Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Feeding The Machine

Carbon Footprints,

Gail Tverberg again presents, in a lecture to a naive audience. the complex relationships between energy costs, economic growth and recession, and wealth disparity. We live in a nested complex system, of solar energy input to our planet, with local resources like sun, water, soil, coal, oil, forests, human workers, mechanical workers, and financial capitalists. Financial capitalists are a mixed blessing economically, and worse for the environment. Systems grow until energy and raw materials cannot support the growth, or even sustain the level, and they die back to what can be sustained. One problem with the die-back is that what built the system to that level, like horse and wagon, no longer exists to support it.
Jobs move to where workers, energy and resources are cheaper. Pollution moves, too. Wars happen to stave off collapse in one place by causing it somewhere else and taking it's oil.

Revisiting the Limits to Growth After Peak Oil is a good scholarly article, without obfuscation. I wrote an email to one of the authors. Guess which one.

The powerful position in geopolitics is one of strictly controlling flow of energy from an area of cheap production, to advanced centers of manufacturing and population that produce "wealth" and are able to pay-dearly for it. 
Gas and oil pipelines are the biggest prize, but shipping routes are also important. 
Being able to choke a flow is also valuable. For instance, the US military can currently choke off any pipeline and any shipping route. 
That is an expensive capability to maintain. Once the flow of tribute stops, that capability will quickly disappear.
The US really wants to control the balance of power in the Mideast. Israel is the dominant Mideast power and is shifting alliances somewhat. The port of Haifa could ship Saudi oil to the Mediterranean if Saudi-Israeli relations allowed. China will manage that port, starting in 2021. 
That takes out the Strait of Hormuz as a choke-point, and ingratiates Israel with the rising power.
Israeli/US hegemony is currently fading away around Syria, as Russia prepares an air-exclusion zone to protect Russian military from air attack. 
Israli/US power-projection will be much weakened by S-300 missile defense, added to the existing short range shoot-down missile systems already in place.
The war in Syria, covertly started by U/Israeli/Saudi money, was partly to open the way for a Saudi-Qatari gas pipeline to Europe. Iran has a similar, competing plan. Both tap a massive gas-field, shared by Qatar and Iran. Turkey will benefit from either. Syria ultimately decides. Assad decided against the US/Saudi/Qatari pipeline before the war started. The US seeks to keep forces in Syria, to at least prevent the Iranian pipeline from going through. That does not serve Europe, Iran, Qatar, or Turkey. It does serve Israel, but Israel is diversifying alliances, as noted.
We can serve our individual purposes by growing vegetables, riding bikes for tasks, and coordinating with friends, neighbors and family.

Trump addressed the UN General Assembly. Here is the punchline:
"Today I stand before the United Nations General Assembly to share the extraordinary progress we've made. In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country," US President Trump said, while addressing the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The president's boast prompted laughter from the audience.
Overall, Trump is taking a Nationalist stance, inviting others to do the same (except Iran), and seeking to step down from imperial domination of the middle east, massive military spending and force-projection. This is in accordance with historical trends. It is inevitable, but directly confronts current vested interests in the military-industrial-spook complex (vicious neighbors)

Europe prepares to bypass the $US as global reserve trade currency, as it arranges non-dollar SWIFT system (Very big deal!)
However, despite the diplomatic consequences, Europe was intent on creating some loophole to the US ability to weaponize the global currency of account at will, something observed most recently as part of Trump's latest sanctions on Iran, and as a result, late on Monday, the European Union said that it would establish a special payment channel to allow European and other companies to legally continue financial transactions with Iran while avoiding exposure to U.S. sanctions.

Walrus of Blood, Bolton, locks and loads.
All in all, it must be understood very clearly that the US not only refuses to accept defeat in the Syrian conflict, which it engineered some 7 years ago, but is determined to be the winner, and will use all power at its disposal to reach that desired goal. This means that the Washington expects Moscow not to stand in the way of the Pentagon’s action plan to degrade the Syrian government forces to a point where they stood in a priori history in mid-2015 before the Russian intervention.
Enter Israel. The US-Israeli congruence in the above project does not need elaboration, because a regime change in Syria and the potential dismemberment of that country could guarantee that Israel’s illegal occupation of the Golan Heights will never be challenged on the ground, leaving the Trump administration a free hand to accord international legitimacy to that occupation as part of any “Syrian settlement”...
The logical conclusion of the US-Israeli project lies in the removal of the Russian bases from Syrian territory. Neither the US nor Israel can countenance a military presence superior to Israel’s in the entire Middle East region. The actual Russian deployment to Syria may not be big, but Israel is very well aware that Russia has vast strategic depth, which it cannot hope to match.
The bottom line is that so long as Russia has a strategic presence in the Middle East, Israel cannot regain its military dominance in the region. And time doesn’t work in Israel’s favour, either. Iran is rising and Turkey remains unfriendly. The sooner things get done, the better for Israel – preferably while Trump remains in office.
Clearly, Bolton has thrown down the gauntlet. The tragic incident of September 17 cannot be viewed in isolation.

Here is more analysis of the complex working relationship between Russia and Israel.

This air-superiority story is currently contested by the US. If you look at the photograph from the Russian Su-35S, you will note that the jet exhaust is directly in the crosshairs of the heat-seeking-missile gunsights. 
That counts as a "kill" in mock-combat dogfights.
A Su-35S air-superiority fighter jet of Russia’s Aerospace Force has intercepted and visually identified the U.S. F-22 Raptor Raptor combat aircraft flying over Syria.
A photographs posted by unofficial Russia’s military pilot Instagram account on 24 September has confirmed an intercept of the U.S. F-22 Raptor Raptor combat aircraft by the Russian Su-35S fighter jet.

More collateral damage on social media: "Content Moderator" sues Facebook for PTSD:
"Every day, Facebook users post millions of videos, images, and livestreamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide, and murder," the lawsuit reads. "To maintain a sanitized platform, maximize its already vast profits, and cultivate its public image, Facebook relies on people like Ms. Scola – known as “content moderators” – to view those posts and remove any that violate the corporation’s terms of use."
"You’d go into work at 9 am every morning, turn on your computer and watch someone have their head cut off. Every day, every minute, that’s what you see. Heads being cut off," one content moderator recently told the Guardian.
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