Civil-Military Expo: Mianyang

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I was surprised to see Israel take up so much floor space in the expo (at the entrance) and the only foreign speaker at the event was Israeli, who droned on about how their high-tech industry was partly driven by the need to respond to rockets from Gaza.

It remains unclear what Israel has to do with a convention in northeast Sichuan province, or how it insinuated itself into the event and infiltrated the speakers’ list. I’d be saying the same thing if Saudi Arabia or the Vatican set up a bunch of pop-up displays.

China is a secular country, thankfully, and it confines the infection of religion and tribalism to the private sphere (as opposed to civic), again thankfully. So it was a little disappointing to see China compromise on its principles that way.

 

Photos for Tomorrow

I got back from the trip, still with laptop issues. I took it to a store. The guys will wipe my hard drive, install Windows 10 (had 7 actually) and then insert the Office package (which is in Chinese). On my part there will be trial and error involved, surely.

The trip itself was rewarding, and the best part was unanticipated: a round table lunch with about seven highly educated Chinese people, a Japanese guy from Tokyo, and my American colleague. We had time to kill, so the group dove into the topics of US versus China as global leaders, Trump, Taiwan, the Chinese economy, everything. No friction to speak of… But it was an intense conversation nonetheless.

Even though I have little to say, I need to post daily for a few people who follow. Checking in I guess.

On the Road

I’m two hours away from Chengdu in a smaller city, having laptop issues.

In any case tomorrow is a signing ceremony at a big event, a science exposition combining military and civilian technology.

Another professor and I accepted an invitation to spectate, and it seems we are the only foreigners. We each got free plush hotel rooms and buffet meals. It’s like a junket, except we don’t have any influence with which to barter.

I should have some good photos but then again, I’m struggling with my laptop. It looks like I need to swipe off the entire operating system and replace it with something bootleg, again.

Reversing the Flow

Hawaii is getting a lot of attention for considering giving all residents a “Universal Basic Income.” This would provide a floor of income, guaranteed, so that no one suffers from homelessness, malnutrition, or persistent poverty.

Naturally, the majority of libertarians and conservatives find this outrageous. Who will pay for it?

No one really pays for anything in our psudo-economy. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Vast sums of money are created out of thin air and gifted to banks and corporations. Who pays for that? No one.

But it matters not if we are 20 trillion in debt or 40 trillion in debt. Or 100 trillion in debt. No one is ever going to pay any of this back!

One of the greatest delusions in modern history – a hoax, really – is that there is something called an “economy” with relative autonomy: that an “economy” exists as a system. No. Economies are mere appendages of political regimes, which are brought into existence (from above) and which eventually undergo controlled demolitions.

There are no “economic laws” apart from those constructed for economies, from above, by political regimes.

So, as long as corporate fat cats and banksters are getting all this free money, well, so should Joe and Jane Six Pack. To say otherwise is simply to defend oligarchic hoarding.

US – China Stuff

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Back in the day, advanced economies like the US had more clout, more barganing power. These “core” countries were more autonomous than “peripheral” or “semi-peripheral” places like China.

Now that situation is reversed. In many ways China is now a core country, and the US produces very little, as trade deficits mount. The US does grow most of its staple foods, but a quick trip to Walmart reveals that the majority of household products are made in China.

Compared to the US, China is more self-sufficient. Being a much older civilization, it has built-in mechanisms for overcoming interruptions of trade.

China does not really need the US. The portion of China’s trade with the US is falling, and with other parts of the world it’s rising. I live in China and rarely see American products sold here (unless we consider Apple cell phones… that are made in…. China).

Trump tweeted this nonetheless:

“The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

It’s probably true as Julian Assange speculated, that such a move would result in Trump being “deposed immediately.”

Of course, both a trade embargo and ousting a president are not decisions made on this level of open, formal politics. Controllers above formal government will decide, or not, to play chess in this way. So we have back-and-forth tweeting between two front men (on different teams but in the same league, so really they’re on the same team).

Meantime, it is simply delusional to think that an American economic and political regime would survive a cut-off of trade with China. China would survive it, though.

King Klown

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Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). His tweet is ricocheting around the media complex.

“Ending DACA now gives chance 2 restore Rule of Law. Delaying so R Leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide.”

So right off the bat we can see King’s war on the English language. He seems to be part of this program to dumb down the population. He’s not going to make it as a professional editor; I can tell you that much.

Immigration law itself, having been deliberately violated by all levels of government, lacks integrity. It’s just words on a paper. Like so many of his mindset, he is willing to place “law” above “ethics” or “humanity.” Yeah, it was once “the law” to separate the races at Woolworth’s lunch counter.

Who is this guy? So I Googled him. Actually I Yahoo’d him because Google thinks traffic coming from my computer is suspicious, and then asks me to click on boxes with street signs… forever. Fucking Google.

Steve King’s record of deeds and misdeeds is legendary.

King proposed using “food stamp” money to pay for the border wall.

King voted AGAINST the hurrican Katrina aid package…

“In July 2012, King introduced an amendment to the House Farm Bill that would legalize previously banned animal agriculture practices such as tail docking, putting arsenic in chicken feed, and keeping impregnated pigs in small crates.”

King fiercely opposes same-sex marriage “…so that Iowa does not become the gay marriage Mecca.” I imagine his opposition to adult consexual sex derives from the Illuminati scriptures and their edicts.

Presumably a corn-fed Christian from Iowa, and thus puritanical, there are many reports that while in Moscow he tried to procure a Chinese masseuse.

As reported by the Democratic Underground (link below):

“Steve King sought ‘Chinese masseuse’ at Moscow hotel where Trump allegedly hired sex workers”

(If those reports are true, then someone somplace has video).

Perhaps Iowa voters might someday wake up (not bloody likely). But they might.

If they ever vote King out of office, then those of us on the other side will finally get our happy ending.

 

https://www.democraticunderground.com/10028786621

New Semester

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I’ve been slammed but this week will post more substantial things. We got some new students.

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Still jetlagged from long flights, but willing to try new food.

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The students are from the New York area, and DC, and Colorado.

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Chinese students at a talk I gave (on the Mandela effect). The woman in the white shirt, third from the left, is not European. She’s Chinese, from the northwest province.

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A skyscape

Martinelli’s Mistakes?

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Panama’s ex-President Ricardo Martinelli might be extradicted from the US back to Panama. There, the most serious charges include illegal espionage, or wiretapping, on many people. The old Nixon-style eavesdropping on conversations.

Mistake #1: Not making the illegal legal. In Panama it’s still illegal for the government to spy on citizens without a warrant. In the US, the Patriot Act, NDAA and simple standard operating procedures have done away with all that.

Mistake #2: Going to the US when there are many other countries that would not so readily extradite a former head of  government. They don’t take all these accusations so seriously. In many developing countries, some would say “Banana Republic” countries, it is normal for incoming administrations to produce long laundry lists of all the crimes of the former ones.

Based on that logic, Martinelli should have headed for Brazil, where revolving-door administrations accuse the previous ones of ever-larger corruption schemes.

Besides, in Brazil the sun is hot and the women are fast. Or he could go to Venezuela, which would probably not extradite someone to a US ally. And Martinelli, when president, had a good relationship with Venezuela actually.

I was in Panama the last time the Martinelli rumor mill was swirling. Long time readers know that I was born in the US Canal Zone and qualified for Panamanian citizenship in 2000, retroactively, because Panama never recognized US sovereignty over the Zone.

I aim to return to Panama in December of February, to renew my citizenship ID card and look in on my motorcycle. So if I hear the rumor mill turning on the ground I will mention that here.

Bone to the Base

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Is the Trump administration preparing to throw a bone to the base? Chinese media is reporting that the administration is working with key members of Congress, preparing to “rescind” the Dreamer Act that allows undocumented immigrants to remain in the US (those who were brought here as minors).

The conservative position common in Red States, including among many libertarians and Christians, is that these immigrants are “illegal” and should be deported. Never mind the backstory: that Washington and Mexico City colluded to destroy Mexican agriculture, and that Washington, the states, and major corporations facilitated illegal immigration in the 1990s by handing out drivers lienses, mortgages, bank loans, and car loans. But that was back in the day when their labor was more sorely needed. That was back when being undocumented was an unenforced misdemeanor.

I disagree with liberals and most democrats on many things (including gun control) but they tend to be right about the Dream Act. There is something deeply unethical, even un-American, about deporting someone who was brought forceably to the US as a child, and who has little or no connection to their country or origin.

Across the political spectrum in the US, people love to point to “international law” when its suits them. The interventionists – among whom are included many conservatives and neo-conservatives – point to United Nations “humanitarian law” to justify intervention in Syria, for example. Never mind that this process technically requires UN Security Council approval, with Russia and China signing off…

In any case, international law contains numerous conventions on the rights of the child, the rights of people who have been “trafficked,” and even the rights of undocumented, “stateless” people. There are laws and conventions that could be invoked to prevent undocumented minors (or people trafficked here as minors) from being deported.

In a perfect world, there should be consequences, ultimately, for people who violate those laws and conventions. That’s what the International Criminal Court is for, in theory. People who participate in a round-up of those brought to the US when they were, say, four years old, should definitely sit in an iron cage in The Hague.

But it will probably not come to that. Most likely, there will be some deal made in a smoke-filled room, and the administration’s effort to “rescind” will be so technically restricted and narrow that it will apply to no one. On paper it will look good. There will be some back-patting in Congress.

And the Trump administration will be able to throw a bone (a paper one) to its base, which depends on targeting marginal and disenfranchised populations.

Tailing Off

Air pollution in Beijing China :

Air pollution in China is a major problem. Within a month the summer rains will dissipate and smog will return.

Pollution is on my mind because I am editing a medical article from Beijing. It’s brilliant, but there is plenty of Chinglish. A recent study was conducted in 26 Chinese studies, analyzing the links between “particulate matter air pollution” and “anxiety.” Pollution was measured by the indexes that are updated hourly, and anxiety was measured by rates of hospital admittance for anxiety.

There was a strong association, with anxiety peaking 5 days after the peak pollution dates. I guess that’s how long it takes for the particles to move from the lungs to the brain, where they bury themselves into gray matter. Females were more sensitive to pollution than males. No surprise there.

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On the plus side, I would imagine that air pollution in Chinese cities would slowly diminish. Subway systems are being seriously expanded, and Chengdu has gone from two lines to many in just a few years.

Also, the construction of these giant apartment buildings seems to be tapering off. There are signs of overbuilding, and the exurbs often are ringed with empty apartment complexes. Will they stand empty forever or whill they fill up with people? Maybe the authorities are expecting even more country people to migrate to cities.

Hopefully, most first- and second-tier cities in China will soon be finished products, on autopilot, without the sounds of cranes and jackhammers, and without pulverized concrete and metal particles floating around.