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COVID-19 Pandemic has Bared Intellectual Bankruptcy of LIEbrals: 2

May 16, 2020 11 comments

In the previous part, I wrote about how the especially disastrous response to COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the intellectual bankruptcy of LIEbrals. To summarize the gist of that post, the most ardent supporters of LIEbralism in west come in two main flavors- the very rich (billionaires and multi-millionaires) and their professional managerial class (PMC) lackeys. Sure.. more than a few partisan followers of these two groups do also self-identify as LIEbrals- but are largely irrelevant since they have little real power. I also promised to talk about how LIEbral mental shortcomings can explain their disastrous response to this pandemic. These include, in no particular order, the LIEbral obsession with ineffective lock-downs which have far more to maintaining the appearance of action than making a real difference. As you will, later on in this series, the shortcomings are a result of the peculiar mental gymnastics necessary to maintain belief in LIEbralism.

But before we go that far, let us talk about the most obvious but deliberately ignored question- namely, is the response to this pandemic justified by its mortality rate? If you have watched any of the fake corporate “news” outlets, you might have seen what can be best described as a ‘death clock’ which shows how many people have allegedly died of the pandemic to date. Oddly enough, those bullshit counters do not show you the age distribution of those who have been diagnosed with that infection vs those who with very adverse outcomes such as ending up in the ICU and death. But why does that matter and what does it have to with LIEbral intellectual bankruptcy? As it turns out.. a whole fucking lot! See.. much of the statistics these LIEbrals are peddling on corporate media have no basis in reality. To understand what I am talking about, let us quickly go over a few basic concepts in statistics as it applies to epidemiology.

Infectious diseases come in two flavors- one in which almost every successful infection results in a clinically evident illness and another in which most infections result in an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic disease. Examples in the first category include diseases such as smallpox, chickenpox, measles, herpes, influenza, ebola etc. Examples in second category include diseases such as polio (especially in children under 8), meningococcal meningitis (surprisingly!) and infectious mononucleosis (another surprise) etc. Infections which cause an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic disease do so in people who were not previously immune. A superficially similar but mechanistically different phenomena known as mild self-limiting infections occurs if you are immune to a closely related strain of the offending virus and is the basis of vaccines for rotavirus infections and genital warts. With that out of the way, let us talk about COVID-19..

Everything we know thus far about COVID-19 suggests that it clearly falls in the second category. And here is where it is important to understand which type of epidemiological data allows you to make what sort of conclusions. See.. calculating the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) for any disease with a high percentage of asymptomatic cases requires different criteria from one in which almost every successful infection causes an symptomatic illness. In the later, we can assume that total number of cases = total number of people with specific set of symptoms. For the former, we cannot make that assumption and this has huge consequences for calculating the IFR. In the case of COVID-19, the number of positive PCR-tests from areas with high rates of positive test suggest that not enough testing has been done. So places with 30-50% positive tests such as NYC, Detroit, Northern Italy at beginning of epidemic etc are totally useless for calculating IFR.

To make a long story short, even the most basic calculation of a disease with a known high rate of asymptomatic illness requires test positive rates of below 10%, preferably less than 5%. Luckily there are certain areas of the world where the positive test rates have seldom exceeded 10% and are usually around 5%. These include the western provinces of Canada, Germany and South Korea. We also know that these jurisdictions have done a decent amount of testing since the majority of positive cases are between 20-60 years of age. Based on data from these three well-tested populations we can make a determination of the upper limit of IFR by age group. It is as follows: 0-10 = 0.0%, 10-20 = 0%, 20-30 = 0.1%, 30-40 = 0.1%, 40-50 =0.1%, 50-60 = 0.2%, 60-70 = 0.3-0.5%, 70-80 = 3-5%, 80+ = 5-20% (more in institutionalized people).

In other words, death rate for anybody between 0-50 years of age with COVID-19 is less than 0.1% or 1 in 1000. For those between 50-60, it is less than 0.2% or 1 in 500, and upto 1 in 200 for people between 70-80 who are not institutionalized. And remember.. these are the maximum rates. What we know from serological tests done around the world suggest that there are 10-50x undiagnosed and spontaneously cured infections for everyone caught in the act by PCR-based tests. Even if we take a conservative 5X multiplier, the IFR of COVID-19 now becomes less than 0.02% (1 in 5,000) for those between 0-50, 0.04% or (1 in 2,500) for those between 50-60, and a maximum of 0.1% (i in 1,000) for those between 70-80 who are not institutionalized.

In other words, we can readily identify those at greatest risk from bad outcomes based on age, general health status and certain pre-existing conditions (poorly controlled type II diabetes, serious obesity, COPD, recent treatment for cancer etc). Some of you might say.. but what about our hospitals getting overwhelmed? Well.. as it turns out the risk of hospitalization for each age group, based on PCR-test only, is as follows: 0-50 = less than 2%, 50-60 = 3-5%, 60-70 = ~ 5-10%, 70-80 = ~ 20%. If we use the serological test 5x multiplier, only those above 60 have a hospitalization rate than exceeds 1%. But what about rates of ICU use? Well.. once again using the PCR-only data, only 0.2-0.5% (1 in 500 to 1 in 200) of patients below 50 end up in the ICU- and most of them have serious pre-existing illnesses. For those between 50-70, it is about 1-2% (1 in 100 to 1 in 50)- again mostly with serious pre-existing conditions.

It is only once you get in the 70-80 group, that ICU use starts reaching 10%. And remember.. this is based on PCR-positive cases. You can divide those numbers by 5 to get an estimate based on serological tests. To put in another way, for anybody below 50, COVID-19 poses a lower risk than yearly Influenza A epidemics. For those between 50-70, the risk is about what you might expect in a bad influenza season. It is only once you reach the 80+ age cohort, especially those in very poor general health that the mortality due to COVID-19 starts looking gnarly. But, you see, there is a much easier way to protect that group and others with high-risk co-morbidities. We could provide them good protection by staffing nursing homes adequately, testing the staff who work there frequently, maybe give free face masks and hand sanitizers to everybody over 65. Perhaps we could give free restaurant and grocery delivery to those over 65.

My point is that there are many ways to protect the most vulnerable in our society without shutting down the economy, causing 30-40% unemployment rates and all its attendant socio-economic and political sequelae. But the problem, you see, is that LIEbrals are incapable of objective analysis and rational response, because they do not fit the fashionable “consensus”. It does not take a genius to figure out within next few weeks to months, it will be obvious to most people that COVID-19 is no more lethal than Influenza for those below 65. It is at that time, and with unemployment north of 30%, many will start asking whether all these interminable lock-downs, massive job losses, career-ruining turns and social distancing bullshit was worth it. I don’t think LIEberals have thought that far, because they are intellectually bankrupt. But the 30-40% of those without jobs or a future won’t stop asking them and it won’t be a pretty sight.

In the next part, I will go into why the LIEbral opposition to use of Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 was such an incredibly bad and stupid idea. Will go into why the promotion by Remdesivir by that stupid conman.. I mean Fauci.. is going to haunt them. Hope to also discuss antibody tests- specifically their specificity and sensitivity for detection antibodies to COVID-19.

What do you think? Comments?

COVID-19 Pandemic has Bared Intellectual Bankruptcy of LIEbrals: 1

May 14, 2020 7 comments

Most of you will have read my previous posts in which I predict that the disastrous response to COVID-19 pandemic will ultimately destroy residual credibility of mainstream corporate media in this country, increase political divisions, have a large effect on the 2020 elections and very likely hurt the democratic party’s prospects in that election and the one in 2022. While writing those posts, and reading them later, I noticed an interesting thread which ran through all those posts and even a prior series I had written. To make a long story short, the horrifyingly inept response of western countries (and to fair, even many east-Asian ones such as China) represent a failure of the ideology of LIEbralism and its institutions. But before we go further, let us talk about what LIEbralism is and is not. This will allow us to get a better grasp of the ideology rather than talk about it by invoking totally wrong stereotypes as done by most idiots in this country.

Firstly, LIEbralism is NOT Socialism, Communism or any combination of them. In fact, LIEbralism does not require democracy, as 18th and 19th century England was a LIEbral society without having anything close to universal suffrage. Similarly openly slave-owning societies such as pre-1865 USA were LIEbral societies. Pre-1945 France, Netherlands, Portugal with their colonies in Asia and Africa were also LIEbral societies. So how do we define LIEbralism? How can LIEbralism exist without democracy and alongside slavery and racism? LIEbralism is best understood as the successor ideology to CONservatism which in turn succeeded Feudalism. The biggest difference between CONservatism and LIEbralism has to do with the rationale given by those in power to justify their position. Under CONservatism, elites justify their existence by invoking tradition and history. Under LIEbralism, elites justify their position and ill gotten gains by claiming that they are somehow “better” and “more deserving”.

To bolster those claims, they support lots of token causes which sound nice such as individual rights, rule of law, meritocracy, religious tolerance and equality. Of course, none of this means that they actually give a shit about making the world a better place- though they frequently claim this to be their goal. A better understanding of LIEbralism can be gained by examining what it actually supports in the economic realm. LIEbrals are strong believers in limited government, “free trade” and “free markets”. This is why, for example, it is was possible for wretched parasitic and highly unequal societies such as as 18th and 19th century UK to correctly call themselves LIEbral. Similarly, the founders of USA could write a nice sounding constitution and still be perfectly OK with slavery. Countries such as Belgium could claim to be civilized and LIEbral societies while simultaneously exploiting and killing millions of people in west Africa. LIEbralism is best understood as a worse form of CONservatism, but with secular humanistic facade and tons of double-think to justify its existence.

With that out of the way, let us focus on why the response to current COVID-19 pandemic will be incredibly damaging for LIEbralism in the west- including its most current incarnation aka neo-LIEbralism. So who are most prominent supporters of LIEbralism in the west? Well.. the most prominent and ardent supporters of that ideology fall into two groups- the very rich and those in sinecured professions and jobs. Let me expand on that a bit. When I am talking about the very rich, I am talking about those who will be bailed out of any financial loss by the government. So, that includes billionaires, multi-millionaires in certain sectors, top management of most large corporations.. basically anyone who personally call up elected politicians to bail them out- directly or indirectly. Somebody like Bill Gates, your average CEO of a multinational, large shareholders in Disney etc. Notably, it does not include the vast majority of people who operate small- and medium- sized business and we shall see why that matters later on.

The other group which supports LIEbralism most vocally is the PMC (professional managerial class). This group is defined by being credentialed at “prestigious” educational institutions, inhabiting the ‘right’ social circles and being employed in secure professions or positions with a highly subjective and elitist entry barrier. Fauci is a good example of such a creature, since he has been effectively a senior bureaucrat (and not a scientist) for the past four decades. Other examples of such critters include the vast majority of upper-level management-types in corporations, universities, hospitals etc throughout this country. While they lack the same type of access to government largess at billionaires and other really rich people, they make up for that by being far more numerous than the very rich. Members of this group are defined by a carefully cultivated image of competence alongside a simultaneous and shocking lack of even minimal competence in their supposed areas of expertise.

So why do I think that the ongoing botched response to COVID-19 pandemic will expose the intellectual bankruptcy of LIEbrals to an hitherto unthinkable extent? To understand that, we have to first understand why CONservatism lost the battle to LIEbralism, Communism and Fascism a century ago. You might remember that me saying that the people making decisions about public health measures during this pandemic remind me of the horribly incompetent generals who led armies during WW1. As it turns out, the vast majority of incompetent generals, political leaders and all the others who led the world into that disastrous war were outspoken supporters of CONservatism. This was especially the case in countries which suffered tons of casualties during WW1 (France, German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Russian Empire, Ottoman Empire, Italy). Consequently, CONservatism lost the battle for public relations in those countries and the old regimes were replaced by ones who subscribed to other ideologies.

Since we are at almost a thousand words, I will continue this discussion in the next part of this series- which I hope to post within next couple of days. In it, I will show you how LIEbral mental pathologies and shortcomings can explain their disastrous response to this pandemic. You will, for example, see how the desire of LIEbrals to continue lock-downs has a lot to do with them trying to avoid looking incompetent rather than any real objective measure of efficacy. You wills also see how the mental pathologies and double-think inherent in LIEbralism can explain why its most vocal exponents avoid talking about the need to temporarily cancel rent collections of all types. I will also show you how their unwillingness to honestly and objectively assess risks has a lot to do with their real-life incompetence. And we also talk about the various strains of secular apocalypticism which pervades the mind of LIEbrals under late-capitalism in the declining west.

What do you think? Comments?

LIEbrals Lack Mental Capability to Interpret or Understand Science: 1

February 3, 2021 32 comments

In previous posts (link 1, link 2, link 3), I wrote about how the seriously botched response to COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the profound intellectual bankruptcy exhibited by liberals. While working on another post on that topic, I realized that this dysfunctional response was similar to others displayed by them in response to a variety of other topics and issues, from belief in anthropogenic climate change to mindless cheerleading of SpaceX and Tesla. After a bit more reflection, it became obvious that one common thread ran through all these topics, namely an almost complete inability to understand science, specifically in the manner which somebody involved in hard science as a life-long vocation would.

But don’t liberals constantly profess to “believing in science”? Well.. that is just the first part of this problem! Anyone who actually does science as a vocation will tell you that it is not a system of uncritical belief in a series of “facts” or “experts”. Science is about observation and measurement of stuff and phenomena to derive hypotheses and theories which make further predictions that are validated or disproved by more observations or measurements. This is why scientific theories, unlike religious beliefs, will change a lot over time. Sometimes newer theories, such as quantum mechanics and general relativity, providing a better explanation for physical phenomena than classical physics. On other occasions, dominant scientific theories of past end up as historical footnotes after a better theory comes along. A good example of the later is how most older theories of geological change were discarded once the evidence for plate tectonics became overwhelming after the early 1960s.

Therefore, anybody who claims to “believe in science”, “science is settled”, “experts agree..” is talking about their faith, not science. To make matters more interesting, science is a very human enterprise littered with many examples of outright scams and half-truths peddled for reasons ranging from personal ego to monetary considerations. For example, prior to end of WW2 eugenics was a fashionable idea within the scientific establishment of western countries. Similarly, beliefs about the connection between “intelligence” and race were once considered to be settled scientific “consensus”. I could go on about many more such long-lived frauds as the manufactured connection between risk of atherosclerotic heart disease and dietary fat intake or the poor real-life efficacy of anti-depressant drugs for treating most common forms of depression etc. Let’s just say that the full list of such frauds is uncomfortably long.

My point is that uncritical belief by liberals in “science” and its “experts” is no different from that displayed by conservatives in “religion” and its “priests”. But the full implications of the statement might not be readily obvious to most of you. So let me explain.. Organized religion has, throughout human history, been used to justify everything from wars, slavery, genocide, widespread poverty and all sorts of unnecessary suffering on a massive scale. I would go far as to say that organized religion (of any type) has no redeeming feature sufficient to even vaguely balance a single major category of problems caused by it. And I am not just talking about traditional religions, because even allegedly secular ideologies such as capitalism, fascism, environmentalism, neoliberalism etc are religions in all but name. And yes.. I have theories about why most people are still attracted to shitty traditional and secular religions.

Anyway, coming back to the topic at hand- let me list a few easy to observe examples of how liberals lack the mental capacity to interpret and understand science. As you will see this results in them believing in another secular religion aka ‘scientism’.

1] One of the reasons I even considered writing this post was how western liberals have been beclowning themselves during the past year over the COVID-19 pandemic. While nobody is claiming that the pandemic is not real, its real life impact hasn’t been any worse than the 1957 and 1968 influenza pandemics- once you adjust for population and demographic profiles. And guess what.. the world didn’t shut down during those two pandemics. Furthermore, coronaviruses cause about 10-20% of upper respiratory infections in human beings- so they aren’t an unknown quantity like retroviruses such as HIV were in the 1980s. Thus far, there is nothing to suggest that the residual effects of COVID-19 infections are any worse than people recovering a moderate case of another common upper-respiratory infection.

But don’t tell that to the morons.. I mean liberals.. who are constantly getting their panties in a twist over the latest exaggerations about that virus- ranging from “new viral mutations” to “long COVID” and many other bullshit claims which fall apart once you start looking at the data and evidence behind these reports. The thing is, viruses like all other living organisms constantly mutate and some mutations get selected by evolution. The far more important question is whether these new mutations can cause a large increase in severity of disease. If they don’t- the rest is irrelevant. Also, coronaviruses mutate far more slowly than almost any other type of RNA viruses. But won’t these “mutations” affect the efficacy of vaccinations? Well.. unless your vaccine uses a very small part of the spike protein as the antigen, specific and non-specific cell-based immunity generated by the vaccine is more than capable of dealing with such small mutations.

In fact, vaccines against a number of other RNA viruses from polio, measles, rubella work just fine in spite of their causative agents having higher rates of mutations than coronaviruses. Of course, the moronic behavior by liberals does not stop there.. You might have heard about their insistence that people wear cloth or surgical facemasks to prevent COVID-19 infection. In the past few days, some of these idiots are even calling for people to wear two such masks. Now tell me something.. what proof do we have that such non-specialized facemasks work? We have known for over two decades that such facemasks cannot stop people from catching viral respiratory infections caused by viruses with the same general dimensions as COVID-19 virions. And it gets worse..

These idiots also have no interest in using repurposed drugs shown to be effective in other countries such Hydroxychloroquine + Bromohexine/ Ambroxol, Indomethacin, Ivermectin, Fluvoxamine etc. Note that all of these drugs have been shown decent efficacy in preventing hospitalizations and death in vulnerable individuals when used at normal therapeutic doses. These same losers are unwilling to face the fact that other repurposed drugs such as low-dose Colchicine reduce rates of death in hospitalized patients despite considerable evidence for such an effect. So what drives these dumbfucks to ignore multiple clinical trials showing varying but definitive levels of therapeutic activity for repurposed drugs against COVID-19.

Well.. in some cases it is simple racial prejudice because those clinical trials were conducted in non-west European countries. But in most cases, liberals don’t want to believe because the “priests” of their religion (talking heads on TV, mainstream presstitutes) have told them to not believe anything which is not “approved” by them. In case you haven’t figured it by now, this is the type of behavior seen in ardent followers of cults and religions.

Since this post is now over 1,200 words, I will stop now. In the next part of this short series, I will go into how liberal belief in “scientism” is the main reason they fall for other scams such as man-made climate change, viability of “green energy”, electric cars and the pathetic worship of Elon Musk who pushes scams such as interplanetary travel with chemical rockets and niche technologies such as StarLink satellites. And ya.. my views on the limited viability of extra-heavy lift rockets (over 50 tons launch capacity to low earth orbit) has not changed.

What do you think? Comments?

COVID-19 Pandemic has Exposed Intellectual Bankruptcy of Liberals

November 21, 2020 19 comments

In the previous post, I wrote about how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed many of the chronic problems and systemic dysfunctions in West for all to see. While writing that post, I started thinking about another one on how this pandemic also exposed the mind-boggling levels of intellectual bankruptcy among liberals. And yes, I wrote two very similarly titled posts a few months ago (link 1, link 2). As far as my ideological roots are concerned, those who have read enough of my older posts know that I despise ideologies of all flavors- from CONServatism to LIEbralism. Sure.. some are a bit worse than others, but not by much. While many of early posts were about the intellectual bankruptcy of CONservatism, it has became increasingly obvious to me that LIEbralism has gone from being a little better than CONservatism to significantly worse- especially in the past five years.

1] The first serious instance of how the pandemic exposed LIEbral idiocy came pretty early. You might have heard something about how tests for antibodies against COVID-19 show far more widespread infection than PCR- and LAMP- based tests. It was also well known, rather early on, that infection in younger age groups was largely asymptomatic. This would suggest that the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) for this virus was much lower than the high Case Fatality Rate (CFR) as measured before extensive testing was deployed. But LIEbrals would have nothing of that. These dumbfucks tried to discredit and suppress any evidence that it was far less dangerous than the equally intellectually bankrupt MSM was trying to push.

What makes this, however, especially interesting is the arguments used by LIEbrals in their attempts to discredit the results of antibody testing. One of their main arguments was that these antibody tests had very high false positive rates. Well.. any person who understands the science behind these tests and laboratory techniques will tell you that even the most poorly designed modern antibody tests have false positive rates below 2%. In fact, a false negative result is far more likely than a false positive for these tests. And yet there was no shortage of self-proclaimed experts on Twatter, FakeBook and MSM who claimed that these tests were “wrong”. It is as if LIEbrals had close to zero understanding of STEM subjects, which is not surprising as most of these losers credentialed in “liberal arts” at university.

And it gets worse. Once it became obvious that their lies about antibody test results were making them look like idiots, they started claimed that antibody titres were the only predictors of immunity to viral infections. But as anybody with a proper undergraduate-level education in Microbiology can tell you, immunity to viral infections has much more to do with memory B-lymphocyte, helper T-lymphocyte and Dendritic cells activated in response to infection than the persistence of antibody levels. That is why immunity to many viral infections can often last a lifetime. Now, it harder and significantly more expensive to measure these post-infection responses than a simple antibody test- but they are far more important for lasting immunity to a specific virus than antibody levels.

2] Let us move on to non-specialized face masks, a topic which I have touched on in another previous post (link 3). In case you haven’t heard, a recent large RCT Danish study of mask efficacy which many journals were initially unwilling to publish clearly shows that surgical-grade face masks have virtually no effect on rates of COVID-19 infection. And this is not surprising, since similar studies done on the efficacy of surgical masks at prevent Influenza infection (caused by a virus of roughly similar dimensions) in the past had yielded similar results. In other words, unless you are wearing N95 or better face masks, such measures are not effective at preventing infections. But liberal idiots continue defending this dubious talisman, once again demonstrating their ignorance of experimental science.

To make matters more interesting, these LIEbral idiots still haven’t explained why dense and crowded cities in Asia and some parts of Africa have only a tiny fraction of the COVID-19 deaths which many of these same racist idiots were happily anticipating. Isn’t it interesting that almost none of these LIEbral idiots are even considering the possibility that.. maybe.. people in some countries have partial cross-immunity to COVID-19 due to previous infection by other coronaviruses. Or why states with mask mandates don’t have lower rates of infection that neighboring ones with far fewer restrictions. Then again, liberals would rather stick their head up their behind than care about anything which contradicts their belief system.. you know.. like real life. Having said that, it is fun to watch them make up explanations which are rationally inconsistent with their previous ones, while pretending that they aren’t doing so.

These same idiots keep pushing worthless measures that sound effective such as “circuit breaker lockdowns” with no evidence that they do anything other than temporarily suppress case numbers a little. Why do you think that something which didn’t work in Italy, Spain, France and UK in the spring is going to work again? Because you want it to work? Seriously? Also why haven’t all those Asian countries which have very low case numbers and kept it in control done so without lockdowns? Also how long are you going to keep up this shit? How do you plan to compensate all those business owners who will be bankrupted by this ineffectual bullshit? What about all the people who have lost their jobs- in many cases, permanently? I would rather have excess mortality among the 80+ crowd in nursing homes than destroy the lives of many tens of millions more in the prime of their lives.

3] Let us now talk about all those measures to control COVID-19. Given that most outbreaks occur in places that are indoors, crowded and poorly ventilated- why are we pretending that normal outdoor and indoor activities are risky? Given that this virus is airborne, what is the whole point of “social distancing”? Given what we know about Vitamin D levels and severity of disease, wouldn’t giving Vitamin D supplements to dark-skinned and older people be a far better use of resources. And why not give the older and otherwise vulnerable people free N95 facemasks rather than pretending that ersatz cloth facemasks are equally effective? And we have not even touched on the issue of how mortality strongly correlates with advanced age and presence of multiple chronic disease conditions. But try telling any of this to a STEM-illiterate LIEbral retweeting make-believe bullshit on Twatter and FakeBook.

Since we are past a thousand words, I will wrap up this post here. Based on your feedback, I might write another post. Here is a parting question.. Do the governors and administrations in democrat-ruled cities and states have a realistic plan to cover their massive upcoming revenue and tax losses? Do they think Biden will be able to bail them out?

What do you think? Comments?

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?

Some Predictions about Downstream Effects of COVID-19 Shutdown: 1

May 20, 2020 12 comments

Since I have been recently writing a lot of posts about the COVID-19 shutdown (link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5, link 6), I thought it might be a good idea to write down some more and specific predictions about the downstream effects of COVID-19 shutdown. So here are some of them, in no particular order of importance or significance. Just so you know, most are pretty depressing.

1] As I have mentioned many times in the past, jobs in the service sector dominate the economic landscape of post-industrial western countries. Just think about how many people you know who work in a place which makes a real physical product or processes some raw material vs all those who work at some shop, mall, hotel, restaurant or something similar. But this goes even further, as the largest employers in most towns and cities in this country are either hospitals, universities or school districts. While these more “credentialed” jobs might seem to be something other than service sector jobs- they are just that and you will see why that matters later in this post.

While jobs in the service sector might seem too heterogeneous to be hit by the shutdown and its aftermath, they share some common features that make them especially vulnerable to economic disruption. Firstly, majority of business in the service sector operate on much low margin of profit compared to some other sectors. For example, there is no service sector equivalent of Apple or Microsoft with a few hundred billion dollars stashed into overseas accounts and obscure financial instruments. In other words, consumer sector businesses and employers lack the very deep pockets of corporations in other sectors.

Secondly, as a partial consequence of the first, they are heavily dependent on highly predictable levels of businesses activity and are usually (especially in west) financially over-optimized to the point that they cease to be profitable or even viable when capacity utilization levels are not close to maximum. This is a fancy way of saying that restaurants, bars, hotels, airlines, most shops in malls etc become money pits if they are not operating at close to their maximum capacity for a good part of the year. FYI- this is less of an issue in some Asian countries where the proprietors often own the premises and are not so heavily financially leveraged.

But why does this matter? Well.. because even if they can survive a couple of months of being closed down due to helicopter money from the government, they are just not viable if forced to operate at 25% or 50% capacity for even couple of months. Sure.. restaurants which do mostly takeout (pizza joints, chinese) might survive, but the vast majority will simply close it down because there is no way a sane person would operate, for more than a couple of months, under poorly thought and uncertain regulations made up by bozos without any skin in the game.

And it gets worse.. the service sector is far less monopolized than other sectors of the economy, and the majority of business in it are either small or medium sized. Given that government largess seems to preferentially benefit the large and politically connected in every sector, it is likely.. almost certain.. that many small to medium sized businesses will go bankrupt or close forever. What makes this outcome especially problematic is that those business account for the majority of jobs in that sector. In other words, we will a large rise in long-term unemployment in the very societies which have decided (about four decades ago) to abandon their economies to the “free market” aka financialism and monopolization by choice.

To add insult to injury, the vast majority of people in this sector are under 60 years of age and therefore the least likely to die (less than 1 in 1,000 chance) from COVID-19. And here is what will happen next.. tens of millions will be unable to pay their rents, mortgages, student loans, car loans etc for a prolonged time. Of course, trying to throw so many people on the street and out of their cars will have some very nasty political repercussions- more so because the majority are young. Some of you might say.. but what about unemployment insurance? Well.. that amount paid by most western countries (but especially USA) is not adequate for covering majority of their bills- more so if you live in a medium to large city.

And it gets worse…

2] The whole “social-distancing” and “quarantine” bullshit along with dubious measures such as requiring everybody to wear mask in public perpetuates the atmosphere of a perpetual crisis. I liken these measures to the security theater we saw in USA after 9/11- but with the potential to cause infinitely more economic problems. Think about it.. would you eat out at restaurants with same frequency as before if you server was wearing a face mask and every alternate table was closed off with big stupid stickers? Would you go to a pub as often? What about a movie theater? What about shops in malls pestering you to disinfect your hands every time you walked into them? Would you buy as many clothes as before if you couldn’t try them out in fitting rooms?

What about airlines? would you take a flight as often if you had to deal with all that bullshit? What about vacations? Would you stay at hotels as often even if you still had a job? And all of this security theater for what end? To maybe slow spread of a highly infectious disease with an gross population IFR of less than 0.5% and mostly problematic in people over 70 and 80? A disease that does not cause symptoms bad enough to seek any medical attention in over 90% of those infected. A disease that is functionally asymptomatic in most people it infects? A disease that the vast majority recover from without any therapeutic intervention or long-term sequelae.

The vast majority of disease control measures deployed to stop this pandemic are closer to ritualistic virtue display than good science. Consider for example, face masks. Do they benefit people under 70 to the same extent as those over 70? And given the highly infectious nature of this disease along with very low mortality in most age cohorts, isn’t it a good idea to let non-vulnerable people get the illness and recover from it. thus conferring them immunity than wait for an effective and safe vaccine- which will likely take at least a few months. Now let me ask you another question- do you think I am the only one thinking along these lines?

It is becoming increasingly harder to maintain lock-down in many parts of the world and while those regions might suffer more death at first- it will become increasingly obvious that letting people under a certain age get infected while protecting the more vulnerable minority is the least bad option. Notice I said ‘least bad option’ because there is no realistic good option in the near future. You are really choosing between options that front-load death or those which spread far wider economic misery over a much longer time-scale. Personally, I choose the first and you can be sure that the majority will eventually choose it because the second one sucks far more.

Noe let me ask you a related question- what happens to the credibility of the people and institutions who pushed the second option. As many of you know, it is my opinion that Trump’s rise of power had a lot to the non-recovery of most people from the GFC of 2008 and continued neoliberal policies under Obummer. Imagine what such a crisis and much bigger repudiation of “credentialed” people and institutions would do for the political scene in this country. You might remember that in a previous post I made the case that rise of fascist and strong-men type leaders in continental Europe during 1920s and 1930s had everything to do with high rates of unemployment among men combined with a repudiation of the elites who led them into WW1.

You think Trump is bad? Just imagine the type of right-wing ‘populists’ that will arise in response to these stupid and ruinous lock-down policies. In future posts of this series, I intend to write about the impact of these stupid policies on schools, universities, future of “left”, effects on certain parts of manufacturing sector, municipal bonds, velocity of money, effect on rates of drug use and much more. But before I finish this post, let me say something else. If you think that a crisis of this extraordinary magnitude will make corporate-owned western governments question their faith in neoliberalism- think again.

And another thing.. this crisis will destroy whatever residual faith people in many countries still have in the WHO- but that is the topic of another post.

What do you think? Comments?