Nuke waste with nowhere to go

SOURCE: Katherine Muzik PHD (kmuzik@gmail.com)
SUBHEAD: Nevada says "Not in My Back Yard" on Trump revival of Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.

By Julia Travers on 23 April 2017 for Truth Out -
(http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40278-nevada-says-not-in-my-back-yard-on-trump-revival-of-yucca-mountain-nuclear-waste-dump)


Image above: Aerial view of rdge line of the geological formation in Yucca Mountain proposed as site for America's nuclear waste storage. There is no current operational site in the country since the WIPP facility experienced a meltdown in 2014 that produced a plume of plutonium waste over New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. From  (http://www.hcn.org/articles/is-yucca-mountain-back-on-the-table).

The underground Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada built by the Department of Energy to determine whether the location was suitable as a deep geological nuclear waste repository. Courtesy of the Department of Energy.

President Trump's preliminary 2018 budget proposal was released in March and along with many cuts to environmental programs, it includes $120 million to restart licensing operations for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository (Yucca Mountain).

This currently unused underground facility in Nevada has been in contention since the 80s and was strongly opposed during the Obama Administration by both the President and then Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). While Reid pronounced Yucca Mountain dead in 2016, the new administration has big plans for the abandoned project.

Yucca Mountain consists of a five-mile-long tunnel that was drilled 1,000 feet deep in 1994, into a volcanic structure located 100 miles from Las Vegas.

Theoretically, nuclear waste would be stored inside rooms along the tunnel -- the idea being to isolate it from the surrounding environment for hundreds of thousands of years with the use of titanium shielding.

Nevada officials have put up strong resistance to the nuclear storage facility, dating back to its inception in 1987. The state has filed over 200 contentions against the application, encompassing a wide range of issues from legal concerns to volcanic hazard estimates, corrosion and toxic contamination risks.

In 1982, President Reagan signed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which called for the establishment of nuclear waste disposal dumps.

The Department of Energy (DOE) was tasked with carrying out site assessments but, according to The Atlantic, "politicians didn't want to pay for the expensive and lengthy technical assessments of all the potential sites," and amended the Act to designate Nevada's Yucca Mountain as the one permanent storage location in 1987.

The initial goal was to keep the waste contained at Yucca Mountain for at least 10,000 years.

"Yucca Mountain was never a scientific selection, it was a political one," nuclear industry expert and former nuclear engineer, executive and whistleblower Arnold "Arnie" Gundersen told EnviroNews.

"When the Yucca Mountain bill was passed, it was called the 'Screw Nevada Bill.'

To revive Yucca is to ignore science. We have a nuclear waste problem that needs to be -- in fact must be solved, and if done wrong can contaminate the environment for 250,000 years. Let's have a scientific process that leads us to the best alternative, not a political mandate," Gundersen continued.

In 1997, the US Government began heating and burying metal containers in the rocks at Yucca Mountain in an effort to simulate and study radioactive waste. Gundersen stated Yucca Mountain has been proven to have an underground water and waste seepage issue.

Examples of studies of the rates of seepage at Yucca Mountain and how they are affected by temperature, time, geology and precipitation can be found on the US Department of the Interior and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory websites.

The State of Nevada's Nuclear Waste Project Office states because Yucca Mountain is "geologically and hydrologically active and complex," it is unsafe for the disposal of radioactive substances, which "could leak from the dump and create serious long-term health risks to the citizens of Nevada."

In 2004, the Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. ruled the DOE would have to prove it could keep the waste contained for hundreds of thousands of years, not tens of thousands, as originally proposed.

In 2008, the DOE submitted a license application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to store high-level waste at Yucca Mountain. But in 2010, the DOE shut down the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, which had run Yucca Mountain, effectively shelving the project.

In 2014, the NRC ruled Yucca Mountain could safely assure the isolation of nuclear materials over the long-term and was safe to use. Trump now proposes to supply an initial $120 million to restart the licensing process for Yucca Mountain.

The LA Times reports the full establishment of the Yucca Mountain facility has an estimated total cost of $100 billion, rivaling the price tag of the International Space Station.

Much of this lofty budget is attributed to the potential construction of hundreds of miles of railroad tracks to carry the waste from all over the country, protective titanium shields and specialized underground robots that can handle the waste.

"Republican, Democrat, independent -- there is enormous opposition to Yucca Mountain," Robert Halstead, Executive Director of Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects, told The Atlantic. The state is currently preparing a new slew of contentions to the project.

"The first thing we're going to do is go back to court and sue them over the radiation protection standard," he added. The article explains that critics of this facility worry the groundwater could corrode storage containers and cause a radioactive leak.


Image above: Diagram of Yucca Mountain tunnel with possible radioactive waste in tunnel on site. From (http://ethangreenapes.weebly.com/yucca-mountain.html).

In late March, DOE Secretary Rick Perry visited Yucca Mountain and met with Nevada's Republican Governor, Brian Sandoval. According to CNBC, Sandoval said, "The storage of high-level waste at Yucca Mountain is not something I am willing to consider."

In a DOE statement, Perry acknowledged Sandoval's opposition and also said, "today's meeting with Gov. Sandoval was the first step in a process that will involve talking with many federal, state, local and commercial stakeholders."

Nevada officials who oppose Yucca Mountain cite concerns over radioactive spills or leaks and the toll that could take on Las Vegas' tourism industry (not to mention public and environmental health). E&E News points out the possible impact on the tourism industry brings up a potential concern and conflict of interest for Trump, who co-owns Trump International Hotel Las Vegas with billionaire businessman Phil Ruffin.

"Clearly if there was a nuclear accident, Trump's hotel would be impacted, as would others along the Strip," said former Sen. Richard Bryan (D-NV), who is now Chairman of the state's Commission on Nuclear Projects.

In contrast, local officials in Nye County, where the facility would be located, are more supportive of Yucca Mountain as a jobs-creator. Dan Schinhofen, Chairman of the county's Board of Commissioners, wrote to Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois, a supporter of Yucca Mountain, and characterized the threats to Trump's hotel as "misinformation."

Schinhofen also says Nye County hopes to be considered for an interim storage facility site as well, saying they already have a 1,280-acre location in mind. Developing an interim-storage facility while Yucca Mountain is prepared is another ongoing debated issue.

The DOE explains there are 61 commercially operating nuclear power plants with 99 nuclear reactors in the US, with four more reactors currently being constructed. Current nuclear utilities have 79,000 metric tons of spent fuel in reserve and produce 2,000 more annually, the LA Times reports.

The LA Times also explained the nation's nuclear utilities have long been paying fees for waste storage services that the DOE has not provided. That fund now totals about $36 billion.

Nuclear utilities have won $6.1 billion in settlements to date regarding this failure on behalf of the DOE.

Shimkus states, "Without Yucca Mountain, DOE will not be able to meet its disposal commitments to Colorado, Idaho, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington." Yucca Mountain's current legal waste limit is 70,000 tons.

At present, nuclear waste is most commonly stored in tanks, casks, drums and water-cooled pools. Many facilities and containers in use are not designed for long-term storage. For example, the Hanford site in Washington is well-known for its toxic leaking tanks, the cleanup of which is expected to take another 50 years and cost $110 billion. In 2014, a drum of radioactive waste exploded at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico, which serves as a dump for waste from nuclear weapons production.

The LA Times shared in 2016, "Thousands of tons of radioactive waste that were headed for [WIPP] are backed up in Idaho, Washington, New Mexico and elsewhere," including at the Hanford site.

Cooling pools are not an ideal solution either. In 2011 an earthquake in Japan knocked out power to the cooling pumps at the Fukushima Daiichi power station, which resulted in meltdowns in three nuclear reactors. The environmental effects are far reaching and still evolving today.

Dealing with nuclear waste is a mounting concern and while there have been some isolated useful applications and solutions found, many of them are not viable over the long term or intended for extensive deployment. For example, in 2016, British scientists turned nuclear waste into long-lasting nuclear diamond batteries for potential use in space travel, but this option is costly and not scalable.

Gundersen explained that vitrification, another possibility that has been explored, is "a process that adds chemicals to the waste, which is then heated into a glass like substance." But, he says it shows "no evidence that 100 years from now the material will not break down and leak into groundwater anyway!"

In 2001, the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council wrote in Disposition of High-Level Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel, "After four decades of study, geological disposal remains the only scientifically and technically credible long-term solution available."

"Deep geologic disposal is the only alternative, in an area proven to be free of water," concludes Gundersen. "Yucca has water seeping in, and has been proven to let waste seep out in a short period of time."


Image above: The underground Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada built by the Department of Energy to determine whether the location was suitable as a deep geological nuclear waste repository. Courtesy of the Department of Energy. From (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yucca_Mountain_tunnel.jpg).

• Julia Travers is a journalist and author. She holds a BA in Literary and Cultural Studies from The College of William and Mary and a BFA in Art Education from Virginia Commonwealth University.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Nuclear Power Zombies 5/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Nuclear Wasteland 8/6/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors 9/25/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Worse than you think 5/21/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The false science of science 9/2/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Ginger Beer Recipe 3/24/14
Ea O Ka Aina: WIPP radiation release timeline 3/3/14
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Is the President mentally fit?

SUBHEAD: Psychiatrists at Yale warn that there is something seriously wrong with Donald Trump.

By Staff on 21 April 2017 for Anti-Media -
(http://theantimedia.org/psychiatrists-yale-warned-trump/)


Image above: Mashup illustration of Donald Trump in straght-jacket in padded room. From original article.
“I’ve worked with murderers and rapists. I can recognize dangerousness from a mile away. You don’t have to be an expert on dangerousness or spend fifty years studying it like I have in order to know how dangerous this man is.”
Those words came from the mouth of James Gilligan, psychiatrist and professor at New York University. The man he is speaking of is the president of the United States.

Gilligan’s comments were one of many from a group of psychiatrists who gathered at Yale’s School of Medicine on Thursday. The message presented was that Donald Trump is mentally unfit to be in the White House.

Dr. John Gartner, practicing psychiatrist and founding member of Duty to Warn, a group of several dozen mental health professionals who feel it’s their obligation to inform the public about the president’s mental state, says the warning signs have been there from the beginning.

Dr. Gartner said.
“Worse than just being a liar or a narcissist, in addition he is paranoid, delusional and grandiose thinking, and he proved that to the country the first day he was president.”
Earlier in the year, claiming Trump is “psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President,” Dr. Gartner started a petition calling for Trump to be removed from office. So far, that petition has received nearly 43,000 signatures.

Dr. Bandy Lee, who chaired the conference and is an assistant clinical professor in Yale’s department of psychology, thinks Trump’s mental state is an issue people are beginning to become concerned about:
As some prominent psychiatrists have noted, [Trump’s mental health] is the elephant in the room. I think the public is really starting to catch on and widely talk about this now.


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Abundance Circle • Story Connective

SUBHEAD: A volunteer effort to share the abundance of food between individual growers and gatherers.

By Rebecca Rhapsody on 23 April 2017 for Story Connective -
(https://storyconnective.podbean.com/)


Image above: Avacados and grapefruit offered by Judy and Matt sharing extra produce with to Abundance Circle on Maui through Vicki Levin. Still frame from video below by Story Connection.

Vicki Levin is a champion of locally grown food and community. She gathers up excess food produced by her friends' and neighbors' gardens and distributes it among them all.

It's called the Abundance Circle.

For example, when one member of the Abundance Circle has too many ripe oranges from their tree for their own household, they contribute the extra fruit to the Abundance Circle.

Vicki collects everyone's excess produce and distributes it to the group. In this way, the person contributing the excess oranges will get sunflower sprouts, kale, bananas, & more from the extra produce other Abundance Circle members give... free of charge!

It's not a trade and it's not a barter. Even when a member's garden doesn't have anything to give for a time, they still receive. Everyone just contributes whatever they have excess of to the Circle Abundance, and everyone benefits. Vicki's dream is for everyone to have even a small garden in their backyard.


Video above: Interview with Vicki Levin by Rebecca Rhapsody about the Abundance Circle on Maui. From (https://youtu.be/HD-j7VgKetI).

VIDEO CREDITS:
Interview
Rebecca Rhapsody at StoryConnective.org

Audio and video production
Loxley Clovis at StoryConnective.org

Ukulele score and performance
Rebecca Rhapsody at StoryConnective.org

Story Connective art and logo by
Sarai Stricklin SaraiStricklin.com

SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Vicki Levin and her Abundance Circle members

Artwork ‘Makamaluohonaokalani’
Marilyn Kahalewai at Kumukahi.org

Moku and Ahupuaa map of Maui 'Mokupuni O Maui"
Juan Wilson at IslandBreath.org

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Stay tuned to Story Connective on YouTube and the Story Connective podcast for more on this series: Re-envision Maui.

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Climate change as genocide

SUBHEAD: Not since WWII have more human beings been at risk from disease and starvation than now.

By Michael Klare on 21 April 2017 for Resilience -
(http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-04-21/climate-change-genocide/)


Image above: Photo of a young man in drought conditions in Ethiopia in 2008. From original article.

On March 10th, Stephen O’Brien, under secretary-general of the United Nations for humanitarian affairs, informed the Security Council that 20 million people in three African countries — Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan — as well as in Yemen were likely to die if not provided with emergency food and medical aid.

“We are at a critical point in history,” he declared. “Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the U.N.”  Without coordinated international action, he added, “people will simply starve to death [or] suffer and die from disease.”

Major famines have, of course, occurred before, but never in memory on such a scale in four places simultaneously. According to O’Brien, 7.3 million people are at risk in Yemen, 5.1 million in the Lake Chad area of northeastern Nigeria, 5 million in South Sudan, and 2.9 million in Somalia.

In each of these countries, some lethal combination of war, persistent drought, and political instability is causing drastic cuts in essential food and water supplies. Of those 20 million people at risk of death, an estimated 1.4 million are young children.

Despite the potential severity of the crisis, U.N. officials remain confident that many of those at risk can be saved if sufficient food and medical assistance is provided in time and the warring parties allow humanitarian aid workers to reach those in the greatest need.

“We have strategic, coordinated, and prioritized plans in every country,” O’Brien said. “With sufficient and timely financial support, humanitarians can still help to prevent the worst-case scenario.”

All in all, the cost of such an intervention is not great: an estimated $4.4 billion to implement that U.N. action plan and save most of those 20 million lives.

The international response? Essentially, a giant shrug of indifference.

To have time to deliver sufficient supplies, U.N. officials indicated that the money would need to be in pocket by the end of March. It’s now April and international donors have given only a paltry $423 million — less than a tenth of what’s needed.

While, for instance, President Donald Trump sought Congressional approval for a $54 billion increase in U.S. military spending (bringing total defense expenditures in the coming year to $603 billion) and launched $89 million worth of Tomahawk missiles against a single Syrian air base, the U.S. has offered precious little to allay the coming disaster in three countries in which it has taken military actions in recent years.

As if to add insult to injury, on February 15th Trump told Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that he was inclined to sell his country 12 Super-Tucano light-strike aircraft, potentially depleting Nigeria of $600 million it desperately needs for famine relief.

Moreover, just as those U.N. officials were pleading fruitlessly for increased humanitarian funding and an end to the fierce and complex set of conflicts in South Sudan and Yemen (so that they could facilitate the safe delivery of emergency food supplies to those countries), the Trump administration was announcing plans to reduce American contributions to the United Nations by 40%.

It was also preparing to send additional weaponry to Saudi Arabia, the country most responsible for devastating air strikes on Yemen’s food and water infrastructure. This goes beyond indifference.  This is complicity in mass extermination.

Like many people around the world, President Trump was horrified by images of young children suffocating from the nerve gas used by Syrian government forces in an April 4th raid on the rebel-held village of Khan Sheikhoun.

“That attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me — big impact,” he told reporters. “That was a horrible, horrible thing. And I’ve been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn’t get any worse than that.” In reaction to those images, he ordered a barrage of cruise missile strikes on a Syrian air base the following day.

But Trump does not seem to have seen — or has ignored — equally heart-rending images of young children dying from the spreading famines in Africa and Yemen.

Those children evidently don’t merit White House sympathy.
Who knows why not just Donald Trump but the world is proving so indifferent to the famines of 2017?

It could simply be donor fatigue or a media focused on the daily psychodrama that is now Washington, or growing fears about the unprecedented global refugee crisis and, of course, terrorism.  It’s a question worth a piece in itself, but I want to explore another one entirely.

Here’s the question I think we all should be asking: Is this what a world battered by climate change will be like — one in which tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of people perish from disease, starvation, and heat prostration while the rest of us, living in less exposed areas, essentially do nothing to prevent their annihilation?

Famine, Drought, and Climate Change
First, though, let’s consider whether the famines of 2017 are even a valid indicator of what a climate-changed planet might look like.

After all, severe famines accompanied by widespread starvation have occurred throughout human history. In addition, the brutal armed conflicts now underway in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen are at least in part responsible for the spreading famines.

In all four countries, there are forces — Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabaab in Somalia, assorted militias and the government in South Sudan, and Saudi-backed forces in Yemen — interfering with the delivery of aid supplies.

Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that pervasive water scarcity and prolonged drought (expected consequences of global warming) are contributing significantly to the disastrous conditions in most of them.

The likelihood that droughts this severe would be occurring simultaneously in the absence of climate change is vanishingly small.

In fact, scientists generally agree that global warming will ensure diminished rainfall and ever more frequent droughts over much of Africa and the Middle East. This, in turn, will heighten conflicts of every sort and endanger basic survival in a myriad of ways.

In their most recent 2014 assessment of global trends, the scientists of the prestigious Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that “agriculture in Africa will face significant challenges in adapting to climate changes projected to occur by mid-century, as negative effects of high temperatures become increasingly prominent.”

Even in 2014, as that report suggested, climate change was already contributing to water scarcity and persistent drought conditions in large parts of Africa and the Middle East. Scientific studies had, for instance, revealed an “overall expansion of desert and contraction of vegetated areas” on that continent.

With arable land in retreat and water supplies falling, crop yields were already in decline in many areas, while malnutrition rates were rising — precisely the conditions witnessed in more extreme forms in the famine-affected areas today.

It’s seldom possible to attribute any specific weather-induced event, including droughts or storms, to global warming with absolute certainty.

Such things happen with or without climate change.  Nonetheless, scientists are becoming even more confident that severe storms and droughts (especially when occurring in tandem or in several parts of the world at once) are best explained as climate-change related.

If, for instance, a type of storm that might normally occur only once every hundred years occurs twice in one decade and four times in the next, you can be reasonably confident that you’re in a new climate era.

It will undoubtedly take more time for scientists to determine to what extent the current famines in Africa and Yemen are mainly climate-change-induced and to what extent they are the product of political and military mayhem and disarray. But doesn’t this already offer us a sense of just what kind of world we are now entering?

History and social science research indicate that, as environmental conditions deteriorate, people will naturally compete over access to vital materials and the opportunists in any society — warlords, militia leaders, demagogues, government officials, and the like — will exploit such clashes for their personal advantage.

“The data suggests a definite link between food insecurity and conflict,” points out Ertharin Cousin, head of the U.N.’s World Food Program.  “Climate is an added stress factor.”

In this sense, the current famines in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen provide us with a perfect template for our future, one in which resource wars and climate mayhem team up as temperatures continue their steady rise.

The Selective Impact of Climate Change
In some popular accounts of the future depredations of climate change, there is a tendency to suggest that its effects will be felt more or less democratically around the globe — that we will all suffer to some degree, if not equally, from the bad things that happen as temperatures rise.

And it’s certainly true that everyone on this planet will feel the effects of global warming in some fashion, but don’t for a second imagine that the harshest effects will be distributed anything but deeply inequitably.  It won’t even be a complicated equation.

As with so much else, those at the bottom rungs of society — the poor, the marginalized, and those in countries already at or near the edge — will suffer so much more (and so much earlier) than those at the top and in the most developed, wealthiest countries.

As a start, the geophysical dynamics of climate change dictate that, when it comes to soaring temperatures and reduced rainfall, the most severe effects are likely to be felt first and worst in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Latin America — home to hundreds of millions of people who depend on rain-fed agriculture to sustain themselves and their families.

Research conducted by scientists in New Zealand, Switzerland, and Great Britain found that the rise in the number of extremely hot days is already more intense in tropical latitudes and disproportionately affects poor farmers.

Living at subsistence levels, such farmers and their communities are especially vulnerable to drought and desertification.

In a future in which climate-change disasters are commonplace, they will undoubtedly be forced to choose ever more frequently between the unpalatable alternatives of starvation or flight.  In other words, if you thought the global refugee crisis was bad today, just wait a few decades.

Climate change is also intensifying the dangers faced by the poor and marginalized in another way.  As interior croplands turn to dust, ever more farmers are migrating to cities, especially coastal ones.

If you want a historical analogy, think of the great Dust Bowl migration of the “Okies” from the interior of the U.S. to the California coast in the 1930s. In today’s climate-change era, the only available housing such migrants are likely to find will be in vast and expanding shantytowns (or “informal settlements,” as they’re euphemistically called), often located in floodplains and low-lying coastal areas exposed to storm surges and sea-level rise.

As global warming advances, the victims of water scarcity and desertification will be afflicted anew.  Those storm surges will destroy the most exposed parts of the coastal mega-cities in which they will be clustered.

In other words, for the uprooted and desperate, there will be no escaping climate change.  As the latest IPCC report noted, “Poor people living in urban informal settlements, of which there are [already] about one billion worldwide, are particularly vulnerable to weather and climate effects.”

The scientific literature on climate change indicates that the lives of the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed will be the first to be turned upside down by the effects of global warming. “The socially and economically disadvantaged and the marginalized are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change and extreme events,” the IPCC indicated in 2014.

“Vulnerability is often high among indigenous peoples, women, children, the elderly, and disabled people who experience multiple deprivations that inhibit them from managing daily risks and shocks.”

It should go without saying that these are also the people least responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming in the first place (something no less true of the countries most of them live in).

Inaction Equals Annihilation
In this context, consider the moral consequences of inaction on climate change. Once it seemed that the process of global warming would occur slowly enough to allow societies to adapt to higher temperatures without excessive disruption, and that the entire human family would somehow make this transition more or less simultaneously.

That now looks more and more like a fairy tale.

Climate change is occurring far too swiftly for all human societies to adapt to it successfully.  Only the richest are likely to succeed in even the most tenuous way.

Unless colossal efforts are undertaken now to halt the emission of greenhouse gases, those living in less affluent societies can expect to suffer from extremes of flooding, drought, starvation, disease, and death in potentially staggering numbers.

And you don’t need a Ph.D. in climatology to arrive at this conclusion either.

The overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists agree that any increase in average world temperatures that exceeds 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial era — some opt for a rise of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius — will alter the global climate system drastically.

In such a situation, a number of societies will simply disintegrate in the fashion of South Sudan today, producing staggering chaos and misery. So far, the world has heated up by at least one of those two degrees, and unless we stop burning fossil fuels in quantity soon, the 1.5 degree level will probably be reached in the not-too-distant future.

Worse yet, on our present trajectory, it seems highly unlikely that the warming process will stop at 2 or even 3 degrees Celsius, meaning that later in this century many of the worst-case climate-change scenarios — the inundation of coastal cities, the desertification of vast interior regions, and the collapse of rain-fed agriculture in many areas — will become everyday reality.

In other words, think of the developments in those three African lands and Yemen as previews of what far larger parts of our world could look like in another quarter-century or so: a world in which hundreds of millions of people are at risk of annihilation from disease or starvation, or are on the march or at sea, crossing borders, heading for the shantytowns of major cities, looking for refugee camps or other places where survival appears even minimally possible.

If the world’s response to the current famine catastrophe and the escalating fears of refugees in wealthy countries are any indication, people will die in vast numbers without hope of help.

In other words, failing to halt the advance of climate change — to the extent that halting it, at this point, remains within our power — means complicity with mass human annihilation. We know, or at this point should know, that such scenarios are already on the horizon.

We still retain the power, if not to stop them, then to radically ameliorate what they will look like, so our failure to do all we can means that we become complicit in what — not to mince words — is clearly going to be a process of climate genocide.

How can those of us in countries responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions escape such a verdict?

And if such a conclusion is indeed inescapable, then each of us must do whatever we can to reduce our individual, community, and institutional contributions to global warming. Even if we are already doing a lot — as many of us are — more is needed.

Unfortunately, we Americans are living not only in a time of climate crisis, but in the era of President Trump, which means the federal government and its partners in the fossil fuel industry will be wielding their immense powers to obstruct all imaginable progress on limiting global warming.  

They will be the true perpetrators of climate genocide.

As a result, the rest of us bear a moral responsibility not just to do what we can at the local level to slow the pace of climate change, but also to engage in political struggle to counteract or neutralize the acts of Trump and company.

Only dramatic and concerted action on multiple fronts can prevent the human disasters now unfolding in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen from becoming the global norm.



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Trump short sells the future

SUBHEAD: His actions are accelerating climate destruction while his inaction on the effects endangers us all.

By Keith Kozloff on 22 April 2017 for Resilience -
(http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-04-22/president-trumps-climate-inaction-sells-future-short/)


Image above: Photo of low-income area of Lima, Peru in devastated ecosystem. Photo by Sustainable Sanitation Alliance. From original article.

This weekend, thousands of scientists and concerned citizens from across the globe will take to the streets to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.

Coinciding with Earth Day (April 22), this international March for Science will take place less than a month after President Trump signed an executive order aiming to decimate his predecessor’s scientifically sound policies on climate change.

In the cacophony of bad climate stories recently, you’d be forgiven for missing the news that one casualty of Trump’s order was the social cost of carbon (SCC), a measure that’s been called “the most important number you’ve never heard of.”

The SCC captures the estimated costs of climate disruption from things like sea-level rise, storms, fires, crop failures and rising death rates. Before Trump’s order, federal agencies were required to consider these costs when designing relevant policies and programs.

While it is difficult to put an exact price tag on future costs from a disrupted climate, a federal court affirmed last August that the current SCC estimate ($36 per ton of CO2 emitted) is based on sound science.

Mr. Trump’s executive order would effectively reduce that figure to close to zero. This will hamstring US efforts to protect future generations from climate disruption.

To understand why, consider an analogy. Let’s say that in 2018 scientists discover an asteroid as big as the one that killed off the dinosaurs—and it’s headed our way. NASA says there is a 25% chance the asteroid will collide with the Earth in 30 years’ time. Fortunately, a new technology could gradually shift the asteroid’s trajectory if launched in time.

It’s expensive: the required investment would be an order of magnitude larger than spending on our moon program. And the effort would need to begin immediately: If the US waits to be sure that the asteroid will hit the Earth, it would be too late to nudge the asteroid from its path of destruction.

To decide what to do, government economists conduct a conventional cost/benefit analysis.  The cost side of the equation consists of developing and deploying the asteroid-deflecting spacecraft.

Benefits consist of estimated damages to human life, property, etc. that would be avoided if the project moves forward.  Economists count only benefits to the US, discount them heavily because they accrue far in the future, and adjust them for the 25% probability of impact.

Based on this analysis, politicians—who are always reluctant to pay for benefits that accrue after they leave office–decide not to act.  As luck would have it, the asteroid slams into the Earth in 2048.

Today, we face a similar choice regarding global climate change—another problem that requires near-term investments to prevent potentially unthinkable long-term costs. Cost/benefit analysis can be a useful tool, among others, for decision-making on climate policy. But President Trump’s executive order calls for federal agencies to apply the same constricted approach used by government economists in the asteroid analogy.

To support sound climate policies, the SCC should continue to be used, refined, and updated as evidence accumulates on climate-related damages.

Maintaining a robust SCC would help to ensure we do not discount the lives and well-being of future generations, who cannot argue the case themselves.

If they could, they would likely argue that even a low risk of incurring unacceptable costs warrants action. This is the same logic that guides expenditures around other threats to our national security, such as international terrorism.

As we prepare to march this weekend, it’s critical that we realize climate disruption is our asteroid. We do not know its exact trajectory, so we can’t be sure our interventions are needed to prevent disaster.

Future generations, looking back, may forgive us if it turns out we acted unnecessarily. If we instead fail to act when we should have, our children’s children will be less charitable in their assessment.

This commentary was produced in collaboration with the Island Press Urban Resilience Project, with support from The Kresge Foundation and The JPB Foundation.



.

"Mother Of All Blowback"

SOURCE: Katherine Muzik PHD (kmuzik@gmail.com)
SUBHEAD: Trump dropped the “Mother Of All Bombs” on Nangarhar province in Afghanistan.

By Faisil Kutty on 20 April 2017 for Toronto Star -
(https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/04/20/trumps-bombings-may-elicit-the-mother-of-all-blowback-editorial.html)


Image above: For Trump the bywords are not "Hopey Changey" but "Dopey Crazy". From (https://www.freelancer.hk/contest/Alter-some-Images-611716.html).

Rather than stopping the next lone attacker in the homeland, American bombings will motivate activists. Instead of weakening resistance, it will bring together sworn enemies against a common bigger enemy.

Years ago, a young man was interviewed by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) at my office. He was flagged for his “anti-Canadian” views for opposing Ottawa’s involvement in Afghanistan.

He had left Canada as an ardent supporter of Western intervention, but returned a security “threat” for his opposition.

Extended family and friends killed or injured as “collateral damage” was the game changer. Intended or unintended, the dead are no less dead because we meant well, he observed. His story of radicalization is not unique.

“With respect, you cannot continue to behave as if innocent deaths like those in my family are irrelevant,” wrote Faisal bin Ali Jabar in a letter addressed to then president Barack Obama in 2014. Jabar, who lost two relatives in a 2012 drone strike in Yemen, hit the target when he concluded, “you will defeat your own counterterrorism aims.”

The logic applies to all bombings where civilians inevitably pay a steep price, often with their lives. These sentiments echo across the Muslim world where too often bombs drop more frequently than rain.

Of course, the consequences of Western actions will not stay “there.” In fact, the reverberations from the “collateral damage” are and will continue to be felt “here” in the West. Indeed, numerous studies have confirmed that death and destruction in the Muslim world is a major recruiting tool.

Court transcripts from the infamous Toronto 18 case, for instance, show that almost all of the youth charged with “plotting” terrorist attacks in Ontario in 2006 were shaken to the core by the suffering they saw.

As the Star’s Michelle Shephard reported last year in a 10-year follow up story on some of the convicted: “They opposed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, rallying not against the West’s rights and freedoms but because they believed those rights weren’t applied equally to Muslims.”

As clear as this cause and effect calculus is, too many in positions of power just don’t get it. Or perhaps they don’t want to.

Indeed, last week the U.S. dropped the GBU 43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), dubbed the “mother of all bombs,” on Nangarhar province in Afghanistan. In doing so the Trump administration had to drop the “mother of all lies” as well. The bomb, sold as a precise munition that can be surgically placed on the doorsteps of the bad guys, and only the bad guys, is far from this.

Laser- or satellite-guided bombs and weapons systems may hit their intended targets for the most part. But technical glitches and human error often mean civilians and allies also pay dearly.

The sheer size and damage range is another factor. Weighing 21,600 pounds, the MOAD is the largest non-nuclear ordnance, which can kill and damage buildings within a 2.7-km radius. It causes deafness within a 3.2-km area and God only knows what else. Such a device is far from precise.

Media reports claim 96 Daesh fighters were killed but U.S. officials are mum and have not allowed anyone into the area.

How can something with such a broad point of impact be so precisely targeted when the area hit was home to thousands of non-combatants? How can officials be so sure that the bomb avoided children orphaned by previous attacks by the good guys or by Daesh and the Taliban? Will we ever learn the real human and long-term cost?

This bombing of one of the poorest, most unstable and war-ravaged countries in the world, is yet more proof that the US counterterrorism strategy is short-sighted, based on questionable assumptions, and risks escalating conflicts and increasing instability both at home and abroad.

Sadly, a generation of Canadians and Americans have also only known the parallel world view of “us” versus “them.” This dichotomous outlook only serves to radicalize many in both camps by dehumanizing the other and fuelling perpetual war. Extreme violence whether by state or non-state actors begets only more violence and fuels the vicious cycle.

Rather than stopping the next lone attacker in the homeland, these bombing runs will motivate many more. Instead of weakening the enemy, it will bring together sworn enemies against a common bigger enemy.

As former U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich wrote: “It is precisely because we have chosen to fight ‘them’ over there that we will have to fight ‘them’ over here. If we roam the world looking for dragons to slay, some will follow us home.”

• Faisal Kutty is counsel to KSM Law, an associate professor at Valparaiso University Law School in Indiana and an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. @faisalkutty.

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Southern cracker view of Hawaii

SUBHEAD: Jeff Sessions dismisses Hawaii as ‘an Island in the Pacific’ that shouldn't be able to question Trump.

By Charles Savage on 20 April 2017 for the New York Times  -
(https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/us/politics/jeff-sessions-judge-hawaii-pacific-island.html)


Image above: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, the racist US Attorney General doubts Hawaii federal judge's authority. From original article.

[IB Publisher's note: Anytime the Untied States wants to cut Hawaii off and reaffirm separation and the sovereignty stolen over a century ago it's okay with me. Hey Jeff, we'll gladly accept just being an island in Pacific if you'll just leave us alone.]
 
Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke dismissively about the State of Hawaii while criticizing a Federal District Court ruling last month that blocked the Trump administration from carrying out its ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world.

“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” Mr. Sessions said this week in an interview on “The Mark Levin Show,” a conservative talk radio program.

Mr. Sessions’s description of Hawaii, where the federal judge who issued the order, Derrick K. Watson, has his chambers, drew a rebuke from both of the United States senators who represent the state. Annexed as a territory of the United States in the late 19th century, Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959.

“Hawaii was built on the strength of diversity & immigrant experiences — including my own,” Senator Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, wrote on Twitter. “Jeff Sessions’ comments are ignorant & dangerous.”

The other senator from Hawaii, Brian Schatz, who is also a Democrat, expressed similar sentiments, writing on Twitter: “Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It’s my home. Have some respect.”

Asked for a response from Mr. Sessions, Ian Prior, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said in an email: “Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific — a beautiful one where the attorney general’s granddaughter was born. 

The point, however, is that there is a problem when a flawed opinion by a single judge can block the president’s lawful exercise of authority to keep the entire country safe.”

(The State of Hawaii is a chain of islands, one of which is also called Hawaii; the judge’s chambers, however, are in Honolulu, which is on the island of Oahu.)

Judge Watson, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, was confirmed in 2013 by a 94-to-0 vote; Mr. Sessions, then a United States senator from Alabama, was among those who cast an approving vote. 

A former federal prosecutor, Judge Watson earned his law degree from Harvard alongside Mr. Obama and Neil M. Gorsuch, the newly seated Supreme Court justice. He is the only judge of native Hawaiian descent on the federal bench.

Last month, Judge Watson issued a nationwide injunction blocking President Trump’s travel ban, ruling that the plaintiffs — the State of Hawaii and Ismail Elshikh, the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii — had reasonable grounds to challenge the order as religious discrimination. 

He cited comments dating to Mr. Trump’s original call, during the 2016 campaign, for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

During the arguments, the government had contended that looking beyond the text of the order to infer religious animus would amount to investigating Mr. Trump’s “veiled psyche,” but Judge Watson wrote in his decision that there was “nothing ‘veiled’” about Mr. Trump’s public remarks. 

Still, Mr. Sessions reiterated that line of argument in the radio interview, saying he believed that the judge’s reasoning was improper and would be overturned.

“The judges don’t get to psychoanalyze the president to see if the order he issues is lawful,” Mr. Sessions said. “It’s either lawful or it’s not.”


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A Matter of God's Mercy

SUBHEAD: Now that we’ve made Earth uninhabitable we won’t have to remember how it got that way.

By James Kunstler on 21 April 2017 for Kunstler.com -
(http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/a-matter-of-mercy/)


Image above: "Back to the Future's" Biff Tannen in an Adidas warmup suit and looking confused.   From (http://backtothefuture.wikia.com/wiki/Biff_Tannen). Dontal Trump is Biff Tannen - a greedy bully. See also (http://khitschicago.cbslocal.com/2015/10/21/proof-back-to-the-futures-biff-tannen-is-running-for-president/).

Paging Doctor Oz!

A patient calling itself The United States wandered into the emergency room disoriented, wearing a filthy warm-up suit, claiming it was “the greatest” this and that… but was unable to complete the nine-page admission protocol or present valid insurance ID. Patient is growing increasingly violent, threatening staff and other patients….

Nations do develop something like Alzheimers. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that for some time now nothing sticks in the national brain-pan — if that’s what we can call the news media and its analogs on the Web waves.

For months, an obsession about “Russian interference in the election” raged through the left lobe of the national consciousness. Then, about a week ago, it vanished utterly. Grandpa suffered similar delusions about the Russians meddling with “our precious bodily fluids.”

Paging Doctor Strangelove!

Not so far back as last summer, a candidate named Trump un-ironically called for “an end to endless war in the Middle East.”

The oft-applied policy of “regime change,” he said, was not working out in the various US-engineered failed states such as Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine.

About two weeks ago, I seem to recall, the State Department even declared explicitly that we had no brief for regime change in the case of one Bashar al-Assad over in Syria.

Then there was something in the wifi waves about a poison gas attack. The evidence as to exactly who perpetrated it looked, how-you-say, not altogether convincing.

This evidence amounted to the US Intel services, in their aggregate omniscience, asserting that, “yes, it was so that this weasel Assad bombed his people with Sarin.”

Wolf Blitzer and Rachel Maddow ran so hard with the story that they vanished over the horizon.

The patient had a dream after that: a dream of cruise missiles reigning down hellfire judgment upon a Syrian air base. Quite a few of them went astray and blew up some prickly pears in the desert and a pod of migrating sea turtles out in the Mediterranean. (Thank you Microsoft Windows.)

Then the Secretary of State, Mr. Tillerson declared that “Assad must go.” The patient now was completely confused about who was coming or going. Then the patient forgot about the dream and we’ve heard no more about this fairytale land of Syria since then. Oh well….

It seemed like only yesterday that head honcho over North Korea — a character straight out of the James Bond fantasies with the weirdest haircut in recorded history — was threatening to blow up the United States.

A US aircraft carrier fleet was soon steaming around his half of the Korean peninsula. A rocket lifted off somewhere… and promptly blew up. Well, at least something blew up. I forgot what, exactly….

And now I see on the morning wire that ISIS has gone and pulled off another terror incident in Paris — one cop dead, one injured in a street  shooting.

Weren’t there other incidents before this one, possibly even worse ones? I forget. Anyway, in this case, it was easy to figure out the man’s identity (one Karim Cheurfi) because the fucker had spent 15 years in prison after being convicted of three attempted murders, two against police officers, and was released on parole in 2015.

There was some additional chatter in the wire story about the incident having an effect on an upcoming French election. But I forget who’s running. And when the darn thing is over, I’ll probably forget who won, and why.

That’s how we roll in the national Alzheimers ward. Shit happens and then is promptly forgotten. Sometimes the shit that happens is forgotten so completely that it’s like living in universe where nothing happens.

The auditors who once reported to work in your brain have left their stations — with no duties left after the smart-phone came on the scene. They are among the millions “no longer looking for work” in those BLS reports.

Maybe this is a manifestation of what used to be called “God’s mercy.”

Now that we’ve almost succeeded in making the planet uninhabitable, we don’t have to remember how it got that way, or what will happen to us in the meantime, while we’re still here.

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Wikileaks to reveal illegal CIA acts

SUBHEAD: The CIA, a state non-intelligence agency"calls him a "non-state intelligence service".

By Joe Urchill  on 19 April 2017 for Zero Hedge -
(http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-20/us-preparing-charges-arrest-wikileaks-founder-julian-assange)


Image above: A photo of Julien Assange at the Equidorian Embassy in London in September 2016. From (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-16/julian-assange-press-conference-ecuador-embassy/7854166).

In a podcast interview, WikiLeaks head Julian Assange characterized his site's most recent series of leaks as showing "all sorts of illegal actions by the CIA."

In the same interview for the "Intercepted" podcast, Assange accused the CIA director of slamming him "to get ahead of the publicity curve."

The comments came at the beginning of the interview conducted by Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept, as the two discussed CIA Director Mike Pompeo's recent speech calling out WikiLeaks as a "nonstate hostile intelligence service."

"In fact, the reason Pompeo is launching this attack is because he understands we are exposing in this series all sorts of illegal actions by the CIA, so he’s trying to get ahead of the publicity curve and create a pre-emptive defense," Assange said.

The conversation addressed recent allegations that WikiLeaks has stretched the facts in its descriptions of what the CIA files showed. Those allegations were made in The Hill and other news outlets, including The Intercept.

Pompeo told The Intercept that WikiLeaks was "stretching the facts" in saying the CIA was likely intercepting new Apple cellphones to implant malware before the iPhones were sent to purchasers.
"I never liked that article," Assange said on the podcast.

Though he did not defend the Apple claim, he did say that a separate controversy referenced in The Intercept — that another WikiLeaks summary may have implied that the CIA specifically developed techniques to hack encrypted chat apps, which the documents did not show — was unwarranted.

"One of the important revelations from our initial Vault 7 publication was that the CIA had spent enormous resources on developing endpoint attacks, that is, to attack your smartphone directly. ... We thought it was very important to show that, no, that’s not true. The encryption itself is quite good, but if you can hack the endpoints, the encryption doesn’t matter," he said.

Assange also used the interview to reaffirm stances he's taken since publishing internal Democratic Party emails last year during the presidential campaign.

He said he still does not believe his site received files stolen by the Russian government and defended the site as nonpartisan. He said it would have published Republican National Committee emails if it had received them.

He also said he had no "back channel" communications with Roger Stone, a former adviser to President Trump, as Stone has claimed. Stone has told The Hill he communicated with Assange through a mutual friend but said perhaps Assange did not consider the communications as formal as he did.

Assange told "Intercepted" that he does not have a vendetta against 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, as is often alleged.

“I think I’d probably like her in person. Most good politicians are quite charismatic in person. In some ways, she’s a bit like me, She’s a bit wonkish and a bit awkward, so maybe we’d get along,” he said.



US prepares to arrest Assange

SUBHEAD: Called a "non-state intelligence service" today by the "state non-intelligence agency".

By Tyler Durden on 20 April 2107 for Zero Hedge -
(http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-20/us-preparing-charges-arrest-wikileaks-founder-julian-assange)

In a stunning new report, CNN has just revealed, according to anonymous sources at least, that US authorities have prepared charges and will seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for intelligence leaks dating all the way back to 2010.
US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, US officials familiar with the matter tell CNN.

The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.
This latest revelation comes after CIA Director Mike Pompeo ramped up the Trump administration's rhetoric against WikiLeaks describing it as a "non-state hostile intelligence service" earlier this week.

Ironically, as we noted this morning, Pompeo's comments can just days before the FBI and CIA admitted that they are searching for an "insider" at the CIA (not a Russian) who exposed thousands of top-secret documents that described CIA tools used to penetrate smartphones, smart televisions and computer systems.
Last week in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, CIA Director Mike Pompeo went further than any US government official in describing a role by WikiLeaks that went beyond First Amendment activity
He said WikiLeaks "directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information, and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States."

"It's time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia," Pompeo said.Pompeo's comments were, of course, met with an immediate snarky reply from Assange over twitter.
Julian Assange @JulianAssange
Called a "non-state intelligence service" today by the "state non-intelligence agency" which produced al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran & Pinochet.
For the past several years, U.S. prosecutors have struggled with whether the First Amendment precluded the prosecution of Assange.  In fact, in what now appears to be a very prescient opinion piece, Julian Assange recently penned an article in the Washington Post defending his publications by saying that his motives are "identical to those claimed by the New York Times and The Post."
Quite simply, our motive is identical to that claimed by the New York Times and The Post — to publish newsworthy content. Consistent with the U.S. Constitution, we publish material that we can confirm to be true irrespective of whether sources came by that truth legally or have the right to release it to the media. And we strive to mitigate legitimate concerns, for example by using redaction to protect the identities of at-risk intelligence agents.
During President Barack Obama's administration, Attorney General Eric Holder and officials at the Justice Department determined it would be difficult to bring charges against Assange because WikiLeaks wasn't alone in publishing documents stolen by Manning.

Several newspapers, including The New York Times, did as well. The investigation continued, but any possible charges were put on hold, according to US officials involved in the process then.

All that said, CNN's sources seem to believe those same prosecutors have now found a way to move forward...though we're sure the New York Times won't receive similar arrest warrants.

Of course, it's unclear what immediate purpose the charges will serve given that Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the sole purpose of avoiding political persecution.

That said, somehow we suspect that some form of 'leverage' is about to be applied against Ecuador to help them 'remember' that they have other immediate and critically important uses for Assange's London bedroom.
.

We likely missed an orderly collapse

SUBHEAD: If we knew better we'd have climbed down from our precarious perch when the housing bubble burst.

By Juan Wilson on 20 April 2017 for Island Breath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2017/04/we-likey-missed-orderly-collapse.html)


Image above: Tankers and freighters are brought to the shores of Bangladesh to be taken apart for scrap metal and other valuables. If we only could do this with suburbia. From (https://www.pinterest.com/yolimk/shipbreakers/).

Back in September 2008 George W. Bush spoke the truth when he said of the US economy;
"If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down.”
This was in reference to the unraveling of a $700 million bailout package. Had we accepted the ramifications of the collapse of the "fake" economy we had become dependent on at that time our losses would have been minimal to what we are facing now.

But that is not the way it went. In a matter of weeks Obama won the presidency and was "on board" with saving the USS Titanic. With Obama at the helm US debt went from $10 trillion to $20 trillion. All that debt was in order to keep the wheels on the bus after it went over the cliff.

Since most Americans are overweight children with an appetite for colorful noisy screens neither Bush nor Obama was ready to let Americans know that the party was already over and that they had to go home in the dark and awake the next morning as peasants.  

We had our chance to accept failure and deal with it before it meant losing the farm. The way it is going now, most Americans will be lucky to find a working farm and get a part time gig as a field hand.

ENTER TRUMP
Since 2011 the United States has reached its limit in borrowing money from the future several times. The U.S. Treasury Department's power to borrow money expired on 15 March 2017 and Congress will have to authorize moving on past $20 trillion in IOUs, or not be able to cover financial obligations like monthly Social Security checks. As Michael Snyder wrote in (http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-debt-ceiling-deadline-has-passed-and-now-the-biggest-test-of-donald-trumps-presidency-begins)
So now the federal government is not going to be able to go into any more debt until the debt ceiling is raised.  For the moment, the Trump administration can implement “emergency measures” to stay under the debt limit, but it won’t be too long before we get to a major crisis point because the federal government is quickly running out of cash.  Already, the U.S. Treasury has less cash on hand than Apple or Google, and that cash balance is going to keep on dropping until the debt ceiling is finally lifted.
Yes there is a little wiggle room in that there is some cash on hand once US borrowing stops, but that will be gone in weeks.

President Trump plans to bleed $15 trillion in new red ink over the next decade with military and infrastructure expenditures. That is unlikely to happen as planned, and there are real risks of an American—and a global—economic catastrophe.

WAKE UP CALL
Most Americans are in complete denial as to the dire straights we are in. Today Tyler Durden wrote at Zero Hedge: A Quarter Of Millennials Living At Home Neither Work Nor Study
At one point in time in America, living at home with mom and dad after crossing out of your teenage years and into your 20s was embarrassing and something that was generally avoided at all costs.  And while hard times come and go, 20-somethings who were forced back into their parents' care worked their tails off until they could save up enough money to once again regain their freedom.

But, these days millennials seem to be embracing the free room and board provided by their parents. According to Bloomberg, there are 2.2 million millennials.  A new study from the Census Bureau found roughly one-third of all millennials live at home with their parents and one-fourth of them can't be bothered with enrolling in school or finding a job.  Of those, 40% of them are already in their 30's -  predominantly white, male and no college experience.
It's time for these millennials to smell the smoke, get up from the PlayStation4 in the basement and go outside and help put out the fire. It is not for a lack of work that needs to be done that they are idle. That goes for the "better off" comfy life of many of the Baby Boomers and luckiest of the X-Geners too.
  • Get out of your car.  
  • Shutdown the entertainment system.
  • Turn off your iPhone.
  • Think and feel.
That may be all you will have time for if you don't start the process soon. If you reach "Think and Feel" move on to the advanced work of:
  • Find a place where there is water and one can grow food.
  • Join or make a community.
  • Master a useful trade.
  • Brace yourself. 
Understand that the "economic growth" con-job with all its utopian regalia of financial centers filled with avant garde art amidst prosperous city-living surrounded by suburbia and more distant McMansions is about to come apart like a plush carpet left in the rain. The "growth" fantasy is over but its dreamers and planners are not quite awake yet. But you are - and so, seek self-reliance, self-sufficiency and resilience.

SO WHAT'S THE PLAN?
Here on Kauai, Hawaii our dim witted county government has the gas peddle to the floor trying to awaken the "Growth Beast".

On a island that is about as sustainable as any county in the American Empire, they are proposing an update to our General Plan that will double the population in a generation, spreading suburban sprawl over what have been agriculture fields.

Do the words "self inflicted wound" mean anything to the greedy? They are not thinking past Amazon, Costco and Walmart as the source of life.

Some "forward" thinkers are looking to advanced Artificial intelligence and autonomous robotics to save the day. Humans could then have Universal Basic Incomes and Medicare for All and continue living in the basement... but why would an autonomous artificial intelligence put up with that waste of protoplasm and energy.

Considering the alternatives, forget that plan - go organic!

FACE SAVING WAR
A disorderly collapse is one thing - a nuclear war is another. Unfortunately for jingoistic leaders like Donald Trump, the only thing they find in their tool drawer is "WAR". If your only tool is a "hammer" everything is a "nail". If your only tool is "WAR" everybody is an "ENEMY".

It is vitally important to all life on Earth that World War Three is not the way The Donald saves face. Let's let him believe he invented the "New New Deal" and move on.
   
.

Carrier sailed north not south

SUBHEAD: U.S. aircraft carrier went in wrong direction for days after White House threat.

By P. Lavender & E. Gordts on 18 April 2017 for Huffington Post -
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/carl-vinson-north-korea_us_58f658fde4b0bb9638e6f653?8umm)


Image above: The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the Sunda Strait on April 15, 2017. From original article.

Trump said he was “sending an armada” to the Korean Peninsula, but that didn’t happen.

When U.S. officials claimed two weeks ago that an American aircraft carrier was heading toward waters near North Korea, it was actually sailing in the opposite direction, The New York Times and Defense News report.

Amid growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, U.S. Pacific Command announced on April 8 that the USS Carl Vinson strike group would sail north to the western Pacific after departing Singapore that day.

An American official told Reuters at the time that the ships’ move toward the Korean Peninsula was a show of force directed at the regime of Kim Jong Un.

Mere days after the announcement about the strike group’s new course, President Donald Trump weighed in on the North Korean threat. “We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier,” Trump told Fox on April 12.

“We have the best military people on Earth. And I will say this: He is doing the wrong thing,” Trump added, referring to Kim Jong Un.

But Defense News pointed out on Tuesday that photos released by the U.S. Navy showed the aircraft carrier passing through the Sunda Strait in Indonesia, about 3,500 miles from the Korean Peninsula, last Saturday. It was moving away from North Korea when U.S. officials said it was moving toward the peninsula, the Times confirmed on Tuesday.

The ship has changed direction since then, but is expected to arrive far later than initial reports suggested.

CNN’s Jim Acosta tweeted that an administration official blamed the mix-up on a miscommunication. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

North Korea has recently ramped up work on its nuclear program, hoping to develop a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the United States. Trump has vowed to “solve” the North Korean problem, but is facing few good options to confront the threat.

Pyongyang test-fired missiles during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the U.S. in March, and again on April 4 ahead of a visit to the U.S. by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Following the April launch, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a three-sentence statement acknowledging the launch: “The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment,” it read.

Tensions further escalated in the runup to April 15, the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung. Experts warned that Pyongyang might conduct a missile test.

Satellite imagery at the time indicated that Pyongyang might have been preparing for a sixth nuclear test in addition to a massive military parade.

While North Korea did end up test-firing a missile on Sunday, the projectile exploded almost immediately after launch.

Following the launch, Vice President Mike Pence said Trump would take a more aggressive stance against Pyongyang than previous administrations.

“We’re going to abandon the failed policy of strategic patience. But we’re going to redouble our efforts to bring diplomatic and economic pressure to bear on North Korea. Our hope is that we can resolve this issue peaceably,” Pence told CNN.

U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told Fox News the next day that the group was being rerouted from Singapore toward the Korean Peninsula as a “prudent” show of force.

.