Feb 272019
 February 27, 2019  Posted by at 10:36 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Salvador Dali Remorse – Sphinx Embedded in the Sand 1931


Michael Cohen Testimony: Trump A ‘Racist’, ‘Cheat’ And ‘Conman’ (G.)
3 Days That Will Decide Brexit – March 12-14th Will Seal Britain’s Fate (Exp.)
UK Economy Could Be 9% Weaker Under No-Deal Brexit – Government (G.)
The UK Doesn’t Have The Right Pallets For Exporting To The EU (BI)
The War on Venezuela is Built on Lies (Pilger)
Survival of the Richest (Nomi Prins)
Hey Yellen, It Was Trump Who Was Right (Every)
Now that Housing Bubble #2 Is Bursting…How Low Will It Go? (CHS)
Russia’s Share Of European Gas Market Surges To Almost 37%, Dwarfing LNG (RT)
UK Hunger Survey To Measure Food Insecurity (G.)
Glyphosate Found In 95% Of Wine And Beer (Ind.)
Am I The Only One Who’s Terrified About The Warm Weather? (G.)



Lots of wet panties, male and female, today in anticipation of Michael Cohen’s testimony. Of course, it’s been leaked, full text is here. A few quotes:

I may once again be in a party of one, but I think it’s awfully weak, it’s grasping for stuff rather than conveying it. First, there’s the inevitable Assange link:

In July 2016 [..] Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of “wouldn’t that be great.”

Anything related to Assange, whether from Mueller or Cohen, lacks credibility as long as he can’t defend himself against it. And Trump merely says: wouldn’t that be great? Not exactly the stuff of collusion or conspiracy.

Just as inevitable in smear campaigns: Trump the racist.

Mr. Trump is a racist. The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries “shitholes.” While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.

Calling a country a shithole is not racist. The policies that have created a situation in which many shithole countries are populated by black people stem from many decades of US/Europe policies that predate Trump. The rest is not racist either, if you look closer. Perhaps Trump is a bit racist, like so many Americans. But Cohen’s prepared words don’t show that.

Also: Trump doesn’t tell the full truth about his wealth. But Michael Cohen always has…

It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.

Gee, lock him up. I don’t get it. There’s so much wrong with Trump, but politics and media have singled out Russia collusion, and then failed to prove a thing about it, and now they switch to ‘racist conman’, with the weakest of accusations. I swear, they might as well all be working for the Donald.

Michael Cohen Testimony: Trump A ‘Racist’, ‘Cheat’ And ‘Conman’ (G.)

Michael Cohen is to accuse Donald Trump of being a “conman” and a “cheat” who had advanced knowledge that a longtime adviser was communicating with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign, according to opening testimony he will deliver to Congress on Wednesday. Cohen’s prepared remarks, confirmed by the Guardian, include a series of explosive allegations about the presidential campaign. The president’s former lawyer, who will publicly testify before the House oversight committee on Wednesday, will state that Trump was told by Roger Stone that WikiLeaks would publish emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr Trump put Mr Stone on the speakerphone,” Cohen’s opening statement reads. “Mr Stone told Mr Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr Assange told Mr Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Mr Trump responded by stating to the effect of ‘wouldn’t that be great.’” The remarkable allegations by Cohen go further than what has been made public thus far by the special counsel investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign in Moscow.

Cohen will also suggest his instructions to lie to Congress about a possible Trump Tower deal in Moscow during the 2016 campaign came from the president – albeit not directly. “In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing,” Cohen will say. “In his way, he was telling me to lie.” “Mr Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates,” he will add.

Read more …

Humor me and please read this. It’s so confusing that you almost forget it’s also complete madness.

3 Days That Will Decide Brexit – March 12-14th Will Seal Britain’s Fate (Exp.)

In a dramatic statement to the House of Commons, Mrs May confirmed that she will put her Withdrawal Agreement – including whatever additional assurances she has secured from Brussels – to a “meaningful vote” by March 12. If that fails, MPs will be offered two separate votes the following day – one on a no-deal Brexit, and the other on requesting an extension to the two-year Article 50 negotiation process to delay EU withdrawal beyond March 29. The sequence of votes will be proposed in an amendable motion tabled by the Prime Minister for debate and vote in the Commons on Wednesday. To uproar in the Commons, Mrs May told MPs: “They are commitments I am making as Prime Minister and I will stick by them, as I have previous commitments to make statements and table amendable motions by specific dates.”

Deputy Political Editor for Sky News Beth Rigby tweeted of Mrs May’s speech: “This really is a big shift. “May has finally played her cards and sided with the Europhile wing of her party .. “Vote for her deal (March 12) Vote for no-deal (March 13) Vote for delay (March 14) .. “Only yesterday she refused to even acknowledge there might have to be a delay to Brexit.”

Mrs May has declared a meaningful vote will take place by March 12, where MPs will vote on her Brexit deal. Should this deal not be voted through, on March 13, MPs will then be offered two separate votes by March 13 on whether the UK leaves with no deal or delays Brexit beyond March 29. The delay will then be voted on March 14, when a motion would be brought forward on whether Parliament wishes to seek a short limited extension to Article 50. If the House votes for an extension, this extension will have to be approved by the House with the EU and then necessary legislation will be brought forward to change the exit date.

[..] In her statement to MPs following a Cabinet meeting with senior colleagues at 10 Downing Street, Theresa May said she wanted to set out “three further commitments” to the Commons. She said: “First, we will hold a second meaningful vote by Tuesday, March 12 at the latest. “Second, if the Government has not won a meaningful vote by Tuesday, March 12, then it will – in addition to its obligations to table a neutral amendable motion under Section 13 of the EU Withdrawal Act – table a motion to be voted on by Wednesday March 13 at the latest, asking this House if it supports leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement and a framework for a future relationship on March 29.

“So the United Kingdom will only leave without a deal on March 29 if there is explicit consent in the House for that outcome. “Third, if the House, having rejected the deal negotiated with the EU, then rejects leaving on March 29 without a Withdrawal Agreement and future framework, the Government will on March 14 bring forward a motion on whether Parliament wants to seek a short, limited extension to Article 50.” The Prime Minister also said she still believes she will be able to secure a deal: “I’ve had a real sense from the meetings I’ve had, and the conversations I’ve had in recent days, that we can achieve that deal. “It’s within our grasp to leave with a deal on March 29 and that’s where all of my energies are going to be focused.”

Read more …

Scared yet? Because that’s the idea.

UK Economy Could Be 9% Weaker Under No-Deal Brexit – Government (G.)

The government has issued a bleak warning over a no-deal Brexit, estimating the UK economy could be 9% weaker in the long run, businesses in Northern Ireland might go bust and food prices will increase. In an official document only published after repeated demands by the former Conservative MP Anna Soubry, the government also revealed it was behind on contingency planning for a third of “critical projects” in relation to business and trade. The latest no-deal notice states:

• The economy would be 6%-9% smaller over the next 15 years than it otherwise might have been, in the event of no deal, in line with Bank of England forecasts. • The flow of goods through Dover would be “very significantly reduced for months”. • With 30% of food coming from the EU, prices are likely to increase and there is a risk that panic buying might create shortages. • Only six of the 40 planned international trade agreements have been signed.

The document was published just hours after Theresa May was forced to promise two key votes, allowing MPs the option to reject no deal and to potentially delay Brexit for a short period, following pressure from remain-minded cabinet ministers. The prime minister set out a timetable that includes a vote on her Brexit deal by 12 March; if that fails, a vote the following day to support no deal, and if that also fails, a vote on 14 March on extending article 50. The delay is likely to further agitate the Tory party’s Eurosceptics, with Brexiter ministers including Andrea Leadsom and Liz Truss expressing their frustration over the issue in cabinet on Tuesday morning. Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, May did not specify the length of any delay, saying only that she would prefer it to be the shortest possible. An extension beyond the end of June would involve the UK taking part in the European parliament elections.

[..] The no-deal notice said customs checks alone could cost businesses £13bn a year and that it was impossible to predict the impact of new tariffs. It said this was partly because the government’s communications to businesses and individuals about the need to prepare for no deal had not been effective. [..] The EU, which would treat the UK as a third country in the event of no deal, could impose tariffs of 70% on beef exports, 45% on lamb and 10% on cars, it said. “This would be compounded by the challenges of even modest reductions in flow at the border.”

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Absolutely fabulous.

The UK Doesn’t Have The Right Pallets For Exporting To The EU (BI)

The UK government is due to hold emergency talks with industry leaders on Tuesday after discovering that the country doesn’t have the right pallets to continue exporting goods to the European Union if it leaves without a deal next month. Under strict EU rules, pallets – wooden or plastic structures that companies use to transport large volumes of goods – arriving from non-member states must be heat-treated or cleaned to prevent contamination and have specific markings to confirm that they meet standards. Most pallets that British exporters are using do not conform to the rules for non-EU countries, or “third countries,” as EU member states follow a much more relaxed set of regulations.

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs last week told business leaders that the UK would not have enough EU-approved pallets for exporting to the continent if it leaves without a withdrawal agreement next month. That means UK companies would be competing for a small number of pallets that meet EU rules, and those that miss out would be forced to wait for new pallets, which could take weeks to be ready. DEFRA has arranged for a conference call on Tuesday morning to discuss the pallet shortage, with 31 days until Brexit day on March 29. “It is the tiny, procedural, mundane-seeming stuff that will absolutely trip people up,” one industry figure briefed by Theresa May’s government told Business Insider, adding that the country was “not even remotely ready” for a no-deal Brexit.

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Chavez is the guy US intelligence have been chasing for so long, and still trying to get at after his death.

Got to love the man quoting world literature. Also because in the next article, Nomi Prins does the same.

The War on Venezuela is Built on Lies (Pilger)

Travelling with Hugo Chavez, I soon understood the threat of Venezuela. At a farming co-operative in Lara state, people waited patiently and with good humor in the heat. Jugs of water and melon juice were passed around. A guitar was played; a woman, Katarina, stood and sang with a husky contralto. “What did her words say?” I asked. “That we are proud,” was the reply. The applause for her merged with the arrival of Chavez. Under one arm he carried a satchel bursting with books. He wore his big red shirt and greeted people by name, stopping to listen. What struck me was his capacity to listen. But now he read. For almost two hours he read into the microphone from the stack of books beside him: Orwell, Dickens, Tolstoy, Zola, Hemingway, Chomsky, Neruda: a page here, a line or two there. People clapped and whistled as he moved from author to author.

Then farmers took the microphone and told him what they knew, and what they needed; one ancient face, carved it seemed from a nearby banyan, made a long, critical speech on the subject of irrigation; Chavez took notes. Wine is grown here, a dark Syrah type grape. “John, John, come up here,” said El Presidente, having watched me fall asleep in the heat and the depths of Oliver Twist. “He likes red wine,” Chavez told the cheering, whistling audience, and presented me with a bottle of “vino de la gente.” My few words in bad Spanish brought whistles and laughter. Watching Chavez with the people, la gente, made sense of a man who promised, on coming to power, that his every move would be subject to the will of the people. In eight years, Chavez won eight elections and referendums: a world record. He was electorally the most popular head of state in the Western Hemisphere, probably in the world.

Read more …

See? Like Pilger and Chavez, Nomi talks about literature. No space here to do this justice, please go read it. Key point: unlike the poor(er), the rich don’t live off the rewards of labor, but of that of wealth.

Survival of the Richest (Nomi Prins)

In George Orwell’s iconic 1945 novel, Animal Farm, the pigs who gain control in a rebellion against a human farmer eventually impose a dictatorship on the other animals on the basis of a single commandment: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” In terms of the American republic, the modern equivalent would be: “All citizens are equal, but the wealthy are so much more equal than anyone else (and plan to remain that way).” Certainly, inequality is the economic great wall between those with power and those without it. As the animals of Orwell’s farm grew ever less equal, so in the present moment in a country that still claims equal opportunity for its citizens, one in which three Americans now have as much wealth as the bottom half of society (160 million people), you could certainly say that we live in an increasingly Orwellian society.

Or perhaps an increasingly Twainian one. After all, Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner wrote a classic 1873 novel that put an unforgettable label on their moment and could do the same for ours. The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today depicted the greed and political corruption of post-Civil War America. Its title caught the spirit of what proved to be a long moment when the uber-rich came to dominate Washington and the rest of America. It was a period saturated with robber barons, professional grifters, and incomprehensibly wealthy banking magnates. (Anything sound familiar?) The main difference between that last century’s gilded moment and this one was that those robber barons built tangible things like railroads.

Today’s equivalent crew of the mega-wealthy build remarkably intangible things like tech and electronic platforms, while a grifter of a president opts for the only new infrastructure in sight, a great wall to nowhere. In Twain’s epoch, the U.S. was emerging from the Civil War. Opportunists were rising from the ashes of the nation’s battered soul. Land speculation, government lobbying, and shady deals soon converged to create an unequal society of the first order (at least until now). Soon after their novel came out, a series of recessions ravaged the country, followed by a 1907 financial panic in New York City caused by a speculator-led copper-market scam.

To fully grasp the nature of inequality in our twenty-first-century gilded age, it’s important to understand the difference between wealth and income and what kinds of inequality stem from each. Simply put, income is how much money you make in terms of paid work or any return on investments or assets (or other things you own that have the potential to change in value). Wealth is simply the gross accumulation of those very assets and any return or appreciation on them. The more wealth you have, the easier it is to have a higher annual income.

Read more …

Tyler got his hands on a piece by Michael Every at Dutch Rabobank.

Hey Yellen, It Was Trump Who Was Right (Every)

Rabo are already predicting a US recession in 2020, which will drag many down with it, and as the OECD now warns that swollen corporate debt piles, which central banks have so encouraged, is of ever lower quality and potentially more dangerous than it was back in 2008. 54% of investment grade bonds are now BBB-rated, up from 30% in 2008. The OECD argues “In the case of a downturn, highly leveraged companies would face difficulties in servicing their debt, which in turn, through higher default rates, may amplify the effects…Any developments in these areas will come at a time when non-financial companies in the next three years will have to pay back or refinance about USD4 trillion worth of corporate bonds. This is close to the total balance sheet of the US Federal Reserve.”

Guess what guys? China is right ahead of you on that curve – which is why it is trying to find another whale to nuke ASAP: things are looking truly ugly given many firms can’t even pay the interest on their debt, let alone the principle. And guess what else? That OECD and China warning sounds like an admission of the Minsky debt dynamic that you might have thought all central banks would have to have learned the lessons of post-GFC. Apparently not, however – because they think they already know everything. As former Fed Chair Yellen mocked yesterday, Trump doesn’t understand what the Fed’s dual mandates of price stability and stable employment are. That might well be true.

But was it the Fed or Trump who publicly called out how dangerous continuous Fed rate hikes are in a debt-laden, Minsky-teetering financial system where the yield curve is still inverted 9bps on 1s-5s even after a pause? I think Yellen will find it was Trump who was right and the Fed who was forced into a humiliating and frankly incongruous policy U-turn. So much expertise! Trump also made a similar intervention over oil prices overnight, and once again they dipped, though are opening up strongly this morning in Asia. [..] easy policy in the UK; ultra-easy policy in China; promises of more easing in Japan; an ECB U-turn to come(?); and the Fed on hold and stopping QT soon at least. And that’s with bullish markets and reasonable global growth – just wait until things head south: if all you have is a nuke, everything looks like a whale.

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Every bubble that bursts ends up below its starting level. Nicole had these graphs, Tulip, South Sea etc., that showed just that. This graph doesn’t quite do that.

Now that Housing Bubble #2 Is Bursting…How Low Will It Go? (CHS)

There are two generalities that can be applied to all asset bubbles: 1. Bubbles inflate for longer and reach higher levels than most pre-bubble analysts expected 2. All bubbles burst, despite mantra-like claims that “this time it’s different” The bubble burst tends to follow a symmetrical reversal of very similar time durations and magnitudes as the initial rise. If the bubble took four years to inflate and rose by X, the retrace tends to take about the same length of time and tends to retrace much or all of X. If we look at the chart of the Case-Shiller Housing Index below, this symmetry is visible in Housing Bubble #1 which skyrocketed from 2003-2007 and burst from 2008-2012.

Housing Bubble #1 wasn’t allowed to fully retrace the bubble, as the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to near-zero in 2009 and bought $1+ trillion in sketchy mortgage-backed securities (MBS), essentially turning America’s mortgage market into a branch of the central bank and federal agency guarantors of mortgages (Fannie and Freddie, VA, FHA). These unprecedented measures stopped the bubble decline by instantly making millions of people who previously could not qualify for a privately originated mortgage qualified buyers. This vast expansion of the pool of buyers (expanded by a flood of buyers from China and other hot-money locales) drove sales and prices higher for six years (2012-2018).

As noted on the chart below, this suggests the bubble burst will likely run from 2019-2025, give or take a few quarters. The question is: what’s the likely magnitude of the decline? Scenario 1 (blue line) is a symmetrical repeat of Housing Bubble #2: a retrace of the majority of the bubble’s rise but not 100%, which reverses off this somewhat higher base to start Housing Bubble #3. Since the mainstream consensus denies the possibility that Housing Bubble #2 even exists (perish the thought that real estate prices could ever–gasp–drop), they most certainly deny the possibility that prices could retrace much of the gains since 2012.

More realistic analysts would probably agree that if the current slowdown (never say recession, it might cost you your job) gathers momentum, some decline in housing prices is possible. They would likely agree with Scenario 1 that any such decline would be modest and would simply set the stage for an even grander housing bubble #3. But there is a good case for Scenario 2, in which price plummets below the 2012 lows and keeps on going, ultimately retracing the entire housing bubble gains from 2003.

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Interesting how Europe smears Putin wherever it can, except where it counts.

Russia’s Share Of European Gas Market Surges To Almost 37%, Dwarfing LNG (RT)

Russia’s state-run energy major Gazprom said its share of sales of natural gas in the European Union has increased to 36.7 percent last year, rising over two percent against 34.2 percent in 2017. “In 2018, according to preliminary data, the share of gas supplies to the EU countries and Turkey has reached an all-time high and totaled 36.7 percent,” the director general of Gazprom Export Elena Burmistrova said at Gazprom’s Investor Day event, taking place in Singapore. Burmistrova added that Gazprom’s gas exports to Europe last year amounted to record 201.8 billion cubic meters, and is expected to significantly grow by 2035 due to the increasing demand.

According to a member of Gazprom’s management committee, Oleg Aksyutin, the company saw no threat to Gazprom’s business in the European market from global producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG), including the US. The company’s gas exports to Europe are reportedly three times more than the amount of LNG shipped to Europe by all global producers combined. Though the share of LNG shipments have been growing, it still makes up only 13 percent of the entire gas market, according to Burmistrova. The executive added that prices for natural gas saw a significant surge. “In 2018, in accordance with linked fuel prices, the average price of Gazprom gas increased by 24.6 percent to $245.5 for 1,000 cubic meters,” she said, stressing that in 2016 it stood at $167.

When it comes to China, one of the world’s biggest energy consumers, Gazprom is planning to become the country’s biggest supplier as soon as 2035, with the company’s share expected to reach 13 percent of Chinese overall consumption by the same year.

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It’s completely insane that any western country would have to do a Hunger Survey. Don’t fall for thinking it’s normal.

UK Hunger Survey To Measure Food Insecurity (G.)

The government is to introduce an official measure of how often low-income families across the UK skip meals or go hungry because they cannot afford to buy enough food, the Guardian can reveal. A national index of food insecurity is to be incorporated into an established UK-wide annual survey run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that monitors household incomes and living standards. Campaigners, who have been calling for the measure for three years, said the move was “a massive step forward” that would provide authoritative evidence of the extent and causes of hunger in the UK. They say food insecurity is strongly linked to poverty caused by austerity and welfare cuts and is driving widening health inequality.

Food insecurity is generally defined as experiencing hunger, the inability to secure food of sufficient quality and quantity to enable good health and participation in society, and cutting down on food because of a lack of money. The decision, which took campaigners by surprise, was revealed at an informal meeting on Tuesday attended by the DWP, the Office for National Statistics, Public Health England and the Scottish and Welsh governments, as well as a number of food poverty charities. Ministers have for years resisted calls to bring England into line with the US and Canada by measuring food insecurity. Critics said this was to avoid shedding unwanted light on the impact of welfare policy and the public health consequences of being unable to eat regularly or healthily.

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Why the hunger? Here’s why: we feed ourselves with plastics and poison.

Glyphosate Found In 95% Of Wine And Beer (Ind.)

A new study has shown that traces of a commonly-used and possibly cancerous weed killer can be found in the majority of wine and beer. Researches tested five wines and 15 beers from the US, Asia and Europe for traces of pesticide glyphosate. The research found that of the 20 samples, 19 (95 per cent) contained particles of the chemical, including products labelled as organic. The US Public Interest Research Group, which conducted the study, said the levels of the pesticide aren’t necessarily dangerous, but are still concerning. In 2015, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency categorised glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, leading the state of California to add it to its list of chemicals that can cause cancer, which makes companies responsible for providing warnings to potential consumers.

The findings of the study coincide with the beginning of a class action lawsuit against Bayer, which acquired Monsanto last year. The suit claims that Roundup caused thousands of plaintiffs to develop non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. The first plaintiff, Ed Hardeman, testified this week, alleging that his use of the chemical on his 56 acres of land caused him to develop cancer aged 66. [..] Bayer has not commented on the results of the study, but the researchers are calling for glyphosate to be banned unless it can be proven safe.

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The earth’s weather system is far too complex to draw conclusions from a sunny day. The only things we can say about the climate must be based on long-term stats. This kind of article doesn’t help one bit, it merely points out the author literally doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Am I The Only One Who’s Terrified About The Warm Weather? (G.)

They were everywhere in London on the weekend. The people in short sleeves or sandals. The ones with sunglasses ostentatiously hanging from the front of their shirts or balanced on top of their heads. The beer gardens and riverside pubs of the capital were heaving; corner shops ran out of ice-cream. Outside it was 17C (62F). Monday was another warm day, without a cloud in the sky, and in the late afternoon the light took on a magical, honey-coloured hue. It brought to mind one of those summer evenings you remember from childhood, when you’d be in the park all day and your parents let you stay out until bedtime, and you felt like you were doing something deliciously naughty just by being there.

Except it isn’t early summer: it’s February. And the entire developed world has not so much been doing something slightly naughty as systematically attacking the global ecosystem over a period of decades, and that’s how we go into this mess. We should try to hold on to this fact as young, posh men the nation over develop a strange delusion that anyone would want to see their elbows; this is not supposed to be happening. Less than a month ago, there was video footage of extreme cold weather coming out of Chicago. Forks supported in midair by suddenly frozen noodles, water poured from kettles instantly freezing on its way to the ground: you know the sort of thing.

OK, that was on the other side of the world, and was extreme and terrifying enough. But at least it was terrifying in the right direction. On Monday, though, the temperature hit 20.3C in Ceredigion, west Wales: the highest February temperature ever recorded in Britain and the first time the thermometer had breached 20C in winter. The BBC weather account tweeted it out with a gif of the sunshine icon and the same excitable breathlessness with which Springwatch would announce it had found a new type of vole. My response contained a single word, repeated seven times. It began with F.

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Home Forums Debt Rattle February 27 2019

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    Salvador Dali Remorse – Sphinx Embedded in the Sand 1931   • Michael Cohen Testimony: Trump A ‘Racist’, ‘Cheat’ And ‘Conman’ (G.) • 3 Days That W
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle February 27 2019]


    Meanwhile Alberta is having its coldest February in decades

    As the other guy said…

    The golden rule of pro (anti) climate policy activists:
    Weather is not climate when it’s cold (hot).
    Weather is climate when it’s hot (cold).

    Dr. D

    “In terms of the American republic, the modern equivalent would be: “All citizens are equal, but the wealthy are so much more equal”

    Amazing switch from a book specifically written to warn of the SOCIALISTS being as unequal as Stalinist party officials, because that would be even WORSE than the practices of the original farmer. This is exclusively BECAUSE we have inserted the practices of socialism since FDR, THE EXACT THING OF WHICH ORWELL WARNED. We do not have Capitalism very much at all, and certainly never for party members who cannot be arrested regardless of their crimes, while Pa’s Diner gets shot at a traffic stop or arrested for not having adequate hand towels. Since the socialism Orwell warned of is taking over and reinforcing this inequality exactly as he predicted, someone may have missed the whole point of the novel, and perhaps Orwell himself. …But, sure, moving on, let’s indeed criticize them. But intelligently, without altering history.

    The issues of the Gilded Age she covers are again the issues of non-capitalism, where regardless of the scam, no one can be arrested and everything is covered up. “Competition is a sin” Rockefeller once said, meaning collusion, oligarchy, and monopoly were the orders of the day, all only possible with a lack of Capitalism, and a lack of citizens holding to values of justice and law. Capitalism has its own faults, but it’s not going to make people better and more moral than they are inside and neither will socialism, which is exactly what they ask and believe of it.

    The top grifters of capitalism are Elon Musk, taking billions for a pyramid scheme, Jeff Bezos, taking billions in CIA contracts for completely unsecure servers, then running a newspaper that is a CIA mouthpiece while paying no taxes, the military contractors like Halliburton and Lockheed, whose CEO started the Iraq War and the 20-year war on terror, CEO of Goldman Sachs, who printed $23 Trillion (and possibly $20T more lost in Pentagon black books) to bail out his industry and illegally killed both Lehman and AIG to save his company. Does any of this look like we have capitalism? Sure, Pa’s Diner is capitalist, but not really since he is required to pay Obamacare and buy his towels from an oligopoly at Sysco, but CERTAINLY no one anywhere else is, from Humana to Raytheon to Spectrum to Verizon to farm prices to GM to GE to Google to Home Depot to BNSF to Exxon to Citigroup. Actual capitalists are smaller than the black market, provably so, since the illegal drug market alone is over $100 Billion, and human trafficking is almost as large.

    We’re as far from a capitalist system as it’s possible to be without admitting it; which is exactly what we’re doing, when, on schedule, we say “since we added 80% socialism and central control to it, totally coincidentally Capitalism failed us, and we need a Chavez-like central control of everything to get real prosperity again.” Sez AOC. Like clockwork. Every time. But the one thing you learn from history is nobody learns anything from history.

    In short, if we had any competition at all around here, piranhas (us) would eat the whales (them) in no time flat. Then the wealth disparity of either capital OR income would fall because these terrible, overpriced companies would fail in seconds and shrink, leaving millions of small companies hustling an honest living at cost. –Not bailout cost, not taxpayer-mandate cost, but real cost. The only thing that prevents this from happening and insures the wealthy are not allowed to lose is the absolute power of government. ….Yet they want to give government MORE power to bring the government’s real owners, Spectrum, Halliburton, Sachs, to heel. Suuuuuuuuure they will, just trust us. When in the last 100 years have they made things worse, except for every thing at every time?

    Trump and Rabobank say something else: banks can never normalize, bonds can never be sold, and interest rates can never rise, ever again. Which we all knew and said in 1999 when Greenspan started, if anybody listened. So inflation must always be higher than overnight rate, the U.S. bond, and higher than savings accounts. Is anybody listening??? They’re telling you money has to leave all these things forever and take inflationary flight somewhere forever, until the system comes apart. In inflation-ravaged countries, that’s often stocks, commodities, etc, and stocks already pay more in DIVIDENDS than T-bonds. Also in-distress assets like junk bonds, bodyguards, home security services, violence, extortion, and racketeering, but we’re way ahead of the curve on this. That is, unless somebody has found a cure to the laws of physics, which is what they say every time there’s a Mississippi South Seas Internet Bubble.

    “UK Hunger Survey To Measure Food Insecurity (G.)”

    If only we had trucks of humanitarian aid in Manchester! If only we could do a foreign aid program to Scotland! But no, we sent $5B in goods to Ukraine/Venezuelan military coup and $100B over the years to Israel and Egypt. No money for the National Health here!

    “Glyphosate Found In 95% Of Wine And Beer (Ind.)”

    Yes, they spray crops with RoundUp one minute before it goes to table, that is, a day before harvest when it’s already dry and lifeless, going into the grain silos. They intentionally add raw, cancerous poison in order to dry it a little more rather than pay the grain dryers to do it. So yes, it’s no wonder it’s in beer: it’s in barley. Might as well spray it in the elevator, in the vat, or put a wedge of RoundUp and Lime on the glass.

    “Am I The Only One Who’s Terrified About The Warm Weather? (G.)”

    Warm weather? When it’s colder in Minnesota than on Mars, colder in Chicago than Antarctica, and snowing in L.A., Athens, and Punjab? Don’t let your location bias bite you, It was just colder in UK a bit ago, they were paying record social services because of it.

    Personal theory: the solar scientists have the best model, as the sunspots fade and the sun’s radiation drops, the earth’s magnetic field also drops. Both of these are measurable. However, the lack of electric magnetism has an effect on earthquakes and volcanoes (also measurable over millennia) but further, the cloud and jet streams are no longer held in their own bands by static force. Because that’s what clouds are and why they have lightning: because they’re highly light, gaseous, and electric. So when weather can wander, it’s easy to be hotter AND colder. And with random weather, agriculture fails: you can’t even move to hotter crops (mangos) or colder crops (rye) because it will be 50f hotter one month, and 50f colder the next. With torrential rains, then a drought. Just like last time.

    What? Last time? Hey, remember this? Czech
    The Czech Hunger Stones? Yes, last time the weather was unseasonably hot for 5-10 years, then BAM! Instantly rained at 50f in Europe for 3 years straight. Crops failed, flooded out, all the seed corn was lost in the 3 years of attempts to grow things. Civilization contracted instantly, wars began with disease, and the whole of Europe abandoned their villages until the woods left not a trace, and we had the German landscape of the Brothers Grimm. It wasn’t like that before. That’s why the old witch’s house is in the woods: BECAUSE IT WASN’T A WOODS 100 years ago: it was a rich Roman town with vineyards.

    What starts this thing that happens every 400 years like clockwork? A classic chart spike-top that’s unsustainable when then collapses and overshoots downward. If not, after 1,000 of these 400-year warming periods, wouldn’t the temperature be 5,000f? No, it HAS to CYCLE, to overshoot, to restore, like every other time.

    Bonus round: so if this never happened, why did the world’s premier plant developers in the New World, the creators of corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and others, never grow crops? Were they just some idiots-in-loincloths, lazy, mucking around? No. North America has “continental” weather. That is to say like Minnesota, it’s 100f in summer and -50f in winter. You can’t grow crops with unhinged weather, reversing 100f in 2 days as happened the other week here. You have to wildly and radically broad-base your permaculture, which is exactly what they did and what they wrote down to anybody who was interested, along with the legends of epic storm and cold. They weren’t “primitive” and didn’t live in a “wilderness”. They lived in a broad-based food forest protecting some small agriculture that was possible under North America’s constant extreme conditions. But by 1600, when the weather stabilized and the Euros visited again, they couldn’t understand why they weren’t taking advantage of farming when the Mayans and the Mound builders were both larger farmers, had larger cities, and both went down for bad weather just a generation ago. Yup, those dumb primitive Indians. Children of the forest who need to be ‘larned better.

    Okay, smarty-pants, you’re on the spot again: how do YOU plan to grow crops when the weather from Boston to Seattle is going to change 70f a week and from rain to drought in the month, with 3’ snows in 24h becoming normal? Food forest look different to you now?

    PS, don’t count on major food exports under those conditions. China, you’re on your own.

    John Day

    Pillage Venezuela http://www.johndayblog.com/2019/02/pillage-venezuela.html

    Is Marco a Sadist? He even tweeted the picture of Gaddafi being murdered.
    It appears Rubio, disappointed that weekend events didn’t escalate further beyond isolated border crossing clashes, must be venting his frustrations by reminiscing about the “good ole days” of Libya and Syria regime change wars.
    As As’ad AbuKhalil, a professor of Middle East history at California State University-Stanislaus points out, “The esteemed senator from Florida is calling for the anal rape and murder of Maduro.”
    Perhaps a minor question that remains is: will Twitter make Rubio delete a tweet threatening the extra judicial killing of a head of state?

    The Washington Post has stealth-edited all mention of Richard Branson’s Venezuela aid concert in Cucuta, Colombia, after the paper originally claimed that the event “drew a crowd of more than 200,000 people Friday.” …
    According to the Google map scale the field’s northern edge is some 125 meters wide. The crowd was standing at the northern end of the field at a depth of about 50 meters. The density of the static crowd was low to medium with on average 2 to 3 people per square meter.
    125m * 50m = 6,250 m2 * 2.5 people/m2 = 15,625 people
    One may generously add a count of one or two thousand for the people mingling around in the back of the public area. In total there may have been up to 18,000, but certainly no more than 20,000 people at the concert. -Moon of Alabama
    In short, Fake News.

    Moon of Alabama and RT have video of the pro-Guaido thugs lighting some “aid” trucks on fire. None of it got into Venezuela.


    The Cohen thingy has started (CNN) . Anyone see anything other than what I said above?I do not get it.

    Stormy Daniels? Story started off with campaign funds, it was not. Trump Tower Meeting? Long discredited.

    Why is Cohen given a stage to talk about nothing at all? Please fill me in.


    Really, I don’t get why he’s there. And now we get Debbie Wasserman? Wow. Someone has no shame alright. Don’t we know enough about her yet? And she, wouldn’t you know, starts tearing into Assange, who can’t tear back into her. And still can’t even get Cohen to say there was collusion.


    Its “A Cohen MOMENT” in history.
    Q&A happening at this moment.
    When this diversion is over we will be going back to the regular scheduled diversions, (Trump Tweets)

    Thank to all the commentators who continually shine the light into those hidden corners that carry the truth.
    (off topic)

    Water appearing to run uphill at Magnetic Hill
    The Magnetic Hill is an example of a gravity hill, a type of optical illusion created by rising and descending terrain. It is located at the northwestern edge (in the Magnetic Hill Area) of the city of Moncton in the Canadian province of New Brunswick.


    And then Wasserman again makes the link that Trump worked with Russia because Stone supposedly knew Assange was going to publish DNC mails, which if course she says were hacked or stolen by ‘the Russians’. We’re regurgitating long discredited things only.


    For me, the issue covered here today with the most long term importance for us all is Dr D’s take on climate change. Thanks to him for stating his case. A major crop failure will quickly lead to war, famine, disease and the beat goes on. As usual,the poor will suffer first and worst. This should be of major concern to all, in the end far more important than Cohen, Trump, Assange et al.

    Anecdotal weather anomalies do not reflect the climate or its degree of change. However, when the anomalies are piling up on each other as they are now, swinging between extremes constantly and with increasing violence, we need to closely and critically review our operating theories and response. In a crisis, we should never be afraid to question even our most cherished assumptions when survival is the issue.

    There are many, many reasons to stop polluting the planet. I have grandchildren. We all do. Your kids are my grandchildren too. That is enough reason for me, trying to leave them a planet that can offer the possibility of lives with some dignity and joy. This is what we do here – as feeble as our efforts may be.

    Recently I have become troubled by some obvious gaps in the work of climate change reports such as the IPCC last issued. I’m no scientist, but there is such a thing as common sense. If the oceans are warming – and they are – it’s obvious this results in more cloud formation because of increased evaporation. Why is this increase in cloud cover not addressed in the IPCC report? More clouds should mean greater albedo from them. As the earth’s magnetic field weakens more cosmic radiation gets through to the atmosphere. There are numerous studies that show the relationship from this increased radiation to increased cloud formation and precipitation. Again not included in climate calculations. The list of potential factors that are ignored – many that involve solar output – is a long one. No solar outputs except UV are included in the calculations. You have to ask what they are afraid of.

    We have had dramatic warming of the oceans and the atmosphere over the last few decades. This has coincided with two very important events. One, a dramatic rise in industrial and transportation related pollution including carbon dioxide and methane. The other, a dramatic rise in solar output, the highest levels in hundreds of years. Now, the solar output wanes, and the weather goes nuts.

    The space and solar folks are just as smug as the climate people. For them, humans can’t do anything to effect the climate and we should just gas up the old SUV. I find this to be very irresponsible, self serving and dishonest. However, for what I consider a relatively unbiased (and very informative) presentation of the space weather/earth climate perspective I suggest a look at Ben Davidson’s recent lecture.

    Our plans here do not change whichever way this climate thing shakes out. We plant with as much diversity as we can especially using species that can thrive over a broad range of temperatures. I plant many species here that are out of zone – going with the warming trend that has been in place around here for decades. However, I always include very hardy species as insurance. This year we’ve had a very warm rainy early winter and a very cold snowy February. All in all we are still much warmer than the historical norms, with the primary winter difference being in nighttime temperature. Yes, two hundred miles to the east or west there are snow records being set.

    The climate quandary is emblematic of many of the crises we face. Entrenched interests refusing to view the crisis past their own gun-sight. We need to do so much to mitigate the consequences, yet we just snipe at each other. Why don’t these folks get it together and do their real jobs? Because of the huge business interests lined up on either side. There is a lot of money at stake.

    Sorry to drone on. I must feed the critters, get in the firewood and put on snowshoes to prune some fruit trees. Peace

    V. Arnold

    Raúl Ilargi Meijer

    Why is Cohen given a stage to talk about nothing at all? Please fill me in.

    Sorry, can’t help on this.
    But; the very fact you don’t get it, should be a tell; there’s nothing to get; there is no there there…

    Interesting read, yours; I do not trust any of “it”; “it” being almost all news is heavily politicised, and amounts to nothing more than propaganda. I rely on being in possesion of common sense and an inquiring mind…
    Put another way; I try to listen to everyone and “believe” nothing…

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