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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Living Systems

Ecosystem Members,
​Jenny and I have had a lot to consider recently with the death of her Mom. Life and death and love and ​change in the world, which we have seen, and which we anticipate going forward.​ We are traveling tonight to Yoakum, where we are signing on a nice house on 0.6 acre of lovely soil. We will keep living in Austin, and working, and fixing up the house, and getting fruit trees in, and a bigger garden. This is an engagement with life, not techno-fantasy. We pray for wisdom and guidance going forward.

Gail Tverberg on Why we get bad diagnoses for the world's energy economy problems. (Affirmation and expansion of Limits To Growth thesis.)​
In the time since the 1972 Limits to Growth analysis was prepared, there has been a major discovery relating the importance of energy to the economy. Ilya Prigogine tackled the problem of the physics of thermodynamically dynamic open systems, earning a Nobel prize for his efforts in 1977. When energy flows are available, many structures, called dissipative structures, can grow and change over time. Examples include plants and animals, hurricanes, stars (they expand in size, then collapse at the end of their lives), ecosystems, and economies. These structures are utterly dependent on energy flows. The economy needs energy in almost the same way that humans need food. Without sufficient energy flows, the world economy will collapse.

t is because of the laws of physics and energy flows that markets are able to set price levels. Indirectly, physics sets the maximum affordable price for energy products based upon the total quantity of goods and services individual workers can afford. These maximum affordable prices may be invisible, but they are very real. Economists may talk about “demand” for energy products, but the real issue is affordability: “Will the laws of physics allow prices to stay high enough to provide the commodities the world economy needs?”
It is because of the laws of physics that debt can play a major role in the economy. Debt can provide time-shifting services if an economy does not have sufficient energy supplies to permit the equivalent of bartering of finished goods and services for new capital goods. Debt can allow future goods and services (manufactured with energy products) to serve as payment for capital goods and other goods purchased using debt. Thus, debt acts as a promise of future energy supplies. These future energy supplies may not, in fact, actually be available at prices that consumers can afford. This is why debt bubbles so often collapse and have a devastating impact on economies.

​David Stockman comes at the debt from a more partisan angle, with lots of experience, and gets to the same destination as Gail.
Trump and the GOP deserve everlasting ignominy for literally shit-canning fiscal rectitude. So doing, they have completely abandoned the GOP's fundamental reason for being--- watch-dogging the US Treasury---in favor of immigrant-bashing, border hysteria and what boils down to crude nativism by any other name...
So what has actually transpired through it all is that the Donald has dropped the equivalent of a neutron bomb on the GOP. Its edifice is still standing but what used to be inside is dead to the world.
Worse still, those now departed legions of budget hawks have been replaced by an unseemly coalition of militant border patrollers, neocon blood-lusters and military pork barrel servitors of the Warfare State. That is to say, a predatory gang of self-serving swamp-dwellers who couldn't defend the taxpayers or the nation's solvency if their lives depended upon it.  

​Citizen Ray sends this article about an accidentally slipped brag about kicking ass with internet censorship in the war against fringe-ideas. (I got wounded.)
In comments published here for the first time, a neoconservative Washington insider has apparently claimed a degree of credit for the recent purge — and promised more takedowns in the near future.
“Russia, China, and other foreign states take advantage of our open political system,” remarked Jamie Fly, a senior fellow and director of the Asia program at the influential think tank the German Marshall Fund, which is funded by the U.S. government and NATO. “They can invent stories that get repeated and spread through different sites. So we are just starting to push back. Just this last week Facebook began starting to take down sites. So this is just the beginning.”
Fly went on to complain that “all you need is an email” to set up a Facebook or Twitter account, lamenting the sites’ accessibility to members of the general public. He predicted a long struggle on a global scale to fix the situation, and pointed out that to do so would require constant vigilance.
Fly made these stunning comments to Jeb Sprague, who is a visiting faculty in sociology at the University of California-Santa Barbara and co-author of this article. The two spoke during a lunch break at a conference on Asian security organized by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin, Germany on Oct. 15 and 16.

Professor Paul Craig Roberts:
If America had an independent media, the election would be about the American police state that, based on the 9/11 lie, the weapons of mass destruction lie, the use of chemical weapons lie, the Iranian nukes lie, the Russian invasion of Ukraine lie, was accepted by the insouciant Americans. Those responsible for these lies, which have caused massive war crimes, for which US administrations should be indicted, are feted and rich. The rest of us have experienced the loss of civil liberty and privacy. Any individual in the way of the police state is mowed down.
If America had an independent media, the election would be about the de-industrialization of the United States. Today, as this article makes clear— —the offshoring of American manufacturing and industry has reduced the US military to dependence on Chinese suppliers.

In the system of national defense of the US a gaping vulnerability was found that is very difficult to close. The reaction of the Pentagon is reminiscent of badly hidden panic, and journalists who examined the results of the research of American experts, who thoroughly studied the condition of the American army and defensive industry, admit that there is iron logic in the recent “strange” actions of president Trump — he wants to save America from transforming into a cardboard tiger with paper claws.
The essence of the problem, according to the retelling of the columnist of the Reuters agency Andy Home, who obtained a copy of the September report of the US Department of Defence on the situation concerning key deliveries necessary for the American army, is reduced to one important figure. More than 300 (!) key elements necessary for the normal functioning of the US Armed Forces and defensive industry are under threat: American producers are either on the verge of bankruptcy or were already replaced by suppliers from China or other countries because of the deindustrialisation of national economy and the relocation of production to the countries of Southeast Asia.

​Apparently everybody in Washington, Riyadh, Berlin, Paris and London has heard the gruesome Khashoggi murder-dismemberment tapes now. Erdogan said he gave them all copies. The US is ceasing refueling Saudi warplanes over Yemen.
In a significant development, the White House is preparing to halt the U.S. refueling of Saudi coalition jets engaged in operations over Yemen. It's been among the more controversial measures of assistance the Pentagon has provided the Saudis and Emirates during three years of aerial operations over Yemen, which has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, including a massive number of civilian casualties. 
The New York Times reports that the "limited punishment" is to be accompanied by proposed sanctions on Riyadh over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi:
The Trump administration is ending air refueling flights for the Saudi military campaign in Yemen and preparing sanctions against Saudis linked to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, current and former American officials said on Friday. The moves would impose a limited punishment on the kingdom.
​Bass Ackwards​

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Talking About Power

Threatening the Narrative,

The notification I sent out this morning  to the 188 people on the regular bcc news list went through. 
Everything I sent to that list got uniformly blocked since before Halloween, including yesterday, 11/7/18. 
This is a form of information filtering of anything which might not agree with the approved (by Google?) narrative. 
The filter has been lifted from my communications again for the moment. 
This same filtering happened to me in 2016, leading up to the elections, and was lifted after that vote. It is why I started the blog. 
We have been seeing information about shadow-banning. This is a form of shadow banning. 
There is a lot of complex and variable filtering of information by Google. Just look at the personalized ads you get fed. 
For now, look at , Consider getting the blog notification via email, which you can now enter in a line at the top of the page. 
I hope that works, but it can be inactivated easily enough...
Consider the near future, when even the appearance of free communication will go away. I'll be gardening, and providing medical care, I hope.

Gilad Atzmon, who is really in a position to know what he is talking about...​
For the last four decades, the West has been subjected to an intense cultural and social revolution. The cause of ‘social justice’ has made some fundamental changes in western society.  Elementary rights, such as the freedom to think openly, have been eradicated and replaced by a strict regime of correctness. In retrospect, it was reasonable to believe that there was little significant resistance to these social justice heroes. During that time, it seemed that their agenda had prevailed. Just five years ago it looked as if the Tyranny of Correctness was here to stay. But then, unexpectedly, the tide changed.
First the Scottish referendum let us know that every other Scot wanted to separate from the Kingdom. Soon after, half of the Brits voted to split from the EU, and then, totally unexpectedly, Trump won the presidential election.
It was Trump’s victory that really brought the identity war to the fore. For whatever reason, it was Trump and his combative rhetoric that most clearly exposed the demarcation line that divides the West.
America, like the rest of the West, is split into  ‘Identitarians’ and ‘Nationalists:’ Identitarians identify politically with their symptoms. These symptoms may be ethnic or cultural but most often are biological (skin colour, sexual orientation, gender, race, etc.). Nationalists, on the other hand, are people who identify politically with a piece of geography that is defined by their national borders.

This really presents a best-case scenario.
T​rump is making offers the world can refuse – by reshaping trade deals, dispensing with American sops and forcing powerful corporations to return home, the US is regaining economic wealth but relinquishing global power.  As the last leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika (restructuring) led to the breakup of its vast territory(22 million square kilometers). Gorbachev’s failed policies led to the dissolution of the USSR into Russia and independent countries, and the end of a superpower... This diminishing influence was highlighted when India and seven other countries geared up to defy Washington’s re-imposition of its unilateral, illegal sanctions against Iran, starting Monday. The US State Department granting “permission” on the weekend to the eight countries to buy Iranian oil was akin to waving the green flag at a train that has already left the station.

​Moon of Alabama summarizes election 2017:​
Trump's domestic agenda will be hindered by the new House majority. He may well compensate for that with a more aggressive foreign policy.
With more than $5 billion spent on midterm election campaigns the elected people are more indebted to their rich donors than ever before.
Florida passed an amendment that will restore the voting rights of some 1.4 million people with past felony convictions. This will change the political landscape. Most of the felons are people of color, often convicted for very minor crimes. In 2016 Trump carried the state by 100,000 votes.​..​
The campaign for the 2020 election has begun.

​The winds of propaganda war in Washington may be shifting, but I'll never be approved.​ (The rumor is that Lindsay Graham will be nominated for Attorney General, now that he has changed to Trump's side, and Nikki Haley may take his South Carolina Senate seat. Yucky political bedfellows, those two...)
Just one day after Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate, President Trump revealed in a tweet that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned. Matthew G. Whitaker, Sessions' chief of staff, will become acting Attorney General until Trump can win a confirmation for Sessions' replacement from the Senate. Whitaker is expected to be sworn in by end of day Wednesday. Session confirmed that he is resigning at the president's request.
Since Whitaker hasn't recused himself from the probe, he will become the senior DOJ official overseeing the Mueller, whose investigation is said to be winding down after a handful of departures from his team of prosecutors. This could be a problem for the veteran prosecutor, because Whitaker, a former US attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, said during a stint as a conservative commentator that the Mueller probe was a "witch hunt" and that he believes Mueller has violated the law by looking into Trump's finances and venturing beyond the original scope of the investigation. 

​Robert Mueller has gotten the memo about how to save his own deeply corrupt bacon...​
Rumors over Mueller's final report comes as Democrats go into full panic mode over the appointment of Matt Whitaker - Sessions' former right-hand man, as interim Attorney General. Whitaker will take over the Russia investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who signed off on a FISA surveillance warrant application and subsequent renewals for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.  

The whole EU is doing worse than advertised since 2008, certainly including Germany, and is in no condition to withstand any economic shocks or displacements.

Mish Shedlock points out 4 paths for resolution of the Brexit problem, and says there is no movement, because there is no majority consensus. That is not necessarily bad. Certain regions of France and Germany will be hit very hard by a no-deal Brexit, and their national governments really need to protect those interests. The tough guy bluffing all around is not helping anybody. How long will it last?

The Bank of England will keep 14 tons of Venezuelan gold. "It's safer here. Y'all might steal it from yourselves, or something."

Following The Money

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Back Up Plans

Feeding the Army,

Consider it beyond ironic that some of the same experts and organizations now suggesting that we bet America’s future on pumping up the most inefficient sector of our economy -- no, no, I didn’t mean the coal industry, I meant the military-industrial complex -- are conservative experts who criticized the Soviet Union for the very same thing.  They still claim that it imploded largely because Washington cleverly lured its leaders into devoting ever more of their resources to the military sector.  That, they insist, reinforced a rigidity in the Soviet system which made it virtually impossible for them to adapt to a rapidly changing global economic landscape.
Our military buildup, they still fervently believe, bankrupted the Soviet Union. Other analysts, like the historian Lawrence Wittner, have questioned such a view. But for the sake of consistency, shouldn’t conservatives who claimed that excessive military spending did in the Soviets be worried that President Trump’s policy of massive tax cuts for the rich, increased Pentagon spending, and trade wars with adversaries and allies alike might do something similar to the United States?

Maybe you once thought the CIA wasn’t supposed to spy on Americans here in the United States.
That concept is so yesteryear.
Over time, the CIA upper echelon has secretly developed all kinds of policy statements and legal rationales to justify routine, widespread surveillance on U.S. soil of citizens who aren’t suspected of terrorism or being a spy.
The latest outrage is found in newly declassified documents from 2014. They reveal the CIA not only intercepted emails of U.S. citizens but they were emails of the most sensitive kind — written to Congress and involving whistleblowers reporting alleged wrongdoing within the Intelligence Community...
The March 2014 intercepts, conducted under the leadership of CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, happened amid what’s widely referred to as the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers and mass surveillance scandals...
It turns out the CIA claims it must engage in “routine counterintelligence monitoring of government computers” to make sure certain employees aren’t doing bad things. Poof! Now, all kinds of U.S. citizens and their communications can be swept into the dragnet — and it’s deemed perfectly legal. It’s just an accident or “incidental,” after all, if the CIA happens to pick up whistleblower communications with the legislative branch.

The F-35 finally has some competition for costliest boondoggle in American military history.
According to Bloomberg, the most expensive Navy warship to date, the $13 billion Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, was delivered last year without the elevators it needed to lift bombs from below deck for loading on to fighter jets. The "advanced weapons" elevators were supposed to have been installed by the ship's delivery date of May 2017. However, technical problems have caused repeated delays to the installation. While answering questions from reporters, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer described the elevator system as "our Achilles heel."

The Untouchable US-Saudi Relation is a Core Element of US Imperialism (Can't take the petro out of the petro-dollar at this point. It's already become a bludgeon to beat the rest of the world. Gotta' keep some carrot with that stick.)

Deeply overdrawn Pakistan close-dances with China and Saudi Arabia. Pakistan is critical to the new silk road, and Saudi relations with the rest of the Islamic world, notably Turkey and Iran. (Much of this debt could be satisfied without resorting to $US, I notice.) Pepe Escobar paints in bright colors...

Turkey will not recognize US sanctions against Iran, and will (again) have to work around the dollar...

In anticipation of the US sanctions against Iranian oil exports, which were reimposed by the Trump Administration on Monday (along with additional sanctions on everything from Iranian shipping to banking and insurance), oil tankers bearing the Iranian flag have embraced a stealthy approach to keeping the oil flowing: They're 'ghosting' international trackers by turning off their transponders, rendering the ships impossible to track by anything aside from visual cues...​ ​Already, the ghosting method is proving surprisingly effective: In an interview with Sputnik, the founders of one of the most popular oil-tanker tracking services,, have been "utterly exhausted" trying to track Iranian ships... Meanwhile, the "special purpose vehicle" - a kind of SWIFT alternative designed explicitly to help European companies avoid detection by the US - is helping to facilitate clandestine payments for Iranian crude, eliminating another methodology for tracking who, exactly, is buying Iranian crude. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has said Iran will defy US sanctions, though both sides have insisted that they remain "open" to negotiations surrounding a new deal.  

OK, we will "grant waivers" to all the countries that have enough leverage to call our bluff. Oil prices won't go up, they say...
Pompeo defended the decision to provide waivers to several U.S. allies, arguing that those countries were working with the administration to reduce their Iranian oil imports.
In addition to Japan, China, and India, Pompeo said the U.S. also would exempt these five countries: ItalyGreeceSouth KoreaTaiwan and Turkey. China is Iran's largest oil customer, followed by India, South Korea, Turkey, and then Italy​.​

Midterm elections produce gridlock pattern, with Democratic majority in the House being more modest than a mandate, and Republicans getting more solid control of the Senate. Some things that big banks and corporations, Israel, and the military-industrial-security-complex want will pass easily...

Golem XIV points out where the bad-debt-sausage sits in the American financial landscape today, compared to 2008. 
Pension Funds. Insurance Companies. (Whew! I'm Glad bankers are gonna' be ok.)
Corporates are floundering in a river of debt of their own creation. They are the ones who have taken on loans they will not be able to pay if interest rates increase even a little. The banks have packaged up and sold on that leveraged loan debt and those junk bonds and they have been gobbled up by pensions and insurance companies desperate for yield after a decade of ‘temporary’ low interest rates.
In place of zombie banks we now have zombie corporations kept alive by low interest rates and bond buying QE. Those low interest rates have created a dysfunctional market. Zombie corporations are kept alive because they can sell their sub-prime bonds and get sub prime loans in a market where the buyers of those bonds and securitised loans, the insurers and pension funds and fund managers, are so desperate for yield that they gobble up ‘high yield’ which is just a euphemism for sub prime.
This time it will not be the banks that trigger another financial collapse. Not HSBC or Countrywide this time but GE or Caterpillar. The companies who have been propping up their share prices with endless buy backs funded by… low interest rate loans and junk bond issues. Or perhaps it will be the corporates who are merging and acquiring.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Quantum Life Forms

Implied Intentions,

Prince Ahmad bin Abdulaziz, the younger brother of King Salman, has returned to Saudi Arabia after a prolonged absence in London, to mount a challenge to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or find someone who can.
The septuagenarian prince, an open critic of bin Salman (MBS), has travelled with security guarantees given by US and UK officials.
“He and others in the family have realised that MBS has become toxic,” a Saudi source close to Prince Ahmad told Middle East Eye.
“The prince wants to play a role to make these changes, which means either he himself will play a major role in any new arrangement or to help to choose an alternative to MBS.”

During the past four weeks since Khashoggi went missing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the case has been constantly in the news cycle. Contrast that with the sparse coverage in Western news media of the horrific Saudi war in Yemen during the past four years.
The United Nations has again recently warned that 16 million in Yemen were facing death from starvation as a result of the war waged on that country by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab partners, with the crucial military support of the US, Britain and France. That imminent death toll hardly registered a response from Western media or governments.
Last week, some 21 Yemeni workers at a vegetable packing plant near the Red Sea port of Hodeida were killed after US-backed Saudi warplanes launched air strikes. Again, hardly any condemnation was registered by Western governments and media pundits.​..
The tragedy of desensitized abstraction is not due to overwhelming numbers. It is primarily due to the willful omission – and worse, misinformation – by Western media on the barbarity of the Saudi regime and the crucially enabling support given to this regime by Western politics and economics.
The apparent disconnect is due to systematic Western media distortion. That’s not just a flaw. It is criminal complicity.

​The mass murderers are running low on funds.​ The investment is not paying off as expected.
The war on Yemen today is a brutal example of how the expansion of global capitalist interests destroys nations.
It first takes the form of neoliberalism (often innocently labeled as globalisation) and then, as the inevitable structural collapse of the targeted country begins, (with its inevitable popular resistance undermining the political order), a more overt form of violence is introduced.
The war on Yemen moved towards the most violent form of war. A siege on a whole country with the obvious intent to cause a genocidal famine of the resisting population.
The attacking nations, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Britain and the UAE, planned to grab Yemen's resources but failed in their war. They are now making first moves to end the war. They finally recognized that they are unable to win while the financial and reputational costs of the stalemate steadily increases.
It is not by chance that this move comes after clown prince Mohammad bin Salman's recent Khashoggi disaster. It was that murder that moved the attention to his leading role in the genocidal war on Yemen.​..
​Since March 2015, when the Saudis launched the war, 70,000 to 80,000 were killed due to combat. That estimate is conservative based on documented death as a result of fighting. The Save the Children NGO estimated in late 2017 that 50,000 children died that year for lack of food and from a ravaging Cholera epidemic.
The famine only increased since then. By the end of this year another 50,000 children will have died. The total number of dead caused by the war and blockade since March 2015 has thus likely exceeded the 200,000 mark.​...
Neither the exile government under Saudi control nor the Houthi have paid the state employees. High inflation, caused by the Saudi controlled central bank of Yemen, threw people into utter poverty. Starvation thus happens even when food is available in the markets because the people simply have no money to pay for it.​..
Saudi and UAE bombardment has destroyed at least 421,911 houses, 930 mosques, 888 schools, 327 hospitals and health facilities, and 38 media organizations, while halting the operation of 4,500 schools and leaving more than 4 million people displaced.​..
The Saudi spend an estimated $200 million per day in their war on Yemen. The money they pledged this year to the UN for aid in Yemen sums up to less than 5 days of their military expenditure​...
The Saudi war on Yemen has failed. A recent third attack by UAE supported forces on the harbor of Hodeidah was again repelled. The frontlines are littered with burned out military vehicles. Meanwhile Houthi attacks into Saudi Arabia continue.  

The gas under the Mediterranean sea is probably worth killing for, but is it worth taking losses for? 
Turkey really needs some gas it can call it's own. Further transgressions will be necessary...

"Anti-semitic-white-supremacist-in-chief" and so on...
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump on Tuesday visited the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a gunman carried out the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.
The Trumps paid their respects to the dead by lighting candles inside the synagogue's vestibule for each of the 11 victims of Saturday's massacre. They then laid stones atop makeshift memorial stars outside the building, a traditional Jewish mourning ritual, and also set down white flowers.
Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., accompanied the president and first lady during their visit, as did Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president's daughter and son-in-law and White House advisers who are Jewish, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

​And further proof that Trump is as good as telling non-Jewish-whites to send unarmed pipe bombs to rich, powerful, famous Jews!​
"I wouldn't be surprised. I don't know who, but I wouldn't be surprised. A lot of people say yes," he told a Daily Mail journalist who asked him what he thought of the idea that Soros was funding the caravans.  

​Brazilian globe-trotting reporter, Pepe Escobar:
The sophisticated Hybrid War rolling coup in Brazil that started in 2014, had a point of inflexion in 2016 and culminating in 2018 with impeaching a president; jailing another; smashing the Right and the Center-Right; and in a post-politics-on-steroids manner, opening the path to neo-fascism.
Bolsonaro though is a – mediocre – black void cipher. He does not have the political structure, the knowledge, not to mention the intelligence to have come so far, our of the blue, without a hyper-complex, state of the art, cross-border intel support system.
In contrast, the Left – as in Europe – once again was stuck in analog mode. No way any progressive front, especially in this case as it was constituted at the eleventh hour, could possibly combat the toxic tsunami of cultural war, identity politics and micro-targeted fake news.
They lost a major battle. At least they now know this is hardcore, all-out war. To destroy Lula – the world’s foremost political prisoner – the Brazilian elites had to destroy Brazil.

Humanity has wiped out 60% of global animal populations since 1970 (Amazon rain-forest coming up!)

The very high fixed-cost of other-people's-"assets" is choking the real economy to death. Michael Hudson points out the truth again. Not complicated.
Today’s financial malaise for pension funds, state and local budgets and underemployment is largely a result of the 2008 bailout, not the crash. What was saved was not only the banks – or more to the point, as Sheila Bair pointed out, their bondholders – but the financial overhead that continues to burden today’s economy.
Also saved was the idea that the economy needs to keep the financial sector solvent by an exponential growth of new debt – and, when that does not suffice, by government purchase of stocks and bonds to support the balance sheets of the wealthiest layer of society. The internal contradiction in this policy is that debt deflation has become so overbearing and dysfunctional that it prevents the economy from growing and carrying its debt burden.​..
What is celebrated as growth of the GDP since 2008 has been mainly the growth in financial extraction, along with the health-insurance sector profiting from Obamacare.​..​
The bailout aftermath has demonstrated that corporations are not really “persons” if they cannot be given jail time.  
Banks have ceased to be an “engine of growth.” They are not making loans to create new means of production. They are lending to asset strippers, not asset creators.  

An interview (with transcript) of Michael Hudson on Guns And Butter:
​"​I think what the newspapers said was that the bailout saved the banks. To bankers, their banks are the economy. The problem is, you can’t save the banks and the economy. If you save the banks, you’re saving all the debt that people owe to the banks. And if you save all the debt that the people owe to the banks – and you foreclose on the millions of families that forfeited their homes in the mortgage crisis – if you leave the debts growing at compound interest, raise the debt equity ratios and the debt-to-income ratios, then the economy is going to shrink and shrink, and we’re in a slow crash. So in a sense the celebration over “Yes, we saved the banks” was correct last week, but people don’t realize that the economy cannot be saved unless there’s a bank crash.​"​

Charles Hugh Smith: My explanation is much more simple: the status quo is fragile, and everyone's grip on the crumbling cliff-edge of "prosperity" is precarious--and we all sense it. The security we all took for granted is turning to sand as the system breaks down. Job security--you're joking, right? Pension security--you take us for chumps? Sure, your bank account is guaranteed by the FDIC, but nobody's guaranteeing your income, your purchasing power or the security of your grasp on the good life.

Over the past quarter-century, Earth’s oceans have retained 60 percent more heat each year than scientists previously had thought... “We thought that we got away with not a lot of warming in both the ocean and the atmosphere for the amount of CO2 that we emitted,” said Resplandy, who published the work with experts from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and several other institutions in the United States, China, France and Germany. “But we were wrong. The planet warmed more than we thought. It was hidden from us just because we didn’t sample it right. But it was there. It was in the ocean already.”

​Murder by Cornahol: Plowing all of that soil releases it's stored carbon into the air, as well as wasting diesel to get less back in ethanol. It's insane unless you get rich from it.
“Millions of acres of previously uncultivated land have been converted to cropland” to satisfy the biofuel mandate “with far-reaching, deleterious environmental impacts,” the environmentalists say in their filing. “Our air, water, land and wildlife are all suffering as a result.”​ ... The EPA approach also violates the Renewable Fuel Standard’s “clear and unambiguous restriction” on land conversion, while undermining the measure’s intended climate and environmental objectives.​... ​The EPA itself concluded in a June report that actively managed cropland has increased by 4 million to 7.8 million acres since 2007, with crop production for biofuels driving much of the increase. Corn acreage has also gone up by approximately 10 million acres during the same time frame.

​Look, invading Canada is the trick to this...​
More than 70 per cent of our planet’s remaining areas of wilderness are contained in just five countries and are at the mercy of political decisions regarding their future, new research has warned...
The places where the greatest remaining tracts of wilderness containing mixes of species at near-natural levels of abundance were identified as being in Russia, Canada, Australia, the US​ [Alaska]​ and Brazil.

​Life (probably) adapts to quantum conditions​. Are we (entangled) on that spectrum?
Coles and company sequestered several hundred photosynthetic green sulfur bacteria between two mirrors, progressively shrinking the gap between the mirrors down to a few hundred nanometers—less than the width of a human hair. By bouncing white light between the mirrors, the researchers hoped to cause the photosynthetic molecules within the bacteria to couple—or interact—with the cavity, essentially meaning the bacteria would continuously absorb, emit and reabsorb the bouncing photons. The experiment was successful; up to six bacteria did appear to couple in this manner... In essence, it appears certain photons were simultaneously hitting and missing photosynthetic molecules within the bacteria—a hallmark of entanglement. “Our models show that this phenomenon being recorded is a signature of entanglement between light and certain degrees of freedom inside the bacteria” ...“It certainly is key to demonstrating that we are some way toward the idea of a ‘Schrödinger’s bacterium,’ if you will,” he says. And it hints at another potential instance of naturally emerging quantum biology: Green sulfur bacteria reside in the deep ocean where the scarcity of life-giving light might even spur quantum-mechanical evolutionary adaptations to boost photosynthesis.​.. ​

Neither Here Nor There

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Invisible For Halloween

Carnal Beings,

This news compilation has probably not come to your inbox when I hit "send" to the bcc list of 188 regular recipients. This news is being censored.
This internet censorship previously happened to the newsletter in the lead up to the 2016 election. 
That is why I set up Johnday's Blog as a separate communication venue. 
The blog got a big increase of hits after I got the notice out that the newsmail had been blocked. 
That kind of notice is also blocked, as of yesterday and this morning. I will persist in trying.  
It seems that contesting the official narrative is not to be permitted with  elections looming. (There may be a little power left in a vote.)
Alternative news may not be permitted in the future. Censorship is really overt this time, not subtle at all.
Look at while it exists. 
Please do the personal work of human transition to a future of less energy of all kinds; bicycling, growing vegetables, and knowing that water and friends are precious. 
I pray for guidance.

Thank Eleni: There is a whole lot of relevant historical perspective of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East relationships in this article. It is clearly presented, like this tidbit.
Jamal Khashoggi was the grandson of the personal doctor of King Abdul Aziz. He was nephew of the arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, who equipped the Saudi Air Force, and then, on behalf of the Pentagon, supplied Chiite Iran against Sunni Iraq. His aunt Samira Khashoggi is the mother of arms dealer Dodi Al-Fayed (eliminated with his companion, British Princess Lady Diana [5]).  

The MI6 had warned their Saudi counterparts to cancel the mission.
“On October 1 we became aware of the movement of a group, which included members of Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-‘Āmah (GID) to Istanbul, and it was pretty clear what their aim was.
“Through channels, we warned that this was not a good idea. Subsequent events show that our warning was ignored.”
Sunday Express also obtained an anonymous interview from a close friend of Khashoggi’s who revealed that the journalist was about to obtain “documentary evidence” of Saudi Arabia’s use of chemical weapon in its proxy war in Yemen.​..
Iran has previously claimed that the kingdom had been supplying ingredients that can be used to make the nerve agent Sarin in Yemen but Khashoggi was possibly referring to phosphorus which can be used to burn bones. Last month it was claimed that Saudi Arabia had been using U.S.-supplied white phosphorus munitions against troops and even civilians in Yemen.​..According to the latest updates, the European Union is considering a ban on arms sale to Saudi Arabia and other sanctions. The EU will make a joint decision on how to punish the kingdom, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday in Istanbul after Russia-Turkey-France-Germany summit on Syria. A similar sentiment was expressed by France’s Emmanuel Macron.

​Rumor is that MbS got Khashoggi's head and fingers...​
“We know the orders came from a member of the royal circle but have no direct information to link them to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman… Whether this meant he was not the original issuer we cannot say,” the intelligence source was cited as saying.
An earlier report said Khashoggi, who was recently murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, intended to disclose details of Saudi Arabia’s use of banned chemical weapons in Yemen.

​Eleni sends this perspective piece also. "Harmonizing" National Interests...
Since the Russo-US agreement of Helsinki last July, President Donald Trump has been trying to withdraw his troops from Syria, while the Pentagon insists on leaving them where they are in order to prevent Russia from being the only power to decide on the future of that country. However, the allies of Washington refuse to admit defeat.
The quadrilateral summit in Istanbul was intended to harmonise the points of view of Russia, Turkey, France and Germany. If we read the final communiqué [1], the entente seems perfect, but if we compare it with the Press of the countries concerned, nothing is so sure.

​European glue dissolver...
Germany under Merkel’s bland but firm hand has been the only thing holding the European Union and eurozone together. If Germany descends into internal turmoil without a coherent government to push the Italys and Hungarys around, European populists/nationalists will fill the resulting vacuum.Borders will be re-imposed within and without the EU, national government budgets – already above EU deficit limits in many cases – will explode. Already-debilitating debts will keep rising, and the ECB will be forced to bail out Italy for sure and probably several other member states after that.
Since an ECB bailout of the Italian banking system means, in effect, moving Italy’s debt onto Germany’s balance sheet, the world’s one remaining rock-solid credit will join the ranks of politically unstable, increasingly indebted countries that may or may not be able to avoid financial collapse.

​When war is the only way our owners know how to do an economic reset. How big of a war do "we" need to do this next one?​ Any debate within the death-cult?
Trump announced last this week that the US was finally pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a move confirmed by Bolton on a follow-up trip to Moscow. That treaty was signed in 1987 by former President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. It was a landmark achievement of cooperation and trust between the nuclear superpowers. Both sides removed short and medium-range nuclear missiles from Europe.​..
 When the INF Treaty was implemented three decades ago, the US and Russian nuclear arsenals were seriously dialed back to the strategic level of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) confined on respective landmasses separated by thousands of kilometers. As Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of Natsionalnaya Oborona, told Russia’s Vesti news channel, the ICBMs typically have a flight time of 30 minutes from launch. That time gap would give Russian defense systems time to respond effectively to an incoming strike from the US, and vice versa.​..
It also presents the Americans with the temptation to exercise their “first-strike doctrine”. In US military planning, it reserves the “right” to use a pre-emptive attack. By contrast, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated again last week that Russia will never use a first-strike option, that it would only use nuclear weapons as a defensive action.
Recall that earlier this month, the US envoy to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, said that American forces would “take out” Russian missiles if they are deemed to be violating the INF. 
(Invisible) ​US rulers have a death wish on the planet.  

​Putin and Trump, who do not seem like death-cult members, may discuss the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty​ in a on 11/11 (I read that the illuminati numerologists really dig the number 11, but you read all kinds of things, don'tcha?)

Cellphones kill us. Every day. Nobody can stop, not even after almost being killed. Don't walk off a cliff on Christmas Day.
Texting while driving is now the leading cause of teenage deaths in this country.  

​This methane is massively bubbling up from the ocean floor, and it was not there 3 years ago... Point-already-tipped.
MOSCOW, October 29. /TASS/. Russian scientists during an expedition on board the Akademik Keldysh research vessel found new sources of methane emissions in the Arctic, the Ministry of Education and Science’s press service said on Friday.
Experts say thawing of the Arctic Ocean’s underwater and coastal permafrost causes massive emissions of greenhouse gases - methane and carbon dioxide. The growing emissions may affect the planet’s climate system​.​

​There will be a protest in London, to obstruct city traffic to protest the destruction of life on earth, starting 11/12/18 (if world lasts that long), until 11/17/18.   Extinction Rebellion is the group promoting the protest. (Greenpeace says they don't know enough about their backers to support this action.)
Gail Bradbrook, scientist and veteran of tax justice campaigns and the Occupy movement
“For years I have engaged with this ecological crisis on an intellectual level, the mounting evidence, the science … but now I have engaged with the potential destruction of this world on an emotional level and there is a fundamental difference. There is huge feeling of grief, of loss. I found myself bursting into tears, of feeling distant with longstanding friends … but as with other forms of grief, as the poets say, you start to come through that initial shock and feeling of loss and there is a renewed appreciation of the beauty of the world, a renewed realisation that we are connected.

Looks like Extinction Rebellion got an early start today, Happy Halloween!

Whitey Bulger, a notoriously murderous mobster and FBI informant, suddenly got moved to a new prison, into the general area, and was immediately wheeled to a corner by 3 prisoners and beaten to death with a lock in a sock. They keep having this murder problem at that prison. You'd think'd learn. Whitey was making rumblings about ratting out some of his FBI contacts in a new criminal investigation of the FBI.

Whispering Ghost

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

In Your Face

Blowing Up,

Cat sends some perspective from Sister Caitlin in Oz.
It is good that Barack Obama was never sent anything resembling the 26,171 bombs that his administration dropped in the final year of his presidency...
President Trump, whose administration has been dropping even more bombs than its predecessor after expanding the use of drone strikes and peeling back regulations on air strikes designed to protect civilians, was quick to condemn the headline-grabbing pipe bomb campaign which did not hurt anyone whatsoever.  

​For Real? This is the guy who moved the US Embassy to illegally-occupied  Al-Quds/Jerusalem..
As President Trump plans to visit Pittsburgh and the Squirrel Hill neighborhood that was the cite of Saturday's horrific shooting, a group of 11 rabbis have published an open letter condemning the president, saying he wouldn't be welcome in Pittsburgh unless he "denounces white nationalism" and stops targeting minority groups, migrants and refugees - effectively laying the blame for the shooting at Trump's feet.  

Israelis are blowing up the rightful heirs of the land they have stolen, and another hospital, but it's not racist or anything.
Gazans reported explosions so massive they seemed to turn night into day overnight Friday as Israeli aircraft began pounding the Gaza Strip since the evening in response to Hamas reportedly firing some 30 rockets toward the Israeli city of Sderot.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said it destroyed 80 Hamas targets in the operation, which had been somewhat expected since a week ago the began staging an unprecedented build-up of forces along the Israeli-Gaza border fence. Sporadic bombings continued through Saturday morning.
A terrorist group operating in Gaza which often acts independently of Hamas called Islamic Jihad implicitly claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, issuing a statement saying it "can no longer stand idle before the continued killing of innocents and bloodshed by the Israeli occupation".

Jim Kunstler describes the situation in America well.
One of the strange side effects of an epic American political hysteria is this strange ADD-like inability of the public to focus on anything for more than a few moments, even the most arresting atrocities. The hysteria itself is too compelling, like the actions of a human limbic system driving the collective public psyche from fight to flight on the wild horses of pure emotion. Reason has been discarded by the wayside just as a super-drunk person will shed his clothing even on a freezing night. Total culture war now beats a path toward all-out civil war, with the looming mid-term election as a fulcrum of history.  

Paging James Mattis...​
The Kremlin now says, based on new intelligence provided by the Russian defense ministry that a major attack on Khmeimim last January was coordinated by a US spy plane. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov presented statements confirming Russian intelligence has produced "undoubtedly a very alarming report" which finds a US P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane was behind the nighttime January 8th attack which involved 13 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in total — 10 approached Khmeimim while 3 attempted an attack on the naval facility in Tartus.  Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin went public with details of the Russian intelligence report at a plenary session of the Beijing Xiangshan Forum on security on Thursday: "Thirteen drones moved according to common combat battle deployment, operated by a single crew. During all this time the American Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane patrolled the Mediterranean Sea area for eight hours."
He said that the moment Russia switched on its electronic countermeasures, the drones switched to manual mode while still operating in a sophisticated and highly coordinated fashion. The deputy defense minister noted: "Manual guidance is carried out not by some villagers, but by the Poseidon-8, which has modern equipment. It undertook manual control," he said. 
"When these 13 drones faced our electronic warfare screen, they moved away to some distance, received the corresponding orders and began to be operated out of space and receiving help in finding the so-called holes through which they started penetrating. Then they were destroyed," Col. Fomin continued. 
Most of the drones during the January attack were intercepted by Russian air defense systems, but six drones were landed by Russian forces after successfully taking control through electronic countermeasures.

​Khashoggi, Erdogan and The Truth, Craig Murray, via Eleni. Very good find! Inside information from US sources confirms my suspicions, so I like it.
(I used to know a lot of people who had the kinds of "nose problems" that MbS has as he makes this important public statement with so much confidence, heh, heh, heh...)​

The CIA officially dumps MbS as their favorite heir to the Saudi throne.

Don't forget that MbS pissed off some big financial interests that call the shots.
Will MBS be replaced? It certainly remains to be seen, as strong public pressure and political threats may yet guide the crown prince back to the neoliberal fold. Yet, what is clear is that MBS’ rise to power was backed by the international elite and the Trump administration based on the promise of these neoliberal reforms and the mass sale of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia. However, in the months before Khashoggi’s disappearance, MBS gravely endangered both of these deals, angering those that had backed his consolidation of power. Such a cadre of powerful interests will not prove easy to placate.  While it may certainly seem ironic and perhaps amusing to some that a tyrant like MBS has come under such strong pressure from the international elite, there is reason for concern. Indeed, if Vision 2030 is fully implemented — whether by MBS or his successor — forcing neoliberalism on the Saudi population is likely to make the country very unstable, as nearly occurred when MBS tried to implement it early this year.

One reason that the King of Saudi Arabia is important to the Western Empire is the Petro-Dollar arrangement, which rebuilt the global reserve currency after Nixon had to default on the gold standard, after the Vietnam War used up America's gold. The Chinese are buying physical gold and taking possession of it. All of them. Every one of them. When the "paper gold" markets fail to control the price of the metal with their sly manipulations, there will be a dramatic regime change in global currency perceptions, a paradigm shift.

The French Finance Minister says the Eurozone is not prepared to face another crisis (like Italeave)

Angela Merkel is forced to announce that she is stepping down after 18 years as German Chancellor, and will not run for re-election to the Bundestag. "We are expecting some turbulence". Merkel was forced to announce her retirement. The situation has already changed...

Charles Hugh Smith: 
Shadow banning and outright banning are only the tip of the iceberg: everyone who posts content on the web or social media is subject to much more subtle and completely opaque controls on how much of your digital presence has been ghosted--not just in social media communities but in searches and how links to your site/content and re-posts of your content are handled by the tech cartel that controls what's visible and "found" on the web and social media.
This cartel is dominated by Google and Facebook. Google controls over 90% of all search: what search results are displayed, the weight given to links (the page-rank assigned to websites) and a variety of other factors that can be depreciated, removed, omitted or blocked by algorithms and/or human censors (a.k.a. administrators) without recourse and without the site or user being informed...
We are all digital ghosts now, and how much of your digital shadow is visible to the world is secret / opaque. If you violate company policies or applicable censorship laws (as interpreted by the company attorneys), the corporation will notify you that your account has been frozen or banned...
But this visible part of web / social media censorship is only the tip of the iceberg. Most of the censorship is invisible and undetectable.  

How the government uses it's giant facial recognition database.

TSA confirms that facial recognition and biometrics will be used, as a precondition, on all people wishing to travel by air within the US. Gulp!

Face in the Crowd

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Economics Of Decline

Caught in History,

This is brief. We are caught in history, and not a steady part, but a point where narratives are about to rupture and be replaced with new narratives, which are hotly disputed at all levels. Societal narratives are what guide and control us. They can't be left to chance. they have to be put in place for the crisis, but they are not yet agreed. It looks like the narratives of reality may still be contested when the crisis hits. There might not be a clear scapegoat. Blame might fall on some of the ruling elites. They can't really let the crisis happen when they remain unprotected. How long can this can be kicked down the road?

I sent this out on 10/17/18, but now I see Nordhaus has some history, as below.
Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism looks at how not to get a "Nobel Prize in Economics" for evaluation of the relationships between business and environmental degradation. Specifically; do not do the rigorous science that proves what bankers don't want to hear. What will win the prize is a little softball work with wide margins of error that endorses a very modest carbon tax and waiting to see what happens after we die. (Wake up, yourself!)
The Nordhaus/Romer combo is so artificial and unconvincing it’s hard to avoid the impression that the prize not given to Weitzman is as important as the one given to Nordhaus.  This is a clear political statement about how to deal with climate change and how not to deal with it.  The Riksbank has spoken: it wants a gradual approach to carbon, one that makes as few economic demands as possible.  

Professor Ugo Bardi looks at the past and present of William Nordhaus, who can clearly not be made to understand what he gets paid well to not-understand, the complexities of the growth of human industrial society on planet Earth. Nordhaus has been getting big party favors for making unfounded accusations and arguments about the limits to growth and climate change since 1973. It's like his side-career. Good cash tips from his benefactors...

Eleni sends this background article on some of the reasons why we might be hearing so much about the Khashoggi murder, as opposed to the usual quiet about the crimes of the House of Saud. Some powerful neoliberal financial interests have just been stiffed.
Will MBS be replaced? It certainly remains to be seen, as strong public pressure and political threats may yet guide the crown prince back to the neoliberal fold. Yet, what is clear is that MBS’ rise to power was backed by the international elite and the Trump administration based on the promise of these neoliberal reforms and the mass sale of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia. However, in the months before Khashoggi’s disappearance, MBS gravely endangered both of these deals, angering those that had backed his consolidation of power. Such a cadre of powerful interests will not prove easy to placate.  While it may certainly seem ironic and perhaps amusing to some that a tyrant like MBS has come under such strong pressure from the international elite, there is reason for concern. Indeed, if Vision 2030 is fully implemented — whether by MBS or his successor — forcing neoliberalism on the Saudi population is likely to make the country very unstable, as nearly occurred when MBS tried to implement it early this year.

Peter Schiff says the US economy is about to collapse, bringing down the dollar and the American standard of living (But when, please? China and the EU are in that same line.)

Waiting Patiently