Saturday, 11 July 2020

Record bankruptcies in the United States

This came to me via Facebook. I cannot vouch for it,or find a 

source but is indicative of what they won't tell you about the 


Trudeau files for Bankruptcy!! |

The US's economy disintegrates, yet the US is concerned that Chinese are 

selling hair of Uighurs from Xinjiang's "concentrstion camps"

Bary Banks reports:


1. Victoria's Secret declared bankruptcy.
2. Zara closed 1,200 stores.
3. La Chapelle withdrew 4391 stores.
4. Chanel is discontinued.
5. Hermes is discontinued.
6. Patek Philippe discontinued production.
7. Rolex discontinued production.
8. The world's luxury industry has crumpled.
9. Nike has a total of $23 billion US dollars preparing for the second stage of layoffs.
10. Gold's gym filed for bankruptcy
11. The founder of AirBnb said that because of pandemic, 12 years of efforts were destroyed in 6 weeks.
12. Even Starbucks also announced to permanently close their 400 stores.
13. WeWork isn't in a great spot either

Nissan Motor Co. may close down in USA

1. Biggest Car Rental company (Hertz) filed for bankruptcy - they also own Thrifty and Dollar
2. Biggest Trucking company (Comcar) filed for bankruptcy - they have 4000 trucks
3. Oldest retail company (JC Penny) filed for bankruptcy - to be acquired by Amazon for pennies
4. Biggest investor in the world (Warren Buffet) lost $50B in the last 2 months
5. Biggest investment company in the world (BlackRock) is signalling disaster in the world economy - they manage over $7 Trillion
6. Biggest mall in America (Mall of America) stopped paying mortgage payments
7. Most reputable airline in the world (Emirates) laying off 30% of its employees
8. US Treasury printing trillions to try to keep the economy on life support
9. Estimated no. of retail stores closing in 2020 - 12,000 to 15,000. The following are big retailers that have announced closing:

- J. Crew
- Gap
- Victoria's Secret
- Bath & Body Works
- Forever 21
- Sears
- Walgreens
- GameStop
- Pier 1 Imports
- Nordstrom
- Papyrus
- Chico's
- Destination Maternity
- Modell's
- A.C. Moore
- Macy's
- Bose
- Art Van Furniture
- Olympia Sports
- K Mart
- Specialty Cafe & Bakery
and many many more

Unemployment claims reached an all-time high of 38+ million - unemployment is over 25% (out of 160 million of work force, close to 40 million are jobless). With no income, consumer demand is falling drastically and the economy will go into a free fall. This is just USA...

Conflicting views on the closure of the Taiwan Point aluminium smelter

The Tiwai Point alluminium smelter (or Comalco as I knew it) has been a bone of contention since I was a teenager.

Now that the climate has completely changed and we are heading into a major depression is this (despite the foreign ownership and the toxic legacy) a disaster for Southland and the national economy?

It is not at all straightforward.

The Greens would like to pretend that we are not heading into a depression and they don't care that much about 1,000 workers, let alone Southland.

Closure of Tiwai Point presents opportunity - Russel Norman

I have known Murray Horton of the Campaign against Foreign Control in New Zealand since my university days.

When supplies are tight, the big smelter at Tiwai Pt becomes a heavier burden for Meridian. Tim Hunter reports.

Near-record low lake levels are hitting hard at state-owned power generator Meridian as it struggles to feed its huge contract with Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter.

The smelter, owned by multinationals Rio Tinto and Sumitomo, buys about 15 per cent of New Zealand's electricity generated every year and is usually fed from the purpose-built hydro station at Manapouri in Fiordland.

But water levels at Lake Manapouri and its feeder lake, Te Anau, are now below minimum normal operating levels, severely restricting the station's ability to supply Tiwai Pt. Meridian must therefore source power from elsewhere at market prices.

OPINION: By Murray Horton in Christchurch

For as long as the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (Cafca) has existed – more than 45 years now – we have called for the closure of the aluminium smelter, owned by giant transnational corporation, Rio Tinto.

There are numerous grounds for doing so, all of which amount to the smelter not being in New Zealand’s national interest. The corporate welfare power price deal (the price is still secret) by itself qualifies the smelter as the country’s biggest bludger.

Once again Rio Tinto is pulling the same old party trick of threatening to close down and leave the country unless it gets an even better deal than what it currently enjoys.

The conventional wisdom used to be that the smelter is bad for the country but good for Southland.

Not so more, in light of very recent events. February’s huge floods throughout Southland ran the very real risk of setting an environmental catastrophe (not to mention a major threat to life) if the water had got into huge quantities of toxic waste stored in Mataura, which would have released ammonia gas.

Fortunately, that did not happen. But neither the toxic waste nor the threat have gone away.

What is this toxic waste? Some (but by no means all) media reports correctly identified it as the poetically named dross, the toxic waste product of the smelter.

Toxic waste disposal outsourced

And why is it being stored in a closed down former paper mill building right next to a river in Mataura (along with other places dotted across Southland)? Because Rio Tinto got sick of storing it onsite at Bluff and decided to outsource its disposal to a third-party company, which took it off Rio Tinto’s hands in 2014 and then promptly went bust in 2016.

Leaving the people of Mataura, and elsewhere in Southland, stuck with the problem.

Following February’s flood in Mataura, the Gore District Council made a verbal deal with the smelter management to have the dross removed. That deal was overruled by Rio Tinto’s board.

Tiwai Point aluminium smelter … “a good old-fashioned Southland handshake [to clean up the toxic mess], but Rio Tinto’s bosses have reneged.” Image: RNZ
As Gore’s chief executive said: “We had a deal sealed with a good old-fashioned Southland handshake, but Rio Tinto’s bosses have reneged”.
At which point the “transformative” government started to wake from its stupor.

Environment Minister David Parker said it was “disgraceful” and “I’ve had enough” and threatened to look at suing Rio Tinto.

Good luck with that one, minister. That would involve Labour facing up to the 2003 and 2004 indemnities signed by Michael Cullen, Labour’s Minister of Finance at the time, accepting that the taxpayer, and not the smelter owners, would be liable for the cost of cleaning up toxic waste produced by the smelting process.

Liability renewed

That liability was renewed as recently as 2016, by the Key government.

Yes, that’s right. Rio Tinto has outsourced the liability for cleaning up its mess onto the New Zealand taxpayer.

And supine governments, both Labour and National, have gone along with that. It’s a textbook example of a transnational corporation privatising the profits and socialising the costs.

Cafca insists that the government makes Rio Tinto clean up its own mess, at its own expense. And that it cuts short Rio Tinto’s decades-long tiresome threatening to close down and assist them to do so. With a “good old-fashioned” kick in the pants.

But we’ll believe that when we see it. In 2013 it issued the same threat to leave and the Key government gave it $30 million to stay.

This company has corporate welfare down to a fine art. It has had half a century of practice.

This provides a contrary point-of- view

Sometimes I think I've woken up and found myself transported into the movie Groundhog Day. The years and the decades roll by, and as they do, new generations of young journalists are hatched and raised, until they are big enough to crane their heads above the edge of the nest, seeing for the first time the things that the rest of us have already lived through, and still remember.

The Bluff aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point is one of them. Periodically - well actually, with monotonous regularity - this jewel in New Zealand's industrial crown comes to the attention of another new crop of naysayers, and with a predictability as reliable as clockwork, all the tired - and incorrect - old arguments against its continued existence are brought to the fore.

It happened again last week, on the heels of Rio Tinto, the vast faceless foreign multinational that owns the plant, once more musing about the economics of continuing to turn rainwater into profit, for New Zealand's absolute benefit, at the bottom of the South Island.

They do this every so often, usually in response to someone, who knoweth not mud from manure, making noises about how little the smelter pays for its electricity compared with the rest of New Zealand, and how much better off the nation would be if only the big greedy plant could just go away, or pay more for "our" power, and how terrible it is that we even have such a dirty polluting example of actual industry in Clean Green Outer Rower.

Yes, the smelter gets its power cheaper than anyone else, and yes, it uses more than anyone else. Yes, it consumes anything up to 15% of New Zealand's total generating capacity. But there is a great deal more to the situation, than first appears to the uninitiated.

For the benefit of this latest batch of eager young scribes, who very clearly haven't been instructed as to the actual factual history of aluminium smelting in New Zealand, here are a few relevant points for them to consider. I mean seriously, if they haven't even been taught enough, at school and journalist training camp, to know the basic truths about something that only began as recently as 1971, how can we possibly expect them to pass literary judgement on something as complex as the rest of New Zealand's history?

1. Manapouri and Tiwai were built because of each other, and neither one would exist were it not for that fact. Manapouri’s power was priced to make Tiwai viable before either of them were constructed. It has no relevance to the price of power anywhere else in NZ. Originally, ConZinc Rio Australia, the Aussie arm of the company who owns the Queensland mine where the bauxite ore is sourced, and the alumina processing plants where it is pre-refined, were going to build both the power station and the smelter. But when they pulled back on the power station project, the NZ Govt of the day stepped in, undertaking to build it instead, if ConZinc would agree to go ahead with the plant, which would be the sole consumer for the electricity generated. More fool to the idiots who sold this electricity-making colossus of an asset off - it has been freehold for more than a generation, and the coin that it earns could have stayed feeding into the national coffers.

2. Manapouri’s power can’t be connected to the rest of the country without at least half a billion being spent on upgrading the grid. Tiwai was chosen as the site for the smelter because of its close proximity to Manapouri, being a suitable power source, and to Bluff, being a suitable deep water port necessary for the loading and unloading of base and finished materials. The ultra-heavy-duty 220kV transmission lines that emanate from Manapouri connect directly to the smelter. They don't connect to the rest of the National Grid beyond the degree to which the City of Invercargill is connected to the grid, and Invercargill is only connected as much as a city of 50,000-odd needs to be.

3. New Zealand simply does not have enough electricity demand, to utilise Manapouri’s output in the absence of the smelter anyway. Closing the smelter would also dictate that several other power stations would have to close as well, if Manapouri’s power was to be used by other consumers instead. In addition, current and forecast growth in electricity demand in New Zealand is in Auckland. Transmission losses over the 1,300 kilometres between Manapouri and Auckland make that a no-brainer before anyone even starts thinking about taking it seriously. Auckland needs new power generation, but it needs to be supplied from as close to Auckland as possible.

4. Tiwai’s aluminium is by far the purest in the world. It is sought after and used by the Japanese electronics industry and European aircraft manufacturers amongst others. Tiwai is a strategic asset in that sense. Tiwai aluminium clocks north of 99.98% pure. The wing roots of the Airbus A-380 are made from it. Only one other plant in the world comes close, that being an Alcoa smelter in Tennessee. World aluminium production exceeds 60 million tonnes annually. Tiwai's high-purity output totals around 350,000 tonnes, or a bit over half of one percent of that. It is always going to sell, and it is always going to sell for good money.

5. Making highly pure aluminium requires lots of heat, which in turn demands lots of electricity, which has to be cheap in order to make it economic. If it isn’t New Zealand hydro power making pure aluminium, it will be Chinese coal. What does anyone really want here? Of some 250 aluminium smelters worldwide, Tiwai is rated as being in the top 10 where environmental credentials are concerned. Far from being a blot on the environmental landscape, Tiwai should be something that New Zealand screams about from the rooftops, in this brave new (if deluded and insane) world of carbon hysteria.

6. Manapouri and Tiwai allow New Zealand to turn rainfall in Fiordland into $1 billion of export receipts, every year. Where else are we going to get that $1 billion from?

7. NZ closing a hydro powered smelter, and then shutting down a few thermal power stations because it now has excess electricity = yay! less coal being burned! But the Chinese burning more coal to make aluminium instead, = boo, no saving in global coal use after all. But also boo, NZ is now $1 billion and 2000+ jobs poorer. Brilliant green economics, eh.

Some estimates put the total number of people who depend on Tiwai for work and income as high as 4,000; which is significant anywhere, very significant for New Zealand, and crucial for a province such as Southland.

Seriously, people who bitch about the price that Tiwai pays for “our” electricity really need to swot up on the facts of the matter. One can forgive naive young journos for not knowing what they haven't been told about. But the facts of history are what they are, and there is no excuse for the politicians of today to ignore them.

Richard Prosser

Under UK's Schedule 21 anyone can be forcefully removed from their homes

Richie Allen reveals new 

draconian provisions of UK 

covid-19 legislation

Chinese Communist spy is retiring from NZ politics

National MP Jian Yang to 

retire from politics following 


11 July, 2020

National MP Jian Yang has been pushed into retiring from politics after the election, the Herald understands.

His tenure as an MP has been clouded with questions over his links to Chinese spy agencies and his studies at Chinese military institutions.

Yang has always said these associations are above board.

"After careful consideration and talking to my wife and children, I have decided, that after serving three most rewarding terms in the National Party caucus, I will not stand in the 2020 general election," Yang said in a statement this morning.

Yang said he was proud of his contribution to New Zealand-China relations.

"My trips to China with prime minister John Key, ministers and colleagues are some highlights of my political career. I have witnessed the rapid growth of New Zealand's trade with China and I am pleased to have played a role in it."

The Herald understands that senior MPs in National's caucus had leaned on Yang to retire, even though he had already been assured of a spot on the 2020 party list.

His retirement now means that three of the party's 2020 list spots that had been committed before Simon Bridges was rolled as leader are now vacant: Yang, Anne Tolley, Paula Bennett are all leaving.

Yang's association with Chinese institutes fuelled speculation that he was an officer in Chinese military intelligence and a member of the Communist Party.

In response, Yang said he was not a spy but he taught English to "cadets" at a language school run by the Communist Party's People's Liberation Army.

In 2017, at the height of questions about his ties to China, Yang held a press conference where he refuted "any allegations that question my loyalty to New Zealand".

He said he had resigned from the Chinese Communist Party when he came to New Zealand.

He has since repeatedly declined interview requests, including as recently as two weeks ago when Q+A was seeking an interview.

The news of Yang's impending departure was welcomed by NZ First leader Winston Peters, who is also Foreign Affairs Minister.

"It is breath taking, given New Zealand's long democratic tradition, that National has tolerated the intolerable by protecting Mr Yang from being held to account by our media," Peters said.

"He has never satisfactorily explained his past links with the CCP and their military intelligence-linked language schools, nor has he or the National Party ever apologised for his misleading statements when he applied for citizenship.

"It is even worse that when last in government National for over 16 months allowed Mr Yang to sit as a member on the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee until he was quietly replaced. This is shocking when you think about it, a low point in protecting some of New Zealand's most sensitive relationships."

In his statement today announcing his retirement, Yang said New Zealand was a great country.

"I have been in New Zealand for 21 years, 12 years in academia and nine years in politics. Politics is demanding and I now look forward to spending more time with my wife and family.

"I am truly grateful for the unfailing support I have received from the party, my colleagues and the wider Chinese community."

He said it had been "a great honour" to represent the Chinese community as a National MP.

"I am proud that I have been able to assist numerous Chinese constituents and enabled the Chinese community to better understand and participate in New Zealand's open and democratic politics.

"I wish Todd and the team all the best to win the election."

National Party leader Todd Muller said in a statement Yang had made a big contribution over the past nine years.

"Jian has contributed a great deal as a National MP during his time in Parliament. His nine years of service have involved a lot of hard work," Muller said.

"As a list MP he has travelled the country, supporting many different communities helping them with different issues. His dedication has helped the Chinese community in New Zealand better understand and participate in politics.

"Jian has served as chairperson of Parliament's Education and Science Select Committee and is currently chairperson of the Governance and Administration Select Committee. He has served both committees with distinction.

"I wish him well for his future endeavours."

From one week ago

John Campbell was on to this a few years ago.