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Keyword: ‘American Political Elites Have Lost, Almost, All Touch with Reality’

On the Ongoing ClusterFuck of American Retreat from Afghanistan

August 16, 2021 16 comments

Unless you are living on some isolated middle in the middle of an ocean, you will have heard or seen something about the chaotic conditions in aftermath of the ongoing American retreat from Afghanistan. To be fair, the writing was on the wall for a long time- some say, within a few months of the initial occupation of that country in aftermath of 9/11 attacks, almost 20 years ago. Heck, a girl conceived on the day after official beginning of this stupid and costly campaign would have been ‘legal’ last year. Depending on who you ask, it cost somewhere between 1 to 2.2 Trillion dollars to occupy a country for almost two decades- only for the Taliban to overthrow the American puppet government within a couple of weeks.

Did I mention that it cost the lives of over 2 k American soldiers, permanently disabled many thousands more, resulted in deaths of maybe 100-300 k Afghans and caused a low-intensity civil war in that country for almost two decades. And all of this for the achieving little to no permanent change in that country and biggest international humiliation of USA since the Fall of Saigon in 1975. I will give credit to Joe Biden (or whoever runs him nowadays) for making this decision- even though it is still unpopular with the ivy-league and establishment class in this country. Then again, the “credentialed” coastal elite in this country have visibly lost touch with reality many years ago. Ironically, getting out of Afghanistan has been one of the few issues of non-partisan consensus among average voters in this country for past few years.

On the bright side, the chaos after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in 2021 has given us some iconic images and video, which is very comparable to what occurred after the Fall of Saigon in 1975. I guess that not enough people learned the lessons from 1975. Isn’t it interesting that so many of the images from that humiliation are so similar to those from this one- almost 46 years later. It helps that smartphones have become common enough to have video clips from different angles of people plummeting from planes taking off from Kabul (link 1, link 2 and link 3). I cannot resist the irony of pointing out that the latest American puppet aka Ashraf Ghani wrote an article in LA Times on Feb 15, 1989 which began with the following sentence- “The Soviets have left Afghanistan, making the collapse of besieged puppet regime in Kabul just a matter of time”- here is an easier to read link.

Oddly enough the Soviet puppet government lasted for about three years after Soviet Army left. Ghani flew out (allegedly to Oman) before the Taliban even stepped in Kabul, and within a couple of weeks after the final collapse of his puppet regime started. I am sure he will end up living in some ostentatious MacMansion in the suburbs of DC or nearby Virginia. After all, he has certainly stolen and stashed enough money to afford a very nice lifestyle in some western country. Perhaps he will rehabilitated by American mainstream media as a commentator within a few years- if the country survives in its present form till them. Which brings me to the next issue- how will this affect the rapidly declining image and real-life capability of USA and West?

Let me remind you that USSR fell within 3-4 years of withdrawing from Afghanistan. Many of you might think this was obvious- but hindsight is a lie. Things were going downhill there for at least a decade before the final collapse in 1991. They had a highly dysfunctional economic system, series of geriatric leaders, a public relations disaster in the form of Chernobyl and the withdrawal from Afghanistan. In 2021, USA has had well over a decade of rapidly increasing inequality, decades of deindustrialization, a dysfunctional political and administrative system, elites with no contact to reality, a president with senile dementia, record political polarization, mishandling of COVID-19 pandemic at multiple level of government and now the humiliation of withdrawing from Afghanistan. History may not repeat, but if often rhymes.

What do you think? Comments?

The Many Reasons Why Any Vaccine Mandate is a Very Stupid Idea

August 7, 2021 28 comments

In some ways, this post is a continuation of a previous one but with a very specific detour that does not fit in with serial nature of that one. As regular readers know, in the past year I have written multiple posts about why the alleged “elites” and parts of younger generation in West have slowly lost touch with material reality over past two decades. While the list of reasons is long, varied and often specific to the group that has gone nuts, the net result is often same. Furthermore, there are some universal symptoms of people losing touch with physical reality- especially when it comes to dealing with people outside their carefully curated social bubble.

Matt Taibbi has recently written a few posts (link 1, link 2 and link 3) about how ‘liberals’ are increasingly unable to understand the motivations of people who don’t inhabit their incestuous social bubbles. While some of you might not realize it, we are currently witnessing an example of this phenomenon in action- in the form of liberals clamoring for vaccine mandates and trying to shame the “vaccine hesitant”. Let us be clear about something first.. nothing even vaguely similar to what liberals imagine as “vaccine hesitancy” exists in real life. Instead you have people who have varying degrees of distrust in the establishment and institutions who are pushing COVID-19 vaccines. And for good reason!

Almost every single institution in the West even remotely connected with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic fucked up in the beginning and then kept on fucking up. We still do not know whether anyone of the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) had any effect on spread of that infection. Every bit of evidence we have so far suggests that most of these highly touted “measures” and “protocols” had zero effect on COVID-19 transmission. This is most easily seen by comparing population-normalized graphs for cases, hospitalizations and deaths in adjacent countries or states which adopted vastly differing NPIs. In fact, the many waves of COVID-19 throughout the world fit best with seasonality and latitude, which is how many other respiratory and gastrointestinal viruses behave.

Now let us talk about why vaccine mandates are a very stupid idea..

1] As mentioned previously, the many establishments and institutions pushing for mandatory vaccinations have spent the past 16-18 months repeatedly torching their public credibility. Whether it is flip-flopping on ineffectual facemasks and NPIs, lying about the origins of COVID-19 to deliberately trying to suppress information about potential treatments- they have lost so much credibility in the eyes of a significant minority of population that anything they touch will be automatically suspect. To make matters more interesting, those who have lost most trust in these institutions are also the ones who are most likely to own guns or otherwise use lethal violence successfully- especially in USA. We also cannot forget how such attempts at coercion will play in the current highly politically-polarized atmosphere in this country.

2] Which brings us the class component of the unwillingness to get vaccinated. Michael Tracey recently wrote an article about this very issue in which he discusses an observation by one his reader that the willingness to get vaccinated has a strong component of mental investment in the status quo. It does not help that the narrative pushed by media about who is not getting vaccinated is based in their own fantasies with no connection with reality. Black and Hispanic Americans are far less likely to have gotten vaccinated for COVID-19 than White and Asian-Americans. Also compare that to the above 90% rate of vaccination in older white voters (in most pasts of the country) who who voted for Trump. Did I mention that most Black, Hispanic and younger white people have already been exposed to COVID-19 and almost certainly have natural post-infection immunity which is likely superior to that obtained after vaccination.

3] Let us now talk about whose lives has suffered the greatest loss of quality since all those ineffectual “lockdowns” and COVID-19 “protocols” began over a year ago. Here is a hint.. numerically speaking, most of them are not old and white- at least in USA. Those affected are almost all below 50-55 and either Black, Hispanic, White (esp below 40) and either in low-paying jobs or small business owners. Let me remind you that these has been an over 30% year-to-year increase in deaths due to drug overdose and the numbers of those far exceed those due to COVID-19. For example, the state I currently live in has about 20 times more deaths due to drug overdose than COVID-19 in the below-50 age group over the past 12 months. The year-to-year increase in overdose deaths alone was almost 5 times that due to COVID-19. Liberal idiots who think that vaccine passports, further restrictions and “lockdowns” will not cause a nasty blowback are being delusional.

4] During the first 6-8 months, most people (even those whose lives suffered a lot) generally went along with this bullshit because they thought there was light at the end of this tunnel. This feeling increased a bit once vaccines became available and the most vulnerable received them. However all of this goodwill and willingness to go along with stupid and sometimes contradictory dictates by public health morons has rapidly evaporated over past few months. The sentiment among those who suffered most from “lockdowns” and other bullshit have had enough of this nonsense. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that vaccine passports and other coercive bullshit will now be increasingly met by something other than compliance, from the groups who are most capable of such responses.

5] It also does not help that we know that people who are “fully vaccinated” with currently available vaccines can get symptomatic illness and spread it to others. We can certainly talk about reductions in the rate of hospitalization and death, but let us not pretend that public health morons were not shilling for the unproven efficacy of these vaccines at preventing infection and reducing spread. Talk about repeatedly scoring self goals. But it gets worse.. now Pfizer and Moderna are pushing the idea of a third dose of their over-hyped mRNA vaccines to combat the “delta” or “insert your name of choice here” strain- in spite of a lack of properly done studies to support that contention. I am waiting for them to push for a 4th, 5th or even 6th dose- and they are monomaniacally greedy enough to do so.

6] I have noticed that many liberals are in favor of cutting benefits to the “unvaccinated” and otherwise restricting their access to social goods. There are two major problems with this, neither of which those morons can apparently see. Firstly, setting such a precedent will backfire on them, once their party of choice is no longer in power or in effective control of the country. Let me remind you that the majority of guns in this country and the training of use lethal force is largely with those opposed to vaccine mandates. All of your laws, rules and regulations mean shit if you cannot enforce them- just ask anybody from Mexico, Brazil etc. It does not help that the people pushing vaccine passports etc are also pushing teaching critical race theory, laws to “protect the environment” which will impoverish tens of millions and other assorted bullshit that is unpopular in this country- for reasons beyond the purely ideological.

The second problem is even more serious than the first. Let us say you can somehow manage to pull the vaccine passport shit off in all parts of this country- for at least a short time. What happens next? Do you really think that such a system won’t be used to push other and even more unpopular ideological agendas. But it is the second and third order reactions to pushing other agendas which is most worrisome, since it is almost guaranteed to either make this country come part forever or become functionally ungovernable- like Mexico or Brazil. Did I mention that there is is ‘back’ button for such a turn of events? Once the process starts and reaches a certain critical point (either due to reason 1 or 2), there will be no USA- at least as people understand it today.

If you don’t believe that a good part of this country is cynical and politically polarized enough for those outcomes, let me remind you that a game show host such as Trump won in 2016 and lost by less than 46k votes (in a few states, under less than clear conditions) after winning a record of over 74 million votes even though he fucked up his first term in office.

What do you think? Comments?

COVID-19 Shows that Liberals are More Stupid than Conservatives: 1

August 3, 2021 15 comments

Here is another one of those posts which I would have never imagined writing a decade ago. To be clear, I never saw liberals as smarter than conservatives- it is just that they seemed to be better at concealing their stupidity. But times change and from 2015 onward, it became painfully obvious that liberals had given up trying to hide their lack of capacity for independent and rational thought. Some think that this might be a generational thing, with younger ones being less mentally endowed than their predecessors. While this could be a factor, I believe that a series of events within past few years (Brexit in 2015, Trump win in 2016, COVID-19 in early 2020 etc) tore away the covers hiding liberal stupidity and exposed it for all to see.

Some of you might have read a few of my more recent posts where I talk about how younger generations in west have lost with physical reality as have the elites. And while this dangerous loss of touch with reality is most easily visible in these two groups, they are far from being the only ones affected. You can see the loss of touch with reality in supposedly “educated” and “credentialed” people religiously belief in man-made climate change or not challenging claims that “zero carbon”, “renewable” energy and electric cars will magically replace existent energy and transportation infrastructure. The defining characteristic of western societies in past two decades has been widespread magical thinking and the desire to believe in outrageous claims.

With that out of the way, let us now focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic has shown liberals to be more stupid than conservatives- if that is even possible.

1] In my opinion, one of the most bizarre belief widespread among liberals is that immunity acquired after recovery from COVID-19 is somehow non-existent or requires additional vaccination. With the exception of viral diseases that are almost inevitably fatal (rabies) or due to certain chronic retroviruses (HIV), post-infection immunity is always superior to that acquired after vaccination. While getting there might be expensive for diseases with high mortality such as smallpox (now eradicated) or yellow fever- immunity after infection is an undeniable fact, and also the basis for vaccination. So why would COVID-19 be any different from other human or even animal coronaviruses? Is there something magical about vaccines that make them better than post-infection immunity?

2] And this magical liberal thinking keeps getting worse.. Let us talk about face-masks, again. While there is some evidence and a rationale for why specialized and properly fitted masks such as N95 could block infection for a few hours, the same cannot be said about cloth or surgical facemasks. Tell me something.. has any properly done study before 2020 shown that cloth or surgical facemasks prevent influenza, let alone a truly airborne virus such as COVID-19? So why are liberals pretending that ineffectual and ugly rags work? Why do they keep saying “follow the science” when there is none to support that claim? Are normal facemasks any more effective against COVID-19 than medieval talismans were against the plague?

3] Then there is the issue of risk (or lack thereof) for COVID-19 in children. Every available bit of evidence we have thus far suggests that the infection causes either no symptoms or very mild ones in children or anybody under 30. The risk of death due to COVID-19 in children who are not morbidly obese or seriously ill from other chronic diseases is less than 1 in 100k cases and likely less than 1 in a million. Even factoring in all the sick and morbidly obese children gives us death rate of close to 1 in 50k cases. Also, multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) aka Kawasaki’s disease, which can be treated very easily, occurs almost exclusively in a very few obese black or Hispanic children. Children are also far less likely to transmit COVID-19 than adults. So what is the point of masking children or trying to vaccinate them?

4] Liberals also hold on to their delusional belief that COVID-19 carries a very high risk of hospitalization, even though only 20% of people (at most) in the oldest age group require it. Yes.. even the vast majority of those over 80 (especially those not living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities) do not require even simple hospitalization- let alone ending up in the ICU. In those under 50, the risk of any hospitalization is less than 1 in 100- probably closer to 1 in 200 or 300 once you factor in all the missed asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic cases. ICU use for those under 50 is somewhat age dependent but is still less than 1 in a few hundred at the upper end. For kids and those under 30, it is less than 1 in 1k.

The majority of hospitalization and ICU usage occurs for those in their 60s and 70s and even in those age groups it is 1-3%, with most of those ending up in ICU being very frail, seriously obese or with multiple comorbidities. My point is that even in the age groups who are most likely to require simple hospitalization or ICU, the actual rates of usage are pretty low. Hospitalization rates become an issue only for the 80+ AND institutionalized or those who are 70+ AND have serious cormorbidities. This does not mean that an occasional and unlucky 20-something wont end up in the ICU, but the relative risk for that outcome is really low.

The real question- why are liberals pretending otherwise over 16 months after this pandemic began in the west? Didn’t they learn anything from everything they have seen? Can’t they analyse simple data? Do they have any concept of relative risk? Are they capable of any independent critical thinking? In the next part, I intend to talk about vaccination, difference between PCR-diagnosed “infection” and a real infection, Ivermectin, the role of western internet monopolies and much more.

What do you think? Comments?

Will “Winner” of 2020 Presidential Election be Seen as Legitimate?

September 13, 2020 8 comments

As many of you know, 2020 has been a very interesting year. But what if I told you that it could get even more.. “interesting”. As some of you might remember, about two weeks ago I wrote a post about what might occur in case neither Trump nor Biden concedes after the 2020 election. I also wrote a post about the lack of realistic plans by Democrats if the election has uncertain or disputed results. Then there is my recent series about how the american elites, of both political parties, have lost touch with reality. Let us take all those thought experiments to the next step. Have you ever wondered what will occur if “winner” of 2020 election, assuming there is one, will be seen as legitimate. Now some of you, such as MikeCA, might say that the situation will resolve itself like it did in aftermath of the infamous 2000 election. I am not be sure about such a benign outcome and here are a few reasons for that belief.

1] People often forget that the America of 2000 was a very different place from the one we live in today. Sure.. this might not be evident by looking at photographs of downtown skylines, suburbs or even the underwear styles and pubic hair grooming of young women- we might as well be in a different country. 2000 was the peak of public acceptance of neoliberalism. That election had one of the lowest electoral turnouts in this country since WW2, and remember that the 90s had the lowest average turnout since 1940s. It also occurred at the peak of prosperity and well-being that occurred in later half of 1990s. All of this is a long winded way of saying the country was far less politically polarized, the mood was far more optimistic and people were generally much better off during at that time than they are in 2020. This is why most people did not care about GW Bush stealing the election from a lackluster neoliberal and conservative democrat such as Al Gore.

Let me remind you that Clinton42 won states in both 1992 and 1996 (LA, TN, WV, KY, AR, AZ, GA etc) which Democrats have not won for almost two decades. My point, once again, is that the public mood and degree of political polarization in late-1990s was very different from what we have today. Today things are.. much weirder than in 2000, and not in a good way. If the Bush vs Gore farce had occurred in the current political environment we would have major and prolonged riots in many cities- much worse than what we saw in past few months. And we are still talking about conventional mediocre political candidates with zero charisma or dedicated followers. In other words, a repeat of even the 2000 scenario with Trump vs Biden would make the craziness we saw in past few months look tame in comparison.

2] Let us move on the next question, namely whether partisan Republican voters will accept a “win” in a tight contest by Biden- especially if it is almost exclusively built on mail-in ballots? This is not a trivial question, since that scenario is far more likely than anybody wants to admit. What happens if Trump “wins” on election night and appears to be in the lead for a few days only to fall behind Dementia Joe after more mail-in ballots are suddenly discovered in certain swing states? Do you think Trump supporters (especially the ones with guns) are going to take this scenario lying down- especially given the unusually high levels of political polarization on top of all the disruption caused by COVID-19 shutdowns? Do you really think there won’t be street fights all over the country between Democrat supporters and armed MAGA-types? Do people such as MikeCA comprehend the significance and full consequences of this type of civil strife?

And it gets worse. Let us assume, for a moment, that Dementia Joe ends up being declared the “winner”. What are his plans to get the economy back in gear after all the job losses caused by COVID-19 shutdown? Are Democrats stupid enough to think that they can do a 180 and open everything within next week or month after inauguration? Do they think people will forget how much they were in favor of perpetual lockdowns, endless testing and all that other bullshit? Do they have the willingness and ability to pass trillions of dollars in assistance to make the 99% whole again? Do they have any plans for compensating the millions of small business which have either closed down or will do so soon? Do they have any plans to govern other than passing more “gun control” laws and endlessly talking about a “return to normality and civility”? And do they think there will be no resistance from armed MAGA fanatics?

3] Things don’t look better if Trump wins, either. For starters, he is almost guaranteed to lose the popular vote, even if he wins the electoral college. What happens if his “wins” in swing states are due to massive rejections and legal challenges of mail-in ballots? Do you think they will see him as a legitimate president, especially if he “wins” the electoral college under such circumstances? To be fair, many never saw him as a legitimate president in first place- even if they grudgingly accepted his electoral college victory in 2016. What happens if even that becomes controversial in 2020? What happens if Trump is declared as the “winner” under very shady conditions? What recourse do Democrats have? Will there be even more street protest, widespread and prolonged rioting, possible armed encounters between them and armed MAGA types? What about all those people who have become chronically unemployed or lost their small businesses due to COVID-19 shutdowns? Whose side will they take under such conditions?

What happens if nothing improves for people whose livelihood has been destroyed by COVID-19 shutdowns after Trump’s “victory”? Will that cause even more civic unrest and prolonged rioting? What happens if we start seeing occasional mass shootings at protests and clashes between protesters from different factions? What happens if Democratic-governed states decide to not open schools and universities in Winter 2021 out of spite after losing the election? Do you realize how unpredictable things can get with tens of millions of desperate,poor and unemployed people in this country right now- a statistic which is unlikely to change in near future. Now add in the risk of Trump starting a disastrous war with Iran or Venezuela just before the election or doing some other stupid shit to improve his poll numbers before election day?

In summary, 2020 can get far more ‘interesting’ than it has been so far- and this is not a good thing, to put it mildly.

What do you think? Comments?

American Political ‘Elites’ Have Lost, Almost, All Touch with Reality: 3

August 27, 2020 5 comments

In the previous post of this series, I wrote about how there is no significant difference between establishment Republicans and Democrats when it comes to their overall worldview. Sure.. one group pretends to care about a woman’s right to choose and “systemic racism” while the other pretends to be interested in “banning abortion” and upholding the 2nd amendment, but this is all crappy window-dressing to cover the fact that both are equally subservient to the interests of big corporations and very rich. In that post, I also pointed out the almost everyone in current crop of Democratic party establishment is a D-list actor who are incapable of anything beyond mouthing empty platitudes and pretending to care about useless cultural issues such as “gun control” and “diversity”. I do plan to devote a future post to why the ranks of leadership, both political and non-political, in west is increasingly made up of incompetent but credentialed D-list actor types.

Anyway.. back to the topic. As I have written in numerous recent posts- the way establishment Democrats, and their Republican equivalents, have reacted to the ongoing immiseration of many tens of millions due to COVID-19 fallout has shone a lot more light on their almost total loss of touch with reality. Readers might also remember that I recently wrote about how establishment Democrats (and Republicans) have no realistic plan to completely reopen and reboot economy. But have you ever wondered why one bunch of dummies are just as clueless as the other? Well.. there are a bunch of intersecting reasons which have a lot to do with how the composition of political (and other) leadership changes in late capitalism aka neoliberalism aka financialism. But rather than go on another deep dive into underpinnings of this change, let me use a few simple-to-comprehend examples to illustrate the various factors that go into creating this mess.

Have you noticed that political and technical elites in west have lost the ability to assess information rationally and make thoughtful decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here are a few examples.. Remember how face masks were supposed to be useless until they suddenly changed their mind sometime in May or June? Given that the pandemic was well underway in China by early January AND caused by a virus from well-characterized family, isn’t it odd that the elites had no clue about whether wearing face masks in public was worthwhile as late as May? Here is a hint: masks without special filters, at best, reduce the size of inoculum rather than prevent airborne viral infections. But it gets worse.. much worse. Let us talk about how western political elites displayed a total lack of understanding about whether the virus was transmitted outdoors or indoors. Once again, it was obvious as early as February and March that the vast majority of viral transmission occurred indoors and in cramped quarters.

In China and South Korea, it became obvious within a couple of months that majority of those who were infected got it from their family, co-workers or others in very close proximity at indoor markets etc. Yet, we still see western political elites pretending that outdoor gatherings (such as beaches, parks etc) carry the same risk as being cooped up in the same house, apartment or crowded workplace. Need I remind you that the largest outbreaks of COVID-19 in USA have occurred in nursing homes, ships, submarines, prisons, meat-packing plants and crowded low-income urban housing complexes. Some of you might think that this is a sign of elite malfeasance rather than incompetence, and you are welcome to keep believing that, but I think otherwise because it is just one more in a long series of similar occurrences that strongly suggest incompetence. And this brings me to the next example of incompetence- namely, an inability to comprehend the statistics of risk, mortality, immunity, asymptomatic rate etc.

I have looked through the available mortality statistics for this infection in many west-European countries (Italy, Spain, Germany) and others such as Canada and South Korea. Here is what we know.. in countries with lots of testing and low positive rates, mortality from this infection among people under 50 is less than 1 in 2000, rising to about 1 in 1,000 for those between 50 and 60 and about 1 in 300 for those between 60-70. Note that hospitalization and ICU utilization rates are also pretty low until the patients are over 65. In every single one of these countries over 80% of deaths occur in people who are over 80 AND in assisted-living facilities. My point is that for everybody below 60 or 70, COVID-19 pandemic does not have a higher mortality than influenza pandemics of 1957-58 and 1968. Sure.. we should certainly protect people over 65 or 70 by providing them free N95 masks, hand sanitizer, food and grocery delivery etc. But let us not pretend that COVID-19 is more dangerous for most people than a bad strain of Influenza.

Of course, this display of incompetence does not end here.. is just the beginning. Consider the bullshit about testing for antibodies as a proxy for exposure to this virus. First, the political elite pretended to believe that available tests were not accurate enough. Once it became hard to keep up that brainless charade, they pretended to believe that antibody tests accurately captured the infection rates in population. Newsflash- anybody with more than a basic understanding of medical microbiology knows this is not the case. Let me explain.. see, antibody titres are most important when considering immunity to infections by bacteria that produce potent toxins or those with protective capsules etc. As far as viral infections are concerned, the development of specific memory cells which can survive for decades in body and start production of antibodies and kickstart immune response as soon as they encounter the antigen in question is what matters! This class of cells is, for example, why your body can produce specific antibodies etc many decades after a measles infection or MMR vaccine if you are re-exposed to virus.

To make a long story short, antibody titres after viral infections are fairly mediocre indicators of immunity. However we still use them since tests to measure antibody titres are much cheaper and simpler than those for measuring presence of memory cells. But that is also why we require clinical trials of vaccines for viral diseases rather than just measure the antibody response to them. This is also why sub-clinical reinfection which does not progress to clinical disease is quite common with viral diseases, even if you have immunity to that disease. Now you understand why reinfection, but not clinical disease, is possible even if you are immune to COVID-19 and almost any other viral infection. Also note that we know from a wide variety of veterinary coronavirus diseases that they almost exclusively cause acute infections with one notable example of a sub-acute infection (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) in some cats. Now tell me.. did you notice political, or other, elites mentioning these facts? If not, why not?

Some of you might think, once again, that this is part of a “bigger plan”. To which my answer is.. just read the transcripts of how political elites and “credentialed experts” talk about these issues. It is as if they don’t understand the subject matter in any detail, and this is not surprising since the types of elites who rise through system under neoliberalism do so because they are D-list actors who are good at court intrigue. Here is another example of incompetence. You might have heard about long-term effects of COVID-19. Here is the truth. Anybody sick enough to end up in ICU and under mechanical ventilation for more than a day WILL take a few weeks or months to recover completely. This occurs whether you end up in that situation because of a car accident, post-surgery complications or COVID-19. Invasive positive pressure ventilation (PPV) beyond a couple of days WILL cause some lung damage even if you didn’t have any to begin with. It usually resolves in a few weeks to months, though some never completely recover from it.

Similarly, most viral infections beyond common colds and minor stomach bugs WILL cause elevated levels of systemic inflammation in a decent minority of people for a few weeks after recovery. This phenomena has been fairly well studied in children with viral coup and asthma, young adults who experience upper-respiratory and systemic symptoms for up to 2-3 months after recovering from a bad lower-respiratory tract infection or people developing temporary joint issues after recovering from a bad case of salmonellosis. It should also be understood that many sensitive tests for measuring heart damage and systemic inflammation will come back mildly positive for up to a couple of months after recovery from moderately bad infections. Now tell me,, how much of this very well known (if somewhat specialized) knowledge factors in the series of bad decisions made by western elites since the beginning of COVID-19 crisis? Why not?

In the next part, I will go back to what I was originally going to write for this part- namely, how establishment Republicans are not that different from their Democrat counterparts when it comes to privileging corporate interest over their voters.

What do you think? Comments?

PS: I also hope to soon write a quick piece about my thoughts on what is going on in Kenosha, especially its longer-term indirect social and political effects.

American Political ‘Elites’ Have Lost, Almost, All Touch with Reality: 2

August 21, 2020 10 comments

In the previous post of this series, I wrote about how the pathetic response by american political (and other) elites to the COVID-19 crisis is yet another example of their disconnect with reality. As I also mentioned, their rapidly growing disconnect from reality was first obvious almost two decades ago, but it took a number of subsequent developments such as their inept response to 2008 GFC and election of Trump in 2016 etc for this phenomenon to become unignorable. The ongoing and incredibly dysfunctional response by american political elites to COVID-19 pandemic should therefore be seen, in it its right context, as the latest obvious sign of their loss of touch with reality. To be fair the political elites of other western countries have not done much better than their american counterparts, so this isn’t strictly an american thing.

As some of you might know, I recently wrote a series about how the COVID-19 crisis exposes the intellectual bankruptcy of LIEbrals (aka most american elites) and another about how their inept response will result in a public backlash. Let us take the points made in those posts and pursue them further. As many of you might have noticed the “response” (if you can call it that) to the COVID-19 pandemic and its sequelae fall along partisan lines. Establishment Democrats and their brain-dead LIEbral supporters are all in for stupid and ineffectual measures such as indefinite lockdowns, closing down schools and universities, mandatory face masks and other pandemic theater without grounding in reality. The “other side” aka Establishment Republicans and their delusional CONservative supporters want to open everything without any plan to mitigate the possible negative consequences of doing so.

Did you notice a few big fucking problems with both courses of action, apart from the fact that they are both bonkers. In case you haven’t.. let me spell it out for you. Firstly, neither Democrats nor Republicans have any worthwhile plan to make the tens of millions who have lost financially during the shutdowns whole again. Now people such as MikeCA might mutter something about financial help contained in some bill that is being held up by the Republican-dominated senate. To which my answer is.. bullshit! Democrats passed some bills in the house to convince dumb folks that they are “doing something”. They did it with full knowledge that those bills would never be passed by senate and become law. You might remember the Republican equivalent of this being their many attempts to rescind Obamacare during 2012-2016 even though they knew that those bills would never pass and become law. It is all Kayfabe, a feature of politics in dying empires.

And this brings up the inevitable followup question- namely, why are the political elites of both parties so clueless about the massive negative impact of lockdowns due to COVID-19 panic on the already precarious financial situation for tens of millions of their fellow citizens and millions of small business? I mean.. hadn’t things already become pretty bad for the younger age-groups over past decade manifested by decreases in house + auto sales and opioid epidemic? Also note that this apparent cluelessness is not just restricted to their lack of understanding effect of shutdowns on tens of millions. It extends to many other areas such as the lack of realistic plans to limit mortality due to pandemic, reboot the economy and much much more.

In fact, the types of speeches you are seeing at the hilariously bad Democrat convention simply bolster my claim. Have you noticed how these D-rate actors aka political elites are spouting all that bullshit about “decency and norms”, “democracy is under threat”, “our international image”, “what will the children think” and “identity politics”, while almost totally ignoring the horrible socio-economic effects of this shutdown on average voters? How can they continue spouting policy- and governance- free drivel about how people should vote for them because Trump is a bad.. bad.. man. It is as if they learnt nothing from 2016, or maybe they do not want to learn anything from that humiliation because even the act of acknowledging that it happened makes them look totally incompetent. How do you lose to a reality show clown who was constantly mocked by corporate media and had less than half the funds as your candidate?

But it gets worse.. much worse. Have you noticed that Establishment Democrats have no realistic plan about how to reopen schools, universities and the rest of economy. If you ask them about their plan, those pathetic circle-jerkers will say something about “follow the science”, “wear masks all the time”, “e-learning for all”, “constant testing” and tons of other bullshit that is not practical in real-life. They have no plan about the hundreds of millions of people who depend on public schools for what is essentially baby-sitting their kids. They have no feasible plans about how to reopen universities, many of which are already in a pretty precarious financial situation. How many universities, even many state ones, can survive a year of being basically closed for undergraduate teaching- which is essentially their main source of income.

Do they think that students are going to keep paying tens of thousands for zoom lectures during the fall and especially winter sessions? Democrats want people to believe that electing Dementia Joe in November will somehow magically change everything. Do they think that people who have become very cynical over years in addition to being immiserated because of decisions by political class will forgive them? Don’t they remember what happened in 2016? Perhaps they think that keeping schools and universities closed for next few months will somehow create enough chaos to create a popular revolt against Trump? If so, this is a very stupid and short-sighted decision since most schools in Republican-controlled states are going to be kept open by September and it will quickly become obvious that risks to the young are essentially non-existent.

Ironically, this stupid Democrat-promoted policy to keep schools and universities closed for next few months is going to hurt the economy of ‘blue’ states far more than ‘red’ states. And that is just the tip of iceberg, since all the other stupid ‘social distancing’ and other bullshit policies are already destroying small to medium sized business in ‘blue’ states far more than ‘red’ ones. Do you think all the people whose livelihoods and business are getting destroyed are going to care about “following credentialed experts” and all that other bullshit to contain a disease which kills less than 1 in 2,000 people under 50 and about 1 in 500 of those between 50-70? Also don’t forget that Establishment Democrats are already talking about implementing economic austerity if they win in 2020. Talk about being more stupid and delusional than Trump..

And it gets even worse, if you can believe that. have you noticed that in addition to blathering about “values and decency”, “our international image” and other coastal bourgeoisie bullshit, they are promoting plans that no sane party which wants to election in the current environment would even dare to mention. You know.. things like referring to Hispanics as LatinX, talking incessantly about ‘gun control’, supporting bullshit causes such as transitioning children, killing oil and gas sector jobs and many other brainfarts which are not popular outside certain coastal zipcodes. Notice everything is missing from that list? What about plans for a comprehensive universal single-payer healthcare system, higher minimum wage, taxpayer funded higher education, less expensive childcare, changes to zoning codes to allow the construction of more affordable housing. But wait, there is more.. much more.

Establishment Democrats have still not put forth a feasible plan (one which does not involve hand-waving and invoking underpants gnomes) to reopen the economy completely. Think about it.. even after four months of the ongoing bullshit, they still don’t have a feasible plan to reopen the economy. But why not? Here is my theory.. because they are intellectually bankrupt. One of the most interesting and universal effects of a country adopting neoliberalism is that its ruling class gets increasingly filled with conartists, shysters, mountebanks, careerists and other creatures who are incapable of original and independent thought. This is why, for example, why Democrats could not use their electoral victory of 2008 to pass any major changes that would make them more popular. This is also why the recent DNC circle-jerk fest looked like a bad infomercial filmed in 1992. My point is that establishment Democrats are actually incapable of thinking in ways which have not been preapproved by the incestuous social bubbles they inhabit.

In the next part, I will tell you about how establishment Republicans are not that different from their Democrat counterparts- especially when it comes to privileging corporate interest over those of the vast majority of their voters.

What do you think? Comments?

American Political ‘Elites’ Have Lost, Almost, All Touch with Reality: 1

August 14, 2020 14 comments

Throughout recorded history, one of the most consistent and definitive signs of the impending end for any empire is the disconnection of its political (and other) elites from reality. Some of the most famous examples of this from the past century include the incredibly and consistently bad decisions made by pre-1917 revolution elites in Russia, the highly dysfunctional decision making in last two decades of Austro-Hungarian empire, the unbelievably dumb decisions made by the three pashas and their flunkies in WW1-era Ottoman empire, the very stupid decision by British elites to get involved in WW1 etc. My point is that, regardless of the continent, ethnicity of people or historical era.. all dying empires end up being led by elites who have lost touch with reality. While I have theories about the reasons behind this pattern, it is best discussed in another post.

This post will focus on the many signs that american political elites, like their many predecessors in other dying empires, have lost all touch with reality. Some of you might think that losing touch with reality is the same as being stupid or incompetent. Well.. it isn’t. Losing touch with reality is something which occurs when the person in question has such faith in their own mental model of the world that they disregard any external evidence that it is incorrect. In other words, they keep making decisions based on a mental model of world that has increasingly tenuous connections to reality. While they might have some initial partial success due to system inertia, sooner or later their luck always runs out and a series of bad decisions end up sealing their fate. One of the most interesting features of this disconnect from reality is that, faced with increasingly bigger defeats, elites of dying empires double and triple down on the very positions causing their losses.

So what about 2020 makes me think the elites in this country have lost touch with reality? Well.. a whole fucking lot! And let us be clear about something else, their loss of connection with reality has been increasingly obvious since September 12, 2001. However, it has become too hard to ignore for the past decade and is a thoroughly bipartisan affair, with both major political parties and the deep state fully behind this disastrous trend. Since I have to start from somewhere, let us begin by talking about the decision of Democratic party establishment to nominate a person with visible signs of dementia (Joe Biden) as their candidate for the presidency. If they didn’t want Bernie (a spineless pushover) to win the nomination, they could at least have got a hack without dementia such as John Kerry to be the establishment’s favorite in primary.

But the Democratic establishment, like its Republican equivalent, is too intellectually bankrupt and lazy to pull off this shit in a semi-competent manner. Their selection of Kamala Harris, a black establishment politician marginally less slimy than HRC, as the “safe” choice for VP position in Democratic ticket simply shows more of their intellectual bankruptcy. Let me remind you that when Kamala Harris dropped out of the Democrat party primary, she was polling at 3-4% and ended up in 4th or 5th position in the state she currently represents as a senator. It is as if the Democratic party learnt nothing from their clobbering at the hands of Orange Man in 2016. Why else would they think that a black female version of Tim Kaine was the best choice for VP slot on their party ticket? Do they think that repeating 2016 will yield different results this time?

It appears that this is the case, and these dumbfucks believe that the result of 2016 election was an aberration rather than due to a buildup of popular discontent with the course of electoral politics over past three decades. They are delusional enough to believe that “racism” was the biggest reason Trump won in 2016 even though many swing voters who voted for him in the Midwest had previously voted for Obama.. twice. But intellectual bankruptcy and delusion is not a monopoly of Democratic party. Establishment Republicans are just as dumb and delusional as their Democratic counterparts. Witness their inability to stop a “reality show” clown from snatching the Republican party nomination from many establishment favorites in 2016 primaries. Do you remember how easily Trump ran over establishment favorites such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and many others.

But it gets worse.. remember what Republicans did after Orange Man was elected in 2016? Well.. they tried to repeal Obamacare without replacing it with anything better. While Obamacare is a sloppy blowjob to insurance companies, it was at least marginally better for many people than the web of shit which preceded it. MikeCA might not agree, but the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare was the main reason they got thrashed in 2018 mid-terms. So what have Republicans achieved since 2016? Not much, other than passing tax cuts for corporations and rich + getting lots of right-wing federal judges appointed to further the interests of corporations and rich + supporting wars in far off countries (the last two actions being bipartisan). In other words, they did exactly what you would expect establishment Republicans to do.

But how is any of this a sign of losing touch with reality? For the past thirty years, the Republican party has increasingly become a party of white people, especially of the working class type. So what promises does the Republican party offer the majority of its loyal voters? Well.. in addition to professed support for social conservatism (banning abortion, opposing homosexuality, upholding gun rights etc), they offer working class whites the promise of making sure that non-white people have a shittier life than them. But note that most Republican voters are actively opposed to most Republican economic policies such as free trade, job outsourcing, allowing corporations to become monopolies etc. This scam worked for about twenty years, though it had started to wear thin by the mid-2000s. Over the past ten years, changes such as legalization of gay marriage + inability to reverse Roe Vs Wade etc have made a mockery of their alleged social conservative platform, except perhaps for delusional old white people.

My point is the support for wedge issues based in social conservatism (with notable exception of gun rights) has become untenable. At the same time, the quality of life for white working class has decreased a lot over past two decades, but especially in aftermath of GFC of 2008. There is a reason why white working class has been doing so much methamphetamine, opioids and alcohol over past 10-15 years. This is also why the (empty) promises of Trump to restore manufacturing and similar jobs for this group resonated so much with that group during the electoral campaign of 2016. Given the changing racial demography of this country, the smart thing for Republican party to do would be courting this base with economic populist policies (not unlike Democrats under FDR) instead of fixating on social wedge issues that have been pretty much decided.

The white working class voter of 2020 cares far more about having a job, rising costs of housing, education and healthcare rather than banning abortion or gays. But Republican establishment, like its Democratic equivalent, is in thrall of corporations and ultra-rich. It is therefore unable and unwilling to read the writing on wall and adjust its positions. Luckily for them, the Democratic establishment, which is paid by same groups, has no desire or ability to exploit this weakness. But as Trump showed in a very spectacular manner in 2016, and politician willing to break away from the neoliberal economic orthodoxy (if only in words) can effectively steamroll the Republican establishment. You can bet that a few young Republican politicians (Cotton, Hawley, Rubio), who are smarter than Trump, have already internalized this message.

But how is any of this manifesting itself in 2020? For starters, both Democrats and Republicans have been unable (and unwilling) to understand how badly the COVID-19 shutdown has affected the economy, and not just in the short-term. While the relief package offered by Republicans is laughably inadequate, even the somewhat more generous one proposed by Democrats is quite inadequate. There is something darkly comic about Republicans showing contempt for working class people who have lost their jobs while Democrats pretend to care about budget deficits and maintaining collegiality with Republican counterparts. While somewhere between 30-50 million people in this country are either officially unemployed or cannot collect unemployment even though they have lost their jobs, politicians from both parties are attacking each other on social issues which almost nobody cares about right now.

Trump and his coterie of dumbfucks are promising a rapid return to normality, without the means or capability to do so. Democrats, for their part, are promising open-ended lockdowns which will mysteriously end if Dementia Joe wins on 3rd of November. Neither groups has any worthwhile plans on reopening the economy completely, procuring enough doses of an effective and safe vaccine let alone do anything about compensating the millions of small business that have been devastated and will likely shutdown forever by the time this shitshow is over. But what do you hear on Clinton News Network (CNN), MSDNC and Faux or read in establishment rags such as NYT and WP? Well.. it is mostly the latest clickbait scare news about COVID-19, bullshit about political manoeuvring and “norms” that very few outside the incestous political types care about, articles supporting the latest american wars and unsuccessful attempts at foreign intervention, more stuff about how Trump is a liar, stupid, evil etc. Notice what is minimized or missing?

These corporate news outlets either completely ignore or devote very little space to issues such as the socio-economics of reopening schools and universities, the tens of millions without jobs who are increasingly unable to pay rent or mortgages and in some cases afford to buy food and medicine, the millions whose small business or gig jobs have gone under, the total inadequacy of current government programs for helping the unemployed, the rapidly growing loss of confidence among people about “epidemiologists” and “experts”, the massive increase in rates of opioid overdoses in many economically distressed regions of country, the long-term effects of university lockdowns on finances of those institutions, the effect of revenue loss due to small business closure on local and state governments + the general loss of faith in the future of this country.

The political “elites” and their catamites in corporate media have their head too far up their behinds to actually notice that the country they pretend to lord over is rapidly coming apart. They keep on playing the stupid old games they know because they are intellectually bankrupt and therefore totally incapable of actually solving problems. I will write more about what the almost complete mishandling of COVID-19 crisis says about the american elite in the next post. I also hope to tackle how the willingness of this country to start conflicts all over the world without the wherewithal to actually win them is another sign of its loss of touch with reality.

What do you think? Comments?

Quick Thoughts on Why the Summer of 2020 Will be Full of Discontent

May 31, 2020 26 comments

Regular readers might remember that a couple of my posts on the topic of COVID-19 (link 1, link 2) explicitly mention the likelihood of serious and lasting social unrest – especially in USA. Some of you might also remember another post (link 3) on that topic on which I talked about collapse of public trust in the old establishment after WW1 and during the great depression of early 1930s was responsible for the rise of fascists and strongmen and military types all over the world- from Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Poland to Japan. Many years ago, I wrote yet another short post (link 4) about how the Nazi Party was a fringe party in Germany (receiving no more than 5% of votes for many years) until the economic crash of 1929 caused in a huge rise in unemployment which was made worse by the austerity policies of Heinrich Brüning.

To make a long story short, there is enough historical data from previous one hundred years that actual unemployment rates over 20% consistently produce interesting and “unexpected” political outcomes. As many of you might have heard, the unemployment rates in this country (massaged as they are) have now exceeded 25%. Let me also remind you that the unemployment benefit system in this country is designed to exclude people from receiving benefits. Therefore the real unemployment rate is probably closer to 35-40%. The last time we saw such high rates in our country was in the early 1930s- almost 90 years ago. To make matters a bit more interesting, the rates of unemployment among the healthy young are much higher than those of in older age groups. In other words almost everybody under 40 or 45 is screwed.

But why does it matter and what is the relevance of any of this to my predictions of widespread social unrest for the past two months? Well.. let me ask you a few simple questions. Firstly, how did all that talk of social-distancing and COVID-19 dissolve into thin air within the past 2-3 days? Isn’t it odd that the country went from pretending to shame people who violated all those stupid guidelines to burning down social unrest at multiple places in at least 25 cities (thus far) all over this country. Also, how come so many young white people have decided to protest the public murder and lynching of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. What is going on? Surely, all these young white people could not have suddenly developed so much empathy for black people within the past couple of months.. could they?

More than a few “hip” journalists are trying to spin a theory that this is all the result of people spending too much time indoors in past two months. Perhaps.. but why aren’t we seeing the same sorts of protests in other western countries yet? What is so exceptional about this country? Well.. have you ever considered the possibility that one of the biggest difference between USA and other developed country is the quality of the social safety net? Also, USA is an empire in an accelerating phase of its decline. Furthermore, you might have noticed that the age range of protesters skews heavily towards the younger end. In case you haven’t figure what I am getting at by now, let me say it clearly. It is not so much about about race and policing as much as it is about a collapse of belief in the ability of existing status quo to continue providing even the previous bare minimum of living standards.

However, this does not mean that race and policing are not an issue for most people protesting. It is just that they matter in ways not readily obvious to conventional thinkers. Let me explain.. white muricans of previous generations (upto middle of Gen-X) benefited from racial inequality and disparate policing of minorities. That is why for example, shitholes such as Reagan, Clinton, Bush41 and 43 got elected and why that whole “tough of crime” bullshit flourished from mid-1970s to 2008. However due to neoliberal globalization etc, almost everybody born in late 1970s and after has, to put it mildly, been fucked over by the system- regardless or race. Sure.. black people have been screwed over the most but, unlike in previous eras, so have whites below a certain age- albeit to a lesser degree. Long story short, whites people below a certain age have little to no loyalty for system. Then there is the issue of racial demography.

It is no secret that a rapidly increasing percentage of the younger age groups are non-white and therefore have even less of an attachment to the old status quo. It also does not help that those under 40 have been disproportionately affected by negative socio-economic changes from loss of job security, ever increasing costs for housing, higher education and healthcare, multiple asset bubbles whose bursting transferred wealth in this country upwards, the global financial crisis of 2008, stagnant or declining wages for all their working lives. In other words, they have been served a massive shit-sandwich in the name of american exceptionalism and all that associated bullshit for the past twenty years. To make matters worse, if that is possible, the militarization of police throughout this country which began in earnest during 1990s has made them even less accountable and far more willing to harass and abuse white people than they used to in the past.

To make another long story short, majority of those under 40 are far more likely to take the side of a black guy murdered by police than their parents generation. It does not help that the police no longer have popular legitimacy among the younger age groups as they are now seen as as occupying force elusively protecting the interest of hyper-parasitic plutocrats. While this sor of discontent had been openly brewing since 2008, a series of events in past few months have pushed things into overdrive. The small-scale riots you are seeing right now all over this country are just the beginning of an interesting period on the history of this country- assuming there is a functional one left by the time this phase is over. And yes.. that particular outcome is much more likely than most people are willing to admit.

The thing is.. the very public lynching of George Floyd was the perfect spark which set fire to a lot of dry tinder and fuel that had been accumulating (at an increasingly accelerating rate) for past few years. Most dumb conventional thinkers pay too much attention to the spark but ignore the tinder and fuel- at their own peril. These idiots think that all these riots will be self-limiting or follow patterns from the past- such as those from the late 1960s. Here is my prediction.. they won’t follow previous patterns and here is why. The late 1960s or any other period in american history after 1938 did not have prolonged 20% + unemployment. Nor were the unemployment rates so peculiarly distributed by age. If you think that close to 50% unemployment + severe underemployment rates for those under 40-45 won’t cause more and larger social problems in a country without an effective social safety net, you are delusional.

And no.. the economy is not going to come back to “normal” within a few months. In fact, it is much more likely to get worse before it can get better. Problem is that most of those under a certain age do not have the financial resources to stay afloat till then without a job that pays the same as before. It is no coincidence that the rioting started close to the time (almost two months into COVID-19 shutdown) when most people under 40 would start running out of money and credit to maintain their previous lifestyles and in many cases afford the essentials. If you think whatever happened all over this country on this weekend was bad.. just wait a few more weeks. Also the type of rioting, violence and civil disturbances you have see untill now are just a teaser trailer of what might occur within next 2-3 months.

To make matters worse, if that is still possible, the elites from both political parties in this country are out of touch with reality. These dumbfucks appear to think that all of this unpleasantness will just go away if they double down or pretend that these protests are only about race and policing. We are already seeing idiots on both side of approved political spectrum pretend that these riots were caused by “foreign interference” and “out of state professional agitators” etc. By basing their next actions on such delusional thinking, they are going to choose paths of action which will further inflame the situation. I, for one, do not find this surprising- since almost every single empire in its terminal phase is ruled by elites who have lost touch with reality and hence fail to appreciate the real-life limitations of their rapidly declining power.

What do you think? Comments?