Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Weakest Link

Systemic Analysts,

Charles Hugh Smith  (It's cheap capacitors designed to fail in these circuit-boards, especially with heat-stress.)
Technology can't fix what's broken, because what's broken is our entire system..
​ ​The ultimate heresy in today's world isn't religious or political: it's refusing to believe that technology can not only solve all our problems, it will do so painlessly and without any sacrifice. Anyone who dares to question this orthodoxy is instantly declared an anti-progress (gasp!) Luddite, i.e. a heretic in league with the Devil.
​ ​Even worse, if that's possible, is declaring that technology is making our lives worse rather than better...
​ ​A clothes dryer is basically a metal box containing a heating element and a drum that spins. An electronic board with a digital display operates the machine​'​s cycles and controls. A dryer is thus far less complex than a robot, especially a robot that is capable of navigating the real world.
​ ​The dryer control board is relatively simple: a handful of low-cost commodity computer chips and a few circuit boards. Despite the relative simplicity, these boards fail with alarming regularity. This is also true of the electronics in ranges, washing machines and other appliances. The replacement board for the dryer is one-third the cost of a new dryer. Labor adds another third, so replacing the board is two-thirds the cost of a new dryer.
​ ​This reliance on cheap commodity electronic components results in the lifespan of modern appliances being measured in years rather than the decades of use formerly expected of purely mechanical appliances.

​UK Government paper, "Yellowhammer" details what to expect socially and economically from a no-deal Brexit
​ The – largely unmentioned – benefit of a no-deal Brexit is that since the neoliberal global economy is declining, Britain might as well get its collapse in early to avoid the rush.  That is, as the net energy available to the economy declines because of the remorseless rise in the energy cost of energy, so maintaining the complex network of supply chains that keeps the system going is going to have to break down.  Like it or not, the future will be less material and far more localised.  The only question concerns the speed at which it happens and the way in which the impacts are felt.
 Despite its proponents claims to the contrary, Brexit obliges the UK economy to re-localise and de-materialise in a way that it will ultimately have to anyway.  It is, of course, not the ideal means by which de-growth could occur.  But – let’s be honest here – no government on earth is going to voluntarily de-grow; so the longer we leave it, the more catastrophic it is going to be.  Moreover, a “managed de-growth” may turn out to be as fanciful in its way as the techno-utopian belief that we can continue to grow the global economy by replacing fossil fuels with wind turbines and solar panels.

Moon of Alabama:
 The U.S. had more than 1,000 troops in northeast Syria. There were also several hundred French and British special forces and some 2,000 U.S. contractors. They, and a huge amount of equipment, are now moving out. They have nothing to fear from the Syrian forces. Syria is happy to see them leave. (Reports that the U.S.yesterday bombed Syrian troops are false.)
​ ​The strategic plan behind last week's development must have come from Moscow. Russia has tried for some time to get Turkey into its camp. Russia, Iran and Syria allowed Turkey a limited invasion of Syria to scare the U.S. out. Russia largely supported the Turkish move but it will also set its limits.

​ ​Trump has been looking for a chance to move the U.S. troops out of Syria since December 2018. The borg made that politically unfeasible. The Turkish (Russian) move gave him the excuse he needed.
​ ​It is possible that the whole arrangement was made for exactly that purpose.

​Global Research:
​ ​The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to guarantee the safety of the Kurds as long as these become part of the National Security Forces. No other conditions were put forward by the Kurds, who have lost momentum with the sudden US withdrawal. Damascus promised there will be no revenge or resentment measures towards the Kurds who have, for years, acted as human shields to protect the US occupation forces which remained in Syria notwithstanding the defeat of ISIS.  
​ The Russian-Kurdish deal consists of the deployment of the Syrian army on all borders with Turkey and the return of all sources of energy (gas and oil) to the Syrian government-controlled forces. These sources of energy are vital to the Syrian government, which has been suffering under heavy US-EU sanctions. Any delivery of oil was blocked, except the crude oil from Iran, whose supertanker managed to breach the siege.
 The initial agreement between the Kurds and Damascus (via Russia) consists in the ending of the self-administration of NES, the integration of the Syrian Kurds under the command of the Syrian Army, and the pursuit and destruction of all ISIS forces.  

​Ilargi, at the Automatic Earth
​ If you ask me, this is brilliant, but I know you’re not asking me. Still, what I’m reading today is genius. That is, Donald Trump and his people have found a way to communicate with Vladimir Putin and his people while the entire crew that’s listening in to his talks with foreign leaders were doing something else, whatever that may be.
 The overall impression of Trump’s order to redeploy an entire 50 US soldiers within Syria is that he opened the floodgates to mayhem and genocide, but perhaps that picture is not entirely accurate. Perhaps Trump did not act on some whiff of the moment instinct. Perhaps he’s not as shallow and stupid as the press makes him out to be. I know, big challenge and all, but let’s look at what actually happened.
 Me, I’m sure Trump talked to Putin before he withdrew the 49 or 50 troops , just to make sure all-out disaster wouldn’t ensue. This is from Newsweek, not exactly a pro-Trump outlet:
US Cedes Syrian City To Russia In Battlefield ‘Handover’ As Turkey Tries To Take It

There is a lot of bloviating by Trump and Erdogan, but I don't get the feeling they are actually mad at each other. 
They'll have to stay-together-for-the-children, anyway...
Erdogan Holding 50 US Tactical Nukes 'Hostage' As Trump Authorizes Sanctions

​It's not looking like the House is going to formally vote on whether to begin impeachment proceedings against President-Orange-Republican.
Schiff: Public Has No Right To Observe Impeachment Inquiry...Then Kicks GOP Lawmaker Out  

​ ​House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that there would be no vote to launch formal impeachment proceedings against President Trump for the time being.
"There's no requirement that we have a vote, and so at this time we will not be having a vote," Pelosi said.
"We're not here to call bluffs -- we're here to find the truth, to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This is not a game for us. This is deadly serious," said Pelosi after discussing with the House Democratic caucus.
​ ​A formal vote would allow Republicans to subpoena their own documents and witnesses, something the minority party was allowed in both the Nixon and Clinton impeachment inquiry resolutions - which is why the Trump administration won't cooperate until a vote is held.
Pelosi has called pressure to do so a "Republican talking point."

 Elizabeth Warren comported herself deftly and "won"​ the debate last night​, I think. 
Bernie Sanders ​is​ setting the ​popular agenda​, and AOC will endorse him.​ 
Tulsi Gabbard is not noticed in the American media. She was there.​ Nobody really agreed with her. Sanders, sorta'.
 “The slaughter of the Kurds being done by Turkey is yet another negative consequence of the regime-change war that we’ve been waging in Syria. Donald Trump has the blood of the Kurds on his hand — but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime-change war in Syria that started in 2011, along with many in the mainstream media, who have been championing and cheerleading this regime-change war,” she said.  

The CIA has had a heart-attack gun since the 1960s...
B​ernie Sanders released a proposal today that would gradually shift 20 percent of corporate equity into funds owned and controlled by the workers in each company. The plan, which would apply to all publicly-traded companies and large closely-held companies, would move 2 percent of corporate stock into worker funds each year for a decade. Once the shares are transferred into the funds, workers would begin receiving dividends and have the ability to exercise the voting rights of the shares, including the right to vote on corporate board elections and on shareholder resolutions.
​ ​Sanders’s plan is by far the most radical worker ownership proposal put forward by a presidential candidate in recent memory.

​The only thing keeping Bernie alive is having been robbed by the DNC...
Billionaires could be slapped with an effective tax rate of 97.5% if Bernie Sanders wins the 2020 presidential elections, reported Bloomberg, who spoke with two economists advising both the Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren Presidential Campaigns.
Sanders' effective tax rate of 97.5%, includes an income tax, but also a wealth tax that is aimed at breaking up family fortunes over time.
"With the wealth tax, you get directly at the stock instead of hitting the flow of income, making it a much more powerful de-concentration tool than income taxes," University of California, Berkeley professor Emmanuel Saez wrote in an email.
Saez said Sanders' wealth tax would slash the number of billionaires in the country by at least half by 2030.

Allocating Losses

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