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Controversy over Hydroxychloroquine Exposes Emptiness of LIEbralism

May 22, 2020 10 comments

Let me begin by saying that I would have preferred to write about the actual science behind the potential usefulness of Hydroxychloroquine (and other 4-aminoquinolines such as Chloroquine, Amodiaquine etc) for treating COVID-19 infections. In fact, I might still do that in the near future. But the debate around their use, has for reasons we shall soon explore, now entered the realm of ideology aka secular religious beliefs. While we can certainly argue over who is to blame more for the politicization of what should have been a scientific debate, one thing is very clear- the debate around use of Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 has exposed the incredible vacuousness of LIEbralism, specifically its american variant.

I won’t bore you with the history of how anti-malarial drugs were developed almost 70-80 years ago in this post, other than saying that it is a very interesting story- provided you are interested in how drug development actually worked during the golden age of drug discovery. The only relevant part of that story for the purpose of this post concerns their subsequent re-purposing for treating auto-immune diseases. To make another long and interesting story short, by the 1970s, it became obvious through a bunch of serendipitous observations that these drugs could be used to treat autoimmune diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Nowadays in western countries these drugs, specifically Hydroxychloroquine, are almost exclusively used for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

The anti-viral effects of these drugs were accidentally discovered sometime in the 1970s during experiments aimed at determining the mechanisms of viral entry into cells. Some of the first published reports about their anti-viral activity can be found as far back as 1980. Without going into further detail in this post, the ability of CQ and HCQ to block infection and spread of infection of a number of viruses from diverse families at concentrations achievable in body tissues with normal therapeutic doses is established science- not a matter of controversy. Some of you might ask.. why haven’t these drugs been used for treatment of viral diseases till now. Well.. there are two main reasons.

Firstly, by 1980, we had already developed very effective vaccines for every major acute viral disease affecting humans. So.. we already had vaccines for everything from rabies and yellow fever to measles and mumps by the time this particular effect of CQ and HCQ was discovered. Effective vaccines are just way cheaper and far more effective at controlling infectious diseases whenever they are available. Secondly, while these drugs do have some effect against chronic viral diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C, we quickly found far more effective and specific drugs to treat those illnesses. In other words, we never needed drugs such as CQ and HCQ to treat acute viral infections on any large scale until now.

As far as coronaviruses are concerned, we have known that both drugs inhibit the SARS virus in cell cultures at very reasonable concentrations since 2004 and 2005. In fact, the first instance of a paper describing this effect for a species of bovine (cattle) coronavirus can be found as early as 1990. We also have data showing the efficacy of CQ for treating certain coronavirus infections in animal models as early as 2009. So the idea that CQ and HCQ can treat coronaviral infections, especially if given early on in the course of illness, is perfectly sound and based in experimental data. The real question, then, is whether they work in humans suffering from coronaviral diseases. And this brings us to the issue of when such drugs should be started..

The thing with acute viral infections is that, unlike most bacterial or fungal infections, peak viral replication occurs before the peak clinical symptoms. This has a lot to do with the ability of one virus (infecting a cell) to generate several hundred daughter viruses in contrast to one bacteria multiplying into two every thirty or so minutes. Long story short, drugs for treating acute viral infections work best (or at all) only if given early on in the course of illness. That is why drugs like Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and Valaciclovir (Valtrex) have to be started within 48 hours of first definitive symptoms, of Flu and Herpes Simplex (or Zoster) respectively, for maximal efficacy.

As far as COVID-19 is concerned, there are two phases of the illness: predominantly viral (first 4-5 days) and predominantly inflammatory (6-7 days onward). Note that serious respiratory issues occur in the inflammatory phase, not the earlier viral phase. For any anti-viral drug for this illness would have to be administered within first 4-5 days of symptoms to have any worthwhile effect. That is why even a direct anti-viral such as Remdesivir which works pretty well in many animal models of various coronaviruses has such poor efficacy in hospitalized patients on ventilators. If the patient has reached the stage where peak viral replication has already occurred, you are far better off giving supportive care than any anti-viral drug.

Based on my knowledge of medical microbiology and pharmacology, here is what I think about the potential efficacy of HCQ in treatment of COVID-19. The drug will very likely reduce the extent of viral multiplication and size of peak if given within first 3-4 days of symptoms. Such a substantial reduction in viral load will likely result in a far more benign course for the illness. Furthermore the strong immunomodulatory effects of HCQ will also reduce the amounts of various pro-inflammatory cytokines released by the body in response to the virus. Long story short, HCQ if given within first 3-4 days of symptoms (fever, malaise, cough etc) will very likely result in a substantial reduction in number of people who go onto become ill enough to require hospitalization and mechanical ventilation.

My point is that HCQ is not a wonder drug, but used early enough in the infection it should reduce the risk of clinical deterioration often seen in later phase of disease process. So.. it is not going to miraculously prevent infection or milder forms of the disease- just stop people from getting ill enough to require hospitalization and intubation. In that respect, it is very similar to Oseltamivir and other neuraminidase inhibitors used to treat Influenza. And guess what.. more than a few preprints of publications from China say the exact same thing. According to them and emerging reports from Italian doctors, using it to treat patients within first few days of illness or when they have just arrived in hospital with mild respiratory failure reduces the risk of hospitalization and intubation respectively by about 3-4 times compared to historical controls. Also, people on that drug who are not in serious respiratory failure seem to recover faster than otherwise.

While a reduction of 3-4 fold reduction in rates of hospitalization and intubation is not in the same class as using antibiotics to treat bacterial pneumonia, it is definitely better than nothing. More importantly, and relevant to rest of this post, the drug has little to no efficacy in people who are already far into the second phase of illness. So giving it to people with severe respiratory failure and those on ventilators is close to useless. This is why I find the corporate media obsession with “studies” by LIEbral american doctors in certain states who purposely bias their test population with patients who are very ill and in second phase of illness to be both sad and darkly comic. Who are these dumbfucks trying to convince? Then again, LIEbrals have never been known for their intelligence, otherwise the orange man would have never won the presidency in 2016- but he did.

But why are these pathetic attempts to pretend that HCQ has no efficacy so incredibly stupid and likely to backfire very badly? Well.. because the world is bigger than coastal states.

As we speak, doctors from Turkey and Russia to India and Italy are prescribing HCQ quite freely to patients within first few days of illness. From the look of things thus far, it seems that the strategy of prescribing that drug to anybody with even mild or suspected COVID-19 is certainly reducing the rate of hospitalization and death. While Italy started a bit later than others down that path, their death rate is now going down much faster than countries such as UK and USA at an equivalent stage of the pandemic. You can bet that these results will be written up and published in medical journals within next few months. Even in this country, some states are using HCQ far more freely to treat even milder cases or those in first stage of illness. These results too will be written up and published soon. And guess what will happen next..

As I have said in many previous posts, LIEbrals are too stupid to pick the right fight- in addition to be quite incompetent, despite their “credentials”. The fight these dumbfucks chose this time was always a losing proposition. Let me explain. See.. there are only two possible outcomes to the HCQ controversy: 1] It works to a limited extent and reduces need for hospitalization and intubation or 2] It has zero therapeutic effect. Notice that I said nothing about adverse effects.. here is why.. HCQ, when taken in normal therapeutic doses, is a remarkably safe drug in real life. This is especially so if you are taking it for less than two weeks. The smart thing to do was ignore the HCQ controversy and insist on the drug being tried under a variety of circumstances.

That way, you can win regardless of outcome. If it turns out be effective, that is great news. If it fails, you can claim to have tried all possible options- and let other people blame Trump. But the LIEbral mind is too petty and stupid to gasp such solid reasoning. Instead these fucking dimwits converted the HCQ controversy into political football, a game they will lose either way. Confused? Let me explain, again. See.. if it turns out that HCQ reduces hospitalization and intubation, LIEbrals look like petty murderers. But even if turns out to have zero therapeutic effect, almost nobody outside their clique will believe it because these morons have lied about everything connected to Trump for past four years. The boy who cried wolf!

The sad reality is that even if HCQ was ineffective, too many voters will connect the LIEbral attempts to smear that drug with their futile attempts to get rid of Trump via the Russia-Gate, Ukraine-Gate and other stupid conspiracies. It does not help that democratic politicians seem very enthusiastic about prolonging the lockdown resulting in far more unemployment and human suffering than would otherwise occur. Also, if it eventually turns out that HCQ reduces risk of hospitalization and death when given early, the orange man will end up looking like a genius.

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?

NSFW Links: May 18, 2020

These links are NSFW. Will post something more intellectual tomorrow.

Busty Topless Beach Cuties: May 14, 2020 – Mostly natural topless cuties at beach.

More Busty Topless Beach Cuties: May 14, 2020 – More mostly natural topless cuties at beach.

Enjoy! Comments?

Categories: Uncategorized

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

May 16, 2020 5 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 5 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?

Aftermath of Pandemic Will Destroy Residual Trust in Mainstream Media

May 9, 2020 7 comments

In the past, I have written many posts about why (and how) the majority of people have now lost faith in a range of supposedly “objective” and “impartial” institutions. The takeaway from those posts was as follows: 1] No institution can be “better” than the average person who populates them; 2] All institutions, given sufficient time, will end up being run by cliques of incompetent sycophants; 3] Institutions created to solve any problem will always end up perpetuating that problem in order to remain relevant, 4] All institutions, given time, will either lose or expel their competent members and replace them with clever-sounding but ineffectual cock suckers, 5] These changes make said institutions increasingly incestuous, fragile and ineffectual. 6] While decaying institutions can keep going for some time on social inertia alone, sooner or later they will face a series of real-life challenges exposing them for what they have become.

The above stated pattern holds true whether the institution in question is the democratic party, presidency, AMA, Google or the mainstream corporate media. While I have a few things to say about the WHO, let us leave that for another post and focus on the corporate mainstream media. But before we do that, let us define the term. In my opinion, mainstream corporate media often referred to as MSM is best understood as official propaganda in so-called “democratic” countries. The scam works as follows.. to maintain the pretense of a “democratic” and “free” society, the corporation-controlled government allows certain trusted ass-kissers to label themselves as “objective” journalists. To demonstrate their alleged “objectivity”, these clowns are occasionally allowed to write or publish content that is slightly adversarial to those in power. But don’t worry, these presstitutes will never publish anything that will truly challenge the malfeasance of those in power or expose their sheer incompetence.

This is why, for example, very few journalists challenged the official narrative about the Vietnam war until it was obvious that USA would lose. Something similar happened in 2003, when almost no journalist would contradict the official bullshit about the Iraq War until it became painfully obvious that USA was going to lose this war too. Now you know why the media cheerlead the housing boom of mid-2000s until that house of cards crashed or why it supported an endless slew of “free trade” treaties until pissed off people in the MidWest elected Trump in November 2016. People who work in corporate media outlets are best understood as the modern equivalent of minstrels and troubadours whose livelihood is dependent on remaining in the good graces of their real patrons while they sing songs and tell stories about their patron’s nobility and competence to the masses. However, while the medieval audience of minstrels and troubadours saw them as nothing more than entertainment, more than a few people today (usually older) still see their modern counterparts as courageous truth-tellers.

To be fair, the decline of residual public trust in MSM began sometime during the 1990s. But why the 1990s and not say in the 1950, 60s, 70s or even the 80s? Well.. the early part of the 1990s was the first decade which saw a slow decline in living standards of some Americans. While this decline was initially restricted to blue-collar workers in some flyover states, it was different from other ones in past because it was irreversible. The thing is.. most people will go along with a lot of government bullshit as long as they believe that their present is secure and future is hopeful. The 1990s was the first decade in which some Americans had to finally face the fact that their lives were not going to get better. But why should that fact affect their ability to trust MSM? Well.. belief in the MSM is like belief in any religion or cult. People stop believing in religions and cults once those belief systems cannot satisfactorily explain the reality they face.

This is why material affluence does far more damage to continued belief in Islam and Christianity than continued poverty. Another example would be how urbanization has done far more damage to belief in caste system than any reform movement in Hinduism. Or why the plague pandemic in 14th century did more to damage to the hold of catholic Church over Europe than anything before that or since then. But back to the topic of this post.. many believe that the internet (especially Google, FakeBook etc) struck the fatal blow for MSM by depriving them of money made through advertising. While it is true that the Internet in general, and Internet monopolies in particular, did irreversible harm to the previous business model of many MSM outlets, they did not destroy its credibility. That was a self goal.

See.. media overreaction to 9/11, shilling for the Iraq war, shilling for the housing bubble, shilling for financialism of the economy, shilling for Obama, shilling for LIEbralism in an environment where the fortunes of most people in this country slowly but irreversibly went south was the real reason why it lost so much credibility- especially among people who were born after 1970. People went looking in the internet for alternative news because the establishment mouthpieces were clearly, deliberately and repeatedly misleading them. This is also why a reality show clown.. I mean host.. with a sketchy past could win the presidential election against a “qualified” and “credentialed” establishment insider in 2016. Partisan democrats (MikeCA) still want to believe that the election of Trump was an inexplicable aberration rather than the highly predictable consequences of establishment politicians (of both parties) ignoring the needs and interests of a large section of the population. And this finally brings us the topic of this post.

Many of you might have noticed that an endless parade of “professional journalists” seem to have a deep emotional and material investment in keeping the economy closed during this pandemic. While I won’t go into the details of why this is such an incredibly bad idea in this post (read my previous posts on covid-19), let’s just say that shutting down the economy without a definitive and feasible exit plan or crippling it with restrictions for a diseases that kills less than 1 in 400 people below 65 has far more dangerous medium- and long-term consequences than these ivy league morons can imagine. For one, unemployment rates over 20% (closer to 30 or 40%) in a country without a decent social safety net is a disaster waiting to happen. Trying to shout down and at people who want the economy to open in this environment is more risky than striking a storm-proof match in a room drenched with gasoline.

Then again.. this turn of events is highly predictable. The vast majority of presstitutes alive today fall into one of three categories- 1] People from rich families who attended the “right” universities and don’t need the money, 2] People from a less-privileged but still solidly upper-middle class background who aspire to ge in the first category and 3] Social climbers without much money but who still want to emulate the second type so they can become them. Notice that all of them are in it for the fame, prestige, exposure and yes.. some money. My point is that the vast majority of journalists today are in for for giving each other blowjobs, according to a strict hierarchy- of course. But notice what they are not interested in.. “objective” journalism.. you know that thing they all claim to be their guiding principle. But how can I be so sure that is the case?

Well.. just have a look at the bullshit.. I mean “news stories”.. they are peddling. It is all about ‘how COVID-19 is much worse than we think’ or some fake scare story about ‘how it is mutating into increasingly dangerous forms’. But wait.. there is more. If you start asking them about how the results of serological tests affect our perception of the real IFR of this disease, they will tell you with great certainty that all those tests used to determine the results they don’t like are bad- even though these dumbfucks haven’t studied medical microbiology. These pathetic losers are enthusiastically pumping up doomsday stories peddled by aspy shitheads with delusions of grandeur such as Bill Gates or dishonest guinea dagos who haven’t touched a single laboratory instrument for the past four decades such as Fauci.

And they are doing this while either ignoring the real and massive harm done due to shutdown of everything from elective surgeries and cancer treatments to places that offer haircuts and food. Ask them about how to help the tens of millions whose lives have been turned upside down for no fault of theirs to perhaps protect protect a couple of million (at most) very old and dying people warehoused in nursing homes. Do they have a plan or idea to help the far more numerous group? If not, why not? How do these dumbfucks think people are going to buy food, let alone pay rent in a few months from now? Sure.. opening the economy right now might kill 10-15% of all people living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. But what is their fraction in the population compared to all those whose lives are being destroyed by this lockdown. Also think about what will happen once it becomes obvious that the IFR is much lower than these presstitutes are claiming it to be. Do they think that tens of millions will just forgive them for helping ruin their lives without adequate compensation.

You might not like my argument because it is too coldly utilitarian. But let me ask you another question.. given the way things are setup in this country, and how the course of events have proceeded thus far, do you have a better and more feasible idea?

What do you think? Comments?

Economic Fallout of COVID-19 Shutdown will Dominate 2020 Elections

May 3, 2020 17 comments

As many of you know, I have consistently held the opinion that social and economic fallout from overreaction to this pandemic is going to be far worse and consequential than the final death toll. In case you need a refresher, here are a few links (link 1, link 2, link 3). While yet another post about this general topic might seem tediously repetitive, it is my opinion that even supposedly non-corporate media-types are too fixated on the deaths of 81-year-olds in nursing homes to notice the absolutely unprecedented socio-economic damage and long-term consequences of this shutdown on many western countries. And yes.. the negative effects of this shutdown will be far bigger in western countries and wannabes such as India than their East-Asian counterparts.

1] Many serological surveys in areas with high rates of deaths due to COVID-19 have consistently shown that the number of people who were infected by this virus (and developed antibodies to it) but did not develop symptoms sufficient to seek medical attention is about 10-50 times higher than number who tested positive for the virus with PCR-based tests. Note that PCR-based tests can only detect active infection (in all patients) or post-infectious viral shedding (in a small minority). In other words, asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infections account for the vast majority of cases. To make a long story short, serological surveys from even the worst hit areas with an older population suggest an Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of less than 0.5%.

Even in areas of northern Italy that are full of old retirees and nursing homes, the chance of an infection leading to death is less than 1 in 200. Now I am sure that some of you are going to tell me that the present generation of serological tests have high error rates etc. And this is in spite of most of you never having performed a serological test let alone have an understanding of the factors which lead to false positive and false negative results in those tests. Once again, to make a long story short, the tests used in most of these surveys were independently validated by the researchers who used them and almost every single one had false positive rates below 1%. To put it another way, while some of the tests could be better, the vast majority were good enough to detect rates of seropositivity over 2%.

In many heavily affected areas, these surveys show rates of seropositivity in the 10-15%, 20-30% and even 50% range. Moreover, the geographical distribution of seropositivity rates in each survey tracks the death rate in those areas. But what does a discussion of seropostivity trends and extrapolated IFR contribute to a post on how the socio-economic fallout of this pandemic will dominate 2020 elections. Well.. let me spell it out for you. An infection, however contagious, with an IFR of less than 0.5% and most likely closer to 0.2% is not much worse than a bad strain of Influenza. Since the end of WW2, we had at least 4-5 Influenza pandemics with similar or slightly higher IFR rates. While some of these pandemics necessitated shutting down schools etc for a few weeks etc, none resulted in a generalized economic shutdown of the kind we are seeing today.

2] Given that the 2020 elections are in early November, which is about six months from today, you can be certain that general experience and many more serological surveys with even better tests will reveal an IFR of around 0.2% (1 death per 500 infections). Since this is no worse for most of the population (below 80 years) than an especially bad Influenza season, people who have been ruined and impoverished through the loss of their jobs and businesses will start asking some very inconvenient questions about the “official response” to this pandemic. Was a general shutdown really necessary? Given the mild presentation and low infectivity of this disease in children and young adults, was the closure of schools and universities really necessary?

Weren’t highly targeted actions meant to protect the most vulnerable (65+ and chronically ill) the better option- especially since we knew, even early on, that the disease caused the vast majority of fatalities in those groups? Given that this virus can easily spread in aerosols beyond 2 meters, how was this whole “social distancing” bullshit any different from post 9/11 security theater in airports. How was the decision to close “non-essential” retail and restaurants a good idea, when studies show that most transmissions occur in private residences, nursing homes, hospitals, cruise ships, aircraft carriers and other unusually crowded and enclosed areas. And the questions will keep get more problematic..

Why did so many elected officials not have a well-thought out (if somewhat unemotional) plan to reopen the economy? Even today, politicians from states such as NY and CA to TX and GA do not have a coherent and well-thought of plan for definitively reopening the economy- the key word being ‘definitively’. Do these elected dumbfucks think that pausing the economy for 12-18 months is possible? This question becomes especially important when it becomes obvious that the IFR is about 0.2% and there is a very clear way to identify those with the worst outcomes? Do these dummies have a plan to successfully develop, mass produce and mass vaccinate hundreds of millions? Given how badly they have bumbled thus far, why would you believe them? Why would you trust people whose poor decision-making skills have already ruined your life?

3] Talking about those who have suffered due to incompetent leaders making poor decisions.. how can all these unemployed people afford to keep on paying rents, mortgages, car payments, health insurance payments, university fees etc. While it might be tempting to point out that the Trump administration has been especially incompetent and stingy at delivering cash payments to average people- even countries which have done a much better job have not been able to make average people whole again. Small business in this country face a similar problem, because most of the trillions in government aid has gone to large companies and multinationals. Long story short, even if the economy all over this country was opened tomorrow, there would tens of millions who would be unemployed and many millions whose small businesses had failed for no fault of theirs. Do we have the political will to implement a decent social safety net?

Democrats, such as that corrupt dago from NY and that neoliberal from CA, are now positioning themselves as the new ‘resistance’ against Trump. They keep on mumbling random bullshit, which they don’t understand, such as “science based plans” for reopening economy etc. Are you fucking serious? Have these democrat dumbfucks even performed a back-of-envelope reckoning of the number (and percentage) of newly unemployed people and failed business in their state? Are they stupid enough to imagine that people won’t blame them for destroying their livelihoods? Then again the democratic party was stupid enough to nominate HRC in 2016 and that dementia patient.. Joe Biden.. in 2020. So, I guess it is possible. Also note how establishment democrats such as that hag with bad plastic surgery.. Nancy Pelosi.. and her compatriots have pretty much disappeared from the public arena. It doesn’t help that these losers haven’t come up with anything beyond a few “means tested” and very inadequate programs to help those affected by biggest financial crisis since the great depression.

Yes.. you read that right. The COVID-19 pandemic, specifically its aftermath, is the biggest financial crisis since the great depression of the early 1930s. The GFC of 2008 now looks almost quaint compared to how bad things have gotten so far, and we are nowhere near the end of this one. And you something else.. when such a large scale disaster or crisis strikes any country, affected people always look for scapegoats. The last time we had an election with over 20% unemployment in this country was in 1932, about 88 years ago- and we know how that went. Heck, even a now minor one like the one in 2008 made many people vote for a black guy who sounded good on TV than anyone remotely connected to that mess. Some partisan democrats (MikeCA) might think that this crisis will translate into a victory for his cult. I wouldn’t be so sure.. because in this crisis, democrats have visibly fucked up at least as much (if not more) than their republican counterparts- and it shows.

Establishment types in the democratic party seem to believe (almost as a matter of faith) that Trump’s fuckups will somehow magically hand them the presidency in 2020. However, as I mentioned in the previous paragraphs, there is more than enough blame to go around, and this will be very apparent by early November. At that time, many tens of millions of impoverished and angry people will want to find and lynch a scapegoat.. any scapegoat. Chances are that Trump’s rhetoric of “opening the economy for business” might sound far better to them than “lets keep it all closed (or close to that) until some undefined date in the future”. This outcome is especially likely once it becomes obvious that the IFR is somewhere between 0.2-0.5% and even lower (0.1%) in working-age population. In any case, the economic fallout of the response to this pandemic is going to totally overshadow the number of deaths from it by November 2020.

What do you think? Comments?