Airstrike on Syrian Refugee Camp Kills 28
. . . Syrian refugees.
This is pathetic, as is everything coming out of Putin's Russia.
"28 people are dead and 50 wounded after what are presumed to be Russian or Syrian warplanes attacked a refugee camp, the Syrian Observatory on Human Rights reports. The BBC reports:
At least 28 people are reported to have been killed in an air strike on a refugee camp in rebel-held northern Syria, monitors say.
Images on social media showed tents destroyed at the Kamouna camxp near Sarmada in Idlib province, close to the Turkish border.
Some reports say the attack was by Syrian or Russian warplanes but this has not been confirmed.
The strike comes a day after the extension of a truce was confirmed.
The Syrian military and non-jihadist rebel forces had agreed to a temporary truce around the city of Aleppo, following pressure from the US and Russia.
All the usual caveats apply: this is breaking news from a combat zone, Russian and/or Syrian involvement has not been confirmed (although who else would it be, in that area?), and it may in theory have been an accident. However, coming a week after Syrian/Russian warplanes struck a hospital in Aleppo, killing 50, it beggars belief to think this isn’t a continuation of the Russian-Syrian policy of deliberately terrorizing and driving out unfriendly civilians from areas they intend to hold after the war is over—what TAI Editor Adam Garfinkel has termed “migratory genocide.'"
Of course it is Russia, or Syria, under Russian guidance.
With the price of oil plummeting, Russia is moribund, so much so Putin is building a personal army ensure his own safety. While Obama and his foreign policy "guru", aka, idiot remain clueless, like the blind pig they occasionally stumble upon the acorn.
SitRep: Thousands of U.S. Troops, Tanks Shipping to Eastern Europe
The military is still run by mostly competent men, but the Obama administration's competence is rubbish. The blind pig found this acorn but don't count on this happening often.
This would be an excellent time to simply shift troops from old Europe to Eastern Europe, permanently reducing our forces. This would nicely set up the US permanently leaving NATO and building new military alliances in the East. Old Europe is dying, and uncaring in their decrepitude. There is no reason to continue to provide these washed up wastrels with additional military protection.
Perhaps Obama needs a come to Jesus, using Russia to achieve our foreign policy objectives is a disaster. Yet another legacy for the President.
The religious compact that constrains Saudi economic reform - FT.com
. . . created upon the linking of a binary. While evil corrupts, absolute evil corrupts absolutely.
Little Arab Lord Fauntleroy wants to reform the dilettante's in Saudi by putting the them to actual work, and reforming, completely, the corrupt system, stem to stern.
"All this rewrites the social contract whereby Saudis forgo political rights and offer fealty to the House of Saud in return for public sector jobs and cradle-to-grave welfare funded by oil. Coming even close to these goals implies radical social change, an upheaval in governance — all without much sign that the absolute monarchy intends its subjects to become fully participatory citizens.
While no one can fault MbS for his boldness, his programme resembles a mobilisation of technocrats to bypass big political obstacles. The biggest of these is the cornerstone of the state: the historic compact between the House of Saud and the House of ibn Abdul Wahhab, the 18th century preacher behind the most extreme version of Sunni Muslim orthodoxy ever attempted as a form of governance. The ruling family has until now relied on the Wahhabi establishment — as reactionary and bigoted as ever — for its legitimacy, in exchange for clerical control over areas such as education and the judiciary, as well as the segregation of women."
This will only work if the House of Saud follows what we know works here at the End of History: republican governance, free market economics, reformed religions, and a state which strictly limits its regulations, including regulations of life and business. This is really simply, good government, good religions, free markets, and liberty. Saudi has none of these.
Good luck with this. If you want to be taken seriously cut loose the religion today. Until you do so, no one will believe you have a chance, and more than anything you need others to believe and support your plan. After that you will need to pair the liberalization of the economy with the liberalization of politics. Sorry, that means the House of Saud will have to give up power to the people through a plural republican mechanism of some kind. Choose the form of your destructor. Not choosing is a choice.
Choose wisely, young Arab Lord Fauntleroy, choose wisely.
Oil's Latest Casualty: Saudi Binladin Group Fires 50,000, A Quarter Of Its Workforce
A house fire was never more deserved.
The House of Saud recently came out with an announcement that it would spend $1 trillion to create an economy in Saudi Arabia. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! They are losing what economy they have faster than they are creating a new "real" economy.
Saudi Arabia Outlines Reform Plan for Oil-Addicted Economy
Brilliant! The House of Saud tyrant of the land is magnanimously going to finally create an economy? How? These people used to know how to ride camels, and, er, um, well, follow Lawrence of Arabia. Other than that it is a bit difficult to pin down what they actually can do. But work would not make the list. This is a nation of dilettante ne'er do wells intent on eating more welfare, kvetching about the price of oil, and funding anti-West terror groups.
Cut them loose. Tighten visa restrictions so few if any Saudi's can even visit the US. Cut them loose from US military arms supplies, and training. This is the enemy, not an ally. We learned the same lesson 70 years ago when our ally, the USSR, proved to be enemy number 1.
Expect the House of Saud to thrash around and throw money at all manner of inane projects, funds, businesses, but in the end it will be wasted. Without oil there will be no House of Saud, and the price of oil just took a terminal swan dive. Also expect Iran to increase its pressure on the House of Saud. Good. We should support this, albeit covertly.
This is one house fire which would be helped by using gasoline.
. . . not as glamorous as one might assume. Or something.
"I've been shot!"
Calling these people fighters, or incompetent fighters is a slander on incompetent fighters everywhere.
Saudi Arabia: Nothing But A Lot Of Sand & Hot Air
. . . terrorist funding despots.
Exactly why do we think of these human rights hating, fear mongering, terrorist funding, sociopaths as allies? Without oil they have no economy, and while they are now saying they will spend trillions to create an economy, no Saudi wants to actually work.
It is time to roll out the big guns, open up federal lands to oil and gas development, and drive the House of Saud into retirement . . . or back to camel riding, whichever they can hold on to. This is the face of evil.
Understanding the Saudi, Chinese “Economic Nuclear War” Threat; Saudi 911 Round-Up | MishTalk
. . . and the fact that the House is the enemy of America, not an ally.
This seems to be unfathomable to Congress, the President, and most Americans, but it is true. We need a serious come to Jesus on this issue. We need to reduce to near zero visas for Saudis, and we need to actively begin to undermine the House of Saud. While we should stay out of the pending Islamic reformation, our policies should be designed to maximized the damage to the House of Saud, while maximizing the benefit to Iran.
While this runs contrary to the accepted Cold War stance of the Neocons, the Republican party, and nearly everyone in our political establishment, until we do so, the security of Americans, and the stability of the world is at risk.
Saud is the enemy, not Iran.
Go read the entire piece, and please click on and read the supporting documentation. This issue is important, and just beginning. We will hear more about this in the future.
Erdogan urges Muslims to overcome splits, fight terror
. . . however, siding with the House of Saud is a mistake.
Does Erdogan think he is fooling anyone? Besides fooling Obama, that is!
Opec’s days as economic force are ‘over’ - FT.com
. . . but the Yergin seems to misunderstand why. UPDATE AT END
"Opec’s economic power is broken, says the unofficial historian of the oil industry, who has argued that the association of oil exporting countries has become irretrievably divided and is unable to reverse the current slump in crude prices.
Daniel Yergin, whose Pulitzer-prize winning book The Prize provides a comprehensive history of oil and power, said he believes the association’s economic prowess has been undone by its inability to agree on how to stop the oil crisis.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Yergin, who is also vice-chairman of data provider IHS, said the recent disagreements among Opec members have revealed how weak the organization now is.
Mr Yergin said: “The era of Opec as a decisive force in the world economy is over. It is clearly a very divided organization.”
Mr Bergen’s book, first published in 1990, dedicates several chapters to the rise and domination of Opec, the 13-member organisation that has caused sharp swings in the oil price by restricting or raising supplies since it was set up in 1960.
But the 69-year-old argues the current oil slump has exposed the organization’s inability to act in a unified way."
Ok, correct as far as it goes, but it does not go anywhere near far enough.
The reason for the lack of unity is the existential war between the Shia, represented by Iran, and the Sunni, represented by the House of Saud.
"Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s powerful deputy crown prince, said earlier this month a deal would only happen if Iran also signed up.
But Iran wants to increase its output after sanctions were lifted in January as part of a nuclear deal with world powers.
Mr Yergin said he did not think a freeze was possible until Iran clarified how much it could export. As for Saudi Arabia, Mr Yergin said it was thinking differently about oil.
“I remember when the operating code was: save the oil for our grandchildren. Now the grandchildren are in charge and they are looking at it in a very different way,” he said.
“They are not looking at it as precious resource . . . but rather asking how do you monetize it?'"
Right Saudi wants to tie up Iran so it has no money to fight this existential war. Iran will have none of it, and so will pump oil, in order to build its more integrated economy back from the recent sanctions, and seek to fight proxy wars in the meantime. Saudi has very little economy outside of oil, and what it has, is nearly completely reliant on oil money transfers from the House of Saud.
It is not that the House of Saud is thinking differently about oil, it is thinking about an existential war, and it needs as much oil money as possible to ward off economic unrest from its people, and fight expensive proxy wars. Remember in this fight the House of Saud is the banker to the Sunni proxy wars, while the Iranians are not, they train, and provide some arms assistance but do not do the majority of the bankrolling.
The reason the House of Saud recently left Yemen, is to cut the costs of the proxy war there. The House of Saud is deeply concerned, and panic is just setting in.
OPEC's days as oil hegemon are over. Not because "Kids these days!" But because Iran wishes to reduce the kingdom. Optimistically, this will be the warfare at the beginning of the Islamic Reformation, which will lead to an Islamic Enlightenment. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.
Al-Saud is our enemy. The Shia, represented by Iran are the only real hope today for an Islamic Reformation. We need to make this work. We need to trade with Iran, and promote the full reintegration of Iran with the world economy. This will allow Iran to pressure the House of Saud, and allow Iranian businesses, and the people of Iran to build relations with America, and the West. Only this will result in the diminishment of the Iranian hardliners, and the ultimate democratization, and free marketization of Iran. Something the world needs dearly.
Oil Guru Says OPEC’s Era Is Over
"What use is OPEC? For decades, the oil cartel has leveraged the large percentage of the world’s oil supply its members produce to try and keep prices up, and during previous price slides would (led by Saudi Arabia) lower its collective output to help induce a rebound. But five months after oil prices started their tumble from a June 2014 high of more than $110 per barrel, OPEC members meeting in Vienna decided to not to do anything. Riyadh pushed this strategy of inaction, preferring to fight for a share of a market that had quickly become crowded, thanks to the rapid rise of U.S. shale.
Now, nearly two years after prices began their tumble, OPEC members are preparing to meet delegates from other petrostates in Doha next week to moot a deal to freeze production at current levels. But while prices have been edging upwards in the lead-up to that meeting, that strategy isn’t likely to produce the kind of rebound OPEC would like to see, which again brings us back to the question: what good is OPEC?"
This price rise is due solely to the oil bulls feverish delusions of $150 per bbl oil prices. They remember the heady day of making oodles of money, and can't quite understand what happened. Reality happened you sorry sods.
"Thanks to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal well drilling, we’ve blown well past the days of peak oil prognostications, into an era characterized by problems of overabundance rather than scarcity. Crudely speaking (excuse the pun, please) this has been good for consumers and bad for producers, but while U.S. shale firms have been able to innovate their way into staying profitable in the bearish market, petrostates have been forced to start cutting national budgest and tapping sovereign wealth funds. Both sets of producers are being squeezed by $40 oil, but the former is actively working towards a solution as it refines techniques and boosts efficiencies, while the latter is merely treading water while talking loudly about setting an upper limit on production—cuts are out of the question.
There are many reasons to be skeptical of this new freeze plan, but as we edge closer to that date prices are ticking upwards—Brent neared $43 in trading today for the first time in more than four months. But if that’s all OPEC can manage, Yergin might be proven right: OPEC’s era really could be over."
Peak Oil!!! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha . . .
The OPEC's days are over. The sooner the oil bulls understand this and move on the better it will be.
Unite to Defeat Radical Jihadism
. . . this is mostly because our allies in Europe cannot integrate a muslim to save their soul's.
Peggy lays this out in simple easy to understand terms, "These things are obvious after the Brussels bombings:
In striking at the political heart of Europe, home of the European Union, the ISIS jihadists were delivering a message: They will not be stopped.
What we are seeing now is not radical jihadist Islam versus the West but, increasingly, radical jihadist Islam versus the world. They are on the move in Africa, parts of Asia and of course throughout the Mideast.
Radical jihadism is not going to go away, not for a long time, probably decades. For 15 years it has in significant ways shaped our lives, and it will shape our children’s too. They will have to win the war.
It will not be effectively fought with guilt, ambivalence or double-mindedness. That, in the West, will have to change."
She notes that President Golf Pants had something to say, "The usual glib talk of politicians—calls for unity, vows that we will not give in to fear—will produce in the future what they’ve produced in the past: nothing. “The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium,” said the president, vigorously refusing to dodge clichés. “We must unite and be together, regardless of nationality, race or faith, in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.” It is not an “existential threat,” he noted, as he does. But if you were at San Bernardino or Fort Hood, the Paris concert hall or the Brussels subway, it would feel pretty existential to you."
True. He cannot pass a cliche without stopping to make its acquaintance. So, if we are to unify to stop this threat, how? First we must understand what causes all mass movements.
"There are many books, magazine long-reads and online symposia on the subject of violent Islam. I have written of my admiration for “What ISIS Really Wants” by Graeme Wood, published a year ago in the Atlantic. ISIS supporters have tried hard to make their project knowable and understood, Mr. Wood reported: “We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change . . . and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.” ISIS is essentially “medieval” in its religious nature, and “committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people.” They intend to eliminate the infidel and raise up the caliphate—one like the Ottoman empire, which peaked in the 16th century and then began its decline."
This doesn't really answer the question does it? This does. The short answer here is hatred of self, of religion, and of nationality.
This is a festering sore, which is worsened if the adopted nation treats the individual as second class.
Here are a large number of opinion polls which show the extent of muslim extremism.
Muslim Opinion Polls
On the other hand, I agree with this analysis as well:
Labor Market Rigidity and the Disaffection of European Muslim Youth - Marginal REVOLUTION
America does a better job at integrating immigrants than Europe. That should not surprise, Europe spent the past 150 years torn between sending waves of immigrants to the US or fighting internecine wars. It has no experience with emigration. Perhaps the key reason America does so well is we allow quick and complete economic integration of individuals. This ties them to the community economically, and whatever other negative feelings they may have, are muted by the strength of the economic tie.
Europe on the other hand does what Europe always does, it ghettoizes the other, and economically marginalizes them..
"In Belgium high unemployment and crime-ridden Muslim ghettos have fomented radicalism but as Jeff Jacoby writes:
Muslims in the United States…have had no problem acclimating to mainstream norms. In a detailed 2011 survey, the Pew Research Center found that Muslim Americans are “highly assimilated into American society and . . . largely content with their lives.” More than 80 percent of US Muslims expressed satisfaction with life in America, and 63 percent said they felt no conflict “between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society.” The rates at which they participate in various everyday American activities — from following local sports teams to watching entertainment TV — are similar to those of the American public generally. Half of all Muslim immigrants display the US flag at home, in the office, or on their car.
Jacoby, however, doesn’t explain why these differences exist. One reason is the greater flexibility of American labor markets compared to those in Europe.
Institutions that make it more difficult to hire and fire workers or adjust wages can increase unemployment and reduce employment, especially among immigrant youth. Firms will be less willing to hire if it is very costly to fire. As Tyler and I put it in Modern Principles, How many people will want to go on a date if every date requires a marriage? The hiring hurdle is especially burdensome for immigrants given the additional real or perceived uncertainty from hiring immigrants. One of the few ways that immigrants can compete in these situations is by offering to work for lower wages. But if that route is blocked by minimum wages or requirements that every worker receive significant non-wage benefits then unemployment and non-employment among immigrants will be high generating disaffection, especially among the young.
Huber, for example, (see also Angrist and Kugler) finds:
Countries with more centralized wage bargaining, stricter product market regulation and countries with a higher union density, have worse labour market outcomes for their immigrants relative to natives even after controlling for compositional effects.
The problem of labor market rigidity is especially acute in Belgium where the differences between native and immigrant unemployment, employment and wages are among the highest in the OECD. Language difficulties and skills are one reason but labor market rigidity is another, as this OECD report makes clear:
Belgian labour market settings are generally unfavourable to the employment outcomes of low-skilled workers. Reduced employment rates stem from high labour costs, which deter demand for low-productivity workers…Furthermore, labour market segmentation and rigidity weigh on the wages and progression prospects of outsiders. With immigrants over-represented among low-wage, vulnerable workers, labour market settings likely hurt the foreign-born disproportionately.
…Minimum wages can create a barrier to employment of low-skilled immigrants, especially for youth. As a proportion of the median wage, the Belgian statutory minimum wage is on the high side in international comparison and sectoral agreements generally provide for even higher minima. This helps to prevent in-work poverty…but risks pricing low-skilled workers out of the labour market (Neumark and Wascher, 2006). Groups with further real or perceived productivity handicaps, such as youth or immigrants, will be among the most affected.
In 2012, the overall unemployment rate in Belgium was 7.6% (15-64 age group), rising to 19.8% for those in the labour force aged under 25, and, among these, reaching 29.3% and 27.9% for immigrants and their native-born offspring, respectively.
Immigration can benefit both immigrants and natives but achieving those benefits requires the appropriate institutions especially open and flexible labor markets."
Young American muslims will still be potential recruits to Islamism, but the ability of the radicals to find converts will be lessened by economic opportunity.
This is a key reason why continuing to follow the dying progressive system is not just folly but dangerous. The progressive belief structure will mire the employment relationship in 19th century goals and ideals. We know this will slow economic growth, and do nothing to further the needs and desires of either the workers, or the employers. This will hurt the immigrant more than the native.
The best mechanism to fight Islamic terror is rapid, inclusive economic growth, not slowed growth, and stagnation. Bad ideas are myriad, but should be eschewed.
The other battlefield for this fight will need to be the Middle East itself, through the Islamic Reformation. The West cannot be involved in this war. If it is, the battle will surely spill into the West. This will be difficult but necessary. Ultimately this needs to be a war for reformation fought only by the parties to the reformation.
Our current political class is not up to this.