Tuesday, March 20, 2018



Jada Thacker reviews the assumptions behind the Hollywood film, "Hostiles", and points out that American Democracy was tyrannical in destruction of egalitarian civic structures of native American societies. 
Jada does not brush aside any awkward facts. There are no completely good-guys in the world. He does burst certain mass-delusional bubbles, writing as a historian. There is lots to consider... "Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can..."

Cat sends this article "Triggering War", the turning of a society into a bloodthirsty mob, like at football games, ready to "get behind out president", and punch traitors and pacifists in the mouth. This kind of mass social resonance with hate and rage really helps a country win wars. It's hard to generate. 
Pearl Harbor (Roosevelt's arrangement. He tracked the Japanese and got the carriers out a week ahead of them.) was a great success. 
The "new Pearl Harbor" of 9/11 worked well enough. Most people still kinda' accept that ragheads-with-box-cutters suspended the laws of physics and dropped steel skyscrapers into their footprints with burning kerosene, achieving fall times the same as a basketball dropped from the top.
It's important to have constructive things to do yourself when the crowds are triggered. 
Americans are getting harder to trigger. This is a problem for the owners. They are looking into what it might take this next time.

Colleen sends this article, explaining what Vladimir Putin's winning of the Russian Presidential Election with over 76% of the vote means. Russia is united behind a leader they know and trust, and Russians get more galvanized the more the West tries to bleed and starve them.

It's harder to "trigger" folks when..." The Monmouth University Polling Institute found that no less than 74% of Americans believe in a "deep state" when it is described as a collection of unelected officials running policyOnly 21% do not believe this kind of group exists."

The US has ships in place to attack Syria (again) with cruise missiles and aircraft. Thanks Eleni.

NATO is putting some of it's strategic eggs in another basket, moving more and more air attack forces out of Incirlik airbase (Turkey) and into Al-Azraq, in Jordan. This is a very insightful article, with an important insight at the end. Thanks Eleni.

British scientists are tired of being browbeaten to declare that whatever made a (prisoner-traded) Russian traitor and his daughter sick was a Russian nerve-weapon. There is no such evidence at all, and they will not lie to the public (unlike politicians, but not Jeremy Corbyn).

American instructors are reportedly training Syrian good-terrorists to launch a false flag chemical weapons attack to justify more US military assaults on Syria.

Paul Craig Roberts figures "War is on the Horizon", as the US and UK poke the Russian bear and see what Russia's resolve for war might be. (Testing, testing...)

There is no "free trade"- there is only the Darwinian Game of Trade, Charles Hugh Smith (Don't Look! It's the TRUTH!) 

How long can we get away with it? (When will the smoke and mirrors financial system collapse?) Charles Hugh Smith [We will really need to be triggered for war when it does.]

Tempe Az. police say the Uber self-driving car did not appear to be at fault for killing the bag-lady, while traveling 38 mph in a 35 mph zone. 
She just jumped out from the dark, with her bicycle and bags of recycling, faster than the computer-brain could react. The human driver didn't notice anything until he heard the impact. (Mentioned here is the legal awkwardness if it is determined that the machine, not the "driver" or the corporation, may have been at fault.)


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Meet Me In Mongolia


The DMZ would be a logical meeting place for Presidents Trump and Kim, cheap and practical. There are lots of other candidates, according to the new York Time. I really like the last one best. Ulan Bator is the capital city of Mongolia, which maintains good relations with all parties. This is a picture of the central square in August. Mongolians wear sweaters,  jackets and long trousers in August.

Peace in Our Time? 
Tom Luongo looks at this from some different angles, realistically. This can be win-win-win-etc. One big question is whether the US is politically unified enough to keep negotiated agreements. It has not been at all reliable in Syria, where Kerry/Obama would negotiate, and the Pentagon would completely betray the agreement. (The left hand seems aware of what the right hand is doing, but cannot control it.)

Could the Trump/Kim Summit Succeed? 
This article is guardedly hopeful, as am I. We would not be this far along unless a basic framework had already been worked out by North and South Koreans, and tacitly approved by some in the American, Chinese and Russian power structures. The American power structure is in some kind of covert civil war, as far as I can tell. If Trump can have military assurances of backing, then he can negotiate. What might be the shelf life of those assurances? Is the deal with Iran an indicator? Trump threatens it, but has not actually broken it. North Korea will need US nukes out of South Korea for this to work. that will need to be assured by China and Russia, also. It is logical for Korea to unify and get all foreign troops out. Koreans would like that. It's the obvious solution, but holds it's own (eventual) risks for China, US, Russia and Japan.

CIA Director and incoming Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo says (among other things) that China poses a greater threat to the US than does Russia (Duh, but how odd to hear a politician say something truthy!) He fails to mention the US threat to the US, which is the elephant in the room. Pompeo is in-line with Trump. Tillerson is "thanked-for-service".

Russia just lost 20 experienced military pilots in a very-reliable Antonov-26 transport plane attempting to land at their base in Syria. There were other high ranking officers aboard. This looks like the ideal setting for an electronic warfare shoot-down. Who would do that? Only the US and Israel would seem to have the motive and means. That does not include everybody in those countries, of course...

This comment from a Russian General refers to generalities, not this specific accidental crash of a military transport bringing Russian pilots and officers to Russia's Syrian air base:
Gerasimov said Russia would respond to a U.S. strike on Syria if the lives of Russian servicemen were threatened, targeting any missiles and launchers involved: "In case there is a threat to the lives of our military, the Russian Armed Force will take retaliatory measures both over the missiles and carriers that will use them," the Russian General said. 

Opaque threats against Russia for completely fact free accusations of poisoning in UK, appear poised to justify more attacks of some kind against Russia(n interests). Foreign Minister Lavrov points out that there are channels for this, that Russia will happily proceed through these channels, and that a bit of evidence is always needed to get started, like some samples of the poison, for instance.
“As soon as the rumors came up that the poisoning of Skripal involved a Russia-produced agent, which almost the entire English leadership has been fanning up, we sent an official request for access to this compound so that our experts could test it in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC],” Lavrov said. So far the request has been ignored by the British side, he added. 
"We have certainly heard the ultimatum voiced in London,” Russia's top diplomat Sergey Lavrov said. “The spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry has commented on our attitude to this,” he added referring to Maria Zakharova branding of May’s appearance in Parliament as a “circus.” 

The UK kicks out some Russian diplomats and huddles the western team at the UN to decide how to counter this most recent Russian lack of response to provocation. Maybe some evidence will be presented to the club, maybe not. Why bother?

Hungary moves to repatriate gold from vaults in London. (Gold is better than trust. Global banking is due to reset "bigly" soon.)

"The Everything Bubble" is waiting for the pin, David Stockman The top 10% have "profited" from the bubble in all investments from stocks to junk bonds. This bubble has been supported, which has been part of the impoverishment of everybody else. That is a fragile system, and the repesentations of wealth are a mirage, as soon as there is a call for them. It's inevitable, but when?

These graphs point out that it is not actually about "economics". It's about clearer models of reality, more easily analyzed.
"The global economy is set to continue increasing its capacity to produce more and produce it more efficiently.  However, excluding Africa, the populations capable of childbirth and their offspring are set to accelerate their declines...and resultant global consumption hopelessly overmatched versus the significant overcapacity being created.  Significant depopulation of young populations is a given while elderly populations continue exploding.  Only through this lens can one understand the true problems facing an economic system premised on infinite growth.  We are at the end of an epoch and the hopefully the beginning of another...the confusion in the interim and messy attempts to sustain the old system shouldn't be surprising, although these attempts haven't a chance to succeed."

Eleni sends this article about the cyber-war for our minds, now being fought by active duty military and civilian contractors the world over. Let's zoom in on current champ, Israeli Defense Force and (paid) friends.
How Israel and its partisans work to censor the Internet

X-class Solar Flare is set to sweep across out home planet Wednesday (today), interrupting Israeli cyber-mind-control sorties and your smartphone.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Why Populism


"Populism" is a wide and deep swelling of the feeling that the social order is unjustly choking people to death, and that it is intolerable to those being choked. Populist feelings in the western world are the highest they have been since 1942, and they appear to be stuck there. Our manipulators seek to guide this into things like identity-politics, to avoid mass cooperation to change the system which feeds them upon our blood. Their class cannot cooperatively negotiate smaller blood-lettings, so the show must go on, until... But we cannot tolerate it! WW-3 would be the answer under the old order of things, but M.A.D. looks more certain than ever. How many overkills of life on earth are we up to? Mass-global-life-force-consciousness has not yet derived the answer to this conundrum. Tension persists. We can all work on this solution. We are part of it.

This Bloomberg (consider the source) article says that "Italy's Populists split the country in half". 
No; that is how a ruling elite looks at things. Divide-and-conquer. Italian populists do not split the country in half. 
Italian populists seek to unite their energies to create a different social and financial order which will suck less of their blood every single night.
A clear majority of Italians have voted against the current arrangement, but do not yet agree on the direction through which changes should be worked out.

The upcoming Italian government will be led by a Euroskeptic. 
Opportunities to work towards shared interest will present themselves between "conservatives" and "liberals", I think.

Google is part of Big-Borg-Brother, joined at the hips now, improving the artificial intelligence guiding drone killings (What is the BEST wedding to bomb on this mission?)
there is so much more. It is already inside all of us, and reporting, and guiding our decisions, and learning more about us. Thanks Colleen.

All I am Offering is the Truth, Paul Craig Roberts. Thanks Eleni:
"I remember when Americans were free people. This is no longer the case. The prison in which Americans live is not a physical one with bars, although many Americans including innocent ones do live behind physical bars. It is an informational prison achieved by control over the explanations that Americans are given." 

Back to the topic of populism vs neoliberal globalism, I present this article proving that Trump's talk of bringing jobs to the American steel industry with tariffs is wrong, because the jobs went away, even while steel production was increasing. This is true, and presented in a graph. 
Modern steel mills are far more automated, employing about 1/3 to 1/4 of the workers per unit produced. A lot of steel "production" now is also mini-mills, which recycle scrap steel into specific grades and forms of specialty steel products. That is different from processing tons and tons of ore into iron and steel ingots.
What I saw in another article, and this misses, is that the intent is not to "bring back jobs", but to create a populist political base that supports his agenda of political/financial reform. Reform is not inherently better or worse, but it is different. Once the reform process begins, it is adaptive to the situation, which is in a lot of flux. The society acts as a kind of mind, figuring out a novel solution to the complex conundrums of the day. In 80 years, it will be different enough to need a new solution.

Can Russia and China Rescue Venezuela? (Good question. Venezuela is an oil producing country which has openly revolted agains $US hegemony and neoliberal globalism. Iraq and Libya got completely devastated for that offense.)

David Stockman has 2 articles here (a third to come) about how monetary policy in the US has corrupted American society, American economy and global economy, within his professional lifetime. Of the two, I actually recommend reading the second one first, where he explains the ongoing implications of "the dirty float" of US Treasury debt since it really took over in Nixon's 1973 presidential re-election bid. This explains how that created the situation of progressively pricing American workers out of the global economy, with no benefit to them in the process, while accelerating the enrichment of the rich, who are located wherever they want to be this week.

John Kiriakou "served" in the CIA for 14 years, in counterintelligence, the dirty world of Spy-vs-Spy, where he paid "sources" for information. Sometimes they needed to be paid in children. He was told to do his job and pay them. That was the business arrangement. Kiriakou has done some prison time for one of his revelations, and has written two books, listed here. You wan't see this on the evening news. the swamp is not drained yet. Kiriakou opines that the CIA probably does not need to exist. Some children died, they say...

Fox News identified Captain Jan Jordan as the Broward County law enforcement official who instructed the deputies to remain on the perimeter of the school rather than run into the building towards the gunfire to help save lives. These deputies were instructed to essentially stand down while innocent children were being slaughtered. 

Vladimir Putin says the US political system is "eating itself", that he finds Donald Trump pleasant and would like to be able to negotiate with him. Putin also says that Russia will defend itself with devastating nuclear counter strikes if an attack is detected and confirmed. He says that such an exchange would be devastating for the world, but that he is the head of the Russian state, which makes the point moot for him, if imminent Russian national destruction is the starting point of the hypothetical question.

The Arctic just had the warmest winter on record.

Agent of Change

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Nurturing Human Transitions

Friends and Family,

This is a time for reflection, again, looking at how humans cooperate and work productively and creatively together, and how humans parasitically manipulate and bleed each other as an ongoing business model, carried down and honed over the eons. It has gotten quite a sharp point put on it in the last few centuries, and it keeps adapting, changing with the times, neither "right" nor "left", but controlling the perceptions of human societies, always to the benefit of those who extract the value from every aspect of our human lives, draining our life force, weakening our bodies, minds, families and cooperative communities.
What is necessary is for each of us to look to what is humanly right, and to how we can avoid being manipulated and bled, now, and going forward. 
When I say "we" I mean each of us, and I mean "we" as family groups. We need to keep our labors and creations from being drained out of our families. The handing down of "wealth" through generations, within a family, is a major thing that separates successful parents from unsuccessful parents. 
This "wealth" is in stages, with the first being good support of the children in a loving and enriched environment until they begin school. 80% of your success in life is predicted by the first 4-5 years, though it is very hard to see that yourself. Everything after that seems so important, but accomplishing things depends upon WHO you have become at 5 years old.
Each stage contains situations where the wisdom and guidance of elders is of great benefit. The "latency" years are years where a whole lot can be learned rapidly before hormonal changes hit. Teen years are a transition to running with the adults with more and more responsibility, but also with risky experiments and running with other teens in bonded groups.
The young adult years are where grandparents can help guide the new parents, and where the older parents can help effectively guide and network on behalf of their young adult offspring. Also, it is important to keep resources from being bled out of the family, keeping the young adults out of debt slavery, and supporting them in the support of the very young children. Effective grandparenting can really help keep the younger generations from being bled, stunted and exploited by outside interests.
I am now engaging in cleaning up the estate of my grandparents, which my father inherited, and is now passing down again. I have been cleaning a lot of dust and rat droppings off of a lot of things, washing, organizing, communicating with people who have roles to play in the estate sale, sale of the house, trust-officer, caregivers from Dad's last days, and my siblings, who are good and competent people. We are working together as family, not fighting over possessions.
This physical process is informing my mental, emotional, and developmental process as I reluctantly embrace it.
I will soon be 60. As I face "retirement" in the coming decade, I know that retiring from my role in the system is not retiring from my responsibility to family, humanity and life on Earth. It is the time that I may be able to compose some legacy to provide to my family and other community going forward. Since I see a long decline in energy availability, I need to compose a living compound that can weather that low energy storm. It is our heritage, efficient farming, but not so very much in America, because there was always new soil to break with the plow. We need to adopt the intensive and sustainable practices of Asia and old Europe, always adapted to each place, and adjusting with prevailing climate and other environmental conditions.
I have been imagining a home that is flexible enough to handle large family gatherings, and which is productive of vegetables year round, on a larger scale than I m now doing.
I've been gardening, learning the ropes in my climate zone, reading books about small, intensive farming, like this book, The Lean Farm Guide to Growing vegetables, which I find to really get down to the brass tacks of efficient market farming on a small scale, using the Japanese efficiency techniques we learned about in the 1980s, the Kaizen process of continuous improvement. Here is a good review of that book  
A quick little drone video from above his farm, swooping down to Ben in a field is here

Seeing the Forest

Friday, March 2, 2018

Good And Easy

Playing Cards,

President of the exporter of the world's trade-reserve currency, Donald Trump, tweets that,  "When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!"
The president is right, of course, but the COST of winning goes unmentioned.
The cost of winning could be the loss of reserve currency status for the $US. It would become another member of the club, not the chairman of the board. The global acceptance of the $US is the primary way that the US funds the war machine.

Iran bans the use of $US denominated prices in trade. (drip, drip, drip...)

Chinese military is building up to decisively defend Chines near-interests. Pay attention.

Court sort-of rules in favor of Ukraine, in dispute with Russian Gazprom. Ukraine has to pay fewer $billions to get gas and transit fees, but will have to renegotiate with Russia from a position of relative weakness.

Eleni sends this global-chessboard interpretation piece from Thierry Meyssan, propounding the view that despite roadblocks, US/Russian shared interest is being pursued to some degree in Syria. Russian infantry is now on the ground in Damascus. (I await confirmatory reports, myself, but probably good if true.)

Chess Spectator

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Listen Now

All Ears,

Vladimir Putin made a bold statement in his State of the State address. Russia has bulletproof nukes and will use them if attacked.
Russians don't make empty threats. They are conservative and understated, as they have been, in their encouragement to the US to honor the ABM treaty that George Bush abandoned.
What are the implications of this for the Korean Peninsula? North Korea borders Russia.
This is clearly intended to announce the end of the concept of a "unipolar world" where one nation could dictate to all others. Mutual Assured Destruction is completely back on line.
The implications of this are broad. First it marks an absolute reset in global assumptions of order. I may be stretching to insist that the end of $US hegemony has just taken a jump forward, but in the next financial crisis, a continuation of the 2008 crisis, new options will be explored. They are already in place, after all. New efficiencies of production, trade and distribution will have to focus on meeting actual human needs, not artificially stimulated consumer markets, and they will have to do so with the absolute minimum of parasitic skim. "Parasitic skim" is about the same as "financialization". Retirement plans are one of the weaker subsets of financialization.
Populism, in the form of expropriation of productive assets, is having a resurgent wave across the world, as are resource-grab wars among nations, like the Mediterranean gas fields. Killing the goose there may assure that nobody gets a golden egg. Old habits die hard. Everybody fights the last war, and so on.
There will be no complete victories. That is the message today.

Making Plowshares

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Webs Of Life

Working Out Bugs,

The Mediterranean Gas Great Game. 
Thanks Eleni. There is lots to gain from cooperation, and it's easy to thwart the profit of any adversary. Can Israel cooperate? How about Turkey?

In the past, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) justified its militarization of large swaths of Eastern Europe by pointing to the omnipresent threat of terrorism, or some 'rogue' foreign state, inherently understood to be Iran. Today the mask has slipped and it is no longer denied that NATO's primary target is Russia."

East Ghouta, the suburb of Damascus, which is occupied by various rebel factions, supported by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, against the Syrian government, may be the last battle (What about the oilfields?) of the Syrian proxy-war. The western press dutifully presents the official government propaganda.
"The reality is that since the Jihadi fighters in east Ghouta are practically by definition members of “undertakings and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL”, who are excluded from the ceasefire, there is no one in east Ghouta to negotiate a ceasefire with. In the run up to the voting on the Resolution on Saturday the Russians made the point that the draft of the Resolution with which they were presented – officially sponsored by Kuwait and Sweden, but in reality drawn up by the Western powers – failed to identify who the Syrian government is supposed to negotiate the ceasefire with. " 

State Department Troll Farm gets Huge Cash Infusion. (Be a Troll! Operators are Standing-By!)

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says "I can't talk about that", when asked if Broward country deputies in parking lot were ordered to crouch outside by their patrol cars with guns holstered, instead of taking some risks inside the school with students. There will be an investigation...  Thanks Tom.

There's lots to investigate:  Over the weekend Israel fought back on calls for his resignation saying the actions of his deputies were “[not] his responsibility” when they failed to enter the high school that was under siege by Nikolas Cruz, 19. Police responded to calls regarding Cruz over 45 times over a seven-year period, although Israel disputes the report, stating his office only received 23 calls during that time frame.  The FBI also received a detailed call on Jan. 5,  warning that Cruz had posted disturbing images of slaughtered animals and comments on his Instagram saying he wanted to kill people, according to reports. The FBI stated on Feb. 16, that the tip was not forwarded to the FBI Miami Field Office.

Kiliing a Parasite, Cancelling Student Debt, Part 1, Yves Smith: (Parasitic Capitalism vs productive Capitalism explained. Let's get those leeches off, ok?)

What is "buying power"? It's not what you make. It's what you have left after the bills you must pay. How does that figure into micro and macro economics, for you, and for me?

"The Real Game Trump is Playing on NAFTA" (Keeping everybody guessing is working very well right now, and it's the plan, for as long as it can be sustained. 6 more months? More?)

China has taken on a massive project of farmland rejuvenation. It will be costly. Who will fund it? China has sustained agriculture for thousands of years, but has blown that on the "green revolution" lately. I wish them well in this attempt at recovery.

The Good Life, Permaculture micro-farm in Tasmania. Dry journalism first, then link to informative blog. (What's your current favorite seasonal insect snack from the garden?)

Eating to Live