Thursday, September 26, 2019

Sudden Reversals

Not Currying Favor,

Rothschild owned Financial Times comes out for curative surgery on Rentier Capitalism, which is killing the host again. Reset near, I guess.
​ ​The reality is that the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few privileged rentiers is not a deviation from capitalist competition, but a logical and regular outcome. In theory, we can distinguish between an unproductive rentier and a productive capitalist. But there is nothing to stop the productive, supposedly responsible businessperson becoming an absentee landlord or a remote shareholder, and this is often what happens. The rentier class is not an aberration but a common recurrence, one which tends to accompany periods of protracted economic decline.
​ ​It is a shift that tends to occur after economic crises, when less profit is to be had in productive enterprise and money is more effectively spent seeking monopoly rents or moved into speculative assets. Take, for example, the Medici family in Renaissance Florence, when they transformed themselves from textile traders into bankers after the crisis of the 14th century. The wealthy merchants of Amsterdam, too, became “periwig” rentiers as the Dutch Republic declined in the 18th century.
​ ​The French historian Fernand Braudel called this regular shift “a sign of autumn” – a symptom of the final phase of a long expansion, which is inevitably followed by a period of disorder and reorganisation.
​ ​The same process has been unfolding once more, albeit on a much larger scale, since the economic crisis of the 1970s. Having picked up steam after 2008, it has given rise to a new crop of rentier capitalists and platform monopolists – from Amazon to Facebook, Goldman Sachs to GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer – that exert not just immense market power, but also great political influence.

​Pepe Escobar Interviews a Yemeni military commander about Yemen's strike capability against Saudi petroleum infrastructure:. (Where now, petrodollar?_
“There is no other plausible explanation” translates as the occultation of Yemen. Yemen only features as the pounding ground of a vicious Saudi war, de facto supported by Washington and London and conducted with US and UK weapons, which has generated a horrendous humanitarian crisis.
So Iran is the culprit, no evidence provided, end of story, even if the “investigation continues.”
​ ​Hassan Ali Al-Emad, Yemeni scholar and the son of a prominent tribal leader with ascendance over ten clans, begs to differ. “From a military perspective, nobody ever took our forces in Yemen seriously. Perhaps they started understanding it when our missiles hit Aramco.”...
​ ​Al-Emad breaks down Houthi weaponry into three categories: the old missile stock; cannibalized missiles using different spare parts (“transformation made in Yemen”); and those with new technology that use reverse engineering. He stressed: “We accept help from everybody,” which suggests that not only Tehran and Hezbollah are pitching in.
​ ​Al-Emad’s key demand is actually humanitarian: “We request that Sana’a airport be reopened for help to the Yemeni people.” And he has a message for global public opinion that the EU-3 are obviously not aware of: “Saudi is collapsing and America is embracing it in its fall.”  
(Whazzat s'posta mean?)

​ ​On the morning of 14 September, 18 drones and seven cruise missiles – all cheap and unsophisticated compared to modern military aircraft – disabled half of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production and raised the world price of oil by 20 per cent...
... over-focus on responsibility diverts attention from a much more important development: a middle ranking power like Iran, under sanctions and with limited resources and expertise, acting alone or through allies, has inflicted crippling damage on theoretically much better-armed Saudi Arabia which is supposedly defended by the US, the world’s greatest military super-power.
​ ​If the US and Saudi Arabia are particularly hesitant to retaliate against Iran it is because they know now, contrary to what they might have believed a year ago, that a counter-attack will not be a cost-free exercise. What happened before can happen again: not for nothing has Iran been called a “drone superpower”...
​ ​Anthony Cordesman, a military expert at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, succinctly sums up the importance of this change, writing that “the strikes on Saudi Arabia provide a clear strategic warning that the US era of air supremacy in the Gulf, and the near US monopoly on precision strike capability, is rapidly fading.”​   

​If only Trump wanted to negotiate a deal with Iran...​
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran is willing to give reassurances on not seeking nuclear arms and accept changes to its 2015 nuclear accord with world power if the United States returns to the deal and lifts sanctions, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.
“If the sanctions are ended and there is a return to the (nuclear) accord, there is room for giving reassurances toward breaking the deadlock and the President (Hassan Rouhani) has even a proposal for small changes in the accord,” the spokesman, Ali Rabiei, said on state TV.

​Natural gas prices are way too low (1970s bottom in adjusted dollars) in the US to support the high cost of fracking. Converting to LNG raises prices too high at distant European and Asian ports. So what can happen when producers are losing money on production and buyers can't afford the cost where they burn it?​ [Don't put yourself at risk by depending on cheap Russian gas pipelines! Oh, No!]

​ ​The transcript of the call from President Trump to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is enough to make Edwin Edwards, the infamous Louisiana governor, blush. Edwards once bragged, “The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or live boy.”​ ​
​ ​Yet for those hoping to find a dead promise or a live Russian in the transcript, they will be disappointed again. The transcript lacks a critical element needed for impeachment, which is evidence of a quid pro quo. Trump never connects the investigation with the roughly $400 million in military aid...
​ ​Despite efforts of critics to downplay the underlying allegations, the Biden affair would be relevant to the merits of such a trial. If Trump simply picked up the phone and asked a foreign leader to investigate Elizabeth Warren without any outstanding allegations of corruption, it would be impossible to defend. The problem here is that the Biden contracts do appear to involve corruption, precisely the type that Biden lambasted when he bragged about getting the Ukrainian prosecutor fired.
​ ​If one agrees that the windfall contracts secured by Hunter Biden were obvious influence peddling, then Trump pushing for an investigation into that possible crime becomes more defensible. It does not, however, make it right.

​Moon of Alabama:
​ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday announced that she was opening an impeachment process against President Donald Trump:
 Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump, charging him with betraying his oath of office and the nation’s security by seeking to enlist a foreign power to tarnish a rival for his own political gain.
 Instead of running on policy issues the Democrats will (again) try to find vague dirt with which they can tarnish Trump. This is a huge political mistake. It will help Trump to win his reelection.
 After two years of falsely accusing Trump of having colluded with Russia they now allege that he colludes with Ukraine. That will make it much more difficult for the Democrats to hide the dirty hands they had in creating Russiagate. Their currently preferred candidate Joe Biden will get damaged 

​More Moon:
​ During the then still ongoing Mueller investigation Rudi Giuliani, as a private lawyer for President Trump, tried to find exculpating information which he hoped would debunk the allegations of collusion between Trump and Russia.
 It was known that there had been involvement of Ukraine related people as well as of Ukrainian officials in Russiagate and the election campaigns:
 Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.
 How deep where these involvements? Are there Ukrainian sources in the debunked Steele dossier about Trump?
 There was also the mysterious fact that just three weeks after the U.S. managed 2014 coup in Ukraine, in which Joe Biden as then U.S. vice-president was heavily involved, Joe Biden's son Hunter started to receive more that $50,000 per month for being on the board of a Ukrainian gas company even though he had no knowledge of the gas business or the Ukraine...
​ ​Biden had publicly bragged to have blackmailed the then Ukrainian President Poroshenko into firing the then Prosecutor General of the Ukraine Shokin. Shokin had at that time an open case against the owner of the Ukrainian company Biden's son worked for.

​ ​A new report claiming thousands of Kashmiri children have been incarcerated has cast doubt on claims life is returning to normal in the state. After visiting Kashmir, activists found around 13,000 boys have been detained since its autonomous status was revoked on Aug 5.
​ ​The report, led by the National Federation of Indian Women, detailed claims that boys - some as young as 14 - had been imprisoned for up to 45 days...
​ ​The activists visited Kashmir between September 17 and 21 and interviewed members of the Jammu and Kashmir police, doctors and professors.
​ ​Their report claims the authorities used excessive force when arresting the boys, and that some have been tortured while imprisoned.
​ ​Domestic and international media has detailed the use of torture against Kashmiris, including beatings and electric shocks.
​ ​On Saturday, a 15-year-old boy committed suicide in Srinagar after allegedly being assaulted by the army.
​ ​“It is [an] Indian variant of genocide,” said Annie Raja, the General Secretary of the National Federation of Indian Women. Ms Raja's organisation has called on the India to release all children detained in Kashmir since August 5.

​If you take Turmeric for your health, find a way to make sure it is lead-free. 
​ ​The first study, available online in Environmental Research, involves a range of analyses, including interviews with farmers and spice processors in several Bangladesh's districts, which together produce nearly half of the nation's turmeric. Many traced the issue to the 1980s when a massive flood left turmeric crops wet and relatively dull in color. Demand for bright yellow curry led turmeric processors to add lead chromate—an industrial yellow pigment commonly used to color toys and furniture—to their product. The practice continued as a cheap, fast way to produce a desirable color.  

Not Favoring Curry

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