Today is the day we celebrate this wonderful world. I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot of this big blue marble and to see some wonderful things, places, cultures and natural wonders. Today, rather than celebrating another traveler – I would prefer to celebrate the place we all travel on and the greatest traveler we all know. The planet Earth – Terra – Mother.
In a year- Earth travels about 940 million kilometers around the Sun, however, this does not include the distance the Solar System has moved around the Galactic Centre during that time. Nor does it include the distance you have traveled as the earth rotates every 24 hours. Since we are all on this wonderful spaceship – each of us is actually traveling further than anyone (and the same distance) every second of every day. We are all great space explorers. When it comes to cheap flights – planet Earth gives us some of the cheapest. Tenerife is just one of her many places that fly through space on her surface.
Whether you want to travel closer to Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, or Mars – she allows it. Whether you want to go to the far side of the sun or take a vacation to the close side. And then there is the moon…but that’s another story.
The symbol of the Earth consists of a cross over a circle and here is a funny thing, humans always thought that the other planets moved, but they actually thought that Earth was standing still! It wasn’t until the 1700’s that some radicals started to really dig how the Earth travels.
It’s not uncommon to think of Earth as a person or a diety – called Gaia by her friends and Mother by her children, she is most often thought of as a woman – and who can imagine a man with such incredible fertility? Right? Of course, a lot of the ‘big’ religions think this is a terrible thing but then they say to ‘honor thy mother’ and continue to deface and devalue the biggest mother of them all. Our mother planet where (as far as we know) all life was born.
A very funny thought today is that for most of human history – people thought of Earth as being a flat, one dimensional place. Of course, you can’t flatten a good woman and Earth demonstrated a lovely spherical shape as humans began to circumnavigate and even visit outer space!
And that brings us to today, it really wasn’t until seeing that big blue marble photo above that anyone thought about the fact that this planet is all connected. That things you do in China (or anywhere) actually affect what happens everywhere else. It’s no coincidence that spaceflight and the modern ecological movement began at about the same time.
Earth agreed to a very short interview with me when I caught up with her this week.
Vagobond: Where is your favorite destination?
Earth: Well, all of my regions have their charm, but to be honest it is the oceans that I love the best. The constant movement, sound and beauty – the diversity of life. The oceans are really like my womb and what woman doesn’t love being able to create life?
Vagobond: Are you upset at the way humans have treated you?
Earth: What mother wouldn’t be? But you know, the dinosaurs shit all over me too and look what happened to them. Like ‘the Dude’ I endure – by the way, I’m a big fan of The Big Lebowski. I feel like if more people were to watch that film, the planet would be better off. I hope that in a few centuries Dudism is a major force on my surface.
Vagobond: What’s your most dangerous travel travel moment?
Earth: Actually, it’s hard to say but I think when the planet between Mars and Me got smashed by a comet, that was a close call. You have to be careful of those who travel with no plan – sometimes it can be beautiful, but often it can be cataclysmic. In this case, I was given a beautiful moon after the break up but the impact was large, I have huge craters to show for it. And, you know, we were pretty deeply involved. At the time, there was an advanced civilization that moved between both our surfaces – no traces remain of course – at least not obvious enough traces for my arrogant human children to find -yet.
Vagobond: Fascinating. I thought I knew something of astronomy but I’d never heard that before. Can you share any other secrets with our readers? Maybe you have some travel tips?
Earth: Actually, I’m filled with secrets but now isn’t the time to reveal them, but I”m happy to share a few travel tips that will make your life easier. They’re pretty common sense but it’s surprising how many people ignore them.
1) Don’t shit where you eat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about feces – I’m saying that you need to take care of your home or else it becomes incredibly unpleasant. In this case, just look at my atmosphere and oceans, all the garbage and you should get what I mean.
2) Time heals all wounds. No matter how much destruction or devastation is caused, eventually things return to a balance. Chaos is a myth. The universe is orderly and that includes the lives of humans and planets.
3) Time is the only true wealth. Whie I’m very old by human standards, my clock is ticking down. Eventually I will transform and become something else. It’s for that reason, that I treasure each moment. Sure, it hurts to feel my resources pulled out and sent into space, but in fact – as long as I have time, I am the wealthiest planet around.
Vagobond: I thought there would be more ‘green’ tips – aren’t you going to suggest that we take better care of you, use less water, develop clean energy and things like that?
Earth: Why would I do that? I don’t tell a deer not to make a path in the woods. I don’t tell termites not to eat trees. Humans are just another animal species and you will do what you do. You think that you are deviating from nature, but in fact – there are lessons you have to learn and as your mother, I would love to save you from the pain those lessons might cause but I know that the pain is what will actually make you learn. Okay…well, just one thing. Enough with the plastic – it’s everywhere and it doesn’t go away.
Vagobond: Thank you for the wonderful interview and the wonderful world Mother.
Earth: You’re welcome – it’s nice to actually be noticed!
This is an excerpt from my book “Vagabonds: Sometimes Getting Lost is the Point” . It’s available as an ebook for kindle or ebook readers. Over the next several months we will be exploring some of these amazing vagabond characters from the past (and present).
Jim Bridger (March 1804 – July 17, 1881) was among the foremost mountain men, trappers, scouts and guides who explored and trapped the Western United States during the decades of 1820-1840. He was also well known as a teller of tall tales.
Jim Bridger had a strong constitution that allowed him to survive the extreme conditions he encountered walking the Rocky Mountains from what would become southern Colorado to the Canadian border he had also once said. He had conversational knowledge of French, Spanish and several native languages. He would come to know many of the major figures of the early west, including Brigham Young, Kit Carson, John Fremont, Joseph Meek, and John Sutter.
Jim Bridger began his colorful career in 1822 at the age of 17, as a member of General William Ashley’s Upper Missouri Expedition. He was among the first white men to see the geysers and other natural wonders of the Yellowstone region. In the winter of 1824-1825, Bridger gained fame as the first European American to see the Great Salt Lake , which he reached traveling in a bull boat. Due to its salinity, he believed it to be an arm of the Pacific Ocean.
Supposedly one of Bridger’s favorite yarns to tell to greenhorns was about being pursued by one hundred Cheyenne warriors. After being chased for several miles, Bridger found himself at the end of a box canyon, with the Indians bearing down on him. At this point, Bridger would go silent, prompting his listener to ask, “What happened then, Mr. Bridger?” Bridger would reply, “They kilt me.”
Hi Vagobonds and Happy New Year! This is my New years post. I will keep adding to it every new year. I’ve highlighted those predictions I’ve done well with in previous years as you scroll downward.
Predictions for 2021
How did I do predicting 2020?
Once again, my New Years predictions last year didn’t quite hit the mark, I’m obviously not psychic. No Bernie Yang vs. Trump Gabbard – and I admit -that was a pretty wild prediction. Looking at 2020 though – it would have been some of the less wild things that happened. I was right about the roaring economy and thankfully I was wrong about Trump cheating his way to a win – at least so far. I think it’s fair to say that climate disasters did indeed rock our world but that was less a prediction than a certainty. I nailed it with the antitrust suits on the tech giants. I nailed it with Bitcoin. On some of the other things – I was jumping the gun a bit. I didn’t predict the pandemic – it changed things. Amazon didn’t spin off AWS and the race for Mars didn’t take off.I don’t think an animal became a new pop star and I don’t think a new internet or underground economy took off.
Let’s make some predictions for 2021 now
Trump will not concede. He will set up a shadow government at Mar a Lago and his loyal followers will begin making preparations for secession. He will have help from within the shadow government he has put in place during his awful tenure as POTUS.
Bernie and AOC and other Democratic Socialists will split with the DNC and form the first viable 3rd party in a hundred years. The DSA will have record enrollment from the left leaning progressive wing of the DNC.
The DNC itself will become a sort of haven for Neo-conservatives like the Lincoln Project and moderate Republicans as they distance themselves from Trump and his far right proto-fascist agenda. There will be high profile defections from the RNC to the DNC and from the DNC to the DSA.
Industrial automation within healthcare, food service, and transportation will knock (or keep) millions of Americans out of work. The movement to create a Universal Basic Income will grow as Biden’s promise to create 10-million jobs to slow down climate change becomes hard to fulfill due to crippling legislative gridlock.
Stock markets will continue to flourish while tens of millions more around the world fall into poverty. It will become more obvious than ever that poor people don’t own stocks and the health of market economies has nothing to do with the health of populations.
COVID-19 and the pandemic will be conquered. Life however, will not return to the pre-Covid normal in 2021.
China will officially surpass the USA as the world’s largest and most important economy. There will be flare ups as the two countries’ naval vessels inch closer to open conflict but no war between them in 2021.
The dollar and the pound will crash as Bitcoin, a digital Euro, and the Digital Yuan start to take on roles as the world’s reserve currencies. All three will soar.
Major hurricanes will strike Florida, Hawaii, and the Atlantic Seaboard. Record size typhoons will hit Japan and the Philippines. A major earthquake will happen in North Carolina and the largest earthquake on record will strike somewhere in the Pacific – hopefully far from inhabited places.
Facebook, Google, and Amazon will all be broken up either voluntarily or involuntarily. Tesla will spin off The Boring Company, Solar City, and Spacex – which should cause prices to drop on the parent company but instead will drive shares higher. Tesla will acquire Volkswagen.
Exxon will become the world’s largest environmental repair company and will divest from the majority of their fossil fuel holdings. They will use their technology to capture and store CO2 directly from the atmosphere. They will start to pull plastic from the oceans on an astounding scale.
The Saudi Royal family will be overthrown and Saudi Arabia will be rebranded as Arabia. (This one comes straight from Kim Stanley Robinson’s book Ministry for the Future – I love it.)
Natural gas from cattle and hog farms will actually become worth more when harvested than the animals themselves. Renewable Natural Gas Farms will actually become a thing.
The internet will be completely broken and unusable causing chaos – innovative technological stretching will bring a replacement in less than a month!
I’m sticking with my recurring prediction of an animal pop star taking the world by storm. It will happen someday, maybe 2021 is the year.
Predictions for 2020
Here are my predictions for 2020 – part fear, part hope, part visionary insight, part ridiculous
1) The economy will soar as Trump pulls out all the stops to give himself a huge re-election claim. 401ks will roar, records will be broken, regulations will be rolled back, hello Roaring 20s!
2) The biggest sector of the economy will be business services from banking to tech analytics. Start ups serving other start ups will be the vunderkind of the investor sector.
3) Andrew Yang will be one of the last Democrats standing but Bernie will get the nomination. His VP will be either Yang, Booker, or Warren.
4) In a surprise move Trump will fire Pence as his VP and take Tulsi Gabbard – the lone Democrat who did not vote to impeach him.
5) I’m predicting a US Presidential Race no one else sees coming Trump/Gabbard vs. Sanders/Yang – though ‘Sander’s Yang’ sounds like something only Bernie’s wife would want to see. Lol.
6) Sorry to say that Trump will win. He will cheat but he may not have to.
7) Trump will be impeached – again. 8) Climate disasters will rock the world.
9) A new form of ‘internet’ will appear – decentralized, non-commercial, free. My guess is that it will be based on radio and mesh-networks.
10) An animal will become a huge pop star
11) The race for Mars will kick off in a big way between China the USA
12) Antitrust against Amazon, Facebook, and Google – Amazon will break itself up by spinning AWS and possibly Prime Video as new companies.
13) Angry white guys will again kill people
14) The US surveillance state will kick into high gear with a sort of social capital system that claims to be free-er than the Chinese version
15) Bitcoin will soar to new highs and become a standard investment holding
16) A new sort of underground economy will start shaking things up.
I’m not going to predict any wars. Reality is stark enough without predicting new wars.
Predictions for 2019
The holidays are at an end (for the time being) and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the readers and followers of Vagorithm. Vagorithm was born from the idea that change is happening faster than we can recognize it. During the coming year, I will do my best to keep you up to date on the latest in technological, economic, political, social, and cultural change in the world around us. Both personally and professionally, I’ve declared 2019 to be ‘The Year of Change’.
Now that the holidays are through, I will resume my regular schedule of a new post each Thursday at 12 pm HST. Posts on this site will be focused on book reviews, forecasting, and looking more closely at political, economic, and cultural change as it happens around us. I will continue to monitor the world with the Vagorithm Index and will certainly make some changes to the algorithm as the year progresses.
As the year begins, we are in a deep rut which I fear may go deeper. From an all time high of 907 under President Obama’s leadership and vision, we have sunk to a near all time low of 271 with multiple countries around the globe seemingly ready to collapse, century old powerhouse corporations like General Electric, Sears, and Ford struggling to stay alive, and a global wealth disparity that is growing faster than at any time in the history of our species – so, we have some challenges ahead.
My predictions for 2019 are not hard to predict. I believe that multiple modern stable democracies are in danger of collapsing. I think that cryptocurrency will move faster on the pace of adoption than anyone expects after the big collapse of 2018. I worry that those who need the most protection in our world will suffer the most in the coming year. Finally, I think we are going to see big breakthroughs in gene-editing, self-driving electric vehicles, and industrial automation – those kiosks in McDonalds are going to be showing up everywhere.
Economically, I think the U.S. and Global Equities Markets have one big bubble ahead of them before a spectacular collapse and the U.S. Dollar is going to lose a lot of value before the year is done. Gold should approach the $2000 mark again with other metals following. We are going to start seeing the effects of workers being replaced by automation in 2019 and it’s not going to be pretty.
All of that being said – things are looking good for 2019. This is a year of new things being born and change coming hard. It won’t be easy, but there are huge opportunities for a better world in the next 365 days.
I have a number of predictions for 2019. They are worth considering in any event. First a fun one – I think that in 2019, celebrity stock and crypto traders will become the new celebrity chefs. In the past most notorious traders have either been criminals or niche market – I think this year they will go mainstream. Think in terms of Rachel Ray, Anthony Bourdain, and other chefs who made the leap to stardom from the nineties to the oughts.
Alright – moving on:
1) While it sounds hard to believe in light of the ridiculous predictions, the boom and the bust, and the bear market of 2018 – I believe that Bitcoin will end 2019 worth more than $100k per coin. Adoption is happening, regulation has not killed it, and bitcoin retains the advantage of being the most useful of all cryptocurrency – and the world financial system needs it.
2) The fragmentation of the internet into national and regional separate internets will continue. We will see distinct American, European, Chinese, Japanese, and African internets emerge – it’s my belief that the I2I communication this creates (internet to internet) is going to be where the most remarkable autonomous A.I developments take place in 2019.
3) The #metoo and #blacklivesmatter movements will grow in strength – large numbers of established white dudes will be taken down for offensive and toxic past behaviour. This will lead to a bit of a backlash and two distinct movements by white groups – one inclusive which attempts to show that not all white people are bad and one that is reactive and pushes back with negativity, hate and fear.
4) Impeachment proceedings and formal charges lie ahead of Donald Trump. To distract and rally his base he will either use Taiwan or Mexico to create a distraction.
5) Marijuana will be decriminalized in the USA – this will create massive debate about those incarcerated for marijuana offenses
6) The stock market will rally in the first two quarters of 2019 breaking previous all time highs and then crashing hard and fast in the third quarter.
7) Crypto markets will skyrocket and the price of Gold will approach $2k USD again in 2019. Both Facebook and Amazon will implement their own cryptocurrencies and start gradually accepting Bitcoin for payments.
8) Amazon share prices will soar going past $1.5 trillion USD as the full scope of Amazon’s investments in health, hospitality, and transportation become known.
9) A centrist third party will appear bridging the gap between the left leaning democrats and the fascist leaning Trumpists. They will field a viable third party candidate that appeals to broad swaths of both red and blue voters.
10) The automation of fast food, self driving cars, and other A.I. driven worker replacement strategies will accelerate in 2019 leaving record numbers of low skill workers with nothing but low paying options for employement.
Predictions for 2018
The sectors below are the sectors which are shaping the future.
1. Bioengineering and Genetic Engineering – At the moment, this sector is moving relatively slow in comparison with others because of the important regulation that constrains what would otherwise be volcanic growth. Our ability to change life itself is moving faster than the regulation can keep up. Not only does this affect things like disease and aging but also the ability to grow food, to repair(or destroy) the environment, and much more. Not only can we change the world, eventually when regulations are satisfied or bypassed, we will be changing ourselves and will no longer be Homo Sapiens of any kind.
2. Distributed Ledgers and Blockchain – IBM is doing amazing work with blockchain and food production – as well as many other sectors. While the jury may seem to be out on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – players behind the scenes are building the future of finance, ownership, and wealth. Do not underestimate the power of distributed ledgers to topple governments and corporations.
3. Renewable Energy – our world was built on fossil fuels. It was fossil fuels that gave the greatest wealth and power to men and nations. Now, like it or not, they are being phased out. Renewable energy on a massive scale is coming and it will being new power structures, new ways of living, and new problems.
4. Artificial Intelligence (and Augmented Intelligence). We already walk around with assistants in our pockets that know everything. The interfaces are getting better. Our brains no longer function like the brains of our grandparents but we still use the same structures – not for long. And then there is the singularity – A.I. will surpass our ability to do everything – and will make everything happen much much faster than it already is.
5. Industrial and Labor Automation. In all liklihood, you are going to lose your job. We are all going to lose our jobs. Things will become cheaper and information will become more expensive. Our entire concept of economics will have to undergo a radical transformation.
6. New Materials. Nano-carbon fibres, lab grown meat, more conductive materials, better building materials. A.I. and automation along with renewable energy sources and bioengineering will change the materials we use in almost every instance. Legacy materials will be like hand made woks, a luxury or oddity – not the norm.
7. Virtual Reality, Artificial Reality, Augmented Reality, Combined Reality. In the not too distant future, you won’t have to put on a headset to enter a virtual world and there is a pretty good chance that the virtual/artificial/augmented world will spill over into the ‘real’ world. Will your self driving car be able to crash into the giant billboard – no, because it won’t physically be there – but it will be there – as real as your cousin that you have only seen on Facebook for the past ten years.
These are the main factors that I’ve incorporated into the Vagorithm. There are a couple of other factors that seem important to me. Is this a financial tool? Maybe. Over time you may be able to use it to chart good entry and exit points for the stock/forex/crypto markets – but my main purpose in creating it and sharing it, is to be able to quantify the level of future that exists in the now over time. For what it’s worth – since I began keeping track of these factors (shortly after the election of 2016) – the level of innovation has decreased by 42%. So, by my reckoning – right now – we are in a period of doldrums when heavy resistance to technological and societal change is feeling it’s power. Ignorance is at its most powerful level since the McCarthy Era when people wore blinders and feared what they didn’t understand. The good news is – when the forces of ignorance are defeated – the level of change is going to be almost blinding in its speed.
I’ve introduced my Vagorithm Index previously, but it’s a good time to take a bit of a deeper dive into what it is looking at. Rather than focusing on a breadbasket of currencies, stocks, bonds, or economic indicators – the Vagorithm Index is built to indicate overall mental and cultural trends with regards to advances in technological adoption, societal inclusion, social justice, and distributed economic benefits. So, in a nutshell – when the Vagorithm Index moves higher – it means that we (humans as a whole) are progressing towards a sort of Star Trek Federation ideal where you can have your favorite food assembled in a kitchen gadget, where the color of your skin or other physical features don’t matter, and where life is valued over individual wealth. When the Vagorithm Index goes down, it means that we (humans as a whole) are moving backwards towards a more feudal state where dictators of nation states, entitled nobility, and the 1% get to do whatever they want to the rest of us.
But don’t worry…we are already far below the all time high of 908.13 (Nov 6, 2015) and still a little bit above the all time low of 318.84 (August 14, 2017). What does this mean? Well, it means that despite the crowing of the left over the ‘blue wave’ last week, that what progress was actually made is being sabotaged. Now, here is the thing – the left doesn’t actually want to live in a futuristic utopia…they want to live in a very similar economic world to the right – the difference is that the left acknowledges scientific evidence about climate change, the obvious roles of racism and sexism in power politics, and doesn’t tend to be as buffoonish when it comes to things like religion and sexuality. This is what gives the V.I. a boost when Dems win – the problem this time is that there is an entire camp within the democratic party who are every bit as dangerous as the Trump-know-nothings who are currently in charge – yes Hillary Clinton would have been a better option to Donald Trump, but she would still have driven the index lower if she continued to follow the neocon pathway laid out by her husband, the Bush’s, and Reagan.
It might seem strange to group Clintons, Bush’s, and Reagan together but they are one and the same. Trump is a completely different category. Obama was a completely different category though he followed much of the neocon playbook when it came to war, defense, and international relations – where he was different was on his domestic policies, his views towards science and technology, and his attitude towards religion and sexuality. So essentially, we have four parties in the USA.
Trumpism – essentially fascism and strong man politics based on fear, xenophobia, and racism
Neo-Conservatism – The politics of the Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, and the Clintons with a focus on corporate control of the military industrial government complex
Obamaism – Neocon Foreign Policy with Liberal Domestic Policy
Democratic Socialism – This is the domestic policies of Obama combined with a liberal foreign policy which has never been tried – this could be incredibly dangerous if it becomes evangelical in nature meaning if the Demsos want to export their world view.
Unfortunately, all of these are flawed because they all start from the basis of nationalism and the priority of one nation over all others. There is no viable political party in the USA which views the interests of all people with equality. Right now, there is a massive battle going on between the Neocons and the Demsos for control of the Democratic Party. It does not seem that there is anyone capable of the balancing act which Obama performed for eight years.
We are at an inflection point with a great unknown ahead of us. The unknown lies with the Democratic Socialists – they could lead us to a place of greatness or – if they are rash and can’t figure out how to navigate the ship of state in a safe manner – they could lead us to catastrophe. The next 60 days will be key in figuring out which of those things will take place.
Special Midterm Election Predictions:
Like everyone in the U.S. – I have become unecessarily stressed out over the election tomorrow – which is really stupid because I voted two weeks ago and the rest of it is out of my hands now. There is literally nothing I can do about what will happen. Unless you haven’t voted yet – there is nothing you can do. If there are people out there who haven’t made up their minds – maybe you can try to convince them to vote for your candidate – but good luck with that unless they already support your candidate or your candidate’s views – because the U.S. electorate is totally polarized and the U.S. system has completely failed anyway – so even if your candidates win or lose – it doesn’t really matter.
The Democrats and the Republicans are mostly owned by the same corporate interests. There is a narrow path that is acceptable to those corporate interests and candidates who deviate from that path will find themselves financially castrated or euthanized or isolated (because the rest of the elected officials walk the corporate line).
So, with all that being said – these are my predictions for the election tomorrow.
1) The Blue Wave Result There will be some big wins for Democrats and then there will be lots of crying foul by Republicans, cries of corruption, cries of election meddling, cries of voter irregularities, cries of criers crying – and then a big exhausting process of recounts and yelling and protests and things will take place. Of course, Mr. Big Mouth will get involved and then his brown shirt brigades will do some atrocious awful shit – like they’ve been doing the past two weeks – killing people, sending bombs, and awful deplorable things.
There probably won’t be any results overturned, but there will be enough questions raised to put shadows on any candidates who defeated fascist party candidates that their voices will be limited. The Democrats will cfy foul, but they’ll do it very politely. The stock markets will suffer some heavy losses before completely recovering and than imploding sometime in 2019.
2) The Red Wave Result The Russians, the North Koreans, the Trump machine, and the other forces of evil already have complete control and the expected blue wave will be destroyed. ACA will be gutted, more tax breaks, big wall built, war with Mexico, slaughter of the migrant train, concentration camps in former shopping malls, and maybe slavery will be reinstated. The stock markets will rocket straight up and then a cultural revolution will begin where the educated, liberal, and multi-cultural elites will be rounded up and slaughtered.
3) The Purple Wave Result Democrats make minor gains and take the house, Republicans keep the Senate. Minor version of Blue Wave Result. Nothing really changes. We move closer one step at a time to becoming the worst country in the history of humans. Stock markets rally until the next crisis of whatever nature.
As you can see – I no longer think positve results are possible for the United States. Personally, I’ve lost faith in the American people and the American Dream. But, I still hold out hope for one result.
4) The Tech Rebellion Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tesla, IBM and the rest of the tech companies on the West Coast and the Northeast decide they’ve had enough and use their amazing power to bring about a secession from the USA. The West Coast, Hawaii, New York etc declare a Tech States of the U.S. and start the world’s first Techocracy and tell all the old white politicians to go fuck themselves.
Happy Voting and Good Luck.
This was the prediction I made in October of 2018 about the 2nd American Civil War:
When I was in gradeschool during the 1970s and 1980s – it was fascinating to look at the American Civil War. What made it so fascinating was the unthinkable concept of ‘brother versus brother’- my teachers, my classmates, and me – none of us could imagine political ideologies so strong that they could rip families apart and cause brothers to shoot guns at brothers. It was simply unthinkable and thus – fascinating. It remained unthinkable throughout my life – until the election of 2016.
When I say it was unthinkable, what I mean is that I couldn’t conceive of any cause or concern that would create enough animosity between Americans that they would risk ripping up our 200+ years of democracy and take up arms against each other. Sure, there were stark differences about the environment, labor, corporatism, civil rights, and things like abortion – but only a small fringe of nutcases actually took these differences to a violent level. It was rare to hear about families who no longer talked to one another over their political differences.
It’s not rare anymore. We may not (yet) have brothers taking up arms against one another, but there are countless families where people no longer speak to each other, friendships have ended, people have moved to different regions because of political concerns (my family did) and never since the 1850s has there been such polarization in the United States of America. We may be bound together by our government, but we are no longer united. And that’s just the way it is.
More than anything – the division seems to be about the power of Christian white people in the United States. One camp feels that Christian white people are being disempowered unfairly and the other side sees the playing field as being leveled as disempowered people of color, LGBQT, women, latinos, and non-Christians are given an equal voice in determining who and what the USA is. It’s not a coincidence that the major Trump policies have been about empowering white ‘prosperity’ Christians and disempowering immigrants, Muslims, women, Asians, African Americans, the poor, LGBQT, Latinos, and other groups that rose in political power during the Obama years.
I am not saying that this is a strictly racial divide. It’s a religious divide as well. It’s also a profits versus people divide as one side believes that as long as business prospers the citizens will do well and the other side believes that the government’s primary objective should be to take care of citizens directly. But mostly, all of that is a bit like saying the civil war wasn’t about slavery but about state’s rights versus federal rights – it’s true, but the civil war was mostly about slavery – we all know that. The next civil war will be about white privilege. Since the colors have already been assigned – we can say that instead of blue vs. grey or North vs. South – the next civil war will be Red vs. Blue and unfortunately for the blue side – there is no cohesive geographic area. If anything it seems to be a Northeast Coast and West Coast vs. Interior and South.
In general, it’s something like the 2018 map of state legislatures:
So, what sets it off? Personally, I think the John Brown moment will be the moment that Donald Trump refuses to give up power if he loses the 2020 election or retains power through 2024 or gets impeached. I don’t believe he has any intention of stepping down. His refusal to step down will cause the State of California to secede. This will cause chaos as there are a number of important U.S. bases in California. What happens in that situation? Do all the California loyal troops rise up and take the bases? Are the Californian troops on those and other bases rounded up and put in camps? Does the U.S. evacuate California? Do the troops turn on each other? I have no idea. It’s almost inconcievable except that the catalyst event is not hard to imagine. It’s such a confusing situation that it’s not hard to imagine shots being fired as U.S. troops and California loyal troops try to navigate through the situation.
I believe that Hawai’i, Oregon, and Washington would quickly side with California. It’s not unthinkable that Illonois, Massachussets, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, and Maryland would follow. Politically, the city of Washington D.C. is much more aligned with blue states but since it is the U.S. capital and currently held by Red – it could easily be a major flash point. None of it would be as simple as this. From Redding, California all the way up to Eugene, Oregon and everything east of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada – this is all deeply red territory. Cities like Miami, Atlanta, and Austin are solid blue.
So, the flashpoints and battle fields are probably going to be military bases in blue territories and areas like those mentioned above where red people are in blue territory or blue people are in red territory. If actual hostilities break out – red sympathizers will quickly form ad-hoc militias. It’s no secret that most of the anti-government, gun hoarding, militia forming preppers are either vocal Trump supporters or at the least fundamental Christians with sympathy towards white nationalism. These folks won’t wait for orders. They’ve been waiting and training for decades. The Northern California/Southern Oregon region would probably quickly secede from California and create their long desired State of Jefferson.
So, here’s the big question. How ugly does it get? Fire fights in the streets of Sacramento? Bombs from F-18s leveling the skyline of Los Angeles? Washington D.C. in flames? One side using nuclear weapons? Yes, that’s a very real danger in an American Civil War. The militias might be the biggest danger of escalation.
So, all of that is conjecture. The hard and fast truth of the matter is that we have reached a point – in 2018 where it no longer seems impossible that brothers would take up arms against one another. The college educated brother in the city versus the brother who stayed on the farm. The brother who goes to church versus the brother who is agnostic. The brother who votes Republican versus the brother who doesn’t.
God help us all.
Predictions for 2017
2017 is going to be an interesting year. I’ve given up on trying to predict what is going to happen – or at least that’s what I tell myself. I can’t help it though…playing the predict the future game is too much fun. It’s like a slot machine, you usually lose, but when you win – even a little, you want to do it again. And when you win big…well, that’s when you are in danger of losing it all. So, here is my prediction… in about two weeks all hell is going to break loose. The enemies of the USA (and we have lots of them because of the way we’ve been meddling in the affairs of the world for the past 75 years) are going to hit us from all sides shortly after Trump is inaugurated. Since Trump has more or less fired every Obama appointee from the moment he takes the oath, there has never been a moment when we have been more vulnerable. Since he has not been getting security briefings and has refused to acknowledge the reality of our national security, he is uniquely positioned to fuck everything up in a crisis. Within days of his taking office we can expect attacks within the US and upon US interests outside of the US. We can expect cyber attacks that will cripple our banking, electric grid, and information systems. The economy is going to get slaughtered. Foreign enemies will use this state of confusion to undermine the goals of the USA abroad in places like Ukraine, the South China Sea, Iraq, Europe, and the Korean Peninsula. And then….well, isn’t that enough? So there is my all in prediction. If it doesn’t happen, I’m happy wrong. If it happens, I’m psychic and right (but not happy). Either way, there it is. Here are a few more predictions for 2017 – Dick Cheney will come out of the shadows. A nuclear bomb will destroy an urban area. The internet will let us know it is awake and aware (I believe it already is, but is keeping it from us). A billionaire will be kidnapped and murdered. A virus will wipe out the entire US chicken supply. A millennial movement advocating violence towards baby-boomers will shock the internet and go global. And finally, a cat will record a grammy winning song with Yanni.
That’s it. Have a great year. Be safe, be cool, don’t be surprised. See ya later.
Predictions for 2016 – Somehow I lost these. Bummer.
Predictions for 2015
Once again – I’ll try my hand at predicting the future – and once again I’d like to start by telling you that if you want to know the future – you have to go there.
My predictions for 2014 weren’t all that close – but I did score a few hits. Let’s look at those first:
1)A Duck Dynasty party called ‘Quackers’ did not form.
2)Gold did indeed drop but not to the $700 I had predicted.
3)There were several crazed gunmen but none attacked the supreme court.
4)Syria’s civil war DID spread into Turkey and surrounding areas most notably into Iraq with ISIS – but not significantly into Lebanon.
5)Obamacare did fail, but not formally as predicted
6)Miley Cyrus did not overdose
7)California did not conduct a tax revolt against the USA
8) The internet did not wake up and call everyone on their cellphones.
9) America was not won over by a homeless singer
10) My predicted Twitter religion did not appear and dominate as I predicted.
Now – on to my predictions for 2015
1) This will be the year of the “American Fall” – there will be a serious attempt at disunion in the USA come autumn
2) The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) will make dramatic advances in Lebanon, into Baghdad, and also into North Africa via Libya and Algeria.
3) North Korea will detonate a nuclear missile on a Pacific island – most likely the uninhabited islands north of Japan
4) The price of gold will drop below $700 before autumn and then rebound above the $2200 threshhold before year’s end
5) A reality video game show where contestants compete live for top tier position will make it to the airwaves and become the entertainment phenomonon of 2015
6) The internet will wake up and give a very dramatic “Hello World!” speech
7) A secret Russia, China, Iran, Syria, and Turkey military and economic alliance will be revealed.
8) Amazon.com will be subject to a number of anti-trust suits from cable television providers, retailers, and the music industry
9) A major airline disaster will happen as a result of unregulated drones in a major U.S. urban area
10) The cost of milk will go up nearly 300% by year’s end. This will be a huge problem for those looking for a cheap latte or those with many youngsters.
That’s it – As always – the best way to see the future is to go there – so let’s wait and see.
Predictions for 2014
If you want to know the future, you’ve got to go there. Vago Damitio’s predictions for 2014 are for your enjoyment only . Any investments or life changing decisions should only be made after doing your own due diligence.
Today is the last day of 2013. I made a number of predictions over the course of the last few years and to be honest, I’m usually pretty far off the mark. The reason for that is that I like to make HARD predictions – not the easy kind like ‘Your shoelaces will come undone” or “Iran will cause problems” or “Someone you love will suffer some hardship.”
My predictions will prove without a doubt that I am looking into the future with supernatural abilities. Of course, if you are to judge by my predictions of 2011 or predictions of 2012 or even predictions of 2013 – I’m not seeing very clearly. In fact, unless you argue things very broadly, one could even say that I’m not seeing the future at all. Of course, that’s what THEY want you to believe. Have a look and decide for yourself.
Without further ado….
1) A ‘Duck’ Party will win seats in congress. Members will wear long beards proudly and wear camouflage suits. They will make the Tea Party look intelligent and liberal. Members of congress will literally start to quack.
2) Gold will drop to $700 per ounce or less in 2014 . Silver will drop to $11 per ounce.
3) A crazed bug out gunman with an AR-15 will attack the Supreme Court. His manifesto will bring broad based support among quackers.
4) Syria’s civil war will spread into both Lebanon and Turkey. Israel will get involved and commit the worst atrocities since Hiroshima.
5) ‘Obamacare’ will completely fail as the majority of Americans refuse to sign up and those who have signed up realize they are put on the bottom of the emergency waiting list because their insurance is the last to reimburse them.
6) Miley Cyrus will overdose and almost die, when she recovers she will dedicate her life to Jesus and change her slutty ways. Billy Ray Cyrus will still support her decisions.
7) California will allow citizens to pay federal taxes directly to the state, but then default on paying the bill to the Federal government.
8) The Internet will wake up and call everyone with a smart phone at once on August 23, 2014
9) A homeless singer will win the hearts of America and the world with her beautiful voice and youtube videos.
10) A new major religion will be born on Twitter. It will attract more converts than any religion has ever gained in one year.
Predictions for 2013 – These are also sadly missing.
Predictions for 2012
Despite the dire predictions of doomsayers, I’m pretty sure that 2012 isn’t going to mean the end of the world. In fact, I don’t even think that world travel is going to end, though I suspect that the costs of travel are going to go up significantly by year’s end.
Where did the predictions go?
Predictions for2009-2011 – I know I did these, but where did they go?
Predictions for 2008
It turns out that Obama has clinched the nomination so my theory that they would give it to Clinton, piss off the Obama supporters, and then let McCain win seems to have been wrong. I’m happy to have been wrong on this one. As to my predictions about gold reaching $1600 by the end of summer…well, it looks like I was wrong on that one too. Once again, I get to learn that I am not a psychic.
The web is full of great travel blogs, travel stories, travel photos and travel videos – the hard part is finding them. I curate the best travel stories I find
While these aren’t necessarily my first choices, I”ve been to most of these cities and found them all to be fantastic. It’s a great list from Around the World L 8 Places to Live Around the World
This post from trans-americas was not only an enjoyable read but was about one of those things on my bucket list, fly fishing. Isla Hobla looks like the right place for me to take it up and learn the ropes, don’t you think?
This was one of my favorite finds of the week just for the sheer awesome oddness of it. I mean, who would think to make a hammock out of crushed beer cans and then say it’s comfortable…but I believe them.
This is a particularly nice page of hammocks – This one of a couple in a single line tree hanging hammock just speaks incredible volumes, but you have to wonder who the voyeur watching them was.
Long ago I met a beautiful woman from Uruguay in Waikiki – we had dinner, took some moonlit walks on the beach and she told me about her country which I had never really thought about before. This article might get you thinking about Uruguay, though probably not with the same thoughts I had.
Finally, I have to admit, I like the collectivist nature of this site and what it is saying. http://indietravel.org/
I wrote these books so people could read them – I’ve made a little bit of
money with them through the years (very little, but hey, that wasn’t the point) now and in the coming days – I think it’s very likely that people might find themselves with lots of time on their hands. So, I’ve decided to go ahead and gift my work to the world. Whether it’s a very good gift or not, I can’t really say for sure – but these books represent many hours of my life – and I hope you enjoy them. I’ll post them here on Vagobond and elsewhere in time.
I absolutely adore this place. It’s filled with funky bookshops, boats, quirky cafes, and plenty of people that fit into that scene. I arrived and met my couchsurfing host at the restaurant she works at “Sillys”. I had a very delicious Thai chicken pizza and then my lovely couchsurfing host Allison wouldn’t let me pay for it!
In 2008, I left Hawaii in the midst of the great recession. My entire life changed as a result. One of my early stops after I had crossed America by train was the city of Valencia in Spain.
Valencia is a city known the world over for the Oranges that bear its name. And yet, most Valencia Oranges come from Southern California – or so I thought until a bit of research indicated that most now come from Florida. And did they originate in Valencia, Spain? Nope. They originally came from India. Who knew?
Its name comes from the city of Valencia, Spain, known through history for its sweet orange trees, originally from India. The patented orange hybrid was later sold by William Wolfskill to the Irvine Ranch owners, who would plant nearly half of their lands to its cultivation. The success of this crop in Southern California led to the naming of Orange County, California. The Irvine Company’s Valencia operation later split from the company and became Sunkist. Cultivation of the Valencia in Orange County had all but ceased by the mid-1990s due to rising property costs from urban sprawl, which drove most of what remained of the Southern California juice orange industry into Florida and Brazil.
Almost two months on the road. I’ve been from Honolulu to Portland to Sacramento to Salt Lake City to Ogden and back to Salt Lake City to Chicago by way of Denver to Boston to Providence to Lena’s town to New York City to Barcelona to Valencia and now going to head to Alacante.
Valencia is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain after Madrid andBarcelona, with around 809,000 inhabitants in the administrative centre. It is the 23rd most populous municipality in the European Union. Valencia is also Spain’s third largest metropolitan area, with a population ranging from 1.7 to 2.3 million. The Port of Valencia is the 5th busiest container port in Europe and the largest on theMediterranean Sea, with a trade volume of 4.21 million TEU’s.
Now, the country. Spain is remarkable. The bars don’t really start happening until midnight. From noon to about five pm most everything is closed. As I travel from East to West I start to see California everywhere I look only instead of adobe missions, I see huge stone castles and massive block apartment buildings built around narrow lanes. The water of the Mediterranean is the same incredible blue of the water in the Philippines.
The craggy mountains and yellow stone with brightly painted houses on rocky ground excites me. The cultures all seem to be individualistic, as if this were some nation cobbled together from many tribes Catalan, Valencian, Basque, and Spanish and yet, they are all a part of this incredible country that discovered the new world, or at least made the horrific contact and then proceeded to dominate, decimate, and reshape the cultures there.
From the gypsies I saw playing accordion and fiddle on the train to the musician/beggars who stand guard with palms out in front of the churches to the celebration of South American dance I wandered upon my first night in Valencia, there is a vibrancy to this culture that is perhaps best summed up by the concept of memento mori, the idea of something to remind one that death is perhaps not as far away as we may think it to be.
I can see this idea in the works of Picasso, Gaudi, and Miro but even in the way that my Spanish friends seem to live their lives. There is a feeling that seems to say that one must spend the last dollar, catch the siesta now, or love the woman of your dreams in this moment because the moment might be taken from one at any time. I think this is perhaps what most resonates with me here in Spain, this idea of carpe diem or living the present moment to the fullest.
Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC. The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea. Its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain, with approximately 169 acres; this heritage of ancient monuments, views and cultural attractions makes Valencia one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Major monuments include Valencia Cathedral, the Torres de Serranos, the Torres de Quart, the Llotja de la Seda (declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996), and the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Sciences), an entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela.
As to my language studies, they are somewhat hopeless it seems. As I learn Spanish it is corrupted by my little French, then there is the Spanish as spoken by Italianos and Catalans. A guy in Valencia told me that the Spanish lisp (Buenath Notcthes) is the result of a king they once had who had a lisp and everyone in the country decided to speak like him. In any event, my Spanish vocabulary is growing, but confused and when I tried to speak Arabic to the Moroccans at the less than spectacular Pension Milano, I found that it is locked up for the moment in an inacessable part of my brain. As I start to access it, my vulgar spanish becomes corrupted by Arabic as well….
Cest la vie. Que sais. Al hamdallah.
The Museu de Belles Arts de València houses a large collection of paintings from the 14th to the 18th centuries, including works by Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya, as well as an important series of engravings by Piranesi. The Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (Valencian Institute of Modern Art) houses both permanent collections and temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and photography.
At this point, I have considered to discard my coffee cup and French press several times. I like the invention, but it seems unnecessary since coffee is one thing that is readily available and cheap. I’ve not used it nor my metal water bottle yet in Europe, but I have the feeling that as soon as they are gone, I will find myself wanting them maybe one more week and then I can get rid of the cup and press. They are easily replaceable and they haven’t been used on this trip yet at all, the water bottle it is more useful and I will keep it. (future note: both have been incredibly useful and are still with me 3 years later)
The city of Science and Technology was amazing to see, but was it worth the cost? Valencia is integrated into an industrial area on the Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast). Valencia’s main festival is the Falles. The traditional Spanish dish, paella, originated in Valencia.
The buses are more expensive between cities than I expected, I think this may be to the rise in gas prices last summer. 20-30 Euros for each leg so far. The ferry to Morocco should be about the same. Accommodation runs 10-20 euros each night in the hostels and pensions.
As for couch surfing, it isn’t really so much a way to save money as to meet new people and make new friends. If I hadn’t of couch surfed in Barcelona, I would have spent far less, but the experience would also have been far less. To be a good couch surfer, I think one should provide something to ones host, a bottle of wine, beers, a meal…something. Perhaps I am too generous, but this seems a small price to pay for the generosity I have recieved from my hosts.
Two months into this and almost 1/3 of my funds are gone. Yikes. We will see..the time will pass and the road will have its way with me as it always does. The lessons learned will be more than to simply be able to get by in other regions of the world, it will be more like how to get by in this life.
Once I hit Turkey, I will examine the prediction a client of mine once made to me when I was a stock broker. He said something like “Your destiny is to manage a guest house on the banks of the Bosphorus” , perhaps he was right, but if not then I will move on to India and then most likely to Korea to teach English… there is a lot of road between here and there though….
After several years off the internet – Vagobond is back. I started Vagobond back in 2008 after graduating from the University of Hawaii. Vagobond and I travelled all over the world. I separate us because while I am Vagobond (aka Vago), Vagobond.com became something of it’s own. A community of writers, travellers, photographers, and friends. In 2016, amid massive internet wide hacks – Vagobond was hacked and infected with a huge number of viruses which were then being distributed outwards to the community we had built, new friends, and strangers. It was not good. So I made the decision to remove Vagobond.com from the internet for a while. During the time the site was offline, my family and I moved back to where it all began – the Hawaiian Islands also known throughout the world as paradise found.
I never really had the chance to share Hawaii with the world while I was travelling – I was too busy taking in and sharing the wonders of other places. So it seems fitting that now that I’m back home and Vagobond.com is back on the internet – that I start out sharing the only place that has ever felt like home to me.
E Komo Mai – Welcome to Vagobond. We will have many journeys together but for me, all things begin in Hawaii.
Here’s a nice surprise. Tripbase has selected Vagobond as one of the Award winners for all travel blogs this year. Here is the email I just recieved:
I am pleased to inform you that Vagobond has been chosen to receive a Tripbase 2011 Blog Award.This year our panel of judges reviewed hundreds of sites from across the Internet before hand-selecting the best ten for each travel category. Your site is among these elite ranks.
I would like to congratulate you on your continued hard work and achievement in winning a Tripbase Award – this year, the awards have been featured in CNBC, CBS and AOL News. Well done once again, and keep up the great work.
And then on their site:
Our judges have worked tirelessly to capture the very essence of informative travel. One of the main reasons why we travel – and one of the first symptoms of wanderlust – is the fascination we feel towards far-off lands. The panel studied a shortlist of over four hundred blogs and eventually came up with these gems for the Informative Travel category of the Tripbase Awards.
We understand that not everybody just wants to sleep on a beach and go swimming when they go on holiday, so this category celebrates the types of holiday where the objective is to learn as much about the destination as possible. Places where the history and the culture are there for the traveler to absorb, without the niceties and the cocktails of a traditional holiday resort. We’ve had to whittle the number down to just these last entrants which represent the most interesting and the most informative holidays that the world has to offer.
We’ve established the leading commentators and the best resources for you to use before you take a holiday with a difference. We’ve found that although there are the usual suspects in terms of destination – Greece, Rome, South America, the Middle East, Africa, Russia and Scandinavia – how much you learn actually depends on how you travel and where you visit.
As such, these blogs detail how you can get the most out of your travelling experience without forking out for a private guide. Even if you have your family with you, these blogs have won awards because they can show you around the world.
So that feels pretty good. Just a bit of recognition goes a long way, even if they did spell it Vagogond on their site and the main purpose is to get me to link there.