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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Shifting Alliances

​Odd Men Out,​
Eric Zuesse on why Trump canceled the Iran deal.​

The bottom-line difference between Donald Trump and Barack Obama, regarding US national security policies, turns out to be their different respective estimations of the biggest danger threatening the maintenance of the US dollar as the world’s leading or reserve currency. This has been the overriding foreign-policy concern for both Presidents.
America’s political class now have two competing ideas to deal with this danger, Obama’s versus Trump’s, both being about how to preserve the dollar in a way that best serves the needs of ‘defense’ contractors, extractive firms, and Wall Street. Obama chose Europe (America’s largest market) as America’s chief ally (he was Euro-centric against Russia); Trump chose the owner of Saudi Arabia (he’s Saudi-Israeli centric against Iran) — that’s the world’s largest weapons-purchaser, as well as the world’s largest producer of oil (as well as the largest lobbies)
It’s not the ‘threat’ that perhaps, some day, Iran will have nuclear warheads, that is actually driving Trump’s concern here (despite what Israel’s concerns are about that matter), but instead, it is his concerns about Iran’s missiles, which constitute the delivery-system for any Iranian warheads: that their flight-range be short enough so that the Sauds will be outside their range. (The main way Iran intends to respond to an invasion backed by the US, is to attack Saudi Arabia — Iran’s leaders know that the US Government is more dependent upon the Sauds than upon Israel — so, Iran’s top targets would be Saudi capital Riyadh, and also the Ghawar oil field, which holds over half of Saudi oil.
With Trump now in the White House, overwhelmingly by money from the Israel lobbies (proxies also for the Sauds) — and with no equivalently organized Jewish opposition to the pro-Israel lobbies (and so in the United States, for a person to be anti-Israel is viewed as being anti-Semitic, which is not at all true, but Israel’s lies say it’s true and many Americans unfortunately believe it) — Trump has not only the Sauds and their allies requiring him to be against Iran and its allies, but he has also got this pressure coming from Israel: both the Big-Oil and the Jewish lobbies drive him. Unlike Obama, who wasn’t as indebted to the Jewish lobbies, Trump needs to walk the plank for both the Sauds and Israel.
To satisfy the Sauds, despite the EU, Trump has dumped the Iran deal. And he did it also to satisfy Israel, the main US lobbyists for the Sauds. (Americans are far more sympathetic to Jews than to Arabs; the Sauds are aware of this; Israel handles their front-office.) For Trump, the Sauds are higher priority than Europe; even Israel (who are an expense instead of a moneybag for the US Government) are higher priority than Europe. Both the Sauds and Israel together are vastly higher. 
Trump is doing what he thinks he has to be doing, for his own safety. He’s just a figurehead for a different faction of the US aristocracy, than Obama was. He’s doing what he thinks he needs to be doing, for his survival. Political leadership is an extremely dangerous business. Trump is playing a slightly different game of it than Obama did, because he represents a different faction than Obama did. These two factions of the US aristocracy are also now battling each other for political control over Europe.

​Turkey is ready to trade with other countries bilaterally, outside of the $US, due to undergoing currency=punishment from American allies these days. Turkey is a strategic crossroads, with a big military, and political connections throughout the Mideast and southern Europe.​ Turkey controls the choke point of some contested gas pipeline routes.
​Ilargi at The Automatic Earth looks at Turkey's massive dollar denominated debt, which is no surprise to anybody, and is why Turkey is going down first among debtor nations, as the dollar is strengthened, and dollar supply gets scarce to roll over loans. (I wonder where Turkey will get the dollars, or if it will declare war on somebody. The dollars could be channeled through Saudi Arabia, if Turkey would abandon Qatar, and ally against Iran.)
Recep Tayyip has long seen this coming. His economy is collapsing, his currency is collapsing, so he’ll focus on what’s left: Turkey’s strategic position on the map, its NATO membership, the negotiations for EU membership, and most of all the support of the Muslim contingent in Turkey that solidifies his power.
 

​Turkish Lira has "relief rally" upward bounce this morning. Where is the support coming from? Has Turkey made a deal with a partner with bailout money? Who?​
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-14/global-stocks-rebound-relief-rally-sends-turkish-lira-sharply-higher

​Thierry Meyssan presents The Twilight ​of the War. Thanks Eleni.
The Third World War began in Yugoslavia, continued in Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, Libya and Yemen, and ended in Syria. Its battle-grounds were confined to the Balkans, the Caucasus and what we now call the « Greater Middle East ». It has cost the lives of countless Muslim and Orthodox Christian populations, without spilling over too much into the Western world. It is in the process of drawing to a close since the Putin-Trump Summit in Helsinki.

The Chinese Yuan/Renmenbi is down on economic news, and still seems unofficially pegged to gold. Gold is under $1200/oz. Buy (physical) any time for long term reduction of risk to fiat currencies.

Russia and China block the US from instituting more sanctions against North Korea at the UN. (It happens that the US wants to sanction Russian and Chinese persons and banks and companies... Of course, they are vulnerable, because they need to use $US.)

​David Graeber on the bullshitization of work, and how it comes to be like this.​ We live in a "compliance economy" here, not really a "production economy".
Well it’s fairly straightforward: shit jobs are just bad jobs. Ones you’d never want to have. Back-breaking, underpaid, unappreciated, people who are treated without dignity and respect… The thing is for the most part, shit jobs aren’t bullshit, in the sense of pointless, nonsensical, because actually they usually involve doing something that genuinely needs to be done: driving people around, building things, taking care of people, cleaning up after them…
Bullshit jobs are most often paid quite well, involve nice benefit packages, you’re treated like you’re important and actually are doing something that needs to be done — but in fact, you know you’re not. So in that way they’re typically opposites.
Well, nowadays the vast majority of corporate profits don’t come from making or selling things but from “finance”, which is a euphemism for other peoples’ debts — charging rents and fees and interest and whatnot. It’s feudalism in the classic definition, “direct juro-political extraction” as they sometimes put it.
The Obama quote felt like a smoking gun in that regard — basically he said “well everyone says single payer health care would be so much more efficient, sure, maybe it would, but think about it, we have millions of people working in jobs in all these competing private health firms because of all that redundancy and inefficiency. What are we going to do with those people?” So he admitted the free market was less efficient, in health at least, and that’s precisely why he preferred it — it maintained bullshit jobs.
In the case of Obama, it’s pretty clear why: as Tom Frank recently noted, the Democratic Party made a strategic decision starting in the ‘80s to basically drop the working class as their core constituency and take up the professional managerial classes instead. That’s now their base. But of course that’s exactly the area the bullshit jobs are concentrated.
Right now nurses in New Zealand are on strike and one of their major issues is exactly that: on the one hand, their real wages have been declining, but on the other, they also find they are spending so much time filling out forms they can’t take care of their patients. It’s over 50 percent for many nurses.


​The Clinton foundation tax returns reveal,,, Ta-Da!
It took 486 people who are paid $34.8 million and $91.3 million in fees and expenses, to give away $5.1 MILLION WHICH IS LESS THAN 3% OF TOTAL REVENUES!
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50010.htm

​Ray McGovern: ​
Newly released official documents show CIA head Gina Haspel directly supervised waterboarding at “Black Site” in Thailand.  Sen. Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr and Vice Chair Mark Warner hid that, demonstrating once again that today’s Senate “oversight” means “overlook.” Hold your nose and read:

S
​heepish Wolf​

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