Thursday, October 31, 2019


News Links, November 1, 2019

The Shady Truth Behind The Aramco IPO
Pace of pro-business reforms slows across Asia
New World Bank survey shows trade tensions and slowing economic growth are grinding business reforms to a halt
Industry Pressures Result in More Job Cuts, Store Closures
In more bad news for retail pharmacy, Walgreens cut corporate staff and Sacramento-based Raley's is closing pharmacies in 27 of its stores.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Think Tank Unveils Report Card on US Military Strength
Despite the Pentagon's efforts to ready itself for war on the future battlefield, the U.S. war machine would be "hard pressed" to handle two major military operations at the same time, according to an annual report card from the Heritage Foundation.
US Forces Untrained, Unready For Russian, Chinese Jamming
Training for electronic warfare threats is too easy, leaving troops dangerously unready for great power conflict. Scenarios are so unrealistic that one officer called them "garbage."
The Age of Anger Exploding in Serial Geysers (Pepe Escobar)
South America, Again, Leads Fight Against Neoliberalism
• War on Iran

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Police fire tear gas at protesters in Bolivia election unrest
Idled frac fleets sold for scrap amid shale drilling slump
The downturn in shale drilling has been so steep and brisk that oilfield companies are taking the unprecedented step of scrapping entire fleets of fracing gear.
Will OPEC+ Declare War On U.S. Shale?
This is ridiculous. Producers with good conventional oil need only relax and wait for shale to die of its own accord. -- RF
There is no green economy without copper (and nickel, cobalt, vanadium, praseodymium… go down the periodic table if you must). Big Mining has failed to grasp the opportunity presented by climate change.
African countries rush to sign nuclear deals with Russia
But concerns are being raised about whether they can all afford nuclear energy.
The fight to stop Nestlé from taking America's water to sell in plastic bottles
Creek beds are bone dry and once-gushing springs are reduced to trickles as fights play out around the nation over control of nation's freshwater supply

## Got food? ##

## Solutions ##
Why you should embrace a minimalist retirement

## Environment/health ##
What's "out of control" on a global level is the human population. However, while the subject of the article is admittedly a real problem for the local humans, the good news is that net energy decline is rapidly crimping human population growth, and helping restore balance. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Cyber attack on Asia ports could cost $110 billion: Lloyd's
• War on Julian Assange

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Coming eventually to a country near you. Consider Venezuela a bellwether and prepare accordingly. -- RF
Techno-fix futures will only accelerate climate chaos – don't believe the hype
It's likely that for strategic reasons China does not want to become too dependent on the US for food. -- RF
Just one thing. Significant features of this vision aren't necessarily unique to China. You can find them around the world and throughout the ages. -- RF
China says its manufacturing activity shrank for the sixth straight month in October
Again, the experts are missing the root cause, which is net energy decline. If high-quality energy is cheap and plentiful, people will spend money more freely, have more sex, and be more inclined to have children. -- RF
Are we destined to become the next Venezuela?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019


News Links, October 30, 2019

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Halt All New Home Construction In Dubai Or Face Economic Disaster, Top Builder Warns
An attempt to freeze China out of the US dollar system will hasten decoupling, but not to America's advantage
The reported US plan to target China in a financial war, if put in motion, would be the latest Trump move to leverage the US dollar's privileged position to advance geopolitical objectives. It would deepen mistrust of the US and hasten the search for an alternative financial system
Will MMT Work as Intended, Or Will It Trigger the Collapse of "Money"?
To add a bit to my tirade against MMT (and other monetary nonsense) on Monday, some people will claim that because we can also buy raw material resources (such as ores or roundwood), finished goods, and services with money, my claim that money just stands for energy is mistaken. Note, however, that without energy, any material resource you might obtain would have a value of precisely zero. And there would also be no services or finished goods. Energy is needed to "unlock" the potential value of material resources. In other words, material resources are only incidental to energy. In the final analysis, everything comes down to energy. -- RF

In particular, cashless societies and cryptocurrencies hinge on well-nigh faultless IT, not to mention power supplies. -- RF

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Turkey, Russia in negotiations for potential Su-35 jet deal
Turkish and Russian government officials are in an "advanced stage of negotiations" to finalize a potential deal on Russian-made Su-35 fighter aircraft, Turkish officials said.
Trump also highlighted a potential U.S. energy market opportunity by tapping into Syrian oil.
And that's the plan for Venezuela, too. All the major players on the global chessboard are grabbing everything they can because they know that controlling the oil means controlling the world. They also know that military forces powered by fossil fuels will crush military forces that rely on renewables. -- RF
About Trump Wanting Iraq's Oil Fields
What the president advocated was one of the most telling statements of his presidency. It amounted to an admission that he is perfectly willing to commit a war crime.
Chinese military plane enters South Korea's airspace
A Chinese military plane entered South Korea's air defense identification zone after sending prior notification on Tuesday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, in a turnaround from China's practice of breaching the zone without notice.
• War on Iran

## Migrants/refugees ##
Tens of thousands of migrants evade Border Patrol during year of record apprehensions

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
The largest banking lenders to the oil and gas sector are becoming more cautious, marking down their expectations for oil and gas prices that underpin loans in a move expected to put further financial stress on struggling producers, industry and banking sources said.
We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe (Scientific American)
River of Trash: How Plastic Pollution Is Making Central American Communities Uninhabitable
California's blackouts reveal health care's fragile power system
Providing health care when electricity isn't a guarantee

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
OPCW Losing Credibility As Even More Revelations Surface On Douma
Caliph closure: 'He died like a dog'
Trump's victory-lap movie version buries the embarrassing story of deploying tanks to 'protect' Syrian oilfields
Since Donald Trump was elected president the New York Times' understanding of the 'Deep State' evolved from a total denial of its existence towards a full endorsement of its anti-democratic operations.
New York Times Confirms: It's Trump Versus the Deep State (American Conservative)
Even the Gray Lady admits the president is up against a powerful bureaucracy that wants him sunk.
All that ridicule of the deep state theory, and now suddenly it becomes mainstream. This is a serious matter. In a democracy, unelected bureaucrats are supposed to implement the programs set forth by elected officials, not take matters into their own hands. -- RF

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
London Times Runs Fake Browder Opinion Piece
Ben Brandon and Alex Bailin are London lawyers who have co-authored a fake story based on fabrications by William Browder about Russia's legal action against his tax evasion and the death of his accountant, Sergei Magnitsky. The writers of this London Times op ed managed to put eight lies into just five opening lines.
Yale in academic censorship row in Singapore

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
All 6 East Coast Carriers In Dock, Not Deployed: Hill Asks Why
As the Navy scrambles to get enough parts and people to move carriers back out to sea, it's facing a crowded waterfront at Norfolk.
A Drug Cartel Just Defeated The Mexican Military In Battle
Mexico is in a state of collapse, and Americans need to realize that the crisis underway south of the Rio Grande won't stop at the border.
• War on Huawei
Pets and human toddlers don't understand what's happening when they're dressed up in costumes or the latest in baby fashion. It's all meant to feed the egos and tickle the funny bones of adults. -- RF
The Islamic State leader died after running into the end of a tunnel, "whimpering and crying and screaming all the way," as he was chased by American military dogs, Trump said.
Big talk comes cheap when you have the world's biggest military at your disposal and are surrounded by a small army of highly trained bodyguards 24/7. My guess is that if Trump were cornered by a death squad and facing certain death, he would be on his hands and knees squealing for mercy, just like any other ordinary human being. -- RF

Sunday, October 27, 2019


News Links, October 28, 2019

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
India's central bank quashes reports of selling gold reserves
SoftBank to Book Loss of up to $7 Billion on WeWork, Uber, Others, after Showering $1.7 Billion on Neumann and Hanging his Employees Out to Dry
However many billions of other people's money your outfit burns, just make sure you walk away a billionaire.
Fears Of A Global Financial Meltdown Loom Over Oil Markets
India's Refinery Run Rates Hit 15 Year Lows
India, one of the drivers of oil demand growth in Asia and the world, has just seen its oil imports drop to three-year lows and fuel processing rates plunge to a 15-year low, as slowing economic growth is taking its toll on demand.
No, and for a simple reason: energy, not money, makes the world go around. Let's say you have issued a million currency units (CUs), and your economy has a certain stock of energy at its disposal. Since money is nothing but tokenized energy, each CU is worth one-millionth of the energy stock. Now, with a few taps on a computer keyboard you issue another million CUs. So you have double the number of CUs, but does that mean your energy stock has doubled? Of course not. Now each CU is worth only half as much energy as before. Because energy, not money, powers the socioeconomic system, you haven't gotten anywhere, and your issuance of more CUs is just self-deception, and an exercise in futility. -- RF
No, because birthrates are chiefly a function of energy. Unless some new, highly dense, and inexpensive form of energy is found and made available to society, forget about filling those empty cradles. -- RF

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Eyeing oilfields, U.S. aims to reinforce position in Syria: official
As I have said, learn Mandarin. You might not like the reason why, but that is the way the world works, and indeed has always worked. In the past, everyone learned Latin, but it wasn't necessarily because they were in love with the Roman Empire. -- RF
• War on Venezuela
• War on Iran

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
A surge in protests around the world in October
Global protests gaining attention in financial markets
An alarming spread of street protests and civil unrest across the world in recent weeks looms large on the radar of financial markets, with investors wary the resulting pressures on stretched government finances will be one of many consequences.
The troubled Saudi Aramco IPO: It's what you can't see that counts

## Got food? ##
Electric fishing kills 57% of the seabed's population, study reveals
By sending electric shocks into sediments, beam trawlers caught flatfish more easily. But in the process, it destroyed half of the organisms which lived at the lowest level of the body of water, also known as "benthic species".
Thirst turns to anger as Australia's mighty river runs dry
Reduced to a string of stagnant mustard-coloured pools, fouled in places with pesticide runoff and stinking with the rotting carcasses of cattle and fish, the Darling River is running dry.

It's hard to say how much truth there is to this claim. If the story about the killing of Osama bin Laden is any guide, we may never know. -- RF
• War on Julian Assange
Did This Happen in the Home of the Magna Carta?
In a special comment written for Consortium News, John Pilger, legendary filmmaker, journalist and friend of Assange, describes the troubling scene inside a London courtroom this week where the WikiLeaks publisher appeared in his U.S. extradition case.
It won't stop with military forces. Whole societies and economies will collapse — and indeed have already begun to collapse. Don't get caught flat-footed. Most curious here is that although the report notes the consequences of power grid failure, it does not anticipate the most serious result: loss of offsite power to nuclear power plants. Once offsite power is lost, there is only a short time until diesel fuel for backup generators runs out, and under the dire circumstances predicted in the report, there will be little to no hope of further deliveries. The meltdowns and fireworks start once reactor cores and spent fuel pools overheat (think Fukushima). With so many nuclear power plants throughout the world, there's no place to hide. Incidentally, some readers might recall the paper "Deep Adaptation." -- RF
Thousands of bridges across the United States are crumbling. Thousands more are on their way there.

## Japan ##
Japan to tighten gasoline sale rules after Kyoto arson attack
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency will revise an ordinance and oblige gas stations and other sellers to conduct ID checks and ask customers the reason for the purchase, possibly starting next February, the officials said.

School funding boost 'too little too late', say hundreds of protesting parents
Buildings are 'crumbling' and schools are still closing early on Fridays, families say
With Little Fanfare, William Barr Formally Announces Orwellian Pre-Crime Program
A recent memorandum authored by Attorney General William Barr announced a new "pre-crime" program inspired by "War on Terror" tactics and is set to be implemented next year.

And finally...
Check their stress levels after the traffic jams start. -- RF

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