Same Old, Same Old

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There are interesting reports that the US deployed about 100 Army Rangers in Syria, without consulting the UN-recognized government of Syria. That’s technically illegal (breaking international law) in addition to being a bad idea.

If fighting ISIS is the goal, then it would make sense to partner with the forces (Syrian and Russian) making the most successful advances against ISIS in recent months.

Instead, the US will coming at ISIS from the side of “US-backed local forces,” an amorphous blob of anti-Assad rebels who include many jihadists (always have for the past six years). Somehow, the reality on the ground changes before it gets to White House and Defense Department briefing rooms. So Washington is making its decisions based on misinformation and propaganda.

This also raises the question: What is the real American end-game in Syria? Is it the defeat of ISIS or is it the overthrow of Pres. Assad?

It is hard to say because US policy is determined by various interests: White House, the State Department, the Department of Defense, the CIA, etc…

There is also the “deep state,” which is a term recently misused by the White House Press Secretary. This term does not refer to Obama administration holdovers burrowing themselves into government; it refers to the enduring workings of blue-blooded secret societies, death cults, ethnic mafias, and other related factions who are tecnically outside government but with one foot inside it, and who shape policy mostly via blackmail, threats, and intimidation (if asking nicely first does not work).

To my way of thinking, the deep state has duped or suckered a critical mass of the visible state to deploy 100 Americans in Syria. These forces can now be used as bait, which is one option. When American blood is spilled, fingers can be pointed to the Syrian regime. And then the wheels of the global media complex will turn, with a supposedly “nationalist” administration doing the heavy pushing.

The smarter option would be to let Syria and Russia finish off ISIS, as they appear to be months away from securing the entire country. Then the US would enter with large-scare infrastructural reconstruction packages, and with thousands of engineers, builders and technicians. That would really buy the US some political capital in the Middle East.

Instead, we have just more of the same policies that got us into trouble since 2003. Meantime, the Alt-Right media (mostly controlled opposition) is either silent on this Syrian deployment or waving the pom-poms. Infowars went ballistic when Obama sent some military advisors into Syria. Not this time.

A recent quote from Pres. Assad:

“Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one. And we don’t think this is going to help. What are they going to do? To fight ISIS? The Americans lost nearly every war. They lost in Iraq, they had to withdraw at the end. Even in Somalia, let alone Vietnam in the past and Afghanistan, your neighboring country. They didn’t succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions.”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/11/middleeast/syria-conflict-isis-us-military/index.html

Photos from UESTC

Photos from a trip to the University of Electronics, Science and Technology of China (UESTC). They have a new museum.

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The next photos from the video are trippy.

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Revamped and Expanding

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China has a 24-hour cable news station, in English, that used to be called CCTV. Several months ago, this staiton got a complete makeover with new studios, new shows, different anchors and a more seamless integration with social media: CGTN (China Global Television Network).

One advantage of this network – compared to CNN and Fox News (which prioritize American events) is that international reporting has a very extensive reach. All kinds of stories are covered that might seem unimportant to some western viewers. But the stories matter, and sometimes they bubble up a few weeks later in western media.

Critics of CGTN claim that the network censors itself or under-reports issues such as Tibet. Perhaps. Although in my opinion, Tibet is not really much of an issue. All is quiet on the Tibetan front…

People in the West, especially the US, criticized China plenty, but it is interesting to keep in mind that support for the government here is much higher, and consensus much broader, than in western systems.

People might be surprised at the amount of open debate on the show, which features all kinds of Chinese and foreign guests, some of them outspoken and critical of specific policies. Reporters also routinely cover issues of corruption, which is being curtailed but persists at local and provincial levels.

Who watches CGTN? In China it is watched by a quite large foreign population and by Chinese intellectuals, but ordinary Chinese people are not watching the English channel. This might be one reason why the debates are rather freewheeling.

The best shows include Dialogue with Yang Rui, The Point with Liu Xin, and Crossover.

In any case it is interesting to see world events from a Chinese perspective.

Here is the CGTN youtube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/CCTVNEWSbeijing

 

 

The Three Os

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The latest Wikileaks release is interestingly timed in our timeline.

Just as US domestic politics is heating up with the surveillance issue, Wikileaks releases some documents from its “Vault.” These show the extent of CIA and presumably NSA surveillance: everything digital, essentially.

Of course, there are no analysts hovering over each and every email, phone call, or video from a television. But this digital material can be accessed with a keystroke, and it routinely is. (A warrant is never needed by the true puppet masters, who occupy a place above nationality, above religion, and above open, visible politics. They remain nameless.)

The entire concept of a FISA warrant, and other types of warrants, is a complete charade. It’s for public consumption. It’s to fool people into thinking that there are some kinds of judicial or legislative constraints on who, what, where and when the deep state can monitor. This is why just recently a few FISA requests were rejected: to dupe people into thinking the system has checks and balances. There are no constraints. There are no checks and balances.

Ultimately, perpetually-expanding mass surveillance is not really about national security, although we should be thankful to the low-ranking intelligence officers who try to gain knowledge about potential terrorists and lunatics.

Ultimately, mass surveillance is about serving the interests of a vile cult. For them, their cult is bent on replicating, or duplicating, the Omniscience and Omni-presence of a Creator.

However, this cult replaces the third attribute, Omni-benevolence, with its opposite: Omni-malevolence.

The agenda behind mass surveillance is malevolent because it is ultimately about establishing an Orwellian system of complete and total control. (And just think of the “progress” made in three decades – you’ve come along way, baby!”)

The agenda behind mass surveillance is malevolent because it is about remaining “above,” and “seeing” all human activity, and achieving the capacity to manipulate, divide and conquer, parasite upon, and cull large portions of the human race.

Those who imagine themselves to be Masters of the Universe are really Pawns of the Demiurge.

Someday, perhaps, it will come down to us or them.

Going Down

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Chinese media is reporting an interesting event: the breaking of two world records for activity at the lowest depths of the ocean. As reported in the China Daily:

“China became the first country to collect the artificial seismic stratigraphy of the Challenger Deep, the deepest section of the trench measured at more than 10 kilometers, the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Geology and Geophysics said on Friday. The stratigraphy is used to study the Earth’s movement, layers and geologic history.

Records broken at ocean's lowest depth

China also set a new world diving record for underwater gliders at 6,329 meters with Hai Yi, a glider designed by the academy’s Institute of Automation in Shenyang, Liaoning province, the academy said on Sunday. The previous recorder holder was a US glider at 6,000 meters.

“These experiments prove that China’s deep-sea exploration technologies have reached an advanced level,” the academy said in a statement.

“Data collected from these experiments are invaluable to the study of continental movement and its transformation,” said Qiu Xuelin, a researcher at the academy’s South China Sea Institute of Oceanology.

Both experiments were carried out by Chinese scientists onboard the academy’s Explorer-I TS03 scientific surveying ship. They departed Sanya, Hainan province, en route to the Mariana Trench on Jan 15.

Upon arrival, they deployed 60 ocean-bottom seismometers to collect data for the stratigraphy on Jan 25. Some seismometers had sunk to 10,027 meters, the academy said, which is enough to submerge Qomolangma (8,850 meters), known as Mount Everest in the West.

These instruments can capture sound waves generated by earthquakes or human activities. These waves, combined with the motions of the Earth, can provide details about the geometry of the Earth’s structure, said Wang Yuan, an engineer at the academy’s Institute of Geology and Geophysics.

The glider is an autonomous underwater vehicle designed to survey marine conditions, such as temperature, salinity and currents, across large bodies of water.

Apart from breaking the world record, Hai Yi also completed 12 observation missions across 130 kilometers of water. The data it collected from the abyssal sea is “valuable for oceanologists studying the region”, the academy said.

It took Chinese scientists 13 years to design and build the Hai Yi and its variants, it said, adding that there are more than two-dozen types, covering use in shallow sea, deep sea and abyssal sea.”

 

source: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2017-03/07/content_28456770.htm

 

 

Western Frustrations

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Something happened last week at the UN Security Council that garnered little attention in the western press: China and Russia vetoed an anti-Syria resolution.

The resolution was concocted by the US (the product of the previous administration, but apparently not sidelined by the current one). Of course the British and the French were on board.

As Chinese media reports:

“The defeated resolution, drafted by Britain, France and the US, aimed to impose sanctions over alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. If adopted, the draft resolution would have imposed asset freezes and travel bans on individuals and entities associated with the Syrian government.”

We live in an upside-down, reversed world. Two years ago there emerged compelling evidence that the rebels released chemical weapons in Syria, surely at the behest of their handlers, with precisely the goal of using “lawfare” for regime change.

At present there is no hard and fast evidence that the Assad government has ever used such weapons. And why should it? The government’s use of chemical weapons would be extremely counterproductive and surely backfire. Their use would play into the hands of those seeking to use international institutions to undermine Syria.

Chinese media then reported on this British lackey:

“UK’s permanent representative to the UN Matthew Rycrofttold the council that he was astonished by Russia’s abuse of veto power, and was ‘surprised and disappointed’ that China had also cast a veto.”

Astonished? Really? I do say!

The report continues:

Chinese permanent representative to the UN Liu Jieyifought back those denouncements with a rare seven and a half minutes’ long speech.

“We oppose the use of chemical weapons by any state, any organization and any individual under any circumstance, and support the punishments against all instances of chemical weapons use,”said Liu.

“As a victim of chemical weapons back in those days, China has more right than any othercountry to condemn its use,” the diplomat added.

One advantage of the Chinese mindset is that they actually remember what happened in 2003, and the fabricated claims that Iraq had WMD.

“We still remember the huge disasters brought by some countries after they waged wars against the region by alleging the latter of possessing large amount of weapons of mass destruction, and the Middle East still has not shaken itself from its after-effects,” Liu underlined.

Very true, when you think about it.

At the end – after the West got suitably hosed with a double veto – the Chinese representative offered some much needed schooling:

“In his last seconds of off-script remarks, Liu asked relevant stakeholders to reflect on how Syria and the Middle East were allowed to degenerate to their current situations, and what parts they played in this process.”

Indeed. As a kindergarden teacher would say to unruly kids:

“Can you think about your ‘choices?’ Maybe you can make different ‘choices’ next time?

 

The full article is found here: http://en.people.cn/n3/2017/0305/c90000-9186014.html

 

 

 

 

Rugby Day

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Saturday was the first rugby game of the season. Chengdu, Kunming and the Sichuan province women’s team joined in for one game after another. We mixed teams at the end.

The Chengdu Panda men’s team did beat the Kunming Flying Tigers, but Chengdu men were also beaten in a touch game by a fast, well-drilled, machine-like Sichuan women’s team (below).

Yeah, we got beaten by a bunch of Chinese girls.

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The Case for Amnesty

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For a few new readers I should reiterate the reasons for some kind of “amnesty” of undocumented or illegal immigrants. Perhaps a more politically palatable word is “regularization.”

This does not mean that the US should move to open borders or open its doors to millions of new immigrants. It simply means that those that are already here should be regularized. And this article has nothing to do with the situation in Europe, which has its own dynamics.

First up: A majority of illegal immigrants in the US entered in the 1990s after the peso crisis and NAFTA dumping of US agricultural products in Mexico.

Back then, being undocumented was an un-enforced misdemeanor. Moreover, all segments of society encouraged it. The migrants were given bank accounts, drivers’ licenses, home mortgages and so on. America society depended on cheap labor for jobs most American citizens no longer accept.

So, millions of migrants, especially Mexicans, were given a nudge, nudge, wink, wink. This makes the current crackdown dishonorable.

Second, illegal immigrants only “cost” American society money along the border and in some metropolitan areas, especially Los Angeles.

Across the rest of the country, undocumented migrants are working very long hours, at very tough jobs, and many pay into Social Security and pay other taxes, because they are using the numbers of others.

Simultaneously, these migrants represent a large portion of consumer spending. They shop at Wal-Mart, load up on gas, etc…

Regarding the young Dreamers who were dragged across the border as children, it might be pointed out that the US is a signatory to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

This means, implicitly, that the US is expected to issue citizenship to people with certain vulnerabilities: minors with no paperwork or documentation from their countries of origin, with no ties to their countries of origin (sometimes no ties to the parents that brought them here), and often no language or cultural ties to their country of origin.

This brings me to the third reason for regularization or amnesty of some kind: Enforcing deportation on a large scale requires a police state.

Already, we have seen ICE’s Gestapo tactics were employed against a young woman, Daniela Vargas, who brought here when she was 7 years old. It cannot be a coincidence that she was arrested after speaking publicly on the issue. She now faces deportation without a hearing.

Meantime, the alt-right media is all aboard this statist crackdown on immigrants. This even true for Infowars, which spent decades warning of a police state.

First, they came for the illegals…

There is also a problem with the “conservatism” on this issue. True, “liberalism” is guilty of being a nanny state philosophy – of the mommyfication of society. So my trashing of conservatism does not mean I am a liberal. I follow “complexity theory.”

Conservatism easily slides into authoritarianism, and endorses a belief in the infallibility of people or courts. Hence: the conservative backing of the death penalty, for example, even though judges and juries can never know the complete truth. Here, conservatives really infantilize themselves: Father Knows Best.

On immigration, conservatives are like: “but they broke the law.”

Here, there is no complexity, no context, no backstory – no division of the “law” from “ethics.” This is the kind of slave thinking to be expected from Bible thumpers.

So that is my opinion on illegal immigration. On every other domestic issue under the sun (the economy, wars, whatever) I readily acknowledge that many Americans know more that I do.

Not about this issue. Not only did I live in central Mexico for 7 years, and right on the border for another 4 years, but I also married a Mexican woman who had been illegal (later divorced, but with two Mexican-American children).

When in the US, I often stay in the homes of undocumented people – my network of extended family in Houston and Los Angeles. I speak Spanish fluently. Maybe someday I will meet an Anglo-American who knows as much about this issue as I do. Have not yet.

Just saying.

The New McCarthyism

 

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I was expecting to write more frequent blogs critical of the new administration’s policies, as I am certainly opposed to its stance on immigration and parts of its foreign policy, such as encircling China and Israel First.

But the opposition to the Trump administration – instead of sustaining thoughtful and focused criticism – is now awash in lies and exaggerations so egregious that I feel compelled to say something…

Nor do I back Jeff Session’s general convervatism, his promised crackdown on marijuana dispensaries, etc… But he did nothing wrong here. In his job on the Armed Services Committee, he would be meeting with ambassadors (or their staff) from dozens of countries. As he did.

But his mistake was apparently to cross paths with the Russian Ambassador or his staff members. So what? Who cares? This is part of his job before he joined the Trump administration. He was supposed to meet with Russian officials. And so his answers to Senate questioning were technically accurate.

Sessions might well be one of the least likely Russophiles around…

Really? Sessions is “Red?” Is he vulnerable to being recruited as a Russian spy? (A few people insinuate that the Russian Ambassador is cloak and dagger guy…)

Well, I suppose any (or most) men would in fact fall for the charms of a Russian honeypot, some snow bunny sent over. But that did not happen to Sessions, either…

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“Katya”

Is there something in the political DNA of America that needs a bogeyman like Russia (or China)?

This genetic defect is most visible in its politicians, ever since the days of the Cold War and McCarthyism: “Are you now, or have you ever been, a communist?”

The answer to that question should always have been: “No one cares, and by the way, go fuck yourself.”

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We have been Hot Tub Time Machined back to the 1950s. We have been Back to the Futured. This time the Democrats, even more than the Republicans, are red baiting, or Russia baiting. Amazing…

For me, from the luxurious distance of 9,000 miles, this looks like parody and satire.

How will Saturday Night Live survive when “real politics” is more ridiculous than anything it could present?

More Pics

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Chengdu, Sichuan Province

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