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The president’s inconsistency on Iran and his ties to the Saudis don’t bode well for how he will handle a monumental foreign policy challenge. 
By Timothy L. O'Brien
September 16, 2019, 3:00 AM AKDT

Family ties.  Photographer: Mandel Ngan/AFP

Timothy L. O’Brien is the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion. He has been an editor and writer for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, HuffPost and Talk magazine. His books include “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald.”

A small squadron of drones — and possibly cruise missiles — penetrated Saudi Arabia’s air defenses on Saturday, laying waste to a significant, valuable portion of two of the world’s most essential oil processing facilities. Amid worries about the impact of the strikes on global oil markets (half the kingdom’s oil output was affected) and fears about broader military confrontations upending a region perennially vexed by crossed swords, ancient religious rifts, geopolitical maneuvering and greed, facts and conjecture began jockeying for attention.

Houthi rebels fighting the Saudis in a brutal civil war in Yemen took credit for the strikes. Iran backs the Houthis, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to blame Iran for “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” and to assert that there “is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.” Pompeo didn’t specify where the strikes actually originated. The Saudis, backed by the U.S. in Yemen, have yet to pin the strikes on Iran, while the Iranians themselves deny any involvement. On Sunday, the U.S government produced photos that officials said indicated that the drones had to have flown into Saudi Arabia from Iraq or Iran. Iraq denies being involved.

Not everyone is telling the truth here (although everyone might think they are) and any prudent response to the attacks hinges on more factual certainty. Patience and foresight are diplomatic virtues in moments like this, even if the correct response ultimately involves more severe economic sanctions on Iran or military actions designed to rein in its rulers.

Like any U.S. president, Donald Trump could play a clarifying role and use the power and prestige of his office to bring a sense of order to what is a dangerous dynamic in the Arab world right now. It’s possible that the next few days will build toward the most momentous foreign policy challenge Trump will experience. But we’ve also arrived here precisely because of Trump’s own haphazard and conflicted approach to regimes he claims he wants to upend. Someone who has presided over the most chaotic White House of modern times is unlikely to navigate this complicated crisis with the necessary deftness.

The White House issued a statement Saturday confirming that Trump had phoned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to offer support for the country and oil markets. The president then filled his communication platform of choice, Twitter, with an array of attacks on the media, praise for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, promos for events meant to support black colleges, and a reminder that the “USA is Winning Again!”

At about 6 p.m. Sunday, Trump tweeted that he planned to release inventories from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help stabilize oil markets. About an hour later, he weighed in again on behalf of the Saudis.

“Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked,” he tweeted. “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”

In a flash, and most likely without consulting anyone else on his White House team, Trump indicated he was willing to put the U.S. military at the disposal of the Saudis and that he’d come out, guns blazing, whenever the Saudis thought the time was right.

Shortly after that, he noted that there was “PLENTY OF OIL!” and that no one should think that he stumbled in his own dealings with the Iranians — that perhaps the Iranians saw him softening and took advantage of him.

“The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, ‘No Conditions.’ That is an incorrect statement (as usual!),” he tweeted just after 7 p.m.

The problem with that one is that Trump did, in fact, say in June that he’d be willing to take a meeting with Iran with “no preconditions.” And several days ago Trump said he’d be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

Did any of that diplomatic signaling ( including the departure of Trump’s hawkish national security adviser John Bolton) coax the Iranians into a more aggressive stance, convincing them to try to disable a crucial oil field controlled by its most powerful foe in the Arab world at a time when that foe was moving toward a public offering of shares in its national oil company, Saudi Aramco? Who knows.

What probably hasn’t been lost on Iran is that Trump has postured and blustered about his willingness to use military force to corral countries he considers hostile to the U.S., but then fails to follow through. In June, Trump ordered a military strike on Iran, only to call it off at the last minute.

This isn’t new behavior from the president. He spent parts of his business life threatening to vanquish competitors or run circles around them when he was “artofthedealmaking,” only to find himself outmaneuvered or unable to deliver on his warnings (often to his own financial and reputational detriment).

The president has likewise boxed himself in with the Saudis. In addition to turning a blind eye to the kingdom’s own military atrocities in Yemen, and to countenancing the murder of the Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi, Trump and his family have myriad financial conflicts of interest involving Saudi money. Trump has left himself little room to find diplomatic solutions that don’t meet the Saudis’ needs first, while he continues to blur the line between serving the U.S. national interest and his own self-interest.

And one of the most harrowing aspects of Trump’s presidency — that an inexperienced self-promoter utterly ignorant about much of the world and lacking any real interest in international affairs had assumed power over the mightiest military force on the planet — is now in full relief in the wake of the drone strikes in Saudi Arabia.

Character is at play here, too. There’s a presidential election coming and with it the danger that Trump will find military confrontations overseas useful avenues for a political boost. That would suggest he may not be making completely sober-minded decisions.

Perhaps the president will rise to the occasion this week, despite the forces he helped set in motion and which are now pulling him in multiple directions. But don’t hold your breath.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Timothy L. O'Brien at

The chances of the U.S. easing sanctions fell to zero after the secretary of state blamed Tehran for the attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq facility.
By Julian Lee
September 15, 2019, 4:45 AM AKDT
Who’s to blame?

The chances of President Donald Trump easing sanctions on Iran’s oil exports have dropped to zero after an attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry that his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pinned on Tehran. The bigger challenge now will be reining in the U.S. hawks calling for retaliatory strikes on Iran’s energy industry facilities.

Before this weekend the big political news dominating the oil market was the sudden departure of John Bolton as Trump’s hardline national security adviser. His leaving raised hopes (or fears, depending on your point of view) that waivers from sanctions might be reinstated for some buyers of Iranian crude; there was talk even of Trump meeting with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani later this month.

I’m deeply skeptical about whether such a diplomatic breakthrough would have taken place without Trump reopening Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, which the current president scrapped last year. I can’t believe Trump would have been willing to do that. The drone strike on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil processing facility in the early hours of Saturday morning makes such speculation irrelevant anyway.

Pompeo appears to have taken on Bolton’s mantle of White House ultra-hawk. He blamed Iran for the attack in a Saturday tweet, even though responsibility has been claimed by the Houthi rebels being bombed savagely by a Saudi-led coalition in neighboring Yemen. They have plenty of incentive to retaliate.

The secretary of state went further than linking Tehran to the attack through its training and support of the Houthis, who are part of a network of militant groups in the Middle East allied with Iran. “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” Pompeo said in his tweet. He’s yet to share any evidence that it came from Iran either.

It would be better if he did. Memories of the “evidence” of Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction that precipitated the 2003 invasion of Iraq still linger. It’s a big step to say the attacks came from Iran. An earlier strike against Saudi Arabia’s East-West pipeline was deemed eventually to have been launched by Houthis operating from the sparsely-populated territory of south-western Iraq, although Iraq has denied that its territory was used for the new attack.

Saudi Arabia started its devastating bombing campaign in Yemen in 2015 – with some U.S. backing and weaponry – after the Houthis took control of the capital and other parts of the country. Despite thousands of civilian deaths, terrible human rights abuses on both sides and a humanitarian catastrophe, the war has settled into an ugly stalemate. Saturday’s attack, along with previous drone strikes, shows the Houthis’ effectiveness in inflicting damage well beyond Yemen (if indeed it was them).

Not surprisingly, Iran’s foreign ministry has denied responsibility. It now needs to go further and try to rein in its clients in Yemen. For its part, the U.S. should do the same in Saudi Arabia. Failure to do so will only lead to more attacks on the region’s oil infrastructure and more costly disruptions to supply.

The Saudis will need weeks to restore full production capacity, according to my Bloomberg News colleagues Anthony DiPaola and Javier Blas. Other members of the OPEC+ group, who have been restricting output to boost oil prices since the start of 2017, will open their taps. But more than 85% of the OPEC production cut since January has come from Saudi Arabia itself. The available spare capacity is a lot less than it might appear at first sight.

Riyadh was no doubt fearful that any rapprochement between Trump and Rouhani would have led to millions of barrels of Iranian oil gushing back onto the market, thereby scuppering the Saudi effort to support the crude price. The Abqaiq attack, and Pompeo’s response, shows there is no chance of that now. But the vulnerability of Aramco’s own installation to such strikes has created an infinitely worse problem.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Julian Lee at

From the Interview with Sam Mitchell on Collapse Chronicles:icon_sunny:


Beachcomber Boz
17 hours ago (edited)

I really admire RE for the breathtaking range of his knowledge and for the way he joins up all those dots into a pattern that we lesser mortals can understand. It is that combination of the details and the big picture that is so lacking in most intellectuals. Thank you RE & Sam.

Energy / Re: 🛢️ Oil Resource Wars
« on: Today at 08:46:16 AM »
I'm betting it won't go on all that long though, unless the attacks can continue and combo of Saudi Arabia and America don't join forces to pound on the Iranians. THAT could be a long term screwed up mess. But if attacks stop, and no one bombs Iranians, I don't believe it will be much of a long term thing.

You forgot a couple of Major Players at the poker table.

If indeed the FSoA teamed up with the Saudis to bomb Iran back to the Stone Age, you won't see the Ruskies or Chinese sitting on the sidelines for that one.

There is your scenario for WWIII and Global Thermonuclear War.


Energy / Re: 🛢️ A Fracking Ban Will Never Happen
« on: Today at 08:41:46 AM »
economics can only kill it if folks stop using oil and natural gas.

No, economics kill it because it can't be extracted at a price enough consumers can afford to pay.  Price goes up, demand goes down, glut ensues, prices fall, rinse and repeat until you hit bottom.


Okay, so we've seen two of those cycles since the Great Recession. The one that hit its height in WTI at $145/bbl in July of 2008 and nadir in February of 2009 at $34/bbl. So that would be the crashing demand, followed by glut and low prices.

Price then increased into the $100+ range from 2011-2014. Demand didn't decrease, it increased.

This appears to be more of a cycle, not hitting a bottom, but bouncing around, and for reasons far more substantial than whether or not some company or another decides to do hydraulic fracturing. If memory serves, that entire high price period just about created the US shale revolution, and that revolution grew oil and gas production even more once prices went DOWN. That production caused a drop in price, and demand just kept increasing through the 2014-2018 time period as well. So the relationship of volume and price didn't even do the cycle thing from 2011-2018 as expected.

Yes, demand does increase due to the fact that population continues to increase.  It's the RATE of increase that falls below expectations for growth, and that's what kills the investment because you need the constant growth to cover the interest on the investment.  That's why it is a Calculus problem.

The production increases, but the profitability from that production is falling.  Episodes like this perform the function of a Goalie doing a Stick Save.  But eventually, too many Pucks are going to be flying at the Goalie's head, and he can't stop them all from reaching the net.


Energy / Re: 🛢️ A Fracking Ban Will Never Happen
« on: Today at 07:39:16 AM »
economics can only kill it if folks stop using oil and natural gas.

No, economics kill it because it can't be extracted at a price enough consumers can afford to pay.  Price goes up, demand goes down, glut ensues, prices fall, rinse and repeat until you hit bottom.


Energy / Re: 🛢️ Oil Resource Wars
« on: Today at 07:35:41 AM »
This could really be an interesting and potentially profitable event for American producers, right?

First, we have OPEC cutting back production because the US has plugged in a new 5+ million barrels a day over the last half decade or so, and without the ability to control free market oil supply, OPEC can only cut back there own to maintain prices.

So they do this...keeping the market near a $50-$60 window...and suddenly now we've got an attack on production that will decrease it, causing the expected price increase, and presto! Suddenly, the companies in the US that have been hanging on by their fingernails get a windfall, allowing them to stave off possible bankruptcy in the near term, maybe even continuing to grow production, and when the Saudi's get ready to come back online at full production? It isn't needed! Between decreasing demand, the US doing its best to span the gap, and presto! Now we've got the Saudi's production constrained because they aren't willing to crash the price.

It is like the dynamics of 1986, except the Saudi's this time have to try and stomp out American industry and the shale revolution.

Definitely the shot in the arm that the high EROEI producers needed.  However, it still only impacts around 5% of the current global supply.  The glut remains due to falling demand, or rather "less than expected" growth.



Iran seizes vessel in Gulf for allegedly smuggling diesel – reports

Reports come amid raised tensions after weekend attack on major Saudi oil installation

Reuters in Dubai

Mon 16 Sep 2019 08.17 EDT
Last modified on Mon 16 Sep 2019 08.34 EDT

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have seized a vessel in the Gulf for allegedly smuggling 250,000 litres of diesel fuel to the United Arab Emirates, Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA has reported.

“It was detained near Iran’s Greater Tunb island in the Persian Gulf … the crew have been handed over to legal authorities in the southern Hormozgan province,” ISNA said on Monday, without elaborating on the nationalities of the crewmen.

The reported seizure coincided with raised international tensions following a weekend attack on a major oil installation in Saudi Arabia, Tehran’s longtime regional foe. Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement claimed responsibility, while the US has blamed Iran outright for the strike. Tehran has denied the accusation.

Iran, which has some of the world’s cheapest fuel prices owing to heavy subsidies and the fall of its national currency, has been fighting rampant fuel smuggling by land to neighbouring countries and by sea to Gulf Arab states.

Iran stepped up its fight against smuggling fuel this month when its coast guard seized a vessel for allegedly smuggling fuel in the Gulf and detained its 12 Filipino crew members.

In July, Iran seized a British oil tanker near the strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations, two weeks after British forces detained an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar, accusing it of taking oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

Iran’s Adrian Darya 1, formerly Grace 1, was released last month. Abbas Mousavi, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, said on Monday that the British-flagged Stena Impero tanker would be released soon.

The latest reported ship seizure by Iran follows a series of incidents involving shipping in and around the Gulf after US sanctions on Iranian oil exports took full effect in May. The incidents coincided with Houthi rebels stepping up attacks on targets in Saudi Arabia.

This one might be a good idea, even though the Senate won't ratify it.  It could help secure more of the Wimmen Votes.


Elizabeth Warren Joins Harris, Castro in Calling for Kavanaugh’s Impeachment

By Daniel Politi
Sept 15, 20193:24 PM

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5, 2019 in Washington, D.C.  Pool/Getty Images

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren became the most prominent Democratic presidential hopeful to join the calls for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to be impeached following new allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Kavanaugh’s nomination “was rammed through the Senate,” Warren tweeted Sunday. “Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”

Earlier in the day, Sen. Kamala Harris of California also called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment, saying he was confirmed to the Supreme Court “through a sham process.” Now, Kavanaugh’s “place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice,” Harris wrote. “He must be impeached.”
inRead invented by Teads

The first Democratic presidential contender who called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment was Julián Castro. “It’s more clear than ever that Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath,” Castro tweeted Saturday night. “He should be impeached.”

Castro called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment shortly after the New York Times published an explosive report that detailed a new allegation of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court justice. Although senators and the FBI knew about the allegation, they failed to follow up, according to the Times piece.

Trump launched a strong defense of Kavanaugh on Twitter Sunday with a series of tweets accusing the media of launching an attack against him to influence his opinions. “Can’t let Brett Kavanaugh give Radical Left Democrat (Liberal Plus) Opinions based on threats of Impeaching him over made up stories,” Trump tweeted. “Fake and Corrupt News is working overtime!” Earlier, Trump wrote that Kavanaugh “should start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue.”

Impeaching a Supreme Court justice requires a similar process as removing the president from office with the House of Representatives voting on impeachment and the Senate deciding whether to remove from office. So even if Democrats unite to impeach Kavanaugh in the House, the Republican-led Senate would not vote to remove him from office. And while impeaching a justice is technically possible, it’s exceedingly rare and has only happened once in U.S. history. The House voted to impeach Samuel Chase in 1805 but he was not actually removed from office by the Senate.

My FAVORITE FUNGI!  :icon_sunny:

I put Mushroom Spores in the Secret Chamber of my Tombstone along with my DNA and the Tardigrades.  ;D


In the event of a killer asteroid, volcanic apocalypse, or nuclear holocaust, mushrooms could save humanity from extinction
Morgan McFall-Johnsen

mushroom farm bunker Raphael Manet checks the growth of oyster mushrooms at the "Bunker Comestible," (the "edible bunker") in Strasbourg, France, on February 19, 2018. The organic farm was established in a former gunpowder warehouse bunker used during the Franco-German 1870 war. Vincent Kessler/Reuters

    In a new book, writer Bryan Walsh describes strategies that might keep people alive after a disaster like an asteroid impact, supervolcano eruption, or nuclear war.
    Walsh suggests that because mushrooms, rats, and some insects can thrive without sunlight, humans could start farming them with the remains of dead trees after an apocalyptic event.
    Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

About 66 million years ago, an asteroid plummeted through Earth's atmosphere and crashed into the sea floor, creating an explosion over 6,500 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima.

The impact sent clouds of debris and sulfur into Earth's atmosphere, blocking the sun's light and warmth for about two years. Photosynthesis ground to a halt, which meant no more plant growth. The surviving dinosaurs starved to extinction.

But fossil records show that fungi thrived in the aftermath.

According to science journalist and TIME editor Bryan Walsh, that makes mushrooms crucial for human survival if such an apocalyptic event were to occur in the future.

Walsh's new book ,"End Times," examines how catastrophic events, both natural and human-made, threaten our existence. In it, he points out that three types of potential catastrophes — asteroid impacts, supervolcano eruptions, and nuclear war — all have one thing in common: they could wind up blocking the sunlight needed to feed plants.

"Blot out the sun, and even the best-prepared survivalist, a master of the wilderness, will starve to death along with everyone else," Walsh writes in the book.

In order to survive, he says, people would need to adopt sunlight-free agriculture — cultivating mushrooms, rats, and insects.
Asteroids, supervolcanoes, and nuclear wars could block the sun
castle bravo shrimp nuclear test blast bikini atoll mushroom cloud noaaThe mushroom cloud of the Castle Bravo nuclear test on March 1, 1954.NOAA

Research suggests the consequences of supervolcano eruptions and nuclear bombs could be similar to the aftermath of the asteroid that doomed the dinosaurs.

About 74,000 years ago, for example, the Toba supervolcano eruption sent clouds of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, cutting sunlight by as much as 90%. That volcanic winter might have reduced the global human population to just 3,000 people, based on one analysis.

If enough nuclear bombs (thousands of them) were to explode, that could also bring on a nuclear winter that would reduce sunlight levels by more than 90%, according to a 1983 paper co-authored by Carl Sagan. Global temperatures could drop up to 45 degrees Fahrenheit in that scenario.

"Such rapid and drastic cooling could make farming impossible, even in those regions spared by the missiles," Walsh writes.
The Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980 killed 57 people and caused billions of dollars in damage. The Toba supereruption was equivalent to 2,800 Mount St. Helens eruptions. AP

Without sunlight, in other words, our food system would break down.

The mushroom cultivation solution in Walsh's book comes from David Denkenberger, a civil engineer who suggested it in a 2014 book about post-apocalyptic agriculture, called " Feeding Everyone No Matter What."

"Maybe when humans go extinct the world will be ruled by fungi again," Denkenberger told Walsh. "Why don't we just eat the mushrooms and not go extinct?"
Mushrooms do grow on trees, with or without the sun
A field of dead almond trees after a drought is seen in California's Central Valley, May 6, 2015. Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS

If clouds of debris or ash were to blot out the sun and lead the climate to cool rapidly, trillions of trees would die. Humans wouldn't be able to digest that dead wood, of course, but mushrooms could — no photosynthesis required.

Walsh does the math: A 3-foot-long, 4-inch-wide log should produce 2.2 pounds of mushrooms in four years, by his calculations.

That doesn't sound like a lot, but with a small post-disaster population and efficient fungus production, Denkenberger thinks it might work.
Oyster mushrooms grow from a substrate bloc at the "Bunker Comestible" (the "edible bunker") in Strasbourg, France, February 19, 2018.Vincent Kessler/Reuters

While we're using the wood to grow mushrooms, we could use the dead trees' leaves, too, he said.

"The ground-up leaves could be made into tea to provide missing nutrients like vitamin C, or fed to ruminant animals like cows or rats," Denkenberger told Walsh.
Dead trees can feed other life forms, like rats and insects

Rats, much like mushrooms, can digest cellulose, the sugar that makes up 50% of wood. So anything the mushrooms leave behind could be fed to the rats, Walsh suggests. That way, any human survivors could eat meat.
Rats are trapped in a cage in Vertou near Nantes, France, June 5, 2019.Stephane Mahe/Reuters

What's more, rats reproduce quickly and they probably don't need sunlight to do it, Walsh adds. It takes a rat just six weeks to reach sexual maturity, and from there only 70 days to produce seven to nine babies. In Denkenberger's calculations, all of humanity could be eating rats after just two years.

Insects could also provide protein, and many of them would survive a sun-blotting catastrophe.

"The same qualities that make insects so abundant and so persistent would allow many species to weather even the most extensive, climate-changing existential catastrophes," Walsh writes. "Beetles can feast on dead wood, and humans can feast on beetles."
People sample mealworm pralines. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen

Insects are already a staple food in some parts of the world, and they're starting to gain traction elsewhere. Walsh describes an insect food fair in Richmond, Virginia, where he tasted a pasta dish with ground cricket meatballs, called "Orthopteran Orzo," and deep-fried mealworm larvae.

"They were both passable," he writes. "If I were starving, though, I'd manage."
Survivors would band together

Walsh's book debunks another popular idea about how to feed ourselves during an apocalypse: cannibalism.

That would not help in the aftermath of a catastrophe that puts humans at risk of extinction, he says, because other people are simply not a sustainable food source. Walsh points to a 2017 study in which a group of undergraduate students calculated how long the human species would last if we subsisted on cannibalism alone. They found that only one person would remain after 1,149 days (about 3 years).

He adds, however, that building a new agricultural system would require working together. He thinks such collaboration would be likely in a disaster scenario.
Women work in a cabbage field at the expropriated Fundo Aracal in the state of Yaracuy, Venezuela, August 27, 2007. Reuters

"For all our fear of what would come after, for all our bleak stories, collapse and conflict aren't givens after a disaster," Walsh writes. "Human beings help each other, including in those times when it doesn't seem to be in their interest. That's likely how Homo sapiens survived its closest brush with extinction — the Toba supereruption — and it's the only way we would survive the next one."

Time once again to bring on Norma Rae.  :icon_sunny:

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After 3 months, you would figure the Chinese Politburo would figure out Tear Gas is just not cutting the mustard.  They're gonna need a Bigger Boat.


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Brent crude oil jumps 13% after drone strikes disrupt Saudi crude production
Published 2 hours agoUpdated 34 min ago
Yun Li   @YunLi626

Smoke is seen following a fire at Aramco facility in the eastern city of Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14, 2019.
Stringer | Reuters
Key Points

    Saudi Aramco, the national oil company, reportedly aims to restore about a third of its crude output, or 2 million barrels by Monday.
    Sunday evening, President Donald Trump said he was authorizing the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to keep the markets “well-supplied.”

Oil prices jumped more than 10% after a coordinated drone attack hit the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry on Saturday, forcing the kingdom to cut its oil output in half.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures popped $6.4, or 11.67%, to $61.23 per barrel. Brent crude futures soared $7.89, or 13.3% to $68.07.

Drone strikes attacked an oil processing facility at Abqaiq and the nearby Khurais oil field on Saturday, knocking out 5.7 million barrels of daily crude production or 50% of the kingdom’s oil output. Saudi Aramco, the national oil company, reportedly aims to restore about a third of its crude output, or 2 million barrels by Monday.

“While in the short term the direct physical impact on the market might be limited, this should move the market away from its bearish macroeconomic cycle and raise the risk premium in the market as funds reduce their short positions,” said Chris Midgley, global head of analytics, S&P Global Platts.

Sunday evening, President Donald Trump said he was authorizing the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to keep the markets “well-supplied.”

Abqaiq is the world’s largest oil processing facility and crude oil stabilization plant with a processing capacity of more than 7 million barrels per day. Khurais is the second largest oil field in the country with a capacity to pump around 1.5 million barrels per day. In August, Saudi Arabia produced 9.85 million barrels per day.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was one of their largest attacks ever inside the kingdom. The Houthis have been behind a series of attacks on Saudi pipelines, tankers and other infrastructure in the past few years.

Trump also said there is reason to believe the U.S. knows the culprit and is “locked and loaded,” while waiting to get the verification from the kingdom to proceed.

The U.S. has blamed Iran for the drone strikes on those important facilities. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet Saturday Iran has launched an “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

“If the Iranians have been driven to desperate measures from the loss of crude export revenues, an attack on Saudi capacity seems a likely response,” Jason Gammel, energy analyst at Jefferies, said in a note on Sunday. “The risk of wider conflict in the regions, including a Saudi or US response, will likely raise the political risk premium on crude prices by $5-10/bbl.”

The latest attack came as Saudi Arabia moves forward to take Saudi Aramco public in a major shakeup of the kingdom’s energy sector. Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser said Saturday nobody was hurt in the attacks and work is underway to restore production. Aramco did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Sunday.

Frostbite Falls Newz / Re: 📺 Morning Collapse Wake-Up Call
« on: September 15, 2019, 08:54:11 PM »
Good interview.  You sounded smart. ;D

LOL.  It helps that I actually am pretty smart to do that.  Or I am a REALLY good bullshitter.  Or both.  :icon_mrgreen:

Got great testimonials coming in the commentariat over there too!  :icon_sunny:

You can expand my Ego into the next dimension since I already covered this Universe.


I got interviewed by Sam Mitchell of Collapse Chronicles right before I left for the Great Tombstone Adventure to the Lower 48, which he just got up today.  In here you will find the complete story of the founding of the Doomstead Diner along with my Humble Opinions on the Monetary System, Climate, Extinction and Dr. McStinksion himself. lol.

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youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard, microphone & camera of RE

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 15, 2019

Discuss this article at the Doom Psychology Table inside the Diner


Regular readers of the Diner Forum are well aware of my most recent Jet Setting, Fossil Fuel Burning trip down to the Lower 48 to witness and Christen the SUN Monument on it's Eternal Resting Place in Springfield, MO, where I will join it buried beneath when I have my Final Meeting with the Grim Reaper and buy my Ticket to the Great Beyond.  To date, I have been able to battle him off on all the occasions he has knocked on my front door, but win he will in the bye & bye.  Nobody keeps the Reaper at bay forever, and I weaken still more with each of these battles.  My time left walking the Earth as a corporeal Meat Package grows shorter all the time.

As per the usual on these trips, I shot a good deal of video and fully intended this week to publish one of them on the Placement of the Monument, which took a full 2 years to finally come to fruition after many delays and frustrations along the way.  Unfortunately in many respects though, here in my Low Income Federally Subsidized Tax Credit housing community, we had another incident accompanied by yet another visit from the Alaska State Troopers, along with a few other First Responder types like the EMTs and Fire Department, followed shortly thereafter by the Coroner as well as Animal Control.  About the only agency that did not show up for this one was Child Protective Services, although we get more than our share of visits from them as well here in this community.

Just prior to leaving for the Lower 48 on this latest Adventure, while preparing one of my Food Give-Aways in what I call the "Potlatch Parking Lot" or "Cripple Cart Cafe", I spoke about the non-stop Parade we have here of the various agencies who get 911 calls that there is something amiss ongoing, and shortly thereafter they arrive complete with the sirens and flashing lights.  Due to the nature of this type of socio-economic community,  we experience all the worst aspects of a decaying industrial culture on a far more regular basis than the typical middle or upper middle class suburban McMansion type community.

Subsequent to the Property Manager moving out of that apartment, right before I left for the Great Tombstone Adventure, they did in fact rent this unit to another woman, who I met briefly before leaving.  She seemed nice enough, although I admit to being disappointed that I would lose my additional spot under the carport, which not only expanded the Cripple Cart Cafe but I also could drop my other car under during the winter and keep the snow off of it.  Regularly sweeping snow off of the car during Alaska winters is not fun even if you're healthy, if you're a cripple it's a positive nightmare.

Returning about 10 days later here to the Last Great Frontier in the wee hours of Monday morning, I was thoroughly exhausted from my return trip through TSA, over the jets and through the airports to the Last Great Frontier we go.  So I crashed and slept through most of Monday, not leaving my cave.  Tuesday I did venture outside and ran into a guy entering my neighboring cave and asked him if he was moving in.  He said he was "thinking about it".  If he was just thinking about it, how did he have a key?  The property manager always accompanies prospective tenants.  I didn't know at the time the woman I had met prior to my trip actually had been approved and had rented the apartment.  I didn't really consider this at the time though.

I didn't see any more of this gentleman again, nor did I see the woman who actually had rented the place on Tuesday, but then on Wednesday while I was cooking up some Salmon for lunch with my front door open, a State Trooper showed up at my door (which I leave open during the day to keep the inside smoke level down and let in the fresh air full of smoke from the Alaska Wildfires).  He inquired of me whether I had seen my neighbor who had not been heard from by her boyfriend who apparently works up on the Slope (the North Slope of Alaska, where the Oil is).  I told him I hadn't seen her since returning from my trip, and only saw her once before that before she rented the place.  At this moment another Trooper opens the front door and comes OUT from inside.  He got in through the back door, which had been left open.  He told Trooper 1 (and me standing next to him) the place stunk from Gas and they had a "10-79".  That's the code for a bomb threat.  What I did not know at this time was they also had a 10-54, a possible Dead Body with the likelihood of a 10-56, a Suicide.

I learned quite a bit more through the course of the day as the Police Tape went up in front of my digs and there was a parade of various other members of the State Troopers, specifically Homicide Detectives who spent the next 9 hours or so dusting this abode and collecting evidence.  Although this was an apparent suicide with the gas left on and numerous empty prescription drug bottles and alcohol bottles on the floor, there were some timeline issues here which just did not add up.  I could figure that out and I'm not even a fucking Detective.

Later a friend of hers showed up after they pulled his phone number off her cell phone, and he had apparently spoken to her the day before and she met 2 guys and a woman out shopping and they were over visiting with her.  This is where the timeline is fishy.  When did the cops get the original phone call reporting her missing?  When was her actual tiime of death?  Had rigor mortis set in yet?  I don't have answers to those questions and probably never will, that's what coroners do for a living and unless there's a trial and you go to hear the evidence, you never find out this stuff.

Up at the top of the article, you'll find the first video I shot during the day as  the investigation into this death was beginning.  Below here is the last video, of the corpse being wheeled out of the apartment in a Yellow Body Bag and then into a nicely equipped Medical Examiner's truck, powered of course by oil.


So now we get to the real meat of this story, which is WHY?  Why in this tiny little complex of maybe 100 Units do we CONSTANTLY have some nasty shit going down worthy of nightly visits from the local Gestapo?  Although we have *only* had 3 dead people so far since I have been living in this spot (about the last 5 years), we get regular visits from the EMTs for ODs or Seizures related to drug or alcohol abuse.  Among the married folks and those just living with someone else we get regular Domestic Violence problems.  For those with kids, there are regular visits from Child Protective Services on reports of Neglect or Abuse.  For the Old & Disabled (I am one of those), there are regular calls for an ambulance to take them over to the ER for one issue or another.  I fortunately have not yet had to call 911 for that, but I did have one occasion to call 911 and get the EMTs over due to this problem:

I don't have a "Life Alert" amulet swinging from my neck, but most of the time I DO keep my cell phone on my person, so I can call 911.  On this particular occasion I did not, but I was able to reach it fortunately.  Had I not been able to, I very well might have died simply because I don't get visitors (I'm a hermit mostly, or I was then anyhow) and I was just plain STUCK.  I fell backwards on my office chair while editing an article for the Diner and leaning it back too far so over I went.   I couldn't even get into the "baby crawl" position on my knees which at least some of the time I can hoist myself back up to my feet from.  Fortunately I had left my door unlocked, the paramedics were able to get in easily and then hoist me back to my feet and fix the office chair.  I was however laying on the floor there for a good 30 minutes before they arrived contemplating this rather ignominious way to die.  They wanted to take me to hospital, but I was fine and declined the invitation, though I had to sign forms saying I declined their kind offer. lol.

So the reason here that you get all these problems in this type of complex is a combination of the low socio-economics and the general bad health of the people who live in such places, along with MOST IMPORTANT, a lack of money!  It's the lack of money that precipitates the Domestic problems; it's the lack of money which prevents the Old & Disabled from getting the regular assistance they need; it's the lack of money which begets the Domestic Violence as roommates and married argue about money; it's lack of money which begets the drug & alcohol problems as the people try to self-medicate their problems away.  A place like this is the last stop on the road to homelessness, which of course is even worse.

Finally, if you watch the videos you may be put off by my flippant attitude towards all this tragedy.  I know many Kollapsniks are put off because they don't think I'm "serious" enough about the End of Industrial Civilization and the possible Near Term Human Extinction which could follow that, but probably won't.  First of all, as Shakespeare knew well, Comedy & Tragedy are flip sides of the same coin of human existence.  In this case beyond that, I live amongst these people, I don't look at it as an outsider.  This is my little community.  Nobody but the Dead & Dying here.

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