Monday, 12 June 2017

A Tale of Three Cities.

Baltic Dry Index. 849 +25     Brent Crude 48.36

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

Macron, May and Trump, with apologies to Charles Dickens.

We open today comparing the mood in two European cities this morning, with that of Washington, District of Crooks.  Compare and contrast politics in Paris, London, and Washington. In Paris, a new broom sweeps clean the old order. Socialism is dead, at least for now, although when President Macron attempts to reform French labour laws, I expect the honeymoon will be over, and the entrenched union interests will rise to the fight. France is still France after all, and no government has ever successfully managed serious labour reform.

In London, the shakiest of weak governments clings on to power, but only if it can secure the support of Northern Ireland’s 10 Democratic Unionist MPs. Even then, it’s a leaky death-trap ship of state, sailing into a minefield of Brexit negotiations, while needing to somehow remain an honest broker in relations post Brexit, between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to the south. King Solomon would have his work cut out tackling this.

But that’s not all of the EUSSR’s problems. Greece still needs another bailout, followed by a debt write-off. Islamic terrorism is still a big threat all across Europe. Germany holds its Presidential election on September 24th, making Brexit negotiations largely moot until after that vote.  And Catalonia is due to vote on independence from Spain on October 1.

In Washington, it’s an all against all, tag-team civil war. With a new front opened last week against hapless, far away, former ally, Qatar

Finally, all of the EUSSR plus America, is desperately hoping that Friday’s tech stock collapse in America, isn’t the start of something bigger than just sector rotation. This would be one hell of a time to start a real stock market correction, with the Fed set to bring in another miniscule rate hike.

Macron Tightens Grip on France as Voters Offer Assembly Majority

by Mark Deen,Gregory Viscusi, and Geraldine Amiel
President Emmanuel Macron expanded his control of French politics as voters put his party on track to a sweeping majority in the National Assembly in the first round of legislative elections.

Macron’s year-old party, Republic on the Move, won about 31.5 percent of the vote, almost 10 percentage points ahead of the Republicans, according to the Interior Ministry, with 89 percent of the vote counted. The result would give Macron’s backers between 415 and 455 seats out of 577 in the lower house of parliament, according to projections by Ipsos.

The results -- which need to be confirmed in the second round of voting next Sunday -- would give Macron the biggest majority in the Assembly since 1993. That offers the 39-year-old president the power to push through his recipe for fixing France over the next five years and face the consequences if he fails.

“Emmanuel Macron has redrawn the French political map,” former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Twitter. He and his party have “a generational chance to deliver reforms.”

One key plank of that vision is the controversial labor-market overhaul that he has promised to deliver by mid-September. With the French economy lagging its peers, Macron also wants to change tax rates and fix inequalities in the pension system. He’s already started to revamp French intelligence services after terrorists claimed more than 200 lives since the beginning of 2015.

Simplifying France’s labor code was one of Macron’s main campaign promises. The president began a round of initial meetings with union leaders within 10 days of taking office on May 14. Those talks will get under way in earnest after next Sunday’s second-round vote as the government seeks common ground for reworking the country’s byzantine labor rules.

May's Authority Tested After Rivals Promoted to Save Premiership

by Thomas Penny and Tim Ross
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will face furious lawmakers from her Conservative Party on Monday in a showdown that could signal the end of her premiership a day after she was forced to promote prominent Brexit hardliners in her bid to cling to power.

May, who will chair a meeting of her new Cabinet in the morning, will hear first-hand the anger of rank-and-file members of Parliament who blame her for the catastrophic election campaign that saw the Tories lose their parliamentary majority in Thursday’s general election.

“I’m sure there will be lots of colleagues wanting to air their concerns about the way the campaign was run and the situation in which we find ourselves,” Graham Brady, the lawmaker who heads the backbench 1922 committee, told BBC Radio. It “clearly isn’t where we wanted or expected to be following the general election,” he said.

Ministers, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Trade Secretary Liam Fox, rallied to May’s side, saying the time is wrong for a leadership challenge or another general election. Johnson had earlier been forced to deny newspaper reports that he would try to unseat May.

----May named Michael Gove, who unsuccessfully ran against her for the party leadership last year and whom she then fired from the Ministry of Justice, as her new environment secretary. She also promoted another leadership challenger, Andrea Leadsom, from the environment job to leader of the House of Commons, responsible for steering legislation through Parliament.

----One sign of May’s weakness is the appointment of Gove, who ran for the Tory leadership in the wake of the Brexit referendum after betraying an earlier agreement to back Johnson.

A rift between Gove and May developed during the premier’s time in the Home Office and his in the Department for Education in David Cameron’s coalition government and she fired him when she became prime minister. As one of the leading cheerleaders for Brexit, Gove will now have to unravel the complex end to EU subsidies for Britain’s farmers.

Sun Jun 11, 2017 | 10:02pm BST

Factbox - Key dates for May as she seeks deal to stay in power

---Below are a list of key dates faced by May in the coming week.

- Northern Ireland talks

The DUP and Irish nationalists Sinn Fein are due to restart talks to form a new power-sharing government in Northern Ireland and avoid devolved power reverting to the British parliament in London for the first time in a decade.

The sides have until June 29 to secure a deal, but observers fear any concessions to the DUP by May's Conservatives could complicate the talks, deepening the region's political crisis.

- May's top team of ministers to meet

---- May meeting with Conservative lawmakers

May is due to meet with Conservative lawmakers in parliament. The chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of Conservative lawmakers Graham Brady has told BBC radio's Westminster Hour programme that the meeting has been brought forward to Monday.

British media have reported that moves were afoot within May's party to dislodge her after her election gamble - aimed at increasing her party's majority in parliament ahead of Brexit talks - backfired.

A leadership contest can be triggered if 15 percent of the Conservative's 318 lawmakers write to Brady saying they no longer have confidence in May.

- May to meet with DUP leader Arlene Foster

Discussions were held between May's Conservatives and the DUP over the weekend with a view to the Northern Irish party supporting May's minority government on key votes in parliament.
Foster is due to travel to London on Tuesday to meet May to discuss the details of a possible arrangement.

- May to travel to France to meet President Emmanuel Macron

- Parliament returns to elect speaker

Parliament reconvenes following the national election to elect a speaker for the lower house, the House of Commons. Swearing in of lawmakers will then begin, and continue for the rest of the week.

- Bank of England's Mark Carney and Chancellor Philip Hammond speak

The two men in charge of Britain's economy deliver their annual Mansion House speech on Thursday when they are likely to try to calm businesses and investors worried by May's precarious grip on power and the uncertain outlook for the UK economy which has lost a lot of its momentum of 2016.

- Brexit talks begin

Talks on Britain's exit from the European Union are due to begin. May has said her government will go ahead with these discussions as planned.

- State opening of parliament and Queen's Speech

Parliament is due to be formally reopened. Queen Elizabeth will deliver the "Queen's Speech", setting out the government's plans for the new parliamentary session.

The debate on the Queen's Speech usually lasts about five or six days. The vote at the end of this debate is considered an important symbolic test of the ability of a government to command the confidence of the House of Commons.

If May can get through this vote with the help of the DUP she can continue in government. If not, the opposition Labour Party would expect to have an opportunity to put forward an alternative Queen's Speech and see if it could win the support of a majority in parliament.

If neither party can command a majority in parliament for their Queen's Speech, it is likely a fresh election would be called.

Tens of thousands rally in Barcelona for Catalan independence vote

Barcelona (AFP) - Tens of thousands of demonstrators including Pep Guardiola, the revered former manager of Barcelona's football club, rallied in the city on Sunday to support the Catalonia independence referendum called for October 1.

Carles Puigdemont, leader of Catalonia's regional government, defied Madrid on Friday by setting a date for a binding vote even though the referendum has been ruled illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court.

"We will vote, even if the Spanish state doesn't want it," Guardiola told the crowd speaking in Catalan, Spanish and English.

"There is no other way; the only possible response is to vote," he added.

As Puigdemont looked on, Guardiola also spoke calling for the international community's support against "the abuses of an authoritarian state".

But if you think things are bad for Her Majesty’s Government on this side of the Atlantic, it’s all against all, on the other side of the Atlantic, where the losing Clintonistas have never accepted that their man lost.

American politics is an embarrassing mess thanks to a reality TV huckster, poor loser and scandal-hungry press

Rex Murphy Friday, Jun. 9, 2017
It’s not all Trump, you know. American politics, post-election, is an embarrassing mess, a degrading and degraded spectacle, driven by rivers of frantic speculations, feeding on leaks, misreporting, and hyper-partisan narratives, and ultimately powered by the self-serving certitude of the side that lost to that clown, that they couldn’t have lost, didn’t really lose, and if they did lose was because — apart from a million lesser causes beyond their control — Vladimir Putin was out to get Hillary Clinton.

Naturally, many of the heroic reporters of this unhinged moment in American polity have the great saga of Watergate on their minds. So many years after poor Tricky Dicky raised his arms and gave the pathetic two-handed victory signal as he was boarding the Marine helicopter about to fly him into infamy, reporters have dreamed and fantasized about another such moment. And if one doesn’t show up on its own, they are perfectly happy to manufacture one themselves.

They are greatly assisted by Donald Trump, a president not unacquainted with wild thinking, random outbursts, strange claims and an addiction to the lower functions of partisan insult. But the mess that U.S. politics has become could not be the work of one man, however committed such a mage might be to the dark arts of self-sabotage, and enslaved to the enchanted callings of the Twitter moon.

In fact, he has had much help. Principally, from She Who Could Not Lose, the Matriarch of the Purged Emails, who ran a campaign so sloppy, unfocussed and self-wounding it could serve as a manual for the next time Kevin O’Leary decides to waste his time on his next defeatist half-plunge into Canadian politics. It remains a red-hot ardent belief among the Hillary cult that because she was never supposed to lose, she really did not lose. That the American people, unless swayed by grim and shadowy forces, would have unerringly accepted her gesture of self-sacrifice to take up the presidency of her country.

Hillary has been running around since the night she lost peddling more excuses than that sweaty car salesman who dumped a lemon on a customer, and launching daily and ever-more exotic claims for why the natural order of things was denied on election day. Every day brings a fresh and more inventive excuse. This isn’t intransigence, this is fortified delusion: the inability to accept defeat having mutated into an ever uncoiling list of how “they” had engineered and rigged the results to rob her of her otherwise ineluctable victory. Most of the torpedoes that hit the Hillary campaign were launched by the captain of their own submarine. But she and her supporters simply cannot accept that. It is beyond their grasp.

This brings us to the insane atmosphere that surrounded the James Comey hearings this week. The determination of every right thinker, backed by the unappeasable fury of the Clinton apparatus, has driven a crazed post-mortem of the Trump victory that has the press in its full service and represents a Watergate-sized lust for conspiracy mongering. An article by Lee Smith in Tablet magazine puts the matter neatly in a single paragraph:

“What’s new is a vulgar conspiratorial mind-set becoming the norm among the country’s educated elite — editorialists, distinguished professors, figures who were once talked about as future members of the Supreme Court — and being legitimized daily by truth-telling bureaucrats who make evidence-free and even deliberately false accusations behind a cloak of anonymity.”

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner 

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
No crooks, bent banksters, nor doubled over politicians today. Today, how the “experts” completely under estimated the global uptake of photo voltaic solar power. The 21st century is shaping up to be the real start of the Solar Power Age.

One chart shows how solar energy growth is skyrocketing compared to predictions

Leanna Garfield Jun. 6, 2017, 5:34 PM
In early 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projected that, starting that year, the world would add just 50 gigawatts of added solar energy capacity per year. And in 2017, solar's growth rate would level out and start to decline.

But as one clean energy researcher points out, the IEA may have gotten it wrong about solar's potential for growth — not just this year, but every year since 2002.

The IEA publishes annual projections about the growth rate of solar energy in its World Energy Outlook. Auke Hoekstra, a head researcher at the Technical University of Eindhoven in The Netherlands, says these forecasts are too conservative when compared to solar energy's track record.

On Twitter, he summed it up in one chart, first spotted by Mother Jones. It compares the IEA's predictions about solar energy adoption (measured in gigawatts of capacity added annually) and historic data about solar energy adoption since 2002:

Every year, the organization assumes that solar's growth rate will be linear, rather than increasing exponentially as it largely has for over a decade.

As the Guardian reported in March, the amount of new solar power installed worldwide in 2016 increased by about 50%, reaching 76 gigawatts. China and US spearheaded the surge in solar — both countries nearly doubled the amount of PV panels they added in 2015. 

Globally, there is now approximately 305 gigawatts of solar power capacity, partly due to the fact that the cost to install solar panels has dropped significantly worldwide in recent years. Since 2011, it has declined 67%, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). If the price of solar continues to decline, adoption of the renewable energy source will likely become even more common — which doesn't match up with the IEA's flatlining projections through 2030.

"In my work with other radical innovations ... experts are simply very conservative in their own field," Hoekstra tweeted. "A conservative mindset makes it possible to reject empirical data that suggests radical change."
More, that chart.
Technology Update.
With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards? DC? A quantum computer next?

Graphene enhancing our vision of the infinitely small

Date: June 9, 2017

Source: Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

Summary: Researchers report using one-atom-thin graphene film to drastically enhance the quality of electron microscopy images.

Developing new scientific devices pushing the limits of what we can observe and measure does not occur overnight. There are typically baby steps involved, small and continuous improvements to counter the numerous technical hurdles arising on the way. The new state-of-the-art electron microscope developed by Prof. Tsumoru Shintake at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) is no exception to the rule. Through the development of this one-of-a-kind microscope, OIST researchers reported such a crucial step in the journal Microscopy using atom-thin layers of graphene to enhance microscopic images of minuscule viruses.

Electron microscopes relies on an electron beam rather than light to illuminate the target sample. The electron beam would hit the sample, with the resulting scattering of the electrons allowing scientists to build an accurate image of the target. This way, electron microscopes can achieve a much higher resolution compared to light-based devices. Prof. Shintake's unique microscope does not even rely on optical lenses any longer, instead using a detector to reveal which electrons hit the tiny virus samples and reconstructing the image through a computer algorithm. Moreover, while conventional electron microscopes require high-energy electrons, this microscope rather focuses on low-energy electrons which can potentially be much more efficient at imaging viruses if the associated technical issues can be overcome.

"Low-energy electrons interacts very strongly with matter," explained Dr. Masao Yamashita, the first author of the study. "They are great for imaging biological specimens, made up of light materials like carbon, oxygen and nitrogen, which are basically transparent to high energy electrons."

Using low energy electrons however has an important drawback: because of its high sensitivity with matter, a low energy electron beam would interact with the target sample but also with everything else like the support plate and film on which the sample is laying. The resulting image would not distinguish the study material from the background.

To counter this effect, researchers from the Quantum Wave Microscopy Unit turned to the unique properties of graphene. They synthesized a film made of a single layer -- one atom thin -- of graphene on which the biological samples, like the viruses they study, will be displayed.

Graphene is extremely conductive, which means electrons can cross the layer very easily. This way, the low energy electrons will interact very little with the background graphene layer and much more with the virus sample which will stand out with a great contrast. This high conductivity also prevents "charging-up," an accumulation of electrons on the film that would distort the final image. The thinness of the film also provides a much brighter background -- thus a much better contrast with the study material -- than conventional carbon films.

"The graphene film allows us to achieve great contrast with very low energy electrons, allowing to enhance tiny details" added Dr. Yamashita.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished May

DJIA: 21,009 +157 Up. NASDAQ:  6,199 +219 Up. SP500: 2,412 +161 Up.

No comments:

Post a Comment