Anti-TPPA Protestors Shut Down Central Auckland


…they can sign whatever they want, whatever they like. It won’t work because WE THE PEOPLE say so! They need us to work their fucking filthy schemes. Remember that!


 

The Most Revolutionary Act

I and eleven other New Plymouth protesters have just returned from shutting down central Auckland during the TPPA signing yesterday.

While 15,000+ protesters marched down Queens Street, 1500 of us engaged in roving blockades shutting down all the streets leading into Central Auckland for four hours. The streets were deserted as we occupied key intersections and boogied to reggae music. It was surreal – reclaiming the streets for a giant street party. Several hundred blockaders briefly shut down the freeway and the Harbour Bridge.

The public response has been phenomenal with hundreds of new activists joining our movement to block TPPA ratification.

Here’s the coverage from RT:

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Heartache Tonight! Baltic Dry Shipping Index Sinks To All-time Low (Sinking Global Trade)


…Oil at $30 and the BDI below 300…and factory orders keep dropping!

Confounded Interest

If we were sitting around in March 2014, what would have been the odds that West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil prices would fall from over $100 to near $30 and the Baltic Drying Shipping Index would fall from 1,606 to 303?

balticdryhillary

About the same odds of Hillary Clinton flipping a coin in the Iowa Democrat Caucuses to win delegates and going 6 for 6! The probably of winning every flip out of six flips is one in 64, or 1.56 percent.

But WTI Crude oil prices and the Baltic Dry Shipping Index have declined substantially putting downward pressure of the US Treasury 10 year yield.

usto10oilship

Its been a heartache tonight .. for the global economy.

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The Opaque Process of Collapse


oftwominds

Charles Hugh Smith

February 4, 2016

The ultimate cost of protecting the privileges of the few at the expense of the many is the dissolution of the social order that enabled the rule of the privileged few.

When I write about the demise of unsustainable systems, readers often ask me to describe the collapse I see as inevitable. This is a tough assignment, as there are as many kinds of collapse as there are systems: fragile ones can collapse suddenly, and resilient ones can decay for years or even decades before finally imploding or withering away.

Another way of describing collapse is: complex systems become much less complex.

Certain features of modern life could collapse without affecting everyday life much–for example, the derivatives markets could stop working and the impact would be enormous on those playing financial games and those who entrusted money to the gamblers, but the consequences would be extremely concentrated in the gambler/speculator class. Despite the usual cries that financial losses in the gambler/speculator class will destroy civilization, the disruptions and losses would be widely dispersed for the economy as a whole.

Other collapses–in food or energy distribution, digital communications, etc.–would have immediate and severe impacts on daily life.

My three primary models of decay and collapse are:

1. Historian David Hackett Fischer’s masterwork The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History (given to me by longtime correspondent Cheryl A.)
2. Thomas Homer-Dixon’s The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization
3. The decline of the Western Roman Empire (the process, not Edward Gibbon’s epic 6-volume history). My recommended book on the topic (a short read): The Fall of the Roman Empire

Fischer’s primary thesis is that society and the economy expand in times of plentiful resources and credit, and this increased demand eventually consumes all available resources. When demand exceeds supply and excesses of credit reach extremes, inflation and social disorder arise together.

Though we have yet to see inflation on a global scale, it is inescapable that demand will soon outstrip supply of essential resources and that the global credit bubble will pop, depriving the economy of the means to buy resources regardless of cost.

The Upside of Down describes the process of increasing complexity adding fixed costs to the system, and the way in which this diminishes returns: more and more labor, capital and resources must be devoted to maintain production. At some point, the yield is negative–costs are higher than the output.

At that point, systems start unraveling, and people simply abandon costly complex systems because the means to support them no are no longer readily available.

This is similar to John Michael Greer’s process of catabolic collapse, in which costly complex systems go through a re-set to a much lower energy consumption and less complexity. The system stabilizes at that level for a time, and then as costs rise and resources dwindle, it goes through another downsizing.

The Western Roman Empire (along with the Tang Dynasty in China) is the premier historical template for slow decline/decay leading to an eventual collapse. (Recall that the Eastern Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, endured for another 1,000 years.)

Depending on how you slice it, Western Rome’s Imperial decline took a few hundred years to play out. Unusually competent and energetic leaders arose at critical junctures in the early stages, and these leaders managed to stem the encroachment of other empires and “barbarian” forces and effectively re-order Rome’s dwindling resources.

By the end, The Western Roman Empire was still issuing a flood of edicts to the various regions, but there was no one left to follow the edicts or enforce them: the Roman legions existed only on parchment. The legion had a name and a structure, but there were no longer any soldiers in the field.

A number of real-world examples of decline/collapse are playing out in real time. Venezuela is one; Greece is another. Both demonstrate the opacity of the process of collapse; it is not as clear as we might imagine. A recent first-hand account of a sympathetic visitor to Venzuela captures the flavor and despair of slow-moving, uneven collapse:

Venezuela: Is There A Driver At The Wheel? (via Arshad A.)

“A dollar traded in the bank officially, or pulled out of an ATM machine, however, is worth about six bolivars only. This is how big the gap is between the black market rate (600-700 to the USD) and the official rate.

Despite the fact that the price of petrol is incredibly cheap, the government has not raised the prices even a slight amount, although this would create revenue for the state and despite the health risks of pollution.This suggests that the government is engaging in populism by refusing to take a step demanded by common sense due to its need to get reelected in December when parliamentary elections will take place.

One can easily get assassinated, as Venezuela has one of the highest homicide rates in Latin America and there are enough people who would not mind killing someone for the fee of $200.

However, when there is massive violence in the streets and many in the government seem to be corrupt, while a sense of anarchy prevails and it seems that the government turns a blind eye to violence when it takes place by local bandits, preferring to continuously blame outsiders, then there is indeed a source for concern.”

Reports out of Greece demonstrate the dynamics of decline and collapse: medicines are unavailable, pensions have been slashed and many households are now below the EU poverty level in income.

But we also hear that life goes on; the social order does not appear to have broken down into anarchy.

Clearly, the Greek economy has contracted, and millions of households have less income than they did before. But has daily life broken down? Have the institutions of public order collapsed?

Perhaps not, but what is collapsing is public trust in these institutions’ ability and willingness to manage the financial crisis and the political disorder that follows.

There is no good solution to the multiple crises in Greece, and the small circle of financial and political elites that benefited from Greece’s entry into the Eurozone remains largely untouched by the crisis. When the status quo is rigid and unbending, the odds of sudden collapse rise: what doesn’t bend will snap.

The process of collapse is thus heavily dependent on how the financial and political elites respond to the decline of resources and credit. If they manage the contraction skillfully and absorb their share of the inevitable losses, then the re-set will likely be successful and the pain short-lived.

If however the ruling elites cling to every scrap of their power and wealth, and begin fighting over the spoils while forcing the underclasses to absorb the losses of the re-set, then the fragility of the system rises in direct proportion to the policy extremes being pursued by vested interests focused on protecting their privileges regardless of cost.

The ultimate cost of protecting the privileges of the few at the expense of the many is the dissolution of the social order that enabled the rule of the privileged few.

**This essay was drawn from Musings Report 40. The weekly Musings Reports are emailed exclusively to subscribers and major contributors ($50+ annually).

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For Once, Low Oil Prices May Be a Problem for World’s Economy


Bloomberg

For the last 75 years, almost every economic crisis has been preceded by an oil price spike. The worry now is that low energy prices are pushing the global economy into a tailspin.
While the idea is counter-intuitive, it’s gaining traction because a growing share of the world’s consumers and investors are in the very places getting hammered by the rout in commodities prices. Apple Inc., for example, blamed weaker sales last quarter on lower economic growth in some oil-rich countries.

“I never thought I would wish, let alone pray, for higher oil prices, but I am,” said Han de Jong, chief economist at ABN Amro Bank NV in Amsterdam. “The world badly needs higher oil prices.”

The problem is that the world’s economy relies far more today on emerging countries than 15 or 25 years ago — the last periods of ultra-low oil prices. In another twist, the U.S. has emerged to vie with Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s biggest oil producer. In the past, the harm done to exporters was more than offset by importers’ gains.
And with the exception of China and India, most big emerging countries are oil and commodities rich. Such economies now account for about 40 percent of global gross domestic product, about double their share in 1990, according to the International Monetary Fund.

From Russia to Saudi Arabia, Nigeria to Brazil, economic growth is slowing down to a crawl and, in many cases, is contracting.

“Many oil exporters face very difficult circumstances,” said Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, the IMF’s deputy director of research. “So now they have to cut spending significantly, and this will have an impact on economic growth.”

The predicament is so dire that sovereign default, for long a forgotten possibility, is back on the table. “History provides reason for extreme pessimism on the likely fortunes of commodity producers,” said Gabriel Sterne, head of global macro research at Oxford Economics Ltd. In the 1980s, when oil prices fell below $10 a barrel and other commodities plunged, “producers that avoided sovereign defaults were the exception rather than the rule,” he said, noting 68 percent of those he monitors defaulted.

The market sees Venezuela, one of the world’s top 10 oil exporters, as a likely default candidate. Its bonds maturing in 2022 trade at 38 cents on the dollar and yield more than 40 percent. In 2013, the yield was below 10 percent.

The IMF and the World Bank are already in talks with Azerbaijan and Suriname to provide emergency loans. Nigeria has also asked the World Bank and the African Development Bank for help.

To be sure, oil could find a floor as soon as the world economy does. The slowdown in China has reduced its demand for commodities, meaning stabilization there could prompt crude to rebound.

Some aren’t worried at all. The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, in a research paper released in January, said that a drop in oil prices brought about by rising supply — like the current one — should boost global growth by up to 0.4 percentage points. “This is mainly due to an increase in spending by oil-importing countries, which exceeds the decline in expenditure by oil exporters,” the paper said.

Indeed, the market is focusing on the short-term adjustments and ignoring the potential gains, according BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Laurence D. Fink.
“The reality is 4 billion human beings are going to have cheaper energy, cheaper heating, they’re going to have more disposable income,” Fink said last month. “And ultimately that’s going to re-accelerate the global economy. It may take six months, it may take a year but this is all good.”

Francisco Blanch, commodities analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, argued that a sustained oil price plunge “will push back $3 trillion a year from oil producers to global consumers, setting the stage for one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.”

So far, though, consumers in developed countries aren’t behaving as they should: spending the windfall from cheaper energy. This time around, “the pickup in consumption in oil importers has so far been somewhat weaker than evidence from past episodes of oil price declines would have suggested,” the IMF said in January.

The reason: cash-strapped consumers are using the savings to repay debts. JPMorgan Chase & Co. economists estimate U.S. households, for example, spent less than half their additional cash.

Low oil prices have prompted companies to cancel dozens of capital-intensive projects — like drilling wells — which in turn means lower demand for machinery. Wood Mackenzie Ltd., an industry consultant, estimates that at least $380 billion has been put on hold. IHS Inc. puts it at as much as $1.5 trillion.

Whatever the amount, the IMF says the impact on investment in oil and gas new projects is “subtracting from global aggregate demand.”

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The Lucrative Career or Lies, Deceit, & Fraud


It sure is. Malaysia is leading in this business following the success of the Prime Minister becoming a multi billionaire.


 

Martin Armstrong

Being a politician is a business. They are, for the most part, concerned only about themselves and will always vote to raise taxes because they benefit the establishment, as the Clintons can verify. Some leverage their political capital by striking golden contacts while in office and selling influence derived from their power that is typically funneled through their families.

Others take a successful political career and enter the private sector, landing board positions and pretending to be consultants when they can only advise on how corrupt politics works; not the real world. Some turn to the media and land on TV, commentating sports, radio shows, or getting big bucks from book deals. Then there is the speaking circuit. Goldman Sachs paid Hillary for influence wrapped in a speaking engagement when she knows nothing of value for the private sector.

At the end of the day, being a successful politician is a highly lucrative business. Most leave office with many millions of dollars in their pocket while exempting themselves from any real prosecution for conflicts of interest, selling influence, or outright fraud.

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Legal Name Fraud Explained


“People will walk in circles within the matrix until they decide, once and for all, they’re not a legal anything….only the absolute removal of the literal idea of being a legal anything will finally put you out side of the box of this boxed legal matrix.”

Kate of Gaia

Legal Name Fraud Explained

by kate of kaia

Before any fraud can be revealed, a simple understanding of what fraud actually is is critical to grasp the enormity of the fraud placed on humanity overall. Fraud is simply a knowing attempt to deceive another to steal from them. Plain and simple, a fraud is hidden theft. What humanity is finding difficult to accept is the actual level of theft that has been achieved over every man, woman and child on what we call earth. Humanity has been duped into In-dependence upon the very thing that is draining their very souls of life and, literally, feeding it to the hounds of Hell. Not one part of humanity’s day to day activities escape this perfect net if you’re still willing to be their fishies. Every aspect of what you THINK of as a normal kinda day is soaked and dripping in this…

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