Tuesday, January 02, 2018


News Links, January 3, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
U.N. Secretary General issues worldwide 'red alert' for 2018
Yeah, happy new year to you, too, António. But no progress will be made until humanity changes its fundamental priorities. As of this writing, global priorities include (1) empire-building, (2) making more humans (hey, there's a labor shortage!), (3) still more mindless consumption, (4) the great resource grab, (5) corporate rule, (6) endless war, and (7) the pursuit of perpetual growth. -- RF
Internationalization of yuan loses momentum
The international use of the yuan, promoted by the Chinese leadership, has lost momentum as the Chinese government has toughened capital controls in the face of the currency's depreciation and capital outflows from the country.

Egypt says 'Bitcoin' currency is prohibited by Islam
The Criminal Underworld Is Dropping Bitcoin for Another Currency
Privacy coins such as monero, designed to avoid tracking, have climbed faster over the past two months as law enforcers adopt software tools to monitor people using bitcoin.

The "passenger experience" is now so bad that more and more airports are requesting therapy dogs. -- RF
Hint: Not Iran. -- RF
China develops underwater surveillance networks in Indian Ocean, South China Sea
The drive to recentralize Vietnam
The Communist Party is reasserting central command in a reversal of the doi moi reforms that allowed for free markets and limited local democracy
US won't strike remaining ISIS fighters migrating to western Syria
This is meddling, pure and simple. And a double standard. Would other countries have been justified in enacting sanctions on the US for the huge number of arrests in the Occupy Wall Street protests? On this occasion, the US will attempt to install another America-friendly regime in Iran. The intent is to lock down the all-important oil fields in Iran and Iraq (recall that the US has said it will not leave Iraq even if asked). -- RF
The Next Empire (China-Russia)
Warfare is often the death knell of a declining empire—both in its extreme financial cost and in its ability to alienate the peoples of other countries. In the new millennium, the US has invaded more countries than at any other time in its history and appears now to be in a state of perpetual warfare. This is being carried out both militarily and economically, as the US imposes economic sanctions on those it seeks to conquer.
Migrants in Europe: Desperate journeys across mountains

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

## Energy/resources ##
The world is running out of a resource, and it's not oil
A looming shortage of sand – a crucial resource once thought endless – could sink infrastructure projects, including those in China's Belt and Road Initiative
Rare-Earth Uncertainty
A long list of obscure elements are vital for advanced electronics and military systems. China has cornered the market.
Saudi Arabia hikes gasoline prices
We need more roads, parking lots, theme parks, office buildings, and subdivisions. There's always plenty of farmland... until there isn't. -- RF

But I don't agree that actions like changing to electric vehicles are effective solutions. Societies must be redesigned so that vehicular use is greatly curtailed (or use horses). -- RF
Plugging up the toilet forces the lethargic to look for a plunger. -- RF
Quarter of land will be drier under 2 C warming: study
More than a quarter of Earth's land surface will become "significantly" drier even if humanity manages to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius, the goal espoused in the Paris Agreement, scientists said on Monday.
The US Energy Grid Is Making Electric Cars Dirtier Than They Should Be
Electric cars still run on coal, gas, and nuclear power.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
The Still-Missing Evidence of Russia-gate
The central groupthink around Russia-gate is the still unproven claim that Russia hacked Democratic emails in 2016 and publicized them via WikiLeaks, a crucial issue that NSA experts say should be easy to prove if true.
Very revealing and well worth the time to read. -- RF
Besides, the claim that Russians (or anyone else) hacked the DNC is demonstrably false. -- RF
Huma Abedin Forwarded Top Secret Passwords To Yahoo Account Hacked By Russian With Odd Clinton Connection

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Sen. Graham: U.S. can deal 'fatal blows' to Iran, North Korea in 2018
"The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom," tweets the Great Orange One, conveniently forgetting (or more likely ignorant of the fact) that the Iranian people chafed under the rule of the US-installed Shah after the US toppled Iran's democratically elected government. As far as "failing" goes, Trump need look no further than the US, whose failing institutions induced the Occupy Wall Street protests, and which bring more suffering and decay daily under its crony-capitalist, one-percenter bubble economy, its swelling ranks of homeless, its rotting infrastructure, its 95 million people who've dropped out of the workforce, its declining energy system that chases after unprofitable shale oil, and its desperate overseas military adventurism. Sooner or later, all big countries must travel this road. It's time to wake up and smell the coffee. -- RF
Trump's Seven Forbidden Words
In a homage to George Orwell's Newspeak, the Trump administration has compiled a list of words that are banned from use in budget requests.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Peak México
It just goes to show that energy, not money, makes the world go 'round. -- RF

## Japan ##
Number of new adults in Japan remains flat at 1.23 million
Mao Zedong and the roots of the North Korea nuclear crisis
Three generations of Kims have believed that northeast China is rightfully theirs
Dental crisis leaves Britain reliant on charity from the developing world 
UK 'faces build-up of plastic waste'
The UK's recycling industry says it doesn't know how to cope with a Chinese ban on imports of plastic waste.

## US ##
Work 'til you drop: When a $1 million retirement nest egg isn't enough
America's Power Grid Is Showing Signs of Strain During Brutal Cold
Some power plants in New England that have been burning oil are running short on fuel, according to Marcia Blomberg, a spokeswoman for ISO New England Inc., the region's grid operator. Restrictions governing air emissions are also a factor limiting their use.
Pension Dilemma: Expecting 7% Returns in a Negative Yield Setup
This Is What Pseudo-Democracy Looks Like

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