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 TeasersFred Reed Blogview

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Soaring to New Lows
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As obsolete tanks rolled in Washington for the Fourth, and fighter planes howled in adrenal provocation, and the truculent classes reveled, besotted by in America’s eternal martial priapism, the alert might have asked: What, exactly, has der carrot-topped Fuhrer actually accomplished?

A look at Trump’s report card:

North Korea: A negligible country of twenty-five million, it made itself into a nuclear power despite Washington’s opposition. Kim Jong Un, who has more balls than a pool table, faced down Trump and his bluster about fire and fury. Trump’s repeated trips to see this micro-dictaor have given Kim importance in the world that he otherwise would not have.

American sanctions, upheld by Trump, have kept the population of the North miserable while having no effect on Kim’s luxurious way of life. They have accomplished nothing else. Kim has his nukes and would be crazy to give them up, which he isn’t. Net results: Zero.

Iran: Trump’s sanctions have accomplished nothing except to keep the Iranian population miserable and without medicines. His customary rants about destruction and obliteration have had no effect. Net results: Zero.

Venezuela: The Empire has not succeeded in controlling the country’s oil. The elected president remains in charge. Washington’s attempts at coups and assassinations have proved wet squibs. Trump has succeeded in keeping thirty-one million people in a state of privation. It is all he has done. Net result: Zero.

Cuba: He has prolonged the hardships of eleven million Cubans people who have done nothing wrong. But nothing else. Net results: Zero.

Afghanistan: His regime continues butchering large numbers of Afghans and making life unpleasant for most of the rest. This comes after his lying, as Obama did, about ending this very profitable war. Net result: Zero.

Russia: His gratuitous sanctions have coerced Moscow into doing nothing that Trump wants. Instead Trump has pushed Putin, a grown-up, to take Russia out of dollar holdings, trade in local currencies, seek an alternative to SWIFT, and ally with China for protection against Washington. Net result: Strongly negative.

Turkey: Trump’s threats against Ankara for buying the S-400 have failed, with deliveries due to begin this month. Washington presumably thought Trump’s promise of withholding the F-35, an overpriced dog of an aircraft, would frighten Erdogan into submission. It didn’t. Instead, Erdogan has said that if he doesn’t get America’s flying Pentagon subsidy, he may buy the Russian Su-57, in effect taking Turkey out of NATO. Net result: Below zero,.

And actually funny. (Funny because if he doesn’t follow through and deny Ankara the F-35, he will lose face and, if he does withhold the airplane, he will lose Turkey. Brilliant.)

Syria: Trump has managed to kill a great many people and ruin the lives of others for generations while failing to accomplish anything else. Net result: Zero.

Europe: The Continent (actually a peninsula of Asia) has ignored Trump’s bombastic orders to spend more on the military, meaning buy more of America’s expensive weapons, have met with disobedience. with Germany actually lowering its spending. Net results: Zero.

Trump’s further order, that Europe scrap Nordstream Two, thus making Europe dependent on America for energy, has met with disobedience. The pipeline has not been finished, and Europe may yet engage in its traditional boot-licking, but it appears that we will have the pipeline. Probable net result: Zero.

China: Unclear. China shows no signs of submitting and letting Washington run its economy, which is what is desired. It may buy American soybeans. Beijing continues to fortify the South China Sea, despite the US Navy’s frequent GBW missions (Grr. Bow-wow. Woof.) The Belt and Road Initiative grows apace. Net results: Probably far under zero.

Huawei: The company says that it now has fifty-one orders outside of China. Europe is getting on board. Huawei is currently installing 5G in fifteen Spanish cities–presumably Spain because it is not in NATO and thus less subject to American orders. This means that in a few months Spain will have a greatly more advanced telecommunications system than the United States. Go, Donald!

Since Trump has prohibited the use of Huawei equipment in the US, which has no competing 5G, he appears on course to lock America out of the emerging 5G world. Net result: Probably well under zero.

Immigration: In his presidential campaign, Trump promised to deport all illegals within two years. He has not. He would build The Wall. He has not, beyond bits and pieces. He would punish sanctuary cities. He has not. He has succeeded in getting Mexico to slow the transit of Central Americans to the US. Net result: Close to zero.

Jobs: He was going to bring them back to America. He has not. General Motors recently announced the transfer of more jobs to Mexico. Net result: Zero.

And he has pulled America out of the Paris climate-change treaty; the Transpacific Partnership (allowing China to fill the resultant influence vacuum); the Iranian nuclear treaty (entirely for the benefit of Israel, which seems to be his chief concern); UNESCO (because it criticized Israel); the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty, (likely to start another arms race very profitable to military industry but a serious loss for everyone else); NAFTA; UN Human Rights Council, and the UN Relief and Works Agency.

On a less concrete level, he has succeeded in turning the world away from the United States. For example, he treats European countries openly as imperial domains. They are imperial domains, of course, but in the past it has been thought wiser not to make this obvious. He peremptorily tells Europe ban Huawei, block Nordstream, don’t trade with Iran, roll over, bark, beg. He seeks to cripple the economies of China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba,and any other country that doesn’t do as he likes.

The world does not change overnight, but it is backing fairly hard away from America. Fewer countries and fewer obey Washington robotically. Even Europeans, frightened little things that they are, seek ways of trading with Iran.

China looks to make itself independent of American tech products, meaning that American firms will be locked out of the Chinese markets. If Trump pushes 1.4 billion increasingly prosperous people to find substitutes for American products, or to manufacture them for themselves, those markets will not come back when Trump leaves.

When the aging tough guy in the local saloon says, “I can whip any man in this bar,” it may be that he still can–barely, since the young bad-asses get bigger while the old fellow gets slower. But when the aging champ says, “I can whip every man in this bar all at once,” it will likely be hair, teeth, and eyeballs on the barroom floor.

Write Fred at [email protected]. Put the letters “pdq” anywhere in the subject line to avoid autodeletion as spam.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, China, Donald Trump 
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For seventeen years Violeta and I lived in town or in Guadalajara and had nothing to do with gated communities. We regarded these as custodial institutions for people who didn’t want to be in Mexico but liked the weather and cheap gardeners. For strange reasons irrelevant here, a year or so ago we moved to Puerta Arroyo, a gated community. Nice Houses and nice people, both Mexican and expat, if not the life and flavor of town.

One day as we stepped outside to drive to the Mini-Super down the road, we saw a terrifying apparition stalking toward us with death in her eye. It was, at least approximately, a woman. Oh God, I thought, I’ve been here before. A pissed off gringa with her innards in an uproar over something tedious. I knew the kind. They are a plague in Mexico.

Sure enough, an old woman of maybe seventy, ugly as the north end of a southbound dog, with hair dyed prom-queen blond and enough makeup to seal a driveway. She seemed to be in disguise. Maybe she was getting ready for Halloween. Or maybe a case of slow-onset dementia.

Anyway, this ruin bore down on us and began lecturing us about our garbage can that, like those of three others in sight at the moment, was waiting for the garbage truck. It was, she said, unsightly. As unsightly went, I thought, she could have frightened the tires off a garbage truck, but never mind.

Violeta is the soul of patience, until she isn’t, when it is better to be on another continent. The old bat didn’t bring her to the point of nuclear ignition, and eventually went away, presumably to hang by her toes in some dank cave.

Why didn’t her husband control her, I wondered? After all, we keep dogs on leashes.

We might have regarded her as a mere psychiatric curiosity, except that she was par for a certain type of gringas who have nothing to do and so spend their time being disagreeable. At Puerta Arroyo we seem to be regarded as fresh meat as we have attracted at least four of these horrors.

For example, we have three well behaved dogs that Vi walks in the mornings. They cause no trouble and we pick up after them. The feral biddies bitch about them to Violeta. One actually suggested that we have the pooches killed. They do this when I am not around which is why I am not in a Mexican death row.

They are like half-arachnids: glue a pair together and you would have a whole spider. Why are they this way? I am not sure. Perhaps they were raised in bus stations, or their mother drank contaminated water.

Herewith some jackleg sociology based on observation: For a certain class of women, temperament is proportional to the likelihood that a man might look at them on purpose. Young pretty women are pleasant unless provoked. The Gringa Patrol, attractive as head colds, are like menopausing chihuahuas, yip yip snap, grr, snap.

Other examples quickly followed. I began to wonder whether God was punishing me for some forgotten sin.

In fairness, most American women do not behave this way, or even close. But, at least in Mexico, most women who behave this way are American.

When I first arrived in Ajijic long ago I lived in Italo’s, a residential hotel just off the plaza. Mexicans like fiestas. Often they bring in carnival paraphernalia–merry go rounds, Ferris wheels, that sort of thing–to assist in fiesting. There is nowhere to put all of them. Nor is there space for the many stalls selling the tequila and tortillas and toys proper to a fiesta. These towns are often very old, laid out centuries before Henry Ford’s grandmother had her first date. So the locals block off streets and put things wherever they fit. It’s fun. The children love it.

But not the gringas.

During one such fiesta, hearing much blowing of a car horn, I walked up a side street to investigate and found a car containing an enraged gringa, maybe seventy. She was almost hissing. She had started down the street without looking and found herself trapped between stalls with another in front. She couldn’t drive well enough to reverse out and was yelling about people so stupid they put stalls in the street, didn’t they know this and that.

To which the correct response is “It’s how they do things. It’s their country. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.”

Anyway, this dyspeptic crone damned near knocked a stall down before I babied her out, now turn the wheel the other way…now straighten out….

Hers was not a pretty display in a country not her own to which she had not been invited. American women often think they are entitled to live in Mexico as they think it should be, not as it is. Men shrug it off and do not make asses of themselves in public.

One afternoon I was in line at the dog food store. A young girl of maybe seventeen was working the register. She wore a lime-green shirt with a company logo consisting mostly of initials.

In line was an cadaverous gringa. She looked as if she had been dried, kept in a box, and occasionally let out to terrorize the neighborhood. She asked the girl what the logo meant. The girl said she didn’t know. Whereupon the gringa began braying–this from memory, but it’s close–”Can you believe it? She’s wearing a shirt and she doesn’t even know what it means.” Etc.

Presumably the girl saw the shirt somewhere, liked the color, and bought it. I didn’t know what it meant either.

It was characteristic of the Entitled Gringa. They are embarrassing, and should be fed to eels. Expat men don’t treat Mexicans or anyone else with arrogance and vulgarity. Nor do Mexican women behave so badly. Amng expat women, it is a clear sex difference.

Why do men not behave this way? Partly from self-preservation. A man knows that if he insults the señorita at the cash register, a Mexican guy may well smack the living dog-snot out of him. For men there are consequences. For women there are not. The gringa knows that no one will deck her.

There are other reasons. Women are far more class conscious than men. A man will usually judge himself and others by accomplishments–starting a company, commanding a division, being a lead engineer at Boeing. Increasingly, women do this too. I see many young Mexicanas going to university to be doctors, lawyers, dentists But the gringas of Lakefront are usually in their sixties or seventies. They haven’t really done anything. Their status depends on their husbands’ money and the size of their houses.

When they arrive in Mexico, they discover that they have more house and money than most Mexicans. They can now be princesses.

They exhibit condescension thick enough to lube a diesel. You can almost hear the thought bubbling up from deep in the brain stem, “Why do these—these—brown people think they can do as they please in their own towns? It wasn’t like that in Amherst.”

They are purse proud. Long ago when Violeta was just out of university and trying to make a living teaching Spanish to expats, the lesson subject was cars, their parts and upkeep. The student, a gringa, knew that Vi, just graduated, was nearly penniless and didn’t have a car. She managed to find a pretext to announce that she would never be seen in a mere Honda, that she had to have a BMW. Which, of course, her husband would buy for her.

This is sheer female status signaling. A man would never get into a cab and assure the driver that he, the customer, had a much nicer car than the driver.

• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Mexico, Women 
Why We Will Soon Be Eating Each Other
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Today, FOE will explain economics, fraud, unemployment, and the end of the world. There will no longer be a need for economists, if there ever was. You will understand everything.

FOE is that sort of column.

Long ago, everybody worked on farms, growing food. This was a real service. People wanted food. They liked to eat it. At the same time, there was a tremendous demand for refrigerators and cars. People didn’t know they wanted these things because they hadn’t been invented. But they wanted them anyway.

Then farming automated, so everybody went to work in factories, making the refrigerators and cars, which they now had the money to buy. These products were not as important as food, but reasonably important.

Then the factories automated, so everybody started nail salons or tanning spas. Well, only some started them. But employment followed Fred’s Law of Declining Utility. People who didn’t have nail salons became lawyers, PR executives, professors and diversity consultants. These usually had no utility at all, but they kept their practitioners from being obviously unemployed. This, the prevention of evident pointlessness, became more and more central to the economy. Thus psychotherapy, grief counseling, and pet grooming.

Along the way, there flourished other means of keeping people off the job market without anyone’s noticing. Universities expanded, warehousing in custodial care millions of young who had neither interest in education, the intelligence to undertake it, nor much idea what it was. Then came the student-loan scam, the moral equivalent of sharecropping, that both facilitated students’ isolation from workaday reality . It also provided a steady stream of money for banks.

Child labor laws kept the small supply of actually needed jobs from predation by millions of children who previously had been sweated in factories. High schools prevented adolescents from doing anything useful. This followed the same principle of hiding unemployment.

A vast military and its associated industries absorbed further people who had nothing to do. Here declining utility reached zero and actually went negative. The military produced nothing of value, unless you valued dead people, and the generals might as usefully be employed in digging holes and filling them in.

An unsettling backdrop to all of this was the realization that the public, whose buying of things it didn’t need kept the system going, didn’t really want to buy enough stuff. Left to themselves, they would barbecue pork chops in the backyard, drink Bud, and watch movies with lots of gratuitous violence. They didn’t know they wanted iWatches or funny-looking tennis shoes or designer jeans. Since you can’t base an economy entirely on frankfurters, somebody had to tell them to buy, buy, buy. In short, to keep the wheels of industry turning they had to be force-fed like paté geese , And so were.

Advertising became a bigger industry than most it shilled for. The ad biz was a desperate economic measure. It kept busy in factories the workers employed making things nobody really wanted while they awaited replacement by robots.

Of course robots don’t buy things, which would eventually be important, but Americans don’t think of “eventually” if it is more than two weeks away.

By this point it became difficult to hide more unemployment. As semi-literate sociology majors came out of pseudo-universities to work at Starbucks, they dimly realized that something was wrong. Living on tips for the rest of their lives while living in Mommy’s basement was not exactly employment as they had imagined it.

Here was the new, and profitable, economic paradigm of semipseudosortakindabutnotreally employment: barely paid, no medical coverage, no benefits, no future, but you still got to pay taxes to make it even less.

Somewhere in there, women had shooshed onto the job market, driving wages down. Now you hire help at half price.

Finally, panting, we come almost to the end of the list. True, there are still the welfare population, whom the government craftily leaves out of the unemployment figures, and imagination-assisted disability rolls of people with undetectable back injuries, but enough. Paid unemployment is still unemployment.

We have reached–drum roll, trumpets–Saturation Joblessness. No more non-work can be hidden under the bed or stuffed behind the sofa cushions.

And artificial intelligence has arrived. This might be a good thing in the increasing absence of any other kind, but maybe not.

Anyway, AI is bringing on a sharp increase in Preemptive Replacement For example, new robotic factories and Amazon warehouses will fire no one, but hire no one either. Law firms will use software that can do legal research in minutes, and with fewer errors, that would take a paralegal weeks. The victims will sense that they have somehow been had, but not quite see how. This will somewhat hide growing unemployment, though not ameliorate its social effects.

So we come to the neural networks (you haven’t forgotten them,have you?). Now if you grew up programming in, say, FORTRAN, neurocomputing seems really squirrely, but it works. It does things like face recognition and reading x-rays and evaluating loan applications and detecting credit-card fraud better than humans. Not sexy jobs. In fact, horribly boring. Still, lots and lots of people do them, and usually hate them.

(An excellent book on the subject, is AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order. It completely avoids the mathematics. By Kai-Fu Lee, a very heavy hitter in AI who has worked with most of the big names both in the US and China.)

Unlike robots, which have to be manufactured, bought, and installed in thousands, neural software can be distributed around the world in seconds, and upgraded as quickly. Middle management will be gutted. Kids coming up will not realize why there aren’t as many office jobs as before.

Now, as businesses adopt AI and its cousins and siblings, as they will and are, there will not be enough Starbucks to absorb the resulting surplus semi-literate sociologists . Drinking coffee will become a patriotic act. Social unrest, already incubating like early-stage tuberculosis, will grow. Why do you think we have ghastly suicide rates among the unemployed Deplorables in Middle America–these deaths being almost celebrated by the coastal elites? What brought Trump in?

Of one thing we can be sure: Nobody in power is going to do anything about it–not the government, not businessmen, not corporations (GM just moved 4500 more jobs, I think it was, to Mexico), not the Bezozes or the Zuckerbergs or Wall Street. In the words of the great Reverend McBilly Osfeiser, of the Pure Word and Saturday Night Dumplings Baptist Church, “I say unto ye, Brothels and Cisterns, the End Times is upon us. Grab your shotguns, stock up on sour mash, and barricade the doors. It’s gonna be Hell.”


An Annoyance

I hope the reader will pardon the following, which of course no one need read. As all web columnists know, a substantial part of the human race seems to have evolved not from monkeys, but from lemurs, and hasn’t made much progress. Last week I posted a column with a photo of piles of trash lived in on sidewalks by LA’s homeless population, and noted that nowhere, certainly not in Mexico, had I seen such things. Slums, yes. Garbage communities on sidewalks, no. The lemur derivatives proceeded to post a fraudulent photo of a monument to Benito Juárez in Mexico City which has for years been a favorite among the partly evolved. I cut and paste from an ancient column dealing with the same apparently immortal photo:

• Category: Economics • Tags: AI, Unemployment 
America as Others See it
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Americans are brought up to believe that the United States is a shining city on a hill, a light to mankind, that the world envies us for our values and freedoms, and hates us because we have them. This is ground into us from birth. Those of us now long in the tooth remember the Fifties when Superman jumped out of a window while the announcer spoke of a strange visitor from another planet fighting for “truth, justice, and the American way,” then thought to be related.

As one who has traveled much and lived in several countries, I can tell you: It ain’t so. The world does not regard America with admiration.

Today the internet profoundly affects the world’s view of America. The Web makes graphic and easily found things that in earlier times would have been out of sight from abroad.

For example, people in Kathmandu and Moscow can see horrifying and entirely truthful photos of the homeless living in piles of garbage in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and dozens of other American cities. They can read of trade conventions avoiding San Francisco because of needles and excrement on the sidewalks. Such scenes are rare even in most upper-Third World countries. To the orderly Japanese, accustomed to spotless cities and responsible government, such things are, in the strict sense of the word, incomprehensible.

Home of the brave, land of the free, the envy of the world. Just ask us. The estimated homeless population of LA is 58,000 and climbing. Swarms of flea-carrying rats, which certainly exist, are said to cause outbreaks of typhus, a medieval disease. Anyone with a smartphone can see this.

The frequent mass shootings in the United States astonish most of the world. Opening fire on a country music concert, randomly shooting to death people in a gay nightclub, seems to most of the world a breakdown of civilization. It is.

Many of these matanzas involve children gunning down their classmates. Even in a country like Mexico, accustomed to recurring slaughters of narcos by other narcos, the school shootings are a shock.

Americans are now used to things that in any other country would be unthinkable: bulletproof backpacks for high-school students, police walking the halls, metal detectors, proposals to arm teachers, “active-shooter” drills. To the rest of the world (or to Americans who were in high school in the Sixties) this is insane.

But normal in the Indispensable Country.

The now-predictable annual harvest of 700 successful homicides in Chicago, the 300 in Baltimore, plus thousands of wounded, seem to outsiders like something out of Blade Runner. Much of the civilized world looks with wonder on an American overflowing with guns and using them on each other. Only in America. Interestingly the most heavily armed countries in the world, Israel and Switzerland, have virtually no gun crime.

This is the country Americans believe the world wants to imitate. No. From outside, it seems more a country in political and cultural freefall.

To everyone else, the militarism of the United States, its absurd military expenditures, its huge number of nuclear weapons, its desire to upgrade them, to develop small tactical nuclear weapons, its preparation for nuclear war with specialized flying bunkers–seems nutty. No other country does this. None wants to. In Mexico people roll their eyes. What the hell is wrong with the gringos?

““Affectionately known as the “doomsday plane,” the modified Boeing 747 is used to transport the Secretary of Defense and is born and bred for battle. It stands nearly six stories tall, is equipped with four colossal engines, and is capable of enduring the immediate aftermath of a nuclear detonation.” The language is that of a little boy of twelve watching Star Wars. It is the attitude of much of America.

Easily found online: the racial disaster in the US, the dozens of cities with domestic Sowetos in their hearts, the huge, hopeless, entirely black regions where whites dare not walk. In these, entirely black schools turn out millions of barely literates who for the remaining fifty years of their lives will be unemployable. This is all online with photos and statistics.

Man, just out of jail, arrested in rape of woman, 78….” Another face of race in America. These stories, common as potatoes–a similar gentleman just threw a white child of five from three floors up–are suppressed to the extent possible by the American media, but often show up in British dailies. Such things almost never happened in Europe before the arrival of African and Muslim immigrants. The whole world can see.

Freedoms? More sophisticated readers abroad know of our intensifying censorship, the words that can get you fired, the controlled press, the surveillance. Americans know what you can’t say and who you can’t say it about. We know the police are militarized and out of control. We see the cell-cam videos of beatings. So does the world.

America’s foreign policy makes it hated in most of the world. It seems murderous, thuggish, brutal, a menace to everyone. For example, the U.S. killed over a million people in Iraq. This does not bother Americans. Since 2000 it has destroyed Iraq, Syria, Libya, enters its eighteenth year of butchering Afghans, bombs Somalia, sends troops to Africa. It militarily threatens North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, seeks to destroy the economies of Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, China. It sanctions Europe. No other country does this.

This is not the griping of Fred. It is what the whole world sees, daily, in detail.

Number of wars started since 2000 by Iran: 0r. Russia: 0. China: 0. North Korea: 0. America…? Number of countries openly running torture sites while talking of human rights? 1. The country with the largest prison population? The answer is left to the reader as an exercise.

Even today, many Americans speak of American Values, of the country’s devotion to democracy and human rights and freedom. Maybe Americans believe it. No one else does. The United States has a horrendous history of installing or supporting hideous dictators, supporting repressive regimes, overthrowing elected governments. Human rights? In Saudi Arabia? Israel? The world is not blind.

Americans, self-absorbed, perhaps the most historically ignorant of First-World peoples, shrugs such things off. “Oh, get over it.” Whatever it was. The nations involved do not shrug them off. You can bet the Chinese know about Legation days, America’s role in forcing the opium trade on China, extraterritoriality.

From abroad, America is a feral, amoral, remorseless empire, rotting from within, willing to do anything to maintain its dominance. From inside the U.S., it seems otherwise. Do you, an American reader, want to kill Afghans? Buy another trillion dollars of nuclear weapons? War with Iran? Russia? But Americans have no influence over what Washington does, and the world judges by what it sees.

Other Stuff

While China is often politically reprehensible, its engineering is amazing. This, on the Hong Kong Macau sea bridge, is long at twenty minutes and a bit rayrah. It is representative of the huge scale and ambitiousness of Chinese infrastructure programs.

From the end of June on, FOE will be hosted exclusively at The Unz Review, Columnists are listed alphabetically down the right-hand side of the home page.

It is Time to Stop Celebrating Inadequacy
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China has an upcoming maglev train that will run at 373 miles an hour. By comparison, the United States increasingly looks like a country from an earlier age. Pop Quiz: Was this train engineered (a) by heartwarming, puzzled, oppressed, suffering, agonized minorities who ought to be making pizzas, or (b) by the brightest people China could find regardless sex, color, or “adversity quotient”? (If you choose (a) you are probably a Democrat.)

Diversity over Quality

Perhaps it is time to recognize the stupid as an ethnic group. They are the country’s largest voting bloc. They are hugely influential, having agendas, lobbies, and demands. They work tirelessly to put the cognitively undetectable into positions of power. Usually they succeed. They are the enemies of reason, the sciences, mathematics, schooling, high culture, thought, and recognizable grammar.

For example, New York debates eliminating the entrance test for the city’s elite high schools–e.g., Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant, and Brooklyn Tech. Mayor De Blasio, presumably preferring reelection to sanity, backs the idea. He knows the stupid can’t solve a quadratic, but they can pull a voting handle, at least with preparatory training.

The problem, see, is that the test selects only the incandescently bright, which of course is why it exists. This offends the stupid. Now it seems that the schools need really dim students, specifically HPOCs–heartwarming people of color–who can’t do the work. The idea is to make the schools Look Like America. Which it would, Which should be avoided at all costs.

Somebody should tell New York that elite schools are not playpens for the synaptically challenged–to put it plainly, the stupid. “Stupid” is what exists when intellectual reach exceed intellectual grasp.

De Blasio wants entrance to depend more on factors such as “attendance, GPA, ethnicity, personal recommendation, and geographical locations,” none of which has much to do with academic capacity.

Actually, someone did try to inform the assembled pusillanimous asses. “But when a 12-year-old, Asian-American middle school girl spoke in favor of retaining the test—asking “If I work hard, shouldn’t I have a higher advantage than those who are just being lazy”—the senators were alert to potentially racially insensitive language.”

The video is worth watching.

“Lazy,” you see, was thought to be a code word for blacks. Now, why did they think that? Is “stupid” a codeword? We could fall back on the reliable “differently abled.”

Personally, I don’t give a damn about racially insensitive language and neither should you. I don’t care what kind of kids get into Stuyvesant if they get there honestly. You want kids from the Tloxyproctyl tribe of the remote Amazonian rainforest? Fine. If they pass the entrance test. Lemurs? Tarsiers? No problem–on the same grounds.

Actually, the little Asian girl was being kind, or at least publicly cautious. She said “lazy” instead of “stupid,” which of course she thought. It is what all smart students think when afflicted by affirmative action admits. Stupid is obvious. The stupid do not belong in a high school where a Mensa level IQ–about 130–is probably a lower bound.

Some stats: Mean SATs, Stuyvesant: 1470, mean math 760. These correlate with an IQ of 143.:

De Blasio wants entrance to depend more on factors such as “attendance, GPA, ethnicity, personal recommendation, and geographical locations,” none of which has much to do with academic capacity.

The Asian child of course has an excellent point. Since she was chosen to speak to the assembled lickspittles, she presumably is radiantly bright and hopes to make the cut. Why indeed should she, smart, studious, potentially useful to society, be booted in favor of HPOC with his pants dragging around his ankles, just above his IQ? Why deliberately exclude the superior student, because she is superior?

If the new admission standards favored by official cretins are accepted, says a study, the Asian percentage will fall from 61% to 31% and the black and Hispanic rise to 46%, which would destroy the schools–the intention, I suspect. There exists not the slightest chance of finding so many qualified minorities. If they existed, it would not be necessary to lower standards to recruit them.

Maybe the racial admits would survive in a less challenging school. Stuyvesant is not a less challenging school. It is a place for very, very smart kids who will go on to CalTech and MIT and do things like neural networks and protein folding that most of us have never heard of. Allowing the stupid to cripple them out of envy and resentment is crazy. It is a crime.

And, worse, it is a mistake, China is not ahead only in fast trains, but in all manner of things, including five-G. Remember when America was the world’s technological leader? Did it get there by mooing about white privilege and dumb-ass reparations and give me this and give me that, give me, give me, give me?

The elite high schools draw heavily from National Merit finalists, the upper one-half of one percent of the population. (Stuyvesant has 141) They are wicked smart. They are also heavily Chinese. Do we want to replace them with academic disasters-in-waiting from sheer resentment?

Anybody with the brains of a goddam learning-disabled turnip knows what will happen. The HPOCs will fall to the bottom like anvils. One imagines this:

Teacher: “Chin Ping, given a composite function f(g(x)), the first derivative d/dx f(g(x)) is f'(g(x))⋅g'(x).”

Then: “Deewan, if Daddy Beaver has three sticks, and Momma Beaver has one stick, and Little Bitty Baby Beaver has two sticks, how many sticks….?”

Yes, this is cruel and exaggerated. It is also assured. The Affirmative Action Effect effect has been many times demonstrated. It is demonstrated every day in what were once universities.

Following this disaster the war drums will sound. Efforts will begin to drag the school down. Perhaps there will be remedial courses in differential equations. Then we will drop the wave equation from chemistry courses, although the Asian kids, and for that matter all who were admitted legitimately, could learn about probability densities while bouncing on a trampoline and listening to awful music. There will be calls for more-inclusive vector operators. HPOCs in the legislature will say that you don’t really use high-dimensional geometries in daily life. Anyway mathematics is just a tool of white supremacy. (But…but aren’t the Chinese people of color?).

Underlying the hissing and spitting about racism and sexism and thisaprivilege and thataprivilege is America’s profound resentment of superior intelligence. Allied to this is a venomous anti-intellectualism. Years ago I heard a kid in Alabama of perhaps twelve years express this succinctly: “You ain’t no gooder’n me!” Exactly.

Here is the foundation of American culture: envy. Historically whites have been more successful than blacks, men than women, Christians than Muslims, and the smart than the less so. The lower halves of these pairs now strive to pull down the upper halves. “If I can’t understand algebra, then nobody can study algebra.”

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Oh help. Why is America, seething with racial animosity, simultaneously afflicted by so many race hustlers, the grave worms of nationality, who thrive on making things worse? It must be the Russians. Everything else is

Blacks have the Southern Poverty Law Center, Jesse, and Al, and Black Lives Matter. Hispanics have La Raza and Jorge Ramos. and whites have VDare and Breitbart News, John Derbyshire, Peter Brimelow, and Ann Coulter. Could we trade the whole bunch for a small nuclear war, or maybe an outbreak of the Black Death?

Our race-baiters operate identically, retailing nightmare stories of rape and degradation, asserting that the Hated Other will destroy civilization, that our children are not safe, and promising that these ills are irremediable. The goal is to stir their bases, often poorly educated, to a maximum of anger.To this end they cherry-pick, exaggerate, distort, and publish without fact checking anything that suits their inner demons. The rest of us suffer the consequences.

A point seldom made is that the white race hustlers are not specifically against, say, illegal Latinos, criminal Latinos, or Latinos dependent on welfare, though they routinely criticize these. They hate all Latinos or Americans of Latin-American descent: Citizens, the green-carded, descendants of families in America since 1848. There is no placating them.

Many of the assertions made by the hustlers are valid. For example, diversity is a disaster. Without it, we would not have had slavery, the Indian Wars, Jim Crow, race riots, burning cities, urban no-go zones, affirmative action, or the lowering of standards in virtually everything. Immigration is not worth the cost. Opening the borders is insanity. European civilization is indeed way superior to anything outside of the Far East.

OK, we’ve done that. But:

The tens of millions of Latino citizens cannot be deported. The illegals almost certainly will not be. Sometimes you have to deal with things as they are, not as you would like them to be. What now?

The future, if any, of the country will depend on the harmony achievable among the races. It is clear that blacks are as they will be, that they neither will nor can assimilate to European civilization. If they could have, they would have. This is a disaster, but there you have it.

This leaves Latinos. Can they assimilate? The race hustlers, VDare and Breitbart and so on say, and hope, not. They relentlessly portray Latin Americans as filthy, bearers of exotic diseases, stupid, illiterate, incapable of learning English, fertile as flies, criminal, perverted, and desirous of restoring a mythical Mexican state called Aztlan.

Do I exaggerate? Here is a sample of race baiting from Ann Coulter:

“When it comes to child rape, the whole family gets involved. (They are family-oriented!)” Coulter writes. “Far from ‘I am woman, hear me roar,’ these are cultures where women help the men rape kids.” This is pure race hustle.. (All right, I admit that on many mornings the lady next door says, “Hola Fede, come help-me hold Rosita down. We’re having the biker gang over and I want to make sure thay all get a turn.”) While Derbyshire and Brimelow are slick, charming, cultured, and certainly not as crass as Ann they do not disavow this sort of thing.

My favorite and most amusing race baiter. Ann Coulter in her current Breitbart picture. being in fact fifty-eight years old yet disguising herself as a prom queen, perhaps in anticipation of Halloween. The photo may have been Photoshopped as in others her jaw looks more like a shovel.

As I live in Mexico I am particularly interested to know: How much do the hustlers affect public perception of Mexico and Mexicans? I do not know whether anyone reads VDare, but Breitbart has a massive following.

As a test of the propagandistic efficacy of the-hustling site: They often speak of the illiteracy of Latinos. Survey question: What does the reader believe to be the rate of literacy in Mexico? (Answer below)

Here it helps to know a little about the hustlers. I am reasonably familiar with them, having known various of the leaders by internet and otherwise, read their books, and heard at excruciating length from their followers. These leaders, highly educated, are mostly denizens of the Washington-Manhattan punditry corridor. They are not reporters, but publicists, speaking truth when convenient but not cultivating an unseemly familiarity..

While their hatred of Mexicans is real, they are not disinterested. Race hustling provides them with a lifestyle as we say today. The crusade allows them to sponsor conferences, sell books, get donations, and attract national attention. Never underestimate the gravitational pull of a lens. Wherever they go, true believers will welcome them. They are rock stars of a sort.

This means that they are trapped by their followers, unable to essay impartiality even should such an unfamiliar impulse take them by surprise. The rank-and-file want red meat, tales of rape and rapine, horrifying statistics however fraudulent, and endless assurances of mental deficit.

Suppose that, say, an editor of VDare, came to Durango or La Paz or Guadalajara, for a couple of weeks–it would probably have to be at gunpoint–and discovered to his horror that the Mexicans were a friendly and courteous people with many bookstores as good as any in Washington, that they had first-rate surgeons and dentists and info-tech people and did not throw garbage in the streets or leave their children alone in dirty diapers and, perhaps worst, had decent universities that didn’t sink to the level of so many in the US.

Would he admit to having seen such improbabilities? No. They would lose their hustler credentials, like a Marxist who said that, well, capitalism has some good points. Our imaginary editor, back from Durango, would talk only about narcos, who are as bad as usually described, and poverty, which exists.

An honest race hustler, if there is one, would not change his mind about immigration upon discovering civilization below the border. It would not convince him that mass immigration was a good idea, because it isn’t. He would not stop advocating The Wall, for which strong arguments can be made. But it would perhaps take the steam out of his polemical sails (hey, mixed metaphors are a form of diversity right? I’m being politically correct) It would not afterwards be so easy to tell an audience of infuriated followers that, “You know, actually they are not quite as bad….”) He would forever after be regarded as a turncoat and a race traitor.

Another survey question, if I may, to judge the Breitbart Efficiency Quotient: Question: What is the average number of births per woman in Mexico? (It has dropped like a rock in the US, butt that is another matter.)

Another point about the hustlers is that they do not want to ameliorate racial anger, but to fan it. If all the Latinos in America became boringly middle class, what would the poor hustlers do? They need racial animosity as much as feminists need rape culture, or blacks need oppression. They will all protect their rice bowls, financial or emotional.

Further, the hustlers are committed to identity politics. To a large extent hustledom divides the world into white and everybody else, which is about as identity as politics can get. Noticing that a Mexican cardiac surgeon and a Haitian alley-dweller differ somewhat requires a degree of perceptual granularity they do not wield. They see no difference among Mexicans, Guatemalan Indians, and Argentines. Wherever Argentina is.

There Are Christians Who Love and Christians Who Hate
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Pompeo: “My Faith in Jesus Christ Makes a Real Difference”

Pompeo says God may have sent Trump to save Israel from Iran

“As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” said Mr Pompeo….”I am confident that the Lord is at work here,”

Pence, a Catholic Evangelical who almost became a priest: “I made a commitment to Christ.”

Christians? These Christians support a war on Yemen in which huge numbers of people are dying of mutilation, cholera, and starvation, a war they could stop with a telephone call. They similarly support butchery of Afghans from the air, massive killing in Syria, bombing of Somalis, and torture chambers around the world. Such is their Christianity. They lack even a shred of human decency. But they are Christians.

Tell me, Mr Pompeo, Mr. Pence:. Have you ever seen a child die of starvation? I have heard it described. It takes many days. Crying, crying, crying, slowly getting weaker. The mother, frantic, desperate, going crazy. The child holds out his arms, expecting as children do that their mother will do something. The crying eventually stops. But maybe you would get more of a kick out of watching one die of cholera caused by your wars. Death by cholera is quicker, but more interesting: Puking and defecating uncontrollably, crying, crying. The dehydration kills them. Neat, huh? Meanwhile, Mike, you eat prime rib in Washington and talk of the sanctity of your faith. You are a goddamned pious monster. May you rot in hell, if any.

We have Pompeo, a malignant manatee looking to start wars in which he will not risk his flabby amorphous ass also parading his Christianity. Bolton, a mean sonofabitch who belongs in a strait jacket, at least doesn’t pose as someone having a soul. And the Golden Tufted Cocatoo, too weak to control those around him, preening and tweeting. God save us.

Those of a certain age may remember Christianity as a vague though real niceness practiced by people who would have been equally nice without it. Christmas meant trees glowing with lights and a nativity seen on the town square, this not yet being illegal, and choirs of children singing carols in front of houses, carols on public streets not yet having been found unconstitutional. It means a spaniel-eyed Jesus looking skyward in sappy adoration. It was pleasant. This is not the Christianity of Pence and Pompeo. They are amoral Christians. They are cruel Christians. They are evil Christians.

A politically useful tendency–useful to Mike Pence–is to think of Christianity as a quaint and beleaguered faith rooted in goodness and kindness and concern for others. Historically this has not been the case. Christianity has a record of savagery, of bestial religious wars, torture, the burning of heretics. In Zacatecas, Mexico, there is a museum of instruments of torture used by the Inquisition. They are too sickening to describe. This was not the Christianity of Jimmy Carter or Mother Theresa. It is the Christianity of Mike Pence and Pompeo.

And they are Evangelicals. This may prove to be an even greater disqualification for office.

Evangelicals are…strange. For the most part they are not evil, just people, often poorly educated, as best they can trying to make sense of an incomprehensible existence. (Rapture Culture is not a great book, but gives a fair picture of Evangelicals.) Theirs is a peculiar theology, one with implications for foreign policy. They believe in the Rapture. They believe that we are in the End Times. This means that one day soon the faithful will disappear–poof–and be sucked up into heaven by the Rapture. Whoosh. The rest of us will endure the Tribulation, a time when the Antichrist will rule in chaos and savagery. Then Jesus will come and defeat him in the battle of Armageddon.

None of this matters particularly in itself. Religions have often predicted the end of the world. They get over it. But:

What does matter is the Evangelical belief that before the world can end, the Jews must gather in Israel and be converted to Christianity. This puts Evangelicals in the curious position of being pro-Israel but anti-Semitic. So far as I am aware, Jews have no enthusiasm for conversion. Those who believe this are called Christian Zionists, and their loyalty is to whatever they think God wants, not to peace, America, or reason. They are loyal to Israel because it is essential to the end of the world.

This means that directing the foreign policy of the United States we have two fringe Christians, two Jews (Kushner and Ivanka) and an addled and easily led First Carrot. It means that Pompeo and Pence are driven not by practical consideration of the needs and well being of the United States but by loyalty to curious theological ideas and to a foreign country. They will do what fits these ideas. And they are simply bad men.

Pence, speaking to Jews:.”Let me say emphatically, like the overwhelming majority of my constituents, my Christian faith compels me to cherish the state of Israel.”

He backed that up last December at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s conference when he said: “Israel’s enemies are our enemies, Israel’s cause is our cause. If this world knows nothing else, let it know this: America stands with Israel.”

This is astounding. A vice President of the United States openly stating that he is loyal to a foreign country. If Israel wants war with Iran, then so does Pence–because Israel wants it. If Israel pushes America into a war with Iran, which its control over Congress, finance, and the media may allow it to do, Pence will favor it. How many Americans have signed on to this?

And in war he will take the rest of us along with him.

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem.Recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Golan. Very likely, over the West Bank. Perhaps going to war against Iran for which there is no other reason. In this case millions will die for a screwball theology with the spiritual legitimacy of the Hare Krishnas. Can we take a vote on this?

Instrument of Catholic Christianity, which Pence professes
Instrument of Catholic Christianity, which Pence professes

While neither Pence nor Pompeo would go openly near a torture chamber–bad PR, that–they know that allies such as the Saudis and Israelis do such thing, and that Gina Haspel, head of the CIA and known sadist, does equivalent things in secret torture sites of which Pence and Pompeo are aware. Oh, but they are men of Jesus.

In general, the more seriously Christianity is taken, the less pleasant it becomes. (This is equally true of all three Mid-Eastern religions.) Of course sub sects of Christians differ. At one extreme you have the Unitarians, who believe that if God existed, He would be a force for community betterment. At the other extreme you have the Catholics at their worst, tearing people slowly limb from limb.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Military, Christianity, Neocons 
Not to Worry, They Can’t Innovate
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For many years the United States has regarded itself as, and been, the world’s technological leader. One can easily make a long and impressive list of seminal discoveries and inventions coming from America, from the moon landings to the internet. It was an astonishing performance. The US maintains a lead, though usually a shrinking one, in many fields. But:

China has risen explosively, from being clearly a “Third World” country forty years ago to become a very serious and rapidly advancing competitor to America. Anyone who has seen today’s China (I recently spent two weeks there, traveling muchly) will have been astonished by the ubiquitous construction, the quality of planning, the roads and airports and high-speed rail, the sense of confidence and modernity. Compare this with America’s rotting and dangerous cities, swarms of homeless people, deteriorating education, antique rail, deindustrialized midlands, loony government, and the military sucking blood from the economy like some vast leech, and America will seem yesterday’s country. The phrase “national suicide” comes to mind.

A common response to these observations from thunder-thump patriots is the assertion that the Chinese can’t invent anything, just copy and steal. What one actually sees is a combination of rapid and successful adoption of foreign technology (see Shanghai maglev below) and, increasingly, cutting edge science and technology. More attention might be in order. A few examples: A few examples from many that might be adduced:

“China Confirms Scientist Genetically Engineered Babies”

Supposedly the intent was to make the twins resistant to AIDS. It was done using CRISPR-Cas 9, a gene-editing technique invented in the West by Jennifer Dooudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier but quickly mastered by China. It seemed odd that AIDS resistance would be the goal since the disease is easily avoided. Maybe, I thought, for some technical reason the insertion was particularly easy. But then:

“China’s Genetically Edited Twins May Have Enhanced Brains ‘By Accident’”

“By accident” indeed. Since the researchers admitted being aware of the neurologic effects of CCR5, the gene in question, the experiment sure looked like a shot at increasing intelligence. But maybe not. Then:

“Chinese researchers insert human brain gene into monkeys, making them smarter”

Whether the insertion in fact had the effect described, I do not know, and the story maybe or may not be sensationalized. Of interest are, first, that it was an attempt to engineer intelligence, second, that it involved inserting a human gene in a (presumably) lower primate, and third, that the Chinese did it.

“China, Huawei to Launch 5G network in Shanghai Station”

Though 5G is usually presented as an improvement to smartphones, it is far more, and the Chinese seem poised to jump on it hard. See below.

“World’s First 5G powered Remote Brain Surgery Performed in China”

It is interesting that China and South Korea are clear leaders in 5G. The US, unable to compete seeks to prohibit its European vassals from dealing with Huawei by threatening sanctions. Germany has refused to obey. .

Huawei’s 5G Dominanc e In The Post-American World – Forbes

Whether Forbes’ overstates the facts can perhaps be argued. That China has come from nowhere to be ahead in a crucial technology ought to be a wake-up call. That America has to rely on sanctions instead of better technology accentuates the point.

“More Than 510,000 Overseas Students Return to China”

This year. A couple of decades ago, Chinese students in the US often refused to return to a backward and repressive country. It now appears that Asia is where the action is and they want to be part of it.

“Chinese Bullet Trains Depend on Mega Bridges”

These things are everywhere. Click the link.Inmost countries roads and rails follow the contour of the land. China likes pillars.

Digging subways is expensive and disruptive, cutting highways through cities is destructive of homes and business, so China goes with sky-trains. Building these takes about half the land as roadways. The bridges are built offsite and then erected with a special crane.

“China Develops Infrared Light to Alter Genes of Cancer Cells”

A team led by Professor Song Yujun from the Nanjing University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences designed an infrared light-responsive nano-carrier to be used for the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool, which will have great potential in cancer therapeutics. The strong penetrability of infrared light enables scientists to precisely control the gene editing tool in deep human tissue”

I am clueless as to the function of IR in this but, as with so very many stories coming out of China, it does not suggest copycatting. increasingly, the Chinese seem to following from in front.

“China Breaks Quantum Entanglement Record at Eighteen Qbits”

In a new record, Pan Jianwei and colleagues at the University of Science and Technology of China, eastern China’s Anhui Province, demonstrated a stable 18-qubit state. The previous record of 10 qubits was set by the same team. The breakthrough was made possible by simultaneously manipulating the freedom-paths, polarization, and orbital angular momentum of six photons.

“The speed of quantum computing grows exponentially as the number of qubits in an entangled state increases … the achievement of an 18-qubit entanglement this time has set the world record for largest entanglement state in all physical systems,” Wan

(Noah’s ark measured 300 Qbits, but the (barely) antediluvian technology has bee lost.)

Shkanghai Maglev Train

Open Date: Dec. 31st, 2002
Total Length: 30 kilometers (19 miles)
Highest Speed: 430km/h (267 mi/h)
Duration per Single Journey: 8 minutes
Frequency: 15-20 minutes

• Category: Foreign Policy, Science • Tags: China, China/America, Technology 
What the Media Don’t Tell You
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If you write long enough for publication, sooner or later you will make a fool of yourself, and then your choice is to admit it or prevaricate. For years I have regarded what I called “conspiracy theorists” as mildly delusional, as inhabitants of a remote societal fringe. I had never really examined their claims, dismissing these out of hand. Recently, though, a friend explained to me what actually happened on Nine Eleven. His account:

It was a Mossad operation (he said). When the towers were built, Jewish firms operating under Anglo false papers plastered key structural elements with nanothermite mixed with a colorant, then painted it with a sealer to prevent odors. Witnesses from the time reported seeing “workers” implanting what looked like detonators in the drying “plaster,” and Israeli ships were known to have unloaded large bags of what looked like explosives late at night in earlier weeks. The “airplanes” were holographic projections and the charges set of remotely, most likely by telepathy. The Arabs dancing with joy in Egypt were in fact Israeli plants. Witnesses reported hearing them shout, “Halavah falafel beit agron!” an ancient Hebrew war cry. Careful examination of photos, since removed from the internet, showed yarmulkes protruding from back pockets.

On examining this evidence, and thinking it over carefully, I decided that it made sense. This opened my eyes to another Deep State deception: The existence of Mars. Here is another of those things we are told as fact by government, totally without evidence. Vast sums of tax money allegedly go into Mars probes, and more will shortly be said to go into manned missions–money that then simply disappears. People cannot go to Mars. There is no such planet.

How many people have actually seen Mars? The question may seem silly to many. We have been brainwashed for so long by government-controlled media that doubt can easily be described as a “fringe theory” or a “conspiracy theory.”

But have you ever looked though a telescope and seen Mars? Or what someone tells you is Mars? Do you know, personally, anyone who has? By “someone” I do not mean an authority figure on television claiming to be an astronomer. Has anyone you know and trust seen Mars? You are actually seeing holographic projections, like the ones used to create the “airplanes” that hit the Twin Towers.

People promoting the official story will respond that tens of thousand of employees of NASA attest to the existence of the planet. They can’t all be in on the “conspiracy,” can they? At first, this seems persuasive. But have you actually met any of these people? Note that we have only the government’s word for the number of these employees, and in any event only a very small number would have access to video “from Mars.”

Yes, we have all seen video on television of “scientists” at NASA seated in control rooms, watching footage from Mars rovers. This is easily faked. In movies you can see convincing scenes of other planets, of other galaxies even, some of them technologically convincing.

Truthers have said for years that the photos look very much like certain parts of the Arizona desert near Tucson re-shot through red filter. The terrain is very similar. Even the scatter patterns of the rocks and their size and surface conformation are identical. Yet no one in the mainstream media has had any interest. Why?

Mark Cavallo, head of the Truthers for Planetary Justice, has said, “There is a wall of silence surrounding the Mars program. I talked to the New York Times, a paper that’s supposed to be dedicated to truth and openness, and an editor flatly said, “You guys are fruitcakes.” That’s the response we get everywhere—the Washington Post, CBS, all of them. When all of the country’s major (and government-controlled) media take exactly the same position, it can’t be by accident. Obviously there is collusion. Nothing else can explain such a uniform answer.”

Although the Arizona-desert theory fit the facts, and little evidence supported the official story, it was ignored.

“Mars” photo from NASA. Below  Arizona desert
“Mars” photo from NASA. Below Arizona desert

Then: A watershed moment for the Mars Truther movement came in 2017 when Alex Kubrick, an employee at the National Archives, came across a file labeled NPR–”No Public Release.” Although he wasn’t supposed to have access, he opened it and found several CDs stamped with “Cocoa Beach—NOFORN Top Secret CR.” Suspiciously, Cocoa Beach is a small town close to Cape Canaveral, where “Mars missions” are launched. “Top Secret CR” is a level of classification higher than Top Secret. “NOFORN” means “no foreign access” CR means “Code Required.” Kubrick knew that such files could only be in the Archives by some mistake.

Perhaps foolishly—almost certainly foolishly—he took the CDs home and looked at them on the high-resolution workstation that he used for working on Archive documents. They turned out to be photos of the “surface of Mars” taken by one of the “Mars landers.” He was puzzled. Nothing of interest here, he thought. We’ve seen these many times on television. True, they weren’t exactly the angles published, but clearly just Martian desert. Why “Top Secret–NOFORN–Code Required”? It didn’t make sense.

Idly bumping up the resolution, he noticed a white speck near the right margin of one of the panoramas of red desert. It looked almost rectangular. Increasing the magnification, he saw a lettered sign:

“Pepe’s Cat Tacos—Eight Miles.”

At this point he knew that the Truthers had been right all along. Mars didn’t exist. He posted the photo, anonymously, he thought on the main Truther site,, and called a friend to give him the news.

Two days later the site disappeared. Check for yourself. Remember, though, that the government is probably monitoring the URL. You could end up in a NSA data base.

Disturbingly, when people called Cavallo–people who had known him for years–they reported that his voice didn’t sound quite right. Almost, yes, but with slightly different inflections, as if it were a trained voice actor. He said that he had wearied of a federal job, and that he and his wife were going to go to a small town in Wyoming, which he didn’t name, and start a new life. He was never heard from again.

Draw you own conclusions.

In the following months, Truthers with experience in digital mapping analyzed a copy that Cavallo had managed to post on a site in the Dark Web. By careful photometric work involving pixel-by-pixel triangulation and shadow-angle correlation, they were able to work out the precise location of the Pepe sign. Several of them flew to Tucson, rented an SUV. Using cell-phone GPS, they drove to the spot on a narrow and seldom-used road through the TaraHumara mountains. GPS is accurate to within fifteen feet.

There was no sign. and no indication that there had ever been a sign. It had been expertly removed, probably by a CIA evidence-removal team.

This is the world we live in.

Fun Stuff:

A debate in the South African Congress. Perfectly wonderful. If only ours were so expressive.

Follow Fred along the winding roads of despair, sedition, and degradation:

• Category: Ideology • Tags: 9/11, Conspiracy Theories, Space Program 
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On a sunny day Violeta and I will inhabit our faithful CRV and wander about, without being excessively directed toward anywhere in particular, along the south shore of Lake Chapala, maybe striking off randomly in search of interesting pueblos. Warm wind. Ranchera music. There are roads good and bad fraught with minor adventures and curiosities. For example, On a winding narrow rural road a sopilote, a buzzard, insisted on stalking down the middle in front of us, so that we could not pass without squashing him, or her, which we had no idea of doing. The horn had no effect. Thus go things in the wilds of Jalisco.

Thinking that the photos along the lake might interest curious souls, I decided to stick them together with some others and post them on the web. Well, I did.

If If you like pelicans, lots of them, you should look into Lake Chapala. Actually those in the photo are sparse compared to concentrations that often look like a white raft. They are mysterious. Sometimes the entire raft will begin moving in the same direction. This will last for several minutes, whereupon the raft reverses direction and goes back. There are indeed more things in heaven and earth, especially when it comes to pelicans. Phredfoto.

A malecón‘is a cement boardwalk. Towns along Lake Chapala typically have them. They vary considerably. Some are wonderful places for walking and thinking, or sitting and thinking, or supervising pelicans. Others, such as the one in Ajijic, where we live, have elaborate hemispherical bowls where skateboarders can endeavor to kill themselves. Sometimes there will be stalls selling vampiros, a drink involving tequila and various fruit juices that make it pink. They are typically served in a plastic bag with a protruding straw. On the road through San Luis Soyatlan, along the lake, long lines of people patronize a vampiro stand, wandering off with theie plastic bags and straws. Drinking in public is illegal in Mexico. There is such a thing as tempering law with discretion. Vifoto.

Many dangers attend life south of the border, not all of them understood by Americans. There are reports of giant arachnids with a taste for gringo flesh. Sane people do not take them seriously, though a school of conspiracy theorists insist that some of Hitler’s immortality drug, some of which her carried to Argentina with him, spilled into the aquifers and resulted in gigantism among various arthropods. I have seen no evidence of this, though children do occasionally disappear. .Vifoto.

The church along the lake Pretty much every town in Mexico has one, almost always on the town plaza, of which almost every town also has has one of. Churches vary from gorgeous, with acres of gold leaf, to sparse and barely adorned. No two are alike, Mexico being stubbornly itself and not (so far, anyway) being designed at corporate in New Jersey. The country is some four-fifths Catholic, most of the rest being Protestant, and this provides a social glue that unites people. How much how many people believe, I don’t know, and they seem, as do Christians everywhere, frequently to overlook the parts about fornication and adultery. This doesn’t matter. The important thing is that everyone believes or doesn’t or maybe sort of does without angry zealots hollering about separation of church and state. Which in fact Mexico has. What it doesn’t have is separation of church and culture, Phredfoto.

Anyway, the thousands of churches are usually quiet and cool and somehow apart from quotidian concerns and the rush of life. They provide at the same time national unity and a lack of McDonald’s conformity.

A church (as you might have guessed) of the small-town variety. Many of these are very old. Being built of stone, they last. Religious edifices hereabouts are in a style I call Mexican Chaotic, often being lovely and always interesting but not too definable. Mexico is not a herd country, and what it lacks in efficiency it makes up in variety.. You find elements of Gothic, maybe nave and transept, or rose window but no flying buttresses, and things that look vaguely Romanesque, and rococo ornamentation, perhaps in what might be a medieval English fortress. While Mexico is chiefly European, as for example, in language, religion, schools, governments, and literature, there are considerable indigenous influences and some religious syncretism. Violeta has pointed out that in cathedrals some of the saints depicted have distinctly Indian features, and the Virgin of Guadalupe does not appear in the Bible. Phredfoto.

You may mistake the above for an ordinary puppy of no interest. You would be mistaken, though you can be forgiven for the error. There is a story behind her. The cantineras of the Camaleón bar (see below) found her starving in the streets with little more of life ahead of her. Women being compassionate creatures, if incomprehensible, they picked her up, brought her to the bar, and thereunto annexed her. In Mexico a bar can have a dog without being raided by a swat team, three squad cars ,and the local fire department. The girls fed her mightily and relieved her of unnecessary stowaways, such as worms. Violeta, who has no shame, named her Brigitte Bar Dog. You can now see her central place in the scheme of things, and why you need to know about her. Phredfoto.

Late night at the Camaleón in Ajijic, for years the town’s Bohemian hangout. It attracted a mixed crowd of gringos and Mexicans, among the latter being El Ocelote, the Ocelot, who aspired to being a Beat from the Fifties and talked endlessly of everything Kerouac wrote. It may be that some of them had a familiarity with That Weed, though of course I have no knowledge of this. The owner at the time, Fito, had a Weimaraner named Braco, who in later years inevitably came to be known as Braco Bama. Occasionally women of rentable virtue attended. It offered the raffishness of a biker bar without the hazard. There was little drunkenness and no fights, yet you could imagine yourself to be in a frontier bar in 1890. It was the sort of place that would have horrified the tediously proper expats of the Hill Tribes, the Mexican-flavored gringo suburbs in the hills running along the lake. Phredfoto.

The men’s room in the old Camaleón. Since then it has been taken over by our friend Marisol and the whizzenzimmer modernized but less interesting facilities, sans space aliens. Whether this was an improvement can be argued, but Marisol’s former (German) husband, Rolfe, makes the best bratwurst on this side of the planet, so is well. Phredfoto

• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Mexico 
Fred Reed
About Fred Reed

Fred, a keyboard mercenary with a disorganized past, has worked on staff for Army Times, The Washingtonian, Soldier of Fortune, Federal Computer Week, and The Washington Times.

He has been published in Playboy, Soldier of Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Harper's, National Review, Signal, Air&Space, and suchlike. He has worked as a police writer, technology editor, military specialist, and authority on mercenary soldiers.

Personal Classics
Not What Tom Jefferson Had in Mind
Sounds Like A Low-Ranked American University To Me
Very Long, Will Bore Hell Out Of Most People, But I Felt Like Doing It
It's Not A Job. It's An Adventure.
Cloudy, With Possible Tidal Wave