Sunday, May 20, 2018

Creating 2028


Where Are We Going? asks Nate Hagens
The future exists as a probability distribution of: very bad, bad, so-so, benign and very good futures.  But people dislike uncertainty...  The reality is that future is not yet determined and exists as a constantly shifting probability distribution based on events, technology, wisdom, risk and the actions of individuals and communities.  We need more people to avoid the two poles of denial and nihilism and stay in the center, own a bit of dissonance, and engage...  We have financialized the human experience, parsing everything of substance, depth and meaning from our tribal past into electronic/linen markers.  Once our basic needs are met we don’t really want more, we just want more than the guy/gal next door...  What we lack amidst this smorgasbord of riches is a feeling of community and a true sense of purpose.  Inferred by all the other points in this presentation is the obvious fact that the future needs our help.  Yet most people have no concept or even belief in ‘the future’.  Perhaps from awareness of our situation, the stakes, and the possibilities there may emerge a (very large) tribe connected to Tomorrow...  As our fossil slaves cease to be woken, we will increasingly have to resubstitute human labor for carbon – and it would behoove each of us to learn a physical skill. Or three...  We cannot know the future, but we have reasonable confidence of what it will not be.  The peak in fossil sunlight flow rates and resultant higher costs will mean major changes in our lifetimes. We can be reasonably sure the average energy/material throughput for Americans – and global citizens, particularly in advanced economies, will decline in coming decades.  It’s important to point out that a 30% drop in material wealth per capita (for those in the United States and Canada) though sounding draconian, brings us back to 1993 levels – a 50% drop would bring us back to 1977 levels– both periods nobody considers economically challenging.  How we respond to this energy descent as individuals and as a culture will be a deciding moment in our history...  We are capable of much more, but are unlikely to alter our current trajectory until we have to. And when we add in the economy and environmental points: we will soon have to.  Recognizing this, the next step is urgently discussing and cataloguing what initiatives might be worked on by small groups using intelligent foresight nationwide. 

Pat Buchanan looks at President Trump's upcoming visit to Singapore, to meet Kim Jong Un. There has been lots of chatter about this, but there are rational goals that need to be negotiated even-handedly, or they won't get negotiated. How is the "Trump Doctrine" of "America First" developing? Multipolar world or dead world? What's looking good?

There is one Korea. The 1953 armistice between the US, China, and military forces of both parts of Korea, needs to become a peace treaty all around. What stalls that is that South Korean military forces are under the command of a US General, not the South Korean President. This remnant of war would change with a peace treaty. It was rigged through a crooked Korean President before he  was impeached, anyway. As long as denuclearization is proceeding, this can be presented to Americans as a "peace dividend". United Korea will need to be free of foreign occupation forces and nuclear weapons at the same moment in time. Other interested parties would like very much to help.

"The Friendly Mask of the Orwellian Oligarchy Has Fallen Off", Caitlin Johnstone, Thanks Cat
The real currency of this world is not backed by gold, nor by oil, nor by bureaucratic fiat, nor even by direct military might. No, the real currency of this world is narrative, and the ability to control it...  The only thing keeping money and government moving in a way that benefits our current rulers is the fact that those rulers have been successful in controlling the narrative. They’ll never get that cat back into the bag once it’s out, and they know it. We the people will be able to create our own narratives and write our own rules about how things like money and government ought to operate, and there is no way that will work out to the benefit of the ruling manipulators and deceivers. So they fight with increasing aggression to lull us back to sleep, often overextending themselves and behaving in a way that gives the public a glimpse behind the mask of this entire corrupt power structure. Someday soon that mask will slip right off and come crashing to the floor. That crash will wake the baby, and that baby will not go back to sleep. 

Israel and Egypt prevent Turkey from airlifting thousands of Palestinians, shot and wounded bu Israeli snipers, following orders, to Turkey for emergency surgery and other medical care.

President Trump tells Chancellow Merkel to stop the Nordstream-2 gas pipeline from Russia or face trade-war from the US. Merkel fidgets and makes diplomatic sounds. A lot of parties are committed to this, and it would be semi-suicidal for Europe to stop it. Europe really needs natural gas. Russian gas has been cheap and reliable.

The Atlantic Alliance may actually be splitting this time...  
Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the EU Commission, believes that “Europe must take America's place as global leader” because Washington has turned its back on its allies. Washington “no longer wants to cooperate.” ...  The EU is to ditch the use of the US currency in its payments for Iranian oil. It can be done. Russia and Iran have already launched an oil-for-goods exchange program in order to leave the greenback behind...  Iran and Nord Stream 2 unite Moscow and Brussels in their opposition to this diktat.  On May 17, Iran signed a provisional free-trade-zone agreement with a Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)...  If Europe is resolved to fend off US attempts to dictate its policy on Iran, why should it reconcile itself to the pressure to keep the sanctions against Russia intact?

Look at this article for details about the critical dependence of humans in our world, upon subsistence staples like wheat, corn and soybeans getting through these 3 critical choke-points of shipping. The article is sort of glibly globalist/neoliberal, but the facts are useful.

Agricultural commodity maritime chokepoints

Trade volume, in millions of tons, for 2000 and 2015

8 / 75
Turkish Straits
57 / 91
Panama Canal
28 / 108
Strait of Malacca
Source: Chatham House
Bitcoin is projected to use 0.5% of total global electrical generation by the end of this year. (It grows exponentially, too, as you'll recall.)


Thursday, May 17, 2018


Apprehending Threat,

Skidmore... and Catherine Austin Fitts … conducted a search of government websites and found similar reports dating back to 1998. While the documents are incomplete, original government sources indicate $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments have been reported for the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015.” 
(That is bigger than the American GDP. that money went into a parallel Universe controlled by Dick Cheney. We don't know where. We don't know how much more. What are the self interested motives of the people Dick works for? How do we stack up in that equation?)

Preventing an AI Apocalypse. This is a real threat. Vladimir Putin said it out loud recently, that it is the big threat in the next 20 years. AI is already weaponized. What it the remaining threat? AI can already teach itself to beat the best humans at anything, but not yet at EVERYTHING. 
What is difficult to create is General Artificial Intelligence. The human mind still has a vast advantage in that category, which it is being directed to use to obsolete itself. (The big leap forward would be to deeply integrate a superior human general intelligence (some genius) with all of the vast computing power on planet earth. The Borg would have a bigger advantage than Gene Roddenberry grokked.)

Thanks for this story, Ray: " The United States has not yet, as a nation, systematically explored its full scope, studied its implications, or begun the process of ultimate learning. This should be given a high national priority, above all, from the point of view of relating AI to humanistic traditions.  AI developers, as inexperienced in politics and philosophy as I am in technology, should ask themselves some of the questions I have raised here in order to build answers into their engineering efforts. The U.S. government should consider a presidential commission of eminent thinkers to help develop a national vision. This much is certain: If we do not start this effort soon, before long we shall discover that we started too late." 
This is the concluding suggestion of a very reasonable sounding article about safeguarding AI developments, in The Atlantic. We can assume that an interested party has some plans to hatch in such a "presidential commission of eminent thinkers". I personally wonder if the $16 trillion we can't locate in this "New American Century" would have anything to do with this presidential-level guidance of Artificial Intelligence in our newish-millennium. I also wonder about the big leap forward of linking a brilliant human brain to the vast computer intelligence of the world, maybe with permanent life support for that precious brain. The brain would have to have very broad reasoning capability, as well as decisiveness in taking action. Who would volunteer? Who could do it? Oh, the author of this piece might do ok. He's really smart, and pretty old, anyway. What would he have to lose. Henry Kissinger will always have his Nobel Peace Prize, after all...

Can Humans Live Well Without Pillaging The Planet? Scientific American says it is technically possible, and to live well. What would that take? Universal honesty and cooperation?

The Ozone Hole is BAACK! Somebody, somewhere is bootlegging a Whole Lot of Freon. This is massive. Nobody seems to know who or where, like finding that $16 trillion. Weird...

Eurocrats rebel against President Trump's plan to sanction Europe in 6 months if it does $US business with Iran. The Eu illegalizes any European compliance with this US law by European companies. The trade will be worked out in Euros, to sidestep any dollar-based sanctions. This seems like it would end the $US as the global trade and reserve currency. What a field-day for global banking to run currency arbitrage and strip assets everywhere! "America First!"

The bridge from Russia to Crimea is finished. Vladimir Putin drove a truck across it. Ukraine is advised to uphold national honor by bombing it. We'll see how that works out... (Sly Putin, looking "reasonable".)

The Golan is the new Mideast battlefield. Israel claims it, but it is Syria. It has oil, and supplies about 1/3 of the fresh water which Israel uses. Did Israel bomb Syria one too many times?

Unforeseen Consequence

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Too Many Masters

Worker Bees,

I have begun reading "Killing The Host" by Michael Hudson. Successful parasites either find little ways to be of benefit to the host, or reproduce a lot before killing one host, and spread to others. The exploitation of India, Africa, and increasingly internal exploitation of Western economies is at the point where it is not really feasible to borrow enough at 0-1% interest to support the debt service on personal, business and government loans. This has happened since there was interest-bearing-debt. Businesses are hollowed out by borrowing money to buy their own stock, so prices go up and "investors" in their stock get profits. Retirement accounts, investment in manufacturing, research and development all get gutted. That's where we are already. I think Russia and China and Iran are resisting being gutted from outside (but are gutting themselves, some.)
What we can do, as much as possible, is to pay off debt and work on inherently stable and rewarding projects, like vegetable gardening. This is not so complicated. We can expect the top-tier power lizards to remain in power (0,1%). Every master lower in status than that is subject to revision, and may be able to do something useful for the greater economy some day, maybe...
The end of cheap oil is about to be upon us. This means that restructuring will really need to be at a far lower level of diesel and air conditioning.
I don't expect to be saved by any benevolent entity. (George Soros just bought the Tesla dip, and Buffet is big into railroads, not humans.)

North Korea remembers "the Libya Model", where Libya gave up everything nuclear and waited to be forgiven. North Korea remembers John Bolton's role in increasing demands for economic sanctions after North Korea destroyed their nuclear program. John Bolton just made sound like that again. North Korea says we are not going to negotiate from a position of weakness, so don't bother trying.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed President Trump for his decision to pull out. The unofficial leader of Europe believes it “damages trust” in the global order. She is not alone. The UK and France have also admitted that they regret Trump’s move. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire stated that European powers should not be Washington’s "vassals." (The Iran deal paid the EU in cheaper oil and some profits. Killing it hurts the EU badly.)

Paul Craig Roberts:  I have explained Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Christian practice of turning the other cheek to Western provocations as a strategy to convey to Europe that Russia is reasonable but Washington is not and that Russia is not a threat to European interests and sovereignty but Washington is.  

Newly Elected Italian Political Coalition calls for European Central Bank to write off 250 billion Euros in Italian national debt. :-)

Remember what the subprime mortgage defaults of 2007 did in 2008? Subprime car loans are doing that default thing now.

Neither Borrower nor Lender

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Solution: Mass Murder

Gumshoe Detectives,

For 71 years, the state of Israel has been killing Palestinians to keep them off the lands that their families have farmed for thousands of years. Those who have the original Right of Return, recognized by the UN, are mostly dead from Israely bullets or age. Of course the latest opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem gave an opportunity for Israeli snipers and drones to kill and wound thousands more, for approaching a fence in the desert.

Caitlin Johnstone has "Fifteen thoughts about Israel":
We don’t live in a world where the lines between nations mean anything to those with real power; in reality “Israel” and “America” are both purely conceptual constructs which only exist to the extent that people believe in them. There is no actual “Israel” which can exert control over an actual “America”, and vice versa. It isn’t nations and governments pulling the strings of real power in the world, it’s a class of plutocrats who aren’t ultimately answerable to any government. 

Trump family applauds Zionost massacre of Palestinians:

The Deep State in the US is In Control, Not the President, Bashar al Assad, Syrian President. Thanks Eleni.

Moscow is attempting to calm the atmosphere in the Middle East. It is therefore opposed to an attack on Israël by Iran, just as it was opposed to an Israëli operation against Iran in 2008.  This has very good background on Russian strategic objectives, going back to Catherine the Great. Thanks Eleni.

Putin acknowledged this week that since oil trades in dollars, “we are thinking of what needs to be done to free ourselves from that burden.” 
Every world leader understands this, Putin’s just unique since he’s willing to come out and say it. It’s not just Russia though. People across the world have had just about enough of U.S. bullying and recognize USD dominance in the global financial system represents the key obstacle to overcome if they wish to avoid being pushed around forever.

How the US weaponized the global financial system (and now what?)
Just as political decentralization is the best way to achieve true self-determination, financial decentralization is the best way for nations to protect their own sovereign interests.Of course to really do so requires resetting the global monetary order.  So long as the dollar enjoys its privileged position established by Bretton-Woods, the rest of the world is vulnerable to the US leveraging that against them.

John Bolton sabotaged the last nuclear deal with North Korea quite successfully. He is in the ideal position, and working vigorously to do that again.
The Under Secretary of State for Arms Control was -up to 2005- one John Bolton. He had hired the hawkish "experts" and continued to influence the department after he had moved to the American Enterprise Institute. The intrusive inspection issue is said to have been his idea.

Venezuela has elections 5/2018. Bolivian President Evo Morales warns that the US, and puppets-on-strings, the Organization of American States, will militarily invade Venezuela to prevent the exercise of the will of the voters. (The stage is clearly set. Preliminary economic war is completely operational.)

Google employees sign petition, and some resign in protest against creating software to help drones track and kill people faster and better.

The Murder of Martin Luther King, how the myths were created and maintained for 50 years (Top level orders from LBJ and J. Edgar Hoover, unlimited deep state budget, and who took the paychecks, and what they did, Parts 1 & 2. Not particularly long reads, either.) Thanks, Eleni.

For Economic Truth, Turn to Michael Hudson, explains Paul Craig Roberts. (Randy just lent me his book, Killing the Host. I include his articles regularly. Search for them in email or at the blog, or online. All excellent.)

Means and Motives

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Don't Bomb Iran

Avoiding Sudden Moves,

Just as Judo "uses the force of an opponent to defeat him", careless aggression and overreach can be used to defeat one's own forces. If one secretly resents one's masters, then this is "passive aggression". It does not have to look "passive". It can look enthusiastic, coarse, and uncouth, failing to inspire faith and commitment;  things like that. I wonder...

Only the US is pulling out of the deal with Iran, by which it ended it's nuclear weapons research and emriched-uranium storage. France, UK, Russia, China and Germany, as well as Iran, say they will abide by their commitments. The US says $US sanctions will be extended in 6 months, to hurt anybody doing business with Iran. This is risky for the $US-Empire, isn't it? There are work-arounds in place now. This trump-card has been played repeatedly to isolate countries like Iraq, Libya, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, and lately Russia (which is not apparently hurting very much).

How strong is this hand?
In short, Trump's "draconian" sanctions, which will be delayed for months, have extensive loopholes, and allow most of Iran's existing oil trade partners to continue buying oil, may be just a big smokescreen that will allow Trump to say he achieved one more campaign promise. Meanwhile, in reality, both Trump and Mnuchin are doing their best behind the scenes to "enter a new agreement", one which Trump can bring to the masses and say: "here, I took Obama's unacceptable, defective deal, and made it better.... and i also brought down the price of oil too."

Pepe Escobar details the many economic and strategic interrelationships between Russia, China and Iran, and observes that both Russia and China have a lot of strategic interest and investment at stake. He predicts that Russia and China will support Iran (and are quietly doing so), against Israel, a country which could "turn Iran to glass" with nuclear weapons.

Iran has never violated it's nuclear treaty. The United states has always impinged upon the edges of it's commitment, and has been in fairly clear violation for well over a year, now, even before yesterday, that is.

It doesn't look like unilateral US sanctions will harm Iran's oil exports much.

Israel attacks Damascus with missiles; says "it's Iran's fault".

Morality, Truth and facts have exited from the Dying West, Paul Craig Roberts. Thanks Colleen. We are controlled by the control of our information inputs, but it makes us foolish and deluded, which is bound to be worse at some point...

Conoco has just confiscated Venezuelan oil on Caribbean islands, including tank farm and terminals, and production assets. This is leagal, but greatly impacts Venezuela, and China, which is accepting loan payment in Venezuelan oil. China has been making economic inroads in South and Central America, and The Empire Strikes Back. What will China's move be, and when?

Short of War, China now controls the South China Sea. The Chinese Empire is in resurgence...

Presidents Trump and Xi talk by phone as trade negotiations grind slowly forward. The US wants "advantage". China will agree to "win-win".

Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping met again for 2 days again, and Kim says that North Korea does not need nukes for security if North Korean security is guaranteed adequately by other means. Considering how the US treats non-nuclear nations , like Iraq and Libya, what would be realistic? (Unification?)

Secretary of State Pompeo returns from North Korea with the 3 Korean-American hostages, reportedly in good condition. A place for the Summit between Trump and Kim is decided, but not yet announced.

Michael Hudson explores the erosion of real wealth by the extractive model of financial capitalism. Yeah, it's starving us to death. Hudson recommends setting "GDP" back to what it used to mean, the actual roduction of goods and services, not extracting-more-rent-from-the-same-little-apartment.
Volumes II and III of Marx’s Capital describe how debt grows exponentially, burdening the economy with carrying charges. This overhead is subjecting today’s Western finance-capitalist economies to austerity, shrinking living standards and capital investment while increasing their cost of living and doing business. That is the main reason why they are losing their export markets and becoming de-industrialized.  What policies are best suited for China to avoid this neo-rentier disease while raising living standards in a fair and efficient low-cost economy? The most pressing policy challenge is to keep down the cost of housing. Rising housing prices mean larger and larger debts extracting interest out of the economy. The strongest way to prevent this is to tax away the rise in land prices, collecting the rental value for the government instead of letting it be pledged to the banks as mortgage interest. The same logic applies to public collection of natural resource and monopoly rents. Failure to tax them away will enable banks to create debt against these rents, building financial and other rentier charges into the pricing of basic needs. U.S. and European business schools are part of the problem, not part of the solution. They teach the tactics of asset stripping and how to replace industrial engineering with financial engineering, as if financialization creates wealth faster than the debt burden...   A century ago there was an almost universal belief in mixed economies. Governments were expected to tax away land rent and natural resource rent, regulate monopolies to bring prices in line with actual cost value, and create basic infrastructure with money created by their own treasury or central bank...  China is progressing along this “mixed economy” road to socialism, but Western economies are suffering from a resurgence of the pre-capitalist rentier classes...  Classical rent theory warned against the FIRE sector siphoning off nominal growth in wealth and income. The economics of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, J.S. Mill and Marx share in common the view that this rentier revenue should be treated as an overhead charge and, as such, subtracted from national income and product because it is not production-related...  Americans now have to pay up to 43 percent of their income for mortgage debt service, federally guaranteed. This imposes such high costs for home ownership that it is pricing the products of U.S. labor out of world markets...  The result is that public spending ultimately enriches the banks – at the tax collector’s expense...  The best protection against this rentierburden is simple: first, tax away the land’s rising rental valuation to prevent it from being paid out for bank loans; and second, keep control of banks in public hands... Greece’s debt crisis has all but abolished its democracy as foreign creditors have taken control, superseding the authority of elected officials... 

Charles Hughes Smith asks, "What Lies Beyond Capitalism and Socialism?" (It's a partial recreation of our most efficient patterns of local economy among small to modest sized groups, who know each other, are invested in the community and rewarded more for fairness than for gouging.)

Here is free software to reduce the blue light coming from your computer screens at night. It's fairly subtle and pelasant in it's effect. Thanks Wigs!

Here is more about the benefits of adequate vitamin-D and why we are coming up short (surf-lifeguards excepted). I left a comment about immune system dysfunction with low vitamin-D, also.

In "Diabesity", which came first, the insulin or the sugar? Hmmm, we always assumed it was the sugar and starch, but some people appear to be genetically programmed to run high insulin, so as to store more of the carbohydrates they eat as fat, giving an advantage in extended famines.

Little Debbie

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Human Family

Family Members,

How many mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers have been killed in America's post-9/11 "wars on terror"? There has been a great effort to prevent any collection of information about any of these deaths, and a successful effort to mention smallish numbers in passing, the same smallish numbers year after year.
The most likely answer is that between 3-4 million humans have been killed, who would not have been killed without "the new Pearl Harbor" of 9/11. None of them were responsible for it. None.
Look once at the first picture in this article, please. Thanks Eleni.

There are massacres and assassinations in Yemen. Frustration is apparent among the Saudi, American and Israeli rulers. Why won't these people give up? How much misery does it take? Why isn't this over, yet?

Yes, US special forces troops are killing Yemenis, as well as helping Saudis kill Yemenis, and those unfortunate and unpaid Sudanese soldiers kill Yemenis. Why are we being told now, by the New York Times? Is it going to be openly increased? Is Yemen now a threat to America?

Nikki Haley's latest reasoning for the US forces in Syria is that Iran is nearby. Caitlin Johnstone looks at that a bit. Of course it's contingent upon "American exceptionalism".

Economist , James Galbraith looks at the proposal for a Federal Jobs guaranty fairly closely, and from a variety of directions, including how it would be implemented, and how it would affect policies and programs already in place.

Economist, L. Randall Wray presents here the proposal from the Levy Institute, which Jamie Galbraith refers to, and to which many are now referring. This is the general blueprint. None of this is "wacky-Bernie-Sanders". Bernie Sanders is merely advocating a well devised economic policy.

"Externalities" and "Subsidies" are two factors that concentrate profits for the few, while dumping financial and environmental costs on everybody and the living planet. Economics does not work like we were taught, because the concentration of profit leads to more mechanisms to concentrate profit, while laying waste to the ecosystem and "little people" everywhere.

The damage to your personal system , which comes from the blue light emanating from your computer and TV screens. Sleep loss, weight gain, and more.

I looked for plastic sheets you can use to block the blue light from your screens at night. You might put a piece of tape across to use as a hinge, to flip it on or off the screen. These look kind of pricey, but all the same pricey for different sizes. It looks like getting a big sheet and cutting 2 or more from it would be the thing to do. I suspect these are cheaper under other headings, if you know exactly what you need.

South American army worms are taking over African corn fast. This does not seem like it can be stopped, but it also looks like a lot of pesticide-aid might be sent, which will be good for pesticide companies in the US.

On May 5, "Cinco de Mayo", my sons, Steve and Jim and I set out to ride our bikes 100 miles from Austin to Shiner, Texas, starting at 7:00 AM. The day was ideal, having rained the day before and stopped, with a little north wind giving us a gentle push as we rode south. The temperature got to the upper 80s, beginning in the mid 60s, cool for this time of year. We started off very well, until around mile 28, which Jim reached first, in his quest to finish the ride first out of 2000. A spoke on his rear wheel broke, finishing his attempt. Jenny, driving support, came to get him, and they were called by Steve, who had gotten a flat, and did not have a pump and inner tube. That was Steve's first flat, and he had tire defects, so tubes alone were not enough. Water on the road makes it much easier for sharp things to cut bike tires. Jim swapped a tire from his broken-spoke wheel onto Steve's wheel and put a patch under the small cut in Steve's other tire, so Steve was ready to... get cramps when he ran short on hydration. Jenny and Jim got Steve his hydration, but the cramps kept on, slowing him greatly. Steve declined a ride at 70 miles and soldiered to the finish, doing-it-the-hard-way, and having a long day, but completing his first century ride. (My story is mundane. I had trained adequately, and had the best ride to Shiner that I could have on a "fixie" at age 60. I never expect to have one this good again.)
We are pictured here at 6:50 AM about to line up for the start. "Team Day Los Muertos".

Grateful Dad

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Eventually Feeding Retrosuburbia


Israel Shamir believes that the Koreans have a brief and dangerous opportunity to seize the initiative and unify as an unoccupied and nuclear free country.
There is no doubt that the people of Korea, of the North and the South, want peaceful reunification and the prosperity of their country. But so far the US has prevented it. The US deep state preferred to have its military bases in South Korea with its nuclear weapons aimed not only at Pyongyang, but also at Beijing and Vladivostok...  The Americans outlined the goal of the talks as they see it – the nuclear disarmament of North Korea. This is all that interests them. A North Korea without nuclear weapons is always vulnerable to a volley of Tomahawks, as in Syria. But Kim is not that simple. Instead of “nuclear disarmament of North Korea,” he proposed “the liberation of the Korean peninsula from nuclear weapons” – and, importantly, these words were repeated by the president of the South. 

Something is brewing in Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh, and it is aimed at Iran and Syria, and Sheldon Adelson's boys, Donald, Bibi and Avigdor are all working hard to pull it off for the old moneybags this time.
Last week General Joseph Votel, commander of CENTCOM - the U.S. military command for the Middle East, was in Israel. It was the first ever visit of a CENTCOM commander to Israel which usually works with the European command EUCOM. Yesterday former CIA director and now Secretary of State Pompeo visited Israel. A few hours later Israel bombed two ammunition depots in Syria which are supposedly related to Iran. This was a clear attempt to provoke Iran into some reaction. The Israeli defense minister Lieberman just visited Washington DC and only today came back to Israel. 

Saudi Crown Prince, Bin Salman, said something unusually revealing to a closed meeting of powerful Jewish financiers and political organizers in New York. Word got out:  "In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given. It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining."

Phillipine President Duterte has some insights about the injustices his people suffer daily, notably in Kuwait. Thanks Colleen.
The Duterte government has been from the very beginning, implementing a grand plan to bring all overseas Filipino workers [OFWs] home. This idea is brought about by a first-hand experience in rescuing distressed workers in the Middle East, among others, of the then-lawmaker president. He was told by his lawmaker counterpart that all household workers are treated as sex slaves by default in certain Arab tribes. 

Here are a couple of more articles about the "jobs guaranty" that Bernie Sanders advocates. It's optional now, but it was necessary in the Great Depression.
Sean McElwee, an activist at the progressive polling and analysis firm Data for Progress, said 52 percent of the country supports a job guarantee, with just 29 percent opposed. The issue enjoys unusually high support from members of both parties, according to McElwee. 

Ellen Brown: Fox in the Henhouse, Why Interest Rates are Rising

The rest of the world is still taking their gold out of "safe holding" in the US. Turkey now. Germany already. More. (Bitcoin needs a global internet. Not gold.)

The future is not yet made. Jim Kunstler has his own projections, as do we all, but...
I had a fellow on my latest podcast, released Sunday, who insists that the world population will crash 90-plus percent from the current 7.6 billion to 600 million by the end of this century. Jack Alpert heads an outfit called the Stanford Knowledge Integration Lab (SKIL) which he started at Stanford University in 1978 and now runs as a private research foundation. Alpert is primarily an engineer. At 600 million, the living standard in the USA would be on a level with the post-Roman peasantry of Fifth century Europe, but without the charm, since many of the planet’s linked systems — soils, oceans, climate, mineral resources — will be in much greater disarray than was the case 1,500 years ago. Anyway, that state-of-life may be a way-station to something more dire.  

David Holmgren, one of the originators of "Permaculture", has a book out, a magnum opus, "Retrosuburbia, The Downshifter's Guide to a Resilient Future", which is reviewed here by Transition founder, Rob Hopkins. 
Please note 3 things. The brief trailer gives a good feel. 
The quick flip through the pages of this book takes more than 5 minutes, and is fascinating, and with a good soundtrack playing. 
There is a free 32 page ebook, "Feeding Retrosuburbia", that you can sign up for and download, and a newsletter sign-up, here at the main site.  
I have ordered the paper book, about $US 100.

Tom sends this. We noticed this story the same day. Further important context for our world...
My father was a great admirer of the Trappiest monk Thomas Merton and read his autobiography, The Seven Story Mountain. I myself read my father’s copy of the book once I began to associate with Buddhist monks. If I am not mistaken many young Catholic veterans of WW II found solace in Merton’s autobiography which was published in that infamous year 1948.
Though being a contemplative, Merton was a prolific writer of letters and had dialogs with many important people, including members of the Kennedy family. While he was not overtly political, until the Vietnam War, people in positions of political and cultural power found his spiritual guidance helpful, while others at that level found him to be dangerous, precisely for their spiritual and moral guidance he provided to so many.
After JFK’s assassination, Merton began to become increasingly outspoken against the war in Vietnam and at the end of the murderous year of 1968, Merton “died funny” along with the assassinations that year of fellow peace makers MLK and RFK. He died while attending an interfaith conference in Thailand, it is said, by being accidentally electrocuted from being wet from a shower while touching an electric fan with a short in it.
Over the years I have increasingly looked on this story as probably being a coverup and now there is a book that comes to that conclusion after amassing a mountain of research. The conclusion of the book “The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton: An Investigation” makes it now look like the classic intelligence services assassination with all the planted cover stories and people in important places not doing their jobs and keeping their mouths shut about it. Another proof of his murder is that, like JFK, MLK and RFK, the world became much worse off without them.
Speaking the Unspeakable: The Assassination and Martyrdom of Thomas Merton
A Quasi-Review of The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton by Hugh Turley & David Martin
[the book] …proves that in the long run the pen is mightier than the sword, and the spiritually powerful poetic words of a God-entranced man living in seclusion can rattle the cages of men who embrace the void of violence while rejecting the spiritual essence of all religions – that non-violence and love are the laws of existence.  Merton may be dead for his killers, but not for those who hear his voice whispering on every page:
“The very thoughts of a person like me are crimes against the state.  All I have to do is think: and immediately I become guilty,” Merton wrote in “A Signed Confession of Crimes Against the State.” Merton saw clearly that devotion to truth could not help but bring a person into conflict with sinister special interests.  The effectiveness of the truth-seeker would, of course, be greater to the extent he could rally others to his cause, but ultimately, he said, the truth seeker’s strength lay in trust in God. The Thai doctor’s cause-of-death certificate and the official death certificate said Merton died of sudden cardiac failure, but failed to mention the bleeding rear head wound seen by witnesses. Most importantly, when (Fathers) Say and Donovan first saw Merton lying on the floor on his back, his legs straight, and his arms straight down by his side with palms to the floor as if placed in a coffin, with a floor fan lying across a thigh to the opposite lower waist, Donovan urged Say to take photographs of Merton before the crime scene was subsequently disturbed.  They were very suspicious.  Through great detective work, Turley and Martin (authors of the book) have acquired a copy of these two photos, *but they have been prohibited by the current abbot of Gethsemane (Merton’s home monastery) from publishing them or even an artist’s rendering of them*.  [my emphasis] The authors say: The photographs taken by Say are the best available evidence of the actual scene of Merton’s death….The reason the monks took the photographs, as we have emphasized, was to document exactly how they found the body.  As we have seen, people whom they would hardly have ever suspected, have consistently done their best to suppress those images.  The photographs are an essential resource to anyone interested in knowing the truth about how Merton was killed.
Tom also sends this. Many of us are interested in reincarnation, though it is really hard to figure out what it means and how it works. There is scientific study of it in the US, and has been since the 1950s... (Yes, it finally gets to the rest of Ryan's story at the end.)
When Ryan Hammons was 4 years old, he began directing imaginary movies. Shouts of “Action!” often echoed from his room.  But the play became a concern for Ryan’s parents when he began waking up in the middle of the night screaming and clutching his chest, saying he dreamed his heart exploded when he was in Hollywood. His mother, Cyndi, asked his doctor about the episodes. Night terrors, the doctor said. He’ll outgrow them. Then one night, as Cyndi tucked Ryan into bed, Ryan suddenly took hold of Cyndi’s hand. “Mama,” he said. “I think I used to be someone else.” 

Wading Into The Future