The Pentagong Show

The Pentagong Show
United State of Terror: Is Drone War Fair?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mourning in America: Where Has All the Money Gone?.

Gone to Graveyards, every One.


To Everything, Churn Churn Churn.






















Where has all the money gone, long time fracking?
Where has all the money gone, where do Fed funds flow?
Where has all the money gone?
Clung to like Charlton Heston's gun
They think it's just to churn, not one cent do they earn.

Where have all the old churls gone, long time passing?
Where have all the old churls gone, long time ago?
Where have all the old churls gone?
Gone to offshore, every one
They've left us here to burn, They just wish we'd all burn.
Where has all the money gone, long time passing?
Where has all the money gone, I think you know.
Where has all the money gone?
Gone for soldiers, drones and guns
Arms now are so much fun; full of depleted uranium.
And where have all these soldiers gone, long time passing?
Where have all these soldiers gone, our modern-day "Rambo"?
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, think John Donne.
Add PTSD and suicide, so many more have died.
Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
Where have all the graveyards gone, not so long ago?
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Gone to flowers, every one
How much more can be borne? Before we start to mourn?
















































Friday, March 27, 2015

Both Sides Now.


Gorillas in the midst ... of War.



Let's do the math, shall we?

Since everything needs to start somewhere, let's start with the beginning of the century, millennium, and decade of the aughts, or in terms of US foreign policy, ought nots:

In the first year of the Bush Presidency, the regime invited the Taliban to the White House where they shook hands with their emissaries and extended to them the funds of the American taxpayers to the tune of 43 Million bucks (and the bucks most assuredly, did not stop there). We're all pretty cognizant of what happened next.

Prior to that, his father had given both intelligence and material support to the Iraqis, before he turned on Saddam and invaded his country. The US is now still embroiled in that mess, on which side? Does it really matter? Tomorrow it's sure to be different.

Let's move on to Syria. That regime, because Iraqi refugees were fleeing across its border in the hundreds of thousand from our little temper tantrum next door, the Assad regime, even before its several-year drought, was hard-put to keep politically stable. One look at the US Congress' reaction to a comparative trickle of refugees from central America showing up at our borders last year, the Syrian acceptance of half a million without a whimper always impressed me (I'm sure there must have been some remonstrances but I can't find them), especially when you consider the difference in the size of the economies of the two nations relative to the size of the incoming population.

We have since turned on that leader and funded several of the rebel armies that revolted against the
Assad regime's rule, leading to the eventual forming of ISIS.

And now we have ISIS in Libya, whose leader we bombed into an early grave.

Al Qaeda is, of course, an offshoot of the US forces sent into Afganistan in the form of the Saudi/Wahhabi indoctrinated mujaheddin, who now are in Yemen, fighting Iran, who we are in alliance with in Iraq against ISIS, but fighting against Iran in Yemen, Iran, who, as noted in my previous post, we sold weapons to during the Reagan administration, although they still had exocet missiles left over from the Shah's arsenal, generously supplied by the US.

Let's tot them up, shall we?

Libya

Iraq

Iran

Syria

Afghanistan

Yemen

Ukraine

All countries to whom we have been on both sides of their conflicts, not just supplying both sides, but materially on one side of their conflicts, and then taking up opposition to that side later. Leaving arms paid for by the American taxpayers and abandoned to the enemy-du-jour by our allies-of-the-moment, to the tune of billions of dollars: the Taliban in Afghanistan, ISIS in Iraq, and, most recently, the rebels in Yemen, (there alone more than $500 million worth), and of course now pouring more into a different US-created conflict in war-torn Ukraine (the last bit leaving one wondering, why not just send them directly to Russia?).

Not so obviously, but very close to the same situation happened in Egypt, Saudi Arabia (despite all the denials, both Bin Laden and the pilots that slammed hijacked airplanes into targets on the US mainland are all from Saudi Arabia, but since, in the pre-fracking world, they held our economy in their unctuous grip, we turned on a more convenient target instead), Israel/Palestine.

None of this mentions Central America where the same dynamic, with smaller populations and less geopolitical power, is evident: Panama, Nicaragua, San Salvador, Honduras.

All of this is reflective of two US obsessions: Anti-communism and Oil.

Which then points to Ukraine and Russia, Armenia, Georgia, and all the littoral countries of the oil-rich basin of the Caspian sea, of especial note being Kazakhstan with its enormous reserves in the Kashagan oil field; Georgia, where we first encouraged the right-wing freak Saakashvili in his attack on South Ossetia in 2008,  killing hundreds of Ossetian citizens, leaving Tskhinvali in ruins, hundreds of Georgian soldiers killed, Georgian military destroyed, thousands of displaced Georgians, their world in turmoil, for the sake of the personal ambitions of that tinpot kleptocrat whose motives and US ties seem to be mirrored today by Poroshenko's.

In this New World Disorder, which when it was called Order, we proudly boasted it was of a Triumphalist American origin, we must now accept, by any logical consideration of events, its state of chaos as also being of US origin, as we are the self-proclaimed sole Super Power. It is all too, non-comically, reminiscent of the TV spoof of the Cold War spying operations portrayed in the comedy Get Smart. But instead of Control and Chaos, (the two competing spy organisations in the T.V. series), we seem to have run all out of control and descended into unapologetic chaos, one of our own making, to which there is no accompanying laughtrack, as it is all too sad, and one in which we continually flail around looking for somebody else to blame. And with good reason. Because had Get Smart depicted the actions America took since the end of the Cold War in any of its episodes, it would have been considered too far-fetched to have been conceivable, and for comedy to be good, it needs to maintain a measure of plausibility about it.

The level of violence is set to only increase, as we swirl down into this  maelstrom of our own creation, one furnished with denial, gullibility, and deliberate murderous machinations similar to Saakashvili's, costing untold lives for tawdry, if not purely evil, motives. The irony of this, given my last post, is the Reagan Administration's depiction of the Soviet Union as the Evil Empire. Well how accommodating of the US to step up to the plate and fill the void left by its dissolution. Welcome to the new Evil Empyre, the same, and, judging from the maelstrom of madness descended into during Capitalism's rampage in the 20'th century, far bloodier, as the old Evil Empire.


















Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Reagan Revolution: How America Worships its own Betrayal.

                                             
Nancy Boy's Rule!




                                                     "While economic ambitions are good servants, they are bad masters"
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                            R.H. Tawney
                                                                                                          Religion and the Rise of Capitalism

While reading Hedrick Smith's book on the dissolution of the Soviet Union, "The New Russians", I came across a quote from Artyom Borovik and thence a book written by his son, Genrikh Borovik, about the 20'th century's most famous spy, Kim Philby, called "The Philby Files", wherein it's hard to ignore Ronald Reagan's assertion that Philby was a traitor to his country (Great Britain). Because, despite the reverence a large segment of the American populace feels for our actor become President, there are certain changes he wrought that led to the destruction of Capitalism, and began the celebrated ascension of the executive branch and the military, to the position of unassailable power they now hold, wherein they both consider themselves to be above the Law.

He championed the unparalleled growth of not only the federal government itself, but of the National debt and the annual budget deficits, the Voodoo economics that purports to wring inflation out of the economy while stimulating it at the same time via deficit spending and Military Keynesianism, weaving the fantasy that oil and energy supplies can be indulged in as though they are agricultural products that can simply be grown, while turning the housing industry into a Ponzi scheme by abetting the destruction of the Savings and Loan industry, encouraging the wink and a nod, nudge-nudge cozy relationship between Washington and Wall St., as well as the immoral self-indulgence of the Christian Moral Majority who then castigate sexual indulgences of which they disapprove while ransacking the world and its resources so they can indulge their own perverse way of life, trumpeting their love of family values while they sink their own children and grandchildren into intractable debt and fill the only atmosphere we have with choking gasses and put the warming of the planet into hyper drive.

All this and he stands up at a Veterans' Banquet and calls Philby a traitor?

His administration championed the ascension of the Family of criminals known as the Bushes, sold missiles to our enemies, missiles that were used against our own military as they were fired on a Navy frigate, the Stark; made allies of the Dictator Saddam Hussein, illegally funneled arms to a group of right-wing fanatics in Central America, housed the former director of the CIA who was running a secret operation from the Whitehouse that ended up selling cocaine on the streets of our cities, to raise money to supply arms to the "Freedom fighters", a cadre of thugs and murderers he insultingly likened to the soldiers who fought for the American colonies' independence from Great Britain.

And how is Philby, a man who witnessed firsthand his Upper Class buddies extolling the virtues of Hitler and was privy to the machinations of the Cliveden Set in Great Britain as they schemed on ways to funnel money to the Nazi Party and to Franco's fascists in Spain, a traitor, whereas the man who did all the above with a smile and a chummy grin and false promises of a Good Morning America while he reset the economy to destroy the power of a burgeoning middle-class he despised, to funnel the output of the economy they ran to the Aristocracy he loved, a patriot, but Philby, a traitor?

There was an excellent PBS special on the other night, that at first appeared like it was going to be yet another paean to the Reagan mystique, but that, as it continued, it became obvious that the creators of this video were not about to simply pay homage to a  stalwart figure, but were more interested in pointing out the Contra dictions (sic) in his legacy. At the end of the show, they showed some clips of Andrew Bacevich, the author of "The Limits of Power (The end of American Exceptionalism)", in which he itemizes some of Ronald Reagan's betrayals:

He promised to check and reverse the growth of government ... he did neither; on the contrary he grew it to unprecedented size.

He promised to put America's house in order ... he left it in complete disarray.

He promised to shut down extraneous government agencies; instead the bureaucracy grew by close to 5%, it was only the regulatory agencies such as the SEC and the EPA, whose effectiveness was curtailed.

He said he would, "begin the world over again", too ridiculous an assertion to even comment on.

He said he would build America into, "a city upon a Hill"; he left it in the pits, handing it over to the control of the criminal Bush family to pillage and plunder to their hearts' content.

He encouraged Americans to indulge their self-indulgence: forget about our dependence on imported oil by wielding US military power to gain access to it, surrendering the US future to an unsustainable consumer economy based on cheap credit and cheap oil, turning the Republican phrase, (cited by PJ O'Rourke), that Republicans believe in God, Democrats believe in Santa Claus; but everyone knows there is no Santa Claus; Reagan told them he was both, using huge deficits and negative balance of payments, turning the net international investment position of the US, for the first time since WW2, negative.

He also abetted and exacerbated the nation's descent into the vortex of the Islamic world, funding the most dangerous of the Islamic fundamentalists and funneling armies thorough the Pakistani mountains into Afghanistan, all countries in which we are still involved today and from which you can draw a straight arrow from this misconceived adventurism to the attacks on the mainland  that occurred on 9/11, and therefore to the resultant War on Terror, the unstoppable growth of the NSA, and the turning of the US from a cradle of Democracy to a center of Terrorism itself, sending unarmed drones to assassinate whoever is on the nation's hit-list-du-jour, in complete abrogation of all international treaties and UN Law.

What Reagan did do, was he helped bring about the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Whether or not that was good for Russia, I can't have any way of knowing, because most of what we get is so propagandized, although I can't but believe that it has had some positive aspects to it; but I do think it was good for Finland, for example, and certainly for Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, and numerous other countries that were under the iron rule of Soviet domination. But even this, I'm not sure had to be undergone in the manner it was, by creating SDI, building a military whose size can never be shrunk, whose domination of the economy can never be lessened, anymore than the FED's QE program, without the same repercussions: a cratering of the entire economic system that's become dependent on the Military as its main profit center.

 Hand-in- hand with that went a scuttling of the arts so profound that anything referred to as "Modern" Art is talking about art made, at the earliest, more than half a century ago. the only artform that exists in real size today is the movie industry and all they churn out any more is adolescent comic book movies of overbuilt superheroes, American Warrior movies featuring snipers and Special Ops that engage in such unsavory practices, they make James Bond look like he's downright noble, or zombie apocalypses and Vampire movies featuring the undead as sex symbols that suck the life out of anyone foolish enough to think that there's any value to be associated with human Love.

So whereas this may sound like a diatribe against the man, it's mostly meant in counterpoint to the near canonization of him and his legacy that the beginning of a Presidential campaign will soon enough turn the volume up on, and so I felt the necessity of pointing out that whereas he may indeed have made parts of the world a better place, he didn't in fact make his own country a better place. And that is why his words disparaging Kim Philby rankled: because that's all Kim was trying to do too. And for all his subterfuge, he went about it in a far less underhanded way than Ronald Reagan; and whereas Philby betrayed those who enjoyed wealth and power, Ronald Reagan betrayed those who had neither.






Monday, March 16, 2015

The Dark Corners.



When Even a Star Pupil sees Nothing.


I keep trying to put this blog to bed and write fiction instead, but I have about as much imagination as a Republican once I actually sit down to do the actual typing, and I really can't get fired up enough about writing a fictitious account about anything, really, when the reality of the world is so much more interesting and frightening than anything I could concoct. I have the same problem with producing artwork lately too. Who Cares? It's just a form of self abuse, mental masturbation, as they say. But then, after finding this book at the library, "A Woman in Berlin", about a journalist trapped in Berlin just before the Russians roll in with their katyusha rockets and over-amped sex drive, reminded me that the reason I started this blog in the first place wasn't to comment on how I felt things were heading, but to document what was occurring since there was nobody else that seemed to be noticing that their world was heading pell mell toward a brick wall of reality while they entertained lunatic delusions of grandeur (in 2006, during the period during which I was keeping written journals, because I didn't know how else to register, if only silently (as there was no google blog then and all my friends were avoiding me, feeling I'd gone over the edge), my shock and awe, one of the entries is: "@ the current rate, nearly a million people will have entered foreclosure by the end of '06", yet this was well before the start of CDO squared or "Covenant light" loans), by pulling their "savings" out of their homes to build extensions, put marble on their kitchen floors, or granite on the counter tops, or buy that boat they just had to have, while, because I was in a black neighborhood and saw first hand the slimy tactics and deliberate targeting of black people, with the full cooperation of City Hall with its black Mayor, Willie Brown, helping to skewer his "brothers", because churning property in post prop-13 California was the surest way to increase municipal receipts, since, when a property gets sold, it resets the basis upon which the tax on said property is levied, which sometimes increased it by a factor of ten or higher, as was documented by Thomas Hudson in his book, "The Monster", I was once again reminded of how white middle-class folk think they're so much smarter than "the blacks", and yet then do the exact  same thing.

Then, on Naked Capitalism 's web site, there was an article posted, entitiled, "Postcard from the end of America: Washington DC", by Linh Dinh, describing DC from an outsider's perspective, and those two accounts, the anonymous lady's and Linh Dinh's, were so compelling and touching that they gave me heart, because they were both coming from the same place as I was. Just wanting to document what was right in front of everyone's face but that nobody wanted to see. In other words, I don't have to be writing a novel to feel like I'm writing something worthwhile. Not, of course, that that in and of itself makes what I write worthwhile, but at least that I'm in good company, and there is, if not a genre, a body of writing that, although it may have no impact, at least has a heart, and to which I can aspire to produce something that has merit enough to perhaps warrant my continued efforts and that someone may someday like to read.

What all that is prologue to is the need to express the continued feeling that has been with me, especially since the beginning of the year, and was caused by the twin events of cessation of the FED's QE, initiated by Benron in order to leave Janet Yellen, and the halving of oil prices, which two events are conjoined at the hip, that the endgame of what started in 2008, and that we've all been pretending for seven years isn't going to happen, is now upon us.

This sentiment is constantly being re-enforced, not only by events, but by those pundits I like to read, as disparate as Mish and AEP (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard), and Resilience.com's Archdruid, John Michael Greer, Kunstler, and Dmitri Orlov , Wolf Richter, and various investment newsletters. Now whereas some of these are what I've come to call, Collapsniks, as their entire self-worth seems to be invested in an almost pornographic depiction of collapse as a necessary and even desirable eventuality, they more and more resemble those who are always calling for revolution, even as we witness the civil wars in both Ukraine and Syria, along with the disintegration of the late state of Iraq, and seem to find the horrendous price extracted by the downward spiral into revolution, one they're willing to pay. But these (the collapseniks, not the revolutionists) have now been joined by Michael Klare, Gail the actuary, Ilargi, and other more sober-minded analysts, in heralding the start of something new in 2015 that is not going to just blow over, or allow us to continue in what has become our melancholic madness, our dance with death, as we witness in silence the monetary maelstrom which, as announced on Friday, and reported by Wolf Richter, the US federal government has started stirring into a greater frenzy by buying oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Even as California keeps drilling wells to grow lettuce to ship out of the state, it's like drill baby drill to ship oil out of the past-peak-oil US: selling out your own future.

Kamikaze Kapitalism Kultur: Once the malinvestments are made with QE borrowed money, now all securitised and leveraged, as the continued production of fracked oil demonstrates, the loans must continued to be serviced, so the drilling must continue, even into the teeth of a glut and a crash in prices that necessitates producing twice as much oil to earn the same amount of dollars. But those loans must be serviced, as the banks have once again invested in a fallacy, this time that oil prices, like home prices and dot-coms before them, will always go up. That is why Janet's Yellen about raising interest rates even as the fed sits on 4 trillion dollars of MBS that would otherwise be in the NPL category of the big four TBTF banks' balance sheets. So Obama's initiated millions of dollars in federal purchases of fracked oil to store in the SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve). Do you see that? Do you get the suicidal dynamic of burning energy to drill out oil that releases so much methane into the atmosphere, all needing to be flared, that the US has overtaken the historical holder of that record, Russia, and become the #1 flarer of natural gas in the world, then shipping that oil in railcars (more energy burned, more CO2 dumped into the only atmosphere we have) that explode on a regular basis and burn it all up in order to deliver what's left to a hole in the ground, all of which will cause the California drought to intensify, all while California does the same thing with its underground water supplies, with the same rigs, now retired from the overproduction in the oilfields, digging deeper and deeper into its irreplaceable emergency fund to ship water out of the State in the form of heads of lettuce, even while none is coming down from the sky? This isn't an economy, it's a death spiral.

There were a couple of sentences in the woman in Berlin's journal mentioned above that were stark comments, first on American power, then on government power in general. One of the sentences was her jaundiced view of a fellow Berliner who was going over to the hospital because they were supposedly neutral locations that were banned from being bombed, about which she commented to herself, "The strategy of carpet bombing was woven so tightly there were no holes big enough to allow compassion through". That hasn't changed. But she also referred to the Russians in their midst as her enemies. Not Hitler, not the Nazis, although she neither agreed with nor accepted their ideas. The Russians, the Americans, the "other": those were her enemies.

Now here is a woman both intelligent and perceptive, and even she didn't see what was right in front of her own eyes. These so-called enemies of hers would be nowhere near Berlin, would be in their beds, in their own countries, tending to their own needs and those of their families, if it weren't for Hitler and the Nazis, her very own homeland, home-grown enemies. Her True enemies were not the ones spilling across Germany's borders to mow down what was left of German manhood and rape and pillage the countryside and the women now left helpless to stop their advances. The subtitle  of her journal is "Eight Weeks in the Conquered City", which were gruesome, but which could not even compare, (as it occurred in April/May, not December/January, for one thing) with the privations and inhumane suffering wrought by the Wehrmacht amid the German invasion and siege of Stalingrad for a far longer period on a people who did absolutely nothing to the German Volk, yet that volk sat quietly by and allowed it to happen, with no more purported justification for the invasion than slogans praising the glorious future of the Fatherland.

Poland, France, Spain, Serbia, Hungary, country after country the German Blitzkrieg rolled over and flattened into the muck all for the greater glory of the Reich, and none of that mattered; only when the armed forces of the countries that her countrymen had FORCED them into developing, was there any conception of what they had wrought, and even still, it is the Russians she sees as her enemy.

When was it?  '91? I was the on-call tech for the weekend and the pager went off calling me to troubleshoot a problem on one of the Front-end processors in the Wells Fargo network newly moved to the old Crocker Bank building where its purchaser had relocated their Data Center. Having resolved the problem, I was filling in the logbook, and looked up to see the entire operations staff goggling at the monitors in the glassed-off room adjoining the one in which the machines hummed away in their chilled, dust-free goldfish bowl. I was the only fish looking out at their world and wondering what was so transfixing. George Herbert Walker Bush had started the stealth war against a former ally, Iraq, and was, under cover of darkness, with the Soviet threat of retaliation removed, destroying the civilian infrastructure of Iraq, purposely targeting roads, bridges, power plants, and systematically eviscerating a modern nation and leaving it prostrate to our plunder, the rewards for which he, his cronies, and his family, would be positioned to reap in the decades to come, with our oh-so-silent blessing. And here they stood, oohing and aahing as though they were watching a video game, as the means of subsistence of an entire people that had done nothing to them, was being bombed to oblivion. Delivering smart bombs as presents from stupid people.

The  populace of the United States had been primed to accept this, the world cajoled into accepting the right of the US to initiate a bombing spree in order to show off and test their newest technologies and bask in a glow of triumphalist hubris that was as painful to watch as witnessing a fat, spoilt 10-year-old slap and bully his younger, weaker siblings the minute their parents went out for the evening.

As hard as it is to face the fact that your government is your enemy, the fact remains for anyone who takes even a cursory look at the events of the last few decades, the US government has become the worst enemy of the US people: not ISIS, not Al Qaeda, not the Taliban, none of these entities, like the US B-52 flying fortresses and the Brit's RAF and the Russian katyosh missiles in WW2, would even be in existence if it were not for the actions of Hitler then, and the US now. But because the human mind and condition is what it is, we will always prefer to allow our true enemies to do as they see fit as long as we don't have to see our homeland bombed. It can be utterly destroyed via fracking, or from pumping our only emergency water supply out of the ground because it "creates Jobs" even though those jobs, mostly filled by people from another country crossing our borders in violation of not only our own laws, but international law as well, will leave us all without the most vital fluid necessary for our survival, and think that those who pursue their own self interest to the detriment of their own countrymen and the ultimate destruction of the very Homeland they tax them so heavily to "protect", have a perfect right to do so.

We have fed a War Machine that was created to destroy the Third Reich but that we neglected to disassemble after doing so, instead importing its staunchest avatars all the while nurturing it and encouraging the mindset that supports it until we've reached the point where it is devouring itself, as US weapons are used, first by the Taliban and Al Qaeda, now by ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, against us, yet we still refuse to see that our enemy, as the cartoon character, Pogo, so long ago pointed out, is US.

But whereas no human agency is currently in a position to put an end to the mad spree of currency debauchery and militarized megalomania, the triple e's of Energy, Economics and Environment are conspiring against the continued mayhem of a non-stop onslaught against humanity and the natural world. Denial about its ramifications, insisting that free-for-or-all economics is not only the best way to run the world, but the only way, leaving no room for alternative solutions to develop, gets louder, the extremes gone to continuing to escalate, all to prove that, "It's all good". Now we're threatening to raise the interest rate to show how hunky-dory the US economy is as it sinks further into recession and the economic slowdown in the rest of the world deepens, which will, of course, price US exports even higher, and make oil, even as its nominal price goes down, more expensive, because it's priced in dollars and those are getting more and more expensive as other countries engage in currency wars in a race to the bottom that devalues their own currencies, pushing the price of oil even lower here, although higher elsewhere, causing the US oilpatch to throw out of their jobs the only workers in the private sector who aren't living on starvation wages, and thereby demonstrating to their fellow citizens that even those with the best jobs in the most profitable industry are precariously positioned. Hunger will, as only hunger can, convince the citizenry finally, that it isn't in Denmark that something is rotten, but in the much-vaunted "American Way of Lies" that we've somehow decided must be maintained despite all the forces insisting that it is worse than a chimera, it is a nightmare we've woven so tightly into the fabric of our warped consciousnesses, we'll insist on whatever is weft of the social safety net being shredded to ribbons, because even as disaster looms, "there are no holes big enough to allow compassion through".









Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Pentagong Show.


The Pentagong Show

Cleaning out old cobwebs and dust balls, I discovered a long buried journal I used to keep before I finally just gave up and started writing everything into the cloud. Back then, Bernanke was blaming the US CAD (current acct. deficit) on other countries, and we were still entertaining the fiction that the net worth of a country was equivalent to the equity in the country's balance sheet such that a nation's citizens and businesses have investments in other nations and those investments are the asset side of the balance sheet, whereas liabilities exist in the form of claims on  US assets by foreign investors. Assets minus liabilities would then be used to compute the net worth or equity; what a nation owns minus what that nation owes, thereby reflecting its international net worth.

But the US rampage in Afghanistan and Iraq changed all that. The US Patriot Act and the Bank Secrecy Act made it harder and harder for the world to use the US financial system, even as we demanded $2bln/day in foreign loans, fostering a parallel financial system from which the US is more and more isolated and in which the US doesn't participate. This was the even shadowier shadow banking system run in parallel to the US's own shadow banking system that was pumping billions of faux dollars into keeping investments in the Bush regime's planned push for a parallel oil production platform of expensive oil even as the World's light sweet crude production was peaking.

But that was then. No one in the world was admitting that there was any such thing as peak oil, even as the production of Iraq was shut down by the Texas Oil Magnates (Maggots would be a better term) in the Whitehouse intent on getting their Ponzi scheme up and running before the end of their term, so as to finance Halliburton (whose ex-CEO was still receiving checks from the oil services giant even while sitting as Vice President), which was feverishly putting up rigs in North Dakota's Bakken and the Eagle Ford "plays" in Texas. Taking a page from his father, who was instrumental in getting the economy rigged while setting up the Carlyle Group to reap an enormous "Get your Piece Dividend" by buying up the assets of defense companies, the value of which, following Pere Bush's declaration of said "Peace Dividend", were rigged to plummet, but which, thanks to Halliburton's shenanigans in Kuwait,where they brought their horizontal drilling technology, having proven it in the Bakken in 1987, to show the Kuwaiti's, as reward for their help during the Iran/Iraq War (during which then Vice President Bush was in the Whitehouse, where Dickhead Cheney was the Chief of Staff, feeding intelligence to Iraq while simultaneously selling cocaine in central America, valiantly fighting communism, of course, to finance the smuggling of arms to their opponents, the Iranians),  to drill across Iraq's border, because it was known by the Kuwaiti royals that the Burgan field was in precipitous decline, instigating the pretext under which the President of the United States, with Cheney, as his "Defense" minister, would go off to War, skyrocketing the value of the shares they'd bought up for pennies on the dollar, per Bush pere's "advise" to the Carlysle Group, and for which the Defense Secretary would be rewarded with a nice position as Haliburton's CEO after his term was up.

But for a family with the insatiable greed of the Bush Dynasty and its acolytes, this windfall merely whet their appetite, and the GW regime was paving the way to keep the dollars flowing to the Halliburton plays via strangling the production of the only known remaining source of light sweet in the world, the billions of estimated reserves beneath the Iraqi desert sands. So as the MSM stood aghast as the administration committed blunder after blunder while Comedy Central's The Daily Show featured Jon Stewart playing his part by lampooning the supposedly feckless GW, he and Cheney were acting their respective roles in this Confederacy of Dunces oil play, known as the Iraq War, but their fruit, like GW's father had taught him, would ripen after they were out of office and the Fed could prime the oil pump with the necessary financing to keep money pouring into the oil sector, having first escalated the price of oil via the shadow banking system that was pumping money into the pockets of investors (total bank credit in the US grew by $1.3Trillion during just the first quarter of 2005). In the meantime they were paying back their campaign promises to the Texas backers by pouring the funny money  of the Wall St. scam of MBS, CDO, and CDO squared moneyness empire to fuel speculation in the only asset whose production they knew had peaked: light sweet crude (the rest of us may be fooled by CERA, but it was the AEI, funded by the administration's Neo-con buddies, who provided the funds to Yergin to come up with his sanguine predictions of plentiful oil now and forever, Amen), but Texas is the #1 oil producing state in the country, and at $100+/bbl, they were being well-rewarded for putting the buddy of Enron's Kenneth Lay in the Whitehouse.

And now Jeb Bush wants his turn. Once more the world is to be plunged into chaos to enrich an already gluttonously wealthy oiligarch even further. The screed of greed knows no limits, it exists in the pure amoral realm of unabashed self-aggrandizement from which it offers not the least shred of apology, as getting what you want and to the hell with everyone else isn't a failing, but a success; the attainment of the American Dream where one can bask in one's glory and hold sway over all those whose lives you have destroyed in order to get destructively wealthy, and they will fall at your feet in admiration of your feat.

And that is the real reason that global warming will not be slowed, climate change not decelerate, but, as we are witnessing, but denying every day, will continue to accelerate instead. Because to lay all the blame on Republicans is just beating around the Bushes:

In a documentary on pollution in China, a woman is interviewed on the subject, and, being pregnant, she is very concerned for the life she now has growing inside her, ie for her own offspring. Prior to that, she worked like everyone else, saw the pollution that was choking the children of her fellow workers and causing asthma in the children of her neighbors, but that didn't affect her attitude one whit. Let them all die, there's too many people in the world anyway. The weak deserve to be culled from the population. It was only when SHE had the prospect of a child that she became concerned that maybe that poor little vulnerable being would be damaged.  All the other poor little vulnerable beings that were damaged before her pregnancy meant absolutely nothing to her. Their deaths and illnesses were the price that had to be paid in order for the Chinese to get rich. Such considerations were anathema to her. I don't know this woman, and I don't say it has anything to do with her being Chinese, but she illustrates the intractability of our dilemma: nobody cares for anyone but their family. That's what the stoking of "Family Values" with the bellows of Capitalism, greed and individualism, fosters, because you know there is no other group, not clan nor tribe, nor  union nor guild, nor religious institution, and certainly not the State, that's going to help you.

But this mentality can't hold, wouldn't even have taken such an ascendancy, had it not been for the US, which will defend it to our utter ruin. In my aforementioned journal, there is an entry dated 6/1/2006 that reads:

"As I read once again that Putin is 'becoming more authoritarian and presiding over the rollback of democracy', as described by the Bush administration, I'm struck by the, once again, shameless, blatant double standard no one comments on or cares about, because at no other time in US history has a regime in DC moved further toward the strengthening of executive power and authoritarian rule and away from Democracy, than in the current administration."

But as always, it was the underlying coded message that held the real meaning. What Putin was doing is what nations in all the world needed to do: jail the oligarchs, make it clear that pillaging the resources of the country by opening them up to be plundered for the enrichment of a few while the rest of the citizenry is left to bear the burden of the externalities such as the expense of paving roads, poisoned water supplies, deforestation, endless Wars, and a climate being fueled pell-mell into cataclysmic climate change, is no longer going to be tolerated. The opposite message than that of the Reagan Revolution, that exhorted mankind to do exactly the opposite, screw the consequences, take what you need, grab what you can get, and crush anyone who gets in your way, because it's the American Way, so it's blessed by God.

Compared to this philosophy, Putin's stance that oligarchs have a responsibility to the country that made them rich seems reasonable and sane to me, and more importantly, constraining. Had the US followed Putin's lead in 2006, the utter calamity that befell the global economic system in 2008 may never had occurred. Instead, the Wild West approach of Washington DC (Destructive Creation) to let moneyed moguls run roughshod over the citizens, the environment, and the Constitution, to gorge themselves with undeserved wealth while spiraling the world into a future of avoidable catastrophes they feel they'll have the wherewithal to sail through unscathed, is not tenable.  Nor is it even meant to be. But the current administration's followed the same path, ignoring the exploding Deepwater Horizon, who's anniversary is this month, and exploding railroad cars and exploding governments all around the world and pretending that everything is just fine, so long as we can get that bad ole Putin to behave, or whoever else is the next bogeyman to be fingered by Washington to distract us constantly so we won't think too much before signing that student loan document, or that lease/loan contract for the SUV we can't afford, or the mortgage on that house we only need to put 3% down on, but that has therefore had the non-recourse clause removed.

But the future we face has nothing to do with Vladimir Putin, whose policy of jailing the most destructive and criminally insane oligarchs we eschew as trammeling on their "freedom", and everything to do with the Enronification of the entire global economic system that sends an entire country off to endless Wars, squandering our savings and plunging us into intractable debt to enrich a few private entitled citizens, to make good their bets in a system they've rigged completely openly, smirking in derision at a public too self-absorbed and smitten with "Patriotism" to notice how easily they're used as pawns to further the tawdry ambitions of a dynastic clique. If you remember, even Enron's corporate logo was crooked, they knew no one would realize why; and they changed the red white and blue, to red white and green, replacing the color that stands for virtue and honesty with the one that embodies greed and envy: the color of money.