Interesting & Important News & Analysis, August 11, 2019

The following concerns an extremely important global risk-management issue.

As my readers know, I’m for full democracy for everyone on the planet. I believe every person, regardless of ethnicity, should have full, equal, and democratic rights everywhere. I do not agree with any nation’s claim to a right to self-determination where anyone within its borders is not granted full, equal, and democratic rights under international law, which law does state clearly the spirit of full, equal, and democratic rights, for none of the human rights under international law truly exist without full democratic rights.

If we want world peace, we must have the truth. The saying is, “The truth shall set you free.” Therefore, lies, censorship concerning needed information, and cover-ups of the same, enslave you. If you don’t realize you’re being lied to and you act upon the lies, including lies by omission, as if they are the truth, you will make wrong, harmful decisions that will come back haunting.

Video interview: “How Israel’s Erasure of Palestinian History Perpetuates Occupation”

Prof. Ilan Pappe discusses why Israel’s agency in charge of nuclear security hid documents about the Nakba, the catastrophe in which Palestinians were driven from their land in 1948, explaining that it was an effort to eliminate the Palestinian narrative.

The US fought in WWII against imperialism. The then governments of Italy, Germany, and Japan had been engaging in military conquests to expand the land, water, and airspace of the earth they controlled. The US had in its own history engaged in the same activity. However, over the course of time, US citizens came to realize more and more that military imperialism was wrong and should not be allowed anywhere on Earth. WWI was even fought over the same issue. There were, however, many other factors that contributed to both world wars.

On September 2, 1945, WWII was declared over. What is now called the State of Israel was declared an independent nation-state by the Jews in 1948 (after WWII) in what was called Palestine. The history is detailed concerning the lead up to that time and events thereafter. However, the point is that Israel has been hiding what truly happened, as the video below makes clear. The fact is indisputable.

Ethnic cleansing of any degree was, and remains, illegal under US and international law. War and terror refugees have the full right to return to the land from which they were illegally coerced. Palestinian non-Jews had, and still have, the right under US and international law to return to the lands taken by Jews who declared the land Jewish land. It’s not complicated. It’s simply a fact. Who’s covering that up or attempting to do so? Who’s enslaving you or attempting to do so? What are you going to do about it?

The Middle East has been inflamed. The US is constantly involved there militarily. US military personnel have died there under false pretenses. The US military has killed and maimed many innocents under false pretenses. It’s all been a great injustice.

WWIII could be ignited due to wrongheaded US foreign policy concerning the region. It’s an existential threat/risk. The only thing that can fix the issue is for the unvarnished truth to be given to all the people of the world.

Israel leaned on the vote of the UN General Assembly to partition Palestine. However, the UN General Assembly lacked the legal authority to establish any such partition. After Israel declared itself a nation-state, the UN Security Council did not block that action but went on as if the Security Council had officially and legally ratified Israel’s declaration, which flied in the face of the whole point of the US fighting in WWII: anti-imperialism, anti-coercive colonization.

Why were Italy, Germany, and Japan rolled back from the lands those nations had taken by force while the land taken by force from the Palestinian non-Jews was not given back to those non-Jews? What is to be done about that, if anything?

I say what needs to be done is the granting of full, equal, democratic rights and the full right of return under reconciliation and reparations, restitution, and compensation all with no reprisals. Those measures need to be guaranteed and fully and absolutely enforced by the United Nations. Anything short of it will be weak and ineffective, leading to more injustices and violence and other evils.


The Tragedy of Gaza’s Children

Children and mothers are bearing the brunt of the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which includes widespread malnutrition. Allowing the current situation to slide into a full-fledged catastrophe would be an indefensible dereliction of responsibility by the international community.

The longer this is allowed to drag out, the worse things become, the stronger the urge for the oppressed to turn to violence.


Average Tariff For China To Hit 17.5%. Was Around 5% Pre-Trump.

China tariffs on U.S. goods has always been higher. Now U.S. tariffs are coming in line with the Chinese, and then some. Trump intends to raise tariffs on every China import starting Sept. 1.

Recent PMI figures out of China have been “dreadful” since the third quarter ….

… “New export orders are obviously awful too.”


Seattle mayor proposes heating oil tax to push electrification

If all 18,000 oil-heated homes converted to electricity, the city says emissions would drop by 433,000 metric tons over 10 years, the equivalent of taking nearly 90,000 cars off the road for a year.


A look inside Milwaukee Avenue’s ‘Avenir’ apartments, opening in early 2020

After topping-off in March to take the title of River West’s tallest building, the 23-story apartment tower under construction at 730 W. Milwaukee Avenue has new interior renderings and a fresh name. Although earlier conceptual images showed placeholder signage with the name The Mill, the development will be officially called Avenir—the French word for “future.”


Mobile Home Parks Become Red-Hot Senior Living Option

Yes, but one must always consider where the park is located and how the homes are anchored to the ground and readied for extreme weather and wild fires, etc.


India’s Bad Bet in Kashmir

Kashmir represents the unfinished business from the 1947 partition of India that created Pakistan. On the one hand, the existence of a Muslim-majority Indian province contradicts Pakistan’s raison d’être as the homeland for all the subcontinent’s Muslims. On the other, the loss of India’s only Muslim-majority province would undermine its core identity as a secular republic and leave its remaining 180 million Muslims vulnerable.

Kashmir lies at the nexus of these conflicting imperatives, because, unlike other former princely states, Kashmir acceded to, but did not merge with, the Union of India. In doing so, it secured autonomy on all matters except defense, foreign affairs, and communications. Under Article 35A, added to the Indian constitution in 1954, Kashmiri citizens were afforded additional special rights and privileges, including with regard to property ownership and government jobs.

It is my understanding that Israel has told India to sent Hindus into Kashmir en masse to become the new majority there. China has been doing something similar concerning the Uyghurs in Xinjiang Province by sending in many Han Chinese. It’s an age-old practice of empires.


German Exports Slump Most in Three Years on Trade Conflicts

Economists at Commerzbank predict China is on the cusp of a more fundamental shift in how it’s running its economy, with repercussions also for Germany and the euro area.

“There is much to suggest that China is taking the ‘Austrian’ path, accepting a protectionism-induced reduction in economic growth, and refraining from massively increasing the economic stimulus package which so far has had little effect,” Joerg Kraemer, Commerzbank’s chief economist, wrote in a note.

China is erratic. Don’t bank on Xi.


It’s too bad Trump’s reason for wanting a weaker dollar isn’t for the right reasons. Here are the right reasons:

In order to rebalance U.S. trade, the dollar needs to fall 25–30 percent, especially against the currencies of countries with large, persistent trade surpluses such as China, Japan, and the European Union. This would help to address the trade deficits that have eliminated nearly 5 million good-paying American manufacturing jobs over the past two decades and some 90,000 factories. In fact, trade with low-wage countries has pulled down the incomes of 100 million non-college educated workers by roughly $2,000 per year.

This week, Ruchir Sharma of Morgan Stanley trotted out a bunch of very shaggy dogs in defense of a strong currency. But he never mentioned the real reason Wall Street loves a strong dollar. An overvalued greenback has enabled the cheap imports that fuel the massive profits of American giants ranging from Apple and Amazon to Costco and Walmart. And multinational corporations have used offshoring, and the threat of moving more plants abroad, to drive down U.S. wages and benefits, and to weaken domestic labor unions.

The dollar was realigned by President Nixon in December 1971, and again in 1985, during the Reagan administration, following the Plaza Accord. There is no evidence that the economy slowed after either one of those events …. [“What’s good for Wall Street is often bad for American workers and manufacturing“]


Will the fracking industry come up with new technology that will produce profits? I hope not!

Bleak Financial Outlook for US Fracking Industry

New Dire Warnings About Peak Shale

Undeniably, the so-called “shale revolution” has produced record amounts of oil, with steady growth over the past decade. The dual techniques of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are very effective at producing large amounts of oil and gas, but that production has resulted in chronic industry overspending by approximately a quarter trillion dollars over the last decade.*

Investors have been told to wait for the industry to figure out how to produce the oil and make a profit, but a new problem looms that could complicate those plans: Shale companies are running out of the “good rock” that produces plenty of oil.

The messages coming from energy analysts, the financial industry, and the fracking industry all lead to the same conclusion: The U.S. shale industry has been a financial disaster for investors, with producers piling up huge amounts of debt despite extracting copious volumes of oil from disappearing sweet spots. Now, shale companies are under mounting pressure to pay back that debt by producing oil from lower tier acreage. If past performance is any indication, this approach is a major long shot.

General investors are finally catching up to the bad deal that fracking represents, but the question is: What took them so long?


Brick & Mortar Meltdown’s Ugly Week in Record-Ugly Year

The phenomenon of the Brick-and-Mortar Meltdown is proceeding with relentless momentum, trailing in its wake store closings, job losses, bankruptcies, and liquidations.


Mortgage-Refi Fever Sweeps U.S., Forcing Brokers to Scramble

Ben Coulter, a branch manager at AMEC Home Loans in Minneapolis, said he noticed an uptick in refinancing starting about six weeks ago. The surge in interest has pushed the time it takes to close on the mortgages to about 45 days from about 30 when business is slower. He’s pulling 16-hour days and sending emails at odd hours, sometimes to clients who bought their homes less than a year ago. He said one customer who bought in November has already refinanced, reducing his monthly payments by $250.


Wow! This is promoting economics illiteracy:

The credentialed (and the journalists who hang on their every word) don’t understand that consumption is what happens after production. Always.

Generally, tax cuts for the poor increases demand. Don’t cut their taxes, don’t give them more money, and they can’t increase demand. Also generally, producers will not increase supply to meet nonexistent demand. Some producers will come out with a wholly new product type that will result in demand for the new product once available and people find they want the product, but that’s a different issue.

… the economic growth that Thompson thinks results from government spending has in fact already occurred. That’s what enabled the spending. Get it?

How wrong can one be in this day and age? You need to be living under an economics rock not to have learned that money comes first from its issuer, who can order up things that definitely have not yet been created. The government can create money and spend it to build new roads and other things. That’s what happened with the stimulus spending that bailed the US out of a newer and worse Great Depression.

I don’t apologize for saying that libertarian-capitalist economics is at best mind-numbing ideology rather than fact-based.

How ironic that the articles title is, “The Disciples of Keynes Are Today’s ‘Flat Earthers’.”


I’ve called for this many times: “The Second Amendment must be repealed.”


There’s plenty I agree with in Ellen Brown’s article, “Neoliberalism Has Met Its Match in China,” and I genuinely like Ellen. She smart, nice, thoughtful, and has the best interests of all the people at heart. However, she, as with so many others, left out the word democracy. Think about that in connection with the subtitle of her most recent book: “Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age.” How can we discuss China without discussing democratizing China for the very same reasons we want to democratize the United States?

Xi is a totalitarian dictator. China has savaged its own environment. However, it is working on improving things. It really has no choice. It’s been that bad. China has produced endless quantities of things that were produced simply to produce: total waste or nearly so. China is being a regional bully when it comes to the South China Sea, insisting it owns the whole of it based upon its infamous “dash lines.” China has cheated economically. It has stolen inventions. It has greatly fudged its growth numbers. Xi also brooks no religious freedom. He says democracy is the enemy.

The US should not be all about only money. Certain things are vastly more important and if upheld, will lead to greater prosperity than all the money in the world.


Germany’s forests on the verge of collapse, experts report

What Dohle of the forestry trade union termed “dramatic tree deaths” began with winter snow dumps in early 2018 which broke branches, weakening the trees’ natural defenses and letting in fungal infections, “followed by drought and bark beetle infestation” that killed off European spruce trees.

One million older trees have since died — not only heat susceptible spruces, but even Germany’s prized European Red Beech which had been widely planted over the past decade in the hope of creating climate stable forests, Dohle added.

Where will it end?

Foresters are unable to remember such a dire situation.


China Retreats Globally

China has retreated globally – not from its artificial islands in the South China Sea but economically and financially. It seems just yesterday that the Middle Kingdom, as China calls itself, resembled an unstoppable juggernaut, cutting construction contracts and buying properties all over the world. That is no longer the case. Trade war with the United States bears much of the blame (or gets the credit, depending on one’s perspective), but even if Washington and Beijing were to sign a deal tomorrow, China would not regain its old momentum.


How Close Is China To A Financial Crisis?

China haters have been waiting for a financial crisis out of China since at least the early 2000s. Each and every time, the People’s Bank of China’s plunge protection team or the central planners in Beijing would throw buckets of ice water on their heads.

This time might be different. This time they are dealing with a trade war.

China’s GDP growth is driven, in large part, over manufacturing widgets they cannot sell and houses no one has yet moved into. Much of this is a provincial problem rather than a Beijing problem.

When I said China would crash, I qualified my statement with 1) that China doesn’t know what it’s doing and 2) if China doesn’t change. Since that time, China has slowed many of the wrong things it was doing. It has also started to clean up its mess. That does not mean that China knows what it’s doing in the big-picture sense and obviously doesn’t mean China has changed enough. In fact, on a number of fronts, China has made things worse for itself. China is also still cooking the books.

I don’t see China becoming a super super-power even within a hundred years. Of course, the Chinese people could finally rise up and throw off the yoke of the Chinese Communist Party and replace it with a true democracy. That would be most hopeful.


China’s Wobbly Giants

… as astute Fortune readers know, the ranking is based strictly on revenue—and is thus a measure of size, not strength.


China central bank keeps powder dry after Fed rate cut, but more easing expected

… a sharper economic slowdown remains Beijing’s top priority, officials fear easing too aggressively could fuel debt and financial risks, according to government advisers involved in internal policy discussions.


Wow! Paul Craig Roberts, who worked in the Reagan administration and was instrumental in Reagan’s supply-side-economics push, sure doesn’t pull any punches in his article, “America’s Collapse: #2 in a series.” He has clearly learned a great deal since his Reagan days. I’ve read plenty of his work, but he’s showing his current disdain for neoliberal capitalism in favor of a new economics for the people more than I’ve ever seen him do before. He’s been disillusioned and radicalized, just as I have.


Opinion: 10 alarming things about the economy that politicians won’t tell you

The thing is, most of the “alarming things about the economy that politicians won’t tell you” won’t happen if we stop the Federal government from borrowing money by issuing bonds just to create money that could be, and most certainly should be, created without the borrowing. Why the Hell did anyone fall for issuing bonds to create money? The sooner we get rid of that, the better.


“The sky if falling, the sky is falling, ….” No, it’s not.

FOURTH TURNING ECONOMICS nonsense

Look, we will raise taxes. However, if we have any brains in the necessary leadership positions, we will also use what’s called money financing rather than borrowing to fix the next recession/depression. That means we’ll create money without borrowing, without adding to the national debt, without incurring more interest debt, etc. We could, and should, create enough money without borrowing to completely pay off the national debt in one fell swoop. It would have a one-off impact on the economy. If we simultaneously ramp up the safety net, no fixed-income retirees or others need worry, quite the opposite.