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October 15 2019

mr-absentia

The Spoils of Economic War: How the US, Saudis Profit From Sanctions on Venezuela and Iran

«The "almighty" dollar would fall from grace with back up from oil

Trump opens war fronts everywhere, which wouldn't seem to make sense unless they were a distraction. But they're not.

The rise of China as a global power has been silently transforming the international monetary system, another element triggering the U.S. into endless economic bullying.

Since the abandonment of the gold standard in 1971, the U.S. dollar is not linked to any assets, becoming a fiat currency. In these kinds of cases, only a country's output could back the currency in the long term. But what happens when monetary expansion occurs faster than increases in productivity?

Bringing new meaning to the "In God We Trust" motto coined so long ago, the dollar’s value depends on its capacity to remain an international reserve currency; that is, a currency other countries hold as part of their foreign exchange reserves and use in their international transactions.

In a world where economic agents don't ask the Federal Reserve to convert their notes into gold or any other physical asset, trust is the only thing keeping the U.S. upright. As a result, the dollar has remained a mighty currency because most international transactions are traded in U.S. dollars.

On Jan. 30, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, in fact, revealed very little when he blatantly admitted that the coup attempt in Venezuela was really about grasping for oil resources. In reality, aggression by the U.S. hides something much more than that.

If the dollar stops being the world's most traded currency, the U.S. will not be able to issue the notes it needs to finance an almost 50-year-old federal deficit which rose from US$666 billion in 2017 to US$779 billion in 2018.

"The U.S. budget deficit by year is how much more the federal government spends than it receives in revenue annually. The Fiscal Year 2020 U.S. budget deficit is expected to be US$1.1 trillion.

"That's the biggest deficit since 2012," wrote Kimberly Amadeo in The Balance, noting how President Trump has ramped up the U.S. deficit to pay for record-high levels of military spending.

The dollar losing status as the world's preferred currency would give the U.S. problems paying for imports in an economy where its lack of international competitiveness has given it a trade deficit since 1976, which widened to US$50 billion in March.

Last but not least, if the dollar stops being almighty, the U.S. will have a very difficult time maintaining itself as a first-world-class economy, since it's federal debt exceeded US$22 trillion in February. This amount represents over 76 percent of what the U.S. is able to produce in one year. Nevertheless, this is most likely to get worse: the debt-to-GDP ratio in the United States will rise to 150 percent by 2049, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Besides preventing Venezuela and Iran from exporting their natural resources, the U.S. is actively seeking to avoid the dollar's collapse, an inevitability in the next few years, as the history of previous empires has already shown.

This is why the Trump administration is prone to fighting the use of barter, virtual currencies or other alternative international payment methods.

U.S. sanctions are not whimsical expressions of this president. They are tools used to retain hegemonic power in a multipolar world no longer willing to tolerate such an aspiration. At the core of U.S. bullying is not ideological disagreement but economic decline.»

October 12 2019

mr-absentia

@SomersetBean: Today: Julian Assange has been in a London prison for 6 months, after UK police seized him from Ecuador's embassy. A journalist & publisher facing a US kangaroo court & 175 year prison sentence—for exposing the truth.

mr-absentia

@SaveManning: It's DAY 213 of @xychelsea's incarceration for resisting a grand jury subpoena with $104,000 in fines. ($1000 A DAY) (October 12 2019) Chelsea's legal defense fund is here: tinyurl.com/chelsealegal

October 08 2019

mr-absentia
mr-absentia
mr-absentia

Joe Tsai is on Facebook - When I bought controlling interest in the Brooklyn Nets in September, I didn’t expect my first public communication with our fans would be to comment on…

«Fans in China are calling for an explanation – if they are not getting it from the Houston Rockets, then it is natural that they ask others associated with the NBA to express a view.

The NBA is a fan-first league. When hundreds of millions of fans are furious over an issue, the league, and anyone associated with the NBA, will have to pay attention. As a Governor of one of the 30 NBA teams, and a Chinese having spent a good part of my professional life in China, I need to speak up.

What is the problem with people freely expressing their opinion? This freedom is an inherent American value and the NBA has been very progressive in allowing players and other constituents a platform to speak out on issues.

The problem is, there are certain topics that are third-rail issues in certain countries, societies and communities.

Supporting a separatist movement in a Chinese territory is one of those third-rail issues, not only for the Chinese government, but also for all citizens in China.»

mr-absentia

September 24 2019

mr-absentia

The attacks on Saudi Arabia merit a firm response - Abqaiq the powder keg

«Consider the cost of recent Western restraint. In May Iran hit four tankers in the United Arab Emirates; in June it struck two more tankers in the Strait of Hormuz; later it took down an American drone. Mr Trump was prepared to retaliate only after that last aggression—and even then he pulled back at the last minute. The attack on September 14th was vastly more consequential. The president has said that America is “locked and loaded”. In Tehran they are watching to see whether he is all talk, as they are in Beijing, Moscow, Pyongyang, and in countries whose security depends on the idea that America will turn up.

If any nuclear negotiations are to succeed, Iran must pay a price for Abqaiq. America wants a more sweeping agreement than the original one, but only the pragmatic faction in Tehran, weakened by America’s approach, will make such a deal. While Iran can hit out again, the hardliners will have a veto over any talks. If America is seen as a paper tiger, they will be able to argue that Iran need not give much ground. On the contrary, they will say that their country should pile pressure on America by accelerating its nuclear programme. America and its allies therefore need to convince Iran that it cannot use violence to get its way.

The first stage of a response is to establish precisely where Saturday’s attack originated and who planned it. America must share this publicly, partly because Mr Trump’s word alone does not carry weight, but also to build a coalition and help stifle the objections of Iran’s apologists. Evidence against Iran could pave the way for new sanctions. Mr Trump has promised more—though America is already doing pretty much all it can. He should be backed by the Europeans, who need to understand that peace depends on deterring Iran, and China, which imports over 9m b/d of oil, much of it from the Middle East.

That is not all. If the Abqaiq attack is the work of Iran’s revolutionary guards, they should face direct consequences. That involves covert operations, by cyber-units that can disrupt their communications and finances; and air strikes on guard units outside Iran in Syria. Ideally, these would be carried out by a coalition, but if need be, America and Saudi Arabia should act alone. The risk of escalation should not be ignored, but Iran does not want all-out war any more than Saudi Arabia and America do. Israel frequently launches air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq without provoking an Iranian escalation.»

mr-absentia

Abandon illusion that Iran can be defeated by pressure: Zarif to US

«Trump’s goal has been to get another deal as he has already described the JCPOA as "the worst deal ever negotiated.” The White House position has been that maximum pressure will continue until Iranian officials accept to sit at the negotiating table.

Iranian officials, however, say it was Washington that left the JCPOA last year although the international and multilateral deal was endorsed by the UN Security Council in the form of a resolution. Tehran says talks with Washington are impossible as the latter is pressing ahead with its hostile policy and refuses to lift sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

In an interview with Malaysia's official news agency Bernama in August, the Iranian foreign minister said the country will not renegotiate its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, but is open to talks on finding ways to implement the existing accord.

"We are ready to talk and consult with others on how to best implement this deal. We are talking about Europe coming to comply with its own obligations under the deal," Zarif said.

Elsewhere in his interview with the NPR, Iran's foreign minister said, “The United States can have a much better deal with Iran if they started talking to us based on respect, based on mutual respect and based on moving forward.”

Referring to a forthcoming meeting between Iran and the four remaining members of the P5+1 group – the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany – next Wednesday, Zarif said, “Four of the five permanent members [of the UN Security Council] plus Germany will be seated around the table along with me and the High Representative of the European Union.”

He added, “There is an empty chair there for the United States, but there is a ticket for that chair and that is to be law abiding.”»

September 22 2019

mr-absentia

Between Washington and Beijing

«Hong Kong exists between two global ambitions — Chinese state capitalism and Western neoliberalism. To fight for self-determination is to confront both, and to do so, Hong Kongers must engage internationally, seeking allies not only in China and the West, but beyond all borders in order to build a broad anticapitalist movement.

This is especially important in combating Chinese colonial influence through projects like the Belt and Road Initiative, which promotes new forms of economic imperialism and infringes on people’s right to self-determination. Kenyan coal miners and indigenous groups in Southeast Asia like the Dumagat people are examples of communities at the front-lines of the struggle against Chinese capital and the exploitation of their land and labor. As Hong Kongers in the city and abroad, we hope to learn from and foreground these voices.

Furthermore, as Hong Kong looks to the United States for support, we urge protesters to refuse alliances with right-wingers like Marco Rubio and instead build connections between oppressed groups. Police brutality is one example of an issue that creates an opening for solidarity. Considering how opposition to violence from the Hong Kong Police Force is now at the heart of the city’s struggle, we want to draw connections between police brutality and other forms of state oppression in the United States with what’s happening in Hong Kong. We want to help build alliances between marginalized groups and facilitate a cross-border solidarity grounded in skill-sharing and meaningful dialogue.

Finally, we want to connect Hong Kong’s fight for self-determination and anticapitalist struggles to places like Kashmir, Sudan, Palestine, Tamil Eelam, Kurdistan, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. Lausan 流傘 is invested in the fight to establish other forms of community not necessarily based upon nation-state sovereignty, and not based upon borders or capitalism’s imperatives. A lot more work needs to be done on this front.»

mr-absentia

September 21 2019

mr-absentia
7462 a244 500

It's no consolation that the USA also irradiated their own troops when deploying these chemical weapons.
Let's call them what they are, a combination of a radiation and chemical weapon.





https://truthout.org/articles/iraqi-children-test-positive-for-depleted-uranium-near-former-us-air-base
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Tags: Favorites US
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September 19 2019

mr-absentia

How China’s surveillance state was a mirror to the US for whistle-blower Edward Snowden

South China Morning Post, 17 Sep. 2019

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«In his book Permanent Record, published on Wednesday, the former US spy agency contractor who now lives in exile in Russia, detailed how he fled to Hong Kong and then Moscow after creating one of the most serious security breaches in American history.

Snowden, who was a technician subcontracted to the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency for seven years, said he began to have suspicions about secret post-September 11 US surveillance programmes after he was asked in 2009 to brief a conference in Tokyo on how Chinese spy agencies were targeting the US intelligence community.

Preparing for the briefing, Snowden said he became aware that China’s surveillance of private communications was “utterly mind-boggling”. He was initially “so impressed by the system’s sheer achievement and audacity that I almost forgot to be appalled by its totalitarian controls”, he said.

He then began to feel disturbed when he realised that America, an internet and software power, might have done similar things to its people and the world.

“There was simply no way for America to have so much information about what the Chinese were doing without having done some of the very same things itself, and I had the sneaking sense while I was looking through all this China material that I was looking at a mirror and seeing a reflection of America,” he said.

“What China was doing publicly to its own citizens, America might be – could be – doing secretly to the world.”»

September 17 2019

mr-absentia

Trump says US doesn’t need Middle East oil; data, experts prove otherwise

«America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil is not just about high consumption levels. Several key refineries across the US are also set up to work with the type of crude that comes from the countries in the region.

As an example, Saudi Arabia’s Aramco which owns half of the biggest American oil refinery, Motiva Enterprises LLC in Texas, works best with Saudi crude.

There are other refineries in the US, particularly in California, which are located far away from big oil fields and therefore rely on cargoes that come from other countries.

The EIA [Energy Information Administration] states that in 2018, the US imported an average of 48 million barrels per month of crude oil and petroleum products from the Persian Gulf region, a third down from a decade ago but still around the same levels as in 1995 and 1996.»

mr-absentia

presstv.com: US President Donald Trump gestures to supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, on September 16, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

mr-absentia

@PlaggeVal: September is #HungerActionMonth and to bring awareness to food insecurity in our country, I created a recipe based off the SNAP budget for a family of four - $5.50 per meal. Check out my Chicken Caesar Pasta: cornbeanspigskids.com/2019/09/513-ch…

September 16 2019

mr-absentia
Reposted byin-god-we-trustswissfondue-interimPewPowplepletimmoe
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