Category Archives: Economy and Meltdown

US Air Force Official: China Might ‘Strike From Space’

US Air Force Official: China Might ‘Strike From Space’

Authored by Jason Ditz via AntiWar.com,

As Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has said before, his priorities are “China, China, and China.” His keynote address at the Air Force Association Air, Space & Cyber Conference continued that trend, talking up the possibility of space warfare against China.

Kendall warned China has the potential to “actually put weapons in space,” and likening the situation to the Cold War. He further warned China might be able to make attacks effectively undetectable for early warning systems.

This is almost a perfect, tailor-made talking point for the US military, as it facilitates potentially endless spending on space warfare simply to counter what China might do. This was the whole justification for the US Space Force, and its appetite for wildly expensive weapons systems of dubious use, in the first place.

“​​There is a potential for weapons to be launched into space, then go through this old concept from the Cold War called the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System,” Kendall warned the conference, “which is a system that basically goes into orbit and then de-orbits to a target.”

Space Operations Chief Gen. John Raymond has been talking up the growing capabilities of China to deny America access to space, vowing “we can’t let that happen,” and saying the US must be prepared for this fight.

It’s not clear why the US military is so convinced China wants to either fight America in space or try to deny them access to space. Either way, the officials agree that the answer is expensive preparedness and amassing weapons for the presumptive battle.

As with the Cold War, this could go on more or less forever, or until one side just runs out of money.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 09/24/2021 – 22:40

Renewables Not So Reliable As US Hydropower Plunges 14%

Renewables Not So Reliable As US Hydropower Plunges 14%

The transition away from hydrocarbons is not a seamless as many hope. The latest data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows a significant decline this year in hydropower generation amid historic droughts. 

The magical thinking about renewable energy and President Biden’s calls for the U.S. power grid to be 100% clean by 2035 is a pipe dream. 

The problem with renewable energy is sustainability. California and states in the Pacific Northwest have found out that out the hard way this summer as droughts and back-to-back heat waves have led to a plunge in hydropower capacity. The region produces a bulk of U.S. hydropower capacity. 

EIA estimates U.S. hydropower plants will be 14% lower in 2021 than it was in 2020. Hydropower generation in the Northwest, which includes the Columbia River Basin and parts of other Rocky Mountain states, is expected to be 12% lower than the prior year. Hydropower generation in California will be down a shocking 49% in 2021 than in 2020.

The dry conditions have reduced water levels across large parts of the Columbia River Basin this summer, drought emergencies were declared in counties across Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Some reservoirs in California halted hydropower generation due to declining water levels. 

Between March and April, hydropower generation in Washington and Oregon was 10% below the 10-year range. Over the summer, hydropower generation in these states moved back within range. But in California, hydropower generation stayed below the 10-year range as the Edward Hyatt Power Plant at Lake Oroville went offline due to low water levels last month. 

This summer, California’s energy challenges show the state’s aggressive push to slash carbon emissions by shifting to renewable energy has its disadvantages. The state’s top grid operator, California Independent System Operator (CAISO), requested and was granted an emergency measure by the federal government to fire up natural gas generation plants to prevent blackouts amid the loss of some renewable energy sources. 

Maybe it’s time for California to admit their “green” push has been a complete disaster, and the transition is not going to be as seamless as once thought. But wait, they already have:

  • CAISO admitted in August that “significant swings in wind resource output” resulted in the grid operator to “shed load to maintain system reliability.” 
  • California’s government acknowledged in a recent bond offering that greenifying the economy could put the grid at risk

The short-term strategy for California has been to fire up fossil fuel generation plants as renewable energy sources become unreliable. This is just one ugly truth about renewable power the progressives don’t want you to hear. 

Tyler Durden
Fri, 09/24/2021 – 22:20

Black Lives Matter NYC Leader Promises “Uprising” Against City’s “Racist” Vaccine Passports

Black Lives Matter NYC Leader Promises “Uprising” Against City’s “Racist” Vaccine Passports

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

One of the leaders of a Black Lives Matter group in New York City promised an “uprising” against the city’s COVID-19 vaccine passports, decrying the system as racist.

According to data provided by New York state, about 85 percent of black residents have not received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccineData provided by New York City shows that 64 percent of black people between the ages of 18 and 44 are not fully vaccinated while 56 percent have received one shot.

Hawk Newsome, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, told the Washington Examiner that “I think, in a perfect world, [vaccine requirements] should be business by business. But it could be a slippery slope, so the mandate should be removed completely.”

He added: “It’s not gonna be white men in suits on Wall Street who are gonna get stopped. There’s such hypocrisy in this thing.”

Newsome said he believes that black Americans “have a natural distrust of the vaccine,” citing the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in the 20th century for a reason why.

“How dare they remove religious exemptions? It’s the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen,” Newsome said, adding that he believes that most vaccine mandates don’t allow religious exemption.

“Now the government has decided your God doesn’t matter? I love God.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, argued in a court filing this week that the state has no constitutional obligation to grant religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers. Religious exemptions to the vaccines most commonly center on objections on how aborted fetal cells were used in the manufacturing and testing process. Medical exemptions usually include a doctor’s recommendation that a person not get the vaccine due to an underlying medical condition.

The Epoch Times has contacted Black Lives Matter of Greater New York for additional comment.

Another member of the group promised an “uprising” in New York City over the vaccine mandate.

“We’re putting this city on notice that your mandate will not be another racist social distance practice,” Chivona Newsome, a leader of the group, told fellow protesters during a demonstration in Manhattan in front of Carmine’s restaurant on Monday.

“Black people are not going to stand by, or you will see another uprising. And that is not a threat. That is a promise.”

“The vaccination passport is not a free passport to racism,” she added.

Black Lives Matter activists had accused Carmine’s of racially profiling three black women from Texas, who were arrested last week after a hostess allegedly demanded vaccination proof.

A lawyer for Carmine’s denied their allegations.

“Any claim that they were racially profiled is a complete fabrication, disingenuous, and outright irresponsible,” Carolyn Richmond, the attorney for the restaurant, told the New York Daily News.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 09/24/2021 – 22:00

Texas National Guard Urges Members To Volunteer Amid Border Crisis

Texas National Guard Urges Members To Volunteer Amid Border Crisis

The Texas Military Department seeks Guardsmen who are willing to volunteer their time to defend the Lone Star State amid the “unprecedented” migrant crisis along the Texas-Mexico border. 

The Texas Military Department stated, “new full-time positions” are available for the Operation Lone Star border support mission. “Volunteers must be medically and administratively deployable and members of the Texas Military Department,” it said. 

“We are still looking for Texas Guardsmen to support Operation Lone Star. Please help us stop human trafficking, smuggling, and illegal border crossings while we are securing texas. Lodging and per diem included,” the department’s Twitter said. 

Operation Lonestar “integrates Texas Department of Public Safety with the Texas National Guard and deploys air, ground, marine, and tactical border security assets to high threat areas to deny Mexican Cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into Texas,” according to the Office of Governor Greg Abbott.

Abbot joined Fox News’ Hannity Thursday to discuss the border crisis. He said his state took “unprecedented action” to secure the border amid the flow of at least 15,000 migrants who ended up under a Texas bridge earlier this week. 

Days later, the Biden administration finally took action and forced thousands of Haitian migrants back to their own county despite political turmoil after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise and the most recent earthquake. 

Scenes from the border in the last few weeks have been shocking as the Biden administration looked the other way. Even a Democratic judge in Texas bashed Biden for the handling of the crisis and said the president is the root cause of the problem.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 09/24/2021 – 21:40

What’s Really Going On In China

What’s Really Going On In China

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Losses will be taken and sacrifices enforced on those who don’t understand the Chinese state will no longer absorb the losses of speculative excess.

Let’s start by stipulating that no one outside President Xi’s inner circle really knows what’s going on in China, and so my comments here are systemic observations, not claims of insider knowledge.

Many western observers have noted the centrality of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist doctrine in President Xi’s writings. This is somewhat akin to invoking America’s Founding Fathers to support one’s current policies: if you’re trying to modify state policy in China, you have to explain it in the context of the Chinese Communist Party’s history and doctrines. Never mind if the ideals were not met; what’s important is establishing continuity and resonance with the history of China, the core doctrines of Chinese Communism and the CCP’s leadership based on those doctrines.

That said, we should be careful not to read too much into doctrinal evocations such as common prosperity, which are useful conceptual anchors and slogans but not the full story.

What’s actually happening in China isn’t Marxist or Capitalist–it’s plain old non-ideological human greed, hubris and magical thinking manifesting as moral hazard running amok.Moral hazard— the separation of risk and consequence, as speculators make increasingly risky bets because they know any losses will be covered by the state–is effectively the new State Religion in China: everyone is absolutely confident that every punter, especially all the rich, powerful, well-connected speculators–will be bailed out by the central government.

Greed knows no bounds when a speculator is insulated from risk, for people have an insatiable appetite for risky bets when the gains will be theirs to keep but any losses will be covered by the government.

This is the fundamental story of Evergrande: the implicit backstop of the Chinese government enabled near-infinite moral hazard which then fueled an explosion of debt-funded speculation with essentially zero connection to real-world risks, sales, return on capital, etc.

Both the U.S. and China have been a utopian Paradises of moral hazard for the past 30 years. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve would bail out any losses / declines in the debt-asset bubble orgy.

In China, the implicit policy was that the structural losses in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the speculative excesses of rapid development would be tolerated as long as real growth in employment, wages, profits and lifestyles was strong. Creating vast amounts of debt-money was necessary to support growth, and that it also supported speculative excesses was accepted as part of the price of explosive progress, much like environmental damage.

After 30 years, the equation in China has changed: debt in the official banking sector and in the informal shadow-banking sector has soared along with purely speculative excesses while “good growth” has stagnated. That’s the problem with incentivizing moral hazard: the profits from speculation, corruption and fraud far outweigh the puny profits earned by legitimate enterprises. So where do you put the borrowed billions? In Evergrande and other conglomerates of speculation.

Something else changed in 30 years of rapid development: inequality skyrocketed, and since inequality and corruption are mutually-reinforcing, corruption also reached new heights as inequality skyrocketed.

A third factor emerged after 30 years of touting technology and speculation: the power of Chinese Big Tech and financiers began encroaching on the control of the Communist Party.

All three factors inflated a debt-asset-speculative bubble of profound proportions, and President Xi grasped what the clueless Federal Reserve and other western central banks have not: Either pop the bubble when you still have some control over it or let it expand and pop when you’ve lost all control.

In systems terms, when risk and fragility reach unstable levels in tightly-bound systems, there’s no controlling the supernova-like implosion of the system.

Xi observed the skyrocketing power of Big Tech, moral-hazard-incentivized financiers and cryptocurrencies and concluded that the state must move decisively to crush these rivals, regardless of cost. This separates China from the American state, which is incapable of enforcing any sacrifices, limits or costs on the parasitic elite which dominates its economy and political order.

Xi saw the danger of Big Tech and financiers being able to buy whatever influence they needed from corrupt CCP and state officials, and he realized that this is the crucial moment in history: either crush Big Tech and the financiers / speculators or risk losing control to their interests.

Control is something the CCP and Xi want to retain, regardless of the cost to the nouveaux riche, the parasitic elites, the aspirational middle class and even the Party regulars who have supped too often and too gloriously at the corruption / moral hazard trough.

Losses will be taken and sacrifices enforced on those who don’t understand the Chinese state will no longer absorb the losses of speculative excess. Those who don’t understand the reign of parasitic private-sector elites and excessively corrupt party officials in China is over might profitably ponder this Chinese proverb: “Whoever gets mixed up with garbage will be eaten by pigs.”

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Tyler Durden
Fri, 09/24/2021 – 21:20