The Economic Collapse
by Michael Snyder
Why has Barack Obama airdropped 50 tons of ammunition into areas that “moderate rebels” in Syria supposedly control? This is essentially the equivalent of poking the Russians directly in the eyes. Much of this ammunition will end up in the hands of those that the Russians are attempting to bomb into oblivion, and so to Russia it appears that we are attempting to make their job much harder. And of course the truth is that there aren’t really any “moderate rebels” in Syria at all. Nearly all of the groups that are fighting are made up primarily of radical jihadists and/or hired mercenaries. Personally, I don’t see anyone over there that you could call “the good guys”. At the end of the day, the U.S. supports just about anyone that wants to get rid of the Assad regime, and the Russians are working very hard to keep Assad in power. Just like the civil war in Ukraine, the conflict in Syria is in great danger of being transformed into a proxy war between the United States and Russia, and many fear that these conflicts could eventually be setting the stage for World War III.
Russian Air Forces have extended the range of their airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria to four provinces, focusing primarily on demolishing fortified installations and eliminating supply bases and the terrorists’ infrastructure.
Over the last 24 hours Russian aircraft have attacked terrorist positions in the Hama, Idlib, Latakia and Raqqa provinces of Syria. In total, 64 sorties targeted 63 Islamic State installations, among them 53 fortified zones, 7 arms depots, 4 training camps and a command post.
When I read reports like this, I am deeply troubled. The Obama administration claims that it has been bombing ISIS positions in Syria for over a year. So why in the world do these targets still exist?
Was the U.S. military incapable of finding these installations?
That doesn’t seem likely.
So why weren’t they destroyed long ago?
Did the Obama administration not want them destroyed for some reason?
What seems abundantly clear is that the Russians are doing what the Obama administration was either unwilling or unable to do. There is now mass panic among ISIS fighters, and thousands of them are fleeing the country…
An estimated 3,000 Islamic State fighters as well as militants from other extremist groups have fled Syria for Jordan fearing a renewed offensive by the Syrian army in addition to Russian airstrikes, a military official has told RIA news agency.
“At least 3,000 militants from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), al-Nusra and Jaish al-Yarmouk have fled to Jordan. They are afraid of the Syrian army having stepped up activities on all fronts and of Russian airstrikes,” the RIA source said.
The mainstream media in the United States is not talking much about this, are they?
But the U.S. media is reporting on this latest airdrop of ammunition to rebel groups in Syria. For example, the following comes from CNN…
U.S. military cargo planes gave 50 tons of ammunition to rebel groups overnight in northern Syria, using an air drop of 112 pallets as the first step in the Obama Administration’s urgent effort to find new ways to support those groups.
Details of the air mission over Syria were confirmed by a U.S. official not authorized to speak publicly because the details have not yet been formally announced.
C-17s, accompanied by fighter escort aircraft, dropped small arms ammunition and other items like hand grenades in Hasakah province in northern Syria to a coalition of rebels groups vetted by the US, known as the Syrian Arab Coalition.
If you were the Russians, how would you feel about this?
I know how I would feel.
And just as Joe Biden has previously admitted, the “moderate middle” in Syria simply does not exist. The following is an extended excerpt from a piece that was originally written by investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed…
The first Russian airstrikes hit the rebel-held town of Talbisah north of Homs City, home to al-Qaeda’s official Syrian arm, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the pro-al-Qaeda Ahrar al-Sham, among other local rebel groups. Both al-Nusra and the Islamic State have claimed responsibility for vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIEDs) in Homs City, which is 12 kilometers south of Talbisah.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports that as part of “US and Turkish efforts to establish an ISIS ‘free zone’ in the northern Aleppo countryside,” al-Nusra “withdrew from the border and reportedly reinforced positions in this rebel-held pocket north of Homs city”.
In other words, the US and Turkey are actively sponsoring “moderate” Syrian rebels in the form of al-Qaeda, which Washington DC-based risk analysis firm Valen Globals forecasts will be “a bigger threat to global security” than IS in coming years.
Last October, Vice President Joe Biden conceded that there is “no moderate middle” among the Syrian opposition. Turkey and the Gulf powers armed and funded “anyone who would fight against Assad,” including “al-Nusra,” “al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI),” and the “extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world”.
In other words, the CIA-backed rebels targeted by Russia are not moderates. They represent the same melting pot of al-Qaeda affiliated networks that spawned the Islamic State in the first place.
It has been well documented that many of these so-called “moderate rebel groups” in Syria have fought alongside ISIS and have sold weapons to them. So this false dichotomy that Barack Obama keeps trying to sell us on is just a giant fraud. The following comes from a recent Infowars report…
In September, 2014 a commander with the FSA admitted cooperating with ISIS and the al-Nusra Front.
“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun,” Bassel Idriss said. “Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values.”
In July of 2014 a report in Stars and Stripes documented how the 1,000 strong Dawud Brigade, which had previously fought alongside the FSA against al-Assad, had defected in its entirety to join ISIS.
The same month factions within the FSA — including Ahl Al Athar and Ibin al-Qa’im — pledged services to the Islamic State.
Members of the Islamic State claim to cooperate with the FSA and buy weapons provided by the U.S.
“We are buying weapons from the FSA. We bought 200 anti-aircraft missiles and Koncourse anti tank weapons,” ISIS member Abu Atheer told al-Jazeera. “We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA. For us, the infidels are those who cooperate with the West to fight Islam.”
U.S. anti-tank weapons are playing a critical role in the Syrian conflict. As reported by the Washington Post, U.S.-made anti-tank missiles are being used by the rebels to destroy lots of Russian-made tanks that are being used by the Syrian army…
So successful have they been in driving rebel gains in northwestern Syria that rebels call the missile the “Assad Tamer,” a play on the word Assad, which means lion. And in recent days they have been used with great success to slow the Russian-backed offensive aimed at recapturing ground from the rebels.
Since Wednesday, when Syrian troops launched their first offensive backed by the might of Russia’s military, dozens of videos have been posted on YouTube showing rebels firing the U.S.-made missiles at Russian-made tanks and armored vehicles belonging to the Syrian army. Appearing as twirling balls of light, they zigzag across the Syrian countryside until they find and blast their target in a ball of flame.
Like I said earlier, this is looking more and more like a proxy war between the United States and Russia.
Could that be what Obama actually wants?
Obama is poking China in the eyes lately too. CNN is reporting that U.S. warships may soon be sailing into territorial waters around the Spratly Islands. These are islands that the Chinese government claims ownership over, but the U.S. government disputes that claim, and Obama seems determined to flex his muscles in the area…
The United States (US) may soon deploy war ships near China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.
It wants to send a message that it does not recognize China’s territorial claims over the area.
This is according to a Financial Times report quoting a senior U.S. official who said its ships will sail within 12-nautical-mile zones that China claims as its territory around the Spratly Islands within the next two weeks.
If Obama sends warships into that area, there is a very real chance that they could get shot at. According to Newsweek, the Chinese are saying that they will not permit U.S. ships to violate those territorial waters under any circumstances…
“We will never allow any country to violate China’s territorial waters and airspace in the Spratly Islands, in the name of protecting freedom of navigation and overflight,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in response to a question about possible U.S. patrols. “We urge the related parties not to take any provocative actions, and genuinely take a responsible stance on regional peace and stability.”
Such exchanges appear to be moving China and the U.S. toward a much feared, yet long expected, military confrontation. Just as unsettling, both sides seem confident they can prevail.
Over the past couple of years our relations with China have really gone downhill very rapidly, and if the trading relationship between the two largest economies on the planet breaks down, that would have massive implications for the entire global economy.
In addition to everything above, the civil war in Ukraine continues to rage on. The United States funded, equipped, trained and organized the forces that violently overthrew the democratically-elected government in Ukraine, and then once those thugs (which actually included some neo-Nazis) took power, the Obama administration immediately recognized them as the legitimate government of Ukraine.
The Russians were absolutely infuriated by this, and they have been providing soldiers, equipment and supplies to the rebel groups that are fighting back against this new government. Of course the Russians deny that they are doing this, but it is exceedingly obvious that they are.
The rebel groups that the Russians have been backing have been doing very well and have been steadily taking ground, and this is not how the power brokers in D.C. envisioned things playing out in Ukraine. So in a desperate attempt to shift the momentum of the conflict, a bill is going through Congress that would provide “lethal military aid” to the government in Kiev. Initially the bill would have provided 200 million dollars in lethal aid, but now it has been upped to 300 million dollars. There are some that believe that the final figure will be significantly higher.
Once this bill gets passed, it will be an extremely important event. For the Russians, it will mean crossing a red line that never should have been crossed. You see, the truth is that Ukraine is Russia’s most important neighbor. Just imagine how we would feel if the Russians helped overthrow Canada’s government and then start feeding weapons to the new pro-Russian government that they helped install. That is exactly how the Russians view our meddling in Ukraine.
Earlier this year, I wrote an article in which I discussed an opinion poll that showed that 81 percent of all Russians now view the United States negatively, and only 13 percent of Russians have a positive view of this nation. Not even during the height of the Cold War were the numbers that bad.
The stage is being set for World War III, but most Americans are completely and totally oblivious to all of this because they are so wrapped up in their own little worlds.
Most Americans still seem to assume that the Russians and the Chinese are our “friends” and that any type of conflict between major global powers is impossible.
Well, the truth is that conflict has already begun in Ukraine and Syria, and tensions are rising with each passing day.
It won’t happen next week or next month, but we are on the road to World War III.
So what will the end result be? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
by Richard Ebeling
Since the economic downturn of 2008, the critics of capitalism have redoubled their efforts to persuade the American people and many others around the world that the system of individual freedom and free enterprise has failed.
These critics have insisted that it is unbridled capitalism, set loose on the world, which is the source of all of our personal and society misfortunes. We hear and read this not only in the popular news media and out of the mouths of the political pundits. We see it also in the election of a radical socialist to the leadership of the British Labor party, and a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” riding high in the public opinion polls for the Democratic Party’s nomination to the U.S. presidency.
The first observation to make is that many if not most of the social and economic misfortunes that are most frequently talked about are not the product of a “failed” free enterprise. The reason for this is that a consistently practiced free enterprise system no longer exists in the United States.
The Heavy Hand of Regulation
What we live under is a heavily regulated, managed and controlled interventionist-welfare state. The over 80,000 pages of the Federal Register, the volume that specifies and enumerates all the Federal regulations that are imposed on and to which all American businesses are expected to comply, is just one manifestation of the extent to which government has weaved a spider’s web of commands over the business community.
The Small Business Administration has estimated that compliance costs imposed on American enterprise by this mountain of regulations maybe upwards of $2 trillion a year.
At the same time, the tangled web of corrupt government-private sector relationships is also reflected in the size and cost of special interest lobbying activities connected with the Federal government.
According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Government, in 2014 there were almost 12,000 registered lobbyists working in Washington, D.C. Their job is to influence the writing of legislation that serve special interest groups attempting to obtain sectorial tax breaks, anti-competitive regulations or market restrictions, redistributions of wealth, or taxpayer funded subsidies and protections from the realities of free market competition and trade, or to advance various ideologically motived “causes.”
Spending Big Money to Plunder Others
The Center for Responsive Government, which tracks who lobbies and for what purposes and causes through the targeting of specific holders of or contenders for Federal elected office, including the Presidency and both Houses of the U.S. Congress, estimated that in 2014 lobbyists spent nearly $3.25 billion in the pursuit of privileges for some at the expense of others in society.
Just alone in 2013-2014, over $500 million dollars was spent on lobbying activity by the financial, insurance, and real estate sectors. Ideological and single-issue groups spent more than $352 million. Lawyers and lobbyists spent $151.5 million; health industry companies spent $142 million; and labor unions “invested” $140.6 million on lobbying.
Communications and electronic companies spent $116 million; energy and natural resource sector, $115 million; agribusiness, $77 million; construction companies, $67.7 million; transportation firms, $61 million, and defense companies, $25.4 million.
Based on the Senate Office of Public Records, the Center for Responsive Government calculates that lobbyists spent close to $41 billion on lobbying activities over the last 15 years, since the beginning of the twenty-first century.
These billions of special interest-serving dollars have influenced and affected the spending of trillions of dollars of Federal government expenditures over the same decade and a half. The lobbyists work with and use those who hold high political office so the special interest and ideological groups who employ them can plunder many others in American society; they can be viewed as among the most successful enterprisers in the country.
The Best Politicians Money Can Buy
But the symbiotic relationship between politicians and special interest groups of all types does not begin or end with the formal lobbying for legislative, regulatory and fiscal privileges and favors in the halls of Congress and the White House in Washington, D.C.
It goes on all year round all over the country in the form of campaign and electioneering contributions to get those elected or reelected who can be depended upon to direct the powers of government in ways that interest groups and ideological activists desire and from which they hope to benefit.
Again according to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2013-2014, individuals and PACS donated over $1.6 billion to 1,671candidates of both major political parties running for office in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Democratic Party candidates received $736 million, while Republican Party candidates received $901.5 million.
While it may seem unseemly to suggest such a thing, these amounts for legislative lobbying and campaign funding, of course, do not include more millions of dollars that grease the palms of those in political power or who want to be in those lofty positions that represent funding that are outside the official channels in the form of “gifts,” travel junkets, off-the-books expense accounts, and out-and-out bribes of one type or another.
The real world of corrupted and corrupting crony capitalism includes more than lobbying expenditures and campaign contributions to have ringside seats in the halls of political plunderland.
The media has been in a frenzy with the revelations that the Volkswagen automobile company manipulated information about emission standards on its diesel vehicles to deceive environmental regulators in both the United States and Europe. This is being portrayed by many in the media as another example and “proof” of the consequences of unbridled capitalism, when left outside of sufficiently tight and demanding government regulation and intense oversight.
Government Partnerships and the Volkswagen Scandal
However, a closer look shows that this is, instead, another example of the result arising from government, business and labor union “partnerships.” In Germany, labor union representatives sit on the executive boards of large companies and corporations that work closely with various levels of the German government to attain political and “social” goals and objectives very different and separate from what a truly free market company does in pursuing peaceful and honest profits in the service of consumer demand on open, competitive markets.
On September 25, 2015, The New York Times quoted a former Volkswagen executive who said:
“There’s no other company where the owners and the unions are working so closely together as Volkswagen. [Volkswagen] guarantees jobs for over half the supervisory board. What management, the government and the unions all want is full employment, and the more jobs, the better. Volkswagen is seen as having a national mission to provide employment to the German people. That’s behind the push to be No. 1 in the world. They’ll look the other way about anything.”
In such a politicized market economy, working for and serving “national” and “social” interests become the guiding principle of business decision-making. Not only does it lead to wasteful and inefficient economic business operations having less or sometimes nothing to do with cost-effective management and allocation of labor and resources to make better, newer and less expensive products, it also corrupts the individuals participating in these activities.
Breaking one or more regulatory standards imposed by government on these enterprises is merely one way of “doing business” to advance other political goals such as “jobs” and “full employment” that are expected as part of the “partnerships” with local and national-level politicians and labor union leaders.
The only thing expected from the business enterprises in these intricate political webs is: Don’t get caught. If you do, then your political partners become like Captain Renault, the prefect of police in the 1942 movie “Casablanca.” When Renault orders the closing of Rick’s Café, the owner asks him on what grounds. Renault declares that he is “shocked, shocked” to discover that there is gambling going on in the café. At which point the roulette coupé appears with a stack of franc banknotes in his hand and says to Renault, “Your winnings, Sir.”
Volkswagen got caught, and will pay handsomely in financial and other penalties that will, no doubt, be imposed by the U.S. and European governments. And all the time, Volkswagen’s political partners, especially in Germany, who fostered and worked with the company to play its part in the “game” of government interventionism that has nothing to do with market-oriented enterprise, will sanctimoniously condemn the greedy and “selfish” conduct of profit-hungry businessmen.
What all these examples and facts about lobbying activities, campaign funding and government-business partnerships highlight is the pervasive extent to which “capitalism” as it now exists in the United States or Europe – or in fact all other parts of the world – has nothing to do with free market, laissez-faire capitalism.
Corrupting Hand of the Interventionist State
The Austrian economist, Ludwig von Mises, described this twisted, corrupted, and politicized capitalism over 80 years ago, in 1932, in an essay on “The Myth of the Failure of Capitalism,” published shortly before the coming of Hitler and the Nazi movement to power:
“In the interventionist state it is no longer of crucial importance for the success of an enterprise that the business should be managed in a way that it satisfies the demands of consumers in the best and least costly manner.
“It is far more important that one has ‘good relationships’ with the political authorities so that the interventions work to the advantage and not the disadvantage of the enterprise. A few marks’ more tariff protection for the products of the enterprise and a few marks’ less tariff for the raw materials used in the manufacturing process can be of far more benefit to the enterprise than the greatest care in managing the business.
“No matter how well an enterprise may be managed, it will fail if it does not know how to protect its interests in the drawing up of the custom rates, in the negotiations before the arbitration boards, and with the cartel authorities. To have ‘connections’ becomes more important that to produce well and cheaply.
“So the leadership positions within the enterprises are no longer achieved by men who understand how to organize companies and to direct production in the way the market situation demands, but by men who are well thought of ‘above’ and ‘below,’ men who understand how to get along well with the press and all the political parties, especially with the radicals, so that they and their company give no offense. It is that class of general directors that negotiate far more often with state functionaries and party leaders than with those from whom they buy or to whom they sell.
“Since it is a question of obtaining political favors for these enterprises, their directors must repay the politicians with favors. In recent years, there have been relatively few large enterprises that have not had to spend very considerable sums for various undertakings in spite of it being clear from the start that they would yield no profit. But in spite of the expected loss it had to be done for political reasons. Let us not even mention contributions for purposes unrelated to business – for campaign funds, public welfare organizations, and the like.
“Forces are becoming more and more generally accepted that aim at making the direction of large banks, industrial concerns, and stock corporations independent of the shareholders . . . The directors of large enterprises nowadays no longer think they need to give consideration to the interests of the shareholders, since they feel themselves thoroughly supported by the state and that they have interventionist public opinion behind them.
“In those countries in which statism has most fully gained control . . . they manage the affairs of their corporations with about as little concern for the firm’s profitability as do the directors of public enterprises. The result is ruin.
“The theory that has been cobbled together says that these enterprises are too big to allow them to be managed simply in terms of their profitability. This is an extraordinarily convenient idea, considering that renouncing profitability in the management of the company leads to the enterprise’s insolvency. It is fortunate for those involved that the same theory then demands state intervention and support for those enterprises that are viewed as being too big to be allowed to go under . . .
“The crisis from which the world is suffering today is the crisis of interventionism and of national and municipal socialism; in short, it is the crisis of anti-capitalist policies.”
How different is today, in its essential qualities, from Mises’ description of the interventionist state and government-business “partnerships” during those years between the two World Wars?
Real Free Markets Mean Privileges for None
If what we have today is what is widely referred to as “crony capitalism,” then how might we define and explain what a truly free market capitalism would be like? Let me suggest that the following seven points capture the essence of a real free economy:
- All means of production (land, resources, capital) are privately owned;
- The use of the means of production is under the control of private owners who may be individuals or corporate entities;
- Consumer demands determine how the means of production will be used;
- Competitive forces of supply and demand determine the prices of consumer goods and the various factors of production including wages of workers;
- The success or failure of individual and corporate enterprises is determined by the profits and losses these enterprises earn in free competition with their rivals in the market place;
- The free market is not confined to domestic transactions, and includes freedom of international trade;
- Government is limited in its activities to the enforcement and protection of life, liberty, and honestly acquired property against, violence and fraud.
In a real free market, there is no place for politicians to offer privileges and favors, because there are none to sell. There is no motive or gain for special interest groups to spend huge sums of money in campaign contributions or lobbying expenses, because political benefits for some at others’ expense cannot be bought.
Wasteful and corrupting “partnerships” between government and business enterprises cannot occur because political authority is restrained from any task other than the securing of each individual’s right to his life, liberty, and peacefully acquired property.
As Ludwig von Mises said, the political and economic crises through which the world suffers is not the crisis or failure of the free market. No, it is the crisis and failure of the interventionist-welfare state, and its anti-free market capitalist ideology.
The New American
by Steve Byas
Image: posthumous portrait of Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo
The second Monday in October marks Columbus Day — a federal holiday since 1937 — when Christopher Columbus first stepped ashore in the Western hemisphere.
Sadly, in recent years it has become fashionable to trash the great “Admiral of the Ocean Sea” as one of history’s main villains.
Columbus Day, observed as the actual date of the great achievement of Columbus — October 12, 1492 — until President Richard Nixon designated the second Monday of October as the federal holiday (so federal workers could have a long weekend), is now what many celebrate as “Indigenous People’s Day.” Not surprisingly, the radical citadel of Berkeley, California, led the way in 1992 in downgrading the great explorer by changing the name of his day.
Katy Schumaker, a classics and letters professor at the University of Oklahoma, repeated the mantra that has become the left-wing template in recent years:
There are plenty of other people who came and “found” the Americas before Columbus did. I think that even if Columbus isn’t necessarily important as the person to discover the new world, his voyage, and then further, Spanish and Portuguese settlements, set up a chain reaction that made the Americas what they are today. Things like slavery, the decimation of native populations, all of those things were initiated by that first contact.
This sums up the smug academic attitude about Columbus found on most college campuses: (1) He did not accomplish anything of any importance; and (2) to whatever extent he did accomplish anything, it was something repugnant to all right-thinking people, as he was somehow responsible for the slavery of millions of black Africans and the deaths of millions of indigenous peoples.
South Dakota dropped Columbus Day back in 1990, in honor of Native American Day, and in 2014 Seattle and Minneapolis created Indigenous People’s Day. Since then, many other local governments have followed suit, including Multnomah County in Oregon; St. Paul, Minnesota; Olympia, Washiington; Traverse City, Michigan; and Albuquerque, New Mexico. And, of course, many colleges also have concluded that Columbus must not be remembered — at least not in a positive way.
Oregon’s Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury issued a statement claiming that honoring of Columbus was a celebration of “genocide.”
Benjamin Harrison was the first American president to issue a proclamation which encouraged the celebration of Columbus Day in 1892, upon the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the explorer’s discovery of the New World. Harrison considered it appropriate for Americans to honor Columbus and to show “their appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life.” After a lobbying campaign led by the Knights of Columbus, the Roman Catholic fraternal organization, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed October 12 of each year as a federal holiday.
Today, Americans of Italian ancestry are the most supportive of honoring Columbus, as he was an Italian from Genoa. In cities such as Buffalo, New York, with large populations of Americans of Italian ancestry, the day is still marked by parades and other celebrations. In Erie County, New York, Peter LoJacono of the Federation of Italian-American Societies in Western New York, told the Buffalo News, “This, for us, will always be Columbus Day. It’s a day we have always celebrated. We will continue to do so.”
So, the question is obvious. Is Columbus to be reviled or praised?
First, it should be noted that Columbus did not set out to “discover” America. Although popular culture now depicts him as being concerned primarily about gold and spices, this desire was actually part of a larger motivation. Columbus wanted to find enough wealth to finance a crusade to free the Holy Land from Islamic domination. Expecting to reach Asia by sailing west, he urged King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, the Spanish sovereigns, “to spend all the profits from this enterprise on the conquest of Jerusalem.” (Emphasis added.)
The Muslims had conquered Constantinople a few years previously, completing their multigenerational conquest of the Christian world in the East, including the Byzantine Empire and the lands where Jesus had lived, died, and risen from the dead. Columbus, after a careful study of the Old and New Testaments, along with some readings in the works of the first century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and the noted early church “father” Augustine, had concluded that the city of Jerusalem must be in Christian hands before Jesus would return.
While certainly the desire to reach the East by sailing west involved economics, Columbus did not set out from Spain to enslave American Indians. Indeed, he was ignorant of their very existence. After reading the travels of the Venetian Marco Polo, Columbus desired to reach the Gran Khan, the Mongol ruler of China. The Chinese monarchs had expressed an interest in the Christian faith. This created the idea within Columbus to convert China, and then with these combined Christian forces, proceed to drive the Muslims from the Holy Land.
Pre-Columbian America is pictured as a paradise by those who wish to denigrate Columbus. It was not. Slavery was hoary with age in America long before Columbus set sail from Spain. If Columbus is to be blamed for events which occurred long after his death, then he should be credited with certain achievements resulting from his voyages, as well. For instance, the Spanish Christians put a stop to the horrific human sacrifices and cannibalism practiced by the brutal Aztec empire.
Bartolomé de las Casas, a Spanish priest who advocated for better treatment of the native peoples, is often cited as the source of much of the alleged cruelties of Columbus. The truth is that Las Casas was complimentary of Columbus in his Historia de las Indias. “He [Columbus] was a gentle man of great force and spirit, of lofty thoughts and naturally inclined to undertake worthy deeds and signal enterprises; patient and longsuffering, a forgiver of injustices who wished no more than that those who offended him should recognize their errors, and that the delinquents be reconciled to him.”
Perhaps the most serious libel leveled against Columbus is that he committed genocide, and it is true that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of native peoples died in the decades after the Spanish invasion. But this charge is also easily refuted. The greatest cause of the deaths of the indigenous peoples of the Western hemisphere was disease, as the Spaniards introduced smallpox, plague, and measles into North and South America.
Tommy De Seno, writing in The Truth About Columbus, stated, “It is wrong also to blame Columbus for bringing genocidal microbes to kill native Americans.” He noted that the detractors “make fun of him thinking he was in the East. So was his evil plan to bring disease to wipe out the East?”
As De Seno rightly contended, transcontinental contamination was inevitable at some point. While not as widespread a killer as smallpox was to the Indians, syphilis was introduced into Europe from the Americas, killing more than five million people.
But what did Columbus accomplish?
Although he was most likely not even the first person from Europe to make it to the Americas, none of these earlier “discoverers” changed the course of history. Columbus did. As Samuel Eliot Morrison wrote in his book Christopher Columbus, Mariner, “We now honor Columbus for doing something he never intended to do…. Yet we are right in so honoring him because no other sailor had the persistence, the knowledge, and the sheer guts to sail thousands of miles into the unknown ocean until he found land.”
Because of Columbus, millions of individual souls in the Western hemisphere were exposed to the Christian religion. While this is for some at best a non-issue, and for others an outright negative, it carried both eternal and temporal positive consequences for the indigenous peoples of America. Human sacrifice and cannibalism soon came to an end. In Europe, life was improved dramatically by the introduction of new foods such as okra, tomatoes, Indian corn (maize), squash, and more.
It is difficult to imagine how any person could wish upon the indigenous peoples of America the life that existed before Columbus, with human sacrifice and cannibalism. Indeed, if one were to make a “short list” of the persons in history who had done the most to improve the lives of more human beings, a name that would have to be on that list would be that of Christopher Columbus.
The effort to demonize Columbus is part of the larger campaign to attack the foundations of Western civilization. It is the same as the motivation for attacking the historical reputation of men such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Because once these men are set aside as objects of admiration, they can be replaced with leftist icons, for the purpose of advancing a secular and socialist agenda.
In the end, Columbus is hated for his greatest virtue: He brought the Christian faith and western civilization to the New World.
by Mac Slavo
The next wave of the greatest financial crisis may soon be upon us.
When the music stops, and loans everywhere on cheap and easy credit are called, far too many nations, businesses and individuals will be suddenly and violently unable to repay their debts — particularly in the developing world.
The results are likely to be catastrophic, and the weight of the bad debts may well be enough take down the rest of the world with it. This is no small problem, and it is not clear if there is a solution.
London Guardian writer Will Hutton issues a stark warning that “the world economic order is collapsing and this time there seems no way out.”
According to the Guardian:
Europe has seen nothing like this for 70 years – the visible expression of a world where order is collapsing. The millions of refugees fleeing from ceaseless Middle Eastern war […] Yet there is a parallel collapse in the economic order that is less conspicuous: the hundreds of billions of dollars fleeing emerging economies, from Brazil to China, don’t come with images of women and children on capsizing boats. Nor do banks that have lent trillions that will never be repaid post gruesome videos…
Capital flight and bank fragility are profound dysfunctions in the way the global economy is now organised that will surface as real-world economic dislocation.
The heart of the economic disorder is a world financial system that has gone rogue… banking’s power to create money out of nothing has been taken to a whole new level… cash generated out of nothing can be lent in countries where the economic prospects look superficially good. This provokes floods of credit, rather like the movements of refugees.
The false boom that follows seems to justify the lending. Property prices rise. Companies and households grow overconfident about their prospects and borrow freely. Economies surge well above their trend growth rates and all seems well until something – a collapse in property or commodity prices – unravels the whole process. The money floods out as quickly as it flooded in, leaving bust banks and governments desperately picking up the pieces.
It is clear enough that the whole thing is a farce, perhaps meant to collapse. There is not one honest broker, or one responsible guardian in the whole lot of them.
Borrowing countries used cheap credit to offer absurd promises to their people, or cover other losses, while bankers and other vultures have been all too happy to prey upon these vulnerable nation-states on the way up and down of this crisis.
Interestingly, analysts break this financial crisis into three acts, with 2008 just a prelude to the more recent trouble in Europe — with the collapse of third world part of the spectacular and terrible finale:
Andy Haldane, Bank of England chief economist, describes the unfolding pattern of events as a three-part crisis. Act one was in 2007-08 in Britain and the US. Buoyed for the previous decade by absurdly high inflows of globally generated credit that created false booms, they suddenly found their overconfident banks had wildly lent too much…
Act two was in Europe in 2011-12, when it became obvious that the lending had been made on the incorrect assumption that all eurozone countries were equal. Again, money flooded out and Europe only just held the line with extraordinary printing of money by the European Central Bank and tough belt-tightening measures in overborrowed countries such as Portugal, Greece and Ireland. It might have been unfair, but it worked.
Now act three is beginning, but in countries much less able to devise measures to stop financial contagion and whose banks are more precarious… Turkey, Brazil, Malaysia, China, all riding high on sky-high commodity prices as the China boom, itself fueled by wild lending, seemed never-ending.
It was never meant to last. The collapse is its own bubble, feeding off of the desperate hopes of those who furiously borrowed to bail out their other problems.
The big banks today have more wealth and power than they did before the 2008 collapse, and the Federal Reserve has taken extraordinary measures to enable their power grab.
The world is in shackles, just waiting for the hammer to fall…
New Eastern Outlook
by Caleb Maupin
The reason for the drop in oil prices is the massive increase in oil production. Iraqi oil fields are refining more oil than at any time since the US invasion of 2003. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to expand its oil production apparatus, despite losing money in the process.
Domestic crude oil production in the United States is the highest it’s ever been, churning out 9.3 million barrels of oil every day. The innovative technology of hydraulic fracking is rapidly extracting a new surge of oil from vast, previously untapped deposits. Technological innovations in drilling and the process of refining also play a role in the current financially devastating overabundance on the oil market.
In the context of massive oil production and drastically low oil prices, after 40 years, the United States Congress is discussing a repeal of the 1973 oil export ban. With so much oil being refined within the United States, it makes sense that oil companies would want to start making money selling it outside of the country.
The oil export ban has always had a single exception, allowing US oil firms to export to Canada, the country’s northern neighbor, which has always been dependent on US energy corporations. Current US oil exports to Canada are fourteen times higher than in 2007, showing how desperate US oil is to reach markets beyond the border.
The White House officially opposes lifting the ban, but leading Democratic Party figure and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who speaks as a de-facto representative of the powerful Democratic Leadership Council, has announced she would support lifting the ban — if certain concessions are made.
If domestic US oil begins to flow onto the international markets, creating further overabundance in the process, the price of oil will drop even further than before. The US-aligned Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and now the US Congress itself, have been and are now continuing to push measures to hurt the profits of Wall Street oil firms in the short term, in order to serve real long-term political objectives.
Recent turmoil on the stock market indicates that the prolonged strategy of maintaining low oil prices to serve geopolitical ends has real economic consequences, and may soon be abandoned. However, before the prices are allowed to rise, the “Oil Showdown” with oil-producing opponents of US hegemony will have to play out. The rise of tension in the Middle East and Latin America indicate that final countdown to a new oil war could be very rapidly approaching.
The Middle Eastern Tinderbox
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in coordination with its Wall Street paymasters, is waging a violent war of aggression against its neighbors.
The autocratic Saudi regime is funding, training, arming, and transporting violent anti-government extremists to Syria. Over 200,000 people are already dead as the US-aligned regimes in the region, led by Saudi Arabia, keep this ugly war going.
Saudi Arabia is currently engaged in a horrific bombing campaign in Yemen. Saudi soldiers, along with soldiers from the equally autocratic United Arab Emirates, have been on the ground, attempting to re-install the puppet dictator Mansour Hadi. Thousands of Yemenis have already died as US-manufactured missiles pound the country, in an effort to beat back a mass uprising of the people.
Repeatedly the Saudi military has sent its troops into Bahrain, in order to put down popular uprisings for democracy and keep the unpopular autocratic monarchy on the throne.
In Iraq, Sunni extremists have been on a campaign of terrorism and murder. Long before “ISIS” or “Daesh” made international headlines with its atrocities, money from the Saudi Kingdom was flowing into the hands of violent Sunni takfiris in Iraq. Iraqi Shias, the majority of the population, have been forced to form militias to protect themselves.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has the fourth-largest military budget of any country in the world. These weapons are exclusively purchased from the United States.
As the Syrian Arab Republic defends itself from Saudi terrorism; the people of Bahrain battle for democracy against a brutal, US-Saudi backed king; the people of Yemen battle against a Saudi-led attack and invasion; and the Shia community in Iraq seeks to defend itself, the major regional player that has spoken in support of all them is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran is also a consistent supporter of the Palestinian resistance, despite deep political and religious differences with its leaders.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, with its state-owned oil apparatus, is led by the Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. Iran has an armed network called the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that is directly loyal to Khamenei. Khamenei frequently denounces the system of western capitalism, and condemns the United States and Israel for their crimes around the world. The Islamic Republic of Iran openly strives to “stand with the oppressed” around the world. Within its borders, the Islamic Republic provides free healthcare and education, and tightly regulates the markets, keeping society in line with religious principles.
The Iranian leadership also benefitted from the drastic rise in oil prices in 2003, after its major enemy Saddam Hussein was deposed in Iraq. Knowing that overdependence on oil was a potential weakness, Iranian leaders began to build nuclear power plants, hoping to diversify their energy sector. The response was illegal unilateral sanctions from the United States, based on the false allegation that Iran was seeking to acquire nuclear weapons with its peaceful nuclear energy program.
In the context of low oil prices and economic problems in Iran, the US and Iran have reached a nuclear conclusion after months of the “P5+1 Negotiations.” Iran is currently in the process of drastically reducing its peaceful nuclear energy program, in exchange for a lifting of US sanctions.
Tensions in the Middle East are rising all the time, as Israelis harass the Al-Aqsa mosque with daily raids that offend Muslims across the region. The conflict in Syria is escalating and Yemen continues to endure a horrific Saudi assault. What exactly is planned for the Middle East as the low-oil strategy reaches its climax is yet to be seen.
Cash-Starving “21st Century Socialism”
In 2003, when Iraq was blown to bits by the Pentagon’s “shock and awe,” its oil production apparatus was destroyed along with it. The price of oil went through the roof, as a major oil-producing country was blown off the market and supply dropped.
Hugo Chavez, the elected leader of Venezuela, had just defeated an attempted coup against him, supported by the United States in 2002. It was in 2003, in the context of that post-coup victory and a boom in the oil markets, that Chavez announced his intention to move Venezuela toward “21st Century Socialism.” Chavez had been originally elected on an economic program of the “third way between capitalism and socialism,” but after defeating the US-backed coup in alliance with trade unions, rank-and- file soldiers, and leftist street activists his program shifted significantly leftward.
Venezuela’s government-owned oil company was able to subsidize a huge expansion of social programs. Government-funded schools and literacy campaigns were established. In exchange for Venezuelan oil, Cuban doctors were brought to Venezuela in order to provide free healthcare in government-run clinics across the country.
Between 2003 and 2007, Venezuela’s economy expanded by 70%. In 2003, 55% of Venezuela’s population lived in poverty. By 2007, the number was down to 34%, and it continued to decrease.
Led by the United Socialist Party, the Venezuelan state sector has nationalized industries and also subsidized an apparatus of communes and cooperatives. Bolivarian political leaders have always raised concerns about the economic revolution’s dependence on the oil revenue, seeing it as a weakness that could be exploited by their enemies.
Since 2014, Venezuela’s oil money has been drying up as the US and its Saudi allies consciously drive the oil prices lower, and do everything possible to keep them down.
The oil-price drop has coincided with an escalation of meddling in Venezuela by US-aligned and -directed forces. In the spring of 2014, events called “La Salida” involved massive street violence, staged by US-funded NGOs like the Albert Einstein Institute. Scores of innocent people were killed by shootings, bombings, and razor wires strung across street intersections.
Since the oil price manipulation began in 2014, anti-government Venezuelans have begun a coordinated practice of hoarding certain foods and consumer products. Entire warehouses of food have been discovered by Venezuelan officials, where wealthy Venezuelans have been hoarding items in order to create false shortages and panics.
The Venezuelan opposition, funded and controlled by wealthy interests in the United States, has been attempting to re-craft its image, preaching a kind of social-democratic message about opposing “corruption” rather than the vulgar pro-market rhetoric that defined its previously unsuccessful efforts. In the 2014 upsurge of violence, wealthy young Venezuelans donned Occupy Wall Street-style Guy Fawkes masks as they attacked healthcare clinics and buses. For the upcoming election, the traditionally conservative Venezuelan opposition has even nominated a “socialist” transgender woman for office, presenting itself as more liberal.
Wall Street Pushes For Continental Crises
Destabilization efforts have also escalated on Venezuela’s borders. Fanatical anti-communist paramilitaries from the US-aligned country of Colombia recently began illegally crossing over Venezuela’s borders. Troops have been sent to the Colombian border to quell the situation as smuggling and destabilization from Colombia has escalated.
Guyana, another US-aligned regime, has also begun to harass the Bolivarian Republic. The Venezuelan ministry of foreign affairs says that Guyana’s attempts to claim certain oil-rich Venezuelan border territories are part of a pattern of “recurring provocations and aggression” from their US-backed neighbor.
The obvious intent of Washington is to create a big enough economic and political crisis in Venezuela that the December elections can be utilized to foment regime change. Even though the United Socialist Party has undisputedly won all of the recent elections according to international observers, the US-backed opposition routinely declares all election results to be fraudulent. Whatever the result of the December vote, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Central Intelligence Agency are prepping their Venezuelan proxies for serious provocations.
The United Socialist Party-led Bolivarian revolutionaries are also preparing for the upcoming conflagration. In order to stimulate the economy and keep the loyalty of the Venezuelan public, the government led by Chavez successor Nicolas Maduro is engaged in a push for affordable housing. All across Venezuela the government is building high-quality affordable apartment buildings for low-income Venezuelans. Millions of unemployed Venezuelans have been hired to build new affordable housing units, and millions of Venezuelans will soon be moving into new, well constructed homes.
Meanwhile, over 160,000 Venezuelans who are not part of the official military have formed “Bolivarian Militias.” If there is a direct foreign attack on Venezuela, or an episode of domestic right-wing insurrection, these thousands of young ideological and armed revolutionaries are prepared to defend their revolution.
As the elections approach, the US media is already attempting to turn Leopoldo Lopez, who directed anti-government violence, into a “human rights” martyr after he was given a prison sentence.
Ecuador, another oil-exporting country which has aligned with Venezuela, is also facing similar destabilization efforts. Washington’s coordinated efforts to keep oil prices low is playing a key political role in Latin America. Events in Venezuela and Ecuador are tied in all across the continent. Central America is also becoming less stable as anti-corruption protests have rocked Guatemala and Honduras.
A Global Walmart Scheme
Many in the United States have bemoaned the practices of the low-wage “big box” store called Walmart. The chain of Walmart stores, now the biggest employer in the United States, has a reputation for its practice of beating out any competition from local businesses by offering dramatically low prices until a near monopoly can be established. Once any competitors are defeated, Walmart raises its prices, as consumers no longer have other options.
The global crisis of low oil prices is essentially the business practices of Sam Walton being applied on a global scale by the banking and oil cartels of Wall Street and London. US and British oil corporations, in coordination with their Middle Eastern vassals, are dropping the prices lower and lower. They hope that by doing this they can defeat their competitors in Russia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Iran, and secure control of the world market.
However, in the global marketplace, “defeat” does not mean forcing the competitor into bankruptcy. Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gaddafi presided over state-owned oil companies that were in competition with Wall Street and London. They were forced out of the global marketplace with cruise missiles and bombs.
In the 21st Century, public ownership of natural resources has become the basis for anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist projects. The oil price fix is not merely a strategy for cornering the market, but it has deep ideological and political implications. Countries which export oil in competition with the United States tend to have socialist, nationalist, and populist economic models, in which there is heavy government control of business in service of the public. The countries aligned with the United States tend to have heavily unregulated and neoliberal economic models, in which the activities of big business are unrestrained, and the setting of government policy is turned over to transnational institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, or the World Bank.
The recent dramatic events on the US stock market show that the geopolitical strategy of keeping oil prices low cannot be maintained forever. As oil prices remain low, other commodities are seeing a decrease. Natural gas prices are dropping. Steel and copper have declined in their market value as well. The stock market is writhing in the pains of overproduction. There is too much oil, steel, copper, and natural gas being produced. The market cries out for a fresh barrage of destruction in order to keep the profits rolling in.
The possible lifting of the oil export ban indicates that the boardrooms of US oil corporations are anticipating the ultimate conclusion of their price-fixing scheme. They are preparing themselves for a global market where key economic opponents have been removed, and in their absence, countries around the world begin to import oil from the United States.
As tensions rise in Latin America and the Middle East, it is clear that the anticipated oil showdown is approaching. The artificial deflating of oil prices cannot be continued much longer. The drive for economic independence and self-determination in oil-producing countries across the world is about to be severely tested. The price of oil will soon rise again, but before this happens, dramatic global events are likely to occur.
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
New Eastern Outlook
by F. William Engdahl
There are two great myths used in recent years to convince the world of imminent catastophe unless we drastically change our living style in the direction of austerity. Both myths are based on scientific fraud and uncritical propagation by sympatheic mainstream and even some alternative media. One is the idea that world climate is warming, or at least “changing,” owing almost solely to us, to our man-made emissions. The second great myth, launched first in 1956 in Houston Texas by an employee of one of the world’s largest oil companies, was dusted off some 15 years ago at the start of the Dick Cheney-George W. Bush Administration. It’s called the theory of Peak Oil.
The good news is our coastal cities are not about to be washed away by melting icebergs or rising oceans, nor is our supply of conventional oil and gas–hydrocarbons–likely to run out for centuries or more. It has nothing to do with the highly damaging and very costly extraction of tight oil from shale rocks, but with the abundance of conventional oil around the world, the vast part of which has yet to be discovered or even mapped.
The most dramatic discoveries of new oil and gas reserves in recent years has come from the Mediterranean in areas off Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon and believed to be offshore Greece as well. In 2010 Israel and the Houston, Texas company, Noble Energy, discovered the largest offshore gas field, Leviathan. It was the world’s largest gas discovery in a decade, with enough gas to serve Israel for at least a century. The geophysics of the offshore areas around Greece suggest that that hapless country could also have more than enough undiscovered oil and gas to repay all foreign debt and more. Not surprisingly the Washington-led IMF demands that Greece privatize her state oil and gas companies, a near certainty that major Western oil firms would sit on their development as was done in past decades until leases expired in 2004 and reverted back to the Greek Government.
In 2006 Brazil’s Petrobras made the largest offshore oil discovery of the last 30 years, holding at least 8 billion barrels of oil in the Santos Basin 250 kilometers from Rio de Janiero. Then-President Lula da Silva proclaimed it would give the “second independence” for Brazil, that from Western oil imports. In 2008 nearby Petrobras, a state company, discovered an equally large natural gas field called Jupiter near their Santos oil discovery. Under Lula’s presidency, the Parliament passed measures to insure oil development would remain in Brazilian hands under Petrobras and not in those of the American and British or other foreign oil majors. In May 2013 after Lula retired and was succeeded by Dilma Rousseff as President, US Vice President Joe Biden flew to Brazil to meet with her and the heads of Petrobras. According to Brazilian sources, Biden demanded Rousseff remove the laws that kept American oil majors from controlling the huge oil and gas finds. She politely declined and soon after she was hit with a major US Color Revolution destabilization that continues to this day, not surprising, with a scandal around Petrobras at the center.
More recently, Iceland, recovering from her banking crisis, began seriously looking offshore for oil and gas in the Jan Mayen Ridge north of the Arctic Circle in 2012. The geophysics are the same as offshore North Sea and one Icelandic former senior government official told me during a visit some five years ago that a private geological survey indicated Iceland could be a new Norway. According to the US Geological Survey, the Arctic could hold 90 billion barrels of oil, most of which is untapped. China made Iceland a key partner, and the two signed a free-trade agreement in 2013 after China’s CNOOC signed an offshore joint venture in 2012 to explore the offshore.
In April 2015 the energy exploration firm UK Oil & Gas Investments announced it had drilled near Gatwick Airport and found what they estimated could be up to 100 billion barrels of new oil. By comparison the entire North Sea has yielded some 45 billion barrels in 40 years. As well in May, UK oil company Rockhopper announced a new oil discovery in the disputed waters of the Falkland Islands offshore of Argentina believed to contain up to one billion barrels of oil.
Now in August, 2015 the Italian oil company ENI announced discovery of a supergiant gas field in the Egyptian offshore, the largest ever found in the Mediterranean Sea, larger than Israel’s Leviathan. The company announced the field could hold a potential of 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas in place covering an area of about 100 square kilometres. Zohr is the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea.
There are huge undeveloped oil and gas reserves in the Caribbean, the area of an impact crater that made numerous fissures and where three active tectonic plates come together and part. Haiti is one such region, as is Cuba. In May the Cuban government released a study that estimated Cuba’s offshore territorial waters held some 20 billion barrels of oil. Russia’s oil subsidiary, Gazprom Neft, has already invested in one section in Cuban waters, and during Russian President Putin’s July, 2014 visit to Havana in which Russia cancelled 90% of Cuban Soviet-era debt worth some $32 billion, Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russia’s state-owned Rosneft, the world’s largest oil company, signed an agreement with Cupet, the Cuban state oil company, to jointly explore the basin off Cuba’s northeast coast. That Russian participation in the huge Cuban oil search might explain the sudden rush of the Obama Administration to “warm up” relations with Cuba.
How oil is ‘born’
The accepted oil industry explanation holds that oil is a finite resource, a so-called fossil fuel, biological in origin, that was created hundreds of millions of years ago by the death of dinosaurs whose detritis by some yet-unidentified physical process transformed into hydrocarbons. The claim is that concentrated biological detritis somehow sank deep into the earth—the world’s deepest oil drillling in Russia’s Sakhalin region, drilled by Exxon, is more than 12 kilometers deep. There it supposedly flowed into underground pockets they call reservoirs. Others say also algae and tree leaves and other biological decayed matter added to the process.
In the 1950s a group of Soviet scientists was tasked with making the USSR self-sufficient in oil and gas as the Cold War heated up. The first step in their research was to critically investigate all known scientific literature on origins of hydrocarbons. As they looked closely at the so-called fossil fuel theory of oil, they were amazed how unscientific it was. One physicist estimated that for the huge oil that has come out of one giant well, Ghawar, in Saudi Arabia, it would require a block of dead dinosaurs, assuming 100% conversion of meat and bone to oil, that would reach 19 miles wide, deep and high. They soon looked for other explanations for the birth of oil.
They made exhaustive tests in the deep-earth research labs in Moscow of the Soviet military. They developed the brilliant hypothesis that oil was constantly being created deep in the bowels of the Earth below the mantle. It pushes upward towards the surface passing through beds of various elements such as ferrite. They did repeated laboratory experiments producing hydrocarbons under tempetrature and pressure imitating that in the mantle. These migration channels, as the Soviet scientists termed them, were fissures in the mantle caused over millions of years under the expanding of the earth and forced by the enormous temperatures and pressures inside the mantle. The path the initial methane gas takes upwards towards the surface determines whether it emerges and collects as oil or as gas, as coal, as bitumen as in Canada’s Athabasca Tar Sands, or even as diamonds which are also hydrocarbons. The Russian and Ukrainian scientists also discovered, not surprisingly, that every giant oilfield was “self-replentishing,” that is new oil or gas is being constantly pushed up from inside the mantle via the faults or migration channels to replace oil withdrawn. Old oilwells across Russia that were pumped far beyond their natural full rate during the end of the Soviet era when maximum production was considered highest priority, were then shut, considered exhausted. Twenty years later, according to Russian geophysicists I have spoken with, those “depleted” wells are being reopened and, lo and behold, completely refilled with new oil.
The Russians have tested their hypothesis to the present day, though with little support until now from their own government, whose oil companies perhaps feared that a glut of new oil would collapse oil prices. In the west, the last thing Exxon or other Anglo-American oil majors wanted was to lose their (once) iron grip on the world oil market. They had no interest in a theory that would contradict their Peak Oil theory.
Today a geopolitical decision by Saudi Arabia to wipe out the market-disturbing recent emergence of the United States as world’s largest oil producer owing to the major increase in shale oil production, has temporarily collapsed world oil prices from over $100 a barrel in July 2014 to around $43 today in the US market. That is leading to a dramatic cut-back in oil exploration around the world. In a fair world, oil or gas should be available at affordable prices to every nation to serve its own energy requirements and not the monopoly of a tiny cartel of British or American companies. Good to know is the fact that the oil and gas are there in super-abundance that we need not freeze in the dark or turn to windmills until the time mankind develops completely different forms of energy that are clean and earth-friendly. Wars to control oil or gas would become silly nonsense.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
Why Are The IMF, The UN, The BIS And Citibank All Warning That An Economic Crisis Could Be Imminent?
The Economic Collapse
by Michael Snyder
The warnings are getting louder. Is anybody listening? For months, I have been documenting on my website how the global financial system is absolutely primed for a crisis, and now some of the most important financial institutions in the entire world are warning about the exact same thing. For example, this week I was stunned to see that the Telegraph had published an article with the following ominous headline: “$3 trillion corporate credit crunch looms as debtors face day of reckoning, says IMF“. And actually what we are heading for would more accurately be described as a “credit freeze” or a “credit panic”, but a “credit crunch” will definitely work for now. The IMF is warning that the “dangerous over-leveraging” that we have been witnessing “threatens to unleash a wave of defaults” all across the globe…
Governments and central banks risk tipping the world into a fresh financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has warned, as it called time on a corporate debt binge in the developing world.
Emerging market companies have “over-borrowed” by $3 trillion in the last decade, reflecting a quadrupling of private sector debt between 2004 and 2014, found the IMF’s Global Financial Stability Report.
This dangerous over-leveraging now threatens to unleash a wave of defaults that will imperil an already weak global economy, said stark findings from the IMF’s twice yearly report.
The IMF is actually telling the truth in this instance. We are in the midst of the greatest debt bubble the world has ever seen, and it is a monumental threat to the global financial system.
But even though we know about this threat, that doesn’t mean that we can do anything about it at this point or stop what is about to happen.
The Bank of England, the UN and the Bank for International Settlements have all issued similar ominous warnings. The following is an excerpt from a recent article in the Guardian…
The IMF’s warning echoes a chorus of others. The Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, has argued that the world is entering the latest episode of a “three-part crisis trilogy”. Unctad, the UN’s trade and development arm, would like to see advanced economies boost public spending to offset the downturn in emerging economies. The Bank for International Settlements believes interest rates have been too low for too long, encouraging too much risk-taking in financial markets. All of them fear that the global financial system is primed for a crisis.
I particularly like Andy Haldane’s likening our current situation to a “three-part crisis trilogy”. I think that is perfect. And if you are familiar with movie trilogies, then you know that the last episode is usually the biggest and the baddest.
Citigroup economist Willem Buiter also believes that big trouble is on the horizon. In fact, he is publicly warning of a “global recession” in 2016…
Citigroup economist Willem Buiter looks at the world landscape and sees an economy performing substantially below potential output, which he uses as the general benchmark for the idea of a global recession. With that in mind, he said the chances of a global recession in 2016 are growing.
“We think that the evidence suggests that the global output gap is negative and that the global economy is currently growing at a rate below global potential growth. The (negative) output gap is therefore widening,” Buiter said in a note to clients. He added, “from an output gap that was probably quite close to zero fairly recently, continued sub-par global growth is likely to put the global economy back into recession, if indeed the world ever fully emerged of the recession caused by the global financial crisis.”
Usually when we are plunged into a new crisis there is some sort of “trigger event” that creates widespread panic. Yesterday, I wrote about the ongoing problems at commodity giants such as Glencore, Trafigura and The Noble Group. The collapse of any of them could potentially be a new “Lehman Brothers moment”.
But something else happened just yesterday that is also extremely concerning. Just a couple of weeks ago, I warned that the biggest bank in Germany, Deutsche Bank, was on the verge of massive trouble. Well, on Wednesday the bank announced a loss of more than 6 billion dollars for the third quarter of 2015…
Deutsche Bank’s new boss John Cryan set about cleaning up Germany’s biggest bank on Thursday, revealing a record pre-tax loss of 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in the third quarter and warning investors of a possible dividend cut.
Write downs, impairments and litigation costs all contributed to the loss, the bank said.
Cryan became chief executive in July with a promise to cut costs. The Briton is accelerating plans to shed assets and exit countries to shrink the bank and is preparing to ax about 23,000 jobs, or a quarter of the bank’s staff, sources told Reuters last month.
Keep an eye on Germany – the problems there are just beginning.
Something else that I am closely watching is the fact that major exporting nations such as China that used to buy up lots of U.S. government debt are now dumping that debt at an unprecedented pace. The following comes from Wolf Richter…
Five large purchasers of US Treasuries – China, Russia, Norway, Brazil, and Taiwan – have changed their minds. They’re dumping Treasuries, each for their own reasons that are now coinciding. And at the fastest rate on record.
For the 12-month period ended July, sales of Treasuries by central banks around the world reached a net of $123 billion, “the biggest decline since data started to be collected in 1978,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
China, the largest foreign owner of Treasuries – its hoard peaking at $1.317 trillion in November 2013 – has been unloading with particular passion. By July, the latest data available from the US Treasury Department, China’s pile was down to $1.241 trillion.
Yes, I know, the stock market went up once again on Thursday, and all of the irrational optimists are once again telling us that everything is going to be just fine.
The truth, of course, is that everything is not going to be just fine. Ever since I started the Economic Collapse Blog, I have never wavered in my belief that the greatest economic crisis that the United States has ever seen is coming, and I have written well over 1000 articles setting forth the case for the coming collapse in excruciating detail. Nobody is going to be able to say that I didn’t try to warn them.
Those that have blind faith in Barack Obama, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and the other major central banks around the planet will continue to mock the idea that a major collapse is coming for as long as they can.
But when the day of reckoning does arrive and crisis coming knocking at their doors, what will they do then?