Thursday, December 14, 2017


News Links, December 15, 2017

Canada Home Values Hit "First Quarterly Decline since Q1 2009" as Household Debt Binge Hits New High
Stressful Year Ahead for Spanish Banks
Malaysia issues draft regulations for crypto currency businesses
Could Central Banks Dump Gold in Favor of Bitcoin?
I would not rule it out entirely. But let's look at this rationally. Why would a cryptocurrency be acceptable backing for anything? The power grid/internet combination that underpins bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as well as digitized fiat currencies, is extremely fragile, and to believe that this system will always be there for us is fantasy. The more the world goes "cashless," the greater the danger. Remember Puerto Rico.  -- RF

## Airline death spiral ##
Most airlines avoid flying over North Korea

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
'Bad news for our enemies': EU launches defense pact
European Union nations, now unfettered by Britain's decision to quit, achieved a 70-year-old ambition on Thursday to integrate their defenses, launching a pact between 25 EU governments to fund, develop and deploy armed forces together.
Trump's Illegal Syrian Mission Creep
Even as the Islamic State's "caliphate" in Syria collapses, the U.S. government is keeping about 2,000 soldiers in-country despite lacking any legal right to be there.

## Migrants/refugees ##
Parisians threaten hunger strike over migrant street camps
Paris residents furious that hundreds of migrants are sleeping on the streets of their neighbourhood are threatening to launch a hunger strike unless the authorities remove the squalid pavement camps.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Kazakhstan: Coal Miners Declare Strike in Plea For Higher Pay

## Energy/resources ##
Also, besides the $15 billion BHP spent to produce its unprofitable shale oil and gas resources, it also suffered $12 billion worth of impairment write-downs on its supposed "high-quality" shale assets in 2015 and 2016.
Climate Change Could Take the Air Out of Wind Farms
Big offshore wind farms power Europe's drive for a carbon-free society, while rows of spinning turbines across America's heartland churn enough energy to power 25 million US homes. But a new study predicts that a changing climate will weaken winds that blow across much of the Northern hemisphere, possibly leading to big drops in clean wind energy.
'Tsunami of data' could consume one fifth of global electricity by 2025
The communications industry could use 20% of all the world's electricity by 2025, hampering attempts to meet climate change targets and straining grids as demand by power-hungry server farms storing digital data from billions of smartphones, tablets and internet-connected devices grows exponentially.
'Chock full': Enbridge warns its pipelines near maximum capacity as Canadian oil prices crash
It has led to a doubling of the discount Canadian producers must accept for their barrels, as they miss out on the oil price rally
The Death Of Europe's Coal Industry
More than half of Europe's coal plants are already bleeding cash, but by 2030, the percentage of coal plants in Europe that report negative cash flow could explode to an estimated 97 percent.
Study: Teen behavior worse in areas with high air pollution
Oil and gas fracking connected to low birth weights in infants, landmark study finds
Pregnant mothers who live near shale oil and gas fracking face an elevated risk of giving birth to babies with health problems, according to a landmark study.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Cyberattacks: The Biggest Threat To OPEC
The Oil And Gas Industry Is Under Attack
Almost two-thirds of oil and gas companies have recently had a serious cybersecurity incident, and only a small minority of them felt confident that their defense capabilities match the threats, a new survey from EY has revealed.
"Millions of fake comments have corrupted the FCC public process—including two million that stole the identities of real people, a crime under New York law," Schneiderman said in an announcement today. "Yet the FCC is moving full steam ahead with a vote based on this corrupted process, while refusing to cooperate with an investigation."
"It doesn't play like a human, and it doesn't play like a program," said Hassabis, an expert chess player himself. "It plays in a third, almost alien, way. It's like chess from another dimension."
The Deep State's Christmas Present to America: Surveillance That Never Ends

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
How Government Agents Troll Online to Divide and Confuse
The real story of online deception isn't about the Russians. Sure, the Russians certainly have their own programs to disrupt and steer online discourse. But how quickly the public has forgotten about the U.S. government's own internet troll program.
The Foundering Russia-gate 'Scandal'
Taking on water from revealed FBI conflicts of interest, the foundering Russia-gate probe – and its mainstream media promoters – are resorting to insults against people who note the listing ship.
Silencing of Courageous Documentaries
Historically, documentaries have told important truth in powerful ways and often challenging powerful groupthinks, but such brave films are becoming an endangered species.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Switzerland is Prepared for Civilizational Collapse
American exodus? 17,000 US defense suppliers may have left the defense sector
A large number of American companies supplying the U.S. military may have left the defense market, according to a study announced Thursday, raising alarm over the health and future of the defense industrial base.
Moon and Xi agree on avoiding new Korean war, but little else
Lack of joint statement after their summit shows relations remain frosty

## UK ##
Infested communities give up trying to eradicate bed bugs
Bed bugs are now so resistant to poison that entire communities have given up attempting to eradicate them are learning to live alongside them, experts have warned.

## US ##
Chemical Warfare Drills by Homeland Security Will Turn Humans into Lab Rats, Many Fear
Thieves target cell tower backup batteries
Police in North Jersey say they are taking note of a growing number of battery thefts from cellphone towers. Thieves are going after the low-hanging fruit, or in this case, copper, which they sell for scrap metal.
Because of poor cellphone reception. -- RF
What, "Replacement Demand" from Hurricane Harvey Overhyped?
Houston-area auto sales rise, but not nearly enough. Carmageddon returns to US.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


News Links, December 13, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Warning From The World's Biggest Shipping Line On Outlook for World Trade
Sweden: More Signs The World's Biggest Housing Bubble Is Cracking
Poland Risks Being the EU's Rogue State
Samsung Heavy Industries names Joonou Nam new CEO — days after it forecast a fourth straight year of losses
Half a salary, half a job, half a life (Greece)
Two in three Greeks fail to pay their bills on time, mainly because they don't have the money.
Three Bubbles/Strikes and You're Out
Those betting on a fourth bubble of even greater extremes will find their time at bat has come to an end.

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Fiat currencies (in their physical manifestation) do have one thing over cryptocurrencies: You can hold them in your hand. When the lights go out, so does bitcoin. -- RF

## Airline death spiral ##
Concerns Raised About Passenger Safety Over Foreign Airplane Repair Work
The labor union representing American Airlines mechanics and ground crews has hired a firm run by the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security to investigate if foreign repair work on planes is putting passengers at risk.
Aggressive Champagne-Loving Passenger Forces Emergency Plane Landing
Airline made passenger put out cigarette. She threatened to kill everyone on the plane.
Spirit boots breast-feeding woman from plane

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Study: Global weapons sales rise for first time since 2010
Moscow-based think tank director: Russia's unexpected military victory in Syria
The success and affordability of the Russian military intervention in Syria contrast sharply with the U.S. record in many parts of the globe.
Sales of arms and military services by the world's largest arms-producing and military services companies—the SIPRI Top 100—totalled $374.8 billion in 2016, according to new international arms industry data released today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
North Korea's Understandable Fears
By escalating threatening rhetoric — and staging provocative military maneuvers — President Trump may believe he can intimidate North Korea into capitulation but history would tell you something else.
Trump, N. Korea & the Phony 'Terror List'
Seeing what happened to the leaders of Iraq and Libya, North Korea's Kim Jong Un won't surrender his nuclear bombs – and getting put on the U.S. "terrorism list" won't change that.

## Migrants/refugees ##
Amnesty accuses EU of complicity in Libya migrant abuse
German Foreign Ministry rejects additional winter aid for refugees on Greek islands

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Thousands of Indonesians rally at US Embassy over Jerusalem

## Energy/resources ##
While those new methods unlocked a torrent of new supply and turned the U.S. into the world's largest producer, the increased difficulty of sucking fluid from so far underground is overwhelming pump systems that have changed little in decades. The mismatch is causing more well failures, rising costs at a time of low prices, and a scramble by companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. for alternative ways of maintaining flows.
Sunshine State lags on solar power, doubles down on natural gas
As a reflection of declining marginal return on investment in technology, Big Science now requires investments so huge that the participation of many countries is required for even a single project. Colossal budgets are also needed to build, staff, and operate mammoth research facilities, giant miles-long atom smashers, and what have you. And how about new fancy-pants weaponry for the world's military forces? Of course it costs more to develop and maintain than the old stuff. -- RF
'Death spiral': half of Europe's coal plants are losing money
More than half of the European Union's 619 coal-fired power stations are losing money, according to a new report. As a result, the industry's slow plans for shutdowns will lead to €22bn in losses by 2030 if the EU fulfils its pledge to tackle climate change, the report warns.
Virtual Energy (SolarCoin)
Alert readers will recall this article from July. Too many humans. -- RF
Right Whales On The Brink Of Extinction After Number Plunges To 450

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Former Facebook exec says social media is ripping apart society
'No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth.'
Ex-Spy Chief Admits Role In 'Deep State' Intelligence War On Trump
An ex-spy chief who spoke out publicly against Trump while inspiring other career intelligence figures to follow suit has admitted his leading role in the intelligence community waging political war against the president, describing his actions as something he didn't "fully think through".
Japan, US and Europe push back on China's data controls
Tightening grip on industrial information seen as danger to supply chains
Yes, the FBI is America's secret police

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Russia-gate's Litany of Corrections
As much as the U.S. mainstream media insists that the Russia-gate scandal is growing, what is undeniably growing is the list of major corrections that news outlets have been forced to issue.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
U.N. official: Alabama's poverty, sewage crisis 'very uncommon in First World'
A United Nations official investigating poverty in the United States visited Alabama last week and said the poverty and sewage system there is some of the worst he has seen in the developed world.

Chinese local governments accused of faking economic data
Chinese local governments have been accused of faking economic data following the latest round of nationwide audits that found evidence revenues had been inflated and the extent of their debts had been downplayed.
Deindustrialisation and misguided economic policies have reduced the former workshop of the world to a level where Britain can neither pay its way, nor afford the defence and public services an advanced society needs.
As net energy continues to decline, a wave of deindustrialization will engulf the planet. -- RF
Housing, education and health care costs are out of control, wages are stagnant, and the Fed has suppressed interest rates
How Fed Rate Hikes Impact US Debt Slaves
Outstanding "revolving credit" owed by consumers – such as bank-issued and private-label credit cards – jumped 6.1% year-over-year to $977 billion in the third quarter, according to the Fed's Board of Governors. When the holiday shopping season is over, it will exceed $1 trillion. At the same time, the Fed has set out to make this type of debt a lot more expensive.
Those who thought the tax plan would lead to announcements of more hiring and investment have already been proven wrong.
National Democrats Resist Reforms
Still refusing to face why Donald Trump and the Republicans won in 2016, the national Democratic Party rebuffs proposals from progressives to make the party more democratic and less corporate-dominated.
Waste of money. It's far cheaper and more sensible to send robots. -- RF
Similar rule-busting construction has happened in scores of communities across the United States, where local, state and federal officials have failed to enforce regulations intended to restrict building in areas at high risk of flooding.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


News Links, December 11, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
De-Dollarization Continues: China, Iran To Eliminate Greenback From Bilateral Trade
The fantasy that robots will do all the work of stripmining the Earth to provide for our endless overconsumption, and generate vast profits doing so, is just another manifestation of an intrinsically destructive and unsustainable Mode of Production.
Enron Déjà Vu? Citi, BofA, HSBC, Goldman, BNP on the Hook as Steinhoff Spirals Down
$21 billion of debt. Off-balance-sheet entities. Moody's wakes up, downgrades it four notches, with more to come.

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
Teva Considers 10,000 Job Cuts

## War on cash/cashless society ##
If the law is passed, anyone acting suspiciously carrying any amount of cash, whether in notes, precious stones, precious metals or prepaid credit cards, could face having their "money" impounded.
Proposed U.S. Legislation May Criminalize Those Who Conceal Bitcoin
From taxis to temples, Alipay's fast-expanding cashless world
Ant Financial's empire raises concerns of customer data use by Beijing

## Airline death spiral ##
United Continental announces $3 billion buyback

The Russians are not necessarily against the US presence and can adapt to this after defining the demarcation lines to avoid any clash, but Iran has a clear position and has decided not to abandon the Syrian President alone to face the US forces, if these stay behind.
Arab states urge US to abandon Jerusalem move
When Washington Cheered the Jihadists
Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better.
Missing the Significance of Israel-gate
President Trump's decision to begin moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem — and disclosure that first-son-in-law Jared Kushner failed to disclose his role in a foundation funding Israeli settlements and lobbied against a United Nations' resolution critical of those settlements during the transition — are reminders that the foreign government with truly broad influence over U.S. politics is Israel.
North Korea fights cash drain that threatens regime
Kim's hasty declaration of nuclear success may signal economic stress
Trump fiddles with phone as US burns out in Asia, and China gives a lesson in leadership
President's Twitter rants and lack of a coherent strategy have seen confidence in US leadership plummet, and Beijing has not been slow to fill the void
The $10 Trillion Investment Plan to Integrate the Eurasian Supercontinent
Of course, this project will never be completed as now conceived. -- RF

## Migrants/refugees ##
Homeless Swedes Out in the Cold

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Two dead in 'Day of Rage' over Jerusalem, Palestinian president defiant
Thousands of Israelis have poured into the streets of Tel Aviv for an anti-corruption rally calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign.
Bioenergy crop area surges to new high (UK)
The area used for bioenergy crops surged to an all-time high in 2016, with a 41% increase in land use on the previous year.
Some people will applaud at this news, but energy crops — and indeed all other forms of renewable energy including photovoltaic and wind — require far larger land area than fossil fuels to yield the same amount of energy. Vaclav Smil, in his book Power Density, calculates this land area to be two to three orders of magnitude larger than that of fossil fuels. In the effort to prop up industrial society with renewables, vast tracts of land need to be occupied by energy crops and energy installations. This phenomenon is known as "energy sprawl."

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Resistance is futile: The Surgeon Who Wants to Connect You to the Internet with a Brain Implant
Eric Leuthardt believes that in the near future we will allow doctors to insert electrodes into our brains so we can communicate directly with computers and each other.
Defector says thousands of Islamic State fighters left Raqqa in secret deal
A high-level defector from Kurdish-led forces that captured the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State has recanted his account of the city's fall, saying thousands of IS fighters - many more than first reported - left under a secret, U.S.-approved deal.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
CNN Botches "Bombshell" Report "Proving" Collusion Between Trump Jr And Wikileaks
The U.S. Media Yesterday Suffered its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened
Friday was one of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time. The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, with countless pundits, commentators and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation's largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Analyst: With ballooning costs for a smaller Navy, can it really afford 355 ships?
Maintaining old equipment still in use after 16 years of war is becoming more and more expensive, and the kicker is that the equipment that's coming online is even more expensive to maintain and operate than the old equipment it's replacing.

A major component of Japanese racism — not mentioned in this article — is an idea dating from the late 1800s which still holds sway today, called datsu-a nuu-ou, and meaning "Dump Asia, Join Europe." This was seen by some Japanese leaders of the day to be an essential condition for modernization. Although the rush toward modernization is a thing of the past, the desire to be a part of the Western camp is still very much alive, causing many Japanese to look down on their Asian brethren. Although North Americans and Europeans are sometimes subject to discrimination, they are generally far more welcome than Asians. Over the years I have seen and heard the phrase "Japan and Asia" countless times. This also shows that the Japanese place themselves outside of Asia. Nevertheless, this will perforce change as the US presence in Asia weakens, while the dominance of China grows. -- RF
Future of electric cars is at the bottom of a Chinese salt lake
Production of valuable lithium ramping up in mountains 3,000 meters above sea level
Is the future bright for Britain's nuclear energy industry?
The bright new dawn for Britain's nuclear industry took only days to cloud over with familiar concerns over cost.
Why America's drinking water crisis goes beyond Flint (BBC video)
While Flint made headlines two years ago when 12 people died due to high lead levels in the city's water, more than 1,000 water systems across the US have drinking water that fails safety standards for lead.
Peak Fantasy Time (David Stockman on jobs)

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