Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-61704 Thu, 16 Feb 2017 18:39:45 GMT Trump's Repeal of Anti-Corruption Measure Proves He's a Fake http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-02-16_TrumpsRepealofAntiCorruptionMeasureProvesHesaFake.html The election of a billionaire president who killed the anti-corruption measure off is only the brutal coup de grace. The rule was stalled for the better part of six years by a relentless and exhausting parade of lobbyists, lawyers and other assorted Beltway malingerers. It then lived out of the womb for a few sad months before Trump smothered it this week.

Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act was created by Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin and then Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar. Passed in 2010, the rule was simple: It required oil, gas and mining companies to disclose any payments above $100,000 made to foreign governments.

The law was designed to prevent energy companies from bribing foreign dictators. The simple goal was to ensure that the wealth of resource-rich countries would be enjoyed by their citizens, and not converted into obscene personal collections of yachts, mansions, sports cars and Michael Jackson memorabilia -- as, for instance, it was when oil was discovered in Equatorial Guinea, and the brutal dictator Teodoro Obiang started doing business with Rex Tillerson's ExxonMobil.

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Ask Trump supporters about this episode, and many would say they won't weep for the loss of any government regulation.

But they should ask themselves if, when they were whooping and hollering for the man who promised to end special interest and lobbyist rules in Washington, they imagined the ExxonMobil chief in charge of the State Department cheering as the new president wiped out anti-bribery laws. The "establishment" sure is on the run, isn't it?

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iehi-feed-61687 Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:32:57 GMT Made For Each Other - KUNSTLER http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-02-14_MadeForEachOtherKUNSTLER.html iehi-feed-61630 Fri, 03 Feb 2017 18:24:25 GMT Senate votes to repeal transparency rule for oil companies http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-02-03_Senatevotestorepealtransparencyruleforoilcompanies.html The Senate voted strictly along party lines Friday morning to repeal a regulation requiring disclosures for the payments that energy companies make to foreign governments. The measure passed 52-47 in a pre-dawn vote.

The Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) foreign payments rule was mandated by a key provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill and was meant to reduce corruption in resource-rich countries by detailing the royalties and other payments that oil, natural gas, coal and mineral companies make to governments.''

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iehi-feed-61588 Sun, 29 Jan 2017 01:03:51 GMT Want to know how society's doing? Forget GDP -- try these alternatives http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-01-28_WanttoknowhowsocietysdoingForgetGDPtrythesealternatives.html ``As for GDP, has there ever been an acronym as spellbindingly dismal as this? GDP goes up if you sit in traffic for an hour with the engine ticking over. It doesn't if you stay at home, caring for a sick child. GDP has soared in China over the past 20 years. Now its people wear masks in the street to filter the smog.

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Dependency ratio - Admittedly, this is not a thrilling one to monitor as it doesn't move much. But it is moving -- and in the wrong direction for lots of developed countries. The dependency ratio is the number of working-age people compared with the number of children and those over retirement age. According to the Resolution foundation, there are currently seven dependants for every 10 working-age Britons, but this will increase to eight in the 2020s and nine by 2050.

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iehi-feed-61554 Tue, 24 Jan 2017 19:19:04 GMT Trump to Sign Orders Advancing Keystone, Dakota Access Pipelines http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-01-24_TrumptoSignOrdersAdvancingKeystoneDakotaAccessPipelines.html In a statement, Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard pledged that the same group of environmentalists, Native American activists and farmers that successfully stalled the projects in the past will continue to fight their advancement.

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During a meeting with auto executives earlier Tuesday, Trump described himself as "an environmentalist" but argued that federal regulatory and permitting processes are too drawn out.

"I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist," he said. "I believe in it, but it's out of control and we're going to make a very short process and we're going to either give you your permits or we're not going to give you your permits, but you're going to know very quickly."

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iehi-feed-61547 Mon, 23 Jan 2017 23:11:48 GMT Resurgent Inflation To Collide With Trump Stimulus Plans http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-01-23_ResurgentInflationToCollideWithTrumpStimulusPlans.html ... inflation started picking up last summer... It's now rising at the fastest rate in five years. MarketWatch reported last week... A string of sharp gains since late summer helped drive up inflation by 2.1% for the full year, marking the biggest increase since a 3% gain in 2011. Americans are pay[ing] more for fuel, housing and doctor visits, countering the biggest decline in grocery prices since the tail end of the Great Recession.

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It won't take much inflation for bondholders to take heavy losses, either... Take the U.S. 10-year Treasury, which is supposedly one of the "safest" bonds you can own. It currently yields about 2.4%. That's about half its historical average. Corporate and municipal bonds are also yielding near-record lows. This makes them incredibly vulnerable to inflation.

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iehi-feed-61533 Sun, 22 Jan 2017 15:11:04 GMT Utopian ideas on climate change will get us precisely nowhere http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-01-22_Utopianideasonclimatechangewillgetuspreciselynowhere.html Does anyone believe that when Anglesey's aluminium smelter closed in 2009, and Lynemouth's in 2011, that the UK stopped using aluminium? Did it help reduce global warming for these operations to be transferred to less- regulated countries outside Europe, and for aluminium to join the long list of imported items?

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Electric cars can look the same as today's models -- or they can be much more futuristic. They can also continue to be an object of conspicuous consumption, which campaigners will have to accept, aiming to encourage the use of eco-transport and not enforce some form of back-to-nature socialism via the back door. Electric vehicles, powered by solar generators, could reduce transport emissions to zero in tropical countries, which currently account for 40% of the world's population and will account for 55% by 2050.

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iehi-feed-61462 Wed, 11 Jan 2017 22:51:04 GMT Volkswagen agrees to $4.3 billion U.S. diesel settlement http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-01-11_Volkswagenagreesto43billionUSdieselsettlement.html According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, VW will pay a $1.5-billion civil fine and $2.8-billion criminal fine. It would have faced higher fines if it hadn't agreed to spend an estimated $11 billion to address consumer vehicles.

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Prosecutors also charged six Volkswagen executives and employees, for their roles in the nearly 10-year conspiracy, including Oliver Schmidt, who was a manager in charge of VW's environmental and engineering office in Michigan.

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iehi-feed-61448 Tue, 10 Jan 2017 15:01:44 GMT Obama's Blunder; Trump's Gambit - Jim Rickards http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-01-10_ObamasBlunderTrumpsGambitJimRickards.html Most threatening [to US interests] is that in the past ten years, Russia increased its gold reserves 203%, and China increased its gold reserves an estimated 570%. Such gold accumulations have no purpose other than to lay the foundation for a non-dollar based international monetary system. No great power has prevailed long without a great currency. When confidence in the dollar fails, U.S. power will fail with it.

Obama blundered because he allowed Russia and China to pursue the two-against-one dynamic leaving the U.S. as the odd man out. Fortunately it is not too late to reverse this dynamic. Signs from the new Trump administration are encouraging. Trump's early actions and appointments suggest he understands the precarious position of the U.S., and is already moving to change the status quo.

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iehi-feed-61443 Sun, 08 Jan 2017 21:01:16 GMT Peña Nieto Faces Unrest in Mexico as Gas Prices Climb and Trump Looms http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-01-08_PeaNietoFacesUnrestinMexicoasGasPricesClimbandTrumpLooms.html Amid nationwide marches, highway blockades and looting stemming from widespread outrage over an increase in gas prices, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico went on national television to appeal for understanding.

With international oil prices rising and Mexico dependent on gasoline imports, he argued in the speech on Thursday, the government had no alternative but to raise prices at the pump. "Here I ask you," he said, gesturing at the camera, "What would you have done?"

It did not take long for him to get an answer, as social media erupted with suggestions and disgust: Combat corruption and impunity. Eliminate gasoline vouchers for elected officials. Collect more taxes from multinational corporations. Cut the salaries and benefits of high-level government officials. Sell the presidential plane. Reduce the first lady's wardrobe spending. Resign.

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The unrest comes as Mexico braces for the administration of President-elect Donald J. Trump, who has threatened to introduce far more restrictive immigration and trade policies, including canceling the North American Free Trade Agreement, increasing deportations and building a wall on the southern border of the United States... in general the Peña Nieto administration seems to be struggling to figure out how to respond to Mr. Trump. Mexicans have been clamoring for a full-throated, chest-out defense of their country and sovereignty against Mr. Trump's threats, but many say they have yet to hear it.

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The gas price increases of about 20 percent are part of a broad overhaul that ends the state's monopoly over the energy industry. The government has long controlled and subsidized gasoline prices, but by the end of the year it will allow gas prices to fluctuate according to the market, a move intended to attract foreign investment to compete with the state oil company, Pemex.

The government has argued that ending fuel subsidies will help the country avoid spending cuts to social programs, and that the subsidies have disproportionately benefited wealthier Mexicans who own cars. But many fear that higher gasoline prices will increase prices for food and public transportation, hitting the pocketbooks of even the poorest Mexicans.

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iehi-feed-61385 Mon, 02 Jan 2017 13:52:40 GMT Forecast 2017: The Wheels Finally Come Off - KUNSTLER http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-01-02_Forecast2017TheWheelsFinallyComeOffKUNSTLER.html The American people have been punked by their own government and their central bank, the Federal Reserve, for years and the jig is now up. In 2017 both will lose their authority and legitimacy, a very grave matter for the survival of this republic.

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Get this: the Fed is completely full of shit. It is terrified of the conditions it has set up and it has no idea what to do next. The "data" that it claims to be so dependent on is arrantly fake. The government's official unemployment number at Christmas 2016 was 4.6 percent. It's a compound lie....

In 2015 they didn't do anything until the very last Fed meeting of the year when they raised the Fed Funds rate 25 basis point (that's a measly one-quarter of a percent). They raised, they said, because they were "confident" about the economy. No, that's not why. They did it because they talked about it all year without doing anything and their credibility was on the line. They also promised four rate hikes altogether in 2016, which they then failed to carry out...

The Fed Funds rate is one thing. As it happens, the Fed does not directly control the interest rates on US treasury bonds, and they have been rising shockingly through the second half of 2016. The crucial ten-year treasury rate has gone up a hundred percent since the summer. Because bond values move inversely to bond rates, the price of ten-year treasuries has tanked, inducing trillions of dollars in losses to bond-holders around the world. The bond market is many times larger than the stock markets. Bonds have been in a bull market since the early 1980s and that bull rolled over in mid-2016...

A sharply rising interest rate on the ten-year Treasury bond will thunder through the system. A lot of other basic interest costs are keyed to the ten-year bond rate, especially home mortgages, apartment rentals (landlords hold mortgages), and car payments. When the ten year bond rate goes up, so do mortgage payments. When mortgage rates go up, house prices go down, because fewer people are in a position to buy a house at higher mortgage rates, and rents go up (more competition among people who can't buy a house). Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP), in force for ten years, has driven house prices back to stratospheric levels. They are now primed to fall, perhaps severely, leaving many homeowners "underwater," with houses worth way less on the market than the amount of mortgage left to pay off. The re-financing market is dead. Housing starts were already down by a stunning 19 percent in November. Automobile sales are rolling over. Manufacturing and retail sales numbers are down at year end. What's up: stocks, stocks, stocks.

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iehi-feed-61303 Tue, 13 Dec 2016 18:21:57 GMT Trumpxuberance... Until It's Not - KUNSTLER http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-12-13_TrumpxuberanceUntilItsNotKUNSTLER.html iehi-feed-61298 Mon, 12 Dec 2016 16:01:07 GMT Oil prices leap after Russia and others agree to output cuts http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-12-12_OilpricesleapafterRussiaandothersagreetooutputcuts.html Oil has soared above $54 a barrel to its highest level in nearly a year and a half. U.S. crude futures jumped more than 5% on Monday after Russia and a bunch of other big producers agreed over the weekend to join OPEC members in cutting their output next month.

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The group of non-OPEC nations -- which includes Mexico, Kazakhstan and Oman -- will aim to reduce their production by 558,000 barrels a day, according to a statement. That follows OPEC's deal last month to cut its overall production by 1.2 million barrels a day.

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"The question which troubles some investors is whether the higher oil price will give the U.S.'s shale oil production a new lease of life," said Naeem Aslam, chief analyst at Think Markets in London.

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iehi-feed-61287 Sun, 11 Dec 2016 17:12:22 GMT Donald Trump Says Exxon's Rex Tillerson Would Be ‘World-Class Player' as Secretary of State http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-12-11_DonaldTrumpSaysExxonsRexTillersonWouldBeWorldClassPlayerasSecret.html Donald Trump on Sunday defended Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Rex Tillerson--expected to be the president-elect's choice as secretary of state--as a "world-class player" who knows international leaders well.

"He's more than a business executive,'' Mr. Trump told Fox News in an interview broadcast Sunday. "He's in charge of, I guess, the largest company in the world."

Mr. Trump called it "a great advantage" that Mr. Tillerson already knows "many of the players," noting that he does "massive deals in Russia."

Those deals would be certain to come under scrutiny in Senate confirmation hearings. A number of Republicans have urged Mr. Trump to be wary of Russia, warning that it is trying to expand its influence in ways that run counter to U.S. interests in places such as Ukraine and Syria.

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Since Mr. Trump began vetting candidates for secretary of state, Mr. Tillerson's stock has climbed steadily. He moved ahead of better-known hopefuls with established political credentials--including 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney--who had multiple conversations with Mr. Trump about the job. Mr. Tillerson is viewed by some of Mr. Trump's advisers as a mold-breaking pick who would bring an executive's experience to the diplomatic role, said a person involved in the process.

Mr. Trump said in a statement on Friday that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani had taken himself out of the running for the diplomatic job and other administration posts late last month.

With Mr. Trump's decision not yet final, other candidates who remain in the running, apart from Mr. Romney, are former CIA director David Petraeus, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), people familiar with the matter said.

If Mr. Trump selects Mr. Tillerson, it would add a seasoned business executive to a team that already includes three retired generals. As Exxon's CEO since 2006, Mr. Tillerson could leverage existing relationships with numerous world leaders.

Exxon has a large global presence, and this could introduce potential conflicts if Mr. Tillerson is selected. The company explores for oil and gas on six of the world's continents and has operations in more than 50 countries.

Mr. Tillerson is slated to retire next year and has retirement funds worth tens of millions of dollars, a value that could potentially be affected by State Department activities. For example, he could benefit from such potential department actions as the lifting of sanctions on Russia.

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iehi-feed-61259 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:49:10 GMT Standing Rock is a modern-day Indian war. This time Indians are winning http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-12-07_StandingRockisamoderndayIndianwarThistimeIndiansarewinning.html Along the snowy banks of the Missouri river, a new story is being painfully birthed. It tells us that frontiers must at some point close. That endless taking must become care-taking. And that Indigenous rights, cast aside for too long, are a key to protecting land and water and preventing climate chaos. America is waking up to new heroes.

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Almost everywhere these fossil fuel projects have emerged, Indigenous peoples have been their first and fiercest opponents: the Cheyenne stopping coal in Montana, the Lummi defeating an export terminal in Washington, and throughout my country of Canada, Indigenous peoples standing in the way of mines and tar sands pipelines. Forget all those supposedly progressive heads of state who have touted the Paris climate accord but effectively undermined it with their actions: real climate leaders, those keeping carbon in the ground, are doing so directly on the land.

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The Lakota, like other Indigenous peoples, have always had to be depicted as the "evil instigators." How else could they be "hunted like wolves," as one US general commanded in 1865; how else could the government violate the treaties that guaranteed them a huge tract of the plains, include the path taken by the proposed Dakota access pipeline. Their lands--seized for gold, parcelled for cattle grazing, flooded for dams--have shrunk and shrunk. That is why they are poor and America has become rich.

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But brave activism has shown that an unbroken history of ugliness and violence is never a guarantee of the future. It turns out treaty rights were never a specimen of the past. They were always living and sacred obligations. In ways clear to more and more people, they have also become the most powerful non-violent weapon for a habitable planet. Which means that honouring the treaty and land rights of Indigenous peoples is now not only a long-overdue moral and legal duty: a stable climate depends on it.

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iehi-feed-61256 Tue, 06 Dec 2016 23:53:23 GMT Trump Native America Advisors: "Drill, Baby Drill... Under Indian Reservations" http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-12-06_TrumpNativeAmericaAdvisorsDrillBabyDrillUnderIndianReservations.html Native American reservations cover just 2 percent of the United States, but they may contain about a fifth of the nation's oil and gas, along with vast coal reserves. Now, a group of advisors to President-elect Donald Trump on Native American issues wants to free those resources from what they call a suffocating federal bureaucracy that holds title to 56 million acres of tribal lands, two chairmen of the coalition told Reuters in exclusive interviews.

The group proposes to put those lands into private ownership - a politically explosive idea that could upend more than century of policy designed to preserve Indian tribes on U.S.-owned reservations, which are governed by tribal leaders as sovereign nations.

The tribes have rights to use the land, but they do not own it. They can drill it and reap the profits, but only under regulations that are far more burdensome than those applied to private property.

"We should take tribal land away from public treatment," said Markwayne Mullin, a Republican U.S. Representative from Oklahoma and a Cherokee tribe member who is co-chairing Trump's Native American Affairs Coalition. "As long as we can do it without unintended consequences, I think we will have broad support around Indian country."

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The plan dovetails with Trump's larger aim of slashing regulation to boost energy production. It could deeply divide Native American leaders, who hold a range of opinions on the proper balance between development and conservation. The proposed path to deregulated drilling - privatizing reservations - could prove even more divisive. Many Native Americans view such efforts as a violation of tribal self-determination and culture.

It's funny that people think this even matters anymore: two years of rock-bottom energy prices did little to revive the moribund economy, as the core monetary engine of capitalism was not revived.

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iehi-feed-61192 Thu, 01 Dec 2016 00:55:37 GMT Bombshell: OPEC+Russia Agree to Historic Oil Production Cut, Price Spikes 10% http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-11-30_BombshellOPECRussiaAgreetoHistoricOilProductionCutPriceSpikes10.html OPEC confounded its doubters and sent crude oil prices soaring by agreeing to its first production cuts in eight years. The deal, designed to drain record global oil inventories, overcame disagreements between the group's three largest producers -- Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq -- and ended a flirtation with free markets that started in 2014. It was also broader than many had expected, extending beyond OPEC. Most strikingly, Russia agreed to unprecedented cuts to its own output.

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The impact on the energy world was immediate: benchmark oil prices gained as much as 10 percent in New York and the share prices of energy companies around the globe jumped alongside the currencies of large exporters. Whether that's sustained will depend on how strictly members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries stick to the agreement, something they haven't always done in the past.

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iehi-feed-61170 Tue, 29 Nov 2016 15:21:10 GMT Oil Climbs as Iraq Pledges to Cooperate With OPEC on Output Deal http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-11-29_OilClimbsasIraqPledgestoCooperateWithOPEConOutputDeal.html Oil rose as Iraq's oil minister said it pledged to cooperate with OPEC to reach an agreement this week that's acceptable to all members.

Futures gained 2.2 percent in New York, reversing an earlier decline. Iraq's Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said Monday he's "optimistic" a deal will be reached at OPEC's summit in Vienna on Wednesday. However, after hours of discussions on Monday, an OPEC committee didn't reach agreement on production cuts during high-level talks in Vienna, according to a delegate. Iran and Iraq still have reservations on cuts, the delegate said.

Saudi Arabia previously said that the producer group doesn't necessarily need to curb oil output, after pulling out of a scheduled meeting with non-members including Russia.

... If OPEC fails to reach an output deal this week, oil prices may fall to the $20s, Amrita Sen, Energy Aspects Ltd. chief oil analyst, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Vienna on Monday.

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iehi-feed-61071 Mon, 14 Nov 2016 17:23:58 GMT What Now? - Kunstler http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-11-14_WhatNowKunstler.html Mr. Trump might not know it yet, but his chief task will be managing contraction. It would appear to be problematic, since his chief promise -- "to make America great again" -- is based on restarting the epic expansions of the 19th and 20th centuries. Well, things have changed... He begins to look like a man in a tunnel staring down the harsh light of the onrushing gravy train.

... The financialization of the economy is already playing into its disastrous climax as I write, with bond markets tanking all over the planet. What this means is that the long-ignored chickens of risk associated with debt are coming home to roost. As they do, they are going to shit over everything on the financial landscape. Industrial societies have been borrowing from the future to a grotesque degree for decades, pretending that these debts were assets rather than liabilities. That perception is about to change, and with it an enormous amount of presumed notional wealth is going to disappear.

... My sense of things is that this meta-predicament alone could overwhelm the Trump government from the very start. We could have problems with money orders of magnitude worse than anything FDR faced in 1933, with bank closures, the seizing of accounts, and the paralysis of everyday business.

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iehi-feed-61027 Tue, 08 Nov 2016 15:48:55 GMT OPEC Boss Warns of Oil-Market Instability If No Deal on Output http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-11-08_OPECBossWarnsofOilMarketInstabilityIfNoDealonOutput.html The Algiers agreement helped push oil prices to a 15-month high above $50 a barrel, but crude has subsequently fallen as several OPEC states disputed production estimates that would determine the size of cuts required of the group's individual members. OPEC wants to put the changes into effect when it meets in Vienna on Nov. 30.

The group's internal disagreements have so far prevented a deal to secure cooperation from major non-OPEC suppliers such as Russia after rounds of talks in Vienna. The producers will meet again in the Austrian capital later this month. OPEC, which pumps about 40 percent of the world's oil, is trying to persuade suppliers from outside the group to join the cuts. The 14-member group has held talks in the past weeks with producer nations including Russia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Mexico.

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