Friday, 31 May 2019

Headlines - 1 May, 2019

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Rabobank: "The Biggest Explosions Are Still To Come"
Italian Banks Are At It Again, Shares Re-Crushed
GM Merger With Ford Looks More Likely
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. proposed a merger with Renault that would create the world’s third largest carmaker. The eroding economics of the industry make such deal more likely by the day.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
This suggests strongly that the US does not conceive of its "allies" as sovereign nations. -- RF
U.S. Believes Russia Conducting Low-Level Nuclear Tests
With no evidence to support the allegations, US DIA officials are accusing Russia of potentially having the capability of violating the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Russia ratified this treaty in 2000, and the US has never done so.
Are Russia & China Violating Nuke Test Ban Treaty?
Officials from the National Security Council, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the State Department all hinted Moscow and Beijing are violating the treaty -- only to retreat into vague statements when pressed.

## War on Iran ##
Which just goes to show that backing out of the deal was an attempt to gin up a war. -- RF
The only reason that drillers are in the shale patch is that, with conventional oil tapped out, they have nothing better to do. -- RF
Shale Drillers Keep On Falling Into The Same Trap
Despite the hype of lower breakeven prices, and despite the hype around longer laterals, energy digitalization, and other technological breakthroughs, most shale companies are still not profitable.
U.S. oil prices up as flooding hits Cushing hub
U.S. crude futures gained almost 1% on Tuesday after flooding throughout the Midwest constrained crude flow from the main U.S. storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma.
That's great, but keep in mind that renewable-energy hardware can be made so cheaply mainly because it's manufactured, deployed, maintained, dismantled, and recycled (?) using the concentrated energy of fossil fuels, not its own dilute energy, which would be far more expensive to use for those purposes. For any energy system to be truly useful in supporting its society (or civilization, empire, etc.), it must satisfy three requirements: (1) the system must be self-sustaining, i.e., it must pay its own day-to-day energy costs of running the system, (2) it must be self-replicating, i.e., it must be able to recreate all the hardware, facilities, and other infrastructure that it requires using its own energy, and (3) after satisfying the first two requirements, it must still have surplus energy left to run the economy. The amount of surplus energy a system generates and supplies to the economy determines what kind of society (or civilization, empire, etc.) it can support. Fossil fuels are highly concentrated energy, and that's why we have industrial/high-tech civilization (energy begets technology, not the other way around) and such a huge human population. Renewables, on the other hand, require us to concentrate inherently dilute forms of energy ourselves, which entails great cost, therefore making the colossal net-energy gain of fossil fuels impossible. As such, when humanity quits fossil fuels and relies only on renewables, we're going to slide downhill like a toboggan. There will be no economic growth, and civilization as we know it will be over. -- RF

And too many people. -- RF
Farming in China: Aporkalypse now
African swine fever hits the home of half the world’s pigs
Some kind of local rule — let's hope its direct democracy — is inevitable. As energy decline worsens, large countries will find themselves unable to maintain their far-flung domains, and they will break up into autonomous regions. It's important that people anticipate this and have plans for local democratic rule ready for implementation. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Mississippi River flood is longest-lasting in over 90 years, since 'Great Flood' of 1927
Science Won’t Save the Planet
We urgently need to wean ourselves off our addictive consumption, to stop identifying with the system that is killing us.
Governments also need to tamp down human population growth, but there's no mention of that here. -- RF
Treated like trash: south-east Asia vows to return mountains of rubbish from west
Region begins pushback against deluge of plastic and electronic waste from UK, US and Australia
Plastic Swamp
The billions of pieces of plastic floating in ocean gyres begin their watery journeys in ditches and creeks in almost every location inhabited by people. Many are tossed into tributaries in the centre of continents, far upstream from any ocean, including the small watershed where I live.
Contaminated water? 3M, DuPont and more sued over toxic packaging concerns
New Hampshire has sued eight companies including 3M and the DuPont Co. for damage it says has been caused statewide by a class of potentially toxic chemicals found in pizza boxes, fast-food wrappers and drinking water.
There is a lot of controversy around this topic, but the general consensus is that if the industry is leaking more than 3 percent of its gas, the benefit of gas over coal vanishes.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Russia’s Would-Be Windows Replacement Gets a Security Upgrade
For sensitive communications, the Russian government aims to replace the ubiquitous Microsoft operating system with a bespoke flavor of Linux, a sign of the country's growing IT independence.
Just two days ago we saw this very-similar item on China. -- RF
Modern advertising is not really very informative. Advertisers concentrate on creating favorable images and perceptions instead of using facts and logic to argue in a rational manner why their products are good, or better than those of their competitors. -- RF

## War on Julian Assange ##
The Indictment of Assange Is a Blueprint for Making Journalists Into Felons
The First Amendment is meaningless if it only protects people the government recognizes as journalists.

It's a desperate plan to hook other countries on expensive US shale gas, thereby propping up a loss-making industry. -- RF

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
High tech is only a temporary solution. Modern weapon systems run on a diet of highly dense fossil fuel energy, so when that becomes too costly, military forces should consider horses, chain mail, and battle-axes. -- RF
China set to control rare earth supply for years due to processing dominance
U.S. companies are years away from challenging Chinese dominance of rare earth minerals due to a lack of domestic processing facilities, ensuring the Asian nation will maintain its near-monopoly on refining and powerful leverage in trade talks.
Pollution cover-ups exposed in Chinese provinces
A government investigation reveals thousands of violations — some by local officials who helped companies to cover up illegal waste dumping.
Hong Kong Dismisses US Warning On Oil Tanker Violating Iran Sanctions

## War on Huawei ##
London teens sent to Africa to escape knife crime
Hundreds of British teenagers are being sent by their parents to East Africa to avoid knife crime in the UK, representatives of the Somali community say. Why are they taking this drastic choice?
With Russiagate, we Soviet immigrants were finally forced to reckon with the bigotry of America’s elite
We never knew what it was like to have the country’s media and political class brand people like us a possible threat. Until now.
A bad Uber rating could get you banned from the service
Whether you consider this good or bad, it's another piece of the China-style social credit system being put into place. -- RF
Now that's what I call a solution. -- RF

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