The Pentagong Show

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

Thursday, March 10, 2016

As the World Burns .... Trumplestiltskin Yearns.

Build, Destroy, Repeat ...

The word has barely digested the news that the Copout21 talks were more than just a waste of time, they have become, like Davos, merely another excuse for members of the world's Supraclass to climb into a jet and junket to another fabulous destination and stay at well-appointed hotels on the dime of various NGO's while pretending to "do something" about the climate crisis even while most of the people in a position to actually make a difference remain in full denial mode about anything being wrong with the current state of affairs.

So, as though in order to drive home that point, the OPEC and non-OPEC countries alike are in a fierce, very open, pitched (and I do mean pitched, as in black tar) battle, to extract every drop from the earth's crust, and make its CO2 content available for dispersion into its atmosphere, even as it floods the world market, plunges the price to levels that don't even pay for the extraction let alone transportation and storage, and, with Iran as a prime example, despite the estimated surplus of a million barrels a day of production in excess of demand, scurry to pull even more out of the ground and dump it onto the already-flooded market.

All this occurring just in time for what's still referred to in the USA as the "Driving Season". So it is heralded as good news that the gasoline inventories in Cushing, OK, have been dented by the surge in demand for refined fuels.  Just as there will be a surge in demand for jet fuels as the well-heeled, following the example of the oh-so environmentally concerned, clamber onto planes to ride to far off destinations in search of Paradise, or just to visit Nana or go to someone's birthday, wedding or funeral. The more the world undergoes diaspora of its burgeoning populations from overcrowded metropolises to better climes for better times, the demand for air travel will remain high for exactly that reason: family affairs that require/demand the attendance of far flung family members.

Meanwhile the glut in oil production has a mirror image that nobody wishes to reflect on which is the over capacity in automobile production. This is overcapacity on a country by country basis that can only be resolved in the way a capitalist system knows, by switching that capacity over to war production. War Production being the sine qua non of a capitalist economy the way it never is for a communist economy. Because, since a communist economy is so terribly inefficient, it can never produce the necessities, never mind anything beyond. But a capitalist economy efficiently squeezes out all costs from the production process. So efficiently that the cost of labor comes under constant downsizing pressure and is diminished further and further until the workers are either made redundant by robotics or LBO's until there is no further need of the product they produce, not because the demand has diminished, but because there is nobody left with the wherewithal to buy anything.

War solves that problem. You can have production slaves laboring away to produce that which they will never have a chance to own because it will be exploded into fragments thereby requiring more of them be manufactured. It is this point of absolute saturation that the rigged economies of the OECD nations have reached and which is the reason for the insanity of US foreign policy whereby trillions of US tax dollars have been atomized, but, in a never-ending cycle, demand for the products of the US War Machine, referred to as US "Defense", continues to escalate and provide the lion's share of profits in a world with such a surfeit of cars and computers and i-phones and televisions that the only way manufacturers can move them off shop floors is to offer them at such low prices they can't afford to do anything but lay off more workers, and begin the cycle anew.

 Hence, the sanctions against Russia. NATO, having tried to sucker Putin into a conflict with Ukraine, one he can't win and so won't fight, instead, sent his flying aces to Syria to engage there. This is a much better ploy, one the US knew was coming, as per the sarin gas intervention that stopped Obama's planned invasion, leaving it up to the Russkies to provide not only air power, but, intelligence services, so that Turkey could be exposed for the agent provocateur it is. Seriously ... who did you think was providing a transit route for all that ISIS oil that they were siphoning from Iraqi and Syrian oilfields? What did  you think was the reason for the plummeting oil prices (they could sell it at rock-bottom price, not having to pay investors, or taxes) and the concomitant deluge of black gold, that when a million barrels/day over the global economy's needs are produced becomes just black goo that just sits around waiting for an accident to happen, which , if nothing else, is a target for terrorist bombs?

 It seems perfectly apparent  that it is the Russian intervention in the Syrian uncivil War that has goosed oil prices back up toward $40/bbl. Isis supply lines through Turkey having been decimated as well as their unimpeded access to stolen technology and infrastructure are bound to have exactly that effect. Wonder why none of the Republican candidates are using this to bash Obama. Maybe because you'd have to actually have some knowledge of how well the US and the other industrial economies in general are greased by the addition of millions of barrels of WD-40. But that 's not the kind of constituent they attract.

With the Rube-io telling them Obama knows exactly what he's doing and that "I'm no scientist" when asked about climate change (How'dcha like to be HIS daughter asking if you should bring an umbrella ? "I'm no weatherman!" Don't ask me to assess anything). I was surprised the other day to see an almost exact quote from Balzac in Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain" to the effect that "Of all the forms of stupidity, cleverness is the worst", and these two remarks from The Rube are too clever by half. Yet they're perfectly illustrative of most of his pithy rejoinders. The other candidate, Ted Cruz Missile, is intent on incinerating the middles east, and thinks this is a fine thing to brag about during a Presidential candidacy. He also promises to take away your healthcare as his first official act upon ascension to what he apparently considers the peacock throne.

And we're supposed to be upset because the electorate is opting for The Donald? It's the healthiest sign I've seen since the turn of the century. For all his bluster and inane braggadocio, he is not intent on War War and More War, like all the other candidate are biting at the bit to deliver to us and the rest of the world, and he believes in the simple proposition that if one uses it in the US, or locally, (but he won't put it in those terms, it sounds too "progressivey"), then make it in the USA for Crissakes. National economies should be geared to provide for national markets, not global markets, and if The Donald could change just that one aspect of the economy, he will have done more for a reduction in CO2 output, than all the grand plans of liberal darlings such as Egon Musk or Bozo Bezos, both of whose business models require trillions of dollars in investment and energy usage (ie, MASSIVE CO2 production) to make them function, none of which their own enterprises will provide, but will (do) freely use what the taxpayer investment in infrastructure provides them, while avoiding paying any of their revenue toward the taxation that provides the funding necessary to maintain it.

It is Neo-liberal free trade policies and the Neo-con War-mongering, American Exceptionlism, Full Spectrum Domination mentality that are hand-in-hand bleeding the working class dry. And until Trump got on the stump, the two major parties were perfectly content with the prospect of presenting the electorate in November with a choice between the criminal Bush family or the feckless Clintons. Back to the future of 1992. Thanks a fuckin'  lot. I mean I don't want Trump either, I was appalled at the very idea that a f**'ng Birther, a birther, fer crissakes, and Donald Trump to boot, was in the race at all. But after seeing his routine, which is what it seemed, especially at first; he was like an Alice through the looking glass version of Rodney Dangerfield doing a stand-up act on the Ed Sullivan Show. Only better, because he started lambasting that pathetic roster of the tired and the fired that constituted the slate of other candidates as though he were channeling Don Rickles, and, if nothing else, overnight made the race for the Presidency interesting ... entertaining, even: "Lindsey Graham? Who's he? He said I met him once, I don't remember. I think even Dick Perry is smarter than Lindsey Graham". "Rubio? He's a lightweight. everyone in Florida hates him." Now you may be appalled at a candidate talking like this, but after the 2012 selection of Republican candidates presented as though they were fit for election, we were being presented with an even worse slate this time (although thankfully missing that candidate-for-life, Newt the Rich Gringo). A much bigger affront to the intelligence and prospects of the US citizenry could not be imagined. So what, I ask you, is the big deal about Trump?

And what has that to do with climate change? Well, it seem that the less talked about, the more might actually get done, because, until now, the talk has not been cheap, it has had a very high cost as the rate at which CO2 has been pouring into the atmosphere, and that of methane, which brings forward the warming effect by decades, are accelerating, not diminishing, all the while with a president who fully acknowledges the danger. So what's the point? Since knowing about the problem in no way leads to actually doing anything about it, except, of course, to make it worse, So bring on the Trump. He's a far less scary candidate than any of the other polemicists he's running against.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Reagonomics into the Dustbin of History.

Just say, "GO!"

With the demise of the other half of the US's architect of destruction team, the revamp of history will start anew, as we are made privy to the distorted view of this heinous couple and the "It's Morning in America" sloganeering they made famous even as they ushered not only communism into the dustbin of history, but democracy as well. For what the Reagans demonstrated to the Supra class was how easy it was to make policy decisions that will bring the illusion of prosperity to a few and leave the rest of the polity in a deplorable, sinking condition while putting off the worse ramification of these policies until long after they are out of office and, as we're seeing the most outrageous examples of now, their successors are left to take the blame for the betrayal wrought long before they came into office.

The Reagans presided over the largest fraud ever perpetrated on a democratic populace in the history of the world as they, despite their knowledge of the dire effects the burning of ever-increasing amounts of toxic fossil fuels would have on the climate and the environment, ripped the solar panels Jimmy Carter had installed off the  roof of the White House, symbolizing the atavism to which they preferred to plunge the country into.

Under the Reagans, DB, ie Defined Benefit pensions disappeared, replaced with 401k's that left most of the working class at the mercy of con-artists, euphemistically referred to as the financial class.

Weapons were sold to our Iranian enemies, drugs were sold on the streets of American cities to pay for illegal wars fought to place right-wing dictators into power in several Central American countries,

Criminals such as Ollie north, and his cohorts were nurtured and let loose to forge a path of illegality and abuse that made the Watergate plumbers, some of whom were in their ranks, look like sandbox players,

The true nature of Capitalism Criminality was loosed to run rampant over local laws, human rights, environmental concerns and, in the end, as it had to be, Democracy itself.

On his homepage, it states at the very opening paragraph that the Reagan achieved "Peace through Posterity", when in fact he delivered neither.

Downton Abbey came to an end the same weekend that Nancy Reagan's life did, fittingly, as both were apologists for class rule, a form of governance of which fascism is merely the more extreme version. During the series, although no mention of it is made in the endless parade of on-air homilies produced to capitalize on its success, the term preferred for the Aristocracy by those who labor under its sway is the "Ruling Class", a term most Americans would recoil from, but which has never been more apropos than during the current epoch of  "money is free speech" and "Corporations are people, too", and which none were more instrumental in bringing about than the Reagans.

But like her husband, Nancy Reagan, at the end of his two terms in office, viewed with satisfaction the achievements of his destructive program Trumpeted as the Reagan Revolution, whose purported aim was to reinvigorate the American people and reduce their reliance upon Government, while it in fact destroyed the industrial base of their prosperity while plunging the US electorate into higher government spending with a greater percentage of that spending fueled by debt, a debt that was bought by the rich, some of it paying double-digit interest rates, with the proceeds from the Reagan tax-cuts, turning the flow of government finance on its head by funneling interest payment to the rich via taxation on workers.

His site also claims that "During his two terms he increased defense spending 35 percent, but sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union."  That defense spending they ballyhoo is, contrary to Republican dogma, Government spending. And the way Reagan sought to "improve" relations with the Soviet Union, despite all the Reagan championing of "Free Market" capitalism, was wrought by manipulating the most fundamental aspect of that "Free Market", the price of oil, by flooding the market with excess production so as to deprive that same Soviet Union he was seeking to "improve relations with", of its main source of foreign exchange, thereby crashing their economy and destroying it.

Now, you may agree with his intentions, you may applaud his accomplishments, but what you can't do is proclaim an avid manipulator of markets for financial and geopolitical gains (access to the oil riches of the Baku in the Caspian Sea Region was one of the real targets of the eventual dissolution of the USSR, just as oil, i.e., keeping it in the ground until Cheney's boss, Halliburton, could make all its investiture in fracking pay off, was GW's reasons for the Iraq War), and still call him a free market advocate. Nor cheer his build up of American "Defense" forces, when there was no one against whom we needed defend ourselves, as a reduction in government spending.  Reaganomics left the world, in the post Reagan era, meaner, leaner, poorer, more war-mongering , less charitable, less Christian and more Islamic, as Reagan's administration poured funds into the Wahhabi schools of Saudi Arabia and waged a not-so-secret War via a proxy army of well-funded (by the US taxpayer) mujaheddin "warriors" that's resulted in the world's being embroiled in armed conflict ever since. All this must be looked at in contrast, one must add, to the FDR era which eventually delivered the peace and prosperity it promised, not to a dwindling coterie of well-placed fat-cats, but to the population in general. This being no coincidence, as the Reagans despised the hoi polloi, and even the middle-class for that matter, whereas FDR saw them as his supporters and their well-being as his responsibility.

The real mentality of the slogan of the Reagan's "Peace through Strength" is apparent in the world today, as that strength is used to cow enemies and friends alike into submitting to the demands of the hegemon waving the stars and stripes while screaming "FREEdom" until it's red white and blue in the face. But it is, as it always was, used as a cover for military adventurism and Imperial overreach that disguises a robust and reckless Nationalism even as it advocates Free Trade (You know, like "Free Market": rigged to destroy worker's prosperity and designed to further entrench and enrich the already well-heeled). Yet perhaps this week we can be thankful that, even as the ambitions of another advocate of free Trade, Hillary Clinton's, are buried alive, her Republican doppelganger will be buried dead.