TEHRAN, Iran — Iran, OPEC's second-largest producer, has stopped conducting oil transactions in U.S. dollars, a top Oil Ministry official said Wednesday, a concerted attempt to reduce reliance on Washington at a time of tension over Tehran's nuclear program and suspected involvement in Iraq.
And the U.S. ain't too thrilled about it:
Iran has a tense relationship with the U.S., which has accused Tehran of using its nuclear program as a cover for weapons development and providing support to Shiite militants in Iraq that are killing American troops. Iran has denied the allegations.
The U.S. is sending a second U.S. aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, a deployment that Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday could serve as a "reminder" to Iran. But he said it's not an escalation of force.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with Mexican leaders, Gates said the number of ships there rises and falls continuously. He said he doesn't expect there to be two carriers there for a long time.
Asked if the carrier move went hand in hand with the rising U.S. rhetoric against Iran, Gates said, "I don't see it as an escalation. I think it could be seen, though, as a reminder."
The last time someone refused dollars for oil, we invaded his country, found him living in a hole, and hanged him. Saddam would have done better to leave things well enough alone. The moment the U.S. got control of Iraq, U.S. dollars once again became the currency in which the oil was sold.
What's the big deal, you ask? Best as I can figure, when oil is purchased in U.S. dollars, that money gets recycled back into U.S. markets. You have to park it somewhere, right? Why not U.S. treasury bills? This helps interest rates stay low. The higher the price of oil, the more demand for dollars with which to buy the black gold. This quaint situation has allowed the U.S. to print oodles of the green stuff and not cause too much dollar devaluation since everybody had to use it. A switch out of dollars would cause a decline in the dollar's purchasing power and make it more difficult for the U.S. to export inflation and fund its deficit.
I would venture to guess that any attack on Iran would involve a few sorties directed at the sector containing Iran's stock and currency exchange centers.
From CNN (there are comments to the article that are fun for some of us to read):
(CNN) — Ron Paul’s loyal supporters helped him set campaign fundraising records and capture more delegates during his presidential run than some of his high-profile Republican rivals. They even managed to briefly shut down Nevada’s GOP convention earlier this month over a rules change controversy.
Now they’ve taken his latest book to the top of the Amazon.com bestseller list.
“The Revolution: A Manifesto”, released earlier this month, is currently No. 1 on the Web site’s list of top sellers, besting even Oprah’s latest Book Club selection.
“Despite a media blackout, this septuagenarian physician-turned-congressman sparked a movement that has attracted a legion of young, dedicated, enthusiastic supporters . . . a phenomenon that has amazed veteran political observers and made more than one political rival envious,” boasts the book’s product description, adding: “Candidates across America are already running as ‘Ron Paul Republicans.’”
Do Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses cause food riots in Mozambique? [...] Back in 2003, John McCain noted that ethanol is a creation of
government subsidies and "does nothing to reduce fuel consumption,
nothing to increase our energy independence, nothing to improve air
quality." And he was right. But in a speech in Iowa last August, a
not-so-maverick McCain fell into line and touted the virtues of ethanol.
As Adenauer (1876 - 1967), Germany's first post-war Chancellor (1949 - 1963), betrayed in his famous statement: "Was geht mich mein Geschwätz von gestern an?" ("What do I care about the nonsense that I told yesterday?"), and McCain when he flippantly admitted: "I more than waffled," in an interview about issues that he - given an opportune environment - presents as profoundly dear to his sense of integrity, the sign of maturity in the kind of politician that succeeds in our political system, the politician that we despise, yet in the next moment tolerate, or even admire and vote for, is an open disregard of the reliability of his own pronouncements. His aims, his hidden agenda, the promises and vicissitudes of his goals reign supreme. The seasoned politician, sure of his power, understands that he is not accountable to the electoral "scum" out there. The things that matter, he knows, work differently than the masses think they do.
"Liberal" economists are overjoyed by the bursting of the housing
bubble, for it provides them with what they believe is another "market
failure" story. "Most analysts see the sub-prime crisis as a market
failure," Robert Gordon gleefully declared in the April 7 online
edition of The American Prospect magazine, edited by Robert Kuttner.
Gordon does not define what an "analyst" is, and does not cite any
survey to support his claim. One suspects that his opinion is based on
an informal survey of his like-minded, left-wing friends.
Gordon is a defender of the federal government's 1977 Community
Reinvestment Act (CRA) under which the Fed and other financial
regulators have pressured/extorted banks into making more loans to
less-than-creditworthy borrowers than they would normally be willing to
risk. As such, Gordon believes in the following propositions:
runaway greed ("market failure") on the part of lenders is the cause of the subprime crisis;
same greedy lenders routinely ignore billions of dollars in potential
profits in lower-income communities because of their systemic racism,
stupidity, or both — hence the need for the CRA; and
government agency, especially not the Fed, had anything to do with
either the creation or bursting of the housing market bubble and the
The first two propositions flatly contradict each other, whereas the
third is unequivocally false. Fed policy — which is not even mentioned
by Gordon in an article that is ostensibly about the cause of the
subprime crisis — is the cause of the boom-and-bust cycle that has
caused the housing bubble and its bursting. Not "market failure" but
As of this moment, Ron Paul's book is at the VERY top, Number 1, on the Amazon charts. Check it out. But if you haven't gotten yours yet, consider clicking on the link to the book to the right--then we'll get a little bit of a commission off of it. I ordered more this morning, myself, and am going to give them to some folks.
While the author of this piece in the Wall Street Journal (Karl Rove) might encourage a level of skepticism, there are nevertheless a number of stories like the ones recounted here which make it all the more dangerous to focus on anything but McCain's service in Congress--and even perilous to discuss the questions surrounding his actions with respect to the POW/MIA hearings that took place in the 90s. Even though there is plenty of stuff out there which raises questions about McCain's fitness to serve as President, I think that the legend of John McCain (whether it's true or not), makes criticizing him on anything related to Vietnam a questionable tactic.
When it comes to choosing a president, the American people want to know more about a candidate than policy positions. They want to know about character, the values ingrained in his heart. For Mr. McCain, that means they will want to know more about him personally than he has been willing to reveal.
Mr. Day relayed to me one of the stories Americans should hear. It involves what happened to him after escaping from a North Vietnamese prison during the war. When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, "I told you I would make you a cripple."
The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day's will. He had survived in prison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm would heal at "a goofy angle," as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again.
But it didn't heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard to use as a splint. Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floor of their cell and, using his foot, jerked the broken bone into place. Then, using strips from the bandage on his own wounded leg and the bamboo, he put Mr. Day's splint in place.
Years later, Air Force surgeons examined Mr. Day and complemented the treatment he'd gotten from his captors. Mr. Day corrected them. It was Dr. McCain who deserved the credit. Mr. Day went on to fly again.
Be sure to read the whole story--there are several glimpses from John McCain's life--glimpses which show just how much an assault on his character (as opposed to an assault on his policies and public actions)--could be. I have plenty of concerns about John McCain's political philosophy--and there's a part of me that's a little concerned not just with McCain's temper, but with that temper combined with the experience of having been in a prison camp for 5 1/2 years which, which makes me wonder whether he is the type of person who ought to be serving as Commander in Chief during perilous times. But the latter is just sort of a gut reaction for me. Concentrate on his views today. Concentrate on his seeming willingness to bypass or ignore the Constitutional framework. And leave Vietnam in the past. We'll lose that battle, because there are an awful lot of stories which paint a positive picture of him during his time in Vietnam, as well.