Here Thar Be Monsters!

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26.12.15

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (film)

Don't worry, no spoilers here - at least none that will specifically give away plot points.  What you will find here is a lamentation of the state of the film arts and the decline of culture.

Let's get the obligatory part out of the way.  The film, Star Wars 7, for brevity, is a competently crafted Hollywood schlockbuster.  It is designed to get as many warm, paying butts in theater seats as possible before folks realize they've been ripped off.  I saw the film yesterday at a 3p showing in a nearly empty theater on Christmas Eve in a busy suburban mall.  Looks like folks are catching on.

Contrast that to the original film (which I will call 1, because it was first).  I was a 14-year-old geek beginning to discover my love of theater arts and film.  I saw Star Wars 1 something like 76 times in the theater.  I was smitten with the film.  It was a frisky romp through Western mythology with mind-popping effects only 2001: A Space Odyssey had ever brought to the screen, only this wasn't the surreal and esoteric vision of Kubrick, but a fun-filled adventure only incidentally set in space.

The new film, sadly, is little more than a recap of the first three films, with one major twist thrown in.  The film is moody and sullen, with all the joy and adventure carved out of it and warmed-up leftovers for characters.  There was no thrill of reuniting with familiar characters, no empathy with the new ones, and little more than a rehash of the original antagonist, but with the menace only vaguely sprinkled in.

The reheated Darth Vader is revealed little more than half way into the film.  There is no build up, no surprise relationships that stretched over a decade of three films, as in the original series.  Instead, there is nearly an instant reveal and a somewhat shocking incident that hardly allowed any drama to build, especially given that the incident should have been much more powerful, had it been allowed to grow organically.  Instead, the incident was forced and my first thoughts were that they threw away a key character for shock value and likely because the contracts were too expensive.

The only standout in the entire film was Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, and like the character's name, she was a ray of relief in an otherwise burdensome two hours.  She had depth and there were moments when one could actually see revelations coming upon her, no matter how much JJ Abrams tried to beat us over the head with them.

To summarize the major plot points, I need do no more than this:

  • Old Han, Luke, Leah, Chewie, droids...check
  • New Han, Luke, Leah, droids, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Vader, Emperor...check
  • Death Star...check
  • Desert, ice and forest planets...check
  • X-wing, Y-wing and TIE fighters, and Millennium Falcon...check
  • Droids carrying valuable information to the good guys...check
  • Set-ups for gaming to be released soon...check
In other words, nothing new but a couple of minor twists.  We learn nothing about what the old characters have been doing for 30 years.  We learn nothing of any consequence about the new characters.  JJ Abrams did a magnificent job of going nowhere, much as he did in the second Star Trek reboot.  The most positive thing I can say is that this film blows the second trilogy out of the water, in terms of acting and writing.  But that's akin to saying after eating a shit sandwich, three-day-old meatloaf tastes pretty good.

This film brings back some of the life of the original series, but it's just warmed over retreads.  For all the money and hype this project received, I would have expected - and dearly enjoyed - a whole new direction...some originality...a bit of the glee and wide-eyed fun of the first films.  Challenge me, please!

Alas, this film falls far short of anything but rescuing the franchise from the last trilogy.  We can only hope that this was a 2-hour obligatory exposition to set up something better to come.

The problem is, once franchises like this get petrified by "canon," writers, producers and directors are loathe to set outside the formula for fear of damaging the psyches of fans who project their identities onto stories like this.  However, the thing that made a 14-year-old kid ride his bike to the cinema and spend entire Saturdays watching endless repeats of Star Wars 1 was that it was original and broke all the molds up to that point.  It stepped far outside the norms with classic story-telling and timeless characters.

In summary, all the gravy and spices in the cabinet don't make reheated leftovers fresh again.  Come on, JJ, quit repaving the worn paths.  Take a daring jump into something fresh and new.

14.12.15

Defining Dizzy

(Hong Kong) – Houston, we have a problem.
Yes, I have discovered the entire problem with America.  It is a matter of geographic confusion. 
See, all you Americans brought your European orientation with you, which has led to tremendous cognitive dissonance and a desire to bomb everything until it makes sense.  Here are just some of the problems:
Americans live on a continent that was publicized by Christopher Columbus, but was named after Amerigo Vespucci.  Big problem!  See?  First of all, Americans are taught that Columbus “discovered” America, but in fact he never set foot on the mainland – at least not according to his logs.  Second, if Chris “discovered” the continent, why is it named after Amerigo?  Third, how can you “discover” something that already has millions of inhabitants, hosted great civilizations and was noted in maps and various writings at least 1,000 years before?  This is a classic case of a break-away civilization having occult knowledge of something and choosing a particular time and place to announce it, once society had been properly conditioned, of course.s
The next major problem is a profound confusion of where the continent of America is located.  See, Americans call Asia and the Arabian peninsula “Far East” and “Middle East”.  The problem here is that from America, it would be more proper to call it “Near West” and “Far West”.  Think how many problems could be solved just by reorienting the geography a bit.  No wonder Americans are consistently ranked among the populations with the lowest geographical knowledge.  Now, the East Indies become the West Indies, and the West Indies become the American Indies, because they are located in the Caribbean.  Duh!
The next major problem with Americans is that they call themselves “Americans,” while calling everyone else in the hemisphere by their country of origin.  Yes, Americans are Americans, but all other North and South Americans are Canadians, or Mexicans, or Columbians (named after Columbus who never went there), etc.  This leads to a form of mass megalomania where the entire population of America thinks it is the only America, and everyone else is an interloper.  If everyone started calling themselves by their State names, such as Texan, or Floridian, or New Yorker, this would clear up so much mass delusion and misunderstanding.
And this leads to another major problem looming on the horizon: magnetic pole reversal.  It’s inevitable and may happen sooner than later, but what are Americans going to do when it happens?  They are already suffering from a serious case of cognitive dissonance.  Throw in the fact that North is now South, and talk about a bunch of people with severe disorientation!  North America will suddenly become South America, and since Americas are so used to thinking of South America as the “Third World,” and at a lower rung on the evolutionary ladder that they will either have to deny that compassed point South now, or they will acquiesce and finally admit that they are not as suave and “developed” as they thought they were.  This is about the only place on Earth that will have to change its continental moniker.  The only other adjustments will be changing the South China Sea to the North China Sea (thereby saving a lot of sabre rattling) and Australia will have to come up with a new name (Borealia?), because “austral” means South.  Of course, the aurorae Borealis will also become the aurorae Australis.  We’ll let Antarctica off the hook.
Of course, when the poles reverse, we can just leave Middle East and Far East alone, since it will now be true.
Naturally, all this confusion did not spontaneously arise.  It had its genesis in Europe, as most deep confusions do.  See, Europeans call their chunk of land a continent.  Now, any preschooler can look at a map and see that Europe and the Near, Middle and Far East are all one big wad of dirt.  Africa can get away with it, because there is just a tiny bit of land in Sinai connecting it to the other chunk.  This is probably why folks have been fighting over this tiny wasteland for so damn long.  It could also be why they dug a trench from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, just to emphasize the separation.  The Americas and Antarctica have clearer cases, especially since the Panama Canal carved a neat dividing line between the two in the 1920s.  In fact, that was the whole reason for the canal – to reduce American’s cognitive dissonance about not really being separate from South America.  Central America, well – I think we can all see that it is as much part of North America as Baja California or Florida are.  At least we won’t have to change the name when the poles flip.
A final bit of confusion is the whole First, Second and Third World thing.  You notice that no American ever refers to the Second World.  They all want to be part of the First World.  Sorry, Charlie, Europe took that position and relegated the rest of the world to second and third fiddle.  Americans also like to refer to the “developing” world, as if every other country on Earth wants to look and feel just like America, and is in the process of doing just that.  It makes those poor Americans so confused when they go places that don’t have McDonald’s and Holiday Inn.  They feel like they are caught somewhere between the Second and Third Worlds.
At this point, one can begin to understand why America is wild about Donald Trump.  For one thing, his name sounds like McDonald’s, but primarily, Americans have confused business acumen with statesmanship.  Trump is not Putin.  Putin has studied history and has a solid background in geopolitics and statecraft.  Trump has a solid background in, uh, negotiations and shareholder love.  Those who don’t support Trump have confused every other candidate as a trustworthy individual capable of running a country for any other reason than self-enrichment.

Poor confused Americans.  

11.12.15

Five Easy Pieces

With all the hooplah over illegal immigration into the US and EU -- especially with the overnight attacks in Paris and Trump's "humane" deportation plan -- it occurs to me that most Americans are probably ignorant of what it takes to legally enter the US.  As it happens, my wife is currently applying for a US tourist visa so we can visit family at Christmas, so I presumably have become an expert on the subject.

The US has a class of visas called "Non-Immigrant Visas," which include business travel (Class B1) and tourists (Class B2).  We want the B2 visa, so naturally we click over to the US Embassy website here in Jakarta, and after a little poking and prodding, we find the NIV (non-immigrant visa) page, and the fun begins.  It lists 5 steps to apply (notice I didn't use the word obtain) for an NIV.

Step 1: Pay
The first thing you are told to do is pay the visa application fee.  Scanning down the left-hand column, we find the link called "Fees."  Ooh, this is easy, we think.  Clicking on it gives us lots of information about non-refundability and lost or stolen visas, but -- and I challenge you to find it -- not one line giving the AMOUNT of the fee.  To get that, we googled "US NIV fees" to find a State Department page giving the fee amount as USD160.  If you poke around, it tells you that all fees must be paid in the local currency, even though they are all listed in dollars, so a second google session converts the fee to whatever coin of the realm you use.

Back to the Embassy page to find out which banks we can use.  If you follow the link from the Embassy page, you may note that the site is a .com, not a .gov site.  We choose CIMB for no particular reason, except maybe there is a branch relatively close to the house.  Though the site lists an option to pay by electronic transfer (a relatively new option), we opt for the physical payment in order to receive a hand-written receipt, just so there are no 'complications' leading to the non-refundable part of the deal.

Step 2: Complete the  Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160)
At this point, if you are a foreigner with basic tourist English skills, you may want your lawyer and a certified translator at your side.

So, now we are ready to start the application form.  The site tells us that the form is online and provides a link.  Here we find a handy checklist of everything you will need to do to complete the DS-160, which is not a hopeful sign, as we were hoping we would be able to fill out the form with just the information in our heads, and maybe cheating to look at the passport number.


We gather all the necessary data and prepare for the Big Moment.  Back to the .gov site, where we select the "Tooltip Language - Indonesia, Jakarta" on the handy drop-down menu, which gives us another page, still in English, but now indicates at the top of the page that we are applying in Indonesia.  OK, so at least our point of origin is acknowledged, even if we don't speak English.  Scanning the page, we find links to Overviews, Guidelines and Information -- all in English -- and a handy tool to see if the online form will accept our photo, which has it's own set of Overviews, Guidelines and Information.


After multiple adjustments for file size, type, perspective, percentage, colors, and other fun stuff, it finally is happy with our photo.  Now we are ready to start the application, so Click on Start Application.


This takes you to a page written in the glorious dialect of Governese, wherein we find more of those Overviews, Guidelines and Information links, and a novella telling us how we should proceed.  I draw the reader's attention to the bottom, where you will find a drop down box containing a series of security challenge questions.  Fans of Monty Python will note the distinct similarities to the Pilgrim's Challenge when crossing the Bridge of Death.  I nearly shorted out my computer laughing to tears.  Naturally, we answered "European Swallow."


After several days starting, downloading, saving, accessing, and collecting data to enter into the form, we were finally ready for the Next Big Step (NBS).


Step 3: Scheduling Your Appointment

We now return to the .com site, after a week of frolicking on the .gov site.  WARNING: the link crashed our browser several times and required a reboot to get out of whatever mess they have made here, so caveat emptor.

Here we discover that every single person applying for a visa that is over 14 and under 80, must come down to the Embassy for a face-to-face interview.  A family of four with a couple of older teenagers could end up spending a week or two on this step.  Fortunately, we only need one visa, though.  


After reading about waivers and necessary supporting documents and procedures for changing appointments, we found the link at the bottom of the page to actually schedule the appointment and find out if we will be Group A or B.  It's at this stage that we learn that we must complete an online profile in order to proceed.  We must give a delivery address for the completed visa, a screen name, and various other information so that we can track our passport, and THEY can track us.  Note that we are still on the .com site, and not the .gov, meaning that none of the information we enter is protected and will probably be sold to advertisers, not to mention used against you in a court of law.


Steps 4 and 5: The Appointment
Finally, my wife was scheduled for her appointment.  She was in Group B, meaning her appointment time was 9a. on a Wednesday.

We arrived at the embassy at 7:30a, and got in the cattle chute outside the Wall.

Now, I've been in most of the embassies for major countries here in Jakarta.  I had meetings at the Russian and Chinese consulates, been to several functions at the Italian, German, Austrian, and Fujian consulates.  I've been in the Phillipines, Singapore and Australian consulates.  For the most part, the security is minimally invasive and the embassies look like stately manners or large houses.

The US embassy looks like a high-security prison.  There is a 12-foot high security opaque security fence lined with cameras around the compound.  The entrance looks like a hardened bunker with 3-inch thick glass, steel doors and angles concrete walls to deflect blast waves.  Getting into the compound is rather like trying to board a plane in the US: strip to your skivvies, no electronic devices allowed, etc.  Once through, you are herded across the basketball and tennis courts in a cordoned walkway to another hardened bunker near the center of the compound.

I wasn't allowing inside (my own embassy!).  My wife was herded in with a group of people and I would be called if needed.  About an hour and a half later, she emerged, having been approved for her B-1 tourist visa.  For all the trouble, it was at least good for 5 years with multiple in-out privileges.  Within two days, her passport arrived at the house with a big, officious decal all over one page, that had her photo and details neatly emblazoned on it.

The interview consisted mostly of checking to make sure my wife wasn't going to stay in the US, at least not on the "cheap" visa.  She was asked about her reasons for going there, what my plans were (would I stay or would I go?) and double-checking the details on the application form.  While her approval seems rather smooth and easy, she reports that a number of people before and around her were not approved, and I could tell outside who had gotten theirs and who had not by the looks on faces.

An example of things that can keep you from getting a visa is a blank passport.  If your passport is new and never used before, that is one sure way to get denied.  Fortunately, my wife had done some travelling over the past few years and had stamps from 9 different countries.  Other friends of mine have not been so lucky when applying to bring their spouses to the States.  Some have spent upward of $500 trying to get tourist visas and most were denied for this reason.

In any event, this should be enough to show that the current visa system is not easy and by no means convenient.  There is a "vetting" process in place, and when followed and enforced, it seems quite sufficient to screen out most undesirables.

The problem with the current immigration system is that it is not enforced at the actual borders (not the soft airport borders) and there are far too many 'exceptions' being made for 'refugees' and other unknowns with most likely loose documentation who haven't gone through the above process.

One would think that it is a no-brainer to simply enforce the current system evenly across all access points to the nation's interior.  For God's sake, the embassy entrance is better protected than the 1,000-mile Texas border.  I know, I've been there.  I've walked across the Rio Grande in some places multiple times and even straddled the imaginary line known as the 'border'.

Every other country on Earth, outside the US and Europe, seems to have no problem controlling their borders, with less complex and intimidating systems than are currently in place in the US.  I know.  I have spent eight years strictly adhering to the Indonesian laws.  I pay $800/year to stay here, complete with annual check-ins, fingerprinting, photographing and signing.  And Indonesia has a much more complex border than anything the US has to deal with.

Just enforce the current law.  Problem solved.

3.12.15

The Divine Comedy

It has never ceased to amaze me that those who decry the coming of Big Brother and the All-Seeing State do so on the basis that it is anti-religion.  Yet, religion is the embodiment of Big Brother.  The only difference is that God is a metaphysical being performing His violations of your basic rights through Nature, while Big Brother is simply a human institution doing the same thing via technology.

What, for crying out loud, is the difference?!

As George Carlin so wonderfully put it, religion posits a Man, living in the Sky, who watches everything you do, everything you think and has a list of ten things you must never do.  As far as I can tell, the modern western state watches everything you do, everything you say and think using satellites in the sky, and has a list of 19,000 things you must never do.  Frankly, the former is more attractive, as far as authoritarianism goes.

Science is the priesthood of the modern Church.  There can be no Truth unless a "scientist" blesses it.  The Big Bang and Evolution are doctrine that very few question, nay are allowed to question, though at their base, they are nothing but theories built on 17th and 18th century metaphysics and alchemy without a whit of proof or observation.  No one, despite all you've been inculcated with, has ever witnessed the Big Bang, nor has anyone ever seen one species evolve into another.  Oh sure, there is the 3 micron background radiation and the observations of intra-species adaptation, but honestly, these are hardly proofs of bigger Truths.  They are interpretations and over-wrought expansions on metaphysical concepts without solid and real examples.

A great example of the modern state taken to its natural extreme is North Korea.  Though many Westerners will point to this hapless nation as the quintessential example of the State run amok, it is, in fact, the natural outcome of what most governments want to achieve.  It is also the natural outcome of religion, though the two entities are diametrically opposed to each other.

God and the State are interchangeable.  Both have as their raison d'etre the total subjugation of humanity. The former does it in the name of a fanciful Creator, the latter wishes to become the Creator.  That is the sum total of their differences.  In Western culture, the royalty claimed Divine Authority, stating that the sovereign derived his power from the Almighty.  The modern State wishes to cut out the middle man and establish itself as the Divine Authority.  We see this trend begin in ancient Rome with the deification of Julius Caesar.  The king became god, and thus the State he established was divinely inspired and ordained.

The concept of Divine State continued under the Roman Church, with Jesus claiming divine Nature, and by extension, the popes were all-encompassing power to rule the Earth in God's name.  Nowhere is this better demonstrated than with Boniface VIII's Unam Sanctam, declaring the Roman Church's authority over all the Earth and all the creatures in it.  In fact, this claim has never been challenged and is still positive law in the West today.  We need look no further than the fact that modern administrative law is based on Roman Canonical law, and the Canon principles still reign.

In fact, it is the Church's doctrine of Collective Guilt in perpetuity for Adam's Sin that is the basis for the concept of a Corporation as a Person in Western law.  You can follow the concept through Medieval theology and into modern court rulings on the concept.  It is the very reason why a CEO cannot be jailed for the actions of a corporation (corporate veil), and so the entity (corporation) must be punished, rather than the individuals who made the decisions.

It is a short step from that concept to the corporate State assuming a form of divinity, because it is now a "person," sharing equally in the Divine Nature of the individual Human Being, but since the corporate State is a collection of individuals, it is therefore more powerful than any individual.  And since the corporate State is now a "person," it can answer only to God for its crimes.

POOF!  The Divine State.  Replace the black frocks and celluloid collars of the priesthood with white lab coats, and viola!, the new priesthood.  Question Global Warming or the Big Bang, and you will receive the same treatment as Bruno or Galileo - burned at the stake or imprisoned for life - even if you have empirical evidence, or simply point out the New Priesthood's lack thereof.

Though the wolf has changed clothes, the result is the same - an authority claiming Divine Status watching every single move and thought you make.  Further, it claims Divine Right over all the Earth, regardless of who or what it must destroy in the process.  And since the Divine Authority is claimed on behalf of an invisible and mute God, the only way to prove the authority is to fulfill the "prophesies" of ultimate destruction and reveal the Truth in the Final Judgement.

Thus, Western civilization has at its core the seeds of its own destruction.  While attempting to conquer the Earth under its Divine Authority, it must also destroy everything to prove it is right to do so.

Roman authoritarianism was established by the divinity of Julius Caesar, who was replaced with Jesus Christ (JC2), which solidified the State's Divine Right, which became Unam Sanctum, which became Manifest Destiny.  Original Sin established collective guilt, which led to Corporate Personhood, which led to Fascism (from many, one).  Apocalyptic prophesies became justification for any number of horrific crimes in the name of "greater good," whose righteousness could only be proved by the ultimate destruction of everything in order to bring on the Final Judgement.  In the process, we replaced Church Dogma with Scientific Dogma, neither of which is questionable, regardless of the utter lack of evidence in either case.

There is nothing new under the Sun.  Millennia-old edicts and choices still infuse and surround the current events in your daily news feed.  We see its proof in the Apotheosis of George Washington
(see illustration at top) and the architecture of Washington, DC (New Rome), and the Authoritarian subjugation of all humanity under one rule (NWO).  God is Big Brother, and vice versa.  There is no conceptual difference in either form or function.

Ultimately, in order to change the world, we must first change nearly all of our a priori assumptions.  We must question the origin and authority of every single public institution and seek completely new alternatives.

Any bets on how likely that will be?

26.10.15

Reality Check

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it is time to pause and reflect."
-- Mark Twain

I find Mark Twain to be one of the genuinely great thinkers of the past three centuries.  I like him because he was able to put very complex ideas into succinct and folksy terms - none of this high-fallutin' Descarte or Kant kind of rhetoric.  Just plain, simple language that carries a truck-load of meaning.

I have lived by the quote at the top for most of my adult life, and it has rarely failed me.  I say rarely, but as I sit here, I can't think of a single instance when it failed.  I absorbed it and made it my own with a more metaphoric image: When you see everyone running one way, you should probably run the other way.

I have lost friends because I thought the whole Global Warming thing was bunk - and that was in the early 90s, before ClimateGate or folks like Piers Corbyn or Ben Davidson.  I have pretty much always thought that there is an alternative history, such as espoused by folks like Joseph P. Farrell and Graham Hancock, that was more satisfying and more accurately reflected the available facts.  The one and only time I have ever voted was when Ross Perot ran in 1992 (I believe like George Carlin that NOT voting gives me the right to bitch), and that is about as close to mainstream thinking as I can remember coming.

So when I say that I have serious reservations about Donald Trump, it comes from a long line of contrarian thinking.  If all these folks are running in his direction, there is very likely something deathly wrong here.  I said it about Obama back when he was still a patron saint and I ran a big risk of being beaten by fanatics, and I am saying it now about The Don.

To say I am a contrarian doesn't mean I am Young Bear in Little Big Man.  I don't ride horses backward or wash with dirt and dry off with water.  That is an emotional condition.  I come at it from a reasoned position, though whether my reasoning is sound or not is up to you, dear reader.

Reason #1: One of the major problems with the US government (and many others) is that it IS a corporation, run by corporations, for corporations.  The last person who should be at the helm is a corporate man who sees everything as a business problem needing a business solution.  Governments, at least real ones, are organic institutions that protect natural human beings from such dangers as soulless, conscienceless, godless corporations, whose sole existence is to subjugate humans and suck the natural and economic life out of them.  Trump said it himself, "I have never gone bankrupt - I have never."  Sure, he hasn't, but what about his CORPORATIONS, and more importantly, the PEOPLE who worked for them?  See, his artificial lifeforms have died, taking many organic people with them, but he has never been hurt by it.  Strike 1.

Reason #2: Trump's wild-ass plans will likely never come to pass.  And he knows it.  It all sounds great to a bunch of organic human beings struggling against decades of corporate subjugation, but it is all clap-trap.  Trump can't slow down the corporate exodus to Mexico and beyond, nor can he slap import taxes on the products from it, because NAFTA and soon enough TPP will already be law, and he will have to repeal such laws through a Congress that is bought-and-sold, which will never happen.  Furthermore, how does he plan to fund a massive deportation effort with a Treasury that is broke and has been since 1913?  This is all pie in the sky.  It sounds sweet to out-of-work organic human beings struggling to save their families, but do you honestly think a corporate man like Trump will kill Obamacare and prevent the Pharmas from forcing their swill down everyone's gullet?  Or will he call upon his years of experience to negotiate deals that look good to Average Joe, even as it slides the knife between the sternum and rib number 6?  Strike 2.

Reason #3: Folks seem to be flocking to Trump because he appears to be the US equivalent of Putin, but there is a world of difference between the two.  Putin's power and appeal come from a man who is educated in international law, a former leader in the KGB, a man deeply knowledgeable of his cultural roots.  Trump, on the other hand, is a hair-spray cardboard cut-out of Americana.  He has no discernible cultural background.  He has no demonstrable education in law of any kind, other than what he has picked up of local property regulations running his corporations.  In fact, other than his TeeVee personality, Trump doesn't seem to have any substance to him at all.  The deepest things he's ever said would make pond scum seem positively profound.  In fact, the most apt metaphor I can muster is that Trump reminds me of those little water sprites that literally run on the skin of a pond.  In all fairness, I have tried to find some deep insight from the man, but frankly I come up dry.  Strike 3.

I see Donald Trump as the next Ronald Reagan...all fluff and media, but very little depth and meaning.  I have even seen the word "teflon" applied to Trump, meaning we are seeing a clone of Reagan already fitting out his chair in the Oval Office.

Trump is no Putin.  Putin is a man of learning and inner strength.  Trump is a product of the media.  Putin operates from a long view of history, both Russian and global.  Trump can barely spell "history".  If America is trying to compete on the Manliness Scale with Putin, it will be a long row to hoe.

The one saving grace that I can truly enjoy about Trump is that he may save the US from Political Correctness and Feminism.  He is unapologetic about his views and doesn't appear to care who he offends.    For that, I give him a large lump of credit.  I am all for anyone who can lead the US out of its long, dark teatime of the soul, as Douglas Adams so wonderfully named it.  For America to begin healing itself, it must cast off the burden of Political Correctness, because frankly, if you breathe, someone will be offended by it.  Who cares?

Is it enough to get me excited about Trump?  No.

Trump is a symptom, not a cure.  He is the natural outcome of years worth of inorganic slime dominating the American culture (such as it is).  He is more likely to create the systemic abuses of the Reagan Era that America is still suffering from, than to correct the course of the "ship of state".

The natural follow-up question is, "Who do you think will win?"

Honestly?  Hillary.  Why?  Two reasons.  In American politics, there is a trend to keep the party in power going for 12 years, no matter how much damage it does.  Also, however much teflon Trump appears to have, that Battle Axe appears to have many more layers than he.  I mean, all the dead and dying surrounding Hillary, all the scandals and rumors, all the slime and silliness, and yet people still take her seriously.  A Trump/Hillary contest should be endlessly entertaining, but still not enough to drag me out of my voting hiatus.

I prefer to complain.

And be a contrarian.

So I can say, "I told you so."

21.8.15

Web Of A Different Color

"Oh what tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!"
 - Walter Scott, Marmion (1808)

Yes, folks, the bullshit gets deeper and deeper.

I don't often comment on burning headlines, because most of it is pure, unadulterated bullshit.  But this one caught my eye because it is a symptom of much deeper bullshit...much deeper.

This guy, Shaun King, was so buried in "white guilt," and presumably unable to make anything of himself without using some secondary physical trait, that he felt it necessary to claim not only that he is black (specifically half Negroid and half Caucasoid), but that he is a victim of hate.

There is story is symptomatic of so many things wrong with Western "culture" right now that I hardly know where to begin.  A few minutes' thought peels so many layers off of this phenomenon that one gets lost in all the convolutions.  And like the onion metaphor implies, one is moved to tears.

Decades ago, it was black people passing as white to get "white benefits" that made headlines.  Fair enough, since the segregation in the US was quite nasty.  I'm old enough to remember "colored" water fountains and "colored" seating areas.  That is a cultural artifact that is well left behind.

But the pendulum has swung so far to the other side that now white people feel the need to pass as black in order to cash in on "black benefits."

This is NOT equality, which was supposedly the goal of 1960s cultural engineering and desegregation.  The idea was to offer equal opportunity to all regardless of racial or cultural backgrounds.  However, liberal media and gatekeepers have been so successful that Shaun King is the result.  And if there is one, there are many more.

A quick read of the linked article reveals a partial goodie list: a "black-only scholarship," a donation from Black Conservative Fund PAC for proof of "blackness," sympathy and Victimhood for being the target of "hate crime, a leadership position in a "black sympathy" movement.  Wow, just think what one would hear if the word "black" were replaced with "white."

Imagine, if you will, Mel Gibson (in place of Oprah Winfrey) was offering "white-only" scholarships, or the White Conservatives Fund PAC offered donations for proof of "whiteness," or a white person beaten and taunted by blacks claimed victimhood.  Just imagining the liberal howls is deafening!

Yes, folks, we are all victims - victims of a form of social engineering that is dividing people by class and race, and the amazing thing is that they have convinced a lot of otherwise smart people that this is not racist!

With a black man sitting in the Oval Office in Washington, and a black neuosurgeon running on the Republican ticket (and doing fairly well, too), and blacks filling many important social positions, I think it is high time to drop the pretenses and shun the liberal media who tries so hard to convince us that each race is getting more pie than the others.

It is racist, divisive and completely untrue.  In fact of the matter, we are all equally screwed by a system that is raping all of us of our cultural and financial heritage.  We all have the same economy.  We all serve the same Masters.  We all are having our families torn apart by these evil bastards.

There is no black, white, brown, yellow or any other color variation.  There is only slave meat for the System.  We are all nothing but entertaining fools for slavering, wicked old bastards who use their wealth and toys to keep us all at each other's throats so we don't slit theirs.  And they are laughing all the way to the counting house.

I don't hold Shaun King entirely to fault.  After all, he's just trying to get a bigger slice of pie like everyone else.  That makes him as much a victim as all the rest of us.  His biggest fault is not walking away when he got outed.  He's still trying to keep the cash cow on life support, and digging himself deeper into the steaming pile of bullshit.

Hell, if he jumped up and said, "Look what I have to do to get ahead in this country," and then started the White Lives Matter movement, he's already be a bigger hero than he was a few days ago.  Instead, he's trying to paddle a boat that has already sunk.

The Big Issue here is the game that is being played at a very high level that keeps us all chasing illusions.  They keep moving the "prize" around and then watch with sick amusement as we all scramble over each other's heads to get it - only to find it's been moved again.

All of this bullshit keeps us so distracted that we don't have time to sit and ponder what is really going on.  We are so busy screaming and pointing at other people's slice of pie that we are completely missing the fact that there is no pie.  It's all a cruel and depraved hoax put on by a bunch of hollow, desperately sick souls that are so bored with their toys that teasing the rest of us is the only entertainment left for them.  They are nothing but bullies who have gotten so good at the game that they can make us fight each other while they sit across the street and laugh.

Folks, we've got to change.  We can't keep going on like this.  If we don't wake up and start fighting the real enemy, we will all destroy each other.  And when we do, the evil bastards will turn on each other, until there is nothing left of the human potential.

It is well past time for a little critical thinking.  Start peeling some onions and watch the tears flow.  It is a sad and wasted culture we live in, and we have ALL been victims of a monstrous crime.  There's one catch.

We have all been taught that if you are a victim, you can win the jackpot.  Put a hot cup of coffee in your lap and get burned - McMoney will come your way.

The crime we are victims of, however, is so huge, so depraved, so horrifying, that we can never be compensated for our loss.  All we can do is walk away and hope that we have learned a very valuable communal lesson: don't let the loonies run the loony bin.

Turn off the TeeVee.  Put down the cage liner (that's newspaper in regular-speak).  Get out of the loony-versities.  Stop chasing the elusive pie.  None of it is real.  It is all a phantom created by Disney to appear like something real.

Shaun King is a tragedy of pie-chasing.  It should serve to wake us up to what has been done to us.  There are not privileges, prizes or pie at the end of the rainbow.  Ask anyone who has ever touched a rainbow.  They know.  Whether your rainbow is black, LGBT or any other false "community," you have been deceived.

Get out while you still have your sanity!

15.8.15

Report From The Eye Of The Storm

Return with us now to the thrilling theme of "traveler versus tourist," a metaphor we here at the Far Side Global Headquarters - deep in the jungles of Borneo - have adopted for our worldview.

The reader may think of this column as a follow-on to our last screed called, "Who Is More The Fool?"  In today's edition, we will explore "traveler versus tourist" as it applies to "diversity."

As we have developed our metaphor, we have shown that a traveler enters new realms of culture and experience as an observer and reporter.  The traveler attempts to meld as much as possible into the surroundings and taste the sweet and bitter of the foreign world.  The traveler does not judge nor discriminate.  The traveler understands that the surrounding culture has developed over spans of time and he seeks to understand why.

The tourist, on the other hand, brings his culture with him.  He seeks to impose his own norms and standards on the surrounding land.  He is the evangelist, the one who thinks his way is better, or at least more comfortable, and so forces conformity in order to feel less threatened.

In terms of mainstream labels, we may think of travelers as conservatives (seeking to conserve), while tourists are liberals (seeking to liberate).  The conservative wishes to conserve what is found in any given place, while the liberal wishes to change everything to suit some "greater good."

A traveler is conscious of his tracks and tries to minimize his impact on the surroundings.  Instead, he absorbs the local flora and fauna, making deep mental records and spending great amounts of time pondering and examining the context in which he finds himself.

This is not to say the traveler accepts everything at face value or is naive.  If he finds himself in a land where ritual cannibalism and human sacrifice are the norm, he does not wait around to examine the roots of these beliefs, he simply steps quietly but quickly to the exit.

On the other hand, we have the tourist.  The tourist is deathly afraid of having any experience that is outside his zone of comfort.  He is convinced that local cuisine is filthy and infested, and so brings his comfortable McFoods with him.  He is convinced that local accommodations are rat-eaten and sub-standard, and so brings his Holiday-Innian experience with him.  He believes the locals are heathens that must be converted to whatever system of belief he holds dear.  He criticizes the local customs and beliefs as ridiculous and beneath his consideration.  To a tourist, everything is wrong but his own standards.

In the past three years, I have found myself in a very curious position, straddling the traveler-tourist paradigm.

I have been deeply involved in building a "western" style arts center in Jakarta, where the owner has wanted to bring "western" style shows to the city.  On the other hand, I have been dealing with "western" companies wanting to break into the Indonesian market with their wares.  On both sides of the equation, I have run head-long into the tourist mentality.  The locals want international shows, but are not willing to learn and accommodate international standards.  The foreign companies want to enter the local market without accommodating local styles of doing business.  The locals think that "international standard" is the way something looks, and the outsiders think that "international standard" means the way we do it back home.

It is the perfect storm with your humble traveler standing at precisely the geodetic center of the storm.

On the one hand, I want to help the locals bring these massive foreign shows, and want to teach them the styles and methods of doing it.  On the other hand, I know the mentality of the foreign shows, who expect a certain modus operandi on the receiving end.

It is a delicate situation in which your humble traveler finds himself.  I believe both sides are right.  I know how these mass-market shows operate - god knows I've helped create enough of them.  On the other hand, I know the the locals have developed their style of doing business over centuries of physical isolation from the rest of the world, being a chain of islands fairly remote from any mainland.

For your humble reporter, it is both gleefully fun and infinitely frustrating.  On the one hand, I want to help the locals fit into the international market they so desperately want to join, and on the other hand, I want to help the foreigners fit into the market they do desperately want to join.

The immovable object meets the irresistible force.  It is not an enviable position, since I have had my share of both sides railing against me.  Both sides expect me to be able to change the other, yet my personal mentality is that both sides are completely right.

Such is the life of a traveler.

It would be so easy to be a tourist.  I could force whichever side I chose onto the other.  What I have chosen, however, is to find some way to blend the two, in the hopes of making both better for the experience.

In point of fact, I am in the position of believing that the "western" way of doing shows is the right way - in its context.  And I believe that the Indonesian way of doing business is right - in its context.  When the two contexts meet, one can begin to appreciate the fun I have had for the past three years.

I must become a travelist or a tourer, but in either case I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds.

Centuries ago, Marco Polo was the first Westerner to record his travels in Indonesia - specifically in the area of central Sumatera around the modern city of Medan - where he met the Batak people.  In his wake, Lutheran missionaries followed and were slaughtered and occasionally eaten by the Batak.  That is, until a fellow by the name of Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen showed up and converted a large number of Batak to Lutheranism.  To this day, the Batak have a unique church (HKBP) that separates them from all other Indonesians.  In simplistic terms, the church is western Lutheranism blended with the Batak language and sensibilities.  A new culture created from the blending of two otherwise clashing ones.

It is possible to make a hybrid culture without surrendering the more profound elements of the progenitors.  However, it is not an enviable position to be at the crux of the effort.  It is akin to hanging on to the blades of a blender, trying to maintain one's identity while at the same time trying to make the rest of the mix into a homogeneous mass.  All sides want what the other has without surrendering any part of what they bring, or accepting any part of what they want.

Your humble traveler stands at the center of the plains of Geddon, amidst the final conflagration, and tries to maintain enough individuality to report on the destruction of both sides.  Perhaps I will be slaughtered and eaten, perhaps I will find that happy medium and become a patron saint.  Either way, I will destroy something and build something else.

History is yet to be written.

But one thing I am assured of...I am a traveler.

Post Scriptum - when I first arrived in Indonesia, I had a Batak girlfriend.  One Christmas, I followed her family to the HKBP church.  When it came time for Communion, I went to the front with her.  The first priest looked at me, then asked her (in Batak language), "Does he understand (this)?"  I responded (in the Batak language), "Yes, I do."  He shot a glance at me and his jaw went slack.  Then he passed me down the line without being slaughtered.

That is what travelers do.

10.8.15

Who Is More The Fool?

I am unabashedly and unapologetically a straight, white male.  I just want to make that perfectly clear.

I will not bow to Political Correctness, nor will I wallow in "White Guilt".  I am what I am by accident of birth and cultural conditioning (plus a smattering of independent thinking), and I see no reason to feel guilty for something someone else did, nor because I have worked hard to achieve a modicrum of success in my career, relying on my talents and education, and taking advantage of opportunities that have come along.

I have prejudices for which I will not apologize.  If I see a mangy, snarling dog eyeing me with less than friendly intent, I do not stick around to confirm or deny my prejudice, earned from experience, I quickly find a safe path.

In the same way, I have had less than cordial experiences with certain groups of people.  Because of my experience, I avoid contact with those groups.  In fact, my prejudices are based on remarkably similar experiences with certain groups over time, space and context.  Odds are, my experience tells me, that any future contact will have the same outcome as before.

My prejudices are earned and serve as a protective feature of my personality.  i am open to new and more positive experiences with those groups, but I am always alert to signs that I will be bitten if I continue to engage with them.

On one occasion, I was riding with a friend of the "enlightened liberal" persuasion.  We were behind a car on the freeway that was swerving and dodging in and out of traffic.  My friend cursed the driver, and I simply said, "Asian."

He chastised me for using "gross generalizations" and labeling people without knowing the facts.  I just pointed out that I had experience with Asian drivers.

A short time later, we passed the swerving car and my friend laughed.  I looked at him, and he said, "He's Asian."  I did not feel the need to say, I told you so."

Having worked in the entertainment industry all my life, I have had broad experience with just about every gradation of gender and sexual orientation.  I have no problem whatsoever hugging and kissing other men, nor watching lovers of the same gender cavorting together.  However, I am a confirmed heterosexual.  That is my preference, get over it.

For most of my adult life, I have been chided and cajoled, railed against and teased by friends and family who are of the unthinking liberal types.  They have spent inordinate amounts of time trying to convince me that I am a chauvinistic misogynist who does not embrace "diversity" nor edit my thoughts to conform with the mass mind.  This while they live in pearly white suburban nests and I have traveled to over 40 countries - living in five of them - learning languages, eating local cuisines and celebrating the splendid variety of viewpoints, traditions and environments.  None of which my "diverse" family and friends would abide.

Why, I've had one wife of Apache-Mexican decent, and my current wife is Indonesian of Chinese-Javanese decent.  Most of my "diverse" friends and family have only been with white Protestant mates and partners.  Yet, I am the one guilty of not being "diverse" and of being "white".

About this white thing...

A number of years ago, the convenient idiot known as Jesse jackson declared the Negroid race was composed of a "black rainbow".  Probably the one thing on which I agree with him.  There are many shades of Negroid.  In fact, what Indonesians call "black" is simply someone with a dark tan who likely works outdoors for a living.

I believe that there is a "white rainbow", too.  I am not really "white," I am more of a pinkish color with spots ranging from yellowish to quite black, making me really a member of all skin colors.  People from the Mediterranean region of Europe are "olive" skinned.  The Germanic and Scandinavian people are a sort of "bronze" color.  The British are famously "gray."  This would appear to refute any argument that there is a "white" race.

I also take issue with being called a "Caucasian."  As a clear genetic descendant of the Celts and Vikings (red hair, blue eyes, pale skin, fiery temper), and based on recent genetic studies, my people did not originate in the Caucasus Mountains of Russia.

As for the charge of being misogynistic, well...I just have to laugh.  Being a dyed-in-the-wool heterosexual, I hardly hate women.  I find the company of women to be most enjoyable and I celebrate the differences we have.  Vive la difference!

That charge, in particular, came from a feminist lesbian who was paired with a woman trying her level best to look and act like a man.  So if she was so against the way I enjoy the company of "feminine" women, why did she choose a "male" partner?  Obviously, even homosexuals still find comfort in gender roles, even if they prefer other "equipment."

One reason I am labelled a misogynist is because I firmly believe that abortion is murder.  It is murder as surely as lining up a row of imbeciles and mowing them down is murder.  Just because a foetus cannot survive on its own (yet), or has not achieved fully cognition (yet) does not make it a "lump of tissue" to be removed.  It is still a human being, as much as the row of imbeciles, who likewise have not achieved full cognition and depend on others for survival.  The choice with pregnancy comes before it happens, not after.  If I chose to put my hand into a fire, I cannot blame the fire for getting burned.  That is its nature.

In fact, that I love and tolerate my family and friends who are unable to think clearly proves that I am "diverse."  That I have gone more places, eaten strange foods, learned new languages (14 to date), reveled in foreign cultures and traditions, while they have stayed in the safe white suburban nests is conclusive evidence that I celebrate the human condition in all its forms.  If, in my experience, I have learned certain prejudices, then no one can say that those prejudices are wrong.

As for "white guilt," well, guess what?  I will not partake.  My ancestors received the crossed arrows from the Comanche and my former wife and my daughter are part Apache.  Some of my ancestors owned slaves, while others ran underground railroads helping them escape.  Some fought for US independence, and others for Texas.  I personally am an artists who strives to create beauty and meaning out of chaos and destruction.

I don't deny that some "white" folks engaged in some bad things, but I did not take part in, nor have any say in them.  Nor would I participate if given the opportunity today.  At the same time, I think we can make a pretty comprehensive list of terrible things done by Negroids and Mongoloids, too.  Terrible acts are not limited to any one group or race.  "White" folks have done some pretty despicable things, but they have also done some rather amazing things.  So have Negroids and Mongoloids.  Every race, religion, political affiliation, culture, and any other division you can think of have all been guilty of terrible things.

Do I feel guilty for any of it?  No.  Because I didn't partake in any of it.  Just as I cannot bear guilt for Adam and Eve snacking in the Garden, nor can a bear guilt for the actions of folks who happen to share certain physical traits with me.  My attitude has always been, and has been borne out by my life story, to live and let live.

I refuse to succumb to pressure to conform to "diversity" and "political correctness" and "white guilt."  If you want to associate only with those who agree in every way with your worldview, then please do.  I prefer to dive into the world and experience its glorious spectrum.

Post Scriptum - For those who take issue with my use of the words Caucasoid, Negroid and Mongoloid, please see this link, because I will not apologize for formal taxonomic terms, either.

4.8.15

Metaphysically Conjoined Twins

What are culture and morality?  The definitions of these two concepts have vexed philosophers and theologians for most of recorded history.  For a great many centuries, they were consigned to the realms of the secular and theorlogical, respectively.  Yet, they were inextricably united in the whole that we commonly call civilization.

At one time, the civil and theological powers were bound together, with one reinforcing the other.  In many cases, they were the same force, as in the millennium where the Roman Church ruled the throne, or even today were Shyaria has surfaced among certain political forces, so that secular and religious authority cannot be isolated.

As a species, we seem to have arrived at a unique nexus in history.  Largely beginning with the Protestant Reformation and into the Enlightenment Period (for Western culture, at least), a process was begun to separate the conjoined twins of culture and morals that is having profound consequences now 500 years later.  In the case of then and now, the upheaval is predicated on new forms of communication, and the resulting loss of control by the elite classes, the Priesthood, if you will.
Indeed, we must call them the Priesthood.  “They” is too vague and undefined.  What we are dealing with is a group of elites, who for centuries have wielded the combined swords of culture and morals.  Having watched their authority erode from the time of Gutenberg until now, we know from documents such as the 29 Protocols that this Priesthood is trying to reset society.  By creating a ‘culture’ where anything goes and there seem to be no rules or authority at all, the Priesthood is trying to bring civilization to its knees to use the opportunity to re-establish their wide-ranging controls over humanity. 

We are witnessing this deconstruction right now.  The crumbling secular structures of government, police powers, religion, education, and so forth, is leading inevitably towards a moment of catharsis in which we will collectively cry out for some authority to step in and save us from ourselves.  Enter the currently deposed Priesthood, who have sought to regain their former status as rulers and arbitrators since the moment we unwashed masses were able to own and read a copy of Gutenberg’s Bible.

Since the Enlightenment, Western culture has strived to locate a moral code and authority in Nature.  By taking the moral authority away from monarchs and religious institutions, they were forced to find some new force in Nature that established and enforced a set of Universal Morals.  The secular Western states and legal systems began to evolve as moral arbiters, legislating what God once declared through secret revelations to religious authorities.

In other words, the Priesthood was deposed from their central role of wielding cultural, secular and financial power over all aspects of life.  They were replaced by Jeffersonian concepts of Universal Equality and Sufferage, though the realization of those ideals is still evolving.

In some cases, moral authority was bestowed on society’s institutions by Nature’s God – a sort of amorphous and non-sectarian power.  In other cases, such as Soviet Communism, all religious authority was to be purged and a moral code was to be forced on society by a central authority, whose job it was to become obsolete and fade away.  Still others, such as Japan, Thailand and Britain, maintain a monarch invested with both secular and religious authority, though of necessity, the role of the monarch has been elevated to a point where they have almost no day-to-day control, due to their lofty natures.

In some cases, such as Russia, there is a swing back to a more central role of the Church in secular affairs, in the person of Putin and his cronies.  In the US and Indonesia, there are many voices proclaiming that those countries were founded on religious authority, though those voices are very wrong.  The mistake comes in not understanding what a republic is, and how a republic seeks to establish a core set of “rights” (a modern replacement for morals) that cannot be undone or modified by the governmental power.

In concept, these “rights” are to be upheld and enforced by all society.  Every member agrees that these “rights” are bestowed by some higher authority than government (undefined).  In practice, though, “rights” are malleable and mutable.  They are subject to changing moral standards.  They have become much closer to “privileges” than “rights”.  A perfect example is the “right” to bear arms, or the “right” to free speech.  Almost as fast as those “rights” are declared, people begin finding occasions when they are seemingly inappropriate, and so immediately begin the process of creating “privileges” out of “inalienable rights”.

Since the Enlightenment, we have found ourselves trying to define Universal Morality.  Is there indeed a set of rules that apply in all times and places?  We claim that it is wrong to kill, but almost in the same breath call self-defense an important exception to that rule.  We claim it is always wrong to steal, yet in the very next paragraph authorize taxes and civil forfeiture. 
In other words, cut loose from the religious authority, morality becomes a kind of contrast ratio, where a a sliding scale occasionally brings certain “rights” into view, while others fall outside the framework.  Relativism takes over and suddenly morality becomes defined by each and every individual’s circumstance and context.  What makes this unacceptable, though, is the fact that one can be punished in the future for a moral choice in the past that was within the framework then, but is not now.  This retroactive feature of the moral ration of relativism is what places us at the nexus, where we find ourselves now.

In other words, it is immoral for someone to torture and kill without some kind of socially defined process, unless you wear a uniform and/or carry some sort of “badge” that gives license to ignore the rules.

So we find ourselves at the crucial moment in history: the ancient Priesthood is fomenting chaos in order to insert themselves back into the throne;  secular power has been divorced from the “higher authority” that once kept it in check; the individual is without moral compass because the framework is constantly sliding around the scale of right and wrong.

Our civilization is coming to a mighty clash – a perfect storm of immovable objects and irrisistable forces – where the very old, the old, the new, and the very new will battle it out using the unique creation of the internet.  The result, in a century or so, will be the first truly Universal Moral Code, acceptable to all individuals. 

In the meantime, however, it will be nasty.  There will be many casualties as the various camps battle it out over who will ultimately control this new authority.  Some, such as the Religion, Illuminati and Capitalist camps, have suffered severe blows and are fighting back like cornered and wounded animals.  This epoch may end in a revolutionary conflagration that will leave nothing standing of our cultural past.

What emerges from this unique period in history will be the ruling paradigm for centuries to come, and we likely will not recognize the outcome.  Most of us reading these words will probably not be around to see the result.

However, we are obligated by our duty to future generations to begin talking about this battle and profoundly exploring the conceptual framework that will emerge from it.  In the quest to destroy something old, there must be a plan for replacing it.  This is the vital part of the current culture that is conspicuous in its absence.  We are at a unique point in history, with a unique tool called the internet.  Ultimately, we have two choices: destroy everything, or create something.

It is quite obvious that the old paradigms are doing a sufficient job of destroying things, so it is up to the rest of us to start creating

22.7.15

Never Heard Of A "Happy" Marriage

Howdy, boys and girls!  Looks like we are on the way to becoming a regular feature again, and thanks to reader Robert and many others who have checked in on us to make sure we haven't been kidnapped by Dayak and forced into a polygamous marriage deep in the jungles of Borneo.

Fact is, we completed the Ciputra Artpreneur Center and successfully brought the first-ever Broadway musical to Indonesia (Beauty and the Beast) with a sell-out audience for 18 performances.  All we can say is...we told you so.

Anyway, don't want to get too far afield of today's fun little topic, though mythical bondings between French maidens and enchanted beasts isn't too far off track.  Our topic today is the US Supreme Court's decision to force "gay marriage" down the throats of an entire nation - like it or not.

Now before you start rolling your eyes and clicking off to oblivion, we never have the usual take on things that others offer up.  No siree, if you stick with us for a minute, you're going to get a whole different perspective on things, because...

Mr. and Mrs. Heterosexual, who don't cotton with this "gay marriage" thing?  Guess what?  It's your fault.  It's all because you are a racist eugenicist that submits to central authority like a groveling slave that the US (and soon the world at large) has created "gay marriages".

Yup, you heard us right.  Every single straight couple who has been married in the United States since the mid-1800s (hmmm...there's that War of Northern Aggression date again) is guilty of encouraging and empowering the state to dictate who can and cannot be married in the US.

First, a license is permission from whatever authority to do something that would otherwise be illegal.  Since men and women have been creating bonded pairs for the purposes of procreation since the dawn of time, it hardly seems possible that the state would consider marriage an illegal act unless licensed by the ruling class, but there it is.

Much like it still is in Indonesia, the West started issuing marriage licenses in the Middle Ages to prevent mixed marriages, whether that meant mixed race, religion or some other criteria.  The result was that the state authority had the power to deny couples the right to marriage if it felt offended in some way by the union.

No matter how you spin this, the fact remains that if you obtained a marriage license from some "authority" before you got married, then you are: 1) property of the state, and 2) receiving permission to do something otherwise illegal.

To further make matters worse, in the US and most countries where the state is granted the power to say who can and cannot get married, there is a laundry list of benefits that go with the license, like so many carrots on a stick to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about surrendering your God-given right to choose and breed with any mate you want.

In most cases, the law supports the rights of spouses to co-own and inherit property, receive tax breaks, get retirement benefits from the spouse's account, &c.

So, here we have folks not only conceding their right to choose a mate, but demanding and receiving special treats for doing so.  This, in turn, sets up a special class of folks set apart from the rest by unequal treatment, which in the US violates the perceived ideal of "equality" under the law.  Therefore, by accepting and participating in this system, you are directly responsible for the Supreme Court dicision to "allow" other types of unions under the "law" so that everyone is "equal," except for straight white males and drag queens.

And lest you think we hold ourselves above blame, we are just as guilty four times over in two countries.  So all that you stuff up there is as much reflexive as accusative.

When we hear all the ballyhoo from the religious groups about "gay marriage," we must laugh, because in the end, all they are arguing is the identity of the slave owner, not the status of being a slave.  Us Far Siders see no difference in begging the state or religious "authorities" for permission to do anything, much less get married.

If you don't agree with "gay marriage," then stop getting licenses and stop accepting special benefits.  Instead, start using contracts, wills, trusts, and other long-established means of ensuring your mate and/or children get your property when you die.  Stop using and accepting state-sanctioned identities, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and such.  When your children of contract are born, simply note the details and havetwo unrelated witnesses sign it.  Same thing under the law, only you are taking the power back to issue such a document.

Oh sure, this will mean that two men or two women, or even one women and three men will be out setting up contractual bonds.  So what, who cares?  Children are still protected as minors under their parents' guidance, and animals still don't have human rights, so they cannot enter into a contract of marriage, because neither children nor animals have obtained reason, and thus cannot consent to contract.  This prevents the state from going even further afield with all this marriage non-sense, as is likely now that its power is confirmed (which is really what the Supreme Court decision was about - not "gay marriage").

So you, dear reader, are likely thinking, "Hey, so what is your stance on "gay marriage?"

Fair enough.

We hold the opion that marriage is a physical, emotional, spiritual, and genetic bond between two people, in which the bond results in the co-mingling of DNA in a unique individual we commonly call a child.  Marriage, therefore, is the creation of "family" related by blood from what where once complete strangers.  Thus, a marriage can never take place in the absence of offspirng (remember the whole consummation thing?).

As for bonds between same-sex partners, you are more than welcome to enter into a contract.  We fully support the right of free and reasonable people to enter into contracts for pretty much any lawful reason.  We refuse to call it a marriage, though, thank you very much.

Marriage is something that takes place far beyond the reaches of court decisions and contracts.  It takes place at both a microscopic level and at a metaphysical level, and no amount of sperm donors and turkey basters will ever achieve that.  Nor will the eventual power of science to take DNA from two same-sex partners and combine it in a dish.  These are facsimiles of marriage, but they are not transcendent.

So, the dear reader asks, "Does this mean you are or are not in favor of "gay marriage?"

Quite simply, we are saying "gay marriage" is impossible under any circumstance, regardless of how much paperwork you plaster over it.  It is not a matter of agreeing or believing in something, it's just a fact.

The right decision in Obergefell v. Hodges would have been for the US Supreme Court to declare marriage licenses unconstitutional and that Last Wills and Contracts were sufficient to bestow property and benefits on whomever one wanted.

Ha!  In your dreams...

3.7.15

Yankee Carpetbaggers Strike Again

(Thanks to reader Robert who told us that someone had pulled the flag image that headed this article).
As usual, poorcated Americans are once again reacting emotionally to something with little or no historical background or truth,


The recent rush to ban the Confederate flag and remove it from public spaces (and even cop underwear) is founded on profound ignorance fed by media numbnuts who know even less than us normal folks.  Because a confused and drug-addled (pharma, not illegal) young man entered a South Carolina church and killed some people - also based on a profound ignorance of history - the US is in an orgasm of symbol destruction.

For the many readers here who are not Americans, a little background.

From 1860-1865, the United States became embroiled in a civil war, commonly called (by educated people) the War of Northern Aggression.  The northern and southern tiers of States broke apart and drew a line, called Mason-Dixon, because there were some fundamental differences in cultures and politics.

At that time, the north was increasingly becoming industrialized, while the south was largely agrarian.  The US Congress was dominated by representatives from the north, because numbers were based on population, and the north had quite a few more voting folks than the south.  This led to piles of legislation in the Congressional pipeline that favored the north at the expense of the south.

The south was being heavily taxed without ample representation, and the federal government was increasingly dictating to the southern States in violation of the Tenth Amendment protecting States' Rights.

The north was also getting filthy rich on finished manufactured products using raw materials produced in the south, but naturally were crushing prices for the raw materials to increase profits.  I know, hard to imagine, but Yankee financiers were getting fat while heavily manipulating the prices of things like cotton and other agricultural products.

Tempers flared.  Things got out of hand.  The south dared to develop other markets and cut off supplies to the north.  The north got bend out of shape and blockaded southern ports.  Shots were fired.  A war started.

Now you may notice that, among the reasons for the war, slavery was not one of them.  In fact, slavery was still common on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, but the importation of slaves had already stopped and the institution itself was slowly fading out.  Texas had banned the slave trade (though it still allowed slave owners to bring their property from outside).  The south was a bit slower, because of the manpower needed to run the large plantations, but the north was benefiting from the products of slavery as much or more than the south.

The Confederate flag, therefore, was not a symbol of racism and slavery, it was a symbol of States' Rights, anti-federalism and opposition to the undue power of international bankers and financial interests.

In other words, the Confederate flag represents the right to self-rule, free and open markets, and decentralized government.  It also represents the economic truism that production should always be more powerful than finance.

When you look at the history behind the symbol, in fact, it becomes apparent who wants to ban the Confederate flag and why.  The modern slave owners - bankers and fascist governments - don't want anyone thinking about why hundreds of thousands of Americans die defending their way of life from Yankee carpetbaggers.

In addition, it's important to remember that  not one single slave was ever brought to North America under the Confederate flag.  Nearly every single slave was imported under the British and US flags.  In fact, some of the largest slave markets, even at the time of the War of Northern Aggression, were north of the Mason-Dixon line.

One other bit of information educated people should keep in mind: it was the US Democratic Party that introduced the pro-slavery Dredd Scott legislation.  If you are one of those poor, mind-controlled victims who still vote, and you choose the Democratic candidates, then you are supporting the party that vehemently defended slavery.

If you argue that the Democrats no longer believe that way, then you would obviously vote for the Nazi party, as well.  And if the Democrats no longer support slavery, then why did it create the Federal Reserve, the income tax, Social Security, and Obamacare.  Yup, even today, you are supporting slavery - only now it's for everyone and not just a certain class of folks.

So, if you are a real, educated person, then you would not only celebrate the Confederate flag, but would move immediately to ban the British and US flags, and declare the Democratic Party an enemy of the state and freedom.

By the way, in 1860, the people of Texas voted 4-1 to secede from the US and once again become a free and separate nation.  It never joined the Confederacy, but remained neutral with sympathies to the South.  At the end of the war, Texas was taken by force by federal troops and has never been a legal "state" since then.  All educated people know that.

28.2.15

Where The Hell Art Thou?

OK, OK, everyone just calm down.  Sheesh!  We stop posting for six months and you'd think the world was coming to an end...which it just might if NATO and ISIS get their ways.

Anyway, yes we haven't lashed our faithful readers with our trademark wry viewpoints since August last year, but we have damn good excuses!  To start with, right about the time we last gurbled on this site, we managed to contract typhus, amoebic dysentery and dengue fever, all in the space of six weeks.  We laid prone in a krankenhaus for 20 days having all sorts of witches' brews pumped directly into our veins, though the nurses were rather cute, so we didn't complain too much.

We managed to survive, though barely.  There were days when we were sure we would never assault our readers again, but much to your chagrin, dear reader, we muddled through.

Laundry lists of tropical diseases notwithstanding, we've also been hard at work completing and commissioning Jakarta's premier arts and entertainment complex - a $22 million exhibition hall, museum and live theater - called The Ciputra Artpreneur.  Projects of this size have a way of sucking up all of one's energy and free time, so we haven't had much left for our usual rants and raves in our little digital safe room here.

Yes, it's easy to sit around slinging bits and bytes telling everyone that they should do this and must do that to change the world, but it's a much bigger proposition to be an actual, real live positive force in the actual, real live world.

Just so the gentle reader knows, we put our actions where our mouth is.  We would never tell someone to do something we weren't willing to do ourselves.

What it all comes down to is this: what can you do to make the world a better place in your little part of the world.  We have explored the fact that the PTB are trying desperately to destroy culture, beauty and individual creativity.  It offends them that us sugar ants on their tables of privilege dare to improve the world, rather than destroy it, as they do oh-so-well.

Art is dangerous to the controlling class.  It is why they try so hard to destroy music, trash the fine arts and turn performace into celebrations of filth and baseness.  They can't stand that we seek to elevate ourselves and celebrate beauty and harmony.  They cringe that we seek rhythm and balance.  They shiek in horror when one of us dares to stand out as a force for good and joy.

Which is why we must do all in our power to achieve these things.

Their moda operandae are gore, hate, destruction, and filth.  They wallow in death and destruction like diseased swine, and must lower everyone else to their level so as not to feel the pain of their lack of humanity.  They dine on our pain and bathe in our suffereing.  Every soul they corrupt is another grotesque trophy on their mantle.  Can you imagine the profound emptiness they feel when just one of us rises above and creates something of beauty?

And so the responsibility falls on us, dear reader.  We do not need weapons.  We do not need harshness or force.  We do not need to fight fire with fire, for then we descend to their pit of Ultimate Evil.

Instead, we counter them with beauty.  We create and celebrate the creations.  We take the rubble of their hate and build new works of great Humanity.  We halt their onslaught with magnificent splashes of color and glorious strokes of sound.  We refuse to buy into their degradation, and instead support and encourage those who dare to greatness.

It is a shame that so many great artists have died in abject poverty, while others make vast fortunes trading on their work.  This is a symptom of greed and hate. 

Instead, we should buy a painting, commission a song, help publish a book.  Imagine if you took all the money and time used for lousy TV programs and crap movies and trash novels, and put it into supporting a local artist, writer or performer.  Suppose you helped send a child to music school, or helped a group of youngsters stage a great play, or offered to pay to publish another's first book?  What kind of ripples would that send through the world?  What great things would happen years from now because of that simple act?

The other day, I was in a meeting with a group of children, aged 11 to 17, who had formed their own quintet.  I listened to one lovely girl, 17, play Mozart on the violin.  I listened to another girl, 13, play Mendelsohn also on the violin.  I listened to a boy, 14, play Beethoven on the viola.  Their fingering and bowing was impeccable.  Their phrasing was interpretive and emotional.  Each told a short story about the composer and the background of their chosen pieces.  And they did it in flawless English, a second language for them.  The youngest member is a boy, aged 11, who plays the cello.  It is bigger than he is.

I'm going to hire them to play at the Ciputra Artpreneur Grand Opening Gala Event on 26 May, when the first Broadway musical ever (Disney's Beauty and the Beast) will open in Jakarta.

They deserve all the encouragement I can give them.