Sunday, April 30, 2017


News Links, May 1, 2017

Posting will be lighter than usual until rice planting is finished.

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Chilling Thing Insiders Said about Canada's House Price Bubble

## Airline death spiral ##
Etihad Airways stands by Air Berlin despite record losses
It doesn't seem to matter who's in office in the US -- Republican/Democrat, conservative/liberal -- there's a war machine constantly running.
Brazil protesters, police clash in first general strike in decades
Brazilian protesters torched buses, clashed with police in several cities and marched on President Michel Temer's Sao Paulo residence on Friday amid the nation's first general strike in more than two decades.
Gas production falling off despite increase in drilling
Companies are struggling to overcome steep decline rates -- the natural decrease in production -- from shale formations that were the source of huge added supplies in years past.

## Environment/health ##
Want To Promote Breastfeeding? That's A Trade Barrier, Says US Trade Rep

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
The Email Collection The NSA Shut Down Has Been Abused For Years
This is no more sensible than blaming the Russians. It was most likely a leak by an insider. -- RF

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Must read: The five universal laws of human stupidity

Friday, April 28, 2017


News Links, April 29, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
UK, France GDP Weaker Than Expected: Global Slowdown? IMF Early Warning Signal!
Weak economy could prove fatal to Erdogan administration
How Much Gold Is There? Not Much
Puerto Rico Board Moves to Consider Bankruptcy-Like Process
US GDP Collapses To 0.7%, Lowest In Three Years; Worst Personal Spending Since 2009

## Airline death spiral ##
Passengers kicked off easyJet flight from Liverpool after threats to crew
Flight EZY7157 to Lanzarote was diverted to Morocco after customers became "uncontrollable"
Groping Victim May Sue Delta Over Masturbating Passenger
Higher fuel costs burn low-cost airline Norwegian Air as it unveils larger loss than expected
United Blunder Prompts Airlines to Throw Cash at Their Problems
You're Never Going to Get $10,000 for Your United Airlines Seat

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch failed: report
Trump Statement On North Korea: President Hints At 'Major' Conflict With Kim Jong Un's Regime
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that China has threatened to impose sanctions on North Korea if it conducts further nuclear tests.
Here's what the 'mother of all bombs' did for US fight in Afghanistan
The use of the "mother of all bombs" on an underground network of Islamic State tunnels in a remote district in Afghanistan was a lot of hype with little long-term impact, according to many military analysts.
People often have an idealised view of solar as the perfect clean energy source. Direct conversion of sunlight to electricity, no emissions, no oil spills or contamination, perfectly clean. This however overlooks the messy reality of how solar panels are produced.

## Solutions ##
Are We (Collectively) Depressed?
We need to encourage honesty above optimism. Once we can speak honestly, there is a foundation for optimism.

## Environment/health ##
WHO urges polio vaccine dose cut amid global shortage
Faced with a shortage of polio vaccine, the World Health Organization urged countries Friday to resort to smaller, fractional doses to ward off outbreaks of the crippling disease.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Trump signs order to protect whistleblowers at VA Department
WikiLeaks Reveals The "Snowden Stopper": CIA Tool To Track Whistleblowers

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
More NYT 'Spin' on the Syria-Sarin Case
The New York Times is at it again with another slanted report on the April 4 chemical weapons incident in Syria, applying ridicule rather than reason to prevent a real evaluation of this war-or-peace moment.
Musk apparently hasn't noticed that industrial society and its infrastructure are already falling apart. The "underground freeway" will never happen. And why is everything "massive"? Don't journalists know any other adjectives? -- RF
Japan breaches international cap on annual Pacific bluefin catches
The government said Thursday that Japan has exceeded the annual limit on its catches of immature Pacific bluefin tuna, breaking an international commitment only two years after the regulation was introduced.
China's greying migrant workforce stays home
Survey shows army of cheap labour that fuelled boom is getting older and choosier
Official Comments on Trump's Tax Plan
It's part of the angriness and rage growing in late industrial society. -- RF

## US ##

Thursday, April 27, 2017


News Links, April 28, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Can US-style Housing Crisis, "Jingle Mail" Hit Canada's Banks?
Canada's Housing Bubble Explodes As Its Biggest Mortgage Lender Crashes Most In History
A Rising (Central Bank) Tide Turns Everyone into a Genius
Until the system implodes--you're a genius.
Have We Just Reached Peak Stock Market Absurdity?
Have you ever wondered how tech companies that have been losing hundreds of millions of dollars year after year can somehow be worth billions of dollars according to the stock market?
Growth is dead. -- RF

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
ESPN laying off 100 broadcasters, writers as viewers dwindle

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Global cashless society getting closer, survey finds

## Airline death spiral ##
Wayward Drones Cause Chaos, Ground Dozens of Flights at Sichuan Airport
More than a hundred commercial flights were postponed or forced to change routes last week due to rogue drones straying into airspace around China's fourth-largest airport, raising concerns about regulation of the fast-growing sector.
Nevertheless, I predict that air travel will continue becoming more stressful and violent. -- RF

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
US military begins installation of missile defenses in South Korea
Do Americans Have No Shame?
Putting aside the lack of any proof of Russian interference in U.S. elections, Americans have some nerve complaining about outside meddling when they have violated the sovereign rights of much of the planet.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Police, indigenous in Brazil clash with tear gas and spears
New Oil Discoveries Slump To 2.4 Billion Barrels In 2016
New crude oil discoveries last year amounted to just 2.4 billion barrels, the International Energy Agency said, adding that the average annual rate of new discoveries since 2002 has been 9 billion barrels. This news highlights the consequences of the oil price crash from 2014 and the continuing corporate austerity measures that involve above all cost-cutting.

## Environment/health ##
You Thought It Was An Urgent Care Center, Until You Got The Bill
Chernobyl Pictures And Facts About Nuclear Disaster At Power Plant 31 Years Later
Bill Nye: Should Parents Be Penalized For Having 'Extra Kids?'
But the view still seems to be anthropocentric. It helps to see the issue from the perspective of non-human forms of life, especially animals which range over large tracts of land. If a human is threatened or attacked by a bear, for example, it's always the animal's fault; humans are never held to account for grabbing more and more land, and leaving less and less for other species. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
But keep reading. This doesn't mean Uber is off the hook. -- RF
Intel Vets Voice Doubts on Syrian Crisis
Two dozen former U.S. intelligence professionals are urging the American people to demand clear evidence that the Syrian government was behind the April 4 chemical incident before President Trump dives deeper into another war.
And come out when? Decades later? We've gotten more than half a century of cockamamie advice like this, but no substantive efforts for nuclear disarmament. -- RF

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Are We Really that Divided?
If we don't challenge these poisonous polarizing binaries, they may well trigger the accidental suicide of our polity.
Japan ranks last among G-7 for press freedom, 72nd in world
The report said there is "growing self-censorship within the leading media groups" and that Japanese government officials "do not hide their hostility toward the media."
$290 billion for something that is patently unsustainable. -- RF
Think the RCEP is about free trade? Think again
Beijing-led pact is aimed at saving China's own economy via the Belt and Road
Children's hospital units forced to close to new patients due to staff shortages
Lack of paediatric doctors and nurses across the UK also means care children receive is at risk, says the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
It's fashionable to drag Trump through the mud, but remember that Bush 43 likewise had a way with words. And Ronald Reagan, "The Great Communicator," communicated little more than a substance-free avuncular image, not to mention seeding doubts about the soundness of his mental faculties. The election of such people to the highest office of the land tells us more about the American people than it does about the presidents themselves. -- RF
It won't have more than a temporary effect. The plan — like other economic stimulus packages — is based on the mistaken idea that the economy runs on money, while in actuality it runs on energy. Net energy decline dictates that economic activity slows. -- RF

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.

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