Thursday, March 22, 2018


News Links, March 23, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
'Global Synchronous Recovery' Narrative Crushed As US, EU PMIs Plunge
Russia Is Hoarding Gold At The Fastest Pace In 12 Years
Was Carillion's Collapse the Beginning of the End for UK's Outsourcing Sector?
Two large British outsourcers are also on the verge of collapse, and the vultures are circling.

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Expedia's Orbitz says 880,000 payment cards hit in breach
NSA Has Been Tracking Bitcoin Users Since 2013, New Snowden Documents Reveal
Mark my word: Governments will either control cryptocurrencies or outlaw them. -- RF
Teenager cracks 'unhackable' crypto trading device
Crypto-currency hardware wallets are encrypted, private and supposedly completely secure which is why they sit at the heart of the booming Bitcoin trading market. And a 15-year-old has just hacked one.
Britain unveils new fintech plans, including cryptocurrencies
How a Few Files Could Endanger All of Bitcoin
Study suggests child porn-related content in blockchain could make it illegal to possess

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Grab the oil! U.S. Bases On Syrian Oilfields Receive New Equipment
US Smooths Israel's Path to Annexing West Bank
War Is On The Horizon (Paul Craig Roberts)
African countries still open to cooperation on China-funded projects, ambassador says
African countries remain open to cooperation with China on the development of infrastructure projects under the "Belt and Road Initiative", a senior Chinese official said, despite concerns in some Western countries about Beijing's growing influence on the continent.

There's a New Cold War Brewing in Space
Trump's "Space Force" has support in Congress as China and Russia try to catch up, but the Air Force says it has the planet covered.
China throws sinking Brunei a lifeline
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah looks to Beijing for succor as his nation's oil and gas reserves run dry
China provides tracking system for Pakistan's missile programme
Tracking system could allow Islamabad to speed up development of missile that can target multiple cities or military sites

## Migrants/refugees ##
Small city of Los Alamitos votes to opt out of California's sanctuary law, and its mayor says more will follow

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Thousands in Rio demand answers about murder of councilwoman
Much of the blame rests on world leaders who have promoted population growth. -- RF
Wind and solar can become dispatchable within three years
Hot-rock thermal storage technology will soon enable wind and solar farms to pump out energy 24 hours a day — and at a surprisingly low cost.

## Got food? ##
Regenerative Agriculture — The Next Big Thing

## Solutions ##
Solutions Only Arise Outside the Status Quo
Solutions are only possible outside these ossified, self-serving centralized hierarchies.

## Environment/health ##
'Catastrophe' as France's bird population collapses due to pesticides
Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, because insects they feed on have disappeared
Judge says groups can sue to keep Arctic, Atlantic drill ban
Benzene, vinyl chloride, butadiene and other known human carcinogens were among the dozens of tons of industrial toxins released into surrounding neighborhoods and waterways following Harvey's torrential rains.
Israeli firm says it can turn garbage into bio-based plastic
But any business or system that feeds off the detritus of industrial society has no future. -- RF
Norway plans to buy electric planes, mimicking green car success
You be the judge. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Cambridge Analytica CEO claims influence on U.S. election, Facebook questioned
The suspended chief executive of Cambridge Analytica said in a secretly recorded video broadcast on Tuesday that his UK-based political consultancy's online campaign played a decisive role in U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 election victory.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Tech giants express concern over Singapore plan to fight fake news

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Evolutionary Dead-Ends
Speeding down a dead end road
Since the birth of car culture more than a century ago, lavish consumption of energy has not been a bug but a feature. That's now a feature we can ill afford, as we attempt the difficult and urgent task of transition to renewable energies.
At all its schools, the district is also "requiring students and staff to wear identification badges while on campus" and "locking classroom doors at all times."
Abe's party set to pursue changes to war-renouncing charter
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's party is poised to propose constitutional revisions that would enshrine the nation's armed forces into the charter but retain its war-renouncing pledge, a product of compromise focused on not alienating a skeptical public.

## China ##
It's easy to blame rich property developers and government housing policy, while at the same time ignoring the biggest problem: the growth paradigm. There are simply too many people. Even if developers build a slew of new housing on the land they hold, thanks to the growth paradigm that new housing will fill up in no time, and Hong Kong will be right back where it started from. The proposed solutions are all non-starters as long as the fundamental problems of perpetual growth and overpopulation are left unaddressed. -- RF

## UK ##
Councils face 'decades more austerity' as social care set to account for half of town hall revenues
Councils could also be forced to squeeze budgets on other public services such as housing, bin collections and roads, IFS says
A quarter of British adults have no savings, study reveals
UK govt asked Cambridge Analytica Trump team for advice on "data in foreign policy"
SCL Elections briefed Foreign Office officials in 2017 on how use of data for US presidential elections could be applied for UK diplomatic and foreign policy interests
Outsourcing companies such as Interserve and Capita have been under heightened scrutiny since Carillion entered liquidation on 15 January with just £29m cash in the bank, putting 43,000 jobs at risk.
Britain's anti-Russia propaganda campaign is jumping the shark. -- RF
Dot Plot Fantasyland Projections
The Economic projections made at today's FOMC meeting are straight from Fantasyland.
American Public Troubled by 'Deep State'
Although most Americans are unfamiliar with the term 'Deep State,' according to recent polling they are nevertheless skeptical of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy.
No Government Shutdown, Just More Favors Spread Around
A government shutdown will be averted once again. The cost is a bunch of goodies spread around to buy enough votes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


News Links, March 21, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
January's record highs may have been the market top for 2018, Morgan Stanley says
'I misspoke': US official blunders by mistakenly declaring key China talks dead
The comments by David Malpass about the supposed cancellation of the US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue sowed confusion - as did his retraction

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Iraqi lawmaker warns of "plots to expand U.S. military bases" in Iraq
Iraq still has lots of high-quality conventional oil left, so it's no wonder the US refuses to leave (and why the war was started in the first place). Everyone knows that when push comes to shove, you can't fight a war on a piddling amount of renewable energy. -- RF
US, South Korea announce annual military exercises to begin on April 1
To deter Russia, US needs new low-yield nukes, says STRATCOM head
Unmitigated Failure: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 15 Years Later
Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia: Top Three Stunning Admissions From the Top U.S. General in the Middle East
In one Palestinian village, the whole story of the occupation
Encircled by the separation barrier, threatened with demolition orders, and deemed illegal aliens in their own homes, the residents of the Palestinian village of Walajeh are fighting for their lives.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Arrests made in Trans Mountain protests

## Energy/resources ##
"Is it possible to accelerate by a factor of 20?" he asks. "Yeah, but I don't think people understand what that is, in terms of steel and glass and cement." 
Discusses the previous article. But there's still more to be aware of. Even if the transition were magically achieved, there would still be no economic growth, and people in developed countries — who are used to living extravagantly — would be shocked by their low "energy rations." We're never going to transition into a Glorious Technological Future; instead, humanity is going to be catapulted into a future of privation, mass starvation, and war. Are you ready? -- RF
Unbelievable: Coal puts halt to South Africa's renewables industry
In an unexpected turn of events, two unions representing coal interests have put a halt to the signing of 27 renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs), thus effectively stopping South Africa's renewables industry in its tracks.
S.Korea fuel oil imports soar as coal, nuclear plants shut
Energy at the heart of sustainable development, IEA says
Many of the goals for renewable energy and universal electricity may be out of reach.
No Water Shortage at The World Water Forum
There's no escaping water rationing in Brazil's drought-hit capital Brasilia -- unless you're attending an international conference on global water supply problems.
Battery makers descend on Australia, Canada cobalt developers
Nervous Asian battery makers are turning to early-stage cobalt projects in Australia and Canada to lock in supplies of the critical battery ingredient ahead of expected shortages as demand for electric vehicles revs up.
However, even as CO2 emissions are much lower, there are questions over the climate benefits if lower CO2 is offset by higher methane emissions from gas, which typically come from the drilling and extraction of natural gas, and its shipment via pipeline and local distribution lines.

Despite major improvements in water quality, seawater is still polluted from sources such as industrial waste, sewage and run-off from farmland, the researchers noted.
Billion-dollar polar engineering 'needed to slow melting glaciers'
Underwater sea walls and artificial islands among projects urgently required to avoid devastation of global flooding, say scientists

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Nearly 100 Operations Of American Meddling In Russia Publicly Admitted By NED
Empire Files: Post-Soviet Russia, Made in the U.S.A. (YouTube)
The increased aggression towards Russia from US politicians and media is made more clear when taking into account the real history of the post-Soviet period. The hidden story of Boris Yeltsin's presidency explains how deeply the US government, along with Western capitalist institutions, cheered, shaped and exploited the country after the fall of the Soviet Union, paving the way for the political system they all condemn today.
If at first you don't succeed... Reminds one of the new timeline served up by the US government five years after 9/11. -- RF
Did Putin Order the Salisbury Hit? (Patrick J. Buchanan)
Is Profit-Maximizing Data-Mining Undermining Democracy?
If targeting political extremes generates the most profit, then that's what these corporations will pursue.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Why was my lecture on science and free speech shut down?
60 Minutes' Embarrassing Interview with Mohammed bin Salman
The 60 Minutes interview with Mohammed bin Salman was predictably not very informative and served as little more than a platform for the crown prince to spread propaganda.
Oh, brother! -- RF
Accusations of "whataboutism" amount to a cynical, sleazy attempt to stifle debate without actually engaging in argument. It's also the sort of desperate and childish propaganda tactic you'd expect during late-stage imperial decline.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Low-carbon computing is needed to avoid a technological collapse
The technological collapse is coming, anyway. The main driver is net energy decline, not carbon. -- RF
Karachi needs $9-10 bn to keep it going: WB
The World Bank has estimated that Pakistan's metropolitan city Karachi needs $9 to $10 billion financing over a period of 10 years to meet its infrastructure and service delivery requirements in urban transport, water supply and sanitation and municipal solid waste management.
Although self-driving vehicles are hailed as a beneficial technological innovation, this shows that self-driving and other uses of robotics and artificial intelligence considerably increase society's level of complexity. The lack of economic growth and low childbearing (see following article) indicate that costs are now outweighing benefits. -- RF
Ultimate Indicator Suggests US Never Recovered From the Great Financial Crisis
The ultimate indicator of personal economic confidence is the determination to perpetuate the species and have children.
As I have observed repeatedly, childraising costs in latter-day industrial society under a declining-net-energy regime are prohibitively high. Although this article deals with the US, declining fertility rates are observed in other developed societies as well. Even in newly developed China, many couples elect to have only one child even though the one-child restriction has been lifted. -- RF

## Japan ##
Japan sets sights on carrier-based fighter jets
Retrofitting vessels for the F-35B would raise constitutional issues
China, not North Korea, to dominate Japan military planning
40 years after opening up, China is going backward
And the ruling Chinese Communist Party appears to be trying to go much further; it seems to want to change the world to fit its needs.
Which is what all previous empires have done. -- RF
It matters less who fills the position of Secretary of State or CIA director when the real issue is that both federal agencies are routinely engaged in activities that are both unconstitutional and anti-American.
The only surprise is that it took people so long to catch on. Now how much more time will be needed before the populace realizes that America's political system is a China-style one-party system? -- RF
But somebody came out ahead in all these deals – in addition to CEOs and other top executives who reaped huge bonuses and stock compensation packages: Wall Street.

Sunday, March 18, 2018


News Links, March 18, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
'Exhausted' Toys 'R' Us suppliers weigh options as huge retailer shuts
Doubling tarmac time limit among changes denounced by airline passenger rights advocates

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
European powers propose new Iran sanctions to meet Trump ultimatum
Britain, France and Germany have proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles and its role in Syria's war, according to a confidential document, in a bid to persuade Washington to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.
Time for the US to end democracy promotion flim-flams
The U.S. has interfered — usually covertly — in more than 80 foreign elections since World War Two to boost its preferred candidates.
If Congress is so concerned about meddling in US affairs, then Israel should be their focus. The lack of attention to Israeli meddling just goes to show that Russiagate is simply part of a demonization campaign. -- RF

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protest in Madrid after street vendor's death sparks clashes

## Energy/resources ##
Many rely entirely on supplies shipped in by tankers filled from giant borewells that have caused groundwater levels to plummet, sparking predictions Bangalore could be the first Indian city to run out of water.
What's happening to demand? -- RF
Say what? You thought that shale drilling was always profitable? Well, don't get excited. There are a lot of ifs here. And nothing has fundamentally changed; shale oil is still junk energy. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Bottled Water, Brought to You by Fracking?
The new Food & Water Watch report Take Back the Tap: The Big Business Hustle of Bottled Water details the deceit and trickery of the bottled water industry. Here's one more angle to consider: The bottled water business is closely tied to fracking.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
While Iran acted absolutely responsibly in cooperating with the OPCW, there are a handful of rogue states operating outwith the rule of international law, like Israel and North Korea, which refuse to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, join the OPCW or destroy their chemical weapons stocks.
Trump consultants harvested data from 50 million Facebook users: reports
From intelligence agencies to marketing firms, I would imagine that many parties are busy harvesting personal information from social media to populate their databases. -- RF
Unsurprisingly, Julian Assange wasn't too broken up about Lamo's death, tweeting "Coroner says serial FBI snitch Adrian Lamo is dead. Lamo, a fake journalist, petty conman & betrayer of basic human decency, promised alleged source @xychelsea journalistic protection, friendship and support, then sold him to the FBI."
The more you examine the UK government's story, the less sense it makes. -- RF

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Acceptable Bigotry and Scapegoating of Russia
As the situation in the US continues to deteriorate, Russia will be increasingly "in demand" as the scapegoat on which to blame America's problems. -- RF

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
America's Growing 'Guard Labor' Force
Many large urban areas in the U.S. now have more "guard labor" than teachers.

Friday, March 16, 2018


News Links, March 17, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Is The U.S. Economy Really Growing?
US National Debt Hits $21 Trillion
Deutsche Bank Just Never Disappoints
Even bigger loss than reported 6 weeks ago, cost cuts abandoned, bonuses quadrupled.
Winn-Dixie parent company to file for bankruptcy, close stores (US)
Institutional investors from the U.K. snapped up half the 2047 notes on offer Friday.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines — and Coasties, too — test arctic war-fighting skills in Alaska exercise
Russia to expel UK diplomats as crisis over nerve toxin attack deepens
EU provides financial support for Turkey amid ethnic cleansing
The European Union has approved an aid package of further 3 billion euros for the Turkish state as it commits ethnic cleansing against the Kurds in Afrin Canton of Northern Syria.
The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the U.S. Invasion
March 19 marks 15 years since the U.S.-U.K invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the American people have no idea of the enormity of the calamity the invasion unleashed.

## Energy/resources ##
U.S. Shale's Dirty Secret
"The dirty secret of U.S. shale oil is not many people want it."
Of course, one dirty secret — which I have pointed out a number of times — is the industry's unprofitability. But there's still more bad news for US shale oil, as explained in the article. -- RF
Tech companies reliant on mica despite child labor fears
Tech companies are increasingly reliant on mica to make products from televisions to mobile phones, yet the electronics industry is largely unaware of the origins of a mineral mined globally by children in dangerous conditions, campaigners say.
Canada Is Facing A Heavy Crude Crisis
Canada to boost nuclear power to help meet climate change target
Canada, the second largest producer of uranium, will boost its reliance on nuclear energy to reduce its carbon footprint and will encourage other nations to do the same, public broacaster CBC said Thursday.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
The UK government is manufacturing its nerve agent case for 'action' on Russia
Official claim that 'Novichok' points solely to Russia discredited
Chinese hackers accused of targeting US defence firms linked to South China Sea
Cybersecurity group says companies were targeted for information that could prove useful for Beijing in disputed maritime waters

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Chicago, Vancouver among cities saying no to World Cup - and FIFA has itself to blame
But everything can't be blamed on the FIFA and (in the case of the Olympic games) the IOC. The main reason that these events have become crushing burdens is the energy cost. -- RF
Japan's Prisons Are a Haven for Elderly Women
Lonely seniors are shoplifting in search of the community and stability of jail.

Too many humans. -- RF
No Cards Left to Play but the Threat of Armageddon
There is no mystery to the ideological collapse of U.S. ruling class politics under late stage capitalism and imperial decline. Simply put, the corporate duopoly parties have nothing to offer the masses of people except unrelenting austerity at home and endless wars abroad.

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