RT News “OPEC is a struggling dinosaur in the age of shale” – My recent interview with RT News regarding geopolitics in the world oil industry.
Unlike classic microecon in the relatively free market West, the true “microeconomic” cost of production for a sovereign oil producer, is the cost of retaining political power for the current regime. I.e. what amount of government spending on social safety net programs must that government provide to retain power / prevent overthrow.
To reasonably forecast the world oil price in the current environment, one should estimate budgetary costs in US$ per barrel terms for the major OPEC and non-OPEC producers, and compare with the classic microeconomic costs for “free market” shale producers in the US. How long can the sovereign producers of OPEC, et al, keep overproducing to keep prices far below their true cost of production (social stability)…in an effort to drive marginal US shale producers out of the market? It’s a time forecast.
When the price of oil eventually rises as a result of this short-sighted, short term strategy, free market producers re-enter and drive prices lower again…a vicious cycle for high cost producers…they must overproduce again to drive “marginal” US shale producers back out of the market…temporarily. The piper will eventually need to be paid; i.e. “high cost” sovereign producers will need to re-adjust their societies expectations in the new age of shale.
Some argue that new shale production is a temporal blip on the screen. The new shale tech we see in the venture capital pipeline is truly extraordinary. Expect continued and significantly increased dislocation in this industry, and social instability in sovereign producers, as the world energy map continues to change.
In 2011, prior to the US Presidential elections, I made this exact prediction, produced a video presentation, and suggested a path forward which might help to smooth the transition for all countries involved. Few people will listen to anyone who suggests US energy independence is a significant threat to world peace if not handled with the utmost wisdom. It’s like I attacked motherhood or apple pie.
Well…here we are folks. Enjoy that apple pie…but the ala mode topping might not be to your liking.
9 Dec 2014
“Consequences of an Imperial Presidency”
Precedent set. At some future point a Republican president will be elected…now a fight for all the marbles. Will be interesting to see which laws they enforce and which they don’t. Watching history unfold in an amazing way…all I know is the US will change in more ways than we can currently imagine under an imperial presidency with unchecked power. This is a revolutionary game-changer in all senses of the term. If you think political division in the US is hostile today, that hostility will be magnified X times over in the future. “Third world” extreme political tactics are on their way…that is all we can really count on. For everyone who didn’t fight against an imperial presidency, you get what you deserve…in heaps and spades. For spineless congressmen and senators who refused to fight for a separation of powers, a special place of infamy and derision in American history is reserved for you…guaranteed. Unfortunately, conservative politicians usually have conservative personalities. Expecting bold action from these people is like asking a chicken to bark. Somehow, some way, Americans must attract higher quality individuals into political leadership, who possess the appropriate demeanor for this monumental challenge. At this dangerous moment of history, within and without, we cannot afford to keep electing wooden figurines with craven personalities to lead government. I think we can all agree on perhaps only one thing, Democrat-Republican-Independent-Other, that we aren’t attracting our best and brightest into this game, at grave risk for the country. The old business maxim “it’s all about people” applies equally to government.
21 Nov 2014
Speak now, or…
The wisdom and experience of elder statesmen Henry Kissinger and Mikhail Gorbachev are speaking truth to power, against the tide of mainstream media-supported US propaganda.
We’re on the brink of an unnecessary Cold War that’s particularly dangerous for Americans, above all others. It’s time to get informed, support these elder statesmen, and speak truth to power.
I voiced my opinion in this May interview with Sophie Shevardnadze of RT: http://rt.com/shows/sophieco/159844-us-mercenaries-operations-ukraine/
Sophie’s grandfather was Eduard Shevardnadze, the Soviet Foreign Minister under Mikhail Gorbachev, who was an instrumental force behind the end of the Cold War. Unfortunately, he died this past summer. His voice, alongside Mikhail Gorbachev, is missed at this critical juncture of world history, as we move back to the Cold War he and other world leaders worked so hard to end.
It’s time to get informed, support these elder statesmen, and speak truth to power. The US GOP is on the wrong path, as are the Democrats.
11 Nov 2014
Confused by US foreign policy? A “must-read” clarifier…please tweet / re-tweet
No, this won’t be my clarification of US foreign policy. Although I’ve pounded the table for the past few years trying to explain it, one of the most succinct and credible analyses I’ve come across so far is from an article I read this morning by Annie Machon, a former intelligence officer for the UK’s MI5. Sadly, we’re likely to never encounter an analysis like this in the US mainstream media:
“Anyone Threatening US Petrodollar is Public Enemy No.1” by Annie Machon
- Read the article:
- Follow the money
- Demand change via the ballot box
The US mainstream media is strongly influenced by the US CIA via its domestically-focused propaganda division called “Operation Mockingbird” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird …a secret program (like the NSA’s domestic spying program) which was uncovered during the Church Committee US senate hearings in the mid-1970’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Committee . The New York Times, Washington Post, CBS, Time magazine, and roughly 20 other media organizations admitted their involvement with Operation Mockingbird in those hearings.
The US mainstream media is the linchpin of the most powerful and dangerous government propaganda machine in human history. Don’t let anyone tell you that the Russians (with so few English language foreign media outlets) are propaganda masters, but the US doesn’t participate. Keep the eyes wide open Pollyanna.
Is anyone else wondering what happened to Ebola news in the mainstream media? Was this disease eradicated? If so, isn’t that important world news? Where is the MSM?
Did anyone read in the US MSM yesterday that internationally respected American elder statesman Henry Kissinger “warns of West’s fatal mistake that may lead to new Cold War” http://rt.com/news/203795-kissinger-warns-cold-war/ . Of course this wasn’t reported in the US MSM. It exposes how wrong and dangerous the Obama administration’s position with Russia is…not only in the Obama administration, but many old Cold Warriors in the GOP.
Did anyone read in the US MSM recently that Mikhail Gorbachev, internationally respected elder statesman, last leader of the Soviet Union, and architect of the “openness” and “restructuring” which led to the end of the Cold War, came out and said this http://rt.com/news/203475-gorbachev-speech-berlin-wall/ :
Western policies toward Russia championed by Washington have led to the current crisis, and if the confrontation continues, Europe will be weakened and become irrelevant.
Taking advantage of Russia’s weakening and a lack of a counterweight, they claimed monopoly leadership and domination in the world. And they refused to heed the word of caution from many of those present here,” he said. “The events of the past months are consequences of short-sighted policies of seeking to impose one’s will and fait accompli while ignoring the interests of one’s partners.
Instead of becoming a leader of change in a global world Europe has turned into an arena of political upheaval, of competition for the spheres of influence, and finally of military conflict. The consequence inevitably is Europe’s weakening at a time when other centers of power and influence are gaining momentum. If this continues, Europe will lose a strong voice in world affairs and gradually become irrelevant.
What needs to be done is for the west to tone down its anti-Russian rhetoric and seek points of convergence”…”he assured the forum that the Russian leadership was willing to do its part”.
Let the serious diplomacy, by serious diplomats and elder statesmen, begin asap. Germany, take the lead. We’re hamstrung by leadership and credibility glitches…hopefully temporary, but I’m not optimistic given the old Cold Warriors entrenched in the GOP, the Cold War mentalities deeply imbedded in Washington bureaucracy, a Zero-Sum American culture, and a gov’t controlled MSM. America is in desperate need of change, asap.
11 Nov 2014
Investment Alert – Kiev’s announcement and the immediate threat it poses to the global economy.
First, if it’s not quickly self evident that the government running Ukraine does not have Western interests first and foremost in its decision-making process, I have some great property deals for you in South-Central Florida…please contact me immediately.
The Kiev government in Ukraine is clearly trying to do everything it can to bring the EU into a military confrontation with Russia…having our children fight their hateful war for them…shedding our blood and spending our money ad infinitum…for the benefit of a regime that by all fair international comparisons, we should deem war criminals. Fairly, in the past, the leader of any government that has taken power illegally via coup and resorts to attacking an unfavoured group of its citizens militarily with heavy weapons, we have labelled as an international pariah / war criminal that must be removed. Bashar Al Assad, Saddam Hussein, et al. We seem to ignore Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko…because he’s on the side of the coup we instigated. He came to power through a voting process and set of circumstances that we ourselves continue to condemn as undemocratic frauds in Crimea and parts of SE Ukraine…yet we support him…because he’s our guy.
Enough on that…let’s get to the purpose of this note, and a key unforeseen butterfly effect of our Ukraine debacle that is about to send our world and the global economy into a tailspin.
It’s hard to believe the EU approved today’s announcement by Kiev that their sanctions against Russia (to be voted on this coming Tue 12 Aug) could include stopping the transit of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine. Obviously, such a policy has the potential to send the European economy into a tailspin and threatens the viability of the European project. This suggestion certainly didn’t come out of Brussels.
I believe this is another instance of an unhinged regime in Kiev, with its supporters, trying to pull Europe into military / economic warfare with Russia at all costs.
The Kiev junta we installed and support is now holding the world economy and the future of a united Europe hostage via blackmail. Our asinine foreign policy is backfiring into the real world, hurting real people…you and me.
Summary for investors: Depending on the outcome of the Ukrainian sanctions vote, near term trouble ahead for global equity and European debt markets. US$ strength and falling US treasury yields as safe haven investors return. Artificially low yields fueling unintended credit expansion and US inflation…gold price up. We’re being held at gunpoint folks. We need to cut this Kiev regime off, and support Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline to Europe, bypassing Ukraine…rather than working to tank it. There are global economic risks for the transit of Russian gas to South Korea via North Korea…the same with gas to Europe via Ukraine. Somehow we need to extricate ourselves from this Ukraine debacle asap to mitigate unforeseen consequences which I fear could be far more damaging than we can imagine at the present time.
8 Aug 2014
No matter who you are, or where you live, evil will oppose the light of truth and your world will be a darker place with no Snowdens; therefore I #standwithsnowden @couragefound.org
12 June 2014
Eurozone’s Fundamental Problems and EU Politics
More on this issue because in my view, fundamental problems in the Eurozone are a key reason for the nationalist Euroskeptic victories in the recent EU elections and pose an existential threat to the Eurozone project…and rightfully so.
This is written in the hope that the average non-financial person in Ukraine and other potential EU entrants can better understand the Eurozone and make informed decisions.
By combining the relative strength of the Deutsche Mark with the relative weakness of Southern European currencies, the resulting Euro is weaker than the previous Deutsche Mark, and stronger than the previous Lira, Franc, Peseta, et al.
- The fundamental strength of the Deutsche Mark is watered down, and German exports are more price competitive on world markets, and Southern European exports are less so.
- Albeit not a Debt Union…implied but not assured: The stronger national balance sheet of Germany is weakened to a lesser degree, and the weaker national balance sheets of S Europe are strengthened more significantly. I.e. the main effect is that relatively weaker borrowers in S Europe have been able to borrow money at artificially lower interest rates and in larger volumes.
The Obvious Inherent Problems:
- Artificially low unemployment in Germany and high unemployment in S Europe. I.e. as currently structured, the Eurozone is a powder keg of social instability waiting for a match.
- Fundamentally weak borrowers in S Europe were encouraged to borrow too much…asset bubbles were created…and bang…here we are…the Eurozone crisis.
- Due to the widely divergent economic growth vs. stability needs of Eurozone members, the Eurozone isn’t an “optimal currency area”, and is fundamentally incapable of supporting a single currency to meet its various members needs efficiently; i.e. Germany and Greece are profoundly different countries. The same problem exists between states within the US, but to a lesser extent.
- The Eurozone is an economic bonanza for Germany, and a catastrophe for lesser-developed members, who take the candy of cheap money, only to get a mouthful of cavities later.
More “Ukraine’s” in Germany’s captive Eurozone market? Bitte! As long as I don’t have to co-sign on your debt! I.e. as currently structured, it’s a one way street baby…or a roach motel: you can check-in but can’t check out.
The recent EU election results show that a growing number of Europeans are demanding a Eurozone check out.
Currency zones have potential to work well for the benefit of all when the member states are more closely aligned in their culture, economic development cycles, and national debt is underwritten by the zone; i.e. 1+1 can equal 3. Otherwise, it’s like an out-of-balance wheel that will eventually destroy the machine.
- Split the existing Eurozone into at least 2-3 new currencies. Northern Euro anchored by Germany. Southern Euro anchored by France. Germany has the most to lose, and France has the most to gain.
- An entry-level / preparatory Euro for a group of new entrants at same level of econ development? 20-50 year integration project?
Currency union in Europe can work, but needs to be restructured to defuse the dangerous, built-in social instability. Of course, Germany will vehemently oppose this proposal and defend the Eurozone to the bitter end; i.e. when members demand a check out…they enjoy this free ride like Americans enjoy the free ride of world reserve currency.
10 June 2014
Russian Propaganda? Ukraine Crisis in Light of Texas History
First, let’s acknowledge the basic flaw of recorded history: Our understanding of history depends on who wrote it; i.e. it is, and always has been influenced by propaganda. The Russians have a very different perspective on the heroes of WWII than the Americans. The Mexicans have a very different perspective on Texas history and the US-Mexican War than Americans. The point is so obvious that the phrase “History is written by the victors” is almost clichéd.
If our human experience proves we can’t even agree on how past events happened, it is certain we won’t be able to agree while they are happening and in flux. I.e. reporting will be biased just as history is. The forthcoming and varying historical accounts of Barack Obama’s presidency will be mind-boggling. Which account will make it into standard US history books? It will be a bitter and divisive, no-holds-barred fight.
Back to Ukraine.
The pot is calling the kettle black; i.e. the US is accusing Russia of waging an unrelenting propaganda war re: events in Ukraine.
I’ll take Russia’s side because few others are, and they are obviously on the short end of the stick vs. the globally powerful US propaganda machine (Google “Operation Mockingbird” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird ). Does anyone really believe the US is wholly un-engaged in a Ukraine propaganda war? Only the most naive Pollyanna would believe American hands are entirely clean and intentions benevolent in this situation.
The Russian government; i.e. Moscow is accused of intentionally destabilizing Ukraine by providing arms and personnel in various forms to the separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Depending on the source, these people are called “freedom fighters” or “terrorists”. That’s a wide gap of understanding friends. Who is right? Whom should we believe?
Let’s re-visit capsule summaries of Texas history and the US-Mexican War to get closer to the truth on what’s likely happening in Ukraine. I.e. the basic human behaviour driving both conflicts…history repeats itself.
- The Mexican government invited American settlers into the sparsely populated area we now call Texas.
- There were frequent political and cultural clashes between the Mexican government and the American settlers.
- In time, for various reasons, most notably a set of “Seven Laws” imposed upon the settlers by a new conservative government in Mexico, these new Mexican citizens decided they no longer wished to be part of Mexico, but wanted to retain their lands. The “Seven Laws” were highly unpopular, and also resulted in secessionist movements in other Mexican states besides Texas.
- The settlers declared independence from Mexico and waged war against them.
- American citizens and even citizens of several other countries joined the settlers in their secessionist war against the Mexican government. List of the soldiers and their nationalities / origin: http://www.thealamo.org/history/the-1836-battle/the-defenders/index.html …from thoughout the US, plus England, Ireland, Scotland, and Germany.
- The war was extremely lopsided against the “Texian” settlers, culminating in the Alamo and Goliad massacres.
- These massacres were a rallying cry which drew additional “freedom fighters” and mercenaries from the US to join the Texian settlers secessionist war. There were repeated pleadings on behalf of the secessionists for the US to intervene and defeat the Mexican army. Some Texians wanted an independent “Republic of Texas”, and some wanted immediate annexation into the US.
- As a result, the Mexican President had the Mexican Congress issue a warning to the Americans and mercenaries who were flooding into Texas to support the secessionist war:
Foreigners landing on the coast of the Republic or invading its territory by land, armed, and with the intent of attacking our country, will be deemed pirates and dealt with as such, being citizens of no nation presently at war with the Republic and fighting under no recognized flag. All foreigners who shall import, by either sea or land, in the places occupied by the rebels, either arms or ammunition or any kind for their use, will be deemed pirates and punished as such.
- The Mexican President sent a warning to US President Andrew Jackson that any American citizen caught aiding and abetting the Texian secession on Mexican soil would be executed immediately. That warning was not significantly broadcast by the US government to potential “freedom fighters” and mercenaries. Implicit US support for the secession and later annexation?
- Shortly thereafter, the Mexican army conducted a massacre at Goliad which was apparently so cruel it drew the US, Great Britain, and France into emotional sympathy with the Texian secessionists and changed the tide of the conflict.
- Chased almost out of Texas by an overwhelmingly superior Mexican army, by sheer luck, the Texian forces caught the Mexican army taking their midday siesta nap, and captured the Mexican President who was leading the army. War over. Texas became an independent nation for a short period, with enduring Mexican-Texian skirmishes which finally ended when the US annexed Texas into the US and declared war on Mexico.
- By the end of the US-Mexican war, the US had taken Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico from Mexico, for the pittance of US$15 million.
Does any of this sound familiar today?
Is our irrational fear of Russia’s intentions in Ukraine based upon our own rather sordid behaviour with Mexico? Do we really believe Russia will pull a page out of this American playbook in Ukraine?
We accuse Russia of aiding and abetting / supporting “freedom fighters” and mercenaries from Russia and Chechnya in the Eastern Ukraine conflict, and this is our primary rationale for creating a significant threat to world economic prosperity and peace in response via aggressive rhetoric / sanctions / international isolation strategy against Russia. Our own history demonstrates it’s a normal human behaviour to join underdog “freedom fights” with your cultural brothers wherever they may be, and that our own government did little to suppress those instincts in similar circumstances. Do we not “get” the human element of this moment, and that perhaps the Russian government does not fully control these freedom fighters and mercenaries like puppets, and that the US, which runs Kiev by proxy, should also put the full weight of their influence behind an effort for peace as well? Let’s start with an immediate halt to civilian bombing raids by the Ukrainian air force. We broke it, and we know it. We aren’t fooling anyone but the most naive Pollyanna’s or uninformed of the world with our rhetoric.
Let’s consider the unfolding Ukraine crisis in light of our own history and expected human behaviour, and de-escalate this situation asap before we create long term damage to world peace and prosperity.
The unanticipated butterfly effects of this foolish US strategy are leading the world into a dangerous place. At the end of the day, when the dust settles, it will be the US that is isolated and weakened, not Russia. BRIC’s and blocs are forming quickly against us for various, interconnected reasons, and we need to exit this lunacy asap.
6 June 2014
Mainstream Media Dereliction of Duty in Ukraine
Did anyone read this major news in the US or British mainstream media yesterday? Of course not. It was released in the Chinese press: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-04/15/c_133264622.htm .
This story exposes the danger / foolishness of US foreign policy and the attempted / failed isolation of Russia…which only adds fuel to the growing fire of our own international isolation.
“Chinese President Xi Jinping calls for enhanced relations with Russia”. “Bilateral relations are at their best and have not only benefited both countries and their people, but also have an irreplaceable role in maintaining world peace and stability, said Xi. Xi asked Lavrov to convey his greetings to Putin, noting that he attaches great importance to the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination and cherishes the mutual trust and friendship shared with Putin. He said the two sides should transfer their high political mutual trust into extensive pragmatic cooperation, maintain high-level exchanges and strategic communication, accelerate cooperation in strategic projects, and strengthen coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs. Lavrov also extended Putin’s greetings to Xi, noting that the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has global influence. Russia is ready to enhance communication, coordination and cooperation with China, he said, adding that Putin is looking forward to his China visit and the CICA summit.”
We’re digging a deep and dangerous hole my fellow Americans. The blocs are coming together for a grand scale and unnecessary confrontation, and we will be on the losing side.
I’m astounded by our foolishness…more than that, I’m shocked the German government took the US bait and allowed the Ukraine situation and Russia’s isolation to go this far.
The Western Ukrainian-controlled putsch government has now sent troops into the East. Apparently citizens have blocked road access in some places, and there are reports of soldiers defecting to the Eastern Ukrainian side.
US Senator John McCain and others are vehemently pleading for the US to supply those advancing troops with weaponry. Let’s be crystal clear: John McCain and his ilk of deeply flawed judgment / morality / ??? in US government are encouraging Western Ukrainians to engage in lethal military combat against fellow Ukrainians in the East, irrespective of what is now the obvious truth on the ground…that many of these Ukrainians in the East are deeply upset that their democratically-elected government has been illegally hijacked by thugs with whom they have profound ideological disagreement. They would prefer to remain Ukrainian (and Russia would also prefer that), but are left with little choice when democratic processes are opposed by the US / EU and tanks are rolling their way.
Let’s look at it differently for a moment:
What if a Tea Party rally on the Mall in Washington DC turned violent, and Tea Party activists stormed government buildings, forced the US President to flee, then declared themselves to be the new government, naming Sarah Palin as the new President. Immediately thereafter, the new government starts writing new laws and abolishing others by fiat without vote, then sent military troops to California and New York to violently stop protests.
How long would Californians and New Yorkers stand for this? What would you think if the Russian versions of John McCain and Victoria Nuland were actively involved in the violent Tea Party revolution?
And we support this?? This isn’t what Americans, or any civilized people do, friends. This isn’t what the British do. This isn’t what Germans do. I’m ashamed to be associated with this, as an American. This stinks people.
Follow the money: If the East separates from the West taking their tax revenues with them, the US and EU will be morally obligated to continue financial support of Western Ukraine in perpetuity, one of the poorest failed states of Europe…Greece x 10…in addition to being a country where fascists have strong political support and occupy key positions in government…the EU cannot accept this.
We created this problem by instigating a revolution to de-stablize Putin. It went horribly wrong, and we need to de-escalate this madness asap while we still can.
16 Apr 2014