jueves, 13 de febrero de 2014

Ya no tan despacito

Comenzaron, allá lejos y hace tiempo, representando al 5% de los franceses. En ese entonces, el Frente Nacional, partido francés de extrema derecha, era liderado por Jean-Marie Le Pen. Hoy lo dirige su hija, Marine Le Pen. Junto con la crisis económica, no paran de crecer. Ya pasaron el tercio de las preferencias en las encuestas. El fascismo avanza, ya no tan despacito. Leemos en El País de hoy:

Título: Un sondeo da el 34% de popularidad al Frente Nacional de Marine Le Pen

Epígrafe: El partido de extrema derecha alcanza su nivel más alto de apoyo en vísperas de las elecciones europeas. El Frente Nacional encabeza los sondeos para las europeas en Francia

Texto: El Frente Nacional (FN) ha alcanzado en vísperas de las elecciones municipales y europeas su nivel más alto de popularidad en Francia: un 34% de los franceses dicen apoyar las ideas del partido de extrema derecha, según un sondeo de TNS Sofres publicado este miércoles por el periódico Le Monde y otros medios franceses.

Un 59% están, sin embargo, en contra de las grandes propuestas del FN, como el rechazo de la inmigración, la defensa de los valores tradicionales, el refuerzo de los poderes de la policía o la demanda de una justicia más severa.

Desde 2011, cuando Marine Le Pen reemplazó a su padre, Jean-Marie Le Pen, como presidenta de la formación, el nivel de adhesión al partido no ha dejado de crecer: un 22% entonces, un 31% en 2012, un 32% en 2013, hasta el actual 34%.

Un 58% de las personas consultadas en este estudio  —realizado del 30 de enero al 3 de febrero con una muestra representativa de 1.021 interrogados— tienen una opinión favorable de Marine Le Pen. Aumenta en particular la percepción de que la presidenta del FN "entiende los problemas diarios de los franceses" y "tiene ideas nuevas para resolverlos", ha explicado el director general de TNS Sofres, Edouard Lecerf. A su juicio, Le Pen ha sabido normalizar más su imagen personal que la de su partido.

En cualquier caso, la líder de la extrema derecha francesa no ha conseguido, ni de lejos, convencer a los franceses de dos de los puntos más significativos de su programa de cara a las elecciones al Parlamento Europeo en mayo: la salida del euro y la "preferencia nacional", por ejemplo en el empleo.

Un 64% de las personas interrogadas se oponen al abandono de la moneda única europea, frente a un 29% que están a favor. En paralelo, un 72% son contrarios a la aplicación del principio de la "preferencia nacional", mientras un 24% lo apoyan.

En una primera reacción a la publicación del sondeo, el ministro de Trabajo, el socialista Michel Sapin, reconoció que las cifras "(le) inquietan", y en especial "el por qué". En una entrevista a la emisora de radio France Info, Sapin ha culpado en particular al presidente del gran partido de la derecha, la UMP, Jean-François Copé, por retomar algunas de las ideas del FN: "mantiene el mismo lenguaje y valida su discurso".

miércoles, 12 de febrero de 2014

Tangos de terror

Ay, mami, los "socialistas" franceses. Tan parecidos a Hermes Winner. Leemos en el sitio iraní PressTv la siguiente nota de Finnian Cunningham.

Título: US-France's new terror tango

Epígrafe: France is emerging as the new partner-in-crime in support of America's imperialist machinations across the globe.

Texto: Up until recently, that thuggish role was filled by British in what was euphemistically referred to as the "special Anglo-American relation". Now the French are taking over from the British as the "oldest ally." French leader Francois Hollande is currently on a three-day visit to the US, greeted by President Barack Obama with full military honors and a 21-gun salute. "France and US enjoy renewed alliance," reports the Washington Post.

The American president has gone out of his way to emphasize historical links between the two countries, with the opening visit for the two leaders taking place at Thomas Jefferson's estate in Charlottesville, Virginia. Jefferson was the US envoy to France leading up to the French revolution in 1795, before he went on to become the third president of the US following its war of independence from the British Crown.

To mark the beginning of Hollande's trip, the two presidents penned an op-ed piece in the Washington Post in which they boasted of their prominent role in "global security." "More nations must step forward and share [our] burden and costs of leadership. More nations must meet their responsibilities for upholding global security and peace and advancing freedom and human rights," wrote Obama and Hollande. In other words, Obama and Hollande are exhorting other nations to similarly trash international law and embrace their style of state-sponsored gangsterism.

Of course, such self-congratulatory nonsense is to be expected coming from the world's leading terrorist states. The US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which killed more than one million people are still festering like open wounds, while the French have lately emerged as the new warmonger in Africa with four illegal interventions on that continent in the past four years - Cote d'Ivoire, Libya, Mali and currently the Central African Republic.

The portrayal of criminal wars of aggression inflicted on foreign countries as some kind of noble role of leadership upholding global security and peace" is truly sickening. It is a disturbing sign of the blatant lawlessness gripping the world - a reckless climate fostered by the very international conduct of Washington and Paris.

Obama and Hollande take perverse credit by claiming their countries' threats of all-out war on Syria last August-September resulted in the Syrian government decommissioning its stockpile of chemical weapons. The reality is that the US and France were on the brink of perpetrating yet another war crime based on a propaganda stunt carried out by Western-backed mercenaries - a stunt which killed hundreds of women and children.

It was only outraged public opinion around the world, as well as deft Russian diplomacy, that forced Washington and Paris to back down from their contrived aggression against Syria. This false-flag incident needs to be followed up with prosecution of American and French warmongers, not self-congratulatory op-ed pieces in the servile and equally complicit Western media.

This rogues' gallery is why the Americans are pulling out all the sycophantic stops for their French guest this week. The French are providing the Americans with crucial political and moral cover for their imperialist wrecking-ball conduct around the world. Without the French, the Americans would appear isolated as the world's biggest rogue terror state, or as it vainly refers to itself, "superpower."

This French cover for naked American state terrorism is seen with regard to Syria, as noted above. It is also true for Iran. The French are lending credibility to the US claims that the delicate negotiations between the P5+1 and Tehran are all about "preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons." This is a ludicrous charade that hardly anyone believes anymore, which is being used to justify barbaric sanctions and bullying against the Iranian people. It is a shame on the French that they are dignifying this repugnant American policy towards Iran.

The pay-off for this pair of rogue states is in their mutual carve-up of Africa. As Obama and Hollande state: "Perhaps nowhere is our new partnership on more vivid display than in Africa."

The two leaders claim that France "with US logistical and information support" is pushing back "Al Qaeda terrorists in Mali" and "stemming violence" between communities in Central Africa. These are utter lies, easily proven, as can be read in previous editions of this column.

French illegal intervention in Africa has led to more instability and violence for the ulterior purpose of gaining a neo-imperialist foothold on the world's richest continent for natural resources. Under the cynical guise of "upholding security and humanitarian peace", the real motive is securing rich natural resources for Western capital, while trying to block China's legitimate economic advances gained right across Africa over the past decade.

As the main former colonial power in Africa, with advantages conferred by language and historical contacts, the Americans need the French to spearhead the new military re-conquest of that continent.

A case in point is Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. This former French colony with its Francophone administration serves as a military base for some 4,000 American troops based at Camp Lemmonier, adjacent to the main civilian airport. From the base in Djibouti, the Americans operate drones, attack helicopters and troop transport planes to support the newly formed US East Africa Response Force that reaches into Somalia, Sudan and Kenya, among other countries.

That is why Obama is extending a welcoming hand to Hollande this week. Despite the florid, grandiloquent language, the Americans and the French are emerging as the world's new terrorist tango team, and both of them know it.”

martes, 11 de febrero de 2014

Más cambios

Una nota de Angus McDowall para Reuters vuelve a sugerir que se está produciendo un cambio en la estrategia de Arabia Saudita para con Siria. Leemos en Yahoo News: 

Título: Islamist threat at home forces Saudi rethink on Syria

Texto: “RIYADH (Reuters) - After serving for years as the main conduit for weapons and cash to rebels battling Syria's Bashar al-Assad, Saudi Arabia is shifting its policy to contain the spread of Islamist militancy at home, diplomats and figures close to the government say.

Riyadh is concerned that radicalism among rebels in Syria will boost al Qaeda at home in Saudi Arabia, which suffered a blowback last decade when fighters from the network of Osama bin Laden - himself a Saudi - returned from jihad in Afghanistan.

Saudi leaders are still determined to help rebels bring down Assad, an ally of their main rival Iran, but their heightened focus on security at home suggests they may temper some of the effort.

In a striking sign of the change, King Abdullah last week issued a royal decree imposing prison terms of 3-20 years on Saudis who go abroad to fight.

The change has also come at a moment when Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan - the architect of a Syria policy that has included training camps in Jordan and shipments of weapons and money - has lowered his public profile, diplomatic sources in the Gulf say.

"Their Syria policy is getting very counter-terrorism focused," said a senior diplomatic source in the Gulf. "The Interior Ministry in particular is very worried about what's happening in Syria, as they should be," he added.

Powerful Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef led the crushing of an al Qaeda uprising in the kingdom in the last decade by Saudis who returned from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He later survived an assassination attempt by the group.

"What happened in Syria is really causing problems for us," said Abdulrahman al-Hadlaq, head of the Interior Ministry's Ideological Security Directorate, which monitors online radicalism.

He estimated there were between 1,000-2,000 Saudis in Syria, including both fighters and people distributing charity to refugees, and said he believed most were in groups aligned with al Qaeda.

Although Riyadh has discouraged its citizens from going to Syria, it was not until last week's royal decree that it made it explicitly illegal and clarified that those who did go faced tough penalties.

While the sources who spoke to Reuters for this report were not able to say with certainty in what way Riyadh will alter its systematic support for rebels under the policy engineered by Prince Bandar, they said senior figures in Riyadh increasingly worry that toppling Assad will take longer than they hoped.

Meanwhile, radical groups in Syria have been getting stronger at the expense of mainstream groups that have been the main recipients of Saudi military and financial aid, training and logistical support. Assad's position has also solidified in the past year.

The failure to build a rebel force that can defeat Assad is partly due to logistical difficulties in working with many disparate groups spread across the country, but it is also because the strongest rebel factions are linked to al Qaeda.

The change in emphasis could present an opportunity to realign Syria policy more closely with Washington, after Riyadh fell out with its superpower ally last year, accusing the administration of Barack Obama of foresaking Syria's rebels.

Obama is due to visit Saudi Arabia in March.

"The Saudis have to prepare a clear vision on what's happening in Syria and on what they want in Syria. Counter terrorism plays a big role in American thinking, and in Saudi thinking," said Mustafa Alani, an analyst with the Gulf Research Centre, based in Jeddah and Geneva.

Prince Mohammed, the interior minister, enjoys close relations with U.S. security officials, shares their concerns about Islamist militants, and met Central Intelligence Agency head John Brennan in Washington on Monday.


Riyadh and Washington argued last year over Syria after Obama decided against bombing Assad following a poison gas attack in Damascus, a decision Saudi leaders feared would encourage Iran to take a more open role in the conflict.

However, Saudi leaders still hope Washington will play a bigger role in supporting the Syrian opposition, particularly if the first peace talks between the government and its foes, which began last month in Geneva, fall through.

"They're trying to find a way back to a more joined-up approach with the U.S., U.K. and France. They have the same goal of preventing radical contagion and all want to see Assad gone," said the senior diplomatic source.

For now, the lower profile assumed by Bandar has complicated the war effort, say analysts.

"It's a problem. He was the man who was brought in for this task because it's a regional and international issue and he is good at this sort of dealing. His absence is unfortunate but his staff is still active," said Alani, who has close ties to the Saudi security establishment.

The kingdom's Syria policy is being carried out on several fronts, with a diplomatic effort led by Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and a military training scheme for rebels under deputy defence minister Prince Salman bin Sultan.

But the wider effort to unite the rebels falls squarely in Prince Bandar's inbox, and has been hampered by disagreements among the rebels' main foreign backers over which groups are safe to support.

Diplomats say the Saudis believe Qatar - the other rich Gulf monarchy backing the rebels - has been willing to back more radical Islamist groups in Syria than the Saudis have been comfortable with, to Riyadh's chagrin. Western countries fear that even those Riyadh supports are too militant.

However, while the diplomatic and Saudi sources agree that the adjusted focus on Syria policy is due to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed pushing his concerns on radicalisation, it appears unlikely he will take a wider role in the war effort.

"He is careful not to overstretch himself and to involve himself in major external political issues unnecessarily," said Alani, pointing to the example of Interior Ministry involvement in Yemen, Saudi Arabia's southern neighbour.

In Yemen, the Interior Ministry runs operations aimed against al Qaeda, but it leaves broader issues of development and internal politics to other departments, he said.”

lunes, 10 de febrero de 2014

Llegando a los límites

Muy lindo artículo de Gail Tverberg aparecido el viernes pasado en su blog "Our Finite World" (http://ourfiniteworld.com/). Digámoslo de entrada: no somos para nada fanáticos del informe del Club de Roma de 1972, a cargo de Meadows et al. (Los límites del Crecimiento). Pero hay matices, claro. Acá van algunos.

Título: Limits to Growth–At our doorstep, but not recognized

Texto: "How long can economic growth continue in a finite world? This is the question the 1972 book The Limits to Growth by Donella Meadows and others sought to answer. The computer models that the team of researchers produced strongly suggested that the world economy would collapse sometime in the first half of the 21st century.

I have been researching what the real situation is with respect to resource limits since 2005. The conclusion I am reaching is that the team of 1972 researchers were indeed correct. In fact, the promised collapse is practically right around the corner, beginning in the next year or two. In fact, many aspects of the collapse appear already to be taking place, such as the 2008-2009 Great Recession and the collapse of the economies of smaller countries such as Greece and Spain. How could collapse be so close, with virtually no warning to the population?

To explain the situation, I will first explain why we are reaching Limits to Growth in the near term.  I will then provide a list of nine reasons why the near-term crisis has been overlooked.

Why We are Reaching Limits to Growth in the Near Term

In simplest terms, our problem is that we as a people are no longer getting richer. Instead, we are getting poorer, as evidenced by the difficulty young people are now having getting good-paying jobs. As we get poorer, it becomes harder and harder to pay debt back with interest. It is the collision of the lack of economic growth in the real economy with the need for economic growth from the debt system that can be expected to lead to collapse.

The reason we are getting poorer is because hidden parts of our economy are now absorbing more and more resources, leaving fewer resources to produce the goods and services we are used to buying. These hidden parts of our economy are being affected by depletion. For example, it now takes more resources to extract oil. This is why oil prices have more than tripled since 2002. It also takes more resource for many other hidden processes, such as deeper wells or desalination to produce water, and more energy supplies to produce metals from low-grade ores.

The problem as we reach all of these limits is a shortage of physical investment capital, such as oil, copper, and rare earth minerals. While we can extract more of these, some, like oil, are used in many ways, to fix many depletion problems. We end up with too many demands on oil supply–there is not enough oil to both (1) offset the many depletion issues the world economy is hitting, plus (2) add new factories and extraction capability that is needed for the world economy to grow.

With too many demands on oil supply, “economic growth” is what tends to get shorted. Countries that obtain a large percentage of their energy supply from oil tend to be especially affected because high oil prices tend to make the products these countries produce unaffordable. Countries with a long-term decline in oil consumption, such as the US, European Union, and Japan, find themselves in recession or very slow growth.

Unfortunately, the problem this appears eventually to lead to, is collapse. The problem is the connection with debt. Debt can be paid back with interest to a much greater extent in a growing economy than a contracting economy because we are effectively borrowing from the future–something that is a lot easier when tomorrow is assumed to be better than today, compared to when tomorrow is worse than today.

We could not operate our current economy without debt. Debt is what has allowed us to “pump up” economic growth. Consumers can buy cars, homes, and college educations that they have not saved up for. Businesses can set up factories and do mineral extraction, without having past profits to finance these operations. We can now operate with long supply chains, including many businesses that are dependent on debt financing. The ability to use debt allows vastly more investment than if potential investors could only the use of after-the-fact profits.

If we give up our debt-based economic system, we lose our ability to extract even the oil and other resources that appear to be easily available. We can have a simple, local economy, perhaps dependent on wood as it primary fuel source, without debt. But it seems unlikely that we can have a world economy that will provide food and shelter for 7.2 billion people.

The reason the situation is concerning is because the financial situation now seems to be near a crisis. Debt, other than government debt, has not been growing very rapidly since  2008. The government has tried to solve this problem by keeping interest rates very low using Quantitative Easing (QE). Now the government is cutting back in the amount of QE.  If interest rates should rise very much, we will likely see recession again and many layoffs. If this should happen, debt defaults are likely to be a problem and credit availability will dry up as it did in late 2008. Without credit, prices of all commodities will drop, as they did in late 2008. Without the temporary magic of QE, new investment, even in oil, will drop way off. Government will need to shrink back in size and may even collapse.

In fact, we are already having a problem with oil prices that are too low to encourage oil production. (See my post, What’s Ahead? Lower Oil Prices, Despite Higher Extraction Costs.) Other commodities are also trading at flat to lower price levels. The concern is that these lower prices will lead to deflation. With deflation, debt is strongly discouraged because it raises the “inflation adjusted” cost of borrowing. If a deflationary debt cycle is started, there could be a huge drop in debt over a few years. This would be a different way to reach collapse.

Why couldn’t others see the problem that is now at our door step?

1. The story is a complicated, interdisciplinary story. Even trying to summarize it in a few paragraphs is not easy. Most people, if they have a background in oil issues, do not also have a background in financial issues, and vice versa.

2. Economists have missed key points. Economists have missed the key role of debt in extracting fossil fuels and in keeping the economy operating in general. They have also missed the fact that in a finite world, this debt cannot keep rising indefinitely, or it will grow to greatly exceed the physical resources that might be used to pay back the debt.

Economists have missed the fact that resource depletion acts in a way that is equivalent to a huge downward drag on productivity. Minerals need to be separated from more and more waste products, and energy sources need to be extracted in ever-more-difficult locations. High energy prices, whether for oil or for electricity, are a sign of economic inefficiency. If energy prices are high, they act as a drag on the economy.

Economists have missed the key role oil plays–a role that is not easily substituted away. Our transportation, farming and construction industries are all heavily dependent on oil. Many products are made with oil, from medicines to fabrics to asphalt.

Economists have assumed that wages can grow without energy inputs, but recent experience shows the economies with shrinking oil use are ones with shrinking job opportunities. Economists have built models claiming that prices will rise to handle shortages, either through substitution or demand destruction, but they have not stopped to consider how destructive this demand destruction can be for an economy that depends on oil use to manufacture and transport goods.

Economists have missed the point that globalization speeds up depletion of resources and increases CO2 emissions, because it adds a huge number of new consumers to the world market.

Economists have also missed the fact that wages are hugely important for keeping economies operating. If wages are cut, either because of competition with low-wage workers in warm countries (who don’t need as high a wages to maintain a standard of living, because they do not need sturdy homes or fuel to heat the homes) or because of automation, economic growth is likely to slow or fall. Corporate profits are not a substitute for wages.

3. Peak Oil advocates have missed key points. Peak oil advocates are a diverse group, so I cannot really claim all of them have the same views. One common view is that just because oil, or coal, or natural gas seems to be available with current technology, it will in fact be extracted. This is closely related to the view that “Hubbert’s Peak” gives a reasonable model for future oil extraction. In this model, it is assumed that about 50% of extraction occurs after the peak in oil consumption takes place. Even Hubbert did not claim this–his charts always showed another fuel, such as nuclear, rising in great quantity before fossil fuels dropped in supply.

In the absence of a perfect substitute, the drop-off can be expected to be very steep. This happens because population rises as fossil fuel use grows. As fossil fuel use declines, citizens suddenly become much poorer. Government services must be cut way back, and government may even collapse. There is likely to be huge job loss, making it difficult to afford goods. There may be fighting over what limited supplies are available.What Hubbert’s curve shows is something like an upper limit for production, if the economy continues to function as it currently does, despite the disruption that loss of energy supplies would likely bring.

A closely related issue is the belief that high oil prices will allow some oil to be produced indefinitely. Salvation can therefore be guaranteed by using less oil. First of all, the belief that oil prices can rise high enough is being tested right now. The fact that oil prices aren’t high enough is causing oil companies to cut back on new projects, instead returning money to shareholders as dividends. If the economy starts shrinking because of lower oil extraction, a collapse in credit is likely to lead to even lower prices, and a major cutback in production.

4. Excessive faith in substitution. A common theme by everyone from economists to peak oilers to politicians is that substitution will save us. There are several key points that advocates miss. One is that if a financial crash is immediately ahead, our ability to substitute disappears, practically overnight (or at least, within a few years).

Another key point is that today’s real shortage is of investment capital, in the form of oil and other natural resources needed to manufacture the new natural gas powered cars and the fueling stations they need. A similar shortage of investment capital plagues plans to change to electric cars. Wage-earners of modest means cannot afford high-priced plug in vehicles, especially if the change-over is so fast that the value of their current vehicle drops to $0.

Another key point is that the alternatives we looking at are limited in supply as well. We use far more oil than natural gas; trying to substitute natural gas for oil will lead to a shortfall in natural gas supplies quickly. Ramping up electric cars, solar, and wind will lead to a shortage of the rare earth minerals and other minerals needed in their production. While more of these minerals can be accessed by using lower quality ore, doing so leads to precisely the investment capital shortfall that is our problem to begin with.

Another key point is that electricity does not substitute for oil, because of the huge need for investment capital (which is what is in short supply) to facilitate the change. There is also a timing issue.

Another key point is that intermittent electricity does not substitute for electricity whose supply can be easily regulated. What intermittent electricity substitutes for is the fossil fuel used to make electricity whose supply is more easily regulated. This substitution (in theory) extends the life of our fossil fuel supplies. This theory is only true if we believe that  coal and natural gas extraction is only limited by the amount those materials in the ground, and the level of our technology. (This is the assumption underlying IEA and EIA  estimates of future fossil use.)

If the limit on coal and natural gas extraction is really a limit on investment capital (including oil), and this investment capital limit may manifest itself as a debt limit, then the situation is different. In such a case, high investment in intermittent renewables can expected to drive economies that build them toward collapse more quickly, because of their high front-end investment capital requirements and low short-term returns.

5. Excessive faith in Energy Return on Energy Investment (EROI) or Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) analyses. Low EROI returns and poor LCA returns are part of our problem, but they are not the whole problem.  They do not consider timing–something that is critical, if our problem is with inadequate investment capital availably, and the need for high returns quickly.

EROI analyses also make assumptions about substitutability–something that is generally not possible for oil, for reasons described above. While EROI and LCA studies can provide worthwhile insights, it is easy to assume that they have more predictive value than they really do. They are not designed to tell when Limits to Growth will hit, for example.

6. Governments funding leads to excessive research in the wrong directions and lack of research in the right direction. Governments are in denial that Limits to Growth, or even oil supply, might be a problem. Governments rely on economists who seem to be clueless regarding what is happening. Researchers base their analyses on what prior researchers have done. They tend to “follow the research grant money,” working on whatever fad is likely to provide funding. None of this leads to research in areas where our real problems lie.

7. Individual citizens are easily misled by news stories claiming an abundance of oil. Citizens don’t realize that the reason oil is abundant is because oil prices are high, debt is widely available, and interest rates are low. Furthermore, part of the reason oil appears abundant is because low-wage citizens still cannot afford products made with oil, even at its current price level. Low employment and wages feed back in the form of  low oil demand, which looks like excessive oil supply. What the economy really needs is low-priced oil, something that is not available.

Citizens also don’t realize that recent push to export crude oil doesn’t mean there is a surplus of crude oil. It means that refinery space for the type of oil in question is more available overseas.

The stories consumers read about growing oil supplies are made even more believable by forecasts showing that oil and other energy supply will rise for many years in the future. These forecasts are made possible by assuming the limit on the amount of oil extracted is the amount of oil in the ground. In fact, the limit is likely to be a financial (debt) limit that comes much sooner. See my post, Why EIA, IEA, and Randers’ 2052 Energy Forecasts are Wrong.

8. Unwillingness to believe the original Limits to Growth models. Recent studies, such as those by Hall and Day and by Turner, indicate that the world economy is, in fact, following a trajectory quite similar to that foretold by the base model of Limits to Growth. In my view, the main deficiencies of the 1972 Limits to Growth models are (a) The researchers did not include the financial system to any extent. In particular, the models left out the role of debt. This omission tends to move the actual date of collapse later, and make it less severe. (b) The original model did not look at individual resources, such as oil, separately. Thus, the models gave indications for average or total resource limits, even though oil limits, by themselves, could bring down the economy more quickly.

I have noticed comments in the literature indicating that the Limits to Growth study has been superseded by more recent analyses. For example, the article Entropy and Economics by Avery, when talking about the Limits to Growth study says, “ Today, the more accurate Hubbert Peak model is used instead to predict rate of use of a scarce resource as a function of time.” There is no reason to believe that the Hubbert Peak model is more accurate! The original study used actual resource flows to predict when we might expect a problem with investment capital. Hubbert Peak models overlook financial limits, such as lack of debt availability, so overstate likely future oil flows. Because of this, they are not appropriate for forecasts after the world peak is hit.

Another place I have seen similar wrong thinking is in the current World3 model, which has been used in recent Limits to Growth analyses, including possibly Jorgen Randers’2052. This model assumes a Hubbert Peak model for oil, gas, and coal. The World3 model also assumes maximum substitution among fuel types, something that seems impossible if we are facing a debt crisis in the near term.

9. Nearly everyone would like a happy story to tell. Every organization from Association for the Study of Peak Oil groups to sustainability groups to political groups would like to have a solution to go with the problem they are aware of. Business who might possibly have a chance of selling a “green” product would like to say, “Buy our product and your problems will be solved.” News media seem to tell only the stories that their advertisers would like to hear. This combination of folks who are trying to put the best possible “spin” on the story leads to little interest in researching and telling the true story.


Wrong thinking and wishful thinking seems to abound, when it comes to overlooking near term limits to growth. Part of this may be intentional, but part of this lies with the inherent difficulty of understanding such a complex problem.

There is a tendency to believe that newer analyses must be better. That is not necessarily the case. When it comes to determining when Limits to Growth will be reached, analyses need to be focused on the details that seemed to cause collapse in the 1972 study–slow economic growth caused by the many conflicting needs for investment capital. The question is: when do we reach the point that oil supply is growing too slowly to produce the level of economic growth needed to keep our current debt system from crashing?

It seems to me that we are already near such a point of collapse. Most people have not realized how vulnerable our economic system is to crashing in a time of low oil supply growth."

jueves, 6 de febrero de 2014


Una nota de Thierry Meyssan para Red Voltaire advierte sobre el trasfondo político y estratégico de los últimos acontecimientos en Ucrania. (Al respecto, son muchas las notas interesantes sobre este tema que han aparecido en los últimos días. Ejemplos : http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-and-the-rebirth-of-fascism-in-europe/5366852; http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-colored-revolutions-at-the-crossroads-of-euro-atlantic-and-eurasian-power-politics/5367573; http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-and-the-pro-imperialist-intellectuals/5367496; http://www.voltairenet.org/article182039.html; http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/02/05/us-assistant-secretary-nuland-visits-ukraine-some-thoughts-share-i.html; http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/02/06/us-assistant-secretary-nuland-visits-ukraine-some-thoughts-to-share-ii.html; http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/02/05/what-links-threat-of-a-us-default-with-destabilization-ukraine.html; http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/02/03/munich-imposing-their-own-will-on-eastern-europe.html; http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/02/01/europeans-about-ukraine-wide-range-of-opinions.html.) Pero vayamos a la nota de Meyssan :

Título: Después de Yugoslavia, ¿le ha llegado el turno a Ucrania?

Texto: En Europa Occidental, la opinión pública observa erróneamente la crisis ucraniana como una simple rivalidad entre occidentales y rusos. Pero lo que le interesa a Washington no es que Ucrania se incorpore a la Unión Europea sino privar a Rusia de uno de sus socios históricos. Y para lograr su objetivo, Estados Unidos está dispuesto a provocar una nueva guerra civil en Europa.

Después de desmembrar Yugoslavia con una guerra civil de 10 años (de 1990 a 1999), ¿ha decidido Estados Unidos destruir Ucrania de la misma manera? Eso hacen pensar las maniobras que está preparando la oposición para su realización durante los Juegos Olímpicos de Invierno de Sochi.

Ucrania ha estado dividida históricamente entre el oeste, con una población favorable a la Unión Europea, y el este, cuya población es favorable al acercamiento con Rusia. A esos dos grupos se agrega una pequeña minoría musulmana en Crimea. Después de la independencia, el Estado ucraniano fue debilitándose. Aprovechando la confusión, Estados Unidos organizó en 2004 la llamada «revolución naranja» [1], que puso en el poder un clan mafioso proatlantista. Cuando Moscú respondió anulando sus subvenciones al precio de gas, los occidentales dieron la espalda al gobierno naranja a la hora de pagar sus compras de gas a precio de mercado. El gobierno naranja perdió la elección presidencial de 2010 y la presidencia pasó a manos de Viktor Yanukovich, político corrupto y a veces pro-ruso.

El 21 de noviembre de 2013, el gobierno ucraniano renuncia al acuerdo de asociación negociado con la Unión Europea. La oposición responde a esa decisión con una serie de manifestaciones en Kiev y en la parte occidental del país, manifestaciones que rápidamente toman un cariz insurreccional. La oposición exige elecciones legislativas y presidenciales anticipadas, pero se niega a formar un gobierno cuando el presidente Yanukovich le propone hacerlo, luego de la renuncia del primer ministro. Ya para entonces, Radio Free Europe –radio del Departamento de Estado estadounidense– había bautizado las manifestaciones como Euromaidan y, posteriormente, como Eurorrevolución.

Por otro lado, el servicio de seguridad de la oposición lo garantiza Azatlyk, un grupo de jóvenes tártaros de Crimea que regresó para eso de la yihad en Siria, en la que participaron con el respaldo del senador estadounidense John McCain [2].

La prensa atlantista también respalda a la «oposición democrática» ucraniana y denuncia la influencia rusa. Altas personalidades de los países miembros de la alianza atlántica incluso se han tomado el trabajo de presentarse personalmente ante los manifestantes, como la secretaria de Estado adjunta y ex embajadora de Estados Unidos ante la OTAN Victoria Nuland y el ya mencionado senador estadounidense John McCain, también presidente de la rama republicana de la NED. La prensa rusa denuncia, por el contrario, que los manifestantes pretenden derrocar desde la calle las instituciones ucranianas democráticamente electas.

15 000 nazis con antorchas marchan en Kiev el 1º de enero de 2014

Al principio, el movimiento parece ser un intento de reeditar la «revolución naranja». Pero el 1º de enero de 2014, el control de la revuelta cambia de manos. El partido nazi Svoboda [Libertad] organiza una marcha con antorchas que reúne 15 000 personas, en memoria de Stepan Bandera (1909-1959), el líder nacionalista que luchó contra los soviéticos aliándose con los nazis. A partir de ese momento, las paredes de la capital ucraniana se cubren de consignas antisemitas y se registran ataques callejeros contra personas de origen judío.

La oposición proeuropea se compone de 3 partidos políticos: la Unión Panucraniana «Patria» (Bakitchina), de la oligarca y ex primera ministro Yulia Timochenko (quien actualmente se halla en la cárcel cumpliendo varias condenas por malversación de fondos públicos), partido encabezado ahora por el abogado y ex presidente del parlamento Arseni Yatseniuk. 
Defiende la propiedad privada y el modelo liberal vigente en Occidente. Obtuvo un 25,57% de los sufragios en las elecciones legislativas de 2012.

La Alianza Democrática Ucraniana por la Reforma (UDAR) del ex campeón de boxeo Vitali Klichko. Dice ser demócrata-cristiana y obtuvo un 13,98% de los votos en las elecciones de 2012.

La Unión Panucraniana Libertad (Svoboda), del cirujano Oleh Tyahnybok. Esta formación proviene del Partido Nacional-Socialista de Ucrania. Se pronuncia por retirar la nacionalidad ucraniana a los judíos. Obtuvo un 10,45% de los votos en las elecciones legislativas de 2012.

Estos partidos, representados en el parlamento ucraniano, cuentan con el respaldo de:
El Congreso de los Nacionalistas Ucranianos, grupúsculo nazi nacido de las antiguas redes stay-behind de la OTAN en el antiguo Bloque del Este [3].  Es sionista y se pronuncia por la anulación de la nacionalidad de los judíos ucranianos y su expulsión hacia Israel. Obtuvo un 0,08% de los votos en las legislativas de 2012. La Autodefensa Ucraniana, grupúsculo nacionalista que ha enviado sus miembros a luchar contra los rusos en Chechenia. También los envió a Osetia durante el conflicto georgiano. La oposición ha recibido también el apoyo de la iglesia ortodoxa ucraniana, en rebelión contra el Patriarcado de Moscú.

Desde que el partido nazi salió a la calle, los manifestantes –a menudo protegidos con cascos y uniformes paramilitares– levantan barricadas y asaltan los edificios oficiales. Algunos elementos de las fuerzas policiales también han procedido brutalmente, llegando incluso a torturar detenidos. Se afirma que han muerto varios manifestantes y que se cuentan cerca de 2 000 heridos. Los desórdenes siguen propagándose en las provincias de la parte occidental del país.

Según nuestras propias informaciones, la oposición ucraniana está tratando de introducir material de guerra comprado en mercados paralelos. Por supuesto, la compra y traslado de armas en Europa Occidental es imposible… a no ser que se haga con el consentimiento de la OTAN.

La estrategia de Washington en Ucrania parece ser una mezcla de las recetas que ya han funcionado anteriormente, durante las «revoluciones de colores», con las fórmulas recientemente aplicadas en las «primaveras árabes» [4]. Estados Unidos ni siquiera trata de ocultarlo, al extremo de haber enviado a Ucrania una alta funcionaria, Victoria Nuland –adjunta de John Kerry en el Departamento de Estado– y el senador John McCain –quien es también presidente del IRI, la rama republicana de la NED [5]–, para expresar su apoyo a los manifestantes.
   Al contrario de los casos de Libia y Siria, Washington no tiene en Ucrania yihadistas que se encarguen de sembrar el caos –aparte de los extremistas tártaros, pero estos están en Crimea. Así que decidió utilizar a los nazis, con los que el Departamento de Estado ya había trabajado anteriormente en contra de los soviéticos y a los que organizó en partidos políticos después de la independencia.

El lector neófito puede encontrar chocante esta alianza entre la administración Obama y los nazis. Pero hay que recordar que el presidente estadounidense Ronald Reagan rindió públicamente homenaje a varios nazis ucranianos, entre los que se encontraba Yaroslav Stetsko, primer ministro ucraniano bajo el III Reich y posteriormente convertido en jefe del Bloque de Naciones Antibolcheviques y miembro destacado de la Liga Anticomunista Mundial [6]. Uno de sus lugartenientes, Lev Dobriansky, fue embajador de Estados Unidos en Bahamas. Y la hija del propio Dobriansky, Paula Dobriansky, fue subsecretaria de Estado para la democracia (sic) en la administración de George W. Bush. Fue precisamente la señora Dobriansky quien financió durante 10 años una serie de estudios históricos destinados a hacer olvidar que el Holodomor, la gran hambruna que asoló Ucrania en 1932-1933, también devastó Rusia y Kazajstán y hacer creer que fue una decisión deliberada de Stalin tomada para acabar con el pueblo ucraniano [7].

La realidad es que Washington, que respaldó el partido nazi alemán hasta 1939 y siguió haciendo negocios con la Alemania nazi hasta finales de 1941, nunca tuvo se planteó problemas morales hacia el nazismo, como tampoco se los plantea en este momento cuando respalda militarmente el yihadismo en Siria.

Las élites de Europa Occidental, que tanto utilizan el nazismo como pretexto para perseguir a los aguafiestas –como puede comprobarse en Francia con la polémica sobre la «quenelle» de Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala [8]– han olvidado el verdadero significado de la palabra «nazi». En 2005, cuando la entonces presidenta de Letonia, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, rehabilitó el nazismo, prefirieron mirar para otro lado como si fuera algo sin importancia [9]. Ahora, apoyándose en meras declaraciones a favor de la Unión Europea, su candoroso atlantismo los lleva a respaldar al peor enemigo de los europeos. La guerra civil podría comenzar en Ucrania, durante los Juegos Olímpicos de Sochi.

[1] «Moscú y Washington se enfrentan en Ucrania», por Emilia Nazarenko y la redacción, Red Voltaire, 24 de noviembre de 2004.
[2] «Yihadistas dan servicio de seguridad a los manifestantes de Kiev»,Red Voltaire, 4 de diciembre de 2013.
[3] De ese mismo vivero procede el líder de la «revolución naranja». Cf. «La biografía oculta del padre del presidente ucraniano», Red Voltaire, 22 de abril de 2008.
[4] «“Primavera árabe” a las puertas de Europa», por Andrew Korybko,Oriental Review, Red Voltaire, 4 de febrero de 2014.
[5] «La NED, vitrina legal de la CIA», por Thierry Meyssan, Odnako,Red Voltaire, 11 de octubre de 2010.
[6] «La Liga Anticomunista Mundial, internacional del crimen», por Thierry Meyssan, Red Voltaire, 26 de enero de 2004.
[7] Ver L’Holodomor, nouvel avatar de l’anticommunisme «européen», por la profesora Annie Lacroix-Riz, 2008.
[8] «El “enemigo público” del establishment francés», por Diana Johnstone,Counterpunch, Red Voltaire, 24 de enero de 2014.
[9] «La presidenta de Letonia rehabilita el nazismo», por Thierry Meyssan,Red Voltaire, 20 de marzo de 2005."

lunes, 3 de febrero de 2014

Más de lo mismo

Una nota de Ghaleb Kandil en la sección “Tendencias del Oriente” de Red Voltaire el día de hoy anticipa los probables movimientos del Imperio y sus aliados en torno a Siria. Adivinaron: habrá más sangre, más mutilados, más muertos, más canibalismo, más decapitaciones, más "rebeldes" "sirios" importados de alguno de los 86 países que ya están mandando combatientes a este país de Medio Oriente. Más de lo mismo, chicos. Uno lee estas cosas con la ilusión de que algún día se paguen estos crímenes.

Título: La guerra contra Siria y la ilusión de los compromisos

Texto: “Algunos medios políticos piensan que Rusia y Estados Unidos se han puesto de acuerdo sobre una serie de compromisos en la región y que todo lo que sucede en Siria –en el plano político y en el plano militar– es parte de un guión destinado a implementar esos arreglos.

La realidad es que la relaciones internacionales atraviesan actualmente un periodo de transición en la que deben perfilarse los nuevos equilibrios surgidos gracias a la resistencia del Estado sirio ante la agresión colonial dirigida por Estados Unidos. Es evidente que se está construyendo la era de la postdominación unilateral de Washington. Pero las reglas de la nueva guerra fría no están aún totalmente definidas. 

El reconocimiento por parte de Estados Unidos del fin de su hegemonía unilateral se acompaña de los continuos intentos de Washington por influir en las nuevas ecuaciones y equilibrios a medida que van surgiendo.

En ese marco se inscriben las presiones y la injerencia de Estados Unidos y en general de Occidente en el patio trasero de Rusia. La crisis en Ucrania es la mejor ilustración de esa actitud, al igual que la continuación de la asociación entre Estados Unidos y Arabia Saudita con vista a prolongar el baño de sangre en Siria, con la esperanza de modificar así en su propio beneficio la correlación de fuerzas que debe dar lugar al naciente compromiso político.

Esas son realidades que se perciben en Ginebra 2, donde los estadounidenses negociaron –de forma indirecta– con la delegación oficial siria a través de una delegación «opositora» montada por el embajador de Estados Unidos en Damasco, Robert S. Ford. En ese mismo marco se inscribe la decisión de mantener a Irán al margen de Ginebra 2, lo cual fue un mensaje dirigido a Rusia, de una manera digna de los tiempos de la hegemonía unilateral, a través del secretario general de la ONU. La reforma de esta última organización y la instauración de un reequilibrio de la correlación de fuerzas en su seno son, por cierto, condiciones indispensables para el establecimiento de un mundo multipolar.

En este periodo de transición se mantiene la confrontación sobre la elaboración de las nuevas correlaciones de fuerza entre las potencias y la situación en Siria refleja las nuevas realidades internacionales. Así que el hecho de creer en la existencia de supuestos arreglos internacionales y en la seriedad de Estados Unidos en materia de lucha contra el terrorismo es una ilusión. Y lo peor de todo es que esa ilusión puede falsear los cálculos y producir análisis erróneos.

Fue Estados Unidos quien llevó a Siria el terrorismo de al-Qaeda, con la cooperación del régimen saudita, de Turquía y de Qatar. Fue Washington quien albergó y encubó la Hermandad Musulmana… y sigue haciéndolo aún a sabiendas de que esa cofradía promueve el pensamiento takfirista y el terrorismo en el mundo musulmán.

La negativa de Estados Unidos a reconocer la lucha contra el terrorismo como una prioridad en Siria, lo cual fue un reclamo de la delegación oficial siria en Ginebra 2, equivale a una confesión de Washington de que su decisión no es otra que utilizar el terrorismo para seguir desangrando al Estado sirio. Los argumentos que presentó Barack Obama en su entrevista al New Yorker, para explicar las razones de su apoyo al Frente Islámico, son la mejor demostración de esa realidad. Obama calificó a los combatientes de esa organización terrorista de «yihadistas», llamando a no meterlos en el mismo saco que al-Qaeda. Ese Frente Islámico es un producto puramente americano-saudita, activo únicamente dentro de Siria y, según afirma la revista estadounidense Foreign Policy en un artículo publicado hace unos días, no constituye una amenaza terrorista. Foreign Policy hasta cubre de elogios al jefe de las Brigadas Shrar al-Cham, Abu Khaled “el Sirio”, tratando incluso de restar importancia a las palabras de este terrorista en homenaje a Osama ben Laden.

La próxima etapa se caracterizará por un recrudecimiento de los combates en el terreno y por la continuación del respaldo de Estados Unidos, Arabia Saudita, Qatar, Gran Bretaña y Francia a los movimientos extremistas. A pesar de la última maniobra verbal de Recep Tayyeb Erdogan durante su reciente visita a Teherán, que no se vio acompañada de ninguna medida concreta en el terreno, Turquía también mantendrá su respaldo a los terroristas.

La administración Obama ha reconocido el fracaso de su apuesta por la destrucción del Estado sirio, disfrazada de «cambio de régimen». Su nueva estrategia consiste en tratar de establecer líneas de demarcación entre el Ejército Árabe Sirio y los rebeldes, mediante un respaldo masivo en armas, dinero y refuerzos en hombres y en asesoría técnica. En Washington se habla abiertamente en algunos medios de dividir Siria, separando del Estado central las provincias de Idlib, Alepo, Rakka, Deir Ezoor y Hassaka. Otros proyectos hablan de dividir Siria en 3 regiones: la primera estaría bajo el control del Estado central y su ejército, la segunda controlada por los grupos armados y la tercera por los kurdos.

Así que el Ejército Árabe Sirio está batiéndose por preservar la unidad de Siria y su independencia. Los estadounidenses y sus agentes acabarán descubriendo que todos sus planes no pasan de ser simples espejismos porque, al estar en juego su unidad y su independencia, el pueblo sirio y su ejército están dispuestos a hacer los sacrificios que sean necesarios.”

sábado, 1 de febrero de 2014


Cortita y al pie. Leemos en Red Voltaire:

Título: Rumores de reajuste en Arabia Saudita

Texto: "El rey Abdallah de Arabia Saudita estaría a punto de anunciar una revisión de su política exterior y de preparar su sucesión, según se afirma en Londres y Ginebra.

Ante esa perspectiva, el príncipe Bandar Ben Sultán, jefe de los servicios de inteligencia, está siendo acusado de padecer problemas cognitivos como consecuencia del atentado que sufrió en julio de 2012 mientras que el príncipe Saud Al-Faisal, ministro de Relaciones Exteriores desde hace 38 años, estaría aquejado de problemas de senilidad.

Hace una semana que varias fuentes vienen anunciando que el príncipe Bandar está hospitalizado en Estados Unidos para someterse a una operación. Durante su hospitalización, un emisario especial de Washington parece haber sido enviado a Riad para reunirse con el rey y con el hijo del monarca."