Sunday, December 31, 2017


News Links, January 1, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Debt to GDP: Only 4 Major Countries Worse Off Than the US
Of major nations, only Japan, Greece, Italy, and Portugal have debt-to-GDP ratios higher than the US.
El Petro: Venezuela To Launch Oil-Backed Petro Cryptocurrency Within Days
Turns out, Uber Shareholders Are Eager to Sell at 30% Discount
The Inescapable Reason Why the Financial System Will Fail
Central banks are now trapped. If they raise rates to provide low-risk, high-yield returns to institutional owners, they will stifle the "recovery" and the asset bubbles that are dependent on unlimited liquidity and super-low interest rates. But if they keep yields low, the only way institutional investors can earn the gains they need to survive is to pile into risk assets and hope the current bubbles will loft higher.
In a recent study, we found that use of this engineered sugarcane could yield more than 2,500 liters of bio-jet fuel per acre of land. In simple terms, this means that a Boeing 747 could fly for 10 hours on bio-jet fuel produced on just 54 acres of land.
Fifty-four acres of land just to fly a 747 for 10 hours! That may sound good to some people, but the land could be put to much better use, for example as desperately needed habitat for the wildlife species being exterminated to make room for more humans. -- RF

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Turkey makes deal to buy Russian-made S-400 air defense system
Dozens of 12th-graders to defy draft over 'oppression' of Palestinians (Israel)
In letter to PM, IDF chief, 63 teenagers urge all Israeli youth to refuse to serve in the military until occupation ends, due to 'racist government policy' in West Bank
Russia: US Training Former ISIS Fighters to Destabilize Syria
The real reason is perhaps that the US thinks Pakistan is getting too chummy with China. -- RF
Southeast Asian countries vie for port supremacy
China's 'Belt and Road' may tip balance from Singapore to newcomers

## Energy/resources ##
Russian tankers fueled North Korea via transfers at sea
Russian tankers have supplied fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months by transferring cargoes at sea, according to two senior Western European security sources.
In the end, society needs energy to function and the idea that we can do more with less with the help of better technologies seems to be just an illusion. If we reduce energy consumption, we'll most likely enter a phase of economic decline.
For a sustainable future we need (1) a much smaller human population, (2) much lower energy consumption, and (3) abandonment of the dangerous and futile infinite-growth ideology. -- RF
America's Worst Graveyard Shift Is Grinding Up Workers
Cleanup at the slaughterhouse is as dangerous as it is repulsive, and the immigrants who do the work are under pressure to complete it faster than ever.
Business Is Booming for America's Survival Food King

## Solutions ##
Satoyama offers a chance to narrow economic gaps

## Environment/health ##
Trump revives a misleading claim that global warming isn't happening because it's cold outside
South Florida's Real Estate Reckoning Could Be Closer Than You Think
Hurricane Irma showed just how vulnerable South Florida—and some of the nation's most expensive real estate—is to climate change.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Dirt Boxes: The Newest Government Tool for Warrantless Privacy Invasion
Why these cell phone tower-mimicking devices could become a civil liberties nightmare.
The emergence of this confidential document (found on Anthony Weiner's laptop and sent while his wife, Huma Abedin, was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff), is disturbing - as it potentially implicates the Obama administration in a conspiracy to silence Julian Assange while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State...

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Twitter account of imprisoned Palestinian teenage girl Ahed Tamimi deleted
The predictable results of those meetings are now clear and well-documented. Ever since, Facebook has been on a censorship rampage against Palestinian activists who protest the decadeslong, illegal Israeli occupation, all directed and determined by Israeli officials.
Spread of fake news prompts literacy efforts in schools (US)
The article is not specific, but one assumes that "media literacy" primarily means teaching students to accept government and mainstream media statements as gospel truth. -- RF

The most significant feature of these breakthroughs is that, unlike the basic scientific discoveries of yore, they are achieved thanks to colossal energy expenditures. Total the costs of raising, educating, and training the researchers and scientists (these costs alone are very high in modern societies), as well as the cost of the equipment and facilities, and it adds up to a staggering burden on society, regardless of what the benefits may be. For example, the Large Hadron Collider is the largest machine ever built, and one of the most expensive. Meanwhile, our energy situation is deteriorating rapidly, as the remaining stock of profitable fossil fuels must subsidize junk energy (such as shale oil) and also build and maintain the infrastructure for renewables. -- RF
Japan continues to gradually move into the Chinese economic zone. -- RF
Japan eyes electronic-warfare jet, could jam missile bases
Japan looks to deploy electronic-warfare aircraft that can neutralize enemy air defenses and command systems remotely, blurring the line between strict self-defense and offensive base-strike capability.
Plastic bags squeezed by electric car demand

## China ##
Xi gains control of China's paramilitary police
Further consolidation of power seen as hedge against a coup
Fight extremism or face UK tax penalty, social media companies told
Internet giants could be penalised through taxes if they fail to cooperate with government efforts to fight terrorism and online extremism, the minister of state for security has said.
Nurses and GPs are to be sent to answer 999 calls ahead of ambulance crews in the latest evidence of the winter crisis engulfing the NHS.
Millennials to receive 'inheritance boom' - but it won't be enough to overcome housing crisis
UK frackers are running out of time
Consumers splurged this Christmas. GDP will rise. Hooray. But how long will it take for consumers to pay off their debt?
Ron Paul: 'We Are On The Verge Of Something Like What Happened In '89 When The Soviet System Just Collapsed'
Ron Paul does not believe the U.S. will break into separate countries, like the Soviet Union did, but expects changes in the U.S. monetary policy, as well as the crumbling of the country's "overseas empire."
Report: Only One US State Pension has Funded Level Above 50%
A recent report from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), said that, based on its calculations, every US state's pension system has a funded level below 50%, except for that of Wisconsin, which has a funded level of 61.5%.

And finally...

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