Pablo Picasso Still life with fruit basket 1942
After police told people not to chant “no more lockdowns” they began chanting “more lockdowns” and “I want to do COVID tests” pic.twitter.com/R8Y29TRFwa
— Vivian Wang (@vwang3) November 27, 2022
Zelensky is addressing US taxpayers directly. We need more money he says. Pay for our economic deficit and send us more weapons he says. Almost $100 billion in US taxpayer billions went into this mess. Now he’s asking Americans for the next $100 billion. pic.twitter.com/XKRyGmpNtK
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) November 27, 2022
Haven’t heard much from Paul Craig Roberts for a while.
“From Washington’s standpoint, the more Ukraine is destroyed the better.”
The eight-month old Kremlin policy of protecting Ukraine from attack, thus helping Ukraine to conduct war against the Russian forces, seems to have come to an end. The infrastructure–power, transportation, water–of Ukraine is being shut down. The real war Russian attacks on Ukraine’s ability to function have gradually escalated, resulting in wider and more serious damage. It seems that the Russians don’t want to destroy everything unless the West and its puppet Ukraine government fail to come to their senses. The Western whore media, of course, doesn’t report the true situation. The Western presstitutes are a propaganda ministry and have created a picture of Russian defeat. It would be difficult to identify the worst liar in the Western media as there are endless candidates, but the UK Telegraph’s Charles Moore is a leading candidate for posting the most far-fetched reports. [..]
American so-called “Russian experts” spread the same delusions. Consequently, the Western peoples have a totally false picture of the situation. Russia could destroy Ukraine in a day without using nuclear weapons. The Kremlin’s restraint–in my view a strategic blunder as it enabled the West to get involved and widen the war–in Ukraine has a number of legitimate reasons. Ukraine and the population there have been a part of Russia for centuries. There is much intermarriage. Most Ukrainians are not favorable to the neo-Nazis who have dominated Ukraine since the US overthrew the government in 2014 and have suffered at their hands. The Kremlin doesn’t want a poverty-stricken ruin of a country on its border, and the Kremlin doesn’t want the responsibility for rebuilding Ukraine’s infrastructure.
It is inconceivable to me that “experts” and “reporters” in the West are so stupid and corrupt to have written the ridiculous accounts of the conflict that bear their names. It is total nonsense and has encouraged the false belief that Russia can be defeated and that “Ukraine can be in Crimea by Christmas.” That such absurd propaganda can be effective can result in the US/NATO putting boots on the ground, and then we have World War III. From Washington’s standpoint, the more Ukraine is destroyed the better. If Putin finally abandons his half-way measures and gets down to real war, the war will soon be over. If Washington can prevent Zelensky from surrendering until Ukraine is destroyed, Washington gets the benefit of the economic and financial drain on Russia that rebuilding will impose. From Washington’s standpoint, the more problems for Russia the better regardless of the cost to Ukrainians.
What we are witnessing is the enormous inhumanity of Washington and the NATO capitals. It is unjust that it is Ukraine that is paying the cost of Western inhumanity and not Washington and the European capitals.
‘This war is horrible. And it’s only going to get worse. There’s only one solution. We’ll line up all the politicians from the Rada (Parliament) and shoot them. Then peace will come immediately..’
The US lost the war in the Ukraine the day it began. Russia had been preparing for it for eight years. Ever since, the US and its vassals have just been prolonging the agony by financing a Nazi regime, supplying it with arms, training its troops and sending it paid-for mercenaries. Pessimists see the agony now dragging on for years and years, whereas optimists think it will be much shorter, just a couple of months more. I would like to think the optimists are right, but I actually go along with a more pessimistic ‘another eighteen months’. I hope I am wrong. Every day is a day too long. The fact is the US elite will have to put a lot of effort into face-saving. They hate losing, even though they lost in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria etc.
Backing down from the confrontations they began and chaos they caused is not something they like doing. But when the last US helicopters take off from the roofs of the US embassies in Kiev and Lvov, we shall see. Last Friday an electrician near Kiev said to my friends there: ‘This war is horrible. And it’s only going to get worse. There’s only one solution. We’ll line up all the politicians from the Rada (Parliament) and shoot them. Then peace will come immediately’. I am told from Kiev that there are more and more Ukrainians saying the same thing: there must be a popular revolt to stop it all. Get ready for it there and, at the rate things are going, get ready for the same thing in Western countries as well.
In the longer term, however, there is the much more serious problem for the US of losing Europe. The national slogan of the Ukraine since 2014 has been: ‘The Ukraine is Europe’. This is of course nonsense. Geographically, the Ukraine, like the Russia where most Russians live, is obviously Europe. Indeed, most European territory is inside Russia. Of course, what the Kiev regime means is that the Ukraine belongs to Western Europe, the EU, only it does not say that. This is because it obviously does not belong there, apart from the small region of Galicia which is now in the far west of the present borders of the Ukraine, formerly Poland, formerly the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 2014 the EU actually dismissed the Kiev fantasy, telling it that Ukrainian membership of the EU might be considered in 25 years’ from then.
The nonsense about ‘the Ukraine is Europe’ reminds me of a visit to Moldova five years ago. All official buildings flew the EU flag and that was in a country that is not part of the EU and never will be. In other words, ‘The Ukraine is Europe’ is a political daydream, a fantasy. Today, as a result of US incompetence and its lickspittle poodle UK enthusiastically blowing up the Nordstream pipeline, as though that were a present to Germany, we can see that although the Ukraine is not Europe, Europe is fast becoming the Ukraine. In other words, Europe is being corrupted by US political intrigues, being sucked into the same black hole as the Ukraine, without finance, heating, lighting and sewerage. In the words of that old Eastern European joke: ‘Which are the two most corrupt countries in the world? Lithuania is first and the Ukraine is second. But only because the Ukraine bribed Lithuania to take first place, so that it could be second’. Well, today the whole of Europe is being Ukrainianised. Well done, US/UK/EU elite!
Beyond Western Europe, the US elite is also losing the rest of the world. At one time, the US was No 1. Today it is China. At one time Europe was the most populated area in the world. Today over one third of the world’s population is in China and India. At one time the G7 was respected. Today it is a ghetto, representing only a small and increasingly irrelevant part of the world. At one time the G20 represented twenty countries which were pro-Western or at least Western-controlled. Today, definitely not. The G-20 is being taken over by BRICS +.
Remember “we” were not going to do this?
The UK Defence Ministry has confirmed supplying Ukraine with modern laser-guided Brimstone 2 missiles, shrugging off Moscow’s repeated warnings about the risk of triggering a direct conflict between NATO and Russia. The ministry posted a video clip Sunday on Twitter, showing at least one pallet of the high-precision missiles being delivered from the Royal Air Force Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire to an undisclosed airfield. The missiles were part of a UK “aid package” for Ukraine, the ministry said, confirming earlier media reports of such deliveries taking place for some time. “This aid has played a crucial role in stalling Russian advancements,” the ministry claimed in its tweet. UK forces reportedly began supplying earlier versions of the Brimstone missile to Ukraine last spring.
The Brimstone 2 is far more advanced than its predecessor, offering about triple the range. It’s designed for firing from an aircraft to attack targets on the ground. However, Ukrainian ground troops have used the missile on adapted trucks, mostly targeting tanks and other armored vehicles. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled a new military aid package worth £50 million ($60 million) during his visit to Kiev earlier this month. Each Brimstone 2 missile reportedly costs about £175,000. The Kremlin has warned that as the US, the UK and other NATO members supply increasingly advanced weaponry to Ukraine, they are prolonging the conflict and risking a direct confrontation with Russia. Moscow characterizes the ongoing conflict as nothing short of a “proxy war” against the US and NATO, while President Putin has described Russia as fighting “the entire Western military machine.”
“Most of these third countries publicly say that they do not supply anything, but everything is happening behind the scenes..”
Certain nations are actually providing military aid to Kiev despite publicly denying doing so, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba revealed on Friday. In such cases, the arms are delivered through Ukraine’s partners, the top diplomat said. Kuleba made the remarks in an interview with France’s Le Parisien newspaper. “Most of these third countries publicly say that they do not supply anything, but everything is happening behind the scenes,” he said without going into specifics about which nations are purportedly secretly bolstering Kiev during its conflict with Moscow. Kuleba’s comments come amid mounting reports that Ukraine’s backers, including a number of NATO countries, are experiencing shortages of weaponry due to their continuous support for Kiev.
According to a recent piece by the New York Times, for instance, only “larger” NATO allies, such as France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, still retain the capability to maintain or even potentially increase weapon shipments to Ukraine. “Smaller countries have exhausted their potential,” a NATO official told the newspaper, adding that at least 20 of the bloc’s 30 members are “pretty tapped out” already. Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine in late February, the US and its Western allies have showered Kiev with billions of dollars in military aid. Moscow has repeatedly warned the West against “pumping” Ukraine with weaponry, stating that it would only prolong the conflict rather than change its outcome, and would also increase the risks of a direct collision between Russia and the US-led military bloc.
Forked tongue much?!
Hungary has 150,000 reasons to end the war in Ukraine and achieve peace, Hungarian President Katalin Novak said during her Kyiv visit, Report informs via RBC-Ukraine. “The 150,000 reasons are 150,000 Hungarians living in Ukraine’s Zakarpattia Oblast. Many ethnic Hungarians have already given their lives to defend Ukraine,” Katalin Novak said. Novak noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s responsibility for the war against Ukraine is obvious. “Hungarians have always and everywhere opposed bloodshed. We are neighbors of Ukraine and our neighbors can count on our help,” she added. The Hungarian head of state stressed that the parties should return to the negotiating table, diplomatic channels should be opened, and the ultimate goal should be a fair peace.
”Members of both political parties believe that free speech that challenges official narratives should be suppressed…”
Almost every minute of every day I see overwhelming evidence of America’s collapse as a free country. Elon Musk conducted a poll on whether Twitter should allow President Trump to use the social media platform. Fifteen million people responded. 51.8% of the respondents said “yes,” but almost an equal number 48.2% said “no.” In other words, almost half of the 15 million social media users who responded to the poll oppose free speech for a former president of the United States. No doubt, being as indoctrinated as they are, they see Trump as a “pussy-grabber,” a Russian agent, and an insurrectionist and regard cancelling his First Amendment right as punishment. Many of the same crowd want pedophiles to be relabeled “minor-attracted persons,” a step toward removing limitations on sexual relations between adults and children.
They are content with the free speech right of pedophiles to advocate, but not for President Trump to express political views on Twitter. In the case of Julian Assange, Wikileaks’ founder who published the leaked information documenting US war crimes and lies to allies, my headline doesn’t go far enough. A large majority of Americans, both Democrats and Republicans in practically equal percentages, desire Assange to be prosecuted for doing what journalists are supposed to do. President Trump and his Secretary of State Pompeo denounced Assange with the same intensity as Nancy Pelosi. Members of both political parties believe that free speech that challenges official narratives should be suppressed. Even more stunning, almost 100% of American print and TV reporters want Assange prosecuted. Here we have the entirety of the US print and TV media renouncing their own profession.
Those who oppose free speech for President Trump probably think of themselves as virtuous, the salt of the earth. In fact, they are stupid, brainwashed people easily indoctrinated who are so badly educated that they do not understand that free speech is essential to the preservation of liberty. They are so utterly stupid that they do not understand the meaning for their own lives of the fact that the governing elite are doing everything possible to censor everyone, no matter how distinguished and expert, who dissents from the lies that comprise the official narratives. Throughout the Western World truth is being rapidly closed down. Honest journalists, such as Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi are evicted from print and TV media.
Medical doctors who saved lives by treating Covid patients with Ivermectin and HCQ instead of following the murderous imposed protocol that let them die rather than to admit that there were cures, which would have threatened vaccine profits, are having their medical licenses confiscated as if they had committed a medical crime by saving lives. Scientists who don’t accept the Woke ideology that gender is self-declared, not biologically determined, are disciplined and fired as “transgender deniers.” Anthropologists and sociologists who understand that a diverse, multicultural Tower of Babel is not a country are demonized. Historians who understand that the United States is not based in “white racism” are branded “white supremacists” and “threats to democracy.”
NATO’s only achievement.
Europeans are about to face numerous hardships due to Western support for Kiev, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Germany’s Welt an Sonntag newspaper on Sunday. Despite this, he insisted that the members of the US-led military bloc and their allies should boost their efforts to bolster Ukrainian forces. In his comments to the newspaper, Stoltenberg admitted that the citizens of Western countries are being negatively affected by the conflict in Ukraine. “Rising food and energy bills mean hard times for many households in Europe,” he said, adding, however, that Europeans “should remember that the people of Ukraine pay with their blood every day.”
The NATO chief also noted that the West could “strengthen Ukraine’s position at the negotiating table if we provide military support to the country.” “The best way to support peace is to support Ukraine,” he stated. He praised Germany for the weapons it is sending to Kiev, claiming that they “save lives.” According to Stoltenberg, Russia will try to use “winter as a weapon” against Ukraine. This statement echoes recent remarks in which he warned that the coming months would be difficult for Kiev. Russia started targeting Ukrainian energy facilities in early October after accusing Kiev of attacking its critical infrastructure, including the strategic Crimean Bridge.
Western nations imposed new sweeping sanctions on Russia in the wake of Moscow having launched its military operation in Ukraine. The restrictions led to skyrocketing gas prices, thus fueling the burgeoning energy crisis in the EU. This also came as the bloc announced plans to wean itself off of Russian energy. However, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, these policies will lead to “very deplorable consequences” for the EU, with up to 20 years of deindustrialization ahead. In early October, he also noted that by relying on expensive energy from the US, the bloc is making its economy “less competitive.”
“..usually an increase in annual expenses is insignificant, while this year “we have seen numbers quickly lose relevance.”
Food prices in Sweden have jumped by 20% this year, while electricity bills have more than doubled, data released by the country’s Consumer Agency shows. The report is based on research of the Swedish consumer market throughout the year and analyzes food, energy, hygiene items, footwear and clothing prices. This data, together with consumer standards approved by the country’s government, is being used to determine an average level of income which requires social assistance. This year, the monthly consumer basket for one adult is estimated at 3,400 krona ($363).
For a family of two adults and two schoolchildren this figure stands at 10,700 krona ($1,142) and is based on a four-week nutrition plan recommended by Swedish diet experts “In our calculations we are taking into account only basic needs and not some luxurious consumption,” a manager from the Swedish Consumer Agency, Kristina Difs, said in a statement. She noted that usually an increase in annual expenses is insignificant, while this year “we have seen numbers quickly lose relevance.” The Agency recorded a particularly dramatic change in prices in Sweden due to extraordinary food and energy inflation.
“Why the rush? The word inside the SEC is that Gensler wants to get much of the work on it done before the new GOP Congress takes over Jan. 3.”
You would think that with the FTX scandal still brewing and investors missing billions of dollars from their supposedly secured crypto accounts, Securities and Exchange Commission chair Gary Gensler would have so much on his plate, he wouldn’t have time to muck around in our capital markets, which are working just fine. But sources tell me Gensler is doing just that — preparing to unveil plans for the biggest changes in about two decades to the way stocks are routed from buyers to sellers. If Gensler’s timing holds, he will announce (possibly this week) an open meeting for mid-December that will detail his plan to remake the nation’s $46 trillion stock market, as I first reported on Fox Business. The idea is to jam out his proposed changes — and they’re pretty significant — before year’s end.
Why the rush? The word inside the SEC is that Gensler wants to get much of the work on it done before the new GOP Congress takes over Jan. 3. While a probe of Hunter Biden’s swampy business dealings is high on the list of the incoming committee chairs, Gensler knows he also has a target on his back for his ambitious — some would say zealous — progressive agenda at an agency that has a core mission of protecting investors from being ripped off by scammers. The Gensler SEC has moved so far beyond this mission that he’s looking to score lefty points and join the Environmental Social Governance bandwagon by forcing companies to disclose non-financial metrics such as how they are reducing their carbon footprint. The House Financial Services Committee, meanwhile, is intent on grilling Gensler on what he knew about the shenanigans of Sam Bankman-Fried, the Democratic megadonor under criminal investigation over the implosion of the crypto exchange FTX. The company is now in bankruptcy, while SBF, as he’s known, remains in the Bahamas.
[..] Here’s where things get interesting: Gensler met with SBF months before the blowup. The SEC had additional meetings with the fallen crypto bro’s people and business partners who were looking to start a commission-approved exchange. GOPers want to hear how all this occurred under the nose of Wall Street’s so-called top cop. Market structure, meanwhile, hasn’t really caught the full attention of the incoming 118th Congress and its new GOP majority yet, but it should. The way we buy and sell stocks, the so-called plumbing of the market, is often taken for granted for the simple reason that it works pretty seamlessly even if the process is pretty complex. It’s more complicated than just a bunch of guys on the New York Stock Exchange screaming out bids to match buyers and sellers.
For starters, most of those guys are gone, replaced by computers that can match orders in nanoseconds. The main public stock markets, the NYSE and the Nasdaq, aren’t the only game in town and are in competition to match buyers and sellers with private exchanges and market makers, companies like Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial. They’re armed with highly efficient trading machines that can match orders cheaply and still skim a bit and make a profit. It’s why we have low-cost and, in the case of Robinhood, no-fee trading platforms.
“The wily Sultan is caught between his electorate, which favors an invasion, and his extremely nuanced relations with Russia..”
There’s another Special Military Operation on the market. No, it’s not Russia “denazifying” and “demilitarizing” Ukraine – and, therefore, it’s no wonder that this other operation is not ruffling feathers across the collective West. Operation Claw-Sword was launched by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as revenge – highly emotional and concerted – for Kurdish terrorist attacks against Turkish citizens. Some of the missiles that Ankara launched in this aerial campaign carried the names of Turkish victims. The official Ankara spin is that the Turkish Armed Forces fully achieved their “air operation objectives” in the north of Syria and in Iraqi Kurdistan, and made those responsible for the terror attack against civilians in Istanbul’s Istiklal pedestrian street pay in “multitudes.”
And this is supposed to be just the first stage. For the third time in 2022, Sultan Erdogan is also promising a ground invasion of Kurdish-held territories in Syria. However, according to diplomatic sources, that’s not going to happen – even as scores of Turkish experts are adamant that the invasion is needed sooner rather than later. The wily Sultan is caught between his electorate, which favors an invasion, and his extremely nuanced relations with Russia – which encompass a large geopolitical and geo-economic arc. He well knows that Moscow can apply all manner of pressure levers to dissuade him. For instance, Russia at the last minute annulled the weekly dispatch of a joint Russo-Turkish patrol in Ain al Arab that was taking place on Mondays.
Ain al Arab is a highly strategic territory: the missing link, east of the Euphrates, capable of offering continuity between Idlib and Ras al Ayn, occupied by dodgy Turkish-aligned gangs near the Turkish border. Erdogan knows he can’t jeopardize his positioning as potential EU-Russia mediator while obtaining maximum profit from bypassing the anti-Russian embargo-sanctions combo. The Sultan, juggling multiple serious dossiers, is deeply convinced that he’s got what it takes to bring Russia and NATO to the negotiating table and, ultimately, end the war in Ukraine. In parallel, he thinks he may stay on top of Turkey-Israel relations; a rapprochement with Damascus; the sensitive internal situation in Iran; Turkey-Azerbaijan relations; the non-stop metamorphoses across the Mediterranean; and the drive towards Eurasia integration. He’s hedging all his bets between NATO and Eurasia.
Not only may former US President Donald Trump fail to win a second term, but he could also hurt many Republican Party candidates with his re-election bid, his one-time national security advisor, John Bolton, has warned. “There are a lot of reasons to be against Trump being the nominee but the one I’m hearing now…is the number of people who have just switched Trump off in their brain,” Bolton, a veteran diplomat who worked in the Trump White House between 2018 and 2019, told the Guardian newspaper on Saturday. Bolton argued that those who had passionately supported the 45th president in the past now have second thoughts, especially after the Republican Party’s underwhelming performance in the midterm elections this month.
They fear that “if he got the nomination, not only would he lose the general election, but he would take an awful lot of Republican candidates down with him,” he said. Although the former White House official thinks Trump’s endorsement could help a candidate win the primary, being associated with him would be “poisonous in the general election.” There’s no doubt Trump’s endorsement in the primary can be very valuable to a candidate in the Republican party. But relying on that endorsement or trumpeting yourself as the Trump-endorsed candidate is poisonous in the general election. So if you actually want to win elections, Trump is not the answer. Trump announced his re-election bid on November 15. The move came a week after Republicans failed to retake the Senate, despite favorable polls.
They also won control of the House of Representative by a margin much slimmer than many had anticipated. Bolton pointed to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a rising star of the Republican Party who had won a second term despite being heavily criticized by Trump. “A lot of people look to him as the next generation candidate. That’s one of Trump’s biggest problems – his act is old and tired now,” he said. Billionaire and new Twitter owner Elon Musk said on Friday he would back DeSantis’ candidacy, adding that in 2024 he would vote for “someone sensible and centrist.” Bolton is just the latest former Trump administration figure to cast doubt on his re-election chances. Former Vice President Mike Pence said this month Americans were looking for “a new leadership” and that Republicans would have “better choices” for candidates in 2024.
Go west, old man.
One in four German companies is considering moving production to other countries amid the energy crisis, Tanja Gönner, CEO of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), told Die Welt am Sonntag news outlet. “The high energy prices and the weakening economy are hitting the German economy with full force and are placing a great burden on our companies compared to other international locations. The German business model is under enormous stress…Every fourth German company is thinking about relocating production abroad,” Gönner stated. Germany’s energy-intensive chemical industry is particularly affected by the crisis, Wolfgang Grosse Entrup, CEO of the German chemical industry association (VCI), told the news outlet.
“The brutal energy prices are knocking us out…Without a functioning price brake, the government is willfully accepting deindustrialization,” he warned, adding that if the chemical industry fails, other industries will follow, which “could be the knockout for Germany as a business location.” The report says German companies are suffering a variety of problems, including high energy prices, disrupted supply chains, and even the aftershocks from China’s rigid crackdown on the Covid-19 pandemic. The US government’s recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act, which provides $386 billion in subsidies for new technologies and a sustained expansion of American industry, is also seen as a major risk.
The German economic ministry recently warned that the unilateral US move demands a similar response from the EU. “We will have to give our own European response that puts our strengths forward,” the ministry said, adding that in addition to subsidies, the German industry needs “structural reforms, above all the acceleration of planning and approval procedures and de-bureaucratization.”
“..European leaders have “pushed Europe, in particular the European Union, towards a global energy collapse.”
European policymakers are to blame for the continent’s energy crisis, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday. But they have yet to sell the idea to their constituents that their economic woes are necessary, she said. Speaking to Russian news channel TV Center, Zakharova claimed European leaders have “pushed Europe, in particular the European Union, towards a global energy collapse.” According to her, they still need to convince their citizens that the crisis “is not just good and right, but is in their own interests.” “It’s a democracy test,” she added. Zakharova went on to say that European countries “did a good job” in the energy sphere – especially dealing with the blasts that ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in late September.
“We are talking about the Baltic Sea, an area that is controlled by NATO countries… this is their area of responsibility,” she noted. Western countries declared the blasts acts of sabotage. However, they refrained from jumping to conclusions or pointing fingers – a practice they do not follow if there is “an order to accuse Russia,” Zakharova said. The pipelines were built to deliver Russian natural gas directly to Germany, but lost pressure abruptly on September 26, following a series of underwater explosions off Bornholm Island, located within the economic zones of Denmark and Sweden. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it had nothing to do with the incident. Last month, the Russian Defense Ministry accused the British Navy of taking part in “a terrorist attack” which destroyed the pipelines. The UK has denied the accusation.
Moscow also claimed that the US benefited the most from the disruption, since it undercut the EU’s ability to receive natural gas supplies from Russia. The Nord Stream incident only added to Europe’s energy woes, which started to take shape after Western countries imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine. The restrictions caused major disruptions to energy deliveries, triggering protests in a number of EU countries against skyrocketing energy prices and surging costs of living in recent months. Zakharova said last week that the EU has completely embraced the idea of isolating Russia, which will “only impose costs on EU countries and their citizens who are forced to pay out of their own pockets” for their leaders’ mistakes.
“More than 60% of an average euro area country household bill is made up of taxes and regulated costs..”
Only 15 years ago, the European Union produced more natural gas than Russia exported, according to the EIA. Repeating past mistakes and maintaining a failed energetic interventionist policy would only worsen what is already a structural disaster. The prohibitive cost of electricity and gas in Europe is not a result of market flaws, but of a completely unsustainable cost structure where consumers are forced to pay escalating taxes, a hidden CO2 tax, subsidies, and other rising regulatory costs. More than 60% of an average euro area country household bill is made up of taxes and regulated costs, according to Eurostat. Brussels cannot turn water into wine, and, similarly, the European Union cannot “cap” the price of natural gas and oil.
It is almost ironic, but European leaders are spending days debating whether to impose a cap on Russian oil that would be set above the current Urals price and significantly above the five-year average levels. The only thing that these so-called “caps” would achieve in a global energy market is to provide a massive subsidy that would then have to be repaid with higher tariffs or taxes afterwards. In Spain they already made the horrifying mistake that led to what was called the tariff deficit: Putting a cap on a tariff and passing the difference with the actual price to the following year with added interest charges. What the tariff deficit mechanism did was perpetuate higher tariffs even in periods of low commodity prices as the tariff deficit ballooned. The proposed gas cap would produce a comparable tariff deficit but at an enormous level if implemented throughout Europe.
Additionally, in a globalized and international market, the cap would create enormous arbitrage incentives that would only benefit China, which would continue purchasing cheap Russian commodities and exporting to Europe its more competitive goods. We must not forget that the natural gas “cap” in Spain has been a genuine catastrophe. Elevating it to Europe would be worse. According to Enagas data, natural gas demand in Spain soared while it declined in the rest of Europe, due to the disguised subsidy that the “cap” entails. Additionally, the cost of the measure for the country has increased to 13 billion euros, according to the power sector, which all citizens will pay with higher taxes, and this has led to a massive transfer of funds to France, which benefits from purchasing subsidized energy from Spain at a discount price while Spanish consumers pay the cost in higher bills.
The total cost of exports to France has exceeded 715 million euros (from 15 June to 4th November, according to sources of the power sector). Additionally, a significant increase in tariffs (+98 €/MWh) is added for clients with fixed contracts, converting their fixed contracts into variable ones due to the subsidy of natural gas prices.
“..those financial entities that provide money for oil exploration are part of a mix of interests that include the oil industry, the aerospace industry, and the military industry. This mix is what keeps the US economy alive.”
There is an impressive example of rebound with the story of the US oil production. You probably know how, in 1956, Marion King Hubbert proposed his idea of the “bell-shaped” curve. He turned out to be approximately right in his prediction and the US oil production started to decline after 1970 in a trajectory that seemed to be irreversible. After nearly 40 years of decline, in the early 2000s, no geologist sane in his/her mind would bet that the decline could be stopped, to say nothing about reversing it. It was not a question of being catastrophist or cornucopian: the members of both categories would normally agree that extracting oil from shales was simply unthinkable in economic terms. Fracking was not really a new technology, it had been developed in the 1930s, yes, it could help, but it was complicated and expensive. No one would engage with that on a large scale.
And then, something happened that changed everything. It took a few years before the new trend was clear, but, by the mid-2010s, it couldn’t be ignored anymore. By 2018, the US production had returned to the levels of its 1970 peak. In 2019, it had overcome it, and it kept growing. The production of natural gas followed the same trend, shooting up rapidly to levels never seen before. The Covid crisis caused a new drop, at present now partially recovered. But, let’s forget the Covid story, for now. What happened that changed things so much in the US oil industry?
You probably know that the cause has a name and a story: it is called tight oil or “shale oil” extracted by “fracking”. It itself, it is nothing especially new, the concept was already known in the 1930s. The idea is to use high pressure to fracture the rock that contains the oil. That makes it possible for the liquid to flow to the surface. The problem with fracking is that it is expensive. So much that it is commonly said that nobody really made any money on it. In 2017, an analysis by the Wall Street Journal arrived at the conclusion that, since 2007, “energy companies have spent $280 billion more than they generated from operations on shale investments.” Other analysts arrived at the same conclusion: you can extract oil from shales, but don’t expect to make any money out of it. So, why are people insisting on pouring good money into bad wells?
There are good reasons. Very good reasons. What led the predictions astray was not that the geologists were not good at their job. They were, but they didn’t consider that the “market” is an abstraction that doesn’t always work, actually, almost never works. So, those financial entities that provide money for oil exploration are part of a mix of interests that include the oil industry, the aerospace industry, and the military industry. This mix is what keeps the US economy alive. But there would be no aerospace or military industries if the oil industry could not produce enough oil.
Why I Despise Douglas Murray and Other Such Propagandists
12 years ago Wikileaks started publishing Cablegate. This is what Julian Assange is being prosecuted for. He hasn’t been free since.
Try watching this without smiling pic.twitter.com/pS8GrGwwfr
— Regan Budig (@regs177) November 26, 2022
Sometimes a new species is hiding in plain sight. The Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise has songs, dances and courtship appearances that are very distinct from its relative the Greater Superb Bird-of-Paradise
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) November 28, 2022
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