The common signs of all empires collapse from the Romans to now the United States?
The common signs of all empires collapse from the Romans to now the United States?
And good riddance to most of these. Golf? Diamonds? Hooters? Good riddance for sure.
Aug. 20, 2017
Millennials’ preferences are killing dozens of industries.
There are many complex reasons millennials’ preferences differ from prior generations’, including less financial stability and memories of growing up during the recession.
“I think we have got a very significant psychological scar from this great recession,” Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly Greenberger told Business Insider.
Casual dining chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee’s
Brands such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Ruby Tuesday, and Applebee’s have faced sales slumps and dozens of restaurant closings as casual-dining chains have struggled to attract customers and increase sales.
In August, Applebee’s announced it would close up to 135 restaurants, in part because it focused too much on winning over millennials and forgot its “Middle America roots.”
“Millennial consumers are more attracted than their elders to cooking at home, ordering delivery from restaurants, and eating quickly, in fast-casual or quick-serve restaurants,” Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith wrote in a letter to shareholders earlier this year.
In late July, Goldman Sachs downgraded both Boston Beer Company and Constellation Brands based on data suggesting that younger consumers prefer wine and spirits to beer, as well as the fact that they’re drinking less alcohol than older generations more generally.
Beer penetration fell 1% from 2016 to 2017 in the US market, while both wine and spirits were unmoved, according to Nielsen ratings.
While some argue that calling a 1% drop in penetration a beer-industry homicide case is an overreaction, small shifts have a huge financial impact on beer industry giants. Beer already lost 10% of market share to wine and hard liquor from 2006 to 2016.
The Post points to a survey conducted by Mintel, which highlights that only 56% of shoppers said they bought napkins in the past six months. At the same time, 86% surveyed said they had purchased paper towels.
Paper towels are more functional than napkins and can be used for more purposes. And the Post noted that millennials are more likely to eat meals out of the home, contributing to the decline.
Business Insider Video
People ages 18 to 24 are 19% less likely to search for breasts on the pornographic website Pornhub compared with all other age groups, according to an analysis conducted by the website.
For “breastaurants” like Hooters and Twin Peaks, a loss of interest in breasts is bad for business. The number of Hooters locations in the US has dropped by more than 7% from 2012 to 2016, and sales have stagnated, according to industry reports.
Hooters has struggled to win over millennials for some time now. In 2012, the chain attempted to revamp its image with updated decor and new menu items to attract more millennial and female customers.
Unsplash / Jennifer Pallian
Instead, younger consumers are turning to convenient options with minimal cleanup that can be eaten on the go, from yogurt to fast-food breakfast sandwiches.
Cereal sales dropped 5% from 2009 to 2014, even though more Americans are eating breakfast than ever before.
Companies such as Kellogg and General Mills have reported that sales have stopped falling in 2017, so cereal may not be dead just yet.
“From the golf industry statistics, we know that rounds are down,” Matt Powell of the industry-research firm NPD said in a video in 2016. “We know that millennials are not picking up the game, and boomers are aging out. The game is in decline.”
While millennials have created new fitness crazes, like SoulCycle and barre classes, golf has failed to capture their interest in the same manner.
“Our data suggests the younger Gen Y population is adopting motorcycling at a far lower rate than prior generations,” AB analyst David Beckel said in a July note downgrading its rating of Harley-Davidson shares from “outperform” to “market perform.”
Motorcycle sales at Harley-Davidson, which represents about half of the US big-bike market, were down 1.6% overall in 2016 versus the year before. US sales fell 3.9%.
The company shipped 262,221 motorcycles overall, which fell short of expectations of 264,000 to 269,000 units.
Kid Rock hasn’t made an official announcement that he is running for the Senate, but the singer delivered an expletive-laden political speech in Detroit at his concert Tuesday evening — tearing into “deadbeat dads,” the welfare system and white supremacy.
For balance, here’s the speech from the President in the movie “Idiocracy”.
In another slap in the face against US hegemony, China just opened up a $10 billion credit line for Iran. This means that, while the US Congress was forced to raise the debt ceiling again, this time way beyond the $20 trillion mark, the Eastern Alliance member countries are moving ahead with the massive Eurasian project known as the One Belt One Road revival of the ancient Silk Road.
“Assisting Tehran with sidestepping an ongoing Washington sanctions regime against the country, China has opened a $10 billion line of credit intended to finance energy, transportation, water and other key Iranian infrastructure projects.
Following the ground-breaking 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and Russia, the US, China, France, the UK, as well as Germany and the EU, to end its nascent nuclear weapons program, Tehran — in honoring the terms of the unprecedented treaty — has nonetheless seen Washington implement a host of new sanctions against the Middle Eastern country, including asset freezes and limits on global financial transfers.
According to Iranian Central Bank President Valiollah Seif, Chinese state-owned CITIC investment company has opened a $10 billion credit line to several banks in Iran to be used to fund wide-ranging infrastructure projects in the country, according to a report by the Times of Israel.
The significant credit line will primarily use euros and yuan to bypass the US sanctions.
Seif indicated that the $10 billion, alongside an additional previous $15 billion of Chinese investment into other unnamed projects in the country, show “a strong will for continuation of cooperation between the two countries,” according to Pakistan’s geo.tv media outlet.
China is seen to be opening trade to the region as part of a trillion-dollar “One Belt, One Road” strategy to increase ties to Africa and Europe. China is the biggest recipient of Iranian oil, and accounts for almost a third of Tehran’s overall trade.
In pledges to significantly increase trade with Iran, Beijing previously opened two credit lines equaling $4.2 billion, to build high-speed railway lines between Tehran and the cities of Mashhad and Isfahan, according to the Iran Daily, hot on the heels of an €8 billion credit agreement between Tehran and Seoul’s Exim bank signed in August.
While western banks remain cautious, particularly as Washington has imposed what many consider to be unnecessary financial blocks on Tehran, negotiations are progressing between banks in Austria, Denmark and Germany to provide a $22 billion credit line to Iran.”
Exceptionalism is dead.
Mutual cooperation is the new game in town, and multipolarity is the new normal.
Nabil Mohamad is vice president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Sept 16, 2017
On September 16, 1982, following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the right-wing Christian Phalange militia stormed the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in West Beirut and began a massacre which ended in the deaths of hundreds, maybe thousands, of mostly Palestinian civilians. I was 19 years old at the time. By chance and by luck I managed to survive. My mother and five younger sisters and brothers; and my uncle, his wife and eight kids did not.
Israel’s invasion began June 6, 1982. After much destruction, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which had defended the camps since its inception, agreed to leave Lebanon in August. They were given American assurances that civilians left behind would be protected. The president-elect of Lebanon, and the leader of the Phalange, was assassinated on September 14th. The Israeli army proceeded to invade and occupy West Beirut.
Israeli troops surrounded the camps to prevent the refugees from leaving and allowed entry of the Phalange, a known enemy of the Palestinians. The Israelis fired flares throughout the night to light up the killing field – thus allowing the militiamen to see their way through the narrow alleys of the camps. The massacre went on for two days. As the bloodbath concluded, Israel supplied the bulldozers to dig mass graves. In 1983, Israel’s investigative Kahan Commission found that Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Defense Minister, bore “personal responsibility” for the slaughter.
The massacre at Sabra and Shatila was a direct consequence of Israel’s violation of the American-brokered ceasefire and the impunity bestowed on Israel by the US and the international community. This tragic anniversary is a reminder that the international community continues to fail to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law and to defend the basic human rights of the Palestinian people.
|If the international community is obliged to remedy its moral responsibility to the victims of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, by working to end Israel’s occupation and other abuses of Palestinian rights, then the lives of my family members and the others we remember on this 35th year will not have been lost in vain.|
Thirty-five years after the massacre, Israel continues to abuse Palestinian rights without consequence and to enable the violence of its proxies, whether it is the Phalange as in the past or today, illegal Israeli settlers living on occupied Palestinian land. Settler attacks on Palestinian property, lands, and persons have terrorised thousands and killed almost entire families, such as last year’s arson attack on a Palestinian home that killed a mother, father, and their 18-month baby. Palestinian complaints filed against settlers go unindicted by Israel. In fact, as documented by Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, “the [Israeli] military serves the settlers by allowing the attackers to simply walk away”. When they do take action, Israeli soldiers are more likely to support the settlers, often allowing them to continue attacking Palestinians rather than shielding innocent civilians.
And the Israeli military itself continues to commit war crimes with impunity, as evidenced by Israel’s repeated attacks on the tiny besieged Gaza Strip over the past decade, which have killed thousands of innocent Palestinians with disproportionate and indiscriminate force.
The dehumanisation of Palestinians by Israel also continues. It was this same dehumanisation that led Israel to allow vengeful militiamen to enter the Sabra and Shatila camps and that permits Israelis to occupy another people for fifty years and inflict humiliation and injury. That indifference to the fate of the Palestinians does not belong solely to Israel. Israel’s 69 years of dispossession and half-century of military rule is supported by unconditional American military aid and diplomatic backing. International bodies like the UN Security Council have repeatedly made note of Israel’s human rights violations, but done nothing more.
A fourth generation is now growing up in the squalid refugee camps in Lebanon. In Sabra and Shatila, most living spaces consist of two very small rooms: a bedroom, where the entire family sleeps, and a living room of sorts. There is no ventilation, and hardly any electricity. Most families use battery-powered lighting. Drinking tap water is prohibited, as it is full of bacteria and very salty – it actually corrodes pipes. There are poor sanitary conditions. Medications for all illnesses are in short supply. Narrow alleyways – some with sewage running through – wind through the camps. When it rains these small paths become muddy. Electrical wires hang from dwellings. Young men connect and reconnect wires; from time to time, someone is electrocuted. Foul odours emanate from those crowded conditions. Illness is rampant. The Palestinian refugees in Lebanon long to return from exile to the homeland they were expelled from but are not permitted to do so by Israel, simply because they are not Jewish.
If the international community is obliged to remedy its moral responsibility to the victims of the Sabra and Shatila massacre by working to end Israel’s occupation and other abuses of Palestinian rights, then the lives of my family members and the others we remember on this 35th year will not have been lost in vain.
Nabil Mohamad is vice president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He is currently living in Washington, DC with his wife, son and daughter.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.
Millions of Americans who trusted Equifax with sensitive personal and financial data, including social security numbers and credit-card information, are now nervously wondering whether they will be among the unlucky minority of affected customers whose identities are successfully “repurposed” by online criminal groups.
One researcher from security firm SecureWorks shared some details about today’s burgeoning marketplace for stolen data with Bloomberg, and the conclusion is clear: It is now easier – and cheaper – for criminals to access and abuse illicit data than ever before. In fact, a high-limit American express card with a high chance of working can be purchased online for less than $20. Criminals can buy files with thousands of low-limit card numbers for pennies on the dollar.
According to Bloomberg, “verified” high-limit credit cards from developed countries like the US, Japan, and South Korea are selling on the dark web for the bitcoin equivalent of about $10 to $20.
“Verified” means the seller has tested out transactions on the card and found it hasn’t been canceled yet. For scammers on a budget, there’s unverified stolen credit card data, which comes out to pennies a card when bought in bulk.
Here’s a screengrab from one dark-web marketplace.
Luckily for criminals, cards generally aren’t selling any cheaper on the dark web these days, said Alex Tilley, a researcher at Secureworks. Today’s buyers are more likely to get higher-quality cards, ones with sizable limits that can be used fraudulently with ease. It isn’t as hit-or-miss as it used to be, a welcome change for criminals, chilling news for most of us.
Criminals have even set up sophisticated “rating systems” to help value the data. Business cards are preferred, Tilley said, because they don’t have a limit. Those and high-end personal cards—say, a Platinum American Express that has been verified and has an 85 percent rating (judged by the seller to have an 85 percent chance of being successfully used in a fraud)—will go for $15 to $20. A regular Mastercard that doesn’t have a high limit might go for $9.
One underground hacker market inexplicably called Trump’s Dumps is selling full identities of individuals just like you for as little as $10 apiece. They’re called fullz, “dossiers that provide enough financial, geographic and biographical information on a victim to facilitate identity theft or other impersonation-based fraud.” Fullz can help a criminal get past those irritating “secret questions” that sites ask to verify your identity.
Recently, Secureworks’ researchers have seen more offers of bulk pre-verified card details, along with more identifying information about the owners. In some cases, offers even include the cardholder’s mother’s maiden name. Still, they cost just $10 to $12. Below is a fullz offer with a lot of personal identification on a Korean consumer.
In a massive breach like Equifax, hackers can easily walk away with hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from selling the data. Meanwhile, the identity thieves who purchased it can reap their own fortune running their scams.
Congress, the FTC and Equifax customers – enraged by both the company’s reluctance to initially disclose the breach and its carelessness (some would say tight-fistedness) concerning its cybersecurity defenses – have buried the company in lawsuits and official inquiries.
As USA Today revealed yesterday, hackers took advantage of an Equifax security vulnerability two months after an industry group discovered the coding flaw and shared a fix for it, raising questions about why Equifax didn’t update its software successfully when the danger became known.
We’re looking forward to hearing the whole story from CEO Rick Smith when he testifies before Congress early next month. Whether Smith manages to hang on to his job remains to be seen – calls for his resignation after a 12-year-long scandal-free tenure are mounting. CNBC’s Jim Cramer said last night that Smith “should be fired today.”
But perhaps more worrying for Smith and his C-Suite companions are calls from North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who has demanded a criminal investigation into whether the company’s executives – several of whom sold stock during the period between when the company first learned about the hack and when it disclosed it to the public – commited securities fraud.
by: Mike Adams
September 16, 2017
(Natural News) As one of the very few independent voices willing to stand up against the scientific dogma of our modern medical regime, I’ve long felt a need to communicate the dangers of flu shots to the public so that people can have better information to prevent vaccine injuries and save lives.
This doesn’t mean I’m opposed to the theory of vaccination, by the way. In fact, I’m the author of A Blueprint for Safer Vaccines, an audio guide to saving lives and preventing vaccine injuries and deaths.
To my knowledge, I’m the only independent journalist in the world who is scientifically trained to run an atomic mass spectrometry laboratory, which I’ve been running for over three years now and testing the heavy metals content of organic superfoods like cacao, common vaccines as well as the ability of water filters to remove toxic heavy metals. I’m the creator of the Low Heavy Metals Verified standard and I’m the inventor of patented nutritional formulas for capturing heavy metals during digestion and binding with the radioactive isotopes of cesium (such as Cesium-137) to eliminate them from the digestive tract. Click here to see my Cesium Eliminator patent that was recently approved by the U.S. government.
My independent atomic elemental analysis of flu vaccines, published in the summer of 2014, proved that flu vaccines contain over 50 ppm mercury, an extremely toxic heavy metal linked to kidney failure, birth defects, spontaneous abortions and neurological damage. This finding has never been refuted by anyone. In fact, it was affirmed by vaccine proponents who insisted that it is perfectly safe to inject pregnant women, young children and senior citizens with mercury even though the flu vaccine insert itself readily admits there is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in such groups.
Believe it or not, there are still millions of people, doctors, pharmacists and even journalists who do not yet realize there is a very high concentration of mercury in influenza vaccines given to pregnant women, children and senior citizens. Most people, you see, have been lied to by the media which has stated over and over again that mercury was removed from all vaccines.
That’s simply not true.
It’s still there. And toxic mercury is present in influenza vaccines at a level that’s literally 25,000 times higher than the EPA limit of mercury in drinking water.  It’s 100 times higher than the highest level of mercury contamination I’ve ever tested in ocean fish.
To prove the presence of mercury in influenza vaccines, I’m going to show you four irrefutable pieces of evidence:
1) Photographs of a 2013 / 2014 influenza vaccine box admitting, in very small print, to the addition of mercury to the vaccine as a preservative.
2) Photographs of the influenza vaccine insert once again repeating the admission that the vaccine contains mercury.
3) A screen shot from the Centers for Disease Control website which admits that vaccines still contain the following ingredients: Aluminum, Antibiotics, Egg Protein, Formaldehyde, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and Thimerosal, a mercury-containing chemical compound.
4) Lab results from the Natural News Forensic Food Lab which confirmed almost precisely the same level of mercury claimed by the manufacturer (GlaxoSmithKline).
Before I show you the irrefutable evidence, there is some good news in all this testing. As part of this Natural News investigation, I tested several different vaccines, including an HPV vaccine. Mercury levels were extremely low in these other vaccines. Only the flu shot contained extremely high mercury levels.
As you can see below, the box for this Flulaval Influenza Virus Vaccine readily admits the use of thimerosal which contains mercury. (Of course, you have to use a magnifying glass to see this.) In microscopic text on the package insert, it says straight out, “Register women who receive Flulaval while pregnant in the pregnancy registry by calling 1-888-452-9622.”
Yet, at the same time, the insert also admits that “safety and efficacy have not been established in pregnant women.”
In other words, this vaccine containing mercury is being promoted for use in pregnant women even when no safety in pregnant women has ever been established.
It’s also important to note that when people are being given flu shots, they are never handed the package or the insert, so they have no opportunity to read any of this information unless they specifically ask for it.
It’s not like a food item with a “Nutrition Facts” label. Vaccines are sold in “stealth” mode where patients have no idea what’s in them and no opportunity to read possible warnings.
As further proof of this point, consider the fact that this flu vaccine comes with only one insert, yet it’s a 10-dose vial intended to be injected into 10 different people. Clearly, if there’s only one insert but 10 people, then 9 out of 10 people can’t possibly be handed the insert.
In fact, from a legal perspective, vaccines are routinely injected into people without informed consent. Virtually no one administering vaccines ever explains the risks vs. benefits of vaccines as is required under medical ethics and state medical law. In nearly all cases, patients are simply hoodwinked and told there are no risks at all.
The second piece of evidence to reveal here is the package insert for the influenza vaccine, a document printed in microscopic text that’s almost impossible to read without a magnifying glass.
Of course, the intention is that no one ever read this document, because it contains shocking admissions of the total quackery and marketing deception behind flu shots.
As you can see from this snapshot, the package insert readily admits that each vaccine dose “contains 50 mcg thimerosal (<25 mcg mercury).”
In case you’re wondering, “mcg” means micrograms. A microgram is 1/1000th of a milligram. Mercury is toxic at any dose when injected into the body, even in micrograms. There is no such thing as a “safe” form of mercury when injected. In fact, the ethyl form of mercury used in vaccines is many times more toxic than methyl form once it enters human cells. Click here for a fascinating interview with mercury toxicity expert Dr. Chris Shade who explains this extremely important concept.
The same paragraph shown above also admits the vaccine contains formaldehyde, a potent neurotoxic chemical.
What’s even more astonishing about this insert is that it openly admits the flu shot is a complete medical hoax, backed by nothing but voodoo woo woo faith-based dogma (and clever marketing).
Here are actual words from the insert (which is much more lengthy than the snapshot shown above):
“There have been no controlled trials adequately demonstrating a decrease in influenza disease after vaccination with Flulaval.”
“Safety and effectiveness of Flulaval have not been established in pregnant women, nursing mothers or children.”
“Safety and effectiveness of Flulaval in pediatric patients have not been established.”
“Flulaval has not been evaluated for carcinogenic or mutagenic potential, or for impairment of fertility.”
“Do not administer Flulaval to anyone… following previous administration of any influenza vaccine.”
For those “mercury denialists” who still can’t believe flu shots given to pregnant women contain high concentrations of toxic mercury, even the CDC reluctantly admits this fact on its own website.
Here’s a screen shot from the CDC’s vaccine additives page, which miraculously hasn’t yet been removed from their site:
The final piece of irrefutable evidence on all this comes from my own scientific laboratory, where I run ICP-MS instrumentation to test foods, beverages, dietary supplements and other items for heavy metals contamination. I’m also the author of Food Forensics, the world’s first science book that detailed the heavy metals testing results for over 800 foods, supplements, pet foods and spices.
I was the first food researcher to document high levels of tungsten in brown rice protein, and I’ve exposed alarming levels of lead in pet treats. I’ve also exposed high lead in ginkgo biloba herbal supplements imported from China.
When I finally got around to testing vaccines, I was shocked to find over 51,000 ppb mercury in the Influenza Virus Vaccine.
Why was I shocked? Because I don’t recall ever seeing anything run through my ICP-MS instrument with that high a concentration of mercury. The mercury in this flu vaccine was the HIGHEST concentration of mercury I’ve ever seen in anything, period!
And this is a product that’s injected directly into the bodies of pregnant women, where mercury goes right into the developing fetus.
What’s even more interesting is that this finding once again confirms the accuracy of my lab instrumentation because it’s almost in perfect agreement with the level of mercury detailed on the vaccine package insert.
Let’s do the math:
* Each dose of an influenza vaccine is 0.5 mL in volume
* My lab found just over 50 ppm of mercury in the vaccine liquid.
* 50 ppm (concentration) x 0.5 mL (volume) equals 25 mcg of mercury.
Guess what the package insert says? (Up to) 25 mcg of mercury per dose. Near-perfect agreement, in other words. My finding of 51 ppm rather than 50 ppm either means my own tests were off by about 2% (which is still considered very accurate for ICP-MS testing) or that GSK put 2% extra mercury into the vaccine.
And just so you know I actually did the tests, here’s what else we found with other analytes:
Aluminum: 0.4 ppm
So, I can confidently say that the flu vaccine won’t poison you with lead, cadmium or arsenic because it contains none of those things. Even the aluminum level is quite low and not a concern at this very low level. The real problem is just the mercury, at least as far as elements go.
Good question. Everybody knows mercury is toxic to inject into the human body. That’s not debated except by irrational anti-science denialists who refuse to acknowledge the Table of Elements.
You have to wonder: why choose mercury as a preservative? And why do both the CDC and FDA continue to look the other way as an entire branch of modern medicine poisons our women and children with a neurotoxic heavy metal?
And if vaccine promoters, propagandists and patent holders want the world to accept all their vaccines, why don’t they just remove the mercury and be done with it? If they take out all the toxic elements, resistance to vaccines would all but evaporate.
Ever wonder why they don’t conduct legitimate clinical trials on flu vaccine efficacy? Probably because they know the results would have to be faked to show any efficacy at all. That’s what Merck did with its mumps vaccines, according to two former virologists who worked there. They spiked human blood samples with animal antibodies to fabricate positive results. Yep, vaccines work so poorly that even the manufacturers have to fake their own results to show any efficacy.
Vaccines are the one medicine where no scientific evidence of safety or efficacy is required by anyone: not the FDA, not the CDC and not the media. Congress even passed a law protecting the vaccine industry with absolute legal immunity, even when they manufacture and sell defective products that injure and kill people.
How’s that for medicine we can all trust? Think about it: this is a product that contains multiple neurotoxins in very high concentrations; a product backed by no safety trials or efficacy data; a product linked to numerous serious adverse reactions; and yet a product that enjoys absolute legal immunity thanks to the U.S. government.
If that’s not outright medical quackery, I don’t know what is.
For the record, I’m not an opponent of all vaccines. But I do believe — as do a rapidly increasing number of other clear-thinking people — that medicine should not poison our women and children. It’s time for mercury to be removed from all vaccines, once and for all. Anything less is medical negligence.
Ultimately, We the People will be victorious in the removal of mercury from all vaccines — an idea that’s already well accepted across much of Europe. And when that day comes, it will be yet another victory for the Natural News fan base, an amazing community of millions of remarkable people working together for the protection of our children, our health and our world.
See my recent video interview with Next News Network’s Gary Franchi on why flu shots are failures:
Sources for this article include:
If the Trump administration puts sanctions on China, this would hurt America more because it just forces China and Russia and other countries to cooperate, says investor and financial commentator Jim Rogers.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned on Tuesday that the US could impose economic sanctions on China if it does not implement the new sanctions regime against North Korea, saying that the restrictions could involve cutting off Beijing’s access to the US financial system.
“If China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system, and that’s quite meaningful,” Mnuchin said at the Delivering Alpha Conference in New York City.
The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution banning North Korea’s textile exports and capping its oil imports following Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test conducted last week.
RT spoke to famous investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers to discuss global perspectives in the case of the US imposing sanctions on China.
RT: What is the likelihood that the US will go through with and actually impose economic sanctions on China if it does not implement the new sanctions regime against North Korea?
Jim Rogers: Sanctions are sanctions. They could do sanctions which are not very important or don’t do much damage. And then they will have good public relations which says they have sanctions, but it is meaningless. I would suspect if anything, that is what they will start with. If they put sanctions on China in a big way, it brings the whole world economy down. And in the end, it hurts America more than it hurts China because it just forces China and Russia and other countries closer together. Russia and China and other countries are already trying to come up with a new financial system. If America puts sanctions on them, they would have to do it that much faster and in the end America will lose its monopoly on the financial system, which will hurt America more than anybody.
RT: What do you think, is it an empty rhetoric and saber-rattling from Donald Trump because he said “those [UN] sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen” without specifying what he meant by that. Do you think this is just mere bluff on the part of the US, or would it really use the ‘nuclear option’?
JR: If it uses a nuclear option for sanctions, it will hurt America much more than will hurt North Korea, it will hurt America much more than it will hurt China, Russia and everybody else. It will force the rest of the world to find an alternative to the US financial system. If he does that, it is going to cause a lot of turmoil in the world financial economy and in the end it is going to hurt America more than it is going to hurt anybody else.
I would give you an example, if you look at Russian agriculture right now – America put sanctions on Russian agriculture trying to hurt Russia, but it has helped Russian agriculture. Russian agriculture is booming now. In the end, America has hurt itself more than it has hurt anybody else.
RT: If that happens, what would the consequences be for the global economy? Could this end up becoming a global economic crisis?
JR: We are probably going to have a global economic problem, maybe even crisis, in the next couple of years. This may be one of the things that start it. There is always something which starts a crisis. If America does something like this, this could be the thing that did it. In 1929, it started when America started a huge trade war with the rest of the world and the economists said, “please, this is a mistake,” but America did that anyway. And then we had a great collapse and The Great Depression of the 1930s.
RT: Washington runs a $350 billion annual trade deficit with Beijing. China also holds more than $1 trillion in US debt. How could the US actually threaten China in such circumstances?
JR: Mr. Trump has been saying for over a year, two years, that he was going to start a trade war with China. He was going to put very high tariffs on Chinese goods. In his mind, he wants to do it, he is ready to do it. Some of his advisors are very much in favor of a trade war. It may very well happen. If it happens, it is going to be very bad for the world and it is going to be worse for America than for other people.
RT: How significant is Chinese trade with North Korea?
JR: For North Korea, it is extremely important – that is really the only trade partner. They don’t trade with many people except China. But it is not very important for China. China has got gigantic trade all over the world and North Korea is a very small economy.
RT: What impact will this have on North Korea itself? From an economic perspective, would they be able to keep up their military development under harsh sanctions regime?
JR: If China actually cuts off their oil or something, no, then North Korea cannot do much of anything. North Korea would have troubles surviving if they do something like that. It depends on the sanctions, so far China has not done anything which would destroy North Korea. But they could destroy North Korea if they cut off all trade.
Tatiana Klimova, for RT
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Posted: Sep 15, 2017
The latest U.S. government guidelines hand a lot of the responsibility for the safety of autonomous vehicles over to the companies that make them, but a Canadian expert says that may be the best option, and ultimately the decision will save thousands of lives.
“We’re [in between] a rock and a hard place.” says Paul Godsmark of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE), which provides consulting services, analysis and recommendations to government, public sector agencies and private industry on automated vehicle deployment.
“It’s really a fascinating problem.”
The Trump administration this week issued updated safety guidelines for self-driving cars that take an even more hands-off approach than those issued by the Obama administration, which were already largely voluntary.
“The language is very much written in a way to make it seem like nothing that they are putting in there is an actual regulation. It’s kind of like vague guidelines.” says Mike Ramsey, research director with Gartner, a technology research firm.
“I think what you’re seeing is the Trump administration is very eager to show that they’re pulling back regulation, making it easier for companies to get things accomplished, removing barriers and roadblocks,” he said.
Called Automated Driving Systems 2.0 – A Vision for Safety, the new guidelines include a 12-point safety checklist, and make stipulations such as autonomous vehicle systems are expected to be able to detect and respond to objects both directly in front of them and nearby “including pedestrians, bicyclists, animals and objects that could affect safe operation of the vehicle.”
Companies are also encouraged to install systems that make drivers pay attention to the road even when vehicles are operating autonomously.
Godsmark says it’s clear the new guidelines are letting companies take the wheel. “What they’re doing is they’re giving license to developers to try an untested technology on an unsuspecting public,” says Godsmark.
As frightening as that may sound, he says it may be the best decision.
For one thing, it wouldn’t be practical to safety-test autonomous vehicles in a lab or controlled environment for the length of time needed to reach a statisticallly acceptable safety standard.
“We would need to have several billion miles of testing which … I think some people have calculated would take several hundred years,” he says.
Some studies have shown driverless cars could reduce the number of traffic fatalities by up to 90 per cent by removing driver error, speeding and other unsafe human practices.
The current human system, Godsmark says, is killing about 40,000 people a year in the U.S. — around 2,000 per year in Canada — and injuring many, many more.
The question is, would unleashing an imperfect automated technology kill or injure fewer people than the current human-controlled driving system?
Godsmark says yes, even if that means having to place an immense amount of trust in private industry.
“We know that in the past when you trust tech companies and the automakers, they can take liberties.” he says.
But Godsmark and other supporters of the U.S. approach believe the developers are determined to make the cars safe because their business survival depends on it.
“So they are very motivated to get it right,” Godsmark said.
Others question whether a pure market approach is the best way go.
“Not all regulation is bad. The regulation exists to protect us,” says Ramsey.
“There’s an amount of regulation that has to go in because we’re not talking about just putting in an automatic braking system,” he says.
“So in one sense, yes, a lot of lives could be saved [by autonomous vehicles], but in another sense, you don’t want to rush something like this,” he said. “I mean, you’re talking about completely taking the human out of the driving loop. So it’s a big decision. It’s a big thing.”
The U.S. is well ahead of the curve on automated vehicles compared to much of the rest of the world, moving forward with actual deployment. Other countries, including Canada, are still in the testing phase.
The entire automated vehicle segment is moving much more quickly than many people may realize, Godsmark says.
“The lead developers, the ones that I am monitoring, they are making great strides,” he says. “And my expectation is that we will have some form of autonomous vehicle operating on public roads in the next two years in North America.”