Monday, 19 June 2017

France: There May Be Trouble Ahead.

Baltic Dry Index. 851 -04     Brent Crude 47.25

“Now, here in Europe, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

J-C “Glenfarclas” Juncker, with apologies to Alice in Wonderland.

Up first today, yet another win for the French upstart political party of newly elected French President Macron. As expected his party cruised to a landslide win in the Parliament. Britain’s greatly weakened Prime Minister can only look on in envy. But the win took place on a record low voter turnout, suggesting that any labour law reforms or agricultural reforms, will as usual be contested on the streets by the unions and farmers.

Mon Jun 19, 2017 | 1:38am BST

Macron wins strong parliamentary majority, estimates show

President Emmanuel Macron won a commanding majority in France's parliamentary election on Sunday, sweeping aside traditional parties and securing a powerful mandate for pro-business reforms.

The result, based on official figures and pollster projections, redraws France's political landscape, humiliating the Socialist and conservative parties that alternated in power for decades until Macron's election in May.

Three pollsters projected that Macron's Republic on the Move (LREM) and its Modem allies would win 355 to 365 seats in the 577-seat lower house, fewer than previously forecast.

They predicted the conservative Republicans and their allies would form the largest opposition bloc with 125 to 131 seats, while the Socialist Party, in power for the past five years, and its partners would secure 41 to 49 seats, their lowest ever in the postwar Fifth Republic.

Official figures with 90 seats still left to be decided showed LREM had already won its majority.

----Voter turnout was projected to be a record low at about 42 percent.

The high abstention rate underlines that Macron will have to tread carefully with reforms in a country with muscular trade unions and a history of street protests that have forced many a past government to dilute new legislation.

Staying with the wealth and jobs destroying EUSSR, later today the long awaited Brexit fight opens in Brussels. In the blue corner underdog John Bull. In the red corner, “Glenfarclas” Juncker, and his tag-team of the rump-27.  In the peculiar ways of the EUSSR asylum, nothing meaningful is expected to happen today, though John Bull’s man does get a day-trip to summery Brussels.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” David Davis remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said Juncker: “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Davis.
“You must be,” said Juncker, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

With apologies.

Mon Jun 19, 2017 | 2:02am BST

Britain and EU launch Brexit talks in Brussels

Brexit Secretary David Davis starts negotiations in Brussels on Monday that will set the terms on which Britain leaves the European Union and determine its relationship with the continent for generations to come.
Almost a year to the day since Britons shocked themselves and their neighbours by voting on June 23 to cut loose from their main trading partner, and nearly three months since Prime Minister Theresa May locked them into a two-year countdown to Brexit in March 2019, almost nothing about the future is clear.

Even May's own immediate political survival is in doubt, 10 days after she lost her majority in an election.
Davis, who unlike May has long campaigned to leave the EU, will meet chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier, a former French minister, at the European Commission's Berlaymont headquarters at 11 a.m. (0900 GMT). 
They are due to give a joint news conference after talks among their teams lasting seven hours.

Officials on both sides play down expectations for what can be achieved in one day. EU diplomats hope this first meeting, and a Brussels summit on Thursday and Friday where May will encounter - but not negotiate with - fellow EU leaders, can improve the atmosphere after some spiky exchanges.

"Now, the hard work begins," Davis said, adding he wanted a deal that worked for both sides.

In USA news, the fight to dethrone President Trump continues. America’s “deep state,” and War Party, have combined with the failed Clintonistas, and yesterday’s Obamaites, plus the press and Hollywood, A-B-C listers, in yet another attempt to undo last November’s vote. But Civil Wars rarely have fast endings. My guess is that this one won’t have one either.

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.

Mueller, with apologies to Alice in Wonderland.

Sun Jun 18, 2017 | 9:58pm BST

Trump lawyer says president not informed he is under investigation

One of President Donald Trump's personal lawyers said in television interviews on Sunday that the president was not under investigation for obstruction of justice, but when pressed on the assertion, said he was not certain.

"The fact of the matter is the president has not been and is not under investigation," Jay Sekulow, a new member of Trump's legal team, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" in one of four interviews he gave on Sunday.

There have been multiple news reports and a tweet from Trump himself on Friday that began with: "I am being investigated."

Challenged on "Fox News Sunday" about the issue, Sekulow said he could not be certain Trump was not under investigation but that no one had notified the legal team if that was the case.

It is common for subjects of federal investigations not to know they are under scrutiny, especially in the initial phases.

A source familiar with the Mueller probe said on Thursday that investigators would have to gather a large amount of evidence before an interview with the president would be warranted.

Trump, who has denied any collusion between his campaign and Russia, has frequently lashed out about the allegations, which have overshadowed his administration's efforts to overhaul the healthcare system, cut taxes and boost jobs.

Mueller, the special counsel named by the Justice Department to probe the Russia matter, is investigating whether anyone associated with Trump or his campaign had any illegal dealings with Russian officials or others with ties to the Kremlin. Russian officials have denied meddling in the U.S. election.

Next, a strange tale from Canada of imperial madness down the ages, presented in the era of President Trump, with more than an implication that President Trump is unfit for office. Why now, cui bono, comes to mind? Are the “deep state” now preparing a coup? Planting the seeds of sedition abroad first, provides cover, plausible deniability, and much greater safety for the conspirators. Even better yet, with Canada right next door to the USA, the sedition is sure to get US coverage.

Below, the Trumpian sedition stoops to new lows. Still if I were President Trump, I’d be hiring a food taster along with that set of outside counsel. A must read article for all, but especially President Trump.

“Off with their heads!”

Hillary Clinton with apologies to Alice in Wonderland.

The madness of King Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States

His aggrandizing and self-defeating leadership, conducted via a modern royal court, suggests Trump may be unfit for office. The history of removing incompetent regal rulers shows that it is those closest to him who bear the closest watching.
By Richard EvansForeign Policy Sun., June 18, 2017

Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, has not been in office for very long, but already the contours and characteristics of his rule have become clear. Rather than govern conventionally, through officers of state appointed for their competence and experience and with the agreement, however reluctant, of Congress, he has chosen to gather around him an informal coterie of friends, advisers and relatives — many of them, like himself, without any experience of government at all — while railing against the restrictions imposed on him by constitutional arrangements such as the independence of the press and the judiciary.

Trump’s entourage resembles nothing more closely than the court of a hereditary monarch, with informal structures of rule elbowing aside more formal ones. Trump did, after all, win widespread support in the electorate by promising precisely this: shaking up, bypassing or overthrowing the Washington establishment and trying something new.

The result, however, has been chaos and confusion, contradiction and paralysis. It has become clear that the president of the United States is someone who does not read his briefs; who does not take the advice of experts in the intelligence field or indeed in any other; who fires off brief statements without thinking whether they are consistent with his administration’s declared policies; who is seemingly incapable of putting together a coherent sentence with a subject, a verb and an object; who is apt to give away state secrets to a foreign power; and who seems to have no respect either for the truth or for the Constitution (not least in respect of freedom of religion and freedom of speech). He may not be mad, but a growing number of commentators allege that Trump is suffering from dementia, or is mentally subnormal, or is suffering from a personality disorder of some kind.

In a situation where a head of state is incapable of carrying out his duties properly, what guidance can history offer us? The relevant history isn’t so much the history of the presidency of the United States, where no incumbent has ever been successfully removed from office by Congress, but rather the history of incompetent — or allegedly incompetent — rulers at other times and in other parts of the world.

What happens when a political elite concludes that the real or titular head of state has to be deposed in the interests of the country as a whole? Of course, given Trump’s leadership style, the pertinent question might be narrowed down further: What happens when a monarch is judged as mentally unfit to rule?

In modern times, just as further back in history, madness is a slippery concept, hard to pin down unless there are obvious signs of delusion, derangement, paranoia or actual physical aggression.
More. Much, much more.

We close for the day with greatly under reported news in the west. With the USA, EUSSR, and UK all in various stages of turmoil, India and Pakistan have joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as full members.

The SCO now contains just over half of all the people living on earth and about 25 percent of the planet’s Gross Domestic Product, but with China and India full members, that percentage is sure to rise.  EUSSR anyone?

SCO Secretary-General: “Since this day, the state flags of eight SCO member states fly around the emerald-blue flag of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.” The flags of India and Pakistan have been hoisted at the SCO Headquarters

2017 / 06 / 15
SCO Secretary-General: “Since this day, the state flags of eight SCO member states fly around the emerald-blue flag of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.” The flags of India and Pakistan have been hoisted at the SCO Headquarters

On 15 June 2017, the SCO Headquarters in Beijing hosted the ceremony of raising the state flags of the two new SCO member states, the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The ceremony was held as part of the celebrations dedicated to the 16th anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

The event was attended by Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China Kong Xuanyou, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov, extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassadors of member states, observer states and SCO dialogue partners, SCO Secretariat officials, and media representatives.

The SCO Secretary-General said in his opening remarks that "it is on this very day 16 years ago, at the juncture of two millennia, that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation appeared on the political map of the world. Good-neighbourliness and common development goals, these simple and clear principles of interstate relations enshrined in the Charter, have become the foundation of an organisation of a new type and turned the SCO into an effective factor of international life," Rashid Alimov said.

He reminded his audience that meeting in the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Astana, on 9 June, the leaders of the SCO founding states adopted a historic decision on accepting India and Pakistan as full members of the Organisation. "Today, on SCO Day, we have come to the SCO Headquarters to attend the ceremony of raising the state flags of India and Pakistan. From this day, the state flags of eight SCO member states united by the Shanghai Spirit will fly around the emerald-blue flag of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation," he said.

PRC Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Kong Xuanyou said in his remarks that the flag-raising ceremony was meant to show everyone that the SCO states were enthusiastic to start a new stage in its development. "The eight member states will march hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder under the aegis of the Shanghai Spirit based on the principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for cultural diversity, and striving for joint development," he said. He called on the SCO family of states to continue and promote the good tradition of consolidation and mutual trust and to work together to enhance the Organisation's role in international and regional affairs.

"India's historical and cultural ties with countries in the region are centuries old and we value our protracted relations with each SCO member state. Today, as a permanent SCO member, we hope to promote these relations to achieve mutually beneficial cooperation," Indian Ambassador to the PRC Vijay Gokhale said.

John Bull laughed. “There’s no use trying,” he said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said Juncker. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast, and still do.”

With apologies.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today we focus on this week’s Paris Air Show and that tower block fire in London. Will it be boom or bust in the aircraft industry in Paris? So far this year, bust has it over boom, with new competition now arriving from new commercial airplanes made in China. It’s not quite “as goes this year’s Paris Air Show, so goes the global economy,” but it will give a good indication if the global recovery is in serious trouble, or merely an old fashioned slow down.
Below Paris expectations from an American perspective. Below that, that towering inferno of blunder and possible criminality in London. What on earth were the Fire Brigade thinking when they told people in a high rise tower block on fire to “stay-in-situ” and we’ll come and rescue you?

Paris Air Show will feature bold talk and undercurrents of worry as Boeing pitches new jet

Originally published June 16, 2017 at 6:00 am Updated June 17, 2017 at 2:46 am

At the Paris Air Show, expect few big airliner orders. Boeing will launch the MAX 10, its effort to scramble back to parity with Airbus in the single-aisle market. And the wider aerospace business will try to allay fears of a downturn.

Dominic Gates Seattle Times aerospace reporter
At the Paris Air Show, which starts Monday, bold talk from Boeing of new airplanes won’t mask the current precarious reality of the aviation industry.

At the biennial show, Boeing will launch the 737 MAX 10, a new larger model of its latest single-aisle jet — a stopgap measure against a corresponding Airbus jet that’s a runaway sales winner. The launch customers may include United Airlines.

Boeing executives will also give a confident teaser presentation on an all-new airplane that won’t be formally launched until next year at the earliest — the “middle-of-the-market” airplane already referred to as the 797.

And yet, facing lower profits and a glut of large airplanes in the market, airlines are looking to defer or even cancel existing orders. And the threats of terrorism, protectionism, travel bans and a wider ban on onboard laptops all threaten a steeper downturn.

For Airbus, the A380 superjumbo jet program looks like it’s finally dying. For Boeing, the main worry is even more critical: the new 777X program.

---- “Everybody is playing defense,” said Richard Aboulafia, aviation analyst with the Teal Group. “The theme of the Paris Air Show is putting a brave face on the status of existing orders.”

In detailed briefings ahead of the Paris Air Show, Boeing executives did just that, insisting they can get by until the inevitable upturn in sales of big jets arrives.

Boeing news out of Paris will start with the launch of the 737 MAX 10, according to a person familiar with the plan.

The new jet is likely to get a doubting reception.

The MAX 10 is a 66-inch stretch of the MAX 9, offering two extra rows of seats. That additional length required an engineering change to the landing gear, which is levered so that although it’s longer, it folds into the same wheel well.
Otherwise, the MAX 10 is little different from the other models. It’s designed to address, with minimal cost to Boeing, the wild sales success of the rival Airbus A321neo, which has won almost 1,400 orders because it flies farther and carries more passengers than any 737.
----Boeing also promises in Paris to lift the veil a little on its next new jet, the 797.

This concept started out as another answer to the A321, but following Boeing’s consultations with airlines has become something larger and more ambitious:

Seating 220 to 270 passengers with a range of 5,500 to 5,700 miles, it’ll be a twin-aisle airplane that’s intermediate in size and range between a single-aisle 737 and a twin-aisle 787 Dreamliner — hence the “middle of the market” label.

No current airplane has this particular combination of range and size. Delaney said the proposed 797 would allow airlines to open routes that no plane currently serves — between cities that lack enough traffic to justify a very large airplane yet are too far apart or with too much traffic for a single-aisle jet. One example would be Washington, D.C., to Prague.

In response, Airbus has already started talking to airlines about a potential single-aisle “A322,” a further stretch of the A321neo with a new wing and whatever engines Boeing puts on its 797.

----While the A380 is perilously close to running out of runway, other widebody jets from both Airbus and Boeing are simply in a sales slump.

For Boeing’s 777X, the timing of the slump is awful.

Overcapacity in the widebody jet market has already forced Boeing to slash 777 jet production, and jobs, in Everett.

In 2016, Boeing delivered 99 current model 777s. In August, the rate sinks to 60 jets per year. And next year, Boeing is expected to deliver only around 42 of the jetsas it leaves blanks in the production line to allow mechanics extra time to cope with the introduction of the first 777X models.

The expected ramp-up of the 777X model offered some hope of a revival of work in Everett starting sometime after the first delivery in 2020. But that ramp-up could be slow and distant.

The problem is that five of the seven identified airlines that have ordered the 777X, all blue-chip giant carriers, are in trouble.

Carsten Spohr, chief executive of Germany’s Lufthansa, said this month the airline must think about deferring some of its 34 orders as it reviews its capacity needs.

Why Grenfell Tower became a raging, wind tunnel of a fire

'It is basically like a candle which is sandwiched between two sheets of metal'

June 16, 2017

"It had to be a cladding fire."

British fire protection specialist Arnold Tarling isn't wondering what caused the fire to spread so quickly in London's Grenfell Tower early Wednesday. He's certain the recently added exterior cladding system is to blame.

For years, the associate director of London-based Hindwoods Chartered Surveyors has been calling for improved fire safety regulations in the country.

----Following is an edited transcript of an interview with him Thursday by CBC executive producer Tracy Seeley.

Q: In your opinion, what happened?

There was an initial source of fire. That cause is entirely irrelevant to what happened later. What happened is the fire got out of a flat, maybe from an open window or through a broken window from the heat. And then it started heating the panelling and the insulation above. That then set a chain reaction in which the panel started to burn.

The panels being aluminium, melt at 600 degrees [Celsius] or thereabouts. But the fire brigade cannot put out any of the fires behind these panels, because there's metal there. You also have a wind tunnel effect sucking the flames up the wind tunnel, up between the insulation and the external cladding, melting the solid polyethylene above, and continuing the fire right up the height of the building."
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?

New chemical method could revolutionize graphene

Date: June 14, 2017

Source: University of Illinois at Chicago

Summary: Scientists have discovered a new chemical method that enables graphene to be incorporated into a wide range of applications while maintaining its ultra-fast electronics.

University of Illinois at Chicago scientists have discovered a new chemical method that enables graphene to be incorporated into a wide range of applications while maintaining its ultra-fast electronics.
Graphene, a lightweight, thin, flexible material, can be used to enhance the strength and speed of computer display screens, electric/photonics circuits, solar cells and various medical, chemical and industrial processes, among other things. It is comprised of a single layer of carbon atoms bonded together in a repeating pattern of hexagons.

Isolated for the first time 15 years ago by a physics professor at the University of Manchester in England, it is so thin that it is considered two-dimensional and thought to be the strongest material on the planet.

Vikas Berry, associate professor and department head of chemical engineering, and colleagues used a chemical process to attach nanomaterials on graphene without changing the properties and the arrangement of the carbon atoms in graphene. By doing so, the UIC scientists retained graphene's electron-mobility, which is essential in high-speed electronics.

The addition of the plasmonic silver nanoparticles to graphene also increased the material's ability to boost the efficiency of graphene-based solar cells by 11 fold, Berry said.

The research, funded by the National Science Foundation (CMMI-1030963), has been published in the journal Nano Letters.

Instead of adding molecules to the individual carbon atoms of graphene, Berry's new method adds metal atoms, such as chromium or molybdenum, to the six atoms of a benzoid ring. Unlike carbon-centered bonds, this bond is delocalized, which keeps the carbon atoms' arrangement undistorted and planar, so that the graphene retains its unique properties of electrical conduction.

The new chemical method of annexing nanomaterials on graphene will revolutionize graphene technology by expanding the scope of its applications, Berry said.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished May

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

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