Thursday, July 20, 2017


News Links, July 21, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Indonesia Struggles to Fire Up Its Economy
5 Charts That Prove That the US Economy Is Weakening Fast
Debt Ceiling Concerns Start to Surface in Treasury Bills
U.S., Canada, Mexico agree on fast-paced NAFTA talks - sources
In Mongolia's yurt slums, nomads dream of city life
Harley-Davidson Spirals Down, Announces US Layoffs, Builds Factory in Thailand
Ex-Caja Madrid Chairman Blesa Found Dead With Gunshot Wound
Miguel Blesa, the former chairman of Caja Madrid who for many Spaniards came to represent the management excesses that helped cause the country's banking crisis, was found dead with a gunshot wound, police said.
Bank of America Pulls Ripcord on Chinese Conglomerate HNA
The Death Spiral of Financialization
The primary driver of our economy--financialization--is in a death spiral. Financialization substitutes expansion of interest, leverage and speculation for real-world expansion of goods, services and wages.
Greece Approved for $1.8 Billion Conditional Loan From IMF
Secular Disinflationary Trend Hits New Highs: Deflation on Deck? What's That Mean for Gold?
Wage and CPI inflation, even core inflation, has surprised to the downside four consecutive months. If a recession hits, and that is just a matter of time, outright price deflation is likely.
Bank of Japan keeps monetary policy steady, cuts inflation expectations
There will be great weeping and gnashing of teeth when the US economy crashes and these "assets" become worthless overnight. What are the buyers thinking? -- RF
Three Years Into Cheap Oil, Gulf Is Still Depending on a Rebound
Energy-rich Gulf Arab nations have scrambled to adjust to the slump in oil prices since 2014. Three years on, their economies are mired in weak growth and largely just as dependent on crude as they ever were.
Ain't gonna happen. -- RF
Chinese ships heading for joint exercises with Russia in the Baltic Sea
Controversial French anti-terror bill clears hurdle
The goal of the sanctions is to prevent the Nicolas Maduro government from having things its way at a July 30 election for a Constituent Assembly that, the U.S. administration believes, would serve to cement Maduro's power and turn Venezuela into a "full dictatorship."
That is, in short, election meddling! -- RF
Germany Blocks Defense Exports To Turkey In "Worst Crisis Since World War II"
The "worst crisis between Germany and Turkey since World War II" just took another turn worse, after German media reported that in the latest escalation to date between Berlin and Ankara, Chancellor Angela Merkel will freeze present and future Turkish orders of defense goods amid souring diplomatic relations between the two nations, Bild Zeitung said citing unidentified govt officials.
But renewables won't support civilization as we know it. For example, see here and here. -- RF
It just goes to show that with resources, quality is everything. -- RF
Satellite snafu masked true sea-level rise for decades
Revised tallies confirm that the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating as the Earth warms and ice sheets thaw.

Call for increase in spy powers against terror
Australia's foreign spy agencies could gather intelligence on "classes" of Australians involved with terrorist organisations to help stop lone wolf attacks or help the military target terrorists, under recommendations from a high-level review.
Cyberattack in Ukraine may not have been Russian
Some US authorities and 'private researchers' claim NotPetya attack was either carried out by Moscow or backed by it, but the evidence is questionable
Russiagate Exposed: It's a Fraud

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
The Price for Criticizing Israel
Israel is well-known for having a potent U.S. lobby that not only influences Congress and the mainstream media but intimidates Americans who dare criticize its policies toward the Palestinians.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
The Over-Quantification of Life
Governor's Plan for Fancy Light Shows on Bridges Draws Jeers in City Where Subways Don't Work
Decaying infrastructure taking a toll on America
America's infrastructure is in a state of crisis. Roads and train lines are old, dangerous and cost the country billions of dollars in economic growth. Trump wants to repair damages but he is at the mercy of investors.
NYC Subway Station Spending Questioned as Delays Increase
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's plan to spruce up New York subway stations with lighting, wireless access, countdown clocks and video-screen signage would be better spent fixing equipment that's causing breakdowns and delays, according to a business-backed research group.
World's Plastic Waste Could Bury Manhattan 2 Miles Deep

## UK ##
Did the City of London Just Press the Panic Button on Brexit?
Oh the irony: EU capitals are trying to attract the very institutions that caused some of the worst financial scandals of the last ten years.
Hackers 'Likely Compromised' UK Energy Targets
The fact that this barbaric, authoritarian practice somehow has legal protection in these United States says so much about the state of the nation and the level of thuggishness we're willing to put up with as a people.
S&P 500's Biggest Pension Plans Face $382 Billion Funding Gap
People who rely on their company pension plans to fund their retirement may be in for a shock: Of the 200 biggest defined-benefit plans in the S&P 500 based on assets, 186 aren't fully funded.
And finally...
3 California Counties File Multi-Billion Dollar Lawsuits Against "Big Oil" Over Rising Sea Levels
Taiwan woman divorces husband who ignored her text messages
A woman in Taiwan has been granted a divorce, using the "Read" indicators on the Line messages she had sent to her husband as proof that he had been ignoring her.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


News Links, July 19, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Fears of "Doom Loop" between Italian Banks and Government Bonds Resurface
No matter what the "experts" from the IMF and central banks say, and no matter what actions governments take, it's impossible to save a system that's unsustainable from the get-go. And likewise for the energy system. There will be no deliverance by junk energy like shale oil, oil sand, or methane hydrate, and renewables won't save the day, either. There's nothing to do now but make new arrangements and brace for impact as the global economy hurtles toward inevitable self-destruction. Have a nice day! -- RF

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Rural India Is Recovering From the Cash Ban

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Amid disputes, Indonesia renames part of South China Sea
The Logic in North Korean 'Madness'
North Korea's nuclear deterrent is a logical – not crazy – reaction to U.S. "regime change" wars in Iraq and Libya, two countries attacked after they surrendered their WMD stockpiles.
Netanyahu Pushes Trump Toward Wider Wars
Russia-gate is empowering Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to strong-arm President Trump into escalating the Syrian war by abandoning a recent cease-fire and challenging Iran and Russia.

## Migrants/refugees ##
EU to restrict rubber boat sales to Libya to curb migrant smuggling

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Venezuelan opposition calls for nationwide strike
Commandeering parking lots, road surfaces, rooftops, and the like for PV panels is being sold as a clever and "efficient" win-win solution, but it's actually an indication of the staggeringly vast land area needed for renewables to challenge fossil fuels. For a detailed discussion on the incomparably large difference between the land areas required by fossil fuels and renewables, read Vaclav Smil's Power Density. -- RF
Are More Bankruptcies On The Way For U.S. Oil?
Something that's been whispered about in the last few months is now being talked about loudly: U.S. oil drillers' debts. There have been a few notable warnings that shale boomers might want to slow down their production boost lest they bring on another price crash, but the truth seems to be that they can't do it: they have debts to service.
If we were to ever successfully harness the forces that power the stars, mankind could have access to power that is almost literally too cheap to meter.
"Too cheap to meter"? Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, nuclear fission was also going to be "too cheap to meter," but it turns out that the cost is staggeringly high, and future generations will be left "holding the bag." There are always costs for energy, and it will be no different for fusion power, if it's ever achieved. -- RF
My back-of-the-envelope calculation says that amount will keep the world supplied for less than two weeks. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
'It's raining needles': Drug crisis creates pollution threat (US)
They hide in weeds along hiking trails and in playground grass. They wash into rivers and float downstream to land on beaches. They pepper baseball dugouts, sidewalks and streets. Syringes left by drug users amid the heroin crisis are turning up everywhere.
Biggest snowfall in decades blankets Chile's capital

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
CNN pays US airports for broadcast at over 2000 gates

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Pentagon study declares American empire is 'collapsing'
Report demands massive expansion of military-industrial complex to maintain global 'access to resources'
China Walmart Killings: Why Violent Crimes In Retail Stores Are More Frequent
Staving Off the Coming Global Collapse
'Overshoot' is when a species uses resources faster than can be replenished. We're already there. And show no signs of changing.
Why 2017 Is Like 1969
A deeply polarizing new president, a disastrously misguided official narrative that the political Establishment doggedly supports despite a damning lack of evidence, and an economy teetering on the edge of recession--and worse.
With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons
One of the most under-discussed yet consequential changes in the American political landscape is the reunion between the Democratic Party and the country's most extreme and discredited neocons. While the rise of Donald Trump, whom neocons loathe, has accelerated this realignment, it began long before the ascension of Trump and is driven by far more common beliefs than contempt for the current president.
Of $847 billion in Direct Loan program, only $535 billion is actually being paid back at the moment.
Retirement Dread Is Replacing the American Dream
The government's latest report on Social Security is bad enough. Trends in income inequality and health care make it worse.
Police arrived on scene and Damond went to meet the officers. As she spoke to the officer in the driver seat, the officer in the passenger seat pulled out his gun and shot her.

Sunday, July 16, 2017


News Links, July 17, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Jobs and Inflation: Gradually and Then Suddenly
The Fed and the ECB believe they can tighten and taper without killing the market so long as they jawbone this constantly.
First of all, there won't be any growth. Second, mid-size cities will turn into disaster areas just as bad as megacities, only on a smaller scale. At this time, when energy is grossly underpriced, deliveries are still being made and cities look like "markets." -- RF
ADB: climate change will reverse Asian growth
The Asian Development Bank has warned that unabated climate change would have devastating consequences for economies in Asia and the Pacific.
This will of course be one factor turning big cities — which according to the article above this one are supposedly going to be the engines of growth — into hell-holes. -- RF
They look like bulldozer-ready piles of junk to me, but you be the judge. -- RF

## Energy/resources ##
Junk oil: Trump admin approves oil company's Arctic drilling plan
Arctic drilling, like oil sand and shale oil, is touted as a matter of "making more oil available with new technologies," but these are in fact all acts of desperation. With conventional oil having peaked and with a serious deficit of new discoveries, the oil industry is going after these high-cost substitutes (i.e., junk oil) at the same time as declining consumer affordability keeps oil prices low. It's a deadly combination that's slowly killing the oil industry and taking industrial society with it. -- RF
Junk oil: The Mighty U.S. Shale Oil Industry To Lose Another $20 Billion In 2017
Well, it looks like the U.S. shale oil industry is going to chalk up another lousy year of financial losses in 2017.  This shouldn't be a surprise as the U.S. shale oil industry hasn't made any real money since 2008.
Oil majors' debt levels have ballooned with aggregate debt reaching nearly $300 billion in 2014, up from just under $200 billion in 2009 according to S&P's estimates.
Wind power curtailment is regularly necessary for relieving the pressure on the grids.

## Got food? ##
Drought in High Plains the worst some farmers have ever seen
Drought in North Dakota is laying waste to fields of normally bountiful food and hay crops and searing pastures that typically would be home to multitudes of grazing cattle.
Chemicals found in mac and cheese powder might pose serious health threat, study says

Brazil's Environment Min proposes shrinking Amazon reserve
Brazil's Environment Ministry is proposing to open up 860,000 acres of a protected reserve in the Amazon to logging, mining and agricultural use.
Too many humans. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Australia to compel technology firms to provide access to encrypted missives
Australia on Friday proposed new laws to compel companies such as U.S. social media giant Facebook (FB.O) and device manufacturer Apple (AAPL.O) to provide security agencies access to encrypted messages.
Calls for law change after Indians left in dark over data leaks
Fears Indian telecom upstart Reliance Jio suffered a major data breach, compromising the personal data of over 100 million customers, have prompted calls for India to adopt more robust laws to protect consumers.
Co-Founder Of Trump-Russia Dossier Firm Cancels Testimony While Lynch Claims Ignorance
The ongoing efforts to bring down Donald Trump are unraveling at an accelerating pace.
US and UK acting above the law to support the Saudi war in Yemen
A former State Department war crimes expert warns that arms sales to Saudi Arabia is 'prohibited' under US law - but the lethal exports still go ahead
Everybody Is Forgetting That Clinton Allies Did The Same Thing As Don Jr.
Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort's lone meeting with the Russian lawyer pales when compared to the coordination between Clinton allies and Ukrainian government officials who hoped to see Clinton win the 2016 election.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned a bipartisan gathering of U.S. governors on Saturday that government regulation of artificial intelligence is needed because it's a "fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization."
Presumably robots and other embodiments of AI will run on electricity. Hence, these too will stop when energy systems fail, as when the financial system collapses. -- RF
DHS, CBP Admit They Have No Legal Authority To Access Americans' Social Media Accounts

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
How Russia-gate Met the Magnitsky Myth
A documentary debunking the Magnitsky myth, which was an opening salvo in the New Cold War, was largely blocked from viewing in the West but has now become a factor in Russia-gate.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
We Do These Things Because They're Easy: Our All-Consuming Dependence on Debt
A world in which "we do these things because they're easy" has one end-state: collapse.
Scrambles against China planes drop
The Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighter jets a total of 101 times against Chinese aircraft in April-June, down by 98 from a year before, the Defense Ministry said Friday.
Electric cars will fuel huge demand for power, says National Grid
Increase in peak electricity demand could be more than capacity of planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power station by 2030
Fracking firms struggling to raise money from UK banks amid environment protests
Is California Bailing Out Tesla through the Backdoor?
The California state Assembly passed a $3-billion subsidy program for electric vehicles, dwarfing the existing program. The bill is now in the state Senate. If passed, it will head to Governor Jerry Brown, who has not yet indicated if he'd sign what is ostensibly an effort to put EV sales into high gear, but below the surface appears to be a Tesla bailout.
States in crisis: Embroiled in the worst budget battles since the Great Recession
Faced with tight revenues, tax-weary voters and uncertainty about the impact of federal tax and budget policies, lawmakers and governors are wrestling over what has become one of the toughest rounds of annual state budget battles since the Great Recession.
Neocons Enlist in Anti-Trump #Resistance
The neocons, who have influenced U.S. foreign policy since the 1980s, inflicting grave damage on U.S. interests and the world, are reinventing themselves as soldiers in the anti-Trump #Resistance.

And finally...

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