No More Slow Boat

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100 years ago I would have spent weeks on the slow boat to China, seasick.

Now I only spent most of one day watching movies and reading a new science fiction book, Ready Player One, which is apparently going to be a film by Steven Spielberg.

My only complaint about Air China is that their meal options are horrible: beef or pork. I always forget to get something different. Otherwise it was smooth sailing – except for when I stuck my hand in my bad to retrieve a toothbrush and instead sliced my finger on a razor blade. One of the stewardess wrapped bandaids around it on two different occasions. I felt a connection.

The movie above is Beatriz at Dinner, mostly with Salma Hayek, playing a working-class Mexican immigrant, and John Ligthgow, playing a megalomaniac oligarch who made a joke about himself being born in Oaxaca. When contextualized with a few other Easter eggs it became an inside joke? Is that a question? Am I uptalking?

It was a fun and mostly funny movie. More movies should features strained dinner table conversations. I’ve always found that riveting. However, the ending was inconclusive. “Wait… That was the end?” It happens from time to time.

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I also saw Wonder Woman. The first half was interesting, the character build up and allusions to ancient Greece, the Amazons, and ideas about the history of the world and humanity’s place in it. Very Illuminati-esque.

The movie took the stereotype of the Germans to the highest degree, plotting their evil like no one else can apparently. I think there must have been an intentional sense of parody.

The non-stop action and overly dramatic fight scenes can be boring. It’s why I avoid the superhero cartoonery.

I’m only in China for five weeks then quickly transition: Rochester, Phoenix, Mexico, Panama by January 3 for a week.

Then… Do I throw a dart on the map to decide where to go next? I must respect the omen shown to me by the old Chinese guy at Xiamen airport, a while back, with his tee shirt: Go Someplace New.

Do I follow the philosophy of flippage? Choose two continents and then flip a coin? And then two countries and flip a coin?

Meantime I’m happy to be in China and feel very much at home.

 

 

 

Witch Hunt

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Robert Mueller: Wasting Time and Effort

I’m not one to defend the Trump administration; in fact, I oppose virtually all of its policies. However, this Russia-gate nonsense is just that: nonsense.

What is the Special Counsel going to stumble upon? That a former campaign advisor, Paul Manafort, had some sketchy business dealings three or four years before he even got involved with the campaign? That’s weak. That’s a real stretch, to connect it back to Russia interfering in the 2016 election. And Manafort’s activities might not even be illegal – just unusual. Well, this is on the list of “allowable” scandals. These guys will not look into the “disallowed” scandals.

If anything, this witch hunt should absolve the Trump campaign on that particular matter, but of course the media will chew it up all different ways.

Getting on Wi-Fi in America’s airports, for free, is not an easy task… I am headed back to China barring unforeseen flight delays. I could always take the slow boat to China, but for now I will stick with the United / Air China combo.

 

 

 

 

Power Play

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Speculation abounds. But this is not just a conflict between Spain and Catalonia…

The European Union is directly involved, and there could be repercussions for NATO.

The Catalans are being a little naïve, thinking that they can achieve independence with just a wish and a dream. As Che would say, “what? a revolution without gunfire? Impossible!”

While ideally shots will not have to be fired, if Catalonia really wants independence it will have to respond to force with force. This means that if and when Madrid sends forces to arrest Catalans, etc…, they would have to be met with lethal force (because we live in the real world, and violence is the only language the state really understands).

If Catalans are not willing to overcome force with force, then they will not be independent. Just saying. They should do a careful weighing of the costs and benefits. Perhaps they should have done this before setting into motion this runaway train.

Or the Catalonians could do what the Libyan rebels did: goad Spanish forces into attacking them, and then cry to the international community that their rights are being violated. Under the new “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, the UN Security Council would have to intervene.

My guess is that the EU will pressure Madrid into letting Catalonia break away, rather than risk violence. The EU lost some credibility and legitimacy when it did nothing to stop a war on its border in Bosnia, where I visited in 1996… Imagine what this conflict would do to the EU’s public perception.

Phoenix Good Times

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Alex turned 17 the day this was taken.

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Cassandra, 15 going on 21, and the funniest person I’ve ever met.

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Arizona Daze…

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I have not seen one cloud in 8 days. I’ve not seen any chemtrails, either… Unlike my previous time in Vegas, which was hammered.

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Extreme beauty in our face

Ending the Epidemic

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Today might be the first time I agreed with the Trump administration on anything. There is now a promise to do something about the opioid epidemic. Sounds like a plan. I hope it works.

I’m in a motel in Phoenix in a decent area, but bordering a sketchier area. So when I walk to the Circle K for whatever, I often encounter pedestrians who, actually, cannot really walk properly. Their locomotion skills are a bit off. Zombies.

Then there are the dudes loitering in front of the store, invariably holding Big Gulp drinks, picking at their skin and glancing this way and that, just a millisecond away from a fight or flight response. Looking all weird. Most of these guys are young and White or Hispanic. I think the problem here is still meth or heroin.

I noticed that in Trump’s speech he made a reference to working with China on this common problem. China does have organized crime involved in the international narcotics trade, mostly based in Hong Kong. On mainland China it is way to dangerous to be a hard-core criminal: they are dispatched into the next worked with a single bullet to the back of the head. It works. Also, the society is more unified and robust. People don’t have the personal latitude to hive off and ruin their lives with drugs.

I can categorically say this: China does not have a domestic drug problem of any significance.

After four years there, after travelling around and knowing people from all walks of life, some of them intimately, I can safely say that China has no drug problem. Sure, there are a few hippies and skate borders here and there who smoke weed, and the scent can be picked up in nightclubs, but there is really no meth, no heroin, no opioids.

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.

 

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/national-park-wants-more-double-204651356.html

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.