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Obama’s Former Foreign Policy Adviser Said – In 1997 – that the U.S. Had to Gain Control of Ukraine Washington’s Blog

Obama’s Former Foreign Policy Adviser Said – In 1997 – that the U.S. Had to Gain Control of Ukraine Washington’s Blog.

The Battle for Ukraine Was Planned in 1997 … Or Earlier

Neoconservatives planned regime change throughout the Middle East and North Africa 20 years ago. Robert Parry correctly points out that the Neocons have successfully “weathered the storm” of disdain after their Iraq war fiasco.

But the truth is that Obama has long done his best to try to implement those Neocon plans.

Similarly, ever since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the U.S. has pursued a strategy of encircling Russia, just as it has with other perceived enemies like China and Iran.

In 1997, Obama’s former foreign affairs adviser, and president Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser – Zbigniew Brzezinski – wrote a book called The Grand Chessboard arguing arguing that the U.S. had to take control of Ukraine (as well as Azerbaijan, South Korea, Turkey and Iran) because they were “critically important geopolitical pivots”.

Regarding Ukraine, Brzezinski said (hat tip Chris Ernesto):

Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.

***

However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.

And now Obama is pushing us into a confrontation with Russia over Ukraine and the Crimea.

As Ernesto notes:

Late last year when Ukraine’s now-ousted president Viktor Yanukovych surprisingly canceled plans for Ukrainian integration into the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Russia, the US may have viewed Ukraine as slipping even further out of its reach.

At that point, with the pieces already in place, the US moved to support the ousting of Yanukovych, as evidenced by the leaked phone conversation between US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland [arch-Neocon Robert Kagan‘s wife]  and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt.  When peaceful protests were not effective in unseating Yanukovych, the violence of the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party and Right Sector was embraced, if not supported by the west.

In today’s Ukraine, the US runs the risk of being affiliated with anti-Semitic neo-Nazis, a prospect it probably feels can be controlled via a friendly western media. But even if the risk is high, the US likely views it as necessary given the geopolitical importance of Ukraine, as Brzezinski mapped out in 1997.

In other words, Obama is following the same old playbook that the Neocons have been pushing for more than a decade.

Obama's Former Foreign Policy Adviser Said – In 1997 – that the U.S. Had to Gain Control of Ukraine Washington's Blog

Obama’s Former Foreign Policy Adviser Said – In 1997 – that the U.S. Had to Gain Control of Ukraine Washington’s Blog.

The Battle for Ukraine Was Planned in 1997 … Or Earlier

Neoconservatives planned regime change throughout the Middle East and North Africa 20 years ago. Robert Parry correctly points out that the Neocons have successfully “weathered the storm” of disdain after their Iraq war fiasco.

But the truth is that Obama has long done his best to try to implement those Neocon plans.

Similarly, ever since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the U.S. has pursued a strategy of encircling Russia, just as it has with other perceived enemies like China and Iran.

In 1997, Obama’s former foreign affairs adviser, and president Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser – Zbigniew Brzezinski – wrote a book called The Grand Chessboard arguing arguing that the U.S. had to take control of Ukraine (as well as Azerbaijan, South Korea, Turkey and Iran) because they were “critically important geopolitical pivots”.

Regarding Ukraine, Brzezinski said (hat tip Chris Ernesto):

Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.

***

However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.

And now Obama is pushing us into a confrontation with Russia over Ukraine and the Crimea.

As Ernesto notes:

Late last year when Ukraine’s now-ousted president Viktor Yanukovych surprisingly canceled plans for Ukrainian integration into the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Russia, the US may have viewed Ukraine as slipping even further out of its reach.

At that point, with the pieces already in place, the US moved to support the ousting of Yanukovych, as evidenced by the leaked phone conversation between US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland [arch-Neocon Robert Kagan‘s wife]  and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt.  When peaceful protests were not effective in unseating Yanukovych, the violence of the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party and Right Sector was embraced, if not supported by the west.

In today’s Ukraine, the US runs the risk of being affiliated with anti-Semitic neo-Nazis, a prospect it probably feels can be controlled via a friendly western media. But even if the risk is high, the US likely views it as necessary given the geopolitical importance of Ukraine, as Brzezinski mapped out in 1997.

In other words, Obama is following the same old playbook that the Neocons have been pushing for more than a decade.

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : America and the Arab Awakening: Déjà Vu?

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : America and the Arab Awakening: Déjà Vu?.

wednesday february 12, 2014
Arabspringegypt

Three years ago, Washington experienced its own dose of “shock and awe” — the PR phrase used to sanitise its brutal invasion of Iraq — when hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of ordinary Arabs took to the streets to demand the overthrow of leaders more interested in Washington’s approval than that of their own peoples. But American policy elites’ professed surprise was primarily a function of their own self-imposed amnesia and delusion.

No one in Washington seemed to realise or care that Egyptians forced their pro-American dictator from power on February 11, 2011 — 32 years to the day after the Shah of Iran’s military conceded to the will of the Iranian people, giving birth to the Islamic Republic of Iran and bringing down a pillar of American dominance in the region. On the eve of Iran’s revolution, as a deep and abiding thirst for independence was sweeping through Iran, President Jimmy Carter toasted the shah, in “great tribute…to your leadership and to the respect and the admiration and love which your people give to you.”

Thirty-two years later, US foreign policy elites seemed to have learned little. When similar revolutionary fervour threatened another pillar of US dominance in the Middle East — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak — the Obama administration appeared to be following the example of its 1970s predecessor. Vice President Joe Biden proclaimed that Mubarak wasn’t “a dictator” because he was an American ally and a friend of Israel — thereby highlighting that the only way an Arab leader can be those things is by being a dictator. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had already declared “President and Mrs Mubarak to be friends of my family.”

But with security forces marauding through Tahrir (“Liberation”) Square, killing nearly 1,000 people by the time Mubarak finally resigned — and drawing more people to protest, instead of repelling them — alarm set in among Washington’s foreign policy elite. Could the US really lose the Egyptian pillar it had so assiduously co-opted after its Iranian pillar was tossed out in 1979?

When Washington finally understood that Mubarak’s days were numbered, as Carter had finally understood with the shah, the Obama administration tried to orchestrate a “transition” to Mubarak’s reviled intelligence chief. Omar Suleiman was the man responsible for “rendering” Egyptians to be tortured for the CIA and for collaborating with Israel to keep the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza under siege. When that did not work, Washington set out to co-opt and then abort what it termed the Arab Spring — a Western phrase meant to depict movement toward secular liberalism rather than toward participatory Islamist governance.

Unchanging foreign policy

Mubarak’s departure brought into uncomfortably stark relief a reality that US policymakers had denied since the overthrow of the shah thirty-two years before. US efforts to use cooperative autocrats — autocrats willing to facilitate US military aggression, to torture alleged “terrorists” (their own citizens) for the CIA’s benefit, and to tolerate a militarily dominant Israel engaged in open-ended occupation of Arab populations — to promote American hegemony over the Middle East were unacceptable to the vast majority of people there.

As protests unfolded in Egypt, large numbers of demonstrators in Yemen demanded that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh — a major US counter-terror collaborator — resign. Three days after Mubarak’s removal, large-scale protests paralysed Bahrain — home of the US Fifth Fleet — underscoring the threat to America’s regional hegemony even more dramatically.

US foreign policy elites were not just concerned about a precipitous erosion of the US strategic position in the Middle East. They also worried about what the spread of popular demand for leaderships accountable to their peoples, not to Washington, would mean for the hegemonic house of cards the US had imposed on the region.

It was clear — and has become ever clearer over the past three years — that the majority of population in the Middle East want to vote for their leaders and to have a voice in decision-making on issues affecting their daily lives and social identities. But they also want that to happen in an explicitly Islamic framework — not in some secular, liberal “Spring” context, divorced from their identities and ability to assert real independence.

When given the chance to express preferences about their political futures, Middle Eastern Muslims do not embrace the sort of secular liberalism that America might be able to countenance as an alternative to pro-Western autocracy. Rather, they vote for Islamists espousing the integration of participatory politics and elections with Islamic principles — and with a commitment to foreign policy independence.

Thus, in early 2011, Washington was anxious that the Arab Awakening would ultimately benefit the Islamic Republic of Iran. For the Islamic Republic is the Middle East’s only political system that, since 1979, has actually tried to integrate participatory politics and elections with principles and institutions of Islamic governance. It has also been an exemplar of foreign policy independence, embodied in its consistent refusal to submit to the imperatives of a pro-US regional order.

Three US goals in the Middle East

Faced with these risks to its hegemonic ambitions, the US could not simply declare its opposition to popular sovereignty in the Middle East. Instead, the Obama administration crafted a policy response to the Arab Awakening that had three major goals. In the course of pursuing these goals, the administration — with strong bipartisan backing in Congress — has imposed even more instability and violence on the region. It has also set the stage for further erosion of the credibility and effectiveness of US policy in a vital part of the world.

The Obama administration’s first goal was to prevent the Arab Awakening from taking down any more US allies. To that end, the administration tacitly (but happily) acquiesced to the Saudi-led military intervention in Bahrain on March 14, 2011 to sustain the Khalifa monarchy. As a result, the monarchy continues to hold on to power (for now) and US naval forces continue operating out of Bahrain.

At the same time, Washington’s support for suppressing popular demands for political change there through Saudi Arabia’s armed intervention has helped fuel a dangerous resurgence of sectarian tensions across the Middle East. This, in turn, has given new life to al-Qaeda and similar jihadi movements around the region.

The Obama administration’s second goal was to co-opt the Arab Awakening for US purposes, by showing that, somewhere in the Middle East, the US could put itself on the “right” side of history. So, when Saudi Arabia offered the Arab League “cover” to intervene in Libya and arm anti-Gaddafi rebels, President Barack Obama overrode objections by his defence secretary and military leaders to order US forces into action.

On March 17, 2011, the UN Security Council narrowly adopted a resolution authorising use of force to protect civilian populations in Libya. In short order, Team Obama distorted it to turn civilian protection into coercive regime change. The results have been disastrous for US interests and for the region: Worsening violence in Libya, a growing jihadi threat in North Africa, a dead US ambassador, and more polarised US relations with Russia and China.

The Obama administration’s third goal was to show that, after the loss of pro-Western regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and near-misses in Bahrain and Yemen, it wasn’t just authoritarian regimes willing to subordinate their foreign policies to the US that were at risk from popular discontent. In particular, Washington wanted to demonstrate that it was also possible to bring down regimes with clear commitments to foreign policy independence — and, in the process, weaken not just Iran’s strategic position but that of Islamists across the region promoting participatory Islamist governance.

Soon after unrest started in Syria in March 2011, the Obama administration saw an opening, declaring that President Bashar al-Assad “must go” and goading an externally supported “opposition” to undermine him — if not bring him down. It was clear from the start that arming a deeply divided opposition would not bring down the Syrian government. Nevertheless, Washington joined with its so-called allies in Riyadh, Paris, and London in an almost desperate attempt to roll back Iran’s rising power.

Almost three years on, Iraq, as well as Iran, have been hurt by this misadventure — but the American and the Syrian people have paid a much higher price. Washington has paid in terms of its regional standing, intensification of the regional resurgence of violent extremists, and further polarisation of relations with Russia and China; Syria, of course, has paid with over 100,000 Syrians killed (so far) and millions more displaced.

More recently, the Obama administration’s tacit backing for the military coup that overthrew Egypt’s democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood president in July 2013 has removed any residual doubt that the US, intent on clinging to its hegemonic prerogatives in the Middle East, can endorse moves toward real democracy in the region. Putting US strategy in the Middle East on a more positive and productive trajectory will require Washington to accept the region on its own terms, to deal straightforwardly with all relevant (and authentic) actors, and to admit that trying to coercively micromanage political outcomes in Muslim-majority societies isn’t just incompatible with claims to respect popular sovereignty — it is unsustainable and counter-productive for long-term US interests.

Reprinted with permission from author’s Going to Tehran blog.

Flickr/AK Rockefeller

Peak Oil responds, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

Peak Oil responds, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

my_tombstone

A recent post entitled The Welcome Death of Peak Oil by George Koch on the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada website begins with the following optimistic comment: “Improved technology and more efficiency mean North America could eventually become an oil exporter.” [i]   The author goes on to argue that technology has placed the theory of Peak Oil in its grave and that energy independence for North America is just around the corner. That Peak Oil is a mistaken and buried theory has been argued recently elsewhere,[ii] and the idea of North American energy independence is one that has been and continues to be widely disseminated by the corporate media, the oil industry, and investment firms.[iii] There is one significant problem, however. The statement is based on an unsound foundation.

The notion that hydraulic fracturing will result in American energy independence appears to have been debunked.[iv] In fact, just recently Faith Birol, president of the International Energy Administration, has stated that the increase in American oil production is simply a surge, not a revolution.[v]  To put it simply: the bold assertion of energy independence is predicated on early production numbers of shale oil wells; unfortunately, these production rates cannot be sustained for very long except through an exponential increase in the number of wells drilled.[vi] This only serves, however, to increase the speed at which the resource deposit is drawn-down, quickening the arrival of the day that the wells will no longer be economically viable. It is interesting to note that a number of companies have already lost money investing in shale oil and others are actively looking to get out of the business.[vii]

If an argument’s underlying foundation is faulty, then it is axiomatic that the conclusion drawn from it is also flawed. To paraphrase that classic movie, Monty Python and The Holy Grail, Peak Oil is ‘not quite dead yet’. In fact, I would argue that it is alive and as pertinent as ever, perhaps more so. I offer the following evidence to support that view.

While the American government was not interested in the topic of Peak Oil when Marion King Hubbert first proposed the model for petroleum resource depletion in 1948, by 1974, shortly after his prediction of US oil production peaking became reality, Hubbert was asked to provide written testimony to a Congressional committee writing the National Energy Conservation Policy Act as to the impact of Peak Oil on the monetary system.[viii] Jimmy Carter’s administration was driven by the concept of finite resources, creating the Department of Energy and prompting the president to present the issues in a televised speech in 1977.[ix]

More recently, the secretive National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG)–that was created only ten days after George Bush defeated Al Gore for the 2001 presidency and placed under the direct authority of Vice President Dick Cheney–brainstormed for ten meetings over an nine week period from January to May 2001 about Peak Oil and other energy security issues; issues that would significantly shape American government policies for the next few years. Although agendas and minutes of the meetings have been classified, seven pages were released after two lawsuits. These pages show that the group was reviewing how much oil remained in the world, where it was located, and who controlled it.[x] The public report from the NEPDG made dozens of recommendations based on the underlying belief that oil resources were finite and securing them were in the national interest of the United States.[xi]

The picture has not changed. The shale oil ‘boom’ is a short-term blip in a long-term trend that has been known to the American government for decades. The fact is the previous American administration perceived the issue of energy security as one requiring immediate response by all levels of government. I think most would acknowledge that the geopolitical tensions and military interactions in the Middle East over the last several decades have been centred upon one main objective: control of the oil and gas in the region. The idea of Peak Oil was very much driving American policy, especially foreign policy, less than a decade ago and it’s naïve to believe it is no longer a driving force in the current administration’s geopolitical strategising. Despite assurances and rhetoric, the current administration has not drawn down the number of military personnel in the Middle East and has actually become involved in additional conflicts in the region (e.g. Libya, Syria).[xii]

Leaving North America for the moment. It was only three years ago that the Future Analysis Branch of the Bundeswher Transformation Centre, a branch of the German military,[xiii] carried out its initial study for the German government’s Federal Ministry of Defence on the impact of Peak Oil.[xiv] As taken from the report’s Forward: “…the purpose of security-related future analysis is to acquire knowledge precociously and scientifically based in order to refine conceptual specifications and objectives without making predictions…[and] to enable the Federal Ministry of Defence to identify long-term issues with relevance to security policy at an early stage...” That Germany focused this branch’s first research on the topic of Peak Oil and its security implications speaks volumes as to the seriousness of finite oil resources and how they will impact the globe.

But back to the idea that Peak Oil is dead and buried. Here is what the report has to say: “It is a fact, however, that oil is finite and that there is a peak oil. Since this study is mainly focused on understanding cause-effect relations following such a peak oil situation, it is not necessary to specify a precise point in time…. Depending on the development of globally relevant factors, we cannot rule out that peak oil could have serious security policy implications within the review period of the 30-year investigation perspective” (emphasis added). So, the German military and the German Federal Defence Department not only believe that Peak Oil exists, but that the country must begin to prepare for the implications of Peak Oil sooner rather than later.

I think one has to take a step back in temporal perspective to get a good view of Peak Oil and to understand it and its implications for our global, industrial world. After about 200,000 years of low energy existence, humans happened upon a one-time windfall of energy-intensive resources and it has taken us less than two centuries to reach the production peak of this resource bonanza. On the way up the curve we have used the easy-to-retrieve and highest energy-return-on-energy-invested (EROEI) resources first, leaving us the less energy efficient (lower EROEI) and much more difficult-to-retrieve and expensive dregs; much of which may never get extracted.

Small ‘successes’, such as that of the American shale oil industry’s, are seen as minor deviations or perturbations in the long-term picture that emerges. For example, discoveries at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, bumped up American oil production for a few years in the late 1970s and early 1980s but by the mid- to late-1980s the country resumed its journey down the Hubbert curve that began in 1970. The same pattern seems to be emerging with the ‘shale boom;’ a slight blip in the production numbers for a couple of years beginning in late 2009 and then it will be back to the downward slide of Hubbert’s Peak in the not-too-distant future.

alaska and shale

This is not just true of the U.S.. It is true of every oil-producing country. Peak Oil is factual and based upon geologic patterns observed in every finite resource extracted to date. In fact, M.K. Hubbert predated his work on petroleum resources by studying extraction rates for various minerals that mimic the Hubbert curve.[xv]

The implications of Peak Oil are sure to be extremely upsetting to many. They range from James Howard Kunstler and John Michael Greer’s argument that the transition from fossil fuels will be a rather gradual fall from grace that will take generations, with possible spits and spurts of crises[xvi], to Michael Ruppert’s more apocalyptic and quick-moving collapse scenario. The reality of it, however, cannot be denied. But denial, of course, is the first stage of the Kubler-Ross model, also known as the five stages of grief, that psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross uses to argue that when faced with impending death or some other horrible fate, a person will experience a series of emotional stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.[xvii]

We won’t know when we’ve actually passed the peak of the Hubbert Curve with respect to oil production except in retrospect, and there are not likely to be any apocalyptic scenarios emerging as a result when we do; the truth is we may have already passed the point–global production rates of conventional oil have not moved above the levels reached in 2005/06.[xviii] There are many who have learned to accept it as inevitable but there are also a great many people still in the denial stage about Peak Oil.

Until more people arrive at the last stage of acceptance, we are destined to hear and read more stories with the theme reflected in Koch’s post. That Peak Oil is dead, technology will continue to save the day, and it’s time to move along, there’s nothing to see here. Unfortunately, I believe that the longer we maintain policies based on a denial of its existence, the less likely we will be able to prepare ourselves adequately and the more dire of the consequences will emerge.

What will befall an energy-dependent society as it begins its trip down the global, post-peak curve of Hubbert’s model can only be imagined. Will it reflect the brutal world of the television show Revolution where the power grid has failed due to wayward nanites?[xix] While failure of the grid in this science fiction series is not the result of Peak Oil, grid failure is a real possibility in a post-Peak Oil world, as pointed out by Richard Duncan in his Olduvai Theory.[xx] Will there be a massive die-off of humans as some predict?[xxi] Nobody knows.

One thing is sure though.

Peak Oil is dead, long live Peak Oil.


[i] G. Koch. The Welcome Death of Peak Oil. http://mises.ca/posts/blog/the-welcome-death-of-peak-oil/. November 9, 2013.

[ii] R. Wile. Peak Oil is Dead. http://www.businessinsider.com/death-of-peak-oil-2013-3. March 29, 2013.

B. Walsh. The IEA Says Peak Oil is Dead. That’s Bad News for Climate Policy.

http://science.time.com/2013/05/15/the-iea-says-peak-oil-is-dead-thats-bad-news-for-climate-policy/. May 15, 2013.

D. Blockman. As Fracking Rises, Peak Oil Theory Slowly Dies. http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2013/07/16/as-fracking-rises-peak-oil-theory-slowly-dies/. July 16, 2013.

K. Smith. No Peak Oil Really is Dead.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/modeledbehavior/2013/07/17/no-peak-oil-really-is-dead/. July 17, 2013.

[iii] G. Smith. U.S. to Be Top Oil Producer by 2015 on Shale, IEA says.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-12/u-s-nears-energy-independence-by-2035-on-shale-boom-iea-says.html. November 12, 2013.

P. Domm. Ship, baby, ship! Calls come for U.S. to export oil. http://www.cnbc.com/id/101087815. October 4, 2013.

R. Plank. North American Energy Independence Now Possible. http://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/North-American-energy-independence-now-possible-4007354.php. November 4, 2012.

D. Burney and F.O. Hanson. Pipelines are the ticket to North American energy independence. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/pipelines-are-the-ticket-to-north-american-energy-independence/article8952216/. February 22, 2013.

C. Assis. North America energy independent by 2020, but still tied to markets: report. http://blogs.marketwatch.com/energy-ticker/2013/09/27/north-america-energy-independent-by-2020-but-still-tied-to-markets-report/. September 27, 2013

Wood Mackenzie Press Release. Wood Mackenzie: Global Geopolitics Reshaped by North American Energy Independence. http://www.woodmacresearch.com/cgi-bin/wmprod/portal/corp/corpPressDetail.jsp?oid=11572576. September 26, 2013.

S. Arsenault. U.S. could reclaim role as net energy exporter. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/08/2013831142514713250.html. August 31, 2013.

[iv] W. Koch. Could fracking boom peter out sooner that DOE expects? http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/03/fracking-boom-bust-us-energy-independence/3328561/. November 3, 2013.

T. Whipple. The Peak Oil Crisis: The Shale Oil Bubble. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-10-30/the-peak-oil-crisis-the-shale-oil-bubble. October 30, 2013.

R. Heinberg. America’s natural gas revolution isn’t all it’s ‘fracked’ up to be. http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2013/1023/America-s-natural-gas-revolution-isn-t-all-it-s-fracked-up-to-be. October 23, 2013.

M. Mushalik. The U.S. will always remain a crude oil importer. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-10-31/us-will-always-remain-crude-oil-importer. October 31, 2013.

S. Kelly. Could California’s Shall Oil Boom Be Just a Mirage? http://www.desmogblog.com/2013/11/07/could-california-s-shale-oil-be-just-mirage. November 7, 2013.

M. Lardelli. The propaganda campaign against peaking fossil fuel production. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-11-05/the-propaganda-campaign-against-peaking-fossil-fuel-production. November 5, 2013.

J.D. Hughes. Drill, Baby, Drill: Can unconventional fuels usher in a new era of energy abundance? http://www.postcarbon.org/reports/DBD-report-FINAL.pdf. February 2013.

[v] K. Cobb. Will the real International Energy Agency please stand up? http://resourceinsights.blogspot.ca/2013/11/will-real-international-energy-agency.html/ November 16, 2013.

[vi] SRSrocco. The coming bust of the great Bakken Oil Field. http://srsroccoreport.com/the-coming-bust-of-the-great-bakken-oil-field/the-coming-bust-of-the-great-bakken-oil-field/. November 16, 2013.

M. Katusa. U.S. #1 in Oil: So Why Isn’t Gasoline $0.80 per Gallon? http://www.caseyresearch.com/cdd/us-1-in-oil-so-why-isnt-gasoline-0.80-per-gallon. October 29, 2013.

[vii] K. Sloan. What’s next for oil shale? http://thebusinesstimes.com/whats-next-for-oil-shale/. October 8, 2013.

G. Chazan. Shell write-down bad new for US shale.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/cf41cc36-fab2-11e2-87b9-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2jdcgNfoR. August 1, 2013.

G. Chazan. Peter Voser says he regrets Shell’s huge bet on US shale.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e964a8a6-2c38-11e3-8b20-00144feab7de.html?siteedition=intl. October 6, 2013.

[viii] M. King Hubbert. On the Nature of Growth. http://www.hubbertpeak.com/hubbert/OnTheNatureOfGrowth.pdf. 1974.

[ix] J. Carter. Primary Resources: Proposed Energy Policy. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/carter-energy/. April 18, 1977.

Miller Center, University of Virginia. Jimmy Carter. http://millercenter.org/president/carter/essays/biography/print.

[x] M. Ruppert. Collapse. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1503769/. 2009.

Wikipedia. Energy Task Force. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Task_Force

On the Issues. Dick Cheney on Energy and Oil. http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/Dick_Cheney_Energy_+_Oil.htm.

Haliburton Watch. Energy Task Force. http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/about_hal/energytf.html.

Sourcewatch. Cheney Energy Task Force. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Cheney_Energy_Task_Force.

[xi] Report of the National Energy Policy Development Group: Reliable, Affordable, and Environmentally Sound Energy for America’s Future. http://www.gcrio.org/OnLnDoc/pdf/nep.pdf. May 2001.

[xii] T. Dokoupil. Who’s the War President? http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/08/05/president-obama-president-bush-and-the-march-of-u-s-soldiers-abroad-where-they-are-and-why.html. August 5, 2011.

D. Degraw. Obama Far Outdoes Bush in Escalating War–The Numbers Will Surprise You. http://www.alternet.org/story/144449/obama_far_outdoes_bush_in_escalating_war_–_the_numbers_will_surprise_you. December 8, 2009.

P. Woodward. More US troops deployed overseas under Obama than Bush. http://warincontext.org/2009/10/13/more-us-troops-deployed-overseas-under-obama-than-bush/. October 13, 2009.

[xiv] Future Analysis Branch, Bundeswher Transformation Centre. Peak Oil: Security policy implications of scarce resources. http://www.jpods.com/JPods/004Studies/PeakOil_StudyEN_GermanArmy.pdf. November 2010.

[xv] M. King Hubbert. Future Ore Supply and Geophysical Prospecting: Mineral Properties Now Entering a  New Epoch. http://www.hubbertpeak.com/hubbert/FutureOreSupply.pdf. January 1934.

[xvi] J.M. Greer. The Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age. http://www.newsociety.com/Books/L/The-Long-Descent. 2008.

J.H. Kunstler. The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century. http://www.amazon.ca/The-Long-Emergency-Catastrophes-Twenty-First/dp/0802142494. 2005.

[xviii] M. McDermott. IEA chart says conventional oil production peaked in 2006. http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/iea-chart-says-conventional-oil-production-peaked-in-2006.html. November 11, 2010.

D. Biello. Has Petroleum Production Peaked, Ending the Era of Easy Oil?  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=has-peak-oil-already-happened. January 25, 2012.

[xix] Wikipedia. Revolution (TV Series). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_(TV_series).

[xx] R. Duncan. The Olduvai Theory. http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc1602/article_1362.shtml. Winter 2005/06.

The Olduvai Theory: Terminal Decline Imminent. http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc1602/article_1362.shtml. Spring 2007.

America: A Frog in the Kettle Slowly Coming to a Boil.

http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc1602/article_1362.shtml. Fall 2007.

The Olduvai Theory: Towards Re-Equalizing the World Standard of Living. http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc1602/article_1362.shtml. Summer 2009.

[xxi] M. Savinar. The Peak Oil and Die-Off. http://www.unicamp.br/fea/ortega/eco/traducao-DieOff.pdf

J. Siman. Speaking very gently about die-off. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2006-10-10/speaking-very-gently-about-die. October 10, 2006.

N. Hagens. Jay Hansen and Dieoff.org. http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/7/13/21018/2121. July 24, 2006.

Don’t Worry – The Government Says That The Inflation You See Is Just Your Imagination

Don’t Worry – The Government Says That The Inflation You See Is Just Your Imagination. (source)

If you believe that there is high inflation in the United States, you are just imagining things.  That is the message that the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve would have us to believe.  You might have noticed that the government announced on Wednesday that the cost of living increase for Social Security beneficiaries will only be 1.5 percent next year.  This is one of the smallest cost of living increases that we have ever seen.  The federal government is able to get away with this because the official numbers say that there is hardly any inflation in the U.S. right now.  Of course anyone that shops for groceries or that pays bills regularly knows what a load of nonsense the official inflation rate is.  The U.S. government has changed the way that inflation is calculated numerous times since 1978, and each time it has been changed the goal has been to make inflation appear to be even lower.  According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the inflation rate was still calculated the same way that it was back when Jimmy Carter was president, the official rate of inflation would be somewhere between 8 and 10 percent today.  But if the mainstream news actually reported such a number, everyone would be screaming and yelling about getting inflation under control.  Instead, the super low number that gets put out to the public makes it look like the Federal Reserve has plenty of room to do even more reckless money printing.  It is a giant scam, but most Americans are falling for it.

Meanwhile, the prices of the things that most Americans buy on a regular basis just keep going up.  The following are just a few examples of price inflation that we have seen lately…

-McDonald’s has killed the dollar menu because it is becoming impossible to “make any money selling burgers for $1“.

But don’t worry – the government says that the inflation you see is just your imagination.

-Amazon.com has raised the minimum order size required for free shipping from $25 to $35.

But don’t worry – you can afford to order more stuff thanks to the great new job that you got during this “economic recovery”.

-It is being projected that those using natural gas to heat their homes will see their heating costs rise by 13 percent this winter.

But don’t worry – “global warming” should kick in to high gear any day now.

-The price of chocolate has gone up by 45 percent since 2007, and it is being projected that it will now be increasing at an even faster pace.

But don’t worry – eating chocolate is bad for you anyway.

-Thanks to Obamacare, the health insurance premiums of many American families are absolutely skyrocketing.  As I wrote about the other day, one family down in Texas just got a letter informing them that their health insurance premiums are going up by 539 percent.

But don’t worry – this is just “health care reform” in action.

Meanwhile, things just continue to get tougher for middle class American families.  Household incomes have actually been declining for five years in a row and total consumer credit has risen by a whopping22 percent over the past three years.

The quality of our jobs continues to go down and our paychecks are not keeping up with inflation.  In fact, 40 percent of all U.S. workers are now making less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968 after you account for inflation.

So what do the “authorities” say that the solution to our problems is?

They want even more inflation of course.  According to CNBC, many Federal Reserve officials (including Janet Yellen) believe that what the U.S. economy really needs is a lot more inflation…

Inflation is widely reviled as a kind of tax on modern life, but as Federal Reserve policy makers prepare to meet this week, there is growing concern inside and outside the Fed that inflation is not rising fast enough.

Some economists say more inflation is just what the American economy needs to escape from a half-decade of sluggish growth and high unemployment.

The Fed has worked for decades to suppress inflation, but economists, including Janet Yellen, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Fed starting next year, have long argued that a little inflation is particularly valuable when the economy is weak. Rising prices help companies increase profits; rising wages help borrowers repay debts. Inflation also encourages people and businesses to borrow money and spend it more quickly.

The rest of that article goes on and on about how wonderful inflation is for an economy and about how the U.S. economy desperately needs some more of it.

Well, if that was actually true, then the Weimar Republic should have had one of the best economies in the history of mankind.

But this inevitably happens when a nation starts producing fiat currency that is backed by absolutely nothing.  There is always a temptation to just print a little bit more.

In the end, we are going to be destroyed by our own foolishness.  We have the de facto reserve currency of the planet, and the rest of the world has trusted it for decades.  But now we are systematically destroying our currency, and the rest of the globe is looking on in horror.

If you want to see a very good example of the impact that inflation has had on our economy in recent years, just check out this amazing chartwhich shows what the Federal Reserve’s reckless policies have done to the prices of commodities.

Ultimately, the U.S. dollar will be destroyed, and we will have done it to ourselves.

Many people are attempting to protect themselves against this inevitability by putting a lot of their money into hard assets such as gold and silver, but before you do that you might want to make sure that you don’t have a vengeful spouse that will toss it all into a dumpster someday.  The following is from a recent New York Post article

A Colorado man was so angry at his ex-wife for divorcing him that he had the couple’s life savings of $500,000 converted to gold — then tossed it in a dumpster so she couldn’t have any of it, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.

In June, Earl Ray Jones, 52, of Divide, Colorado, was ordered by a judge to pay $3,000 a month to the woman he’d been married to for 25 years, so he pillaged the couple’s retirement account and had it converted into 22 pounds worth of gold and silver bars,  the paper reports.

Jones claims he then tossed the modern-day treasure into a dumpster behind a motel, where he had been living temporarily, later telling the judge he had no money to give his ex-wife, according to the paper.

Did that story make you smile?  It sure did the trick for me.

But that story is also a picture of what the Federal Reserve is doing with our dollar.

Our currency has been used for decades by almost everyone else around the planet.  In fact, more U.S. dollars are used outside of our country than inside of it.

But now the Federal Reserve is systematically trashing the dollar and the rest of the globe is starting to lose faith in it.

Instead of realizing their mistakes, Fed officials say that we need to create even more inflation and they just keep on wildly printing more money.

In the end, we will all pay a great price for their foolishness.

 

22 Reasons To Be Concerned About The U.S. Economy As We Head Into The Holiday Season | Zero Hedge

22 Reasons To Be Concerned About The U.S. Economy As We Head Into The Holiday Season | Zero Hedge. (FULL ARTICLE)

Are we on the verge of another major economic downturn?  In recent weeks, most of the focus has been on our politicians in Washington, but there are lots of other reasons to be deeply alarmed about the economy as well.  Economic confidence is down, retail sales figures are disappointing, job cuts are up, and American consumers are deeply struggling. Even if our politicians do everything right, there would still be a significant chance that we could be heading into tough economic times in the coming months. 

Our economy has been in decline for a very long time, and that decline appears to be accelerating.  There aren’t enough jobs, the quality of our jobs continues to decline, our economic infrastructure is being systematically gutted, and poverty has been absolutely exploding.  Things have gotten so bad that former President Jimmy Carter says that the middle class of today resembles those that were living in poverty when he was in the White House.  But this process has been happening so gradually that most Americans don’t even realize what has happened.  Our economy is being fundamentally transformed, and the pace of our decline is picking up speed.  The following are 22 reasons to be concerned about the U.S. economy as we head into the holiday season……

 

The Biggest Oil Discovery In 50 Years?

The Biggest Oil Discovery In 50 Years?.

Extreme Energy, Extreme Implications: Interview with Michael Klare

Extreme Energy, Extreme Implications: Interview with Michael Klare.

 

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