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Oil, Power, And Psychopaths

Iran has a – very – long running dispute with the US about its nuclear technology. The US wants Assad (Bashar Al-Assad) out of Syria, while Iran and Russia support Assad (Russia’s sole proper base in the Middle East), who’s an Alawite (a Shi-ite branch), a people historically persecuted by Sunni’s. ISIS (or Daesh in the region) is Sunni. So are the Saudi’s. Iran is Shi’ite. Bahrain is ruled by Sunni but has a majority Shi’ite population. And I could go on for a while. A long while.

All this plays into the oil game, the falling oil prices. Blaming OPEC for the recent price fall is seeing the world from a child’s perspective. OPEC and its major voteholder, Saudi Arabia, are no more to blame for the plunge than the US, Russia or other non-OPEC producers. Everybody produces as if there’s no tomorrow, and the Saudi’s have merely concluded that their only choice is to do the same. It’s a race to the bottom.

The reason is the fast declining demand for oil; China is nowhere near as mighty as we seem to think, Europe is a basket case, emerging economies are being strangled as we speak by the surging dollar and the Fed taper, and we’re just getting started. It’s cute and all that nobody wonders how much virtual money has vanished into the great beyond as both oil itself and the companies that get it out of the earth have lost half of their ‘values’ in Q4 2014, let alone the countries that depend on oil for their very existence. But cute doesn’t cut it.

Oliver Stone talks about ‘Ukraine: The CIA Coup’. I’ve talked about exactly that all of last year. While on vacation, Obama declares new sanctions on North Korea for hacking a Japanese company only the FBI claims it was guilty of. While US sanctions against Iran are ongoing.

America is trying to control the world by throwing it into confusion, emboldened by poorly understood theories about military superiority, and creating conflicts all over the place that look like they will never be solved. Whereas all it would need to do is make sure it secures itself, its own territory, not control the entire planet.

That was always a stupid idea. No big dream empire has ever lasted long enough to truly enjoy the fruits of its dreams for more than ten minutes or so. They’ve all ended in horrific bloodshed. The dark visions of impotent power hungry masters and servants have thrown overstretched empires into lethal turmoil for many thousands of years. It’s just that now, for the first time, it’s happening on a truly global scale.

The result will be the same; only, it’ll all go even more spectacularly wrong. It’s the way things go. But they won’t go the way our deluded powerbrokers think they will. That ‘mission accomplished’ message from W. back in the day is going to start sounding a lot more stupider as time goes by. You just wait and watch.

I found this bit interesting, from Reuters, it paints a good picture of how the confusion-all-around ‘strategy’ is supposed to supposedly work:

Iran Says Saudi Arabia Should Move To Curb Oil Price Fall

The Iranian deputy minister also criticised Saudi military involvement in Bahrain, which has been gripped by tension since 2011 protests led by majority Shi’ite Muslims demanding reforms and a bigger role in running the Sunni-ruled country. Abdollahian said Bahraini authorities’ continued detention of Shi’ite opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman would have “serious consequences” for the government there.


Tehran and Riyadh accuse each other of interfering in the pro-Western Gulf island kingdom, one of several countries where their power struggle has played out. They also support opposing sides in wars and disputes in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Abdollahian dismissed United States efforts to fight Islamic State, also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh, as a ploy to advance U.S. policies in the region. “The reality is that the United States is not acting to eliminate Daesh (ISIS). They are not even interested in weakening Daesh, they are only interested in managing it,” he said.


The United States and its allies have carried out hundreds of air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Washington has also sent military support to Baghdad’s Shi’ite-led government but its role in Syria – where it has called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down – is more limited. Iran has sent Revolutionary Guard commanders to help its Shi’ite and Alawite allies in Baghdad and Damascus battle Islamic State and other Sunni fighters. But Abdollahian denied that Iran conducted aerial attacks on Iraqi sites.


“On the ground, where the U.S. should take serious action, there are no serious actions taking place. The US is not doing anything,” he said, accusing Washington of pursing a contradictory policy towards Islamist militants. “One day they support Daesh, another day they are against terrorism,” he said.


Abdollahian reaffirmed Iran’s commitment to Assad, saying the Syrian president must be involved in any political transition aimed at ending more than three years of conflict. He also criticized the latest U.S. sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities, saying they would not have a good impact on Tehran’s talks with world powers over its disputed nuclear program. “The United States must know that these actions make them bear a greater responsibility should the negotiations fail,” he said. “If the other side is honest in their actions, then we should expect these talks to reach a desirable conclusion.”

And then why not throw in a helping of Ambrose for good measure:

The Year Of Dollar Danger For The World

A sated China is as much to “blame” for the crash in oil prices as America’s shale industry. Together they have knouted Russia’s Vladimir Putin. The bear market will short-circuit at Brent prices of $40, but not just because shale capitulates. Marginal producers in Canada, the North Sea, West Africa and the Arctic will share the punishment. The biggest loser will be Saudi Arabia, reaping the geostrategic whirlwind of its high stakes game, facing Iranian retaliation through the Shia of the Eastern Province where the oil lies, and Russian retaliation through the Houthis in Yemen.


Mr Putin will achieve his objective of crippling Ukraine’s economy and freezing the conflict in the Donbass, but only by crippling Russia in the process. Controls will not stem capital flight. Mr Putin will have to choose between a dangerous loss of foreign reserves and a dangerous chain of corporate bankruptcies. He will continue to pawn Russia’s national interest to Beijing in order to save his Siloviki regime, but wiser heads in Moscow will question how a perpetual dispute with Europe and the revival of a dying NATO can possibly be in Russia’s interest. They will check his folly.

Ambrose sees only what fits his preconceived notions; pity, he could have been a great journalist. Putin didn’t seek a fight with the west, and his people, wiser heads or not, won’t blame him for being in one, quite the contrary. The most pervasive emotion in Russia today is deep-seated anger, versus the US, EU and NATO, for their blatant betrayal of both the country itself and the deals that were made ‘when the wall came down’.

Obviously, there’s plenty folk in Moscow, as there are in Kiev, that look to sell out to the US and scrape a million left and right out of that, but Russia is not Ukraine. You can’t just send in Victoria Nuland with $5 billion, organize a street party and expect to change another regime. Pepe Escobar clarifies why, to an extent:

2015 Will Be All About Iran, China And Russia

[..] it will be all about further moves towards the integration of Eurasia as the US is progressively squeezed out of Eurasia. We will see a complex geostrategic interplay progressively undermining the hegemony of the US dollar as a reserve currency and, most of all, the petrodollar.[..] Internationally, the Chinese will accelerate their overwhelming push for new ‘Silk Roads’ – both overland and maritime – which will underpin the long-term Chinese master strategy of unifying Eurasia with trade and commerce.


Global oil prices are bound to remain low. All bets are off on whether a nuclear deal will be reached by this summer between Iran and the P5+1. If sanctions (actually economic war) against Iran remain and continue to seriously hurt its economy, Tehran’s reaction will be firm, and will include even more integration with Asia, not the West.


Washington is well-aware that a comprehensive deal with Iran cannot be reached without Russia’s help. That would be the Obama administration’s sole – and I repeat – sole foreign policy success. A return to the “Bomb Iran” hysteria would only suit the proverbial usual (neo-con) suspects. Still, by no accident, both Iran and Russia are now subject to Western sanctions. No matter how it was engineered, the fact that stands is that the current financial/strategic oil price collapse is a direct attack against (who else?) Iran and Russia. [..]


Russia’s government debt totals only 13.4% of its GDP. Its budget deficit in relation to GDP is only 0.5%. If we assume a US GDP of $16.8 trillion (the figure for 2013), the US budget deficit totals 4% of GDP, versus 0.5% for Russia. The Fed is essentially a private corporation owned by regional US private banks, although it passes itself off as a state institution. US publicly held debt is equal to a whopping 74% of GDP in fiscal year 2014. Russia’s is only 13.4%.


The declaration of economic war by the US and EU on Russia – via the run on the ruble and the oil derivative attack – was essentially a derivatives racket. Derivatives – in theory – may be multiplied to infinity. Derivative operators attacked both the ruble and oil prices in order to destroy the Russian economy. The problem is, the Russian economy is more soundly financed than America’s. [..]


Moscow’s key mistake was to allow Russia’s domestic industry to be financed by external, dollar-denominated debt. Talk about a monster debt trap which can be easily manipulated by the West. The first step for Moscow should be to closely supervise its banks. Russian companies should borrow domestically and move to sell their assets abroad. Moscow should also consider implementing a system of currency controls so the basic interest rate can be brought down quickly.[..]


Russia does not need to import any raw materials. Russia can easily reverse-engineer virtually any imported technology if it needs to. Most of all, Russia can generate — from the sale of raw materials – enough credit in US dollars or euros.[..]


Replacing imports with domestic Russian manufacturing makes total sense. There will be an inevitable “adjustment” phase – but that won’t take long. German car manufacturers, for instance, can no longer sell their cars in Russia due to the ruble’s decline. This means they will have to relocate their factories to Russia. If they don’t, Asia – from South Korea to China — will blow them out of the market.


The EU’s declaration of economic war against Russia makes no sense whatsoever. Russia controls, directly or indirectly, most of the oil and natural gas between Russia and China: roughly 25% of the world’s supply. The Middle East is bound to remain a mess. Africa is unstable. The EU is doing everything it can to cut itself off from its most stable supply of hydrocarbons, prompting Moscow to redirect energy to China and the rest of Asia. What a gift for Beijing [..]


Now imagine Russia and China jointly investing in a new gold, oil and natural resource-backed monetary union as a crucial alternative to the failed debt “democracy” model pushed by the Masters of the Universe on Wall Street, the Western central bank cartel, and neoliberal politicians. They would be showing the Global South that financing prosperity and improved standards of living by saddling future generations with debt was never meant to work in the first place. Until then, a storm will be threatening our very lives – today and tomorrow.

Escobar is nowhere near right on all accounts, but he has some good points. The US enters this self-fabricated and self-desired ‘battle’ with a huge debt disadvantage. However, it holds the reserve currency, and stories about the demise of the petrodollar are way premature. That petrodollar rules well over 90% of all international trade, and it’s going to take a lot of time before that changes in a substantial way.

But countries like Russia and China have plenty revenue coming in in dollars, plus they have huge dollar reserves. It’s not a winnable fight for the power behind the power in Washington, but they’ll fight anyway, partly because that’s all they want and understand, and partly because they won’t do the actual fighting. The way we’ve set up our societies assures the worst possible people rise to the top. That’s just the way it is. And the way we are.

Still, America is never going to control the entire world. And any attempt to achieve that goal will take it further away from it. But a lot of people will be killed in that doomed attempt. And down the line the fighting will go on until there are so few people left, and so little organization, that all that remains is communities of a scale people can actually comprehend. That seems to be the only possible outcome as long as we allow for the psychopaths among us to decide who gets to have their fingers on the nuclear buttons.

But before that, we’ll have other shades of entertainment, we’re not done yet by any means. Angela Merkel just told Der Spiegel that she can live with Greece leaving the eurozone. Though that would blow up the entire edifice. I don’t know that I would call her a psychopath, but I have no confidence in anyone who floats to the top in any of our present political systems. And Europe can’t stomach any one country leaving.

It’s high time for a new model and for new people. But the old ones, and their utterly and dramatically failed economies, hold the power, the media, the money, everything. So what other way out is there but mass fighting, mass casualties, a complete overthrow of everything that exists today, probably nuclear bombs dropping, and in the end a world none of us would recognize, let alone be able to survive in?

It’ll take a while yet to get there, and it won’t be a pretty while by any stretch of the imagination. The powers that be are not done yet pretending to rule the universe and playing God. We should kick ‘em all out today, but we won’t. Because we’re all too much like them.

The Automatic Earth blog

18 Comments on "Oil, Power, And Psychopaths"

  1. Kenz300 on Sun, 4th Jan 2015 11:15 am 

    “It’s high time for a new model and for new people. But the old ones, and their utterly and dramatically failed economies, hold the power, the media, the money, everything.”

    It is time to transition away from fossil fuels and away from the problems they cause.

    Wind, solar, wave energy, geothermal and second generation biofuels can all be produced locally with local jobs helping the local economy.

  2. MSN Fanboy on Sun, 4th Jan 2015 12:43 pm 

    Kenz you’ve being saying the same thing for three years, let up.

    Wait, I bet you a bot, no sane person would repeat the same hyperbole three years straight.

  3. Northwest Resident on Sun, 4th Jan 2015 1:16 pm 

    Too bad we don’t refer to “oil” as “petro oil”, because then we could coin a new phrase:

    Petro oil, Power and Psychopaths — the three P’s of DOOM.

    It would rank right up there with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

  4. Jerry McManus on Sun, 4th Jan 2015 2:06 pm 

    Didn’t I read somewhere that it is really only psychopaths who want power over other people in the first place?

    I also seem to recall that was the whole point of the American experiment in so-called “Democracy”. Nothing to do really with giving people the vote, remember, at first it was only white male landowners who were deemed worthy of that privilege.

    No, it was all about balance of power, the three branches of government, and a president who only served a short term at the pleasure of the (white male landowning) people. No chance in that arrangement, supposedly, for the psychopaths to take over.

    Guess that didn’t work out too well.

    If only we, as in society, could figure out how to drown the psychopaths in the bathtub before they even have a chance, then maybe, just maybe, we could get a moments peace.

  5. Industrial on Sun, 4th Jan 2015 4:51 pm 


    If you’ve ever read any of my post on this site,i just want you to know that im not totally the person that i talk about being…my intention is to scare you because the part about altering my chromosomes is true and peak oil is not some event to just debate about endlessly,it scares me to death every day..i am not like you,and i like to brag about it…the government voices in my head have thoroughly explained to me that every single person in america is trained from birth to see other people as a free meal,a free ticket,the very definition of divide and conquer…my mother beat me psychologically till i became the enemy of humanity,she bought 17 acres of land in the woods and decided to have some fantasy goat farm that didn’t work out the way she thought it would…there is no work in my area..and if there is it takes a car that i can’t afford to maintain,to drive miles and miles…it was not in my best interest to be part of your society… thinking of getting a moped and maybe i will find peace and love in this world..but for the mean time i am trying to de-tool from just being this peak oil machine…if you ever saw the movie “Equilibrium” you haven’t come close to seeing my peak oil Epic,i will just decimate all if i have too to survive the future:) It took me about 3 days to learn everything modern science knew about human aging online,then i used the strength of a dying mighty civilization to search the earth like an indiana jones of the internet for the fountain of youth.

    Tell your great great grand children to stay away from central VA there might just be green creatures that once were human,that have been changed…My dream is too one day become like swamp thing and stand in the sun and my skin just sweats crude oil–which i burn in rusty old engines:)…then another permian triassic event or gamma ray burst from space hits me and i will hopefully be recognized by god in heaven…witness my horror of true sustainability.Peace


  6. J-Gav on Sun, 4th Jan 2015 5:20 pm 

    Whoa Industrial, that’s quite a trip!

    Not that I intend to follow you into the “swamp thing,” but just a word to the wise – if you’re waiting for an answer to your problems from some dude on a cloud in the sky, you’re totally wasting your time. The Persian Omar Khayyam, a perhaps somewhat less-than-devout Sufi Muslim poet, astronomer and mathematician, saw it already in the 12th century when he wrote:

    “Look not above, there is no answer there,
    Pray not, for no-one listens to your prayer.” Doing a little mindfulness meditation might help you in your present stressed-out situation. Check out Sam Harris’s stuff on that; or Eckhardt Tolle if you’re more New Age inclined. Get a singing Tibetan bowl, ding it, then listen to your breath and watch the constant barrage of repetitive thought-garbage pass through your mind for what it really is: the constant flux we all live in. Stop clinging to it – that’s not what you are.

  7. J-Gav on Sun, 4th Jan 2015 6:06 pm 

    Industrial again – It seems obvious to me you’re suffering from PTSD, probably undiagnosed. I’ve been there (not war, car accident – 4 hours trapped in excruciating pain with 5 ribs snapped like match-sticks, fractured cervical vertebra, right shoulder completely destroyed, etc and ended up having to diagnose it myself before taking corrective measures). Took some time.

    Try not to be impatient, with others or yourself. Get help wherever you can find it.

  8. Makati1 on Sun, 4th Jan 2015 6:41 pm 

    Psychopaths run the Western world today. Not saying that the Eastern bloc is totally sane but, relatively speaking, they are more sane and rational.

  9. Makati1 on Sun, 4th Jan 2015 7:24 pm 

    You might take time to read this, if you missed it:

    “Spectating at the End of the World”

    “The term inverted totalitarianism, coined a decade ago by philosopher Sheldon Wolin, describes America’s brand of despotism in which “every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse as the citizenry is lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism.” Opposition to this dominant consumer culture is systematically co-opted and suppressed by the marginalization and alienation of alternative thought. Neoliberal capitalism governs not only states and economies, but extends right down to an individual’s behavior and way of living:…”

  10. Industrial on Sun, 4th Jan 2015 9:08 pm 

    I know that i said that i wasn’t going to write again and i wasn’t planning too…the main reason why is because im so alone every single day that all i think about is what i think or say to other just kills me….Theres no doubt that i have PTSD that’s like old news,my back literally just feels bent from carrying the weight of this world…i mean like literally just sitting in front of the computer all day learning…i can’t trust a word the government voices say to me it’s like whats new (aliens are telling me there going to eat me) o-well iv got a job to do…survive peak oil…my subconsious just functions like a little alex jones and just eternally says (ill eat you too) 🙂

    I mean truly i just love messing with people i can’t just tell you where the fountain of youth is..i mean dude like just seriously man up and learn some good old self destruction and the future will just open up to you…The science behind the real super hero/villian is (experimental rugged fitness landscapes in protein sequence space)Thats about all the scientific proof im willing to give.

    Seriously i go to the store and talk to women about peak oil because if a woman can handle that she can handle me:)…they mostly look at me and think (omg u can see the future) and im like sorry mam this isn’t magic im just doing my job..not dying from cancer caused by malnutrition (aka peak oil)

    My moms dying from diabetes and it’s bad because she just lives on candy and the anti aging stuff which you can buy at any health food store is totally safe and keeping her alive,it’s just that people have no idea how powerful this stuff truly is…no amount of anti aging medicine can keep my mom alive i mean she just acts like a 13 year old…i think shes had dementia for years? moms a monster but i still “care” about my mom…i live in my own house on her land and shes just got tons of debt especially credit card and im just worried that they will try to take the land?? when she dies.I just bought a tiller and plan to grow food this summer…

  11. Makati1 on Sun, 4th Jan 2015 9:52 pm 

    Industrial, we all have burdens. Your mom is going to do as she pleases until she cannot. That is her right. My mom is also old and has lived long past her pull date. Has a pacemaker, takes more meds than any 5 people I know. Is forgetful and stubborn and yet still my mom. I have resigned myself to her death being at any time. It will not be easy for me but her pain and problems will be over.

    Do what you can now and let the future happen. It will anyway.

  12. GregT on Sun, 4th Jan 2015 10:42 pm 


    There are plenty of people that you can talk with, and you should. Go and see a doctor. He/she can refer you to a specialist, or perhaps a support group. You are by no means alone, especially if you live in the US.

  13. MSN Fanboy on Mon, 5th Jan 2015 4:54 am 

    I don’t see anything wrong with industrials plans?

    Industrial, you should get a job and try to enjoy all of the delights of industrial civilisation. That field ploughing can wait, You will have plenty of time to do that when the need arises.

  14. Dredd on Mon, 5th Jan 2015 5:53 am 

    Applying political solutions to mental problems is a fools errand.

    We should have listened to Freud:

    I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness.

    The diagnosis of collective neuroses, moreover, will be confronted by a special difficulty. In the neurosis of an individual we can use as a starting point the contrast presented to us between the patient and his environment which we assume to be normal. No such background as this would be available for any society similarly affected; it would have to be supplied in some other way. And with regard to any therapeutic application of our knowledge, what would be the use of the most acute analysis of social neuroses, since no one possesses power to compel the community to adopt the therapy? In spite of all these difficulties, we may expect that one day someone will venture upon this research into the pathology of civilized communities
    .” (Sigmund Freud)

    Like pilots who have to take scheduled exams to insure fitness, government officials should have to pass scheduled mental exams.

    Observing their politics alone then voting for or against them is not an effective treatment for psychopathology.

  15. Rita on Mon, 5th Jan 2015 6:41 am 


    Sugar and too much carbohydrates are making you psychotic. Your brain’s circuits have burned from the high “voltage” energy sugar releases.

  16. Davy on Mon, 5th Jan 2015 7:03 am 

    Industrial, mental health is a moving target especially in an insane world. You have taken the first positive steps to something healthy and that is acknowledgement of a problem.

    Everyone here suffers some kind of mental issue now or in the past. Those who say they don’t are in denial or adjusted to an insane world. Some have recovered from serious issues and become better people. Other people live with life long afflictions.

    I do not know what to tell you as a diagnosis. Doctors and and drugs are as bad as good from what I have seen. IOW in the mental health profession misdiagnosis can be worse than the illness.

    My advise is don’t give up hope and be very careful of the establishment and their cures. If there is a word of comfort modern life may end soon as we know it and this change may offer you a situational adjustment. Good luck my friend

  17. Industrial on Mon, 5th Jan 2015 8:15 am 

    EVERY WORD THAT I SAY IS OFFENSIVE…i just know how most people think..and it’s not entirely my intention to be offensive to people…im just crude unrefined and free.

    I am so different from other people that the (state) acually pays a “Sane” guy to be my social worker friend…he comes to my house twice a week and we just hang out…im largely german and he’s largely jewish so it’s always funny…:)

    When you look in the mirror again ask yourself (am i “Sane”?) like just with a capital “S” just close to perfectly adjusted to your society…if your a woman maybe i can help:) if your a guy sorry dude but we can be “cool” but your largely just competition to me:) your prolly thinking to yourself im going to wait till disaster happens to prepare…if so than just enjoy every precious day of your life because when i look at your future i just don’t see many more days coming for you…99% of everything iv been collecting for peak oil cannot be found at a local store…walmart is like martha stewart land to me…i just bought a bunch of motor oil from there but other than that they have practically nothing i want or need…they don’t sell PRI G they don’t sell (solar cells) they don’t sell solar panels ect ect..

    I want to care about you people..i really do..but even if the government just played my like a puppet and lied to me i still admire them more than you because they have just done such a great job on you people…i mean just (wow)…all i want is to find love and just wait for it all to end because there is no hope for the average person…george bush senior who just happens to be a personal hero of mine is sick or he was it was in the news that he went to the hospital…i am not worthy of being in this mans presence but i just wish that they would let me learn everything about his medical records so i can try to keep that guy alive for all time…all i want in return is to see a ufo…

    (When we are successful…and we will be…we have a real chance at this new world order) george bush senior..

  18. Industrial on Mon, 5th Jan 2015 8:55 am 

    Wallmart does sell (star tron) and star tron is part of the rebel alliance and you are a traitor….:)

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