.

Large numbers of people may be paid or coerced into going to work on farms or in community gardens or greenhouses.

A substantial fraction of the resources currently devoted to other needs or wants may have to be diverted to building sewage treatment infrastructure designed to capture and recycle the nutrients in human sewage.

I could go on all day.

Bottom line, I think that barring bad luck, it is technically possible that we can feed that many people that long, and for a while afterwards, as the population hopefully starts trending down.

As a practical matter, I don't think there WILL BE food enough for nine billion.

It's more likely in my opinion that some countries are going to come up desperately short of food, and be unable to beg, buy or steal it from other countries. Some people, and some countries, are likely to resort to taking food, and other resources of course by force from weaker neighbors .. maybe even "neighbors" on the far side of oceans.

I may be too pessimistic, but I'm one of the regulars here who think that climate change for the worse, much worse, is in the cards, and I spend a few hours every week reading history. Humans have always been ready to go to war, even without good reasons. A lot of people in desperate situations are going to see war as their best option, in my opinion, over the next half century.

Maybe my fellow Yankees will be willing to give up their burgers for beans so that kids in some far off country can eat. I'm not so sure we are compassionate enough to do so on the grand scale.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 11:25 am
Hi Hightrekker,

If total fertility ratios continue to fall (for the World they fell from 5 in 1965 to 2.5 in 2015) about a 1.38% per year, there may be no catastrophic collapse.

If that average rate should continue for 16 years then World TFR would be at 2 (below replacement level) by 2031. If the rate of decrease in TFR experienced from 1965 to 2015 continues for 35 years (to 2050), the TFR for the World would be 1.54 in 2050.

Based on UN data from 2015, 65% of the World's population had a weighted average TFR (weighted by population) of 2.05, but a more sophisticated calculation using estimates of the population of Women of child bearing age I have not done, I simply used total population to weight the TFR from each nation which implicitly assumes the age structure of each nation is identical which is clearly false.

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 1:01 pm
Dennis-
We are adding 83 million per year to a already population in drastic overshoot.
The barn door is already open, and the horses are gone.
Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 1:17 pm
Exactly! That's been my point from the very beginning. It is already way too late to fix things.

We have a predicament that must be dealt with, not a problem that can be solved.

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 7:41 pm
Bingo --
We have a winner!
alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 3:09 pm
Yeah, they shot white people. Can't have that. Nowadays the cops shoot three people on average every day in America. Nobody cares, life is cheap in America. Gun deaths are the price of freedom. Native Americans run about three times the risk of white folks, and black folks run about twice the risk.
GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 11:03 am
It is obvious that humans are the major drivers of extinction on the planet. We are in the Sixth Extinction event and we cause it directly and indirectly through our actions. the why is quite obvious, all species live to propagate and expand to their limits, our limits are global at this point and so are our effects. I don't see energy as much of a problem as there is plenty of it in various forms and we can obtain it if we want it. That however means continuing the high tech industrial form of civilization which we have embarked upon. Can that be made sustainable and much less harmful, even helpful? Of course it can, it's all about wise choices and thinking before we act instead of just going for profit.

The loss of vertebrates is just horrible but the loss of invertebrates will be the undoing of our farming and food production and much of the other life that depends upon them. The loss of insect life due to global human generated poisoning of the environment, especially food production areas, will unwind much of the food production.
As collapse starts, the chaos of riots and crime will rise sharply. All those mentally ill and drug addicted people will no longer have their chemicals, causing a trigger point of violence and chaotic actions.
However the major fast cause of loss of human life will be disease. People forget how it was just a few generations ago before antibiotics. Diseases will spread rapidly among the weak and starving, public sanitation will fail causing more disease to spread. Clean water supplies will become absent, compromised or even purposely wrecked. Hospitals will fail because of both being overrun and the power will fail plus supplies will fail. Disease will grow and spread among both people and their animals. It could take less than a generation to drastically reduce the population of the species, with the resulting loss of knowledge, technical ability and industrial ability the cascade will go further.
In the bad case scenarios much of the infrastructure will burn putting up a cloud of aerosols and GHG's as well as causing a large toxic pulse to the environment.

But on the other side humans are very inventive and determined to continue the system that supports a huge population. So we may expand this time forward for quite a while, but only through smart choices and changing how we do things such as agriculture, industry and technology. Smart choices, not choices just for profit.

Just one example of our innovative and creative ability.
From sand to soil in 7 hours
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stc5MUIloP0

SRSrocco says: 11/29/2017 at 11:17 am
NOT TO WORRY .

Humans need not worry about the Falling EROI, the Falling Carrying Capacity or the degradation of the environment. Those no longer matter now that BITCOIN is now trading over $11,000.

Technology will solve all our problems and Bitcoin will make us all wealthy once again.

steve

Doug Leighton says: 11/29/2017 at 11:21 am
Ron -- The full text of this paper in SCIENCE will cost you 15 bucks but in my opinion, is well worth it; below is the Abstract. Commenters are welcome to talk about educating women, etc. but its too late for Africa for the balance of this century. I have personally observed the situation in Central Africa where you can see a school each containing about 1,000 kids located at roughly one-kilometer intervals along all significant roads -- a lot of kids. Virtually all schools in Africa are run by churches (of all types), and you can guess what these guys are teaching about birth control: I've asked, and the answer is NOTHING. AFRICANS LOVE KIDS. And, health care has improved greatly over the past few decades meaning general health has been upgraded and infant mortality has been reduced greatly. In fact, I would say the bulk of the UN's efforts in Africa are directed towards improving general health at which they have been successful.

Sorry for the inarticulate ramble but this is a rather personal interest of mine partly because our family is supporting a young girl in Uganda who will soon become a medical doctor. I had promised to stop commenting on the Blog but the African over population crisis issue is one dear to my heart.

WORLD POPULATION STABILIZATION UNLIKELY THIS CENTURY

"The United Nations recently released population projections based on data until 2012 and a Bayesian probabilistic methodology. Analysis of these data reveals that, contrary to previous literature, the world population is unlikely to stop growing this century. There is an 80% probability that world population, now 7.2 billion people, will increase to between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion in 2100. This uncertainty is much smaller than the range from the traditional UN high and low variants. Much of the increase is expected to happen in Africa, in part due to higher fertility rates and a recent slowdown in the pace of fertility decline. Also, the ratio of working-age people to older people is likely to decline substantially in all countries, even those that currently have young populations."

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/346/6206/234

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 11:39 am
There is an 80% probability that world population, now 7.2 billion people, will increase to between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion in 2100.

I think you are about 237,500,000 too low with your estimate of world population. Well, that was as of a few minutes ago. It was 7,437,500,000 last time I checked.
World Population Clock

However, I think the UN is way off on their population projection. I believe that world population will reach 9 billion by 2050, just about a billion and a half above where it is now. However, I doubt it will ever go much above that. The UN, of course, is predicting no catastrophes. After all, that's not their job.

alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 3:11 pm
The UN systematically underestimates the fall in birth rate associated with better education for women and their access to health care and contraceptives.
GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 11:43 am
Here is the free pdf version of the paper"World population stabilization
unlikely this century".
https://www.stat.berkeley.edu/~aldous/157/Papers/gerland.pdf
Doug Leighton says: 11/29/2017 at 11:57 am
Thanks Fish!
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 12:49 pm
Hi Doug and Gonefishing,

The article inked below is also of interest (chart from the PDF).

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378014001095?via%3Dihub

David Archibald says: 11/30/2017 at 2:06 am
My work suggests that the world runs out of more land that can be put under grain by 2035. This is mainly Brazil and Russia. Just about every country in Africa is importing grain now. Therefore most of their population growth has to be fed on imported grain. Most of the costs in producing grain are in energy so a rising oil price will have a leveraged effect on food prices.
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 12:31 pm
Hi Doug,

Glad you decided to comment.

Yes Africa is indeed a problem as far as population growth. With education and improved access to health care and internet access on smart phones, African women may become empowered and decide to control their fertility using modern birth control. The transition to lower fertility can happen in a generation.

As an anecdotal example, my family and my wife's averaged a Total fertility ratio (TFR) of 5.5 for the two families (close to the average sub-Saharan TFR), the next generation of 11 children in total had a total of 6 children for a TFR of about 1.1.

Unscientific and likely too optimistic, but not that different from what occurred in the upper middle income nations of the World (population about 2.4 billion in 2015) where TFR decreased from 4.93 in 1975 to 1.93 in 2000 a period of 25 years.

It is the low income nations that have lagged in reducing TFR, economic development is a key ingredient to getting population under control. Easier to say than to accomplish.

The article below is hopeful

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/06/26/the-race-to-solar-power-africa

I saw something similar on PBS

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/in-remote-kenyan-villages-solar-startups-bring-light

George Kaplan says: 11/29/2017 at 1:10 pm
Dennis – I guess this site is rightfully energy-centric but what's your view on the other limits that are showing up like potable water, top soil, phosphorus?
Dennis Coyne says: 11/29/2017 at 1:40 pm
Hi George,

I think recycling human waste might help with top soil and phosphorus, though a Farmer would know more than me. I think recycling water from sewers can also be done and eventually the expansion of solar power may allow desalination of sea water.

In short, I think there are solutions to these issues, especially as we move to more sustainability (less beef production would help) and a peak in population as education levels improve would also help.

Some nations such as Iran have made amazing progress on their TFR, from 1990 to 2005 (15 years) the TFR fell from 5.62 to 1.97 and by 2015 it had fallen to 1.75.

African nations should find out what happened in Iran over that period and import some of the lessons learned.

Note that there are many examples of a rapid demographic transition, another is South Korea where total fertility ratio (TFR) decreased from 5.63 to 1.60 from 1965 to 1990 and in 2015 had fallen to 1.26.

Ghung says: 11/29/2017 at 5:44 pm
Using South Korea as an example of increased sustainability (the point here?) is not helping your case much Dennis. As their TFR decreased, their consumption grew exponentially. Just since 1991:

https://i0.wp.com/www.eurasiareview.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/petroleum_consumption.png

Seems their per-capita energy use has skyrocketed in the last 60 years or so, and they now import most of their energy sources. They became 9th in CO2 emissions as of 2005. Looks like increased standards-of-living and declining birth rates are not much of a solution for reducing planetary impacts.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 10:40 am
Hi Ghung,

I agree. The point was that population growth can be reduced.

We need two things to happen, reduced use of fossil fuels (which peak fossil fuels will take care of by 2030) and reduced population (which peak population in 2050 to 2070 will take care of).

https://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol28/39/28-39.pdf

Figure below is from page 1153 of the article linked above.

Note that in 2015 the TFR for South Korea was 1.26, if average life expectancy does not rise above 90 years and World TFR falls to 1.25 by 2100, then World Population falls from 8 billion to 2 billion in about 100 years. This reduces the use of resources and the pressure on other species.

Transition to wind and solar with pumped hydro, wind gas, and thermal storage backup can reduce carbon emissions and reforestation as population falls will help to absorb some of the carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon capture and storage of burned biofuels and cement that absorbs CO2 would be other options for reducing atmospheric CO2.

As fossil fuel peaks prices will rise and the transition to non-fossil fuel will speed up.

The process will be messy, but we are likely to muddle through as there is not much alternative (or not a better one as I see it.)

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 10:41 am
Forgot chart sorry

George Kaplan says: 11/30/2017 at 3:54 am
I think a common factor in all countries seeing large falls in birth rates is that they are preceded by large falls in death rates. This typically takes a couple of generations, which is one of the biggest causes of population overshoot. In Iran it was maybe a bit faster but not much – from above 20 per 1000 in the 50s and 12 in the eighties to around 4 now.
yvesT says: 11/30/2017 at 8:39 am
Regarding fertilizers, when you realize that there was a "human bones" market in the 19th century, and that for instance England "emptied" the catacombs in Sicily for that, or took back the soldiers bones from Waterloo, you get a sense of the urgency for fertilizer without phosphorus or natural gas based ones.
See for instance below :
"England is robbing all other countries of their fertility. Already in her eagerness for bones, she has turned up the battlefields of Leipsic, and Waterloo, and of Crimea; already from the catacombs of Sicily she has carried away skeletons of many successive generations. Annually she removes from the shores of other countries to her own the manorial equivalent of three million and a half of men Like a vampire she hangs from the neck of Europe."
https://livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe40s/crops_04.html
Or below :
https://medium.com/study-of-history/the-bones-of-waterloo-a3beb35254a3

I had a better link regarding the bones from Sicily catacombs (many due to the plague epidemia I think), but cannot find it back.

yvesT says: 11/30/2017 at 10:21 am
Note : the above quotation is in fact from Justus Von Liebig (German chemist/agronomist), it also appears in below books :
https://books.google.fr/books?id=bnXXES5-LRcC&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq=fertilizer+sicily+catacombs&source=bl&ots=uWrEC04pcf&sig=zf_RNhU0HfM_aetTy6AkyHSpp3Q&hl=fr&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7m_v-uebXAhXF0aQKHR1ABOkQ6AEIXjAK#v=onepage&q=fertilizer%20sicily%20catacombs&f=false
or :
https://books.google.fr/books?id=VugoemP2th0C&pg=PA178&lpg=PA178&dq=justus+von+liebig+bones+sicily&source=bl&ots=M808Tc41C4&sig=D-NkZ4zpKOekifQQs-eJt4P7LsI&hl=fr&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwia1eiczObXAhUJF-wKHRITBM0Q6AEIRTAI#v=onepage&q=justus%20von%20liebig%20bones%20sicily&f=false

And this page above (from "Justus Von Liebig : the chemical gatekeeper" p 178) is also interesting on other aspects, suggesting Liebig would today address energy ..

Nathanael says: 11/29/2017 at 4:24 pm
The churches which promote childbearing must be destroyed. They are basically the enemies of humanity. Since they're losing in North America, Europe, South America, and most of Asia, they are targeting Africa.

(And *targeting* is the correct word -- they are deliberately sending missionaries to spread their sick, twisted doctrines and spending lots of money to do so.)

islandboy says: 11/29/2017 at 5:00 pm
If you read my story below, Food for the Poor is a religious group. In Jamaica I believe it is affiliated with Missionaries for the Poor , an international Catholic organisation. So while they are doing yeoman service in providing shelter for poor folks, they are doing diddly squat to encourage poor folks to stop creating more mouths to feed and bodies to clothe and shelter. Isn't that just dandy?

Incidentally here's a recent newspaper article from my neck of the woods:

Crime strangling growth – Youth unemployment in Caribbean highest in world, fuelling criminality

Youth unemployment in the Caribbean is said to be the highest in the world, and crime, partly fuelled by this high rate of joblessness, is a major obstacle to economic growth in the region, according to Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF boss, who addressed the sixth High Level Caribbean Forum, held yesterday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, said that crime imposed several economic costs such as public spending on security and the criminal justice system, as well as private spending on security. She also highlighted social costs arising from the loss of income owing to victimisation and incarceration.

Can anybody spot my comment? Hint: I used a pseudonym that should be familiar with everybody here.

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:49 pm
Can we be so unpolitical correct to call for "A Pope onA Rope?"
Someone must draw a line in the sand- or should we all be under a religious spell?
Or do we want to break that spell?
Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 10:57 pm
"would you like to see the pope on the end of a rope do you think he's a fool"

https://youtu.be/OOCbrUTpukM

GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 7:54 pm
This was discussed just this morning on NYC NPR, concerning homelessness and the housing provided for low income people. The gist of it was that although there were programs to help the people with food and housing, very little was really being done to solve the problems.
Fred Magyar says: 12/02/2017 at 8:20 pm
"This uncertainty is much smaller than the range from the traditional UN high and low variants. Much of the increase is expected to happen in Africa, in part due to higher fertility rates and a recent slowdown in the pace of fertility decline. Also, the ratio of working-age people to older people is likely to decline substantially in all countries, even those that currently have young populations."

I have the impression that many of us myself included have an outdated and still colonialist view of African societies. I think changes happening in many parts of Africa will surprise us and technologically leapfrog over much of the built infrastructure of the OECD countries. I have seen it happen first hand in previously underprivileged parts of Brazil.

https://www.ted.com/talks/keller_rinaudo_how_we_re_using_drones_to_deliver_blood_and_save_lives#t-518345

How we're using drones to deliver blood and save lives

Keller Rinaudo wants everyone on earth to have access to basic health care, no matter how hard it is to reach them. With his start-up Zipline, he has created the world's first drone delivery system to operate at national scale, transporting blood and plasma to remote clinics in East Africa with a fleet of electric autonomous aircraft. Find out how Rinaudo and his team are working to transform health care logistics throughout the world -- and inspiring the next generation of engineers along the way.

BTW, I have a serious question! Does this kind of technology make the population crisis in Africa better or worse? Would like to hear some thoughts on the matter.

islandboy says: 11/29/2017 at 1:49 pm
It is uncanny how this lead post has come about just when I have been thinking about this subject recently. I am currently very depressed, to the point I suspect it may be clouding my better judgment with respect to various matters. This depression is partly caused by my views of the future of my little island in particular and the world in general. Let me try and illustrate how my thoughts have been brought into focus recently.

I travel around the city I live in, passing through all the different types of communities from time to time. We have pockets of extreme wealth as evidenced by palatial homes with swimming pools, tennis courts and all the creature comforts you would expect in the home of a wealthy first world resident. Leaving these pockets of extreme wealth, one doesn't have to drive for more than five minutes to reach pockets of extreme poverty, people who are so poor, they cannot pay rent and cannot envision ever buying a plot of land or a house, so they build structures on any piece of land that they can get away with. This type of activity extends across the island and there is no area that does not experience informal settlement (aka squatting). There is a political aspect to this, in that in an effort to garner the votes of the large voting block that poor people make up succesive governments have not discouraged squatting, to the point of encouraging it. See yesterday's cartoon in one of the local rags for a satirical perspective of the situation but, I digress.

I try to avoid too much contact with people outside my socioeconomic and educational class because it inevitably leads me to being depressed but, sometimes I end up in that exact situation. This past Monday night was one such case and it was my observations from Monday night that got me thinking about Peak Oil and carrying capacity and overshoot. I was invited to visit a gathering and told to bring drinks and that they were going to cook so, I decided not to eat a meal before leaving the city. It was a forty five minute drive, including a drive through late evening heavy traffic heading westward out of the city, past a big highway construction project being carried out by a Chinese (honest to God, from China) construction firm that has been active in the island for a number of years. On arriving at my destination I was told by my host that the gathering was at another house less than half a mile away.

This particular house was one of 39 houses made possible by the efforts of a couple from Grand Junction, Colorado (with pics) along with the local branch of Food For The Poor . I estimate that, these "houses" measure about 13ft. by 15 ft. inside and are supposed to include a kitchen, a bathroom and two bedrooms. The sister of my host was the recipient of this house, being qualified for the charity as a result of being unemployed with four children, one of whom was either newborn or yet to be born at the time the house was handed over to her. She was not yet thirty years old when her last child was born. Does anybody see where I am going with this yet?

Back to the gathering. On arriving at the house my host informed that no food had been cooked. By this time I was hungry and asked where was the nearest cook-shop where I could purchase a meal. I traveled with my host to Old Harbour, the nearest town apart from Spanish Town. I can only describe Spanish Town as an overpopulated, crime infested, thug controlled mess, that becomes a ghost town by midnight even though it is surprisingly busy by day. I asked my host if I should buy a meal for them also and they declined but, by the time we got back to the house, they declared that they were hungry and needed to get something to cook to go with the rice they had. So off we went to try and find a local shop that had what they wanted and was still open. First one was a 24 hour joint, built using an old cargo truck body but it didn't have all they wanted so it was off to another one that we managed to catch just as they were closing. We came away with a small packet of "veggie chunks" and some cooking oil. The little propane stove had been fired up and the rice was almost done so in less than fifteen minutes a meal of rice and veggie chunks was being served to four or five adults, one of whom had an infant, less than a year old, sharing the meal with her.

So let me weave together how all of this ties in with the subject of the lead post. First the "house" was only possible through the generosity of citizens of a first world, developed country. The materials that made the house (lumber corrugated, galvanized steel) are the products of extractive industries that rely heavily of FF, petroleum in particular. The soft drinks and alcohol that I brought to the gathering were manufactured, distributed and retailed in a system, heavily dependent on external energy. My vehicle runs of diesel. The rice for the meal I ate and the one at the house was imported from outside the island, again produced and delivered with lots of help from petroleum. The chicken I ate was locally produced with imported grain, a product of industrial scale agriculture, probably in the USA. Thankfully many of the chicken farmers are involved in a project that started with 15 kW systems at about 40 chicken farms and seems to be expanding. The veggie chunks are a meat substitute protein made from soy meal, again a product of industrial scale agriculture.

The cooking oil was probably one of soy, palm, canola, corn or coconut oil, produced at an industrial scale and imported to the island. Jamaica was once an exporter of coconut oil before the industry was decimated by a disease called lethal yellowing back in the early 70s. Virtually the entire population of coconut palms on the island was wiped out by this disease and even though efforts have been made to resuscitate the industry using disease resistant varieties, more than forty years on, the manufacture of coconut oil in Jamaica is a tiny cottage industry.

So here we have five or adults, two males and three females, one of which had four children with the other two having one each. There were other people at the gathering but as far as I am aware only two had jobs, the brother of my host who left before the meal and the woman with the infant who has a part time job selling lotto tickets. All of these people are living on the edge, heavily dependent on a system that is in danger of collapse for their very survival and they are far from alone. there are thousands of them if not hundreds of thousands on this island alone.

If for whatever reason industrial scale agriculture fails, the songbirds are going to be eaten out of the trees. I used to dissect rats in my sixth form (12 and 13th grade) biology classes and there ain't much meat on them but, if we get hungry enough maybe we'll turn on the rats. Without affordable propane, every tree and shrub will end up as firewood. This is the reason why I have an almost obsessive focus on renewable energy, solar in particular. It is my hope that the deployment of renewable energy can stay ahead of FF depletion long enough for global civilization to transition away from FF. It is my hope that our civilization, seeing itself on a real time, renewable energy budget, will begin to recognize the fragility of our situation. I have to ask Ron and others to forgive me as I continue to bring attention to the hopeful stories. It is the only way I can keep myself from sliding into depression and despair. It is the only way I can cope.

alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 4:07 pm
The Green Revolution in the 60s was supposed to solve all our problems, and it solved a lot of them, especially in Europe and Asia. It works well when you have a lot of water and farm intensively, but is destructive in semi-arid conditions and when used in extensive agriculture, like the American Midwest.

After the Green Revolution, Asia boomed and Africa fell behind, prompting racist theories. Geography and climate are more likely explanations. In India, for example, the more arid north did less well than the wetter south. The Chinese were the first to realize the problem, and started a new generation of re-greening projects to boost agricultural production.

Meanwhile bad farming practices continues to rapidly degrade wide stretches of North America and South America. I was reading recently about a county in SD that lost 19 inches (not feet!) of topsoil between 1960 and 2014. Many places in America simply abandoned farming, like New England and Appalachia. People blame red dirt and the crick risin' in Appalachia and glacial rocks in New England, but that wasn't a problem before soil degradation set in.

The Green Revolution focused on genetics and chemistry, which makes sense if applied correctly. Development economists were puzzled that Kenyan farmers were uninterested in high yield seeds, but the explanation as simple: They need a regular water supply, not better seeds. A lot of places in the world get 3-4 weeks of rain a years, and good seeds don't solve this problem. Pumping the water out of the aquifier isn't the solution either, just ask anyone in Antelope Valley CA, a former grassland turned desert by the alfalfa farmers.

My mother warned my to watch out for flash floods when camping in the desert. It took me decades to understand why flash floods are a particular problem in the desert: More or less by definition, deserts are places where there are flash floods. The flash floods are both cause and symptom of soil degradation. Deserts aren't places where there isn't enough water -- they are places where rainwater runs off the surface instead of seeping into the soil. Degraded soil can't absorb water fast enough, surface runoff degrades soil.

The problem with industrial agriculture is that it treats the great outdoors like a hydroponic farm -- it ignores soil ecology and just assumes the hydrology will work itself out.

A more modern approach starts with water and soil. It's spreading rapidly in Africa, for example with the sand dams in Kenya, the terracing in Ethiopia and Kenya, and the various planting pit (like zai and demi-lunes) in the Sahel and agroforestry (planting trees in fields, or crops in orchards) in a lot of arid places.

It's true that mankind is pushing the limits of what the current ecosystem can carry, but it's also true that the ecosystem could be much bigger than it currently is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtOBSmIBx1A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkq540gsq2M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nKc5wEjWrY

Ron Patterson says: 11/29/2017 at 4:22 pm
Meanwhile bad farming practices continues to rapidly degrade wide stretches of North America and South America. I was reading recently about a county in SD that lost 19 feet of topsoil between 1960 and 2014.

There is a serious problem with that statement. No place on earth has 19 feet of topsoil, not even 19 inches over an entire county.

Topsoil Wikipedia
Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top 2 inches (5.1 cm) to 8 inches (20 cm). It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs.

alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 4:30 pm
Inches I mean, not feet obviously.

EDIT: Here's a shot from Kalkriese, Germany where they are digging out a Roman-German battlefield. The artifacts are all found at or just below the border between the black topsoil and the red dirt underneath it -- that was 7 BC

https://www.landkreis-osnabrueck.de/sites/default/files/bildergalerie/k1600_grabung1016_1.jpg

http://www.kalkriese-varusschlacht.de/fileadmin/_processed_/csm_2015-02-16-Archaeologie_Schnitt_68a0493043.jpg

The archaeologists there told me the topsoil is about 1.5-2m deep, and was formed after the Romans left by later farming practices.

Ulenspiegel says: 11/30/2017 at 5:07 am
In the Kalkriese area, the farmers used sod planting ("Plaggendüngung"), i.e. they removed the top soil on large areas to improve the soil on their fields.

Therefore, Kalkriese is an example how NOT to do it.

alimbiquated says: 11/30/2017 at 5:35 am
I think the thickness of the topsoil in the area speaks for itself.

My point is that as Ron points out, there is a limited carrying capacity for the planet, but I don't really think we are there yet, because there are relatively simple methods available to make huge areas of the Earth's surface. Of course, even if it's possible, it isn't clear it will happen.

Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 11:57 am
there are relatively simple methods available to make huge areas of the Earth's surface.

That seems to be an incomplete sentence. Make huge areas of the Earth's surface what ? Desert? We sure can do that. We are doing more of that every year. Scrubland? We are doing that also by cutting down the forest and trying to make farmland out of it. After a few years the land will row nothing of value. That's happening in the Amazon right now.

There is nothing we can do to increase human habitual area without reducing the wild habitual area. That is what my post is all about. We are destroying every wild thing by destroying their habitat, by taking their habitat for ourselves.

alimbiquated says: 11/30/2017 at 12:50 pm
productive.

Your last paragraph is not correct. Much of the world is desert, and that desert could be much more productive than it is, given the right agriculture methods.

Whether that will actually happen is another question of course.

alimbiquated says: 11/29/2017 at 4:22 pm
Just a line of rocks on contour works too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCSYqUiI41w

The chinese are a lot farther down ths road.

http://www.topguilintravel.com/images/longsheng-travel-bg.jpg

But the Ehtiopians are doing their best to imitate the chinese

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CVSiR0mWsAAxhqi.jpg

The Kenyns too.

http://c8.alamy.com/comp/B7P41Y/africa-kenya-matiliku-ukambani-makueni-district-fertile-farming-country-B7P41Y.jpg

This would be great in East Tennessee, but they get their corn in a jar, as the old song goes.

GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 4:11 pm
That very same first world country that donated the materials has plenty of homeless and large amounts of poor. It also has large amounts of empty buildings and huge amounts of food waste, yet they do not take care of their own. That is even a sadder situation as people freeze to death, starve, and die of simple preventable health problems in one of the richest countries in the world. Basic needs are not met and the governing bodies are constantly fighting to reduce the paltry benefits that are given. It's a country full of hate for their own people and hate back at the haters.
TonyMax says: 11/29/2017 at 4:42 pm
There's no inherent evolutionary advantage to caring for people you have no relation to. That's the real reason why all of these 'safety net' programs you describe are hated in the general sense and under attack as time marches on.
GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 9:06 pm
Now Tony, we all know the public programs are under attack because of the greed and selfishness of people who already have too much money and stuff.
We all know it is the greed and the overconsumption that is causing the destruction of our environment and possibly the whole human race. That is a huge evolutionary disadvantage.
Helping, sharing and cooperating is the advantage. The selfish and greedy are like ticks sucking the world dry for their own personal benefit.
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 2:51 pm
There's no inherent evolutionary advantage to caring for people you have no relation to.

That is absolute Bullshit!

http://www.sarahmathew.net/

Dr. Sarah Mathew

I study the evolution of human ultra-sociality and the role of culture in enabling it. I am especially interested in how humans evolved the capacity to cooperate with millions of genetically unrelated individuals, and how this links to the origins of moral sentiments, prosocial behavior, norms, and large-scale warfare. To address these issues, I combine formal modeling of the evolution of cooperation with fieldwork among the Turkana. The Turkana are an egalitarian pastoral society in East Africa who cooperate, including in costly inter-ethnic raids, with hundreds of other Turkana who are not kin nor close friends. Through systematic empirical studies in this unique ethnographic context, my research project here aims to provide a detailed understanding of the mechanisms underpinning cooperation and moral origins.

Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 10:53 pm
evolutionary advantage of caring for others
About 232,000,000 results (0.58 seconds)
https://tinyurl.com/y7wv5sez

This information is not exactly carved in a stone tablet and hidden on the dark side of the moon.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 5:20 pm
Hi Ron,

I haven't read your good article just yet (although it is doubtful any of it will surprise me or add to what is already more or less understood), but just to mention that I recently listened to a podcast from Chris Martenson's site, Peak Prosperity, featuring William Rees from the University of BC

Two things about the podcast that stood out was that William was in fine form (articulate, clear, concise, passionate, 'deathly' serious, etc.); and the second was his mention of possibly fundamentally changing the natural system of Atlantic cod (fisheries), so that they may never recover. Not everything can simply reverse, and quickly enough, if they can, such as, say, with the depletion of the ozone layer, and when it involves all kinds of living systems– much, and the intricacies/complex interconnections, of which we are blissfully unaware of, despite some of our arrogant pretensions to the contrary (such as with regard to the avocation of most if not all forms of geoengineering)– it is very serious.

What concerns me also is how some people, such as on this site, can ostensibly claim a required greenwashed BAU from out of one side of their mouths, while on the other side, express grave concerns for the ecosystem. We cannot have it both ways.

To me, much greenwashed BAU is just swapping out different forms of rampant resource extraction, pollution and inequability for other forms.

The system, along with its 'power-politics', is still intact.

IOW, there is no real change.

Loren, assuming that's you, I am certain that radical decline, if not outright collapse, is already well underway, despite the obstinate mindlessness of some people. Just because some don't see something or want to see something doesn't mean it is not there.

My simple recommendation, especially for certain people WRT this deathwish-for-a-culture is to let go/ get out (and in the process, learn things like permaculture and local community resilience, and how our ancestors did some of it). Your comforts are much of an illusion (and predicated, for example, on natural draw-down).

islandboy says: 11/29/2017 at 6:46 pm
I knew you'd show up sooner or later and since you've always been critical of my support for renewables and EVs, let's bite.

"To me, much greenwashed BAU is just swapping out different forms of rampant resource extraction, pollution and inequability for other forms.

The system, along with its 'power-politics', is still intact.

IOW, there is no real change."

Are you saying that "there is no real change" going from corporate owned, centrally located, large scale, FF fired generators to small scale, individually or community owned, distributed renewable generators? If so, that's not what the FF and corporate generator class in Australia thinks. They have captured the Australian federal government and are fighting renewables as hard as they can.

Are you saying "there is no real change" going from ICE powered vehicles to EVs that, are perfectly happy to suck electrons from any source including renewable sources individually owned or owned by a co-op of which the vehicle owner is invested? That's not an opinion shared by the Koch brothers who are spending millions of dollars to try and paint EVs in a bad light in the eyes of the public.

Surely you realize that an individual with solar on their roof and an EV is giving a big middle finger to the status quo, including FF corporations and utilities who will no longer be able to feed at that individual's trough. In case you don't realize it, that is a very big disruption of "system, along with its 'power-politics'" and no, in case you haven't been listening, "The system, along with its 'power-politics'", will not be "still intact."

Now if you read my fairly long narrative further up, I hope the point I am trying to make does not escape you. That point is that there are millions, no lets make that billions of poor poorly educated folks who depend on things like industrial agriculture and the current status quo for the basic necessities of life, food, clothing and shelter. If the status quo collapses they are dead, let me say that again, dead! I'm all for dismantling the status quo and replacing it with something that is much kinder to all life on this pale blue dot we call home but, I shudder at the thought of millions or billions of human beings starving to death, just as I shudder at what we are doing to the biosphere. Can you see why I'm depressed right now?

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 7:59 pm
Alan,
This is my cameo appearance. LOL

There is no real change if we are still relying on the monstrosity that is the crony-capitalist plutarchy/government-big-biz symbiosis, such as for solar panels, etc. and/or what some misleadingly refer to as 'renewable'.

If you are in the biz– and I think you wrote hereon that you indeed are– then some might suggest, maybe even me, that you are, say, 'soft-shilling' and/or rationalizing for your product using POB as your platform, and maybe problematically skewing the narrative a little more towards a dystopic system that we should be getting the hell out of, while making preparations to do so, like learning how to do the basics in a local, resilient context so that we do not need industrial agro. The longer we rely on industrial anything– and as if it's somehow morally/ethically neutral– the harder/faster we will likely fall, maybe along something of a seneca curve.

We cannot eat solar panels and electricity is not a necessity, except to for the brainwashed and the brainwashers.
Attempting to play on people's heartstrings, such as about poor people in so-called undeveloped locales to sell a product they don't need and that would risk locking them– and others– into a certain ('Western') lifestyle, in some contexts, approaches contemptible, by the way.

You should already know how sociogeopoliticultural ideologies like Westernisation is foisted upon the global masses through physical, cultural, mental and intellectual colonialism, with the result often being wars and deaths to people and traditional ways of life. Just consider the Middle East right now. In the name of what? Oil and oligarchy?
You've said it yourself hereon that you have some kind of slavery in your family, yes? Well, many people are still slaves anyway, if with coats of white paint. Libya was in the news recently about that– slavery– incidentally.

If we want to do solar panels etc. the right, ethical ways, we need sea changes, such as that avoid slavery and privilege-by-gun, but I highly doubt we will manage them in time, and suspect that we are already long past that time.

That said, how do you feel now?

islandboy says: 11/29/2017 at 10:31 pm
I am not yet in the business of doing anything with solar PV so, as of right now I have no product that I am shilling for, soft or hard. I am in a business connected to entertainment if you must know. The entertainment business can by no means be classified as non-discretionary and recent technology has allowed far more people to compete with me so it will be necessary to get out of that at some point. How about viewing this as something I see as as worthwhile pursuit for the future of mankind, given my skill set and thus my advocating it as a worthwhile area for me to pursue a vocation in? I am not only advocating for solar PV because it's a field I can participate in but, because I think it can contribute a great deal to reductions in carbon emissions among other noble aspirations.

Are you going to start suggesting that I want to get into the business of manufacturing and selling EVs just because I am suggesting that large scale EV adoption would be a good thing? I ain't no Elon Musk if that's what your thinking. Now, if the shit hits the fan and motor fuels became really unobtainium, I might take a stab at an EV conversion business, a la Jack Rickard but, right now even Jack seems disillusioned with that pursuit, having posted only one new video since the middle of August and only two new blog posts since the last week of July. At any rate the necessary preconditions for such a business to be successful in an age of factory made EVs, do not exist.

I am with OFM on the point that some of your ideas for agriculture cannot adequately serve the needs of a rapidly growing population of 7.5 billion people. My dad who was a descendant of rebel runaway slaves, known in Jamaica as Maroons , was into agriculture and left me and my surviving sister a six acre homestead when he died. I can tell you agriculture ain't a walk in the park. It's damned hard work and carries all sorts of risks not faced by other pursuits (droughts, thieves, diseases pests etc.) . You seem to have some romantic view of agriculture that I do not share.

As for locking people in to a western lifestyle, that doesn't apply to Jamaica. The western lifestyle came with colonization and slavery. Do you think that people outside of the developed word should forgo electricity, computers, cell phones, the internet and other modern conveniences?

Despite all of that, the Caribbean has been bucking western culture for centuries. Trinidad and Tobago has their carnival and it's music and Jamaica has had as big an impact on western culture with our music (reggae and ska) as western culture has had on us. Even this past weekend, a dark skinned Jamaican woman sporting a huge afro, placed third in the Miss Universe pageant. The girl that won was from South Africa and could pass for Caucasian whether she is or not and I didn't see any other black women in the contest sporting an afro hairstyle (not that I watched it).

When it comes to some things, that train has already left the station. No point in romanticizing about what could have been. I'd rather focus on what small steps we can take to improve things in the here and now, while moving us to a more sustainable future. I will probably remain depressed until the new year. Probably more to with not having any immediate family around for "the festive season" than anything else. Maybe the new year will bring some good news on the renewable/sustainability front! That would cheer me up!

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 10:40 pm
Islandboy–
After being in Central America for quite a while, and that heavy Catholic noose around everyones neck, it was so liberating to get out to the islands.
Lets Party Mon!
islandboy says: 11/30/2017 at 3:17 am
Now you're talking! We in the Caribbean know how to party! I wouldn't be surprised if we woke up the morning after the collapse and said, "Collapse? What collapse? We were too busy partying to notice" 😉

Having said that, Trinidad is heavily influenced by catholicism, their carnival being associated with the catholic observance of Lent. I don't see any evidence of the Trinis (as they are known in the islands) taking the admonitions of their various religious leaders too seriously. Hell! I've never been to Trinidad carnival but, I hear it's one wild party!

On the other hand, Trinidad should have some long term concerns about what they are going to do after Oil and Gas production fall below consumption and they have to start importing hydrocarbons. What if either prices are too high or supplies are limited? What if prices collapse due to lack of demand as Seba suggests will happen after EVS and solar begin to dominate transport and electricity generation?

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 8:22 am
So how is that wind farm coming along?

https://www.ustda.gov/news/press-releases/2017/ustda-advances-wind-power-generation-jamaica-through-us-solutions

islandboy says: 11/30/2017 at 9:04 am
Way too early to say. The article dated October 4, 2017 says this:

"The feasibility study will evaluate the viability of installing the wind farm, which would represent one of the first offshore wind installations in Jamaica and the greater Caribbean region."

I expect the feasibility study is going to take months and I would expect them to do some detailed analysis of the offshore wind resource in the process. It is good that this study is being done so soon after two devastating hurricanes have hit the region. Should keep hurricanes very much in the picture.

Dated

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 11:01 am
Looking at some Caribbean buoy data it looks like wind would be a good source of power for the islands.
Beside the wind, the island has about 54 billion kwh/day of sunlight falling on it. That is more than ten times the total energy production per year for the island. Energy is not a problem, how the energy is generated is the problem.
Cover less than 0.1 percent of the island with solar panels and make up the difference with wind power.
islandboy says: 11/30/2017 at 4:26 pm
I have done some numbers in terms of what it would take to power the island entirely with renewables, mostly solar. Not impossible but the technocrats, one of whom is a college classmate of mine, cannot wrap their head around 100% renewable electricity!

Incidentally, I came across a video presentation on Youtube (with a really annoying backing track) that at about 3 minutes in contains the following text:

"Seba's forecasts are predicated on the assumption that the cost of generating and storing electricity will continue to fall – to the point where just about all generation will be solar by 2030. But electricity production would only have to increase by 18 percent in the US to cope with a complete switch to EVs, he said"

That 18% figure squares quite nicely with some back of the envelope calculations I have done.

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 4:36 pm
The choice is to transistion or fail.
OFM says: 12/01/2017 at 12:14 pm
I've made good friends with a couple of guys from Jamaica who have friends and family here that have managed to get their permanent paperwork taken care of.

Unfortunately it doesn't look as if they will ever be able to get permanent resident status. They're older guys, and about as mellow and fun people to be around as I have ever met. They come up for an extended family visit every fall, which just HAPPENS to be the time of year local farmers need a lot of extra help, lol.

As soon as I'm finished with family duties, I'm going down to spend a month with them. 😉

Will be spending some money on food and utilities and a few new nice things for them of course, because while they're friends, they're not well off.

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 10:31 pm
Bottom line:
It is really hard to face the extinction of your species, no matter what reality presents to you.
GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 8:31 am
What has been highly disturbing is watching the natural world be run over and steadily destroyed.
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 9:52 am
We cannot eat solar panels and electricity is not a necessity, except to for the brainwashed and the brainwashers.

Than do the world a favor and unplug yourself from all sources of electricity! At least we here won't have to read your fantasies!

BTW there are plenty of people who understand that the current capitalist system is not the answer, read Kate Raeworth's, Donut Economics for starters.

Modern humans could no more live without electricity in the 21st century than they could live without food and water. Try living without refrigeration in any city in the world. You would cause massive starvation in a few days. Try providing medical care to an urban population without electricity.

You have to be completely delusional to suggest that electricity is not a necessity!

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/30/2017 at 9:48 pm
That's all irrelevant to my point which still stands– especially when the system is destroying our planet. We have lived with electricity for a relative split second of our existence as a species on this planet.
Besides, if we're not treating the planet properly, do we even deserve electricity and its conveniences? I think not.

And then there are assorted uses for electricity, some being more questionable as priorities than others.

Electric car versus fridge?

FWIW, I have personally lived without refrigeration for months in a major city, at least at home after shopping at the grocery store LOL, but also in the country– more hard-core.

If your local community especially is growing and processing its own food, then it's easy.

There's pickling, drying, fermenting, spicing/salting, alcohol, etc., and natural cool-storage, such as root cellars and simple cooling-by-evaporation systems.

There's also 'eating as you go'. Other animals do that, and I've never heard of an animal that needs a fridge or electricity, have you? Maybe your cat at home, but even Meow Mix can last outside the fridge, yes?

But some of us have to actually help make the changes, such as to the narrative, and limit the cling to some kinds of BAU narratives and fantasies.

Do it for Mother Earth, Fred. Or me. Or Harvey Weinstein or whoever/whatever motivates you. Coral.

Obviously, we can't just turn off the lights and fridges overnight, but there are plenty of ways to manage, maintain and consume food that don't require a fridge. So if we can't just turn off the lights and fridges overnight, maybe we should start talking more about how to live without them and/or with greater resilience.

But even if the juice stays on forevermore, some juiceless skills and knowledge are great to learn, have and apply.

BTW, I just watched this documentary on rare earths– the apparently highly-polluting stuff that's supposed to help power, until they run out, all these new and relatively-useless electrical gadgets now and in the future to get off of those other pollutants.

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 7:53 pm
but just to mention that I recently listened to a podcast from Chris Martenson's site, Peak Prosperity, featuring William Rees from the University of BC

Highly recommended.
And I'm not a fan of some of Martenson's guests.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 11/29/2017 at 8:09 pm
I came across the podcast indirectly via another site, but do sometimes run into Chris' material. He seems good at interviewing and is easy to follow in videos.
OFM says: 11/29/2017 at 7:59 pm
This post is going to be a gold mine for me, because it relates directly to so much of what I'm working on for publication in book form if I ever manage to finish it to my satisfaction. Here's hoping it attracts over a thousand comments, lol! I'm especially interested in comments that dispute my own, because those are the ones enable me to understand my own blind spots. 😉

Now so far, nobody has said anything about what I will refer to as the SECOND key fact that one must understand to understand evolution. Hoyle missed the first one altogether, making a total fool of himself, although he was a brilliant scientist, one of the top men in HIS field, his mistake being that he failed to understand that evolution BUILDS on it's PAST " accomplishments".

The second key fact I am hereby pointing out is that while evolution creates new life forms that reproduce to fill any and all available niches, there's no GUIDANCE involved, no overall PLAN, no GOD in charge, if you wish to put it that way.

Evolution is characterized in large part by parsimony, by being conservative in the use of resources. Animals that don't have use for claws don't have claws like tigers, lol, and animals that don't eat grass out in the fields don't have digestive systems like COWS. Evolution creates organisms that are "good at" taking advantage of whatever resources are available, WITHOUT REGARD ANY FUTURE CONSEQUENCES because there is NO LONG TERM PLAN. Behavioral BRAKES that aren't needed don't evolve, lol, and countless things that would be extremely useful, like eyes in the back of our heads, which would keep us from being attacked from the rear, don't often evolve either, because .. well because of more factors than I have any inclination to cover at this minute. Half of the SHORT answer is that eyes in the back of our heads would cost us more in terms of sacrificing something else than they would gain for us. The other half of the SHORT answer is that since pure chance plays such a big role . the odds are astronomically high against it happening anyway.

This a comment/ rant, not a BOOK. The BOOK is in the works, and will be available free to member of this forum who may want to read it and point out shortcomings in it before I publish it, most likely for free on the net. I'm not so arrogant as to think anybody will PAY for it, lol.

Dead ends, blind alleys, and death, at the individual level, and or at the species level, means absolutely NOTHING to "Mother Nature" because she is not sentient, she's not moral, she's not even ALIVE in the usual sense. She's just an artifact, a tool, that we naked apes have invented in our efforts to understand reality.

What I'm getting at, since She IS parsimonious, is that She does not provide brakes where none are needed.
Sometimes things do evolve that prove to be useful under new circumstances, but when this happens, it's just a lucky accident for the creature involved. If for instance a creature evolves a forelimb capable of grasping a branch, so that it can climb better, lol, later on the ability to GRASP something MAY come in very handy, because it sets the stage for that creature being able to grasp a stone which can be used as a tool or weapon. This does NOT mean the creature WILL eventually discover the use of tools and weapons. It DOES mean the probability of such evolution is vastly enhanced. There's NO PLANNING INVOLVED . except in the minds of deists who accept the reality of evolution while also retaining the concept of a God or gods or some guiding force of some sort.

IF the need arises for BRAKES, well then, die off, or even extinction, takes care of the problem. If a given species eats only a given plant, and that plant goes extinct, Mother Nature does not grieve for either the plant, nor the species that feeds exclusively upon it,which very likely also goes extinct. She doesn't even consciously keep score, as indifferently as a hired bookkeeper keeps books for a client he has never met and will never meet. She does however inadvertently create a RECORD of historical "scores" , which we can read. It's the fossil record.

It's rather amusing that professional biologists go around talking about human stupidity as if there is something inherently WRONG with people, as if we are collectively DEFECTIVE. We are what we are because we are final product ( up until today ) of our own evolutionary history. We're as " good " or "well designed "as we are evolved to be, like all other living creatures.

Engineers build in safety margins, and add features that may be useful, under certain circumstances, when they design things, because they DO work with and from PRECONCEIVED PLANS. Mother Nature doesn't make plans, she just deals and redeals the cards, over and over, and will continue to do so until all life on this planet perishes which won't be until the sun expands sufficiently to destroy the last vestiges of life on it.

We are NOT something different from the rest of biological creation, we do NOT operate under different rules, we aren't on some sort of fucking pedestal, separate from the rest of the biosphere. THAT whole crock of shit sort of thinking is one of the cornerstones of kinds of the thinking that some of the regulars here like to make fun of, such as religion, nationalism, racism, etc.

A biologist who talks about humanity as if humanity SHOULD BE EXPECTED to display a hive like consciousness has his head up his ass. NO. NO. No.

We have succeeded,basically for no other reason that accident in the last analysis, to the point we compete mostly with each other, rather than other species.

The evolved PROGRAMS hard wired into our brains that drive our behavior DO NOT include much in the way of built in brakes, because BRAKES HAVE COSTS. If we over populate, if we use up critical resources on which we depend for our survival, and perish, there's NOBODY who gives a shit.. other than some of us who are aware of the fact that we ARE in overshoot. Mother Nature is INCAPABLE of giving a shit.

The whole fucking idea that we are SOMETHING SPECIAL was probably originated by the first priests and their allies. It's an idea that has little to do with any discussion based on real SCIENCE within the context of understanding our own overshoot .

Now none of this rant should be interpreted as indicating I don't know and understand that humans are tribal creatures, that we are social creatures, and that we survive and thrive because we DO live and work cooperatively. The thing is , we survive and thrive as COMPETING communities, tribes, and nations, rather than as a SINGLE global community. Wolf packs compete. Prides of lions compete. Bands of chimps compete. We humans compete with each other. Talking as if we are DEFECTIVE because we behave this way is a waste of time.

When the shit hits the fan hard enough and fast enough, we do sometimes cooperate with our former enemies, at least temporarily.Old enemies can be new allies.

It's at least THEORETICALLY POSSIBLE that we can cooperate as a SPECIES, at the global level, in order to solve some or maybe even most of the problems associated with our own overshoot. We have cooperated before at levels up to and including the global level. In WWII, most of the developed countries of the world were involved as partisans on one or the other side. We cooperate to some extent at the global level now, in economic terms, and in terms of our physical security, as for instance in arms control agreements.

But just because it's theoretically possible that we can cooperate at the species level globally doesn't mean it's going to happen. I don't think there's any real likelihood of it happening, although alliances consisting of the various major economic and military powers do exist and will continue to exist and some of these alliances will prove to be critically important in determining the course of future history.

GoneFishing says: 11/29/2017 at 9:17 pm
"A biologist who talks about humanity as if humanity SHOULD BE EXPECTED to display a hive like consciousness has his head up his ass. NO. NO. No." Do you mean E. O. Wilson has his head up his ass?
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 6:17 am
Do you mean E. O. Wilson has his head up his ass?

Edward O. Wilson's New Take on Human Nature

The eminent biologist argues in a controversial new book that our Stone Age emotions are still at war with our high-tech sophistication

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/edward-o-wilsons-new-take-on-human-nature-

In his newly published The Social Conquest of the Earth -- the 27th book from this two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize -- Wilson argues the nest is central to understanding the ecological dominance not only of ants, but of human beings, too. Ants rule the microhabitats they occupy, consigning other insects and small animals to life at the margins; humans own the macroworld, Wilson says, which we have transformed so radically and rapidly that we now qualify as a kind of geological force. How did we and the ants gain our superpowers? By being super-cooperators, groupies of the group, willing to set aside our small, selfish desires and I-minded drive to join forces and seize opportunity as a self-sacrificing, hive-minded tribe. There are plenty of social animals in the world, animals that benefit by living in groups of greater or lesser cohesiveness. Very few species, however, have made the leap from merely social to eusocial, "eu-" meaning true. To qualify as eusocial, in Wilson's definition, animals must live in multigenerational communities, practice division of labor and behave altruistically, ready to sacrifice "at least some of their personal interests to that of the group." It's tough to be a eusocialist. Wouldn't you rather just grab, gulp and go? Yet the payoffs of sustained cooperation can be huge. Eusociality, Wilson writes, "was one of the major innovations in the history of life," comparable to the conquest of land by aquatic animals, or the invention of wings or flowers. Eusociality, he argues, "created super­organisms, the next level of biological complexity above that of organisms." The spur to that exalted state, he says, was always a patch of prized real estate, a focal point luring group members back each day and pulling them closer together until finally they called it home. "All animal species that have achieved eusociality, without exception, at first built nests that they defended from enemies," Wilson writes. An anthill. A beehive. A crackling campfire around which the cave kids could play, the cave elders stay and the buffalo strips blacken all day. Trespassers, of course, would be stoned on sight.

As is evident by some of the comments on this thread, while the hive may be able to display collective intelligence, the individual ants can still be pretty dumb! Do check out the link I posted to 'The Mind's I' chapter 11 Prelude to Ant Fugue.

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 8:16 am
If we can't cooperate globally then the idea of Half-Earth is a farce.
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 9:18 am
The idea is still sound! If humans have not yet evolved to the point that they are able to include the whole globe as a part of their hive Well, that's a separate issue and may indeed mean that we are collectively fucked! Because not enough of us have reached that particular point in our evolution.

As George Carlin once said: "The Planet is fine, it's the people that are fucked"

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 12:18 pm
An idea is sound only if it can be implemented, otherwise it is just a bunch of sugars turned to heat and in this case trees turned to wastepaper.

My point was not that E.O. Wilson is wrong, but that he would not have presented such a point if he did not think it possible or even probable. It was OFM that was the one saying it was not possible, which is a rather narrow view of humanity. Humanity cooperates on large scale right now.

Looking at the update of Limits to Growth I get the feeling that the flattening out of some of the parameters (energy, industrial output) may be misinterpreted. The same thing would happen if an energy and industrial transistion were occurring.
The key question is what does a transistion look like initially?

A field to a forest transistion looks a lot like field, then some bushes with a few small trees, then eventually almost all trees. Originally the trees are hardly there at all and don't seem to be having much effect as their leaves smoother a lot of plant life around them and they take up more and more of the solar energy that used to reach the ground. It starts small then spreads to complete takeover.

An energy and industrial transistion goes hand in hand with a social/governmental transistion. It looks small and scattered at first but steadily fills in even despite the resistance of the legacy systems. Key to the fast takeover is the weakening of the previous growth and it's demise leaving easy space for the takeover.

For example, I have a kitchen ceiling light fixture. It has three bulb positions. I had replaced the three 60 watt incandescent bulbs years ago with a 100 watt CFL (running actual 25 watts).
Last night the CFL started flickering so I pulled it and it had burn marks on the base of the bulb. The CFL bulb has now been replaced by two 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs which together use only 16 watts and provide more light than the CFL.
Also the LED bulbs may never have to be replaced in my lifetime. 180 watts to 16 watts and no more replacement, that is high ground transistion! Now $4 replaces over $500 on the user end and eliminates large amounts of pollution.

The power cost and economics have overshadowed the legacy instrument in an inexorable way. The death of an individual instrument allowed the replacement by a superior one.
I think that effect has been happening all across the world in many areas of energy use and industrial process for decades. This effect may have been interpreted as a reduction in energy and industrial output while it is really mostly a transistion in process.

So how do we get a fast takeover? Strand and remove the old legacy assets and systems plus do not replace dead systems with the same system. The action is harsh, but that is how it is done.

I will know we are on the right course when I see those large glass buildings being stripped of their components, their glass re-used, their steel reused and recycled, their wiring removed as they are removed. Why and how do we put up R2 buildings that soak up huge amounts of energy for heating and cooling? They need to go now. Passenger vehicles that get less than 150 pMPG need to go now and no passenger vehicle that gets below 400 pMPG should be built ever again. There are many inefficient, harmful and problematical systems that could be removed and changed.

Trash the old ways now and insert better ways, ones that work longer with less harm. Make new systems that heal soil and nature in general. The collapse is occurring now, take advantage of it by putting in superior systems that allow E.O. Wilson's Half-Earth idea to flourish, not finish.

Personally, until a lot of the old stupid harmful systems are put aside we can't see clearly if a fast collapse is at hand or not. Maybe if we just stop following bad and stupid we can ease off our consumption of the planet and reverse some of the major problems we face. There may be no real need to go through a grand scale collapse and huge loss of species.

Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 2:40 pm
Yeah, I have to agree with most of what you said.

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

― R. Buckminster Fuller

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 6:20 pm
""It was OFM that was the one saying it was not possible, which is a rather narrow view of humanity. "

BULLSHIT.

Here's what I actually said in a comment upthread. It was posted a day previous to your comment, lol.

"It's at least THEORETICALLY POSSIBLE that we can cooperate as a SPECIES, at the global level, in order to solve some or maybe even most of the problems associated with our own overshoot. We have cooperated before at levels up to and including the global level. In WWII, most of the developed countries of the world were involved as partisans on one or the other side. We cooperate to some extent at the global level now, in economic terms, and in terms of our physical security, as for instance in arms control agreements. "

Perhaps I ought to lecture you a little on the meaning of the word EXPECT within the context I used it, which I think is obvious enough to anybody who WANTS to understand. In this context, expect means (or not ) that cooperation will happen spontaneously, or with only moderate incentives.

I don't think global level cooperation will happen, IF it happens, until the incentives to cooperate are OBVIOUS and overwhelming, when it comes to really changing the way we do things. I don't think any competent biologist will argue with this position, speaking in the broadest terms, painting with the so called broad brush.

We do after all have a few thousand years of known history that indicates that we are as apt to fight as cooperate, lol.

When the shit hits the fan hard enough, id it also hits slowly enough for us wake up , I EXPECT ( PREDICT ) that WE WILL COOPERATE on the grand scale, at least up to the nation state level, in most nations, and frequently at the international level, and MAYBE even at the global level.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 3:40 pm
Hi GF,

I must admit I'm a little behind in reading E O Wilson, who is as capable a scientist as any in his field, and head and shoulders above almost all the rest, in my opinion. He's also one of the best writers ever in his field, probably THE best writer in biology in my personal opinion.

But so far as a I know, and I have read all of his older books, unless I'm mistaken, he would basically agree with me, because I am, as I interpret his work, AGREEING WITH HIM.

There's a HELL OF DIFFERENCE between EXPECTING people to cooperate on the grand scale, and believing they are capable of doing so.I believe we are capable of cooperating on the grand scale, given sufficient motivation to do so, and have said so already in this thread. I don't EXPECT us to cooperate with people we see as outsiders and enemies, but given new circumstances, new conditions, new problems, new fears, we can and sometimes do find new common ground, and make friends with former enemies.

I'm ready to bet the farm that I'm WITH E O WILSON, rather than AGAINST HIM.

Nuance matters.

To me at least, lol.

A couple of days back in another thread, you lectured me, telling me to THINK GLOBALLY, as if to imply I 'm unaware that most of the people in the world are still desperately poor. I have never said that most of humanity is well off. I have never IMPLIED that most of humanity is well off.

What I DID say, is that FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, quoting myself, that there is a sound case to be made for the trickle down effect, and that a substantial number of even very poor people humanity HAVE ALREADY benefited greatly from economic and technological progress.

Hundreds of millions of desperately poor people are benefiting today from progress made in fields ranging from public health to industrial agriculture to renewable energy , etc. Hundreds of millions of very poor people are making relatively fast economic progress by some measures, for instance in the rate at which they are able to make use of at least some electricity, even if it's only a single light powered by a battery recharged by a small solar panel.

The less you have, the greater the marginal value of anything new you are able to get.

Just one rechargeable light is worth a LOT to a person who has no other option than perhaps a candle or kerosene lamp or a home made torch.

Incidentally I can remember being told by my grand parents that back when they were kids, it wasn't at all usual to literally light a ( corn ) shuck to provide some light so as to make a quick run to the outdoor privy or take care of some other after dark chore. They had kerosene, but it was considered wasteful to use it unnecessarily.

Things can and do get better sometimes, even on the global scale, lol.

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 4:51 pm
E.O. Wilson would not have written the book Half Earth if he did not think that people could and would cooperate on a grand scale. I don't think he was just blowing wind. Your statement was a direct affront to him and many others.

I have not read his latest book yet " The Social Conquest of Earth" which relates to this subject.

See mine and Fred's comments above.

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 6:57 pm
" Your statement was a direct affront to him and many others."

Bullshit again. You're deliberately twisting my words into something I didn't say.

You brought up his name, and you have put words in his mouth, as well as mine, in a manner of speaking.

I will say it again. There's a DIFFERENCE between EXPECTING or PREDICTING cooperation between large and diverse groups of people EXCEPT when circumstances leave the various groups little or no choice, and they have COME TO UNDERSTAND that the only real option they have IS to cooperate.

ONCE various competing groups or societies come to understand that they have little or nothing in the way of viable choice other than cooperation, well then I PREDICT OR EXPECT them to cooperate.

I believe my position is entirely consistent with E O Wilson's thinking and beliefs, speaking in general terms.

If you want to play word games,I'm ready, because it's TRAINING as well as entertainment for me. I need all the practice I can get when it comes to making my arguments clear before I go out on my own with my own book and web site .. EVENTUALLY.

The audience here is sophisticated enough to understand nuance, lol.

Well, MOST of the audience here , anyway.

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 7:11 pm
You ask for opposing opinions then you get nasty and personal and show no sign of wanting to learn or discuss anything, just shove your ideas. Since you apparently are not capable of dealing with opinions or thoughts other than your own, I will cease interacting with you. Plus you are always yelling in your comments, very rude.

Here is what you actually said ""A biologist who talks about humanity as if humanity SHOULD BE EXPECTED to display a hive like consciousness has his head up his ass. NO. NO. No."

OFM says: 12/01/2017 at 11:06 am
I want opposing opinions , and I'm always on the lookout for new facts. I do NOT want my words twisted into pretzels so that they appear to mean something diametrically opposite to what I actually said, by taking them out of context.

I think you are more interested in finding personal fault with me than you are in actually discussing facts, possibilities, and ideas.

I use a lot of caps, but seldom more than five or six words at a time, because caps are a lot quicker for me than taking time to use italics or bold.

I'm not presenting a paper for publication here, lol. I'm just participating in a conversation. If you want to take offense, feel free, it's still somewhat of a free country.

I

OFM says: 11/30/2017 at 7:00 pm
" Your statement was a direct affront to him and many others."

Bullshit again. You're deliberately twisting my words into something I didn't say.

You brought up Wilson , and you have put words in his mouth, as well as mine, in a manner of speaking.

I will say it again.

There's a DIFFERENCE between EXPECTING or PREDICTING cooperation between large and diverse groups of people under ordinary circumstances versus under new and compelling circumstances.

IF AND WHEN circumstances leave various groups little or no choice other than cooperation, , and they have COME TO UNDERSTAND that the only real option they have IS cooperation , well then .

I expect or predict that such groups WILL cooperate, sometimes, maybe even almost every time.

I believe my position is entirely consistent with E O Wilson's thinking and beliefs, speaking in general terms.

The audience here is sophisticated enough to understand nuance, lol.

Well, MOST of the audience here , anyway.

Understanding is tough for those who prefer NOT to understand.

alimbiquated says: 12/01/2017 at 4:15 pm
This is pretty much nonsense. People are very different than other animals because they get ideas in their head and follow them. That's the secret to our success -- we change our game plan all the time instead of being stuck in a single niche like most species. It's always hard to guess which ideas are going to work out, but societies choose -- so to speak -- whether to destroy themselves or not.

America has been choosing self destruction for several decades, and the eschatology our wacky creed planted in our minds seems very attractive, especially to old farts -- the alternative is to try something different.

Many societies have shown themselves to be resilient an sustainable. America has a colonial mentality that doesn't support that, even when it's obvious. My grandmother was born in Kansas and when she talked about the Dust Bowl she would shake her head and say, "I always told them not to cut down those cottonwoods -- they were the only thing keeping the farm from being blown away". Now they're depleting the aquifier in Kansas by planting maize for diesel. So the desert will continue to spread.

But the Japanese aren't like that at all. They've been planting trees for centuries. They don't have much choice, because the hills aren't very stable there. They'll get through.

And the Sahel Zone, the world's worst and poorest place, is changing as well. They've started replanting. A lot of them will survive.

Crazy hippies like this may do better than you think. Civilizations come and go, the species won't die for a while.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FHMNke5ppE

Root hog or die, as my father used to say. You can't imagine a world without Walmart, but it isn't the end of the world.

Another thought -- The Tasmanians. They were probably the wolrd's most primitive culture. They were cut off from the very old Australian mainland after the Ice Ages, and seems to have even forgotten fishhooks one of mankind's oldest technologies. But they had their ways, and they survived.

Hightrekker says: 11/29/2017 at 10:29 pm
A panda who was "really, really, ridiculously good at sex" brought the species back from the brink of extinction, but things are still weird

https://boingboing.net/2017/11/29/panda-bangers.html

Hickory says: 11/29/2017 at 11:32 pm
thank you Ron for this posting. I am in complete agreement with you on this.
nothing more important. it is a bizarre and tragic spectacle to behold, and to participate in.
what a poor use of such an incredible biosphere.
Gene Orleans says: 11/29/2017 at 11:55 pm
Many people from the looks of it here try to deal with the crises we face as a species and civilization the same way as myself. I spend much time here in front of modern electronic gadgetry. It's useful in distracting the mind from a diseased dying world along with a way to pass the time while waiting on my Lord and Savior to return to cleanse all the wickedness Satan has saturated humans with. Yes this is truly a sick sad world we live in now. Matthew 13:38-40.
Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 7:51 am
It's useful in distracting the mind from a diseased dying world along with a way to pass the time while waiting on my Lord and Savior to return to cleanse all the wickedness Satan has saturated humans with.

You are likely to be waiting a very long time. Religious stupidity makes the problem worse, never better.

Watcher says: 11/29/2017 at 11:55 pm
Didn't know this was here.

1. Any quotes of someone's book on collapse and how collapse happens based on history . . . all worthless. There is no history.

2) There is no history because there has never been 7 billion before. There has never been collapse with nuclear weapons involved before. There has never been collapse with the maggot and fly total in the atmosphere from 6.5 billion corpses before.

3) Chinese oil consumption lags US per capita and they are striving mightily to correct that, as they should. When per capita consumption growth becomes difficult, they HAVE to take oil from someone else. That someone else's population starts to starve for lack of food production or transport. They object to the theft of "their" oil. War. They must. War or starve.

4) Consider Japan. Consider the relations between China and Japan. Japan cries out . . . you're taking this oil to improve your country's standard of living and you are starving our country to death to do this. How can you find morality in this? China will have no trouble whatsoever contriving morality in this.

5) Simply that. When there isn't enough to go around, no one will quietly accept inadequate amounts. Nor should they. All other stuff about global warming and debt and sacrificing lifestyle for someone else is just so much bizarre delusion. You got too little to live, you kill whoever took it.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 9:57 am
Hi Watcher,

If you were correct there would be constant World War, most humans realize that conflict does not always lead to a positive outcome.

In an anarchic world things might play out as you imagine, we don't live in such a World.

Most people will do all they can to prevent anarchy.

Watcher says: 11/30/2017 at 11:18 am
Ahh so only evil people resort to war.

Haven't you noticed only good guys win?

Survivalist says: 12/01/2017 at 8:33 am
'Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning' by Timothy Snyder is quite good. If you're not into the minutia of east European history circa WW2 then just cut to the conclusion. 'Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin' is good too.

Here's an interview with Timothy Snyder if you want to get a taste.
Will this be the catalyst for the next Holocaust?
http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/12/09/what-will-cause-the-next-holocaust/

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 11:35 am
Almost anyone, I suppose, can call himself or herself an anarchist, if he or she believed that the society could be managed without the state. And by the state -- I don't mean the absence of any institutions, the absence of any form of social organisation -- the state really refers to a professional apparatus of people who are set aside to manage society, to preëmpt the control of society from the people. So that would include the military, judges, politicians, representatives who are paid for the express purpose of legislating, and then an executive body that is also set aside from society. So anarchists generally believe that, whether as groups or individuals, people should directly run society.
-Murray Bookchin

Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.
-Edward Abbey

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 2:09 pm
Hi Hightrekker,

I define anarchy as without government.

Let's assume for a moment a World without any governments at all.

Let's also assume there at 7.4 billion people in the World.

I just don't see how that works. The World is not a perfect place, but it is far from clear that a World without any government(s) would be an improvement.

When some one comes up with a plan that is appealing to the majority of citizens in some nation, perhaps such a form of non-government will be instituted.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/02/2017 at 8:50 pm
Collapse Dynamics: Initial Conditions, Media Manipulation and The Short-Circuiting of Consensuality

Hi Dennis,

I see anarchy, if it is understood correctly, as potentially having government if it is optional/consensual/legitimate.

For example, if I want you to represent me until which time as I say otherwise , then you can if you wish .

I also see anarchy as potentially 'hierarchical', or at least pseudohierarchical, if it is chosen freely.

So, for example, if I want you to tie me to a bed and have your way with me as your 'slave' if you wish , until which time as I or you opt out , then that is still ok. (fans face with hand)

It is about consensuality and a large part of the whole idea behind media manipulation of the masses is to 'short-circuit' consensuality– IOW, to make the masses consent to what they might not have normally consented to.

At the moment, I do not consent, for example, to what we call 'government' to take my money, or 'skim my labor', such as in the form of taxation. It is an 'initial condition' (think the butterfly effect) that can cascade, and seems to have cascaded, over time into dangerous, 'hurricane', territory. I mention this angle also to hopefully appeal to your apparent understanding and appreciation of physics and physical dynamics over time.

Right now, there is software available, ostensibly to support government governing consensually, called Loomio . There are likely others as well.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/03/2017 at 10:48 am
Hi Caelan,

See free rider problem. If taxes are not required, then very little is collected. So essentially, not taxes is roughly equal to no government.

How do legal agreements work in this no coercion society?

When there are disagreements how are they settled?

Come up with a system which works in a World with 7.5 billion and maybe someone will pay attention.

Caelan MacIntyre says: 12/03/2017 at 10:42 pm
Hi Dennis,

Your assertion does not necessarily stand to reason and is just an assertion without support. I could flip/modify it this way:

If taxes were consensual, then people would likely feel a greater sense of belonging to their locales and how they are shaped and so give them freely and as they see fit.
Consensual tax collection could be viewed as part of the modus operandi of actual government, rather than as a kind of large-scale centralized armed coercive mob, such that it appears.

See also here . I'll paraphrase some of it for you (again)

" if economics is to become an instrument of freedom and prosperity instead of an instrument of statism, then there are certain fundamental fallacies that must be continually challenged and discredited. Chief among these is the persistent non sequitur from externality to coercion -- that is, the bogus conclusion that coercion is a proper means to solve problems involving economic externalities.

One of the most blatant examples of this non sequitur occurs in discussions of the 'free rider problem' and the alleged solution of government provision of so-called 'public goods'. This is a particularly insidious economic theory that bears a great deal of the responsibility of derailing economics into the ditch of statism." ~ Ben O'Neill

A system that works for many more people, rather than a handful of elites, would appear to be a system that truly echoes what the people actually want, rather than what they are forced to.

islandboy says: 11/30/2017 at 5:08 am
On the matter of carrying capacity, I have a minor quibble with some of the ideas presented here. Let me start by outlining my understanding of what is being said about carrying capacity.

"So for many millions of years, the terrestrial vertebrate biomass remained at about two hundred million tons, give or take"

So that lays a base line for carrying capacity but, unnatural selection, the selection of higher output varieties of crops or genetic engineering of crops would have raised the carrying capacity and I suggest, that increased carrying capacity would be sustainable indefinitely. The use of fertilizer, primarily organic types, if done in a sustainable way and by that I mean, returning animal and human waste streams to the soil, would also result in a more or less permanent increase in carrying capacity. So far, I've outlined two methods that humans could have used to positively influence carrying capacity more or less permanently.

The big change in carrying capacity comes with the FF age and the industrial revolution, first with the advent of mechanization and then with the Haber-Bosch process. A quick Internet search to refresh my memory of what the Haber-Bosch process entails, reveals that it is the chemical synthesis of ammonia (NH3) from nitrogen and hydrogen. Herein lies the basis for the connection between the petroleum industry and fertilizer industries and by extension carrying capacity. However, if we have enough excess energy we can easily get nitrogen from the atmosphere and hydrogen from water though I'm not sure how well that would work at a industrial scale at a global level.

So between the manufacture of fertilizers and the use of diesel powered machinery in farming, we have seen a huge increase in the ability to produce food. Ostensibly this ability can only last as long as the NG used to obtain hydrogen at an industrial scale and the petroleum to fuel the farm machines. However, the University of Minnesota has a Wind to Nitrogen Fertilizer project that aims to use excess wind power to manufacture ammonia so, it may well be that, if sufficient amounts of renewable energy can be harnessed, the manufacture of nitrogen fertilizers could be extended way beyond the end of the petroleum age.

That is the basis for my minor quibble. Obviously, fossil hydrocarbons have allowed us to increase the carrying capacity of the planet in a way that can only last as long as the finite hydrocarbon reserves do. Might it not be the case that, a transition to renewable energy on a massive scale would allow a more or less sustainable increase in the carrying capacity of the planet above and beyond the 200 million tons of terrestrial vertebrate biomass that existed 10,000 years ago? I would argue that, from the standpoint of energy, renewable energy has the potential to yield a far more sustainable increase in carrying capacity than fossil energy has. What the level of that carrying capacity is would require a fair amount of academic research.

I fully concede that there are all sorts of other resource limits that will negatively affect carrying capacity. Maybe I'm just bargaining.

Ron Patterson says: 11/30/2017 at 7:59 am
Islandboy, there is no doubt that the carrying capacity of human beings can be increased somewhat by the use of organic fertilizers. But it is chemical fertilizers that have very dramatically and very temporally increased our carrying capacity.

Of course when the carrying capacity of humans is increased the carrying capacity of wild species, especially megafauna is decreased.

That is one thing that just drives me up the wall. Everyone is concerned about the welfare of human beings. No one seems to give a rats ass about the welfare of all other species.

HuntingtonBeach says: 12/01/2017 at 2:58 am
Hi Ron, I hope your doing well. Thank you for a great post. It sure explains why Costco was so F'n busy last weekend.

"No one seems to give a rats ass about the welfare of all other species"

That's just not all true. I'm pretty sure GoneFishing cares about his dog a lot more than myself.

"the selection of higher output varieties of crops or genetic engineering of crops would have raised the carrying capacity and I suggest, that increased carrying capacity would be sustainable indefinitely"

I think you could include the knowledge of harvesting water and controlled irrigation also increasing sustainable capacity

James says: 11/30/2017 at 8:47 am
Humans evolved to become the equivalent of RNA in cells. We use tools and information, primarily in technological cells and use them with ATP equivalent fossil fuels to do work. Like organisms or cells in the ecosystem, human organizations seek to grow, profit and take market share – to further their existence.

The human brain is primarily a reward seeking organ as is most neural tissue in the ecosystem. Since humans are dissipative structures, not seeking rewards is the greatest threat they face. Most other threats, short of being chased by a pack of wild dogs, can be watered down and ignored since the brain must concentrate on getting resources and energy. Even though a human can think about things, it does not substitute for being greedy and gathering as much wealth as possible and reproducing prolifically. We're selected for doing that.

The natural greed which evolved because of natural scarcity in the ecosystem, did not wane as we evolved into a technological setting. There is no limit on our desires to be "rich" because we perceive associated advantages in survival and reproduction. Civilization is an explosive cancer that emerged from the ecosystem to consume and destroy the ecological body. Humans are the RNA that can't stop reproducing and stimulate the growth of new cells and distribution systems until the entire consumable earth is covered and the ecosystem dies or at least becomes much less complex.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/30/2017 at 10:06 am
Hi James,

In many wealthy nations total fertility has fallen below the replacement level, in fact for about half the World's population TFR is below replacement (dividing things up by nation state). Generally it is higher income nations where this is the case and correlation between education level and total fertility is very strong.

These facts and the trend in Global education levels for women don't square very well with your theory.

As Ron has suggested, homo sapiens sapiens is not your average species.

James says: 11/30/2017 at 11:29 am
Even the education occurs in schools, the cellular equivalent of the nucleolus. Instead of pursuing the rewards of children, women are pursuing "wealth" created by the technological system. I'm not sure which one is most damaging.
Fred Magyar says: 11/30/2017 at 10:30 am
The natural greed which evolved because of natural scarcity in the ecosystem, did not wane as we evolved into a technological setting. There is no limit on our desires to be "rich" because we perceive associated advantages in survival and reproduction.

And out of which orifice did you pull all that BS out of?! Let me guess, you are of the Neo-Liberal Economist school of though, right? Try cracking a few tomes on human evolution and anthropology instead of failed 20th century memes about the nature of man and rationality of markets.

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:49 am
Speaking of the rationality of markets:

Whitefish is halting Puerto Rico power repairs, claiming it's owed $83 million

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/20/us/puerto-rico-power-whitefish-halts-work/index.html

James says: 11/30/2017 at 11:34 am
You don't see any greed? None in the ecosystem? Why is everyone trying to accumulate more wealth? Why do all organisms struggle to eat and reproduce to the maximum? Look in the cell, it's all happened before, but mostly with sunshine at the base.

Why do we worship the likes of Warren Buffett?

Cooperation exists, but only to enhance competition against a similarly cooperating group.

Cats@Home says: 11/30/2017 at 1:25 pm
Warren Buffett seems like a good man but Jeff Bezos is the businessman I admire most right now.
Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 11:07 pm
The Creepy Religion That Explains All Of Trump's Actions.
"The Prosperity Gospel is quintessentially American. One journalist described it as the "religion of winning," so we have to assume Charlie Sheen is onboard too."
http://www.cracked.com/blog/trumps-bizarre-religion-weirder-than-scientology/
Hightrekker says: 12/01/2017 at 3:22 pm
Blowing Up the Territory
Trump's biggest break came from the Democratic party. Booking Hillary Clinton as the good guy in this match was a colossal error, especially when the most improbable thing in all of politics was waiting in the wings: a legit babyface.

Bernie Sanders came off like Paddington Bear next to Hillary Clinton. Bernie was a nice old Jewish man from Vermont who legitimately meant well, and he got a real pop from his fans. He drew like crazy. Hell, even I sent him money, the first time I have ever contributed to a political campaign -- every time he got on TV and started shooting about marijuana smokers going to jail while Wall Street hoodlums were walking, I Paypaled him five bucks. I had waited my whole life to hear a politician cut a promo like that -- I think he eventually ended up with a Jackson from me, straight from my personal pot budget.

As a face, Clinton just had too much baggage, a lot of it achingly familiar: A partner known for predatory sexual behavior, wicked family ties to big business, an entitled daughter, a family charity fund loaded with foreign money, lies, flip flops. . . . What was good for the goose might have been tolerable for the gander, but all she really got was a cheap pop, and if she had any moral high ground at all, she lost it when former Democratic operative Donna Brazile, while working for CNN, leaked potential questions to the Clinton campaign before a debate with Sanders. That was cheating, behavior clearly unbecoming to a babyface. But more important was that she failed to deliver on the only thing that matters: she didn't draw. For a while it looked like there might be a "Dusty finish," a gimmick ending (named for Dusty Rhodes, the legendary wrestler and booker who invented it) in which one wrestler is declared the winner, only to have the decision reversed on a technicality -- for instance, interference from Russian hackers. This was a finish guaranteed to drive crowds insane, but Hillary couldn't put it over.

So who's the best worker? If we are using the Hulk Hogan index, it is indisputably Donald Trump. He won the election. He's the president.

But when it all comes tumbling down, be ready for a fresh wave of Trump-brand kayfabe -- transparently flawed in both conception and execution, except that he actually believes it. He'll ride off in his helicopter claiming that Washington was too dirty to clean up, that he tried but he couldn't drain the swamp, that they wouldn't accept the One Honest Man. He'll blame obstructionist Democrats for staging a witch hunt, and the Republicans for not having the guts to back him. In wrestling parlance this is called "blowing up the territory."

Pundits will argue: How much of it was real, how much reality show? How much was a put-on, how much of it was a guy legit skating at the edges of madness and dementia? Was it a work, a shoot, or a worked shoot? The only thing we can be sure of is that the secular writers will get it wrong. And, existentially, at least, Trump will still wear spandex when he mows the lawn. He can't help himself, that's just the kind of jerk he is.

https://thebaffler.com/salvos/the-art-of-the-heel-edison

Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 10:40 pm
Organisms evolved a bias to maximize fitness by maximizing power. With greater power, there is greater opportunity to allocate energy to reproduction and survival, and therefore, an organism that captures and utilizes more energy than another organism in a population will have a fitness advantage.
Individual organisms cooperate to form social groups and generate more power. Differential power generation and accumulation result in a hierarchical group structure.
"Politics" is power used by social organisms to control others. Not only are human groups never alone, they cannot control their neighbors' behavior. Each group must confront the real possibility that its neighbors will grow its numbers and attempt to take resources from them. Therefore, the best political tactic for groups to survive in such a milieu is not to live in ecological balance with slow growth, but to grow rapidly and be able to fend off and take resources from others[5].
The inevitable "overshoot" eventually leads to decreasing power attainable for the group with lower-ranking members suffering first. Low-rank members will form subgroups and coalitions to demand a greater share of power from higher-ranking individuals who will resist by forming their own coalitions to maintain it. Meanwhile, social conflict will intensify as available power continues to fall.
Eventually, members of the weakest group (high or low rank) are forced to "disperse."[6] Those members of the weak group who do not disperse are killed,[7] enslaved, or in modern times imprisoned. By most estimates, 10 to 20 percent of all the people who lived in Stone-Age societies died at the hands of other humans.[8] The process of overshoot, followed by forced dispersal, may be seen as a sort of repetitive pumping action -- a collective behavioral loop -- that drove humans into every inhabitable niche of our planet.
Here is a synopsis of the behavioral loop described above:
Step 1. Individuals and groups evolved a bias to maximize fitness by maximizing power, which requires over-reproduction and/or over-consumption of natural resources (overshoot), whenever systemic constraints allow it. Differential power generation and accumulation result in a hierarchical group structure.
Step 2. Energy is always limited, and overshoot eventually leads to decreasing power available to some members of the group, with lower-ranking members suffering first.
Step 3. Diminishing power availability creates divisive subgroups within the original group. Low-rank members will form subgroups and coalitions to demand a greater share of power from higher-ranking individuals, who will resist by forming their own coalitions to maintain power.
Step 4. Violent social strife eventually occurs among subgroups who demand a greater share of the remaining power.
Step 5. The weakest subgroups (high or low rank) are either forced to disperse to a new territory, are killed, enslaved, or imprisoned.
Step 6. Go back to step 1.
The above loop was repeated countless thousands of times during the millions of years that we were evolving[9]. This behavior is inherent in the architecture of our minds -- is entrained in our biological material -- and will be repeated until we go extinct. Carrying capacity will decline[10] with each future iteration of the overshoot loop, and this will cause human numbers to decline until they reach levels not seen since the Pleistocene.
http://www.dieoff.org
Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:50 pm
will cause human numbers to decline until they reach levels not seen since the Pleistocene.

Such a optimist!

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:38 am
Megacancer?
Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:28 am
"There's no indication that we're going to do anything philosophically different," said Jim Blackburn, an environmental law professor at Rice University. "With a few modifications, it's business as usual."

As Houston rebuilds from the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history, local officials plan to dredge waterways, build new reservoirs and a coastal barrier to protect against storms that experts say are growing in intensity due to a warming climate. They have asked Washington for $61 billion to pay for it all.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-harvey-floods/hurricane-harvey-makes-houston-reassess-growth-friendly-policies-idUSKBN1DU1KP?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 10:37 am
"Half the inhabitants of Melbourne have probably never seen something like this," Mr Williams said.

"This is a vast, intense, high impact event for this state."

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/melbourne-weather-record-rainfall-and-flash-flooding-to-kick-off-summer-20171129-gzvk4s.html

George Kaplan says: 11/30/2017 at 11:40 am
Apart from our own actions there may be random events that can take us out. There's a report in the Times today of research into super-eruptions. The Toba explosion, 75,000 years ago, almost took out Homo sapiens. The latest research indicates such events (maybe not quite as bad) happen on average every 17,000 years instead of every few hundred thousand as previously thought, and we are currently in an unusually long hiatus from these.

The biggest explosion since "civilization" started was probably Krakatoa in the 6th century, which has been proposed as the beggining of the dark ages in Europe and the end of a couple of other civilizations, though there's a bit of controversy about that theory, but it was much milder than an explosion from one of the major calderas would be.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/why-volcanic-doom-is-closer-than-we-think-90c8d56gr

(paywall – but there might be some free articles per month available and the research is to be published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters)

Sorry – probably the wrong thread.

Doug Leighton says: 11/30/2017 at 12:57 pm
Continuing from above (this mirrors my own experience in Central Africa where families currently seem to be averaging about four kids each):

POPULATION GROWTH IN AFRICA: GRASPING THE SCALE OF THE CHALLENGE

"In the past year (2016) the population of the African continent grew by 30 million. By the year 2050, annual increases will exceed 42 million people per year and total population will have doubled to 2.4 billion, according to the UN. This comes to 3.5 million more people per month, or 80 additional people per minute since the early 1990s, family planning programmes in Africa have not had the same attention (as Asia and Latin America), RESULTING IN SLOW, SOMETIMES NEGLIGIBLE, FERTILITY DECLINES. IN A HANDFUL OF COUNTRIES, PREVIOUS DECLINES HAVE STALLED ALTOGETHER AND ARE REVERSING."

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/jan/11/population-growth-in-africa-grasping-the-scale-of-the-challenge

Also,

WHY HAVE FOUR CHILDREN WHEN YOU COULD HAVE SEVEN? FAMILY PLANNING IN NIGER

" but Hamani is unusual in that three babies are enough for her. Despite having the highest fertility rate in the world, women and men alike in Niger say they want more children than they actually have – women want an average of nine, while men say they want 11."

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger

GoneFishing says: 11/30/2017 at 5:08 pm
Sounds like an explosion that will lead to implosion and migration. Families used to be fairly large in the European and American regions not long ago. Some still are.
There are 27.7 million people in Uganda. But by 2025 the population will almost double to 56 million, close to that of Britain, which has a similar land mass. In 44 years its population will have grown by nearly as much as China's.
"You look at these numbers and think 'that's impossible'," said Carl Haub, senior demographer at the US-based Population Reference Bureau, whose latest global projections show Uganda as the fastest-growing country in the world. Midway through the 21st century, if current birthrates persist, Uganda will be the world's 12th most populous country with 130 million people – more than Russia or Japan.

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2006/sep/01/guardianweekly.guardianweekly1
Doug Leighton says: 11/30/2017 at 6:02 pm
"There are 27.7 million people in Uganda."

That sounds about right and from personal observation almost all 27.7 million of them are school kids who (currently) are quite well nourished and with decent health care. A big problem, as I see it, is that virtually all schools in Uganda are run by "Western" churches who seen determined to increase the size of their flock by NOT teaching their students about contraception and the benefits thereof: sound familiar?

Survivalist says: 11/30/2017 at 10:36 pm
"In 2015, the median age of the population in Uganda was 15.8 years."
https://www.statista.com/statistics/447643/average-age-of-the-population-in-uganda/
George Kaplan says: 12/01/2017 at 1:48 am
Doug – like you I have some sponsorship in Africa – a general women's group rather than an individual. From their letters what they want is education (both formal for the children and also just tips on farming and running a business), enough money (very little) to start a business so they can feed their children, a way to manage HIV if they are infected (many still are) and peace and quiet. What they don't want is more children, forced marriage through kidnap, the return of their husbands to beat them up, interference from the elders (all men) in their business. Often they only realise these options are even possible after they have had contact with the groups set up by the charity.
Doug Leighton says: 12/01/2017 at 9:35 am
George – My African experiences are mainly restricted to Uganda (the pearl of Africa) where my family visit annually and have done so for almost 20 years; we love the country, the people, the wildlife. Its been a joy watching the girl we assisted progress from kindergarten to medical school; to meet and relate to her extended family who've become our close friends. The country (Uganda) and the people are currently doing well, very well indeed (unless you happen to be gay). Wildlife parks flourish and are well managed. My concerns relate to the future. There are too many kids. In my opinion, without reigning in population growth the country will face immense over-population problems in the future. I hope I'm wrong. Having said that, I agree with your comments -- all of them. And its true, woman's business groups are in many respects the future of Africa.

Cheers,

Rob Mielcarski says: 11/30/2017 at 4:00 pm
For anyone seeking a plausible scientific explanation for why:
– one species has a uniquely powerful brain
– why the brain of that species is capable of visiting the moon but incapable of understanding or acting on it's own overshoot
– why one small group of hominids exploded about 100,000 to take over the planet
– why religion emerged simultaneous with the behaviorally modern mind about 100,000 years ago
– and more big questions: https://un-denial.com/2017/06/25/why-my-interest-in-denial/

I find this theory by Ajit Varki and Danny Brower very satisfying.

https://un-denial.com/denial-2/theory-video/

George Kaplan says: 11/30/2017 at 4:08 pm
That's a smart site you have there. I read that book some time ago, it's interesting but I thought a bit of a just-so story, but that's maybe becasue the ideas woud be so hard to prove one way or the other. It's a pity Brower died before his ideas got out to more discussion.
Rob Mielcarski says: 12/01/2017 at 1:13 am
Your initial reaction to the theory is perfectly reasonable and common.

If you dig deeper and start connecting dots I think you may find it is the best available explanation for many big unanswered questions. The theory may not be correct but there are no known facts that slay it, nor any other equally elegant theories that fit the data better.

Varki acknowledges the difficulty of testing the theory, but does point to some promising avenues of research. Unfortunately Varki's speciality and day job is in a different domain so his theory is likely to sit on the shelf until some young scientist with a defective denial gene picks up the baton.

George Kaplan says: 12/01/2017 at 2:08 am
I did find it neat and convincing as you say, but that's the point of just-so stories, plus it's difficult to know where to go if it is correct, but I'm going to be visiting your site without question.
Doug Leighton says: 11/30/2017 at 7:39 pm
I suppose this 2014 piece is apropos,

WILL OVERPOPULATION LEAD TO PUBLIC HEALTH CATASTROPHE?

"Our new projections are probabilistic, and we find that there will probably be between 9.6 and 12.3 billion people in 2100," Prof. Raftery told Medical News Today. "This projection is based on a statistical model that uses all available past data on fertility and mortality from all countries in a systematic way, unlike previous projections that were based on expert assumptions."

"A key finding of the study is that the fertility rate in Africa is declining much more slowly than has been previously estimated, which Prof. Raftery tells us "has major long-term implications for population."

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284619.php?utm_source=TrendMD&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Medical_News_Today_TrendMD_1

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 7:50 pm
Spain's water crisis deepens as Rio Tajo dries up

https://www.euroweeklynews.com/3.0.15/news/on-euro-weekly-news/spain-news-in-english/146617-spain-s-water-crisis-deepens

(haven't had a wing pawn global cooling update for a while)

http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/sahara-moving-north/43959

Hightrekker says: 11/30/2017 at 9:30 pm
Declining uncertainty in transient climate response as CO2 forcing dominates future climate change

https://www.nature.com/articles/ngeo2371

( Nature Geoscience , not Watt Is My Head Doing Up My Ass?

Fred Magyar says: 12/01/2017 at 5:09 am
No discussion about human evolution or even biological evolution across all species can be considered complete without at least a basic understanding of the biochemical and molecular biological basis of CRIPR-Cas9 gene editing technology and gene drives.

Sam Harris' latest podcast has a discussion of this technology with Jennifer Doudna.

https://www.samharris.org/podcast

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jennifer Doudna about the gene-editing technology CRISPR/Cas9. They talk about the biology of gene editing, how specific tissues in the body can be targeted, the ethical implications of changing the human genome, the importance of curiosity-driven science, and other topics.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 8:56 am
E.O. Wilson
I have always been a great admirer of E.O Wilson. I have followed his work for years. I especially liked "Sociobiology" and "Consilience". I have followed his feud with Stephen J. Gould, Steven Rose, R.C. Lewontin, and Leon Kamin, (as reported by Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins). (I always came down on the side of Wilson et al.) And I am very proud to say he is a fellow Alabamian.

That being said, there are areas where I must disagree with him. For instance:

From Kirkus Reviews of "Half Earth":
In this final volume of his trilogy, Wilson (The Meaning of Human Existence, 2014, etc.) opens with a compelling proposal on how to slow current species extinction rates: set aside half of the planet (noncontiguously) as wilderness preserves free from human encroachment, a measure that the author claims would stabilize more than 80 percent of species.

Fred Magyar, above, quotes from Edward O. Wilson's New Take on Human Nature:
Wilson argues the nest is central to understanding the ecological dominance not only of ants, but of human beings, too ..

By being super-cooperators, groupies of the group, willing to set aside our small, selfish desires and I-minded drive to join forces and seize opportunity as a self-sacrificing, hive-minded tribe ..

To qualify as eusocial, in Wilson's definition, animals must live in multigenerational communities, practice division of labor and behave altruistically, ready to sacrifice "at least some of their personal interests to that of the group." It's tough to be a eusocialist.

First, the idea that we would or could set aside half the earth for wildlife is preposterous. Which parts of the U.S. would we set aside, parts that make half the land area? Could we convince every African nation to do the same? Or Russia? Or China, South Korea or Japan?

Second, as much as I admire Wilson, I think he is just flat wrong on his new take on human nature. And I think Pinker and Dawkins would agree with that opinion. If you had read Pinker's " The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature ," and I have, you would know exactly what I mean. Our minds are not blank slates to be molded by society, to be made to behave like ants in a colony, like a self-sacrificing, hive-minded tribe. All those traits that Wilson says we must give up are in our genes, human nature.

I will not deny that humans can be ruled. An Iron Fist could compel us to behave in such a matter. But all such Iron Fists carry within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. It's just human nature.

OFM says: 12/01/2017 at 10:49 am
Hi Ron,

After reading your eight fifty six am, I'm telling ya straight .. Between your ears, where you live intellectually, you are a TRUE conservative.

The people who we refer to today as conservatives, meaning those who inhabit the right wing politically, are not REAL conservatives, not according to my definition.

Don't forget that I am a follower of the Humpty Dumpty School of Linguistics. Words mean exactly what I intend them to mean, when I use them, rotfl.

To my way of thinking, the first and single most important qualification of a TRUE conservative is that he must have a sound grasp of human nature. You have it. You understand that we cooperate with friends, family, known community, and compete with outsiders .. and that when circumstances compel us to do so, we make friends or at least ally ourselves with former enemies or strangers, and work together .. but mostly only when we have little or no choice but to do so.

I'm just teasing you a little, not making fun of you. 😉

Decent people, left or right wing, want the same things, when you get down to the basics. Peace, dignified life, freedom from unnecessary worries, etc.

I haven't yet read Wilson's latest books. Hoping to get around to it, this winter.

We need to keep it in mind that just because somebody presents a grand plan in a book, and writes as if it might be possible to implement it, he does not necessarily believe there's a snowball's chance on a red hot stove that his plan will ever actually be implemented.

Such books are sometimes intended as sources of inspiration for a new generation of people following along in his footsteps .. and such a plan MIGHT be implemented . a few centuries down the road, lol. Stranger things have happened, historically.

Such a book can be the result of an old man's dreams being put in libraries so as to achieve a sort of immortality . Wilson had that already of course.

I reckon you're even older than I am, and here's wishing you the best at the personal level.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 11:09 am
To my way of thinking, the first and single most important qualification of a TRUE conservative is that he must have a sound grasp of human nature. You have it. You understand that we cooperate with friends, family, known community, and compete with outsiders .. and that when circumstances compel us to do so, we make friends or at least ally ourselves with former enemies or strangers, and work together .. but mostly only when we have little or no choice but to do so.

Sorry Mac, but I just don't get the connection. The definition you pen here could just as well be the definition of a True Liberal.

I am a conservative when it comes to conserving the environment, saving animal habitat and saving species from extinction. But those are qualities held by most liberals and not held by so-called conservatives. Right-wing Republicans call themselves conservatives.

So I just have to accept the lexicon as it exist today. I am a liberal, not a conservative.

OFM says: 12/01/2017 at 11:01 pm
"Sorry Mac, but I just don't get the connection. The definition you pen here could just as well be the definition of a True Liberal."

You DO GET IT, Ron, except you haven't yet quite got around to thinking of labels as jokes or weapons . Labels are for partisans. Labels are clubs we use to pound each other into submission.

People with real working brains generally come to the same basic conclusions, regardless of the way they're labeled by themselves or others. There's usually more than one route by which we can travel and arrive at the truth.

You're a man willing to tell it like it is, as for instance when you have pointed out the realities of the way things work in some countries where you worked yourself. A partisan D just won't repeat that sort of stuff, true or not.

When you say you're a liberal, you're just labeling yourself. What you ARE is something else. You're a man with a working brain, a man who understands reality, a man who tells it like it is, as you perceive it to be.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 11:12 pm
You're a man with a working brain, a man who understands reality, a man who tells it like it is, as you perceive it to be.

You are a goddamn right man, and that means I am a liberal. 😉

OFM says: 12/02/2017 at 2:40 pm
Ah yes, but liberal is still just a label.

It is however true that the so called liberals are more often right by a substantial margin than the so called conservatives in terms of having objective facts on their side when considering issues such as the environment, public health, and many others.

But they're not always right. Sometimes the liberal camp seems to have it's head as far up its backside as the conservative camp.

The leaders of both camps seem to be more interested in having plenty of foot soldiers to serve as cannon fodder than they are in the actual welfare of the country.

I can provide as good arguments for any sort of truly sound public policy from a conservative pov as you can from a liberal pov.

To me this proves we both have working brains, and are capable of looking the truth in the eye, and publicly agreeing on what IS true, and what is not.

If we could free ourselves of goddamned infernal partisan politics and identity politics , based on our community cultures, we could make things happen politically.

If for instance we could put the question of subsidizing wind and solar power to a referendum, I could easily convince most of the so called conservatives I know that voting in favor of subsidies would be a GREAT BARGAIN for them, long term. Well, the ones with brains enough that they know a little about the business world anyway. That's at least half of them, and more than enough.

They won't ordinarily support subsidizing renewable energy as part of a package deal because they perceive the PACKAGE to be weighted in favor of their political and cultural enemies. Supporting renewable energy subsidies would mean voting for D's and they don't like the overall D agenda.

OFM says: 12/03/2017 at 5:49 pm
Back to you one more time Ron,

I'm not sure WHERE this comment will appear, but hopefully it will be below my two forty pm.

Allow me to approach this liberal/ conservative label thing from a different direction.

Suppose you meet a new person, and get to talking about oh let us say water pollution, and fishing, and having to spend your local tax money on a sophisticated water treatment plant, because there's too much of this or that and the other as well in the river that passes your town to drink the water, without spending a lot of money. .

If you NEVER MENTION anything that LABELS you as a liberal or conservative, you can talk meaningfully to just about anybody about this issue.

Identify yourself as a liberal, or a conservative, you more or less automatically blow your opportunity to say anything to your new POTENTIAL friend who thinks of himself as your opposite and enemy, politically, other than something he already knows and believes, even if what that something is factually incorrect.

Label yourself as a liberal, and the typical serious Christian voter in the state of Alabama automatically thinks of you as a murderer of yet to be born children. Forget labeling yourself, avoid it to the extent you can, and you have an EXCELLENT shot at talking to that voter about supporting only candidates who have a decent record of being respectful to women, immigrants, minorities, etc.

If I label myself as a conservative, I've automatically blown my chance to have a serious conversation with a liberal about the possibility of having some real choice in education . meaning breaking the teacher's unions and government's de facto monopoly control of our educational system.

You may not like this idea, but think about this how much better are your options NOW, given that we have email, fax, UPS, Fed Ex , etc, when it comes to getting a letter or package where it needs to go FOR SURE and RIGHT AWAY?

I have heard lots of liberals say that allowing any real choice in the schools would mean the end of any real opportunity for poor kids, inner city kids, etc, to get a decent education. Sometimes, in the same breath almost, I hear those same liberals admit that the public schools in lots of communities large and small are literal disaster areas, where hardly any of the kids learn anything. I used to know quite a few of this sort , back in my younger days, when I was living in the Fan and hanging out with the older ( grad students mostly ) kids at VCU having a good time, taking a course or two per semester to keep my grad student ID up to date. I spent about ten years there off and on.

Ya know WHAT? EVERY LAST COUPLE I knew among them moved out of town when their OWN kids got old enough to go to school.

Quite a few of them spent their careers as teachers, lol. And my guess is that not more than one out of ten of those couples ever moved to a place where the schools were the sort of hell holes we read about so often these days .. and that tenth couple of course had NO KIDS, lol.

Yet they almost universally believe in the de facto teacher / government educational monopoly as it exists today, as it totally ruins the prospects of millions of kids denying them, or more accurately, their parents, any real choice in the schools their kids attend. If liberal versus conservative comes into the conversation, it's OVER. The liberals aren't going to listen, any more than conservatives listen.

How many members of this forum think Roy Moore ought to be tarred and feathered ? How many have ever had the intellectual integrity to say the same thing about Bill Clinton?

Liberals are liberals, and conservatives are conservatives, and the gulf between can be as vast as the gulf between East and West. Communication is tough to impossible.

But if we avoid the labels . communication can happen.

Incidentally this rant does NOT mean I am a supporter of the Trump administration in general, or the Trump education department in particular. Nothing I know of concerning the Trump administration seems to be about the good of the COUNTRY or of the majority of the people of this country.

Hightrekker says: 12/01/2017 at 11:04 am
First, the idea that we would or could set aside half the earth for wildlife is preposterous.

Even stopping the rape and scrape accelerating is highly unlikely.

This is total fantasy.
At best, the survivors (if any) on the other side of the wall we are about to crash into, will have enough wisdom and intelligence to embrace the condition they are in.

Fred Magyar says: 12/01/2017 at 11:19 am
First, the idea that we would or could set aside half the earth for wildlife is preposterous.

That isn't what he proposes even though it is the title of his book. May I suggest you read it! What he is really arguing for is more along the lines of a network of ecological corridors that might connect already existing nature preserves, parks and private property and therefore allow isolated pockets of natural ecosystems to be connected with others.

To be very clear, E.O. Wilson is not in any way naive about our predicament and says so.
That's not to say he has thrown in the towel, especially given that he is now in the later portion of his 80's. He apparently doesn't want to go down without a fight.

I have read his book twice already and have the Kindle version on my laptop. To be honest I'm not what anyone might call overly optimistic about the prospects of his proposals coming to pass. Having said that, I do admire his deep knowledge base about the natural world and have the greatest admiration for the man! More power to him for trying!

Cheers!

GoneFishing says: 12/01/2017 at 12:01 pm
Fred, I read Half Earth and have to agree with E.O. Wilson. I think my personal bias is toward nature, but that aside, humans can do what is needed. All the gadgetry in the world cannot replace a functioning ecosystem. Those functions are mandatory for the preservation of life on earth. We need to preserve, expand and enhance (if we get smart enough) natural ecosystems around the world.
Why not build armies? Armies called the United Conservation and Environmental Protection Corp, whose job is to protect and expand natural areas around the world. It would increase employment and be funded by monies that otherwise go to military purposes. This and other organizations could be doing things that make the people proud to be human, rather than just wheels and cogs in basically destructive system.

This is not naïve, this is just choices. Humans make choices, that is one of our inherent abilities. Our current state and appearance is due to a set of previous choices that have not quite worked out. We get stuck in old choices, time to make new ones.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 12:24 pm
I think my personal bias is toward nature, but that aside, humans can do what is needed.

Really now? If humans can do what is needed then why the hell are they not doing it. Species are going extinct at a rate as fast as the last great extinction 65 million years ago. And the extinction rate is accelerating. If humans can do what is needed it is goddamn time they got started.

Our current state and appearance is due to a set of previous choices that have not quite worked out. We get stuck in old choices, time to make new ones.

Those choices were made, and are being made, by 7 billion people. And yes, it is time those 7 billion people changed the way they are behaving, it is time they made different choices. But don't hold your breath.

I am sorry Fishing, but I just don't share your optimism.

Doug Leighton says: 12/01/2017 at 12:38 pm
Yup, reminds me of China, driving to a restaurant half way across Beijing with a car full of Chinese because they knew about a hot spot where some endangered species or other was on the menu: get it before you're too late. Life in the real world!

"Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural "background" rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we're now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day. It could be a scary future indeed, with as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century."

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/

GoneFishing says: 12/01/2017 at 2:06 pm
"If humans can do what is needed then why the hell are they not doing it. "
"I am sorry Fishing, but I just don't share your optimism."

By destroying the environment we destroy ourselves. I think that will soon become quite apparent and then those who are already on track can leverage that.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 3:21 pm
As Charlie Brown would say: Good Grief!
Fred Magyar says: 12/01/2017 at 8:44 pm
Really now? If humans can do what is needed then why the hell are they not doing it. Species are going extinct at a rate as fast as the last great extinction 65 million years ago. And the extinction rate is accelerating. If humans can do what is needed it is goddamn time they got started.

Ok, let's assume for a moment using round numbers that there are currently 7.5 billion humans living on this tiny planet as I type these words. How many of those humans do you suppose are actually aware of the fact that we are probably in the midst of the sixth mass extinction? I'm going to go way out on a limb here and guess about a couple hundred thousand.

Now most of those couple hundred thousand are in shock and denial of reality. So there are maybe 100,000 humans who are aware and are actually starting to do something.

While that may sound like a minuscule amount I can cite data and research that shows that may be enough to really start to change the current paradigm in a big way.

Ron Patterson says: 12/01/2017 at 11:06 pm
As I quoted Charlie Brown above: Good Grief!
Fred Magyar says: 12/02/2017 at 7:15 am
LOL!
.

Hightrekker says: 12/01/2017 at 12:22 pm
Yea, the feud between Gould/Lewontin/Rose VS Wilson/Dawkins/Dennett has been interesting.
Being somewhat Marxist in my orientation, I was kinda presupposed to the Gould camp, but the Wilson/Dawkins have proven to ring much truer.
The Blank Slate puts the nails in the coffin for Marxist view of human nature, as Marx viewed it as totally a function of environment. Pinker buried that view.
Orr was always Gould and Lewontin's go to guy with media, as he had power in the NYT's and Boston Globe, and could often control reviews and and coverage.
It has been interesting.
Fred Magyar says: 12/01/2017 at 8:59 pm
http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/earth/pale-blue-dot.html

I'm sure most here are familiar with what Carl Sagan said about our Pale Blue Dot

This excerpt from Sagan's book Pale Blue Dot was inspired by an image taken, at Sagan's suggestion, by Voyager 1 on February 14, 1990. As the spacecraft left our planetary neighborhood for the fringes of the solar system, engineers turned it around for one last look at its home planet. Voyager 1 was about 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) away, and approximately 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane, when it captured this portrait of our world. Caught in the center of scattered light rays (a result of taking the picture so close to the Sun), Earth appears as a tiny point of light, a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size.

Now guess what?!

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/12/after-37-years-voyager-has-fired-up-its-trajectory-thrusters/

At present, the Voyager 1 spacecraft is 21 billion kilometers from Earth, or about 141 times the distance between the Earth and Sun. It has, in fact, moved beyond our Solar System into interstellar space. However, we can still communicate with Voyager across that distance.

This week, the scientists and engineers on the Voyager team did something very special. They commanded the spacecraft to fire a set of four trajectory thrusters for the first time in 37 years to determine their ability to orient the spacecraft using 10-millisecond pulses.

FURTHER READING
The Voyagers have reached an anniversary worth celebrating
After sending the commands on Tuesday, it took 19 hours and 35 minutes for the signal to reach Voyager. Then, the Earth-bound spacecraft team had to wait another 19 hours and 35 minutes to see if the spacecraft responded. It did. After nearly four decades of dormancy, the Aerojet Rocketdyne manufactured thrusters fired perfectly.

"The Voyager team got more excited each time with each milestone in the thruster test. The mood was one of relief, joy, and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all," said Todd Barber, a propulsion engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

Humans can do some pretty incredible things!

Cheers!

GoneFishing says: 12/01/2017 at 10:03 pm
Yes, they can even teach their young to love the life of the planet and help keep it safe.
HuntingtonBeach says: 12/01/2017 at 10:59 pm
Not if your born in the South and damaged by religion
Fred Magyar says: 12/02/2017 at 7:14 am
Well, E.O. Wilson was born in Alabama into an evangelical family. 😉
Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 11:14 am
So was I. Well, sort of. My dad was a Deacon in the Primitive Baptist Church but he was not a crusading evangelical.

I have told this story before but I will do it again here.

I was about 17 or so when I sidled up to my dad who was sitting in his easy chair. I asked: "Dad, how did them kangaroos get from Australia to over there where Noah's Ark was? And how did they get back?" Dad jumped up from his chair, stuck his finger right in my face and yelled: "Son, that is the word of God and that is not for you to question."

I never questioned my Dad again about religion.

HuntingtonBeach says: 12/02/2017 at 6:01 pm
It takes character and courage not act like sheep. My hat goes off to you. Ron, I'm sure you understood exactly what I meant by my earlier comment.
Hickory says: 12/02/2017 at 12:15 am
When countries begin to hit the wall economically ( as happened in Germany in the 1930's for example), the populace will often out of desperation (and ignorance of course) enable a dictator to come to power. This is with the false hope that grandiose promises of prosperity will be fulfilled.

This explains why Trump was elected, even though the American has yet to be tested by disruption, much.

As the world hits the wall of growth limits, the risk is for more and more leadership failures, the rise of warlords, the failure of functioning democracies.

Violent choices and dysfunctional government will serve to be a mechanism of population decline, ugly population decline. Current events can be seen through this lens as time unfolds.

Hard to watch.
May be better to have no TV.
The de-evolution will be televised, will be televised, will be televised

George Kaplan says: 12/02/2017 at 2:59 am
The general population in Germany did not really enable Hitler to come to power. He was appointed as a compomise by the two leading parties in an election who had split the main vote. They both thought he would make such a mess of it that they would sweep the board at the next election. As soon as he was appointed he started killing or imprisoning these smart opposition leaders, and there wasn't another clean election. It was more like an extended coupe, admittedly with a large number of supporters, often ex WW-I soldier thugs, in the general population.
OFM says: 12/02/2017 at 2:23 pm
George is in the bullseye about how Hitler came to power, considering he was painting fast with a broad brush in such a short comment. I have devoted many a long evening to reading the history of war in the twentieth century, so as to better understand the history of my time.

Wars are usually the result of politicians either wanting them, or being boxed into situations where they either can't avoid them or consider them the best of an assortment of bad options.

Hickory says: 12/03/2017 at 1:17 am
Point taken George. Despite that the general notion that as crunch time develops, there will be a trend towards extremist and totalitarian regimes throughout the world. Along with pockets of failed states, anarchy and warlords. 'Have nots' will take big risks.
GoneFishing says: 12/02/2017 at 8:25 am
No devolution involved. Just human nature.
The loose knit groups with similar hates, anger and dislikes were temporarily brought together. It was an inverse election that utilized the negative and more volatile side of human nature. it only hangs together with constant stirring and occasional negative results (pound the enemy). Finger pointing and passing the buck is not enough, the groups start fracturing.
Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 9:43 am
Lose the Tee Vee -- -
The more you watch, the less you know.
HuntingtonBeach says: 12/02/2017 at 8:18 pm
The difference between the "Tee Vee" and the Internet is exposing your ignorance to the world
Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 1:36 pm
A question for Dennis Coyne, or any other cornucopian who believes renewable energy will save the world from economic collapse, at least for the next 200 years or so.

Dennis, I understand your very optimistic outlook for the welfare of future human populations. I don't agree with it but I understand your argument. But as I understand it, and please correct me if I am wrong, your entire argument deals with the human population of the earth. I don't remember reading your predicted outlook for the rest of the animal kingdom? Perhaps you did make one and I just missed it.

That being said, you have read my outlook many times. And it was all repeated in my post above. Do you agree or disagree? Just where do you see the large wild animal population in the year 2100? Please elaborate.

Edit: Dennis, I know you do not consider yourself a cornucopian, however, I was just comparing your outlook for the future of civilization to mine. And using that comparison?

islandboy says: 12/02/2017 at 2:36 pm
Nice! I was just thinking about a response to a comment following one of mine further up and this pops up, which dovetails nicely into what I've been thinking. In my comment I mention using wind power to make ammonia as a foundation for chemical nitrogen fertilizer and you (Ron) in you reply stated that, " But it is chemical fertilizers that have very dramatically and very temporally increased our carrying capacity." I don't know if you realized this but, that sort of was my point in that, the manufacture of ammonia and the resulting chemical fertilizer using excess wind (and/or solar) power might well result in a much extended (permanent) increase in carrying capacity by allowing us to continue the manufacture of chemical nitrogen fertilizer (ammonium nitrate if memory serves me right) in the absence of oil and NG.

This can be viewed as a downside to the ongoing exponential increasing capacity of renewable electricity generation. If renewables grow big enough fast enough, there will be incentives to use any excess to do things like manufacture fertilizer allowing mankind's expansion into wild habitats to continue. I think it is important that the existing population of the planet continues to have more or less adequate food supplies in order to avoid the sort of situation that exist in Haiti but, the real problem as I see it, is to get poor people in less developed countries to believe that they would be better off not having as many children. Based on utterances I have heard in my neck of the woods, as recently as last night, many of these people do not see any problem with having lots of kids. There seems to be an attitude abroad that there is a great big world out there, just ready for the taking. No limits. I wonder whatever gives people that idea?

I wanted to post some pictures of garbage, sitting in open storm water channels, just waiting for the next big shower of rain to be washed out of existence. At least that must be what the people who dump this stuff into the drains think. I have to wonder if they ever bother to think about where it's going to end up but, it seems to be a simple case of out of sight, out of mind. I guess some readers will have figured out that if you visit any area of the Jamaican coastline that does not have a regular, structured clean up crew, you will see where the trash ends up. I have seen it and it is depressing.

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 3:18 pm
I don't know if you realized this but, that sort of was my point in that, the manufacture of ammonia and the resulting chemical fertilizer using excess wind (and/or solar) power might well result in a much extended (permanent) increase in carrying capacity by allowing us to continue the manufacture of chemical nitrogen fertilizer (ammonium nitrate if memory serves me right) in the absence of oil and NG.

Errr . I don't know if you realize it but you cannot make nitrogen fertilizer without natural gas . or some other source of hydrogen. Of course, you might get the hydrogen from water via electrolysis but that would be super expensive.

Fertilizer Made with Natural Gas Is Lifting Our World
Referred to by some as the most important technological advance of the 20th century .Between 3 and 5 percent of the world's annual natural gas production – roughly 1 to 2 percent of the world's annual energy supply – is converted using the process to produce more than 500 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer, which is believed to sustain about 40 percent of the world's 7 billion people. Approximately half of the protein in today's humans originated with nitrogen fixed through the Haber-Bosch process.

islandboy says: 12/02/2017 at 3:45 pm
"Of course, you might get the hydrogen from water via electrolysis but that would be super expensive."

Not if you are experiencing negative electricity prices as has happened when there's lots of wind and no demand or transmission capacity for the electricity being generated. I think OFM has alluded to this a few times in his ramblings, suggesting that hydrogen production via electrolysis or desalination might be useful ways of avoiding otherwise wasted electricity when the resource is available but, there is limited demand or transmission capacity.

If we ever get to the point where wind and solar generators are ubiquitous and abundant this could be a distinct possibility. In case you missed it in my earlier post here's The University of Minnesota's Wind to Nitrogen Fertilizer project :

We are pursuing a Grand Challenge – the challenge to feed the world while sustaining the environment. In the spirit of this grand challenge, a team of researchers across the University are pursuing an elegant concept in which wind energy, water, and air are used to produce nitrogen fertilizer.

WCROC energy from the windEnergy generated from the wind is used to separate hydrogen from water. Nitrogen is pulled from air. The hydrogen and nitrogen are then combined to form nitrogen fertilizer that nourishes the plants surrounding the farmer.

Next to water, nitrogen fertilizer is the most limiting nutrient for food production. Minnesota farmers import over $400 million of nitrogen fertilizer each year and are subjected to volatile price swings. Furthermore, nitrogen fertilizer is currently produced using fossil energy which contributes significantly to the carbon footprint of agricultural commodities.

and from https://www.siemens.co.uk/en/insights/potential-of-green-ammonia-as-fertiliser-and-electricity-storage.htm

"Green" ammonia demonstration programme:

Siemens is participating in an all electric ammonia synthesis and energy storage system demonstration programme at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Oxford. The demonstrator, which will run until December 2017, is supported by Innovate UK. Collaborators include the University of Oxford, Cardiff University and the Science & Technology Facilities Council.

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 2:59 pm
Hi Ron,

I do not know much about the subject so I should probably not offer an opinion, but because you asked

I agree that humans are the problem and believe that fewer humans (as in reduced population) will improve the situation. Will humans choose to protect some of the mega fauna, until population falls to a more sustainable level? I have no idea.

Is it possible? I would say yes.
High probability? My guess would be no (less than a 66% probability).

So I do not have a prediction for the Earth's megafauna in 2100, except to say I doubt your prediction that we will be reduced to rats and mice, etc. is correct. This is no doubt because I believe there will be a gradual transition to a more sustainable society. I believe some of the mega fauna might be preserved until human population falls to 1 billion or so (by 2150 to 2200). Most likely in North America, Scandanavia, and Siberia, and perhaps in the Himalaya and parts of South America. The rapid expansion of population in Africa makes it less likely the megafauna will survive there.

I am using the 40 kg cutoff for megafauna, though there are many definitions.

Note that some would consider cornucopian an insult.

Certainly I do not think fossil fuels are as abundant as those who believe scenarios such as the RCP8.5 scenario (with about 5000 Pg of carbon emissions) are plausible.

I also do not believe resources are unlimited or infinitely substitutable, which tends to be the cornucopian viewpoint. There is great need to utilize resources more efficiently and to recycle as much as possible (cradle to grave manufacturing should be required by law).

Now if you define cornucopian as someone who is less pessimistic than you, then I am by that definition a cornucopian. 🙂

I am certainly more optimistic than you, but if we all agreed there would be little to discuss.

Clearly the future is unclear.

The outlook for the wild megafauna is tragic and we should do what we can to preserve species diversity. Getting human population to peak and decline would improve the situation of other species, but I share your pessimism that this will be enough, I am just less pessimistic than you.

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 3:53 pm
I believe some of the mega fauna might be preserved until human population falls to 1 billion or so (by 2150 to 2200).

Okay, let's do the math. It looks like the world will reach 9 billion people by 2050. Then if it were to fall to 1 billion by 2150, that would be a decline of 80,000,000 per year or 219,178 per day. That is deaths above births. That would be a catastrophic collapse by any stretch of the imagination. And of course, most of those deaths would be by starvation. And for sure, as I said before, we would eat the songbirds out of the trees.

Hell, if that scenario takes place, there will likely be no rats left. No, no, no, Dennis, please forgive me. You are definitely not a cornucopian. Oh God, how could I have been so wrong?

GoneFishing says: 12/02/2017 at 4:19 pm
The most rapid population decreases have been from disease. A few bouts of virulent diseases in a world with little medical help and control could dramatically reduce population.

Population Collapse in Mexico (Down to about 5% in a century)

Dennis Coyne says: 12/02/2017 at 5:14 pm
Hi Ron,

See chart below. If total fertility ratio (TFR) falls to 1.5 by 2050 then population can fall from 9 billion to 4.5 billion by 2125 and to 2.25 billion by 2200 and to 1 billion by 2300, a fall in TFR to 1.25 (South Korea is about 1.26) would result in more rapid population decline. It is not clear how low TFR can go for the World, it was cut in half in 40 years, whether that can continue so that 1.27 is reached in 2055 is unknown. This scenario assumes life expectancy rises to no higher than 90 for the World.

Deaths would be natural rather than from starvation, this is just a matter of people choosing to have fewer children as is the case today in many East Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan and in many European nations as well.

Education for women and access to birth control and electrification (watch tv, instead of other forms of entertainment leading to increased family size), and empowerment of women in general will reduce population growth. Higher income also helps.

Chart from paper linked below

http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/10438/1/28-39.pdf

Doug Leighton says: 12/02/2017 at 6:27 pm
Keeping things in perspective, why not go with the experts until they're proven wrong?

WORLD POPULATION LIKELY TO SURPASS 11 BILLION IN 2100

"American Statistical Association. "World population likely to surpass 11 billion in 2100: US population projected to grow by 40 percent over next 85 years."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150810110634.htm

Doug Leighton says: 12/02/2017 at 6:36 pm
THERE'S A STRONG CHANCE THAT ONE-THIRD OF ALL PEOPLE WILL BE AFRICAN BY 2100

The combination of declining mortality and relatively high fertility is the driver of rapid population growth in Africa. Even if fertility would continue to decline, as assumed by the UN medium scenario, it will not bring down the growth rate in the near future, let alone halt population growth. This is because of "demographic inertia". And this is because Africa has a high proportion of young adults of reproductive age. Even if each one had very few children, the number of births would remain high.

http://theconversation.com/theres-a-strong-chance-that-one-third-of-all-people-will-be-african-by-2100-84576

Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 7:52 pm
We are all African– it's just some of us have been gone for a while.
(well if you are east of the Wallace Line, you are part Denisovan, and west, part Neanderthal and a species we haven't discovered yet)
Synapsid says: 12/03/2017 at 12:24 pm
Hightrekker,

The Neanderthals and Denisovans are of African descent too, so African we are.

It's turtles all the way down.

Doug Leighton says: 12/03/2017 at 12:47 pm
"It's turtles all the way down." LOL Exactly!
GoneFishing says: 12/02/2017 at 9:22 pm
Here is how the year 2000 looked like to the people of 1900.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-boston-globe-of-1900-imagines-the-year-2000-97021464/

Ron Patterson says: 12/02/2017 at 6:32 pm
Dennis, you are assuming that the population will alter their fertility rates to a lower value. Yes, that has already happened in developed countries. The fertility rates in undeveloped countries are still controlled by what their economy and environment will bear.

The vast majority of the human population lives in undeveloped countries. They will continue to push, push, push against the very limits of their existence. And that will still be the case 50 years from now, and 100 years from now, and 150 years from now.

There are reasons the fertility rate is dropping in developed countries. Female empowerment, contraception, and so on. There are entirely different reasons the fertility rate is dropping in undeveloped countries. Poor nutrition, almost no prenatal care and so on. Also, much higher infant death rate helps keep the population in check. Please check my chart above from the Population Reference Bureau.

I think that if you could just live just one year in Bangladesh, or the Congo, or Zimbabwe, or . you would have an entirely different outlook. You would be forced to take off those rose-colored glasses.

Again, check the Population Reference Bureau chart above.

Doug Leighton says: 12/02/2017 at 6:38 pm
" if you could just live just one year in Bangladesh, or the Congo, or Zimbabwe, or . you would have an entirely different outlook. You would be forced to take off those rose-colored glasses."

Wouldn't take a year, one week would do it: even keeping the rose-colored glasses on. 🙂

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 9:07 pm
I spent a bit of time on leave in "Liberated Burma"/Karen State shortly after the fall of Manerplaw. A week would do it, however I was there for about 3 months. I haven't had a bad day since.
Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 10:03 pm
Got chased out of Myanmar by someone with a AK, lucky I wasn't a captive. Walked across from Masi.
It wasn't the best idea I've ever had.
Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 10:44 pm
I linked up with some folks in Mae Sot on the Thai side. It was well planned before hand. There's was a lot of back and forth across the border in those days. Did some long range mobile medical patrols in Karen and Karenni State. Got chased around by Tatmadaw/SLORC a bit. When I was 25 that was my idea of a good time. Yeah, kinda fucked I know.
Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 10:58 pm
Yea --
I was the only Farang around in Masi, and everyone else was going back and forth.
Very interesting place.
That was a long time ago, in a land far, far away.
It would be impossible in the homogeneous police state we are currently inhabiting.
Dennis Coyne says: 12/03/2017 at 11:09 am
Hi Doug and Ron,

I spent about 5 months hitchhiking through North and West Africa in 1981-2. Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Gabon, Republic of Congo, and Zaire (as it was known in 1982).

The TFR of half the World's population as of 2015 is less than 2. The World TFR decreased from 5.02 in 1965 to 2.51 in 2015.

Different experts have different opinions

https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2014/11/population-paradigm-wolfgang-lutz-education-effect/

and

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Lutz

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research/researchPrograms/WorldPopulation/News/170109-GSDR.html

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 2:32 pm
The problem I see with fertility rates is the same problem I see with planting trees. Even though I support a foundation to plant trees I realize that future changes could allow people to wipe out those and other trees very quickly, thus rendering the effort useless. I also realize the preserved areas of nature and wilderness could quickly disappear or be irreparably harmed by government decree, war and material/food pressures.
The same goes with lower fertility rates. Since they are only based on decisions and not biological, the lower rates could reverse quite quickly. Just stress the population and see how fast it will change.
Once people realize that technological progress is an empty dead system that moves us to an empty dead world, birth rates will climb quickly.

Rather than adding to our knowledge, Tompkins argues computers and smartphones represent "deskilling devices; they make us dumber. We're immersed in a system that now requires the use of a cell phone just to get around, just to function and so the logic of that cell phone has been imposed on us.

"The computer is a mechanism for acceleration, it accelerates economic activity and this is eating up the world. It's eating up resources, it's processing, it's manufacturing, it's distributing, it's consuming. That's what the computer's real work does and it does that 24/7, 365 days a year, non-stop just to satisfy our own narrow needs."

Tompkins foresees a dark future dominated as he puts it by more ugliness, damaged landscapes, extinct species, extreme poverty, and lack of equity and says humanity faces a stark choice; either to transition now to a different system or face a painful collapse.

"The extinction crisis is the mother of all crises. There will be no society, there will be no economy, there will be no art and culture on a dead planet basically. We've stopped evolution."

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/technology-stopped-evolution-destroying-world

Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 2:51 pm
Rather than adding to our knowledge, Tompkins argues computers and smartphones represent "deskilling devices; they make us dumber. We're immersed in a system that now requires the use of a cell phone just to get around, just to function and so the logic of that cell phone has been imposed on us.

So put the damn cell phones to better use. They can also make us smarter They can be used to track illegal logging in endangered rain forests. The fact that I have a device in my pocket that gives me access to all of human knowledge and access to GPS does not make me dumber.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=5Fju_wOaV3Y

When a tree calls for help | Topher White | TEDxCERN

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 3:35 pm
Really? You have cell service in the rain forests? I barely have cell service where I live and it disappears totally between the mountains near me. I don't need electronic mapping and GPS to get around so no problem for me.
Let the rest feel nervous as they get out of touch. For many it's a disaster if they lose their phones, fully dependent.
Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 5:26 pm
I don't need electronic mapping and GPS to get around so no problem for me.

I actually learned how to use a sextant and a compass but GPS is available so I admit that I do use it upon occasion.

In any case my point was that it is possible to use technology for purposes other than tweeting or posting selfies of oneself to Facebook every ten minutes.

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 8:44 pm
Fred, they are highly capable machines but just machines. How they are used is determined by the machine and the operator interface.
I could go on for hours how they have had very bad effects on personal time and personal interactions. For many people life is a series of texts and phone calls with real time life being the background now. Interruptions are the norm now. Sacrilege is when they have to turn them off.
Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 8:57 pm
You won't fix stupid no matter how hard you try

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cznepJAbyg

Texting and walking fails compilation

notanoilman says: 12/03/2017 at 9:56 pm
@Fred
I come close to nailing a textwalker or walkytalky nearly every time I am out on my bike. SOP, watch out for the buggers. It amazes me that people are unable to move about (foot, moto, car, bus, truck) without a phone in their hand.

NAOM

Fred Magyar says: 12/02/2017 at 3:13 pm
A question for Dennis Coyne, or any other cornucopian who believes renewable energy will save the world from economic collapse, at least for the next 200 years or so.

Ok, I'll take a nibble!

First of all, why do we have to accept the current definition of what the economy has to be? All of nature has existed on renewable energy since the beginning of life on this planet 3.8 billion years ago, so obviously the problem isn't renewable energy. If it were, life wouldn't even exist. The extractive, linear growth based neo liberal idea of the economy that we have come to accept as normal, is a relatively recent construct that was created by a small group of people at the beginning of the 20th century and it certainly is an aberration! Personally I don't think it is worth saving.

That economy will certainly collapse and no energy source can ever make it sustainable. Therefore it will by definition collapse. However there is nothing that says we need to continue on that path. There are indeed choices that people and societies can make. Even to the point of something that is considered radical and taboo like limiting population growth. (that is a separate dissertation from my point here)

With regards alternative economic thinking maybe start with Kate Raeworth. Not everyone in the world who has ideas that are out of the box are automatically naive cornucopians.

How to Think Like a 21st Century Economist. 45:00 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR1Wy7ZAgY0

What is the goal of economics? Does GDP really tell us all we need to know about a country's wealth and well-being? Our guest in this show argues that our economic system should be designed to meet everyone's needs, while living within the means of the planet.

Kate Raworth is the author of the acclaimed book 'Doughnut Economics', and she will join us in the studio for an exploration of a new 21st century economic model and why she believes so many economists have got it wrong for so long.

The implications of her Doughnut Economics are profound and and can be read and embraced as a roadmap for change not just by experts or economists, but by everyone! This is a chance to challenge her with your questions and critiques.

If you want to think a bit more about how ideas like E.O. Wilson's Half Earth might look here's a TED talk that touches on it.

Nature is everywhere -- we just need to learn to see it 16:00 minutes

https://www.ted.com/talks/emma_marris_nature_is_everywhere_we_just_need_to_learn_to_see_it#t-779393

How do you define "nature?" If we define it as that which is untouched by humans, then we won't have any left, says environmental writer Emma Marris. She urges us to consider a new definition of nature -- one that includes not only pristine wilderness but also the untended patches of plants growing in urban spaces -- and encourages us to bring our children out to touch and tinker with it, so that one day they might love and protect it.

Emma Marris is a writer focusing on environmental science, policy and culture, with an approach that she paints as being "more interested in finding and describing solutions than delineating problems, and more interested in joy than despair."

I agree with Gone Fishing, we do have choices! There are people all over the world who are making them.

david higham says: 12/03/2017 at 7:28 pm
Regarding the first paragraph of your reply. Conflating the functioning of ecosystems
using the renewable energy from the sun with the 'Renewable Energy' required by industrial civilisation is a common mistake. The energy from the sun is renewable.
The infrastructure required to collect and store that energy requires the mining of the
requisite minerals,transportation,smelting,manufacturing,installation. The energy
required for all of that is supplied by fossil fuels. All of that infrastructure,and all of the
rest of the human-constructed industrial world,has to be rebuilt. Solar panels last
about 25-30 years. Wind Turbines about 50 years. Our industrial constructed world
has an immense amount of embedded fossil fuel energy. The mineral density of many ores are declining now,which means that the energy required to extract a given amount of mineral is increasing. I haven't done much reading on this site. No doubt someone has posted this link before. It gives a good idea of the scale of the construction required.
Natural ecosystems are quite different. The energy collection occurs using biodegradable
and recyclable materials,without the energy input of fossil fuels.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubic_mile_of_oil
notanoilman says: 12/03/2017 at 8:49 pm
You don't seem to have come across the concept of recycling.

NAOM

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 9:20 pm
This is just the typical FF anti-renewable blurb slightly rewritten. It has more holes in than Swiss cheese.
david higham says: 12/03/2017 at 9:50 pm
Have a read of the numbers in the link. All recycling requires energy. I don't know if anyone has done an analysis of the amount of energy
required,but it would be very large. It is also worth remembering that some of the minerals in that infrastructure are difficult to separate and
recycle.
notanoilman says: 12/03/2017 at 11:03 pm
Plenty of people have investigated recycling and are doing it. You obviously haven't. Even the Giga-Factory is building a recycling facility.

On the personal level, I have just replaced my washing machine and stove as the old ones were falling apart – literally. The stove is ready to go to the local recycler where it will be separated and then sent to be melted back to new steel. The washer will be checked over by a refurbisher who will decide if he can use it or it's parts and what is left will go to the recycler. Simple. All my waste metal goes to the recycler but, unfortunately, we have no glass recycling so that just has to go to land fill.

NAOM

Hightrekker says: 12/02/2017 at 11:04 pm
Diet pills?
Kinda makes sense.

Elton John blares so loudly on Donald Trump's campaign plane that staffers can't hear themselves think. Press secretary Hope Hicks uses a steamer to press Trump's pants -- while he is still wearing them. Trump screams at his top aides, who are subjected to expletive-filled tirades in which they get their "face ripped off."

And Trump's appetite seems to know no bounds when it comes to McDonald's, with a dinner order consisting of "two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted."
[ ]

In another episode, Lewandowski describes how staffer Sam Nunberg was purposely left behind at a McDonald's because Nunberg's special-order burger was taking too long. "Leave him," Trump said. "Let's go." And they did.

Trump's fast-food diet is a theme. "On Trump Force One there were four major food groups: McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke," the authors write.

The plane's cupboards were stacked with Vienna Fingers, potato chips, pretzels and many packages of Oreos because Trump, a renowned germaphobe, would not eat from a previously opened package.

The book notes that "the orchestrating and timing of Mr. Trump's meals was as important as any other aspect of his march to the presidency," and describes the elaborate efforts that Lewandowski and other top aides went through to carefully time their delivery of hot fast food to Trump's plane as he was departing his rallies.

https://digbysblog.blogspot.de/2017/12/hes-got-to-be-on-diet-pills.html

Hillary says: 12/03/2017 at 12:44 am
"two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted."

Oh let there be a god

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 11:01 am
One of the biggest problems we face as population and industry grows is obtaining enough fresh water. Sure there is a lot of water on the planet, but it is mostly salty.

Marcia Barbosa talks about the many anomalies of water and how exploiting them with nano-tubes could help address the problem of freshwater shortages.

Marcia Barbosa has a PhD in physics from Brazil's Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, where she is now the director of its Physics Institute. She studies the complex structure of the water molecule, and has developed a series of models of its properties which may contribute to our understanding of how earthquakes occur, how proteins fold, and could play an important role in generating cleaner energy and treating diseases. She is actively involved in promoting Women in Physics and was named the 2013 L'Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards Laureate for Latin America.

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

Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 11:36 am
Tks, GF!
LOL! I'm head over heels in love with her!
I kept imagining her giving her talk to this sound track 😉
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wunq6YlcSX0
Can you see all the dancers dressed as raindrops on a Samba Float in a Carnival Parade?
Doug Leighton says: 12/03/2017 at 4:36 pm
Fred – As you know my bag is astrophysics, with climate change denial being merely irritating BUT when I see science news headlines like the following then I really get pissed off, or feel sick. Who gives a shit if Earth can "carry" 7 or 9 or 11 billion people when dolphins & elephants are relegated to "bush meat" and when species are disappearing at increasingly alarming rates. You're probably the only one here qualified to assess this issue so please give us your thoughts.

CURRENT EXTINCTION RATE 10 TIMES WORSE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT

"Life on earth is remarkably diverse. Globally, it is estimated that there are 8.7 million species living on our planet, excluding bacteria. Unfortunately, human activities are wiping out many species and it's been known for some time that we are increasing the rate of species extinction. But just how dire is the situation? According to a new study, it's 10 times worse than scientists previously thought with current extinction rates 1,000 times higher than natural background rates."

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/current-extinction-rate-10-times-worse-previously-thought/

Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 5:37 pm
Doug, if you get a chance, watch the ASU Origins project debates to which I have posted links recently addressing the topic of extinction. This is a very serious cross disciplinary discussion and can't really be done justice in a quick response here. It probably necessitates a full post of similar length to Ron's.

Here is a very short teaser.

Origins Project Highlight: Elizabeth Kolbert on Climate Change & Mars
https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLusJDXY5SZhWUbALfqiDpk9NGmIoT4n48&v=zTXHcNNiPk4

Link to ASU Origins Project home page:
https://origins.asu.edu/

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 7:53 pm
I look on space habitats as being trapped inside a giant iron lung. Exploration is one thing, but actually thinking of Mars as a possible home for humans is just sad.
Fred Magyar says: 12/03/2017 at 8:19 pm
Couldn't agree more! And that's from someone who lived and worked in a hyperbaric chamber as a saturation diver on oil rigs. I'd say that is pretty close to living in an iron lung as well 😉

The part about going to Mars that has always bothered me is the radiation exposure.

GoneFishing says: 12/03/2017 at 9:17 pm
Plenty of dangerous and exciting exploring, work and research to do right here on Earth.

[Nov 28, 2017] Trump Wants Peace With Erdogan - The Military Wants To Sabotage It

Notable quotes:
"... "President Trump instructed [his generals] in a very open way that the YPG will no longer be given weapons. He openly said that this absurdity should have ended much earlier ," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters after the phone call. ..."
"... The YPG is the Syrian sister organization of the Turkish-Kurdish terror group PKK. Some weapons the U.S. had delivered to the YPK in Syria to fight the Islamic State have been recovered from PKK fighters in Turkey who were out to kill Turkish security personal. Despite that, supply for the YPG continued. In total over 3,500 truckloads were provided to it by the U.S. military. Only recently the YPK received some 120 armored Humvees , mine clearance vehicles and other equipment. ..."
"... The generals in the White House and other parts of the administration were caught flat-footed by the promise Trump has made. The Washington Post writes : "Initially, the administration's national security team appeared surprised by the Turks' announcement and uncertain what to say about it. The State Department referred questions to the White House, and hours passed with no confirmation from the National Security Council." ..."
"... The U.S. military uses the YPG as proxy power in Syria to justify and support its occupation of north-east Syria, The intent of the occupation is , for now, to press the Syrian government into agreeing to a U.S. controlled "regime change": ..."
"... When in 2014 the U.S. started to use Kurds in Syria as its foot-soldiers, it put the YPG under the mantle of the so called Syrian Democratic Forces and paid some Syrian Arabs to join and keep up the subterfuge. This helped to counter the Turkish argument that the U.S. was arming and supporting terrorists. But in May 2017 the U.S. announced to arm the YPG directly without the cover of the SDF. The alleged purpose was to eliminate the Islamic State from the city of Raqqa. ..."
"... A spokesperson of the SDF, the ethnic Turkman Talaf Silo, recently defected and went over to the Turkish side. The Turkish government is certainly well informed about the SDF and knows that its political and command structure is dominated by the YPK. The whole concept is a sham. ..."
"... Sometimes it's hard to see if Trump actually believed what he was saying about foreign policy on the campaign trail -- but either way it doesn't matter much as he seems incapable of navigating the labyrinth of the Deep State even if he had in independent thought in his head. I don't expect US weapons to stop making their way into Kurdish hands as they try to extend their mini-Israel-with-oil foothold in Syria. But it would certainly be a welcome sight if the US left Syria alone for once! ..."
"... Trump personally sent General Flynn to recruit back Erdogan and the Turks right before the election. Flynn wrote his now infamous editorial "Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support" and published in "The Hill". http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/foreign-policy/305021-our-ally-turkey-is-in-crisis-and-needs-our-support ..."
"... But if you know the role he played for Trump in the campaign and then the post-election role as soon to be NSC advisor, you will see that Trump was sending him to bring Turkey back into the fold after the coup attempt by CIA, Gulen and Turkey's AF and US State Dept failed. ..."
"... Trump wanted to prevent the Turkish Stream. It was a huge rival to his LNG strategy. All these are why Flynn did what he did for Trump. Now Trump has to battle CIA and State, as well as the CENTCOM-Israeli plans for insurgencies in Syria. It's not just the Kurd issue or the other needs of NATO to hold the bases in Turkey. It's the whole southwest containment of Russian gas and Russian naval power, and the reality of sharing the Mediterranean as well as MENA with the Bear. ..."
"... Furthermore, I've always been suspicious of Erdogan's 'turn' toward Russia. Many have suspected that the attempted coup was staged by Erdogan (with CIA help?) so as to enable Erdogan to remain in office. IMO Erdogan joined the 'Assad must go!' effort not just because he benefited from the oil trade but because he leans toward Sunnis (Surely he was aware of the thinking that: the road to Tehran runs through Damascus .) ..."
Nov 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

President Trump is attempting to calm down the U.S. conflict with Turkey . The military junta in the White House has different plans. It now attempts to circumvent the decision the president communicated to his Turkish counterpart. The result will be more Turkish-U.S. acrimony.

Yesterday the Turkish foreign minister surprisingly announced a phone call President Trump had held with President Erdogan of Turkey.

United States President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke on the phone on Nov. 24 only days after a Russia-Turkey-Iran summit on Syria, with Ankara saying that Washington has pledged not to send weapons to the People's Protection Units (YPG) any more .

"President Trump instructed [his generals] in a very open way that the YPG will no longer be given weapons. He openly said that this absurdity should have ended much earlier ," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters after the phone call.

Trump had announced the call:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!
12:04 PM - 24 Nov 2017

During the phone call Trump must have escaped his minders for a moment and promptly tried to make, as announced, peace with Erdogan. The issue of arming the YPG is really difficult for Turkey to swallow. Ending that would probably make up for the recent NATO blunder of presenting the founder of modern Turkey Kemal Atatürk and Erdogan himself as enemies.

The YPG is the Syrian sister organization of the Turkish-Kurdish terror group PKK. Some weapons the U.S. had delivered to the YPK in Syria to fight the Islamic State have been recovered from PKK fighters in Turkey who were out to kill Turkish security personal. Despite that, supply for the YPG continued. In total over 3,500 truckloads were provided to it by the U.S. military. Only recently the YPK received some 120 armored Humvees , mine clearance vehicles and other equipment.

The generals in the White House and other parts of the administration were caught flat-footed by the promise Trump has made. The Washington Post writes : "Initially, the administration's national security team appeared surprised by the Turks' announcement and uncertain what to say about it. The State Department referred questions to the White House, and hours passed with no confirmation from the National Security Council."

The White House finally released what the Associated Press called :

a cryptic statement about the phone call that said Trump had informed the Turk of "pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria."

Neither a read-out of the call nor the statement AP refers to are currently available on the White House website.

The U.S. military uses the YPG as proxy power in Syria to justify and support its occupation of north-east Syria, The intent of the occupation is , for now, to press the Syrian government into agreeing to a U.S. controlled "regime change":

U.S. officials have said they plan to keep American troops in northern Syria -- and continue working with Kurdish fighters -- to pressure Assad to make concessions during peace talks brokered by the United Nations in Geneva, stalemated for three years now. "We're not going to just walk away right now," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last week.

To solidify its position the U.S. needs to further build up and strengthen its YPG mercenary forces.

When in 2014 the U.S. started to use Kurds in Syria as its foot-soldiers, it put the YPG under the mantle of the so called Syrian Democratic Forces and paid some Syrian Arabs to join and keep up the subterfuge. This helped to counter the Turkish argument that the U.S. was arming and supporting terrorists. But in May 2017 the U.S. announced to arm the YPG directly without the cover of the SDF. The alleged purpose was to eliminate the Islamic State from the city of Raqqa.

The YPG had been unwilling to fight for the Arab city unless the U.S. would provide it with more money, military supplies and support. All were provided. The U.S. special forces, who control the YPG fighters, directed an immense amount of aerial and artillery ammunition against the city. Any potential enemy position was destroyed by large ammunition and intense bombing before the YPG infantry proceeded. In the end few YPG fighters died in the fight. The Islamic State was let go or eliminated from the city but so was the city of Raqqa . The intensity of the bombardment of the medium size city was at times ten times greater than the bombing in all of Afghanistan. Airwars reported :

Since June, an estimated 20,000 munitions were fired in support of Coalition operations at Raqqa . Images captured by journalists in the final days of the assault show a city in ruins

Several thousand civilians were killed in the indiscriminate onslaught.

The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is defeated. It no longer holds any ground. There is no longer any justification to further arm and supply the YPG or the dummy organization SDF.

But the generals want to continue to do so to further their larger plans. They are laying grounds to circumvent their president's promise. The Wall Street Journal seems to be the only outlet to pick up on the subterfuge:

President Donald Trump's administration is preparing to stop sending weapons directly to Kurdish militants battling Islamic State in Syria, dealing a political blow to the U.S.'s most reliable ally in the civil war, officials said Friday.

...

The Turkish announcement came as a surprise in Washington, where military and political officials in Mr. Trump's administration appeared to be caught off-guard. U.S. military officials said they had received no new guidance about supplying weapons to the Kurdish forces. But they said there were no immediate plans to deliver any new weapons to the group. And the U.S. can continue to provide the Kurdish forces with arms via the umbrella Syrian militant coalition

The "military officials" talking to the WSJ have found a way to negate Trump's promise. A spokesperson of the SDF, the ethnic Turkman Talaf Silo, recently defected and went over to the Turkish side. The Turkish government is certainly well informed about the SDF and knows that its political and command structure is dominated by the YPK. The whole concept is a sham.

But the U.S. needs the YPG to keep control of north-east Syria. It has to continue to provide whatever the YPG demands, or it will have to give up its larger scheme against Syria.

The Turkish government will soon find out that the U.S. again tried to pull wool over its eyes. Erdogan will be furious when he discovers that the U.S. continues to supply war material to the YPG, even when those deliveries are covered up as supplies for the SDF.

The Turkish government released a photograph showing Erdogan and five of his aids taking Trump's phonecall. Such a release and the announcement of the call by the Turkish foreign minister are very unusual. Erdogan is taking prestige from the call and the public announcement is to make sure that Trump sticks to his promise.

This wide publication will also increase Erdogan's wrath when he finds out that he was again deceived.

Posted by b on November 25, 2017 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

WorldBLee | Nov 25, 2017 12:48:12 PM | 1

Sometimes it's hard to see if Trump actually believed what he was saying about foreign policy on the campaign trail -- but either way it doesn't matter much as he seems incapable of navigating the labyrinth of the Deep State even if he had in independent thought in his head. I don't expect US weapons to stop making their way into Kurdish hands as they try to extend their mini-Israel-with-oil foothold in Syria. But it would certainly be a welcome sight if the US left Syria alone for once!
Red Ryder | Nov 25, 2017 12:49:33 PM | 2
Trump personally sent General Flynn to recruit back Erdogan and the Turks right before the election. Flynn wrote his now infamous editorial "Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support" and published in "The Hill". http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/foreign-policy/305021-our-ally-turkey-is-in-crisis-and-needs-our-support

Some interpret this act on Election eve as a pecuniary fulfillment by Flynn of a lobbying contract (which existed).

But if you know the role he played for Trump in the campaign and then the post-election role as soon to be NSC advisor, you will see that Trump was sending him to bring Turkey back into the fold after the coup attempt by CIA, Gulen and Turkey's AF and US State Dept failed.

Flynn understood the crucial need for US and NATO to hold Turkey and prevent the Russians from getting Erdogan as an ally for Syria and the Black Sea, the Balkans and Mediterranean as well as Iran, Qatar and Eurasia. Look at what has transpired between Turkey and Russia since. Gas will be flowing through the Turkish Stream and Erdogan conforms to Putin's wishes.

Trump wanted to prevent the Turkish Stream. It was a huge rival to his LNG strategy. All these are why Flynn did what he did for Trump. Now Trump has to battle CIA and State, as well as the CENTCOM-Israeli plans for insurgencies in Syria. It's not just the Kurd issue or the other needs of NATO to hold the bases in Turkey. It's the whole southwest containment of Russian gas and Russian naval power, and the reality of sharing the Mediterranean as well as MENA with the Bear.

Flynn was on it for Trump. And the IC and State want him prosecuted for defying their efforts to replace Erdogan with a stooge like Gulen. It looks like Mueller is pursuing that against the General.

Harry | Nov 25, 2017 1:18:07 PM | 3
Its not a problem for US to drop Kurds if they are no longer needed, BUT for now they are essential for US/Israel/Saudi goals, therefore you can bet 100% Kurds support will continue. Trump's order (he hasn't made it official either) will be easily circumvented.

The real question is, what Resistance will do with the backstabbing Kurds? It wont be easy to make a deal while Kurds maintain absurd demands and as long as they have full Axis of Terror support.

Go Iraq's way like they reclaimed Kirkuk? US might have sitten out that one, I doubt they'll allow this to happen in Syria as well, unless they get something in return.

alabaster | Nov 25, 2017 1:19:42 PM | 4
While America's standard duplicity of saying one thing while doing the opposite has been known for decades, they have been able to play games mainly because of the weakness of the other actors in the region.
The tables have turned now, but America still thinks it holds top dog position.
Wordplay, semantics and legal loopholes wont be tolerated for very long, and when hundreds of US boots return home in body bags a choice will have to be made - escalate, or run away.
Previous behavior dictates run away, but times have changed.
A cornered enemy is the most dangerous, and the USA has painted itself into a very small corner...
Jean | Nov 25, 2017 1:35:55 PM | 5
Gee. While reading B's article what got to my mind is: "Turkey is testing the ground". Whatever Trump said to Erdogan on the phone, it seems to me that the Turks are playing a card to see how the different actors in the US that seems to follow different agendas will react. If Turkey concludes that the US will continue to back YPG, it's split from the US and will be definitive.

Erdogan is shifting away from US/NATO. He even hinted today that he might talk to Assad. That's huge! I wouldn't be surprised if Turkey leaves NATO sooner than later. And if it's the case, it will be a major move of a tectonic amplitude.

Peter AU 1 | Nov 25, 2017 1:36:09 PM | 6
Trump.. "Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!"

General Wesley Clark - seven countries in five years with Iran last on the list = "Get it all done"?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

Jen | Nov 25, 2017 2:36:10 PM | 7
Surely by now Erdogan must realise that whatever the US President says and promises will be circumvented by the State Department, the Pentagon, the 17 US intel agencies (including the CIA and the NSA) and rogue individuals in these and other US government departments and agencies, and in Congress as well (Insane McCain comes to mind)? Not to mention the fact that the Israeli government and the pro-Israeli lobby on Capitol Hill exercise huge influence over sections of the US government.

If Erdogan hasn't figured out the schizoid behaviour of the US from past Turkish experience and the recent experience of Turkey's neighbours (and the Ukraine is one such neighbour), he must not be receiving good information.

Though as Jean says, perhaps Erdogan is giving the US one last chance to demonstrate that it has a coherent and reliable policy towards the Middle East.

Hausmeister | Nov 25, 2017 3:37:06 PM | 8
Jen | Nov 25, 2017 2:36:10 PM | 6

Well, the US policy has been coherent and reliable in the last years. It enhanced local conflicts, supported both sides at the same time but with different intensities. Whoever wins would be "our man". Old stuff since the Byzantine period. It always takes a lot of time to prove the single actions that were done. In most cases we learn about it years later. The delay is so big and unpleasant that quite a number of folks escapes to stupid narratives that explain everything in one step, and therefore nothing. By the way: is the interest of Kurds to remain under the umbrella of the Syrian state but not be governed by Baath type of Arabic nationalism illegitimate?

stonebird | Nov 25, 2017 3:44:32 PM | 9
How can Trump have his cake and eat it?

The Kurds (PKK basically) are only necessary to give a "face" to the force the US is trying to align in E. Syria. The "fighting" against ISIS (if there really was any) is coming to a close. The Chiefs of ISIS have been airlifted to somewhere nearby, and the foreign mercenary forces sent elsewhere by convoy. ALL the valuable personnel have now become "HTS2" with reversible vests. These, plus the US special forces are the basis of a new armed anti-Syrian force. (Note that one general let slip that there are 5'000 US forces in E-Syria - not the 500 spoken of in the MSM).
So Trump may well be correct in saying that the Kurds (specifically) will not get any more arms - because they have other demands and might make peace with the Syrian Government, to keep at least some part of their territorial gains. The ISIS "bretheren" and foreign mercenaries do not want any peaceful solution because it would mean their elimination.. So The CIA and Pentagon will probably continue arms supplies to "HTS2" - but not the Kurds.

(ex-ISIS members; Some are from Saudi Arabia, Qatar - the EU and the US, as well as parts of Russia and China. They are not farming types but will find themselves with some of the best arable land in Syria. Which belonged to Syrian-arabs-christians-Druzes-Yadzis etc. Who wil want their properties back.)

Note that the US forces at Tanf are deliberately not letting humanitarian help reach the nearby refugee camp. Starvation and deprivation will force many of the younger members to become US paid terrorists.

james | Nov 25, 2017 4:00:51 PM | 10
thanks b.. i tend to agree with @4 jean and @5 jen... the way i see it, there is either a real disconnect inside the usa where the president gets to say one thing, but another part of the establishment can do another, or trump has made his last lie to turkey here and turkey is going to say good bye to it's involvement with the usa in any way that can be trusted.. seems like some kind of internal usa conflict to me at this point, but maybe it is all smoke and mirrors to continue on with the same charade.. i mostly think internal usa conflict at this point..
A P | Nov 25, 2017 4:34:19 PM | 11
Odd that no one has mentioned the fact the US was behind the attempted coup, where Erdogan was on a plane with two rogue Syrian jets that stood down rather than execute the kill shot. I have read opinion that the fighter pilots were "lit up" by Russian missile batteries and informed by radio they would not survive unless they shut down their weapons targeting immediately. This is probably a favour Putin reminds Erdogan of on a regular basis, whenever Erdo tries to play Sultan. The attempted coup/asassination also shows Erdogan exactly how much he can trust the US/Zionists at any level.

And Edrogan must also know Syria was once at least partly in the US-orbit, as Syria was the destination for many well-documented US-ordered rendition/torture cases. It is probable Mossad (or their proxy thugs) killed Assad's father and older brother, so Erdo knows he's better relying on Putin than Trumpty Dumbdy.

Virgile | Nov 25, 2017 5:09:38 PM | 12
Erdogan is about to make a u-turn toward Syria. He is furious at Saudi Arabia for boycotting its ally Qatar, for talking about owning Sunni Islam and by the continuous support of Islamists and Sunni Kurds in Syria.
Erdogan is preparing the turkish public opinion to a shift away from the USA-Israeli axis. This may get him many points in the 2019 election if the war in Syria is stopped, most Syrian refugees are back, Turkish companies are involved in the reconstruction and the YPG neutralized. Erdogan has 1 year and half to make this to happen. For that he badly needs Bashar al Assad and his army on his side.

Therefore he is evaluating what is the next move and he needs to know where the USA is standing about Turkey and Syria. Until now the messages from the USA are contradictory yet Erdogan keeps telling his supporters that the USA is plotting against Turkey and against Islam. Erdogan's reputation also is been threatened by the outcome of Reza Zarrab's trial in the US where the corruption of his party may be exposed.

That is why Erdogan is making another check about the US intentions before Erdogan he starts the irreversible shift toward the Iran-Russia (+Qatar and Syria) axis.

dirtyoilandgas | Nov 25, 2017 6:13:37 PM | 13
missing in this analysis is oil gas ... producers, refiners, slavers, middle crooks, and the LNG crowd :Israel, Fracking, LNG and wall street... these are the underlying directing forces that will ultimately dictate when the outsiders have had enough fight against Assad over Assad's oil and Assad's refusal to allow outsiders to install their pipelines. Until then, gangland intelligence agencies will continue the divide, destroy and conquer strategies sufficient to keep the profits flowing. The politicians cannot move until the underlying corruptions resolve..
les7 | Nov 25, 2017 6:59:27 PM | 14
The word 'byzantine' has been used for centuries to describe the intricate and multi-leveled forms of agreement, betrayal, treachery and achievement among the shifting power brokers in the region. The US alone has three major and another three minor players at work - often fighting each other. If however, it thinks it can outplay people whose lives are steeped in such a living tradition, it is sadly deluded and will one day be in for a very rude surprise. Even the Russians have had difficulty navigating that maze.

When confronted with such a 'Gordian knot' of treachery and shifting alliances, Alexander the Great drew his sword and cut through it with a vision informed by the sage Socrates as taught by Aristotle.

Despite claiming to represent such a western heritage, the US has no such Socratic wisdom, no Aristotelian logic, and no visionary leadership that could enable it to do what Alexander did. Lacking this, it is destined to get lost in its' own hubris, and be consumed by our current version of that region's gordian knot.

flankerbandit | Nov 25, 2017 7:53:29 PM | 15
'Hausmaus' @7 says...
'...By the way: is the interest of Kurds to remain under the umbrella of the Syrian state but not be governed by Baath type of Arabic nationalism illegitimate?..'

...showing that he either knows only the crap spouted by wikipedia...or nothing at all about the Baath party...

...which happens to be a socialist and secular party interested in pan-Arab unity...not nationalism...[an obvious oxymoron to be pan-national and 'nationalist' at the same time...]

Of course there is always a 'better way'...right Hausmaus...?

The Baath socialism under Saddam in Iraq was no good for anyone we recall...especially women, students, sick people etc...

A 'better way' has since been installed and it is working beautifully...all can agree...

Same thing in Libya...where the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was no good for anyone...

Of course everyone wanted the 'Better Way'...all those doctoral graduates with free education and guaranteed jobs...a standard of living better than some European countries...etc...

Again...removing the 'socialist' Kadafi has worked out wonderfully...

We now have black African slaves sold in open air markets...where before they did all the broom pushing that was beneath the dignity of the Libyan Arabs...

...and were quite happy to stay there and have a job and paycheck...instead of now flooding the shores of Italy in anything that can float...

Oh yes...why would anyone in Syria want to be governed by the socialist Baath party...?

...especially the Kurds...who just over the border in Turkey are not even recognized as humans...never mind speaking their own language...

Oh yes yes yes...we all want the 'Better Way'...

It's a question of legitimacy you see...

Daniel | Nov 25, 2017 7:55:00 PM | 16
I'd really hoped that Donald Trump® would be the "outsider" that both the MSM and he have been insisting he is for the past couple of years. Other than the Reality TV Show faux conflicts with which the MSM entertains us nightly, I see no such "rogue" Administration.

This say one thing, and do the other has been US foreign policy forever.

Recall, for instance that on February 21, 2014, Obama's State Department issued a statement hailing Ukrainian President Yanukovych for signing an agreement with the "pro-democracy Maidan Protest" leaders in which he acquiesced to all of their demands.

Then, on February 22, 2014, the US State Department cheered the "peaceful and Constitutional" coup after neo-nazis stormed the Parliament.

A few months later, Secretary of State Kerry hailed the Minsk Treaty to end the war in Ukraine. Later that day, Vickie Nuland said there was no way her Ukies would stop shelling civilians, and sure enough they didn't (until they'd been on the retreat for weeks, and came whimpering back to the negotiations table).

A couple years later, Kerry announced that the US and Russia would coordinate aerial assaults in Syria. The next day, "Defense" Secretary Carter said, "no way," and within a week or so, we "accidentally" bombed Syrian forces at Deir ez Zoir for over an hour.

From my perspective, they keep us chasing the next squirrel, while bickering amongst each other about each squirrel. But the wolves are still devouring the lambs, with only the Bear preventing a complete extinction.

flankerbandit | Nov 25, 2017 8:16:50 PM | 17
Some good comments here with food for thought...

What we know with at least some level of confidence...

Dump is not the 'decider'...the junta is...he's just a cardboard cutout sitting behind the oval office desk...

And he's got no one to blame but himself...he came in talking a big game about cleaning house and got himself cleaned out of being an actual president...

This was inevitable from the moment he caved on Flynn...the only person he didn't need to vet with the senate...and a position that wields a lot of power...

This was his undoing on many levels...not only because he faced a hostile deep state and even his own party in congress with no one by his side [other than Flynn]...

...but because it showed that he had no balls and would not stand by his man...

This is not the stuff leaders are made of...

The same BS we see with Turkey is playing out with Russia on the Ukraine issue...

Now the junta and their enablers in congress want to start sending offensive arms to Ukraine...Dump and his platitudes to Putin...no matter how much he may mean it...mean nothing...he's not in charge...

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/410942-trump-putin-friendly-words/

Yeah, Right | Nov 25, 2017 9:44:37 PM | 18
I think that Jean @4 has the best take on this: Erdoğan went very public on Trump's "promise" in a classic put-up-or-shut-up challenge to the USA.

Either the word of a POTUS means something or it doesn't, and if it doesn't then Turkey is going to join Russia in concluding that the USA as simply not-agreement-capable.

Erdoğan will then say "enough!!!", give the USA the two-finger-salute, and then take Turkey out of NATO.

And the best thing about it will be that McMaster, Kelly and Mathis will be so obsessed with playing their petty little games that they won't see it coming.

ritzl | Nov 25, 2017 11:08:38 PM | 19
It's hard to tell what Erdoğan is doing or intending other than that he is navigating something - objective TBD. It'll be interesting to see if he constrains the use of Incirlik airbase should the US keep arming the YPG/PKK forces. Airpower is the enabler (sole enabler, IMO) of the/any Kurdish overreach inside Syria. Seems like Erdoğan holds the ace card in this muddle but has yet to play it.
Grieved | Nov 25, 2017 11:32:17 PM | 20
@18 ritzl

Seems like Turkey has more than one card to play. A commenter on another site mentioned recently that the US really doesn't want Erdogan to have that S-400 system from Russia. Got me thinking, could Russia have deliberately loaded Erdogan's hand with that additional card to help him negotiate with the US?

Turkey may well leave NATO and as others have pointed out, this would be a game changer far beyond the matter of the US's illegal presence in NE Syria. This possibility brings immense existential gravitas to Erdogan's position right now. He could ask for many concessions at this point, not to leave. And from the Eurasian point of view, it doesn't matter if he leaves or stays, while from the western view, it matters greatly.

Would the US give up Syria, in order to keep Turkey in NATO? It's a western dichotomy, not one that affects Asia. It would be simple to throw S-400 at that dynamic to watch it squirm.

Jackrabbit | Nov 25, 2017 11:42:26 PM | 21
The plays the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.

- Hamlet

As the endgame plays out, Erdogan's conscience may be revealed.

b has made the point that the partition that US-led proxy forces have carved out is unsustainable. But it would be sustainable if Erdogan can be convinced to allow trade via Turkey.

For that reason, I thought Trump's ceasing direct military aid to the Kurds made sense as it provided Erdogan with an excuse to allow land routes for trade/supply. Erdogan can argue that he wants to encourage such good behavior and doesn't want to make US an enemy (Turkey is still a NATO country).

Furthermore, I've always been suspicious of Erdogan's 'turn' toward Russia. Many have suspected that the attempted coup was staged by Erdogan (with CIA help?) so as to enable Erdogan to remain in office. IMO Erdogan joined the 'Assad must go!' effort not just because he benefited from the oil trade but because he leans toward Sunnis (Surely he was aware of the thinking that: the road to Tehran runs through Damascus .)

Hasn't Erdogan's vehement anti-Kurdish stance done R+6 a disservice? It seems to me that it has helped USA to convince Kurds to fight for them and has also been a convenient excuse for Erdogan to hold onto Idlib where al Queda forces have refuge. If Erdogan was really soooo angry with Washington, and soooo dependent on Moscow, then why not relax his anti-Kurdish stance so as to bring Kurds back into the Syrian orbit?

Seby | Nov 26, 2017 12:25:05 AM | 22
tRump just wants to hide the truth that he is castrated and with a tiny penis, like his hands.

Also just cares about money and soothing his narcissism. So f***'in American, in the worst sense!

Ian | Nov 26, 2017 12:29:05 AM | 23
Jackrabbit @20:
Erdogan may feel that if he relaxed his stance against the Syrian Kurds, it could embolden Turkish Kurds to further pursue their agenda. It would also make him appear weak towards his supporters.
Fernando Arauxo | Nov 26, 2017 1:45:51 AM | 24
Erdogan is NOT going to leave NATO. Why should he? It would be the stupidest chess move ever? He's in the club and they can't kick him out. He can cause all the trouble he wants and hobble that huge machine that is the western alliance. He will not get EU membership, but he has his NATO ID CARD and that ain't bad. Erdo now knows that the poor bastard Trumps is WORTHLESS that he is a toothless executive in name only. This is a wake up call, if I were Erdo, I would be very afraid of the USA and it's Syria, MENA policy. It is being run by LUNATICS and is a slow moving train wreak. So for now, Erdo must be looking at Moscow, admiring Putin for this is a man who has his shit together and truly knows how to run a country. Maybe even a sense of admiration and more respect for Putin is even present. If I were Erdo, I'd double down in my support for Russia's Syria policy.
Hausmeister | Nov 26, 2017 3:46:55 AM | 25
@ flankerbandit | Nov 25, 2017 7:53:29 PM | 14

You do not get it:
„...which happens to be a socialist and secular party interested in pan-Arab unity...not nationalism..."
According to this ideology the coherence of a society comes from where? And who is excluded if one applies it?
So your contribution is just a rant using rancidic rhetoric tools. But I will not call you „flunkerbandit". My advice is to move to this area and have a look into such a society from a more close position. Armchair type of vocal leadership does not help.

Anon | Nov 26, 2017 5:11:53 AM | 26
In the Obama years there was a:

Which policy is Trump really up against?

Jen | Nov 26, 2017 6:38:32 AM | 27
Anon @ 25: Tempted to say Trump is up against all of them plus NSA policy, FBI policy, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) policy and the policies of, what, 12 other intel agencies?
https://www.businessinsider.com.au/17-agencies-of-the-us-intelligence-community-2013-5?r=US&IR=T
Yeah, Right | Nov 26, 2017 7:27:43 AM | 28
@23 "Erdogan is NOT going to leave NATO. Why should he?"

I guess one possible reason would be this: as long as Turkey remains in NATO then he is obliged to allow a US military presence in his country, and that's just asking for another attempt at a military coup.

After all, wasn't Incirlik airbase a hotbed of coup-plotters during the last coup attempt?

arbetet | Nov 26, 2017 10:14:56 AM | 29
This came up:

SDF official: Kurds will join the Syrian Arab Army ranks!

Harry | Nov 26, 2017 10:33:01 AM | 30
@ arbetet | 29

"when the Syrian settlement is achieved, Syria's democratic forces will join the Syrian army."
"When the Syrian state stabilizes, we can say that the Americans did what they said, then withdraw as they did in Iraq and set a date for their departure and leave."

Nothing new here, nothing good either. Kurds so far are keeping up their demands of de-facto independence under fig-leaf of "we are part of federalised Syria" with weak central government and autonomous Kurds. Thats how US plan to castrate Syria. Russia offered cultural autonomy, Kurds rejected.

As for Americans "withdrawing" willfully, it never happened. Iraq had to kick them out, and then US used ISIS and Kurds to get back in.

As for Syria's stabilization part, US is doing everything in its power to prevent it.

dan of steele | Nov 26, 2017 11:00:06 AM | 31
@Yeah Right #26
Turkey is not obliged to keep foreign troops in their country to remain in NATO. De Gaulle invited the US to leave France in 1967 but is still a member of NATO
Yeah, Right | Nov 26, 2017 5:18:37 PM | 32
@31 France actually withdrew from NATO in 1966. It remained "committed" to the collective defence of western Europe, without being, you know, "committed" to it.

So, yeah, France kicked all the foreign troops out of France in 1967, precisely because its withdrawal from NATO's Integrated Military Command meant that the French were no longer under any obligation to allow NATO troops on its soil.

But France had to formally withdraw from that Command first, and the reason that de Gaulle gave for withdrawing were exactly that: remaining meant ceding sovereignty to a supra-national organization i.e. NATO Integrated Military Command.

That France retained "membership" of NATO's political organizations even after that withdrawal was little more than a fig-leaf.

After all, NATO's purpose isn't "political", it is "military".

fast freddy | Nov 26, 2017 6:21:33 PM | 33
"The Decider" is Trump's apparent self image. He can't be enjoying the Presidency and the controls exerted upon him by others among the "Deep State" (whom I suppose have effectively cowed him into behaving via serious threats).

If he already had money and power, as it appears that he had, he gained little by taking the crown. He has less power because he is now controlled by a number of forces (CIA, NSA, Media, MIC and etc.) as he remains under constant assault by his natural opposition.

Big mistake dumping Flynn.

Now you take another kind of asshole in the person of Obama - a guy that had nothing - you have a malleable character who enjoys the pomp and circumstance. Really didn't need any persuading to do anything required of him.

psychohistorian | Nov 26, 2017 11:30:16 PM | 34
Here is a recent report from the Turkish Prime Minister supporting Trump's "lie" about ending support for the Kurds....what will history show occured?

ISTANBUL, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Sunday that his country is expecting the United States to end its partnership with the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG).

"Since the very beginning, we have said that it is wrong for the U.S. to partner with PKK's cousin PYD and YPG in the fight against Daesh (Islamic State) terrorist group," Yildirim told the press in Istanbul prior to his departure for Britain.

Ankara sees the Kurdish groups as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighting against the Turkish government for over 30 years, while Washington regards them as a reliable ground force against the Islamic State (IS), also known as Daesh.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday spoke to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the phone, pledging not to provide weapons to the YPG any more, an irritant that has hurt bilateral ties, according to the Turkish side.

Yildirim noted that Washington has described it as an obligation rather than an option to support the Kurdish groups on the ground. "But since Daesh (IS) is now eliminated then this obligation has disappeared," he added.

Julian | Nov 27, 2017 12:47:45 AM | 35
It would be nice if Erdogan when withdrawing from NATO (Assuming he does this in the next 12-18 months) would say something like.
"We really like President Trump - and we trust his word implicitly. The problem is, although we trust his word, we know he is not in control so his word is useless and best ignored. Though of course - we still trust he means well."

That would be a nice backhander to hear from Erdopig.

Quentin | Nov 27, 2017 8:48:51 AM | 36
Speculation about Turkey leaving NATO seems farfetched. Turkey has NATO over a barrel. It has been a member for decades and what would it gain by leaving? Nothing. By staying it continues to influence and needle at the same time. Turkey will only leave when NATO throws it out, which isn't going to happen.
Willy2 | Nov 27, 2017 11:53:09 AM | 37
- According to Sibel Edmonds there're 2 coups being prepared. One against Trump and one against Erdogan.

[Nov 22, 2017] An attack on Iran would probably result in the oil supplies through the Persian Gulf being blocked.

Nov 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

Tsar Nicholas , November 20, 2017 at 3:07 am GMT

An attack on Iran would probably result in the oil supplies through the Persian Gulf being blocked.

That wouldn't just affect the ability of westerners to drive. Their holidays would be wrecked, industry would go on short time, food supplies would be disrupted. We live in a very complex world with most businesses reliant on just-in-time delivery. This is not 1917 or 1940.

[Nov 18, 2017] The Second Russia-China Oil Pipeline Completed

Nov 18, 2017 | russia-insider.com

The 942-kilometer pipeline will become operational in January when the flow of Russian pipeline oil to China will double from 15 to 30 million tons

[Nov 16, 2017] MoA - Revealed - Saudis Plan To Give Up Palestine - For War On Iran

Notable quotes:
"... The document, which is being unveiled for the first time, proves all that has been leaked since President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia last May on the launch of US efforts to sign a peace treaty between Saudi Arabia and Israel. This was followed by information on the exchange of visits between Riyadh and Tel Aviv, the most important being the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince to the Zionist entity. ..."
"... The document reveals the size of concessions that Riyadh intends to present in the context of the liquidation of the Palestinian issue, and its concern to get in return the elements of power against Iran and the resistance, led by Hezbollah. ..."
Nov 16, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Revealed - Saudis Plan To Give Up Palestine - For War On Iran

The tyrants of Saudi Arabia developed a plan that sells away Palestine. They see this as necessary to get U.S. support for their fanatic campaign against their perceived enemy Iran.

An internal Saudi memorandum, leaked to the Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar , reveals its major elements. (Note: The genuineness of the memo has not been confirmed. In theory it could be a "plant" by some other party. But Al-Akhbar has so far an excellent record of publishing genuine leaks and I trust its editors' judgement.)

According to the memo the Saudis are ready to give up on the Palestinian right of return. They forfeit Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem and no longer insist of the status of a full state for the Palestinians. In return they ask for a U.S.-Saudi-Israeli (military) alliance against their perceived enemy on the eastern side of the Persian Gulf.

Negotiations on the issue were held between the Saudis and the Zionist under the aegis of the United States. Netanyahu and Trump's "shared personal assistant, wunderkind Jared Kushner", is the point men in these negotiations. He made at least three trips to Saudi Arabia this year, the last one very recently.

The Saudi operations over the last month, against the internal opposition to the Salman clan as well as against Hizbullah in Lebanon, have to be seen in the context and as preparation of the larger plan. To recap:

Since the warnings, which could threaten the new Palestinian unity agreement signed by Fatah and the Iranian-backed Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian media displayed a rare degree of unity in recent days by coming out against Iran.
Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump - 3:03 PM - 6 Nov 2017
I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing....

(The tweet was heavily promoted by Saudi Twitter bots .)

The left-wing Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar has obtained a copy of the plan (Arabic) in form of a memorandum by the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir to the Saudi clown prince Mohammed Bin Salman ( English machine translation ):

The document, which is being unveiled for the first time, proves all that has been leaked since President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia last May on the launch of US efforts to sign a peace treaty between Saudi Arabia and Israel. This was followed by information on the exchange of visits between Riyadh and Tel Aviv, the most important being the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince to the Zionist entity.

The document reveals the size of concessions that Riyadh intends to present in the context of the liquidation of the Palestinian issue, and its concern to get in return the elements of power against Iran and the resistance, led by Hezbollah.

The Saudi foreign ministry memo starts by laying out its strategic perspective:

To face Iran by increasing sanctions on ballistic missiles and reconsidering the nuclear deal, the Kingdom has pledged in the strategic partnership agreement with US President Donald Trump that any US-Saudi effort is the key to success.
...
Saudi Arabia's rapprochement with Israel involves a risk to the Muslim peoples of the Kingdom, because the Palestinian cause represents a spiritual and historical and religious heritage. The Kingdom will not take this risk unless it feels the United States' sincere approach to Iran, which is destabilizing the region by sponsoring terrorism, its sectarian policies and interfering in the affairs of others.

The Saudi paper describes the issues and process steps towards a deal in five points:

First : The Saudis demand a " parity of the relationship " between Israel and Saudi Arabia. On the military level they demand that either Israel gives up on its nuclear weapons or Saudi Arabia is itself allowed to acquire such

Second : In exchange Saudi Arabia will use its diplomatic and economic power to push through a 'peace plan' between Israel, the Palestinians and Arab countries along the lines that the U.S. will lay out. Within such a peace plan the Saudis, according to the memo, are willing to make extraordinary concessions:

Third : After reaching an agreement of the "main principles of the final solution" for Palestine between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. (Israel), a meeting of all foreign ministers of the region would be convened to back these up. Final negotiations would follow.

Fourth : In coordination and cooperation with Israel Saudi Arabia would use its economic power to convince the Arab public of the plan. The point correctly notes "At the beginning of normalizing relations with Israel, normalization will not be acceptable to public opinion in the Arab world ." The plan is thus to essentially bribe the Arab public into accepting it.

Fifth : The Palestinian conflict distracts from the real issue the Saudi rulers have in the region which is Iran: "Therefore, the Saudi and Israeli sides agree on the following:

  1. Contribute to counter any activities that serve Iran's aggressive policies in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia's affinity with Israel must be matched by a sincere American approach against Iran.
  2. Increase US and international sanctions related to Iranian ballistic missiles.
  3. Increase sanctions on Iran's sponsorship of terrorism around the world.
  4. Re-examination of the group (five + 1) in the nuclear agreement with Iran to ensure the implementation of its terms literally and strictly.
  5. Limiting Iran's access to its frozen assets and exploiting Iran's deteriorating economic situation and marketing it to increase pressure on the Iranian regime from within.
  6. Intensive intelligence cooperation in the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking supported by Iran and Hezbollah."

The memo is signed by Adel al-Jubeir. (But who were the 'advisors' who dictated it to him?)

The U.S. plan for peace in Palestine is to press the Palestinians and Arabs into anything Israel demands. The Saudis will agree to that, with minor conditions, if only the U.S. and Israel help them to get rid of their nemesis Iran. But that is impossible. Neither Israel nor the U.S. will agree to a "parity of relationship" for Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia lacks all elements to become a supreme state in the Arab Middle East. Iran can not be defeated.

Iran is the at the core of the Shia constituency and at the core of resistance to "western" imperialism. Shia and Sunni aligned populations in the Middle East (ex Egypt) are of roughly equal size. Iran has about four times the number of citizens the Saudis have. It is much older and cultured than Saudi Arabia. It has an educated population and well developed industrial capabilities. Iran is a nation, not a conglomerate of desert tribes like the desert peninsula under al-Saud. Its geographic position and resources make it unconquerable.

To defeat Iran the Saudis started proxy-wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and now Lebanon. They needed foot soldiers to win these wars. The Saudis hired and sent the only significant infantry they ever had at their disposal. Their hordes of al-Qaeda and ISIS fanatics were defeated. Tens of thousands of them have been killed on the battle fields in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Despite a global mobilization campaign nearly all the potentially available forces have been defeated by the local resistances on the ground. Neither the colonial settler state nor the U.S. are willing to send their soldiers into battle for Saudi supremacy.

The grant plan of the Trump administration to achieve peace in the Middle East is high on hopes but lacks all the necessary details. The Saudi's promise to support the U.S. plan if the Trump administration is willing to fight their nemesis Iran. Both leaderships are hapless and impulsive and both of their plans have little chance of final success. They will be pursued anyway and will continue to create an enormous amount of collateral damage. The Zionist entity feels no real pressure to make peace. It is already dragging its feet on these plans and will try to use them to its sole advantage.

Posted by b on November 14, 2017 at 05:42 AM | Permalink

x | Nov 14, 2017 5:59:54 AM | 1

"... I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing...."

Yes, exactly what they are told to do by the usual suspects. Stay on script, ... or else!

arbetet | Nov 14, 2017 6:02:31 AM | 2
Donald Trump on Twitter (5 h ago):


Donald J. Trump‏
@realDonaldTrump

I will be making a major statement from the @WhiteHouse upon my return to D.C. Time and date to be set.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/930320191699017730

Lea | Nov 14, 2017 6:13:23 AM | 3
This reeks of despair. How long should one give to the clown prince MBS before he achieves the final collapse of Saudi Arabia is the only question I have.
somebody | Nov 14, 2017 6:29:53 AM | 4
This did not need a leak, it was clear. The "leak" might as well have been invented from what has transpired anyway.

There is an Arab peace plan from 2002 which Israelis find unacceptable.

Israelis will find this new peace plan unacceptable, too, as it would mean a one state solution - Palestinian struggle for a state would be changed to an equal rights campaign Israelis would find very difficult to counter.

The 'new' plan is too late anyway, Israel cannot directly engage in any war without being existentially threatened themselves, last time proved in Gaza. Hamas might have been forced to allow the Palestinian authority back but they did not give up their weapons.

And neither the US nor Israel can politically afford to lose many soldiers in a ground war. So if Saudi wants to fight against Iran, they have to do it themselves.

Eugene | Nov 14, 2017 7:29:28 AM | 5
Never ceases to amaze the repeated rhetoric about how Iran is the bogyman, when Saudi Arabia financed the destruction in Syria. Israel fermenting discourse, has been going on for so long, to where the world looks upon it as being the "boy who cried wolf". Israel give up its Nukes? Parity, if you believe in the tooth fairy. Exactly who meddles in others foreign affairs there in the MENA?
stonebird | Nov 14, 2017 7:45:36 AM | 6
Seems like this could be a "deliberate pre-emptive leak" - to see what the reactions will be.

The alternative is a potential turn of Saudi Arabia - towards China and Russia. https://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/113426/if-saudi-arabia-situation-doesnt-worry-youre-not-paying-attention

Either way, the new "owner" of Saudi Arabia will have to make several choices if he wants to do anything at all without running out of cash. Wars are expensive (particulrly if you have to pay mercenaries) and the recent asset seizures will only go so far.


...The actual "plot" mentioned by b seems to have included too many "wish-list" items for the Israelis, for it to be accurate. Although there is definitely a possibility of Saudi and Israeli collusion, Israel for one would prefer the US AND the Saudis to attack Iran. Note that overflying by Israel to attack Iran would probably be over Saudi which makes it into a direct target. The "other" route via Greece would be used on the return (or outward first). Which is why the inclusion of foreign airforces in familiarisation drills in Soutern Israel, actually lends credence to the leak - in spite of what I said earlier.

Mina | Nov 14, 2017 7:50:31 AM | 7
On RT Arabic, article saying that Aoun's aid has been informed that they indeed a war on Lebanon is coming.
In exchange for letting humanitarian business-help reach the Yemenis, they need to kill ppl elsewhere?
But what if the 350,OOO Lebanese leave KSA (and why don't they already do it?)
I believe KSA will suffer of that much more than Lebanon.
Mina | Nov 14, 2017 7:51:54 AM | 8
Ppl can get organized from now on: "not in my name"
Withdraw all money from banks, stop consuming. That's the only war they know.
somebody | Nov 14, 2017 7:55:05 AM | 9
4) To clarify the situation Israel is in - from tiny Gaza strip -
The incident increased tensions along the southern sector and threatened to disturb the calm that has prevailed there since the end of the traumatic summer of 2014, which left Gaza in ruins and Israel licking its wounds. As of the writing of this article, silence has been maintained. None of the parties are lashing out, despite the casualties from Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

Ever since the tunnel was destroyed, senior Egyptian intelligence officials have set off on a long round of mediation between the parties in an effort to prevent a conflagration from erupting. Both sides are well-aware that the previous round of violence, in 2014, was not planned. Rather, it was the result of a deteriorating situation and the loss of control on both sides. Neither of the parties needs another round of violence like that right now. The IDF has clarified that it did not know that there were excavators or fighters in the tunnel at the time, and that it did not plan to launch a "targeted killing." It simply wanted to destroy the tunnel.

I have been wondering about the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation. Saudi does not want it - if Hamas keeps contact with Iran .

So why it is happening? Israel?

There is no certainty Israel is not interested in a deal with Iran. It might be the safest bet.

virgile | Nov 14, 2017 8:05:33 AM | 10
I have been saying that for the last year.

As Obama will be remembered for the Iran nuclear deal, Trump wants to be remembered as the maker of the Arab-Israeli deal to end the state of wear.
Since Trump came to power he has been following a clear strategy of weakening all the parties involved, including Saudi Arabia and Israel!
Syria, Lebanon, Hamas, Fatah, Turkey and Iran are been thrown into deep crisis while Saudi Arabia and Israel are been brought to panic by agitating the "Iran and Shia threat'. Regional leaders reluctant to make concessions are coerced, bribed or quietly removed in all these countries. Local allies such as the Kurds and ISIS have been pampered to move against the reluctant leaders.
Jared is the architect of that strategy. He is in charge of manipulating the Saudis and Israel into a deal that will be then be imposed on the other countries.
Russia is NOT opposed to such a deal, provided it keeps its influence in the region. Therefore Trump is cozying up with Putin to get his collaboration in convincing his allies of the benefits of such a deal.
The hard to break Arabs are Bashar al Assad's Syrians, and the Moslem Brotherhood (Hamas) .
Qatar and Turkey are been blackmailed to put pressure on the Moslem Brotherhood and any opponent to a 'forced' peace deal.

The Saudis are the key to the deal as they will be asked to contribute to the financial compensation Palestinians will ask for to accept the deal. They are also the most eager to humiliate Iran and Turkey.
The train is on track, despite failure to tame Syria that remains a nut hard to crack.

Jackrabbit | Nov 14, 2017 8:07:28 AM | 11
I'm not convinced that this document is genuine because:
>> as b notes, 'parity' on nukes is a non-starter;

>> discussions with Israel about the Palestinians are unlikely to be phrased as a "final solution" with the severe negative historical connotations of that phrase;

>> this wording is also odd: "rapprochement with Israel involves a risk to the Muslim peoples of the Kingdom" because there is no need to make special reference to "Muslim peoples" when 99.9% of KSA is Muslim.

>> Does KSA really have the wherewithal to bribe the Muslim world?

>> The accusation that Iran engages in "organized crime and drug trafficking" seems planted. I haven't seen such a charge before. The standard accusation (in the US) has been that Iran supports terrorism (meaning Hezbollah) and "destabilizes the region" (meaning they don't bow to US-Israeli-Saudi masters).

somebody | Nov 14, 2017 8:13:57 AM | 12
10 There will be no deal without Iran.

Israel is not stupid. The outcome of the war in Syria is an Iranian base on its border .

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that a recently announced agreement on the terms of a ceasefire in Syria did not include a Russian commitment to ensure Iran-linked militias would be pulled out of the country.

Lavrov said Iran maintained a "legitimate" presence in Syria, according to the Interfax news agency.

virgile | Nov 14, 2017 8:26:56 AM | 13
Trump's Middle East peace initiative still on hold

"What will the initiative include? According to various sources, it will consist of regional negotiations along three channels: Israeli-Palestinian with American mediation, Israeli-regional and international (rehabilitation of the refugee camps and mobilization of the world for a regional agreement). It is possible that the initiative will redefine the concept of "sovereignty" in a way that allows the Israelis and Palestinians to share territory creatively. The initiative may even resuscitate the Palestinian-Jordanian confederation idea. Perhaps even a Palestinian-Jordanian-Israeli configuration is possible."

catface | Nov 14, 2017 8:29:52 AM | 14
Excellent article, thanks. yet I am left somewhat confused, Harir just talk on TV saying: He was running for a fear for his life (hezbollah wants him dead, like they did with his father), he added that Hezbollah is the danger to Lebanon, he added that he is not held by force and will return to Lebanon.

Something feels wrong, don't you have this feeling as well regarding this story?

somebody | Nov 14, 2017 8:36:31 AM | 15
13 Yes, that is the Israeli dream - Jordan to take over the rest of the West-Bank and Egypt take over Gaza.

Russia says US providing cover for ISIS - add to the BBC article.

nudge | Nov 14, 2017 8:48:55 AM | 16
@11...Jackrabbit:
How convenient that you forget the phrase, "...by deception thou shalt do war", when you rationalize Israeli motivations/sensibilities.
Yul | Nov 14, 2017 8:51:06 AM | 17
Interesting thread from the former US Amb to Israel under Obama:
https://twitter.com/DanielBShapiro/status/930425842555027457

and then we have this:

https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-delegation-headed-to-israel-to-discuss-syria-border-deal/

In addition to the Syria agreement, the officials are likely to discuss Iran's alleged construction of a military base less than 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Israel's Golan border.

and from Mattis:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-usa-syria/u-s-to-fight-islamic-state-in-syria-as-long-as-they-want-to-fight-mattis-idUSKBN1DE037

"We're not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has traction," he added.


Jackrabbit | Nov 14, 2017 8:56:09 AM | 18
@11 follow-up

The leaking of a secret Israeli cable and publishing by an Israeli news organization also seems suspicious.

The past, such blatant Israeli support for an Arab State/Monarch would be the kiss of death, wouldn't it?

The best explanation I can muster for these leaks is this: to further the notion that an attack on Lebanon is imminent so as to distract from the real target of an attack: Qatar.

somebody | Nov 14, 2017 9:14:05 AM | 19
17
Yep. The last sentence of the Reuters article is ominous
One key aim for Washington is to limit Iranian influence in Syria and Iraq, which expanded during the war with Islamic State.

So the US military now works for Saudi?

Anonymous | Nov 14, 2017 9:24:45 AM | 20
So lets see:

Israel gets the Palestinians dumped.
Israel gets somebody else to attack Iran who will be destroyed in return.

Israel: +++ (Palestine, Iran, Saudi)
Saudi: +- (Iran, Saudi)

Only the Saudis could come up with a plan like this /sarc.

Anonymous | Nov 14, 2017 9:27:30 AM | 21
So lets see: (Updated as I forgot the Hezbollah angle)

Israel gets the Palestinians dumped.
Israel gets somebody else to attack Iran who will be destroyed in return.
Israel gets Hezbollah weakened, allowing takeover of Lebanese oil interests / access for its planned Israel-Cyprus energy route therough Lebanese territorial waters.

Israel: ++++ (Palestine, Iran, Saudi, Lebanon)
Saudi: +- (Iran, Saudi)

Only the Saudis could come up with a plan like this /sarc.

Don Bacon | Nov 14, 2017 9:43:39 AM | 22
Palestine is a dead duck anyhow, and there won't be any war on Iran because of the extensive US presence (missile targets) in the Gulf. So IMO the idea that Israel would give up its nukes might be the main issue here.
Meanwhile Iran will be working behind the scenes to weaken both Israel and Saudi Arabia, especially in the key KSA Eastern Province where Shi'as predominate and ARAMCO will have new owners. The Persians have been around for centuries and they know how to deal with these matters, as evidenced recently.
Yul | Nov 14, 2017 9:44:11 AM | 23
@ 19

Yep, get the Saudis to plonk down billions in weapons that they won't , can't use and take part of that cash to help the Israelis to bomb their Arab brethren.

virgile | Nov 14, 2017 10:00:17 AM | 24
The US politicians appear as dummies compared to Iranians, Russians and Chinese.
One may have serious doubts about these expensive and famous US universities that seem to breed political morons.
They all look like vicious children playing dirty and cruel games in a kindergarten
somebody | Nov 14, 2017 10:07:03 AM | 25
20/21

Israel will not attack Hezbollah (never mind Iran) without the US leading .

Saudi cannot get full support from the US for Yemen, never mind Iran .

Last/not least - whilst Trump has fully bought into Saudi and Israeli aims (they might not be the same), his presidency might end in three years. US (and Russian) interest is to balance the interests of Middle East actors not to become a proxy for one of them.

This here is James Mattis from 2013

"I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CentCom because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel, and that moderates all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, because they can't come out publicly in support of people who don't show respect for the Arab Palestinians," he said Saturday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado in response to a question about the peace process.

....

He called the current situation in Israel "unsustainable" and blamed the settlements for harming prospects for peace. The chances for an accord between Israel and the Palestinians, said Mattis, "are starting to ebb because the settlements and where they're at are going to make it impossible to maintain the two state solution."

Mattis then described a hypothetical in which 500 Jewish settlers live among 10,000 Arabs, and the implications of where Israel draws the border. He called it a choice between giving up the idea of a Jewish state or becoming an apartheid state.

Saudi is desperate. Israel is not far behind. Whatever they did since 2006 worsened their strategic position.

never mind | Nov 14, 2017 10:11:56 AM | 26
The Zionist entity feels no real pressure to make peace.

Making peace, in any shape or form, with the palestinians is antithesis to the zionist mission. Israel's survival, as a jewish state, hinges on this.

The same could also be said about the first point; Israel would never accept a technologically advanced state in the region that could threaten its hegemony. A nuclear Saudi Arabia will never see the light of day.

Jack | Nov 14, 2017 10:29:12 AM | 27
Great article; well researched and documented.

I have a theory and I can't back it up but here goes...

I believe that The Donald gave Saudi two choices; go forward with his plan for the new Middle East or he throws his weight and support in with the 9/11 families in their lawsuit against Saud.

The Saudis have so seldom been out front on foreign policy and certainly never played on the front line solo prior to the past couple of years.

I believe that the Donald's plan is to emerge with the 3 strong actors of the US, Israel and SA and everyone else aligned with them and against Iran. It may actually work.

CarlD | Nov 14, 2017 10:33:23 AM | 28
26,

Of course Israel might appear to be in line with the Saudis
in order to weaken Iran and the pro palestinians.
Then after Iran were vanquished, it would take on the Saudis.

dh | Nov 14, 2017 10:49:15 AM | 29
Dear B,

Excellent reporting.

I view the agreement, not as a threat to Iran, but as an alliance agreement between three weak actors, Trump, bin Salman and Netanyahu, who need all the friends that they can get. The rhetoric against Iran looks like their traditional positions.

Both Trump and bin Salman are each already in a war for survival with the Globalists (the clique of global elitists, whose members include Soros, Clinton, Tony Blair, Bandar Bush, etc. and who own the U.S. Deep State, the European Union structures, and Western media). Both Trump and bin Salman came to power after the Globalists fight against Russia (for example via the orchestrated drop in oil prices) did serious harm to their respective countries. Both are undoing the Globalist policies. The Globalists will continue to do everything possible to remove them from power.

Netenyahu is also no friend of the Globalists after they tried to rehabilitate Iran with the nuclear deal in order to draw Iran away from Russia. He has also been weakened by the disastrous outcome, for him, in Syria. (Are the Globalists behind the allegations of corruption against him?)

In this context I have difficulty to see that any of these three are in a position, or would be willing to take the risks involved, to launch a war with Iran.

Grieved | Nov 14, 2017 10:59:15 AM | 30
It was on October 1st that Sayed Nasrallah made his attention-getting statement that the Zionist occupiers should go back to the countries they came from, because if the US-Israeli command launched a war on Lebanon there would be no time for the settlers to flee. It was a pretty dramatic escalation of warning, and almost seemed to come out of the blue, but perhaps not, if crazy ideas like the ones in this memorandum were swirling around the region. And they are crazy ideas, all highly dubious propositions.

Jackrabbit @18 makes a point if all this is smoke for the real attack, which is against Qatar. This seems much more plausible. Beirut-based Paul Cochrane laid out this possibility: Behind the Saudi Troublemaking

"... the global powers would vocally oppose such a move but likely not exercise military intervention a la 1991 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. The U.S. troops based in Qatar would just stay in their base; the Trump administration has signaled it has sided with Riyadh, even though the State Department has been more nuanced towards Doha. As for the Turks and the Iranians, they would not want to be brought into a conflagration with Riyadh and the ATQ. That really would tear the MENA apart.

Ultimately, there's not much to stop a Saudi gas grab. There's not much desire internationally for yet another Middle Eastern military "adventure" following the debacles in Iraq and Libya, while nobody's lifted a finger against Saudi Arabia for its war against Yemen. As long as Qatari gas exports remain uninterrupted, the global powers might readily accept a change of management.

Mercouris at the Duran picked this up too, and makes a decent case that Saudi could actually get away with this. It seems to make much more sense than the appalling logistics of trying to attack either Hezbollah or Iran. And by grabbing the Qatari half of the massive gas field shared with Iran, Saudi would have achieved an ironic taste of "parity" with its true enemy.

The question is, how possible is such a move for Saudi Arabia?

Fernando Arauxo | Nov 14, 2017 11:13:11 AM | 31
HAHAHA the jews consider the Al Sauds a joke and they want parity with them? HAHAHAHA Allowed to have nuclear weapons? HAHAHAHA!!! Too funny
Pnyx | Nov 14, 2017 11:16:44 AM | 32
Israel's government would be foolish if it were to engage in a deal that promises them what they already have de facto and demands that they abandon the greatest strategic advantage Israel has; the exclusive regional possession of nuclear weapons.
Piotr Berman | Nov 14, 2017 11:39:51 AM | 33
The most dubious part of the "Saudi plan" is that it may be good for Saudis, in some deluded princely perspective, but there is really nothing of value for USA. Goodies for USA -- Palestinians giving up on the right of return? USA does not consider that right seriously, so value is zero, numerically speaking (zero shows a the result if you are not using exponential notation, 10^-50). Goodies for KSA: the status of "Grand Prince" in Golden Horde.

Golden Horde was a successor state of Mongolian empire that had supremacy over Rus among its various holdings. Rus was split into a number of principalities ruled by princes but one of them was given the function of Grand Prince, and he collected the taxes from all other princes and passing them to the Khan of the Horde. While the power of Grand Prince was considerable, he could be recalled (one way ticket to the capital of the Horde).

KSA imagines having that position in the Arab (or Muslim??) words, of course without the last detail -- obligatory invitation to D.C. with a dinner that may be wholesome, but then again, it may be poisoned. But it is much better to USA to deal with a number of small states that do not cooperate with each other. What if a single change of power in the Kingdom is followed by a request to close all bases? This is a type of bother that is better to prevent from even being contemplated. Mind you, Americans were disinvited from the Kingdom in the past. Trump may trust MbS, but Pentagon does not KSA.

Anna | Nov 14, 2017 11:47:18 AM | 34
You forgot to mention Macron's recent surprise visit. For some reason, Macron may be on the hook to them. He was awarded with a military contract (navy vessels) from UAE, KSA ally.
Piotr Berman | Nov 14, 2017 11:51:12 AM | 35
Macron on the hook? Like a hooker? But that lady has no intention to be restricted in the choice of customers. Over time, she will have a kind word (not just words) for everyone.
karlof1 | Nov 14, 2017 11:53:39 AM | 36
Grieved @30--

It would seem Nasrallah's/Hezbollah's intel reach is quite deep. As someone commented, the plan reeks of desperation; since it's founded on numerous falsehoods, it has no chance of success. I expect the Umma to denounce Saudi's betrayal of Palestine regardless of what their governments say.

fastfreddy | Nov 14, 2017 12:03:27 PM | 37
An array of unrealistic, unobtainable goals and a leak. Football analogy: It's a pump fake. Look for the hand off and a running play.

Also see a limited hangout: Warm the Arab public to the concept of totally screwing the Palestinians in Palestine's stolen land (Israel).

J Swift | Nov 14, 2017 12:07:23 PM | 38
I wrote a couple weeks ago that because of several years of weak chief executive, the power blocks in the US were pursuing their respective interests more independently and openly than ever (which they are); and in Arabia MbS is a power hungry Machiavellian prince who is also naive and thus hard to predict, but who must understand that he will need allies, and those allies will likely have an influence on him, for better or worse (which is also true). I was naturally hoping that his daddy's trip to Russia, as his last state visit, might indicate that the king was trying to open an option for MbS to turn to Russia for support against the CIA/State sponsored factions within SA, which might in turn lead to at least the opportunity for Russia to exert some calming influence on the region over time.

Well, that may have been the king's thought, but obviously his son has been getting his advice from elsewhere. In the US, a most unlikely alliance appears to have formed (at least with respect to the ME). Because of the vitriol existing between the neocons and Trump, and the fact that the office of the president has largely been taken over by the Pentagon (which often but does not always see eye-to-eye with the Zionist/Neocons), it was easy to overlook the growing power and influence of the Zionist worm in the White House, Kushner.

I think Trump never had a strong foreign policy concept in his own mind--mostly boiled down to a quasi-isolationist, so he hasn't fought hard against turning things over to the Pentagon and Kushner. It is now clear that Kushner, the US's own power hungry prince who is eager to prove his chops in an area he has no clue in--international politics--has fallen completely into the loving arms of Israel. It is clear now that the Trump/Kushner plans for SA are entirely a Nuttyahoo wet dream. The visit to SA, where they were persuaded to spend $110B of money they don't really have mostly on huge numbers of THAAD and other missile defense systems and front-line fighters. Next MbS was persuaded to confront Qatar, as any breaks in a united front against Iran must be spanked (notice how all these events keep happening a couple days after a visit from Kushner, who is usually hot off a meeting with his masters in Israel). Then MbS is apparently advised to go all in to remove opposition within the kingdom, which gives Trump glee because it also punishes Hillary's friends, but also commits MbS to the path, and makes him totally reliant on Israel/Kushner for protection (cutting RF's increasing attraction). Now the crude attempt to boil the pot in Lebanon.

So in short order there will be far more missile defenses than Riyadh needs (but exactly what Israel desires). Israel doesn't want to be first in on a direct attack on Iran, but if there is a whole air force worth of planes with Saudi markings just waiting for Israeli/US/Wahabi pilots to take first blood--once it's a regional war on, who will notice who's planes are attacking Iran after that? And MbS (under careful direction) has now set up trigger points from Yemen to Qatar to Lebanon, just waiting until the preparations are done and an event to be blamed on Iran, and away we go. Israel finally gets its wish. The good news is that MbS has likely bitten off more than he can chew by taking on all of his internal opposition at the same time as Iran, and done so in such a heavy handed manner that I doubt he can buy a life insurance policy. And Russia and Iran have maintained a steady and "back seat" approach to their assistance of everyone who seems to need it--and the US and Israel have been so brazen in their duplicity and untrustworthiness--most countries in the area (and the world) don't seem so eager to follow the US lead any more (plus, the Pentagon is still very strong in the US executive, and I don't think they're quite so anxious to tear into Iran). So there is hope this latest Israeli plan to drag the world into war against Iran will melt down just like it did in Syria, but who knows how much damage will be done before it does.

Temporarily Sane | Nov 14, 2017 12:16:56 PM | 39
@4 somebody
And neither the US nor Israel can politically afford to lose many soldiers in a ground war. So if Saudi wants to fight against Iran, they have to do it themselves.

MBS would have to be absolutely deranged to fight Iran directly. The KSA's regular troops are mostly foreigners from Pakistan and other poorer nations. They are well-equipped but poorly trained. In addition, fighting wars for a country one has no stake in makes for poor morale. They are getting their asses handed to them on a regular basis by the relatively poorly-equipped (but highly motivated) Houthi rebels in Yemen.

It is possible that MBS is wildly deluded but I can't see him facing Iran alone. What is more likely is covert and indirect warfare from the US and Israel with special forces and proxies (like the MEK terrorist group inside Iran and perhaps some Wahhabi fanatics) providing boots on the ground and the whole thing backed up by USAF air power and bankrolled by MBS.

William | Nov 14, 2017 12:19:44 PM | 40
Someone mentioned that 'parity on nukes is a non-starter. That is bullshit. SA already has 85 American B-61 nukes that were delivered to them by Israel at the time when it appeared that McStain's plan of raising an Arab Army out of Turkey would eventually defeat Syria.

No on has ever accounted for those nukes, and I seriously doubt, that once they got their hands on them, that SA would give them back. Matter of fact, video exists somewhere out in the ether of a SA attack on Yemenn in which one of the B-61 nukes was used, it just happens to have 'disappeared'.

I'd say this is a non-starter. The Palestinians though may take a page out of the Zionist playbook, take the money and then just keep fighting, after all, most of world opinion in now firmly with them.

PeacefulProsperity | Nov 14, 2017 12:25:14 PM | 41
From b's report:

"The Saudi tyrant abducted the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, and declared war on the country. The purpose of this move is to remove or isolate Hizbullah, the Shia resistance of Lebanon which is allied with Iran and opposes the Saudi plans for Palestine."

That's absurd, ridculoous, doesn't make sense at all.

Hariri is a mortal enemy of Hizb, even accused them of assassinations attempts. Saudis keeping Hariri in house arrest gives the control of all Lebanon over to Hizb - a dream come true for them.

Add arresting plotters of 9/11 ponce Talal (also a major sponsor of Clinton/Bush criminal enterprise, CNN lies and Twitter censorship) and ponce Bandar (a butcher of Syria) to the picture and you can see that this all turns conveniently into Russia's advantage. Plus:

Russia, Saudi Arabia sign air defense contracts

And Turkey is already in the fold:

Putin says relations between Russia and Turkey may be considered as fully restored

Ghostship | Nov 14, 2017 12:27:17 PM | 42
>>>> stonebird | Nov 14, 2017 7:45:36 AM | 6
The "other" route via Greece would be used
.

Which one is that? Over the Caspian Sea, through the Caucasus(Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey or Russia), across the Black Sea, through Bulgarian or Turkish airspace to Greece. That would be available one time only and the fuel loads the aircraft would have to carry would severely restrict the bomb load they could carry. Also, going by previous experience the first time any Iranian SAM batteries locked their radar onto the Israeli aircraft, they'd dump their drop tanks and bomb loads to head out of Iranian airspace ASAP.

Any attempt by Israel to attack Iran would be a disaster for Israel which is why the conspiracy is aimed at getting Hezbollah to launch missiles at Israel and Iran to launch missiles at Saudi Arabia in response to a Saudi attack on Hezbollah. Then the United States could argue that it's intervention against Hezbollah and Iran was legitimate, well at least legitimate enough satisfy the American public and the poodles.

PeacefulProsperity | Nov 14, 2017 12:31:24 PM | 43
Everything has been going well according to the Putin-Trump plan:

Trump: 'Time to Get Back to Healing a World That is Shattered and Broken'

McCain and the rest of war-mongers (e.g. Lynn de Rothshild) are scared to death by this:

US Senator McCain Slams Donald Trump Over 'Believing in Sincerity' - Sputnik International

Peace is coming to the ME Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch arrives in Riyadh on first visit

Remaining terror state is in the cross-hairs: US breaks ground for new permanent base in Israel

PeacefulProsperity | Nov 14, 2017 12:35:43 PM | 44
FWIW interesting info-crumbs Arrested: Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. His Ties to Las Vegas

This is the same Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal who, together with Bill Gates, owns the Four Seasons Hotel that is located within the 5 top floors of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.

That would be the same Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas that was the sight of the deadliest mass shooting in our nation's history.

The Four Seasons Hotel-within-a-hotel boasts its own private elevators and separate entrance.
His arrest may or may not reveal more ties to the Las Vegas Massacre. But it does reveal that he's a pretty shady character.

Prince Alaweed's arrest was the result of King Salman's decree to create an anti-corruption committee chaired by his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

King Salman decreed late on Saturday the creation of an anti-corruption committee chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "

"The allegations against Prince Alwaleed include money laundering, bribery and extorting officials, one official told Reuters, while Prince Miteb is accused of embezzlement, hiring ghost employees and awarding contracts to his own companies including a $10 billion deal for walkie talkies and bulletproof military gear worth billions of Saudi royals."

Prince Alaweed bin Talal is also Twitter's second largest shareholder. That would be the same Twitter that allows ISIS, Antifa and anyone who threatens to assassinate our President free reign on their platform but blocks conservative American patriots' accounts.

Speaking of information flow-the Prince's investment company, Kingdom Holding Company, is a major shareholder in Time Warner Cable. The same Time Warner cable that owns CNN. Oh- and they also own a major chunk of AOL that owns the Liberal multi-author blogging platform posing as a news source-Huffpost.
Jim Murren, CEO of MGM dumped millions of dollars worth of his stocks in the weeks leading up to the massacre.

That would be the same MGM that owns the Mandalay Bay Hotel. How fortunate that he dumped his stocks before the mass shooting.

MGM Stock Selloff and Saudi Connections to Mandalay Bay Hotel.

CEO Jim Murren circulated an internal memo that stated that he would match donations to CAIR ( a terrorist organization) and the ADL-a very anti-Trump, pro-Islamic organization. He must like Twitter.
The Saudis partnered with the MGM

Reuters reported that back in '07 Dubai World became partners with MGM.

"Dubai World, the investment holding firm of the Dubai government, will acquire a 9.5 percent stake in MGM Mirage and 50 percent of the casino operator's CityCenter development project for $5 billion."

Dubai World referred to the deal as a "long term strategic partnership."

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal hails from Saudi Arabia.

That would be the same country as the Saudi Royal Air Force-that just happened to be doing some "realistic combat training" in Las Vegas.

From a previous post,

It may or may not be "routine," but during the month of August, from the 5th to the 28th, the Saudi Air Force booked an entire tower of "SLS," a beleaguered Las Vegas hotel. They didn't stay there to ogle scantily clad Las Vegas women. Arrangements were made to keep all female staff away from them. Some areas were closed to the public and pictures of females were yanked from the walls.

The purpose was for "realistic combat training" and they're planning on making a habit of it. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported,

"Saudi Arabia's 10th Squadron Royal Saudi Air Force will be taking part in Red Flag 17-4 at Nellis Air Force Base, according to airwingspotter.com, a site dedicated to military aviation photography and spotting. Red Flag, combat training involving the air, space and cyberforces of the United States and its allies, will be held Aug. 14-25.

"Depending on the year, the Royal Saudi Air Force will bring 175-210 members to these realistic combat exercises," S&K said in the 2014 post."

Who needs a military base when you can rent a hotel? Food's better too.

Caught up in King Salman's sweep was the Commander of the Saudi Navy as well as the Minister of the National Guards. No mention yet of the Royal Saudi Air Force.

dognuke | Nov 14, 2017 12:43:17 PM | 45

Nuclear strike by proxy, Saudi Arabia purchased(or given) nuclear bomb(s). Temporary nuke parity.
The clown prince MbS is the perfect proxy to strike Iran.
Ghostship | Nov 14, 2017 1:04:26 PM | 46
>>>> Jackrabbit | Nov 14, 2017 8:07:28 AM | 11
I'm not convinced that this document is genuine because:

>> discussions with Israel about the Palestinians are unlikely to be phrased as a "final solution" with the severe negative historical connotations of that phrase;

>> this wording is also odd: "rapprochement with Israel involves a risk to the Muslim peoples of the Kingdom" because there is no need to make special reference to "Muslim peoples" when 99.9% of KSA is Muslim.

You are aware this is a machine translation? So unless you are fluent in Arabic and can translate the original article, your comment has little value just like Liz Sly's and Anne Barnard's reporting from Beirut.

As for "final solution" why would an Arab be concerned since beyond the Mufti of Jerusalem, Arabs played little or no part is the Holocaust. And the position and role of the Mufti of Jerusalem is heavily overstated by Zionists.

>> this wording is also odd: "rapprochement with Israel involves a risk to the Muslim peoples of the Kingdom" because there is no need to make special reference to "Muslim peoples" when 99.9% of KSA is Muslim.

Firstly this could again be down to machine translation but it's more likely to be that 30% of the population of Saudi Arabia are migrant workers so 99.9% of the population are not necessarily Muslims. If you'd bothered to check the CIA World Fact Book, the only honest publication that the CIA produces, you would have known this.

>> The accusation that Iran engages in "organized crime and drug trafficking" seems planted. I haven't seen such a charge before. The standard accusation (in the US) has been that Iran supports terrorism (meaning Hezbollah) and "destabilizes the region" (meaning they don't bow to US-Israeli-Saudi masters).

You obviously haven't be paying attention to the bilge about the Tri-border region in South America. I would guess that this is Kushner's contibution to the ploy - most Americans are deeply infected with a disease known as projection and thus assume their enemies would act as they do because being the exceptional country everybody wants to do what Americans do. In this case with the CIA funding their illegal activities prior to about 2001 with money raised from drug smuggling, Americans assume that is what the Iranians are also doing which is ironic when you understand that the Iranians are fighting an existential war against drugs.

Yul | Nov 14, 2017 1:06:55 PM | 47
https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5042362,00.html
Greenblatt: no resumption of Israel-Palestinian talks in sight

For sure: Abu Mazen must have told the Saudi Pretender and his senile father: Go and take a hike !

Ghostship | Nov 14, 2017 1:15:39 PM | 48
>>>> PeacefulProsperity | Nov 14, 2017 12:25:14 PM | 41

Oh, a Zionist troll talking bullshit as usual.

Ghostship | Nov 14, 2017 1:17:35 PM | 49
>>>> William | Nov 14, 2017 12:19:44 PM | 40

You could include a link or two to justify your staggering claim.

james | Nov 14, 2017 1:17:41 PM | 50
thanks b!

i agree with @20/21 anonymous.. this isn't a saudi plan! (The memo is signed by Adel al-Jubeir. (But who were the 'advisors' who dictated it to him?) )

this is a memo thought up in some neo cons head - whether they are located in israel, or some washington stink tank..

@29 dh.. i agree with much of what you say, but don't you think israel/saudi/usa trio are batshit crazy enough to do something stupid? witness their war on syria.. plenty of stupidity to continue on in the same fashion.

@18/30 jr and grieved... yes - qatar is a thorn in the side of the terrorist state saudi arabia.. nothing like another terrorist state calling you out, lol.. one of them has to be silenced... i doubt the attack is going to be on qatar myself..

@38 j swift.. thanks.. makes sense..

@45 dognuke.. unfortunately that is true and a possibility.. the clown prince is a really unstable dude..

Laguerre | Nov 14, 2017 1:21:30 PM | 51
It should be born in mind, of course, that this is only MbS plotting. It can't be spoken of publicly in Saudi Arabia, because the Saudi population is strongly pro-Palestinian. But all the media are owned by members of the royal family, so the population is kept in ignorance and quiet. I don't know whether that number of al-Akhbar has been suppressed in Saudi, but this news has sort of got out anyway, as it will be on the social media, which Saudis are dedicated to.

The fourth point is to bribe the public into accepting the plan. That'll cost a lot. And I don't think it will work. Another risk for MbS's power.

Ghostship | Nov 14, 2017 1:22:54 PM | 52
>>>> Anna | Nov 14, 2017 11:47:18 AM | 34

Airbus Industries also just received a large order for A-380s from Dubai (Emirates) - since Abu Dhabi pretty much owns Dubai after there financial troubles a few years back. it wouldn't surprise me if this was an MbZ bribe to various European countries to look the other way when things kick off.

Jackrabbit | Nov 14, 2017 1:27:18 PM | 53
Ghostship @46

Military usually want some measure of surprise. If only for this reason, signaling an attack on Lebanon would seem foolish. Unless it was a distraction.

Anyway, we then see a "leaking" of a secret Israeli cable (happens all the time, right?) that supports KSA's anti-Lebanon stance. Hmm... K.

Now we have another leak(!) that implicitly explains Israel's support of KSA as part of a larger "peace deal" (really a "war deal", isn't it?) that includes a betrayal of the Palestinians. Yeah that betrayal makes it totally believable, sure/sarc - but parity on nukes?!?

Ghostship | Nov 14, 2017 1:29:32 PM | 54
Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 14, 2017 9:43:39 AM | 22
Palestine is a dead duck anyhow...

That's what the western MSM with support from Israel, Gulf governments and some Islamists want you to believe. Elsewhere it's still an important issue but US pressure means that many are reluctant to speak out but not Celtic supporters

Jackrabbit | Nov 14, 2017 1:35:27 PM | 55
Tomorrow's leak:

From Lebanese Government affirming Iran's support for Hezb and willingness to arm them with nuclear missiles.

Oh, and they will do the same for the Houthi in Yemen.

And they killed Kennedy.

/sarc

CarlD | Nov 14, 2017 1:36:09 PM | 56
Re: 40

Video evidence of tactical weapons used in Yemen and other
conflicts:
https/www.youtube.com/watch?v=neKIaVGj-9Y

CarlD | Nov 14, 2017 1:37:20 PM | 57
re 40:

please add missing slash

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neKIaVGj-9Y

james | Nov 14, 2017 1:53:48 PM | 58
related...Alastair Crooke - gambling all on black at the roulette wheel..

"This US-Israeli-Saudi-UAE project is, at bottom, an attempt to overturn reality, no less – it is rooted in a denial of the setback suffered by these states by their multiple failures to shape a New Middle East in the western mode. Now, in the wake of their failure in Syria – in which they went to the limits in search of victory – they seek another spin of the roulette wheel – in the hope of recouping all their earlier losses. It is, to say the least, a capricious hope."

Peter AU 1 | Nov 14, 2017 2:08:32 PM | 59
It is hard to see how they would go about attackiung Iran unless it is just a quick strike/raid and then they all go home again. For the US, military cargo planes with backloads of US boots neatly packaged in body bags is not acceptable.
Trump wants US to be a major energy exporter, but oil prices must go up to get fracking viable in a big way. A play to bump up oil prices? Another option is Trump and Kushner playing MBS to get Aramco listed in the US and prevent China from puchasing the full offering.
dh | Nov 14, 2017 2:16:59 PM | 60
@50 Thank you james for agreeing with my thoughtful and erudite post but unfortunately it was written by one of the other dh s. I've pretty much retired.

To answer your question....yes I think Israel and Saudis are crazy but maybe not crazy enough to strike Iran without a green light from Washington.

frances | Nov 14, 2017 2:52:32 PM | 61
Given the first demand: "First: The Saudis demand a "parity of the relationship" between Israel and Saudi Arabia. On the military level they demand that either Israel gives up on its nuclear weapons or Saudi Arabia is itself allowed to acquire such." This entire plan/proposal IMO is a nonstarter because of this initial and presumably most important (it is #1)requirement and whoever wrote it/approved it knew it.
james | Nov 14, 2017 3:00:33 PM | 62
@dh... that is interesting as i was surprised at the longer post by you.. now it makes sense!

i guess they will have to work on a false flag before they get the green light from washington... iran won't do something stupid.. that is reserved for the clown prince/nutjob duo at this point..

dh | Nov 14, 2017 3:20:38 PM | 63
@62 A false flag will require a substantial number of US fatalities. Thinking back to the US boat that 'strayed' into Iranian waters some time ago wonder how Donald would handle something similar. Those sailors or whatever they were got soundly humiliated but released unhurt. Hardly a casus belli.
Mina | Nov 14, 2017 3:28:41 PM | 64
so The Guardians' journalists don't watch the BBC
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/14/russia-us-isis-syria-video-game-still
pantaraxia | Nov 14, 2017 3:28:56 PM | 65
@30 Grieved

The problem with this idea is that Turkey has already instituted a blocking action by placing Turkish forces in Qatar in response to the original Saudi threat. While the contingent was small, approximately one thousand men, the message was quite clear - hands off. Any move by the Saudis or their allies risks Turkish retaliation. it's a no-go zone.

Red Ryder | Nov 14, 2017 3:31:25 PM | 66
Regarding the Saudi military, as pointed out, they are out of troops.
They could not get Egyptians to fight in Yemen or Syria, nor could they get the Pakistanis to fight on their side in either war.

They are desperate.

A war on Qatar would be to ignite Turkey and Iran's support for Qatar, and thus the Israeli-US coalition could punish both those nations, a goal the US would enjoy doing.

The aim is to regain Hegemony over the ME. The Russia-Iran-Turkey alliance has pushed the US aside, if not away. Whatever allows the US to hurt Russia by striking Turkey and Iran would be the goal, and Israel would benefit along with the US.

It would be an air war and the US and Israel would win it.

It isn't about Saudi goals and needs. It's about the Hegemon and Jr. Hegemon in Tel Aviv.

CarlD | Nov 14, 2017 4:06:21 PM | 67
66

If it remains an air war, the probability is that US/Israel would overwhelm
at the beginning of a combined attack unless defenses are upgraded.

However, if in view of the probability of war, Russia were to rush AA
systems to Syria and Iran, the probability that substantial air forces
would be decimated is high. The US forces would certainly be pummeled
in their bases around the Gulf and their naval forces in the Gulf sunk
with the numerous Iran assets in the region.

Without resorting to nukes, the US is probably not going to win because
it cannot field sufficient boots on the ground in Iran. And remember, the
stakes are high for China to get its fuel from somewhere and the US will
have to take this into account. Depriving China of its needed fuel is no
laughing matter.

They are in Djibouti for a reason.

I believe Israel is trying to chew too big a bone. It will choke.

stonebird | Nov 14, 2017 4:16:23 PM | 68
@42 ghostship

This was originally proposed as a "one-off" bombing route. ie. via the Med to cross (at that time Turkey) Now could cross Greek airspace (would need NATO laisser-passer"). Caspian to Azerbaijan. (Has close links with Israel and just tried out an Israeli suicide drone on Armenia for a "client"). From there a short hop to Iran. Fueling over greek airspace.
Return route, nowadays, would be via Saudi Arabia (plus refueling and no need to go any further). It's actually easier than a few years ago.

The second para I agree with.
.....
General opinion.
Palestine. The single state AND the two state solution have probably been junked by Israel. Neither of the alternatives gives an ethnically pure "Jewish" state. So what to do with them? At the moment the Palestinians are being dispossesed (of land, houses), forcibly displaced (at the moment the focus is on the Jordan Valley and Bedouin villages anywhere). They are put in "camps" where they are subject to daily harassment and destruction of living amenities (including water). The desired effect is ethnic cleansing (a la Serbia). Gaza is a humanitarian disaster - under-developed children suffer stunting - and as well the IDF concentrate on children as it is easy to make them submit.

Where could they go? . Jordan - doesn't want them, as they would make up the majority, and put in peril the stability of the country.
Egypt - doesn't want them either.
"Gulf" countries - you must be joking, many are already minorities in their own countries. (Abu Dhabi,)
Leaves the neighbours, Lebanon, Syria and the EU (via Turkey?).
EU - Soros is taking care of that and destroying national unity at the same time.
Lebanon. Over-populated by refugees already.
Syria - Too many displaced persons, plus Palestinian refugee camps.

Maybe Israel imagines the solution is to force them on the latter two countries by means of military action as they won't take them voluntarily.

@29 dh | Nov 14, 2017 4:16:52 PM | 69
@50, @60

Sorry for using dh. Didn't realize that it was already taken.

I think that the real war, right now, is between the Globalists and Trump/MBS. Trump and MBS are both fighting for their survival. I can't see how attacking Iran would help them, quite the opposite.

@66 The Globalists want Hegemony over the ME. I'm not sure that Trump does. However, the Globalists first priority is to regain control over the U.S. (i.e. impeach Trump), and then continue their war with Russia. I can't see how driving Turkey and Iran into Russia's hands will help them either to tame Russia or to reassert Hegemony over the ME.

Jen | Nov 14, 2017 4:43:56 PM | 70
I think people here - and the KSA for that matter too - need to know that attacking and invading Iran won't be at the same (lower) scale as attacking and invading Lebanon, Qatar, Syria and even Iraq. These countries are flat and a major part of their territories is desert. Their populations are not that great either - the largest is Iraq with about 35 million.

Iran on the other hand is mostly mountainous (especially in its west and south) and its population reached 81 million some time in October 2017. An attack on Iran from the west is going to need foot soldiers to be effective. Where will Israel, the US or the KSA stump up the armies needed to invade Iran? Using ISIS and al Qaida / Jabhat al Nusra failed.

If an invasion comes from the east, how will Afghanistan (chaotic?) and Pakistan be brought on board to allow their use of airspace for air attacks?

A third option would be to stage air and naval attacks from India. That might be plausible if India under Narendra Modi and the BJP is friendly towards Israel and the US.

nottheonly1 | Nov 14, 2017 4:44:40 PM | 71
A number of thoughts comes to mind.
1) Divide and conquer
2) The Enemy of my enemy is my friend
3) Do as I say, not as I do
4) You are either with us or with the terrorists
5) Birds of a Fascist feather flock together

As to the "not in my name" shirt and withdrawal from the machine, it won't happen.
Remember the analogy about the frog in the water that will start to boil? No frog would ever do that. It is humans who threw the frog into the pot and watched.
Karma can be a nasty bitch. It has transformed humanity into a frog and the masses will be boiled.
To implement change, people would have to turn off the propaganda hammering down on them from all sides. But that won't happen. People are programmed to believe the lies they are dished out. No de-programming - no change.
Americans and their Fascist alies will have to go through their own collapsing 4th Reich.
And of course: Support your troops. Sell everything and donate the money to the MIC. Because they will come for it anyways. Only in a Fascist country, warriors are elevated over any civil person. This morning at court: people congratulating a father because his son just joined the troops.

Reject anything the parasites in the legislative tell you. Like George Carlin said: "I never believe what the government tells me."
End of story.
Spend as much time as you can with your loved ones. The Motherearthfuckers are about to turn the heat on. And it is already way too hot here.

Temporarily Sane | Nov 14, 2017 4:49:04 PM | 72
@44 Peaceful Prosperity

From the Sputink piece you linked to:

US President Donald Trump has said that heavy sanctions imposed on Russia should not become a barrier to future friendly cooperation between the two nations, adding that cordial international relations would be likely to help resolve the North Korean threat and many other global issues.

How noble and considerate of Trump. "Vlad, my friend, I know we are waging economic warfare on your people, surrounding your borders with nukes and want to take over and "regime change" your country. But, hey, never mind all that stuff and let us be friends! Then you can help us do to other sovereign nations what we are doing to you."

Touching, very touching It raises the question: What "many other global issues" is Trump trying to solve? Climate change, perhaps? Ending the war in Yemen? Rapprochement with Iran? Curbing corporate and Israeli influence in American elections and foreign policy?

Peaceful Prosperity...you are not still holding a candle for this duplicitous shitbag, are you?

Trumpets are the new Obots.

Joe | Nov 14, 2017 4:55:50 PM | 73
Just my 2 cents but it seems to me the real target has always been Russia, more specifically Gazprom, why not just take control of Qatar and their gas field which is also Irans gas field as well, which correct me if I'm wrong could be completely controlled/exploited from Qatar without anyone having to step foot into Iran, couple this with limited strikes on Irans gas infrastructure in the name of removing their ability to be "evildoers" and before you know it Aramaco, which now controls a third plus of the world's nat gas is listed on the NY exchange and it still only accepts dollars. Wonder what countries that pipeline would pass through...
Seby | Nov 14, 2017 5:00:52 PM | 74
Pleazzzzzz!!!!

What have the british installed wahabist medieval hole in the sand copulators ever really done for Palestine?

Mina | Nov 14, 2017 5:10:50 PM | 75
Ts
Trump has been busy planning a huge karaoke with his new buddy Duterte. Guns are on option, courtesy of the NRA
Tacitus | Nov 14, 2017 6:22:47 PM | 76
I am a new poster to this board. I've tried twice to post something and the message said it was posted successfully, but it is not visible in the comments section. Is there some mediator process that it has to go through first, or is there something else that I need to do? (I left the email and url boxes empty; could that be the issue?)
Yeah, Right | Nov 14, 2017 6:30:55 PM | 77
The way in which this plays out is almost pre-ordained.

There is no way that a formal, signed document will exist that states that when-you-shaft-Palestine then we-will-attack-Iran.

What will happen instead is that Trump will broker that "understanding" between Israel and Saudi Arabia. A nod and a wink, and maybe even a handshake.

But the Israelis will insist that the Saudis have to do that Palestine-shafting first, and in The Most Public Way Possible so that the House of Saud can't take it back. Trump will say that this is reasonable, and the dumb-ass Saudis will mull over it then say "OK, sure, if the Yanks vouch for you then so will we".

The Saudis will then dump on Abbas.
The USA will then heap congratulations on the Saudis.
The Israelis will shout Yipeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Palestinians will descend into a deep despair.

And then...... [sound of crickets chirping].

Saudi: Hey, when are you going to attack Iran?
Israel: We're working on it. Give us time.
USA: Hey, I thought we had an understanding!
Israel: We do, this takes a lot of planning.
[crickets]
[crickets]
[crickets]
Saudi: What gives, guys?
USA: When are you were going to attack Iran?
Israel: We changed our mind. Bite me.

Let's get real here: the Israelis have a track-record of "agreeing" to a quid-pro-quo, then immediately pocketing the "quid" while somehow, some way, never actually getting around to delivering on the "quo"

The Saudis will shaft the Palestinians.
The Israelis will then shaft the Saudis.
The Americans will fume (in private) but ultimately do nothing and say nothing.

And years later there will be an off-mike recording of Netanyahu boasting about how he f**ked over the Saudis, and gleefully explain that the reason why he could do that is because the Americans are at least as dumb-ass stoooooopid as, well, a Saudi Clown Prince.

I mean, haven't we seen this movie before?

james | Nov 14, 2017 6:31:02 PM | 78
tactus - it should go thru, unless you linked to the odd url that doesn't go thru - southfront is one of them going on memory..
BraveNewWorld | Nov 14, 2017 6:34:38 PM | 79
Sorry if some one has mentioned this already, but Jerusalem belongs neither to the Palestinains or the Israelis. It belongs to Jordan and Jordan is it's designated protector just as the freaks in KSA are the protectors of Mecca and Medena. The NATO countries on orders of Israel have burred the Palestinian cause. But if the children running the US and KSA tried giving the third holiest site in Islam (and likely the most important heritage site in the world) to the Jews so they could blow it up to build a Jewsih temple on top of it ,the back lash among the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world would be immense. Not to mention basically righting off international law in it's entirety. China, Russia and the EU would never allow it.serious

It has been obvious for years that Bibi and the KSA have have been cooking this up but it wasn't till last year they had any one stupid enough in the White House to try and take a run at it. If you want total war in the Middle East this is how you acheave it. The outcome will be a Palestinian state. Whether there will be a Jewish one if this is tried is up for debate.

Just Sayin' | Nov 14, 2017 6:48:08 PM | 80
Wonder what countries that pipeline would pass through...

Posted by: Joe | Nov 14, 2017 4:55:50 PM | 73

It's a source of not only bewilderment, but also amusement, that there are people so dumb/dishonest (delete as applicable) that after all we have seen in the last few years, even just what we have seen in the last few weeks, that still pretend/think/pretend-to-think that this has something to do with pipelines?

Seriously, would all you "It's the pipelines, stoopid!" gobshites kindly just stfu.

A dumber more gullible bunch of eejits would be hard to find

Debsisdead | Nov 14, 2017 7:06:41 PM | 81
Posted by: Tacitus | Nov 14, 2017 6:22:47 PM

Typepad insists on a viable email address - not your real one just a viable one whose mail server will respond to a call. mailinatorDOTcom (remove the DOT & replace with . to visit) is one of many spam dodging sites which will enable a poster to post here, plus let you use it to sign up to all sorts of BBs forums etc. They have a rotating list of email server suggestions. otherwise joblo(or whatever) at gmail will do the trick most times.

Curtis | Nov 14, 2017 7:26:18 PM | 82
Another plan to get the US to fight another war that benefits zionists, this time against Iran. I wonder who is in the role of Lord Balfour.
I like the idea of an independent religious Jerusalem city, I doubt either party will go for it. The same goes for an Israeli agreement for nuke parity with Saudis or a single open state for Palestinians. While many Palestinians want their own state and even some in Israel want this (including some Shin Bet officials) there are others who say it is too late due to the proliferation of settlements in West Bank. These others (like Miko Peled) say a single state as the only option left. It seems to be a very convoluted (Rube Goldberg?) solution to getting a united front to attack Iran and "solve" the Palestinian issue.
Joe | Nov 14, 2017 7:38:35 PM | 83
@Just sayin, perhaps you could spell it out for me then, but if all you got is name calling maybe you should stfu, kindly that is
Ghostship | Nov 14, 2017 7:45:48 PM | 84
>>>> CarlD | Nov 14, 2017 1:36:09 PM | 56
Video evidence of tactical weapons used in Yemen and other conflicts:

I doubt it, they all look like large conventional explosions to me.

The ones in Ukraine are from a detonation of a large weapons dump while the Saudis managed to hit a rocket manufacturing plant in Yemen that resulted in a very large explosion.

Daniel | Nov 14, 2017 7:46:39 PM | 85
Thanks for the link, CarlD. I think it entirely possible that 'tactical nukes" have been used. I would expect that at some point, a credible, government-tied group will report that these weapons have been used. This will serve to normalize their use in the future. People will feel that since they'd been used already, and we all survived, that using them again will not be so horrifying/dangerous.

More and more I'm thinking that humanity has reached the end of our rope, and we will have deserved it when the trapdoor finally springs.

Daniel | Nov 14, 2017 7:57:51 PM | 86
Mina @64. BBC is running that same "video game" story. In fact, on their Middle East News page earlier, they had both this and their "expose" of the US helping ISIL escape arrangement.
anonimo | Nov 14, 2017 8:11:53 PM | 87
and the big plan goes on:

get Jerusalem for the Vatican !!!

Grieved | Nov 14, 2017 8:42:04 PM | 88
@73 Joe

I hadn't even considered the aspect of that gas trading in dollars. Now there's a resource grab the US could really like.

I'm not actually at the point of thinking anything will happen, anywhere. There are simply no geopolitical advantages in any of the plays being mooted.

But there actually does seem at first glance to be some potentially cost-effective gain in plundering Qatar. Kind of wish no one had thought of it - I'd much rather see a cooperation develop between Iran and Qatar, the way it recently started to look like it might go.

As to your getting trolled, I will say that with what I've seen in the last few years, even with what I've seen in just the last few weeks, there's nothing I've ever encountered anywhere that says it's NOT the pipelines.

Perimetr | Nov 14, 2017 9:36:42 PM | 89
RE: Daniel | Nov 14, 2017 7:46:39 PM | 85, CarlD | Nov 14, 2017 1:36:09 PM | 56

I agree with Ghostship, no nukes have been used. The thermal signature from a nuclear detonation is unmistakable, it is many, many orders of magnitude greater than produced by a conventional explosive. Not to mention the by-products of fission, which are always produced by a nuke and are always detectable.
You will know when a nuke is used, believe me.

Peter AU 1 | Nov 14, 2017 10:15:21 PM | 90
Joe / Grieved
Best to discount nothing. Qatar gas the target? Quite possible. Pipelines for Qatar or in Joes theory, Saudi gas. Again possible.
Most depends on what Trump is behind the facade. The facade is the simple minded buffoon that makes a decision on what he has last seen on Fox news. What he has just pulled off with MBS...
My thoughts on Trump at the moment, what is real and not facade. He wants to return the US to the power is was post WWII and through the cold war era. Manufacturing power ect. The big thing, prevent China from overtaking US economicaly which would also mean overtaking the US in science tech and military. Hence the many meetings with Kissinger earlier, Kissinger meeting Putin ect.
Trump needs to seperate Russia and China. Russia is no threat to the US whereas economicaly China is the only threat the US faces (apart from itself).

Back to making America great again and gas. Saudi Arabia has oil (supposedly) and US has shale gas. Oil and gas are complementary to each oither rather than competitors. Gas prices are basicaly set by oil prices. The main competitors to US shale is Russian gas and Pars, both of which can be piped to where the gas is in demand. In my reading of Trump, which may not be right, Pars would have to be either US controlled/owned or unable to pipe gas.
The option there I guess is joint US Saudi control of pars.

All depends on what Trump is behind the facade.

Thoughts ??

Daniel | Nov 14, 2017 10:27:25 PM | 91
Perimetr @89

I would agree that it would be impossible to mistake a powerful hydrogen bomb for any sort of conventional bomb. That's not what is being proposed here, though.

Do you know about the "Davy Crocket" mini-nuke from the 1950s?

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

Those were even carried in backpacks by the 1950s version of Special Ops soldiers. Since then, fission-fusion hybrid, mini-hydrogen and neutron bombs have been made. As I'm sure you'd agree, military technology is always far beyond what the public is allowed to know.

Like today's B61-12, the Davy Crockets could be dialed to produce explosions of greatly varying power.

https://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/b61.htm

The Soviet Union actually developed nuclear bullets!

https://southfront.org/nuclear-bullets-dangerous-soviet-project/

So, the range of even publicly known nuclear weapons is pretty great. Some of the explosions recorded in the past few years can be clearly seen as INCREASING in power as the explosion progresses. Though not impossible in some sort of thermobaric bomb, that is a signature of many nuclear bombs.

heath | Nov 14, 2017 10:31:40 PM | 92
Point 1 why would Israel give up its nukes?
Alaric | Nov 14, 2017 10:36:12 PM | 93
I don't buy this at face value. I suspect MBS used the threat of war on Lebanon as a distraction from his counter coup. The possibility of battle with Iran is a fear factor he exploits to stop a revolt against him.

The leaked plan and leaked Israeli wire to its embassies are both quite suspicious. Its possible the Israelis are helping MBS. It's just as possible that MBS' foes in Saudi, or the CIA, are leaking these things to embarrass MBS. All are in fact embarrassing to MBS. I don't know but everything about this is surreal. For all we know MBS' moves are just an aid to finish the counter coup and to drive up oil prices. Saudi needs cash. We should expect the very wealthy Saudi opposition to strike back in the media, and it's possible the intelligence community and state department support different sides here.

LNG man | Nov 14, 2017 10:41:32 PM | 94
To enable LNG, Kushner's army [US_I:SA] has been designed to colonize the Syria:Russian: Yemen:Qatar:Iran:Libya (SRYQIL) oil, gas competition, so that LNG can be port to port marketed. All eyes on LNG.

Posted by: LNG man |


Yeah, Right | Nov 14, 2017 10:47:39 PM | 95
@92 "Point 1 why would Israel give up its nukes?"

They wouldn't.

The Israelis might be willing to discuss this - maybe - but only if those discussions are "decoupled" from the issue of the Saudis altering the 2003 Saudi Peace Initiative so that Israel gets everything it wants, while the only thing the Palestinians get is their marching orders.

The Israelis will then pocket that neutered Saudi Peace Initiative (in essence, it would become the Netanyahu Land Grab Initiative, with the Saudis in the role of stenographer) and then proceed to endlessly delay, deflect and derail any negotiations towards a Middle East Nuclear Free Zone.

Something for nothing, which MbS ending up holding that Big Ol' Bag Of Nothin'.

Peter AU 1 | Nov 14, 2017 11:11:29 PM | 96
LNG man | Nov 14, 2017 10:41:32 PM | 94

LNG port to port is not competitive with Russian piped gas. From what I can see, US needs to either ensure they have control of alternative piped gas, or try and shut down pipes so they can flog shale LNG.

Stumpy | Nov 14, 2017 11:31:52 PM | 97
b's post here is articulate and cogent as ever and I cast no aspersion at him or fellow commenters. However, as far as I'm concerned the KSA-Israel drawing up these "accords" is all a pile of sabre-rattling and poseurism crap.

Anything touched by the KSA is a pile of B.S. e.g. the Qatar ultimatum. Anything said by Israel fits the purpose at the time if it varies with their expansionist/farengi code of conduct.

The only way I see any of this playing out is an interlocking web of extortion that compels the two weaker parties to conform to the will of the stronger, in my opinion Israel.

Who knows if Lebanon will cower under the threat but if the Iranian alliance bares its teeth, let's remember that their reach is likely global and likely already in place at key targets. The stupidity of launching a shooting war in the ME with Iran and Israel involved does not mean that someone will not dance the situation right up to the brink.

It's the Asian thrust we should consider, from China to Turkey via Russia. I would guess, and only guess, that Russia and China would most likely wait it out and pick up the pieces during ending credits, or become minimally involved only to prevent a breakout. Can't assume anything here.

Wouldn't it be interesting if the US/KSA/IZ trio throws everything into beating Iran only to have another player open a play to seize the Pacific? Pretty wild.

Debsisdead | Nov 15, 2017 12:40:03 AM | 98
Posted by: Stumpy | Nov 14, 2017 11:31:52 PM |

I reckon you're correct Stumpy. Over the years there have been many "amerika will attack Iran" scares - all have passed by without major incident despite the concerns of MoA-ites that "anything could happen in the next two hours"
It is highly likely that eventually some greedy opportunist with a hat size about 4 times larger than his dick measurement will eventually have a crack at taking down Iran, but I don't reckon we're anywhere near that point yet.

As far as 'world peace' & justice for suffering indigenous people goes, today I'm much more concerned about events in Zimbabwe.
Hopefully the military is acting out in order to protect the socialist revolution from greedies & nepotists, and not using the occasion of President Mugabe's age disorders to subvert the revolution by aiding africacom and the world bank oecd mob to boost the amerikan empire's consumption of one of the few remaining independent sovereign entities still surviving on this old rock.

Whatever does happen in Zimbabwe over the next week, few will be paying much interest whilst corporate media distracts so many with tall tales of the dissolute instincts of poor people everywhere.

Hmpf | Nov 15, 2017 2:01:08 AM | 99
@57

Utter nonsense! Large scale conventional; exploding tightly stacked munitions in a large ammo dump by means of sympathetic detonation. Large quantities of explosives going off must create a mushroom cloud - this is gas dynamics. Afterburning in the rising cloud results from hot oxygen-deficient stythe mixing with air which in return helps sustaining the upward momentum of the plume.

somebody | Nov 15, 2017 2:06:02 AM | 100
Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 15, 2017 12:40:03 AM | 98

Look, Mugabe is 93. Have you ever been around anyone that age? It is very likely that he is not in any power, but the people who wake him up.

According to German media, Mugabe's wife made him dismiss the vice chancellor who probably had been doing the real work.

So all the army might be doing is to prevent the family from taking over.

[Nov 11, 2017] If The Saudi Arabia Situation Doesn't Worry You, You're Not Paying Attention Zero Hedge

Nov 11, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

This pivotal agreement allowed KSA to secretly recycle its surplus petrodollars back into US Treasuries while receiving US military protection in exchange. The secret was kept for 41 years, only recently revealed in 2016 due to a Bloomberg FOIA request:

The basic framework was strikingly simple. The U.S. would buy oil from Saudi Arabia and provide the kingdom military aid and equipment. In return, the Saudis would plow billions of their petrodollar revenue back into Treasuries and finance America's spending.

It took several discreet follow-up meetings to iron out all the details, Parsky said. But at the end of months of negotiations, there remained one small, yet crucial, catch: King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud demanded the country's Treasury purchases stay "strictly secret," according to a diplomatic cable obtained by Bloomberg from the National Archives database.

"Buying bonds and all that was a strategy to recycle petrodollars back into the U.S.," said David Ottaway, a Middle East fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington. But politically, "it's always been an ambiguous, constrained relationship."

( Source )

The essence of this deal is pretty simple. KSA wanted to be able to sell its oil to its then largest buyer, the USA, while also having a safe place to park the funds, plus receive military protection to boot. But it didn't want anybody else, especially its Arab neighbors, to know that it was partnering so intimately with the US who, in turn, would be supporting Israel. That would have been politically incendiary in the Middle East region, coming as it did right on the heels of the Yom Kipper War (1973).

As for the US, it got the oil it wanted and – double bonus time here – got KSA to recycle the very same dollars used to buy that oil back into Treasuries and contracts for US military equipment and training.

Sweet deal.

Note that this is yet another secret world-shaping deal successfully kept out of the media for over four decades. Yes Virginia, conspiracies do happen. Secrets can be (and are routinely) kept by hundreds, even thousands, of people over long stretches of time.

Since that key deal was struck back in the early 1970s, the KSA has remained a steadfast supporter of the US and vice versa. In return, the US has never said anything substantive about KSA's alleged involvement in 9/11 or its grotesque human and women's rights violations. Not a peep.

Until recently.

Then Things Started To Break Down

In 2015, King Salman came to power. Things began to change pretty quickly, especially once he elevated his son Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to a position of greater power.

Among MBS's first acts was to directly involve KSA into the Yemen civil war, with both troops on the ground and aerial bombings. That war has killed thousands of civilians while creating a humanitarian crisis that includes the largest modern-day outbreak of cholera, which is decimating highly populated areas. The conflct, which is considered a 'proxy war' because Iran is backing the Houthi rebels while KSA is backing the Yemeni government, continues to this day.

Then in 2016, KSA threatened to dump its $750 billion in (stated) US assets in response to a bill in Congress that would have released sensitive information implicating Saudi Arabia's involvement in 9/11. Then-president Obama had to fly over there to smooth things out. It seems the job he did was insufficient; because KSA-US relations unraveled at an accelerating pace afterwards. Mission NOT accomplished, it would seem.

In 2017, KSA accused Qatar of nefarious acts and made such extraordinary demands that an outbreak of war nearly broke out over the dispute. The Qatari leadership later accused KSA of fomenting 'regime change', souring the situation further. Again, Iran backed the Qatar government, which turned this conflict into another proxy battle between the two main regional Arab superpowers.

In parallel with all this, KSA was also supporting the mercenaries (aka "rebels" in western press) who were seeking to overthrow Assad in Syria -- yet another proxy war between KSA and Iran. It's been an open secret that, during this conflict, KSA has been providing support to some seriously bad terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS and other supposed enemies of the US/NATO. (Again, the US has never said 'boo' about that, proving that US rhetoric against "terrorists" is a fickle construct of political convenience, not a moral matter.)

Once Russia entered the war on the side of Syria's legitimate government, the US and KSA (and Israel) lost their momentum. Their dreams of toppling Assad and turning Syria into another failed petro-state like they did with Iraq and Libya are not likely to pan out as hoped.

But rather than retreat to lick their wounds, KSA's King Salman and his son are proving to be a lot nimbler than their predecessors.

Rather than continue a losing battle in Syria, they've instead turned their energies and attention to dramatically reshaping KSA's internal power structures:

Saudi Arabia's Saturday Night Massacre

For nearly a century, Saudi Arabia has been ruled by the elders of a royal family that now finds itself effectively controlled by a 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman. He helms the Defense Ministry, he has extravagant plans for economic development, and last week arranged for the arrest of some of the most powerful ministers and princes in the country.

A day before the arrests were announced, Houthi tribesmen in Yemen but allied with Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival, fired a ballistic missile at Riyadh.

The Saudis claim the missile came from Iran and that its firing might be considered "an act of war."

Saudi Arabia was created between the two world wars under British guidance. In the 1920s, a tribe known as the Sauds defeated the Hashemites, effectively annexing the exterior parts of Saudi Arabia they did not yet control. The United Kingdom recognized the Sauds' claim shortly thereafter. But since then, the Saudi tribe has been torn by ambition, resentment and intrigue. The Saudi royal family has more in common with the Corleones than with a Norman Rockwell painting.

The direct attack was undoubtedly met with threats of a coup. Whether one was actually planned didn't matter. Mohammed Bin Salman had to assume these threats were credible since so many interests were under attack. So he struck first, arresting princes and ex-minsters who constituted the Saudi elite. It was a dangerous gamble. A powerful opposition still exists, but he had no choice but to act. He could either strike as he did last Saturday night, or allow his enemies to choose the time and place of that attack. Nothing is secure yet, but with this strike, there is a chance he might have bought time. Any Saudi who would take on princes and clerics is obviously desperate, but he may well break the hold of the financial and religious elite.

( Source )

This 32 year-old prince, Mohammed bin Salman has struck first and deep, completely upending the internal power dynamics of Saudi Arabia.

He's taken on the political, financial and religious elites head on. For example, pushing through the decision to allow women to drive; a provocative move designed to send a clear message to the clerics who might oppose him. That message is: "I'm not fooling around here."

This is a classic example of how one goes about purging the opposition when either taking over a government after a coup, or implementing a big new strategy at a major corporation. You have to remove any possible opponents and then install your own loyalists. According the Rules for Rulers , you do this by diverting a portion of the flow of funds to your new backers while diminishing, imprisoning or killing all potential enemies.

So far, Mohammed bin Salman's action plan is par for the course. No surprises.

The above article from Stratfor (well worth reading in its entirety) continues with these interesting insights:

The Iranians have been doing well since the nuclear deal was signed in 2015. They have become the dominant political force in Iraq . Their support for the Bashar Assad regime in Syria may not have been enough to save him, but Iran was on what appears to be the winning side in the Syrian civil war. Hezbollah has been hurt by its participation in the war but is reviving, carrying Iranian influence in Lebanon at a time when Lebanon is in crisis after the resignation of its prime minister last week.

The Saudis, on the other hand, aren't doing as well. The Saudi-built anti-Houthi coalition in Yemen has failed to break the Houthi-led opposition. And Iran has openly entered into an alliance with Qatar against the wishes of the Saudis and their ally, the United Arab Emirates.

Iran seems to sense the possibility of achieving a dream: destabilizing Saudi Arabia , ending its ability to support anti-Iranian forces, and breaking the power of the Sunni Wahhabis. Iran must look at the arrests in Saudi Arabia as a very bad move. And they may be. Mohammad bin Salman has backed the fundamentalists and the financial elite against the wall.

They are desperate, and now it is their turn to roll the dice. If they fall short, it could result in a civil war in Saudi Arabia. If Iran can hit Riyadh with missiles, the crown prince's opponents could argue that the young prince is so busy with his plans that he isn't paying attention to the real threat. For the Iranians, the best outcome is to have no one come out on top.

This would reconfigure the geopolitics of the Middle East, and since the U.S. is deeply involved there, it has decisions to make.

So given Yemen, Syria, and its recent domestic purges, Saudi Arabia is in turmoil. It's in a far weaker position than it was a short while ago.

This leaves the US in a far weaker regional position, too, at precisely the time when China and Russia are increasing their own presence (which we'll get to next).

But first we have to discuss what might happen if a civil war were to engulf Saudi Arabia. The price of oil would undoubtedly spike. In turn, that would cripple the weaker countries, companies and households around the world that simply cannot afford a higher oil price. And there's a lot of them.

Financial markets would destabilize as long-suppressed volatility would explode higher, creating horrific losses across the board. That very few investors are mentally or financially prepared for such carnage is a massive understatement.

So..if you were Saudi Arabia, in need of helpful allies after being bogged down in an unwinnable war in Yemen, just defeated in a proxy war in Syria, and your longtime 'ally', the US, is busy pumping as much of its own oil as it can, what would you do?

Pivot To China

Given its situation, is it really any surprise that King Salman and his son have decided to pivot to China? In need of a new partner that would align better with their current and future interests, China is the obvious first choice.

So in March 2017, only a very short while after Obama's failed visit, a large and well-prepared KSA entourage accompanied King Salman to Beijing and inked tens of billions in new business deals:

China, Saudi Arabia eye $65 billion in deals as king visits

Mar 16, 2017

BEIJING (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Salman oversaw the signing of deals worth as much as $65 billion on the first day of a visit to Beijing on Thursday, as the world's largest oil exporter looks to cement ties with the world's second-largest economy.

The deals included a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between giant state oil firm Saudi Aramco and China North Industries Group Corp (Norinco), to look into building refining and chemical plants in China.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) and Sinopec, which already jointly run a chemical complex in Tinajin, also agreed to develop petrochemical projects in both China and Saudi Arabia.

Salman told Xi he hoped China could play an even greater role in Middle East affairs, the ministry added.

Deputy Chinese Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said the memorandums of understanding and letters of intent were potentially worth about $65 billion, involving everything from energy to space.

( Source )

This was a very big deal in terms of Middle East geopolitics. It shook up many decades of established power, resulting in a shift away from dependence on America.

The Saudis arrived in China with such a huge crowd in tow that a reported 150 cooks had been brought along to just to feed everyone in the Saudi visitation party.

The resulting deals struck involved everything from energy to infrastructure to information technology to space. And this was just on the first visit. Quite often a brand new trade delegation event involves posturing and bluffing and feeling each other out; not deals being struck. So it's clear that before the visit, well before, lots and lots of deals were being negotiated and terms agreed to so that the thick MOU files were ready to sign during the actual visit.

The scope and size of these business deals are eye catching, but the real clincher is King Salman's public statement expressing hope China will play " an even greater role in Middle East affairs."

That, right there, is the sound of the geopolitical axis-tilting. That public statement tells us everything we need to know about the sort of change the Salman dynasty intends to pursue.

So it should have surprised no one to hear that, in August this year, another $70 billion of new deals were announced between China and KSA . The fanfare extolled that Saudi-Sino relations had entered a new era, with "the agreements covering investment, trade, energy, postal service, communications, and media."

This is a very rapid pace for such large deals. If KSA and China were dating, they'd be talking about moving in together already. They're clearly at the selecting furniture and carpet samples stage.

As for the US? It seems KSA isn't even returning its calls or texts at this point.

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet...

All of the above merely describes how we arrived at where things stand today.

But as mentioned, the power grab underway in KSA by Mohammed bin Salman is unfolding in real-time. Developments are happening hourly -- while writing this, the very high-profile Prince Bandar bin Sultan (recent head of Saudi Intelligence and former longtime ambassador to the US) has been arrested .

The trajectory of events is headed in a direction that may well end the arrangement that has served as the axis around which geopolitics has spun for the past 40 years. The Saudis want new partners, and are courting China hard.

China, for reasons we discuss in Part 2 of this report, has an existential need to supplant America as Saudi Arabia's most vital oil customer.

And both Saudi Arabia and China are inking an increasing number of strategic oil deals with Russia. Why? We get into that in Part 2, too -- but suffice it to say, in the fast-shifting world of KSA foreign policy, it's China and Russia 'in', US 'out'.

Maybe not all the way out, but the US clearly has lost a lot of ground with KSA over the past few years. My analysis is that by funding an insane amount of shale oil development, at a loss, and at any cost (such as to our biggest Mideast ally) the US has time and again displayed that our 'friendship' does not run very deep. In a world where loyalty counts, the US has proved a disloyal partner. Can China position itself to be perceived of as a better mate? When it comes to business, I believe the answer is 'yes.'

In Part 2: The Oil Threat we couple these developments with China and Russia's recent efforts to drop the dollar from trade, especially when purchasing oil, and clearly see the unfolding of the biggest new driver of the world's financial, monetary and geopolitical arrangements in 50 years.

We also explain why, unless something very dramatically changes in either the supply or demand equation for oil, and soon, we can now put a timeline in place for when the great unraveling begins. Somewhere between the second half of 2018 and the end of 2019 oil will dramatically increase in price and that will shake the foundations of the global mountain of debt and its related underfunded liabilities. Think 9.0 on the financial Richter scale.

Let me be blunt - you have to have your preparations done before this happens. You really, really want to be a year early on this (at least). When it starts happening, the breakdown will progress faster than you can react.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

Escrava Isaura -> bobcatz , Nov 11, 2017 1:59 PM

The reason that the world is moving towards China this fast, it's because of Trump.

Trump is too radical, and that's why these nations are running for the exit.

"Trump's policies are taking a whole bunch of countries that were already worried about America's commitment to lead and America's commitment to its alliances. China also wants to be seen now as promoting globalization, promoting free trade, particularly for countries in Asia that don't want to count on the U.S." -- Ian Bremmer

TeethVillage88s -> Escrava Isaura , Nov 11, 2017 2:31 PM

Wot about Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, Don Rumsfeld, G.W.B., Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, Colin Powell, John Bolton, Condaleza Rice, Samantha Powers, Kagan, Susan Rice, Hilary Clinton, Clinton Foundation, noecons, McCain, Lindsey Graham, Phil Gramm, TBTF

Stuck on Zero -> williambanzai7 , Nov 11, 2017 1:09 PM

Grab your popcorn and watch to see whether the New Ottoman or New Persian Empire emerges the victor.

Grimaldus -> Stuck on Zero , Nov 11, 2017 2:08 PM

You seem to know the difference, a very basic one at that but the author does not.

"In 2017, KSA accused Qatar of nefarious acts and made such extraordinary demands that an outbreak of war nearly broke out over the dispute. The Qatari leadership later accused KSA of fomenting 'regime change', souring the situation further. Again, Iran backed the Qatar government, which turned this conflict into another proxy battle between the two main regional Arab superpowers."

Iran is Arab? I don't think so.

I tend to be skeptical when I see "breathless enthusiasm" touting the sky is falling geopolitically (which it always is ) and then the "Iran is Arabs" thing just killed it for me.

Oh well. I apologize for nit-picking and will get some popcorn.

Escrava Isaura -> Grimaldus , Nov 11, 2017 2:32 PM

That aside, the article still pretty good.

The core issues for the American living standards are:

The price of oil

And the Petrodollar

Lose control of these two and American living standard is over.

The only alternative left is force -- war.

apoplectic query , Nov 11, 2017 11:54 AM

Look on the bright side. Many of those rounded up were funding corrupt polititians in DC. And ISIS. And terrorist acts in the US, like Vegas and 911.

2banana -> apoplectic query , Nov 11, 2017 12:05 PM

"the kingdom also provides with full enthusiasm 20 percent of the cost of Hillary Clinton's campaign,"

-- Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 2016

The Clinton Foundation, which is chaired by both Hillary and her husband Bill Clinton, disclosed in 2008 that it had accepted up to US$25 million from the Saudi Kingdom in the same year.

Other foreign governments who have donated money to the Clintons include Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, Italy and Jamaica, which together donated around US$20 million.

fearnot -> DelusionalGrandeur , Nov 11, 2017 12:18 PM

Now I see the big picture. The fuse to the mother of all "Truth bombs" as Bill Holter coined has just been lit and the fuse is short. Until now I personally never really saw the Rockefeller- Langley clan and its comrades all getting cleaned out with the fall of Petro Dollar. But it is the only way. And with that the NY Fed as Dudley knows will lose its narco money and means to support the dollar and its terror on mankind. The fall of Petro Dollar is the only means to the end of the evil and the evil doers of the last 40 years perpetrated by the psychopaths using the petro dollar as its fuel to the weapon of mass destruction. Alice in Wonderland America is about to go Mad Max.

The 1 hour Perpetual Asset interview "The Saudi Straw That Broke the Petro Dollar's Back" with Jim Willie on October 10 is well worth listening. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yY9j6vvCFE0 The conclusion laid out in interview is simple and brilliant, Langley (Bush-Clinton- Narco-CIA-Banker-Neo-Psycopaths) and the clear headed leaders in the Pentagon are having it. Peacock MBS caught in the middle trying to save his own neck and Kingdom is collateral damage.

After listening to interview, I ran across two zero hedge links below. The first article makes some very poignant and interesting points that reinforce the dollars end game that we are approaching. The markets have not caught on yet but will with a vengeance.

In the second article taking Bandar out must worry the Bush-Clinton- Narco-CIA-Banker-Neo-Psycopaths more than we can imagine. The last two paragraphs of article sum it up nicely. Time to pay the piper & the devil wants souls. All the gold, wealth, and power won't save them. From the looks of Trump/Putin in Vietnam not to mention Trump's warm welcome from Xi in China the heads of state seem jubilant in what is quickly spinning out of control for the psychopaths of debt, destruction, conquer, divide and slavery. Trump "strangely" pointed out that China and US need to jointly oversee security in Afghanistan which of course will be necessary to police while eliminating 1300 tons of opium production.

The PPT NYFed's actions in paper gold market this week seemed desperate. GS has to be feeling the heat.

1- Fischer and now Dudley resign. Hopeful to hear the latter is leaving BIS as well.

2- Powell a Carlye Group flunky was a brilliant FED appointment to appear to be status quo to ignorant market but is more likely a double agent than Bush butt buddy.

3- expect Cohn to give his resignation soon.

4- Expect NY Attorney General Eric Tradd Schneiderman to resign or do a 180

5- expect David A. Markowitz hired by Goldman in 2010 from the New York Attorney General's office to resign. He defended GS in their NYFed collusion/corruption case

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-10/end-end-history-us-mid-east-pol...

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-10/saudi-deep-state-prince-bandar-...

SoDamnMad -> otschelnik , Nov 11, 2017 2:11 PM

I have heard for almost a decade that KSA has been pumping some of their fields too fast requiring huge amounts of seawater to be pumped in to get the flow rates to stay high. Some oil professionals who know this also scoffed at the huge Aramco IPO value saying the oil isn't all there. Not sure what will happen with the teams set to rumble but I will bet Israel will make the first strike to use the element of surprise. I hope the fleet is ready and gets the carriers out of the Persion Gulf.

silverer -> Cluster_Frak , Nov 11, 2017 1:16 PM

Actually, the Saudi group is just climbing onto another life boat. They're the ones that made the US Ponzi possible by nodding to the US dollar as the reserve currency many years ago. They will force the US to face the music holding a 20 trillion debt. Now China gets a 20 to 30 year fiat ride like the US had. If they're careful, it could last much longer. In the US, there's nothing left floating to hang onto. Maybe some fracked oil for awhile, but it will have to go at a bargain price. The Saudis and Russia can cover a huge amount of the world's consumption. Big bank loans are piled all over the entire US economy. In order for the banks to save themselves, they've weighted down even the grunts at the bottom with eight year car loans which should have never been issued. With everything underwater, and the inability to export inflation by holding the reserve currency exclusively, the US is in for a major ass whooping. Better learn some basic camping skills.

Herdee , Nov 11, 2017 12:26 PM

Alasdair Macleod shines light on the current situation:

https://www.silverdoctors.com/gold/gold-news/london-analyst-first-the-cr...

[Nov 10, 2017] Kingdom Of Fear Saudi Arabia On Lockdown OilPrice.com

Nov 10, 2017 | oilprice.com

It is difficult to predict where all this will lead. Some, like Dennis Gartman, warn that although the immediate impact of the latest Saudi events is positive for prices, it will turn negative in the longer run as this sort of instability is unsustainable. Others, such as Morgan Stanley's commodity analysts, are revising upwards their oil price forecasts, encouraged by these same events. OPEC's Vienna meeting, where the cartel will discuss the extension of the oil production cut it agreed almost a year ago, is less than a month away. There are voices suggesting that Saudi Arabia could make a U-turn on its support for the deal in light of the now higher prices resulting from its internal tumult and the spike in tensions with Iran.

In the meantime, the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh is fully booked until February, as per the hotel's website, and all guests were asked to leave or had their reservations cancelled.

[Nov 10, 2017] Why Saudi Arabia's Crackdown Sent Oil Prices Soaring OilPrice.com

Nov 10, 2017 | oilprice.com

The short-term outlook was bullish: MBS is seen as a key supporter for the OPEC policy of measured production cuts, and his consolidation of power means the cuts are likely to be maintained and extended through the rest of next year.

Conversely, rising prices may also signal increase instability in Saudi Arabia: there are signs that the crackdown may have been meant to stave off a more substantive challenge to MBS from upper-echelon figures in the Saudi hierarchy. The uncertainty in future Saudi oil policy has created a bull market. While MBS is known to favor an extension of production cuts, the turmoil within the Saudi ruling elite could signal a shift in policy in advance of the November 30 OPEC meeting in Vienna, where an extension to production cuts is expected to dominate the agenda

[Nov 10, 2017] Massive $43bn US-China gas deal seen as far from reality

That's another big set back for Russia
Notable quotes:
"... Alaska LNG, backed by the state-run Alaska Gasline Development Corp, anticipates a long pipeline carrying the fuel from the North Slope, which has proven gas reserves of over 35 trillion cubic feet. The state governor Bill Walker plans to sign final agreements by the end of next year, with groundbreaking in 2019. ..."
Nov 10, 2017 | www.rt.com

A preliminary gas deal worth over $43 billion sealed between China and the US State of Alaska is far from guaranteed, according to experts. On Thursday, China's biggest state-run energy corporation Sinopec, along with one of the country's top banks and a sovereign wealth fund agreed to go ahead with an export terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Alaska as well as a 1,290-kilometer pipeline to deliver fuel to China. The project is aimed at developing facilities so gas can be piped to the Alaska coast, where it can be liquefied and shipped to China and other Asian countries.

The announcement, which lacked any details about binding agreements or financing, was made during US President Trump's visit to China. However, some analysts are saying the project is not likely to go ahead.

"This is a typical announcement that comes out of these big summits. You really can't build, or get financing for a big project, unless all those pieces are in place," said Jason Feer of energy consultancy Poten & Partners, as quoted by Reuters.

Alaska LNG, backed by the state-run Alaska Gasline Development Corp, anticipates a long pipeline carrying the fuel from the North Slope, which has proven gas reserves of over 35 trillion cubic feet. The state governor Bill Walker plans to sign final agreements by the end of next year, with groundbreaking in 2019.

The lengthy pipeline could cost a billion dollars, according to Larry Persily, former US coordinator for Alaska natural gas projects. Persily added that multinationals such as BP, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips had been working on the pipeline enterprise, but stepped away.

"If companies don't think this is a good time to put their money into it, why should the state? As the governor has explained, the state has an overriding interest in getting this done -- companies have other places they can invest their money," he said as quoted by AP.

China is trying to fight pollution and get rid of its reliance on coal and is chasing more supplies of natural gas, according to Mark Barteau, director of the University of Michigan's Energy Institute, as quoted by the agency.

"They have exhibited a long-term interest in having a large and secure gas supply, and I think this is just perhaps the largest -- but by no means the first -- step they've taken to achieve that," he said.

See also

[Nov 10, 2017] Paradise Papers Reveal U.S. Selling Russian LNG In Europe by Irina Slav

Nov 10, 2017 | oilprice.com

Nov 10, 2017

The documents suggest that a company with U.S. ownership is buying Russian gas from petrochemical giant Sibur, and then selling it -- at a profit, of course -- to the European Union, which is in a rush to build as many LNG terminals as it can in a bid to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

If the reports are true, the situation is an ironic one for Europe: while trying to reduce its dependence on Russian gas it is inadvertently increasing it and is even paying more for it than it would if it bought the extra loads directly from Gazprom.

One might wonder how a U.S. company is able to do business with a Russian one. It's simple: Wilbur Ross himself said earlier this week that Sibur is not a subject to sanctions, so for Navigator Holdings and the petrochemical giant, everything is business as usual.

[Nov 10, 2017] 600,000 Bpd At Risk As Venezuela Delays The Inevitable by Nick Cunningham

Nov 10, 2017 | oilprice.com

For the oil markets, the implications are pretty significant. Venezuela has already lost an estimated 20,000 bpd each month for the past year, according to Reuters estimates. And in September, Venezuela's output plunged by more than 50,000 bpd compared to a month earlier. Production could fall by an additional 240,000 bpd in 2018, a decline made worse by U.S. sanctions.

But that isn't even the worst-case scenario. A default could set off a scramble to seize Venezuela's overseas assets. That could lead to much steeper production declines. One OPEC source told Reuters that they see a potential for production declines on the order of 300,000 to 600,000 bpd next year.

[Nov 10, 2017] Will Backlash Against Prince Purge Begin Within Military The American Conservative by Michael Horton

Don't forget Yemen war is expensive and oil ins still hovering around $60 not $80 needed for KSA to balance the budget. . KSA might run out of money just about the same time the old king dies. Going to be an interesting transition
Notable quotes:
"... The son of the eighty-one year old King Salman, Muhammad bin Salman, known as MbS, has amassed more power in the last two years than any member of the House of Saud, including its kings. The young prince, who before his father came to power held no position of significance, is now the heir to the throne, minister of defense, chairman of the newly launched "anti-corruption" committee, and, by royal decree, the man in charge of Saudi Arabia's primary source of wealth, Saudi Aramco. ..."
Nov 10, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Will Backlash Against Prince Purge Begin Within Military? Firing popular Saudi guard leader may have been a critical miscalculation. November 10, 2017 Saudi security forces on parade, 2009. Credit: AlJazeera/Omar Chatriwala/Creative Commons Muhammad bin Salman, the 32-year-old crown prince of Saudi Arabia, has been called bold, brash, and even an anti-corruption crusader in the press this week. But his arrest of hundreds of potential rivals, including 11 royal princes and many influential Saudi businessmen, can only be described as a pre-emptive coup.

If this was his aim, however, his firing of one prince -- the head of the Saudi Arabian National Guard -- may have been his fatal mistake.

The son of the eighty-one year old King Salman, Muhammad bin Salman, known as MbS, has amassed more power in the last two years than any member of the House of Saud, including its kings. The young prince, who before his father came to power held no position of significance, is now the heir to the throne, minister of defense, chairman of the newly launched "anti-corruption" committee, and, by royal decree, the man in charge of Saudi Arabia's primary source of wealth, Saudi Aramco.

... ... ...

Muhammad bin Salman's betrayal of decades of rule by consensus and consultation in favor of determined autocracy has undoubtedly made enemies of hundreds, if not thousands, of wealthy and influential princes and businessmen. These princes and businessmen are unlikely to wait for their invitation to the Ritz Carlton.

Michael Horton is a senior analyst for Arabian affairs at the Jamestown Foundation. He is a frequent contributor to J ane's Intelligence Review and has written for numerous other publications including: The National Interest The Economist , and West Point's CTC Sentinel.

[Nov 08, 2017] Don't Believe the 'Reformer' Hype About MBS The American Conservative

Nov 08, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Craighead) Rosie Bsheer warns Westerners not to fall for Mohammed bin Salman's reformer act:

Even as Western governments and media outlets sing his praises, the young crown prince is viewed domestically as an incompetent and corrupt ruler who hides behind liberalism, tolerance and anti-corruption rhetoric [bold mine-DL]. This view is shared by ruling members of the monarchy, economic elites and the population at large, who see bin Salman as someone who has disturbed the status quo for the sake of massive personal enrichment and political aggrandizement.

Many Westerners are often eager to promote individual foreign leaders in as "reformers" or "moderates" so that it makes it easier to justify a close U.S. relationship with these leaders. Few would openly argue that the U.S.-Saudi relationship should remain the same or become even closer if the next king is a reckless incompetent who is actively destabilizing the surrounding region. For that reason, there is great reluctance on the part of supporters of the relationship to judge MBS on what he has actually done rather than what he says he wants to do in the future.

Bsheer comments on MBS' recent power grab and how it benefits him and his father:

These arrests, cloaked in populist rhetoric trumpeting a purported campaign to end corruption, actually aim to silence and disempower, if not to completely purge, bureaucrats and members of the ruling family who hold economic and political power and are still not on board with Salman's rise to power.

The arrests benefit Salman in two ways. Politically, they upend the balance of power in the Saudi regime, leaving Salman with few rivals. Financially, they make it easier to claim his rivals' assets as his own, part of a two-year effort to consolidate economic power.

When stripped of their official justifications, we can see that these actions are not those of a reformer at all. They are the actions of a despot engaging in a massive abuse of power. If an adversarial authoritarian regime conducted such a purge and justified it in the same way, the near-unanimous response from the West would be criticism and ridicule, and that response would be appropriate. When MBS and his father do it, they are embraced by the president and their justification is taken at face value by far too many news outlets.

At the very least, MBS and his father should be subject to the same skepticism and criticism as any other authoritarian government. We should be wary of accepting the "reformer" credentials of a person who has so far distinguished himself for his hubris and incompetence while compiling a record of failure and repeated violations of international law. Perhaps we could refrain from labeling the man who is helping to starve millions of people to death as a "moderate." Ideally, the U.S. should take the opportunity provided by MBS' rise to recognize that the relationship with the Saudis has become a liability and put as much distance between us and Riyadh as possible.

The Terror , says: November 8, 2017 at 12:10 pm

The world has plenty of experience – all too much – with "reformers" who arrest and kill their rivals, and who commit mass atrocities against civilian populations, as MBS is doing in Yemen.

Our "friendships" in the Middle East have damaged and soiled us more than any foreign relationships in our history that I can think of.

At least when we "opened" to China we did it fairly clear-eyed, and one could credibly argue that it was necessary and served our national interest. But our sick, codependent relationships with Saudi Arabia and Israel have only entangled us in pointless messes, put America itself at risk, fouled us morally, and made us simultaneously a frightening, destabilizing force on the world stage, and an international laughingstock.

When and where will it end? I had some hope that Trump might do it, but so far he seems to be doubling down on the Bush the Younger / Obama stupidity.

[Nov 07, 2017] Neuters via Euractiv: EU plans big rule change to snag Nord Stream 2

Nov 07, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

et Al , November 6, 2017 at 7:51 am

Neuters via Euractiv: EU plans big rule change to snag Nord Stream 2
https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/eu-plans-big-rule-change-to-snag-nord-stream-2/

The EU executive sees Russia's plan to double the gas it could pump under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing traditional routes via Ukraine, as undercutting EU efforts to reduce dependence on Moscow and its support for Kyiv.

The move dovetails with the Commission's proposal for a mandate from member states to negotiate with Russia over objections to the pipeline.

Even with the changes, EU regulators say they may need to seek talks with Russia as it cannot impose its law on the stretch of the pipeline that is outside its territory.

"This proposal does not solve all the problems and some of those need to be negotiated," an EU official said.

Under the proposed changes to the gas directive, seen by Reuters, all import pipelines would have to comply with EU rules requiring pipelines not be owned directly by gas suppliers, non-discriminatory tariffs, transparent operations and at least 10% of capacity be made available to third parties.

"The Gas Directive in its entirety will become applicable to pipelines to and from third countries, including existing and future pipelines, up to the border of EU jurisdiction," the proposals says .
####

More stupidity at the link, but this looks like the same rubbish leaked to EUObserver a week or so ago that I posted here. I have a question. If this is actually becomes the case, then will Brussels rule that TAP and 'field pipes' which currently have an exemption from EU law then become illegal ?

I don't see how they could keep them as exceptions. Brussels is just trying itself in knots to make is seem relevant where it is actually powerless to do anything. As for the line above ' may need to seek talks with Russia..', WTF?

[Nov 07, 2017] Moon of Alabama: Saudi Arabia This 'Night Of The Long Knives' Is A Panic-Fueled Move

Nov 07, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

et Al , November 6, 2017 at 8:04 am

Moon of Alabama: Saudi Arabia – This 'Night Of The Long Knives' Is A Panic-Fueled Move
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/11/saudi-purge.html

Yesterday the ruling Salman clan in Saudi Arabia executed a Night of the Long Knives cleansing the state of all potential competition. The Saudi King Salman and his son Clown Prince Mohammad bin Salman initiated a large arrest wave and purge of high ranking princes and officials. Part of this internal coup was the confiscation of huge financial estates to the advantage of the Salman clan.

The earlier forced resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri is probably related to the last night's events. The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahoo endorsed the resignation. This guarantees that Hariri will never again be accepted in a leading role in Lebanon .
####

Plenty more at the link and don't forget to check the comments, of which PaveWay IV & guidoamm are enlightening, the latter: I know from someone that, till last month, managed a fleet of personal jets for the great and the good in Saudi Arabia, that there is an exodus under way. The great and the good are literally taking the cuckoo clocks onboard their 380s and relocating to their foreign residences. Owners of the fleets have not been paying their bills for months neither to the crews, nor to the management nor, indeed, to the facilities.
####

Just what Europe needs, a bunch of Saudi princes permanently flaunting themselves away from home in various capitals.

saskydisc , November 6, 2017 at 1:56 pm
Saudi declares war on Lebanon, by claiming that Lebanon declares war on Saudi Arabia . Given that the Saudis have made their alliance with Israel open, this is a threat to the Lebanese government and society, and a dare to the Russian government regarding its anti-ISIS and anti-Al Qaeda policy.
marknesop , November 7, 2017 at 8:28 am
Not to mention the S-400 sale.

[Nov 05, 2017] The sale of ARAMCO is a sign of desperation in the Saudi regime, not strength

Nov 05, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Anonymous | Nov 4, 2017 1:33:00 PM | 18

The sale of ARAMCO is a sign of desperation in the Saudi regime, not strength. They know they are running on empty and will have to use whatever resources they have already to stay in power. The forced reduction in oil price was ostensably aimed at Russia, but it has also crippled Saudi too. Qui bono? A forced sale of ARAMCO will lead to them getting below par in a forced sale - to whom? Zionist central bankers?

The Zionists have seen rapprochement between Turkey and Russia, now Saudi and Russia so they will be desperate. What better way to stir things up than linking Saudi in as a primary driver for the Lebanese / Hezbollah position, with the hope of splitting the Russian rapprochment. However, the reality is that Hezbollah/Lebanon is not an existential national security threat to Saudi, but it is to Israel. And that is the elephant in the room again.

Israel was so close to seeing all its regional enemies embroiled in terrorism and social/economic disruption - Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi, Turkey, Lebanon - with the prospect of making great gains (for national security purposes natch) in the Golan where Zionist proxy forces have been guarding territory for it. And now it looks to be fading dream. Even Druze living in the Occupied Golan have warned the IDF that they will defend their co-religionists in Syria against ISIS/whatever.

Destruction of Hezbollah/Lebanon only benefits Israel.


Peter AU 1 | Nov 4, 2017 12:28:08 PM | 10
b @2

There was talk not long ago of China buying the full 5% of Aramco. Not sure how much was in that, but possibly why US is backing Saudi in their new Lebanon adventure. The US backs Saudi's in Lebanon and Saudi does not sell Aramco to China?

pantaraxia | Nov 4, 2017 6:29:40 PM | 61
@54 Lozion

In Shocking Purge, Saudi King Arrests Billionaire Prince Bin Talal, Others In Cabinet Crackdown
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-04/shocking-purge-saudi-king-arrests-billionaire-prince-bin-talal-others-anti-money-lau

In a shocking development, Saudi press Al Mayadeen reported late on Saturday that prominent billionaire, member of the royal Saudi family, and one of the biggest shareholders of Citi, News Corp. and Twitter - not to mention frequent CNBC guest - Al-Waleed bin Talal, has been arrested for corruption and money laundering charges, along with several other top officials. Among those fired and/or arrested are also the head of National Royal Guards, Miteb Bin Abdullah, the Minister of Economy and Planning, Adel Fakeih, and Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan, the Commander of the Saudi Naval Forces

snip

the heads of the main three Saudi owned TV networks were arrested, Alwalid Bin Talal (Rotana), Walid Al Brahim (MBC), Saleh Kamel (ART)

snip

This could be a service to Trump, who hates Al-Walid: the two fought it out on twitter during the campaign although Al-Walid tried to reconcile with Trump after his election but to no avail.

snip

To summarise today's even more bizarre Saudi news day:
-Trump urges Aramco IPO
-Lebanon PM resigns
-Saudis intercept missile
-Major cabinet reshuffle; 3 Saudi princes - who run the anti-graft committee - arrested for money-laundering
-A total of 11 princes, >30 ministers arrested on corruption

[Oct 24, 2017] Saudi Arabia is a weak state in actual capabilities in the world

Oct 24, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Saudi Arabia. Trump prostrated himself and his country before the Saudis and the leaders of the Islamic World. The Saudis expect that this was more than a symbolic and empty gesture. Saudi Arabia is a weak state in actual capabilities in the world It is a state that the US will not need much longer as a source of petroleum. The feebleness of the Saudi government is demonstrated by the ineffectual nature of its war in Yemen, This genocide is being aided and abetted by the US government as part of its cartoon-like conception of basic social and political structures in Islamdom. The Saudi government grows ever weaker as a result of this war and decline in its monetized assets because of a growing surplus of petroleum in the world. The Saudi princelings are not worth the effort being put into keeping them happy.

Qatar . US military operations in the ME are centered around the command and control facility at Al-Obeid in Qatar as well as the air base itself. The air base is useful but is only one of many used by the US in the ME. By siding with the Saudis DJT has de-stabilized the US relationsip with Qatar and is driving the Qataris in the direction of an pro-Iranian stance. Would the US fight to keep al-Obeid? The Saudis won't do it for the US.

... ... ...

[Oct 24, 2017] Airheads like Maros Sefcovic seem to have the idea that they can force Russia to continue transiting gas through Ukraine by putting ever more stumbling blocks in its way.

Oct 24, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

marknesop , October 23, 2017 at 4:26 pm

You have to give the European Commission credit for grit and persistence; they never give up . So what should be named the Stop Nord Stream II Commission now announces it is contemplating a 'legal tweak' which will allow it to declare the Nord Stream II pipeline subject to the Third Energy Package rules, while the first pipeline was not. That would be quite a feat, and I'm betting it will never happen because too many European states oppose it. But it is significant that only the complainers get to be heard – Poland, the Baltics and Brussels. And ukraine, of course, which always has a voice because I guess it is an honorary member of the EU or something.

Keep that term in mind – 'legal tweak', because it basically means changing the law to allow you to do something it previously would not, without any requirement to show why such a change was broadly necessary. You might want to think about 'legal tweaks' of your own to announce you are arbitrarily raising the speed limit on your route home, because it will allow you to get home faster.

Airheads like Maros Sefcovic seem to have the idea that they can force Russia to continue transiting gas through Ukraine by putting ever more stumbling blocks in its way. But they should be careful. Even in the very unlikely event they achieved success, Russia could simply announce the new delivery point is the Russia/Ukraine border , and that the EU and its new bestest buddy are responsible for transit beyond that point. It could cover itself by insisting on official EU signature at the transit point that x amount had been delivered to the border, so that there could be no accusations that Russia was withholding gas. Then the EU would end up paying to fix Ukraine's rusty-teakettle pipeline network, as well as having to tolerate all its staged outages and extortion tactics to squeeze more money for itself.

kirill , October 23, 2017 at 4:58 pm
Russia should sign a deal with Germany for the latter to build a stub gas pipeline to international waters to connect to the Nord Stream II pipe. The EU has zero jurisdiction over international waters. Germany controls its own EEZ and the EU can't hijack it by definition. Germany would then buy Russian gas and resell it to the other EU members. Let's see these EU legal eagles counteract this.

[Oct 17, 2017] Trumps tough talk on Iran could end in a big, blame-evading dodge

Effect of Trump move on energy market remains to be seen... Might well be another step toward fiscal collapse...
Notable quotes:
"... Better refresh. The United States is by definition, an empire. Has been since December 10, 1898. Not all empires have or have had emperors. At least, as an official title. We even still possess a few de facto colonies, Puerto Rico being the most populous. The Philippines were part of the American empire from December 10, 1898 to July 4, 1946. ..."
"... The Philippines' colonial history has been described by one historian as "500 years in a convent, followed by 50 years at Disneyland." ..."
"... This is the result of our long string of wars since Reagan took on Grenada. Then Bush in Panama. And on and on until today. We've chosen to do battle with small weak countries that don't have a hope in hell of winning or even inflicting major harm. ..."
Oct 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

-> Ponderbelle , 13 Oct 2017 02:21

Saudis bought 15 billion dollars antirocket system. Its one deal only. Just to get Trump to stop messing around and crash the Persians they also bought Russian system.

, 12 Oct 2017 23:32

"A peculiar pattern of Trumpian behavior is emerging. First, his fragile ego forbids him to ever take responsibility for anything. Ever. Second, because he craves the adulation of his base, he will to shift blame or throw any and all supporters and allies under the bus."

He also has a tendency to want to take revenge for any imagined or real slight that bruise his fragile ego. Not a statesman or leader by any strength of the imagination.

-> ghstwrtrx7 , 12 Oct 2017 22:51

The good news is that ALL empires, throughout history, have fallen. Looking forward to the fall of the American Empire.

-> Fred Fawcett , 12 Oct 2017 22:46

Yes laughable and tragic all at the same time. Even the guy whose nickname actually is "Mad Dog" (James Mattis) has gone on record with some intelligent comments on why the Iran nuclear deal should be kept in place.

I'm not surprised you got so much hate on that comment board. The Neo-Nazis seem to loiter where they know they can get away with crap that isn't monitored properly.

, 12 Oct 2017 20:45

US citizens who believe they're 'victims' of a 'deep state' have no idea how their war-mongering nation is viewed abroad...

-> lefttheleft , 12 Oct 2017 18:25

He's the best shot that the USA becomes truly 3rd world.

-> Rigobertus , 12 Oct 2017 17:25

Trump is the antidote. You may not like it but he's the best shot at pulling the USA from the brink of ruin.

-> Abigailgem , 12 Oct 2017 17:20

America's been piling on the bad karma since Vietnam. It could well cause the world egregious trauma, but no one will shed a tear when the beast is brought low by its episodic-tho-predictable bouts of cluster-fuck. Methinks they've hit the Big One.

And aren't its politicians infinitely grateful for a citizenry so simply and quickly distracted by Hollywood shenanigans (as awful as they are in this instance) whilst a) 3 million of its own have been blown into third world living standards; b) 528 took a bullet from a shooter in the span of less than 10 minutes; and c) Californians are being roasted alive in the latest indication that something's gone screwy in our biosphere? The Oaf and Chief considers Weinstein as nothing more than relief.

Riddle: What's the difference between a President and a leader?

A: There shouldn't be difference, but now there is.

-> GatesOfRome , 12 Oct 2017 16:08

Iran is a danger to the region and the world.

I know enough of Iran to respectfully disagree. In many respects, Iran is similar to China, 30 years ago. Under the right leadership, it has the potential of becoming an economic engine for the South-West Asia, helping economic growth of itself and many of its neighboring countries.

Iran has a well-educated population that does not like the US, mainly because of the past US behaviour both in their country and in the surrounding region. The people there revolted against a US-installed government and used religion as a unifying ideology. Now they should be left alone to sort out the problems that religion has brought to them.

In case of China, Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted to say:

Let China Sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world

As the journal Economist once suggested, it is also better to leave the Persian Lion alone. Indeed, the Bonaparte's quote can be restated to apply to Iran; it could read:

Let the Persian Lion Sleep, for when it wakes, it will never live like a sheep

For those interested in military mind-set, it is worth mentioning here that Afghans and Iranians are in fact the same people and approach war and fighting in the same manner. The difference between the two is the cunning and sophistication of the latter.

, 12 Oct 2017 14:53

Mr. McLean's analysis is largely on the mark. Indeed much of it is supported by Mr. Trump's behavioral pattern, which has been witnessed by the world public during the past 11 months. There is, however, an area where - like many others - Mr. McLean tries to play safe. When he says::

But he promised his loyal base, Fox News and Steve Bannon, he would dump the accord

he is apparently leaving out an important - and probably the most critical - constituency of Mr. Trump. When Mr. McLean says:

He has Bannon and Breitbart howling on his heels, along with most of the rabid rightwing noise machine.

he is getting close; but, then then he shies away from identifying who are the people behind that "rabid rightwing noise machine.".

Many believe that Mr. Trump decisions are influenced by this "rabid rightwing machine" more than anything or anyone else. He has been reported to call many of the machine's "operators" after hours, from the WH as well as his Mar-a-Lago palace, in every opportunity he gets. As examples of the power of this machine, they refer to its ability:

1. To undo the harm of Pope Francis condemnation of candidate Trump, clling him "not being Christian", after his pledge to deport undocumented immigrants and build a wall between US and Mexico. The machine undermined Vatican's moral authority by overnight flooding of the world media with the old story of Pope John Paul II having a close relationship with a Polish women;

2. To pump out billions of dollars into the US futures market on the night of Mr. Trump's election victory to reverse its steep drop of almost 1000 points .

Now the "rabid rightwing machine" wants US decertification of the nuclear treaty with Iran. Mr. Trump is a businessman and no doubt understands how transactional relationships work. He is indebted to this machine, and has to reciprocate its favours in order to receive more of the same in future. Note that he has already registered as a canadidate, to be re-elected the US president for his second term!

-> Durangotang , 12 Oct 2017 11:43

And the US did not attack North Korea?

-> GatesOfRome , 12 Oct 2017 05:23

Iran is a danger to the region and the world.

The facts don't support this assumption. Clearly and without a doubt by far the most dangerous, the most destructive, the most deadly player in the region has been the United States. This fact is indisputable to the sincere.

-> Daniel Berg , 12 Oct 2017 05:15

Better refresh. The United States is by definition, an empire. Has been since December 10, 1898. Not all empires have or have had emperors. At least, as an official title. We even still possess a few de facto colonies, Puerto Rico being the most populous. The Philippines were part of the American empire from December 10, 1898 to July 4, 1946.

The Philippines' colonial history has been described by one historian as "500 years in a convent, followed by 50 years at Disneyland."

, 12 Oct 2017 05:02

Trump makes a big medicine show of cancelling "the worst deal ever" (Man! Trump can go from 0 - Hyperbole in no time flat, eh?) but that's easier said than done. The United States simply cannot arbitrarily walk away from the deal. Not legally. Aside from that Trump no longer enjoys the support of the GOP to cancel the agreement.

Oh! Make no mistake. These very same Republicans were all for walking away from the deal when Obama made it and they didn't control all three branches of government (although I'm not sure who or what controls the executive at the moment). Now that they do, having nothing but years of obstructionism to bring to the table, the GOP, lacking any governing skills whatsoever, is as impotent as ever and tearing itself apart from the inside besides.

I tell ya'. The GOP, already severely weakened by the Koch Brothers'-funded grassroots Tea Party movement, may very well just not survive the cancer of Trump.

-> GatesOfRome , 12 Oct 2017 04:50

Again, not the topic. The question is asked: Is Iran in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action? The answer, of course, is yes. Trump's entire domestic and foreign policy decisions appear to be based entirely on if Obama had anything to do with it, then it has to go. Bad or good. Right or wrong . This is not a viable method of sound government. It is petty, however. Childish and puerile, to say the least.

At any rate, if Trump renegades on this deal as he has on so many since he's been in office, then it will be the United States which will be in noncompliance with the treaty and it will be the reputation of the United States which will suffer yet another blow delivered by none other than our Buffoon-in-Chief.

Besides, Iran is not the only other nation muckraking about in the region. There are other players in the game. I hear rumors of another, more powerful, more destructive, far more deadlier entity stomping about the place, making a mess of just about everything. Been doing it for decades now. Just keeps making matters worse.

-> Fred Fawcett , 11 Oct 2017 22:37

I know it's sexy to blame Rethugs for everything, but American wars against weak countries didn't begin with Reagan. From the halls of Montezuma...

-> phubar , 11 Oct 2017 21:38

North Korea might just decide that it's own best interests would be served by selling Iran a working bomb. With Trump's sanctions interfering with North Korea obtaining oil, Iran might just pay the tab that way. The world could very quickly become a much more dangerous place because of Trump's antics.

-> ID4752094 , 11 Oct 2017 21:32

Israel is probably mentioned because Netanyahu is an active partner in Trump's war on the Iran Deal.

-> zolotoy , 11 Oct 2017 21:25

This is the result of our long string of wars since Reagan took on Grenada. Then Bush in Panama. And on and on until today. We've chosen to do battle with small weak countries that don't have a hope in hell of winning or even inflicting major harm.

With each new painless war the American people have been conditioned to believe that because it hasn't caused personal suffering that war is somehow painless. Now we've worked our way up to North Korea and Iran. Both of them a whole different ball game. War with either or both would likely result in a return of the draft.

Trump's scumbag supporters would quickly be singing a different tune as soon as they found themselves being forced to participate.

-> Stranger1548 , 11 Oct 2017 21:09

Well said.

[Oct 17, 2017] For War Hawks, Iran Deal Dump Is Music to the Ears

As one commenter aptly said: " 'Moron', as Tillerson would say." and as another noted "Don the Neocon.. We can keep the military in the end-stateless, goal-less, sinkhole known as Afghanistan for decades, STILL subsidize the defense of rich EU and Asian countries, fight the latest "Al Qaeda offshoot" everywhere on the African continent but we can't afford universal healthcare like US welfare baby Israel or about every other developed country, or restore power or drinking water in a US territory."
Notable quotes:
"... the question is, who are these people all excited about Iran? Other than politicians who may be working for foreign lobbies? ..."
"... This is pure lawlessness. We are breaking an agreement and by advocating regime change against a govt that has not attacked us or even threatened us in a serious manner are breaking the U.N. charter. ..."
"... Screw Trump. I mean really, screw him. He got my vote because I thought he was going to first crush ISIS and then get us out of the Middle East. Instead he's intensifying nearly every aspect of our Middle East entanglements. ..."
"... Now he's creating a new mess of his own. And this crap he's pulling with Iran is for Saudi Arabia and Israel. America First really? ..."
"... Of all of the Obama-era foreign policy decisions Trump could pull back, he's hell-bent on crushing one of the only good ones. I'd be shocked if he has even an elementary understanding of the agreement. "Moron", as Tillerson would say. ..."
"... "Cotton is one of the biggest Israel money guys in the Senate, if not the biggest. Really whopping contributions – "the Swamp" personified. In return for Israel money he has tirelessly pushed the core Israeli policy of hostility to Iran, so much so that it hardly makes sense to think of him as an American senator anymore." ..."
"... It appears that Trump's strategy is to insult and ruin Ran's economy to the point where he can get Iran to do something that will allow him to declare war against Iran because they attacked us. ..."
"... And how many countries has Iran invaded in the last 200 years? And how many countries has Israel invaded in the last 80 years? ..."
"... We will really find out who the Swamp creatures are now. Any congressman or Senator who votes for new sanctions against Iran – a country that poses virtually no threat to the United States – exposes himself as a bought-and-paid-for tool of Saudi Arabia and the jihadist fanatics the Saudis support. ..."
"... it's less that Trump wants to undo what Obama did and more that he wants to do what Netanyahu wants. ..."
"... Any notion of American excellence has now been erased. Our country will not soon recover all that Trump has tossed away and as citizens, we cannot absolve ourselves from blame. We have elected the most odious leader in our history and have allowed (mostly) a Republican Party to participate in government without having made a single contribution to the welfare of the American republic. Cotton is not alone in his folly that dismisses all real national interest. Like others, there have been many times I have despaired at the state of affairs in our Country, but this is different. Trump and his vandal allies I believe have inflicted permanent and irreversible damage to our country. Joe F , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm One follow up to earlier post: with this action, Trump has proven beyond doubt that the Mullah regime in Iran is a far more trustworthy nation than the United States. Well done Donald ..."
Oct 13, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Fran Macadam , says: October 13, 2017 at 12:48 am

Making war in other people's countries is what an American government captured by globalist financial elites is all about. For elites, such wars, paid for by the deplorable ordinary Americans they loathe, have no downside and carry no risk to them. Lose-lose for the American public is win-win for them, they cannot lose, especially since wars that can't be won will never end, perfect profit streams.
80 Percent Polyester , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:39 am
"Cotton was among the fiercest and loudest opponents of the agreement before it was made, and he has continued to look for ways to sabotage it."

Cotton is one of the biggest Israel money guys in the Senate, if not the biggest. Really whopping contributions – "the Swamp" personified. In return for Israel money he has tirelessly pushed the core Israeli policy of hostility to Iran, so much so that it hardly makes sense to think of him as an American senator anymore.

He's more like a member of the Netanyahu government who somehow ended up in one of Arkansas's US Senate seats.

Early To Rise , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:58 am
Does anyone here know any real Americans who are pushing for this policy against Iran? My family and friends are nearly all real Americans, and not one of them has any interest in ending the deal with Iran. Most of them wish we would get out of the Middle East altogether.

So the question is, who are these people all excited about Iran? Other than politicians who may be working for foreign lobbies?

Christian Chuba , says: October 13, 2017 at 7:16 am
This is pure lawlessness. We are breaking an agreement and by advocating regime change against a govt that has not attacked us or even threatened us in a serious manner are breaking the U.N. charter.

We are doing this while condemning other countries for not following a 'liberal, rules based world order' (whatever that is, oh, wait, it is following Caesar's decrees). Our Hubris will catch up to us, whether it will be by the Almighty that the Haley's and Cotton's claim to serve or just the law of reciprocity, I don't know. No one is more blind than those corrupted by power.

John Quincy Adams, "But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force . She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit."

He was able to see this because we were not yet intoxicated by power.

Everything Must Go , says: October 13, 2017 at 8:01 am
Screw Trump. I mean really, screw him. He got my vote because I thought he was going to first crush ISIS and then get us out of the Middle East. Instead he's intensifying nearly every aspect of our Middle East entanglements.

Now he's creating a new mess of his own. And this crap he's pulling with Iran is for Saudi Arabia and Israel. America First really?

Frederick Martin , says: October 13, 2017 at 9:38 am
Of all of the Obama-era foreign policy decisions Trump could pull back, he's hell-bent on crushing one of the only good ones. I'd be shocked if he has even an elementary understanding of the agreement. "Moron", as Tillerson would say.
Fred Bowman , says: October 13, 2017 at 10:14 am
What seem to be missing here is anybody talking about Israel nuclear capability. That's the "dirty little secret" that nobody talks about. Imho, as long as Iran is in compliance the deal should. Of course Trump and the Hawks in Congress are going to do everything to scuttle it and bring about a war with Iran which will end up being a World War and will necessitate the US returning to a military draft to fight this war. It will be a sad way to "wake up" America to what is being done militarily in their name. But perhaps when they see their little "Johnny and Jill" marched off to war, they'll see what has been done in these endless, unwinnable wars in the Middle East.
AR complaint , says: October 13, 2017 at 10:31 am
[Tom Cotton gets] "Really whopping contributions – "the Swamp" personified."

He got a $700,000 check from a single Israel donor in 2014. You think anybody in Arkansas not named "Walton" can match that? No sir. Tom Cotton does what Israel tells him to do. Scuttle the Iran deal? No problem.

It's time that my fellow Arkansans did for Tom Cotton what those upstanding Virginians did for Eric Cantor back in 2014, and for the same reason: we want our government back from corrupt politicians working for foreign interests.

SDS , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:53 am
I second EVERYTHING said above by all –
Steve Waclo , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:53 am
" the president made clear over the summer, he didn't "believe" Iran was in compliance and would not certify again."

Wait, what?! What does Trump know that the IAEA has been unable to learn and at the risk of compromising intelligence sources, why has he not shared that knowledge? As with many of the man's "beliefs", such attitudes do not make issues remotely true. We don't need to stir the Iran pot, for goodness sake. Has not this man kicked enough hornets nests around the world?

Stephen J. , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:58 am
I believe the "War Hawks"are leading Trump into another war. Therefore, I asked on: February 4, 2017 Will There Be War With Iran?
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/02/will-there-be-war-with-iran.html
Steve in Ohio , says: October 13, 2017 at 12:35 pm
"Cotton is one of the biggest Israel money guys in the Senate, if not the biggest. Really whopping contributions – "the Swamp" personified. In return for Israel money he has tirelessly pushed the core Israeli policy of hostility to Iran, so much so that it hardly makes sense to think of him as an American senator anymore."

Cotton is wrong on this issue, but he's hardly a Swamp politico. He understands the dangers of mass immigration and looks likely to replace Jeff Sessions as the leading immigration hawk in the Senate. Unfortunately, I suspect he has presidential ambitions and being pro Israel is a must in GOP primaries.

Rand Paul, on the other hand, like his dad, is good on foreign policy, but doesn't get the immigration issue. People like me who want a non interventionist FP and low immigration seldom have candidates that believe in both to support. I had high hopes for Trump, but he seems to have too many generals around him telling him the wrong things.

the times they are a'changing , says: October 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm
"Cotton is wrong on this issue, but he's hardly a Swamp politico. He understands the dangers of mass immigration and looks likely to replace Jeff Sessions as the leading immigration hawk in the Senate. Unfortunately, I suspect he has presidential ambitions and being pro Israel is a must in GOP primaries. "

No it's not. It was a litmus test for the old neocon Establishment GOP, and it's gone the way of Eric Cantor. You have to go to New York, DC, or some left coastal city to find anyone who gives a goddamn about it, and those places don't vote Republican anyway.

Politicians who take the Israel dollar care about it a lot, naturally. And Cotton's near the top of the list.

jk , says: October 13, 2017 at 2:04 pm
Don the Neocon.. We can keep the military in the end-stateless, goal-less, sinkhole known as Afghanistan for decades, STILL subsidize the defense of rich EU and Asian countries, fight the latest "Al qaeda offshoot" everywhere on the African continent but we can't afford universal healthcare like US welfare baby Israel or about every other developed country, or restore power or drinking water in a US territory.

"NO KIN IN THE GAME": STUDY FINDS MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WITHOUT DRAFT-AGE SONS WERE MORE HAWKISH"

https://theintercept.com/2017/10/11/congress-war-hawkish-policies-study/

That explains "lifetime bachelor" Graham's behavior!

Kent , says: October 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm
To our neocon friends:

1. Even though Iran and Iraq are 4 letter words and share the first 3, they are very, very different animals. Iran is an industrial state of 85 million capable of designing and building effective rockets. It is highly unlikely the US can defeat Iran in a conventional war on its own turf.

2. Even if we did defeat them, there is nobody there yearning for American style pseudo-democracy. While they are not perfectly happy with their own government, they'll be dammed if they're going to accept one from us. So you'd have to put millions of American troops in harms way against the civilian population essentially forever.

And a note on the President. I don't believe he knows or cares a thing about Iran or their capabilities. What he does know, after watching Fox News for the last 8 years is: Obama bad. So the only reason, I'm certain, that Trump cares about this is because it was an Obama initiative.

Robert Charron , says: October 13, 2017 at 3:34 pm
It appears that Trump's strategy is to insult and ruin Ran's economy to the point where he can get Iran to do something that will allow him to declare war against Iran because they attacked us.

And how many countries has Iran invaded in the last 200 years? And how many countries has Israel invaded in the last 80 years?

As I recall we made a regime change in the Iranian government when we had the CIA along with the English intelligence by replacing the elected Prime Minister of Iran with the despotic, tyrannical Shah.

As an American, Trump has desecrated our flag with his flat out lies, not the NFL athletes who simps knelt during the National Anthem.

simon94022 , says: October 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm
We will really find out who the Swamp creatures are now. Any congressman or Senator who votes for new sanctions against Iran – a country that poses virtually no threat to the United States – exposes himself as a bought-and-paid-for tool of Saudi Arabia and the jihadist fanatics the Saudis support.

Let them be counted!

Ollie , says: October 13, 2017 at 4:26 pm
No president in history has been more feckless and reckless than Trump. The danger demands that the 25th amendment be asserted.
Why Does The Heathen Rage? , says: October 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm
"So the only reason, I'm certain, that Trump cares about this is because it was an Obama initiative."

I've heard this before, but if it were true than why is Trump helping the Saudis wreck and starve Yemen? That was an Obama initiative too. That's why I now think that it's not really the Obama connection so much as the Netanyahu connection that drives Trump. In other words, it's less that Trump wants to undo what Obama did and more that he wants to do what Netanyahu wants.

Joe F , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:05 pm
Any notion of American excellence has now been erased. Our country will not soon recover all that Trump has tossed away and as citizens, we cannot absolve ourselves from blame. We have elected the most odious leader in our history and have allowed (mostly) a Republican Party to participate in government without having made a single contribution to the welfare of the American republic.

Cotton is not alone in his folly that dismisses all real national interest. Like others, there have been many times I have despaired at the state of affairs in our Country, but this is different. Trump and his vandal allies I believe have inflicted permanent and irreversible damage to our country.

Joe F , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm
One follow up to earlier post: with this action, Trump has proven beyond doubt that the Mullah regime in Iran is a far more trustworthy nation than the United States. Well done Donald
Liam , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm
Regarding the 25th amendment option: how far down the line of succession must one go to find someone who has solid, bona fide cred to stop this inanity?
picture window , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:45 pm
The Economist today opines that Xi Jinping has more clout than Donald Trump.

And I read on TAC that Trump is p***ing away our wealth and power doing favors for Israel and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, like scuttling the Iran deal and picking fights with the Iranian government. And I conclude that the reason that the Economist may be right about Xi Jinping is because Trump is doing what I read about in TAC, wasting our time, blood, money, and focus on appeasing a bunch of goddamn foreigners in the form of the Israel and Saudi lobbies.

Pretty damn grim.

[Oct 17, 2017] Rerry on attempt to destuct Iran economy by blocking purchases of oil from China and India

Oct 16, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 | Oct 15, 2017 5:22:59 PM | 12

In the final days of the Iran Deal negotiations, August 2015, I completely missed the interview Kerry did with Reuters, https://2009-2017.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2015/08/245935.htm that Mercouris parses for his detailed article proving the Outlaw US Empire's Imperial Policy is now "irrational"--utterly I'd say since for me it's been irrational for decades when weighing the actual interests of the United States's populous. The key excerpt:

"But if everybody thinks, 'Oh, no, we're just tough; the United States of America, we have our secondary sanctions; we can force people to do what we want.' I actually heard that argument on television this morning. I've heard it from a number of the organisations that are working that are opposed to this agreement. They're spreading the word, 'America is strong enough, our banks are tough enough; we can just bring the hammer down and force our friends to do what we want them to.'

"Well, look – a lot of business people in this room. Are you kidding me? The United States is going to start sanctioning our allies and their banks and their businesses because we walked away from a deal and we're going to force them to do what we want them to do even though they agreed to the deal we came to? Are you kidding ?

"That is a recipe quickly, my friends, for them to walk away from Ukraine, where they are already very dicey and ready to say, 'Well, we've done our bit.' They were ready in many cases to say, 'Well, we're the ones paying the price for your sanctions.' We – it was Obama who went out and actually put together a sanctions regime that had an impact. By – I went to China. We persuaded China, 'Don't buy more oil.' We persuaded India and other countries to step back.

"Can you imagine trying to sanction them after persuading them to put in phased sanctions to bring Iran to the negotiating table, and when they have not only come to the table but they made a deal, we turn around and nix the deal and then tell them you're going to have to obey our rules on the sanctions anyway?

"That is a recipe very quickly, my friends, businesspeople here, for the American dollar to cease to be the reserve currency of the world – which is already bubbling out there .." (Bold italics in original.)

[Oct 17, 2017] Trump Decertifies Iran Deal, Vows New Sanctions by Jason Ditz

The immediate costs of decertification for the USl include the loss of the trust of allies, increased tensions with Iran, and much greater skepticism from all other governments. It also create additional difficulties the next time America wants to negotiate a major international agreement as some countries will view the USA as a rogue nation which is unable to keep its word. If decertification leads to the U.S. breaching its obligations under the nuclear deal, as seems likely, that the costs will increase even more, and so will the chances of war with Iran.
It might well be that Trump made a step increasing the probability of his removal from the current position by cabinet members.
Looks like Trump focus on appeasing a bunch of foreigners in the form of the Israel and Saudi lobbies.
Pretty damn grim.
Oct 13, 2017 | news.antiwar.com

President Trump started his long-anticipated anti-Iran speech by complaining about the 1979 hostage situation. What followed was an increasingly fantastical and absurd accounting of Iran's history, before finally announcing he is decertifying the nuclear deal for "violations," and announcing new sanctions.

The allegations against Iran went from things that happened a generation ago to treating things like the specious "Iranian plot" to attack a DC restaurant as not only the government's fault, but absolute established fact. Beyond that, he blamed Iran for the ISIS wars in Iraq and Syria, repeatedly accused them of supporting al-Qaeda, and claimed Iran was supporting the 9/11 attackers.

The allegations were so far-fetched by the end, that even President Trump appeared cognizant that many won't be taken seriously. Later in his speech, he insisted that the claims were "factual."

When addressing "violations" of the P5+1 nuclear deal, Trump similarly played fast and loose with the facts, citing heavy water claims that are really more the international community's violation than Iran's (Iran was guaranteed an international market for the water, but after Congress got mad the US has refused to buy any more, meaning Iran's totally non-dangerous stock grew), and accusing them of "intimidating" inspectors, insinuating that was the reason there aren't investigations at Iranian military sites.

In reality, Iranian military sites are only subject to investigation in the case of a substantiated suspicion of nuclear activities, and there simply are none. The IAEA has in recent days clarified multiple times that they don't need or want to visit any military sites right now. The only allegations about the sites are from the Mujahedin-e Khalq, which has been the source of repeated false accusations in the past.

And while this was supposed to be a speech about the nuclear deal, Trump closed it off with comments that very much sound like his goal is regime change, saying Iran's people want to be able to interact with their neighbors (despite Iran being on very good terms with most of its neighbors already), and suggesting that whatever he's going to do will lead to "peace and stability" across the Middle East.

[Oct 17, 2017] Syria, Iraq - Why The Kurdish Independence Project Died

Oct 17, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

With backing from the Iraqi parliament, public opinion and international support the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Abadi had for months demanded a return of the 2003 borders for the Kurdish region. It condemned the illegal independence bid. The Kurds had pushed far beyond their original borders and occupied areas with critical oil reserves. The ruling Barzani family mafia sold the oil and pocketed the money that by law was owned to Iraq's federal government. The Barzani militia mafia occupied the federal border stations to neighboring countries and kept all custom income to themselves. Meanwhile teachers and other public workers in the Kurdish region went unpaid.

The Barzani family clan is only one of the powers in the Kurdish region of Iraq. Historically its main competitor is the Talabani clan. Both clans control their own political parties (KDP and PUK) and militia. Both had been fighting against each other during a civil war in the 1990s. Then the Barzanis called in help from Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to defeat their local enemies.

Over the last decade the Talabanis were handicapped by their ailing patriarch Jalal Talabani. After the U.S. invasion of Iraq he eschewed a major role in the Kurdish region in exchange for the ceremonial position of a president of Iraq. When Jalal Talbani died on October 2 his family immediately asserted its position. It negotiated a deal with the central Iraqi government to reign in the Barzanis' quasi dictatorial powers. The Iranian general Qassam Suleiman helped to arrange the agreement.

When the Iraqi government forces, as previously announced, moved to retake Kirkuk from the Kurds the Kurdish militia forces (peshmerga) under PUK/Talibani command immediately retreated. The militia under KDP/Barzani command were left in an indefensible position and had to flee.

Yesterday and today Iraqi national forces retook control of various large oil fields the Kurds had occupied. They are also back in control of border stations with Syria and Turkey. Without them the Kurdish region lacks the assets and income to finance any regional independence. While his project collapsed in front of everyone's eyes not a word was heard from Masoud Barzani.

The Iraqi government will not only retake full control of the areas the Kurds under Brazani had illegally usurped. It will also demand new regional elections. It is doubtful that Masoud Barzani, or any of his sons, can win such local elections after the mismanagement and disasters they caused

Virgile | Oct 17, 2017 10:07:12 AM | 1

Trump should quickly declare victory over ISIS and resist the neo-cons and Israel calls to linger in Syria as the US military may become the target of attacks from everyone who want them out, and this is the large majority in Syria.
After they saw the lack of the US support for the KRG independence, the lack of US condemnation of Turkey's actions against the YPG, the Syrian Kurds have realized that their strongest and most reliable allies are ... Bashar al Assad and the Syrian army.
As mentioned in the article, there will be a discreet dialog between the Syrians Kurds and the Syrian government to the detriment of the USA.
Trump, get your guys out asap!
Peter AU 1 | Oct 17, 2017 10:13:53 AM | 2
The pieces are starting to drop into to place. US sure got a kick in the butt after going for the Syrian oilfields and killing Russian officers. Well thought out asymetrical warfare by Russia, Syria, Iraq, Iran.

[Oct 16, 2017] Iraqi army clashes with Kurds in operation to 'impose security' on Kirkuk

Oct 16, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

World oil prices jumped on Monday amid reports of the clashes.

[Oct 16, 2017] Barrels, ballots ISIS Why Iraq is taking back Kirkuk, and what the US will do about it

Notable quotes:
"... The 250,000 barrels per day produced in the governorate represent more than a third of the oil output of the entire Kurdish autonomy, while Iraq pumps out more than 4 million barrels daily from its other oil fields. ..."
Oct 16, 2017 | www.rt.com

Is it about the oil?

While the oil contained in the ground in Kirkuk is important to both sides in the long run, tactically the impact of losing the fields is likely to be more painful for the Kurdistan Region. The 250,000 barrels per day produced in the governorate represent more than a third of the oil output of the entire Kurdish autonomy, while Iraq pumps out more than 4 million barrels daily from its other oil fields.

Still, Baghdad regards the Kurds' unwillingness to share the proceeds from the export of hydrocarbons in the past half-decade as unfair.

[Oct 16, 2017] The Latest Iraq media say troops enter area held by Kurds

Notable quotes:
"... Al-Iraqiya TV says the military, anti-terrorist units and federal police have taken control of some areas around the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. It says they advanced without firing a shot. ..."
"... A commander of the local Kurdish police force says Kurds remain in control of Kirkuk province's oil wells. ..."
Oct 16, 2017 | finance.yahoo.com

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The latest on Iraqi government's move to take control of disputed territories held by Iraqi Kurds outside their autonomous region (all times local):

2:50 a.m.

Iraqi state media say federal troops have entered disputed territories occupied by the nation's Kurds.

The move comes three years after Kurdish militias seized the areas outside their autonomous region to defend against an advance by the Islamic State extremist group.

Al-Iraqiya TV says the military, anti-terrorist units and federal police have taken control of some areas around the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. It says they advanced without firing a shot.

The maneuver comes three weeks after Kurds voted for independence in a controversial but symbolic referendum that Baghdad has so far refused to acknowledge. It says the vote organized by the country's autonomous Kurdish authority was unconstitutional.

A commander of the local Kurdish police force says Kurds remain in control of Kirkuk province's oil wells.

[Oct 15, 2017] Saudi Aramco Reportedly Shelves IPO In Face-Saving Move Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... Some analysts view the possible IPO delay as a sign of the problems Aramco and the Saudi government currently face. A lack of transparency, issues with its oil and gas reserves, and the role of the Saudi government as the main stakeholder have all been suggested as the reason for this possible delay. Most of these suggestions, however, are based purely on issues surrounding the IPO itself. The true reason for this delay, however, likely hides among the intricate societal and economic problems in the Kingdom. ..."
"... One obvious reason for a delay is the still-fledgling global oil price. A higher price setting -- above $60 per barrel -- would surely drive up the overall interest in the IPO. As long as OPEC and non-OPEC members, such as Russia, are still struggling to get a grip on the oil market, the potential for disaster looms. Needless to say, an oil price slump would have a detrimental effect on the expected revenues of the IPO. ..."
"... The impact of an influx of $1-2 trillion into the current Saudi economy is bound to have a significant impact. The implementation of Saudi Vision 2030 is broad and ambitiously planned. A full diversification of the economy is needed to guarantee work and salaries for future young Saudis, with the end of government subsidies or handouts. ..."
"... We previously indicated that China could step in as a financial savior. With around 8.5 million bpd of crude oil imports, which is 2.5 million bdp more than in 2014, the attractiveness of having a stake in Saudi Aramco is huge. Even though an energy diversification program is in place, China's imports from Saudi Arabia are going to increase. For Beijing, a stake in one of its main suppliers is a very attractive proposition. It will not only lock in Saudi crude oil and petroleum product exports to China but it will also provide some additional political and strategic clout in the heart of the Middle East. ..."
"... Given most of the largest sovereign wealth funds were created from their own oil revenue, I don't see them getting into someone else's oil. ..."
Oct 15, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

The FT notes that talks about a private sale to foreign governments - including China - and other investors have gathered pace in recent weeks, according to five people familiar with the IPO preparations, amid growing concerns about the feasibility of an international listing.

The Saudi state oil company has struggled to select a suitable international venue for its shares, as New York and London have vied for what has been billed as the largest ever flotation.

The company would still aim to list shares on the kingdom's Tadawul exchange next year if they pursue the private sale, the people said.

The latest proposal by the company's financial advisers was described by one of the people as a "face-saving" option for Saudi Aramco, which has worked on plans to list its shares internationally for more than a year.

Desk chatter included comments that the Saudis were anxious about the level of due diligence and transparency involved in a public offering.

A Saudi Aramco spokesperson said:

"A range of options, for the public listing of Saudi Aramco, continue to be held under active review. No decision has been made and the IPO process remains on track."

The planned listing of a 5 per cent stake in Saudi Aramco is the centrepiece of an economic reform programme led by Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is keen for a 2018 IPO. He has said the company could be worth $2tn although a Financial Times analysis put the valuation figure at around $1tn.

An economic recession in the kingdom is piling pressure on the prince, the king's son and next in line for the throne, amid calls for the government to increase investment and ease austerity. As we noted previously, there could be more at play here...

Some analysts view the possible IPO delay as a sign of the problems Aramco and the Saudi government currently face. A lack of transparency, issues with its oil and gas reserves, and the role of the Saudi government as the main stakeholder have all been suggested as the reason for this possible delay. Most of these suggestions, however, are based purely on issues surrounding the IPO itself. The true reason for this delay, however, likely hides among the intricate societal and economic problems in the Kingdom.

One obvious reason for a delay is the still-fledgling global oil price. A higher price setting -- above $60 per barrel -- would surely drive up the overall interest in the IPO. As long as OPEC and non-OPEC members, such as Russia, are still struggling to get a grip on the oil market, the potential for disaster looms. Needless to say, an oil price slump would have a detrimental effect on the expected revenues of the IPO.

The analysts, it seems, feel no need to look any further than this simple oil price explanation, but several other key factors should be addressed

The impact of an influx of $1-2 trillion into the current Saudi economy is bound to have a significant impact. The implementation of Saudi Vision 2030 is broad and ambitiously planned. A full diversification of the economy is needed to guarantee work and salaries for future young Saudis, with the end of government subsidies or handouts.

A multitrillion investment scheme in a rather small local economy will likely result in total disorder, inflation and possibly ineffective investment schemes. The attractiveness of investing the total amount could lead to staggering inflation, higher costs and superfluous projects being realized.

A delay of such an influx of cash seems to be more and more attractive, giving the Saudi government and local industries more time to adjust and put in place the right steps for a sustainable and commercially attractive economic future.

We previously indicated that China could step in as a financial savior. With around 8.5 million bpd of crude oil imports, which is 2.5 million bdp more than in 2014, the attractiveness of having a stake in Saudi Aramco is huge. Even though an energy diversification program is in place, China's imports from Saudi Arabia are going to increase. For Beijing, a stake in one of its main suppliers is a very attractive proposition. It will not only lock in Saudi crude oil and petroleum product exports to China but it will also provide some additional political and strategic clout in the heart of the Middle East.

There will, of course, be a few big bankers who will be upset as their billion dollar fee/commission just went up in smoke, but this may give MBS some breathing room - without the undue attention of an IPO - as he deals with the nation's economic slowdown. However, coming just a few days after the Saudi king's trip to Moscow, the timing of this leaked information seems interesting at the least.

Tugg McFancy •Oct 13, 2017 5:41 PM

Given most of the largest sovereign wealth funds were created from their own oil revenue, I don't see them getting into someone else's oil.

Freddie -> Government needs you to pay taxes •Oct 13, 2017 3:00 PM

They would have to release information on their in the ground oil reserves. Their biggest oil field Ghawar is 60 years old and almost dead. They shelved it to hide this.

[Oct 14, 2017] Trump Is Signaling an Unprecedented Right Turn on Foreign Policy by John Feffer

Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... By handing off any real decision to Congress, [Trump] can avoid having to make a hard decision himself. And by picking a fight with Corker, he has a scapegoat if his supporters grow frustrated with a lack of action in Congress. It seems plausible that Trump's allies are simply being prepared for another legislative failure. ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | fpif.org

For Trump's critics, including virtually all Iran policy experts at the moment, this attempt at scuttling the world's most sophisticated arms control agreement sends absolutely the wrong signal to Iran. Trump is essentially saying, "It doesn't really matter whether you have adhered to the letter of the agreement, we're still going to break our commitment because, honestly, we just don't like you. And by the way, you can't count on the United States to keep its word in the future."

Trump is sending an even more damaging message to the rest of the world: "We as a country suffer from mood swings so severe and delusions so enduring that we can no longer be a responsible member of the international community."

After deep-sixing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, the Trump administration is making good on this one campaign promise even as all the others stall in Congress or the courts. Trump will make America First even if it means going against obvious American national interests, even those defined by the Chamber of Commerce.

This is not the first time that other countries have witnessed the political instability of the United States. But in the past, some underlying continuity provided a measure of reassurance to other countries. Voters might choose vanilla or chocolate, but the world still expects in the end to get some variety of ice cream.

What makes the Trump era different is the lack of that underlying continuity.

... ... ...

It's not just the North Koreans. The democratic world, for instance, found the transition to the George W. Bush years particularly bewildering. Even before the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration announced that it wouldn't implement the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. After the attacks, the administration broke with international law by embarking on a "preventive" war, violating the Geneva Conventions on treatment of captured combatants, and engaging in torture. The administration also backed away from the Rome statute establishing the International Criminal Court in May 2002 and withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Russia in June 2002. All of these actions profoundly troubled America's allies.

... ... ...

In other words, even with its sharp turn toward unilateralism, the Bush administration held to a bipartisan consensus in favor of multilateral initiatives that benefit the United States. In some ways Bush offered only a variation on the Clinton theme of "a la carte multilateralism" in which the United States picks and chooses the international structures with which it wants to cooperate.

This kind of Bush-style unilateralism wrapped in a-la-carte multilateralism has returned to the White House. It's represented by most of the top administration officials involved in foreign affairs: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Pentagon chief James Mattis, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. These are the so-called adults in the room .

But Trump is something different. And that's what has thrown Republicans like Bob Corker (R-TN) into a tizzy.

... ... ...

Bob Corker is not a moderate Republican. He has an 80 percent ranking from the American Conservative Union for 2016 (by comparison, Susan Collins of Maine clocks in at 44 percent). He's no softie on Iran, either. Last year, he continued to try to pile on additional sanctions against Iran. Ultimately, he had to content himself with an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act for another 10 years. During the presidential campaign, Corker advised Donald Trump on foreign policy and was even in the running for secretary of state.

Corker is cut from the same cloth as Rex Tillerson. They're conservative Republicans who believe in "America First." But they're also committed to preserving a measure of professionalism, if nothing else, when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. They want to preserve U.S. alliances. They want to advance the interests of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

They're not isolationists, and they're not exactly internationalists either. They occupy the right wing of the underlying foreign policy consensus that encompasses the think tanks, lobby shops, and mainstream media in DC. They play ball whether it's a Democrat or a Republican in the White House and whichever party controls Congress. They are part of the continuity in American foreign policy that transcends the elections.

So, when Bob Corker takes aim at Donald Trump, it represents a serious breach not just within the Republican Party but within the foreign policy establishment. Over the weekend, Corker charged that Trump was making threats toward other countries that could send the United States reeling toward "World War III." Later, Corker tweeted in response to Trump, "It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning." Having decided not to run for re-election, Corker is now free to speak truth to power.

... ... ...

So, why pick a fight with Corker just when the president will need him most on the congressional battle over any new Iran sanctions? Writes Adam Taylor in The Washington Post :

By handing off any real decision to Congress, [Trump] can avoid having to make a hard decision himself. And by picking a fight with Corker, he has a scapegoat if his supporters grow frustrated with a lack of action in Congress. It seems plausible that Trump's allies are simply being prepared for another legislative failure.

In other words, it's all about the war that Trump and his still-loyal lieutenant Steve Bannon, assisted by UN ambassador Nikki Haley, have declared on the "deep state." They want to dismantle the foreign policy establishment that has presided over America's engagement in the world. A progressive might find much to rejoice in this attack, given that America's engagement with the world has often been through war and corporate penetration. But the establishment is more than that, and Trump/Bannon also want to unravel everything of diplomatic and humanitarian value as well.

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus and the author of the dystopian novel Splinterlands .

[Oct 13, 2017] Trump threatens to rip up Iran nuclear deal unless US and allies fix 'serious flaws'

If Washington takes action without consulting its allies, the alliances could fray.
Oct 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Trump says he will not recertify deal but stops short of pulling out entirely President says US participation 'can be cancelled by me at any time'

... ... ...

For European diplomats seeking to salvage the JCPOA, the days leading up to Trump's long-awaited speech were a roller-coaster. Initially fearful that Trump could immediately trigger a possible collapse of the deal, the Europeans were buoyed when they were briefed that Trump would not call for the reimposition of sanctions by Congress .

However, in the wake of the president's speech on Friday, the JCPOA's survival looked tenuous.

In the speech, Trump declared: "I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal's many serious flaws so the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons."

He noted that congressional leaders were already drafting amendments to legislation that would include restrictions on ballistic missiles and make the curbs on Iran's nuclear programme under the 2015 deal permanent, and to reimpose sanctions instantly if those restrictions were breached.

However, any such changes would need 60 votes in the US Senate to pass, and Democrats are high unlikely to give them their backing. Even if they did pass into law, the restrictions would represent a unilateral effort to change the accord that would not be acceptable to the other national signatories.

Hours earlier, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson had acknowledged that it was very unlikely that the JCPOA agreement could be change, but suggested that the issue of Iran's ballistic missile programme and the time limits on some of the nuclear constraints in the deal, could be dealt with in a separate agreement that could exist alongside the JCPOA.

[Oct 12, 2017] The House of Saud Bows to the House of Putin by Pepe Escobar

Oct 12, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

The deal may certainly be seen as a purely strategic/economic measure to stabilize the oil market – with no geopolitical overtones. And yet OPEC is geared to become a brand new animal – with Russia and Saudi Arabia de facto deciding where the global oil markets go, and then telling the other OPEC players. It's open to question what Iran, Algeria, Nigeria, Venezuela, among others, will have to say about this. The barely disguised aim is to bring oil prices up to a band of $60-75 a barrel by the middle of next year. Certainly a good deal for the Aramco IPO.

There were a rash of other deals clinched in Moscow – such as Aramco and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) $1 billion fund for oil-services projects in Russia, plus another $1 billion for a technology fund.

[Oct 11, 2017] Saudis to Make Deepest Cut to Crude Supply -- over half million of barrels

Notable quotes:
"... The market is "balancing", stocks are drawing down, demand is healthy, US rig count/LTO does not increase, Nigeria and Libya have a very small upside in the short term, Venezuela is a pretty big downside risk, offshore is not too healthy. And the Saudis cut _voluntarily_ because ? ..."
"... If true, it seems likely to me that the Saudi's [and Russia?] are going to push the oil price issue and the best interests of the West be damned. Looks to me like SS might get back in the money next year. ..."
"... I don't think the Saudis or Russians would be concerned too much about what happens in the west. The upcoming supply shortage will happen, anyway. There is a lot of talk by the Saudis of making sure prices don't rise too much, but I am sure that is fake concern. ..."
"... I am sure this post does not apply to shale, because shale is a Wall Street phenomenon. However, for us, a price spike will not immediately lead to drilling wells. First, after what we have been going through the last three years, I would want to make sure the price is going to hold. Yes, no way to know that really, but I can guarantee we would not be rushing out to get permits. ..."
"... That is what always blows me away about Wall Street. They analyze every metric imaginable when it comes to E & P's except the bottom line. I'd rather own 50 BOPD and make $50K per month than own 500 BOPD and lose $50K per month. ..."
"... Is it possible that all of the end of oil talk actually helps cause a supply crunch? Believe me, it is going through our minds now that maybe we need to be worried about decreasing demand in our lifetimes due to EV's. ..."
"... Best to ignore the EV wackos and watch Chinese and India oil consumption data. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com

Jeff says: 10/09/2017 at 1:44 pm

Saudis to Make Deepest Cut to Crude Supply Despite Demand, -0.560mbd for November supply.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-09/saudis-to-make-deepest-cut-to-oil-supply-despite-strong-demand

The market is "balancing", stocks are drawing down, demand is healthy, US rig count/LTO does not increase, Nigeria and Libya have a very small upside in the short term, Venezuela is a pretty big downside risk, offshore is not too healthy. And the Saudis cut _voluntarily_ because ?

Guym says: 10/09/2017 at 3:23 pm
Because, frankly they know more about the oil market than most of the "anal ists". Rather than fighting them, and claiming no more need for "cuts", they are playing along with the crowd. When the shortage hits, they can claim surprise and blame the EIA for over reporting. Better price for the IPO.
clueless says: 10/09/2017 at 3:45 pm
If true, it seems likely to me that the Saudi's [and Russia?] are going to push the oil price issue and the best interests of the West be damned. Looks to me like SS might get back in the money next year.

I wonder if Trump will realize that now is not the time to have Exxon's ex-CEO as Secretary of State. I think that Trump really wanted better relations with Russia [and Russia wanted better US relations], but politics has totally destroyed that idea – and I think that Russia now knows it.

Guym says: 10/09/2017 at 4:06 pm
I don't think the Saudis or Russians would be concerned too much about what happens in the west. The upcoming supply shortage will happen, anyway. There is a lot of talk by the Saudis of making sure prices don't rise too much, but I am sure that is fake concern. They make it look like they are concerned shale production will gear up, which goes along with what the pundits are saying. They are playing us like a violin. Much like their purported "cuts". Jack production up several months, take it back to where it was before, and call it a cut. We bought it, hook line and sinker.
shallow sand says: 10/09/2017 at 8:24 pm
I am sure this post does not apply to shale, because shale is a Wall Street phenomenon. However, for us, a price spike will not immediately lead to drilling wells. First, after what we have been going through the last three years, I would want to make sure the price is going to hold. Yes, no way to know that really, but I can guarantee we would not be rushing out to get permits.

Second, after this crash, we would want to heal some. Get cash balances higher, then maybe actually take some decent draws. After all, we are in this for the income, not to see how much we can produce. That is what always blows me away about Wall Street. They analyze every metric imaginable when it comes to E & P's except the bottom line. I'd rather own 50 BOPD and make $50K per month than own 500 BOPD and lose $50K per month.

Third, there are some much cheaper things we can do to boost production than drilling new wells. Workovers may not yield as much, but they cost 1/5 or less that of a new well.

I wonder, outside of shale, if we would see this type of attitude if there is a supply crunch? Will all those high cost projects suddenly come back on line.

Finally, everyone and their dog is proclaiming the end of oil anyway. Everything is going to electric in terms of transportation. Countries abolishing ICE vehicle production. Never mind that is in 2040 mostly.

Now, why would I want to drill more wells knowing oil is nearing the end? Might as well just try to make what I can off this existing ones. No reason to spend a bunch of CAPEX. Is it possible that all of the end of oil talk actually helps cause a supply crunch? Believe me, it is going through our minds now that maybe we need to be worried about decreasing demand in our lifetimes due to EV's.

Watcher says: 10/10/2017 at 12:53 am
Best to ignore the EV wackos and watch Chinese and India oil consumption data.

[Oct 11, 2017] Saudis to Make Deepest Cut to Crude Supply Despite Strong Demand

www.bloomberg.com
Saudi Aramco plans to make "the deepest customer allocation cuts in its history" in oil supplies in November to help reduce global inventories and balance the market.

State-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, will make an "unprecedented" cut of 560,000 barrels a day in its allocations to customers next month, the Saudi energy ministry said in a statement. Aramco plans to supply 7.15 million barrels a day "despite very strong demand" that exceeds 7.7 million barrels a day, it said.

"Saudi Arabia is once again demonstrating extraordinary leadership in its commitment to re-balancing the market, as we approach the upcoming key meeting of November 30 in Vienna, by restraining not only the top-line of production volume, but even more importantly the bottom line of exports, which are what ultimately shape global inventories and market balances," the ministry said. "The kingdom expects all other participants in the effort to follow suit and to maintain the high levels of overall conformity achieved in August going forward."

Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, is leading the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia in paring output under a deal that helped propel oil into a bull market in September. Lower compliance with the curbs promised by some nations combined with rising production in OPEC members Libya and Nigeria -- both exempt from reducing output due to their internal strife -- have added pressure on Saudi Arabia to make deeper cuts of its own.

Brent, the global benchmark, erased earlier declines to trade marginally higher at $55.62 a barrel at 3:47 pm in London after the news of the Saudi oil allocations cuts.

The decrease in allocations for November "constitutes a full 290,000 barrels a day reduction over and above the 486,000 barrels a day" that Saudi Arabia pledged to cut as part of its commitment to the global output accord, the ministry said. This adds up "to a massive total of almost 800,000 barrels a day" in cuts, it said.

[Oct 11, 2017] State-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, will make an "unprecedented" cut of 560,000 barrels a day in its allocations to customers next month, the Saudi energy ministry said in a statement. Aramco plans to supply 7.15 million barrels a day "despite very strong demand" that exceeds 7.7 million barrels a day, it said.

Oct 11, 2017 | www.bloomberg.com

Saudi Aramco plans to make "the deepest customer allocation cuts in its history" in oil supplies in November to help reduce global inventories and balance the market.

"Saudi Arabia is once again demonstrating extraordinary leadership in its commitment to re-balancing the market, as we approach the upcoming key meeting of November 30 in Vienna, by restraining not only the top-line of production volume, but even more importantly the bottom line of exports, which are what ultimately shape global inventories and market balances," the ministry said. "The kingdom expects all other participants in the effort to follow suit and to maintain the high levels of overall conformity achieved in August going forward."

Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, is leading the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia in paring output under a deal that helped propel oil into a bull market in September. Lower compliance with the curbs promised by some nations combined with rising production in OPEC members Libya and Nigeria -- both exempt from reducing output due to their internal strife -- have added pressure on Saudi Arabia to make deeper cuts of its own.

Brent, the global benchmark, erased earlier declines to trade marginally higher at $55.62 a barrel at 3:47 pm in London after the news of the Saudi oil allocations cuts.

The decrease in allocations for November "constitutes a full 290,000 barrels a day reduction over and above the 486,000 barrels a day" that Saudi Arabia pledged to cut as part of its commitment to the global output accord, the ministry said. This adds up "to a massive total of almost 800,000 barrels a day" in cuts, it said.

[Oct 10, 2017] Central-Eastern European pipeline gets go-ahead

Oct 10, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

et Al , September 30, 2017 at 7:24 am

Euractiv: Central-Eastern European pipeline gets go-ahead
https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/central-eastern-european-pipeline-gets-go-ahead/

An ambitious gas pipeline project connecting Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria received a shot in the arm on Thursday (28 September), when all of the involved parties signed a memorandum of understanding for the project, a vital part of Europe's efforts to wean itself off Russian gas

"We are at a very advanced stage with the BRUA project. We issued the building permit, we are conducting procedures for assigning the construction works, and contracts have already been signed for the design part and for the part concerning equipment for stations," Romanian Energy Minister Toma Petcu revealed.

"In December, the contracts for the execution part are going to be signed and pipe procurement is going to be finalised," Petcu added
####

Plenty more at the link.

Patient Observer , September 30, 2017 at 8:36 am
BRUA will be able to transport gas from the Black Sea and, when supply comes online at the end of the decade, from the Caspian too.

It is intended to cut Eastern and Central Europe's dependence on Russian gas, an important part of the European Commission's third energy package and the CESEC group's objectives.

Black Sea gas? Where again? Crimea does apparently have significant off-shore deposits of undeveloped gas. It is difficult to find an article via Google on the subject that does not have an anti-Russian slant (you know, something like just facts) but here is something on the topic:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-20/putins-crimea-bonus-vast-oil-and-gas-fields

I don't know if there are other sources of Black Sea gas directly accessible to the EU.

Caspian sea gas seems a looong way off, if ever it were to happen.

Patient Observer , September 30, 2017 at 10:21 am
Thinking more about the BRUA pipe line, It could be a make work project for the region with PC overtones (e.g. Crimea's little escapade will soon end bringing Black Sea gas back to Europe). The usual graft and corruption will also keep Brussels bureaucrats and local counterparts fat and happy.
et Al , September 30, 2017 at 2:00 pm
It fits in to the Energy Union progapanda that Brussels is spreading. There at least it makes some sense that where ever you are in the EU, member states will have access to energy resources from wherever else in the EU. Of course, the real question is of price and is something completely different. Does anyone else think it is insane to ship LNG to Krk off Croatia to be pipelined to the rest of the Balkans? Is this a bribe to Qatar or something? Or American LNG to say Antwerp or through the Med?

Still, the EU pipeline projects are small change compared to the amount spend on the Common Agricultural Policy and other stuff. I guess its just another 'Do Something' schtick to make Brussels seem relevant to EU citizens like me. Speaking of which, I enjoyed data and telecoms free roaming this summer when I went to the g/f's folk's place this summer. It was.. surreal. And normal. The fact that national EU telecomms operators have been shafting their own customers so hard and for so long and it took f($*ing Brussels to force it through shows which side their own states are on. A sorry state indeed!

marknesop , September 30, 2017 at 3:55 pm
It must be said again – Russia does not intend to sit idle in the LNG business either. And if the planned Kaliningrad terminal comes online by the end of this year as planned , it will not only position Russia attractively in the LNG market (does it cost more to bring European gas cargoes from Kaliningrad, or across the Atlantic?), it will bring increased energy independence to Kaliningrad itself. A cruise terminal is planned as well.
kirill , September 30, 2017 at 11:38 am
These clowns are a combination of corrupt and delusional. The only non-Russian gas coming via the Black Sea would be hypothetical sources via Turkey from Qatar/Iran and the Caspian basin. There is no source of natural gas in the Black Sea that, for example, Bulgaria could develop to feed this pipe.
marknesop , September 30, 2017 at 12:54 pm
Europe is forever bragging about weaning itself off of Russian gas, when what it is mostly doing is taking Russian gas and moving it around through connectors, and then reselling it to each other. A prime example – although not European – is Ukraine, which claims to have taken no Russian gas throughout 2015 and 2016 during which time it sourced most of its gas from Slovakia, supplied at 90% and above levels by Russia.

Ukraine claims to be getting gas from Yurrup at cheaper prices than Gazprom offered for direct supplies. If that's true, Slovakia is selling gas to Ukraine for less than it paid for it. And there's a word for people like that.

[Oct 04, 2017] Wheels and Deals Trouble Brewing in the House of Saud by Pepe Escobar

The quote attributed to Mark Twain and Yogi Berra "It's Difficult to Make Predictions, Especially About the Future" still holds. This assessment by Pete Escobar about forthcoming bankruptcy of KAS need to be verified in three years from now. It is unclear whether the key future events (such as prediction that the current Crown Prince might be deposed with the CIA help) will take place.
It is, nevertheless, clear that KAS economics is under considerable stress due to low oil prices and that eventually can bankrupt the kingdom as foreign currency reserves shrink rapidly. What such economic crisis might entail for KAS we can only guess by reshuffling at the top is quite probably in this case. So in a way the future of KAS hangs on how soon oil prices will be pushed back into $100 range.
Notable quotes:
"... MBS is surrounded by inexperienced thirty-something princes, and alienating just about everyone else. ..."
"... "the CIA is outraged that the compromise worked out in April, 2014 has been abrogated wherein the greatest anti-terrorist factor in the Middle East, Mohammed bin Nayef, was arrested." That may prompt "vigorous action taken against MBS possibly in early October." And it might even coincide with the Salman-Trump get together. ..."
"... Asia Times' Gulf business source stresses how "the Saudi economy is under extreme strain based on their oil price war against Russia, and they are behind their bills in paying just about all their contractors. That could lead to the bankruptcy of some of the major enterprises in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabia of MBS features the Crown Prince buying a US$600 million yacht and his father spending US$100 million on his summer vacation, highlighted on the front pages of the New York Times while the Kingdom strangles under their leadership." ..."
"... MBS's pet project, the spun-to-death Vision 2030, in theory aims to diversify from mere oil profits and dependency on the US to a more modern economy (and a more independent foreign policy). That's completely misguided, according to the source, because "the problem in Saudi Arabia is that their companies cannot function with their local population and [are] reliant on expatriates for about 70% or more of their staff. Aramco cannot run without expatriates. Therefore, selling 5% of Aramco to diversify does not solve the problem. If he wants a more productive society, and less handouts and meaningless government jobs, he has to first train and employ his own people." ..."
"... The similarly lauded Aramco IPO, arguably the largest share sale in history and originally scheduled for next year, has once again been postponed – "possibly" to the second half of 2019, according to officials in Riyadh. And still no one knows where shares will be sold; the NYSE is far from a done deal. ..."
"... I n parallel, MBS's war on Yemen, and the Saudi drive for regime change in Syria and to reshape the Greater Middle East, have turned out to be spectacular disasters. ..."
"... The Islamic State project was conceived as the ideal tool to force Iraq to implode. It's now public domain that the organization's funding came mostly from Saudi Arabia. Even the former imam of Mecca has publicly admitted ISIS' leadership "draw their ideas from what is written in our own books, our own principles." ..."
"... Salafi-jihadism is more than alive inside the Kingdom even as MBS tries to spin a (fake) liberal trend (the "baby you can drive my car" stunt). The problem is Riyadh congenitally cannot deliver on any liberal promise; the only legitimacy for the House of Saud lies in those religious "books" and "principles." ..."
"... In Syria, besides the fact that an absolute majority of the country's population does not wish to live in a Takfiristan , Saudi Arabia supported ISIS while Qatar supported al-Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra). That ended up in a crossfire bloodbath, with all those non-existent US-supported "moderate rebels" reduced to road kill. ..."
"... In Enemy of the State, the latest Mitch Rapp thriller written by Kyle Mills, President Alexander, sitting at the White House, blurts, "the Middle East is imploding because those Saudi sons of bitches have been pumping up religious fundamentalism to hide the fact that they're robbing their people blind." That's a fair assessment. ..."
"... In terms of what Washington wants, the CIA is not fond of MBS, to say the least. They want "their" man Nayef back. As for the Trump administration, rumors swirl it is " desperate for Saudi money , especially infrastructure investments in the Rust Belt." ..."
"... This piece first appeared in Asia Times . ..."
Oct 04, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

No wonder, considering that the ousted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef – highly regarded in the Beltway, especially Langley – is under house arrest. His massive web of agents at the Interior Ministry has largely been "relieved of their authority". The new Interior Minister is Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, 34, the eldest son of the governor of the country's largely Shi'ite Eastern Province, where all the oil is. Curiously, the father is now reporting to his son. MBS is surrounded by inexperienced thirty-something princes, and alienating just about everyone else.

Former King Abdulaziz set up his Saudi succession based on the seniority of his sons; in theory, if each one lived to the same age all would have a shot at the throne, thus avoiding the bloodletting historically common in Arabian clans over lines of succession.

Now, says the source, "a bloodbath is predicted to be imminent." Especially because "the CIA is outraged that the compromise worked out in April, 2014 has been abrogated wherein the greatest anti-terrorist factor in the Middle East, Mohammed bin Nayef, was arrested." That may prompt "vigorous action taken against MBS possibly in early October." And it might even coincide with the Salman-Trump get together.

ISIS playing by the (Saudi) book

Asia Times' Gulf business source stresses how "the Saudi economy is under extreme strain based on their oil price war against Russia, and they are behind their bills in paying just about all their contractors. That could lead to the bankruptcy of some of the major enterprises in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabia of MBS features the Crown Prince buying a US$600 million yacht and his father spending US$100 million on his summer vacation, highlighted on the front pages of the New York Times while the Kingdom strangles under their leadership."

MBS's pet project, the spun-to-death Vision 2030, in theory aims to diversify from mere oil profits and dependency on the US to a more modern economy (and a more independent foreign policy). That's completely misguided, according to the source, because "the problem in Saudi Arabia is that their companies cannot function with their local population and [are] reliant on expatriates for about 70% or more of their staff. Aramco cannot run without expatriates. Therefore, selling 5% of Aramco to diversify does not solve the problem. If he wants a more productive society, and less handouts and meaningless government jobs, he has to first train and employ his own people."

The similarly lauded Aramco IPO, arguably the largest share sale in history and originally scheduled for next year, has once again been postponed – "possibly" to the second half of 2019, according to officials in Riyadh. And still no one knows where shares will be sold; the NYSE is far from a done deal.

I n parallel, MBS's war on Yemen, and the Saudi drive for regime change in Syria and to reshape the Greater Middle East, have turned out to be spectacular disasters. Egypt and Pakistan have refused to send troops to Yemen, where relentless Saudi air bombing – with US and UK weapons – has accelerated malnutrition, famine and cholera, and configured a massive humanitarian crisis.

The Islamic State project was conceived as the ideal tool to force Iraq to implode. It's now public domain that the organization's funding came mostly from Saudi Arabia. Even the former imam of Mecca has publicly admitted ISIS' leadership "draw their ideas from what is written in our own books, our own principles."

Which brings us to the ultimate Saudi contradiction. Salafi-jihadism is more than alive inside the Kingdom even as MBS tries to spin a (fake) liberal trend (the "baby you can drive my car" stunt). The problem is Riyadh congenitally cannot deliver on any liberal promise; the only legitimacy for the House of Saud lies in those religious "books" and "principles."

In Syria, besides the fact that an absolute majority of the country's population does not wish to live in a Takfiristan , Saudi Arabia supported ISIS while Qatar supported al-Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra). That ended up in a crossfire bloodbath, with all those non-existent US-supported "moderate rebels" reduced to road kill.

And then there's the economic blockade against Qatar – another brilliant MBS plot. That has only served to improve Doha's relations with both Ankara and Tehran. Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was not regime-changed, whether or not Trump really dissuaded Riyadh and Abu Dhabi from taking "military action." There was no economic strangulation: Total, for instance, is about to invest US$2 billion to expand production of Qatari natural gas. And Qatar, via its sovereign fund, counterpunched with the ultimate soft power mov