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9.10.17: Wake Up Wyoming

https://dtube.video/#!/v/maxmogren/cwuftxv2

JH Local News

JHNG: Firefighters jump on wildfire south of town

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image source: JH News and Guide

“Jackson Hole Fire/EMS, National Park Service and National Forest Service teams responded to the blaze, which was suspected to have started by a spark from an old fire truck sitting on dry grasslands. The fire is burning south of Jackson, to the east of Highway 191.”

JHNG: Stearns to keep animals for now

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image source: video still from concerned neighbor of Forrest Stearns

Stearns was cited for animal cruelty on Aug. 25 by the Teton County Sheriff’s Office. He is accused of tying a horse down to the ground, possibly leading to its death.  It’s Stearns’ first citation for animal abuse, but he has been investigated for a similar case involving a mule before.

Global Ponzi Scheme

CHS: The Real Reason Wages Have Stagnated: Our Economy is Optimized for Financialization

Labor’s share of the national income is in freefall as a direct result of the optimization of financialization.
The Achilles Heel of our socio-economic system is the secular stagnation of earned income, i.e. wages and salaries. Stagnating wages undermine every aspect of our economy: consumption, credit, taxation and perhaps most importantly, the unspoken social contract that the benefits of productivity and increasing wealth will be distributed widely, if not fairly.
This chart shows that labor’s declining share of the national income is not a recent problem, but a 45-year trend: despite occasional counter-trend blips, labor (that is, earnings from labor/ employment) has seen its share of the economy plummet regardless of the political or economic environment.

NBC: Americans Split on Whether 4-Year College Degree Is Worth the Cost

Americans are becoming more skeptical that a four-year college education is worth the cost, a new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal finds.

The national survey of social trends, which was conducted August 5-9, found that 49 percent of Americans agreed with the statement that a four-year degree “is worth the cost because people have a better chance to get a good job and earn more money over their lifetime.” But about the same share, 47 percent, said that a degree is not worth the cost “because people often graduate without specific job skills and with a large amount of debt to pay off.”

When pollsters posed a similar question in a June 2013 CNBC survey, 53 percent of Americans said that a four-year degree is worth the cost, while just 40 percent said that it is not.

PEW RESEARCH: 5 facts about Millennial households
1.  More Millennial households are in poverty than households headed by any other generation.

2.  Millennial households dominate the ranks of the nation’s renters.

3. About half of cohabiting-couple households are headed by a Millennial.

4.  In 2016, Millennials for the first time surpassed all other generations in number of household heads who were single mothers.

5.  Among heads of household, Millennials in 2016 became the generation with the largest number identifying as multiracial.
CNBC: The incredible falling dollar: Greenback hits new 2017 low

The dollar skidded to new lows against a basket of rival currencies on Friday, and some strategists see further downside ahead for the currency that’s already lost nearly 11 percent this year.

The dollar index hit its lowest level since January 2015 in early Thursday trading, at the 91.011 mark; this was a further decline from the 2017 low hit in the previous session. As the likelihood appears to dwindle that the Federal Reserve will hike its federal funds target rate later this year (as inflation remains tepid and political drama swirls in Washington), so too has the relative value of the dollar.
ZEROHEDGE: Expats Don’t Want To Live In The US & UK Anymore

So unsurprisingly, members of the internationalist class of workers who populate urban centers like New York City and London – and who have the most to lose from nationalist economic and immigration policies – now perceive the US and Britain as less friendly to foreigners, not to mention less politically stable, according to a survey of 13,000 expatriates of 166 nationalities that was cited by Bloomberg.

The respondents said that quality of life in both countries is declining by other measures, including the affordability of child care and health care. However, we don’t think one can easily blame that on the election.

The UK ranks 54, down 21 places from last year’s survey, after its June 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Before the referendum, 77 percent of expats had a favorable opinion of the nation’s political stability. That’s down to 47 percent this year.  The survey was conducted in February and March, before the most recent British election. Just half of expats say the UK has a good attitude toward foreign residents, compared to 67 percent worldwide.

In another twist, China ranked as one of the expats’ favorite places, despite the severe pollution and the quality and cost of health care and education. Two-thirds of respondents said they were happy with their careers, though the country ranked 55 out of 65 for overall quality of life. Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan, which topped last year’s list, slipped to fourth place, while Singapore climbed into the top 10. Hong Kong languished at 39, up from 44 last year.

The survey was conducted by InterNations, a Munich-based network of 2.8 million expats. The survey includes interviews with executives, skilled workers, students and retirees who live outside the country where they grew up. There are about 50 million expats worldwide, according to market research by Finaccord, and the number is expected to hit 60 million over the next five years.

JACOBIN MAG: Infrastructure Spending: Why the United States Is Falling Apart

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Environment and Health

TREEHUGGER: Plastic particles found in most tap water samples across the globe

With an average of 83 percent of samples harboring plastic, the U.S. fared the worst with a whopping contamination rate of 94 percent. And it’s not like the samples were taken from sketchy locations; plastic fibers were found in tap water coming from places like Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York

The scale of global microplastic contamination is only starting to become clear, with studies in Germany finding fibres and fragments in all of the 24 beer brands they tested, as well as in honey and sugar. In Paris in 2015, researchers discovered microplastic falling from the air, which they estimated deposits three to 10 tonnes of fibres on the city each year, and that it was also present in the air in people’s homes.
IB TIMES: Can Marijuana Cure Seizures? Boy Suffering From Epilepsy Treated With Cannabis Oil

An 11-year-old boy suffering from epilepsy, who became the first patient with the condition to be prescribed cannabis oil and began treatment in the United States in 2016, has been seizure-free for 300 days since being under the treatment. Earlier he used to suffer from potentially 30 fatal seizures a month, his mother Charlotte said, the Independent reported Thursday.

UPI: Can’t afford the dentist? You’re not alone

Nobody loves a trip to the dentist, but for many middle-aged Americans even basic dental care is now financially out of reach, a new poll finds.  In fact, 28 percent don’t have dental insurance, while 56 percent don’t get dental care except for serious dental problems, researchers said.  Even more troubling is that 51 percent of people surveyed said they didn’t know how they will get dental insurance after they turn 65, said lead researcher Erica Solway. She’s a senior project manager at the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
ABC: A look at the damage from Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean
ABC: Hurricane Irma threatens ‘to devastate the United States,’ FEMA chief says
BLOOMBERG: Hurricane Irma’s Chemical Fallout Could Be Worse than Harvey’s

Silver Lining from SURFLINE: Jose Pumps Swell to East Coast and Caribbean

Much of the attention, rightly so, over the past week has been on Irma. Meanwhile Jose quietly strengthened into a formidable Category 4 hurricane and is taking a much more favorable track for swell production for the East Coast. In fact, this morning as Jose was passing the NE Puerto Rico buoy (41043) we saw an observation of 44′ seas. Swell from Jose has already produce pumping surf for parts of the Eastern Caribbean the past few days and Puerto Rico today.

Cyberwars and Security

WOLFSTREET: Worst US Consumer Data Hack Ever? Equifax Confesses

Your data was likely stolen. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself even after the hack, and Equifax doesn’t want you to do it.

Equifax, as a consumer credit bureau, collects financial, credit, and other data on every US consumer. It has names, birth dates, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, mortgage data, and payment history data, including to utilities, wireless service providers, and the like. It collects data on bank balances, loan balances, credit card balances, credit card purchases, and myriad personal details. It has massive digital dossiers on every consumer in the US and in some other countries. And it sells this data to other companies, such as banks, credit card companies, car dealerships, retailers, and others, as a routine part of its business model. That’s how it makes money.

But when someone breaks in and steals this data without paying Equifax for it, well, that’s a huge deal. And it is.

Turns out, Equifax got hacked – um, no, not today. Today it disclosed that it had discovered on July 29 – six weeks ago – that it had been hacked sometime between “mid-May through July,” and that key data on 143 million US consumers was stolen. There was no need to notify consumers right away. They’re screwed anyway. But it gave executives enough time to sell 2 million shares between the discovery of the hack and today, when they crashed 13% in late trading.
CNBC: Three Equifax executives sold $2 million worth of shares days after cyberattack

Three Equifax executives sold shares worth nearly $2 million in the company days after a data breach was discovered, according to filings to the SEC.  The company said the trio “had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred at the time they sold their shares”

CNBC: Equifax tweets out ‘Happy Friday’ one day after the massive data breach is revealed
MARKETWATCH: Facebook accused of fake audience numbers

Facebook Inc. claims its ads have the potential to reach more people than recent U.S. census data shows exist, and that’s troublesome for one analyst, who thinks third-party measurement services stand to benefit.

Recently, Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser was intrigued by a trade publication study in Australia that said Facebook FB, -1.30%  was claiming to reach 1.7 million more 16- to 39-year olds than actually existed in the country, according to Australian census data.

In reproducing the study for the U.S., Wieser said Facebook’s Ads Manager claims it can potentially reach 41 million 18- to 24-year-olds, 60 million 25- to 34-year-olds, and 61 million 35- to 49-year-olds. The problem arises when Wieser pulls up U.S. Census data from a year ago, showing 31 million 18- to 24-year-olds, 45 million 25- to 34-year-olds, and 61 million 35- to 49-year-olds.
DEFENSE ONE: You Can Protest, But You Can’t Hide From Government Facial Recognition (For Much Longer)

Artificial intelligence is giving rise to unprecedented capabilities for surveillance, from facial recognition at bridge crossings to the ability to identify thousands of people at once. Now, new research suggests that AI could potentially be used to identify people who have taken steps to conceal their identities by wearing hats, sunglasses, or scarves over their faces.

The paper, accepted to appear in a computer vision conference workshop next month and detailed in Jack Clark’s ImportAI newsletter, shows that identifying people covering their faces is possible, but there’s a long way to go before it’s accurate enough to be relied upon. Researchers used a deep-learning algorithm—a flavor of artificial intelligence that detects patterns within massive amounts of data—to find specific points on a person’s face and analyze the distance between those points. When asked to compare a face concealed by a hat or scarf against photos of five people, the algorithm was able to correctly identify the person 56% of the time. If the face was also wearing glasses, that number dropped to 43%.
REUTERS: Two-thirds of American adults get news from social media: survey

(Reuters) – About two-thirds of American adults are getting “at least some of their news on social media” with two-in-ten doing so often, according to a Pew Research Center survey this week.

About 67 percent of American adults somewhat rely on social media platforms such as Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Snapchat for news, the survey showed, compared with 62 percent in 2016.

For the first time in the Center’s surveys, the research also found that 55 percent of Americans adults over 50 were consuming news on social media sites, up from 45 percent in 2016.

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Why Doesn’t the US Department of Defense Weaken These Hurricanes and Send Them Back Out To Sea?

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Hurricane Harvey just caused the most expensive “natural” disaster in American history with damage estimates of up to $180 billion and 44 tragic deaths.

Now Hurricane Irma in bearing down on Florida, Katia batters central Mexico, and Jose is entering the Caribbean.  Strangely, a major hurricane has not made landfall in the US over the last 12 years, but now we are experiencing several such storms simultaneously.

The media has a lot to say about these storms, but no one is asking the big question: why are these storms wreaking unprecedented havoc when they could be weakened and sent back out to sea?

We live in the era of anthropogenic climate change, but the mainstream media focuses only on the influence of CO2 and methane.  In reality, many human factors contribute to the wild weather we are experiencing, most notably INTENTIONAL weather modification programs.  Many of these programs are conducted with public knowledge while others are conducted without public oversight.

The historical record of weather modification technology development proves that we have the technological capacity to steer hurricanes.  The obvious question this video poses is why we are experiencing the most destructive storms in American history when we have the capability to prevent these catastrophes.

Here are some applicable excerpts from the history of these technologies.  This is certainly an incomplete history because weather modification, weather warfare, and geoengineering are all shrouded by disinformation and secrecy. Everything mentioned here is true to the extent that we can trust “reputable” government and scientific sources to tell us the truth.

1887: The Atlantic Monthly features an article called “How To Change the North American Climate” which proposes geoengineering by rerouting warm ocean currents to melt the Northern Hemisphere’s Polar Ice Cap.

1946: Researchers at General Electric develop methods of cloud seeding using dry ice and silver iodide. Vincent Schaefer discovered that dry ice could be used to seed clouds. A month later Dr. Bernard Vonnegut (older brother of writer Kurt Vonnegut) discovered that silver iodide was a more effective way to seed clouds. Since 1946 an ever-growing number of governments and business interests around the world have used silver iodide cloud seeding to enhance precipitation, limit hail storms, clear fog, and in experiments seeking to steer/strengthen/weaken storms.

1947: The US Department of Defence (DoD) conducts Project Cirrus in which about 200 pounds of dry ice is dropped into a hurricane heading back out to sea which abruptly changed course and slammed into Savannah, Georgia. The public blamed the government for this catastrophe, so future storm modification experiments took place more secretly. Once again, we see a brand new technology being used in an attempt to alter the weather in massive way. 1952 Project Cirrus summary PDF here.

1951-1953: US DoD conducts the Artificial Cloud Nucleation Project (AEN), a large-scale weather modification project in Washington.

1952: US White House Department of Weather Modification formed.

1952-1954: Project SCUD: US Gov. experiment with cloud seeding over the East Coast of the USA.

1953: President Eisenhower creates the U.S. Advisory Committee on Weather Control.

1953-1954: Scientists at New York University seed nineteen cyclones.

1956: US Weather Bureau initiates a National Hurricane Research Project.

1958: Chief White House Adviser on Weather Modification, Captain Howard T. Orville, said the Department of Defense was studying “ways to manipulate the charges of the Earth and sky and so affect the weather by using an electronic beam to ionise or de-ionise the atmosphere over a given area.” Could this be Nikola Tesla’s wireless electricity “death ray” being experimented with 54 years ago!

1958: Senator Lyndon B. Johnson (future US President) made a prophetic opening statement at a Hearings before the Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee of the Committee on Armed Services:

“From space, the masters of infinity would have the power to control the earth’s weather, to cause drought and flood, to change the tides and raise the levels of the sea, to divert the gulf stream and change temperate climates to frigid. There is something more important than the ultimate weapon. And that is the ultimate position. The position of total control over the Earth that lies somewhere in outer space… In essence, the Soviet Union has appraised control of space as a goal of such consequence that achievement of such control has been made a first aim of national policy. [In contrast], our decisions, more often than not, have been made within the framework of the Government’s annual budget. Against this view, we now have on record the appraisal of leaders in the field of science, respected men of unquestioned competence, whose valuation of what control of outer space means renders irrelevant the bookkeeping concerns of fiscal officers.”

1960-1961: Project Skyfire begins. Project Stormfury also begins in 1961 (and ends 22 years later). Both are studies into lightning and hurricane manipulation.

1966, Nov, report from NASA to ICAS (Independent Comm. for Atmospheric Sciences of the Nat. Academy of Sciences, NAS) was first step in establishing a National Weather Modification program

1966: Gordon J. F. MacDonald publishes military ideas on environmental engineering. MacDonald was Chair of the ICAS Select Panel on Weather and Climate Modification.

1966: US Federal Government spends about $7 million on projects including precipitation modification; hail suppression; fog and cloud dissipation; lighting modification; severe storm modification, and “other.” The Office of Naval Research sponsors major research in tornado modification, hurricane steering and cyclone manipulation.

1967-1972: US Military conducts covert weather warfare over Vietnam called Operation Popeye, to extend the monsoon season over Laos, specifically areas of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The operation seeded clouds with silver iodide, resulting in the targeted areas seeing an extension of the monsoon period an average of 30 to 45 days. As the continuous rainfall slowed down the truck traffic, it was considered relatively successful. The 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron carried out the operation to “make mud, not war.”

1968: Chair of the ICAS Select Panel on Weather and Climate Modification Gordon J. F. MacDonald authored a chapter in “Unless Peace Comes” where he correctly predicted that future means of obtaining national objectives by force hinges on man’s ability to control and manipulate the environment of planet Earth.

“When achieved, this power over his environment will provide man with a new force capable of doing great and indiscriminate damage. Our present primitive understanding of deliberate environmental change makes it difficult to imagine a world in which geophysical warfare is practiced. Such a world might be one in which nuclear weapons were effectively banned and the weapons of mass destruction were those of environmental catastrophe. As I will argue, these weapons are peculiarly suited for covert or secret wars.”

1968: Gordon J. F. MacDonald writes as follows in “Toward the Year 2018″, p. 34):

”By the year 2018, technology will make available to the leaders of the major nations a variety of techniques for conducting secret warfare, of which only a bare minimum of the security forces need be appraised. One nation may attack a competitor covertly by bacteriological means, thoroughly weakening the population (though with a minimum of fatalities) before taking over with its own overt armed forces. Alternatively, techniques of weather modification could be employed to produce prolonged periods of drought or storm, thereby weakening a nation’s capacity and forcing it to accept the demands of the competitor.”

1970: US National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski (who is still very active in 2012) publishes “Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era” containing the following informative quotes:

“Not only have new weapons been developed but some of the basic concepts of geography and strategy have been fundamentally altered; space and weather control have replaced Suez or Gibraltar as key elements of strategy… future developments may well include automated or manned space warships, deep sea installations, chemical and biological weapons, death rays, and still other forms of warfare—even the weather may be tampered with.”

1974: US DoD tells Project Stormfury researchers to conduct “more field experiments on tropical cyclones at every opportunity.”

1974: United Nations General Assembly bans environmental warfare. ENMOD Treaty.

1975: Soviets begin pulsing “Woodpecker” ELF waves, at key brainwave rhythms. Eugene, Oregon, one of locations where people were particularly affected. Russia begins generating powerful electromagnetic transmissions which are dubbed ‘The Russian Woodpecker’ by western ham-radio operators.

1977-1978: The UN Environmental Modification Convention (ENMOD), formally the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques prohibits the military or other hostile use of environmental modification techniques. It opened for signature on 18 May 1977 and entered into force on 5 October 1978. The Convention bans weather warfare, which is the use of weather modification techniques for the purposes of inducing damage or destruction.

1983: Project Stormfury officially ends after 22 years of experimentation into predicting and modifying hurricanes.

1987: Bernard Eastlund authors US Patent # 4686605 (and two others) in which he references Tesla’s work as a source of historical contribution. It is entitled:Method and Apparatus for Altering a Region in the Earth’s Atmosphere, Ionosphere, and/or Magnetosphere. Part of it reads: ”Weather modification is possible by… altering upper atmospheric wind patterns or altering solar absorption patterns by constructing one or more plumes of particles which will act as a lens or focusing device.” Years later he admits in an interview to having approached the Pentagon with his ideas but says he is not at liberty to disclose the outcome. His device would allow a concentration of one watt per cubic centimeter compared to others only able to deliver about one millionth of one watt.

1993: Work begins on the HAARP research station. (Which is only one of several such facilities in the US and in other countries)

1994: US Air Force reveals its Spacecast 2020 master plan which includes weather control. Scientists have experimented with weather control since the 1940s, but Spacecast 2020 noted that “using environmental modification techniques to destroy, damage or injure another state [is] prohibited”. Having said that, the Air Force claimed that advances in technology “compels a re-examination of this sensitive and potentially risky topic.”

1995-1997: Public complaints accumulate across the US regarding unusual cloud formations and sudden increase in observable persistent jet contrails that appear unnaturally under dry atmospheric conditions. These observations are accompanied by complaints of biological specimens and web formations that appear to fall from the sky. Many instances of qualified lab analysis reveal high concentration of aluminum, barium and other elements that are consistent with DoD electromagnetic experiments.

1996: US Air Force publishes Weather As a Force Multiplier: Owning The Weather in 2025.

2004: Tsunami readiness in the United States is strengthened after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake strikes in the Indian Ocean and tsunami waves kill over 230,000 people around the Indian Ocean basin. Congress passes the Tsunami Warning and Education Act authorizing NOAA to strengthen its tsunami detection, forecast, warning and mitigation programs.

2005: Hurricane Katrina makes landfall in southeast Louisiana on August 29, resulting in devastation and loss of life of historic proportions along the Gulf Coast. Katrina results in an estimated $125 billion in damage/costs — making it the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history — and approximately 1,833 deaths — the highest U.S. total since the 1928 major hurricane in southern Florida.

Hurricane Rita hits the Texas-Louisiana border coastal region in September, creating significant storm surge and wind damage along the coast, and some inland flooding. Prior to landfall, Rita reached the third lowest pressure (897 mb) ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. Rita results in an estimated $16.0 billion in damage/costs and 119 deaths — mostly indirect.

Hurricane Wilma hits southwest Florida in October, resulting in strong, damaging winds and major flooding across southeastern Florida. Prior to landfall, as a Category 5 hurricane, Wilma sets a record for the lowest pressure (882 mb) ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. Wilma results in an estimated $16.0 billion in damages/costs and 35 deaths.

Overall, the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season set several records. There were 28 named storms (storms with sustained winds of at least 39 miles per hour). In addition, there were an unprecedented 14 hurricanes, of which seven were major hurricanes (Category 3 or better on the Saffir-Simpson Scale). Three category 5 storms (sustained winds of 156 miles per hour or more) formed in the Atlantic Basin for the first time in a single season (Katrina, Rita, and Wilma). Four major hurricanes and three tropical storms made landfall in the U.S., with an eighth storm (Ophelia) brushed brushing the North Carolina coast.

2006-Now: Almost every country the world over is seeing increasingly frequent and extreme weather events, many of which have been record-breaking.  At the same time the US experiences at 12 year “drought” of major hurricanes hitting the continental US.

2009: Operation HAMP – Department of Homeland Security operation to Modify and Steer Hurricanes with Geoengineering Aerosols.

Here are the historical documents cited in this video.

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To avoid tell-tale trails see your meteorologist

The Body Electric Weather Mod

 

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8.30.17: Wake Up Wyoming

CLIMATE, WEATHER WAR, and ENVIRO

Harvey Damage Could Top $40 Billion: Only One in Six Insured, 15% of Refining Capacity Down

There’s an “Unbearable” Chemical Smell Hovering Over Parts of Houston, and Experts Are Worried.

Houston drainage grid ‘so obsolete it’s just unbelievable’

Experts blame too many people, too much concrete, insufficient upstream storage, not enough green space for water drainage and, especially, too little regulation.

Desperate Texans line up in the rain as grocery stores start to reopen

As Tropical Storm Harvey heads back inland, slamming southwest Texas with another 15-25 inches of rain, Housting officials are reporting that the city’s critical infrastructure is starting to fail under the weight of the floodwaters, and may soon collapse.

Scientists say Harvey may be the soggy sign of future storms

‘The windscreen phenomenon’ – why your car is no longer covered in dead insects

Climate Change and Migration in Pakistan

Climate change is an inexorable and contemporary threat with drastic impacts on the survival and living patterns of mankind. Pakistan ranks seventh among the most adversely affected countries by climate change on the Global Climate Risk Index 2017. Pakistan has suffered the devastating impacts of natural disasters and climate change in the recent years, witnessing an earthquake in 2005 and heavy floods in 2010. Climate change have rapidly increased in Pakistan, causing and exacerbating disasters, forcing people to flee their homes and seek shelter elsewhere, thus leading to a climate-induced migration.

Arctic riches: A most insane discussion

As climate change rips away the icy armor of the Arctic, nations surrounding the North Pole and companies eager to exploit the area’s mineral wealth–particularly oil and natural gas–are growing giddy with anticipation.

So reports the Associated Press, though the AP is by no means the first to report this story. The slow-motion battle over the increasingly accessible resources of the Arctic is certainly a story. But the prevailing version of that story lacks the proper context, one that is hard to provide since the implications of global climate change are vast and difficult to grasp.

Industrial farming is driving the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth, says leading academic

‘Re-imagining a world with less stuff but more joy is probably the way forward,’ says Professor Raj Patel

Overfishing is driving large marine creatures extinct

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

The U.S. and Japan will call for an international embargo on oil exports to North Korea in response to Tuesday’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan, as the allies seek to strike at the lifeblood of Pyongyang’s weapons programs.
American politicians love to hurl economic sanctions at disfavored governments, but the current labyrinth of sanctions is so complicated that it has unintended consequences.
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.
And the misery is likely to get even worse due to financial sanctions imposed by the Trump administration in efforts to isolate Maduro for taking the country down an increasingly authoritarian path.
U.S. sanctions may play into Russia’s and China’s hands.
The U.S. mainstream media is touting a big break in Russia-gate, emails showing an effort by Donald Trump’s associates to construct a building in Moscow. But the evidence actually undercuts the “scandal.”
The average reader would never know that U.S. and NATO forces themselves engaged this summer in “their largest military exercises since the end of the Cold War,” to quote NPR. Nor would they know that NATO collectively spends 12 times more than Russia on its military, or that its European members alone field nearly 75 percent more military personnel than Russia.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow to never evacuate Jewish settlements from occupied land drew outrage Tuesday from Palestinians and complicated matters for the Trump administration’s would-be peace envoys as they try to restart talks.
America’s influential neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks want U.S. interventions pretty much everywhere, but other powers are chafing against this U.S. “global policeman.”

FINANCE and CRYPTOCURRENCIES

Fitch Threatens US with Downgrade

Did the Economy Just Stumble Off a Cliff?

Here’s How Many Americans Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck (Hint: It’s A Lot)

Bloomberg: Wall Street Banks Warn Downturn Is Coming

The 5 Steps to World Domination

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.

Chinese Producer Embeds Bitcoin Mining Chips In Household Appliances

Chinese electrical appliances manufacturer, the Midea Group, has filed a patent for a technique for mining Bitcoin using household products. The patent application was published earlier in 2017 by the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the People’s Republic of China.

Based on the patent application, Midea plans to embed specialized mining chips inside its appliance products like air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and TV for the purpose of digital currency mining. Once the chips are programmed, the products will then connect to a cloud-based service and contribute their hashing power to mine cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin Transactions Aren’t as Anonymous as Everyone Hoped

Web merchants routinely leak data about purchases. And that can make it straightforward to link individuals with their Bitcoin purchases, say cybersecurity researchers.

The IRS Has Been Using Bitcoin Tracking Software Since 2015

Bitcoin Investors, Beware: The IRS Is Coming for Your Vast Riches

Uncle Sam has Bitcoin traders on the radar these days, as the cryptocurrency passes $4,300 in late August trading.  With more assets pouring into digital currencies, the federal government, via the Internal Revenue Service, is looking to get its fair share from Bitcoin — a cut that the IRS doesn’t believe it’s been getting until now.  That could change, and fast, as the IRS is using a software program that monitors Bitcoin-based digital addresses, in a campaign to identify potential tax evaders.

Bitcoin Is a Gigantic Bubble Just Waiting to Explode, Veteran Forecaster Warns

Bernanke Flip-Flops: Will Be Keynote Speaker At Blockchain Conference

CYBERSECURITY and TECHNOFASCISM

Imagine you’re a journalist, meeting with a secret government source. Thanks to the information provided by this source, you break an astronomically important story of government fraud or abuse. After the story breaks, the government decides it wants to go back and look at your cell phone’s historic geolocation information and metadata, tracking your every move and jeopardizing your source. Current Supreme Court precedent and a decision by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals allow government to collect this type of metadata without a warrant.

Why are we sending more troops to Afghanistan?

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It seems like more American troops will be on their way to Afghanistan. It’s been almost 16 years since we invaded that country to destroy Al-Qaeda and remove the Taliban, after the the events of September 11th 2001. Our country was pissed and it seemed like we would pretty much invade anywhere to show that we’re not to be messed with.  The hunt for Osama had most of the country praising our military and our invasions of sovereign countries. American flags and never forgets were everywhere. There was a surge in enlistment and i’m guessing the big war contractors were excited about the new war that had no end in sight.

A couple years later our government got into the Weapons of Mass Destruction lies so that we could invade Iraq as well. All in the hopes that we could destroy “terrorism”. It’s extremely clear now that we had other motives when it came to invading Iraq. When you invade a sovereign country based upon proven lies it’s easy to think there must have been some other reason of us invading. After the invasion of Iraq we have created a new hotbed for terrorism. We have destabilized the middle east and created even more terrorists from our killing of innocent civilians. Big corporations made a lot of money while people on all sides died.

When we entered Afghanistan the Taliban was actually destroying Opium crops. Following an edict issued by the Taliban’s reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, declaring opium to be un-Islamic. In 2004 the poppy production would start an upward trend that has not dropped back to the 2001 low point of production. In 2001 reports suggested poppy production was down to 8,000 Hectares, compared to the 225,000 hectares in 2014. In 2016 it was at around 200,000 hectares. Needless to say, since we have been on the ground in Afghanistan production has increased immensely.

Once production started booming again under the watch of the US military, an opiate problem started hitting America and the rest of the world very hard. Big pharma was pushing opiates on anyone that had a sickness and once those people ran out of prescribed drugs, they hit the street. The Heroin epidemic seems to correlate very well with the timeline of increased opium production in Afghanistan. In my opinion i think there are some people tied to our government that are making a lot of money right now. If you think the US soldiers are guarding the fields or not, you must ask yourself why have we not destroyed those fields after having those crops ruin so many lives here in our country.

The war in Afghanistan is mostly forgotten by many Americans due to the constant barrage of other things to be worried about.  We have been there since kids that are 15 were born. Out of sight out of mind. The new increase in troops to fight back against the Taliban is quite telling of our success in these 16 years. Have we made any progress? How long will these wars last? We have done an excellent job of destabilizing entire countries and giving terrorist plenty of room to grow. (Some with direct funding from the US)

In my opinion war against Terrorism is not suppose to end. It’s a way for companies to make big money and to push our agenda in the region. When you invade based upon lies there must always be some reason for war that we’re not told. It’s clear that these wars and invasions have not been the answer to “terrorism”. 16 years in and we are still sending more kids to potentially die. The idea of stopping terrorism with war just doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. I understand we can’t go back and fix the mistakes made by our government at this point, but can we stop ourselves from funding more mistakes in the future?

8.24.17: Wake Up Wyoming

Science Magazine: Arsenic in drinking water threatens up to 60 million in Pakistan

It has been called the largest mass poisoning in history. After wells were drilled in Bangladesh and the rest of the Indian subcontinent in the 1970s, millions of people have been exposed to arsenic in drinking water. When leached into water from surrounding rocks and soil, the metal can—at high concentrations—cause skin lesions, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodevelopmental delays. Now, a study suggests Pakistan might be grappling with its own arsenic emergency, with up to 60 million people exposed to contaminated water.

The study team created the region’s first risk map for arsenic, which shows the probability of dangerous concentrations in every part of the country. By estimating the number of people relying on groundwater for drinking, the team reports today in Science Advances that 50 million to 60 million people might use water that contains more than 50 micrograms per liter of arsenic, five times the WHO guideline.

arsenite_updated

TRUMP: ‘If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall’

Business Insider: US Navy 7th Fleet commander dismissed after a series of ship collisions

The news follows the collision between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters early Monday. The collision tore a hole into the destroyer’s left rear hull. Ten sailors disappeared. Though exact numbers remain unclear, search-and-rescue divers found the remains of some sailors in sealed compartments on the vessel, according to the Associated Press.

The McCain collision followed another fatal collision in June involving the USS Fitzgerald and a commercial container ship, killing seven sailors. Both the Fitzgerald’s executive officer and senior enlisted sailor were dismissed following the incident.

Following the McCain collision, the Navy said that it would put an “operational pause” on all Navy vessels and ordered a broad investigation. Four accidents involving ships have occurred in the western Pacific since February, according to The New York Times.
Zerohedge: Pentagon Denounces American Nazis While Arming Ukrainian Nazis

In the wake of violent protests involving white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in the US, the Pentagon’s top military brass issued unprecedented condemnations of «racists and extremists». One veterans spokesman said: «Anyone waving a Nazi flag must be rooted out of our society».

What makes the Pentagon’s response to Swastika-flag-waving American Nazis rather bizarre is that this week the US Defense Secretary, General James Mattis, is reportedly traveling to Ukraine where he is to sign over shipments of lethal weapons to the armed forces of the Kiev regime. That regime openly glorifies Ukrainian regiments that collaborated with the Nazi Third Reich during the World War Two.

Mattis, the top Pentagon official, is due to authorize the transfer of $50 million-worth of military gear to the Kiev regime. This will mark the first official delivery of lethal equipment from the US. Previous military aid to Ukraine was reportedly «non-lethal». Among the inventory Mattis is signing over are Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Zerohedge: Will Estonia Be The First Country To Issue Its Own Digital Currency?

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.In a Medium post published Tuesday, Kaspar Korjus, managing director of Estonia’s e-residency program, explained how such a virtual token – which he has tentatively named Estcoin – would function as a new type of investment allowing investors a “pure play” investment in its development. In this case, the money raised from the IPO would be administered by a public-private trust, and used to improve the country’s already formidable digital infrastructure.

The Nation: A Mark Zuckerberg Presidency Isn’t Ridiculous—It’s Terrifying

But there are deeper problems with Zuckerberg than his status as a corporate shill. His potential presidential candidacy should make us uneasy not because he’s a CEO, but because he’s the CEO of Facebook, the company responsible for the largest and most brazen data-collection project in human history.  As its user base has grown to encompass more than a quarter of the world’s population, Facebook has built an unparalleled system for tracking, analyzing, and exploiting our behavior. The company owns (and sells) a totally unregulated storehouse of data about our most minute habits and inclinations: what we bought and when and where, whose pictures we looked at and for how long, where our cursor moved, what we sent, what we typed but didn’t send, and what we deleted—not to mention patterns in our browsing history, our e-mail activity, and our facial structures. This fearsome data apparatus has been pitched as part of Facebook’s “journey to connect the world.” Losse’s memoir about the company’s early years, The Boy Kings, recounts how Zuckerberg instructed her to generate rhetoric that would justify Facebook’s burgeoning data-collection practices to the public…

…Trump’s hate-mongering and vulgarity are likely to make whoever occupies the White House after him seem innocuous by comparison, but a Zuckerberg presidency would be dangerous in far more subtle ways. The benign public face of the Obama administration masked an unprecedented program of privacy invasion and surveillance, all carried out in the alleged interests of “national security.” Who’s to say whether “innovation” and “fresh thinking” under a Zuckerberg administration wouldn’t serve as euphemisms for an even broader campaign of observation and analysis, implemented not just to protect us from enemies abroad, but to surreptitiously shape and manage our society at home? If we do find Zuckerberg tossing his hat in the ring come 2020, we should take care to remember what he built at Facebook—and, more importantly, how—and ask ourselves whether elevating a quasi-progressive boy genius is worth the significant costs to our privacy and our freedom.

NY Post: US companies spent $4T buying back their own stock

It’s the “shock” market rally —  cash-rich US companies have plunged nearly $4 trillion of their cash into buying back their stock since 2008, which is why all the stock indexes are hovering near record territory.

“It has massively manipulated the market,” said Richard Bowen, the former Citi executive who blew the whistle on the bank during the subprime mortgage crisis, and noted how these share buybacks in the open market were once deemed illegal. The Securities and Exchange Commission eased the rules in the early ’80s.

“This market scares the crap out of me,” Bowen, sensing a potential financial disaster, told The Post…

…Critics wonder if this is the best use of cash for a company. But the effect on stock price and CEO bonuses make this a win-win for management.

The bonuses are tied to better earnings when a company buys its shares back, because it retires the shares. So the next quarter’s earnings will improve, because the formula for earnings-per-share basis, has a smaller denominator.

In this low-interest environment, many companies, including Apple, are borrowing money to buy back shares, not even dipping into their own coffers.

“We’ve been in a market bubble for a long time, and share buybacks are a big part of the bubble made possible by artificially low interest rates that still exist today,” said financial commentator Peter Schiff.

These repurchase programs are responsible for most of the net inflows into US equities in the latest bull market, one study shows, and it has only grown since the Great Recession.

In the three-year period ending in 2012, 449 companies in the S&P 500 index deployed 54 percent of their earnings, or $2.4 trillion, buying back their own stock, according to another study.

Last year, a whopping 66 percent of corporate earnings went to buybacks.

Bowen says he’s worried, because for most Americans, the stock market is a display of public confidence. But it may all be a huge fantasy, Bowen added, a Ponzi scheme that will end in tears.

Schiff says that could occur if interest rates keep rising, ensnaring corporations that financed stock repurchases with debt. “They are going to have to sell their stock to repay the debt they can’t afford,” he said. “That’s going to end up destroying a lot of shareholder value if corporations have to sell equity into a bear market.”

Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, is not as fearful, saying much corporate long-term debt has been refinanced, and carries low interest rates.

8.23.17: Wake Up Wyoming

World Bank, IMF, BIS, NBER, McKinsey Now Admit that Globalization Increases Inequality

We’ve all heard that globalization lifts all boats and increases our prosperity …

But mainstream economists and organizations are now starting to say that globalization increases inequality.

Wolf Street: US Gross National Debt to Spike by $800 Billion in October?

us-gross-national-debt-2011_2017-08

UPI: Elon Musk, world tech leaders, call for ban on killer robots

Aug. 21 (UPI) — Several global robotics technology leaders, including Tesla founder Elon Musk, submitted an open letter to the United Nations, imploring governments to issue ban on “lethal autonomous weapons,” also known as killer robots.

“Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare. Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend,” the letter said. “These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.”

The letter was signed by 116 founders of robotics and artificial intelligence companies from 26 countries. They added: “We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close. We therefore implore the High Contracting Parties to find a way to protect us all from these dangers.”

See also…

IB Times: Killer Robots Could Change Warfare More Than Gunpowder, Nuclear Arms, Experts Warn

Natural Society: Opioid Use Now Tops Tobacco Use in the U.S.

A survey released by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that more people in the U.S. use opioid painkillers than tobacco, highlighting the tragic opioid crisis gripping the country. [1]

A federal review published in the spring showed that opioid prescriptions in the U.S. decreased for the 1st time in 2 decades, which suggests that doctors are finally starting to heed warnings about the drugs’ addictive properties. However, that decrease has not translated into fewer deaths. The SAMHSA report illustrates just how widespread the problem remains.

The problem is especially severe in Tennessee, where there are more opioid prescriptions written than people actually living in the state. There are 1.18 opioid prescriptions per every resident of Tennessee. More people died from overdoses in the state in 2014 than from car crashes or shootings. [2]

Nationally, 37.8% of American adults are using some type of opioid painkiller, while 31.1% of U.S. adults use tobacco problems.

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), more than 91.8 million Americans 18 and older used prescription painkillers last year. By comparison, 75.4 million U.S. adults used tobacco products. [1]

Those numbers creep even higher when children 12 and older are included; to 97.5 million and 78.3 million, respectively. And more than 12.5% of those users admitted to misusing the painkillers.

Last night’s announcement of a recommitment to the Afghanistan war is the earliest evidence that Trump has been completely castrated and will now play by status quo rules with little to no friction. This Presidency will very quickly begin to look like the fifth George W. Bush term (Obama was three and four), on every single issue of genuine importance to oligarchs.

A Key advisor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Bouthaina Shaaban today declared that the Syrian War is effectively over, saying that the Damascus International Fair marks the end of the war and the beginning of reconstruction.

The Damascus International Fair had been on hold for five years during the war, but kicked off earlier this week, with companies from around the world participating in the trade fair. The largest participants are expected to be from Russia and China.

While claiming this to mark the end of the war nationwide is obviously premature, it does mark a turning point in the situation around the capital city, as it’s unthinkable such an event could’ve been held in recent years, and this underscores increased security in that area.

Still, large chunks of the country remain outside of the Assad government’s control, and Shaaban vowed to see Syria’s Army confront illegitimate foreign forces present in the country, singling out US and Turkish forces in particular as objectionable presences.

Of Two Minds: Are Profit and Healthcare Incompatible?

The only way to systemically lower costs is to make prevention and transparency the top priorities.

As I have been noting for a decade, the broken U.S. healthcare system will bankrupt the nation all by itself. We all know the basic facts: the system delivers uneven results in terms of improving health and life expectancy while costing two or three times more per person compared to our advanced-economy global competitors.

This chart says it all: the global outlier in low life expectancy and exorbitant cost is the U.S.
us-healthcare-system8-17
Fentanyl, which is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, was recently tied to the deaths of 60 people in the UK – and a growing number of deaths in Australia

Cointelegraph: US Lawmakers Draft Bill Protecting Cryptocurrencies from Gov Interference

Several members of the US Congress are drafting legislation that is intended to recognize certain digital currencies and protect them against interference from the federal government.

The bill, which will provide protection to cryptocurrencies that comply with certain minimum requirements to prevent them from being used by those engaged in illegal business practices like drug traffickers and terrorists, is expected to be filed in September 2017, according to DailyCaller.

Based on a reliable source, at least one Republican senator and two Republican congressmen are working on the draft legislation.

The legislators, however, have requested that should not be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue and the complexity of the proposed solution.

University at Buffalo: Scientists use magnetic fields to remotely stimulate brain — and control body movements

Scientists have used magnetic nanoparticles to stimulate neurons deep in the brain to evoke body movements of mice.

Independent: Crackdown on ‘corrosive’ online hate crimes launched by Crown Prosecution Service

Hate crimes committed on social media will be treated as seriously as similar street-based offences, according to new guidelines issued by the Crown Prosecution Service as they launch a crackdown on hate speech online.

Recognising the “corrosive effect” of hate crime on British society, Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, announced the CPS will now revise prosecutions of such crimes “with the same robust and proactive approach used with offline offending”.

The changes could lead to a dramatic increase in those being prosecuted for posting prejudice attacks on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Investor’s Business Daily: U.S. Has 3.5 Million More Registered Voters Than Live Adults — A Red Flag For Electoral Fraud

American democracy has a problem — a voting problem. According to a new study of U.S. Census data, America has more registered voters than actual live voters. It’s a troubling fact that puts our nation’s future in peril.

The data come from Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project. The group looked at data from 2011 to 2015 produced by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, along with data from the federal Election Assistance Commission.

As reported by the National Review’s Deroy Murdock, who did some numbers-crunching of his own, “some 3.5 million more people are registered to vote in the U.S. than are alive among America’s adult citizens. Such staggering inaccuracy is an engraved invitation to voter fraud.”

Murdock counted Judicial Watch’s state-by-state tally and found that 462 U.S. counties had a registration rate exceeding 100% of all eligible voters. That’s 3.552 million people, who Murdock calls “ghost voters.” And how many people is that? There are 21 states that don’t have that many people.

Nor are these tiny, rural counties or places that don’t have the wherewithal to police their voter rolls.

California, for instance, has 11 counties with more registered voters than actual voters. Perhaps not surprisingly — it is deep-Blue State California, after all — 10 of those counties voted heavily for Hillary Clinton.

Los Angeles County, whose more than 10 million people make it the nation’s most populous county, had 12% more registered voters than live ones, some 707,475 votes. That’s a huge number of possible votes in an election.

But, Murdock notes, “California’s San Diego County earns the enchilada grande. Its 138% registration translates into 810,966 ghost voters.”

G Edward Griffin: 250,000 Have Signed Petition to Designate Antifa as Domestic Terror Group

A petition urging the Trump administration to officially label Antifa a “terror group” has more than double the 100,000 signatures needed to merit a formal response from the White House.

The left-wing “anti-fascist” group has come under fire in the wake of the violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virgnia. Many have claimed that Antifa demonstrators played a significant role in the violent clashes in Charlottesville and at other events across the country.

As of Tuesday evening, more than 250,000 people had signed the petition, which states:

Terrorism is defined as “the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims”. This definition is the same definition used to declare ISIS and other groups, as terrorist organizations. AntiFa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States. It is time for the pentagon to be consistent in its actions – and just as they rightfully declared ISIS a terror group, they must declare AntiFa a terror group – on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality, and safety.