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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Do It Yourself World

Paywall Blind,​

While the IEA got a lot of coverage for its World Energy Outlook 2018 (WEO 18), there might be a little snippet that got way underappreciated.
On page 159 of its Outlook, accessible only behind a payment barrier, the following graph can be found:
It is clear to see that Peak Oil will be hit well before 2020, while demand keeps on rising, unless the world’s Oil Majors and State Owned Oil Companies would massively invest in new exploration, according to the IEA.
However, the Oil Majors did already heavily spend on new oil exploration in the years after 2000, where a fossil fuel hype with an accompanying coal boom lead up to an oil price of over $150 in 2008. While this oil price proved unsustainable for a crashing world economy, this oil exploration boom lead to very little new findings in the big scheme of things:

So what does that mean?
It means that a collapse of oil supply to half of its current size within only six years simply cannot be compensated by new oil findings and certainly not by unconventional oil sources like oil sands and fracking. That the Oil Majors did not pick up with new oil exploration after the oil price rose again to $100 per barrel in the years after 2008 is another sign that the world is already “overexplored,” as geologists put it. Instead the Oil Majors concentrated on a stock buyback, knowing full well that further exploration would be a waste of money while they are sitting on oil that will become very valuable even though the amount of oil they will extract will decline significantly.

Capitalism as we know it is over. So suggests a new report commissioned by a group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General. The main reason? We’re transitioning rapidly to a radically different global economy, due to our increasingly unsustainable exploitation of the planet’s environmental resources.
Climate change and species extinctions are accelerating even as societies are experiencing rising inequality, unemployment, slow economic growth, rising debt levels, and impotent governments. Contrary to the way policymakers usually think about these problems, the new report says that these are not really separate crises at all.
Rather, these crises are part of the same fundamental transition to a new era characterized by inefficient fossil fuel production and the escalating costs of climate change. Conventional capitalist economic thinking can no longer explain, predict, or solve the workings of the global economy in this new age, the paper says.

Greece is being used by global capitalist institutions to test some experiments on how the initial stages of failed-capitalism might play out, so as to be foreseen and managed in the event. Current experiment: Make 14 rounds of cuts, and give one back before elections.
New Democracy (ND) accused the government of increasing taxes and handing out benefits from budget revenues to win votes. “You are wearing the mask of the philanthropist just to tip people from their own savings”​,​ ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Tsipras in parliament.  

French drivers are required to carry yellow vests in their cars, to signal an emergency situation, so...
​T​axes also reminded the French people of how much they are already overtaxed everywhere else, how the elderly can barely survive on their pensions, and how workers, even middle-class ones, are watching their livelihoods shrink. For the poor, they are sitting idle and helplessly unemployed.
On top of that, they watch Emmanuel Macron tell them there are no problems with the economy. If you’re out of a job, just walk across the street and get one! In fact, Macron actually said this to unemployed workers who questioned him as to what he was going to do to remedy growing unemployment in France, furthering his reputation as a lofty limousine liberal vastly disconnected from the population.
Macron himself is an interesting component of this whole situation, having been chosen by power broker Jacques Attali and given a run at a Rothschild bank before assuming the Presidency to impose austerity measures, continue France’s foreign adventures, and essentially destroy the nation with more immigration.
The protests now seem to be about the general situation of the country, not about the fuel tax specifically. This is relatively obvious since, soon after the protests, the French government put the tax on hold yet the protests continue.

​Charles Hugh Smith observes the early post-capitalist economy, I guess...
A family member who has lived in France for decades summarized the source of the gilets jaunes protests in one sentence: "The government stopped listening to the people 20 years ago...
The cultural elites reckoned their ceaseless depiction of working-class dissent as racist-fascist populism would continue marginalizing the commoners, but the worm has turned: the financially, politically and culturally marginalized classes are fed up.
Despite the usual squabbles between factions, the ruling class has long been united behind a simple tool of control: buy complicity with government benefits. Should dissent boil up in a broad-based movement, the solution is buy the protesters off with some new state subsidy or benefit.
This is one of the essential dynamics of Neofeudalism which are:
1. Debt penury and wage-slave loyalty to the New Nobility that owns the debt.
2. The financial-political nobility maximize their skim and justify this exploitation with airy assurances to the politically impotent debt-serfs that this systemic predation magically offers up the best possible outcome for the peasantry.
3. State benefits are used as bribes to buy the complicity and passivity of the wage-slave debt-serfs.
4. The New Nobility offer politically correct cover stories for their exploitation and predation.

​The French state has a plan-B, of course, "Preventative Arrests":
The number of people arrested since the beginning of the massive popular protests that have gripped France for weeks has surpassed a staggering 4,500, with critics calling the actions of the authorities crackdown on democracy.
The French police have detained a total of 4,523 people in connection to the so-called Yellow Vests protests that united tens of thousands of people across the country discontent with taxes polices and fuel prices hikes. Of those almost 4,100 still remain in police custody, the French BFM TV broadcaster reported, citing police sources...
Part of those arrests seemed to be a preventive measure as they occurred before the protests. And the practice alarmed many.

​Jim Hightower can't get the newspapers who usually print his stuff to take this story:
A two-panel cartoon I recently saw showed a character with a sign saying: “First they came for the reporters.” In the next panel, his sign says: “We don’t know what happened after that.”​...​
It was, of course, a retort to Donald Trump’s ignorant campaign to demonize the news media as “ the enemy of the people.” But when it comes to America’s once-proud newspapers, their worst enemy is not Trump – nor is it the rising cost of newsprint or the “free” digital news on websites. Rather, the demise of the real news reporting by our city and regional papers is a product of their profiteering owners. Not the families and companies that built and nurtured true journalism, but the new breed of fast-buck hucksters who’ve scooped up hundreds of America’s newspapers from the bargain bins of media sell-offs.
The buyers are hedge-fund scavengers with names like Digital First and GateHouse. They know nothing about journalism and care less, for they’re ruthless Wall Street profiteers out to grab big bucks fast by slashing the journalistic and production staffs of each paper, voiding all employee benefits (from pensions to free coffee in the breakroom), shriveling the paper’s size and news content, selling the presses and other assets, tripling the price of their inferior product – then declaring bankruptcy, shutting down the paper, and auctioning off the bones before moving on to plunder another town’s paper.
By 2014, America’s two largest media chains were not venerable publishers who believe that a newspaper’s mission includes a commitment to truth and a civic responsibility, but GateHouse and Digital First, whose managers believe that good journalism is measured by the personal profit they can squeeze from it.

​I most humbly offer you this story that Ray sent, which tunnels into the incomprehensible vastness of what we think of as "farming", but which is very different in scale and outcome, from how we evolved, tending vegetables and fruit trees as a species. It kills now, and will ultimately sterilize California for an eon. The people who do this are not bad critters, and they seek to be kind and do well when it comes to their attention that things are going badly for somebody, like their workers. Many of them just look away, though, as they have been trained. This took 90 minutes of my morning, and was somehow worth it. I will be prayerful as I go out to prune two plum trees and one peach tree on a sunny morning, before bike commuting to work at noon. 
I cannot comprehend the scale at which "Cuties", "Halos" and pistachios are produced, but this is where they come from, for the moment, for now.
​ Resnick isn’t of this place. He’s never driven a tractor or opened an irrigation valve. He’s never put a dusty boot on the neck of a shovel and dug down into the soil. He wouldn’t know one of his Valencia orange groves from one of his Washington navel orange groves. The land to him isn’t real. It’s an economy of scale on a scale no one’s ever tried here. He grew up in New Jersey, where his father ran a bar. He came to California in the 1950s to remake himself. Welcome to the club. He remade himself into a graduate of the UCLA law school, a cleaner of Los Angeles buildings, a vendor of security alarms, a seller of flowers in a pot, a minter of Elvis plates and Princess Diana dolls, a bottler of Fiji Island water, a farmer of San Joaquin Valley dirt. He purchased his first 640-acre section in the late 1970s and kept adding more sections of almonds, pistachios, pomegranates, and citrus until he stretched the lines of agriculture like no Californian before him.
At age 81, he’s gotten so big, he doesn’t know how big. Last time he checked, he told me he owned 180,000 acres of California. That’s 281 square miles. He is irrigating 121,000 of those acres. This doesn’t count the 21,000 acres of grapefruits and limes he’s growing in Texas and Mexico. He uses more water than any other person in the West. His 15 million trees in the San Joaquin Valley consume more than 400,000 acre-feet of water a year. The city of Los Angeles, by comparison, consumes 587,000 acre-feet.

​Baffled Ape​

Monday, December 10, 2018

Heimlich Maneuver Empire


​Trump the deal-maker probably won't make a deal with everybody who has intermediate range missiles to carry nuclear warheads...​
In some ways, the INF Treaty has become an anachronism, since it stipulated that the US and Russia should not produce intermediate range missiles. Whereas, many other countries make such weapons today. Washington decided that it too must have such weapons. Pompeo actually admitted this in his remarks on December 4 in Brussels. He said,
“Secondly, while Russia is responsible for the demise of the treaty, many other states – including China, North Korea, and Iran – are not parties to the INF Treaty. This leaves them free to build all the intermediate range missiles that they would like. There is no reason the United States should continue to cede this crucial military advantage to revisionist powers like China, in particular when these weapons are being used to threaten and coerce the United States and its allies in Asia.”
“If you ask the question why the treaty wasn’t enlarged to include more nations, including China, keep in mind that it has been tried three times without any success already, and it has failed each time.”
Moscow has calmly reacted. It called the US decision “reckless” and rejected the allegation regarding its non-compliance of the treaty. Once again, Moscow challenged Washington to provide specific details of any Russian violation. But Moscow senses a fait accompli. President Vladimir Putin said yesterday,
“The arguments cited are essentially clear: Russia and the United States are the only countries that do not produce weapons of this kind. This is actually true. Many other countries – probably about a dozen already – make such weapons, while Russia and the United States have limited themselves bilaterally. Now, apparently, our American partners decided that the situation has changed so much that the United States should also have such weapons.”

​Pointing out the usual lies-as-pretense...​
The Russian foreign minister has commented on the demand from US Undersecretary for Arms Control Andrea Thompson, which requires that Moscow either terminate the development of its 9M729 missile system or modify the weapon, pointing to its alleged non-compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
Addressing Washington’s plan to suspend its adherence to the INF Treaty in 60 days, announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that Moscow had never received documents from the US on the matter of alleged violations of the agreement, once more noting that Washington's accusations against Russia are baseless.
"We remind you once again that when the United States started accusing us of violating the treaty several years ago, it was doing it groundlessly, and we had to literally drag information out of them in order to understand what they were talking about and what they meant," Lavrov said at a press briefing.

​Knife in the back with a smile from the walrus-of-death...
It was Bolton who a week ago intentionally damaged U.S. relations with China.
The U.S. Justice Department arranged for Canada to arrest the chief financial officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, over alleged U.S. sanctions violations with regards to Iran. The case is not over the sanction Trump recently imposed, but over an alleged collision with the sanction regime before the nuclear deal with Iran. The details are still unknown.
Meng Wanzhou is a daughter of the founder and main owner of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, and was groomed to be his successor. The company is extremely well regarded in China. It is one its jewel pieces and, with 170,000 employees and $100 billion in revenues, an important political actor.
The arrest on December 1 happened while president Trump was negotiating with president Xi of China about trade relations. Trump did not know about the upcoming arrest but Bolton was informed of it:
While the Justice Department did brief the White House about the impending arrest, Mr. Trump was not told about it. And the subject did not come up at the dinner with Mr. Xi.
Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said on NPR that he knew about the arrest in advance, ..
Bolton surely should have informed Trump before his dinner with Xi, in which Bolton took part, but he didn't.

Update: Amid escalating tensions and stern words from both sides (China warning both Canada and the US over Huawei CFO's arrest, warning of "retaliation" and "further action", with the US countering with "hard deadlines" and concerns of "predatory behavior"), US futures have tumbled at the open, back below Thursday's pre-panic-bid lows.

​Petro-dollar-melting-melting-melting...​ Thanks Colleen.
“Based on the news I recently received and was confirmed by a European commissioner, from now on, the EU is going to ditch the US dollar and just use the euro in the financial transactions of all European oil deals with other countries,” said Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said the amount of these transactions is more than €300 billion.
“Previously, the EU used to pay 85 percent of the money for the oil it purchased from other countries in US dollars, but now with this new mechanism, all the money will be paid in euros,” he said.

Last week was a crummy week for the empire. Maybe this week will be better. Go Dollar!

​Saudi jet bombers were refueled in the sky for their humanitarian ("We don't want to give the wrong message by stopping.")​ bombing of Yemeni schools and hospitals, by American jet-gas-stations for free, due to "an accounting error".

Wigs sent this story about that "wrong message" remark from the State Department:

​Cat sent this short, weird video clip:
Hillary seen here healthy as an Ox at the Bush Sr. funeral, exhibiting completely and unquestionably healthy behavior for the umpteenth time. Nothing to see folks, move along.

​At least as weird as Hillary's space-moments is Bush Sr. delivering the eulogy for JFK Assassination teammate Jerry Ford, and stifling a laugh after he says the line "after a deluded gunman assassinated President Kennedy"​. 
Freudian giggle, it looks like.  Thanks again, Cat.
​This poor guy is probably feeling suicidal from all of the stress.
The CFO of the Clinton Foundation, thinking he was "meeting an old professional acquaintance," admitted to investigators that the charity had widespread problems with governance, accounting and conflicts of interest, and that Bill Clinton has been commingling business and personal expenses for a long time, reports The Hill's John Solomon.
Clinton Foundation CFO Andrew Kessel made the admissions to investigators from MDA Analytics LLC - a firm run by "accomplished ex-federal criminal investigators," who have been probing the Clinton Foundation for some time.
 Kessel told MDA "There is no controlling Bill Clinton. He does whatever he wants and runs up incredible expenses with foundation funds, according to MDA's account of the interview. "Bill Clinton mixes and matches his personal business with that of the foundation. Many people within the foundation have tried to caution him about this but he does not listen, and there really is no talking to him."
MDA compiled Kessel's statements, as well as over 6,000 pages of evidence from a whistleblower they had been working with separately, which they secretly filed with the FBI and IRS over a year ago. MDA has alleged that the Clinton Foundation engaged in illegal activities, and may owe millions in unpaid taxes and penalties.

​"France's Gas Tax Disaster Shows We Can't Save Earth by Screwing Over Poor People"​ (Oh Shit! What's Plan-B?)

Vomited Meatball

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Last Chance

Rudely Awakened,

Charles Hugh Smith on Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic. 
(The concentration of power into fewer and fewer centers creates enforced "solutions" that serve that power more and more completely, and which are more and more wasteful, painful and destructive than tailored local solutions devised by communities and talented individuals. We're pretty far along.

I have not been ignoring Brexit, but it is chaos, so I suspect that serves somebody, maybe the "City of London" bankers, who will have a "save" when everybody gets desperate around April Fool's Day, when nothing gets across the borders either way. The French yellow vests have figured out that the bankers are their overlords, and whatever the bankers want is what they should fight. Installing a Rothschild investment banker helped them see that. The best I can tell, the bankers really don't want a no-deal-Brexit. The subjugated-but-connected UK that Theresa May has negotiated is fine for them. Maybe they can do even "better". John Ward, The Slog has the inside scoop of this stew.

I think Theresa May wants out before the final collapse of this project. She won't delay a vote, which is certain to lose, on her Brexit deal.

This opinion is that the Bank of England has been itching to raise interest rates, so low for so long, that they would happily do so when the lack of supply of imported goods made them rare and expensive. This would add insult and injury to injury. How could there not be revolt?!
The beauty of Brexit, from the BOE’s perspective, is that the economic ramifications from it lock in precisely with the conditions required by the bank to go forward with raising interest rates.  

The French Parliament, clearly smelling which way this wind is blowing, will have a no-confidence vote for the-chosen-one on Monday. Busy weekend...
Macron had faced similar votes in July after video surfaced of his personal bodyguard beating a May Day protester while wearing police gear. The president ultimately dogged the repercussions as the votes were defeated, solidifying his majority.  

Amid the chaos, France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has devised a brilliant plan to try and placate French citizens, which would (in theory) make it less likely that they would join the protests.
Speaking at a conference in Paris on Thursday, Le Maire said he had met with the CEOs of French companies, who agreed to give their workers a one-off tax free bonus.
Le Maire said the bonus would be a "pay-back" for their efforts for the economy. Le Maire also said "anything to increase the paycheck" of workers has his support, (though he claimed measures to "artificially" increase the minimum wage would lead to job losses). "We’re going through a crisis that shows that the dikes have been breached, France no longer is spared from the populist wave," he said, which is why France needs "stability" in fiscal policies.
We now wait to see if the French people's deep-seated rage toward their supremely unpopular president can be soothed with a wad of cash. Meanwhile, leaders of the Yellow Vest movement are demanding to meet with Macron on Friday afternoon ahead of further protests this Saturday. "Macron must listen to his people," one said.

US China Trade Warriors lock and load for hot war. Bill Blain:
A few weeks ago one of my very smart CIO contacts warned me the real story of the year isn’t just the implications for supply chains from a Trade Spat, but a more fundamental “Tech Cold War” between China and the US for dominance. It’s a battle that will shortly reach epic proportions, force huge change in the global tech supply chain, and has massive implications for current incumbents.
Over this last few days, its all going off. The US, Australia, NZ and the UK have banned Huawei from new 5G systems over embedded spy tech and “security” issues. Now we learn that even as Xi and Trump were meeting, the CFO of Huawei was arrested in Canada for violating US sanctions on Iran! She is also the daughter of Hauwei’s founder.
I suspect the news will trigger a massive downtrade in stocks today. Brace, Brace, Brace!
The core objective of Trump’s trade war threats are to contain China’s becoming a technological equal and competitor after all its learnt from access and replication of US tech. If we see a full Tech War with lines drawn, then its potentially clobbers everything from Apple down. It means a choice between US Tech or China Tech.
“Made in China 2025” is the Chinese target of becoming the leader in tech, and avoiding just being a US manufacturing centre. Its happening – Hauwei’s lead in 5G is just one example.

Both Cat McGuire (who often sends stories) and Chris Hedges have reviews on the squelched-but-got-out-somehow investigative reporting documentary, "The Lobby". Al Jazeera originally made the film, using a Jewish deep-undercover reporter, who was readily accepted by the members of The Tribe, and told pretty much everything they were doing to manipulate American politicians, voters, churches, and get the Hasbara public relations work of Israel done at any cost, and right away. This is the straight scoop. From the moths of horses. These reviews are different and complimentary and detailed.

Fun House Mirrored

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Breaking Point

Looming On The Horizon,

I feel tension and deeply uneasy. I'm not alone. People I talk to feel it. Something is about to break, and it is scary..

French President Macron, the Rothschild Banker from Nowhere is over. He has 3.5 years left in his term, but...
On Tuesday, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced that the diesel fuel tax that kicked off the Yellow Vest movement would be suspended—a sign of how seriously the escalating unrest has rattled the administration of President Emmanuel Macron.
Don’t expect the Yellow Vests to stand down now. What began as an automobile-focused, cost-of-living protest undertaken by a coalition of the white, rural working-class and petite bourgeoisie has evolved into a Hydra-headed autumn of discontent, with many objectives, no leaders, and a base that encompasses a cross-section of French life from engineers to paramedics to Parisian high school students. International coverage has focused on the movement’s opposition to a proposed fuel tax increase that was part of Macron’s plan to combat climate change. But that was only the spark. Spurred by everybody’s favorite anti-governmental social network, Facebook, the gilet jaunes crisis is best understood as a revolt against all things Macron...
Whatever Trumpian currents have flowed through their movement—the whiteness, the claim to working-class status, violence against journalists, hatred of the urban elite—this movement has no Trump, and they assign blame for their struggles up the economic ladder, towards Parisian bankers and bureaucrats, rather than down it, towards the country’s impoverished immigrant neighborhoods...
The diffuse, leaderless nature of the movement has made it difficult for the government to respond. On Friday, while Macron was in Argentina for the G20 meeting, Philippe tried to meet with a group of self-appointed gilets jaunes leaders. Only two showed up...
They got the diesel tax suspended. But other Yellow Vests say they won’t stop short of Macron’s resignation. There’s a burgeoning sense among political leaders that Macron’s original sin was reducing taxes on France’s richest citizens by some $3 billion. The unemployment rate remains high. There’s a lot to complain about—and a feeling that now is a time to air your grievances, whatever they are. 

Anthropologist and demographer Emmanuel Todd commentated (vid, french) on the riots on a French TV show. Sophia translated his main points:
"The violence comes from Macron. He seems to take pleasure in humiliating ordinary people. With with the Benalla affair, we saw the violence coming out directly, not only from the Elysées, but from the mind of the president.
By refusing to enact a moratorium on the taxes that provoked the protests, the govt is enacting the strategy of chaos whereby if these protests, which are popular now, continue, a layer of the population will rise against them."
Macron might enact a state of emergency but that would only fuel the protests. It is doubtful that Macron's plan of a 'strategy of chaos' will work. The French president gets elected for 5 years. Only 18 month in Macron managed to move a large majority against him. It is unlikely that he will serve out his full term.

Jim Kunstler:
Interestingly, it’s the people of France who are going apeshit at this moment in history and not the much more beaten-down Americans. For all the deformities of the EU, France still maintains a general quality-of-life so far above what is found in the US these days that we look like some left-behind evolutionary dead end here in this wilderness of strip-malls and muffler shops. They live in towns and cities that are designed to bring people together in public. They support small business in spite of the diktats of Brussels. They maintain an interest in doing things well for its own sake. The French are rioting these days not simply over the cost of diesel fuel but because they’ve had enough impingements on their traditional ways of life and seek to arrest the losses.
Americans, by contrast, seem to passively accept their new status as world-class losers. You can deprive them of whatever is meaningful, whatever makes life worth living, and sell them depressing simulacra to replace those things, and they never notice. Even the revolts ongoing in this land only seek to make relations between us worse, for instance the new super-Puritanism that wants to criminalize the most elementary mating ceremonies, like asking for date, or even paying attention to someone of the opposite sex. This is what the Democratic Party, formerly the party of the working people, has dedicated itself to all year. That’s your “Resistance.” They’ve managed to ruin one of the few consolations for being on this planet.

​Charles Hugh Smith is a very bright guy, who lives very frugally, and grows some vegetables.
After 3,701 posts (from May 2005 to the present), here are my observations of the Alternative Media from the muddy trenches.
It's increasingly difficult to make a living creating content outside the corporate matrix. The share of advert revenues paid to content creators / publishers has declined precipitously, shadow banning has narrowed search and social media exposure and the expansion of free content and competing subscription-based publishing has made subscription services an increasingly tough sell.
The most effective ways to silence critics and skeptics is to 1) de-monetize their sites / platforms and 2) restrict their access to the public via shadow banning and search algorithm "adjustments." The two are related, of course; as audiences dwindle, so do revenues and opportunities to sell subscriptions or promote patronage.

​Disappearing From View​

Monday, December 3, 2018

Yellow Jacket Swarm

Wearing Safety-Yellow,

I have been less visible, myself in recent days, due to a swarm of life events, including buying a house 124 miles away, silent-retreating, working on the house and garden, the passing of Jenny's mom, Jovita, and Jenny being executor of the will, about which, the heirs do not exactly agree...

John Ward is a Limey living in France, with friends in high and low and obscure places, who happens to be an articulate and insightful man-on-the-street for this round of French unrest, which seems very much like the spirit of 1967 come alive again. Here is "The Slog":
For those of you unaware of the Gilets Jaunes, they are a group representing the French haulage business, lorry drivers fearful for their jobs, and a whole phalanx of other citizens who, for one reason or another, have caught on to the fact that President Emannuel Macron is a fraud, and more Antichrist than Centrist. The price of auto fuels in France rose 14% last year, and is set to rise 18% this year. For this reason alone, je suis un gilet jaune.
But there’s more to it than that.
Quite rapidly, they have become the national face of  resistance to the growing power of the Alt State here. The banks having ensured that their man Macron got elected, it didn’t take long for the privatisations to start, and Macron to fall into line with EU migrancy “policy” – an acceptance of extra-EU immigration causing havoc across the continent. There are now some 30,000 illegal refugees occupying temporary camps in Paris’s St Denis alone, while the latest entry point – eastern and southern Spain – has seen a 40% rise in burglary and knife crime in Andalucia.
But Macronisation has ploughed ahead, with next year seeing the start of State powers to remove bank account deposits electronically “in order to improve the Trésor Public’s cash flow”. And while Macron has abolished the Taxe D’Habitation, this was done to increase the control of Paris over local policies. The Mairie’s additional local tax on land (the foncière) has, in just three years on my property, gone from €418 to €1468. The sum disappeared from my bank account without warning two weeks ago….since when I have received a bill through the post asking for it again...
Here in France, a survey by the polling agency Elabe found that almost three-quarters of French voters approved of the protests, and that more than half of those who voted for Mr Macron support them. The scales, it seems, are falling from the eyes. And for the unelected everywhere, the signs are disturbing: the Gilet movement has spread to Italy and – would you believe? – Belgium.​..
The fact is, taxes keep having to rise – and access to citizen monies made easier – because the global recovery is a myth. High stock prices owe far more to QE than underlying economic health….and to complete the use of élite brass neck, the money invested in QE with taxpayers’ money is treated as economic growth by the central bank statisticians. Is that a lulu or is that a lulu?

Brigitte Bardot supports the Yellow Vests, and posts a picture of herself wearing one, Thanks Tom.
“I am very patriotic. I was raised by a father and a grandfather who fought for France and instilled in me a love of my homeland. I am not proud of what France is today… I’m not a ‘facho’ [fascist], any more than Marine Le Pen is.”
Image result for Brigitte Bardot, yellow vest

While the so-called “yellow vests movement” has drawn a few hundred thousand people to sometimes violent protests and road blockades against high taxes on diesel, leading to two deaths and more than 500 people injured, French President Macron is travelling Europe, pontificating about things like an EU army. The protests bear a resemblance to Brexit: ordinary people have had enough, even if it isn't always clear of what and even if they have been voting for the parties responsible for high taxation. However, to dismiss their anger and to double down on policies to tax diesel, as Macron seems to do, may be very risky...
The French socialist party has accused Macron’s government of trying to link this grassroots movement to the far right Marine Le Pen “to better disqualify it”. But according to sociologist Vincent Tiberj, the yellow vests movement derives largely from the lower-middle classes, who earn enough to pay taxes but not enough to live comfortably. A lot of the protesters come from “La France profonde”: small towns and rural areas that have often gone through dire economic times, far away from the world of Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker.
Macron himself has reacted by saying his government intended to “tax fossil fuels more” as a way to “support the poor”. Unfortunately for him, it seems the poor are not so keen on the method. A poll reveals that 82 per cent of French think the government should simply scrap the increase in fuel taxes foreseen for January. Macron’s popularity meanwhile continues to tank, from a 29 per cent satisfaction rate in October to 25 per cent just one month later. One in three French do not have an alternative to driving to work and cars are essential not only for economic but also for social reasons, preventing social isolation of the more vulnerable. For many people, this is not something to mess around with.

Global finance is even taking notice!
Forget Brexit and Italian populists for a second. It’s worth paying attention to what’s going on in France.
For more than two weeks, the country has been disrupted by an unusual protest: the so-called “Gilets Jaunes” or “Yellow Vests.” France is used to labor unrest and chaos affecting transport of course, with strikes something of a national pastime.
But this time it’s different.
Some 100,000 people blocking toll roads, petrol stations and crossroads is creating major disruption to transport and retail. It’s also proving to be extremely tricky to defuse, as there’s no single protest leader to negotiate with...
The protests started on Nov. 10 with thousands of demonstrators demanding lower gasoline prices and taxes. Demonstrators marched on Paris’s Avenue des Champs-Elysees two weeks later, triggering social unrest. Surprisingly, the protest is benefiting from a significant backing, with 84 percent of the French public calling it “justified,” according to Odoxa-Dentsu poll for Le Figaro.
Further rioting over the weekend shows the movement is spinning out of control.
If this movement snowballs like we’ve seen in Italy with the Five Star Movement, Macron will have his hands full handling a crisis at home and have less time for the matters of the euro zone. After Greece, Brexit and Italy, this is another front that Europe didn’t need.

Theresa May is caught in a big lie, after the Brexit analysis reports she used, and lied about, got leaked. (Clowns on the field running out the clock...)
The Government is already on the rack over its refusal to publish the legal advice provided on the Brexit deal by Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, despite a parliamentary motion ordering it to be done. But ministers now face further questions as it emerges that a confidential analysis of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons’ own expert legal team comes to the same conclusion as President Trump – that Theresa May’s Brexit deal would prevent the UK from entering trade deals with countries such as the US.  

Wigs sends this Left-Analysis of the case against (cheap-labor-without-rights) "Open Borders".
If open borders is “a Koch brothers proposal,” then what would an authentic Left position on immigration look like? In this case, instead of channeling Milton Friedman, the Left should take its bearings from its own long traditions. Progressives should focus on addressing the systemic exploitation at the root of mass migration rather than retreating to a shallow moralism that legitimates these exploitative forces. This does not mean that leftists should ignore injustices against immigrants. They should vigorously defend migrants against inhumane treatment. At the same time, any sincere Left must take a hard line against the corporate, financial, and other actors who create the desperate circumstances underlying mass migration (which, in turn, produces the populist reaction against it). Only a strong national Left in the small and developing nations—actingin concert with a Left committed to ending financialization and global labor exploitation in the larger economies—could have any hope of addressing these problems.
To begin with, the Left must stop citing the latest Cato Institute propaganda in order to ignore the effects of immigration on domestic labor, especially the working poor who are likely to suffer disproportionately from expanding the labor pool. Immigration policies should be designed to ensure that the bargaining power of workers is not significantly imperiled. This is especially true in times of wage stagnation, weak unions, and massive inequality.
With respect to illegal immigration, the Left should support efforts to make E-Verify mandatory and push for stiff penalties on employers who fail to comply. Employers, not immigrants, should be the primary focus of enforcement efforts. These employers take advantage of immigrants who lack ordinary legal protections in order to perpetuate a race to the bottom in wages while also evading payroll taxes and the provision of other benefits. Such incentives must be eliminated if any workers are to be treated fairly...
Reducing the tensions of mass migration thus requires improving the prospects of the world’s poor. Mass migration itself will not accomplish this: it creates a race to the bottom for workers in wealthy countries and a brain drain in poor ones. The only real solution is to correct the imbalances in the global economy, and radically restructure a system of globalization that was designed to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor. This involves, to start with, structural changes to trade policies that prevent necessary, state-led development in emerging economies. Anti-labor trade deals like nafta must also be opposed. It is equally necessary to take on a financial system that funnels capital away from the developing world and into inequality-heightening asset bubbles in rich countries. Finally, although the reckless foreign policies of the George W. Bush administration have been discredited, the temptation to engage in military crusades seems to live on. This should be opposed. U.S.-led foreign invasions have killed millions in the Middle East, created millions of refugees and migrants, and devastated fundamental infrastructure.
Marx’s argument that the English working class should see Irish nationhood as a potential compliment to their struggle, rather than as a threat to their identity, should resonate today, as we witness the rise of various identity movements around the world. The comforting delusion that immigrants come here because they love America is incredibly naïve—as naïve as suggesting that the nineteenth-century Irish immigrants Marx described loved England. Most migrants emigrate out of economic necessity, and the vast majority would prefer to have better opportunities at home, among their own family and friends. But such opportunities are impossible within the current shape of globalization.

One month to the day after President Kennedy’s assassination, the Washington Post published an article by former president Harry Truman...
Truman found, to his dismay, that the CIA had ranged far afield.
"​For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.
I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.​"​
The article appeared in the Washington Post’s morning edition, but not the evening edition.​..
The timing and tone of the letter may have been hints that Truman thought the CIA was involved in Kennedy’s assassination. If he did, he also realized an ex-president couldn’t state his suspicions without troublesome consequences.
Even the man who signed the CIA into law had to stay in the shadows, the CIA’s preferred operating venue. The CIA had become the exact opposite of what Truman envisioned and what its enabling legislation specified. Within a few years after its inauguration in 1947, it was neck-deep in global cloak and dagger and pushing agenda-driven, slanted information and outright disinformation not just within the government, but through the media to the American people.

A bit of good news: George H.W. Bush is dead, finally. At least he’ll do no more harm. But the harm he did do was enough.
Like the Nazis his father did good business with, Bush wanted a New World Order – and spoke of it lovingly and often. And now it’s upon us, in no small measure because of his machinations and those of his frog-torturing, mass-murdering, war criminal son – who was elevated to the position from which he was able to commit mass murder solely on the juice provided by his connected father.
The entire Bush family is a crime syndicate that puts the Corleones to shame (with George W. Bush playing the role of Fredo).
Bush Sr. – who wasn’t in Dallas on November 22, 1963 and not a CIA officer at the time – was later proved to be both of those things. His leprous fingerprints are all over the termination of the last American president who wasn’t a wholly owned subsidiary of the military industrial complex.

​Honoring the Dead​