Tuesday, February 27, 2018


News Links, February 28, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
"It's Not only Carillion that's Built on Sand, it's our Whole System of Corporate Accountability"
The construction & services giant collapsed even as KPMG signed off on its financial statements; now they deny any responsibility.
Transnational lingua francas, once established, always give off an aura of permanence. Yet when circumstances change, they fall. And the change is clearly coming.
I don't know about you, but I'm currently studying Chinese. -- RF
The drive for cost cuts and higher margins at U.S. trucking and railroad operators is pinching their biggest customers, forcing the likes of General Mills Inc (GIS.N) and Hormel Foods Corp (HRL.N) to spend more on deliveries and consider raising their own prices as a way to pass along the costs.
The smartphone industry is bound to consolidate as the heavy investments required to remain competitive mean that, in the long-run, only a handful of firms can make money, the consumer chief of China's Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] said on Sunday.

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
The Coca-Cola Co to cut up to 350 jobs in the US

## War on cash/cashless society ##

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
UN Unanimously Backs Ceasefire in Syria
Islamists' growing clout strains Indonesia's democratic pillars
Hard-liners' ability to rally the masses cows politicians into acquiescence
Growing Risk of U.S.-Iran Hostilities Based on False Pretexts, Intel Vets Warn
As President Donald Trump prepares to host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week, a group of U.S. intelligence veterans offers corrections to a number of false accusations that have been levelled against Iran.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Violent clashes break out in Rome as Italian opposition to migrants increases
As well as clashes between protesters and police, locals force the evacuation of 100 migrants by burning mattresses and furniture in northern Italy

## Energy/resources ##
The flip side is that some question the economics of such a massive project, which Encana has likened to a military occupation.

## Environment/health ##
Who Benefits from Russia's 'Peculiar' Doping Violations?
The Winter Olympics concluded with two Russian athletes testing positive for banned substances. But the doping would have made little sense in terms of gaining a competitive edge.
State Dept Gets $40 Million to Fund Troll Farm
US propaganda office set to 'go on the offensive'

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
It Will Take a Political Revolution to Cure the Epidemic of Depression

Meanwhile, nobody thinks about how the building was constructed or how the solar panels were made. -- RF
China's military throws weight behind controversial move to scrap term limits
PLA mouthpiece says proposed changes to constitution 'reflect new achievements, experience and demands of party and country'
Chinese electric vehicle makers told to sort tide of waste batteries
Government has made manufacturers responsible for the collection and recycling of batteries amid mounting waste
Too many humans. -- RF

Children struggle to hold pencils due to too much tech, doctors say
"Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago," said Sally Payne, the head paediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust. "Children coming into school are being given a pencil but are increasingly not be able to hold it because they don't have the fundamental movement skills.

This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
Many seniors are stuck with lives of never-ending work—a fate that could befall millions in the coming decades.

Sunday, February 25, 2018


News Links, February 26, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Government debt levels to hit new global high this year--S&P
Governments around the world will borrow roughly $7.4 trillion (791 trillion yen) this year, credit rating firm S&P Global estimated on Thursday, pushing their overall debt total to a record level for the third year in a row.
Global Growth? Retail Sales Flop in US, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia
108 Months of Global Easing Ends: Tightening vs Recessions
Why Buffett Pulled Back: Companies Overvalued after "Purchasing Frenzy" Fueled by "Cheap Debt"
Anbang and China's Mortgage Bubble
Venezuela's New Cryptocurrency: Just Another Form of Control Fraud

The outage, which was first reported Thursday, affected the bank's online banking, mobile banking app and ATM services. Millions of customers were affected.
Such nightmarish events could soon be on the rise as the airline industry attempts to roll back rules meant to limit the amount of time passengers can be stuck on a plane.

South Africa to cut diplomatic ties with Israel
South Africa has been a staunch ally of the Palestinian struggle and regularly spoken out against the atrocities committed by the Israeli government
Syria war: UN Security Council approves 30-day ceasefire
Top US diplomat in Venezuela under fire for tough comments
Selective Outrage Undermines Human Rights in Syria
Selective outrage over civilian suffering in Syria – hyping Syrian government abuses while downplaying the effects of U.S.-led Coalition air strikes – undermines the legitimacy of human rights advocacy.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Angry French farmers boo President Macron at Paris ag fair
Asia Set To Lose 3 Million Bpd Of Oil Production
Natural depletion from mature oil fields will significantly erode oil production in the region, and new projects will not be able to makeup for the decline.
Iberdrola chief says global renewable sector facing Enron-style endgame
The chief executive of Spanish utility Iberdrola, Ignacio Galan, has warned of the prospect of financial disaster for the global renewable energy sector, reminiscent of the collapse of Enron.
Lunacy. -- RF
Earlier this month, the coast guard detained a Spanish ship carrying more than 705,000 pounds (320,000 kilos) of fish caught illegally.
There are two problems: First, the sea is fished out, and second, countries are all desperate to feed their ballooning populations (i.e., too many humans). -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Cybercrime 'pandemic' may have cost the world $600 billion last year
Down from the clouds of unreality that remains Fox News, former intelligence officers have been even more candid, thrilled to confess to something as natural as eating.  "If you ask any intelligence officer, did the Russians break the rules or do something bizarre, the answer is no, not at all," comes the view of Steven L. Hall, who left the CIA in 2015 after 30 years of service.  Not only had the US "absolutely" carried out operations in influencing elections, he hoped "we keep doing it."
The Mueller Indictments: The Day the Music Died
The FBI's Russia indictments last week have whipped Democrats and the mainstream media into a frenzy but the "scandal" may be collapsing under its own weight.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Garbage In, Garbage Out: Tech Journalism, Fake News and the Russia Threat Narrative
It's a tried and true formula. If you want to deprive your opposition of their free speech, first choose a relatively easy target (in this case, far-right people). That gets your foot in the door. -- RF

## Japan ##
Your office's air conditioner is watching you
Japan's Daikin to collect and sell data on how employees interact
(1) Power outage (2) can't charge tablets (3) no textbooks. It will happen. -- RF
Behind the glitz and glamor of President Xi's 'dream city'
In a sleepy region of Hebei province, the proposed 'smart city' of Xiongan New Area could expand to nearly three times the size of New York

## UK ##
Drug errors cause appalling harm and deaths, says Hunt
Drug errors could be a factor in more than 22,000 deaths a year.
FBI wants $300 MILLION to prevent election meddling – can't even prevent crime
FBI couldn't stop the Florida shooter after warnings, yet need $300 Million for Twitter policing

And finally...

Thursday, February 22, 2018


News Links, February 23, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Rising poverty gnaws at Italian social fabric as election nears
Who Is It That Wants to Buy Trillions of US Treasuries?
The End of (Artificial) Stability
The central banks'/states' power to maintain a permanent bull market in stocks and bonds is eroding.
Suck it up, peasants. -- RF

## Olympics ##

Bad idea, of course. But the real danger illustrated here is that of a cashless society, where financial institutions — or the governments behind them — can impose purchase embargoes on anyone for any reason. -- RF

## Airline death spiral ##
TSA finds record 104 firearms in one week
Why Planes Could Still Vanish Into Thin Air Like MH370
In an era where people can track smartphones in real time, the world's most-advanced transportation industry still isn't obligated to do the same.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Report: U.S. Pacific Command developing South Korea evacuation plans
Afrin marks the point of collapse for American influence in Syria
Washington's abandonment of the Kurds left them with no other choice but to turn to the Assad government and its Russian backers. It's Moscow's chessboard now
African migrants begin hunger strike over Israel policy

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
In 2018, frac sand demand is expected to top 100 million tons, according to Rystad Energy. "Right now, the market is really stretched thin," says Thomas Jacob, a senior analyst at IHS Markit, told the FT in December. "Everyone is running at full capacity."
Turns out it's not so easy to calculate. But even it it's high, there are other factors which militate against nuclear power. One factor is the extreme dangers of the technology (compounded by the immaturity of humanity). Another is the increasingly great expense of building nuclear power plants. But the really scary part is what happens when offsite power fails. -- RF
Satellites see big fishing's footprint on the high seas
By using ships' own emergency beacons, researchers got the first comprehensive snapshot of industrial fishing's impacts around the globe. And it's huge - bigger than scientists thought, according to a new study.
Too many humans. -- RF
E-cigarette vapors contain toxic metals, including lead, that leak from the heating coils, according to a new study.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Philippines 'concerned' as U.S. intelligence tags Duterte a threat to democracy
That is a lesser concern. Once an AI becomes self-aware, it would develop its own agenda. It could become an "alien" intelligence whose thinking would be incomprehensible to humans, and therefore totally unpredictable. In the end, we may well prefer human hackers. -- RF
The Car of the Future Will Sell Your Data
As smarter vehicles become troves of personal information, get ready for coupon offers at the next stoplight.
Obviously, the people (CIA trolls?) quoted here criticizing so-called whataboutism don't agree. So, let's try another approach: If the 13 Russians should be indicted, then the countless Americans who have meddled in the affairs of other countries should also be indicted, right? Needless to say, they would not agree. You can't win, because — in any era — the empire du jour is right, and everyone else is wrong. -- RF
The US is protecting ISIS to weaken rivals, expand US occupation of Syria

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
CNN Doxxes Elderly Woman, Badgers At House Over Russian Trolls
We have always heard that a determined government prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich, and now we know it's true.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
How the Roman Empire can explain the dramatic rise in state violence

## Japan ##
Japan to buy at least 20 more F-35A stealth fighters - sources
Shrinking to survive: Japan's banks face a quiet crisis
Thousands of positions at risk as online upstarts threaten bloated megabanks
What Happened to China's Baby Bump?
Births are again trending down, despite the two-child policy.
Deflation is right around the bend.
New Subsidies For Coal, Nuclear in the Federal Budget
Nice to know our government is so generous, even rewarding corporate failure.
Just what we need: A bunch of amateurs shooting the place up. One can easily imagine the headlines: "Armed Teacher Accidentally Shoots Students, Principal," etc. -- RF

And finally...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


News Links, February 21, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
"Blockchain" Stocks Completely Disintegrate
With the close of the games this weekend approaching, some worry that the Olympics will instead saddle the region with a legacy of massive debt and the perpetual maintenance of a handful of hugely expensive venues that no one knows what to do with.

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Airfares could soar if airlines alter safety evacuations
Airfares would treble if airlines were forced to reduce passenger numbers to meet the reality of the evacuation of an aircraft in an emergency.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Philippines: Risks rising with China challenging US at sea
Mutually Assured Contempt at 2018 Munich Security Conference
The 2018 Munich Security Conference continued the trend of promoting a New Cold War while diplomats openly disparaged Russia and fretted over the Trump presidency.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
US protesters rally outside White House for gun control
Mines Linked to Child Labor Are Thriving in Rush for Car Batteries
The appetite for electric cars is driving a boom in small-scale cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some mines have been found to be dangerous and employ child labor.
Reliance on high-tech and non-solar energy inputs will ultimately doom such efforts. And there will never be 10 billion people on the planet. Famine, war, and disease will see to that. -- RF

Drinking alcohol plays role in living past 90, researchers say
Researchers report that a long-term survey found moderate coffee consumption, not being obese, moderate exercise -- and a drink or two -- were common among participants living past age 90.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Kim Dotcom: "Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn't Even A Hack"
Dotcom tweeted "Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn't even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why," adding "Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied."
Former British diplomat Craig Murray also claimed from the outset that it was a leak, not a hack, and that he knows the leaker's identity. He too has never been contacted by US investigators. -- RF
Take off the terrorist's mask, and it's the CIA. Take off the revolutionary's mask, and it's the CIA. Take off the Hollywood producer's mask, and it's the CIA. Take off the billionaire tech plutocrat's mask, and it's the CIA. Take off the news man's mask, and guess what? It's the [bleep] CIA.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
The beauty in Robert Mueller's indictment of thirteen Russian Facebook trolls is that they'll never face trial, so Mr. Mueller will never have to prove his case.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Fat, unhealthy Americans threaten Trump's defense surge
Nearly three-quarters of Americans age 17 to 24 are ineligible for the military due to obesity, other health problems, criminal backgrounds or lack of education, according to government data.
Brain drain leaves Balkan nations on more uneven footing
Abe seeks more stimulus to keep economy humming beyond Olympics
Japanese prime minister aims to spur consumption and infrastructure investment
China ensnares vulnerable states in a debt trap
Cheap credits are used to secure influence and grab control of strategic assets
Not that China discovered this method... -- RF

## UK ##
'Much work needed' to make digital economy environmentally sustainable
MPs cast doubt on whether energy efficiency gains can keep offsetting rising power demand
KFC branches in UK forced to close because of chicken shortage

## US ##
Since Standing Rock, 56 Bills Have Been Introduced in 30 States to Restrict Protests
In the year since the last activists were evicted, the crackdown on journalists and activists has only intensified.
US Treasury Posts Gigantic $1.16 Trillion Shortfall in Fiscal 2017, Hilariously Points out "Where We Are Headed"
Just add tax cuts and ballooning expenditures. The media chose to silence the report to death.
The luxury market is largely overbuilt, while there is a shortage of affordable rental housing, and developers are hamstrung by the now record-high cost of construction.
The real problem facing the military is not a lack of funding. It's overuse.

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