Avoiding Sudden Moves,
Just as Judo "uses the force of an opponent to defeat him", careless aggression and overreach can be used to defeat one's own forces. If one secretly resents one's masters, then this is "passive aggression". It does not have to look "passive". It can look enthusiastic, coarse, and uncouth, failing to inspire faith and commitment; things like that. I wonder...
Only the US is pulling out of the deal with Iran, by which it ended it's nuclear weapons research and emriched-uranium storage. France, UK, Russia, China and Germany, as well as Iran, say they will abide by their commitments. The US says $US sanctions will be extended in 6 months, to hurt anybody doing business with Iran. This is risky for the $US-Empire, isn't it? There are work-arounds in place now. This trump-card has been played repeatedly to isolate countries like Iraq, Libya, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, and lately Russia (which is not apparently hurting very much).
How strong is this hand?
In short, Trump's "draconian" sanctions, which will be delayed for months, have extensive loopholes, and allow most of Iran's existing oil trade partners to continue buying oil, may be just a big smokescreen that will allow Trump to say he achieved one more campaign promise. Meanwhile, in reality, both Trump and Mnuchin are doing their best behind the scenes to "enter a new agreement", one which Trump can bring to the masses and say: "here, I took Obama's unacceptable, defective deal, and made it better.... and i also brought down the price of oil too."
Pepe Escobar details the many economic and strategic interrelationships between Russia, China and Iran, and observes that both Russia and China have a lot of strategic interest and investment at stake. He predicts that Russia and China will support Iran (and are quietly doing so), against Israel, a country which could "turn Iran to glass" with nuclear weapons.
Iran has never violated it's nuclear treaty. The United states has always impinged upon the edges of it's commitment, and has been in fairly clear violation for well over a year, now, even before yesterday, that is.
It doesn't look like unilateral US sanctions will harm Iran's oil exports much.
Israel attacks Damascus with missiles; says "it's Iran's fault".
Morality, Truth and facts have exited from the Dying West, Paul Craig Roberts. Thanks Colleen. We are controlled by the control of our information inputs, but it makes us foolish and deluded, which is bound to be worse at some point...
Conoco has just confiscated Venezuelan oil on Caribbean islands, including tank farm and terminals, and production assets. This is leagal, but greatly impacts Venezuela, and China, which is accepting loan payment in Venezuelan oil. China has been making economic inroads in South and Central America, and The Empire Strikes Back. What will China's move be, and when?
Short of War, China now controls the South China Sea. The Chinese Empire is in resurgence...
Presidents Trump and Xi talk by phone as trade negotiations grind slowly forward. The US wants "advantage". China will agree to "win-win".
Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping met again for 2 days again, and Kim says that North Korea does not need nukes for security if North Korean security is guaranteed adequately by other means. Considering how the US treats non-nuclear nations , like Iraq and Libya, what would be realistic? (Unification?)
Secretary of State Pompeo returns from North Korea with the 3 Korean-American hostages, reportedly in good condition. A place for the Summit between Trump and Kim is decided, but not yet announced.
Michael Hudson explores the erosion of real wealth by the extractive model of financial capitalism. Yeah, it's starving us to death. Hudson recommends setting "GDP" back to what it used to mean, the actual roduction of goods and services, not extracting-more-rent-from-the-same-little-apartment.
Volumes II and III of Marx’s Capital describe how debt grows exponentially, burdening the economy with carrying charges. This overhead is subjecting today’s Western finance-capitalist economies to austerity, shrinking living standards and capital investment while increasing their cost of living and doing business. That is the main reason why they are losing their export markets and becoming de-industrialized. What policies are best suited for China to avoid this neo-rentier disease while raising living standards in a fair and efficient low-cost economy? The most pressing policy challenge is to keep down the cost of housing. Rising housing prices mean larger and larger debts extracting interest out of the economy. The strongest way to prevent this is to tax away the rise in land prices, collecting the rental value for the government instead of letting it be pledged to the banks as mortgage interest. The same logic applies to public collection of natural resource and monopoly rents. Failure to tax them away will enable banks to create debt against these rents, building financial and other rentier charges into the pricing of basic needs. U.S. and European business schools are part of the problem, not part of the solution. They teach the tactics of asset stripping and how to replace industrial engineering with financial engineering, as if financialization creates wealth faster than the debt burden... A century ago there was an almost universal belief in mixed economies. Governments were expected to tax away land rent and natural resource rent, regulate monopolies to bring prices in line with actual cost value, and create basic infrastructure with money created by their own treasury or central bank... China is progressing along this “mixed economy” road to socialism, but Western economies are suffering from a resurgence of the pre-capitalist rentier classes... Classical rent theory warned against the FIRE sector siphoning off nominal growth in wealth and income. The economics of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, J.S. Mill and Marx share in common the view that this rentier revenue should be treated as an overhead charge and, as such, subtracted from national income and product because it is not production-related... Americans now have to pay up to 43 percent of their income for mortgage debt service, federally guaranteed. This imposes such high costs for home ownership that it is pricing the products of U.S. labor out of world markets... The result is that public spending ultimately enriches the banks – at the tax collector’s expense... The best protection against this rentierburden is simple: first, tax away the land’s rising rental valuation to prevent it from being paid out for bank loans; and second, keep control of banks in public hands... Greece’s debt crisis has all but abolished its democracy as foreign creditors have taken control, superseding the authority of elected officials...
Charles Hughes Smith asks, "What Lies Beyond Capitalism and Socialism?" (It's a partial recreation of our most efficient patterns of local economy among small to modest sized groups, who know each other, are invested in the community and rewarded more for fairness than for gouging.)
Here is free software to reduce the blue light coming from your computer screens at night. It's fairly subtle and pelasant in it's effect. Thanks Wigs!
Here is more about the benefits of adequate vitamin-D and why we are coming up short (surf-lifeguards excepted). I left a comment about immune system dysfunction with low vitamin-D, also.
In "Diabesity", which came first, the insulin or the sugar? Hmmm, we always assumed it was the sugar and starch, but some people appear to be genetically programmed to run high insulin, so as to store more of the carbohydrates they eat as fat, giving an advantage in extended famines.