Sunday, 29 May 2016

For your enjoyment

The Moiseyev Folk Dance Company

Gerald Celente on the global economy

With everything that’s going on I’ve overlooked more predictions of a stock market collapse this weekend.


27 May, 2016

George Soros is buying massive amounts of gold as the Chinese debt bubble threatens the world economy. Gerald Celente makes bold statements with Gary Franchi on the Next News Network. 

The day's almost over.

Finally Peter Schiff Explains Why The Economy Will Certainly Collapse on 28 May 2016

Republicans demand halt into ExxonMobil inquiry

Right after Republicans in the US House tried to demand the same thing a couple of days ago.

Senators demand US halt inquiries into climate denial by oil companies

Five hardline conservatives tell Department of Justice to stop any investigations into whether companies lied to the public about climate change

28 May, 2016

Five hardline conservative senators, including former presidential candidate Ted Cruz, have demanded the US justice department stop all investigations into whether oil and gas companies lied to the public and shareholders about climate change.

We write today to demand that the Department of Justice (DoJ) immediately cease its ongoing use of law enforcement resources to stifle private debate on one of the most controversial public issues of our time,” the senators wrote in a letter dated 25 May.

The letter intends to forestall a federal investigation like those begun by states around the US. In New York last year, the state attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, began an investigation into whether Exxon Mobil lied to its investors about the dangers of climate change, and subpoenaed the oil giant for records.

The justice department did not immediately confirm that it has any such investigations in progress or under consideration. In March, the US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, said the question was discussed and information “referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for what we could take action on”.

Also on Wednesday, Exxon’s CEO, Rex Tillerson, defied shareholders and activists who have called on the company to acknowledge climate change and change its behaviors. “Until we have [breakthroughs in green technology], just saying ‘turn the taps off’ is not acceptable to humanity,” he said. “The world is going to have to continue using fossil fuels, whether they like it or not.”

Some investors have tried to force change within the company, and the Rockefeller family, descended from Standard Oil tycoon John D Rockefeller, divested fully from Exxon earlier this year.

ExxonMobil CEO: ending oil production 'not acceptable for humanity'
Read more
Exxon funded efforts that cast doubt on climate science for years, research shows, and tried to censor a series of lectures to Congress in 2001, according to former officials of the US Global Change Research Program. But the company’s own scientists warned of climate change and records from the 1960s suggest the environment was on the oil company’s agenda: it was interested in patents to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in cars.

The company was not mentioned by name in the senators’ letter.

Parallel investigations have either been announced or reported in more than a dozen other states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia. The senators’ letter took note of these investigations, and called them “disturbing confirmation that government officials are threatening to wield the sword of law enforcement to silence debate on climate change”.

The investigations amount to an assault on free speech, the senators argued. “Initiating criminal prosecution for a private entity’s opinions on climate change is a blatant violation of the first amendment,” they wrote, “and an abuse of power that rises to the level of prosecutorial misconduct.”

At a March press conference, Schneiderman acknowledged this argument, but said that certain actions – for instance covering up information from shareholders – were not protected free speech. “The first amendment, ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “does not give you the right to commit fraud.”

The senators asked for a response within two weeks to confirm that the department ends all investigations “arising from any private individual or entity’s views on climate change”, and assurance that no one will be persecuted “simply for disagreeing with the prevailing climate change orthodoxy”.

The senators voiced their opposition to the overwhelming evidence of climate change only two weeks after April was confirmed as the hottest on record, and only a month after researchers found alarming signs in cloud analysis and ice levels that suggest the effects of warming are happening faster than predicted. Forty-one percent of Americans, a record high, now believe that global warming will be a “serious threat” in their lifetime, polling shows.

Some of the senators have embraced this “outsider” position. Jeff Sessions enthusiastically endorsed Donald Trump for president, Mike Lee has called for the Senate to defund the Paris climate agreement, and David Vitter has called the evidence “outlandish”, although his state of Louisiana includes an island that has lost 98% of its land.

Cruz has proven a staunch opponent of anyone who warns about global warming, and has called a jazz vocalist to testify opposite a meteorologist and former navy admiral. The oil and gas industry gave more to the Texas senator’s campaign than to any other candidate’s in the Republican primary election. The letter is one of Cruz’s first prominent actions since his reluctant return to the Senate.

Deoxygenation of the coeans

Oceans won’t have enough oxygen in as little as 15 years

By Chris D'Angelo

29 April, 2016

This story was originally published by Huffington Post and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

It should come as no surprise that human activity is causing the world’s oceans to warm, rise, and acidify.

But an equally troubling impact of climate change is that it is beginning to rob the oceans of oxygen.

While ocean deoxygenation is well established, a new study led by Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, finds that climate change-driven oxygen loss is already detectable in certain swaths of ocean and will likely be “widespread” by 2030 or 2040.

Ultimately, Long told The Huffington Post, oxygen-deprived oceans may have “significant impacts on marine ecosystems” and leave some areas of ocean all but uninhabitable for certain species.

While some ocean critters, like dolphins and whales, get their oxygen by surfacing, many, including fish and crabs, rely on oxygen that either enters the water from the atmosphere or is released by phytoplankton via photosynthesis.
But as the ocean surface warms, it absorbs less oxygen. And to make matters worse, oxygen in warmer water, which is less dense, has a tough time circulating to deeper waters.

For their study, published in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Long and his team used simulations to predict ocean deoxygenation through 2100.
Since oxygen concentrations in the ocean naturally vary depending on variations in winds and temperature at the surface, it’s been challenging to attribute any deoxygenation to climate change,” Long said in a statement. “This new study tells us when we can expect the impact from climate change to overwhelm the natural variability.”

And we don’t have long.

oxygen loss oceans

By 2030 or 2040, according to the study, deoxygenation due to climate change will be detectable in large swaths of the Pacific Ocean, including the areas surrounding Hawaii and off the West Coast of the U.S. mainland. Other areas have more time. In the seas near the east coasts of Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia, for example, deoxygenation caused by climate change still won’t be evident by 2100.

Long said the eventual suffocation may affect the ability of ocean ecosystems to sustain healthy fisheries. The concern among the scientific community, he said, is that “we’re conceivably pushing past tipping points” in being able to prevent the damage.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, shared these concerns, telling The Washington Post that the new study adds to the “list of insults we are inflicting on the ocean through our continued burning of fossil fuels.”

Just a week after learning that 93 [percent] of the Great Barrier Reef has experienced bleaching in response to the unprecedented current warmth of the oceans, we have yet another reason to be gravely concerned about the health of our oceans, and yet another reason to prioritize the rapid decarbonization of our economy,” Mann said.

Unfortunately, this reason is unlikely to be the last.

330,000 Lightning Strikes Hit Europe in Just Eight Hours

Fire in the Sky — More Than 330,000 Lightning Strikes Hit Europe in Just Eight Hours

Whatever happened to normal weather? Earth has always experienced epic storms, debilitating drought, and biblical floods. But lately it seems the treadmill of disruptive weather has been set to fast-forward.”
 — Paul Douglas.

28 May, 2016
A cold, unstable air mass aloft. A record atmospheric moisture load due to human-caused climate change. Add in 80 degree or warmer surface temperatures and these three ingredients can spark some seriously epic thunderstorms. Such was the case across Europe today as towering thunderheads exploded into the skies, raining more than 330,000 bolts of lightning down upon the continent.
Lightning Strikes Europe
(Extreme lightning strikes in excess of 330,000 impacts were recorded over the course of 8 hours on Friday. The strikes resulted in numerous extreme weather related casualty events across Europe. Image source: Simon Cardy.)

The blasts of nature’s fury hammered a wide region stretching from Portugal through France and the UK, into the Alps, Italy, Germany and Denmark and on through Southwestern Poland. A rash that has injured dozens across Europe resulting in at least one death.
In Poland, a mountain hiker lost his life to one strike. Three more people were injured by lightning in the same region. A nearby flash flood related to the storms also resulted in a drowning.

In Germany, a bolt from the blue sky — likely coming from a towering storm in the area — injured 30 people at a soccer field. Three were listed as seriously injured including the referee who had to be revived in the helicopter en-route to the hospital.

In Paris, 8 children and 3 adults were struck by lightning in the midst of a birthday celebration at a park in northwest Paris. As the thunderstorm rolled in, children sheltered under a nearby tree whose higher branches attracted a lightning strike. 

According to a report from The Guardian, one child from this group remained in serious condition.

Conditions in Context — Global Warming Expected to Increase Lightning Strikes
A widespread storm outbreak of this kind generating such a high number of lightning strikes and related casualties in a single day is not a normal event for the European Continent. That said, this type of event is likely to become more frequent due to a greenhouse gas related warming of our world.
Lightning Strikes to Increase with Global Warming
(Lightning strikes are expected to increase as a result of global warming according to a 2014 study in Science.)

Added atmospheric moisture content — which increases by about 7 to 8 percent per degree Celsius of global temperature rise — generates more storm clouds with higher tops. These clouds, in turn, produce an increase in the number of overall lightning strikes. According to a Science study published during 2014lightning strikes are expected to increase by 50 percent in the United States alone due to the human-forced warming of our world. Europe, which sits between numerous unstable air masses — the Arctic Ocean air mass to the north, the Greenland air mass to the northwest, and the rapidly changing North Atlantic air mass — is likely to see ramping climate instability even as overall atmospheric moisture levels and storm-generating potentials increase.

Hat tip to Spike
Hat tip to DT Lange

Sweden: the end of 200 years neutality


© AP Photo/ Sameer Najafizada

© AP Photo/ Sameer Najafizada
Originally appeared at GlobalResearch

This is a press statement from the organisation Stop NATO in Norway, regarding Sweden’s recent decision to sign a Host Country Agreement with NATO:

A sad day for Sweden. A sad day for the Nordic countries. A sad day for peace.
On May 25th Riksdagen (the Swedish National Assembly) sacrificed the Swedish neutrality policy by joining the  NATO Host Country Agreement. This happened almost without any public debate. Popular protests and 41 300 signatures have been swept aside by Riksdagen.
The Agreement makes Sweden a possible host country for aggressive NATO exercises during peacetime. In addition, the Swedish government may allow NATO to invade the country if a crisis or a conflict should occur. Inevitably, Sweden will become directly involved in NATO’s armament proliferation and their aggressive provocations against Russia. Large-scale fleet exercises in the Baltic Sea will further increase the danger of confrontation and war.
This is not only a tragedy for Sweden; it increases the arms race and the danger of war throughout Europe. The fact that Sweden has been staying out of military alliances until now, has been a stabilizing factor throughout Northern Europe. The Swedish submission to NATO may spell the end to peace in the Nordic region.
Forcing Sweden and Finland into the military alliance has been an aim for NATO and the United States for a long time. The governments of Denmark and Norway have been henchmen in this filthy game. The appointments of Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Jens Stoltenberg as Secretary Generals have been part of a strategy to coerce and bribe Sweden and Finland into joining the alliance.
Stop NATO in Norway feels obliged to alert our Swedish brothers against the consequences of becoming a slave to NATO and the United States. If the goal is safety and peaceful coexistence in the Nordic region, NATO offers the opposite. NATO has turned Norway into a front-line for US nuclear strategy and a spying central in the Arctic region. In reality, Norway has no foreign or security policy of its own. Norwegian special forces are being deployed into aggressive military operations against peoples and states that have never threatened our country – like in Afghanistan, Libya and now in Syria. Norwegian social spending is cut back while our tax money is being spent on an unrestrained build-up of offensive weapons of war, because NATO demands it.
The best way the Swedish people can contribute to peace is to defend their country’s neutrality and sovereignty until the bitter end. The best way for the Norwegian people to contribute to peace in the north is to pull Norway out of the war alliance called NATO.
Stop NATO, Norway
May 25th 2016

How it’s all going wrong for Hillary Clinton

The very best news all day. May it continue that way!

Poor polls, scandal, a cussed rival … how it’s all going wrong for Hillary Clinton

She was expected to be the clear frontrunner for the presidency. But after a terrible week, Hillary Clinton is still trading blows with Bernie Sanders as the Donald Trump menace grows

28 May, 2016

The week that Donald Trump finally sealed the Republican presidential nomination ought to have been a triumphant one for Hillary Clinton. With a final few delegates nudging him past the official finishing line on Thursday, here at last was the candidate that Democrats always dreamed of running against: unpopular, undisciplined and ostensibly unelectable in November’s general election.
Yet in the Alice in Wonderland world of American politics in 2016, nothing is what it seems. Clinton supporters would instead have to stomach six impossible things before the week was out.
The first was the sight of the former secretary of state falling behind her Republican opponent in an average of national opinion polls. Though by a wafer-thin – and probably temporary – margin, the breaching of this symbolic threshold could yet become self-fulfilling if it normalises the once unthinkable prospect of a Trump-themed White House.
Then came a damning report by an independent inspector at the Department of State, who contradicted her claims that she had been allowed to use a private email server for official business while serving as the nation’s chief diplomat. Once again, things were not quite as simple as they appeared, and Clinton allies argue that the report also shows other former secretaries of state up to the same tricks. But only one of them is running for president. With the FBI still investigating whether she broke federal law, this is an old wound that could reopen again before the contest is over.

Some Democrats, such as progressive champion Elizabeth Warren, show signs of trying to rally around their beleaguered team captain, yet the ongoing FBI investigation also complicates the ability of the party’s most influential cheerleader to come to the rescue. At a press conference in Japan, the normally loquacious Barack Obama flat out refused to take a question from a journalist asking whether the email scandal undermined Clinton’s “trustworthiness”.
In part, the ringing non-endorsement reflects the president’s need for political as well as legal neutrality. For perhaps the biggest surprise of the race so far is that it is the Democratic party – not the Republicans, who were once forced to choose from 17 candidates – that is still officially undecided on its nominee. Bernie Sanders might be far enough behind in the delegates race for Clinton to plausibly declare herself the victor already, but he is putting up a surprisingly spirited fight on the final sprint to the finishing line.
Another surprise blow to team Clinton last week was new opinion polling in California, where the penultimate and largest Democratic primary takes place on 7 June. It shows Sanders virtually neck and neck among voters and has forced Clinton to schedule extra appearances to try to avoid the humiliating prospect of winning the national nomination race on the same day as she loses the largest state.
To make matters worse, Sanders responded to Clinton’s decision to pull out of a scheduled televised debate by taking up a (since also rescinded) offer to face Donald Trump instead. Though establishment Democrats fume at the disloyalty of such a stunt, few doubt it would draw giant audiences. Somewhat less attention was drawn to the final shock news last week: a federal investigation into campaign contributions to long-time Clinton confidant and the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe. With the FBI now investigating both the candidate and an elected official with perhaps the closest ties to her family, Trump may yet have more ammunition for his “crooked Clinton” taunts than even he expected.
Whether these surprise developments in a week in May add up to lasting consequences in November is, of course, another matter. Some strategists in Washington believe that Clinton should simply sit tight and ride out a storm that will pass quickly.

“The polls are showing the race effectively tied, but Trump and Clinton are at very different points in their campaign,” says veteran political analyst Charlie Cook. “The Republicans have come back in line faster than a lot of people thought, but Sanders will be out of her way in a week and a half, and her natural lead will return to three or four points. In November, it is not going to matter a whit if he won California. Bernie Sanders is going to be in her rearview mirror very, very soon.” He argues that scrutiny can only get harder for Trump, while Clinton may have been through the toughest phase already. “The worst things that could happen are largely behind her. If the justice department was going to charge her, it would probably have done so by now,” adds Cook. “I would rather be her [than Trump]. There are too many things that have to go right for him. I don’t think she’s in a terribly challenging place.”
Certainly, for Trump’s national poll improvements to bear fruit requires some heroic assumptions about the state-level contests that actually decide presidential elections.
Not only would the New York billionaire probably have to transform previously safe Democratic territory in the rust belt, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, as well as the more finely balanced Ohio, but he would also have to stop Clinton dominating in more diverse states such as Virginia and Colorado and possibly winning back Arizona and Georgia from Republicans.
But other experts, such as Larry Sabato of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, worry that Clinton’s struggle to conclude the Democratic race could make for a bumpy party convention that will yet dent her prospects in November.
How she handles Sanders is key. If she does it skilfully, it will be crucial to motivating younger voters, who are very hard to get out to vote if they are not enthusiastic,” says Sabato. “If he wins California, it guarantees he will go forward to the convention trying to turn every last delegate – and it could be very damaging for her. It is a turning point.”
Just as importantly, he argues, Clinton needs to go on the offensive and set her own agenda over the next few weeks. “Some things she can’t control. She can’t control the FBI. She started that ball rolling and will have to live with the consequences,” adds Sabato. “She has to demonstrate how she is going to attack Trump. They are all over the map at the moment because there is an embarrassment of riches, but there is devilry in that, in a way.” Right now, most pundits agree that it all makes for a noisy political environment in which it is hard to judge who is really winning on a day-to-day basis.
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, professor of communications at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, believes the best approach is for Clinton to try to define her own news agenda rather than respond to that of her critics.
The news environment matters. The email news could have been much worse if it had fallen in a quieter week. She benefited last week from the fact that there has been a cluttered news environment,” she says.

But Jamieson, who founded to help hold politicians to account, is scathing of the tactics adopted by team Clinton over the emails, which she believes distorts the degree to which the rules have changed since previous secretaries of state were in office. “[Clinton] is making the best she can of it, but she is doing it by misrepresenting the facts. It would be smarter not to offer misleading inferences,” she says.

Beyond all else, this suggests it is the FBI, rather than Sanders or Trump, that could really spoil the party. “California is not likely to come back to haunt her,” concludes Jamieson. “The damaging thing is the report by the state department and how it fits in the ongoing narrative. This speaks to a central part of her campaign, her experience, and calls into question her judgment. The question now is what is the next shoe to drop.”

The NY Times

Hillary Clinton Struggles to Find Footing in Unusual Race

China: US a threat to peace and stability

China Warns The World: America Is The "Greatest Threat To Peace & Stability"

27 May, 2016

It is no secret that the relationship between the United States and China has been strained for quite some time. Earlier this month when the US sailed its guided missile destroyer the USS William P. Lawrence within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-occupied Fiery Cross Reef, it ended in China scrambling of two fighter jets and three warships to shadow the destroyer and convince it to leave the area.

The US admitted that it sailed the USS William P. Lawrence by the disputed island in order to "challenge excessive maritime claims" made by China. In turn, China had this to say about the US effort: "This action by the U.S. side threatened China's sovereignty and security interests, endangered the staff and facilities on the reef, and damaged regional peace and stability."

As the US meddles in the South China Sea disputes, China has been increasingly vocal about its displeasure, and that came out very directly in recent comments made on Thursday.

The United Nations is getting ready to rule on a maritime dispute between China and the Philippines, and in discussing that potential ruling Yang Yujun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said at a briefing that US involvement in these types of disputes is the greatest threat to the region.

On Thursday, China said that it would not recognize the UN verdict on the issue, unless China’s claims are honored.
No matter what kind of ruling the Court makes, China will not accept nor recognize the adjudication,” Yang Yujun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said at a briefing. “This is China’s right conferred by the international laws. By doing so we are actually abiding by and observing the international laws.”
The tension is being exacerbated even further by a continuously growing American presence in the region, whose many allies also lay claims to the islands. China has called the US involvement in the dispute the “greatest” threat to the region.
Certain countries outside the region frequently show its military strength in the South China Sea area and this is actually the greatest threat to peace and stability in the regionWe urge them to stop stirring up a storm in a teapot and stop sowing seeds of discord so as to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, which conforms to the common interests of all parties,” Yang said.

Yang went on to say that "in essence, the root cause for security hazards and potential accidents in the air and at sea between China and the US is the long term, large-scale and frequent close-in reconnaissance activities against China by the US military vessels and aircraft."

The statement made by Yang sums up perfectly what we have been saying for quite some time now. The more the US provokes China, and Russia for that matter, the likelihood of international incident increases. Of course, maybe that's what the United States has been after all along.