Sunday, September 29, 2013


News Links, September 28-30, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Bubblecovery: Why Our Economic Recovery Is Actually An Illusion (Forbes!)
I don't want to say "I told you so," but… I told you so! Readers who've been with me for a while will recall that I've said we have only bubbles now, not any real recovery. -- RF
Blackstone: We're in an 'epic credit bubble'
China to allow banks to sell $49 billion of asset-backed securities: sources
Russia minister expects a sputtering economy
Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Saturday economic growth has been flat and there are "no visible signs of change for the better."
German engineering company Siemens to cut as many as 15,000 jobs worldwide
Brazil's railroad plan has yet to leave the station
Italy in crisis as Letta struggles to secure budget
Berlusconi ministers resign; Italy gov't in crisis
Canada's soaring real estate market: Feel good now, pay later
Surge In Shipping Rates Temporary - Growth Hopes Dashed (Again)
Italian GDP Slumps Fastest Since 1861's Unification
How Marc Faber Prepares For "When The Sh*t Hits The Fan"
World's biggest ship too big for its own good?
New taxes meant to alleviate Puerto Rico economic crisis hits lower, middle class
If Republicans Want To Shut Down Washington, They'll Have To Ask China's Permission First
Although China, Japan, and other major creditor nations have no dog in the Obamacare fight, they have a strong interest in preserving America's basic financial, economic, and social stability. From their point of view, the Tea Party contingent is not following the script and a corrective may prove necessary.
Default or not, Asia a hostage to U.S. debt

## Airline Death Spiral ##
More than half of pilots fall asleep on the job
Dreamliner Again Tests the Patience of Norwegian Airline
Boeing 787 Dreamliner woes continue as Polish airline flight diverted due to faulty antenna
Two thirds of Asian flights to/from Sydney have not grown since 2008 (part 3)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Israel starts campaign to boost U.S. military aid
With Israel's 10-year military assistance agreement with the United States due to expire in 2017, the Jewish state's military chiefs are pushing for annual U.S. aid to be increased beyond the current $3.1 billion, even though America's struggling with an economic crisis.
Saudi Arabia "Outraged" At Obama's Peace Overtures With Syria, Iran
The Return of Insider Attacks in Afghanistan
Greek police arrest leader of far-right Golden Dawn party
Water Wars: Egyptians Condemn Ethiopia's Nile Dam Project
Russia keeps up Greenpeace crackdown
Hurled shoes and eggs greet Iran's returning president
Unlike history-ignorant Americans, many Iranians remember their treatment at the hands of the US. -- RF
Chemical weapons watchdog to begin Syria inspections next week
Kenya says 'at war' with al Shabaab, faces security questions
Turkey goes for Chinese take-away defense
On September 26, 2013, Turkey made the rather eyebrow-raising decision to put its long range missile defense eggs in a Chinese basket, announcing it had awarded a US$3 billion contract to the People's Republic of China for its truck-mounted "shoot and scoot" FD-2000 system.
AP interview: Iraq says West should take Iran's shift to improve relations seriously
Iran's secret trade links to bypass sanctions
Articles like this just amaze me. Any country will try to bypass sanctions. And yet there are no sanctions against Pakistan, India, or Israel, all of which have the dubious distinction of being grouped with North Korea as non-NPT nuclear powers.
Japan Coast Guard vessels and equipment in high demand in S.E. Asia, Africa
Vietnam, locked like Japan in a territorial row with China, is showing keen interest in acquiring new patrol boats modeled after Japan Coast Guard cutters to safeguard its fishing grounds and the fishermen who operate in those waters.
Twin bombs kill 33 in Pakistan city of Peshawar

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Violent clashes as squatters are evicted in Argentina
South African platinum miner Amplats hit by strike
More than 3,000 protesters on Khartoum streets demand Bashir quit
Sudan stands firm on fuel rise despite deadly riots
Egypt sees fresh anti-coup alliance protests
Tokyo rally protests moves to restart Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors

## Energy/resources ##
Dead Bodies for Renewable Energy?
The myth of US energy independence in the global world of oil
Libya oil crisis imperils badly needed investment in energy
On This Day In History, Oil Prices Have Never Been Higher
North Dakota Oil Output May Double by Mid-2017-State Official
Costly winter predicted for those who heat with oil, power (Canada)
The Myths Of Falling Solar Costs
China bans solar panel factories; global solar industry rejoices
Iran: Rapprochement Crucial To Avoiding Peak Oil And Global Crisis This Decade
A bit long but well worth the time. The author sensibly cautions against the unfounded expectations for fracking and "peak demand," and makes a case that Iran's oil is needed to keep markets well-supplied. Judging by the recent US response to the overtures of the new Iranian administration, the Americans also think so, and are pushing aside Israeli protestations in search of a deal. I said from the start that the world needs Iran's oil, which is obvious from the numerous sanction waivers granted by the US government. The Americans, whose economy is being brutally clubbed to death by high oil prices, want the sanctions to end just as badly as the Iranians do. -- RF
Oman looks beyond Iran sanctions for gas lifeline
Nigeria signs $1.3 billion power plant deal with China
Geology beats technology: Shell shuts down oil shale pilot project
The belief that technology can always overcome natural limits just took a big hit this week when Royal Dutch Shell PLC decided to shut down its pilot oil shale project in western Colorado after 31 years of experimentation.

## Got food? ##
Brits are cooking smaller portions to cope with soaring food bills
Students Win Seed Money To Make Flour From Insects

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Mobile phones destroying people's private lives
They have been marketed as a way to make us all more "connected", but a new academic study shows that mobile phones could be destroying people's private lives and even affecting their ability to think.

## Environment/health ##
True Extent of Flood Damage to Colorado's Oil Industry Becomes Clearer
What is krokodil? The flesh-rotting drug comes to the U.S.

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Official sidesteps questions on NSA and cellphones
NSA Chief: 'Yes' - Our Desire Is To Collect All US Communications
NSA Collecting Private Data to Socially-Profile Americans
Dianne Feinstein Accidentally Confirms That NSA Tapped The Internet Backbone
NSA's Spying On Metadata Violates Our Freedom of Association
Analysts skeptical of Iran president's charm offensive
I include this as an example of propaganda. "Charm offensive" is a propaganda term used to disparage and belittle an overture by a party deemed hostile or not amenable to US control. Similarly, in the article you'll see the term "regime" used for "government," suggesting that it is illegitimate, evil, shady, underhanded, and untrustworthy. A "regime" is typically any government which the US would like to see toppled and replaced with a pro-US ruler. You will never see a usage like "the regime in Tel Aviv," for example. And recall that in the case of Iran, the ultimate objective has been to bring that country back under US control. That's what the sanctions are all about. -- RF
Journalist Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'Pathetic' American Media
Don't even get him started on the New York Times which, he says, spends "so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would" – or the death of Osama bin Laden. "Nothing's been done about that story, it's one big lie, not one word of it is true," he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.
And there you have it. Hersh is saying exactly what I've been saying all along: The OBL assassination narrative (including the conflicting versions told by Navy Seals who supposedly participated in this adventure) is a giant crock of baloney. If you believe this story, I have some ocean-front lots in Nebraska to sell you. -- RF
US officials say Iran hacked Navy computers
Google Says TGIF To Problem-Plagued Week
The FBI Has Been Using Drones Domestically Since 2006

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
The road to hell (on Brazil's infrastructure)

## Japan ##
Japan Pummeled By Soaring Food And Energy Prices, Plunging Wages And Ongoing Core Deflation
Economy may take blows from imminent price hikes, higher taxes
Tokyo Electric: will add $10 bln for Fukushima cleanup to turnaround plan
Rubber mat in tank may have shut down ALPS
The shutdown of the ALPS water treatment system at the Fukushima No. 1 plant may have been caused by a rubber mat left in its water tank, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday.
Tokyo Electric says 'difficult' to post profit this year
TEPCO head expects return to the black through cost cutting
Investors Of Japan's Most Hated Corporation, TEPCO, To Be Bailed Out Forever
Despite Fukushima Crisis, TEPCO Moves to Re-Start World's Largest Nuclear Plant
Power-saving targets likely to be dropped this winter
Let's hope households and businesses stick to their current power-saving regimen. -- RF
Sales tax hike masks bigger problem of welfare spending
JR Shikoku failed to repair 50 railway bridges found defective three years ago
Still more of Japan's railway infrastructure is found to be in a state of disrepair. -- RF

## China ##
China's Local Government Financing Vehicles (LGFV): 7 Things You Should Know About China's Local Debt Bomb
Shanghai free trade zone launched in major economic pilot scheme
The Renminbi: Soon to Be a Reserve Currency? (PDF)
Have-Nots squeezed and stacked in Hong Kong

## UK ##
Bodies 'buried in car parks due to graves shortage'
Consumer: Families in hot water over heating bills
According to research, 3.2 million UK households are facing fuel poverty this year. Around a quarter of families are simply leaving the heating off and living in unacceptably cold conditions because they simply can't afford to pay the bills.
Fears of debt and a housing bubble after David Cameron hurries out second phase of Help to Buy scheme three months early

## US ##
FBI uses drones since 2006, watchdog says
New York Opera set to enter bankruptcy within a week
Why are Americans giving up their citizenship?
Is The U.S. Collecting Cell Phone Location Data?
Food Stamp Growth 75X Greater than Job Creation
Looting the Pension Funds
Middletown USA Loses Industrial Jobs And, Perhaps, Its Iconic Basketball Gym
The Economy Is Slipping Into Darkness - No Chance Of Taper This Year - Buy Mining Stocks
Lawmakers push Postal Service restructuring amid losses, soaring debt
Inside Luxury Tiny Homes: Millennials, Retirees Bucking Mortgages and McMansions
Nearly two mass shootings per month since 2009, study finds
U.S. to allocate $45M for more armed cops in schools
J.P. Morgan May Have To Pay Record Ransom To Buy Off The Feds
For US automakers, Detroit is now a place for charity, not chassis
Group caters to rising number of well-armed women
More freight, but fewer trucks to move it?

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