Posts Tagged ‘European Union’


Links January 2016

January 24, 2016

Feline news I don’t endorse putting cats in harms way.

Environmental news: Minimata is everywhere. The authorities investigate but don’t take action. These two posts on the DGR website will be regarded as overly dramatic or even hysterical by the ones, who ignore natures destruction and mass extinction because they don’t want to change their lifestyle or take concrete actions to defend nature.

NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) confirmed that 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history. Temperatures were at an average of 14.79 degrees Celsius, 0.16 degrees Celsius hotter than 2014, which was by itself record breaking.

Economic news: The dirty work of the IMF. An important comparison of national debts. The USA is on top and Russia on bottom of the list. This article is technical, includes some erroneous assumptions (from my point of view), and a few flaws, but it comes to very plausible conclusions.


William White, chairman of the OECD’s review committee and former chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements, suggested that the stresses in the financial system were worse than they were in 2007, the year before the global financial crisis.

For the last six years, the US FED has with “Quantitative Easing” and near zero interest rates reversed traditional investor behavior and turned the stock markets on their heads. Stock prices no longer had anything to do with earnings potentials and were entirely determined by the availability of cheap money and apparently infinite liquidity.

This has ended now and stock prizes are crashing to represent their true value in the “real world economy.”

US mega banks are especially hard hit, and media pundits insist, that this is not about investor worries that banks could become insolvent. The appeasing words don’t convince anybody, because the minute US corporate media insists that “the selloff isn’t about worries of banks blowing up,” one knows that the worries are about banks blowing up.

There are three major elements causing the worry about US mega banks: derivatives, interconnectedness (they’re on the hook to each other), and everything what investors can’t see until the bank blows up.

Morgan Stanley lost 37 percent since July, Citigroup 30 percent, Goldman Sachs lost 29 percent, Bank of America 22 percent, and JPMorgan 19 percent.

Given that the US financial system experienced the largest collapse since the Great Depression just seven years ago, that both the debt of the US government and the US Federal Reserve have exploded as a result, and that regulators have repeatedly assured that they’ve gotten the situation at the big banks under control, alarm bells should start to ring and everybody should run for cover.

While the stock market no longer represents what is happening in the real world (meaning the economic activities outside computers and communication networks), the Baltic Dry Index (a measure how much it costs to ship commodities like grain and metals around the world) surely does.

The Baltic Dry Index fell to 369, an unprecedented, never before seen low. Reports are circulating, that the North Atlantic has little or no cargo ships traveling in its waters. Instead, they are anchored and empty. Which means that commerce between Europe and North America has literally come to a halt.

This reminds of the Financial Crisis in 2008, when for three days worldwide shipping was stranded due to shipping companies not knowing whether or not the receiver’s bank credit was valid.

The Dow Transportation Average (covering US rail, trucking, air freight) plunged 27 percent since its high in December 2014. Nearly two-thirds of that plunge came over the past two months. Union Pacific, the largest US railroad company, laid off 3,900 people in 2015.

baltic dry index

I’ve never concealed, that I’m opposed to the global financial system, which enables the accumulation of insane amounts of private wealth, the exploitation of third world countries, cartels, prize fixing, tax evasion, money laundering, and the financing of US wars.

Beyond that, no one can convince me that “short selling,” currency speculations, or the 1,500 trillion US$ derivatives casino are productive economic activities which benefit humankind in one way or the other. No one can convince me that the USA will ever pay back the gross national debt of 18.15 trillion US$.

(According to economic data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, US government, businesses, and people combined debt is nearly 60 trillion US$. Chinas combined debt is 28 trillion US$.)

So, the global financial system is under threat? That’s good news for me!

But wait, and be careful of what you wish for,” warn the defenders of the status quo. “There will be empty supermarket shelfs, salary and pension cuts, bank holidays, currency devaluations.”

I live since three month from last years harvest in the garden and rarely visit a supermarket. I don’t need to enter a shop for another six month. I’ve removed an essential part of my savings from the bank. I’m unfortunately not completely “off the grid” and depending on electricity and municipal water. Still working on this one.

I always wondered what would happen if many, many people stock up on staples and then one day collectively stop shopping. The serious shopping addicts of course will not be able to do this, but 10 to 20 percent of the population could still be lucid enough to participate in such a shopping strike.

British retail sales fell 1 percent in December, the biggest drop since September 2014. Clothing, shoes, and other textiles dropped 6.2 percent.

Imperial news: Must read.

About the European Union

Economic policies of unrelenting austerity, rising unemployment and poverty, and draconian cutbacks in public services — while banks, corporations, and a rich minority keep getting richer and richer — have alienated vast parts of the EU’s 500 million population.

Many intellectuals, who welcomed the EU as a counterweight to US hegemony, are deeply disappointed, because the unelected EU technocrats have shown no independence from Washington and under the harness of the US-led NATO military alliance have blindly joined the USA in disastrous, illegal regime change wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The US-ordered economic sanctions against Russia hurt Europe more than Russia.

Unable to manage the refugee stream, which is caused by climate change, economic inequality, neocolonial exploitation, and US regime change wars, anti-immigration and anti-EU parties will gain, the Schengen agreement of open borders will end, the EU will fall apart.

Some of the political developments will be painful and dangerous, but the dissolution of the EU will be the biggest victory for the anti-globalization movement since the first doubts about free trade and an interconnected global economy arose in the 1960s.

Imperial conquest news:

Lucia snow garden DSCN4212

News from cat land

It has snowed and a thick layer of snow is covering everything. This is the first winter since three years which deserves to be called a winter. I wonder, if some residual climate change / global warming deniers, looking out at the window onto the snowy fields, are contemplating a desperate last ditch effort to fight for their case. I wonder, if they will organize a rally, a picket, a protest march, carrying banners and shouting: “Its a hoax, its a hoax, it’s just silly lies and jokes!

They are a dying breed. What a pity, they were so committed. Yet, science and the actually changing weather patterns got the better of them. One cannot take on nature, nature is always right, nature in the end always wins.

The climate change discussion may be over, but politicians, corporations, and the billionaire class have retreated to the back line of defense, postulating:

As an individual, you cannot do anything about climate change. Personal conduct doesn’t matter, consume as much as you want and buy more stuff, it will make you happy and will keep the economy going and growing!

There may be some hitches and glitches, but don’t despair, it is only temporary. The wise leader of the world, especially the ones who converge now in Davos, will find a way. Technological progress and the entrepreneurial spirit, manifested in bold and brilliant out-of-the-box thinking, will bring novel and ingenious solutions.

Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Larry Page, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, didn’t they all change our lives to the better with their visionary fervor and outstanding creativity? They and people like them will find solutions which will be investment friendly and will heal nature at the same time.

Lucia snow patio DSCN4245

Sorry, I just got carried away. Back to the cat family.

Sometimes, just when life seems brighter and more fulfilling than it ever has been, disaster strikes unexpectedly, smashing your hopes and dreams and knocking you from your throne at the top of the world into the muddy trenches of despair and desperation.

Lucia, the little cat lady with whom I fell in love and who I featured and lyrically praised in two earlier blog posts, was severely injured. Her tail is broken, paralyzed and without feeling. I don’t know how it happened, she doesn’t tell.

We (some of the cats and me) made our daily walk in the forest and Lucia at one point left the group and disappeared in the underbrush. This happens regularly, as cats often find something interesting (a mouse hole for instance) which they want to investigate more thoroughly.

When we came home, Lucia was laying on her usual place and I thought that everything was okay. But suddenly she started to cry and it was clear that she had a pain attack. I instantly went to the vet and only at the vet we found out about her injury. An X-ray confirmed that one vertebra was so severely dislocated that all nerves must have been severed.

But that was not the end of the story. Lucia got an infusion and medication but still had regular pain attacks, meowing, crying, and looking at me pleadingly. I stroke her, talked to her, and carried her around like a little baby. The other cats became quite disturbed and not all of them understood, what was going on.

After three days Lucia had such a severe constipation, that laxatives didn’t help anymore and the vet had to flush out the stool under anesthesia. Poor Lucia! For one week we visited nearly every day the vet and fortunately my little cat lady is slowly recovering. She has no pain but her tail remains paralyzed.

Sometimes the nerves regenerate, but in Lucia’s case, with a complete paralysis and no feeling, this is unlikely. I still hope for a miracle, because in case of a permanent paralysis the tail should be amputated. She has such a pretty tail!

Lucia couch DSCN4189

The cats most times lay on one of the blankets or in one of the baskets which I put in place for them. What can a little cat do, when it is cold outside and snowing? They all get a bit corpulent, Linda especially looks like she is pregnant. I hope the vet got it right with the spaying.

Gandhi, Linda, and Princess Min Ki are regularly looking for mice in the garden and they find them. Mice don’t hibernate. The other cats are lazy and I will have to remind them occasionally of the old saying: 

Who always sits behind the stove
Will miss out on the treasure throve
Of mice who come here from the fields
To decimate the gardeners yields

It could be that this is not an old saying, but just my own invention who accidentally came to my mind one day. Whatever the origin may be, the rhymes are so ugly that I better don’t claim responsibility.

Lucia Beverly DSCN4317