Sunday, May 21, 2017


News Links, May 22, 2017

Keep in mind that deflation is a function of net energy decline. Attempts at reflation, such as governments taking on more debt, are meant to compensate for net energy decline. But it's a losing battle. -- RF
Top diplomats offer signs of Sino-US progress on handling North Korea
Undeterred by East China Sea intercept, Yang and Tillerson agree to closer cooperation between China and United States
Iran's Victory for Moderation
Iranian President Rouhani's solid reelection victory clears the way for Iran to continue its efforts to reengage with the global community and expand freedoms domestically.
Landslide Win for Iran's Reformists Doesn't Fit Trump's Script, So He Ignores It
The hypocrisy of America's support for unelected despots in the oil-rich Gulf states is not new, but Donald Trump's lavish praise for them on Sunday, as allies against "Islamist extremism" and "the oppression of women," was particularly striking, coming one day after Iranian voters danced in the streets to celebrate their reformist president's landslide re-election.
Israeli Justice Minister Slams White House Map of Israel for Not Including West Bank
Slams US 'Ignorance,' Vows to Ensure Palestinians Never Get a State
Saudis Embrace Embattled Trump
Escaping the tribulations of Washington, President Trump basked in the Saudi monarchy's gilded welcome and promised a flood of U.S. weapons to tilt the region's military balance against Iran, a bad bet on the past.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Venezuelans shut down capital roads to protest government
The Pillage of Pemex Turns Bloody
Gasoline theft is now the second most profitable activity for Mexico's criminal gangs.

## Got food? ##
Instagram, an app that people use to share photos of their lives as seen through a series of flattering filters, was rated worst for the mental health of young people in a study by the Royal Society for Public Health in the U.K.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
US officials: 'Back channel' between Trump and Putin discussed
JFK and Khrushchev had a back channel, and history shows it's a darn good thing they did. -- RF
The Gaping Holes of Russia-gate
Between Russia-gate and President Trump's potential impeachment, Washington is blending the thrill of McCarthyism and the excitement of Watergate, as ex-U.S. intelligence officials Ray McGovern and William Binney explain.
How Did Russiagate Start?
Amid the chaos of James Comey's firing, new questions about the timeline of his fateful investigation
Not Remembering the USS Liberty
Desperately seeking some praise, President Trump surely won't remind Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu about the USS Liberty, which Israel nearly sank a half century ago killing 34 sailors.
Israel Lobby Pays the Political Piper
The Israel Lobby is so powerful that for years it insisted it didn't exist – and Official Washington went along with the lie. Today, President Trump scrambles to secure the lobby's blessings.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Democrats are falling for fake news about Russia

## China ##
China killed CIA sources, hobbled U.S. spying from 2010 to 2012: NYT
China killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 CIA sources from 2010 to 2012, hobbling U.S. spying operations in a massive intelligence breach whose origin has not been identified, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

## UK ##
Shocking declines in bird numbers show British wildlife is 'in serious trouble'
Pesticides, hedgerows being ripped up and the intensification of farming have contributed to a 55 per cent fall in farmland birds since 1970, a Government report says
'The police service is living hand to mouth' | Anonymous police officer
U.K. Threatens to Quit Brexit Talks If It Faces Massive Bill
Home ownership among younger generations HALVES in just over 20 years across large parts of the UK

## US ##
Trump to offer exclusive contract to service U.S. student loans
President Donald Trump's administration will soon offer an exclusive contract that will give one company the right to service billions of dollars of outstanding federal student loans now handled by four companies, officials said on Friday.

Friday, May 19, 2017


News Links, May 20, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Greek parliament approves new austerity measures
'They stole my money': Greek dreams of retirement turn sour
Your favorite car companies are about to look very different
Australian economy among 'walking dead of debt', economics professor argues
Russians Are Laughing at the U.S., Not Just at Trump
New record set for Dubai's most expensive penthouse

## Airline death spiral ##
Plane passengers should be paying each other to recline, say law professors
The friendly skies not so friendly
Etihad Airways' $4 Billion Expansion Plan Stalls
U.S. Probes Attempted Cockpit Breach on American Air Jet

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
NATO Laying Groundwork to Send More Troops To Iraq, Afghanistan
Under police escort, S.African ambulances brave attacks
When an emergency call comes in from one of South Africa's most crime-ridden neighbourhoods, ambulances do not rush straight to the scene but to a police station first to request an armed escort.
Syria, Russia condemn US-led strike on pro-Assad forces
Trump to Announce $350 Billion Arms Deal During Saudi Arabia Visit
White House Will Present Sale as Targeting Iran

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Greek police fire tear gas as anti-austerity protest turns violent

## Energy/resources ##
U.S. Shale Just Won't Die: Bankrupt Drillers Rise Again
If shale is so fantastic, why doesn't the industry make any money? And why weren't they drilling 50 years ago? -- RF
Like shale oil and oil sand, methane hydrate is junk energy. -- RF
Oil industry to get $235 million government loan to help clean up abandoned wells
The oil industry in Canada's resource-rich Alberta will be on the hook for a $235 million government loan to clean up a rising number of oil wells abandoned by owners who have gone bankrupt, the province said on Thursday.
Well, this looks serious. Seeing that the oil industry has fallen on hard times, we can expect more bankruptcies, and more governments on the hook for cleanups. -- RF
Even if FF vehicles vanish, they certainly won't be replaced by EVs. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Hanford is Ripe for a Radioactive Explosion
Nothing can compare with the world-girdling US network of spy stations. -- RF
Do High-Level Leaks Suggest a Conspiracy?
Widespread concern inside Official Washington about President Trump's unfitness for the job is fueling a campaign of high-level leaks that is taking on the look of a "soft coup."

## US ##
Pence Begins Presidential Campaign Unofficially
On April 25, the DNC filed its second motion to dismiss the case, arguing that they are under "no contractual obligation" to follow their charter, and have the right to favor one candidate over another.
If that's true, then why hold a primary? If a political party already favors one candidate and sabotages the campaign of another to help the favorite, holding a primary is just a pointless show. -- RF
Americans Are Paying $38 to Collect $1 of Student Debt
Student loan defaults are a bonanza for the debt collection industry.
The Open Secret of Foreign Lobbying
Russia-gate has focused attention on requirements for U.S. citizens acting as "foreign agents" to register with the Justice Department, but these rules have been sporadically or selectively enforced for decades.

And finally...
Florida man bit on tongue by rattlesnake he tried to kiss

Thursday, May 18, 2017


News Links, May 19, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
This Is How an Asset Bubble Gets Unwound these Days
What the slow crash of classic car prices says about the future of other asset classes.
The Soft Underbelly of Scandinavian "High-Tax Happy-Capitalism"
A media mini-industry touts Scandinavia's "happiness" as the result of its high-tax, generous welfare state-capitalism. This mini-industry conveniently fails to report the soft underbelly of Scandinavia's "High-Tax Happy-Capitalism": The high-tax, generous welfare model is just as dependent on unsustainable credit bubbles as every other version of state-capitalism.

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Mobile payments going viral in Southeast Asia
US looks at extending laptop ban to all flights
The Trump administration is considering extending a ban on laptops in aircraft cabins to all flights to the US from anywhere in the world, in a move that would create major disruption for passengers and airlines.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
U.S. extends sanctions relief under Iran nuclear deal
Trump Escalates Syrian Proxy War
At the start of the Trump presidency, it looked like the U.S. covert "regime change" war in Syria might be ending, but it has returned, zombie-like, in a slightly different form.
"The government statement has not disclosed the cost, but at this stage, to produce natural gas from combustible ice is likely to make no economic sense," the researcher said.
Swiss to vote on nuclear power phaseout

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
The shocking details you reveal about yourself when you 'like' things on Facebook
But a leading U.S. Republican politician said he would have little faith in any notes Putin might supply.
What a laugh! As if the US government can be trusted to tell the truth. -- RF
The people who described the contacts to Reuters said they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia in the communications reviewed so far.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Facebook's fact checking may help spread fake news

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Why We're Fragmenting: The Status Quo Is Disintegrating
I confess to being amused by the mainstream media's implicit view that everything would be peachy if only Trump wasn't president. Memo to MSM: the nation is fragmenting for reasons that have nothing to do with who's president, or indeed, which party is the majority in Congress, who sits on the Supreme Court, or any other facet of governance.
There's no such thing as a free lunch, or a free education. Or a free basic income. -- RF
Test to recycle some screened soil from Fukushima
Japan's Environment Ministry is studying the possibility of using some screened soil cleared from Fukushima Prefecture after the 2011 nuclear power plant accident in public works projects.
Water shortages, rationing may be in the cards for Okinawa
The airline industry is eager to use biojet fuels, which can cut carbon dioxide emissions, but the high cost is an obstacle. Companies have yet to come up with an economical way to mass-produce the fuel.
Japan's GDP growth masks stubborn deflation woes
But Bloomberg has it backwards: The problem is not too few babies, but too many humans. Making more babies is at best a short-term, partial solution, while it exacerbates the problem over the long term. -- RF

## US ##
The Push for Trump's Impeachment
Establishment voices are escalating their calls for President Trump's impeachment, even without any public evidence that his campaign colluded with Russia.
All that hysteria about the Russians, when the problem is actually Wall Street. -- RF
When the Trump Coup-makers Cometh
So what did you think a U.S.-styled "soft coup" would look like? What we're seeing regarding the intended removal of President Trump is not that much different from what has happened in dozens of other countries, whether Iran in 1953 or Ukraine in 2014 or Brazil in 2016. This one just has a few extra American touches.
Unless of course, this data is entirely useless.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


News Links, May 17, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Globalization and the Rural-Urban Divide
The Neoliberal Corporate-State Order had all the power, and rigged the game to its own advantage.
Greece slashes GDP forecast in new budget plans
Age of 'big data capitalism' dawns
Personal information is 'the new oil' as companies identify enormous opportunities
China Cannot Finance the Belt and Road Alone
China's Growth Dividend for World Economy Shows Signs of Fading
Sheikh Mohammed launches Dubai's new $1.7bn mega-project
Marsa Al Arab will include three new hotels, marine park, new Wild Wadi, Middle East's first Cirque du Soleil theatre and a private resort, all to be built on two islands

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
#Carmageddon Now: Ford to Slash 10% of its Workforce

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Bubble mania: What the Heck's Going on With Cryptocurrencies?
Cyber Attacks Show Vulnerability of Digital Systems and Digital Currencies
Starbucks software glitch takes some stores offline
A glitch in a software update caused cash registers at some U.S. and Canadian Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) stores to go offline for several hours on Tuesday, forcing them to give away free coffee or only take cash.
Why US firms are giving the cold shoulder to China's 'Belt and Road' globalisation strategy
In the US, China's pan-Eurasian infrastructure initiative is more or less invisible outside of news reports from domestic media that mostly frame it as Beijing's grand plan for geopolitical domination
As opposed to Washington's grand plan for geopolitical domination. -- RF
Gorbachev Warns of Growing Danger
A group of Americans visiting Russia heard dire warnings from ex-Soviet President Gorbachev that the tensions between the U.S. and Russia are creating a dangerous situation for the world.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
White nationalists carrying torches protest town's plans to remove Confederate statue

## Energy/resources ##

The dramatic loss of fertile land comes at a time when the demand for food is rising: by 2050, food production will need to increase by 50 per cent to feed the world's projected population of 9 billion.
Food production will never increase 50% and world population will never attain 9 billion. -- RF

IMF austerity has consequences for children's health: study
I'm inclined to believe this, but austerity is the new world order. You can't just eliminate austerity with a wave of your magic wand. Economic reality dictates that austerity will continue growing in severity. -- RF

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Thailand Demands More Proxy Censorship From Facebook

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Climate change effects on conflict, social unrest, health, mass migration, food, and national security
I guarantee it. But don't count on autonomous electric vehicles, either. -- RF

## Japan ##
Desperately short of labour, mid-sized Japanese firms plan to buy robots
Well, what have I been saying? At last people are starting to wake up. On February 6 I observed: "Trump is just the natural and inevitable evolutionary outcome of America's economic, political, social, and information regimes." -- RF
The Push for Trump's Impeachment
Establishment voices are escalating their calls for President Trump's impeachment, even without any public evidence that his campaign colluded with Russia.

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