Sep 192019
 September 19, 2019  Posted by at 9:33 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pablo Picasso Cafe Royan [The Coffee] 1940


Foreign Exchange Trading Soars to $6.6 Trillion a Day, US Dollar is King (WS)
Repo Chaos Tests Wall Street Confidence In NY Fed’s Williams (R.)
Prosecutors, Regulators Broaden JPMorgan Precious Metals Desk Probe (CNBC)
Rothschild Emerges From Shadows For Centenary Of London Gold Fixing (Manly)
Debt-Wracked Chinese Companies Dump US & Other Foreign Assets (WS)
UK Has 12 Days To Set Out Brexit Plans – Finnish PM (BBC)
Purdue Pharma Seeks To Halt Opioid Suits Against Company, Sacklers (R.)
NYT’s 14,000 Words That Whitewash Boeing Of 737 MAX Failure (MoA)
Japan Court Acquits TEPCO Bosses Over Fukushima Disaster (AFP)
Scientists Set Out How To Halve Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 2030 (G.)
Why Can’t We Agree On What’s True Anymore? (G.)



How much of this has any use to society?

Foreign Exchange Trading Soars to $6.6 Trillion a Day, US Dollar is King (WS)

It happens every three years: The Bank for International Settlements released its Triennial Central Bank Survey about the global foreign exchange (FX) and over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives markets, as it occurred in April. The numbers are ginormous, and get more ginormous with every survey, with trading volume measured in trillions of dollars per day. This is a huge data trove, and I will focus here on global FX trading. To start with, there are the amounts. Currencies are traded in pairs, such as the US dollar against the euro. In April 2019, trading in FX markets reached $6.59 trillion per day, up 30% from the prior survey period, April 2016. Trades with the USD on one side of the trade averaged $5.82 trillion per day in April 2019. This was up 31% from the daily average in April 2016 and was over five times the daily average in April 2001:

The sudden appearance of the euro in 2001 as the second largest currency out of nowhere indicates that at that time, it had just replaced five currencies, including the biggie, the Deutsche Mark. The chart above shows the top 16 most traded currencies. Four have a significant share – USD, EUR, Japanese yen (JPY), and British Pound (GBP). The remaining 12 of the top 16 currencies are the limp spaghetti at the bottom of the chart, including the Chinese renminbi (CNY). In terms of the share that a currency is on one side of a trade, the US dollar remains total King, at 88.3%.

Read more …

Ohm get real: “..Williams has the unique task of overseeing regulation of Wall Street and execution of monetary policy.”

Repo Chaos Tests Wall Street Confidence In NY Fed’s Williams (R.)

Wild swings this week in U.S. money markets have raised fresh concerns about whether the New York Federal Reserve under John Williams has lost its deft touch with markets. The New York Fed had to intervene in cash markets this week when the repo rate, a key measure of liquidity in the global banking system, sky-rocketed, forcing the Fed to make an emergency injection of more than $125 billion on Tuesday and Wednesday. A key interest rate the Fed aims to influence also broke above the central bank’s target range on Tuesday for the first time since the financial crisis. “What has happened in the repo market is far from a minor problem,” said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist for Jefferies. “That’s a financial crisis waiting to happen if they don’t get that under control.”

As the head of the New York Fed, Williams has the unique task of overseeing regulation of Wall Street and execution of monetary policy. [..] Fed Chair Jerome Powell defended the central bank’s response to the liquidity crunch on Wednesday, saying officials saw the cash shortage coming and “took appropriate actions” to address the issue. “We don’t see this as having any implications for the broader economy,” Powell told reporters after the Fed announced at the close of a two-day policy meeting that it would reduce its benchmark overnight lending rate to a range of 1.75% to 2.00%. “We took appropriate actions to address those pressures and those measures were successful. If we experience another episode in money markets we have the tools to address those pressures.”

Read more …

Is this one of those things that will continue into 2050?

Prosecutors, Regulators Broaden JPMorgan Precious Metals Desk Probe (CNBC)

Federal prosecutors and regulators are expanding their already aggressive investigations of allegedly fraudulent precious metals trades at J.P. Morgan Chase to other U.S. markets and financial firms, CNBC has learned. The broader inquiry into market manipulation of all kinds comes amid a spike in criminal prosecutions and civil actions in the past year involving so-called “spoofing” in the precious metals markets. Prosecutors have broadened their investigation in part due to information received from traders questioned for spoofing-related charges. Information from those traders has led to criminal charges against other individuals, according to people familiar with the probes who spoke with CNBC on the condition of anonymity due to the nature of the ongoing investigations.

The widening inquiry is being led by the Justice Department and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission as they continue their pursuit of individuals and firms for manipulating U.S. markets. The scope of the investigations has grown to the point where the criminal fraud division of the Justice Department expects to add personnel to the existing team to assist with the investigations and prosecutions of cases.Spoofing is the practice of a trader placing a buy or sell order for a commodity or stock with the intent to cancel the order before it can be executed. The goal of the tactic is to affect the price of the futures contract or share to benefit a preexisting trading position.

Read more …

At least JPMorgan isn’t doing anything new…

Rothschild Emerges From Shadows For Centenary Of London Gold Fixing (Manly)

This month in London marks the 100th anniversary of the first “London Gold Fixing”, the infamous daily meeting of a secretive cartel of bullion banks which has met since 1919 to set benchmark gold prices used throughout the international gold market, a meeting which continues to this day through its thinly disguised successor, the LBMA Gold Price auction. London gold price benchmarks are critically important to the global gold market because they are used as a valuation source for everything from ISDA gold interest rate swap contracts to gold-backed Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), and everything from OTC gold contracts to transaction reference prices used by physical bullion dealers when purchasing gold bars and gold coins from refineries and suppliers.

Since 2015, the London Gold Fixing has been known as the LBMA Gold Price following a rush by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) bullion banks to patch over the then scandalized ‘Fixing’ in a smoke and mirrors and circle the wagons relaunch and renaming exercise. The collusive Gold Fixing first formally came into existence on 12 September 1919 when the Bank of England tapped its favorite bankers N.M. Rothschild & Sons to be the daily Fixing’s permanent chairman. Rothschild and the Bank of England had been joined at the hip since the early 1800s and would continue to be so in the Gold Fixing throughout the next century.

[..] For the next 85 years from its inception in September 1919, the Gold Fixing occurred daily at Rothschild’s headquarters in New Court, St. Swithins Lane, across the road from the Bank of England, with five men from five bullion banks religiously meeting at 10:30 am each morning. After the collapse of the London Gold Pool in 1968, the Gold Fixing moved to a twice per day pricing with an extra 3:00 pm meeting added by the fixers to ‘watch over’ the US morning hours gold market.

Read more …

Beijinng needs dollars, guys.

Debt-Wracked Chinese Companies Dump US & Other Foreign Assets (WS)

Chinese conglomerates that had gone on a debt-fueled buying binge over the past decade but have come under heavy pressure from the government to sell their overseas holdings in order to reduce their astronomical debts – well, they’re doing it. In the US, Chinese conglomerates have dumped $26 billion in assets so far in 2019, up from $8 billion in the full year of 2018. Globally, Chinese companies have agreed to sell about $40 billion in overseas assets so far this year. This now exceeds the already heavy pace of selling for the full year of 2018, which totaled $32 billion, according to data from Dealogic cited by the Financial Times. But the buying hasn’t totally stopped: So far this year, Chinese companies have acquired $35 billion in assets globally.

This made Chinese companies a net seller of overseas assets for the first time in the data going back to 2009. In 2015, Chinese conglomerates sold only $10 billion of overseas assets but acquired $100 billion of assets, for a net increase of $90 billion. In 2016, the peak of China’s debt-fueled, haphazard, glory-driven acquisition binge, these conglomerates acquired over $200 billion in assets overseas, as observers scratched their heads, while sellers laughed all the way to the bank.

Read more …

Johnson says he wants to keep plans secret, EU says that’s because he has no plans. They haven’t seen any.

UK Has 12 Days To Set Out Brexit Plans – Finnish PM (BBC)

Boris Johnson has 12 days to set out his Brexit plans to the EU, according to Finland’s prime minister. Antti Rinne said he and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed the UK needed to produce the proposals in writing by the end of September, adding if not, “then it’s over”. Finland currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency. A Downing Street source said: “We will continue negotiating and put forward proposals at the appropriate time.” Mr Johnson has said a deal is possible at a crucial summit of EU leaders on 17 October, but he has insisted Brexit will happen by the 31 October deadline, even if a deal is not agreed.

The UK government said talks with the EU have been making progress since Mr Johnson came into No 10 in July. It said it had put forward “a number of proposals” as alternatives to the Irish border backstop – the policy aimed at preventing the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland and a key sticking point in former PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal. But Mr Johnson has repeatedly refused to reveal details of the proposals in interviews, saying he did not want to negotiate in public. The EU has continued to criticise the UK for not putting any plans in writing.

Read more …

From CBS: “Sixteen states have sued family members by name, alleging they steered Purdue while draining more than $4 billion from the company since 2007.”

Purdue Pharma Seeks To Halt Opioid Suits Against Company, Sacklers (R.)

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP on Wednesday asked a U.S. bankruptcy judge to halt for roughly nine months more than 2,600 lawsuits alleging the company and its controlling Sackler family helped fuel the U.S. opioid crisis, according to court documents. In addition to seeking a pause in widespread litigation against it, Purdue also asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain to shield the wealthy Sacklers from related opioid lawsuits they face. Purdue filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday after reaching an outline of a deal it estimated to be valued at more than $10 billion with states and local governments that brought the bulk of the cases. They allege the company deceptively marketed opioids by overstating benefits and downplaying risks.

Purdue has been accused of contributing to a public health crisis that has been marked by nearly 400,000 overdose deaths between 1999 and 2017, according to the latest U.S. data. Purdue and the Sacklers have denied they are liable for the opioid epidemic. Purdue said in Wednesday’s court filing that an injunction halting litigation would preserve money that would otherwise be drained through prolonged legal battles. Purdue is spending more than $5 million a week in legal and professional fees, and other related expenses, the company said in court papers. [..] In Wednesday’s court filing, Purdue said allowing litigation against the Sacklers to continue would threaten billions of dollars they have pledged toward settling lawsuits and increase expenses for the company as it is drawn into the cases.

Read more …

Picked apart.

NYT’s 14,000 Words That Whitewash Boeing Of 737 MAX Failure (MoA)

The New York Times Magazine just published a 14,000 words piece about the Boeing 737 MAX accidents. It is headlined: “What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?” But the piece does not really say what brought the Boeing 737 MAX down. It does not explain the basic engineering errors Boeing made. It does not explain its lack of safety analysis. It does not mention the irresponsible delegation of certification authority from the Federal Aviation Administration to Boeing. There is no mention of the corporate greed that is the root cause of those failures. Instead the piece is full of slandering accusations against the foreign pilots of the two 737 MAX planes that crashed. It bashes the airlines and the safety authorities of Indonesia and Ethiopia.

It only mildly criticizes Boeing for designing the MCAS system that brought the planes down. The author of the piece, William Langewiesche, was a professional pilot before he turned to journalism. But there is so much slander in the text that it might as well have been written by Boeing’s public relations department. The piece is also riddled with technical mistakes. We will pick on the most obvious ones below. The following is thus a bit technical and maybe too boring for our regular readers. Langewiesche describes the 737 MAX trim system and its failure mode:

“That’s a runaway trim. Such failures are easily countered by the pilot — first by using the control column to give opposing elevator, then by flipping a couple of switches to shut off the electrics before reverting to a perfectly capable parallel system of manual trim. But it seemed that for some reason, the Lion Air crew might not have resorted to the simple solution.” Wrong: The manual trim system does not work at all when the stabilizer is widely out of trim (i.e. after MCAS intervened) and/or if the plane is flying faster than usual. That is why the European regulator EASA sees it as a major concern and wants it fixed.

Read more …

They blame the government.

Japan Court Acquits TEPCO Bosses Over Fukushima Disaster (AFP)

A Japanese court on Thursday cleared three energy firm bosses of professional negligence in the only criminal trial stemming from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown. The three men were senior officials at the TEPCO firm operating the Fukushima Daiichi plant and had faced up to five years in prison if convicted. “All defendants are not guilty,” the presiding judge said, ruling that the executives could not have predicted the scale of the tsunami that overwhelmed the plant and triggered the accident. The decision is likely to be appealed, extending the legal wrangling over responsibility for the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, more than eight years after the disaster. Outside the courtroom, dozens of people staged a rally, including some who had travelled from the Fukushima region to hear the verdict.

“It is absolutely an unjust ruling. We absolutely cannot accept this,” one woman said angrily, addressing the crowd. “We will appeal this and continue our fight,” shouted a man nearby. The three former executives were accused of professional negligence resulting in death and injury for failing to act on information about the risks from a major tsunami, but they argued the data available to them at the time was unreliable. Judge Kenichi Nagafuchi said the verdict turned on the “predictability” of the massive tsunami that swamped the nuclear plant in March 2011 after a 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake. He pointed out there had been no proposal from the government’s nuclear watchdog “that TEPCO should suspend operations until (safety) measures are taken.”

Read more …

Any and all of such proposals that doesn’t focus on using much less energy, but instead on ‘transition’, is not worth reading.

Scientists Set Out How To Halve Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 2030 (G.)

Greenhouse gas emissions could be halved in the next decade if a small number of current technologies and behavioural trends are ramped up and adopted more widely, researchers have found, saying strong civil society movements are needed to drive such change. Solar and wind power, now cheaper than fossil fuels in many regions, must be scaled up rapidly to replace coal-fired generation, and this alone could halve emissions from electricity generation by 2030, according to the Exponential Roadmap report from an international group of experts. If the rapid uptake of electric vehicles in some parts of the world could be sustained, the vehicles could make up 90% of the market by 2030, vastly reducing emissions from transport, it said.

Avoiding deforestation and improving land management could reduce emissions by the equivalent of about 9bn tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2030, according to the report, but contradictory subsidies, poor planning and vested interests could stop this from happening. Key to any transition will be the growing social movements that are pressing for urgent action on climate breakdown. By driving behavioural change, such as moving away from the overconsumption of meat and putting pressure on governments and companies, civil movements have the power to drive the transformation needed in the next decade, say the report’s authors.

Christiana Figueres, a former top climate official at the UN, said: “I see all evidence that social and economic tipping points are aligning. We can now say the next decade has the potential to see the fastest economic transition in history.” The experts identified 36 developments that would produce the emission cuts needed, from renewable energy to changes in food production, the design of cities, and international transport, such as shipping. All of them are judged possible to achieve by 2030.

Read more …

A wild guess: because the Guardian, which published this piece, has published so many things that are not true?

Why Can’t We Agree On What’s True Anymore? (G.)

We live in a time of political fury and hardening cultural divides. But if there is one thing on which virtually everyone is agreed, it is that the news and information we receive is biased. Every second of every day, someone is complaining about bias, in everything from the latest movie reviews to sports commentary to the BBC’s coverage of Brexit. These complaints and controversies take up a growing share of public discussion. Much of the outrage that floods social media, occasionally leaking into opinion columns and broadcast interviews, is not simply a reaction to events themselves, but to the way in which they are reported and framed. The “mainstream media” is the principle focal point for this anger. Journalists and broadcasters who purport to be neutral are a constant object of scrutiny and derision, whenever they appear to let their personal views slip.

The work of journalists involves an increasing amount of unscripted, real-time discussion, which provides an occasionally troubling window into their thinking. But this is not simply an anti-journalist sentiment. A similar fury can just as easily descend on a civil servant or independent expert whenever their veneer of neutrality seems to crack, apparently revealing prejudices underneath. Sometimes a report or claim is dismissed as biased or inaccurate for the simple reason that it is unwelcome: to a Brexiter, every bad economic forecast is just another case of the so-called project fear. A sense that the game is rigged now fuels public debate.

Read more …


An orphaned baby reticulated giraffe embraces wildlife keeper. Photo: Amy Vitale






Home Forums Debt Rattle September 19 2019

This topic contains 11 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  VietnamVet 1 month ago.

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    Pablo Picasso Cafe Royan [The Coffee] 1940   • Foreign Exchange Trading Soars to $6.6 Trillion a Day, US Dollar is King (WS) • Repo Chaos Tests W
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle September 19 2019]


    V. Arnold

    Pablo Picasso Cafe Royan [The Coffee] 1940
    Lovely. I love coffee and it certainly deserves a place in our daily lives…

    What is the saying? A picture is worth a thousand words?
    Bingo; this picture.
    Thanks Ilargi…

    When a system is so completely corrupt; why in all good conscience, would one continue to give it any relevance?
    Unless I’m delusional (a possibility) I’ve left the system as defined and gone to metals.
    I’m still a prisoner of the dollar because my income is in dollars; but I’ve done my best to mitigate that…


    Dr. D

    “Repo Chaos Tests Wall Street Confidence in NY Fed’s Williams (R.)”

    “Marty [Armstrong]; You warned that there would begin a cash shortage and real rates would rise in the private sector starting in September after Labor Day. Ok, it’s about 15 days past that marker and Repo rates have gone completely nuts hitting 10% forcing the Fed to intervene. They were calling it Armstrong’s revenge here in the dealing room. It certainly appears the Fed has lost control of short-term rates as you warned. Is this the start of the chaos you have warned about?”

    “Indeed, the Fed has lost control of short-term rates. Trump can jawbone all he wants for zero to negative rates. Sorry! The free markets are showing something else lies in wait…The Repo Rate reached a high of 10% by about 9 am just before the stock market opened.”

    The Panic in Interest Rates is Just Getting Started

    Let’s do a review: Originally Britain started two wars with the U.S. over Hamilton’s “American System” where the government itself printed money for needed projects. No banks profited: not allowed. Later, the Fed was installed where in order not to be ‘political’ – you know, like Fed governors picking Presidents, picking corporate winners and running everything in the whole economy? — the U.S. borrowed money from and were beholden to billionaire bankers like JP Morgan.

    So what happens when there are 0% interest rates? Not really a loan, is it? And the Fed is also useless because they no longer set interest rates or “regulate” the economy. They just print money for free and hand it to the Treasury. Pretty redundant. What does the Treasury need the Fed for then?

    Okay, so what happens when there are NEGATIVE interest rates? In that case, the billionaire banks are PAYING the U.S. people and government for the PRIVILEGE of being a monopoly bank. And isn’t that how it is supposed to be?

    Now this will cause other problems – for one thing, it signals that money is worthless and you should get out of cash and bonds into anything, like oil, gold, or stocks. A Crack-up VonMises. But if you WANT to destroy the Fed, the petrodollar, and the billionaire bankers that undermine democracy and install puppet rulers with unrestrained and unaccountable power, it looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

    What happens next?
    You return to a commodity (gold) standard, or in our case, a digital one. Gee, not like written in white papers since 1970 and published on the front page of the Economist in 1988, no? What do you think the ‘null’ symbol is for the new ‘coin’? It’s nothing. It doesn’t exist. It has no underlying value. It’s virtual money.

    And IF you were doing this, wouldn’t you have to prosecute and unseat the universal manipulation and go back to free, real markets?

    “Prosecutors, Regulators Broaden JPMorgan Precious Metals Desk Probe (CNBC)”

    Huh. Wot a coincidence! Morgan may want to keep rigging and pick the president, but I do not think the TRADERS are going to run 10-in-the-Pen to help them!

    “Rothschild Emerges from Shadows for Centenary of London Gold Fixing (Manly)”

    Rothschild gave up their seat in London after stealing all of England’s gold in “Brown’s Bottom”, a few months before the whole rigging-and-fixing thing got white hot back when. Got to get out of Dodge while you still have the dough and no Marshall on your tail. Rigging did indeed persist – along with the GFS holding together a few years, but honestly no one expected it to hold together this long. No one saw the U.S. printing $40 Trillion off-book to make it.

    “UK has 12 Days to Set out Brexit Plans – Finnish PM (BBC)”

    Or else what? They invade? Or they therefore de facto approve of and indeed force a “No Deal” on BoJo? He’ll be super-duper mad about that. “Oh noe Finland! Don’t throw me in that briar patch!”

    “Purdue Pharma Seeks To Halt Opioid Suits Against Company, Sacklers (R.)”

    This is why it’s so infuriating and necessary for regulators to do their jobs, or rather, for law enforcement to actually investigate and indict enormous open coast-to-coast, multi-billion dollar crimes, because it is indeed legal for the company to go bankrupt and shelter private assets, and if you break that, you break a very base level of modern capitalism. So…how did their crimes get this big y’all 30 States’ Attorneys General? Nobody knew nuttin’ up ‘til now? 30,000 opioid deaths a year for a decade with 1,000 prescriptions for every man, woman and child in some counties not a clue for ya?

    Do me a favor: go arrest yourselves first, and the Sacklers after.

    “Scientists Set out How to Halve Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030 (G.)”

    By 2030? You might as well say “by Thursday”. Here’s the only way: “Halve the Population by 2030,” and they are slap leather for it every day. Humans are bad m’kay? Shut off every delivery truck, coal plant, ship, medical plastics plant, shut off every air conditioner and every furnace worldwide, be it oil or gas, let your house fall in and live in caves and tents, letting typhus and hepatitis run wild. Oh wait! They are doing EXACTLY THAT in Eco-Green California! It’s called being “sick,” “homeless,” and “dead” but it sure is environmental! Greenies will even cannibalize your bodies! Soylent Green is People. And they wonder why people have turned out against these maniacs, and don’t trust their ‘science’.

    They may need to get a taller keeper to teach that Giraffe how to Giraffe.



    Can I, also, peek behind the curtain?

    “So what happens when there are 0% interest rates? ….


    …. What happens next?”

    A different social/economic structure.

    Could it be a better social/economic system?
    Maybe…. for some people.
    If you happen to be homeless. You might be able to find an empty home to squat into with lots of junk that you could burn in the fireplace.


    John Day
    Asymmetric-warfare-changes-everything update:
    ​ ​We are the Houthis and we’re coming to town. With the spectacular attack on Abqaiq, Yemen’s Houthis have overturned the geopolitical chessboard in Southwest Asia – going as far as introducing a whole new dimension: the distinct possibility of investing in a push to drive the House of Saud out of power…
    ​ ​The only missile parts shown by the Saudis so far come from a Yemeni Quds 1 cruise missile. According to Brigadier General Yahya Saree, spokesman for the Sana’a-based Yemeni Armed Forces, “the Quds system proved its great ability to hit its targets and to bypass enemy interceptor systems.” …
    ​ ​My conversations with sources in Tehran over the past two years have ascertained that the Houthis’ new drones and missiles are essentially copies of Iranian designs assembled in Yemen itself with crucial help from Hezbollah engineers.
    Professor Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran, who has very close relations with the Foreign Ministry, is adamant: “It didn’t come from Iran. If it did, it would be very embarrassing for the Americans, showing they are unable to detect a large number of Iranian drones and missiles. That doesn’t make sense.”…
    ​ ​Now we are entering a whole new dimension in asymmetric hybrid war.
    ​ ​In the – horrendous – event that Washington would decide to attack Iran, egged on by the usual neocon suspects, the Pentagon could never hope to hit and disable all the Iranian and/or Yemeni drones. The US could expect, for sure, all-out war. And then no ships would sail through the Strait of Hormuz. We all know the consequences of that.
    ​ ​Which brings us to The Big Surprise. The real reason there would be no ships traversing the Strait of Hormuz is that there would be no oil in the Gulf left to pump. The oil fields, having been bombed, would be burning.

    ​ ​In comments to reporters on Wednesday, President Trump is continuing to reject the idea of starting a war with Iran. After dismissing Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) calls, saying not starting a war was a sign of strength, he continued to roast Graham, citing Graham’s support for the Iraqi War, and saying reporters should ask “how did going into Iraq work out?“

    Trump Mocks Sen. Graham’s Calls for War, Asks How Iraq Worked Out

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has during talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman called for an unbiased investigation to be carried out into the recent attack on Saudi oil facilities on 14 September, the president’s press service reported.
    ​ ​”The issue of the attack on Saudi oil refineries has been discussed [during talks]. Vladimir Putin expressed his concern with regard to the situation and has called for conducting a thorough and unbiased investigation of the incident”, the statement said.


    Charles Alban

    re the MAX issue. i understand the problem with the plane is that the MAX version uses larger engines and this has upset the aerodynamics. the article I read said that if this had been Howard Hughes he would have just had the plane redesigned to accommodate the larger engines.

    but with the current regulatory environment this would entail recertifying the plane as a new aircraft which would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming. so they came up with a quick fix.

    you could argue that it is the certification process that is to blame.

    but mass airtravel is an environmental disaster anyway, so anything that dissuades people from flying is a good thing. i quit flying years ago. i take the train or i don’t go.


    It wasn’t the cost of (re)designing, from what the first reports said, but that Airbus already had a new plane ready in the same category, so time was the issue.



    A cui bono review suggests that not only do the Houthis benefit but also, the USA. Our military weakness is already become apparent to enough of the world that the rest would soon catch on, so having the missiles/drones get through hardly matters at this point: that screw has already turned.

    Meanwhile, we have another pretext for ‘protecting’ Saudi Arabia by taking over. Everybody hates the Saudis so having odious Unca Sam in there won’t be all that infuriating, at least for a few years, which is as long as anything will hold together in this era.. Meanwhile, we can control the oil flow from Saudi Arabia. And if somebody blows them up again, so much the better for North American shale oil sellers.

    Either way, our economy, the Euromerican economy in general, will tank when energy costs rise too high, whatever fiscal/financial shenanigans have also eroded its base.

    For USA, either controlling or knocking out Saudi oil production is a win either way, and the defense contractors and the Dominionist nutheads infesting our armed services, would enjoy the process.

    In the long run, the Houthis may well not benefit if the USA decides to invade which would require slaughtering Yemenis on an industrial scale.

    Oh, we’re likely to outdo Hitler, Mao and Stalin combined when we’re through.



    John Day

    There are at least two photos of the devices used in the Saudi attack. Both photos were obviously taken in the same room but give very different impressions!

    The first shows the remains of a missile. I assume this is the one most shown in Western media as it supports the idea of the attack from another country.

    The second photograph distinctly shows the remains of seven small delta winged drones – about 2 to 3 metre wingspan which can ONLY have been launched locally, supporting the idea of a Houthi attack using suicide drones.

    Anyone who claims the attack was from Iran or any other country is lying!

    The drone photo can be seen on the feed “/NewsAlertUK_”


    Doc Robinson

    An article published yesterday that counters the NYT whitewash piece on the 737 MAX:

    Crash Course: How Boeing’s managerial revolution created the 737 MAX disaster
    by Maureen Tkacik, The New Republic
    September 18, 2019

    Any program coded to take data from both sensors would have had to account for the possibility the sensors might disagree with each other and devise a contingency for reconciling the mixed signals. Whatever that contingency, it would have involved some kind of cockpit alert, which would in turn have required additional training—probably not level-D training, but no one wanted to risk that. So the system was programmed to turn the nose down at the feedback of a single (and somewhat flimsy) sensor. And, for still unknown and truly mysterious reasons, it was programmed to nosedive again five seconds later, and again five seconds after that, over and over ad literal nauseum.

    And then, just for good measure, a Boeing technical pilot emailed the FAA and casually asked that the reference to the software be deleted from the pilot manual.

    So no more than a handful of people in the world knew MCAS even existed before it became infamous. Here, a generation after Boeing’s initial lurch into financialization, was the entirely predictable outcome of the byzantine process by which investment capital becomes completely abstracted from basic protocols of production and oversight: a flight-correction system that was essentially jerry-built to crash a plane. “If you’re looking for an example of late stage capitalism or whatever you want to call it,” said longtime aerospace consultant Richard Aboulafia, “it’s a pretty good one.”

    …Indeed, most of Boeing’s response to the MAX disasters has involved disseminating a kind of misinformation and doubt that makes the crashes look more complex than they really are. First Boeing issued, then instructed the FAA to circulate, a terse directive to the aviation community essentially copying-and-pasting the 737 flight manual’s instructions for handling a runaway stabilizer—a rare (but terrifying, and well-understood) situation in which the plane’s horizontal stabilizer doesn’t respond to a pilot’s commands. Then, when the airlines informed pilots about MCAS, they dispatched executives to talk pilots off the ledge about the deadly software—explaining, in the words of a Boeing vice president Mike Sinnett to the American Airlines pilots’ union, that Boeing simply didn’t want to “overload the crews with information that’s unnecessary.” Sinnett also suggested that an MCAS malfunction would never happen to American pilots, because the AOA “Disagree” light, an optional feature for which American had paid extra to outfit its fleet, would alert the crew before takeoff that the plane’s angle-of-attack sensors were contradicting each other and that the plane was not airworthy.

    That part turned out to be a lie. (The plane needed to be at least 400 feet in the air to activate the Disagree light—at which point the pilots, already preoccupied with getting the plane in the air, would only have a few seconds to turn it around.) But the idea that some safety feature existed that would have saved American planes perpetuated the fiction that an MCAS crash couldn’t have happened in a civilized country, even if its pilots were ill-informed enough to fail to remember the runaway stabilizer checklist.

    But… The Ethiopian pilots had followed the Boeing checklist. They had switched the stabilizer trim cutout switches to the “cutout” position and attempted to turn the nose of the plane back up using the manual crank—they just couldn’t. In accordance with the prescribed fix for an alert they were getting on the flight control computer, the pilots had been flying extremely fast, and above the speeds of about 265 miles per hour at which the manual trim wheel became unbearably heavy…

    The upshot was that Boeing had not only outfitted the MAX with a deadly piece of software; it had also taken the additional step of instructing pilots to respond to an erroneous activation of the software by literally attempting the impossible. MCAS alone had taken twelve minutes to down Lion Air 610; in the Ethiopian crash, the MCAS software, overridden by pilots hitting the cutout switches as per Boeing’s instructions, had cut that time line in half. Lemme had seen a lot of stupidity from his old employer over the years, but he found this whole mess “frankly stunning.”

    Lemme was on the brink of going public with his analysis of the manual crank fail when a federal agent showed up at his door with a subpoena demanding all his electronic correspondence. He was dumbfounded that the feds wanted talk to someone who hadn’t worked at Boeing in 22 years, and a little concerned that the criminal probe would “chill the open dialogue” he considered foundational to a functional safety culture..




    By one estimate we can’t do much about reducing CO2 levels for a thousand years. Stable. Horse.
    But there IS way to cool the climate using THE greenhouse gas. Look here:

    Part 1 (15m 46s)
    Part 2 (11m 24s)

    The real question is whether the human race and its BAU-obsessed leaders will or can do any of it.



    The 737 Max, Purdue Pharma and Houthis revenge attack show that the Emperor has no clothes. Indeed, in fact, with the UK self-destructing, there is no Empire. Israel and Saudi Arabia must learn to live with their neighbors or they will vanish in the convulsions of the end of civilization that they initiated. Likewise, to survive climate change, the USA must convert the wealth that it spends on warfare to protecting mankind and the environment; if not, it will cease to exist.

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