dr. consulta

The Turkish Lira Collapse… And Why Divine Intervention Will Not Be Forthcoming Aug. 14, 2018

After years of rampant dollar borrowing, running large current account deficits (due to the lack of domestic oil production), as well as an autocratic President who thinks that high interest rates produce inflation and meddles in the economy in ways that are guaranteed to backfire (as they are doing at the moment), the lira is now in freefall…

…It looks like Erdogan is digging in his heels as to the Trump administration confrontation while not being proactive as to the Turkish lira crisis. This means the whole mess is spilling into the other emerging markets – and that’s even before the major confrontation with China kicks in around September 5, after most Chinese tariff packages begin to go into effect.

I really need to know. How the FUCK does USAToday and MSN figure this qualifies as news. Seriously?

Alien abduction: 45 years after alleged UFO encounter, Mississippi man breaks his silence

Then the situation became more surreal. Parker said three legless creatures floated from the craft. One had no neck with gray wrinkled skin. Another had a neck and appeared more feminine. Parker described their hands as being shaped like mittens or crab claws.

When one of the creatures put one of its claws around his arm, Parker said he was terrified, but then another feeling came over his body.

“I think they injected us with something to calm us down,” Parker said. “I was kind of numb and went along with the program.”


Tuesday,  Aug 14, 2018

Trump calls Omarosa ‘crazed, crying lowlife’ and a ‘dog’ in morning tweet On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about his former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman: “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” It’s unclear what prompted the outburst, but 12 minutes before he tweeted, CBS This Morning posted a new recording from Manigault Newman that purports to lend credence to her claim that the president was recorded saying the N-word. “CBS has not been able to verify the authenticity of the tape, but it does appear to confirm Omarosa’s claims that Trump campaign officials were aware of this tape,” CBS said, “and they talked about how to handle it.” Source: CBS News, Twitter

Trump signs defense bill named for John McCain, doesn’t mention McCain On Monday, President Trump signed a $716 billion defense policy bill named in honor of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), but didn’t once mention McCain during his remarks. McCain is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, and has been resting at his home in Arizona. The bill’s formal title is the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, but during his speech at Fort Drum in New York, Trump only called it the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill authorizes funding for military construction and advanced technology. Trump and McCain do not have a good relationship, with Trump having scoffed at McCain’s military service and taking it personally when McCain voted against a repeal of the Affordable Care Act last year. Source: The Week

The Ponte Morandi viaduct collapses on the A10 motorway in Genoa, Italy. 22 people have been reported dead, including a child, and dozens of others are seriously injured. (TGCom)


US investors are pouring hundreds of millions into a healthcare company that doesn’t take insurance and lists its prices like a ‘McDonald’s menu’
(article is behind paywall)

Using tech and $100M, Dr Consulta transforms healthcare for the poorest
Jun 19, 2018


Monday,  Aug 13, 2018

Asian stock prices sink as Turkey’s financial turmoil fuels fears contagion might spread to other emerging markets. (Market Watch)

More than 100 Afghan soldiers and police, 13 civilians and hundreds of Taliban are killed during the ongoing offensive in Ghazni. (BBC)

The Taliban captures Camp Chenaya, an Afghan Army base in Ghormach District, Faryab Province. (Voice of America)

At least 40 people are killed by paramilitary forces in eastern Ethiopia, in the latest spate of violence driven by ethnic divisions. (Voa News)

North Korea and South Korea officials begin high-level negotiations, with reports suggesting that Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in could be planning for a summit in Pyongyang later this month. (Reuters)

The lawyer of Peter Strzok, a former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who was removed from Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation, announces that his client has been fired by the FBI. (The Washington Post via MSN)

Sunday, Aug 12, 2018

A report by the SOHR says that the explosion of an arms depot in Sarmada, Idlib Governorate, Syria, kills at least 69 people, including 17 children. The cause of the blast is “not yet clear”. Most of the victims were reportedly family members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants. (Reuters)

After more than 20 years of negotiations, the five countries bordering the Caspian Sea sign an agreement in Aktau, Kazakhstan, on its shared use and the distribution of its resources. The convention legally defines the body of water as a sea rather than a lake, but with special provisions. (Deutsche Welle)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa meets with President Joseph Kabila of DR Congo in Kinshasa, praising him for his “respect for the constitution” by agreeing to step down and not take part in the upcoming December 2018 Congolese general election. (The South African)

Around twenty white nationalists hold a protest march in Washington, D.C. on the first anniversary of the Unite the Right rally, with thousands of counter-protesters. (AP via CBC News)

NASA launches the Parker Solar Probe, an unpiloted spacecraft designed to study the sun. (BBC)

Saturday,  Aug 11, 2018

Fighting continues around the city of Ghazni. (Reuters)

A delegation of the Taliban political office in Doha, Qatar, has visited Uzbekistan from 7 to 10 August and met with officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Both parties “exchanged views of prospects of the peace process in Afghanistan”. (The Hindu) (Uzbekistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

According to the Russian LGBT Network campaign group, a 16-year-old person becomes the first minor to be prosecuted under the Russian gay propaganda law. (The Independent)


Friday,  Aug 10, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump authorizes the doubling of Section 232 tariffs on imports of aluminium and steel from Turkey, to 20% and 50% respectively. The Turkish lira further falls to a new record low against the U.S. dollar and Turkish stocks tumble. (CNBC)

Turkish lira plummets as Trump doubles tariffs The Turkish lira plunged more than 16 percent on Friday, while tensions simultaneously escalated between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported. Investors were already worried about Turkey’s fragile economy and its future financial health, with the lira down 23 percent against the U.S. dollar in the past week. Erdogan seemingly added fuel to the fire when he made a defiant speech on Friday, saying “Turkey won’t surrender to economic hitmen” and blaming an “interest rate plot” that amounted to “a military coup attempt.” Trump did not take warmly to Erdogan’s declaration of “economic war,” announcing on Twitter that he would double tariffs on steel and aluminum. “Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time,” Trump wrote. Source: The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money

A large-scale military offensive is launched by the Taliban in a bid to overrun the southeastern city of Ghazni, a provincial capital on the Kabul–Kandahar Highway. They manage to take control of a part of the city. (The New York Times)

Colombia announces its withdrawal from the Union of South American Nations after having suspended its membership in the organization since April 2018. (CNN)

California awards $289 million to a man who claims that his terminal cancer was caused by Monsanto’s glyphosate-containing weed killer. (BBC)

An airport mechanic steals a Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 from Seattle–Tacoma International Airport in the United States, eventually crashing the plane. (CBS News)

452 people are injured in clashes between protesters and police during an anti-government meeting in Bucharest, Romania. (Știrile Pro TV)



Vice President Mike Pence unveils White House plan for a ‘Space Force’ Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday explained the Trump administration’s plan to create a sixth branch of the military dedicated to establishing dominance in space. In June, President Trump ordered the Pentagon to establish a “Space Force,” calling it “so important” and explaining that it would take over space-related duties from the Air Force. Pence offered details about the new agency Thursday, describing the Space Force as a way to “meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield” with dedicated space technology experts and defense systems. The White House wants to get the new department off the ground by 2020, The Washington Post reports, but it will likely face opposition from Congress. Source: The Washington Post

North Korea and South Korea plan to hold high-level talks on Monday to prepare for a third summit between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un. Pyongyang also calls for the United States to reciprocate its “goodwill measures” by easing sanctions and stopping demands that the North denuclearize first. (Washington Post)


 Thursday, Aug 09,  2018

Over 180 rockets and mortars are launched toward Israel by Hamas militants. In retaliation, IDF launches an air assault on 150 targets in Gaza.(CNN)

Germany lifts a blanket ban on Nazi symbolism in video games, including the swastika. (Deutsche Welle)

Puerto Rico raises its official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 1,427. (The Kansas City Star)

Ecuador declares a state of emergency over increases in migrant entry from Venezuela. (Al Jazeera)

The Venezuelan Constituent National Assembly revokes the immunity of opposition politicians Julio Borges and Juan Requesens after claiming that they were involved in an assassination plot on President Nicolás Maduro. (Al Jazeera)

At least 43 people, mostly children, are killed in an airstrike on a bus at a market in Dahyan, Sa’da, by the Saudi-led coalition, while more than 60 are injured. The coalition calls the strike a “legitimate military action” against the Houthis, accusing them of using children as human shields. (The Guardian)

At least 40 bodies of Afghan National Army soldiers are found in a military base in Urozgan that Taliban forces stormed last week. (Reuters via Euronews)

Italian police seize 20 tonnes of hashish in a Panama-flagged, Montenegrin-crewed “research and survey” vessel’s fuel tanks. (Deutsche Welle)

Indonesian President Joko Widodo chooses the Islamic cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate in the upcoming presidential election. (Reuters)

The End



Thursday, Aug 09,  2018

Saudi Arabia reports the execution and crucifixion, in Mecca, of a man from Myanmar. The man was sentenced for breaking into the home of a woman and stabbing her, which led to her death, as well as for other crimes. (Bloomberg)

The Mendocino Complex Fire grows into the largest active wildfire in California history. (BBC)

New York City caps number of Lyft, Uber cars On Wednesday, the New York City Council passed a package of bills that caps the number of Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hail vehicles on the road for one year and sets a minimum wage for their drivers. The Taxi and Limousine Commission will spend the next 12 months studying the effects of ride-hail services in New York. People who want to rein in Uber and Lyft say their drivers are taking over the streets, making traffic even worse. Supporters of the companies say they help neighborhoods outside of Manhattan, where it’s harder to find a taxi. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is “directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock.” Source: NBC News

Tribune withdraws plans for $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Tribune Media said Thursday that it would scrap its $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group and sue Sinclair for “breach of contract.” Tribune says Sinclair promised to make a reasonable attempt to get prompt regulatory approval, but conducted unnecessarily aggressive and slow negotiations with the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission. The deal began to unravel last month when the FCC raised “serious concerns” about the merger, which would have created a company reaching up to 70 million households. Sinclair had said the merger would be “transformational.” Tribune CEO Peter Kern said in a statement that the FCC referred “the issue of Sinclair’s conduct” for a special hearing, creating unacceptable “uncertainty and delay.” Source: Fox Business, The Washington Post

Scores of people, mostly children, die in an airstrike by the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition on a bus at a market in Dahyan, Sa’da. A Saudi statement calls the strike a “legitimate military action”. (The Guardian)


Wednesday,  Aug 08,  2018

Saudi Press Agency reports that all Saudi patients are being transferred from Canadian hospitals to other medical facilities outside Canada. (Al Jazeera)

The United States pledges US$9 million in aid to Colombia to help support Venezuelan migrants in the country. (McClatchy DC Bureau)

China announces 25% tariffs on an additional US$16 billion worth of imports from the United States, effective August 23, matching yesterday’s decision by the United States. (Bloomberg)

The United States imposes new sanctions on Russia after the use of a Novichok nerve agent in the United Kingdom. Yesterday, the UK said that they would seek extradition of suspects from Russia. (BBC)(Sky News)

U.S. Representative Chris Collins (R–NY) is arrested on charges of securities and wire fraud, conspiracy and lying to investigators. He is accused of passing nonpublic information about Innate Immunotherapeutics, a biotech company, to his son, who traded on the information and passed it along to others. Collins was a director of the company and also a major investor. (NPR)

Five center-left political parties nominate Marjan Šarec to become Prime Minister of Slovenia. (Euronews)


Tuesday,  Aug 07, 2018

The Office of the United States Trade Representative publishes its finalized list of 279 Chinese goods, worth $16 billion, to be subject to a 25% tariff from August 23. (Reuters)

A German couple is jailed for twelve years each for selling the woman’s son to a Spanish pedophile on the dark web, who repeatedly abused him. The couple themselves previously abused the boy and a three-year-old girl, whom they are ordered to pay €42,500 in compensation. The Spaniard is sentenced to ten years. (BBC)

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the total population of Australia has hit 25 million. (BBC)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro says that he has “hard evidence” that the Colombian government planned and executed an attempted assassination attack on him on Saturday, and that he will release it later in the day. (Al Jazeera)

Iván Duque Márquez is sworn in as new President of Colombia. (BBC News)

Newly inaugurated Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez announces that he will not have an ambassador in neighboring Venezuela. (Diarios Las Américas)

Brazil re-opens its northern border with Venezuela which was briefly closed in response to refugees from Venezuela. (BBC)


Monday,  Aug 06, 2018

Facebook removes several InfoWars-related pages from its platform, for what it describes as glorification of violence and dehumanizing language. YouTube deletes Alex Jones’ main account for repeated Terms of Service violations. Apple and Spotify pull Jones’ podcasts. Editor Paul Joseph Watson calls Facebook’s move “political censorship” on Twitter. (NBC News)

Brazil closes its international border with Venezuela, following a similar move enacted but then rescinded by Colombia earlier in 2018, as a response to an increase in Venezuelans fleeing their country to neighbouring states. (The Guardian)

Commercial flights have resumed between the Tajikistan capital, Dushanbe, and the Uzbekistan city of Bukhara amid improving ties. (rferl)

A heat wave in Spain kills nine people. (Público)

A heat wave in Genoa, Italy, kills seven people. (Genova24)

The United States reimposes sanctions on Iran after the US pulled out of the international agreement three months prior. (Reuters)

The European Union announces that its blocking statute against the US sanctions will take effect tomorrow, protecting European companies from US sanctions and encouraging them to keep trading with Iran. (The Telegraph)

The End


Hundred-Dollar Bills Make Me Nervous
by Joe Bob Briggs
August 02, 2018

Yes, he’s reading Bright Lights, Big City. (Actually, he’s listening to the audiotape while

riding to work in the back of a Town Car.) No, he doesn’t understand that he’s a cliché and, more important for the rest of us, he doesn’t understand that he’s an economic indicator that won’t show up on any of today’s analyst reports.

If we had an app that tracked the movements of these guys, all our smartphones would be flashing “DOUCHE ALERT, DOUCHE ALERT” and we would be preparing to take all our money out of Facebook and put it in German treasury bills.

The last time these guys were spotted: 2007. What does that tell you?


Monday,  Aug 6, 2018

Trump reimposes Iran sanctions, slams ‘horrible’ nuclear deal

In a Monday executive order, President Trump followed through with plans to reinstate sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the nuclear deal. The 2015 agreement, made between the U.S., Iran, and other world superpowers, limited Iran’s ability to create nuclear weapons in exchange for relief from harsh economic sanctions. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in May. His Monday order slammed the “horrible” deal as “defective at its core,” and it announced that his administration would reimpose sanctions on precious metals and Iran’s automotive sector, among other targets. The EU, France, Germany, and the U.K. jointly derided Trump’s decision in a Monday statement, saying Europe will intensify its efforts to preserve the deal. Source: The Associated Press, ABC News

The United States is set to reimpose sanctions on Iran after pulling out of a nuclear deal three months ago. (Reuters)


Sunday, Aug 5, 2018

Syrian media reports that ISIL has executed one of a number of Druze hostages taken from Syria’s government-held city of As-Suwayda in an attack last week. (Haaretz)

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes Lombok, Indonesia. A tsunami warning is issued. At least 98 people are killed and more than 200 are injured. (BBC)

Police in Switzerland say that all 20 occupants of a World War II-era Junkers Ju 52 plane that crashed yesterday on the flanks of the Piz Segnas mountain are dead. (Whig)

Police in New Mexico rescue 11 malnourished children being kept in squalid conditions in a remote desert compound. (BBC)

Saudi Arabia withdraws its Ambassador from Canada, and orders the Canadian counterpart to leave the country in 24 hours, after Canada calls for the release of activists who are in detention in the Middle East nation. (CBC News)

A Taliban suicide bomber kills three Czech soldiers on a routine patrol in Charikar, Afghanistan. A U.S. soldier and two Afghan troops are also injured in the bombing. (BBC)


 Saturday,  Aug 4, 2018

England’s Local Government Association reports that approximately two-thirds of plastic objects which reach recycling facilities cannot be recycled, due to the mix of polymers used by producers. (BBC)

Venezuelan authorities detain six people involved in the assassination attempt of Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro. (The Hill)

Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro survives what he calls an assassination attempt involving explosive drones while speaking at a military event in Caracas. Eight people are injured. (BBC)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro blames an assassination attempt on Colombia and Venezuelan exiles in the U.S. state of Florida. (The Guardian)

A report commissioned by the United Nations Security Council concludes that North Korea has not stopped its nuclear program and that it attempted to sell military supplies to Libya, Sudan and Yemen. (BBC)

Ri Yong-ho, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Korea, says that his country will not start denuclearizing unless the United States takes reciprocal actions. (The New York Times)

Los Angeles Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley is sentenced to three days in jail and two years of probation in June after pleading guilty to firearms and resisting arrest charges stemming from an incident in April. (NFL) (ABC News)


Friday,  Aug 3, 2018

The Space Needle in Seattle unveils the world’s first revolving glass floor. (CNN)

Chile becomes the first Latin American country to ban the commercial use of single-use plastic bags. (Sky News)

A suicide bomb attack at a Shi’ite mosque in Gardez, Afghanistan, kills at least 29 people and wounds at least 40 others. There is no immediate claim for the attack. (Reuters) (The Express Tribune)

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston report the first successful transplant of a bio-engineered lung. The lung, taken from a donor pig, was reduced to a protein scaffold, and replaced with the subject pig’s own cells over the course of a month. (BBC)

North Korea warns that the heat wave affecting the Korean peninsula could damage important food crops and lead to shortages. (BBC)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo states in an interview that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will ultimately set the timeline for denuclearization. (CBS News)

The United States imposes sanctions on a Russian bank that facilitated a transaction for a North Korean on an American blacklist. (Reuters)

The wife of a former US Marine and Iraq War veteran whose family publicly pleaded for President Donald Trump to intervene is deported to Mexico. (NBC News)

Greek Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas resigns after a wildfire that killed 88 people and led to wide criticism of the government for its handling of the disaster. (Reuters)

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory releases a report officially disclosing a meteor explosion of roughly 2.1 kilotons of force near Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland on July 25. The United States Air Force confirms the explosion, adding that it did not impact operations at Thule Air Base. (The Independent)

The End



pulled this off of Dave Cohen’s site ( http://www.declineoftheempire.com/). Never been much of a Doug Stanhope fan, but I thought it was pretty, kinda funny.

Back in the day, when i used to take tests of various sorts, i used to test out at maybe 140 on a standard IQ test. So that put me in the top 2% of human intelligence on earth, at least by those standards. No genius, but smart enough.

For some while I thought that I was smart, and that because I was smart, people should listen to me. I have never been so wrong about any two things in my entire life. I thought that people should modify their behaviors based on something that I might say. How fucking stupid is that? Right? Delusion in action.

These days, like DS, I have come to look upon myself as being pretty dumb. Even if i could reproduce those test scores of a bygone time, which I can’t, I would still think of myself as being dumb. Maybe I am kinda smart on some human scale, but that just means that I’m dumb, axiomatically. Humans are dumb, and I’m one them. No way out.

Occasionally, believe it or not, I know I can’t, but someone will ask my opinion about something. My standard answers are, something like: “luck”, “We’ll see what happens next.”, “I don’t know.”, or something similar. (“I don’t know.”, is my all time favorite answer to just about everything.)

So where was I going with this? I forget. It’s a little after 9 am here in Southside Virginia. It’s already 90f, with not a single breath of fresh air coming through the torn screen and open window, plenty of fly’s though. Barely bearable.

Now I remember. I don’t care. Like DS, I really don’t much give a single shit about the world. I mean, why in fuck should I care about 7.5 billion dummies (including myself) running around in the world, all giggly-piggily  like? Never mind all the other structures that we refer to as plants and animals and such.They will all flourish and pass in their own time.

In fact, I think that I’ve taken “i don’t care” a step or two farther than DS, in that, if asked, I’d have to say that there is nothing there to care about, there never was. For all we can tell, humans that we are, and I never said that we never got anything right, the Universe, all of “creation”, all of happenstance, is unfolding. It is on its way to equilibrium, as fast as it can, all giggily-piggily. We’re just caught up in the process. (Process, Tao. I like the word Tao.)

Caring about the process and how it might unfold is stupid. There is nothing to be done about it. We’re less than a fly speck within it. This is different that caring about some people and things that matter to you. The ones that effect you. We all need friends, love, companionship, as much as we need food and water. We die with out it. No piece of living matter likes the thought of death. I guess.

So there ya go: “not smart, don’t care, all is process”. kinda like some zen mantra of sorts.


three sages

My three sages are Schopenhauer, Zapffe, and UG Krishnamuti.

From Schopenhauer I learned that it’s ok to be a pessimist. In a world of smiling puppets, it’s Ok to not smile. It’s ok to not make up little stories about how good the world is and how well we’re doing. Like it or not, we are here to suffer. Let’s just acknowledge that fact and get on with it. There are nuggets of pleasure along the way. Snatch them up and treasure them. They are the only true wealth. Something like that…


Zapffe. When I first read Zapffe, the light was too bright, blinding. I had to turn away. It was like looking at the sun. Too Much. I couldn’t believe it at first. I had to go back to rolling around in the leaf litter, communing with the mites, worms and and slime mold. But, after some time, I gathered the courage to look again.

He had laid it out, he had split open the rib cage. The entrails were on display. Ripped the guts out and laid them on the dissecting table. All I had to do was look a them, smell them. The sight, the smell, the feel, it was disgusting, cold hard flesh and guts. The taste was worse. But there it was: Isolation, Anchoring, Distraction, Sublimation.


Holy shit, I said to myself, so that’s what these assholes  are doing, meaning the assholes that I was and remain surrounded by. They’re using psychological defense mechanisms to shield their fragile minds from the rigors of thinking, ie, reality in and of itself. (Kind of like bees use their stingers to protect their hive. If you even vaguely threaten their structure, they are frightened and will attack.) Reason be damned, until it was useful, unavoidable. I can’t blame them. I wish I had that ability. I would have spent my time productively: making $, schmoozing, having sex with high priced prostitutes, etc. Not thinking (trying to think) and reading books and shit. A waste of time (unless you need to rebuild a carburetor, or take apart a pig, or something)…

An aside: Recently, Zapffe has been put into an evolutionary frame work by Varki and Brower with their Mind Over Reality Theory (MORT).  https://www2.palomar.edu/pages/news/files/2015/10/VarkiDenialMORTabstract.pdf

Humans live in a fantasy, as it should be. No choice.

UG. One of my favorite little men. If you think there is GOD, ENLIGHTENMENT, MOKSHA, GRACE, WISDOM, listen to UG. He spent a life time looking. He’ll tell you, there’s nothing there. It’s a fantasy, a lie, a scam (frightened bees). A waste. Want to do something with your life? Go rebuild a carburetor. Go fuck a prostitute. Butcher a pig. Sit and meditate? What a fucking joke that is (frightened assholes). Pray? good luck (luck it is). But if that’s what turns your crank, go for it. It’s not like you have choice in the matter. It’s as good as butchering a pig, but no pork chops or sausage. Also no guts, no smell, no shit, just fantasy. Suite yourself…


Friday,  Aug 3, 2018

Giuliani: Trump will decide within 10 days whether to sit for Mueller interview Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that President Trump and his legal team will decide within a “week to 10 days” if Trump will grant an interview to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Giuliani, Trump’s head lawyer, told Politico that Trump and his attorneys will spend the weekend mulling over Mueller’s latest proposal, which would limit the questions related to obstruction of justice and allow Trump to provide some written answers, and then make a decision. Giuliani said Trump wants to meet with Mueller, but the legal team is contemplating saying no to an interview. If they do agree, Giuliani added, the team will insist Mueller limit questions to alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. “We don’t want questioning on obstruction,” he said. “They would have to concede that. It depends on how much they want his testimony on the other [topic.]” Source: Politico

Top security officials break with Trump on election interference America’s top national security officials came forward Thursday to discuss election interference. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Director John Bolton, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and FBI Director Chris Wray all appeared at Thursday’s press briefing, and all four acknowledged ongoing efforts to interfere in American elections. Coats, Bolton, and Wray all cited Russia specifically as perpetrating such efforts, while Nielsen only said that she “fully [shares] the intelligence community’s assessments.” President Trump, meanwhile, has consistently attempted to muddle the conclusion, backing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials over U.S. intelligence, then stating suddenly last week that he was “very concerned” about Russian interference — because, he claimed without evidence, “they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats.” Source: Talking Points Memo, The Week

Labor Department reports another month of solid job gains U.S. employers added 157,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department announced Friday, fewer than the 194,000 economists polled by MarketWatch expected but enough to nudge the unemployment rate down to 3.9 percent from 4 percent, near an 18-year low. The July figure was considered solid but it was down from 248,000 added jobs in June, a figure adjusted up from an initial report of 213,000. Strong spending by consumers and businesses is boosting growth and increasing demand for workers across the economy, and the tightening job market has been slowly pushing wages higher, too. Average wages rose by 7 cents or 0.3 percent to $27.05 per hour, and yearly pay rate increases remained unchanged at 2.7 percent. U.S. stock futures pared early gains after the report. Source: MarketWatch, The Associated Press

Report: Suspected Russian spy worked at U.S. embassy in Moscow A Russian national suspected of being a spy for the Kremlin worked at the U.S. embassy in Moscow for more than 10 years, The Guardian reports. The woman was hired by the Secret Service, and in 2016, two investigators from the Department of State’s Regional Security Office performed a routine security check and determined she was having regular unauthorized meetings with members of FSB, the Russian security agency. The woman had access to the Secret Service’s intranet and email systems, The Guardian reports, which would have let her see the schedules of current and former presidents, vice presidents, and their spouses, like Hillary Clinton. The Regional Security Office notified the Secret Service about the woman in January 2017, but an inquiry was never launched. She was dismissed last summer, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Guardian, after her security clearance was revoked by the State Department. Source: The Guardian

Osama bin Laden’s mother Hamida al-Attas is interviewed for the first time. (Newser)

Thursday, Aug 2,  2018

Tests on the 5,000-year-old burned human bones of 25 people found at Stonehenge suggest 10 came from more than 100 miles (160 km) away in West Wales. (The Guardian)

Archeologists report the discovery of the foundations of a Roman library building in Cologne, Germany. Dating from the 2nd century CE, it is the oldest library yet discovered in Germany. (BBC)

Apple Inc. becomes the first public company to be worth US$1 trillion. (BBC)

Tokyo Medical University is reported to have altered entrance examination scores in order to decrease the number of women attending the college. (BBC)

A study is published suggesting that loose plastic objects in the ocean release more methane than previously thought. (BBC)

Kepler-452b emerges as an exoplanet that might support alien life. (Sky News)

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes kill at least 20 in Al Hudaydah, Yemen. (BBC)


Wednesday,  Aug 1,  2018

Researchers from Australia report the success of a plan to use mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria to prevent the spread of dengue fever in an Australian town, stating that they intend to bring the program to other locales. (BBC)

An intense heat wave hits South Korea started at the end of July is forecast to reach its highest temperature in the coming days. The heat wave killed 27 people, while more than 2,200 were taken to the hospital. (The Straits Time)

The White House imposes sanctions on two Turkish officials over the detention of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges. (Al Jazeera)

The Eiffel Tower in Paris shuts down after workers go on a strike over ticketing changes. (Upi)

Trump calls on Jeff Sessions to end the Mueller investigation President Trump on Wednesday tweeted that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should step in and end Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign was involved with Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Sessions “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now,” Trump wrote, “before it continues to stain our country any further.” Trump has previously expressed frustration that Sessions recused himself from overseeing the investigation, but he has never before directly and publicly asked that Sessions shut down the probe or fire Mueller. In a statement, Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, said: “We have been saying for months that it is time to bring this inquiry to an end. The president has expressed the same opinion.”  CNN, Fox News

Mueller reportedly hands off cases involving 3 powerful D.C. lobbyists Special Counsel Robert Mueller has referred three investigations involving Washington insiders to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, apparently after determining the foreign lobbying cases fell outside of his mandate, CNN and The New York Times report. The three powerful lobbyists now being scrutinized by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York — Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group, former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.) at Mercury Public Affairs, and former Obama White House Counsel Gregory Craig at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — allegedly failed to register as foreign agents of Ukraine for work contracted through Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman. None of the three have been charged with any crimes, and its not clear the investigations will lead anywhere.  (CNN) (The New York Times)

Judge stops release of blueprints for 3D-printed guns U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday afternoon to block the release of blueprints to make 3D-printed plastic guns. In June, the government reached a settlement with Texas-based Defense Distributed, allowing the company to start posting blueprints for the guns online Wednesday. On Monday, eight Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit to halt the settlement, saying that being able to print guns is a public safety risk. (The Associated Press)

The Afghan government says it will hold presidential elections on April 20, 2019, for the fourth time since the Taliban were toppled from power in 2001. (AL Jazeera)


Tuesday,  Jul 31, 2018

Worker pay rate in the US hits its highest level since 2008 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Employment Cost Index, which tracks worker compensation, has seen a steady increase over the past year and a half since the election of Donald Trump. (CNBC) (Bloomberg) (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Three russian journalists are killed in Central African Respublic during investigation of “Wagner” private military company’s activity in this country.

Three Russian journalists are killed in an ambush near Sibut, Central African Republic, while filming a documentary about alleged mercenaries in the Wagner Group. (TASS) (Reuters) (CBS News)

The European Union imposes sanctions on six Russian companies involved in the construction of the bridge connecting mainland Russia to the annexedCrimea peninsula. (The Moscow Times)

The former campaign chairman of U.S. President Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, appears in court for the opening day of his criminal trial on 18 bank and fraud charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. (The Hill)

ISIL claims responsibility for an attack in Tajikistan that leaves four cycle tourists dead over the weekend. (CBS News)

Facebook announces that it has suspended 32 accounts it believes intended to influence the 2018 mid-term elections in the United States. The company says while it is uncertain who operated these accounts, at least one is linked to the Russian-based Internet Research Agency. (BBC)

An Aeroméxico Embraer 190 crashes shortly after taking off from Durango International Airport in Durango, Mexico, injuring around 85 people, two critically. (BBC)


Monday,  Jul 30, 2018

Intelligence officials in the United States share evidence that North Korea has continued to develop nuclear weapons, despite promises made at the 2018 North Korea–United States summit. (Washington Post)

The Syrian Army seizes control of Al-Shajara, described as ISIL’s “main bastion” in the Daraa Governorate. (The New Arab)

A man died and 12 others were hospitalized when the West Nile virus spread across Italy. (Fidelity News)

U.S. President Donald Trump hosts Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the White House. (USA Today)

The End



Impassive? Is that the word I’m looking for? not sure. More like becalmed, while the world rages around me. I’ve been here before, becalmed, many times. But I’m still at a loss for words. Immobile maybe? not sure.

I sit here in the kitchen watching the cats jump in and out of a window with a broken screen. The broken screen allows in fly’s. Their bodies soon clog the extended spirals of flypaper that hang from the ceiling. That stuff is crayzee sticky. Sometimes, it sticks to my fingers. I can’t shake it off as I try get it into the garbage can. Occasionally, a stray chicken jumps into the house, through the torn screen.

Chickens, like humans, are constantly scanning their environment for food, bits of pleasure, something, anything, to keep themselves alive. Any advantage will do. As often as not, this leads them into unexpected situations, like a disoriented wander around my house. Very very human like. I do pick up lost chickens and place them back outside. They become incensed, complaining, squawking, flapping their wings, if I let them, the whole way. But out you must go. No need for chicken shit on the kitchen floor. I guess.

I do get, have been, berated about the screen. Fix the screen they say. But I don’t. Or maybe someday i will. It gives my bemused and sluggish mind something to do. The frayed material blows in the wind. I’m entranced, both amused and bemused by the drama of the torn screen. One cat jumps in, tears at the screen a little more, finds its food, eats. It bumps into another cat on its way back out. They quarrel briefly and then go back about their cat business. Each on a separate mission. I’m sure it’s important. Who am i to interfere?

As I have alluded, I have been becalmed in the past. When I was in the company of men, humans, trying to play the whole human game of mindless activity, milling about for the sake of “doing” something, this tendency, being impassive, would get me into a lot a trouble. Why aren’t you milling about like the rest of us? Can’t you see all that needs to be done? The women in my life seemed particularly upset at the thought of my inactivity (an unimportant aside). “Get up. Move. Do something.” The battle cry of the neurotic. Dogs and humans, all dogs, all humans (except me?), seem prone.

Disinterested, unmotivated, uncaring, sometimes befuddled, angry and fearful, all in response to the activity around me. At one point I enlisted the aid of professionals, psychologists and psychiatrists. Maybe they can help. There’s obviously something wrong with me. (I won’t talk about the Christians, Buddhists and Scientologists, who all claim their own forms of expertise.)

The psychologists seem to be experts in platitude. They talked about family, duty, motivation, etc. Get a new job, a different job, a new relationship, your children still need you, blahblah. It all seemed silly to me, “milling about is still just milling about”, I said, or something like that. I’m truncating and simplifying this story. The psychologists had more things to say, but none of it was very useful.

Psychiatry.  Some good drugs and some really shitty drugs, at least they’re not big on platitudes. The psychiatrists talked to me about depression, depressive realism, ADD, and maybe some other stuff. Like I said, heavy on the drugs, lite on the bromide, which I can appreciate.

The various amphetamines they gave me (for ADD) were both interesting and fun.  I had plenty energy, but no focus. I could “mill about” with the best. I just never got the hang of “milling about”, being neurotically active, in the prescribed manner. “You have a task.” “well, yes, but I’m busy. Can’t you see? Go away.”

Anti-depressants. Well, I can honestly say that they did everything but what their name might imply. I was variously angry, depressed, suicidal, especially angry, fuzzy headed (more than usual) and at times unable to ejaculate. This went on for about two years.  While this experience left me as not much a fan of psychiatry, I remain a believer in pharmacology in general. Drugs are an answer, or at least the closest thing there is to an answer.

Anyway, some cats are fighting, and the screen is flopping and flapping in breeze. As good as it gets. I guess.


a little tolstoy

“For man to be able to live he must either not see the infinite, or have such an explanation of the meaning of life as will connect the finite with the infinite. Today or tomorrow sickness and death will come (they had come already) to those I love or to me; nothing will remain but stench and worms. Sooner or later my affairs, whatever they may be, will be forgotten, and I shall not exist. Then why go on making any effort? . . . How can man fail to see this? And how go on living? That is what is surprising! One can only live while one is intoxicated with life; as soon as one is sober it is impossible not to see that it is all a mere fraud and a stupid fraud! That is precisely what it is: there is nothing either amusing or witty about it, it is simply cruel and stupid.” – Leo Tolstoy

“…it is simply cruel and stupid.” This what I think whenever I look at the sun, or feel it burning into the top of my head. When I look at the plants growing in my back yard, I think of them as stupid, but not cruel (they are cruel to each other, the other plants. the poison ivy waits for its chance to be cruel to me.). They are driven by the sun. Pretty much everything on earth is driven by the sun, stupid and cruel.


Monday,  Jul 30, 2018

With Manafort trial starting, Trump calls Mueller probe an ‘illegal scam’ The trial of President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort starts Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, with jury selection. The jurors will hear a lot about the $30 million from Ukrainian political consulting that prosecutors say Manafort laundered illegally to avoid paying U.S. taxes. They won’t hear anything about Russia or collusion with Moscow, even though the case is being prosecuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. On Sunday, Trump attacked Mueller’s investigation on Twitter, insisting there was “No Collusion!” and calling Mueller’s investigation a “Rigged Witch Hunt” and “an illegal Scam!” led by alleged “Angry Dems.” Trump also alleged that Mueller has “conflicts of interest” because he quit Trump’s golf club once and was a candidate Trump considered for FBI director. Source: The Associated Press

The Syrian Army seizes control of Al-Shajara, described as ISIL’s “main bastion” in the Daraa Governorate. (The New Arab)

The Iranian rial hits another record low against the US dollar ahead of August 7, when the first round of fresh United States sanctions against Iran begin. (Al Jazeera)

Following a campaign led-by Georgian politician Zurab Japaridze, the Constitutional Court of Georgia legalizes cannabis for recreational use. Georgia is the first former Soviet Republic to decriminalize the drug. (Georgia Today) (RFE/RL)


Sunday, Jul 29, 2018

The death toll from the fires in Greece rises to 91 while 25 other people are still missing. (AP)

Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi is released from an Israeli prison. (NBC News)

Four cyclists, two Americans, one Dutch national and one Swiss national, are killed in the Khatlon Region, Tajikistan by a hit and run driver while three others were injured. 21 year old male suspect was arrested. (RFE/RL)(NU.nl)

Geraint Thomas of the United Kingdom wins the Tour de France. (BBC)


Saturday,  Jul 28, 2018

Groundbreaking on the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, Illinois, is pushed back again until all federal approvals are completed, which will not be until 2019. (Chicago Sun Times)

Former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan is arrested and taken into police custody on charges of being involved in the crackdown on protests in 2008 that resulted in ten deaths following a disputed presidential election. (RFE/RL)

A court in Egypt sentences 75 supporters of former president Mohammed Morsi to death, as part of a trial of more than 700. (BBC)


Friday,  Jul 27, 2018

21st Century Fox share holders approve a $71.3 billion merger with The Walt Disney Company. (Variety)

The Carr wildfire threatening Redding, California, U.S., kills two firefighters, as many residents flee their homes. (New York Times)

North Korea returns what it says are the remains of 55 U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War on the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement. The repatriation was agreed at the June summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a bid to improve relations. (Sky News) (Vox)

The longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century colours the moon reddish orange in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe for about one hour and 42 minutes. (ABC News)


Thursday, Jul 26,  2018

Facebook stocks drop 20% (US$118 billion), setting a record as the biggest single stock market loss in one day, and marking the first time that a stock lost over $100 billion in one day. (CNBC)

Disney announces plans to eliminate all plastic straws and plastic stirrers from their parks by mid-2019. (NOLA)

Hundreds of Sub-Saharan African migrants storm a border fence in Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta, using home-made flamethrowers and other improvised weapons. The Spanish Civil Guard reports that 602 people succeeded in reaching Ceuta, of whom 586 were taken to a temporary reception centre, while 16 others are being treated in a hospital. Fifteen border guards were also hurt. (The Guardian)

The six remaining cult members of Aum Shinrikyo who perpetrated the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack and were on death row are executed by hanging. (Japan Today)

A bomb explodes outside the U.S. Embassy in China, wounding the lone assailant. (Reuters)

A team of Russian scientists in collaboration with Princeton University announce in a new report that they have brought two female nematodes frozen in permafrost from around 42,000 years ago back to life. The two nematodes are now the oldest confirmed living animals on the planet. (The Siberian Times)

Astronomers say they have observed Albert Einstein’s theory of gravitational redshift for the first time while observing a star known as S2 interact with a supermassive black hole using the Very Large Telescope (VLT). (BBC)

The End


Fear. I’d have to say that most of my efforts in life, particularly over the last ten or so years, have revolved around fear, fear and its derivatives. I’m not exactly sure, but I’ve come to think of fear as the master emotion, the one that rules them all. This is my own experience, so it’s all I can really talk about.

Fear seems to underlay everything. Everything we do is prompted by fear. We love because we’re afraid of being alone. We work for fear of financial ruin, and loss of social status. We care for ourselves so we don’t get sick and die. I’m sitting here trying to think of a single thing we do, or refuse to do, that doesn’t harbor some component of fear. I can’t.

Becker (Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death) blamed it all on death. He seemed to think that all fear stems from an inherent dread of death. I have no real argument with this. All live matter fears death, fights with death. So, while it may be an easy target, point at death, blame death for your fears, it’s not the real culprit. The real culprit is life, of course. If you are alive, you will be fearful, and, more importantly, as a human, you will employ various strategies to suppress your fears. (See: The Last Messiah, by Zapffe.)

Suppressing fear, denying fear, is human. Facing fear, experiencing fear, understanding fear, is not. It’s not the human thing to do.

Anxiety was (is?) my personal bugaboo. That unnamed fear. Some sort of low level fear, of everything, everybody and nothing. It manifested itself as the need to get away, to get out, to be anywhere but here and now. But to where? to hide in a hole? Some do just that, and in many ways I don’t blame them.

Not that I wasn’t, or that I’m not fearful, still, on a physical level. I tend to stay away from known sources of pain and discomfort. This seems to be legitimate fear. Being afraid of something fearful, something that you can point at, is not the problem. If you see a snake, move away. Or be cautious. Carry a stick and move on. Not hard. I think we all need to be comfortable with such fear. Accept it and move on.

It’s the fear of the unknown and unknowable that must be faced, experienced and hopefully understood. Paradoxically, fear of the certainties in life must also be faced. You will suffer and die. No way out. Fear qua fear must be faced.

As Martin talks about in the below podcast, the only way to come to grips with an emotion is to understand it. The only way to understand anything, is to experience it. Anything else is denial, suppression, an attempt to turn fear and pain into something else. Which, of course is human, the default strategy.

So, how might one go might one go about experiencing and understanding fear? The only way I’ve ever come up with is by putting myself into fearful situations. At first I did this unknowingly, reactively, largely out of desperation. I had no one to guide me or help me in these efforts.

I quit jobs. Told various peoples to go fuck themselves, was fired. I faced the fears of loss of income and social status. Burnt those bridges real good. Not even the pylons are left standing. Nothing really awful happened. I still have everything I need. Plus, I have the added benefit of not having to put up with all the silly monkey games.

I broke off long standing and comfortable relationships.  Clinging to another for safety, security and succor, fear in the flesh, fear made real. But a real human fear nonetheless, the fear of being alone. I won’t deny or disparage these needs for companionship.

I moved away from my lifelong home.

I forced myself into social situations. Albeit, situations in which I have much of the control. Places where I can come or go as I please, talk or not, etc.

My next experiment in fear, my next confrontation with fear, will consist of putting myself into situations where I can’t leave, where I have no control.The goal will be to face this fear and be fearful, but to try to understand the fear as it washes over me.

I think I’m beginning to understand fear, at least in some small way.