Sunday, January 07, 2018


News Links, January 8, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Global Debt Hits Record $233 Trillion
Global debt rose to a record $233 trillion in the third quarter of 2017, more than $16 trillion higher from end-2016.
A major factor is the use of debt to compensate for net energy decline. -- RF
The Leveraged Economy Blows Up In 2018
U.S. Households May Rue the Binge of 2017
Americans will soon find out they have been living beyond their means.
Venezuela to Issue Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency in `Coming Days'

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
GoPro cuts 200-300 jobs in aerial products unit: TechCrunch

## War on cash/cashless society ##

China-Pakistan military ties set to get even closer as 'iron brothers' eye new alliance
From jointly developed jets to high-level talks on regional security issues, Beijing and Islamabad are fighting side by side to keep the peace
State Dept Threatens to Hold Iran Accountable Over Protests
Who will hold the US accountable for 1953? -- RF
The West has shown its intolerance for free speech and evidence-based criticism in a more general sense  for decades. Recently, the European Union remained idle as a member state violently crushed peaceful Catalans in their effort to vote for independence. Individuals including Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Lauri Love, and others who have proven troublesome to establishment interests have faced massive threats to their lives and livelihoods or long prison sentences and documented inhumane treatment.
'World is doomed': Erdogan denounces U.S. justice after Turkish banker trial
Tayyip Erdogan denounced U.S. justice on Friday and suggested Turkey could rethink some bilateral agreements with Washington, after a U.S. court convicted a Turkish banker in a trial that included testimony of corruption by top Turkish officials.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Thousands march against election result in Honduras

## Energy/resources ##
U.S. Firms Interested In Boosting Oil, Gas Presence In Iraq
What a surprise. -- RF
In addition to the problems noted here, another is the mistaken belief that all oil is created equal. -- RF
Bitcoin's computing network has grown at an 1,100 percent average annual pace over the last five years. So if we project out just a few years, we get a truly massive energy demand for the new king of coins: Bitcoin would use more electricity than the entire world uses today, by 2020, if the recent growth trend in bitcoin mining power continues.
Renewable power is expensive. Quite expensive in fact.

## Got food? ##
Upbeat bluefin tuna auction hides plight of popular delicacy
Although abundant at market, stocks of fish at sea remain seriously depleted
New measurement confirms: The ozone is coming back

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Social Media Has Hijacked Our Brains and Threatens Global Democracy
The 'social media revolution' gave us Donald Trump and Brexit—and is making politics impossible.
Now in Effect: New Hampshire Law Bans Warrantless Stingray Spying

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Gazing at Iran Through a Distorted Glass
A truism about U.S. politics and media is that once a foreign leader or a country has been demonized, everything written or said about the subject will be skewed to the negative, a rule reflecting Washington's groupthink and careerism.
Twitter says world leaders like Trump have special status
Freedom of speech takes a drubbing in Southeast Asia
Backsliding by Myanmar, media crackdowns elsewhere alarm local, global critics
The Grand Hothead is at it again. -- RF

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Outrage in Baltimore after kids huddle in freezing classrooms
This is just the beginning. Bomb cyclones or not, failing grids and fuel shortages will eventually make "coats-and-gloves" classes the norm in winter. This will be aggravated by the sense of entitlement that people have developed. -- RF
Japan's NSC to control defense buildup plan, giving PM more say
The Japanese government's National Security Council plans to take the lead in crafting the country's defense military buildup, in a move that would give the prime minister's office more say in selecting defense equipment, a government source said.
Here's an opportunity for governments to show that they aren't just territory grabbers. These islands, claimed by both China and Japan, could be declared — along with their surrounding marine zone — an international nature reserve that belongs to no country. Instead of fighting over the islands, the Chinese and Japanese could patrol them to make sure everyone stays out. -- RF
Throughout history, the cannon fodder has been urged to "gloriously die for [insert name of country, cause, empire, etc.]," and persuaded to believe that it's right and honorable. But in any time and place, it's really all about the great grab for resources and territory, and the endless struggle for hegemony. This is greatly aggravated by the exhortation to make more babies and to consume more because it's "good for the economy." In this respect, the world peace movement needs to wake up and smell the coffee. No matter what the peace movement tries, it won't work unless people first realize that human overpopulation and overconsumption (rooted in greed) constitute the ultimate war trigger because of the friction they generate among groups. In closing, I'm just using the Chinese as an example, not singling them out for special criticism; the Chinese are only doing what everyone else is doing. -- RF
Consumer loan securitization boom put on hold as China clamps down on leverage
China To "Deal Seriously" With Violators Of Oil Sanctions On North Korea
China revises down GDP figure for 2016 by US$8.34 billion, but growth unchanged
Revision necessary because of earlier miscalculations in various sectors, statistics bureau says

## US ##
The War Party's Desperate Assault on 'America First'
The major – perhaps only – redeeming virtue of the Donald's ersatz campaign platform was his clear intent to seek a rapprochement with Russia, revamp America's commitments to NATO and other cold war relics and to discard "Regime Change" as the core tenant of foreign policy in favor of an "America First" approach to domestic security and safety.
The two big take-home messages here are: (1) presidents don't set the agenda; they just do as they're told. (2) The US has a China-style one-party system. -- RF

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