Sunday, February 11, 2018

 

News Links, February 12, 2018

Necessary Fantasy: White House Estimates 3% Growth For a Decade
This Mall Is Only for the Rich, and It's Doing Fine
The fanciest shopping center in America is expanding while the rest face a looming retail apocalypse.
German researchers find poverty risk increases with number of children
You are more likely to fall into poverty with each additional child you have, a new German study has found. Its financial backers have called for a fundamental re-think of the child benefits system.
Nothing surprising about these findings. Childraising in industrial societies is a very energy-intensive endeavor. Set against net energy decline, it's clear that each additional child imposes a heavy burden on parents. -- RF
Who will pay Vietnam's rising tax bill?
Communist Party grapples with how to raise state revenues without stoking perceptions it taxes the poor more than the rich
Bridgewater Bets Big against Largest Banks in Spain & Italy
World's largest hedge fund puts down $13 billion to profit from trouble in Europe.
Though no one in the financial sector dares say this in public, the possibility that central banks can no longer sustain the illusion that risk has been vanquished is now front and center.

Coincheck hackers turned $4.6m of NEM into other cryptocurrencies
Darknet website facilitating laundering of stolen virtual currency
The supercomputer was not supposed to be connected to the internet - to prevent intrusion - and once the scientists attempted to do so, the nuclear centre's security department was alerted.
Iceland is expected to use more energy "mining" bitcoins and other virtual currencies this year than it uses to power its homes.

## Airline death spiral ##
Airlines complain about Mexico passenger arrival fee increase
Russia concerned by attacks in Syria, calls for restraint: Ministry
Duterte warns he'll order navy to fire if sea wealth taken
The Philippine president says he has no intention of going into war over territorial feuds but will order the navy to fire if other countries extract resources from waters within his country's exclusive economic zone.
Maldives unrest shapes into proxy fight for China and India
Egypt army announces major operation in Sinai, Nile Delta
19 police in Mexican state charged in kidnappings, killings
US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps General Joe Dunford has arrived in Bangkok to emphasize that America is "not a declining power."
If you have to say it, it's already a problem. -- RF
U.S. Misses Opportunity for Korean Peace at Olympics
Despite President Moon's efforts to encourage diplomacy, the childish anti-diplomatic behavior of Vice President Pence undermined an opportunity for peace diplomacy at the opening of the Olympic Games.
Pence doesn't understand that the first step on the path toward peace is conversation (no, I don't mean dialog, which comes later). Simple engagement in light conversation is what breaks the ice. "Nice weather we're having." "Do you prefer coffee or tea?" "How are your kids?" "Last week our dog really did eat our daughter's homework!" This is what establishes a rapport between the parties because it appeals to what makes us all human. Pence's childish attitude shows that he's not interested in peace, just subjugation. -- RF
As two Koreas edge closer, US and Japan grow wary
Kim Jong Un may be using Seoul to approach Washington
Here's what war with North Korea would look like
A full-blown war with North Korea wouldn't be as bad as you think. It would be much, much worse.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Hundreds gather at Bangkok's Democracy Monument to demand election
Anti-fascist protesters rally in flashpoint Italian town

## Energy/resources ##
Russian LNG Cargo Sparks Doubts About U.S. Energy Dependence
Party On, Dudes (Kunstler on the shale oil industry)
There is a similarity to Japan's whaling industry.  Just as with that industry, money is poured into the shale oil industry to keep it viable, without regard to whether or not it's actually profitable. -- RF
Grief counseling for farmers as milk prices collapse (US)
With milk prices declining to levels seen 20 years ago, the dairy co-op Agri-Mark this month sent farmers phone numbers for suicide prevention hotlines and other mental health services along with the latest market forecasts.
The suicide rate for people working in agriculture is more than double that of military veterans.

## Solutions ##
Technology and Its Discontents

## Environment/health ##
As the Frozen North becomes, well, less-frozen, plenty of ancient and unsettling things could emerge from the great permafrost thaw, like giant viruses and vast stores of greenhouse gases. Apparently we need to add the neurotoxin mercury to that list.
Power plants' coal ash reports — Toxins leaking into groundwater

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
The U.S.'s Hypocrisy On 'Political Intervention' In Elections
'This is Nuts': Liberals Launch 'Largest Mobilization in History' in Defense of Russiagate Probe
Hundreds of thousands have pledged to take to the streets if Special Counsel Robert Mueller is removed, reflecting misplaced priorities and some fundamental misunderstandings, report Coleen Rowley and Nat Parry.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Five Reasons To Be Absolutely Certain That The Establishment Is Lying About Syria

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Venezuela Is Moving From Crisis To Collapse
"It's Madness" - 'Mad Max' Violence Soars On Venezuela's Lawless Roads
Last week, President Trump announced his proposal for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure program in his State of The Union address to the American people. He failed to mention that over the next decade, the federal government would provide very little money whatsoever for America's crumbling bridges, rails, roads, and waterways.

## Japan ##
Japanese govt. debt at record high
Japan faces water quality issues ahead of 2020 Olympic Games
The sporting world's attention may on the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, but next door in Japan construction costs are soaring and water quality problems are causing headaches for organisers of the 2020 Games.
Japan's impoverished are finding it hard to enjoy freedom
Japanese foreign minister warns against N Korea's 'smile diplomacy'

## China ##
Police in China are wearing facial-recognition glasses
Chinese local governments rush to admit fake data
Coming clean often leads to more central government subsidies
To protect them from the torch- and pitchfork-wielding hoi polloi? -- RF
Trump signs deal to end brief government shutdown, increase U.S. spending
A brief U.S. government shutdown ended on Friday after Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law a wide-ranging deal that is expected to push budget deficits into the $1 trillion-a-year zone.




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