Thursday, January 19, 2017


News Links, January 20, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Finance and Growth: The Direction of Causality

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Use of cards slowing as cash makes a comeback (India)

## Airline death spiral ##
Chinese woman held for refusing to turn off mobile phone on plane
While passengers shouldn't be allowed to have such items in their carry-on luggage, this looks like a laughable attempt to reinforce the absurd belief that people can hijack aircraft with box cutters. Sure, a few people might get cut, but when passengers come swinging heavy luggage at the would-be hijacker, how useful will the box cutter be? -- RF
A United passenger said he found a bomb threat in the bathroom. Feds say he wrote it.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##

Greece's disappearing refugees
The refugee camps on the Greek Aegean Islands are overflowing. As a result, a growing number of refugees are leaving the islands secretly and heading for Europe. And this could endanger the EU's deal with Turkey.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
U.S. protest group vows to disrupt Trump inaugural festivities

## Energy/resources ##
Rystad Energy: Global Oil, Gas Discoveries Drop To 70-Year Low
Oil and gas discoveries around the world dropped last year to their lowest since the 1940s after companies sharply cut back in their search for new resources amid falling oil prices.
It's part of the self-reinforcing downward spiral of our energy system. -- RF
UK Is Europe's Last Hope For A Fracking Success
Following poor success across Europe, including Poland, Ukraine, France, the Netherlands, and Denmark, the UK now remains the last candidate province for European shale gas and oil in the near term. And a fracking moratorium in Scotland has further reduced that to England & Wales.

Climate change to depress crop yields in the United States, new study claims
Scientists found for each additional day with temperatures above 86 degrees Fahrenheit, maize and soybean yields are reduced by 5 percent.
Under our current economic model, species perceived to have no direct economic benefit to humans are regarded as useless. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Wikileaks' founder Assange says stands by US extradition offer
The Ugly Specter of Torture and Lies
President Obama refused to hold "war on terror" torturers to account but punished truth-tellers severely, a bleak legacy not erased by Chelsea Manning's belated commutation.
The article is scant on details, but I imagine that mainstream corporate sources will be blessed, while alternative news sources will be labeled fake and shut out. -- RF
How the NYT Plays with History
By failing to tell the hard truth about Establishment wrongdoing, The New York Times — along with other mainstream U.S. media outlets — has destabilized American democracy.
'Year 2019 problem' looming over Japanese shipbuilders
The Japanese shipbuilding industry is again facing the prospect of building almost no ships at domestic shipyards, as orders for exports in 2016 plunged more than 80% from the previous year to a 24-year low.
Recall this item from January 18. -- RF
In no matter what country of the world, bubbles are now the only game in town. -- RF
Provided you have fat bundles of cash, you get to enjoy rights and privileges offered by no other jurisdiction on Planet Earth. The City of London's legal system takes US-style corporate personhood to a whole other level.
North Sea explorers focus on African fields in quest for low-cost oil
A two-year downturn in oil prices pushed companies to begin exploring in lower cost oil fields, which became even cheaper to investigate as service companies slashed their own costs.
 Nurse shifts left unfilled at nearly every hospital in England, figures show
[Obama] invested at least $34 billion to promote fossil fuel projects in other countries. That is three times as much as George W Bush spent in his two terms, almost twice that of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and Bill Clinton put together.
Obama's Bombing Legacy
President Obama has joked he still doesn't know why he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, but his record of waging war was no joke to thousands at the receiving end of U.S. bombs.

## POTUS-elect ##

And finally...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


News Links, January 18, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Does Immigration Boost Growth? A Look at Data From Around the World
Forty-four percent of business leaders firmly believe globalization has done virtually nothing, for example, to help close the gap between the rich and poor.
It's no surprise, therefore, that more than one in four Americans say that flying is either "unenjoyable or awful," according to a CNBC survey of 815 travelers published that same year, and that could be because their fellow passengers misbehave pretty often. The problem appears to be getting worse instead of better.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
What Is NATO And Why Does Trump Hate It? President-Elect Calls Alliance 'Obsolete' In Interview With London Newspaper
But will shale drillers make any money? -- RF
$25 trillion? Ain't gonna happen! -- RF
Pipeline in Canada needs replacing after 'mischief': police
A section of an intra-provincial oilfield pipeline under construction in Canada's oil heartland of Alberta needs replacement after being damaged by an act of "mischief," authorities said on Monday.
Remember: Hydrogen is not an energy source. It's just another kind of battery. -- RF
The fall armyworm that's native to the Americas has arrived in southern Africa for the first time, wiping out tens of thousands of acres of corn fields.

## Solutions ##
Draining the Swamp in Washington Through Community Banking

## Environment/health ##
North Dakota Governor: DAPL Likely to Get Easement Once Trump Is President

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC?
Russia-bashing is in full swing, and there does not appear to be any letup in sight. We are plunging headlong into a new Cold War, riding on a wave of propaganda-induced hysteria. The self-serving claims fueling this campaign need to be challenged every step of the way.
Half of Americans believe Russia interfered in U.S. presidential election: WSJ/NBC poll
A high percentage considering that the "evidence" presented so far is basically nothing more than speculation. And why don't polls ever ask people what they think of US meddling in other countries? -- RF
A Demand for Russian 'Hacking' Proof (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity)
More than 20 U.S. intelligence, military and diplomatic veterans are calling on President Obama to release the evidence backing up allegations that Russia aided the Trump campaign – or admit that the proof is lacking.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news ##
Russia Must be Destroyed: John McCain and the Case of the Dodgy Dossier

## Japan ##
Japan's elderly inmates prefer jail
Japan is in the midst of a geriatric crime wave such that its prisons increasingly look like nursing homes.
Care burden prompting more widows to cut off in-laws
An increasing number of Japanese, especially women, are choosing to terminate legal relations with in-laws after the death of a spouse.

## China ##
Top Chinese Judge Warns Against Judicial Independence
State media last weekend reported that Supreme People's Court Chief Justice Zhou Qiang warned the high court to resist ideologies that pose a threat to the Party, calling on it to: "resolutely oppose the influence of Western 'constitutional democracy,' 'separation of powers,' 'judicial independence' and other harmful ideas.
Affordable water in the U.S.: A looming crisis
If water rates continue rising at projected amounts, the number of U.S. households unable to afford water could triple in five years, to nearly 36 percent, a new study finds.
Democrats Lost in a Corporate Wilderness
Over the past quarter century, the national Democratic Party merged with the Clinton pay-for-play money machine and lost touch with American populism.
At the same time, there's too much emphasis on rebuilding the Democratic Party, at the expense of reforming the overall political-party and electoral system. Instead of concentrating on this, the US needs to change its de facto China-style one-party system and widen the political spectrum to allow the genuine participation of parties offering something other than the Republicrat globalist war agenda. The Democratic Party can only be "reformed" in the true sense of the word if it is forced to reform under pressure exerted by alternative voices that threaten the War Party monopoly. Political activists who believe that the Democratic and Republic branches of the War Party can be "reformed" under the current US political regime are dead wrong. -- RF
Companies Scramble to Avoid the "Trump Tweet"
Companies are fawning all over Trump, citing job creations that were already planned before Trump was elected.

## POTUS-elect ##
Trump's Remaking of US Foreign Policy
President-elect Trump is outlining a foreign policy that rejects the interventionist tenets of Washington's neocon/liberal-hawk establishment and puts U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control at the top of his agenda.
Donald Trump v. the Spooks
President-elect Trump is in a nasty slugfest with U.S. intelligence agencies as they portray him as a Russian tool and he blasts their attempt to delegitimize his election.
It's Not About Trump, But Us
The looming inauguration of Donald Trump has led many on the "liberal/left" to vow eternal resistance but this fury has obscured the need for self-reflection on how "progressives" have lost their way.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


News Links, January 16, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Welcome To The Third World, Part 21: This Pension Thing Is About To Get Real
Pre-Davos report calls for reforming capitalism to survive global backlash
World's eight richest as wealthy as half humanity, Oxfam tells Davos

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
Job cuts, fewer flights? Hong Kong airline Cathay set for overhaul

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Cashless welfare card: Future of scheme remains uncertain despite interest from towns (Australia)
The Federal Government is remaining tight-lipped about whether it will expand the use of a cashless welfare card, amid  more reports of people dodging the trial scheme and the restrictions it imposes.

## Airline death spiral ##
Cathay Pacific to reassign jobs, review business to reverse earnings slide

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Duterte Orders Troops to Blast Militants and Their Hostages
Philippine President Duterte Threatens to Impose Martial Law
Pro-Tibet Protesters Detained as China's Xi Arrives in Bern
World diplomats tell Trump, Israel: Mideast needs peace
Can Marine Le Pen Pull Off French Election Stunner? Germany a Loser No Matter Who Wins?
What Better Way for the Marines to Prepare for Future Wars Than With Sci-Fi?
Asian pirates focus on bigger ships off Philippines in hope of securing bigger ransom payments

## Migrants/refugees ##
Scores missing in migrant crossing in Mediterranean: Italy
UN alarmed at migrants dying of cold

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Pakistani Villagers Attack Qatari Prince's Hunting Party
ILO warns of rise in social unrest and migration as inequality widens

## Energy/resources ##
Blackout hits western and southern Libya
Will Our Grandchildren Wonder Why We Didn't Build a Renewable Power Grid When It Was Still Affordable?
Why Nuclear Power is not an alternative to fossil fuels

## Got food? ##
USDA report shows 10 percent of food stamps go to buying soda
Mauled by Peso Crash & Inflation, Mexico to Cut its Dependence on US Food Producers

## Environment/health ##
Gadget mountain rising in Asia threatens health, environment
The waste from discarded electronic gadgets and electrical appliances has reached severe levels in East Asia, posing a growing threat to health and the environment unless safe disposal becomes the norm.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Russian Security Chief Says Country Seeing More Cyberattacks

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news ##
America's Self-Destructive Obsessions
The U.S. population is led from one hysteria to the next, now transitioning from the Global War on Terror to the New Cold War with Russia, a fearful madness that is infecting the collective psyche.
Facebook to begin labeling fake news for German users
The Dodgy Trump Dossier Reminds Me of the Row Over Saddam's WMDs

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Technology gives, but is so easily taken away

## Japan ##
More bird flu, 80,000 chickens culled
Japan to stop coddling its rice farmers
There's going to be a lot of heavy regret down the road. -- RF
Japan bankruptcies hit 26-year low in 2016 on financial assistance
Pipe checks at Japan's nuclear control rooms conducted without removing insulation
Japan gropes for cyberattack solution as victims suffer in silence

## China ##
China urges shipbuilders to venture abroad
China wants its shipyards to look actively for acquisitions overseas amid weak oil prices and freight rates that have led to declining orders for offshore rigs and vessels worldwide.
China's bitcoin market: another ticking time bomb?
Chinese President Xi travels to Davos with a tough sell on his hands
Beijing hits back at Trump: one-China principle is non-negotiable

## UK ##
Hospitals across UK cancelling 'urgent' cancer operations as NHS winter crisis worsens
Facebook, Twitter and Google bosses to be grilled by Parliament over spread of 'fake news'
Patients on antidepressants for 50 per cent longer than in 1990s
Navy facing heaviest Russian activity since Cold War says First Sea Lord

## US ##
Millennials are worse off than their parents: Millennials earn 20% less than baby boomers at same stage in life.
Increasing debt, net energy decline... The downhill slide accelerates from here. -- RF
6 in 10 Americans don't have $500 in savings
The Clinton Foundation Is Shutting Down The Clinton Global Initiative
We Were Warned About Barack Obama—by Obama Himself
Ringling Bros. circus to close after 146 years

## POTUS-elect ##
Scott Pruitt, Trump's EPA Pick, Backed Industry Donors Over Regulators
Trump Meets With Professor Who Thinks Global Warming Is Positive
Will the CIA Assassinate Trump? "He's Being Really Dumb For Questioning Russia Conclusions"
In Scathing Attack, CIA Director Brennan Warns Trump To "Watch What He Says"
The departing CIA director John Brennan has launched a scathing attack on Donald Trump, warning the President-elect does not fully understand the threat posed to the US by Russia.
Matt Taibbi: "Insane Clown President Trump Was Right About The Media"

Saturday, January 14, 2017


News Links, January 15, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
The Eight Forces That Are Pressuring Profits
Davos Wonders If It's Part of the Problem
Did the global elite's devotion to borderless capitalism sow the seeds of a populist backlash?

Syrian army says Israel fires rockets at air base near Damascus
Syrian army command said on Friday that Israeli artillery fired rockets at a major military airbase outside Damascus, and warned Israel of repercussions for what it called a "flagrant" attack.
Allies Block Obama's Bid for Last Big UN Showdown With Russia
With just a week left in power, President Obama is said to be spoiling for one last big "showdown" with Russia at the UN Security Council. Diplomats, however, say the matter is all but dead, with both Britain and France resisting and trying to delay the vote beyond Obama's term.
## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Thousands Protest Spain's Dispersion Policy for ETA Inmates
The irony is that Ukraine is also buying Russian gas re-exported by the Europeans. -- RF
Blizzards, gale force winds, arctic temperatures and river ice thicker than a house has left the stewards of the European energy business frenzied. Prices of natural gas, primarily a heating fuel, has soared to the highest in more than two years. Blackouts across Eastern Europe caused electricity rates to spike to record levels.

## Got food? ##

## Solutions ##
Excellent: Life Without Money in Detroit's Survival Economy
How the city's neglected poor rely on time banking, skill-sharing, and giveaways to get by.
There's a lot to learn here, especially about the gift economy. Unless you are a one-percenter, it will pay to assume you'll need these skills in the future. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Trump's CIA nominee wants a massive surveillance database of Americans
Congress should allow surveillance agencies to collect "all metadata" and combine it with "publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database," Pompeo said in an opinion piece he co-authored in January 2016.
Pulling a J. Edgar Hoover on Trump
President-elect Trump is fending off a U.S. intelligence leak of unproven allegations that he cavorted with Russian prostitutes, but the darker story might be the CIA's intervention in U.S. politics.
Phone hacking company falls victim to hackers
Cellebrite, a digital forensics firm known for helping law enforcement crack into locked smartphones, has itself fallen victim to hackers.
Russia, Trump & Flawed Intelligence (analysis of the sorry report on supposed Russian influence on the US election)
Pot calling kettle: Who's the Real Manipulator of Elections?In berating Russia for alleged interference in the recent U.S. election, the U.S. intelligence community ignores the extensive U.S. role in manipulating political movements around the globe.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news ##
Russian tech expert named in Trump report says US intelligence never contacted him
A Russian venture capitalist and tech expert whose name and company are mentioned in the now-notorious document alleging connections between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian hackers says no intelligence officers have ever contacted him about the accusations, which he says are false.
Mainstream Media's Russian Bogeymen
The mainstream hysteria over Russia has led to dubious or downright false stories that have deepened the New Cold War, as Gareth Porter notes regarding last month's bogus tale of a hack into the U.S. electric grid.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Millennials are falling behind their boomer parents

## UK ##
Councils warn they do not have enough money to take in Syrian refugees
'Specific' terror evidence not necessary for RAF drone strikes
"Specific" advance evidence of a terror plot threatening UK interests is not legally necessary before launching pre-emptive drone strikes against suspects overseas, according to the the attorney general.
America in Need of 'Democracy Promotion'
The U.S. government lectures other countries about "democracy" – and  finances internal opposition in the name of "democracy promotion" – but its own behavior falls far short of democratic norms.
Did Trump Kill 'Liberal Democracy'?
Donald Trump's victory has spurred commentary about the "death of liberal democracy," but the seeds of that demise were planted in the 1980s amid elite orthodoxy in favor of neoliberal economics.
So, where is the outcry from Congress? The torrent of righteous indignation? The bleating from the mainstream media? A call for sanctions by the US government on Ukraine? You see, it's not a matter of right or wrong; it's a matter of who's in whose camp. -- RF
The most worrying issue in the US is terrorism. Isn't that a hoot? How many in the US have died from terrorism?

## POTUS-elect ##
The Scheme to Take Down Trump
The U.S. intelligence community's unprecedented assault on an incoming U.S. president – now including spreading salacious rumors – raises questions about how long Donald Trump can hold the White House.

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