A Big Summer Story You Missed: Soaring Oil Debt

Over 100 of the world’s largest energy companies are running out of cash
Some of the summer’s biggest news stories took place in the bombed schools of Gaza, the abandoned hospitals of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the wheat fields of eastern Ukraine and the bloody mountains of northern Iraq.
But one of the most important made virtually no headlines at all, and seemed to only appear on the website of the U. S. Energy Information Administration.
Last July the government agency, which has collected mundane statistics on energy matters for decades, quietly revealed that 127 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are running out of cash.
They are now spending more than they are earning. Profits have lagged as expenditures have risen. Overburdened by debt, these firms are selling assets.
The math is simple. The 127 firms generated $568 billion in cash from their operations during 2013-2014 while their expenses totalled $677 billion. To cover the difference of $110 billion, the energy giants increased their debt load or sold off assets.
Given that the gap between earned cash and spending stood at a modest $10 billion in 2010, that’s a significant change for the industry as well as the global economy it fuels.

This post was published at Silver Bear Cafe on August 30, 2014.

Has Hillary Ever Been Right?

en. Rand Paul raises an interesting question:
When has Hillary Clinton ever been right on foreign policy?
The valkyrie of the Democratic Party says she urged President Obama to do more to aid Syrian rebels years ago. And last summer, she supported air strikes on Bashar Assad’s regime.
Had we followed her advice and crippled Assad’s army, ISIS might be in Damascus today, butchering Christians and Alawites and aiding the Islamic State in Iraq in overrunning Baghdad.
But if the folly of attacking Assad’s army and weakening its resistance to ISIS terrorists is apparent to everyone this summer, why were Clinton, Obama and Secretary of State Kerry oblivious to this reality just a year ago?
Consider the rest of Hillary’s record. Her most crucial decision as Senator came in 2002 when she voted to invade Iraq. She now concedes it was the greatest mistake of her Senate career.

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on August 30, 2014.

Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order

The concept that has underpinned the modern geopolitical era is in crisis.
Libya is in civil war, fundamentalist armies are building a self-declared caliphate across Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan's young democracy is on the verge of paralysis. To these troubles are added a resurgence of tensions with Russia and a relationship with China divided between pledges of cooperation and public recrimination. The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis.
The search for world order has long been defined almost exclusively by the concepts of Western societies. In the decades following World War II, the U.S.—strengthened in its economy and national confidence—began to take up the torch of international leadership and added a new dimension. A nation founded explicitly on an idea of free and representative governance, the U.S. identified its own rise with the spread of liberty and democracy and credited these forces with an ability to achieve just and lasting peace. The traditional European approach to order had viewed peoples and states as inherently competitive; to constrain the effects of their clashing ambitions, it relied on a balance of power and a concert of enlightened statesmen. The prevalent American view considered people inherently reasonable and inclined toward peaceful compromise and common sense; the spread of democracy was therefore the overarching goal for international order. Free markets would uplift individuals, enrich societies and substitute economic interdependence for traditional international rivalries.
This effort to establish world order has in many ways come to fruition. A plethora of independent sovereign states govern most of the world's territory. The spread of democracy and participatory governance has become a shared aspiration if not a universal reality; global communications and financial networks operate in real time.

This post was published at Wall Street Journal

Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast

An oil tanker loaded with $100 million of disputed Iraqi Kurdish crude has disappeared of the coast of Texas in the latest development in a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse between Baghdad and the Kurds.
The AIS ship tracking system used by the U.S. Coast Guard and Reuters on Thursday showed no known position for the United Kalavrvta, which was carrying 1 million barrels of crude and 95 percent full when it went dark.
Several other tankers carrying disputed crude from Iran or Iraqi Kurdistan have unloaded cargoes after switching off their transponders, which makes their movements hard to track.
Days ago, the partially full Kamari tanker carrying Kurdish crude disappeared from satellite tracking north of Egypt's Sinai. It reappeared empty two days later near Israel.

This post was published at The Independent

This Is How ISIS Is Building An Airforce

The Islamic State is nothing if not ambitious. Despite no record of current ‘airplane’ assets in their annual reports, ISIS has begun detaining and forcing Syrian pilots to train militant fighters to fly stolen aircraft. According to CNN Arabic, the pilots (and their planes and helicopters) were abducted when the terrorist group gained control of Tabqa military base. It appears that if beheadings, executions, and whippings are not enough to strike fear into the hearts of the locals, then (just as America is tryiung to do), an air assault will greatly demoralize. We can only imagine how this changes Obama’s strategy (and just where are all the rest of Syria and Iraq’s airplanes stored?)

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/30/2014.

The Mother of All Blowback

President Barack Obama is being lambasted by US Republicans for admitting that ‘we don’t have a strategy yet’ for dealing with the rise of the militant group, ISIS, or Islamic State, as it’s now known.
Given that the US had made an unbelievable mess of its Mideast policies, the president is right to pause and think, something his shoot -from- the- lip Republican critics rarely do. They are demanding the US attack both Iraq and Syria without asking ‘what then oh brave Washington warriors?’ These are the Republicans who ardently supported George Bush’s catastrophic invasion and destruction of Iraq.
The problem is that too many cooks in Washington are spoiling its Mideast soup. In his magnificent new book, ‘The Sleepwalkers,’ Prof. Christopher Clark of Cambridge describes how World War I was in part ignited by small numbers of anti-German officials in France, Russia, Serbia and Britain who often undermined their own government’s moderate policies.
The same process occurred under President George W. Bush when cabals of neocon officials in the Pentagon, State Department, CIA and media drove the US into a calamitous war whose negative effects are still being felt.

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on August 30, 2014.

Has the U.S. Targeted Nuclear-Armed Russia with Regime Change?

America Has Undertaken Regime Change In Many Countries Before In 1957, the U. S. and British governments planned regime change in Syria … because it was drifting too close to the Soviet Union.
20 years ago, influential U. S. government officials decided to effect regime change throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The countries targeted were ‘old Soviet regimes’.
The U. S. has, of course, already carried out regime change in Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Chile, Haiti and many other countries. The U. S. was also instrumental in the recent regime change inUkraine.
Soviet leader Gorbachev allowed the Soviet Union broken up only after the U. S. and NATO promisedthey would not encircle Russia militarily. Ever since 1991, they have broken their promise and encircledRussia.

This post was published at Washingtons Blog on August 30, 2014.

Islamic State tortured James Foley, other Westerners with harsh CIA tactics

The American photojournalist who was beheaded by Islamic State militants was also tortured using some of the same methods employed by the CIA in its controversial, post-9/11 interrogation program.
James Foley was subjected to waterboarding multiple times while being imprisoned by the Islamic State, as were three other kidnapped Westerners. According to the Washington Post, several unnamed American officials confirmed the news, with one adding that Foley ‘suffered a lot of physical abuse’ before his death.
A French journalist who was held by the Islamic State along with Foley said, in addition to waterboarding, the American was punished even more than others after militants discovered his brother was a member of the US Air Force.
In a video released last week, Foley was beheaded by a masked, English-speaking Islamic State militant. The actions of the hardline Islamist group, which has brutally torn through parts of Iraq and Syria, have triggered a military response from the United States, and they described Foley’s murder as ‘a message to America’ for its use of airstrikes in Iraq.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on August 29th, 2014.

Rand Paul Slams US Interventionists’ “Unhinged Foreign Policy” For Abetting The Rise Of ISIS

As the murderous, terrorist Islamic State continues to threaten Iraq, the region and potentially the United States, it is vitally important that we examine how this problem arose. Any actions we take today must be informed by what we’ve already done in the past, and how effective our actions have been.
Shooting first and asking questions later has never been a good foreign policy. The past year has been a perfect example.
In September President Obama and many in Washington were eager for a U. S. intervention in Syria to assist the rebel groups fighting President Bashar Assad’s government. Arguing against military strikes, I wrote that “Bashar Assad is clearly not an American ally. But does his ouster encourage stability in the Middle East, or would his ouster actually encourage instability?”
The administration’s goal has been to degrade Assad’s power, forcing him to negotiate with the rebels. But degrading Assad’s military capacity also degrades his ability to fend off the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Assad’s government recently bombed the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS in Raqqa, Syria.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/29/2014.

Is this what General McInerney was talking about last week on Fox News? Henry Kissinger Plugs His New Book on WSJ – The Assembly of a New World Order

Adapted from his book “World Order,” to be published Sept. 9 by the Penguin Press.
Libya is in civil war, fundamentalist armies are building a self-declared caliphate across Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan’s young democracy is on the verge of paralysis. To these troubles are added a resurgence of tensions with Russia and a relationship with China divided between pledges of cooperation and public recrimination. The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis.
The search for world order has long been defined almost exclusively by the concepts of Western societies. In the decades following World War II, the U. S. – strengthened in its economy and national confidence – began to take up the torch of international leadership and added a new dimension. A nation founded explicitly on an idea of free and representative governance, the U. S. identified its own rise with the spread of liberty and democracy and credited these forces with an ability to achieve just and lasting peace. The traditional European approach to order had viewed peoples and states as inherently competitive; to constrain the effects of their clashing ambitions, it relied on a balance of power and a concert of enlightened statesmen. The prevalent American view considered people inherently reasonable and inclined toward peaceful compromise and common sense; the spread of democracy was therefore the overarching goal for international order. Free markets would uplift individuals, enrich societies and substitute economic interdependence for traditional international rivalries.
This effort to establish world order has in many ways come to fruition. A plethora of independent sovereign states govern most of the world’s territory. The spread of democracy and participatory governance has become a shared aspiration if not a universal reality; global communications and financial networks operate in real time.
The years from perhaps 1948 to the turn of the century marked a brief moment in human history when one could speak of an incipient global world order composed of an amalgam of American idealism and traditional European concepts of statehood and balance of power. But vast regions of the world have never shared and only acquiesced in the Western concept of order. These reservations are now becoming explicit, for example, in the Ukraine crisis and the South China Sea. The order established and proclaimed by the West stands at a turning point.

This post was published at Wall Street Journal on Aug. 29, 2014.

ISIS Sends 2nd Beheading “Message In Blood” Video; Warns Kurds “Huge Mistake Joining Hands With America”

Just hours after hours after another video purporting to show the mass execution of up to 250 Syrian soldiers in the desert, The Independent reports ISIS has released a video apparently showing the beheading of a Kurdish man in Iraq as a warning to Kurds fighting the group in the country. The video, entitled “A Message in Blood” ends with the victim beheaded and the fighters warn others will face the same fate should Kurdish leaders choose to continue an alliance with the US.
Image from the latest beheading clip:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/29/2014.

City Council to Police: You Have 60 Days to Get Rid of Your MRAP Military Tank

Apparently not all city councils are thrilled with the idea of their local police department driving around ‘protecting’ their streets with mine resistant, ambush protected vehicles straight off the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The city council of Davis, California, a town of about 66,000 people near Sacramento, has now adopted a resolution to ‘tank the tank’ as one protester put it, after a large crowd of concerned citizens showed up to the council’s most recent meeting. CBS13 reports:
The vehicle, worth nearly $700,000 didn’t cost the Davis Police Department a dime, as it was acquired through a federal government surplus program. The MRAP was developed by the military for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After Pentagon budget cuts, the vehicle has been making its way to local law enforcement…
A big concern for protesters is the vehicle could be used to quash peaceful protests and demonstrations, especially in light of clashes between heavily-armored police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting death of Michael Brown.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on August 28th, 2014.

Putin Says Everything U.S. Touches Turns Out Like Libya Or Iraq

Having been quiet for a few days, comfortable sitting back and watching NATO, Europe, and the US escalate each other’s talking points to a frenzy of populist revolt, Russia’s Vladimir Putin has come out swinging this morning:
*PUTIN: NO MATTER WHAT U. S. DOES, IT TURNS OUT LIKE LIBYA, IRAQ *PUTIN SAYS UN CAN’T BE FOREIGN POLICY TOOL FOR U. S., ALLIES *PUTIN: EUROPEAN LEADERS FAR FROM SHOWING INDEPENDENT THINKING *PUTIN SAYS RUSSIA IS COUNTRY THAT DOESN’T FEAR ANYTHING In addition to discussions of The Bolsheviks, agreeing Stalin was a tyrant, and slamming liberal economic models for creating crises, Putin notes his approval rating is high because “he is confident he’s right.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/29/2014.

UK Raises Terror Threat Level To Severe (From Substantial)

UK Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that a terrorist attack on the UK is :highly likely,” although stressed that there is no information to suggest an attack is imminent:
*UK TERROR THREAT LEVEL RAISED TO SEVERE FROM SUBSTANTIAL *REAL AND SERIOUS THREAT IN THE UK FROM TERRORISM, MAY SAYS Her decision is based on the latest intelligence from Syria and Iraq (and we suspect, as Brandon Smith notes, “the goal will be to terrify you and those around you into seeking out a more powerful, more centralized government authority to protect your security.”)

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/29/2014.

Russia Invades Ukraine, ISIS Update, Israel-Hamas Cease Fire and More!

The following video was published by Greg Hunter on Aug 28, 2014
I have been predicting wider war in Ukraine, and now we have one with the Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine. The President said in a press conference that there is not going to be a military response to this escalation, but my sources say the U. S. has been covertly helping the Ukrainians. How do you think they have been able to overtake the pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine? Looks like Vladimir Putin has had enough and is now directly involved with his military.
Meanwhile, in the Middle East, everyone is talking about ISIS or ISIL or, simply, the Islamic State. The Islamic State has taken over large parts of Iraq and Syria. Now, the Islamic State is threatening the Golan Heights on the Northern Israeli border. The President said in a press conference he ‘did not have a strategy’ for dealing with the Islamic State. What??? This after the Secretary of Defense and the head of the Joint Chiefs gave a press conference that said the Islamic State was an ‘imminent threat’ and that IS was ‘not like anything we have seen.’
The Israelis and Hamas have agreed to another cease-fire. The Israelis wanted Hamas to disarm before they opened the borders of Gaza and extended fishing off the coast. The new cease-fire allows the borders to be open for humanitarian aid and construction material to rebuild Gaza. Hamas did not agree to disarm. So, why did the Israelis cave in? I think that the military wing of Hamas has been damaged so badly that it is now much less of a threat. Israel sees wider war coming and wants Washington to resupply it with offensive weapons such as Sidewinder missiles that the Obama Administration stopped recently.

Bombs Away Over Syria! Washington Has Gone Stark Raving Mad

America’s spanker-in-chief is at it again – threatening to bomb Syria owing to the uncivilized actions of its inhabitants. And when it comes to Syria, Washington avers that there are punishable malefactors virtually everywhere within its borders.
Exactly one year ago Obama proposed to take Bashar Al Assad to the woodshed because he had allegedly unleashed a vicious chemical attack on his own citizens. That was all pretext, of course, because even the CIA refused to sign-off on the flimsy case for Assad’s culpability at the time – -a reluctance corroborated since then by the considerable evidence that hundreds of Syrian civilians were murdered during a false flag operation staged by the rebels with help from Turkey. The aim of the rebels, of course, was to activate American tomahawk missiles and bombers in behalf of ‘regime change’, which was also the stated goal of the Obama Administration.
Now the White House is threatening to bomb Syria again, but this time its ‘regime change’ objective has been expanded to include both sides! In 12 short months what had been the allegedly heroic Sunni opposition to the ‘brutal rule’ of the Assad/Alawite minority has transmuted into the ‘greatest terrorist threat ever’, according to the Secretary of Defense.
So Obama has already unleashed the drones and surveillance apparatus to identify targets of attack that will help bring down a regime in northern and eastern Syria – the so-called Islamic State – which did not even exist a year ago. And a regime that is now armed to the teeth with America’s own latest and greatest weaponry as previously supplied to the disintegrated Iraqi army and the Syrian rebels trained by the CIA in Jordan.
Adding to this blinding farce is the warning of Syria’s Foreign Affairs minister that Obama should please to request permission before he rains destruction from the sky on the Opposition – -that is, the opposition to the very same Damascus regime which the White House has vowed to eradicate. Needless to say, the Washington apparatus is having nothing to do with aiding the enemy of its new enemy:

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 27, 2014.

Russia Sanctions Hit German Consumers, ‘Economic Expectations Completely Collapse’

It starts out un-alarmingly. The optimism of German consumers weakens somewhat, according to the forward-looking Gfk survey, conducted on a monthly basis for the European Commission. So the overall index fell to 8.6 for September, from 8.9 in August. It was the first decline since January 2013.
The index bottomed in late 2008 below 2, after a breathtaking crash during the financial crisis. In late 2007, it had hovered above 9. Early 2014 was the first time since the prior bubble that the index broke above 8. And August’s level of 8.9 represented an ‘extremely optimistic economic outlook,’ as Gfk calls it. German consumers have been feeling good, and according to the headline index, they’re stillfeeling good up there somewhere in the rarefied air above 8.
But beneath the surface, there is serious trouble. Gfk reports that the sub-index of economic expectations, ‘in light of the intensified state of international affairs, completely collapses.’
It plunged 35.5 points to 10.4. The worst monthly plunge since the beginning of the survey in 1980. In a single month, it nearly wiped out all the gains of the boom of the last 12 months. Gfk cites the escalation of the situation in Iraq, Israel, the Eastern Ukraine, and particularly ‘the faster rotating sanctions spiral with Russia.’

This post was published at Wolf Street on August 27, 2014.

Video of the Day – Chris Hedges on Overthrowing the Corporate Fascist State

The relationship between those who are constantly watched and tracked, and those who watch and track them, is the relationship between masters and slaves.
– Chris Hedges
Below you will find an extremely powerful and inspiring speech by Chris Hedges. The award winning journalist has been ahead of the curve on many issues of national and global importance, including being one of the earliest critics of the Iraq war. Chris has an unshakable moral compass and a passion to match it. He has been a shining light in a sea of darkness and cowardice when it comes to public figures speaking truth to power, including having led the charge to sue the Obama administration on the right to imprison American citizens without trial.
Thank you for all you do, Chris.


This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Aug 27, 2014.

The Murder of James Foley

In response to the Islamic State’s execution of American journalist James Foley, President Obama referred to Foley’s killers as a ‘cancer.’ That, of course, implies that anti-American terrorism is like a disease, one that strikes at nations willy nilly, without rhyme or reason. Obama’s cancer metaphor for ISIS brings to mind what President Bush said about al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks – that the terrorists were motivated by hatred for America’s freedom and values. Under either formulation – cancer or hatred for America’s freedom and values – the war on terrorism is going to last a very long time, which naturally means an ongoing presence and ever-increasing budgets for the Cold War-era national-security establishment, i.e., the military and the CIA. But the truth is that anti-American terrorism is not like cancer and it’s not motivated by hatred for America’s freedom and values. It is instead a direct result of the U. S. government’s interventionist foreign policy. Interventionism generates the rage within foreigners that motivates them to respond with acts of anti-American terrorism. This is what Obama and Bush, who share the same commitment to foreign interventionism, just don’t get or won’t get. They can’t afford to get it. If they got it and said it, the American people might ask a very simple, discomforting question: Why not bring an end to foreign interventionism, which would bring an end to anti-American terrorism?
Consider the beheading of James Foley. He was being kept alive by his captors up until Obama’s air force initiated bombing runs over Iraq that killed many of the ISIS fighters. Those U. S. killings of ISIS fighters produced the rage within Foley’s captors that motivated them to respond by killing an American citizen, in this case James Foley. What conclusion can be drawn from this episode?

This post was published at Ron Paul Institute on August 27, 2014.