Sunday, April 22, 2018


News Links, April 23, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
The Road to 2025 (Part 3) – USD Dominated Financial System Will Fall Apart

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Iran central bank bans cryptocurrency dealings
Now the war on cash is being taken to a new level. China, the world's most populous country and the world's second-largest economy, has said that physical cash may soon become obsolete.

## Airline death spiral ##
Southwest Airlines emergency is not the only alert of FAA complacency

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
North Korea to Close Nuclear Testing Site
Direct hotline set up for North, South Korea presidents
Kim Jong Un's announcement falls short of dismantling nuclear weapons
Of course. Kim knows he either has that deterrent or ends up like Iraq and Libya. -- RF
Can We Admit Now That Afghanistan Reconstruction Failed?
From faulty power stations and shoddy buildings to billions wasted, new evidence shows it was a pipedream

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
4 killed in demonstrations at Gaza-Israel border

## Energy/resources ##
As a whole, the American fracking experiment has been a financial disaster for many of its investors, who have been plagued by the industry's heavy borrowing, low returns, and bankruptcies, and the path to becoming profitable is lined with significant potential hurdles.
Patrick DeHaan, the senior analyst at GasBuddy, told UPI that the spike in gas prices means Americans are paying about $86 million per day more to fill up their tanks than they were a month ago. The economy, with discretionary spending under threat, may be facing some headwinds as a result.
Schlumberger sees growing supply challenges
The oil and gas industry may need a significant amount of new investments to offset a looming supply shortage, the head of oil services firm Schlumberger said.
Here too the factor which is arguably most important is omitted: higher prices are needed to fund new upstream investments. See previous article.-- RF
And for good reason. But the worst reason, unfortunately outside the article's scope, is that ethanol is worthless. Its energy return is far too low to benefit industrial society, and therefore it's just diluting perfectly good gasoline. A corollary is that dilution of the fuel supply with biofuels aggravates net energy decline. -- RF
A Natural Gas Crisis Looms Over Colombia
Colombia's energy sector is caught in a series of crises. The prolonged slump in oil since the end of 2014 saw investment in the sector, which is critical to the economy, collapse. This sparked a sharp downturn in oil production, causing the Colombian peso to weaken sharply and economic growth to stall.

## Got food? ##
Throw out all of your romaine lettuce, it could have E. coli, CDC says

## Environment/health ##
SEAsia tourism a victim of its own success
Region's once pristine beach destinations have been steadily degraded by pollution, overdevelopment and maddening crowds
Too many humans. -- RF
Cities and nations are looking at banning plastic straws and stirrers in hopes of addressing the world's plastic pollution problem. The problem is so large, though, that scientists say that's not nearly enough.
Better than ending up in a landfill, but I guarantee you it won't save industrial society. -- RF

Advertising while Russian... -- RF
Palantir Knows Everything About You
Peter Thiel's data-mining company is using War on Terror tools to track American citizens. The scary thing? Palantir is desperate for new customers.
Every breath you take, every move you make...
Russia raises questions on Skripal poisoning
Moscow says it has proof that the agent used in the UK attack is a chemical weapon patented in the US
India's grand data system: a greater disaster than Facebook?
Prime Minister Modi has enthusiastically campaigned to expand digital governance via the Aadhaar system. But millions of Indians are at risk because the system with all their personal ID leaks like a sieve and the govt response has been appalling.
Mideast leaders who toe the U.S. line and make nice to Israel are invariably called 'statesmen' or 'president' by the American government and its increasingly tame media. Their repression is conveniently downplayed.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Beware of White Helmets Bearing News
The celebrated White Helmets of Oscar fame appeared to have made their own feature film in Duma on the night of the alleged chemical attack.
What Are "Assad Apologists"? Are They Like Those "Saddam Apologists" Of 2002?
Another Dodgy British Dossier: the Skripal Case
In this second part of a series, Gareth Porter compares the same faulty logic employed in two purposely misleading, so-called British intelligence dossiers.
There is food for thought here, but also some obvious errors in thinking. For example,
"But the idea of a nation state is coming to an end. Now almost anybody can go almost anywhere thanks to jet travel; you're no longer married to one place, like a medieval serf. And you can communicate with anybody anywhere on the planet thanks to the Internet; that makes it much harder to keep all the sheep thinking the same thing."
A mistaken assumption is that there will always be air travel and the internet. But these will inevitably fail. People will again be "married to one place," but we also have an opportunity to redesign society so that they won't be like medieval serfs. -- RF

Even more challenging that US shale. That would seem to militate against profitability, which of course the Chinese must know. It all comes down to energy desperation. -- RF
FP: CCP Setting Up "Cells" at Foreign Universities 
At Foreign Policy, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian this week reported on efforts by the Communist Party of China to encourage students and visiting scholars to set up Party branches at their host universities.
All governments know this. They won't all be able to move in that direction as swiftly as China is, but it's going to happen. -- RF

## UK ##

## US ##
America's "Actual" GDP: The Shocking Truth
Now Even a Fed Dove Homes in on the "Everything Bubble"
Bonds, junk bonds, spreads, commercial real estate, leveraged loans, over-leveraged companies… all get named as risks to the banks. This is why tightening will continue.
Ready to Cut the Cord on Car Ownership? Dramatic Industry Changes by 2025.
Nine percent of those selling their car cut the cord on car ownership completely. Are you ready?

Thursday, April 19, 2018


News Links, April 20, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Can Saudi Arabia Afford Its Megaprojects?
Germany Recession Indicator Flashes Yellow (Median Possibility 32%)
The ECB will soon be in a bind as the European economy slows. Germany leads the slowdown.
India's cash crunch sends authorities scrambling to print more money
Fear of another policy change triggers spike in withdrawals and dries up ATMs
Congrats! Canadians Just Set a New Record for Borrowing Against their Homes
Use of home equity to fund personal consumption spikes.

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
Qualcomm begins layoffs as part of cost cuts

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Bitcoin Tax Day rally is apparently not happening as price drops below $8,000
Amazon Wins Patent for Data Stream to 'Identify' Bitcoin Users for Law Enforcement
Amazon's latest patent aims to combine data from various sources to identify cryptocurrency users for subscribers including the taxman and cops.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Turkey seeks to extend state of emergency for 7th time
US and Russian nuclear arsenals set to be unchecked for first time since 1972
Arms control experts have signed a statement warning international constraints will expire in 2021 unless a new nuclear deal is reached
German states look to reintegration to reduce migrant crime
The number of migrants in German prisons has steadily risen since 2015, according to data obtained by DW from five state justice ministries. German states are putting more resources into reintegrating them into society.

## Energy/resources ##
Puerto Rico just lost power yet again in total blackout
It's time to plan for solar panel recycling in the United States
It's highly doubtful, and even if it happened, prices would have to come down quickly, otherwise it would severely crimp the economy because most individuals and businesses couldn't afford petroleum products at those prices. -- RF
The seawater pumped hydro potential of the world
As discussed in numerous previous posts the world will need immense amounts of energy storage to transition to 100% renewables, or anywhere close to it, and the only technology that offers any chance of obtaining it is sea water pumped hydro (SWPH) storage.
Why oil prices can't rise very high, for very long

## Environment/health ##
Warming climate to nearly double demand for cooling appliances
Researchers predict energy use for air conditioners and refrigeration to jump 90% on 2017 levels
All that energy consumption produces waste heat, which further aggravates the problem. -- RF
Too many humans. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
On the Criminal Referral of Comey, Clinton et al: Will the Constitution Hold and the Media Continue to Suppress the Story?
Ray McGovern reports on a major development in the Russia-gate story that has been ignored by corporate media: a criminal referral to the DOJ against Hillary Clinton, James Comey and others, exposing yet again how established media suppresses news it doesn't like–about as egregious an example of unethical journalism as there is.
US Army Figures Out How To Do Facial Recognition in the Dark
Blowing up Lack of 'Evidence' in Syria Chemical Attack
It is wise to remember the U.S.S. Maine, the Gulf of Tonkin and Iraqi WMD in assessing the rationale for the U.S. attack last weekend on Syria
An Alternative Explanation to the Skripal Mystery
An alternative explanation to the mystery surrounding the poisoning of Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter may involve a possibility that neither the British nor Russian governments want to talk about.
The Fall of Facebook
A chronological timeline of the tech giant's deceit in the Cambridge Analytica scandal

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
BBC Reporter Discourages Syria Questions Due To "Information War" With Russia

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Our Strange Attraction to Self-Destructive Behaviors, Choices and Incentives
Self-destruction isn't a bug, it's a feature of our socio-economic system.
All kinds of waste have been dumped in Georgia, Alabama and other Southern states in recent years, including toxic coal ash from power plants around the nation. In South Carolina, a plan to store radioactive nuclear waste in a rural area prompted complaints that the state was being turned into a nuclear dump.
There's no place to put the putrid waste of over-populated, overgrown industrial society. -- RF
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics – The gaping hole in the middle of the Circular Economy
Why the latest buzz-phrase in consumer sustainability is not only failing to tackle the core problem, but why it is doomed to fail

## Japan ##
Japan's renewable energy puzzle: solar push threatens environment
As the country rushes to cut carbon emissions by 26%, campaigners worry that forests and wildlife are being trampled
Smil's Power Density shows that the difference between fossil fuels and renewables in required land area is two to three orders of magnitude. As such, solar and wind farms must occupy vast tracts of land or water. -- RF
A hot-shot American think tank had to perform a study to figure that out? -- RF
NHS workers top list of those applying for payday loans
NHS workers' representatives say it is a 'terrible state of affairs' for staff to be forced to take on loans with interest of up to 1,325%
UK goes a record 55 hours without coal as clean power expands
The DHS' mocking response is enough to show what it thinks of journalists and the public. -- RF

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


News Links, April 18, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
IMF Says the Global Smartphone Boom Has Reached Its Peak
They'll have to hurry and find the next gimmick. -- RF

Bitcoin Tumbles After Mystery "Whale" Dumps $50 Million In One Trade

## Airline death spiral ##
Etihad's CEO says it's still business as usual at the airline
White House Denies France's Macron Persuaded Trump To Keep Boots On The Ground In Syria

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor's doubts over the chemical attack
Exclusive: Robert Fisk visits the Syria clinic at the centre of a global crisis
Tech firms, including Microsoft, Facebook, vow not to aid government cyber attacks
Microsoft, Facebook and more than 30 other global technology companies on Tuesday announced a joint pledge not to assist any government in offensive cyber attacks.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
What Do We Know About Syria? Next to Nothing
About the only "fact" the public knows with any verifiable certainty about Syria is that much of that nation is in ruins. Virtually everything else presented as "fact" is propaganda intended to serve one of the competing narratives or discredit one or more competing narratives.
Seriously: US: Russia Hacked The Evidence Of Chemical Attack In SyriaWe are now being told (and I assure you I am not making this up) that if the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons doesn't find evidence that the Syrian government conducted a chemical weapons attack  in Douma last week, it's because Russia hid the evidence.
British Propaganda and Disinformation: An Imperial and Colonial Tradition

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
The Southwestern Hemisphere Is Sliding Towards Its Own "Arab Spring"
South and Central America are on a crash course for regional collapse and a geopolitical disaster which could drastically alter the political landscape of the Western Hemisphere and plunge the United States into dire crisis.

## Japan ##
Report: CIA agent met with Japanese officials in March
Detainees go on hunger strike at Ibaraki detention center
Foreigners held in a Japanese immigration detention centre have launched a hunger strike over the death of a detainee, drawing fresh attention to conditions under which they are held.
US senators introduce new war authorization with no expiration date
President Donald Trump would get broad authority to use force against terrorist groups, with no expiration date, under a new bipartisan proposal unveiled in the U.S. Senate on Monday.
Free money? I'll vote for that! It won't last long, so lap up the gravy while you can. -- RF
Everything points to what I say as true: America has a China-style one-party system. -- RF

Sunday, April 15, 2018


News Links, April 16, 2018

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
China to seek Japan's cooperation against U.S. tariffs, sources say
Why no sanctions on the US for aiding Saudi Arabia? -- RF

## Airline death spiral ##

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Trump Attacks Syria With Chemical Experts on the Way
President Trump ordered airstrikes on Syria as a team of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was about to arrive on Saturday to determine whether a chemical weapons attack had even occurred.
Proof? We don't need no stinkin' proof! Agenda is pre-set, information is twisted to support narrative. -- RF
Independent Swiss Lab Says 'BZ Toxin' Used In Skripal Poisoning; US/UK-Produced, Not Russian
U.N. Security council fails to adopt Russian resolution on Syria
The United Nations Security Council failed to adopted a Russian-drafted resolution on Saturday that would have condemned "the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the U.S. and its allies in violation of international law and the U.N. Charter."
US calls for additional sanctions on Venezuela
Pence urged the extra measures as he met with Venezuelan opposition figures in Lima who called for more sanctions and "intervention" in their crisis-hit country.
But don't call it meddling. -- RF

## Migrants/refugees ##
Russia warns 'new waves of migrants to Europe' would follow intervention in Syria
Intervention "can only gratify those who are protected by an ocean," [Lavrov] added, in an apparent swipe at the US, which has been spared the burden of dealing with refugees from conflict zones in the Middle East, despite its own military's involvement in the region's various crises.
Rohingya crisis highlights blockchain data issues
Blockchain-based biometric initiatives are working to give refugees identities. But are we aware of any unintended consequences of these  growing databases?

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Thousands rally against Japan's PM Shinzo Abe
More than 50,0000 protesters gathered at a rally in Tokyo Saturday, angered about scandals surrounding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Russians protest garbage dumps blighting Moscow region

From a purely energy-related perspective, diluting high-energy-density petroleum fuels with low-energy-density biofuels never made sense. Biofuels can't support industrial society, so their use just aggravates the situation. -- RF
The title sounds promising, but digging into the details shows that the oil industry is still dangerously low on capex. Much more spending is needed if we are to continue using oil. -- RF
Nukes of Hazard
There's something wrong with every source of energy. How do our nuclear nightmares compare?
Loss of offsite power is mentioned only in passing, despite its inevitability and great danger. Sooner or later, grids will fail for one reason or another. That's why all nuclear power plants are ticking time bombs. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Dangerous climate tipping point is 'about a century ahead of schedule' warns scientist
A slowing Gulf Stream system means catastrophic East Coast flooding will get much worse.
Los Angeles painting city streets white in bid to combat climate change
While each coating could can last up to seven years, they are also pricey, with the estimated cost of $40,000 per mile.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Attacking Syria: Thumbing Noses at Constitution and Law
It was a sad spectacle to see U.S. brass rubbishing the Constitution and trying to silence critics of the U.S. strike on Syria, says Ray McGovern in this commentary.
Russia's foreign minister says Moscow has received a document from a Swiss lab that analyzed the samples in the nerve agent poisoning of an ex-Russian spy, which points at a Western-designed nerve agent as a likely cause.
But there will be a day when we will be forced to surrender our data to get health insurance, drive a car, or have a refrigerator and a thermostat in the house. This is where this is going. Why? Because data is where the money is.

For a report dealing specifically with Pearl Harbor, see this paper (PDF). -- RF
Inside the Shadowy PR Firm That's Lobbying for Regime Change in Syria
Posing as a non-political solidarity organization, the Syria Campaign leverages local partners and media contacts to push the U.S. into toppling another Middle Eastern government.

## Japan ##
Cities of the future could be a forest of 'Plyscrapers'
Tokyo's planned 1,148-foot timber tower is just the latest project to use wood as it becomes the material of choice for architects
Such heavy use of wood means that the world's remaining forests will be chopped down all the sooner. Considering the highly overpopulated state of the planet and the fact that forests are already under siege, using more wood doesn't mean that industrial society is getting "greener," especially because high-rise buildings themselves are unsustainable. -- RF
A recent report claimed that British roads were suffering from a £9.3bn repairs backlog, with more than 24,000 miles of streets in need of urgent maintenance in the next year alone.

## US ##
Little doubt about that. But his prescription can't possibly work. Unfortunately, politicians and economists do not understand that net energy decline is dragging down the economy. -- RF
Donald Trump Ordered Syria Strike Based on a Secret Legal Justification Even Congress Can't See
More Carmageddon at GM, Cuts Shift in Ohio, 1,500 Layoffs, as Cruze Sales Plunge. Production in Mexico Started in 2015
Like Fukushima, it is unlikely that cleanup will ever be properly completed. Nuclear technology: the gift that keeps on giving. -- RF
"War" and "pensions" are conceptually about as different as it's possible to be. But – in a measure of how far into Crazy Town we've wandered – they're both taking the world in the same direction. If a Middle East (or Asian!) war doesn't spike oil prices and push the global economy into recession, then pensions will probably produce the same end result.

And finally...

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