Follow by Email

Thursday, August 31, 2017

No Deal Yet

Bluffing Awkwardly,

An Aegis Missile Destroyer (the kind that keeps being destroyed by freighters and oil tankers in the dark, and which a Russian fighter electronically jammed in the Black Sea in April 2014) just shot down an America ballistic missile launched from Hawaii, proving that the US can defend Guam; maybe Japan, from some North Korean missiles sometimes, a slam-dunk.

After the missile shoot down, President Trump says that "talking is not the answer" to deal with North Korea. We already know that attacking North Korea is the worst answer, so the correct answer seems to be shooting our missiles at their missiles over the Sea of Japan, and seeing how many we can shoot down. That seems "juuust-right", doesn't it. What could go wrong?

Secretary of Defense Mattis says "we are never out of diplomatic options on North Korea". Mattis is playing the good-cop.

A lot of powers had banked heavily on Syria falling to the Libya treatment, but that's over: “The Saudis don’t care about Syria anymore,” said a senior western diplomat. “It’s all Qatar for them. Syria is lost.”

The US ALREADY had 2600 more troops in Afghanistan last week when Trump said they would start adding more troops and attacking more stuff. More-more to come...

The founding task of the UNIFIL was to supervise the retreat of Israel's invasion troop from south Lebanon. Attempts to change it into Israel's police instrument on the ground, searching private homes of Lebanese citizens, are plainly ridiculous. The presence of UN troops is still to Israel's benefit as it limits the open military activities of Hizbullah in the area... UNIFIL did not get ANY additional authorities or powers. The New York Times headline is a cover up of Haley's failure. It is 100% false... Haley lost her bid. Her bashing of the commanding general of UNIFIL only created bad blood. Her amateurish threat to block the renewal of the resolution went nowhere... General Beary said his troops had not come across any major weapons cache in the UNIFIL-controlled area. He said if there was hard evidence of a cache of weapons, his force would assist the Lebanese armed forces (LAF) in removing them.

Why Every European Country Has a Trump or a Sanders Candidate (You know, the screws have been too tight on everybody, everywhere for too long, and the system is breaking down.)

Consumer price deflation has been progressing in the US and Europe this year "without a recession". Gosh, that's weird, and never happened before.

Why Wages Have Lost Ground in the 21st Century. Charles Hugh Smith points out that the money got sidelined to a lot of things that are not productive in the economy, like bloated and ineffective medical cartels. The whole sick consumer economy can't support it's mass and inertia with poor wages and credit cards maxed out. Not any more...

Surprise! An economy needs plumbers, welders, mechanics, electricians, carpenters, machinists, and equipment operators. (In Austin, we have plenty of these tradesmen, and almost all of them speak Spanish. It wasn't like this until the late 1990s.) No, the kids with the smart phones glued to their faces are not preparing for their futures.

A history of why the US is the only wealthy country without universal health care. (Big money got on the other side early, and is being fed very well.)

"Be evil" : All Hail King Google!

This guy says President Trump forgot to be nice when he visited Texas yesterday. I don't know. I never watch that stuff. I biked to work and the traffic jam didn't affect me.

What does home ownership look like in an age of climate change? When is it OK to rebuild, and when is it time to retreat? (Big questions for all of us.)

Hurricane Harvey damage will cost $160 billion, the most ever. Houston is a huge transit and processing center for imports, exports and oil. 

It's not over. Harvey heads for the Mississippi.

That flooded chemical plant blew up, like they said it would. They couldn't stop what was happening.

Shut down the nuke. 
The South Texas Nuclear Project has been full of construction errors, engineering failures and huge cost overruns from it's inception in the 1970s, when I was going to UT with Karen... 
With the nearby Colorado River already cresting at extremely high levels and flowing at 70 times the normal rate, Karen Hadden, director of SEED Coalition, warned that the continue rainfall might create flooding that could reach the reactors. "There is plenty of reserve capacity on our electric grid," she said, "so we don't have to run the reactors in order to keep the lights on. With anticipated flooding of the Colorado River, the nuclear reactors should be shut down now to ensure safety."

New Texas insurance law goes into effect tomorrow. Take whatever they give you, and just wait patiently. It only gets worse if you fight or cry.

Pretend you are good for awhile, just pretend, just for awhile... :-)

Changing Reality

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cost Per Life

Following the Money,

A months-long investigation which tracked and exposed a massive covert weapons shipment network to terror groups in Syria via diplomatic flights originating in the Caucuses and Eastern Europe under the watch of the CIA and other intelligence agencies has resulted in the interrogation and firing of the Bulgarian journalist who first broke the story. This comes as the original report is finally breaking into mainstream international coverage. Investigative reporter Dilyana Gaytandzhieva authored a bombshell report for Trud Newspaper, based in Sofia, Bulgaria, which found that an Azerbaijan state airline company was regularly transporting tons of weaponry to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Turkey under diplomatic cover as part of the CIA covert program to supply anti-Assad fighters in Syria. Those weapons, Gaytandzhieva found, ended up in the hands of ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq and Syria... Al Jazeera is now belatedly highlighting the story in the midst of the current Qatari-Saudi diplomatic war which has resulted in a general airing of dirty laundry as each side continues to accuse the other of supporting terrorism. Regardless, Al Jazeera's coverage constitutes the first time this story has entered the mainstream. While we've reported the recent Trump decision to end the CIA covert program of regime change in Syria, it appears the apparatus for external weapons shipments to jihadists in Syria remains in place through the continuing Silk Way Airlines weapons pipeline. 

Saudi Arabia prepares foreign policy re-do. Let the old king abdicate to his son, who has been running all this toxic warfare, which has failed. New king blames dad, stops bombing Yemen, stops killing Shiites, becomes "pan-Arab", tries to buy friends away from non-Arab-Persians, by helping rebuild Syria and donating to Palestinians, and probably hopes to be forgiven by Qatar. Thanks Eleni. (Qatar and Iran have a shared interest in a gas pipeline through Syria and Turkey to Europe, as you may recall. This was a Saudi-Qatari shared interest a few years ago. I think the House of Saud can buy into this on the margin, but has actually been thwarted. Qatar/Iran/Syria/Turkey/Russia/Europe is what I see.)

For the second time this week, Americans airlift "ISIS Fighters" out of hot spots in Syria. Who are these guys, really? "Assets"? US or Mossad special forces? The earlier report said they left shaved beards behind in their abandoned compound. Thanks Eleni.

Israeli "Syrian policy" of paying ISIS and bombing Hamas and Syrian government forces is a failure. Israel has now undertaken a severe Mossad-driven "diplomacy" with the US (usual) and Russia (are you kidding?). Israel has threatened direct military intervention, even killing Assad in his presidential palace, but that would probably be thwarted and counterproductive. What will the long term deal actually be? Israel has lost this round. (Syria should get the Golan heights back, but that's 1/3 of the water Israel uses, and really needs, and a lot of oil and gas, too. Will Israel make some desperate attack? Israel holds the Golan, and can only risk it by aggressive acts. I think.) Thanks Eleni.

Brexit negotiators on the UK side are completely owned by multinational banking interests. Large corporations have some say. Others? Not really...That's what the access to parliamentarians indicates.

France, led by well-presented Emmanuel Macron (wholly owned subsidiary of Rothschild Bank) breaks EU ranks somewhat, to suggest an early and somewhat looser format for Brexit negotiations. (Banks rule, especially Rothschild banks.)

Jeremy Corbyn's Labor Party advocates for soft-Brexit, and firms up positions. This is going to take more than a year and a half...

Charles Hugh Smith nails it again (but you do need an army to protect the bankers sometimes.) 
You don't need an army to achieve World Domination; all you need is enough cheap credit to buy up everything that generates the highest value and/or income.

An economic argument for progressive tax rates. (Marx said it. Henry Ford propounded it. Without adequate pay to workers, economic demand is destroyed and the economy collapses. In collapses, bankers buy what you have for less of the free-money they conjure up.)
In terms of income, the poorest 99% of the US population paid nine times as much income tax as the richest 1% when Ronald Reagan took office in 1980. By 2014, they paid 21 times as much. 

Tesla, the quasi-governmental, civilian DARPA, is reportedly about to debut battery-powered semi tractor trucks. They might haul batteries 239 miles downhill(ish) between Tesla factories, a controlled test and proving environment. Regulations on the number of hours truckers can drive are mostly the friend of battery trucks. Maybe they should not drive more than 6 hours without a nap.

How to reduce the risk of cognitive decline with ageing (Short form: Do anything but sit up late at night watching TV.) 
Full nights of sleep, exercise, active hobbies like gardening, thinking, having sex, being socially engaged, and not waiting until it's too late, but having these healthy habits lifelong.

About that cool genetic testing you can get. You might find out stuff that really depresses you.
“About 3% of the population has two copies of the E4 variant – one inherited from each parent,” Professor John Hardy, of University College London, said. “They have about an 80% chance of getting Alzheimer’s by the age of 80. The average person has a 10% risk.”


Babylonian trigonometry 3700 years ago was more accurate than the Greek trigonometry we have used for the last 2500 years. We just couldn't understand what it was. (I've seen this for several days, and folks have sent it. It's not going away. It's probably pretty important somehow.)

Why and how Houston floods. This is the engineering compromise that city planners make. This is bound to happens a few times per century. That's how much infrastructure they bought. The roadways are MADE to carry off more water when a lot comes down at once. That's why you cannot drive on them, but have to stay in your house with a  foot of water, but hopefully, not drowning. Houston is not "devastated". It's "inundated".

A family is dead. Drowned children in failed rescue by great uncle. Death toll is up to 14.

Screaming Father

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Different Priorities

Deciding Prudently,

Hurricane, now Tropical Storm, Harvey is stuck between the gulf and a cold front, therefore pushed back toward the coast, edging east along the coast, and still dumping water hard on Houston, the strongest storm to hit Houston since Alicia, in August 1983. (I skipped out of med school with my roommate, Scott, driving to Austin just ahead of the Alicia, surprising my girlfriend, Jenny (she remembers!) and going for a 50 mile bike ride instead of drowning.)

Industrial Farming is Driving the Sixth Mass Extinction of Life on Earth, says UT Austin Professor, Raj Patel. The soil is the second biggest carbon sink after the oceans, bigger than forests, and we are strip mining the carbon out of it, releasing it as CO2 and methane, and leaving dry desert, which will not hold carbon. The technological solution is a return to traditional small farming practices, which much of the world has used to improve their farmlands for thousands of years. The problem is not with the amount of food, but with the distribution and production practices of monopoly capitalism. The system has to kill the ecosystem and the life forms to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of the few. They have the power. They will not give it up. Grow a garden.

Now 40% of agricultural soil is classed as “degraded” or “seriously degraded”. In fact, industrial farming has so damaged our soils that a third of the world’s farmland has been destroyed in the past four decades... Scientists and farmers around the world are pointing out that we can regenerate degraded soils by switching from intensive industrial farming to more ecological methods – not just organic fertiliser, but also no-tillage, composting, and crop rotation. Here’s the brilliant part: as the soils recover, they not only regain their capacity to hold CO2, they begin to actively pull additional CO2 out of the atmosphere... As Pope Francis put it in his much-celebrated encyclical last year, our present ecological crisis is the sign of a cultural pathology. “We have come to see ourselves as the lords and masters of the Earth, entitled to plunder her at will. The sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life are symptoms that reflect the violence present in our hearts. We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the Earth; that we breathe her air and receive life from her waters.”

"Can we harness American's Retirement Savings to Create Local Sustainable Economies?" (No? How about one little farm for my 401k? OK, didn't think so.)

"The War on Cash", because it really is not yours, and it is almost time for the music to stop, and we have to take the losses. It's our place.
"As governments, whether in the EU or in India or elsewhere refuse to rein in fraudulent practices of its largest banks, forcing people to eliminate use of cash and keep all their liquidity in digital deposits with state regulated banks, sets the stage for the state to confiscate those assets when they declare the next emergency."

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a press event Monday evening that the Trump administration will not close that  ("carried-interest") loophole for most Wall Street billionaires, saying that it can remain for firms that “create jobs.”... Experts say, the tax rate for carried interest may well go down.... In other words, it appears that if the Trump plan is enacted, private equity executives would not just avoid higher taxation; their taxes would actually decline.

Global Central Bankers, our high priests, have just completed their divine interventions to satiate the Money God. They are saving the world. Things are fine. Poor women have to have babies without men, because there are no jobs for men, you lose money if you get married, and it just gets worse when you get older. Central bankers look at Grand Tetons and smile beneficently. Unemployment is low...

A federal judge this week dismissed a class action lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee and its former chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But not before confirming what was already widely suspected: That the DNC rigged the 2016 primary to favor the eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton. Amazingly, the DNC’s attorneys never bothered refuting the lawsuit’s claim that the primary process was biased against Clinton’s rival, Bernie Sanders.  
Instead, they argued that the DNC has a right to conduct primaries however it chooses, and, furthermore, that Sanders supporters knew the primaries were rigged, therefore relieving the DNC of any responsibility it might’ve had.

Reclaiming Redneck Urbanism, What City Planners can learn from Trailer Parks. Thanks Charles:

Here is our Austin Texas garden this afternoon, after our visit from Harvey. Thanks Jenny!
Inline image 3


Impersonating East Wind

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Empire Of People

Waving White Flag,

The Taliban Tried to Surrender... 
Thanks Eleni. This makes the last 12 years of war in Afghanistan more understandable...
For centuries in Afghanistan, when a rival force had come to power, the defeated one would put down their weapons and be integrated into the new power structure — obviously with much less power, or none at all. That’s how you do with neighbors you have to continue to live with... So when the Taliban came to surrender, the U.S. turned them down repeatedly... Only full annihilation was enough for the Bush administration. They wanted more terrorists in body bags. The problem was that the Taliban had stopped fighting, having either fled to Pakistan or melted back into civilian life. Al Qaeda, for its part, was down to a handful of members. So how do you kill terrorists if there aren’t any?

This article is truly heart warming, at least for me. It helps me understand the Afghan people's feelings.
“Before and during the Soviet era, there were Soviet doctors here, and also Soviet teachers. Now show me one doctor or teacher from the USA or UK based in the Afghan countryside! Russians were everywhere, and I still even remember some names: Lyudmila Nikolayevna… Show me one Western doctor or nurse based here now. Before, Russian doctors and nurses were working all over the country, and their salaries were so low… They spent half on their own living expenses, and the other half they distributed amongst our poor… Now look what the Americans and Europeans are doing: they all came here to make money!”
https://journal-neo.org/2017/07/29/in-afghanistan-russians-are-now-remembered-with-love/

Dean Henderson follows the money that LBJ ruined in Vietnam, the gold-backed $US, and how Nixon tried to mop things up and hold the economy together, and who was really behind the Watergate burglars. BINGO! Thanks Eleni.  Let this instruct us in our current situation, which is a lot like early 1971.

"US neo-imperialism does not intend to offer anything to the people of the stable states, nor to the people of the reservoirs of natural resources... it does not want to exterminate the people of the reservoirs, but needs for them to suffer so that the chaos in which they live will prevent the stable states from going to them for natural resources without the protection of the US armies."  More thanks, Eleni,  

Details on the above American endless-war strategy here: (Ugh, Retch, Barf, Eleni)
THE TRADOC mentioned here is the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. TRISA is Tradoc Intelligence Support Activity.
In August 2012, TRISA-Threats published “Operational Environments to 2028: The Strategic Environment for Unified Land Operations”. In this publication, TRADOC G-2 identified potentially contentious OEs and missions the US Army could face, including the OEs of Iran, China, Yemen, North Korea, Pakistan, and Nigeria as possible environments.” ("OEs", “Operational Environments” are countries that the US bombs and invades.)
According to this plan by 2018  we should expect wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq and Libya to continue as launch pads for the wars in Iran, China, Korean Peninsula, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and Nigeria. War on China has started using India as a proxy, and later the US will interfere directly or via proxies in Afghanistan. Ongoing collapse of the European economies with the US acting as a stabilizing military force against civil disobedience. Russia’s economy being weakened by the devastation of its trading partners in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The end of the doctrine of nation building means that the regions devastated by the US will be maintained in a state of devastation in perpetuity to promote collapse of neighboring countries.  (sigh... What could go wrong?)

Countdown to War on Venezuela: Trump imposes more sanctions. (Lotta oil)

More Saker: 
My thesis is very simple: the reason why the US always support foreign minorities to subvert states and use domestic minorities to suppress the majority US population is because minorities are very easy to manipulate and because minorities present no threat to the real rulers of the AngloZionist Empire.

Germany sends refugees to Greece, because the original plan didn't work out. Tag, you're it!

There goes the neighborhood...
"Qatar announced that its ambassador to Tehran will return to resume his diplomatic duties," Reuters quotes the Qatari foreign ministry's information office as saying in a statement in Arabic on its website. It added that Doha wanted to strengthen ties in all fields with the Islamic republic.

Hey, this reminds me of something, but I can't quite think what... 
Is Russia developing a GPS spoofing system? Ships in the Black sea may have been misdirected by a new cyber weapon...

Russia has plans to introduce its own digital currency running on blockchain technology, according to First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov. The FSB "is actively working at the international level and wants to ensure that security issues are solved from the very beginning."  "Blockchain for us is not only about the ability to generate the equivalent of bank notes. It also provides a mechanism for a professional, transparent and fast public service," the minister said. The second largest cryptocurrency ethereum and its founder, Russian-born Vitalik Buterin, are working to adopt blockchain technology in Russia. 

Meanwhile, back in the seat of empire: "Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck, up from 75 percent last year... While 46 percent said their debt is manageable, 56 percent said they were in over their heads."

Dialing for Pennies

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Real Price


Bluffing Dangerously,

Bibi Netanyahu just told Vladimir Putin, in public, during negotiations in Sochi, that If Putin didn't get Iran out of Syria, Israel would intervene to do so.
These guys do business regularly. The business cost of making that kind of public statement is that the deal gets twice as expensive, right?
My read is that Bibi is desperate for his political career, that this is the short term save, and that he expects somebody else to pay the price. Alternatively, Bibi may see his career is over, and he is grandstanding at the exit, leaving his successor with the price to pay (ha, ha, ha...)
I suspect that if Israel invades Syria, they will have a huge, public loss of face, like getting their asses whipped in Lebanon, the last time around. Bibi can't be serious.

The US Navy can't not openly investigate who is hacking the guided missile destroyers, so they officially open what they must have been investigating for at least 3 years already.

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel states that Germany would not necessarily support US war against North Korea. 

Russia deploys nuclear bombers near Korea and Japan, with fighter support and aerial refueling. (The US stopped flying B-1 bombers from Guam. Didja notice?)

Korea, Afghanistan and the Never-Ending-War Trap, by Pepe Escobar, Thanks Eleni. (It's about strategic trade interests,... and heroin.)

Russia warns the US about covert operations in Afghanistan. (Mostly heroin and secret mercenaries getting ferried around by US aircraft.)

Pakistan says, "Don't blame us for your screw ups, asshole!"

Secretary of State Tillerson states that "nobody will win a battlefield victory in Afghanistan". (That's not the US objective. Thanks for clarifying things.)

Antifa seeks "peace through violence". (Oops, don't print that!)

Remember these campaign buttons?

The Alawi family business of running computer systems for Debbie Wasserman Schultz and DNC bigwigs is inevitably getting "investigated", but the limitations of what is being investigated make convictions unlikely. This is structured to lose. Political meddling again? Debbie blackmailed? With what?

In England, the reporter who exposed the BBC coverup of elite pedophilia (but not through the BBC, which fired her first) has been found dead. Thanks Eleni.
Righteous warrior, Liz MacKean was 52 years old. Details of her death are obscured so far.

Paid in Full


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Corporations First

Voraciously Hungry,

Nafeez Ahmed presents analysis of the Energy Return on Investment, as it affects the broad economy, nationally and globally. (This is the kind of analysis which finds cornahol in gasoline to be a boondoggle, consuming more total energy than it supplies.) This broad analysis finds that productivity growth in the world peaked in the 1930s, as did the energy return on investment, EROI. The UK has been in an EROI regime that is too low to support economic growth for about 15 years. The current global financial system requires growth, or it collapses. The EROI of global oil and gas is falling and falling, and coal EROI is still good, but expected to peak soon. The allure of coal for China and President Trump is fairly basic within the current economic paradigm. We need a new economic paradigm, and we are bound to get it soon. We will be working it out as we go. (Growing vegetables for personal consumption has always been part of these economic transition phases.)

Beware the "Cultural Civil War" Narrative. You're Being Played, Charles Hugh Smith (Clear, cogent and concise, as usual.)

The American Civil War was not fought over slavery, but largely over financial power, wielded by large banks and corporations. Northern slaves were never declared "emancipated", just the ones behind enemy lines in the south. Eleni sends this painfully accurate historical account of the actions and political alliances of Abraham Lincoln, before and during "the first modern war".

The Confederate General Who Was Erased (literally erased from pictures, like Stalin erased people who fell from favor): Robert E. Lee favored General Willam Mahone, of the army of Northern Virginia, to succeed him. 
After the war, Senator Mahone led up the "Readjustor Party" and ran Virginia politics with a coalition of black and white Republicans and white Democrats, got widespread black suffrage and education, and readjusted (down) the debt of the Sate of Virginia, a very successful transitional agenda, from 1879 to 1883. (Sorry,, doesn't fit narratives.)

Note to Chinese-American families named "Lee": Don't name your son "Robert":

Ron Paul advises avoidance of Fascism on both the right and the left (Hitler and Mao)

This article by Thierry Meyssan (Thanks Eleni) presents the destructive strategy of the Western Empire, as commanded by the neocon cabal, and the effective strategy that Basser al Assad has employed to counter it since 2011. He actually decreased security forces and prisons, decreased interrogations, decreased the actions of soldiers against civilians, going against the litany of accusations against him. He split from the legacy of his father, and sidelined his brother (who had run the security apparatus). The people of Syria have noticed and appreciated this. Their hearts and minds have been won by the truth. This is the long strategy. It can be overpowered early by force. The author advises Venezuela's Maduro to choose this path.

How the US Deep State accidentally forged a Multipolar World Order: (If there is one big bully on the playground, taking everybody else's lunches, every single day...)

Russia prepares plans for "inevitable" counter-sanctions, in response to (yes) "illegal" US economic sanctions. Russia is building a parallel economic and financial regime, out of necessity.

The US can't be trusted. Trump cheats on China sanctions deal. (He really is breaking a deal and cheating after China agreed to UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea. That's why the immediate Chines response, not the customary next-day response. This is total bullshit, too.)

Future resource-wars for solar panels and electric motors and smart-phone batteries... sigh.

"ESTCOIN", Will WW-3 begin in the Balkans? 
"Nearly three years after Estonia introduced its “e-residency” program, becoming the first country on Earth to allow foreigners to become “digital citizens,” the tiny Baltic republic is considering another proposal that would further cement its reputation as a digital pioneer: Becoming the first country to launch its own Initial Coin Offering... Korjus said the idea was workshopped with input from Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin. Buterin, Korjus says, envisions the estcoin as a new way to directly invest in a country’s future, rather than buying stocks, bonds or businesses." Russia and China are interested, and carrying out their own preparations.

Mike Kreiger: "Of course, his cheerleaders will remain enthusiastically in denial about what’s happened to their hero, but Trump has been totally brought to heel, a fact that’ll become increasingly crystal clear in the months ahead. This is now your standard Wall Street and military-industrial complex run Presidency... The biggest mistake in Iraq was starting the war in the first place. If we can’t admit such an obvious lesson from Iraq, of course all the solutions we come up will prove to be failures...There’s no vision, no wisdom and absolutely no exit strategy... Unfortunately, here’s the cold hard truth: We have no idea who we are, and we have no idea what we are fighting for. We’ve become the very evil he claims to be fighting against..."

More of the erosion/replacement of Trump's America First Policy: Chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was dismissed Friday, was a vocal opponent of the strategy endorsed by the president Monday, and though one White House adviser described him as a “ghost” in internal deliberations — he preferred to speak privately with the president or to talk to the news media — he succeeded, at least temporarily, in dubbing the effort “McMaster’s War"...The president’s national security team presented him with additional options, including a plan to outsource the war to contractors overseen by Erik Prince, the former Blackwater chief... Trump was also intrigued, in two discussions with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, by Ghani’s mention of the Afghanistan’s huge mineral reserves — which, he told Trump, the Afghans themselves lacked the technology and the resources to exploit. By some assessments, more than $1 trillion in mineral wealth, much of it in the form of lithium, could lay in the rock and soil of Afghanistan... After Trump raised the question of mineral wealth one Cabinet meeting, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — a former ExxonMobil CEO who oversaw projects in several dangerous nations — warned him about the risk of investing in politically unstable regions. (See: resource wars for smartphone batteries, above.)

It's too late to "ban killer robots", it's time to make them better and better (Duh, Drones!)

How regular industrial-device robots can be hacked to damage humans. (I saw another article that this is the biggest predictable danger with autonomous robo-cars. No suicide-driver needed. Nothing suspicious until... BAM!)

Bernie Sanders points out the obvious, some more... "The ongoing failure of our health care system is directly attributable to the fact that it is largely designed not to provide quality care in a cost-effective way, but to make maximum profits for health insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, and medical equipment suppliers." (Bad fer bidness, too...)

Found-a-Peanut