The Unsustainable U.S. Economy

Unsustainable EconomyThe U.S. National Debt often touted at an enormous $18 trillion is really more than 3 times that amount and closer to a whopping $65 trillion!

That’s when you actually count all the unfunded liabilities for civilian and military pensions, retiree healthcare, social security, and medicare.

For each of the 318.9 million people of that United States, it mean $203,826 of debt or for a family of four that’s a debt of $815,303.

Put another way, the entire net worth of Americans is $84.9 trillion, but after subtracting the debt of $65 trillion, it drops to just about $20 trillion–coincidentally around the amount of our new debt ceiling.

Moreover, with the richest 1% owning more than 50% of the wealth by 2016 that leave only $10 trillion or $31,675 for each of us–not so hoity toity for 239 years of independence and founding as a nation or all the blood, sweat, and tears we put in every day of our lives.

In terms of our escalating debt, just this last year alone, social security spending went up to $944,143,000,000 or the equivalent of $6,345 for every American with a job. and this is projected to dramatically rise with the retirements of the baby boomers.

Projections are for social security to exhaust its funds by 2035, which could result in across the board 20% or more cuts in benefits of the already meager program where many seniors end up eating cat food.

Additionally, the retirement age already set to go to 67 by 2027 could be forced to go even higher, and social security would likely be curtailed or eliminated entirely above certain income levels.

Is this the financial security and brighter future we are leaving our children and grandchildren?

We can kick the can down the road, but the unsustainability of it all will eventually come back to haunt us. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Pictures of Money)

The Times and Events Of Gog And Magog

Danger Hot

So I have never ever heard so much talk about doomsday as I am these days. 

Earlier in the year (January 2015) the Doomsday Clock moved up to 3 minutes to midnight–that was a full 2 minute move or 40% advance to the end of times. 

The cited reasons by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:

– “Unchecked climate change”

– “Nuclear arms race”

Essentially, these “pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity.”

But on a daily level now–

Islamic extremism showing through post 9/11 mounting turmoil and unbelievable terror in the Middle East, including seeming non-ending ISIS brutality, Iran’s march towards nuclear weapons and advanced ballistic missiles, the Sunni vs. Shiite war for dominion centering (lately) in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen but with much larger geopolitcal overtones towards a return of a powerful caliphate to challenge the West, fighting between Muslims and Christians in countries like Nigeria, ongoing terror threats to the democratic State of Israel, and a rising tide death, casualties, and refugees.

Russian aggression in multiple countries and regions including Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria, air and naval military incursions and encroachment towards Turkey, the countries in the Baltic Sea region, the Arctic, and even a Russian military satellite parking itself between 2 U.S. satellites yesterday. 

China’s militarization including greater military spending on advanced weapons, Island/posts building in the South China Sea, and ongoing threatening overtures toward Taiwan and other neighbors, and cyber warfare conducted against the U.S.government and the private sector. 

Frightening new military capabilities are coming online with advances in weapons of mass destruction–nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological–colonization and militarization of space, laser weapons, satellite killers, swarms of drones, armies of robots, and cyberwar.

The drumbeat of climate change and environmental deterioration (unsustainable practices of deforestation, overfishing, pollution, and the extinction of countless species) is being felt in changing weather patterns, global warming, glacier meltdown, alternating threats of flooding and drought in various part of the world, major storms and lightening patterns, and an uptick in natural disasters (tsunamis, hurricanes, and tornadoes), and an overall trend towards shortage and conflict. 

An ailing global economy after 2 major recessions in the 21st century so far, booming national debts, stalling economies, slowing innovation, and scarcity of stable, good paying, full time jobs in an outsourcing, short-term, freelance, contractor culture, and automaton and robotization advances. 

Dysfunctional political systems that are bogged down with endless indecision, infighting, bickering, finger-pointing, stalemates, shutdowns, pork barrel spending, catering to special interest groups, short-term wins at the expense of long-term goals, corruption, and a lack of strong capable leadership at the helm. 

An article I read recently from Russian Times, I believe, said how the U.S. teeters just steps from potential collapse by just relatively easy societal interruptions (presumably that they could facilitate) and that with farms/food production far from major metropolitan areas, people hooked on drugs that they could not get supplies for, and other severe disruptions in our critical care needs, we would be in big trouble–the message was clearly watch out, you are extremely vulnerable. 

That these tactic threats and overtures are already being made explicit is not a good sign. Just politicians and countries throwing around their weight or jockeying for position on the world stage–who knows?

But people are frail, countries are vulnerable, budgets are limited, and bad things can and do happen if we are not careful in a world ticking closer to very dangerous times and events.

The coming realization of the prophecy of a devastating world war–of Gog and Magog–is what people are saying to me.  

In conversation about deteriorating world events, my wife innocently asked someone this week–“Can we avoid a major world war?” Their unequivocal response, “No, it’s inevitable!” ;-) 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Ricksha With A Worthwhile Message


This guy is pedaling this ricksha around town in Maryland, USA. 

And it carries messages of hope and peace. 

Some examples (visible in the photo):

– “Promote the Olympic spirit.”

– “Hope for world peace.”

– “Protecting mother earth.”

It looks like he could be right off the streets of China or something and transported here to deliver and remind us of these important ideas. 

What is interesting to me is that in this day and age of social media and online advertising where messages are often drowned out amidst the daily deluge we get, that here a simple ricksha can grab people’s attention and perhaps have a positive influence on them.

With just some subtle messaging along the vehicle’s canopy and with pictures and flags around the back.

Perhaps it’s not only how much one advertises and promotes, but how thought-provoking and novel it’s done. 

I don’t know how many miles this guy can pedal a day, but I bet he gets more likes than much of the garbage just being throw up online because it’s so easy and available for everyone to do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

No More Flooding With Permeable Pavement

Very cool solution to flash flooding called Topmix Permeable by Tarmac (a U.K. sustainable building materials company). 

The concrete literally drinks up hundreds of gallons of water. 

Where the heck does all the water go? 

If you’re walking, no more soggy shoes and pant’s bottoms. 

If your driving, even more important is the potential life-saving element for about 75 people that die in vehicles every year when they try get caught in the vehicles in flash flood conditions. 

Also, many potential accidents, injuries, and deaths could be averted by people whose car’s go hydroplaning on wet road surfaces.

Finally, think how transportation would be faster and more efficient (with less traffic) from better road conditions with innovations like this.

With this new material on our roads and some added heat elements to prevent snow and ice, we got some darn good road-safety going on. ;-)

Beautiful Brookside Gardens

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Today, we visited Brookside Gardens in Maryland.

My daughter needed to do some drawing for her art class.

We took the opportunity to enjoy the unbelievable beautiful nature there. 

If only the whole Earth was allowed to exist in such pristine form. 

No overcrowding, overdevelopment, and polluting of the planet. 

Just respect for Mother Earth and the bounty and miracles we are allowed to enjoy. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Lights, Camera, Inaction

Inaction 2

So the lights dim, the camera starts to roll, and what happens…


The show starts…actors spring into action, and the plot takes shape–we have a positive influence and impact on our fellow man and the world we live in. 

But there is a sorry alternative storyline.

Where after the lights and camera…nothing happens.

There is a eery silence and a weird INACTION!

Like the actors are asleep at the wheel, went off to play golf or to comedy night, or perhaps went home to momma, and are cowering, and hiding under their beds.

Is this the unfortunate state of our country today?

The world is our stage. 

As the sole superpower, the United States is the prime actor today.

We have our calling to go do good–to help, to save, and to bring peace and freedom. 

But lo and behold, what happens when we have a policy of inaction?

Where we want peace, but are not willing to do to much of anything for it or perhaps in spite of it. 

So how is our world faring today:

– In Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, and more, millions are dying and injured, while tens of millions are fleeing, displaced, or are in refugee camps, and chemical WMD are in use by Syria and ISIS, while our red lines were drawn and then withdrawn, and we don’t know if we are training the opposition or throwing in the towel on the ground.

ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, etc. are rampant and overrunning the Middle East and North Africa, killing, torturing, raping, destroying, and plummeting, as well as recruiting back in Europe and here in the States, amidst calls for attacks against us and our allies. 

Russia takes Crimea and is resurgent in Eastern Ukraine and the Arctic, and antagonizing all around Europe with ever encroaching warplanes and warships, and militarizing and modernizing their formidable nuclear arsenal, and we stand up a new NATO rapid reaction force, while we are again surprised by Russia, now in Syria.

China is expanding into the South China Sea, flexing it’s economic and military muscle, and cyber attacking and stealing our vital government and economic information assets with relative impunity, while we trade with our partner and pivot this way and that. 

North Korea restarts it’s nuclear plant, readies for another banned missile launch, sinks South Korean ships, plants deadly landmines on the South’s side of the demilitarized zone, and provokes toward a military confrontation, while we lick our wounds from the last broken agreements with them. 

Iran has stymied the people’s freedom movement, executed the opposition and homosexuals, builds toward a deadly nuclear and ballistic missile future, seeks the destruction of America (“The Great Satan”) and Israel, is massively funding and arming their terrorist proxies to the tune of billions of dollars, and has gotten a get out of jail free card and sanctions lifting.

So what can we do?

Well in the past, we were a meaningful deterrent to countries and people doing bad things. 

We stood proudly and tall for human rights, freedom, equality, democracy, anti-proliferation, and sustainability.

We didn’t have to fight everywhere to make our point–but just knowing that we were willing to stand for righteousness and justice often meant those with evil intentions stepping back and rethinking it.

Occasionally, we did have to put our blood and treasure where our mouths were, and perhaps we often did this too rashly and imprudently (when diplomacy or some saber rattling might have done the trick). 

However, the world cannot afford for us to be war weary or chase empty legacies of peace built on blind hope or a running away from our responsibilities. 

While the world burns, we can’t be looking for Nobel Prizes instead of seeking out the fire extinguishers and medical kits to save and to heal. 

As it is so wisely stated: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Peace is not born of inaction, but of brave actors willing to do what is necessary to achieve all that is good and all that can be done. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Keys To The Kingdom

Keys To Kingdom

Ah, so good to be given the keys to the kingdom. 

Even if only for a day. 

What to do:

– 1st key – Heal the sick, feed the hungry, raise the downtrodden.

– 2nd key – World peace, for sure. 

– 3rd key – Revitalize our ailing planet and make it sustainable.

– 4th key – Unleash innovation and give everyone a decent living wage to care for themselves and their families. 

– 5th key (the Capstone) – Bring the Messiah and everyone behaves righteously and worships the one true G-d of all.

Uh, and I need one more key to balance the budget and pay off the National Debt. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)