In Light Of…

Zerohedge published interesting news regarding a Wikileaks document dump:

The title and highlights are reproduced here, with the article linked at bottom:

Leaked DNC Emails Confirm Democrats Rigged Primary, Reveal Extensive Media Collusion

“There are three key findings to emerge from yesterday’s dump of leaked DNC emails released by Wikileaks:

  • There had been a plot designed to smear Bernie Sanders and to hand the Democratic nomination to Hillary on a silver platter
  • There has been repeated collusion between the DNC and the media
  • There has been questionable fundraising for both Hillary Clinton and the DNC”

Senator Bernie Sanders had been railing against the “rigged system” for months, apparently only to cave into that same corrupt system. Perhaps he only suspected that the primary was a complete farce, and did not know for sure.

Now, there is no excuse for any ignorance.

In a perfect world, Bernie should do the right thing and formally withdraw his support for Clinton, and urge his followers to reject the electoral process. Otherwise, after all that effort, he risks going down in history as a tool – as “Senator Schmuck.”

Article is here

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-23/leaked-dnc-emails-confirm-democrats-rigged-primary-reveal-extensive-media-collusion

Slip Slidding Away

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Mexico City, as mentioned, is constantly improving most of its infrastructure. And the new airport set to open in a few years is spectacular, similar to airports in China.

But one of the tragedies of life in Mexico is the slow and steady disappearance of local street food – the healthy sidewalk cooking of Tlacoyos (blue corn tortillas, often with nopal cactus) and other dishes blending Aztec and Spanish ingredients.

To be sure, it is still possible to find good street food in Mexico City, but one has to look harder. The stalls are tucked away here and there, and becoming more rare. Apparently they are being slowly but surely shut down because of more sanitation regulations (even though these are family businesses with high standards).

Instead, McDonald’s, Subway, Pizza Hut and other chains are becoming more prominent. Street food is disappearing and fast food is now ubiquitous.

Ironically, street food is actually much healthier than the plastic sludge and pink slime served by fast food chains. Indeed, the proliferation of fast food in Mexico has expanded the national waistline. Mexico is now officially more obese than the United States.

So there is to be a Carl’s Jr. on every block. I guess this is what passes for “progress.”

Sick Man of Europe

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Turkey, historicall the Sick Man of Europe, has its very own Sick Man. Erdogan is pushing an extreme version of Islam without even being a True Believer. Islam is just a vehicle for a power grab.

Ordinary soliders are facing repercussions. Many soldiers probably did not even know there was a coup attempt, and were just roused from their barracks and ordered to occupy a bridge. Now even academics are being barred from travel, suspected of entertaining secular ideas.

Meantime, the European Union is offereing a few words of caution. Had this been an anti-NATO regime there would be talk of an intervention.

Will NATO expel Turkey? Of course not. Turkey, like NATO, is playing both sides of the “war on terror” in the Middle East. Cozy with ISIS in the morning; attacking it in the afternoon.

Hopefully, the upcoming Wikileaks dump on the coup will reveal that it was an inside job: a faux coup.

If that is what Wikileaks reveals, then the country’s wrath will boomerang back with ferocity, and the Grand Finale will remind people of Mussolini’s last hour. I will have a bag of popcorn ready just in case.

Boardroom Hokum

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The Financial Times recently featured an article, liked at bottom, by Martin Wolf:

“Global elites must heed the warning of populist rage”

And the subtitle is this:

“Real income stagnation over a longer period than any since the war is a fundamental political fact.”

Several false assumptions and erroneous conclusions are evident in the quotes below:

“If governing elites continue to fail to offer convincing cures, they might soon be swept away and, with them, the effort to marry democratic self-government with an open and co-operative world order.”

Here, there is sufficient evidence that what governing elites seek is centralization of power (around them) and not democratic self-government.

Consider, for example, the inherent anti-democratic nature of how the European Union is actually run and the war on civil liberties in the United States. Consider the willingness of western elites to use force (on their own populations, evident in the anti-austerity and Occupy movements) to ram through their agenda.

Also, elite backing for non-stop military intervention, as opposed to diplomacy, calls into question their quest for a co-operative world order.

Here is another quote from Wolf:

“Second, reform capitalism. The role of finance is excessive. The stability of the financial system has improved. But it remains riddled with perverse incentives. The interests of shareholders are given excessive weight over those of other stakeholders in corporations.”

This, too, is naïve. This would have us requesting, of the abusers, to refrain from engaging in such selfish and predatory behavior. If only the drunken wife-beater would throw fewer punches…

The truth is that western economic and political order cannot be reformed. It must be swept away, and immediately replaced by something that takes western civilization to the next level of human potential.

Everything must go.

Deep down, probably even Martin Wolf knows this, along with other half-hearted apologists for the prevailing order. They can sense it.

But meantime, we can look forward to more boardroom hokum.

https://next.ft.com/content/54f0f5c6-4d05-11e6-88c5-db83e98a590a

In Mexico

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These first ones from Mexico City

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Next ones from Guanajuato with my son Alex,

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With daughter Cassandra – and her other recent photos below, more professional.

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In the City

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I’ve been coming to Mexico City since the 1980s and lived here for two or three years a while back. I was here for 911. This feels like home, especially with my kid’s cousins here. We just came from a raucous family dinner.

Mostly, the city keeps improving. The area around the Alameda, damaged by the earthquake, sees steady improvement.

But I now see why many people here suspect that the capital changed its name from “Federal District” to “City of Mexico” for nefarious reasons. The capital now has more public-private partnerships and can be run like a corporation.

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Imagine, on top of the largest public square in Latin America, the historic square for both Aztec and Spanish empires, sits a telephone company’s idiotic exhibit.

The patrimony or public space of Mexico has been sold to Carlos Slim’s Telcel. And it’s a shitty company, historically overcharging customers (Mexico has higher communications costs compared to other developing countries).

The equivalent would be draping the Eiffel Tower with Coca-Cola banners, or even allowing T-Mobil to set up giant tents on Washington’s Mall, occupying every square inch.

Tourists from around the world arrive expecting the vast expanse of the Zocalo’s square, with the giant flag of Mexico. Now they find a grotesque corporate circus.

Locals are also upset over the use of the Zocalo for “fines corporativos” (even the police around the Zocalo), but they are resigned to watching the government here, national and metropolitan, sell itself to the highest bidder.

All Time Best

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What is the best and most important work of science-fiction in the 20th century? Arguably it is Isaac Asimov’s sweeping space opera known as The Foundation Trilogy, started in the 1940s and published in the early 1950s. Asimov was partly inspired by Edward Gibbon’s The Fall of the Roman Empire.

The photo above is no joke. Asimov had inside information about the details of cosmic forces, which include a kind of mutant force capable of mental projection and bending human will. And then there is the “book,” where certain things are written (depending on who is holding it). Making the trilogy non-fiction.

The main character is actually the Galactic Empire and its nemesis, the Foundation colonies. People come and go.

The Wikipedia entry describing it is as follows:

“The premise of the series is that the mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology. Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale. Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting 30,000 years before a second great empire arises. Seldon also foresees an alternative where the interregnum will last only one thousand years. To ensure the more favorable outcome, Seldon creates a foundation of talented artisans and engineers at the extreme end of the galaxy, to preserve and expand on humanity’s collective knowledge, and thus become the foundation for a new galactic empire.”

This book got me through long waits in the airport. Because of super early connections, I actually overnighted in Hong Kong and Dallas airports, two nights in a row. Not easy. So I’m grateful for this book.

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Citizen Militias

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Citizen militias are more capable of mitigating terrorism than are national governments and international coalitions (which aggravated the problem and failed to solve it).

By “citizen militias” I mean well-trained, well-regulated and well-armed ordinary people – like some of the Swiss, but on steroids.

Citizen militias, formed at the local level of cities and towns, and coordinating across boundaries, are more likely to develop real intelligence regarding threats. They are also more likely respond quickly to an attack.

To be effective these militias would be inclusive, drawing into their ranks secular Muslims with a real interest in maintaining human security. After all, many of these secular Muslims fled the jihadist rebellions of the Middle East.

Furthermore, local militias (with secular Muslims) would be more effective at identifying deporting people who practice Sharia (a militant version of Islam based on forced conversion and Islamic law for all, such as executions for adultery and other offenses). Sharia is not just a religious belief; it is a religious practice so extreme that it has no place in the West.

Candidate Clinton recently proposed a wild idea: that NATO should be strengthened. Wow. David Icke is right (about pretty much everything). These globalists create the problem and then offer the solution.

NATO’s invasion of Iraq created a sectarian civil war and millions of refugees. Northern Iraq is today run by ISIS. NATO’s intervention Libya turned it over to Al Qaeda and ISIS. NATO powers still sneak money and weapons into Syria, into the hands of Islamic jihadists.

Amazingly, these globalists want more power even when they fail to solve the problem (that they largely created). Terrorist attacks are the new normal in the West. So the people most impotent to stop them want more centralization of power. Maybe we are supposed to place our faith in some giant fusion center in Brussels.

This is their classic “problem-solution” mechanism. So predictable. Every time.

Candidate Trump’s ideas are not much more promising. Even though he is critical of the globalist position, he still wants to solve the problem of Islamic terrorism at the national level, that is, with the federal government.

Here David Icke is right again: problems cannot be solved on the same level that created them. Just replacing the president and the cabinet is not enough; they are on the wrong level.

Additionally, Trump has been critical of US interventions in the Middle East, but he sometimes implies that his interventions will be more effective. And his VP pick, Mike Pense, is a Bible-thumping evangelist (whose views on homosexuality for example are not too far from those of a strict Muslim). Surely he – like so many other American conservatives – views western civilization as Christian when it is fundamentally Greco-Roman.

Also, Trump will not advocate a necessary neutral position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump chooses to side, unconditionally, with Israel, one of the two belligerents.

All western leaders and candidates are asking their constituents (subjects) to outsource their security. That has failed. Besides, as evident in the crimes of the “Gladio Operation,” intelligence agencies are not above sponsoring attacks on their own populations.

Western civilization faces two related threats: jihadist terrorism (which originated external to the West but is now internal to it); and western oligarchic rule, emanating from Washington and Brussels (which foments terrorism and is impotent to stop it).

Terrorists and oligarchs are strange bedfellows, to be sure, but their illicit affair (going back to the 1970s in Afghanistan) is well documented.

The Founders were right after all. Militias are the best defense.

In fact, the US Constitution is crystal clear and there are to be no armies “… for a longer Term than two Years” (Article 1, Section 8). Militias were to be permanent; armies were to be temporary and provisional.

The US needs to take merge half of its military into a space program and the other half into seeding well-armed and well-regulated citizen militias at the local level.

That M1 Abrams tank? My uncle has room for it in his garage.

What´s Next?

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The Hague’s ruling was unfavorable to China’s claim in the South China Sea. But China never recognized the court’s jurisdiction and did not send a legal team to defend itself when this all started four years ago.

In previous posts, I have argued in favor of maintaining a Chinese claim going back thousands of years, a claim made by a “civilization-state,” over a claim by the Philippines going back 70 years at the most.

And the Philippines (as much as I like the place), is not truly a “nation-state” but rather a “state-nation.” Its government was created first and foremost as a colonial structure – unlike, for example, that of Thailand. The Philippines was a decentralized island culture until it was ruled by Spain, the United States, and Japan, gaining some sovereignty in 1945.

The Hague presupposed sovereign equality between China and the Philippines, but the Philippines is politically and militarily contextualized by the United States. At The Hague, the Filipino legal case was represented by a legal team from Washington DC!

Having foreign attorneys represent one’s country is a disgrace and calls into question the Philippines’ capacity to even make a national claim without being manipulated from abroad.

Fortunately, President Dutarte, brand new, will probably not be a puppet. His foreign policy will be a bit more unpredictable, playing off the tensions in this new Cold War.

Where does Chinese policy go from here? If China capitulates and submits to every aspect of The Hague’s ruling, then it will be seen as weak. But if China pretends like the ruling never happened, and continues its build-up in the South China Sea regardless, then China will alienate several important Southeast Asian countries (ASEAN). And ideally for China, those countries are needed for China’s “One Belt, One Road” policy of economic cooperation.

I predict China will adopt more creative alternatives than capitulation or assertion. China might, for example, offer the Philippines and other countries 99-year agreements that place sovereignty issues on the back burner while they pursue joint ventures. There is some precedent for ambiguous sovereignty in Asia, with the British in Hong Kong.

I also predict that China will resolve these questions in bilateral fashion with the counties involved and not with ASEAN as a bloc. After all, ASEAN is a bit of a farce, and there is little real integration among these countries. East Asian geo-politics is based on the American “hub-and-spoke” system, with the US as the “hub” and Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines as “spokes.”

China will have to offer economic inducements and even assist in human security questions, for each of the countries involved, in order that these countries would pivot away from the declining empire of Washington. It should not be difficult. Western-led globalization has done little to alleviate poverty in Southeast Asia. The large slums of Manila and other ASEAN megacities testify to that.

China can be faulted for waiting until The Hague produced its predictable ruling, and for not thinking and acting creatively sooner.

Unless China changes the entire context of East Asia (economic, geo-political) it will remain just another challenger, playing by the rules laid down by foreign powers.

China can also be faulted for developing a schizophrenic relationship with western globalization. China complains about American military encirclement, and about western intervention in the Middle East, but yet China (now a WTO member) is planning on having the RMB become part of a global currency: the Special Drawing Rights, a scheme hatched by the World Bank in Washington.

China is allowing itself to be significantly assimilated into systems that ultimately buttress western power – and yet it periodically objects to this or that.

Personally, I would prefer to witness a multipolar Asia with Chinese civilization as the natural center of gravity. China pulled 600 million people from poverty into the middle class in a generation. The speed and quality of its urbanization suggests that China is best equipped to lead the development of Asian infrastructure, even into space.

However, this Chinese leadership will require not just competence but also imagination. China can certainly do it, but first China must think outside the box.

Mexico Way

Postings here will resume in about three days. Flying to Hong Kong, US, ending in Mexico City.