Monday, January 6, 2020



I would like to propose to the Iranian government that they "paint" all tankers​,​ carrying oil paid for in $US through the Strait of Hormuz, with missile targeting radar, and announce that they won't actually start sinking them yet.
China can start paying for oil in Yuan/Renmenbi, or even Euros. 
Lloyd's of Lond​o​n can say that insurance will be higher for oil bought in $US.​ ​
​That will hasten the fall of the Petrobuck-Empire.​

​ ​Former UK Ambassador, Craig Murray discusses the change in Mideast power politics, which has just been brought about.
​ ​US influence was balanced by strong Iranian aligned militia forces who were an alternative source of strength to the government of Baghdad, and of course by the fact that the centre of Sunni tribal strength, the city of Falluja, had itself been obliterated by the United States, three times, in an act of genocide of Iraqi Sunni population.
​ ​Through all this the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi had until now tiptoed with great care. Pro-Iranian yet a long term American client, his government maintained a form of impartiality based on an open hand to accept massive bribes from anybody. That is now over. He is pro-Iranian now.
​ ​Such precarious balance as there ever was in Iraq was upset this last two months when the US and Israelis transported more of their ISIL Sunni jihadists into Iraq, to escape the pincer of the Turkish, Russian and Syrian government forces. The Iranians were naturally not going to stand for this and Iranian militias were successfully destroying the ISIL remnants, which is why General Qassem Suleimani was in Iraq, why a US mercenary assisting ISIL was killed in an Iranian militia rocket attack, and why Syrian military representatives were being welcomed at Baghdad airport.
It is five years since I was last in the Green Zone in Baghdad, but it is extraordinarily heavily fortified with military barriers and checks every hundred yards, and there is no way the crowd could have been allowed to attack the US Embassy without active Iraqi government collusion. That profound political movement will have been set in stone by the US assassination of Suleimani. Tehran will now have a grip on Iraq that could prove to be unshakable.
​ ​Nevertheless, Tel Aviv and Riyadh will also be celebrating today at the idea that their dream of the USA destroying their regional rival Iran, as Iraq and Libya were destroyed, is coming closer. The USA could do this. The impact of technology on modern warfare should not be underestimated.​..
 So what happens now? Consolidating power in Iraq and finishing the destruction of ISIL in Iraq will be the wise advance that Iranian statesman can practically gain from these events. But that is, of course, not enough to redeem national honour. Something quick and spectacular is required for that. It is hard not to believe there must be a very real chance of action being taken against shipping in the Straits of Hormuz, which Iran can do with little prior preparation. Missile attacks on Saudi Arabia or Israel are also well within Iran’s capability, but it seems more probable that Iran will wish to strike a US target rather than a proxy. An Ambassador may be assassinated. Further missile strikes against US outposts in Iraq are also possible. All of these scenarios could very quickly lead to disastrous escalation.  

Iraqi Parliament votes to expel US troops, as expected.
The US State Department has expressed its "disappointment" at the Iraqi parliament's vote to expel US forces. However, as Axios' Jonathan Swan notes in a tweet, that he just spoke with a senior Iraqi government official, who explained that people should be very cautious about drawing certain conclusions from Iraq's parliamentary vote to expel the U.S.  
We'll pay for your base, if you pay for what you did to our country.​..​
Trump Says "US Will Not Leave" Iraq Unless Billions For Air Base Are Repaid, Threatens Baghdad With "Very Big" Sanctions  
Gail Tverberg reads the hydrocarbon-fuel tea leaves. ​   ​The real situation is different. We already seem to be on the road toward a new crisis; this crisis is likely to be much worse than the Great Recession of 2008-2009. This time, a major problem is likely to be energy prices that are too low for producers. Last time, a major problem was oil prices that were too high for consumers. The problem is different, but it is in some ways symmetric.​                                                       ​​ ​ Last time, the United States seemed to be the epicenter; this time, my analysis indicates China is likely to be the epicenter. Last time, the world economy was coming off a high growth period; this time, the world economy is already somewhat depressed, even before hitting headwinds. These differences, plus the strange physics-based way that the world economy is organized, explain why the outcome seems likely to be worse this time than in 2008-2009.​ ​ 

​Michael Hudson lays out the economic reasons why Americans are feeling so very stressed by finance, despite a booming stock "market".
​ Payments on the economy’s rising debt should rightly be viewed as a subtrahend from national income. But the GDP accounting format treats this rising debt as a necessary cost of production. In this line of theorizing, creditors provide a productive service whose value is reflected in the rate of interest and the magnitude of fees and penalties. Ultra-low interest rates, resulting from financial lobbying pressures, have held down the cost of carrying this debt, but these low official rates mask the reality that many debtors fall behind and have to pay penalty fees and high penalty interest rates.
 These payments are added to today’s GDP measure, even as they leave less family income available to be spent on products. The result is a statistical confusion concerning how much GDP growth is actual income and product growth, and how much is rent extracted from disposable personal and corporate income. That is the basic conceptual issue addressed in this paper.

Charles Hugh Smith, to whom we are also beholden for drawing attention to the above financial news, asks
 "Is this the top?"
It's not an idle question. Look at both posts for the broadest picture.

Australian bushfires have mostly been started by people,about 85% of them, especially kids on school holidays. Almost 200 people have been arrested. Lots get away, of course.

Inescapable Consequences

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