Thursday, February 01, 2018

 

News Links, February 2, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Nine Reasons Why Globalization Can't Be Permanent
South Korea Has No Intention To Ban Bitcoin, Finance Minister Confirms
Now even YouTube serves ads with CPU-draining cryptocurrency miners
Ad campaign lets attackers profit while unwitting users watch videos.
Inside Asia's bitcoin economy
Crypto startups scramble amid regulatory pressure
Unless energy efficiency improves dramatically, demand for cryptocurrencies will eventually be self-limiting.
The article nevertheless assumes that we will always have power grids and the internet. I stand by my prediction that we face a future without them. -- RF
Cryptocurrencies crash after India vows to eliminate their use
German president warns on cryptocurrencies
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday warned the financial sector that it had a responsibility to prevent speculation and the formation of trading bubbles in the cryptocurrency market.

American Airlines May Raise Fares Due To Rising Fuel Costs
Fuel costs have increased almost 20 percent over the last year
Biometrics could replace boarding passes on international flights within 4 years

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Qatar to expand largest US airbase in MidEast to make it permanent, plans to host Navy

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protesters hurl trash on Ecuador ex-president's vehicle

## Energy/resources ##
We need much more realism like this in the debate on renewables. Nevertheless, our current socioeconomic system could not survive such a reduction in energy consumption. National leaders will do their best to continue providing extravagance for their citizens simply because they do not want to contend with torch- and pitchfork-wielding mobs. -- RF
The media are full of ballyhoo about this, but you won't hear anything about the cost of sustaining an unprofitable industry. It's as if a family spends $100 to buy ingredients to bake pies and makes $80 by selling them, then crows about how it sold so many pies. What's that do for their household finances? -- RF
Touted Energy "Reform" Goes Awry in Mexico
Dream of cheaper energy in an open market turns into nightmare.
Chevron Makes Major Oil Discovery In Deepwater Gulf Of Mexico
Researchers Say Fuel Cell Using Cobalt Could Bring Down Cost Dramatically
Although batteries might become cheaper, what really matters is the energy sources used to charge them. Net energy from fossil fuels is on the decline. The net energy of biofuels is too low in the first place to be of any use in sustaining industrial society. And other renewables (wind, PV, etc.) cannot hope to duplicate the extremely high net energy of fossil fuels in the past, which kick-started and built the industrial and high-tech world we now inhabit. -- RF
Asian Oil Companies Face $100B Well Decommissioning Bill
Asian state-owned oil companies—and taxpayers in the Asia-Pacific—are facing a potential bill of up to US$100 billion for the decommissioning of tens of thousands of oil wells drilled during the oil boom in the 1970s and 1980s.
Dutch watchdog urges slash to gas extraction to limit quakes
A mining watchdog advised the Dutch government Thursday to significantly reduce the amount of gas extracted from the Groningen region, saying a cut is necessary to lower the risk of damage from subsequent earthquakes.


## Environment/health ##
Megadams Not Clean or Green, Says Expert

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Of course it's awful, but keep in mind that you can find propaganda in the TV programming of any country. -- RF
Bernie Keeps Promoting The New Cold War, And Yes, We Need To Talk About It
In an otherwise fine video response to the last night's vapid, flag-waving State of the Union address, Bernie Sanders once again promoted the neocon think tank-generated and unproven claim that Russia interfered in America's 2016 elections via "cyberwarfare", and repeated the completely baseless insinuation that they colluded with Trump to do so.
Donald Trump's North Korea SOTU Rhetoric Is an Ominous Carbon Copy of Bush's Words About Iraq 15 Years Ago
Trump used exactly the same justifications for war with North Korea as Bush had for war with Iraq when standing at the same podium.

## Japan ##
2020 Tokyo Olympic costs keep rising
In late December, Tokyo Olympic organizers said the games would cost 1.35 trillion yen, which is about $12.4 billion at the present exchange rate of 109 yen to the dollar. But at a news conference last Friday, Koike said the city would spend an added 810 billion yen ($7.5 billion), bringing total games-related spending to 2.16 trillion yen (roughly $20 billion).
NEC restructuring will cut 3,000 workers
It's not hard to imagine that many people leave money in otherwise-unused accounts for a rainy day or retirement. But such accounts are now considered "dormant" and targeted by the government. Needless to say, it's another sign of desperation. -- RF
It's a continuation of the South China Sea strategy. Make the most extreme claims and demands you can, and doggedly stick to them. In the end, you are almost certain to get more than you would have by making conservative demands. -- RF
Xi Jinping fails to get formal backing from Theresa May on belt and road plan
President calls for respect of 'core interests' after UK leader says she hopes the two sides can work together to ensure initiative meets international standards
So-called Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs), which came into force on Wednesday, allow authorities to freeze and recover property if individuals cannot explain why they own assets worth more than their income and show they have acquired them legally.
Reminds one of police ripping the clothes off people who are too-well dressed. -- RF

## US ##
Will Congress Face Down the Deep State?
The House Intelligence Committee's vote on Monday to release a memorandum describing alleged malfeasance at the DOJ and the FBI could test constitutional principles.
No wonder the nation's savings rate is near-zero; most households don't earn enough to save much, and those that do are caught up in a nightmarish Red Queen's Race in which they save $10,000 a year but the asset they hoped to buy rose by $50,000.
The Brick-and-Mortar-Retail Meltdown in January
'Tis the season for bankruptcies.





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