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

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


News Links, March 14, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Synchronized Global Growth is Ending: Shocks Come Next
Economic pleasant surprises are in the past, as is the buildup of the balance sheet. The future is deleveraging.
Toxic Debt Still Plagues Spanish Banks (and Taxpayers Will End Up Paying for It)
There is No "Free Trade"--There Is Only the Darwinian Game of Trade
Rising income and wealth inequality is causally linked to globalization and the expansion of Darwinian trade and capital flows.
Why are Investors in China so Eager to Buy US Homes?
A whole industry has sprung up on both sides of the Pacific to dodge the rules on both sides of the Pacific.

Radiation Risk Rises with Polar Air Routes and Ultra-Long-Hauls
Super-reliable aircraft are free to brave the planet's most extreme airspace, saving time and fuel. But there's a price to pay.
South African Airways to Scale Back in Three-Year Break-Even Bid
How consumer protections for air travelers could change under Trump administration
Flying is a headache for many Americans — and it could soon get worse. Consumer advocates warn that the Trump administration is poised to repeal regulations that protect travelers, potentially making flying more costly and more dangerous.
Iraq got trashed because of its non-existent WMDs. It's been chaos ever since. -- RF
Nearly half of US arms exports go to the Middle East
Saudi Arabia is world's second biggest importer, with global US sales up by 25% in past five years
Senators consider putting AFRICOM headquarters, staff in Africa
A key defense lawmaker wants to know why, after more than 10 years of operations in Africa, the U.S. combatant command for the continent still isn't located there.
Perhaps because nobody wants it. -- RF

## Energy/resources ##
Permian Investments Represent $2 Of Every $10 In Global OFS Spend
However, signs have started to emerge that the relentless intensification of drilling leads to diminishing returns, Simon Flowers, Chairman and Chief Analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said in an article late last year. Pumping twice as much sand as usual into Permian wells and drilling longer laterals doesn't deliver commensurate volumes of oil, Flowers notes.
Running on renewables: how sure can we be about the future?
A variety of models predict the role renewables will play in 2050, but some may be over-optimistic, and should be used with caution, say researchers.
Petro-Plunder Rages in Mexico, Costs Surge
Just as the gasoline market is opened to competition, Mexico becomes one of the worst places in the world for fuel theft. 
Pumped hydro energy storage in Australia – Snowy 2.0 vs. sea water
To support a 100% renewable electricity sector Australia will need approximately 10 terawatt-hours of long-term energy storage. The multi-billion-dollar Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project will supply only 0.35 terawatt-hours, a small fraction of this, and conventional pumped hydro potential elsewhere in Australia, including Tasmania, will not fill the gap.
It's hard to beat the highly concentrated energy of diesel fuel. -- RF
Investing in renewables helps blunt U.S. influence.
Krill fishing poses serious threat to Antarctic ecosystem, report warns
Greenpeace finds industrial fishing taking place in the feeding grounds of whales and penguins, with vessels involved in oil spills and accidents

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Gang of Four: Senators Call for Tillerson to Enter into Arms Control Talks with the Kremlin
Four United States senators are urging a new approach to U.S.-Russian relations based on renewed arms control efforts, but you probably haven't heard about it from the mainstream media.
Russian to Judgement
The same people who assured you that Saddam Hussein had WMD's now assure you Russian "novochok" nerve agents are being wielded by Vladimir Putin to attack people on British soil.
Another perspective from Craig Murray that you will not find in the UK or US mainstream media. -- RF
The Strange Case of the Russian Spy Poisoning
Applying the principle of cui bono – who benefits? – to the case of Sergei Skripal might lead investigators away from the Kremlin as the prime suspect and towards Western intelligence agencies.
Russia Meddling? Think Israel! Where's the Outrage?
The idea that a handful of bots, or even thousands of them stole the election for Trump is preposterous yet the howls and witch hunt continues. Right under our noses is something much worse. Trump taking advice from one of the most corrupt warmongers in the world: Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
"Putting too much personal information out on social media is the most egregious example" of how consumers set themselves up, according to Jeff Faulkner, acting president and CEO of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, or NFCC.
U.N. investigators cite Facebook role in Myanmar crisis
U.N. human rights experts investigating a possible genocide in Myanmar said on Monday that Facebook had played a role in spreading hate speech there.
U.S. Supreme Court: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure
When the government places a location monitor on you or your stuff, it could be violating the Fourth Amendment.
EU experts' fake news report draws false conclusions: consumer group
A consumer group on Monday said experts appointed by the European Commission to advise on tackling fake news had ignored the business model that gave the likes of Google (GOOGL.O) and Facebook (FB.O) a motive for disseminating it.
America's Troll Farm Media
A recent Gallup poll found that while 84% of Americans see media as "critical" or "very important" to democracy, only 28% see the corporatist mainstream news media (MSM) as actually supporting democracy.
Will they also "curb" wacko government conspiracy theories? -- RF

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
After a life's career of looking at the world through the lens of EROEI, Hall is very concerned that, as a global society, we are hurtling towards an energy crisis that will forcefully (and likely painfully) downshift our standard of living within the lifetime of the current generation.
Our reliance on space tech means we should prepare for the worst
The potential for cascading failures across the myriad systems reliant on space mean that the effects of any disruption could manifest themselves in unexpected places. When a single U.S. communications satellite broke down in 1998, it was not only television and messaging systems that failed. Credit card systems stopped processing payments, weather radars went blind and frustrated drivers found themselves unable to fuel their vehicles as automatic petrol station pumps seized up.
US-backed culture centres under pressure in China
Numerous cultural initiatives, from salsa concerts and film nights to visiting scholar programmes have been disrupted, state department says
China slashes ministries in sweeping changes to reduce bureaucracy, end turf wars
More than two dozen ministries, agencies affected in major overhaul designed to give Communist Party greater control

## UK ##

## US ##
New secretary of state? It's another symptom of America's demise. Pompeo is the type of person who runs his own country into the ground to feed his own sick delusions. -- RF

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