Bradley Birkenfeld, "Lucifer's Banker" at UBS, spent 31 months in prison after leaving Switzerland with so much tax evasion information, that after he got out of the slammer, the IRS paid him $104 million in finder's-fees, or whatever they call it. He has still been prevented from testifying in open court in the US. The Senate Finance committee held private hearings, where he testified. One Senator never came to any of those hearings. That Senator was getting millions of dollars from UBS campaign contribution bundlers at that time. Senator Obama, it was...
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"Suppose, as political scientists Allan J. Lichtman and Ken DeCell claimed in their 1988 book, Thirteen Keys to the Presidency, that all presidential elections from 1860 to the present are referendums on the sitting president and his party." Charles Hugh Smith lays out implications.
Trump makes peace (or at least some kind of deal) with Mexican President, Enrique Pena Nieto.
The Trans-Pacific-Partnership gives corporations supra-national powers to extract assets from the people of nations, beyond any decision of their elected (or other) representatives. Dynamically, it is even worse, because it is open to speculative extraction by vulture capitalists, who can purchase any asset that gives them a plausible case in court arbitration. There are already numerous such treaty stipulations. There is no limit to these claims, and international arbitrators are from a small pool, which may play favorites for influence. The sky is the limit for awards. Investment funds are cracking this nut wide open to get the blood flowing from Spanish and Argentine citizens, poor, though they may be. Big opportunity.
Ambrose Evans Pritchard writes that loss of public acceptance of TTIP in Europe, with France withdrawing from one-sided negotiations, Brexit, Dutch nationalism, and dissension in German political ranks, marks the dissolution of "the central pillar of global order" (I think he means the Euro-Atlantic order.)
"Global Supply Chains Frozen": South Korea's largest container-shipping fleet files for bankruptcy, and it's loaded ships are dead-in-the-water with their cargoes, across the world. Hanjin it the 7th largest global carrier of containers. Thanks Paul.
US Navy Spokesman, Commander Kafka (really) Talks about $48 billion in extra costs and unspecified delays in 2021 service-date for new generation aircraft carrier, Gerald Ford (really).
"The USS Ford, like every first-of-class ship ever built, has and will continue to face challenges," he said.
The USAF is projected to lose air superiority over countries like China and Russia in the 2020s. (Thanks F-35!)
Israel will specify "collective punishment zones" in the militarily occupied West Bank, destroying more homes with bulldozers, blocking roads, putting local collaborators in positions of power, and rewarding "good Palestinians" with a job in ever-expanding "Israel". Avigdor Lieberman's plan is described here:
Oil discoveries are at a 70 year low, due to tight finances for oil companies, and no reason to look for oil that will eventually cost $100/bbl to pump. 1947 was the last time there was a year with this few barrels discovered.
Vulnerabilities of US Electric Grid to climate change are detailed here. "Katrina refrigerator" horrors revealed. (duct-taped and put on curbs for rotten meat inside)
Intermittent renewables can't supply "the grid", at least not the way we think of it, as "always there". (We can change our thinking and expectations cheapest.)
Hazmat team evacuates Rochester, New York apartment complex (I think I saw that place when we visited Amber recently.) This ain't Texas. How embarrassing...
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