Tuesday, April 25, 2017


News Links, April 26, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Trump Tax Plan Said to Call for Corporate Rate Cut to 15%
"The tax plan will pay for itself with economic growth," Mnuchin said.
Mnuchin is deluded. The days of economic growth are over. And expectations that corporations will use their tax savings for job and wealth creation are overblown. -- RF
Exchanges compete for dominance in derivatives
As derivatives trading continues to expand across the world, competition is heating up among securities exchanges vying to carve out a hefty share of this lucrative market.
Housing's Echo Bubble Now Exceeds the 2006-07 Bubble Peak
If you need some evidence that the echo-bubble in housing is global, take a look at this chart of Sweden's housing bubble.

## Airline death spiral ##
When smart technology is anything but smart

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Carried away: The inside story of how the Carl Vinson's canceled port visit sparked a global crisis
China is also in the process of establishing its first overseas military base in the small port country just a few miles from the US camp, which has raised concern in Washington.
And one can easily imagine that the US base there raises concern in Beijing and elsewhere. -- RF
North Korea conducts live-fire drill with US submarine nearby, raising tensions
Exercise using 300 to 400 long-range artillery pieces was a clear reminder that North Korea could destroy large swaths of the South Korean capital
Germany sees new rise in far-right offenses, hate crimes
Violent crimes in Germany with far-right motives rose 14.3 percent last year after a bigger increase in 2015, and the country also saw another increase in hate crimes, authorities said Monday.
South Korea develops artillery-locating radar
The South Korean military has developed its own artillery-locating radar system to help counter North Korea's long-range artillery deployed along the Demilitarized Zone separating the two countries.
ASEAN easing stance on China's maritime encroachment
Philippines, host of summit this week, among those changing their tune
Keep watching as this crisis spreads to other countries. -- RF
Concentrated solar power in the USA: a performance review
A review of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants operating in the US reveals that they are costly, heavily-subsidized, generally performing below expectations and no more efficient than utility-scale PV plants.
From tending the plants to harvesting the grapes, it takes skill and a strong work ethic to produce the winery's pinot noir and chardonnay, and native-born Americans just aren't willing to work that hard.
Well, it's never that simple, is it? Attempts to commandeer nature to do our dirty work never seem to turn out as hoped, whether these take the form of planting trees to soak up carbon dioxide, or introducing invasive species for pest control, or using microorganisms to clean up oil spills.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
German cyber crime rose 80 percent in 2016: report
Interpol-led operation finds nearly 9,000 infected servers in Southeast Asia
An anti-cybercrime operation by Interpol and investigators from seven southeast Asian nations revealed nearly 9,000 malware-laden servers and hundreds of compromised websites in the ASEAN region, Interpol said on Monday.
Like many in Washington, [Pompeo] does not understand that the First Amendment is a limitation on government rather than a granting of rights to citizens.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Does America Have a Technology Platform Monopoly Problem?
Juggling Live Hand Grenades (Richard Heinberg)
Here are a few useful recent contributions to the global sustainability conversation, with relevant comments interspersed. Toward the end of this essay I offer some general thoughts about converging challenges to the civilizational system.

## Japan ##
Loss expected for 5 Olympic facilities
The Yomiuri ShimbunThe Tokyo metropolitan government is estimating a total annual loss of ¥1.1 billion for five facilities to be newly constructed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Toshiba breaks up its core, affecting 19,000 workers
Who Will Live in the Suburbs if Millennials Favor Cities?
Who's going to pay bubble-valuation prices for the millions of suburban homes Baby Boomers will be off-loading in the coming decade as they retire/ downsize?
But remember, selling online isn't necessarily any more lucrative. -- RF
The Pro-War Twist of the 'Resistance'
The anti-Trump "#Resistance" has become a movement to defend the Democratic establishment's pro-war policies, to purge anti-war Democrats, and even to embrace Donald Trump's attack on Syria.
Donald Trump's Failing Presidency
Special Report: After his election, Donald Trump had a narrow path to a transformational presidency, but it required breaking the neocon grip on U.S. foreign policy and telling truth to U.S. citizens. Already, Trump has failed.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


News Links, April 24, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Toronto House Price Bubble Hit with 15% Foreign Buyers Tax. "Property Scalpers" & "Double Ending" Brokers Targeted
This year's meetings were dominated by a debate over how to respond to a rising tide of anti-globalization sentiment.

## Airline death spiral ##
We've entered an era in which even flight attendants are not immune to air rage. -- RF

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
U.S. defense secretary looks to rebuild trust in Egypt visit
Mattis in Israel insists Iran nuke deal 'still stands'
Austria arrests 26 leaders of a group that rejects the country's laws
Austrian police arrested 26 people on Thursday in nationwide raids targeting what the government said is a growing and potentially dangerous problem of people refusing to recognise the state's authority.
The Bait-and-Switch 'War on Terror'
The U.S. "war on terror" has always been a bait-and-switch scam on the American people, with Washington putting the desires of its Mideast allies ahead of defeating Al Qaeda and ISIS.
Africa Command: Piracy is on the rise off the Horn of Africa
The U.S. military in East Africa is monitoring a sudden return of piracy around the Horn of Africa, likely caused by deteriorating economic conditions and famine throughout the region, U.S. defense officials said Sunday.
U.S. will not give Exxon permission to drill in Russia
Troubling Signs At Bakken As Oil Production Growth Stalls
Residential Solar Giants May Not Be Low Cost After All
Despite the economies of scale one might except, a new study shows that large solar installers charge more for their rooftop solar power systems than their smaller competitors.
People still don't see that PV and other renewables are piggybacked onto the fossil-fuel energy system. Taking away fossil fuels would reveal that renewables aren't (1) self-sustaining, aren't (2) self-replicating, and, after satisfying requirements (1) and (2), could not (3) supply a large energy surplus to the economy. -- RF
"In short, Canada's clean-technology industry is awash in red ink" and its companies vulnerable to foreign takeover, the report said.

Vomitoxin makes nasty appearance for U.S. farm sector
A fungus that causes "vomitoxin" has been found in some U.S. corn harvested last year, forcing poultry and pork farmers to test their grain, and giving headaches to grain growers already wrestling with massive supplies and low prices. The plant toxin sickens livestock and can also make humans and pets fall ill.

## Environment/health ##
But no one perceives the problem that there are just too many people. -- RF
Why drinking all those diet sodas may come back to haunt you later in life
Artificially sweetened beverages may be linked to an increased risk of stroke and dementia, according to a study released this week by the American Heart Association's peer-reviewed journal Stroke.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Hillary camp scrambling to find out who leaked embarrassing info
The conclusion of the article is apparently that "the Democrats need therapy," which is of course true, but here again this implicitly defends America's China-style one-party system. Unless Americans extricate themselves from the Republicrat mindset, there's no escaping the path to political self-destruction. -- RF
[T]he more dangerous a defendant, or the more extensive his contacts with terrorists, the more likely he can leverage his connections for leniency.
Trial and Terror
The U.S. government has prosecuted 796 people for terrorism since the 9/11 attacks. Most of them never even got close to committing an act of violence.
In the US it is popular to blame Trump, but anti-intellectualism is an integral part of American culture. -- RF
The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI
No one really knows how the most advanced algorithms do what they do. That could be a problem.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Plus 70 years. Decommissioning will never be completed. Multiply this by the hundreds of nuclear power plants and facilities around the world, and you get an idea of the planetary disaster in the offing. -- RF 

## China ##
Not many people will be able to survive on leafy vegetables. -- RF
The polluted lake at heart of Xi Jinping's new city dream
Chengdu Takes Aim at Conversion of Commercial Property Into Private Apartments
Authorities in Chengdu have set new hurdles for converting commercial property into private apartments, as the interior city attempts to further curb ballooning property prices.
Made-in-China carrier is readied for launch
Cathedrals in crisis: fears of closure as half face big cash problems
As many as half of England's Anglican cathedrals are facing financial crisis and a closure cannot be ruled out, according to the chair of an investigative task force set up by the archbishops of Canterbury and York.
May's Conservatives on course for sweeping election victory

## US ##
Our State-Corporate Plantation Economy
We've been persuaded that the state-cartel Plantation Economy is "capitalist," but it isn't. It's a rentier skimming machine.
Desperate Malls Turn to Concerts and Food Trucks
Report: Illinois' unfunded pension liability is 10 percent of the entire nation's total
Another report shows N.J. has worst public pension debt in U.S.
Sen. Paul, Scott Bullock: Civil forfeiture has ruined countless lives. It's long overdue for reform
Why American millennials may never get to live alone
How US Race Laws Inspired Nazism
As much as Americans like to think of Germany's Nazism as a foreign evil, Adolf Hitler and his henchmen drew inspiration and guidance from U.S. race laws, as documented in a new book.
Saudi king names son as US envoy as ties boosted with Trump
Saudi Arabia's King Salman issued a decree late Saturday naming one of his sons, an air force pilot who has taken part in coalition strikes against the Islamic State group, as the kingdom's new ambassador to the U.S.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


News Links, April 21, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
This Is What Heat Does to Us—and the Economy
Climate researchers are reviewing myriad studies of heat and human behavior, adding them up, and looking for sound conclusions about the relationship between temperature and economic productivity. 
Think running retail stores is more expensive than selling online? Think again.
Austerity: You ain't seen nothin' yet. -- RF
When "socialist" states have to impose finance-capital extremes that even exceed the financialization of nominally capitalist economies, it gives the lie to their claims of "socialism."

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
Subway Shuts Hundreds of U.S. Stores

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Going cashless to fight rising financial crime

## Airline death spiral ##
Facial recognition is coming to US airports, fast-tracked by Trump
Emirates Just Cut Some of Its Flights to the U.S. Due to Trump's Travel Bans
Dubai-based Emirates airline announced Wednesday it will reduce its service to the United States in response to a drop in demand.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
US VP Pence warns North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'
Erdogan's Neo-Fascist Turkish Allies
Turkish President Erdogan's push toward nationalistic authoritarianism has an important ally in the political arm of the neo-fascist Grey Wolves.

Australia will make it more difficult to gain citizenship, announcing stringent policies Thursday that emphasize "Australian values."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Three killed in Venezuela's 'mother of all protests'
Suniva files for chapter 11 bankruptcy
Two weeks after laying off 131 employees without notice and closing its module plant in Michigan, one of the largest U.S. manufacturers has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Charge me up: Rural electric drivers face 'range anxiety'
Sunita Halasz has tips for "driving electric" along lonely roads in New York's Adirondack  Mountains: know the locations of charging stations, bring activities for the kids during three-hour recharges, turn on the energy-hogging window defroster in just 10-second bursts.

Pesticide residues detected in almost all European foods
More than 97% of European food products contain pesticide residues, according to analyses carried out by the EU's national authorities.

## Environment/health ##
The Frog Slime Cure for Flu

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
According to the complaint, filed late Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, the headphone company's Bose Connect app does more than just pair wireless headphones with the music in their devices — it also connects the user's entire listening history with third-party data mining companies.
Especially noteworthy are Shkliarov's concerns about how intensifying anti-Russian sentiment in U.S. discourse is alienating Russian liberals from the U.S. and uniting them behind their own government – as happens in most countries when people, even those who loathe their own government, perceive that their nation is being demonized and targeted by a foreign power.
Machine Learning Just Made It Really Easy To Break Into Your Phone
Programs can now guess a four-digit pin number with 100% accuracy by the fifth attempt based on the orientation of your phone.
Why Not a Probe of 'Israel-gate'?
As Official Washington fumes about Russia-gate, Israel's far more significant political-influence-and-propaganda campaigns are ignored. No one dares suggest a probe of Israel-gate.
Russia-Bashing Helps Wall Street Democrats
National Democrats have used hyperbolic Russia-bashing to shield themselves from blame for Hillary Clinton's defeat and to block progressives from pulling the party away from Wall Street.

## China ##
Tibetan Monk Reportedly Self-immolates in Sichuan
Light wars: space-based lasers among Beijing's hi-tech arms
Arsenal including electromagnetic railguns and microwave weapons aims to neutralize web of satellites that give US its main strategic edge
The Nightmare Scenario for Florida's Coastal Homeowners
Demand and financing could collapse before the sea consumes a single house.
Why Hillary Clinton Really Lost
An insider book on Campaign 2016 reveals a paranoid Hillary Clinton who spied on staff emails after losing in 2008 and carried her political dysfunction into her loss to Donald Trump.
This Vicious Cycle is What Bedevils the US Economy
Railroads slash capital spending, and CSX digs deeper, after two years of Transportation Recession.

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