Jim Lobe: There are serious strategic differences between US and Israel, but they share the aim of weakening Iran as a regional power.
The always excellent Max Blumenthal notes that Netanyahu wants GOP to win but he already has Obama in a corner on Iran.
Gareth Porter on the developing crisis in the Persian Gulf, the assassination of an Iranian scientist by Mossad, and the belated pushback by the US.
Further evidence of the vacuity of the ‘war for oil’ argument. Much of the price for oil is today determined in the derivatives market by Wall Street speculators rather than by producers or suppliers. The underlying commodity usually has a minimum impact on the actual price. But the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will not investigate this for the same reason why it was prevented from investigating the banks. Because Wall Street owns the executive branch. (Don’t miss the excellent Inside Job and this post by Pat Lang).
Kevin Hall: The Saudis have been saying for years something should be done to curb the influence of banks that are speculating on the price of oil.
Gerald Epstein: Real message of S&P downgrade of US debt outlook is threat of another meltdown of finance sector.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs, the investment giant that brought you the financial crisis and world food crisis, is lobbying to weaken the Volcker rule, which is designed to limit banks from speculating with their own money.
Gareth Porter: Domestic politics dictated decision to assassinate bin Laden, not national security. Also, in the National Journal, Tim Fernholz and Jim Tankersley estimate that the pursuit of Bin Laden cost the US $3 trillion over the past 15 years.
Robert Skidelsky and Paul Jay discuss Keynes, the IMF, concentration of ownership, political power and rebellion.
The brutal repression of demonstrators by the US-backed monarchies continues.
Adam Hanieh: US policy in region based on Gulf Cooperation Council ability to suppress opposition
In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, Joseph Stiglitz writes:
The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow. […]
The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.
One of the reasons this state of affairs obtains, argues Ha-Joon Chang, is because of the chimera of a ‘free market.’
More on the Libyan revolution from Jihan Hafiz. (Also see Part 1)