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Global Health Officials On High Alert As Wuhan Virus Makes US Landfall

Global Health Officials On High Alert As Wuhan Virus Makes US Landfall

Update (1600ET): Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhejiang, Henan, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, Brisbane, Taipei – and now Washington State. 

The viral pneumonia-like lung illness first discovered late last year in Wuhan, a mid-sized Chinese city in the center of the country, has Beijing’s leadership – who are already grappling with slowing economic growth and continuing trade pressure from the US – very much on edge.

It’s clear now that Beijing’s initial response to reports of a new SARS-like virus was to dissemble. After initially insisting that there was no evidence that the virus could be spread by humans, health officials have now admitted that they were “wrong”, and that human-to-human transmission is possible, meaning that there’s no telling yet just how contagious this thing really is.

It’s already spread rapidly: In just a few weeks, it’s gone from a few isolated cases in Wuhan to nearly 300 confirmed cases, not just in Greater China, but also across the Asia-Pacific region, and now in the US. The fact that the CDC has already identified the first case in Washington State suggests that this is an aggressive pathogen, and health officials are duly concerned.

It has already confounded expectations. The fact that 139 cases – roughly half the total number reported – were only just identified over the weekend is especially unnerving, because now infected hosts have had time to scatter back to wherever they’re from, potentially spreading the virus across the planet.

According to Bloombergthe US case has been revealed to be a man in his 30s who returned to the US last week, but not before visiting a public market in Wuhan…

The sudden spike in cases has prompted airports in the US, Australia and elsewhere to tighte illnesses has prompted tightened borders and a rapid attempt to trace contacts of those who have become ill.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Clean Tech Versus a People’s Green New Deal

Clean Tech Versus a People’s Green New Deal

Rich nations’ proposals for greening the economy need to acknowledge that their wealth rests on economic exploitation and ecological spoliation of poorer countries.

The Green New Deal (GND), Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s draft legislation to reduce US carbon dioxide emissions, was literally 2019’s talk of the town.

Climate apocalypse is on everyone’s mind. The spring of 2019 was the season of failed monsoons in Chennai, its reservoirs meters from desiccation. Millennial heatwaves roiled France. Wildfires raged in the United States, and continental firestorms rake Australia. The normally cool prose of scientists has been heating up as well, channeling the anxiety induced by the catastrophic conditions they describe. Reports warning of the disappearance of the world’s flora, fauna, and land increasingly seem like forecasts for the end of the world. Climate change has and will continue to pulverize the global South, where disaster is not on the horizon but has already arrived. Yet at the moment, the most visible environmental legislation — the Green New Deal (GND) — is being made and unmade in the North, the primary polluter and home of the largest corporations.

mining in the Congo
Industrial upgrading requires metals and metal-mining displacement of the people living on that land and pollution. Toxic levels of cobalt, which is used in electronics, have been found in the blood and urine of the miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo, especially children. Photo courtesy of Fairphone. 

Like the New Deal to which the GND refers, it aims big. In the words of Demond Drummer, the head of the New Consensusthink tank, the quiet catalyst of the GND discussion, it is a domestic agenda for governing, a chance “to see the elephant whole.”

Saikat Chakrabarti, Ocasio-Cortez’s former Chief of Staff, has added that “we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez has spoken warmly of Tennessee Valley Authority-style programs and “public-private partnerships.” She has put forward the figure of ten trillion dollars as its cost.

Ocasio-Cortez’s draft legislation, much like the draft document from the New Consensus, was bare bones. Its five goals are:

(1) To achieve net-zero emissions through a “just transition;”

(2) Create millions of high-wage and good jobs; 

(3) To “invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States”;

10 Critical Water Scarcity Facts We Must Not Ignore

10 Critical Water Scarcity Facts We Must Not Ignore

Why is water scarcity a legitimate concern?

It is true that the hydrologic cycle, the process in which the earth circulates water throughout its ecosystems, is a closed-loop cycle that neither adds nor takes away water. In theory, the amount of water on earth will always remain the same.

The problem therein is when the hydrologic cycle is disrupted and water which normally gets distributed to a certain area no longer does so. This is precisely why some regions are becoming arid while others are experiencing flooding and other natural disasters.

In this article, we’ll discuss the role that humans play in the global water crisis and we’ll cover the 10 most alarming water scarcity facts that we shouldn’t ignore.


The Alarming Human Factor in Water Management


Humans play a large role in the disruption of the hydrologic cycle.

  • The excessive building of dams prevents rivers from distributing mineral-rich water to areas that are dependent on the nutrients for plant growth.
  • Pollution caused by large factories can render freshwater sources such as lakes and rivers unusable.
  • The constant paving of roads seals the surface of the ground, preventing it from soaking up rainfall and replenishing the underground aquifers, a very vital part of the hydrologic cycle.
  • Excessive drilling into the ground can disrupt the structure of the bedrock, potentially allowing fresh groundwater to be contaminated with seawater.
  • Bottled water privatization creates a monopoly on a resource that should otherwise be available to the people who live in the region where the water is located.

As the world’s population increases the demand for the required amount of water necessary to sustain large communities does as well. While water is involved in the sustenance of virtually every aspect of a human’s life, the production of food makes up the majority of it.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why A Flu Outbreak In China Can Spook Global Markets

Why A Flu Outbreak In China Can Spook Global Markets

When people talk about empires of the past, they generally mean Rome and Britain. But the biggest and in some ways most interesting empire was built and run by the Mongols in the 13th and 14th centuries. At it’s peak it stretched from China to Eastern Europe, which is more territory than Rome ever controlled.

Across that expanse there was free trade and unrestricted movement of people via the original “Silk Road” network. For a while there was a single currency which was accepted everywhere. 

Genghis Khan — think of him as the Mongols’ (gleefully bloodthirsty) George Washington — organized his army along what we today would call colorblind lines. Instead of units based on clans and tribes, he mixed and matched soldiers of varied backgrounds and trained them to be loyal to one another regardless of origin. He also ordered his men to marry women from conquered cities, and to integrate into local cultures.

And he loved technology, collecting engineers and other people with useful skills from conquered lands and putting them to work developing new weapons and better agricultural practices.

“Pax Mongolica,” in short, had all the makings of a nascent modern system, hundreds of years before the Industrial Revolution. 

Then came the Black Death. 

Free movement of people allowed the disease to move quickly and uncontrollably. Local populations panicked and closed themselves off, frequently slaughtering their Mongol governors in the process. Trade collapsed, the Silk Road went dark and the Mongol empire expired. 

Now fast forward to today’s world, where virtually anyone can fly or drive to virtually any other country — and millions each year do so. Trade is a huge part of most major national economies. A handful of currencies are accepted pretty much everywhere, while locals mix with visitors in melting pot mega-cities of 20 million-plus inhabitants, all breathing the same air. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Geopolitics of Epistemological Warfare: From Babylon to Neocon

The Geopolitics of Epistemological Warfare: From Babylon to Neocon 

I think any sane human being can agree that while war was never a good idea, war in the 21stcentury is an absolutely intolerable one. The problem we currently face is that many of the forces driving world events towards an all-out war of “Mutually Assured Annihilation” are anything but sane.

While I’m obviously referring here to a certain category of people who fall under a particularly virulent strain of imperial thinking which can be labelled “neo-conservative” and while many of these disturbing figures honestly believe that a total war of annihilation is a risk worth taking in order to achieve their goals of total global hegemony, I would like to make one subtle yet very important distinction which is often overlooked.

What is this distinction?

Under the broad umbrella of “neo-conservative” one should properly differentiate those who really believe in their ideology and are trapped under the invisible cage of its unexamined assumptions vs. that smaller yet more important segment that created and manages the ideology from the top. I brushed on this grouping in a recent 3 part study called Origins of the Deep State and Myth of the Jewish Conspiracy.

To re-state my meaning: This group doesn’t necessarily believe in the ideological group they manage any more than a parent believes in that tooth fairy which they promote in order to achieve certain behavioral patterns in their children.

While belief in the tooth fairy is slightly less destructive than belief in a misanthropic neocon worldview of a Bolton, Pompeo or Cheney, the analogy is useful to communicate the point.

Cult Managers: Ancient Babylon and Now

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

IMF Slashes Global GDP Forecast For 6th Consecutive Time, Warns “Climate Change” Will Hit Economy

IMF Slashes Global GDP Forecast For 6th Consecutive Time, Warns “Climate Change” Will Hit Economy

After the IMF cut its global economic outlook for 2019 to 2.9% in October, the lowest since the financial crisis, and warned that global trade growth would be “close to a standstill”, moments ago the IMF once again downgraded its forecast for global GDP for 2020 and 2021, its sixth straight reduction, although in a sliver of optimism, global GDP in 2020 is now expected to post a modest rebound from 2.9% to 3.3%, (down from 3.4% in October) and to 3.4% in 2021 (down from 3.6%) as the IMF says “there are now tentative signs that global growth may be stabilizing, though at subdued levels.”

According to the IMF, the downward revision primarily reflects negative surprises to economic activity in a few emerging market economies, most notably India, where 2020 GDP is now expected to rise just 5.8% down from 7.0%, which means that in 2020 China will regain the title of the world’s fastest growing economy. In a few cases, this reassessment also reflects the impact of increased social unrest.

Emerging market debacle aside, the IMF said that on the positive side, market sentiment “has been boosted by tentative signs that manufacturing activity and global trade are bottoming out, a broad-based shift toward accommodative monetary policy, intermittent favorable news on US-China trade negotiations, and diminished fears of a no-deal Brexit, leading to some retreat from the risk-off environment that had set in at the time of the October WEO.”

However, and this will be of particular interest to traders, even the IMF admitted that “few signs of turning points are yet visible in global macroeconomic data.”

And so, in addition to the collapse in India, the IMF also sees continued slowdown in the US and Europe in 2020, both of which were cut by 0.1% to 2.0% and 1.3%, while China saw a modest increase by 0.2% to 6.0%, which however drops to 5.8% in 2021.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China Coronavirus Outbreak Spreads; Hundreds Infected As Human-To-Human Transmission Confirmed

China Coronavirus Outbreak Spreads; Hundreds Infected As Human-To-Human Transmission Confirmed

Health officials in Wuhan, China reported 139 new cases of a new mystery virus over the weekend, now rapidly spreading to other provinces and surrounding countries, reported CNN.

As of Monday morning, three people have died from the pneumonia-like illness, and globally there have been more than 200 reported cases, noted Reuters

Beijing confirmed two cases of coronavirus Monday, while Guangdong health officials reported one case in Shenzhen – these are the first reports that the virus is quickly spreading from Wuhan, the epicenter. 

On Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the virus originated from a seafood/meat market in Wuhan, has likely spread through human-to-human transmission.

“It is clear that there is at least some human-to-human transmission from the evidence we have, but we don’t have clear evidence that shows the virus has acquired the capacity to transmit among humans easily,” said Takeshi Kasai, the WHO’s regional director for the western pacific, in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday. “We need more information to analyze that.”

There are significant concerns about a broader regional outbreak, reports Sunday warned the virus was detected outside China – two in Thailand and one in Japan. 

The South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (SKCDC) confirmed Monday that a 35-year-old woman arriving at Incheon International Airport from Wuhan tested positive for coronavirus.

“She was immediately separated for treatment in quarantine at a state-designated hospital,” the SKCDC said.

China’s National Health Commission confirmed Monday that the virus has occurred via human-to-human transmission. This has worried officials in the country and in surrounding countries ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, in which millions of Chinese tourists are expected to travel across the region, could lead to a widespread outbreak of the virus. 

More than 7 million Chinese traveled overseas last year during the holiday season.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Are Consumers Nearing the End of Their Road of Debt?

Are Consumers Nearing the End of Their Road of Debt?

Are consumers getting close to the end of their road of debt?

There are some indications that they might be and that’s not good news for an economy built on consumers spending money they don’t have.

Total consumer debt grew and set yet another new record in November, according to the most recent data released by the Federal Reserve. But the rate of growth slowed and credit card debt contracted slightly for the third month out of the last four.

Total consumer debt grew by $12.5 billion to $4.176 trillion. (Seasonally adjusted). That represents an annual growth rate of 3.6%, down from 5.5% in October.

The Fed consumer debt figures include credit card debt, student loans and auto loans, but do not factor in mortgage debt.

Revolving credit outstanding, primarily credit card debt, fell by $2.4 billion, a 2.7% decline. That was offset by a healthy increase of $14.9 billion (5.8%) in non-revolving credit, including student loans, automobile loans and financing for other big-ticket purchases.

Even with the decline in revolving credit card debt, Americans still owe nearly $1.1 trillion on their plastic.

But the overall trend in borrowing has fallen over the last six months and credit card borrowing has taken a noticeably steep downturn.

Some are taking the sagging level of borrowing as a warning sign. As one analyst put it in an article on Seeking Alpha:

It could be that the consumer end of the economy has reached the point at which it cannot add any more debt. Unlike the federal government which has sovereign dollars to print, the consumer has a fixed amount they can spend including paying back any loans.”

Generally, consumer spending and consumer debt tend to move in the same direction. In other words, the drop in borrowing could indicate consumers are shutting their wallets.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Opinion: The Federal Reserve is stuck in quantitative-easing hell

Opinion: The Federal Reserve is stuck in quantitative-easing hell

The central bank’s short-term buying of securities could morph into long-term easing

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell

Imagine doing the same thing over and over again, with little progress and no relief. Sounds like most people’s vision of hell — or the Federal Reserve’s current predicament. 

Since September, the central bank, through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has been purchasing securities hand over fist to alleviate short-term pressures in the overnight money markets. It has used repurchase (“repo”) and reverse repurchase (“reverse repo”) agreements to provide liquidity and keep overnight borrowing rates from spiking. 

But these complex money market operations already have caused the Fed to buy a net $400 billion worth of securities, after Chairman Jerome Powell shrank the Fed’s balance sheet by $700 billion. That “normalization,” which also included raising the federal funds rate through late 2018, is now effectively dead and the Fed’s balance sheet is growing again.

Powell and the Fed have repeatedly denied this is a new phase of “quantitative easing (QE),” three rounds of which added $3.6 trillion to the Fed’s balance sheet in the years after the financial crisis. And indeed, in the earlier rounds of QE, the central bank bought Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities of various maturities. The current buying has been focused on Treasuries with maturities of 12 months or less. 

On the way: QE4

But that may not continue, says Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO and chief strategist at Quill Intelligence, a Dallas-based boutique research firm. Booth, who worked on both Wall Street and in the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, has been a critic of Fed policies since the central bank pushed fed funds down to near zero and launched its three rounds of QE after the financial crisis. (She also was one of the few people to connect the dots between the housing bust and Wall Street before the crisis hit.)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Much Have Americans Been Spied On By The Gov’t Since 2001? Sharyl Attkisson Provides The Ugly Truth

How Much Have Americans Been Spied On By The Gov’t Since 2001? Sharyl Attkisson Provides The Ugly Truth

We’ve all heard about at least some of this before.  Thanks to Full Measure for producing this new segment reminding us about why this should tick us off. Independent journalist Sharyl Attkisson also provides an update about her own computer intrusion by the U.S. government in this video.

We begin with an examination of one of the worst abuses of government power that could happen in our society. Illegal spying on U.S. citizens. Amid findings about egregious violations by our intelligence community, there’s a criminal investigation. And the court that approves surveillance on U.S. citizens has instructed the FBI to implement new safeguards as of this week. As our intelligence agencies face what may be their biggest scrutiny in decades, we examine how we got here.

Our examination of government surveillance controversies begins in 2001. Under FBI Director Robert Mueller, new rules were imposed to address FBI abuses.

FBI Agents had repeatedly gotten caught submitting false information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to justify wiretapping or spying on U.S. citizens.

Unfortunately, increasing surveillance on non-consenting Americans by a variety of entities seems to be the new norm thanks to new and unsafe technology being forcibly installed throughout our communities (see 1234567) and even on our homes.  Activist Post reports about this regularly.  For more information, visit our archives.

Ike Was Right

IKE WAS RIGHT

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.
Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.”

General Dwight D Eisenhower
Farewell address 1961

Congress just passed a near trillion dollar military budget at a time when the United States faces no evident state threats at home or abroad. Ike was right.

Illustrating Ike’s prescient warning, Brown University’s respected Watson Institute just released a major study which found that the so-called ‘wars on terror’ in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan have cost US taxpayers $6.4 trillion since they began in 2001. 

The extensive study found that over 800,000 people have died as a result of these military operations, a third of them civilians. An additional 21 million civilians have been displaced by US military operations. According to the Pentagon, these US wars have so far cost each American taxpayer $7,623 – and that’s a very conservative estimate.

Most of this money has been quietly added to the US national debt of over $23 trillion. Wars on credit hide the true cost and pain from the public. 

As General Eisenhower warned, military spending has engulfed the nation. A trillion annual military budget represents just about half the world’s military expenditures. The Pentagon, which I’ve visited numerous times, is bustling with activity as if the nation was on a permanent war footing.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The urban drivers of economic growth

The urban drivers of economic growth

In the 1980s, cities were defined as the ‘growth machines’ of the economy (Molotch, 1976). Today, urban economists epitomize them as economic ‘triumphs’ (Glaeser, 2011). Cities, intended as dense and mixed forms of urban living organized in agglomerations of economic activities, are presented as the solution to many of contemporary socio-ecological problems. They are viewed as the location of the so called ‘energy transition’, ‘social innovation’ or the ‘clean economy of knowledge’.

Cities have been a central topic in degrowth scholarship, although never put at the forefront of the debate. Latouche (2014) portraits the ‘degrowth city’ looking at the Mediterranean way of life of small towns. He called for a regional economy of sufficiency. Many degrowers explicitly advocate the need for changing the mobility infrastructure in order to reach some kind of slow mobility, and they promote the collectivization of public and housing spaces to be used as forms of commoning. Practices of repair, energy sufficiency, food coops, urban gardening and many more are properly ‘urban’ practices, because they interrupt the fast and productive use of city space.

Why then it is so hard to make those practices multiply and enable a more systemic transition to a degrowth society? Planning scholars have for years studied and criticized the mechanisms of urban land transformation that drive national economic growth. Urbanization is not the consequence of economic growth but the actual driver of it. The enlargement of cities, their number of jobs, estates and infrastructures, is a driving force behind growth. Already in the early 90s, after the fall of the Fordist economic system, it has become clear – for national governments as much as multinational corporations – that cities were becoming a new market where to invest surplus capital (primarily industrial capital) and gain rich returns.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Cannibalization Of The Financial System Will Force Investors Into Silver

The Cannibalization Of The Financial System Will Force Investors Into Silver

Day in and day out, the global financial system continues to cannibalize itself.  Clear evidence of this points to the massive “Artificial” liquidity and asset purchase policy instituted by the Federal Reserve.  While financial analysts provided several theories why the Fed was forced to inject liquidity via the Repo Market and also purchase $60 billion a month in U.S. Treasuries, the real reason has to do with the falling quality of oil and its impact on the value of assets and collateral.

It’s really that simple.  However, there is no mention of it (energy) by any of the leading financial or precious metals analysts.  For example, in Alasdair Macleod’s recent Goldmoney.com article titled, How To Return To Sound Money, he states the following:

This article provides a template for an enduring sound money solution that will deliver economic progress while eliminating destructive credit cycles. It posits that a properly constructed gold and gold substitute monetary system, which also includes the removal of bank credit inflation as a means of providing investment capital, is the only way that lasting stability and prosperity can be achieved.

Alasdair Macleod, who I have a great deal of respect, doesn’t mention “Energy” once in his entire article suggesting that returning to sound money, through gold, is the only way for lasting stability and prosperity can be achieved. The majority of economic prosperity has come from the burning of oil, natural gas, and coal, not from gold or silver. The precious metals act as money, a store of value, or economic energy, but are not the ENERGY SOURCES themselves.  While this is self-evident, it is very important to understand.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

IMF Chief Warns Global Economy Faces New “Great Depression”

IMF Chief Warns Global Economy Faces New “Great Depression”

How’s this for some New Years optimism?

The new head of the IMF, who took over from Christine Lagarde in November, warned that the global economy could soon find itself mired in a great depression.

During a speech at the Peterson Institute, IMF Chairwoman Kristalina Georgieva compared the contemporary global to the “roaring 20s” of the 20th century, a decade of cultural and financial excess that culminated in the great market crash of 1929.

According to the Guardian, this research suggests that a similar trend is already under way, and though the collapse might not be around the corner, when it comes, it will be impossible to avoid.

While the inequality gap between countries has closed over the last two decades, the gap within most developed countries has widened, leaving millions more vulnerable to a global downturn than they otherwise would have been.

In particular, she singled out the UK for criticism: “In the UK, for example, the top 10% now control nearly as much wealth as the bottom 50%. This situation is mirrored across much of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), where income and wealth inequality have reached, or are near, record highs.”

She also warned about the potential for climate change to become a bigger obstacle for humanity, while increased trade protectionism instills more volatility in markets.

She added: “In some ways, this troubling trend is reminiscent of the early part of the 20th century – when the twin forces of technology and integration led to the first gilded age, the roaring 20s, and, ultimately, financial disaster.”

She warned that fresh issues such as the climate emergency and increased trade protectionism meant the next 10 years were likely to be characterised by social unrest and financial market volatility.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Bank of England’s Governor Fears a Liquidity Trap

The Bank of England’s Governor Fears a Liquidity Trap

The global economy is heading towards a “liquidity trap” that could undermine central banks’ efforts to avoid a future recession according to Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England. In a wide-ranging interview with the Financial Times (January 8, 2020), the outgoing governor warned that central banks were running out of ammunition to combat a downturn:

If there were to be a deeper downturn, more than a conventional recession, then it’s not clear that monetary policy would have sufficient space.

He is of the view that aggressive monetary and fiscal policies will be required to lift the aggregate demand.

What Is a Liquidity Trap?

In the popular framework that originates from the writings of John Maynard Keynes, economic activity is presented in terms of a circular flow of money. Spending by one individual becomes part of the earnings of another individual, and spending by another individual becomes part of the first individual’s earnings.

Recessions, according to Keynes, are a response to the fact that consumers — for some psychological reasons — have decided to cut down on their expenditure and raise their savings.

For instance, if for some reason people become less confident about the future, they will cut back their outlays and hoard more money. When an individual spends less, this will supposedly worsen the situation of some other individual, who in turn will cut their spending. A vicious cycle sets in. The decline in people’s confidence causes them to spend less and to hoard more money. This lowers economic activity further, causing people to hoard even more, etc.

Following this logic, in order to prevent a recession from getting out of hand, the central bank must lift the growth rate of the money supply and aggressively lower interest rates. Once consumers have more money in their pockets, their confidence will increase, and they will start spending again, reestablishing the circular flow of money, so it is held.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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