Thursday, August 30, 2018

 

News Links, August 31, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
These 4 Charts Show How World Trade Has Collapsed In Just One Year
Monetary Stimulus Does Not Work. The Evidence Is In
WTF Just Happened in Argentina? Central Bank Hikes to 60%, Peso Collapses 24% in 2 Days, Macri Begs IMF for Faster Bailout
Trade resolution may help, but won't fix, auto industry decline, analyst says
While this article cites the "huge demand and an increasing trend toward yuan settlement" in Vietnam, another article on this topic in Nikkei Asian Review cites a "forex hazard" for both countries in using the US dollar for settlement. In a larger context, this move can be seen as part of the ongoing global de-dollarization trend. -- RF

## Airline death spiral ##
Airlines Are Suspending Flights Because Fuel Is Too Expensive
The price of jet fuel has continued to skyrocket over the last year, currently clocking in at a whopping 36.5 percent higher than at this time last year. In order to cope with the resulting massive increase in operational costs, commercial airlines have been reducing the number of flights run on select routes and are presently considering raising fares.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Grand Bargain Update: U.S. Offered to Pull Out of Syria
Where are the sanctions? -- RF
Army leadership began to take notice of its dwindling capabilities in what was once a core area of battlefield readiness after military studies showed that Russian cannons have far surpassed the American guns in range.
Back in the (Great) Game: The Revenge of Eurasian Land Powers
What is left roaming our wilderness of mirrors depends on the mood swings of the Goddess of the Market. No wonder an effect of Eurasia integration will be a death blow to Bretton Woods and "democratic" neoliberalism.
Modi heads to regional summit in shadow of China's growing sway
Indian leader to visit Nepal for meeting of seven-nation BIMSTEC bloc
Brazil suggests limiting Venezuelan entries, then backs off
What happens when collapse accelerates and people are fleeing multiple countries in the same region? -- RF

## Energy/resources ##
Iraq short on spare gas and diesel supplies
There's not enough to share and there are no agreements between the two Iraqi governments, a ministry official said.
French minister's exit may give EDF's nuclear plants new lease of life
The shock resignation of the French environment minister may mean that EDF can not only extend the lifespan of its ageing reactors but could even build new reactors in France, the world's most nuclear-reliant nation.
Air pollution can put a dent in solar power
Air pollution, especially in urban areas, can significantly reduce the power output from solar panels, and needs to be considered when design solar installations in or near cities.
With as many as four barrels of water produced for every barrel of oil, it's a disposal nightmare that could add as much as $6 a barrel to company break-evens by 2025, according to a recent Wood Mackenzie study.
Chinese soy buyers leave U.S. exporters show empty handed
An annual U.S. soy exporters' conference wrapped up on Wednesday without any known sales to Chinese buyers, in sharp contrast to previous years where billions of dollars of the main U.S. cash crop have been signed over to China in elaborate ceremonies.
A hot, dark, hungry future?
Too many people. -- RF
Too many people, too much consumption. -- RF
Central California is sinking at an accelerated rate
New research suggests Central California's San Joaquin Valley is once again sinking at an alarming rate, as groundwater is drained faster than it can be replenished.
Bees become 'addicted' to harmful pesticides, scientists warn

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Facebook 'mobs' attack conservative views within company, some employees say
Whom to believe? -- RF

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
How Tourists Are Destroying the Places They Love
Travel is no longer a luxury good. Airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet have contributed to a form of mass tourism that has made local residents feel like foreigners in cities like Barcelona and Rome. The infrastructure is buckling under the pressure.
It's an interesting analysis and he makes excellent points. However, one major factor is missing: the increasing cost of energy production. Specifically, oil is costing increasingly more to produce. Offshore, deepwater, shale... we are moving on to increasingly costly and difficult-to-produce oil, and that means the net energy delivered to society is on the decline. Shale oil (LTO) is so expensive to produce that it must steal energy to remain viable. It's no wonder that productivity growth is stalling. -- RF

## Japan ##
Japan labels North Korea a threat in annual defense review
Japan files complaint with Beijing after reporter blocked from covering Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi
Despite the protest, Tokyo says bilateral relations between the two regional rivals are improving
Becoming Serfs (Chris Hedges)
Moody's downgrades Ford's credit rating to one notch above junk bond status
The company's debt rating could be cut even further, to non-investment grade, by the middle of next year if it doesn't make "clear progress" on its turnaround plan.
Almost half of Americans can't pay for their basic needs
Four in 10 Americans are struggling to pay for their basic needs such as groceries or housing, a problem even middle-class households confront, according to a new study from the Urban Institute. 
Underpriced? Of course to Mr. Buffett, $1,000 is mere pocket change. -- RF


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

 

News Links, August 29, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Latest Freight Data Confirms Alarming Slowdown In Global Trade

## War on cash/cashless society/cryptocurrencies ##
Chinese bitcoin mining rig makers aim to raise billions in HK IPOs: sources

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
In its bid to counter Russia, US Air Force to spend $40M on Romanian air base

## Migrants/refugees ##
All onboard Australia-bound asylum-seeker boat found: reports

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Major prison strike spreads across US and Canada as inmates refuse food


## Environment/health ##
Mobile phone radiation may affect memory performance in adolescents

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
MQ-9 Reaper drones in Romania? It could happen soon
The U.S. Air Force has constructed a hangar at Romania's 71st Air Base at Campia Turzii, and it could be used to house MQ-9 Reapers and support intelligence-gathering operations around eastern Europe and the Black Sea.
Because they find out that their political careers depend on them getting with the program. -- RF
It's more a warning about the stupidity and carelessness of maintaining a private server with poor security, than a paean to the digital prowess of Chinese hackers. -- RF

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Facebook has deleted all of my posts from July 2017 to last week because I am, apparently, a Russian Bot.
Facebook bans Myanmar army chief, others in unprecedented move
How the Department of Homeland Security Created a Deceptive Tale of Russia Hacking US Voter Sites
The narrative about Russian cyberattacks on American election infrastructure is a self-interested abuse of power by DHS based on distortion of evidence.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Here's How We Ended Up with Predatory, Parasitic Elites
Combine financialization, neoliberalism and moral bankruptcy, and you end up with predatory, parasitic elites.

## China ##
Wealthy Chinese find currency controls crimping overseas investment options

## Japan ##
Solar plant building risks to be assessed
The Environment Ministry plans to add solar power plants to a list of projects subject to the government's environmental impact assessments (see below), as an increasing number of plans for large-scale solar power plants has led to a series of troubles between operators and residents over deforestation and landscape damage.
Japan says N Korea still poses serious and imminent threat
Certainly not. Here too is the refusal to see the problem as too many people. Of course the housing needs of existing people must be addressed. But here again we see the planning of a new development that is based on a clearly unsustainable model. In the unlikely event this development is built as planned, it'll end up as a ghost town. -- RF

## John McCain ##


Sunday, August 26, 2018

 

News Links, August 27, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Next Up: Global Synchronized Easing
Global economic tightening is a pipe dream. It hasn't happened yet, and likely won't.
A Shrinking Slice of the American Economic Pie
Workers' share of non-farm business income is near a record low
America's Hidden Debt
So Bloody Predictable: Sydney Ground Zero in Interest-Only Mortgage Implosion
Australia's housing boom is over. A recession is not far away.
As for future prospects for the union, the financier warned: "In the economy of the future, Europe will be an also-ran. On a five-to-10-year horizon, I see Chinese monetary dominance as inevitable. Forget Europe."
Macroeconomically, Russia, with unemployment at a record low, modest inflation and $400 billion of international reserves, is unlikely to collapse before the U.S. unleashes a global energy or debt crisis that could prompt its allies to desert it.
The group said at the time its corporate headquarters functions would be leaner as a result of tasks being outsourced, but gave no details of job losses.

## War on cash/cashless society/cryptocurrencies ##
Bank of Thailand to launch its own crypto-currency

## Airline death spiral ##
Time to End Cheap Flights
Air transport is simply far too cheap for the damage it causes and the resources it consumes.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Belt and Road: Thailand rolls out red carpet for 500 Chinese companies
Trade war makes Southeast Asian nation an attractive shelter from US tariffs
Russian Official Shocks By Urging Tactical Nuke Deployment In Syria After Bolton Warning
Israel Govt Revokes Citizenship of Israeli ISIS Members, Ignoring Own History of Assisting ISIS
While the recent decision to revoke the citizenship of alleged Daesh members has largely been framed as the Israeli government cracking down on terrorism, such narratives ignore Israel's own past support for the terror group over the course of the Syrian conflict.
As I noted previously, the US still hasn't revealed what its X-37B space plane is doing. This looks very much like a case of the pot calling the kettle black. -- RF

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Migrants aboard Italian coast guard ship begin hunger strike
Nuclear power is guaranteed to be the most polluting, dangerous, and lethal form of energy. Once the grid goes down and NPPs lose offsite power, it's just a matter of time until onsite backup power fails, and disaster strikes. With so many NPPs throughout the world, there are very few places to hide. Everyone is worrying about nuclear war, but despite the high probability, it's not 100%. By contrast, NPPs and their spent fuel pools are all ticking time bombs ready to blow once collapse starts and power is lost. -- RF

'Monsanto's History Is One Full of Vast Lies'
Following a successful lawsuit against Monsanto for concealing the cancer risks of its pesticide Round Up, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the case says the Bayer subsidiary is likely to face many more legal challenges in the future.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Your Smart Electricity Meter Can Easily Spy On You, Court Ruling Warns
Modern meters can track not only when you're not home, but what you're up to when you're there.
Trump accuses social media firms of 'silencing millions' (Reuters)
U.S. President Donald Trump accused social media companies on Friday of silencing "millions of people" in an act of censorship, but without offering evidence to support the claim.
Under the new Western evidence regime, Western governments are not required to present any evidence. For example, Britain's Theresa May has declared that Russia is behind the Skripal incident, but has offered no credible evidence whatsoever to support her claim. Despite that, the US government has unquestioningly accepted her claim. Why is Trump not extended the same courtesy to make his own evidence-free assertions? -- RF

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Julian Assange and the Fate of Journalism
Number 3 is closest to the mark, and it certainly won't be pie-in-the-sky number 4. -- RF
The verboten reality is our "wealth" is nothing but a sand castle of debt. Take away more borrowing and the castle melts away. I've gathered a selection of charts that show just how dependent we are on massive debt expansion that continues essentially forever, as any pause in debt expansion will collapse the entire system.

Framing the problem as a "land shortage" is just avoiding the truth, which is that there are too many people. That is one reason such problems never get solved. No matter how many humans there are, the problem is always framed as a "shortage" of land or resources or energy, never as too many people or too much consumption. -- RF

In sector after sector, the quality of the goods and services has declined while costs have soared. This is the acme of neofeudalism: insiders and the New Nobility are skimming fortunes as prices skyrocket and the quality of the goods and services provided plummet.
Amazon CEO and world's richest man Jeff Bezos makes more money in ten seconds than his company's median employee makes in an entire year, and thousands of Amazon workers are paid such low wages that they are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid, and other forms of government assistance to survive.
The engine is humming nicely and appears to be hitting on all eight. But open the hood and start poking around, and you soon discover that the engine has fatal mechanical problems. -- RF
Illinois Budget Out of Balance Again: Solution More Junk Bonds
An Illinois "Road Show" touts more junk bonds as a solution to a perpetual budget crisis. What a bunch of garbage.

## John McCain ##


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