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Golden Times

tunis

A few days ago I recommended the movie Sand Castle. Since then I binged on war movies. These include Hyena Road, about a Canadian team of snipers, Jarhead 2 and Jarhead 3, about Marines.

I began to recognize a formula behind all these movies. Some idealistic protagonist is given an unexpected mission. A team forms around him, representing each demographic group. Often a female is on this team, or in its semi-periphery, providing another plot. Officers include sympathetic, war-weary types along with gung-ho, politically motivated assholes. Lots of desert scenes, Arabic music, call to prayers, and dust.

The locals are generally suspect, but there are always a few whose loyalty lies with the western troops. Not much has changed since the 1980s, when Hollywood began to populate action movies with dark Arab types, their five-o’clock shadows, and Arafat-style headgear. These are Zio-productions through and through.

Toward the climax of the movie, as the protagonist is completing his mission, most of his team is killed. Sometimes they decide to sacrifice themselves for the hero’s mission. There’s usually a “let’s all die together” moment.

The hero always straggles back to the home base, to receive praise from his commanding officer and everyone else. He is reunited with his sweetheart. Flags wave. The End.

Jarhead 3 actually struck closer to home because it was about Marines guarding a US Embassy in an Arab country during a crisis.

Back in 1979, during the Iranian hostage crisis, my father was the US Ambassador to Tunisia and I spent about six months there before being shipped off to boarding  school in Rome. My summer job was helping make new ID cards for the Tunisian staff in the motor pool. The Embassy had just received a new machine: it could take a paper card with a photo and seal it in plastic. It produced ID cards hot to the touch.

Despite the winds of fundamentalism sweeping North Africa, Tunisia seemed very tolerant and open. We were not paranoid and I wandered the country by myself. I’m not sure a teenage son of a US Ambassador would be allowed to do that anymore.

True, there was a machine gun nest on the roof of the Embassy, and incinerator barrels for the secret documents. True, my father took several different routes to work, leaving at different times, in a heavily armored car. True, our home residence had an arsenal in the master bathroom, where we were all told to seek refuge if shit hit the fan. It never did. Shit never hit the fan, that is.

Actually, we lived large, throwing pool parties and organizing softball games, inviting expats and locals. At least for us that was living large, as my parents came from middle class origins in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Marines guarding the Embassy were only three or four years older than I was and so we hung out on weekends. I remember “Ajax,” a bald and hulking marine who took us all snorkeling. He jerry rigged a lawnmower engine so that it compressed air. He then strapped the loud, smoking  contraption onto an inflated truck tire, floated it out on the water, and ran a garden hose down into the water. We took turns sucking on the air and looking around the bottom of the sea, with the sound of an internal combustion engine ringing in our ears.

The Marines also threw the best parties every Friday night. TGIF at the Marine House.

So Jarhead 3 reminded me of golden times. The movie of course is based on a nightmare scenario that never happened to us. While we sometimes contemplated a crisis, as did all Americans in Tunisia in 1979, it never happened. Instead, we got to experience a slice of paradise.

The Hollywood experience of the Arab world never made an impact on our lives. We had more of a romantic “Lawrence of Arabia” take on the place, and I suppose post-modernists would accuse us of “Orientalism” and constructing the exotic. Or whatever. But Tunisia really has spectacular scenery.

For me, Tunisia represented everything life should be: a vast and unpredictable adventure.

The Psy Op

Image result for manchurian candidate

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) was a good tip off that the Korean peninsula, with the war, was (and remains) ground zero for mind control.

At present the global media complex is diffusing a certain narrative about North Korea across all platforms and repeatedly. This is evidence of some basic falsehood. People believe lies only when they are big ones and repeated often. That’s what the global media complex is for.

Nothing in conventional international relations theory would explain why North Korea is flirting with nuclear weapons and missiles at this point. Certainly not rational choice theory.

So if North Korea is not pursuing its own national interests (unless suicide is the goal) then whose interest is it really pursuing?

What powers are operating over and above Pyongyang (and Beijing and Moscow and Washington) nudging the world system towards the kind of Armageddon predicted in Gangnam Style?

Let us assume that North Korea really has nuclear weapons (a stretch).

China could easily enforce the status quo by publicly detailing how (if North Korea struck a foreign target first) it would destroy North Korea’s military, occupy the country, and replace its government. China has the capacity to do this within a 24-hour period or less.

Similarly, China could easily enforce the status quo by acting against the US, which represents almost as much of a threat to regional stability as North Korea. On a regular basis, the American Ambassador to the UN and many others speculate that the matter should be removed from the Security Council and placed into the hands of the Pentagon – that is, that the matter should fall outside of international law.

As with North Korea, if the US acts unilaterally, then China could easily dump US bonds on the open market, impose a trade embargo, freeze all US assets in greater China (including Hong Kong), and sit back and wait for Washington’s regime to topple, with any surviving leaders carted off to The Hague.

It could be that China is the only sensible actor in this crisis. If it acts to reinforce the status quo and succeeds, then it would benefit from hegemonic stability and would re-frame world politics according to its own model. Which would not be a bad thing necessarily, when compared to the western model of non-stop foreign wars and the world’s most sophisticated (and predictable) propaganda.

However, if China acts timidly then suspicions would be confirmed that all these parties are really working together, and that they are simply actors on a stage, reading lines written by others.

 

 

What’s Up w/ That?

American politics is divided  along “liberal” and “conservative” lines although these labels can be simplistic. In the past few months I’ve used this blog to vent against many conservative and Christian positions, so I feel obliged to agree with this crowd on one point here (in addition to the 2nd Amendment). It’s a recent issue, and lately in the news.

It think many conservatives are right about the state of psychiatry, about the pill-industrial complex, and the over-diagnosis of depression and a range of other “diseases” like ADHD.

Depression is almost always situational – and not simply as individuals but even as societies. Humans were simply not designed to waste hours a day in cars, work in cubicles, eat garbage food, and return to a relatively isolated and alienated existence (compared to the life of extended families and communities only a few hundred years ago).

While I don’t consider myself classically “liberal,” I disagree with conservatives on most of their core issues (from a non-liberal perspective): economics, war, crime, immigration, religion, etc…

Today I was preparing a lesson about landmark US Supreme Court cases regarding prisons. The conservative justices always seems to fight for the wrong cause: letting California remain at a 200% occupation rate for prisons; insisting that states can hand out life sentences for non-violent crimes to people who were minors when convicted; restricting the ability of prisoner’s to re-open cases; and generally siding against inmates in any and all cases regarding abuse of power.

There appears to be a kind of sadism at work. What else explains these dissents? The mommies of these conservative justices did not hug them enough in childhood, and now they want to project the pain. Their positions reveal a central tenet of conservatism: the protection of authoritarian power (and even of its abuse).

True, liberalism has fed into the massive bloating of the state, but it tends to be lighter on marginalized people at the very bottom of the hierarchy: like prisoners and the undocumented.

 

The Time Factor

Image result for vegan v paleo

I’ve watched many videos promoting diets. These include those by vegans who will not touch animal products, and those by paleos or others, like “Butter Bob,” who swears by eating tons of meat, eggs, and dairy.

In many ways this debate goes back to the Atkin’s diet that was a high-protein, low-carb diet.

In my humble opinion, over the long term, a plant-based diet is best, and one without highly processed complex carbs like pasta. The occasional portion of protein in the form of fish or eggs will do no harm, I think.

True, people can lose a lot of weight quickly by eating a high-protein, low-carb diet. But over the long term, a high-protein diet filled with animal products is extremely hard on the organs, increases the rates for cancer and all kinds of diseases – to say nothing of reinforcing slaughterhouses and ruining the land.

Again, a 30-year-old obese person will lose a ton of weight and keep it off on a high-protein diet, but their body will begin to break down in their 50s.

If mileage is the goal, then something closer to the vegan end of the spectrum makes more sense, without necessarily becoming a religious zealot about it.

What I control (fixing or cooking on my own most of the time) I will consider to be my “baseline” diet. This is heavy on vegetables and fruit, with lots of almonds, some potatoes and, every few days, three eggs sunny-side up. Flavored with Thai chili paste, salsas, curries, or whatever.

I avoid cereals and dairy, but I don’t rule them out. If someone offers me a cookie I will eat it. If I’m grabbing coffee in a shop and I like the look of a desert I will buy it. These weekly or bi-weekly departures from the baseline are OK for me at least.

My conclusion is simple: over the long term, a protein-heavy paleo diet is madness.

 

Recommended

This was an interesting movie, and the cinematography was excellent – although a few scenes looked like they were shot in southern California…

I recommend the movie but then again, I like almost every movie I see, so I’m a terrible critic.

I know, some of the characters were a little stereotypical. The guy from Texas. The guy from the inner city. The Hispanic guy. The corn-fed guys. The officers with the weather-beaten faces.

It’s about a young soldier who tried to avoid the war but ended up thoroughly engrossed in it. He became a True Believer, even though he knew deep down that it was futile. Which it was.

Whatever happened the US in Iraq? How busy is that embassy, the size of the Vatican? Whatever happened to the plan for the Ramstein-on-the-Euphrates?

History will not judge NATOs efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan so kindly. But this movie was ultimately about the human factor, and worth watching.

Who Knew?

Related image

There are reports that Bitcoin is down 35% in China.

There might be a tiny handful of people on China’s East Coast using Bitcoin (the Bei-Shan-Guo techies and fashion people), but I’ve never heard anyone here talk about it. And I know a lot of people, but that is not difficult in populous China.

What has caught on is the use of Alipay and WeChat pay. People often pay me for editing by transferring RMB into my social media WeChat account. Most of it remains there and I use the cellphone to pay for things. Even fruit vendors on the street and taxi drivers have bar codes. But it is possible to transfer money back into one’s home bank account, ICBC in my case.

Most major banks in China offer a rather unique service. People can keep separate checking and saving accounts (in the same master account) denominated in Hong Kong dollars, Macao’s money (the Macanese pataca), US dollars, and perhaps even Taiwan dollars, although I’m not sure about that last one. I should take a photo of the ATM screen next time.

China is actually better positioned than the US or the EU to transition – if it ever chose to do so – into a system of “multiple currencies,” which I think is the ideal state of affairs for many reasons, and I will repeat those reasons some other time.

Bitcoin is irrelevant in China, is how this post started out…

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-14/bitcoin-crashes-chinese-trading-second-largest-exchange-halt-all-trading

Under the Radar

Image result for stevia maltodextrin hazard

I remember when Stevia was first pushed into the market. It was billed as a natural alternative to the saccharine style sweeteners, you know, the ones that emerged from compounds related to chemical weapons (no kidding).

Stevia was from the Amazon or some Edenic place in South America, so the story went. The sweetener for native peoples. On one level that might be true, but many Stevia products are cut with maltodextrin:

“Outside of the aforementioned time-frames, maltodextrin is just as bad, sometimes worse, as having sugar. Easily absorbed carbs like maltodextrin and sugar get into your bloodstream fast. If there is nothing for all that blood sugar to do (i.e. repair muscle-tissue, give energy), it will get stored as fat. Contrast that with real complex carbs from whole grains, which are broken down and absorbed slowly, and maltodextrin looks more and more like sugar.”

Maltodextrine can actually register 130 on the glycemic index, higher than sugar at 100.

And yet the Stevia-Maltodextrin cocktail is being pushed as a solution for obesity and diabetes, when it only aggravates these conditions.

My contention is that this is deliberate. It has to be.

The Food-Pharma combine is part of a soft war  on humanity, to put it bluntly, and engages in a kind of biological terrorism with the slow but steady contamination of food, water, and air. It’s part of the agenda.

http://fitnessfortravel.com/is-maltodextrin-bad-for-you/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/502241-the-risks-of-maltodextrin/

 

That’s Genius

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra

I’ve already made the ethical argument (higher than the legal argument) that Dreamers should be allowed to stay. They were dragged across the border when they were children for crying out loud.

But there is, actually, a legal argument supporting Dreamers – and it drives to the Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra is making this case for California, and he is rightly suing the Trump administration, if it can be called that.

I quote from an article linked below:

“In the lawsuit, Becerra argues that rescinding DACA violates the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause due to concern that the administration will use the personal information Dreamers provided to apply for the program to find and deport them or their family members.”

“He also argues that using that information would violate the legal principle of equitable estoppel, which essentially protects against a ‘bait and switch,’ in this case giving Dreamers reason to believe their personal information wouldn’t be used against them and then doing so anyway.”

Exactly.

For all those simpletons who, on bended knee, worship at the altar of “the law,” well there is your law.

And it’s not an immigration misdemeanor that somehow morphed into a felony after 9/11: it’s the US Constitution.

 

 

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/california-daca-lawsuit_us_59b6c50de4b0349d072b91fc?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

 

Interesting

Here is an interesting article, quoted below from Zerohedge:

“This is all happening. And on January 1st, 2018, this trend to replace the U.S. dollar will accelerate. That’s when the global elite will implement a major change to the plumbing of our financial system.

It’s a brand-new worldwide banking system called Distributed Ledger Technology. And it will have a huge impact on seniors who are now preparing for retirement.

When this system goes live, many nations will be able to dump the U.S. dollar for SDRs.

For now, the U.S. dollar is still the world’s reserve currency. Other nations have to hold and use the U.S. dollar for international trade, instead of their own currencies.

This creates a virtually unlimited demand for U.S. dollars, which allows us to print trillions of dollars each year to pay for wars, debt and anything we want. It keeps our country operating.

Now, we can see that the global elites are working to unseat the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency.

Here are the three key pieces of information that prove this will happen.

Fact #1 — The IMF issues a globalist currency called special drawing rights, or SDRs.

Fact #2 — The IMF has confirmed they want to replace the U.S. dollar with SDRs.

Fact #3 — The IMF has confirmed Distributed Ledgers can be used for “currency substitution”… and they’ve even set up a special task force to speed up implementation.

The IMF is using this technology to create an SDR payment system, because that’s the currency they issue.”

For more, here is the link

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-10/dear-president-trump-america-rude-awakening-january

 

 

Mandela Effect?

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I always thought that Mexico City’s earthquake in 1985 was measured at 8.2 or so. But in this reality, it was measured at 8.0, making yesterday’s quake in Mexico worse, at 8.1.

Is there any residue that the 1985 Mexico quake was, actually, worse? Yes.

Yesterday, just a few dozen people died in the quake. I read that “61 people” were killed.

By contrast, the 1985 quake killed more than 10,000 people and injured 30,000 people, and those statistics are still there. That 10,000 figure is very conservative by the way.

Apart from upgrading buildings in the business district, Mexico City looks pretty much the same as it did in the 1980s, and so the lower death toll cannot be solely attributed to better construction techniques.

How much sense does it make that a 8.0 quake kills 10,000 people and an 8.1 quake kills 61?