Thursday, August 31, 2017


News Links, September 1, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Fitch says 'default is probable' for Venezuela, lowers country's credit rating
Visualizing 5,000 Years Of Consumer Credit Growth

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
Disney/ABC TV Group Cost Cuts And Layoffs Loom
Massive job cuts expected in Albanian administration

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Six global banks join forces to create digital currency
This one chart from India shows why no country should try demonetisation

## Airline death spiral ##
Top 3 U.S. airlines ask Trump admin for help competing with Gulf airlines

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
U.S. Air Force announces date for X-37B launch
US forces closure of Russia's San Francisco consulate, 2 other diplomatic properties
The Quite Rational Basis for North Korea's Japan Overfly
Jared Kushner's Mideast Peace Push Is Going Nowhere. That's Why Israelis Love It.
Afghan Officials Deny AP Report of Being in Contact With Taliban

## Migrants/refugees ##
Not just Rohingya, but also Buddhists, flee Myanmar violence

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Hundreds of Puerto Ricans protest, decry austerity measures

Talk about cognitive dissonance! What's "clean" about generating tons of deadly radioactive waste? -- RF
At the same time, efforts such as this can make people lose sight of the fact that big cities themselves are unsustainable and doomed to collapse. Rooftop gardens and more trees won't change that. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Google Has Become a Major Threat to Democracy in America
465,000 Patients Need Software Updates for Their Hackable Pacemakers, FDA SaysHundreds of millions of private email addresses leaked onto internet in biggest spambot dump ever
Is the CIA Writing Legislation for the U.S. Congress?

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Why Wages Have Lost Ground in the 21st Century
The problem with stagnant wages is our socio-economic system requires ever-higher incomes to function.
Extra 500 beds for Hong Kong's public hospitals, but not enough for winter flu, authority admits
Hospital Authority announces additional beds for public facilities after summer flu outbreak leaves many stretched to breaking point
Chinese military made multiple attempts to negotiate with India to end stand-off, ministry says
One in three "sick notes" handed out by GPs are now for mental health problems, amid soaring levels of anxiety across Britain, official figures show.
Fracking in North Yorkshire to begin 'before end of year'

## US ##
U.S. Gasoline Futures Hit 25-Month High
'Easy money' made selling Army weapons stolen by US soldiers
More than $1 million in weapons parts and sensitive military equipment was stolen out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and sold in a vast black market, some of it to foreign buyers through eBay, according to testimony at a federal trial this week.
Sounds like some banana republic. -- RF

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


News Links, August 31, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Fearing Contagion, Russia Bails Out Bondholders in its Biggest Bank Collapse Yet
Failure to raise debt ceiling would be 'more catastrophic' than Lehman collapse, S&P says
As Poverty Surges in Italy, Populists Propose a 'Citizens' Income'
US sanctions are very bad news — unless you're North Korea
Gold Reset To $10,000/oz Coming "By January 1, 2018"
19 European Countries Now Have Negative Interest Rates
A new t-shirt sewing robot can make as many shirts per hour as 17 factory workers

## Airline death spiral ##
Airline problems prompted most complaints to EU consumer body
10 Airlines That Actually Existed in the 1980s
Partially assembled bombs on cargo planes threaten global supply chains
Baggage-Fee Ban Flouted by Airlines in Test of Mexico's Resolve
Face scans, robot baggage handlers - airports of the future

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un calls recent missile launch a 'prelude to containing Guam'
North Korea launch increases focus on risky U.S. shootdown option
Trump: Talking With North Korea Is 'Not the Answer'
Mattis Contradicts Trump: "We Are Never Out Of Diplomatic Solutions" On North Korea
Russian Kalashnikov arms maker presents riot control vehicle
U.S. acknowledges more troops in Afghanistan than previously stated
US Military Battles Syrian Rebels Armed by CIA — Rebels Shot at US Troops Operating Near Manbij

## Migrants/refugees ##
18,000 Rohingya flee violence in Myanmar into Bangladesh
Backed by Italy, Libya enlists militias to stop migrants

## Energy/resources ##
Texas Shale Hit Hard By Hurricane Harvey
The Slow Death Of Nuclear Power In Europe
Harvey knocks out more refineries, shifting global oil flows
Largest U.S. East Coast refiner sells all prompt gasoline amid heightened demand: source
About A Quarter Of US Fuel Output Shut As Harvey Churns On
Tropical Storm Harvey inflicted more damage on the heart of the U.S. energy industry overnight after flooding the biggest U.S. refinery in Texas and then churning into Louisiana, causing fuel shortages and high gasoline prices that could afflict the country for weeks.
Bulgaria starts building nuclear waste dump, addressing EU concerns

## Got food? ##
The world could run out of food two decades earlier than thought
By 2027 the world could be facing a 214 trillion calorie deficit, says Sara Menker, founder and chief executive of Gro Intelligence, an agricultural data technology company. In other words, in just a decade, we won't have enough food to feed the planet.

## Environment/health ##
World's soils have lost 133 billion tonnes of carbon since the dawn of agriculture, study estimates
The degradation of the Earth's soil by humans has been an environmental catastrophe on a similar scale to the deforestation of much of the planet, a new study suggests.
Worries about a Galveston Bio-Lab
The flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey has left thousands homeless in the greater Houston area but there also is rising concern about a biological lab in Galveston that houses deadly diseases.
CO2 is changing the jet stream in ways that will create more Harveys

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Harvey Knockout of Cell Service Revives Talk of Backup Power
Is Hillary Running the FBI? "Lack of Public Interest in Emails Justifies Withholding Documents" Says FBI

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Systemic Uncertainty, Meet Fragility
That's the problem with fragility: everything looks fine on the surface until a crisis applies pressure. Then the whole rickety contraption collapses in a heap.
Police to deploy large helicopters for border security, remote-isle incidents

## China ##
Chinese localities selling off land faster
Credit card lenders 'targeting people struggling with debt'
Citizens Advice finds almost one in five people struggling with debts have had their card limit raised without request
More than 100 charities claim they are being gagged by anti-lobbying rules
Letter signed by 122 organisations including Save the Children and Greenpeace 
 their voices are being silenced due to 'draconian' legislation

## US ##
Look for Military Drones to Begin Replacing Police Helicopters by 2025
General Atomics is working hard to put a close cousin of its Reaper anti-terrorism drone in the hands of local law enforcement.
The US Cities with the Biggest Housing Bubbles
This is how monetary policies have crushed the value of labor.

And finally...
LOL: You can spend $1,200 to hear Hillary Clinton whine about her 2016 election loss
To sit in the audience and hear her prattle on about Russians, Macedonians, WikiLeaks, Alex Jones and sexism, you will need to dole out as much as $1,200 for a single ticket.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


News Links, August 30, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Harvey Damage Could Top $40 Billion: Only One in Six Insured, 15% of Refining Capacity Down
The 5 Steps to World Domination
You don't need an army to achieve World Domination; all you need is enough cheap credit to buy up everything that generates the highest value and/or income.
This article describes the dynamic behind the global economy by boiling it down to its essentials. -- RF
Death Of The U.S. Dollar Reserve Currency… Picking Up Speed
The Mindless Harm of Economic Sanctions
American politicians love to hurl economic sanctions at disfavored governments, but the current labyrinth of sanctions is so complicated that it has unintended consequences.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
India and China agree to 'disengage troops' along disputed frontier, New Delhi says
Japan, US look to cut off North Korea's oil supply
The U.S. and Japan will call for an international embargo on oil exports to North Korea in response to Tuesday's launch of a ballistic missile over Japan, as the allies seek to strike at the lifeblood of Pyongyang's weapons programs.
Was Korean Peninsula part of China? Xi and the Han dynasty game plan
Kim Jong Un's disobedience could lead to drastic change in Asia's geopolitical landscape
And it makes no more sense now than it did in the 1960s. -- RF
And the misery is likely to get even worse due to financial sanctions imposed by the Trump administration in efforts to isolate Maduro for taking the country down an increasingly authoritarian path.
Although I don't think Maduro is tackling his country's problems in the right way, that is a matter for the Venezuelan people to sort out, not the US government. Yet here we have another open admission that the US is meddling in Venezuela's affairs. In July the US government tried to meddle in Venezuela's Assembly election. -- RF
Israeli prime minister says no withdrawal from settlements
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's vow to never evacuate Jewish settlements from occupied land drew outrage Tuesday from Palestinians and complicated matters for the Trump administration's would-be peace envoys as they try to restart talks.
Afghanistan: America's Trillion Dollar War
16 years since the Bush administration launched its military intervention in Afghanistan, President Trump has announced his intention to increase the U.S. military presence in the country. As Statista's Niall McCarthy notes, there are approximately 8,400 U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan and reinforcements could start arriving within days. Trump's new strategy is set to extend the longest war in U.S. history and add even further to its already staggering cost.

## Migrants/refugees ##
Trump expected to decide soon on fate of young immigrants
Going after methane hydrate is a total waste of time and money. This is even worse than shale drilling. They will scoop up a little methane hydrate, and this will be hailed as another technological miracle which opens the way to a Glorious Technological Future, but the attempt to exploit this crap is actually an act of desperation. -- RF

## Solutions ##
Ideology as Addiction
Solutions abound, but they aren't one size fits all ideologies.

## Environment/health ##
Journalist Interrogated, Fired For Story Linking CIA And Syria Weapons Flights
A months-long investigation which tracked and exposed a massive covert weapons shipment network to terror groups in Syria via diplomatic flights originating in the Caucuses and Eastern Europe under the watch of the CIA and other intelligence agencies has resulted in the interrogation and firing of the Bulgarian journalist who first broke the story. This comes as the original report is finally breaking into mainstream international coverage.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
More Misleading Russia-gate Propaganda
The U.S. mainstream media is touting a big break in Russia-gate, emails showing an effort by Donald Trump's associates to construct a building in Moscow. But the evidence actually undercuts the "scandal."
The average reader would never know that U.S. and NATO forces themselves engaged this summer in "their largest military exercises since the end of the Cold War," to quote NPR. Nor would they know that NATO collectively spends 12 times more than Russia on its military, or that its European members alone field nearly 75 percent more military personnel than Russia.
China universities tighten ideological control of teaching staff
The Alt-Right's Alternative Reality
President Trump's "Alt-Right" is a grab bag of mostly incoherent or contradictory ideas derived from white resentments. Now, it will be played off against the Republican establishment with unpredictable results.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
100 police killed in Rio, on pace to be worst year in decade
Houston drainage grid 'so obsolete it's just unbelievable'
Experts blame too many people, too much concrete, insufficient upstream storage, not enough green space for water drainage and, especially, too little regulation.

## Japan ##
Japan to practice missile defense at US bases
July household spending unexpectedly falls despite tight job market
Japan's household spending unexpectedly fell in July from a year earlier after last month's spike, data showed Tuesday, casting some doubt on the sustainability of a domestic demand-driven economic recovery seen as vital to boosting tepid inflation.

Families who've lived in old Chinese town for generations being kicked out to make way for tourists
6 billion yuan project will turn picturesque Chikan, close to World Heritage-listed Kaiping diaolous, into historical theme park

## US ##
Houston Warns Bridges And Roads Are "Starting To Fail"
As Tropical Storm Harvey heads back inland, slamming southwest Texas with another 15-25 inches of rain, Housting officials are reporting that the city's critical infrastructure is starting to fail under the weight of the floodwaters, and may soon collapse.
Trump expected to lift ban on military gear to local police forces
Peak US Asset Prices? Japanese Acquisitions Hit Record

Sunday, August 27, 2017


News Links, August 28, 2017

There are always two viewpoints. To the Iranians, the constant presence of US warships off its coast is an alarming threat, especially in view of the belligerent and unfriendly posture that the US exhibits toward Iran. The Iranian view is no doubt that the US might launch an attack at any time, which is why US ships need to be monitored closely and constantly. -- RF
America's 'Global Policeman' Role
America's influential neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks want U.S. interventions pretty much everywhere, but other powers are chafing against this U.S. "global policeman."
The Possible Education of Donald Trump
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is ratcheting up war tensions in Syria again, but President Trump reportedly is not happy with the threats as he shifts again toward resisting the neocons.
China in East Timor; concern in Indonesia and Australia
Southeast Asia's youngest country has a new sugar daddy
Willingness to explore resource sharing points to cooperative future for China, the Philippines
Amid rapidly improving bilateral ties, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has welcomed joint development agreements (JDAs) with China in the South China Sea. For the Filipino president, who is intent on improving strategic relations with Beijing, this is the best available modus vivendi to manage and eventually resolve territorial disputes among claimant states.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##

## Energy/resources ##
Trouble Financing Its Debt: Massive Decline Rates Push U.S. Shale Oil Industry Closer Towards Bankruptcy
The U.S. Shale Oil Industry is in serious trouble as its debt spirals higher due to its massive production decline rates.  While the Mainstream media continues to put out hype that the shale oil industry can produce oil at $30 or $40 a barrel, the reality shows that it's becoming difficult just to finance its debt.
As if energy-savvy people needed more convincing, the above two articles mercilessly demolish the shale oil myth. All the enthusiastic ballyhoo from the US government and mainstream media is nothing but cheap propaganda. Shale oil is a total fiasco. -- RF
Venezuela's "Oil Fire Sale" To Benefit Russia, China
U.S. Sanctions May Play Into Russia's and China's Hands
Production has fallen steadily after peaking at as much as 3.4 million barrels per day between 2003 and 2005. The drop is largely due to the company's inability to find new reserves to replace aging, shallow-water fields.
Disappearing insects: 'The windscreen phenomenon' - why your car is no longer covered in dead insects

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Banking, train services hit by internet disruption
A widespread internet disruption occurred in Japan on Friday, with access blocked to services ranging from banking to train ticket reservations and online gaming.
Interior Ministry shuts down, raids left-wing German Indymedia site
Germany has banned and raided an independent news website popular with left-wing readers. Officials found's "intent and activity contrary to criminal law."
Elon Musk's Neuralink Gets $27 Million to Build Brain Computers
Court Confirms DNC And Wasserman Schultz Showed "Palpable Bias" Against Bernie Sanders
A federal judge this week dismissed a class action lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee and its former chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But not before confirming what was already widely suspected: That the DNC rigged the 2016 primary to favor the eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Trump Administration Can Sift Through User Data of Inauguration Protest Website, Judge Rules

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Parks Canada to look at divesting highways, bridges, dams
Cash-strapped agency examines whether to transfer or divest non-heritage assets worth $8.3B
Japan's health ministry requests record $286bn for fiscal 2018
Medical, nursing care costs soar amid fast-aging population
Billions of yen lie fallow at Japan's public-private funds
Public-private investment funds formed under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are awash in unused cash, with lavish budgets far outstripping actual demand, creating a struggle to find projects to back.
Rio Redux? Relentless Tokyo 2020 schedule, labor shortages hitting builders hard
A little under three years before the Tokyo 2020 Games opening ceremony, a merciless venue construction schedule has converged with a persistent labor shortage to create fearsome working conditions and spark questions about the government's decision to leave the building industry out of its new cap on overtime hours.
Japan in talks to export defense aircraft to UAE

## China ##
My prediction: the coming collapse of China's Ponzi scheme economy
So much production in industries like steel is based on demand for more production, but should that demand falter, the whole system could come crashing down
Welcome to Hong Kong, the world's dumping ground for electronic waste
Birling Gap beach: Hundreds treated after chemical 'mist'

## US ##
Next Stop, Recession: The Financial Meteor Storm Is Headed Our Way
Many of those about to be vaporized did not grasp the fragility of the "prosperity" they assumed was both solid and permanent.
Without insurance, some vendors balk at stocking Sears' shelves
U.S. department store operator Sears Holdings Corp is having trouble stocking shelves, as some vendors have fled while others are demanding stricter payment terms because of difficulties hedging against default risk.
Ford To Abandon "Traditional Credit Scores" For Underwriting Decisions As Sales Stall
So, what do you do when your sales are stalling because you've already financed new cars for every man, woman and child with a credit score north of 500?  Well, you simply abandon credit scores in the underwriting process and instead explicitly mandate that your loan officers approve every potential car buyer that walks through the door with a pulse. 
Dealers "Wildly Overweight" SUVs as Sales Slow
The auto boom, one of the key components propping up consumer spending, has come to an end. Dealers are wildly overweight SUVs just as the market turned.

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