On Related Matters

If anyone watches three seasons of “The Tudors” within a week, well, I imagine that they too might be contemplating topics such as these.

One can’t help but notice, in this rather historically accurate version of King Henry VIII’s life, the endless procession of priests and bishops worming themselves into the Court, to scheme.

Drunk with power, they look everywhere to root out heresy. Henry’s Church of England occupied a kind of middle ground between Catholicism and Protestantism, and so clergy members took turns accusing one another, and members of the Court, of being the Papist agents of a foreign power or, equally damning, Lutheran and Calvinist heretics. Many a head was separated from its body on the chopping block.

The Tudors series really made a ritual of this dramatization, so much so that they played with variation. The best was when anti-Cromwell agents got the executioner drunk before Thomas Cromwell’s execution, and the blurry eyed axe man really made a mess of it.

And then there is Henry VIII himself, and true, while definitely the best dressed man this side of the Magna Carta, and an all around badass, actually believed something that appears numerous times in the Bible: The Divine Right of Kings.

From 1Peter (2:13-14):

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors…”

Then there is Romans (13:1-2):

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”

Fortunately, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, and Europe’s experience with fascism all put an end to this historical abomination of the rulers having some kind of divine right. Imagine Hitler as divinely ordained… Fortunately, now the prevailing view in the West is that there is no inherent connection between rulers and gods.

The thing is, the Divine Right of Kings is a totalizing doctrine, ultimately leaving no room (just as Henry VIII left no room) for natural rights or natural law. When a jury member objected to Lord Surrey’s kangaroo trial, he was told “the law is what the king says it is.”

The Divine Right of Kings appears numerous times in the Bible. That fact should require that book’s most strident fans (especially American Christians, many of whom believe that each letter of each word is correct) to explain why most other things written there are not bullshit, too.

Now for something

completely different…

What does it mean that so many Americans are searching for online information on “Hell”? Apparently this is one of the most common web searches in the US, especially in the places that are “hardest” to live in. Zerohedge.com recently had a long article about the most common searches, and Hell ranked right up there (or right down there, depending).

As per Wikipedia: “In many mythological, folklore and religious traditions, hell is a place of eternal torment in an afterlife, often after resurrection. It is viewed by most Abrahamic traditions as a place of punishment.”

It seems that many Christians are divided as to whether Hell is a real place or some kind of symbol. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Hell exists, if not below the Earth’s crust then as an extra-dimensional realm in which the damned are tormented, just as in Dante’s Inferno, and perhaps where they are so packed in, and so burning with heat, so scorched and hairless, that there is no rest, and where these souls cannot see into our world – except to see people who might see them, who might jailbreak them. Right out of the movies, right?

I recently spent time talking about Hell with a post-modern Christian philosopher, over Chinese beer, crackers and spicy peanuts, overlooking a pond stuffed with fat orange carp. He is a true scholar (and a gentleman actually) who made the interesting argument that Hell exists, but that people are not condemned to an eternity in the flames, just long enough to represent fit punishment for their sins. After that period, their souls would be “annihilated.”

Otherwise, he claimed, God would be acting in an “illogical” fashion, as an eternity in hell is no match for any amount of sins committed in this world, let alone for the minor theological infractions and victimless sexual proclivities that are supposed to send people to Hell.

His solution also addressed the problem of “omni-benevolence,” for clearly, any deity leaving human souls in a furnace for an eternity would not, in fact, be benevolent but rather malicious: a true psychopath.

Furthermore, how odd it would be, would it not, that humans have evolved standards of justice (let the punishment fit the crime; no cruel punishment) that are higher and more enlightened than those of the deity doing the “judging.” This philosopher’s solution gets around those interesting arguments.

Another observation, regarding Hell, is that most Abrahamic traditions posit “free will” among humans, and that people are making autonomous “choices” for the good and the bad. Choices that will send them on an elevator ride up or down, depending.

And here comes the contradiction… Even in the Abrahamic religions, there is perpetual intervention and interference in the affairs of this world (divine and satanic, not only physical intervention but also mental and dream-state intrusions, telepathic stalking, etc.., all the angels and demons stuff). I’m not making this up; it’s all right in the mainstream religious tradition.

Arguably, every intervention diminishes free will, diminishing also the rationale for judging humanity. And is not human behavior so contextualized, so socially constructed, as to also diminish individual free will? Then on what basis are we to be judged? As isolated units? When we are not?

Moreover, and this is more important of an argument: there are even strains of early Christianity – and this is certainly found within Buddhism – where there is just one human soul, one consciousness, or one mind at the higher, more charged dimensions; but the illusion of individuality would then materialize in this world (as the argument runs, take it or leave it), in our low-rent district, run by the slumlords who carted in “Hell” (hacking into cosmic natural law) about 12,000 years ago, as part of their travelling circus.

The distinction above (made by the philosopher) points to a difference between “ultimism,” which posits a non-personal cosmic force, or even a unified consciousness; and “theism” or “deism” which posits a personal god, with the deity in the Abrahamic religions representing the highest force (even though perhaps mid-level commanders of just this quadrant, from which the bulk of humanity has not been emancipated).

So, this philosopher and I, around and around we went, occasionally flipping crackers into the pond. He was more informed and eloquent than I was, while I was more surprising (to him) than people he normally debated, so at least there was that.

Geography 101

There has been month after month of reporting (mostly sensationalized and exaggerated), about economic refugees coming across the US border with Mexico… In reality, the overwhelming majority of these people, including children, are detained soon after crossing the border, and that is even the intent, for minors.

Unfortunately, this all conditions Americans into thinking that the border is more porous than it really is, perhaps conditioning them as well to accept an “ISIS” explanation for a potential attack on the US. Never mind, for the time being, that ISIS was seeded by American taxpayers, as part of the “let’s now be BFF with Al Qaeda to overthrow Syria” campaign. All this borderland news; now it’s starting to make sense. The raison d’être, that is.

But the only people making sporadic forays into the US (before being detained) are Mexican and Central American migrants, or would-be migrants, with a few from South America and the Caribbean.

It is not possible for a Middle Easterner (especially those with suspected terrorist backgrounds) to arrive in Mexico (up from Central America even), without being detected. Why?

Flying into an airport in Central America or Mexico (from other points in South America or from Europe), is just like flying into an airport in the US, such as Atlanta’s. All the international monitoring and surveillance systems are in place, integrated with American and European ones, and often with US personnel on hand.

Bin Laden’s fifth cousin is not going to land at Tocumen Airport in Panama, unnoticed, and then work his way North.

This fact is true in Mexico and its airports, where there are many US authorities present. (But they no longer have a seat at the chair of the more sensitive meetings, having conducted operations in Mexico that were not only unauthorized but also botched).

Let’s talk about the direct flights from the Middle East, or Africa, into Central America or Mexico:


Travelers originating in the Middle East or Africa must first fly through London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, or Madrid. And that is mostly for Mexico. Most Central American countries have zero flights to or from Europe. Maybe Costa Rica does, and certainly Panama (from Amsterdam for example).

The next question is this: If there is an “ISIS” attack on US soil, will the Mexican authorities go along with the ruse, with an Operation Gladio false-flag operation? Or will it simply keep its mouth shut, as it has in the past?

The Cuckoo’s Nest

Multiple spokespeople in Washington are striding to the podium. Not far away, people at the Council on Foreign Relations also weigh in heavily, but mostly in their leather armchairs.

This chorus is declaring that US forces have the right to attack ISIS within Syrian borders without the approval of the Syrian government.

None of these people, back in college, ever made it on time (if at all) to their classes in International Law 101. If they had, they would have learned that – short of an outright attack on a nation, or a realistic “imminent threat” thereof – only the UN Security Council can decide upon these matters.

Article 39:

“The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

Not only are Washington’s stooges usurping the powers of the UN Security Council but they are also granting themselves powers that not even the Security Council has – namely, to declare a particular government to be illegitimate (in this case Syria), a member of the UN General Assembly.

Under international law, the US and Syria share the same “sovereign equality,” and neither has the authority to make any official or meaningful pronouncements on the legitimacy of the other. So, in the case of Syria, the US has no standing (especially because some of the puppet masters are not standing, but rather sitting in their armchairs).

The lunatics are running the asylum.

Go East Young Man

There is a tsunami of young westerners coming into China, filling an ESL job market that is as hot as Japan was 30 years ago and South Korea was 15 years ago.

The link here displays the many jobs that come online on a daily basis. Scroll down the page to see the jobs.


Many of the incoming English teachers, from the US, Canada, England and Australia, are quite convinced that their economic future lies in the East. Some teachers return home at the end of the year, but many stay on.

Among these young expats, quite a few (more than one would think) have basically renounced the western economic system, which is obviously going nowhere, with extremely high youth unemployment and a growing Orwellian state determined to help banks and corporations squeeze the last remaining profits from the sponge. Many of these young people are quite articulate about their dissatisfaction, which is at a higher level for the Americans (50/50) than for the others.

And, while of course the Internet is modulated everywhere (just try opening a youku video in America, to no avail), there is arguably more real-life personal freedom in China, where there is a vibrant street life: food stalls everywhere; people playing cards on the sidewalks; extremely relaxed traffic rules; no leash laws for pets (plenty of dogs walking around on their own, visiting, chuckin’ along); no real drinking age – in fact one can drink a beer and walk around unmolested (unless one is obviously drunk and bothering people). And for people who bat for another team, well, one’s orientation is like being right- or left-handed, meaning no one really gives a shit, as it should be.

Back in the US, especially, the country suffers from the tragedy of having no street life outside a few choice neighborhoods in a few choice cities. Walk a dog without a leash and someone will call 9-11. Drink a beer in public and get arrested.

In the words of one young foreign woman here, “I don’t feel the communism,” which a humorous statement no matter how one looks at it.

Back in the US, many Americans look at China through the eyes of Fox News, CNN, or the Tea Party, which aim to distract Americans from the fact that life is being drained from its society.

Cable shows

Fortunately, youku.com (whose specific shows are blocked by the Great American Firewall) slaps up the most recent episodes of the cable shows, allowing me to power through Suits… Louis Litt will triumph…

Also, I had not realized that Breaking Bad had ready the second half of the last season. That morality tale completes itself, with Walter paying the price (technically killed by his own hand and, worse, disgraced in the eyes of his own family), and Jesse always the survivor.

Still waiting for the new season of Bates Motel

Justified was also very good, but in the last season the show “jumped the shark” at some point. Probably when so many criminals, their thick files on the desk at the Marshals office, remain free… It began to feel a little unrealistic.

I made it through several seasons of the Tudors, a good series but better to take in slowly, since the story covers decades. Nice reptilian costumes, which periodically drop to the floor, victim of the passion between the sexes.

The Bridge is also a fine series, closer to my previous life living on the US-Mexico border, crossing it almost daily, first in Matamoros-Brownsville and then in Mexicali-Calexico. The Bridge is set in El Paso/Juarez, part of my route.


Deja Vu

It’s the same formula. Western agencies spend years pumping up Islamic extremists in the Middle East and then complain about the big bad wolf they helped create.

This was the case in Afghanistan, where “freedom fighters” morphed into the Taliban. This is also the case in Syria, where western agencies pumped up contingents of the Free Syrian Army, and their Al Qaeda affiliates, as admitted in congressional testimony. What was it the Council on Foreign Relations said? That the movement to overthrow Assad “needs Al Qaeda now”

The overall strategy in Syria – then and now – was to end the Assad government and Balkanize the Middle East, thus perhaps allowing for a new kind of configuration, one that might provide the much-desired tinder for World War III.

After years of helping Islamic extremists in Syria, Washington and its allies have decided that a spin-off group (ISIS or ISIL or whatever wig it wears today) has beheaded one too many people. Even though, in reality, these groups (like those in Libya) are armed with heavy machine guns on Toyota pick-up trucks, all the top brass back in the West is depicting them as a threat of monstrous proportions. War of the Worlds kind of stuff.

This climate would allow, once again, a synergy between rogue extremists and deep state actors to pull off another 911 style attack. Even short of that, the usual suspects back in DC (and I don’t mean the people whose names make the papers), are wringing their hands in anticipation. There they plot, bloated with self importance, using the ISIS/ISIL bogeyman to erase international borders. Bombing ISIS in Iraq was applauded, and now the same arguments will be transferred to Syria. Was that the plan all along? Use the crisis as cover for regime change in Syria.

Unfortunately, it seems as if there is no real actor in the international system to call them out on any of this, much less to stop it. People everywhere will either be standing and applauding or sitting patiently in the audience, doing what they always do, doing what they do best: watching.


It is interesting how many movies and television shows in the US use automobiles, including pick-up trucks, that date to the 1980s and early 1990s.

Why do producers use these vehicles so consistently? Did cars resemble cars more back then? Why are contemporary characters riding around in vehicles from back in the day?

Is there some kind of cult, operating behind the scenes, that enjoys manipulating symbols and cultivating memes that much?

The more one notices, the more one notices…

To Assange or not to Assange,

That is the question…

After a few years of claustrophobic confinement in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Julian Assange will simply walk out.

Here, this simply states the obvious. The possibilities include a) that nothing will happen whatsoever; b) that he will be detained an extradited to Sweden, to face politically-motivated questioning, and where, possibly, the Swedes will prepare him for extradition to the US (they probably would, since they answer to the same factions, and since legendary Swedish neutrality is now part of the history  books).

If “b” happens, he and his lawyers (and/or his “handlers,” if he has them), might either i) quickly talk themselves out of the situation, and Assange can return to whatever he likes; or ii) team Assange blows the entire situation out of the water by releasing the “Apocalypse files,” which would overturn at least one regime in the western world – you know, those internal documents that shed light on deep state (so deep that the state is now stateless really, taking “plausible deniability” to the extreme) involvements (“involvements” is plural, with more than one state’s statelessness) in 9-11 and, equally dramatic (for some at least), NSA involvement in assassination programs targeting American citizens. Either one would “Release the Kraken.”

And so, the entire Assange episode will either have been much ado about nothing or, conversely, about everything, from the basement to the roof.

PRC knows how to party

Camera phones