Psilocybin and Magic Mushrooms: Next Health & Legalization Trend After Cannabis?

Psilocybin, the substance found in 200+ species of magic mushrooms, may be the next health and legalization trend after cannabis. Magic mushrooms have been used in many cultures all over the world for therapeutic and spiritual purposes. Many scientific studies and clinical trials have found positive evidence of their benefits to the human body, especially in the area of mental health. With the state of Oregon and the city of Denver (Colorado) about to vote on legalizing magic mushrooms later this year, will psilocybin become the next trend after cannabis?

Current Legal Status of Psilocybin in the USA

Like cannabis (marijuana), MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly), peyote and heroin, psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I drug. The definition of this category is substances with no medical use and the high potential for abuse. Possession of psilocybin mushrooms is a felony. Given the incredible benefits which magic mushrooms containing psilocybin offer mankind, this kind of classification is clearly ignorant, heavy-handed and contradictory. How can such benign substances as magic mushrooms be on the same level as the highly addictive, artificially manufactured and deadly heroin?

What the Science Says About Psilocybin

It turns out magic mushrooms are already being closely studied all over the world by many different scientists. So far, the science shows psilocybin bestows many health benefits. In a nutshell, scientific studies including pre-clinical and clinical trials show that psilocybin helps beat depression, anxiety, addiction and even cancer. On a higher level, it helps increase joy, peace and altruism. However, looking closely at the results provides even more insight.

Psilocybin for Autism, Asperger’s, ASD, Depression, Anxiety and PTSD

Autism rates are skyrocketing across the US, with many suspecting vaccines (thimerosal/mercury) and GMOs (glyphosate) as possible causes. Whatever the cause, it’s a serious neurological disorder. Asperger’s used to be considered its own disorder but was recently reorganized to come under the ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and is now considered a mild form of autism. Asperger’s is characterized by a rigidity of thought and routine, and by a lack of empathy and social/emotional awareness. Interestingly enough, this is exactly what psilocybin can heal according to a recent January 2019 study, which found that psilocybin increased flexibility, creativity and empathy. Here’s what the author of the study Natasha Mason said:

“Examples of processes that have been found to be decreased in these pathologies include creative, flexible thinking and empathy. Specifically, individuals are characterized by repetitive and rigid patterns of negative and compulsive thoughts, as well as reduced empathic abilities. Thus we wanted to assess whether psilocybin enhanced these processes, and if so, how long effects lasted …We found that psilocybin, when taken in a naturalistic setting, increased aspects of creativity and empathy the morning after, and 7 days after use. Furthermore, psilocybin also enhanced subjective well-being. Interestingly, changes in well-being correlated with changes in empathy after psilocybin use.”

This also has implications for other mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD, as the study notes in its Introduction:

“Both creative, flexible thinking and empathy deficits have been found in stress-related psychopathologies like depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Breaking Down the Ego and “Default Mode Network”

If you want to learn more about psilocybin and what science is beginning to show about its benefits and effects, check out the work of Michael Pollan, author of How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence. He discusses how psychedelics, contrary to a common misconception, actually make you more sane than crazy. This is because substances like psilocybin decrease the activity of a brain network called the default mode network, which is in charge of perception of self. Psilocybin halts the functioning of this network, thus allowing a space for new neural connections – a re-wiring of the brain.

Psilocybin: Naturally in Sync with Our Biology

Another person to check out is Dr. Roland Griffiths, Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at Johns Hopkins University. He has some online videos such as this one where he shows that psilocybin helps people release fear, old patterns and negative beliefs. On a higher level, it helps increase joy, peace and altruism. Studies have also found that it can engender mystical-type experiences in people which are identical to those that occur naturally, suggesting psilocybin is naturally in sync with our biology.

Further Evidence of Psilocybin’s Potential as a Healing Agent

Lastly, take a look at the studies reported here and here on Waking Times. The latter showed that psilocybin strongly helped patients with depression:

“Amazingly, after the participants were given two doses of psilocybin (10 mg and 25 mg), with the second dose a week after the first – their brains showed pronounced, decreased blood flow to the areas of the brain implicated in depression. Researchers also found increased stability on parts of the brain related to depression – and these effects lasted up to five weeks.

The team described the immediate results of patients’ symptoms disappearing after the initial trip as an “afterglow” and a “disintegration” – with the compound also reintegrating brain networks afterward. The afterglow included marked improvements in mood and stress relief. Patients used a lot of computer metaphors to describe how their brains felt afterward – defragged, rebooted, and reset.”

Final Thoughts: Psilocybin is a Gift of Nature which will Hopefully Soon be Widely Legalized

Psilocybin has a long history of use across the world, especially among South American tribes (like the Aztecs, whose word for it was teonanacatl, which translates to “divine mushroom”). There are several prehistoric rock art drawings depicting psilocybin mushrooms, such as the one in Spain, near Villar del Humo, approximately 6,000 years old, another in Tassili n’Ajjer (a national park in the Sahara Desert, Algeria) which is around 7,000-9,000 years old, and the one pictured above from Guatemala. My prediction and hope is that it will become the next health and legalization trend after cannabis, which, for the USA, also started in Denver, Colorado. We shall see.

*****

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Makia Freeman is the editor of alternative media / independent news site The Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com, writing on many aspects of truth and freedom, from exposing aspects of the worldwide conspiracy to suggesting solutions for how humanity can create a new system of peace and abundance. Makia is on Steemit and FB.  (Click to Source)

Sources:

*https://psi-2020.org/

*https://ballotpedia.org/Denver,Colorado,_Psilocybin_Mushroom_Initiative(May_2019)

*https://www.psypost.org/2019/03/a-single-dose-of-psilocybin-enhances-creative-thinking-and-empathy-up-to-seven-days-after-use-study-finds-53283

*https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02791072.2019.1580804

*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bu3q3GMHfE

*https://www.wakingtimes.com/2012/11/01/psilocybin-and-the-ego-centric-brain/

*https://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/10/16/psilocybin-appears-reset-brain-activity-depressed-patients-stunning-results/

 

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End Times Signs: Drug Use

Posted by Amos 3:7 | End Time Signs

Prescription Medicine In America

End Time Signs “When You See All These Things”

Today we will look at The End Time Sign of Drug Use.  For those of us who study Bible Prophecy, because Jesus told us to.  (Matthew 24:33)  It isn’t so much anyone sign that has many of us looking, but it’s that so many signs are all happening with greater intensity than ever before.  A Convergence of Society, World Politics, Nature, Technology, Spiritual Deception and Israel!  We will show the history and plan of the evil one to steal the last generation.  The Bible is amazing as it accurately portrays the world we live in today and more importantly where we are heading.  Everyone or nearly everyone realizes that something is desperately wrong.  Chaos I tell you and it is being organized for a purpose.  Let me state my case and the solution.

Keith McKenzie

Prophecy Teacher, Amos37 Ministries

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

You see this list, today we will just focus on  aspect of the word “Witchcraft” highlighted in bold here, but in the Greek, it is pharmakeia (Drugs)

  1. the use or the administering of drugs

  2. poisoning

  3. sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it

  4. metaph. the deceptions and seductions of idolatry

Strong’s Definitions (Strong’s Definitions Legend)
φαρμακεία pharmakeía, far-mak-i’-ah; from G5332; medication (“pharmacy”), i.e. (by extension) magic (literally or figuratively):—sorcery, witchcraft.

Scorcery Witchcraft & The Occult Use in The Bible

“for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived”
Sorcery is φαρμακείᾳ [pharmakeia] . This term describes “sorcery, magic, . . . magic arts”1 and includes “the use of drugs of any kind for magical effect.”2 Isaiah lists her sorceries: enchantmentsastrologystar-gazing, and monthly prognostication .Isa. 47:12-13).3 It is because of the multitude of her sorceries that her destruction has come ( Isa. 47:9 cf. Nineveh, Nah. 3:3).4 Her magical arts were employed in the deception of the nations at the direction of the master deceiver, Satan (Rev. 12:9+). He empowered the beast upon which she rode (Rev. 13:2Rev. 17:3). The city is like Jezebel: having known “the depths of Satan” (Rev. 2:24 cf. 2K.ings 9:22).5 Those who practice sorcery “have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 21:8) and never enter the New Jerusalem (Rev. Rev. 22:15).6 See commentary on Revelation 9:21. –Commentary on Revelation 18:23

I was home sick, really sick 5 days and I could not do anything but lay there and I watched TV, like a lot of TV (Which I almost never do). I binged on Netflix & Hulu and with the recent school shootings in Florida what jumped out at me was drug use and rapid decay of our culture. I just was blown away by media networks that paint drug abuse so casually.  Below we will look at forces that seek to destroy (have destroyed) Americas once moral culture.

Making Fun of Drug Addiction

Drugs & The Occult Law of Reversal

We spend a lot of time here talking about The Occult Law of Reversal and how it is being used in every corner of society globally to bring about “CHANGE”.  It is to turn evil into good and good into evil.  To cut to the skinny drugs are for many a fast way to get someone into an “ALTERED STATE” of consciousness.  The Beatles used drugs as many of the followers of Aleister Crowley to enter into an altered state of consciousness which makes one susceptible like hypnosis to open oneself up to suggestion.

Occult Means Hidden

Our site has many articles related to The Occult and the modern revival of numerous forms of occultic esoteric knowledge.  So I ask you if there is a dark force out there, let’s call it Satanic, then that’s is true.  Conversely, if these forces are trying to reverse culture, then God, Jesus & The Bible have got to be the object of this attack.  So, Crowley, we note here from our article on the self-proclaimed wickedest man in history.  In Isaiah, we see this at work in ancient Israel and it continues today.  “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”  Isaiah 5:20

How is Satans Plan Working Out in the World Today?

Much has been said already about Secret Societies (Masons & Illuminati) and Globalists (Leftists) Which The UN & The Marxist/Muslim Red-Green Axis.  Today if we were to examine the infamous yet stated goals of The Communist Manifesto to destroy the moral fabric of American Culture.  Let’s just look at 3 of these goals of the Manifesto.

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.  (See Our Exposes on Hollywood)

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”

If you are even somewhat aware of the recent history of and we recommend The FUEL Project we have posted.  Barack Obama, the perfect Marxist/Muslim to bring down America by promoting STRONGLY the Change he promised with the green light to the Communist Agenda in America and ISIS in The Middle East.  No one was more a friend to the Homosexual Agenda that Obama.  Recall the White House lit up with the Rainbow in raw celebration of degeneracy that Marxists look to dismantle the American Dream and set instead of a nightmare by our own hands.

To set in motion the “occult forces which would result in the illumination of all by 2000 A.D.,” Crowley became convinced that his mission was to “cure the world from sexual repression”. To achieve his goal, he determined to study every detail of sexual behavior and bring every sexual impulse up to the region of rational consciousness. To this end he experimented with altered states of consciousness, including hashish, cocaine and opium. Crowley would eventually introduce (not without protest) the practice of homosexual sex magick into the O.T.O. as one of the highest degrees of the Order for he believed it to be the most powerful formula.

Crowley Biography

Hollywoods Glorification of Drug Use

An estimated 18.9 million Americans abuse drugs and alcohol every year, which is why it’s not surprising that dozens of movies have plots surrounding substance abuse and addiction. Some movies paint drug use in a fun, positive light, while others deliver a more accurate, disturbing view of addiction. Though Hollywood films do tend to glorify drug use for the sake of entertainment, many believe that these films are one of the many driving factors behind the nation’s high addiction rates. –Addiction.com

Drugs the Gateway to Enslave The Masses

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”
Aldous Huxley, Tavistock Group, California Medical School, 1961

The Use of Drugs in A Brave New World

Aldous Huxley’s insidious Brave New World is what the global elite are striving to push humanity into with plans of massive depopulation, forced drugging and complete slavery. The future society being planned out for us by the globalists involves the complete loss of sovereignty and emotions. It’s time for the masses to grow a backbone and start resisting all the tyranny and oppression being dished out by the corrupt and power hungry politicians and governments. If we don’t, we will have a nightmare future where we are all mindless drones who will love our servitude to the World State. –Mike Wallace Interview

Drugs & The Demons They Bring

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

The Bible gives great insight into the world just before the Return of Christ (The Second Coming) In a nutshell, The Bible describes a world aflame with drugs, gross immorality, occult and a push for a One World.  Today we see The UN One World Government, a push for One World monetary system a One world leader to guide the masses.  This is Lucifers dream and This was the dream of Nimrod.  The connections that drugs and opening oneself up to spirits goes all the way back to Babylon.  Babylon in Genesis 11 features a prototype of a One World Government that is in Rebellion with God.  Nimrod appears to us in Genesis 10:10 as The Rebel.  Today codified in man’s own desire to rebel against God’s government to install His Son Jesus but bring a Satanic World System.  Sin is simply as the rebellion of witchcraft mentioned in 1 Samuel 15:23 in another rebellious act by King Saul.  “קֶסֶם qeçem, keh’-sem; from H7080; a lot; also divination (including its fee), oracle:—(reward of) divination, divine sentence, witchcraft.”  The Dreams of Babylon live on today.  See EU building picture here:

Babylon is symbolic of the world system, energized by Satan and opposed to the Kingdom of God. The word pharmakeia is also mentioned in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, in Isaiah 41:9,12 in reference to the fall of Babylon. The text states that there will be an increase of this type of witchcraft in the end times. There is a connection between drug use, the satanic one world government (Babylon) and a new age of heightened consciousness. At the tower of Babel, mankind was united to become great apart from God. They would reach the divine their own way. Mystery Babylon is a united world system in the last days opposed to the God of the Bible. Pharmakeia is a tactic, the sorcery, used to influence and deceive mankind into following this satanic system. The United States is facing epidemic proportions of addiction that is widespread across all races, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Despite tough anti-drug laws, a recent survey shows the United States has the highest level of illegal drug use in the world. Addiction to drugs is a scheme of the enemy to steal, kill, and destroy humankind. However, this is the same ploy Satan has been using since the beginning. –Babylon & Drug Use

I thought this was an interesting video to demonstrate the correlation between drug use & religion.  In this basic overview of Shamanism (Witchcraft) is within it a Spiritual Overture to blending of faiths via a Mystical (drug-induced) experience.  Will say it again.  Satan wishes to be worshipped (Isaiah 14:4-20) and he has devised many paths to COEXIST and offer up the masses a new One World Religion.  Drugs and meditation will be a gateway for many.

Conclusions

While each of these topics and points we brought up in this article is the rapid rise of drug use and the not so benevolent forces behind the scenes is just that.  The Bible warns of the use of drugs as we saw predicted by Occultist and Globalists to promote a Future Shock of a New World Dictator the Bible describes as The Antichrist.  At first, the world will marvel at (Revelation 13:3)  him and swift destruction will follow those who will follow The Beast.  One of the tools is drugs to bring in an acceptance of a new order.  For a brief overview, you can watch the FUEL Project linked below.  You must be saved from your own sins, just like me and the coming judgment.

The FUEL Project Overview

This is a great overview of  The “enemy” is not a person or even a group of people for we wrestle not against flesh & blood.  The “enemy” is Satan who exerts himself as a spiritual force against that which is of God.  We have broken this lengthy series down into bite-size pieces with brief descriptions.  Get informed.  Ephesians 5:11

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Proverbs 20:1 – Wine [is] a mocker, strong drink [is] raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

1 Corinthians 3:17 – If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.

Galatians 5:19-21 – Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

Galatians 5:21 – Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 15:33 – Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Ephesians 5:18 – And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Isaiah 5:11 – Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, [that] they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, [till] wine inflame them!

Hebrews 10:26 – For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

Galatians 5:1-26 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Matthew 6:13 – And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

1 Peter 4:7 – But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

1 Corinthians 6:19 – What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Hosea 4:11 – Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart. (Click to Source)

 
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Number of Witches in U.S. on the Rise, May Surpass 1.5 Million

By Michael W. Chapman | November 16, 2018 | 5:59 PM EST

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5: 13-26 King James Version (KJV)Public Domain)

mosesandstone

A report in the Christian Post contends that the number of witches (and Wiccans) has dramatically increased since the 1990s, to the degree that there may be at least 1.5 million witches in the United States, which is higher than the 1.4 million mainline Presbyterians.

“[T]he practice of witchcraft has grown significantly in recent decades; those who identify as witches has risen concurrently with the rise of the ‘witch aesthetic,'” reported the Christian Post in October, citing data from Quartz, a Trinity College study, and the Pew Research Center.

Between 1990 and 2008, the number of Wiccans in the United States grew from 8,000 to 340,000, according to three religious surveys conducted by Trinity College in Connecticut. In addition, the Pew Research Center reported in 2014 that 0.4% of the population — 1 to 1.5 million Americans — “identify as Wicca or Pagan.”

Wiccans.  (Getty Images)

“It makes sense that witchcraft and the occult would rise as society becomes increasingly postmodern,” author Julie Roys, formerly of Moody Radio, told the Christian Post. “The rejection of Christianity has left a void that people, as inherently spiritual beings, will seek to fill.”

Roys added that witchcraft is especially attractive to Millenials because it has been “effectively repackaged.”

“No longer is witchcraft and paganism satanic and demonic,” said Roys. “[I]t’s a ‘pre-Christian tradition’ that promotes ‘free thought’ and ‘understanding of earth and nature.'”

Author and Christian radio (“My Faith Radio”) host Carmen Fowler LaBerge, referencing the Quartz data, tweeted last month, “As mainline Protestantism continues its devolution, the U.S. witch population is rising astronomically. There may now be more Americans who identify as practicing witches, 1.5 mil, than there are members of mainline Presbyterianism (PCUSA) 1.4 mil.”

The Christian Post also cited 2017 data from Market Watch showing that the “psychic services industry” grew 2% between 2011 and 2016, making it now a $2 billion industry in the United States.

Not surprisingly, the Los Angeles Times ran a commentary on May 23, 2017, in which writer Diana Wagman described how she had joined with “thousands of witches, believers and people like me all over the world” to cast a binding spell on President Donald Trump “under the waning crescent moon” in April last year.

“It was not meant to physically hurt him, only to keep him from succeeding at his tasks,” explained Wagman. “I found an orange candle in a box of multicolored ones we use for our Hanukkah menorah. I printed the required tarot card off the Internet and propped it up. I cut an unflattering photo of POTUS out of the newspaper, and I burned it while chanting the words of the spell. … I plan to complete the ritual again….”

Welcome to post-Christian America, where witches and their binding spells against the president are welcomed and promoted by the liberal media — ravens of a feather. (Click to Source)

Author Diana Wagman, who cast a spell on President Trump and wrote about it in the Los Angeles Times.
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‘Unstoppable’ Super Typhoon Trami is closing in on mainland Japan with violent 134mph winds set to rip through the nation over the weekend

  • Super Typhoon Trami is about 186 miles (300 km) southeast of Miyako island
  • The typhoon is forecast to pick up speed and approach western Japan on Sunday
  • It is the latest storm to threaten Japan in a year filled with natural disasters
  • Less than a month ago, a typhoon flooded Kansai International airport

A large, very strong typhoon is set to rip through mainland Japan over the weekend, bringing violent winds and torrential rain.

The ‘unstoppable’ Super Typhoon Trami, which is rated category 2 by Tropical Storm Risk, with category 5 the highest, has destructive winds gusting at speeds as high as 134 mph (216kmh).

It is the latest storm to threaten Japan in a year filled with more than the usual number of disasters, including punishing heat, heavy rains and landslides.

Less than a month ago, a typhoon flooded Kansai International airport near Osaka, leaving thousands of tourists stranded.

Scroll down for video 

A large, very strong typhoon (pictured) is set to rip through mainland Japan over the weekend, bringing violent winds and torrential rain

A large, very strong typhoon (pictured) is set to rip through mainland Japan over the weekend, bringing violent winds and torrential rain

Trami is currently about 186 miles (300km) southeast of Miyako island.

Although the Japanese capital of Tokyo is set for heavy rain, current predictions show it avoiding a direct hit.

‘As it is forecast to go across Japan at a high speed, we are urging people to be vigilant’ in the days ahead, Sakiko Nishioka from the meteorological agency told AFP.

‘Please be on high alert against violent winds, high waves and heavy rainfall,’ the agency said in a statement.

After dumping torrential rain on the outlying islands, the typhoon is forecast to pick up speed and approach western Japan on Sunday, remaining very strong as it barrels over the mainland.

Images from the International Space Station posted on Twitter by astronaut Alexander Gerst on Tuesday showed Trami’s enormous eye which he said was ‘as if somebody pulled the planet’s gigantic plug’.

‘Staring down the eye of yet another fierce storm… Trami is unstoppable and heading for Japan and Taiwan. Be safe down there!’ he wrote.

4600132-6217291-churning_north_across_okinawa_on_saturday_trami_is_then_predicte-m-12_1538132704517

Churning north across Okinawa on Saturday, Trami is then predicted to rake across the islands of Kyushu and the main island of Honshu on Sunday, a path similar to that taken by typhoon Jebi early in September

The 'unstoppable' Super Typhoon Trami, which is rated category 2 by Tropical Storm Risk, with category 5 the highest, has destructive winds gusting at speeds as high as 134 mph (216kmh)

The ‘unstoppable’ Super Typhoon Trami, which is rated category 2 by Tropical Storm Risk, with category 5 the highest, has destructive winds gusting at speeds as high as 134 mph (216kmh)

Japan’s main two airlines JAL and ANA have already started to cancel some domestic flights, scrapping more than 100 between them to the islands.

If the forecast holds, it will be the latest in a series of extreme natural events to strike Japan.

Jebi, the most powerful storm to hit Japan in 25 years, brought some of the highest tides since a 1961 typhoon and flooded Kansai airport near Osaka, taking it out of service for days.

Images from the International Space Station posted on Twitter by astronaut Alexander Gerst on Tuesday showed Trami's enormous eye which he said was 'as if somebody pulled the planet's gigantic plug'

Images from the International Space Station posted on Twitter by astronaut Alexander Gerst on Tuesday showed Trami’s enormous eye which he said was ‘as if somebody pulled the planet’s gigantic plug’

'Staring down the eye of yet another fierce storm... Super Typhoon Trami is unstoppable and heading for Japan and Taiwan. Be safe down there!' Mr Gerst wrote

‘Staring down the eye of yet another fierce storm… Super Typhoon Trami is unstoppable and heading for Japan and Taiwan. Be safe down there!’ Mr Gerst wrote

Trami (pictured) is about 186 miles southeast of Miyako island, with winds gusting as high as 134 mph. If the forecast holds, it will be the latest in a series of natural events to strike Japan

Trami (pictured) is about 186 miles southeast of Miyako island, with winds gusting as high as 134 mph. If the forecast holds, it will be the latest in a series of natural events to strike Japan

Seventeen people died in the storm, whose high winds sent trees crashing to the ground and cars scudding across parking lots.

Even for a nation accustomed to disasters, this year has been hard for Japan, starting with a volcanic eruption in January that rained rocks down on a ski resort, killing one.

July brought record-breaking heat that killed at least 80 people and sent over 20,000 to hospital for treatment, along with torrential rains in western Japan that set off floods and landslides, killing more than 200.

Just two days after Jebi hit in September, the northernmost main island of Hokkaido was rocked by an earthquake that set off landslides, knocked out power throughout the island and killed at least 44 people. (Click to Source)

 

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Powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake strikes in Ring of Fire

A HUGE 6.8 magnitude earthquake has struck Bolivia in the Ring of Fire.

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It occurred near Tarija in the south of the country at a depth of 344 miles.The USGS estimates there is a 34% chance of damage and fatalities.

Its website states: “Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are resistant to earthquake shaking, though vulnerable structures exist.

“The predominant vulnerable building types are adobe block and rubble/field stone masonry construction.”

One Twitter user called Yurka Tbiliski wrote: “I was rocked by a M6.8 earthquake in 10km NNE of Carandayti, Bolivia!!!”

Bolivia earthquakeAnother called dbaBlockchain added: “That was a really strong earthquake that just hit Bolivia!”

The South American country is located in the Ring of Fire, a basin of the Pacific Ocean prone to seismic activity.

Last month, another 6.0 magnitude quake struck off the southern coast of Papua New Guinea.

It occurred 96 miles from the town of Kokopowhich, home to about 20,000 people.

Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) boffins issued a warning and forecast hazardous waves from the coast. (Click to Source)

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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – January 28,2018

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But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].

For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.

[They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.

[They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.

For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].

For among them are those who worm their way into homes and captivate silly and weak-natured and spiritually dwarfed women, loaded down with [the burden of their] sins [and easily] swayed and led away by various evil desires and seductive impulses.

[These weak women will listen to anybody who will teach them]; they are forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth.

Now just as [a]Jannes and Jambres were hostile to and resisted Moses, so these men also are hostile to and oppose the Truth. They have depraved and distorted minds, and are reprobate and counterfeit and to be rejected as far as the faith is concerned.

But they will not get very far, for their rash folly will become obvious to everybody, as was that of those [magicians mentioned].

Now you have closely observed and diligently followed my teaching, conduct, purpose in life, faith, patience, love, steadfastness,

Persecutions, sufferings—such as occurred to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra, persecutions I endured, but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

12 Indeed all who delight in piety and are determined to live a devoted and godly life in Christ Jesus will meet with persecution [will be made to suffer because of their religious stand].

But wicked men and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and leading astray others and being deceived and led astray themselves.

But as for you, continue to hold to the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced, knowing from whom you learned [them],

And how from your childhood you have had a knowledge of and been acquainted with the sacred Writings, which are able to instruct you and give you the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus [through the [b]leaning of the entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness].

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),

So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:1-17Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Timothy 3:8 Neither of these men is mentioned in the Old Testament, but according to Jewish tradition they were the Egyptian court magicians who opposed Moses.
  2. 2 Timothy 3:15 Alexander Souter, Pocket Lexicon.

The Holy City, a ‘burdensome stone’

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The head of a messianic Jewish ministry says Jerusalem has definitely become the “burdensome stone” prophesized in the Old Testament.

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, warned U.N. members earlier this week that President Trump “will be watching” to see who votes to condemn the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump had threatened to cut off financial aid to any country that supported the U.N. resolution. Most countries didn’t heed the warning as the General Assembly approved the anti-U.S. resolution 128-to-9 with 35 abstentions on Thursday.

Major U.S. aid recipients that ignored Trump’s threat and supported the resolution included Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Joining the U.S. is opposing the resolution were Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, and Togo.

The U.N. move followed a call by Muslim leaders for the world body to recognize East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Jan Markell, founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries, points out that Jerusalem doesn’t appear anywhere in the Quran.

“Jerusalem is honestly rather irrelevant to the Islamic world,” she explains. “It may be perhaps their third or fourth most significant location, but unfortunately they’re seizing on President Trump’s declaration of a week or so ago.”

Markell views the vote as “just the further fulfillment of Zechariah 12:3, where Jerusalem is becoming the burdensome stone – at least to portions of the world that do not want to accept … the action that [President Trump] took.”

The ministry leader points to another serious warning in the Bible.

“Joel 3 promises judgment on anybody who divides God’s land – and I just hope we don’t have a president who would do that now,” she shares. “I hope and pray we don’t ever get a president who will divide the land.” Markell says that judgment will come to any nations that do.

Ambassador Haley said the vote will make no difference on U.S. plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem, but it “will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N., and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the U.N.”

“And this vote will be remembered,” she warned. (Click to Source)

Massive, 3-mile-wide ‘potentially hazardous asteroid’ will zoom past Earth tomorrow

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An enormous, 3-mile-wide “potentially hazardous asteroid” is hurtling toward Earth and is slated to zoom past the planet tomorrow, but scientists say there is no need to worry.

Known as 3200 Phaethon, the space rock orbits the Sun and is expected to come the closest it has come to Earth since 1974, 6.4-million miles away, according to a statement from NASA.

There is no chance the asteroid will hit Earth and won’t come this close again until 2093. Despite that, it has been classified as a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” by the Minor Planet Center, NASA added in the statement.

NASA said that the asteroid is “potentially detectable at Goldstone [a NASA communications complex] for about three weeks and tracks are scheduled on ten days between Dec. 11-21.” The government agency said that it will also remain visible at the Arecibo observatory, located in Puerto Rico, between Dec. 15 and Dec. 19.

3200 Phaethon is thought to cause the annual Geminid meteor shower, which this year reached its peak this past Thursday.

Astronomers almost unanimously agree that no asteroid, particularly those of the near-Earth variety, will hit our planet in our lifetime. However, if one of this size were to hit us, it could cause some serious damage.

Boston University astronomy professor Michael Mendillo told Time that 3200 Phaethon “would be this kind of object that would cause a catastrophic collision, should there be one,” before adding that it is highly unlikely.

Scientists have said they “can’t rule out” a potential collision with the asteroid 99942 Apophis, but that is not slated to come very close to Earth until 2029.

This is not the first time in recent memory an asteroid of this size whizzes past Earth.

In August, a 2.7-mile wide asteroid dubbed Florence passed by Earth at a safe distance of 4.4 million miles, roughly 18 times the distance between Earth and the moon.

In October, 2012 TC4, a space rock estimated to measure between 50 and 100 feet, passed safely past Earth by 26,000 miles and was used to test Earth’s international warning network.

Plans to save humanity

If an asteroid were to ever threaten the Earth, NASA has a plan to fight off “possible life-threatening” asteroids.

In June, the agency unveiled a video using 3-D modeling techniques and one of its supercomputers in an effort to produce simulations on a variety of asteroid impact scenarios. This allows first responders and other agencies to identify threats and make better decisions should an event occur in the future.

The work is being done by experts on the Asteroid Threat Assessment Project at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing facility at Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. The efforts are in conjunction with NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office.

The research has been shared with a number of different parties, including university scientists, national research labs and different government agencies.

The work follows an asteroid collision in 2013 in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. The blast from the asteroid injured more than 1,200 people and damaged building 58 miles away.

Separately, in 2016, NASA opened a new office to track asteroids and comets that come too close to Earth, known as the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO).

The PDCO formalizes the agency’s existing program for detecting and tracking Near-Earth Objects, known as NEOs.

NASA has been studying NEOs since the 1970s. According to the PDCO, NASA-funded survey projects have found more than 95 percent of the known catalog of over 15,000 NEOs. (Click to Source)

‘In Satan We Trust’: Florida Atheist Plans to Erect Six-Foot Metal Pentagram in City Park

Psalm 89

I will sing of the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness from generation to generation.

For I have said, Mercy and loving-kindness shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness will You establish in the very heavens [unchangeable and perpetual].

[You have said] I have made a covenant with My chosen one, I have sworn to David My servant,

Your Seed I will establish forever, and I will build up your throne for all generations. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

Let heaven (the angels) praise Your wonders, O Lord, Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones (the holy angels).

For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord? Who among the mighty [heavenly beings] can be likened to the Lord,

A God greatly feared and revered in the council of the holy (angelic) ones, and to be feared and worshipfully revered above all those who are round about Him?

O Lord God of hosts, who is a mighty one like unto You, O Lord? And Your faithfulness is round about You [an essential part of You at all times].

You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves arise, You still them.

You have broken Rahab (Egypt) in pieces; with Your mighty arm You have scattered Your enemies.

The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world and all that is in it, You have founded them.

The north and the south, You have created them; Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon joyously praise Your name.

You have a mighty arm; strong is Your hand, Your right hand is soaring high.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and loving-kindness and truth go before Your face.

Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the people who know the joyful sound [who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts]; they walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance!

In Your name they rejoice all the day, and in Your righteousness they are exalted.

For You are the glory of their strength [their proud adornment], and by Your favor our horn is exalted and we walk with uplifted faces!

For our shield belongs to the Lord, and our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Once You spoke in a vision to Your devoted ones and said, I have endowed one who is mighty [a hero, giving him the power to help—to be a champion for Israel]; I have exalted one chosen from among the people.

I have found David My servant; with My holy oil have I anointed him,

With whom My hand shall be established and ever abide; My arm also shall strengthen him.

The enemy shall not exact from him or do him violence or outwit him, nor shall the wicked afflict and humble him.

I will beat down his foes before his face and smite those who hate him.

My faithfulness and My mercy and loving-kindness shall be with him, and in My name shall his horn be exalted [great power and prosperity shall be conferred upon him].

I will set his hand in control also on the [Mediterranean] Sea, and his right hand on the rivers [Euphrates with its tributaries].

He shall cry to Me, You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation!

Also I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.

My mercy and loving-kindness will I keep for him forevermore, and My covenant shall stand fast and be faithful with him.

His Offspring also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven.

If his children forsake My law and walk not in My ordinances,

If they break or profane My statutes and keep not My commandments,

Then will I punish their transgression with the rod [of chastisement], and their iniquity with stripes.

Nevertheless, My loving-kindness will I not break off from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail [to lie and be false to him].

My covenant will I not break or profane, nor alter the thing that is gone out of My lips.

Once [for all] have I sworn by My holiness, which cannot be violated; I will not lie to David:

His Offspring shall endure forever, and his throne [shall continue] as the sun before Me.

It shall be established forever as the moon, the faithful witness in the heavens. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

But [in apparent contradiction to all this] You [even You the faithful Lord] have cast off and rejected; You have been full of wrath against Your anointed.

You have despised and loathed and renounced the covenant with Your servant; You have profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.

You have broken down all his hedges and his walls; You have brought his strongholds to ruin.

All who pass along the road spoil and rob him; he has become the scorn and reproach of his neighbors.

You have exalted the right hand of his foes; You have made all his enemies rejoice.

Moreover, You have turned back the edge of his sword and have not made him to stand in battle.

You have made his glory and splendor to cease and have hurled to the ground his throne.

The days of his youth have You shortened; You have covered him with shame. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

How long, O Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever? How long shall Your wrath burn like fire?

O [earnestly] remember how short my time is and what a mere fleeting life mine is. For what emptiness, falsity, futility, and frailty You have created all men!

What man can live and shall not see death, or can deliver himself from the [powerful] hand of Sheol (the place of the dead)? Selah [pause, and calmly consider that]!

Lord, where are Your former loving-kindnesses [shown in the reigns of David and Solomon], which You swore to David in Your faithfulness?

Remember, Lord, and earnestly imprint [on Your heart] the reproach of Your servants, scorned and insulted, how I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many and mighty peoples,

With which Your enemies have taunted, O Lord, with which they have mocked the footsteps of Your anointed.

Blessed be the Lord forevermore! Amen and Amen.  (Psalm 89:1-52) Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – A Florida member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation says that he plans to erect a large pentagram in a city park this December in an effort to counter Christian and Jewish displays regarding the birth of Christ.

Since 1990, a city law in Boca Raton has allowed “unattended, expressive installations, displays, exhibits and similar objects” to be displayed during the holiday season in the city’s Sanborn Park. According to a report from CBS12, a local atheist named Preston Smith plans to put up a blood-red pentagram that stands six feet tall, weighs 300 pounds and bears several captions, including “In Satan We Trust,” “I Kneel Before No Gods” and “May the Children Hail Satan.”

Smith, who was raised as a Catholic but now describes himself as an atheistic Satanist, says he likes the pentagram because it represents “the polar opposite of everything that the Church stands for.” He views Satan as a metaphor for rebellion rather than an actual being.

“Satan serves as the symbol to go against—to rebel against—Yahweh, Jesus, and Muhammad,” he said in an interview published on YouTube. “The devil, in atheistic Satanists’ point of view, promotes great things: the separation of church and state, critical thinking, equal rights, science literacy, and sexual freedom—everything organized religion opposes.”

Smith describes his pentagram as a protest against nativity scenes and other religious holiday displays.

“The reason for the pentagram is that we have to have a break on the monopoly of the nativity scenes in public spheres,” he said. “A nativity scene, which is the myth that somehow a 14-year-old girl was magically impregnated—and, you know, it’s the stuff of legends, it’s folklore. We have to break the spell of menorahs being so widespread and acceptable in the public sphere, which is just a fairy tale of one night’s worth of oil burning for, what, eight nights. So I think that’s the direction I was going in.”

According to reports, Smith put up a similar Satanic pentagram in Boca Raton last year, but it was repeatedly vandalized and knocked down. The earliest Smith will be allowed to erect his display in the city park this year is December 1.

City officials said even though the Satanic pentagram is offensive, Smith is free to display it in the park.

“We can’t say no to this, as offensive as it is,” said Jeremy Rodgers, Boca Raton deputy mayor, according to a report from CBS12. “Our lawyers said whatever you do, don’t do that. Because it will be an expensive lawsuit.”

“I find this extremely offensive,” also remarked Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie. “But you know, again, we’ve chosen as the council to honor free speech.”

“This is not consistent with my particular values, but free speech means people have an opportunity to express themselves, whether government likes it or not or whether individuals like it or not,” likewise stated city council member Scott Singer.

However, one local pastor has vowed to knock down the controversial figure once it is erected. Describing the Satanic display as “the essence of evil” and “a welcome mat for Satan,” Mark Boykin of Church of All Nations said he plans to use a sledgehammer to dismantle the display.

“I will take the responsibility for taking the sledgehammer and knocking it down,” he told CBS12. “I think this is reprehensible. I think it’s an insult to our city.”

As previously reported, in 2014, Smith presented an invocation at a Lake Worth commission meeting, during which time he seemed to mock Christianity, or religion in general, by naming off everything from Mother Earth to Zeus.

“Mother Earth, we gather today in your redeeming and glorious presence, to invoke your eternal guidance in the universe, the original Creator of all things,” Smith began his invocation. “May the efforts of this council blend the righteousness of Allah with the all-knowing wisdom of Satan.”

“May Zeus, the great God of justice, grant us strength tonight. Jesus might forgive our shortcomings while Buddha enlightens us through His divine affection,” he continued. “We praise you, Krishna, for the sanguine sacrifice that freed us all. After all, if Almighty Thor is with us, who can ever be against us?”

2 Peter 3:3-4,9 reads, “[T]here shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.’ … The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

(Click to Site)

Uncle Sam Wants You … to Fight Alongside a Killer Robot

A Q&A with newly departed Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work on Kim’s nukes, Putin’s paranoia and bigger problems over the horizon.

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Running for president last year, Republican Senator Ted Cruz was widely ridiculed for telling a young girl that “the world’s on fire.” That may not have been the most politically astute way to talk to a three-year-old, but you have to admit Cruz has a few facts on his side: North Korea’s nuclear bombast; a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan; last-gasper Islamic State forces hanging on in Syria and Iraq; Iran arming to the teeth its proxy forces in Lebanon and Yemen; China’s fake-island building; Russia’s positioning hundreds of thousands of troops on the borders of NATO allies; and increasing terrorist activity in north and sub-Saharan Africa.

You’d think the U.S. military would have its hands full just managing these crises. But as perilous as they may be, the Defense Department has an equal responsibility to look far, far ahead — defining long-term threats, developing strategies to counter them, and buying the best new weaponry to deter enemies’ and rivals’ aggressive tendencies. And from 2014 to this year, the man with the burden of the future on his shoulders was Robert O. Work, who served as the deputy secretary of defense to three different bosses, Chuck Hagel, Ashton Carter and James Mattis.

In some ways, Work had a typical background for the job: Twenty-seven years in the Marines during which he reached the rank of full colonel, front-line roles including commanding an artillery battery, management experience as undersecretary of the Navy. But his resume is also quirky for a career Leatherneck: He studied biology as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois and has three master’s degrees — in systems management from the University of Southern California, in space-systems operations from the Naval Postgraduate School, and in international public policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. This week he returned as a senior fellow to the Center for a New American Security, an influential centrist think tank in Washington where he served as chief executive in 2013 and 2014.

Work put his stamp on the Pentagon in many ways, most prominently with his efforts to adapt the military to the age of modern technological marvels, a long-term project known as “the third offset,” which is discussed in more detail below. He and I had a conversation this week about the challenges the Pentagon faces, both immediate and well over the horizon. Here is a lightly edited transcript:

Tobin Harshaw: Amid all the debate over how to handle North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, one point seems to be universally accepted: A military strike isn’t feasible, at least not now. Do you agree? If so, what can be done to rein in Kim and reassure South Korea and Japan?

Robert Work: I agree absolutely. North Korea is an established nuclear power. This is totally different than Libya, where we convinced Muammar Qaddafi not to go after a nuclear arsenal, and Iran, which we have now persuaded to set aside its programs. Kim Jong Un has demonstrated capability on both the warhead and missile sides. There is no way you could confidently say that a U.S. military strike would reduce the nuclear risk to zero.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the other day that Kim is “begging for war.” I couldn’t disagree more. He is looking for the survival of his regime. He thinks nuclear weapons are the surest way to guarantee his survival. Thinking about war with a nuclear power should give even the strongest military pause, so we have to watch out that our overheated rhetoric might actually increase the likelihood he uses his weapons.

Ultimately where we will wind up is relying on our strength to deter Kim’s use of nuclear weapons. You want to make sure he understands that if he uses them, he is done, his regime is history. In the meantime, the combination of diplomatic pressure, military pressure and trying to get China to assist us are the right things to do. I believe that Kim’s reckless actions are really starting to give China second thoughts on their calculations about his leadership.

TH: While North Korea may the terror du jour, most military analysts think Putin’s resurgent Russia is still America’s most serious long-term threat. Do you agree? And do you feel the U.S. and NATO are doing enough to counter Putin’s aggressiveness in Eastern Europe and elsewhere?

RW: For the last 25 years or so, the U.S. hasn’t had to worry about great-power competition — which is a large state that can take on the dominant power conventionally (that would be us), and has a survival nuclear deterrent force. As a result, America has enjoyed extraordinary strategic freedom of action, doing things in all regions of the world with no worry about what another great power would do in response. Now, Russia is a resurgent great power — although some believe it is declining over time in terms of geopolitical influence. And there is a true rising great power in China.

I like to think of these two great powers as geostrategic rivals, not adversaries. They are acting as great powers act: extremely touchy in their near-abroads, and wanting to establish a sphere of influence. Totally understandable.

As NATO has expanded eastward, the Russians really think that the U.S. and NATO are serious threats. They have ramped up their response in a serious way, essentially pushing back against further expansion into their near abroad, especially in Belarus, Ukraine and Georgia. As paranoid as the Russians are, and as reckless as Putin seems, I am firmly in the school that discussion and dialogue among great powers is the best way to avoid confrontation. Of course, discussion must be backed up by credible power, and what we are doing — enhancing NATO and stepping up military commitments in Eastern Europe — are the right things to do. But there remain opportunities even as we push back and forth. We could be working with Russia, as we are cooperating in Syria, in more ways: in terms of counterproliferation and counterterrorism. Bottom line: Russia is a power we must take seriously. Whether they become a long-term military threat depends on whether we can get past this low point in our relationship and get more constructive in the long term.

TH: President Barack Obama went into office promising a great “pivot” to Asia. Eight years later, many commentators still don’t know what that means, at least in terms of specifics. What did you accomplish in terms of maintaining America’s dominance of the Pacific and countering Chinese ambitions?

RW: “Pivot” was a bad word. It is really a “rebalance to Asia.” We needed to shift our attention from constant warfighting in the Middle East and toward Asia to continue the peace in the region

China’s a rising power, and the 21st century is likely to revolve around the relationship between it and the U.S. And the rebalance has had many successes. One is the revitalization of our alliances — our relationship with Japan is as strong as or stronger than ever; that with South Korea is quite strong; also with Australia and New Zealand. We have started reaching out to India. The one thing that set us back was the Philippines; we now have a rocky relationship that was not expected.

We also wanted to make our military posture more capable, operationally resilient and politically sustainable. We are doing that. Moving the preponderance of our military power to Asia is ongoing. We’ll have 60 percent of naval and air power in Pacific by 2020. Most of our advanced military capabilities go to that region first. We are dispersing our forces, such as moving Marines from Okinawa to Guam, Australia and Hawaii. These moves will make us more resilient in the face of attacks and more likely to retain the goodwill of our host countries.

However, where it went off the rails was the Donald Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That was a strategic blunder of enormous proportions, a grievous mistake. Overall, I would grade the rebalance as a C-plus or B-minus — with the withdrawal from TPP bringing the grade down more than otherwise expected.

TH: This will be a long one: Perhaps the biggest legacy of your tenure as deputy defense secretary was the initiation of the so-called “third offset.” Can you explain briefly what the first two offsets of the Cold War were; why we have reached the point where our entire military strategy needs such dramatic switch; and what the third offset really is (i.e., not just a bunch of sci-fi fantasies about killer robots).

RW: Up until World War II, you could describe warfare broadly as unguided munitions warfare. Almost every spear or arrow or bullet or bomb or torpedo missed its target. This led to an inherent bias toward massing your forces to ensure you achieved target hits or target effects. During the war, two alternatives arose: atomic weapons and guided conventional weapons. Atomic weapons made miss distances less of a problem; guided munitions reliably hit their targets regardless of range. What linked them is an attacker no longer necessarily had to mass forces to achieve effects.

After the war, America’s first “offset” took advantage of U.S. nuclear superiority by using battlefield nukes to offset the numerical conventional advantage of the Soviet army; we elected not to match them tank for tank or soldier for soldier. We instead adopted battlefield, or tactical, atomic weapons to deter a Soviet conventional invasion of Western Europe.

The second offset came when the Soviets achieved strategic nuclear parity. The threat of tactical nuclear weapons was no longer credible because no side would risk going up the escalatory ladder. So we turned to guided munitions and sophisticated, integrated defensive “battle networks” to employ them. This allowed us to “look deep and shoot deep.” If you came up against such capabilities and couldn’t match them, your army became nothing more than a collection of targets, as the Iraqis found out in Desert Storm.

Now our great-power competitors are achieving parity in guided munitions-battle network warfare. We talk about this as anti-access/area-denial techniques, or A2/AD: an adversary’s ability to “look deep and shoot deep” challenges our ability to get close enough to use our superior weaponry. And once in range, combat is so much more lethal. The question became, how could we restore our conventional overmatch so deterrence is strengthened? We want our rivals to still think that they cannot take us on … that they would surely lose a conventional fight. The third offset is finding a way to rebuild our overmatch and maintain that advantage

Of all recent technological gains, the things that would improve our operations most in the near term are aggressive use of big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. This combination will allow a whole bunch of things to happen. First, human-machine collaboration — that is, machines allowing humans to make better and faster decisions, combining our intuitive abilities with a machine’s ability to process massive amounts of data. Then, with machine learning, we will have new kinds of unmanned systems. Consider network-enabled missiles: You fire a missile at a target 1,000 miles away, but by the time the missile is within 500 miles, the target is no longer there. You give the missile that information and change its mission.

Then there are assisted-human operations: broadly speaking, providing every individual with the power of the whole battle network, so that they can all pull down the information they need to accomplish their missions. This includes things like carrying around sensors on bodies, using batteries re-powered by human movement, and new combat “apps” to call in needed support.

But an important difference with the third offset is it assumes we can generate an advantage only in the relatively near term. Remember, we had the first offset from the 1950s to mid-’70s, a significant period of time. During the second offset, because the Soviets went away, we had a 25-year advantage, and only now are Russia and China starting to catch up. But all the third offset technologies are being driven by the Amazons and Googles, and are commercially available. As a result, we can’t think the third offset will give us another 25 years ahead of the competition. We need to be thinking in terms of a time-based competition, a rolling offset, in which we are always looking for a new advantage –right now.

TH: Donald Trump came into office promising a vast military buildup, with a 350-ship navy and a reversal of the Army’s big troop drawdown. Yet the mild spending increases in his first budget weren’t much different than what we might have expected from the Obama administration. Was that disheartening for the Pentagon? What do the generals really want?

RW: Right now, the Pentagon is going through a major defense-strategy review led by Secretary James Mattis. I firmly believe that one of the questions that needs to be asked is, do you have a bias toward capability or toward capacity? Right now there is a bias toward capacity — toward a 350-ship navy, an active Army of 540,000, and an Air Force with 1,200 combat aircraft. But I would argue very, very strongly that we need a bias toward capability — modernizing the force and focusing on readiness.

Right now what has happened is you look at the ground modernization programs of Army and see we don’t have a new tank in development. All those systems are from the Ronald Reagan buildup or the ’90s, and we are just extending their lives or upgrading them slightly. Meanwhile, China is spending a lot on things like hypersonic weapons, something we are not giving much money to. When you are talking about needing a tech overmatch to keep up our deterrent, the most important thing is improving capability.

TH: Trump also said on the campaign trail that he would resolve the war in Afghanistan. Yet his latest plan to add a few thousand more special-ops and training troops is a minor tweak. Is there any resolution visible for America’s longest war? What would “victory” look like?

RW: What we need is a platform in South Asia, because there are an awful lot of very bad terrorist groups in the region. And Pakistan has a lot of nuclear weapons, which we do not want falling into the hands of these very bad people. Our vital interest is to have a position in South Asia where we can keep an eye on these groups and on Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Victory, in my view, looks like an Afghanistan that is stable enough so that our platform there can be sustained at a reasonable strategic price, we are able to keep disrupting the terrorist groups in that area, and we keep Pakistani nukes out of their hands. Ultimately, if you could get a deal between the Taliban and the government in Kabul that would be outstanding, it would make it more likely to have a stable Afghanistan that would be a good partner for the U.S. in the area. But we have to have modest expectations. We are not, as Trump said, going to establish a Jeffersonian democracy.

TH: The proposed merger this week between United Technologies and Rockwell Collins is the latest example of consolidation in the so-called defense industrial base. Many people feel the shrinking number of major contractors is dangerous, both in terms of contracting costs and broader national security. Do you agree? Also, Congress re-shaped the Pentagon’s acquisitions process in the last policy and funding round, even eliminating the top weapon-buyer job held by Frank Kendall. Do you think that the massive cost overruns and delays we’ve seen with projects like the F-35?

RW: Secretary Mattis has brought in a pretty extraordinary team, and there is a lot of experience from outside, from industry. His choice for deputy secretary, Patrick Shanahan, is from Boeing; Ellen Lord, who will be the equivalent of the next Frank Kendall, is from Textron Systems; Jay Gibson, who will be in charge of management, is from industry. Mattis will have a team that has a good fingertip feel for industrial base, and I will look to them to answer that question.

Right now I am not alarmed by UTX-Rockwell deal, but I am concerned about the viability of the industrial base, which is vital to third-offset thinking. It’s fair to say we have less bench depth. I can’t speak for Secretary Mattis, but I think his plan was to get people from the base into the Pentagon to help us think through this.

TH: Last, the exit-interview question: What do you think was the greatest accomplishment of the department during your time there? What successes did you have that slipped under the radar of the public and press?

RW: I don’t think in terms of greatest accomplishments. But I am proud of the steady progress of the department in an enormously chaotic environment. Since the Budget Control Act of 2011, reduced defense resources and congressional budget chaos has been the norm. What slipped under the radar is that very few businesses would have been able to survive under the conditions the Pentagon has operated under for the last six years. The fact that we still have the best forces and are building equipment, and can sustain such a high pace of global operations, is a testament to the very high quality of our people — which is our military’s best secret weapon. I don’t think the public understands what a trying time it has been, how hard it is to plan a military program and figure out how you will buy, organize and train it — with constantly changing budgets and rules and constraints — yet the Pentagon has continued to do this, and it isn’t reported on.

People say the department isn’t efficient, which sometimes is true, but we are biggest business on the planet, with 3 million people. We have our own FedEx, our own Wal-Mart, our own health care agency — the broadest portfolio of any business on planet. Remember that since 2009, we’ve spent 30 percent of the time working under continuing budget resolutions from Congress, which keep you from planning ahead; we’ve had successive two-year budget horizons when we like to plan five years ahead; the department’s annual authorization bill from Congress is now 1,600 pages long. Under these conditions, any corporation would be hard-pressed to do its fundamental business, and yet the Pentagon has consistently done its fundamental business, and done it well. I’m extremely proud of that.

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