Saturday, June 16, 2018

Peace Dividends

Blessed Peacemakers,

Moon of Alabama has the back story about secret negotiations between China, North and South Korea, and the US, for over a year. This casts events in a different light, in my opinion. Trump's dramatic statements, provocative of war, made most of the world cringe and ant peace, which is what was being plotted. It seems that there had to be a lot of drama before the US could accept the freeze-for-freeze proposal that North Korea presented to Obama in 2015. The Spring and fall war games between the US and South Korea were timed to starve North Korea by disrupting rice planting and harvesting. Those 1.2 million North Korean reservists are most of the farmers in the impoverished country. The war games are an act of war. The North Korean TV documentary of Kim's summit trip is very engaging, and I don't understand Korean, but I get the gist, anyway. the last 2 minutes is pretty heart rending. The outpouring of gratitude and relief upon his return appears wholehearted and completely real, person after person after person. This is the view from inside North Korea. It's a thing. They can work on feeding people and improving their economy now. North and South Korean economic levels were very similar until the collapse of the Soviet Union. this country has had it's collapse, and dearly desires a recovery. (The picture of a beaming Kim, triumphantly shaking hands with his nemesis, John Bolton, is quite nice, too.)

By reaffirming the Panmunjom Declaration, the US President has committed to bringing its military back from South Korea and thus a complete denuclearization of the South as well as the North...
The Singapore joint statement is not a deal; it’s a statement. The absolutely key item is number 3: “Reaffirming the April 27, 2018, Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”... This means that the US and North Korea will work towards denuclearization not only in what concerns the DPRK but the whole Korean Peninsula. ... Predictably, both US neocon and humanitarian imperialist factions are unanimous in their fury, blasting the absence of “meat” in the joint statement. In fact there’s plenty of meat. Singapore reaffirms the Panmunjom Declaration, which is a deal between North Korea and South Korea... By signing the Singapore joint statement, Washington has been put on notice of the Panmunjom Declaration. In law, when you take notice of a fact, you can’t ignore it later. The DPRK’s commitment to denuclearize in the Singapore statement is a reaffirmation of its commitment to denuclearize in the Panmunjom Declaration, with all of the conditions attached to it. And Trump acknowledged that by signing the Singapore statement.

"John F. Kennedy and The Question of World Peace", is another article about his American University Speech, the best argument for peace in our time by any American president that I know of. There is lots of context about how it was taken in the USSR. WE know how it went down in the American halls of power. Kennedy sprung this political ambush on the Pentagon, and the rest of the Military Industrial Complex, took it straight to the people and the world. He got the Nuclear Test  Ban Treaty in the remaining months of his life, the first step into a better world that was prevented in November, when America died.

The Real Economic Numbers: 21.5% Unemployment, 10 Percent Inflation, and "Negative Economic Growth" (aka, "contraction", "depression", etc.)

Well, this is about to change everything... "The grain-growing region in the High Plains of America—known as America’s breadbasket—relies entirely on the Ogallala Aquifer. But long term unsustainable use of the aquifer is forcing states in the region to face the prospect of a regional economic disaster. As the High Plains states reach the verge of a major crisis, the states have taken different approaches to conservation with varying results.
The Ogallala Aquifer supports an astounding one-sixth of the world’s grain produce, and it has long been an essential component of American agriculture. The High Plains region—where the aquifer lies—relies on the aquifer for residential and industrial uses, but the aquifer’s water is used primarily for agricultural irrigation. The agricultural demands for Ogallala water in the region are immense, with the aquifer ultimately being responsible for thirty percent of all irrigation in the United States. The Ogallala Aquifer has long been unable to keep up with these agricultural demands, as the aquifer recharges far slower than water is withdrawn... In northwest Texas, so much water has been pumped and so little recharged that irrigation has largely depleted the aquifer in the area. "

John Barleycorn

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Our Roles

Confined to Stall,

Your Role As A Milk Cow (A clarification for beginners looks at how inflation is used to manipulate perceptions and economic behaviors. Compound interest, the financial capitalist's tour de force is not expounded upon.)

Twelve Tips for Making Sense of the World":
Caitlin Johnstone is speaking in tongues of the Holy Ghost here!
1. It’s always ultimately about acquiring power.
2. Money rewards sociopathy.
3. Wealth kills empathy.
4. Money is power.
5. This same ruling class controls the media.
6. People are always manipulating each other.
7. Society is made of narrative.
8. The lines between nations are imaginary.
9. Powerful forces are naturally incentivized to collaborate with each other toward mutual interests.
10. There is an immense amount of wealth that can be grabbed in the chaos of war and conflict.
11. The neocons are always wrong.
12. The push towards truth always starts with yourself.

​More Caitlin: ​ “President Trump seems to have given away two or three of the major things that Kim Jong-Un wanted,” Schumer complained at the aforementioned press conference. “A meeting. The flags next to each other. Now a delay of exercises with South Korea, without getting anything in return.” Huh? A meeting? Flags next to each other? ...

​The body language of the Trump-Kim Summit is analyzed here:
“Whenever they’re shaking hands, you can see the whites of their fingertips - these two guys are alpha males,” Leong said.
“They both want to show dominance and that is why there’s this bone-crushing handshake.”
However, Leong said both found it difficult to conceal their nervousness once they were seated, with Trump displaying a slanted smile, and fidgeting with his hands and Kim leaning and staring at the ground.

Yanis Varoufakis analyzes the Trumpian objectives at the recent G(7-1) Meeting in Northern, North America:
Trump takes one look at all this and concludes that, if the US can no longer stabilise global capitalism, he might as well blow up existing multilateral conventions and build from scratch a new global order resembling a wheel, with America its hub and all other powers its spokes – an arrangement of bilateral deals that ensures the US will always be the largest partner in each, and thus be able to exact a pound of flesh through divide and rule tactics.

In Germany, the influence of the automobile industry over the government is legendary. What isn’t are the relatively high tariffs American manufacturers face when exporting to Europe and the low tariffs America itself imposes on automobile imports. What is also ironic is that modern-day protectionism didn’t start with Trump. Barriers against global trade increased between 2009 and 2016. The World Trade Organization warned, year after year, since 2010, about the increase in protectionism. The Obama administration, faced with the exponential increase in its trade deficit, was the one that introduced the highest number of protectionist measures between 2009 and 2016. The only difference between Trump and Obama was that Obama didn’t publicize this much and the mainstream media didn’t complain.  (So Trump called everybody else's hand at the G-7. Trade war.)

Nafta provides a perfect illustration of why all trade treaties should contain a sunset clause. Provisions that made sense to the negotiators in the early 1990s make no sense to anyone today, except fossil fuel companies and greedy lawyers...  Under Nafta, these provisions have become, metaphorically and literally, toxic. When Canada tried to ban a fuel additive called MMT as a potentially dangerous neurotoxin, the US manufacturer used Nafta rules to sue the government. Canada was forced to lift the ban, and award the company $13m (£10m) in compensation. ...  As the US justice department woke up to the implications of these rules in the 1990s, it began to panic: one official wrote that it “could severely undermine our system of justice” and grant foreign companies “more rights than Americans have” ...  The Canadian government cannot adhere to both its commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change and its commitments under Nafta. While the Paris commitments are voluntary, Nafta’s are compulsory...  Trump was right to spike the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He is right to demand a sunset clause for Nafta. When this devious, hollow, self-interested man offers a better approximation of the people’s champion than any other leader, you know democracy is in trouble.

Unless the European Banking System goes through major adjustment, which is not politically possible (yet) the Eurozone must break up. All the money keeps moving in the same direction, with no way to complete a loop. Germany backs all the debt of southern Europe, and it gets more and more and more.

Russia can finally run a gas pipeline through North Korea, to South Korea, and possibly over to Japan from there, with all parties "winning".
The peace talks, if successful, could revive talks about an onshore gas pipeline, with a capacity of up to 10 Bcm/year via North Korea to the south of the peninsula, which was shelved in 2012 on major political risks. Russia's Gazprom and state-owned South Korean Gas Corp., or Kogas, first agreed to a 30-year supply of up to 10 Bcm/year of Russian gas in 2008, with startup initially marked for 2015 and then delayed to 2017.

Chinese Government mouthpiece, Xinhua says this (mastery of the art of understatement):
A pressing issue to be addressed at the moment is to translate the current hard-earned detente into a long-lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula by properly accommodating concerns of all parties.
To that end, the "dual-track" approach advocated by China, which seeks denuclearization alongside establishing a peace regime on the peninsula, has proven to be a practical and reasonable solution.

It's still hotly debated what "ending expensive war games in South Korea" will mean in practice, but professionals in government say that it will probably just be those big scary massed troop movements with nuclear bombers, that pretend to destroy North Korea, that will be sidelined, not routine training.

Clarified:  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States will not hold war games with South Korea while North Korea negotiates in good faith on denuclearization.

Trying to nail down exactly what Trump said again...  The report from the Korean Central News Agency, which was published after Kim returned home from his meeting, noted Trump’s vow to suspend U.S. military drills in South Korea. It also said Trump committed to unspecified “security guarantees” for Pyongyang, and to “lift sanctions against it.” ...  Trump himself indicated some wiggle room, saying sanctions relief could come even before the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” -- however that’s ultimately defined by both sides -- is verified. “I hope it’s going to be soon,” he said Tuesday at an hour-long briefing. “At a certain point, I actually look forward to taking them off.” ...  Trump faces Japanese pressure to keep sanctions in place, and a push by China to lift them. A Chinese official already signaled the country may ask the United Nations to lift or adjust the penalties, the basis for the “maximum pressure” campaign Trump has used to push Kim toward disarmament. China, as North Korea’s neighbor and most important trading partner, also could provide relief to Kim by throttling down sanctions enforcement on its own.

The genocide in Yemen steps up, now that it is summer, the time of maximum stress on human bodies. There is famine from the blockade of all food from the port of Hudaydah, the only port to supply food and medicine to people who got 90% of their food through that channel before. The UAE just got the green light from the US to attack and wipe out these starving people with cholera, diptheria, and contaminated water this summer, over a million people...
Saudis see the Zaidiya (Islamic sect) as an impediment of their influence in Yemen. They want to control the Yemeni government. The Emirates want to control the port of Aden and Yemen's oil and gas loading facilities. The Obama administration supported the Saudi onslaught on Yemen to buy Saudi acquiescence with the nuclear deal with Iran. The Trump administration supports the Saudi/UAE war out of lack of knowledge. It has fallen for the Iran myth. It also wants to sell more weapons.

This year’s Bilderberg summit is a council of war. On the agenda: Russia and Iran. In the conference room: the secretary general of Nato, the German defence minister, and the director of the French foreign intelligence service, DGSE...  The clearest indication that some sort of US-led conflict is on the cards is the presence of the Pentagon’s top war-gamer, James H Baker. He is an expert in military trends, and no trend is more trendy in the world of battle strategy than artificial intelligence. Bilderberg is devoting a whole session to AI this year – and has invited military theorist Michael C Horowitz, who has written extensively on its likely impact on the future of war. Horowitz sees AI as “the ultimate enabler”. In an article published just a few weeks ago in the Texas National Security Review, he quotes Putin’s remark from 2017: “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Horowitz says “China, Russia, and others are investing significantly in AI to increase their relative military capabilities”, because it offers “the ability to disrupt US military superiority”. Global military domination is suddenly up for grabs.

Let me point out that using Artificial Intelligence to destroy enough of the people, cities, factories and ecosystem of the world, to declare "victory" is NOT INTELLIGENT, so there are inherent limits to how powerful such programming can be. Also, it has to be completely controlled by the programmers, not self-teaching, because self-teaching things reach their own logical conclusions, which is not what the ruling elites are buying this summer, or ever.
The real promise of Artificial Intelligence is realized when it solves a problem with autonomy. This is illustrated by the Program AlphaGo Zero, the most expert player of the ancient Chinese game of strategy, Go. An earlier computer program was taught to beat the best human masters of the game, but AlphaGo Zero was only programmed with the rules of the game, and a description of what winning was, and began playing itself games. It became better and better as it played, and developed deep and elegant strategies which are not understood, even with watching them. It cannot "explain" what it does. It does it faster, with far fewer internal processing steps, having had no teacher. Our intelligence is sort of a useful byproduct of being a social animal species with thumbs, that was able to adapt to a wide variety of habitats, using fire, speech, and other tools, to enable procreation and biological survival.

"Last Exit to The Road Less Traveled" looks at the inevitability of total destruction of all local ecosystems which are touched by global financial-capitalism. It is impossible to compete against. It is so efficient at bringing everything to "market" at the lowest price, that everything in any one ecosystem goes away to market, and the system is subsumed, wholly consumed, and becomes a memory. This is the form of intelligence of the capitalist model, now approaching it's ultimate victory.

I wonder if Artificial Intelligence could be used in a global forum, to devise economic relations that would meet all common needs of living creatures, and gradually restore living, complex ecosystems over time. It would need to be a "fair-broker" to all life forms, while not posing a "threat" to the life forms calling the shots (see Bilderbergers above). They would need to be desperate enough, to give up selfish hopes of winning, or maybe they could just be outsmarted...

Fellow Traveler

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Very Special Bond

Tar Babies,

There is a lot of visceral rage and resentment against Donald Trump. Why? Bad manners. 
Yep. Specifically, Donald Trump is impetuous, like a 3 year old, who was never forced to comply with order, but instead humored by his nanny, and in private schools, and in the elite New York business world. 
"Enabled" is the current catch phrase. Most people, the great majority, were forced to accept order and authority at the age of 3. They may have had younger siblings, or seen neighbor kids, who broke rules and got away with it, while they, themselves had to comply. 
There was a burning resentment, a deep and righteous sense of wrongness, and a wholehearted surge to restore order. All of this is so early in development, and so core to even a 5 year old, that it is almost impossible to look at within oneself.
We may speculate that this is the characteristic of the absolute monarchs of old, the kings that used to enjoy "divine right". 
"Don't try to figure it out; God works in mysterious ways."
Almost all of us, and certainly Angela Merkel (German), have gotten to whatever station we enjoy by internalizing rules and order, and navigating within that regimented context. We excel within the rules, using the rules to our advantage. We are masters of the set order, in that way, and we are rewarded.
Donald Trump has an adult intellect, and the impetuous nature of an untamed 3 year old, and most of the world is flummoxed. 
It's not that difficult. The analysts that see it and work with it, do not have trouble navigating these particular rules of engagement. You catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar.
Those who actually own our global financial system prefer to remain invisible, and to change the rules when it serves to advance their power. We gripe and follow them, and our resentment is unfocused and diffused into bureaucracy. Trump even seems to offend Soros, or maybe Soros is playing that role for us.

Trump and Kim have developed "a very special bond". They "will meet many times", Kim "is a very talented man", who "loves his country very much". "The world will see an important change."  
Donald Trump applies media impact to force the neoliberal-neoconservative establishment into a strategic change of direction. The non-binding memorandum of understanding dedicates the US and North Korea to work towards a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, without defining the term. the only definition which can actually work for all parties in the long term is the absolutely correct one, excluding all nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula. It is early for the US to declare this much.
Trump makes an important show of goodwill, renouncing joint war-games between the US and South Korean forces. South Korea will clearly appreciate this, as will Russia and China. Following suit, Kim declared as his sweetener that North Korea would shut down a testing facility for ICBM rocket motors. 
The mindset expressed in American media is that this is a big win for China and North Korea, but I think they will have to stop talking mean about Kim, and by later this year, the meme of Korean reunification will be playing. That meme can only play positively. Trump is directing expectations into a big positive payoff, for all interested parties, except the neocons. Even the global financial neoliberals get to lick their chops over another fresh market to exploit, with resources and cheap labor to grab.
Trump praised the country's beaches. "I said to [Kim], you could have the greatest hotels in the world," Trump told reporters.
American media is starting with the line that Trump got duped, but they won't be able to hold that stance, and will start having to mention the very obvious long term benefits of normalization of US-North Korea relations, followed by reunification of a pacifist Korea. (Al Jazeera has the news without the insults today)

"President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.–DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

"Dennis Rodman weeps with joy."  Rodman has gotten death threats for his visits to North Korea, but his stock is very much improved today. 

American small business sentiment is sharply more optimistic on North Korean diplomacy.

The Guardian UK quotes a lot of American skeptics here.

Moon of Alabama has an even handed and more concise interpretation of the "Photo-op Summit":
Both sides commit to implement the above "fully and expeditiously". Further talks will be held at the Foreign Minister/Secretary of State level.
This is not a deal, just a declaration. The 'denuclearization' commitment by the DPRK is aspirational. There is no equal commitment from the U.S. side. There is no time frame. As predicted the DPRK will not give up its nukes. It had good reasons to build them and the same reasons will let it keep them.
As long as talks are ongoing the DPRK will likely hold off on further nuclear and long range missile tests. The U.S. will likely stop large scale maneuvers in and around Korea. This is the 'freeze for freeze' which North Korea long wanted and which China and Russia actively supported.
Further talks between the U.S. and North Korea will be slow walked and may not lead to significant progress in nuclear disarmament. Their main purpose is to hold off the U.S. while the real talks that between North and South Korea continue. This is what the "efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula" are really about.
It is disappointing that the terrible human rights record of the United States was not mentioned during the talks.
The North Korean side played its cards exceptionally well. It built its capabilities under enormous pressure and used it to elevate the country to a real player on the international stage. The "maximum pressure" sanction campaign against it is now defused. China, Russia and South Korea will again trade with North Korea.In pressing for an early summit Trump defused a conflict that otherwise might have ruined his presidency.
The losers, for now, are the hawks in Japan, South Korea and Washington who tried their best to prevent this to happen. The winners are the people of Korea, Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. Special prices go to President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and to Dennis Rodman who did their best to make this happen.

Sticking Around

Monday, June 11, 2018

Different Gestalt

Clarifying Terminology,

There are no "War Heroes",... Caitlin Johnstone:
The people whose lives have been used like Kleenex and discarded by the US war machine did not die for a good cause. They did not die fighting for freedom or democracy. They are not heroes. They are victims.
We need to talk about this. The way we can be shamed into silence for saying such things is truly toxic, because it prevents us from addressing the very real problem that the United States starts unjust wars constantly and spends soldiers’ lives like pennies... Human lives are more important than the psychological comfort of those who would prefer to lie to themselves, whether it’s a grieving widow or just someone who doesn’t like thinking about how evil their government is... Many of the men and women who fight and die advancing the depraved agendas of America’s unelected power establishment do so with good intentions... But the longer we allow the delusion to continue that US military personnel are participating in something heroic, the longer we are necessarily perpetuating the delusion that acts of US military aggression are good and noble, and the more of these people will be needlessly killed, wounded and psychologically destroyed while enacting the corrupt will of evil people.

North Korea can be deterred as a nuclear power, and a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War represents the best pathway to managing regional security and ensuring the safety of the people who live in the region. Engagement and interaction is the best vehicle for this, based on an understanding of inter-relationships of complex material, financial and ecological flows and networks that are shaping social change processes within the DPRK.Summits are symbols that act as markers in a much broader process of relationship-building. They are based on confidence-building measures and clear, achievable implementation steps. Through such a process, the parties could gradually evolve the level of trust necessary to progress to subsequent steps on the negotiation pathway. We will find out on Tuesday if Trump and Kim can find that lowest common denominator on which to build a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

The "West" is Over: Trump rejected the summit communiqué:
The American side objected to including the phrase “rules-based international order,” even though it is boilerplate for such statements, according to two people briefed on the deliberations. The Europeans and Canadians were pushing back, but it remained unclear whether the Trump administration would ultimately sign the statement or be left on its own. Trump was obviously not inclined to compromise. He did not sign. There are no 'rules' for him. Not even the ones the U.S. itself once wrote.
Before attending the summit Trump trolled his colleagues by inviting Russia to rejoin the G-7/G-8 format without conditions. Russia had been kicked out after Crimea voted to join its motherland. Merkel, who had negotiated the Minsk agreement with Russia, was furious. She wants to use such an invitation as an element of future negotiations. (It is stupid attempt. Russia is not interested in rejoining the G-7/G-8 format.)

About that Canadian milk. Canada protects farm prices with a quota and tariff system, which is guided to allow Canadian farmers to make a decent living, unlike the suffering, despair and bankruptcy which is allocated to American farmers. Trudeau can't sacrifice Canadian farmers to multinational capitalism.

Italy will no longer accept African Refugees, and is turning away ships. That's what the new, democratically-elected government advertised and is delivering, not what Mr Soros wants. (Stop the western wars in Africa and the middle east and people will not have to run for their lives.)

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has traditionally been in the 'western' camp. It is politically attached to the United Kingdom and the United States as well as to Saudi Arabia and other Sunni majority Gulf states. The Jordanian King Abdullah II has in the past been hostile to Iran. He was to first to publicly stoke fear of a 'Shia crescent'. But the new Saudi and U.S. plans for 'peace' with Israel are a threat to Jordan and to King Abdullah's personal legitimacy. He n to change his position. Provided with the right incentives Jordan could, eventually, join the 'resistance' side with Iran, Syria and Hizbullah.
Lyme Disease, "The First Epidemic of Climate Change":  Ticks can, and sometimes do, deliver two, three, or four diseases in one bite. So resourceful are infected ticks that two feeding side by side on the same animal may pass pathogens one to the other and never infect the host. So clever is the Lyme pathogen that infected ticks are more efficient at finding prey than uninfected ticks.

Starving our way to healthy intestines explained here. (I can hardly wait to try it!) The intestine is lined by a single layer of cells, Yilmaz explains, that turns over every 5 to 7 days. The workhorses of the intestinal lining and this cellular turnover are intestinal stem cells. These cells must retain a high level of function or cellular health in order to replenish the intestinal epithelium on a regular basis. Intestinal stem cells are particularly important in terms of repairing intestinal damage caused by gut infections and chemotherapy, for example. “As we age, stem cells in the intestine as well as in many other tissues of the body, including in the blood and nervous systems, become less functional,” Yilmaz said. “We believe that reduced adult stem cell function contributes to some of the decline of function associated with old age. My lab is very interested in studying low-calorie interventions to delay this decline. As a field, we’ve known for over 100 years that low-calorie states such as fasting or caloric restriction can have positive effects on tissue health and aging. We’ve seen evidence that fasting during times of intestinal infections that lead to diarrhea may promote healing of the intestinal lining, for example.” ... They found that a single fast augments intestinal stem cell function in both young and aged mice, by boosting fat metabolism. It appears that using fats for energy preserves the health and function of intestinal stem cells, and that the ability to break down and use fats for energy is impaired in older individuals — unless they fast.

​Gut Feeling​

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Reality Wobbles

Asking Different Questions,

"The Political Significance of LSD" ("Microdosing" is suddenly in. "Baby steps, baby steps...")
Psychedelic substances have been ingested sacramentally by indigenous cultures to achieve this goal since the dawn of time, and now they’re being validated by the scientific and medical communities. The shifts in consciousness that can be brought about by psychedelics can help in dissolving the man-made boundaries or fear of the other that are implanted in our collective psyche. 

Gail Tverberg has a comprehensive run down on our societal use of energy, which makes everything be the way it is, and what those flows of energy are composed of, where they come from, how they interrelate, and especially what we can expect as oil use decreases. She looks at what has already been happening with shutting down un-economic coal mines in China, and more...
Jean-Marc Jancovici has shown that if sufficient storage is added for wind and solar to make it “dispatchable,” it takes an order of magnitude more physical resources to produce wind and solar compared to what it takes to produce the dispatchable nuclear electricity used in France. Both have low long-term operating costs. Thus, we would expect the true cost of wind and solar to be far higher than France’s nuclear electricity. 

Charles Hugh Smith:   To understand the synchronized global meltdown that is on tap for the 2021-2025 period, we must first stipulate the relationship of "money" to energy:"money" is nothing more than a claim on future energy. If there's no energy available to fuel the global economy, "money" will have little value.

More from CharlesThroughout history, the ruling Status Quo self-destructs by refusing to adapt to changing circumstances. The real world is not static, but those in power are so thoroughly soaked in hubris and the delusions of power that they focus not on painful adaptation but on maximizing and protecting their self-aggrandizement.
Ultimately, all doomed ruling elites face the same problem: there isn't enough money to fund their take and fuel the vast machinery of power. Their solution is always the same: rather than make painful sacrifices to reduce their skim, they "print money" by one means or another: reduce the silver content of coinage, issue paper money, issue "stimulus" via central banks, and so on.
This self-serving mechanism hollows out and corrupts the economy, which consequently becomes increasingly fragile. The system's resilience (its buffers and ability to respond quickly and effectively to crises) erodes to near-zero, and one crisis or another that would have been handled in the past brings down the entire rotten edifice.

James Kunstler on the "Summer of Discontent": There is surprisingly little critical commentary on the notion that Mr. Trump is seeking to “re-industrialize” America. It’s perhaps an understandable wish to return to the magical prosperity of yesteryear. But things have changed. And if wishes were fishes, the state of the earth’s oceans is chastening to enough to give you the heebie-jeebies. Anyway, we’re not going back to the Detroit of 1957. We’ll be fortunate if we can turn out brooms and scythes twenty years from now, let alone flying Teslas.
This will be the summer of discontent for the West especially. The fact that populism is still a rising force among these nations is a clue of broad public skepticism about maintaining the current order. No wonder the massive bureaucracies vested in that order are freaking out. I’m not sure Mr. Trump even knows or appreciates just how he represents these dangerous dynamics.

More "wangin' it":   Before jetting off for Singapore on Saturday, President Trump said he has a “clear objective” for his June 12 meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un but is prepared to hit the ground running. “It’s going to be something that will always be spur of the moment,” he said about any potential agreements with Kim. “You don’t know. This has not been done before at this level.”

This news hit on Peal Harbor Day last year, when we had a surprise snowstorm, and a friend of mine died of cancer. Somehow I missed it. President Trump drinks a dozen cans of Diet Coke per day, and watches up to 8 hours of TV. (As a physician, I'm certain that is very unhealthy for the central nervous system.)
"On Trump Force One there were four major food groups: McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke," the book said. 

At the G-7 Summit in Canada, Trump shows up late, leaves early, says he doesn't like the final statement and won't endorse it, says Russia should be invited back in, gets a thumbprint on his hand from French toy-boy Macron (whose hand appears marginally smaller than Trump's), and says Canadian Prime Minister (Fidel Castro's biological son by Margaret Trudeau) Justin Trudeau, has been lying, and... "Gotta' go make peace in Korea, now!"

​(Russian Foreign Minister) ​
Lavrov, however, said his country had no intention to return to the G7, as Moscow assumed that the G20, an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries plus the European Union, “is a mechanism for achieving consensus.” He added that the G20 “is the most promising platform for the future.”

​It looks like things are about to get a lot worserer for Prime Minister Justin Whoever. ("Take me to Havana" time?)
Peter Navarro, the White House National Trade Council director:
"There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door," Navarro told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."
"That's what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference. That's what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did, and that comes right from Air Force One," he continued.
"To my friends in Canada, that was one of worst political miscalculations of a Canadian leader in modern Canadian history."

George Soros makes a strong statement or two (After how many Diet Cokes? Pot? Kettle?)
President Donald Trump is "the ultimate narcissist" who would be "willing to destroy the world" to preserve his own narcissism.
Soros said he would support impeachment proceedings against Trump if Democrats win in a landslide in November, as long as their is some Republican support.
"The bigger the danger, the bigger the threat, the more I feel engaged to confront it," Soros said Thursday.
"So in that sense, yes, I redouble my efforts."

From Israel: "A Successful Trump-Kim Summit Could be the Prelude to War With Iran" [Can you guys please salivate about something else?! Haven't you heard of internet porn?]
​June 8 was the 51st anniversary of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, signals intelligence ship, which had gone to the Suez area to monitor Egyptian and Israeli military communications during the 1967 6 Day War. The attack in multiple waves, including two airborne attacks, a torpedo attack by a submarine, and an aborted helicopter commando attack, were no mistake. President Lyndon Johnson called off US Navy air support. "I want that goddamned ship on the ocean floor!", he is quoted as saying to the commander of the nearby US forces. (The US did not blame and nuke Egypt; reportedly LBJ's plan.)

​Swiss vote 3:1 against "Vollgeld", "sound money" initiative, which would eliminate fractional-reserve lending:
​Afraid to Change​

Thursday, June 7, 2018


Seeing Our Forest,

Eleni sends this interview with Alexander Dugin, in transcript form, about the current state of "The Great Game" between land and sea empires.
I see Middle East region as the main field where the architecture of future world and the new balance of powers are at stake. It is not a chaotic “all against all” game, it is a decisive episode of GWoC (Great War of Continents). On one side there are Russia, Iran and partly Turkey (distancing more and more from US) with discrete support of China. That is the multipolar camp – Eurasian block. On the other side there is US and its proxies – NATO states, Israel and Arabia Saudi. They represent the globalist pole, the forces of unipolarity. It was not exactly what Trump promised to his voters (he promised rather to stop interventions and to withdraw troops from Middle East), but classical neoconservative agenda. Trump is taken as hostage by neocons. May be that was the price of political deal: Trump gave the foreign politics to neocons and gained some support in his domestic reforms. 

Eleni also sends this from Diana Johnstone, about how Northern Italian Right-nationalists have unified with southern Italian Left-nationalists, against center-left and center-right neo-liberals.
The mystique of the European Union is anti-nationalism, based on the theory that “nations” are bad because they caused the devastating wars of the twentieth century, while European unification is the sole guarantee of “peace”. Convinced of their mission, the Eurocentrists have had no qualms in throwing out the baby of democratic choice along with the nationalist bathwater. 

Edward Snowden: "The people are still powerless, but now they're aware."

Vladimir Putin on George Soros EU machinations:  "There are rumors circulating now that Mr. Soros is planning to make the Euro highly volatile," Putin said quoted by RT.  "Experts are already discussing this. Ask the [US] State Department why he is doing this. The State Department will say that it has nothing to do with them - rather it is Mr. Soros' private affair. With us, it is Mr. Prigozhin's private affair. This is my answer. Are you satisfied with it?"

A Spanish senator who faces corruption charges claims that he has uncovered an NGO and lobbyist network in PACE that helps further the interests of George Soros. Non-government organizations with unclear functions, human rights, claims of corruption and the crisis in Catalonia
​. Thanks Eleni.

North Korea's Kim Jong Un is invited to meet with Vladimir Putin in Russia in September. (I bet it will be a nice time, before winter sets in.)

More from Vlad the Tactful:  "I still hope that this meeting – a very courageous and mature decision U.S. President Donald Trump has made, to have direct contacts with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un – will take place, and we all expect a positive outcome," Putin said in an interview with China Media Group ahead of a planned summit in Shanghai later this week.

The CIA's man on Trump's North Korea Summit team is in a role of great strategic significance. (Where are his deepest loyalties?)
Pompeo, who led the CIA before becoming Secretary of State, is said to trust Kim so absolutely that he now includes him in in nearly every meeting on North Korea. Kim has directly briefed President Trump, and is set to attend the Singapore summit on June 12. During Pompeo's meeting with Kim Jong Un, Kim monitored the North Korean translators to make sure they were feeding accurate translations to the North Korean leader...  He's used his knowledge of North Korean politics to help the White House discern Kim Jong Un's intentions heading into the Singapore Summit. His elevation has "pushed seasoned diplomats and policy-makers to the sidelines" as he's become involved in "almost all levels of the government strategy toward North Korea." 

How the Israeli government put the Palestinians in concentration camps as they got a little "lebensraum" for their new State. Hey, it's just like the German concentration camps! Why didn't we see these pictures when we studied history in school? Thanks Eleni.

Brad sends this article about the EPA rehabilitation of coal fly-ash a few years ago. The mercury, lead, arsenic, Aluminum and other toxins don't matter for your health in this naturally occurring product of industry, especially when it is used to help protect you from global warming by reflecting that hot sun back out into space. Back inside, now, please!

Jason Fung MD on the weight loss benefits of green tea (I think i sent this before. Oh, well...)

Reading Tea Leaves

Monday, June 4, 2018

Investing Wisely

Honest Brokers,

The headline here is that Russia won't let Trump isolate North Korea, which is already as isolated as it can be... Sergei Lavrov's visit with Kim Jong Un in Korea coincided with the plan for US/N.Korea summit getting back on the timeline for June 12. Kim Jong Un will meet with Vladimir Putin sometime soonish. Throughout the (brief) history of North Korea, Russia/USSR has been the best friend and ally of all, until the Soviet Union collapsed. China cut off grain when Koreans were starving, and has been a hard overlord over many centuries. Russian diplomacy has been very impressive in recent years. it seems that Russia, North Korea and China are all saying "nuclear free Korean peninsula". Even the US is saying it, but it's like saying "terrorist". Meanings differ. To me the obvious solution is to baby-step to a unified, nuke-free Korea, with no foreign forces, but some harbor arrangements for various navies.

“China welcomes Russia's positive role in advancing the denuclearization of the Peninsula and promoting the political settlement process of the Peninsula issue.” 

Secretary of Defense Mattis says that the presence (absence) of US troops in South Korea will not be part of June 16 negotiations. 
“Any discussion about the number of US troops is subject to the ROC’s invitation to have them there, and the discussions between the US and the ROC are separate and distinct from the negotiations that are going on with the DPRK. That issue will not come up in the discussions with DPRK… That issue is not on the table here in Singapore on the 12th nor should it be,” he said. (Oh, I see the way around that wording. Also, "ROC" usually means "Republic of China".)   "On the Korean peninsula, we hold the line with our ally," he said. "Our objective remains a complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."  (Nothing but details, in that case...)

Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad says he will travel to North Korea to meet Kim, too.
Mr Assad was also quoted as saying that he was sure Mr Kim would "achieve the final victory and realise the reunification of Korea without fail". (He sees)

Pay very close attention to what India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, said after meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier this week in New Delhi:  “Our foreign policy is not made under pressure from other countries … We recognize UN sanctions and not country-specific sanctions. We didn’t follow US sanctions on previous occasions either.” After fellow BRICS members China and Russia, India left no margin for doubt. And there’s more; India will continue to buy oil from Iran – its third top supplier – and is willing to pay in rupees via state bank UCO, which is not exposed to the US...  It’s clear that fellow SCO/BRICS members China, Russia and India will refuse to isolate Iran. And there’s nothing the Indo-Pacific Command can do about it.

Indian national policy does not force Indian banks and businesses to continue trade with Iran, as US sanctions kick-in this August. Some won't. German export businesses are also avoiding the risks or rankling the US.

The US military base just agreed in Poland is about adjusting the balance of power between China and the US in Europe, as the Belt and Road initiative develops, and also about increasing the non-German national powers within the EU. Poland can lead a nationalist wing against the third generation warfare carried out by liberal globalists. The answer to refugees streaming from the war-torn middle east and Afghanistan is to stop paying to make war on their nations.

Italy is finally staged for the inevitable debt restructuring, going into this summer, with a populist and anti-euro government taking office. At the outset of the 2008 global financial crisis (part-1) Italian national debt was just a little behind that of Greece. Both have vastly increased since then. There are a lot of specifics, which will influence who takes the hit of debt restructuring. Greek people were beaten up and left by the side of the rod by the entire rest of the world, a sacrifice for every debt of the financial elites. The elites handed that bag to the citizens of France and Germany, for nice cash. That does not look feasible this time. Italy is much bigger and Greece was never fixed.

Whether you call it "Italeave" or "Quitaly", JP Morgan's financial analysis, fairly extensive, determines that leaving the Euro (currency) is the best course for the nation of Italy. Leaving quickly and decisively is also best.

More on the inevitability of financial reset for Italy, and for Greece, Spain, Portugal, France, Britain, etc. ("Devastating" is easy to say when it is somebody else.)

Yanis Varoufakis on what the can that was kicked down the road has now become for the EU. The US needs to instigate a trade war now, and should "win".:
​"​I warned my interlocutors at a Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers:
​'​If you insist on policies that condemn whole populations to a combination of permanent stagnation and humiliation, you will soon have to deal not with Europeanist leftists like us but, instead, with anti-Europeanist xenophobes who see it as their vocation to disintegrate the European Union.
​'​By crushing our Europeanist government in the summer of 2015, Germany sowed the seeds of today’s bitter harvest: a majority in Italy’s parliament that dreams of exiting the euro.  The causal link between Germany’s two political headaches has an economic basis. Trump understands one thing well: Germany and the eurozone are at his mercy, owing to their increasing dependence on large net exports to the US and the rest of the world. And this dependence has grown inexorably as a result of the austerity policies that were first tried out in Greece and then implemented in Italy and elsewhere.
All of this was predictable – and in fact was predicted. So no one should be surprised by the position in which Merkel and Europe find themselves today. But only a dangerous fool would celebrate.

​The Swiss Banking Referendum Explained. Thanks Jada. 
This is Part 1 of 3. It explains the current status quo of western banking. 
(Jada and I take exception to the assertion that central banks are part of the government, implying that they are not privately owned profit centers. Mostly, they are, specifically the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve are privately owned and "independent" of control by elected officials.​ The Bank of China is an organ of the State.)
There are "2 kinds of money" state-created money, like bills and coins and the "reserves" that banks hold to loan against, and credit-money, called "deposit money" here. This is the money created when a bank makes a loan, and declares the existence of the amount of money it loans out, and writes it down as an "asset", which is a "liability" to the borrower. It is very damned profitable to do this, and bankers/financiers would completely (not just mostly) own the world by now if they had not overshot and created financial crises so very often. In the 1930s the Chicago school of Economic thought had not yet been contaminated by neoliberalism. The "Chicago Plan" of the 1930s was to take the creation of money completely into the hands of the State (NOT the "Federal Reserve"). (Lincoln had done this when he printed "greenback dollars" during the Civil War, and the "Continental dollar" had also been printed-into-existence and spent into circulation by the government (and counterfeited by England, to destroy it). John Kennedy had started upon this path with his printing of some low-denomination "US Treasury Notes" and "silver certificates". Lincoln and Kennedy came to untimely ends, and it is reasonably argued that bankers financed those "investments".) 
The Swiss, not part of the Euro, understand banking and monetary theory pretty well. They have a referendum to basically change over to the creation of money only by the Swiss Central Bank, which would pay the bills of the government, and provide "reserve money" that banks would loan out at interest. It would feel the same to bank patrons, but bankers would simply be clerks, not rich money-printers. (I think the Swiss bankers see what's coming and want to jump off the current global financial ship before it capsizes.)

The Big Con, How Neoliberals Convinced Us There Wasn't Enough To Go Around

Bayer moves ahead to buy Monsanto, and will retire "Monsanto" name. 
Boycott Bayer!

"Sinister Choreography of MH-17 Probe to Smear Russia", Finian Cunningham.

The international investigative team failed to present any "conclusive evidence" to pin the blame on Moscow for its alleged role in downing MH17 over Ukraine, according to Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke. "But who's responsible - you can't just pinpoint Russia," the minister stated, adding that "any further actions will be based on conclusive evidence." He also stressed that it is important to safeguard good diplomatic relations.  (Failure to salute...)

Georgia has technically legalized cannibis for treating seizures, but there is no legal way to get it, and so on. The State of Georgia has taken a 15 year old with frequent seizures, daily and more, away from his parents, for giving him pot, which let him ride a bike and go for walks without a seizure for a couple of months. ("We went easy on them", says the Sheriff.)

Paul Craig Roberts points out that the USA has standardized cruelty to children and parents of undocumented families Currently, about 1500 children are "unaccounted for" or lost by the US government. There is a market for young humans, a very real market, which point he makes. The US is as cruel an overlord to south and central America as England was to India, and that's a lot of cruelty. Thanks Eleni.

Cruelty is the theme again, as the tattered American social safety net is staged to be cut up into pieces. The industrial society that paid for the safety net was offshored. The financial-capitalism which sucked the blood out of it is thirstier by the day. There are no local alternatives in the gutted economies of rust-belt cities and Appalachia, so this is the last rug to pull out.

If you try to board a plane with your life savings in neatly wrapped stacks of $100 bills, it will be taken without any real recourse, as 64 year old, Cleveland resident, Rustem Kazazi discovered when he tried to fly with this cash to his native Albania, because you just can't trust the banks in Albania. 7 months later, he is not charged with any crime, and does not have any of his money, which somebody under-counted by $770 (Where did that go?) Strip searched, too.

Indian heat waves are worse than Texas heat waves. They kill thousands of people. India is there again, and is saving lots of lives by painting roofs white, giving out free water, and letting people sit in the parks in the heat of the day.

More on Time Restricted Eating to improve health: To be a healthy weight, and not diabetic, get up early, have a little breakfast, get outside and work in the morning sun, eat a hearty lunch, a light and early "supper", then take it fairly easy until dark, and go to bed.  If you eat early in the day, but go 16 hours between "supper" and the next breakfast, you'll probably be less hungry at night, too. (I have to figure out how to pull something like this off. Our work schedules don't really allow it.)

Adjusting Consumption