National Park Gentrification

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I read this in the news:

“In an effort to better fund its ongoing maintenance and infrastructure projects, the National Park Service proposing higher entrance fees for 17 parks around the U.S., which would increase the fees from around $30 per vehicle to $70 during the peak seasons, or busiest five months, of each particular location.”

That seems a little steep. Maintenance and infrastructure? I thought the whole point of national parks was the have a naturalistic setting where civilization ends. No maintenance. No infrastructure – except the bare minimum, like a fire station, snack bar, and restrooms.

The National Park Service is part of the government, which does not need to pay any attention to budgets. If the federal government can go into 20 trillion in unpayable debt, it can go into 21 trillion or even 300 trillion. Who cares!

In reality, this is a kind of social distancing exercise, where a handful of ruling elites has simply decided that the unwashed masses should remain outside Yosemite. The barbarians at the gate. And so it is a kind of humiliation ritual, just because. It’s a kind of taunting of the working class.

On a final note, it is interesting that “Smokey the Bear” never existed in this reality. If you think so, you have been “Mandela Affected.” Now, it is just “Smokey Bear,” always has been.

Bring Your Lamb to Slaughter

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“Now, I got no fight with any man who does what he’s told, but when he don’t, the machine breaks down. And when the machine breaks down, we break down

The machine must be kept rolling. That is why the US military is deployed in Africa. Because it’s there. And because we have a machine.

Few people are asking the tough questions about how the US got into Niger, where American soldiers were recently killed (sacrificed). We are told because it is because Niger is a hornet’s nest of Islamic terrorist groups. But even mainstream media reports that most of these groups spilled over from Libya and radicalized locals. These were the groups supported (back then) by the western circle jerk so desperate to kill Gaddafi (after the ritualistic sodomy).

And so there appears to be no terrorist group anywhere that did not get its start in the bowels of the intelligence community and the Pentagon. But  we are now supposed to forget all that complicity. We live is a society with zero historical memory.

I was just watching a cable show where you could see US soldiers in action in Afghanistan. A GoPro camera I guess. Very gritty business. They seemed like good guys who ended up in the Army for college scholarships and just to have a job. There seemed to be a few True Believers.

Despite their being generally smart and decent, they kept referring to local armed civilians as “bad guys.” Like they were in a video game. So let me get this straight. Let us assume 9-11 was not entirely what it was sold as. The US then invades Afghanistan based on a false premise, and then assume people do not have the natural right to defend their  country against outsiders.

Even if you swallow the Party Line for Afghanistan, no one can deny that the Iraq war was based entirely on lies and ultimately illegal according to international law.

This  topic has been in the news lately. Of course it is a tragedy when someone, anyone, gets killed – and especially when they are cut down in their youth.

But as for the US soldiers, I will not fool myself – I will not debase myself – into thinking that they died “for my freedom” or for “God and country” or for anything supposedly noble. I’m not going to insult my own intelligence.

No, these soldiers were simply victims, sacrificed on the altar of imperial power, corporate greed, and religious arrogance.

The Protein Craze

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We are Sparta! Greek protein for all.

One of the curious things about spending so much time out of the US (I was last here in February) is “Future Shock.”

The incremental changes here, which many people do not notice (because they are incremental), become very obvious.

I went to the supermarket. A Fry’s. I noticed that the high protein craze is now being marketed to a wide range of products. Protein this, protein that. Protein here, protein there – a new Dr. Seuss book could be written.

I agree protein is important, but excessive intake clogs the arteries and causes disease.

Each year, America falls into a new food fad. Last year it was gluten free. Fads come and go, but the country keeps ballooning in size. This country is seriously overfed. So f the protein craze is centered around losing weight, well, it’s not working and possibly backfiring.

On the plus side (no pun intended) American supermarkets are bursting with choices. When I was a teenager, all supermarkets were pretty standard and boring. Food was boring. Corn flakes and such. Sometime in the late 80s I guess it was, supermarkets got interesting.

Today, even a Fry’s! in Phoenix! has aisles of food from foreign lands, exotic cheeses, different kinds of pestos, choices everywhere. I bought eggs, confounded by having to choose between “organic” and “grain fed” and “free range” and “cage free.” I think there were more options.

And the coffee section… So many choices…


54 Years of Doctoring Evidence

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The Zapruder film, first released in 1975, after 13 years of editing (including the green screen, above)

Trump is going to let the JFK files be released?

The assumption here is that these files have been sitting in a locked cabinet somewhere all this time.

The assumption here is that these files will be released in their pristine, unadulterated state (if they ever were in that state).

We live in an age when not even the truth is true… If the nature of reality itself is illusory – a deception – then truth might well be an artificial construct. Maybe we inherited the archetype of truth in our collective unconscious but it does not really exist in the here and now.

In any case? What does it mean to be in the “truth community?”

I think that the loyalty to truth comes before any loyalty to other abstractions, such as god or country. Besides, if god and truth are basically synonymous and overlapping, then no harm done (from the religious point of view). Would not the Christian or Abrahamic god forgive putting the “truth” before “Him” if these were one and the same?

It’s like the scene in A Few Good Men: “I want the truth!” (But maybe none of us can really “handle the truth!”)

In any case, a wide range of people will probably make a fuss over the details in the JFK files. But before these are even released we know they must be false. We have to consider the source.

They can’t… stop… lying.

It’s all a lie… It… it… it… has to be. (An inside joke for some of us).

Sign of the Times

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Geostorm is a Hollywood mega-disaster movie.

It’s kind of like Asteroid meets The Day After Tomorrow meets The Wave, etc…

I’m a terrible movie critic because I normally see something redeeming in virtually all movies, but this one is skippable.

The movie is over the top. The final scenes are predictable and overly sentimental – maudlin, even…

What I did find interesting is that the theory and practice of global weather control is sold as a wonderful thing. Of course, a computer virus is inserted, hacking this benevolent system to weaponize weather.

But our hero restores the system and delivers it to the good guys: NASA. NASAtards will be ecstatic.

And there is a mesh around the Earth, some kind of geodesic structure, filaments of energy and geo-centric satellites (presumably).

In one of the final scenes, post-climax, the camera is pointed skyward to a kind of Biblical sky, with the sun radiating downward… It’s a bit of a mix between reality and CGI.

Wouldn’t you know it? Right there in the divine picture is the crisscross of a chemtrail.

So chemtrails went from being part of the new normal to being part of an inspirational sky.




Interesting Movie

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Happy Death Day. Movies are not just movies. They are coded and loaded with all kinds of messages.

This movie is about a young woman in college who keeps waking up on the same day over and over again, only to be murdered (whereupon she wakes up). If I say anymore it will spoil the plot.

But I will say that the movie is a metaphor for the idea of reincarnation and the progress a soul should make, directed under free will, towards its betterment – across nine lives, as it were.

Of course, other things about the movie have the opposite message, and Hollywood as a whole has another agenda. Still, the producers who are above the producers feel obliged to put the good message in front of everyone’s faces, as part of the rules of engagement.

What the producers above the producers forget, however, is the glitch in the matrix – several glitches. Free will, for example, has been narrowed to the point of being parody. And burying the messages in Hollywood products does not constitute informed consent. The game of life has become as rigged as the NFL.

The movie is worth a look. It’s clever. It’s funny. It does not take itself too seriously.

Not Sweating the Small Stuff

Most likely, some of my ancestors on my mother’s side came over on the potato-famine boats. Weeks of seasickness, storms, cramped spaces, and eating biscuits with bugs.

Nevertheless, just to “be that guy” I will whine about my flight – my three flights. These are not big problems, but the human psyche has a way of elevating these things, and of sweating the small stuff… My trick to calm myself down is to project my imagination to my life a month or two from now, when I will have forgotten the mundane details.

The check-in counter printed the wrong passport number on my boarding pass. Security was going to let me board the domestic flight to Beijing but told me I would have a “big problem” going through Beijing’s immigration and getting on the LAX flight.

So I went back to the check-in counter and alternated between being polite and insistent. The loud American.  I kept saying that it was their mistake, not mine, etc… Eventually it worked. But it put me in the frame of mind to notice the small stuff.

Like what’s the deal with these “departure cards” that so many countries make you fill out with paper? If you don’t have them they point to the back of the room – like you are supposed to leave your place in a 15-minute line to fetch one of these cards. I just snatched one from the next stall and remained up front, filling it out illegibly.

These departure cards contain no information that is not already processed by the immigration department’s computer. In this case, China knows full well who arrives and leaves, and when, with their name, birthdate, gender, etc… all digitally stored in a secure, highly confident system. The information is accurate.

But China and many other countries ask for these departure cards, most of which are filled out a half-mindedly from what I can tell. Does anyone ever read these cards?  Of course not. That would be a waste of time. They pile up in a warehouse. I think Europe started this ritual.

Then I try to settle into the flight by watching a movie. Every minute or two – for a long time – the movie would pause to make an “announcement” by Air China. First in Chinese and then in English. I don’t meant to pick on Air China: the Japanese airlines are even worse in this regard. The first announcement contains relevant and sufficient information. It should be enough. The first 45 minutes of the flight are subject to non-stop interruptions.

Subsequent announcements tend to repeat the same information, even delving into arcane things like the airplane’s flying altitude (when that info is up on the screen) and that a meal will now be served (why not just serve the meal?). Some announcements even the weather in the destination city.

And then, picking up of my annoyance, my screen starts to get glitchy, synergized with my own now-glitchy electrical field. The stewardess offers to change my seat. I get my stuff ready and the screen comes back on again, mocking me.

It’s really small stuff, when you think about it. Small stuff compared with the potato famine boats.

Then, after such a long journey I’m taking a much-needed hot shower. The room’s phone rings. I rush out to answer it (maybe it’s my children) leaving my room wet, and ruining my nice shower.

“Hello, this is reception, we are just calling to see if everything was OK in your room? Just let us know if there is anything you need!”

Long Trip

Sometimes I think of the slog of a long haul flight, like the one I’m about to take in four hours.

Chengdu to Beijing, then rush in the airport, hurry up and wait, rush some more.

Then LAX, then Phoenix.

But how easy this is compared to traveling a century ago, yesteryear and all that: the slow boat to and from China.

This trip would have taken a month back in the day, maybe longer. No television or movies, no Wi-Fi, no hot stewardesses (China Air) pouring you ginger ale. And it’s a lot safer than the slow boat. Yet we like to complain about this and that.

My next post will be from Phoenix.

La-La Land

I noticed the Drudgereport featured an article on drones being deployed in LA.

Message: Drones – coming soon to a reality near you.

Several recent court cases appear – at first glance – to give a green light to the use of drones, but the situation is more complicated, and at least two US Supreme Court cases appear to preclude the use of drones for mass surveillance. Wildly unconstitutional.

First, I get it… I understand that some courts will uphold a SWAT team (in North Dakota) or the Border Patrol using drones in specific circumstances, for specific reasons, and in conjunction with a search warrant (ideally).

However, the US Supreme Court has two decisions out there that are relevant, at least. Both cases involved the authorities looking for marijuana growers. Yeah, the war on Cheech and Chong. Your tax dollars at work.

In Kyllo v. United States (2001) the Court found that the use of a thermal imaging device (then mounted on land, but now standard for drones) represents a “search” under the Fourth Amendment. So it must be accompanied by a search warrant specifically describing the things to be searched.

A better case is California v. Ciraolo (1986). Here, drone advocates think they have their precedent. But they do not. They’ve been smoking too much of something.

True, the Court let stand the use of a private plane by police (acting on a tip) to fly over the area and find someone growing the devil’s weed in their back yard. And then the warrant was issued.

I don’t have a problem with that necessarily, but drone advocates are forgetting the details of the Court’s decision.

The Court justified the fly-over and the introduction of evidence because it was based on an officer (sitting in a plane) and his “naked-eye observations,” that could be documented by an ordinary photograph.

Drones would be constitutional if they included some dude sitting there, stretching his neck this way and that, looking for something dodgy.

But drones today do not come with humans. They feature all kinds of gadgets to measure heat, motions, etc… They can scan license plate numbers from cars. They even have facial recognition technologies to feed countless faces into a remote database, churning random people through lists of supposed terrorists. This is inherently intrusive technology and should require a search warrant.

The proposed LA drones are not attached to a specific investigation or a warrant. These are intended to hover in the air indefinitely, 24/7 is the idea, as in some dystopian science-fiction movie.


Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.






It’s Complicated

Yahoo news has a story about how no one in China wants to get married anymore…

Maybe marriage “rates” are dipping, but many people certainly do want to marry. And have babies. There is in fact intense pressure on women to marry before the age of 30, after which they are considered “leftover” women.

True there are also more people who are partnering up with others without marriage, especially in the big cities, which are highly tolerant of all lifestyles.

One thing I have learned about China is that it exists on a scale that it incomparable to western countries. I now think that, yes, there are well over a billion people here, and my home city, the second-tier city of Chengdu, has over 15 million people, more than New York City. The US has two cities between 5 – 10 million people; China has several dozen.

What I’m trying to say is that, if you look for a demographic trend in China, or if you look for a particular fad or lifestyle, you will find it.

I’ve met women in China who are deeply conservative and traditional, who always behave in a way that benefits their family, friends, and society at large. They are not necessarily prudish; it’s that they were not raised with hypersexualized media (now that is changing), and they have been contextualized by Old China.

But I’ve met very wild women, of various ages, who will have a fling at a moments notice just because – and who seek that out. China has its own version of Tinder called Tantan. Like I said, there are lots of people in China. There is no shortage of adventurous women.

Either way, across the spectrum of personality, women here have a certain charm that is unique to China.

I’m just reluctant to read too much into these articles that make sweeping observations and predictions about China. This place it too big for that. It will take several decades to know for sure what is happening in that department.