January 10, 2007

Final Post: Farewell

Today will be my last posting on this blog. I have spent the last year following world events, political machinations, and religious zealots...and sharing my opinions, fears, and insights on them. The wars go on and will, in all likelihood, continue to do so for years to come. Someone once said that "History is just one damn thing after another", and that is very true. I have spent the last year watching history being made...and now I find myself wanting to turn away.

This is not to say that I have lost interest in the events that are shaping the world. The looming energy crises, the wars for shrinking oil and gas supplies, the fusion of religion and politics on both sides of the present ideological clash, and the general incompetence of the politicians of the world to establish order and bring hope to the worlds peoples. I grow tired of spending my days watching the world go up in flames. I don't have the time for this.

It has proven to be an enlightening year for me though. I have read many books about religion, theology, politics, social issues, science, technology, and history. I have viewed many documentaries, reports, polls, and editorials. I have filled every morning with diligently reading newspapers from around the world, following stories and events as they unfolded, and putting them together like pieces of some giant jigsaw. But I really don't wish to continue doing these things for the rest of my days. Life is too short.

I will be starting a new blog sometime soon. I will probably still comment occasionally on events that interest me, but I intend to try something new. For those of you who have been following this blog, I thank you. The comments that you have left over the year have been very important to me and I am very grateful.

So anyway, while the wars are about to escalate, and Pat Robertson and Dubya are busy talking to God (I wonder why God doesn't make conference calls?), and the Islamic radicals hatch their plots for the new Caliphate, and the military-industrial complex that passes for government in the West schemes to take over the world, or at least its remaining resources, and the world itself slides into the abyss of climate change and global warming, and the populations of the West spend their lives in shopping and celebrity worship while the vast majority of the worlds people fight for basic survival, I bid you all farewell.

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January 03, 2007

Bush and Malaki: A Common Incompetence

President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Al Malaki, both self-proclaimed "Uniters" of their respective homelands, have a little more in common this morning than they did a few days ago. Mr. Malaki has proven himself, and his so-called government, to be as inept and incompetent at building and conducting a Democracy as Mr. Bush, and his government, are at exporting one.

The decidedly partisan and disgraceful way that Mr. Malaki's government conducted the execution of Saddam Hussein has done little to "unite" the Iraqi people. In fact, the sectarian nature of the execution has probably hammered in the last nail on the lid to the coffin of any possible representative democracy taking hold in Iraq. The taunting of the condemned Hussein with shouts of "Moqtada", referring to the leader of Iraqs most deadly Shiite militia, has sent the Iraqi Sunnis into the streets in mass protest and has forever tainted Mr. Malaki's government with a rabid Shiite bias. The Sunnis will now feel that their interests will never be served by an Iraqi government with a Shiite majority. Any attempt to build a coalition government, based on the idea of cooperation and compromise, is now surely dead.

This morning there are reports that Mr. Malaki will not be seeking a second term as Prime Minister. In an article published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal Mr. Malaki said that he wished he could finish before the end of his current term. A new term he said would be "impossible". The sectarian violence that has escalated to the point of civil war during his tenure shows no sign of ending, in fact, due to his mishandling of Saddam's execution, it will probably continue to escalate even further.

Mr. Bush, the great decider himself, has kept his own peculiar light well hidden from the world in recent days. He has made a great show of making it known far and wide that he is developing a new strategy for victory in Iraq. He has talked with generals, politicians, think-tanks and, presumably, God himself in his efforts to come up with a viable plan to win the war. His neocon svengali rats have long since deserted his sinking ship or been forced to walk the plank, and the few that remain are keeping quiet and collecting their paychecks. But will Mr. Bush come up with a strategy for victory? I doubt it. He will probably send in more troops which will alienate the Iraqi people even further, and the so-called Iraqi security forces will prove themselves to be loyal to sectarian leaders rather than a failing and farcical government.

Prior to 1945 the Middle-East produced less than 10% of the worlds annual oil requirements. Fifty years later almost half the worlds requirement came from the region. By the early 21st century oil from the Middle-East powers over half the worlds transport and by the year 2020, due to falling oil supplies elsewhere in the world, the Middle-East will account for 83% of the worlds stock of crude oil. This region has become vital to the interests of the world's economy. Iraq and Iran are two of the world's largest oil suppliers. Their oil fields will fuel the economic fires of the world for decades to come.

Under the pretext of liberating Iraq from a brutal dictatorship and bringing to it the guiding light of American-backed democracy, Mr. Bush launched a preemptive and illegal war with the sole purpose of securing the Iraqi oil fields and planting permanent American military bases in the region. The plans for such a war were laid long before 9/11 by the neocons and were implemented by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfawitcz before the smoke of 9/11 had cleared. Now that his smokescreen of exporting democracy is fast fading in the light of sectarian chaos, and his dreams of oil wells as far as the eye can see is also dying from a lack of strategy and will, what will Mr. Bush do now?

Mr. Bush and Mr. Malaki have, between them, made the future very cloudy indeed for the Iraqi people, for the whole Middle-East, and for the economies of the world that will come to depend ever more on the region for their survival. The sooner that both of these fools exit the world stage the better.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAs for Mr. Tony Blair? I am sure he'll ride off into the same rosy, and lucrative, American lecture giving sunset that has provided so well for ex-prime ministers over the years. Good riddance to the lot of them.

January 02, 2007

War and Oil

The picture on the left is of the German Afrika Korp storming across the Middle-East. Oil was their objective.

Germany, having lost WWI and it's chance at securing a long-term oil supply by taking over the Mesopotamian fields, was desperate for the fuel needed to run an industrial nation.

In 1938 Germany was dependent on imports for about 70% of it's oil supply. 10% of it's supply came from domestic production and overland imports from Romania. Most of the remainder was synthetically produced. Necessity was indeed the Mother of Invention for Germany. I.G. Farben, the worlds largest chemical conglomerate, in association with Standard Oil, had developed a method of producing oil from coal. They were also producing synthetic rubber and Zyclon gas, which would be used to facilitate the holocaust. Much of Farben's production would utilize slave labor supplied by the concentration camps. Farben, the second largest shareholder in Standard Oil, would develop the new technology using American investment monies supplied by Wall Street. By 1940 I.G. Farben is producing 46% of Germany's oil. One of the reasons why Hitler was not taken seriously by the leaders of France and Germany was that it was commonly believed that Germany did not have the fuel capacity to wage all out war.

Hitler's desperate move to attack the Soviet Union was motivated by Germany's need for oil fields. Germany's fuel shortfall could only be filled by capturing the Russian oil fields in the Caucasus mountains. The battle of Stalingrad was Russia's valiant effort to deny Hitler those precious fields. Capturing the Caucasus oil fields would also have opened the door for Germany to advance into the Iranian fields and to deny the vital oil supply to Britain and France. It is ironic that Germany, having overstretched it's supply lines, ran short of oil in it's war for oil. Germany's ability to wage a Blitzkrieg was finished at Stalingrad.

While most of the Middle-East oil fields were under the control of Britain and France, in the pacific Japan was also at the mercy of the oil companies for it's supplies. Heavily dependent on Royal Dutch Shell and Standard Oil, Japan invaded China in search of natural resources. The American government restricted the flow of oil to Japan as a result. Japan presented itself as liberating the countries of Asia from the oppression of the European colonial powers that had robbed them of their precious resources.
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With the European colonial powers at war in Europe and the Middle-East, Japan saw the opportunity capture the natural resources of the Pacific region, including the oil fields. The only military power not otherwise engaged in the war elsewhere was the USA, who had moved their Pacific fleet to Hawaii. The main goal of the Japanese attack on the American fleet was to take the East-Indian oil fields. But the Japanese failed to destroy the 4,500,000 barrels of oil that the Americans held at Pearl Harbor. Japan's failure to secure the oil fields effected it's conduct of the war and led to it's ultimate defeat.

Today oil is as important as it was half a century ago..perhaps even more so. Today we are all too aware that the oil is running out, perhaps we have already reached the peak of oil production. The costs of oil, exploration, extraction, refining, and delivery are rising dramatically. When George W. Bush took office in 2000 the cost of a barrel of oil was just $10.00, today it is over $60.00 and is destined to rise much higher. The fact is that there are more industrial nations today, some of which will outgrow the USA and Europe in GDP, and all are dependent on oil as the fuel of their economies. Industries, such as agriculture are oil dependent and rely on oil derivatives for their continued production capacities. Fertilizers, plastics, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, transport, electricity production and even textiles are all heavily dependent on oil.

The wars for oil are still with us. In a speech in Coronado, California in 2005, President Bush stated that America must protect the country's (Iraq) vast oil fields from falling under the control of terrorists and extremists.

January 01, 2007

2007: American Predictions

"A preoccupation with the future not only prevents us from seeing the present as it is but often prompts us to rearrange the past." Eric Hoffer (1902-1983)

According to the Associated Press, which conducted a recent poll asking Americans for their predictions for 2007, the future is not too bright. 60% of those polled predicted that America would be the target of another major terrorist attack. An equal number predicts that a nuclear or biological attack will take place somewhere else in the world. About 70% predict an extreme natural disaster in the country and an equal number predict that global warming will get worse.

90% predict that gas prices will increase.
35% predict that the USA will reinstate the draft (compulsory military service) in 2007.
35% predict that a cure for cancer will be found.
29% believe that the USA will withdraw it's troops from Iraq.
25% are convinced that 2007 will see the second coming of Jesus Christ.
19% predict that scientists will confirm the existence of life elsewhere in the universe.

Less than half of those polled believe that the USA will go to war with North Korea or Iran. But, if war does break out, then 40% believe it will be with Iran and 26% believe it will be with North Korea.

For those 25% who believe the rapture will occur in 2007 I am posting this short video.

Homer predicts the Rapture.