It looks increasingly likely that President Obama is going to cave into the oil interests promoting the pipeline to move oil mine in tar sands of Canada to the Port Arthur Free Trade Zone in Texas.
One of the prime selling points of this scheme, which has environmentalists all in uproar will no doubt be that the pipeline is needed for energy security. So what is going on? My good friend Pierre Sprey’s answer may surprise you. He has graciously given me permission to distribute it.
Peak Oil or Peak Profits?
email from Pierre Sprey, 5 September 2005
A new Oil Change International report has injected a breath of fresh air into the endless stream of media BS about peak oil, declining US oil production, disastrous dependence on foreign oil, need for new offshore drilling, blah, blah , blah, blah…. The report’s charts show that our domestic oil production has been rising markedly since 2008. The excess domestic oil and the new Keystone pipeline oil are unneeded for the domestic market and will go largely to exports to fatten Big Oil’s bottom line.
The most interesting conclusions are:
“Gasoline demand is declining due to increasing vehicle efficiency and slow economic growth;
Meanwhile the surge in new shale oil production in North Dakota and Texas has led to the first rise in U.S. oil production since 1970 and is forecast to continue for some time;
As a result of stagnant demand and the rise in both domestic and Canadian oil production, there is a glut of oil in the U.S. market.
Refiners have therefore identified export markets as their primary hope for growth and maximum profits.
In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks the then national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, called in her senior staff and asked them to think seriously about “how [to] capitalise on these opportunities”.
The primary opportunity came from a public united in anger, grief and fear which the Bush administration sought to leverage to maximum political effect. “I think September 11 was one of those great earthquakes that clarify and sharpen,” Rice told the New Yorker six months afterwards. “Events are in much sharper relief.”
Ten years later the US response to the terror attacks have clarified three things:
the limits to what its enormous military power can achieve,
its relative geopolitical decline and
the intensity of its polarised political culture.
It proved itself
incapable of winning the wars it chose to fight and
incapable of paying for them and
incapable of coming to any consensus as to why.
The combination of domestic repression at home and military aggression abroad kept no one safe, and endangered the lives of many. The execution of Osama bin Laden provoked such joy in part because almost every other American response to 9/11 is regarded as a partial or total failure.
On today, the anniversary of the overthrow of King Idris in Libya, the neo-colonial powers met in France to continue their drive at the new carve-up of Africa. This set of circumstances makes many of us very sad.
I had a dream last night. I was caught in the midst of intense fighting–street fighting: house to house. I guess I was channeling what the typical Libyan is feeling and has been feeling for the past 6 months. In my chats with DIGNITY Delegation members, one thing is clear: we are traumatized by what is happening to the lovely people of Libya. But imagine, if we feel that way, how must they feel? Terrorized and worse.
When the DIGNITY Delegation of journalists was there, we could already see the impact of the bombing on patients in the hospital, children trying to understand what was happening, women trying to soothe their families, men trying to carry on with their normal activities, shopkeepers trying to eke out a living despite fighting and bombing all around them, Black Libyans who felt threatened by their fellow countrymen and the outsiders who have streamed into the country, siding with NATO and openly boasted of killing dark-skinned Libyans (who number between 50% and 58% of the population, according to one of the Libyans who joined us on the tour, now returned to his country, not the 30% written in the special interest press) and non-Libyan Africans. Continue reading “Cynthia McKinney: Libya Eyewitness Tour Final Report”
Despite budget woes, the military is preparing for a conflict with our biggest rival — and we should be worried
This summer, despite America’s continuing financial crisis, the Pentagon is effectively considering trading two military quagmires for the possibility of a third. Reducing its commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan as it refocuses on Asia, Washington is not so much withdrawing forces from the Persian Gulf as it is redeploying them for a prospective war with its largest creditor, China.
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AirSea Battle, developed in the early 1990s and most recently codified in a 2009 Navy-Air Force classified memo, is a vehicle for conforming U.S. military power to address asymmetrical threats in the Western Pacific and the Persian Gulf — code for China and Iran. (This alone raises a crucial point: If the U.S. has had nothing but trouble with asymmetrical warfare for the last 45 years, why should a war with China, or Iran for that matter, be any different?) It complements the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance, a government white paper that precluded the rise of any “peer competitor” that might challenge U.S. dominance worldwide.
. . . . . . .
For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. government has encountered the practical limits of the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance.
. . . . . .
Here is a noble appeal for Washington to match its commitments with the resources needed to sustain them, the absence of which has fueled the debt crisis that nearly reduced the United States to a mendicant state. Such are the crippling costs of a defense policy that makes global hegemony a mindless imperative.
Three Good Reasons to Liquidate Our Empire and Ten Steps to Take to Do So
1. We Can No Longer Afford Our Postwar Expansionism
2. We Are Going to Lose the War in Afghanistan and It Will Help Bankrupt Us
3. We Need to End the Secret Shame of Our Empire of Bases
. . . . . . . .
10 Steps Toward Liquidating the Empire (Abridged)
Dismantling the American empire would, of course, involve many steps. Here are ten key places to begin:
1. We need to put a halt to the serious environmental damage done by our bases planet-wide. We also need to stop writing SOFAs that exempt us from any responsibility for cleaning up after ourselves.
2. Liquidating the empire will end the burden of carrying our empire of bases and so of the “opportunity costs” that go with them — the things we might otherwise do with our talents and resources but can’t or won’t.
3. As we already know (but often forget), imperialism breeds the use of torture. Dismantling the empire would potentially mean a real end to the modern American record of using torture abroad.
4. We need to cut the ever-lengthening train of camp followers, dependents, civilian employees of the Department of Defense, and hucksters — along with their expensive medical facilities, housing requirements, swimming pools, clubs, golf courses, and so forth — that follow our military enclaves around the world.
5. We need to discredit the myth promoted by the military-industrial complex that our military establishment is valuable to us in terms of jobs, scientific research, and defense. These alleged advantages have long been discredited by serious economic research. Ending empire would make this happen.
6. As a self-respecting democratic nation, we need to stop being the world’s largest exporter of arms and munitions and quit educating Third World militaries in the techniques of torture, military coups, and service as proxies for our imperialism.
7. Given the growing constraints on the federal budget, we should abolish the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and other long-standing programs that promote militarism in our schools.
8. We need to restore discipline and accountability in our armed forces by radically scaling back our reliance on civilian contractors, private military companies, and agents working for the military outside the chain of command and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Ending empire would make this possible.
9. We need to reduce, not increase, the size of our standing army and deal much more effectively with the wounds our soldiers receive and combat stress they undergo.
10. To repeat the main message of this essay, we must give up our inappropriate reliance on military force as the chief means of attempting to achieve foreign policy objectives.
Phi Beta Iota: The second article is a stunning review of the intellectual life of Chalmers Johnson, who was among many things a net assessments analyst for Allen Dulles. He pioneered the study of “State Capitalism” and considered the US to be a greatly under-performing economy for its failure to move away from military unilateralism and toward sustainable development.