Follow Up :)

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The King James Version of the Bible has been altered in countless places. Some of these changes have been superimposed retroactively, even on old family Bibles sitting on the shelves, apparently. All Mandela Effected.

One of the more outlandish changes concerns the insertion of several happy face emoticons, designated with a :  ) where none existed previously.

I checked it out myself on King James Bible online: https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-Chapter-6/

Sure enough, here is the passage of Matthew 6: 3, pasted as is.

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

It is possible to Google or Youtube these Mandela Effects on the Bible. There are countless pastors, and others with lifelong knowledge of the scripture, pointing to dozens of textual mutilations. Many of these people are convinced that the changes are part of a prophesy, part of the work of the Devil in the Last Days, to sow confusion.

Who am I to argue otherwise? No one. But I think a benevolent Creator would not mind humans asking searing questions. (I imagine a Creator as not being the thin-skinned, jealous maniac found in much of the Old Testament).

Christians are upset that the King james Version has been altered with no explanation. But if it could be changed in today’s world, it could be changed in the past as well. How many times has the Bible been manipulated by metaphysical or extra-dimensional forces?

Of course, we have to keep in mind that the Bible was an anthology written several centuries after Jesus (if he really existed) by people who did not know him. Then the Bible was subject to numerous editions, councils, committees, Papal edicts, translations, etc… Has any text, in the history of books, been subject to more copyediting than the Bible? Probably not.

Christians assume the Bible words were written in stone or something thousands of years ago, but evidence of all this ongoing manipulation is staring them right in the face. There are many, many versions of the Bible, each with vastly different wording! The American Standard Version, King James Version, New International Version, the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible, the Common English Bible. It goes on an on.  Please explain, Christian Bible thumpers.

Also in this spirit of questioning I point to another verse, Exodus 13: 12, which appears to insist on animal sacrifice. (I imagine a Creator as not being “into” slitting the throats of mammals just because, but hey, human sacrifice is a recurring theme in Middle Eastern religions including for the Canaanites).

In any case I point to this passage for an altogether different reason: in the King James Version of the Bible, the word “womb” has been suddenly replaced with “matrix” (which now, suddenly, appears five times in the KJV according to searches of the word).

Here is Exodus 13: 12 https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Exodus-Chapter-13/

That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S

Many if not most versions of this passage do not say “beast” but rather “cattle.” So it is interesting that there is a conceptual combination of “matrix” and “beast” and “Lord.” What kind of lord covets the product of a beast’s matrix? What a haunting piece of scripture.

In any case, most Christians attuned to the Mandela Effect on the Bible do not seem troubled that their lord is allowing the transformation of the sacred into the profane. Complicit? Or all part of some plan?

Mandela Effect on Bible

Most material out there examines the Mandela effects on popular media and corporate logos, but the Bible appears to have been morphing also.

According to many people, including pastors, the King James Bible has changed. This includes all editions past and present, and often includes other versions of the Bible. So… in the magically changed version, God created the “heavens” (plural) but “heaven.” There is no “lion” laying down with the lamb. Now it is a “wolf.” On and on…

This should be a concern for Christian fundamentalists who insist that the Bible has remained fixed for thousands of years. Now, we have many pastors explaining their shock over changes happening to the Bible in the past few years.

So is the Bible permanent and eternally true, or part of the Matrix?

Video 11 minutes

Video 17 minutes

 

Fascinating Mandela Effect

I will probably offer more speculation on this topic but here are a few warm-up videos.

Video:  7 minutes.

 

Video: 10 minutes

Slow Times

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Normally, at the start of a new Semester (in Asia Spring starts in one week), we are preparing for 15 – 20 American students… Incoming…

This semester the numbers are very low for China – for pretty much all study abroad programs in China. We only have seven. We were going to have eight. But one of the US students, based in New Jersey, appears to be originally from the Sudan… And she has been advised not to leave the US. Will not come to China. I guess our bottom line has been impacted by the so-calle Muslim travel ban…

Why are fewer American students coming to China? This industry has always been cyclical, but I think the recent downturn has much to do with the negative publicity China receives in the American media. There is the air pollution problem. There is Cold War-style friction with the islands.  Various politicians, from both parties, have increased tensions with China. China this, China that…

So there is more “parental concern” regarding sending young, university-age American students to China…

Things will surely turn up again, but when? When there is a better vibe between the two countries…

The Real Scandal

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The real lesson in the latest scandal, the Michael Flynn scandal, is that the FBI, the CIA and other intelligence agencies (and people with just one foot inside them) are constantly spying on everyone all the time.

How did the FBI obtain a transcript of Flynn’s phone call with a Russian Ambassador? Neither one of them are on the terrorist watch list, and a diplomat is not really subject to legal electronic surveillance. Why can’t Flynn talk to anyone he wants? It’s a free country.

If anyone in the administration (past or present) thinks that they are on a “secure line” they are mistaken.

What Flynn divulged (or not) to the Vice President or others is not really the question. It should be something between them alone. It might become political football, but a deeper question remains: who is watching the watchers? No one.

There are multiple spy agencies spying on everyone in the administration, including on Pres. Trump. None of his calls remains unmonitored, unrecorded, or unanalyzed. The cars, the Oval Office, every room in the White House, all bugged.

There are only three ways to have relatively secure communication, and really only the last way is most secure.

The first way is to use a pre-paid flip-phone! But those calls are still vulnerable to retroactive access.

The second way, exclusively for reaching foreign political leaders, is to drop off a sealed letter at the consulate or embassy of the country involved. If accepted, the letter then travels to the foreign capital in a sealed diplomatic pouch. This is faster than FedEx. And it is free.

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The third way is to never write anything down, never use email, and never use a cell phone or landline. This means human-to-human, face-to-face communication only.

In fact, this is the preferred system of those who are currently spying on, and gaming, the current administration. They only use human chains for communication. They avoid electronic and digital technology (unless they are using it to spy downward, on the executive or legislative branches of government).

This webpage has alternately supported and criticized different administration policies, on a case-by-case basis. But I am hopeful (though not too optimistic) that this administration can assert normal executive functions, and wrest control from those in the intelligence community who have no legal authority to perpetually spy on government, which is supposed to have its own system of checks and balances.

The intelligence agencies are operating beyond congressional oversight. The FBI, for example, is becoming the “decider” over which policies succeed and which fail – and over who works in government and who does not.

The problem goes back decades. It goes back to J. Edgar Hoover. It goes back to Eisenhower’s warning of the  military-industrial complex. The CIA went rogue decades ago. It does whatever it likes.

It is time to fix this, or we can watch government agencies cannibalize what remains of a constitutional or democratic tradition.

A One-State Solution

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Nothing – absolutely nothing – will ever change on the Korean peninsula for the better within the framework of the Six Party Talks. Yesterday’s post tried to call attention to this reality.

There is another doomed and failed diplomatic framework about to get more attention: the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

The two-state solution has always been, is, and will always be… a ruse. For decades, this proposal has only served the ultra-Orthodox and Likud goal of settling and colonizing the Occupied Territories. The two-state solution is designed to buy time, so that settlements can continue unabated.

Palestinian leaders, who are bought and paid for, participate in the charade of the two-state solution.

The problem underlying the two-state solution is the approximately half a million Israeli settlers on the West Bank will never agree to being governed by any form of Palestinian authority.

In whose universe is this even possible? What a complete joke.

The only way Israeli settlers on the West Bank will ever concede to a Palestinian government is if Palestinian lands are divided up into South African-style Bantustans, with no territorial integrity whatsoever, and are just shards of sovereignty over the shittiest land. This was actually the proposal advanced during the Clinton era, and even a bought-and-paid for Palestinian leadership could not accept it.

The map above shows a proposed Palestinian state compartmentalized into no less than 25 Bantustans by a system of Israeli-patrolled roads. What a complete joke.

A more realistic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem is the crafting of a pluralistic, multi-ethnic and secular state encompassing all of Israel and all of the Occupied Territories.

Such a state would resemble a western-style democratic republic, or even neighboring Lebanon, but it would have to abandon the anachronism that it was a Jewish state. No state should exist of, by and for a particular religion. What an insult to humanity.

After six major wars, two Intifidas and the emergence of a horrendous apartheid system, someone, somewhere (ideally the UN Security Council) should force Israel to answer a question based on John Kerry’s observation. Israel can be Jewish or democratic, but not both. Which is it going to be?

The Palestinians are wasting their time pressing for nationhood. Besides, their only leadership has either been complicit with Zionism or it has degenerated into Islamic fundamentalism.

If Palestinians really hope to win support in the West, and especially in the US, they should consider pressing for civil rights, civil liberties, and equal protection under the law – similar to the African-American civil rights movement.

Palestinians would be wise to declare that they simply want to participate in a pluralistic system that evolves towards non-discrimination. There is also a lot of support for this position among secular Israelis.

Immediately, the political parties with the most clout would be those appealing to broad swaths of Israeli and Palestinian moderates. These parties would eclipse those who think they are on the “god squad,” and Christian Zionists back in America would finally be shamed into silence.

What objections, after all, can Christian Zionists make towards Palestinian demands for full citizenship within a secular state?

Religion is for weddings and funerals.

A one-state solution would begin to purge Israel and the Occupied Territories of the poisonous strains found in each of the Old Testament religions: the sense of religious and even genetic superiority, the authoritarian claims, the certainty, the arrogance, and the endless justifications of violence.

I do not expect all readers to agree with my opinions. But if you really think the two-state solution is viable, then the joke is on you. And you’re a moron.

Case for 3-Party Talks

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The North Koreans recently test fired a missile, the Pukguksong-2.

Maybe this is a violation of the UN Security Council resolution, maybe not. Curious, though, that all 5 permanent members of the Security Council have giant arsenals of nuclear missiles, and North Korea gets a lot of grief for testing one rocket without a warhead on it…

But if the test violates the resolution then let the wheels of the international system turn…

Meantime, it is especially easy for me to conclude that the Six Party Talks will always be doomed to failure for two reasons.

First, the Six Party Talks include the US and Japan, and those two countries unfortunately cannot lower the temperature in the pressure cooker of the Korean peninsula. The US has tens of thousands of troops stationed in South Korea. So on one level, the US is part of the problem (at least for North Korea, and that counts).

The US never should have led a UN intervention into Korea in the first place. Let us assume North Korea would have taken over the entire peninsula in 1950. It would not have evolved as a cornered regime, and instead North Korea would have evolved along a path closer to that of China – a single-party state, but with a flexible, legalistic model, with an underlying market economy, and with largely cooperative relationships with the West.

If the US withdraws its military from South Korea, and if Japan and Russia back away from the issue, then the problem of the Korean peninsula will be solved by China and North and South Korea. Or it will not be solved. But I am guessing it will be solved.

The second reason the Six Party Talks are doomed to failure is because, well, if my father Stephen Bosworth, as Special Envoy to North Korea, could not solve this problem then the problem, as framed, has no solution.

Anyone who knew my father well – including the North Koreans – recognized that he ranked among the best, brightest and most honorable of American career diplomats. And arguably at the top of that pile. He was tested as Ambassador three times in three difficult situations.

In reality, under the Six Party framework, the best that can be hoped for is a tacit acceptance of the status quo. Nothing will change for the better, only for the worse.

It is time to move to a Three Party framework.

Yeah, let the Chinese and Koreans sort it all out. They probably will. Why stand in their way?

 

Fake News?

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NBC started the rumor I believe. That Russia was considering handing Edward Snowden over to the Trump administration to curry favor. This does not seem like a legitimate story.

First I really doubt that the Russian government would consider such a move, which would be condemned within Russia itself.

Second I really doubt that the Trump administration wants to deal with the political fallout at home of a Snowden return. This would split the conservatives and the libertarians. Conservatives are statists when it is convenient for them; and libertarians prioritize freedom of information over national security. Both groups are found among Trump supporters, so there would be infighting.

Is Snowden’s response to the rumor even accurate? Did he really tweet that he would look forward to being extradited back to the US? Or is this just more fake news?

Apparently Snowden – unlike Assange – does not have the full Apocalypse files. If he did he would enjoy a certain amount of immunity – or extra-judicial protection you might say. If he released those files, and if anyone still wanted to go after him, well, those people would be very easy targets.

I’m disappointed that Snowden would really consider a lifetime behind bars or consider facing execution. Whatever his crimes might have been, they pale beside those who have abused power, lied to Congress, and operated outside the bounds of the Constitution of the United States.

For that reason Snowden should be unwilling to ever face “justice” in the United States. If Russia is really toying with the idea of handing Snowden over (which I doubt), he simply needs to go to the airport and find a new country.

This world is like a theme park with many rides. And yet most people choose to take the same ride over and over, all day long (living in one country that is). Snowden should just throw his life to the wind and see where it takes him.

 

 

Going Home

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This story is making the news in China and India.

A Chinese soldier is finally returning home, after living a life in India with an Indian wife and children.

There is a link below the video.

Chinese Soldier Who Crossed Over Border In 1963 To Fly Home

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/chinese-soldier-wang-qi-to-visit-home-after-5-decades-in-india/articleshow/57086264.cms

 

Give the Guy A Break

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Milo Yiannopoulos likes to say outrageous stuff on his lecture tours. Instead of being welcomed, university student groups are increasingly shutting him down. Their protests are making it impossible to hold these events.

It seems that the snowflake generation can’t really stand to listen to views opposed to their own, and they certainly can’t take a joke.

Moreover, snowflakes are doing little to combat a truly pernicious feature of life on American campuses and in the States in general: boredom.

Milo is out of the mainstream of thinking, and it is precisely for this reason that his lectures are thought-provoking and entertaining.

Campuses were once marketplaces for ideas; now they are just Wal-Mart.