Neil deGrasse Tyson: shill extraordinaire (and spook)

I’ve written about Neil deGrasse Tyson before and exposed him for the shill that he is.  A couple of years ago when I watched him idiotically  promoting GMOs, I couldn’t stomach it and had to write a short article warning people to recognize him for what he is: a paid agent working for the NWO. Recently, this smug ‘scientist’ has made headlines again, going on a talk show to do a ‘rap’ performance in order to refute a rapper who had claimed that the earth is flat. The most outrageous part of the previous sentence is not the part about the flat earth, but the fact that a country’s most distinguished scientist has nothing better to do with his time than go on a talk show to refute some pathetic ‘musician’ who made waves by writing a song about the flat earth.

Does Tyson actually have a real job? With people like Tyson and Zuckerberg, one has to ask this question. Given the amount of time he spends on radio and tv interviews and self-promotion, he must have precious little time to do any real work, let alone any authentic science. Tyson is simply a front man for the mainstream scientific worldview. He’s a hired gun for the priestly class of scientists who  do not tolerate ANY debate on their theories and models of the universe. In fact, Tyson admitted in an interview that he doesn’t stoop to debating people. He claimed that ‘there are the laws of physics….and everything else is opinion…so I can just walk out of the room when people want to start debating.’ Is this not the height of arrogance and pomposity? You can find the clip on youtube.

Neil deGrasse Tyson has so many red flags flapping around him that it’s easy to expose him.  Look at where he studied: Harvard; Columbia;  Princeton. These schools, along with Yale, are the prime incubators not only for the ruling elite in the United States but also, and more importantly,  for Intelligence agents. Tyson has been educated and groomed at the premier spook schools in the United States and promoted relentlessly to take his fake science message to the masses. See the recent work of Miles Mathis.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Tyson spends more time in Langley, Virginia than he does at a university science lab. So how did this brilliant scientist prove the existence of gravity on the talk show? He dropped his microphone. Wow. Brilliant.

 

 

The fake stock market, irrational fear, and our manufactured reality

If you follow the news headlines, especially the business news, then you undoubtedly are aware of the recent activity in the markets, i.e. the stock markets of the U.S.A. and other industrialized countries. Various fear-inducing words and the typical hyperbole associated with newsroom headline writers have been employed liberally. The verbs  ‘plummeting’ and ‘plunging’  have appeared almost daily.

Oh, how I tire of this nonsense. Is there anyone out there still who takes this reporting seriously or who remains unaware that the markets are fake? The numbers are cooked; they are rigged. The Dow at 16,000? How is that possible? Under what conception of reality do they operate where the market could be valued so high?

Remember the financial crisis of 2008? Has the U.S. actually recovered from that? Have the root causes of that crisis been addressed and rectified and have the wounds healed? Is the U.S. now a healthy, vibrant economy with strong fundamentals?  The answer is, of course, no to all of the above. All of the fundamentals remain weak. The U.S. still runs a budget deficit and the debt remains astronomical. Unemployment remains high. The economy is supported by little more than consumer shopping which is propelled by the accumulation of yet more debt.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost some of its value since the beginning of the year and people are hyperventilating. However, on Friday, the market ‘bounced back’ and ‘recovered’ some of its losses as ‘bargain hunters’ swooped in blah, blah, blah. This is the good old ‘plunge protection team’ at work. We have seen this invisible hand at work again and again over the last twenty years. Every time there is a hiccup in the market and the Dow  loses a few hundred points and everyone starts predicting that this is the beginning of the end,  it starts creeping back up and within a few days, the Dow is right back where it started! So, what about the cause of the original crash two weeks ago? Was that fixed so quickly? No. I have witnessed this cycle occur every couple of years and now it’s become stale. The Dow Jones and Wall Street is little more than a high-tech reality show meant to keep the masses mesmerized with lots of flashing screens and numbers and to convince them that the health of the banksters and the elite equates to their own health. Time to turn off the television.

Hipsters, the fake left, and misguided youth

It’s never been easy to make sense of the world, but in 2016, the Powers-That-Be (PTB) have turned reality upside down and inside out so that forming a coherent picture of our situation  has become a herculean task. It’s a particularly arduous chore for those under the age of 35, as they are the most susceptible to brainwashing, propaganda, peer pressure, social engineering, and the various effects of the media to which they are constantly exposed. It’s not easy being a youth in today’s world.

For those in their 20s who want to fit in, be cool, and make lots of friends, they must of necessity ‘toe the line’ when it comes to their beliefs and attitudes. Youth today are under more pressure than ever to engage in groupthink in large part due to the effects of social media such as facebook.

Social media is a good place to begin. Even though 80-year-old grandmothers have facebook accounts, it’s the youth who spend the most time online networking on social media. You are simply not allowed to disengage from this MATRIX as doing so would cost you most of your friends and brand you as an ‘eccentric’ at best and ‘fucking weirdo’ at worst. And the higher up you are in the social hierarchy (think hipsters and djs), the more time you must devote to your online presence.

The slavish devotion to social media is a corollary of our unquestioning acceptance and  devotion to technology in general. Anything that is branded, marketed and sold as ‘new’, ‘improved’ or  ‘modern’, especially in the arena of technology, will be gobbled up by the masses in copious quantities. Again, the youth, with their desire to be on the cutting age and be with the hip crowd, will be easy game for the corporations selling their addictive techno toys.

Facebook and Instagram have transformed the notion of narcissism from a negative quality to a positive one. In the past, to be labeled a narcissist was a put-down. It was an insult. To be a narcissist signified that you were only concerned with yourself, that you had little to no concern for your family, your community, or your country.  But the unholy combination of Facebook and the camera phone has birthed the phenomenon known as the ‘selfie’ which has brought narcissism and narcissistic behavior to hitherto unknown levels. We see girls, particularly those from the 13-29 age group, walking around all day taking selfies, for no reason at all. They do it just….to do it. Taking selfies has now become an almost unconscious, reflexive behavior. ‘My friends are doing it, so I guess I need to do it too’. Middle-aged and elderly people engage in this abominable behavior as well, sending a clear message to the youth that ‘it’s ok and acceptable.’

The LGBT agenda, marketed most aggressively by those on the fake left, has snared today’s youth brilliantly. I used to support gay rights, gay marriage, the rainbow flag and the rest of that garbage until I wised up, so I know firsthand how easily one can be duped. When I first came upon information about the  ‘agenda’ behind the gay rights movement, I dismissed it outright. I thought the idea of an agenda or hidden hand was just a made-up story from a bunch of disgruntled Christians and ultra-conservatives. But, by and by, I noticed how the gay rights issue was getting an inordinate amount of media coverage; I noticed that politicians, including Barack Obama  were spending a lot of time giving their opinions on it (mostly in supporting it) ; I noticed that entertainers, especially young pop stars, were singing about their homosexual desires and experiences ; I noticed Hollywood coming out with movies about gay lovers. Gradually, I began to see that the idea of an agenda wasn’t so farfetched after all. Sadly, most 20-somethings haven’t grasped this yet. They march proudly in gay pride parades, waving their rainbow flags and cheering, completely oblivious to the fact that they are being played like a fiddle by a hidden hand that has an agenda to destroy the family and religion.

I have here in front of me the most recent copy of slick magazine marketed to rich, urban, English-speaking expats and tourists in Southeast Asia. The picture on the cover is a young transgender. When I  open to the article, I read his ‘heartwarming’ story and his struggle for acceptance in a traditional, family-based society. See how this goes? This type of story in the mass media is not an uncommon occurrence. Moreover, nightclubs here often have benefit shows dedicated to ‘LGBT’ rights. We’re all supposed to come and cheer our queer brothers and sisters.

I could write much more about this topic. I could talk about how the youth have been told to love modern ‘art,’ which is a complete creation of the CIA, how they’ve been manipulated into supporting multi-culturalism, how they’ve been cleverly suckered into supporting a corporate tool like Obama,  and how they’ve been dumbed down to such an extent that being intelligent is not cool and being ignorant and stupid is seen as hip. Even the corporatocracy  itself is no longer questioned, let along rebelled against. Wearing t-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with corporate logos is acceptable and trendy.

What can we do? As a teacher, I try my best to decondition my students from the programming as best as I can. I try to put books in their hands. I talk to them. For those of us who are 50 and over, the best we can do is model sane behavior. Youth today increasingly have no one to look to see how to act in a proper manner in a sane society. If you are 50-year-old father of four, and you are taking selfies and checking your smartphone while you are sitting at a restaurant with your family, you are failing. It’s time to look in the mirror.

 

 

 

 

The decline and fall of conversation:The smartphone’s effect on our ability to meet, greet, and speak

People are quickly losing the ability to talk to one another. A residual  capacity still exists, but it is evaporating so fast that I may witness its extinction in my lifetime. The roots of this problem can be traced back as far as the invention of the telegraph more than 180 years ago but the advent of the smartphone has now vastly accelerated the decline of face to face speaking skills. Oratory, rhetoric, public speaking, and clarity of speech have likewise suffered greatly.

When I was growing up in the time before cellphones, I recall the numerous opportunities I had to meet and converse with strangers. Luckily, my parents never discouraged me from interacting with strangers unlike today’s parents who are told by well-meaning but misguided ‘authorities’ that they should inform their kids to ‘never talk to strangers.’

Indeed, the chances to meet new people, chat, make small talk, and possibly make a new friend or acquaintance  were endless. However, all of those situations where formerly we were encouraged or at least allowed to chat up a stranger are now gone, thanks to the smartphone.

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If you found yourself in an elevator with someone and you were both riding up to a high floor, you may not have had a lot of time, but perhaps it was just enough to offer a “It’s going to be a hot day, that’s for sure,” to the person standing next to you. And that may have led to a reply of “Oh, you got that right. And my air conditioner broke last night and I was miserable because my room was so hot.”  And then you could commiserate with this person. The next time you ran into him you might continue the conversation by asking about the air conditioner. See? It was so simple. Now, I notice that everyone, once they have boarded the elevator, immediately takes out their phone to text to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of standing next to a stranger for a few seconds.

The introduction of televisions into airplanes guaranteed that people would no longer speak to one another on long plane rides though they were a few hold-outs who stubbornly insisted on having conversations with the person sitting next to them. Nowadays, with everyone carrying a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, even those hold-outs have disappeared. Most people don’t even wait for take-off to get plugged into their cyber-world. They cast nary a glance at the person who they will be sitting mere inches from for the next 10 hours. You, the person sitting next to this new species of cyborg, are irrelevant; actually, you don’t even exist.

Buses, too, have now installed televisions and wi-fi, and predictably people now no longer talk there either. I recall riding the Greyhound Bus on long trips up and down the West Coast and making some wonderful friends in the pre-television and pre wi-fi days.

Coffeeshops, bars, and restaurants used to be places where one could meet a stranger and start up a conversation, especially if one of you was reading a book. A glance at the front cover of a book was always an easy introduction into a chat. “That book looks interesting. I’ve heard of that author but have never read anything by her. Is it good?” Your interest in the book, and literature in general, was usually sufficient to show that you were not a creep and could hold a reasonably decent intellectual conversation. These days, nobody brings books into cafes or restaurants. It’s all about the smartphone now and no one is going  to ask you what you are looking at on your phone. Furthermore, when people read books, although they were concentrating, they were still present in the here-and-now world. Not so with the smartphone. The iphone and its ilk draw people deep into a cyberworld, an alternate reality. People lose all awareness of the real world. They don’t know who is sitting in front of, next to, or behind them, and don’t care.

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Because of the addictive nature of the smartphone, people, especially the young, have an extremely difficult time putting it down for even a few minutes. Hence, even if you are able to punch through their psychic wall and begin a conversation, it will inevitably peter out in a short time. The phone being held tightly in the palm of the hand begs to be used. It is insistent. If the conversation lulls for any reason, the one holding the smartphone will start texting or browsing the web and the talk is done. Finished.

Look at people today waiting at a bus stop for the bus to arrive. Look at the poor, lonely souls waiting in the queue at the supermarket or at the bank. Are they talking? No. They are checking their facebook or instagram. Look at the friends and families sitting in cars at traffic lights. Talking to each other? No- all looking at their phones. I used to work at an office where everyone would take their lunch tray back to their desk to  eat while watching youtube. Nobody was interested in sitting at a table and eating with friends and engaging in that age-old ritual called ‘conversation.’

 

 

DJs and their silly, pretentious egos

Pretentiousness is a vice that receives relatively little attention in the press and in popular literature.  Perhaps because it is seen as a relatively harmless foible, and causes no direct harm, academics and intellectuals mostly bypass it to focus more on greed, wrath, and lust. The dictionary defines pretentious as ‘ characterized by assumption of dignity or importance, especially when exaggerated or undeserved.’

One of the few writers who  tackled the subject and wrote about it eloquently was the late mystic and philosopher Alan Watts. In the classic, Does It Matter? , Watts deftly demonstrated how the European/American  aristocracy, along with the military and political establishment, wallowed in self-importance and pretentiousness, highlighted by their absurd uniforms. The epitome of this particular form of pomposity is the military general with his epaulettes, ribbons, medals, shiny boots, and so on.

But pretentiousness is not limited to politicians, millionaires, generals, and movie stars. If only that were true! One of the biggest groups suffering from the disease of pretentiousness is disc jockeys.

Recently I came across a promo ad for an ‘internationally renowned’ DJ who is scheduled to ‘perform’ next month in Ho Chi Minh City. The prominently placed ad was found in a glossy ‘zine marketed to wealthy expats here. The zine is called ‘Word’ and as you may have noticed from some of my previous posts, it is not a rag I am fond of or have any respect for.

First of all, isn’t it interesting that almost every promo for a DJ advertises him or her as being ‘internationally renowned’?  Is there some official sanctioning agency for DJs which confers this title and honor ? I don’t think so. And even if there were, would anyone take it seriously or mention it without laughing? No. The whole thing is a charade. Any DJ can put ‘internationally renowned’ after his name, make up cards and flyers, and nobody will call him on it.

A couple of years ago, ‘Word’ magazine did an entire spread on a DJ who was doing a gig here. The tone of the article was akin to the coverage given to visiting royalty. The sycophantic writer gushed about how this dweeb was the greatest DJ in the WORLD!! and how fortunate we were that he had decided to visit this backwater. The DJ had the classic rich Eurotrash look, with the open shirt, gold chains, swept-back hair,  and bored expression. The writer advised us to ‘get our tickets quickly’ as they were sure to sell out…

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against DJs, per se. A good DJ can liven up a party and get people dancing so they have a useful role. I just don’t like what the job (please don’t call it a profession) has evolved into over the past twenty years. I’m old enough to remember what DJs used to be. In the 1980s when I first started going to nightclubs, DJs were just above janitors on the status pole. They were far below bartenders and even a few notches below the waiters. The disc jockey was the guy up in the dark booth, spinning  records and earning, if he was lucky, minimum wage. He was usually anonymous and had little hope of getting laid. How times have changed.

The change-over into the modern day celebrity DJ occurred in the early- to mid-90s, along with the rise of rave culture. Initially, I was very enthusiastic about the rave scene. The focus was shifting away from watching the guy in spandex on the stage and toward dancing and communal experience. The scene began almost exclusively as an underground phenomenon, with parties happening in  abandoned warehouses, secluded beaches, basements, and basically any venue that could be temporarily taken over for the night. However, during the meteoric rise of the rave phenomenon, something unfortunate happened: the partygoers transferred their adulation of the band to their adulation of the DJ. Instead of remaining in the background, where he should be, the DJ vaulted himself to front and center, and even onto the stage itself, spotlights and all. The formerly anonymous nobody suddenly became a rock star.

I remember when it happened. In the mid 90s, I started noticing flyers and ads with ‘DJ so-and-so’ in flashy colorful graphics. “There’s gonna be a party and DJ pretentious is spinning. Awesome!”

I blinked and said, “Huh? Since when did DJs become rock stars?”  That was twenty years ago and the DJ is still holding onto his undeserved status as ‘artist.’ In fact, he is not an artist, a musician, or an innovator. He is simply a poseur and an opportunist. Magazine reviewers, club owners and festival organizers all play their assigned roles in this elaborate game, meant to fool gullible hipsters and kids into giving up their money to see the DJ ‘perform.’ I actually saw an advertisement not long ago that said a DJ would be PERFORMING LIVE.  I guffawed when I saw that. A band can ‘perform live.’ A DJ cannot. The guy is playing with his computer, not performing live. What a surreal world we live in.

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You don’t need much to get into the world of disc jockeying. Certainly, you don’t need talent, music or otherwise. What you need is attitude, lots of tattoos, an ability to frequently make (satanic) hand gestures, a baseball cap, and the vocal chords to frequently shout, “How’s everybody feeling tonight? Are you ready to party?”

Fifteen years ago, I went to a concert in San Francisco at the Fillmore. I arrived early enough to see the opening act, which was…a DJ. Some joker walked onto the stage, set up his computer on a small table, lit a cigarette, and started doing his schtick. The thing about DJs is that 99 percent of what they do is look busy. You gotta have those headphones on and fiddle with the switches and make it look like you’re doing something incredibly intricate and complicated, something almost..magical.  A few people in the audience started to sway a bit back and forth and a few more made a half-hearted effort to dance. The rest of the audience appeared confused and not knowing what else to do, watched the guy on stage staring at his computer and smoking a Marlboro. I stood in disbelief, wondering how the Fillmore, the band, and the promoter couldn’t manage to get a real band to open the performance.

When I watch Henry Rollins’ spoken word performances, I sometimes think, ‘Wow, he’s really sounding like an embittered, middle-aged man.” But hey, sometimes I sound like an embittered, middle-aged man too, so it’s ok. Plus, Henry and I grew up in the same neighborhood, and I like his take on a number of subjects, including DJs. He has nothing but contempt for them, especially the pretentious European variety, and I love it when he fixes his gaze at an imaginary DJ and says, “Hey dude, you’re a record- player, player. Get over yourself. You’re not a musician. You simply borrowed someone else’s music (and sweat), sampled it on your macintosh and then got up on stage.” Those aren’t his exact words, but it’s close enough. Right on, Henry.

 

 

 

Buddhism is lost and hopelessly corrupt

If you go to the bookstore and browse through the section on Buddhism, you will find numerous books discussing the Buddha’s teachings, or the ‘dharma.’ You will see commentaries on the Diamond Sutra, the Lotus Sutra and other famous Buddhist works. You will also notice  various histories of Buddhism and its spread through Asia and now through the West. But you probably won’t find any books discussing Buddhism today; you won’t come across any books written about how Buddhism functions in day- to- day life in Asia.

I find that interesting and the subject is one that should be investigated by someone with knowledge of Buddhism,  East Asian cultures, history, and language. I’ve been living in Southeast Asia for almost three years now and Buddhism is in the news frequently, though not for good reasons. Indeed, whenever I see a story in the local news with the word ‘monk’ or ‘temple’ in the headline, I know I am going to be reading about a scandal.

The scandals usually involve a monk being caught doing something not very ‘monk-like’, such as being the first in line to buy a new Iphone,  driving around in fancy cars with 300 dollar sunglasses or having sex with students.  In the age of the smartphone camera and youtube, monks are being caught doing this stuff with more and more regularity. In the old days, they didn’t have to worry as much about being exposed.

Growing up in the West and being reared in a Christian household, I developed a rather cynical attitude toward religion at a young age. As I got older and read more deeply into the history of the Catholic Church with the Inquisition, the witch burnings, the genocide of Native Americans and the rest, my cynicism only grew. Like many young spiritual seekers, I imagined Eastern religions to be somehow less tainted than Christianity. Certainly, there are no comparable stories of Buddhists burning ‘heretics’ at the stake, or Hindus marching across foreign lands with invading armies trying to convert  non-believers.

Yet, the longer I am in Asia, the less pronounced the differences appear to me between Eastern and Western religions and Buddhism is just as tainted with corruption as any other organization, religious or otherwise. Despite their obvious doctrinal differences, all religions appear to function at a basic level of control. In the West, Christianity has always been used to control and manipulate the masses. In the East, Buddhism performs that role.

Buddhism is classified as  a ‘religion.’ It is considered one of the world’s ‘major religions.’ When people fill out census forms, they are given the choice to check the ‘Buddhist’ box under religion. Yet, any Buddhist monk, religious studies professor or anyone who has simply studied Buddhism for just a few hours will tell you that it is most definitely NOT a religion, at least not in the way scholars have typically defined the term. There are no gods or goddesses to worship, no elaborate rituals, no angels. Buddhism is a way of understanding the world and human suffering. It offers a precise psychological method and system for training the mind through meditation to escape suffering. So, Buddhism has been around for 2,500 years and its practitioners are still calling it a ‘religion’ when they know better. What’s the reason?  Here’s my guess: a religion attracts adherents and followers. A ‘meditative system’ or a ‘teaching of the causes of human suffering’ doesn’t sound as important. People need  a religion. It makes them feel good.

Classifying your organization as a religion also has numerous other benefits, mostly financial. Churches pay NO taxes. I am not as familiar with how Buddhist temples operate in Asian countries, but I strongly suspect they play the religion card to avoid taxes and raise money in the same way that Christian churches do in the West.

Well, the temples must be doing something right in the money game they are playing because they are indeed rich. Don’t be fooled by the shaven-headed monk in orange robes you see on the street with his begging bowl. That’s just for show. He is not an accurate representation of how much money these temples really have. How do the temples get the money to buy so much valuable real estate on which to construct their ostentatious structures? Where does the money to build solid gold Buddhas and golden domes come from? Where did that monk get the money to buy a brand new iPhone 5? The answer is, of course, from the poor people who willingly donate their hard-earned money to the temples, in exchange for ‘blessings’ from the monks. It’s a scam.

Buddhism is a huge business in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia. There are hundreds of thousands of temples sitting on prime land and collecting money to build ever grander Buddhist statues and domes. Many of the temples simply whore themselves out to tourists, selling tacky souvenirs and allowing vendors within the temple walls. Many have neon lights, fluorescent lights and televisions. They resemble amusement parks more than they do temples.

I wonder how many Buddhist statues are made in factories every year and sold to tourists? Millions? If all that is not vulgar enough, what’s really depressing is that the Buddha shouldn’t even be worshipped. Buddhists should not be placing Buddha statues on their altars to pray to. The Buddha stated clearly, “I am not a god. I’m just a normal man like yourselves  who discovered some fundamental truths about the human condition.” However, so strong is the human disposition to deify our heroes that we’ve made him into a god. Again, the abbots and monks know this, yet they allow the commoners to come to their temples, prostrate themselves, burn incense, and pray to the Buddha. I’ve read a number of interviews with monks who try to explain away why they allow this, and it’s hilarious to see the logical  and verbal contortions they wrap themselves in to justify their actions. If you read carefully between the lines, what they’re really saying is this: ‘the poor and the peasants  are simpletons. They don’t know any better. They either can’t or don’t read and will never understand the inner, deeper teachings of Buddhism. So, we give them something to worship, tell them to lead a pure life and send them on their way. ‘ But not before taking some of their money, of course. It’s a rather cynical stance, would’t you say?

The fact that Buddhism has been able to penetrate so deeply into so many different Asian cultures shows that it has great flexibility and adaptability. But I submit that while many will say this is one of its strengths, it  really demonstrates that Buddhism has a weak foundation. Notice how easily Buddhism has rolled with modernity. Smart phones and other electronic gizmos, neon lights, television, whatever. Buddhism absorbs it all and tells its followers that they can be a consumerist, a capitalist, a communist -even a Christian or Muslim!- and still be a Buddhist. In reality, it demands little from its adherents. In contrast to this, we can point to Islam where the imams at least  have strong criticisms of modernity and urge their followers to hold onto tradition.

I was in Singapore recently and I bumped into a young monk at a museum. He was strolling around taking selfies with his nice camera and selfie stick. Huh? What do they teach in the temples these days? Isn’t there anything about letting go of the ego and moving our concentration away from egoic concerns?

Buddhism has also tried to attach itself to various movements over the years in a desperate attempt to stay relevant. For example, in the  1990s, there was a push by various Buddhist leaders to claim that Buddhism was really a ‘nature religion.’ You know, eco-groovy. They found some obscure quotations by the Buddha saying we should all love the animals or something, and voila! Seriously. Go back and look through back issues of Tricycle magazine from the 1990s.

Some might say that countries with a strong Buddhist influence are more peaceful and the people more gentle. Is that really the case? Thailand is 95 percent Buddhist and many young boys go through a period of training in temples. Are the Thai people generally more honest, moral, and peaceful than anyone else? Look at the amount of corruption and criminal gang activity throughout the country and you will have your answer. Thailand is currently being ruled by a military junta. The Buddhist leaders in Thailand don’t seem to have a problem with that. Of course they don’t want to step on many toes, as they might have some privileges stripped.

Some argue that Buddhism, with its emphasis on the acceptance of suffering, is a perfect religion to keep the poor and downtrodden in their place and was set up for just that purpose. I don’t know. It’s possible. The Buddha said, “Life is Suffering.” If you take that to heart and don’t go beyond it to analyze the subtleties of the teachings, you might interpret it to mean, ‘Don’t protest. Accept my oppression.’

The bottom line is that you don’t need the ‘religion’ of Buddhism to study the dharma. All you need is a copy of the Diamond Sutra, some determination, and perhaps a few companions to share your discoveries with when you practice meditation. The monks don’t have any magical powers. Many are outright charlatans are many more are corrupt.

 

Dissecting more techno cheerleaders in the media. Case study: the iPad in classrooms

For writers, bloggers  and so-called journalists working in the media today, playing to the prejudices of their readers is part of their job. This is especially true for journalists and columnists who write about technology. When your readership consists of people who own a smartphone (or two), a tablet, and a laptop, reminding them that they are ‘cool,’  and ‘cutting edge’ will earn you a loyal following.

Let’s examine a recent article from the same glossy magazine which we looked at in my previous article. The author is a grade 2 homeroom teacher at a well-known international school in Ho Chi Minh City. The article is only six paragraphs long. The editors could have made it longer but chose to use one third of the page to post a color photo of a seven-year-old girl with a huge smile on her face holding an Ipad. We haven’t even gotten to the first sentence and already we know what direction the article is going to take. The upper right hand corner of the page has a professional photo of the author, an attractive woman in her 20s with perfect teeth who is smiling broadly. We, the readers, have been set up nicely to drink the  kool-aid which is being served.

The title of the article is “Techie Students- How tablets have enhanced learning.” The author wastes no time establishing her thesis which she posits clearly in the first sentence, stating…”using iPads in the classroom has been ideal for promoting new ways of learning.” Hmm,’promoting new ways of learning.’ That’s a big statement. She claims that the iPad is not just a tool which can be used in addition to books, but that it helps us learn in new ways.  If she means that all the lessons can now be given on the computer with bright flashing graphics, cartoon characters, and games, than I guess that qualifies.

The following sentence reads like an advertisement from Apple: “The iPad is a perfect digital tool for our young learners because it’s small, portable, visual, and hands-on..” Hey, this woman could be a sales rep. The author goes on to say that she avoids using it as a form of entertainment but rather as a way to empower her students to channel their interests and for ‘discovery, creation and collaborative learning.’ That’s wonderful, but can’t all of those things be done just as well without iPads or computers? Can’t you ‘discover’ things in books? Do you need a computer to create something beautiful and meaningful? All you need to create is a pencil and piece of paper. Or a canvas and paintbrushes. Or an instrument.

It gets worse. The author claims that ‘the tablets are excellent for developing research skills.’ No, they aren’t. Tablets do not develop research skills. I also work with ‘young learners’ and I can tell you that their research skills are generally very deficient, in spite of the fact that they spend hours per day on computers. Punching in a search term on google does not qualify as ‘research skills.’ Here’s how most students today do ‘research’ : They enter a term on google. They quickly choose either the first or second entry that appears on the screen, rarely even scrolling to the bottom of the page and practically never going beyond page one of search results. They don’t know how to distinguish between different sources and none of them understand that wikipedia is  fallible and biased.

Checking their Facebook in lecture hall:

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I’m only on the third paragraph but the writer’s insipid line of reasoning and her ‘rah-rah’ cheerleading for the the techno-school has left me somewhere between complete boredom and frustration. Check out this line: “Less cumbersome and more effective than dictionaries, we often use google translate or google images when coming across unknown words or concepts.” Is she kidding? A dictionary is ‘cumbersome?’ Actually, looking up words in dictionaries utilizes ancillary skills and often will lead students to other unfamiliar words as they are flipping through the pages. Punching in a word on google requires you to use far less of your brain  than looking it up in a dictionary, but this clueless teacher is so caught up in her flashing lights of her screens that she can’t see that. And Google Translate? If this teacher has really  used it, then she must know that the translations between languages are often horribly wrong. She’s teaching her students that google is God. She claims that she is ’empowering’ them, when what she is really doing is making them into little robotic consumers of digital garbage.

The author claims her grade 2 students are becoming ‘independent in their learning.’ Wow. I’ve read somewhere that Mozart was independent in his learning when he was seven years old, but that’s the only example I can think of. What does this woman think her students are going to do when teacher is not around? Do research on the causes of the French Revolution? No. They will play computer games or go into Facebook. Surely she knows that and we the readers know that, but she thinks her audience is so stupid that she can throw out this drivel and nobody will call her on it.

Who needs books?

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Techno teacher then tells us that she has her students make movies during class time using iMovie. The students even made a zombie movie! Yippee! After hyping iMovie, she then goes on to hype another app, this one called ‘Comic Life.’ You can guess where this is all leading.

This article is about as one-sided as you can get. It, and so many similar articles in the media, pitch the argument that ‘technology is great.’ Also, ‘technology enhances learning.’ And most of all, ‘technology empowers people.’

Since most parents today buy their young children smart phones and tablets by the time they are able to walk, the author is simply cozying up to them and telling them that they are doing the right thing. Furthermore, the school is staying at the cutting edge by ‘utilizing the latest technology in the classroom.’  Digital content and techno learning has not made us any smarter and never will. I suggest the author obtain a copy of “The Dumbest Generation” by  Mark Bauerlein and carefully read it before she writes any more articles.

 

 

Dissecting the techno cheerleaders in the media

Humanity is on an inexorable march towards transhumanism. Led by the likes of ‘futurist’ Ray Kurzweil, the transhumanist propaganda machine utilizes the media to its full potential  and employs a small army of writers, bloggers, and media personalities. A big part of this propaganda push is to continually hammer home a number of themes, such as technological progress is always positive (or at least that the benefits always outweigh the negative consequences). In close tandem with this notion is the idea that anyone who opposes the new is better paradigm is an old-fashioned, out-of-touch fuddy-duddy.

The relentlessly upbeat cheerleading that accompanies articles about technology, especially stories discussing the release of updated smartphones and related gadgets, can be seen in all mass market magazines and newspapers. There is no subtlety or nuance in most of these articles, no shades of grey.

Let’s examine a recent article in the mass media to see how this brainwashing works. The article is titled, oddly enough, “The Idiot Box,” and I found it in a glossy magazine marketed to wealthy expatriates in Southeast Asia. The author, some guy named Michael Arnold, opines that modern technological gadgets such as the Ipad are great for kids because they give them unlimited knowledge at their fingertips. Arnold tries, quite awkwardly and unconvincingly, to knit the history of  television into his argument and even manages to throw out the epithet ‘luddite’ to discredit people who question the transhumanist juggernaut.

The author begins by stating that he finds arguments against humanity’s overreliance on technology to be not ‘particularly compelling.’ He then goes on to say that arguments against the Ipad are the same arguments used against the personal computer, the world wide web and the television. The inference here is that since all those inventions have turned out so wonderfully for humanity, why worry about putting Ipads into the hands of five-year-olds?

According to Arnold, we humans have not become too reliant on machines and technology and in fact we need more!  Perhaps he missed the story last week of the guy who drove his car off a cliff because he was using his GPS instead of his eyes, a map, and common sense. Or maybe he missed the story of the three men who have died recently in Taiwan after gaming for  days in internet cafes without food, drink, or water. He hasn’t  noticed stories  of kids around the world who literally go into severe withdrawal when their digital toys are taken from them? Perhaps he hasn’t  seen, as I have, people who cannot sleep at night unless the television screen is playing in front of their bed. Did he not catch the recent story from China  which stated that the Chinese government has recognized internet addiction as one of the most serious crises facing the youth of China and has taken measures to combat it, including setting up treatment centers for hooked teenagers?

Arnold says that those of us who question the technological juggernaut have a ‘fear of change’ and since change is the defining characteristic of our age, we need to get over it. Indeed, change does define the 20th century, but this change didn’t just happen by accident. It was planned, and the results of that change have been the destruction of the family and the disintegration of society.

The next paragraph is where Mr. Arnold really outs himself. He writes that parents who ban television in the home are ‘extreme’ and that television was ‘the greatest medium of communication’ of our parents’ age. Television, according to Arnold, gave us ‘unprecedented exposure to human drama, stories with actual morals, and information about the outside world.’ What’s more, those silly cartoons taught him ‘how to have the strength to forgive.’ Now, I don’t know if  he really believes all this or if he is just reading from a template, but this is naive and absurd beyond belief. Does Mr. Arnold know who really invented television, and for what purposes? Does he know anything about Walt Disney and his shady background, including his links to Intelligence and occult societies?  Has he not read Aldous Huxley, Neil Postman, or Jerry Mander? Does he know who Edward Bernays was?

Arnold then blithely states that ‘rather less credence is given to the demonization of television nowadays.’ Oh, really? And from where did he pull that fact? Actually, the evidence demonstrating the destructive influence of television is far greater and more compelling than it was 50 years ago when intellectuals and concerned parents were complaining about it.

Now that his mask is off, Arnold cannot help himself and starts to really lay it on thick, gleefully stating that we (the television generation) are ‘eager for our kids to enjoy the kind of quality entertainment we remember having back then.’ Wow. Quality entertainment?? What is this guy talking about?

He doesn’t wish for his kids to spend their time reading the classics, or going to museums, or playing outside, or doing sports, or hiking in nature. Instead, he wants them inside watching reruns of ‘quality’ entertainment, such as Happy Days and Starsky and Hutch. 

 

No, they’re not doing math or reading biology. They’re playing games. Sorry, parents.

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I would love to send the author a copy of Mark Bauerlein’s 2009 book titled The Dumbest Generation, in which he thoroughly demolishes the argument put forward by techno enthusiasts that Ipads, computers, and smart phones make kids smarter and improve their academic performance.

Finally, Arnold relates the story of Steve Jobs not allowing his kids to play with the Ipad. To mention this story is a risky move , as it might blow a hole in his ‘tech gadgets are cool’ argument. He spins it my calling Jobs a ‘notorious hippie,’ and then, in a bizarre turn of logic, casts himself as risk taker by allowing his kids to use these devices. Come again? Let’s see if we can wrap our brains around that one. Arnold says that he is not following the example set by Jobs, and is therefore going his own way. He’s a conformist, but kind of a rebel at the same time. Get it?

In fact, this guy is doing what 99.99 percent of all parents are doing nowadays: letting their kids run loose with tech gadgets from  infancy onwards and hoping for the best. Arnold and people like him are the worst kind of spineless conformists, cloaking their naivete, ignorance  and cowardice in a thin veneer of pseudo-intellectualism.

 

Mass tourism’s devastating impact

When we look at all of the problems facing humanity and the environment , including nuclear radiation from Fukushima, oil spills, toxic chemicals, GMO contamination of our food supply, overcrowded cities,  polluted groundwater, fracking, and EMF pollution,  mass tourism’s effect on the environment  seems a minor one in comparison. But its impact-on native cultures, ancient ruins,  and natural landscapes- is significant and governments need to rethink their policies in regard to this.

Many thoughtful observers, especially older ones who have seen the impact that tourism has wrought on famous sites  over the last three decades, have bemoaned the degradation. If you were lucky enough to visit Angkor Wat fifteen years ago, Koh Phi Phi twenty years ago, Bali twenty five years ago, or Machu Picchu thirty years ago, consider yourself lucky. As many distraught and disheartened travelers have noticed  ,  those once semi-pristine places have been irrevocably changed, for the worse. We could, of course, add dozens more to this list. Chambers of commerce, travel agents, tour operators, and hotel owners try their best to put a positive spin on the changes, using phrases like ‘more choice,’ ‘superior accommodations,’ ‘better infrastructure,’ ‘reliable transportation,’  and so on, but it’s just the same old public relations. No honest observer, comparing any of those places today with how they were thirty years ago, would choose today’s version. What good is a five star hotel when you are looking out from your balcony onto a beach strewn with trash and covered with thousands of tourists,  tossing their plastic water bottles onto the sand and taking selfies with a selfie stick?

Mass numbers of tourists tend to have a corrosive and corrupting effect on small  ethnic tribes, regardless of how respectful the tourists try to be. Take the Sacred Valley of Peru, for instance. As the millions of tourists wind their way around the ancient ruins in tour buses, the local Quechua speaking people wait dutifully for them at the rest stops so that the tourists can snap a photo with them, along with the family’s alpaca.  We, the tourists, are supposed to give them  a small donation as a gesture of thanks for the photo-op. What could be more cynical than this? This scene is repeated at hundreds of other places all over the world. Many ethnic tribes which have adopted modern Western clothing will don their native garb when the tour bus rolls into town and throw it off the minute  the buses pull away. Many ethnic groups now rely on the small amount of money they earn performing for tourists, enacting ‘traditional’ dances and such.

The impact on relics and ruins is substantial as well. The Cambodian government has allowed tourists to scamper, unsupervised,  all over the ruins of Angkor Wat for decades now. It wasn’t a big deal when only a few thousand people even knew about Angkor, but today when the tens of millions descend upon the ruins yearly, the impact is far greater.

If you are going to invite millions of tourists to visit a place, then you need to build the infrastructure to feed and house them. Hence, surrounding areas are methodically stripped of forest cover and natural ground cover  in order to construct hotels, resorts, restaurants and boutiques to serve the masses. Siem Reap, the small city adjacent to Angkor Wat, was a sleepy village just twenty years ago. Now, it is a mini boom town and new hotels are sprouting up every year. Meanwhile, the water table underlying the city is falling rapidly and could affect the ruins themselves in a short time. Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu, has grown in proportion to the exploding numbers of visitors to that popular site. There is not much room for it to grow except into the surrounding mountains, which contain some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

 

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The global tourism industry has now grown so large, producing  billions of dollars in profits and supplying millions of jobs, that it now  generates its own momentum, just as a  hurricane makes its own weather. It’s not like you can just slam on the brakes and say ‘no more.’  One billion people now travel annually. With the Chinese market growing by leaps and bounds, we can expect this trend of increasing tourist numbers to continue into at least the near future.

Everyone who has been to an overcrowded holiday destination recognizes the problem, but nobody is willing to give up their dream or change their lifestyle because of it. People who have the means and the opportunity want to experience Paris and the Eiffel Tower. We now accept the fact that we must ‘experience’ Paris  while rubbing shoulders with a few million other tourists, all visiting the same sites,  taking the same photos, staying at the same hotels and eating the same food. Most of us accept this as a minor irritation  to be endured for the privilege of seeing such a spectacular place.

 

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I’ve never been to Paris but I suppose it might be possible for the city to absorb all these tourists without crimping its style and still offer a worthwhile  experience. The same goes for Venice, Florence, Rome and Barcelona. Strong government regulations and a solid tourist infrastructure can mitigate at least some of the negative impacts.

When we look at other popular sites located much further away from major population centers, in developing countries, and with inadequate infrastructure, the problems become more severe and the solutions considerably more complex. In the rush to milk the tourist cow, governments and corporations tend to cut many corners with building codes, safety regulations, and historical preservation.

 

Floodwaters washing away overdevelopment at Aguas Calientes, Peru:

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In fact, governments, which comprise mostly bureaucrats, technocrats, and functionaries, are generally clueless about how to deal with the demands of tourism. There are exceptions to the rule, Thailand being one. Here in Viet Nam, the apparatchiks in the government could learn a thing or two from their neighbors. Many tourists associate Viet Nam with Ha Long Bay, the most iconic site in the country. Unfortunately, Ha Long Bay has become a poster child for the disastrous effects of unregulated mass tourism. Thousands of tour boats ply the waters there, accommodating the millions who want to see the stunning landscape. The boats, alas, are mostly unsupervised  and dump their waste and trash directly  into the bay which suffers accordingly. If that’s not bad enough, tourists are accosted by  rude, pushy,  and obnoxious vendors when the boats pull ashore. And the government does nothing.

Where does all this depressing news leave the curious traveler? If you don’t want to be part of the problem, is it better to just stay home? Do eco-tourism, ‘responsible’ tourism, or volunteering offer more authentic experiences? They’re definitely worth exploring. If you’re looking for an authentic experience, then don’t count on finding it at a place like Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat. I feel fortunate to have visited both of these places, but I can only dream about what it would have been like to experience them without the hordes. Perhaps there are those people who are able to block out the distraction of other tourists, but I’m not one of them. Imagine what secrets these awesome places might whisper in our ears if only we had the peace and solitude to listen.

I wouldn’t discourage anyone from visiting these places. Any experience of Machu Picchu or Angkor is better than no experience at all, but my recommendation of these places comes with a heavy qualification.

 

 

 

 

CIA moles in the media- a case study

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when the CIA gained complete control of the media, although it’s clear that at least by the 1960s it exerted considerable  leverage, and often dominated  most of the major media organizations  in the United States. As Intelligence has tightened its grip on all information dissemination, it has formed an unholy alliance with Zionist interests based in Tel Aviv, Washington D.C., Wall Street, and Hollywood.

I recently came across an excellent and provocative series of articles by a writer who has done extensive research on the role of Intelligence in media and its use of moles to manipulate and form public opinion. He suggested that we, the people, should ‘out’ these fake journalists, writers, artists, actors, novelists, and celebrities whenever we can. With a little background knowledge,  including an understanding of how moles work and how they get promoted, we can apply some basic analysis and ferret out these clowns who prance around the world stage pretending to be something they are not- authentic people.

I think that’s a brilliant idea and I will nominate a writer who I used to enjoy not that long ago who writes for the San Francisco Chronicle. The man’s name is Mark Morford and he pens a column for the paper once or twice a week and has been a regular contributor for ten years. I say ‘used to enjoy’ because when I first came across his columns back in 2005, I thought he was ‘edgy’ and had a certain knack for turning a phrase. I liked his musings on wine, sake, drugs, San Francisco, Burning Man and other subjects with which I had a passing interest. I didn’t agree much with his political opinions which consisted mostly of cynical attacks on the Tea Party and Republican Party. Over time, his pose struck me as someone who was living in the middle of Sodom, and enjoying it tremendously -with plenty of booze, drugs and hedonism- and thumbing his nose at middle America. It was rather juvenile, especially for a man approaching 40. I eventually lost interest in his writings and forgot about him. But going back and looking at his work with fresh eyes, and with a new appreciation and understanding of CIA infiltration into the media, I sense something far more sinister than just a flaunting of San Francisco liberalism and licentiousness.

If we look at what the social controllers and engineers have been trying to achieve in post World War II America, and what Morford writes about (and encourages) , it’s a perfect fit.

It’s clear by now to anyone with eyes half-open that there is indeed a  gay agenda. The agenda has a number of facets, but the most prominent is a pushing of a gay ‘lifestyle’ on the young via pop stars and celebrities. Brokeback Mountain, ‘I kissed a girl,’ Madonna kissing Britney Spears on stage and pretty much every young star singing about ‘experimenting’ give proof to this. Morford does his part by celebrating gay culture in many of his articles. He relentlessly attacks anyone against gay marriage as being hopelessly outdated Mid-America yokels, worthy only of scorn and pity.

Intelligence has been trying to flood the American landscape with drugs since even before the 1960s, in an effort to destroy the hippie movement, the Left, and any sort of coherent, youth-led revolution against the status quo. Alcohol plays a major role in the drug trade. Again, here we see Morford doing his duty by relentlessly singing the praises of alcohol (and other drugs),  encouraging his readers to imbibe. Of course, he dresses it up in hip language and talks about the finest brands of sake and whiskey, and throwing up a patina of urban sophistication to cover his agenda.

Finally, the elites and their intelligence apparatus have been using the age-old tactic of divide and conquer with devastating success on the American people. With the United States having such a diverse population to begin with, getting the various groups at each other’s throats is child’s play for elite groups with an understanding of human psychology and having the latest modern technology at their disposal. Once more, we see Morford playing the role by hyping his liberal bona-fides and telling his followers that they have nothing in common with the rest of America. It’s the old Left vs. Right game.

The rest of America, with the exception of perhaps New York and Seattle, is just a giant wasteland of rednecks and Republicans, according to Morford;  hipsters from San Francisco shouldn’t waste their time  talking with them. Remember, real movements for change, whether originating from the right or the left, have always focused on bridge building. Once people discover their common humanity and that the fight  is really about the tyranny of the 1%, it’s all over. The elites don’t want that to happen and will do anything to keep people fighting on the basis of skin color, religion, and political ideology. Morford doesn’t tell his readers to go out and build bridges with members of the Tea Party or Republican Party. He advises to ignore them. Or better yet, to mock them. As Miles  Mathis says, if it looks like CIA, sounds like CIA and smells like CIA, it’s probably CIA.

When the American people started to wake up in 2009 and 2010 about Barack Obama, Morford was used as damage control. He tirelessly defended Obama, and still does. Morford’s defense of Obama verges on the worshipful. “Obama is really great and is doing great things!! Really! Trust me. You may not  see it, but those great things are happening behind the scenes. All the negative stuff you hear about Obama is just sour grapes coming from the redneck Republicans.” He was saying all of this, and more, long after Obama was exposed, after ALL of the broken promises, the continuing wars,  and the cozy relationship with Israeli zionists and Wall Street insiders.

And finally, we might ask, and indeed should ask, how did Morford get hired to write a column for the San Francisco Chronicle? He was just another wannabe musician, a Bay Area hipster with mediocre writing talent and almost no resume when he was hired. The Chronicle is an old-school, mainstream newspaper,  operated as a mouthpiece for big business and big government. As a policy, they hire as few journalists and reporters as possible. I was a journalism school graduate back in the day and I’m somewhat familiar with the hiring practices of big city newspapers in the USA. The thought that this young kid just walked into the Chronicle and got hired as a columnist to write edgy, counter-culture articles to leftist San Francisco is laughable. It doesn’t work that way. But if we see that we was planted there, it makes perfect sense.