Tuesday, March 20, 2018


News Links, March 21, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
January's record highs may have been the market top for 2018, Morgan Stanley says
'I misspoke': US official blunders by mistakenly declaring key China talks dead
The comments by David Malpass about the supposed cancellation of the US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue sowed confusion - as did his retraction

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Iraqi lawmaker warns of "plots to expand U.S. military bases" in Iraq
Iraq still has lots of high-quality conventional oil left, so it's no wonder the US refuses to leave (and why the war was started in the first place). Everyone knows that when push comes to shove, you can't fight a war on a piddling amount of renewable energy. -- RF
US, South Korea announce annual military exercises to begin on April 1
To deter Russia, US needs new low-yield nukes, says STRATCOM head
Unmitigated Failure: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 15 Years Later
Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia: Top Three Stunning Admissions From the Top U.S. General in the Middle East
In one Palestinian village, the whole story of the occupation
Encircled by the separation barrier, threatened with demolition orders, and deemed illegal aliens in their own homes, the residents of the Palestinian village of Walajeh are fighting for their lives.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Arrests made in Trans Mountain protests

## Energy/resources ##
"Is it possible to accelerate by a factor of 20?" he asks. "Yeah, but I don't think people understand what that is, in terms of steel and glass and cement." 
Discusses the previous article. But there's still more to be aware of. Even if the transition were magically achieved, there would still be no economic growth, and people in developed countries — who are used to living extravagantly — would be shocked by their low "energy rations." We're never going to transition into a Glorious Technological Future; instead, humanity is going to be catapulted into a future of privation, mass starvation, and war. Are you ready? -- RF
Unbelievable: Coal puts halt to South Africa's renewables industry
In an unexpected turn of events, two unions representing coal interests have put a halt to the signing of 27 renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs), thus effectively stopping South Africa's renewables industry in its tracks.
S.Korea fuel oil imports soar as coal, nuclear plants shut
Energy at the heart of sustainable development, IEA says
Many of the goals for renewable energy and universal electricity may be out of reach.
No Water Shortage at The World Water Forum
There's no escaping water rationing in Brazil's drought-hit capital Brasilia -- unless you're attending an international conference on global water supply problems.
Battery makers descend on Australia, Canada cobalt developers
Nervous Asian battery makers are turning to early-stage cobalt projects in Australia and Canada to lock in supplies of the critical battery ingredient ahead of expected shortages as demand for electric vehicles revs up.
However, even as CO2 emissions are much lower, there are questions over the climate benefits if lower CO2 is offset by higher methane emissions from gas, which typically come from the drilling and extraction of natural gas, and its shipment via pipeline and local distribution lines.

Despite major improvements in water quality, seawater is still polluted from sources such as industrial waste, sewage and run-off from farmland, the researchers noted.
Billion-dollar polar engineering 'needed to slow melting glaciers'
Underwater sea walls and artificial islands among projects urgently required to avoid devastation of global flooding, say scientists

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Nearly 100 Operations Of American Meddling In Russia Publicly Admitted By NED
Empire Files: Post-Soviet Russia, Made in the U.S.A. (YouTube)
The increased aggression towards Russia from US politicians and media is made more clear when taking into account the real history of the post-Soviet period. The hidden story of Boris Yeltsin's presidency explains how deeply the US government, along with Western capitalist institutions, cheered, shaped and exploited the country after the fall of the Soviet Union, paving the way for the political system they all condemn today.
If at first you don't succeed... Reminds one of the new timeline served up by the US government five years after 9/11. -- RF
Did Putin Order the Salisbury Hit? (Patrick J. Buchanan)
Is Profit-Maximizing Data-Mining Undermining Democracy?
If targeting political extremes generates the most profit, then that's what these corporations will pursue.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Why was my lecture on science and free speech shut down?
60 Minutes' Embarrassing Interview with Mohammed bin Salman
The 60 Minutes interview with Mohammed bin Salman was predictably not very informative and served as little more than a platform for the crown prince to spread propaganda.
Oh, brother! -- RF
Accusations of "whataboutism" amount to a cynical, sleazy attempt to stifle debate without actually engaging in argument. It's also the sort of desperate and childish propaganda tactic you'd expect during late-stage imperial decline.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Low-carbon computing is needed to avoid a technological collapse
The technological collapse is coming, anyway. The main driver is net energy decline, not carbon. -- RF
Karachi needs $9-10 bn to keep it going: WB
The World Bank has estimated that Pakistan's metropolitan city Karachi needs $9 to $10 billion financing over a period of 10 years to meet its infrastructure and service delivery requirements in urban transport, water supply and sanitation and municipal solid waste management.
Although self-driving vehicles are hailed as a beneficial technological innovation, this shows that self-driving and other uses of robotics and artificial intelligence considerably increase society's level of complexity. The lack of economic growth and low childbearing (see following article) indicate that costs are now outweighing benefits. -- RF
Ultimate Indicator Suggests US Never Recovered From the Great Financial Crisis
The ultimate indicator of personal economic confidence is the determination to perpetuate the species and have children.
As I have observed repeatedly, childraising costs in latter-day industrial society under a declining-net-energy regime are prohibitively high. Although this article deals with the US, declining fertility rates are observed in other developed societies as well. Even in newly developed China, many couples elect to have only one child even though the one-child restriction has been lifted. -- RF

## Japan ##
Japan sets sights on carrier-based fighter jets
Retrofitting vessels for the F-35B would raise constitutional issues
China, not North Korea, to dominate Japan military planning
40 years after opening up, China is going backward
And the ruling Chinese Communist Party appears to be trying to go much further; it seems to want to change the world to fit its needs.
Which is what all previous empires have done. -- RF
It matters less who fills the position of Secretary of State or CIA director when the real issue is that both federal agencies are routinely engaged in activities that are both unconstitutional and anti-American.
The only surprise is that it took people so long to catch on. Now how much more time will be needed before the populace realizes that America's political system is a China-style one-party system? -- RF
But somebody came out ahead in all these deals – in addition to CEOs and other top executives who reaped huge bonuses and stock compensation packages: Wall Street.

Sunday, March 18, 2018


News Links, March 18, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
'Exhausted' Toys 'R' Us suppliers weigh options as huge retailer shuts
Doubling tarmac time limit among changes denounced by airline passenger rights advocates

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
European powers propose new Iran sanctions to meet Trump ultimatum
Britain, France and Germany have proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles and its role in Syria's war, according to a confidential document, in a bid to persuade Washington to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.
Time for the US to end democracy promotion flim-flams
The U.S. has interfered — usually covertly — in more than 80 foreign elections since World War Two to boost its preferred candidates.
If Congress is so concerned about meddling in US affairs, then Israel should be their focus. The lack of attention to Israeli meddling just goes to show that Russiagate is simply part of a demonization campaign. -- RF

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protest in Madrid after street vendor's death sparks clashes

## Energy/resources ##
Many rely entirely on supplies shipped in by tankers filled from giant borewells that have caused groundwater levels to plummet, sparking predictions Bangalore could be the first Indian city to run out of water.
What's happening to demand? -- RF
Say what? You thought that shale drilling was always profitable? Well, don't get excited. There are a lot of ifs here. And nothing has fundamentally changed; shale oil is still junk energy. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Bottled Water, Brought to You by Fracking?
The new Food & Water Watch report Take Back the Tap: The Big Business Hustle of Bottled Water details the deceit and trickery of the bottled water industry. Here's one more angle to consider: The bottled water business is closely tied to fracking.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
While Iran acted absolutely responsibly in cooperating with the OPCW, there are a handful of rogue states operating outwith the rule of international law, like Israel and North Korea, which refuse to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, join the OPCW or destroy their chemical weapons stocks.
Trump consultants harvested data from 50 million Facebook users: reports
From intelligence agencies to marketing firms, I would imagine that many parties are busy harvesting personal information from social media to populate their databases. -- RF
Unsurprisingly, Julian Assange wasn't too broken up about Lamo's death, tweeting "Coroner says serial FBI snitch Adrian Lamo is dead. Lamo, a fake journalist, petty conman & betrayer of basic human decency, promised alleged source @xychelsea journalistic protection, friendship and support, then sold him to the FBI."
The more you examine the UK government's story, the less sense it makes. -- RF

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Acceptable Bigotry and Scapegoating of Russia
As the situation in the US continues to deteriorate, Russia will be increasingly "in demand" as the scapegoat on which to blame America's problems. -- RF

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
America's Growing 'Guard Labor' Force
Many large urban areas in the U.S. now have more "guard labor" than teachers.

Friday, March 16, 2018


News Links, March 17, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Is The U.S. Economy Really Growing?
US National Debt Hits $21 Trillion
Deutsche Bank Just Never Disappoints
Even bigger loss than reported 6 weeks ago, cost cuts abandoned, bonuses quadrupled.
Winn-Dixie parent company to file for bankruptcy, close stores (US)
Institutional investors from the U.K. snapped up half the 2047 notes on offer Friday.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines — and Coasties, too — test arctic war-fighting skills in Alaska exercise
Russia to expel UK diplomats as crisis over nerve toxin attack deepens
EU provides financial support for Turkey amid ethnic cleansing
The European Union has approved an aid package of further 3 billion euros for the Turkish state as it commits ethnic cleansing against the Kurds in Afrin Canton of Northern Syria.
The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the U.S. Invasion
March 19 marks 15 years since the U.S.-U.K invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the American people have no idea of the enormity of the calamity the invasion unleashed.

## Energy/resources ##
U.S. Shale's Dirty Secret
"The dirty secret of U.S. shale oil is not many people want it."
Of course, one dirty secret — which I have pointed out a number of times — is the industry's unprofitability. But there's still more bad news for US shale oil, as explained in the article. -- RF
Tech companies reliant on mica despite child labor fears
Tech companies are increasingly reliant on mica to make products from televisions to mobile phones, yet the electronics industry is largely unaware of the origins of a mineral mined globally by children in dangerous conditions, campaigners say.
Canada Is Facing A Heavy Crude Crisis
Canada to boost nuclear power to help meet climate change target
Canada, the second largest producer of uranium, will boost its reliance on nuclear energy to reduce its carbon footprint and will encourage other nations to do the same, public broacaster CBC said Thursday.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
The UK government is manufacturing its nerve agent case for 'action' on Russia
Official claim that 'Novichok' points solely to Russia discredited
Chinese hackers accused of targeting US defence firms linked to South China Sea
Cybersecurity group says companies were targeted for information that could prove useful for Beijing in disputed maritime waters

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Chicago, Vancouver among cities saying no to World Cup - and FIFA has itself to blame
But everything can't be blamed on the FIFA and (in the case of the Olympic games) the IOC. The main reason that these events have become crushing burdens is the energy cost. -- RF
Japan's Prisons Are a Haven for Elderly Women
Lonely seniors are shoplifting in search of the community and stability of jail.

Too many humans. -- RF
No Cards Left to Play but the Threat of Armageddon
There is no mystery to the ideological collapse of U.S. ruling class politics under late stage capitalism and imperial decline. Simply put, the corporate duopoly parties have nothing to offer the masses of people except unrelenting austerity at home and endless wars abroad.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


News Links, March 16, 2018

Debt-ridden Canadians would owe even more money if it wasn't for Ottawa, says Bank of Canada
LEAKED: Trump's Next Shoe to Drop on US-China Trade
Bullish On Oil Because of Trump? Don't Be!
Some are bullish on oil because Trump threatens to kill the deal with Iran. It's faulty thinking. Way faulty.

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
Toys 'R' Us plans to close all U.S. stores; 33,000 jobs at risk: source

## War on cash/cashless society ##

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Pentagon still backs Iran nuclear deal: general
The key to initiating improvements in the Mideast situation is the imposition of concerted international sanctions on Israel to make that state give up its nuclear arsenal. -- RF
Trump touting 'space force' puts Air Force in awkward spot
Fortress Sweden: Inside the plan to mobilize Swedish society against Russia
How Oil Drives The South China Sea Conflict
Indian Army says its equipment is obsolete and not ready for war
Russia to speed up S-400 deliveries to Turkey – Lavrov
Australia and Vietnam sign strategic partnership pact
Sri Lanka's silent port reveals China's ever tighter grip
Trump Promotes Longtime Russia Hawk Just as Russiagate Loses Momentum
The fact-free and logic-challenged allegations of Trump-Russia collusion have further lost credibility with the appointment of a virulently anti-Russia hawk to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Venezuela urged to save itself by becoming a U.S. colony
Pentagon Tells Leaders to Talk More With Contractors — and Less to the Public and Press

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protest over infrastructure turns violent in Panama's Colon

## Energy/resources ##
Add in all you want. Renewables can't support industrial society. -- RF
This could be a very big problem, but it doesn't really matter, because the biggest challenge is maintaining the copious energy flows needed to prop up the entire industrial system. -- RF
Crisis-hit Venezuela could soon tip the oil market 'decisively into deficit,' IEA says

## Got food? ##
Farmers' long march to Mumbai reflects India's agrarian crisis
Protests this week were a long time in the making. Pressure on rural communities is killing farmers and the situation has worsened in recent years

## Environment/health ##
U.S. healthcare spending twice as high other high-income nations
How about if we just stop killing real bees? -- RF
There's a new, proposed backdoor to our data, which would bypass our Fourth Amendment protections to communications privacy. It is built into a dangerous bill called the CLOUD Act, which would allow police at home and abroad to seize cross-border data without following the privacy rules where the data is stored.
Intel Committee Rejects Basic Underpinning of Russiagate
The assumption underpinning Russiagate – that Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton – is not supported by the facts, according to "Initial Findings" of the House Intelligence Committee.
Of course it might be true, although one can never be sure of statements from the government and media. But before telling the Russians to "change their behavior," the US needs to change its own behavior. As the world's champion meddler and hacker, Uncle Sam needs to clean up his own act first. Isn't that what real patriots would want? -- RF
Xi Jinping takes leading role in hit propaganda film extolling 'amazing' China
Documentary rides wave of nationalistic films inspired by Western-style techniques, but compulsory screenings may have played a part in its success

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
McDonald's workers quitting in droves over 'complicated' technology, new menu items
Employees are handling more tasks, in many cases, they say, without pay raises or adequate staffing, and they're getting fed up
Checking In on the Four Intersecting Cycles
If you think this is a robust, resilient, stable system, please check your Ibogaine / Hopium / Delusionol intake.
It could just as well spontaneously start from within the US itself. -- RF
'One leak and we'll all drown': top Chinese lawmaker raises alarm over river of local government debt
NPC Standing Committee member says liabilities have been hidden and vastly underestimated
China's economy leans on exports as consumer spending slows
Weak real estate market hurts consumption while US trade frictions mount
Is Beijing planning to take Taiwan back ... by force?
The mainland is refining the tactics that could pave the way for a forcible seizure of the self-ruled island, according to a senior adviser

## UK ##
Read it here. You won't see any of this in the Western mainstream media. -- RF

## US ##
U.S. February budget report shows first sign of wider deficits to come
Trump eyes tariffs on up to $60 billion Chinese goods; tech, telecoms, apparel targeted
Confidence? Retail Sales Down Third Month
Citing "consumer confidence", economists expected retail sales to bounce 0.4%. Instead, sales fell for the 3rd month.
Consumer Spending Projections
Every month the NY Fed surveys consumers as to what they will spend in the upcoming year. The Downtrend is still intact.
Torture-Tainted CIA and State Nominees Recall Failure to Prosecute Bush-Era Abuses
The declining human rights standards on display with the Haspel and Pompeo nominations are the latest in a long line of policy failures that include the Obama administration's lack of prosecutions of Bush-era torture.
The intrusion of the law enforcement branch that works closest with the president would give elections the appearance that Secret Service agents are there to prevent voters from voting for the wrong person.
Still working on that transformation into a banana republic. -- RF

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