New Food Market

A new supermarket opened in Chengdu. It caters to the growing number of wealthy Chinese who are quite adventuresome when it comes to food. They will try anything once. And while some products must be Chinese, local people here also like foreign products for certain things. Dairy from Australia, for example.

This market also caters to quite a few foreigners who live in neighborhoods north of the market, on the subway line.


English is the main language for the market’s signage.

The entire store is laid out with with the idea of foreigner food for foreigner people – and for Chinese people who have foreigner thinking ways.


The staff was super friendly except for this guy…

He looked at me like I was some kind of Neanderthal – a rare occurrence, but it happens.




The french bread on the right was 12 RMB (2 dollars). This is fairly expensive compared to other markets, including Wal-Mart, where loaves can be had for 5 RMB (less than 1 dollar). I bought one anyway, and later made a sub stuffed with spicy tuna fish and roasted vegetables…


Very clever. The “w” needs to be capitalized. Still very clever.

More Interns Needed?


Of course it makes sense for US Immigration Services to conduct thorough background checks on people who apply to visit the United States, Of course people who are suspicious should not be accepted. Of course the US should be more careful than it has been in the past.

However, the new administration appears to be over-reacting, denying entry or visas to people who very obviously pose zero risk to the United States, and who are not at risk for violating their tourist or business visas.

I think 19-year old interns can do a better job of discernment than the bureacurats now making these calls:

“… a group of musicians from Morocco canceled a performance at a New Orleans music festival after their visas were denied. Days earlier, a group of children from Ghana was denied visas to perform West African dancing and drumming in Charleston, South Carolina. In late February, several members of the Tibet women’s soccer team were denied visas to attend a tournament in Dallas.”

It continues:

“The organizer of the African Global Economic & Development Summit, an annual three-day conference held at the University of Southern California, told VOA that every person single person was denied entry to the U.S.”

“Usually we get 40 percent that get rejected but the others come,” said Mary Flowers, the conference’s chair. “This year it was 100 percent. Every delegation. And it was sad to see, because these people were so disheartened.”

Also recently, a American teenager, a US citizen who is Muslim, was stopped from boarding an international flight home.

What is going on? Like I said, I know college students who are capable of separating the wheat from the chaff.

The US needs to think of national security, but it should also position itself as the Grand Central Station of the world. If it loses this position, it loses its soft power and its superpower status.

The actual on-the-ground, real world, daily decisions being made by ICE and immigration are both stupid and cruel. Stupidity is excusable; even cruelty can be excusable. However, the combination of stupidity and cruelty is never excusable.

Hopefully the administration can retain its emphasis on national security while also providing better guidance for the relevant agencies.

Will Comey Follow Suit?

In the video above, we see James Clapper – former Director of DIA and of National Intelligence – out and out lying to Congress over the extent of mass surveillance. The content of his speech is false. We know it and he knows it. His body language and gestures also betray the lie.

Within hours, we might witness the Director of the FBI, James Comey, join the parade of serial liars that goes back to the beginning of the Iraq war and of course earlier as well. (But we already suspect that Comey had some major goods on Senator Clinton and refused to investigate further; and so yes, we know Comey omits the truth).

Comey will provide testimony to the House “Intelligence” Committee, which is an ongoing Broadway show to convince Americans that congressional oversight exists or is effective. It does not.

CNN is already betting that Monday’s meeting will represent a setback for the Trump administration:

“It’s a moment of political theater that could end in humiliation for Trump, with Comey expected to say that there was no wiretapping, debunking allegations that Trump has repeatedly refused to withdraw.”

Trump has been holding a trump card in this round of poker.

He knows full well that he, his family and his aids have been consistently wiretapped across the Bush administration and well into the Obama administration. NSA documents are now coming out that prove this, and some are being exposed by Infowars (credit where credit is due).

That this wiretapping ended in 2010 in bullshit, however. It never stopped… It was just rerouted and outsourced differently.

Also, Trump and his supporters often make the mistake of thinking that Obama personally ordered this wiretapping. No… Whatever his personal qualities, the only thing Obama ordered on a consistent basis were items on the lunch menu. The presidency, as an office, has been a joke for many years.

To a great extent, we see the continuation of the puppet show today.  The White House is advancing an elitist “divide and conquer strategy” that segments those with little or no power. There is no change to the Federal Reserve system. The military-industrial complex is gobbling up the budget. And in the Middle East, it is not America First but rather Israel First. And there has been zero rollback of the infringement on civil liberties witnessed under Bush and Obama. NDAA 2012 is still in place, for example.

In fact, just by personalizing this issue and highlight Obama, Trump is perpetuating the mythology that the presidency matters. To his credit, maybe Trump thinks it matters, or that it should matter. Well, good luck with that. I’m not being flippant… The presidency should matter.

But on this wiretapping issue, Trump is right. His critics are wrong.

Here, his opponents include almost all the mainstream media and their Talking Heads, the chattering class, the gliteratti, the Beltway Boyz… Trump should really hold up the file of documents and rub it in their faces…

That would be a nice moment.






Hoax with a Capital H?

It is worth questioning everything, I think, because so much of this world is false. So it is legitimate to entertain the thought – the hope – that nuclear weapons are a hoax.

This would mean, as the narrator of the video implies (and as others have argued), that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were firebombed with then newly-developed conventional bombs capable of producing mushroom clouds (as TNT has been shown to produce). And nuclear power is basically gussied-up steam power, the theory goes.

I’m not willing to believe – not yet – that nuclear weapons are a hoax. But I am certainly going to look into it.

The video above is narrated by MrE3000, a youtuber who has produced many videos claiming that many (if not most) A-list actors and actresses have undergone gender transformations. MrE3000 has no issues with people openly “transexual” but he is on a mission to expose celebrities who are part of a deception, who are Hollywood commodities, and who are products of an “Illuminati tranny factory.”

Some of those claims for specific personalities (not all) are very convincing. Either way, MrE3000 is thought provoking and his informal, stream of consciousness narration works very well. This is a thought-provoking youtube channel.

No Press Corps, No Diff


When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to fly to Asia without the traditional gaggle of reporters, there was concern.

The State Department Correspondents Association was “… disappointed that Secretary Tillerson chose to travel this week to North Asia without a full contingent of the diplomatic press corps or even a pool reporter.”

Vox ran this headline: “Why Rex Tillerson’s choice not to bring a press corps to Asia is unusual — and troubling.”

Troubling? Yes, for the press that counts on a glamorous junket once in a while.

The reality is that Tillerson’s trip is being extensively covered in the mainstream and alternative press. It turns out that Japan and Korea and China all have media, and there are no shortages of reporters, cameramen, the works.

Who would have thunk!

Meantime, we shall see if the Bush-Obama strategy of just waiting out the situation will change. Strategic patience. Probably not. All the options have always been on the table, in reality.

Once this administration finishes crunching the numbers, and once the honeymoon of foreign-policy invincibility wears off, it will realize that there is no such thing as a pre-emptive strike on North Korea that would not leave millions of South Koreans dead.

For decades, North Korea has deployed thousands of conventional rockets to pulverize Seoul. At the first instance of any attack – a bit like a non-nuclear Doomsday Machine.

It’s a Mexican standoff.

What new plan does anyone have in mind that does not lead to mass slaughter? None. That’s why the Chinese are rightly telling Tillerson to take a chill pill.

To me, Tillerson seems like a good type for this position, and even his last name connotes a steady hand on the tiller of a ship. Someone I’d want on my side. He certainly looks like a Secretary of State. But can-do Americanism is difficult to export, especially to East Asia, if the Korean and Vietnam wars are any indication.

The only real solution is to move from the current status of “armistice” between North and South Korea and towards a full peace “treaty.”

At present, neither North nor South recognize one another, and each entertains notions of “reunification,” so maybe that is a good place to start.

McCarthyism Part Deux (or Trois)

If you think about it, McCain is accusing Rand Paul of being mindless, as if Rand were some kind of zombie operating under the control of another (in this case Putin). As if Rand Paul makes decisions “with no justification.”

Is this psychological projection? This is a theory in which humans defend themselves against their own qualities by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.

There is a reason the puppet masters (and I mean those several  levels above the White House) are having McCain – and not one of the other 99 senators – run his own little private, but still loud, House of Un-American Activities Committee.

By occupying patriotic turf, and by wrapping himself in the American flag, McCain is able to fly into Lybia, Syria and other hotspots and convince mainstream media, and most of the public, that hard-core terrorists are really on our side.


MCain is crucial to the propaganda war running parallel to the war on secular governments in the Middle East.



I rest my case. On to the next topic.

More McCarthyism


Before highlighting Senator John McCain’s accusation that Senator Rand Paul is “working for Vladimir Putin,” it is important to note that reasonable people can object to NATO’s continued expansion and even to its existence.

NATO is a relic and a drain on the resources of multiple nations. And considering the Turkish – Syrian border, NATO is actually a potential source of instability.

At issue is NATO’s gobbling up the corrupt nation of Montenegro, which McCain says is “under assault from the Russians.” Wow! He really must miss the glory days of the Cold War – Hungary, etc… Yeah, those were exciting times.

If Sen. Paul walked out without offering up the verbal dissertation McCain wanted, I’m guessing it is because Rand Paul knows it is futile to debate such a hard-core ideologue as McCain. A fanatic.

The real tragedy here is that McCain cannot understand that an all American patriot, such as Rand Paul, can have legitimate objections to NATO including Montenegro; instead, McCain has to insinuate that the Senator from Kentucky is some kind of traitor.

It is McCain, like McCarthy before him, who is behaving in a way that can only be described as “un-American.”

Multi-Speed Europe


Juncker’s Jalopy

As reported in Zerohedge:

“The Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, argued in the European Parliament that a multi-speed Europe was the best solution…

The implementation of the multi-speed Europe concept would see some EU countries grow more united on economic and defense matters while allowing other states to catch up later. The «core» EU states could move faster and further in deepening the eurozone and harmonizing their fiscal and social policy.”

How interesting that people are using the word “core” here, which is accurate beyond the concept of “core” being “central.”

International relations, in academia, has what is called “dependency” theory, which was first developed in Latin America and then picked up by Immauel Wallerstein, Fernand Braudel and others.

Dependency theory categorizes geographic zones (not only between nations but within them) into a wealthy and powerful core, a transitionary semi-periphery, and a poor and unstable periphery.

This applies to a multi-speed Europe, where the EU’s only hope (within that model of course) is to fossilize the unequal relationships between core countries like Germany, semi-peripheral ones like Poland, and peripheral ones like the Club Med nations of Greece, Italy, Spain, etc…

Originally, the EU promised everyone that there would be “harmonization upwards,” and that the continent’s evolution would lift up the poorer nations. Now, however, that optimistic vision is being discarded in favor of a more bureaucratic neo-imperialism. We do not know what exactly this future will look like, but it most likely does not involve smiley happy people.

The EU is now paying the price for its earlier duplicitous and sinister behavior. This includes repackaging referendums over and over until certain national populations could be duped into joining. Like a teenage boy in the backseat of a car, the EU did not want to take “no” for an answer.

Then, what was promised as largely economic integration also became political integration, with incremental shifts of power from national capitals to Brussels – the new Rome, or the new Berlin. The EU became a soft Fourth Reich.

How is the EU an experiment in democratization when more and more decisions shift from separate nations to Brussels? And where, once in Brussels, decisions are increasingly made by unelected commissioners? With no possibility of reversing these decisions?

The EU is a globalist experiment in centralization with a pretty face. Although we all witnessed how force – and/or the threat thereof – was used against anti-austerity demonstrators.

A tiny few longtime readers remember my photos from the street demonstrations of Madrid in December of 2012. I then somehow Gumped my way into a meeting of those organizing demonstrations across Spain. There was this sense of the European Union – with the complicity of the Spanish government – asphyxiating Spanish civil society.

By now it is obvious: the European Union is like a poorly-designed car beginning to break down: a Jalopy.

But the owners of the EU do not want to recognize the car’s screeching noise, the banging and clanging, and the grinding of gears. All these problems are now wrapped up in a new term: “multi-speed Europe.”

It’s like what a shady used-car salesman, trying to sell a lemon, would say to an unsuspecting customer: “It’s multi-speed!”

Holland might not go along for the ride. And France, in fact, being a core country in every sense of the word, might soon take the Jalopy to the junk yard. The Juncker yard…

One can hope…

China – South Korea Tensions


In Jeju, an island of South Korea, Chinese tourists normally arrive buy the boatload for fun and shopping.

But now the machinery of tourism has ground to a halt.

As a Shanghai publication reported:

“Tensions are apparently running so high over the installation of the THAAD missile defense system that Chinese tourists don’t even want to visit the South Korea resort island of Jeju anymore.

When a cruise ship docked at the Chinese tourist mecca in the Korea Strait on Saturday afternoon, all 3,400 passengers on board refused to disembark, much to the surprise of the ship’s captain, South Korean customs officials, tour guides and the drivers of 80 tour buses waiting to transport them around the island.”

Photographs with the full story are found here:


Holland v. Turkey


As the Telegraph reported, the name calling between Turkey and the Netherlands, as well as persona non grata declarations for ambassadors, began with this decision:

“Mr Erdoğan reacted furiously to Holland’s decision prevent his foreign minister from entering the country in order to hold a pro-government rally with Turkish citizens living in Rotterdam.”

There seems to be wide support in Holland for this decision. Personally, I think Holland made the right call, because there is nothing in the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations (1961) that guarantees Turkish government and diplomatic officials be allowed to engage in Dutch politics with mass rallies that foment and incite certain factions.


The presumtion of the Vienna Conventions (Articles 31 – 39) is that diplomats engage in diplomacy and not in domestic politics, which are not part of their “normal duties” and could even be classified as other “professional activities” (with no more “diplomatic immunity.”)

Imagine, for one moment, if Dutch government officials insisted upon flying to Ankara and leading large anti-Islam public demonstrations. If these Dutch had ever managed to do so, well, we all know what the inside of a Turkish prison looks like, thanks to Midnight Express.

It is inconceivable that the Turkish government would ever grant Dutch officials the same privileges (abuses, really) that they now accuse the Dutch of withholding.

Under “Islamic” leadership, Turkey is retrogressing into another century. As CNN reports:

“Next month, Turkish voters will cast ballots in a constitutional referendum that could change their government structure. If passed, it would transform the country’s parliamentary system into a presidential one, effectively consolidating the power of three legislative bodies into one executive branch under Erdogan.”

Arguably, Islam is incompatible with democratization. Turkey is just the latest case study: Exhibit Y.

Of course, when applied literally, Christianity and Judaism are also incompatible with democracy; fortunately, however, those two religions are weakened by modernization (except perhaps in Israel, where religion still contaminates civil society).

Most Muslims  – especially in the West but also in the Middle East – are secular, and they deserve more respect than they often receive. But significant numers of Muslim immigrants to Europe are indeed dangerous. They want to put Islamic theory into practice, and they keep shouting louder about it.

So Holland did the right thing – unless you prefer to see a Europe where there is capital punishment for insulting Mohammed, where women must wear a veil, and where a portion of women undergo female genital mutilation.

If Turks want to participate in European civilizaiton as Europeans, then is incumbent upon the Turks themselves to de-Islamicize their politics. Europe is not obliged to accommodate backward thinking.

The recent events in Holland will probably benefit the candidacy of Geert Wilders. He can say some wild things sometimes (not that I keep close track of Dutch politics), but he is right in this 1-minute video.

Spot on: