Follow by Email

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Desperate Resource Grabs

Good Neighbors,

The U.S. has been intervening in oil-rich Venezuela since at least the early 2000. Several U.S. backed attempts to oust the elected socialist government, first under Chavez and then under Maduro, failed. But the economic sanctions by the U.S. and its lackeys have made the life for business and the people in Venezuela more difficult. With access to international financial markets cut off, the government did its best to work around the sanctions. It, for example, bartered gold for food from Turkey. But the Bank of England, which is custodian of some of Venezuela's gold, has now practically confiscated it.
The Trump administration is launching another attempt to kick the elected government led by President Maduro out of office. Today the usually hapless opposition in Venezuela is set to launch another period of street riots against the government. It calls on the military to take over:
Opposition leaders are also urging Venezuela's powerful armed forces to withdraw their support for Maduro. And they are taking their campaign abroad by lobbying foreign governments to cut diplomatic and economic ties with Caracas.
On Tuesday, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence said that Washington would support any effort by the opposition to form a provisional government to replace Maduro. Addressing average Venezuelans, Pence added: "We stand with you and we will stay with you until democracy is restored."​ ...
The military, which the U.S. already secretly tried to instigate stage a coup, is unlikely to do so. It does well under the socialists and has no interest in changing that. The U.S. also tried to incite Brazil and Columbia to invade their neighbor. But neither country is capable of doing such. The U.S. itself is also unlikely to invade. At the United Nation Venezuela has Russia's and China's support.

"Diplomats" means "CIA operatives".
In what may shape up to be a major international incident over the next 48 hours, the United States has refused to withdraw diplomats from Venezuela, saying in a Wednesday evening statement that the US "stands with interim President Juan Guaido," adding "The United States does not recognize the Maduro regime as the government of Venezuela. Accordingly the United States does not consider former president Nicolas Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the United States or to declare our diplomats persona non grata.  

Russia has dismissed the political crisis engulfing Venezuela as an attempted coup while expressing concern over the role of external states and the potential for foreign military intervention, calling Juan Guaido's move to declare himself president illegal.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday, “We are very concerned by statements that don’t rule out some kind of external intervention,” as cited by Bloomberg. “We consider such intervention unacceptable,” Peskov added while describing the internal unrest spilling into the streets after the catalyst of Monday's failed military revolt of 27 officers in an opposition neighborhood of Caracas an “attempt to usurp power”.
This follows President Trump's declaration that the US would only recognize the unelected head of the opposition-held National Assembly as "the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela." A senior Trump administration official followed by saying “all options are on the table”.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said further in website statement that Washington's joining a growing list of about a dozen other countries to recognize Guaido “is aimed at deepening the split in Venezuelan society, increasing the conflict on the streets, sharply destabilizing the internal political system and further escalation of the conflict.” And in words eerily similar to the brief international exchange of words over prior US action in places like Libya and Syria the ministry said that external armed intervention would be “fraught with catastrophic consequences.”
The foreign ministry further described that the situation “has reached a dangerous point” and called on the international community to engage in diplomacy and mediation between the Maduro government and opposition.
And separately, a senior Russian official on Thursday warned the Trump administration against what he called the "catastrophic scenario" of military intervention in the region. "We warn against this," Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said in an interview with International Affairs magazine, as cited in USA Today. "We believe that this would be a catastrophic scenario that would shake the foundations of the development model we see in the Latin American region."

Right and Left elites, who share the common goal of making the world work for themselves, and who do not have to live with the consequences of their policies, have co-opted non-elite people with cultural and social issues meant to distract them from what's going on economically.
Right elites take the bread out of the non-elites mouths by coopting non-elites on the right with the circuses of religion and nationalism. At the same time, the left elites have done the same by coopting left non-elites with the circuses of political correctness, multiculturalism, etc.
None of these things - religion, nationalism, political correctness, multiculturalism, feminism, anti-racism, etc. - are necessarily bad in themselves, particularly in moderation. However, to distract people from having the economic wool pulled over their eyes, they need to be amped up into a public shouting match, which is what we see happening in media outlets controlled by, you guessed it, the elites.

​Change is in the wind...
'Strategic Threat' To Israel - Progressives Lose Fear Of Speaking Out On Palestine
Two weeks ago the Zionist lobby targeted civil rights activist Angela Davis for her support of the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement (BDS). Following lobby pressure the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama canceled its annual gala at which Davis was to receive a prestigious human rights award. This created a huge backlash. The city council of Birmingham unanimously adopted a resolution "recognizing the life work of Angela Davis". The Institute's chair, vice-chair and secretary had to resign from the board.
Following that scandal the gates of hell opened and, on Sunday, the New York Times published a column that criticized the Apartheid policy of the Zionist entity in the Middle East.
Time to Break the Silence on Palestine
Martin Luther King Jr. courageously spoke out about the Vietnam War. We must do the same when it comes to this grave injustice of our time.
Written by Michelle Alexander, a civil rights lawyer, author of The New Jim Crow, and now a regular NYTcolumnist, the piece reaches back to Martin Luther King. It compares MLK's courageous early opposition to the Vietnam War to today's reluctance of people who are 'progressives except for Palestine' to oppose the policies of the so called Jewish State:
It was a lonely, moral stance. And it cost him. But it set an example of what is required of us if we are to honor our deepest values in times of crisis, even when silence would better serve our personal interests or the communities and causes we hold most dear. It’s what I think about when I go over the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine...
The column, and that fact that it was published by the New York Times, changes the Overton window on Palestine. Positions that were earlier condemned or smeared as anti-semitic, will now become discussable.  

Israel’s practice of spontaneous strikes on Syria must be brought to an end, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Wednesday.
"The practice of spontaneous strikes on the territory of a sovereign state, in this case Syria, must end," the diplomat said, commenting on Israel’s recent strikes on the Arab Republic.
"We believe that stirring up hostility in the region does not meet long-term national interests of any Middle East states, including Israel, of course," Zakharova stressed. "We should prevent turning Syria, which has suffered over the past years of the armed conflict, into an arena of settling geopolitical scores."

Damascus has threatened to exercise its legitimate right for self-defense against Israeli aggression and target Tel Aviv airport in a mirror response, unless the Security Council puts an end to IDF intrusions into Syrian airspace.
Apparently fed up with years of Israeli impunity in the Syrian skies and regular strikes carried out in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport, Syria has threatened to retaliate in explicit terms.

​Chemistry Professor, Ugo Bardi looks at The Collapse of Complex Societies, Joseph Tinter's work, with modern models.
The system dynamics model tells us that the origin of the diminishing returns lies in the gradual depletion of the resources that flow through the system. It is not so much an effect of increasing complexity in itself, the problem is sustaining that complexity.
Then, the model also tells us what happens on "the other side" of the curve. That is, what happens if the system continues its trajectory beyond the point where Tainter's curve stop. The curve shows a clear hysteresis, that is, it doesn't follow the earlier path, but it remains always on a low-benefit trajectory. It means that cutting on bureaucracy doesn't make the system more efficient.  
These results are not the final word on the question of societal collapse. But they do provide some fundamental insight, I think. It is the fact that the system is "alive" as long as its resources provide good returns -- in terms of energy resources, it means they have a good EROEI (energy returned on energy invested). If the EROEI goes down, then the system falls into the Seneca Cliff.
Of course, since our society depends on fossil fuels, we are bound to go that way because the depletion of the best resources is progressively lowering the EROEI of the system. If we want to keep alive some kind of complex society, we can't do that by scraping the bottom of the barrel, desperately trying to burn what we can still burn. But, unfortunately, it is exactly what most governments in the world are trying to do. It is a good way to speed up toward the impending cliff.  

​Feeling Helpless​

No comments:

Post a Comment