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Travelling Circus

I changed my mind somewhat… I’m not going to spend my last few months in China wasting too much time deconstructing Las Vegas – when I could be enjoying the sights.

However, I would like to note that if this incident really went down as claimed, and if even a portion of the thousands of spectators and witnessed used their phones for photos and videos, we would have seen an avalanche of images in real-time.

The half dozen platforms of social media would have seen an unstoppable cascade of videos and images, forwarded ad infinitum… This would have been citizen-produced, street-level media of true carnage (the real blood and guts stuff, like brains spilling from faces, etc…)

Was this an acoustical show? Peppered with a half dozen crisis actors? And everyone else rampaging out? With the controllers then telling the media to report a certain number of deaths? With the second window busted to fuel conspiracy theories that, paradoxically, reinforce the main narrative that there was a shooting? It’s so easy. All day long.

Do we need to consider the rapid accusation of ISIS, the made-for-Hollywood character that is Paddock, and the predictable media hysteria?

From a distance, this looks like a Barnum-and-Bailey circus. Tickets, please!

That’s Random

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Pending

Something is very odd about the shooting incident in Las Vegas.

I’ve let the last few incidents go unmentioned, but I will likely deep dive into this one as I did with Sandy Hook.

OK, tons of editing today, so not much of a post. Just finished editing a fascinating article on the roles of Chinese and English languages in Hong Kong.

The End Game

Catalan’s independence movement has been percolating rather strongly for the past five years.

That’s how long the Spanish government had to address the fundamental grievances. However, feeling entitled to rule over most of Iberia for centuries, Madrid has not lifted a finger. Now, it is sending in the goons.

This will likely backfire big time. It will de-legitimize Madrid’s sovereignty  in the eyes of many. Are Billy clubs any match for social media? We shall see. Thus far, in the western Europe, social media has effectively put people to sleep and brainwashed them. Perhaps Catalonia will be different to the extent of producing a different result.

If Catalonia liberates itself, the next domino to fall might be part of the Basque region, and then Sicily, and then who knows…

Forward to the Past? To the 14th Century?

 

Reversal of Fortune

For many years, NATO powers (including Spain) have been preaching intervention in the Middle East, to protect civilians from governmental abuse.

Well… We shall see how this weekend shapes up in Catalonia. Spain’s government seems to be flirting with the idea of a major crackdown. Already it has arrested town mayors and the like for organizing the vote.

Soon enough, Madrid’s goon squads will be going after… you guessed it… Facebook protesters!

If things get ugly, perhaps all those arguments used to potato sack African leaders, and cart them off to the Hague (or to simply slay them) can be used for Spain’s leadership.

The narrative or paradigm of “human security” can be reversed to place European leaders under legal scrutiny (and surely some would say “in the crosshairs”) for violating Catalonia’s natural right of self-determination: freedom and democracy, and all that jazz…

 

His Own Private Venezuela

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Puerto Rico: This ain’t Idaho but it’s still part of the United States.

It is easy for the Trump administration to lambast Venezuela for this and that, with some reason.

But then again, while it spends most of its time worrying about NFL players lack of patriotism, it is not effective in delivering the necessary help to Puerto Rico, which was already mired in debt and poverty before the hurricane. And now people have no cash, no water, no electricity and no gas. And the White House is still worried about the NFL.

Corporate capitalism does not work, should be the lesson of Puerto Rico – to reverse the standard slogan that “socialism does not work.” Nothing works, to be more accurate, if it is a 20th century ideology and dragged into 2017.

No one gives decentralization a chance. What the world needs is the perpetual fracturing of hegemony, the perpetual negation of top-down power, be it from the left of the right, and the creation of complex adaptive networks. That would work. It’s never been tried, to be sure, but if one is to have any faith in humanity, then it would work.

Meantime, we have to listen to non-stop grandstanding and hypocrisy.

YouTube Tib

I tumbled across a YouTube channel called Gabriel Traveler. The guy wanders around the world and has done so for years, giving travel tips and so forth.

He has a good style of walking and talking. He holds a gopro camera to show this surroundings and himself narrating.

Once I started watching I could not stop. I think it is the forward motion of the production, there is something instinctual about tagging along.

Binging

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I’ve been watching Quantico on Netflix and I think the dual plotlines work well here.

It’s always strange to see the FBI training academy – TV’s version of it anyway – with its eager cadets jogging purposely into the future. True believers one and all. Most of them.

This is an intriguing show partly because of all the Easter egg clues regarding false-flag attacks and corruption in the FBI. But the connotations don’t go all the way. It’s a mainstream media show. It is what it is. Still fun to watch.

Priyanka Chopra is exquisitely sexy and, in a good way, her character is a bit slutty.

Its a fun show to watch, in part because of its own drama, and in part because there is so much there to deconstruct.

 

The Decision

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So I resigned my job, even though it was pretty cushy. I had my reasons.

I won’t be renewing my apartment lease in 2018, either.

That’s it. I’m leaving China, although my decision has everything to do with my internal clock, my motor, and nothing to do with China. I’m very grateful to have lived here.

In October I spend a week or so in Phoenix, return to China, and then December 6 leave, Rochester, Phoenix and Mexico through March. If I have the fundage I’ll swing through Seattle. I will digital nomad this situation and edit academic papers from wherever.

April 1 (April Fool’s Day) I will relaunch my life completely. I’ll move out of Mexico to either somewhere in Latin America or Europe, preparing the groundwork for my son moving there for university.

Sometimes you just got to throw your life to the wind.

 

 

Compelled Speech is Unconstitutional

Do we really want to turn back the clock?

Do we want to pressure people into idolizing flags and anthems?

In 1977, several Jehovah’s Witnesses won a case against New Hampshire, arguing that the “Live Free or Die” motto ran against their religious convictions, and that the state was compelling them to carry a political slogan. They were right. They won the case. Is not the First Amendment more “American” than the anthem?

Americans supposedly have free speech; they also have the freedom not to partake, participate or piggyback on anyone else’s political message. And the national anthem is certainly political.

I really doubt that the NFL and NBA inserted a “you must stand” clause in their player contracts. It would be unconstitutional if they did. In any case, this is no longer a corporate matter. The state himself is now involved. This is now Trump’s America: L’etat c’est moi!

The one thing I miss about living in the US, apart from the occasional vanilla malt, is being able to chat with regular people wherever. Many Americans do have (or had) a kind of optimism and expansive curiosity often lacking elsewhere, and some of them walk the walk.

But I do not miss having to witness the steady erosion of civil liberties precisely as political blowhards utter the words “freedom and democracy.” I don’t miss the non-stop propaganda, which dwarfs anything seen in China actually.

I don’t miss the Wal-martization of the country, the increasing sameness of place, and the fact that almost all medium sized cities from Maine to California look the same. Fast-food franchise garbage as far as the eye can see.

I don’t miss the intentional divide-and-conquer racial politics, and I don’t trust the police to treat my teenage son, Mexican-American, with the respect that he is due. He will be emigrating for university.

As long as the country keeps deteriorating, I completely understand why players do not go along with the anthem bullshit.

To do so would be to participate in a humiliation ritual, and to lend legitimacy to a system that is becoming increasingly vile.