Bits and Pieces – 20180714, Saturday

Commentary

While the Clown Prince throws money everywhere he prances, the sheeple blindly run behind in hopes of catching a few dollars plucked from someone else’s pockets. McKinsey and Company have published a visualization tool, Visualizing global debt. Below is the chart and table that is interactive on their website but not here:

We see that Canada is the 9th most indebted nation in the world as a percentage of GDP. As the economy slows due to any number of factors such as recession here or in the US, rising interest rates or the end of the business cycle, GDP drops but the debt doesn’t change This means that the ratio increases in magnitude and our position deteriorates farther. We are extremely vulnerable to exogenous shocks and endogenous credit collapse. This is a train wreck that John Mauldin has been reporting on with links supplied in previous posts. I give you his concluding essay in a later section.

We have become a socialist country and the history of socialism has never witnessed a happy ending. As I keep warning, be a good boy scout … be prepared.

Currency War

I haven’t read much from James Rickards lately. Here’s a brief article on his thesis that currency wars are followed by trade wars and then finally shooting wars among major powers: Currency War, Then Trade War — Is Shooting War Next?

Trade War

Recently, Harley-Davidson moved some production off shore (Why Harley-Davidson Is Moving Production Overseas) in response to Trump tariffs. Now BMW is following suit: America’s Largest Auto Exporter To Move Some Production Out Of US, Blames Tariffs. Trade wars are complicated things and can come back and bite you.

It’s hard to see what Trump is doing as anything other than a trade war: US Publishes $200 Billion China Tariff List.

Propaganda and Fake News

Skripal 1.0 continues to raise discrepancies: It’s The Wrong Park! How The Ducks Raise Some Serious Questions In The Salisbury Poisonings.

Political Subversion and Regime Change

Some background of the US attempt to destabilize Syria has surfaced: Secret 2006 US Gov’t Document Reveals Plan To Destabilize Syria Using Extremists, Muslim Brotherhood, Elections. This article reveals tactics used by the US to destabilize and overthrow governments worldwide.

NATO (New Topic)

NATO deserves a topic of its own since this is the entity representing the interests of the American Empire (AE) in Europe and the Middle East. In particular, it is the main instrument for countering any regional hegemonic interests of Russia. The other area of interest to the AE, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, particularly in the South China Sea, is patrolled directly by the US navy.

A critical issue is the expansion of NATO forces into the member states of the old USSR, especially the Baltic states. This places NATO forces within 85 miles of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city and 360 miles from Moscow. To put this in perspective, imagine Russia and Canada becoming friendly, allowing a large Russian airbase  along with twenty thousand troops with armour to be stationed in Brantford or St. Catherines. How would the Americans react?

The Founding Act (read the short article The NATO Russian Founding Act  by Jack Mendelsohn) of 1997 established the basis for NATO/Russian relations going forward. It was viewed at the time by some Russians, notably Boris Yeltsin, as an agreement by NATO not to expand into areas of the old USSR, particularly states on Russia’s border. As Mendelsohn notes, The 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, where NATO pledged not to deploy “substantial forces” near Russia, seems to be forgotten.

Over the years, NATO has in fact moved closer to Russia and continues to do so today. The coup in the Ukraine in 2014 sponsored by the US State Department and your friendly CIA (read: Washington Was Behind Ukraine Coup: Obama admits that US “Brokered a Deal” in Support of “Regime Change”) installed a pro-western government that would then allow NATO to position along a broad frontier with Russia.

Russia was compelled to intervene defensively to what was an act of western aggression, by supporting rebel factions in the largely Russian-speaking East Ukraine. The response was similar to Kennedy’s response to soviet missiles in Cuba although the CIA fumbled that one (Bay of Pigs).

In the meantime, NATO continues to build up its forces, particularly on Russia’s borders in the Baltic states. They have recently moved men and material into Norway (US military reveals secret underground Norway base) hidden in tunnels and Sweden, increasing the depth of military buildup. In addition this aggressive act, NATO and the US are now sailing their navies around the Black Sea, also a very provocative act: Sea Breeze 2018: Who Wants to Disrupt Strategic Balance in the Black Sea Region?

The two interventions by Russia into Georgia and the Ukraine, notably Crimea, were to preserve strategic assets in areas that until recent times (Why Did Russia Give Away Crimea Sixty Years Ago?), were part of Russia and that represent important existential economic interests. Although the West continually cites Russian activity as “aggression” a more reasonable assessment would be to call them defensive measures against NATO and American imperial aggression.

One other point about “aggression”. Russia has not made any additional military moves since its intervention in the Ukraine, yet the MSM continues to speak of Russian aggression in a current framework. Get it right. There is none.

To hold military drills on home soil, sometimes touted as aggression, is what every country is entitled to do and often do. To hold military exercises in  international air and ocean spaces is what many countries do, particularly the US. If the latter is aggression, the US is by far the greatest aggressor.

There is a Western propaganda meme that is regularly trotted out by governments and the MSM. It is that Russia is continually committing acts of aggression. Unfortunately, they have to reuse the only two acts of uninvited (Syria asked for Russian assistance as you will remember, and pro-Soviet rebels in the Ukraine asked for aid also) military involvement has been two on its borders – Georgia, specifically South Ossetia –  and Crimea. CNN provides a timeline of events in Georgia that I will assume is accurate and unbiased (OK, I know it’s CNN): 2008 Georgia Russia Conflict Fast Facts.

I wish to correct my understanding of Canada’s contribution to NATO (source: Expenditure Of NATO Countries In 2016). Canada is tied with the Czech Republic and Hungary for second last place at 1.0% of GDP while Belgium and Spain are in last place at 0.9% of GDP. Trump originally asked for 2.0% from NATO members but has now tabled his nuclear option of 4%: Trump Slams NATO: “Pay 2% Of GDP IMMEDIATELY” Or Even 4%. On the other hand the following image apparently from NATO itself, shows that Canada is in a stronger spending position:



I was correct in my identification of the negotiating strategy that Trump would use:
NATO Leaders Hold Unplanned Emergency Session After Trump Threatens To Withdraw. He appears that he got what he wanted: Trump Claims “Tremendous” Progress, Says NATO Allies Agreed To Increase Spending After Emergency Meeting. Note the pipeline reference that I will expand on shortly. But politicians are a slippery lot as we are already seeing: Macron, Merkel Deny Trump’s NATO Spending Claims.

Kudos to Trudeau that he held his ground with no new spending (read: ‘No plans to double our defence budget,’ Trudeau says). I expected that he would not want to put more money on this horse, having other horses with more pressing payoffs for him and his socialist agenda. It looks like everyone played their hands well including allowing Trump to claim a win: The U.S. Is Pouring Money Into Air Bases Flanking Russia. So Trump claims he got his spending increase commitment. The other particpants claim they have made no commitment to increase spending. I guess this is how politicians create a win-win situation.

On the pipeline issue. Trump blasted the Nord Stream 2 pipelineas making Germany captive to Russian gas. What he really wants is Germany to be captive to the higher-priced LNG from the US. So bad Russians versus good Americans – a no-brainer.

Global War: World War III

As with the Swedes, Russia is preparing for the next war according to Western sources: New Satellite Images Reveal Russia Is Preparing For War In Kaliningrad. Kalingrad is this strange little chunk of Russia surrounded by the Baltic states.

Climate

I don’t have a separate topic for energy although it is a topic I monitor. One reason is that every activity from the largest human endeavour to the smallest living cells require energy in some form to function. The environmental movement has used the climate debate to shut down nuclear energy: US “Asleep At The Wheel” – As Nuclear Industry Faces Collapse.

Germany is recognized as a state advanced in replacing nuclear and fossil fuel generation with renewables. Clean Energy Wire published an article on German energy use titled Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts. The second chart shows that in 1917, nuclear made up 6% of total installed capacity, fossil fuels inducing coal made up 40% while renewables and others made up 54%.

But these are not the important numbers. Actual power produced is the important class of information. Nuclear was 11.6% of production, fossil fuels made up 50.8% and renewables and others, 37.6%.

If Germany had doubled the installed renewable capacity, they still would have needed fossil and nuclear for 25% of their energy needs. That is based on the assumption that a new installation of wind and solar doubling capacity would have access to sites where wind and sun are as good as the initial installations, an assumption which is unlikely to hold up.

There is however, a much more significant problem buried in the aggregate figures.The aggregate is like an average But some days are quiet, wind-wise, and require a much larger marginal production capacity from fossil fuels since nuclear is pretty well fixed.

In short Germany will always need a capacity reserve of nuclear and fossil fuel generation. If they phase out nuclear, coal and natural gas are here to stay in a big way.

National Politics

I read George Orwell’s 1984 in the 1960s as an engineering student trying to broaden his horizons (I also read everything by John Steinbeck that I could get my hands on). The world today is frighteningly close to his manuscript including the forever war: “There Is No End In Sight” Army Major Warns Of “Perpetual War” On Terror.

Trump

The next article provides some insight into how Trump approaches deals, particularly in the area of foreign policy:Reciprocity Is the Method to Trump’s Madness.

The US

The US knows how to do it: “Unmasking Antifa” Act Introduced In Congress: 15 Year Sentence For Masked Mayhem.

I normally don’t report on political developments in the US which I do follow, but this one is interesting and will roil the waters: Rod Rosenstein Impeachment Plans Drawn Up: Report.

Socialism and the Left

With the Democratic Party rallying behind their new-found poster girl waving the red flag of Marxist-socialist policy from the ramparts of the Bastille Schmid: What Democratic Socialists Don’t Get.

After talking with a friend about the radical left I thought I would link an article on Antifa: Alt-Left Melts Down Over “Unmasking Antifa” Act.

Sovereign Debt and the Credit Crisis

Here is the last article in John Mauldin’s series on credit collapse: The Debt Train Will Crash.

Bits and Pieces

I have written abut the way glyphosate (Roudup) negatively interacts with the body. A recent lawsuit is revealing Monsanto’s culpability in hiding its danger: Lawyer: Monsanto Bullied Scientists And Hid Weedkiller’s Cancer Risks.

In response to a friend I dredged up the following video:

Here’s another documentary on wolves revealing their wonderful nature:

Finally, two videos that I have referenced before, Wolves of Chernobyl . Documentary and Meet the Dogs of Chernobyl – the Abandoned Pets That Formed Their Own Canine Community.

Musings

I’m adding this section so I can talk to myself – like a diary. If you’re reading this far you may recall recently that I referenced the current thinking among some physicists that the universe is an information simulation running inside an extra-universal machine. Tonight I came across this next video on a branch of physics called emergence theory.

The title caught my attention because in graduate work, studying complex systems, I came across the property of emergence which I pondered quite a bit but never figured out how to develop a theory governing the transformation from a complex system to its emergent states. It was probably the problem that I should have chosen for my PhD studies.

Anyway, wrap some duct tape around your head before viewing in case your brain explodes:

End Notes

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